British Constructional Steelwork Association

The British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA) is the trade association for the constructional steelwork industry in the UK and Ireland.

British Constructional Steelwork Association
FormationApril 1, 1936 (1936-04-01)
TypeTrade association
Legal statusLimited company
PurposeUK structural steel industry
Region served
UK and Ireland
Steel construction companies
Sarah McCann-Bartlett
Main organ
BCSA Council (President: Tim Outteridge)
AffiliationsSEC Group, BuildUK, Metals Forum


Britain built the world's first iron bridge in around 1780. Wrought iron construction of bridges in the UK was later pioneered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel (Clifton Suspension Bridge and Royal Albert Bridge) and Robert Stephenson, (Newcastle's High Level Bridge). The first use of rolled steel in a steel-framed building in the UK was in a furniture emporium in County Durham in 1900. Steel from the Bessemer process was made in open hearth furnaces.

This led to five of the larger steelwork contractors in Manchester forming the Steelwork Society in 1908. Other similar groups formed around the country, such as the London-based British Steelwork Association in 1928, and the Tank and Industrial Plant Association. In 1936 these combined to form the British Constructional Steelwork Association.

Steel-framed buildings were introduced into the UK in the 1890s and this was given a significant boost in 1909 by changes to the London Building Act which allowed the full benefits of a steel frame to be utilised in the Capital. One of the first buildings to take advantage of this was Kodak House on Kingsway. In the 1930s an important use of steel construction was the National Grid.

In 1931 the Steel Structures Research Committee recommended that there should be codes of practice in the steel construction industry, which led to BS 449. From the 1980s steel frame design was carried out to BS 5950. More recently this has been superseded by the structural Eurocodes.

During the Second World War the BCSA was consulted for the many military building projects, notably the Mulberry harbours in 1944. In 1962 it set up the Confederation of Associations of Specialist Engineering Contractors (CASEC) with the HVCA (now BESA) and the ECA. In 1967 it set up a legal advisory service. In the early 1970s it consulted with the Merrison Committee which created BS 5400, after some box girder bridges had collapsed (Cleddau Bridge in June 1970).

In the mid-1980s there was a resurgence in the UK steel construction industry with fabricated steel increasing from 700,000 tonnes in 1983 to 1 million tonnes in 1986, to 1.4 million tonnes in 1989. Output dropped to around 800,000 tonnes in the early 1990s but revived to reach 1.2 million tonnes by 1999, and 1.4 million tonnes in 2008. Output then fell by 30% to 2010, from where it has begun to pick up again.

Sarah McCann-Bartlett has been the Director General since 2012. The UK constructional steel market is worth around £3 billion per annum. The market share of non-domestic multi-storey buildings built with structural steel frames in the UK has remained consistently around 70% since the mid-2000s.


BCSA represents the British structural steel fabrication industry - building steelwork contractors and bridge steelwork contractors - to government and other industry bodies.

The Steel Construction Certificate Scheme (SCCS) is a wholly owned subsidiary of BCSA. SCCS provides certification services to steelwork contractors and the steel supply chain.

BCSA audits its members annually to ensure they are competent to undertake certain types and sizes of project. They comply with CE Marking as required by law, are pre-qualified to PAS91, and are awarded mutual recognition under Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSiP). A directory of BCSA member companies is available here.


BCSA's main office is situated between Whitehall and the Victoria Embankment on Whitehall Court. It is accessed via Embankment tube station.

BCSA also has an office in Doncaster, near to Robin Hood Airport, off junction 3 of the M18.

Published information

BCSA has produced many technical brochures and books on structural steel.

Though its market development arm, Steel for Life, BCSA publishes New Steel Construction magazine 10 times a year. Steel for Life also manages, which is the free encyclopedia for UK steel construction information.


In 1969 BCSA set up the Structural Steel Design Awards (SSDA) scheme. Recent recipients have included:

Full details of the SSDA and projects that have won awards, commendations and merits are available here.


BCSA is a member of:

  • BuildUK
  • The Specialist Engineering Contractors Group
  • The Trade Association Forum
  • UK Metals Council
  • UK Metals Forum

BCSA is also closely affiliated with The Steel Construction Institute.

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