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Archive for November, 2018

5 Great Challenges You’ll Face During Any Bathroom Remodel (And How To Solve Them)

November 30th, 2018 Comments off

5 Great Challenges You’ll Face During Any Bathroom Remodel (And How To Solve Them)

 In a home renovation, the bathroom is often subject to a sharp intake of breath from project planners, labourers and homeowners alike. It goes without saying that a bathroom remodel is one of the more challenging aspects of renovation, fraught with challenges and potential disaster.

In this post, we’ll draw on some interior design expertise to outline how you can solve these issues during the remodel, leading to a stress-free new bathroom for any type of property.

Challenge #1: Dodgy plumbing

It’s not unreasonable to expect that the previous owners’ plumbing work isn’t the best, so you should prepare for a longer-than-expected bathroom remodel if some pipes are leaky or rusty.

Make sure you budget for these setbacks and they won’t be nearly as annoying when they arise mid-project with half a bathroom torn out and a family’s home life totally upended.

Challenge #2: Damp, mould and horrors untold

A large percentage of the UK’s housing stock is very old indeed. 20% of homes in the UK were built before 1919, so it follows that such homes might have some issues with damp after standing proud for 99 years or more.

Ground floor bathrooms might suffer from rising damp, which seeps up from groundwater – but they’re more likely to suffer from damp resulting from some less-than-perfect plumbing following almost a century of use.

For your bathroom remodel, you should first wipe up any mould with bleach-based spray, then think about ventilation solutions such as a more powerful extraction fan (if your bathroom doesn’t have a window, common in some converted Victorian terraced houses) or even some anti-damp sealant that’ll banish the problem for the long term.

Challenge #4: A drainage disaster

An improperly fitted drainage system can make the above problem a whole lot worse, and is often the source of great plumbing peril. An aesthetic upgrade to a bathroom can be ruined by an old shower drain blocked up with decades of hair and other detritus, so your first port of call is to unblock and clean, as this may well give it a few more years of use.

If you have to replace the whole bathroom drainage system, make sure you have a professional in to do it properly. This will ensure that the process happens a lot more quickly and disruption in the home can be massively reduced. A proper drainage system is a cornerstone of a damp-free, hygienic home – so don’t do it on the cheap.

Challenge #5: Being unrealistic

Your dream bathroom might be a luxurious, spacious affair with plenty of indulgent touches. However, you might end up having to compromise with regards to space, as bathrooms, especially in older houses, tend to be on the small side.

Some bathroom supply companies have started to use AR smartphone apps so that potential buyers can visualise exactly how that new toilet or whirlpool bath will fit in the bathroom, solving this problem. However, for now, a foolproof option is measuring out the whole space and working out the ergonomics of everyday use, so you’re not left with a new bathroom that’s awkward to navigate.

 Once these challenges have been addressed, you’ll be free to embark upon a bathroom remodel that’ll leave your clients with a superb, long-lasting and functional part of their home.

Author bio:

Moosa Adam works at 1 Click Bathrooms, the UK’s online one-stop shop that helps homeowners build their dream bathroom piece by piece.


How to avoid winter roofing issues

November 29th, 2018 Comments off

How to avoid winter roofing issues

Sometimes, when we think about winter and getting the house ready for it, the last part of our properties that we think of is the roof. We’re far too excited about getting the Christmas tree out of the loft and whacking the heating up full blast.

But just stop for a minute to think about what could possibly make or break the heat in your house – the roof. Heat rises naturally, so the quality and state of your roof can really make a difference to how warm you are this winter.

Sometimes, there is just no competing with the weather or nature, but hopefully, we can help you to find a way around it. Here are some of our top tips on how to avoid winter roofing issues and make sure your roof is truly ready for the coldest and most adverse time of year.

If you think your roof could be in need of professional help, have a look at these roofers in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Clear your gutters of clutter

This may be a step you’ve never even thought of, but it’s very simple and surprisingly effective in keeping your roof in tip-top shape this winter. All that you need to do is clear the gutters and roof of any debris such as leaves and dirt, and check regularly.

This will prevent water issues from within your pipes, and can also stop the impact of wintertime icicles from being so great. If icicles are left to grow, they can be a danger to the homeowner themselves and the quality of their pipes.

