UK construction blog


Archive for August, 2018

Aarsleff awarded piling contract for third phase of homes at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park development

August 31st, 2018 Comments off

Aarsleff Ground Engineering has been awarded the piling contract for Phase 3 of Chobham Manor, a flagship Taylor Wimpey residential and commercial development project being built at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, London.

Once completed, Chobham Manor will comprise approximately 850 homes, a community facility, a nursery, shops and landscaped open spaces. Chobham Manor, situated between East Village and Lee Valley VeloPark, will offer residents world-class venues, cultural amenities and commuter access to the heart of London, completely transforming the area as part of the ongoing Olympic-led East End regeneration.

Taylor Wimpey awarded the foundations contract to Aarsleff which, in addition to its vast experience on large-scale residential projects, also provided Chobham Manor Phase 1 piling works in 2015 when the company successfully installed 380 precast piles.

For Phase 3 of the development, Aarsleff will utilise its Junttan PMx22 piling rigs to install 1,170 250mm square precast concrete piles up to 12 metres in length. Before piling begins, Aarsleff will pre-bore the ground to a depth of eight metres in order to penetrate a limestone stabilisation band and allow for the piles to be driven to the required depths.

Aarsleff is expected to begin piling on 17th September, with work scheduled to take six weeks.

For more information about Aarsleff Ground Engineering or its driven piling foundation solutions, contact the company on 01636 611140 or email


Role models inspire the new face of construction

August 30th, 2018 Comments off

Talented people working in construction are to be recognised as part of a campaign to encourage others to follow their own career in the sector.

Launched in March 2018, UK Construction Week (UKCW) established its Role Models campaign, with help from the Construction Youth Trust, to inspire others and raise awareness of the breadth of roles available in the construction industry. The winner will be announced on 10 October on the UKCW Stage at the NEC, followed by a champagne reception and a meet and greet with keynote speaker, Barbara Res.

After much consideration, the judges put together a shortlist of 36 people from more than 130 high-quality entries. The extensive and diverse job roles of those shortlisted include a crane operator; a beyond zero coordinator; a national water sector lead; a BIM strategy manager; a chairman; an equality, diversity, and inclusion specialist; and a bricklaying tutor. A handful of architects, engineers and surveyors have also been shortlisted. People with non-construction specific services such as marketing also made the list, demonstrating the broad range of skills and knowledge contained within the industry.

While London is often seen as the hub for the construction sector, the shortlisted entrants hail from locations across the UK including Lancashire, Northern Ireland, Birmingham, Bristol, Chelmsford, Weybridge, Oxford, Coventry, Truro, Hereford, Worcester, Sheffield, Glasgow, Dartford, Leeds, Southampton, Plymouth, Cardiff, Preston, Exeter, and Chester.

Changing the face of construction

The judges were impressed with the role models’ passion for improving the image and culture of construction; breaking paradigms and changing stereotypes; actively campaigning for equality within the sector; teaching others and building bridges between the industry and education; inspiring young people; supporting apprentices; and championing diversity throughout the industry.

Nathan Garnett, UKCW event director, said:

“As part of being shortlisted, role models will take part in an outreach programme to help build connections with local schools and colleges. It’s about sharing their construction career journeys and inspiring the next generation by dispelling the myths surrounding the construction industry.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for people to be celebrated in an industry that often gets negative press. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate the work the role models are doing, not just on a day to day basis, but the work they’ve personally taken on to make this industry better.”

Setting the example

The role models will share their thoughts on key industry issues as guest bloggers for the Construction Matters Blog. They will have VIP access to UKCW, which takes place on 9-11 October, and will be available to talk to others about their careers in construction and their visions for the future of the industry.

Ahead of the presentation for UKCW Role Model of the Year, a discussion will take place on the UKCW Stage about creating the new generation of construction professionals. Shortlisted role models Emma Ferguson-Gould and Ryan Williams will join architect Elsie Owusu and BBC presenter, Steph McGovern, will be the host.

UKCW will be an event that inspires, with speakers such as Barbara Res – an engineer, lawyer and the project manager behind Trump Tower, the first BMF Young Merchants’ Conference at the BMF Pavilion, and a timber structure project by Manja van de Worp and students from the school of architecture at the Royal School of Art.

Other highlights for aspiring construction professionals include:

  • The launch of the 2019 Passivhaus Student Competition;
  • Design your home of the future, with George Clarke’s MOBIE;
  • The Institute of Civil Engineers’ ‘Save Civil City’ challenge; and
  • The Finishes and Interiors Sector’s #iBuiltThis2018 photography competition.

Free tickets are available from

Keep up with UKCW Role Models activities on Twitter at @UK_CW and using the hash tag #UKCW2018 and read guest blog posts at


Why bifold doors should be your next home improvement project

August 28th, 2018 Comments off

This time of year is a great one for anybody thinking of a new home improvement project. The kids are going back to school meaning they won’t be around to get in the way. The boiling hot summer days are behind us so you can work without fear of sunburn and heatstroke. The eight-week window of September and October will allow indoor and outdoor work to be completed before the really bad weather and dark nights of winter come along.

One that can have a major positive transformation on your environment and your home is by installing some bifold doors.

Stylish, secure and elegant, the modern bifold door combines the properties of a full-length door or window with the flexibility of a patio door to let your garden or exterior become part of your room.

Energy Saving

One of the great benefits of home improvements is that they nearly always end up saving money on household bills for years after they are completed and bifold doors are no exception. Their heat retention and draught exclusion means a lower carbon footprint and greater fuel bill savings from installation on.

The huge surface area lets more heat and natural daylight from the sun into a room and keeps it there with its unique solar control glass technology. This specially coated glazing reflects excessive heat energy allowing the glass to control the temperature within rooms, reducing the need for blinds and expensive air conditioning units.

If blinds are needed then integral ones can be fitted permanently within the double-glazing cavity of the bifold door itself. This is a sealed, dust and moisture free environment, which means they require no maintenance and are protected from the elements and the household wear and tear.

Weather the Storms

One acid test for every external home improvement project in the UK is how it can handle the Great British weather. Wind, rain, sleet, snow, hail, drizzle, fog and mist are the usual ingredients until we get to summer sunshine again and bifold doors are more than up to the task.

The doors are fully weather resistant rated and are power coated as standard to eliminate corrosion and discolouration that can occur through natural exposure. Their sturdy aluminium build is more resistant than wood, tougher than plastic and perfectly fits the modern design aesthetic for great light and the illusion of more living space.

Safe and Sound

Security is a prime concern no matter where you live in the country and bifold doors are up to the task. Every door that leaves the bifold shop is constructed with thick, toughened glazing that reduces external noise, excessive glare and strong winds and debris.

They are secured with multi point locking mechanisms on the main doors and shoot bolt locks on folding doors providing several zones of security to give you additional peace of mind.

Bifold doors may not have been your immediate next home improvement project but when you consider the permanent advantages and benefits they bring, they might very well be.



Call made for door hardware experts’ input into building regulations consultation

August 27th, 2018 Comments off

After recent UK Government investigations found that fire doors from five suppliers failed to meet even the minimum mandatory fire performance standard, door hardware experts are being urged to have their say in the consultation on the clarification of Approved Document B (ADB).


The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) began investigating the fire door industry after it was found that a glazed, composite fire door from Grenfell Tower had failed a 30 minute fire resistance test after approximately 15 minutes.


Now work is starting on amending the Approved Document which gives guidance on compliance with Part B of the Building Regulations in England.


The consultation focuses on the clarity and the usability of ADB. In addition the consultation is taking on learning from the Grenfell Public Inquiry and various other consultations that are currently running, including the use of combustible materials and the use of desktop studies and assessments in lieu of fire tests.


The Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI) will be producing a response on behalf of the ironmongery industry and is calling for door hardware professionals to participate in the submission.

