Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Feeling the chill? How to perform an energy efficiency check on your home

Is your home energy efficient? That’s a question most people don’t know the answer to, yet keeping an eye on your energy efficiency is a useful – and surprisingly easy – thing to do during winter.

By taking our advice, you could save substantially on your winter bills – a chance that most people would jump at, especially since Christmas is fast approaching.  Read on and follow our tips to perform your own energy checks and hopefully find a few ways to keep your home warm and your bank account happy this winter.

Check insulation…

This one is a must for keeping your home hot and your bills…not.  Heat loss through your roof and through the walls could mount up significantly if your level of insulation is below the recommended amount for your property.

While insulation is indeed an expense, it is a worthwhile expense in the long run, as the savings build up in just a year or two. It could also be worth you looking into your roofing material while you’re checking the insulation.  A roofing company in Yorkshire can help with this.


On average, lighting accounts for about 10% of your energy bill. Given this figure, you should definitely consider looking at your light bulbs. To save energy, it’s worth thinking about replacing standard bulbs with more energy-efficient bulbs, such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs), as they can drastically reduce your energy use.

Heating controls…

Inspect your heating and cooling equipment at least once a year to keep a sufficient check on your energy efficiency. You should think about replacing any equipment that is 15 years old or more.

Like with the insulation tip, a new unit would be an expense of sorts – but, given the money you’ll save in the time after the purchase due to the natural efficiency of a new boiler, it seems more appropriate to call the expense an investment.

Check your electricals…

This one is incredibly useful for energy efficiency.  Often easy to ignore thanks to the convenience of leaving appliances on standby, it really is worth switching things off and unplugging them when they are not in use.  Consider unplugging the item entirely, as this will prevent phantom loads, or change the settings on your device to allow for a more economical performance.

Call in a professional…

After you’ve completed your DIY auditing, think about calling in a professional. While the tips we’ve mentioned here will go a long way towards gaining you substantial improvement on your energy efficiency, it is also useful to call in someone who has a sharp eye for detail of this kind and could really save you money and energy.

Don’t let this discourage you from doing your own checks, though. Your DIY auditing can, in fact, help the professional give a more in-depth assessment of the efficiency of energy in your home.

For more information and tips on performing your own energy efficiency checks this winter, have a look at this useful page on the website of housing charity Shelter.

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/11/20/feeling-the-chill-how-to-perform-an-energy-efficiency-check-on-your-home/

Monday, 19 November 2018

1,400 construction workers committed suicide between 2011 – 2015

Mental Health In Construction


  • Over 1,400 construction workers committed suicide between 2011 – 2015.
  • Construction trades have the highest number of suicides of any profession.
  • Risk of suicide for those working in building and construction trades is 1.6 times higher than the national average.
  • More than a quarter of construction employees have considered taking their own life.
  • Workers admit to suffering in silence.
  • Many within the industry suffer in silence due to cultural expectations.
  • Many workers feel forced to “deal with it,” not seeking out the help they need, and symptoms get worse.

The stats surrounding mental health in the construction industry are so shocking that we thought it was important that we highlighted the issue.

The construction industry has the highest number of suicides of any profession with 1,400 workers taking their own lives over the course of only four years. One in seven workers knows a colleague who has taken their own life and many more workers have considered it. The risk of suicide for those working in the industry is 1.6 times higher than the national average, but what is the cause of this and what can be done to reduce these horrific figures?

Suffering In Silence

One big factor that jumps out of the many surveys that have been conducted around this topic is the fact that many workers have admitted to suffering in silence due to cultural expectations. They feel like they cannot talk about their troubles and that, if they did want to speak to someone about it, that there is simply nowhere to do so.

Normally if you are struggling at work you turn to your employer for help. However, in this industry, it doesn’t seem to be the case with workers stating that they would not turn to their employer due to “fear and stigma” of the subject and that as many as 1 in 5 say they felt their job would be at risk if they did so. It seems to be so bad that 90% of workers who’ve considered suicide or know a colleague who has committed suicide, do not turn to their employer for support. As a result, many workers feel forced to “deal with it,” not seeking out the help they need, and symptoms get worse.


It’s Not Just The Guys That Are Struggling

Women are finding it equally tough to cope with mental health issues too. 45% of women workers said their mental health was average to poor at present, with 43% saying they had experienced reduced productivity and 75% had experienced loss of sleep too.


So, How To Help Workers?

After compiling the responses from the multiple surveys on mental health in the construction industry, it’s clear that there are three main areas that need to be improved. The first is to have staff training to recognise early signs of mental health, as 73% of respondents felt their employers lacked this skill. Second is to raise awareness of mental health in the construction industry. A massive 83% of workers agree that there isn’t enough out there at the moment. This will also decrease the stigma of mental health. And finally, there need to be more outlets to enable workers to talk about their struggles. Two-thirds of workers believe this would help with another 43% asking for one of those outlets to be an anonymous helpline.

If you are struggling with a mental health issue there are many ways you can find help. Your GP will be able to make an initial diagnosis and point you in the right direction for further treatment. There are charities and third-party organisations that offer free help and listening services such as the Samaritans and SANEline. However, if you are more open about talking about how you are feeling, always talk to friends & family as they will know you better than anyone. Another route could be co-workers or your employer as they’ll be able to relate work-wise with your issues. Whichever options you choose, the first step is to just talk about it.

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/11/20/1400-construction-workers-committed-suicide-between-2011-2015/

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Gilbert-Ash Completes Extended Arnold House in Tech-City, London

Award-winning UK construction, refurbishment and fit out contractor, Gilbert-Ash, completed the redevelopment of Arnold House in the fast-growing ‘Tech-City’ area of London. The former warehouse now contains a 75,000 sq.ft. stand-out office and retail space.

The £15m project included a three-story extension reflecting the design of the existing building. It combined its current industrial impression with a high standard modern workplace environment to cater for the thriving technology and media businesses in South Shoreditch.

Working closely with Buckley Gray Yeoman architects, the team at Gilbert-Ash transformed the seven-story building to reveal collaborative open-plan spaces with exposed concrete columns and efficient floor plates. High-ceilings and significant natural light adds to the development to create a contemporary environment.

The ground floor, encompassing retail outlets and a spacious reception area, includes a curtain wall glazing exterior and black steel cladding panels for the signage zone. The façade also incorporates brick cladding and brick slip panels over new external walls. An inverted roof with decking has created terrace spaces, with tenants able to enjoy views of the Shoreditch streetscape.

Gerard Mullan, Gilbert-Ash Project Manager, commented, “The final internal and external Arnold House refurbishment works well in the surrounding modern Tech-City environment. The contemporary space has been carefully constructed to keep the industrial style of the building but with additional features you would expect in a productive, collaborative space. From the ground floor to the roof terrace and landscaped courtyard, we aimed to create a space that would meet the needs of today’s modern, flexible workforce. The building includes office space with retail units on the ground floor in a fantastic location, right in the heart of Tech City.”

Located on the corner of Great Eastern Street and Holywell Lane, the new development is a BREAMM Very Good building with a WiredScore Gold certification. The building was completed and handed over on the 10th August.

Highly detailed design, advanced logistical planning and development goes into every Gilbert-Ash project, with the team skilled in delivering the finest quality projects in the UK and globally.

For more information on Gilbert-Ash visit www.gilbert-ash.com

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/11/19/gilbert-ash-completes-extended-arnold-house-in-tech-city-london/

Friday, 16 November 2018

CIM announces the Construction Marketing Awards to celebrate industry’s finest

CIM announces the Construction Marketing Awards

to celebrate industry’s finest

  • Shortlist announced with 23 awards up for grabs
  • Previous winners include Armitage Shanks, Kier Group and Howarth Timber
  • Tickets available now for awards ceremony and gala dinner

Organised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s (CIM) Construction Group, the Construction Marketing Awards are the most sought-after accolade in the industry’s marketing calendar.

