Thursday, 14 December 2017

Artificial intelligence in construction

Artificial intelligence is improving the way we design and build, creating endless opportunities for us to discover. Artificial intelligence is where machines exhibit their own intelligence through using algorithms to solve problems using inputted data. By harnessing robotics, construction managers can utilise intelligent machines that can perform routine tasks that were once completed by humans, such as bricklaying. Alternatively, AI systems can collate and organise information for engineers to use within project planning and design implementation.

Together with Oasys, we assess the way the construction industry is starting to use AI in order to complete projects that contain fewer errors, less omissions, safer working practices, improved workflows and more on-time worksite completions.

Four factors of construction AI

We look at the four different areas of AI when it comes to the construction industry with Oasys, specialists in building design software:

The starting stage

From the first stages of construction, AI is there to support the planning. Autonomous equipment is considered as AI as it is aware of its surroundings and is capable of navigation without human input. In the planning stages, AI machinery can survey a proposed construction site and gather enough information to create 3D maps, blueprints and construction plans.

Without the help of artificial intelligence, this is a task that would usually take weeks, but now, it can be achieved within one day. This helps to save firms both time and money in the form of labour.

Controlling construction

Controlling the project is important and helps keep everything in the right place – AI is now being used to do this.  For example, workers can input sick days, vacancies and sudden departures into a data system and it will adapt the project accordingly. The AI will understand that the task must be moved to another employee and will do so on its own accord.

Informant

Databases that have an artificial intelligence focus are helping to direct engineers on how projects they are working on need to be done.  For example, if engineers were working on a proposed new bridge, AI systems would be able to advise and present a case for how the bridge should be constructed. This is based on past projects over the last 50 years, as well as verifying pre-existing blueprints for the design and implementation stages of the project. By having this information to hand, engineers can make crucial decisions based on evidence that they may not have previously had at their disposal.

When the construction industry builds tall structures, autonomous machinery is being developed to help drivers remain out of the vehicle whilst it’s working at substantial heights. Using sensors and GPS, the vehicle can calculate the safest route.

After construction

Whether the structure was made for commercial reasons or for homes, AI can be implemented inside too. In the US alone, $1.5 billion was invested in 2016 by companies looking to capitalise on this growing market.

Las Vegas hotel Wynn has said that by the end of this year they will have an Amazon Echo in every room within their hotel. These devices can be used for aspects of the room such as lighting, temperature and any audio-visual equipment contained in the room. These systems can also be used within domestic settings, allowing homeowners to control aspects of their home through voice commands and systems that control all electronic components from one device.

Keeping records

Keeping information about structures and how they were built are important and a BIM (Building Information Modelling) can help you achieve this. It allows you to look back on management decisions and much more.

A conversation can be started by virtual assistants, also known as VAs, as well as providing the information that you need. By combining VAs alongside NFC (near-field communication), VAs can be given additional information to the building itself in real-time from various sensors in the building. For example, if there were structural problems with a building, then VAs could inform engineers specifically where the problem was and how it can be fixed.

The use of engineers, AIs and VAs can help save the construction industry a lot of time when it comes to the expected amount of work. As the future of AI becomes more of a reality within construction, only time will tell how reliant upon intelligent machines we will have to be in order to construct innovative building designs.



from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2017/12/14/artificial-intelligence-in-construction/

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Which listed buildings could be yours?

Which listed buildings could be yours?

There are many beautiful listed buildings across the UK. There are a few on the market that could become yours if you can offer the right asking price!

Lycetts, listed building insurance provider, have brought to us ten listed buildings which are on sale right now to help you make your dreams of owning something truly unique a reality:

Durham — The Castle

The location: Castle Eden, County Durham

The grade: Grade II

The construction date: 1765

Main features: Fancy hosting a party for all of the extended family? You’ll never be short of sleeping space in this property. Boasting nine bedrooms and 14 acres of land — there’s enough space for everyone! Also find a stone-style wine vault, a palm house orangery and a cupola dome that will remind you of Rome’s Basilisca as part of the property.

Walking inside The Castle, you’ll find more luxurious furnishings. Features include a sweeping staircase, a formal drawing room, a games room and two storeys of fully-furnished bedrooms complete with bathrooms.

