UK construction blog

Archive

Archive for September, 2016

Scotland switches to project bank accounts

September 30th, 2016 Comments off

The Scottish Government is introducing project bank accounts on public work projects to protect subcontractors from insolvency and payment abuse.

Royal Hospital for sick children
Subcontractors on the Royal Hospital for sick children called for project bank accounts after the collapse of Dunne Group last month

From 31 October, project bank accounts will be a tender requirement on building projects over £4m and civil engineering projects valued over £10m.

The Scottish Government has been co-ordinating trials for a couple of years and contractors received the first project bank account payment from NHS Lanarkshire on two work packages worth £1.4m at Monklands Hospital several years ago.

The payment was made under the NHS Frameworks Scotland 2 agreement with Graham Construction. Other schemes where the payments were trialled include Transport Scotland’s Inveramsay Bridge project with Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering, and Scottish Borders Council’s Galashiels Transport Hub project.

Project bank accounts ringfence payments for subcontractors and suppliers, who are typically paid within five days of the commissioning public body paying the value of the interim certificate into the account.

Legal trust status ring-fences amounts in the project bank account, protecting the funds should a main contractor fall into adminsitration.

Under the new requirement main contractors will be exempt from setting up project bank accounts if 75% of the work is carried out in-house or by associated firms.

Present accounting standards also allow main contractors to claim a project’s full value within stated revenue figures.

Finance secretary Derek Mackay said: “This is an important milestone in the government’s commitment to improving cashflow for smaller firms.

“The PBA guidance translates trial programme experience into a simplified common approach with practical resources for implementation in Scottish Government projects. We urge all other organisations involved in commissioning work on Scotland’s infrastructure to use PBAs.”

The Specialist Engineering Contractors’ Group Scotland said it was delighted by the move.

Chairman Eddie Myles said: “SEC Group Scotland has been the leading exponent of PBAs since they are the most effective method for ensuring regular and secure payments to construction supply chains, especially SMEs.”

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

Crossrail builders face two mile trek to the toilet

September 28th, 2016 Comments off

Crossrail.svgCrossrail workers have slammed site welfare conditions after having to walk two miles to use a toilet.

One worker said: “It’s an absolute joke down there – how can you run a major project like this making people walk for two miles to use the loo?

“We haven’t had a mobile toilet in the tunnel down here for weeks now.

“We have to walk all the way to Tottenham Court Road which is two miles away.”

Workers are also unhappy about a lack of canteens and a site access system described as “chaotic”.

Another source said: “There’s only one turnstile to get on site in some places so the queues are chaotic.

“You have to leave early to try and beat the rush and lose out pay wise.”

Construction union UCATT is planning a demonstration at the Fisher Street site tomorrow while Unite leaders are set for a showdown meeting next month with Crossrail chiefs and contractors over bonus pay demands by electricians.

Contractors are understood to have set up a series of working groups to address the issues before the situation escalates.

But rank and file sparks are known to be organising on the job and are planning to produce their own site newspaper.

Tunnel Vision will be widely circulated among the workforce and detail ongoing disputes and demands.

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

Cityscape scheme sets young trainee on right career path

September 26th, 2016 Comments off

A £4m construction project currently being undertaken by the Highways Division of North Midland Construction plc (NM Group) to enhance public spaces in Sheffield city centre, has provided one young person with paid work hez2experience that should hopefully help him to kick start his career.

The NM Group is installing a new footpath and cycleway scheme designed to improve safety and rejuvenate main routes to the University of Sheffield Campus. The company needed additional members of staff to work on the project and turned to Skills Made Easy for help with its search.  Skills Made Easy is a unique government backed programme designed to help businesses overcome skills shortages in the Sheffield City region and also to help young people develop their skills by connecting them with businesses operating in the area.

19 year old Hezakiah (Hez) Williams from Parsons Cross had completed a BTEC qualification in construction but found himself unable to break into the industry he loved.  He contacted Skills Made Easy and they arranged a two week work trial for him with the NM Group.

During the trial, when he was overseen by qualified and experienced personnel, Hez had the opportunity to work on the renewal of the streetscape around the University buildings. He performed well and with commitment, successfully passing his trial.

He is still in the employment of the NM Group and has since been involved in numerous construction activities to assist in the project’s progress including groundworks, drainage, paving preparation and kerbing.  Further arrangements are underway to provide Hez with additional skills training through NM Academy – the company’s learning and development programme

Chris Davis, N M Group’s construction site manager on the project said:

“We are really pleased with the progress that Hez has made in the short time he has been working for us. He has shown a real aptitude for learning a variety of construction principles in a live project environment and a keen enthusiasm for developing new skills. I am confident that Hez will become a valuable asset to the team and this would not have been possible without Skills Made Easy.”

