Friday, 22 December 2017

Seasons Greetings to all our Readers



All  our readers and contributors.


We hope to see you all again in 2018





from The UK Construction Blog

Thursday, 21 December 2017


IronmongeryDirect has created an infographic of the 28 most useful construction apps for iOS and Android, to put job-revolutionising tech in the pockets of those who need it.


Technology is revolutionising the planet, industry by industry, and the world of construction is the latest to reap the rewards. The well-known mantra, ‘there’s an app for that’, now applies to tradespeople with even the most hands-on jobs. This surge in construction app creation implies a definite shift in attitude in the industry, backed up by the recent release of PwC’s Industry 4.0, which shows the need for cloud computing, technology, 3D printing and smart tech is being increasingly valued among tradespeople. But not all construction workers and tradespeople are up to date with the latest technology, and many still resort to ‘traditional’ methods of working.


Time saved, money saved

According to Designing Buildings, the construction industry is one of the least efficient industries worldwide with some estimates showing a staggering 50-80% of time is wasted on the construction site. However, app technology is set to bring about change:


  • Co-Construct: Project management app that claims to save workers at least 30 minutes a day
  • Joist app for contractors: Claims to help workers win more jobs, eradicating the need to do paperwork at evenings and weekends
  • Construction Master Pro: Advanced calculator app that claims to reduce costly errors on the worksite
  • TSheets: App to replace paper timesheets making payroll and invoicing faster and less costly
  • Fulcrum: Information capture app claims to decrease costs and risks of paper storage, effectively replacing ‘the clipboard’

Managing Director of IronmongeryDirect, Wayne Lysaght-Mason, commented:

“With most people working in the construction sector now owning a smartphone, the apps we have researched have the potential to save considerable time and money. From builders, carpenters and electricians to project managers and employers, their smartphone can become their best tool with a range of powerful apps to help improve day-to-day efficiency both on site and in the office.”


28 useful apps for construction jobs of all sizes

The infographic created by IronmongeryDirect sums up the 28 best construction apps split by use and trade, covering things like safety, project management, measurement and planning and blueprints. It also provides handy on-the-job tools for tradespeople including glaziers, painters, electricians, plasterers and plumbers. Pros and cons are provided for each app, as well as download and subscription costs.

from The UK Construction Blog

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

The effect of garden villages on UK housing

The construction of one million UK homes by 2020 seemed completely unachievable when it was set by the government. However, recently-released figures show that it can and has been done. A total of 217,350 new homes were built in the 2016/17 financial year, which puts the government on course to smash its goal by the year provided.

But, did the sector just get lucky and can it do it again? One project that many in government and industry think could significantly boost the UK housing sector is garden villages — settlements built on brownfield land away from established communities.

To find out what these construction projects are — and how they could affect your industry and the British economy as a whole — check out our article.

The definition of a garden village and its construction

The creation of a garden village involves careful design and exceptional attention-to-detail in order for it to fall within the boundaries of the building project’s style. A garden village must be attractive, of high-quality and be expertly designed. These projects came about as an answer to lack of housing in the UK, so their design is focused on easing this strain — particularly for first-time buyers. Alongside garden villages, expect to see the construction of garden towns. These building projects are very similar to garden villages in design and effect, although they are much larger — with some experts predicting they could hold up to 48,000 units.

There are several ways to identify a garden village. Firstly, it consists of 1,500-10,000 houses that are all part of a single, self-contained community, which is often surrounded by a lot of green land. Secondly, they must be constructed away from a town or city, which means there is a lot of scope for garden villages to create their own identity. Each garden village has a different set up and usually, they have their own schools, shops and transport stations to boost their independence and self-reliance.

Considering its lofty housing target, it’s no shock that the government are backing credible housing schemes like garden villages. It plans to invest £6 million towards funding these 14 new garden villages, as well as a further £1.4 million to support three garden towns. What’s more, every garden village and town will gain access to the £2.3 billion housing Infrastructure Fund, which was put forward in the Autumn Statement last year.

What are the locations for upcoming garden villages?

You’ll spot garden villages popping up all over the UK, including in locations around: Cumbria, Derbyshire, Cornwall, Merseyside, Hampshire, Lincolnshire, Stratford-on-Avon, Lancaster, Essex, and Devon, among other destinations. Plans are also in place to build garden towns in Taunton, Aylesbury, and Harlow and Gilston, which are expected to provide an extra 200,000 homes.

