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Construction Processes for Large Buildings

June 27th, 2014 Comments off

This guide should give those interested in construction or starting out in the construction industry a basic idea of the processes involved in the creation of large buildings, for both public and private use.

Pre-Construction

Plans for the house, office block or public building should be developed, finalized and submitted for review before any actual building work takes place. You may require permits for building work, electrical work, plumbing the septic system and sewer connection. Site tests must be conducted to examine the soil, the bearing capacity of the ground and the water table. Findings from these tests may require engineering adjustments to be made in the building plans.

Foundation

Preparation of the land for building involves the removal of topsoil, which is usually piled elsewhere for later use, an excavation, and the forming and pouring of the concrete footings. Footings are concrete slabs used to support the foundation walls. The foundation walls should then be erected, in the form of poured concrete in temporary wooden forms, insulated blocks, concrete blocks or preserved wood. There is a great deal of heavy lifting involved at this stage, and it’s essential that the right tools and machinery is used to prevent injuries. Equipment to assist with manual lifting can be purchased from industry standard retailers including Handling Equipment online.

When on site, health and safety should take priority, even if it means that construction takes a little longer. The foundation of the building should be damp-proofed and insulated, and weeping tiles installed to drain ground moisture away from the structure.

Framing

Exterior walls, interior partitions and the roof are next to be assembled. A framing skeleton with exterior sheeting must be erected to protect the structure from the elements. Progress is usually swift at this stage, and frames should be built on the floor and lifted into place, one wall at a time. Windows and doors are then installed and the basement floor is finished. Electrical and plumbing elements should then be laid for inspection, and heating and cooling vents put into place.

Interior and Exterior Work

When the exterior walls and roof are insulated, another inspection will take place to ensure that the work has been done correctly. Interior work involves the painting of walls and ceilings, the laying of flooring and the installation of kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Plumbing and electrical fixtures should now be added and the interior doors hung. At this stage, the site manager or the client who has requested the construction work will be able to critique the progress made and suggest relevant improvements.

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What To Consider Before Building A Warehouse

June 25th, 2014 Comments off

If you run a trading business then you know how important it is to keep your stock safe and secure. Securing a warehouse premise is an important task for any such firm. However if you’re looking for one then it’s vital that you find a space that meets your company’s needs. Here are a few factors to consider when seeking out the ideal warehouse.

The Basics

To find the best warehouse for your business, you need to ask exactly what it is you need it for. Analyse the features that you want from a potential space. What size warehouse do you want, and what kind of layout should it have? If it’s too big, will you end up wasting lots of space? Does it have facilities that make it accessible for Lorries and deliveries? A firm like Warehouse Storage Solutions can help you make your vision a reality. Of course another major question to ask is where you want to locate. The location must be convenient for shipping goods to your customers, so good transport links are essential.

Job Market

If you run a larger firm, you must consider whether you will be able to secure all the staff you need in whichever locale you choose to base your warehouse. Will your warehouse be based in an area where your industry already has roots? If not then you may end up lowering your chances of finding the experienced and qualified staff you need. Then it’s worth thinking about the long-term, so you can ensure you won’t outgrow the storage facilities offered too quickly. If you are a fast-growing business, you must make sure your warehouse meets not just your current needs but your likely requirements years from now.

Final Cost

The cost of your warehouse space is of course going to be an important factor in your decision, but don’t forget to consider other factors related to cost. If for example your core customer base is in a central location, find out how expensive it would be to build a warehouse there. Factor everything into your analysis before you decide where to build your new warehouse. Finally it’s also important to bear in mind planning regulations. Under English law the erection, extension or alteration of an industrial warehouse is a permitted development which doesn’t require planning permission provided it meets certain criteria. You can discuss these regulations with the appropriate authorities, and get on with finding the right space for you and your business.

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Jail for 79-year-old plant theft kingpin

June 18th, 2014 Comments off

A 79-year-old-man at the heart of a family racket in exporting stolen plant to the United Arab Emirates has become the final member of the group to be jailed.