Invest in a high standard of ventilation

Condensation in the attic doesn’t just look unsightly – it can also cause significant damage if left to build up. We therefore suggest investing in a proper ventilation system that will help to prevent condensation and maintain heat, as well as cut down on your repair costs in the future.

Keep an eye and ear out for snow damage

One of the most common problems for roofs during the winter is the build-up of snow and ice, which if you’re from the North East, is a problem you’ll know all too well.

Problems usually start when the snow level reaches approximately two feet. The weight from snow can cause significant problems for your roof, including structural harm, ice dams and even potentially roof collapse.

Some things to look for regarding this issue are cracks, sagging or leaking. Listening out for sounds of popping or cracking is also a good indicator of damage, as are doors that stick.

Be mindful of the scope for wind havoc

Strong winter winds can also have a majorly negative impact on your roof. If the winds are strong enough, they can cause all sorts of wintertime debris to potentially puncture your roof.  A puncture in your roof can be extremely damaging and certainly will not keep your house warm!

If such problems occur for you, make sure you get in touch with suitably qualified and experienced roofers in Newcastle upon Tyne.  Don’t delay when this happens, as it is better to sort out a problem as soon as it appears and nip in it in the bud.


Engineering sector’s astonishing gender pay gap

November 28th, 2018 Comments off

Research conducted by one of the UK’s largest accountants has revealed that men in engineering earn up to 30% more than women in the same roles.

Hemel Hempstead-based SJD accountants has analysed salaries of both male and females in the sector revealing some astonishing figures.

According to the analysis females with job titles such as mechanical engineer or maintenance engineer earn almost a third less than males with the same occupation.

Derek Kelly, CEO of Optionis which owns SJD Accountancy said: “The gender pay gap has been a topic of increasing conversation, putting the difference in salary into real terms has been shocking.

“This information now highlights the genuine impact that this can have not only on employees but their families and long-term prospects.”

The gender pay gap has been an increasingly important and developing conversation for a number of years within the media and government.

Increasing pressure has been put on businesses to disclose their gender pay gaps and redress the balance to aim for more equal pay.

The survey by SJD Accountancy saw more than a 1,000 contractors questioned, and data gathered on their salaries to create a better picture of which sectors are closing the gap and which are still struggling to find parity.

To find out more details about your industry and the gender pay gaps SJD has launched an interactive tool, visit for more information.

Mr Kelly added: The tool helps to give workers, whether in permanent or temporary roles, more of an insight into the pay gap within their industry. This improves understanding of the pay issues within certain sectors.”


Timber championed with the launch of WoodFest

November 26th, 2018 Comments off

The North East will celebrate everything built with wood as the first WoodFest comes to Newcastle in December, with an exciting line-up of events organised by the UK timber industry’s campaign, Wood for Good.

WoodFest Newcastle will bring together architects, engineers, placemakers, planners, developers, contractors, politicians and local businesses specialising in timber to promote the innovative and striking ways that wood can be used in the built environment in the North East.

Christiane Lellig, Wood for Good campaign director, said:

“The first in a series of regional WoodFests, this as a fantastic opportunity to bring all those involved with the built environment to explore what industry and politics can achieve together.

“Each event is a chance to learn and share about the use of timber in architecture, particularly around health and wellbeing and offsite construction. It provides a platform to discover what’s happening in the region and to be inspired by timber design.”

The week begins with a behind-the-scenes tour of wood-based materials manufacturer, Egger’s site in Hexham on 10 December. In the evening, Dr Oliver G.F. Jones, architecture professor and expert in human-environment interaction at Northumbria University, will give the keynote speech at a seminar on wellbeing, residential design and healthy homes. Taking place at Ryder Architecture’s home in Cooper’s Studios, Westgate Road, Newcastle, Dr Jones will be joined by a panel of experts including local housing providers and design professionals to explore biophilic design, light, space and air quality among other issues.

Offsite construction steals the show on 12 December with an evening seminar debating whether modern methods of construction are the future for homes in the North East. Hosted by Ryder at Cooper’s Studios, an expert panel will explore Home England’s strategic plan incorporatin g offsite construction and will ask if it’s the silver bullet to deliver much-needed homes.

