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Archive for September, 2011

Self build church ‘progressing well’

September 29th, 2011 1 comment

arkOne of the UK’s largest self build projects has completed the first stage of its construction.

The Ark, which will be a church and community centre in Isleham, Cambridgeshire, has recently fitted in the final part of its structural timber, the Newmarket Journal reports.

It is thought to be the largest new green oak building in the county and cost an estimated £2 million.

Developers designed it to complement the existing countryside and inside its 2,200 sq m of space will be an auditorium with room for 600 people.

“Although we have used some comparatively modern machinery to cut the timbers, the wooden frame has been assembled using joinery techniques that were developed centuries ago,” carpenter and leader of the construction project Paul Hedger was quoted by the news source as saying.

He explained that a crane and woodworkers will now be required to complete the building.

Mr Hedger also built his own house around 15 years ago and also leads High Street Church in the town.

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HSE fines site manager for failing to comply

September 27th, 2011 1 comment

A construction site manager failed to comply with orders issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and has been fined.

Haider Zaman, 53, was trading as Pride Builders when inspectors noticed poor risk management relating to working at height, structural stability and asbestos and issued three notices demanding he stopped working on the refurbishment of two residential buildings.

Another two notices were issued relating to health and safety training and asbestos awareness.

When returning to the site a week later, HSE staff noticed that Mr Zaman had failed to comply, with further issues relating to working at height also noted.

He was fined £1,280 with costs of £1,500 and a £15 victim surcharge after admitting breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

“Construction is a high risk industry and if workers are not to die or suffer life-changing injury, it is essential that everyone meets basic and sensible standards of safety,” HSE inspector David Kirkpatrick said.

Falls from high locations are one of the most common causes of injury and fatal accidents in the construction sector, while asbestos is the leading reason for work-related deaths in the UK.

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Featured in Architext Magazine

September 26th, 2011 Comments off

Mobile CAD Surveying featured in Architext Magazine 2011 (pages 60 – 61)

Mobile Surveying Solutions

architext_mag_ad architext_mag_text

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RICS issues guidance for delayed projects

September 26th, 2011 Comments off

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has issued guidance to assist its members and people involved in damages when facing missed project deadlines.

The report, called Damages for Delays to Completion, deals with situations when there has been no clause in contracts relating to delays and when assessments are needed to ascertain the overall impact of it.

Often, potential compensations are predetermined in agreements, RICS noted, although independent arbitration is still often a necessity in this situation.

The recommendations highlight how to determine the amount of money required when this happens, as well as potential legal repercussions.

“Assessing the level of damages can sometimes be problematic and through publishing this new guidance, we are aiming to make the process as straight forward and transparent as possible,” RICS director Alan Muse said.

This is a particularly important issue for everyone involved in this sector, he added.

RICS is the leading international body relating to standards and qualifications in construction, land and property.

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Green Student Accomodation Rated ‘Outstanding’

September 22nd, 2011 1 comment

The-GreenThe University of Bradford has created a unique student village which is now ready for its first residents – The Green. The Green has achieved the highest ever BREEAM rating for any building, at 95.05% – the highest accredited award for sustainable building development and operation. The development has beaten more than 1 million buildings assessed through this leading environmental standard since it was launched in 1990.

The Green is one of only 15 buildings in the world to achieve BREEAM’s highest classification of ‘Outstanding’, and the rating announced today sees the development top this premier list.

Consisting of 1,026 bedrooms across four-storey townhouses and six and seven storey apartments, the BREEAM rating has been made possible through meticulous planning of the design and construction methods.

The Green has been designed with a community, village feel in mind. Whilst it is its own self contained community it has great connectivity into the main campus and is in within easy of the City Centre, just a 5 minute walk. Regular bus services pass by the village into the City Centre, Leeds and other parts of the Yorkshire Dales. 2 new bus stops are being installed in preparation for the new students arrival in September.

At the centre of the Village is ‘The Orchard’ which is central hub building that has the Accommodation and Management office, laundrette and a small retail/coffee shop. The Orchard overlooks the central area and biodiversity pond which reuses rain water, provides a home for a number of animal and plant species and acts as a passive coolant in summer. There will garden areas in which students can plant their own vegetables and herbs.

BREEAM assessment uses recognised measures of performance, set against established benchmarks, to evaluate a building’s specification, design, construction and use. The measures used represent a broad range of categories and criteria, from energy to ecology. They include aspects related to energy and water use, the internal environment (health and well-being), pollution, transport, materials, waste, ecology and management processes.

The enhanced BREEAM rating of ‘outstanding’ was introduced in August 2008 to recognise a new standard of sustainability for exemplary developments. A score of 85% against criteria over different areas must be obtained to achieve Outstanding, compared to 70% for an Excellent rating. There are also higher minimum standards under Outstanding – for example 10 out of the 15 available credits for reducing CO2 emissions must be achieved, compared to the 6 required for an ‘excellent’ rating.

The buildings are made of pre-fabricated open panel timber wall frames from a sustainable source. Bathroom ‘pods’ were sourced locally and installed using a crane as completed units to maximise productivity and reduce waste.

There are interactive displays showing students what energy or water they are using, enabling them to compare their energy use against their neighbours in real-time. The building materials used, and the high standard to which the houses and apartments have been insulated and made airtight, means that rooms require little heating.

Radiators in the rooms have thermostatically controlled valves, and mechanical heat recovery ventilation units circulate fresh, filtered air, with an 80% recovery of existing heat from the building, resulting in a continuous supply of fresh air. All rooms in the flats and houses are lit with low energy lighting.

Water saving measures include…Aerated taps and showers that result in less water being used – as the water streams are mixed with air. Water is heating using solar panels, which pre-heats water for showers and taps. Dual flush toilets and rainwater is used to flush toilets. The pond in the centre of the village is used to harvest rainwater, as are the roofs of the buildings.

The houses and flats have extensive recycling facilities. Students are encouraged to consider every single bit of waste to assess if it can be recycled. This fits with current practice in the University – there are no bins in lecture theatres, social spaces or offices. Instead a range of recycling facilities can be found helping to seperate waste for recycling effectively.

Students will be encouraged to grow vegetables and dining rooms are large designed to enable the households to eat together. A team of Green Ambassadors will teach fellow residents how to live in the most sustainable way possible, and those that are careful with their energy use will get a rebate on their bills.

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Riba: New-builds are too small

September 20th, 2011 3 comments

new_build_developers2Newly-built houses in the UK are not big enough, a report titled the Case for Space from the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) claimed.

It noted that average three-bedroomed homes are eight per cent smaller than their recommended minimum size, with the most common structure of this type only 77 per cent as large as it should be.

Riba chief executive Harry Rich called these domiciles “shameful shoe box homes” that are being “churned out all over the country”.

The UK’s housing shortage does not mean developers have to build abodes that are not “of the highest quality”, he argued.

However, the Home Builders Federation (HPF) criticised this statement, noting that Riba failed to consider issues such as land supply, the National Planning Policy Framework, viability or other reasons why properties could be less spacious.

Furthermore, it noted people that buy new-builds report high levels of satisfaction in their dwellings, which are “cheaper to run, warmer and greener”.

HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley called the study a “disappointing missed opportunity”.

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SiteMaster Elevation

September 20th, 2011 Comments off

sitemasterelevations2SiteMaster Elevation – surveying to precise exterior views

Save Time and MoneyNow you can produce Elevational Drawings from Photographs

Photographic Facade Survey

SiteMaster Elevation is an independent add-on for SiteMaster. You can benefit from photogrammetric procedures by determining detailed measurements from freehand digital photographs or scanned images. 

SiteMaster Elevation requires only one rectangle with two known side lengths for calibrating an image plan. The software lets you measure and draw a building in 2D with added height information on floors, openings etc.

Download a FREE Trial now!

Read more

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Leica DistoTripod TR100

September 19th, 2011 1 comment

527_1The Leica Disto Tripod TR100 has been design for the Leica Distos D3, D3aBT, D5, D8, models.

When measuring with the Leica Disto over long distances or with the Pythagoras function  (roofers, cladding and solar panel installers) the user is recommended to use a tripod to achieve the maximum measuring accuracy.

The design of the tripod provides a solid design with stiffened robust legs, tilting head and crank drive to raise or lower the tripods telescope column

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Stratford City Shopping Complex ‘should improve risk management’

September 16th, 2011 Comments off

PRINCE2-Risk-ManagementA major trade group has called on developers of the Stratford City Shopping Complex to heighten their risk management and health and safety procedures.

The Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (Ucatt) made this demand in response to two incidents that occurred in the same week.

On September 5th, an individual injured their back after falling from a ladder, then another worker was electrocuted and suffered severe burns on September 9th.

These accidents are “of extreme concern”, Ucatt regional secretary for London and the south-east Jerry Swain said.

He added that they “underline just how dangerous the industry is”.

Around 8,000 people are on the site at any one time and these are generally shop fitters developing 300 different retailers.

However, this site has generally managed to maintain the wellbeing of workers and has passed a million man hours with no injuries on four separate occasions.

Ucatt considers health and safety to be one of its key areas in which to campaign, as construction is one of the UK’s most dangerous sectors.

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RIBA hits out at ‘shameful shoebox homes’

September 15th, 2011 Comments off

RIBA has pointed the finger at the “shameful shoebox homes” produced by the UK’s top housebuilders in a new report released today.

The ‘Case for Space’ report, based on 80 sites across England, ranked housebuilders’ typical room sizes and found that the average new three bedroom home currently being built by the leading firms is around 8% smaller than the “basic recommended minimum size”.

The RIBA said this was leaving “thousands of people across the country short-changed” and revealed it had asked business leader Sir John Banham to lead major new inquiry into British homes.

But the scope and timing of the report was condemned by the Home Builders Federation, which said it “missed the point” and failed to address the current national debate about the planning system.

Using space standards from the London Plan, the RIBA’s report claimed that the floor area of the average new three bedroom home is only 92% of the recommended minimum size “therefore missing the space equivalent to a single bedroom which could comfortably accommodate a single bed, bedside table, wardrobe, desk and chair.”

RIBA chief executive Harry Rich said: “Our homes should be places that enhance our lives and well-being.  However, as our new research confirms, thousands of cramped houses – shameful shoe box homes – are being churned out all over the country, depriving households of the space they need to live comfortably and cohesively.”

Rich insisted it was the right time to address the issue, despite the current focus on housing supply.

“In a rush to build quickly and cheaply we risk storing up unnecessary problems for the future,” he said. “There does not need to be any contradiction between building or refurbishing enough homes and making sure that they are of the highest quality.”

Mayor of London Boris Johnson also signalled his backing.

He said: “In London we want to see new developments that enrich the capital’s architectural vernacular and that will be admired and cherished for decades to come…it is vital that we build more homes to boost the economy, but as RIBA’s campaign rightly points out, we must not compromise on quality and design to do so.”

However, the HBF said the report was over-simplistic by failing to address issues such as land supply, economic viability, regional variations and – crucially – the planning system.

HBF Executive Chairman, Stewart Baseley said: “This report is a disappointing missed opportunity. We’ll happily work with RIBA and others but if they are serious about the future of housing in this country they must support the proposed National Planning Policy Framework and ensure that they fully understand the pressures on land and viability that home builders face every day.

“Even with these constraints developers are building the homes that people can afford, that this country desperately needs and providing billions of pounds of investment in infrastructure and the environment.”

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