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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Follow the awards on Twitter at @CCScheme #ccsawards.

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2017/11/10/uks-most-considerate-construction-companies-and-suppliers-to-be-honoured-at-national-awards/

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ARCHITECTS CELEBRATE ANNIVERSARY WITH TOUR OF LANDMARK PROJECT

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

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

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

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

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

Some of maber’s other major Leicester projects include:

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

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

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

 

www.maber.co.uk

 

About Maber

 

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

 

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

 

www.maber.co.uk

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2017/11/08/architects-celebrate-anniversary-with-tour-of-landmark-project/

GIVING GUARANTEES MEANING THROUGH TRAINING AND SUPPORT

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s a time-consuming process but one that we’re happy to pursue in order to maintain our position as a leading manufacturer of products working across multiple industry sectors (see http://bit.ly/2o8Ca6Z).

To find out more about the impact Sika is making every day, visit http://gbr.sika.com/en/group/about-us/sika-everyday.html

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2017/11/06/giving-guarantees-meaning-through-training-and-support/

CONCERNS RAISED AS FIRMS FAIL TO TAKE UP APPRENTICESHIP LEVY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

www.developtraining.co.uk

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2017/11/02/concerns-raised-as-firms-fail-to-take-up-apprenticeship-levy/

The future of IoT in manufacturing

The future of IoT in manufacturing

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

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

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

Should I be investing in IoT as a manufacturer?

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

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

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

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

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

Looking to the future

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

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

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

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

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

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2017/11/01/the-future-of-iot-in-manufacturing/

One In Eight British Homeowners Are Planning To Buy A Second Property In The Next 10 Years

A new study has revealed that whilst 12% of homeowners polled in a new study are saving to invest in a second property within the next decade, the majority of these individuals admit they’ve not fully researched the costs associated with doing so, such as stamp duty surcharges and periods of unoccupancy.

Whilst undertaking new research into the future investment plans of homeowners, a UK insurance agency has uncovered that as many as two thirds of Britons want to add value to their homes through extensions, conversions or conservatories, whilst almost one in three plan to make overpayments on their mortgage product in order to pay off their loan before their agreed term length ends.

As part of the study, the team at www.coverbuilder.co.uk polled 2,784 UK adults aged 25 and over, who’d all purchased a property within the last 10 years, in order to understand Britons financial plans for the future with regards to homeownership. All those taking part were from an even split of each of the UK regions.

When respondents were initially asked to state roughly how much longer they had left on their mortgage terms, the average length of time emerged as 14 years.

All homeowners were then given a list of potential options relating to their property and asked to reveal which, if any, they’d considered doing themselves during the next 10 years. The results emerged as follows:

  1. I plan to add extra rooms to my property (e.g. extensions/loft conversions/conservatories etc…) – 59%
  2. I plan to remodel rooms in my house – 47%
  3. I plan to take in lodgers/tenants to rent out spare rooms in my property  – 32%
  4. I plan to make overpayments on my mortgage in order to pay off my loan before the agreed term length ends – 28%
  5. I plan to save up and purchase a second ‘buy-to-let’ property – 13%

Next, those that stated that they were planning on owning a second property within the next decade were asked if they’d begun to fully research the costs associated with doing so, such as the stamp duty surcharge and the issues surrounding periods of unoccupancy. The majority of these individuals (71%) confessed to researchers that they’d not yet begun to look into the implications and potential drawbacks of owning a second property, but that they planned on doing so within the next year.

In order to uncover the areas of the UK with homeowners most likely to want to invest in a second property within the next 10 years, researchers analysed answers to reveal the geographical breakdown of participants, with the number of those looking to purchase another home as follows:

  • South East – 16% (of those looking to purchase a second property lived here)
  • South West  – 15%
  • Scotland – 12%
  • North East – 10%
  • London – 9%
  • West Midlands – 8%
  • East of England -6%
  • East Midlands – 6%
  • North West – 5%
  • Northern Ireland – 4%
  • Wales – 4%
  • Yorkshire and Humberside – 3%

Finally, the 87% of homeowners not planning to purchase a buy-to-let property in the future were asked if it was something they’d previously considered, with more than one fifth (21%) admitting they’d “considered it in the past but decided it was no longer something I wanted to pursue.” When asked to reveal why they’d come to this conclusion, “increasingly strict regulations and legal requirements for buy-to-let owners” (64%), “the hassle of on-going maintenance work on the property” (27%) and “the financial risks of not finding suitable tenants” (12%) emerged as the most common reasons Britons had been put off.

