Wednesday, 29 November 2017


With more and more businesses having taken the first key step towards automation (application generated PDF documents), it’s time to discuss the next time-consuming, labour-intensive and error-prone element to overcome’, writes Matthew Jones at Open ECX.

The easiest and most efficient way to send documents such as invoices and orders is via email as a PDF document. Billing systems create the PDF documents and email them directly to the recipient.

This process is now fairly commonplace but marks a major shift in approach from the old, manual processing to the new; automation. The next stumbling block standing between a business and fully-automated, e-invoicing is how to extract and integrate the data into their finance system.

Those businesses that carry out this task via Optical Character Recognition (OCR) may think that the technology is saving them time and increasing efficiencies, but in truth OCR can be just as labour intensive as manual processing. That’s because OCR engines convert the ‘photograph’ – which sometimes has to be printed and scanned first – into data and a human check is required to rectify any mistakes made.

The mistakes are fairly easy to spot, with the example in the photo above showing how the OCR misread “26.19” as “2b.iy”. However, correcting each and every one of these mistakes uses valuable resources and interrupts the automation process, thereby completely removing all the benefits.

The good news is this problem can be avoided through our unique PDF to e-Invoicing solution.  Data can be taken straight from the PDF and automatically – with 100 per cent accuracy – mapped to an e-document structure, matched and validated against organisational documents of your choice, and delivered direct to your back-office systems (shown below) with minimal to no human intervention required; automation achieved.

As this approach is so simple and non-disruptive to any supply chain, supplier adoption rates are extremely high. In fact, 94% of your suppliers when asked will be able to send a machine generated PDF.

And this means benefits to businesses, including reduced costs, increased visibility, transparency and control and increased ability to pay on time.

For more information click here:

from The UK Construction Blog

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Winter health hazards for tradespeople

The present human adjusted condition is quickly forming into a more difficult and dynamic course, from the method of transportation, foundation, correspondence and numerous progressively these improvements has incredible effect human life. Because, show modernization and quick industrialization has centered itself into advancement for the better of present-day living, for example, the sustenance division; from that point forward, there have been various significant improvements to current nourishments that we eat, from the utilization of additives which offer approach to canning, moment nourishments, and leafy foods developed by engineered composts. In any case, on the different way, advancement realized by current industrialization has drawn various ecological and health concerns. However, with these advancements comes multiple disadvantages that human adjusted environment has made, for example, the present day an unnatural weather change, irresistible infection pandemic, contamination, and some more; on the off chance that we think basically into these, those issues, particularly those identifying with health and wellbeing, are all artificial. For this reason, three variables of present health hazards will be seen which are contamination (air and water), the way of life (liquor and tobacco dependence) and concoction harming.

Contamination is a standout amongst the most robust factors as to health risk. The issue of disease has significantly bothered since the start of industrialization; from tainted waterways to the thick carbon dioxide smoke in urban areas, genetic contamination has extraordinarily been persuasive mainly as a contributing component to sickness event and improvement. Among a few outcomes of air and water contamination to overall population health are widespread respiratory diseases, harming, gastrointestinal sicknesses, and some more. These toxins are items from plants, transportations, bug sprays showers, mechanical squanders and some more; and undoubtedly, these contaminations which are danger to human health is all artificial.

The way of life is another present factor as health danger. Since recent upheaval, there have been various changes to human forms of life. Furthermore, among of the most broadly rehearsed terrible way of life is dependence on liquor and tobacco. The liberality of human from various strolls of life into mixed beverages and tobacco has made this factor as the significant reason for inabilities and ailment in the present. Among of the infections that are caused by the finished liberality of tobacco and mixed beverages are growth, asthma, tuberculosis, and bronchitis; if not cured it might cause passing.

What’s more, another factor as health peril is compound harming. Substance harming is now and again neglected as the health risk and is considered as the absolute mishap. For the most part, these chemicals that are being scattered and by possibility or accidental being ingested originated from plants, bug sprays, beautifying agents, paints, and numerous more which some advance into our drinking water, or sustenance. This harmful synthetic substance when ingested makes a few unfriendly impacts human organ framework particularly the important ones. These are some of the artificial health hazards, and as time passes by health risk factors do change and the impacts it causes to the overall population.

The post Winter health hazards for tradespeople appeared first on Econ Construction LTD.

from Econ Construction LTD

One in Five British Homeowners Buy New Property Prior To Selling Their Existing Home

Following a recent increase in searches for unoccupied property insurance through its website, a non-standard insurance specialist has revealed that as many as one in five British homeowners who sold a property within the last year made the decision to find and purchase a new home prior to putting their existing property on the market.


The dilemma of whether it’s more advantageous to purchase a new home before putting an existing property on the market is a tough one, particularly if that means buildings are going to be left unoccupied for a substantial period of time before being purchased by a new buyer.


As part of a new study, the team at polled 2,847 adults aged 25 and over, all of whom had sold an existing property and purchased a new one within the past twelve months. All those taking part were split evenly across each of the UK regions and were questioned on how they went about the process of their most recent house move.