The consultation asks for comment and evidence on a number of proposed clarifications to ADB including moving the guidance for flats into Volume 1 (Dwellinghouses), clarity of signposting towards other standards, guidance documents or approved documents, and whether there is any guidance in ADB which should be in an industry standard instead.

Douglas Masterson, technical manager of the GAI, said:

“Our members have such vast experience of dealing with fire door hardware. They regularly encounter ironmongery that has been incorrectly specified and have to rectify the mistakes of people who don’t understand the important role of ironmongery on a fire door, or who have struggled to interpret ADB and the other supporting documents.

“We’re encouraging our members to share these experiences and their technical expertise to drive meaningful change within legislation, helping to improve the scope of standards within the fire door industry and ensure a higher standard of hardware being used throughout the UK.”

MHCLG has advised that in early autumn 2018 it will launch a wider technical call for evidence on ADB and supporting documents. An announcement of the outcome of the consultations into the use of combustible materials and the use of assessments in lieu of fire tests is expected in late autumn 2018, and in early 2019 a clarified ADB and roadmap for wider technical policy changes will be published.


Five Benefits of Getting a Regular Window Cleaning Service

August 23rd, 2018 Comments off

Professional window cleaners don’t often get the recognition they deserve for their work. People hear window cleaning and immediately associate it with something that can be done easily with minimal risks. But this assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. There is a reason why window cleaning services are more critical than ever. No matter what type of building you have, be it a skyscraper or just a small office, professional window cleaners can transform it into something magnificent. Let’s take a look at the benefits of getting a regular window cleaning service from companies like Archer Window Cleaning.


Looks are everything

The number one obvious benefit of regular window cleaning is how great your building will look. We live in a superficial world where first appearances really do matter. If you’re planning on holding a business meeting with new clients in a dusty old office, you’re already off to a bad start. Your building represents you. If it’s unclean and untidy, onlookers will think the same about you, even if it’s not the truth. It can be the difference between closing a sale or going home empty-handed. Getting your windows cleaned regularly shows people that you care about your building, your business, and your home. You seem instantly more respectable.

Tip-top condition

Windows on the outside of buildings are always under attack. All day long they get acid rain, hard water, oxidation, and even sometimes objects thrown at them which over time can lead to damage. But, regular cleaning by professionals helps to remove these contaminants with the appropriate cleaning products so your windows can stay healthy for longer. In the long run, this is going to save you money on repairs and replacements.


Increased workplace productivity

If the windows on your business building are not clean, this could have impacts on you and your staff’s productivity. Windows covered in grime, fingerprints, dust and watermarks stop the natural light getting in. Studies have shown that optimising the amount of natural light in an office significantly improves the well-being of office workers. They feel happier, more energetic, and as a result, they are more productive. Also, it’s nice to be able to go to work in a clean, non-distracting environment.


Enhances building efficiency

Being environmentally conscious these days is a must. When your windows undergo regular cleaning, they are made more efficient. Often, dirt and grime build up so much in unloved windows that it interferes with the natural warming effect of the sun in the winter. You’ll need to use your heating more, and with energy bills on the rise all the time, that will cost you. As well as this, oxidisation and weathering around window frames can destroy the seals causing air leaks, fogging, and condensation to build up. This not only means you’ll be losing all the expensive heating from your office, but it can also lead to mould which could lead to health issues if ignored. All of these problems can be solved with regular window cleaning contracts.


Make you feel good

Aside from the benefits of letting natural light in, clean windows will help you to feel good. You no longer have to be embarrassed to invite clients round for fear of their judgement about your dirty windows. You can enjoy the benefits from the vitamin D without ever feeling the slightest bit embarrassed. But to keep this up, you need a regular window cleaning service.


85% of construction industry would recommend a career in construction to young people – so what isn’t working?

