Irish firm plans first English motorway service stations

Irish petrol forecourt firm Applegreen is planning major motorway service stations on the M42 near Birmingham and M3 near Basingstoke.

Applegreen M42

Subject to planning, the largest scheme will be built at junction 4 of the M42 near Shirley and will boast a rolling ‘green roof’ on the main amenity building.

The location of the 21.5-acre site means Applegreen plans to deliver a very compact scheme that does not require building significant new access road infrastructure in the Green Belt.

Under the plans, drawn up by architect Axis, the main parking area will cater for over 600 cars and 70 HGVs with separate fuel and parking for trucks and coaches. A new pedestrian bridge over the M42 will also be required.

Applegreen is expanding its operations after a successful IPO in June 2015 raised more than €90m on the Irish and London stock exchanges.

The firm is also in talks with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to build a motorway service area on the M3.

The facilities at the site, known as Kennel Farm, would include a service area amenity building and around 300 parking spaces.

Applegreen m42 services

Construction of the Shirley project would take around nine months

Applegreen m42 services

Aerial view of M42 amenity building and car parking

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2016/11/30/irish-firm-plans-first-english-motorway-service-stations/

O’Rourke calls for construction GCSEs and A-levels

Laing O’Rourke is calling for the introduction of construction GCSEs and A-levels in a bid to solve the industry’s skills crisis.

The suggestion is part of a ten-point plan put forward by the contractor in a report launched today.

O’Rourke wants to see the introduction of GCSEs and A-levels in Design, Engineer and Construct (DEC).

Schoolchildren can currently learn DEC as part of the curriculum but the existing qualifications are not recognised by many universities.

And only 42 schools out of a possible 3,401 state-funded secondary schools in England offer the DEC curriculum.

O’Rourke said: “The government has the opportunity to work with the industry to create GCSEs and A-levels in DEC and incentivise schools and colleges to offer them to pupils and students.

“This would boost the appeal of the sector to schools, students, parents, universities and higher education institutions and educate people about the positive reality of a career in modern day construction and engineering.”

Laing O’Rourke’s full Ten-Point Plan is:

  • Flex the government’s planned Apprenticeship Levy and reduce delays to approval of ‘Trailblazer Apprenticeship’ standards
  • Create regionally focused skills pipelines
  • Increase availability of Russell Group university standard part-time degree apprenticeships
  • Review options for career transitioning apprenticeships
  • Introduce GCSEs and A-levels in Design, Engineer and Construct (DEC) disciplines
  • Foster collaboration between industry and government to deliver a broader range of improved careers advice for construction and engineering
  • Commit the industry to measurable improvements in diversity
  • Seize the opportunity of the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • Support the creation of a single construction and infrastructure
    skills body
  • Facilitate the ongoing professional development of a directly employed workforce

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2016/11/28/orourke-calls-for-construction-gcses-and-a-levels/

Real industry collaboration to offer members greater benefits

CONSIDERATE CONSTRUCTORS SCHEME AND NATIONAL FEDERATION OF BUILDERS ccs-and-nfb-contract-signing-photo_small-mediumANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP

London, United Kingdom, 21 November 2016: The Considerate Constructors Scheme – the national scheme established by the construction industry to improve its image – and the National Federation of Builders (NFB) – the construction industry’s longest established trade association – have formed a partnership to promote best practice and raise standards across construction industry SMEs.

This first, truly ground-breaking collaboration between two construction industry organisations heralds a new way in which like-minded organisations can work effectively together to offer greater benefits to members, at no additional cost.

The partnership will provide NFB members, with a turnover banding of £500,000 to £3.5 million, free Company Registration with the Considerate Constructors Scheme. It will come in to effect from 1 January 2017.

By becoming a registered company, NFB members (in this banding) will have the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to improving the image of the industry. Scheme-registered companies voluntarily agree to abide by its Code of Considerate Practice. The Code commits those registered with the Scheme to care about appearance, respect the community, protect the environment, secure everyone’s safety and value their workforce.

Considerate Constructors Scheme Chief Executive Edward Hardy said: “SMEs are a critical part of the construction industry’s future success. They have a huge role and responsibility to continually raise their standards and, in doing so, make a valued contribution to improving the image of the industry.

“The NFB provides a great platform for the Considerate Constructors Scheme to help support SMEs in championing the principles of considerate construction. We are therefore delighted to establish this partnership with the NFB.”

Richard Beresford, Chief Executive of the NFB said: “We’re delighted to join forces with the Considerate Constructors Scheme to offer added value to our members. NFB members pride themselves on their professionalism and ability to deliver exceptional quality, so it’s great that their efforts can now be recognised as part of the Scheme.

“SMEs often miss out on opportunities simply because they don’t have the resources to complete the multitude of registrations and benchmarking initiatives available in the industry. By collaborating in this way, we hope to reduce this burden and improve access to opportunities, working towards achieving a fair playing field for SMEs in construction.”

A record number of over 900 company registrations have been made with the Scheme so far this year, with a total of more than 4,100 company registrations taking place since this type of registration was introduced by the Scheme in 2009.

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2016/11/25/real-industry-collaboration-to-offer-members-greater-benefits/

Latest survey reveals the numbers of women in construction could be worse than predicted

The number of females in professional construction roles is less than many analysts predicted, according to a survey carried out by specialist construction recruitment firm, One Way.

In a survey of professionals from across the industry, the firm found that 65% of respondents work in a company where less than 5% of the workforce is made up of women in an actual construction role.

When asked about the challenges for women in construction, over half (58%) stated that businesses themselves are to blame due to a range of issues such as stereotyping in the recruitment process and a lack of commitment from employers. Just over a third (35%) felt that it simply isn’t a popular career choice for women.

The survey – carried out as part of the firm’s #GirlsAllowed campaign which aims to bring together those in construction and education outlets to encourage more girls into the sector – also revealed that the majority (83%) believe that a lack of construction career education in schools is creating a concerning gap in female talent.

Reassuringly, over 80% of those surveyed agreed that they would personally get involved in an initiative to help address the lack of women in construction.

Paul Payne, Managing Director of One Way, commented on the findings:

“What is clear from these results is that employers need to do more to both attract more women into the industry and embrace them once on board. The results of the survey clearly demonstrate that the sector has a bad reputation when it comes to hiring females and given the severity of existing skills shortages, this simply cannot continue. While we were expecting to find low levels of employment, some of the figures were certainly below our initial perceptions, which makes the need for greater collaboration through initiatives such as the #GirlsAllowed campaign more vital now than they have ever been.”

“While it’s great to see so many respondents commit to taking more action, there were some concerning views that came to light that I feel need to be altered immediately. Aside from some of the gender stereotyping comments, other remarks suggested that some in the industry itself don’t think construction is a sector that women should be in. This is quite simply untrue and is an attitude myself and the team at One Way certainly want to turn around.”

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2016/11/23/latest-survey-reveals-the-numbers-of-women-in-construction-could-be-worse-than-predicted/

Workers call for site shutdowns in freezing weather

Union leaders are calling for housing sites to be closed down when temperatures plummet below freezing.

Chiefs at UCATT have written to the major house builders demanding the introduction of extreme weather health and safety guidelines for construction workers.

UCATTThe National House Building Council publishes minimum temperature guidance to protect materials on site.

Now UCATT wants to see similar recommendations to protect workers.

It said: “The NHBC makes it clear mortar should not be used below 2 degrees C, whilst construction workers should put their gloves on, get out there and suffer.”

The union also hit out at an “institutionalised” macho culture which prevents workers from complaining about the cold.

UCATT Acting General Secretary, Brian Rye, said: “It’s a complete indictment of an industry that has temperature guidelines to safeguard materials but none whatsoever for the workers. This must now change.

“We have written to the NHBC to ask them to inject some humanity into the industry and provide clear temperature and extreme weather guidelines for constructors to apply to workers.

“In an age when we no longer send young children up chimneys to clean them, we should equally not be forcing construction workers to work in inhuman conditions.

“If it’s too cold for mortar – it’s too cold for mortals!”

There is no current legal minimum or maximum temperature for working outside.

Unions are currently negotiating to have rules or guidance on working in extreme weather included in the Construction Industry Joint Council agreement.

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2016/11/21/workers-call-for-site-shutdowns-in-freezing-weather/

Christmas comes early for construction workers thanks to Brian Alfred

Tax rebate specialists Brian Alfred are offering new and existing customers the opportunity to get an early tax rebate months before the usual tax refund date of April 2017. This is a unique and exciting opportunity for those in the construction industry who fancy some extra cash for Christmas or even to beat the January blues.

