Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Combatting efficiency challenges following motor failure

It may not happen often but electric motor failure can have serious consequences when it does occur. In fact, it can be difficult to know just what to do. As business downtime and losses mount, it’s very easy to make a panicked decision over whether to rewind and repair or replace your motor.

What should motor owners do? With new high-efficiency motors available, do they take the plunge and invest in a whole new motor altogether that promises higher efficiency levels but with significantly greater costs? Or, do they commit to an electric motor rewind or repair? While the cost is often lower, many are concerned about the potential inefficiencies that an electric motor rewind can bring — yet are these worries grounded in fiction?

This way of thinking has been commonly attributed to a small number of studies surrounding smaller motors. It is claimed that carrying out a rewind can drop efficiency by between 1% and 5% each time it is rewound. Considering the associated expense and sheer volume of energy these motors use, this is naturally concerning. However, more recent research has countered these findings.

Involving 22 new motors ranging from 50 to 300 hp, EASA and AEMT conducted a study with Nottingham University. Overall, the results found that when electric motors were rewound using good practice, there was no significant change in the efficiency of the motors. However, in some instances, efficiency actually increased. This clearly dispels the belief that a rewind is actually detrimental to a motor’s performance.

Areas of consideration

This suggests that purchasing an expensive electric motor may not be required. Of course, in cases of catastrophic failure, this may be your only option. However, it’s very important to fully evaluate your options to make sure you make the right choice in terms of operation, cost and efficiency. This can be done by asking a number of key questions, as explained by Houghton International.

Is your electric motor still suitable for its original purpose?

It is possible that your electric motor may no longer be suited to your operational needs. Review the scale of the damage alongside the requirements for the motor’s processes and duty cycles. If the motor is no longer suitable or too damaged, your option is to replace the motor.

Are the stator core and rotor in a good condition?

It’s important to check the stator core and rotor of your motor. If significant damage is present, it may be more beneficial to purchase a new motor, as depending on the extent of the damage, repairs can be costly.

If you are considering making the investment, fully weigh up your options. For example, if the lead times for the motor you need are long, you may to decide to repair rather than replace to minimise downtime.

Has any damage occurred to other mechanical parts?

A result of motor failure, damage may occur to the shaft, frame, bearing housing, and other mechanical parts. Examine the extent of the damage; you may be able to replace the affected parts at a lower cost than replacing the entire motor.

Is it an EPAct or Nema Premium motor?

If your motor has failed, it could be the opportunity you have been looking for to upgrade to a more efficient model. If you are considering making the investment, make sure you fully understand the return you’ll receive from doing so. Consider the energy savings you’ll make alongside the expected life of the motor and its hours of operation. Always consider your overall budget too, to make sure the replacement aligns with your current financial position.

Remember that if you are happy with the existing efficiency of your motor, a repair by a qualified service centre may be all you need. It will not lead to a dramatic drop in efficiency, as we have discussed.

Consider the above in-depth to ensure you make the right choice in the event of motor failure occurring.

from The UK Construction Blog

Tuesday, 30 January 2018


Midlands architectural practice maber has appointed four new associate directors at its Nottingham, Derby and Leicester offices.

They are Andy Purvis and Leo Ward, both based in Nottingham, Lee Smith in Derby and Tim Boxford in Leicester.

The promotions are as a result of maber’s continued success and a string of major instructions on significant projects across the UK. The company’s business plan sets ambitious growth targets, and the strategy is to give key individuals a stake in the business in order to encourage long term commitment to the company. The practice, which was originally formed in Nottingham 35 years ago this year has always relied on organic and sustainable growth driven by a motivated team. This ethos is embedded in each of its five offices, which include Birmingham London, Derby and Leicester, as well as its headquarters in Nottingham.

Managing Director Mark Hobson said: “These appointments are in recognition of the significant contributions that all four have made to the success of the practice. They also strengthen our accountability structure and provide more resilience on projects for the benefit of our clients. Perhaps most importantly, they add new lifeblood to the management team, which will help to ensure our continued growth and success.”

Lee Smith joined maber in 2005 and heads a design team that has delivered successful commercial and education sector projects. 

Andy Purvis joined the practice in 2004 and describes himself as a design-driven architect.

Leo Ward came to maber in 2011, having previously worked in London, and now works with a small team heading up projects.