All respondents were asked if they put their previous home on the market before or after putting an offer in for the property that they now lived in. The majority (79%) stated that they waited to make any offers on new properties until they’d accepted an offer from a buyer, whilst the remaining 21% revealed that they’d given themselves the chance to search for and have an offer accepted on their ideal next home before putting their previous home on the market.


More than two fifths (41%) of participants that had waited to make any offers until they’d sold their property admitted to researchers that they wished they’d done things the other way around, as they felt rushed into selling their home. A further 28% believed that they would’ve been able to make a bigger profit and sell their previous property for a higher sum had they waited to put their home on the market after securing their new home.


Of the respondents that purchased a new home before putting their original property on the market, 17% admitted to researchers that they’d needed to leave their previous home empty and unoccupied after moving into their next home, and whilst awaiting a sale to go through. Despite this, just 21% took out an unoccupied insurance policy for this period.


Finally, in order to uncover the breakdown of how homeowners go about selling their properties in different areas of the UK, researchers analysed answers to reveal which region is the most likely to buy a new property prior to selling their existing home, with the answers as follows:


  • London  – 28% (% of respondents from this region that purchased a new property prior to putting their existing home on the market)
  • South East – 26%
  • South West – 24%
  • West Midlands – 23%
  • Yorkshire and Humberside – 21%
  • Scotland – 21%
  • North West  – 20%
  • Northern Ireland -18%
  • East Midlands -17%
  • East of England – 16%
  • Wales – 15%
  • North East – 14%

Rob Rushton, Head of said:


“Whilst there are both benefits and drawbacks to finding a new home prior to selling your existing one, there is no denying that it gives homebuyers the time and freedom to suss out the housing market and take the time to find a property that perfectly fits them and their family.


“Here at CoverBuilder, we are certainly seeing a rise in customers wanting to make sure they’ve found their ideal next home before hammering that ‘For Sale’ sign into the front lawn. In fact, as it currently stands, 20% of our total policies have been taken for empty properties that are awaiting sales, with the average customer taking this cover out for a length of four months.”

from The UK Construction Blog

Friday, 24 November 2017

Tackling Fire Safety on Your Construction Site

A fire risk assessment is likely to be one of many the site manager must complete and keep on top of. It is a requirement of legislation for the responsible person (employer or persons in charge) to ensure a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment is complete.

This is something which needs carrying out for any premises which are non-domestic. And when you hire 5 or more members of staff, you must have a written record of this. However, it’s still a good idea if you don’t as it acts as proof that you’re fulfilling your duties.

It is necessary to review the risk assessment regularly to account for any changes which may have occurred. You may find this is something you have to complete as your construction site evolves.

New fire hazards can present themselves as the people plying their trade, and machinery, changes. And as the plans rise up from the ground, it’s possible that evacuation routes and assembly points will have to change.

Keeping on top of this means you’re one step ahead and can help to prevent a fire before the issue arises.

The Risks

A fire needs three elements to burn. Oxygen, heat and fuel.

Removing one or more of those elements stop a fire from starting, and will also mean a fire cannot continue to burn.

The first job of a fire risk assessment is to identify these potential sources of ignition and fuel and reduce their potential to cause harm.

Next, you identify the people who are most at risk if there is a fire, and you really do need to consider everyone. Contractors, visitors, security staff, young people, disabled people, those in nearby premises, and a lot more besides.

You must consider all the people who use your site or could potentially become affected should something go wrong.

Taking Action

Taking into account everything you found, you then evaluate, remove and reduce the fire risk, and have measures in place to protection individuals.

For example, this may involve making changes to the storage of equipment, tools, and materials. But it will also involve putting procedures in place to help keep everyone protected, such as a method of fire detection and warning.

You will need to ensure you have measures in place for raising the alarm, whether that’s using site alarms, a rotary bell or gas horn. And you mustn’t forget to have fire extinguishers installed at designated fire points which can be grabbed quickly to prevent a small fire from escalating quickly. It’s best to have water for general fires, foams for flammable liquids, and CO2 for electricals.

And when hot works are carried out, like welding or soldering, ensure the area is clear of combustible materials and that you have an appropriate fire extinguisher nearby.

Record, Plan, Train and Review

It’s good practice to then record your findings and actions taken. Then, with a plan in place, stating evacuation routes, assembly points, and who call the fire service, it is a good idea to ensure everyone is aware of what they should do in the event of an emergency. This may include how to use the fire extinguishing equipment you will have provided.

Plus, after selecting a few people who can take on fire warden duties, they will also need additional training. They will assist in the event of an emergency and also help you to keep on top of your fire safety responsibilities. After all, the more people you have keeping an eye on fire safety, the better-equipped everyone is to prevent one.

Just remember to make sure your fire risk assessment is kept up to date.

To find out more information about fire risk assessments and fire safety equipment for construction sites, visit .


from The UK Construction Blog

Wednesday, 22 November 2017


Businesses have yet to get to grips with the biggest change to apprenticeships in living memory.

That was the verdict on the Apprenticeship Levy from leading HR and operational professionals in the utilities and construction sector at an Industry Skills Forum, which featured SGN, Siemens, Interserve, Skanska UK, Morrison Utility Services, FCC Environment, Develop Training Ltd (DTL) and Mentor Training Solutions.

The consensus among delegates at the event, co-organised by DTL and Mentor Training Solutions, is that many firms still don’t understand the levy. In some quarters it is widely viewed as a tax, in others managers are simply holding fire on making decisions about setting up apprenticeships given continued uncertainty.

Chris Wood, Chief Executive of DTL, which specialises in the utilities, energy and construction sector, said the forum raised important issues about the need for firms to recognise the implications of the levy and to respond appropriately: “This is a sea change in the world of apprenticeships, and businesses need help to navigate through it. Our role is not only to deliver apprenticeship training but also to advise clients on how to select and train coaches and mentors for their apprentices from among their existing workforce. For many businesses, that will be a crucial limiting factor in how many apprenticeships they can deliver.”

Firms have two years from their initial levy payments, which started in April this year, to draw down funds so many are taking their time before making a decision. However, the way the system is structured means that delay may mean they will be unable to recoup everything they pay into the levy.

Nevertheless, several delegates warned against rushing into setting up apprenticeships, which would typically cost more to operate than would be paid for by the levy. There is also the risk that recruitment standards could be compromised by a race to hire new apprentices.

Instead, firms should look at their business needs – both in recruitment of new apprentices and training of existing personnel – and set up apprenticeships to meet those needs.

Speaking at the event, Simon Yorke, technical adviser at City and Guilds, urged businesses to see the levy as an opportunity. It should be viewed as an investment, he said, and forecast that now that firms have to pay for apprenticeships themselves, they would demand a better return on that investment.

Steven Green, provider engagement manager at Energy and Utilities Independent Assessment Service, said that firms have to work hard to agree new standards for apprenticeships that are replacing existing framework agreements. He encouraged more businesses to get involved in the process.

from The UK Construction Blog

Tuesday, 21 November 2017


With winter almost upon us, the anticipated damp and sub-zero temperatures will provide a severe test of the quality of the concrete used to build structures old and new. Over time, frost and ice will do its best to debilitate a building by finding its way into cracks caused by any one of a number of issues. Excess water in the concrete mix; improper strength of concrete poured on-site; conditions too cold for effective application…these are just some of the reasons fissures, which are susceptible to the freeze/thaw process, resulting in crack-widening and the structural integrity of the concrete being tested.

Fortunately, Sika has a proven, high-performance solution for crack repair in newly-poured and refurbished concrete. Sikadur®-52, an injection or poured epoxy resin, provides a reliable seal for a wide range of structural or non-structural applications and uses such as joint and hole filling; crack and void sealing. Easy to mix and apply, Sikadur®-52 is ideal for dry and damp concrete surfaces in horizontal and vertical locations.

Crack repair using Sikadur®-52 couldn’t be simpler. The crack itself doesn’t need to be cut out or the area widened before filling. Sikadur®-52, with its low viscosity, permeates into the smallest of cracks to provide a permanent seal. Impermeable to liquids and water vapour, the system hardens without shrinkage – a vital property when repairing cracks.

As well as offering superb abrasion resistance and mechanical strength, Sikadur®-52 provides excellent adhesion to most construction materials including natural stone, ceramics, fibre cement, mortar, bricks, masonry steel, iron and wood. It is the ideal concrete crack-repair solution for a wide range of infrastructure projects. Slabs, beams and columns found in buildings, bridges and the like are among surfaces ideal for the application of Sikadur®-52.

The upkeep of our infrastructure is not only vital to maintaining elements such as nationwide road and rail routes; neglecting to treat cracks in concrete structures sooner rather than later can lead to greater damage and costly, time-consuming repairs. This could result in cash-strapped local authorities passing the financial burden of such work onto the community in the form of increased council tax bills.

Prevention is better than cure, as the well-known saying goes, and so it is better to repair concrete when the damage is minimal with a reliable, robust solution such as Sikadur®-52, before greater problems take ahold.

To ensure areas that have been repaired are protected from future environment conditions, such as freeze thaw, concrete facades, column, soffits etc. are coated with anti-carbonation coatings. Sika offers a range of coating solutions, which include water based crack bridging systems, resin coatings and hydrophobic impregnations. In buildings and infrastructure projects these protective systems are applied as part of the future repair and maintenance strategy.

from The UK Construction Blog

Sunday, 19 November 2017


The UK construction industry as a whole tends to cling on to outmoded and inefficient payment practices even when presented with more effective ways of working – a point that is particularly valid when it comes to working capital management and payment processing, writes John Vasili, Director of Business Development at Invapay.

The construction industry has a long-standing problem when it comes to B2B payments. The NSCC & FMB Payment Survey revealed that 40 per cent of businesses are not paid within contracted terms, a third of payments due are late – representing 4.4 per cent of turnover on average – and that subcontractors write off £200 million in late payments and retentions.

Clearly, there’s a need for a more efficient way of processing and making payments – one that will benefit businesses of all shapes and sizes and at all stages in the construction lifecycle, from major contractors right down to specialist subcontractors and general suppliers.

