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Archive for November, 2010

Riba condemns government for scrapping Core Housing Standards

November 30th, 2010 Comments off

housingRiba president Ruth Reed has expressed “serious concern” that the Homes & Communities Agency’s proposed Core Housing Standards will be abandoned.

Addressing the National House Building Council today, housing minister Grant Shapps announced he was abandoning the Core Housing Standards.

The Homes & Communities Agency’s (HCA) has spent months developing the standards which would have applied to many of the homes built with government funding or on public sector land.

But Shapps said they would have cost developers an extra £8,000 for every home they built and said he want to give the housebuilding industry a filip.

He said: “Today is the first step of many towards reducing the unnecessary cost and hassle that the people who build our homes are forced to endure. Last year, housebuilding slumped to the lowest level in peacetime since 1924.

“We were in the midst of a recession, but the situation was made much worse by regional targets that forced developers into direct conflict with local communities, and compounded by the alphabet soup of regulations and red tape that housebuilders have to navigate.”

But Riba president Ruth Reed said: “This is a deeply troubling decision that will have profound implications for communities across the country.

“The proposed HCA standards were designed to raise the overall quality of publicly funded housing and ensure that new homes meet the most basic of lifestyle needs – reform was desperately needed.

“We agree that there is too much regulation in the housing sector, but the HCA standards were designed to harmonise regulation and provide clarity for industry. The government needs to ensure that it provides strong, clear guidance which underlines the importance of design quality, and we are concerned that the proposed menu of options for local authorities may lead to further confusion and lower standards.

“UK housebuilders have delivered the smallest homes in Europe, and have built homes which have been consistently judged to be of a poor quality by the government’s own design watchdog. The government should be putting the interests of communities first.”

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Construction Crossword

November 29th, 2010 Comments off

Here’s a bit of fun, our first Construction related crossword. All answers are related to the Construction Industry.

Instructions:

Highlight the crossword and answers by dragging your mouse over this sentence and the crossword, click on file then print, choose print selection and then print it off so you can fill in the answers with a pen.

construction-crossword

CareerStructure.com is a UK construction industry expert with over 4,000 jobs updated daily, from construction management jobs to construction jobs abroad.

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Green and sustainable building regulations ‘move step closer’

November 26th, 2010 Comments off

green-brickGreen and sustainable building is set to take a step forward on a global scale, one industry organisation has suggested.

The UK Green Building Council revealed there are indications a common carbon metric for structures could be introduced worldwide after attendees to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) claimed a unified approach to calculating emissions is required.

Supported by a number of environmentally-friendly agencies, the common carbon metric project aims to create consistent benchmarking, baselining and monetising of CO2 in buildings.

Speaking at a UN Environmental Programme Sustainable Buildings and Climate Initiative (UNEP-SBCI) meeting, Gajanana Hegde of the UNFCCC’s Clean Development Mechanism team claimed the construction industry must define a suitable set of default factors or averages for judging pollution in structures around the world.

This would need to take into account climate zones, building types and economic conditions, he added.

According to UNEP-SBCI, a common carbon metric could help reduce energy consumption in new and existing developments by up to 50 per cent over the next ten years.

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South Rotating Laser for under £400

November 24th, 2010 Comments off

southrotatinglaserSouth Rotating Laser

The South Rotating Laser comes with detector, bracket, remote control, red glasses and target plate and all for under £400.00

Read more….

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Rok sold to Balfour subsidiary Mansell

November 23rd, 2010 Comments off

1709£7m sale will see 235 further redundancies

Rok’s administrators are to sell part of the construction and social housing business to Balfour Beatty subsidiary Mansell for £7m, securing employment for 381 of the collapsed contractor’s remaining staff.

Administrator PwC said the transaction, which will complete later today, will result in a further 235 redundancies, with Rok’s construction businesses in Reading, Crawley, Bristol and Exeter social housing business in Leeds being closed down.

However, the construction businesses in Milton Keynes, Gatwick and Heathrow and the social housing businesses based in the South West and North West of England will all be transferred.

The administrators have kept on a team of more than 150 people across the Group to assist them in the winding down of Rok’s operations.

Jeremy Webb, director and joint administrator, PwC said: “We are delighted that we have been able to secure a sale of part of the business hence preserving employment for 381 people. This is tinged with disappointment that there was not sufficient interest in the other parts and hence the redundancies that have been made today.”

Mansell will pay £4m cash up front for the businesses, with the balance to be paid once contracts are successfully transferred. It said the contracts will add £100m each year to the company’s revenues.

Balfour Beatty chief executive Ian Tyler, said: “The strategic fit between the operations of Rok and Mansell, reinforced by the quality of the Rok management team and staff, presents a big opportunity for us to develop our UK regional business on attractive terms to our shareholders.”

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Construction sector stagnates in Q3

November 22nd, 2010 Comments off

The construction sector in the UK saw very little positive movement during the third quarter of the year.

