UK construction blog


Archive for November, 2009

UK wave energy project moves forward

November 30th, 2009 2 comments

beachA joint venture of VolkerStevin Marine and Westminster Dredging has been named as preferred contractor for the design and construction of the Siadar Wave Energy Project on the Isle of Lewis.

The Siadar Wave Energy Project will use Voith Hydro Wavegen’s Oscillating Water Column technology and will produce about 8,000 MWh per year, based on an assumed capacity of 4 MW.

This is enough electricity to supply the average annual electricity needs of around 1,500 UK homes, equal to a fifth of all homes on Lewis and Harris, each year. This is based on the UK average domestic electricity consumption of about 4,700 kWh over the life of the project. This figure may change as average domestic consumption changes.

The team is currently undertaking a feasibility study looking at the construction design and viability, with the aim of fabrication works starting in 2010.

The near shore structure to house the wave-powered turbines will involve the construction of a concrete breakwater structure.

This will be built in sections, about 50-meter long, in a dry dock, before being floated out to the site and immersed on the prepared seabed.

Siadar will be the first commercial-scale scheme in the UK generating clean electricity created through wave energy.

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UK Green Building Council calls for low-carbon buildings

November 27th, 2009 Comments off

greenbuildingThe UK Green Building Council has set out new guidelines for the nation’s construction industry.

According to the council, the sector must boost its energy efficiency so that it can reduce carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2020.

Paul King, the organisation’s chief executive, is calling on the construction industry to take into consideration the impact it can have on helping the UK to achieve its CO2 reduction targets.

Speaking at the UK Green Building Council’s annual conference, Mr King revealed scientists and pressure groups were now calling for CO2 cuts of 40 per cent and that the construction sector needed to play a bigger role in achieveing this.

He said: “We drastically need to cut emissions from all sectors, but the built environment offers the best cost-effective opportunity to do that. We have the technology and the know-how in the industry.

“I do not underestimate the size of the challenge, but I believe that by working together with government, industry and building occupiers, we can deliver cuts of 50 per cent by 2020.”

Industry giants Balfour Beatty and LendLease have given their support to the proposals.

Dubai fall-out hits banking, construction

November 27th, 2009 Comments off

Debt problems in Dubai have thrown European markets a scare, with chunky losses seen on all the major bourses. Stocks with any connection to Dubai were punished especially hard.

Dubai stunned financial markets late yesterday when it announced that Dubai World and its subsidiary Nakheel were seeking a debt standstill ahead of a restructuring.

Concerns over debt defaults naturally made investors wary of holding banking shares and as a result banks featured prominently among the worst performers. Credit Agricole, BNP Paribas and Societe Generale fell heavily in Paris, while Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank hit the skids in Frankfurt. In Switzerland, Credit Suisse took a hit while UK banks HSBC, Lloyds Banking and Royal Bank of Scotland were also under the cosh.

Airbus firm EADS (European Aeronautic, Defence and Space), which is part owned by Dubai, was friendless while Porsche and its merger partner Volkswagen got caught in the crossfire, on fears about the 17% stake in the merged company that will be held by the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar.

Cement maker Lafarge plunged on fears that Dubai’s troubles will signal a further slow-down in infrastructure development in the Middle East.

Away from the Dubai fall-out Saint Gobain took a tumble after Goldman Sachs cut the construction materials firm from ‘neutral’ to ‘sell’.

Across the markets, the Dax slumped 188 points in Frankfurt to 5,614, while the Cac lost 129 point to close at 3,742. The Swiss market index shed 138 points to 6,342.


SAVE £300 – Sitemaster Building LT

November 24th, 2009 Comments off
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BuildingLT gives you many handy ways to create walls (even double line walls), windows, doors, openings and symbols. You can measure and draw rectangular and circular columns, recesses, chimneys and niches/ductes. You can use the EnterPoint dialog for precise entry of coordinates and angle/distance values.

Sitemaster Building LT Screenshot

The extensive features are especially interesting for users that need to create and deliver professional digital floor plans.

The layer management supports the combination of several floor plans in one single file. Heights of rooms, openings and symbols can be recorded and exported. Lasered distances are recorded in the background and saved on an extra layer for proofing purposes.

The Camera function allows you to insert icon-referenced inspection photos and images. SiteMaster Building contains an Image function for direct insertion and scaling of photos and image underlays with support for file formats as BMP, JPG, PNG, TIFF and RLC digital photos and images.

VoiceNotes that can easily been inserted eliminate time consuming text markup by providing record and playback of high-compressed audio notes and instructions directly inside your drawings.

AutoCAD-compatible drawing symbols / blocks can be used. The Visual Symbol Manager lets you insert symbols ? as-measured, referenced or free in the drawing. You can export Excel-compatible .csv files with room/area lists and room schedule reports/symbol lists. The Check Distance function lets you compare »as-built« distances to plan distances and record this comparison.

Experienced power users can use the visual Desktop, Menu and Toolbar Editor (DME2) and Lisp and/or C++ programming APIs to customize and extend the program furthermore.

Positive future for UK construction jobs, report suggests

November 24th, 2009 2 comments
jobsA positive outlook has been forecast for construction recruitment in the UK.