The asking price: £2,990,000

De Vere House in Suffolk

Where is it situated? Water Street, Lavenham, Suffolk, CO10

What is the grade? Grade I

When was it constructed? Information not available.

What are the notable features? You could be the envy of all Harry Potter fans as this property was part of the set of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. The exterior is designed to impress with exposed timbers, herringbone design, leaded mullions and ornate carved timbers.

Inside is not short of luxury either — a stone spiral staircase which comes complete with a carved brick handrail, a huge timber frame, traditional fireplaces and both Medieval and Tudor wall paintings could all be yours.

How much do you need for it to be yours? £995,000

The Old Coach House in Shropshire

Where is it situated? Badger, Shropshire, WV6 7JP

What is the grade? Grade II

When was it constructed? Built in the 18th century, though remodelled in the mid-19th century.

What are the notable features? This property has been around for a lot of history — it was once used as either a coach or a cart house. Today however, the property is host to a granary on the first floor with open shelter below, an oak framed orangery and conservatory, integrated double garages and approximately 0.25 acres of private garden space.

How much do you need for it to be yours? £650,000

Dukes Place in Kent

Where is it situated? Mereworth Road, West Peckham, Kent, ME18 5JH

What is the grade? Grade I

When was it constructed? Early 15th century

What are the notable features? There are exposed timbers and oak doors which are all inspired by the Tudor era. There are plenty of additions that come with this property too — secondary accommodation, a heated swimming pool, tennis courts and a vegetable garden.

How much do you need for it to be yours? £2,975,000

Dalmoak Castle in Dumbarton

Where is it situated? Renton Road, Dumbarton, G2 4HQ

What is the grade? Grade I

When was it constructed? While an Estate called Dalmoak has been around since the Middle Ages and a structure was in place of today’s building from the 15th century, Dalmoak Castle wasn’t built until between 1866 and 1868 by architect Alexander Watt.

What are the notable features? The castle is recognised by many as a castellated mansion house which comes complete with a tall tower. Once you enter the property you are met with a central hall with an imperial set of stairs, the property’s interior also features a drawing room featuring ceiling plasterwork and scagliola columns and a collection of stained glass windows.

How much do you need for it to be yours? £1,700,000

The Mill House in Norfolk

Where is it situated? Shotesham St Mary, Norfolk

What is the grade? Grade II

When was it constructed? Information not available.

What are the notable features? Living at The Mill House, you’ll always be entertained thanks to the Georgian-fronted property’s four bedrooms and collection of outbuildings. Another attraction is its location — set across from the River Tas.

How much do you need for it to be yours? £695,000

Whittington Old Hall in Staffordshire

Where is it situated? The parish of Whittington, in Lichfield, Staffordshire

What is the grade? Grade II

When was it constructed? Built in the 17th century, though extended and restored in 1891.

What are the notable features? Famous as one of the first great houses of Staffordshire, this property is not one to be missed. Key features include a 19th century Jacobean style timber fireplace surround that is heavily carved in relief, a parlour designed with floor to ceiling oak panelling and a stair window designed with stained glass and etched with the motto “WHERE ‘ERE / WE ROAM / AN ENGLISH MOTHER / IN AN ENGLISH HOME”.

How much do you need for it to be yours? £825,000

Hayes Manor in Gloucestershire

Where is it situated? Viney Hill, Lydney, Gloucestershire, GL15

What is the grade? Grade II

When was it constructed? The 16th century.

What are the notable features? The size is an impressive feature of this house. The 16th century manor house is host to four bedrooms and over an acre of gardens too.

How much do you need for it to be yours? £750,000

The Chantry in Devon

Where is it situated? Honiton, Devon

What is the grade? Grade I

When was it constructed? Estimated to have been built circa 1500s, though extended and modernized in 1937.

What are the notable features? A remarkable staircase is one memorable feature of this property. It was once described as a “remarkable staircase of heart and oak” by Richard Polwhele when covering his History of Devonshire.

The property is built from local flintstone and includes impressive features such as an old bread oven and a beamed dining room. Gardens surround the chantry where a thatched summerhouse sits and huge glasshouse. There is also a small stream that borders the property.

How much do you need for it to be yours? £775,000

Wilton Castle in Herefordshire

Where is it situated? Wilton, Ross-On-Wye, Herefordshire, HR9 6AD

What is the grade? Grade I

When was it constructed? Originally built circa 1300, though partly demolished to make way for a house in the 16th century which then became ruinous, and was thus adapted into a reduce house during the early part of the 19th century.

