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All Types of Measured Building Surveys

February 26th, 2013 Comments off

logowhitebackground (Small)Mobile CAD Surveying Ltd can accommodate either a simple single property floor plan for a domestic or private customer to a complete schedule of buildings including whatever type of data collection the customer requires for a commercial customer. We are currently working on some College and University surveys along with many domestic and commercial Dimensional Property Surveys around the UK.  So if you need any type of Measured Building Survey then please contact us.

We can provide Floor plans,  Elevational drawings, or a Topographical survey and all types of Measured Building Survey with varying levels of detailed work – from simple walls, columns, doors and window surveys, to a fully detailed data set including all 3D information including cill & head heights, stair riser and going details, door heights, ceiling heights, beam details, fitted furniture etc.. As part of our measured surveys, the surveyors can also pick up and highlight other information for example: any electrical and data points, sanitary fittings, incoming mains positions, plant, fire fighting and detection equipment, security equipment, signage and so on.

An accurate  topographical survey or land survey is essential to any project that you are considering and can lessen the possibility of costly mistakes or unforeseen issues later on.  The amount and type of topographical survey data that we collect on site is always based on your specification. However, our experienced land surveyors will use their knowledge of planning and development issues and requirements to provide additional information that might be vital for any future design or planning application. We are also able to gather information from any utility companies which can be added to your topographical survey drawings..

Photogrammetry services:-

  • The photographs may be archived for future use.
  • The photographs may be used either for monitoring or for the generation of data.
  • The technique is non-intrusive.
  • The technique is ideal for recording detail of a complex nature
  • A high level of accuracy is achievable.
  • The use of digital data ensures total flexibility.
  • The level of detail to be extracted may be determined either by the client or the photogrammetrist.
  • It is cost-effective.

We can also provide other additional land surveying services that you may require, for example; underground services tracing ( GPR – Ground Penetrating Radar) and 3D laser scanning enable us to provide you with a one-stop-shop for your surveying requirements.

for more information, please visit:-

Mobile CAD Surveying

 

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Met police launch inquiry into construction worker blacklisting

February 25th, 2013 Comments off

Move reverses earlier decision not investigate claims of Met police involvement in compiling 3,200-name blacklist

An investigation by the  Metropolitan police has launched into allegations of collusion in the blacklisting of construction workers. Officers are alleged to have handed information on individual workers to the blacklist, keeping thousands of builders and electricians out of work and driving some into long-term destitution.

This month it emerged that the Met had dismissed a complaint from the Blacklisting Support Group which claimed police involvement in compiling the 3,200-name list that came to light in 2009.

 

After growing concern among politicians and union leaders, however, the decision has been overturned and the force confirmed on Thursday that an inquiry was under way.

“An investigation is now being carried out under the supervision of the Independent Police Complaints Commission,” the Met said. “It would not be appropriate for us to comment further at this time.”

The information commissioner’s office said last year that some of the content on the blacklist could only have come from the police or security services.

The files were collected by the Consulting Association, a clandestine organisation funded by major names in the construction industry.

Dave Smith, the leader of the Blacklist Support Group, welcomed the announcement, telling Building magazine: “There are entries on some blacklist files that are surveillance reports about anti-racism demonstrations that took place nowhere near a building site. We have other evidence to suggest that this information was compiled by undercover police officers.

“There are entries on other blacklist files that contain private, sensitive information that has never been in the public domain and that no manager or director of a building firm would ever have access to.”

The shadow business secretary, Chuka Umunna, who last month led a debate in the Commons on blacklisting, welcomed the police investigation as a positive step in getting to the “full truth”.

He said: “Serious allegations that some information on blacklist files came from members of the police and security services … need to be looked into fully as part of getting to the bottom of the blacklisting scandal.”

Sarah McSherry, a partner at Christian Khan solicitors, the firm representing the Blacklist Support Group, called for the investigation to be handled entirely by the IPCC given the Met’s decision to “non-record” the original complaint last November.

She said: “We will be making further representations to the IPCC that, given their deplorable lack of knowledge of the Police Reform Act and the seriousness of the allegations of widespread corruption and criminal behaviour on the part of Metropolitan police officers, the [Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards] DPS should have no involvement in the investigation of this complaint, which should be the subject of an independent investigation by the IPCC.”

Unite welcomed the news of the IPCC investigation into blacklisting. Unite’s assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “What more evidence does Vince Cable and this government need that there needs to be a full ‘Leveson’ style inquiry into blacklisting. There needs to be a full and transparent investigation, backed by statutory powers, into all the allegations associated with the sordid spying enterprise called the Consulting Association (CA).

“The Business Secretary must immediately make plans to put in law genuine protections against blacklisting conspiracies. This should include making blacklisting a criminal offence up to and including imprisonment for the culprits.”

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Shard builder plans world’s tallest skyscraper in Saudi Arabia

February 22nd, 2013 Comments off

220px-Kingdom_Tower,_Jeddah,_renderThe builder of The Shard skyscraper in London will be the project manager for the planned 1,000-metre-high Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – the proposed tallest building in the world.

Mace will manage the development in a joint venture with construction consultant EC Harris, part of Dutch group Arcadis. The skyscraper will be built by the Saudi construction firm Bin Laden Group.

The tower’s height is planned at almost three times the height of the Shard (at 308 metres), although by precisely how much is a secret. The structure will take over from Dubai’s 828-metre Burj Khalifa as the world’s tallest skyscraper.

The tower is to include a hotel, serviced apartments and luxury condominiums.

Plans were unveiled 18 months ago by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal as the centrepiece to the Kingdom City development in Jeddah, a major Red Sea port.

“One of the reasons we hired them is they are going to use the same team that was on The Shard,” Waleed Abduljaleel Batterjee, chief executive of developer Jeddah Economic Company, told British trade magazine Building.

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia is undertaking multibillion-pound projects to improve its infrastructure and meet its burgeoning housing needs, spending more than £263bn in the five years to 2013.

Jeddah, the country’s second-largest city with around 4 million residents, has long complained of neglect.

Firms will “start mobilising” in April and construction work should start by the middle of the year, Batterjee said.

Construction will take just over five years.

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David Cameron opens Thames Valley Police building

February 21st, 2013 Comments off

David Cameron has opened a new police building near his home in Oxfordshire.

The prime minister visited the site at Thames Valley Police Headquarters South in Kidlington on Friday afternoon to unveil a plaque.

Mr Cameron, MP for Witney in Oxfordshire, said: “Come rain or snow you’re on the streets protecting my family and I’m very grateful for that.”

The new block was completed in late 2012 and is for “performance management and strategic development”.

The prime minister told officers: “Thank you for the work you do to keep us safe in the Thames Valley, and a personal thank you from me because you look after my house in Oxfordshire.”

Chief Constable Sara Thornton said: “I was very proud to show the prime minister our modern open plan headquarters building and to introduce him to police officers and staff.”

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Warning on dodgy hard hats

February 19th, 2013 Comments off

1361169272_helmetsA safety alert has been issued about counterfeit safety helmets on the market that are so weak they can be split in two by bare hands.

The British Safety Industry Federation has circulated the warning, saying that helmets branded “burly” or “Mkll” under the peak should be regarded as suspicious.

They are believed to come from Asia or the Middle East and appear to be copies of reputable manufacturer JSP’s MK2 helmet that has been manufactured in the UK for more than 35 years.

JSP technical support director Matthew Judson advised: “Users should make sure the JSP name is branded into the helmet, and that the user information leaflet is original, correctly spelled, in multiple languages, and with the manufacturer’s contact details listed – not a photocopy that is not square on the page.”

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London 2012’s legacy: diggers and a potential white elephant in the stadium

February 18th, 2013 Comments off

olympic-stadium-with-river-crossingSix months on from the Games, the builders are back. But the fate of the £429m main arena remains uncertain

It is an eerie, almost melancholy experience to stand in the middle of what remains of the London 2012 basketball arena. Six months ago, it was a cauldron of noise and emotion; now the only sound is the whistling February wind and the drumming of rain on the PVC walls, punctuated by the rhythmic clanking of 33 scaffolders removing what remains of the Meccano-like structure.

The £42m temporary venue, which seated 12,000 people and hosted basketball and handball, will be gone within five weeks.

Already, as we stand on the uneven concrete floor clad in our hard hats and safety boots, very little of the interior remains. Eventually, 800 three-bedroom houses will stand here – about 10% of the 8,000 slated for the park over the next two decades.

It was long claimed that the arena would be packed up and shipped, Ikea-style, to Rio, where it could be used for the next Olympics, and stand as a neat metaphor for a sustainable Games.

As with much about the Olympic legacy, the truth is more complex. With the steel contractor unwilling to ship the structure to Rio, and the Brazilians reluctant to trust a different company, it will be staying in Britain, its fate unknown.

Six months to the day since the closing ceremony, that sense of dislocation is repeated across the park.

Home to a seething mass of humanity and epic sporting achievement six months ago, with the eyes of the world on it, it is now back in the hands of the construction workers, who crisscross it in diggers and cranes.

In Zaha Hadid’s £269m aquatics centre, where 17,500 hot, damp spectators made a din, there is now only the drip of the water that must remain in the pool to keep the system functioning.

Signs order “no swimming” – not that many would want to swim, given the chill that whips around the building now that all seats have been stripped out and the temporary “wings” that housed 15,000 people are coming down.

Here and there are signs of its afterlife: a new reception will welcome swimmers to two 50-metre pools with movable floors that can be divided in various ways to cater for learners, leisure customers and serious athletes, when it opens in spring 2014; and a gym, creche and cafe are in the early stages of construction.

Once the vast glass sides go on Hadid’s elaborate design, the venue will look much better than it ever did during the Games. Whether the pool – unashamedly unadorned by slides or wave machines because they were considered too expensive as the budget spiralled upwards – can be made to balance the books is another matter.

Outside, on the far side of the bridge that once welcomed millions of giddy ticket-holders, you can peer into the husk of the temporary water polo arena, hollowed out until only the steel exoskeleton remains.

Below is the canal that hosted picnickers, its banks peppered with discarded plastic drinks bottles. Some of the trees that line it have been literally bagged up, to guard against the winter frost. On the approach to the stadium, the distinctive multicoloured tiles are being ripped up.

The most striking view is from the velodrome across to the international broadcasting centre, to which BT has just been handed the keys. The company’s new sports channel is part of the iCity development, which will be a barometer of whether the park succeeds in becoming an engine of economic growth for the area.

The hockey stadium is no more, all the “dressing”, from food stands to merchandise stores, long gone. The area is a huge, muddy construction site.

“When all the people left, it felt desolate. Now all the bulldozers have gone in, it’s almost like we’ve gone backwards,” admits Dennis Hone, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC). “It was scripted this way before the Games, and we’re ploughing on with the masterplan. For me, it’s a necessary evil to get to the park in legacy.”

Soon, the building will begin again. Opposite the basketball arena, for example, work is about to start on a cafe complex and a huge children’s play area. Hundreds of trees line up, waiting to be planted.

Hone promises that within six months, when concerts are staged where that hockey venue stood, and the stadium will host Diamond League athletics, there will be a feeling the park is coming to life again.

The greener north park reopens on 27 July and the Mayor’s Ride London cycling event will follow a week later. A new, ambitious urban park, designed by the architect behind New York’s High Line, James Corner, will be finished by spring 2014, when the south park is due to reopen.

The LLDC has been wary about letting the public see the park in its current state, fearful of tarnishing gold-plated memories. That will change next month, when people will be invited to tour the site and ascend the Orbit sculpture.

“We could have waited until Easter 2014 and it was all pristine, or we could try and do some things earlier,” says Hone, who says the time to judge the legacy will be in a decade’s time. “The opening of the park is just the start; then we’ll have to push on.”

Shaun Dawson, head of the organisation that will take control of the velodrome, nurses a cup of tea in the John Lewis department store overlooking the park. Nearby, piles of remaindered Mandeville mascots and stacks of reduced Team GB hoodies are still being sold off.

Because the Lee Valley regional park authority was involved in the business planning and design of the velodrome from the beginning, he says he was able to “hit the ground running” – in contrast to what has happened with the main stadium.

The sleek lines of the velodrome remain, but it is getting some minor alterations to make it ready for use by the community as well as athletes. Dawson says the main challenge will be catering for demand.

One (potentially white) elephant lingers in the room, however: from anywhere on the park, the distinctive lines of the £429m main stadium can be seen.

It has been a tale of missed opportunities and overspending, taking in high court cases and industrial espionage. But Hone insists a deal with West Ham to move into a refurbished stadium that will be converted at a cost of £160m so football and other events can coexist is now, finally, close. “I’m pretty pleased with where we are, but we’re not there yet. I’m quietly confident,” he said.

Outside the park gates, the Team GB store in Westfield’s “high street” has shut down and the Prada and Mulberry concessions look markedly less busy than they did in the summer.

Across the main road, in the more prosaic Stratford shopping centre, life continues much as it did before the Games. One of the challenges for the new park will be to embed itself in the community into which it has descended. It must become at once a local amenity, a London-wide attraction and a national symbol. If the Games of last summer were a marvellous dream, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park must turn its promises into a lasting reality.

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Why it’s important to update your windows

February 15th, 2013 Comments off

For homeowners who have never paid attention to their windows, now is the time to do so. Windows are an essential feature of all homes; they not only protect against the weather, but can turn a standard looking property into a quaint and quirky retreat with just a simple makeover. Updating windows is important for a number of reasons and can make a huge impact for very little cost, providing increased security, reductions in energy costs and the opportunity to create a beautiful feature.

Windows are, of course, essential to protecting homes from both bad and good weather. Double glazing keeps heat in and vastly reduces energy costs during the winter, whilst a number of modern glass varieties are also good at reflecting light, keeping rooms cool in the summer months. Paying attention to rotten or warped window frames, in addition to cracks and draughts, offers homeowners the chance to drastically reduce heat loss from their home and save significant amounts of money in the long run.

It is also advisable to update windows for security reasons. Many insurance companies are becoming alert to the fact that homeowners who do not have window locks in place could be more easily burgled. This not only puts up the cost of premiums, but can also result in families constantly being in a state of high alert, worrying that they may be attacked in their very own home. However, by simply updating and replacing old windows, locks can be added and frames fixed in place to ensure that poor security is no longer a concern.

Another reason for paying attention to old windows is when selling. Prospective buyers take a very dim view of poorly maintained, broken and dirty windows and it has a huge effect in reducing curb appeal, putting prospective buyers off even setting foot through the door. Having clean windows, sparkling glass, firmly fixed frames and stylish furnishings can hugely increase a property’s attraction by showing that it is cared for. In addition, furnishings, such as curtains and shutters, can help coordinate an entire room’s style.

Curtains and shutters come in a huge variety of different colours and styles; there is always the ideal furnishing for any room. Whilst curtains tend to be the more traditional window styling, shutters are increasing in popularity and provide a modern, chic and clean-lined feature that will suit any room. In addition, shutters can be used both inside and out, so for people who do not want to compromise on lush and extravagant curtain fabrics, teaming with an exterior shutter is the perfect solution.

Updating windows is very important and for all homeowners it is necessary to pay close attention to maintaining and revamping window spaces. Adding features such as curtains and shutters can bring an entire room together and create the ambiance that designers are looking for. Meanwhile, updating to newer glass and more secure locking systems will ensure that windows stay efficient, secure and in top notch health for years to come.

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Architectural and design ideas for outbuildings

February 15th, 2013 Comments off

When thinking about outbuildings, many people may automatically conjure up images of dull wooden sheds or unappealing box-rooms tacked onto the back of properties. With space at a premium and many people wanting to renovate and expand their home rather than move, developing outbuildings is becoming increasingly popular. However, there is no reason why these areas cannot seamlessly integrate with the look of a property and add an attractive new feature to be enjoyed.

There are many types of outbuildings, ranging from a garden shed or office, to a kitchen extension or the addition of a conservatory. These rooms add the vital space that many people crave and can be adapted to the use of the individual homeowner, whether they need a new office, a play room for their children or a quiet place to relax in. With careful planning and time spent on getting the architecture right, these home improvements can become stunning features that could even add value to a property.

One of the most important aspects to think about when adding an outbuilding is landscaping. It is vital that any addition to a home fits seamlessly with what is already there, whether the outbuilding is an annexe or a completely separate garden room. With annexes and extensions it is easier to incorporate rooms into the house and by using the same type of brickwork or plaster, outbuildings can flow from a main building as if they had always been there. With separate garden rooms, landscaping can be a little more challenging, but there are many ways to create a feature.

Constructing a path running to the outbuilding will help link the room to the main home, whilst decorating it in a similar fashion will help draw the entire scheme together. Sheds and outbuildings do not have to be boring and windows, porches, soft furnishings and lighting can all be used to create a new room that becomes a living space rather than a dull and cluttered storage facility. Outbuildings are often places that have also been maximised for natural light, with skylights and large windows, helping to merge the boundaries between inside and out. It is a good idea to use reflective and light furniture, such as a glass dining table, in such rooms. Dense materials and dark wood will suck in the natural light, whereas lighter pieces and mirrors will help to create an even bigger illusion of space.

With outbuildings considered one of the best solutions to solving the requirement for extra space, it is vital that they are furnished to maximise use. This is important when decorating a space and whilst glass, mirrors and soft furnishings might be ideal for adult areas, they will be dangerous for playrooms. In this example, lightly coloured, child-safe furniture can be used instead, with the room’s palette also being of pale hues to encourage a feeling of airiness rather than oppressiveness.

When designing an outbuilding it is important to think of it as an addition to the home, rather than a separate space. For those who carry out the work correctly, an outbuilding will become a fantastic feature for a revitalised home.

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Construction survey suggests another tough year ahead

February 15th, 2013 Comments off

Although prospects are improving for big civil engineering contractors, the bulk of the industry still faces a very difficult year ahead, the latest Construction Trade Survey suggests.

Those further down the supply chain are particularly struggling from a contraction in workload compounded by difficulties in late payment.

The latest Construction Trade Survey, published today, shows that the majority of the construction industry endured a difficult final quarter of 2012, due to declining output and orders on the demand side, combined with rising costs on the supply side.

Building contractors reported a contraction in work, while the picture for building product manufacturers was mixed.

Key survey findings of the survey include:

  • Private industrial and non-housing R&M were the worst hit sectors for building contractors, with 34% and 30% respectively, reporting falls in output
  • 23% of building contractors reported that, on balance, output fell in the private commercial sector, whilst in private new housing output flatlined
  • 13% of heavy side product manufacturers reported that, on balance, sales fell in Q4, whilst 46% of light side manufacturers stated that sales increased
  • 62% of contractors reported that, on balance, orders fell in the fourth quarter
  • Civil engineering workloads were flat during Q4, an improvement from a negative balance of -17% in Q3
  • 43% of large and medium sized building contractors, on balance, suggested that tender prices reduced in 2012 Q4
  • 30% of building contractors, on balance, reported rises in costs, marginally lower than the 32% in Q3
  • 46% of contractors, on balance, reported falls in profit margins, down from 49% in Q3.

Construction Products Association economics director Noble Francis said:  ‘It was good to see a rise in construction output for Q4 compared to Q3, when activity was adversely affected due to the Olympics and Paralympics. However, output remains 9.3% lower than a year ago and this is reflected in the Construction Trade Survey. A minority of firms working on energy and rail projects continue to thrive, as do construction product manufacturers who are able to export outside the EU. Yet, overall, the industry continues to suffer falls in work across both public and private sectors. Furthermore, outside of infrastructure, the industry is expecting that 2013 will be even more difficult, with declining orders and enquiries across the industry.”

Representing major contractors, UKCG director Stephen Ratcliffe said: “Business conditions remain challenging and, because construction is a lagging indicator, there is unlikely to be any major improvement this year.  Nevertheless, there remain good opportunities in infrastructure, in the schools programme and energy sector.

“Government support in providing guarantees to kick start stalled projects is welcome, as has been the announcement of PF2.  UKCG continues to work with government to see what more could be done to speed up deal flow and increase work available to the industry.”

For mid-sized and smaller builders, National Federation of Builders chief executive Julia Evans added: “The construction industry is braced for a year in which weak demand and higher costs will create a very challenging trading environment. As the government and industry collaborate to lay out a long-term strategy for the industry, we must not lose sight of the need to maintain the current capital investment plans that will generate economic growth in the more immediate future.”

SME contractors have now endured falls in demand for 20 consecutive quarters although they reported in Q4 that the degree of decline was showing signs of moderating.

Looking ahead, even with the additional £5.5bn capital spending announced in the Autumn Statement, public sector capital investment is set to decline until 2014.

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Finance options for freelance construction workers

February 14th, 2013 Comments off

In the current challenging economic climate, freelancing and contracting are becoming ever more popular options, particularly amongst those who like the idea of retaining control over their time
and income.

The one aspect of freelancing that proves daunting to many individuals, however, is managing the financial and administrative sides of things. For someone who is not an accountant it could be a nightmare keeping track of expenditure and outstanding accounts and coordinating that with an often irregular flow of income.

This is probably the biggest single reason why umbrella companies are in such high demand. In many respects, employing the services of an umbrella company makes it much easier for a freelancer to manage his or her finances.

The good news is that with an umbrella company a freelancer has all the benefits of working independently, while at the same time retaining many of the advantages often associated with working as an employee.

Take income tax, for example. One option is to set up a so-called ‘Personal Service Company’, but this could involve a nightmare of legal and administrative hassles that has only been exacerbated by the introduction of ir35 in March 1999.

A construction freelancer working for an umbrella company does not have to worry about the financial implications of ir35, because he/she only has to pay PAYE and that is taken care of by the umbrella company every time a pay cheque is issued.

It certainly costs money to use an umbrella company, but this cost is in no way comparable to that of hiring an accountant or administrator, which is often the only alternative. All the invoicing is dealt with by the umbrella company and it also handles the collection of monies owed to the freelancer. This alone provides a high degree of financial peace of mind, because it means he or she can concentrate on the job and stop worrying about whether there will be a pay cheque at the end of each week or month.

One of the biggest financial benefits of using an umbrella company is that while the contractor is only liable for PAYE, he or she can still claim all business related expenses. This is another aspect of the administrative process that all good umbrella companies assist their contractors with. Even better, it usually results in an improvement of the freelancer construction worker’s financial situation compared to his or her peers.

Public liability claims made against a freelancer could well have disastrous financial results for the individual concerned. Public liability insurance is expensive and working for an umbrella company could save the freelancer substantial sums of money in the long run, because it will usually have a comprehensive group insurance policy to protect its clients.

Saving for old age can also quickly become a nightmare for the freelancer. This is another financial benefit of working for a solid umbrella company; the company will normally have a pension fund and contributions will be tax deductible.

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