Sunday, 19 November 2017

CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY MUST OVERCOME THE LATE PAYMENTS PROBLEM

The UK construction industry as a whole tends to cling on to outmoded and inefficient payment practices even when presented with more effective ways of working – a point that is particularly valid when it comes to working capital management and payment processing, writes John Vasili, Director of Business Development at Invapay.

The construction industry has a long-standing problem when it comes to B2B payments. The NSCC & FMB Payment Survey revealed that 40 per cent of businesses are not paid within contracted terms, a third of payments due are late – representing 4.4 per cent of turnover on average – and that subcontractors write off £200 million in late payments and retentions.

Clearly, there’s a need for a more efficient way of processing and making payments – one that will benefit businesses of all shapes and sizes and at all stages in the construction lifecycle, from major contractors right down to specialist subcontractors and general suppliers.

Through our partnership with Open ECX and their WebContractor offer we have developed a combined full-service payment solution, providing construction businesses with a quick and effortless way to manage their payment processes and maximise working capital benefits. The direct and indirect benefits to businesses and their suppliers are multiple.

We find that one of the biggest barriers to the adoption of ePayment processing solutions for many businesses is supplier acceptance – with businesses concerned that the implementation of a revised payment processing approach will have a negative knock-on effect for their suppliers. In our experience, this fear is misguided. Our customers tell us they want to maximise their working capital and to get best use of available credit lines but are concerned about the impact on suppliers.

We solve this issue by simply making payments to the suppliers standard bank account– the supplier doesn’t need to know they are being settled via your working capital or available credit lines; all the while operating in the FCA regulated environment and the assurance that brings.

Our customers benefit considerably and are able to maximise the return on working Capital & to fully utilise any credit lines buyers may have available. They can also make accelerated payments to suppliers, whatever the size, thereby securitising the entire construction supply chain.

Our Open ECX colleagues have also faced concerns over supplier acceptance. Their e-invoicing solution automatically converts and validates PDF invoices received from suppliers, completely removing the need for time-consuming manual entry and eliminating human error.

For suppliers it provides them with the benefit of a reduction in payment delays often caused by traditional processes.

Open ECX has found that supplier adoption is often rapid. One builders’ merchant that stocks more than 13,000 product lines across 13 branches, saw the percentage of e-documents being processed rise from around 25-30 per cent to 60 per cent in a matter of months; this led to huge time and efficiency gains, allowing them to redeploy staff to focus on higher value tasks.

There is absolutely no reason for businesses to continue to operate an outmoded payment approach. There is a tried, tested and regulated alternative delivering major efficiency and cashflow benefits for both sides of the construction supply chain.

And unless we as an industry are willing to adapt, then we are resigned to not achieving the best payment practices, return on working capital and suppliers hindered by late and delayed payments for many years to come.

For more on Invapay’s partnership with Open ECX visit http://openecx.co.uk/maximising-payments-maximising-cash-flow/



from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2017/11/20/construction-industry-must-overcome-the-late-payments-problem/

Thursday, 16 November 2017

360 x 360: Autodesk BIM 360’s Data and Collaboration to become immersive through HoloBuilder

HoloBuilder announces partnership with Autodesk’s Connect & Construct Exchange, BIM 360 integration program

SAN FRANCISCO, California – November , 2017 – HoloBuilder Inc., the leading provider of digital construction sites for general contractors and owners, is proud to announce a new partnership with Autodesk, the leader in 3D design, engineering and construction software. The partnership allows customers to seamlessly move between Autodesk’s BIM 360 construction management platform and HoloBuilder’s Construction Solution. This closes the gap between the workflow for 360 reality capturing and virtual walkthroughs as well as document and issue management. The partnership is based on the commitment of both companies to serve professionals in the field and in the office to accelerate delivery, save money and reduce risk. The cross-platform integration is implemented utilizing Autodesk Forge technology. The announcement was made at Autodesk University, the company’s flagship user conference in Las Vegas, which welcomes more than 10,000 Autodesk customers annually.

The integration allows users to add issues to the BIM 360 platform from within their HoloBuilder project. The connection between immersive 360-degree construction documentation and issue management also allows users to virtually walk the construction site and create issues at the same time, without ever needing to leave their desks. Created issues are also linked to their position within HoloBuilder’s documentation so that users can easily find the affected area and understand the context.