Garden villages and potential local life ramifications

When you’re looking at ideas from a bird’s eye view, it’s sometimes easy to miss how these will affect current situation — or in the case of garden villages, local life. Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell, commented:

“The programme is about trying to make sure that we design a community infrastructure — jobs, but also school places, GPs’ surgeries, transport services — that make these places not just dormitory suburbs.”

Garden villages are built with their own facilities, including schools and general practices, so they should instead cause the creation of more jobs and facilities in a district rather than put a strain on current services. Also, these building projects will likely supply Britain with more than 50,000 homes. Consequently, we should witness a rise in manual work and job opportunities in these regions, which will help to drive money to several parts of the UK.

It’s positive news that major services are not likely to be adversely affected, however, an increase in population almost always impacts negatively on transport. More people living nearby usually means more people on roads and using public transport, which could have a negative effect on locals. However, this could be controlled if the garden village has its own transport links and roads for commuting in and out of the area.

Future garden industry trends as a result of garden villages

Alongside the economic benefits of garden villages for the UK, it seems likely that the gardening and outdoor sector is set to reap rewards from this rise in private gardens and communal areas. Expect higher consumer demand for:

  • Decking (especially composite decking boards).
  • Outdoor illuminations.
  • Artificial lawns.
  • Vintage garden furniture.
  • Hot tubs.

First-time buyers and the government alike are sure to be very excited with the prospect of more garden villages to boost housing availability and boost target-hitting numbers.



from The UK Construction Blog

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Company Witnessed 5000%+ Increase In Northern Irish Home Insurance Sales MINUTES BEFORE Storm Ophelia

Company Witnessed 5000%+ Increase In Northern Irish Home Insurance Sales MINUTES BEFORE Storm Ophelia

A company specialising in providing home insurance has revealed that it sold 5,284% more policies to Northern Irish customers (compared to the daily average between 16th August 2017 and 16th October 2017), just minutes before storm Ophelia hit Ireland last month.


The team at CoverBuilder (, which provides home insurance to the growing number of homeowners who have issues finding cover for a multitude of reasons, witnessed a huge influx of home insurance sales from those living in Northern Ireland the same day that storm Ophelia hit the country.


A subsequent poll of 1,039 Northern Irish homeowners aged 21 and over has found that as many as two thirds (66%) have looked into purchasing home insurance or changing their existing policy in the weeks since the storm left more than 50,000 homes and businesses without power.


Just under half of participants (48%) taking part also admitted to researchers that they initially ignored the early warnings of the potential damage Ophelia was capable of causing, blaming the panic on ‘excessive media coverage’.


Rob Rushton, Head of, made the following comments regarding the websites activity in the lead-up to the storm:


“As storm Ophelia began trending online and the winds across Northern Ireland reached speeds of 100mph and brought with it devastation across the country, here at CoverBuilder we witnessed a huge amount of panic amongst homeowners on October 16th, with a 5,284% increase in sales of home insurance policies that day compared to the number of policies we write on a standard working day.


“The policies were taken out from 9:00am on the morning of the storm, prior to the worst damage taking place, and subsequently we saw a dramatic fall in enquiries during the afternoon as hundreds of thousands of properties throughout the UK and Ireland lost power. Despite the clear panic from home owners wanting to purchase insurance to protect their properties during such a scary time, we are yet to see any customers make a claim following the storm, hopefully indicating that no substantial damage was caused to any of our cautionary Northern Irish customers.”


from The UK Construction Blog

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Spotlight on…women in construction’ campaign launched in UK and Ireland to challenge perceptions

Considerate Constructors Scheme’s industry survey reveals more needs to be done to change perceptions and encourage more women into construction

Whilst 79% of respondents said the construction industry has improved its approach in encouraging women into construction, 52% have witnessed or experienced sexism within the industry.

The survey also reveals the main reasons women do not choose to work in construction cited as being:

  • working conditions – 22%
  • lack of female role models – 22%
  • negative image of the industry – 20%

The UK and Ireland campaign ‘Spotlight on…women in construction’ has been launched by the Considerate Constructors Scheme to boost the much-needed industry effort to attract more women into the construction industry.


