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Archive for June, 2015

Mobile CAD Surveying heading for the Premier League?

June 29th, 2015 Comments off

Mobile CAD Surveying Solutions Ltd have been working at Brentford FC’s ground Griffin Park. Mobile CAD recently produced plans and sections of the main stand to aid the clubs ongoing developments as they look to gain promotion to the Premier League next season. Good luck to the Bees for the forthcoming season.

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Half of Construction Workers Refuse to Carry Out DIY Jobs at Home

June 26th, 2015 Comments off

A new study has revealed that just under half of construction workers don’t carry out DIY jobs around their own home, despite the nature of their jobs. ‘A lack of time to do DIY’  and ‘lessened confidence with different capabilities’ emerged as the most common reasons behind respondents lack of DIY skills.

Almost half of construction workers in the UK refuse to carry out any DIY jobs around their own homes, according to a new study conducted by a leading business insurance website

In a bid to further extend its research into the habits and lifestyle preferences of those working within the UK construction industry, the team at www.constructaquote.com polled a total of 2,038 UK based construction workers for the study. Those taking part in the study were all aged 21 and over, with participants selected from an even range of construction sectors

Respondents were initially asked to reveal how often they carry out DIY tasks around their own home. Of those polled, just under a quarter (23%) carry out DIY jobs at home at least once a month, with 12% revealing they do so at least once a week. Just under half (48%) of construction workers polled admitted that they never carry out DIY jobs within their own homes.

Of those who stated that they often carry out DIY at home, the majority (69%) admitted that they consider themselves to be a perfectionist and wouldn’t trust anyone else to work on repairs or DIY jobs in their own abode. The most common DIY tasks construction workers are likely to oversee in their own houses included painting walls and furniture (64%), changing fuses (41%), fixing leaky pipes (23%) and putting up frames and pictures (18%).

In a bid to further discover their reluctance to work on DIY in their own homes, researchers next asked relevant respondents to reveal the reasons behind their reluctance to do so. Individuals were given a list of potential reasons and asked to choose those which applied to them, with the top five most common answers revealed as follows:

  1. I cannot find the time to carry out DIY at home- (39%)
  2. I am not confident in my DIY capabilities- (26%)
  3. I would prefer to ask/hire someone else to carry out the work- (16%)
  4. My partner/ family member prefers to carry out the DIY jobs around the house- (11%)
  5. I am too lazy to carry out DIY at home- (8%)

Lyndon Wood, CEO and creator of www.constructaquote.com, made the following comments regarding the study and its findings:

“There is the common belief that bakers can’t abide the taste of cakes, butchers get sick of eating meat, and baristas learn to loathe coffee. This theory could, therefore, explain why such a large number of construction workers polled in our survey find the idea of doing DIY in their own homes such an off-putting thought.”

He continued:

“Whilst this is a perfectly logical reasoning, it might also be explained in the fact that construction is an industry with such a wide plethora of sectors and trades. Often an individual that excels in one area will not necessarily feel as confident if tasked with another kind of job. The fear of being made to look like a novice in front of loved ones if they can’t fulfil the task at hand might be enough to put construction workers off DIY altogether!”

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The University of Huddersfield’s School of Art, Design and Architecture unveils two new research centres

June 24th, 2015 Comments off

The Innovative Design Lab

– The Centre for Urban Design, Architecture and Sustainability 

TWO new research centres that aim to use design and technology to solve problems of modern living and improve the quality and sustainability of the urban environment have been established at the University of Huddersfield. They will carry out important research and teach the next generations of experts in the field.

Huddersfield UniThe centres – which come under the aegis of the University’s School of Art, Design and Architecture – are the Innovative Design Lab (IDL) and the Centre for Urban Design, Architecture and Sustainability (CUDAS).

The IDL is headed by Professor Patricia Tzortzopoulos Fazenda, an architect with industrial experience in collaborative design integration and management who is the University’s Professor of Integrated Design and Head of the Department of Architecture and 3D Design.

The Director of CUDAS is Professor Nicholas Temple, who is Professor of Architecture. Much of his research and publication has focused on the city of Rome. His new research centre has now been launched at a special event that included addresses from Professor Simon Pepper, an expert on the history of architecture, and David Rudlin, of the Manchester-based urban design practice named URBED.

Professor Temple himself opened the event and outlined the vision behind CUDAS. The day closed with an interactive session that focused on sustainable design, construction and operation of buildings. The aim was to identify how university expertise and collaboration can support construction industry professionals.

CUDAS will research the themes of urban design, architectural practice and humanities, plus Sustainable Environments and Practice. A common thread is the integration of architectural, environmental and urban design.

There will be Master’s programmes in Urban Design, Advanced Architectural Design and Sustainable Architecture, with the first two programmes to be launched in September 2015.

The Innovative Design Lab was launched about a month ago and it researches product design, with an emphasis on the built environment, pushing the impact of design thinking and practice to new areas. It cuts across architectural design, construction management, interior design, new product development, engineering, social sciences and health care.

There is a focus on solving real-world problems through design innovation and the IDL’s research is developed closely with public and private sector organisations to propose novel solutions to design challenges. On offer are “future focused” undergraduate, Masters and PhD programmes.

The IDL mission states that its vision is for “increasing the value of design whilst reducing costs, enabling the society to benefit from high quality environments and products that are supportive of users’ needs and activities. This vision will be achieved through scholarly research and industrial engagement. More specifically, the potential of design innovation, collaboration, co-design and lean strategies to improve design and production processes and products will be examined.”

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London’s Commercial Property Boom

June 22nd, 2015 Comments off

After several flat years, the commercial property market in London has really taken off. In 2014, investment in commercial property in the city reached record-breaking levels. During the first 3 months of 2014, over £4.3bn was invested into commercial real estate in the centre of London and the tide of money has not stopped since.

Much of that money has come from overseas investors who are looking for a slice of the pie. They know that the availability of office space in Mayfair, The City of London and other business districts is limited. Yet there is a lot of demand with thousands of new firms setting themselves up in the capital every year. For investors interested in commercial real estate London presents a fantastic opportunity.

cityThe influx of money and the fact that the recession appears to have ended in the UK is fuelling a building boom in the capital. Despite this construction boom, demand for office space in the capital is nowhere near close to being met. During the first 3 months of 2015, tenants rented 2.4 million square feet of office space in the UK’s capital city.

Much of that space was in London’s new skyscrapers. Floor space in The Shard and The Gherkin is at a premium. Even The Walkie Talkie, which only opened in 2015, has a high occupancy level. Many of London’s office buildings are close to being full.

Fortunately, there are several other buildings under construction, and various regeneration projects going on throughout the city, including in the suburbs.  However, whether this will be enough to meet the growing demand for office space remains to be seen.

Currently there are 70 tall buildings under construction in London with another 200 being planned. Most of the skyscrapers planned for the city are still on the drawing board. Some will be built, but not all of them will get past the planning stage or find finance. A high percentage of these buildings are planned to be for mixed use, which means that the actual square footage of office space being added to the pool is going to be relatively low despite the building frenzy.

Historically the tower blocks in London were concentrated in the Canary Wharf area. Over the past few years, several high-rise blocks have been built in the financial district and that is a trend that will continue with ten blocks being planned for the area. However, the majority of the tall buildings to be built over the next decade are going to be strung out along The Thames, all the way from Chelsea in the West to The Royal Docks in the East.

For the first time in decades, much of the development is taking place south of the river. Twenty-three of the seventy tower blocks currently under construction in the capital are being built on the southern side of The Thames.

As well as new office space, there are plans to develop new warehousing, industrial units and other types of commercial spaces across London. This means that there is plenty of choice for those who want to invest in commercial property in the UK’s capital city.

city of London, although it would be an apt name for the new skyscraper that is soon to be built at 52-54 Lime Street. This spiky skyscraper has planning permission and is set to open in 2017.

The skyscrapers that are already in London are just the start. There are plans for another 250 tower blocks. Not all of them will get off the drawing board, but enough of them will be built to transform London into a true high-rise city, and go some way to helping to meet the increasing demand for office space in London.

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Why can a marketing company help your real estate business?

June 19th, 2015 Comments off

In the real estate sector, it is essential to study demographics and local markets and have a good marketing strategy. With the high risks and gains of the real estate business, drawing on the services of a professional marketing company can help you make the informed decisions on advertising and promotion that are vital to your continued success.

The specialist products and services, which the consultants will bring with them, will combine to form a much more detailed insight that will help you to meet the needs of your existing and potential clients. Here are a few things a marketing consultant can help you with:

Initiate a long term strategy

A marketing company will help you to initiate the most appropriate strategy to promote your business and boost sales. This will be based on the most effective marketing and promotion options and will use online and traditional media to maximise ROI. Importantly, the strategy adopted will also take into account the future needs of your clients, and a specific market segment will be targeted using online and email marketing, as well as more traditional strategies like direct snail mail.

If you are serious about growing your business, you might consider seeking out an equity investment. Equity investors, either individually or through companies, will put their time, money and effort into helping you grow your business, naturally in exchange for a portion of business equity. With a dedicated investment company such as Charterhouse Capital Partners, Chris Warren and his team will help you save precious money and time. Investment companies can often bring a wealth of business experience and strategic advice to help you plan a long term growth strategy.

Get quicker results

Marketing consultants will help you rework your existing business practices and apply the leverage needed to improve them. New opportunities will be identified and strategized, and your marketing and sales operations optimised. Reaping benefits while reducing costs is what it’s all about and you’ll get better quality and faster results. The marketing company’s profit-earning strategies will enable you to reach your target clients using online media and creative marketing techniques.

If you target specific segments of the market this results in enhanced quality of your lead generation. This in turn will have a direct impact on the avoidance of revenue loss, and get you faster results.

The right ROI strategy

A marketing company will prove invaluable in identifying and tailoring the right marketing strategy to provide you with maximum ROI. You’ll have quantifiable results in both real-time and ROI feedback as regards the strategy’s effectiveness. Only strategies that give quality lead generation and reduce the overall workload are moved forward with, and all results are optimised to enable you to focus on new markets as well as on your internal operations.

Summary

Any real estate business can be greatly helped to consolidate both its online and offline presence by bringing in a marketing company. They’ll use a whole raft of advertising and marketing techniques to maximise lead generation and target clients, so you can take your business to the next level.

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Is real estate worth the investment?

June 18th, 2015 Comments off

There are many good reasons why you might be looking to invest in real estate in your retirement years. Property gives you security and is functional, giving you a place to live in all or part of the year. Of course, with property and real estate – whether it’s a residential home, commercial property or a piece of land – location is everything. Where your property is located will determine its cost and investment value, and, of course, whether it’s somewhere you would want to spend time yourself. If part of your investment plan is to let your property as a holiday home, or indeed to lease it as commercial premises, then location is also crucial.

Looking abroad

Given the above considerations, your best bet might be to look outside the UK. With the pound currently strong against the euro, many British pensioners are buying property in Europe, either as buy-to-let concerns, second homes or permanent residences.

There’s no reason just to limit your choices to Europe, however. Developing economies are very much worth considering if you’re seriously thinking of buying real estate as an investment. This is for the simple reason that as these economies grow, the value of land and property will increase, especially in the major cities or in popular resort areas. China and Brazil both have emerging middle classes that want luxury homes, cafés, restaurants, hotels and retail outlets to serve them. As economies strengthen, construction work increases, and land and property increase in value.

Building a portfolio

Global property investment can be the beginning of a serious and rewarding investment career. M1 Group began in property and construction and is now a major global investment concern, comprising companies that specialise in travel, energy, fashion and consumer goods, among other enterprises. Property still remains important, however, and M1 Group remains very much in the family, with founding brothers Taha and Najib Mikati now joined by Taha’s son Azmi T Mikati (see http://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=23953362&privcapId=23067277), who is the Chief Executive Officer and Director of M1 Limited. Even if you don’t intend to develop your portfolio on such a grand scale, property is still an investment that can be handed down to your children or grandchildren.

What to look for

It’s crucial to buy at the right time. If you invest during a boom when prices are high, then you could see the value of your investment depreciate as the economic cycle moves into its low point. While the value will probably recover eventually, you might not want to wait that long. Look for countries where prices are low but have the potential for expansion. Also consider whether the government offers tax breaks to overseas property investors, and check what local rules and fees apply to those buying real estate from abroad. There may, for instance, be strict guidelines as to how many months of the year you can be in residence.

No matter what economic or political turmoil is affecting the financial markets, real estate is a hard asset that will always retain an intrinsic value. While stocks and shares can end up worth less than the paper they’re written on, real estate is a finite resource that will always be in demand.

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Bid race for £12m Broughton Bypass near Preston

June 18th, 2015 Comments off

Lancashire County Council has finally fired the starting gun on finding a contractor to build the Broughton Bypass.

The Broughton Bypass scheme will be one of the first schemes to be delivered as part of the £383m Preston and surrounding area City Deal after first being mooted 20 years ago.

Council highways experts believe the bypass would reduce 80-90% of the traffic currently passing through the village centre.

Many housing developments are currently stalled because the transport infrastructure in the area cannot take any increase in vehicles – according to reports submitted to the city council’s planning committee.

The 2km long bypass will create a new route from the Broughton roundabout at Junction 1 of the M55 to the A6 north of the village.

The bypass route in the northern section would go from the A6 Garstang Road to the B5269 Whittingham Lane and will be a two-lane single carriageway.

A southern section would go from B5269 Whittingham Lane to the M55 Junction 1 at the Broughton roundabout and be a four-lane carriageway.

Work is due to begin on the bypass in the autumn and aims to be finished in 2017.

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Horrid ground weaver spider halts housing scheme

June 16th, 2015 Comments off

Plans by house builder Wainhomes South to build nearly 60 houses in Plymouth have been stopped in their tracks by one of the world’s rarest spiders.

spiderKnown as the ‘horrid ground-weaver spider’, it is so rare it was only discovered in 1989 and has been found in just three limestone quarries dotted around Plymouth.

One of these has already been developed and Wainhomes had the misfortune to pick another at Radford Quarry as the site for its latest housing scheme.

Campaigners fighting to protect the tiny spider, which measures just 2.5mm and lives in the cracks and crevices of old limestone quarries, launched a Save Our Spider petition on the internet, which was signed by nearly 10,000 people.

City council planners last year rejected the housing plans and Wainhomes’ appeal to overturn the decision was this week rejected by the Planning Inspectorate, effectively killing off the scheme.

The tiny arachnid, which has proved elusive because it only comes out at night to hunt on the rock slopes, has now been classified as critically endangered and added it to the global Red List of Threatened Species, meaning that its last two remaining refuges will be spared development.

Wildlife campaigner Andrew Whitehouse of Buglife said “What a fantastic result for wildlife.

“Buglife believe that to knowingly cause the extinction of a species, no matter how small, is morally wrong.”

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John Sisk faces £57m writ over Shard hotel job

June 15th, 2015 Comments off

Shangri-La has issued a claim for £57m against John Sisk & Son following delays over the fit-out of its luxury hotel in the Shard.

A High Court writ has been lodged by the hotel operator against the contractor.

Sisk is strenuously denying the claims.

Sisk won the £40m fit out contract in early 2012 amid strong competition from Mace, Mivan, ISG and Chorus.

But the job started running behind schedule and in August 2013 Sisk was removed from the contract and replaced by Chorus.

A Sisk spokesman told the Enquirer: “Since the summer of 2013,  upon the purported termination of its contract on the Shangri La Hotel at The Shard,  John Sisk & Son has been trying to reach a financial settlement with Shangri La.

“Unfortunately it has been unable to reach a satisfactory outcome.

“Sisk considers as unlawful the decision by Shangri La to terminate its employment under the contract, denies Shangri La’s claims in their entirety and has substantial claims against Shangri La.

“The issue is now subject to a legal process which Sisk has initiated to continue to pursue its financial entitlement and therefore no further comment is possible.”

The hotel was scheduled to open in May 2013 but finally opened 12 months later.

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All 26 miles of tunnels now complete on Crossrail

June 12th, 2015 Comments off

The major milestone on the £14.8bn scheme has seen boring machines drive through 26 miles of new tunnels

Crossrail workers celebrate completion of the eastbound cavern 40 metres beneath Stepney GreenTransport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin joined the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London at Farringdon today to celebrate the end of tunnelling on the Crossrail scheme.

Work began in the summer of 2012, with eight 1,000-tonne tunnelling machines boring 26 miles of new rail tunnels underneath the capital.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Crossrail is an incredible feat of engineering that will help to improve the lives of working people in London and beyond.

“The project is a vital part of our long term plan to build a more resilient economy by helping businesses to grow, compete and create jobs right along the supply chain.”

McLoughlin added: “This is a major milestone in the most ambitious rail project this country has seen for decades.

“The Crossrail project showcases British engineering at its best, and I congratulate everyone involved in this impressive achievement.”

Construction work will now focus on fitting out the new tunnels and stations, with more than 12,000 people currently working on the scheme.

Over the course of the project, it is estimated that Crossrail and its supply chain will support the equivalent of 55,000 full-time jobs across the country.

Key Crossrail milestones to date include:

Start of Crossrail construction began at Canary Wharf on 15 May 2009.

The first giant tunnel boring machine broke ground in May 2012. 42 kilometres of new train tunnels have been created under London. All eight Crossrail tunnelling machines have now completed their drives.

Another 13.5 kilometres of new passenger, platform and service tunnels have been constructed within the new Crossrail stations using a technique called sprayed concrete lining.

Crossrail rolling stock and depot contract awarded by Transport for London to Bombardier Transportation and Crossrail train operating concession awarded to MTR Corporation.

The surface works, delivered by Network Rail, are now over one-third complete.

All 40 Crossrail stations will have step free access from street to platform.

Over 450 apprentices have gained work on Crossrail. More than 8,000 people have undertaken training at Crossrail’s Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy in Ilford, which opened in 2011.

Crossrail has plans in place to develop over three million square feet (gross) ofcommercial, residential and retail space above its stations and construction sites. Over 1 million square feet of this now has planning permission including Bond Street West (Davies Street), 101 Moorgate, Fisher Street and a number of developments above Crossrail Tottenham Court Road station

The Culture Line, a programme to deliver a permanent exhibition of large-scale world-class artworks in Crossrail’s central London stations is being delivered in collaboration with leading art galleries. The City of London Corporation is 50 per cent match funding the art works.

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