UK construction blog

Archive

Archive for June, 2012

Cowboy builders to be up against tougher self-check schemes

June 29th, 2012 Comments off

New measures designed to protect the public from incompetent “cowboy” builders were announced by the government on Wednesday and given a cautious welcome by MPs.

Tradesmen who operate self-check schemes, which allow them to assess their own work, will be required to meet higher standards, the Department for Communities and Local Government said. Under this system there are also 18 independent organisations that conduct intermittent prearranged inspections. They will instead conduct unannounced spot-checks, to make the scheme more rigorous.

The measures will enforce compulsory financial protection for householders, following a number of cases where self-check installers failed to finish work properly or were tracked down through the courts.

The communities minister, Andrew Stunell, said the measures are a significant step in combating bad workmanship.

“Cowboys builders that leave behind a trail of shoddy work costing householders thousands to put right, give the rest of the industry a bad name. We are determined to keep the cowboys from infecting self-check schemes, which let hardworking competent tradesman get on with providing high quality work, quickly and at fair prices.

“I’m determined to ensure that consumers are properly protected. By raising the bar even higher for self-check tradesmen, we are sorting the rogues from the professionals, making it easier for people to identify competent installers and giving them the confidence that they will receive a high quality of work – or be protected if they don’t,” he said.

About 85,000 complaints are made about building work in homes each year according to the Office of Fair Trading.

There are 18 competent person schemes that allow builders and workmen to regulate their own work. Scheme operators claim that about 2.5m to 3m jobs are self-certified under competent person schemes each year, compared with an estimate of half a million other notifiable jobs supervised by building control bodies. To become a competent person scheme operator, applicants are supposed to show they have the managerial, financial and technical ability to operate a self-certification scheme, according to the ministry. Installers of boilers who wish to self-certify must pay a membership fee to join a scheme and demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and technical competence to carry out a certain type of work.

In the year to March 2011, the government service Consumer Direct received 70,000 complaints about general home improvements, maintenance and repairs, and 15,000 specifically about the window and conservatory glazing sector.

Andrew Gwynne, the Labour MP for Denton and Reddish who has campaigned for greater protection for consumers from cowboy builders, welcomed the move but would want to see the details of the scheme and how it will be funded.

“On the face of it, these plans seem like an extension of the schemes that are already in place in many areas on a local level and appear to be a good idea. In my constituency, builders and workers can become part of a competency scheme but are monitored closely and can be kicked out if there are serious complaints against them. I look forward to reading the proposals in detail,” he said.

The new conditions of authorisation for competent person scheme operators have been published with an impact assessment and the summary of responses to consultation. Membership of a competent person scheme is voluntary. Installers carrying out certain types of work subject to the building regulations may choose to join a relevant scheme if they consider membership to be beneficial.

The new conditions were introduced after a public consultation in 2009/10 and further extensive consultation, through meetings and correspondence, with existing scheme operators and the United Kingdom Accreditation Service.

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

Sir John Armitt talks about constructing the Olympic Park

June 29th, 2012 Comments off

Sir John Armitt, Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority spoke to the CIOB Brunel Centre members and students at UWE Bristol about the challenges of building the venues for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

With thanks to Sir John Armitt, University of the West of England Bristol and Constructing Excellence South West.

Sir John Armitt

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

Homeowners ‘not compromising on bathroom designs’

June 28th, 2012 Comments off

The desire to create a beautiful, comfortable and stylish bathroom seems to be as strong as ever, if one expert is to be believed.

Matteo Bianchi, director of the Matteo Bianchi Studio, explained his belief that people are simply not willing to compromise on the hard furnishings of their washroom.

“I don’t think people are spending less on bathrooms,” he stated, adding: “They can understand the need for quality where function dwells. The same can be said for kitchens.”

Among the current trends Mr Bianchi has picked up on include a rising demand for mosaic tiles, with these becoming more elegant the smaller they are.

He also suggested that Britons tend to appreciate subtle patterns and darker designs in the current market.

A spokesman for Bathroom City recently painted a slightly different picture when he said that modern bathroom design is “all white” and relies on fashionable and chic features.

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

UCATT welcomes Miliband Gangmaster comments

June 26th, 2012 Comments off

Leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband has said he will consider extending the scope of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) to other sectors known to have exploited workers – statements that have been welcomed by the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT).

In a speech to the Institute of Public Policy Research, Mr Miliband pointed out this legislation was introduced in the wake of the deaths of Chinese cockle-pickers at Morecambe Bay.

Ucatt general secretary Steve Murphy said Mr Miliband’s speech reveals that “Labour understands the problems that workers face and is dedicated to stamping out workplace exploitation”.

The union has been calling for the GLA to be extended across the construction sector for a long time, claiming the use of employment agencies in the industry has been increasing rapidly.

This has resulted in levels of exploitation in building firms increasing, the trade group said.

Mr Miliband also argued some industries lock British workers out of employment.

“Far too many British firms in construction today find it is in their interests to hire foreign-trained workers,” the minister remarked.

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

FREE COSHH Assessment Packs

June 25th, 2012 Comments off

We are really happy to announce that our friends at the National Safety Centre have put together a FREE COSHH assessment pack which contains a Task-based Risk Assessment Form with COSHH compliance, access to a vast online library of managed Safety Data Sheets and a template COSHH risk assessment procedure/policy.

Sevron are excited to be bringing this trial to you. It is aimed at small businesses but everyone can benefit from this opportunity.

To download a pack click this link http://www.nationalsafetycentre.co.uk/free-compliance-pack.html

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

Grant Shapps welcomes housebuilding figures

June 22nd, 2012 Comments off

Figures showing a rise in the number of affordable housebuilding starts have been welcomed by housing minister Grant Shapps.

Statistics published by the Homes and Communities Agency revealed 19,967 residential construction projects began on-site, while 59,451 were completed, in the year preceding March 31st 2012.

Mr Shapps said this data is “clear evidence” that the coalition is starting to receive “impressive results” in its ambition to “get Britain building”.

He noted that there is still significantly more that needs to be done, despite the need to cut the UK’s fiscal deficit.

Therefore, the minister pledged to spend £1.3 billion getting stalled housebuilding developments “back on track”, alongside the £4.5 billion that is already being invested in the construction of affordable homes.

Mr Shapps said he is impressed at the “rapid and dramatic progress” made by the industry, noting the country is on-track to exceed its targets and will deliver as many as 170,000 cheap houses in the immediate future.

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

CIOB making construction a career of choice

June 21st, 2012 1 comment

Careers advice in UK schools can be hit or miss and in some cases non-existent. The Chartered Institute of Building has been campaigning to improve the guidance young people receive and the access they have to a professional career.

Within the national curriculum the CIOB is working with the b-live Foundation to promote construction as a career of choice rather than necessity to thousands of students across England and its showing real success.

“Being creative is the key. You have no chance of capturing the imagination of young people if you’re dull and boring – and our industry is anything but dull and boring said, Bridget Bartlett Chief Operating Officer at the CIOB.

“Our virtual construction projects improve numeracy, develop key employability skills and showcase what a career in construction is really all about. Timing is everything. The age groups we work with are at the point of choosing which career path to take, and the best GCSE subject choices to match that choice. Any student taking part has gained something from the experience and we are challenging perceptions along the way. The future for construction is reliant upon the talent it attracts, so we can’t wait for the next generation to come us we have to go and get them,” she added.

Compared to other industries construction is now seen as the 4th most likely career destination a rise of 11 places, with ‘Business and Accountancy’ in top place.  Three years ago just 4% of students would have chosen an apprenticeship compared to 10% today.

Reaching young females and drawing them towards a career in construction is a constant challenge for the industry. 57% of females would now choose a career in construction compared to 43% in 2009.

75% of teachers asked felt the CIOB project was effective in increasing student engagement and could evidence student progression during the project lessons. 53% have noticed an increase in student attainment through using the CIOB materials.

Tanja Kuveljic, CEO at The b-live Foundation, “The b-live Foundation Careers in Construction is committed to developing the employability of young people. We are delighted that we are now starting to see the positive impacts which include improvements in school attainment and young people being more motivated and prepared for the world of work which is essential for the success of UK growth. We are delighted to be working in partnership with the CIOB and the construction sector to help develop a skilled future workforce.”

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

CIOB calls for reviewers of its Complex Projects Contract

June 20th, 2012 2 comments

The Chartered Institute of Building is calling for reviewers of its international complex projects contract following its launch in New York.

The last major form published by the CIOB was the first standard form of construction contract ever produced. It was published jointly with RIBA in 1871, over 140 years ago.  This contract has been written for the 21st Century. It is designed to put the CIOB’s Guide to Good Practice in the Management of Time in Complex Projects into practice.

Former CIOB President (2008/09) Keith Pickavance said, “This is a modern day contract designed for the data age. It underlines the need for a collaborative, and competent, approach to how risks are managed utilising transparent systems of data. It can be used with, or without, Building Information Modelling and has been drafted to work within any country and legal jurisdiction around the world.

“The causes and consequences of delay are the single most common reason for uncontrolled loss and cost escalation in complex building and engineering projects, where the design is produced by the employer or contractor with or without BIM. This contract provides a means to managing those risks and we want the industry to review it and tell us what they think. Further down the track we [CIOB] are looking at how we educate and qualify people in the management of time; the currency of these skills will only increase.”

Within the Contract there are three standard form documents: The Contract Agreement, the Conditions of Contract and the Contract Appendices. In addition the below standard form agreements are to be used for projects in conjunction with the Contract:-

· Standard Form of Subcontract

· Agreement for Appointment of Contract Administrator

· Agreement for Appointment of the Project Time Manager

· Agreement for Appointment of the Design Coordination Manager

· Collaborative services agreement for use with Building Information Modelling

The Complex Projects Contract differs from other standard forms of contracts and can be used in both building and engineering projects and may be adopted for other types of work. It can be used for turnkey, design and build, for construction only, or for part contractors design, both in the UK and internationally.

It has a number of advantages including:-

· In contrast to the information available under other standard forms, it requires complete transparency in planned and as-built information in compliance with the CIOB’s Guide to Good Practice in the Management of Time in Complex Projects.

· It is currently the only standard form of contract available which requires a resourced critical path network, a planning method statement and the keeping of progress records to a specified, quality assured standard, with significant redress for a failure to comply with the contract requirements.

· The contract contains detailed requirements for the identification and use of time and cost contingencies, defines float and concurrency and sets down rules for their use. It provides the power for the contractor to keep the benefit of any time it saves by improved progress as its own contingency, which cannot be taken away. No other currently available standard form of contract does this.

· The contractor’s schedule is not only the time control tool but also the cost control tool against which interim valuations are made and the predicted cost of the works is calculated contemporaneously permitting out-turn cost and total time prediction on a daily basis though the updated working schedule.

· It clearly identifies the employer’s time and cost risks in tables, which can be customised for particular projects with a variety of distributions of risk.

The CIOB is looking for comments and criticism on the Review Edition of the CIOB Contract by Monday, 30 July 2012. All comments will be acknowledged and taken into consideration in future review and revision of the form and its constituent standard form documents. The contract can be accessed at www.ciob.org.uk/CPC.

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

Bentley Issues 2012 Be Inspired Awards Call for Submissions

June 19th, 2012 Comments off

18th  June 2012: Bentley Systems, Incorporated, the leading company dedicated to providing comprehensive software solutions for sustaining infrastructure, today announced that it is accepting submissions for the 2012 Be Inspired Awards global competition. The deadline for entries is August 3, 2012. The Be Inspired Awards is held in conjunction with the Be Inspired: Thought Leadership in Infrastructure event in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, held November 13-14, 2012. Providing a unique forum for senior-level executives to learn about the innovations driving the development and operations of the world’s top infrastructure projects, this invitation-only event:

  • engages industry thought leaders in interactive discussions on topics of utmost importance to the business of sustaining infrastructure, while allowing them to interact with the global media and press;
  • features thought leadership presentations by the Be Inspired Awards finalists as well as executive roundtables focusing on business, technology, and best practice issues crucial to the entire community of infrastructure professionals;
  • culminates with the Be Inspired Awards ceremony recognizing outstanding achievement and innovation in infrastructure design, construction, and operations.

Ed Mueller, Bentley Systems chief marketing officer, said, “The Be Inspired Awards is an opportunity to recognize and applaud the great work of our users. It is a special thrill to personally meet the architects, engineers, builders, and owners behind these projects and congratulate them for the positive impact they have on society, the environment, and the global economy. At the same time, we are able to acknowledge the inspiring designs and higher performance of their extraordinary projects accomplished through innovative information modeling and engineering information management software and best practices.”

He continued, “Given the tremendous opportunity this competition provides to put an infrastructure organization’s talent and achievements in the global spotlight, I encourage our users to submit as many projects as possible for consideration in this year’s Be Inspired Awards competition.”

Since 2004, the prestigious Be Inspired Awards competition has showcased excellence and innovation in the design, construction, and operations of infrastructure projects around the world. Open to all users of Bentley software, it is the only competition of its kind that is global in scope and comprehensive in categories covered, encompassing all types of infrastructure projects. Finalists receive an expense-paid (travel and hotel) trip to the Be Inspired: Thought Leadership in Infrastructure event to present the best practices and innovations of their projects to independent panels of jurors, comprising industry experts, as well as to their peers and key members of the media. The jurors then determine the winners in each category.

All Be Inspired Awards submissions selected as nominees for consideration as finalists are published in The Year in Infrastructure, the premier annual showcase of infrastructure achievement. This publication is distributed globally to more than 150,000 key media, government, and industry influencers. A digital version of The Year in Infrastructure can be accessed on Bentley’s website. Finalists and winners are also featured on the Be Inspired Project Portfolios website page.

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

Connect-a-Desk Laptop and Tablet PC Holster

June 17th, 2012 1 comment

Connect-a-Desk Laptop & Tablet PC Holster

As part of our Mobile Surveying Solutions we now provide a Universal holster for surveying  ‘hands free’  this holster can be used for a variety of different Tablet PC’s, UMPC’s, netbooks, laptops even clipboards.

  • Includes everything you need to use your computer while walking or standing.
  • Adjustable to fit any size person.
  • Quick and easy to put on and take off.
  • Fits into most computer bags.
  • Adjustable safety strap to protect your laptop, plus two additional elasticated straps for tablet pc’s and UMPC’s
  • Machine washable and detachable non-slip surface.
  • Ergonomically designed for comfort and long working days

Connect-a-Desk Universal Holster

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor