Monday, 24 July 2017


Planning permission has now been granted for the nine-storey building at 262 York Road on the site of a Shell petrol filling station – the last undeveloped site at Battersea Reach, a mixed-use development fronting the River Thames.

Multi-disciplinary consultancy Meinhardt UK is using its expertise in modern methods of construction and structural engineering to realise the architect’s vision for a new build-to-rent development despite a unique set of challenges.


Working with clients Angle Property and architects TP Bennett, Meinhardt was originally asked to look at a scheme that would have seen the development rise above the petrol station. Although that plan achieved planning consent, the client decided to acquire the lease of the filling station and demolish it, and the revised application, for a building of approximately 10,000 sq m of floor space, has now achieved planning permission.


The development includes a commercial unit at ground floor with office, retail space and a lobby, ground floor car parking and a one-storey partial basement, which will house bike storage, plant and back of house. Removing the filling station made room for an additional storey of residential accommodation adding a further nine units. The apartments are a series of duplex units designed to stagger over the course of each level.


Large protruding balconies are a key element of the development, and Meinhardt coordinated extensively with the architects to accommodate these, and to incorporate the thermal break requirements in a twin wall construction frame. There is a terrace at first floor level and residents’ amenity spaces on some floors. Penthouse flats on the top, stepped back from the perimeter, are built around a lightweight steel frame.


Meinhardt’s design does not hinder the overall architectural solution because it sits on a transfer platform from which the structure can fly up. The MMC solution is predominantly twin wall and precast lattice slab over the insitu concrete transfer deck. That will accelerate the construction programme, and so that it does not impede the architectural layouts, Meinhardt’s team designed around tricky features such as a central corridor, which would otherwise have impeded the use of twin wall construction, and circumvented tricky sun rooms with steel beams.


Following planning permission, the client intends to tender for a contractor in autumn with start on site in the early 2018. Meinhardt will work with the contractor through an anticipated 18-month construction period to a mid-2019 completion.


Despite the decision to remove the petrol station, the site still poses all the underground complications of having been occupied by one. Meinhardt will work with geotechnical specialists to tackle complications including contamination. Obstructions such as the fuel tanks serving the filling station will have to be removed. A search of the site’s history revealed the ground also conceals a gas tank, likely a reinforced concrete wall with basement construction, which will either have to be removed or designed around.


The Meinhardt team has spent a year developing the design from work on the original idea through to planning consent on the current one to replace the filling station, and will now work with the contractor to see the project through to completion. The key outcome is enabling the use of MMC without impeding any of the architectural layout.


This is the second PRS scheme employing MMC in London that Meinhardt has worked on during the pre-planning process, the other being Greenford Green, Ealing, the UK’s largest purpose designed build to rent scheme, which will create almost 2,000 new homes.


from The UK Construction Blog

Friday, 21 July 2017

Recent Self-Building Influx Increases Health and Safety Risks

With more and more people deciding to build their own properties, more people are putting themselves at risk of injury on building sites. From simple building extensions to 3 bed houses at some point those who work on the project will need to wear the correct safety equipment, but often health and safety regulations are only followed by contractors and those who regularly work in this sector.

In this article, we will be exploring why the sudden increase in injuries and risks can be quickly averted…


Self-Building Safely

Self-Building is a rewarding and brilliant way to save money, however maintaining site safety is a must, even more so if you do not work in the building sector. A lot of the time when people are to self-build, they spend their spare time such as evenings and weekends to complete the project. This can cause many problems, the biggest of which is laziness and cutting corners.

Something as simple as putting on the correct safety equipment can become a chore, with the popular thought being “I’m only going to do a bit, not worth putting it on”. Well not wearing safety equipment can quickly increase the risk of injury, whether that injury is minor or major.

Cutting time doesn’t save lives.

Areas such as the hands and feet are usually the first place to have injuries with hazards such as sharp objects, you can easily find yourself with a minor if not severe injury. Protective gloves and boots can quickly reduce the risk of these injuries but there are many other potentials you will need to protect from. Hard hats are a must on a building site and can quickly reduce the impact of an object on the head. And strong thick clothing can reduce the chance of scuffs and abrasions, however specialised PPE will need to be used in other circumstances.

Remember if you do not have the correct protective equipment then you shouldn’t be working, no matter the complexity of the task.


Not sure what PPE to wear?

If you do not understand which PPE you should wear before you begin the task you need to speak to an expert. Whether this is specialist which will also provide equipment for you and your team or a PPE and Workwear company. Both will help you choose the correct items which are rated for the type of work you are undertaking.

from The UK Construction Blog

Wednesday, 5 July 2017


When it comes to maximising natural daylight in buildings, understandably perhaps, much attention is paid to the type of glass used in windows or the shades of finish applied to walls – but what about the colour of the flooring?

In commercial properties especially, staff not only benefit from a smooth, reliable, hard-wearing surface, its colour can have a large bearing on creating an environment conducive to a happy, healthy, productive workspace.


In a good light

As industrial flooring specialists of many years’ experience, we have seen how lighter-coloured floors can help optimise natural light in buildings for the good of the company and environment. Daylight is an even more precious commodity for those working inside; therefore it’s particularly important this natural resource is fully-harnessed as its rewards are plentiful.

Naturally-lit buildings increase the feel-good factor for occupants, and in commercial terms, a contented workforce is proven to be more productive. Lighter, brighter environments reduce instances of sick-building syndrome among staff, which leads to less absenteeism. Letting more daylight into offices and factories can also help reduce conditions such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), an illness which is thought to occur due to lack of exposure to sunlight, particularly in winter.

As well as the health benefits, buildings with a predominance of natural lighting will use far less energy than those flooded with artificial illumination. Electricity used for lighting is considerably more expensive in terms of CO2 than gas used for heating, and as reducing carbon emissions is paramount to achieving Part L Building Regulation compliance, the importance of making full-use of natural energy cannot be overstated.


Reflective glory 

A recent refurbishment Zircon Flooring carried out at SFS Intec, a self-drilling screw manufacturer in Leeds, gives a perfect example of how a light-coloured floor can utilise available daylight. The 7,300m2 new surface of its plant comprised a low-viscosity resin: Sikafloor-161, and Sikafloor-263 SL, a multi-purpose binder.

The top coat’s light-grey colour provided the ideal shade to best reflect the natural daylight and enhance the building’s overall brightness.

Sika’s support was paramount to the successful specification of the aforementioned flooring system. The guidance and knowledge of its technical teams meant the selected products were absolutely appropriate for the floor’s required performance. As well as providing excellent thought leadership, Sika’s support teams remained available throughout the floor’s installation to ensure the process was completed successfully and to the highest quality.

Extolling the benefits of light-coloured flooring doesn’t guarantee clients will take the notion on board. Some will continue to insist on having black or dark flooring as it is felt shadier tones will mask dirt or markings, which is far from the case. Reds, greens, dark greys, blacks and browns are all no-no flooring colours if natural daylight reflection is the goal.

Sikafloor has any number of light-coloured finishes to maximise daylight in buildings. Each shade has a RAL number, ensuring it meets international colour standards. Scientific study has proved interior colours can have a major influence on our mood and sense of wellbeing. Therefore, taking a lighter approach to the shade of flooring we choose can give our working environment a lift in so many welcoming ways.

from The UK Construction Blog

Sunday, 2 July 2017

These 5 Amazing Spaces can beat building regulations

Commercial spaces are at a premium and mortgages are harder to secure than ever. But George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces show has inspired people across the UK to use innovative design to navigate building regulations and live mortgage free.

Whether you want to seek advice on converting a farm shed into the ultimate mancave or transforming an abandoned lorry trailer into your dream home, here are five awesome design ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Outstanding home offices

Creating cost-effective practical space is essential for new business owners but building regulations can put paid to the best laid plans. Using existing structures creatively is a great way to get around this.

Mezzanine floor specialists can help you beat planning regulations by converting an existing warehouse shed into a two-storey structure.

This lets you preserve as much storage space as possible with a brand new private office offering the privacy to chat to clients.

Ship-shape and mortgage-free

Abandoned shipping containers have long been reclaimed as makeshift shops and shelters around the world. But a canny Bedford resident made a giant leap in design evolution by transforming an old container to a fantastic floating home.

With a price tag under £50,000, the home maximises space with unique features like a bath set into the base of the shower and an under-bed wardrobe.  This is a cool compact home that epitomises large-scale recycling.

Shed your preconceptions

Stereotypical British sheds have often unfairly been stereotyped as sad retreats for hassled husbands. But Amazing Spaces spin-off show Shed of the Year shows contestants from across the country competing to build beautiful sheds that become serene sanctuaries.

Past winners include a terrific treehouse that allows you to channel your inner Ewok and a Roman temple that provides the perfect excuse for donning a toga when you relax after work.

Conserving classics

Caravanning is still a favourite pastime in the UK so it’s no wonder that caravan and camper van conversions have featured in their own Amazing Spaces shows.

One of the most innovative conversions showcased a decrepit 1950s classic caravan that morphed into a modern static home complete with roof garden and external spiral staircase.

Bringing the past to life

But the most touching show featured a custom made caravan recreated from sketches stashed away by a British soldier imprisoned during the second world war.

Right down to the custom light switches, the Amazing Spaces team cleverly brought the design to life for the deceased soldier’s surviving relatives.

George Clarke has a knack of discovering people make the most mundane objects magical.

Amazing Spaces inspires us all to take DIY to the next level and live lives less ordinary.

from The UK Construction Blog

Thursday, 29 June 2017


The Government recently announced plans to support the creation of 14 new Garden Villages. Universally seen as a good idea, there is however an underlying concern. This is around the historical slow growth which can be attributed to the existing ones failing to be the Utopia they promised to be. However, this discouraging outcome is rooted in lack of a mechanism that considers all social and technical impacts of a new development in its context in a wholesome manner. So what do we need to do to make sure our planned 14 Garden Villages are a success?

The concept of Garden Towns or Garden Villages was first introduced in the UK in 1898 and has continued to modestly grow ever since. They are defined as ‘a free standing, self-sustaining, high quality urban space that can address the housing issues, and is led by the local authority and supported by the community’.

To ensure the new 14 new Garden Villages are a success, there are a number of common problems that need to be addressed. BREEAM Communities is one solution that can help to ensure we don’t fall in to the same old traps.

Loss of Character

Garden Villages/Towns have been often criticised for not respecting or retaining the original characters of the locale they are developed in.

Every region and community holds its own unique characteristics and vernacular. Continuity between architectural style and building design within the development and the surrounding area will create coalition between the existing and new residents which in turn adds value to the quality of life within that community.

Injecting a new neighbourhood with its own facilities and potentially brand new occupants into the countryside requires a great deal of scrutiny into the existing and local features through studying the surroundings and consultation with stakeholders and community representatives. To illustrate the importance of this, BREEAM Communities scheme has an assessment issue worth of 2 credits dedicated to the subject of local vernacular to confirm that the development relates to the local character whilst reinforcing its own identity through a few practical steps.


Concentrating new homes in purpose-built new towns or villages, has a two-fold effect on infrastructure:

  1. Services and infrastructure (such as new drainage systems and gas and electricity services etc.) are built as part of the development which upsets people who live nearby in numerous ways if not done properly. Power loss, road closures, interruptions to customer supply or unnecessary expenses are some of the unwelcome outcomes of the inefficient structure for the existing/surrounding communities.

This is addressed under BREEAM Communities’ Utilities assessment issue where 3 credits are awarded for providing ducting and access points for services and for service providers’ coordination to ensure that installation and maintenance would not interrupt consumers’ supply.

  1. It puts pressure on the existing infrastructure and services where no extra infrastructure or services to support the new homes has been provided.

The notion of considering communities needs and requirements in terms of services and facilities and also delivery of these is visited in a few assessment issues within BREEAM Communities at the very early stages of development.


Milton Keynes, as one of the first new age Garden Towns, has over the years been criticised for its grid of broad roads that steers the residents towards driving their cars rather than using public transport. The grid also frustrates developers by taking up more space than a traditional city street despite the fact that it distributes traffic.

Other Garden Villages, on the other hand, seem to have been unable to cope with the traffic load due to poor or no evaluation of the infrastructural needs of a newly built community.

Both of the above cases have led to unhappy stakeholders, whether that’s the community or the local authority. Whereas, an early consultation with the stakeholders alongside an assessment of the transportation situation in the area followed by a design review in line with the results, can prevent either of the above issues.

To achieve this, BREEAM Communities provides step-by-step guidance to:

  • Ensure the needs, ideas and knowledge of the community are used to improve the quality of the design, planning and construction process. (Consultation)
  • Ensure that the masterplan’s design is reviewed by the community and other key stakeholders, ensuring that it supports a vibrant, healthy, functional and inclusive development. (Governance) and;
  • Ensure transport and movement strategies reduce the impact of the development upon the existing transport infrastructure and improve environmental and social sustainability through transport. (Transport and Movement)

Other issues

Overloaded schools and surgeries and lack of essential facilities such as shops, post office, banks etc. and absence of green infrastructure are some of the other issues that have made Garden Cities movement unsustainable. These are all as a result of a lack of consideration to demographic needs in general which is the core of BREEAM Communities methodology.

Undeniably there are other types of hurdles to building a practical Garden Village/Town. However, with the Government’s financial backing, lessons learned from the previous projects and the sciences within the Communities assessment methodology, now is the right time to create Garden Villages that are, more than ever, environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

The most commonly accepted number of homes the UK needs to be building each year, in order to meet future housing need, is 240,000. Despite the small increase (6%), against the number of the newly built homes in the past year, we are far from achieving the above, hence the Government backing of the garden villages.

However, the housing crisis is not about how many homes we can build each year. It is about how many of these homes are affordable, habitable and practical for the people, the community. This is where the politically sponsored, sustainably created and socially approved Garden Villages/Towns come into play.

For more information on BREEAM visit:

from The UK Construction Blog

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Gilbert-Ash Completes British Embassy Fit Out in Kathmandu, Nepal

Gilbert-Ash Completes British Embassy Fit Out in Kathmandu, Nepal

UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office project assists with local rebuilding efforts

Award-winning UK construction, refurbishment and fit out contractor, Gilbert-Ash, has put the finishing touches to a £1m fit out project on the British Embassy compound in Nepal.   In the wake of the Gorkha earthquake, the project included design, fit-out and seismic reinforcement.

Within the British Embassy compound in Kathmandu, the project builds on Gilbert-Ash’s international expertise with work completed for the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office in a total of 41 countries to date.

Nepal has been rebuilding since the devastating Gorkha earthquake which took place two years ago killing 9,000 people and causing widespread structural damage.  The fit out team at Gilbert-Ash worked closely with Nepalese construction companies to assist in sourcing local materials and labour to support the refurbishment.   Having had little exposure of working in earthquake zones, they worked closely with local structural engineers for whom earthquakes are a common occurrence and have excellent knowledge of seismic projects.

In contrast to the UK, Nepal has seen an increasing number of females taking up more prominent roles in the building trade since the earthquake due to a local labour shortage that has seen many male construction workers leave for work in the Middle East.

