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Archive for November, 2011

Bespoke insulation

November 30th, 2011 Comments off

GRADIENT has supplied a bespoke insulation solution for the new roof of the Royal Victoria Building at Edinburgh’s General Western Hospital, using Powerdeck F insulation board.

11109Gradient’s Paul Simpson said: “Our single-layer systems are individually designed to provide bespoke solutions, and the various elements required to create the insulation and drainage falls for each project are bonded together under carefully controlled factory conditions. This means that the resulting sections can be installed far more rapidly than a conventional multi-layer system which would have to be built on-site, layer by later, in a very labour intensive manner.”

Gradient’s Powerdeck F tapered insulation is a closed-cell rigid polyiscyanurate foam core board, faced on both sides with a perforated, mineral-coated glass fibre tissue.

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Homeowners urged to carry out pre-Christmas checks

November 28th, 2011 Comments off

Home_Repair_picnikChecking roofing tiles for damage is one precautionary measure homeowners should take to ensure their property is in good condition prior to the Christmas season.

Editor of Build It magazine Anna-Marie DeSouza explained many potential problems should be addressed ahead of the festive period and advised people to replace any roof tiles that are found to be broken.

Gutters should also be cleared of debris such as leaves of moss to reduce the risk of any blockages occurring, she suggested, adding exterior window sills ought to also be examined and repaired or replaced if found to be rotten.

Having the chimney checked and cleaned by a professional sweep is important for those who own a property featuring an open fire, Ms DeSouza concluded.

Following these precautionary measures may help prevent homeowners from having to make a claim on their home insurance, something that, according to research from M&S Money, has become more commonplace in recent years.

The data revealed a 200 per cent increase over the last three years in the number of claims submitted relating to damage caused by winter weather.

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Christchurch aims to recruit Britons for post-earthquake reconstruction

November 24th, 2011 Comments off

Prince-William-ChristchurchSettled and built in the mid-19th century by Canterbury pilgrims, Christchurch has long been viewed by many New Zealanders as the most English of its cities. Now, in the aftermath of two earthquakes, one last September and another in February this year that killed 181 people, Christchurch representatives are returning to the motherland in the hope of attracting a new wave of skilled migrants to help rebuild New Zealands second-largest population centre.

A team from the regional Canterbury Employment and Skills Board (CESB) has travelled to the UK to exhibit at two recruitment expos organised by Opportunities New Zealand. One is in London this weekend and the other in Manchester on 19-20 November. Both have been organised with a view to recruit many of the 30,000 skilled workers needed for construction, engineering and IT roles in Christchurch over the next 10 years.

The February earthquake destroyed much of the city’s business district and about 30,000 homes. The New Zealand government recently estimated the damage bill at NZ$20bn (£10bn).

Alex Bouma, CESB’s deputy chairman, said tapping into the UK’s skilled workforce would be crucial to successfully rebuilding the city. “There is going to be a huge economic opportunity over the next three to 10 years. The UK expos will play a crucial role in providing businesses with the employees they need.”

Such is the scale and long-term nature of the required rebuilding work, it is hoped that many workers will be persuaded to resettle permanently in New Zealand. A spokesperson said relocation costs would be available for some of the higher-level opportunities, which would be discussed on a case-by-case basis.

The main draw though, seems to be the unique opportunity to be part of the rebuilding of a major city, as well as a chance to permanently escape the stagnant UK jobs market and the gloomy future economic forecasts.

Grant Harris, a construction industry manager working on the Christchurch rebuild project, said: “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance. It’s going to be incredibly exciting, particularly the chance to start from scratch with the construction of cutting-edge and innovative, energy-efficient buildings.

“With at least 10 years of rebuilding ahead, the region offers great employment security for skilled construction industry workers.”

The Canterbury Skill Shortage List, a resource set up by New Zealand’s Department of Labour, details a wide range of construction and engineering roles ranging from scaffolders, electricians and upholsterers to infrastructure project managers and regional planners. Civil, electrical, structural and telecommunications engineers are also in high demand.

With the UK economy emerging slowly from the recession and focus intensifying on uncertainties in the eurozone, the Christchurch representatives hope to emphasise the “unprecedented opportunities for employment, career progression and involvement in a significant city redevelopment”.

Yet, while New Zealand basks in the glow of its recent rugby union world cup triumph – a recent government survey claimed nine out of 10 residents were satisfied with their lives – migrants should be aware the country is not without economic problems. Wages increased by 2.0%year-on-year, while the price of consumer goods increased 4.6% in the corresponding period.

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Fast CAD Floor Plans

November 22nd, 2011 Comments off

If you need a Measured Surveys carried out to a strict timescale, we can provide Floor plans or as built plans Fast CAD Drawings with varying levels of detail – from simple walls, columns, doors and window surveys, to a fully detailed data set including all 3D information (sill & head heights, stair riser and going details, door heights, ceiling heights, beam details etc.).

As part of our measured surveys, the surveyors can also pick up and highlight other information such as any electrical and data points, sanitary fittings, incoming mains positions, plant, fire fighting and detection equipment, security equipment and signage.

Many times, plans exist but their accuracy is in doubt or change management has been poor, we can carry out a  check survey, this can be a very cost effective way to bring the existing plans up to date.

For more information: Measured Building Surveys or a fast turn around Quotation click on any of the links.

Fast Turnaround Floor Plans

Floor Plans - Any type of building

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Support the mayor’s plan to urgently relocate Heathrow airport

November 21st, 2011 Comments off

Sign up now to encourage our government to give the nod to a new London airport in the Thames Estuary. Heathrow and Gatwick are full and we are now losing out to Paris and other hell holes when it comes to giving a warm welcome to the BRIC’s countries who’s citizens have cash to burn abroad.

The UK are missing loads of tourism income and also the construction would mean jobs for us all.  Petition Cameron and his chums here:-

Sign up here

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PESTS NIBBLING AWAY AT ONE IN TEN UK SMES

November 21st, 2011 Comments off

Rentokil_Infographic_finalPest infestations are a very real problem for over one in ten UK SMEs (small and medium enterprises) according to new research from Rentokil. The research from the experts in pest control shows that 13% of small and medium businesses have encountered a pest problem in the last year.

The risk that a pest infestation can cause a business will vary according to its sector. However, the research shows that the majority of business owners are most concerned about their employees when it comes to pest problems. Over half of the businesses surveyed (53%) cited employee relationships as a key concern followed closely by damaged reputation (50%) and customer relationships (47%).  Rentokil is calling all employers to engage with staff effectively so they fully understand their role in reducing the threat of pests at work.

Looking at what causes pest infestations, 79% of businesses surveyed believe a lack of effective cleaning and maintenance is key. Keeping waste in rubbish bins overnight also impacts on pests with 64% of businesses citing this reason. Staff eating habits can also mean a business is more likely to experience a problem; 56% of SMEs surveyed believe a communal kitchen contributes to pests, with 54% saying staff eating at desks can attract unwelcome guests in the workplace.  Despite this, just 40% of SMEs surveyed have invested in a pest strategy.

Rodents emerge as the key pest in the business environment, with 75% of those businesses reporting a pest problem citing mice (39%) and rats (36%) in their premises. Wasps are also highlighted as a common workplace pest with 16% experiencing a wasp problem.

Savvas Othon, Technical Director at Rentokil Pest Control comments:

“With pest control, prevention is better than cure and this is very much how we work with our business customers across all sectors. What this research shows is that businesses do understand the key causes of pest problems but need to act proactively and consistently to minimise these risks.  A key step is to ensure you engage with staff effectively so they fully understand their role in reducing the threat of pests at work to create a better, healthy work environment – for both customers and colleagues.”

Savvas Othon continues, “People are a business’ most important asset so it’s understandable that businesses worry about the impact an infestation can have on them. Pests can cause distress to employees from gnawing at computer cables, damaging and soiling products in store-rooms or contaminating food in kitchens. At the heart of preventing an infestation is understanding and assessing the factors contributing to the risk of pest problems in your premises and dealing with them immediately.  This is the most effective way to avoid the long-term consequences that a pest problem in your business can bring.”

About the research

Rentokil worked in partnership with IFFR Research to survey 500 owners, MDs, FDs of business with 0-249 employees in October 2011.

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Self builders ‘should consider hiring assistance’

November 18th, 2011 1 comment

SelfBuildPeople embarking on a self build project could come across problems and financial losses if they fail to hire professionals to help them, an expert has said.