Tim Boxford joined the practice in 2012, having previously worked elsewhere in the East Midlands, Birmingham and New Zealand.

from The UK Construction Blog

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Average British First Time Buyer Haggles Asking Price Of Property Down By £5,300

A brand new study looking into the home-buying processes of Britons during the past two years has uncovered that the majority of first-time buyers in the UK secure their home for under the initial asking price, with haggling tactics, issues uncovered during home surveys and mortgage lenders valuing a property at less than an asking price revealed as some of the reasons for price cuts.

New research has revealed that first-time buyers in the North East and Wales knock the biggest values from the asking price of their properties, whilst those in London and Scotland are more likely to have to pay the asking price or higher.

The team at polled 2,589 British homeowners aged 21 and over, all of whom had purchased their first property, either alone or as part of a couple, within the past 2 years. Participants were spread evenly across each of the twelve UK regions to see how the home-buying journey differs for first time purchasers in different areas of the UK.

All respondents taking part were initially asked to state if they bought their first home for more, less or the exact asking price originally set by the sellers. The vast majority (73%) had paid less than the property was originally on sale for, with a further 16% paying the asking price and 11% confessing they’d paid over the asking price to secure the sale.

Next, all those who’d paid less than the asking price were asked to reveal what they believed to be the biggest reason they secured a cheaper deal, with the most common answers as follows:

  1. The seller of my property required a quick sale – 18%
  2. The estate agent handling the sale encouraged me to offer under the asking price – 15%
  3. Issues found during home survey that prompted me to make a lower offer – 12%
  4. My mortgage lender valued the property at less than the asking price and wouldn’t lend me the full amount needed – 8%
  5. I was the ideal buyer for the property in terms of my finances/circumstances and haggled a lower price – 7%

When also asked to reveal the amount of money they’d shaved off the asking price through their negotiation processes with sellers, the average amount overall was revealed to be £5,304. The regional breakdown of these figures emerged as follows:

  • North East – £7,350 (average amount of money first-time buyer was able to cut off asking price of property) – (5.9% of the average cost of North East properties)
  • Wales – £7,150 (5.3% of the average cost of Wales properties)
  • East of England – £6,950 (4.1% of the average cost of East of England properties)
  • South West – £6,600 (3.3% of the average cost of South West properties)
  • Northern Ireland – £6,250 (5.3% of the average cost of Northern Ireland properties)
  • East Midlands – £5,550 (3.5% of the average cost of East Midlands properties)
  • North West – £5,300 (3.6% of the average cost of North West properties)
  • Yorkshire and Humberside – £5,100 (3.7% of the average cost of Yorkshire and Humberside properties)
  • West Midlands – £4,950 (3% of the average cost of West Midlands properties)
  • South East – £3,300 (1.2% of the average cost of South East properties)
  • Scotland- £3,100 (2.2% of the average cost of South East properties)
  • London – £2,100 (0.5% of the average cost of London properties)

Melissa Benedict, spokesperson for, said:

“Buying your very first home is a daunting time regardless of your situation, with everyone obviously wanting to ensure the buying process is as smooth and bump-free as possible. Traditionally, many people have been advised to offer 10% under the asking price of a property, but with small homes and flats in high demand, this isn’t always a feasible option in many parts of the country.

“The fact that the average first time buyer in the past two years has cut around £5,500 off the cost of their homes will no doubt help to ensure lower monthly mortgage repayments and a bigger nest egg of savings should any unexpected but necessary costs arise in the future.”

from The UK Construction Blog

Monday, 22 January 2018

Aarsleff to use silent and vibration-free equipment to install sheet piled wall

Aarsleff Ground Engineering has been awarded a sheet piling project that will allow the company to utilise its new Giken ECO 700S machine, allowing for the silent and vibration-free driving of sheet piles at Grovehill Depot in Beverley.

On behalf of main contractor, North Midland Construction/Building Ltd, Aarsleff will be installing 155 No. steel sheet piles, 700mm width and 12.0m in length. The sheet piles will form a retaining wall approximately 108 l/m for maximum retained height.   A long reach excavator mounted with Movax unit will handle and pitch piles to the press unit.

Owing to the challenging site conditions, and wanting to deliver a safe and successful installation process, Aarsleff suggested a Movax unit mounted on a long reach excavator be employed. The limited working room, poor state of repair of the access, and the bank slippage demonstrated to Aarsleff that it is not practical for a mobile crane to traverse, nor provide a realistic radius for lifting. By utilising the long reach, Aarsleff hope to ensure increased manoeuvrability and lower bearing pressures, all at a safe distance from the embankment, allowing the site team to work from behind the press unit where previously installed piles have increased the stability of the embankment wall.

The Movax also allows us to safely and efficiently install and extract the necessary temporary reaction piles for the Giken press. Aarsleff’s head of sheet piling John Storry said: “The Giken enables us to provide cost effective installation programmes and solutions to our clients, even in the most environmentally sensitive conditions.”

Aarsleff Ground Engineering commence works on the 29th January.

from The UK Construction Blog

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Carillion collapse to cost Balfour Beatty £45m

Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try have been left counting the cost of Carillion’s collapse with big hits on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route project.

Carillion was in joint venture with the duo on the £550m contract, which they are obliged to complete.

The current estimate of the extra cash contribution outstanding from Carillion to complete the project is £60-80m, of which any shortfall will be funded equally between Balfour and Galliford.

Both firms said they were discussing the position urgently with the Official Receiver of Carillion and Transport Scotland, to minimise any impact on the project.

Balfour Balfour, which was also working with Carillion on the £1.4bn A14 in Cambridgeshire and the £200m M60 Junction 8 to M62 Junction 20 scheme, estimated its cash hit would be in the range of £35m-£45m in 2018.

This morning Balfour issued a statement saying it would continue to work with its customers and would meet its contractual commitments.

Balfour said the profit impact of Carillion’s compulsory liquidation would be recorded as an exceptional non-underlying charge in the income statement.

Both Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try added that they did not have any other material financial exposure to Carillion.

from The UK Construction Blog

Tuesday, 16 January 2018


A proven waterproof solution is essential for safeguarding basements, car parks, tunnels and other belowground concrete structures against damp and water ingress. But which system is best suited to your building? A render-based product? A drainage system incorporating a membrane? Sika offers both solutions as part of its proven, wide-ranging concrete and waterproofing range, so let’s examine the benefits of each.

Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged waterproofing system comprises watertight renders and screeds produced using the Sika®-1 Waterproofing Liquid and Sika®-1 Pre-Batched Mortars. The mortars consist of a blend of special cement and kiln dried graded aggregates. Packaged in four grades, each is specifically designed for optimum application performance and durability.

Key considerations when specifying Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged:

  • Once applied, it requires absolutely no maintenance
  • It is more cost-effective when applied to areas of 300m2 or less
  • The render system takes up minimal space
  • Bonds directly to the substrate – follows the contours of any structure
  • Withstands high water pressure
  • Substrate preparation may be required


In terms of a water management solution, Sika® CD-Cavity Drain System uses a high density polyethylene internal drainage membrane to control water after it has penetrated a structure. The system is installed, loose-laid in flooring applications and attached to the wall with surface plugs in vertical installations. The system directs penetrating water into a drainage system and a collection sump before using a pump to discharge water from the building. A cavity drain provides protection from the ingress of water, vapour and gases.

Key considerations when specifying Sika® CD-Cavity Drain System:

  • System requires ongoing maintenance and running costs
  • Requires more space to install
  • Acts as a vapour barrier
  • Limited surface preparation required
  • Can be used where the substrate does not have the strength to resist stresses caused by water pressure
  • Most cost-effective on areas larger than 300m2


Although varying in application and comprising different materials, the systems share common properties. For instance, Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged and Cavity Drain are suitable for new-build and refurbishment projects involving a range of belowground structures.

As well as being BBA-approved, both systems carry a Sika guarantee when installed by an approved contractor. Other common properties include the systems’ suitability for use to grades 1-3 according to BS 8102-2009, and high water table according to BS 8102-2009.

What then, must we conclude from this comparison? Well, by eliminating the need for ongoing maintenance, the Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged system is a more cost-effective solution over a lifespan of 60 years, particularly for structures 300m2 and below.

Not as simple to apply as the pre-bagged system, on account of its additional components, Sika® CD-Cavity Drain System is a more ideal waterproofing solution for areas larger than 300m2. Ongoing running costs are incurred, as the system requires regular maintenance.

Sika®-1 Pre-Bagged or Sika® CD-Cavity Drain system…whichever system you choose as your belowground solution, you are guaranteed the same quality: superb, long-term waterproof performance.

  • Sika operates a Registered Contractors scheme, designed to help facilitate the selection of suitable contractors to install Sika waterproofing systems including Sika®-1 and Cavity Drain. Choosing a Sika Registered Contractor provides total quality control – from product to service and installation – giving clients added reassurance that they will receive the highest standards of professionalism at every stage.

from The UK Construction Blog

Monday, 8 January 2018

Brexit uncertainty in construction: how to maintain your career

As we head into 2018, only one factor of the economy is certain – our uncertainty about the implications of Brexit is making a significant impact on the UK construction industry.

General optimism in the industry has been at its most subdued since mid-2013, while the latest estimates from the Office of National Statistics suggest that construction output contracted 0.5 per cent in third quarter of 2017, having shrunk by 0.3 per cent in the previous three months.

Duncan Brock of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply said, “It appears that the continued fall in commercial activity was testament to Brexit-related uncertainty on the horizon and the sector’s fear about the direction of the UK economy as clients still hesitated to spend on bigger projects.”

Howard Archer of the EY Item Club concurred, “Extended lacklustre economic activity and heightened economic, political and Brexit uncertainties are clearly hampering the construction sector. It looks like it is going to be another challenging year for the sector.”

With market uncertainty comes a lack of job security for many workers. That’s why we’ve come up with a few strategies to help you improve your skillset in an increasingly competitive market.

Track down networking events

While Brexit might be causing uncertainty in a variety of sectors, construction businesses are always searching for upcoming talent.

If you’re a member of a trade association, chances are that association you’re affiliated with will host a number of trade shows and conferences throughout the year.

Use these events to meet new contacts and make your face known. Similarly, joining your local Chamber of Commerce could help you find out about companies in your local area which are searching for a trade professional.

When networking, don’t forget to bring well-presented business cards with you, and always dress professionally.

Get online

In a similar vein to networking events, popular networking site LinkedIn could be the most effective way to meet new contacts.

Make sure your profile outlines your past work experience, your key skills and your personal development while working in a trade. Once your profile is looking great, you’ll be able to connect with anyone in your industry and see a broad range of job opportunities online.

Train yourself

Completing your apprenticeship should never be the end of your training. If you’re constantly moving from one job to the next, you’ll need to continuously accumulate new skills throughout your career.

Gaining a distance learning degree from a university like Anglia Ruskin could be the ticket. A degree in management, for instance, could allow you to progress into a leadership role in construction, commanding a greater salary and increased job security.

Brexit negotiations may be showing a downturn in the fortunes of many industries, but they can also provide great opportunities for the worker who’s willing to network and learn new skills.

Have you got any training tips for the construction industry? Then let us know in the comments below.

from The UK Construction Blog



As an industry, we could be accused of focusing on the past rather than looking to the future – in fact, this is a condition that the country suffers from as a whole, and one that can stifle progress. Ultimately, positive, forward thinking, and innovation will attract fresh blood to our industry. But we must learn from our experiences and select important lessons for ourselves and the next generation, as my reality was very different.

I stumbled into this sector very much by accident, as many do. After leaving school, I found myself a summer job with a housebuilder as a joiner’s labourer. This helped me through my college years, and I then moved into the equipment hire industry, and construction products sales, where I first gained real perspective on how job sites operated – and how specifications had a big influence on the construction of a building. From there, I began an adventure into aluminium systems, fenestration and the building envelope.

The journey into roofing had a familiar feel, then managing a commercial specification team was exciting, and a real challenge as I again was able to influence construction in a tangible way. Joining Sika has really provided a wider opportunity, the company enabled me to move from a regional role, to a national role, and I’m now responsible for a business unit of over £60 million, three branded organisations – Sika Sarnafil, Sika Liquid Plastics and Sika-Trocal – and a team of over 70.

Today, the construction landscape looks very different. There’s a greater focus on Health & Safety, more challenging site restrictions, and a real focus on safe working. Specifications are ever more tested, but we continue to learn and improve. Sustainability, product innovation, logistics, and disposal of waste, have all developed massively. We have a lot to celebrate and share. Training has come on leaps and bounds, making a real contribution to strengthening the sector. We are more aware than ever of how we approach construction and what our roles and responsibilities are.

Now I realise that project success, business success and the success of the industry as a whole, is dependent on more than the physical bricks and mortar, it is the people that make the difference. Throughout the years I’ve been lucky to work with some great characters, who invested in my career, and me as an individual, provided great coaching and gave me opportunity to grow. It seems natural that we can now do the same for others.

A key focus for me is people development. We talk every day about our teams, where they are in their evolution, what projects are their focuses and how we can provide better support for our employees.

Recently, we had the opportunity to contribute at a college careers open day, where one of our team who had progressed in the last few years, told his story. This inspired a number of students, all of whom hadn’t necessarily considered the breadth of roles that the construction industry offers. We were overwhelmed at the interest, and quickly made the decision to move forward.

On the back of this, and stimulated by the Apprenticeship Levy, I am overjoyed that we will be welcoming two new apprentices to the Sika Roofing family this year.

These young people will join in a general business administration role, and work across all areas for the rest of this year. We will see where their strengths take them, with operations, sales and marketing, and technical services, all offering great opportunities for development. Working in construction really does allow you to ‘choose your own adventure’ and work to your skills and potential. There is even the chance of international roles, a very exciting opportunity.

Our apprentices will benefit from a sponsor, a coach, and a long term plan to integrate them into our business culture, and see what the industry is about. Sika’s group values provide a real spirit of entrepreneurship, opportunity and progression.

It’s clear that society and technology have changed younger people’s career choices. The perception of the construction industry and the long term opportunities are different than they were – sometimes negative and occasionally, non-existent. As a career choice from a young age, there is less focus on the traditional jobs, and the skills attached, which is one of the contributing factors to our skills shortage.

We’re not going to be able to rely on people ‘falling’ into the industry like we used to – the deficit is too large. Our focus must be to bring young people through our business – actively promoting and educating about the opportunities open to them.

If I could give our new apprentices one piece of advice, it is to be open. When I started out all those years ago, I wish I’d know how important it is to listen, to invest in yourself, and have a plan. Also, to take opportunity when it’s presented and forge relationships. I look forward to the new energy they will bring to the business, and call for more manufacturers to take action in telling the positive stories from our industry and developing the stars of tomorrow – we have so much to offer young people and they in turn to offer us.

from The UK Construction Blog

Thursday, 4 January 2018

TSA’s latest reference documents provide clarity for clients on PAS 128 compliance

The Survey Association issues new guidance on specifying a utility survey

TSA’s latest reference documents provide clarity for clients on PAS 128 compliance

A new and definitive guide to specifying a PAS128 compliant utility survey, issued by The Survey Association (TSA), aims to demystify a complex technical area and improve communication between clients and practitioners.

The Essential Guide to PAS128 2014 Utility Detection, Verification and Location, and the companion Mini Guide, are the first documents of their kind to include practical advice for clients on using PAS 128 to prepare the appropriate tender documents for their project.

Written by TSA’s technical committee, with input from across the industry, the free-to-download guidance also provides clarity for professionals interpreting PAS 128 to deliver best practice utility surveys at the right price.

Technical content author and TSA Council member, Sam Roberts explains the scope of both the Essential and Mini Guides and who they are aimed at.

‘’The Essential Guide goes into depth on all the techniques used for utility detection, the detail of PAS128, as well as health and safety, traffic management and training issues.  It is a substantial reference document and a tool for clients to better understand what they are buying, and therefore to commission a survey company with confidence,’’ he said.

The accompanying Mini Guide is split into sections for ease of reference and focusses on the areas of difficulty raised by clients. The Mini Guide is designed to help engineers, architects and planners easily understand if a quotation is in line with the appropriate PAS128 level in the specification, and to be able to ask the right questions when comparing different proposals.

The Essential Guide to PAS128 2014 Utility Detection, Verification and Location, and the Mini Guide can be downloaded, free of charge at

Sam Roberts concluded, ‘’TSA’s new Utility Guidance documents seek to address the misinterpretation and misunderstanding of PAS 128.  It is important that clients and those commissioning utility surveys know what they are getting – and what they should be getting, if they specify a PAS128 utility survey.’’

TSA’s Client Guides and Guidance Notes are compiled in consultation with industry experts and are widely consulted by construction and geospatial professionals, nationally and internationally. They provide information on the principles, procedures and regulations affecting specific aspects of survey work.

When the British Standards Institution (BSI) started working on Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 128, titled, Specification for underground utility detection, verification and location, TSA fully supported its production, providing expertise on both the steering group and drafting panel.

from The UK Construction Blog

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Young British Renters Prioritise Takeaway Coffees, Netflix & Gym Subscriptions Over Home Insurance Policies

A brand new study conducted on behalf of a home insurance provider has revealed that the majority of young Britons would rather cancel their home contents insurance policies over less important financial outgoings, such as regular takeaway coffees, Netflix and gym subscriptions.

As many as two thirds of young renters in the UK without home contents insurance believe the policies are ‘pointless’ for those who don’t own a home; with the majority believing that they will never need home insurance as they deem their homes to be safe.

The team at polled 2,398 UK adults aged 18-30 as part of research into the perceptions and attitudes of young Britons towards protecting their valuables. All those taking part lived in a rented property, either by themselves or with a partner/housemates.

Respondents were initially asked if, since moving into their rented property, they’d invested in home contents insurance to protect the items within their home, with just 38% claiming to have done so. The remaining three fifths (62%) admitted to researchers that they didn’t have a contents insurance policy and when asked why, 12% said they hadn’t got round to it yet and 16% thought they couldn’t afford a policy. The overwhelming majority, 65%, said that they found the notion of buying contents insurance ‘pointless’; more than half (53%) of whom confessed that they didn’t feel they needed it because their home was safe and probably wouldn’t ever be burgled.

In order to further explore how important the protection of valuables is to those who do have contents insurance, compared to other financial outgoings, all relevant participants were given a list of 5 popular monthly outgoings that young Britons living in rented accommodation normally face. All were asked to reveal which they’d be the most likely to give up first, and how much they roughly spent per year on each outgoing.

The results were revealed as follows:

  1. Homes contents insurance – 48% (would give this outgoing up first) (£124) (average annual cost of outgoing)
  2. Morning takeaway coffees – 23% (£577.20)
  3. Music streaming subscription -16% (£119.88)
  4. Gym membership – 12% (£470)
  5. Netflix (or other film/TV) subscription – 1% (£71.88)

Rob Rushton, Head of, made the following comment on the findings of the study:

“It’s well documented that millennials have very much a ‘live for the moment’ mentality when it comes to their financial outgoings and spending, and don’t necessarily tend to worry as much about the future as previous generations might have done. As renters living under someone else’s roof, it can be tempting to think that paying rent and other vital bills each month is more than enough. Yet, should the worst happen and you find yourself suddenly left without a TV, mobile phone, computer or precious mementos, then there is no doubt you’d want to rely on contents insurance to claim back some of the value.


from The UK Construction Blog

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Gilbert-Ash completes innovative swimming pool for Freemen’s School

Award-winning UK construction, refurbishment and fit out contractor,
Gilbert-Ash, has recently completed the Freemen’s School project in Ashtead, Surrey, including an engineered timber swimming pool.

Replacing the school’s original pool building which was lost to fire in 2014, the project provides a purpose-built 25m, six lane competition pool with changing facilities and a multi-functional teaching and events space.

Working closely with architects Hawkins\Brown, the design and construction of the sustainable swimming pool sits gently within its natural woodland surroundings. Using
state-of-the-art timber construction, a zinc wrap and offsite fabrication methods, the material palette complements the external setting creating a special environment for swimming.

The construction of the pool includes a glue-laminated timber (glulam) portal frame, braced with cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels. The use of engineered timber provides a fast, efficient, carbon neutral method of construction and ensures the pool is resilient, a thermal insulator and corrosion resistant.

On site, the erection of the glulam portal frame, cross-laminated timber walls and roof took just over three weeks. This allowed the detailed design and full construction of the building to be delivered in one year.

To minimise its impact on the school’s Grade II listed landscape, the swimming pool’s lower ground floor is partially submerged. This sub-merges the structure into the surrounding scenery and preserves a large number of the existing trees. The highest point of the gently pitched zinc wrap roof marks the main entrance of the building.

Kevin Mallon, Project Manager at Gilbert-Ash commented: “We are delighted to have completed this unique project for the prestigious Freemen’s School within the agreed budget and with minimum impact on school operations. It has been very enjoyable working closely with the school staff and pupils at each stage of the construction, including escorted on-site tours, for both educational engagement and to ensure a smooth project and transition for the school body.

Roland Martin, Headmaster of Freemen’s School, commented, “The School is overwhelmed by the beauty and quality of the new swimming pool – it is a fantastic new asset for the School and the local community. We have been truly impressed by the swift construction of the pool, and how it fits in the woodland space and complements the school as a whole.”

Adam Cossey, Partner at Hawkins\Brown, said: “Freemen’s School’s new swimming pool is a welcoming retreat that engages with the mature woodland setting through the use of natural materials and colour schemes.

The deep columns of the all-timber construction and wrap around glazing, which afford direct views from the water into the woodland, give the sense of swimming amongst the trees.

The construction of the pool has afforded the opportunity to work closely with Gilbert Ash providing a positive collaborative experience.”

The swimming pool marks the second phase of a 4-stage masterplan by the City of London, School in Ashtead, Surrey, with a view to improve the quality of the school’s listed campus setting.

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

from The UK Construction Blog