Laura Hayfield, programme manager, Skills Made Easy said:

“Work trials give individuals like Hez, who have found it difficult to secure a career in their chosen sector, a chance to gain experience and illustrate to employers what they can bring to the business. Hez had wanted work in the construction industry but since leaving school he had struggled to secure a permanent role. He has impressed his new employers with his skills and genuine interest in the sector and his commitment has enabled him to continue to develop new skills with the NM Group.”

“For employers work trials help them ensure that the person they are recruiting fits in well with their existing workforce and has the aptitude to succeed.”

Skills Made Easy is a free of charge service which offers impartial, tailored advice to small and medium sized businesses based in the Sheffield City Region. The service helps employers to overcome skills shortages in the workforce which could be impacting on growth and to access Government grants to cover the cost of training. The service is delivered free of charge to all businesses based in the Sheffield City Region, employing fewer than 250 members of staff. For more information, visit www.skillsmadeeasy.org.uk or telephone 0114 229 6183.

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

Queensferry bridge sets record as longest free-standing cantilever

September 21st, 2016 Comments off

Contractors building the £1.3bn Queensferry Crossing have set a new record by creating the the longest free-standing cantilever in the world at 644m.

Queensferry Crossing
The structure will become the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world

The bridge deck sections are edging closer and closer by the day as engineers come close to linking the deck sections at the north and south sides of the bridge.

Screen Shot 2016-09-20 at 22.38.15

When the weight of a 750 tonnes bridge section is lifted the deck deflects by 4m giving the impression the two decks will not meet.

Once work is complete on the project in June 2017, the new Queensferry Crossing will stretch 2.7km in length and will include three single column towers and approach viaducts.

Galliford Try is part of the four-company consortium that includes Hochtief, Dragados, and American Bridge of Pittsburgh in the US  building the main motorway bridge over the Firth of Forth under a £790m contract.

The structure will become the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world and also by far the longest to feature cables which cross mid-span. This innovative design provides extra strength and stiffness, allowing the towers and the deck to be more slender and elegant.

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

Considerate Constructors Scheme seeks new Board Directors

September 19th, 2016 Comments off

Newly appointed Scheme Executive Chairman Isabel Martinson to recruit new Board Directors to take Scheme to the ‘next level’

Isabel Martinson photographLondon, United Kingdom, 19 September 2016: The Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) – the national Scheme to improve the image of the construction industry – is recruiting for new Board Directors.

Isabel Martinson, who was appointed as Executive Chairman of the Scheme in July 2016, is looking for senior representatives from within and outside of the construction industry to expand the CCS to move to the ‘next level’, to further enhance the construction industry’s image and reputation.

The CCS is an independent organisation formed in 1997. Since its formation, it has significantly altered the approach the construction industry takes to those affected by its activities, the construction workforce, and the impact construction has on the local environment.  It has achieved wide recognition and is highly regarded and respected by those aware of and involved in the Scheme.

Construction sites, companies and suppliers voluntarily register with the Scheme and agree to abide by the Scheme’s Code of Considerate Practice. The Code commits those registered with the Scheme to care about appearance, respect the community, protect the environment, secure everyone’s safety and value their workforce.

The Scheme is looking for new Board members who are committed to the Scheme’s ethos, and in particular, those with expertise in the areas of marketing and communications, finance, commercial contracts and outsourcing.

CCS Ltd logo RGBConsiderate Constructors Scheme Executive Chairman Isabel Martinson commented: “The CCS provides a hugely important and influential role in helping to enhance the construction industry’s reputation to the public, those within the industry and the Government. I look forward to working with a team of newly appointed Board Directors to shape the future reputation of the construction industry through the Considerate Constructors Scheme.”

Terms of reference, person/skills specifications and the application procedure are available via the Scheme’s website here.

The application deadline is 1200 on Wednesday 5 October 2016.

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

Minister confirms support of Prompt Payment Code and success in changing payment culture

September 16th, 2016 Comments off

Minister confirms support of Prompt Payment Code and success in changing payment culture

New measures to support the Prompt Payment Code (PPC) and drive a culture of better payment practice have been confirmed in a letter to PPC signatories from Margot James, Minister for Small Business and Philip King, Chief margot-james-medium philip-king-mediumExecutive of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM).

The letter highlights the significant success of the Code to date, and in particular highlighting the challenges against Code signatories that it says have been ‘hugely successful in achieving fast settlement of invoices, creating dialogue between parties, improving contract terms, and providing constructive assistance welcomed by suppliers and signatories alike’.

The correspondence also confirms the future appointment of a Small Business Commissioner to provide help and advice to business, including on achieving prompt payment, and the Statutory Duty to Report for large businesses to report on payment practices that comes into force from 6 April, 2017. Further strengthening of the Code will follow the implementation of the Duty to Report measures.

The authors of the letter confirm that signatories should be paying within 30 days where possible and that this should increasingly be the norm. The Code Compliance Board will not be enforcing 30 day terms but states that paying invoices within 60 days will be a requirement unless there are exceptional circumstances that will be considered on a case by case basis. An example of ‘exceptional circumstances’ might be where a company is able to demonstrate that it applies different terms to the benefit of their smaller suppliers.

The Minister says that: “Prompt payment can make all the difference to small businesses, boosting their cashflow and allowing them to invest in growth for the future. Although we have seen some progress, there are still too many business owners across the country who have not been paid on time by their customers.

“We need a culture change to stamp this out and the Prompt Payment Code continues to play an important role in bringing this about, alongside a package of measures taken forward by government and industry. The businesses signed up to the Code commit to demonstrating the gold standard of payment practices and it’s great to see so many of Britain’s leading household names on the list.”

The Prompt Payment Code is administered by the CICM on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). It currently has more than 1,800 signatories, with each signatory committing to best practice in the fair and equal treatment of suppliers, many of whom are smaller businesses.

Last year the Government announced a series of measures within the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act to further strengthen the Code.

 

www.promptpaymentcode.org.uk

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

Ancient pictures capture site life at the end of Victorian era

September 14th, 2016 Comments off

A Scottish Water employee has rescued remarkable pictures giving a unique insight into daily life on a major Aberdeen sewer scheme more than 100 years ago.

Aberdeen old construction Victorian

The Girdleness Outfall Scheme was designed to improve sanitation in the growing city and employed an army of construction workers hand-digging tunnels and using steam engines to help deliver the major scheme.

The images date from 1900 and 1901, the last year of the Victorian age, when construction was in full swing and capture the scope of the impressive engineering project.

Bob Nicoll, of Scottish Water in Aberdeen, said: “I’ve had the pictures for the last 15 or 16 years.

“They were part of some old archive stuff due to be thrown out but I felt they needed to be rescued from that as they show an amazing part of the city’s industrial history.”

14311446_10154112443427261_5120454063977346956_o

Construction involved blasting 40,000 tonnes of rock in order to create a trench for pipelines.

14310341_10154112443937261_3642694424527449513_o

old construction 19th century14258274_10154112441737261_9095283853321095220_o

_91165824_aberdeensewers7 14352002_10154112443792261_447615390556081017_o14242330_10154112441732261_2076920687483436934_o

_91165148_aberdeensewers6

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

Property fund to restart trading as Brexit fears ease

September 13th, 2016 Comments off

A property investment fund suspended in the wake of the Brexit vote is set to resume trading.

British Pound

The Columbia Threadneedle UK Property Authorised Investment Fund was one of a number of funds suspended as the EU Referendum result spooked the market.

Trading will restart on September 26 as the company described initial market fears as “irrational”.

Don Jordison, Managing Director of Property, Columbia Threadneedle Investments, said: “In the short period following the referendum we saw animal spirits drive unprecedented levels of redemptions from daily dealt open-ended property funds.

“Much of the earlier commentary now appears slightly irrational and more informed reflection has settled the market.

“Any effects of the Brexit vote on the overall UK economy – negative or otherwise – will take many months if not years to transpire and some time after that for the property market.

“In the current climate of low growth and low returns from other asset classes, and with the UK property market yielding 5%, it is our view that UK property offers a significant in-built risk premium for long-term investors.

“We are pleased t o open the Fund again and believe this is in the best interest of our customers. We will continue to closely monitor conditions to ensure the interests of our investors in the Fund are paramount at all times.”

The Threadneedle PAIF invests in physical UK commercial property such as warehouses, shopping centres, high street shops and offices around the UK.

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

Fast turnaround Measured Building Surveys

September 6th, 2016 Comments off

Mobile CAD Surveying Solutions Ltd  can accommodate either a simple single property floor plan for a domestic or logowhitebackground (Small)private customer to a complete schedule of buildings including whatever type of data collection the customer requires for commercial customers. If Architects or Surveyors and you require fast turn around building surveys, please give us a try! we currently work for dozens of architects, surveyors and designers around the UK, where they haven’t the capacity or staff to handle their own surveys or where they just require someone to make sure the job is done right, first time, Mobile CAD Surveying Solutions can help you.

