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December 10th, 2019 No comments

Here at My Tool Shed, we thought we’d take a look to see how much some of the fastest-growing cities across the world have vastly evolved over the last 30 years. To highlight this, we wanted to go beyond just showing you stats and figures. As a result. we’ve created gifs that show five cities (Doha, Dubai, Las Vegas, Manama and Singapore) transforming from how they looked from the sky back in 1988, all the way through to last year and each year in between. So, read on and see how these cities have changed.



The economic growth of Dubai eclipses most others. Its initial boom was, like most other Middle Eastern cities, down to its oil supplies, but what most people don’t realise about Dubai is that its supply was modest compared to neighbouring cities and countries. Consequently, Dubai focused resources on tourism and in 2002, reforms allowed foreigners to own real estate. The industry boomed overnight, which is apparent when you discover that oil accounts for only 1% of Dubai’s GDP.

Dubai Evolving

City Stats

City Population End Of 1988 = 416,000

City Population End Of 2018 = 2,785,000

Increase (Number) = 2,369,000

Increase (%) = 569%



Manama is the capital and largest city of Bahrain. It’s been an important trading centre in the Persian Gulf historically, but its main growth recently has been a result of oil. In the ‘90s a concerted diversification effort led to expansion in other industries helping Manama develop into a financial hub in the Middle East.

Manama Evolving

City Stats

City Population End Of 1988 = 123,000

City Population End Of 2018 = 565,000

Increase (Number) = 442,000

Increase (%) = 359%

Las Vegas

Las Vegas

Billed as the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas is the home of nightlife. Casinos, bars, clubs, shopping, fine dining, you name it, Vegas has it. Not surprisingly, it’s the most populous city in the state of Nevada, but you might be surprised to discover that it’s becoming favoured more and more by families and those retiring too.

Las Vegas’s population was to hit 2 million in 2006 but thanks to a recession that number wasn’t met. However, it’s steadily recovering, now the 11th fastest-growing metropolitan area in the U.S. according to Forbes, with projected growth to 3.32 million by 2042, a 67% increase over 30 years, making it one of the largest expected population booms in the United States.

Las Vegas Evolving

City Stats

City Population End Of 1988 = 642,000

City Population End Of 2018 = 2,541,000

Increase (Number) = 1,899,000

Increase (%) = 296%



Doha is located on the coast of the Persian Gulf in the east of the country and is the capital and most populous city of the state of Qatar. Not only is it the most populous, it’s also the fastest-growing, with over 80% of the nation’s population living in the city or its surrounding suburbs. The city was founded in the 1820s when it became an offshoot of Al Bidda, previously the largest town in Qatar and became the country’s capital in 1971. It’s recognised as one of the emergent financial centres in the Middle East and has its own purpose-built artificial island off its coast called The Pearl.

Doha Evolving

City Stats

City Population End Of 1988 = 226,000

City Population End Of 2018 = 633,000

Increase (Number) = 407,000

Increase (%) = 180%



Singapore is technically known as a sovereign island city-state. Its territory consists of one main island and 62 other islets and has increased 23% in total size due to extensive land reclamation. It’s also one of the Four Asian Tigers, also known as Dragons or Little Dragons, which are the economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. These territories have become both world-leading international financial centres (Hong Kong & Singapore) and electrical component and device manufacturers (South Korea & Taiwan). They enjoyed rapid industrialisation and exceptionally high growth rates between the ‘60s and ‘90s and have served as role models for many other developing countries such as the ones included in the Tiger Club of South Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam).



Johor neighbours Singapore on the coast of mainland Malaysia. Its capital city is Johor Bahru, which is also the economic centre of the state. Currently Malaysia’s third largest city, it’s one that’s rapidly growing with its population increasing 162% in the last 30 years. Similarly to Singapore, Johor Bahru hosts many of the world’s top electronics manufacturers but is considered far more of an industrial city rather than one for tourism.