What are the notable features? The location is one impressive feature of this property as it sits across from the River Wye.

Recently the subject of an impressive restoration programme, the Castle features architecture from a range of eras including the Norman, Tudor, Elizabethan, Georgian and Victorian eras alike. It is also home to the spectacular Great Tower, Medieval castle walls and the ruins of a Tudor manor house.

How much do you need for it to be yours? £1,495,000

Sources:

The Castle:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4941734/Grade-II-listed-castle-complete-sale-3million.html

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1001311

De Vere House:

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-67510955.html

The Old Coach House:

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1367638

Dukes Place:

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1070672

Dalmoak Castle:

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-65526191.html

The Mill House:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/property/period-property/9821700/Britains-best-listed-buildings-for-sale.html?frame=2459965

Whittington Old Hall:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/property/period-property/9821700/Britains-best-listed-buildings-for-sale.html?frame=2459972

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1038870

Hayes Manor:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/property/period-property/9821700/Britains-best-listed-buildings-for-sale.html?frame=2459973

The Chantry:

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-54648563.html

Wilton Castle:

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1214349



from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2017/12/12/which-listed-buildings-could-be-yours/

Sunday, 10 December 2017

LARGE STUDENT RESIDENTIAL PROJECT SCOOPS PRIZE

Redesigning the site of a former Leicester bus depot as a major new student living complex has earned maber architects and contractors Winvic the prize for Large Residential Scheme of the Year at the 2017 ProCon Awards.

 

Lumis student accommodation at Southgates in the city’s Cathedral Quarter, close to De Montfort University, provides 567 bedspaces and a host of other attractions, including a gym, cinema and study areas.

 

The £28.5 million development was developed with client Viridis Real Estate and CRM Student Management, and comprises four blocks around a central courtyard, and took 75 weeks to build.

 

Mark Jones, Winvic Construction’s Director for Multi-Room, said: ‘We are delighted to receive the award, it is a great testament to our client, the design team, our project team and the supply chain for the delivery of such a high quality group of buildings. We look forward to working with the team again in the near future.’

 

Midlands-based practice maber, which was established in 1983 and recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of its Leicester office, provided architectural, interior and landscape design.

 

The practice’s Managing Director, Mark Hobson, said: “It’s great to see our work in Leicester earning another award. This is a terrific development and, for us, an opportunity to employ a full range of the design skills we have in house in Leicester and at our offices across the Midlands.”

 

Architects, contractors, developers and consultants worked together to optimise the use of the 7,500 sq m site, which now provides a 50/50 mix of studios and cluster bed groups of varying sizes.

 

Features designed to minimise long-term energy use include a “fabric first” approach with active energy management, combined heat and power, and uses low carbon energy from the District Heating Scheme.

 

High quality interiors suitable for the student market have been used, including neutral, modern finishes to minimise maintenance and take into account the need for robustness and ease of cleaning and replacement.

 

The central courtyard provides spaces that can be used for quiet study, relaxing, socialising or performance. Features have been introduced to facilitate and encourage interaction between students. An amphitheatre adjacent to the internal social lounge connects inside and out while an area for quiet retreat in the courtyard has sculptural attractive seating.

 

Sponsored by Infrastructure Investments, the award was presented at the annual ProCon Leicestershire event at Leicester City’s King Power stadium. The development previously earned Winvic Construction the silver award for best national site in the Considerate Constructors scheme.

 

For a drone’s eye view of the development, visit

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHGERIHNyVw

www.maber.co.uk



from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2017/12/11/large-student-residential-project-scoops-prize/

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

New project wins highlight pressing issues in construction sector

Construction consultancy MPG has been instructed on new projects highlighting two key issues for the sector.

 

Responding to new heat network regulations, Regal Homes has hired MPG to carry out heat network notifications of their residential apartments property in Bedford Row, Holborn, London. Earlier this year, MPG warned that tens of thousands of landlords face unlimited fines because they have yet to get to grips with the legislation: http://www.mpgqs.com/act-now-on-heat-network-rules-to-avoid-fines/

 

Michael Gallucci, Managing Director of MPG, says many individuals and organisations have missed the deadline for notification. “It is pretty clear that people are perplexed by the requirements for metering,” said Mr Gallucci. “I would urge people to seek professional advice.”

