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Birmingham tradesmen to get a shot at national title

June 28th, 2013 Comments off

image6Olympic gold medallist Peter Wilson has gained a worldwide reputation for speed and accuracy, and he has now teamed up with a leading building equipment brand to find Birmingham tradesmen that display the same skills.

The double trap shooter, who hit the headlines when he scooped gold at London 2012, is targeting the keen-eyed tradesmen in conjunction with Bullet Woodscrews.

The Bullet Screw Off Challenge will see entrants complete a speed and accuracy ‘Screw Off’ against the clock, with the fastest competitor being crowned national champion.

The competition marks the launch of Bullet Woodscrews, which use cutting-edge technology to allow a faster and more precise screw application.

The Birmingham heat will take place at Birchwood Price Tools Birmingham office on 90 Summer Lane in Newton, and Bullet’s Head of Marketing Chris Mellor-Dolman is hoping the area will be well represented.

He said: “We wanted to show how superior this product is when it comes to speed and accuracy to get the job done as fast as possible.

“We realised that if there was anyone that demonstrated those characteristics it was Peter Wilson, so we thought it would be great to get him involved with the Bullet Challenge.

“The winner will be given a VIP day for four people with Peter at his training headquarters in London and will get to take him on in both his discipline and also their own speciality.”

Shooting ace Peter is looking forward to taking on the tradesmen and seeing how honed their skills are.

He said: “The Bullet Screw Off Challenge is a great way of highlighting the equal importance of speed and accuracy in the work environment, I might do a very different job but they remain the most important factors.

“I am looking forward to meeting the winner and their guests, and hopefully I’ll be able to show them a thing or two about double trap and learn a bit about their profession at the same time.”

The Birmingham heat will run from Monday 9th June for two months.

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Government investing £91m restoring derelict homes in England

June 26th, 2013 Comments off

Towns across England will benefit from an additional £91 million of investment that will refurbish empty homes and commercial premises.

Communities minister Don Foster announced the programme today (June 20th) and now 6,000 derelict homes will be refurbished as a result.

The main focus will be in the Midlands and the north where the problem is much more severe than other areas of the country. Some £33 million of the empty homes programme funding will go to the north of England, with a further £11 million heading to the Midlands.

Specifically, the money will be spent on refurbishment in areas where empty properties have commonly led to problems such as squatting and rat infestation.

Properties such as this have led to house prices being affected, which naturally drives any remaining residents away from the area and deters people from moving in.

The funding is being allocated from two programmes. The first will see £61 million from the second round of the empty homes funding programme. Around two thirds of this (£41 million) is to be allocated by the Homes and Communities Agency to registered social landlords and the remaining money will go to community and voluntary groups.

After this, the second windfall, representing £30 million, is funding for 20 partnerships in areas of severe problems such as Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Middlesbrough. This scheme will see around 3,500 homes come back into use.

Andy Rose, Homes & Communities Agency chief executive, said: “We had a very encouraging response to the funding across a wide range of types of property. This demonstrates a strong appetite and scope for bringing empty homes and properties back into use, which will help to reinvigorate our communities and towns.”

The government has already invested £130 million to refurbish around 11,500 empty homes in England since 2010, including £100 million to bring empty property back as affordable housing and the first “clusters of empty homes” programme investment of £30 million.

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Furniture giant Dwell ceases trading

June 25th, 2013 Comments off

After weeks of speculation, it has been announced that furniture retailer Dwell has ceased trading. The retailer has closed its 23 stores and House of Fraser concession, and – as things stand – will not honour outstanding customer orders.

Dwell had recently enlisted the help of adviser Argyll Partners to help find a buyer for the company, however, with no investment forthcoming, it has become the latest retail casualty on the high street.

“The business had been working with its advisers to secure further working capital for the business, and was actively in the process of talking to a number of interested parties who saw the value of the Dwell brand, its products, its customer base, and its multi channel proposition,” a spokesperson commented.

“Despite this, interest did not progress [and] as a result we have been left with no option but to close the business with immediate effect.”

In its most recent annual results, covering the 12 months to 27th January 2012, it was revealed that Dwell’s pre-tax losses had expanded from £439,721 to £1.69m.

 

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Embarrassed Manchester City bosses ban United shirts at the Eithad Campus construction site

June 24th, 2013 Comments off

Embarrassed Manchester City bosses ban United shirts at the Eithad Campus construction site

Any workers at City’s new £120million training ground site wearing football shirts face face the sack

Construction workers on Manchester City’s £120million Etihad Campus have been warned they face the sack if they turn up wearing Manchester United shirts.

According to a labourer working at the 80-acre development all football shirts have been banned from the site which will become City’s new training ground.

This came after an incident last week where two Red Devil-supporting builders were ordered to remove their United shirts at the Ashton New Road development.

The labourer told the MEN: “Because the weather has been so nice a lot of the lads have been wearing football shirts. Some of those have been United shirts but on Tuesday two lads wearing United shirts were told to cover them up or get off the site.

“They asked why and were told that there was a no-football shirt policy. They said it was in the rules but it’s the first we’ve heard of it.”

He added: “We see a silver Land Rover giving people tours of the site and I think that the club may have been embarrassed by it.”

BAM, the construction firm building the new development are also carrying out random inspections to stop any United fans burying Paraphernalia in the foundations, according to the worker, although this claim has been denied by BAM.

He said: “It’s annoying a lot of the lads working there and you are now starting to see bit of ‘MUFC’ graffiti about the place.

“They are annoyed because builders always wear old football shirts. The site is in Manchester and so people are going to wear United shirts.”

 

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East Cheshire announce £500,000 Macclesfield investment

June 20th, 2013 Comments off

Macclesfield town centreCheshire East Council has announced a £500,000 investment into Macclesfield town centre in a further commitment to the town’s regeneration.

Plans were confirmed on Wednesday that a £90m redevelopment scheme will go ahead, while council leader Cllr Michael Jones said cash will be pumped into “tidying up” Chestergate, the Silk Heritage Centre, public signage and public areas.

Work has already been carried out in Macclesfield to repair and upgrade the market area, while paving around the town centre has been repaired and improvements have been made around the church area.

Cllr Jones said this was “phase one” of improvements, and “phase two” will be a multi-staged operation.

He said: “I am pleased to announce ‘phase three’ of this major redevelopment which follows my discussions with all parties before the planning decision was made.

“This will be a further £500,000 of Cheshire East capital funds spent on Macclesfield. This money was already budgeted for and will not be spent in any part of the Wilson Bowden phase.

“This is part of an ongoing commitment to see Macclesfield becoming a destination town in its own right.”

“Phase three” will include a “Free after Three” car parking scheme, which will be introduced in the Whalley Hayes car park.

Councillor David Topping, Cabinet member in charge of the environment, said: “The Free after Three scheme will be on a trial basis and on the one car park in Macclesfield.

“This will be with a view to extending to other towns. We believe this will provide a boost to businesses and encourage visitors and support the town centre.”

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Local boatyard to the rescue

June 18th, 2013 Comments off

boatThis is the first time that the Flushing boatyard, which has a long-standing working relationship with the RNLI, has worked on these new high tech class of vessels, which are worth more than £3 million each.

Last month the ‘Mark Mason’, which is based at Angle in Pembrokeshire, was in after sustaining damage responding to an emergency call, and most recently Salcombe-based ‘The Baltic Exchange III’ was in for a service.

Jonathan Fielding, Falmouth Boat Construction’s commercial director, said: “The Tamar offers plenty of new challenges since it is so high tech, and for us, a fast learning curve.

“Added to this is the fact that the vessels are needed back on station as soon as possible, the team worked all hours, applied their diverse skill set to the job and completed the necessary repairs in two weeks

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Timber Windows for Green Buildings

June 17th, 2013 Comments off

When renovating an old, historic, or period building it is still important to use green materials and green construction methods. The windows are a major part of the building, so it is critical to ensure that you choose the right type of windows for a green building renovation. Timber window frames are a significantly better choice when compared to vinyl, UPVC windows.

The most difficult part of renovating any historic building is maintaining the classic design and period look of the original building. Windows are generally quite indicative of the period that a building is from, so when replacing the windows it is very important to pay attention to the finer details in the windows design. Even a small change could mean the difference between whether a building appears to be from the seventeenth century or the twenty first century.

A historic building that retains its traditional appearance is far more sought after than one with obvious and unsympathetic alterations. This is a large part of why timber windows are the best option for replacing the windows in any period building. Anything else simply looks out of place and awkward.

UPVC windows in particular are unsuitable for traditional homes because they have a glossy finish and a larger frame than traditional windows, making for a clunky and obtrusive appearance. Even worse, they frequently need to be replaced, making them a less green and sustainable option.

One argument that some might use in favour of modern windows is that the thermal insulation of modern windows is greater and they can help you conserve energy. This might seem like a reasonable argument, but it ultimately does not hold up to scrutiny.

The main problem is that the windows are really not where most of the heat is lost in historic period buildings. In fact, most of the heat tends to escape through the roof and the chimney. The amount of money saved on energy costs by switching over to a double glazing UPVC window is lost on the fact that the windows will need to be replaced much more frequently. This constant replacement ultimately contributes to an even larger carbon footprint as well. A modern timber window created with high quality glass and treated wood will minimize your heat loss and energy costs while still maintaining a gorgeous period building.

Timber windows not only look much better and more natural on a period building, but they are also produced using far more sustainable materials and methods. Producing timber windows utilizes less energy than producing uPVC windows. Another danger that uPVC windows pose to the environment is the hazardous chemicals companies use when manufacturing the windows. Since UPVC windows need to be replaced far more frequently than timber windows, this is a concern.

There is a large expenditure of energy on replacing UPVC windows, cutting, shaping, and transporting them. When timber windows are properly maintained, they can last for centuries on historic properties. Many period homes still have their original timber windows installed.

Laura Kay writes for George Barnsdale & Sons, manufacturers of timber windows and doors. For more information on the use of sustainable timber in window manufacture visit: http://www.georgebarnsdale.co.uk/environment/certified-timber/

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Strongest output in a year for UK manufacturing

June 14th, 2013 Comments off

 

trussesManufacturers in the UK reported a solid output for quarter one of 2013, with the strongest order book figures in a year.

A survey from EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and advisory firm, BDO, showed prospects are improving, as manufacturers said they were increasingly confident of continuing upward trends.

Manufacturers in the North East reported the strongest growth, as a balance of 56% of firms said they expect an increased output in the next quarter.

Order expectations were also largely up in the North East, with 37% of companies anticipating a rise in demand over the next three months.

Total orders in the North West were up 13% over the past three months, while output was up 11%.

Expectations in the region for the next three months were just slightly lower than these figures at 11% and 8% respectively.

Despite these positive figures, the number of firms with plans for investment are down with just 7% saying they have plans to invest in comparison with 15% last year.

Every region saw a rise in output with the exception of the South West, where 5% of firms reported a fall following the strongest regional figures in EEF/BDO’s preceding report.

EEF’s chief economist, Lee Hopley, commented: “Positive manufacturing data has been somewhat easier to find in recent months and our latest survey provides further confidence that the sector’s prospects are improving.

“While the demand environment in major European markets remains weak, and some individual industrial sectors are facing their own specific challenges, the improvement in output and positive expectations on orders bodes well for growth going into the second half of the year.

“However, a couple of aspects – namely the relative weakness in export orders and the softening in investment intentions – suggest that confidence may still need to be tempered for now.“

Tom Lawton, head of manufacturing for BDO, added: “There seems a definite lightening of the mood amongst manufacturers supported by positive order balances.

“However, recovery in the sector still remains tentative, clearly illustrated by firms’ reluctance to commit to future investment plans.“

“The survey results […] shows that UK companies are less optimistic about export orders but it is not yet clear whether this is due to the difficulties in Europe or difficulties in establishing a sustainable presence is the fast growing emerging markets.

“It is at this important point where it is crucial for Government and lenders to get behind the numerous positive indicators emerging from the sector and do all they can to help build the momentum of a recovery or risk seeing things stutter once more.

“EEF’s forecasts for growth in manufacturing this year have been revised down again in large part as a consequence of the larger than expected contraction in output at the beginning of 2013.

“A decline of 0.5% is expected in 2013, with quarter-on-quarter expansion strengthening in the latter part of the year. The forecast for GDP is unchanged from the previous quarter at 0.9%.“

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New online resource explains the Green Deal

June 12th, 2013 Comments off

The National Skills Academy for Environmental Technologies has launched an online resource to provide a comprehensive introduction to the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), ideal for anyone looking to deliver services under these schemes.

Designed primarily for installers operating in the building services engineering and construction sectors, the resource is also suitable for anyone wanting to develop their knowledge and understanding of what the Green Deal and the ECO entail. Details are also included on the funding options available for energy efficiency improvements.

Cathryn Hickey, executive director of the National Skills Academy, explained, “Green Deal training really comes to life with our new online course. This interactive tool is highly engaging, enabling quick and easy access to additional documents, policies and snippets of information, which all help to provide a solid grounding in the Government’s new scheme. Users can review information at any time and even test their knowledge at the end of each module.

“In designing this course, we aim to raise awareness of all the key areas surrounding the Green Deal, establishing a workforce that is properly equipped to facilitate the success of the scheme.”

By the end of the course, users should be able to confidently:

  • State what the Green Deal is and why it was introduced.
  • Explain the fundamental principles of how the Green Deal operates.
  • State what the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is and why it was introduced.
  • Explain the fundamental principles of how the ECO operates.
  • Identify the various funding options for property owners wanting to make energy efficiency improvements.
  • Explain the requirements and steps to become a certified Green Deal Installer.

The online course has been split into two learning modules: The Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation and The Green Deal Installer Certification Overview.

At the end of each module, there are series of questions putting your learning to the test.

The next few weeks will also see the launch of four new courses, enabling individuals to train to become Green Deal Assessors:

  • Level 3 Certificate in Domestic Energy Assessment.
  • Level 3 Diploma in Domestic Green Deal Advice – up-skill.
  • Level 3 Diploma in Non-Domestic Energy Assessment.
  • Level 4 Diploma in Non-Domestic Green Deal advice – up-skill.
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TATA STEEL LAUNCHES RIBA-APPROVED CPD ON CLADDING SYSTEMS

June 11th, 2013 Comments off

Tata Steel has launched a new CPD module, approved by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). It will offer technical advice for architects and wider design and construction teams on how to get the greatest benefit from steel cladding systems.

The CPD module comes in the form of a one hour seminar, and covers the key themes of sustainability, cost and performance, and where benefits can be found. It will look at:

  • Overview of a  range of cladding systems, from single skin to built up systems, composite panels and rainscreens;
  • Sustainability, from responsible sourcing to environmental product declarations and end of life considerations.
  • Performance characteristics including fire, structural and acoustic performance.
  • Conservations of heat and power.
  • Integration of renewable energy technologies
  • Weather tightness and installation.

Ian Clarke, part of the Colorcoat® technical support team commented: “If design teams are to get the best possible environmental, design and operational benefits from their building it is vitally important that consider the role of the building fabric. This module will help design teams to understand the wide range of systems available to them and how to best specify them to ensure the building performs as specified.

Clarke continued: “With the building envelope required to meet an increasing number of performance criteria, and legislation and client demand driving complex building design, it is essential that design teams have access to technical information and advice enabling them to specify the right systems to meet the project requirements.

This module is a great way to show design and construction teams exactly how they can use the building envelope to get the best from it. With projects becoming increasingly demanding in terms of cost, sustainability and performance, understanding the benefits that the building fabric can offer could prove vital.”

The module is the latest in a series of nine RIBA-approved CPD seminars from Colorcoat® by Tata Steel.

To register for a CPD seminar visit www.colorcoat-online.com/cpdseminars

 

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