Singapore & Johor Evolving

City Stats

Singapore Population End Of 1988 = 2,877,000

Singapore Population End Of 2018 = 5,792,000

Singapore Increase (Number) = 2,915,000

Singapore Increase (%) = 101%

Johor Bahru Population End Of 1988 = 375,000

Johor Bahru Population End Of 2018 = 983,000

Johor Increase (Number) = 608,000

Johor Increase (%) = 162%

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Aarsleff Ground Engineering awarded the Piling for Phase Two of Segro Park Rainham

December 9th, 2019 No comments

Segro Park Rainham is set to be one of East London’s most advanced industrial and warehouse developments. As part of the East Plus Scheme to regenerate under-developed and brownfield sites, the park is expected to create many new employment opportunities for local people across a broad range of industries.

The success of phase one of the development, which saw in excess of 200,000 sq ft of unit space constructed, has led to start of phase two, which will bring an additional 108,000 sq ft of unit space to the park. Phase two will also bring advanced sustainability innovations and on-site amenities to the facilities to enhance the well-being and productivity of its occupiers.

A & H Construction awarded Aarsleff the foundations contract towards the end of September, which included the structural and slab foundations of all five units encompassed within phase two.

Commencing works on the 2nd December, Aarsleff will utilise three of its Junttan PMx22 and PM20 piling rigs to install over 1,140no. precast concrete piles of 250mm and 300mm square. The 300mm square section piles will be used for the building frame foundations, whilst the 250mm square section piles will be utilised for the floor slab foundations.

Some of the piles in a small area of the site were specified to be installed using minimal vibration methods due to being in close proximity to the London Tilbury rail line. Fortunately, Aarsleff was able to offer a CFA solution for these piles which will be installed using their Soilmec SF50, one of Aarsleff’s latest rig investments.

Aarsleff’s Senior Technical Estimator Dan Coe said,

“We are pleased to be awarded the piling works for phase two of Segro Park Rainham. It is also great to be working with A & H Construction again this year, having installed precast concrete piles in July for them on a new retail development off Newport Road in Cardiff.”

Aarsleff Ground Engineering expect to complete their piling works before Christmas with construction to be complete and ready for lease in Quarter 3 of 2020.

For more information about Aarsleff Ground Engineering’s ground engineering and piling solutions please call 01636 611140, visit or email


Launch of new methodology offers joined-up approach to investigating damp in traditional buildings

December 6th, 2019 No comments

Professional and heritage bodies are working together on a new blueprint to develop a best practice approach to investigating damp and excessive moisture in traditional properties.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland, and Cadw , have all collaborated with national trade body The Property Care Association to produce a working document on the subject.

Entitled ‘Investigation of moisture and its effects in traditional buildings,’ the discussion paper proposes a framework centred around seven key pillars.  These emphasise the importance of understanding the building and its context, the behaviour of moisture, and moisture-related defects. Differences between old and new buildings are highlighted. 

Also included are issues that need to be considered when assessing building condition, diagnosing defects, and making recommendations.  Legal requirements and the content of reports are discussed as well.

The paper was revealed to delegates at the PCA’s International Building Preservation Conference, held at The Slate, University of Warwick.

Stephen Hodgson, chief executive of the PCA, said: “The document offers a guide to the level of knowledge for anyone involved in the investigation of dampness and its outcomes in traditional buildings.

“This is the first time heritage organisations and building surveying and preservation specialists have joined forces on this matter.

“Ultimately when completed and adopted, the methodology will see a greater accountability and expectation placed on those tasked with investigating dampness in traditional and heritage buildings.

“It will ensure that all surveyors have the skills and knowledge that are presently expected of our members, and that is demonstrable in the qualifications required by PCA of its membership.”

The partner organisations are committed to the publication of the methodology and its use as a guide, standard and measure of competence. Currently it has the status of a working draft, and further amendments are possible before the process of drafting is completed. Also, the consultation procedures for each of the partner organisations must be followed before the methodology is formally adopted or endorsed.

Until then it cannot be used to dictate, measure or benchmark competence or measure a duty of care.

The PCA is confident in the abilities members the Association has unilaterally pledged to meet the expectation of the paper by January 2021.

Mr Hodgson added: “Damp, uncomfortable homes take their toll on the health and wellbeing of the people who live in them and can really impact on a person’s quality of life.

“Such conditions can also lead to costly defects in a building’s structure and fabric.

“By working together, using new technologies and advances, coupled with time-proven expertise and knowledge, we can find the very best solutions to address this important issue in traditionally built UK properties.”


Quick guide to delivery, storage and installation of Trussed Rafters

December 5th, 2019 No comments

New guidance from the Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) is designed to reduce risk to construction workers.

Improving safety at height is vital so to help, the TRA has produced guidance on delivery, storage and installation of trussed rafters.


Planning is essential when it comes to delivery of trusses. Information on the quantity, weights and sizes of the trusses in the roof package will be provided in advance to give site staff time to develop a safe construction phase plan for unloading, handling and installing the trusses.

A level, dry area is required for unloading and it must be clear of overhead obstructions that could get caught on the trusses.

Mechanical handling is the preferred method and it is the builder’s responsibility to ensure that suitable equipment is available for the safe unloading of trusses.


Once on site the trusses, either bundled or individual need to be stored fully supported and restrained at all times to prevent them toppling over.

Trusses should be protected from the elements and should never be left in or near water. When longer periods of storage are anticipated the trusses should be protected with covers allowing for ventilation.

Care should be taken when removing bindings from a bundle of trusses. To avoid destabilisation of the bundle, prior to the removal of the bands the builder should ensure timber battens are fixed across the bundle in several locations with a part driven nail in every truss. This will allow the safe and stable removal of single trusses once the bands are removed.


The installation of roof trusses should only be undertaken by suitably experienced and qualified personnel, such as those with a Level 2 Diploma in Site Carpentry.

A full site-specific risk assessment must be carried out before any work commences.

Here are several steps that builders should take before starting to install trusses:

  • Check and read all assembly drawings and information provided by the truss supplier
  • Ensure all personal protective equipment (PPE) is worn and correctly fitted
  • Ensure scaffolding is in place and signed off
  • Make sure that there is a safe working platform within the structure
  • Ensure hop-ups and scaffolding edge protection are in place
  • After reading the truss layout drawings, identify the easiest starting point using the simplest roof of trusses.

Due to the size and shape of trusses, mechanical handling is essential for all but the smallest  trusses. Temporary bracing needs to be used during the initial stages of construction and where appropriate this will require input from a temporary works specialist. Once a stable base is achieved with the first group of trusses, this can be comprehensively braced providing a substantial element from which subsequent work can take place.

Nick Boulton, chief executiveof TRA said: “Educating the sector on all areas of  good practice is part of what drives the TRA. We believe that it is important to share as much health and safety information and safe ways of working as possible. By working with a range of partners, including the Home Builders Federation and the HSE, we can ensure that the construction sector has access to the latest information.”

Further guidance on safely handling and installing trussed rafters is available via the TRA website at



December 4th, 2019 No comments

Liverpool Waters has welcomed two start-up business tenants to The Quay, Princes Dock, with professional services firm, Odin Consulting and financial services provider, Epic Finance, having recently moved into the city centre location.

For Epic Finance, this move is a reflection of the newly launched firm’s success to date, with further expansion planned. The start-up plans to use this office as its base, initially focusing on a niche market with future plans to expand into the mainstream vehicle and asset finance markets.

Ty Willson, Director of Marketing at Epic Finance, said:

“Liverpool Waters offer a great working environment right here in the city centre, bringing fantastic opportunities for us to recruit locally and allowing us to achieve our ambition of developing our business throughout the country.

“Liverpool is an ideal place to grow a new business and we foresee significant expansion over the next three years. This location will provide great opportunities for our people’s careers to flourish and grow with the business.”

Another newly launched business and having previously seen its staff working in Manchester and remotely, Odin Consulting brings its staff to the Liverpool city centre location. The team were looking for their own office space rather than a shared or co-working environment close to the city centre but ideally in a quiet location with light and airy office space.

Tamlyn Stone, Director at Odin Consulting, said:

“The quality of the building, the estuary and dock views and the fact that it is close to Moorfields station and the city centre were key factors in our decision to move to Liverpool Waters.

“To leave our home offices and move to a city centre base, the office needed to be somewhere inspirational where we and our clients want to travel to and this location ticks all of the boxes. The use of the internal atrium, the ability to hire a variety of meeting rooms and have a car park just next door mean that our relocation to Liverpool Waters made perfect sense.

“We plan to establish and grow our business providing professional accounting and business advice to entrepreneurial businesses using this location as the catalyst for servicing existing and obtaining new clients. Much of our work is conducted in our clients’ offices so this space will provide a perfect hub to tie our business operations together.”

Liza Marco, asset manager at Liverpool Waters, part of Peel L&P, said:

“It’s incredibly exciting to have these two start-up businesses joining us at Liverpool Waters, using the location as a catalyst to help their businesses grow. Being surrounded by so many businesses across all sizes and sectors, means that these new tenants will have enviable access to a huge number of organisations and prospective customers and clients in the city centre. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for these new businesses.

“There continues to be significant demand for commercial office space at Princes Dock which allows us to progress with our plans for the wider Liverpool Waters scheme.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about available space at Liverpool Waters, visit


Two new CPDs focus on smart technologies and environmental change

December 3rd, 2019 No comments

Architects and specifiers of door hardware products can now benefit from two new RIBA-approved CPDs on the Internet of Things (IoT) and ironmongery and the environment. 

The new CPDs have been created by the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI) for delivery exclusively by GAI members across the country.? 

The CPD on ‘Ironmongery and the impact of the Internet of Things’,?advises on the appropriate?products?for?smart homes and smart buildings.  ??? 

The training looks at how the rise of interrelated technology is impacting the ironmongery industry, including various smart locking and access control products. It also looks at the integration of these smart products with building management systems, as well as how future trends in technology and legislation may have further impact.  ? 

The other CPD is on ‘Ironmongery and the impact of the environment’. 

The presentation is designed to highlight the environmental sustainability impact of construction products, including door hardware, and how architectural ironmongers can help to reduce carbon emissions from buildings as well as how they can also change their own processes to reduce the impact on the environment.    

It covers industry initiatives and programmes including the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) activities, building certification schemes such as BREEAM and LEED, as well as ISO 14001 and other relevant environmental standards. It also discusses the role of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and how these relate to architectural ironmongery specifically.  

Both CPD presentations are RIBA-approved so architects will receive double learning points for attending. The GAI now has eight RIBA-approved CPDs covering a range of issues that architects and specifiers may encounter when specifying architectural ironmongery.  ? 

For further information?on the CPD seminars, contact?the GAI’s technical manager,?Douglas Masterson on?


Trio launches ‘Project Rescue’ to help clients avoid wasting money on property projects

December 2nd, 2019 No comments

Trio Maintenance Ltd., a property maintenance company working with agents, housing associations, private landlords and hotels, has launched ‘Project Rescue’ a consultation service designed to help clients avoid wasting money on property projects.

Sandro Heitor, co-founder of Trio, is one of the masterminds behind the new initiative, Project Rescue, which allows clients to consult experts and overlook their projects in order to check if they are on track with their current builder. Trio’s expert team will then guide the client and provide advice on whether they should be releasing more funds and if they have been priced correctly on the works involved.

The inspiration for Project Rescue comes after it was discovered that new clients looking to Trio for help had been left with 50% of their budgets wasted on projects that had only been 30% completed. This was often the result of poor money management, inaccurate valuations and unacceptable project management. Trio aims to prevent their clients from becoming victims of bad industry practices, instead helping them get the best value for their money. 

Project Rescue helps clients to solve their construction and property woes by providing timely and effective solutions that gets the job done, and many clients are already benefitting from Project Rescue.

In November 2019, Trio closed a joint venture development with a client going through a divorce and looking to develop her 5-bedroom house into 7 apartments in Streatham. Still having a mortgage to pay, and no lender, she faced experiencing huge financial loss to her property. After looking around for the right developer and builders for her situation, she was introduced to Trio and Project Rescue who helped her structure the deal to the best advantage.

The scheme went on to deliver results beyond the client’s expectations, helping her to keep all 7 of the apartments at the end of the build, completed in less than 6 months, as well as £300,000 liquid on day one. 

Sandro Heitor, co-founder of Trio says “We believe our approach and methods in business are way ahead of how most business owners we come across behave and approach business ventures, this is what makes Trio unique and different in the London property market. Project Rescue is just another way we are helping people to achieve better outcomes for their property construction projects.”

Project Rescue appears to be the answer to complex issues others cannot solve. Trio provides the client with creative ways to work around hurdles and constraints whilst making sure they are getting the best deal. The services they offer are unparalleled and extremely unique in the world of property and industry. 

For more information visit


You Can Still Make A Killing From These ‘Dying’ Trades

November 28th, 2019 No comments

Despite the number of articles about the digitalisation of the workforce and the notion that old-school trades are dying out, if you are able to master the craft, these ancient trades are still a viable option to earn a decent living.

Table showing annual wage of trades

10 Of The Oldest Trades And Experienced Worker Salaries

Oldest jewellery

1. Designer/Maker

Experienced Average Salary = £50,000

Typical Hours Per Week = 40-42

Job Age = 135,000 Years Old

The first piece of jewellery to ever be made is believed to be around 135,000 years old. A professor in charge of a Neanderthal collection found that some eagle talons had numerous cut marks and realised that they must have been used as jewellery, which was further confirmed by an international team. Today, jewellery designers and makers are probably the best paid out of the old-school trades, with those experienced in the craft earning over £50,000.

Example Routes To Becoming A Jewellery Design/Maker


University Of Creative Arts – Jewellery And Silversmithing – Bachelor Of Arts (With Honours)


Bath College – Jewellery


British Academy Of Jewellery – The BAJ Apprenticeship Programme – Jewellery Manufacturing

Specialist Courses

London Jewellery School – Diploma In Silver Jewellery

Oldest carpentry

2. Carpenter

Experienced Average Salary = £40,000

Typical Hours Per Week = 40-45

Job Age = 7,000 Years Old

Tests on an old German water well constructed from wood is believed to be around 7,000 years old and is considered the first example of carpentry. Fast forward to the present day and carpentry is still a valued profession, with 240,000 employed today in the UK, with experienced carpenters making around £40,000 per year. Carpenters making around £40,000 per year.

Example Routes To Becoming A Stonemason


Newcastle College –Carpentry And Joinery (Level 1 Diploma)


Dishley Commercial Interiors – Apprentice Site Carpenter & Joiner

Specialist Courses

City & Guilds – Carpentry Course

Earliest stonemasons

3. Stonemason

Experienced Average Salary = £35,000

Typical Hours Per Week = 43-45

Job Age = 6,000 Years Old

Around 6,000 years ago, man began shaping stone from primitive tools. Now thanks to the advancement of technology, shaping stone is far easier. It’s still a tough job but if it’s a craft that is of interest to you, the job is still in demand and you can make upwards of £35,000 doing it.

Example Routes To Becoming A Stonemason


Building Crafts College – Advanced Diploma In Stonemasonry


Laing Traditional Masonry – Stonemasonry Apprentice Programme

Specialist Courses

Ministry Of Stonemasonry – Introduction To Stonemasonry

Earliest known handmade glass object

4. Glassmaker

Experienced Average Salary = £50,000

Typical Hours Per Week = 42-44

Job Age = 5,500 Years Old

The earliest man-made glass objects were beads thought to originate from Eastern Mesopotamia (a historical region of Western Asia) and Egypt, around 3,500 BC. It’s also thought that during the Stone age, man used obsidian to craft weapons and decorative objects. Glassmaking is, of course, made differently today but nevertheless is still a sought-after service and thus glassmakers can make a solid £35,000+ salary, once experienced.

Example Routes To Becoming A Glassmaker


University Of Hertfordshire – Glass Art


Edinburgh College Of Art – Glass MFA

Apprenticeship – Glass Industry Occupations

Specialist Courses

The Glass Hub – 1 Day Glassblowing

First known tool

5. Toolmaker

Experienced Average Salary = £30,000

Typical Hours Per Week = 40-42

Job Age = 3.3 Million Years Old

The oldest stone tools date back 3.3 million years ago. They were discovered in Kenya at an archaeological site known as ‘Lomekwi 3’ near Lake Turkana. Around 20 anvils, cores and flakes were dug up and were generally quite large, with the largest weighing in at 15kg. The use of these tools is currently unknown.

If you want to be part of quite possibly the oldest craft ever, then you can and will be able to earn around £30,000 a year doing so.

Example Routes To Becoming A Toolmaker


Bishop Auckland College – Toolmaking


Coleg Gwent – Engineering Toolmaking Apprenticeship

Specialist Courses

Pearson – Engineering Toolmaking

Earliest known ceramic objects

6. Ceramics Designer/Maker

Experienced Average Salary = £30,000

Typical Hours Per Week = 40-42

Job Age = 24,000 Years Old

Ceramics designers/makers create products made from clay. Archaeologists have discovered ceramics that date back to at least 24,000 BC with the earliest examples found in what was once called Czechoslovakia. They were made from animal fat and bone mixed with bone ash and a fine clay-like material and were in the form of animal and human figurines, slabs and balls.

Today ceramic designers & makers create everything from plates and cups to piggy banks and vases and can earn around £30,000 a year.

Example Routes To Becoming A Ceramics Designer/Maker


University Of The Arts London – Ceramic Design – Bachelor Of Arts (With Honours)


Nottingham College – Ceramics For Beginners


Leach Pottery – Leach-Seasalt Apprenticeship

Specialist Courses

Clay College Stoke – Diploma Course

First example of furniture

7. Furniture Maker

Experienced Average Salary = £30,000

Typical Hours Per Week = 42-44

Job Age = 5,000 Years Old

The first documented instances of furniture being used dates back to the Neolithic period (approximately 5,500-2,500 BC). Furniture was made from stone and some of the earliest examples can be found in Skara Brae in Scotland. Independent furniture makers differ from furniture designers as their pieces are usually one-offs, whereas if you are a designer, you create the look for mass-produced furniture. Independent furniture makers on average make around £30,000 per year.

Example Routes To Becoming A Furniture Maker


City Of Bristol College – Furniture Making


The Edward Barnsley Workshop – Furniture Making Apprenticeship

Specialist Courses

The Chippendale International School Of Furniture – Introductory Course

First example of a lock

8. Locksmith

Experienced Average Salary = £30,000

Typical Hours Per Week = 42-44

Job Age = 4,000 Years Old

Another one of the ancient trades is locksmithing. Locks originated in Ancient Egypt and Babylon. It was once believed that these locks were small and portable, used to protect goods from thieves on travel routes, but this is not true. It’s now thought that those types of locks would be too sophisticated for that period. They were actually made from wood and were relatively large and crude. The locks had pins in them and could only be moved by a big wooden key, which once inserted, was pushed upwards rather than turned.

Locksmithing is still a valued trade today and you can earn around £30,000 per year.

Example Routes To Becoming A Locksmith


The Master Locksmiths Association – Apprenticeship In Locksmithing

Specialist Courses

Gateshead Locksmith Training – Beginners Locksmith Training Course

Iron age blacksmiths

9. Blacksmith

Experienced Average Salary = £30,000

Typical Hours Per Week = 47-49

Job Age = 3,500 Years Old

Blacksmiths work with different metals to make and repair decorative, industrial and everyday items. The craft can be traced all the way back to the Iron Age with the first instances hailing from what is now known as Syria. Compared to the number of carpenters (240,000) the number of blacksmiths pales in comparison. In 2010 there were only an estimated 600 blacksmiths working professionally in the UK. However, numbers are on the rise and if you want to go into this ancient trade you can make around £30,000 a year.

Example Routes To Becoming A Blacksmith


Hereford College Of Arts – Artist Blacksmithing – Bachelor Of Arts (With Honours)


Chichester College – Blacksmithing & Farriery (Creative Blacksmithing)

Specialist Courses

Peat Oberon’s School Of Blacksmithing – The Beginner’s Course

First known existence of upholstery

10. Upholsterer

Experienced Average Salary = £25,000

Typical Hours Per Week = 43-45

Job Age = 5,000 Years Old

The earliest examples of upholstery date back to the Ancient Egyptians when the wealthy had their furniture cushioned. This was discovered when archaeologists found the tomb of Tutankhamun. On the pharaoh’s throne was a scene that showed him sitting on a padded chair, with further studies stating that these padded chairs were still fashionable 150 years later.

As a profession, upholstery really began in the Middle Ages when wealthy homes started being fitted with padded seat cushions, decorative wall hangings and bedding began to emerge in what is described now as the textile revolution. Back in those days, the art was one of patience as workers had to use great skill and attention to detail, hand working pieces to completion. The job of an upholsterer can be one that is a freelance or self-employed role, nevertheless, you can still earn upwards of £25,000 per year.

Example Routes To Becoming A Upholsterer


Robert Gordon University Aberdeen – Gray’s School Of Art – Upholstery


Brockenhurst College – Upholstery


The British Contract Furnishing Association – New Furniture Apprenticeships

Specialist Courses

The Sewing Shed – Beginners Upholstery Class


GAI Education Awards show an industry facing a confident future

November 27th, 2019 No comments

The door and window hardware industry’s rising stars were celebrated this month at the 40th annual Guild of Architectural Ironmongers’ (GAI) Education Awards.

Held at the Royal Lancaster hotel, London, on November 7 2019, the awards celebrated the architectural ironmongery professionals who have achieved their GAI Diploma and recognised the highest achieving students. The awards were sponsored this year by ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK and Ireland.

This year, exams were sat by 390 learners across all three stages of the GAI education programme. Students came from 26 different countries, with just under half of them based outside the UK. There has been a particularly high number of learners from United Arab Emirates (UAE), China and India.

At the awards, Gold, Silver and Bronze medals were awarded to the highest achieving students at the GAI Diploma level and there were also prize awards for the top three students from the Certificate in Architectural Hardware (CiAH) level.

This year, the Diplomas and awards were given to students by former Top Gear Stig, Ben Collins.                

The full list of Education Awards winners in 2019 is:

The Pinnacle Award, sponsored by Eurobond Doors:

  • Bala Vignesh, ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions Middle East

GAI Diploma:

  • Gold – Bala Vignesh, ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions Middle East
  • Silver – Craig Birch, ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions
  • Bronze – Bernadeth Prometidos, Consort Middle East LLC

CiAH Prize Winners: 

  • First place – Andrew Marshall, ASSA ABLOY New Zealand
  • Second place – Ian Tisdale, Carlisle Brass
  • Third place – Michael Hunt, More Handles

Dave Timson, technical sales director at Eurobond Doors, presented this year’s Pinnacle Award to Bala Vignesh, specification consultant at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions Middle East.

Bala Vignesh said of his career and Diploma success:

“I had been working in the door and ironmongery industry for eight years and wanted to get to grips with all the essentials of architectural ironmongery. I wanted to be able to walk into meetings with customers with confidence, knowing that everything I’m specifying is up to code and is the best choice of product.

“At the moment there are technical and regulatory changes everywhere. Locks are changing from mechanical to electrical, 2D drawings are becoming 3D models, and the way that we specify is also evolving. It is important that we stay up to date, and the GAI Diploma programme has prepared me for this.”

Julian Newman, president of the GAI, said:

“The scrutiny of the skills, qualifications and competence of everyone in the building industry has never been higher, and each part of the supply chain needs to prove its worth. The GAI Diploma makes this possible in our sector. It is the only recognised programme in the world that leads to a qualification in architectural ironmongery to British and European standards.”

The awards recognised the industry’s rising stars at each stage in the GAI education programme.

While the Diploma is the primary qualification for professional architectural ironmongers, the Certificate in Architectural Hardware is particularly useful for those working in related warehouse and trade counter roles, procurement, scheduling and estimating, customer service, technical support, sales and administration. Comprising two stages with 24 online education modules, the Certificate covers the product knowledge required by these roles.

Following completion of the Certificate in Architectural Hardware, students can progress to the GAI Diploma. The Diploma builds on product knowledge and enables the writing of accurate hardware specifications and quotations. This qualification is particularly suited to those in customer service, contract management, scheduling and estimating, technical and sales. To become a full GAI member, a company must have at least one employee who has passed the GAI Diploma.

ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions sponsored the GAI Education Awards.


2019 brings milestone birthdays for GAP Hire Solutions and Kubota UK!

November 26th, 2019 No comments

2019 has seen Kubota UK turn 40, giving us a chance to reflect on how the construction industry has witnessed significant change over the last few decades; whether that be through technological innovation, shifts in the economic climate or changes in how to hire the right skills. But one of its oldest partners also has cause for celebration this year.

Our friends at GAP Hire Solutions have been celebrating the 50th anniversary of the company throughout 2019. Over the last half a century the company has grown to become the UK’s largest independent plant, tools, equipment and vehicle rental firm. Established in 1969 by Gordon Anderson, the family-owned and run business operates from over 140 depots and employs over 1,800 people nationwide. GAP has remained a family-run business, ensuring that the same family principles on which the company were founded continue to this day.

GAP and Kubota UK have worked together for many years, with the former selling over 500 construction machines since the partnership began, and for much of their partnership, Kubota UK has been GAP’s sole supplier of mini and midi excavators. To celebrate this milestone and its longstanding relationship with the hire company, Kubota has gifted GAP with a gold Kubota machine. For the next year, 50% of all hire revenue from the golden machine will go to The Lighthouse Club, a charity which provides financial and emotional support to the construction community and their families. The most recent rental of the machine secured £180 for this organisation.

To support this initiative and local charities affecting the construction industry, Kubota has pledged to match the money GAP raises through the golden machine.

Ken Stewart, Head of Procurement at GAP Group, said:

“Here at GAP, we run a large fleet of Kubota excavators ranging in size from 800kg to 8.0t. When looking at the types of products we want to buy, price is and always will be an important factor. But we also look closely at factors such as the cost of ownership, reliability, after sales support and general market acceptance. In our opinion, the Kubota product continues to tick all the boxes and is well received by both our customers and our UK depot network.

“We have a strong affinity with Kubota in general with their engines being used in so many of our other products such as compressors, tandem ride on rollers, dumpers, lighting towers and generators to name but a few.

“We look forward to working with Kubota UK for the next 50 years and beyond!”

Glen Hampson, Business Development Manager Construction Division at Kubota UK commented:

“GAP is Kubota UK’s largest independent customer, and this is a testament to the strength of the relationship that we have built with the team over the last few years. We know that our machines are well suited to GAP’s needs as they provide reliable, well designed and robust solutions to withstand the rigours of the hire industry. What’s more, our responsive dealership network has allowed GAP to rapidly respond to customer and depot requirements. From all of us at Kubota UK, we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all our friends and colleagues at GAP. We can’t wait to see what they do next!

GAP has launched a commemorative book in celebration of the company’s 50th anniversary, which chronicles the development of the company from its inception to its plans for the future. The various contributions throughout the book have come from the Anderson family as well as GAP’s employees, customers, suppliers and friends of the family and company. You can find this here: