Submit your construction content here

Email us

  • 15 Jun 2018
    It was once referred to as the forgotten pollutant and while some may think this issue is a fact of life, noise is an annoyance that can be bad for your health, whether it’s in the home, workplace or outside environment. In the world of education, noise can not only have a direct impact on teaching and learning, but for teachers, it can result in voice strain, hearing issues and stress-related illnesses. Good acoustics in schools should be a fundamental design element, so what are the challenges when it comes to creating the optimum teaching and learning environment? There is no escaping the fact that schools are busy and bustling environments, but students taught in quiet rooms which offer good acoustics learn and behave better than those in noisy rooms with poor acoustics. It can be hard to avoid in certain teaching situations, such as in group work or in music or drama lessons for instance. Noise from stairs and circulation routes can cause disturbances to classrooms and teaching spaces. There’s also the impact of external sources of noise which can affect noise levels in schools such as traffic, aircraft, plant rooms or even the weather. The move towards more open plan environments can also have a direct impact on acoustics as background noise and sound intrusion are difficult to minimise. With ever-tightening budgets, the uncertainty of class sizes and the need for private study areas, educational environments need to be flexible and adaptable, but this should not be at the expense of good acoustics. Design guidance for acoustics in new schools is provided by Building Bulletin 93 (BB93) which is incorporated within the Building Regulations. It provides complex calculation methodology for the material dividing space to ensure each classroom or educational space meets the required acoustic performance. This could be ensuring the wall between a music practice room and a library was fit for purpose. Demountable glass partitions have become an intrinsic design element in creating flexible spaces that can be quickly transformed and reconfigured based on the requirements of an educational environment. With communication such an important factor when it comes to learning, glass partitions must offer good acoustic performance in order to aid interaction between teachers and students, as well as improving study activities. Glass partitions can achieve excellent acoustics, particularly double-glazed partitions. Credible test data should be obtained from the manufacturer that the specified system meets the required acoustic performance. When you look at the increasing pressure on the school estate and the conversion of existing buildings into educational facilities, the demand for good acoustics in education has never been higher. Teaching and learning are acoustically demanding activities, but well-designed teaching spaces - which have an attention to acoustic detail - will enhance learning and contribute to the wellbeing of both students and teachers alike.  Visit http://optimasystems.com
    61 Posted by Talk. Build
  • It was once referred to as the forgotten pollutant and while some may think this issue is a fact of life, noise is an annoyance that can be bad for your health, whether it’s in the home, workplace or outside environment. In the world of education, noise can not only have a direct impact on teaching and learning, but for teachers, it can result in voice strain, hearing issues and stress-related illnesses. Good acoustics in schools should be a fundamental design element, so what are the challenges when it comes to creating the optimum teaching and learning environment? There is no escaping the fact that schools are busy and bustling environments, but students taught in quiet rooms which offer good acoustics learn and behave better than those in noisy rooms with poor acoustics. It can be hard to avoid in certain teaching situations, such as in group work or in music or drama lessons for instance. Noise from stairs and circulation routes can cause disturbances to classrooms and teaching spaces. There’s also the impact of external sources of noise which can affect noise levels in schools such as traffic, aircraft, plant rooms or even the weather. The move towards more open plan environments can also have a direct impact on acoustics as background noise and sound intrusion are difficult to minimise. With ever-tightening budgets, the uncertainty of class sizes and the need for private study areas, educational environments need to be flexible and adaptable, but this should not be at the expense of good acoustics. Design guidance for acoustics in new schools is provided by Building Bulletin 93 (BB93) which is incorporated within the Building Regulations. It provides complex calculation methodology for the material dividing space to ensure each classroom or educational space meets the required acoustic performance. This could be ensuring the wall between a music practice room and a library was fit for purpose. Demountable glass partitions have become an intrinsic design element in creating flexible spaces that can be quickly transformed and reconfigured based on the requirements of an educational environment. With communication such an important factor when it comes to learning, glass partitions must offer good acoustic performance in order to aid interaction between teachers and students, as well as improving study activities. Glass partitions can achieve excellent acoustics, particularly double-glazed partitions. Credible test data should be obtained from the manufacturer that the specified system meets the required acoustic performance. When you look at the increasing pressure on the school estate and the conversion of existing buildings into educational facilities, the demand for good acoustics in education has never been higher. Teaching and learning are acoustically demanding activities, but well-designed teaching spaces - which have an attention to acoustic detail - will enhance learning and contribute to the wellbeing of both students and teachers alike.  Visit http://optimasystems.com
    Jun 15, 2018 61
  • 11 Jun 2018
    Modern technology has revolutionised many aspects of modern life, including the efficiency and safety of construction sites around the world writes Daisy Welch. However, it took a long time to reach our current level of health and safety. Here we take a look at some of the most deadly construction sites throughout history. The Panama Canal   Perhaps one of the best known human construction projects of all time, the Panama Canal, was started by France in 1887. The canal would connect the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and make maritime trade far easier. Ferdinand de Lessaps was charged with the task of planning and constructing the canal after his success with the Suez Canal. However, De Lesseps only visited the site a few times and the dense jungle and poor working conditions led to over two hundred deaths per month. Attempts to control the outbreak of disease were unsuccessful as it wasn't yet known that mosquitoes were carriers of malaria. An estimated 22,000 workers died during this initial building period. Work was transferred to a much smaller task force to try and minimise the number of deaths. The project was then taken over by the USA in 1904. The USA inherited a depleted workforce, damaged equipment and a mammoth task. The work continued and mosquito carried diseases were minimised by the end of construction thanks to the work of Dr. Carlos Finlay and Dr. Walter Reed. Improvements included mosquito nets, improved hygiene and the elimination of stagnant water. Despite these improvements, another 5,600 workers died during the American completion of the Panama Canal.  White Sea-Baltic Canal   The White Sea-Baltic Canal, or White Sea Canal as it is often known, is a ship canal in Russia constructed in the 1930s by Gulag prisoners. The Gulag's were forced labour camps created during Lenin's time in power and reaching their peak under Stalin. Until 1961 it was known as The Stalin White Sea-Baltic Canal. The canal is 141 miles long, running through several canalised rivers and Lake Vygozero. The canal was originally planned to improve trade and construction with the ability to move materials more efficiently. However, the water level is too shallow in many places to allow large boats to pass. Therefore, the canal still only carries light traffic of between ten and forty boats per day. The Soviet Union constructed the canal as part of their infamous five-year plan. The canal was completed four months ahead of time in an attempt to show the efficiency and strength of the Soviet Union. The canal was the first construction project using the Soviet Unions forced labour from Gulags. The camps and prisons supplied 100,000 convicts and this was advertised as an example of using prisoners but also helping them 'reforge' - a Soviet concept of rehabilitation. In reality though, prisoners survived in brutal conditions. Teams were forced to live in cramped, uncomfortable surroundings and competed against each other increasing working hours and the intensity of labour. 12,000 workers died during construction with numerous more injured. 12,000 workers were freed at the end of construction as a reward for their forced labour and as further propaganda for the success of the Soviet Union. The Burma-Siam Railway   Also known as The Death Railway, The Burma -Siam Railway was constructed by the Empire of Japan to support forces in Burma during World War Two. A similar route was considered by the British government as early as 1885, but the terrain which was divided by numerous rivers, was considered too difficult to undertake. In 1942, Japan seized control of the British colony of Burma and needed to supply troupes to the area. After the Japanese defeat at the Battle of Midway in June 1942, the Japanese government decided the railway was crucial to their success and therefore the risk of difficult terrain was worth taking. Thousands of British and Australian POW were used to construct the railway, with 1,000 POW housed every five to ten miles on the route. The camps included open-sided barracks built on bamboo poles with bamboo roofs. 12,000 Japanese soldiers were employed on the railway as engineers, guards and supervisors of Prisoners of War. The Japanese soldiers at the time are now remembered for their cruelty to workers and Prisoners of War. The Karakoram Highway Also known as National Highway 35, the 1300km national highway in Pakistan extends to Hasan Abdal in Punjab, where it crosses into China. The highway is a popular tourist attraction, with one of the highest paved roads in the world. The mountainous terrain of the road led to many difficulties during construction, including multiple deadly landslides which killed hundreds of workers. Construction began in 1959 but realignment and the construction of tunnels around the highway continued until 2015. The Aswan Dam   The Aswan Dam in Egypt was constructed after the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 to improve on the Low Aswan Dam constructed in 1902. The Dam would better control flooding and increase water storage for irrigation while also generating hydroelectricity. The dam was part of a wider plan of industrialisation. Attempts to build dams at Aswan go back to the 11th century but the current dam was create in 1960-1970. 25,000 Egyptian engineers and workers contributed to the construction. For the completion of the dam, 100,000 people were forced to relocate. During the work, 22 archaeological monuments were put in danger. Some were preserved or removed but the Buhen Fort, a ancient Egyptian fortress dating to 1860BC was flooded by Lake Nesser after construction of the dam. Of the 30,000 workers, 500 were killed and their deaths were caused by floods, poor living and working conditions and the spread of disease.   Visit: https://www.insulationexpress.co.uk    
    62 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Modern technology has revolutionised many aspects of modern life, including the efficiency and safety of construction sites around the world writes Daisy Welch. However, it took a long time to reach our current level of health and safety. Here we take a look at some of the most deadly construction sites throughout history. The Panama Canal   Perhaps one of the best known human construction projects of all time, the Panama Canal, was started by France in 1887. The canal would connect the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and make maritime trade far easier. Ferdinand de Lessaps was charged with the task of planning and constructing the canal after his success with the Suez Canal. However, De Lesseps only visited the site a few times and the dense jungle and poor working conditions led to over two hundred deaths per month. Attempts to control the outbreak of disease were unsuccessful as it wasn't yet known that mosquitoes were carriers of malaria. An estimated 22,000 workers died during this initial building period. Work was transferred to a much smaller task force to try and minimise the number of deaths. The project was then taken over by the USA in 1904. The USA inherited a depleted workforce, damaged equipment and a mammoth task. The work continued and mosquito carried diseases were minimised by the end of construction thanks to the work of Dr. Carlos Finlay and Dr. Walter Reed. Improvements included mosquito nets, improved hygiene and the elimination of stagnant water. Despite these improvements, another 5,600 workers died during the American completion of the Panama Canal.  White Sea-Baltic Canal   The White Sea-Baltic Canal, or White Sea Canal as it is often known, is a ship canal in Russia constructed in the 1930s by Gulag prisoners. The Gulag's were forced labour camps created during Lenin's time in power and reaching their peak under Stalin. Until 1961 it was known as The Stalin White Sea-Baltic Canal. The canal is 141 miles long, running through several canalised rivers and Lake Vygozero. The canal was originally planned to improve trade and construction with the ability to move materials more efficiently. However, the water level is too shallow in many places to allow large boats to pass. Therefore, the canal still only carries light traffic of between ten and forty boats per day. The Soviet Union constructed the canal as part of their infamous five-year plan. The canal was completed four months ahead of time in an attempt to show the efficiency and strength of the Soviet Union. The canal was the first construction project using the Soviet Unions forced labour from Gulags. The camps and prisons supplied 100,000 convicts and this was advertised as an example of using prisoners but also helping them 'reforge' - a Soviet concept of rehabilitation. In reality though, prisoners survived in brutal conditions. Teams were forced to live in cramped, uncomfortable surroundings and competed against each other increasing working hours and the intensity of labour. 12,000 workers died during construction with numerous more injured. 12,000 workers were freed at the end of construction as a reward for their forced labour and as further propaganda for the success of the Soviet Union. The Burma-Siam Railway   Also known as The Death Railway, The Burma -Siam Railway was constructed by the Empire of Japan to support forces in Burma during World War Two. A similar route was considered by the British government as early as 1885, but the terrain which was divided by numerous rivers, was considered too difficult to undertake. In 1942, Japan seized control of the British colony of Burma and needed to supply troupes to the area. After the Japanese defeat at the Battle of Midway in June 1942, the Japanese government decided the railway was crucial to their success and therefore the risk of difficult terrain was worth taking. Thousands of British and Australian POW were used to construct the railway, with 1,000 POW housed every five to ten miles on the route. The camps included open-sided barracks built on bamboo poles with bamboo roofs. 12,000 Japanese soldiers were employed on the railway as engineers, guards and supervisors of Prisoners of War. The Japanese soldiers at the time are now remembered for their cruelty to workers and Prisoners of War. The Karakoram Highway Also known as National Highway 35, the 1300km national highway in Pakistan extends to Hasan Abdal in Punjab, where it crosses into China. The highway is a popular tourist attraction, with one of the highest paved roads in the world. The mountainous terrain of the road led to many difficulties during construction, including multiple deadly landslides which killed hundreds of workers. Construction began in 1959 but realignment and the construction of tunnels around the highway continued until 2015. The Aswan Dam   The Aswan Dam in Egypt was constructed after the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 to improve on the Low Aswan Dam constructed in 1902. The Dam would better control flooding and increase water storage for irrigation while also generating hydroelectricity. The dam was part of a wider plan of industrialisation. Attempts to build dams at Aswan go back to the 11th century but the current dam was create in 1960-1970. 25,000 Egyptian engineers and workers contributed to the construction. For the completion of the dam, 100,000 people were forced to relocate. During the work, 22 archaeological monuments were put in danger. Some were preserved or removed but the Buhen Fort, a ancient Egyptian fortress dating to 1860BC was flooded by Lake Nesser after construction of the dam. Of the 30,000 workers, 500 were killed and their deaths were caused by floods, poor living and working conditions and the spread of disease.   Visit: https://www.insulationexpress.co.uk    
    Jun 11, 2018 62
  • 06 Jun 2018
    The roofing industry has undergone huge changes over the past decade, writes Shay Casey, Senior Sales Manager at Sika-Trocal. Technology has inspired its growth, with specification and design innovation keeping step with dynamic project visions. BIM modelling, digital presentations and even refurbishment surveys can be carried out using a drone or virtual programmes. Technical advancement has led to a marketplace brimming with new products and systems. Greater choice has led to increased competition, with contractors offering complete roofing and cladding packages – a major change in the specification and application process. The introduction of a wide range of new membranes has seen contractors adapt specifications to ensure the most cost-effective installation; an option not available to architects or clients who no longer have the power to uphold the original specification. This can result in them having to accept products of inferior quality, which isn’t ideal. Communication revolution Today’s roofing contractors need to be more financially aware than ever before, due to the rise of extended payment terms and retentions which have proven a huge burden to buyers and suppliers. Firms throughout the construction have also had to adapt to new ways of self-marketing. The internet, and more particularly, social media has revolutionised the way we communicate. A large LinkedIn or Twitter presence can spread positive word of a contractor’s service offering in a matter of seconds. Environmental concerns have also led to a welter of roofing industry changes, with the introduction of green and cool roofs, solar panels and further developments in roof lighting. The Green Guide has led to vast improvements in recycling, manufacturing footprint and roofing performance in terms of thermal values and sustainability. The knock-on effect of the drive for a ‘cleaner’ project delivery means sales teams not only have to be fluent in their products’ properties, an understanding of their compatibility with new technologies and environmental standards is also required.  Virtual benefits Virtual reality is another hi-tech revelation. From simulated flight control and fairground rides, to historical battlefields and exotic holiday destinations, a world of artificial exploration is available for those with a taste for risk-averse exhilaration. It’s likely virtual reality will also prove useful to the roofing sector in the coming years, allowing stakeholders involved in a project to visualise how it will look when completed. This will help minimise misunderstandings between parties which can lead to frustrating, costly delays for the client. New technologies should – in theory – make for more rapid construction, with contractors able to tailor projects to a client’s specific needs. It might be that technology will replace people skills in certain areas of construction. In which case, with digital wizardry perhaps taking care of a project’s more technical aspects, it might mean the industry’s future workforce will merely require a broad range of abilities and knowledge to remain employable. Over the coming decade the roofing industry will doubtless face many challenges, and as practices and systems change, members will be required to adjust accordingly. With the support of trade associations such as SPRA and NFRC, the future should hold no fear for those involved in the roofing sector. Visit: www.sika.co.uk
    121 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The roofing industry has undergone huge changes over the past decade, writes Shay Casey, Senior Sales Manager at Sika-Trocal. Technology has inspired its growth, with specification and design innovation keeping step with dynamic project visions. BIM modelling, digital presentations and even refurbishment surveys can be carried out using a drone or virtual programmes. Technical advancement has led to a marketplace brimming with new products and systems. Greater choice has led to increased competition, with contractors offering complete roofing and cladding packages – a major change in the specification and application process. The introduction of a wide range of new membranes has seen contractors adapt specifications to ensure the most cost-effective installation; an option not available to architects or clients who no longer have the power to uphold the original specification. This can result in them having to accept products of inferior quality, which isn’t ideal. Communication revolution Today’s roofing contractors need to be more financially aware than ever before, due to the rise of extended payment terms and retentions which have proven a huge burden to buyers and suppliers. Firms throughout the construction have also had to adapt to new ways of self-marketing. The internet, and more particularly, social media has revolutionised the way we communicate. A large LinkedIn or Twitter presence can spread positive word of a contractor’s service offering in a matter of seconds. Environmental concerns have also led to a welter of roofing industry changes, with the introduction of green and cool roofs, solar panels and further developments in roof lighting. The Green Guide has led to vast improvements in recycling, manufacturing footprint and roofing performance in terms of thermal values and sustainability. The knock-on effect of the drive for a ‘cleaner’ project delivery means sales teams not only have to be fluent in their products’ properties, an understanding of their compatibility with new technologies and environmental standards is also required.  Virtual benefits Virtual reality is another hi-tech revelation. From simulated flight control and fairground rides, to historical battlefields and exotic holiday destinations, a world of artificial exploration is available for those with a taste for risk-averse exhilaration. It’s likely virtual reality will also prove useful to the roofing sector in the coming years, allowing stakeholders involved in a project to visualise how it will look when completed. This will help minimise misunderstandings between parties which can lead to frustrating, costly delays for the client. New technologies should – in theory – make for more rapid construction, with contractors able to tailor projects to a client’s specific needs. It might be that technology will replace people skills in certain areas of construction. In which case, with digital wizardry perhaps taking care of a project’s more technical aspects, it might mean the industry’s future workforce will merely require a broad range of abilities and knowledge to remain employable. Over the coming decade the roofing industry will doubtless face many challenges, and as practices and systems change, members will be required to adjust accordingly. With the support of trade associations such as SPRA and NFRC, the future should hold no fear for those involved in the roofing sector. Visit: www.sika.co.uk
    Jun 06, 2018 121
  • 31 May 2018
    Product substitution is an endemic problem across the construction industry.  A recent survey by the NBS showed that 78% of construction professionals believe product substitution is an industry issue, which leads to cheaper and/or inferior products being substituted in order to drive down build costs and maximise profits.  This means that what is designed is not what is built. Important decisions are often made with a lack of understanding of the consequences that the substitution can have on the building’s performance and lifecycle costs. Substituted products may well invalidate various contract conditions and warranties, and in some cases expose people to heavy liabilities should a failure happen. These products may also reduce the performance of the building as a whole. One such example would be in the specification of insulation products where, if a PIR insulation product were to be substituted by a product of the same thickness with poorer insulation properties, it would have a significant impact over the lifetime of the building.  This could result in the building not meeting its thermal performance, as determined by building regulations, increase the lifetime energy costs for the building occupants and reduce the carbon savings,  as well as potentially impacting on the health and wellbeing of the building occupants. Therefore digitalisation of construction products will provide some traceability of products across the supply chain and is seen by many as the best way to reduce the performance gap and increase performance certainty across the built environment. Ultimately, building owners need to know all the components used in a building’s construction and accurate product specification is now a critical part of the construction process. Specifications do allow the exchange of information between the client, the designer and the contractor but not everyone can know everything about a particular product on a build.  Therefore it is very important for manufacturers to provide the most up-to-date information in order that designers and contractors can make correct decisions quickly and minimise risks on projects. Digitalisation of this information is one way of achieving this. A digitally-connected world In an era of digital technology, Building Information Modelling (BIM) has become tremendously important in the construction industry and has enabled manufacturers to share product information in more accessible forms. According to the NBS, three- quarters of manufacturers agree that BIM is the future of product information. Through the BIM Level 2 programme, building product manufacturers can provide a wealth of product information to specifiers online, in an immediate and standardised accessible digital structure. The BIM Library gives specifiers the ability to compare products on a like-for-like basis and as such, decisions can be made based on the quality of the product - such as performance, financial cost, environmental impact, durability, third-party certification and warranty - and not on the quality of the marketing spend. And where products need to be assembled to form a system, the user will be able to do this online through a user-friendly interface. This will reduce and hopefully eliminate the chances of specifying incompatible products in a system. Designers recognise the potential for BIM as it helps create new design possibilities and allows for traceability of products used on any particular construction project. Standardising product information One of the issues with supplying product information in a number of formats or templates is that it can cause confusion. There is also the question of what information needs to be shared. Led by the Construction Products Association (CPA) and developed by the UK Government’s BIM Task Group, the industry-led initiative LEXiCON has been designed to streamline data consistency and interoperability across the sector. This tool standardises product information by providing the construction industry with a plain language dictionary to share product information in a consistent way. LEXiCON utilises tools and templates that can be used across different software platforms. This will help to improve collaboration and exchange of information, rather like having a product’s DNA information attached to a product and is added to throughout its lifecycle.  It is now being considered as the basis for a new European standard. Smart CE Marking Introduced in 2013, the CE label for a construction product outlines valuable technical information. However, as it is available only in printed or PDF format, it cannot be used by software or BIM tool and is often extensive and too complex to be of any practical use for installers or end users. In a bid to create more user friendly information, the development of Smart CE Marking simplifies specification by enabling information in an xml format through a QR code or web link. It provides the link between the physical product and the Declaration of Performance (DoP). The results provide human or machine readable information which will hopefully empower designers to specify products in accordance with European standards.  Added to this, users will have certainty they are using products that match their specifications. As well as providing product information through Smart CE Marking, manufacturers can also connect directly with the users of the products in order to provide targeting information such as health and safety information, product guidance and installation videos.  Information can also flow back to manufacturers, which will allow them to trace products to their final place of use. Specifiers and manufacturers are in agreement that they want to reduce product substitution. Support from manufacturers at an early stage will help specifiers choose the right product quickly, and armed with more accurate specification through digitalisation, reduce the likelihood of substitution. Manufacturers who embrace digitalisation will be the winners, as the construction industry continues its drive towards a digital world. Companies which are slow to embrace this new way of doing things will run the risk of falling behind their rivals. Visit: http://insulationmanufacturers.org.uk
    132 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Product substitution is an endemic problem across the construction industry.  A recent survey by the NBS showed that 78% of construction professionals believe product substitution is an industry issue, which leads to cheaper and/or inferior products being substituted in order to drive down build costs and maximise profits.  This means that what is designed is not what is built. Important decisions are often made with a lack of understanding of the consequences that the substitution can have on the building’s performance and lifecycle costs. Substituted products may well invalidate various contract conditions and warranties, and in some cases expose people to heavy liabilities should a failure happen. These products may also reduce the performance of the building as a whole. One such example would be in the specification of insulation products where, if a PIR insulation product were to be substituted by a product of the same thickness with poorer insulation properties, it would have a significant impact over the lifetime of the building.  This could result in the building not meeting its thermal performance, as determined by building regulations, increase the lifetime energy costs for the building occupants and reduce the carbon savings,  as well as potentially impacting on the health and wellbeing of the building occupants. Therefore digitalisation of construction products will provide some traceability of products across the supply chain and is seen by many as the best way to reduce the performance gap and increase performance certainty across the built environment. Ultimately, building owners need to know all the components used in a building’s construction and accurate product specification is now a critical part of the construction process. Specifications do allow the exchange of information between the client, the designer and the contractor but not everyone can know everything about a particular product on a build.  Therefore it is very important for manufacturers to provide the most up-to-date information in order that designers and contractors can make correct decisions quickly and minimise risks on projects. Digitalisation of this information is one way of achieving this. A digitally-connected world In an era of digital technology, Building Information Modelling (BIM) has become tremendously important in the construction industry and has enabled manufacturers to share product information in more accessible forms. According to the NBS, three- quarters of manufacturers agree that BIM is the future of product information. Through the BIM Level 2 programme, building product manufacturers can provide a wealth of product information to specifiers online, in an immediate and standardised accessible digital structure. The BIM Library gives specifiers the ability to compare products on a like-for-like basis and as such, decisions can be made based on the quality of the product - such as performance, financial cost, environmental impact, durability, third-party certification and warranty - and not on the quality of the marketing spend. And where products need to be assembled to form a system, the user will be able to do this online through a user-friendly interface. This will reduce and hopefully eliminate the chances of specifying incompatible products in a system. Designers recognise the potential for BIM as it helps create new design possibilities and allows for traceability of products used on any particular construction project. Standardising product information One of the issues with supplying product information in a number of formats or templates is that it can cause confusion. There is also the question of what information needs to be shared. Led by the Construction Products Association (CPA) and developed by the UK Government’s BIM Task Group, the industry-led initiative LEXiCON has been designed to streamline data consistency and interoperability across the sector. This tool standardises product information by providing the construction industry with a plain language dictionary to share product information in a consistent way. LEXiCON utilises tools and templates that can be used across different software platforms. This will help to improve collaboration and exchange of information, rather like having a product’s DNA information attached to a product and is added to throughout its lifecycle.  It is now being considered as the basis for a new European standard. Smart CE Marking Introduced in 2013, the CE label for a construction product outlines valuable technical information. However, as it is available only in printed or PDF format, it cannot be used by software or BIM tool and is often extensive and too complex to be of any practical use for installers or end users. In a bid to create more user friendly information, the development of Smart CE Marking simplifies specification by enabling information in an xml format through a QR code or web link. It provides the link between the physical product and the Declaration of Performance (DoP). The results provide human or machine readable information which will hopefully empower designers to specify products in accordance with European standards.  Added to this, users will have certainty they are using products that match their specifications. As well as providing product information through Smart CE Marking, manufacturers can also connect directly with the users of the products in order to provide targeting information such as health and safety information, product guidance and installation videos.  Information can also flow back to manufacturers, which will allow them to trace products to their final place of use. Specifiers and manufacturers are in agreement that they want to reduce product substitution. Support from manufacturers at an early stage will help specifiers choose the right product quickly, and armed with more accurate specification through digitalisation, reduce the likelihood of substitution. Manufacturers who embrace digitalisation will be the winners, as the construction industry continues its drive towards a digital world. Companies which are slow to embrace this new way of doing things will run the risk of falling behind their rivals. Visit: http://insulationmanufacturers.org.uk
    May 31, 2018 132
  • 28 May 2018
    Successful construction project management requires effective communication and uninterrupted data flow at every stage of the project writes Maria Vidal. Traditionally, each department of a construction project has their own way of recording and managing data. Since there is no centralized database to work with, each one of these managers has to go through handful of manual work to get the information they need. This can be problematic in four ways: Duplicate Data Construction companies that do not keep a centralized database often suffer from duplication of data. This occurs particularly between the production and accounting department. One may be doing estimating in one system and another places the order somewhere else. There is incorrect transfer of data and lack of control. Not only does this complicate the process, it also triples the paperwork. Paperwork Trail The most difficult and most time consuming area to manage in a project is accounts payable. With the traditional method, a manager needs to compare and review a lot of paperwork to come up with an accurate and justifiable invoice. Inaccurate Job Costing Without a centralized system, arriving at an accurate job costing may be a challenge. There is a huge risk of inaccurate job costing with ineffective record keeping especially if you’re dealing with a handful of them. Endless Reports While spreadsheets are great, it is mainly for a single user only not company wide application.  Data inconsistency is quite common using these as main tool for record keeping. With technology, the risks are minimized keeping your business moving up rather than moving down. Digital Breakthrough in the Construction Industry Today, technology allowed builders to improve communication flow and data management particularly providing solutions to generic flaws including data inefficiency, broken communication, and budget deficits. Project management software is on the front lines of the industry’s digital evolution.  It impacts operation efficiency and creates accountability for the managers. Collaborative project management software with defined workflows, controls, and engagement protocols can deftly manage changes in the processes especially when interacting with third-party contractors. Construction management software can cover for major construction project process. Aside from basic project management tasks, features may include seamless billing, invoicing options, collaboration tools, custom reporting, and other business tools, which make operations significantly more efficient especially for large scale projects like commercial building. Design is another major area technology has increasingly helped the industry. Integration with design software allows builders to update and publish drawings easily. It becomes readily available for subcontractors as well as their clients. Building Information Modeling (BIM) fulfills the need for a digital 3D design. It speeds up the need for collaborative tools in design creation and presentation. Technology is transforming the way the industry operates. BIM, planning, designing, and project construction are feasible without the risk of overlooking significant factors like material and logistics, contract administration, cost control, and project scheduling. With the recent adaptations resulting in the streamlined workflow at all levels in a process and higher profits, the future of construction industry awaits embracing technology properly. Maria Vida writes forThrive Technologies Australia – company that creates tailored construction business software solutions by actively sourcing the best software available to help you stay on top of the game. Visit: www.thrivetech.com.au
    167 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Successful construction project management requires effective communication and uninterrupted data flow at every stage of the project writes Maria Vidal. Traditionally, each department of a construction project has their own way of recording and managing data. Since there is no centralized database to work with, each one of these managers has to go through handful of manual work to get the information they need. This can be problematic in four ways: Duplicate Data Construction companies that do not keep a centralized database often suffer from duplication of data. This occurs particularly between the production and accounting department. One may be doing estimating in one system and another places the order somewhere else. There is incorrect transfer of data and lack of control. Not only does this complicate the process, it also triples the paperwork. Paperwork Trail The most difficult and most time consuming area to manage in a project is accounts payable. With the traditional method, a manager needs to compare and review a lot of paperwork to come up with an accurate and justifiable invoice. Inaccurate Job Costing Without a centralized system, arriving at an accurate job costing may be a challenge. There is a huge risk of inaccurate job costing with ineffective record keeping especially if you’re dealing with a handful of them. Endless Reports While spreadsheets are great, it is mainly for a single user only not company wide application.  Data inconsistency is quite common using these as main tool for record keeping. With technology, the risks are minimized keeping your business moving up rather than moving down. Digital Breakthrough in the Construction Industry Today, technology allowed builders to improve communication flow and data management particularly providing solutions to generic flaws including data inefficiency, broken communication, and budget deficits. Project management software is on the front lines of the industry’s digital evolution.  It impacts operation efficiency and creates accountability for the managers. Collaborative project management software with defined workflows, controls, and engagement protocols can deftly manage changes in the processes especially when interacting with third-party contractors. Construction management software can cover for major construction project process. Aside from basic project management tasks, features may include seamless billing, invoicing options, collaboration tools, custom reporting, and other business tools, which make operations significantly more efficient especially for large scale projects like commercial building. Design is another major area technology has increasingly helped the industry. Integration with design software allows builders to update and publish drawings easily. It becomes readily available for subcontractors as well as their clients. Building Information Modeling (BIM) fulfills the need for a digital 3D design. It speeds up the need for collaborative tools in design creation and presentation. Technology is transforming the way the industry operates. BIM, planning, designing, and project construction are feasible without the risk of overlooking significant factors like material and logistics, contract administration, cost control, and project scheduling. With the recent adaptations resulting in the streamlined workflow at all levels in a process and higher profits, the future of construction industry awaits embracing technology properly. Maria Vida writes forThrive Technologies Australia – company that creates tailored construction business software solutions by actively sourcing the best software available to help you stay on top of the game. Visit: www.thrivetech.com.au
    May 28, 2018 167
  • 25 May 2018
    With the ‘Beast from the East’ striking three times in succession, March was certainly one of the coldest anyone can recall for a long time.  This of course meant that people needed to heat their homes for longer periods than they would normally. For those on low incomes and those living in fuel poverty this can sometimes mean making difficult choices about whether to heat or eat.  The consequences of fuel poverty are well-documented and include discomfort, ill health, mental illness and debt. Fuel poverty is also linked to increased winter mortality with a rise in winter deaths associated with cold homes. Such is the problem that according to a study by the Association for the Conversation of Energy (ACE), living in a cold home kills more people than road accidents, alcohol or drug abuse. But it is not just the vulnerable, frail, and elderly who become a statistic.  A cold home can mean lower educational attainment and lead to social exclusion for young children. There are also links to rising costs within the NHS in the fight to treat conditions worsened by insufficiently heated homes, particularly heart and respiratory diseases. We all know that energy efficiency improvements should play their part in helping those in fuel poverty to keep up with rising energy costs, but with government-backed delivery of home energy efficiency improvements stalling, we inevitably end up playing political football with the issue whilst the poorest and most vulnerable in society suffer.  The government’s 2015 Fuel Poverty Strategy, which introduced a statutory target to ensure that as many fuel poor homes as practically possible achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of Band C by 2030, will only be reached if we can upscale installation of high performance thermal insulation, to the nation’s housing stock. In short, we have to agree the process, ensure that the work has been carried out to a decent standard and is value for money. This is the real challenge we face. Firstly, is the need to provide an accurate upfront assessment of the existing building by a competent assessor, who can then interpret the findings and prescribe appropriate energy improvement measures. There will be various measures required to refurbish a building, but to ensure the right result is achieved there has to be coordination between all retrofit activities. Getting the fabric of the building well insulated should always be the starting point.   With examples of poor practice in retrofit on the increase, it is important that a comprehensive set of standards: the assessment, installation and commissioning, are all carried out correctly; and the consumer has a retrofit that works. Professional co-ordination coupled with consumer motivation, will deliver a successful retrofit and this is one of the key objectives of the Each Home Counts1 review which recommends that there be a quality mark for all energy efficiency and renewable energy measures to ensure that the consumer receives excellent levels of consumer protection, companies adhere to a strict code of conduct when operating in the energy efficiency arena and that products are installed to approved codes of practice.  Retrofitting insulation works for a whole host of reasons from saving money to reducing carbon and being good for our health.  Whether it is an internal or external insulation application, it is vitally important we bring the nation’s homes up to or beyond an acceptable standard by getting the fabric of the building as energy efficient as possible. Using the highest performing products, such as PIR insulation, will go a long way to achieve this. Only then will we be able to provide a long-term asset that can be passed onto future generations. Visit: www.insulationmanufacturers.org.uk  Each Home Counts, The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Department for Communities and Local Government published December 2016
    156 Posted by Talk. Build
  • With the ‘Beast from the East’ striking three times in succession, March was certainly one of the coldest anyone can recall for a long time.  This of course meant that people needed to heat their homes for longer periods than they would normally. For those on low incomes and those living in fuel poverty this can sometimes mean making difficult choices about whether to heat or eat.  The consequences of fuel poverty are well-documented and include discomfort, ill health, mental illness and debt. Fuel poverty is also linked to increased winter mortality with a rise in winter deaths associated with cold homes. Such is the problem that according to a study by the Association for the Conversation of Energy (ACE), living in a cold home kills more people than road accidents, alcohol or drug abuse. But it is not just the vulnerable, frail, and elderly who become a statistic.  A cold home can mean lower educational attainment and lead to social exclusion for young children. There are also links to rising costs within the NHS in the fight to treat conditions worsened by insufficiently heated homes, particularly heart and respiratory diseases. We all know that energy efficiency improvements should play their part in helping those in fuel poverty to keep up with rising energy costs, but with government-backed delivery of home energy efficiency improvements stalling, we inevitably end up playing political football with the issue whilst the poorest and most vulnerable in society suffer.  The government’s 2015 Fuel Poverty Strategy, which introduced a statutory target to ensure that as many fuel poor homes as practically possible achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of Band C by 2030, will only be reached if we can upscale installation of high performance thermal insulation, to the nation’s housing stock. In short, we have to agree the process, ensure that the work has been carried out to a decent standard and is value for money. This is the real challenge we face. Firstly, is the need to provide an accurate upfront assessment of the existing building by a competent assessor, who can then interpret the findings and prescribe appropriate energy improvement measures. There will be various measures required to refurbish a building, but to ensure the right result is achieved there has to be coordination between all retrofit activities. Getting the fabric of the building well insulated should always be the starting point.   With examples of poor practice in retrofit on the increase, it is important that a comprehensive set of standards: the assessment, installation and commissioning, are all carried out correctly; and the consumer has a retrofit that works. Professional co-ordination coupled with consumer motivation, will deliver a successful retrofit and this is one of the key objectives of the Each Home Counts1 review which recommends that there be a quality mark for all energy efficiency and renewable energy measures to ensure that the consumer receives excellent levels of consumer protection, companies adhere to a strict code of conduct when operating in the energy efficiency arena and that products are installed to approved codes of practice.  Retrofitting insulation works for a whole host of reasons from saving money to reducing carbon and being good for our health.  Whether it is an internal or external insulation application, it is vitally important we bring the nation’s homes up to or beyond an acceptable standard by getting the fabric of the building as energy efficient as possible. Using the highest performing products, such as PIR insulation, will go a long way to achieve this. Only then will we be able to provide a long-term asset that can be passed onto future generations. Visit: www.insulationmanufacturers.org.uk  Each Home Counts, The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Department for Communities and Local Government published December 2016
    May 25, 2018 156

  • Once water begins to come through the roof most sheds, by the very nature of their soft wood structure, quickly rot and if remedial action is not taken then most will soon be looking for a replacement. Replacing a felt roof is not as hard as it looks and only requires basic DIY skills and a little help from a friend or neighbour. Simply follow these easy steps and your shed will be as good as new. You will need at least half a day to complete the project and will require Shed Felt, Roofing Felt Adhesive and Clout Head Nails. Make sure you also have the right tools such as a tape measure, sharp knife gloves, an old cloth, straight edge hammer 2” or 3” and a disposable paint brush. Before you start clean and tidy up the surrounding area, including the floor. To ensure you are properly prepared for later, unpack and roll your shed felt onto a clean and dry surface. This allows it to relax or straighten after being rolled up. Roofing felt is harder to work at low temperature so try to avoid working with it below 10° or in wet or windy conditions. Prepare the surface of the shed roof by removing any old roof felt or nails. Ensure the surface is flat, clean and dry. If the roof is rotten or damaged, you may want to apply a complete new sheet of ply. Measure your shed by running a tape measure along the bottom of the roof (the eaves), and up the diagonal end (the gable). Write down these measurements (it’s easiest to use metric as shed felt normally comes in 8m or 10m rolls). Remember too that you will need the felt to overhang each gable end, and the eave of the shed by at least 50mm (so you need to add this to your measurements). Calculate how many lengths of roof felt are needed: The felt will be applied in strips, with each strip overlapping the previous one by at least 75mm. A final length sheet will be required along the ridge. Calculate how many strips and of what length you will need. Cut your roof felt to length: Using your straight edge and sharp knife, carefully cut your felt to the correct length (don’t forget to include the extra 50mm overhang at each end!) Nail on the first length: Position the first length of roof felt along the lowest part of the shed roof. Ensure that it overhangs the eaves and each gable end of the roof by 50mm. Nail along the top edge of the strip with the galvanised clout nails. Space the nails at 500mm centres. Fold over the gables and eaves: Starting at the centre of the eave, and taking care not to rip or tear the felt, fold the overhanging felt over the edge of the roof. Fix the overhanging felt using galvanised nails at 50mm. Fix the next length of shed felt: Take your second length of felt. Position this strip so that it overhangs the top of the first sheet by 75mm. Nail along the top of this strip at 500mm. Where the sheets overlap, apply roofing sheet adhesive using a disposable brush. Using a downwards brushing motion, firmly press the top layer of roofing felt onto the adhesive, taking care to ensure that the strip of felt does not ripple or crease. Nail in place at 50mm spacing along the bottom of the strip. Use an old cloth or rag to remove any excess felt adhesive. Continue to work up the complete side of the roof in the same method. Felt the second side of your shed: Repeat the same process for the opposite side of the roof. Fix the capping sheet: The roof should be finished with a capping sheet along the ridge. Place along the ridge of the shed so that it equally overhangs each side of the roof. Always ensure that it overlays the top strips of felt by at least 75mm. Apply roofing felt adhesive to the underside of both sides of the ridge and press the capping sheet into place. Nail along the bottom of each side of the capping sheet at 50mm intervals. And that is all there is to it to ensure that your shed continues to provides many more years of useful life. You can source the materials you need from most local builders merchants or go on line. You can click the link below to Amazon to a supplier that has a five star rating if you prefer to have materials delivered. Click Link for Amazon
    Apr 25, 2018 170
  • Roofs, conservatories, balconies, terraces and walls are extremely prone to water penetration and left alone will ultimately result in major refurbishment. Until fairly recently construction professionals would use a variety of different sealants to tackle an equally wide variety of leak situations, but thankfully science has come to the rescue. There are several companies that have developed advanced ranges of waterproofing solutions that can be simply brushed or rolled onto surfaces, seeping into cracks and other vulnerable areas to produce a barrier, once fully cured, against even the worst weather. Many of these solutions are transparent and virtually invisible once applied which makes them ideal for all types of glass such as conservatory roofs and roof lights. They can also be used on terraces and exposed brickwork helping to enhance the colour of the stone while adding total protection. The good thing is that such solutions can be applied by without any special skills saving householders massive labour costs, but as in all cases, particularly when a leak is at roof level, it is usually best to call in the professionals. If you are planning to do it yourself then make sure that you have enough material; to complete the job. A 20Kg tin will cover around 25 sq metres of surface area depending on the thickness of the coating. Ensure that everything is cleaned up before any solution is laid to ensure maximum performance and ideally three layers should be used on the surface area. Coverage is based on application by roller onto a smooth surface in optimum conditions. Factors like surface porosity, temperature and application method can alter consumption. Installed correctly your roof, conservatory, balcony, terrace or wall will continue to giver many more years of service keeping out the worst of the weather.  If you are looking for such a product then why not check out Maritrans, which is available via Amazon.  Click here for Amazon
    Apr 24, 2018 139
  • It is easier than it looks to build a raised timber deck.  Timber decks can be designed to meet most design situations. According to the Timber Decking and Cladding Association Desired service life options of 15, 30 and 60 years are given in European/British standards. It should be noted that 15 years is considered to be the minimum standard.  For new the NHBC insists on a 60 year service life in accordance with TDCA Code of Practice TDA/RD 08/01. Building a simple timber deck is straightforward and is considered less expensive and more environmentally acceptable than bricks or flagstones. The following step-by-step guide covers and is consistent with most of the basic applications to install timber decking and while these instructions are for guidance only please always remember to check with supplier specifications. Step 1: Make sure you plan in advance to ensure that boards will be flush with your frame. Prepare a level area for the framework by cutting the timber to the required length, then join using exterior wood screws. Check the frame is square by measuring from corner to corner and adjust if necessary Step 2: If you need to raise the frame, cut four blocks of timber to the desired height. Screw these to the inside of the frame at each corner, ensuring they're flush with the top. As these legs will be taking all the weight ensure you use at least three screws per block, Step 3: Place blocks or slabs underneath edge leg to spread the load and provide a level, stable base if your deck is sitting on grass or soil. Position and adjust checking the frame is level using a spirit level Step 4: Three joists are sufficient (one in the middle and the others at the centre-point between the edge of the frame and the centre joist) if you are building a small deck. Mark across one side of the frame first, then repeat on the opposite side. On larger decks, set joists at 400mm centres Step 5: Ensure that you measure across the inside of the frame at the joist marks before cutting lengths of the timber to suit. Fix the joists by tapping them with a rubber based mallet until flush with the top, then screw them in place from the outside of the frame Step 6: Support the joists with additional legs, spaced at 1m intervals. Follow the same method as shown in steps 2 and 3 for these legs, ensuring each is supported by a suitable block or slab Step 7: For the facing, measure the length of the outer sides of your frame and cut the decking boards to suit. Mark the cutting lines with a square to ensure a straight edge. Countersink the facing and screw to the frame, ensuring the facing is flush with the top Step 8: Now you are ready to start laying the deck. Measure across the top of the frame and cut a board to length. Place the first board flush with the outside edge of the frame and facing, and perpendicular to the joists. Mark the location of each joist on the board Step 9: Mark and countersink screw holes over the centre of each joist. Be sure to use a sharp countersink that will leave a clean hole. If necessary, drill a pilot hole to prevent splitting. Use at least two screws per joist for each decking board Step 10: Ensure you have a 5mm expansion gap between each board (as timber expands and contracts according to outdoor temperatures). Use a spacer to do this. Step 11: Continue the process until you have completed the job. There are many different sources for Timber Decking but we recomend the following link to AMAZON. Click here for Amazon
    Sep 16, 2017 1171
  • Horrible looking drains, manhole covers and inspection chambers appear in driveways and footpaths everywhere. You can even find them in the middle of your lawn or garden! How do you hide ugly manhole covers and drains?                     There are several ways to pretty up these ugly necessities but, however you choose to do it, remember that water utility companies require access at all times. If they cannot be accessed when required they will be dug up and not only will you receive a bill for doing so, you will also be left with the expense of repairing any damage. A much better idea is to (where possible) replace the existing industrial looking cover with a removable recessed (or inset) tray. Then you have the option to either blend them in with the surface or make a feature out of them. Recessed tray options A quick internet search will show you just how many different types of recessed trays are available – too many to mention here! You choose depending on where they are and what material you are going to fill them with. Basically they fall into two categories: Standard recessed tray Currently the most popular choice, made from polypropylene, aluminium or stainless steel and can be suitable for use by both pedestrians and vehicles. Permeable recessed tray This more recent option from EcoGrid provides a load bearing surface that features membranes and a perforated base which allows water to slowly filter through to the drain underneath. Infill options Another internet search will result in a lot of options for infilling a recessed tray. Your final choice will depend on where the drain, manhole cover or inspection chamber is and what the surface will be used for. Here are a few of the most popular infill options: Block paving or bricks These are common choices and can be cut to either blend in or contrast with the surrounding surface. Resin bound paving This is the most popular choice for the seamless finish - created by infilling the recessed tray with the same colour aggregate. You can also create contrast by using a different colour or produce a logo or design in the recessed tray. Using a permeable recessed tray with resin bound paving creates a fully permeable surface. Loose gravel Probably the quickest and easiest way to infill a recessed tray is with loose gravel, but it will inevitably scatter. The fleeing gravel will need regular sweeping and replacing and your lawn mower won’t like it much either... Grass Whilst sowing grass seeds into a recessed tray blends in with a lawn it can be awkward to mow and unless it’s sown in a permeable recessed tray, it will dry out very quickly. Of course you could opt for artificial grass… Plants and flowers Infilling with flowers and/or plants can help disguise unsightly drains, manhole covers or inspection chambers. You can also create a spectacular feature, but as with grass they will dry out very quickly unless a permeable recessed tray is used. Useful links: How to build a recessed manhole cover : http://www.diy.com/help-ideas/how-to-build-a-manhole-cover/CC_npcart_400198.art An overview http://www.pavingexpert.com/recess01.htm  from the Paving Expert. We strongly recommend clarifying ownership and responsibility before modifying or carrying out maintenance to drains, sewers and manholes. Author: Gail Gilkes, Head of Marketing, SureSet UK Ltd. Visit: www.sureset.co.uk Follow us: https://twitter.com/SureSetUK https://www.youtube.com/user/SureSetUK15 https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/1220581/
    Sep 14, 2017 1482