Ian Fisher, Contracts Manager, Gilbert-Ash Fit Out said: “This was a humbling project as our team saw first-hand the impact of the 2015 earthquake on the everyday lives of the people in Nepal. The local response to the earthquake to rebuild their country has been inspiring and we are pleased to have supported the recovery efforts.”

“The refurbishment of the British Embassy in Nepal for the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office included retrofitting to increase the safety of the buildings and our team worked closely with local structural engineers to meet earthquake building regulations. This project was complex due to its location but having worked in so many countries, our fit-out team are now highly skilled in undertaking projects in a wide range of culturally diverse and environmentally challenging locations.”

He continued: “We travel with an open mind and are constantly learning and adapting to local cultures. Everywhere we work we take away something new. It was particularly inspiring to see the construction skills, knowledge and standards of craftsmanship practiced by the local industry in Nepal; with the advances in modern technology, many of these traditional skills have been lost in the UK.  Also while we are one of many actively involved in encouraging more women to join the construction industry in the UK, it was really incredible to see so many in the workforce in Nepal who are playing such a key role in rebuilding the country.”

To help the Kathmandu construction companies involved in the project, the Gilbert-Ash team donated building tools and materials alongside the transfer of new health and safety skills.

Highly detailed design, advanced logistical planning and development goes into every Gilbert-Ash fit out project, with the team skilled in delivering the finest quality projects on a global scale. To meet exacting specification standards befitting the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the company ships many of its fit out materials around the world.

The leading construction company has specialist fit out expertise in a range of sectors including workplace, retail, leisure and restoration.

For more information on Gilbert-Ash visit


from The UK Construction Blog

Monday, 26 June 2017

Trade body awards celebrate top flight acoustic performance

The skills and ingenuity of UK-based acoustic professionals working on national and international projects across a variety of environments were celebrated at a trade body awards.

ANC, the Association of Noise Consultants, unveiled the winners of its acclaimed Acoustic Awards programme at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham.

Promoting and recognising excellence among UK acoustic consultants, the awards showcased the skills of members across five categories.

Hoare Lea secured the winning project in the award for ‘Architectural Acoustics: Commercial Buildings,’ sponsored by H & H Acoustic Technologies, with Sandy Brown Associates highly commended and SRL Technical Services commended in this category.

‘Architectural Acoustics: Education Buildings,’ sponsored by Ecophon, was secured by Sandy Brown Associates, with Adrian James Acoustics receiving the highly commended accolade and a commended award for Pace Consult.

‘Environmental Noise,’ sponsored by ANV Measurement Systems, was won by Apex Acoustics, with Southdowns Environmental Consultants taking highly commended and a commended title for AECOM in this category.

It was another successful outcome for Apex Acoustics, the winners in the ‘Smaller Projects’ award sponsored by Bruel & Kjaer, with AECOM taking the highly commended award and Red Twin the commended title.

The final award, ‘Vibration,’ sponsored by Pliteq, was won by Cole Jarman. WSP were highly commended and RBA Acoustics commended in this category.

Full details about the winning entries, with a link to a brochure featuring case study information on each project, can be viewed at

The awards were presented by James Woudhuysen, forecasting and innovation specialist and visiting professor at London South Bank University, with a distinguished panel of judges comprising of academics and professionals, as well as representatives from the sponsor companies, scrutinising the national and international entries.

Robert Osborne of ANC, said: “Now in their fifth year, the ANC awards continue to gain ground as a major opportunity to highlight world-leading expertise in the industry, and to inspire the next generation of acoustic consultants.

“Once again this year, the judges were hugely impressed with the scope and scale of the entries.

“The projects illustrate the unique skills of our UK-based acoustic and noise professionals and their innovative approach across the built environment, transportation and entertainment sectors.”

from The UK Construction Blog

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

2016 has been dubbed the ‘Year of Ransomware’…but why?









The NHS was a high-profile victim of a WannaCry Ransomware attack that hit businesses in over 150 countries recently. Find out more about the attack and how you can prevent your business from becoming the next victim

What Can I Do?

If you haven’t been a victim of this particular Ransomware attack, this doesn’t mean you won’t be in the future. There are a number of steps you can take to protect your systems against future attacks – not just Ransomware attacks, but exploits in your operating systems that could lead to additional attacks.

Always update your systems

We know, Windows updates are notoriously laborious. But it’s no longer something you can ignore. These updates might be cumbersome but they’re deployed to keep your systems and your business safe from exactly this type of exploit. It’s worth checking for updates right now (search ‘Windows Updates’ in your Windows search bar) and if there are any waiting, install them now. Microsoft has made it clear that if businesses had installed its MS17-010 security patch, they could have avoided the attack.

Be vigilant with emails

The method of distribution for this attack hasn’t been made public yet, but it’s very likely to be a malicious email link or attachment. Previously, spammy emails were easy to spot as they were plain text and littered with spelling errors. Hackers are more sophisticated than ever now, and emails containing Ransomware, malware or phishing links look more realistic thanks to email spoofing.  If in doubt, never click a link or open an attachment; speak directly to the supposed sender and alert your IT department.

Backup your critical systems and data

Because hackers are ever more sophisticated, zero-day attacks are now very common; these are attacks that exploit an as-yet-unknown vulnerability, meaning you could become the first victim of a new attack. Having a robust backup and disaster recovery solution in place means that, should your business fall victim, you’ll be able to restore not only your critical files but your systems too, and why it’s critical that your business has both in place.

Use a Ransomware-specific anti-virus

This attack exploited a security issue in Windows operating systems, which means the attack could have been something other than Ransomware. But this highlights the proliferation of Ransomware, which has seen a significant resurgence since last year. Ransomware attacks continue to hit and devastate thousands of businesses – don’t let your business be one of them. We recommend Sophos’ anti-Ransomware solution Intercept X, which prevents Ransomware viruses at the point of entry. What’s more, if your files have already been encrypted, Sophos Intercept X decrypts them. It’s an intelligent product that has protected many of our customers and ourselves from this global attack. We’re hosting emergency webinars on Sophos Intercept X this week

What next?

This is one of the most widespread Ransomware attacks ever. While the NHS and telecoms and car giants Telefonica are the headline victims, this attack has hit businesses of all sizes – some of which may never recover from it. IT security can no longer be ignored. This attack is expected to continue as the malware evolves, so if you haven’t been hit yet it doesn’t mean you’re protected.

Find out more

Read more here

from The UK Construction Blog

Monday, 12 June 2017


It’s likely a building will undergo a number of changes in its lifetime. Commercial structures in particular are potentially subject to different loads, with the introduction of new, equipment, and new openings cut to take services. When this happens, the reinforced concrete structural elements are placed under new stress’s and therefore in need of strengthening to take the additional loadings This situation also happens when buildings change use and extra floors are added, and in fact can affect all sorts of building from healthcare to residential.

As a solution, rather than use steel reinforcement to strengthen columns, beams, slabs, and walls, specifiers, clients and contractors are turning to carbon fibre. Flexible and versatile with a superior strength-to-mass ratio than traditional reinforcing methods, carbon fibre allows for a significant increase in performance without adding additional significant dead load. This solution is less intrusive and quicker and easier to install compared to traditional methods.

Carbon fibre strengthening comes in many different forms, plates, rods, near surface mounted plates, fabrics and shear links and are fixed using a range of high performance structural adhesives. Its increasing popularity as a proven solution for not only for reinforced concrete but also steel, cast iron, wood and masonry structures  due to its strength, lightweight, easy-handling ability, durability, superb adhesion and rapid installation where downtime of a building is in short supply.

The range of solutions and flexibility makes it ideal for all types of buildings and structures where there is an increase or change of loading and enhanced bending, shear or axial enhancement required. For external and internal use, its performance helps safeguard a building against issues such as long-term fatigue, blast loading and general stability.

Carbon fibre strengthening, as well as offering greater weight resistance than traditional refurbishment processes, is also kinder to the environment. It requires fewer materials and less energy, labour and machinery to install than steel reinforcement. The prospect of future corrosion and costly, time-consuming refurbishment is also eliminated with the use of carbon fibre strengthening. Without heavy plant-based processes required to install it, fabric-based solutions are safer for onsite teams to apply.

Sika provides fully comprehensive solutions with complete systems for all kinds of structural strengthening and improvement. These include:


Sika CarboDur®: 

  • Most widely-recognised and established carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) strengthening solution available worldwide
  • Comprises Sika CarboDur® CFRP plates and rods, together with the structural epoxy resin based adhesives Sikadur®-30 and Sikadur®-30 LP
  • Highly durable, outstanding performance, curing times can be accelerated and down-time minimised, even at lower temperatures


SikaWrap® Fabric Strengthening:

  • Flexible solution for a range of demands and projects
  • Comprises SikaWrap® Fabrics, SikaWrap® FX fabric anchors, Sikadur®-330 epoxy-based four-in-one product (primer, filler, impregnating resin and adhesive)
  • Applications including confinement, shear, seismic upgrading and weak substrate strengthening


Sika CarboShear:

  • Unique L-shaped CFRP plates
  • Shear capacity of concrete beams can be increased by the externally-applied Sika CarboShear L-shaped profiles
  • Quick and easy installation; excellent anchorage; no drilling through top slab required


Sika CarboStress®:

  • Unique pre-stressed strengthening system
  • Withstands loads more efficiently or with less total deflection
  • CFRP plates and post-tensioning techniques form a unique active external strengthening solution


Flexible, cost and time-effective and a proven performer in helping strengthen weakening structures worldwide, carbon fibre is shaping-up as a long-standing alternative to steel-based structural refurbishment.

from The UK Construction Blog

Friday, 9 June 2017


US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord has many layers of complexity, and seeing the debate unravel, it is not easy to understand if it driven by US politics surrounding employment opportunities, world politics – about making a stance on the global stage – or simply disbelief in the argument about climate change. But one thing is becoming clear since the President’s announcement in the rose garden of the White House on Thursday, the international response; regarded by political leaders and climate experts world-wide as a major error of judgement.

Making the argument about current domestic job security is perhaps missing the opportunity of long-term creation of jobs in the fields of green energy will give greater potential than the job cuts in the current industry. An argument that is clearly understood by many, including China.

The President’s announcement leaves the United States as one of just three countries, along with Nicaragua and Syria, to oppose the Paris Agreement, which is the world’s first legally-binding climate deal.

The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan as well as the UN chief had hoped to pressure Trump into respecting the US pledge to curb its carbon emissions.

In a rare joint statement, continental Europe’s three biggest countries said they were “firmly convinced that the agreement cannot be renegotiated,” immediately cancelling any possibility of a new deal more favourable to the US being struck.

The advice went unheeded. The subsequent impacts on climate change are uncertain.


One thing is for sure, BREEAM will continue to research, and support the industry to be the best through its network of assessor, and the 70+ countries in which it operates to ensure we reduce the impacts of buildings to drive more sustainable solution. Allowing the industry to innovate, and improve.

Our work and passion in this space is not about a transfer of economic power from North to South, or West to East, It is very much about enabling free flow of knowledge between like mind institutes and corporates to support such growth and to release the potential of the market. Such an approach of collaboration will ensure that we also reduce our impact capacity by good design, and by sharing international best practise through BREEAM.

For more information on BREEAM visit:

from The UK Construction Blog

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Aarsleff encourage learning this summer with the launch of 4 new CPD’s

Aarsleff Ground Engineering, one of the UK’s leading driven piling and geotechnical contractors, has launched 4 new CPD seminars enabling engineers, designers and graduates across the UK the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills on a variety of ground engineering based topics this summer.

The new seminars, respectively titled An Introduction to Geotechnical Solutions, An Introduction to Pile Design, An Introduction to the Precast Ground Beam System and An Introduction to Sheet Piling, form an addition to the well-regarded Leading the Way in Driven Piling seminar that was launched in January of last year.

The new seminars aim to develop understanding on a variety of topics including Geotechnical Techniques; such as Ground Anchors and Soil Nails and how these can be used in a variety of different scenarios, Pile design; with a focus on design considerations for pile types, Precast Ground Beam System; specifically, how the system can be installed and the benefits of offsite construction, and finally Sheet Piling; covering a variety of techniques to be used in the infrastructure, residential, commercial, rail and marine/port markets.

Kevin Doyle, Head of Pre-Construction at Aarsleff said: “These tailored CPD’s give our clients a real chance to understand how we as a specialist contractor approach each project, and the level of expertise we can bring to a project design team”.

All seminars discuss their topics both on a theoretical and practical level, employing case study based insights delivered by presenters with years of design and engineering experience. The 45-minute seminars are free of charge and can either be held in person, at your offices, or remotely as a virtual CPD. All materials, handouts and literature are provided with a 15-minute question and answer session held to encourage interactive learning.

Would you like to join the list of companies who have received the latest CPD’s from Aarsleff Ground Engineering and expand your learning?

For a detailed overview of the CPD’s please contact Aarsleff on 01636 611140 or email

from The UK Construction Blog

Tuesday, 6 June 2017


The importance of sustainability is recognised the world over but it means different things to different people. For many it is about low environmental impact, whether that is in terms of performance or delivery. However it is so much more than that and for a global business such as Sika, it is imperative that we fully embrace sustainability and practice what we preach.

As a business, sustainability is embedded into everything we do – it affects us economically, environmentally and socially. It is a fundamental part of our everyday business. As a leading manufacturer of products working across multiple industry sectors (see and as a responsible employer, sustainability affects our thoughts, behaviors and actions – everyday. For us, sustainability is a shared goal but one whose successes directly benefit all.

At Sika we strongly believe in the holistic approach to sustainability and as such have six sustainability target indicators which encompass the three traditional pillars of sustainability. These targets – economic performance; sustainable solutions; local communities/society; energy; water/waste; and occupational safety – define what we do on a day to day basis from a business strategy and culture perspective.

Transparency is the hallmark of an ethical company, therefore Sika has committed to using the GRIs (Global Reporting Initiative) sustainability reporting standards for our Annual Report, which details initiatives implemented and progress towards our six sustainability targets. GRI provides the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting standards – 92% of the world’s largest 250 corporations report on their sustainability performance and 74% of these companies use GRI’s standards.

Embracing GRI not only illustrates to Sika’s stakeholders the importance that we place on sustainability, but also demonstrates that we are not afraid of being open and honest – Building Trust with customers and local communities alike.

GRI compares Sika’s performance, year on year. This approach allows us to base our sustainability credentials on fact and not on green wash. This is exceptionally important for a company like Sika that produces hundreds of different products, in dozens of different countries, as customers need to have the confidence that what they are specifying or installing is not only fit-for-purpose but also meets their sustainability needs.

As a global company, a global approach to sustainability is required, as demonstrated by our membership of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and our commitment to the UN Global Compact.

Further illustration of our commitment includes 150 tonnes of waste saved and reused at a plant in Germany; a 60% saving of lighting energy at a number of our European factories and warehouses and 6% saving in electricity using outside cooling for processing at a plant in the US.

Sika also work with the Global Nature Fund who have developed partnerships with over 100 organisations to address drinking water conservation globally. Additionally, in Thailand and Vietnam, Sika staff have volunteered over 3,600 hours to support Operation Smile International which is dedicated to providing free treatment to children and adults suffering from cleft lips and palates.

Sustainability is in everything we do, every day. It affects all of us and as a business we are proud to practice what we preach and play our part in delivering a more sustainable future.