August 23rd, 2018 Comments off

Survey identifies perception of industry as main challenge to attracting future workforce


16 August 2018: In response to survey results from the UK and Irish construction industries, the Considerate Constructors Scheme has launched the ‘Spotlight on…the next generation’ campaign to provide essential information and resources to help the industry address the urgent issue of attracting the future workforce.


The survey revealed that although 85% of respondents would recommend a career in construction to young people, 84% feel the ongoing perception of construction as being manual work is the main reason it remains an unpopular career choice.


The survey of the construction industry in the UK and Ireland received around 800 responses, and also uncovered that:


  • 77% view the skills shortage as the most pressing issue facing the construction industry.
  • 72% cite the challenging nature of work as the main benefit of a construction career.
  • 53% know young people who are, or could be, interested in a construction career.

On the subject of what the industry can do to attract the next generation:

  • 37% mentioned changing perception/promoting benefits.
  • 26% suggested engaging schools and colleges.
  • 15% mentioned apprenticeships and training.

‘Spotlight on…the next generation’ – hosted on the Scheme’s Best Practice Hub – has been launched by the Scheme to raise awareness of the wide range of resources, organisations, case studies, key information and guidance available to help construction to attract the future workforce.

The campaign contains a wide range of practical case studies of what organisations have done to help attract more people in to the industry. These include contributions from organisations such as: Balfour Beatty; Class of Your Own; Engie; Hobson and Porter; Kier; Laing O’Rourke; Mace; McLaughlin & Harvey and Wates.

In addition, the Scheme has collaborated with CITB’s Go Construct initiative to produce promotional posters for registered sites, companies, suppliers, clients and professional partners to use to help attract potential workers to consider a career in construction.

With over a quarter (26%) of survey respondents seeing engagement with schools and colleges as crucial to helping address the shortage of workers, the Scheme is pleased to report that 91% of respondents said their site or company engages with schools or youth groups – and 66% have personally visited schools or youth groups to discuss their career.

A key mechanism to help improve perceptions amongst school children, teachers and parents is through the industry’s mascots Ivor Goodsite and Honor Goodsite. In 2017 alone, Ivor/Honor visited over 22,000 school children.

Considerate Constructors Scheme Chief Executive Edward Hardy said: “The shortage of new entrants in to the workforce is one of the most pressing issues facing the construction industry. With over 400,000 new recruits needed each year to deliver construction projects, we must all take steps to attract the next generation.

“While we do have a great industry, one that is working hard to improve its image – as evidenced by the fact that 85% of those within the industry would recommend a career in construction – we need to do so much more to continually improve our standards in order to drive the perception change much needed to make the industry more attractive.

“The Scheme’s Best Practice Hub is at the epicentre of helping to share best practice across construction. Through the ‘Spotlight on…the next generation’ campaign, we are delighted to use our reach and influence across the entire industry to help provide key resources to address this critical issue.”

‘Spotlight on… the next generation’ will be continually updated with new case studies, resources and guidance. Email with any ideas and suggestions you may have and to showcase any case studies from your organisation.

Click here to read ‘Spotlight on…the next generation’


Trade body reveals speaker line-up for structural waterproofing conference

August 22nd, 2018 Comments off

Shared experiences of high-profile projects underground, technical insight and an overview of liabilities and responsibilities will all be featured at this year’s Property Care Association (PCA) structural waterproofing event.

The PCA’s third annual International Structural Waterproofing conference takes place at The Slate, University of Warwick, Coventry on 13 September, 2018.

Speakers at the event have been announced, with the event starting off with an architect’s perspective of structural waterproofing, provided by Kevin Kelly of Building Design Partnership.

He will be joined by other experts from organisations including ASUC and NHBC.

The day finishes with an interactive panel debate on the whether it is time to see a revision to BS 8102. Delegates can claim CPD points.

Full details on the speakers, together with booking information, can be found at

Since its launch in 2016, the International Structural Waterproofing conference has gone from strength-to-strength, offering a broad and comprehensive programme of interest to those in structural waterproofing, as well as a wider audience including construction professionals, surveyors, lawyers, architects, public authorities and academics.

