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Apollo Theatre safety checks ‘up to date’

December 20th, 2013 Comments off

Westminster City Council says health and safety checks on the Apollo Theatre, part of whose ceiling collapsed last night injuring 76 people, were up to date.

In a statement, the council’s cabinet member for community protection Councillor Nickie Aiken said that “we have no reason to believe this is other than an isolated incident”.

However she added, that, as a precaution, the Society of London Theatres has agreed to run further safety checks at all of the West End’s historic theatres today.

She added: “Our teams have been on site at the Apollo Theatre last night and again this morning and will remain on site until all checks are complete. As the investigation is ongoing, we are unable to comment further on specifics.”

The Apollo’s owner, Nimax Theatres, said the incident was “shocking and upsetting”. In a statement it added: “Our thoughts are with the audience and staff who were in the theatre and their families.”

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New app to prevent heavy equipment accidents

December 20th, 2013 Comments off

A researcher at the University of Missouri has finished an app to prevent heavy equipment accidents and is now looking for an industry partner to distribute it.

Each year more than 400 people die from heavy equipment and agricultural tractor rollover accidents, according to the Bureau of Labour statistics. The new VRPETERS (Vehicle Rollover Prevention Education Training Emergency Reporting System) is designed to summons site assistance immediately to help prevent death.

h42010The app, designed by A. Bulent Koc, assistant professor of Agricultural Systems Management at the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, and research assistant Bo Liu, is downloaded to a Smartphone or tablet.

The app then uses the sensors and GPS capability built into these mobile devices to detect a rollover, and sends an automatic emergency e-mail and phone message with accident location coordinates.

To minimize the number of false alarms, the VRPETERS-equipped Smartphone is attached to the tractor, rather than left in a pocket. The app is designed to calculate the stability characteristics of the vehicle, and can provide a warning to the driver as the vehicle’s rollover point approaches.

Another version of the app consists of hardware installed onto the machine that detects upsets and sends out an emergency message.

Koc said that many rollover accidents usually occur some distance from a road or residence, which means an accident can go undetected for hours. Having the emergency alert go out automatically is important if the operator is unconscious or pinned under the vehicle and can’t reach a cell phone.

The app can be used with farm equipment, construction and mining vehicles, trucks, snowmobiles, military vehicles, riding lawnmowers and ATVs.

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House prices in 2014 ‘above 3pc stamp duty threshold’

December 18th, 2013 Comments off

Asking prices expected to rise 8pc in 2014, pushing average home above £250,000

The average price of a UK home will burst through the 3pc stamp duty threshold next year, putting many homes out of reach for British buyers.

house-up-graphGrowing consumer confidence, combined with a lack of supply, will push the average asking price up 8pc in 2014, according to the property website, Rightmove.

This will drag the standard British home into the £250,000 to £300,000 banding, at which point stamp duty jumps from 1pc to 3pc.

According to the residential property portal – which has seen a 21pc uplift in traffic over the past 12 months – the average asking price increased by 5.4pc this year to £241,455.

Housing experts have been calling for the Government to lift the 3pc tipping-point, fearful that the meeting of the threshold with the average price would dampen housing market activity and stifle an economic recovery.

“It’s true to say that it [stamp duty] is a barrier and does distort the market. With no clear need or desire from the Chancellor to make the system fairer, we may have to see it as part of the purchase price,” said Miles Shipside, director at Rightmove.

Stamp duty could be seen as a “crude brake” on the housing market, he added, a tool used by the Coalition to stop the London market, in particular, overheating. According to analysis from property advisers Savills, the Government would forgo £1bn in stamp duty receipts if it increased the threshold from £250,000 to £500,000.

The system is widely deemed to be weighted disproportionately, with properties worth £250,000 accounting for 86pc of the stamp duty tax take, but only 25pc of transactions.

“Stamp duty restricts people’s ability to get on the ladder, restoring a pre-credit crunch norm in terms of transaction levels,” said Lucian Cook, head of residential research for Savills.

“It also creates a gap between the baby boomers, who can take advantage of house price growth giving them confidence to spend, and younger people who are spending income on rent.”