 

In another project, MPG has been instructed by an M&E Contractor to resolve a dispute relating to time and final account on a 160-apartment development. The case highlights a growing number of disputes and legal claims in the construction sector.

 

Meanwhile, the consultancy is providing dispute advice to an MEP Contractor involved in works at Bank tube station where Transport for London is building a new southbound running tunnel to carry a diversion of the Northern line together with a new passenger platform and passenger concourse.

 

On the International scene, with the launch of the much more extensive FIDIC Yellow Book this month, MPG has warned contractors that effective programmes are essential to protect their interests: http://www.mpgqs.com/programmes-vital-for-contractors-as-new-fidic-yellow-book-raises-the-bar/

 

“Programmes are absolutely vital when claiming for delays or combating counter-claims,” said Mr Gallucci. “They become yardsticks against which to measure the effects of delays.”

 

In other project wins, MPG has been hired by estate and property management company Principia to manage the refit of a boiler house, including the tendering process, for a 20-apartment residential property.

 

The consultancy joined a team of experts to carry out inspections and prepare a ten-year planned and preventative maintenance report for a 48-flat property in St John’s Wood, London, built in 1970 and comprising three blocks around a central tower.

 

MPG has also been providing commercial assistance to an M&E Contractor working on a complex public realm project in central London, and was recently commissioned to price tender for a new build scheme in Harrow.

 

www.mpgqs.com



from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2017/12/06/new-project-wins-highlight-pressing-issues-in-construction-sector/

Sunday, 3 December 2017

SD Sealants accelerates growth with Leeds office opening

Following a record year, SD Sealants, the UK’s leading sealant and cosmetic repair company, is expanding its workforce in Leeds with a new office opening this month.

The company, which provides sealant application and cosmetic repairs for homeowners, house builders and commercial businesses, has seen rapid growth in the past few months and has created a total of 50 jobs across the UK in 2017.  

Nick Jones, Managing Director of SD Sealants, comments on the new opening: “We are an ambitious company and want to continue the outstanding year we had in 2016. So far this year, we have had an increase in sales and contracts every month.

“In particular, the North East has been a big growth area and we are hoping to improve on that by expanding our offices in Leeds to help us make 2017 another record-breaking year.”

The office, which opened on the 1st November, houses 20 staff across cosmetic repairs, sealant and tiling services and SD Sealants are currently recruiting for a number of positions to be based at the new branch.

Nick adds: “By taking on new staff we have increased our capacity and so far, it has been a sound business move. However, we still have vacancies in all areas of the business, and the country, with a range of opportunities for people to take advantage of.”

Launched in 1973, SD Sealants and Cosmetic Repairs originated as a family run business in Somerset that specialised in the supply and application of sealant.

Since then, the business has gone from strength to strength, becoming one of the UK’s largest sealant and cosmetic repair companies, with nine offices across England, Scotland and Wales.  It launched a tiling division earlier this year and is the UKs only dedicated online retailer of Sika products.

In addition to expanding its office space, SD Sealants has appointed a new Sales Manager for the Northern and Scotland regions of the business. Tony Dyson has joined the company to aid the expansion process and build on the successes of the cosmetic repairs service seen already this year.

Tony has over 10 years of experience in the sealant business and was previously a sales expert in the tourism industry before coming on board with SD.

He will be working primarily from the expanded Leeds office and will be promoting the business commercially to housebuilders and developers in the Scottish and Northern areas.

Managing Director Nick comments on the appointment: “Building on the success of our sealant services this year, we’re excited to have someone with as much experience as Tony to help maximise the cosmetic repairs side of the business. Our cosmetic repairs division has gone from strength to strength, and we’re looking forward to driving this service forward next year.

“Our repair technicians receive the highest level of training and are incredibly skilled in their field, so it’s never been a better time to start expanding this workforce and developing the business further. We look forward to welcoming new recruits on board in the coming weeks.”

For more information on recruitment opportunities, visit SD Sealants vacancies page.



from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2017/12/04/sd-sealants-accelerates-growth-with-leeds-office-opening/

Friday, 1 December 2017

WINTER WARNING

Winter is coming, and employers need to watch out for the risks that the cold season with its shorter days brings to construction and utility personnel working and travelling outdoors.