The conference is priced at £100 plus VAT for PCA members and £150 plus VAT for non-members.

A review of the 2017 event can be found at

The PCA is the trade body for the structural waterproofing sector, with a membership including manufacturers, consultants and contractors.

The annual structural waterproofing conference is part of an active programme from PCA overall to ensure technical competence in the industry.

Initiatives include a searchable register of Waterproofing Design Specialists and a range of free technical documents including codes of practice and best practice guidance.

The PCA also offers a renowned training and qualification programme recognised across the construction sector.

Designed to drive forward standards, support best practice and raise technical competency across the structural waterproofing industry, at the core of the PCA’s programme is the surveyor in structural waterproofing training.

This intensive, theoretical training course focuses on different aspects of structural waterproofing including BS8102, and the different types of waterproofing including Types A, B and C.

It is developed for those with existing experience in the field and can also be used as a foundation to go on to take the Certificated Surveyor in Structural Waterproofing (CSSW) industry-leading qualification.


MidKent College is encouraging more young women to study construction in a bid to boost numbers in the industry.

August 21st, 2018 Comments off

MidKent College is encouraging more young women to study construction, in a bid to break down gender stereotypes and boost numbers joining the industry.

Figures show the number of females opting to learn about the profession at the College in both further and higher education since 2014/15 has risen from 141 to 216 for 2018/19.

However the College, which has campuses in both Maidstone and Medway, wants to raise those numbers and challenge gender stereotypes, which they believe do exist in the trade.

Nationally, women make up just 14% of construction industry professionals, with only 1% of those actually working on site.

Kim Howes is the Programme Director for the Building Services Design Engineering course at MidKent College. She said: “The construction industry is still very male dominated.

“All the trade magazines and publications have a big focus on men in the industry whereas women are either hidden or shown in supportive roles, like HR.

“Not all construction paths are grimy and dirty – the design and management fields can be office-based.

“The breadth of career options is just not realised or communicated.

“Construction is a fulfilling career that could take people around the world.

“Women are very creative and the construction industry has a need for those with a creative and design talent.

“We need to pique young women’s interest when they’re at primary school and encourage them to get hands-on, and messy.

MidKent College offers a number of construction courses and programmes at FE and HE levels, from Building Services Design Engineering to Painting & Decorating, Carpentry and Plumbing.

31-year-old Lindsey Todd, from Ramsgate, has been studying an HNC in Construction at the college over the last year.  She said: “I work for a housing association as a contracts manager in the construction industry.







Picture: Lindsey Todd, construction student

“I absolutely love what I do as I’m a very hands-on person.

“ I learn visually, love interacting with people and seeing how the project develops first hand – rather than just from a computer screen.

“Over the last year I’ve also studied maths, personal skills (really helpful after not being in education for a long time!), construction, science and materials and safety in construction.

”I have no doubt that construction is where I’m happiest and what I enjoy most.

“I would definitely recommend other women take up a course in construction – there are just not enough of us on site.

“There’s a few more in the employer’s agent type roles, but in hands-on subcontractor roles there’s very few.

“I think I’ve seen one painter and decorator, and one tiler. It’s a very male dominated arena.

“This course has given me credibility and respect among my peers.”

Last month, Lindsey was awarded an industry award. You can read about it here.


UK construction legal roundup — crucial info on 3 key issues

August 20th, 2018 Comments off

Legal developments affecting the construction industry can range from health and safety to data protection, fraud and immigration.

So it’s always wise to keep a keen eye on the latest test law and trending issues.

With that in mind, here’s a UK construction legal roundup with crucial info on three key issues.

  1. EU Workers

According to May 2018 Office of National Statistics (ONS) information, there are currently 2.29 million EU nationals working in the UK — some of whom ply their trades in construction.

And if you currently employ EU workers or need to recruit from Europe, you might have concerns ahead of the 29th March 2019 Brexit date.