Global Construction Perspectives has published a study, entitled Global Construction 2020, which predicts that the UK’s construction industry will become one of the strongest in Western Europe.

According to the report, over the next decade the UK will secure its place in the top ten list of the world’s most successful construction markets.

Company spokesman Mike Betts says  “The UK’s construction market has suffered during the recession but will recover stronger than many of its Western European neighbours from 2011.”

Researchers predicted that Britain will have to continue to face the brunt of the economic downturn until year-on-year growth returns in 2011.

However, the UK construction industry will recover from the recession and will return as a stronger market than the likes of Italy and Spain, according to the study.

The report analysed construction markets for 35 different countries, which accounts for 85 per cent of world GDP.


FloodSax to the rescue in Cockermouth and Keswick

November 23rd, 2009 1 comment


Twenty thousand flood defence and clean-up bags were distributed from Cockermouth and Keswick yesterday. The Floodsax are full of absorbent crystals that soak up water and work in a similar way to conventional sandbags, but are far lighter. They will help offer householders protection against any future risk of flooding and will also help in the clean up operation.

The free bags are being distributed to the public from Mitchell’s Lakeland Livestock Centre (the cattle market) in Cockermouth and from the car park at the rear of Keswick police station. Two articulated lorries, each containing 10,000 Floodsax will be distributed to local people from 9am onwards today.

Floodsax are available to buy in the UK from in boxes of 20 FloodSax or 200 Floodsax (10 boxes).

Find them here

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BAA set to raise £500m equity

November 23rd, 2009 Comments off

CHE02932dFunding will be used to reduce debt and facilitate access to capital markets

BAA has announced a proposed injection of £500m into its London portfolio.

Some £200m of the new equity will come from shareholders and £300 million from BAA Airports Limited and FGP Topco Limited. According to a statement from the group, the funding will be used to “pay down debt, strengthen the group’s medium-term financial ratios and facilitate its access to the capital markets.”

Of the £500m, £260m was paid to the group on Friday and the remaining £240m is expected to be injected in January 2010.


Olympic deal ‘will help UK firms’

November 20th, 2009 Comments off

British construction companies could be set for an edge on rivals when bidding for sporting contracts if building work on the new London 2012 venues goes well, Olympics minister Tessa Jowell has predicted.

Businesses could be helped by a new deal, signed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Brazilian president Lula, which will see business experience of hosting and building for the Olympics being shared before Rio de Janeiro hosts the 2016 games.

Construction companies will be looking to benefit from investment and infrastructure contracts worth up to £30 billion in Brazil, which is also gearing up for the 2014 Football World Cup.

This includes work in engineering and construction, but also setting out stadia, IT and sports consultancy.

Ms Jowell told 500 British company chiefs at the 2012 Games Business Summit at London’s ExCel Centre: “When it comes to competing for Brazil, UK companies with expertise in delivering sporting events will have a major advantage.

“Being a company that will work on 2012 will give you a unique currency to the global marketplace.”

There are still approximately £1.7 billion worth of contracts still to be awarded by the London 2012 organisers and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), which is in charge of Olympic build and infrastructure for London’s £9.3 billion Olympic project.


National Tool Hire Shops launch new tool hire website

November 19th, 2009 2 comments


With a network of over 90 tool hire shops, are the new force in tool and plant hire in the UK, offering excellent customer service, keen pricing and an easy to use, feature rich website.

Equipment like mini diggers, mixers, heaters and thousands of other products can be checked online, a reservation enquiry taken and the UK call centre will call back and take the booking.

Often goods can be delivered to site same day, if booked early enough, or next day; there is also the option to collect from one of the 90 stores.

National Tool Hire Shops take customer service that extra mile and want to not only excel on price, quality and accessibility, but make the whole process as easy as possible.

Up to Two-thirds of construction firms expect a positive 2010

November 17th, 2009 Comments off

International survey reveals most industry professionals believe profits will stay the same or increase by middle of next year

Almost two thirds of construction firms worldwide expect to maintain or increase profit by the middle of next year, according to a survey by KPMG.

The finding comes in KPMG’s annual global construction survey, compiled by interviews with 108 senior construction professionals across 30 countries. Sixty-four per cent of those interviewed believed profit levels would stay the same or improve by 2010.

However, Fiona McDermott, KPMG’s UK head of building and construction, warned that although the construction industry was reporting a relatively positive outlook, with around half of respondents reporting order books and profit at similar levels to a year ago, there may be worse in store for the industry later on.

She said: “Many companies are living off the profits of contracts secured before the recession, and whether such performance can be maintained is dependent on a number of factors, not least a general economic recovery. Although the sector appears to be in fairly good shape at the moment, we have to ask ourselves: will 2010 be the year that industry feels the pain already experienced by other sectors of the economy?”

The survey also found that the majority of respondents do not feel that government stimulus packages will bring a significant increase in opportunities in the next 24 months, with just 12% of worldwide respondents believing they will be of substantial help. However, those respondents in Asia Pacific were much more optimistic than those in the rest of the world, with 82% of those in the region expecting a moderate or significant increase over the next 24 months.