• 08 Aug 2019
    Advancements in technology have improved most industries, including the construction and engineering sectors.  But could humans eventually find themselves redundant within these work spheres at the expense of technology?  Probably not!  After all, software is usually only as good as the human operating it… Computer-based assistance really is just that: a tool to assist. The successful link between computer programmes and engineering skill varies depending on which part of the AEC industry they are being used in. To understand how this factor can impact their relationship, we must first look at the three main stages of engineering design.  Concept design: At this stage, the majority of the design comes from the imagination of the engineer, supported by some simple sizing elements or calculations. Drafting and analysis: This stage brings the concept design into the real world more earnestly, checking that it is feasible and how it will succeed. This stage is predominantly computer-based, using, for example building design software, which strives to assist engineers work with regards to accuracy. Detailed design: This stage is when, as the name suggests, the design becomes much more detailed. At this point, the design is almost completely computer-based, with analysis happening in the background. It’s likely that such processes will always require an aspect of creativity and imagination — the ability to think outside the box and problem-solve in new ways. But it’s not just the imaginative aspect that machines cannot replicate in full: fine tuning, for example, still needs a guiding human hand in order to ensure the outputs are correct. While leaps and bounds are certainly being made in machine learning, whereby computers can now make decisions based on historical data and records, it is highly unlikely that this will develop to the point where human skill and judgement become obsolete. Naturally, human judgment is not flawless. Mistakes can be made when writing the programmes designed to support design, or further along the line when inputting data into these programmes. Either error will result in an inaccurate output. For this reason, the topic of automated checking — whereby computer programmes will check the input against previous projects and their success or failure — has been a hot point of discussion within the AEC industry lately. However, it is worth bearing in mind that the majority of engineering disasters have occurred due to something unusual; that is, something that has not happened in previous related projects. While rule-checkers help when situations where rules apply, they aren’t able to flag something that hasn’t happened in previous records, i.e. something unusual. There are many examples of such missed errors. For example, the Millennium Bridge’s well-known wobble was not picked up on at any point by the design’s code. Programmes failed to predict the wind instability of Tacoma Narrows. While engineers can make use of a value judgement, computer programmes do not. As the world changes, engineers will make a value judgement to adapt their designs accordingly. In order for both human and technological processes to be as accurate as possible, formulas need to be crafted. There are several structures and designs that have had formulas developed exclusively for them. For example, the original formula creation for shell structures had to be created by expert mathematicians to ensure success. Now, with Finite element Analysis, almost any form can be analysed — but that does not mean these forms are always sensible. There’s a certain amount of tension between architects and engineers surrounding this. Where engineers are seen as wanting functionality, architect are seen as wanting novelty first. But this disparity makes for the perfect partnership towards the best designs.        
    739 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Advancements in technology have improved most industries, including the construction and engineering sectors.  But could humans eventually find themselves redundant within these work spheres at the expense of technology?  Probably not!  After all, software is usually only as good as the human operating it… Computer-based assistance really is just that: a tool to assist. The successful link between computer programmes and engineering skill varies depending on which part of the AEC industry they are being used in. To understand how this factor can impact their relationship, we must first look at the three main stages of engineering design.  Concept design: At this stage, the majority of the design comes from the imagination of the engineer, supported by some simple sizing elements or calculations. Drafting and analysis: This stage brings the concept design into the real world more earnestly, checking that it is feasible and how it will succeed. This stage is predominantly computer-based, using, for example building design software, which strives to assist engineers work with regards to accuracy. Detailed design: This stage is when, as the name suggests, the design becomes much more detailed. At this point, the design is almost completely computer-based, with analysis happening in the background. It’s likely that such processes will always require an aspect of creativity and imagination — the ability to think outside the box and problem-solve in new ways. But it’s not just the imaginative aspect that machines cannot replicate in full: fine tuning, for example, still needs a guiding human hand in order to ensure the outputs are correct. While leaps and bounds are certainly being made in machine learning, whereby computers can now make decisions based on historical data and records, it is highly unlikely that this will develop to the point where human skill and judgement become obsolete. Naturally, human judgment is not flawless. Mistakes can be made when writing the programmes designed to support design, or further along the line when inputting data into these programmes. Either error will result in an inaccurate output. For this reason, the topic of automated checking — whereby computer programmes will check the input against previous projects and their success or failure — has been a hot point of discussion within the AEC industry lately. However, it is worth bearing in mind that the majority of engineering disasters have occurred due to something unusual; that is, something that has not happened in previous related projects. While rule-checkers help when situations where rules apply, they aren’t able to flag something that hasn’t happened in previous records, i.e. something unusual. There are many examples of such missed errors. For example, the Millennium Bridge’s well-known wobble was not picked up on at any point by the design’s code. Programmes failed to predict the wind instability of Tacoma Narrows. While engineers can make use of a value judgement, computer programmes do not. As the world changes, engineers will make a value judgement to adapt their designs accordingly. In order for both human and technological processes to be as accurate as possible, formulas need to be crafted. There are several structures and designs that have had formulas developed exclusively for them. For example, the original formula creation for shell structures had to be created by expert mathematicians to ensure success. Now, with Finite element Analysis, almost any form can be analysed — but that does not mean these forms are always sensible. There’s a certain amount of tension between architects and engineers surrounding this. Where engineers are seen as wanting functionality, architect are seen as wanting novelty first. But this disparity makes for the perfect partnership towards the best designs.        
    Aug 08, 2019 739
  • 19 Jul 2019
    Figures show one-in-six construction-based workers suffers from a form of mental illness. Even more alarming is the statistic that reveals suicide kills more people in the building sector than falls from height writes Steph Palmer, BriggsAmasco Training Officer. It’s also reported that two construction workers reportedly take their own life each day. Such distressing data highlights the urgent need for roofing companies and the industry as a whole to educate employees and ensure they have the best possible support in order to recognise mental stress symptoms in themselves and colleagues. In doing so, they will be taking a vital first step to making a full recovery from the debilitating effects of anxiety and depression.  Journey As a company, BriggsAmasco is facilitating an environment that encourages, where reasonably possible, improved mental health amongst employees. This journey began in 2017 when a workshop was staged as part of the company’s annual Health and Safety forum. It was held on behalf of contract-related staff and subcontractors in order to steer individuals seeking guidance towards the appropriate mental health support. Feedback from employees who attended the workshop was extremely positive. This was particularly encouraging, as BriggsAmasco aims to create an environment and culture where staff feel comfortable discussing their psychological state, whether it is good or bad.  Employers should take into account the fact that not all workers feel comfortable raising such issues with their manager, whereas others will view it as the best avenue to getting help. Listening to workers and addressing their specific needs is vital. Any staff member that is not comfortable speaking to a BriggsAmasco representative has access to the company’s Employee Assistance Programme that is 100% confidential and deals with anything from mental health issues to financial or legal problems they may be experiencing. New employees are issued with information cards, highlighting external organisations – The Lighthouse Club, Building Mental Health – which provide support to the construction community and their families. Mental health initiative BriggsAmasco hosts each new employee at its Birmingham head office for a two-day induction that includes a presentation and discussion on its mental health strategy, devised to ensure each employee has access to at least one mental health first aider on site and within its offices. Two members of BriggsAmasco staff are Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) trained and available to deliver the courses throughout the business. Since March 2019, the company has trained 35 staff as mental health first aiders; a figure that will increase in the following year. The company’s board of directors will also undergo training in mental health awareness to help continue open conversations across the company, as proof of how seriously it takes its staff’s psychological welfare.   Mental illness has long been considered something of a taboo subject within the building industry. By bringing the issue to light through its education and training initiatives, BriggsAmasco is doing all it can to safeguard its employees’ peace of mind. Visit:https://briggsamasco.co.uk/
