UK construction blog


Archive for September, 2017

Research Indicates Incorrect Home Insurance Could Be Costing Britons £125m A Year

September 28th, 2017 Comments off

A new analysis of government statistics undertaken by a specialist home insurance provider highlights the fact there could be over three million unoccupied homes in the UK at present, with 1.3m properties without the correct home insurance.


As of April 1st 2016, there were 23,928 properties recorded as vacant and owned by local authorities in England. This number has declined significantly since the turn of the millennium, where local authorities in England recorded owning 87,200 vacant dwellings.

Of the 24,000 empty buildings currently owned by Councils in England, 3,152 are properties within highly desirable London Boroughs, which have been vacant for over six months and are not currently available for letting on the property market.

Figures published in August 2017 by the Resolution Foundation have shown that between the years 2000 and 2014, the number of people with privately-owned, multiple properties in the UK, has risen from 1.6m to 5.2m. The analysis suggested that the majority of these owners were not landlords, with perhaps as many as 3.4m people having an empty property that was not being used to let.

During 2017, the team at specialist home insurance company, have noticed a large increase in the number of home insurance policies taken out for properties with no occupants and not intended to be sublet.

Rob Rushton, Head of CoverBuilder said:

‘‘In recent months we have seen a significant rise in the number of home insurance policies that require insurance for an unoccupied property. A second home can be acquired for various reasons: through inheritance, people working abroad, properties purchased for holiday homes, or purely used as an investment’’.

Insurance providers will define ‘unoccupied’ as a building that is vacant for over 30 days. Unoccupied properties are at much higher risk of damage, particularly as a result of vandals and thieves.

CoverBuilder surveyed 574 owners of unoccupied properties and were alarmed to find out that only 219 (38%) were protected with insurance that covered unoccupancy.

Damian Downey of CoverBuilder said:

“The number of properties incorrectly insured is concerning. With the statistics that we’ve been analysing, there could be 1.3m empty houses with insufficient home insurance across the United Kingdom. If 12% of UK houses are unoccupied for over 30 days, then in line with current, domestic house insurance claim statistics, £125m is potentially being dismissed due to insufficient insurance each year.

He continued

“As one in ten of the UK adult population is a multi-home owner, I would urge anyone with an unoccupied property to check their policy documents and make sure that they have the correct home insurance cover for their property’’.

For more information on unoccupied house insurance, visit

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September 27th, 2017 Comments off

Bentonite, a clay substance which is often generated from the alteration of volcanic ash, is renowned for its water absorption. These properties make it a valuable material for a wide range of uses and applications, particularly as a waterproofing material in construction of belowground structures such as basements.

Bentonite’s availability in the marketplace in various product forms is well-known – it’s been around for hundreds of years. However, the appearance of natural sodium bentonite in Sika BentoShield MAX LM, a fully-bonded, needle-punched membrane and integrated polyethylene flexible laminate, represents a unique offering. The polymer-modified product, which is applied to external surfaces of belowground structures exposed to ground water, is the only bentonite system that’s BBA-approved to BS EN 1928:2000 standard relating to flexible sheets for waterproofing.


The sealing technology of Sika BentoShield MAX LM combines the superior swelling performance of the sodium bentonite with high strength polypropylene geotextiles. The two geotextiles are interlocked by a needle-punching process forcing fibres from the non-woven layer through and beyond the woven layer. This process forms a physical link between the geotextiles and locks the bentonite granules in between, keeping them contained. The system is finished with a polyethylene membrane which is laminated to the back which gives an additional level of protection.


Fully Bonded

During installation, the woven geotextile layer bonds to the fresh concrete due to the non-woven layer that is pulled through and beyond from the needle punching process.
When the polymer-enhanced natural sodium bentonite granules get wet they form a dense waterproof gel protecting the structure.

Sika BentoShield MAX LM is designed for use in below ground construction. It differs from other BBA-accredited geosynthetic clay liners as it contains specially formulated polymers to enhance performance in contaminated land with a high salt concentration. As well as basements, it is used in cut-and-cover tunnels, backfilled walls and in a variety of more demanding applications, depending on whether water is to be kept in or out.

The seams for vertical applications of many bentonite membranes are vulnerable to failure. Sika BentoShield MAX LM laps, however, are sealed with a tape to provide a watertight solution as well as protect against debris and water intrusion during backfilling the system. The seams on horizontal sections can be lapped and protected with a bed of paste created by mixing BentoShield granules with water. Alternatively, tape can be used on higher risk sites.



Sika BentoShield MAX LM can also be post-applied to concrete structures where pre-applying is not possible. The membrane is securely held in place with a robust fixing system.

Tested and approved to the latest industry standards, Sika provides a 10-year guarantee or 15 when it is used as part of a dual system from Sika.

Sika also provides, free of charge:

  • Full specification and detailing support
  • Sika tool box talk training
  • Site support and inspection

Easy to install, flexible and robust, Sika BentoShield MAX LM doesn’t require a primer or protection board. Its ability to mechanically bond with the concrete, which in turn virtually eliminates water tracking in the event of damage, makes it the ideal membrane for belowground structures dependent on retaining long-term watertightness.

For more information visit:

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Pupils Participate in AC Hotel by Marriott Construction through Minecraft Initiative

September 25th, 2017 Comments off

Design and Construction Skills in the Spotlight


4th September 2017: Pupils from eight schools in Northern Ireland have recreated the new AC by Marriott Hotel in Belfast, as part of an immersive Minecraft initiative coordinated by leading UK construction, refurbishment and fit out contractor, Gilbert-Ash, in partnership with Belfast Harbour and STEM Aware.


The project was launched to give school pupils an insight into a broad range of careers available to them in construction. The initiative showed them how the technology and skills used in globally popular Minecraft gaming programme can be used in the design and construction of buildings.


During the project, pupils built models of the AC by Marriott Hotel using Minecraft, and were also given the opportunity to visit the construction site itself. The young people, aged between 12 and 18, were challenged to produce a hotel with an environmentally sustainable focus. It encouraged them to add their own creativity and personal input into the development and inspired them to take an interest in the regeneration of their city.


The project also included a focus on the role of digital transformation in the future of construction. It scored full marks for innovation with the Considerate Constructors Scheme and a case study now features on their best practice hub.


The educational scheme is part of Gilbert-Ash and Belfast Harbour’s ongoing drive to educate and motivate the next generation around construction, addressing future skills gaps across the sector. The Minecraft challenge enabled young people to discover their own passion in design and development, and consider how their skills could be advantageous and utilised in a career in construction.


At the beginning of the eight week programme, the young people delved into nine-storey AC by Marriott Hotel, including 190 rooms, restaurants, fitness facilities and meeting rooms. This provided the eager participants with insights on how developments are purposefully designed and constructed from the outset.


In response to the environmental and sustainable theme, students helped shape innovative ideas for the hotel in Belfast Harbour’s City Quays development including the use of kinetic walkways to enable pedestrians to produce electricity and power in the area.


Gilbert-Ash Managing Director, Ray Hutchinson said, “We created this community initiative to help inspire the next generation within the construction industry and to provide young people with important transferable skills. Marriot International, alongside key partners Belfast Harbour and STEM Aware, helped us bring this to life and together we have given young people insight into the whole construction process and the work we do in their local area and beyond.”


“Working with schools and young people is incredibly important to us, particularly at a time when research is highlighting that the construction industry has an ageing workforce. Motivating a young, ambitious workforce will help resolve this problem. We were truly impressed by how engaged the pupils were as well as the ingenuity and creativity shown. We are looking forward to completing the AC Hotel by Marriott Belfast in early 2018.  The finished property will be a stunning new addition to the City Quays development in Belfast Harbour.”


Jenni Barkley, Communications and Corporate Responsibility Manager at Belfast Harbour, said:

“This project gives us the opportunity to bring students to the City Quays development at Belfast Harbour, engage with them and encourage them to feel ownership of Belfast’s regeneration. Using a programme such as Minecraft allows them to explore ideas of design, construction, engineering and sustainability and at the same time allowing them to watch the building come to life.”


The AC by Marriott in Belfast will have created 180 construction jobs in total and employment for approximately 115 people when it is completed in the first quarter of 2018.  Multi-Michelin-starred award-winning chef Jean-Christophe Novelli will open an exclusive new signature restaurant as part of the new £25 million hotel.


City Quays is Belfast’s newest and most modern mixed-use regeneration project, providing Grade A office space, a hotel, retail, cafés and restaurants, in addition to new residential accommodation on the key city centre waterfront site.


With offices in London and Belfast, Gilbert-Ash offers a range of opportunities for pupils and students to experience the world of construction, from work shadowing programmes to site visits during the lifespan of projects. It also hosts ‘Have a Go’ events enabling individuals to experience taster sessions across various trades, showcasing the range of opportunities within the sector.


For more information on Gilbert-Ash visit

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September 25th, 2017 Comments off

And now for some good news…Construction Industry Forecasts for 2017 to 2019 estimate an overall rise of 7.4% for new-build infrastructure in the UK this year, with a continuation of 6.4% next year. It’s news that bodes equally well for leading suppliers of concrete repair and protection solutions such as Sika, as an increase in new buildings will inevitably lead to defects in newly-poured concrete requiring onsite attention.

So, what is this positive outlook for the country’s new building output based upon? Well, a number of factors across a number of key infrastructural sectors appear to be driving the optimism. Forecasts for the harbours and waterways sector are particularly encouraging, with year-on-year growth predicted thanks to huge waterside projects planned across the country in the coming years.

There’s the Aberdeen Harbour Expansion project for example. Commencing in September this year, the £350 million scheme – due to be completed in 2020 – will see the existing site expanded to include a facility for oil industry decommissioning work. Other upcoming UK harbour projects include a £135 million redevelopment of the port of Dover, and a £10 million project to build a new link-span bridge at the Port of Heysham in Lancashire.


Water spend

Upgrades in water treatment works are also continuing nationwide as part of Asset Management Period 6 which runs from 2015 to 2020. Water firms will have spent more than £44 billion in that time on improvement works agreed by water industry regulator, Ofwat, that include the Severn Trent Water’s Birmingham Resilience project, Wessex Water’s integrated supply grid, and the modernisation of United Utilities’ Davyhulme wastewater treatment plant. Work on London’s £4.2 billion Thames Tideway Tunnel project, which is being financed and delivered by an independent provider, is also boosting construction in this sector.

Spending on road maintenance is also expected to rise. Highways England has a maintenance budget of £1.3 billion over its first fixed five-year investment period, which began in 2015/16. In 2017/18, expenditure on maintenance is set to increase to £258 million, from the £254 million allocated for 2016/17.

Thereafter, it is expected to increase in 2018/19, before slowing in 2019/20. However, 97% of the roads network is governed by local authorities, which are financially-constrained due to cuts in central government funding since 2010. Whatever monetary restrictions councils face there is little doubt the condition of the country’s roads require urgent address, as an Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance Survey (ALARM) report revealed a 13-year backlog of local roads maintenance in England.


Energy drive

Infrastructure repair and maintenance is also expected to increase in order to maintain the country’s energy provision. With a delay in the building of nuclear power stations, National Grid announced it would be retaining the services of existing power plants initially earmarked for closure. Structural maintenance is likely to be required to extend the lifespan of the plants which will be held in reserve to boost electricity supplies if and when required.


Construction Industry Forecasts – headline figures for 2017 to 2019

  • Construction output to grow by 1.6% in 2017 and 0.7% in 2018
  • Private housing starts to rise by 3.0% in 2017 and 2.0% in 2018
  • Infrastructure construction to grow by 7.4% in 2017 and 6.4% in 2018

Construction Industry Forecasts for public housing repair, maintenance and improvement is a little less encouraging, with output in this sector expected to remain flat in 2017 and 2018, whilst commercial offices output is expected to fall by 1% and 12% during the same period. However, prospects for the builders of the nation’s infrastructure, and the contractors and manufacturing firms required to maintain it remain distinctly good. It would seem the UK is building towards a brighter future.

For more information visit:

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September 21st, 2017 Comments off

The Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group is calling on the Government to solve the UK construction industry’s long-standing and crippling payments problem, labelling the current cashflow position as “critical”.

In a recent article, the SEC Group – which represents SMEs in the construction engineering sector – warns that its members are increasingly being propped up by their directors’ wallets as an interim cashflow ‘solution’.

They cite Funding Options figures that show directors lent their construction businesses £38 million in 2015/2016, up from £29.7 million in 2013/2014 – a jump of 28 per cent in just two years.

Unsurprisingly, the SEC Group labels this rise as “unsustainable” and has urged the Government to introduce legislation to solve the problem.

We agree wholeheartedly with the SEC Group – the cashflow issue has affected growth of construction businesses of all shapes and sizes for too long and needs to be addressed urgently.

However, we feel that while the Government has a role to play in improving B2B payments in the industry, businesses themselves can do much more to take greater control of their finances.

We’ve partnered with Invapay, an Optal company, to make this easily achievable. Our unique proposition – a combined full-service payment solution – provides construction businesses with a quick and effortless way to manage their payment process and maximise working capital benefits.

With Open ECX and Invapay, businesses are able to make their payment processes simple, streamlined and effortless from the moment a payment application is made right through to the point that it is paid.

Our cloud-based paper-free WebContractor solution manages the first half of the process, giving subcontractors and suppliers the ability to submit invoices quickly and easily through an online portal. The automated service then processes the application, sending verification notices emails to the applicant and the QS, allowing invoicing authorisation to be granted hassle-free.

At this stage Invapay’s payment solution comes into play. With no changes to processes and systems, Invapay’s business-tobusiness payment platform allows businesses to optimise their payments to suppliers and subcontractors.

Through Invapay, businesses can take greater control of their cash flow – across working capital, credit lines and third party funds – ensuring long term cash flow benefits for buyers and subcontractors.

For more information and to download a free payments guide visit:

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Going Digital for the Digital Enterprise

September 20th, 2017 Comments off

As engineering firms move toward developing a digital strategy, a new phrase – going digital– will resonate with engineering, architectural, and construction professionals, as well as infrastructure asset owners, is now part of the infrastructure lexicon. Going digital refers to the business transformation being realized as infrastructure professionals take advantage of a connected data environment by leveraging a cloud computing platform that digitally connects and converges people, processes, data, and technology to yield significant benefits.


In its broadest sense, going digital means moving data that used to be locked in application-specific files or even paper documents, and making the data inherent in these files and documents available to be consumed and analyzed by other software and processes. Through going digital, 3D digital engineering models created during the planning and design phase can provide the interactive 3D environment for operations and infrastructure asset performance modeling, leveraging cloud computing, predictive analytics, and operational data from the Industrial Internet of Things and other sources. These models can now be referenced throughout the full lifecycle of an infrastructure asset, improving performance, safety, and sustainability.

But what about an infrastructure asset that does not have a digital engineering model? Reality modeling, an exciting technology that involves the process of capturing existing facilities and site conditions with the use of digital photographs and/or point-cloud data – enables the rapid creation of 3D, engineering-ready mesh representations of the existing, as-operated conditions. The process is simple: overlapping photographs taken with a camera either handheld or mounted on a UAV are uploaded to a cloud processing service that automatically reconstructs the 3D model for use in engineering applications. Further detail and accuracy can be added to the model through close range photos or point-cloud data from laser scanners.


In the past two years, reality modeling has gone from being a specialty service to a mainstream process by engineering and construction firms, and by owner-operators of infrastructure assets. The speed and ease of reality modeling now makes it possible to do nearly continuous surveying to monitor construction progress and as-operated conditions. And, the resulting 3D model components can be classified and hyperlinked to engineering models, documents, and specifications (the ET or engineering technology), historical operations data, (the IT or information technology), and real-time IoT sensors (the OT or operations technology). By going digital, the digital engineering model, whether built from scratch through design and engineering application software, or created from existing conditions through reality modeling, can deliver new value as an immersive environment to access open and live information for visual operations of infrastructure assets—bridging ET, IT, and OT—and with that visibility comes the empowerment to improve asset performance.


Making the Digital Enterprise Real

A going digital strategy begins with information technology and seeks convergence with operational technology. As such, realizing the digital enterprise would involve adding engineering technology to complete the convergence. While going digital means different things for different enterprises, in our industry, users of infrastructure engineering can take advantage of new form factors for connecting and computing in their pursuit of it. For many of our large users, the strategy is an opportunity to improve their business model for better asset performance and capital project cost reduction.

An effective digital strategy can realize benefits through all phases of the infrastructure lifecycle. In the CAPEX phase, a digital workflow can take advantage of better decision making with immersive design and collaboration in construction. For OPEX, the value of digital engineering information provides performance improvement opportunities for owner-operators seeking to maximize their assets. The core value is reducing TOTEX (total expenditure) as owners seek to manage and mitigate the risk associated with large capital projects and the ongoing maintenance over time. Owners require information from all phases of the project lifecycle to be useful in the asset management or maintenance management systems when the asset reaches handover, which is fully realized through a digital strategy.


For engineers, going digital can mean new business opportunities, such as conceptioneering, the process of quickly creating multiple iterations of a conceptual infrastructure design model with engineering content, at the beginning of a project, to constructioneering, the process of bringing engineering data directly to the field to drive construction workflows and equipment, during construction and into operations. It can also mean inspectioneering, which is the process of bringing as-operated and continuously surveyed, engineering reality meshes into digital engineering environments, enabling engineers to inspect and evaluate infrastructure assets from any location. And, lastly, to productioneering, which is the process of leveraging the digital engineering model, with live and open connections to IT and OT data, and predictive analytics, as an immersive environment for visual operations, decision support, and performance improvement. These are all examples of going digital, and Bentley is providing the solutions for our users to get there.


Author: Aidan Mercer, Director Industry Marketing, AEC at Bentley Systems
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How To Get a CSCS Card

September 18th, 2017 Comments off

If you are working in construction in the UK, you have properly heard about the CSCS card. But what is it exactly?

CSCS stand for Construction Skills Certification Scheme, and the whole thing was invented about 25 years ago. It is a card that provide proof that an individual has the required training and qualifications to carry out work on a construction site.

What does it cost?

Before you can apply for the CSCS card you must be certified. That normally requires that you take a CITB Health Safety and Environment Test. Such a test cost £19.50 to take.

Once you have passed that test, you can apply for the CSCS card, which will cost you £30.

But be aware! There have been examples of companies overcharging the prices for the tests. These mentioned fees are the standard, so if you’re being charged more than that, you should make sure that you understand what additional services you will receive. To know more about booking the appropriate test, read more about that below.

Booking the test

At first glance, the whole system can appear a bit complicated with loads of different coloured cards showing people’s qualifications in different areas of construction skills. The number of colours has recently been reduced, but to make it more complicated, one colour card can cover many things. However, things have been made easier now through On the site you’re able to use their online card-finder to figure out what kind of test and CSCS card you need, based on your occupation.

You’re also able to call them and have people at the other end of the line asking you the questions and be able to advise which card an applicant you should be applying for. That makes the whole decision-making process easy. Once that bit is over, you will be given a date on which you can take an online test in a center.

Revolution Construction

How is the test?

Okay. So you booked the test and everything is set, but how will the test be, you might wonder? The test is a multichoice based test with 50 questions that you have 45 minutes to answer. The questions can be case study or knowledge questions, but the difficulty of the test depends on the type. For entry-level construction workers such as labourers or apprentices, the questions and answers are pretty simple. Moving to the other end of it though, for people like contract managers, their test is actually very demanding as their card is equivalent to an NVQ 7.

Once you book the test, it will take place at a CITB-approved test centre where you can use a computer to take the test online. Make sure to be there 15 minutes before your test begin.

How can you prepare for the test?

There is different ways that you can prepare for the test. You could buy a book with information that can help you prepare for the specific grade of card you’re going to apply for. There are different books out there, which will give you loads of questions and answers that would appear in the test. A good thing is to buy the latest addition though because the different tests keeps getting updated. And then keep reading the book from cover to cover until you are able to pass the test. You will need to score 47 out of 50 questions correct in order to pass.

Another thing you can do, is to go online and use some of the free tests of there. You can find a bunch of tests here.

Is a CSCS card a legal requirement?

No, it is not a legal requirement. It is up to the different contractors if they require workers on their site to hold CSCS cards. But the law in the UK states that anyone undertaking construction work need to be competent. And a way of showing that, is by having a CSCS card as a proof of that. Another things is that if you’re working in an unsafe manner because you don’t know better, the site manager will get fined or imprisoned. That eventually lead to you getting fired.

How long does it take to get a CSCS card?

It doesn’t take long to get a CSCS card. Once you have paid for the CSCS card, it will be posted to you the next working day. You will just have to wait then, and normally you can expect the card to be there in around 10 days. Be aware that if your card has not been delivered within five weeks of your application, you should contact CSCS. After 90 days your application will be considered closed, and you will then need to pay an additional payment of £30 to reprocess an application.

How long can you keep your CSCS card?

It depends on the type of CSCS card that you are applying for. But in general most of the cards can last five years. Once you have your card, you can read the expiry date on it.

If you need to renew your card, you will have to prove once again that you have the appropriate training and qualification that your job need. That means you will need to retake the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test.


By preparing for the test, you will get a better chance of passing it. The CSCS card is good to have, and something most employers will require that you have (at least in the UK). Therefore, if you are in construction and know what kind of card you need, start preparing today and take the exam to get your CSCS card.

Prepare by taking our quiz and other quizzes online or buy a book that can help improve your knowledge, and make sure that you pass the final test. We wish you the best of luck.

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Considerate Constructors Scheme reaches major 100,000 milestone

September 14th, 2017 Comments off

Considerate Constructors Scheme reaches major 100,000 milestone


  • Mulalley celebrates as Network Homes’ housebuilding project is named as 100,000th Scheme-registered site
  • Government praises Scheme’s invaluable role in improving the image of construction

The Considerate Constructors Scheme – the national Scheme to improve the image of the construction industry – has reached a major milestone in UK construction history by registering its 100,000th site.

