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Archive for January, 2016

Ringway to replace Balfour on Wiltshire’s highways

January 29th, 2016 Comments off

Wiltshire Council has awarded Ringway Infrastructure Services an annual £15m highways maintenance contract to replace its failed Balfour Beatty deal.

pothole highways maintenance
Ringway Infrastructure Services takes over maintenance in April

Ringway will take over maintenance of roads, street lights and pavements for five years in April, with a possible extension of a further two years.

Philip Whitehead, cabinet member for highways, said: “I believe this deal is the best one possible for the people of Wiltshire in terms of value for money, but most importantly quality.”

The contractor, which ran the contract in Wiltshire between 1999 and 2013, was appointed following a thorough tendering exercise which saw four companies assessed in terms of price and quality.

Balfour Beatty Living Places took on the five-year contract with Wiltshire Council in 2013 but relations between both sides became strained following a string of complaints about the contractor’s performance.

In September both sides mutually agreed to end the contract in March, more than two years before the scheduled end of the contract in June 2018.

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Two Thirds of Small Business Owners In The UK Don’t Have Professional Indemnity

January 27th, 2016 Comments off

New research by a construction and small business insurance specialist constructaquote.com has discovered that as many as 64% of sole-traders and small business owners within the UK don’t own Professional Indemnity Insurance, with those working as building contractors, engineers and estate agents revealed as the top culprits.

Construction and small business insurance specialists constructaquote.com have re-launched their Professional Indemnity Insurance product this New Year, designed to protect business owners when a claim is made against them. Professional Indemnity insurance is there to protect businesses that offer professional advice which could lead a customer to lose money.

The research was inspired after constructaquote.com spoke to its customer Adrian Buckmaster, the owner of cladding contractors Terraclad Limited, who employs six people. Adrian took out professional indemnity insurance with constructaquote.com last month; he spoke of his decision to invest in the policy:

“Terraclad LTD is a very new venture, at just two months old, and it is a vital requirement within the cladding industry to have professional indemnity insurance. I have previously worked with and for companies that have not invested in professional indemnity insurance and witnessed them struggle with the limited cover when incidents have occurred. As I already have both employer and public liability insurance with constructaquote.com, they were the obvious choice for help with the important investment of taking out professional indemnity insurance. I have found working with them to be both a straightforward and simple process.”

In a bid to determine just how many other British employers know about the importance of Professional Indemnity Insurance, the team polled 2,165 small business owners in the UK and sole-traders aged 21 and over, all of whom stated they had owned their own business for a minimum of 3 years, for the purposes of the study.

All respondents were initially asked ‘Do you already own Professional Indemnity Insurance?’ to which almost two thirds of respondents, 64%, admitted ‘no’, with the remaining 36% stating ‘yes’. Respondents who stated they didn’t own insurance were asked to state what industries they worked in. When provided with a list of possible sectors and asked to select the answer most relevant to their business, the top 5 results were:

  1. Building/construction – 13%
  2. Engineering- 11%
  3. Property- 9%
  4. I.T. – 9%
  5. Health/Fitness- 8%

When asked why they didn’t yet have the insurance, respondents stated ‘I don’t feel as though I’ll ever require it’ (39%), ‘I don’t know enough about what the insurance policy would guarantee me’ (33%) and ‘I don’t think I can find the budget to pay for it’ (12%) as the top reasons why.

According to the poll, more than two fifths (41%) of the 36% who stated that ‘yes’ they did have the insurance, said they bought the insurance as a precaution’, when asked how they had come to own. Other reasons given include ‘We knew others who had been sued without it, and lost their business as a result’ (35%) and ‘A claim was previously made against my businesses and I needed to protect my assets’ (17%).

Re-launching on January 1st 2016, British business owners can purchase Professional Indemnity Insurance from as little as £80 per annum, with levels of cover ranging from £50,000 to £1,000,000, for businesses with fees or turnovers of up to £1,500,000.

Lyndon Wood, CEO of constructaquote.com, commented:

“We’re shocked to hear just how many small business owners in the UK don’t have this insurance; it’s absurd. Those who say they haven’t invested because they’ll never require professional indemnity insurance are those who are most likely to one day be in a position to use it. Those who say they don’t own it because they can’t afford it should really do a little research – it’s affordable, and business owners have the ability to pay in either monthly or annual instalments, depending on preference.

Ultimately, it’s better to have indemnity insurance and not need it, than the other way around. If a claim was to be made against someone who didn’t have the insurance, it would cost them much more to cover the fees, which could prove particularly damaging for small businesses. For as little as £80 per year, it’s worth getting to settle any fears or concerns.”

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Contractors launch construction health crusade

January 25th, 2016 Comments off

The bosses of more than 150 contractors have signed up to prioritising health and wellbeing in the workplace.

havwear-600x414
workplace ill health costs construction more than 69,000 lost days a year

Firms have agreed to launch a major new initiative to transform the industry’s occupational health record, which sees around 3,500 deaths a year from construction related disease.

The latest new drive mirrors the safety summit 15 years ago, which galvanised contractors into tackling the industry’s poor safety record.

Chief executives have pledged to raise occupational health as a boardroom priority, after hearing it is costing the industry an estimated £1.3bn a year in lost productivity.

The firms yesterday pledged to launch an all-out offensive to tackle industrial diseases like mesothelioma that alone accounts for 2,600 deaths every year.

Construction workers suffer three times more occupational health cancers than any other industry in the UK.

Crossrail health and safety boss Steve Hails said: “The industry tends to shout about construction safety but whispers about health.”

“The equivalent of 1o Airbus A380 passengers die every year in construction from occupational ill health and disease, which is simply not acceptable.”

At a high level summit both clients and contractors yesterday pledged to transform the industry’s attitudes and approach to preventing respiratory diseases and mental health issues.

Heather Bryant, Health and Safety director of Balfour Beatty said: “The next step forward is to treat health like it is safety.

“That means planning in health at the preconstruction stage, making sure we have got he right expertise to support us, including occupational health hygienists, and nominating a senior representative at board level to improve health and well being within the workforce.”

“The time has come for the industry as a whole to take major steps like binning the broom.”

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Kier wins first phase of £300m Swansea Waterfront

January 22nd, 2016 Comments off

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David has picked Kier for the first phase of its £300m Swansea Waterfront Innovation Quarter in the city’s SA1 area.

SWIQ Swansea Waterfront
Swansea Waterfront Innovation Quarter

Kier has been brought in early to manage the detailed and technical design of the new Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Engineering as well as a new library building.

The firm will begin construction in autumn under a £26m contract due to complete in time for the start of the academic year in 2018.

Jason Taylor, Kier Construction operations director for South Wales said the waterfront development should also see the creation of 25 local jobs and 250 apprenticeships.

As principal contractor on the project, Kier will be responsible for setting up a collaborative working approach with all other contractors, including Stride Treglown which will continue to be involved in the design process.

As a result, Kier will be based in SA1 for the duration of the build.

SA1-aerial-photo-600x400

Work will start on the Swansea site later this year

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“Slow and difficult” CITB to cut more staff

January 20th, 2016 Comments off

citb The CITB is set to cut staff numbers by 46 as it continues a major restructuring.

The move comes after the training body said “many find the organisation too slow and difficult to deal with.”

The latest changes follow a restructuring of middle management last year which saw 26 out of 188 roles cut.

CITB chiefs said the next stage is designed “to reach many more employers through online services, improved phone support, and face to face services via a refocused CITB Advisor role.”

The new Advisor role will create a “one-stop shop” for business information and advice on training.

CITB said: “This will help companies get the right skills for their businesses, based on local knowledge, and save time by carrying out simple processes – like applying for CITB grants – online or by phone.”

The changes impact 112 existing roles and propose a reduction of 46 roles – with 66 new roles proposed.

Consultation on the changes is currently being carried out.

Steve Radley, Director of Policy at CITB, said: “Too often, our engagement with employers has focused on navigating CITB’s processes rather than looking at what they need.

“This new CITB Advisor role, complemented by online chat, extended phone hours and simpler online processes, mean we will be able to support many more employers with advice and funding.

“These reforms are designed to give the industry maximum return on Levy investment, and a much better service from CITB.

“Employers will start to see the difference in 2016 and our aim is to have many more construction firms not only engage with us, but get the funding and support they need.”

The move comes as the CITB faces a fight for its future as the Government plans to shake-up training for large employers across all industries

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Plan for cluster of four skyscrapers in Manchester

January 18th, 2016 Comments off

Plans will be submitted next month for a cluster of four residential towers, set to transform Manchester’s skyline.

Manchester owen street
Ambitious proposal for the 3.7-acre site in the Great Jackson Street area

It ranks as the most ambitious of several proposed schemes that could turn Manchester city centre into a high-rise residential area.

CQ Investments, part of construction group Renaker Build, is aiming to develop the scheme to provide 1,400 flats on the site between Owen Street and Deansgate.

The four towers will range from 38 storeys to 64 storeys high, overshadowing Manchester’s present tallest building the Beetham Tower, which is 47 storeys high.

Manchester Owen Street

Designed by Simpson Haugh & Partners, with Beetham Tower designer Ian Simpson, the glazed towers will feature unusual inverted facades on each face of the buildings.

The scheme has been designed to appeal to both PRS and owner occupiers.

If the plan gets the go-ahead, residents will have access to an indoor tennis court, swimming pool and spa, along with a gym, beauty treatment facilities, cinema and rooftop bar.

Developers are also planning three levels of basement parking, complete with a pick-up and drop-off zone.

A spokesman for CQ Investments said: “Our proposals provide a fantastic opportunity to develop a series of landmark buildings set within a high quality public space creating a new community and attractive destination in the city centre.

“The arrangement, range and specification of accommodation planned combined with the amenity and service provision will deliver highly desirable and important new homes to Manchester.”

The developer said that subject to planning construction work could start as early as this autumn, with completion due in 2020.

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Mobile CAD Surveying Swing into Action at Wentworth Golf Club.

January 12th, 2016 Comments off

wentworthMobile CAD Surveying have today commenced the Measured Survey at Wentworth Golf Club. The commission is for a comprehensive Building Survey of all the main club house and leisure facilities ahead of a planned refurbishment contract.

The 19th century house the “Wentworths” (now the club house) was the home for the brother-in-law of the Duke of Wellington. It was purchased in 1850 by exiled Spanish marquis and count Ramon Cabreraand his heiress wife. After his death, his wife, née Catherine Anne Vaughn-Richards, bought up the surrounding lands under The Cabrera Trust to safeguard the meadows, brooks and the trees planted from her travels on the continent with her gentrified husband to form what has become the heart of the Wentworth Estate.

In 1912, builder W.G. Tarrant had started developing St George’s Hill, Weybridge – a development of houses based on minimum 1-acre plots based around a golf course. In 1922 Tarrant acquired the development rights for the Wentworth Estate, getting Harry Colt to develop a golf course around “Wentworth” house. Tarrant developed the large houses on the estate to a similar Surrey formula used at St George’s Hill. Development of Wentworth Estate ground to a halt due to the Great Depression in the late 1920s. In 1931 when the banks asked for repayment of a large debenture, Tarrant was forced to declare bankruptcy. The ownership of the land passed to Wentworth Estates Ltd, which came under the control of Sir Lindsay Parkinson & Co Ltd

Today Wentworth is the headquarters of the PGA European Tour  and each year it hosts the Tour’s BMW PGA Championship. It was the venue of the 1953 Ryder Cup and of the HSBC World Match Play Championship from 1964 until 2007.

The club is surrounded by and entwined with the Wentworth Estate, one of the most expensive private estates in the London suburbs, which was built at the same time, where many top golfers and other celebrities have homes. One of them is Ernie Els, who became the club’s “world-wide touring professional” in 2005. Over the winter of 2005-06 Els, who is developing a golf course design practice, made alterations to the West Course, lengthening it by 310 yards (280 m) and adding 30 bunkers.

Wentworth also boasts a Tennis & Health Club. The Wentworth Tennis and Health Club consists of a gymnasium, dance studio, health spa, ozone swimming pool and jacuzzi, crèche facilities, changing rooms, and a café. The extensive facility was completed in 1997 for £9 million by Architects Broadway Malyan.

In 2004 the club was purchased by fashion industry entrepreneur Richard Caring for £130 million and in 2014, the club was sold to Beijing-based Reignwood Investments for £135m.

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Work to start on £315m Welsh race track

January 11th, 2016 Comments off

Civils firm Alun Griffiths (Contractors) is set to start preparatory work in late January to clear the way for construction to start on the £315m Circuit of Wales racing track.

circuit-of wales

Spanish giant FCC has taken the main contract to transform 830 acres of Blaenau Gwent into an international motorsport circuit, technology park and training facility.

Local firm Alun Griffiths will deliver the ground reprofiling and infrastructure package on the project.

Scheme promoter, the Heads of the Valleys Development Company, received final planning in November and is now aiming to start construction proper by March.

The project will bring an international motorsport circuit to the site north of Ebbw Vale, near the Rassau Industrial Estate, alongside a 1m sq ft technology park and training facility.

Circuit of Wales

Circuit of Wales

Circuit Of Wales

Backers hope to have the track completed for the circuit to stage the British MotoGP in 2017, before the entire development is completed in 2020.

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These Gadgets Will Make Your Construction Site Safer & More Productive

January 7th, 2016 Comments off

Those who work in the modern construction industry can enjoy a broad range of gadgets. These gadgets are not only designed to improve communication and worker safety, but also to make design and building process easier. Below, you will find a list of gadgets that will make your construction site safer and more productive.

The Halo Light

While you need the safest couplers such as TEFRA during construction, you also need gadgets that increase workers visibility when they work at night. One of such gadgets is Halo Light technology gadgets. This gadget increases workers visibility to passing motorists and visible during situations with reduced visibility. They are more efficient and can last for longer hours without the need for recharging.

DAQRI Smart Helmet

These helmets display work instructions and requirements on their visor. They enable workers to see and know what is needed to be done. This latest innovation not only reduces training period but also helps workers to understand the importance of the tasks at hand. DAQRI Smart Helmet features an HD video recording, “360° navigation cameras, alphanumeric capture and 3D mapping.

Smart safety glasses

Smart safety glasses – is the latest technology that helps employers to monitor their workforce for safety and productivity purpose. These glasses are designed by XOEye Technologies. They feature embedded cameras, projected screen as well as Wi-Fi access. Workers can do their work efficiently by matching their tasks with the requirements on a -D mapping schematics.

Myo + Bridgit

Myo is a tool that is placed on the arm of every construction worker. This tool is used together with smart glasses like XOEye Technologies’ Smart safety glasses. They work in conjunction with the aim of taking pictures, mark off tasks and communicate with the employer or coworkers. Myo is integrated with Bridgit software.

Laser Scanner

Using a Laser Scanner, you can take high-quality three-dimensional photos and videos of your construction site. Laser Scanners are valuable construction monitoring tool that you can use to increase working efficiency, including carrying out road mapping, performing forensic documentation and increasing safety and quality control.

Responsive clothing

You will need to control temperature if you want your construction workers to perform their assigned tasks efficiently. You don’t need to worry because innovators have come up with “smart” clothing, also referred to as responsive clothing. One of the “smart” clothing gadgets out there is a specialty glove designed by a company in Germany. These gloves change to blue when they come into contact with toxic substances.

Smart headsets

Solutions HC1 headset is one of the smart headsets designed by Motorola. It features a hand-free computer with user manuals for specific tasks. The headset can also detect broken sensors.

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WHY SCISSOR LIFTS MEAN SAFETY AND EFFICIENCY

January 4th, 2016 Comments off

 scissor lift

Workers needing to carry out tasks at high levels have a number of solutions available to them but the most effective, particularly in crowded or tight areas, is for them to use scissor lifts.

These unusual looking but effective lifts essentially power a platform to the required height so that the work can be carried out safely and efficiently. There are also useful for lifting heavy loads between heights.

They are called scissor lifts because when they are fully extended they look like pairs of scissors one on top of the other and they are usually on a four wheeled base which is rugged and versatile. Many of these scissor lifts can be used on rough ground or in hard to reach areas.

Use scissor lifts in difficult locations

It also means that the workers don’t have to erect scaffolding since scissor lifts can reach up to 17 metres in height and with the outriggers fitted they can be levelled quickly to provide stability.

Many of them are battery-powered and, because they are fume-free, these lifts are the safest to use indoors and with a variety of platform sizes they can be used to carry out a wide range of duties.

One of the strongest reasons for using a scissor lift is that the worker is always in control, the controls for operating the lift are on the platform where the worker will be so there will not be any miscommunication between the worker and someone on the ground to operate it.

Among the many uses apart from busy offices are in hotels, industrial sites and retail stores. They can be quickly and effectively put into place, the job carried out, and the scissor lift then removed without the need for expensive or time-consuming scaffolding or by using other types of lift.

Scissor lifts are also particularly useful if there are several locations to be visited in the course of carrying out a job on the same site because this can be done quickly by the workers.

Because employers are responsible for the safety of their workers on jobs anyone looking to hire or buy scissor lifts should be looking at the safety features.

These include having political cut-outs to stop the lift working in an emergency, toe guards help protect the feet of the workers and, this is essential, total stop brakes to help prevent the entire lift from moving when work is being carried out or loads are being put onto it.

It is also crucial that any scissor lift conforms to EN1570.

How to choose the scissor lift you need

Scissor lifts come in all shapes and sizes so the requirement for whatever job is needed will vary from user to user but they should be portable and easy-to-use and, where necessary, have non-marking tyres to help ensure there is no damage to floors and that the lowering speed can be controlled easily.

As stated earlier, there is a wide variety of scissor lifts available and some are available in single or double scissors and the platform can be raised either hydraulically or with battery operation.

The options for anyone wanting to buy or hire scissor lifts include having a second brake to help ensure safety and security, and there’s the option of using a safety skirt and rubber mat to help ensure the lift does not slip from its position.

With so many options and a wide range available, anyone looking to buy or hire scissor lifts could be forgiven for being confused as to what is available though anyone looking to hire a scissor lift is probably in a much better position.

There are lots of providers of scissor lifts around the UK who will be willing to give help and advice on which would be most suited to a client’s needs. For instance, Charles Wilson Plant Hire have a strong reputation in delivering a top quality service with well looked after equipment.

Their experience in providing powered access to difficult places is second-to-none and they have a wide range of scissor lifts for a number of different purposes.

Like many of their fellow plant and tool hire providers, CW Engineers strive to provide an impressive service with equipment that is not only safe but is well maintained to ensure that the workers and the job that needs doing is done as safely and efficiently as is possible.

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