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ENGIE secures major contracts to support zero-carbon ambitions for Milton Keynes council

October 18th, 2019 No comments

Leading energy and services Group, ENGIE, has been announced as the preferred bidder for two new significant contracts with Milton Keynes Council.

ENGIE has been appointed by the Council to deliver a range of innovative energy improvements and carbon reduction initiatives to the Council’s land and built assets through the national Re:fit Energy Performance Contract framework. The Re:fit framework, co-owned and managed by Local Partnerships and the Greater London Authority (GLA) allows public sector bodies to achieve guaranteed financial benefits through energy efficiency and generation projects.

ENGIE will initially assess a number of Council buildings and thereafter deliver energy-saving projects under an Energy Performance Guarantee. The first phase of the Re:fit project is expected to attract an initial capital investment, addressing authority owned sheltered housing and other buildings.  

It is expected that further phases of the project could attract further investment in excess of £50m, likely involving large scale renewable energy and storage projects, directly linked to the delivery of the Council’s strategic development plans.

ENGIE has also been appointed to provide facilities management services in a 7+3 year contract. Procured through the ESPO public sector owned professional buying framework, ENGIE will deliver a portfolio of building maintenance, cleaning, security and helpdesk services.

Sam Hockman, Divisional Chief Operating Officer at ENGIE said: “As a business, we are deeply committed to making the journey to zero carbon happen. It is great to partner with a customer like Milton Keynes Council, who share the vision of a post-carbon society. We cannot wait to provide our energy and asset management expertise in support of the Council’s ambitions.”

Milton Keynes Council has previously announced ambitions to be carbon neutral by 2030 and carbon negative by 2050, which the contracts with ENGIE will help to achieve.

Council Leader Pete Marland is clear on the commitments, saying “We want MK to be the world’s first post-carbon city, and how we manage our own assets is an important step towards this goal. ENGIE demonstrated a clear understanding of our ambitious targets for carbon reduction and the same commitment to delivering a significant impact through their work.”

ENGIE has long term experience in successfully providing both facilities management and energy efficiency services to a wide range of public sector establishments and is due to begin works on both Milton Keynes contracts later this year.

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Trident slams the door on fire

October 17th, 2019 No comments

Evidence continues to pile up about continued fire door failures in residential and commercial property, according to Trident Building Consultancy.

As Fire Door Safety Week takes place this week, two of Trident’s building surveyors have catalogued the most common fire door defects they find when undertaking inspections.

Since the Grenfell Tower tragedy, Trident has been working on a number of projects where buildings have required replacement cladding and updated fire risk assessments. This work has also revealed hundreds of failing fire doors.

One project included multiple residential tower blocks. An intrusive survey was carried out on a sample of seven fire doors per each block. Architraves were removed to expose the detailing between the door frame and structural opening to allow the surveyor to cross check it with requirements of the fire test evidence. The survey found that the door frame installations were not compliant with the relevant test evidence and wouldn’t provide the required period of fire resistance. This defect, among others found, resulted in all of the fire doors and frames needing to be replaced. 

Christian Watkins, an assistant building surveyor at Trident who worked on the project, said:

“It was shocking to see that every single one of the sample fire doors we inspected was non-compliant. Once the architrave was removed, we could see the back of the door frame was packed with pink foam. This wasn’t going to act as any sort of barrier and clearly wasn’t in accordance with the test evidence for the fire doors. These buildings were only refurbished in 2015.”

Further failings that Christian Watkins and Trident executive director, Matt Clare, have recorded on a regular basis included:

  • Lack of maintenance records.
  • Missing or painted intumescent seals, which compromises fire resistance.
  • Fanlight windows above doors being replaced with plywood, which doesn’t offer the fire resistance needed.
  • Integrated ventilation grills without any fire resisting properties.
  • Gaps between the door and the door frame are often excessive.
  • Missing or incorrect fire escape signage.
  • Locked fire doors.
  • Additional untested ironmongery installations.
  • Door closers not performing as intended.

Matt Clare, one of the specialist advisers on the Steering Group on Competence for Building a Safer Future and its working group looking at the skills and training requirements for fire risk assessments, said:

“Design and build is partly to blame. It is absolutely clear to me that such contracts and procurement routes, where risk in construction contracts is being shifted onto the contractors, has driven the wrong behaviours when it comes to building safety.

“I think that the loss of the clerk of works from construction is another factor. There are things being done that you would never have got away with in a traditionally procured contract because the clerk of works would have told you to take it down and do it again. That doesn’t happen anymore.

“But there’s also an overall decline in standards of workmanship and care and pride when it comes to our buildings. And that’s the very pernicious attitude we need to change fastest, across all trades and professions.”

Trident responded to the interim Hackitt Report last year, calling for clerks of works to be reinstated as the norm. It referenced one of its recent projects – a new build care home in Scarborough – and praised how the clerk of works on that site oversaw the installation of fire doors:

Christian Watkins said:

“I inspected the development during the plastering stage when the fire doors were also being installed. It was interesting to note that the carpenters were fitting the doors extremely tight into the frame. This was to allow for the timber shrinkage that occurs when heating is applied to the building and the plaster finishes dry out. Once the moisture levels had stabilised, final adjustments were made to the doors. This approach ensured that gaps between the door, frame and threshold didn’t shrink and then exceed the maximum acceptable standards. I’ve never seen that method being used before and it prevented anyone having to go back and rectify the doors post-build.”

In addition to having a clerk of works on new build projects, Trident has given its strongest support to the idea of a compulsory competency register for fire door installers, in line with the recommendations in the Raising the Bar report. Trident recommends to all its clients that only complete fire door sets are specified, tested through a third-party certification scheme such as BWF-CERTIFIRE, which provides full traceability.

Matt Clare said:

“It is our responsibility both as property owners and construction professionals to ensure that we are prioritising fire safety throughout a building’s life. Properly specified, fitted and maintained fire doors are a fundamental part of this.”

www.tridentbc.com

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The future of construction gets scrutinised at UK Construction Week 2019

October 16th, 2019 No comments

An eclectic, forward thinking crowd of 34,327 construction professionals attended UK Construction Week on 8-10 October. There was a particular swell in visitors keen to learn about future technologies and how they could be applied to their businesses. 

The future of construction and how it is driving change was a major focus at this year’s event and it was clearly a driver to bring the crowds to the show at the NEC in Birmingham.

Kevin Reeves, director of IoT & digital twin at Costain, said:

“Being my first time at UK Construction Week, I was blown away by the scale and diversity of the event, it was very impressive.”

Mark Ireland, chief engineer of technology strategy at the Manufacturing Technology Centre commented:

“It was a busy few days and there were a great mix of attendees, from new industry entrants to managing directors and chief executives. It was really engaging to meet with the next generation and to meet people who aren’t already entrenched in traditional attitudes around construction.”

Feedback from a new business perspective was also extremely positive. Brendan Hourican, national sales and marketing manager at CircofloPro said:

“It was an incredible show. I came away with at least 60-70 excellent business leads. One project alone will pay for the cost of attending the show. It’s been so successful, if I’d known I’d have gone for a larger stand and brought more of our team along.”

Ade Feeney, divisional account manager at Tradepoint B&Q also commented on the levels of interest from younger attendees, saying:

“We’ve had some great conversations. It was a good show, very busy, and we spoke to a lot of young professionals who are the future of the industry. They were really engaged.”

Among the 300 speakers and 150 hours of content, major highlights last week included the first industry appearance for the Construction Minister, Nadhim Zahawi MP, and keynote speeches and debates featuring Lord Digby Jones, architect George Clarke, modern methods of construction (MMC) advocate Mark Farmer and diversity champion Angela Dapper, principal at Grimshaw Architects.

Mental health in the industry was also a major focal point at the show, making UK Construction Week the largest event in the sector to address these issues. UK Construction Week worked alongside Public Health England to launch Every Mind Matters to the construction industry. 

Sam Park, head of marketing at Aliaxis, said:

“I was very impressed with the Every Mind Matters connection as I’m a mental health first aider at work. The focus on mental health at UK Construction Week was great. This is an audience which typically doesn’t like to talk, and they should. There was a lot happening on the stands and the support which is available. Hats off to UK Construction Week, from a mental health first aider perspective this really helps get the message out.”

UK Construction Week took innovation to a new level this year with its partnership with the Construction Innovation Hub (the Hub) and the new innovation zone. On a practical front there were a record number of product launches, showcases and demos providing something for all construction professionals regardless of trade. This was also the inaugural year for the co-launch of the very successful Concrete Expo.

Now in its second year, the UK Construction Week Role Model of the year award went to Anjali Pindoria, project surveyor at Avi Contracts. She is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion within construction.

Sustainability was a major push for the event with all exhibitors being encouraged to sign up to a ‘net zero’ agreement to boost awareness of the UK’s carbon-cutting goals and encouraged to follow tips to boost their own sustainability. The printed show guide was switched for an environmentally friendly app, and to help reduce single-use plastic, free water fountains were installed around the show and free reusable bottles given out. 

Summarising a very successful show, Nathan Garnett, event director said:

“This year’s UK Construction Week for me was brimming with positivity. In a time of political and economic uncertainty, the UK’s largest showcase for the sector showed signs of transformation, as it adopts innovation at a faster pace than ever. The feeling all around was that we have a lot of work to do, come what may, so let’s get on with doing it in the safest, fastest and most efficient way possible by harnessing the potential of new technologies. 

“UK Construction Week 2019 also tackled mental health in the sector head on with the support of the Every Mind Matters campaign, as we continue the role of improving mental health in construction for good. I was delighted how open the construction industry has now become on this subject and great conversations have started.

“Finally, to see the talent and diversity on stage for our UK Construction Awards, Fix Radio Awards and Role Model 2019 presentation shows how far we have come in the fifth edition of the event. Although there is a mountain still to climb, as an industry we should all be proud of that transformation.” 

Looking to the future, UK Construction Week will be hosting a series of specialist summits in the New Year, including:

To find out more visit summits.ukconstructionweek.com.

The dates for next year’s UK Construction Week are 6-8 October 2020.

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Kubota unveils new KX080-4a2 midi excavator

October 15th, 2019 No comments

New machine delivers usual Kubota efficiency with a cleaner design and improved performance

Kubota, a leading manufacturer of construction machinery, today announces the launch of the KX080-4a2 as the latest in its range of midi excavators.

This new machine is capable of the same reliable performance as previous models but includes Kubota’s V3307 direct injection engine – which is now fully Stage-V compliant.  The new model has a reduced engine RPM DPF re-gen, giving reduced noise levels, increased DPF re-gen intervals and increased DPF replacement life. This reduces maintenance costs and the machine’s environmental impact whilst enhancing productivity for a wide range of tasks.

The KX080-4a2 incorporates a brand new 2-pump load-sensing hydraulic system which ensures smoother operations when using front attachments, regardless of loading size. By allowing hydraulic oil to flow according to the specific range of the operator’s lever motion, the new system reduces fuel consumption and improves the overall operating performance. The machine’s auto idling system is fitted as standard – reducing not only running costs but noise and exhaust emissions, enabling users to operate in a wider range of environments. What’s more, vital components such as the battery, fluid tanks and filters are now easier to access, making maintenance simpler than ever.

Numerous safety features come as standard on the KX080-4a2; such as the auto-stop function on the tank’s electric refuelling pump, an anti-drop valve on the boom and arm cylinder, advanced visibility mirrors, a seat belt indicator and increased stability. The machine is protected by Kubota’s highly regarded anti-theft system, meaning only programmed keys will enable the engine to start up. Anyone attempting to start with an un-programmed key will activate the alarm. Newly enhanced features send an alert to remind the operator to extract the key after operation, and an LED to alert potential thieves that the system is activated.

The updated excavator – which is a compact width of 2,200mm comes with a floating dozer blade fitted as standard. This model has been designed with improved operator comfort, including a more spacious cab, improved foot space, including a re-designed foot pedals and deluxe high-back suspension seat. The cab features an air conditioning unit and an easy-to-read LCD panel so users can monitor the machine’s status at all times.

The machine can also be equipped with a two-piece boom. This feature’s user-friendly design makes operation simple whilst its innovative hydraulic mechanism enables smooth operation. Users benefit from expanded working range, impressive dumping range and the ability to operate in narrow spaces.

Glen Hampson, Business Development Manager, Construction Division, Kubota UK, comments: “We are delighted to be unveiling our latest midi excavator. At Kubota, our customers and their needs are at the heart of every one of our products and the KX080-4a2 is no exception. Offering a market leading performance with improved comfort and lower maintenance costs, this newest addition to our fleet will enhance convenience and boost productivity for users, without compromising on Kubota’s well-renowned reliability. It will also aid compliance with the latest environmental and industry standards, making it the ideal excavator for a range of different jobs and environments.”  

For more information on the new KX080-4a2 or the rest of the Kubota construction machinery range, please contact your local authorised Kubota dealer or visit https://kuk.kubota-eu.com/constructionmachinery.

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A deeper dive into BIM – a new immersive experience brings 3D models to life at Digital Construction Week

October 15th, 2019 No comments

A deeply immersive experience that allows architects, engineers and contractors to explore, touch and annotate 3D BIM models as they ‘walk’ through construction and civil engineering projects will be on display at next week’s Digital Construction Week (DCW) at ExCeL, London.

3D Repo, the pioneer of a cloud-based digital construction platform for design collaboration in 3D BIM, has partnered with Mission Room to bring one of its large touch-screen media displays to the show. This installation enables a virtual walk-through of construction and infrastructure projects, giving greater depth of understanding of the projects’ complexities, risks and solutions.

Consisting of three large screens and suspended projectors, Mission Room’s theatre-style viewing system allows project managers to view their BIM models like never before. Clients, contractors and designers can conduct detailed cross-functional reviews of models from any location, and the software allows them to annotate content and quickly share results across the business.

In addition to demonstrating its multi award-winning BIM collaboration tools, 3D Repo is offering visitors the opportunity to see a demo of their own 3D models on the large screen at stand E22 at Digital Construction Week on 16-17 October.

Delegates can email 3D Repo at marketing@3drepo.com to request a secure link so they can upload their models prior to the event.

Dr Jozef Dobos, founder and CEO of 3D Repo, says:

“Digital Construction Week is all about exploring the potential of industrial technologies to help create a better built environment, and we’re excited to join the conversation, to discover new opportunities, and to showcase the possibilities of our own digital platform.”

3D Repo is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform for BIM coordination in the cloud. Its platform allows users to manage 3D model revisions and to highlight potential issues using live collaboration tools, which enable the whole project team to work from a single source of truth anywhere and at any time.

Instead of architects, engineers and contractors sharing massive proprietary files in a costly and time-consuming manner, they can simply point their web browser to an encrypted cloud platform in order to examine each project stage virtually.

The 3D Repo team has collaborated on a number of large-scale projects with companies such as Atkins, Balfour Beatty, Bryden Wood, Buro Happold, Canary Wharf Contractors and Crossrail among others.

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Where To Get Personalised Employee Uniforms For Your Business In London

October 14th, 2019 No comments

A work uniform holds more significance than just being a branded garment that is worn in a workplace. The uniform speaks about the type of business, and the service you can expect, after all if a company takes pride in their employees then you can expect motivated staff who are dedicated to the company and strive to deliver 100% customer satisfaction. A uniform also emphasises inclusion within the workplace, making the employees feel valued, part of the team and possibly the most importantly is the fact nobody stands out, meaning each employee can be treated equally.

What Kind Of Uniform?

Before you jump into kitting out your workforce, it is important to understand the kind of uniform you will need for your staff, as different job roles have different demands from the garment being worn. Take an electrician for example, you would expect hardwearing materials, plenty of pockets, knee pads and a level of protection from the elements, whereas someone working in a shop you would expect a smart casual outfit in the company colours, a name badge and potentially a hat to top off the uniform.

So, before we get into the detail of what garments to buy, we should first ask ourselves what do we need and expect from the uniforms we will be wearing? Is there a specific style in mind, or certain garments you are trying to avoid for any reason? These are both very different questions but are both highly important, after all you don’t want to invest time money and effort into staff uniforms to have members of your team demotivated by the prospect.

How About Personalisation?

Have you considered personalisation? There are many great companies out there such as a Banana Moon Clothing who not only specialise in personalised clothing printing, but also have a dedicated location in London for those customers in the south of England. Here you will find a family run business with a passion for personalisation, as well as a wealth of resources and an impressive range of garments for any industry and personalisation.

Plain & Simple

Is plain and simple more your business? Maybe personalisation isn’t your cup of tea and you are looking for plain garments for your employees to out their own stamp on it. If this is your plan, then have you considered a name badge? This is a great way for your staff to appear approachable, as it puts a name to the face, allowing a greater degree of customer service.

Now it’s down to you, we have explored the benefits of having a staff uniform, and the options available for your employees. Before you place an order though, it could be worthwhile getting the buy in from your employees, as dictating their outfit for work can be demotivating, but getting the buy in from the get go can eliminate this problem before it arises.

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RED MATERIALS PURCHASES NEXT GEN D6 DOZER – FIRST IN THE UK

October 14th, 2019 No comments

Red Materials Ltd (Red), specialists in the treatment, re-use and disposal of construction soils throughout the UK, has invested in the Catâ Next-generation D6 Dozer, the first to be sold in the UK – in a deal with Finning UK & Ireland. The machine is the latest addition to the company’s expanding Caterpillar fleet and was chosen for its efficiency and improved technology.

 The dozer has replaced a D6T (2015) and joins the existing Caterpillar fleet at Red Materials which includes 730 Articulated Dump Trucks, 950 Wheel Loaders and Cat 320 Excavators along with the tried and trusted D6 Dozer fleet. Red continues to expand their spread of facilities, working alongside major UK landfill operators throughout the UK in the Midlands, Surrey, Yorkshire and Wales.

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Poll reveals alarming lack of fire door knowledge across trades

October 11th, 2019 No comments

Despite reporting a growth in demand for fire safety products and devices in the last year, a new poll by online ironmongery supplier IronmongeryDirect has revealed that over half (54%) of tradespeople do not know how to check that a fire door is operating correctly and complies with regulations.

Big fire in the office building

The poll also found that 84% of respondents don’t believe there is enough fire door safety information readily available to tradespeople, despite extensive media coverage about the dangers of inadequate fire protection following the Grenfell disaster in 2017.

The results are published in support of the seventh annual Fire Door Safety Week (23 September – 29 September), which aims to highlight the importance of fire doors and increase good fire safety practice across the trade industries.

The online poll follows a national survey of 2,000 adults which was carried out by IronmongeryDirect. The results show a disturbing lack of general awareness on the life-saving role that fire doors play, with almost six in ten (59%) of the general public admitting they do not know how to identify a fire door.

Ian Moore, CEO at the Fire Industry Association, said: “Fire door-sets are a critical fire safety measure, designed, tested, manufactured and third party certified to exacting standards.  For that reason, they need to be maintained in line with the door-set manufacturer’s instructions with the correct replacement parts.“

The research emphasises the need for tradespeople and the wider public to be more aware of the essential role that fire doors play in keeping them safe. Fire doors are designed to withstand fire for between 30 and 240 minutes and, when maintained correctly, they can make a remarkable difference in saving lives and reducing spread during a fire.

Managing Director of IronmongeryDirect, Wayne Lysaght-Mason, commented: “We are pleased to see an increase in the sale of fire safety products across the industry. However, it is worrying that a large proportion of tradespeople still seem to lack basic fire door safety knowledge.

“A well installed and maintained fire door can really be the difference between life and death for building occupants. We urge all tradespeople to use our new online fire door checklist to help assess whether fire doors they are responsible for are safe and legally compliant.”

For more guidance,view IronmongeryDirect’s Fire Door Checklist: ironmongerydirect.co.uk/fire-door-checklist

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“Beacons of light” – Inaugural construction awards announced at UK Construction Week

October 10th, 2019 No comments

New industry awards to recognise the 10 best businesses in construction as voted by the sector’s role models were announced yesterday, on the first day of UK Construction Week (8 October 2019).

The UKCW Construction Awards celebrate innovation and excellence among a range of large and small contractors, architects, clients, suppliers and manufacturers serving the industry. The winners were announced by architect George Clarke at the UK’s largest construction event which is now in its fifth year.

The 10 winners were:

  • Contractor of 2019 – Sir Robert McAlpine
  • Construction Client of 2019 – Scape Group
  • Architectural Practice of 2019 – Grimshaw Architects
  • House Builder of 2019 – Swan Housing
  • Construction Supplier of 2019 – Ward
  • Construction Project of 2019 – Royal Opera House
  • Construction Employer of 2019 – Aylaa Exclusive
  • Digital Pioneer 2019 – Atkins
  • Modern Methods of Construction Pioneer 2019 – Mace
  • Product Innovation Award 2019 – Laing O’Rourke for its D-Frame demountable building system

Nathan Garnett, event director at UK Construction Week, said:

“We have wanted to host these awards for some time, but this year it was made possible by our industry Role Models who gave us their very honest and forthright views on who should receive these accolades.

“The businesses chosen as winners from a shortlist of more than 60 companies have convinced the toughest of judges – the people who are part of their delivery partners or supply chains, and the people who are inspiring others to join the construction industry.

“So it is great to be able to recognise the excellence we see all around us in this sector, and the businesses who are forging ahead on innovation despite the climate of uncertainty that is affecting construction so badly. They are beacons of light for the whole sector.”

The UKCW Role Model of the Year award, a separate celebration, is happening at the show today (9 October).

UKCW is one event with many sections, including Build sponsored by Easy-Trim, Building TechCivilsEnergy and HVACSurface and Materials, and Timber. It also features Concrete Expo (8-9 October only) and Grand Designs Live (9-10 October only). Single registration gives free access to all areas of the show.

Last minute tickets are still available via the website www.ukconstructionweek.com

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Aldi plans new supermarket every week

October 10th, 2019 No comments

Discount supermarket chain Aldi is stepping up its store opening programme with a focus on London within the M25.

Its target is to expand the existing 840 stores network to 1,200 stores by 2025.

Over the next two years alone, the German grocer will invest £1bn to double the number of stores inside the M25, from 45 to 100 and build a further 100 stores across the UK.

The stores will be a mix of standard-sized stores costing from £2.5-£4m and its smaller convenience stores often using existing high street property.

New stores opening soon include Sydenham and Blackheath in southeast London, and Watford.

In the pipeline, Aldi has plans to open standard stores in Ruthin, Wales; Cumnock, East Ayrshire; Glasgow; Salford; Wolverhampton; Derby; Leicester; Luton; Ipswich; Sittingbourne, Kent; and Feltham in London.

UK boss Giles Hurley said: ‘While our expansion will continue to reach every part of the UK, we’re increasing our focus on London, where our market share is just 3.4 per cent, compared to 8.1 per cent nationally.”

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