Seasons Greetings to all our Readers

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to


All  our readers and contributors.

 

We hope to see you all again in 2017

 

 

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from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2016/12/22/seasons-greetings-to-all-our-readers/

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Eight Features All Successful Construction Companies Have in Common

Eight Features All Successful Construction Companies Have in Common

There are countless construction and civil engineering companies out there, but not all are equal and if you’re thinking about a career in construction (and the economy needs you!), then here’s what you should look for in a prospective employer.

A company with a vision

Everyone needs a vision, a plan, an aim and a focus so if the company you’re looking at wants to develop an award-winning set of environmental practices, for example, it could be the right one for you. The Lagan Construction Group from Northern Ireland recently won an environmental award, so awards and plaudits are definite things to look for.

A company with a clear leadership plan

Leadership isn’t just about dishing out orders – it’s also about creating an ethos and about finding a niche. Look for a company with a definite ethos, be it considerate construction, ongoing training, diversity or eco-friendly practices.

A company that invests in its people

Investing in people means taking time and spending money to train staff and employees so that they are always growing and developing. Instead of sending everyone home for the day because it’s raining, a good leadership team will spend a few hours teaching new safety techniques, for example.

A company that promotes skills

If a company’s workers all have different strings to their bows, then that’s a strong, flexible workforce. If each worker can operate two or three machines, as well as lay bricks and build fences, then there’s less downtime due to sickness. This makes for an efficient, profitable team.

A company that laughs

The most successful contractors are the ones that people are happy to work for and with, as well as engage. Make sure that staff members feel they can take a few minutes out to have a laugh with (that’s with, not at…) the foreman, the client, the client’s children. Laughter and kindness makes the day go by faster and gets you great reviews from clients big and small.

A company that’s driven…

…but in a good way. If every job is an emergency, workers get exhausted and stressed. However, a sense of purpose and urgency is a good thing – you’re aiming to beat a deadline with ease, not squeak by it all out of breath.

A company that rewards good work and good ideas

Everyone wants to earn more money and by providing a generous (but sensible) incentive scheme, a construction company will get the best out of its staff. The scheme could be a bonus payment for early completion of a project, or it could be one-off rewards for employees who find new clients. It could also be help towards extra training for promising newbies. As long as the criteria are easy to understand and the payouts are honoured, the job’s a good’un.

A company that encourages input and suggestions

This shows that a company has a good, forward-thinking culture. If the workforce is educated and well-trained, then it’d be foolish to ignore their ideas and suggestions. If the culture encourages wider reading, or visits to expos, then the natural result is some good ideas and suggestions and these shouldn’t be ignored.

 

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2016/12/21/eight-features-all-successful-construction-companies-have-in-common/

Bidding to start for £150m Luton Airport rail link

Prequalification of firms will start in February for £150m worth of construction work for the planned light railway system for Luton Airport

Luton airport rail link plan

Arup will design and procure the 2.2km light rail scheme

The 2.2 km long guided mass rapid transit passenger system will run between two purpose-built stations, heading out from Stirling Place, close to Luton Airport Parkway station, to the airport terminal.

It will be broken down into two main packages Civils work worth up to £115m will include viaducts, embankments, cut and cover works and station platforms.

Some of the works will be within the airside sections of the airport.

The track, rolling stock and associated systems package will be subject to a separate contract worth up to £35m to be awarded concurrently.

The scheme forms part of an ambitious £1.5bn inward investment programme revealed by the council, which outlines a 20-year plan for major transformation of the town.

Planning permission will be sought from Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council possibly by the end of January  for work to start later in 2017 with the system ready for operation 2021.

The link to be funded by the council, which owns the airport, would reduce journey time to London to just 30 minutes.

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2016/12/21/bidding-to-start-for-150m-luton-airport-rail-link/

Jaguar Land Rover submits plan for mega-warehouse

Car maker Jaguar Land Rover has submitted plans to develop a vast logistics hub on a green field site next to its Solihull plant.

JLR Solihull

The near 1m sq ft logistics operations centre will be used to receive and store parts for its Solihull production plant, which assembles Range Rover and Land Rover models.

The scheme also includes 40,000 sq ft of offices space and a triple deck car park with 1,150 spaces.

JLR Solihull

The site located on green belt consists of eight fields located near Solihull Football Club on Damson Parkway and is bounded to the north by Birmingham International Airport.

JLR Solihull

Plans drawn up by architect Ridge & Partners provide for a 17m high main building, spanned by a series of pitched roofs covered in photovoltaics. It will offer 78 HGV docks.

The LOC would be clad in corrugated steel at the west, south and east facades. The northern elevation would feature timber-style panelling and glazing.

Client team

Ridge and Partners: Architect

AME Construction: Project Managers

Hoare Lea: M&E consultancy

Rodgers Leask: Structural & Civil Engineers

Mace: Quantity Surveying

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2016/12/20/jaguar-land-rover-submits-plan-for-mega-warehouse/

Motorists drive through smart motorway site

Highways England has released video footage of construction workers chasing a motorist through a closed motorway site.

The shocking CCTV pictures come as Highways England revealed that four drivers a month are entering closed sections of road in the Manchester smart motorway scheme to either overtake traffic on the motorway or avoid using diversion routes.

The footage shows a driver ignoring an overnight slip road closure at junction 11 of the M60 at Eccles, where he is seen being chased through the construction area by angry road workers.

Drivers are now being warned that they could be prosecuted if they ignore road closures, and electronic signs at the side of the motorway are also being used to display the message ‘Don’t ignore road closures. CCTV in operation.’

Earlier this year, a drunk driver received a 12-month prison sentence and was disqualified from driving for 15 months after ignoring an overnight slip road closure at junction 23 of the M60 near Ashton-under-Lyne.

Stephen Hill, Project Manager for the Manchester smart motorway scheme at Highways England, said: It’s shocking that four drivers a month are putting the lives of our workers at risk by deliberately ignoring road closures, just to try and save a few minutes on their journeys.

“The work to upgrade the M60 and M62 to a smart motorway is one of the biggest construction projects currently underway in the North West, and sometimes we need to close parts of the motorway to ensure the safety of our workers.

“We only ever close slip roads and motorway carriageways overnight when traffic levels are lower, and make sure there are clearly-signed diversion routes in place.

“We are urging drivers to follow the diversions for their own and our workers’ safety, and warning that we will pass on the details to the police of any drivers who deliberately ignore road closures.”

Over 400 people are currently working on the £208m project to create a smart motorway between junction 8 of the M60 near Sale and junction 20 of the M62 at Rochdale.

The hard shoulder is being converted to an extra lane on a five mile stretch of the M62, and variable speed limits will be introduced on new overhead electronic signs along the entire 17-mile route to tackle congestion and keep traffic moving.

A total of 95 drivers deliberately travelled into construction areas on the Manchester smart motorway scheme over the past 22 months to try and cut their journey times.

The majority of the incidents happened overnight, between 10pm and 6am, when carriageway and slip road closures are in place as traffic levels are lower

The Manchester smart motorway scheme is due to be completed in autumn 2017.

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2016/12/14/motorists-drive-through-smart-motorway-site/

Public tip-off sees site stopped for safety shambles

A construction company and its managing director have been prosecuted for operating an unsafe site during the conversion of a building in Bollington.

hseManchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court heard how the conditions on the site, where a former pub was being changed into two houses, were so poor it prompted a a member of public to complain to the local authority.

The HSE inspected the site and had to stop all the work on the building as the conditions were so dangerous and putting workers lives at immediate risk.

In total HSE inspectors served three prohibition notices and two improvements notices for safety failings including work at height issues, missing floorings with no protection and health failings including the provision of welfare facilities with running water.

Inspectors also found an extremely unsafe wall on the property that had not been sufficiently supported to prevent it from collapsing.

The HSE investigation found that both the company and its director did not put in place effective health and safety management at the start of the conversion.

They failed to notify HSE of the project, appoint a competent principal contractor or ensure they had suitable and sufficient measures to reduce risks to workers and members of the public.

Bluefig Development Ltd, of Dale Street, Manchester pleaded guilty to CDM breaches and was fined £42,900 with £3,781.24 costs.

Company Director Faris Mousa pleaded guilty to two safety charges and was fined £40,000 with £3,658.24 costs.

HSE inspector Deborah Walker said after the hearing: “Bluefig Development Ltd and Mr Faris Mousa completely failed in their duties to protect the workers or members of the public from harm.

“This was an extremely dangerous site and it is only luck that nobody was injured or even killed.

“Anyone involved in construction, no matter what size of site or project has to take the health, safety and welfare of their workers seriously.

“If the unstable wall had collapsed we could now be talking about the tragic death of a worker and its impact on their family rather than how lucky they are no-one was injured.”

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2016/12/12/public-tip-off-sees-site-stopped-for-safety-shambles/

Letting agent fees ban could force rent increases

pinnacle-tower-londonIn the Autumn Statement the chancellor, Philip Hammond announced new government policies to tackle the housing challenges the UK faces.

One of the biggest changes for the buy-to-let sector was that letting agent fees will be scrapped.

The ban will help struggling renters, as the average cost of these fees is £340 per tenant.

As a result of the new ban,  stocks of Foxton’s and Countrywide fell sharply.

However, there has been concerns in the industry that the fees could be passed on to landlords, who are already facing the upcoming ‘tax attack’ in April 2017.

Experts fear landlords will be left to foot the bill, as estate agents will raise fees to make their money back. As a result landlords could be forced to raise rents to cope with more financial strain.

Others advise landlords to look elsewhere for new letting agents to cut costs. The emergence of online letting agents who can undercut high street agents could be where landlords turn next as a way of negating the need to increase rents.

Many believe that the ban could backfire as landlords are left with no choice but to raise rents, making rents even more unaffordable.

Additionally the government plans a comprehensive package of reform to increase housing supply and help first time buyers.

A new fund, the Housing Infrastructure Fund, will invest £2.3 billion into housing by 2021. The fund will be competed for between local governments in high demand areas and will help to build 100,000 new homes.

A further £1.4 billion will be provided in 2020-21 to start building an additional 40,000 affordable homes.

Funding will be made available for a large-scale regional pilot of the Right to Buy scheme too.

The scheme will be for housing association tenants, helping over 3,000 of them to buy their own home with under the new right to scheme discounts.

Will you look to pass on any additional costs, or do you plan to absorb them ?

Well, following the announcement last month that Chancellor Philip Hammond is to abolish letting agency fees for tenants, it is expected that many private landlords will increase rents to compensate. This is a further blow to buy-to-let landlords who are also facing higher borrowing costs and increased Stamp Duty fees, as the Government cracks down on the sector. Tenants’ fees add on average £340 to the cost of letting a home, so naturally the 4.3 million renters in the UK will be concerned of further rental increases when landlords have to pay the letting agency fee themselves.

 https://www.simplelandlordsinsurance.com/landlord-news/letting-agent-fees-ban-could-force-rent-increase

Professional, corporate landlords such as Folio London offer a fresh alternative to private landlords. Renting with Folio London, tenants can be assured against these increases and any unpredictable changes in the market. Many lettings agencies charge for administrative work such as contracts and inventories. Folio does not charge admin fees, only a deposit of £350 to secure the property while references are checked, which is then deducted from the first months’ rent and deposit.

For further information on Folio London and the rental offering across the capital, please see attached press release and images.

 

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2016/12/07/letting-agent-fees-ban-could-force-rent-increases/