HoloBuilder’s integration with BIM 360 eliminates data silos. Users can add documents, like sheets and floor plans, from BIM 360 to the HoloBuilder environment. This ensures that any documents used within HoloBuilder are always up to date. Further functionality which allows customers to link additional information between BIM 360 and HoloBuilder will be released shortly.

“I am excited for this partnership as it allows us to connect and streamline construction project workflows,” Mostafa Akbari, CEO of HoloBuilder. “We have built HoloBuilder from the ground up to save time for our construction customers around the world when capturing reality and sharing this with stakeholders. As we now provide access and a connection to the BIM 360 construction management platform, this eliminates duplicate work and interruptions in the overall workflow, resulting in further efficiency gains.”

“We are thrilled to have HoloBuilder, a leader in 360-degree reality capture, serve as an inaugural member of the Connect & Construct Exchange,” said Sarah Hodges, Director of Autodesk’s Construction Business Line. “HoloBuilder’s seamless integration with Autodesk’s BIM 360 construction management platform is another example of how partnerships like these will make construction safer, simpler, and smarter.”



from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2017/11/16/360-x-360-autodesk-bim-360s-data-and-collaboration-to-become-immersive-through-holobuilder/

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The Construction Industry’s Charity Contributions

Homer, the Greek poet, famously said, “The charity that is a trifle to us can be precious to others”. Statistics, as of 2005, estimated that at least 100 million people worldwide were homeless and in the 12 years since, the number has only risen, with over 300,000 homeless in The UK and 1.6 billion worldwide.

The global construction market is currently valued at £6.5 trillion, with an expected growth to £8 trillion in 2020. In the UK alone, over £136 million was spent on construction in 2016, 2.4% up on 2015.

Considering what we just told you about homelessness and the construction industry, it is indeed a contradictory picture that emerges. If construction is one of the largest industries, then how is it that so many people haven’t got a roof over their heads? Poverty, increasing population, and inadequate facilities have led to homelessness even in first world nations such as the United States of America, with New York, Los Angeles and Phoenix all featuring in the list of top 15 cities based on homelessness; a highly ironic fact given that the US’ construction industry contributes $78.4 billion dollars per annum to the country’s GDP. Even more astounding is that fact that about 25% of all homeless people in the world are children. That means every fourth homeless person is a child!

So where do we draw a connection between these two completely opposite yet related aspects of humanity? And where do the deeds of giving and charity come into play, in all of this? Well, charity isn’t only restricted to food and clothing.

Charity and the Construction Industry

The role of charity in the construction industry isn’t a recent development. In fact, substantial evidence of charity in the construction industry can be traced back to the “First Houses” project, a public housing project by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) in 1935. Labor was donated to the project by the Emergency Relief Fund and financed by philanthropist Bernard Baruch. The NYCHA also sold salvaged material from its other clearance projects to raise funding for “First Houses”

Today, many organizations exist worldwide that donate labor and material to various housing and school projects around the world. Construction giants such as Windover Construction and Skanska in the USA conduct independent campaigns and drives to build homes, apartment complexes and educational outreach programs for homeless veterans, the elderly and children. Whilst in the UK, the construction industry’s charity CRASH works with volunteers and patron companies to deliver much needed support to homeless and hospice charities across the country.

How Companies Can Get Involved

Construction companies undertake projects of massive proportions. It’s, therefore, an easily deducible fact that more often than not, there will be excesses of construction material, which is paid for by the consumer but not often utilized. Be it paint, tiles, or any of the other commonly used materials, these can be donated to non-profit organizations. A tiling company could easily donate tiles for the roofing and flooring of children’s homes and orphanages. A company that produces sanitary equipment could donate leftover materials from projects to schools or housing complexes.

Another way that companies can make a difference is by tying up with organizations such as CRASH or  Habitat for Humanity International, a not-for-profit organization that helps end homelessness around the world through its many branches. The organization accepts professional services as well as materials such as lumber, paint, equipment, trucks, tools, appliances, and fixed furnishing towards its campaigns, either as a donation or at a discounted amount in return for tax deductions.

For example, donors have the option of donating “gifts-in-kind”, a tax-deductible gift of services, labor, or materials of value to the organization. These could include shingles, plumbing services or tools, or even a donation of land.

