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Archive for January, 2017

100m Wear bridge pylon to be lifted into place

January 31st, 2017 Comments off

The 100 metre high pylon for Sunderland’s new £117m bridge is set to be lifted into position in the coming two weeks.

New_Wear_Crossing_centrepiece

The 1550-tonne A-frame tower will be raised at the site of the city’s new bridge over the River Wear during a carefully orchestrated operation that is likely to take up to 24 hours to complete.

Nothing of this scale has been lifted in this way in the UK since the London Eye was raised in 1999.

The white pylon was transported to the site of the New Wear Crossing from the Port of Sunderland during the early hours of last Thursday.

The New Wear Crossing is being built on behalf of Sunderland City Council by Farrans Construction and Victor Buyck Steel Construction.

During this week, it has been rotated into position and now work is underway to attach the pylon to the foundations that have been built into the riverbed to support it.

Preparation works for the raising operation are taking place this week and early next. The team is preparing to raise the pylon sometime during the next fortnight.

Once raised into position, it will take several weeks for the team to secure the pylon to the foundations, in readiness for the next section of bridge deck to be pulled out across the river.

The bridge is on track to be complete in the spring of 2018.

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Liverpool council building to become luxury hotel

January 30th, 2017 Comments off

Liverpool City Council is set to sell its former administrative headquarters to a Singapore based developer who plan to turn it into a hotel.

Municipal Buildings

The sale of the Municipal Building on Dale Street to Fragrance Group Limited (FGL) is set to be rubber-stamped next month.

The Grade II listed city centre office is expected to be handed over in Spring.

Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Municipal Building has been a magnificent home for Liverpool City Council since the 1860s but we no longer have the staff numbers to justify retaining it.

“I’m delighted we have a buyer of international repute who is looking to use Liverpool to break into the UK and European hotel market.

“This will have a great impact in terms of generating jobs and bosting out international appeal.

“We will work with FGL to ensure that its future use protects the building’s unique architectural features, as we have done with the neighbouring Municipal Annexe and Royal Insurance Building which have also recently been brought back into use as four star hotels.

“The sale will bring in much needed money which we can reinvest in reducing the costs of our capital infrastructure programme, as well as delivering ongoing savings by lowering our overheads.”

The building is on three floors with an extensive basement, and covers 11,494 square metres.

Council workers are being moved to other existing sites across the city.

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TIMco LAUNCHES INNOVATIVE NEW CAVITY WALL FIXING

January 25th, 2017 Comments off

TIMco, one of the UK’s largest independent wholesale suppliers of screws, fixings and power tools accessories, has introduced the innovative cavity wall fixing, Zip-Fix, to its newly extended range of products.  The fixing is an ideal heavy duty hollow wall anchor that’s suitable for use in plasterboard, concrete block, cavity walls and ceilings.

The new product, one of more than 700 new items in the latest TIMco brochure, is available in bags of ten and provides the ideal anchor for hanging radiators, TV brackets and cabinets.  The Zip-Fix anchor can be used on a number of substrates including plasterboard (12.5 and 25mm thick) as well as 15mm dense board and block and, with safety factors applied, is capable of holding weights between 30 and 60kg.

Simon Midwood, Managing Director of TIMco, comments; “This is an exciting new addition to our range and illustrates the increasing depth of products we now offer.  This product has been developed to provide merchants and their customers with a quality and easy to use fixing that’s capable of acting as a plasterboard fixing in home, office or industrial spaces.  We’re excited to offer it to our customers and to be continuing to build the range in the future.”

Zip-Fix is designed to be used in four easy steps:

  1. Drill – make a 13mm hole in the substrate (with a 50mm cavity clearance behind the substrate)
  2. Push – face the thumb tab upwards, insert the metal toggle through the hole so it pivots down behind the substrate.
  3. Zip – Zip the nylon collar towards the wall so that it sits into the drilled hole, then snap off the nylon arms.
  4. Fix – Secure the fixing with an m6 screw into the threaded part of the Zip-Fix and tighten until secure.

Earlier in 2017, TIMco released details of its new biggest ever catalogue that contains more than 5,500 products including; advanced wood, multi-purpose, self -drilling and self-tapping screws as well as roofing and construction screws.  This is in addition to an extended range of fixings and fastenings as well as a comprehensive range of supplementary products such as industrial tapes, protective films as well as security solutions.

TIMco is head quartered in Nantwich, Cheshire, imports and supplies product lines from around the world to distributors throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe.  The company was established in 1970 and now employs 110 members of staff from it offices in the UK, Ireland and Taiwan.  For more information, visit www.TIMco.co.uk.

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A brief guide to industrial doors, from sliding tents to high speed doors

January 24th, 2017 Comments off

The field of industrial doors includes many different models, and each one is conceived for specific uses and have special features.

Let’s see some of the main types of industrial doors, their peculiarities and their most common applications!

  • Sectional doors: one of the main peculiarities of these types of doors, which are also used in residential contexts, is their vertical opening. The fact that they open vertically brings a big advantage, since this permits to save space both in front and behind the door itself. Also for this reason sectional doors are very versatile and can be used in various different contexts.

Sectional doors can be both manual and motorized (in this case they can be equipped with remote automatic control) and the safety of the lifting system is guaranteed through special safety devices.

  • High speed doors: this model is used in those spaces where it in necessary to open and close the door very quickly. The quickness of the system that characterizes the opening of high speed doors brings many advantages: first of all, it permits to save energy and maintain the temperature inside a given space; moreover, using this type of doors you can separate different processes inside the same building, which helps improving productivity.

High speed doors are also appreciated because they do not require special maintenance and are easy to install.

  • Strip curtains: these inexpensive doors are made of PVC and are very durable and versatile. Perfect for cold store areas, strip curtains are used for the opening of large warehouse. They reduce temperature loss and allow the passage of people and machines.
  • Folding doors: the perfect model if you need robust and wide closures, folding doors can be personalized and equipped with windows to improve visibility.
  • Sliding tends: this model is notably appreciated because it is a cheap solution for both large and small spaces.
  • Fire doors: it is necessary to use this type of doors in all of those spaces where there is a high fire risk. Fire doors are an important protection for both people and goods and need to be certified and built in accordance to specific norms.
  • Flap doors: a cheap solution that you can use when you need to isolate various rooms inside the same building but you do not want to prevent people and machines to move easily from one room to the other. Made of PVC, flap doors are resistant and flexible.

These are some of the types of industrial doors that you can find on the market. Choose the one you prefer according to your needs and to the field of application!

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New national Vulnerable Road Users course for construction industry

January 23rd, 2017 Comments off

CLOCS commends new national Vulnerable Road Users course for construction industry

Considerate Constructors Scheme creates e-learning course on Best Practice Hub to achieve greater awareness of vulnerable road users

London, United Kingdom, 18 January 2016: The Best Practice Hub – the construction industry’s free to access online platform for sharing best practice – has produced an e-learning course about Vulnerable road users.

Launched on 9 January, the course is designed to increase knowledge and understanding of the risks construction activity can pose to vulnerable road users and provides practical methods which can be adopted to minimise these risks. It is available to all registered Best Practice Hub users.

A fundamental part of the course is to provide participants with an understanding of CLOCS – the national standard for Construction Logistics and Community Safety – and how it can be adapted for any type of construction activity across the UK.

Other learning sections include current road safety legislation, the Highway Code and details of other important road safety programmes including FORS – the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme.

The course, which is eligible for CPD, has already received a huge uptake, with hundreds of individuals from Scheme-registered sites, companies and suppliers completing it.

To drive higher standards nationally, the Scheme has also introduced a dedicated section about the CLOCS Standard on the Best Practice Hub as well as additional questions about CLOCS in the 2017 Monitors’ Checklist.

Considerate Constructors Scheme Chief Executive Edward Hardy said: “All types of construction activity can involve potential risks to vulnerable road users. It is, therefore, essential that the industry knows and understands these risks and does all it can to minimise them, both for the general public and the workforce.

“The Vulnerable road users e-learning course and section about the CLOCS Standard on our Best Practice Hub provides an easily accessible and practical way for everyone within the industry – including site managers, contractors, suppliers and clients – to raise safety standards for every road user and pedestrian affected by construction vehicles.”

CLOCS Project Director Derek Rees commented: “The CLOCS team commends the Considerate Constructors Scheme for creating the Vulnerable road users e-learning course and providing a dedicated CLOCS section on the Best Practice Hub. Both resources provide an invaluable way to help raise awareness of the daily risks presented to pedestrians and cyclists and how the industry can effectively manage the impact vehicles accessing sites have on the local community and workforce.”

Click here to visit the Best Practice Hub.

Click here to take the Vulnerable road users e-learning course.

Click here to view the CLOCS section.

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5 tips for tackling a listed property restoration in 2017

January 19th, 2017 Comments off

5 tips for tackling a listed property restoration in 2017

If you have been thinking of getting your listed property spruced up, whether it’s an extension or re-structuring the foundations, there are fundamental things that you will need to consider before.

Sarah Khan, a member of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) and Jonathan Clark who is a member of the RIBA conservation group share their top tips on approaching a listed building restoration.

  1. Be particular with restoration scale

According to RIBA accredited Conservation Architect Sarah Khan if you plan on doing work to both the interior and exterior of the building, you’ll need to apply for listed building consent and planning permission. If your listed building is in a conservation area, you’ll need to take this into account.

  1. Restore for reasons of practicality not trends

Late last year it was announced that the Buckingham Palace will undergo a 10 year refit. Work will start in April 2017 and will focus on replacing 33-year-old boilers, electrical cables and pipework. The most common misconception people have is that just the façade of a property is listed says Sarah, find out everything you need to know about your property from your local council.

  1. Materials will shape how far you can restore

The restoration projects of the Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) includes using original gold paint for the face of the clock, prepare yourself for the fact that the use of cheap, modern materials will often not be possible, advises Sarah.

  1. Surround yourself with the right craftsmen and architects

The biggest challenge we faced was undoubtedly dealing with the conservation officer. It was a process of negotiation and convincing them that our proposals would materially enhance the building and bring it into the 21st century in a sympathetic way – says Jonathan Clarke, founder of Jonathan Clark Architects.

  1. Strike a balance between replica and restoration

Your restoration plans should clearly highlight how you will be preserving your listed building, it could be anything from not chopping down an old tree in your garden to using 10,000 bricks from original building (part of Battersea Arts Centre restoration plan.)

Sarah and John share their experiences working with listed building restorations as part of the Hiscox cover stories campaign, read their full interview here.

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Construction firms’ risk losing custom by playing generic music on hold

January 17th, 2017 Comments off

January 17, 2017 – Construction firms’ call handling standards have come into question as the result of a major new study into telephone practice.

The research conducted by audio branding specialist PHMG, which audited 185 firms in the construction industry, discovered the large majority risk losing custom by subjecting customers to generic music and audio while on hold.

Typically, waiting on hold is seen as a major bugbear but 54 per cent of construction companies still leave customers listening to nothing but generic music. A further 26 per cent subject them to beeps, while 16 per cent leave callers in silence and four per cent force them to listen to ringing.

No companies were found to employ brand-consistent voice and music messaging – viewed as the best practice approach to handling calls – less than the national average of two per cent.

Mark Williamson, Sales and Marketing Director at PHMG, said: “Call handling remains a critically undervalued element of customer service and marketing. A previous study of 1,000 UK consumers found 73 per cent will not do business with a company again if their first call isn’t handled satisfactorily.

“Therefore, it is important companies do their utmost to improve the experience. The research shows there is still work to be done in providing an experience that keeps callers engaged and entertained.

“Generic music, beeps, ringing or silence convey a message that the customer is not valued, which will only serve to compound any annoyance felt as a result of being made to wait on hold.”

The research also found 92 per cent of construction firms do not even use auto attendant messaging to greet customers who call up outside of normal working hours.

It also seems call handling standards have not significantly improved when comparing the results to a similar study conducted in 2013. The number of companies playing repetitive music has increased by 23 per cent during that period while the number using brand-consistent voice and music has stayed the same.

“The trends over the past three years suggest construction firms believe generic music is enough to keep callers entertained but this can actually have the opposite effect,” added Williamson.

“An existing, generic piece of music should not be repurposed to convey a message it was never intended to, as its characteristics may not match those of the company.

Hearing is one of our most powerful emotional senses so the sounds customers hear when they call a business will create a long-lasting impression. Every element of a music track, whether tempo, pitch or instrumentation, will stir different emotions so traders should ensure they convey the appropriate brand image.”

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Government awards £1.2bn roads funding to councils

January 16th, 2017 Comments off

Councils across England are today finding out their share of £1.2bn local roads funding for the next financial year.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones announced funding to improve roads, cut congestion and improve journey times includes money from the new National Productivity Investment Fund, announced in the Autumn Statement and the Pothole Action Fund.

It also includes £75m which councils can bid for to repair and maintain local infrastructure such as bridges, street lighting and rural roads.

The government has today also published further information about what the funding will be spent on – the latest step in the economic plan to stimulate the economy and build a country that works for everyone.

A key part of this is putting in place improved transport links including better roads, to help people access work, school and services.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “The funding we have allocated today is focused on relieving congestion and providing important upgrades to ensure our roads are fit for the future – helping to build an economy that works for everyone.

In a further effort to reduce the number of potholes the Department for Transport will begin a new innovative trial, in partnership with Thurrock and York Councils which could revolutionise the way potholes are identified and managed.

A pothole-spotter system, mounted to refuse collection vehicles, comprising of high-definition cameras, integrated navigation system and intelligent software will be deployed to identify road surface problems before they become potholes.

The DfT will also support plans for a new motorway junction on the M11, near Harlow in Essex. This will help to ensure the delivery of 15,000 homes and support continued growth in the local economy.
M11 junction 7a

The new junction, to be known as Junction 7A, will sit to the north of Harlow, and will cut several minutes from journeys to Stansted and Cambridge.

The scheme will provide better access to the motorway both for new residents and for the existing inhabitants of Harlow and Sawbridgeworth; plus less congestion on the existing junction 7. The project will be part-funded by Essex County Council, and could begin construction in 2019.

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Kier bags first £42m affordable housing grant

January 11th, 2017 Comments off

Kier and Galliford Try have together secured over £60m in Government funding to build affordable homes.

The funding, which for the first time saw cash handed to contractors as well as housing associations, formed part of a £1.28bn tranche of first round grant awards under the 2016-21 Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme.

Among the housing contractors securing Government support for the first time Kier bagged nearly £42m to deliver 1,378 homes, plus 335 associated but non-funded affordable homes..

Galliford Try was awarded almost £19m for 530 affordable homes, Keepmoat bagged nearly £18m for 439 homes and Lovell secured over £11m for 420 homes.

Private builder Westleigh Developments was also allocated £48m of grant to build 1,590 new homes under the programme.

The first round of cash hand-outs were unveiled as the Government invited bids for a further £4.7bn of funding to increase the supply of new shared ownership and affordable homes.

The pot of cash consists in part of £1.3bn not allocated at the initial SOAHP bid round and an extra £1.4bn announced in the Autumn statement to deliver a further 40,000 affordable homes.

The Government is encouraging bids from organisations other than housing associations and is encouraging off-site construction solutions.

The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said:”We’ve reformed the rules to make these homes available to the widest possible range of buyers – and to make the capital grants open to widest possible range of developers and housing providers.

“We also aim to encourage innovation – both in partnerships for local housing delivery and in the use of advanced construction technologies.”

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Considerate Constructors Scheme announces 2017 monitoring Checklist

January 9th, 2017 Comments off

Considerate Constructors Scheme announces 2017 monitoring Checklist

New Checklist brings greater focus on key issues of:

  • tackling illegal workers
  • encouraging an improved road safety culture

 

London, United Kingdom, 6 January 2017: The Considerate Constructors Scheme – the national Scheme to improve the image of the construction industry – has announced a new Monitors’ Checklist.

The Checklist, which came into effect on 1 January 2017, is the key method which Scheme Monitors use to assess and score sites, companies and suppliers’ performance against the Scheme’s Code of Considerate Practice.

The Scheme has identified two pressing issues requiring a more concerted effort from the construction industry – tackling illegal working and improving road safety.

Although the 2017 Checklist has undergone minor changes in all five sections, there are new questions within the Specific Data section – which captures key information and identifies trends within the industry. The first set of questions have been introduced to encourage sites, companies and supply chains to examine how they are ensuring the legitimacy of their workforce:

  • Are there processes in place to ensure subcontractors (and subsequent subcontractors) are conducting right to work checks?
  • Are physical spot checks conducted to ensure minimum standards of right to work checks are taking place within the supply chain?

Two questions have also been added to encourage greater adoption of a more considerate road safety culture. The questions assess the extent to which CLOCS – the national standard for Construction Logistics and Community Safety – is embedded across Scheme-registered sites, companies and suppliers.

  • Is the company a CLOCS Champion?
  • Is this site operating to the requirements of the CLOCS Standard?

This enhancement to the Checklist will gauge the level to which those registered with the Scheme are helping to raise safety standards for every road user and pedestrian affected by construction vehicles. Recognising this important industry standard for the protection of vulnerable road users has been part of the Scheme’s monitoring Checklist for a number of years. In October, the Scheme became a partner in delivering the CLOCS Standard, further strengthening its support of this important initiative.

Commenting on the new Checklist, Chief Executive of the Scheme, Edward Hardy said: “With over 18,000 monitoring visits to sites, companies, and suppliers every year, the Scheme is the central part of instigating change to help raise standards and improve the image of the construction industry.

“The Scheme’s monitoring Checklists are the backbone to effecting this change, and we are pleased to be introducing greater focus on helping to address the critical issues of tackling illegal working in construction and helping to embed a culture of safety through greater adoption of the CLOCS Standard.”

Click here to read the new Checklist.

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