A site visit to the unique self-build home, Shawm House, takes place on 11 December. Designed by Newcastle-based MawsonKerr Architects, the timber home won four regional RIBA awards, a national RIBA award and was shortlisted for Grand Designs ‘House of the Year’ in 2017. This is a rare opportunity to hear the homeowner’s story and experience the house for yourself.

Taking place throughout the week is an exhibition at Cooper’s Studios, exploring healthy buildings and driving the design and construction quality agenda through the use of modern methods of construction.

The finale for WoodFest Newcastle is the Superwood Conference on Friday 14 December at Northumbria University, hosted by Confor. Looking at how forestry and timber can drive a low carbon economy, the conversation will explore the opportunities for increasing forestry in the North East and the lessons that can be learned from Scotland.

Speakers include Paul Brennan, MEP for the North East, Adam James from Ryder Architecture, Councillor Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council, Dr Dan Ridley-Ellis from Edinburgh Napier University, Beccy Speight from the Woodland Trust, Neil Sutherland from Makar, Stuart Goodall from Confor, Simon Hart from Egger Forestry and Christiane Lellig from Wood for Good.

WoodFest Newcastle is organised in collaboration with regional partners Constructing Excellence, Egger, Mawson Kerr, RIBA North East, and Ryder Architecture.

Book your place for the WoodFest Newcastle events here:

More information will be released soon about other regional WoodFests taking place throughout the country in 2019.

If you would like to get involved in WoodFest please contact Wood for Good campaign director, Christiane Lellig, at



Work wellbeing — 5 office hygiene hotspots

November 23rd, 2018 Comments off

Despite a rise in remote working in recent years, many of us still trek to our trusty offices each day to make a living.

And while we’re earning a crust, we’re also crumbling because of work-related health issues like backache, eyestrain, stress, the cold and norovirus.

But there are a few simple office design and equipment adjustments progressive employers can make to mitigate risks.

If you’re concerned about work wellbeing, here’s how to optimise five office hygiene hotspots.

  1. Desk

Desk surfaces, keyboards and the nooks and crannies behind monitors host hordes of bacteria if they’re not regularly cleaned — so keep a stash of anti-bac wipes in your desk drawer to stop their spread.

But simply sitting in a sedentary position for hours on end impacts your health too — according to the NHS, it slows the metabolism, reduces your ability to burn fat and causes weaker bones and muscles.

So it’s worth enquiring if your employer might buy a sit-stand desk from a company like Posturite which may make you healthier and more productive.

  1. Toilets

We would all like to think that the toilet hygiene standards of adult office workers are impeccable — but sadly, anyone who’s worked in a corporate environment for an entire career can tell you this isn’t always the case.

And while no one can force people to wash their hands, providing adequate supplies of soap and strong hand dryers should provide encouragement and combat the spread of bacteria.

A dryer such as a Dyson airblade is simple to use and so swift that it only takes a few seconds to work.

  1. Kitchen

The office kitchen is a pleasant sanctuary where colleagues can catch up for a chat over a coffee and take a break form the hustle and bustle of a busy day.

But communal biscuit tins, teabags and mugs are often breeding grounds for all manner of bugs which spoil the tea party in no time at all.

So it’s wise to install soap dispensers from a firm like Deb in kitchens as well as in bathrooms — as well as reserving cups and cutlery for your exclusive use.

  1. Breakout area

Many modern offices feature a breakout area — a comfy, informal social space that’s perfect for casual catch-ups with colleagues and extracurricular activities like reading groups and bakery sales.

But beds might soon be slotted in alongside sofas and tables to optimise rest and ramp up performance.

Futuristic suppliers like MetroNaps are now installing sleep pods in offices that enable staff members to have 40 winks in complete comfort and recharge their batteries.

  1. Reception

A clean and tidy reception enables any firm to create a fabulous first impression for visitors, but it’s also the frontline against dirt and detritus dragged indoors from outside.

But the solution is simple and cost-effective — place a durable and well-designed doormat at the entrance.

Order floor mats from a specialist like Kleen-Tex to provide a warm welcome that also wipes out germs.

Get to grips with health and hygiene in these five office areas for a workforce that’s fit, healthy and focused.


4 Must-Know Strategies To Weatherproof Your Site This Winter

November 23rd, 2018 Comments off

With UK weather predictions forecasting the coldest winter the country has seen in 10 years, no industry is likely to face the harsh effects of the snowy season more so than the construction sector.

With adversity on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about practical solutions to limit the impacts of this winter’s cold grip, by putting safety measures in place to help weatherproof both the construction site itself and all those working on it.

From minimising speed limits around the site to reduce the risk of accidents, to advocating the importance of staying warm to your staff, in today’s post, we’re exploring 4 must-know strategies for protecting your site come rain or ice.

Prioritise safety measures

When it comes to protecting your site from harsh weather conditions, planning is key to preventing a wide variety of potential disasters. Make keeping an eye on weather warnings a priority in order to take the necessary measures and eliminate as many dangers as early as possible.


Depending on the types of vehicles used on your site, speed limits often allow certain vehicles to move at speeds of up to 20 mph. So, when it comes to implementing strategies to minimise the potential risks, why not consider reducing the limit to 5 mph? While initially this hack may appear to reduce efficiency, this easy-to-implement procedure is just one of many temporary measures that can minimise on-site risks and will, therefore, benefit both your workers and the overall efficiency of the project in the long run.

Provide suitable storage spaces

In sub-zero temperatures, fragile equipment and the protection of your workers’ personal belongings become a priority. If exposed for too long, expensive and integral pieces of equipment run the risk of being hit by the harsh weather conditions and, in many cases, can face the effects of damage and erosion.

With this in mind, when it comes to maintaining the usability of both vital construction equipment and your workers’ personal belongings, having somewhere secure to store your property is crucial. Installing weatherproof lockers to shield your possessions from the rain and snow will not only help to future-proof your equipment, but also allow your colleagues to come to work safe in the knowledge that their belongings are protected from any spontaneous showers the day brings.

Protect your staff from the elements

We all deserve a much-needed break at work, and, when it comes to the unforgiving winter weather, short breaks away from the cold can be crucial to keeping your workers’ spirits high and their health strong.

By introducing sheltered areas filled with hot drinks, and having food supplies at the ready so that snacks are taken care of, your workers will be encouraged to keep warm – aiding both their physical health and their mental wellbeing. When it comes to prevention, education is key. Prop up informational posters around your break area to inform your staff on the symptoms of cold-induced illnesses and recommendations for how to prevent these from occurring.

Promote weather-appropriate attire

Additionally, when it comes to protecting your on-site workers, what they wear can make the difference between a runny nose and a sleepless night. With bitter, icy winds and freezing cold temperatures set to become the norm this season, dressing appropriately is vital to keeping fit and healthy on the construction site.

Encourage your team to not only protect their head, feet and hands from physical dangers with PPE equipment, but also to dress with extreme weather conditions in mind. Thick socks, sturdy boots, hard hats and warm gloves will keep some of the most heat-loss prone areas of your workers’ bodies regulated come the harsh winter months.

While preparing for the on-site effects of winter’s inevitably harsh weather conditions, it’s crucial to follow government advised restrictions and regulations, as well as using your own initiative. If the weather forecast predicts harsher conditions the night before than initially expected, make the executive decision to protect the safety of yourself and your staff by safeguarding your site however needed. Hang it there – it’ll be summer before you know it.


Author bio:
Simon Mitchell has run successful companies in Europe and the US that are focused on delivering exceptional value to clients – while Action Storage offers a diverse range of storage products, along with the technical expertise to help clients’ businesses operate more efficiently. In Simon’s words, that’s a rewarding place to be.


November 22nd, 2018 Comments off

On 13th November 2018, the National Buying Group (NBG) Awards evening saw TIMco win the coveted title of ‘Brand of the Year’ in recognition of their excellence in the following categories: brand, product & service. This is the second consecutive year that TIMco has won this prestigious award.

The award was voted for by the whole of the NBG membership and all brands and suppliers were considered. This win secured TIMco’s title as the overall winner of the year.