 

Vocational learning specialist Develop Training Ltd (DTL) points out employers have a duty of care to protect their employees, even in the absence of a legal minimum working temperature limit. Failing to do so, if it results in injury, could lead to prosecution. Managers should also realise that employees suffering from cold will be less able to do their jobs and may be more likely to make a hazardous error, DTL says.

 

The scale of the risks can range from reduced dexterity with cold fingers to loss of limbs due to frostbite or even death from hypothermia.

 

The first step to prevention if you are an employer or manager is to carry out a risk assessment to ensure you are not putting people in danger. This should take into account factors such as air temperature, wind chill, clothing, protective equipment such as gloves, rest breaks, respite areas such as heated on-site cabins, and the availability of food and hot drinks.

 

The risks posed by the cold are exacerbated by wind chill and wet weather while shorter, cloudier days often mean reduced visibility, which can be a safety risk in operational areas as well as on the road.

 

If suitable steps are taken to plug any gaps following the assessment, this should avoid any serious problems, but it’s still important that employees and supervisors know what do if they or any of their workmates start to show symptoms of a cold-related condition.

The HSE’s relevant recommendations for modifying the work environment include erecting barriers that shield or insulate the work area and redesigning jobs to remove the employee from the area or restricting the length of time he or she is exposed to cold conditions. You can also look at reducing the amount of work and the rate at which it is expected to be completed for the same reason. Introducing mechanical aids may be an option to help employees who are wearing a lot of clothing. If employees are required to wear uniform, it should be evaluated for thermal comfort.

 

When it comes to monitoring employees, they should be properly supervised and receive appropriate training. You may need to consult an occupational health professional for employees who are pregnant, have an illness or disability, or are on medication

 

On the move

 

With winter comes more wet weather, employees on the move should be properly trained to ensure they drive safely in adverse conditions. Driving in the wet can be deceptively dangerous. Useful tips include:

 

  • Decrease your speed and keep your distance from the vehicle in front
  • Keep your windscreen clean to combat reduced visibility
  • Know how to deal with aquaplaning – ease off the accelerator
  • Beware of flooding but if you must drive through, stay in first gear
  • In foggy conditions, give your driving 100 per cent attention

 

www.developtraining.co.uk



from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2017/12/01/winter-warning/

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

OVERCOME AUTOMATION OBSTACLE WITH E-INVOICING SOLUTION

With more and more businesses having taken the first key step towards automation (application generated PDF documents), it’s time to discuss the next time-consuming, labour-intensive and error-prone element to overcome’, writes Matthew Jones at Open ECX.

The easiest and most efficient way to send documents such as invoices and orders is via email as a PDF document. Billing systems create the PDF documents and email them directly to the recipient.

This process is now fairly commonplace but marks a major shift in approach from the old, manual processing to the new; automation. The next stumbling block standing between a business and fully-automated, e-invoicing is how to extract and integrate the data into their finance system.

Those businesses that carry out this task via Optical Character Recognition (OCR) may think that the technology is saving them time and increasing efficiencies, but in truth OCR can be just as labour intensive as manual processing. That’s because OCR engines convert the ‘photograph’ – which sometimes has to be printed and scanned first – into data and a human check is required to rectify any mistakes made.

The mistakes are fairly easy to spot, with the example in the photo above showing how the OCR misread “26.19” as “2b.iy”. However, correcting each and every one of these mistakes uses valuable resources and interrupts the automation process, thereby completely removing all the benefits.

The good news is this problem can be avoided through our unique PDF to e-Invoicing solution.  Data can be taken straight from the PDF and automatically – with 100 per cent accuracy – mapped to an e-document structure, matched and validated against organisational documents of your choice, and delivered direct to your back-office systems (shown below) with minimal to no human intervention required; automation achieved.

As this approach is so simple and non-disruptive to any supply chain, supplier adoption rates are extremely high. In fact, 94% of your suppliers when asked will be able to send a machine generated PDF.

And this means benefits to businesses, including reduced costs, increased visibility, transparency and control and increased ability to pay on time.

For more information click here: http://openecx.co.uk/solutions/einvoicing/



from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2017/11/29/overcome-automation-obstacle-with-e-invoicing-solution/