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Archive for November, 2015

Site rows erupt as O’Rourke changes payment dates

November 30th, 2015 Comments off

Subcontractors have been left fuming after Laing O’Rourke suddenly decided to change its payment terms this month.

It is understood that O’Rourke has switched its terms to a single payment run on the 28th of every month.

That has outraged suppliers who have been used to weekly payments or ad-hoc staged payments.

It is understood the diktat has come down from the Dartford head office and is also proving unpopular with O’Rourke site teams left to deal with angry subcontractors.

One supplier said: “We were due to be paid earlier this month but nothing appeared in our account.

“We tried to speak to O’Rourke to see what was going on but had no official letter or email confirming the sudden change.

“It was only when we demanded to know where our money was that the whole story came out from the site team who seem almost as upset as us.”

O’Rourke said the issues were down to the introduction of a new accounting process.

Another subcontractor said: “It’s caused a real stink on our job and the people like the dryliners who get paid weekly are threatening to walk off.

“This is totally wrong. We had signed and agreed payment terms then they suddenly make this change.

“I’d love to see whoever thought this was a good idea at head office to come down to site and explain it.”

A Laing O’Rourke spokesperson said: “Laing O’Rourke remains committed to the prompt payment of its subcontractors and suppliers.

“In November, the company introduced a new accounting process and during this introductory month we are aware that some payment dates were moved whilst we realigned them to coincide with the month end.

“Wherever possible, we have worked closely to address issues with any affected subcontractors during this transition period.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused during November.”

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Race to save Whitby’s piers from North Sea

November 27th, 2015 Comments off

Plans have got off the ground again to save Whitby’s crumbling historic piers on the exposed North Yorkshire coast.

whitby_piersScarborough Borough Council has just started the hunt for a contractor to design and deliver extensive refurbishment of the east and west piers in Whitby Harbour.

The piers have suffered heavy storm damage over the years with the east pier, in particular, at risk of collapse.

The landmark piers have been protecting Whitby harbour and the town’s maze of harbourside cottages and passageways since 1545, when they were built of timber.

They were rebuilt in 1632 using stone and today they are officially recognised as listed buildings by Historic England.

Works will include repairs to the masonry block work including filling of voids due to material loss, driving new sheet piles to act as scour protection to the East Pier.

The council also wants to deliver concrete repairs to the promenades, and install flood gates at Battery Parade slipway and possibly a new footbridge to link the East Pier with the extension arm.

Scarbough council is looking for a turnkey contractor experienced in design and construction of structures suitable for a coastal environment, which can also provide architectural skills to ensure the design is aesthetically enhancing to the area.

It is planning a two-stage bid process for the job, which is estimated to cost over £5m.

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‘Exposed Brick’, ‘Kitchen Island’ and ‘Wood Burners’ Revealed as the Most Appealing Home Elements According to Britons

November 24th, 2015 Comments off

A leading UK provider of wood burning stoves and biomass heating solutions has revealed the aspects of a home that Britons look for and find most appealing when property hunting. Findings revealed that exposed brick, a kitchen island and a wood burner/aga were the house features most likely to persuade respondents to buy a property.

In a bid to discover the most appealing home aesthetics Briton’s look for when viewing properties for the first time, a new piece of research undertaken by a leading UK provider of wood heating solutions set out to unveil the elements attached to a property most likely to help it sell.

The team at www.Euroheat.co.uk polled a total of 2,085 UK-based adults aged 30-65, all of whom were either in the process of purchasing a new home at the time of the research, or had purchased a property within the past twelve months.

Respondents were initially asked to state whether they preferred rustic and traditional houses or something more modern and contemporary. More than three fifths (62%) stated they preferred rustic properties, with 38% preferring more modern homes. When individuals who stated they preferred rustic houses were asked to explain why; more than half (51%) said old houses have ‘more character and a rich history’, 29% said they ‘look better’ and 20% said they ‘hardly ever look the same from the outside, unlike modern houses’.

All participants were then given a list of home elements asked to provide the features that they were most likely to look out for when property searching. Individuals were asked to reveal all answers that appealed to them, with the top five answers emerging as follows:

1. Exposed brick -51%
2. Kitchen Island – 46%
3. Wood Burners or an Aga – 39%
4. Thatched Roof– 26%
5. Hardwood floors – 17%

Following on from this, all respondents were asked to consider how much more they’d be willing to spend on a home in order to ensure it had one of their desired home features. The average amount participants would be willing to add on to their budget emerged as £2,500. Of all participants, 67% stated that older features made the house feel more homely and cosy, 31% also stated they felt these houses were perfect for long term plans and modern houses were more short term.

Simon Holden, co-founder of Euroheat, said the following:

“It’s refreshing to see from our research that older homes and their features are still desirable to Britons just as much as modern features and homes are. It’s all too easy to forget about the beauty and character of older houses.”

He continued:

“Homes with thatched houses and real hardwood floors are the homes that our grandparents and great grandparents grew up in and have become steeped in British history. Whilst it’s necessary for updates and modernisations to take place on properties and modern houses are well suited and beautiful to some, it’s nice to see that the homely feel of traditional properties are still desirable by others.”

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Record Breaking Results with Fast Turn around Measured Surveys

November 23rd, 2015 Comments off

trinity squareMobile CAD Surveying the measured building specialists were recently asked to provide floor plans and elevational drawings of a large office building in Hounslow, c.113,000sq ft. They turned round their quote and started on site within 7 days, completing the full survey just over a week later. Most projects are a rush these days, but they didn’t realise that Galliard Homes, the developer was ready to launch and market the site immediately even though completion was still two years away. It turns out that they were very successful and sold all 228 apartments within 3 hours of the doors opening. Mobile CAD Surveying Solutions are proud to be associated with this development and happy that their efforts to turn the project around so fast helped the client achieve record breaking results.

For fast turnaround measured building surveys

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Plans lodged for £1bn ‘Harrods’ of Bayswater in London

November 20th, 2015 Comments off

London’s Whiteleys shopping centre is set to get a new lease of life after ambitious plans to restore the Grade II-listed building were submitted to Westminster Council.

A joint venture between a Meyer Bergman-advised investment fund and Warrior Group is seeking to deliver a £1bn redevelopment of the once grand department store in Bayswater.

The Foster + Partners designed mixed-use scheme, which will incorporate the iconic central dome, will see 500,000-plus sq ft built behind the existing 1911 facade.

This will include construction of more than 100 homes, a mixture of apartments and townhouses. These will be arranged around an inner courtyard with new shops, a boutique hotel, gym and basement cinema.

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 23.40.40

Exterior of the existing building will be retained although it will be extended up with two extra floors

arcade@2x

A new public courtyard will be at the heart of the new scheme

courtyard-view@2x

A hotel is planned to boost footfall and bring the leisure and retail scheme to life

The scheme will open onto Queensway, which is planned to undergo a £50m revamp scheduled to begin in early 2016.

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Subcontractors wanted for £1.2bn Manchester site

November 18th, 2015 Comments off

Subcontractors and suppliers can pitch for work across the North West at a Meet the Buyer event at Haydock Park Racecourse tomorrow.

Buyers already signed up to the event include contractors Wates and Seddon as well as clients like the University of Manchester, Bolton University, Highways England, Oldham Council and the North West Construction Hub.

The University of Manchester will be looking for suppliers to work on a number of upcoming projects as part of the institution’s £1.2bn campus masterplan.

There are also opportunities to deliver wider developments for the University that are currently in the pipeline, ranging from £1m to £10m across joinery, industrial kitchen installation, groundworks and security systems among many other trades.

Olga Gough, client relationship manager at event organiser Constructionline, said: “It’s important for organisations based in the North West that local subcontractors are chosen to deliver projects and our Meet the Buyer events are designed to facilitate the introductions needed to make this happen.

“Our event at Haydock will be a great opportunity for small firms from all trades to discover how they can tender for upcoming work, and important for contractors to build reliable, local supply chains.

“We’re looking forward to meeting attendees and advising on how Constructionline can aid the process as opportunities progress.”

The event will run from 8.30am until 2pm and suppliers do not have to be a Constructionline member to attend.

More..

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The Average British Construction Worker Eats More Than 4,000 Calories a Day

November 12th, 2015 Comments off

New research by trade insurance specialist’s construcaquote.com has revealed that the average British construction worker will eat upwards of 1,500 calories more than the recommended daily intake. Despite this revelation, less than one fifth of workers polled considered themselves to be at all overweight.  

As part of its ongoing research into insights and trends surrounding the construction industry, a constructatquote.com has investigated the eating habits and diets of a group of British construction workers, to look into how healthy they are compared to those with more stationary and less active jobs.

Researchers at constructaquote.com polled a total of 2,193 male UK construction workers, all of whom were aged 18 or over. In order to keep the results as unbiased as possible, those taking part in the research were spread equally amongst each of the different UK regions.

Respondents were initially asked to consider how much food they eat during a typical working day, and asked to estimate how many calories it was likely to add up to. The average answer was 4,050 calories, 1,500 more than the recommended daily amount for a man.

When asked to select the most common meals they ate during a normal working day from an extensive list of different foods, the most popular answers were:

  1. Breakfast baguettes (bacon, sausage, egg etc) – (64%)
  2. Meat pie/pasties – (51%)
  3. Burger and chips- (48%)
  4. English fry-up- (35%)
  5. Fried chicken – (33%)

By comparison, only 17% said that ‘sandwiches’ were among the most common meals they eat while at work, with only 4% regularly eating salads.

When asked if they believed that they regularly ate unhealthily during their working hours, the vast majority of respondents (71%) agreed that this was the case, with more than half of these participants (51%) revealing that this was as a result of ‘not being able to access healthy food options’, and a further 22% confessing they were ‘lazy’ with their diets.

Interestingly, when asked if they were classed as overweight for their height and build, less than one fifth of participants (19%) admitted to being on the heavy side despite eating a seemingly unhealthy amount of food each day, with the majority classing themselves as either healthy or underweight.

Lyndon Wood, CEO and Founder of constructaquote.com, had the following to say about the findings of the study:

“4,000 calories a day is ok for manual workers but this largely depends on what it is they are eating. Quick sugar fixes or proper plant based foods with plenty of fibre? Plenty of vegetable and some fruit is well recommended. Gone are the days of big hairy assed builders!”

 

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91% of Britons Are Unaware of The Danger of Radon, Despite It Being SECOND Leading Cause of Lung Cancer

November 11th, 2015 Comments off

To coincide with UK Radon Awareness Week, leading experts in the field of radon management have undertaken a new piece of research which indicates that fewer than 10% of British adults are aware of the dangers of the gas, even though it is responsible for an estimated 1100 deaths annually as a result of the lung cancer it can cause.

In the lead up to the 2015 Radon Awareness Week, taking place between the 7th and 13th  of November, a brand new study has been carried out in a bid to discover the awareness levels of radon gas amongst Britons.

UK Radon Association members (www.radonweek.co.uk) commissioned a poll of 2,884 UK adults aged 18 and over as part of the research. Participants were spread across an even range of each of the UK regions in order to generate as unbiased a set of results as possible.

Respondents were initially asked if they considered themselves to be knowledgeable in terms of environmental influences that have a negative effect on human health. The majority (84%) agreed that they felt relatively aware of the different dangers posed to them, with the remaining 16% admitting that they were lacking in knowledge regarding health warnings.

Next, participants were asked if they were able to list the symptoms that people suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning can display, with more than three quarters (77%) able to correctly state at least one or more of the main warning signs, including headaches, light-headedness, depression, confusion, memory loss, nausea and vomiting.

When then asked if they were able to name any danger associated with long term exposure to the gas radon, fewer than one in ten individuals (9%) were able to indicate any risks, including that radon can cause lung cancer and is the second leading cause of the disease. Of these 9% of individuals, more than half (51%) admitted that they were only aware of the dangers of radon after hearing about it in relation to building works carried out (either their own, or a friend/family member’s).

Of the 91% of respondents unable to list any health dangers connected with radon gas, more than two thirds (67%) confessed to researchers that they were unaware that there were any health risks associated with radon in the first instance.

Martin Freeman, Chairman of UK Radon Association, made the following comments regarding the findings of the questionnaire:

“Unfortunately the results of this poll are not particularly shocking to us at the UK Radon Association; and the lack of knowledge surrounding the potential dangers associated with radon gas are one of the reasons we are so keen to highlight Radon Awareness Week 2015 and the fact that exposure is a major cause of lung cancer in the UK.”

“The simple, and sad, truth is that a majority of people aren’t aware of radon gas and its potential risks. Having said that, in recent years there have been significant technological advances both in methods for testing and remediating high levels of radon, so each death and illness occurring as a result of the gas is one that could have potentially been avoided with a better level of public understanding and awareness. We find that most people who are aware of radon take steps to ensure the safety of their family at home, so increasing awareness is the key to reducing these avoidable deaths.”

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8 Router Bits & Accessories For ALL DIYers

November 10th, 2015 Comments off

8 Router Bits & Accessories for all DIYers

Whether you are a seasoned DIYer, donning your tool belt or a novice who chooses their tool belt based on the cool logo it holds, there are some pieces of equipment that everyone who is worth their salt should know about.

Working on the assumption that you already have the raw materials, we welcome new and experienced DIYers alike to our countdown of what bits you need to complete your tool box, from money saving essentials to the stuff that makes you look like a pro:

Coming in at Number 8

Looking to make your money go the extra mile? This dry lubricant spray will increase your tool life, making your saw blade and cutters live on much longer than expected. Unlike the tool cleaner which prevents rust and corrosion, this cleans away resin residue which, in novice terms, is a good thing.

 

Number 7

 

Never again will you reach for a particular bit and realise you have lost it. Keep all your bits in one place with this Trend Snappy tool holder that can hold up to 32 bits and will fit perfectly onto your existing tool belt.

 

 

Number 6

 

It’s simple, is effective and it’s something that everyone should own but may not particularly think of; it’s tool and bit cleaning products.Coming in different sizes, you need to be able to start your task with good, clean equipment in good repair. This will keep your router bits rust-free and ready for action, optimising your bit life and saving you pennies over the years.

 

Number 5

 

Blunt tools are about as much use as no tools at all; we introduce the Diamond stone. Small yet effective, this is easily transportable so you will never again have to worry about being stuck with a redundant piece of equipment while working.

There is a wide range throughout the Trend-Direct website, but we recommend credit card double sided diamond stone for keeping your router bits in tip-top condition.

 

Number 4

 

This Varijig system adjustable frame will give you the freedom to cut to whatever framework you need; provided that framework has four corners. Whether that is a traditional square or a modern rectangle, you won’t go wrong with this little extra.

 

 

Number 3

Doors will be at your mercy with this hinge recessing jig; this piece of equipment is easy to assemble and easy to use producing quality workmanship and making you look like a pro. This is perfect for the DIYer who is looking to renovate their home with a personal touch.

 

 

 

Number 2

And now for our penultimate piece. No more battling with flat-pack furniture with the Mortise and Tenon Jig. You will be able to design, customise and create your own furniture. It is what every DIYer dreams of and can now be a reality.

 

 

And finally…….in at Number 1

The moment you have all been waiting for. If you are looking to treat yourself or take the next step in DIY godliness, then look no further than the Router Kitbox; you’ll get far more done, with this lean, mean cutting machine.

So there you have it folks, 10 router bits and accessories that every DIYer should know about – from seasoned DIYers who want to challenge themselves, to the noble novices who are just getting started.  If you’d rather browse the range, start here.

 

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JCOP clarifies need for EN 54 fire alarm on construction sites

November 9th, 2015 Comments off

JCOP clarifies need for EN 54 fire alarm on construction sites

If you work in the construction sector then the chances are that you have already heard of Joint Code of Practice (JCOP) or, to give it its full title; ‘The Joint Code of Practice on the protection from Fire on Construction Sites and Buildings Undergoing Renovation’. JCOP, as it is commonly referred to, for understandable reasons, has just been updated and is now available in its 9th edition.

WES site fire (Medium)This edition applies to activities carried out prior to and during the procurement, construction and design process. JCOP is an important and useful document for construction professionals as it is often referred to in insurance contracts and is recognised as ‘best practice’, which means that it’s definitely worth getting hold of a copy if you haven’t already done so.

The objective of JCOP is simple – to prevent fires on construction sites, and it includes some useful guidance on how to do this. For instance, the most significant update to 9th edition reinforces the need for construction site fire alarm systems to meet EN 54 requirements. Paragraph 13.8 lays this out by containing the following advice; Components of automatic fire detection and alarm systems should be marked as complying with EN 54.

9th edition therefore makes a major step forward in improving fire safety on site by effectively requiring fire alarms be fully compliant with EN 54. This mandatory standard specifies requirements and laboratory testing for every component of fire detection and fire alarm systems. To comply the fire alarm system must be specifically engineered – and independently tested and approved – to comply with all relevant section of EN 54. This important standard applies to all common parts of fire detection and fire alarm systems (with the exception of smoke alarms as these are covered by EN 14604).

Most fire detection and alarm products need to be certified to one or more parts of EN54, which detail the particular engineering, manufacturing and testing requirements for each different type of component or product within the system. For example, Part Eleven deals with the technical requirements for manual call points while Part 3 deals with those for sounders. A full list of EN 54 sections is given in Appendix 1 of JCOP 9th edition. To fully comply with this standard, each and every unit in the system should have been tested and the best way of determining this is to check the Declaration of Performance certificate.

In updating JCOP, the FPA and the insurance industry has made it much easier to specify construction site fire alarms by bringing them up to the same high standard as other safety critical aspects of construction site work. The 9th edition of JCOP (published October 2015) was undertaken by the Technical Division of the Fire Protection Association (FPA) and experts from the

insurance industry who reported to the RISCAuthority Risk Control Steering Group.

bridge inferno

The FPA and insurance industry, through publication of the 9th edition JCOP, have sent a clear message that where a fire alarm system is used on a construction site it should be fully compliant with the requirements of EN 54. In summary, JCOP sets a minimum standard for fire alarm systems on construction sites and that is good because they exist for most other safety critical areas on site such as ladders and scaffolding boards.

To ensure your site has the best possible protection from fire, whilst fully complying EN 54, call the WES+ helpline on: 00 44 (0) 115 822 3424, or visit: www.wesfire.co.uk

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