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Starting a Construction Company – Guide for new business

October 28th, 2015 Comments off

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Starting a Construction Company – Guide for New Business  by AMA

If you’ve ever thought about starting a construction company, we understand that turning your dream into reality can be tough. We’ve learnt some important lessons about business since we set up AMA, and wanted to share them with our readers.

AMA Skip Hire has created a guide about how to start a building company, including important information about all parts of your business. The AMA Guide to Starting a Construction Company includes:

  • Tips on writing your business plan
  • The construction regulations you’ll need to know
  • The benefits of joining the CCS
  • Finding a base for your business
  • Waste management options for businesses.

Guide for New Business 

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It’s a family affair: Majority of family business owners hope their children will follow them

October 26th, 2015 Comments off
  • A new poll finds that (97%) of family business bosses hope that their children will follow them into the family firm;
  • Yet, nearly one in five (16%) say family firms should employ outside of the family to allow it to grow.

constructaquote.com, the business insurance expert, quizzed over 500* family company bosses about how they feel about their business and its future. The respondents came from various sectors such as construction, retail and accountancy.**

Half of those questioned said that they had inherited the company, or that it had been handed down to them, while 39% had started the business themselves, with 11% buying it off relatives.

Nearly all (97%) said they hoped their children would join them in the family business, and of those 14% said their children were building their own careers before joining, and a further 11% were learning new skills outside of the family firm which they can bring when they eventually join.

Of those who said they did not want their children to join the family business (3%), four out of five (80%) said that they wanted them to make their own way in the world away, while 20% said they didn’t want their children to suffer the stress of having their own business.

Despite this, the majority of respondents (87%) said they did feel more pressure to keep the business in the family because of its origins, with 21% stating that they owe it to their parents or grandparents, and more than two thirds (68%) saying they would like to keep the family tradition going.

Nearly half of those surveyed (47%) said they thought family firms were more trustworthy than non-family businesses, and 37% stating they believed family companies would be more loyal to their clientele.

Lyndon Wood, CEO and founder of constructaquote.com, said: “When you start a business you do it for two reasons, one is to make a life for yourself and another is to provide for your family. The more successful that business gets the harder it is to let go, it is like your baby and it does truly become a family affair. Building a business is an emotional journey, and I believe that is borne out by our survey findings. No matter how you started your business, it becomes part of your extended family.

“Our findings show there are still family businesses keen to ensure their companies stay in the bloodline, but the fact that many of our respondent’s children are learning the skills needed to run a business from the outside highlights that in this modern, globalised age, ‘keeping it in the family’ may not be enough to sustain a family business for the future.”

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Mothballed Welsh rebar mill re-opens

October 22nd, 2015 Comments off

A Welsh steel rod and coil supplier mothballed over two years ago has resumed production, securing 150 jobs.

Liberty Steel in Newport will hot roll steel producing products that are re-engineered for use in construction.

International steel and metals group Liberty House bought the works from Mir Steel in 2013 and kept workers on half pay while waiting for market conditions to improve.

The steel works is predicted to produce 50,000 tonnes of steel for the UK market and also plans to increase the production to 100,000 per month for export.

Liberty group managing director Sanjeev Gupta said: “We intend to buck the recent trend in the UK steel industry.

“The UK has the richest history in steel production in the world and production is viable here – what is needed is a lean, productive operation which is also agile and flexible and one that is able to adapt quickly to changes in the market.”

In recent years the rebar market has transformed as cheaper Chinese steel was sucked into the recovering UK construction market.

The positive news came as ministers, steel companies, unions and trade bodies met in Rotherham today to discuss the steel industry crisis.

The industry has been hit by global overcapacity and reduced demand in steel, seeing steel prices slump by nearly a third.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid, who will be chairing the summit, said: “There is no magic bullet and we can’t change the price of steel, but we can forensically work through all of the challenges we know the industry is facing to see what solutions there might be.”

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Blaze hits Wates Manchester Co-op refurb job

October 20th, 2015 Comments off

A major blaze destroyed the roof of the historic headquarters of the Co-operative Wholesale Society and brought part of Manchester city centre to a standstill last Tuesday evening.