Celebrating creativity, innovation and effectiveness in marketing across the construction industry, the awards shine a spotlight on excellence at a business and individual level.

With a record number of entries for 2018, Mike Lomax, chair of the CIM construction group, said: “The construction sector is renowned for its innovation and creativity and when it comes to marketing, the awards confirm that the industry recognises and celebrates the insight, creativity and impact of marketers in construction. This year we’ve received the highest level of entries which reflect the very best in construction marketing talent and are a fantastic way to raise awareness of the originality across the industry.”

The year’s awards feature 23 award categories including best use of content marketing, best low, medium and high budget campaign and marketing team of the year. New for this year is the best distributor marketing campaign and small agency of the year.

A competition for the best promotional giveaway is also being held and marketers are encouraged to submit their branded products for the light-hearted contest, which last year was won by JCB. Items must be received by 26 November.

Mike added: “Judged by some of the leading figures from brands such as Tarmac Cement, BMI group, MRA marketing from across construction and marketing, the Construction Marketing Awards set the benchmark for marketing success in the construction sector.

“We look forward to celebrating with guests at the annual awards ceremony and honouring marketing excellence across the built environment.”

The Construction Marketing Awards Gala Dinner takes place on Thursday 29th November at Hilton London Bankside, 2-8 Great Suffolk Street, London. Tickets can be booked individually or in tables of 10 and 12.

Visit www.cmawards.co.uk to book tickets, view the shortlist and for details of the promotional giveaway competition.

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/11/16/cim-announces-the-construction-marketing-awards-to-celebrate-industrys-finest/

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

TSA steps up the campaign to halt equipment theft

New advice available for site staff and managers to download

The Survey Association (TSA) is sharing its latest anti-theft Briefing Note with the wider construction and engineering industry in a bid to deter opportunistic crime and aid the recovery of stolen equipment. ­­­

A new document, endorsed by crime prevention experts, SmartWater contains information to help companies review their security, with advice on safeguarding high value survey instruments routinely targeted by thieves.

The free to download Briefing Note, includes strategies to protect equipment from theft whilst onsite and when transported in a vehicle.

In addition, and also free to download, is a checklist for employees that could be shared on staff noticed boards. If a theft occurs, personal safety and obtaining good evidence should be the main considerations.

Both documents and others on a range of technical topics can be downloaded at https://www.tsa-uk.org.uk/downloads/

A three-year agreement between TSA and SmartWater, sponsored by the leading manufacturers, is the first, co-ordinated response to thieves that persistently target surveyors.

Information submitted through SmartWater’s Intelligence Portal is shared with the police to identify crime hotspots, emerging crime trends and possible links to current investigations.

TSA manager Rachel Tyrrell said, “Theft of equipment is not limited to the surveying profession which is why we are sharing our crime prevention advice with the wider industry.

“TSA Members, non-Member companies, and those in the wider construction and engineering industry, can download our documents and report incidents of theft through the Intelligence Portal to ensure the whole picture is captured.”

To submit information on equipment theft email TSA office@tsa-uk.org.uk

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/11/15/tsa-steps-up-the-campaign-to-halt-equipment-theft/

Roof Flashing 101: Everything You Need to Know

Are you having problems with water dripping from the ceiling after every rain shower? If you are, then there is something wrong with the roof. Well, not “something,” since it’s most likely that you are either missing the flashings or they are severely damaged so they do not perform their main function. In case you are wondering what flashings are exactly, they are a form of isolation that ensures your roof does not leak. It is mostly installed on its edges and more importantly, around any openings in the roof, such as the chimney, skylight or the ventilation pipe. Basically, flashings prevent the water from seeping through the smallest of holes that might exist in your roof structure. If you thought that you need not read on, you were wrong, as flashings are much more complex than this. They serve other purposes and can come in a number of shapes and functions.

Directing water to the gutter


Despite its primary role, flashings can have an additional function on roofs with two or more slopes. Since they are installed at the seams of the roof, they intersect to form a provisional drain that can direct water downwards into the gutter. This is really useful because it does away with the need of installing additional gutters for larger houses and the ones with zig-zag roofs and gables.

Chimney flashing

The oldest and the most common type of flashing is the chimney flashing. It is at the same time the most intricate kind of flashing in terms of the shape. It is flat at the place where the chimney protrudes from the roof structure. Then it is diagonal, or step flashing as it is called, along the steep edges of the chimney and the roof and finally there is saddle flashing at the very top. Because the angles are hard to cover, the flashing on the chimney is let into the mortar in order for it to stick better. This way, rainwater simply has nowhere else to go but down the roof and into the horizontal gutter.


For some reason, people who have slated roofs in their homes always opt to install skylight no matter the cost. The aesthetic appeal is undisputable, but they do not think that such a window set at an angle is at the mercy of the elements. Were it not for skylight flashing, the highest room in the house would turn into a pool. Most skylights come with integrated flashing, but their curves are flashed additionally just in order to be safe. The method of this particular flashing is similar to the one used for chimneys.

Lead flashing

The material used for flashing is mostly lead, but nowadays there is also flashing made from plastic, rubber, and zinc. However, there is a good reason why lead is the oldest in use material for flashing. It has a high density, but it can be easily worked with, as well as being durable and lasting for over a hundred years. This is especially important in places such as Australia, where roofs have to withstand the relentless pounding of the elements season after season. This is why any good quality lead flashings in Sydney must have environmental credentials to ensure the purity of the lead that is reusable. This way, it will be considered a green building material with a low carbon print.

Easy to install

Even lead flashings are surprisingly easy to install. They are malleable so putting them into place is not as hard as it seems, but it still requires an expert hand. Flashings are cut from pre-fabricated rolls of metal so there is no delay at the construction site waiting for them to be made.

Vent pipe flashing

Many houses today are being refitted with new exhaust hoods that need vents. These are often drilled straight through the roof construction and left like that by the handymen. They do put some water protection, but it is insufficient as only a flashing can permanently seal such holes off. Specially designed vent pipe flashings have a cone base which is set directly into the shingles. It is further strengthened with a second layer of counter flashing. In general, the smaller the hole, the harder it is to seal it off.

Protecting the drip edge

So far we have only discussed roof seams. Water actually quite often penetrates the roof at the very edge. This is called a drip edge as it directs the water down towards the gutters. Since it is mostly made of wood, poor construction gets this wood into contact with water and it slowly rots away. That is why a narrow layer of flashing is installed here, so as to prevent drip edges from deteriorating.

The next time you clean the gutters inspect the state of your flashings and if you notice a problem, tend to it immediately. Any failure to immediately react can result in irreversible water damage to the roof structure.



Liam Smith is a young and aspiring Australian blogger with a passion for everything related to home improvement, design and style. He has a B.Sc. in Interior design and is an avid reader.

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/11/14/roof-flashing-101-everything-you-need-to-know/

Friday, 9 November 2018

Are you complying with the Working at Height Regulations 2005? Read the Essential Guidelines

Are you complying with the Working at Height Regulations 2005? Read the Essential Guidelines

Health & Safety Executive (HSE) have stated that working at height is the leading cause of death and serious injury in the construction industry.  Did you know that it is responsible for 28% of fatal injuries in working environments? This is due to both the risk of falling, and objects being dropped from above. With this in mind, it is essential for any person employed in construction to have a thorough understanding of the Working at Height Regulations 2005.

What are the Work at Height Regulations?

These regulations set out a list of rules that should be followed in order to avoid injury. The rules are mandatory for employers or those in charge of working at height, and can be enforced by law. Whether there is a risk of falling from a ladder, from the edge of a structure, or through an opening at ground level, the rules always apply.

How do you comply with the Regulations?

A basic understanding of hierarchy within the regulations is a good place to start. Here’s the hierarchy of control measures explained:

  • Firstly, you should try to avoid any work at height if at all possible. This could be achieved by using extended tools rather than ladders, or by lowering items to ground level before carrying out repairs.
  • When working at height is unavoidable, you are required to do everything possible to eliminate the risks to employees. This could involve working from a balcony, or providing machinery with guards/rails (e.g. PASMA Mobile Access Tower)
  • When risks cannot be avoided, you will need to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall. In order to do this you would need to research options such as netting, airbags, harnesses and Personal Protective Equipment.

What should I do next?

  1. Undertake a risk assessment

Ensure you have identified any hazards and the employees at risk. Based on this, you will need to put in place suitable precautions. Be aware that you are required to record your findings if you have five or more employees.

  1. Ensure your staff are competent

Are the staff working at height experienced? Do they have the necessary skills and knowledge to perform the task safely? The level of competence depends upon the complexity of the job. To understand more about this, read the HSE guide to competence.

Some jobs may only require basic training, such as guidance from a senior employee. Technical tasks will require a higher degree of training, such as completing a course on the safe use of ladders/working at height.

Any staff involved in assembling, dismantling, inspecting or moving mobile access towers should complete a PASMA training course, such as the PASMA Tower for Users Course.

  1. Equip your employees with appropriate safety tools

You are required to provide proper safety equipment for your staff. Each task is different, and you’ll need to make sure that you choose the best option for the job. A guardrail or mobile access tower would be one of the safest measures. However, sometimes this may not be feasible and you would then need to use PPE, such as safety harnesses.

  1. Regularly inspect and maintain equipment

Once you have the ladders, PPE, guard rails or access towers, you shouldn’t simply assume the risk has been negated. The equipment may move, degrade or break over time. Make sure you have someone trained to inspect the gear and that this is done on a regular basis.

By following the steps above, you’re helping to ensure that you are working within the law and prioritising the safety of employees.

This article was written by The Hireman, a tool hire and safety training company based in London.

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/11/09/are-you-complying-with-the-working-at-height-regulations-2005-read-the-essential-guidelines/

Chinese contractor starts first Liverpool major project

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Approaching Construction With An Environmental Mind

Approaching Construction With An Environmental Mind


Construction is a very environmentally intensive process, and when it’s done without the prerequisite oversight, it can lead to serious damage to the surrounding area. This post will explore the ways in which construction companies can improve their best practices to help the environment – ensuring that whatever development they’re building is in harmony with the surrounding environment.

Order the right materials

There’s substantial leeway when it comes to eco-friendly construction materials – you don’t necessarily have to opt for concrete or steel, as there are numerous eco-friendly options out there. Bamboo can be used to build eye-catching structures suitable for warmer climes while blending sawdust and concrete together can create ‘Timbercrete’ –  a much more sustainable option utilising a renewable resource.

Very few materials can match up to steel’s suitability for high-rise construction, so, if your project requires strong metal, you should opt for recycled steel – which is becoming increasingly prevalent in modern construction, especially in the form of used shipping containers.

Treat your surroundings with care

An environmental construction process requires special attention to be paid to the surrounding flora and fauna – especially if your project is situated in an area of natural beauty. Buildings in national parks, for example, have to adhere to a set of regulations to make sure they don’t detract from the beauty of the area.

You can reflect this in the construction process by minimising noise and traffic that might disturb the local wildlife, and by avoiding felling trees and vegetation clearance at all costs. This will lead to a finished product that looks like a natural addition to the area, rather than a scar on the landscape.

Incorporate natural elements

One of the major construction trends of this century involves the incorporation of natural flora into the architecture of the building. Major modern landmarks such as the Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh include grass roofs to help insulation in winter, as well as promote an eco-friendly ethos. Such a roof is very easy to fit and requires very little maintenance once put in place.

You can also use your building’s ‘transterior’ spaces – such as courtyards, indoor/outdoor foyers and outdoor seating areas to incorporate some plant life to help the project feel at least a little more eco-friendly. A leafy-bordered building will soften the edges, allowing for an accentuated feeling of environmental harmony.

Consider alternative methods

Last but by no means least, approaching construction with an environmental mind should also cover construction techniques themselves. An emerging option amongst new builds is modular construction, in which pre-built modules, assembled offsite, are transported to the site and added to the building.

This method drastically reduces water and electricity usage on site, as well as producing a noticeable reduction in traffic, as fewer truckloads of raw materials will be needed onsite. If you’re building in a quiet residential area or in a national park, this method should be considered to reduce the overall impact of your construction project.


A sensible blend of these environmental best practices will lead to your building project gaining a more harmonious relationship with its surrounds and the environment as a whole. As the world leans further towards more eco-friendly practices, it’s well worth putting some of these strategies into action.




Author bio:
Suhayl Laher works at Tiles Direct, one of the UK’s largest independent tile distributors and retailers – bringing design inspiration to homeowners, architects and developers.

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/11/08/approaching-construction-with-an-environmental-mind-2/

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Safeguarding and prevent in the workplace top agenda at latest DTL skills forum

Keeping young people safe at work was top of the agenda at the latest Industry Skills Forum hosted by Develop Training Limited (DTL).

The event attracted senior apprenticeship and HR managers from major construction, infrastructure and utilities companies.

Safeguarding to prevent abuse and harm is a hot topic, as large firms look to take on more young apprentices under the government’s levy scheme. The round table event also highlighted Prevent, the government’s initiative to avoid radicalisation of young people.

Tanya Parkin, DTL’s HR Manager and safeguarding lead, outlined how the company is tackling the safeguarding issue as an approved apprenticeship provider. The presentation, co-hosted by Andy Holmes, DTL’s Head of Audit and Quality, raised key discussion points around the shared responsibilities of the training provider and its corporate customers.

Describing DTL’s journey since becoming an approved apprenticeship provider under the levy, Tanya said: “We have implemented a safeguarding and prevent strategy in the business. Our board of directors is really engaged with the subject, which has allowed us to roll out the strategy in our processes and training documentation.”

“Safeguarding in the workplace is focused on under 18s but not confined to that age group,” she explained. DTL relies on the government’s document Safeguarding: Keeping Children Safe in Education for its policies on keeping apprentices safe. The guidelines outline processes for recruitment and training of teaching staff and others working with young people, as well as the duties of designated responsible persons.

A second presentation by an expert in extremism outlined the risks posed by radicalisation and how the Prevent initiative operates to combat the threat. Providers such as DTL have a duty to refer young people who appear to be at risk of radicalisation to a specialist panel as well as to incorporate British values into the learning process.

To find out more about DTL and to download a range of useful resources visit www.developtraining.co.uk/safeguarding


from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/11/07/safeguarding-and-prevent-in-the-workplace-top-agenda-at-latest-dtl-skills-forum/

Monday, 5 November 2018

Why a flat roof is the right choice for your home

Why a flat roof is the right choice for your home

Are you in the market for a new roof? Maybe you are after a design change or you simply want to replace an old roof that is damaged. A flat roof is a great option for your home and here are the reasons why:

They are cost-effective

Flat roofs are cheaper than pitched roofs – so if you’re budgeting for a roof and don’t want to break the bank, a flat roof is the way to go.

A pitched roof may be traditional but it will cost you thousands more for the same area you want covered.

Speaking about costs, the cover of your flat roof can also vary. According to Home Building and Renovating, a flat roof cover can cost from around £35/m2 up to £80/m2. They also outline the different coverings available like torch-on felt which is the cheapest covering, mastic asphalt which is potentially the longest lasting, EPDM rubberised roofing which is widely used and easy to install, single ply membranes which are fairly expensive, and liquid roofs which are expensive and complex. Make sure you always discuss materials with your builder and make sure you get quality at a reasonable price.

