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Leeds shopping destination scoops major architecture award

January 31st, 2014 Comments off

An  iconic Leeds shopping destination has won a major architecture award at a ceremony in the city last night.

The Victoria Quarter, in Briggate in the city centre, won the Outstanding Contribution award at the Leeds Architecture Awards 2013 dinner – at Leeds Town Hall – for the outstanding contribution it has made to the city’s architecture over the last 25 years.

Leeds shopping centre‘The Knightsbridge of the North’, as it is known, has seen huge growth in visitor numbers, with a 14% increase in footfall on 2013 since the new year.

John Bade, centre director of the Victoria Quarter said: “It’s an honour to have won the Outstanding Contribution Award in what has been a tremendous year for the Leeds cityscape. The Victoria Quarter has a rich and diverse history spanning more than 100 years, and is an iconic piece of Yorkshire architecture, so to have been acknowledged with such a prestigious award is a real testament to it’s timelessness.

We have a really exciting year ahead planned for the Victoria Quarter and we want to invite people from across the region to come and visit us here, not only for the incredible array of luxury shops, but also to admire the building’s completely unique architecture.“

Opened in 1996, the shopping centre, home to high-end shops such as Louis Vuitton, Paul Smith and Harvey Nichols, as well as six restaurants and eateries, is set in a spectacular Victorian-era arcade.

Designed by Derek Latham of Latham Architects, the award celebrates the 20th century reinvention of the arcade and the transformational contribution to the regeneration of the city centre. It is the first time such an award has been given.

Now in its 25th year, the awards aim to promote a sense of pride in the new developments that are reshaping the city of Leeds and making a major contribution to its future development.

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CONSTRUCTION FIRM PLANS TO BUILD BUSINESS IN CUMBRIA

January 30th, 2014 Comments off

A MAJOR construction firm has revealed plans to expand into Cumbria.

GB Building Solutions, the company behind Barrow’s £7m new-build care home, has continued to grow during the recession at a time when many of its competitors have struggled.

Attributing this to GB’s ability to offer a “one-stop shop” for design, build and management service, contracts manager Chris Gallagher is keen to make further inroads into Cumbria.

“There are some huge opportunities for us here and we are keen to target this area as key to our continued development and growth,” he said.

The care home in Barrow, set to be completed by the end of the year, will soon begin to rise into the skyline, with brickwork well under way.

Although not a Cumbria-based firm, GB has embarked on an ambitious recruitment programme, and has already created a number of positions in Barrow.

Allan Robertson, from Barrow, was recruited at the end of last year as site manager.

Mr Gallagher added: “Having people like Allan onboard is vital, because he knows the area and already has working relationships with the supply chain.”

Local companies which have benefited so far include Barrow Central Joinery, L & W Wilson and Phoenix Business Centre.

Another new recruit is gateman Rhys Quigley, from Ulverston, who has been described by his bosses as “an integral part” of the team.

“Rhys is such a hard worker and has been absolutely fantastic,” project manager Andrew Costello said.

Mr Quigley, 21, is a former Ulverston Victoria High School pupil who previously worked on the new-build Furness Academy, just over the road from the care home.

He said: “It’s great that there are new opportunities in the construction industry in Cumbria and GB are a really good company to work for.”

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Council Could Save By Going Solar

January 28th, 2014 Comments off

Leicester county hallLeicestershire County Council has to cut £110 million from its budget by 2018 and has revealed that it is considering installing solar panels on County Hall to help tackle escalating energy bills.

The council has identified a range of energy-saving measures that it can implement to help meet its financial target.

Currently the council’s energy bills cost £1.5 million every year, with just less than half of that total coming from County Hall alone. Due to the large energy consumption, the council is taxed £600,000 each year in carbon reduction payments.

Under the new proposals, the council believes that it can knock £400,000 a year off its annual energy bills by installing a raft of new measures. Chief amongst the new measures is the installation of 600 solar panels on the roofs of buildings at County Hall, as well as other suitable council buildings.

However, solar PV is not the only technology being considered by the council which also plans to install a biomass boiler to help heat County Hall. In addition, improvements will be made to windows, lighting and the way council buildings are occupied to deliver additional energy savings.

Deputy leader Byron Rhodes, cabinet member for resources, commented: “At a time we have to save £110 million, it makes sense to put our own house in order and do what we can to cut energy bills.

“Our ambitious plans will pay for themselves in terms of lower energy bills and incentive payments from the government. They also support our intention to reduce the council’s carbon footprint.”

Leicestershire County Council’s energy-saving proposals are expected to save more than 400 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

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Crane falls off the back of a truck

January 27th, 2014 Comments off

An All Terrain crane slipped off a low loader in Bootle, near Liverpool, UK, Friday. No one was hurt in the incident.

The crane, a Grove GMK, owned by Roadcraft Crane and Plant Hire was in the street outside of the crane company’s premises, where it looks as though it was in the process of being loaded or unloaded. The crane came to rest against the side of a building, stopping it from tipping all the way over.crane truck

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UCATT calls for strong response after 2 incidents on same day

January 24th, 2014 Comments off

Construction union UCATT is urging workers to refuse to place themselves in potentially dangerous situations after two workers were injured – one of them fatally – in separate incidents on the same site on Tuesday this week.

The first incident at the site in Heaton Norris, Stockport, occurred on Tuesday morning when a worker fell through the roof of an industrial unit that was being demolished. He was taken to hospital in a serious but stable condition.

However later that afternoon paramedics were called to the same site after another worker fell through the same roof. He was also taken to hospital but later died from his injuries.

UCATT claims many self-employed workers are particularly reluctant to refuse to work in dangerous conditions because they fear they may be dismissed.

It also says a macho culture in the industry, where workers may feel embarrassed refusing when surrounded by their peers, is partly to blame in an industry which saw 39 deaths in 2012/13, 60% of which were falls from height.

UCATT’s regional secretary for the North West Region Andy Fisher said: “This is a tragic accident and our thoughts are with the loved ones of the worker who has died.”

He added: “Workers who are concerned that they are being placed in a dangerous situation have the right to refuse work. The challenge is to give workers the confidence to be able to refuse to place themselves in danger.”

He said anyone concerned that they are being placed in a dangerous situation should contact the union.

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To Hire or Not to Hire: What’s Best For Your Business?

January 22nd, 2014 Comments off

Choosing whether to buy or hire generators is a tough decision to make. It’s also one that can have serious economic and practical effects for your business and its ability to serve customers and respond to challenges and unforeseen situations.

Cranes Building Site

Construction firms can benefit from purchasing their generators

We sat down with neXpower – a supplier of generators to companies in residential, commercial, and industrial fields – to learn more about whether it’s best to hire or purchase a generator for your business.

One-off tasks: Why it’s often best to hire

Sometimes, you’ll only need a source of power once or twice a year. Situations that demand a one-off power supply include weddings and other parties, which need an external power source for outdoor catering equipment and entertainment systems.

If you’re hosting an event yourself, you’re often best off renting a generator for use as an outdoor power source. However, venues that frequently host events benefit from purchasing their own generator for use during parties and special events.

Think about the economics of hiring vs. purchasing. If the cost of purchasing is less than the cost of renting based on your projected needs, it’s best to buy. Remember to take into account factors like operational costs and maintenance.

Construction: Why it’s better to buy

No one knows your equipment as well as you do, and purchasing a generator allows you to enjoy the same power source in every setting. Since power isn’t available in all settings, everyone from trades providers to large-scale construction companies can benefit from owning their own generator.

There are some settings, however, where hiring a generator is a better idea. If your contract has specific requirements – for example, a noise clause based on the local regulations – you may be best off renting a quiet or eco-friendly generator to keep compliant with your contract and local requirements.

Tools and Equipment: Hiring large generators

When you use small tools and equipment that uses a resistive load, it’s easy to work out how much power your generator needs to generate. Large tools and equipment, however, can often require a variable amount of power that can strain some of the smaller generators.

If your job involves working with equipment that demands a lot of power, it’s often a good idea to hire generators for specific tasks and equipment. Read the “sizing a generator” section of this guide for more information on how the wattages of your equipment will affect your power needs.

This guide was written by neXpower, one of the UK’s top suppliers of generators for residential, commercial, and industrial use.

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Top 3 home refurbishment tips to save you time

January 21st, 2014 Comments off

Embarking on a home refurbishment or renovation project can be daunting to the say the least. There’s no end to tasks, large and small, that need to be completed and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the volume of work that’s required to finish the build.

To make things that little bit easier, we’ve compiled these tips to save you valuable time during a project.

Seek planning permission online

Before you even begin to get your hands dirty, taking care of the planning permission is your priority. Starting work before this has been organised could lead to major headaches at a later stage, as you’ll actually be breaking the law and could be forced by your local authority to undo the changes you’ve already made, should your application be rejected.

A good resource to consult is the UK government’s planning portal, which tells you everything you need to know with regards to planning permission and building regulations. You can also apply for the relevant permission and pay the fees online, saving you time and effort.

Find the right supplier for your materials

Sourcing quality materials for the build should be another big priority. When you’re pushed for time, as you’ll undoubtedly be during the project, finding an online supplier could take a massive weight off your shoulders.

Naturally, you’ll need to start with the most essential materials, including the likes of bricks, cement and timber. Finding an online supplier who can deliver to your site will save you the hassle of shopping for and collecting materials. Take a look at Wickes, who offer an outstanding selection, available at discount prices when you buy in bulk. As well as free delivery on orders over £50, they also offer a free returns policy, should you find yourself with surplus materials.

When it comes to taking care of the electrics and rewiring, in addition to basic materials like cable, you’ll also need an effective means of measuring voltage, current and resistance. You can buy multimeters, sometimes referred to as VOMs, from retailers like Rapid Online. They have an extensive selection of these devices, designed for different functions, so you’re sure to find a device that matches the nature of your build. What’s more, free UK delivery is included on items over £30, saving your valuable time that can be better spent on your build.

Outsource project management

As with any project, effective management is vitally important. Planning the build in as much detail as possible is the surest way of saving time and will take a lot of the stress away which is normally associated with refurbishment and renovation.

It’s worth considering outsourcing the task of managing the project to a professional. Undoubtedly, you’ll want to save as much money as possible that can be spent in other areas of the project; however, if you’re inexperienced, doing this could take twice as long and end up costing you more in the long run. What’s more, leaving the management to someone else will also free up your time to focus on crucial tasks which will impact the end result, such as the finalising the design aspect of the project and the choice of materials.

Take a look at the Channel 4 website, which includes some useful tips for self-build project management.

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JPG COMPLETES CONTRACT FOR THINK MONEY MANCHESTER HQ

January 21st, 2014 Comments off

Civil and structural engineering consultancy, JPG, has completed works for a multi-million pound, purpose designed headquarters campus at Trafford Park in Manchester for Think Money and has subsequently been retained to provide engineering design services for the office fit out contract.

THINK MONEY CAMPUSJPG was appointed by site owner Marshall CDP to provide civil, structural, geotechnical and highway design services for the complicated site following a pre let to the financial services company. It has since consulted on the delivery of three new office buildings totalling 123,550 sq. ft with a supporting crèche building and a gatehouse.  JPG has also prepared below ground services and foundations for a fourth building to facilitate expansion.

The development, which sits within an existing 10-acre site immediately adjacent the Manchester Ship Canal, presented a number of challenges as it was historically used for heavy engineering purposes.

David Allwood, Project Manager at JPG said, “Previous structures had been demolished to ground level and our intrusive site investigation showed an existing under croft and various obstructions including live services and asbestos fibres.  A considerable site remediation process was required before we were able to deliver bespoke design solutions for the campus.”

The campus buildings are situated around an attractive courtyard which incorporates hard and soft landscaping and an impressive water feature overarched by a feature bridge.  Car parking is also provided for some 591 vehicles and a running track circles the site.

Think Money is consolidating its existing Salford Quays operations and moving its entire 900 strong workforce into the campus

 

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REX PROCTER & PARTNERS IN NORTH/SOUTH MERGER

January 20th, 2014 Comments off

Yorkshire based construction consultants Rex Procter & Partners has announced that it has merged with Rex Procter & Partners in Marlow.  The business separated to operate as two independent businesses in 1980.

The merger is forecast to increase Group turnover by at least 10% to a projected £10 million in 2014 and will also boost the firm’s geographical reach and sector diversity. Collectively the firm will directly employ over 100 people.

Executive Board DirectorsAndrew Cooper, Managing Director of Rex Procter & Partners based in Yorkshire said, “Over the last five years the business has maintained steady growth and we have become established as one of the largest construction consultants in the North of England.   A robust business plan sets out our ambitions to increase business opportunities in the South and opening our London office in 2011 has already proved successful.

“We have been working with the Director’s, Gerry and Daren at Rex Procter & Partners in Marlow over the last few years and realised that our respective values and operating ethos was still aligned, 30 years after they were instilled by the original Partners.  It’s a natural partnership with exciting prospects.”

Daren Chessun, Director of Rex Procter & Partners in Marlow said, “The merger brings together the expertise of two very well regarded teams and will provide considerable new benefits to all of our clients.  We have the benefit of additional resource and expertise to call upon and can expand the provision of specialist services such as Asbestos Management and CDM coordination. We will continue to deliver a ‘hands on’ approach from senior management nationwide…something that is often lost with large corporate operators.

“The Rex Procter & Partners brand has been built on relationships and trust with 90% repeat business and we look forward to continuing this trend with our future growth plans.”

Collectively Rex Procter & Partners offers a complete construction consultancy service including quantity surveying and cost management, project management, employer’s agent, mechanical and electrical quantity surveying, contract advice, building surveying, CDM coordinator services and project monitoring.

Notable clients include British Land, FirstGroup, Valad Property Group, London Metric, DSGi, Marcol Group, Evans Property Group.  The business has also maintained preferred supplier status for Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc for the over forty years and is now even better equipped to support the supermarket giant through its expansion in the South.

The newly merged Rex Procter & Partners reports a good start to 2014 with a strong balance sheet and cash reserves with no external borrowing.  It will continue to work with clients and partners as normal and maintains its existing commitment to develop home grown talent to achieve its targets.

Rex Procter & Partners was ranked the UK’s fifth largest quantity surveyor in terms of value of projects won in December 2013 according to construction market analysts, Glenigan.  The business has achieved many property industry awards and accolades for its work that spans over 75 years.

Rex Procter & Partners in Yorkshire were advised on the merger by corporate partner Jonathan Asquez of Gordons and John Holroyd of Mazars and the shareholders of Rex Procter & Partners in Buckinghamshire were advised by Shiv Sibal and Laura Clark of Bond Dickinson.

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Heanor Memorial’s Asbestos Crisis: Is Your Commercial Property Asbestos Free?

January 17th, 2014 Comments off

Although asbestos is widely considered to be a thing of the past, it has become increasingly clear of late that asbestos management should be at the forefront of your mind as a commercial property owner. The latest crisis at Heanor Memorial Hospital only reaffirms the knowledge that asbestos can be lethal and, with widespread asbestos still being discovered in public and commercial buildings, isn’t now the perfect time to get your commercial property surveyed to ensure you’re not harbouring this silent killer?

The Story of Heanor Memorial Hospital

Last week saw the news that talks had reached a ‘crisis stage’ in Heanor Memorial Hospital, with widespread asbestos discovered in the building. Members of the public have been invited to the pivotal talks that will be held from 7.30pm to 9.00pm on Thursday the 30th January.

Despite the best efforts of all involved, it appears nigh on certain that the hospital that has served the healthcare needs of the town since as early as 1925 will close. It is thought that the meeting with the public at the end of the month will be used to forward alternative ideas for the 525,000 patients in and around the area.

The asbestos was found in the boiler room last September and the facility has been closed since. But what is asbestos, and why has the hospital been forced to close?

The Health Risks Associated With Asbestos

Asbestos, generally used as a fire retardant in thermal insulation products, was initially discovered in the hospital when engineers entered the boiler room to upgrade the hospital’s wiring and heating system, forcing the hospital to close its door immediately.

Asbestos is one of the great killers and is directly responsible for around 4,500 deaths every year. Asbestos fibres can cause four diseases, these are:

  • Mesothelioma (which is always fatal)
  • Lung cancer (almost always fatal)
  • Asbestosis (not always fatal, but it can be very debilitating)
  • Diffuse pleural thickening (not fatal)

Asbestos fibres are in the atmosphere, but are harmless in a low concentration. When asbestos is disturbed, however, like in Heanor Memorial Hospital, the concentration increases hugely and simply breathing in these invisible fibres can lead to an asbestos-related disease.

How Can Your Protect Yourself from This Silent Killer?

To ensure that your commercial or public property is asbestos free, you need to hire a trade professional to carry out an asbestos survey. If you have asbestos, management surveys are available to your business, and you can even have your own online asbestos management system. As an employer, it is essential that you comply with the latest guidance offered by the Health and Safety Executive. To know more about your legal obligations as an employer, consult this guide.

To conclude, as an employer, knowing the facts about asbestos is absolutely essential. With large scale public institutions such as hospitals succumbing to the perils of this silent killer it is essential that you know you’re obligations as a property owner and boss. If you’re in any doubt, get the experts in for a survey.

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