Recent results from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) found that 59 per cent of chartered surveyors questioned had not seen any movement between the second and third quarters of 2010.

A lack of funding and ongoing concerns over the economy were the two key factors that were affecting projects, according to respondents.

Surveyor sentiments for the whole industry was negative, although public housing and public works were the worst rated, with negative net balances of -32 and -23 respectively.

Rics chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said: “Government data shows the construction sector has rebounded more strongly than many anticipated but our latest survey casts considerable doubt on whether this improvement can be sustained.”

The report follows the news from the UK Statistics Authority which announced recently that there was a nine per cent decline in the number of builds which began between Q2 and Q3 of this year.

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Rok cuts further 1,800 jobs as buyers lose interest

November 19th, 2010 1 comment

1709More than three quarters of 3,800 staff have lost their jobs and potential buyers put off by Rok’s portfolio of patchy businesses.

Administrators at Rok have made a further 1,800 people redundant after buyers for the building and maintenance business melted away. After a flurry of initial interest in the group following its administration last Monday, administrators from PricewaterhouseCoopers have now had to make more than three quarters of the firm’s 3,800 staff redundant.

The only remaining saleable division is the English construction and social housing division, PwC said, which employs 500 people. Administrator Rob Hunt said “two or three” parties were conducting due diligence on that business.

The Scottish construction business and the maintenance and improvements divisions are to be closed down after buyers took fright at Rok’s high cost base. Unlike many construction companies Rok directly employed much of its workforce, with the only remaining business being one where a lot of work is sub-contracted.

Hunt said that given the drop-off in work in September, buyers “couldn’t get comfortable with the levels of revenue.”

It became clear late last week that buyers were cooling on deals to buy the Devon-based building contractor. Early front-runner Mears said it was reassessing its options, while PwC conceded it was unlikely to sell the group as a single entity. Hopes that a deal would be signed at the end of last week, or over the weekend, were dashed.

Rob Hunt, the joint administrator, said: “It became clear in the last 24 hours that we were not going to be able to find a purchaser. Operations cannot continue and hence we have had to take steps to close both the maintenance and improvements division as well as the Scottish construction division. We have retained a small workforce to assist us in this process.”

Those made redundant are being paid up to and including yesterday, PwC said.

Bidders have indicated that they felt that Rok as a business was patchy and poorly integrated, one describing it as a “motley bag”. The lack of interest has been surprising given that more than 100 companies initially threw their hats into the ring.

Hunt said a deal for the remaining business needed to be done quickly. “If we don’t do anything by the end of the week there may not be anything left to be interested in.”

Industry sources confirmed social housing specialists Mears were still interested in the social housing contracts, while Kier remains theoretically in discussions, as does Leadbitter, a contractor strong in the South of England.

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Jobs bonanza if Wirral windfarm goes ahead

November 18th, 2010 Comments off

windfarmMassive investment in windfarms off Wirral coast would bring ‘jobs bonanza’

WIRRAL is poised to make major economic gains from a potential £15bn windfarm bonanza in the Irish Sea.

Thousands of new jobs are in prospect from a venture to create the west coast’s major hub in the development of the UK’s offshore wind industry, according to a new report by the Mersey Partnership.

But a Wirral Euro MP blasted: “Building wind farms is not the answer to our energy needs and the whole industry is a con.”

Cammell Laird is a key partner (with The Mereyside Partnership, Peel Ports and the Stobart Group) in developing strategies to boost the regional economy and the company’s business development manager David Williams forecasted: “We can become west coast UK’s Abderdeen for the offshore wind industry.”

He added: “We’re looking at 20 years of investment in the Irish Sea and potential further development off Scotland and Ireland.

“There are 100 Merseyside companies with 1,000 workers already involved in the offshore wind industry.

“But there could be up to 500 firms in the North West’s potential supply chain.

“We have the crown jewels of UK wind farm expertise in the Liverpool city region, so it would be crazy to miss out.”

Wirral Council leader Cllr Jeff Green has expressed strong support for the region’s attempts to secure benefits from the wind farm proposals.

He said: “The re-balancing of our economy is a vital challenge and opportunities such as this are hugely important as they have the potential to create a significant number of green jobs, not just in the manufacturing of manufacturing of equipment but also in its ongoing maintenance.

“The geographical location of the Port of Liverpool in relation to the Irish Sea zone three proposals and the infrastructure and skills provided by the likes of Cammell Laird puts us in pole position to be at the forefront of this exciting development.”

Cllr Green said he was confident that Cammell Laird managing director John Syvret and his team had the ability to “secure and deliver future investment in this growth area for the borough.”

Partnership members in the project are convinced that the venture could create thousands of new jobs in the region in the next five to 20 years.

A proposed new multi-million pound River Mersey triple berth at Laird’s is already in the pipline.

