Thursday, 19 July 2018

How access control panels will continue to change

As one device evolves, the devices it interacts with also finds scope to improve and change. Access control panels have adapted to technological advancements, both in the physical and digital domain. 2020 Vision, providers of IP CCTV systems, present this guide to past changes to access control panels, and potential future developments.

Security advancements


Technology has enjoyed some substantial improvement upon the old lock and key. The way we entered restricted areas has changed over time — and it all started with the famous keypad. Similar to what we now see on ATMs, these were used to access locked areas and would require an individual to type in a specific numerical code to enter. The passcode would usually be around four to six digits long. But was this a viable method to protect a business? At the time, it was a revolutionary idea — but as times progressed, anyone could obtain the code and enter even if they weren’t authorised to do so. This was classed as a non-intelligent reader.

Card Readers

Keypads began to lose their effectiveness when compared to the next stage in security development: card readers. Usually, a magnetic strip would be attached to the card which a staff member could then swipe through a narrow slot in order to gain access. However, such cards are now available with a bar code reader, a proximity reader, smart card readers, and biometric readers — tailoring each to specific business requirements.

IP Door Readers

Card readers were further advanced upon with the introduction of IP readers: these could be accessed via card or by Bluetooth. Biometrics are now also common in IP readers — unlike card readers and keypads, IP readers can operate independently as they hold an internal memory and if the details you provide do not match what the IP reader has knowledge of, you will not gain access.

These leaps in development took place within 50 years. At this pace, what will the next stage be?

Access control panels for smartphones

There are a few different ways to lock the internal features of a smartphone. The use of passcodes is still common amongst most devices and are similar to keypads in terms of security. Biometric access, through the use of the fingerprint, is something that is relatively new and has revolutionised the way we get into our phones. However, in 2017, the iPhone X was released which saw tech-mogul company, Apple, introduce facial recognition as the main route to gaining access using a 3D sensor that can recognise the phone owner’s facial features. We suspect that this will be implemented across more smartphone devices in order to compete for the title of being the most accessible and the easiest. However, convenience and simplicity whether facial recognition, fingerprint scanning Bluetooth, and even a short PIN code come at a price they simplify access not only for the authorised user, but also for a potential attacker. So when it comes to implementing an Access Control System always seek the advice of an experienced security integrator.

The next stage of access control panels

We predict that the next advancement will come in the form of ‘eyeball recognition’, a technology still in its early stages. As no two people are the same, DNA ensures that access is being granted to the right person. Even in extreme and unlikely circumstances, if someone was to obtain your eyeball, they would still be unable to gain access.

We’re already starting to see advancements in technology shown to us in movies start to creep into the real world. But the movies were unaware of how secure they would actually be. In “Diamonds are Forever” in the James Bond franchise, 007 tries to gain access through a ‘copy’ of the required fingerprint. Realistically, if this was to occur, there would be smudges on the fingerprint which would lead to alerts being made and a fail in gaining access.

In “Demolition Man”, a criminal group attempt to escape prison using a warden’s eye. In reality, this would not get past any sort of IRIS scan, as there is a detection process which determines whether the person is alive or not and a dead person’s pupil would not be responding to any light that is around.

What do you think will be the next stage in access control panels? Will movies this year predict even greater possibilities? And the bigger question is: will they be brought to life? With the evolution of access control happening frequently, and becoming more intelligent, we are sure to see new additions soon.


from The UK Construction Blog

Build to Rent and the future of housing

An insightful new video from the timber industry’s campaign Wood for Good shines the spotlight on the growing Build to Rent sector and examines the unique nature of this market.

According to the British Property Federation, there are now almost 120,000 Build to Rent units already built, under construction or in planning across the UK; a 30% increase over the last year.

Christiane Lellig, campaign director at Wood for Good said:

“Build to Rent is becoming increasingly important in the UK housing market. We teamed up with Build to Rent consultancy LIV Consult and property consultancy Gardiner & Theobald to highlight the growing importance of this sector, to examine some of the opportunities and challenges of this market and also to show how the timber industry can play a central role.”

Oliver Booth, partner at property consultancy Gardiner & Theobald, said:

“The need for Build to Rent has never been more important. The bottom line is we have an availability of housing crisis in the UK and there are many brave organisations, corporations and institutions stepping up to try and fix that.”

Build to Rent developers and investors are in the market for the long haul; choosing higher-end materials such as engineered timber, both within the building’s fabric and the fit and finish that will stand the test of time.

Designing for efficiency and specifications that will last long term is a distinct separation from the traditional build for sale market, where cheaper materials and finishes are frequently specified to maximise profits for the developer.

Commenting on the unique nature of the Build to Rent market, Ashley Perry, Build to Rent consultancy director at LIV Consult, said:

“The Build to Rent market is unique because of its focus on resident experience and efficiency through design, operations and overall long-term use.

“Designers and developers have to understand how efficiently the building can operate as that will drive long term income and capital growth for investors.”

Highlighting the pivotal role the timber industry can play, Oliver Booth said:

“A major benefit of engineered timber is that it’s fast to construct and that’s good for the Build to Rent model because we need to build quickly.

“In addition, organisations want to use timber because it’s such a sustainable product. Those materials that are made and can be disposed of in a sustainable way and that contribute to people’s health and wellbeing, will have a competitive advantage over those that don’t.”

Typically, Build to Rent schemes target young professionals, students and downsizers who buy into the lifestyle and convenience of well-built properties with a superior fit and finish, and are close to local amenities.


To view the video click here.

To find out more visit

from The UK Construction Blog

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

The government’s Clean Growth Strategy – what is it?

The UK government has launched its Clean Growth Strategy as part of its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the nation. It outlines a proposed approach to building a lower-carbon future for the UK.


You can read the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) comprehensive report by downloading it here. However, if you don’t have the time to scroll through all 165 pages, don’t worry. This time-consuming task has been made easier thanks to energy provider Flogas, who provide business gas prices. Read on for a summary of the strategy’s key points, and what they mean for UK homes and businesses.


What is the UK’s commitment to climate change?

To begin with, it’s vital to understand what made the Clean Growth Strategy a necessity.


In 2008, the UK introduced the Climate Change Act, and through this, became the first nation in the world to self-impose a legally binding carbon reduction target. The crux of it? To reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels).


Is this target in our grasp?

BEIS published positive data in March 2017, revealing that the UK is on track to meet this target, with overall carbon emissions dropping by 42% since 1990. While this progress is encouraging, the government acknowledges that there is still plenty of work to be done – and that’s where proposals like the Clean Growth Strategy come in.


How can the Clean Growth Strategy help?

The Clean Growth Strategy aims to accelerate the pace of ‘clean growth’ in two ways: by increasing economic growth, and by decreasing emissions. With that in mind, the two guiding objectives underpinning the strategy are:


  • To meet our domestic commitments at the lowest possible net cost to UK taxpayers, consumers and businesses.
  • To maximise the social and economic benefits for the UK from this transition.


To turn this vision into a reality, the government has pledged to roll out lower-carbon processes, systems and technologies nationwide – doing so in the most cost-effective way possible for businesses and homes alike.


What are the key proposals in the Clean Growth Strategy?

There are six key areas that the strategy’s proposals focus on. Together, they are completely responsible for the UK’s carbon emissions:


  • Improving business and industry efficiency (25% of UK emissions).
  • Improving our homes (13% of UK emissions).
  • Accelerating the shift to low-carbon transport (24% of UK emissions).
  • Delivering clean, smart, flexible power (21% of UK emissions).
  • Enhancing the benefits and value of our natural resources (15% of UK emissions).
  • Leading the public sector (2% of UK emissions).


You can find the full list of 50 pledges in this executive summary.


What will this mean for homes and businesses?


Essentially, the government will encourage and support homes, businesses and industrial operations to minimise their carbon footprint in several ways. A major focus will be to reassess the fuels we use for tasks such as heating, cooking, and powering industrial and manufacturing processes – and embracing cleaner, greener alternatives.


This will help boost the uptake of renewable technologies (e.g. heat pumps, biomass boilers and solar panels) in the long term, and favour cleaner conventional fuels over more polluting ones. For example, for off-grid homes and businesses, the strategy sets out specific plans to phase out high-carbon forms of fossil fuels like oil. As the lowest-carbon conventional off-grid fuel, oil to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) conversions will play a key part in replacing oil in rural parts of the country.


Natural gas will remain a popular choice for properties that are connected to the mains network – not only because of its affordability and accessibility, but also because it’s the lowest-carbon fossil fuel that’s available. Flogas, which specialises in highly competitive commercial mains gas, expects to see this part of its business continue to go from strength to strength.


The company has been an expert in the energy sector for more than 30 years and predicts that the ‘green gas’ phenomenon (natural gas injected with a proportion of environmentally friendly biogas) will rise in popularity as the Clean Growth Strategy rolls out.


Reaction to the Clean Growth Strategy

Key industry figures have been vocal in their support since the unveiling of the Clean Growth Strategy.


Managing Director of Flogas, Lee Gannon, said: “Through the publication of its Clean Growth Strategy, the government has made clear its intention to reduce carbon emissions from off-grid UK homes and businesses. Natural gas is affordable, versatile, widely available and – most importantly – emits significantly less carbon than the likes of coal and oil. As such, it will continue to play a central role as the UK works towards cleaning up its energy landscape. We look forward to working alongside policymakers and wider industry stakeholders to make the Clean Growth Strategy the success that it deserves to be.”


Also supporting the strategy is Oil & Gas UK. Mike Tholen, its Upstream Policy Director, commented: “Oil & Gas UK welcomes the government’s commitment to technology in the strategy, especially with regards to carbon abatement measures such as carbon capture, usage and storage. Oil & Gas UK looks forward to working with the government to see how these technologies can further reduce emissions across the economy.”


from The UK Construction Blog

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Scotland to require sprinklers in all new social housing

The Scottish Government has agreed to introduce legislation to make sprinkler systems compulsory in all new social housing of over 10 tenants.

Scottish Housing Minister Kevin Stewart confirmed that the Scottish Government will take forward David Stewart MSP’s proposal for a Members’ Bill to make it a legal requirement for all future new build social housing.

Currently all new high-rise domestic buildings, whether private or social, with a floor over ?18m must have automatic fire suppression systems fitted.

New legislation would extend this to all houses in multi-occupancy or more than 10 people, including care homes.

Scottish Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “I am very grateful to David Stewart for his work on bringing forward this important issue and gaining cross-party support for his proposal.

“I can confirm that the Scottish Government will implement the aim of Mr Stewart’s proposal and will bring forward legislation as soon as is practicable in this Parliamentary session.

“This is an opportunity to further improve standards in our social housing and this work will be taken forward alongside the recommendations of the two reviews of building standards and fire safety which we will consult on later this summer.”

from The UK Construction Blog

Monday, 9 July 2018

ISG clinches £34m Twickenham campus scheme

Architecture practice Maber has reorganised its top management to drive growth in London and the Midlands

Architecture practice Maber has reorganised its top management to drive growth in London and the Midlands.

Managing Director Mark Hobson becomes CEO and will focus on the practice’s growing London office and portfolio of projects in the capital.

Ian Harris, previously head of Maber’s Leicester office takes over as Managing Director with a brief to develop the practice’s Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and Birmingham offices.

Tim Boxford, an Associate Director who has developed several high-profile projects in the East Midlands, has stepped up to lead the Leicester office. Catherine Lambert has been promoted to become an Associate.

Mark Hobson commented: “We are delighted to announce these developments in our management team that will position us for further growth. With some exciting projects coming forward in the capital, I am looking forward to focusing on growing our London office and client base.”

Through longstanding client relationships, Maber has generated a healthy crop of projects in London with a construction value around £400 million and including large scale mixed use developments, build to rent schemes, hotels and student accommodation as well as work in the education sector.

from The UK Construction Blog