TIMco was also awarded the title of ‘Supplier of the year’ in the Decorating and Hardware, Category at this year’s awards ceremony. This is an unprecedented sixth consecutive year that TIMco has won the award and the seventh time since TIMco started supplying the buying group in 2011.

The national awards are designed to recognise excellence in the given category as well as the support and service the supplier offers to NBG’s members.  The awards were presented at a Gala Dinner held at the Cunard Building Liverpool at the close of the NBG’s Annual Conference for 2018.

Simon Midwood, Managing Director of TIMco comments: “We are delighted to have been once again named as NBG ‘Brand of the Year’ and also to have been awarded ‘Supplier of the Year’ for our category for the sixth consecutive year. This is a fantastic achievement for TIMco and a testament to the team’s efforts to deliver excellent products and services to NBG members.  We’re committed to our strategy of being the supplier that supports independent merchants and intend to continue to build on these relationships by further extending our product portfolio and the high levels of service we are proudly able to offer members. We are extremely grateful to NBG for this recognition and their continued support to TIMco.”


Feeling the chill? How to perform an energy efficiency check on your home

November 20th, 2018 Comments off

Is your home energy efficient? That’s a question most people don’t know the answer to, yet keeping an eye on your energy efficiency is a useful – and surprisingly easy – thing to do during winter.

By taking our advice, you could save substantially on your winter bills – a chance that most people would jump at, especially since Christmas is fast approaching.  Read on and follow our tips to perform your own energy checks and hopefully find a few ways to keep your home warm and your bank account happy this winter.

Check insulation…

This one is a must for keeping your home hot and your bills…not.  Heat loss through your roof and through the walls could mount up significantly if your level of insulation is below the recommended amount for your property.

While insulation is indeed an expense, it is a worthwhile expense in the long run, as the savings build up in just a year or two. It could also be worth you looking into your roofing material while you’re checking the insulation.  A roofing company in Yorkshire can help with this.


On average, lighting accounts for about 10% of your energy bill. Given this figure, you should definitely consider looking at your light bulbs. To save energy, it’s worth thinking about replacing standard bulbs with more energy-efficient bulbs, such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs), as they can drastically reduce your energy use.

Heating controls…

Inspect your heating and cooling equipment at least once a year to keep a sufficient check on your energy efficiency. You should think about replacing any equipment that is 15 years old or more.

Like with the insulation tip, a new unit would be an expense of sorts – but, given the money you’ll save in the time after the purchase due to the natural efficiency of a new boiler, it seems more appropriate to call the expense an investment.

Check your electricals…

This one is incredibly useful for energy efficiency.  Often easy to ignore thanks to the convenience of leaving appliances on standby, it really is worth switching things off and unplugging them when they are not in use.  Consider unplugging the item entirely, as this will prevent phantom loads, or change the settings on your device to allow for a more economical performance.

Call in a professional…

After you’ve completed your DIY auditing, think about calling in a professional. While the tips we’ve mentioned here will go a long way towards gaining you substantial improvement on your energy efficiency, it is also useful to call in someone who has a sharp eye for detail of this kind and could really save you money and energy.

Don’t let this discourage you from doing your own checks, though. Your DIY auditing can, in fact, help the professional give a more in-depth assessment of the efficiency of energy in your home.

For more information and tips on performing your own energy efficiency checks this winter, have a look at this useful page on the website of housing charity Shelter.


1,400 construction workers committed suicide between 2011 – 2015

November 20th, 2018 Comments off

Mental Health In Construction


  • Over 1,400 construction workers committed suicide between 2011 – 2015.
  • Construction trades have the highest number of suicides of any profession.
  • Risk of suicide for those working in building and construction trades is 1.6 times higher than the national average.
  • More than a quarter of construction employees have considered taking their own life.
  • Workers admit to suffering in silence.
  • Many within the industry suffer in silence due to cultural expectations.
  • Many workers feel forced to “deal with it,” not seeking out the help they need, and symptoms get worse.

The stats surrounding mental health in the construction industry are so shocking that we thought it was important that we highlighted the issue.

The construction industry has the highest number of suicides of any profession with 1,400 workers taking their own lives over the course of only four years. One in seven workers knows a colleague who has taken their own life and many more workers have considered it. The risk of suicide for those working in the industry is 1.6 times higher than the national average, but what is the cause of this and what can be done to reduce these horrific figures?

Suffering In Silence

One big factor that jumps out of the many surveys that have been conducted around this topic is the fact that many workers have admitted to suffering in silence due to cultural expectations. They feel like they cannot talk about their troubles and that, if they did want to speak to someone about it, that there is simply nowhere to do so.

Normally if you are struggling at work you turn to your employer for help. However, in this industry, it doesn’t seem to be the case with workers stating that they would not turn to their employer due to “fear and stigma” of the subject and that as many as 1 in 5 say they felt their job would be at risk if they did so. It seems to be so bad that 90% of workers who’ve considered suicide or know a colleague who has committed suicide, do not turn to their employer for support. As a result, many workers feel forced to “deal with it,” not seeking out the help they need, and symptoms get worse.


It’s Not Just The Guys That Are Struggling

Women are finding it equally tough to cope with mental health issues too. 45% of women workers said their mental health was average to poor at present, with 43% saying they had experienced reduced productivity and 75% had experienced loss of sleep too.


So, How To Help Workers?

After compiling the responses from the multiple surveys on mental health in the construction industry, it’s clear that there are three main areas that need to be improved. The first is to have staff training to recognise early signs of mental health, as 73% of respondents felt their employers lacked this skill. Second is to raise awareness of mental health in the construction industry. A massive 83% of workers agree that there isn’t enough out there at the moment. This will also decrease the stigma of mental health. And finally, there need to be more outlets to enable workers to talk about their struggles. Two-thirds of workers believe this would help with another 43% asking for one of those outlets to be an anonymous helpline.

If you are struggling with a mental health issue there are many ways you can find help. Your GP will be able to make an initial diagnosis and point you in the right direction for further treatment. There are charities and third-party organisations that offer free help and listening services such as the Samaritans and SANEline. However, if you are more open about talking about how you are feeling, always talk to friends & family as they will know you better than anyone. Another route could be co-workers or your employer as they’ll be able to relate work-wise with your issues. Whichever options you choose, the first step is to just talk about it.


Gilbert-Ash Completes Extended Arnold House in Tech-City, London

November 19th, 2018 Comments off

Award-winning UK construction, refurbishment and fit out contractor, Gilbert-Ash, completed the redevelopment of Arnold House in the fast-growing ‘Tech-City’ area of London. The former warehouse now contains a 75,000 sq.ft. stand-out office and retail space.

The £15m project included a three-story extension reflecting the design of the existing building. It combined its current industrial impression with a high standard modern workplace environment to cater for the thriving technology and media businesses in South Shoreditch.

Working closely with Buckley Gray Yeoman architects, the team at Gilbert-Ash transformed the seven-story building to reveal collaborative open-plan spaces with exposed concrete columns and efficient floor plates. High-ceilings and significant natural light adds to the development to create a contemporary environment.

The ground floor, encompassing retail outlets and a spacious reception area, includes a curtain wall glazing exterior and black steel cladding panels for the signage zone. The façade also incorporates brick cladding and brick slip panels over new external walls. An inverted roof with decking has created terrace spaces, with tenants able to enjoy views of the Shoreditch streetscape.

Gerard Mullan, Gilbert-Ash Project Manager, commented, “The final internal and external Arnold House refurbishment works well in the surrounding modern Tech-City environment. The contemporary space has been carefully constructed to keep the industrial style of the building but with additional features you would expect in a productive, collaborative space. From the ground floor to the roof terrace and landscaped courtyard, we aimed to create a space that would meet the needs of today’s modern, flexible workforce. The building includes office space with retail units on the ground floor in a fantastic location, right in the heart of Tech City.”

Located on the corner of Great Eastern Street and Holywell Lane, the new development is a BREAMM Very Good building with a WiredScore Gold certification. The building was completed and handed over on the 10th August.

Highly detailed design, advanced logistical planning and development goes into every Gilbert-Ash project, with the team skilled in delivering the finest quality projects in the UK and globally.

For more information on Gilbert-Ash visit