Currently we are working on many Commercial surveys around the country, with a number of domestic and Dimensional Property Surveys around the UK and into Europe, if you require any type of Measured Building Survey then please contact us.

We can provide Floor plans,  Elevational drawings, or a Topographical survey also Underground Utility Traces and all types of Measured Building Survey with varying levels of detailed work – from simple walls, columns, doors and window surveys, to a fully detailed data set including all 3D information including cill & head heights, stair riser and going details, door heights, ceiling heights, beam details, fitted furniture etc.. As part of our measured surveys, the surveyors can also pick up and highlight other information for example: any electrical and data points, sanitary fittings, incoming mains positions, plant, fire fighting and detection equipment, security equipment, signage and so on.

An accurate  topographical survey or land survey is essential to any project that you are considering and can lessen the possibility of costly mistakes or unforeseen issues later on.  The amount and type of topographical survey data that we collect on site is always based on your specification. However, our experienced land surveyors will use their knowledge of planning and development issues and requirements to provide additional information that might be vital for any future design or planning application. We are also able to gather information from any utility companies which can be added to your topographical survey drawings..

360D Panoramic Photography – We can also provide a 360 degree photographic record of your project to aid with design/construction

The ‘as built’ documentation provided by the company is highly detail oriented, every project can be accompanied by 360 degrees photographs to provide better understanding of the plans. Photographs give clients instant visuals which help in picturing the plan in a much better fashion.

We can also provide other additional land surveying services that you may require, for example; underground services tracing ( GPR – Ground Penetrating Radar) and 3D laser scanning enable us to provide you with a one-stop-shop for your surveying requirements.

for more information, please visit:-

Mobile CAD Surveying

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

CIOB launches call for evidence as part of Government-led housing taskforce

September 6th, 2016 Comments off

logo_ciobThe Chartered Institute of Building has launched a call for evidence into skills, materials and new technology in the housing sector. The work forms part of a wider coalition – the National Housing Taskforce – which has been convened by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Housing and Planning.

The Taskforce, which has already met with new Housing Minister Gavin Barwell MP, is operating across 12 distinct areas of work to take a holistic view of how to tackle the housing crisis, covering everything from planning reform to housing associations, and construction skills to mortgage finance. Each work-stream is being led by a relevant organisation which will submit recommendations to the Taskforce later in the year.

The CIOB’s work-stream is charged with addressing the main issues in the construction labour market, including availability, productivity and diversity. Additionally, it will look at materials and new technology, primarily off-site manufacture and modern methods of construction (MMC), including how they link to skills. The call for evidence can be accessed here: http://policy.ciob.org/consultations/ 

David Hawkes, CIOB Policy Manager, said: “At its most basic level, what this work-stream boils down to is capacity. Studies have shown the housing sector needs 120,000 new employees just to meet the required annual level of homes the UK needs. At the same time, house builders say they cannot build more than 150,000 homes per year via conventional means.

“What this suggests to us is that something needs to fundamentally change if we are to properly address the housing crisis. We need more people working more productively and we have to work out how best to utilise and implement new technologies, materials and processes.”

Explaining how the work-stream will progress, Hawkes said: “The CIOB will be working closely with MPs and industry experts to analyse the responses we receive. We’ll then host a number of inquiry-style discussions to hone in on the most relevant evidence and submit our recommendations to the National Housing Taskforce by the end of the year.”

The CIOB’s call for evidence is inviting submissions from industry, government, education establishments, professionals and other interested stakeholders that shed light on addressing the skills gap that currently exists across the sector. Additionally, the CIOB is keen to hear of the opportunities for improving productivity and driving down costs through the use of construction techniques such as off-site manufacture. Of particular interest are successful initiatives both for skills and technology that are operating at scale, or could be scaled up.

Suggested areas that evidence might cover, though this is by no means exclusive, are as follows:

  • What barriers are there to long-term training and skills development in the housing sector? What incentives can be used?
  • What is the role for small and medium-sized house builders in addressing skills gaps or leading the way with new technology? Are there examples of any successful business models in smaller companies that have the capacity to be upscaled?
  • What difference do technological innovations make to our needs for skills and materials?
  • Are current government policies supporting investment in new technology for house building?
  • What can the industry do to attract and train more people, and what can be done to improve labour productivity?
  • What will be the effects of the vote to leave the EU on skills, materials and new technology?

Evidence needs to be submitted by 17:00 on 9 September 2016. Full details and guidelines on submission can be found here: http://policy.ciob.org/consultations/ 

The CIOB hopes to invite as many people and organisations as possible to give oral evidence during sessions later in the year. The final National Housing Taskforce report, incorporating recommendations from all twelve work-streams, is expected to be released by Spring 2017.

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags: