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Apprenticeship schemes from Saint-Gobain PAM prove a success

January 31st, 2013 Comments off
Construction Apprentices

Construction Apprentices

Reflecting government statistics highlighting an increase in apprenticeships between 2011 and 2012, Saint-Gobain PAM’s specialist apprenticeship schemes are proving popular with the engineers of the future.

Saint-Gobain PAM currently has five young people undertaking its technical design and engineering apprenticeship scheme. Jack Jenderko, 16, combines his basic engineering skills qualification at Telford College of Arts and Technology with his apprenticeship training at the company’s Telford manufacturing site.

Jack commented: “Since joining Saint-Gobain PAM UK as a maintenance apprentice, I am relishing the opportunities and challenges I have been given. I have joined a busy workshop that manages a range of engineering tasks. I come to the factory once a week, where I am able to put my skills into practice. I have been involved with numerous schemes, some of which are World Class Manufacturing projects. One of the first I undertook was a lighting project, replacing an old lighting system with a new, energy-efficient one. Not only did I gain a lot of knowledge from this project, but also a great sense of achievement. I have learned a lot from the people around me at Saint-Gobain PAM UK. It is also good to be able to speak to other apprentices and learn from their experiences.”

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Regulate the gangmasters exploiting Bulgarian and Romanian workers

January 30th, 2013 Comments off

Romanians and Bulgarians are already here, ‘self-employed’ and used in the construction industry by unscrupulous employers

The construction union Ucatt is opposed to the exploitation of all workers. When the initial eastern European expansion occurred in 2004, a large number of migrant workers began working in the British construction industry. The general pattern we found was that migrant workers were at the greatest risk of exploitation when they first came to the UK, when they often fell victim to dubious employment agencies and gangmasters. However, the longer migrant workers were in the country, the more likely they were to avoid being exploited and be receiving the right pay for the work they were doing.

Construction is a highly casualised industry: roughly 50% of workers are classified as self-employed, although many of these are falsely self-employed (self-employed while having the working practices but none of the rights of an employee). Work is often temporary, with workers frequently moving sites and employers.

Exploitation can flourish even on the largest sites because, unlike the agricultural and food processing industries, construction is not covered by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, which has significantly reduced exploitation in the sectors it covers.

In 2008 Ucatt uncovered a case of a migrant worker working on a PFI hospital in Mansfield earning just £8.80 for a 39-hour week. In 2010, on another publicly funded hospital site, we took a case to an employment tribunal on behalf of migrant workers who were being paid just over £4 an hour, well below the minimum wage.

It is these and similar cases of exploitation, and the fact that workers regularly move between employers and sites, which has led to some UK construction workers fearing that their rates of pay could be reduced.

Recently there has been speculation about what effect giving Romanian and Bulgarian workers the full right to work in the UK next year will have.MigrationWatch has estimated that up to 50,000 people from those two countries will enter Britain when curbs run out at the end of this year.

Since 2007 Romanian and Bulgarian workers have been able to enter the UK freely and have been allowed to be self-employed, many of whom are working in the construction industry. In practice this means there are already large numbers of Romanian and Bulgarian workers being exploited. The self-employed don’t have any employment rights or protections and even minimum wage legislation doesn’t apply.

These issues were covered in a report for Ucatt, The Hidden Workforce Building Britain, published in 2011. The report examined how and why migrant workers were being exploited in the construction industry. It described how large numbers of migrant workers, mainly Romanians and Bulgarians, gather early in the morning in the car parks of Wickes stores in London, in the hope of being picked up and getting work.

The men told the report’s authors that on the days they did get work they were paid cash in hand, receiving as little as £40 for a nine- or 10-hour day. One 25-year old Romanian said: “I’m always paid cash in hand and it’s always less than the minimum wage. But I do it because I need to eat. I know it’s bad but you have no choice.”

Before 2007, when other migrant workers have come to us with similar stories of exploitation, we have been able to help, including exposing large construction companies who had allowed these practices to occur on their sites. But given the self-employment rules covering Romanians and Bulgarians – and the fact that they face the possibility of being heavily fined if found to be working illegally – there is often little that can be currently done.

It is for these reasons that Ucatt has argued that the employment restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian workers should be lifted as soon as possible. By ensuring that these workers can be employed and protected by employment rights the level of exploitation will be reduced and the problem of workers being forced to work for wages that undercut existing rates will decrease.

With regards to an “influx” of workers, the unavoidable fact is that many workers are already here working in some capacity or other. If the government was serious about ending the exploitation of construction workers they would extend the Gangmasters Licensing Authority to cover the construction industry to prevent unscrupulous employment agencies and gangmasters operating in the industry. Given their obsession with reducing regulation, this looks unlikely

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A 1930s-style building boom could bring back growth

January 29th, 2013 Comments off

House building after the great depression revived the economy, tackled overcrowding and kept property prices stable for years

Eighty years ago, when Franklin D Roosevelt was waiting to move into the White House and the New Deal was still in the future, Britain was already recovering from the Great Depression. As the first country to come off the gold standard during the crisis of 1929-31 the UK had the advantage of being the first country to devalue, and that – together with the protective wall around the British empire – helped manufacturers to export.

Departure from the gold standard in September 1931 also let the national government run a cheap money policy. The bank rate was cut to 2%, which is where it remained for almost 20 years. The result was the building boom that gave us the 1930s semi.

The contrast with the tepid recovery from the deep recession of 2008-09 is marked. An entire US presidential term has come and gone for Barack Obama without Britain showing signs of meaningful recovery. Two years ago a cold snap in December was blamed for the contraction of the economy in the final three months of 2010, but the fall in national output proved more than a blip. Despite a depreciation of sterling comparable with that which followed departure from the gold standard, manufacturing output has not picked up. The bank rate has been 0.5% for the past four years yet house building last year was at its lowest since the 1920s.

This week’s GDP figures for the fourth quarter of 2012 are likely to show a continuation of the flat lining pattern of the past two years. Having set out with the honourable intention of rebalancing the UK’s lopsided economy away from consumer and public spending towards investment and exports, ministers are no longer bothered where the growth comes from provided there is some.

The Bank of England and the Treasury are excited about the signs from the funding for lending scheme, which provides cheap funds for banks only if they are prepared to lend more at lower rates to their customers. Mortgage lending is on the rise, albeit from low levels.

It’s hard not to think that the approach of the 1930s was a lot more sensible. Building houses, both before and after the second world war, helped not just tackle overcrowding and squalor but also ensured house prices stayed relatively stable until the early 1970s. Government policy today has the avowed intent of pushing up asset prices, which is good news for the haves but not so for the have nots.

It may take many years for this approach to work. Mortgages are still out of reach for first-time buyers unless they can find deposits of 15-20%. That takes some doing when the average cost of a home in the UK is £160,000-plus, and a lot more than that in London and the south-east. The squeeze on real incomes combined with job insecurity explains why housing transactions are half what they were before the 2007 crash.

Vince Cable, the business secretary, has been pressing cabinet colleagues to adopt the 1930s approach. He thinks house building is the way to get real demand into the economy quickly, and has championed the idea of government guarantees for housing associations. He said in a speech last year that there was a virtuous circle in the 1930s in which higher mortgage demand led to an increase in house building, which in turn led to lower prices and greater affordability, leading to still higher demand. “Houses built by the private sector rocketed from around 130,000 in 1931 to almost 300,000 in 1934 and it is estimated that house building contributed almost a third of all employment increases in this period.”

A report out on Monday from the Centre for Cities, a non-partisan research unit, picks up on Cable’s idea. It lists the 10 towns and cities – Oxford, London, Cambridge, Brighton, Bournemouth, Aldershot, Crawley, Reading, Bristol and Worthing – where funds aimed at kick-starting development could unlock economic growth immediately.

The aim, the report says, is to get construction moving on schemes that have planning permission but where development has stalled. Rather than a blanket approach to house building, it says the focus should be on parts of the country where economic growth is strong, demand for housing is high and affordability a significant factor. Property is expensive in all the cities named, with few vacant homes and a significant number of stalled sites.

By contrast, in other cities homes are much more affordable and there the vacancy rates are much higher. There are stalled developments in Burnley, Bradford, Blackpool, Hull, Dundee, Leeds, Liverpool, Bolton, Blackburn, Birkenhead and Hastings, but the Centre for Cities report suggests a better approach here would be to renovate than to build anew.

“For some cities, lack of housing prevents people accessing jobs or means they are stuck in cramped accommodation,” said Alexandra Jones, the centre’s chief executive. “In other cities, incentives to retrofit empty houses could improve quality of life. Both approaches, adapted to local needs, would generate the jobs and growth the UK needs.”

Though the government has introduced policies to get house building moving, the report says the response has been too small, provided perverse incentives for local authorities to build when they should concentrate on retrofitting, and has failed to concentrate on areas where affordability issues are most pressing.

There are deep, structural issues that make a comprehensive solution to Britain’s housing problems hard to achieve. One is the concentration of power in the banking sector and the concomitant loss of local building societies. A second is the concentration of power in the construction sector. In both cases, more competition would be helpful.

Then, of course, there is the tension between central and local government: should Whitehall set targets for house building (as the previous Labour government did) or should it allow local authorities to make their own decisions (albeit with a few sticks and carrots chucked in)?

In the short run, though, this is a question of money. If the government wants more houses renovated it could do so by abolishing VAT on home improvements. If it wants more houses built, it is going to have to scale up substantially programmes such as Get Britain Building, which has a target of just 16,000 new homes.

The budget will almost certainly mean more cash provided for guarantees but what would really make a difference would be a slug of capital spending channeled to local authorities to boost the nation’s housing stock. It could be ring fenced and time-limited.

Doing this, though, requires the government to accept that its economic and budget strategy is failing. It also means taking a big political risk as increasing the supply of homes means property prices will fall. That’s good news for young people and the less well-off trying to get on the housing ladder, but will be resisted by those already sitting pretty.

*This article was amended on 22 January 2013 to clarify that the UK was the first country to come off the gold standard during the crisis of 1929-31.

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Call for construction industry ‘blacklist’ inquiry

January 28th, 2013 Comments off

There should be a full inquiry into allegations of “shameful and insidious” blacklisting of workers on projects such as Crossrail and the Olympics.

Labour’s Michael Meacher said blacklisting was the “worst human rights breach in the UK since the war”.

The move follows disclosures about a database of 3,000 names used to vet workers in the construction sector for more than 15 years.

Ministers said they would investigate if there was evidence of wrongdoing.

The existence of the list was exposed by a raid by the Information Commissioner’s Office in 2009.

The raid, on an organisation called the Consulting Association, confirmed that construction companies had been checking potential employees against a blacklist.

‘National scandal’

This list included details ranging from employment history to trade union activity and other personal information. Campaigners claimed the list blighted lives by denying people employment.

The vast majority of those blacklisted are still not even aware that information was collated and repeatedly used against them.

During the Labour-led debate, Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said what had happened was “nothing short than a national scandal” and workers deserved honesty.

He acknowledged that the last Labour government could have done more after consulting on new regulations in 2003 but failing to implement them, but insisted the issue was a cross-party concern.

He said: “There are sufficient questions to justify the government carrying out a full investigation into the extent blacklisting took place and may still be taking place, at the very least on public sector projects.

“After carrying out the investigation, government should then set out what practical steps may be needed to stop blacklisting and blacklisting checks happening on public projects in the future.

“We need to learn the full truth of what went on.”

‘Robust penalties’

Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable said blacklisting as a practice was “thoroughly objectionable and indefensible”, while the health and safety issues in the construction sector were extremely important.

But he questioned whether there was any evidence to suggest the practice was continuing.

“If it is actually going on, it is a serious matter and it does need investigation and I of course will want to see it properly investigated, but we want some evidence,” he said.

“Robust penalties” were already in place to deal with those found guilty of blacklisting, he added.

During the debate Labour’s John Mann revealed that he had been blacklisted in the past.

He told MPs most workers ended up on the lists not because they had trade union links but because they “had fallen out with their gaffer”.

MPs took evidence on blacklisting

On Tuesday, Cullum McAlpine, a director at construction giant Sir Robert McAlpine, confirmed to MPs that the company had checked workers against the list to protect against “deliberatively disruptive or unlawful” behaviour on sites.

Meanwhile, campaigners stepped up calls for the government to release documents relating to the “Shrewsbury 24” at a briefing in Westminster.

The building workers were arrested for picketing following a national strike and charged under the 1875 Conspiracy Act.

Six of them were sent to prison in 1973, including Ricky Tomlinson who later became known as an actor.

Campaigners want the Criminal Cases Review Commission to revisit the charges, claiming they were politically motivated.

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SMEs turn away business to fight back against late payments

January 25th, 2013 Comments off

 

  • Over a fifth of small and medium sized businesses (22%) have declined future business from customers in the last year in an attempt to tackle late payments
  • In total, UK SMEs are currently owed more than £36 billion1 in late payments causing serious cash flow problems

Late payments continue to be a critical problem for the nation’s small and medium businesses with 85% of SMEs2 having experienced these over the last two years. Nearly half of these businesses (47%) claim their worst repeat offenders pay late three times a year or more.

New Barclays research2 carried out amongst over 1,100 senior decision makers in SMEs in Britain, reveals that in the past year, over a fifth (22%) have declined to do future business with customers who have paid late in the past.

Sue Hayes, Managing Director of Barclays Business banking, said:

“Minimising late payments and effectively managing cash flow is crucial for the survival, as well as the growth of small businesses.  With one in five businesses that cease trading citing bad debt as the reason3, it is vital that SMEs tackle this problem and take action before it is too late.”

The research also reveals that the impact of late payments on decision makers is often significant with nearly a  third (30%) of respondents, who have experienced late payments in the past two years, having to use personal money or assets to boost their cash flow.  A fifth (20%) of respondents have suffered extreme stress as a result, and some cases (11%) late payments have nearly caused a business to fail.

The problem is made all the more serious by the length of time businesses have to wait. Two thirds (66%) of respondents whose businesses have experienced late payment say that on average they have had to wait more than a month past the agreed payment terms for a bill to be paid, whilst one in ten (11%) say they have to wait more than six months.

Not all businesses are in a position to refuse future custom from late payers, and in the last year many have taken action in other ways.  Sixty per cent (60%) have communicated more frequently with or chased the customer’s finance team, almost a third (32%) have threatened to or taken out legal action, and almost a third (30%) have requested payment up-front.

Sue Hayes continues:

“Faced with a continually challenging business environment, small businesses clearly have no other option than to take action against customers who repeatedly pay late.  Whilst it goes against all natural business instincts to turn customers away, it is entirely understandable when weighed up against the overall impact of the late payment on the future of the business. Using a product like CreditFocus to check the credit worthiness of the business you are looking to trade with is also a great idea.”

CREDITFOCUS, Barclays credit-checking service helps owner managers assess the creditworthiness of the business they trade with.  The service can also provide help by preparing legal letters chasing payments, which are successful in the majority of cases.

CREDITFOCUS Classic, is free to Barclays customers until March 2013 and includes five credit checks, subsequent credit monitoring and one debt recovery solicitor letter. The more comprehensive version, CREDITFOCUS Pro, offers unlimited credit checks, ongoing monitoring of customers, as well as unlimited debt recovery solicitor’s letters. It is available to non-Barclays customers for £15 + VAT per month on a 12-month contact. The price for Barclays customers in £10 + VAT per month.

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Construction industry heads to Downing Street

January 23rd, 2013 Comments off

A new plan to reinvigorate the construction industry was unveiled at a summit at 11 Downing Street last week by 20 construction leaders. 

Skills Minister, Matt Hancock and the Government’s construction adviser, Peter Hansford were there to launch the ‘Construction4Growth’ (C4G) campaign, which aims to secure close collaboration between the construction industry and Government.

The campaign calls for:

  • Rapid investment in shovel-ready projects such as the repair and maintenance of roads, housing, schools and hospitals. Spending £100m on repairs and maintenance could generate 3200 jobs, and boost local economies.
  • Empowerment of local authorities to drive growth through construction by lifting borrowing caps on their Housing Revenue Accounts. This measure could free-up an additional £7bn of funding for construction projects in local communities.
  • A requirement for teacher- training courses to include an awareness raising programme for teachers on vocational careers and training opportunities for young people in the construction industry.
  • The introduction of flexible apprenticeship contracts that allow those aged 19 or over to progress to higher qualification levels without losing funding.The Rt Hon Nick Raynsford, Labour MP for Greenwich and Woolwich supports the campaign and said: “To see the construction industry coming together in this way is a very positive step. With the economy faltering, now is the time to identify areas for growth and focus on making them a success.

    “Construction4Growth will bridge the gap between the voices of industry and the intentions of lawmakers, and if we can knock political heads together, then we all stand to benefit.”

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UK construction faces ‘decade of pain’

January 21st, 2013 Comments off

The construction industry in the UK will not recover its pre-recession peak level of output until 2022, says a study by an industry lobby group.

The bleak outlook follows “one of the most difficult periods since World War II”, the Construction Skills Network report said.

The sector lost 60,000 jobs in 2012, while output fell 9%, in large part because of public spending cuts.

Construction employment is expected to continue to fall every year until 2016.

“Construction found itself at the heart of a perfect storm in 2012,” said Judy Lowe, deputy director of CITB-ConstructionSkills, the industry training body that put the report together.

The sector had been “hit hard by a combination of public sector spending cuts and a lack of investment in the private sector”, she added.

Public sector construction fell 20% last year, while infrastructure fell 15%, commercial construction 10% and private housing 5%.

The report claimed that Greater London would provide the only major bright spot over the coming five years, with most other parts of the country suffering continued contraction.

Activity in Wales would be boosted by the building of the Wylfra nuclear power plant, while the North East would enjoy a rebound from what has been a particularly nasty slump.

Employment in the sector is expected to pick up in the East of England and Greater London, but nowhere else.

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Northeast starved of infrastructure cash

January 18th, 2013 Comments off

NewcastleContractors in the northeast of England say that they cannot understand why they have been so badly treated in the latest government spending round.

 

Latest funding allocations by the Department for Transport (DfT), in support of highways maintenance, show the northeast region can expect a maximum of only £11.8m out of £215m for England as a whole, or less than 6%. The allocation has angered contractors in the region.

Peter Samuel, construction director at major regional contractor Owen Pugh, said: “The support being offered for road upkeep here is paltry. There is no reasonable explanation why the northeast figure is approximately half that of the next lowest areas. London and the southeast are to receive over 21% of the total, and the southwest, whose needs I would have thought similar to the northeast’s, is to receive more than three times as much at £36.4m.”

Nationally, £203m has been allocated to highway maintenance until 2015, which is just 60% of the £333m that the Civil Engineering Contractors’ Association (CECA) says the country requires.

CECA northeast region director Douglas Kell said: “The northeast certainly hasn’t been allotted a fair share, let alone 60% of its need. Yet this region’s construction and civil engineering industry has been harder hit than anywhere else in the country since the onset of the nation’s financial crisis.”

Major road projects in the northeast are also moving forward only slowly.

Funding of £150m for the Morpeth northern bypass and a new road bridge in Sunderland city centre was approved 13 months ago but site work on the bypass is not expected to start before January 2015 and no contractor has been selected yet.

Sunderland’s 180m-high bridge over the Wear, which will be England’s tallest, is expected to have a main contractor announced in May for a September start to actual site work and eventual completion in 2016.

Other projects, including a £64m scheme to relieve the A1 Western Bypass at Gateshead and a junction improvement at Silverlink, North Tyneside, are progressing much slower than they need to.

Mr Kell said: “Clearly many months, years even, will pass before big jobs announced for the northeast have all got under way, and if you link this with Network Rail’s recent decision also to spend only a tiny fraction of £37.5bn over five years on railway needs within the northeast, the prospects are even bleaker.

“The speed at which the entire northeast economy can benefit from infrastructure work depends on when money is actually allocated and projects can start.  Obviously firms in the region need a lot of smaller scale investment now to tide them over the next few months and keep people in jobs.

“The government has reportedly set aside an additional £5bn investment to assist badly needed ‘shovel ready’ infrastructure development across the UK, particularly outside the southeast. Perhaps some of this could be spread between Tweed and Tees in redress of the imbalance now evident,” Mr Kell added.

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Wates Construction awarded a £25m contract to build a new arts centre in Manchester

January 17th, 2013 Comments off

1358240751_homeThe new building, called Home and designed by Mecanoo Architects, will house the Cornerhouse gallery and theatre and the Library Theatre Company.

Construction is set to start this month for completion in 2014.

The structure will incorporate three existing viaduct arches that will house the venue’s education rooms. There will also be a 500-seat theatre, a studio, a gallery and a five-screen cinema.

The project forms part of an £80m programme at First Street North, which will also see a new hotel, multi-storey car park and restaurant area built around a new public square.

Wates was awarded the work through the North West Construction Hub following its appointment to both the medium and high value Hub frameworks in 2010.

 

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John McAslan + Partners’ King’s Cross Station Redevelopment Project

January 15th, 2013 Comments off

Kings Cross

 

LONDON – 15 January 2013 – John McAslan + Partners, a leading architectural practice in the U.K., today announced that its King’s Cross Station Redevelopment project in London has won a 2012 Be Inspired Award from Bentley Systems, Incorporated. Bentley is the leading company dedicated to providing comprehensive software solutions for sustaining infrastructure. The project won in the “Innovation in Building” category. The recipients of the Be Inspired Awards are selected by independent panels of jurors comprising accomplished Bentley users and distinguished industry experts. The awards honor the extraordinary work of Bentley users improving and sustaining the world’s infrastructure, recognizing outstanding and innovative project achievements in infrastructure design, construction, and operations.

Commenting on the award presented to John McAslan + Partners, Huw Roberts, Bentley Vice President, Core Marketing, said, “The ‘Innovation in Building’ award category represents projects employing advanced technology to aid in the delivery of high-quality buildings in terms of their aesthetics, adherence to program, meeting budget, environmental sustainability, operational performance, compliance with regulations and accreditations, and providing a clear return on investment. The projects in this category demonstrate excellence in designing, building, or operating one or more buildings.

“The GBP 547 million redevelopment of King’s Cross railway station will transform this historic facility into a modern transport interchange and iconic gateway to London. Restoring the historic façade, vaulted train shed, and other features, as well as interfacing with existing rail, underground rail, and road networks required ongoing verification of the design. John McAslan + Partners used MicroStation to produce an accurate 3D representation at all stages.

“The 3D representation of the Western Concourse roof – which covers 7,500 square meters, rises 20 meters, and spans 150 meters – allowed an international team to design 16 steel tree-form columns that support the single-span structure amid a network of subway and service tunnels. The benefits of rapid file-sharing and high-quality, validated data extended from schematic design through to construction, producing time and cost savings.

“The judges selected this project for its ability to innovatively bring simulation and reality together to restore the historic fabrics of this property while adding and optimizing new designs and features for the modern-day traveler. Understanding that ‘collaboration is a fundamental tool,’ John McAslan + Partners’ use of MicroStation produced accurate 3D representations at all project stages to ensure shared understanding of the design across the project team. On behalf of my colleagues at Bentley, I congratulate John McAslan + Partners on this extraordinary accomplishment!”

Hiro Aso, Project Director at John McAslan + Partners, said, “It is a tremendous honor and pleasure to win a Be Inspired Award for this world-class project. Our practice creates architecture that improves people’s lives, and we firmly believe that buildings should be underpinned by a powerful idea. That idea should be an intelligent and logical response to functionality and a sense of place, and the power of that idea should be embedded in the built form. In this way, our clients get the buildings they need and society gets the architecture it deserves. Bentley’s advanced information modeling software that facilitates information mobility across project disciplines and, thus, the sharing of information in collaborative workflows helped us realize yet another powerful idea in the form of the King’s Cross Station Redevelopment project.”

About the Be Inspired Awards Program

Since 2004, the Be Inspired Awards competition has showcased excellence and innovation in the design, construction, and operations of architecture and engineering infrastructure projects around the world. The Be Inspired Awards is unique – the only competition of its kind that is global in scope and comprehensive in categories covered, encompassing all types of infrastructure projects. In the awards program, which is open to all users of Bentley software, independent panels of industry experts select finalists and a winner for each category.

The awards are presented during a ceremony at Be Inspired: Innovations in Infrastructure, an invitation-only conference that provides a unique forum for senior-level executives to learn about the innovations driving the development and operations of the world’s top infrastructure projects. The 2012 Be Inspired Awards ceremony recognized outstanding achievement and innovation in infrastructure design, construction, and operations by winners selected from 58 project finalists by five independent panels of jurors. In total, nominations from more than 250 organizations in 39 countries were submitted in the 2012 awards program. For additional information about the Be Inspired Awards and Be Inspired: Innovations in Infrastructure Conference, visit www.bentley.com/BeInspired.

About Bentley Systems, Incorporated

Bentley is the global leader dedicated to providing architects, engineers, geospatial professionals, constructors, and owner-operators with comprehensive software solutions for sustaining infrastructure. Bentley Systems applies information mobility to improve asset performance by leveraging information modeling through integrated projects for intelligent infrastructure. Its solutions encompass the MicroStation platform for infrastructure design and modeling, the ProjectWise platform for infrastructure project team collaboration and work sharing, and the AssetWise platform for infrastructure asset operations – all supporting a broad portfolio of interoperable applications and complemented by worldwide professional services. Founded in 1984, Bentley has more than 3,000 colleagues in 50 countries, more than $500 million in annual revenues, and since 2003 has invested more than $1 billion in research, development, and acquisitions. For additional information about Bentley, visit www.bentley.com.

About John McAslan + Partners

John McAslan + Partners is a leading architectural and design practice with a broad portfolio of award-winning British and international architecture generated by its offices in London, Manchester and Edinburgh. Having established an early reputation for rational, detail conscious design that delivered strikingly innovative buildings, the practice is carrying this approach even more boldly into new projects in every sector.

Today, John McAslan + Partners has a strong reputation for delivering new-build architecture, and giving vibrant and sustainable life to old and historic buildings through adaptive interventions. The practice was declared World Architect of the Year and Transport Architect of the Year for 2009. It regularly wins RIBA Building of the Year awards, and has been named AJ’s Architectural Practice of the Year on a number of occasions. The practice’s work is widely published and its experts in every sector are frequently sought out for speaking engagements and topical comment in the media.

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