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  • 18 Mar 2019
    There has been a lot of talk about HS2 and about how, once completed, it will help to shrink the north-south divide and provide a much-needed transport spine across the country writes Mark Tomlin, CEO of VJ Technology. However, if recent reports are to be believed government sources are claiming that there is talk of cancelling HS2 in its entirety, despite the fact that groundworks have started and considerable time and money have been invested in design, tendering and feasibility. So, what’s the reality – does the UK need a north-south high-speed rail link or is it just financial folly? High Speed 2 (HS2) is a high-speed railway which, once completed, will directly connect London, Birmingham, the East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester. Scheduled to open in phases between 2026 and 2033, high-speed trains will travel up to 400 km/h on 330 miles of track. One of the largest civil engineering projects currently being undertaken in Europe, a recent episode of Dispatches on Channel 4 focussed on the financial viability of the project with it quoting sources within the government who warn that the cost may soon be considered so high that the entire project may be cancelled. One possible scenario of the project being terminated once the first stretch of the new line reaches Birmingham was also presented. The programme claimed industry sources have stated that the project cost could reach a staggering £100bn, substantially up from both 2011's initial estimate of £33bn and today's £56bn promise. More worrying is that in a poll by the programme two-thirds of rail users in the north stated they would rather see the money invested in regional rail. Understandably, for many commuters, local links are more important than another, faster, north-south route. However, I think we could be missing the point. Yes, the costs are high, but this is a project the country sorely needs. The UK used to be second-to-none when it came to infrastructure. Our rail, ports, roads and airports are admired the world over. However, time has taken its toll and a combination of growth in population and a lack of investment has meant that the UK has dropped down the pecking order when it comes to infrastructural excellence. All too often our trains are delayed, our motorways jammed, and our airports and shipping ports are tired and in need of modernisation. Whilst speed of travel is one thing, there is also the user experience. If you compare the UK to any one of the major international airports around the world, I’m not sure we come out on top. HS2 is therefore a critical part of the ongoing investment the government needs to make in UK infrastructure. It is as much about providing UK residents and businesses with improved transportation, as it is about ensuring we maintain our position as an international destination. It will also be a catalyst for improving transport in the North West as, at the end of January, Transport for the North agreed the submission of the business case for Northern Powerhouse Rail, the transformational east-west network. This will connect the northern cities of Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Hull, etc, and will provide the local links that residents in the north so desperately need. It will also create job opportunities and attract overseas investment for organisations looking for space, skills and connectivity. However, will this project go ahead without HS2 coming to Leeds and Manchester? Very unlikely, as it simply won’t be viable.  As a key product supplier to major infrastructure projects, VJ Technology has a vested interest in seeing schemes such as HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail deliver. However, it is more than that. Personally, I would like to see projects such as this succeed as I believe they are important for the nation. Investment in infrastructure is not a folly, it is investment in maintaining our great nation. Yes, it comes at a cost, but if we continue to neglect our infrastructure it will have a far- reaching and significantly more damaging financial impact on our economy, our tourism and our global reputation. Visit: http://www.vjtechnology.com
    72 Posted by Talk. Build
  • There has been a lot of talk about HS2 and about how, once completed, it will help to shrink the north-south divide and provide a much-needed transport spine across the country writes Mark Tomlin, CEO of VJ Technology. However, if recent reports are to be believed government sources are claiming that there is talk of cancelling HS2 in its entirety, despite the fact that groundworks have started and considerable time and money have been invested in design, tendering and feasibility. So, what’s the reality – does the UK need a north-south high-speed rail link or is it just financial folly? High Speed 2 (HS2) is a high-speed railway which, once completed, will directly connect London, Birmingham, the East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester. Scheduled to open in phases between 2026 and 2033, high-speed trains will travel up to 400 km/h on 330 miles of track. One of the largest civil engineering projects currently being undertaken in Europe, a recent episode of Dispatches on Channel 4 focussed on the financial viability of the project with it quoting sources within the government who warn that the cost may soon be considered so high that the entire project may be cancelled. One possible scenario of the project being terminated once the first stretch of the new line reaches Birmingham was also presented. The programme claimed industry sources have stated that the project cost could reach a staggering £100bn, substantially up from both 2011's initial estimate of £33bn and today's £56bn promise. More worrying is that in a poll by the programme two-thirds of rail users in the north stated they would rather see the money invested in regional rail. Understandably, for many commuters, local links are more important than another, faster, north-south route. However, I think we could be missing the point. Yes, the costs are high, but this is a project the country sorely needs. The UK used to be second-to-none when it came to infrastructure. Our rail, ports, roads and airports are admired the world over. However, time has taken its toll and a combination of growth in population and a lack of investment has meant that the UK has dropped down the pecking order when it comes to infrastructural excellence. All too often our trains are delayed, our motorways jammed, and our airports and shipping ports are tired and in need of modernisation. Whilst speed of travel is one thing, there is also the user experience. If you compare the UK to any one of the major international airports around the world, I’m not sure we come out on top. HS2 is therefore a critical part of the ongoing investment the government needs to make in UK infrastructure. It is as much about providing UK residents and businesses with improved transportation, as it is about ensuring we maintain our position as an international destination. It will also be a catalyst for improving transport in the North West as, at the end of January, Transport for the North agreed the submission of the business case for Northern Powerhouse Rail, the transformational east-west network. This will connect the northern cities of Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Hull, etc, and will provide the local links that residents in the north so desperately need. It will also create job opportunities and attract overseas investment for organisations looking for space, skills and connectivity. However, will this project go ahead without HS2 coming to Leeds and Manchester? Very unlikely, as it simply won’t be viable.  