Through our partnership with Open ECX and their WebContractor offer we have developed a combined full-service payment solution, providing construction businesses with a quick and effortless way to manage their payment processes and maximise working capital benefits. The direct and indirect benefits to businesses and their suppliers are multiple.

We find that one of the biggest barriers to the adoption of ePayment processing solutions for many businesses is supplier acceptance – with businesses concerned that the implementation of a revised payment processing approach will have a negative knock-on effect for their suppliers. In our experience, this fear is misguided. Our customers tell us they want to maximise their working capital and to get best use of available credit lines but are concerned about the impact on suppliers.

We solve this issue by simply making payments to the suppliers standard bank account– the supplier doesn’t need to know they are being settled via your working capital or available credit lines; all the while operating in the FCA regulated environment and the assurance that brings.

Our customers benefit considerably and are able to maximise the return on working Capital & to fully utilise any credit lines buyers may have available. They can also make accelerated payments to suppliers, whatever the size, thereby securitising the entire construction supply chain.

Our Open ECX colleagues have also faced concerns over supplier acceptance. Their e-invoicing solution automatically converts and validates PDF invoices received from suppliers, completely removing the need for time-consuming manual entry and eliminating human error.

For suppliers it provides them with the benefit of a reduction in payment delays often caused by traditional processes.

Open ECX has found that supplier adoption is often rapid. One builders’ merchant that stocks more than 13,000 product lines across 13 branches, saw the percentage of e-documents being processed rise from around 25-30 per cent to 60 per cent in a matter of months; this led to huge time and efficiency gains, allowing them to redeploy staff to focus on higher value tasks.

There is absolutely no reason for businesses to continue to operate an outmoded payment approach. There is a tried, tested and regulated alternative delivering major efficiency and cashflow benefits for both sides of the construction supply chain.

And unless we as an industry are willing to adapt, then we are resigned to not achieving the best payment practices, return on working capital and suppliers hindered by late and delayed payments for many years to come.

For more on Invapay’s partnership with Open ECX visit

from The UK Construction Blog

Thursday, 16 November 2017

360 x 360: Autodesk BIM 360’s Data and Collaboration to become immersive through HoloBuilder

HoloBuilder announces partnership with Autodesk’s Connect & Construct Exchange, BIM 360 integration program

SAN FRANCISCO, California – November , 2017 – HoloBuilder Inc., the leading provider of digital construction sites for general contractors and owners, is proud to announce a new partnership with Autodesk, the leader in 3D design, engineering and construction software. The partnership allows customers to seamlessly move between Autodesk’s BIM 360 construction management platform and HoloBuilder’s Construction Solution. This closes the gap between the workflow for 360 reality capturing and virtual walkthroughs as well as document and issue management. The partnership is based on the commitment of both companies to serve professionals in the field and in the office to accelerate delivery, save money and reduce risk. The cross-platform integration is implemented utilizing Autodesk Forge technology. The announcement was made at Autodesk University, the company’s flagship user conference in Las Vegas, which welcomes more than 10,000 Autodesk customers annually.

The integration allows users to add issues to the BIM 360 platform from within their HoloBuilder project. The connection between immersive 360-degree construction documentation and issue management also allows users to virtually walk the construction site and create issues at the same time, without ever needing to leave their desks. Created issues are also linked to their position within HoloBuilder’s documentation so that users can easily find the affected area and understand the context.

HoloBuilder’s integration with BIM 360 eliminates data silos. Users can add documents, like sheets and floor plans, from BIM 360 to the HoloBuilder environment. This ensures that any documents used within HoloBuilder are always up to date. Further functionality which allows customers to link additional information between BIM 360 and HoloBuilder will be released shortly.

“I am excited for this partnership as it allows us to connect and streamline construction project workflows,” Mostafa Akbari, CEO of HoloBuilder. “We have built HoloBuilder from the ground up to save time for our construction customers around the world when capturing reality and sharing this with stakeholders. As we now provide access and a connection to the BIM 360 construction management platform, this eliminates duplicate work and interruptions in the overall workflow, resulting in further efficiency gains.”

“We are thrilled to have HoloBuilder, a leader in 360-degree reality capture, serve as an inaugural member of the Connect & Construct Exchange,” said Sarah Hodges, Director of Autodesk’s Construction Business Line. “HoloBuilder’s seamless integration with Autodesk’s BIM 360 construction management platform is another example of how partnerships like these will make construction safer, simpler, and smarter.”

from The UK Construction Blog

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The Construction Industry’s Charity Contributions

Homer, the Greek poet, famously said, “The charity that is a trifle to us can be precious to others”. Statistics, as of 2005, estimated that at least 100 million people worldwide were homeless and in the 12 years since, the number has only risen, with over 300,000 homeless in The UK and 1.6 billion worldwide.

The global construction market is currently valued at £6.5 trillion, with an expected growth to £8 trillion in 2020. In the UK alone, over £136 million was spent on construction in 2016, 2.4% up on 2015.

