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Talk. Build 's Entries

  • 16 Apr 2019
    Transparency is vital in order to maintain positive business relations and to ensure important payments are made without delay writes Matthew Jones. For this reason, it is crucial to have a robust but intuitive payment management system which keeps contractor and subcontractor finances above board and provides both parties with visibility of progress towards payment. Automated solutions such as Open ECX’s WebContractor takes control of key payment processes, improving subcontractors’ visibility of the status of their payment applications, for instance. This blog outlines how digital, straightforward applications for payment systems guarantee clearer visibility across business supply chains. Maintaining healthy business operation is at the top of every company’s agenda, particularly when finances are involved. In the past year, the construction industry has seen a great deal of change in terms of payment practices and the call for evidence. This change, in part, was accelerated by the collapse of Carillion in January 2018 which shocked both the construction industry and the UK at large. After investigation, the construction giant was known to have paid subcontractors up to 120 days late. Undoubtedly, such an event has had huge repercussions on the taxpayer, Caillion’s supply chain and its staff. Carillion’s collapse has even, in some cases, affected the amount of money UK banks loan to construction companies perhaps in fear of a similar occurence. What is the solution? It goes without doubt that an event such as the Carillion collapse cannot happen again. Even though its collapse is a stand-alone case, it still begs several questions on how and why payments were so late. But, moving forward, it is important to identify key solutions to prevent similar events from occuring. All contractors desire a risk-free environment in which their payment processes are rigorous, safe and reliable; such solutions allow contractors to be more organised and efficient with their payments, preventing any late payments from slipping beneath the surface. It is, therefore, crucial to implement innovative solutions which ensure payments can be traced, recorded and accessed accordingly. Open ECX’s WebContractor provides end-to-end management of applications for payment in construction, ensuring complete transparency and accessibility across the supply chain. It is a cloud-based portal for subcontractors to upload payment applications so contractors can manage payments more effectively. As the portal can be accessed anywhere, it is an efficient alternative to submitting paper-based documents or sending applications for payment by emails. Subcontractors upload and submit their applications anywhere and at any time – they aren’t restricted to their office but can complete payments onsite, at home or while travelling elsewhere. Using a system which ensures better visibility of payment applications safeguards businesses and removes risks or threats such as litigation. Timely and accurate submission of payment applications,  means faster processing of these by contractors.. In essence, a solution such as WebContractor removes all the loopholes that a company such as Carillion were able to eschew. It makes for an honest, healthier and more productive financial system beneficial to all parties involved. Visit www.openecx.co.uk  
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Transparency is vital in order to maintain positive business relations and to ensure important payments are made without delay writes Matthew Jones. For this reason, it is crucial to have a robust but intuitive payment management system which keeps contractor and subcontractor finances above board and provides both parties with visibility of progress towards payment. Automated solutions such as Open ECX’s WebContractor takes control of key payment processes, improving subcontractors’ visibility of the status of their payment applications, for instance. This blog outlines how digital, straightforward applications for payment systems guarantee clearer visibility across business supply chains. Maintaining healthy business operation is at the top of every company’s agenda, particularly when finances are involved. In the past year, the construction industry has seen a great deal of change in terms of payment practices and the call for evidence. This change, in part, was accelerated by the collapse of Carillion in January 2018 which shocked both the construction industry and the UK at large. After investigation, the construction giant was known to have paid subcontractors up to 120 days late. Undoubtedly, such an event has had huge repercussions on the taxpayer, Caillion’s supply chain and its staff. Carillion’s collapse has even, in some cases, affected the amount of money UK banks loan to construction companies perhaps in fear of a similar occurence. What is the solution? It goes without doubt that an event such as the Carillion collapse cannot happen again. Even though its collapse is a stand-alone case, it still begs several questions on how and why payments were so late. But, moving forward, it is important to identify key solutions to prevent similar events from occuring. All contractors desire a risk-free environment in which their payment processes are rigorous, safe and reliable; such solutions allow contractors to be more organised and efficient with their payments, preventing any late payments from slipping beneath the surface. It is, therefore, crucial to implement innovative solutions which ensure payments can be traced, recorded and accessed accordingly. Open ECX’s WebContractor provides end-to-end management of applications for payment in construction, ensuring complete transparency and accessibility across the supply chain. It is a cloud-based portal for subcontractors to upload payment applications so contractors can manage payments more effectively. As the portal can be accessed anywhere, it is an efficient alternative to submitting paper-based documents or sending applications for payment by emails. Subcontractors upload and submit their applications anywhere and at any time – they aren’t restricted to their office but can complete payments onsite, at home or while travelling elsewhere. Using a system which ensures better visibility of payment applications safeguards businesses and removes risks or threats such as litigation. Timely and accurate submission of payment applications,  means faster processing of these by contractors.. In essence, a solution such as WebContractor removes all the loopholes that a company such as Carillion were able to eschew. It makes for an honest, healthier and more productive financial system beneficial to all parties involved. Visit www.openecx.co.uk  
    Apr 16, 2019 0
  • 18 Mar 2019
    There has been a lot of talk about HS2 and about how, once completed, it will help to shrink the north-south divide and provide a much-needed transport spine across the country writes Mark Tomlin, CEO of VJ Technology. However, if recent reports are to be believed government sources are claiming that there is talk of cancelling HS2 in its entirety, despite the fact that groundworks have started and considerable time and money have been invested in design, tendering and feasibility. So, what’s the reality – does the UK need a north-south high-speed rail link or is it just financial folly? High Speed 2 (HS2) is a high-speed railway which, once completed, will directly connect London, Birmingham, the East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester. Scheduled to open in phases between 2026 and 2033, high-speed trains will travel up to 400 km/h on 330 miles of track. One of the largest civil engineering projects currently being undertaken in Europe, a recent episode of Dispatches on Channel 4 focussed on the financial viability of the project with it quoting sources within the government who warn that the cost may soon be considered so high that the entire project may be cancelled. One possible scenario of the project being terminated once the first stretch of the new line reaches Birmingham was also presented. The programme claimed industry sources have stated that the project cost could reach a staggering £100bn, substantially up from both 2011's initial estimate of £33bn and today's £56bn promise. More worrying is that in a poll by the programme two-thirds of rail users in the north stated they would rather see the money invested in regional rail. Understandably, for many commuters, local links are more important than another, faster, north-south route. However, I think we could be missing the point. Yes, the costs are high, but this is a project the country sorely needs. The UK used to be second-to-none when it came to infrastructure. Our rail, ports, roads and airports are admired the world over. However, time has taken its toll and a combination of growth in population and a lack of investment has meant that the UK has dropped down the pecking order when it comes to infrastructural excellence. All too often our trains are delayed, our motorways jammed, and our airports and shipping ports are tired and in need of modernisation. Whilst speed of travel is one thing, there is also the user experience. If you compare the UK to any one of the major international airports around the world, I’m not sure we come out on top. HS2 is therefore a critical part of the ongoing investment the government needs to make in UK infrastructure. It is as much about providing UK residents and businesses with improved transportation, as it is about ensuring we maintain our position as an international destination. It will also be a catalyst for improving transport in the North West as, at the end of January, Transport for the North agreed the submission of the business case for Northern Powerhouse Rail, the transformational east-west network. This will connect the northern cities of Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Hull, etc, and will provide the local links that residents in the north so desperately need. It will also create job opportunities and attract overseas investment for organisations looking for space, skills and connectivity. However, will this project go ahead without HS2 coming to Leeds and Manchester? Very unlikely, as it simply won’t be viable.  As a key product supplier to major infrastructure projects, VJ Technology has a vested interest in seeing schemes such as HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail deliver. However, it is more than that. Personally, I would like to see projects such as this succeed as I believe they are important for the nation. Investment in infrastructure is not a folly, it is investment in maintaining our great nation. Yes, it comes at a cost, but if we continue to neglect our infrastructure it will have a far- reaching and significantly more damaging financial impact on our economy, our tourism and our global reputation. Visit: http://www.vjtechnology.com
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • There has been a lot of talk about HS2 and about how, once completed, it will help to shrink the north-south divide and provide a much-needed transport spine across the country writes Mark Tomlin, CEO of VJ Technology. However, if recent reports are to be believed government sources are claiming that there is talk of cancelling HS2 in its entirety, despite the fact that groundworks have started and considerable time and money have been invested in design, tendering and feasibility. So, what’s the reality – does the UK need a north-south high-speed rail link or is it just financial folly? High Speed 2 (HS2) is a high-speed railway which, once completed, will directly connect London, Birmingham, the East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester. Scheduled to open in phases between 2026 and 2033, high-speed trains will travel up to 400 km/h on 330 miles of track. One of the largest civil engineering projects currently being undertaken in Europe, a recent episode of Dispatches on Channel 4 focussed on the financial viability of the project with it quoting sources within the government who warn that the cost may soon be considered so high that the entire project may be cancelled. One possible scenario of the project being terminated once the first stretch of the new line reaches Birmingham was also presented. The programme claimed industry sources have stated that the project cost could reach a staggering £100bn, substantially up from both 2011's initial estimate of £33bn and today's £56bn promise. More worrying is that in a poll by the programme two-thirds of rail users in the north stated they would rather see the money invested in regional rail. Understandably, for many commuters, local links are more important than another, faster, north-south route. However, I think we could be missing the point. Yes, the costs are high, but this is a project the country sorely needs. The UK used to be second-to-none when it came to infrastructure. Our rail, ports, roads and airports are admired the world over. However, time has taken its toll and a combination of growth in population and a lack of investment has meant that the UK has dropped down the pecking order when it comes to infrastructural excellence. All too often our trains are delayed, our motorways jammed, and our airports and shipping ports are tired and in need of modernisation. Whilst speed of travel is one thing, there is also the user experience. If you compare the UK to any one of the major international airports around the world, I’m not sure we come out on top. HS2 is therefore a critical part of the ongoing investment the government needs to make in UK infrastructure. It is as much about providing UK residents and businesses with improved transportation, as it is about ensuring we maintain our position as an international destination. It will also be a catalyst for improving transport in the North West as, at the end of January, Transport for the North agreed the submission of the business case for Northern Powerhouse Rail, the transformational east-west network. This will connect the northern cities of Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Hull, etc, and will provide the local links that residents in the north so desperately need. It will also create job opportunities and attract overseas investment for organisations looking for space, skills and connectivity. However, will this project go ahead without HS2 coming to Leeds and Manchester? Very unlikely, as it simply won’t be viable.  As a key product supplier to major infrastructure projects, VJ Technology has a vested interest in seeing schemes such as HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail deliver. However, it is more than that. Personally, I would like to see projects such as this succeed as I believe they are important for the nation. Investment in infrastructure is not a folly, it is investment in maintaining our great nation. Yes, it comes at a cost, but if we continue to neglect our infrastructure it will have a far- reaching and significantly more damaging financial impact on our economy, our tourism and our global reputation. Visit: http://www.vjtechnology.com
    Mar 18, 2019 0
  • 06 Mar 2019
    Tendering for any project takes a great deal of consideration and attention. Although it is an important task which is completely instrumental to securing a project, it can be time-consuming. And, depending on the scale of a project and size of a company, the tendering process can be extremely varied. With this in mind, what are the hidden secrets to efficient and accurate job costing and estimating? How can construction estimating software ensure better visibility and traceability throughout the tendering process? Is there one solution which can truly streamline these complex processes?   Setting the scene Once a contractor has meticulously analysed whether a potential project is feasible, the tendering process can begin. Tendering processes vary from company to company but typically there are two formulas, ‘open’ or ‘restricted’ tendering. Whereas open tendering means applications can be received from a number of contractors, restricted tendering is limited to invited parties only. Even though there are two different methods such as these, there is one area which is a mainstay for all construction projects: the creation of a product library. To build a product library, the following methods can be adopted. Whereas smaller contractors might use a directory such as Laxton’s SMM and NRM price books, larger contractors might use this reference as a way to benchmark their own, or their subcontractors’ rates. For more specialist contractors, they might follow their own methods and only use a price book to help calculate the cost of work outside their usual scope. When ready to estimate for a particular project, the relevant items and resources from the product library are selected and converted into a BOQ (Bills of Quantities) – a crucial statement holding important project information such as prices and resource build up information of materials, labour, quantities and dimensions. Depending on the contractor’s preferred method, they can either create the BOQ themselves, or disseminate to subcontractors for price-approval. In all of these situations however, collating estimates for different parts of a project is a long process which takes time, attention and plenty of correspondence. Streamlining this process This initial cost estimation is vital to the overarching tendering process, but without the right resources it can be heavily time-consuming. Usually, a contractor might be juggling multiple tender applications at one time, which means there is double, even triple the amount of data recorded across various spreadsheets. Handling this level of data comes with storage and security risks, particularly as the spreadsheets cannot be easily recovered should they be mislaid. Adding to this, spreadsheets are consistently sent back-and-forth between contractor and subcontractor during the estimation process. And, as this method means information can be difficult to collate and track, accuracy might be compromised. For such a crucial process, this carries too much uncertainty and risk. Whilst these manual processes can work quite successfully for some construction companies, there are other approaches designed to streamline these tasks. What is the secret? To streamline processes, including the creation of product libraries, construction estimating software such as Eque2’s EValuate can help you to describe, measure and price tenders without duplication of effort. EValuate is also integrated with Laxton’s Priced Libraries which provides resource build up’s with annually updated rates for pricing items directly, or for comparison with your rates or subcontractor rates which is compatible with both SMM and NRM rules of measurement. A solution such as EValuate expedites the tendering process so companies can move on to secure more work. With this solution, a contractor can tend for multiple projects as they have the time and resource to do so. Conversely, for a company receiving the tender, they can accurately benchmark the costs against other sources to ensure they achieve the right price for a project. Therefore, modern estimating software such as EValuate incorporated with Laxton’s Priced Libraries is an efficient and user-friendly tool which cleanses an otherwise long and complex tendering process. For construction companies, it is a solution which enhances business productivity as opposed to disrupting it. With added benefits including data security, accuracy and performance efficiency, EValuate can be accessed by all parties involved to assure consistency across the board. For larger companies with multiple estimators working on multiple projects across different sectors, an unrivalled solution such as EValuate ensures data can be accessed and stored in one secure location. Evolving with industry changes, this innovative software is revolutionising the construction industry’s tendering process, helping to reduce risk, save time and win more work. Visit: https://www.eque2.co.uk
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Tendering for any project takes a great deal of consideration and attention. Although it is an important task which is completely instrumental to securing a project, it can be time-consuming. And, depending on the scale of a project and size of a company, the tendering process can be extremely varied. With this in mind, what are the hidden secrets to efficient and accurate job costing and estimating? How can construction estimating software ensure better visibility and traceability throughout the tendering process? Is there one solution which can truly streamline these complex processes?   Setting the scene Once a contractor has meticulously analysed whether a potential project is feasible, the tendering process can begin. Tendering processes vary from company to company but typically there are two formulas, ‘open’ or ‘restricted’ tendering. Whereas open tendering means applications can be received from a number of contractors, restricted tendering is limited to invited parties only. Even though there are two different methods such as these, there is one area which is a mainstay for all construction projects: the creation of a product library. To build a product library, the following methods can be adopted. Whereas smaller contractors might use a directory such as Laxton’s SMM and NRM price books, larger contractors might use this reference as a way to benchmark their own, or their subcontractors’ rates. For more specialist contractors, they might follow their own methods and only use a price book to help calculate the cost of work outside their usual scope. When ready to estimate for a particular project, the relevant items and resources from the product library are selected and converted into a BOQ (Bills of Quantities) – a crucial statement holding important project information such as prices and resource build up information of materials, labour, quantities and dimensions. Depending on the contractor’s preferred method, they can either create the BOQ themselves, or disseminate to subcontractors for price-approval. In all of these situations however, collating estimates for different parts of a project is a long process which takes time, attention and plenty of correspondence. Streamlining this process This initial cost estimation is vital to the overarching tendering process, but without the right resources it can be heavily time-consuming. Usually, a contractor might be juggling multiple tender applications at one time, which means there is double, even triple the amount of data recorded across various spreadsheets. Handling this level of data comes with storage and security risks, particularly as the spreadsheets cannot be easily recovered should they be mislaid. Adding to this, spreadsheets are consistently sent back-and-forth between contractor and subcontractor during the estimation process. And, as this method means information can be difficult to collate and track, accuracy might be compromised. For such a crucial process, this carries too much uncertainty and risk. Whilst these manual processes can work quite successfully for some construction companies, there are other approaches designed to streamline these tasks. What is the secret? To streamline processes, including the creation of product libraries, construction estimating software such as Eque2’s EValuate can help you to describe, measure and price tenders without duplication of effort. EValuate is also integrated with Laxton’s Priced Libraries which provides resource build up’s with annually updated rates for pricing items directly, or for comparison with your rates or subcontractor rates which is compatible with both SMM and NRM rules of measurement. A solution such as EValuate expedites the tendering process so companies can move on to secure more work. With this solution, a contractor can tend for multiple projects as they have the time and resource to do so. Conversely, for a company receiving the tender, they can accurately benchmark the costs against other sources to ensure they achieve the right price for a project. Therefore, modern estimating software such as EValuate incorporated with Laxton’s Priced Libraries is an efficient and user-friendly tool which cleanses an otherwise long and complex tendering process. For construction companies, it is a solution which enhances business productivity as opposed to disrupting it. With added benefits including data security, accuracy and performance efficiency, EValuate can be accessed by all parties involved to assure consistency across the board. For larger companies with multiple estimators working on multiple projects across different sectors, an unrivalled solution such as EValuate ensures data can be accessed and stored in one secure location. Evolving with industry changes, this innovative software is revolutionising the construction industry’s tendering process, helping to reduce risk, save time and win more work. Visit: https://www.eque2.co.uk
    Mar 06, 2019 0
  • 25 Feb 2019
    According to the United Nations, in 2050 the world’s population is expected to be around 9.8 billion, which is expected to grow to an astonishing 11.2 billion people in 2100. Back in 2010, Tokyo, Japan had the biggest population of any city on the planet with a population of over 36 Million people. This was nearly 15 million more than Delhi, India, which had the second highest population. Fast forward 90 years you’d expect Tokyo to be even further ahead, right? Wrong. Tokyo is predicted to not even make it into the top 20 cities in the world. In fact, only 6 of the top 20 cities with the highest population in 2010 are predicted to still be in the top 20 by 2100. In this research led piece, Roof Stores have been tracking the top 20 cities in the world with the highest population back in 2010 and following their projected population increase or decrease over the years. If they drop out of the top 20, the city that overtakes it joins the chart and replaces it. Read on to see how it’s changed! The Top 10 Biggest Cities by Population in 2010 were: Tokyo, Japan - 36,834,000 Delhi, India - 21,935,000 Mexico City, Mexico - 20,132,000 Shanghai, China - 19,980,000 São Paulo, Brazil - 19,660,000 Osaka, Japan - 19,492,000 Mumbai, India - 19,422,000 New York, United States of America - 18,365,000 Cairo, Egypt - 16,899,000 Beijing, China - 16,190,000   The Top 10 Biggest Cities by Population in 2025 are expected to be: Tokyo, Japan - 36,400,000 Mumbai (Bombay), India - 26,385,000 Delhi, India - 22,498,000 Dhaka, Bangladesh - 22,015,000 Sao Paulo, Brazil - 21,428,000 Mexico City, Mexico - 21,009,000 New York City-Newark, USA - 20,628,000 Kolkata (Calcutta), India - 20,560,000 Shanghai, China - 19,412,000 Karachi, Pakistan - 19,095,000   The Top 10 Biggest Cities by Population in 2050 are expected to be: Mumbai (Bombay), India - 42,403,631 Delhi, India - 36,156,789 Dhaka, Bangladesh - 35,193,184 Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo - 35,000,361 Kolkata (Calcutta), India - 33,042,208 Lagos, Nigeria - 32,629,709 Tokyo, Japan - 32,621,993 Karachi, Pakistan - 31,696,042 New York City-Newark, USA - 24,768,743 Mexico City, Mexico - 24,328,738  The Top 10 Biggest Cities by Population in 2075 are expected to be: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo - 58,424,142 Mumbai, India - 57,862,345 Lagos, Nigeria - 57,195,075 Delhi, India - 49,338,148 Dhaka, Bangladesh - 46,218,971 Kolkata, India - 45,088,111 Karachi, Pakistan - 43,373,574 Dar Es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania - 37,484,980 Cairo, Egypt - 32,999,203 Manila, Philippines - 32,748,758 The Top 10 Biggest Cities by Population in 2100 are expected to be: Lagos, Nigeria - 88,344,661 Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo - 83,493,793 Dar Es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania - 73,678,022 Mumbai, India - 67,239,804 Delhi, India - 57,334,134 Khartoum, Sudan - 56,594,472 Niamey, Niger - 56,149,130 Dhaka, Bangladesh - 54,249,845 Kolkata, India - 52,395,315 Kabul, Afghanistan - 50,269,659 Visit: https://www.roof-stores.co.uk
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • According to the United Nations, in 2050 the world’s population is expected to be around 9.8 billion, which is expected to grow to an astonishing 11.2 billion people in 2100. Back in 2010, Tokyo, Japan had the biggest population of any city on the planet with a population of over 36 Million people. This was nearly 15 million more than Delhi, India, which had the second highest population. Fast forward 90 years you’d expect Tokyo to be even further ahead, right? Wrong. Tokyo is predicted to not even make it into the top 20 cities in the world. In fact, only 6 of the top 20 cities with the highest population in 2010 are predicted to still be in the top 20 by 2100. In this research led piece, Roof Stores have been tracking the top 20 cities in the world with the highest population back in 2010 and following their projected population increase or decrease over the years. If they drop out of the top 20, the city that overtakes it joins the chart and replaces it. Read on to see how it’s changed! The Top 10 Biggest Cities by Population in 2010 were: Tokyo, Japan - 36,834,000 Delhi, India - 21,935,000 Mexico City, Mexico - 20,132,000 Shanghai, China - 19,980,000 São Paulo, Brazil - 19,660,000 Osaka, Japan - 19,492,000 Mumbai, India - 19,422,000 New York, United States of America - 18,365,000 Cairo, Egypt - 16,899,000 Beijing, China - 16,190,000   The Top 10 Biggest Cities by Population in 2025 are expected to be: Tokyo, Japan - 36,400,000 Mumbai (Bombay), India - 26,385,000 Delhi, India - 22,498,000 Dhaka, Bangladesh - 22,015,000 Sao Paulo, Brazil - 21,428,000 Mexico City, Mexico - 21,009,000 New York City-Newark, USA - 20,628,000 Kolkata (Calcutta), India - 20,560,000 Shanghai, China - 19,412,000 Karachi, Pakistan - 19,095,000   The Top 10 Biggest Cities by Population in 2050 are expected to be: Mumbai (Bombay), India - 42,403,631 Delhi, India - 36,156,789 Dhaka, Bangladesh - 35,193,184 Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo - 35,000,361 Kolkata (Calcutta), India - 33,042,208 Lagos, Nigeria - 32,629,709 Tokyo, Japan - 32,621,993 Karachi, Pakistan - 31,696,042 New York City-Newark, USA - 24,768,743 Mexico City, Mexico - 24,328,738  The Top 10 Biggest Cities by Population in 2075 are expected to be: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo - 58,424,142 Mumbai, India - 57,862,345 Lagos, Nigeria - 57,195,075 Delhi, India - 49,338,148 Dhaka, Bangladesh - 46,218,971 Kolkata, India - 45,088,111 Karachi, Pakistan - 43,373,574 Dar Es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania - 37,484,980 Cairo, Egypt - 32,999,203 Manila, Philippines - 32,748,758 The Top 10 Biggest Cities by Population in 2100 are expected to be: Lagos, Nigeria - 88,344,661 Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo - 83,493,793 Dar Es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania - 73,678,022 Mumbai, India - 67,239,804 Delhi, India - 57,334,134 Khartoum, Sudan - 56,594,472 Niamey, Niger - 56,149,130 Dhaka, Bangladesh - 54,249,845 Kolkata, India - 52,395,315 Kabul, Afghanistan - 50,269,659 Visit: https://www.roof-stores.co.uk
    Feb 25, 2019 0
  • 22 Feb 2019
    The construction industry is dynamic — ever changing and evolving through technology. The way contractors work today is clearly much different than 50 years ago — or 20 years — or even five years ago writes Jeff Winke. The big difference is due to advances in technology in the machines and tools that enable greater productivity, reduce time, and provide better results. There’s a great John F. Kennedy quote that captures the essence of the construction world: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”   Successful contractors and construction workers recognize that they must take control of their future or risk being left behind. This spirit of paying attention and taking control of the future plays into the notion of being prepared with the right knowledge and skills. “Technology in earthmoving and site work changes too frequently to be ignored,” states Ron Oberlander, senior director, Professional Services for Topcon Positioning Group.  “Contractors must continually seek out new information, learn from others, and take advantage of training opportunities as often as they can to remain competitive.” Successful construction contractors view training as a necessary and beneficial investment in their business and point to numerous reasons why the investment is worthwhile: Improves safety – Contractors acknowledge that the safety of their workers is critical. The right training can ensure that the equipment is operated correctly and that health and safety practices are being followed in the workplace. Improves productivity – It makes sense and is proven that well-trained employees are more confident in their abilities to perform their work. The right training gives workers the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out their work to the best of their ability, thus increasing productivity and quality of the results. Keeps current with technology – The pace of technology changes and advancements in construction come fast and furious. Regular training means the business and employees don’t get left behind and they stay working at their best, both today and in the future. Attracts and retain key employees – In today’s market, contractors cannot afford to hire or carry workers who are not super competent or are firmly on a path to proficiency. Training and development programs not only attract, but they can engage current employees and keep them committed to the company. Gives company and workers the edge – Training employees can provide a genuine competitive advantage over competition. The only way to be better than competitors is by employees being better than the rest and training is a direct route to achieving this. “The key attributes of good training are that it is repeatable, consistent, and offered frequently so workers can commit to learning regularly,” Oberlander said. “Both managers and workers will never know everything about the products and systems they use; so, training helps everyone be smarter and more productive. I tell the people we train that if you feel you are pretty productive now, you’ll be even more productive after training.” To be effective, training needs to be concise and specific to a contractor’s needs. Construction contractors and professional surveyors are extremely busy and do not have the time or patience for superfluous information. One of the benefits of good training is to teach learners how to be resourceful and effective after the trainer is gone. Knowing when, how, and where to go for help can reinforce the content and skills acquired during training. “To ensure our products and systems are fully used after training, we’ve created two helpful resources—a global Professional Services team and a myTopcon support and training site,” said Oberlander. “Our markets are diverse, but they share a common necessity of highly precise measurements, increased automation and workflow solutions to improve their productivity. These resources are designed to provide solutions and workflow assistance to ensure the highest efficiency for our customers and help them to expand their businesses by applying these skills and technologies into new applications.” The Topcon Professional Services team has been created to integrate training, customer support, and sales support into a single resource intended to help its customers adopt and apply new technologies as they emerge. The Professional Services team includes more than 40 applications experts from the surveying, construction, civil engineering, networking and mapping fields. These experts are located around the world to support the company’s global market. The myTopcon site is designed to provide direct access to online training, firmware and software updates, and reference resources at a mobile-adapted site that can be accessed from the field. Again, the intent of both the Professional Services team and the myTopcon site is to extend and support the information and content as well as new skills acquired during training. Clearly, as the labor market continues to tighten, and as more and more baby boomers head into retirement, construction companies will need to sharpen their recruiting, hiring, and training capabilities. Younger millennial and Generation X workers expect more than their older counterparts ever did, but in exchange they bring an acceptance, expectation, and appreciation of the role technology is playing in construction today. By being committed to ongoing training, a construction firm can build a sense of connection, which can help create the positive environment where employees are willing to go above and beyond to help fuel organizational success.            As John F. Kennedy pointed out — change is the law of life — and clearly, the investment in training can keep a construction company fresh, up-to-date, and better prepared to adapt and succeed in the face of change. Jeff Winke is a business and construction writer based in Milwaukee, Wis. He can be reached through jeff_winke@yahoo.com  
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The construction industry is dynamic — ever changing and evolving through technology. The way contractors work today is clearly much different than 50 years ago — or 20 years — or even five years ago writes Jeff Winke. The big difference is due to advances in technology in the machines and tools that enable greater productivity, reduce time, and provide better results. There’s a great John F. Kennedy quote that captures the essence of the construction world: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”   Successful contractors and construction workers recognize that they must take control of their future or risk being left behind. This spirit of paying attention and taking control of the future plays into the notion of being prepared with the right knowledge and skills. “Technology in earthmoving and site work changes too frequently to be ignored,” states Ron Oberlander, senior director, Professional Services for Topcon Positioning Group.  “Contractors must continually seek out new information, learn from others, and take advantage of training opportunities as often as they can to remain competitive.” Successful construction contractors view training as a necessary and beneficial investment in their business and point to numerous reasons why the investment is worthwhile: Improves safety – Contractors acknowledge that the safety of their workers is critical. The right training can ensure that the equipment is operated correctly and that health and safety practices are being followed in the workplace. Improves productivity – It makes sense and is proven that well-trained employees are more confident in their abilities to perform their work. The right training gives workers the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out their work to the best of their ability, thus increasing productivity and quality of the results. Keeps current with technology – The pace of technology changes and advancements in construction come fast and furious. Regular training means the business and employees don’t get left behind and they stay working at their best, both today and in the future. Attracts and retain key employees – In today’s market, contractors cannot afford to hire or carry workers who are not super competent or are firmly on a path to proficiency. Training and development programs not only attract, but they can engage current employees and keep them committed to the company. Gives company and workers the edge – Training employees can provide a genuine competitive advantage over competition. The only way to be better than competitors is by employees being better than the rest and training is a direct route to achieving this. “The key attributes of good training are that it is repeatable, consistent, and offered frequently so workers can commit to learning regularly,” Oberlander said. “Both managers and workers will never know everything about the products and systems they use; so, training helps everyone be smarter and more productive. I tell the people we train that if you feel you are pretty productive now, you’ll be even more productive after training.” To be effective, training needs to be concise and specific to a contractor’s needs. Construction contractors and professional surveyors are extremely busy and do not have the time or patience for superfluous information. One of the benefits of good training is to teach learners how to be resourceful and effective after the trainer is gone. Knowing when, how, and where to go for help can reinforce the content and skills acquired during training. “To ensure our products and systems are fully used after training, we’ve created two helpful resources—a global Professional Services team and a myTopcon support and training site,” said Oberlander. “Our markets are diverse, but they share a common necessity of highly precise measurements, increased automation and workflow solutions to improve their productivity. These resources are designed to provide solutions and workflow assistance to ensure the highest efficiency for our customers and help them to expand their businesses by applying these skills and technologies into new applications.” The Topcon Professional Services team has been created to integrate training, customer support, and sales support into a single resource intended to help its customers adopt and apply new technologies as they emerge. The Professional Services team includes more than 40 applications experts from the surveying, construction, civil engineering, networking and mapping fields. These experts are located around the world to support the company’s global market. The myTopcon site is designed to provide direct access to online training, firmware and software updates, and reference resources at a mobile-adapted site that can be accessed from the field. Again, the intent of both the Professional Services team and the myTopcon site is to extend and support the information and content as well as new skills acquired during training. Clearly, as the labor market continues to tighten, and as more and more baby boomers head into retirement, construction companies will need to sharpen their recruiting, hiring, and training capabilities. Younger millennial and Generation X workers expect more than their older counterparts ever did, but in exchange they bring an acceptance, expectation, and appreciation of the role technology is playing in construction today. By being committed to ongoing training, a construction firm can build a sense of connection, which can help create the positive environment where employees are willing to go above and beyond to help fuel organizational success.            As John F. Kennedy pointed out — change is the law of life — and clearly, the investment in training can keep a construction company fresh, up-to-date, and better prepared to adapt and succeed in the face of change. Jeff Winke is a business and construction writer based in Milwaukee, Wis. He can be reached through jeff_winke@yahoo.com  
    Feb 22, 2019 0
  • 13 Feb 2019
    The construction industry reminds me, writes Gerald Kelly, of that old argument about aliens from another planet, it goes something like this – there can’t be any advanced aliens on other planets because they would have visited us by now. Ah, a reasonable hypothesis you may think. However, it can also be argued that being enlightened aliens they have listened to our radio broadcasts that have leaked out from Earth into the void of space since the 1930’s and have concluded that Earth is a planet that is troubled and should be avoided. This could also be said of the construction industry as the sector is deeply troubled with; insanely low profit margins; worsening levels of insolvencies; a deepening skills crisis; a recruitment image problem; BREXIT uncertainty, rising costs of materials and labour; quality problems; continued poor contractual practices which includes -altering standard forms of subcontract; insisting on onerous terms and conditions; collecting retentions and participating in systematic late payment practices.  Thus, the question remains, is construction a sector to visit or should it be avoided? To make the construction sector worth a visit, changing the Tier 1 contractor business model would be a good start. Instead of tendering for contracts at ridiculously low profit margins and then relying on variation orders and the systematic squeezing of the supply chain in an effort to boost profit and mitigate risk, main contractors should be selective on the projects they proceed with and should substantially increase their margins on projects with increased risk and difficulty.  Yes, the cost of construction may rise, however, in truth it already has. The increase is being borne out by main contractors who are more than likely carrying huge debts, making losses or entertaining small profit margins in comparison to the risk taken, and by the specialised supply chain who are relentlessly forced to endure bad contractual and payment practices, reduced margins and losses. Turnover vanity has to end. The sanity of profit has to prevail if the construction industry is to strengthen and move away from increasing insolvencies and losses. Government procurement can help with the transition by moving its focus away from securing the lowest cost. And there should be an insistence that a sustainable profit is made by all involved in the project. Using the old worn-out excuse that driving down costs is enabling best value for the tax payer’s money is a nonsense. It is not in the interest of anyone to have the UK construction industry scrabbling around on its knees. With more money in the system, main contractors would be able to work in a true respectful partnership with their supply chain (okay, this may be a fantasy, but it is more likely if there is money in the pot). Furthermore, increased profits for all will see money being spent on improving quality; investments in improving productivity; training; increases in pay; better health & safety measures and working practices. An industry that is making profit and has a workforce that is content through better working conditions, training and pay is an industry that has an improving image and is attractive to new recruits.  Although, as a harmonious partnership between main contractors and their supply chains won’t happen overnight, the supply chain absolutely needs to be equipped with up-to-date contractual knowledge to administer the contract properly to protect themselves from dubious contract alterations, onerous terms and conditions, and poor payment practices. According to the ARCADIS 2018 Global Construction Disputes Report, the main causes of contractual dispute are: 1st A failure to properly administer the contract 2nd Employer/Contractor/Subcontractor failing to understand and/or comply with its contractual obligations 3rd Failure to serve the appropriate notice under the contract And with 19% of subcontractors not thoroughly checking contracts before they sign them and 38% stating construction contracts are too complex to understand (Bibby financial Services Subcontracting Growth Report) it is not surprising that poor contractual and payment practices are prevalent in the industry and insolvencies are on the rise. Contractual training is essential for subcontractors so that contracts can be administered properly to stop time consuming and costly disputes. Since 1983 our confederation (CCS) has been campaigning; providing legal and contractual advice; and developing and delivering professional contractual training to empower its members and the wider construction community to optimise contractual arrangements when dealing with main contractors and clients. Gerald Kelly is General Manager of the Confederation of Construction Specialists. Visit: www.constructionspecialists.org  
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The construction industry reminds me, writes Gerald Kelly, of that old argument about aliens from another planet, it goes something like this – there can’t be any advanced aliens on other planets because they would have visited us by now. Ah, a reasonable hypothesis you may think. However, it can also be argued that being enlightened aliens they have listened to our radio broadcasts that have leaked out from Earth into the void of space since the 1930’s and have concluded that Earth is a planet that is troubled and should be avoided. This could also be said of the construction industry as the sector is deeply troubled with; insanely low profit margins; worsening levels of insolvencies; a deepening skills crisis; a recruitment image problem; BREXIT uncertainty, rising costs of materials and labour; quality problems; continued poor contractual practices which includes -altering standard forms of subcontract; insisting on onerous terms and conditions; collecting retentions and participating in systematic late payment practices.  Thus, the question remains, is construction a sector to visit or should it be avoided? To make the construction sector worth a visit, changing the Tier 1 contractor business model would be a good start. Instead of tendering for contracts at ridiculously low profit margins and then relying on variation orders and the systematic squeezing of the supply chain in an effort to boost profit and mitigate risk, main contractors should be selective on the projects they proceed with and should substantially increase their margins on projects with increased risk and difficulty.  Yes, the cost of construction may rise, however, in truth it already has. The increase is being borne out by main contractors who are more than likely carrying huge debts, making losses or entertaining small profit margins in comparison to the risk taken, and by the specialised supply chain who are relentlessly forced to endure bad contractual and payment practices, reduced margins and losses. Turnover vanity has to end. The sanity of profit has to prevail if the construction industry is to strengthen and move away from increasing insolvencies and losses. Government procurement can help with the transition by moving its focus away from securing the lowest cost. And there should be an insistence that a sustainable profit is made by all involved in the project. Using the old worn-out excuse that driving down costs is enabling best value for the tax payer’s money is a nonsense. It is not in the interest of anyone to have the UK construction industry scrabbling around on its knees. With more money in the system, main contractors would be able to work in a true respectful partnership with their supply chain (okay, this may be a fantasy, but it is more likely if there is money in the pot). Furthermore, increased profits for all will see money being spent on improving quality; investments in improving productivity; training; increases in pay; better health & safety measures and working practices. An industry that is making profit and has a workforce that is content through better working conditions, training and pay is an industry that has an improving image and is attractive to new recruits.  Although, as a harmonious partnership between main contractors and their supply chains won’t happen overnight, the supply chain absolutely needs to be equipped with up-to-date contractual knowledge to administer the contract properly to protect themselves from dubious contract alterations, onerous terms and conditions, and poor payment practices. According to the ARCADIS 2018 Global Construction Disputes Report, the main causes of contractual dispute are: 1st A failure to properly administer the contract 2nd Employer/Contractor/Subcontractor failing to understand and/or comply with its contractual obligations 3rd Failure to serve the appropriate notice under the contract And with 19% of subcontractors not thoroughly checking contracts before they sign them and 38% stating construction contracts are too complex to understand (Bibby financial Services Subcontracting Growth Report) it is not surprising that poor contractual and payment practices are prevalent in the industry and insolvencies are on the rise. Contractual training is essential for subcontractors so that contracts can be administered properly to stop time consuming and costly disputes. Since 1983 our confederation (CCS) has been campaigning; providing legal and contractual advice; and developing and delivering professional contractual training to empower its members and the wider construction community to optimise contractual arrangements when dealing with main contractors and clients. Gerald Kelly is General Manager of the Confederation of Construction Specialists. Visit: www.constructionspecialists.org  
    Feb 13, 2019 0
  • 05 Feb 2019
    The construction industry has this stereo-typical image of the macho male and in spite of the huge influx of women workers that perception has changed little in recent years. And because men are more likely to bottle up feelings of anxiety and depression there is no doubt that we are seeing an increase in mental health issues on building sites writes Michael Younge. Just in case anyone is in any doubt, just look at the statistics. There were more than 13,000 suicides of construction workers in the UK between 2011 and 2015 according to the Office of National Statistics. This represented some 13% of the total workforce suicides in Britain – and to get this figure into perspective, construction workers as a whole only account for 7% of the working population. As a result, we are now seeing the industry looking at techniques such as Mindfulness and positive thinking as a way of reducing the suicide figures and enhancing the lives of construction workers. This might seem like new age hippy speak but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that mindfulness promotes wellbeing and most importantly better health and safety – a vital part of the construction industry. So what is Mindfulness? There have been many definitions but I prefer to call it – thinking in the NOW - by being aware at all times of our own feelings and surroundings, by allowing your thoughts to focus on the immediate situation.  When practiced properly, it allows the person to forget about the past and to avoid future outcomes. This is a very simple explanation and readers who want to know more should visit my website – for once you have mastered the art of Mindfulness and positive thinking you can change your life, as this practice has been proven to reduce depression, anxiety and stress. There is very little that’s new about the subject - it has been practiced by Buddhist Monks for centuries - but there is now strong anecdotal evidence that building companies are looking to introduce such techniques as a way of reducing stress and promoting harmony within the workplace. A more focussed workforce will make better decisions, be more positive about outcomes and objectives and most importantly, because they will become more aware of their feelings and surroundings – health and safety will also improve. The biggest challenge for employers is to take the workforce with them. Unless individuals are prepared to buy into the concept of Mindfulness then it is clearly not going to work and there is no magic button that can be pressed that will transform an individual overnight – it takes commitment and practice and for many, it might be a step too far. However, for those prepared to try, there can be enormous benefits. By nature our minds wander but Mindfulness promotes a feeling of success allowing individuals to be more vigilant and stay focussed on the job in hand for longer. More importantly, the majority become more positive and this will change their attitude to work and life in general. Banning those negative thoughts is the first step to better mental health and wellbeing and hopefully, in time, it will lead to a reduction in those appalling suicide figures. Michael Younge is an established blogger specialising in positivity and the benefits it offers to all of us. To read more visit: www.powerfulpositivethinking.org
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The construction industry has this stereo-typical image of the macho male and in spite of the huge influx of women workers that perception has changed little in recent years. And because men are more likely to bottle up feelings of anxiety and depression there is no doubt that we are seeing an increase in mental health issues on building sites writes Michael Younge. Just in case anyone is in any doubt, just look at the statistics. There were more than 13,000 suicides of construction workers in the UK between 2011 and 2015 according to the Office of National Statistics. This represented some 13% of the total workforce suicides in Britain – and to get this figure into perspective, construction workers as a whole only account for 7% of the working population. As a result, we are now seeing the industry looking at techniques such as Mindfulness and positive thinking as a way of reducing the suicide figures and enhancing the lives of construction workers. This might seem like new age hippy speak but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that mindfulness promotes wellbeing and most importantly better health and safety – a vital part of the construction industry. So what is Mindfulness? There have been many definitions but I prefer to call it – thinking in the NOW - by being aware at all times of our own feelings and surroundings, by allowing your thoughts to focus on the immediate situation.  When practiced properly, it allows the person to forget about the past and to avoid future outcomes. This is a very simple explanation and readers who want to know more should visit my website – for once you have mastered the art of Mindfulness and positive thinking you can change your life, as this practice has been proven to reduce depression, anxiety and stress. There is very little that’s new about the subject - it has been practiced by Buddhist Monks for centuries - but there is now strong anecdotal evidence that building companies are looking to introduce such techniques as a way of reducing stress and promoting harmony within the workplace. A more focussed workforce will make better decisions, be more positive about outcomes and objectives and most importantly, because they will become more aware of their feelings and surroundings – health and safety will also improve. The biggest challenge for employers is to take the workforce with them. Unless individuals are prepared to buy into the concept of Mindfulness then it is clearly not going to work and there is no magic button that can be pressed that will transform an individual overnight – it takes commitment and practice and for many, it might be a step too far. However, for those prepared to try, there can be enormous benefits. By nature our minds wander but Mindfulness promotes a feeling of success allowing individuals to be more vigilant and stay focussed on the job in hand for longer. More importantly, the majority become more positive and this will change their attitude to work and life in general. Banning those negative thoughts is the first step to better mental health and wellbeing and hopefully, in time, it will lead to a reduction in those appalling suicide figures. Michael Younge is an established blogger specialising in positivity and the benefits it offers to all of us. To read more visit: www.powerfulpositivethinking.org
    Feb 05, 2019 0
  • 08 Jan 2019
    With the UK construction, operation and maintenance industry accounting for 48% of the UK’s carbon emissions, the focus of many innovations in construction is now on reducing the construction sector's CO2 output. Protection Supplies have uncovered the cutting-edge yet conscious building materials of the future before revealing how these materials are changing the way that buildings are now being constructed. The UK's construction industry also needs to build 300,000 homes a year to overcome the current housing shortage. As the industry is failing to do this, materials which can shorten the time it takes to build homes and make them more affordable are crucial for revolutionising the industry. Some of the benefits of these innovative materials include: Speeding up housing production Improving the longevity of buildings Helping buildings to adapt to their surroundings, such as in the event of earthquakes Increasing natural light Reducing fuel bills Making construction more environmentally friendly by lowering CO2 production 1. Transparent Wood Invented by Swedish researchers, wood can now be treated and compressed to become a transparent material. What it does: Researcher Lars Berglund creates the transparent wood by compressing strips of wood veneer in a process similar to pulping. This removes the lignin and replaces it with the polymer, making the wood 85% transparent. Benefits: This material will create a strong and environmentally friendly alternative to plastic and glass. The material has the strength of lumber but is far lighter. It can be used in the construction of homes to bring more light in and reduce the need for artificial light which can quickly use up a lot of power. It is as environmentally friendly and biodegradable as normal wood.   2. Hydrogel Architects at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia in Barcelona are in the process of creating walls which are able to cool themselves down, using the substance Hydrogel. What it does: Bubbles of Hydrogel are layered between two ceramic panels. These can then be installed into already constructed walls. Benefits: Hydrogel is able to absorb water when the air around Hydrogel heats up it evaporates and cools the room down by up to 5°C. The mechanism is inspired by the way the human body cools itself down. Once installed in buildings it will act as an alternative to the overuse of air conditioning which is detrimental to the environment, producing 100 million tonnes of CO2.   3. Cigarette **** Bricks Smoking is bad for your health and bad for the environment as discarded cigarettes make up an estimated 38% of all waste. Researchers at the Australian RMIT University have found that adding discarded cigarettes to bricks lessens the amount of energy needed for baking. What it does: The bricks made with the addition of cigarette butts, require less baking time than traditional bricks. This means they are cheaper and more eco-friendly to produce. Benefits: As the cigarettes within the brick reduce the time of baking bricks, they reduce the energy required to produce them by up to 58%. Additionally, the bricks are better insulators than those without cigarette butts within them and solve an ongoing pollution problem of what to do with discarded cigarettes to prevent contamination. 4. Super-hydrophobic Cement Scientists in Mexico have discovered that changing the microstructure of cement can make it absorb and reflect light, creating super-hydrophobic cement, also known as luminescent cement. What it does: The cement is able to absorb and reflect light, offering an alternative to street lighting as the ground would be lit up using this luminescent cement. Benefits: Often cement needs to be replaced within thirty to fifty years, however, this alternative product is far more durable and will last for up to hundred years. It also offers power free lighting and therefore can reduce the energy consumed and CO2 produced by lighting the streets of the world.   