Construction workers who make use of the early tax rebate offer will receive up to 60% of their tax rebate amount for the year 2016-2017 early, with the remainder being paid at the usual time next April. There are no hidden fees, loan agreements or credit checks needed, Brian Alfred will simply advance part of the full year rebate early.

For the average UK CIS worker, this could mean they can claim an early tax rebate of up to £900 by Christmas. This will be a welcome bonus for construction workers just in time for the hectic and often expensive festive season.

Commercial Practice Director at Brian Alfred, Anda Gregory says of the product: “We’re proud to be the first and only tax rebate specialist to offer an early tax rebate. We listened to our customers and realised that Christmas is a time of year when they really want to treat their families, so we launched this product to give them some added support in making it one to remember.”

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2016/11/17/christmas-comes-early-for-construction-workers-thanks-to-brian-alfred/

National Awards for top performing construction companies and suppliers

Considerate Constructors Scheme crowns Most Considerate Companies and Most Considerate Supplier at 2016 National Awards

award-winners-day-1-4-medium award-winners-day-2-mediumLondon, United Kingdom, 15 November 2016: The Considerate Constructors Scheme – the national scheme established by the construction industry to improve its image – has recognised the Most Considerate Companies and Suppliers at this year’s National Awards.

Four companies were presented with the coveted top award of ‘Most Considerate Company 2016’, they are: Connect Plus Services (annual turnover: £10m and over); Rydon Maintenance – Islington (annual turnover: £3.5m to <£10m); Linfoot Country Homes Ltd (annual turnover: £250k to <£3.5m) and Solent Industrial Roofing Systems (annual turnover: Under £250k).

HSS Hire Service Group Ltd triumphed as the ‘Most Considerate Supplier 2016’, making them the first registered supplier to win this prestigious title since Supplier Registration was introduced in 2014.

The Considerate Constructors Scheme’s National Awards are one of the most respected accolades in UK construction. By registering with the Scheme, companies and suppliers demonstrate a strong commitment to improving the image of the industry.

The awards recognise the highest performing companies and suppliers which have demonstrated excellence in relation to the community, the environment and their workforce.

The prestigious awards ceremony took place on 10 and 11 November at the Four Seasons hotel in London.

In total 21 Gold, 32 Silver and 43 Bronze Awards were presented to registered companies, and two Gold, one Silver and four Bronze Awards to registered suppliers. Of the Gold Award winners, seven companies were shortlisted and received the ‘Most Considerate Company Runner-up’ and one supplier the ‘Most Considerate Supplier Runner-up’.

Connect Plus Services undertakes planned and reactive highway maintenance works to sections of the M25 motorway and its arterial link roads through a 30-year contract with Highways England. This enthusiastic and safety-conscious team was applauded for its constant refinement of depot and site safety, and consideration of its workforce.

Linfoot Country Homes Ltd is a family-owned business located near Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, specialising in high quality new and converted homes in the South Midlands for over 20 years. In constantly striving to achieve yet higher standards, this company projected an image which was a credit to all those involved.

Rydon Maintenance (North London Region) is in the 13th year of a long-term contract with Islington Council for the repair and maintenance of more than 6000 properties. This potentially intrusive work demands a high degree of care and consideration and this was clearly demonstrated by Rydon through its community work.

Based in Portsmouth, Hampshire, Solent Industrial Roofing Systems specialises in providing roofing services industry-wide. One recent project was for a storage building on a military base in Wiltshire and the company spared no effort in ensuring the development was sensitive to the client’s operations security standards.

Undertaking inner London deliveries is no easy task, but HSS Hire Service Group Ltd, whose head office is based in Mitcham, south west London, has robust policies and procedures in place to ensure professional, safe and efficient operations.

Considerate Constructors Scheme Executive Chairman Isabel Martinson said: “Congratulations to all award winners. The Scheme is hugely proud to honour the great achievements of top performing registered companies and suppliers. Over 900 companies and suppliers registered with the Scheme in the past 12 months, representing significant growth on the previous year, and making competition even tougher. With such high demand for construction activity across the UK, it is essential that the industry works collaboratively and continues to raise standards.”

Click here to see each of the winners in the categories of Runners-up to the Most Considerate Company Award, and Runner-up to Most Considerate Supplier Award, as well as each Gold, Silver and Bronze Award winner.

Visit Twitter @CCScheme #ccsawards and the Scheme’s LinkedIn company page to see more from the awards ceremonies.

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2016/11/15/national-awards-for-top-performing-construction-companies-and-suppliers/