Considering what we just told you about homelessness and the construction industry, it is indeed a contradictory picture that emerges. If construction is one of the largest industries, then how is it that so many people haven’t got a roof over their heads? Poverty, increasing population, and inadequate facilities have led to homelessness even in first world nations such as the United States of America, with New York, Los Angeles and Phoenix all featuring in the list of top 15 cities based on homelessness; a highly ironic fact given that the US’ construction industry contributes $78.4 billion dollars per annum to the country’s GDP. Even more astounding is that fact that about 25% of all homeless people in the world are children. That means every fourth homeless person is a child!

So where do we draw a connection between these two completely opposite yet related aspects of humanity? And where do the deeds of giving and charity come into play, in all of this? Well, charity isn’t only restricted to food and clothing.

Charity and the Construction Industry

The role of charity in the construction industry isn’t a recent development. In fact, substantial evidence of charity in the construction industry can be traced back to the “First Houses” project, a public housing project by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) in 1935. Labor was donated to the project by the Emergency Relief Fund and financed by philanthropist Bernard Baruch. The NYCHA also sold salvaged material from its other clearance projects to raise funding for “First Houses”

Today, many organizations exist worldwide that donate labor and material to various housing and school projects around the world. Construction giants such as Windover Construction and Skanska in the USA conduct independent campaigns and drives to build homes, apartment complexes and educational outreach programs for homeless veterans, the elderly and children. Whilst in the UK, the construction industry’s charity CRASH works with volunteers and patron companies to deliver much needed support to homeless and hospice charities across the country.

How Companies Can Get Involved

Construction companies undertake projects of massive proportions. It’s, therefore, an easily deducible fact that more often than not, there will be excesses of construction material, which is paid for by the consumer but not often utilized. Be it paint, tiles, or any of the other commonly used materials, these can be donated to non-profit organizations. A tiling company could easily donate tiles for the roofing and flooring of children’s homes and orphanages. A company that produces sanitary equipment could donate leftover materials from projects to schools or housing complexes.

Another way that companies can make a difference is by tying up with organizations such as CRASH or  Habitat for Humanity International, a not-for-profit organization that helps end homelessness around the world through its many branches. The organization accepts professional services as well as materials such as lumber, paint, equipment, trucks, tools, appliances, and fixed furnishing towards its campaigns, either as a donation or at a discounted amount in return for tax deductions.

For example, donors have the option of donating “gifts-in-kind”, a tax-deductible gift of services, labor, or materials of value to the organization. These could include shingles, plumbing services or tools, or even a donation of land.

Also, it’s not merely housing projects that can be undertaken by construction companies. Creativity can lead, with children’s playgrounds, donated land with simple recreational facilities or even skating rinks, all requiring the most basic construction materials. Building schools and libraries for communities that lack these facilities can go a long way in the realm of literacy for the poor.

The simplicity of charity in relation to construction industries lies in their architectural efficiency.  For example, building apartments can minimize the materials and space required to relocate a community. When it comes to orphanages, hospices and other organizations, an association with a company committed to bettering the society and fulfilling its corporate social responsibility is desirable. Therefore, construction companies could fulfill their Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) by donating to organizations such as Mellon Educate to help further several housing projects.

With frequent news of hurricanes, earthquakes and the like, another important aspect of charity in construction is the building of safer houses in high-impact regions. Further, the materials that once supported a structure can be reused to the best of its ability, especially under the experienced eye of an architectural company. Sustainable housing and development fall within the same realm, as simpler housing complexes imply cheaper livelihoods. This would mean that people living below the poverty line or who are homeless would be able to gain a roof over their heads, at almost zero cost.

To quickly recap, these are the ways in which construction companies could lend a charitable hand:

  • Donating excess or leftover material from previous projects, such as wood, tiles, sanitary equipment, concrete, cement, and so on.
  • Donating land to build houses and schools and even recreational spaces for children.
  • Fulfilling their CSR by donating monetarily or in-kind.
  • Provide assistance during disasters.
  • Provide expert services and labor in the form of employees and volunteers.

Make a Difference

As Thomas Fuller said, “Charity begins at home, but shouldn’t end there”. The possibilities of giving are endless if only the opportunities are recognized. Given the state of homelessness on a global level, every small step counts towards bettering lives, whether it’s a donation of your time or resources. Charity isn’t exclusive to any field; every field has something to give or can find something to give! Construction companies make a difference with the many projects they undertake, be it historical buildings, modern work spaces or grand establishments. However, at a very basic level, all of humanity needs a roof over its head. Be a part of a bigger difference.

from The UK Construction Blog

Monday, 13 November 2017

Home Hosting: One Third Of British Homeowners Inspired To Rent Out Their Homes After Rise In Airbnb Popularity

A brand new study looking into ‘home hosting’ has revealed that as many as one third of British homeowners have been inspired to rent out their homes to paying customers thanks to the growing popularity of sites like Airbnb, & HomeAway.


Homeowners living in the South East, North West and Wales are the most likely to be intrigued by the potential financial opportunities associated with becoming a home host and renting out their properties or rooms to tourists, with the average homeowner expecting to receive £250 per week from visitors staying at their residence during peak periods of the year.


As part of the study, the team at polled 2,983 adults aged 25 and over, all of whom owned at least one property in the UK, in a bid to uncover how much Britons understand about  home hosting, and how many might be looking to take advantage of the growing industry in the coming years. All those taking part were split evenly across each of the UK regions.


All participants were initially asked to disclose if they currently had a property or rooms they owned listed on a site such as Airbnb for travellers to stay in, with less than one in ten (7%) claiming that they did. A further 28% of respondents admitted that, although their homes weren’t yet listed on a home hosting site, it’s something that they were planning on doing in the future after seeing others do so.


When asked to state their main motivation behind renting out their property, or rooms within a home, the majority (78%) admitted that they were financial and profit-focused.  12% admitted it was ‘in order to introduce family to new people from all around the world’, with 3% confessing that they’d be joining ‘in order to enjoy the company of others and feel less lonely at home’.


Relevant participants were then asked to disclose their approach to using home hosting sites, with just over a fifth (21%) stating they’d be advertising their property on a hosting site year-round, with the remaining 79% doing so during peak periods when a local city or town has an event that tourists are likely to flock to.


Next, those already renting out a property or rooms, as well as looking to rent out their homes, on a hosting site were asked to state how much money they’d be hoping to make through renting out their home, per week, during peak periods. The average amount emerged as £250.


In order to uncover the areas of the UK with homeowners most likely to be using, or planning to use, a home hosting website in the future, researchers analysed answers to reveal the geographical breakdown of participants, with the number of those interested in home hosting revealed as follows:


  • South East – 16% (of those using or looking to list their property on a home hosting site lived here)
  • North West -14%
  • Wales – 12%
  • London – 11%
  • Scotland – 10%
  • South West  – 7%
  • West Midlands – 6%
  • Northern Ireland – 6%
  • Yorkshire and Humberside -6%
  • East Midlands -5%
  • East of England – 5%
  • North East – 2%

Finally, all relevant participants were asked if the thought of visitors damaging or causing harm to their property had put them off renting out homes or rooms on hosting sites, with the vast majority (68%) admitting that it had done. Furthermore, just 18% had either purchased or looked into specialist home insurance required to protect those using home-sharing services.


Rob Rushton, Head of said:


“Tourists are increasingly looking to sites like Airbnb in order to experience a more cultural trip and avoid bland or overpriced hotels, and as a result British homeowners living in areas that regularly attract tourism can financially benefit from renting out properties through sites.


“Those looking to take advantage of the industry mightn’t be aware, but it’s important to look into specialist insurance for home hosting, as failure to inform your home insurer that you have paying guests occasionally staying at your house could result in them refusing to pay out on an insurance claim you make, even if the claim has nothing to do with a guest.”

from The UK Construction Blog

Friday, 10 November 2017

UK’s most considerate construction companies and suppliers to be honoured at National Awards

Considerate Constructors Scheme’s soon to reveal winners at prestigious ceremony


London, United Kingdom: The Considerate Constructors Scheme – the national scheme established by the construction industry to improve its image – is getting ready to reveal the UK’s highest performing registered companies and suppliers of 2017.


The Scheme will be hosting the much-anticipated 2017 National Awards on 2 and 3 November at the renowned Four Seasons Hotel in London.


All registered companies and suppliers had their considerate performance assessed against the Scheme’s Code of Considerate Practice between 1 August 2016 and 31 July 2017, as part of the awards selection process.

This year’s ceremonies mark the second year suppliers have been eligible to win National Awards, after Supplier Registration was introduced by the Scheme in 2014.


Steve Radley, Policy Director of CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) and Clare Watson, Chair of the NFB (National Federation of Builders) will be announcing whether each winning company has received a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award for their achievements. Runners-up for the coveted ‘Most Considerate Company’ and ‘Most Considerate Supplier’ Awards will also be announced.


Considerate Constructors Scheme Executive Chairman Isabel Martinson said: “The Scheme is very excited to be hosting its Company and Supplier Awards 2017 in recognition of the persistent and increasingly innovative efforts being made by registered companies to improve their image as well as the image and reputation of our industry.


“From all of the registered companies and suppliers eligible, 115 companies and nine suppliers will be crowned as award-winners for their outstanding commitment to the Scheme and respectful consideration towards the public, their workforce and the environment.


“With many more companies and suppliers registering with the Scheme and raising the bar of considerate construction, competition is extremely fierce. As always, the Scheme is delighted to recognise those who have pushed their performance to the highest levels.


“We hope their achievements will serve as an inspiration and motivation for other companies across our industry, as well as encouraging increased collaboration and truly considerate working practices throughout the sector.”


Follow the awards on Twitter at @CCScheme #ccsawards.

from The UK Construction Blog

Wednesday, 8 November 2017


Architects maber celebrated the tenth anniversary of their Leicester office with a VIP tour of one of their latest projects in the city – the restoration and refurbishment of the Great Hall of Leicester Castle.

The firm’s roots go back more than 30 years, and it employs 70 people across five offices in the Midlands and London. Since the Leicester office opened in 2007, it has grown to employ ten people in the city and has been responsible for some of Leicester’s best known buildings and architectural projects.

Ian Harris, a director of maber who heads the Leicester office, said: “Two huge reasons for our success are long-term relationships with clients and the talent of our people, so it was great to bring everyone together to celebrate in an amazing space.”

Guests at the tenth birthday party toured the newly-refurbished Great Hall, thought to be the largest medieval hall of its kind in Europe. Converting it into a new Business School for De Montfort University brought together a wide range of the practice’s skills, including architecture, interior design, landscape design and conservation.

Part of the hall, once used as a Crown Court, retains the gothic Victorian furniture, including the judge’s chair, dock and jury benches, which must rank it as one of the most unusual university teaching spaces in the world.

Some of maber’s other major Leicester projects include:

  • The King Richard III Visitor Centre in the city centre, a £4 million project designed to tell the story of “the king in the car park”.
  • The Summit, a £13 million, 12,200 sq m student residential space with a 22-storey tower that has created a new landmark at the western gateway to the city.
  • New Walk Museum’s stunning new entrance and spiral staircase, featuring a design inspired by ammonites
  • Charnwood Primary School for Leicester City Council, an award-winning design that complements the traditional architecture of the existing Victorian school buildings.

Originally formed in 1983 in Nottingham, maber now also has offices in Birmingham, Derby and London as well as Leicester. A multi-award-winning architectural practice, it specialises in education, sport, industrial, leisure, culture, residential, workplace, commercial and health.

As well as touring the Great Hall, birthday celebration guests also experienced some of maber’s latest technology, including virtual reality, 3D design and 3D printing as well as Indian snacks and a slice of birthday cake.


About Maber


Maber is an architectural practice with bases in the Midlands (in Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and Birmingham) and London. Founded in 1983, it has a growing team of 70 qualified professionals, specialising in architecture, landscaping and interior design. The firm has an established reputation in the education, sport, industrial, leisure, retail, culture, residential, workplace, commercial and health sectors.


  • Architecture
  • Interior Design
  • Landscape Design
  • Sustainability
  • BIM
  • Masterplanning and Urban Design
  • Contractor Collaboration
  • Conservation

from The UK Construction Blog

Monday, 6 November 2017



How guaranteed are product guarantees? The answer, unfortunately, is not as simple and clear cut as perhaps they should be, with a wide range of caveats and get-out clauses often hidden among pages of complicated T&Cs.

At Sika UK, our mission statement is ‘Building Trust’ and as part of this endeavour we believe in giving meaning to the guarantees we place on each of the various products we manufacture.

That starts with taking care of everything within our control at our Sika sites; investing in our research and development, production and delivery processes and teams to ensure our products are always the best that they can be.

But it doesn’t stop there. To make sure our guarantees have the greatest value possible, we also take great care on ensuring our products are being specified and installed correctly.

That’s why we work closely with roofing contractors up and down the country to give them the training and support they need to carry out installations to a satisfactory standard.

In terms of training, we insist that anyone who wants to install our products comes to our sites for product training. We have a range of bespoke courses, including two-day courses for Sika Liquid Plastics and Sika-Trocal and four-day course for Sika Sarnafil, which, once completed, will see each operative issued a Sika ID competency card.

We train more than 600 people every year across our sites in Preston and Welwyn Garden City.

We also offer a number of management training courses to help contractors gain a better understanding of our products and their various advantages and applications to help simplify and improve specification.

Beyond this, we also have two training support vehicles, both equipped with TVs, roofing products and various tools, which we take out on the road to deliver refresher training and new product courses.

The final element in securing and validating our guarantees comes through inspection of installations and on-site support.

We have a team of 16 field technicians, all of whom have a minimum of five years’ experience in the roofing industry, who are based across the country.

These technicians go to sites on a regular basis to give their expertise and assistance where required and to carry out a number of checks, from product specification to installation – checking all layers within the system – and storage. Once the job is finished, they will carry out a final inspection and issue a guarantee only if every stage has been completed to a satisfactory level.

We carry out more than 6,000 site inspections every year.

All of this helps to give meaning to our guarantees and reassure our customers that the products they’re purchasing will deliver what they’re expecting them to.

And that helps to reduce the risks to the installing contractor and improve their efficiency.

It’s a time-consuming process but one that we’re happy to pursue in order to maintain our position as a leading manufacturer of products working across multiple industry sectors (see

To find out more about the impact Sika is making every day, visit

from The UK Construction Blog

Thursday, 2 November 2017


One of the leading providers of apprenticeships for construction and utility firms has reacted with concern to news that two thirds of companies are failing to take up the Apprenticeship Levy offer.

Chris Wood, CEO of Develop Training Ltd (DTL), said with a two-year time limit on accessing funding, firms were facing a ticking time bomb after which the money they paid into the levy would be lost to the taxman.

He was responding to a survey by West London College that found only 32 per cent of employers who qualify have used the funding.

Mr Wood said: “At a time when the country is suffering from serious skills shortages, it is worrying that businesses are missing out on an opportunity to train new and existing staff.”

He pointed out that firms with a £3 million pay bill and above are legally required to pay into the levy via the PAYE scheme: “If they do not access funds to train people, they are choosing to be taxed instead.”

Mr Wood highlighted the two-year time limit within which firms have to use their Levy funding.

“There is evidence that employers don’t fully understand the Levy, so while some may have weighed up the pros and cons before making a decision, it’s likely that others will be out of pocket because they didn’t get to grips with it early enough,” said Mr Wood.

“They really need to get help to navigate their way through the options because this is a ticking time bomb.”

DTL already works on Levy-funded apprenticeships with major utility companies including Amey, SGN and South Staffordshire Water.

The firm also specialises in providing consultancy advice to help firms plan their use of the Levy and align that to meeting their training needs.

While DTL welcomed the announcement of the Apprenticeship Levy, it has consistently warned that both the government and the construction, utility and energy sector need to do more to address the sector’s chronic skills gap.

It runs an Industry Skills Forum where senior HR personnel discuss the issues and formulate strategies to jointly solve the problems posed by an ageing workforce and a young generation who don’t envisage a career in construction or the utilities sector.

DTL also supports clients to bring people into the industry by helping them to manage initiatives such as recruitment days.

The company has delivered more than 1,000 apprenticeship programmes. One of these is for dual fuel smart meter installation engineers, a shortage of whom means the government may miss its target for rolling out meters nationwide. Other apprenticeships include gas network team leader, utilities engineering technician, installation electrician and water process technician as well as supervisory and management roles.

from The UK Construction Blog

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

The future of IoT in manufacturing

The future of IoT in manufacturing

IoT is a common term used within the manufacturing industry. It stands for Internet of Things and can be referred to as Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). If you haven’t already implemented it in your business, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about — is it really going to revolutionise manufacturing in the way that so many articles promise? The short answer is yes.

IoT is not limited to manufacturing however; you may have a smart TV sitting in the corner of your living room or a host of intelligent kitchen appliances. They all fall under the IoT umbrella terms — they’re interconnected devices with advanced features and capabilities that make our day-to-day lives more efficient.

Where is this technology heading? And is it worth getting amongst this trend as a manufacturer? Manufacturing software provider Datawright answers those questions here:

Should I be investing in IoT as a manufacturer?

The short answer to this question is yes. Any technology that promises greater efficiencies should be welcomed by manufacturers. The IIoT has transforming the traditional face of the factory through streamlining processes and maximising production yields. So, what are the main benefits that the IoT can bring to the manufacturing industry?

  • More intelligent machinery — by implementing the IoT in the traditional sphere of manufacturing, manufacturers can gain greater visibility of production performance, supporting the early detection of delays to minimise downtime and maximise productivity.
  • Better data collection and analysis — through collecting productivity and waste performance data, manufacturers are able to make more informed decisions to improve their company’s overall performance.
  • Improved resource management — by understanding how a machine performs and is being used, manufacturers can safeguard workers, boost productivity and reduce associated operating costs.

As with the introduction of any new operational change, manufacturers are naturally sceptical about introducing IIoT. If you’ve buried your head in the sand hoping that the IIoT wave will pass you by, you are very much mistaken.

IIoT is disruptive and there’s no way to avoid this, but it’s a negative worth considering. For some, this is a scary prospect, pushing them further towards their familiar working practices. Doing so puts your company at risk of being left behind, as your competitors embrace the technology and continue to march forward.

Ignoring the current trends and technologies can be detrimental to a business and could eventually lead to failure. Blockbuster is just one example; the video rental brand neglected the growing dominance of DVDs and video streaming services, which ultimately led to its failure. Ignoring the IoT places your company at risk of following a similar route.

Looking to the future

Connected devices are on the rise, and by the end of 2017 it is expected that there will be 8.4 billion connected things – up 31% on 2016s total. Fast-forward to 2020 and this figure will more than double to 20.4 billion. Clearly, the IoT is not a fad; it’s a trend that will completely revolutionise manufacturing.

As connected devices increase in popularity, the number of manufacturers accepting IoT will increase too. By the start of 2018, 60% of manufacturers will use connected products to capture and analyse data, delivering a 15% increase in productivity.

Telling a similar story is research conducted by Verizon. This suggests that IoT-enabled manufacturers will be 10% more profitable than those who aren’t. You can’t ignore these figures in a sector so heavily focused around productivity and performance.

Similar to the introduction of other advanced processes and technologies, there are security concerns. Estimates predict that by 2020, IoT connected devices will be the target of more than a quarter of all enterprise security attacks. To combat this, manufacturers will naturally have to increase their security spend to safeguard their IoT systems. Experts predict that the global security spend will reach $547.2 million by 2018.

Although manufacturers remain hesitant, it’s clear that the positives outweigh the negatives when examining IIoT. With the future of the IoT looking bright, manufacturers are faced with a choice: to adopt and move forward or ignore and stand still. Which path will you choose?

from The UK Construction Blog