5. Synthetic Spider Silk A spider's web is the strongest material in the natural world. It is a naturally tough and strong material that for years scientists have been trying to create a synthetic version. Now, with the help of 3D printing, they are closer than ever. What it does: The synthetic spider's silk is created at room temperature using water, silica and cellulose which are all easily accessible. The finished product could be used as a biodegradable alternative to nylon and other tough fabrics. Benefits: The material will offer an alternative to the textile industry which is currently one of the biggest producers of CO2 in the world. The product will be used as an alternative to an array of strong materials such as parachutes and eventually it is hoped the Synthetic Spider Silk will be used in creating building materials such as blocks as well as in mechanics, making super strong car parts. 6. Breathe Bricks Acting as a secondary layer of insulation, these pollution absorbing bricks can remove 30% of fine particles and 100% of coarse particles making air within office spaces and public buildings healthier to breathe. This is particularly useful in areas with poor air quality as a way to improve air within buildings. What it does: Composed of two key parts, concrete bricks and recycled plastic coupler, the aligned bricks create a route from the outside into the brick’s hollow centre. The surface of the bricks themselves helps to direct airflow and a cavity removes pollution. Benefits: This is a cost-effective way to reduce air pollution as it requires no further maintenance once installed. It would be particularly helpful in developing countries where air quality is poor and other solutions could be too expensive to maintain.   7. Bamboo-reinforced Concrete A natural alternative to the steel reinforcement usually used in most countries, this Singaporean method of reinforcing concrete is far more sustainable. What it does: The use of bamboo rather than steel to reinforce concrete is more environmentally friendly and creates flexibility within the concrete that can better withstand earthquakes. Benefits: Bamboo grows at a high rate, meaning it absorbs a lot of CO2 as it grows and therefore increased production of bamboo would benefit the environment. It is also a great alternative to materials which cause harm as they are produced. Bamboo also has a higher tensile strength than steel because its fibres run axially and it is flexible so is great for use in earthquake-prone areas.   8. Super Wood Although wood has been used for millennia in construction, it isn’t as strong as metals used in building today. Scientists have now discovered a way to add strength to wood by boiling it in a solution of sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and sodium sulfite (Na2SO3) before it is compressed so that the molecules within the wood are strengthened. What it does: The compressed wood is far stronger and more durable than wood in its natural state, therefore it can be used in a greater range on construction projects. Benefits: As this product relies on the already abundant and natural material of wood, it is still affordable and can be created in an environmentally sustainable way according to its creators at University of Maryland, College Park. The wood is so strong it can stop bullets but is far lighter than comparable materials of the same strength.   The diversity of these materials showcases how much the industry is starting to consider the environment and the affordability of construction. The construction industry is revolutionising the way that we live. Even the materials that make up our homes are increasingly innovative and futuristic. Visit: https://www.protectionsupplies.co.uk
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • With the UK construction, operation and maintenance industry accounting for 48% of the UK’s carbon emissions, the focus of many innovations in construction is now on reducing the construction sector's CO2 output. Protection Supplies have uncovered the cutting-edge yet conscious building materials of the future before revealing how these materials are changing the way that buildings are now being constructed. The UK's construction industry also needs to build 300,000 homes a year to overcome the current housing shortage. As the industry is failing to do this, materials which can shorten the time it takes to build homes and make them more affordable are crucial for revolutionising the industry. Some of the benefits of these innovative materials include: Speeding up housing production Improving the longevity of buildings Helping buildings to adapt to their surroundings, such as in the event of earthquakes Increasing natural light Reducing fuel bills Making construction more environmentally friendly by lowering CO2 production 1. Transparent Wood Invented by Swedish researchers, wood can now be treated and compressed to become a transparent material. What it does: Researcher Lars Berglund creates the transparent wood by compressing strips of wood veneer in a process similar to pulping. This removes the lignin and replaces it with the polymer, making the wood 85% transparent. Benefits: This material will create a strong and environmentally friendly alternative to plastic and glass. The material has the strength of lumber but is far lighter. It can be used in the construction of homes to bring more light in and reduce the need for artificial light which can quickly use up a lot of power. It is as environmentally friendly and biodegradable as normal wood.   2. Hydrogel Architects at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia in Barcelona are in the process of creating walls which are able to cool themselves down, using the substance Hydrogel. What it does: Bubbles of Hydrogel are layered between two ceramic panels. These can then be installed into already constructed walls. Benefits: Hydrogel is able to absorb water when the air around Hydrogel heats up it evaporates and cools the room down by up to 5°C. The mechanism is inspired by the way the human body cools itself down. Once installed in buildings it will act as an alternative to the overuse of air conditioning which is detrimental to the environment, producing 100 million tonnes of CO2.   3. Cigarette **** Bricks Smoking is bad for your health and bad for the environment as discarded cigarettes make up an estimated 38% of all waste. Researchers at the Australian RMIT University have found that adding discarded cigarettes to bricks lessens the amount of energy needed for baking. What it does: The bricks made with the addition of cigarette butts, require less baking time than traditional bricks. This means they are cheaper and more eco-friendly to produce. Benefits: As the cigarettes within the brick reduce the time of baking bricks, they reduce the energy required to produce them by up to 58%. Additionally, the bricks are better insulators than those without cigarette butts within them and solve an ongoing pollution problem of what to do with discarded cigarettes to prevent contamination. 4. Super-hydrophobic Cement Scientists in Mexico have discovered that changing the microstructure of cement can make it absorb and reflect light, creating super-hydrophobic cement, also known as luminescent cement. What it does: The cement is able to absorb and reflect light, offering an alternative to street lighting as the ground would be lit up using this luminescent cement. Benefits: Often cement needs to be replaced within thirty to fifty years, however, this alternative product is far more durable and will last for up to hundred years. It also offers power free lighting and therefore can reduce the energy consumed and CO2 produced by lighting the streets of the world.   5. Synthetic Spider Silk A spider's web is the strongest material in the natural world. It is a naturally tough and strong material that for years scientists have been trying to create a synthetic version. Now, with the help of 3D printing, they are closer than ever. What it does: The synthetic spider's silk is created at room temperature using water, silica and cellulose which are all easily accessible. The finished product could be used as a biodegradable alternative to nylon and other tough fabrics. Benefits: The material will offer an alternative to the textile industry which is currently one of the biggest producers of CO2 in the world. The product will be used as an alternative to an array of strong materials such as parachutes and eventually it is hoped the Synthetic Spider Silk will be used in creating building materials such as blocks as well as in mechanics, making super strong car parts. 6. Breathe Bricks Acting as a secondary layer of insulation, these pollution absorbing bricks can remove 30% of fine particles and 100% of coarse particles making air within office spaces and public buildings healthier to breathe. This is particularly useful in areas with poor air quality as a way to improve air within buildings. What it does: Composed of two key parts, concrete bricks and recycled plastic coupler, the aligned bricks create a route from the outside into the brick’s hollow centre. The surface of the bricks themselves helps to direct airflow and a cavity removes pollution. Benefits: This is a cost-effective way to reduce air pollution as it requires no further maintenance once installed. It would be particularly helpful in developing countries where air quality is poor and other solutions could be too expensive to maintain.   7. Bamboo-reinforced Concrete A natural alternative to the steel reinforcement usually used in most countries, this Singaporean method of reinforcing concrete is far more sustainable. What it does: The use of bamboo rather than steel to reinforce concrete is more environmentally friendly and creates flexibility within the concrete that can better withstand earthquakes. Benefits: Bamboo grows at a high rate, meaning it absorbs a lot of CO2 as it grows and therefore increased production of bamboo would benefit the environment. It is also a great alternative to materials which cause harm as they are produced. Bamboo also has a higher tensile strength than steel because its fibres run axially and it is flexible so is great for use in earthquake-prone areas.   8. Super Wood Although wood has been used for millennia in construction, it isn’t as strong as metals used in building today. Scientists have now discovered a way to add strength to wood by boiling it in a solution of sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and sodium sulfite (Na2SO3) before it is compressed so that the molecules within the wood are strengthened. What it does: The compressed wood is far stronger and more durable than wood in its natural state, therefore it can be used in a greater range on construction projects. Benefits: As this product relies on the already abundant and natural material of wood, it is still affordable and can be created in an environmentally sustainable way according to its creators at University of Maryland, College Park. The wood is so strong it can stop bullets but is far lighter than comparable materials of the same strength.   The diversity of these materials showcases how much the industry is starting to consider the environment and the affordability of construction. The construction industry is revolutionising the way that we live. Even the materials that make up our homes are increasingly innovative and futuristic. Visit: https://www.protectionsupplies.co.uk
    Jan 08, 2019 0
  • 02 Jan 2019
    Being in a building dispute can be a pain. But if it is not immediately resolved, it can cause worse problems for you. This could be in the form of delays, unfinished work, additional costs, and it can take much of your time. How will deal with it can determine the success of the construction project? An Australian construction lawyer gives his views. Building disputes can be anything. It could be about poor workmanship, payment issues, contract breaches, or any concern that involves a constructed building. It can also be a test on how you could manage your relationships with the others involved in the building project. With a harmonious relationship, you can easily work together to finish the building properly. But, handling building disputes sounds easy but it could be hard when you are in the actual situation. This applies especially when the person you are dealing with could be difficult to work with. So, here as some tips to help you handle building disputes better: Talk and Negotiate with empathy. Do not let your emotions rule you when talking to your builder. They are people too, and they can make mistakes. You must learn to listen to their story with understanding what are the events that led to the dispute. With a clear head, you can already know what your next action to resolve this mess. But while being understanding, you should still know how to distinguish the difference between excuses from facts. It will lead you to know the truth and the way to resolve the problem. Take note and document every detail. Having a copy of everything related to the building project is a helpful practice for you when things go wrong. You can easily track where the dispute happened, and even keep your work organized. You can even have it as solid legal proof. Your contract, payment claim, invoices, pictures and other documents can help you handle the dispute as objective as possible. You can use it to plead your case properly to the parties involved and you can easily pinpoint who is at fault. And in some cases, they can hold the key to a resolution for the issue. Know your rights. Different construction laws protect you from different building disputes. There are laws for building defects, laws for late payments and laws that can protect your rights whichever role you are taking part in the building project. So, you have to do your best to enforce it. The law is on your side so if the other parties in the project are not doing their job well, you can confront them about it. It is in your hands on how you should remind them of these laws, but remember that the law is also solid proof of their incompetence.   Talk to a specialist construction lawyer. If you feel that you do not have the confidence to confront the other party yourself, you can ask the help of a construction lawyer to mediate in between. They can help you understand your rights in the building disputes and what you can do about them. They can guide you through each step of any legal process you would have to undergo due to the dispute. They can also give you expert legal advice, so you are sure that your building dispute gets resolved as cost and time- efficient as possible. So that, you get to enforce your legal rights and handle your building dispute with ease. Visit: https://www.contractsspecialist.com.au/building-dispute-lawyer-sydney  
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Being in a building dispute can be a pain. But if it is not immediately resolved, it can cause worse problems for you. This could be in the form of delays, unfinished work, additional costs, and it can take much of your time. How will deal with it can determine the success of the construction project? An Australian construction lawyer gives his views. Building disputes can be anything. It could be about poor workmanship, payment issues, contract breaches, or any concern that involves a constructed building. It can also be a test on how you could manage your relationships with the others involved in the building project. With a harmonious relationship, you can easily work together to finish the building properly. But, handling building disputes sounds easy but it could be hard when you are in the actual situation. This applies especially when the person you are dealing with could be difficult to work with. So, here as some tips to help you handle building disputes better: Talk and Negotiate with empathy. Do not let your emotions rule you when talking to your builder. They are people too, and they can make mistakes. You must learn to listen to their story with understanding what are the events that led to the dispute. With a clear head, you can already know what your next action to resolve this mess. But while being understanding, you should still know how to distinguish the difference between excuses from facts. It will lead you to know the truth and the way to resolve the problem. Take note and document every detail. Having a copy of everything related to the building project is a helpful practice for you when things go wrong. You can easily track where the dispute happened, and even keep your work organized. You can even have it as solid legal proof. Your contract, payment claim, invoices, pictures and other documents can help you handle the dispute as objective as possible. You can use it to plead your case properly to the parties involved and you can easily pinpoint who is at fault. And in some cases, they can hold the key to a resolution for the issue. Know your rights. Different construction laws protect you from different building disputes. There are laws for building defects, laws for late payments and laws that can protect your rights whichever role you are taking part in the building project. So, you have to do your best to enforce it. The law is on your side so if the other parties in the project are not doing their job well, you can confront them about it. It is in your hands on how you should remind them of these laws, but remember that the law is also solid proof of their incompetence.   Talk to a specialist construction lawyer. If you feel that you do not have the confidence to confront the other party yourself, you can ask the help of a construction lawyer to mediate in between. They can help you understand your rights in the building disputes and what you can do about them. They can guide you through each step of any legal process you would have to undergo due to the dispute. They can also give you expert legal advice, so you are sure that your building dispute gets resolved as cost and time- efficient as possible. So that, you get to enforce your legal rights and handle your building dispute with ease. Visit: https://www.contractsspecialist.com.au/building-dispute-lawyer-sydney  
    Jan 02, 2019 0
  • 17 Dec 2018
    As an employer, safety is likely pretty high on your priority risk, ensuring that you and those you work with minimise the risk of accidents. Although it can be easy to incorporate various health and safety protocols in order to sufficiently protect yourself and your colleagues from immediate harm, it’s important to consider some of the hidden dangers that may be hidden within the walls. Asbestos is a flame retardant used in a variety of building works across the country until its ban in the 1990s and remains a very serious danger to those who may be working in close proximity to the material. With this in mind, it’s useful to understand asbestos and how it still poses a threat. What exactly is asbestos? The term asbestos actually covers a group of naturally occurring materials made up of microscopic fibres. These silicate materials are split into six different types and can be found all across the globe. Its use in industry is due to its flame retardant properties and its use can be traced back to the Ancient Egyptians, who weaved asbestos cloth to preserve their dead. However, it wasn’t until the industrial revolution that asbestos began to be used on a much larger scale, with over 30,000 tonnes of the lightweight fibre being mined across the globe every year by the early 1900s. Although its effects as a dangerous material were documented as early as the late 1800s, asbestos was only fully banned in the UK with the prohibition of chrysotile in 1999. Because of this, a large percentage of buildings constructed before this point may have some form of asbestos built into it, making it a very present danger for many working in the industry. What are the dangers? Asbestos is not generally considered dangerous unless the microscopic fibres are inhaled or ingested. However, there is a host of problems that can occur from asbestos infiltrating your lungs that can range from minor to severe. The four main diseases that can be contracted from asbestos are as follows: Diffuse pleural thickening/pleural plaques - these two diseases occur from the inhalation of asbestos and cause scarring or plaque build-up to occur around the pleura; the double-layered membrane surrounding your lungs. Asbestosis - the scarring of lung tissue, this can evolve into a host of more severe problems. Asbestos-related lung cancer and Mesothelioma - two types of cancers that affect the various parts of the lung. These problems may take years or even decades to surface so it’s imperative for those working in close proximity to older buildings to be adequately protected. Keeping you protected from asbestos Making sure that you’re working in an environment safe from the scourge of asbestos is essential, so if you believe you may have discovered some, it is imperative to bring in the experts. Modbay, alongside our work in roofing and guttering, we offer a comprehensive asbestos stripping service, ensuring that you’re working safely.  visit our website.  
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • As an employer, safety is likely pretty high on your priority risk, ensuring that you and those you work with minimise the risk of accidents. Although it can be easy to incorporate various health and safety protocols in order to sufficiently protect yourself and your colleagues from immediate harm, it’s important to consider some of the hidden dangers that may be hidden within the walls. Asbestos is a flame retardant used in a variety of building works across the country until its ban in the 1990s and remains a very serious danger to those who may be working in close proximity to the material. With this in mind, it’s useful to understand asbestos and how it still poses a threat. What exactly is asbestos? The term asbestos actually covers a group of naturally occurring materials made up of microscopic fibres. These silicate materials are split into six different types and can be found all across the globe. Its use in industry is due to its flame retardant properties and its use can be traced back to the Ancient Egyptians, who weaved asbestos cloth to preserve their dead. However, it wasn’t until the industrial revolution that asbestos began to be used on a much larger scale, with over 30,000 tonnes of the lightweight fibre being mined across the globe every year by the early 1900s. Although its effects as a dangerous material were documented as early as the late 1800s, asbestos was only fully banned in the UK with the prohibition of chrysotile in 1999. Because of this, a large percentage of buildings constructed before this point may have some form of asbestos built into it, making it a very present danger for many working in the industry. What are the dangers? Asbestos is not generally considered dangerous unless the microscopic fibres are inhaled or ingested. However, there is a host of problems that can occur from asbestos infiltrating your lungs that can range from minor to severe. The four main diseases that can be contracted from asbestos are as follows: Diffuse pleural thickening/pleural plaques - these two diseases occur from the inhalation of asbestos and cause scarring or plaque build-up to occur around the pleura; the double-layered membrane surrounding your lungs. Asbestosis - the scarring of lung tissue, this can evolve into a host of more severe problems. Asbestos-related lung cancer and Mesothelioma - two types of cancers that affect the various parts of the lung. These problems may take years or even decades to surface so it’s imperative for those working in close proximity to older buildings to be adequately protected. Keeping you protected from asbestos Making sure that you’re working in an environment safe from the scourge of asbestos is essential, so if you believe you may have discovered some, it is imperative to bring in the experts. Modbay, alongside our work in roofing and guttering, we offer a comprehensive asbestos stripping service, ensuring that you’re working safely.  visit our website.  
    Dec 17, 2018 0
  • 03 Dec 2018
    Since the construction giant Carillion’s liquidation at the beginning of the year, the government has released regulations to target late payers in the public sector in an attempt to resolve the delayed payment crisis. In light of this government order released a few months ago by Parliamentary Secretary Oliver Dowden, private sector clients and developers have been asked to follow suit in order to assure transparency and reliability across the entire sector. But what are the solutions to stop delayed payments from occuring? Matthew Jones, CEO of Open ECX, discusses how the industry might tackle this issue collectively to put better payment processes into practice. Recent government intervention in lieu of Carillion’s collapse exemplifies how much of a grave inconvenience delayed payments can be, especially if left unresolved. In effect, government measures will make it easier for subcontractors to report poor payment methods to the authorities. In an ideal world, no business wants to add to the stress already evident during the invoice and payment process, whether large or small scale. Although delayed payments can occur for a variety of reasons, whether related to unsolicited administrative errors or employee illness, contractors should still strive to make the subcontractor payment process as easy and straightforward as possible. In order to prevent late payments, the government will offer advisory, constructive workshops to help companies with their project management and payment plans. Solutions such as these should help prevent any delayed payments, allowing contractors the time to consider the impact of their delay and providing contractors with helpful advice to better manage their current payment processes. Overall, this initiative will ensure employees and businesses will not suffer as a consequence.   Even though the Carillion collapse is a stand-alone case, nonetheless, it begs several questions on how and why payments were so late. But moving forward, it is important to identify key solutions to prevent further financial catastrophes from occuring. All contractors desire a risk-free environment in which their payment processes are rigorous, safe and reliable; such solutions allow contractors to be more organised and efficient with their payments, preventing any late payments from slipping beneath the surface. A potential solution is to digitise all payment and invoice processes so that contractors pay their subcontractors in a timely fashion whilst maintaining a healthy, risk-free environment for themselves. Designed for medium to large contractors, WebContractor is a useful tool which manages the subcontractor applications for payment process, as well as other subcontractor concerns; insurances and bonds, self-billing invoices, authenticated VAT receipts, minor works, work order instructions for example, offering a great solution for the industry as a whole. Subcontractors access an online portal for easy and timely submission of payment applications while contractors take advantage of the workflow and reminder features designed to streamline the management of approvals. For contractors, this is a great support mechanism, designed to enhance visibility, control and compliance of the subcontractor application process, lightening the associated administrative workload. Not only do digital processes alleviate any messy paperwork from mounting up, they ensure both contractor and subcontractor are kept up to date with payments and invoices.  Contractors benefit from increased efficiencies, improved clarity around cash flow, and a far more accurate understanding of their liabilities at any given time. Potential risks, such as litigation, can be potentially avoided, as a thorough, reliable system such as WebContractor has been employed. Subcontractors gain visibility of the progress of their various applications for payment – something that will help them with their business planning. Applications for payment are securely stored for subcontractors and contractors to access payment applications at any given time. Time is always of the essence especially in terms of managing cash flow, meaning digital platforms are a sensible and necessary solution to combating late payments. With the right technology, processes associated with applications for payment can become efficient, standardised, transparent and quick. Most importantly, the automation of these processes can allow for tracking and management across the whole supply chain, which reduces risk and helps to build a clear and transparent picture of the finances affecting the business. Digitised systems for management of subcontractor invoices are the solution to stop late payments from occuring. Whilst the government’s recent measures must be recognised as offering an opportunity for both the public and private sector to push for change in the industry, services such as WebContractor are a tangible, accessible method to ensure contractors keep on top of the multiple payments they have to process each month. Given subcontractors can send payment applications directly, without the need for manual submissions, it improves accuracy, hastens the process and eliminates time costs as well as lost paperwork. Enhancing methods for managing applications for payment across the sector will benefit the industry’s credibility plus the health of all businesses operating within the sector. Even though it was a dark time for the construction industry, many positive lessons for the future can be learnt from Carillion’s collapse. Seeing the implementation of government intervention signifies the level of support it is willing to give the industry. But internal measures must also be taken by the industry itself, where digital application for payment and subcontractor management platforms are a worthy solution. Not only do these systems ensure subcontractors get paid on time, they reduce risk to contractors’ businesses. Turning to more rigorous, digital payment processes will preserve contractor and subcontractor integrity and the wider construction industry as a whole. Visit:  www.openecx.co.uk  
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Since the construction giant Carillion’s liquidation at the beginning of the year, the government has released regulations to target late payers in the public sector in an attempt to resolve the delayed payment crisis. In light of this government order released a few months ago by Parliamentary Secretary Oliver Dowden, private sector clients and developers have been asked to follow suit in order to assure transparency and reliability across the entire sector. But what are the solutions to stop delayed payments from occuring? Matthew Jones, CEO of Open ECX, discusses how the industry might tackle this issue collectively to put better payment processes into practice. Recent government intervention in lieu of Carillion’s collapse exemplifies how much of a grave inconvenience delayed payments can be, especially if left unresolved. In effect, government measures will make it easier for subcontractors to report poor payment methods to the authorities. In an ideal world, no business wants to add to the stress already evident during the invoice and payment process, whether large or small scale. Although delayed payments can occur for a variety of reasons, whether related to unsolicited administrative errors or employee illness, contractors should still strive to make the subcontractor payment process as easy and straightforward as possible. In order to prevent late payments, the government will offer advisory, constructive workshops to help companies with their project management and payment plans. Solutions such as these should help prevent any delayed payments, allowing contractors the time to consider the impact of their delay and providing contractors with helpful advice to better manage their current payment processes. Overall, this initiative will ensure employees and businesses will not suffer as a consequence.   Even though the Carillion collapse is a stand-alone case, nonetheless, it begs several questions on how and why payments were so late. But moving forward, it is important to identify key solutions to prevent further financial catastrophes from occuring. All contractors desire a risk-free environment in which their payment processes are rigorous, safe and reliable; such solutions allow contractors to be more organised and efficient with their payments, preventing any late payments from slipping beneath the surface. A potential solution is to digitise all payment and invoice processes so that contractors pay their subcontractors in a timely fashion whilst maintaining a healthy, risk-free environment for themselves. Designed for medium to large contractors, WebContractor is a useful tool which manages the subcontractor applications for payment process, as well as other subcontractor concerns; insurances and bonds, self-billing invoices, authenticated VAT receipts, minor works, work order instructions for example, offering a great solution for the industry as a whole. Subcontractors access an online portal for easy and timely submission of payment applications while contractors take advantage of the workflow and reminder features designed to streamline the management of approvals. For contractors, this is a great support mechanism, designed to enhance visibility, control and compliance of the subcontractor application process, lightening the associated administrative workload. Not only do digital processes alleviate any messy paperwork from mounting up, they ensure both contractor and subcontractor are kept up to date with payments and invoices.  Contractors benefit from increased efficiencies, improved clarity around cash flow, and a far more accurate understanding of their liabilities at any given time. Potential risks, such as litigation, can be potentially avoided, as a thorough, reliable system such as WebContractor has been employed. Subcontractors gain visibility of the progress of their various applications for payment – something that will help them with their business planning. Applications for payment are securely stored for subcontractors and contractors to access payment applications at any given time. Time is always of the essence especially in terms of managing cash flow, meaning digital platforms are a sensible and necessary solution to combating late payments. With the right technology, processes associated with applications for payment can become efficient, standardised, transparent and quick. Most importantly, the automation of these processes can allow for tracking and management across the whole supply chain, which reduces risk and helps to build a clear and transparent picture of the finances affecting the business. Digitised systems for management of subcontractor invoices are the solution to stop late payments from occuring. Whilst the government’s recent measures must be recognised as offering an opportunity for both the public and private sector to push for change in the industry, services such as WebContractor are a tangible, accessible method to ensure contractors keep on top of the multiple payments they have to process each month. Given subcontractors can send payment applications directly, without the need for manual submissions, it improves accuracy, hastens the process and eliminates time costs as well as lost paperwork. Enhancing methods for managing applications for payment across the sector will benefit the industry’s credibility plus the health of all businesses operating within the sector. Even though it was a dark time for the construction industry, many positive lessons for the future can be learnt from Carillion’s collapse. Seeing the implementation of government intervention signifies the level of support it is willing to give the industry. But internal measures must also be taken by the industry itself, where digital application for payment and subcontractor management platforms are a worthy solution. Not only do these systems ensure subcontractors get paid on time, they reduce risk to contractors’ businesses. Turning to more rigorous, digital payment processes will preserve contractor and subcontractor integrity and the wider construction industry as a whole. Visit:  www.openecx.co.uk  
    Dec 03, 2018 0
  • 26 Oct 2018
    One of the biggest problems facing contracting companies is the ability to keep in touch with the workforce, particularly when they are scattered over several sites writes John Ridgeway. It is particularly difficult to know when workers have turned up and what time they leave. In this “Big Brother” world no employer wants to be seen to be tagging staff but there is considerable anecdotal evidence of abuse by workers who clock in late and leave early. As well as losses for the company, employers have to prove a duty of care particularly with staff who might be working alone. Strict health and safety rules also mean that bosses should know where their workers are at all times – and of course what they are doing. Over the years employers have tried different tracking devices, mostly on vehicles but this does not give you any idea where individuals are located. To counter this some companies have looked at personal trackers most of which have failed to deliver – mainly for not being accurate or tough enough to face the challenging environments of building sites. But now it seems, there could be an answer with a new type of tracking product from www.trackmyworld.net which offers huge potential for the construction industry. It’s a tough and robust personal tracker, especially developed for people with equally tough and demanding jobs. Its waterproof built to cope with rough handling and will continue to deliver even under the most difficult conditions. The suppliers claim that it is rapidly becoming the personal tracker of choice for employers who need to keep in contact with key members of staff working in the most challenging and difficult environments. The tracker clips on to a belt or other item of clothing and in the event of an emergency there is an SOS button to instantly summon help. Tests show that it will tell you exactly when your team arrives on site and when they leave using advanced geo fence technology with the addition of real time pin point location to keep in touch and get alerts if speed limits are broken and much more. The device is controlled using an advanced App which will allow an administrator to monitor a limitless number of teams or individuals anywhere in the world from a mobile phone. The TMW GPS Tracker also offers a long battery life and can be easily recharged from the mains or via a cigar lighter in a vehicle. It’s the tough tracker for tough jobs say TMW – and when it’s vital to keep to keep in touch – it appears to have no equal. Visit: www.trackmyworld.net  
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • One of the biggest problems facing contracting companies is the ability to keep in touch with the workforce, particularly when they are scattered over several sites writes John Ridgeway. It is particularly difficult to know when workers have turned up and what time they leave. In this “Big Brother” world no employer wants to be seen to be tagging staff but there is considerable anecdotal evidence of abuse by workers who clock in late and leave early. As well as losses for the company, employers have to prove a duty of care particularly with staff who might be working alone. Strict health and safety rules also mean that bosses should know where their workers are at all times – and of course what they are doing. Over the years employers have tried different tracking devices, mostly on vehicles but this does not give you any idea where individuals are located. To counter this some companies have looked at personal trackers most of which have failed to deliver – mainly for not being accurate or tough enough to face the challenging environments of building sites. But now it seems, there could be an answer with a new type of tracking product from www.trackmyworld.net which offers huge potential for the construction industry. It’s a tough and robust personal tracker, especially developed for people with equally tough and demanding jobs. Its waterproof built to cope with rough handling and will continue to deliver even under the most difficult conditions. The suppliers claim that it is rapidly becoming the personal tracker of choice for employers who need to keep in contact with key members of staff working in the most challenging and difficult environments. The tracker clips on to a belt or other item of clothing and in the event of an emergency there is an SOS button to instantly summon help. Tests show that it will tell you exactly when your team arrives on site and when they leave using advanced geo fence technology with the addition of real time pin point location to keep in touch and get alerts if speed limits are broken and much more. The device is controlled using an advanced App which will allow an administrator to monitor a limitless number of teams or individuals anywhere in the world from a mobile phone. The TMW GPS Tracker also offers a long battery life and can be easily recharged from the mains or via a cigar lighter in a vehicle. It’s the tough tracker for tough jobs say TMW – and when it’s vital to keep to keep in touch – it appears to have no equal. Visit: www.trackmyworld.net  
    Oct 26, 2018 0
  • 19 Oct 2018
    As specialist contractors carry out the vast majority of construction work in the UK, isn’t it about time the construction industry acknowledged their role writes Gerald Kelly.  Specialist contractors and suppliers will together produce the bulk of the detailed design work and will manufacture, fabricate, supply, install, commission and maintain the components which make up the finished building or structure.  However, this is conveniently forgotten when Main Contractors deal with the Client. The Main Contract Agreement between the Client and Main Contractor is considered as the most significant contract, even though the expertise of specialist contractors is indispensable. Specialist contractors invariably end up having no direct contractual link to the client, operating as sub-contractors to the Main Contractor and having to deal with Main Contractors unloading risk down through the supply chain. So, why is there a reluctance to acknowledge the functions of specialist contractors and suppliers? Could it be that it is far easier to abuse contractual positions if specialist contractors are relegated to being functional accessories to the Main Contractor rather than being recognised for the crucial role that they perform. Of course, Main Contractors will argue that their supply chain is extremely important and are recognised and rewarded for the expertise they bring to construction projects. However, if this were the case, why do Main Contractors alter standard forms of subcontract, insist on onerous Terms and Conditions and participate in late payment practices. A quick look at data compiled by Build UK on their members’ payment performance, using data published under the Duty to Report on Payment Practices and Performance, highlights the appalling late payment practices of many Main Contractors. Company Name          % of invoices NOT paid within agreed terms   Average time taken to pay invoices (days) Clugston                                             13                                                 32 Willmott Dixon                                   8                                                   33 Canary Wharf Contractors                 8                                                   34 VolkerWessels                                  19                                                   35 Bouygues                                          31                                                   40 AECOM                                              52                                                   40 Skanska                                            11                                                   41 ISG                                                    48                                                  42 Multiplex                                           47                                                  43 Seddon                                               7                                                   44 Morgan Sindall                                 24                                                  44 Wates                                               62                                                  44 Mace                                                 43                                                  45 BAM Construct                                 49                                                  45 Keltbray                                           11                                                  47 Galliford Try                                    26                                                  47 Sir Robert McAlpine                        70                                                  49 Interserve                                       83                                                  50 William Hare                                   29                                                  51 Vinci                                                36                                                  52 John Sisk & Son                              64                                                  52 Kier                                                  48                                                  54 Balfour Beatty                                 54                                                  54 Engie                                                 1                                                   61 Murphy Group                                 66                                                   66 The Guidance to reporting on payment practices and performance specifies that the average time taken to pay should be measured from the date of receipt of invoice to the date the supplier receives payment. For construction contracts in scope of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996, businesses must use the earliest point at which they have notice of an amount for payment, which would generally be the date they receive an application for payment. It truly is the time for the construction industry to move forward. A good start would be to recognise the worth of specialist contractors, issue fair contracts, pay on time and stop all detrimental payment practices. The construction industry has many problems; however, they can be solved if all work together and put aside the adversarial attitude that is prevalent within the industry. Gerald Kelly is General Manager of the Confederation of Construction Specialists, an organisation which fights for fair and ethical contracts within the construction industry.  Visit: www.constructionspecialists.org    
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • As specialist contractors carry out the vast majority of construction work in the UK, isn’t it about time the construction industry acknowledged their role writes Gerald Kelly.  Specialist contractors and suppliers will together produce the bulk of the detailed design work and will manufacture, fabricate, supply, install, commission and maintain the components which make up the finished building or structure.  However, this is conveniently forgotten when Main Contractors deal with the Client. The Main Contract Agreement between the Client and Main Contractor is considered as the most significant contract, even though the expertise of specialist contractors is indispensable. Specialist contractors invariably end up having no direct contractual link to the client, operating as sub-contractors to the Main Contractor and having to deal with Main Contractors unloading risk down through the supply chain. So, why is there a reluctance to acknowledge the functions of specialist contractors and suppliers? Could it be that it is far easier to abuse contractual positions if specialist contractors are relegated to being functional accessories to the Main Contractor rather than being recognised for the crucial role that they perform. Of course, Main Contractors will argue that their supply chain is extremely important and are recognised and rewarded for the expertise they bring to construction projects. However, if this were the case, why do Main Contractors alter standard forms of subcontract, insist on onerous Terms and Conditions and participate in late payment practices. A quick look at data compiled by Build UK on their members’ payment performance, using data published under the Duty to Report on Payment Practices and Performance, highlights the appalling late payment practices of many Main Contractors. Company Name          % of invoices NOT paid within agreed terms   Average time taken to pay invoices (days) Clugston                                             13                                                 32 Willmott Dixon                                   8                                                   33 Canary Wharf Contractors                 8                                                   34 VolkerWessels                                  19                                                   35 Bouygues                                          31                                                   40 AECOM                                              52                                                   40 Skanska                                            11                                                   41 ISG                                                    48                                                  42 Multiplex                                           47                                                  43 Seddon                                               7                                                   44 Morgan Sindall                                 24                                                  44 Wates                                               62                                                  44 Mace                                                 43                                                  45 BAM Construct                                 49                                                  45 Keltbray                                           11                                                  47 Galliford Try                                    26                                                  47 Sir Robert McAlpine                        70                                                  49 Interserve                                       83                                                  50 William Hare                                   29                                                  51 Vinci                                                36                                                  52 John Sisk & Son                              64                                                  52 Kier                                                  48                                                  54 Balfour Beatty                                 54                                                  54 Engie                                                 1                                                   61 Murphy Group                                 66                                                   66 The Guidance to reporting on payment practices and performance specifies that the average time taken to pay should be measured from the date of receipt of invoice to the date the supplier receives payment. For construction contracts in scope of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996, businesses must use the earliest point at which they have notice of an amount for payment, which would generally be the date they receive an application for payment. It truly is the time for the construction industry to move forward. A good start would be to recognise the worth of specialist contractors, issue fair contracts, pay on time and stop all detrimental payment practices. The construction industry has many problems; however, they can be solved if all work together and put aside the adversarial attitude that is prevalent within the industry. Gerald Kelly is General Manager of the Confederation of Construction Specialists, an organisation which fights for fair and ethical contracts within the construction industry.  Visit: www.constructionspecialists.org    
    Oct 19, 2018 0
  • 15 Oct 2018
    High-rise curtain wall buildings have become architectural statements across the globe, their façades projecting image and a creative intent which sets them apart from other buildings across city skylines. While curtain walls offer formability, durability and weather resistance, it’s vitally important that passive fire protection and compartmentation measures are installed to limit the spread of fire, saving lives and property. Chris Hall, Commercial Development Officer at SIDERISE, feels that passive fire protection solutions such as firestops are crucial to prevent the passage of flames and noxious gases travelling from one compartment floor or room to the next. Fires in high-rise buildings can generate large quantities of smoke that tend to spread vertically throughout the building, even if the fire is contained to one room. When the gap/cavity at the perimeter edge between the floor and curtain wall is not properly sealed, flames and smoke can spread vertically to higher floors, and horizontally from one room to the next. Addressing these gaps/cavities by properly installing firestops maintains the floors’ fire compartmentation of the building. This delays vertical smoke-spread and reduces the risk of smoke-related injury in the upper floors of the building, and adjacent rooms. Closing the gap The perimeter barrier firestops seal the gap between the edge of the compartmentfloor slab and external curtain wall. Due to project designs and site tolerances, this linear gap can be variable, so the firestop system used needs to have a degree of ‘dynamic’ movement capability – compression and recovery – in order to accommodate serviceability movement, and more significant movement under fire load. It’s critical the firestop system does this in combination with the primary functional requirement, which is to maintain continuity of fire resistance between the compartmentfloor and the external wall. The installed firestop system needs to match the same period of fire resistance as the compartment floor. All firestop systems need to be tested to two criteria – Integrity and Insulation (EI). Integrity (E) refers to the ability of the system to prevent the passage of flame, smoke and combustible gases either through, and around the material or through joints in an assembly; while Insulation (I) refers to a measure of the increase in conducted heat transferred from the exposed to unexposed surfaces of 180°C rises above ambient. These two criteria are critical in the development of curtain wall perimeter firestop products. The most effective products combine a number of material features – density, thickness, resin content, fibre structure and controlled compression – which together determine the resistance properties. When looking at the Integrity (E) criteria, the material chosen must be impervious to the transfer of flame and gases, easy to install with minimal site management and accommodate all real-world requirements at interfaces, joints and details. In order to meet the fire and smoke stop requirements in all external façade applications, Certifire Approved perimeter barrier and firestop systems offer an unrivalled combination of fully-qualified performance, practical installation and service benefits. The principal function of these systems is to maintain continuity of fire resistance by sealing the gap between the compartment floors or walls and external curtain walls horizontally and vertically. These systems can offer tested fire rating options ranging from 30 minutes to five hours and accommodate void widths up to 1200mm. In addition to providing an effective seal against the passage of smoke and fire, the products will also function as an effective acoustic barrier and plenum lining. Key design considerations The firestop should be installed under compression and must have test evidence to show that it is capable of accommodating movement of a façade. It is imperative that the installed seal is able to function effectively with due regard to all designed movement serviceability limits.  Curtain walling and cladding façade systems will deflect due to positive and negative windloads as well as occupational live loads.  These criteria are covered by EN 13116:2001.  Typically, a project may stipulate that the curtain walling system may have the following allowable deflection limits: Under the declared wind loads the maximum frontal deflection of the curtain walling’s framing members shall not exceed L/200 or 15mm, whichever is less, when measured between the points of support or anchorage to the building’s structure in compliance with EN 13116. (Extract from EN 138300) These factors may inevitably combine to preclude the suitability and therefore, use of certain systems e.g. high density material slab products. Perimeter barriers must be installed to provide horizontal compartmentation at every floor level.  Vertical cavity barriers should be provided as a minimum to fall in line with any compartment wall and more frequently if dictated by the fire strategy of the building. Products should be fitted tightly around all bracketry to restrict the passage of smoke.  Where there is potential for gaps, the product must be sealed with a sealant that carries the same fire insulation and integrity rating as the perimeter barrier. All installations should be in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions and where fixing brackets are required these should be fitted and spaced in accordance with a certified fire test report. Products used for fire safety installation should carry an independent third party certification in order to ensure that the product supplied is the same as that tested. The gap between the slab edge and the façade is often a weak point acoustically.  Any products used to improve the acoustic performance must not contribute to the fire load or inhibit the performance of the perimeter barrier. Seal the voids At the $135 million Al Fattan Crystal Towers in the Dubai Marina, UAE, fire safety was paramount in a development which houses hotel rooms, suites and residential apartments. With both vertical and horizontal fire compartmentation requirements, the specification of SIDERISE CW-FS 120 firestops provided the contractor Cladtech with a one-stop-shop solution that could maintain a fire and smoke seal in one product and could successfully fill lineargaps at the podium levels in excess of 300mm. For the two towers, Cladtech installed 12,000 LM of SIDERISE CW-FS 120 firestops including horizontal (floor slab) and vertical compartmentation. With the timeline on the project critical, the use of this dry fix system enabled the work to be completed quickly and efficiently, ready for handover to subcontractors.   Throughout the application, SIDERISE provided comprehensive support including drawing assistance, liaison with the authorities for approval, installation training and periodic site inspection and assistance. Whilst specifying the correct product is vital, the quality of installation is equally as important.  Contractors installing life saving measures such as perimeter barriers and firestops must have adequate training on the particular manufacturer’s products and be qualified to install it in the first place.  When it comes to saving lives and protecting businesses and property, a well designed and installed system can make the difference.  Visit: www.siderise.com
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • High-rise curtain wall buildings have become architectural statements across the globe, their façades projecting image and a creative intent which sets them apart from other buildings across city skylines. While curtain walls offer formability, durability and weather resistance, it’s vitally important that passive fire protection and compartmentation measures are installed to limit the spread of fire, saving lives and property. Chris Hall, Commercial Development Officer at SIDERISE, feels that passive fire protection solutions such as firestops are crucial to prevent the passage of flames and noxious gases travelling from one compartment floor or room to the next. Fires in high-rise buildings can generate large quantities of smoke that tend to spread vertically throughout the building, even if the fire is contained to one room. When the gap/cavity at the perimeter edge between the floor and curtain wall is not properly sealed, flames and smoke can spread vertically to higher floors, and horizontally from one room to the next. Addressing these gaps/cavities by properly installing firestops maintains the floors’ fire compartmentation of the building. This delays vertical smoke-spread and reduces the risk of smoke-related injury in the upper floors of the building, and adjacent rooms. Closing the gap The perimeter barrier firestops seal the gap between the edge of the compartmentfloor slab and external curtain wall. Due to project designs and site tolerances, this linear gap can be variable, so the firestop system used needs to have a degree of ‘dynamic’ movement capability – compression and recovery – in order to accommodate serviceability movement, and more significant movement under fire load. It’s critical the firestop system does this in combination with the primary functional requirement, which is to maintain continuity of fire resistance between the compartmentfloor and the external wall. The installed firestop system needs to match the same period of fire resistance as the compartment floor. All firestop systems need to be tested to two criteria – Integrity and Insulation (EI). Integrity (E) refers to the ability of the system to prevent the passage of flame, smoke and combustible gases either through, and around the material or through joints in an assembly; while Insulation (I) refers to a measure of the increase in conducted heat transferred from the exposed to unexposed surfaces of 180°C rises above ambient. These two criteria are critical in the development of curtain wall perimeter firestop products. The most effective products combine a number of material features – density, thickness, resin content, fibre structure and controlled compression – which together determine the resistance properties. When looking at the Integrity (E) criteria, the material chosen must be impervious to the transfer of flame and gases, easy to install with minimal site management and accommodate all real-world requirements at interfaces, joints and details. In order to meet the fire and smoke stop requirements in all external façade applications, Certifire Approved perimeter barrier and firestop systems offer an unrivalled combination of fully-qualified performance, practical installation and service benefits. The principal function of these systems is to maintain continuity of fire resistance by sealing the gap between the compartment floors or walls and external curtain walls horizontally and vertically. These systems can offer tested fire rating options ranging from 30 minutes to five hours and accommodate void widths up to 1200mm. In addition to providing an effective seal against the passage of smoke and fire, the products will also function as an effective acoustic barrier and plenum lining. Key design considerations The firestop should be installed under compression and must have test evidence to show that it is capable of accommodating movement of a façade. It is imperative that the installed seal is able to function effectively with due regard to all designed movement serviceability limits.  Curtain walling and cladding façade systems will deflect due to positive and negative windloads as well as occupational live loads.  These criteria are covered by EN 13116:2001.  Typically, a project may stipulate that the curtain walling system may have the following allowable deflection limits: Under the declared wind loads the maximum frontal deflection of the curtain walling’s framing members shall not exceed L/200 or 15mm, whichever is less, when measured between the points of support or anchorage to the building’s structure in compliance with EN 13116. (Extract from EN 138300) These factors may inevitably combine to preclude the suitability and therefore, use of certain systems e.g. high density material slab products. Perimeter barriers must be installed to provide horizontal compartmentation at every floor level.  Vertical cavity barriers should be provided as a minimum to fall in line with any compartment wall and more frequently if dictated by the fire strategy of the building. Products should be fitted tightly around all bracketry to restrict the passage of smoke.  Where there is potential for gaps, the product must be sealed with a sealant that carries the same fire insulation and integrity rating as the perimeter barrier. All installations should be in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions and where fixing brackets are required these should be fitted and spaced in accordance with a certified fire test report. Products used for fire safety installation should carry an independent third party certification in order to ensure that the product supplied is the same as that tested. The gap between the slab edge and the façade is often a weak point acoustically.  Any products used to improve the acoustic performance must not contribute to the fire load or inhibit the performance of the perimeter barrier. Seal the voids At the $135 million Al Fattan Crystal Towers in the Dubai Marina, UAE, fire safety was paramount in a development which houses hotel rooms, suites and residential apartments. With both vertical and horizontal fire compartmentation requirements, the specification of SIDERISE CW-FS 120 firestops provided the contractor Cladtech with a one-stop-shop solution that could maintain a fire and smoke seal in one product and could successfully fill lineargaps at the podium levels in excess of 300mm. For the two towers, Cladtech installed 12,000 LM of SIDERISE CW-FS 120 firestops including horizontal (floor slab) and vertical compartmentation. With the timeline on the project critical, the use of this dry fix system enabled the work to be completed quickly and efficiently, ready for handover to subcontractors.   Throughout the application, SIDERISE provided comprehensive support including drawing assistance, liaison with the authorities for approval, installation training and periodic site inspection and assistance. Whilst specifying the correct product is vital, the quality of installation is equally as important.  Contractors installing life saving measures such as perimeter barriers and firestops must have adequate training on the particular manufacturer’s products and be qualified to install it in the first place.  When it comes to saving lives and protecting businesses and property, a well designed and installed system can make the difference.  Visit: www.siderise.com
    Oct 15, 2018 0
  • 08 Oct 2018
    If you think that some of the tallest towers in the world are impressive now, then you’ve seen nothing yet. Not only will the next generation of skyscrapers be in amongst the tallest in the world, with one becoming THE tallest and by a long way, they are also far greener too. Below is a graphic that highlights these new cloud puncturing structures, what they’ll have inside them and the green features that have been incorporated as well. Visit: http://rubberbond.co.uk
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • If you think that some of the tallest towers in the world are impressive now, then you’ve seen nothing yet. Not only will the next generation of skyscrapers be in amongst the tallest in the world, with one becoming THE tallest and by a long way, they are also far greener too. Below is a graphic that highlights these new cloud puncturing structures, what they’ll have inside them and the green features that have been incorporated as well. Visit: http://rubberbond.co.uk
    Oct 08, 2018 0
  • 03 Oct 2018
    Bridges carry you across the water, or across a busy road, but you might not have bothered to pay much attention to what is under your feet. Then again, not all bridges are built equal. Some are built from sketches that were lost for 400 years. Some are said to be built by the Devil himself! Here, Oasys, structure analysis software providers, take a look at these fascinating structures…  1.      The Rolling Bridge – UK Photograph by Loz Pycock This amazing steel bridge was created by Heatherwick studios to cross an inlet in London. What makes this bridge so unique is that it can tidy itself away! When needed, this bridge curls up into an octogen shape to stand on one side of the canal until a boat passes. The bridge also curls up every day at noon, if you want to see it in action!  Da Vinci Bridge – Norway Photograph by Egil Kvaleberg This next bridge, in Norway, was built from designs intended to be used in Istanbul that were drawn up by Leonardo da Vinci. The original drawing had a single span of 240 metres, but the project did not go ahead as it was believed that such a design was not feasible. As the first major engineering feat from a da Vinci drawing, the bridge finally came into the world in Norway. The bridge has just three arches to support the structure. Though the Norwegian bridge is a smaller version of the original plans, it shows that the design works — one arch under the bridge, and two arches either side leaning inwards to spread the weight.  The Devil’s Bridge – Germany Photograph by A. Landgraf Known as Rakotzbrücke, the bridge’s appearance looks like a perfect circle. The bridge is said to have been commissioned by a knight in 1860. But the rocks and stones used for its creation are jagged and spikey, so it was dangerous to cross. The bridge’s design was deemed a masonry challenge, according to Earth Trekkers. The idea was that only Satan himself could help with a difficult build such as these bridges, and the first human who crossed the completed bridge would pay for the Devil’s helping hand by giving up his soul. The bridge is no longer open to be crossed, due to preservation measures. But it is still an oddly beautiful sight to behold!  Fire-breathing dragon Bridge — Vietnam Photograph by Ehrin Macksey / Noi Pictures This next bridge might be the most flamboyant build on our list. Located in Da Nang in Vietnam, the Dragon Bridge is certainly a spectacular sight! The bridge is the result of an international competition by the Da Nang People’s Committee in order to improve travel in the city. The bridge has six lanes for vehicles, two lanes for pedestrians, and 2,500 LED lights. Of course, as a dragon, the bridge can breathe fire! In fact, the bridge can spout water or fire, and this display is often used for special occasions in the city.  Living Roots Bridges – India Photograph by Arshiya Urveeja Bose If ever there were living examples of the payoff of patience, these bridges are just that. These beautifully natural bridges were formed by guiding rubber tree roots with hollow canes so that they would grow outwards and meet from either side of a stream. It would take years to reach the opposite bank, but the hard work paid off as these Living Roots bridges can support the weight of a human. They were originally made by the Khasi tribe, who realised the bamboo bridges they were building would collapse or rot after a monsoon or heavy storm. Sources: https://bocadolobo.com/blog/architecture/10-of-the-worlds-most-beautiful-and-unique-bridges/ https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/design/g248/4335705/ http://boredomtherapy.com/unique-bridges-around-the-world/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azalea_and_Rhododendron_Park_Kromlau https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_root_bridges https://www.bemytravelmuse.com/rakotzbrucke-devils-bridge/ https://www.earthtrekkers.com/rakotzbrucke-fairytale-bridge-saxony-germany/ https://www.flickr.com/people/45649858@N08 http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20150218-indias-amazing-living-root-bridges https://www.flickr.com/photos/blahflowers/ https://www.visitbritain.com/gb/en/rolling-bridge-london
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Bridges carry you across the water, or across a busy road, but you might not have bothered to pay much attention to what is under your feet. Then again, not all bridges are built equal. Some are built from sketches that were lost for 400 years. Some are said to be built by the Devil himself! Here, Oasys, structure analysis software providers, take a look at these fascinating structures…  1.      The Rolling Bridge – UK Photograph by Loz Pycock This amazing steel bridge was created by Heatherwick studios to cross an inlet in London. What makes this bridge so unique is that it can tidy itself away! When needed, this bridge curls up into an octogen shape to stand on one side of the canal until a boat passes. The bridge also curls up every day at noon, if you want to see it in action!  Da Vinci Bridge – Norway Photograph by Egil Kvaleberg This next bridge, in Norway, was built from designs intended to be used in Istanbul that were drawn up by Leonardo da Vinci. The original drawing had a single span of 240 metres, but the project did not go ahead as it was believed that such a design was not feasible. As the first major engineering feat from a da Vinci drawing, the bridge finally came into the world in Norway. The bridge has just three arches to support the structure. Though the Norwegian bridge is a smaller version of the original plans, it shows that the design works — one arch under the bridge, and two arches either side leaning inwards to spread the weight.  The Devil’s Bridge – Germany Photograph by A. Landgraf Known as Rakotzbrücke, the bridge’s appearance looks like a perfect circle. The bridge is said to have been commissioned by a knight in 1860. But the rocks and stones used for its creation are jagged and spikey, so it was dangerous to cross. The bridge’s design was deemed a masonry challenge, according to Earth Trekkers. The idea was that only Satan himself could help with a difficult build such as these bridges, and the first human who crossed the completed bridge would pay for the Devil’s helping hand by giving up his soul. The bridge is no longer open to be crossed, due to preservation measures. But it is still an oddly beautiful sight to behold!  Fire-breathing dragon Bridge — Vietnam Photograph by Ehrin Macksey / Noi Pictures This next bridge might be the most flamboyant build on our list. Located in Da Nang in Vietnam, the Dragon Bridge is certainly a spectacular sight! The bridge is the result of an international competition by the Da Nang People’s Committee in order to improve travel in the city. The bridge has six lanes for vehicles, two lanes for pedestrians, and 2,500 LED lights. Of course, as a dragon, the bridge can breathe fire! In fact, the bridge can spout water or fire, and this display is often used for special occasions in the city.  Living Roots Bridges – India Photograph by Arshiya Urveeja Bose If ever there were living examples of the payoff of patience, these bridges are just that. These beautifully natural bridges were formed by guiding rubber tree roots with hollow canes so that they would grow outwards and meet from either side of a stream. It would take years to reach the opposite bank, but the hard work paid off as these Living Roots bridges can support the weight of a human. They were originally made by the Khasi tribe, who realised the bamboo bridges they were building would collapse or rot after a monsoon or heavy storm. Sources: https://bocadolobo.com/blog/architecture/10-of-the-worlds-most-beautiful-and-unique-bridges/ https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/design/g248/4335705/ http://boredomtherapy.com/unique-bridges-around-the-world/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azalea_and_Rhododendron_Park_Kromlau https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_root_bridges https://www.bemytravelmuse.com/rakotzbrucke-devils-bridge/ https://www.earthtrekkers.com/rakotzbrucke-fairytale-bridge-saxony-germany/ https://www.flickr.com/people/45649858@N08 http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20150218-indias-amazing-living-root-bridges https://www.flickr.com/photos/blahflowers/ https://www.visitbritain.com/gb/en/rolling-bridge-london
    Oct 03, 2018 0
  • 01 Oct 2018
    The ever-widening skills shortage faced by the construction sector is driving up wages and having a significant impact on the government’s ambitious plan to build 300,000 homes every year in England alone.   But it is not just building targets that need to be met, there are also the hugely important carbon reduction targets and the need to ensure buildings are properly insulated with high quality products and installed correctly to allow them to perform. With the demand for tradespeople across all sectors of the construction industry outstripping supply, the skills’ shortage is a key constraint to the housebuilding industry severely impacting the quality of new buildings, the ability to build to budget and ensuring that all performance characteristics meet both design and regulatory requirements. How can the construction industry put in place measures that might put an end to the skills’ crisis? The contributing factors of the construction skills’ shortage are well documented; from an ageing workforce not being replaced, to a younger generation not seeing the industry as an attractive and viable option. Britain’s decision to leave the EU has only added to the industry-wide fear over the building skills’ shortage. Of the UK’s 270,653 migrant construction force, about 45% are workers from EU countries. When or if the UK’s divorce from the continent is finalised, there is a real fear that many employees who have arrived from overseas will leave, taking their building skills and experience with them.  Reaching out to students Inspiring the next generation to take-up a career in construction is fundamental to filling the current skills’ gap over the long-term. Changing the outdated and negative perceptions of the industry is part of this. The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) recently asked a group of 14 to 19-year-olds which careers interested them - construction only scored 4.2 out of 10. According to the survey, young people claimed that construction means ‘being outdoors and getting dirty’. Young people overlook the fact a career in construction is incredibly diverse and is an industry with cutting-edge technologies, such as robotics, digitisation and modular building techniques – key to attracting a tech savvy younger generation. Companies in the industry need to reach out and engage with students, parents and teachers to create a better image of construction, right through from manufacturing, engineered solutions to site management. The industry needs to expand its recruitment and attract more women and people from ethnic diversities, which are currently under-represented. Women represent just 13% of the workforce, a shocking statistic considering the skills shortage. A fundamental shift towards inclusiveness is necessary while a joined-up approach between industry, the government and education sector – beginning with young people at primary school and then throughout education – will pave the way towards a more inclusive and accessible industry. The government has launched a number of initiatives to help plug the skills gap and has set a new target of three million new apprentices by 2020 across all sectors.  A £34 million investment in construction training and an apprenticeship levy – estimated to raise £3 billion a year - might go some way to securing a skilled and stable workforce. Alternative educational models such as part-time degree apprenticeships will also widen the route into the industry. An off-site approach Modern methods of construction can also play a part in plugging the gap by reducing on-site labour whilst at the same time addressing the high demand for new buildings. The increased use of off-site fabrication and systems such as structural insulated panels (SIPS), modular buildings and pre-engineered insulated roof systems for example can encourage greater efficiency and higher productivity within the sector, give a much needed boost to the UK housing supply capacity and ensure that the regulatory targets for energy efficiency are met or even exceeded.  Rethinking the way we design, engineer and construct buildings will help deliver projects quicker, better and with a greater degree of precision. Schemes such as the Each Home Counts Quality Mark will go a long way to ensuring that insulation measures are properly installed by skilled tradespeople and link this in with the Energy Company Obligation, this will ensure that consumers get the standards they expect and deserve. When it comes to addressing the chronic skills’ shortage, there is no easy solution, but rather a broad range of measures which can relieve the pressure on construction companies trying to compete within their sectors. The built environment is evolving all the time and the demand for construction has never been greater which means addressing the skills’ gap is now more critical than ever.  It is down to construction companies, the government and our educational system to play their part in closing the skills’ shortage gap. Visit: www.insulationmanufacturers.org.uk
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The ever-widening skills shortage faced by the construction sector is driving up wages and having a significant impact on the government’s ambitious plan to build 300,000 homes every year in England alone.   But it is not just building targets that need to be met, there are also the hugely important carbon reduction targets and the need to ensure buildings are properly insulated with high quality products and installed correctly to allow them to perform. With the demand for tradespeople across all sectors of the construction industry outstripping supply, the skills’ shortage is a key constraint to the housebuilding industry severely impacting the quality of new buildings, the ability to build to budget and ensuring that all performance characteristics meet both design and regulatory requirements. How can the construction industry put in place measures that might put an end to the skills’ crisis? The contributing factors of the construction skills’ shortage are well documented; from an ageing workforce not being replaced, to a younger generation not seeing the industry as an attractive and viable option. Britain’s decision to leave the EU has only added to the industry-wide fear over the building skills’ shortage. Of the UK’s 270,653 migrant construction force, about 45% are workers from EU countries. When or if the UK’s divorce from the continent is finalised, there is a real fear that many employees who have arrived from overseas will leave, taking their building skills and experience with them.  Reaching out to students Inspiring the next generation to take-up a career in construction is fundamental to filling the current skills’ gap over the long-term. Changing the outdated and negative perceptions of the industry is part of this. The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) recently asked a group of 14 to 19-year-olds which careers interested them - construction only scored 4.2 out of 10. According to the survey, young people claimed that construction means ‘being outdoors and getting dirty’. Young people overlook the fact a career in construction is incredibly diverse and is an industry with cutting-edge technologies, such as robotics, digitisation and modular building techniques – key to attracting a tech savvy younger generation. Companies in the industry need to reach out and engage with students, parents and teachers to create a better image of construction, right through from manufacturing, engineered solutions to site management. The industry needs to expand its recruitment and attract more women and people from ethnic diversities, which are currently under-represented. Women represent just 13% of the workforce, a shocking statistic considering the skills shortage. A fundamental shift towards inclusiveness is necessary while a joined-up approach between industry, the government and education sector – beginning with young people at primary school and then throughout education – will pave the way towards a more inclusive and accessible industry. The government has launched a number of initiatives to help plug the skills gap and has set a new target of three million new apprentices by 2020 across all sectors.  A £34 million investment in construction training and an apprenticeship levy – estimated to raise £3 billion a year - might go some way to securing a skilled and stable workforce. Alternative educational models such as part-time degree apprenticeships will also widen the route into the industry. An off-site approach Modern methods of construction can also play a part in plugging the gap by reducing on-site labour whilst at the same time addressing the high demand for new buildings. The increased use of off-site fabrication and systems such as structural insulated panels (SIPS), modular buildings and pre-engineered insulated roof systems for example can encourage greater efficiency and higher productivity within the sector, give a much needed boost to the UK housing supply capacity and ensure that the regulatory targets for energy efficiency are met or even exceeded.  Rethinking the way we design, engineer and construct buildings will help deliver projects quicker, better and with a greater degree of precision. Schemes such as the Each Home Counts Quality Mark will go a long way to ensuring that insulation measures are properly installed by skilled tradespeople and link this in with the Energy Company Obligation, this will ensure that consumers get the standards they expect and deserve. When it comes to addressing the chronic skills’ shortage, there is no easy solution, but rather a broad range of measures which can relieve the pressure on construction companies trying to compete within their sectors. The built environment is evolving all the time and the demand for construction has never been greater which means addressing the skills’ gap is now more critical than ever.  It is down to construction companies, the government and our educational system to play their part in closing the skills’ shortage gap. Visit: www.insulationmanufacturers.org.uk
    Oct 01, 2018 0
  • 26 Sep 2018
    Summer has ended and September has begun, meaning it is back-to-school week for all children across the UK. Sadly, this won’t be the case for pupils at Roding Primary School, Dagenham, as a huge fire tore through half the school’s premises, reducing classrooms, break-out-areas and equipment to ruins and preventing the school from opening. This disaster brings into sharp focus the destructive impact of fire in a school, but what are the wider effects of fire on education and how can its impact be averted? Taking place a day before the start of term, the fire at the school’s campus on Hewett Road has caused significant disruption, with the school forced to close down on one of the most important weeks in the academic calendar. Not only has the fire damaged the school’s building; the repercussions will be felt at a time where young students are most sensitive, particularly as adjusting to a new school routine can be a pretty daunting prospect. Whilst most students settle into school-life, young pupils at Roding Primary School have to face fire’s disruptive effects on their education. So how does fire impact on a child’s education? According to recent statistics, there are up to 700 school fires a year in the UK; 184 fires in London schools in 2017 alone; and 47 fires in London schools this year. These figures highlight fire’s ability to cause a substantial amount of stress and disruption to children and families, with school closures and refits reducing the amount of time in the classroom. Cost of school damage Last month, London fire commissioner Dany Cotton stressed that every year millions of pounds of government money is wasted on repairing schools destroyed by fire. Furthermore, statistics from the Fire Protection Association indicate the average repair cost rose from £330,000 per fire in 2009 to £2.8 million in 2014. Fire’s effect on education Fire can have negative effects on children’s productivity levels, especially if a costly refurbishment is necessary after a large fire. Not only does a considerable refit pose huge financial cost to the affected school, it can also disturb children’s education, with low grades jeopardising a child’s career and potential. The children at the Roding School will be provided with assignments to do at home but they will miss lessons. When they do return, temporary classrooms are by no means ideal teaching conditions and do not encourage students to feel comfortable and secure in their learning spaces. And the bigger the fire, the more costly the refit, meaning students will be forced to spend more time in these uninspiring and possibly inapt temporary classrooms. Combined with the added noise levels from construction equipment, this hardly makes for a productive learning environment for young students. The government acknowledges that missing lessons has an impact on attainment at key stages. They track attendance and have commissioned reports to confirm it. The pursuit of parents who take children out of education for holidays is backed by government spokespeople affirming the detrimental impact on educational attainment of missing a single day of education. The impact of these fires and the disruption that they cause can reduce the results of the students, and the government’s own statistics therefore affirm this. Surely, if government understands the importance of missing a days’ worth of education, and is willing to pursue and fine parents to ensure attendance, then more effective solutions must be implemented to quell the spread of fire? What is the solution? Government do understand the solution. Their own guidance, Building Bulletin 100 (BB100) highlights the importance of minimising the effects of fire on teaching, limiting the effects of interruption to operation of the school and seeking to have the school operational within 24 hours. It supports the use of property protection and an expectation of the use of sprinklers. Roding Primary School is split between two sites: one on Cannington Road and one on Hewett Road, the campus destroyed by the fire. Cannington Road is the newer build out of the two and the one featuring sprinklers, presenting the question: would the Hewett Road site still be standing if sprinklers were installed? Even though the government understands the impact on education, it is currently reviewing Building Bulletin 100 (BB100). It has suggested that the ‘sprinkler expectation’ will be removed. The number of new schools being erected with sprinklers installed has fallen to just 30% from a high of 70%. The BSA wants the government to explicitly maintain and reaffirm the ‘sprinkler expectation’ in the revised BB100 so that fewer schools are damaged and destroyed by fire. This is backed by Dany Cotton and the Fire Protection Association which has called for sprinkler installation in schools. The government has the opportunity to do this when it reviews the fire safety technical guidance of the building regulations later this year. It is evident that when sprinklers do operate they extinguish or contain the fire on 99% of occasions across a wide range of building types, so why are they not considered a necessity in building design?[1] Undoubtedly, fire is a huge educational and monetary cost to schools, with the fire at Roding Primary School exemplifying the short and long term effects fire can have on a school’s function. From disruption to education, to its impact on finances, fire in schools must be avoided. Although sprinkler systems are a celebrated solution to resolve this crisis, their effectiveness has not led to successful implementation across the UK’s schools. How many more fires need to occur and children’s educations disrupted before sprinkler installation becomes a prerequisite of school design and safety? Visit: www.business-sprinkler-alliance.org [1] Efficiency and Effectiveness of Sprinkler Systems in the United Kingdom: An Analysis from Fire Service Data – Optimal Electronics May 2017
    0 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Summer has ended and September has begun, meaning it is back-to-school week for all children across the UK. Sadly, this won’t be the case for pupils at Roding Primary School, Dagenham, as a huge fire tore through half the school’s premises, reducing classrooms, break-out-areas and equipment to ruins and preventing the school from opening. This disaster brings into sharp focus the destructive impact of fire in a school, but what are the wider effects of fire on education and how can its impact be averted? Taking place a day before the start of term, the fire at the school’s campus on Hewett Road has caused significant disruption, with the school forced to close down on one of the most important weeks in the academic calendar. Not only has the fire damaged the school’s building; the repercussions will be felt at a time where young students are most sensitive, particularly as adjusting to a new school routine can be a pretty daunting prospect. Whilst most students settle into school-life, young pupils at Roding Primary School have to face fire’s disruptive effects on their education. So how does fire impact on a child’s education? According to recent statistics, there are up to 700 school fires a year in the UK; 184 fires in London schools in 2017 alone; and 47 fires in London schools this year. These figures highlight fire’s ability to cause a substantial amount of stress and disruption to children and families, with school closures and refits reducing the amount of time in the classroom. Cost of school damage Last month, London fire commissioner Dany Cotton stressed that every year millions of pounds of government money is wasted on repairing schools destroyed by fire. Furthermore, statistics from the Fire Protection Association indicate the average repair cost rose from £330,000 per fire in 2009 to £2.8 million in 2014. Fire’s effect on education Fire can have negative effects on children’s productivity levels, especially if a costly refurbishment is necessary after a large fire. Not only does a considerable refit pose huge financial cost to the affected school, it can also disturb children’s education, with low grades jeopardising a child’s career and potential. The children at the Roding School will be provided with assignments to do at home but they will miss lessons. When they do return, temporary classrooms are by no means ideal teaching conditions and do not encourage students to feel comfortable and secure in their learning spaces. And the bigger the fire, the more costly the refit, meaning students will be forced to spend more time in these uninspiring and possibly inapt temporary classrooms. Combined with the added noise levels from construction equipment, this hardly makes for a productive learning environment for young students. The government acknowledges that missing lessons has an impact on attainment at key stages. They track attendance and have commissioned reports to confirm it. The pursuit of parents who take children out of education for holidays is backed by government spokespeople affirming the detrimental impact on educational attainment of missing a single day of education. The impact of these fires and the disruption that they cause can reduce the results of the students, and the government’s own statistics therefore affirm this. Surely, if government understands the importance of missing a days’ worth of education, and is willing to pursue and fine parents to ensure attendance, then more effective solutions must be implemented to quell the spread of fire? What is the solution? Government do understand the solution. Their own guidance, Building Bulletin 100 (BB100) highlights the importance of minimising the effects of fire on teaching, limiting the effects of interruption to operation of the school and seeking to have the school operational within 24 hours. It supports the use of property protection and an expectation of the use of sprinklers. Roding Primary School is split between two sites: one on Cannington Road and one on Hewett Road, the campus destroyed by the fire. Cannington Road is the newer build out of the two and the one featuring sprinklers, presenting the question: would the Hewett Road site still be standing if sprinklers were installed? Even though the government understands the impact on education, it is currently reviewing Building Bulletin 100 (BB100). It has suggested that the ‘sprinkler expectation’ will be removed. The number of new schools being erected with sprinklers installed has fallen to just 30% from a high of 70%. The BSA wants the government to explicitly maintain and reaffirm the ‘sprinkler expectation’ in the revised BB100 so that fewer schools are damaged and destroyed by fire. This is backed by Dany Cotton and the Fire Protection Association which has called for sprinkler installation in schools. The government has the opportunity to do this when it reviews the fire safety technical guidance of the building regulations later this year. It is evident that when sprinklers do operate they extinguish or contain the fire on 99% of occasions across a wide range of building types, so why are they not considered a necessity in building design?[1] Undoubtedly, fire is a huge educational and monetary cost to schools, with the fire at Roding Primary School exemplifying the short and long term effects fire can have on a school’s function. From disruption to education, to its impact on finances, fire in schools must be avoided. Although sprinkler systems are a celebrated solution to resolve this crisis, their effectiveness has not led to successful implementation across the UK’s schools. How many more fires need to occur and children’s educations disrupted before sprinkler installation becomes a prerequisite of school design and safety? Visit: www.business-sprinkler-alliance.org [1] Efficiency and Effectiveness of Sprinkler Systems in the United Kingdom: An Analysis from Fire Service Data – Optimal Electronics May 2017
    Sep 26, 2018 0