So the UK government has released more information on its proposals for EU nationals living in the UK who arrive before 31st December 2020.

There’s no immediate need for EU citizens present in the UK to seek residence documentation — unless they’re applying for British citizenship or sponsoring a family member to join them under current immigration rules.

But they’ll need to apply for settled status under the new scheme as it’s phased in from the end of 2018 and it’ll be mandatory by July 2021.

For more information, consult the UK government EU settlement scheme employer’s toolkit.

  1. Gross negligence

Health and safety should always be at the heart of construction.

And while many more companies get things right than wrong, the results of inadequate safety provisions often have tragic results for employees and members of the public.

The charge of gross negligence manslaughter can be brought against companies who may have disregarded recommended safety measures to cut costs, leading to people losing their lives as a result.

Those convicted can face life imprisonment — but judges weigh up evidence while deciding how culpable an employer is.

To read about the latest changes, consult the sobering guidelines from the Sentencing Council.

  1. Fraud

In construction, fraud covers a wide spectrum of issues — from your firm being paid with fraudulent credit cards to being accused of financial irregularities or improper employment practices.

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has a dedicated fraud department which works with the police to combat fraud across the industry — one such joint investigation resulted with the Metropolitan Police led to a construction gangmaster being sentenced to seven years imprisonment in April 2018 for enslaving 15 workers.

And in 2017, Professional services network PWC reported that the direct costs of fraud cost the industry an estimated £2 billion per annum — although the knock-on effects could be greater.

If you find yourself accused of fraudulent activity, or fear that your company has fallen victim to fraud, contacting a local lawyer with national scope like Switalskis Solicitors is a wise move — they’ll provide all the relevant and timely advice needed for a positive outcome.

So there’s some crucial information on three legal issues currently affecting the UK construction industry — along with top tips on sourcing more detailed assistance.

Keeping abreast of the latest legal issues provides the peace of mind necessary to focus on projects and profits.

Which UK construction legal trends catch your eye? Share your thoughts in the comments section



August 20th, 2018 Comments off

TIMco, one of the UK’s largest independent wholesale suppliers of screws, fixings and power tools accessories has extended its UK quality control facilities to meet the requirements of its growing product base and provide customers with product training and testing facilities.

The new QC facilities are part of TIMco’s latest investment in a new 30,000sqft warehouse space. The new QC facilities have been implemented to provide further quality control checks on products when they arrive in the UK.  The company already has QC facilities in its offices in the Far East that monitor the manufacturing process and ensure that no products are dispatched to the UK without effective checks.

On arrival to TIMco’s Cheshire offices, products then receive further testing before they are stored and distributed to customers.  The new facilities include a range of technologies from salt spray test machines to devices that measure load and insertion speeds. Products that fail the tests at any stage are promptly removed from the supply chain, while products that pass the tests are then verified for use.

The new facilities also provide customers with the opportunity to visit TIMco’s offices to learn how products work and their best applications.  By supporting customer’s employees they in turn are able to sell with more confidence and research also suggests that customers look for outlets that have knowledgeable and helpful staff.

Simon Midwood, Managing Director of TIMco, comments: “We’re committed to providing a broad range of high quality products to our customers and testing them effectively is a key part of delivering on our promises.  The new state-of-the-art facilities ensure that our standards remain high and also provide us with an opportunity to train customers on our latest products and their applications, which in turn improves their product knowledge and benefits end users. We strongly advise that customers utilise these facilities and services which we can offer.”

Over the last year, TIMco has increased its ranges to more than 6,500 products ranging from traditional fasteners and fixings through to gate hardware, building chemicals and adhesives to new and improved impact driver bits and associated builder’s products.

TIMco is head quartered in Nantwich, Cheshire and imports and supplies more than 6,500 product lines from around the world to distributors throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe.  The company was established in 1970 and now employs 115 members of staff from its offices in the UK, Ireland and Taiwan.  For more information, visit