Ali Ghasemi of Harrow Weald Park, Harrow was was sentenced to three years and four months in prison at Southwark Crown Court for his part in the theft ring dating back to 2008.

He was assisted by four members of the Sayed family, who he is not related to – siblings Behroz Sayed, 35, Ali Farad Sayed, 23, Najia Sayed, 30 and Krezhal Sayed.

Ghasemi was close friends with their mother and a father figure to them. He was also helped by Sayed Mahjub, 39, who was married to Najia Sayed.

Between 2008 and 2010, Ghasemi – using the name “Javad Jan” – Mahjub, using the name “Ash”, and Behroz Sayed, booked a freight company to supply shipping containers to remote locations across South East England.

Unknown to the freight company, at least 48 stolen JCBs, rollers, telehandlers, forklifts and tractors – many of them worth around £50,000 each – were loaded into the containers.

They were shipped out to a company in Sharjah, UAE, called Al Mustaqeem.

Enquiries with the UAE authorities revealed Ghasemi was an investor in this company, Behroz Sayed was the managing director and Sayed Aimal Mahjub was an employee.

It is thought that the group sold the machinery on – often at great profit – to clients in the UAE, where there was a huge demand for plant machinery at the time.

Officers from the MPS Plant and Agricultural National Intelligence Unit (PANIU) began investigating the family in July 2009 after Avon and Somerset Police recovered two telehandlers in a shipping container from a remote farm in Wedmore, Somerset.

Enquiries with the freight company revealed a large amount of shipping requests from the family.

Subsequent warrants executed with Hertfordshire and Thames Valley Police Services resulted in numerous other machines being recovered across South England.

Between August and September 2009, officers arrested all the members of the group and search warrants were executed at their home addresses.

A myriad of incriminating documents were found, including records of the stolen vehicles’ identification numbers, accounts books with various family members’ names shown next to payments made and received, and photographs of the stolen equipment.

Through studying the documents, police established that Najia Sayed’s role was to launder money to other family members via her bank accounts, while Krezhal Sayed created false sales invoices for the machinery in an attempt to legitamise the equipment.

Ali Farad Sayed helped in the arrangements of arranging shipping and was arrested in South Ockendon, Essex, where he was found near a freight container ordered by his brother, Behroz Sayed, which contained two stolen BMWs.

All were charged with conspiracy to conceal, disguise, transfer or remove criminal property.

On 1 July 2013, Behroz Sayed of Ruth Close, Stanmore and Sayed Mahjub of Coxe Place, Wealdstone, Harrow pleaded guilty and they were sentenced to five years imprisonment and four years imprisonment respectively on 6 September 2013.

Najia Sayed of Lower High Street, Watford, Herts pleaded guilty on 3 July 2013 and was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment, which was reduced on appeal to one year, at the Royal Courts of Justice on 18 March 2014.

Ali Farad Sayed and Krezhal Sayed, both of Ruth Close, Stanmore denied the charge but were found guilty on 31 July 2013 following a trial at Southwark Crown Court.

They were each sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment – Ali Farad Sayed on 6 September 2013 and Krezhal Sayed on 20 December 2013.

Investigating officer, DC James Elliott of the PANIU said: “The demand for high value plant machinery in the UAE was sky-high and Ghasemi and the Sayed family sought to make money from that with criminal methods.

“We believe that the vehicles had been stolen to order for clients in the UAE. Ghasemi and Sayed facilitated their export so that they could be sold on.

“A financial investigation to establish how much they made from their criminal enterprise is ongoing. Documentation we seized indicates that hundreds of thousands of pounds has passed through the family’s accounts over the course of the conspiracy.”

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New balloon method to build large concrete shells

June 16th, 2014 Comments off

A new construction technique to build large concrete shell structures has been developed by scientists in Austria.

pneumaticwedgemethod-6-190x126The “balloon” method does not require any expensive supporting structures which have previously put developers off building large concrete shells.

The technique devised at the Vienna University of Technology uses a flat concrete slab which hardens on the ground before an air cushion below the plate is inflated bending the concrete and forming a sustainable shell.

Professor Johann Kollegger said: “It is similar to an orange peel, which is regularly cut and then flattened out on the table.

“We do it the other way around, starting with a flat surface and then bending it to a shell.”

A flat slab is first created using standard concrete.

Kollegger said It is crucial to get the geometric shape exactly right.

The slab consists of several segments and wedge-shaped spaces are left between these segments, so that the segments fit together perfectly when the structure is bent.

Once the slab is hardened, an air cushion below is inflated. The cushion consists of two plastic sheets welded together.

At the same time, a steel cable is tightened around the concrete segments, so that the concrete is lifted up at the centre and pushed together from outside.

To ensure that all the concrete segments move in perfect synchronicity, they are connected with metal beams.

In the first trial the whole process was finished after about two hours and the final height of the concrete structure was 2.90m.

When the concrete is bent, many tiny cracks appear – but this is not a problem for the stability of the shell.

Kollegger said: “We can see that in old stone arches.

“If the shape is right, each stone holds the others in place and the construction is stable.”

In the end, the structure can be plastered, then it has just the same properties and is just as stable as a concrete shell constructed in a conventional way.

Kollegger said the method could be used to build shells with a diameter of 50 metres.

He added: “As the new construction method renders timber structures obsolete, it not only helps to save time and resources, it also saves a lot of money.

“About half of the construction cost can be saved – even more in large structures.”

The new construction method has already been patented and trialled by the Austrian Federal Railways to build a deer pass over two high speed rail tracks in Carinthia.

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Children lay brick for new development in Bedworth

June 13th, 2014 Comments off

BUDDING young builders donned hard hats and put their construction skills to the test.

The children from Race Leys Junior School in Bedworth were given the chance to lay a brick at the site of a new Housing and Care 21 extra care scheme.

childrenThe pupils won a competition to help name the scheme in the town, which will be known as Oakwood Gardens.

They were joined by representatives from Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, Warwickshire County Council and Willmott Dixon, the construction company that is building the scheme.

David Harding, headteacher of the school said: “Race Leys Juniors were delighted to play such an important part in the naming of the new development.

“The children enthusiastically responded and suggested a whole range of interesting names. We very much look forward to further developing our links with Housing 21.”

When complete, Oakwood Gardens – which is being built on the site of the former Griff School – will provide 74 apartments and 11 bungalows for older people.

Kris Peach, regional director for Housing and Care 21 said: “It’s good to see the children getting involved by naming the new development.

“Earlier in the day they had a lesson on site safety with Willmott Dixon’s mascot, ‘Ivor Goodsite’, and I’m sure there will be further joint working opportunities as the development progresses.”

Councillor Jose Compton, cabinet member for adult social care at Warwickshire County Council, added: “Oakwood Gardens, and other housing schemes like this, will ensure that older people have the opportunity to live a more independent life.”

Oakwood Gardens will provide apartments for rent, shared ownership and outright sale.

Councillor Julie Jackson, cabinet member for housing at Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, said: “This is the first extra care facility in the borough. It is designed to offer accommodation to older residents of Nuneaton and Bedworth via the council’s ‘Home Hunt’ register.

“This has been achieved through strong partnership working between all the agencies and local residents via a public consultation.

“I also think the children of Race Leys School have come up with an excellent name in Oakwood Gardens.”

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Online estate agents vs the high street

June 12th, 2014 Comments off

When selling your house is it better to use a traditional high street estate agent or a cheaper online version?

The traditional high street based estate agent charges around 1pc of the sale price of a house, plus a performance related fee in some cases, justified by in-depth local knowledge and the supposed skill of getting the highest possible price.

This bricks and mortar model is under threat from an emerging low cost, online only model which charges a fixed fee of around £500 and claims to do everything a “proper” estate agent does, apart from viewings.

In this video traditional estate agent, and managing director of Douglas & Gordon, Ed Mead, goes head to head with newcomer Russell Quirk, founder of digital disrupter, eMoov.

 

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Construction firm builds workforce with 150 apprentices

June 10th, 2014 Comments off

A CONSTRUCTION company is creating 150 apprenticeships.

Esh Group, in Durham City, will take on workers over the next three years in its Esh Academy.

It plans to take on about 50 apprentices this summer.

Bosses say jobs will include construction roles, finance and administration positions, and surveying and engineering posts.

The firm last year supported more than 6,000 schoolchildren in a training scheme, and says the academy will cover the North-East, Cumbria, Yorkshire and Scotland.

The academy will be managed by Esh Training Solutions, Esh Group’s training division.

Brian Manning, Esh Group chief executive, said: “We are looking to add real bite by offering traineeships and jobs to some of the youngsters who successfully come through our employability programmes, which we deliver with business partners.

“We believe the offer of jobs is a massive incentive for students and really highlights the importance of preparing themselves for employment.

“We hope our business partners will join forces with us and take on board this approach and that we will be able to extend the opportunity to the work we have done with ex-offenders and social enterprises.”

The company, which directly employs nearly 1,000 people, has offices in Durham, Cramlington, Leeds and Kendal, and Mr Manning said its existing and future workforce will be involved with, and benefit from, the academy.

He added: “We’re looking to expand our graduate training and traineeship programmes and want to introduce potential leaders and senior leadership programmes as well as up-skilling our existing workforce.

“We already do a great deal of workforce development, and we’re now looking to run this work alongside.

“Once we get this operational then we can, as we always do, look to keep raising the bar and pushing it out.”

Tricia Mullen, Esh Training Solutions’ manager, said it was important the firm worked with colleges, training organisations and Esh’s companies to assess recruitment needs.

She added: “The academy students will be part of the Esh Group family.

“They can be school students, university students, in part-time or full-time work, and may be at a range of different academic stages.

“There’s a selection process, which will vary depending on the academic stage.

“School students can start by being taken into the academy talent pool and then progress to traineeships, training contracts and employment.

“We have a huge variety of opportunities available, from construction to finance, with site work ranges from pipe layers to engineering.”

Earlier this year, Esh, which is also holding North-East recruitment events to increase its workforce, completed a deal for Cumbrian firm Border Construction to continue its expansion.

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Buy-to-let landlords need to become more professional, says UK200Group property specialist

June 6th, 2014 Comments off

Buy-to-let landlords need to think like savvy entrepreneurs rather than leaving the performance of property investments to chance, says a specialist with the UK200Group of independent chartered accountants and lawyers.

Earlier this month, a report by buy-to-let specialists Platinum Property Partners revealed that 93 per cent of buy-to-let investors had no five-year business plan, even though a key factor in their investment was to secure retirement income.

Some commentators have suggested that a new surge in buy-to-let investment could be around the corner, with the much greater freedom of access to defined contribution pension pots that savers will enjoy from April 2015 – including taking out all their pension funds if they wish – potentially triggering interest in property letting as an alternative source of income in retirement.

John Painter, managing partner at CB Chartered Accountants in Worcester, who chairs the UK200Group’s property and construction special interest group, warned: “The problem is that often property investment isn’t looked at in the way that an entrepreneur looks at a business. Many people have become landlords through inheriting property and often don’t understand what is required of them.  Others go into it without considering the return that they are going to receive.

“In the past few months, we have gained one new client who needs to declare seven years of income to HM Revenue & Customs because he thought that as the monthly mortgage payment was greater than the rent, he would have no tax to pay.

“He was shocked when we told him that it was only the interest element of the payment that could be deducted from the rent.  He has, as a result, a sizeable tax penalty and payment to make.

“In another instance, a client was looking to the property market for a greater return on his capital.  He was thinking of acquiring a four-bedroom detached house in a rural location at a cost of £600,000. He had been told that the rent he would expect though was about £1,500 per month.  I mentioned to him that he could buy three properties at £200,000 each in a nearby town and collect rents of £750 per month – giving him a 50 per cent greater return.”

He cited an example of sensible forward planning, in which the owners of a family-owned property – seen as the source of a deposit for younger members to buy their own home – have decided not to renew a tenancy that will soon be coming to an end.

Instead, they have offered the tenants a periodic tenancy, under which they would receive two months’ notice to vacate. This will then enable them to market the property for sale and give notice once a buyer is in place, enabling them to maintain rental income while the sale goes through.

John added: “Buy-to-let might seem an easy option as a source of extra income but those ‘amateur’ investors that take a more professional approach to managing their property – which includes recognising the value expert advice can add – are likely to reap greater benefits.”

www.twitter.com/uk200group

Established in 1986, UK200Group is the leading mutual professional association in the UK with some 150 offices of quality-assured member accountancy and lawyer firms throughout the UK totalling over 550 partners, 150,000 business clients and global links in over 50 countries. UK200Group provide services and products that are designed to enhance the business performance of its members.  Telephone 01252 401050, email admin@uk200group.co.uk or visit www.uk200group.co.uk  

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Why join the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT)?

June 4th, 2014 Comments off

Watch the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) video to find out all about its history, its Royal Charter and the people behind the scenes. Learn about how CIAT is the lead qualifying body for Architectural Technology and represents those practising and studying within the discipline. CIAT qualifies Chartered Architectural Technologists (MCIAT), and professionally qualified Architectural Technicians (TCIAT).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onhotbzP464

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Weapons company among Queen’s award winners

June 2nd, 2014 Comments off

MBDA obtains innovation award while 3D animation games designer and food group also among winners

A weapons company that has developed an air-launched missile suitable for firing in urban environments, a food group which has encouraged the consumption of beetroot and a 3D animation games designer are among the diverse range of businesses to receive a Queen’s Award for Enterprise on Monday.

More than 160 firms overall have received the prestigious prizes this year in three categories of international trade, sustainable development plus innovation, according to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Hertfordshire-based MBDA obtained an innovation award for converting the Brimstone anti-armour missile into a dual purpose weapon to be used by crews flying RAF Tornado jets.

The extension gives the aircraft the capability to engage a “range of targets including snipers, mortar teams, improvised explosive devices and fast-moving manoeuvring vehicles. Pinpoint accuracy and low collateral damage make the weapons suitable for urban deployment,” said the citation.

G’s Fresh Beetroot based in March, Cambridgeshire has received an innovation prize for developing a way of steam cooking and storing vegetables using natural alternatives to artificial preservatives such as acetic acid as well as using robot technology in food production plus new product design. “The unique innovations have led the business into international markets of the US and Australia with development opportunities in Europe and Asia,” said the judges.

Axis Productions won a prize for “outstanding growth in overseas earnings over the last three years”.

The Glasgow-based company develops 3D animation which is used on films, commercials and on trailers and promotional material for the computer games industry. Axis has worked on some of the biggest selling games such as Halo and Need for Speed.

Other winners include Willmot Dixon, which obtained an award for becoming the first British construction company to achieve a carbon neutral certificate and Chinook Science which has developed thermal heat treatment plants for recovering recycled metal and generating renewable energy from waste.

David Cameron, the prime minister, said one of Britain’s strengths was its enterprise and it was important that we celebrate it. “In recognising their outstanding and innovative achievements, and their contribution to our economy, I hope other businesses and entrepreneurs will be inspired to follow their lead.”

Vince Cable, the business secretary, said: that companies that were growing, innovating and championing UK business overseas deserved the recognition that these awards bestowed.

“With more than 100 international trade winners this year, it is clear that Britain is emerging as a leader in selling its quality services and products throughout the world.”

Winners of prizes are visited by a royal representative and presented with a crystal bowl to mark their achievement. They also attend a celebratory reception at Buckingham Palace. They can use the Queen’s award emblem in advertising, marketing and on packaging for a period of five years, as a symbol of their quality and success.

In a survey of Queen’s award winners, 76% reported the win had brought added commercial value to their business while 79% of winners reported improved staff morale.

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