They give you space

Flat roofs provide a large amount flexibility and they free up internal space. They also offer the impression of a sleeker look compared to bulkier pitched roofs, making your home look modern and spacious.

Attics and lofts are more easily available and accessible with a flat roof than with a pitched roof that produces sloped walls. This means that you can easily convert your attic or loft into another bedroom or living space and not have to worry about the interior being too cramped – something to definitely consider if you are wanting to add another room to your home in the future and appreciate the maximum use of interior space.

With a flat roof you can place your air conditioning units with ease, and even better, on top of your flat roof, you can install some solar panels that are more hidden than ones on pitched roofs – something to think about if you want solar power energy without having to sacrifice the outside appearance of your home.

A rooftop garden is another great idea that can be achieved if you have a flat roof. Perfect for green thumbs and those aspiring to do a little gardening a week, a flat roof provides the perfect space for a living garden on top of your home. Gardening know-how has a very useful guide for those interested in starting a rooftop garden. They suggest checking with your local authorities, rental property rules or homeowner association regulations to see if you will be able to make a rooftop garden in the first place. They also suggest that you try to use as little weight as possible and that you should use plastic, fiberglass or foam planting containers and that you should avoid using pavers and regular garden dirt as lightweight potting soil will be better. Using Styrofoam peanuts for drainage rather than rocks or pottery shards can also reduce the weight of your garden on your roof for some extra reassurance and safety.  Some benefits of a rooftop garden other than scenery include:

  • Reducing the amount of stormwater runoff, protecting your surroundings from damage and possible flooding
  • Creating a habitat for animals including birds, butterflies and bees
  • Providing an outdoor space for you and your family to enjoy and relax in
  • Improving the air quality of your surroundings
  • Having the ability to grow fruit and vegetables on your roof, and if you can build a lightweight greenhouse on your roof you can have access to food all year round
  • Gaining quality flora that you can use for decoration in your own home or give to friends and family as gifts


Check out these rooftop gardens and gather some inspiration for your home!

Flat roofs are definitely versatile and you can be creative with the space they provide compared to other roof designs out there – just think of the possibilities!

Easy to install

Flat roofs have a faster and less disruptive installation process and a plain structure means fewer materials are needed. Pitched roofs take comparatively longer to construct and complete and require more intensive labour which may cause interruptions during construction time.

Wind Resistance

You won’t have to worry about shingles falling off anymore as flat roofs are perfect for wind resistance, especially when windstorms hit. If you live in the UK you will know that the wind here can be dramatic and long-lasting. A flat roof can safely be exposed to strong winds without you worrying about it needing to get repaired afterward.


Since flat roofs don’t take the wind damage that pitched roofs do, flat roofs are expected to last 30 years or more. Checking your roof every now and then will help you access how long your flat roof has before you will need to either repair it or get it fixed.


Homify Online point out that flat roofs are everywhere at the moment and that they are trendy with people desiring contemporary architecture. They describe flat roofs as startlingly elegant as the straight lines and right angles are distinctive, strong and bold.

Even if you don’t want to commit to a whole new roof but would like one as an extension piece, consider getting a flat roof on a conservatory or garage. This can give your home depth and a very sleek modern design.

This semi-detached suburban home has had a kitchen extension built on the back of the building with a flat roof. Notice the artistic contrast of shapes and lines which creates a modern aesthetic appeal.

You can be more involved with the design of your flat roof than you think and can ask for your roof to be built with a slight slope so rain can drain away easily. You can also get some skylights installed or have a glass flat roof that will create an uplifting amount of natural light in your home.

Specialists will be needed if you are considering adding glass to your roof as to limit heat loss and the possibility of cracks appearing over time. General roof repairs may need to be done every so often as well, so make sure you find a reliable company that can offer you a great deal. Flat roof repairs in Newcastle Upon Tyne can be easily achieved as there are many local companies in the surrounding area that specialise in flat roofs and have years of experience. Just look around for companies that have repaired flat roofs previously and have a proven and positive track record of satisfying customers.

Is it Right for You?

If you are looking for a change in roof design, whether it be for appearance or practicality, flat roofs are one of the best options for your home.

Just look at everything you can do with a flat roof! Create yourself a roof garden or have windows that shine in natural light without anything obstructing your view – there are so many positives that flat roofs have, you just have to browse around for a great deal!

 What are your thoughts on flat roofs and are you considering getting one for your home?

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/11/05/why-a-flat-roof-is-the-right-choice-for-your-home/

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Approaching Construction With An Environmental Mind

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/11/05/approaching-construction-with-an-environmental-mind/

Friday, 2 November 2018

Survey reveals that many are leaving it too late to secure their homes

With the night’s drawing in and the clocks set to go back, National Home Security Month comes at the perfect time to remind the public of the importance of home security.

A recent survey of nearly 600 tradespeople found that 85% said their customers only asked them to fit security products following a break-in to their property.

The survey, carried out by leading online supplier, IronmongeryDirect, also revealed that only one in three tradespeople feel ‘very confident’ when advising customers on better ways to secure their home. In addition, only 14% said they felt confident advising customers on smart security products.

Research by the National Home Security Month[1] campaign shows that a home is five times more likely to be burgled if no security measures are in place against those with two or three measures taken.

The top three concerns among tradespeople’s customers, as revealed in the IronmongeryDirect survey, were poor window security, poor door security and a lack of alarm systems.

When the Office of National Statistics (ONS) released its latest crime statistics earlier this year, it revealed that 1 in every 50 homes in England and Wales were burgled in the previous 12-month period.

An additional online poll in support of National Home Security Month found that 71% of respondents felt their home wasn’t secure enough.

Wayne Lysaght-Mason, Managing Director at IronmongeryDirect, said: “Certain parts of a property are more vulnerable to a break-in than others, with doors and windows obviously being the most susceptible, while dark areas outside provide the ideal cover for intruders.

“To address these vulnerabilities, there is a wide range of products available to help keep a building safe and secure – from a basic lock to sophisticated alarm systems. Increasingly, homeowners are also switching to smart technology products providing remote monitoring to secure their property.”

For any advice and support on the best products to enhance the security of a property, contact our helpdesk on 0800 168 28 28 or visit IronmongeryDirect.com.

You can also view our latest infographic which reveals tradespeople’s biggest concerns and the most popular home security products

[1] http://www.homesecuritymonth.com/

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/11/02/survey-reveals-that-many-are-leaving-it-too-late-to-secure-their-homes/

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Building on Success? UK Construction and the 2018 Budget

The building trade has always needed to keep a sharp eye on the Budget. Between a looming skills shortage and an uncertain Brexit deal, firms across the industry were looking to Chancellor Philip Hammond to throw his weight behind them this year. Here are a couple of the key headlines:

PFI and PF2 are out

Private Finance Initiatives, according to Mr. Hammond, simply haven’t been good value for money. Partnerships between the public and private sectors are still very much part of the picture, but not in the form of current PFI or PF2 deals.

The Chancellor talked about PFIs failing to “transfer risk” to the private sector – wording that’s already raising a few hackles – but existing contracts will still be honoured.

Tax breaks for non-residential buildings

New, permanent tax relief is coming in for non-residential structures, in the form of a Structures and Buildings Allowance.

Buildings can qualify once put into professional use, to the tune of 2% per year on eligible construction costs.

Renovation and conversion of existing commercial structures can also qualify. Some of the cash for this is coming from adjusting the special writing down rate to 6%.


With his sights set on 650,000 new homes, Mr. Hammond pumped an additional £500 million into the Housing Infrastructure Fund.

The fund now stacks up to a grand total of £5.5 billion overall. “Strategic partnerships” with housing associations are apparently set to deliver 13,000 homes in England, while SME homebuilders will have the support of up to £1 billion in British Business Bank guarantees.

Lifting the local authority borrowing cap could see a new generation of council house building.


£30bn of road spending was announced including a £25.3bn allocation for the second Road Investment Strategy (RIS2), which will be delivered by Highways England between April 2020 and March 2025.

A further £3.5bn is set aside for National Roads Fund for UK-wide and local major road schemes between 2020 and 2025, funded by vehicle excise duty.

Local authorities have been granted an extra £420m to fix potholes and carry out other repairs to infrastructure, along with £150m to carry out minor works on local road junctions.

What does it all mean?

As the UK’s last Budget as an EU member, there was a lot to chew over. Frozen fuel duty and a focus on roads will be welcome, as will some strong moves on the housing crisis.

The death of PFI is a concern to many, though – along with incoming rules on private firms with self-employed workforces.

Greater investment in the construction industry, both for minor works and major development projects is good news.

Spending commitments for the regions and money earmarked for transforming our high streets should provide some a boost to construction employment opportunities and spreading out job creation across the country.

Ideally these promises will encourage more people to join or return to the industry alleviating the current skills shortage by linking this investment to training and job creation, such as the £695m funding package to train three million new apprentices this parliament.

There’s cautious talk of a “no-deal” Brexit requiring a fiscal rethink, but it does seem that UK construction is at least being taken seriously.

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/11/01/building-on-success-uk-construction-and-the-2018-budget/

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Request for door hardware experts’ input into the future of CE marking

The status of CE marking on construction products in Europe is to be considered as part of a review of the Construction Products Regulation (CPR).

The CPR is periodically reviewed and as part of this, there is due to be a revision of Mandate M101 for doors, windows and construction hardware.

The Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI) will be producing a response on behalf of the ironmongery industry and is calling for door hardware professionals to participate in a short survey. The results will be shared with BSI Committee B538/4 and ultimately with CEN Committees in Europe.

The survey asks for both GAI and Institute of Architectural Ironmongers (IAI) members’ opinions in relation to this topic, including which existing harmonised standards should remain harmonised under the CPR as well as their opinion on the necessity of CE marking of product relating to fire and escape doors.

Douglas Masterson, technical manager of the GAI, said:

“Any change to Mandate M101 is likely to have an impact on CE marking and harmonisation of products within the ironmongery industry. This survey is an opportunity for our membership to have an input and to help influence any significant decisions being made on an area of huge importance to our sector.”

Members have the opportunity to provide input into the final submission to the BSI Committee B538/4 until Friday 2 November.

For further detail on this survey please contact Douglas Masterson, GAI technical manager, on technical@gai.org.uk.

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/10/31/request-for-door-hardware-experts-input-into-the-future-of-ce-marking/

Monday, 29 October 2018

Why move when you can improve? Ideas for adding value to your home

Instead of dealing with moving costs and time-consuming packing, invest in your current home and add value to it. There are many ideas that can be implemented that can transform your home into a brand-new abode. Just check out these ideas that can add value to your home.

Add some decorations

Decorations can add some simple value to your home in no time. Whether it is plants, ornaments, sculptures or paintings, you can be sure that adding a bit of decoration, colour, and character to your home will definitely improve its surroundings.

You can even get super creative and do some decorative DIY projects yourself. Some examples to consider are:

·         An indoor herb garden – Good Housekeeping have created a list of 10 Herbs you can grow indoors all year round. Some herbs include basil (great for pizza making), thyme (great for stews and pot pies), tarragon (used in béarnaise sauce) and sage (used in various meat recipes). An indoor herb garden can make a great addition to your kitchen; you can even create a herb wall garden as shown here on Pinterest.
  • DIY centerpieces – Create your own centerpieces for your dining room. Add any flowers you enjoy or go with your own creative flow and add something special to you. Little pieces like these make a big difference to the room and add some personal value to your home.
  • Candle making – Buy some wax, melt it, add your own fragrance oils and colour, and put it in a mould of your choice. Design as many candles as you wish; you can even gift a few to family and friends. Having candles in your home brightens the mood and atmosphere. Great scents are also provided!

Kit out your garden

Make use of any garden space you have. Purchase some equipment like a BBQ, lounge chairs and even consider a patio. Anything you do to improve your garden will reflect positively on your house.

Plant some of your favourite flowers or invest in some garden ornaments, water features or fairy lights to really make your garden feel magical!

If you have a large garden, consider adding extra special features like a pool or hot tub. Or if you’re into sports, add a basketball court or create an outside gym.

If you have children, you can even add some playground equipment so the whole family can enjoy their time in the garden.

Shed bars are also something to consider – you can invite friends over for a party, especially during summertime. It can be fairly expensive to renovate a shed into a bar, but it may be a feature that will provide enjoyment for years to come. Just look at some of these shed bars on Nextluxury.com – how easy it must be to grab a drink and enjoy the outside at the same time with style!

Add a conservatory

If you’re in need of extra space, why don’t you add a conservatory instead of moving house. A conservatory brings value, space and luxury to anyone’s home – that’s why they’re so popular!

Conservatories can range in price depending on the extension needed, and there may be some planning/building restrictions you may need to check out before committing to this idea. But if you have the spare cash and you have legal permission, add a conservatory and bring a bit more charm and space to your home.

Install some new windows

Windows can change a whole room or the whole house, depending on how many windows you want to add.

Allowing in more natural light can change your home for the better. Replacing old windows with larger ones, or adding in more windows to create a modern well-light appearance, can make your home airy and peaceful. Just make sure to get windows that are well-fitted and energy efficient – you’ll save money without sacrificing design!

Think about changing your lights

Just like windows, lights can affect the atmosphere and mood of your home. Certain lights can create certain moods. A dim-lit light creates a darker, romantic feeling, while brighter lights create energised surroundings.

You can even buy some led changing light bulbs to add some extra colour to your home. These ones on Amazon are rated high and are definitely something to consider buying.

Change the outside of your home

Some people forget that the outside of their home is just as important as the inside.

The outside foundation, walls and roof can be practical and aesthetically pleasing. If you’re into a modern look, consider revamping your roof to a flat roof. Certain roofers in Newcastle Upon Tyne are highly experienced and offer expert installations – something to really think about if you’re local or looking for some professional work to be done.

You outside walls are also important. You can paint your walls yourself or get an experienced painter to do it for you.

Consider white or a neutral brown for a nice modern look. Or, if you want to go crazy and creative, consider a colour like blue or red – pastel colours are also trendy at the moment and have a nice, soft appeal. Check out these examples of painted exteriors for inspiration!

Change the floors

The floors in your home can be comfortable, creative and add value to your home. Wooden flooring can create an aesthetic, modern appeal. Tiles can come in various shapes and sizes; some people even go all out and have murals on their floors!

Carpet is always a favourite with living rooms for an extra comfy feeling – just browse around in-store and pick the best option for you.

A change of flooring can make a dramatic change to your home – you just have to gather the courage to do it!

You’ll be surprised with the outcome of your home if you take some of these ideas and implement them, and we guarantee that it will be more fun redecorating and improving your current home than it would be trying to move out and start over again!

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/10/29/why-move-when-you-can-improve-ideas-for-adding-value-to-your-home/

Sunday, 28 October 2018

A work van is broken into, and tools are stolen, every 23 minutes in the UK.

A work van is broken into, and tools are stolen, every 23 minutes in the UK.

Research from Powertools2U reveals that the average tool theft claim costs the tradesperson £1,692 – a figure that unfortunately, can sometimes be doubled with 50% of victims having had their tools stolen at least twice.

Powertools2U have analysed the tool theft epidemic, uncovering how much is stolen on average every year and how this can affect tradespeople both financially and mentally: https://www.powertools2u.co.uk/blog/tool-theft-in-the-uk/

The Results of the Tool Theft Epidemic

  • In 2017, the average value of theft claims rose to £1,692, which was an increase of £253 from the year before.
  • 50% of tradespeople who’ve experienced tool theft couldn’t work the next day, with some workers having to take a fortnight off.
  • Being unable to work costs 50% of tradespeople at least £500.
  • 75% of reported vehicle thefts are closed without identifying a suspect.
  • Tool theft costs Britain’s tradespeople nearly £100 million a year.

With van break-ins becoming a bigger problem for tradespeople, Powertools2U have uncovered the worst cities for tool theft across the UK:

UK Tool Theft Hotspots:

  1. London
  2. Sheffield
  3. Birmingham
  4. Leicester
  5. Chelmsford
  6. Tunbridge Wells
  7. Bristol
  8. Nottingham
  9. Northampton
  10. Reading

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/10/29/a-work-van-is-broken-into-and-tools-are-stolen-every-23-minutes-in-the-uk/

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Preventing unauthorised access onto scaffolding and other work platforms

Following a rise in the number of people gaining unauthorised access to construction sites, particularly in residential areas, an alert is being issued to remind contractors and those in control of construction work involving scaffolding and access ladders, of the need to assess the site and ensure suitable and sufficient measures are in place to prevent members of the public, and especially children from climbing scaffolds and ladders.


Scaffolding and construction sites can often seems like a giant adventure playground for children, however the reality is that these sites are far from child’s play. Where unauthorised access has been gained, the frequent result is the trespasser falling from height incurring life changing injuries or a fatality. Clients and contractors must therefore ensure that unauthorised access onto scaffolding is prevented, not just outside working hours, but also at times when workers are present but out of sight.

Whilst members of the public and parents have a responsibility to take note of safety signs to deter them from entering construction sites, contractors must take greater effort to ensure that the very young are not able to climb onto scaffolding.  Ultimately however, there is no way to guarantee that an able, determined person will not defeat security measures. This safety alert is therefore not aimed at preventing all, determined trespassers, vandals or opportunistic thieves from finding a way onto a construction site.  It is simply designed to outline the basic measures that must be taken, many of which will also provide a degree of deterrence against those more able and determined to enter the site.

All contractors should carry out a site inspection to assess any potential risks and opportunities for trespassers to access the site. The level of security needed and the options available will depend on a number of factors which include:
The proximity to residential areas, schools and other public venues and whether the scaffold is inside a construction site or on the public boundary
Whether the building being worked on is occupied or not and whether it is occupied or in use out of hours . If it is unoccupied, what length of time is this for i.e. overnight, weekend or over a holiday period.
The number of access points to the scaffolding including the number of levels  that the scaffolding is on


  • Level of lighting
  • Level of privacy; is the access point onto the scaffold quiet or busy, hidden or overlooked?
  • Existing level of security presence on the site; patrols, CCTV, active response to CCTV heat or motion trigger

At a minimum, all construction sites should have perimeter fencing which is continuous and fixed in place . Gaps between gates and the ground and between fixed and moveable fencing should be minimised so that small children cannot climb through or under. Site security should be regularly checked and reviewed to ensure perimeter fencing is kept in good order and that there are no materials, skips, plant, etc stored or parked where they may assist a trespasser to climb into the site.

In addition to the perimeter fencing, in some cases, the full length of the scaffold may need to be fenced. An example of this would be in occupied buildings or public spaces with access to the scaffold at several levels fencing should be used to close off all access opportunities.

The fencing should be installed as the scaffold is built, lift by lift, which means either writing this into the scaffold contract or having a separate contractor working with the scaffolding contractor so that there is no lag between the scaffold going up and fencing being fitted.

If it is not reasonably practicable for ladders at ground level to be removed, or have ladder guards fitted out of hours, then the area should be secured using padlocked fence panels. Where stair towers are fitted to the scaffold, access at ground and other levels should be prevented by padlocked fence panels.  The only exception is where scaffolding or stair towers form part of the planned public escape route of an occupied building.  In this instance, you must ensure that arrangements to stop unauthorised access will not interfere with evacuation of the building in the event of a fire.  However additional fencing or barriers should be installed to prevent anyone climbing away from the designated fire escape route.

Where possible, local fencing within the site should be kept in place during working hours so as to minimise the amount of work that has to be done at the end of  shift.  This will usually need a lockable access gate to be designed into the arrangement.

Where there are other routes onto the scaffold that cannot be fenced off e.g. onto higher lifts from sloping ground or balconies, it is good practice to still remove the ladder but the opening must then be blocked. It is important to note that ladders should not be removed where the route is designated out of hours for fire escape from an occupied building.

Ladder removal will in most cases achieve better control than a ladder guard however there are some instances  where it would not be practical to remove bottom lift ladders out of hours. A ladder guard is a sturdy metal plate that hooks over and padlocks onto several rungs of the ladder to deny access.

Whilst warning signage is appropriate, this is a low level of control and unlikely in itself to deter children. It is vital that the site risk assessment should be kept under review and reports of damage to site or local fencing or trespassing out of working hours should be investigated and security measures reviewed as a matter of urgency.

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/10/25/preventing-unauthorised-access-onto-scaffolding-and-other-work-platforms/


Princes Dock will soon be home to two new businesses following the completion of lettings at No. 1 and No. 12 Princes Dock, Liverpool Waters.

The residential property management company Amazon Management Services will be occupying 1,000 sq. ft of office space at No. 1 Princes Dock for the next five years, and the building and civil engineering firm McLaughlin & Harvey will be taking up 3,000 sq. ft at No. 12 Princes Dock.

Amazon Management Services’ move from Maghull in Sefton to the city centre will allow the company to manage its current property lettings portfolio, which spans across Liverpool City Region, whilst exploring new avenues and opportunities for the company.

For McLaughlin & Harvey, this move is an essential one. The organisation has been working closely with Liverpool City Council on the design and construction of the new Cruise Liner Terminal at Princes Dock, following a successful tendering process earlier this year. Having a waterfront office allows McLaughlin & Harvey to oversee the progress of the project whilst the Cruise Liner Terminal is built.

Sue Weir, director at Amazon Management Services, said:

“Relocating our base to Liverpool Waters is an exciting new chapter for Amazon Management Services, which perfectly coincides with our vision to expand our property letting portfolio to multi-storey residential apartment buildings and commercial spaces in the city centre and across Merseyside. We’re confident that our new headquarters will help us to achieve this vision.”

John Mariner, contract director at McLaughlin & Harvey, said:

“Due to the close proximity to the new Liverpool Cruise Liner Terminal, it makes perfect sense for us to relocate our team to this space at Princes Dock. It is fantastic to be right in the middle of the action as Liverpool Waters continues to take shape, and we’re looking forward to seeing how the project will continue to pick up pace, as well as how the Liverpool Cruise Liner Terminal will look once it has been completed.”

Liza Marco, asset manager at Liverpool Waters, said:

“We are delighted to be able to announce not one, but two new tenants moving to Liverpool Waters. We trust that both Amazon Management Services and McLaughlin & Harvey will enjoy all the amenities that Princes Dock has to offer.

“Due to some recent high-profile moves and the completion of over 45,000 sq. ft of office space in the past 12 months, Princes Dock is a real hive of activity and home to some world-renowned businesses. With so many organisations choosing Liverpool Waters as their base, we are pleased to see the area thriving and recognised as such a popular destination for organisations from a range of different sectors.

“After securing these two leases, our focus is to now fill the remaining suites available at Princes Dock and also seek tenants for pre-lets at No 5 Princes Dock.”

To learn more about the Liverpool Waters Development project led by Peel Land and Property (Ports) Limited, please visit www.liverpoolwaters.co.uk.

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/10/24/liverpool-waters-celebrates-double-letting-at-princes-dock/

Monday, 22 October 2018

Underfloor heating a commercially viable alternative to radiators a new study finds

A new study into the installation costs of underfloor heating versus traditional radiators has shown that the underfloor heating option is far more economical than is generally perceived.

The study, conducted by force drying specialist, ForceDry, was based on data from leading contractors for installations in a one, two and three bedroom property.

Three specifications were included: traditional radiators and 75mm sand & cement screed, traditional radiators with a 50mm flowing screed, and a 50mm flowing screed with underfloor heating.

The findings showed that, for an 80m2 dwelling, installation costs for the sand and cement approach range from £3,003.72 to £3,483.10; for a 50mm flowing screed  with radiators costs start at £3,163.72 to £3,563.10 and for a 50mm flowing screed with underfloor heating costs range from £3,464.63 and £4,082.30.  The costs for the underfloor heating approach also includes force drying, which facilitates fast, safe drying of liquid screed floors. This approach reduces drying time typically from around 90 days to as little as 28 days, representing a significant time saving and additional cost saving in the construction process.

Ross Verity, managing director of ForceDry, said:  “There is a perception that underfloor heating is expensive and only practical in commercial terms for installation in higher end properties. However, our study shows that the underfloor heating method is only marginally more expensive to install than radiators, but when combined with force drying with the considerable cost benefits of the time saved  factored in, the overall costs could actually be less. This means underfloor heating with a flowing screed can be a viable solution for all kinds of housing, including social and affordable.”

Verity also points to the environmental benefits of using liquid gypsum screed flooring, which comprise 98% recycled waste material, require less energy to produce and, because it is thinner, uses less material.  These factors result in a carbon footprint over 70% lower than that of sand and cement screeds.

Verity said:  “This approach is economical to install, environmentally friendly and performs very efficiently. It can save developers and property owners time and money during build and allows them to offer a superior product specification. Home owners and tenants then benefit from the comfort, economy and low maintenance this kind of system offers.”

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/10/22/underfloor-heating-a-commercially-viable-alternative-to-radiators-a-new-study-finds/

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Role model of the year announced at UK Construction Week

Breaking down barriers in construction, Arleta Andreasik-Paton, an engineering project manager at Aecom, has been awarded Role Model of the Year at UK Construction Week (UKCW).

Recognised for her passion for inspiring the next generation into construction, Arleta was presented with her award by Steph McGovern, journalist at BBC Breakfast and Barbara Res, the female engineer behind Trump Tower, at UKCW on 10 October.

Judged by Nottingham Academy for Girls, the students awarded Arleta for her determination to strive within the construction industry and were entertained by her own inspiration – wanting to build her own house after watching her dad and grandad build an extension.

Mairead Gallagher, BIM coordinator at Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, and Christina Riley, senior construction planner and an equality, diversity and inclusion champion at Kier Group, were both highly commended.


The students were also particularly impressed by Avi Contracts’ project surveyor, Anjali Pindoria, for her continued efforts encouraging black, Asian and minority ethnic people into the construction industry.

Arleta said:

“When Steph started talking and I realised I had won I got quite emotional. It means so much that the students chose me and could identify with my story. I’m not from a construction background, but I moved into the industry with transferrable skills, studied while on the job and here I am now. It’s a privilege to be able to become a role model for other talented young people who can find wonderful careers in construction.”

Nathan Garnett, UKCW event director, said:

“Our role models initiative aims to encourage new talent into the industry, and this campaign gave us a fantastic opportunity to work with Nottingham Academy for Girls. We have loved hearing directly from the students about what inspires them.

“There can of course only be one winner, but all those shortlisted can be proud of the hard work, dedication and ultimately, the change that they are bringing to the construction industry.”

Arleta and all of the shortlisted role models will continue to take part in activities with schools and colleges to break down barriers and stereotypes associated with construction.

Much discussion has taken place around diversity and changing the industry’s image during UK Construction Week. Role models have been taking part in seminars alongside expert speakers on political correctness and tips on creating a more diverse workplace.

Keynote speaker, Barbara Res, also encouraged women in construction to talk to each other and not to blame themselves when faced with discrimination.


from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/10/19/role-model-of-the-year-announced-at-uk-construction-week/

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Housing crisis solutions shared at day two of UKCW

Appropriately enough for Housing Day 2018, calls for more Government investment to end the housing crisis, to boost opportunities for SME housebuilders and developers and to build genuinely affordable quality homes, were some of the strong messages coming from day two of UK Construction Week (UKCW).

In a series of debates with key industry speakers, discussion around the UK’s current housing crisis drew in the crowds.

Hosted by BBC reporter and presenter Steph McGovern, a panel of experts delved further into issues such as the availability of land, the powers to enable local authorities’ own building programmes and opportunities for smaller building firms.

Ruth Davison, executive director of public impact at National Housing Federation, said:

“To solve the housing crisis, 50% of land must be allocated to building affordable homes. Research shows that the UK needs 340,000 homes a year and that 90,000 of these homes need to be genuinely affordable.”

Alex Ely, principal at Mae Architects, pointed out that the last time housing supply met demand was in the 1960s, when half of all housing was social.

At this time, land was more readily available. But Bjorn Conway, chief executive officer at Ilke Homes felt this isn’t the main issue today:

“There are lots of small plots available but they’re not being built on because it’s not economic for large developers. I can see really good volume and development opportunities for SME housebuilders and developers.”

Leading the discussion on to how new housing can be delivered, Steph McGovern talked about construction companies needing to evolve into technology companies: “Start with the business processes that will drive productivity and focus on technology that will improve them.”

Bjorn Conway supported this statement, adding:

“Using technology and modern methods of construction will ensure we can build quicker without compromising on quality and design. It will add capacity to the construction industry while building high-quality homes.”

Quality was also the focus of a packed-out seminar on construction standards post-Grenfell. As one of the speakers, building regulations expert Geoff Wilkinson commented:

“We need to build to the standards we say we will. We need everyone to stand up for quality, to say we’re not going to be part of a culture where everyone designs down to a minimum or looks on regulatory compliance as an optional extra. We should ensure that you can’t start work on housing or any other project until it’s had independent approval, you can’t vary the design or specification until it’s been checked, and you can’t occupy a building until it’s been proved you have built what you said you would.”

Other highlights from the show included:

  • Barbara Res’ keynote talk on the challenges she faced as a woman working in a male-dominated environment, building Trump Tower, and her experience of working with Donald Trump;
  • The announcement of the UKCW Role Model of the Year, engineering project manager Arleta Anderasik-Paton;
  • The Voltimum Smart Solutions Awards; and
  • The FIS’s Builders Brew event in support of World Mental Health Day.

Grand Designs Live also opened its doors today, and over the course of the weekend will provide thousands of visitors with expert advice on self-build, home renovations and improvements, new product launches and specialist exhibitors in six project zones. UKCW visitors get free access to this show tomorrow, but new tickets are required from Friday 12 October.

Nathan Garnett, UKCW event director, said:

“Day two of UK Construction Week has been incredibly busy and has dealt with some of the biggest issues of the day, from the housing crisis and quality in construction, to diversity, skills, economic forecasts and the new business models that will transform the industry in the future.

“Our theme is the future of construction and we have seen this reflected yet again, in the people, policies, processes, products and projects which have been on display today.

“Tomorrow is the final day of this year’s show, so don’t miss out. It’s the one opportunity in the year to see everything new and everyone important all under one roof.”

Tomorrow’s top sessions at UKCW are expected to be:

  • A look at the impact and consequences of Brexit on procurement in the UK, chaired by architect and TV presenter George Clarke;
  • The completed build of Carwyn Lloyd Jones’ ‘Tiny House of the Future’, created entirely from natural materials such as timber, cob and hempcrete; and
  • The first BMF Young Merchants’ Conference with keynote speaker Steve Backley OBE, British track and field athlete;
  • A preview of an extraordinary construction mission to Antarctica to build a new wharf for the RRS Sir David Attenborough, aka ‘Boaty McBoatface’.

More than 650 exhibitors and 10,000 products and services are featured across nine shows: Build Show, Energy 2018, Timber Expo, Building Tech Live, Surface & Materials Show, HVAC 2018, Civils Expo, Plant and Machinery Live, and Grand Designs Live.



from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/10/18/housing-crisis-solutions-shared-at-day-two-of-ukcw/

Billboard advertising: the power and influence

Many firms in the construction industry find advertising tough due to competition and so many marketing avenues and product. Arguably, one of the most effective methods of making someone pay attention is with a large billboard placed strategically in a public place.

Discover why your construction business needs to reassess its advertising campaigns to feature billboards, and what strategy you need to follow to make them work!

Billboarding influence

Today, billboards are a critical part of promoting — they’ve even had a film made about them (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri). However, the earliest record of a leased billboard was documented in 1867. Output from the construction industry in 2017 hit nearly £164 million — more than double that of the year 2000. Compeition is fierce, and you need to fight for consumers.

According to Route, the average Brit is classed as ‘out and about’ for three hours and ten minutes every day, spending around 16 minutes in the view of advertisements. So, you want to attract these potential customers by placing a billboard somewhere that sits amid a place of high footfall and traffic.

Do you need more workers and need to advertise from a recruitment perspective? No construction company wants to pass on a project just because they don’t have the resources or manpower. In the construction sector today, 87% of employers are facing an issue due to a shortage of skilled workers, according to City & Guilds. A billboard could be the tool you need to advertise the employment opportunities you have to offer — and it shouldn’t take you too much time to put together. A billboard is a single page of design that is simple to design and print, which saves you time and means you can promote vacancies quicker.

Perhaps you’re trying to promote and sell your services or products, instead. Heard of the ‘Marketing Rule of 7’? Basically, this rule means someone has to hear or see an ad seven times before acting on it. If you put a billboard design on a site that people might pass more than once a day — like on the way to work or school — your potential customers will achieve this magic number of viewings in just a few days.

Now, you need to get your head around designing the right billboard for your brand and objectives.

Designing your billboard

Make sure your billboard gets to the point — make it bold and informative. Think strategically about what you want on your billboard — someone driving past at 40mph+ is only going to be able to take in so much. Do you want to sell a specific product? Are you spreading brand awareness or promoting an event? Only include the essential marketing message information — like contact details, name of product, date and location of event, and call to action.

Images can be very powerful on a billboard. According to research, people generally only recall 10% of information they hear three days later. However, using a relevant image alongside this information increases retention by 55%. When designing your billboard, try and think of an unconventional image that will grab a passer-by’s attention — even something as simple as having a large, black-and-white photo of a construction site with only the workers’ construction helmets in yellow would stand out.

Digestible and clear info on a billboard is essential — what’s the point if people can’t read what you’re saying? Utilise bright and bold colours to catch the eye — contrasting colours are reportedly stay in people’s memories for longer, too — and opt for a simple background and large, readable text — Sans Serif is a good shout.

The above point is especially important if your billboard is on a main road. Remember, a motorist only has between five and ten seconds take in an advertisement. So, the more relevant and informative your image is, the less you should need to convey with text — stick to a brief, punchy message of seven words and you should get your marketing message across, no problem.

Trying to entice the skills of new tradespeople? Are you advertising your construction products to other businesses? Whoever you’re targeting, bear this in mind when choosing your billboard location. For example, if you need young, entry-level employees, find a site near a college. Or if you’re trying to secure deals to work on commercial buildings, go for somewhere near a retail park or area where there’s a lot of trading. Otherwise, you could reduce your ROI due to not being in sight of the people who are most likely to act on your ad.

By making a reference to the local area, you can help boost the power of your billboard. Include an image of a local landmark to create a sense of familiarity or reference the local traffic in a funny way. Humour generally works in advertising. According to a review of 6,500 ads, the funniest were usually cited as being the most appealing and memorable. What’s more, adopting this creates a more welcoming brand persona, which should encourage custom.

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/10/17/billboard-advertising-the-power-and-influence/

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Gilbert-Ash Builds Team Success with Six New Senior Appointments

Leading UK construction, refurbishment and fit-out company, Gilbert-Ash, has strengthened its senior team with six internal promotions. The company has promoted four Project Directors and

John Davis, Gilbert-Ash Project Director, is leading the team at the new £17m Royal College of Pathologists headquarters in London

two Senior Surveyors, building on the wealth of expertise already across the team.


Gilbert-Ash recently announced its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2017. The results confirm a 50% increase in pre-tax profits to reach over £2m, up from £1.4m in 2016. With results driven by the dedicated 180-strong team, the contractor reported an overall turnover of £165.5m, an increase from £148m in the previous year.


It aims to build on this success with the recent Project Director and Senior Surveyor promotions, tapping into the strong potential that has been developed within the company.


Whilst carrying out multiple complex projects across the UK and beyond, Gilbert-Ash has been striving to improve its workforce culture and inspiring working environment, through continual investment in its people and innovation.


Sean Doran, John Davis, Ciaran Begley and Rodney Coalter have each been appointed as Project Directors, with Paul Carroll and Lyndon Park both promoted to Senior Surveyors. This allows their knowledge to be utilised at a strategic level and for each of them to help guide the company as it moves into a successful future.


Ray Hutchinson, Managing Director, Gilbert-Ash commented: “This is an exciting time for Gilbert-Ash as we match our industry success with several in-house promotions to new senior positions. This demonstrates the talent, skills and expertise that Gilbert-Ash possesses, not only at the top level but running throughout the entire team from the ground up.”


Current projects include John Davis leading the team at the new £17m Royal College of Pathologists headquarters in London, whilst Ciaran Begley is sharing his expertise at the redevelopment of the Royal College of Music in South Kensington. Additionally, Lyndon Park is readying the £19.5m Cambridge Mosque for completion in December this year.


Rodney Coalter is currently working with the team to finalise the refurbishment of Bristol Old Vic, rediscovering its theatrical heritage. The company also continues to work with hotel group Whitbread on numerous concurrent projects, led by Sean Doran and Paul Carroll. As Whitbread Supplier of the Year 2017, Gilbert-Ash’s work takes place across the UK and includes its next generation, technology-enabled Premier Inn hub hotels.


Each of the Project Directors and Senior Surveyors joined Gilbert-Ash in the early stages of their career, with Sean Doran and Lyndon Park both joining during their placement year. This demonstrates Gilbert-Ash’s cohesive work culture that has led to an employee retention rate of 87%.


Ray Hutchinson added: “Our team of Project Directors and Senior Surveyors will help shape the future of construction at Gilbert-Ash through their determined work ethic and skilled attention to detail. I congratulate each of them on their success and look forward to seeing what the future holds under their steer. The company’s strong growth is driven by our continued focus and investment in both our chosen markets and our people.”


Gilbert-Ash recently received the renowned accolade of Contractor of the Year at the Construction News Awards 2018. It has also been shortlisted for Contractor of the Year (up to £300m) at the Building Awards 2018. Over the past 12 months, it has performed strongly on a national level with several high-profile projects, including the £21.5m AC by Marriott Hotel in Belfast City Quays and the £19.5m Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts project in London.

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2018/10/16/gilbert-ash-builds-team-success-with-six-new-senior-appointments/