The Infrastructure and Project Authority’s Head of Construction, Dr David Hancock, welcomed this achievement and the Scheme’s role in helping to improve the image of the industry.


The site registration was made by one of the leading UK’s contractors – Mulalley – for the Chauncey Residential Development in Ware, Hertfordshire.


Mulalley are working with housing association Network Homes – a Client Partner of the Considerate Constructors Scheme – to deliver this £8.6m project of 18 semi-detached houses and 29 apartments, with associated car parking and amenity space, delivering much needed affordable homes in Ware.


In addition to this site being the Scheme’s 100,000th registration, it has also been recognised as an Ultra Site – the highest level of attainment with the Considerate Constructors Scheme.


Registering its first site in 1997, the Scheme has firmly established itself as the major force for good in helping to improve the image of the construction industry – for the benefit of the community, workforce and environment.


It is highly regarded throughout the UK construction industry as the ‘go to’ organisation to support construction sites, companies, suppliers and clients in raising their standards and best practice above and beyond statutory requirements.


One of the very few organisations to monitor the industry’s progress and share best practice on the ground, the Scheme undertakes around 14,000 visits to sites, companies and suppliers per year.


Considerate Constructors Scheme Chief Executive Edward Hardy said: “We are delighted to celebrate the registration of the Scheme’s 100,000th site with Mulalley, who have been registering sites for nearly 20 years and are a founding Scheme Partner. This is a truly momentous milestone for the Considerate Constructors Scheme and the industry, and is made even more special with this being the 20th year of the Scheme.


“It is with huge thanks to the continuous hard work, commitment and dedication from an increasingly growing proportion of the UK, and more recently the Irish construction industry, that the Scheme has gone from strength to strength since it registered its first site in 1997. At the very centre of this success has been true collaboration across our industry.


“As a Scheme, we continue to grow and engage with an ever-increasing number of contractors, suppliers, companies, clients and other construction industry-related organisations to continue to promote the benefits to the industry in looking after our workforce, site neighbours and the environment.


“Whilst it is important that we celebrate this phenomenal achievement, it is also important to remember that much more still needs to be done to continue to improve the image of our sector and to encourage the industry to continually raise its standards and share best practice throughout the supply chain. It is only through an ever-improving image that our industry can continue to attract the very best to work in our fantastic sector.


“As one of the few people who have been involved with the Scheme from its earliest days, I am incredibly proud of what the Scheme has achieved. I am also hugely grateful to the construction industry for the way in which it has embraced the concept of considerate construction, and how it continues to challenge itself to attain even higher standards.”


Considerate Constructors Scheme Executive Chairman Isabel Martinson commented: “This is a huge achievement for the industry. By reaching such a significant milestone, the Scheme is clearly demonstrating its ongoing importance in driving higher standards to improve the image and reputation of construction.”


Mulalley Director Vince O’Malley said: “Mulalley are extremely pleased for our Chauncy Residential Development project to be the Scheme’s 100,000th registered site. As a Founder Partner of the Scheme, this is a significant milestone and testament to the Scheme’s commitment to improving the construction industry’s image and creating a legacy of continued improvement.”


Network Homes’ Executive Director of Development Vicky Savage added: “It’s really important that we provide high quality affordable homes for the communities we work in. This is a positive statement to local people, letting them know we take construction standards seriously. We look forward to continuing our work with the Considerate Constructors Scheme and providing fantastic new homes with Mulalley at the Chauncy Residential Development.”


The Infrastructure and Project Authority’s Head of Construction, Dr David Hancock added his congratulations to the Considerate Constructors Scheme in reaching this milestone: “It was a pleasure to present at the Considerate Constructors Scheme’s National Site Awards earlier in the year, and it is great to hear that the 100,000th site has registered with the Scheme.  It reflects well on the efforts that have been made by the industry.  We are seeing much cleaner and tidier sites, efforts being made to minimise noise and having safety systems in place.  This has had a positive effect on the environment and surrounding communities, and also on working conditions.  We are seeing constructors providing a more supportive and caring environment for their workforce.


“This is great progress and I hope it will continue and help attract more people into the industry at a time when we are seeing much change and challenge around how the industry operates.”


Click here for further information about Site Registration.

Click here for more information about Ultra Sites.

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Want To Improve Your Home Without Breaking The Bank? Here’s How

September 13th, 2017 Comments off

The idea of trying to improve the value of your home can be so overwhelming, especially if you watch television shows where the hosts are always doing big, grand projects.

But increasing your overall home value doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. You don’t need to add another room or do a complete renovation. By following just a few simple steps, you can dramatically improve the worth of your home and attract potential buyers.

Even if you’re not planning on selling your home, these steps can significantly increase your quality of life.

Clean The Clutter

Cleaning your home can have an exponential effect on its value to buyers. Few things turn a buyer off like a dirty house, while a clean house significantly attracts potential purchasers. Consider for a moment: if you had the choice between two identical houses, one clean and one cluttered, which would you pick?

Cleaning has several other specific advantages.

  • It allows you to spot maintenance issues that are hidden behind junk. Clearing out boxes allows you to see that small leak with your water heater or that mold growing in the corner. Spotting these before they turn into big issues can save you massive amounts of money.
  • A clean house is healthier for your family. Junk and dirt can cause allergens and bacteria to breed. By cleaning your home, you not only add value, you also create a friendlier space for your family.

As Jessica Gopalakrishnan says:

“Starting with a couple hundred dollars on a few things could increase the value of your house by a few thousand dollars. People are surprised by that. It’s exciting. People think they have to put in a lot of money to see a big difference and they really don’t.”

The first, and perhaps simplest way to add value to your home is to simply freshen it up. It costs little to nothing and can have a dramatic effect.

Freshen Up That Curb Appeal

How much curb appeal does your home have? Remember, the front of your home creates a potential buyer’s first impression. If your home looks dingy and overgrown from the curb, it can create a negative feeling in a potential buyer. Spending time sharpening up your curb appeal can significantly increase the overall value.

As realtorRoger Voisinet says:

“People forget about their trees more than almost anything. It could really make a significant difference in the price. Nobody likes to spend money, but landscaping might even be the most important thing, even if owners have kept up the house.”

What are some simple ways to do this?

  • Maintain your lawn and shrubbery. Overgrown bushes and grass are an immediate turnoff for buyers. Simply trimming your shrubs and cutting your grass can improve the look. If your lawn is dry or brown, spend some time nurturing it back to a fresh, green look. Planting flowers can also add some splashes of color.
  • Freshen up your shutters and front door. If your shutters are faded and peeling, give them a fresh coat of paint. Same goes for your front door. A brand new front door can make a big difference.
  • Power wash your house. Simply cleaning the exterior of your house can make an enormous difference, clearing away years of grime and giving your house a clean, fresh feel.

Here are some additional simple ways to improve your curb appeal:

Double Down On The Kitchen

The project with the greatest return is almost always going to be your kitchen. Because it’s the focus of so many family activities, few things matter more to potential buyers than the kitchen space.

There are some simple ways you can really improve the look of your kitchen without breaking the bank.

  • Paint or refinish the cabinets. Even the most dated, ugly cabinets can receive new life with a fresh coat of paint. Another easy way to improve your cabinets is to replace the outdated hardware with something modern and clean.
  • Add a tile backsplash. A backsplash is a simple, cheap way to give your kitchen a dash of color and class.
  • Switch to stainless steel. Stainless appliances, faucets, and other items will give your kitchen a new, modern, clean look. This is significantly more attractive to buyers.
  • Add a pot rack. A pot rack opens up the space in the kitchen and will immediately catch the buyer’s eye, particularly if you also add in a rolling island.

Renew Your Bathroom

Perhaps more than anything else, the bathroom needs to have a new, clean feel to it. Few things turn a buyer’s stomach more than a dingy bathroom. By making a few simple upgrades, you can cause the value of your home to surge.

  • Install a luxury faucet. If your bathroom makes people feel like they’re in a spa, they’ll immediately be at ease. A luxury faucet is a really simple way to do that.
  • Install granite countertops. While formica countertops are cheap, they don’t hold up well and look low quality. A granite or marble countertop is a wonderful way to make your bathroom inviting.
  • Use wall mount lighting. Overhead lighting is harsh and creates a sterile feel. Use warm, wall mounted lights to generate a warm ambience in your bathroom.
  • Replace frosted glass with clear.
  • Clean the grout and remove any rust stains.
  • Lay heated floors. Few things are more luxurious than heated floors.

Knock Out Some Walls

Open floor plans are all the rage these days. Taking out a few non-structural walls can give your home a feel of openness and space. This is a minor job that costs very little, but the payback in terms of home value can be significant.

Your goal should be to make the home feel less confined and tight. If there are narrow hallways, consider trying to open those up.

Let There Be Light

Adding light to your home immediately makes it feel more welcoming. There are numerous ways to do this, including:

  • Dimmer switches that allow you to increase the light or cut it down for ambience.
  • Sun tubes, which let in natural light but are cheaper than cutting out skylights.
  • More windows. Admittedly, this is more expensive, but the results can be dramatic. If you have any broken panes, immediately repair those.

A dark house feels cut off and dank. Letting in light immediately increases the overall value.

Make sure to stay away from harsh lighting, like overhead fluorescent lights.

Here are a few more tips for brightening up your home:

Add Green Options

More and more, buyers want energy friendly housing solutions, such as solar panels, energy saving air conditioners, pellet stoves, and other money savers.

The installation of these items can represent huge savings for potential buyers. If they know they’re going to save thousands every year in energy costs, they’re more willing to spend up front on purchasing the house.

This is especially important for the future. If you hope to sell your home in five years, install green options now.

Improve Those Floors

Floors are one of the first things people notice when they enter a house. If you’ve got orange carpeting, that’s where their eyes will go. There are some very simple ways to improve your floors and thus improve the value of your house.

  • Patch any bits of broken tile.>
  • Nail down any squeaky boards and repair any damaged ones.
  • Refinish wood floors.
  • Rip out wall-to-wall carpeting and install laminate.

Making these small improvements can bring back almost a 100% ROI.


Improving your home value doesn’t require months and thousands of dollars. You don’t need to be a home renovation expert or have your own reality television show. In fact, most of these home improvements are relatively small and can be done for a few hundred dollars.

Even if you don’t want to sell your home, there is value in making these changes. They can dramatically increase the beauty of your home and quality of life you experience.

It’s an oft-repeated cliche that home is where the heart is. If that’s true, isn’t it worth a bit of time and money to make that home as nice as possible?



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Rebuilding the UK’s infrastructure at Civils Expo 2017

September 11th, 2017 Comments off

Civils Expo, the UK’s leading event dedicated to civil engineering and infrastructure, will once again bring together leading suppliers of the latest technologies, systems and products for the sector when it returns to Birmingham NEC from 10-12 October 2017.


Exhibitors already signed up to launch new products, showcase software and provide technical advice include HS2, CEMEX, Breedon Group, Creagh Concrete and Bluebeam. Leading figures from across the industry will also attend the show, such as Crossrail, Heathrow, BAM Nuttall, Kier, Transport for the North and Highways England, where they will debate the industry’s most pressing topics and discuss the challenges and opportunities currently facing the sector.


The seminar programme for Civils Expo has been designed to inform and educate visitors about the planning and implementation of significant projects, as well as introduce them to suppliers so they can learn about new products, gain skills and make long-lasting contacts. One of the show’s biggest attractions will be The Infrastructure Hub, which will explore the process of planning, designing and building a variety of projects from road infrastructure and rail infrastructure through to airports and seaports. Topics such as future proofing infrastructure and construction, sustainability in business, drones, offshore wind turbines and connecting Britain to the world post-Brexit will be discussed at the show, while projects that are having an important impact on the sector such as Crossrail, Ordsall Chord and Hinkley Point will be explored by those leading them in front of a live audience.

To tackle the issue of building safety head on, Civils Expo will also bring together leading authorities to deliver free CPD advice and guidance on key issues such as fire prevention and safety in buildings; guidance on sprinklers, fire doors and dampening; health and safety and how to improve safety through technology, as well as the latest advice on cladding and other flammable building materials. These free CPD and workshop sessions will be hosted at The Infrastructure Hub and have been specially tailored for those responsible for building safety. The sessions are expected to book up quickly, so registration is encouraged.


Nathan Garnett, Event Director at Media 10, which runs the show, said: “This year’s Civils Expo will bring together the UK’s largest and most important infrastructure projects with the latest products and innovations being used to build them. Our programme is evolving with more speakers, exhibitors and suppliers signing up every day, and we’re committed to making this our most successful show to date. In addition to showcasing new products for the sector, we will also tackle the issues surrounding building safety head on with a carefully chosen schedule of talks, workshops and events.”


Consisting of Build Show, sponsored by Easy-Trim, Civils Expo, Plant & Machinery Live, Energy 2017, Smart Buildings 2017, Surface & Materials Show, HVAC 2017 and Grand Designs Live, UK Construction Week caters for the entire spectrum of the industry from builders, architects, innovators and consultants, each show provides exhibitors with the opportunity to network alongside decision makers and purchasers while showcasing their services and products to thousands of visitors.  For more information and free registration visit

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