• 13 Jul 2021
    Britain might be out of the EU but we still continue to mirror many of their policies - and that particularly applies to climate change, energy savings and sustainability. Fire risk following Grenfell, also remains a major factor and both continue to provide massive challenges for Facility Management companies – especially when it comes to roofing and waterproofing writes Justin Pitman, sales director for Proteus Waterproofing. In spite of these factors, it can be proven that Facility Management professionals prepared to work more closely with suppliers can more easily meet these challenges, get the best quality job and make significant budget savings at the same time. Every building needs a roof, but in today’s green environment it is not enough to simply provide the waterproofing. New levels of insulation are needed to meet updated regulations and in the case of flats there is the added requirement to insulate party walls and other sensitive areas while also taking fire risk into consideration. Insulation levels are 10 times higher than they were 50 years ago.  However, while fire regulations have not changed dramatically in recent years, amendments have been made following the Grenfell tower fire, in particular the ban on the installation of combustible materials in external walls on buildings with a height of 18 metres or more, introduced in October 2019. The Climate Change Act 2008 set in legislation, the UK's approach to tackling and responding to climate change. It introduced the UK’s long-term legally binding 2050 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% relative to 1990 levels. Since 2012 there has also been a need for all commercial buildings to have EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates). These include buildings used as places of worship and for religious activities. stand-alone buildings of less than 50 m2. industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand including temporary buildings, offices, pubs, shops – the list is endless. The lower the energy use, the more attractive the building to potential end users. With this kind of pressure, it means that the building sector is crucial in achieving Britain’s energy and environmental goals. The good news is that following the introduction of energy performance rules in national building codes and the increased levels of insulation, buildings today consume only half as much as typical structures from the 1980s, but the rules continue to become more stringent and that in turn squeezes budgets. This all adds up to increased pressure and with fire and energy savings setting the agenda, more and more Facility Management professionals are asking companies such as Proteus to help them remove unnecessary costs from all parts of the supply chain. On face value this means offering the most competitive prices on product, but it is a much bigger story than that when set against the much bigger challenge of energy savings and fire risk. In response Proteus has developed a system and product offering to enable them to offer Facility Management professionals a complete roof design package incorporating living roofs (green, blue or brown), solar roof options, safety fall arrest systems and wind uplift calculations alongside their established waterproofing, insulation and fire protection system solutions. This ‘one-stop shop’ approach has allowed the company to provide a more competitive quality to their clients, whilst supporting them through the entire design and installation process. This has resulted in the removal of unnecessary costs and other overheads. In spite of these challenges, upgrading roofing and the waterproofing of other public areas can be incredibly disruptive and unpleasant for residents or office workers who have to remain in the building. There is also the risk of fire when torch on or molten materials are used. The good news is that the development of cold applied, odour free waterproofing systems has significantly reduced this problem and when used in conjunction with plans to increase insulation levels and reduce fire risk, they offer an incredibly cost-effective solution for Facility Management companies. It all adds up to major changes in the way that Facility Management Companies should be dealing with end suppliers. Closer collaboration with everyone involved in the supply chain means that the end user gets the best possible job. It is also the most cost-effective solution for Facility Management professionals when they are prepared to work more closely with suppliers and installers by letting them take the strain in terms of design advice, risk assessment and all the other factors which now dominate the modern construction industry. It is no longer about fighting for the best product price so why let roofing and waterproofing be a challenge when all the expertise you need is on the doorstep.  
    265 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Britain might be out of the EU but we still continue to mirror many of their policies - and that particularly applies to climate change, energy savings and sustainability. Fire risk following Grenfell, also remains a major factor and both continue to provide massive challenges for Facility Management companies – especially when it comes to roofing and waterproofing writes Justin Pitman, sales director for Proteus Waterproofing. In spite of these factors, it can be proven that Facility Management professionals prepared to work more closely with suppliers can more easily meet these challenges, get the best quality job and make significant budget savings at the same time. Every building needs a roof, but in today’s green environment it is not enough to simply provide the waterproofing. New levels of insulation are needed to meet updated regulations and in the case of flats there is the added requirement to insulate party walls and other sensitive areas while also taking fire risk into consideration. Insulation levels are 10 times higher than they were 50 years ago.  However, while fire regulations have not changed dramatically in recent years, amendments have been made following the Grenfell tower fire, in particular the ban on the installation of combustible materials in external walls on buildings with a height of 18 metres or more, introduced in October 2019. The Climate Change Act 2008 set in legislation, the UK's approach to tackling and responding to climate change. It introduced the UK’s long-term legally binding 2050 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% relative to 1990 levels. Since 2012 there has also been a need for all commercial buildings to have EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates). These include buildings used as places of worship and for religious activities. stand-alone buildings of less than 50 m2. industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand including temporary buildings, offices, pubs, shops – the list is endless. The lower the energy use, the more attractive the building to potential end users. With this kind of pressure, it means that the building sector is crucial in achieving Britain’s energy and environmental goals. The good news is that following the introduction of energy performance rules in national building codes and the increased levels of insulation, buildings today consume only half as much as typical structures from the 1980s, but the rules continue to become more stringent and that in turn squeezes budgets. This all adds up to increased pressure and with fire and energy savings setting the agenda, more and more Facility Management professionals are asking companies such as Proteus to help them remove unnecessary costs from all parts of the supply chain. On face value this means offering the most competitive prices on product, but it is a much bigger story than that when set against the much bigger challenge of energy savings and fire risk. In response Proteus has developed a system and product offering to enable them to offer Facility Management professionals a complete roof design package incorporating living roofs (green, blue or brown), solar roof options, safety fall arrest systems and wind uplift calculations alongside their established waterproofing, insulation and fire protection system solutions. This ‘one-stop shop’ approach has allowed the company to provide a more competitive quality to their clients, whilst supporting them through the entire design and installation process. This has resulted in the removal of unnecessary costs and other overheads. In spite of these challenges, upgrading roofing and the waterproofing of other public areas can be incredibly disruptive and unpleasant for residents or office workers who have to remain in the building. There is also the risk of fire when torch on or molten materials are used. The good news is that the development of cold applied, odour free waterproofing systems has significantly reduced this problem and when used in conjunction with plans to increase insulation levels and reduce fire risk, they offer an incredibly cost-effective solution for Facility Management companies. It all adds up to major changes in the way that Facility Management Companies should be dealing with end suppliers. Closer collaboration with everyone involved in the supply chain means that the end user gets the best possible job. It is also the most cost-effective solution for Facility Management professionals when they are prepared to work more closely with suppliers and installers by letting them take the strain in terms of design advice, risk assessment and all the other factors which now dominate the modern construction industry. It is no longer about fighting for the best product price so why let roofing and waterproofing be a challenge when all the expertise you need is on the doorstep.  