To find out more about the impact Sika are making every day, visit


By Dr Sarah Peake, Sustainability Manager at Sika UK

from The UK Construction Blog

Friday, 2 June 2017

How to prevent crowd disasters

Stadium concerts, football matches, or any kind of big celebration are all hot spots for crowds. When a large number of people gather in one place at one time, a crowd is formed and there are dangers to be aware of. When communication is lost, huge disasters can unravel. Thankfully, technology is at hand to help battle the causes of crowd catastrophes and accidents. In addition, technology such as pedestrian modelling software, is now available to help architects to design buildings that are safe for their users.

Architects can plan ahead with crowd management in mind. Many firms are investing in technologies that analyse, evaluate, and provide data regarding the safety of a crowd. By law, event organisers are obligated to keeping crowds safe – so these technologies can be utilised efficiently within this endeavour. Dangers that are listed by the government are as follows:

  • Crushing between people
  • Crushing against fixed structures such as barriers
  • Trampling
  • Surging, swaying or rushing
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Dangerous behaviour such as climbing on equipment or throwing objects

The dangers

Crushing tends to be the most common cause of disaster within crowds. Believe it or not, trampling does not cause it. It can be something as small as one person tripping or falling, and then that movement having a chain-reaction throughout the crowd and causing a huge crush against barriers or walls etc.

The movement of people can become a powerful force, and in some cases, it can be up to a force of over 4500 Newtons, or 1,000lbs. Objects that are supposed to protect a crowd can also become a potential hazard, as steel railing can be bent and cause injury to passers-by. These types of pressures can cause compressive asphyxia, a leading cause of suffocation within a crowd and the most common cause of death.

Event organisers and venue staff should be using pre-emptive technologies to spot dangers before they happen. This technology can be crucial for preventing a potential disaster and saving lives. For instance, in 2003 70 people were crushed while trying to escape from pepper spray that was being used to break up a fight. This may not have happened if technology could have established that this wasn’t enough space per square meter for people to leave the building safely.


There are several reasons why a disaster can emerge in a crowd. The most common examples are:

Lack of communication: In 1981, Greek football fans were killed when they tried to leave a match in Athens stadium, finding the gates locked. The rear of the crowd had no way of knowing this was the case and continued to press forward, causing 24 deaths.

Reaction to perceived threat: A riot by English and Italian fans in 1985 at a European Cup Final in Brussels led to a flight by spectators trying to escape the violence, which led to 38 deaths by asphyxia. Over 437 people were injured.

‘Craze’ behaviour: in 1989, 96 people were killed and more than 170 injured at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England. A larger than expected fanbase was trying to enter the stadium, which caused police to open gates to relieve crowd pressure. Instead, the crowd surged into the stadium, crushing fans into enclosed terraces.

How to avoid crowd disasters

Technologies are changing attitudes towards crowd disasters and making it easier for event organisers to prevent potential disasters. It is important to set a limit of the number of guests that can attend the event to make sure there aren’t too many people trying to squeeze into on space that simply can’t hold everyone – however, bear in mind that this can often be an unrealistic method at larger events such as religious gatherings.

It can be difficult to implement good communication in a crowd. The use of stewards to help promote communication is a recommended measure as they can prevent the issue that comes from a communication breakdown between the head and body of a crowd.

It’s vital to ensure proper access and exits are in place. This is something that can be considered in the design and construction phases of building a new venue. With new technologies, architects can plan for safe crowd management before the building is built. A timed exit in a large event, where people from different levels exit at different slots of time, is another popular prevention method.



from The UK Construction Blog

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Developer joins forces with Uber to ditch parking spaces

Private rented sector specialist Moda is linking up with taxi app Uber to cut the number of car parking places in its city centre developments.

Residents will receive up to £100 in Uber credits each month if they agree not to have a car parking space.

Moda will swap the space previously used for car parking for greater amenities within the developments like fitness centres and media rooms.

Moda, backed by Apache Capital Partners, is delivering more than 6,000 apartments across the UK with major city centre developments in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, and Birmingham.

Its first scheme, Angel Gardens in Manchester’s NOMA neighbourhood, is currently under construction and will house close to 900 residents when it completes in 2019.

Moda’s buildings are created only for rent, and include shared areas that mimic a high-end hotel.

Jo Bertram, regional general manager of Uber in the UK, said: “Cars are one of the most expensive assets most people own, but they’re used just five per cent of the time.

“Our mission is for everybody to have a reliable ride at the touch of a button so they don’t need their own car.

“These plans for what will be a unique partnership with Moda Living is a big step forward in making that a reality.

“By getting more people to ditch their own vehicles we can put some of the space wasted on parking to much better use.”

Johnny Caddick, managing director of Moda Living, said: “Our apartments are for rent rather than for sale so we need to consider how our customers will live in cities in the future.

“Embracing future technology is vital from day one and these plans for a partnership with Uber would not only give our customers an affordable ride at the touch of a button – it would also enable us to design better buildings with more space for social interaction.”

from The UK Construction Blog

Tuesday, 30 May 2017


In older reinforced concrete structures, particularly those in coastal locations with a prevalence of salty air, or ones exposed long-term to pollutants in towns and cities, some form of corrosion is inevitable. However, the visual signs of carbonisation and chlorides, such as cracks or spalling, can take months, possibly even years before appearing. By then, of course, serious damage could be done and repairs could prove costly.

To protect and prolong the life of a structure, early corrosion diagnosis is vital. But how is this achieved when the surface gives no indication of a problem? A concrete condition survey offers a reliable test as to how a building is reacting to its surrounding environment. BS EN 1504 Standards stipulate a survey and interpretation of results is a prerequisite prior to work starting on concrete repair projects. This will reveal the overall state of the concrete and determine the type of remedial action required.

Sika is in the process of launching an investigation service. In conjunction with our partner, Vector, the survey will identify the most appropriate corrosion management system to employ. This offering further demonstrates our all-round commitment to quality concrete refurbishment.

A survey could include the following depending on the structure and condition of the concrete:

Visual inspection: This offers a flexible and powerful form of testing. It can provide an immediate assessment of a concrete structure’s condition and identify causes of stress or other debilitating conditions. A visual inspection, however, is dependent on the competence and experience of the survey team carrying it out, therefore surveys of this kind should only be made by those qualified and experienced to do so.

Hammer testing: A hammer test identifies hollow or spalled areas of concrete by assessing the sound difference using either a hammer or chain.

Carbonation: A solution called Phenolphthalein is used to indicate levels of alkalinity which triggers the corrosion process. The substance, which is spray-applied, turns pink when it contacts alkaline in concrete.

Break out: Break out testing sees areas of concrete broken away to assess the condition of the steel. This test acts as a validation measure against the other tests such as carbonation, chloride and half-cell measurements.

Concrete cover: A cover meter survey identifies and records the minimum and average depths of concrete cover to the embedded steel to help determine the risk of corrosion. It is also used to identify where the steel is.

Chloride analysis: This involves collecting concrete dust samples to test for the presence of chlorides.

Half-cell potential mapping: Corrosion of reinforcing steel is an electro-chemical process and the deterioration of the steel can be assessed by measuring its half-cell potential. The greater the potential, the higher the risk that corrosion is taking place.

Corrosion rate measurement: An electrochemical test carried out on the surface of the corroding metal to assess the causes of corrosion and predict the rate it will occur.

Once a survey has taken place, results will determine the most suitable corrosion management system to employ. For example, where high levels of chlorides are detected within the concrete, the Sika® Galvashield® system, comprising embedded galvanic anodes, is recommended. The sacrificial anodes prevent the formation of new corrosion sites either adjacent to the refurbished concrete or to concrete which is visually sound but from the survey information identified as high risk.

This simple, innovative anode system involves a small, circular-shaped cementitious shell encasing a zinc core which is quickly and easily fastened to exposed steel reinforcement. Once installed, the anode’s zinc core corrodes sacrificially to the surrounding rebar to therefore protect it.

A concrete conditioning survey can help identify a potential problem before it takes hold, tying-in with the well-known saying, ‘prevention is better than cure’. The good news is, with the launch of our investigation service, alongside our existing Total Corrosion Management System, Sika has the means to provide both the prevention and a long-term cure.

from The UK Construction Blog

Thursday, 25 May 2017


The importance and usefulness of evidence cannot be underestimated. Without it, we can have no confidence in the effectiveness of our past activities or future strategies. Used correctly, however, evidence can be used as a solid bedrock on which to build all our plans upon.

As a product of the BRE, it comes as no surprise that independent research and sound scientific evidence are fundamental ingredients of the BREEAM Standard. What’s possibly less commonly recognised is the ongoing role cutting-edge research plays in the continual development of BREEAM, keeping the Standard at the very forefront of the latest green building thinking and helping to drive excellence in sustainability across the globe.

Since its launch in 1990, BREEAM has expanded its reach to 78 countries with 2,626,873 registered buildings and 561,191 certificates issued worldwide to date. With an 80% market share, BREEAM dominates the European green building market. And with the recent launch of BREEAM USA, we’re hoping to replicate this success in North America.

We believe one of the main keys to the growth of BREEAM is in its flexibility and ongoing development. BREEAM has been adapted for individual markets across the globe to enable the assessment and certification of various built environment projects, including new builds, refurbishments, wider masterplanning projects, infrastructure and even the current operational sustainability of a functional building.

The methodology is constantly adapted to stay ahead of best practice within the industry, meaning those undertaking the Standard can always be sure their asset is certified against the most rigorous sustainability criteria. In-depth research – freely available through our website – is central to this endeavour.

The second factor driving BREEAM’s uptake both in the UK and overseas is the ever-deeper understanding of the business case for green buildings.

Earlier this month, in a report by, the Chief Executive of the US Green Building Council Mahesh Ramanujam urged European businesses to invest in certifications such as BREEAM stating “there is value in certification and it is important to pursue to generate validation from the external markets”.

A recent study found the global market will respond accordingly. The World Green Building Trends predicts a near 100% rise in the number of green buildings by 2018 – at which time it estimates that 37% of companies will have the majority of their estate certified sustainable, up from 18% when the report was published last year.

By generating the latest, leading thinking on all aspects of sustainable development and incorporating it into the Standard, BRE is focused on ensuring BREEAM is able to meet this demand. Using the latest research to continuously amend and adapt the BREEAM criteria, companies and communities utilising the Standard worldwide will be able achieve the very best green results possible.

We understand the importance of evidence and the effect it can have on a person or organisation’s thinking and the strategies they put in place. This is why we take such care with the evidence we publish in our research, such as included in our recent Value of BREEAM to Retail in the UK report.

Through the publication of such research, we hope to give companies across the globe the confidence to invest further in sustainable development and assurance that BREEAM can help them on their journey to a greener way of working.

For more information on BREEAM visit:

from The UK Construction Blog

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Future Of London’s Skyline

Over the next few years, London’s skyline will change dramatically, so we thought we’d take a look at some of the new buildings that are about to pop up in the nation’s capital as well as showing you where exactly they’ll be developed and outline some of the concerns made by locals who are keen to keep the skyline as it is.


The Future Of London’s Skyline by Rubber Bond.

from The UK Construction Blog

Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Survey Association Bursary builds bright future for Geomatics students

The Survey Association’s £2000 bursary award is set to boost the career prospects of two exceptional Geomatics students at Newcastle University.

The winners, Connor Foxall and Oliver Smith, received their cash prize at a TSA conference where they also had the opportunity to network with industry professionals and guest speakers.

These included Matt Shaw of ScanLAB Projects Ltd., whose laser scanning expertise was recently featured in the BBC series, Italy’s Invisible Cities.

Following the conference, Connor was offered a week-long work placement at ScanLAB’s London office and used some of the bursary money to fund his travel and accommodation costs.

Connor commented on his time at ScanLAB. ‘’Talking to the different members of the team, exploring new software and equipment and practising the industrial processes needed to produce a deliverable was invaluable experience.’’

‘’I intend to use most of the remaining money to fund a second work placement during the summer,’’ he added.

TSA has awarded a bursary to second year students at Newcastle since 2011. This year, applicants were invited to submit a paper on ‘Building for the Future,’ focussing on ideas of their choice, such as BIM, Smart Cities, and advances in mapping and measurement technology.

TSA President, Adam Bradley, said, ‘’The judging panel comprises three TSA Council members, the Secretary General and myself and we were all impressed by the quality of this year’s winning entries, the interpretation of the Building for the Future brief, and the relevance of the submissions to the geospatial context.’’

‘It is very encouraging to hear how the TSA Bursary helps graduate entrants to the profession access the right contacts and opportunities to help them develop and progress their careers.’’

A proportion of Oliver Smith’s award will be used to fund research tools needed to create new analytical techniques for his dissertation project.

Oliver Smith explains, ‘’My project uses telecom network data to map and analyse the influences on pedestrian movements in city centres. The TSA Bursary will be used to purchase data and subscribe to online software used to visualise the flows over time.’’

‘’I’m aiming to produce innovative research that will interest telecom providers, showing them how the analysis of big data can lead to profitable opportunities,’’ he added.

The TSA Bursary will also support Oliver’s attendance at the International Geodetic Student Meeting (IGSM), a major event offering networking and learning opportunities in geodesy, cartography, photogrammetry and GIS to students from 34 different countries.

For further information on The Survey Association visit    Tel: 01636 642840 Email:  

from The UK Construction Blog

Friday, 19 May 2017

UK Construction Week General Election Survey


from The UK Construction Blog

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Sir Richard Branson tops poll in General Election survey

UK Construction Week, the UK’s largest gathering and community of construction professionals, has conducted a survey to uncover and tackle issues facing construction, housebuilding and skills in the run up to the General Election. With over 1,000 responses from a cross section of professionals working in the sector, key points from the survey include:


Sir Richard Branson is named as ‘the best person’ to head up new UK infrastructure projects

77% believe state intervention is needed for more housing

38% want Gavin Barwell to retain his position as Housing Minister

54% call for more housebuilding on brownfield sites


One of the most significant results from the survey was for Sir Richard Branson, who was voted as the best person to spearhead new UK infrastructure projects, such as HS2 and Heathrow Airport, signalling a need for more entrepreneurial vision in tackling large scale projects.


On the result, Sir Richard Branson said: “I’m very flattered by the survey. The only danger is that if I oversaw these key infrastructure projects then by the time I’ve finished there would only be room for one airline and one train company, both beginning with the letter V! The key thing one needs to get right is to plan these major projects with the customer’s needs in mind. Too often these are planned by engineers for engineers and fail to meet the user’s demand. This means they are underused and fail to have the major impact they should do.”


Further results show a three way split on the government’s current housing policy with a third of those polled voting both for and against current policies, and a third not convinced either way.


Over half of those surveyed (54%) called for the next elected government to be more aggressive with planning permissions on brownfield sites to enable house building. Only 11% voted to loosen Green Belt restrictions, dispelling the myth that the construction industry wants to build on protected land.


Although the industry isn’t wholly satisfied with current housing policy, Gavin Barwell was voted overwhelmingly in favour as the best man for the job of Housing Minister, with the next name suggested, Boris Johnson, only receiving a quarter of the number of nominations. Labour’s John Healey, previous Housing Minister under the Labour government, was the third suggestion.

77% of those surveyed believe the only way to reach 1 million homes by 2020 is by state intervention, and for a council house building programme to begin.


For infrastructure, there was a two way split between Vince Cable and Sir Richard Branson who were both voted as the best people to lead UK infrastructure projects, followed by Sir Alan Sugar and Sir James Dyson. A clear indication the industry feels it needs entrepreneurial visionaries to successfully take projects forward to 2021.


In terms of major projects the industry is generally positive about these going ahead with a Conservative government, with HS2 and Heathrow seen as the safest projects followed by Hinkley point, Crossrail 2, Thames Tideway and the road renewal building programme.


However, there is a real concern that major projects will stall if the Conservative government is not re-elected, with a majority of those surveyed believing all projects will stall with HS2 coming out on top (44%) followed by Crossrail 2 (40%) followed by the road renewal building programme (40%), Hinkley Point (30%), Thames Tideway (30%) and Heathrow third runway (26%).


Nathan Garnett, Event Director at Media 10, which runs UKCW, said: “We have seen a great deal of talk around housing and infrastructure in this general election campaign so far, so I think that the main political parties should take note of this industry wide survey. It shows that there are still a lot more assurances and interventions needed to build the homes we need and the infrastructure we have been promised. We will be using these results to make sure the main political parties know what the industry wants, and one clear message is that innovation and entrepreneurial endeavour cannot happen without government assistance.”

from The UK Construction Blog

Thursday, 11 May 2017




By Martin Townsend, Director of Sustainability at BRE Global

When Prime Minister Theresa May called for a snap General Election last month she made it clear that Brexit – and in particular her attempt to strengthen her hand ahead of potentially UK prosperity-defining trade negotiations with the European Union – was central to her decision. Brexit has dominated the early pre-election political exchanges and with less than five weeks to go until the electorate heads to the polls, we expect the issue to remain at the very top of the agenda for all the main parties. As such, we feel that housing and construction, as high-value commodities and significant contributors to UK export figures, should be given due consideration by all the main parties in their election manifestos. Furthermore, the debate should be extended beyond mere number-based targets to factor in wider issues such as quality and the sector’s post-Brexit significance.

The UK construction industry is currently seen as being at the leading edge of sustainable design and construction, as exemplified by the major roles played by UK companies in the success of a broad range of high-performance projects in both the UK and abroad.

As a result, the UK’s sustainable design and construction capabilities – including its knowledge and expertise as well as its focus on innovation, driven by standards such as BREEAM – have become significant contributors to UK exports.

Given that the campaign manifestos currently being finalised will span a period when UK prosperity will be heavily dependent on our position to negotiate favourable trade deals with Europe, ensuring we protect and nurture these assets is essential.

This requires active debate and investment on a level much deeper than just numbers – both in terms of targets and budgets.

By way of example, the Labour Party has recently pledged to build one million new homes during the next five years. All well and good, but there has been no commitment given to the quality of these homes and the viability of delivering quality homes and communities.

If we are not to create any “dead weight” (cost) to the treasury for UK PLC, one area that the political parties could give some thought to is evolving existing mechanisms to be more effective to new challenges. With increasing demands placed on Planning Authorities, and reduced funding to be as much of a mantra post-election as it is pre-election, it is essential that the parties give local authorities space and capacity to look at development and the wider context of what we need to achieve at a neighbourhood/community scale.

This should be focused on seeking positive improvements in the quality of the built, natural and historic environment, as well as in people’s quality of life:

  • Making it easier for jobs to be created in cities, towns and villages;
  • Moving from a net loss of bio-diversity to achieving net gains for nature;
  • Replacing poor design with better design;
  • Improving the conditions in which people live, work, travel and take leisure; and
  • Widening the choice of high quality homes;

I therefore hope that the parties, as they look to an agenda of growth, ensure this wider perspective is taken. We have already heard much talk about the police and the NHS, but to ensure that we don’t put the pressure on these important services in time of crisis, we need to build better communities to reduce crime and promote healthier living.

With all the necessary elements already in place, there is just the need to take the long-term view on the viability of development – the avowed purpose of the planning system but sometimes only looked at as the viability of the individual site and not the wider community. I would therefore hope that the parties look to recast how we consider development.

A number of keen eyed readers will perhaps already noticed increased amount of column inches given to land value capture as a concept. But one thing is for sure we need to:

  • Take a long-term view, to ensure that issues such as inter-generational equity or climate change mitigation and adaptation are taken adequately into account
  • Address the social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainable development “jointly and simultaneously”
  • Consider the likely success of any proposal in achieving positive improvements in the quality of the built, natural and historic environment, as well as in people’s quality of life

I hope the debate on quality as a base to demonstrate what the UK can achieve and to drive the quality of our buildings and communities is one that will not get passed by in the various manifestos that will land on our desk in the coming days.

To make BREXIT work, we need to show what we can achieve and make the UK a success. Quality is a key to much that we need to achieve to drive this success.

from The UK Construction Blog

Wednesday, 3 May 2017


The 2016 Farmer Review, or ‘Modernise or Die’ report, by the Construction Leadership Council provided much food for thought in terms of adapting and reorganising traditional onsite business processes in order for firms to remain viable in future. What the report doesn’t consider so explicitly however, are the numerous efficiencies to be gained by adapting processes in the back-office, writes Matthew Jones, CEO at Open ECX.

The Review suggests that ‘business as usual’ is not an option while the industry faces an uncertain post-Brexit future. Instead, rigorous thinking and planning, moving to more efficient ways of working on site, and employing the right quality and quantity of skill are important.

As such, the Farmer Review highlights ways to be more effective in the built environment, for example through use of pre-manufacture. Finding ways to streamline processes for improved efficiency; to better manage and communicate matters; to budget in a smarter way; and to handle subcontractor relationships more effectively are also key to reducing workload, ensuring a more healthy cash flow and improving supply chain effectiveness.

So it’s not just onsite activity that needs to change. By moving away from traditional, often administratively time-consuming methods in the back-office, forward-thinking construction firms are adopting modern technologies to streamline their entire business, making the lives of those who run them considerably easier.

For instance, the receiving and sending of paper documents, while still prevalent in some UK Construction firms, is fast becoming less popular particularly across Europe as modern businesses strive to shift to construction e-Invoicing; a paperless construction supply chain with automated workflows.

Similarly, contractors looking to strengthen subcontractor relationships and avoid unnecessary payment disputes are looking to new solutions to allow them to more easily track and manage subcontractor applications.

Many construction firms are discovering that using the right software tools in the back-office can dramatically improve existing low margins and save time. For example there are lots of companies that are no longer creating error-prone estimates or managing expenses through traditional manipulation of spreadsheets but instead are using tailored industry-specific software to improve the speed, control and accuracy of these every day processes.

Cloud-based construction ERP solutions are also becoming more popular to enhance a business’ control and real-time reporting ability right across operational, commercial and finance departments. Even chasing late payments can be more quickly managed and in greater volumes by using dedicated credit control software solutions.

from The UK Construction Blog

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

What Should You Know About Boiler Servicing?

When you are hiring the services of boiler company, make sure that you are choosing a reliable one who possesses the qualifications to perform it. If you thought a plumber would be able to deal with all the repairs of the boiler, then you need to think again as they might not have the qualification or knowledge to handle major issues which would lead to severe damages. If you thought that the process of boiler service is a long one, then you would be amazed to know that they take just 30 to 45 minutes to complete it. However, the time might extend if the type of the boiler is different one or has major issues.


Maintaining the standards:

The engineering team would inspect to check whether it is connected adhering to all the standards of the building, electrical safety and gas safety. This is because they want to make sure that you are not facing any legal issues on the placement of the boiler. As the laws of the state tend to change now and then, these services would let you know if there is a wrong placement of the boiler and would offer free advice to place it in the correct position.


Inspection at home:

When you approach the boiler servicing company and order for their services, they would first conduct a spot inspection to know the condition of your boiler and arrive at an estimate of the service charges. This estimate would be highly helpful for you as you will be bale to arrange for the money and then ask them to drop in for the service to save you from the embarrassment. This estimate would also consist of the rate of the spares that are much needed for replacement in case if it is worn out after prolonged use.


Free advice and tips:

As soon as your boiler service is over, the team of professionals would tell you what you must do to avoid and to save yourself from the trouble of facing any mishaps, the way to operate it safely and how to handle kids or pets at home when you have a boiler. These tips or advice are offered for free and can be highly useful for you. They will also let you know how to take care of your boiler now and then, which would help it to function well and keeps repairs at bay!


Regular check-ups:

As soon as you have sought the help of boiler servicing Wimbledon, they maintain periodical check ups to make sure whether there are any leakages or damages to the boiler and would make sure that you do not face any repairs all of a sudden. You might be busy with your hectic life, and hence such periodical check ups by the services would be a boon in disguise as you need not be worried about the condition of your boiler.


When so many benefits are obtained through boiler servicing company, what more could you ask for?

The post What Should You Know About Boiler Servicing? appeared first on Econ Construction LTD.

from Econ Construction LTD

Sunday, 2 April 2017

BOSCH GCL 2-50 C + GCL 2-50 CG Professional

BOSCH GCL 2-50 C + GCL 2-50 CG Professional – for more fun on construction sites!

Measuring with an inch ruler, a guideline or hand drafted lines is dreadful and not always precise. But this is a thing of the past – thanks to modern laser technology. The up-to-date pro uses a handy combi laser, which is not only easier to use but relieves day-to-day work immensely. And because laser measurements are done in a matter of minutes, if not seconds, there is always enough time for some fun on site.


For professional craftsmen of any trade the GCL 2-50 CG and the GCL 2-50 C are a real treat! They support you and your work in so many efficient ways. Both lasers are operated with a wireless bluetooth connection in combination with an app – connectivity reaching an impressive distance of up to 50 meters. The GCL 2-50 CG is able to project a green laser line – one which is visible even in the most difficult light situations. The green laser lines are up to four times more visible than the red lines of comparable equipment. By the way: The perfect companion for your combi laser is the RM 3 Professional multifunctional mount, which can also be operated wireless with the app, ensuring flexible positioning and attachment options.

Both combi lasers are ideal for levelling and setting plumb points in areas such as:

  • Hanging ceilings
  • Levelling drywalls with vertical laser lines
  • Electronic installations
  • Lighting grids

and many more…

Find out more about the #boschcombilaser right here:

from The UK Construction Blog

Friday, 31 March 2017

O’Rourke fined £800,000 for Heathrow dumper truck death

Laing O’Rourke has been fined £800,000 after a worker was killed by a dumper truck driven by his brother at Heathrow Airport.

Southwark Crown Court heard how Philip Griffiths died in October 2014.

His brother Paul accidentally reversed into his 38-year-old sibling when the pair were trying to move a broken down scissor lift on a service road, while working for Laing O’Rourke.

Paul Griffiths tried to tow the scissor lift away using a dumper truck under the direction of managers.

During the attempt his foot got stuck between the brake and the accelerator and the truck reversed.

Philip, who was standing between the two vehicles, suffered crush injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

An HSE investigation found that neither worker was authorised with the appropriate certificate to use the dumper truck, and that the operation was not properly overseen or managed.

Laing O’Rourke Construction Limited of Dartford pleaded guilty to breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations and was fined £800,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000.

Speaking after sentence, HSE Inspector Jack Wilby said: “This incident was a tragedy for all concerned and, as revealed by our investigation, entirely avoidable.

“Laing O’Rourke did nothing to address the trend of these workers carrying out tasks they weren’t trained or authorised for.

“These dedicated staff, including Philip and his brother, needed appropriate supervision.

“Had there been appropriate supervision, then better segregation between Philip and these two vehicles could have been established and maintained.

“This case should act as a reminder of the dangers of using workplace transport without proper planning, management or monitoring of the risks involved.”

A Laing O’Rourke spokesperson said: “Laing O’Rourke fully accepts the findings of the court following the tragic events in October 2014.

“Our deepest sympathy and thoughts remain with Philip Griffiths’ family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.

“The company is committed to continually reviewing and improving its health and safety systems.”

from The UK Construction Blog

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The growth of construction industry and property investment in UK

The Property Investment Companies UK has started investing towards the construction industry in the present situation as the property investment in this area has gained a lot of momentum. The construction industry in the UK have seen a lot of improvement and growth since the year 2007 as the government itself has given the permission to build multipurpose domestic buildings for the citizens in many cities. This has attracted many property investors and has benefited them to invest in the construction industry as well.

The UK companies have recently undergone a survey that suggested the growth in the year 2013. The constructions units showed that the Property Investment Companies UK had done greater activity in the third quarter of the year. The growth in the construction sector was seen in the housing and domestic sector as stated above which is due to the reason of permitted number of constructions allowed by the British government. The director at CPA, Francis declared that the growth in the construction industry was seen to be immense while a decline was seen in the repair and maintenance workings of the houses.

The boost in the construction industry can be verified through the fact that the largest number of homes were built by the construction companies are highest. The numbers have shown that the total number of houses built in the year 2013 were 133,670, which is said to increase by the year 2014. The biggest kind of construction companies and the Property Investment Companies UK have stated that the 250,000 houses will be required this year to compete for the desired number of credential buildings required in the country. This state for a huge investment opportunity for the construction companies and property investment companies. The construction companies have matched a high level of expectancy from the other kind of businesses. Thus, the newer trends have shown growth and investment opportunities.

The city of London alone needed to have the right kind of investment opportunities by the investors. The city of London needed the biggest amount of homes in the sector previous years. The number of new houses built in the year 2013 was 26,230 in this city. The number was found to be 26 percent which is the highest in the history. The history showed that the trend would be increasing positively in the days to come as well. The increase in the industry is a very prominent fact for the Property Investment Companies UK has.

This also calls attention for the foreign investors as well. The investors from all over the world are known to be attracted towards this region for the most positive results in the sector. This can be proven better for the future for the industry again. The boost in the industry, which is the highest one after the year 2007, shows that the region of Europe has considerable amount of chances for the investors.

The post The growth of construction industry and property investment in UK appeared first on Econ Construction LTD.

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The Classic Barn Company

The Classic Barn Company

Our Background

Our family business specializes in crafted English oak framed buildings, our business has grown from a small acorn to a grand old oak tree by simply sticking to good business ethics. Our ethos is simple. To create beautifully detailed oak framed barns that become renowned for their superior quality. Support this with a service that is both transparent and efficient to ensure each client receives excellent overall value, enabling our good name to be passed on.

This ethos has won us numerous awards, appearances on TV and various publications.


“The Best of British, facing Brexit”. So Brexit is on its way and apparently we all have a challenge. No one knows what effects are on the horizon but one things for sure we all share a common denominator, we own one of the best brands on the planet – Great Britain ! So we’ve decided to play to our strengths by encouraging others to stop devoting time to Brexit ‘what if’s’, ignore those who have a self-vested interest in forecasting about Brexit and instead start focusing on starting your own campaign by showcase your #BestOfBritish product, be proud and switch your mind set to being proactive. Lets show them what were made off !

We’ve kicked this off by launching our new video to the world – British Craftsmanship At It Best !

If, like us you feel inspired to support this campaign then go ahead and show others.


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Andrew Guppy
The Classic Barn Company

from The UK Construction Blog