    255 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Figures show one-in-six construction-based workers suffers from a form of mental illness. Even more alarming is the statistic that reveals suicide kills more people in the building sector than falls from height writes Steph Palmer, BriggsAmasco Training Officer. It’s also reported that two construction workers reportedly take their own life each day. Such distressing data highlights the urgent need for roofing companies and the industry as a whole to educate employees and ensure they have the best possible support in order to recognise mental stress symptoms in themselves and colleagues. In doing so, they will be taking a vital first step to making a full recovery from the debilitating effects of anxiety and depression.  Journey As a company, BriggsAmasco is facilitating an environment that encourages, where reasonably possible, improved mental health amongst employees. This journey began in 2017 when a workshop was staged as part of the company’s annual Health and Safety forum. It was held on behalf of contract-related staff and subcontractors in order to steer individuals seeking guidance towards the appropriate mental health support. Feedback from employees who attended the workshop was extremely positive. This was particularly encouraging, as BriggsAmasco aims to create an environment and culture where staff feel comfortable discussing their psychological state, whether it is good or bad.  Employers should take into account the fact that not all workers feel comfortable raising such issues with their manager, whereas others will view it as the best avenue to getting help. Listening to workers and addressing their specific needs is vital. Any staff member that is not comfortable speaking to a BriggsAmasco representative has access to the company’s Employee Assistance Programme that is 100% confidential and deals with anything from mental health issues to financial or legal problems they may be experiencing. New employees are issued with information cards, highlighting external organisations – The Lighthouse Club, Building Mental Health – which provide support to the construction community and their families. Mental health initiative BriggsAmasco hosts each new employee at its Birmingham head office for a two-day induction that includes a presentation and discussion on its mental health strategy, devised to ensure each employee has access to at least one mental health first aider on site and within its offices. Two members of BriggsAmasco staff are Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) trained and available to deliver the courses throughout the business. Since March 2019, the company has trained 35 staff as mental health first aiders; a figure that will increase in the following year. The company’s board of directors will also undergo training in mental health awareness to help continue open conversations across the company, as proof of how seriously it takes its staff’s psychological welfare.   Mental illness has long been considered something of a taboo subject within the building industry. By bringing the issue to light through its education and training initiatives, BriggsAmasco is doing all it can to safeguard its employees’ peace of mind. Visit:https://briggsamasco.co.uk/
    Jul 19, 2019 255
  • 02 Jul 2019
    The British Standards Institute (BSI) has published the BS 6229: 2018 - flat roofs with continuously supported flexible waterproof covering - code of practice – writes Martin Bidewell, Head of Technical and Product Management for Sika Roofing .   The latest guidelines, which were published in November, contain a number of changes in relation to general good practice guidance, updated terminology and definitions for flat roofs. These include an update of the previous definition for a “vapour control layer” to an “air and vapour control layer” (AVCL), as they perform two important functions. Changes now recommend avoiding the traditional cold roof construction, where the insulation is on the underside or cold side of the deck, due to the difficulty in forming an effective AVCL, cross ventilation and the subsequent increased risk of condensation. An additional “breather layer” is now shown over the insulation to provide an external air-leakage barrier and to help protect the insulation against any detrimental environmental factors. More specific reference on the minimum design and finished falls in formed gutters and a new definition for “zero falls” (roof slope between 0 and 1:80 with no back falls or ponding) is also now included. A small relaxation to minimum upstand heights at door thresholds to balconies and terraces only is adopted (following NHBC guidance) to allow designers to meet the Building Regulations for level access. For all other abutments, the waterproofing should still be terminated a minimum of 150mm from the finished roof level. Updated advice is available for the thermal design of inverted roofs, having now obtained improved practical experience of the actual performance of inverted roofs incorporating a water flow reducing layer (WFRL), designed to reduce the ‘cooling effect’ from rainwater. Interstitial condensation is covered in detail under its own standard, BS 5250, so has been removed from this standard. However, the updated code of practice does advise minimum thermal values for heated buildings (0.35W/m2K) are achieved at any point, to avoid surface condensation, all as per legislation guidance. Although it is anticipated many of the above mentioned amendments will take time to become established industry practice Martin Bidewell, Sika’s Head of Technical and Product Management, said those within the building sector should now be familiarising themselves with the code and following this updated guidance. He said: “Manufacturers, specifiers and the like should be obtaining copies of the standard. People need to understand what the detailed changes are and the affect it might have on our buildings. From here on in, companies should be doing their utmost to ensure all new designs incorporate the latest recommendations.” The code relating to flat roofs with continuously supported coverings was previously updated in 2003. Martin said the new guidelines provide more clarity for users. “The latest guidelines are more defined and help eliminate some of the grey areas that existed within the previous code,” he said. “The 2003 version really was an old standard, therefore the 2018 code brings it into line with the latest Building Regulations and other codes of practice. In my opinion, the latest guidelines are more streamlined and easier to understand, which can only be a good thing.” “The guidelines are vital to successful flat roofing,” Martin added. “The standard sets out the basics of how to properly design a flat roof. There will always be instances when the guidelines cannot be adhered to completely, particularly when the project involves the refurbishment of an existing roof. However, there should be no excuse to ignore the code in new-build scenarios. The BS 6229 code of practice is the go-to flat-roofing document, and along with relevant trade association guidance, should form the minimum standards the industry is looking to achieve for every roofing project.” For copies of BS 6229: 2018, visit: shop.bsigroup.com  
    434 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The British Standards Institute (BSI) has published the BS 6229: 2018 - flat roofs with continuously supported flexible waterproof covering - code of practice – writes Martin Bidewell, Head of Technical and Product Management for Sika Roofing .   The latest guidelines, which were published in November, contain a number of changes in relation to general good practice guidance, updated terminology and definitions for flat roofs. These include an update of the previous definition for a “vapour control layer” to an “air and vapour control layer” (AVCL), as they perform two important functions. Changes now recommend avoiding the traditional cold roof construction, where the insulation is on the underside or cold side of the deck, due to the difficulty in forming an effective AVCL, cross ventilation and the subsequent increased risk of condensation. An additional “breather layer” is now shown over the insulation to provide an external air-leakage barrier and to help protect the insulation against any detrimental environmental factors. More specific reference on the minimum design and finished falls in formed gutters and a new definition for “zero falls” (roof slope between 0 and 1:80 with no back falls or ponding) is also now included. A small relaxation to minimum upstand heights at door thresholds to balconies and terraces only is adopted (following NHBC guidance) to allow designers to meet the Building Regulations for level access. For all other abutments, the waterproofing should still be terminated a minimum of 150mm from the finished roof level. Updated advice is available for the thermal design of inverted roofs, having now obtained improved practical experience of the actual performance of inverted roofs incorporating a water flow reducing layer (WFRL), designed to reduce the ‘cooling effect’ from rainwater. Interstitial condensation is covered in detail under its own standard, BS 5250, so has been removed from this standard. However, the updated code of practice does advise minimum thermal values for heated buildings (0.35W/m2K) are achieved at any point, to avoid surface condensation, all as per legislation guidance. Although it is anticipated many of the above mentioned amendments will take time to become established industry practice Martin Bidewell, Sika’s Head of Technical and Product Management, said those within the building sector should now be familiarising themselves with the code and following this updated guidance. He said: “Manufacturers, specifiers and the like should be obtaining copies of the standard. People need to understand what the detailed changes are and the affect it might have on our buildings. From here on in, companies should be doing their utmost to ensure all new designs incorporate the latest recommendations.” The code relating to flat roofs with continuously supported coverings was previously updated in 2003. Martin said the new guidelines provide more clarity for users. “The latest guidelines are more defined and help eliminate some of the grey areas that existed within the previous code,” he said. “The 2003 version really was an old standard, therefore the 2018 code brings it into line with the latest Building Regulations and other codes of practice. In my opinion, the latest guidelines are more streamlined and easier to understand, which can only be a good thing.” “The guidelines are vital to successful flat roofing,” Martin added. “The standard sets out the basics of how to properly design a flat roof. There will always be instances when the guidelines cannot be adhered to completely, particularly when the project involves the refurbishment of an existing roof. However, there should be no excuse to ignore the code in new-build scenarios. The BS 6229 code of practice is the go-to flat-roofing document, and along with relevant trade association guidance, should form the minimum standards the industry is looking to achieve for every roofing project.” For copies of BS 6229: 2018, visit: shop.bsigroup.com  
    Jul 02, 2019 434
  • 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
  • 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/  
    2722 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 2722
  • 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/      
    2039 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 2039
  • 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/  
    1740 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 1740
  • 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.
    1582 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 1582
  • 21 Sep 2017
    The Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group is calling on the Government to solve the UK construction industry’s long-standing and crippling payments problem, labelling the current cashflow position as “critical”. In a recent article, the SEC Group – which represents SMEs in the construction engineering sector – warns that its members are increasingly being propped up by their directors’ wallets as an interim cashflow ‘solution’. They cite Funding Options figures that show directors lent their construction businesses £38 million in 2015/2016, up from £29.7 million in 2013/2014 – a jump of 28 per cent in just two years.  Unsurprisingly, the SEC Group labels this rise as “unsustainable” and has urged the Government to introduce legislation to solve the problem. We agree wholeheartedly with the SEC Group – the cashflow issue has affected growth of construction businesses of all shapes and sizes for too long and needs to be addressed urgently. However, we feel that while the Government has a role to play in improving B2B payments in the industry, businesses themselves can do much more to take greater control of their finances. We’ve partnered with Invapay, an Optal company, to make this easily achievable. Our unique proposition – a combined full-service payment solution – provides construction businesses with a quick and effortless way to manage their payment process and maximise working capital benefits. With Open ECX and Invapay, businesses are able to make their payment processes simple, streamlined and effortless from the moment a payment application is made right through to the point that it is paid. Our cloud-based paper-free WebContractor solution manages the first half of the process, giving subcontractors and suppliers the ability to submit invoices quickly and easily through an online portal. The automated service then processes the application, sending verification notices emails to the applicant and the QS, allowing invoicing authorisation to be granted hassle-free. At this stage Invapay’s payment solution comes into play. With no changes to processes and systems, Invapay’s business-tobusiness payment platform allows businesses to optimise their payments to suppliers and subcontractors. Through Invapay, businesses can take greater control of their cash flow – across working capital, credit lines and third party funds – ensuring long term cash flow benefits for buyers and subcontractors. By Matthew Jones, CEO of Open ECX For more information and to download a free payments guide visit: http://openecx.co.uk/maximising-payments-maximising-cash-flow/
    1454 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group is calling on the Government to solve the UK construction industry’s long-standing and crippling payments problem, labelling the current cashflow position as “critical”. In a recent article, the SEC Group – which represents SMEs in the construction engineering sector – warns that its members are increasingly being propped up by their directors’ wallets as an interim cashflow ‘solution’. They cite Funding Options figures that show directors lent their construction businesses £38 million in 2015/2016, up from £29.7 million in 2013/2014 – a jump of 28 per cent in just two years.  Unsurprisingly, the SEC Group labels this rise as “unsustainable” and has urged the Government to introduce legislation to solve the problem. We agree wholeheartedly with the SEC Group – the cashflow issue has affected growth of construction businesses of all shapes and sizes for too long and needs to be addressed urgently. However, we feel that while the Government has a role to play in improving B2B payments in the industry, businesses themselves can do much more to take greater control of their finances. We’ve partnered with Invapay, an Optal company, to make this easily achievable. Our unique proposition – a combined full-service payment solution – provides construction businesses with a quick and effortless way to manage their payment process and maximise working capital benefits. With Open ECX and Invapay, businesses are able to make their payment processes simple, streamlined and effortless from the moment a payment application is made right through to the point that it is paid. Our cloud-based paper-free WebContractor solution manages the first half of the process, giving subcontractors and suppliers the ability to submit invoices quickly and easily through an online portal. The automated service then processes the application, sending verification notices emails to the applicant and the QS, allowing invoicing authorisation to be granted hassle-free. At this stage Invapay’s payment solution comes into play. With no changes to processes and systems, Invapay’s business-tobusiness payment platform allows businesses to optimise their payments to suppliers and subcontractors. Through Invapay, businesses can take greater control of their cash flow – across working capital, credit lines and third party funds – ensuring long term cash flow benefits for buyers and subcontractors. By Matthew Jones, CEO of Open ECX For more information and to download a free payments guide visit: http://openecx.co.uk/maximising-payments-maximising-cash-flow/
    Sep 21, 2017 1454
  • 03 Aug 2017
    With growing pressure on schools to provide even more classroom places it seems that playing fields and playgrounds are disappearing at a very fast rate particularly in our inner cities. Recent research published in the national media suggests that some 35% of schools are building classrooms on areas once exclusively designated for play and 90% of expanding schools are losing play space because they are admitting more pupils to cope with local demand. Up to half a million primary school children are being deprived of play space because councils are building classrooms on playgrounds. Experts suggest that this is the result ofa baby boom coupled with rising immigration, which means that England’s pupil population will exceed eight million for the first time in almost half a century. Companies such as Play Cubed, which specialise in designing and installing playgrounds in schools, fears that pupils who cannot have proper play times will be less able academically. Most experts agree that play and the benefits it provides helps children learn in the classroom – and if there are no such facilities then that learning benefit will disappear. Forecasters say that pupil numbers will soar by almost a million over the next decade to reach their highest level since the mid-70s, meaning children will have even less room to play - estimates suggest that some 478,800 pupils could be affected. Experts such as Play Cubed agree that access to outside space is vital and schools need to preserve it with playtime experiences helping boost children’s development and well-being. Until recently schools had to provide between 2,500 and 75,000 square metres of space for team games depending on the number of pupils they educated but that rule has now changed to providing ‘suitable outdoor space’ for physical education and play. It’s a trend that we ignore at our peril if we are to develop well balanced children who will enjoy the education experience – the power of play is not to be underestimated at the expense of cramming even more youngsters into classrooms. Visit: https://www.playcubed.co.uk/
    977 Posted by Talk. Build
  • With growing pressure on schools to provide even more classroom places it seems that playing fields and playgrounds are disappearing at a very fast rate particularly in our inner cities. Recent research published in the national media suggests that some 35% of schools are building classrooms on areas once exclusively designated for play and 90% of expanding schools are losing play space because they are admitting more pupils to cope with local demand. Up to half a million primary school children are being deprived of play space because councils are building classrooms on playgrounds. Experts suggest that this is the result ofa baby boom coupled with rising immigration, which means that England’s pupil population will exceed eight million for the first time in almost half a century. Companies such as Play Cubed, which specialise in designing and installing playgrounds in schools, fears that pupils who cannot have proper play times will be less able academically. Most experts agree that play and the benefits it provides helps children learn in the classroom – and if there are no such facilities then that learning benefit will disappear. Forecasters say that pupil numbers will soar by almost a million over the next decade to reach their highest level since the mid-70s, meaning children will have even less room to play - estimates suggest that some 478,800 pupils could be affected. Experts such as Play Cubed agree that access to outside space is vital and schools need to preserve it with playtime experiences helping boost children’s development and well-being. Until recently schools had to provide between 2,500 and 75,000 square metres of space for team games depending on the number of pupils they educated but that rule has now changed to providing ‘suitable outdoor space’ for physical education and play. It’s a trend that we ignore at our peril if we are to develop well balanced children who will enjoy the education experience – the power of play is not to be underestimated at the expense of cramming even more youngsters into classrooms. Visit: https://www.playcubed.co.uk/
    Aug 03, 2017 977