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Archive for February, 2019

Campaign to tackle plastics and packaging in construction launched

February 28th, 2019 Comments off

Survey reveals shocking use of plastics and packaging in construction

18 February 2019: The Considerate Constructors Scheme has launched its industry-wide campaign ‘Spotlight on…plastics and packaging’ to raise awareness and showcase best practice in how the construction industry can reduce, reuse and recycle plastics and packaging.

The launch of the campaign – which features on the industry’s Best Practice Hub – comes in response to startling findings from a Scheme survey of over 900 people working within the UK and Irish construction industries.

The survey discovered that although over 95% of respondents said the industry needs to be doing something to reduce its consumption of plastics and packaging, over half of respondents (51%) have little understanding of the rules and regulations surrounding plastics and packaging, and only 44% know how to recycle different plastic and packaging materials.

The survey also revealed that:

  • 98% said the over-consumption of plastics and packaging is a global issue.
  • 92% believe plastics and packaging are extremely dangerous to the environment.
  • 81% said the construction industry is not doing enough to reduce its consumption of plastics and packaging.
  • 31% said they frequently use plastics and packaging that cannot be reused or recycled.

With the construction industry being the second largest consumer of plastics in the UK, it is imperative that the construction industry reconsiders the way it consumes and disposes of plastics and packaging to protect the environment and all life.

The Scheme is calling on all construction sites, companies, suppliers and clients of construction projects to drastically reduce their consumption of plastics and packaging. Not only does this offer significant improvements for the environment and society as a whole, it also makes commercial business sense, with many organisations reporting significant cost savings achieved.

‘Spotlight on…plastics and packaging’ provides a suite of resources to help the industry to address this issue. It includes a range practical case studies and guidance from contractors, clients and service suppliers including: AMA Waste Management; Aztec; Balfour Beatty; Crossrail; Environment Agency; Griffiths; Knight Build; Protec; Right Waste Right Place; Mace; Morgan Sindall; Multiplex; Skanska; Sir Robert McAlpine; Wates and Ward.

Considerate Constructors Scheme Chief Executive, Edward Hardy said: “As construction is the second largest consumer of plastic in the UK, our industry has one of the greatest responsibilities to society, and to the environment, to ensure that we are working tirelessly to improve our standards in minimising waste from plastics.

“The Scheme’s ‘Spotlight on…plastics and packaging’ campaign provides resources, practical support and guidance helping everyone to take effective measures to tackle this issue. While considerable progress is being made – with over 76% of Scheme-registered construction sites setting targets to reduce, reuse and recycle waste – it is clear that a concerted effort to raise further awareness, and to provide the necessary support, is needed to achieve this drastic reduction in waste from plastics and packaging.”

‘Spotlight on…plastics and packaging’ follows a number of hugely successful industry campaigns which the Scheme hosts on the Best Practice Hub. In 2018, the Scheme launched the ‘Spotlight on…air pollution’ and ‘Spotlight on…the next generation’ with follow-on e-learning courses in each topic. These campaigns have received over 48,000 views to date, with over 50,000 courses being taken.

Click here to access the ‘Spotlight on…plastics and packaging’ campaign.


Recycling Buildings: 10 Building Materials That Can Be Reused After Demolition

February 26th, 2019 Comments off

Recycling Buildings: 10 Building Materials That Can Be Reused After Demolition

Construction and demolition waste are one of the heaviest and most voluminous waste streams generated in the EU accounting for approximately 25%-30% of all waste generated.

Demolition recycling is an important step in a building’s life cycle, as material reclamation and good recycling practices can divert over 90% of the building’s material from the landfill. RubberBond have been investigating what materials can be recycled and what they can be turned into.

Concrete, Bricks & Blocks

Research indicates that the average wastage level of concrete is about 4%, while brick and block is around 6%.


Concrete and brick can be recycled by crushing them into rubble.


Once sorted, screened and contaminants are removed, reclaimed concrete or brick can be used in concrete aggregate, fill, road base, or riprap.



The landfilling of gypsum and other wastes with a high sulphate content together with biodegradable waste has been banned in England and Wales since July 2005. This is to prevent the build-up of hydrogen sulphide gas which is both toxic and odorous.


Gypsum is relatively easy to recycle. Contaminants need to be removed, such as screws and nails, and separate the paper.


It can be ground into a powder or turned into pellets. The resulting material is sold to manufacturers that use gypsum for different applications.



Wood waste from all sorts of building sites – including new builds and refurbishments – amounts to around 0.85mt per year.


Wood can be reused, repurposed, recycled, or burned as bioenergy.


Wood can be used in pathways, coverings, mulches, compost, animal bedding, or particleboard.



The UK manufactures 750,000 tonnes of flat glass each year, three-quarters of which goes into glazing products for buildings. Currently, the recycled content of flat glass produced in the UK is between 20%–30%.


There are various methods of recycling glass in order to make it fit for repurposing such as crushing, screening to remove contamination, air classification, optical sorting, size classification and washing and drying.


Glass can be used for pretty much anything including decorative materials, fluxing agent in the manufacture of bricks and ceramics, insulation, containers and even sports turf applications.



Britain exports 15 million tonnes of industrial waste each year, half of which is valuable scrap metal


Metals are collected, sorted and then shredded. The scrap is then melted and purified and finally allowed to cool to solidify.


Metals—including steel, copper, and brass—are valuable commodities to recycle. Like glass, they can be repurposed into a vast array of items such as appliances, furnishings, fixtures and lighting.



Approximately 275 million tonnes of aggregates are used each year in the UK as raw construction materials, but a lot of it goes to landfill.

More than half (54%) of waste recorded as ‘Recycling and other recovery’ is ‘Mineral wastes’, while a further 12% is soils.


Concrete aggregate collected from demolition sites is put through a crushing machine. Crushing facilities accept only uncontaminated concrete, which must be free of trash, wood, paper and other such materials.


Aggregate can be reused as a base material under foundations, roads and railroads.



Up to 1.3 million tonnes of plasterboard waste is generated within the new-build construction and refurbishment sectors each year.




Standard plasterboard, which hasn’t been contaminated by paint or similar, can be added to an aerobic composting system and is likely to have a neutral or beneficial effect when added to the soil, especially clay soil.



According to National Geographic and the National Geographic Society, 91% of plastic isn’t recycled.


All plasterboard recycling goes through a thorough process which takes away all of the added material which is left on the plasterboard when it’s removed from the wall or ceiling.


In construction, plastics are generally used for pipework, interior fittings, window frames, scaffolding boards and kerbstones. These can be repurposed into packaging, textile fibre and clothing, street furniture to name only a few.

Floor & Wall Coverings


Almost 600,000 tonnes of flooring is disposed of each year, of which less than 2% is recycled. A small quantity is incinerated but the vast majority, over 90%, goes to landfill.


Fibresolve – subjecting wood fibre to a vacuum and pressurised steam with mechanical agitation at a high temperature.

Microrelease – using microwaves to reclaim wood fibres from the resin.

Thermohydraulic processes – separating the adhesive from the wood fibres.


There tends to be a lot of wastage when it comes to floor and wall coverings due to over ordering, pairing this with the fact that a lot of it can also be recycled afterwards, materials such as ceramic and terrazzo tiles, wallpaper, carpet, carpet tiles, vinyl and linoleum and laminate flooring can be repurposed into many things including road cone manufacturing and animal bedding material.



In just 23 housing projects in the UK, the average amount of insulation wasted was 1.0m3 per 100m2 floor area.


Insulation can be recycled by returning materials through take-back schemes offered by manufacturers, but reclamation and reprocessing can only happen after removing impurities such as nails and screws.


Similarly, materials involved in insulation such as glass and stone wool, polystyrene, sheep’s wool, spray foam, polyurethane and fibreboard can be transformed into concrete blocks, fibreglass board and fibreglass ceiling tiles.


Tips to Improve Construction Site Safety

February 25th, 2019 Comments off

Construction projects can be a chaotic mess full of bureaucratic problems and lots of stalling. Managing a construction site can be an especially stressful ordeal. No matter what’s going on behind the scenes, safety should remain the number one priority. The machinery you use is heavy enough that it warrants caution. It’s estimated that about every ten thousandth hour of crane usage results in injury. Working with cranes is dangerous work and that is why there are a whole bunch of measures that exist to prevent worker injuries. Here are some examples.

1. Improve awareness

Before stepping onto the construction site, every single worker has to know the possible hazards that await them. Ignorance is the most dangerous attribute you can have in such a dangerous environment. Understanding the risks involved will make the workers more careful when they do their jobs. Alertness is the best way to prevent any potential man-made accidents.

You should go over the OSHA Safety Check List with your employees every once in a while. Every job on the construction site has some level of danger attached to it, which is why every worker should be aware of what they’re getting themselves into. This goes double for any work that is done with a crane. It’s the job of the construction manager to inform operators on where they should be taking a heavy load. It’s especially important to point out where cranes and their loads are located at any given time.

There are dozens of preventable deaths per year due to material detaching from the crane. Workers also often disregard the dangers of things falling on top of them. It would be best to filter out those who don’t follow safety protocols as they can be liabilities in the event of something going wrong.

2. Communication is key

Proper communication is something that is criminally underrated on construction sites. Accidents don’t just happen spontaneously. They are usually the result of some form of miscommunication or misunderstanding. If daily goals and activities aren’t discussed together, it could lead to some clashing while work is being done. If different teams are doing different jobs that involve dangerous equipment, it would be wise of them to communicate their movements to each other.

Having a briefing at the start of the day would do wonders for construction site safety. Communicate your goals to your crane operators and workers on the ground and make sure they don’t get in the way of each other. During the work day, communication should continue in the form of walkie talkies or headsets. Sudden changes in the weather can spell trouble for anyone working near a crane. It’s crucial that you’re able to tell them to find cover in case the wind speed changes. Cranes can safely function in normal weather conditions, but wind speeds above twenty-two miles per hour could lead to the load being dropped.

With these channels of communication, you can always be sure where every worker is located and if they’re in the path of a dangerous piece of equipment. Being able to tell someone to watch their back or move from somewhere is an invaluable part of worksite safety.

3. Have the right tools for the job

There’s only so much you can do with the tools that you are given. Even an expert artisan depends on the equipment he’s working with. Safety protocols don’t just apply to the people on the work site, they also apply to all the different kinds of equipment they work with. Using the wrong kind of equipment for the job will inevitably lead to injuries on the job site. Many construction companies work with outdated machinery and cranes that have quite a bit of wear and tear on them. Experts like Advance cranes recommend replacing older cranes with more up-to-date equipment that will reduce the chances of a critical failure.

Safety is of the utmost importance on any construction site, which is getting your workers the most state of the art gear is crucial. Nobody should step foot on a construction site without a helmet on their head. If there’s welding involved, you don’t want your worker to have blisters and eye damage. Get them protective gloves and eye-wear to prevent this. Fewer injuries mean fewer lawsuits and that makes these changes worth the money.

4. Documentation is crucial

Writing everything down might be a chore, but it’s one of the most important jobs on the construction site.  Everything that is done on the job has to be documented for various reasons. In order to begin building, construction companies need to jump through quite a few legal hoops and getting things in writing is one of them. Supervisors have to make sure all the necessary permits and licenses are in order so that work can continue.

When it comes to safety, documentation can save you from a heap of legal trouble. Newer hires might try to speed things up a bit by adding more weight to a crane than is recommended. The average crane can only lift about eighteen tonnes at a time. If you document exactly how much weight was approved for movement, you’ll know where the blame lies if changes are made. In the event of an injury where the worker was doing something they weren’t allowed to, you could be liable if you don’t have proof of otherwise.

The paperwork is mostly used to protect the construction company and managers from being sued by various sources. Workers won’t want to work for you if you don’t take employee safety seriously. Having written proof of everything done on the site helps you and your workers know that everything is being done by the books.


Preventing injuries on the work site is one of the most stressful jobs you can have in construction. Not only do you have to educate each and every single worker, you also have to make sure all the equipment is up-to-date and ready for use. It can be quite a handful for construction site managers. One thing is for sure, keeping workers safe is the most important job and it has to be done right.


DTL wins apprenticeship contract with South Staffs Water

February 25th, 2019 Comments off

Utilities specialist Develop Training Limited (DTL) has won a contract to deliver an apprenticeship in water mains laying for South Staffs Water.

DTL, an approved provider under the apprenticeship levy scheme, is now putting nine apprentices through the 13-month programme, including hands-on learning at its newly-opened mains-laying facility.

Daryll Garavan, DTL’s Delivery Manager for the water industry, said: “Having this new facility is ideal. There is plenty of space for several candidates to work on it at once instead of having to wait their turn, and the practice area includes numerous water mains connections that people can hone their skills on.”

DTL opened the new water mains training area last year at its Derby training centre, one of seven across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The candidates, mostly from the Tipton and Walsall area, are made up of five South Staffs Water employees and four new recruits from OnSite Specialist Maintenance, which like South Staffs Water is also part of the South Staffordshire plc group. They are expected to complete the course, “Network Construction Operations Water Mains Laying”, in January next year (2020).

The course is a 50-50 mix of classroom and practical training, combining an introductory NVQ in the subject with a more in-depth technical certificate. The apprentices will video record their practical work in e-portfolios to demonstrate they have achieved the necessary hands-on skills.


The Benefits of a Mezzanine Floor for your Business

February 23rd, 2019 Comments off

Have you ever been at your place of work, looked around, listened to the multiple sounds and observed the varying activities in the workplace and wondered how to create a degree of separation, how to maximise productivity and employee satisfaction?

Well, perhaps a mezzanine floor could be the answer to your problems. In order to entertain the possibility you will need an area with around 5 metres head height and you can begin to look into the idea of a mezzanine floor.

Firstly, let’s take a minute to explain just what a mezzanine floor actually is. A mezzanine floor sits in-between the principal floors of a building and is therefore, not counted among the overall number of floors of the building itself, mezzanines usually have low floors and protrude rather like a balcony.

From a purely financial point of view, mezzanine floors are great as they usually avoid the need for time-consuming planning permission applications and in addition to this as the mezzanine floor is freestanding and can be dismounted and relocated (another advantage) it is exempt from business rates, making mezzanine floors a great way to expand without adding to the rates bill. Another financial benefit of the mezzanine floor option is that they are inexpensive to install. You could be looking at as little as £75 per square metre.

If you have reached that awkward stage in your business, like so many do, when you need extra space but cannot justify the costs associated with relocation or more significant expansion, then a mezzanine floor could be just the ticket. You can create extra space, more workstations and allow for more separation of distinct tasks to increase contentment in the workplace and productivity. You may even prevent the sort of accidents that lead to damaged equipment or injuries. In any workplace the ideal scenario involves distinct work spaces for distinct job types. Having noisy production related jobs share a space with office work can lead to stress, arguments and reduced productivity. Having a mezzanine floor affords the opportunity to create more office space and allow for some quiet places on the premises.

Mezzanine flooring benefits from being very robust and allows for great weight per square metre ratios which means heavy and bulky equipment or inventory can be stored. There are also a tremendous variety of purpose-built mezzanine racking systems which can truly transform your mezzanine floor into a storage heaven. This can have a knock on benefit on your cost-effectiveness when ordering expendables as you can benefit from bulk discounts as you are able to store more. Mezzanine floors are not only removable as mentioned, but highly open to customization, allowing for a flexibility of space that is hard to come by in traditional extensions. This means that you can modify your mezzanine in months and years to come and even look into expansion or simply change things around as your needs evolve. Mezzanine floors are, as you have seen an excellent, adaptable, cost-saving expansion option that can really help your business to grow without excessive investment.



February 22nd, 2019 Comments off

TIMco, one of the UK’s largest and fastest growing wholesalers to the construction industry, has further expanded its warehousing facilities in order to improve efficiency and service to its growing customer base.

The newly expanded warehousing facilities, which will be operational from the end of February 2019, will allow for increased capacity and flexibility to offer their merchants an even greater service, in terms of stock availability and delivery speed. The warehouse now totals 120,000sqft and features five new outbound loading bays – more than double the current count on site.

A second phase to this new development will see a mezzanine floor introduced to the warehouse in order to increase SKU count, as well as additional office space and an improved showroom to showcase all the latest ranges within the TIMco portfolio.

Simon Midwood, Managing Director of TIMco, comments: “Our recent warehouse expansion project enables us to be able to distribute a greater range of products to our customers, whilst also improving the service that we offer them.  The new warehousing space and loading bays will help us futureproof our operations and ensure that we are well placed to cope with the growing demand for our products.”

TIMco, one of the UK’s largest independent wholesale suppliers of screws, fasteners, fixings, nails, building chemicals and adhesives, power tool accessories, building hardware, site protection and ironmongery, is headquartered 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 1972 and now employs 160+ members of staff from its offices in the UK, Ireland and Taiwan.  For more information, visit


Tips on Hiring a Scissor Lift

February 21st, 2019 Comments off

As with any hire of equipment, there are many little details that can make all the difference in making your experience the best one possible.

Scissor lifts are suited to situations where a straight vertical lift is desired. You will definitely benefit from a scissor lift over, say, a ladder in a wide range of situations. Speedy, cost-effective and safe, scissor lifts add an extra dimension to many jobs. There are a wide range of models on the market with specific features that may or may not enhance your experience.

Desired Features

Narrower units – these can be particularly useful when working in confined spaces.

4 x 4 units – when jobs require work on uneven and hazardous terrain, a 4 x 4 scissor lift will be a lifesaver.

Units with non-marking tyres – when working indoors on floors that will show marks, non-marking tyres are an absolute must.

Alternative Power Choices – The choice of which power source will run your scissor lift is arguably the most important one. Often you may be confronted with a lack of choice when it comes to choosing between diesel-powered, electric, petrol and duel fuel scissor lifts according to what is and is not in stock. However, there are some key environmentally determined factors that could mean that you really need one or another power source. If working indoors, diesel will likely be prohibited and an electric model is by far the best choice – as it is in low emission areas. And yet there are many situations when diesel is preferred. If you have a lot of other diesel equipment on site (which is likely) it is far more convenient to fill it up at the same time. Diesel engines also usually outlast petrol engines and are actually better suited to the sort of work cycle that scissor lifts demands, as well as being up to 15-20% more efficient on rough terrain.

Anti-slip – Any scissor lift worth its salt will be fitted with a safe, slip-resistant platform and extensions. In addition it is worth double checking that the model has joystick drive and steering controls for easy manoeuvrability.

Check equipment standards and condition

As in any business it pays to inspect condition and check for the compliance of the model with health and safety guidance before signing on the dotted line. There is no worse feeling than having work come to a standstill because of faulty or inadequate equipment. A little prior research can save you a BIG headache in the long run. It is also highly advisable to check with your insurance company that your liability insurance covers staff while operating the equipment.

Finally, make sure that when you have chosen and hired your scissor lift that it is left in the hands of someone that is correctly trained in how to assemble, move, inspect, maintain and use the lift to mitigate against accidents in the workplace. Keep all this in mind and your hire experience will be a good one.



February 21st, 2019 Comments off


Why entrepreneur Charley Kish created the Promeasure tool

Charley Kish was having a total nightmare. And it was one a lot of us have experienced. He had a project that needed a lot of measurements and things were not going well.

 “I had brought in some builders to renovate my house. Every day was a struggle. Hardly any of the rooms are a normal square design. To work out how many tiles they needed they measured again and again. They calculated it and I they were wrong on every room.”

Time and again these mistakes were made, causing the project to go over time and over budget. The incident inspired Charley to find the perfect solution and that is why Charley is the creator of Promeasure, a revolutionary tool designed for the construction and interior design industries as well as for DIY enthusiasts.

“The roofer climbed up on the roof and told me the amount of roof tiles I needed and was completely wrong and he cracked my gutter in the process so then he needed to measure it. His mate had to hold a piece of wood to stop the laser from his measurer at the correct point. Both of them were three floors up on two ladders. I thought: ‘There must be a quicker, cheaper and safer way to do this.’”

One day Charley was in his local and decided to make a list of all the things he would want in a measuring tool. The list turned into a sketch on a scrap of paper. Charley worked with his team for months to turn the all-in-one measuring tool he had in his mind from dream into reality and the Promeasure was born.

“I saw the need for a point-to-point measuring laser, meaning when it comes to working out the dimensions of a room, you can calculate the total CBM, measuring the width, length and height. I knew it needed to connect to a phone app so it could save all of the measurements.”

The features are too numerous to name here but they include such highlights as a laser with 60-metre range, a roller-wheel sensor, tilt sensor, voice broadcasting plus point-to-point, continuous, volume and even Pythagorean measurement capabilities.

Having received very positive feedback from professionals, Charley envisions the Promeasure as a time-saving essential for the kit of every builder and DIYer. Perhaps, also a life-saving essential too. The construction is one of the worst industries for workplace fatalities and serious accidents and top of the list of causes is ‘fall from a height’, according to the RoHS.

“Falls from ladders whilst doing work at home are also a lot higher than they should be. Promeasure has so much to offer but to me, the safety aspect is one of the best things.”

The Promeasure certainly has a lot to offer and it retails for a cheaper price than equivalent products that don’t offer the amount of features the Promeasure possesses. Charley’s dream is now a reality and let’s hope his invention can change things for the better.

Promeasure will be available from February for £300 from


EM Training Cold Stress Infographic Intro

February 21st, 2019 Comments off

When working in a cold environment or outdoors in cold weather, you are at risk of developing cold-related illnesses and injuries. Cold-related hazards can be extremely dangerous and can even cause death or permanent damage. This infographic created by EM Training Solutions Ltd features some key facts about cold stress and how to avoid it.

Who is at risk of Cold Stress?

Workers in the construction, agriculture, maritime and commercial fishing industries are most at risk of developing cold stress due to working in extreme weather conditions. However, cold stress isn’t exclusive to outdoor workers; it can also be a risk for those that work in cold warehouses, cold storage or those without adequate heating within their building.

Other individual factors that contribute to higher risk for cold stress include:

  • Not being physically fit
  • Having an underlying illness or condition
  • Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Working in wet or damp conditions
  • Exposed to vibration from tools
  • Working without proper personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Not assimilated to the cold

 Cold Stress Stats and Figures

Public Health England’s 2014 Cold Weather Plan notes that extreme cold weather has a direct effect on the incidence of heart attack, stroke, respiratory disease, flu, falls and injuries and hypothermia.

 When the outdoor temperature drops below 5-8°C respiratory and cardiovascular health problems can occur, as the temperature continues to drop the risk of death and illness increases. A total of 168,000 cold-related deaths were recorded in the UK over the last 5 years, and the UK also has the second worst rate of ‘winter deaths’ in Europe.

Take a look at the facts and tips below on how you can safely protect yourself from cold-related illness when working outdoors.

Info graphic


Saracen Interiors on site with major fit-out for Global Technology Company, Carl Zeiss

February 19th, 2019 Comments off

Saracen Interiors is now reaching the end of a substantial fit-out project for Global Technology company Carl Zeiss.

The interiors company is transforming c. 43,000 sq. ft. of office space plus undertaking a range of external works at a site in Cambridgeshire to create a world-class lean manufacturing facility, including a clean room, where Carl Zeiss will make electron microscopes for sale and distribution worldwide.

The fit-out of Building 1030 at Cambourne Business Park covers three floors, and the complexity and specialised nature of the work has just been documented in a new video available to view at

Clive Longden, Saracen’s Site Manager, said: “It’s a complex project with some significant challenges, but working closely with our client, the team has successfully met these challenges, and we are now on track for completion and handover on time.”

Saracen won the project in a competitive tender against strong competition, further cementing the groups presence in the industry.

The team is managing a full fit-out of office space on floors one and two, as well as installing all-new kitchens and breakout areas. The first floor also includes a technical area for research and development that has required particularly careful design.

But the toughest challenges have been on the ground floor where building a clean room for the production of the electron microscopes threw up significant mechanical and electrical hurdles as well as issues of coordination that the Saracen team has had to overcome. As well as the advanced M and E work, the project has required the installation of a range of specialised equipment, including cranes. Saracen has also installed an external goods lift as part of the project scope of works.

The project came about as a result of significant local business growth together with increased global demand for the products and services of the two Cambridge based subsidiaries of the Global Carl Zeiss group.

Carl Zeiss Microscopy Ltd and Carl Zeiss Ltd, wanted to combine operations and move from their two current premises in Cambridge, to a single facility and as a result have signed a long-term lease at Cambourne Business Park

Saracen is managing the project so that staff will be able to easily transfer into the newly-revamped premises and to provide Carl Zeiss with room for further future expansion.