It will be used by ships installing and maintaining Irish Sea wind farms.

Merseyside Partnership director of investment Mark Basnett said: “This is an investment on a scale that is enormous.

“It’s not been seen in the UK since the oil boom years of the North Sea oil and gas industry of the 1970s “It is a great opportunity for the Liverpool city region to punch its weight in this fast-growing industry.”

Wirral Council deputy leader Cllr Simon Holbrook commented: “The UK has a massive wind resouorce that dwarfs other markets in Europe and much of the rest of the world. “Cammell Laird is in pole position to capitalise on this market with some of the highest quality port-related infrastructure, a highly skilled workforce and leading edge expertise and facilities in engineering and manufacture.”

However, the project is not without its critics.

Wirral Euro MP Paul Nuttall said plans for Merseyside to become the west coast hub for windfarm development was “folly.”

He said: “Building wind farms is not the answer to our energy needs and the whole industry is a con.

“The subject is driven by EU-led emission targets, which itself is part of the lies told about so-called ‘man-made’ global warming.”

Mr Nuttall, recently appointed deputy leader of the UK Independence Party, added: “The general public will not benefit from Mersey Partnership’s scheme; in fact just the opposite as they will see their energy bills rise and realise the folly of the wind farm industry.

“The view from Merseyside’s coastline is already blighted by these white elephants – the last thing we need is more of them being created.”

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First Minister opens St Andrews University’s £45m sciences building

November 17th, 2010 Comments off

St Andrews is set to become a world leader in medicine and biological sciences with the opening of a £45 million school.

First Minister Alex Salmond officially opened St Andrews University’s new facility at North Haugh.

The medical and biological sciences building brings together the institution’s medical school, previously in the Bute building, with biologists, physicists and chemists.

With a physical link to the school of physics and astronomy via a first-floor bridge, it is also one of the first medical schools in the UK to fully integrate research facilities across the sciences.

It is intended the school will produce the best doctors of tomorrow and research that will lead to new treatments and deliver major health benefits.

During a tour with university principal Professor Louise Richardson and chancellor Sir Menzies Campbell on Friday, Mr Salmond, a St Andrews graduate, met first-year medicine students, researchers and staff at work.

Before unveiling a commemorative bench, he said, “The University of St Andrews has a long, proud tradition in educational excellence and this £45 million state-of-the-art facility will bring together students across all science disciplines to create a rich collaborative environment.

“Scotland’s scientists and researchers have made an immense contribution to shaping the modern world and this new facility will strengthen this reputation.

“It will not only attract new under-graduates to the university, educating our next generation of doctors, but will establish a hub for the creation of new medical research and breakthroughs.”

The building boasts world-class medical and science facilities and has a 300-seat lecture theatre, teaching rooms, laboratories and research units.

Professor Richardson said the creation of the school built on a 600-year tradition.

“The first university in Scotland was established here in the years between 1411 and 1413. Today we are the first university in Scotland fully to integrate research facilities across medicine and the sciences.

“Our vision for the school is to advance cutting-edge medical and scientific research in an effort to solve enduring medical problems and promote human health.”

Collaboration

Dean of medicine and head of the school of medicine Professor Hugh MacDougall said the new school would create the best environment for medical education and research and great potential for inter-disciplinary collaboration on solutions for treatment of incurable diseases.

The building was completed in May. Academics moved in over the summer and students at the end of September.

Already its integrated structure is delivering results, with doctors and scientists working together on ground-breaking studies into conditions including Alzheimer’s and obesity.

The school was funded by the university with help from donors.

Major pledges of support have also been made by the Wolfson Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Robertson and Yelsel Trust.

Sadly, a massive £8 million donation promised by a Malaysian tycoon almost three years ago has yet to materialise.

Vinod Sekhar announced to much fanfare in February 2008 he would provide the cash to honour his late father, chemist Dr B. C. Sekhar, who revolutionised Malaysia’s natural rubber industry.

The school was to be named after Dr Sekhar. However, Mr Sekhar has yet to hand over the money and it emerged last month he is facing jail in Malaysia, accused of violating bankruptcy conditions.

The university said it continued to receive assurances that the pledge would be met.

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Viliv X70 Mobile Holster

November 15th, 2010 Comments off
Viliv X70 Mobile Holster

Viliv X70 Mobile Holster

At last, a Brand new holster for the Viliv X70 tablet UMPC, allows the user to work hands free,  comes with two pairs of straps and full instructions of how to use it.

Access is possible to all ports, slots and buttons whilst the tablet pc is enclosed, saves taking the tablet out of the hoster to use it.

4no D Rings
Stylus holder
Lightweight
Robust
Access to all slots, buttons, ports and rear tri bracket
Rear webbing for attaching to other equipment

The Viliv X70 Hoster is now available from the only UK supplier Mobile CAD Surveying

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