Wates Construction was renovating the grade II-listed six-storey building into offices as part of the £800m Noma redevelopment.

Eight fire engines raced to the former CWS building, near Victoria railway station, when the alarm was raised at around 5.30pm.

Over 50 firefighters battled for four hours to get the high-rise blaze under control, which appears to have destroyed the pitched roof section of the building.

Tram services were halted in the area and electricity supplies were isolated as a precaution.

CWS building fire wates

A fire service drone flew over the scene as part of the operation to pick up on heatspots, transmitting images to the ground.

One worker told the Manchester Evening News: “I was working today but left the site at about 4.30pm. I got a call to come back because the building had been on fire.

“Some workers had been carrying out grinding work but we have no idea what has caused the fire.”

A spokesperson for NOMA and Wates Construction said: “We are working closely with the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and our on-site team to ensure we can gain access to the building as soon and as safely as possible.”

CWS Manchester
How the revamped Hanover building will look

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Construction Workers Second Most Likely To Risk Their Health Because Of Work

October 19th, 2015 Comments off

A new study conducted on behalf of a UK-based medical website has revealed that three quarters of the British public will risk their health by not going to doctors appointments because of work commitments or being too busy within their careers. Furthermore, the study revealed that the sectors most likely to risk their health because of their work commitments was those working in marketing and the media, construction workers and food and hospitality professionals. 

In a bid to discover more about how seriously Britons take their health and how much of a priority it is, a new piece of research undertaken on behalf of an online pharmaceutical company has revealed how often the average Briton will risk their health because of other commitments and which sectors sacrifice workers health the most.

A survey conducted by www.MedExpress.co.uk polled a total of 2,129 UK based adults, aged 18-65, for the purposes of the study. Each participant stated they were in full time work and were asked a series of questions to discover how high health ranks in terms of their everyday lives.

Respondents were initially asked when the last time they had visited their local doctors surgery for an appointment with a nurse of their GP, with the average length of time emerging as 8 months. Following this participants were asked how long they had waited to be seen by their doctor last time they booked an appointment. 62% of individuals revealed that they had to wait over 2 weeks to be seen for reassurance and answers related to their health concerns. These individuals were then asked if the doctor’s appointment was even needed after waiting 2 weeks, with 18% admitting that they cancelled their appointment as they were better or the problem had disappeared by the time they were due to see the doctor.’

Continuing on from this, participants were asked if they have ever had to cancel or decline offered appointments due to other commitments, with 90% stating that they had previously done so. These respondents were asked to provide the most common reason they’d had to cancel an appointment. Over three quarters (76%) stated they had work commitments that they could not get out of, whilst 19% stated childcare prevented them from visiting the doctors.

Following this, all individuals taking part in the study were asked how often they found themselves having to miss doctor’s appointments because of work commitments, with the average participants revealing that they’d missed an average of 3 appointments within the past year. Furthermore, 22% of participants who’d missed an appointment due to work commitments admitted that they’d had a problem that would’ve needed immediate treatment and became more serious.

Participants were then asked if they had ever left prescriptions uncollected with 59% stating they had; 72% of these individuals stated it was due to their pharmacy only being open during work hours.

To understand which professions were most likely to sacrifice their health because of their job, those who missed appointments and couldn’t pick up prescriptions were asked what industry they worked in. The top 5 sectors that effectively choose to put their job first over their health were revealed as follows:

  1. Marketing and media- (14%)
  2. Construction- (8%)
  3. Food and hospitality- (8%)
  4. Healthcare- (6%)
  5. Education- (3%)

Micheal Ross, spokesperson for MedExpress.co.uk stated:

“Work is obviously an extremely important aspect of our lives; it is after all our primary source of income and allows us to contribute to society. However sacrificing something as important as your health can be detrimental and will no doubt have a negative effect on your career in the long term.”

He continued:

“Bosses and those in charge should be more lenient with time spent off for health reasons. People cannot help being ill and should be able to seek medical help when they need it and definitely should not feel forced to have to wait to see if their body starts mending itself. The most shocking fact we learnt from these findings is that even healthcare professionals risk their own health because of their long working hours and inability to get time off. These people should always take into consideration that for those with particularly hectic lives, there are services for existing prescriptions to be delivered to you so you don’t further risk your well-being.”

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Homeowners Warned of the Dangers of Radon Gas Through Basement Excavations and Conversions

October 15th, 2015 Comments off

A new study conducted by leading experts in the field of radon gas management has revealed that more than three quarters of Britons with home extensions built underground are not aware of the dangers surrounding the gas radon prior to having the work carried out on their property, despite it being the second leading cause of lung cancer in the UK.

In a bid to raise awareness of the dangers of undetected radon, a new study aimed at highlighting how low the awareness of the gas is amongst the British public has revealed that the vast majority of homeowners who’ve undergone basement excavations or dig-down home extensions/conversions were not made aware of radon prior to the work taking place.

The team at www.propertECO.co.uk, a leading centre of expertise in the field of radon gas control, commissioned a poll of a total of 2,943 UK homeowners aged 25 and over. Each participant owned their own home and those polled were spread across each region of the UK evenly in order to generate as valid a set of results as possible.

Individuals were initially asked if they had ever paid to have either a basement excavation or dig-down extension carried out on their current or previous properties. Whilst just 2% of those polled had undertaken a basement excavation, more than one tenth (11%) of respondents admitted that they’d converted an existing basement on a property into a habitable space. Of those who’d undergone a dig-down extension, almost three fifths (58%) lived in the London or South-East regions of the UK. The average cost of a dig down extension was revealed to be £81,000, and took around 16 weeks to complete.

Of those respondents who’d had either had a basement excavation or conversion, less than one quarter (24%) had been warned by the builder or contractor carrying out the work on their property about the possibility of radon being an issue, with the remaining 76% completely unaware of radon and the risks associated with long term exposure.

Of the homeowners polled that had never had an underground extension or conversion, less than two fifths (39%) of these individuals were aware that radon could be potentially lethal to humans living in a house with elevated levels, and that it can cause lung cancer. The remaining 61% confessed to researchers that other than knowing radon was a chemical substance, they had no idea of its dangers and implications.

The British Standard ‘code of practice’ that should be followed when completing below ground waterproofing (something which all basement excavations or conversions require), states that radon should be taken into account in the design. This requirement has been in place since 2009, meaning any homeowners who have had basement extensions created in the last six years should have been made aware of radon.

Martin Freeman, MD of propertECO.co.uk, made the following comments regarding the findings of the study:

“Time and time again we hear stories of individuals who are completely unaware of radon and its associated risks, until it’s too late. It comes as a worrying statistic that so many homeowners who’ve made the decision to build under their properties are not given the facts on the dangers of radon exposure, and it is disappointing that building professionals are themselves either unaware of the requirements for protection under the British Standard, or simply choosing to ignore them. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the ground and can enter properties. Long term exposure to high levels of radon can lead to lung cancer, and it is responsible for around 2000 lung cancer deaths in the UK every year.”

“Properties with basements are at increased risk, so it is very important that when new basements are being created, radon is taken into consideration to ensure a safe environment for the occupants. The only way to know if a building is affected is to carry out a radon test using a special detector upon occupation, which is why our team is so passionate about raising its awareness to homeowners up and down the UK. Basements can provide valuable extra living space and are an excellent way of extending a home, however they must be created in a way that ensures they are safe to occupy.”

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Chinese submit 67-floor Canary Wharf resi tower

October 13th, 2015 Comments off

Chinese developer Greenland Group has submitted plans to build a 67-floor residential skyscraper at the western end of the north dock in Canary Wharf .

The redevelopment of Hertsmere House at West India Quay will deliver 869 flats within a 240.5m tall building, designed by architect HOK around a clover shaped footprint to maximise views for each flat.

When built it is expected to hold the record as the tallest block of flats in Europe.

The basement runs to a depth of just 11.7m as the site sits above Crossrail running tunnels, although all piling will be outside the Crossrail exclusion zone. Affordable housing will be included in the western wing of the building.

Around half the building facade is to be fitted with vision glass and the remainder will be fitted with highly-insulated metal panel backed glass curtain wall known as “shadow boxes” to give the building the appearance of being fully glazed from the exterior while reducing solar gain.

Hertsmere House Canary Wharf

The demolition and construction phase will employ over 900 construction workers during a 55 month programme.

Planning permission was previously granted for a 242m 63-storey commercial tower on the site but these plans were superseded by the new residential scheme.

The Shanghai-based developer is also developing the high-rise Ram Brewery scheme in Wandsworth, London where Kier is carrying out phase one works.

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Construction output falls in August

October 12th, 2015 Comments off

Construction output figures for August fell 4.3% against the previous month and marked the biggest year on year decline since May 2013.

The slide in the monthly output data was driven by a sharp drop in refurbishment and maintenance work. Compared with August 2014, total construction output dropped 1.3%, but new work was actually up 3.1%.

More reliable three-month data showed new work increased by 0.7% from June – August 2015, compared with the previous three months, while repair and maintenance hiccuped with a 3.6% decrease.

The picture is better comparing the output data for three months to last year when with all new work up by 5.6%, but repair and maintenance down by 4.6%.

Mark Robinson, Scape Group Chief Executive, said:  “Today’s figures need to be dissected and examined carefully before drawing any overall negative conclusions about the trajectory of construction output in the UK.

“While we have seen a contraction in the annual year-on-year growth rate, this is driven by a substantial dip in repair and maintenance output.

“Annual growth was driven by a substantial increase in infrastructure output, which is a promising sign given David Cameron’s renewed focus on housing, which will need to be complimented by schools, hospitals, fire stations and community leisure facilities.

“It is worth remembering that pin-pointing and dwelling on monthly fluctuations is unhelpful and distorts the bigger picture – we should always consider the bigger picture and take a longer view.”

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Worker killed by falling wind turbine blade

October 9th, 2015 Comments off

Siemens and Fluor have been fined £650,000 after a worker was killed and another seriously injured during construction of an offshore wind farm.

The incident happened when a team of engineers were loading wind turbine blades onto a sea barge for delivery to Greater Gabbard, off the Suffolk coast, on 21 May 2010.

During the loading of wind turbine components at Pakeston Quay, Harwich, a 2.11 tonne part of the blade transport arrangement fell off, crushing and fatally injuring one worker and seriously injuring another.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard both workers were employed by Siemens Windpower A/S (SWP) but were working for Fluor Ltd, the principal contractor.

The injured man, Frank Kroeger, was airlifted to Addenbrookes hospital in Cambridge where he was resuscitated twice.

He suffered a ruptured spleen, lacerations to his liver, a collapsed lung, multiple rib fractures on his left side, and significant crush injuries to his right arm and hand, with nerve damage to his thumb and fingers.

His injuries were life-changing and required almost three weeks in hospital in the UK, followed by a long period of rehabilitation and treatment near his home in Germany.

The family of the fatally-injured man have asked that his name not be released.

The investigation carried out by HSE found serious safety failings in the two firms’ management systems for the loading operation, which allowed vital parts of equipment to go unchecked before being lifted.

Following a four-week trial Fluor Ltd was found guilty of safety breaches and was today ordered to pay £275,000 in fines and £271,048 costs.

Siemens Windpower A/S (SWP) pleaded guilty at an earlier stage and were ordered to pay £375,000 in fines with costs of £105,355.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Julie Rayner said: “This incident could easily have been avoided had suitable systems and procedures been in place to ensure that all loads were properly connected whilst being lifted.

“Had the right questions been asked when the lift was being planned and had the bolt and two brackets holding the blade and frame together been checked before they were lifted, the death and serious injury of two workers could have been prevented.

“This case clearly highlights the need to ensure that relevant information is considered when lift plans are produced to ensure that all of the relevant risks are considered.”

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Four Easy Ways to Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

October 7th, 2015 Comments off

At Beacon we are always looking for ways to help our customers save money – but do you know how much could be saved by implementing these energy saving tips?

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