Managing director of Sense of Space Architects and representative of the Association of Self Build Architects Richard Addenbrook claimed construction is a “complicated process”.

“Many things can go wrong,” he stated, adding that specialists can provide assistance to minimise the amount of issues that occur.

Both old and new clients ought to “employ the right professional to see a job through, right from the beginning”, the expert argued.

Architects, for instance, have experience in achieving planning permits and competence in technical aspects that can provide benefits to self build projects, Mr Addenbrook declared.

Furthermore, some are very skilled in sustainable construction and housing, which he called a “big driving force” for customers at present.

A recent report from Angie’s List revealed 83 per cent of the organisation’s members have undertaken DIY jobs to save money, yet one in five of these have had to call in professionals to help them finish the job or repair damage.

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Insulation ‘is the best winter renovation’

November 16th, 2011 2 comments

insulation_2They say insulation is the best renovation homeowners can make in preparation for the winter time.

This is according to Institute of Domestic Energy Assessors corporate communications officer Mike Crompton, who said this ought to be done to cold water and central heating pipes.

He pointed out the expense of calling out professionals to repair the damage caused by burst plumbing “can far outweigh the cost of insulation”.

Many buildings still have very poor lagging, the expert claimed, noting that loft insulation only costs a one-off payment of £90.

“It’s a no-brainer really,” Mr Crompton stated.

He stated that grants are available for insulation, such as under the Green Deal.

This can enable property owners to take out a loan to improve the energy efficiency of a building, which the occupants pay back through reductions to their energy bills.

Mr Crompton remarked that tenants would have a house that is cheaper to run and warmer to live in and should therefore benefit from the renovation.

The first refurbishments under this policy are scheduled to take place in autumn 2012, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

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Construction sector slowdown adds to coalition’s woes

November 14th, 2011 Comments off

constructionHousebuilders and big construction firms suffered a downturn in business in the third quarter of the year as the poor state of the economy hit new orders for homes and halted expansion of infrastructure projects, according to an official survey of the sector.

Total construction output fell 0.2% from the second quarter and dropped 1% compared to the same period last year, the Office for National Statistics said.

Worryingly for the government, new work in the period fell by 1.8% compared with the same quarter last year, leading to fears that the construction sector will lead the rest of the economy into recession over the winter.

A plateau in the value of infrastructure projects will also concern ministers. The volume of new infrastructure building work in the third quarter of 2011 was 0.3% lower compared with the previous quarter, though it remained 13.4% ahead of the same quarter in 2010.

Prime minister David Cameron said earlier this week that a rise in infrastructure spending, alongside investments in small businesses, would be the centrepiece of the government’s strategy.

In the industrial sector, activity suffered a severe slump, down 8.4% on the previous quarter and 26.5% lower compared with the same period in 2010.

The volume of new private housing work declined by 2.5% compared with the previous quarter, though output was 0.7% higher on last year. Public housing declined 8.2% on the previous quarter.

Only a rise in the value of maintenance contracts and a slight increase in output in the commercial building sector saved the industry from falling back further.

There was better news for the government in figures for inflation suffered by manufacturers, who enjoyed a slowdown in the recent spectacular rise in producer prices.

Input price rises dropped to an annual rate of 14.1%, the lowest since last December, giving a bit of breathing space to firms that saw the prices of their own goods rise at an unchanged 5.7%. Between September and October the total input price index fell 0.8%, the ONS said.

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Conservatories ‘are a calming extension’

November 10th, 2011 Comments off

imagesConservatories are particularly calming and relaxing rooms, it has been said.

Carolyn Parker Interior Designs design director Abigail Owen explained this extension provides members of the public with the opportunity to “gaze out into the world from the warmth and comfort of your own home”.

People can watch seasonal changes, which is a “lovely” experience, she continued.

The expert noted that some individuals will be able to enjoy “happy memories” or appreciate the gardening they have performed from this room.

Recent research from GoCompare echoes her comments, with Brits often viewing a conservatory as an important part of their dream home.

Ms Owen suggested making it a private part of the house, such as by planting flowers and trees outside it and using uplights to illuminate the windows.

This makes it “much harder for people to see in”, she pointed out, which often results in the homeowner feeling more comfortable and less like they are in “a goldfish bowl”.

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