• 23 Aug 2017
    Europe has led the world in improving building standards with the UK having played a key role in their development.  But after the momentous day that was June 23rd and the UK economy appearing now to have weathered that initial vote-to-leave shock, where does that leave the construction industry in terms of EU regulations?  The British Standards Association (BSI) is one of 33 voting members of CEN (European Committee for Standardisation). However CEN rules state that you can only join CEN if you are a member of the EU or about to become a member.  In the case of non-EU countries including Norway and Switzerland, their membership in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) qualifies them as well.  When the UK finally leaves the EU it will therefore be essential for the UK to rejoin EFTA otherwise the BSI will have to argue for a change in statutes of CEN so that they can continue their membership of this organisation.  And in that scenario, there may well be a lot of political pressure to keep us out. But then what does that mean for the UK and what is the scenario of the UK walking away from the EU standard table?  Any product intended for sale in the EU must meet the relevant EU standard. Non-compliance will clearly restrict markets. One of the key things about EU standards is that they do ensure a level playing field and are considerably better than each country having a different standard and system of compliance. To add to this, the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) has, since 2014, mandated that all products produced for sale in the EU provide a declaration of performance and visible CE mark. In their BREXIT negotiation, the UK Government would be able to ignore the CPR and revert to BS standards instead of BS EN standards.  This scenario seems unlikely as this would complicate matters with the possibility of two-tier standards.  And that might a have a knock-on effect for manufacturers with variable production runs and increased stock levels. And how does an EU standard compare to BS? Some BS testing is outdated and not as relevant to real-life scenarios. We tend to cling to some out of ‘habit’ when more representative standards exist. One such example is the adherence/preference of the UK to BS476 testing regimes for curtain wall perimeter fire barriers, when a specific EN test standard EN1364 offers a far more representative test option.  The BS 476 standard tests curtain wall perimeter fire barriers in a static assembly, whereas the EN1364 tests simulate the dynamic movement of the curtain wall façade, which we would contend is a far more sensible and robust option. Siderise is amongst a very few suppliers who have opted for the EN1364 test, as we see it as far more representative of “real life”. At the moment the UK has a vote and we can influence EU standards, and on occasion we could in theory ‘block’ standards that we did not like or at least modify them.  One scenario is that we can go to meetings post-BREXIT, provide technical input, but in the end not have a vote – unless of course we negotiate some arrangement whereby we are allowed to vote.  But that would appear to be fraught with difficulties.  Whatever the outcome, we must not fall out of step with Europe.  The costs to industry of totally abandoning EU standards are so vast as to be too horrible to contemplate.   Visit: http://www.siderise.com/
    749 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Europe has led the world in improving building standards with the UK having played a key role in their development.  But after the momentous day that was June 23rd and the UK economy appearing now to have weathered that initial vote-to-leave shock, where does that leave the construction industry in terms of EU regulations?  The British Standards Association (BSI) is one of 33 voting members of CEN (European Committee for Standardisation). However CEN rules state that you can only join CEN if you are a member of the EU or about to become a member.  In the case of non-EU countries including Norway and Switzerland, their membership in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) qualifies them as well.  When the UK finally leaves the EU it will therefore be essential for the UK to rejoin EFTA otherwise the BSI will have to argue for a change in statutes of CEN so that they can continue their membership of this organisation.  And in that scenario, there may well be a lot of political pressure to keep us out. But then what does that mean for the UK and what is the scenario of the UK walking away from the EU standard table?  Any product intended for sale in the EU must meet the relevant EU standard. Non-compliance will clearly restrict markets. One of the key things about EU standards is that they do ensure a level playing field and are considerably better than each country having a different standard and system of compliance. To add to this, the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) has, since 2014, mandated that all products produced for sale in the EU provide a declaration of performance and visible CE mark. In their BREXIT negotiation, the UK Government would be able to ignore the CPR and revert to BS standards instead of BS EN standards.  This scenario seems unlikely as this would complicate matters with the possibility of two-tier standards.  And that might a have a knock-on effect for manufacturers with variable production runs and increased stock levels. And how does an EU standard compare to BS? Some BS testing is outdated and not as relevant to real-life scenarios. We tend to cling to some out of ‘habit’ when more representative standards exist. One such example is the adherence/preference of the UK to BS476 testing regimes for curtain wall perimeter fire barriers, when a specific EN test standard EN1364 offers a far more representative test option.  The BS 476 standard tests curtain wall perimeter fire barriers in a static assembly, whereas the EN1364 tests simulate the dynamic movement of the curtain wall façade, which we would contend is a far more sensible and robust option. Siderise is amongst a very few suppliers who have opted for the EN1364 test, as we see it as far more representative of “real life”. At the moment the UK has a vote and we can influence EU standards, and on occasion we could in theory ‘block’ standards that we did not like or at least modify them.  One scenario is that we can go to meetings post-BREXIT, provide technical input, but in the end not have a vote – unless of course we negotiate some arrangement whereby we are allowed to vote.  But that would appear to be fraught with difficulties.  Whatever the outcome, we must not fall out of step with Europe.  The costs to industry of totally abandoning EU standards are so vast as to be too horrible to contemplate.   Visit: http://www.siderise.com/
    Aug 23, 2017 749
  • 22 Aug 2017
    Horrible looking drains, manhole covers and inspection chambers appear in driveways and footpaths everywhere. You can even find them in the middle of your lawn or garden! How do you hide ugly manhole covers and drains?                     There are several ways to pretty up these ugly necessities but, however you choose to do it, remember that water utility companies require access at all times. If they cannot be accessed when required they will be dug up and not only will you receive a bill for doing so, you will also be left with the expense of repairing any damage. A much better idea is to (where possible) replace the existing industrial looking cover with a removable recessed (or inset) tray. Then you have the option to either blend them in with the surface or make a feature out of them. Recessed tray options A quick internet search will show you just how many different types of recessed trays are available – too many to mention here! You choose depending on where they are and what material you are going to fill them with. Basically they fall into two categories: Standard recessed tray Currently the most popular choice, made from polypropylene, aluminium or stainless steel and can be suitable for use by both pedestrians and vehicles. Permeable recessed tray This more recent option from EcoGrid provides a load bearing surface that features membranes and a perforated base which allows water to slowly filter through to the drain underneath. Infill options Another internet search will result in a lot of options for infilling a recessed tray. Your final choice will depend on where the drain, manhole cover or inspection chamber is and what the surface will be used for. Here are a few of the most popular infill options: Block paving or bricks These are common choices and can be cut to either blend in or contrast with the surrounding surface. Resin bound paving This is the most popular choice for the seamless finish - created by infilling the recessed tray with the same colour aggregate. You can also create contrast by using a different colour or produce a logo or design in the recessed tray. Using a permeable recessed tray with resin bound paving creates a fully permeable surface. Loose gravel Probably the quickest and easiest way to infill a recessed tray is with loose gravel, but it will inevitably scatter. The fleeing gravel will need regular sweeping and replacing and your lawn mower won’t like it much either... Grass Whilst sowing grass seeds into a recessed tray blends in with a lawn it can be awkward to mow and unless it’s sown in a permeable recessed tray, it will dry out very quickly. Of course you could opt for artificial grass… Plants and flowers Infilling with flowers and/or plants can help disguise unsightly drains, manhole covers or inspection chambers. You can also create a spectacular feature, but as with grass they will dry out very quickly unless a permeable recessed tray is used. Useful links: How to build a recessed manhole cover : http://www.diy.com/help-ideas/how-to-build-a-manhole-cover/CC_npcart_400198.art An overview http://www.pavingexpert.com/recess01.htm  from the Paving Expert. We strongly recommend clarifying ownership and responsibility before modifying or carrying out maintenance to drains, sewers and manholes. Author: Gail Gilkes, Head of Marketing, SureSet UK Ltd. Visit: www.sureset.co.uk Follow us: https://twitter.com/SureSetUK https://www.youtube.com/user/SureSetUK15 https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/1220581/  
    3095 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Horrible looking drains, manhole covers and inspection chambers appear in driveways and footpaths everywhere. You can even find them in the middle of your lawn or garden! How do you hide ugly manhole covers and drains?                     There are several ways to pretty up these ugly necessities but, however you choose to do it, remember that water utility companies require access at all times. If they cannot be accessed when required they will be dug up and not only will you receive a bill for doing so, you will also be left with the expense of repairing any damage. A much better idea is to (where possible) replace the existing industrial looking cover with a removable recessed (or inset) tray. Then you have the option to either blend them in with the surface or make a feature out of them. Recessed tray options A quick internet search will show you just how many different types of recessed trays are available – too many to mention here! You choose depending on where they are and what material you are going to fill them with. Basically they fall into two categories: Standard recessed tray Currently the most popular choice, made from polypropylene, aluminium or stainless steel and can be suitable for use by both pedestrians and vehicles. Permeable recessed tray This more recent option from EcoGrid provides a load bearing surface that features membranes and a perforated base which allows water to slowly filter through to the drain underneath. Infill options Another internet search will result in a lot of options for infilling a recessed tray. Your final choice will depend on where the drain, manhole cover or inspection chamber is and what the surface will be used for. Here are a few of the most popular infill options: Block paving or bricks These are common choices and can be cut to either blend in or contrast with the surrounding surface. Resin bound paving This is the most popular choice for the seamless finish - created by infilling the recessed tray with the same colour aggregate. You can also create contrast by using a different colour or produce a logo or design in the recessed tray. Using a permeable recessed tray with resin bound paving creates a fully permeable surface. Loose gravel Probably the quickest and easiest way to infill a recessed tray is with loose gravel, but it will inevitably scatter. The fleeing gravel will need regular sweeping and replacing and your lawn mower won’t like it much either... Grass Whilst sowing grass seeds into a recessed tray blends in with a lawn it can be awkward to mow and unless it’s sown in a permeable recessed tray, it will dry out very quickly. Of course you could opt for artificial grass… Plants and flowers Infilling with flowers and/or plants can help disguise unsightly drains, manhole covers or inspection chambers. You can also create a spectacular feature, but as with grass they will dry out very quickly unless a permeable recessed tray is used. Useful links: How to build a recessed manhole cover : http://www.diy.com/help-ideas/how-to-build-a-manhole-cover/CC_npcart_400198.art An overview http://www.pavingexpert.com/recess01.htm  from the Paving Expert. We strongly recommend clarifying ownership and responsibility before modifying or carrying out maintenance to drains, sewers and manholes. Author: Gail Gilkes, Head of Marketing, SureSet UK Ltd. Visit: www.sureset.co.uk Follow us: https://twitter.com/SureSetUK https://www.youtube.com/user/SureSetUK15 https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/1220581/  
    Aug 22, 2017 3095
  • 21 Aug 2017
    Plastics is rapidly becoming a dirty word for environmentalists across the globe who are now laying the blame squarely on the shoulders of this ubiquitous material for polluting the world’s oceans. In reality, only around 4% of the planet’s oil production is converted into plastics but because it’s a product that tends to stick around for a long time, it is seen to be anything but green. The construction industry would certainly be the poorer without the massive range of largely maintenance free plastic based materials, used across a huge range of products such as rainwater goods, doors, windows, cladding – the list is almost endless. But at some time those building materials will need to be replaced and we must also take into account the huge amount of plastic based packaging such products arrive in – so what happens next? Well some will go into landfill and it will take up to 1,000 years to rot, much to the annoyance of the ultra-green, but the construction industry is doing its bit in a remarkable number of innovative and ground breaking ways. In India they are now actively looking at recycling plastic waste into new roads. They have found that they can use 1.5 tonnes of waste plastic mixed with bitumen for every new kilometre of road laid and the bonus is – that such roads – last twice as long as conventional asphalt. India’s Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) claim that bitumen mixed with plastic or rubber improves the quality and life of roads although construction costs using this method were around 6% higher. However, such a surface also delivered more than satisfactory performance, good skid resistance, and good texture value, was stronger and provided a lesser amount of progressive unevenness. More generally, plastics have a very good environmental profile which is why we should give the industry much more credit for being kinder to the environment.  In construction, in particular, plastics have a huge role to play. If all buildings were upgraded to optimal standards across Europe using plastic based insulation, according to industry sources, then it is estimated that 460 million fewer tonne’s of CO2 would be generated each year. Plastic pipes use less energy in manufacture compared to concrete or iron, are lighter and more reliable on a whole range of construction situations It must also be emphasised that plastics recycling takes place on a significant scale in the UK and the rest of the worldt to ensure that it can used again and again. So maybe we should be looking more kindly at the plastics industry which is really doing its bit to protect the environment as much as it can - and perhaps be placing the blame more firmly on the millions of anti-social people who carelessly discard their plastic waste each year expecting mother nature and the rest of us to clear up their mess. By Talk Builder Follow me on Twitter @TalkBuilder  
    1126 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Plastics is rapidly becoming a dirty word for environmentalists across the globe who are now laying the blame squarely on the shoulders of this ubiquitous material for polluting the world’s oceans. In reality, only around 4% of the planet’s oil production is converted into plastics but because it’s a product that tends to stick around for a long time, it is seen to be anything but green. The construction industry would certainly be the poorer without the massive range of largely maintenance free plastic based materials, used across a huge range of products such as rainwater goods, doors, windows, cladding – the list is almost endless. But at some time those building materials will need to be replaced and we must also take into account the huge amount of plastic based packaging such products arrive in – so what happens next? Well some will go into landfill and it will take up to 1,000 years to rot, much to the annoyance of the ultra-green, but the construction industry is doing its bit in a remarkable number of innovative and ground breaking ways. In India they are now actively looking at recycling plastic waste into new roads. They have found that they can use 1.5 tonnes of waste plastic mixed with bitumen for every new kilometre of road laid and the bonus is – that such roads – last twice as long as conventional asphalt. India’s Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) claim that bitumen mixed with plastic or rubber improves the quality and life of roads although construction costs using this method were around 6% higher. However, such a surface also delivered more than satisfactory performance, good skid resistance, and good texture value, was stronger and provided a lesser amount of progressive unevenness. More generally, plastics have a very good environmental profile which is why we should give the industry much more credit for being kinder to the environment.  In construction, in particular, plastics have a huge role to play. If all buildings were upgraded to optimal standards across Europe using plastic based insulation, according to industry sources, then it is estimated that 460 million fewer tonne’s of CO2 would be generated each year. Plastic pipes use less energy in manufacture compared to concrete or iron, are lighter and more reliable on a whole range of construction situations It must also be emphasised that plastics recycling takes place on a significant scale in the UK and the rest of the worldt to ensure that it can used again and again. So maybe we should be looking more kindly at the plastics industry which is really doing its bit to protect the environment as much as it can - and perhaps be placing the blame more firmly on the millions of anti-social people who carelessly discard their plastic waste each year expecting mother nature and the rest of us to clear up their mess. By Talk Builder Follow me on Twitter @TalkBuilder  
    Aug 21, 2017 1126
  • 20 Aug 2017
    Flat roofing repairs, particularly in confined spaces, have long been known to cause discomfort to operatives and those living or working nearby. Fumes, odours and vapours can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and lung irritation. They may also irritate the skin, eyes, nose and throat. These effects are usually mild and temporary. Although contractors and building occupants may experience short term problems, the fumes and vapours generally do not pose a health hazard and symptoms usually resolve within hours after exposure to the odour has ended. Most of the problems from fumes seem to relate to asphalt which contains many chemicals and studies, mostly US based, have reported that these have potential long term risks for operatives. Because of this some commentators are suggesting that this could be the beginning of the end for bitumen based products. Manufacturers of roofing materials have known about the problem for many years and have sought to develop more user friendly waterproofing system – and now it seems there has been a breakthrough which could see an end to high levels of discomfort caused by fumes and other noxious vapours. Companies such as Proteus Waterproofing are leading the way with new Cold Melt systems which are high in solids such as recycled rubber crumb and other organically grown products making them virtually fume free and totally odourless. It would also seem that quality and longevity have not been compromised as the new systems, which are PUR based, are claimed to last for the life of the building when correctly installed to the manufacturer’s specification. Nevertheless, bitumen based waterproof membranes still account for the lion’s share of the flat roofing market and we are unlikely to see a major shift to new materials in the near future. But there is clearly a detectable trend towards greener roofs which would suggest the PUR technology, although part chemical based, probably offers a good long term solution for flat roofing projects particularly in confined areas. Cold Melt system are likely to increasingly dominate the market as more is known about potential health issues, but it is probably a little too early yet to say goodbye to bitumen – but it could be the start. Visit: http://proteuswaterproofing.co.uk/product/cold-melt/
    875 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Flat roofing repairs, particularly in confined spaces, have long been known to cause discomfort to operatives and those living or working nearby. Fumes, odours and vapours can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and lung irritation. They may also irritate the skin, eyes, nose and throat. These effects are usually mild and temporary. Although contractors and building occupants may experience short term problems, the fumes and vapours generally do not pose a health hazard and symptoms usually resolve within hours after exposure to the odour has ended. Most of the problems from fumes seem to relate to asphalt which contains many chemicals and studies, mostly US based, have reported that these have potential long term risks for operatives. Because of this some commentators are suggesting that this could be the beginning of the end for bitumen based products. Manufacturers of roofing materials have known about the problem for many years and have sought to develop more user friendly waterproofing system – and now it seems there has been a breakthrough which could see an end to high levels of discomfort caused by fumes and other noxious vapours. Companies such as Proteus Waterproofing are leading the way with new Cold Melt systems which are high in solids such as recycled rubber crumb and other organically grown products making them virtually fume free and totally odourless. It would also seem that quality and longevity have not been compromised as the new systems, which are PUR based, are claimed to last for the life of the building when correctly installed to the manufacturer’s specification. Nevertheless, bitumen based waterproof membranes still account for the lion’s share of the flat roofing market and we are unlikely to see a major shift to new materials in the near future. But there is clearly a detectable trend towards greener roofs which would suggest the PUR technology, although part chemical based, probably offers a good long term solution for flat roofing projects particularly in confined areas. Cold Melt system are likely to increasingly dominate the market as more is known about potential health issues, but it is probably a little too early yet to say goodbye to bitumen – but it could be the start. Visit: http://proteuswaterproofing.co.uk/product/cold-melt/
    Aug 20, 2017 875
  • 19 Aug 2017
    One of the world’s oldest and most traditional waterproofing materials, mastic asphalt is a truly versatile performer, outlasting other materials and proven time and time again on everything from sealing dams to flooring, flat roofs to sports facilities, walkways to balconies and car parks to bridges. Successfully used to provide unbeatable protection from water penetration for centuries, in recent years mastic asphalt has been reformulated to include advanced polymers for increased durability, combining its traditional strengths with modern technology.   Mastic asphalt is highly resistant and robust enough to withstand all types of weather situations and attacks from thermal shock (rapid temperature changes), which are a frequent source of break down in many other types of membrane.It’s also non-toxic and non-flammable. Its durability and seamless application means that it is one of the few membranes able to handle consistent heavy foot and vehicular traffic, including from Heavy Goods Vehicles, and still maintain its waterproof integrity. With no application too tricky, it is also easy to repair should alterations or damage occur. Another major advantage with mastic asphalt is that it can be laid at speed, reducing the project costs significantly. It also cools very rapidly, allowing foot traffic within two to three hours, dependent upon ambient temperature. Providing such excellent wear against the extremes of weather – and with a life expectancy of 50 years and more - the waterproof membrane is fast becoming the material of choice for a manner of different buildings including, schools, offices, shopping centres, hotels and even churches. Mastic asphalt has one further advantage over other types of waterproof membrane – it is carbon neutral – a massive bonus for any building owner anxious to show their green credentials and, when it has reached the end of its useful life, it can be recycled or used as roof screed, minimising the impact on the environment. Highly cost-effective, mastic asphalt offers lower installation costs than many other types of membrane. Its versatility makes it the ideal choice, so whether it’s a 31 mile bridge in Hong Kong or St Paul’s Cathedral, this market- leading product is revered across the world. Visit: http://www.masticasphaltcouncil.co.uk/    
    984 Posted by Talk. Build
  • One of the world’s oldest and most traditional waterproofing materials, mastic asphalt is a truly versatile performer, outlasting other materials and proven time and time again on everything from sealing dams to flooring, flat roofs to sports facilities, walkways to balconies and car parks to bridges. Successfully used to provide unbeatable protection from water penetration for centuries, in recent years mastic asphalt has been reformulated to include advanced polymers for increased durability, combining its traditional strengths with modern technology.   Mastic asphalt is highly resistant and robust enough to withstand all types of weather situations and attacks from thermal shock (rapid temperature changes), which are a frequent source of break down in many other types of membrane.It’s also non-toxic and non-flammable. Its durability and seamless application means that it is one of the few membranes able to handle consistent heavy foot and vehicular traffic, including from Heavy Goods Vehicles, and still maintain its waterproof integrity. With no application too tricky, it is also easy to repair should alterations or damage occur. Another major advantage with mastic asphalt is that it can be laid at speed, reducing the project costs significantly. It also cools very rapidly, allowing foot traffic within two to three hours, dependent upon ambient temperature. Providing such excellent wear against the extremes of weather – and with a life expectancy of 50 years and more - the waterproof membrane is fast becoming the material of choice for a manner of different buildings including, schools, offices, shopping centres, hotels and even churches. Mastic asphalt has one further advantage over other types of waterproof membrane – it is carbon neutral – a massive bonus for any building owner anxious to show their green credentials and, when it has reached the end of its useful life, it can be recycled or used as roof screed, minimising the impact on the environment. Highly cost-effective, mastic asphalt offers lower installation costs than many other types of membrane. Its versatility makes it the ideal choice, so whether it’s a 31 mile bridge in Hong Kong or St Paul’s Cathedral, this market- leading product is revered across the world. Visit: http://www.masticasphaltcouncil.co.uk/    
    Aug 19, 2017 984
  • 18 Aug 2017
    Our Members of Parliament are getting themselves into a bit of a tizz about Big Ben and the fact that its iconic bell will be silenced for up to four years while essential refurbishment work takes place. It’s all in the cause of health and safety of course and it’s easy to be sentimental when you’re talking about one of the world’s best known monuments. But in reality, exposure to noise at work can cause irreversible hearing damage. It is one of the most common health problems and can be difficult to detect as the effects build up over time – and in the case of Big Ben, the experts are probably right – worker health and safety should come first. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) claim that industrial hearing loss remains the occupational disease with the highest number of civil claims accounting for about 75% of all occupational disease litigation. If noise levels exceed 85 decibels there is a duty to provide hearing protection and protection zones. Big Ben certainly meets that requirement and while contractors can wear ear protection, the work is going be hard enough up in that tower without having additional distractions. If in doubt, the Health and safety executive provide good advice regarding hearing if you visit their website - https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg362.html Hearing loss caused on construction sites does not make the headlines that often, so in an ironic way we should be thanking politicians for at least drawing attention to the issue – albeit for the wrong reasons There are a range of different types of hearing loss that can be caused from noise in the workplace, from temporary to permanent loss of hearing and conditions such as tinnitus or accoustic shock syndrome.  Certai professionms such as construction where there will inevitably be loud noise generated on an ongoing basis, workers are more liable to suffer conditions such as acoustic shock. This is because the construction industry involves the use of many machines which produce excessive noise. Workers who are exposed to this without adequate hearing protection can suffer from reduced hearing which becomes evident as the worker ages – often many years after exposure to the noisy machinery. The main culprits on building sites are: 1. Pneumatic drills These produce a large amount of excessive noise and are used in various different ways in the construction industry. 2. Circular saws Circular saws are typically used for cutting of wood and other materials used in the construction industry, such as cutting of floorboards in houses or frame work structure for dividing walls. 3. Nail guns or Hilti gun This gun fires nails in to steel which can be used for the construction of various different structures, such as buildings and bridges. 4. Staple guns Staple guns are used for various tasks in mining and this equipment has been known to produce excessive noise. 5. Grinders Grinders are used to cut and shape metal which if used frequently produces not only excessive noise but quite often excess vibration running the risk of hearing problems and vibration conditions such as VWF. All of these require contractors to where ear protection at all times – so you should answer the question – is this happening on your building site? In the case of Big Ben – I am sure we can all put up with a little silence for a few years – to ensure that a life time of silence is not an option for those that work there. By Talk Builder
    1013 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Our Members of Parliament are getting themselves into a bit of a tizz about Big Ben and the fact that its iconic bell will be silenced for up to four years while essential refurbishment work takes place. It’s all in the cause of health and safety of course and it’s easy to be sentimental when you’re talking about one of the world’s best known monuments. But in reality, exposure to noise at work can cause irreversible hearing damage. It is one of the most common health problems and can be difficult to detect as the effects build up over time – and in the case of Big Ben, the experts are probably right – worker health and safety should come first. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) claim that industrial hearing loss remains the occupational disease with the highest number of civil claims accounting for about 75% of all occupational disease litigation. If noise levels exceed 85 decibels there is a duty to provide hearing protection and protection zones. Big Ben certainly meets that requirement and while contractors can wear ear protection, the work is going be hard enough up in that tower without having additional distractions. If in doubt, the Health and safety executive provide good advice regarding hearing if you visit their website - https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg362.html Hearing loss caused on construction sites does not make the headlines that often, so in an ironic way we should be thanking politicians for at least drawing attention to the issue – albeit for the wrong reasons There are a range of different types of hearing loss that can be caused from noise in the workplace, from temporary to permanent loss of hearing and conditions such as tinnitus or accoustic shock syndrome.  Certai professionms such as construction where there will inevitably be loud noise generated on an ongoing basis, workers are more liable to suffer conditions such as acoustic shock. This is because the construction industry involves the use of many machines which produce excessive noise. Workers who are exposed to this without adequate hearing protection can suffer from reduced hearing which becomes evident as the worker ages – often many years after exposure to the noisy machinery. The main culprits on building sites are: 1. Pneumatic drills These produce a large amount of excessive noise and are used in various different ways in the construction industry. 2. Circular saws Circular saws are typically used for cutting of wood and other materials used in the construction industry, such as cutting of floorboards in houses or frame work structure for dividing walls. 3. Nail guns or Hilti gun This gun fires nails in to steel which can be used for the construction of various different structures, such as buildings and bridges. 4. Staple guns Staple guns are used for various tasks in mining and this equipment has been known to produce excessive noise. 5. Grinders Grinders are used to cut and shape metal which if used frequently produces not only excessive noise but quite often excess vibration running the risk of hearing problems and vibration conditions such as VWF. All of these require contractors to where ear protection at all times – so you should answer the question – is this happening on your building site? In the case of Big Ben – I am sure we can all put up with a little silence for a few years – to ensure that a life time of silence is not an option for those that work there. By Talk Builder
    Aug 18, 2017 1013
  • 17 Aug 2017
    With information so readily available, we can be blinded by science. There is information overload and there seems to be a growing trend to overcomplicate matters. Whilst design, procurement and construction hasn’t always been easy, it seems that layer-upon-layer is being added to projects that in many instances - or in many opinions - is just designed to complicate matters. This shouldn’t be the case. Processes that simplify procurement, streamline delivery and enhance designs should be the norm. So why isn’t this the case? As humans we are naturally inquisitive and as a nation we are constantly looking to be at the forefront of everything we do. We are amongst the first to adopt new practices and have a thirst for driving innovation. We are becoming more aware of the importance of sustainability from a people, environment and economics perspective and more recently, that of well-being, with the wellness economy now one of the world's fastest-growing industries. As such, it is no surprise that sustainability and well-being are currently fuelling a plethora of adventurous new architectural projects that embrace scientific research and data. But with these ever-more challenging projects comes larger and more complex supply chains, and what seems an ever-increasing number of standards to contend with. To make matters more complex, many standards overlap and duplicate elements with each other and we are being bombarded with information, research and data from every angle - and much of this information and many of the processes seem to be overly-complicated. So the question is: how do we deliver projects efficiently and on budget when we are facing information overload? The answer is to keep it simple. Take BREEAM, the internationally-recognised measure of sustainability for buildings and communities, as an example. Many people are unable to fully-understand BREEEM and all too often other people seem to make a great job of confusing them further and over-complicating it. Understanding BREEAM shouldn’t be complicated but it seems we need a way to translate what can be a complicated process into a simple, easy-to-understand one. At its core, BREEAM is simple - a process that allows you to make informed decisions to create better buildings – better in design, better in construction and better in operation. However, it is all too easy for the process to be over-complicated. The trick is finding a BREEAM assessor that fully-understands a client’s goals and objectives and can collaborate on a project from an early stage. With early involvement, a BREEAM assessor can help to guide a client and their supply chain through the process in the most efficient manner. Being involved at RIBA stage 1- preparation and brief - pays dividends when compared to getting involved at Stage 2 or 3 - concept design and design development - as by the time you get to these stages, important decisions have already been made. This applies to communication, and not just communication between client and assessor - the whole supply chain needs to be in the loop. By understanding the decision-making process; by creating simple processes and being at the start of the discussion, we can influence and make sure the right route is chosen. To put this into perspective (and at the expense of my brother-in-law): - I live in Bristol and my brother-in-law lives in Leeds. Having been to visit for the weekend he jumped in the car and heading-off, he hadn’t made a decision about which route to take. However, knowing that the M1 goes to Leeds, he headed along the M4 to London, went around the M25 and up the M1.The journey took him eight hours. If he had planned the route in advance he would have taken the M5, a journey that would have taken three-and-a-half hours. The point of the story - apart from the fact that my brother-in-law’s sense of direction is awful - is that if he had planned in advance, he would have saved himself so much time. The same goes for BREEAM and other construction processes - spend time planning and it will be time well spent, as you will save time and effort further down the line. For my brother-in-law, sat-nav beckons; for construction professionals, find partners you can engage with early and who will work with you on shared goals. Otherwise, you could find yourself going the long way round. By Darren Evans, Managing Director,Darren Evans Assessments Visit: https://www.darren-evans.co.uk/
    711 Posted by Talk. Build
  • With information so readily available, we can be blinded by science. There is information overload and there seems to be a growing trend to overcomplicate matters. Whilst design, procurement and construction hasn’t always been easy, it seems that layer-upon-layer is being added to projects that in many instances - or in many opinions - is just designed to complicate matters. This shouldn’t be the case. Processes that simplify procurement, streamline delivery and enhance designs should be the norm. So why isn’t this the case? As humans we are naturally inquisitive and as a nation we are constantly looking to be at the forefront of everything we do. We are amongst the first to adopt new practices and have a thirst for driving innovation. We are becoming more aware of the importance of sustainability from a people, environment and economics perspective and more recently, that of well-being, with the wellness economy now one of the world's fastest-growing industries. As such, it is no surprise that sustainability and well-being are currently fuelling a plethora of adventurous new architectural projects that embrace scientific research and data. But with these ever-more challenging projects comes larger and more complex supply chains, and what seems an ever-increasing number of standards to contend with. To make matters more complex, many standards overlap and duplicate elements with each other and we are being bombarded with information, research and data from every angle - and much of this information and many of the processes seem to be overly-complicated. So the question is: how do we deliver projects efficiently and on budget when we are facing information overload? The answer is to keep it simple. Take BREEAM, the internationally-recognised measure of sustainability for buildings and communities, as an example. Many people are unable to fully-understand BREEEM and all too often other people seem to make a great job of confusing them further and over-complicating it. Understanding BREEAM shouldn’t be complicated but it seems we need a way to translate what can be a complicated process into a simple, easy-to-understand one. At its core, BREEAM is simple - a process that allows you to make informed decisions to create better buildings – better in design, better in construction and better in operation. However, it is all too easy for the process to be over-complicated. The trick is finding a BREEAM assessor that fully-understands a client’s goals and objectives and can collaborate on a project from an early stage. With early involvement, a BREEAM assessor can help to guide a client and their supply chain through the process in the most efficient manner. Being involved at RIBA stage 1- preparation and brief - pays dividends when compared to getting involved at Stage 2 or 3 - concept design and design development - as by the time you get to these stages, important decisions have already been made. This applies to communication, and not just communication between client and assessor - the whole supply chain needs to be in the loop. By understanding the decision-making process; by creating simple processes and being at the start of the discussion, we can influence and make sure the right route is chosen. To put this into perspective (and at the expense of my brother-in-law): - I live in Bristol and my brother-in-law lives in Leeds. Having been to visit for the weekend he jumped in the car and heading-off, he hadn’t made a decision about which route to take. However, knowing that the M1 goes to Leeds, he headed along the M4 to London, went around the M25 and up the M1.The journey took him eight hours. If he had planned the route in advance he would have taken the M5, a journey that would have taken three-and-a-half hours. The point of the story - apart from the fact that my brother-in-law’s sense of direction is awful - is that if he had planned in advance, he would have saved himself so much time. The same goes for BREEAM and other construction processes - spend time planning and it will be time well spent, as you will save time and effort further down the line. For my brother-in-law, sat-nav beckons; for construction professionals, find partners you can engage with early and who will work with you on shared goals. Otherwise, you could find yourself going the long way round. By Darren Evans, Managing Director,Darren Evans Assessments Visit: https://www.darren-evans.co.uk/
    Aug 17, 2017 711
  • 16 Aug 2017
    At the risk of stating the obvious, most construction projects are usually won or lost on price. It seems that we have reached a situation where cost will frequently succeed over the highest possible quality in a very competitive market place, but you can hardly blame contractors, architects or any other construction professional – it has been that way for years and it’s unlikely to change – or could it? Allegations and unfounded rumours linked to the dreadful Grenfell Tower tragedy have led to speculation that someone chose to save money by agreeing to install inferior cladding. Only a long and detailed investigation will prove if that is true or not but if I was a betting man then I strongly suspect that all the rules and regulations were properly met at the time – so where does it leave us. Right now wherever you go in the construction market this tragedy is the big elephant in the room and no one, understandably, wants to talk about it until more is known. But one thing is for sure - there was a time when an architect or specifier would vigorously defend their choice of building material. OK, the specification said material X or similar, but the architect knew exactly what he or she wanted both ascetically and in terms of long term performance and would except no substitutes. Years of price led competition have gradually eroded that defence giving everyone the opportunity to break specification in the interest of saving money and while there are still many specifiers willing to try very hard to maintain the spec, it seems they are fighting a losing battle. We should be asking why we have let this happen – after all would you ignore the advice of your doctor and take what he or she perceives to be an inferior form of medication. Building owners and end clients are always looking for the best value for money but does the cheapest always equate with performance and distinctive good looks. It is not hard to find examples of what many would perceive to be as evidence of decline. Handmade clay tiles are frequently replaced by hand crafted – significantly less expensive. Mastic asphalt has long put up a rear-guard action against a host of newer and lower cost membranes. Natural stone paving has lost out to concrete blocks. Many would argue and I would agree with them, that these products are just as good and deliver better value for money but it’s not what the architect or specifier originally intended – and that’s the whole point – at some level there is a real danger that the alternative product might not be able to deliver and then what price do you put on that. Who decided that Product Y is similar to Product X and will do the job just as well? The accreditations might say it’s good enough but who will be the final judge? When the inquiry finally sits on the Grenfell tragedy then it could well be that the Government looks at legislation that strengthens the hand of the architect if it is found that someone changed the specification and “similar” was simply not good enough. By Talk Builder Talk Builder is a regular columnist on the Talk.Build website. His views are personal and should be considered as such and can always be challenged via Twitter  
    723 Posted by Talk. Build
  • At the risk of stating the obvious, most construction projects are usually won or lost on price. It seems that we have reached a situation where cost will frequently succeed over the highest possible quality in a very competitive market place, but you can hardly blame contractors, architects or any other construction professional – it has been that way for years and it’s unlikely to change – or could it? Allegations and unfounded rumours linked to the dreadful Grenfell Tower tragedy have led to speculation that someone chose to save money by agreeing to install inferior cladding. Only a long and detailed investigation will prove if that is true or not but if I was a betting man then I strongly suspect that all the rules and regulations were properly met at the time – so where does it leave us. Right now wherever you go in the construction market this tragedy is the big elephant in the room and no one, understandably, wants to talk about it until more is known. But one thing is for sure - there was a time when an architect or specifier would vigorously defend their choice of building material. OK, the specification said material X or similar, but the architect knew exactly what he or she wanted both ascetically and in terms of long term performance and would except no substitutes. Years of price led competition have gradually eroded that defence giving everyone the opportunity to break specification in the interest of saving money and while there are still many specifiers willing to try very hard to maintain the spec, it seems they are fighting a losing battle. We should be asking why we have let this happen – after all would you ignore the advice of your doctor and take what he or she perceives to be an inferior form of medication. Building owners and end clients are always looking for the best value for money but does the cheapest always equate with performance and distinctive good looks. It is not hard to find examples of what many would perceive to be as evidence of decline. Handmade clay tiles are frequently replaced by hand crafted – significantly less expensive. Mastic asphalt has long put up a rear-guard action against a host of newer and lower cost membranes. Natural stone paving has lost out to concrete blocks. Many would argue and I would agree with them, that these products are just as good and deliver better value for money but it’s not what the architect or specifier originally intended – and that’s the whole point – at some level there is a real danger that the alternative product might not be able to deliver and then what price do you put on that. Who decided that Product Y is similar to Product X and will do the job just as well? The accreditations might say it’s good enough but who will be the final judge? When the inquiry finally sits on the Grenfell tragedy then it could well be that the Government looks at legislation that strengthens the hand of the architect if it is found that someone changed the specification and “similar” was simply not good enough. By Talk Builder Talk Builder is a regular columnist on the Talk.Build website. His views are personal and should be considered as such and can always be challenged via Twitter  
    Aug 16, 2017 723
  • 15 Aug 2017
    Offering exceptional durability, waterproofing and skid resistance, mastic asphalt has been used across the globe on all manner of paving applications for more than a century – from surfacing the pavements around Tower Bridge in London to hundreds of bridges and car parks and one of the biggest civil engineering projects in the world - where it is being used as a surface material on the 31 mile long Hong Kong bridge between Hong Kong and Macau. Used extensively as a long-life wearing surface in urban situations, where durability and consistency is paramount, modified bituminous materials such as mastic asphalt can bring real benefits to road and pathway construction. Delivering better and longer lasting walkways, and savings in total lifecycle costings, mastic asphalt is capable of out-performing and outlasting all other comparable materials.  Slip and skid resistance can be provided in the wearing course of mastic asphalt by sand rubbing, surface crimping or the application of high polished stone value pre-coated chippings. For local authorities and public pathway specifiers, this added functionality further enhances the material’s suitability for public areas – and reduces the potential for any slips and trips. Another major advantage with mastic asphalt is that it can be laid at speed, reducing the project costs significantly. It also cools very rapidly, allowing foot traffic within two to three hours, depending upon ambient temperature. Recent projects where the application of mastic asphalt has been proven include work to pavements around Tower Bridge by Infallible Systems and to the Selby Swing Bridge in Yorkshire by BriggsAmasco, where the company machine-laid a waterproof mastic asphalt wearing course for the 1200m2 bridge deck in just five days.  Testament to the potential speed of application is currently in China where mastic asphalt paving is being mechanically laid on the Hong Kong bridge at a staggering rate of 6000m2 per day. With most of the world’s paved roads surfaced with asphalt, the versatility of mastic asphalt is legendary. This reliable, well-tested product gives good performance and durability under the most heavily-trafficked conditions, and as a paving material, is tough to beat. Visit: http://www.masticasphaltcouncil.co.uk/
    758 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Offering exceptional durability, waterproofing and skid resistance, mastic asphalt has been used across the globe on all manner of paving applications for more than a century – from surfacing the pavements around Tower Bridge in London to hundreds of bridges and car parks and one of the biggest civil engineering projects in the world - where it is being used as a surface material on the 31 mile long Hong Kong bridge between Hong Kong and Macau. Used extensively as a long-life wearing surface in urban situations, where durability and consistency is paramount, modified bituminous materials such as mastic asphalt can bring real benefits to road and pathway construction. Delivering better and longer lasting walkways, and savings in total lifecycle costings, mastic asphalt is capable of out-performing and outlasting all other comparable materials.  Slip and skid resistance can be provided in the wearing course of mastic asphalt by sand rubbing, surface crimping or the application of high polished stone value pre-coated chippings. For local authorities and public pathway specifiers, this added functionality further enhances the material’s suitability for public areas – and reduces the potential for any slips and trips. Another major advantage with mastic asphalt is that it can be laid at speed, reducing the project costs significantly. It also cools very rapidly, allowing foot traffic within two to three hours, depending upon ambient temperature. Recent projects where the application of mastic asphalt has been proven include work to pavements around Tower Bridge by Infallible Systems and to the Selby Swing Bridge in Yorkshire by BriggsAmasco, where the company machine-laid a waterproof mastic asphalt wearing course for the 1200m2 bridge deck in just five days.  Testament to the potential speed of application is currently in China where mastic asphalt paving is being mechanically laid on the Hong Kong bridge at a staggering rate of 6000m2 per day. With most of the world’s paved roads surfaced with asphalt, the versatility of mastic asphalt is legendary. This reliable, well-tested product gives good performance and durability under the most heavily-trafficked conditions, and as a paving material, is tough to beat. Visit: http://www.masticasphaltcouncil.co.uk/
    Aug 15, 2017 758
  • 08 Aug 2017
    Yet another survey that identifies that subcontractors are being poorly treated and are suffering with late and reduced payments.   The latest Construction News survey; ‘Late Payment: The state of the construction Industry’ concluded that respondents to the survey indicated that 25% of payments are not made on time with 40% of respondents stating that their payment terms exceeded 40 days. In addition, only 55% of respondents from tier one contractors indicated that they pay in accordance with their contractual terms, with 25% of Main Contractors and 20% of subcontractors’ respondents indicating that contractual disagreements affect prompt payment. Unsurprisingly, these depressing results are not new, as the recent BIBBY Financial Services Subcontracting Growth report also highlighted; “27% saying that late payment is the biggest threat to their business over the next 12months…with, on average, subcontractors waiting 42 days for payment from main contractors”, and only “29% of firms indicating they ‘always’ get paid the full amount they bill contractors for”. Taking these reports together paints a bleak picture of the construction industry’s payment landscape. So why are only 55% of respondents from tier one contactors paying in accordance with contractual terms, and why do subcontractors have to wait approximately 40 days for payment? Well, it could be that some businesses higher up the supply chain use other businesses’ money lower down to temporarily support their own cash flow.  Which, interestingly, is how the Famer Review of the UK Construction Labour Model reported unjust payment practices: "...The multiple and tiered sub-contracting interfaces within the industry and between industry and its clients has generated a further non-value add process whereby some businesses higher up the supply chain will use other businesses’ money lower down to temporarily support and enhance their own cash flow." Furthermore, the surveys suggest that prompt payment is affected by contractual disagreements and that the majority of firms do not always receive the payment that they have billed for. How could this happen? An answer may be, as indicated in the Farmer report: "...Clients tend to fixate on lowest initial tendered price and this is often perpetuated by their advisors, who, in a traditional procurement model, are implicitly employed (at least partly) to manage a fixed and adversarial transactional interface between clients and industry" Another reason may be that, as indicted in the BIBBY Financial Services Subcontracting Growth report, 19% of subcontractors do not thoroughly check contracts before they sign them; which is madness. And with 38% stating that construction contracts are too complex to understand - not checking contracts and not understanding contracts makes it far too easy for Main Contractors not to pay. Subcontractors do not help themselves, the majority do not send their staff on contract training courses, which includes, Contractual Dispute Avoidance courses, and as indicated in all surveys, disputes affect prompt payment. We at the Confederation of Construction Specialists promote the best way to win a dispute is to completely understand contractual positions, understand contract law and understand contract processes and procedures. In short, book on to contractual training courses which will instil contractual knowledge and the confidence to interrogate contracts and use them to your advantage. There are many contractual CPD courses to choose from, including a University Construction Contractual Dispute Avoidance L4 qualification. There is not an excuse not to train staff. After all, Main Contractors see it as a priority, subcontractors should do also. By Gerald Kelly – General Manager, Confederation of Construction Specialists For over 30 years the Confederation of Construction Specialists has been supporting construction specialist companies. By providing up-to date relevant contract training courses, professional advice and contractual guidance, the Confederation of Construction Specialists enables specialist companies to optimise the ways in which they operate contractual arrangements when dealing with Main Contractors or clients. Visit: www.constructionspecialists.org https://twitter.com/ccs_org
    760 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Yet another survey that identifies that subcontractors are being poorly treated and are suffering with late and reduced payments.   The latest Construction News survey; ‘Late Payment: The state of the construction Industry’ concluded that respondents to the survey indicated that 25% of payments are not made on time with 40% of respondents stating that their payment terms exceeded 40 days. In addition, only 55% of respondents from tier one contractors indicated that they pay in accordance with their contractual terms, with 25% of Main Contractors and 20% of subcontractors’ respondents indicating that contractual disagreements affect prompt payment. Unsurprisingly, these depressing results are not new, as the recent BIBBY Financial Services Subcontracting Growth report also highlighted; “27% saying that late payment is the biggest threat to their business over the next 12months…with, on average, subcontractors waiting 42 days for payment from main contractors”, and only “29% of firms indicating they ‘always’ get paid the full amount they bill contractors for”. Taking these reports together paints a bleak picture of the construction industry’s payment landscape. So why are only 55% of respondents from tier one contactors paying in accordance with contractual terms, and why do subcontractors have to wait approximately 40 days for payment? Well, it could be that some businesses higher up the supply chain use other businesses’ money lower down to temporarily support their own cash flow.  Which, interestingly, is how the Famer Review of the UK Construction Labour Model reported unjust payment practices: "...The multiple and tiered sub-contracting interfaces within the industry and between industry and its clients has generated a further non-value add process whereby some businesses higher up the supply chain will use other businesses’ money lower down to temporarily support and enhance their own cash flow." Furthermore, the surveys suggest that prompt payment is affected by contractual disagreements and that the majority of firms do not always receive the payment that they have billed for. How could this happen? An answer may be, as indicated in the Farmer report: "...Clients tend to fixate on lowest initial tendered price and this is often perpetuated by their advisors, who, in a traditional procurement model, are implicitly employed (at least partly) to manage a fixed and adversarial transactional interface between clients and industry" Another reason may be that, as indicted in the BIBBY Financial Services Subcontracting Growth report, 19% of subcontractors do not thoroughly check contracts before they sign them; which is madness. And with 38% stating that construction contracts are too complex to understand - not checking contracts and not understanding contracts makes it far too easy for Main Contractors not to pay. Subcontractors do not help themselves, the majority do not send their staff on contract training courses, which includes, Contractual Dispute Avoidance courses, and as indicated in all surveys, disputes affect prompt payment. We at the Confederation of Construction Specialists promote the best way to win a dispute is to completely understand contractual positions, understand contract law and understand contract processes and procedures. In short, book on to contractual training courses which will instil contractual knowledge and the confidence to interrogate contracts and use them to your advantage. There are many contractual CPD courses to choose from, including a University Construction Contractual Dispute Avoidance L4 qualification. There is not an excuse not to train staff. After all, Main Contractors see it as a priority, subcontractors should do also. By Gerald Kelly – General Manager, Confederation of Construction Specialists For over 30 years the Confederation of Construction Specialists has been supporting construction specialist companies. By providing up-to date relevant contract training courses, professional advice and contractual guidance, the Confederation of Construction Specialists enables specialist companies to optimise the ways in which they operate contractual arrangements when dealing with Main Contractors or clients. Visit: www.constructionspecialists.org https://twitter.com/ccs_org
    Aug 08, 2017 760
  • 06 Aug 2017
    The flat roofing industry along with most areas in construction, has tried very hard in recent years to paint itself as green. It has been an uphill struggle, particularly for those involved in waterproofing who have traditionally used bitumen based products, resins and other chemical additives to produce products that are proven to work but are not necessarily considered to be environment friendly. Somewhere in the middle there has been a trade off with building owners not prepared to risk using alternative types of waterproofing but who are more than happy to accept that the industry is at least trying to be a little greener. It has led to a whole range of what many critics call “greenwash” initiatives such as carbon offsetting where companies buy into environment friendly schemes in the third world to offset emissions in the west. While such schemes might have created a warm feeling for some it did little for climate change and did nothing to alter the fact that bitumen based products, while probably remaining amongst the best type of waterproofing available, would never be the first products of choice for specifiers with green aspirations.. But that could all be about to change thanks to a remarkable initiative by Proteus Waterproofing which has formed a unique partnership in the UK to supply bitumen roofing felt manufactured in Switzerland that really does tick some, if not all of the green boxes. Ok, so let’s get the bad news out of the way first. Pro Felt from Proteus is still traditional roofing felt, manufactured using bitumen and on face value no more environment friendly than any other felt – but it has one huge advantage over all of its competitors – it is manufactured totally using 100% green renewable energy. Hydro and solar energy are used exclusively to manufacture Pro-Felt in Switzerland significantly reducing its impact on the environment which means that Proteus can truly claim that its felt has significantly higher levels of green credentials than any similar product of its kind. No roofing felt can of course ever claim to be totally green but if specifiers, building owners and contractors are serious about trying to prevent climate change then, at the very least, they should choose a waterproofing product such as Pro-Felt – greener than the rest and a step in the right direction. Visit: www.proteuswaterproofing.co.uk
    780 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The flat roofing industry along with most areas in construction, has tried very hard in recent years to paint itself as green. It has been an uphill struggle, particularly for those involved in waterproofing who have traditionally used bitumen based products, resins and other chemical additives to produce products that are proven to work but are not necessarily considered to be environment friendly. Somewhere in the middle there has been a trade off with building owners not prepared to risk using alternative types of waterproofing but who are more than happy to accept that the industry is at least trying to be a little greener. It has led to a whole range of what many critics call “greenwash” initiatives such as carbon offsetting where companies buy into environment friendly schemes in the third world to offset emissions in the west. While such schemes might have created a warm feeling for some it did little for climate change and did nothing to alter the fact that bitumen based products, while probably remaining amongst the best type of waterproofing available, would never be the first products of choice for specifiers with green aspirations.. But that could all be about to change thanks to a remarkable initiative by Proteus Waterproofing which has formed a unique partnership in the UK to supply bitumen roofing felt manufactured in Switzerland that really does tick some, if not all of the green boxes. Ok, so let’s get the bad news out of the way first. Pro Felt from Proteus is still traditional roofing felt, manufactured using bitumen and on face value no more environment friendly than any other felt – but it has one huge advantage over all of its competitors – it is manufactured totally using 100% green renewable energy. Hydro and solar energy are used exclusively to manufacture Pro-Felt in Switzerland significantly reducing its impact on the environment which means that Proteus can truly claim that its felt has significantly higher levels of green credentials than any similar product of its kind. No roofing felt can of course ever claim to be totally green but if specifiers, building owners and contractors are serious about trying to prevent climate change then, at the very least, they should choose a waterproofing product such as Pro-Felt – greener than the rest and a step in the right direction. Visit: www.proteuswaterproofing.co.uk
    Aug 06, 2017 780
  • 05 Aug 2017
    Britain might be one of the world’s richest countries but housing is in a crisis of under-delivery.  In another bid to tackle this shortage, the Government’s proposed 14 ‘garden villages’ and three additional ‘garden towns’ across England will see more than 48,000 new homes created, turning smaller hamlets into villages and expanding existing towns onto nearby land.  While these initiatives are clearly a step in the right direction to ease the lack of new housing and create new communities, they need to be carried out well and responsive to the needs of the market and local people. There remains a need to upgrade our existing stock and make use of what we have, but too often the current stock is not in a location which is favourable to modern living.  One of the huge benefits of the garden village plan is that residents will be more able to be stimulated by the environment in which they live.  This in turn has an impact on their general well-being and mental health. In other words, it’s not just the home, it’s about what is around them. Setting and community is key, but it depends on the specification, how much the developers have actually bought into the concept and what will come out of it at the end.  When these homes are built, it is hoped that the companies will take pride in the design and the build, and that sub-contractors will take pride in the work that they do. It cannot be seen as a way of making a quick profit because the Government is supporting the scheme. Special planning freedoms’ given for these villages also invoke a word of caution.  Often this gets translated into pounds and pence and less about the experience the individual will have when they are in the house.  It’s a given that we need more homes, but they have to be homes people want to live in and will last for generations. Ultimately, all parties should aspire to build high quality, attractive and thermally efficient homes which are a well-integrated mix of types, tenures and sizes to meet the identified needs of all ages and sectors of these new communities.   The garden village scheme will have its detractors, but in a bid to build more homes and as an extra tool to fight the housing crisis, it has a lot of potential. It remains imperative that quality isn’t compromised and that each new home is desirable and will perform efficiently in the long term. Darren Evans is Managing Director at Darren Evans Assessments Ltd  Visit: http://www.darren-evans.co.uk/ 
    1002 Posted by Talk. Build
  • Britain might be one of the world’s richest countries but housing is in a crisis of under-delivery.  In another bid to tackle this shortage, the Government’s proposed 14 ‘garden villages’ and three additional ‘garden towns’ across England will see more than 48,000 new homes created, turning smaller hamlets into villages and expanding existing towns onto nearby land.  While these initiatives are clearly a step in the right direction to ease the lack of new housing and create new communities, they need to be carried out well and responsive to the needs of the market and local people. There remains a need to upgrade our existing stock and make use of what we have, but too often the current stock is not in a location which is favourable to modern living.  One of the huge benefits of the garden village plan is that residents will be more able to be stimulated by the environment in which they live.  This in turn has an impact on their general well-being and mental health. In other words, it’s not just the home, it’s about what is around them. Setting and community is key, but it depends on the specification, how much the developers have actually bought into the concept and what will come out of it at the end.  When these homes are built, it is hoped that the companies will take pride in the design and the build, and that sub-contractors will take pride in the work that they do. It cannot be seen as a way of making a quick profit because the Government is supporting the scheme. Special planning freedoms’ given for these villages also invoke a word of caution.  Often this gets translated into pounds and pence and less about the experience the individual will have when they are in the house.  It’s a given that we need more homes, but they have to be homes people want to live in and will last for generations. Ultimately, all parties should aspire to build high quality, attractive and thermally efficient homes which are a well-integrated mix of types, tenures and sizes to meet the identified needs of all ages and sectors of these new communities.   The garden village scheme will have its detractors, but in a bid to build more homes and as an extra tool to fight the housing crisis, it has a lot of potential. It remains imperative that quality isn’t compromised and that each new home is desirable and will perform efficiently in the long term. Darren Evans is Managing Director at Darren Evans Assessments Ltd  Visit: http://www.darren-evans.co.uk/ 
    Aug 05, 2017 1002
  • 04 Aug 2017
    There is no doubting the fact that we are living in a global economy and that we are all going through an intense period of change. For many of us, our focus is on our immediate vicinity and surroundings and the issues that affect our customers and business operations. However, there are a number of fundamental issues that affect and drive us all, the world over – financial stability, safety, environmental concerns etc. One area that can directly affect these issues, and more, is innovation. For most manufacturers, innovation is a critical factor that is equated to their success. It builds competitive advantage and in turn financial stability. It can also improve environmental performance and health and safety, criteria that are at the very heart of many businesses’ operational ethos. In many instances, product innovation is developed at a local level, often as a result of customer demand or identification of an opportunity. Some innovations are developed at a global level but this poses great challenges with regards to local interpretation, market need, performance expectations and regulation differences. Factors that drive product specification can greatly differ from one country to another, due to issues such as legislation, climate, culture and infrastructure. As a leading manufacturer of products working across multiple industry sectors (see http://bit.ly/2o8Ca6Z) Sika has a robust – and shared – approach to product innovation. The company has created a number of Global Technology Centres. These centres are design to drive product innovation at both local and global level. The UK centre, based at Sika’s Head Office in Preston focusses on liquid applied membranes and coatings, utilising the vast experience that Sika UK has within this field. Whilst developing products for the UK market, the centre can call upon global market intelligence and the resources of the rest of the group. This helps to advance product development within a network that has the ability to share outcomes and successes around the world, often in turn helping to drive other innovations. In so doing, Sika is able to leverage the benefits of both centralised and decentralised approaches to Research and Development, responding to local market and customer demands and sharing this advancement around the world. For organisations such as Sika, successful innovation results from the inter-connected nature of broad knowledge networks and the sharing of know how within these networks. A great example is the recent development of extremely low odour, liquid roof waterproofing systems. Conventional products have traditionally contained significant quantities of organic solvents that can lead to significant odours during application. This can lead to risks of disruption occurring when used on live sites such as hospitals and schools. Through the development of new technologies, Sika UK developed an ultra-low odour system that established new benchmarks in performance. Drawing upon its significant expertise and longstanding involvement in the UK roofing market, UK developers worked collaboratively with colleagues in Zurich to pioneer and patent novel curing compounds, commissioned specialist manufacturing equipment and worked in close partnerships with colleagues overseas to support successful market introductions across Europe and the US. Visit http://gbr.sika.com/en/group/about-us/sika-everyday.html
    807 Posted by Talk. Build
  • There is no doubting the fact that we are living in a global economy and that we are all going through an intense period of change. For many of us, our focus is on our immediate vicinity and surroundings and the issues that affect our customers and business operations. However, there are a number of fundamental issues that affect and drive us all, the world over – financial stability, safety, environmental concerns etc. One area that can directly affect these issues, and more, is innovation. For most manufacturers, innovation is a critical factor that is equated to their success. It builds competitive advantage and in turn financial stability. It can also improve environmental performance and health and safety, criteria that are at the very heart of many businesses’ operational ethos. In many instances, product innovation is developed at a local level, often as a result of customer demand or identification of an opportunity. Some innovations are developed at a global level but this poses great challenges with regards to local interpretation, market need, performance expectations and regulation differences. Factors that drive product specification can greatly differ from one country to another, due to issues such as legislation, climate, culture and infrastructure. As a leading manufacturer of products working across multiple industry sectors (see http://bit.ly/2o8Ca6Z) Sika has a robust – and shared – approach to product innovation. The company has created a number of Global Technology Centres. These centres are design to drive product innovation at both local and global level. The UK centre, based at Sika’s Head Office in Preston focusses on liquid applied membranes and coatings, utilising the vast experience that Sika UK has within this field. Whilst developing products for the UK market, the centre can call upon global market intelligence and the resources of the rest of the group. This helps to advance product development within a network that has the ability to share outcomes and successes around the world, often in turn helping to drive other innovations. In so doing, Sika is able to leverage the benefits of both centralised and decentralised approaches to Research and Development, responding to local market and customer demands and sharing this advancement around the world. For organisations such as Sika, successful innovation results from the inter-connected nature of broad knowledge networks and the sharing of know how within these networks. A great example is the recent development of extremely low odour, liquid roof waterproofing systems. Conventional products have traditionally contained significant quantities of organic solvents that can lead to significant odours during application. This can lead to risks of disruption occurring when used on live sites such as hospitals and schools. Through the development of new technologies, Sika UK developed an ultra-low odour system that established new benchmarks in performance. Drawing upon its significant expertise and longstanding involvement in the UK roofing market, UK developers worked collaboratively with colleagues in Zurich to pioneer and patent novel curing compounds, commissioned specialist manufacturing equipment and worked in close partnerships with colleagues overseas to support successful market introductions across Europe and the US. Visit http://gbr.sika.com/en/group/about-us/sika-everyday.html
    Aug 04, 2017 807
  • 03 Aug 2017
    With growing pressure on schools to provide even more classroom places it seems that playing fields and playgrounds are disappearing at a very fast rate particularly in our inner cities. Recent research published in the national media suggests that some 35% of schools are building classrooms on areas once exclusively designated for play and 90% of expanding schools are losing play space because they are admitting more pupils to cope with local demand. Up to half a million primary school children are being deprived of play space because councils are building classrooms on playgrounds. Experts suggest that this is the result ofa baby boom coupled with rising immigration, which means that England’s pupil population will exceed eight million for the first time in almost half a century. Companies such as Play Cubed, which specialise in designing and installing playgrounds in schools, fears that pupils who cannot have proper play times will be less able academically. Most experts agree that play and the benefits it provides helps children learn in the classroom – and if there are no such facilities then that learning benefit will disappear. Forecasters say that pupil numbers will soar by almost a million over the next decade to reach their highest level since the mid-70s, meaning children will have even less room to play - estimates suggest that some 478,800 pupils could be affected. Experts such as Play Cubed agree that access to outside space is vital and schools need to preserve it with playtime experiences helping boost children’s development and well-being. Until recently schools had to provide between 2,500 and 75,000 square metres of space for team games depending on the number of pupils they educated but that rule has now changed to providing ‘suitable outdoor space’ for physical education and play. It’s a trend that we ignore at our peril if we are to develop well balanced children who will enjoy the education experience – the power of play is not to be underestimated at the expense of cramming even more youngsters into classrooms. Visit: https://www.playcubed.co.uk/
    1147 Posted by Talk. Build
  • With growing pressure on schools to provide even more classroom places it seems that playing fields and playgrounds are disappearing at a very fast rate particularly in our inner cities. Recent research published in the national media suggests that some 35% of schools are building classrooms on areas once exclusively designated for play and 90% of expanding schools are losing play space because they are admitting more pupils to cope with local demand. Up to half a million primary school children are being deprived of play space because councils are building classrooms on playgrounds. Experts suggest that this is the result ofa baby boom coupled with rising immigration, which means that England’s pupil population will exceed eight million for the first time in almost half a century. Companies such as Play Cubed, which specialise in designing and installing playgrounds in schools, fears that pupils who cannot have proper play times will be less able academically. Most experts agree that play and the benefits it provides helps children learn in the classroom – and if there are no such facilities then that learning benefit will disappear. Forecasters say that pupil numbers will soar by almost a million over the next decade to reach their highest level since the mid-70s, meaning children will have even less room to play - estimates suggest that some 478,800 pupils could be affected. Experts such as Play Cubed agree that access to outside space is vital and schools need to preserve it with playtime experiences helping boost children’s development and well-being. Until recently schools had to provide between 2,500 and 75,000 square metres of space for team games depending on the number of pupils they educated but that rule has now changed to providing ‘suitable outdoor space’ for physical education and play. It’s a trend that we ignore at our peril if we are to develop well balanced children who will enjoy the education experience – the power of play is not to be underestimated at the expense of cramming even more youngsters into classrooms. Visit: https://www.playcubed.co.uk/
    Aug 03, 2017 1147
  • 02 Aug 2017
    In older reinforced concrete structures, particularly those in coastal locations with a prevalence of salty air, or ones exposed long-term to pollutants in towns and cities, some form of corrosion is inevitable. However, the visual signs of carbonisation and chlorides, such as cracks or spalling, can take months, possibly even years before appearing. By then, of course, serious damage could be done and repairs could prove costly. To protect and prolong the life of a structure, early corrosion diagnosis is vital. But how is this achieved when the surface gives no indication of a problem? A concrete condition survey offers a reliable test as to how a building is reacting to its surrounding environment. BS EN 1504 Standards stipulate a survey and interpretation of results is a prerequisite prior to work starting on concrete repair projects. This will reveal the overall state of the concrete and determine the type of remedial action required. Sika is in the process of launching an investigation service. In conjunction with our partner, Vector, the survey will identify the most appropriate corrosion management system to employ. This offering further demonstrates our all-round commitment to quality concrete refurbishment. A survey could include the following depending on the structure and condition of the concrete: Visual inspection: This offers a flexible and powerful form of testing. It can provide an immediate assessment of a concrete structure’s condition and identify causes of stress or other debilitating conditions. A visual inspection, however, is dependent on the competence and experience of the survey team carrying it out, therefore surveys of this kind should only be made by those qualified and experienced to do so. Hammer testing: A hammer test identifies hollow or spalled areas of concrete by assessing the sound difference using either a hammer or chain. Carbonation: A solution called Phenolphthalein is used to indicate levels of alkalinity which triggers the corrosion process. The substance, which is spray-applied, turns pink when it contacts alkaline in concrete. Break out: Break out testing sees areas of concrete broken away to assess the condition of the steel. This test acts as a validation measure against the other tests such as carbonation, chloride and half-cell measurements. Concrete cover: A cover meter survey identifies and records the minimum and average depths of concrete cover to the embedded steel to help determine the risk of corrosion. It is also used to identify where the steel is. Chloride analysis: This involves collecting concrete dust samples to test for the presence of chlorides. Half-cell potential mapping: Corrosion of reinforcing steel is an electro-chemical process and the deterioration of the steel can be assessed by measuring its half-cell potential. The greater the potential, the higher the risk that corrosion is taking place. Corrosion rate measurement: An electrochemical test carried out on the surface of the corroding metal to assess the causes of corrosion and predict the rate it will occur. Once a survey has taken place, results will determine the most suitable corrosion management system to employ. For example, where high levels of chlorides are detected within the concrete, the Sika® Galvashield® system, comprising embedded galvanic anodes, is recommended. The sacrificial anodes prevent the formation of new corrosion sites either adjacent to the refurbished concrete or to concrete which is visually sound but from the survey information identified as high risk. This simple, innovative anode system involves a small, circular-shaped cementitious shell encasing a zinc core which is quickly and easily fastened to exposed steel reinforcement. Once installed, the anode’s zinc core corrodes sacrificially to the surrounding rebar to therefore protect it. A concrete conditioning survey can help identify a potential problem before it takes hold, tying-in with the well-known saying, ‘prevention is better than cure’. The good news is, with the launch of our investigation service, alongside our existing Total Corrosion Management System, Sika has the means to provide both the prevention and a long-term cure. By Ronnie Turner, Infrastructure Manager – Refurbishment at Sika Limited  
    628 Posted by Talk. Build
  • In older reinforced concrete structures, particularly those in coastal locations with a prevalence of salty air, or ones exposed long-term to pollutants in towns and cities, some form of corrosion is inevitable. However, the visual signs of carbonisation and chlorides, such as cracks or spalling, can take months, possibly even years before appearing. By then, of course, serious damage could be done and repairs could prove costly. To protect and prolong the life of a structure, early corrosion diagnosis is vital. But how is this achieved when the surface gives no indication of a problem? A concrete condition survey offers a reliable test as to how a building is reacting to its surrounding environment. BS EN 1504 Standards stipulate a survey and interpretation of results is a prerequisite prior to work starting on concrete repair projects. This will reveal the overall state of the concrete and determine the type of remedial action required. Sika is in the process of launching an investigation service. In conjunction with our partner, Vector, the survey will identify the most appropriate corrosion management system to employ. This offering further demonstrates our all-round commitment to quality concrete refurbishment. A survey could include the following depending on the structure and condition of the concrete: Visual inspection: This offers a flexible and powerful form of testing. It can provide an immediate assessment of a concrete structure’s condition and identify causes of stress or other debilitating conditions. A visual inspection, however, is dependent on the competence and experience of the survey team carrying it out, therefore surveys of this kind should only be made by those qualified and experienced to do so. Hammer testing: A hammer test identifies hollow or spalled areas of concrete by assessing the sound difference using either a hammer or chain. Carbonation: A solution called Phenolphthalein is used to indicate levels of alkalinity which triggers the corrosion process. The substance, which is spray-applied, turns pink when it contacts alkaline in concrete. Break out: Break out testing sees areas of concrete broken away to assess the condition of the steel. This test acts as a validation measure against the other tests such as carbonation, chloride and half-cell measurements. Concrete cover: A cover meter survey identifies and records the minimum and average depths of concrete cover to the embedded steel to help determine the risk of corrosion. It is also used to identify where the steel is. Chloride analysis: This involves collecting concrete dust samples to test for the presence of chlorides. Half-cell potential mapping: Corrosion of reinforcing steel is an electro-chemical process and the deterioration of the steel can be assessed by measuring its half-cell potential. The greater the potential, the higher the risk that corrosion is taking place. Corrosion rate measurement: An electrochemical test carried out on the surface of the corroding metal to assess the causes of corrosion and predict the rate it will occur. Once a survey has taken place, results will determine the most suitable corrosion management system to employ. For example, where high levels of chlorides are detected within the concrete, the Sika® Galvashield® system, comprising embedded galvanic anodes, is recommended. The sacrificial anodes prevent the formation of new corrosion sites either adjacent to the refurbished concrete or to concrete which is visually sound but from the survey information identified as high risk. This simple, innovative anode system involves a small, circular-shaped cementitious shell encasing a zinc core which is quickly and easily fastened to exposed steel reinforcement. Once installed, the anode’s zinc core corrodes sacrificially to the surrounding rebar to therefore protect it. A concrete conditioning survey can help identify a potential problem before it takes hold, tying-in with the well-known saying, ‘prevention is better than cure’. The good news is, with the launch of our investigation service, alongside our existing Total Corrosion Management System, Sika has the means to provide both the prevention and a long-term cure. By Ronnie Turner, Infrastructure Manager – Refurbishment at Sika Limited  
    Aug 02, 2017 628
  • 01 Aug 2017
    The demand for Aircrete blocks has been steadily growing over the past few years. This can be thanked by a combination of the change in building regulations (Part L 2013) and a housing crisis that has led to strong growth in the residential sector. With Part L 2013 putting more emphasis on the requirement of an even more thermally efficient fabric, through compliance with the Fabric Energy Efficiency Target (FEE) Aircrete blocks have become the preferred choice to achieve lower U-Values and better PSI Values (Thermal Bridging/heat loss at junctions) and an overall easier route to compliance. The pace of the industry growth and a lack of raw materials have started to cause a shortage of Aircrete blocks, unwelcome bad news which is slowly rippling through the construction industry. Pulverised Fuel Ash (PFA) is the main waste product from coal fired power stations and this raw material is integral in the production of most Aircrete blocks in the UK. This lack of material could similarly impact on other concrete blocks, cement and ready mix concrete as these products also use PFA. A handful of factors have combined to see levels of PFA production drop. A mild winter has reduced the overall level of electricity generation in the UK, lower gas prices has seen electricity generators burn less coal and more gas and as we drive ourselves forward to a greener energy infrastructure reliance on coal power has diminished and will continue to do so. There is potential to import PFA from coal fired power stations across Europe, but this has never been needed before so the transportation network and infrastructure just isn’t there yet. For now, the most important thing to do is be aware and plan ahead. A change from Aircrete blocks to a denser block will ultimately see a rise in emissions through high heat losses through the walls and the junctions. This will cause some buildings to fail to meet the Emission and FEE targets, where previously the design assessment was compliant. Compliance with Part L can still be achieved with a change in blockwork as long as the assessor is informed early enough to propose ways to offset the additional CO2 and heat losses. So the advice is to anticipate the shortage and to begin to design denser blocks into your SAP and SBEM calculations as early as possible. By Marcus Eves, Sustainability Consultant, Darren Evans Assessments Visit: http://www.darren-evans.co.uk/
    969 Posted by Talk. Build
  • The demand for Aircrete blocks has been steadily growing over the past few years. This can be thanked by a combination of the change in building regulations (Part L 2013) and a housing crisis that has led to strong growth in the residential sector. With Part L 2013 putting more emphasis on the requirement of an even more thermally efficient fabric, through compliance with the Fabric Energy Efficiency Target (FEE) Aircrete blocks have become the preferred choice to achieve lower U-Values and better PSI Values (Thermal Bridging/heat loss at junctions) and an overall easier route to compliance. The pace of the industry growth and a lack of raw materials have started to cause a shortage of Aircrete blocks, unwelcome bad news which is slowly rippling through the construction industry. Pulverised Fuel Ash (PFA) is the main waste product from coal fired power stations and this raw material is integral in the production of most Aircrete blocks in the UK. This lack of material could similarly impact on other concrete blocks, cement and ready mix concrete as these products also use PFA. A handful of factors have combined to see levels of PFA production drop. A mild winter has reduced the overall level of electricity generation in the UK, lower gas prices has seen electricity generators burn less coal and more gas and as we drive ourselves forward to a greener energy infrastructure reliance on coal power has diminished and will continue to do so. There is potential to import PFA from coal fired power stations across Europe, but this has never been needed before so the transportation network and infrastructure just isn’t there yet. For now, the most important thing to do is be aware and plan ahead. A change from Aircrete blocks to a denser block will ultimately see a rise in emissions through high heat losses through the walls and the junctions. This will cause some buildings to fail to meet the Emission and FEE targets, where previously the design assessment was compliant. Compliance with Part L can still be achieved with a change in blockwork as long as the assessor is informed early enough to propose ways to offset the additional CO2 and heat losses. So the advice is to anticipate the shortage and to begin to design denser blocks into your SAP and SBEM calculations as early as possible. By Marcus Eves, Sustainability Consultant, Darren Evans Assessments Visit: http://www.darren-evans.co.uk/
    Aug 01, 2017 969
  • 30 Jul 2017
    In an ever-increasingly automated and technological world, it can be too easy to overlook the importance of people and the vital roles they play in securing a business’ future success. Innovation starts with a person having a good idea. Technology – including state-of-the-art software and machinery – is then used to turn this idea into reality. Without the initial human inspiration, this technology, however efficient and intuitive, is entirely redundant. This is one of the core reasons that Sika UK continues to invest in the development of its people. As a leading manufacturer of products working across multiple industry sectors (see http://bit.ly/2o8Ca6Z), we are constantly looking at ways to improve the wide range of bonding, sealing, damping, reinforcing and protecting products and systems we supply to the building and automotive sectors and industry. We have invested heavily in our facilities – spending more than £3 million alone in creating a new Research and Development Centre at our Preston site in recent years – and continue to invest to upgrade and expand our infrastructure where required. Yet we also know that having state-of-the-art laboratories is not enough to maintain our leading position in the development and production of chemical-based products. We also invest in our people to ensure we have the skills and expertise to deliver innovative solutions to real-life challenges set by our customers, and push the boundaries of what is possible.  It makes me proud to say that on this front we are having huge success. At Sika UK, we are living our commitment to people development. We understand that people who are competent, capable and confident are generally happier in their roles, and therefore more productive. This is why we place so much emphasis on supporting all of our employees with learning and training. From a range of structured activities, such as apprenticeships, industrial placements and internships, to providing sales training to all sales recruits within the first six months of employment, to non-role based training, such as our well-being course, exploring resilience, stress and the pressures of working in a changing environment, we have courses and activities that fit a wide variety of 21st century needs of any employee. For the past three years we’ve also been providing leadership development, aimed initially at those in middle and senior management roles. Last year, we evolved this to address the needs of front line management and some others in key roles. Next year, we will customise this content to the wider population as we believe that leadership skills are for everyone. On the professional development front, we’re also working closely with the Institute of Roofing and other professional bodies to discuss certifications and qualifications – ensuring they are as relevant and fit for purpose as possible. Beyond all this, what I’m most proud of is how Sika UK has universally adopted a recognised approach to development – the 70:20:10 model. We have embraced learning as you go rather than relying solely on classroom training. In numbers, we provide focused classroom training (the 10 per cent).  We have trained all our people managers in coaching skills so they can fully support the coaching and mentoring of their teams (the 20 per cent), and we have a framework and appetite to take learning out of the classroom and channel it towards work-directed learning activities (the 70 per cent), all of which allows for diversity and flexibility in learning. This approach is paying dividends. Our staff are able to put new skills and knowledge into their everyday behaviours, enabling them to push themselves further and increase their capabilities. We’re also reaping the rewards – our people are growing and so is the business. We believe that the ongoing development of our people will ensure we are best placed to deliver the ongoing development of our products and business as a whole. By Jenny Thow, Learning & Development Manager at Sika UK Visit http://gbr.sika.com/en/group/about-us/sika-everyday.html  
    759 Posted by Talk. Build
  • In an ever-increasingly automated and technological world, it can be too easy to overlook the importance of people and the vital roles they play in securing a business’ future success. Innovation starts with a person having a good idea. Technology – including state-of-the-art software and machinery – is then used to turn this idea into reality. Without the initial human inspiration, this technology, however efficient and intuitive, is entirely redundant. This is one of the core reasons that Sika UK continues to invest in the development of its people. As a leading manufacturer of products working across multiple industry sectors (see http://bit.ly/2o8Ca6Z), we are constantly looking at ways to improve the wide range of bonding, sealing, damping, reinforcing and protecting products and systems we supply to the building and automotive sectors and industry. We have invested heavily in our facilities – spending more than £3 million alone in creating a new Research and Development Centre at our Preston site in recent years – and continue to invest to upgrade and expand our infrastructure where required. Yet we also know that having state-of-the-art laboratories is not enough to maintain our leading position in the development and production of chemical-based products. We also invest in our people to ensure we have the skills and expertise to deliver innovative solutions to real-life challenges set by our customers, and push the boundaries of what is possible.  It makes me proud to say that on this front we are having huge success. At Sika UK, we are living our commitment to people development. We understand that people who are competent, capable and confident are generally happier in their roles, and therefore more productive. This is why we place so much emphasis on supporting all of our employees with learning and training. From a range of structured activities, such as apprenticeships, industrial placements and internships, to providing sales training to all sales recruits within the first six months of employment, to non-role based training, such as our well-being course, exploring resilience, stress and the pressures of working in a changing environment, we have courses and activities that fit a wide variety of 21st century needs of any employee. For the past three years we’ve also been providing leadership development, aimed initially at those in middle and senior management roles. Last year, we evolved this to address the needs of front line management and some others in key roles. Next year, we will customise this content to the wider population as we believe that leadership skills are for everyone. On the professional development front, we’re also working closely with the Institute of Roofing and other professional bodies to discuss certifications and qualifications – ensuring they are as relevant and fit for purpose as possible. Beyond all this, what I’m most proud of is how Sika UK has universally adopted a recognised approach to development – the 70:20:10 model. We have embraced learning as you go rather than relying solely on classroom training. In numbers, we provide focused classroom training (the 10 per cent).  We have trained all our people managers in coaching skills so they can fully support the coaching and mentoring of their teams (the 20 per cent), and we have a framework and appetite to take learning out of the classroom and channel it towards work-directed learning activities (the 70 per cent), all of which allows for diversity and flexibility in learning. This approach is paying dividends. Our staff are able to put new skills and knowledge into their everyday behaviours, enabling them to push themselves further and increase their capabilities. We’re also reaping the rewards – our people are growing and so is the business. We believe that the ongoing development of our people will ensure we are best placed to deliver the ongoing development of our products and business as a whole. By Jenny Thow, Learning & Development Manager at Sika UK Visit http://gbr.sika.com/en/group/about-us/sika-everyday.html  
    Jul 30, 2017 759
  • 29 Jul 2017
    FeRFA, the Resin Flooring Association, represents a wide range of leading manufacturers as well as contractors and other associated companies involved in resin flooring systems. For more than 45 years it’s been the recognised voice of the resin flooring industry, taking a leading role in developing global standards. FeRFA is a superb trade association because it is so active. One of its earliest accomplishments was to create a framework that put the various flooring systems on the market into some sort of context. Their classification system, which runs from one to eight and categorises floors according to durability and product type, enables contractors and specifiers to compare products on a like-for-like basis, helping to simplify the specification process. For instance, if a client has two manufacturers pitching a floor to them, all they’d need to ask is, ‘what FeRFA rating would this floor be’? If one says ‘four’ and the other says ‘three’, it then becomes clear different systems are being pitched. The chances are one of the systems being pitched will be thinner than the other and have a different build-up, making it inappropriate for the materials that it will have to withstand. The FeRFA classification system answers a number of important questions, such as: How do different products compare in terms of cost? What’s the likely durability of the floor? Is the floor appropriate for its intended environment? Loud and clear Ultimately, the FeRFA guide demystifies the specification process by cutting-through product marketing. If a contractor recommends a type of floor, you can see for yourself why it’s being specified. The whole process makes it easier for an educated contractor to guide an uneducated specifier as to what type of floor is suitable without changing the language because everyone’s essentially reading from the same page. Furthermore, the guidance document enables customers to generate an anticipated flooring life-time by comparing the flooring classifications with expected traffic loads.  This provides customers with an estimated figure – giving them the reassurance of an educated ‘guarantee’ in terms of number of years the system should last for. And this figure then allows Sika’s own flooring guarantees, something I believe is unique to UK manufacturers within the industry and potentially over and above the guidance, to be seen in context. It’s my opinion that FeRFA’s success is due to having the right people in the right positons. Its members, who have a wealth of industry knowledge and experience, are actively influencing how flooring standards are devised and how the industry is regulated. Manufacturers are very clear about what a floor will and won’t do. However, a FeRFA rating allows for easy comparison with floors of similar type, making it easier to see where your floor sits in the grand scheme of things, which is a very good thing indeed. by Simon Clark, Sika Flooring Product Manager
    670 Posted by Talk. Build
  • FeRFA, the Resin Flooring Association, represents a wide range of leading manufacturers as well as contractors and other associated companies involved in resin flooring systems. For more than 45 years it’s been the recognised voice of the resin flooring industry, taking a leading role in developing global standards. FeRFA is a superb trade association because it is so active. One of its earliest accomplishments was to create a framework that put the various flooring systems on the market into some sort of context. Their classification system, which runs from one to eight and categorises floors according to durability and product type, enables contractors and specifiers to compare products on a like-for-like basis, helping to simplify the specification process. For instance, if a client has two manufacturers pitching a floor to them, all they’d need to ask is, ‘what FeRFA rating would this floor be’? If one says ‘four’ and the other says ‘three’, it then becomes clear different systems are being pitched. The chances are one of the systems being pitched will be thinner than the other and have a different build-up, making it inappropriate for the materials that it will have to withstand. The FeRFA classification system answers a number of important questions, such as: How do different products compare in terms of cost? What’s the likely durability of the floor? Is the floor appropriate for its intended environment? Loud and clear Ultimately, the FeRFA guide demystifies the specification process by cutting-through product marketing. If a contractor recommends a type of floor, you can see for yourself why it’s being specified. The whole process makes it easier for an educated contractor to guide an uneducated specifier as to what type of floor is suitable without changing the language because everyone’s essentially reading from the same page. Furthermore, the guidance document enables customers to generate an anticipated flooring life-time by comparing the flooring classifications with expected traffic loads.  This provides customers with an estimated figure – giving them the reassurance of an educated ‘guarantee’ in terms of number of years the system should last for. And this figure then allows Sika’s own flooring guarantees, something I believe is unique to UK manufacturers within the industry and potentially over and above the guidance, to be seen in context. It’s my opinion that FeRFA’s success is due to having the right people in the right positons. Its members, who have a wealth of industry knowledge and experience, are actively influencing how flooring standards are devised and how the industry is regulated. Manufacturers are very clear about what a floor will and won’t do. However, a FeRFA rating allows for easy comparison with floors of similar type, making it easier to see where your floor sits in the grand scheme of things, which is a very good thing indeed. by Simon Clark, Sika Flooring Product Manager
    Jul 29, 2017 670