As a key product supplier to major infrastructure projects, VJ Technology has a vested interest in seeing schemes such as HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail deliver. However, it is more than that. Personally, I would like to see projects such as this succeed as I believe they are important for the nation. Investment in infrastructure is not a folly, it is investment in maintaining our great nation. Yes, it comes at a cost, but if we continue to neglect our infrastructure it will have a far- reaching and significantly more damaging financial impact on our economy, our tourism and our global reputation. Visit: http://www.vjtechnology.com
    Mar 18, 2019 72
  • 13 Mar 2019
    From residential care homes to hospitals, schools to offices, upgrading old and inefficient heating systems is a proven way to ensure reliability and long-term savings.  Daniel Sturch, Commercial Product Engineer at Alpha Heating Innovation, lifts the lid on fan-assisted condensing boilers which offer a range of features and benefits including high energy efficiency, low emissions and a wide modulation range. A fan-assisted condensing boiler is the ideal heating solution in a commercial heating environment due to its high output, small footprint and the fact that you can cascade up to five boilers in series for multiple outputs.  They are quick to cope with changing heating demands and are a very cost effective solution compared to a single boiler installation.   Fan-assisted boilers such as Alpha’s ProTec Plus range offer greater siting flexibility with options for wall hanging or frame mounting within small boiler rooms.  They also have multiple options for flue terminal position, flue route, and offer greater overall flue length than atmospheric boilers. These boilers achieve high energy efficiency due to a combination of heat exchanger design and technology along with intelligent combustion control from the Honeywell on-board PCB. The importance of a wide modulation range It is ultimately very important to achieve a high modulation range to allow the appliance to make the most efficient cost savings for the user by using the least amount of gas whilst delivering the output required. This modulation rate is therefore a key contributing factor to reducing fuel use. The wider the modulation range, the more flexible the boiler model is, which in turn allows for easier product selection for the installer. Ultimately, it allows the appliance to offer both a high enough output to cope with peak demand, but a low enough minimum input to offer the maximum in fuel savings. High efficiency boilers such as ProTec also offer improved air quality. Reducing emissions such as carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) is due initially to good product design and extensive R&D testing, but then must be aided during the life of a boiler appliance by regular planned preventative maintenance. A ProTec boiler provides installation benefits to the installer both in terms of versatility and the capacity to have a range of outputs that can be cascaded together with three outputs starting from 50kw to 115kW. ProTec offers a simple logical layout, a wide range of accessories to aid installation and multiple flue options along with support from a dedicated commercial technical department. The typical life expectancy of a commercial boiler is 10-15 years depending upon construction material and maintenance regime.  Nursing home heating remedy When it came to bringing an inefficient heating system into the 21st century, a care home in Polmont, Falkirk, received a major efficiency boost from two new boilers supplied by Alpha Heating Innovation that combine domestic and commercial technology.  Providing heat to the Ivybank House facility, which has 42 ensuite rooms and five dining and lounge areas, the new heating system replaced an extremely inefficient, 30-year-old, floorstanding boiler sited in the main building. Having installed boilers from Alpha Heating Innovation on a number of previous occasions, installer Raymond Beveridge trusted the brand and knew it could provide the right products for the job. He said: “I like installing Alpha boilers, especially on the commercial side. I’ve fitted them in a number of care homes and I’ve had no trouble with any of them. Plus, you’re getting the three-year warranty that comes from the manufacturer, so it’s good for the client to know they’ve got that backup for the first three years.” The new boiler fitted in the main nursing home had to be wall hung rather than floorstanding, to enable more space to move around the small plant room. Alpha’s ProTec Plus 115kw system boiler was chosen and met the brief. It offers a condensing central heating output of 121.7kW, and has a seasonal efficiency of 96.4%. A stainless steel heat exchanger and fully modulating built-in circulator pump offers long-term reliability, while features include frost protection, weather compensation compatibility and a back-lit LCD interface. The ProTec Plus has a wide 1:10 modulation range to boost efficiencies further and is compatible with Alpha’s open and concentric push-fit flue systems. The separate laundry room had been using a gas-fired water heater to supply hot water to the sink, with electric heaters keeping the space warm in winter. Originally installed incorrectly, acidic corrosion had damaged the old heater, ultimately causing it to burst and leak water. As a more economical solution, the old system was replaced with Alpha’s 33kW E-Tec combi boiler to run both the heating and the hot water. The E-Tec 33 comes with a stainless steel heat exchanger, as well as a high-efficiency Grundfos pump with hydroblock assembly. A zinc-plated expansion vessel prevents corrosion, which was particularly appealing to the owners of the nursing home, following their experience with the previous system. For peace of mind, the E-Tec comes with a five-year warranty, with three years for the ProTec Plus. The tried and tested boiler condensing technology installed at Ivybank is a game-changer when it comes to reducing carbon and energy savings.  Offering the installer ease of installation and maintenance, compact and versatile fan-assisted boilers such as Alpha’s ProTec Plus can futureproof the energy demands in a wide range of commercial buildings. Visit: www.alpha-innovation.co.uk
    88 Posted by Talk. Build
  • From residential care homes to hospitals, schools to offices, upgrading old and inefficient heating systems is a proven way to ensure reliability and long-term savings.  Daniel Sturch, Commercial Product Engineer at Alpha Heating Innovation, lifts the lid on fan-assisted condensing boilers which offer a range of features and benefits including high energy efficiency, low emissions and a wide modulation range. A fan-assisted condensing boiler is the ideal heating solution in a commercial heating environment due to its high output, small footprint and the fact that you can cascade up to five boilers in series for multiple outputs.  They are quick to cope with changing heating demands and are a very cost effective solution compared to a single boiler installation.   Fan-assisted boilers such as Alpha’s ProTec Plus range offer greater siting flexibility with options for wall hanging or frame mounting within small boiler rooms.  They also have multiple options for flue terminal position, flue route, and offer greater overall flue length than atmospheric boilers. These boilers achieve high energy efficiency due to a combination of heat exchanger design and technology along with intelligent combustion control from the Honeywell on-board PCB. The importance of a wide modulation range It is ultimately very important to achieve a high modulation range to allow the appliance to make the most efficient cost savings for the user by using the least amount of gas whilst delivering the output required. This modulation rate is therefore a key contributing factor to reducing fuel use. The wider the modulation range, the more flexible the boiler model is, which in turn allows for easier product selection for the installer. Ultimately, it allows the appliance to offer both a high enough output to cope with peak demand, but a low enough minimum input to offer the maximum in fuel savings. High efficiency boilers such as ProTec also offer improved air quality. Reducing emissions such as carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) is due initially to good product design and extensive R&D testing, but then must be aided during the life of a boiler appliance by regular planned preventative maintenance. A ProTec boiler provides installation benefits to the installer both in terms of versatility and the capacity to have a range of outputs that can be cascaded together with three outputs starting from 50kw to 115kW. ProTec offers a simple logical layout, a wide range of accessories to aid installation and multiple flue options along with support from a dedicated commercial technical department. The typical life expectancy of a commercial boiler is 10-15 years depending upon construction material and maintenance regime.  Nursing home heating remedy When it came to bringing an inefficient heating system into the 21st century, a care home in Polmont, Falkirk, received a major efficiency boost from two new boilers supplied by Alpha Heating Innovation that combine domestic and commercial technology.  Providing heat to the Ivybank House facility, which has 42 ensuite rooms and five dining and lounge areas, the new heating system replaced an extremely inefficient, 30-year-old, floorstanding boiler sited in the main building. Having installed boilers from Alpha Heating Innovation on a number of previous occasions, installer Raymond Beveridge trusted the brand and knew it could provide the right products for the job. He said: “I like installing Alpha boilers, especially on the commercial side. I’ve fitted them in a number of care homes and I’ve had no trouble with any of them. Plus, you’re getting the three-year warranty that comes from the manufacturer, so it’s good for the client to know they’ve got that backup for the first three years.” The new boiler fitted in the main nursing home had to be wall hung rather than floorstanding, to enable more space to move around the small plant room. Alpha’s ProTec Plus 115kw system boiler was chosen and met the brief. It offers a condensing central heating output of 121.7kW, and has a seasonal efficiency of 96.4%. A stainless steel heat exchanger and fully modulating built-in circulator pump offers long-term reliability, while features include frost protection, weather compensation compatibility and a back-lit LCD interface. The ProTec Plus has a wide 1:10 modulation range to boost efficiencies further and is compatible with Alpha’s open and concentric push-fit flue systems. The separate laundry room had been using a gas-fired water heater to supply hot water to the sink, with electric heaters keeping the space warm in winter. Originally installed incorrectly, acidic corrosion had damaged the old heater, ultimately causing it to burst and leak water. As a more economical solution, the old system was replaced with Alpha’s 33kW E-Tec combi boiler to run both the heating and the hot water. The E-Tec 33 comes with a stainless steel heat exchanger, as well as a high-efficiency Grundfos pump with hydroblock assembly. A zinc-plated expansion vessel prevents corrosion, which was particularly appealing to the owners of the nursing home, following their experience with the previous system. For peace of mind, the E-Tec comes with a five-year warranty, with three years for the ProTec Plus. The tried and tested boiler condensing technology installed at Ivybank is a game-changer when it comes to reducing carbon and energy savings.  Offering the installer ease of installation and maintenance, compact and versatile fan-assisted boilers such as Alpha’s ProTec Plus can futureproof the energy demands in a wide range of commercial buildings. Visit: www.alpha-innovation.co.uk
    Mar 13, 2019 88
  • 06 Mar 2019
    Tendering for any project takes a great deal of consideration and attention. Although it is an important task which is completely instrumental to securing a project, it can be time-consuming. And, depending on the scale of a project and size of a company, the tendering process can be extremely varied. With this in mind, what are the hidden secrets to efficient and accurate job costing and estimating? How can construction estimating software ensure better visibility and traceability throughout the tendering process? Is there one solution which can truly streamline these complex processes?   Setting the scene Once a contractor has meticulously analysed whether a potential project is feasible, the tendering process can begin. Tendering processes vary from company to company but typically there are two formulas, ‘open’ or ‘restricted’ tendering. Whereas open tendering means applications can be received from a number of contractors, restricted tendering is limited to invited parties only. Even though there are two different methods such as these, there is one area which is a mainstay for all construction projects: the creation of a product library. To build a product library, the following methods can be adopted. Whereas smaller contractors might use a directory such as Laxton’s SMM and NRM price books, larger contractors might use this reference as a way to benchmark their own, or their subcontractors’ rates. For more specialist contractors, they might follow their own methods and only use a price book to help calculate the cost of work outside their usual scope. When ready to estimate for a particular project, the relevant items and resources from the product library are selected and converted into a BOQ (Bills of Quantities) – a crucial statement holding important project information such as prices and resource build up information of materials, labour, quantities and dimensions. Depending on the contractor’s preferred method, they can either create the BOQ themselves, or disseminate to subcontractors for price-approval. In all of these situations however, collating estimates for different parts of a project is a long process which takes time, attention and plenty of correspondence. Streamlining this process This initial cost estimation is vital to the overarching tendering process, but without the right resources it can be heavily time-consuming. Usually, a contractor might be juggling multiple tender applications at one time, which means there is double, even triple the amount of data recorded across various spreadsheets. Handling this level of data comes with storage and security risks, particularly as the spreadsheets cannot be easily recovered should they be mislaid. Adding to this, spreadsheets are consistently sent back-and-forth between contractor and subcontractor during the estimation process. And, as this method means information can be difficult to collate and track, accuracy might be compromised. For such a crucial process, this carries too much uncertainty and risk. Whilst these manual processes can work quite successfully for some construction companies, there are other approaches designed to streamline these tasks. What is the secret? To streamline processes, including the creation of product libraries, construction estimating software such as Eque2’s EValuate can help you to describe, measure and price tenders without duplication of effort. EValuate is also integrated with Laxton’s Priced Libraries which provides resource build up’s with annually updated rates for pricing items directly, or for comparison with your rates or subcontractor rates which is compatible with both SMM and NRM rules of measurement. A solution such as EValuate expedites the tendering process so companies can move on to secure more work. With this solution, a contractor can tend for multiple projects as they have the time and resource to do so. Conversely, for a company receiving the tender, they can accurately benchmark the costs against other sources to ensure they achieve the right price for a project. Therefore, modern estimating software such as EValuate incorporated with Laxton’s Priced Libraries is an efficient and user-friendly tool which cleanses an otherwise long and complex tendering process. For construction companies, it is a solution which enhances business productivity as opposed to disrupting it. With added benefits including data security, accuracy and performance efficiency, EValuate can be accessed by all parties involved to assure consistency across the board. For larger companies with multiple estimators working on multiple projects across different sectors, an unrivalled solution such as EValuate ensures data can be accessed and stored in one secure location. Evolving with industry changes, this innovative software is revolutionising the construction industry’s tendering process, helping to reduce risk, save time and win more work. Visit: https://www.eque2.co.uk
    90 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Tendering for any project takes a great deal of consideration and attention. Although it is an important task which is completely instrumental to securing a project, it can be time-consuming. And, depending on the scale of a project and size of a company, the tendering process can be extremely varied. With this in mind, what are the hidden secrets to efficient and accurate job costing and estimating? How can construction estimating software ensure better visibility and traceability throughout the tendering process? Is there one solution which can truly streamline these complex processes?   Setting the scene Once a contractor has meticulously analysed whether a potential project is feasible, the tendering process can begin. Tendering processes vary from company to company but typically there are two formulas, ‘open’ or ‘restricted’ tendering. Whereas open tendering means applications can be received from a number of contractors, restricted tendering is limited to invited parties only. Even though there are two different methods such as these, there is one area which is a mainstay for all construction projects: the creation of a product library. To build a product library, the following methods can be adopted. Whereas smaller contractors might use a directory such as Laxton’s SMM and NRM price books, larger contractors might use this reference as a way to benchmark their own, or their subcontractors’ rates. For more specialist contractors, they might follow their own methods and only use a price book to help calculate the cost of work outside their usual scope. When ready to estimate for a particular project, the relevant items and resources from the product library are selected and converted into a BOQ (Bills of Quantities) – a crucial statement holding important project information such as prices and resource build up information of materials, labour, quantities and dimensions. Depending on the contractor’s preferred method, they can either create the BOQ themselves, or disseminate to subcontractors for price-approval. In all of these situations however, collating estimates for different parts of a project is a long process which takes time, attention and plenty of correspondence. Streamlining this process This initial cost estimation is vital to the overarching tendering process, but without the right resources it can be heavily time-consuming. Usually, a contractor might be juggling multiple tender applications at one time, which means there is double, even triple the amount of data recorded across various spreadsheets. Handling this level of data comes with storage and security risks, particularly as the spreadsheets cannot be easily recovered should they be mislaid. Adding to this, spreadsheets are consistently sent back-and-forth between contractor and subcontractor during the estimation process. And, as this method means information can be difficult to collate and track, accuracy might be compromised. For such a crucial process, this carries too much uncertainty and risk. Whilst these manual processes can work quite successfully for some construction companies, there are other approaches designed to streamline these tasks. What is the secret? To streamline processes, including the creation of product libraries, construction estimating software such as Eque2’s EValuate can help you to describe, measure and price tenders without duplication of effort. EValuate is also integrated with Laxton’s Priced Libraries which provides resource build up’s with annually updated rates for pricing items directly, or for comparison with your rates or subcontractor rates which is compatible with both SMM and NRM rules of measurement. A solution such as EValuate expedites the tendering process so companies can move on to secure more work. With this solution, a contractor can tend for multiple projects as they have the time and resource to do so. Conversely, for a company receiving the tender, they can accurately benchmark the costs against other sources to ensure they achieve the right price for a project. Therefore, modern estimating software such as EValuate incorporated with Laxton’s Priced Libraries is an efficient and user-friendly tool which cleanses an otherwise long and complex tendering process. For construction companies, it is a solution which enhances business productivity as opposed to disrupting it. With added benefits including data security, accuracy and performance efficiency, EValuate can be accessed by all parties involved to assure consistency across the board. For larger companies with multiple estimators working on multiple projects across different sectors, an unrivalled solution such as EValuate ensures data can be accessed and stored in one secure location. Evolving with industry changes, this innovative software is revolutionising the construction industry’s tendering process, helping to reduce risk, save time and win more work. Visit: https://www.eque2.co.uk
    Mar 06, 2019 90

  • For your convenience we have listed 10 of the best “How to plaster a wall” blogs and guides and as we have no affiliations to any individual suppliers, it is for you to decide what works for you. Building Materials Company One of the better guides showing how to plaster a wall in nine easy steps  https://www.buildingmaterials.co.uk/knowledge/how-to-plaster-a-wall       2. British Gypsum As one of the country’s leading manufacturers this How to guide is obviously aimed at its own products but also gives a more general guide to all types of plastering and may be better suited to the beginner. https://www.british-gypsum.com/product-range/plaster-products/how-to-plaster         3. Homebuilding and Renovating This is a more interesting guide as it tries to give useful tips covering a range of different plastering challenges. https://www.homebuilding.co.uk/plastering-walls          4. DIY Doctor This website readily acknowledges that plastering can be difficult but concentrates on the finished job, the actual final coat or skim, which obviously has to look flat on completion. https://www.diydoctor.org.uk/projects/skim.htm           5. Dave’s Tips We like this site as it really tries to appeal to the beginner. Dave is an experienced plasterer and reckons it’s easy – but then it probably is for him. https://www.davesdiytips.com/plastering-for-beginners            6. Able Skills This is a site that assume you have never plastered a wall before and really does get down to the basics. We all know of course it’s not as easy as it’s made out – but well worth a look. https://www.ableskills.co.uk/blog/tutorials/how-to-apply-your-first-coat-of-plaster          7. Real Homes This is advice for those of us who live in old homes. Plastering is a more of a challenge in such buildings and this is where you will get the best tips if you have an older property. https://www.realhomes.com/advice/plaster-in-old-homes          8. The Spruce Keeping on the theme of old homes The Spruce takes it one stage further by discussing plaster and lath. If your home features such walls and ceilings then this is for you. https://www.thespruce.com/plaster-and-lath-came-before-drywall-1822861             9. Artex Ltd Probably one of the biggest plastering challenges and a throwback to all those 80’s style properties this How to guide shows you the best way to plaster over Artex. Good luck. https://www.artexltd.com/repair-hub/plastering-over-artex             10. Dummies Finally in our top 10 and the one that most find easier is a guide to how to repair cracks. These easy to follow instructions are worth a look. https://www.dummies.com/home-garden/walls-ceilings/how-to-fix-small-cracks-in-plaster
    Dec 13, 2018 239
  • Once you have planned where your shed will go you need to make sure you have all the right tools and products to complete the job such as: Pegs and string Building sand Standard cement Timber for base formwork Tape measure Spade Sweeping brush 1. Prepare the base When you do this allow enough distance from hedges or fences for easy access to all sides. Use the pegs and string to mark out a base 2” (5 cm) larger than the area of the building on each side. Make sure the area is square by using a level diagonally across the area 2. Pay attention to the hardcore Ensure that you have at least 3” (7.5 cm) of compacted hardcore underneath a 3″ concrete layer. The base can be level with the ground or raised above it. If you want it to be level, dig to a depth of 6” (15 cm), to allow for the hardcore layer and 3” (7.5 cm) of concrete. Level the area with a rake and spade and remove the pegs. 3. Make sure it’s level Measure, cut and fit timber to the shape of the base in order to contain the concrete. Check diagonal measurements to ensure the formwork is square and level as this will determine whether your shed base is 100% sturdy. Spread the hardcore and cover with a good level of sand. Ensure it is well compacted and flattened using a compacting tool or roller. 4: Next the concrete Mix concrete using one part cement to five parts all-in-one ballast, or use bags of dry-mixed concrete and just add water. Be careful not to add too much water as this may make the cement too runny. Spread the concrete evenly and slightly above the formwork. This can be then levelled off with a long straight edge of timber resting on the formwork. Use a sawing motion slowly over the entire surface of the freshly laid concrete. In extreme weather conditions – both hot and cold – ensure that you base is covered to allow it to cure slowly, minimising the risk if shrinking or cracking – and there you have it – the perfect base for your new shed. You could of course then decide to build your own shed but as we discussed earlier – why would you want to when there are so many brilliant alternatives that have been prefabricated offsite and ready to be place on your new base. Talk.Build never makes recommendations but as a starting point you might want to visit:  Sheds
    Jul 30, 2018 407
  • We have seen many different types of architectural software over recent years and while it seems that most do very good jobs there have also been many adverse comments that products are not delivering. Understandably most professionals are confused with the wide range of products on offer. Many look at niche options which do not quite hit the mark but with the right software and a modern computer, the entire plan of a building can be rendered and checked for structural and design flaws before it even leaves the drawing board. This is more efficient, less wasteful, and a lot more convenient as well. BIM Modelling has also demanded that architects design and produce in both 2D and 3D and as a result there have been major development in design software which allows professionals to draw and visualise house floor plans more quickly and easily One such company, Elecosoft, seems to have gone further than most with its own bespoke package, “Arcon Evo”, which combines visual design, professional CAD capabilities and clear project execution in a single program. The new software also offers an extensive range of architectural CAD tools for all aspects of building design allowing architects to construct to the smallest level of detail. It also produces detailed plans, automated 3D models, elevations, section details and working drawings and much more. At the front end it will also generate detailed drawing sets for planning applications with many additional features which many of my colleagues in the trade press are endorsing as a major leap forward. To some extent I guess I am doing the same but rather than list all the benefits, which can be seen on the company’s website – the link is featured at the bottom of this article - I am more interested in how architects themselves have responded. In the past, as mentioned earlier, we have seen many different software packages which all claim to bring architects and building professionals into the 21st Century but have failed to deliver when it matters. According to the professionals “Arcon Evo” does exactly what it says on the tin and is more than capable of producing detailed 2D and 3D designs and it seems a whole lot more. Guess it is down to our readers to decide. Visit: www.3darchitect.co.uk
    Jul 26, 2018 906
  • Providing best-in-class information and asset management in line with emerging industry standards, the CDE is at the heart of Heathrow’s Information strategy, and will ensure the efficient whole-life management of Heathrow’s critical assets. It will be its primary common information repository and allow for specific controls to be put in place to share information in a controlled manner with suppliers and across Heathrow’s departments. Wes Simmons, GroupBC CEO, said: “GroupBC is thrilled to have been selected as the CDE for this prestigious project. It’s a marquee win in the global infrastructure and aviation sector. Partnering with Excitech and Autodesk brings together a wealth of experience and expertise focused on delivering a world class solution to Heathrow, set to lay down a benchmark for other major aviation clients to aspire to.” Expected to be completed by December 2020, the project is already underway. It will see the deployment of Autodesk’s BIM 360 visualisation and design tools integrated and underpinned with management and governance from GroupBC’s Enterprise CDE. Jo Ellman Brown, PMO Director at Heathrow, said: “We are aiming to be the first airport operator in the world who can leverage value from our digital assets, allowing our people to work in a safe environment, design and plan in a collaborative way, and operate a fully integrated asset system.   David Hughes, Excitech’s Managing Director, said: “The GroupBC and Autodesk technologies being deployed are market-leading and will enable Heathrow to trust the data they hold and have the confidence to make decisions based on ‘one version of the truth’. As well as enabling Heathrow to have accurate, up-to-date information readily available in the CDE, the new solution will result in fewer surveys and reduced costs as a result of earlier and greater collaboration across all parties. Additionally, maintenance costs will reduce through better, earlier clash detection and more accurate maintenance information being readily available. About GroupBC GroupBC has been developing enterprise-scale information management solutions for construction-related projects and asset owners since 1998. Our extensible, UK hosted Common Data Environment (CDE) makes it easy for teams to collaborate, manage and share documents data and spatial information from a central, secure cloud-based platform. GroupBC is renowned for pushing the boundaries of technology, integrating project and asset data with external systems and datasets in order to provide rich and valuable insights which enable timelier and better decision making. Customers include Balfour Beatty, Costain, Nationwide Building Society, Sainsbury’s and Thames Water. www.groupbc.com About Excitech Excitech provides technology solutions and services for the construction sector, supporting the complete project life cycle from the manufacture of building products through to design and construction, building handover and maintenance. Its services include the provision of software, consultancy, training and support, and it offers a comprehensive range of IT, Document Management and Facilities Management solutions. Established in 1985, Excitech is the largest Autodesk Platinum Partner in the UK specialising in the construction sector, and has accreditations with leading technology vendors such as Microsoft, Dell, and HP. For further information, visit www.excitech.co.uk. About Autodesk Autodesk makes software for people who make things. If you’ve ever driven a high-performance car, admired a towering skyscraper, used a smartphone, or watched a great film, chances are you’ve experienced what millions of Autodesk customers are doing with our software. Autodesk gives you the power to make anything. Autodesk, AutoCAD, BIM 360 and Revit are registered trademark of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names or trademarks belong to their respective holders. Autodesk reserves the right to alter product and services offerings, and specifications and pricing at any time without notice, and is not responsible for typographical or graphical errors that may appear in this document.  For further information visit www.autodesk.com. © 2019 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.  
    Mar 15, 2019 30
  • Now in their eighth year, the TCF Awards honour construction-based products and services that help guarantee a perfect floor finish on every installation. Shortlisted products and services are selected for their innovation, ease of installation, safety, style, and sustainable qualities. The winner will be decided by an online vote. Simply visit https://gbr.sika.com/flooring/en/sika-flooring/news/sika-comfortfloor-in-line-for-industry-award--so-cast-your-votes.html to choose your favourite product or service from the 50 shortlisted finalists. Sarah James at SikaFloor, said: “Sika ComfortFloor’s selection as a finalist for this year’s Tomorrow’s Contract Floor Awards is recognition of the range’s superb contribution to the commercial flooring industry. It’s received many fine testimonials from contractors and clients alike, so to have this additional acclaim is particularly pleasing. We would ask as many people as possible to show their support and vote for Comfortfloor® via the simple online process.” Votes can be cast until Friday, March 15th.  The winner will be announced in April.  
    Mar 08, 2019 67
  • What are your responsibilities as an R & D project leader?  I work with the research and development team to ensure we deliver new product development that is fit for purpose and will ensure the future growth of the Incorez business. To do that, we develop research strategies to achieve the goals and objectives of the project. We have a really creative team at Incorez and always have many ideas running at the same time. Of course, there are technical and commercial considerations within that.  The real focus for us as a team and a big part of my role is to ensure projects are kept on track and delivered to target. We need to stay focused on innovation so we can develop quality products that will be the best solution for our customers. Our aim is to understand exactly what our customers want, whether a change in established products or something completely different, fully understanding their individual needs allows us to provide solutions that can surpass expectations. The latter could be anything from a new product that meets a gap in the market or tuning established technology to comply with legislation. We are always looking into the market to see what we can do and what there is a demand for. When did you become interested in chemistry and how has it defined your work? I have had always had a passion for chemistry ever since my time in school.  I found that I could be a lot more creative with chemistry. After I received my masters in chemistry, I was fortunate to be offered work at Incorez. It was an exciting time for the company as they had just built a brand new R & D facility and had a strong team of chemists. The company was big on innovation, new technologies and was very creative. With polymer chemistry, I have always appreciated the practical aspects of work. I enjoy working together with our own R & D team and different parts of the company in order to see a project through from a blue sky idea to a product that works in the marketplace. What sparked your interest in polyurethane and epoxy technology (polymer chemistry)? During university, I enjoyed the organic side of chemistry and was interested in how it would tie in with real life applications.  My industrial placement at Sika’s headquarters in Zurich gave me a lot of insight into that. I was working on products that I could see would make a difference in everyday life. The ability to see that end result was a real sense of achievement.  At Incorez, you really get that hands-on experience. It is always exciting, challenging, and there is always something new. I think that is what I like mostabout working in the polymer industry. It is something you can physically experiment with. It’s always changing and you are not always working on the same thing. How do you think chemical research is driving innovations in construction? It’s a balance. On the one hand we are constantly pushing the boundaries of pre-existing technology while on the other we are always exploring new innovations with chemistry. It can be challenging anything from legislative requirements such as low or zero VOCs, or low monomer content. It’s essentially about building on our existing technologies whilst always having new ideas in the pipeline. We are always focusing on how we can develop products that make construction applications easier but also safer at the same time. Can you give us some idea of a typical day? My day is constantly varied and I’m always balancing different projects. My time could be spent researching or reporting, whilst simultaneously monitoring a reaction running in the lab or speaking to customers. You have to be able to multi-task! We need to be efficient with our project planning, and the next steps. What does our customer want? How are we going to produce new innovative products? There are always challenges on the horizon which keeps me driven and determined. What are some of your biggest challenges facing young researchers? There is always a massive drive down on legislation due to stringent requirements. At the same time, we are challenged to produce the same quality of performance which isn’t always easy, such as when we are working with water based technology rather than solvent based.  Many customers are moving over to use more environmentally-friendly and sustainable products but there is a lot of competition in the market and not everyone is prepared to make that change yet. We are constantly staying ahead of the market trends to be as innovative as possible. The question is not what are the competition doing but rather what are they not doing yet?  What scientific achievement are you most proud of? It was my first product at Incorez, an anime hardener for high gloss floor coatings.  It was a challenge but we achieved it by working closely with the customer. It was my first custom chemistry product. Our customer was asking for something very specific that was challenging to achieve. Having a great working relationship enabled us to drill down to exactly what they wanted.  We managed to develop a product that met the customer’s requirements, with added benefits too. We exceeded their desired goals and now they are one of our biggest customers.   What developments in the chemicals industry are you most excited about? I think it’s got to be 3D printing as there so much advancement in the technology and it ties in a lot with the chemical and construction industry. For example, it’s now possible to print 3D smart objects made up of stimuli responsive material with no motor function that can basically respond to the environment through physical and chemical make-up alone. It’s very impressive what 3D printing is capable of, especially from a sustainability aspect. It’s going to completely revolutionise the future of development. With gender diversity in the workplace so important what steps can be made to increase the number of women in chemical sciences? There is a constant increase in the number of women in science anyway which is great, but I think we need to keep encouraging this further. Incorez as a company, for example, has a presence at the Lancashire Science Festival where we encourage children to come along. It’s a good way to try and increase that engagement with potentially the next generation of scientists. Who in your opinion was the most influential woman in science? It would have to be Marie Curie, the first woman in science to receive a Nobel Prize. She was the first one to break new ground and made a lot of changes for women in science after that.   Visit:  https://incorez.com/
    Mar 04, 2019 95
  • SAS International was selected for its unique SAS740i linear ceiling solution with integrated lighting, which cannot be found anywhere else. This ceiling design, characterised by floating rafts, dominated the entire atrium space. Suspended within this area, the black and white SAS740i rafts were suspended 20m below the glass atrium room through a stainless steel cable system. Black SAS130 tiles with a SAS-DL perforation were also installed, not only to meet the area’s acoustic requirements, but to add an industrial quality to each floor. Completed in November 2018, SAS International designed and delivered timeless metal ceiling solutions that will bring the building well into the next phase of its lifetime. Visit: https://sasintgroup.com
    Mar 11, 2019 37
  • As the building was an operating school, a fire rated product was deemed to be a sensible option, therefore Proteus Pro-Felt® Ultima Plus Fireguard was installed. To incorporate the awkward detailing Proteus Pro-System® Plus was used. As it is a cold applied liquid, it meant it could be easily moulded. Proteus Waterproofing worked closely with the Proteus Approved Contractor James Roofing Ltd.  to ensure the project was completed to a high standard.  Due to the works being carried out during term time, safety was of utmost importance to the staff and pupils, as well as minimising disruptions or suspensions. Proteus Waterproofing promote fire safe installation methods conforming to the industry lead Safe2Torch guidelines and is also certified with the highest European Fire Rating BroofT4. Proteus Pro-Felt® Ultima Plus is a high-performance multi-layer bituminous membrane system, tested to perform in extreme temperatures and weather conditions. This membrane is impervious to water and will achieve a weather-tight roof.   It has class leading modified bitumen content which allows the flexible membrane to move with the building and ensure long term durability and performance which is certified by the BBA to be in excess of 30years. Visit: www.proteuswaterproofing.co.uk
    Mar 05, 2019 64
  • A major new high-rise development in Manchester, Deansgate Square, features four residential towers and more than 1500 apartments. To meet the passive fire protection requirements throughout this luxury development SIDERISE, leaders in the development of fire, thermal and acoustics insulation solution, its provided perimeter barriers and firestops for installation as part of the curtain walling systems.   Set to become a catalyst for future development in the southern edge of the city, the SimpsonHaugh designed development being delivered by developer Renaker, includes four towers. The tallest tower – at 67 storeys and almost 200m high – will be the second highest residential tower in the UK. The other towers will stand at 53, 47 and 40 storeys high. As part of the façade design of the 183,000m2 development, façade installer Focchi Limited turned to SIDERISE and its extensive and proven range of fire-stopping insulation products.   The four towers are clad with a fully glazed unitized curtain walling system in a geometric composition. In order to seal the gap between this external curtain walling system and the floor slab whilst maintaining continuity of fire resistance, SIDERISE provided their certified CW-FS Curtain Wall Fire Stop System.     Focchi is installing SIDERISE CW-FS 120 firestops throughout the development. As well as being an effective seal against the passage of fire and smoke, they will also function as an effective acoustic barrier and plenum lining.   “We are a strong advocate of SIDERISE fire barriers due to their third party testing and the technical support we receive from the company. This has led us to using them on many previous projects,” said Dave Brown, Project Director at Focchi. “The SIDERISE fire barriers have the flexibility to deal with site tolerances and deflection, and offer our installers ease of installation.”   Whilst specifying the correct product is vital, the quality of installation of a life-safety critical product is equally as important. Throughout the application, the SIDERISE Inspection and Reporting App provided Focchi with an efficient way to effectively inspect, record and seamlessly audit the quality of the installation of the fire stops. By capturing the relevant information on a tablet device, the contractor was able to highlight any issues in need of a resolution.   The App allows the user to easily update data input fields, capture multiple photos for each area or element inspected and then record as in accordance with recommendations, or otherwise.  A comprehensive report is immediately generated which effectively offers feedback on the quality of installation of the areas inspected as in, or not in, accordance with recommendations, thereby identifying areas that require remedial treatment.     The SIDERISE Inspection and Reporting App is part of a comprehensive range of services from the company’s site services team which ensures that each stage of a project, from product selection to final installation, runs smoothly.    Currently under construction, this groundbreaking new high-rise development in Manchester’s city centre is set for completion in 2020.   Visit www.siderise.com
    Feb 27, 2019 88
  • With more than 20 years’ construction-based sales and development experience to call upon, Donna is perfectly suited to the role. She joins Sika from Building Innovation Ltd where she held the position as Key Account Management for roofing and tapered insulation. Donna, who will be working with Area Technical Managers and the applications team, said: “This is an extremely exciting opportunity for me. Sika-Trocal is a leading light in the roofing industry and renowned as an innovator of high-quality solutions. I hope my experience will prove beneficial and further the company’s superb service offering.” Donna commenced her appointment with Sika-Trocal in February. “The chance to work for such a high-profile employer as Sika proved too great to resist,” she added. “It offers a huge, but very rewarding challenge. I’m looking forward to meeting my new colleagues and taking this next valuable step in my career. I’m particularly excited about being involved with the Bombardier and Rock Roofing projects and hope to hit the ground running.” Outside of the workplace, Donna cites her hobbies as walking and spending time with family and her dog. She said having the desire to improve personal and professional skills is key to career success. “Forging excellent account relationships and possessing good industry knowledge are traits I like to think have helped me progress in my chosen field,” she said. “It sounds old-fashioned, but I truly believe success is built on hard work and a willingness to learn.”
    Mar 14, 2019 12
  • Leading insulation manufacturer, Recticel Insulation has announced two key appointments to enhance its regional presence in the UK. Laura Katon is the company’s new House Building Manager for the Southern region. With more than 20 years’ experience in sales and account management, liaising with house builders, local developers and building contractors, Laura is ideal for the role. She takes-up her position from December 10th.  She said: “I’ve been given a fantastic opportunity. Throughout the industry there is growing awareness of Recticel’s culture of innovation and quality with regard to its insulation products. It’s a very exciting time for the insulation sector; therefore it’s great to be on board with one of its leading lights.” Recticel has also appointed an Area Sales Manager for East Anglia. Kevin Lee is responsible for distribution, merchant, contractor and sales relating to Recticel’s tapered- roofing sister company, Gradient. Based in Norwich, Kevin reports to the area’s Regional Director, Paul Griffiths. Kevin, who has vast sales management experience in the technical insulation sector, said he was relishing the challenge of his latest role. “It’s a new chapter in my career, working with an exciting company with a superb product offering and innovative ethos,” he said. “I’ve joined a friendly, welcoming group of colleagues who are experts in their field. It’s a team built for success.”   Speaking of the appointments, Recticel’s Commercial Director, Kevin Bohea, said: “Laura and Kevin are excellent additions to Recticel’s regional operation. Their skills and experience will prove invaluable in strengthening our building and sales services. We offer them the warmest of welcomes and trust they will enjoy a long and fulfilling career with Recticel.“ . Visit: www.recticelinsulation.co.uk
    Feb 09, 2019 184