The Scheme, which makes around 15,000 monitoring visits to construction sites, companies and suppliers every year, surveyed over 1000 people to find out why women still only represent a meagre 11% of the construction industry workforce. The Campaign provides a variety of practical steps that can be taken to address this issue in the short, medium and long term.


The survey findings also revealed that:


  • 94% of respondents agreed that the industry would benefit from employing more women.
  • 76% said there are no construction jobs which only men can do.
  • 74% said there should not be quotas for hiring women into construction.


It is clear from the survey, that although some results appear encouraging, there is still a huge amount to be done, particularly in addressing sexism and changing misguided perceptions of what a career in construction offers to women.

Spotlight on…women in construction’ pulls together the latest and greatest examples of best practice, case studies from women working across the construction industry, legal requirements and links to useful organisations encouraging women to work in construction.

The Campaign extends the Scheme’s influence in this important area; by complementing the Scheme’s monitoring Checklist which asks several questions about equality and diversity to raise standards across the thousands of Scheme-registered sites, companies and suppliers; and the role of the industry mascot, Honor Goodsite in visiting hundreds of schools across the UK and Ireland every year.

The importance of having role models is absolutely critical. As such, ‘Spotlight on…women in construction’ has interviewed a number of women within the industry to examine what opportunities and challenges they have faced and why construction offers a great career for women of all ages, backgrounds and skills.

Case study contributions include: Roma Agrawal, (Structural Engineer at AECOM and a Director of the CCS); Stephanie Bennett, (trainee Quantity Surveyor, Morgan Sindall); Victoria Betts, (Senior Site Manager, Higgins Construction); Sally Cave, (first qualified female Gas Membrane Installer in the UK); Margaret Conway, (Project Manager for McAleer & Rushe and winner of CIOB Construction Manager of the Year 2017 Award); Michèle Dix (Managing Director, Crossrail 2); Katie Kelleher (Crane Operator, Laing O’Rourke); Eillish Kwai (Employment and Skills Manager, Ardmore); Kath Moore, (Carpenter and Chief Executive, Women into Construction); and Megan Robinson (Technical Coordinator at Barratt Developments plc).

Managing Director for Crossrail 2, Michèle Dix said: “Women are still underrepresented at present but I think we are starting to move in the right direction. We need to recognise the need for more flexible working arrangements, especially if we are to encourage women back after taking time off for children.

“I think there are lots of opportunities out there and one message I would give to my fellow women colleagues is “go for them!”. Be confident in your own abilities. The industry has so much to offer.”

Site Manager for Higgins Construction, Victoria Betts said: “In the time I have been working in the industry there has definitely been an increase in the amount of females working in it. The Considerate Constructors Scheme has been a big driving force in this as it insists on facilities for females that previously would not have been in place.”

Considerate Constructors Scheme Chief Executive, Edward Hardy said: “Thank you to everyone who has contributed to ‘Spotlight on…women in construction’. The Campaign provides a must-read set of resources for organisations and individuals who would like to improve their standards of considerate construction – with the aim of driving greater equality, diversity and inclusion throughout our industry.

“Not only is it imperative that standards must be raised in this area, in order to help encourage more women into the industry, but a more equal and diverse workforce also brings greater collaboration, creative thinking and more inclusive workplaces. This can only be a positive step in helping to improve the image of the UK and Irish construction industries.”

The Scheme will continue to update resources available within ‘Spotlight on…women in construction’ and would be very interested to hear more from the industry on this issue, including further examples of best practice and case studies. Email to send in suggestions.


Click here to read ‘Spotlight on…women in construction’.

from The UK Construction Blog

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.


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

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


The Castle:

De Vere House:

The Old Coach House:

Dukes Place:

Dalmoak Castle:

The Mill House:

Whittington Old Hall:

Hayes Manor:

The Chantry:

Wilton Castle:

from The UK Construction Blog

Sunday, 10 December 2017


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

from The UK Construction Blog

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:


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:


“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.

from The UK Construction Blog

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

Friday, 1 December 2017


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

from The UK Construction Blog

Wednesday, 29 November 2017


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:

from The UK Construction Blog

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Winter health hazards for tradespeople

The present human adjusted condition is quickly forming into a more difficult and dynamic course, from the method of transportation, foundation, correspondence and numerous progressively these improvements has incredible effect human life. Because, show modernization and quick industrialization has centered itself into advancement for the better of present-day living, for example, the sustenance division; from that point forward, there have been various significant improvements to current nourishments that we eat, from the utilization of additives which offer approach to canning, moment nourishments, and leafy foods developed by engineered composts. In any case, on the different way, advancement realized by current industrialization has drawn various ecological and health concerns. However, with these advancements comes multiple disadvantages that human adjusted environment has made, for example, the present day an unnatural weather change, irresistible infection pandemic, contamination, and some more; on the off chance that we think basically into these, those issues, particularly those identifying with health and wellbeing, are all artificial. For this reason, three variables of present health hazards will be seen which are contamination (air and water), the way of life (liquor and tobacco dependence) and concoction harming.

Contamination is a standout amongst the most robust factors as to health risk. The issue of disease has significantly bothered since the start of industrialization; from tainted waterways to the thick carbon dioxide smoke in urban areas, genetic contamination has extraordinarily been persuasive mainly as a contributing component to sickness event and improvement. Among a few outcomes of air and water contamination to overall population health are widespread respiratory diseases, harming, gastrointestinal sicknesses, and some more. These toxins are items from plants, transportations, bug sprays showers, mechanical squanders and some more; and undoubtedly, these contaminations which are danger to human health is all artificial.

The way of life is another present factor as health danger. Since recent upheaval, there have been various changes to human forms of life. Furthermore, among of the most broadly rehearsed terrible way of life is dependence on liquor and tobacco. The liberality of human from various strolls of life into mixed beverages and tobacco has made this factor as the significant reason for inabilities and ailment in the present. Among of the infections that are caused by the finished liberality of tobacco and mixed beverages are growth, asthma, tuberculosis, and bronchitis; if not cured it might cause passing.

What’s more, another factor as health peril is compound harming. Substance harming is now and again neglected as the health risk and is considered as the absolute mishap. For the most part, these chemicals that are being scattered and by possibility or accidental being ingested originated from plants, bug sprays, beautifying agents, paints, and numerous more which some advance into our drinking water, or sustenance. This harmful synthetic substance when ingested makes a few unfriendly impacts human organ framework particularly the important ones. These are some of the artificial health hazards, and as time passes by health risk factors do change and the impacts it causes to the overall population.

The post Winter health hazards for tradespeople appeared first on Econ Construction LTD.

from Econ Construction LTD

One in Five British Homeowners Buy New Property Prior To Selling Their Existing Home

Following a recent increase in searches for unoccupied property insurance through its website, a non-standard insurance specialist has revealed that as many as one in five British homeowners who sold a property within the last year made the decision to find and purchase a new home prior to putting their existing property on the market.


The dilemma of whether it’s more advantageous to purchase a new home before putting an existing property on the market is a tough one, particularly if that means buildings are going to be left unoccupied for a substantial period of time before being purchased by a new buyer.


As part of a new study, the team at polled 2,847 adults aged 25 and over, all of whom had sold an existing property and purchased a new one within the past twelve months. All those taking part were split evenly across each of the UK regions and were questioned on how they went about the process of their most recent house move.


All respondents were asked if they put their previous home on the market before or after putting an offer in for the property that they now lived in. The majority (79%) stated that they waited to make any offers on new properties until they’d accepted an offer from a buyer, whilst the remaining 21% revealed that they’d given themselves the chance to search for and have an offer accepted on their ideal next home before putting their previous home on the market.


More than two fifths (41%) of participants that had waited to make any offers until they’d sold their property admitted to researchers that they wished they’d done things the other way around, as they felt rushed into selling their home. A further 28% believed that they would’ve been able to make a bigger profit and sell their previous property for a higher sum had they waited to put their home on the market after securing their new home.


Of the respondents that purchased a new home before putting their original property on the market, 17% admitted to researchers that they’d needed to leave their previous home empty and unoccupied after moving into their next home, and whilst awaiting a sale to go through. Despite this, just 21% took out an unoccupied insurance policy for this period.


Finally, in order to uncover the breakdown of how homeowners go about selling their properties in different areas of the UK, researchers analysed answers to reveal which region is the most likely to buy a new property prior to selling their existing home, with the answers as follows:


  • London  – 28% (% of respondents from this region that purchased a new property prior to putting their existing home on the market)
  • South East – 26%
  • South West – 24%
  • West Midlands – 23%
  • Yorkshire and Humberside – 21%
  • Scotland – 21%
  • North West  – 20%
  • Northern Ireland -18%
  • East Midlands -17%
  • East of England – 16%
  • Wales – 15%
  • North East – 14%

Rob Rushton, Head of said:


“Whilst there are both benefits and drawbacks to finding a new home prior to selling your existing one, there is no denying that it gives homebuyers the time and freedom to suss out the housing market and take the time to find a property that perfectly fits them and their family.


“Here at CoverBuilder, we are certainly seeing a rise in customers wanting to make sure they’ve found their ideal next home before hammering that ‘For Sale’ sign into the front lawn. In fact, as it currently stands, 20% of our total policies have been taken for empty properties that are awaiting sales, with the average customer taking this cover out for a length of four months.”

from The UK Construction Blog

Friday, 24 November 2017

Tackling Fire Safety on Your Construction Site

A fire risk assessment is likely to be one of many the site manager must complete and keep on top of. It is a requirement of legislation for the responsible person (employer or persons in charge) to ensure a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment is complete.

This is something which needs carrying out for any premises which are non-domestic. And when you hire 5 or more members of staff, you must have a written record of this. However, it’s still a good idea if you don’t as it acts as proof that you’re fulfilling your duties.

It is necessary to review the risk assessment regularly to account for any changes which may have occurred. You may find this is something you have to complete as your construction site evolves.

New fire hazards can present themselves as the people plying their trade, and machinery, changes. And as the plans rise up from the ground, it’s possible that evacuation routes and assembly points will have to change.

Keeping on top of this means you’re one step ahead and can help to prevent a fire before the issue arises.

The Risks

A fire needs three elements to burn. Oxygen, heat and fuel.

Removing one or more of those elements stop a fire from starting, and will also mean a fire cannot continue to burn.

The first job of a fire risk assessment is to identify these potential sources of ignition and fuel and reduce their potential to cause harm.

Next, you identify the people who are most at risk if there is a fire, and you really do need to consider everyone. Contractors, visitors, security staff, young people, disabled people, those in nearby premises, and a lot more besides.

You must consider all the people who use your site or could potentially become affected should something go wrong.

Taking Action

Taking into account everything you found, you then evaluate, remove and reduce the fire risk, and have measures in place to protection individuals.

For example, this may involve making changes to the storage of equipment, tools, and materials. But it will also involve putting procedures in place to help keep everyone protected, such as a method of fire detection and warning.

You will need to ensure you have measures in place for raising the alarm, whether that’s using site alarms, a rotary bell or gas horn. And you mustn’t forget to have fire extinguishers installed at designated fire points which can be grabbed quickly to prevent a small fire from escalating quickly. It’s best to have water for general fires, foams for flammable liquids, and CO2 for electricals.

And when hot works are carried out, like welding or soldering, ensure the area is clear of combustible materials and that you have an appropriate fire extinguisher nearby.

Record, Plan, Train and Review

It’s good practice to then record your findings and actions taken. Then, with a plan in place, stating evacuation routes, assembly points, and who call the fire service, it is a good idea to ensure everyone is aware of what they should do in the event of an emergency. This may include how to use the fire extinguishing equipment you will have provided.

Plus, after selecting a few people who can take on fire warden duties, they will also need additional training. They will assist in the event of an emergency and also help you to keep on top of your fire safety responsibilities. After all, the more people you have keeping an eye on fire safety, the better-equipped everyone is to prevent one.

Just remember to make sure your fire risk assessment is kept up to date.

To find out more information about fire risk assessments and fire safety equipment for construction sites, visit .


from The UK Construction Blog

Wednesday, 22 November 2017


Businesses have yet to get to grips with the biggest change to apprenticeships in living memory.

That was the verdict on the Apprenticeship Levy from leading HR and operational professionals in the utilities and construction sector at an Industry Skills Forum, which featured SGN, Siemens, Interserve, Skanska UK, Morrison Utility Services, FCC Environment, Develop Training Ltd (DTL) and Mentor Training Solutions.

The consensus among delegates at the event, co-organised by DTL and Mentor Training Solutions, is that many firms still don’t understand the levy. In some quarters it is widely viewed as a tax, in others managers are simply holding fire on making decisions about setting up apprenticeships given continued uncertainty.

Chris Wood, Chief Executive of DTL, which specialises in the utilities, energy and construction sector, said the forum raised important issues about the need for firms to recognise the implications of the levy and to respond appropriately: “This is a sea change in the world of apprenticeships, and businesses need help to navigate through it. Our role is not only to deliver apprenticeship training but also to advise clients on how to select and train coaches and mentors for their apprentices from among their existing workforce. For many businesses, that will be a crucial limiting factor in how many apprenticeships they can deliver.”

Firms have two years from their initial levy payments, which started in April this year, to draw down funds so many are taking their time before making a decision. However, the way the system is structured means that delay may mean they will be unable to recoup everything they pay into the levy.

Nevertheless, several delegates warned against rushing into setting up apprenticeships, which would typically cost more to operate than would be paid for by the levy. There is also the risk that recruitment standards could be compromised by a race to hire new apprentices.

Instead, firms should look at their business needs – both in recruitment of new apprentices and training of existing personnel – and set up apprenticeships to meet those needs.

Speaking at the event, Simon Yorke, technical adviser at City and Guilds, urged businesses to see the levy as an opportunity. It should be viewed as an investment, he said, and forecast that now that firms have to pay for apprenticeships themselves, they would demand a better return on that investment.

Steven Green, provider engagement manager at Energy and Utilities Independent Assessment Service, said that firms have to work hard to agree new standards for apprenticeships that are replacing existing framework agreements. He encouraged more businesses to get involved in the process.

from The UK Construction Blog

Tuesday, 21 November 2017


With winter almost upon us, the anticipated damp and sub-zero temperatures will provide a severe test of the quality of the concrete used to build structures old and new. Over time, frost and ice will do its best to debilitate a building by finding its way into cracks caused by any one of a number of issues. Excess water in the concrete mix; improper strength of concrete poured on-site; conditions too cold for effective application…these are just some of the reasons fissures, which are susceptible to the freeze/thaw process, resulting in crack-widening and the structural integrity of the concrete being tested.

Fortunately, Sika has a proven, high-performance solution for crack repair in newly-poured and refurbished concrete. Sikadur®-52, an injection or poured epoxy resin, provides a reliable seal for a wide range of structural or non-structural applications and uses such as joint and hole filling; crack and void sealing. Easy to mix and apply, Sikadur®-52 is ideal for dry and damp concrete surfaces in horizontal and vertical locations.

Crack repair using Sikadur®-52 couldn’t be simpler. The crack itself doesn’t need to be cut out or the area widened before filling. Sikadur®-52, with its low viscosity, permeates into the smallest of cracks to provide a permanent seal. Impermeable to liquids and water vapour, the system hardens without shrinkage – a vital property when repairing cracks.

As well as offering superb abrasion resistance and mechanical strength, Sikadur®-52 provides excellent adhesion to most construction materials including natural stone, ceramics, fibre cement, mortar, bricks, masonry steel, iron and wood. It is the ideal concrete crack-repair solution for a wide range of infrastructure projects. Slabs, beams and columns found in buildings, bridges and the like are among surfaces ideal for the application of Sikadur®-52.

The upkeep of our infrastructure is not only vital to maintaining elements such as nationwide road and rail routes; neglecting to treat cracks in concrete structures sooner rather than later can lead to greater damage and costly, time-consuming repairs. This could result in cash-strapped local authorities passing the financial burden of such work onto the community in the form of increased council tax bills.

Prevention is better than cure, as the well-known saying goes, and so it is better to repair concrete when the damage is minimal with a reliable, robust solution such as Sikadur®-52, before greater problems take ahold.

To ensure areas that have been repaired are protected from future environment conditions, such as freeze thaw, concrete facades, column, soffits etc. are coated with anti-carbonation coatings. Sika offers a range of coating solutions, which include water based crack bridging systems, resin coatings and hydrophobic impregnations. In buildings and infrastructure projects these protective systems are applied as part of the future repair and maintenance strategy.

from The UK Construction Blog

Sunday, 19 November 2017


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

from The UK Construction Blog

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

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

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, & 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 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 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

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

Wednesday, 8 November 2017


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.


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

from The UK Construction Blog