Rob Rushton, Head of coverbuilder.co.uk says:

“To purchase a buy-to-let or not to purchase a buy-to-let, that is the question. In theory there are many benefits to owning a second property, but unless you are fully prepared for the reality of the additional financial costs, legal requirements and have a sufficient amount of funds to fall back on, then it might not be the best financial investment for you.

“In 2015, there were an estimated 700,000 empty properties in the UK, so there is also the potential risk of purchasing a home that ultimately won’t have an immediate tenant. This, combined with increasing regulations and rules surrounding a second property will have Britons questioning whether they are truly prepared for both the financial and administrative commitment.”

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2017/10/30/one-in-eight-british-homeowners-are-planning-to-buy-a-second-property-in-the-next-10-years/

DESIGN AND IN-USE: CLOSING THE PERFORMANCE GAP

As we drive the performance of our building stock, it is becoming clear that one of the key challenges we must address is narrowing the gap between design and actual performance. The industry needs support to ensure we use more accurate modelling and data in order to understand how the building will perform in operation. If we don’t, the gap in performance can be as big as 200-450% greater than predicted.

With project costs squeezed and ‘value engineered’, all too often performance suffers. By allowing design teams more time to spend on modelling and considering how the building will be used by its occupants, rather than being forced into ‘default values’ and specification, we will go some of the way to eliminating this performance gap.

 

Understanding the gap

The performance gap has two components: the compliance gap and the actual performance gap. The modellers estimate 50-70% is the compliance gap and can be solved by more realistic modelling mirroring the conditions more closely. The reasons for the second and larger actual performance gap are generally unknown. There’s speculation about this and assumptions, but little in the way of hard evidence.

When a building is managed effectively, property value is maximised. A high performing building will ultimately generate maximum profit via high and continuous rental income, low operating and maintenance costs and low depreciation.

Modelling tools are used for compliance, which means they use standard default values for the building design. All the operational plant which controls the building is then set at these ‘standardised driving’ conditions and the occupancy density (i.e people versus square metres) is based on industry averages.

As a result these standard default values underestimate the usage by up to 100%. Software is used to meet building regulations and energy performance certificates, as well as being used for ranking rather than the operation of the building. When you pass the design stage, it’s essential that real numbers are inputted and this can be done via modelling techniques such as the Green Deal software developed by BRE. This allows users to tailor the usage of the building to match real operating conditions in. It allows you to work out what it should and shouldn’t be.

But from that point onwards much depends on how well the building is commissioned; what maintenance strategies and schedules are put into place; and how the building is managed. If this doesn’t happen you begin to see divergence. Buildings need to be commissioned properly with particular attention made to control systems and the needs of the occupants.

 

The power of management

Building management systems (BMSs) and building energy management systems (BEMSs) are powerful tools in ensuring that buildings are run efficiently and provide the desired environment for the occupants. As technology becomes cheaper and advances more rapidly, control systems need to be flexible, upgradable and have the facility to easily communicate and integrate with other systems.

However, care needs to be taken in their operation, and staff using these systems need to be fully trained. Ongoing commissioning and preventative maintenance needs to be carried out to ensure the potentially large energy savings are realised, operational costs are controlled and expensive failures do not occur. End-user needs should be taken into account, while staff training and awareness-raising should be carried out to get the building’s occupants involved.

Ongoing commissioning is essentially a higher form of maintenance. Maintenance simply deals with faults. It’s also important to consider management issues. Is the right environment being provided? Is it being provided in the proper place? Is the building being turned off at the right times?

If it is not managed properly, the performance gap will only get worse. Modelling doesn’t help with the building in-use but baselines the building predicted performance. It starts by putting decent controls in so things are turned off when they are not occupied. Once you have control of the building, you can put the management systems in place so that building is optimised for energy usage.

 

Focus on people

One of the most important things to remember is that a building is built for the occupant. In terms of costs, staffing is around 95% and workplaces are key to productivity. Any reduction in productivity has a large effect on a business’s bottom line; after all 95% of operational costs are the staff. Buildings therefore need to be efficient, responsive and innovative, which is why it is so important to optimise the environment in first place.

It’s imperative that the industry treats the underlying causes not the symptoms. It’s like the heart problem analogy. A surgeon might repair a damaged heart with a stem cell but not treat the inherent diet and lifestyle issues.

One of the main problems is that architects are not bringing the design teams early enough in the design process. The later you do this, the more expensive it gets and reduces the benefits in the long term. By engaging with the performance gap, it’s possible to deliver the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.

from The UK Construction Blog http://ukconstructionblog.co.uk/2017/10/26/design-and-in-use-closing-the-performance-gap/