Also, it’s not merely housing projects that can be undertaken by construction companies. Creativity can lead, with children’s playgrounds, donated land with simple recreational facilities or even skating rinks, all requiring the most basic construction materials. Building schools and libraries for communities that lack these facilities can go a long way in the realm of literacy for the poor.

The simplicity of charity in relation to construction industries lies in their architectural efficiency.  For example, building apartments can minimize the materials and space required to relocate a community. When it comes to orphanages, hospices and other organizations, an association with a company committed to bettering the society and fulfilling its corporate social responsibility is desirable. Therefore, construction companies could fulfill their Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) by donating to organizations such as Mellon Educate to help further several housing projects.

With frequent news of hurricanes, earthquakes and the like, another important aspect of charity in construction is the building of safer houses in high-impact regions. Further, the materials that once supported a structure can be reused to the best of its ability, especially under the experienced eye of an architectural company. Sustainable housing and development fall within the same realm, as simpler housing complexes imply cheaper livelihoods. This would mean that people living below the poverty line or who are homeless would be able to gain a roof over their heads, at almost zero cost.

To quickly recap, these are the ways in which construction companies could lend a charitable hand:

  • Donating excess or leftover material from previous projects, such as wood, tiles, sanitary equipment, concrete, cement, and so on.
  • Donating land to build houses and schools and even recreational spaces for children.
  • Fulfilling their CSR by donating monetarily or in-kind.
  • Provide assistance during disasters.
  • Provide expert services and labor in the form of employees and volunteers.

Make a Difference

As Thomas Fuller said, “Charity begins at home, but shouldn’t end there”. The possibilities of giving are endless if only the opportunities are recognized. Given the state of homelessness on a global level, every small step counts towards bettering lives, whether it’s a donation of your time or resources. Charity isn’t exclusive to any field; every field has something to give or can find something to give! Construction companies make a difference with the many projects they undertake, be it historical buildings, modern work spaces or grand establishments. However, at a very basic level, all of humanity needs a roof over its head. Be a part of a bigger difference.



from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2017/11/14/the-construction-industrys-charity-contributions/

Monday, 13 November 2017

Home Hosting: One Third Of British Homeowners Inspired To Rent Out Their Homes After Rise In Airbnb Popularity

A brand new study looking into ‘home hosting’ has revealed that as many as one third of British homeowners have been inspired to rent out their homes to paying customers thanks to the growing popularity of sites like Airbnb, Tripping.com & HomeAway.

 

Homeowners living in the South East, North West and Wales are the most likely to be intrigued by the potential financial opportunities associated with becoming a home host and renting out their properties or rooms to tourists, with the average homeowner expecting to receive £250 per week from visitors staying at their residence during peak periods of the year.

 

As part of the study, the team at www.coverbuilder.co.uk polled 2,983 adults aged 25 and over, all of whom owned at least one property in the UK, in a bid to uncover how much Britons understand about  home hosting, and how many might be looking to take advantage of the growing industry in the coming years. All those taking part were split evenly across each of the UK regions.

 

All participants were initially asked to disclose if they currently had a property or rooms they owned listed on a site such as Airbnb for travellers to stay in, with less than one in ten (7%) claiming that they did. A further 28% of respondents admitted that, although their homes weren’t yet listed on a home hosting site, it’s something that they were planning on doing in the future after seeing others do so.

 

When asked to state their main motivation behind renting out their property, or rooms within a home, the majority (78%) admitted that they were financial and profit-focused.  12% admitted it was ‘in order to introduce family to new people from all around the world’, with 3% confessing that they’d be joining ‘in order to enjoy the company of others and feel less lonely at home’.

 

Relevant participants were then asked to disclose their approach to using home hosting sites, with just over a fifth (21%) stating they’d be advertising their property on a hosting site year-round, with the remaining 79% doing so during peak periods when a local city or town has an event that tourists are likely to flock to.

 

Next, those already renting out a property or rooms, as well as looking to rent out their homes, on a hosting site were asked to state how much money they’d be hoping to make through renting out their home, per week, during peak periods. The average amount emerged as £250.

 

In order to uncover the areas of the UK with homeowners most likely to be using, or planning to use, a home hosting website in the future, researchers analysed answers to reveal the geographical breakdown of participants, with the number of those interested in home hosting revealed as follows:

 

  • South East – 16% (of those using or looking to list their property on a home hosting site lived here)
  • North West -14%
  • Wales – 12%
  • London – 11%
  • Scotland – 10%
  • South West  – 7%
  • West Midlands – 6%
  • Northern Ireland – 6%
  • Yorkshire and Humberside -6%
  • East Midlands -5%
  • East of England – 5%
  • North East – 2%

Finally, all relevant participants were asked if the thought of visitors damaging or causing harm to their property had put them off renting out homes or rooms on hosting sites, with the vast majority (68%) admitting that it had done. Furthermore, just 18% had either purchased or looked into specialist home insurance required to protect those using home-sharing services.

 

Rob Rushton, Head of coverbuilder.co.uk said:

 

“Tourists are increasingly looking to sites like Airbnb in order to experience a more cultural trip and avoid bland or overpriced hotels, and as a result British homeowners living in areas that regularly attract tourism can financially benefit from renting out properties through sites.

 

“Those looking to take advantage of the industry mightn’t be aware, but it’s important to look into specialist insurance for home hosting, as failure to inform your home insurer that you have paying guests occasionally staying at your house could result in them refusing to pay out on an insurance claim you make, even if the claim has nothing to do with a guest.”



from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2017/11/13/home-hosting-one-third-of-british-homeowners-inspired-to-rent-out-their-homes-after-rise-in-airbnb-popularity/

Friday, 10 November 2017

UK’s most considerate construction companies and suppliers to be honoured at National Awards

Considerate Constructors Scheme’s soon to reveal winners at prestigious ceremony

 

London, United Kingdom: The Considerate Constructors Scheme – the national scheme established by the construction industry to improve its image – is getting ready to reveal the UK’s highest performing registered companies and suppliers of 2017.

 

The Scheme will be hosting the much-anticipated 2017 National Awards on 2 and 3 November at the renowned Four Seasons Hotel in London.

 

All registered companies and suppliers had their considerate performance assessed against the Scheme’s Code of Considerate Practice between 1 August 2016 and 31 July 2017, as part of the awards selection process.

This year’s ceremonies mark the second year suppliers have been eligible to win National Awards, after Supplier Registration was introduced by the Scheme in 2014.

 

Steve Radley, Policy Director of CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) and Clare Watson, Chair of the NFB (National Federation of Builders) will be announcing whether each winning company has received a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award for their achievements. Runners-up for the coveted ‘Most Considerate Company’ and ‘Most Considerate Supplier’ Awards will also be announced.

 

Considerate Constructors Scheme Executive Chairman Isabel Martinson said: “The Scheme is very excited to be hosting its Company and Supplier Awards 2017 in recognition of the persistent and increasingly innovative efforts being made by registered companies to improve their image as well as the image and reputation of our industry.

 

“From all of the registered companies and suppliers eligible, 115 companies and nine suppliers will be crowned as award-winners for their outstanding commitment to the Scheme and respectful consideration towards the public, their workforce and the environment.

 

“With many more companies and suppliers registering with the Scheme and raising the bar of considerate construction, competition is extremely fierce. As always, the Scheme is delighted to recognise those who have pushed their performance to the highest levels.

 

“We hope their achievements will serve as an inspiration and motivation for other companies across our industry, as well as encouraging increased collaboration and truly considerate working practices throughout the sector.”

 

Follow the awards on Twitter at @CCScheme #ccsawards.



from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2017/11/10/uks-most-considerate-construction-companies-and-suppliers-to-be-honoured-at-national-awards/

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

ARCHITECTS CELEBRATE ANNIVERSARY WITH TOUR OF LANDMARK PROJECT

Architects maber celebrated the tenth anniversary of their Leicester office with a VIP tour of one of their latest projects in the city – the restoration and refurbishment of the Great Hall of Leicester Castle.

The firm’s roots go back more than 30 years, and it employs 70 people across five offices in the Midlands and London. Since the Leicester office opened in 2007, it has grown to employ ten people in the city and has been responsible for some of Leicester’s best known buildings and architectural projects.

Ian Harris, a director of maber who heads the Leicester office, said: “Two huge reasons for our success are long-term relationships with clients and the talent of our people, so it was great to bring everyone together to celebrate in an amazing space.”

Guests at the tenth birthday party toured the newly-refurbished Great Hall, thought to be the largest medieval hall of its kind in Europe. Converting it into a new Business School for De Montfort University brought together a wide range of the practice’s skills, including architecture, interior design, landscape design and conservation.

Part of the hall, once used as a Crown Court, retains the gothic Victorian furniture, including the judge’s chair, dock and jury benches, which must rank it as one of the most unusual university teaching spaces in the world.

Some of maber’s other major Leicester projects include:

  • The King Richard III Visitor Centre in the city centre, a £4 million project designed to tell the story of “the king in the car park”.
  • The Summit, a £13 million, 12,200 sq m student residential space with a 22-storey tower that has created a new landmark at the western gateway to the city.
  • New Walk Museum’s stunning new entrance and spiral staircase, featuring a design inspired by ammonites
  • Charnwood Primary School for Leicester City Council, an award-winning design that complements the traditional architecture of the existing Victorian school buildings.

Originally formed in 1983 in Nottingham, maber now also has offices in Birmingham, Derby and London as well as Leicester. A multi-award-winning architectural practice, it specialises in education, sport, industrial, leisure, culture, residential, workplace, commercial and health.

As well as touring the Great Hall, birthday celebration guests also experienced some of maber’s latest technology, including virtual reality, 3D design and 3D printing as well as Indian snacks and a slice of birthday cake.

 

www.maber.co.uk

 

About Maber

 

Maber is an architectural practice with bases in the Midlands (in Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and Birmingham) and London. Founded in 1983, it has a growing team of 70 qualified professionals, specialising in architecture, landscaping and interior design. The firm has an established reputation in the education, sport, industrial, leisure, retail, culture, residential, workplace, commercial and health sectors.

 

  • Architecture
  • Interior Design
  • Landscape Design
  • Sustainability
  • BIM
  • Masterplanning and Urban Design
  • Contractor Collaboration
  • Conservation

 

www.maber.co.uk



from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2017/11/08/architects-celebrate-anniversary-with-tour-of-landmark-project/

Monday, 6 November 2017

GIVING GUARANTEES MEANING THROUGH TRAINING AND SUPPORT

 

How guaranteed are product guarantees? The answer, unfortunately, is not as simple and clear cut as perhaps they should be, with a wide range of caveats and get-out clauses often hidden among pages of complicated T&Cs.

At Sika UK, our mission statement is ‘Building Trust’ and as part of this endeavour we believe in giving meaning to the guarantees we place on each of the various products we manufacture.

That starts with taking care of everything within our control at our Sika sites; investing in our research and development, production and delivery processes and teams to ensure our products are always the best that they can be.

But it doesn’t stop there. To make sure our guarantees have the greatest value possible, we also take great care on ensuring our products are being specified and installed correctly.

That’s why we work closely with roofing contractors up and down the country to give them the training and support they need to carry out installations to a satisfactory standard.

In terms of training, we insist that anyone who wants to install our products comes to our sites for product training. We have a range of bespoke courses, including two-day courses for Sika Liquid Plastics and Sika-Trocal and four-day course for Sika Sarnafil, which, once completed, will see each operative issued a Sika ID competency card.

We train more than 600 people every year across our sites in Preston and Welwyn Garden City.

We also offer a number of management training courses to help contractors gain a better understanding of our products and their various advantages and applications to help simplify and improve specification.

Beyond this, we also have two training support vehicles, both equipped with TVs, roofing products and various tools, which we take out on the road to deliver refresher training and new product courses.

The final element in securing and validating our guarantees comes through inspection of installations and on-site support.

We have a team of 16 field technicians, all of whom have a minimum of five years’ experience in the roofing industry, who are based across the country.

These technicians go to sites on a regular basis to give their expertise and assistance where required and to carry out a number of checks, from product specification to installation – checking all layers within the system – and storage. Once the job is finished, they will carry out a final inspection and issue a guarantee only if every stage has been completed to a satisfactory level.

We carry out more than 6,000 site inspections every year.

All of this helps to give meaning to our guarantees and reassure our customers that the products they’re purchasing will deliver what they’re expecting them to.

And that helps to reduce the risks to the installing contractor and improve their efficiency.

It’s a time-consuming process but one that we’re happy to pursue in order to maintain our position as a leading manufacturer of products working across multiple industry sectors (see http://bit.ly/2o8Ca6Z).

To find out more about the impact Sika is making every day, visit http://gbr.sika.com/en/group/about-us/sika-everyday.html



from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2017/11/06/giving-guarantees-meaning-through-training-and-support/