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A giant leap for construction!

August 14th, 2018 No comments

Robert Woodhead’s National Space Centre Ultra Site receives stratospheric praise from Considerate Constructors Scheme  

The National Space Centre’s Launch Pad project lifted off to new heights with a dramatic community launch – which took construction to the edges of earth’s atmosphere.

The launch provided a spectacle for hundreds of school children, local residents and workers who witnessed a teddy bear, and a construction bolt that will later be used as part of the completed works, ascending into the atmosphere powered by a huge helium balloon.

The project carried out by Scheme Partner Robert Woodhead Ltd has achieved Ultra Site status and this launch proves that innovation and technology is at the very heart of their successful engagement with the local community.

As part of this celebration of innovation and community engagement, the site produced a special film which includes details about the Ultra Site activities and interviews from the client, site team and Chief Executive of the Scheme, Edward Hardy (click here to watch the film).

The Ultra Site was to build a brand new ‘Launch Pad’ ticketing hall, which will extend the Leicester-based National Space Centre and improve the experience for the record numbers of visitors, reaching over 300,000 in 2017.

Despite this being the shortest duration Ultra Site to date at only 14 weeks, Robert Woodhead’s Launch Pad project achieved the very highest standards of considerate construction, working in true collaboration with the client and its supply chain.

Considerate Constructors Scheme Chief Executive Edward Hardy commented: “The National Space Centre Ultra Site is an example of the exceptional standards of performance which can be achieved in a very short period of time when everyone works together.

“The innovative efforts of Robert Woodhead’s team and supply chain have truly made a spectacle for the local community and workforce, underlining how the industry can adapt technology to enthuse and promote a positive image of our industry.”

Robert Woodhead’s Project Manager Tony Robinson said: “The fast track, 14-week project duration really pushed us to innovate and think of new ideas to demonstrate that exceptional levels of consideration can be achieved in tight timescales.

“We had a whole team collaborative approach which included our site team, office team and supply chain. The client was also fully involved from the outset; they valued what the Scheme stood for and saw the benefits it brought.”

Click here to read more about this project and to watch the film.

Click here to find out more about becoming an Ultra Site.


Tradespeople say heat is forcing them to down tools, and call for on-site water stations

August 13th, 2018 No comments

Tradespeople say heat is forcing them to down tools, and call for on-site water stations

Apart from the recent thunder storms, Britain’s summer has so far proven to be a very un-British scorcher. With temperatures hitting sweltering highs, spare a thought for the bricklayers, carpenters and other tradespeople that have to work outside, and who have already had to endure the bitter Beasts from the East earlier this year.

To find out how people on the country’s construction sites are handling the heat, the UK’s largest online supplier of ironmongery, IronmongeryDirect, has carried out a poll among its customers – mainly sole traders and small businesses.


The research reveals that almost 40% of respondents have been prevented from completing a job because of the hot weather. As many are self-employed, they are likely to be feeling the impact of any heat-induced pauses in work through loss of income. Their professional reputation can also take a battering despite making decisions to leave the site for safety reasons.

A Met Office spokesperson added: “We would urge high-risk groups including tradespeople to follow the Public Health England advice to take care in the sun, especially when temperatures are potentially reaching 30 degrees or more throughout this week – either stay out of the sun or be sensible and don’t go out in the strongest sunshine hours which are 11am to 3pm.”

In addition, half of the survey respondents felt that water stations should be introduced on-site to help them keep cool at work.

Wayne Lysaght-Mason, Managing Director of IronmongeryDirect, has questioned whether more should be done to protect tradespeople in extraordinary weather conditions: “This heatwave has been more prolonged and relentless than anything I can remember. With it not beyond the realms of possibility for this type of weather to become more frequent, I think it’s vitally important for tradespeople to receive more protection.”

The heatwave is not all bad news. It has resulted in more work for builders – 25% of poll participants said they are being asked to install more swimming pools and 1 in 2 have noticed a higher demand for outdoor decking.


The 2018 Structural Awards shortlist reveals how engineering influences modern design

August 9th, 2018 No comments

The Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) reveals the shortlist for the Structural Awards 2018, featuring 53 entries selected from 115 projects globally.

Now in its 51st year, these prestigious annual awards celebrate the world’s best engineering structures and demonstrate the diversity of structural engineering.

The shortlisted projects highlight the ingenuity and creativity of these forward-thinking professionals and honour today’s most cutting-edge examples of engineering.

Finalists include:

Louvre Museum, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Structural Engineer: BuroHappold Engineering

Tamina Canyon Crossing, Bad Ragaz, Switzerland

Structural Engineer: Leonhardt, Andrä und Partner Beratende Ingenieure VBI AG

The Hoover Building, London, UK

Structural Engineer: Interrobang

Haiti Chapel

Structural Engineer: Webb Yates

This year’s shortlist of ground-breaking projects offers a glimpse into a diverse selection of buildings, commending excellence through exemplary engineering solutions. The buildings, bridges and landmarks selected are beyond the ordinary, indicating technical superiority, clever design and absolute attention to detail.

Chair of the awards judging panel, Professor Tim Ibell, comments:

“This year we’ve received an unusual and imaginative collection of entries, from sculptural monuments by renowned artists through to a cricket stadium which has been dubbed the ‘Lord’s of East Africa’. The shortlist gives a fantastic overview of what’s going on in the structural engineering community on a global scale, highlighting the ambition, imagination and expertise of our profession. We’re delighted to have seen many more new firms entering their work for consideration in our unique celebration of structural engineering excellence.”

Martin Powell, Chief Executive of The Institution of Structural Engineers, says:

“Where in the past structural engineers have often been seen as the unsung heroes of built environment projects, we are starting to see greater recognition for the important work they do. The media interest attracted from last year’s diverse shortlist gave both the construction industry and the wider public an insight into how engineers creativity, innovation and problem solving skills help make a structure iconic, ensuring it is fit for purpose and safe for our use and enjoyment.”

He continues: “Structural engineers remain the guardians of public safety who ensure any structure can withstand all kinds of stresses and strains. Given that 2018 is ‘The Year of Engineering’, our awards are more relevant than ever. They prove just how innovative our industry is in bringing truly ambitious and monumental projects to life.”

Following strict judging criteria, shortlisted entries were selected for excellence, creativity and innovation, as well as elegance and detailing. Sustainability, economic viability and value for money were also core considerations.

The complete shortlist can be viewed at The winners will be announced at the awards dinner and ceremony which takes place on Friday 16 November 2018 at The Brewery, London.

A full gallery of shortlisted projects can be downloaded here.


A full list of shortlisted entries can be downloaded here


Peel Energy announces plans to install district energy at Liverpool Waters

August 7th, 2018 No comments

Peel Energy, the low carbon energy arm of Peel Land and Property, has announced plans to develop a district heat network at its ambitious Liverpool Waters development, under the name of Mersey Heat.

The first phase of the network is centred on existing buildings around Princes Dock along with planned new developments along the waterfront. The heat network will deliver low carbon hot water for the use of space heating and hot water provision within the buildings.

Peel Energy will operate the network through an energy services company called Mersey Heat, which will be responsible for system design, construction of the generation plant and operation of the network, providing low cost, low carbon reliable heat to the building owners and occupiers.

Development at Liverpool Waters will enjoy the benefits of a low cost, reliable heating and hot water solution for the buildings by connecting to the network, which will also have long term cost benefits for occupiers.

Muir Miller, Managing Director of Peel Energy, which also developed the wind turbines at Port of Liverpool said; “Our colleagues and their development partners are producing a first-rate product at Liverpool Waters and it deserves a 21st century heating system to match.  We believe that Mersey Heat can make a significant positive impact on the low carbon credentials of the project and provide cost benefits to developers and occupiers as well.  We are very excited at the prospect of deploying the first phase of the network and seeing how far it can grow.”

Peel’s Development Director for Liverpool Waters, Darran Lawless said: “Liverpool Waters includes the regeneration of 60 hectares of former dockland to create a high quality, mixed use waterfront development which will bring huge commercial and retail opportunity as well as over 9,000 new homes. The fact we can offer low cost, low carbon heat to a development on this scale is a fantastic step forward in us delivering a sustainable community where people can live, work and play.”

This will be Peel’s second district heat project after the successful installation at MediaCityUK in Salford which has been in operation since 2009 supplying such blue-chip customers as the BBC and University of Salford as part of the world’s first BREEAM approved sustainable community.


The truth about Trump to be revealed at this year’s UK Construction Week

August 6th, 2018 No comments

If there is one woman who has stories to tell, it is Barbara Res.

A professional engineer and lawyer, Barbara Res was the project manager behind Trump Tower on New York’s Fifth Avenue.

Despite encountering decades of sexual discrimination, harassment and intimidation, she became the first woman to take charge of a major skyscraper in New York, and was hired to be the vice-president of the Trump Organisation, working for Trump for nearly 18 years, from 1978 to 1996.

Initially supportive of Trump, she now speaks freely about how his attitudes to women have changed. She continues to voice strong views about women in construction and her philosophy on feminism, and speaks extensively to women’s groups and industry groups about construction and women’s role in it.

Barbara published her memoir, All Alone on the 68th Floor: How One Woman Changed the Face of Construction, in 2013. She is now coming to the UK to deliver a keynote presentation at the construction industry’s largest event, UK Construction Week, which returns to the NEC on 9-11 October.

Barbara will discuss her experience as a female engineer, working on Trump Tower, the successes and challenges of working with Donald Trump, and sexual harassment in construction, with journalist and broadcaster, Steph McGovern, at the UKCW Stage on 10 October.

Reserve a free place at this major interview of a true pioneer in construction by registering online at

Barbara Res’s views on why female engineers and tradeswomen are leaving construction in their thousands in North America can also be read at:


Trident takes to the road

August 2nd, 2018 No comments

It’s not quite 500 miles, but Trident Building Consultancy is walking 150 miles to help end youth homelessness.

As part of RICS’ 150th birthday celebrations, the Trident team will cover 150 miles to raise money to provide 150 beds for young homeless people as part of a project with LandAid.

The team had an early start with the Birmingham office walking from the office and around the city canals on 13 Julyand the rest of the challenge will take place during August.

The Leeds office will pick up from where Birmingham left off by walking from Golden Acre to Bardsey on 2 August; the Edinburgh office will walk from Forth Road Bridge to Edinburgh Castle on 8 August; the Liverpool office will start from less regal surroundings at Hooton up to West Kirby on 10 August; on the same day over the Irish Sea the Dublin office will walk around the city centre; back on English soil the London West End and London City offices will join forces to walk from Kew Bridge to Tower Bridge on 16 August; both the Glasgow office and Bristol office will be out on 17 August walking from Drymen to Rowardennan in Scotland and a loop round Bristol starting and finishing at Portishead; and the Manchester office will finish the walk on 24 August by walking from Lytham to Fleetwood.

You can sponsor Trident and contribute to this worthy cause by using the following link: (Donations of plasters and foot massages are also welcomed!)

Keep up with the walk by following Trident on Twitter at: @Trident BC

RICS aims to raise £2.25 million for is campaign. Find out more about this project and the amazing work that LandAid does here:


Online training logs a win for trussed rafter designers

July 31st, 2018 No comments

As the construction industry continues its struggle with skills shortages, the trussed rafter industry is working hard to upskill employees with sign-ups for specialist training quadrupling.

The online training course, run by the Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) in association with Edinburgh Napier University, is proving popular with trussed rafter designers.

Two beneficiaries of the training programme are Gabor Vince, from Taylor Lane Timber Frame Ltd, and Frank Kyne, from Wyckham Blackwell Ltd, who are the highest scorers for the Introduction to Trussed Rafter Design online course.

As a reward for their hard work, Gabor and Frank have been given the opportunity to visit a Swedish forestry and sawmilling operations courtesy of Vida Wood UK Ltd.

Gabor says:

“It’s great to be rewarded for doing a course that, for me, was fundamental to my professional development.

“Going to Sweden will be a real eye-opener getting out into the forest to witness how it all works through the whole felling and logging process and seeing how the timber is processed at the mill.”

Frank adds:

“The course for me was very useful and a great test of my skills. Being able to do this all online was really important to me as I would never have found the spare time to complete this otherwise.

“I can’t wait to go to Sweden and see how my work and my colleagues’ work weaves into what’s happening out in the forest and the mills. It’s a fantastic opportunity.”

Nick Boulton, TRA chief executive, said:

“Training for TRA members is going from strength to strength and it’s remarkable how well the course is doing. It’s a credit to the TRA members and their employees for wanting to be better at their job to provide a better service for their customers.”

The online training course is available in two elements: Part 1 Essentials and Part 2 Advanced. Part 1 is suitable for new staff and designers while part 2 is aimed purely at designers.

TRA members can claim up to two units of training completed per site within three months of registering. With each unit costing £175 per candidate or £300 for both, these are great saving for members.

The course is just one element of the TRA’s commitment to training and recruitment in the trussed rafter industry.

At the TRA AGM in May where the theme was ‘The next generation’, TRA chairman, Jonathan Fellingham, announced he is heading up a project to look at the recruitment of the future pipeline of trussed rafter designers and fabricators, calling on TRA members to get involved.

To register candidates, please send the candidates full name and business email address to where you can also find out further information about the training package.


The Survey School’s 2018 graduates take home the prizes

July 30th, 2018 No comments

Prize-winning graduates of the TSA Surveying Course were presented with their awards and cash prizes at the annual leavers’ ceremony held at Worcester Racecourse.

Among the 31 graduates were two students from Abu Dhabi, who travelled to Worcester specifically for the hands-on training in the principles of surveying provided at The Survey School.

Nine students gained distinctions, and prizes, based on assignment results, exam marks and overall observations by the tutors, were given to four for outstanding achievement.

Jointly sponsored by The Survey Association (TSA) and Leica Geosystems, the Best Student Award went to Eurig Price who achieved an enviable 99 per cent in his final examination.

Tutor at The Survey School, Andrew Crumpler commented, ‘’Eurig came on this course from a machine control back ground and carrying out topographical surveys was new to him. He has worked extremely hard and applied himself to his studies with some outstanding pieces of work.’’

Sponsored by TSA, the recipient of the Vice-President’s Award was Jack Dods of Network Rail who was commended for his exceptionally high standard of work and efficient organisation.

Rafe Holmes of WYG Group was presented with the Chartered ICES prize for Best Assignment for his ‘first class’ surveying and setting out design for a new housing estate and access road.

To demonstrate their support for the TSA Course, a new and additional prize for this year was awarded by RICS for the Best Measured Building Assignment.  Successful completion of the Course counts towards AssocRICS membership.

The first winner of the RICS prize was Steven Smith of IIC Technologies who was applauded for his very clear explanation of the laser scan surveying process and how to get the best results.

The Survey School is recognised by industry and employers as the UK’s premier commercial training centre for the education of land surveyors.  TSA Surveying Course 49 starts on 3 September 2018 and Course 50 on 19 November 2018. For full details on these and shorter technical courses on specific topics, see the School’s website.


Aarsleff Ground Engineering awarded multidisciplinary contract for sustainable heating scheme in Leeds.

July 26th, 2018 No comments

Vital Energi have awarded Aarsleff Ground Engineering the multidisciplinary foundations package at Saxton Gardens, on behalf of main client Leeds City Council. The foundation works form part of a wide-scale scheme to create the Leeds PIPES district heating network for the city that would see the heat created by the council’s Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility (RERF) in East Leeds being used to provide hot water and heating for households and businesses through a network of underground pipes.

Vital ( were awarded the design and build contract, and subsequently awarded Aarsleff Ground Engineering the driven steel tube piling, mini bored piling, king post wall and drilling and grouting works required for the network’s back-up equipment at Saxton Gardens.

Specifically, Aarsleff will install 44No. driven steel tube piles, 16 No. mini bored piles to be installed inside a 4.5m Height restriction, 45lin/m of King Post Wall to a retained height of 1.5m, and the drilling of 60No holes to be drilled to 18m past the existing coal seam & filled with grout, the latter technique which has already commenced on site.

Overseeing the project start up, Aarsleff’s Chris Purvis said “We’re currently utilising our JS130 rig to drill 72No. vertical and inclined holes. Due to many areas of the site being close to the foundations of existing building walls and underground services, it has been necessary to work with extreme caution and assess all risks prior to drilling. Having assessed detailed site plans, made suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks posed by those hazards and co-operated with principle contractor Vital Energi, we have made sure any rules or agreed methods of working are strictly adhered to.”

Heralded as the next sustainable model for urban development, the scheme is expected to be completed by 2020. Should the scheme prove successful it could be expanded to other areas of the city.

Aarsleff’s Managing Director Kevin Hague said:

“Aarsleff Ground Engineering are delighted to be part of such a significant scheme that could provide low-cost and environmentally friendly heating and hot water to 1,983 homes in Leeds, saving over 22,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. Responsibility is one of Aarsleff’s core values, and this project really adds to our green credentials, plus it’s given us another platform to showcase our unique multidisciplinary offering for clients seeking a one stop shop solution”.


Sheet piling to accommodate varying retained heights for new residential development

July 25th, 2018 No comments

Aarsleff Ground Engineering were awarded the contract by WW Martin Ltd to design & install 436 linear meters of sheet pile retaining wall for a new housing development off Hailsham Road in Herstmonceux, East Sussex.


Aarsleff are now on site & have taken delivery of over 100t of the 550t total requirement.

AGE main works will provide a wall with retained heights up to 6m to accommodate the existing sloping site & allow the housing development to be constructed behind.

WW Martin constructed a temporary piling platform for the AGE 80 tonne crawler crane to operate from & allows AGE to install pairs of Z piles using temporary guide frames as support until s

ufficient penetration in to the Wadhurst clay strata is achieved. A crane suspended high frequency vibro hammer is being utilised to install the Z- piles & the remaining 133 No. 7m long GU8N sheet piles will be installed with Aarsleff’s own Movax SG75 & Volvo base machine.

Aarsleff will be installing almost a full range of Z profiles for this project, with section lengths ranging from 9.5m to 17m long to accommodate the site’s varying retained heights from 2m to 6m.

Aarsleff Ground Engineering mobilised work on 11th June and are expected to be on site for approximately 6 / 8 weeks.

For more information about Aarsleff Ground Engineering and its driven sheet piling solutions, contact the company on 01636 611140 or email