    Jul 13, 2021 265
  • 26 Apr 2021
    Hospitals are the UK’s lifeblood, providing patients across the country with access to specialised medical care and treatment. A cornerstone of their communities, hospitals must undergo routine upgrade and maintenance work in order to ensure they continually deliver to their high standards writes Stacey Lucas from Sontay. King’s College Hospital in south London is a major inner-city hospital managed by King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. As well as being a leading facility for care and treatment, King’s is a large medical hub which is one in a trio of institutions belonging to the King’s College London School of Medicine. The hospital underwent an £80million extension to its existing coronary care unit (CCU) building to provide vital new CCU and isolation room bed space for patients. To ensure these critical areas are controlled and monitored accurately, it was decided that an extensive range of building control peripherals were needed. A myriad of solutions from market-leading specialist Sontay were specified as part of a sophisticated building management system (BMS). Siemsatec, a specialist in BMS design, installation and maintenance was tasked with installing the BMS for the new space. The system needed to give simple control over the extension’s HVAC plant to keep patients comfortable, help streamline the hospital’s budget and offer a healthy environment to patients through effective temperature control. A further consideration was to ensure the hospital could maintain the efficient running of the building and enable energy and cost savings. Working collaboratively with Sontay, Siemsatec undertook full system design and management of the project from start to finish. Siemsatec installed a Trend IQ4 and 963 BMS, along with a range of Sontay solutions, which monitor all of the air handling units as well as the LTHW & CHW plant within the CCU bed spaces. The versatility of Sontay’s solutions means a range of field devices can monitor all aspects of a commercial building. This allows the likes of Siemsatec to select exactly what is required for each application. The Sontay products that were specified included temperature and combined temperature, and humidity sensors to monitor environmental conditions on the wards for patient and staff wellbeing. Immersion and frost thermostats, air and water differential pressure switches, air differential sensors, flow grids, smoke detectors, water detection and thyristor controllers were also specified to monitor the building service equipment. “The new control system ensured the facilities team could manage and monitor the system with ease in order to improve overall efficiency and respond to the needs of both patients and staff in the building,” commented Joe Bailey, Project Manager at Siemsatec. “We decided to use Sontay because of its reliability and the quality of the products. All of the solutions were easy to install and worked well once in place.” This project was extended within a fixed budget and delivered to a tight deadline to ensure the existing CCU unit remained operational. It was essential for the space to remain functional during the renovation process and give patients immediate use of the services. “The prompt delivery Sontay offered really helped us deliver the completed project on time,” continued Joe. Following the installation and completion of the project, the facilities management team at the hospital can now manage, monitor and adapt the control system quickly and easily. They will also ensure the hospital is operating as efficiently as possible and respond to the needs of both patients and staff within the building. The presence of Sontay’s solutions on King’s College Hospital’s new CCU unit will enable a vital medical facility to keep delivering and pioneering treatment for patients for years to come.  
    406 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Hospitals are the UK’s lifeblood, providing patients across the country with access to specialised medical care and treatment. A cornerstone of their communities, hospitals must undergo routine upgrade and maintenance work in order to ensure they continually deliver to their high standards writes Stacey Lucas from Sontay. King’s College Hospital in south London is a major inner-city hospital managed by King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. As well as being a leading facility for care and treatment, King’s is a large medical hub which is one in a trio of institutions belonging to the King’s College London School of Medicine. The hospital underwent an £80million extension to its existing coronary care unit (CCU) building to provide vital new CCU and isolation room bed space for patients. To ensure these critical areas are controlled and monitored accurately, it was decided that an extensive range of building control peripherals were needed. A myriad of solutions from market-leading specialist Sontay were specified as part of a sophisticated building management system (BMS). Siemsatec, a specialist in BMS design, installation and maintenance was tasked with installing the BMS for the new space. The system needed to give simple control over the extension’s HVAC plant to keep patients comfortable, help streamline the hospital’s budget and offer a healthy environment to patients through effective temperature control. A further consideration was to ensure the hospital could maintain the efficient running of the building and enable energy and cost savings. Working collaboratively with Sontay, Siemsatec undertook full system design and management of the project from start to finish. Siemsatec installed a Trend IQ4 and 963 BMS, along with a range of Sontay solutions, which monitor all of the air handling units as well as the LTHW & CHW plant within the CCU bed spaces. The versatility of Sontay’s solutions means a range of field devices can monitor all aspects of a commercial building. This allows the likes of Siemsatec to select exactly what is required for each application. The Sontay products that were specified included temperature and combined temperature, and humidity sensors to monitor environmental conditions on the wards for patient and staff wellbeing. Immersion and frost thermostats, air and water differential pressure switches, air differential sensors, flow grids, smoke detectors, water detection and thyristor controllers were also specified to monitor the building service equipment. “The new control system ensured the facilities team could manage and monitor the system with ease in order to improve overall efficiency and respond to the needs of both patients and staff in the building,” commented Joe Bailey, Project Manager at Siemsatec. “We decided to use Sontay because of its reliability and the quality of the products. All of the solutions were easy to install and worked well once in place.” This project was extended within a fixed budget and delivered to a tight deadline to ensure the existing CCU unit remained operational. It was essential for the space to remain functional during the renovation process and give patients immediate use of the services. “The prompt delivery Sontay offered really helped us deliver the completed project on time,” continued Joe. Following the installation and completion of the project, the facilities management team at the hospital can now manage, monitor and adapt the control system quickly and easily. They will also ensure the hospital is operating as efficiently as possible and respond to the needs of both patients and staff within the building. The presence of Sontay’s solutions on King’s College Hospital’s new CCU unit will enable a vital medical facility to keep delivering and pioneering treatment for patients for years to come.  
    Apr 26, 2021 406
  • 23 Apr 2021
    Sustainability has been at the top of the building agenda for many years, with an emphasis on its environmental and economic impact. Such outcomes are of major importance, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that buildings are created for people, and their health and wellbeing should be of the highest priority when it comes to the interior design and workings of offices and other workplaces. Stacey Lucas, Commercial and Marketing Director at Sontay, a market-leader in the manufacture of sensors specifically developed to improve the indoor environment and create healthier, more energy-efficient buildings, looks at how smart sensor technology is being employed for beneficial effect in the places we inhabit most.  Pre-pandemic we reportedly spent more than 90% of our lives indoors whether at home, school or in the workplace. Ventilation, temperature and pressure regulation contribute to maintaining an atmospheric happy medium, which in a work environment helps increase employee contentment, leading to increased productivity and fewer sick days. Building sensors installed as part of an efficient building management system, offer an ingeniously smart and effective way of remotely monitoring indoor conditions, as well as giving property owners more control over energy usage; a benefit that not only helps reduce heating and lighting costs, it facilitates a significant reduction in a building’s carbon footprint. Monitoring key criteria such as relative humidity, CO2 and air quality can also offer vital information on the likelihood of viral transmission in the indoor environment and instruct the BMS to increase ventilation to improve conditions. Their usage could therefore be a factor in driving environmental-initiatives, such as the UK government’s pledge for carbon-neutral status by 2050 as well as building confidence in us returning to office buildings in the future. Sensor solutions Sensors can control a myriad of elements that affect our indoor climate including temperature, which in relation to an office environment is found to be around 22°C. However, relative humidity, if not managed correctly can make a room feel hotter or colder than the actual temperature reading. It can increase the likelihood of bacterial spread at lower levels. A sensor can help overcome these issues by monitoring humidity levels, to ensure an ideal 50% reading is maintained. In terms of air quality, airborne volatile organic compounds (VOC), pollutants which are found in paints and other building materials, are known to have a detrimental effect. The same harmful chemicals are also present in hand sanitisers, aggressive cleaning products and detergents; the demand for which has been unprecedented since the onset of the coronavirus crisis. Air quality sensors are able to measure VOC levels and provide data for when ventilation is needed to maintain occupancy comfort, or the need to take action when a potentially hazardous reading is recorded. Crisis management The COVID-19 pandemic has also focused a lot of attention on the amount of indoor space people should be allowed to share in order to maintain distance and prevent viral spread. A CO2 sensor provides a clear visual indication of when a workplace requires ventilation due to deterioration in the indoor air quality. When we exhale we emit CO2, which if left unchecked in a busy office environment for example, can lead to headaches due to increased discomfort levels. A CO2 sensor with an LED traffic light-style display can help alleviate this issue. When showing green, for instance, the sensor is indicating that a room isn’t over-occupied and the risk to air quality is low. Should the sensor show amber, it’s a sign that windows require opening or fewer people need to be in the room to maintain the same healthy indoors environment. When the sensor turns red it is a call to action, as it indicates there is not enough ventilationin the room. At these last two stages, if a sensor is connected to a building management system, it will activate relevant ventilation. Light level and occupancy sensors offer further relevance to the ongoing pandemic. In relation to the nationwide lockdown, many offices in towns and cities remain empty whilst lights and other energy sources continue to burn unmonitored within the buildings themselves. An estimated 40% of a building’s energy costs are attributed to light usage; therefore, installing a sensor which operates lighting based on a building’s occupancy and interior light levels has financial and environmental benefits. Though relatively small in size, building sensors can have a huge part to play in ensuring properties, particularly workspaces, are managed safely, sustainably and profitably. Like a friend we never knew we had, these smart little devices look out for us when we’re in the office, and look out for the office when we’re at home. They are becoming evermore vital to the way we work today, and in the future.