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Fraud alert over bogus construction invoice scam

December 17th, 2013 Comments off

The National Crime Agency is warning contractors against the growing threat of mandate fraud after companies lost millions during a series of payment swindles.

The agency is issuing an “amber alert” to the industry following 34 reports of mandate fraud so far this year in which contractors were conned out of amounts of up to £1m plus.

Mandate fraud involves criminals contacting contractors posing as a supplier or subcontractor.

They then advise the company that their bank account details have changed in a bid to divert payments into a bogus account leaving the legitimate supplier and conned contractor out of pocket.

The agency and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau said that reports of mandate fraud in the construction industry have increased steadily over the last year.

The majority of victims were large civil engineering contractors.

Most approaches to companies were by email (56%) using either the construction company’s email address or a similar one.

Other victims have been contacted by telephone (21%) or by letter (18%).

The agency warned:

  • The letters sent may appear as genuine letters on company headed paper and signed off by the company directors or accountants.
  • The letters will provide details of the new account with the wording that “these amendments should take place immediately”.
  • There does not appear to be a preferred bank for the change of account details.

It also issued the following checklist to prevent mandate fraud:

  • Ensure that all financial paperwork is shredded to avoid theft of the company identity/logo and prevent the bank details being obtained by others.
  • Employ due diligence checks, i.e. any notification of a change of bank account should require further verification by contacting the supplier/customer directly before implementing any changes. A single point of contact should be set up within each business on a pre-agreed number who can verify any legitimate changes.
  • Internet and email users should be encouraged to change their password regularly to avoid criminals accessing their accounts. Companies should regularly check their emails, websites and bank accounts to ensure these details are not being hacked.
  • Ideally every employee of the company should have their own computer and log-in details to avoid criminals hacking into multi-user computers easily.

If you believe your company has been a victim of mandate fraud then you can report this to Action Fraud by visiting hereor by contacting 0300 123 2040.

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Businesses need to incorporate smart building technologies or risk financial penalties warn experts

December 16th, 2013 Comments off

Roundtable debate highlights key drivers for smart buildings and considers what’s preventing wide scale adoption 

10-December 2013 – New environmental building legislation and competition to fill office or retail space are the two key drivers for smart buildings according to delegates that attended a recent roundtable hosted by infrastructure specialists Redstone.

Debating the key drivers for smart buildings and the barriers hindering adoption, Redstone was joined by industry experts from engineering consultants Buro Happold and Norman Disney & Young and construction services company ISG.

Matt Salter, delivery director, Redstone said: “All commercial properties which are rented out or that are up for sale must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and this quickly shines a light on whether  the building is efficient or not.

“Tenants will seek out efficient buildings to keep costs down – particularly in the face of spiralling energy costs. In addition, with large organisations needing to report on their energy usage and meet carbon targets, the requirement for energy efficient smart buildings will only grow.”

“Competition to fill office and retail space in new builds is the other key driver for smart buildings agreed delegates. Peter McDermott, building integration consultant, Buro Happold said: “Buildings need to deliver more to attract tenants in this competitive market. Value add in retail space is a real pull for retailers. They want to move into facilities with integrated systems that enable security, digital signage and clever lighting to help them run their stores efficiently and sell more products.

“Equally, retailers expect the outlet their store is based in to work smartly to ensure footfall remains high. Offering customers free Wi-Fi, and secure and intelligent parking systems will attract more visitors and encourage them to stay on the premises for longer.”

“The same is true when it comes to business space,” added Katherine Farrington, communications and security section manager, Norman, Disney Young. “Certainly for start-up businesses that may not have much capital, moving into an intelligent building means that they can access affordable office space with a network already in place and IT services that can be used as and when they need them.

“For this reason, the inclusion of intelligent networks within buildings represents a very real opportunity for developers and landlords to appeal to a whole new segment of the occupier market.”

All delegates agreed that although the concept of a smart or intelligent building is nothing new, industry is still being slow at adopting the technologies that enable them. The reason for this, they believe, is because the implementation of these systems is being overlooked at the planning stage.

Paul Pompili, divisional director, fit out, ISG said: “When a building is designed, the IT team isn’t consulted and this needs to change. The network needs to be the first thing into the building. Typically a new build will be worked on by a range of contractors and suppliers but ultimately you need a smart integrated team that incorporates IT, comms, security, utilities and so on if you want a smart building.”

The delegates also agreed that the cost of implementing smart building technologies was hindering wide scale adoption. If the technologies are not identified at the drawing board stage then it can become difficult and more expensive to justify this expense later in the process.

However, in spite of the initial outlay of costs, delegates concluded that smart building technologies shouldn’t be overlooked as they help businesses run more effectively and efficiently in the long term and can deliver a significant ROI. McDermott concludes: “For a building to be truly smart, the built in technology needs to be used for real business benefit. There’s no point in implementing smart systems if there’s no payback.”

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The UK hasn’t had a new runway in 60 years – that could soon change

December 13th, 2013 Comments off

In nine days’ time, one man hopes to end half a century of government inertia over how to expand London’s airport capacity

When a select group of ministers, reporters and paying passengers boarded a converted Lancaster bomber at Heathrow Airport on January 1, 1946, they knew they were part of a historic event in British aviation. What they didn’t realise was just quite how significant it would prove to be.

A large crowd gathered in front of the Avro Lancastrian, codenamed “Star Light”, to hear Britain’s then civil aviation minister, Lord Winster, say a few words before the plane took off for Buenos Aires.

But as they settled into the 13-seater British South American Airways aircraft, they could not have imagined that they would be taking off from what would turn out to be the last full-length runway to be built in the South East.

More than six decades after their aircraft lifted off the Tarmac for the first commercial flight from Heathrow Airport, the aviation industry has changed beyond all recognition.

Heathrow handled a record 70m people last year, compared with 63,000 in 1946, when passengers waited in floral-patterned armchairs in former military marquees on the side of the airfield.

London’s six airports – Gatwick, Heathrow, London City, Luton, Stansted and Southend – collectively saw 135m passengers pass through their doors last year, while across the UK 221m passengers took commercial flights in 2012.

That demand will only gain altitude over the next 40 years, according to forecasts.

The Department for Transport, for instance, estimates UK airports will need to cope with 445m passengers by 2050.

But while the industry has taken great leaps forward in demand and technology, one crucial debate has remained stuck in the hangar since that day in 1946: where to build new runway capacity to cope with the extra demand.

The lack of progress hasn’t been achieved without a good deal of effort.

Since 1963, when a government committee shortlisted 18 possible sites for a major new airport in the South East, no fewer than 12 policy documents, commissions or White Papers have been produced to solve the thorny issue of where to build new runways in the London area.

These included the 1971 Roskill Commission, which recommended Cublington in Oxfordshire as the site for a new airport, and the 2003 Future of Air Transport White Paper, which supported a third runway at Heathrow and a second at Stansted.

All of the plans got precisely nowhere.

Groups such as the Aviation Foundation, a coalition of airlines and airports, point out that while Britain has been crippled by indecision over the past 50 years, rival economies in Europe have forged ahead with expansion.

Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam has five main runways, while Frankfurt and Paris Charles de Gaulle each have four. Heathrow, Britain’s largest airport, has two.

“Airport policy in the UK has been a case study in political short-termism. Successive governments have failed to take action and as a result our hub airport is full, limiting the number of vital connections to growing economies around the world,” says Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors (IoD).

But in nine days’ time, one man hopes to take a major step towards ending 50 years of inertia.

City grandee Sir Howard Davies, the former chairman of the Financial Services Authority, will publish the first report from the Airports Commission, a body set up by the Government last year to supposedly lay the tortuous runway debate to rest.

Although the commission will not report its final recommendations until after the general election in 2015, giving rise to accusations that the Coalition has kicked the problem into the long grass, Sir Howard has pledged to publish a shortlist of options in his interim report, expected on December 17.

This time, businesses and airlines are hoping the commission’s work will stick.

“I think a Prime Minister of the day who rejects the findings of that commission in 2015 would look very weak,” says Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association (AOA), the trade body for Britain’s airports.

Since it was set up last November, the commission has published five discussion papers designed to address the most contentious aspects of the debate – from how future demand forecasts are drawn up, to connectivity with foreign economies and jet noise suffered by communities.

The commission received 58 proposals on how to solve Britain’s looming aviation capacity crunch – a figure Sir Howard has next month promised to slim down to “just a handful”. Some of the proposals will be easier to rule out than others.

Among the suggestions received was a £12.6bn magnetic levitation train alongside the M25, which could link the five biggest London airports in just 24 minutes. Poor odds are also likely to be offered on plans for a new four-runway airport near Abingdon in Oxfordshire – close to the Prime Minister’s constituency in Witney – making the cut. Another scheme included a “drive-through airport”.

Flights of fancy aside, the bigger players have spent more than £1m on developing their proposals, indicating the high stakes at play.

Heathrow has submitted three possible locations for a third runway, varying in cost between £14bn and £18bn.

The airport has so far refused to back one single option, but has highlighted that two of its proposals, one to the south west of its current site and the other to the north west, would cause less disruption to local communities than a third, cheaper site, to the north, over the village of Sipson in Hillingdon.

The south-west option would involve building a 3,500-metre runway over the village of Stanwell Moor in Surrey at a cost of £18bn and would increase Heathrow’s capacity to 130m, up from 80m at present. It would require the demolition of 850 properties but could not be delivered until 2029, three years later than a proposed site to the north west, over Longford and Harmondsworth in Middlesex, involving the loss of 950 homes and two listed buildings.

The airport insists most of the funding for a third runway would come from the private sector, although it has raised the prospect of a £4bn to £6bn public subsidy to build and improve surface transport links.

Heathrow’s main rival, Gatwick, insists it could increase capacity in the South East for a fraction of the cost of expanding Heathrow.

Gatwick argues it could build a second runway for between £5bn and £9bn on land that has been safeguarded for that purpose since 2003. It has suggested three possible layouts for a second runway, but believes the airport’s capacity would be able to grow to between 60m and 90m, compared with the 34.2m passengers handled last year.

Britain’s connections to fast-growing economies abroad could also be improved by building a second runway at Stansted at a later date, Gatwick says. Heathrow would remain open under the plans submitted by Gatwick, but would not be allowed to expand – an approach it has described as creating a “constellation” of two-runway airports.

Manchester Airports Group (MAG), the owner of Stansted, has hedged its bets by pointing out to the commission that the Essex airport could double the number of flights it handles without any significant new investment in infrastructure.

Should the commission decide that the UK would best be served by a bigger hub airport, Stansted could be expanded to four runways with capacity for 140m to 160m passengers a year, MAG says. However, observers in the debate suggest MAG is lukewarm on the idea of a mega-hub at Stansted.

“At Stansted, to be blunt, we have plenty of spare capacity. The airport is barely half full,” Tim Hawkins, MAG’s corporate affairs director, said last month.

When the commission kicked off its investigation late last year, aviation analysts believed the debate would develop into a bitter dogfight between Heathrow and London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, who has proposed three possible locations for a new hub airport.

The mayor argues that only a hub will deliver the connections that the UK will need to remain competitive in future – an argument that is also promoted by Heathrow, but bitterly contested by Gatwick.

Johnson believes a new four-runway airport on the Isle of Grain in north Kent – in the inner Thames Estuary – would strike the best balance between improving the UK’s connectivity and reducing the effect of aviation on local communities. He has also proposed – seemingly as a fall-back position – transforming Stansted “out of all recognition”.

A hub airport on an artificial island in the Thames Estuary off the Kent coast – a scheme dubbed “Boris Island” when the Mayor first backed it – also remains on the table. If allowed, Johnson would shut Heathrow and turn it into a new London borough, accommodating 80,000 homes and more than 40,000 jobs, the Mayor’s office claims.

However, even the Mayor’s own advisers fear the tide may have turned against any of the Thames Estuary options, which have been fiercely attacked by critics for the costs associated with the scheme. Transport for London said a new hub airport, which would not see the first planes take to the air until 2029, would require £4bn to £5bn a year of net government spending in the nine years between 2019 and 2028.

Daniel Moylan, the Mayor’s aviation aide, recently conceded that the option “most at risk” of being cut from Sir Howard’s shortlist is a new airport in the Thames Estuary. He believes that Stansted could be left on the table to appease those who believe London needs a larger hub airport, but that it should not be located at Heathrow.

“I think the option that is most at risk, being frank, is a new airport in the Estuary,” Moylan said at an event organised by Insight Public Affairs. “If something is going to be ruled out, I think Davies is likely to rule that out rather than anything else.”

Others believe this month’s shortlist could be less refined. Stewart Wingate, the chief executive of Gatwick airport, fears the commission could simply choose to drop the left-field options, such as a drive-through airport, and ask for more work to be done on possible expansion at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and an airport in the Thames Estuary.

He is urging the commission to narrow down the options to just two runners – Gatwick and Heathrow – to reduce uncertainty for local communities who will face up to two years of “blight” before the preferred option is named in 2015.

“I think people need to know where they stand,” Wingate said. “At the earliest opportunity, Sir Howard should narrow that shortlist – the sooner you can actually see the real options the better.”

Another uncertainty preying on the minds of airport bosses and campaign groups is whether the commission will shortlist a location or a specific option.

In May, the commission published a list of “sift criteria” – factors against which proposals would be judged. These included the economy, environment, cost and people, although the commission did not clarify how it would prioritise the various criteria.

Several groups, including Heathrow and Transport for London, hedged their bets by submitting more than one option, which met the various criteria in different ways. For example, while Heathrow’s north-west option is cheaper, at £17bn, it would involve the demolition of 950 local homes, as opposed to 850 under the south-west scheme.

Aside from the official proposals submitted by the airports themselves, other parties have suggested how to transform certain sites. Heathrow Hub, a project backed by the City banker Ian Hannam, believes it is possible to extend the airport’s two existing runways and split them into four independent air strips.

Should the commission merely shortlist locations, some stakeholders are concerned there could be another lengthy process to whittle down the various proposals for each site.

But lawyers suggest it could be difficult for the commission to choose one specific option at each location due to the difference in detail between the various submissions.

“Are they going to shortlist options or are they going to list locations?” one source asked. “Originally we were expecting options, but it’s difficult to compare apples with pears. How do you compare options which vary in detail?”

Questions also arise over who would be forced to pay for a detailed business case and sustainability assessment to be carried out for an option that had not been proposed by the site’s owner – a task that would cost several millions of pounds.

Some organisations have privately expressed concerns that the consultation has effectively turned into a tendering process.

“That’s a very different thing. If you are going to ask people to tender for something, you have got to tell them what the something is that you want. How many passengers is it meant to cater for? What is the funding envelope?” said another official.

The commission has already seen off one legal challenge, from Stop Stansted Expansion, which raised concerns over the influence that could have been exerted by a former commissioner, Geoff Muirhead, over the shortlist. Mr Muirhead stepped down from the commission in September, after it emerged that he was still being paid £150,000 a year by Stansted’s owner, MAG, when he was appointed to help Sir Howard.

Further legal challenges are inevitable, according to some, although lawyers suggest that the way the commission has structured its work has been specifically designed to fend off a judicial review following the Department for Transport’s recent court battles over the HS2 project.

While the department could potentially face another challenge in court, businesses point out that the biggest battle will be played out in the corridors of Westminster.

With the commission’s final report not due until after the next election, there are no guarantees the next government will agree to fund the recommendations.

Businesses have already started lobbying the political parties to ensure that Sir Howard’s final decision will not join the graveyard of failed aviation policy papers and investigations that have piled up over the past 50 years.

More than 100 of Britain’s leading companies, including Aberdeen Asset Management, Land Securities, Lloyds Banking Group and WPP, last month launched a campaign, Let Britain Fly, urging the political parties to make specific manifesto commitments following the Airports Commission’s first report.

“We would like all of the political parties to commit to acting on the findings of the commission now, whatever those findings may be,” the AOA’s Caplan said.

It may be 60 years since the last full-length runway was built in the south-east of England, but it looks like being a few years yet before Britain decides whether it wants to build another one.

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Finding Reliable Flooring if you Work in Slippery Conditions

December 12th, 2013 Comments off

Anybody that works in oily, wet, icy or generally slippery conditions will be well aware of the importance of safety, and one of the first things that you will need to do before business can commence is to take measures to protect yourself and everyone around you. The best way to do this is not through protective clothing (which should still be used), but instead to try and stop and slipping from occurring. To do this you will need to look at the flooring, and you will want to have some anti slip flooring put in place everywhere, as this will stop any accidents from occurring.

This anti slip flooring will need to be of the highest quality though, as otherwise you will find that the material will deteriorate over time and then you will be left with slippery conditions. Materials used for anti slip flooring such as galvanised steel, wood and stainless steel grating are simply not up to the tough demands that many businesses face when it comes to slippery surfaces, so what is the best alternative? The best material to use for anti slip flooring in any kind of industry is fibreglass grating, and the durability and effectiveness of this is truly remarkable. It is a strong, light weight anti slip material that is also fire resistant, corrosion resistant, maintenance free, impact resistant and it also looks great too.

Covering Your Entire Work Area for Complete Safety

This anti slip flooring is particularly good for chemical, industrial and marine industries but it can also be used in any industry where there are slippery conditions. It can be used for flooring, ramps, walkways, platforms, assembly lines, work stations, bridges and just about anywhere, so matter what the layout of your warehouse, building or place of work is you will be able to get this anti slip flooring in place. For the best anti slip fibreglass flooring you will want to go with industrial flooring specialists, like Dura Composites Grating, as this way you will get the highest quality and at the best prices as well.

By having your entire floor in your warehouse or place of work fitted with the best anti slip flooring it allows you and everyone around you to have peace of mind and get on with their job without worrying about slipping. It will also mean that there will be no serious injury sustained too, as you will have met the health and safety requirements.

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RWE npower Axe £4bn UK Wind farm

December 11th, 2013 Comments off

Last week, the UK’s green plans were dealt a substantial blow when Atlantic Array was shelved. The project was set to provide power for one million homes and would have created thousands of jobs. Npower have pulled the plug on the offshore project as political uncertainty and cynical political point scoring once more threaten to severely hamper green construction investment.

Struggling to Meet 2020 Targets

Npower’s move is undoubtedly bad news for David Cameron and his government who had previously been banking on wind farms to generate low carbon power. By 2020, the government had expected to generate 15% of its energy through renewable sources, but the cancellation of the npower project calls this target into question.

The Renewable Energies Association (REA) believes that npower’s withdrawal is purely down to political infighting and uncertainty over the future of green energies. It is not just Labour and the Conservatives who are fighting over green taxes and green levies; it appears at present that the Energy Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer are also at odds. Next week’s autumn statement appears vital at solving the issue, clearly showing exactly where we stand on green energy construction.

RWE claim that taxes and green levies have made the project ‘unsustainable’ and that the project ‘could not be justified under the current subsidy regime’. RWE forward the view that in the autumn statement, George Osborne must raise green subsidies and increase the bill to the taxpayer for the project to work. It appears as though, with current pressure and the spotlight on subsidies that this will be unlikely, with the government trying to drive bills down. For now at least, we have reached a stalemate.

But What Can We Do?

Surveys show that despite reservations on aesthetics and price, 70% of the population remains in favour of wind farms. So, isn’t it time we started to think locally rather than nationally?

With national projects struggling to gain traction, local, small scale thinking should now take priority and there’s a gap in the construction market for local wind farms. State of the art innovation has made home wind turbines a possibility and, with the potential cost saving implications, many punters are opting for wind turbines.

Increasingly, we have seen people turn to companies such as Scot JCB to help excavate their garden for the process of installing the turbine. The main draw backs of noise and aesthetics have since been overturned and it is now possible to have a silent wind turbine that looks good too. So, with offshore energy looking unlikely and, with people turning to wind farms to cut their bills, isn’t it time we began to think more locally?

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Rapid Cure Concrete Cuts M25 Road Works

December 10th, 2013 Comments off

The notoriously congested M25 has undergone a revolution of late. Recently, a new concrete repair technique has been trialled on a stretch of road that saw countless crashes over the past couple of months, and the results are outstanding. The trial, surprisingly, involves a new concrete repair system, and initial testing shows that it is cutting driver delays by around 80%.

The joint venture on behalf of a number of companies has seen lane closure fall from 1,500 hours a year to just 300 and has significantly reduced traffic congestion in the area as a direct result.

How Does it Work?

First used in the aviation industry, rapid cure concrete works has lowered road closure times by limiting the amount of time that it takes for the concrete to dry after repairs are carried out. A standard concrete mix is used to carry out the repairs but, while it is being mixed, a super-plasticiser and curing accelerator are added to the mixture; making it set quickly.

This is not the only product on trial as part of the scheme, and other techniques have been in use to prevent road closure. As well as quick drying concrete, the scheme has piloted the idea of pre-cutting the old concrete, eyelet fitting for quick removal and quick dry heating tents. All in all, the process has been reduced by 24 hours on average, with one overnight closure rather than two now being sufficient in most instances.

What Are The Advantages?

Well, as well as drying quickly and preventing road closures as much as possible, the scheme has also made sure that the road repair service is safer for those involved as they spend far less time exposed to oncoming traffic.

With concrete making up 10% of the M25 and 4% of UK motorways in general, the cost of repairs is also incredibly large and comes at great expense to the tax payer. A reduce in labour costs due to a shorter drying time should limit this cost as much as possible.

Is There A Home Renovation Use?

Also quick dry concrete would be useful for home renovation plans, the cost would be an issue for those looking to renovate or construct using the substance. However, time saving measures are now engulfing the market and, if you’re looking to save on labour costs, companies such as JP Concrete have started supplying precast concrete moulds that are suitable for commercial and domestic use.

Concrete may have a ‘brutal reputation’ of sorts in the construction industry, but these technological innovations are making it more accessible and practical than ever before. So, with technological improvements and aesthetic improvements combining, 2014 could very well be the year of concrete construction.

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How to protect your Firm’s Physical Assets

December 9th, 2013 Comments off

The number of active business start-ups in the UK is continuing to rise, thanks primarily to a reduction in the amount that it costs to establish a business venture. Advancements in technology and marketing have removed many of the barriers to entry that facing aspiring entrepreneurs, while also making it cheaper to own and operate a functional business.

With this in mind, it is easier for small and individual businesses to protect their physical assets in 2013, from their core commercial office to the storage facilities where product-orientated ventures hold stock. This is critically important, as failing to safeguard your assets is the equivalent of discarding any previous investment that you have made.

How to protect your Firm’s Physical Assets

So what practical steps can you take to protect your businesses physical assets and the initial investment that you have made in your commercial venture: –

  • Invest in Wholesale Alarms for your Premises: Whether you own one or several commercial buildings, it is imperative that these are protected from the threat of fire, damage and theft. The latter is particularly important, as beyond the lease cost of your buildings you must also consider the underlying value of the contents held within. To adequately safeguard your properties without spending outside of your means, you should invest in wholesale electrical alarms that will serve as a deterrent for thieves and help to alert the police to any attempted break-in. Suppliers such as CLE Electrical boast a particularly diverse range of items, each available at discounted wholesale prices.
  • Purchase Comprehensive Insurance: Even with an alarm system and security in place, there may be occasions where the threshold of your property is breached. In this instance, it is vital that you have protected your assets with comprehensive insurance coverage, which covers both the external structure of a property and the contents held inside. Depending on the infrastructure and business model that underpins your venture, you may need to invest in a customised insurance policy that guarantees you the best possible courage over time. This is especially true if you have high value products or buildings, as standard policies not deliver adequate protection.
  • Consider the Benefits of Asset Tracking Software: When considering your businesses physical assets, it is important to consider each individual item of stock and value it in its own right. With this in mind, investing in asset tracking software is extremely beneficial for product-orientated or distribution businesses, as it enables them to know the location of every single one of their products at any given time. When it comes to tracking orders, communicating with customers and performing internal audits, asset tracking software can potentially help your firm to save hundreds of pounds annually.
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