    375 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Sustainability has been at the top of the building agenda for many years, with an emphasis on its environmental and economic impact. Such outcomes are of major importance, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that buildings are created for people, and their health and wellbeing should be of the highest priority when it comes to the interior design and workings of offices and other workplaces. Stacey Lucas, Commercial and Marketing Director at Sontay, a market-leader in the manufacture of sensors specifically developed to improve the indoor environment and create healthier, more energy-efficient buildings, looks at how smart sensor technology is being employed for beneficial effect in the places we inhabit most.  Pre-pandemic we reportedly spent more than 90% of our lives indoors whether at home, school or in the workplace. Ventilation, temperature and pressure regulation contribute to maintaining an atmospheric happy medium, which in a work environment helps increase employee contentment, leading to increased productivity and fewer sick days. Building sensors installed as part of an efficient building management system, offer an ingeniously smart and effective way of remotely monitoring indoor conditions, as well as giving property owners more control over energy usage; a benefit that not only helps reduce heating and lighting costs, it facilitates a significant reduction in a building’s carbon footprint. Monitoring key criteria such as relative humidity, CO2 and air quality can also offer vital information on the likelihood of viral transmission in the indoor environment and instruct the BMS to increase ventilation to improve conditions. Their usage could therefore be a factor in driving environmental-initiatives, such as the UK government’s pledge for carbon-neutral status by 2050 as well as building confidence in us returning to office buildings in the future. Sensor solutions Sensors can control a myriad of elements that affect our indoor climate including temperature, which in relation to an office environment is found to be around 22°C. However, relative humidity, if not managed correctly can make a room feel hotter or colder than the actual temperature reading. It can increase the likelihood of bacterial spread at lower levels. A sensor can help overcome these issues by monitoring humidity levels, to ensure an ideal 50% reading is maintained. In terms of air quality, airborne volatile organic compounds (VOC), pollutants which are found in paints and other building materials, are known to have a detrimental effect. The same harmful chemicals are also present in hand sanitisers, aggressive cleaning products and detergents; the demand for which has been unprecedented since the onset of the coronavirus crisis. Air quality sensors are able to measure VOC levels and provide data for when ventilation is needed to maintain occupancy comfort, or the need to take action when a potentially hazardous reading is recorded. Crisis management The COVID-19 pandemic has also focused a lot of attention on the amount of indoor space people should be allowed to share in order to maintain distance and prevent viral spread. A CO2 sensor provides a clear visual indication of when a workplace requires ventilation due to deterioration in the indoor air quality. When we exhale we emit CO2, which if left unchecked in a busy office environment for example, can lead to headaches due to increased discomfort levels. A CO2 sensor with an LED traffic light-style display can help alleviate this issue. When showing green, for instance, the sensor is indicating that a room isn’t over-occupied and the risk to air quality is low. Should the sensor show amber, it’s a sign that windows require opening or fewer people need to be in the room to maintain the same healthy indoors environment. When the sensor turns red it is a call to action, as it indicates there is not enough ventilationin the room. At these last two stages, if a sensor is connected to a building management system, it will activate relevant ventilation. Light level and occupancy sensors offer further relevance to the ongoing pandemic. In relation to the nationwide lockdown, many offices in towns and cities remain empty whilst lights and other energy sources continue to burn unmonitored within the buildings themselves. An estimated 40% of a building’s energy costs are attributed to light usage; therefore, installing a sensor which operates lighting based on a building’s occupancy and interior light levels has financial and environmental benefits. Though relatively small in size, building sensors can have a huge part to play in ensuring properties, particularly workspaces, are managed safely, sustainably and profitably. Like a friend we never knew we had, these smart little devices look out for us when we’re in the office, and look out for the office when we’re at home. They are becoming evermore vital to the way we work today, and in the future.
    Apr 23, 2021 375
  • 02 Sep 2016
    In the absence of a crystal ball it is almost impossible to predict how construction companies will fare following the vote to leave the EU… Within days of the vote being announced it was clear that there would be winners and losers and it will probably be a least another six months or so before certainty returns to the market. But it would seem that, for companies willing to grasp the opportunities in Europe’s second largest construction market, the future could look very good indeed and some organisations are predicting that UK manufacturers could do extremely well if they are willing to be bold. The BBA is one such organisation that has identified an unexpected trend in the market and a mood of optimism from companies that believe they can succeed – by simply being better than their competitors – particularly in the areas of quality and excellence. It has long been accepted that a BBA accreditation is a standard of excellence that manufacturers of construction products should aspire to, but there are some who clearly want to go to the next step by driving quality forward still further to leave the competition behind. In short there seems to be a growing number of companies out there prepared to go that extra mile to get the best possible accreditations for their products to ensure that they have a greater advantage in a highly competitive market. There is no doubt that such companies will succeed against a background where building owners and specifiers are not prepared to risk anything but the best and it could be that the BBA has identified a positive move to even greater quality in the marketplace – although it must be emphasised they do not claim to have any definitive answers regarding the future. So it seems, then, that Britain could once again be a byword for quality, and if the BBA is right – then the entire UK construction market stands to benefit – and what’s wrong with that? http://www.bbacerts.co.uk/
    1 Posted by BBA
  • By BBA
    In the absence of a crystal ball it is almost impossible to predict how construction companies will fare following the vote to leave the EU… Within days of the vote being announced it was clear that there would be winners and losers and it will probably be a least another six months or so before certainty returns to the market. But it would seem that, for companies willing to grasp the opportunities in Europe’s second largest construction market, the future could look very good indeed and some organisations are predicting that UK manufacturers could do extremely well if they are willing to be bold. The BBA is one such organisation that has identified an unexpected trend in the market and a mood of optimism from companies that believe they can succeed – by simply being better than their competitors – particularly in the areas of quality and excellence. It has long been accepted that a BBA accreditation is a standard of excellence that manufacturers of construction products should aspire to, but there are some who clearly want to go to the next step by driving quality forward still further to leave the competition behind. In short there seems to be a growing number of companies out there prepared to go that extra mile to get the best possible accreditations for their products to ensure that they have a greater advantage in a highly competitive market. There is no doubt that such companies will succeed against a background where building owners and specifiers are not prepared to risk anything but the best and it could be that the BBA has identified a positive move to even greater quality in the marketplace – although it must be emphasised they do not claim to have any definitive answers regarding the future. So it seems, then, that Britain could once again be a byword for quality, and if the BBA is right – then the entire UK construction market stands to benefit – and what’s wrong with that? http://www.bbacerts.co.uk/
    Sep 02, 2016 1
  • 02 Sep 2016
    Finding themselves priced out of rural areas where they grew up, younger residents are leaving to find housing they can afford. Thanks to new Permitted Development planning laws however disused farm buildings can be transformed into good quality homes for rent or sale, meaning families can stay in the area and an asset is brought back into use for farmers. A mismatch between housing supply and demand in rural areas is forcing many residents to move to cities to find good affordable housing for themselves and their families. A solution which could defuse this demographic time bomb, while also giving disused farm buildings a new lease of life, is being trialled by one company across several farms in Cambridgeshire. In April 2014 the Government confirmed that permitted development rights within the 2012 National Policy Framework would enable change of use of agricultural buildings to residential, flexible (i.e. commercial) or educational use. With many farmers having disused and dilapidated barns or other buildings on their land which are no longer fit for purpose and present a maintenance headache, the potential to turn them into desirable and practical rural family homes and generate income in the process is tempting. In reusing existing building assets the idea is environmentally sustainable as well as being economically sustainable as a new long-term revenue stream for farmers. As one example in Cambridgeshire, contractor Richardson & Peat has been commissioned by AgReserves Ltd which owns farmland across the county to put together a design team to convert under permitted development their semi-derelict barns into high quality homes for rent to local people. Permitted development rules The following rules form a basic guide to developing an agricultural building under permitted development rights:• Developments cannot be larger than 450m² and must fall within existing footprint.• The previous use must be solely agricultural. • The maximum number of separate dwellings on one site is three.• The building cannot be Listed. • No previous permitted developments can have been accepted or built on the same farm.• The site is not in a safety hazard area or site of scientific interest or of military use.• The site complies with any requirements if it falls within a flood zone. • The building will comply with current Building Regulations when constructed. To proceed with taking on this challenge a good architect is essential in understanding not only rural design and planning but also the needs of future occupants. It’s unlikely that an existing barn will be in a condition in order to meet new housing standards in Building Regulations so the adaption of the existing barn must provide a new thermal envelope as a key component to the construction alongside good natural light levels from windows and doors. Structural engineers can also be critical particularly if you are looking at older barns where substantial work is going to be needed to strengthen existing foundations and new and existing floors and walls. Above all the final design should provide a good practical living environment for a family. With this planning option available farm living gives local people wishing to stay in the area an opportunity that would otherwise not be available and it also opens up the possibility for people looking to move back to a rural surrounding from an urban environment. From a farmers prospective it’s crucial that the building is laid out thoughtfully to maximise its asset value as this is a once only application under permitted development rules. The Cambridgeshire project will widen the housing choices for local residents, but could provide a template for other farmers looking to take up the idea which would create a major impact across the UK. From a financial position farmers looking to develop are likely to be given a fair hearing from lenders given that the land is already a free asset and would bring an impressive return on any borrowing, meaning there is a realistic opportunity to turn thousands of obsolete rural buildings into badly-needed homes for future generations.
    1 Posted by Natasha Wills
  • Finding themselves priced out of rural areas where they grew up, younger residents are leaving to find housing they can afford. Thanks to new Permitted Development planning laws however disused farm buildings can be transformed into good quality homes for rent or sale, meaning families can stay in the area and an asset is brought back into use for farmers. A mismatch between housing supply and demand in rural areas is forcing many residents to move to cities to find good affordable housing for themselves and their families. A solution which could defuse this demographic time bomb, while also giving disused farm buildings a new lease of life, is being trialled by one company across several farms in Cambridgeshire. In April 2014 the Government confirmed that permitted development rights within the 2012 National Policy Framework would enable change of use of agricultural buildings to residential, flexible (i.e. commercial) or educational use. With many farmers having disused and dilapidated barns or other buildings on their land which are no longer fit for purpose and present a maintenance headache, the potential to turn them into desirable and practical rural family homes and generate income in the process is tempting. In reusing existing building assets the idea is environmentally sustainable as well as being economically sustainable as a new long-term revenue stream for farmers. As one example in Cambridgeshire, contractor Richardson & Peat has been commissioned by AgReserves Ltd which owns farmland across the county to put together a design team to convert under permitted development their semi-derelict barns into high quality homes for rent to local people. Permitted development rules The following rules form a basic guide to developing an agricultural building under permitted development rights:• Developments cannot be larger than 450m² and must fall within existing footprint.• The previous use must be solely agricultural. • The maximum number of separate dwellings on one site is three.• The building cannot be Listed. • No previous permitted developments can have been accepted or built on the same farm.• The site is not in a safety hazard area or site of scientific interest or of military use.• The site complies with any requirements if it falls within a flood zone. • The building will comply with current Building Regulations when constructed. To proceed with taking on this challenge a good architect is essential in understanding not only rural design and planning but also the needs of future occupants. It’s unlikely that an existing barn will be in a condition in order to meet new housing standards in Building Regulations so the adaption of the existing barn must provide a new thermal envelope as a key component to the construction alongside good natural light levels from windows and doors. Structural engineers can also be critical particularly if you are looking at older barns where substantial work is going to be needed to strengthen existing foundations and new and existing floors and walls. Above all the final design should provide a good practical living environment for a family. With this planning option available farm living gives local people wishing to stay in the area an opportunity that would otherwise not be available and it also opens up the possibility for people looking to move back to a rural surrounding from an urban environment. From a farmers prospective it’s crucial that the building is laid out thoughtfully to maximise its asset value as this is a once only application under permitted development rules. The Cambridgeshire project will widen the housing choices for local residents, but could provide a template for other farmers looking to take up the idea which would create a major impact across the UK. From a financial position farmers looking to develop are likely to be given a fair hearing from lenders given that the land is already a free asset and would bring an impressive return on any borrowing, meaning there is a realistic opportunity to turn thousands of obsolete rural buildings into badly-needed homes for future generations.
    Sep 02, 2016 1
  • 04 Jul 2017
    One of the world’s oldest and most traditional waterproofing materials, mastic asphalt is a truly versatile performer, outlasting other materials and proven time and time again on everything from sealing dams to flooring, flat roofs to sports facilities, walkways to balconies and car parks to bridges. Successfully used to provide unbeatable protection from water penetration for centuries, in recent years mastic asphalt has been reformulated to include advanced polymers for increased durability, combining its traditional strengths with modern technology.   Mastic asphalt is highly resistant and robust enough to withstand all types of weather situations and attacks from thermal shock (rapid temperature changes), which are a frequent source of break down in many other types of membrane.It’s also non-toxic and non-flammable. Its durability and seamless application means that it is one of the few membranes able to handle consistent heavy foot and vehicular traffic, including from Heavy Goods Vehicles, and still maintain its waterproof integrity. With no application too tricky, it is also easy to repair should alterations or damage occur. Another major advantage with mastic asphalt is that it can be laid at speed, reducing the project costs significantly. It also cools very rapidly, allowing foot traffic within two to three hours, dependent upon ambient temperature. Providing such excellent wear against the extremes of weather – and with a life expectancy of 50 years and more - the waterproof membrane is fast becoming the material of choice for a manner of different buildings including, schools, offices, shopping centres, hotels and even churches. Mastic asphalt has one further advantage over other types of waterproof membrane – it is carbon neutral – a massive bonus for any building owner anxious to show their green credentials and, when it has reached the end of its useful life, it can be recycled or used as roof screed, minimising the impact on the environment. Highly cost-effective, mastic asphalt offers lower installation costs than many other types of membrane. Its versatility makes it the ideal choice, so whether it’s a 31 mile bridge in Hong Kong or St Paul’s Cathedral, this market- leading product is revered across the world. By Mastic Asphalt Council. Visit MAC: http://www.masticasphaltcouncil.co.uk/      
    4644 Posted by Talk. Build
  • One of the world’s oldest and most traditional waterproofing materials, mastic asphalt is a truly versatile performer, outlasting other materials and proven time and time again on everything from sealing dams to flooring, flat roofs to sports facilities, walkways to balconies and car parks to bridges. Successfully used to provide unbeatable protection from water penetration for centuries, in recent years mastic asphalt has been reformulated to include advanced polymers for increased durability, combining its traditional strengths with modern technology.   Mastic asphalt is highly resistant and robust enough to withstand all types of weather situations and attacks from thermal shock (rapid temperature changes), which are a frequent source of break down in many other types of membrane.It’s also non-toxic and non-flammable. Its durability and seamless application means that it is one of the few membranes able to handle consistent heavy foot and vehicular traffic, including from Heavy Goods Vehicles, and still maintain its waterproof integrity. With no application too tricky, it is also easy to repair should alterations or damage occur. Another major advantage with mastic asphalt is that it can be laid at speed, reducing the project costs significantly. It also cools very rapidly, allowing foot traffic within two to three hours, dependent upon ambient temperature. Providing such excellent wear against the extremes of weather – and with a life expectancy of 50 years and more - the waterproof membrane is fast becoming the material of choice for a manner of different buildings including, schools, offices, shopping centres, hotels and even churches. Mastic asphalt has one further advantage over other types of waterproof membrane – it is carbon neutral – a massive bonus for any building owner anxious to show their green credentials and, when it has reached the end of its useful life, it can be recycled or used as roof screed, minimising the impact on the environment. Highly cost-effective, mastic asphalt offers lower installation costs than many other types of membrane. Its versatility makes it the ideal choice, so whether it’s a 31 mile bridge in Hong Kong or St Paul’s Cathedral, this market- leading product is revered across the world. By Mastic Asphalt Council. Visit MAC: http://www.masticasphaltcouncil.co.uk/      
    Jul 04, 2017 4644
  • 22 Aug 2017
    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/  
    4111 Posted by Talk. Build
  • 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/  
    Aug 22, 2017 4111
  • 31 Aug 2017
    The headline says it all - and it particularly applies to the construction industry; especially when it comes to our small corner of it, the resin bound permeable paving market. We are not afraid to tell you that we sometimes lose out to competitors quoting up to 20% cheaper than us. “What?” I hear you say “Some of your competitors are 20% cheaper than you and you are admitting it?”  Yes we are and for a very, very good reason… All too often we hear from customers who, having previously bought a cheaper product, ask us to rectify problems associated with inferior resin bound paving. Knowing that the basic requirement of every company is to make a profit, we can rule out companies doing too many jobs ‘out of the kindness of their heart’ or free of charge.  So, with only a limited number of ways to make one resin bound product cheaper than another, and ruling out profit as the major difference, the only other ways are: Cheaper resins Everyone in the industry knows that the resin used (very unsurprisingly) within resin bound paving is the single most crucial factor in determining whether your product is average or great.  Although the quality, cleanliness and consistency of the stone is vitally important, what really differentiates material suppliers is the quality of the resin binder used. There are many ‘tunes’ which can be played with the resin including using different types of vastly differing qualities and altering the formulation percentages to make products stronger or weaker.   Obviously less resin equals cheaper, and I seriously doubt anyone would be surprised that cheaper equals weaker. At SureSet we only use high quality resins, in the correct formulas, ensuring that the durability of our product is top of the agenda. Poor mix design Not investing in technical expertise is another way of reducing cost. Every blend we create at SureSet is tested using a process we have developed over 18 years.  We know that each type and size of individual aggregate has different characteristics, which means that some types of aggregate require different amounts of resin than others. I have heard many companies say “just dump this 7kg resin on top of any 100kg of dry stone and away you go”, but the reality is producing high quality, long lasting products is a far more technical process than that. This completely rules out the ‘one size fits all’ theory, yet there are many well established companies who are still doing just that. Hand in hand with good design is the need to manage quality so that the product produced is consistent and meets required standards.  Customers should look for suppliers who demonstrate this by achieving and maintaining national standards, such as ISO 9001 and Investors in People. Total quantity of material used There are some companies who, to keep the cost of a job low, will install the material at less than optimal depths, regardless of its end use.  When buying resin bound paving you should make sure that each quote has the same specification; if one company is stating a 20mm depth, and the other a 16mm depth, ask both companies why.  The likelihood is that the company stating 20mm will have done so due to turning vehicles, large vehicles or heavier usage etc.  The 20mm material will last longer, and withstand its intended use.  Let’s not forget the company stating 20mm also wants to be as competitive as possible, so it does not make commercial sense to state a greater depth, and therefore increased cost, than is necessary.  If 16mm will do the job, then 16mm would have been quoted for. Poor workmanship Labour costs are also a significant factor when determining the selling point of resin bound paving, both in having the necessary skills, and having enough labour on site. Our experience allows us to precisely assess how many installers are needed to install a particular job and enables us to price accurately.  A mistake commonly made is in thinking that three installers can do the job of five… In theory they probably could, but will the quality and attention to detail be the same if your surface were laid by five skilled installers? The simple answer is no.  If we at SureSet took that approach, whilst our quote would be more competitive and our profit margin increase, the reality is that the installation would be rushed and shortcuts taken. We do everything in our power to avoid under-estimating the time needed for each installation - at the end of the day you are ‘only as good as your last job’. In short there would be no time to walk that ‘extra mile’ and deliver the high quality associated with SureSet.  To summarise Throughout the 18 years SureSet has been manufacturing, supplying and installing permeable resin bound paving, we have been called upon to rectify poor installations. Some can be repaired, while others require complete replacement. Unfortunately for the customer, the original cheap price is no longer the bargain they originally thought it was. When buying resin bound paving I urge you not to buy on price, but consider these points when making your decision: Value – don’t just consider the upfront cost, but the whole life investment into the quality of the product. Remember you can only make cheap resin bound paving by compromising the quality of the end product. Quality– a product that has been well designed, researched and invested in will look better and last longer. Reputation – read testimonials, ask to see installations near you or speak to customers before purchasing.  ‘Word of mouth’ still goes a long way. Guarantee – established companies offering long guarantees offer them for a reason. Likewise companies offering a short guarantee also do so for a reason. Although we would love to, we don’t expect to win every tender we submit - it is not feasible or conducive to a healthy market. However when we lose out to an inferior, cheaper product is frustrating because we know that at some point in the future the customer, who thought they were choosing between ‘like for like’ products will be disappointed with their decision.  Not only was this a loss to SureSet, but more worryingly it could be a loss to the resin bound paving market.  So as the title of my blog suggests: Please, please don’t purchase purely on price, purchase on value. Author: Ben Shave, Sales Director, SureSet UK Ltd. Visit: https://www.sureset.co.uk/ Follow Us: https://www.facebook.com/suresetuk/ https://twitter.com/SureSetUK https://www.youtube.com/user/SureSetUK15 https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/1220581/  
    2787 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The headline says it all - and it particularly applies to the construction industry; especially when it comes to our small corner of it, the resin bound permeable paving market. We are not afraid to tell you that we sometimes lose out to competitors quoting up to 20% cheaper than us. “What?” I hear you say “Some of your competitors are 20% cheaper than you and you are admitting it?”  Yes we are and for a very, very good reason… All too often we hear from customers who, having previously bought a cheaper product, ask us to rectify problems associated with inferior resin bound paving. Knowing that the basic requirement of every company is to make a profit, we can rule out companies doing too many jobs ‘out of the kindness of their heart’ or free of charge.  So, with only a limited number of ways to make one resin bound product cheaper than another, and ruling out profit as the major difference, the only other ways are: Cheaper resins Everyone in the industry knows that the resin used (very unsurprisingly) within resin bound paving is the single most crucial factor in determining whether your product is average or great.  Although the quality, cleanliness and consistency of the stone is vitally important, what really differentiates material suppliers is the quality of the resin binder used. There are many ‘tunes’ which can be played with the resin including using different types of vastly differing qualities and altering the formulation percentages to make products stronger or weaker.   Obviously less resin equals cheaper, and I seriously doubt anyone would be surprised that cheaper equals weaker. At SureSet we only use high quality resins, in the correct formulas, ensuring that the durability of our product is top of the agenda. Poor mix design Not investing in technical expertise is another way of reducing cost. Every blend we create at SureSet is tested using a process we have developed over 18 years.  We know that each type and size of individual aggregate has different characteristics, which means that some types of aggregate require different amounts of resin than others. I have heard many companies say “just dump this 7kg resin on top of any 100kg of dry stone and away you go”, but the reality is producing high quality, long lasting products is a far more technical process than that. This completely rules out the ‘one size fits all’ theory, yet there are many well established companies who are still doing just that. Hand in hand with good design is the need to manage quality so that the product produced is consistent and meets required standards.  Customers should look for suppliers who demonstrate this by achieving and maintaining national standards, such as ISO 9001 and Investors in People. Total quantity of material used There are some companies who, to keep the cost of a job low, will install the material at less than optimal depths, regardless of its end use.  When buying resin bound paving you should make sure that each quote has the same specification; if one company is stating a 20mm depth, and the other a 16mm depth, ask both companies why.  The likelihood is that the company stating 20mm will have done so due to turning vehicles, large vehicles or heavier usage etc.  The 20mm material will last longer, and withstand its intended use.  Let’s not forget the company stating 20mm also wants to be as competitive as possible, so it does not make commercial sense to state a greater depth, and therefore increased cost, than is necessary.  If 16mm will do the job, then 16mm would have been quoted for. Poor workmanship Labour costs are also a significant factor when determining the selling point of resin bound paving, both in having the necessary skills, and having enough labour on site. Our experience allows us to precisely assess how many installers are needed to install a particular job and enables us to price accurately.  A mistake commonly made is in thinking that three installers can do the job of five… In theory they probably could, but will the quality and attention to detail be the same if your surface were laid by five skilled installers? The simple answer is no.  If we at SureSet took that approach, whilst our quote would be more competitive and our profit margin increase, the reality is that the installation would be rushed and shortcuts taken. We do everything in our power to avoid under-estimating the time needed for each installation - at the end of the day you are ‘only as good as your last job’. In short there would be no time to walk that ‘extra mile’ and deliver the high quality associated with SureSet.  To summarise Throughout the 18 years SureSet has been manufacturing, supplying and installing permeable resin bound paving, we have been called upon to rectify poor installations. Some can be repaired, while others require complete replacement. Unfortunately for the customer, the original cheap price is no longer the bargain they originally thought it was. When buying resin bound paving I urge you not to buy on price, but consider these points when making your decision: Value – don’t just consider the upfront cost, but the whole life investment into the quality of the product. Remember you can only make cheap resin bound paving by compromising the quality of the end product. Quality– a product that has been well designed, researched and invested in will look better and last longer. Reputation – read testimonials, ask to see installations near you or speak to customers before purchasing.  ‘Word of mouth’ still goes a long way. Guarantee – established companies offering long guarantees offer them for a reason. Likewise companies offering a short guarantee also do so for a reason. Although we would love to, we don’t expect to win every tender we submit - it is not feasible or conducive to a healthy market. However when we lose out to an inferior, cheaper product is frustrating because we know that at some point in the future the customer, who thought they were choosing between ‘like for like’ products will be disappointed with their decision.  Not only was this a loss to SureSet, but more worryingly it could be a loss to the resin bound paving market.  So as the title of my blog suggests: Please, please don’t purchase purely on price, purchase on value. Author: Ben Shave, Sales Director, SureSet UK Ltd. Visit: https://www.sureset.co.uk/ Follow Us: https://www.facebook.com/suresetuk/ https://twitter.com/SureSetUK https://www.youtube.com/user/SureSetUK15 https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/1220581/  
    Aug 31, 2017 2787
  • 19 Feb 2019
    It is without doubt that the relationship between contractors and subcontractors is the construction industry’s bread and butter. Maintaining healthy relations between all the parties involved in a project is completely essential to delivering a project on time and to specification, writes Richard Boston, Marketing Director at Eque2. However, in some cases difficulties between contractors and subcontractors can arise, particularly in terms of price estimation and job costing. With this in mind, how can construction management software solutions prevent these issues from occurring? Why relationships matter There are many mutual benefits when it comes to sustaining a positive working relationship between contractors and subcontractors. An equal, transparent relationship between these two parties ensures projects are completed efficiently and safely; for the benefit of not only the building’s occupants but the companies’ reputations.   In comparison, negative relationships between contractors and subcontractors can have adverse effects on a build, potentially jeopardising productivity, quality, completion times and securing future work. On a large commercial project a single contractor can be working with up to 20 subcontractors, possibly more. For the contractor, there is a huge amount of responsibility on their shoulders to manage their subcontractors efficiently. On the other hand, for the subcontractor, there is always a pressure to deliver what is required of them. A positive working relationship between the two operates in exactly the same way most healthy, mutual bonds work – through clarity, communication and respect.  Creating the best working relationship To build and maintain honest relationships throughout a project’s lifecycle, it is crucial to put these three factors into practice at each stage, particularly when it comes to dealing with more sensitive tasks that are likely to cause temporary confusion and disagreement. For example, let’s consider a delicate subject such as a project’s initial job costing stage. A common procedure across the construction industry and indeed further afield, job costing is a crucial process which creates an image of the labour and materials required and how profit can be made. The usual process is: one party, a subcontractor, estimates the cost of labour and materials and delivers this quote to the other party, the contractor. Although this description sounds relatively straightforward and unambiguous, this process can be more complicated when put into practice. In some cases, a contractor might be sceptical that the cost of materials or labour is a little higher or lower than originally anticipated. But, as this would typically be a manual process in which a subcontractor would present physical documentation to a contractor, there is little means for the contractor to accurately benchmark the costing to any other source. The lack of consistency and standardisation is an issue here and rarely bodes well for the remainder of a project. Immediately, this kind of situation creates a precarious bond between contractor and subcontractor. Although the contractor might go ahead with the job, there will always be that seed of doubt at the back of their minds which questions the reliability and accuracy of the job costing. “Is that piece of machinery really needed?”, “Could I have got it at a different price?” Consistency is crucial Clearly, there needs to be a standard process in which price estimations can be traced and compared to a faithful source. An example would be a modern construction estimating solution such as Eque2’s Evaluate, which incorporates industry-recognised and centuries-old Laxton’s pricing book. Built into Eque2’s EValuate, Laxton’s Priced Libraries features authentic, standardised rates for contractor’s to benchmark subcontractors’ tenders. Compatible with both SMM and NRM rules of measurement, Laxton’s provides annually updated rates for accurate up-to-date information. EValuate with Laxton’s Priced Libraries is fully compliant with industry standards, giving contractors and subcontractors complete peace of mind when it comes to labour and material cost estimation. And, what’s more, as Laxton’s is now fully integrated within modern estimating software, it means all estimations can be traced, recorded and accessed easily in the same place. But what does this mean for contractor and subcontractor relationships? With modern estimating software, subcontractors and contractors feel more comfortable during the estimation process. This is because Laxton’s can be used as a benchmarking tool for contractors to compare rates with an accurate, reliable source, and can work with the subcontractors collaboratively from there. Overall, it creates a mutually healthy and beneficial business relationship for all. There is no doubt that the contractor and subcontractor relationship is essential to a project’s success. With this in mind, isn’t it high time that more robust, digital measures were employed to preserve this important bond? Visit:  https://www.eque2.co.uk
    2695 Posted by Talk. Build
  • It is without doubt that the relationship between contractors and subcontractors is the construction industry’s bread and butter. Maintaining healthy relations between all the parties involved in a project is completely essential to delivering a project on time and to specification, writes Richard Boston, Marketing Director at Eque2. However, in some cases difficulties between contractors and subcontractors can arise, particularly in terms of price estimation and job costing. With this in mind, how can construction management software solutions prevent these issues from occurring? Why relationships matter There are many mutual benefits when it comes to sustaining a positive working relationship between contractors and subcontractors. An equal, transparent relationship between these two parties ensures projects are completed efficiently and safely; for the benefit of not only the building’s occupants but the companies’ reputations.   In comparison, negative relationships between contractors and subcontractors can have adverse effects on a build, potentially jeopardising productivity, quality, completion times and securing future work. On a large commercial project a single contractor can be working with up to 20 subcontractors, possibly more. For the contractor, there is a huge amount of responsibility on their shoulders to manage their subcontractors efficiently. On the other hand, for the subcontractor, there is always a pressure to deliver what is required of them. A positive working relationship between the two operates in exactly the same way most healthy, mutual bonds work – through clarity, communication and respect.  Creating the best working relationship To build and maintain honest relationships throughout a project’s lifecycle, it is crucial to put these three factors into practice at each stage, particularly when it comes to dealing with more sensitive tasks that are likely to cause temporary confusion and disagreement. For example, let’s consider a delicate subject such as a project’s initial job costing stage. A common procedure across the construction industry and indeed further afield, job costing is a crucial process which creates an image of the labour and materials required and how profit can be made. The usual process is: one party, a subcontractor, estimates the cost of labour and materials and delivers this quote to the other party, the contractor. Although this description sounds relatively straightforward and unambiguous, this process can be more complicated when put into practice. In some cases, a contractor might be sceptical that the cost of materials or labour is a little higher or lower than originally anticipated. But, as this would typically be a manual process in which a subcontractor would present physical documentation to a contractor, there is little means for the contractor to accurately benchmark the costing to any other source. The lack of consistency and standardisation is an issue here and rarely bodes well for the remainder of a project. Immediately, this kind of situation creates a precarious bond between contractor and subcontractor. Although the contractor might go ahead with the job, there will always be that seed of doubt at the back of their minds which questions the reliability and accuracy of the job costing. “Is that piece of machinery really needed?”, “Could I have got it at a different price?” Consistency is crucial Clearly, there needs to be a standard process in which price estimations can be traced and compared to a faithful source. An example would be a modern construction estimating solution such as Eque2’s Evaluate, which incorporates industry-recognised and centuries-old Laxton’s pricing book. Built into Eque2’s EValuate, Laxton’s Priced Libraries features authentic, standardised rates for contractor’s to benchmark subcontractors’ tenders. Compatible with both SMM and NRM rules of measurement, Laxton’s provides annually updated rates for accurate up-to-date information. EValuate with Laxton’s Priced Libraries is fully compliant with industry standards, giving contractors and subcontractors complete peace of mind when it comes to labour and material cost estimation. And, what’s more, as Laxton’s is now fully integrated within modern estimating software, it means all estimations can be traced, recorded and accessed easily in the same place. But what does this mean for contractor and subcontractor relationships? With modern estimating software, subcontractors and contractors feel more comfortable during the estimation process. This is because Laxton’s can be used as a benchmarking tool for contractors to compare rates with an accurate, reliable source, and can work with the subcontractors collaboratively from there. Overall, it creates a mutually healthy and beneficial business relationship for all. There is no doubt that the contractor and subcontractor relationship is essential to a project’s success. With this in mind, isn’t it high time that more robust, digital measures were employed to preserve this important bond? Visit:  https://www.eque2.co.uk
    Feb 19, 2019 2695
  • 25 Jul 2018
    Contractors generally begin a project with an estimate of how much it will cost writes Eric Block, but no construction company wants to budget for the price of an accident. A safety incident on a job site can do more than disrupt a schedule and increase costs. It also can take a human toll that can have a much greater impact than any line item in a budget.   From start to finish, operating a project safely is a construction company’s most important obligation. Everyone involved in construction shares the responsibility for a safe working environment. Executives and managers must build and reinforce a culture of safety. Workers must be mindful of the proper procedures related to their roles. Because there is so much at risk at all times, no task is too small to do safely.   For example, something as simple as hammering a nail must be done with the utmost attention to proper techniques and procedures. These include wearing safety goggles, inspecting tools for signs of wear and taking periodic breaks to avoid repetitive stress injuries.   Operating heavy equipment also requires workers to pay attention to safety protocols. Such rules include surveying the surrounding area to ensure you will have enough clearance and having a spotter check your blind spots. Construction projects are costly. No contractor wants to add to the price of a project through accidents, especially those that can be avoided. The accompanying guide lays out many of the most important safety tips crews should keep in mind before they begin the workday.   Author bio: Eric Block is VP of Sales and Marketing at USA Hoist. He has been in the industry for 15 years, and has the experience and knowledge to help achieve the most effective hoisting solutions for general contractors — assisting with everything from value engineering to logistics plans.
    2593 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Contractors generally begin a project with an estimate of how much it will cost writes Eric Block, but no construction company wants to budget for the price of an accident. A safety incident on a job site can do more than disrupt a schedule and increase costs. It also can take a human toll that can have a much greater impact than any line item in a budget.   From start to finish, operating a project safely is a construction company’s most important obligation. Everyone involved in construction shares the responsibility for a safe working environment. Executives and managers must build and reinforce a culture of safety. Workers must be mindful of the proper procedures related to their roles. Because there is so much at risk at all times, no task is too small to do safely.   For example, something as simple as hammering a nail must be done with the utmost attention to proper techniques and procedures. These include wearing safety goggles, inspecting tools for signs of wear and taking periodic breaks to avoid repetitive stress injuries.   Operating heavy equipment also requires workers to pay attention to safety protocols. Such rules include surveying the surrounding area to ensure you will have enough clearance and having a spotter check your blind spots. Construction projects are costly. No contractor wants to add to the price of a project through accidents, especially those that can be avoided. The accompanying guide lays out many of the most important safety tips crews should keep in mind before they begin the workday.   Author bio: Eric Block is VP of Sales and Marketing at USA Hoist. He has been in the industry for 15 years, and has the experience and knowledge to help achieve the most effective hoisting solutions for general contractors — assisting with everything from value engineering to logistics plans.
    Jul 25, 2018 2593
  • 24 Nov 2017
    Biodiversity is something that is all too often overlooked in building design and built environment projects, especially on inner city, industrial and commercial projects. Often seen as exclusive for urban development, biodiversity has taken on a new importance and is something that should be considered on every project. Drawing from a pioneering and collaborative strategic ecological framework, BREEAM helps design teams consider how to incorporate biodiversity on every project by looking at the science behind biodiversity, encouraging alignment of relevant processes and promoting consideration of the environmental, social and economic benefits that ecological protection and enhancements can bring. There have been significant developments over the past decade in best practice for evaluating, protecting and enhancing ecological features. In response to industry feedback BRE Global’s BREEAM team has worked with a wide range of stakeholders to understand how to progress development of its ecology assessment content which covers master planning, infrastructure and buildings. Strategic Ecology Framework for BREEAM Scheme Development Following extensive feedback from ecology and landscape professionals and others commonly engaged with BREEAM assessments, the BREEAM team concluded that the ratings scheme should take a more strategic approach to encouraging high ecological standards. As a result, the treatment of ecology in UK BREEAM schemes has therefore been extensively reviewed in order to develop a Strategic Ecology Framework (SEF) for improving and evaluating the ecological performance of buildings, assets and developments. The SEF has been developed to reflect the advances in the field of ecology and landscape management. It forms the basis for future development of relevant ecology-related assessment criteria according to the respective life cycle stages covered by UK BREEAM schemes Measuring and Specifying for Ecological Performance BREEAM UK’s Ecology related content encourages project teams and facilities managers to reduce and manage impacts on the natural environment and local biodiversity/habitats and identify opportunities for enhancement. It does this by identifying ecological value on and around a site and the risks and opportunities that arise as a result of the design, construction and operation of an asset. It focuses on processes and actions that protect features of value, mitigate unavoidable impacts, and enhance habitats. Importantly, it also seeks to promote best practice regarding long term biodiversity management practices and strategies for assessed sites and ecologically associated surrounding areas to maximise the outcomes. Assessment content relate to the use of land of low ecological value, mitigation and enhancement of ecological value, long term ecological and biodiversity management and seek to maximise the wider benefits to occupants and the broader society through provision of additional amenity and economic value in a manner which is context specific. There are four key issues which make up the Ecology content: Identifying and understanding the risks and opportunities for project Managing negative impacts on habitats and biodiversity Enhancement of ecological value Long term biodiversity management and maintenance Part of each issue focuses on looking at how ecology, biodiversity and soft landscaping can support and link other core specification areas such as landscape and habitat management, surface water run-off management, flood risk management, light and noise pollution, health and wellbeing, and recreational space. Promoting consideration and where appropriate specification of elements which support sustainability and resilience on the site. Process of implementation With the SEF published in the spring of 2016, the process of implementation is underway through the BREEAM scheme development update process. BRE has brought together a group of ecologists, landscape architects and many others involved in the design, construction, handover and operational aspects of the built environment to advise on the development of a methodology for implementing the SEF which could be used across all BREEAM schemes. These individuals span all of the BREEAM schemes. This includes the following BREEAM new build suite of schemes currently being updated: BREEAM UK Non Domestic New Construction Home Quality Mark Next version of CEEQUAL (incorporating BREEAM Infrastructure pilot scheme) These schemes will be the first to take account of the updated ecology content informed by the Strategic Ecology Framework. Specifying and Creating a Sustainable Built Environment It is vital that we aspire to a built environment that is optimal in terms of ecology, and not only in terms of technology and costs. Of course not all projects can be ecologically ambitious, but they can take steps to protect and enhance the ecological value of buildings and sites, such as preserving natural areas, maintaining ponds, promoting bee-friendly planting and very many others. Protecting and improving ecology and how it relates to the built environment can contribute greatly to the environmental quality of our increasingly urbanised world and – as a growing body of evidence shows – improve the health, wellbeing and even productivity of building users. The new and comprehensive ecological framework developed by BREEAM will be key to both promoting and rewarding. By Yetunde Abdul, BREEAM Scheme Development Manager, BRE Global Visit: www.breeam.com/sef.
    2385 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Biodiversity is something that is all too often overlooked in building design and built environment projects, especially on inner city, industrial and commercial projects. Often seen as exclusive for urban development, biodiversity has taken on a new importance and is something that should be considered on every project. Drawing from a pioneering and collaborative strategic ecological framework, BREEAM helps design teams consider how to incorporate biodiversity on every project by looking at the science behind biodiversity, encouraging alignment of relevant processes and promoting consideration of the environmental, social and economic benefits that ecological protection and enhancements can bring. There have been significant developments over the past decade in best practice for evaluating, protecting and enhancing ecological features. In response to industry feedback BRE Global’s BREEAM team has worked with a wide range of stakeholders to understand how to progress development of its ecology assessment content which covers master planning, infrastructure and buildings. Strategic Ecology Framework for BREEAM Scheme Development Following extensive feedback from ecology and landscape professionals and others commonly engaged with BREEAM assessments, the BREEAM team concluded that the ratings scheme should take a more strategic approach to encouraging high ecological standards. As a result, the treatment of ecology in UK BREEAM schemes has therefore been extensively reviewed in order to develop a Strategic Ecology Framework (SEF) for improving and evaluating the ecological performance of buildings, assets and developments. The SEF has been developed to reflect the advances in the field of ecology and landscape management. It forms the basis for future development of relevant ecology-related assessment criteria according to the respective life cycle stages covered by UK BREEAM schemes Measuring and Specifying for Ecological Performance BREEAM UK’s Ecology related content encourages project teams and facilities managers to reduce and manage impacts on the natural environment and local biodiversity/habitats and identify opportunities for enhancement. It does this by identifying ecological value on and around a site and the risks and opportunities that arise as a result of the design, construction and operation of an asset. It focuses on processes and actions that protect features of value, mitigate unavoidable impacts, and enhance habitats. Importantly, it also seeks to promote best practice regarding long term biodiversity management practices and strategies for assessed sites and ecologically associated surrounding areas to maximise the outcomes. Assessment content relate to the use of land of low ecological value, mitigation and enhancement of ecological value, long term ecological and biodiversity management and seek to maximise the wider benefits to occupants and the broader society through provision of additional amenity and economic value in a manner which is context specific. There are four key issues which make up the Ecology content: Identifying and understanding the risks and opportunities for project Managing negative impacts on habitats and biodiversity Enhancement of ecological value Long term biodiversity management and maintenance Part of each issue focuses on looking at how ecology, biodiversity and soft landscaping can support and link other core specification areas such as landscape and habitat management, surface water run-off management, flood risk management, light and noise pollution, health and wellbeing, and recreational space. Promoting consideration and where appropriate specification of elements which support sustainability and resilience on the site. Process of implementation With the SEF published in the spring of 2016, the process of implementation is underway through the BREEAM scheme development update process. BRE has brought together a group of ecologists, landscape architects and many others involved in the design, construction, handover and operational aspects of the built environment to advise on the development of a methodology for implementing the SEF which could be used across all BREEAM schemes. These individuals span all of the BREEAM schemes. This includes the following BREEAM new build suite of schemes currently being updated: BREEAM UK Non Domestic New Construction Home Quality Mark Next version of CEEQUAL (incorporating BREEAM Infrastructure pilot scheme) These schemes will be the first to take account of the updated ecology content informed by the Strategic Ecology Framework. Specifying and Creating a Sustainable Built Environment It is vital that we aspire to a built environment that is optimal in terms of ecology, and not only in terms of technology and costs. Of course not all projects can be ecologically ambitious, but they can take steps to protect and enhance the ecological value of buildings and sites, such as preserving natural areas, maintaining ponds, promoting bee-friendly planting and very many others. Protecting and improving ecology and how it relates to the built environment can contribute greatly to the environmental quality of our increasingly urbanised world and – as a growing body of evidence shows – improve the health, wellbeing and even productivity of building users. The new and comprehensive ecological framework developed by BREEAM will be key to both promoting and rewarding. By Yetunde Abdul, BREEAM Scheme Development Manager, BRE Global Visit: www.breeam.com/sef.
    Nov 24, 2017 2385