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Archive for March, 2019

How an Efficient Building Envelope Saves Energy

March 29th, 2019 Comments off

Energy efficiency measures for buildings often focus on equipment upgrades and automatic controls. However, the building envelope design also has a significant impact on energy performance. Even if heating and cooling systems use the most efficient equipment in the market, deficient insulation and air leaks will increase energy expenses.

An efficient HVAC design minimises the cost per BTU of heating or cooling, but the loads served are determined by building conditions. At the same time, automatic controls ensure that the available HVAC capacity is used efficiently; when the full heating or cooling capacity is not needed, operating at maximum output is a waste of energy.

Specifying a High-Performance Building Envelope

To enhance energy efficiency, the building envelope must minimise heat transfer in both directions. Consider that summer heat gain is added to the air conditioning load, while winter heat loss is added to the space heating load. Thus, a high-performance building envelope achieves HVAC savings all year long.

Heat transfer across the building envelope can occur by conduction through walls, fenestration and other building elements. Air leaks also transfer heat, due to the temperature difference between indoor and outdoor air. The following are some effective strategies to improve the energy efficiency of a building envelope:

  • Increasing the R-value of the building envelope with insulation.
  • Using energy efficient windows with triple-pane glass and low-emissivity coating.
  • Ensuring airtightness, to minimise heat loss and heat gain from air leaks.

Deficient insulation and air leaks are invisible, but they can be detected with thermal imaging, and insulation performance can be modeled based on the properties of construction materials. Air leaks in particular can be detected with pressurization tests, which use a blower door and smoke infiltration to pinpoint their locations.

In new building projects, insulation can be improved drastically with innovative products such as insulated concrete forms (ICF), which serve as formwork during construction while increasing the R-value of finished concrete elements.

Window orientation can have a significant impact on air conditioning loads. While windows allow natural lighting, they also cause glare and solar heating if their locations are not planned carefully. In the northern hemisphere, the southern face of a building gets the most sunshine throughout the year, while the northern face gets the least. North-facing windows do not cause significant glare and solar heating, but windows with other orientations may require shading or outdoor vegetation.

Envelope Enhancements in New Buildings and Renovations

An efficient building envelope design is highly recommended in new constructions and major renovations. Deploying a new envelope for an existing building is expensive and disruptive, since walls and facade elements must be modified. However, a renovation is an excellent change for an envelope upgrade, since the building will be altered anyway. In the case of new constructions, a high-performance envelope can be specified from the design phase.

An efficient envelope design can also lower the upfront cost of HVAC equipment in new constructions and renovations. Since heating and cooling loads are reduced, the corresponding equipment can be specified with a smaller capacity. This reduces all ownership costs associated with HVAC installations: the initial purchase, operation and maintenance.

High-performance windows can be deployed easily in a new project, since there are no existing windows to replace. On the other hand, a window upgrade in an existing building can be challenging: window frames are not normally designed for triple-pane glass, and must be replaced completely. Scheduling a window upgrade along with a major renovation is strongly recommended, since two disruptive projects are combined in one.

Fixing Issues in Existing Building Envelopes

As mentioned above, an envelope upgrade is more challenging in an existing building due to the disruptive nature of the project. However, there are ways to improve the thermal performance without taking apart building elements.

Storm windows are a lower cost alternative to triple-pane windows, if a property owner prefers not to disrupt the existing envelope. Storm windows are installed on top of the existing ones, creating an air gap that reduces heat transfer. Although triple-pane glass offers better insulation, this project does not require the removal of existing building elements. As a complementary project, air leaks can be fixed with special foams that are sprayed in place.

Property owners who are planning an HVAC upgrade should consider a building envelope assessment. If insulation and airtightness issues are fixed first, the new HVAC equipment can have both a higher efficiency and a reduced workload.

Michael Tobias, PE, LEED AP, CEM.

Michael Tobias is the founder and principal of New York Engineers, an Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Company in America. He leads a team of 30+ mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineers from the company headquarters in New York City; and has led over 1,000 projects in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland and California, as well as Singapore and Malaysia.


Aarsleff Ground Engineering latest member to join ASUC

March 27th, 2019 Comments off

Aarsleff Ground Engineering are proud to have become official members of ASUC, the Association of Specialist Underpinning Contractors. ASUC’s activities are focused around key domestic techniques and practises including subsidence repair and underpinning, retrofit basement construction, engineered foundation solutions and mini piling operations.

ASUC is an independent trade association originally formed by a number of leading contractors to promote professional and technical competence within the subsidence industry. ASUC work with and across a large number of organisations, partners and supporting bodies to deliver a range of highly valued activities and services on behalf of the sectors and members they support.

Aarsleff are already well experienced in restricted access piling operations. In June last year, Aarsleff installed mini piles for a new residential development on behalf of main contractor J Tomlinson. The site, located on Salthouse Lane in Beeston, will soon accommodate a new student residential complex. Specifically, Aarsleff installed 16 No. 300mm Sectional Flight Auger piles utilising a 14 Tonne Restricted access piling Rig. Due to existing Tree Preservation Orders in place on several mature trees, the rig was selected to provide minimal disruption. Apart from some localised pruning to the trees, the rig was capable of working from the existing tarmac and on a reduced spec piling platform. In 2017, McLaren Construction awarded Aarsleff the design and build contract for the construction of a new cinema and retail development within The O2 Arena in South East London. Specifically, Aarsleff’s scope of work included the design and installation of 21No. 18m 340mm diameter ‘restricted access piles’ situated beneath 2No. Quadro-pods which had to be pitched in 4m segments and welded by Aarsleff on-site during installation. Due to the height restriction Aarsleff utilised their bespoke Banut 500 limited headroom piling rig to solve this issue.

Kevin Hague, Managing Director of Aarsleff Ground Engineering said: “We are thrilled to share our knowledge and experience of the industry, and support ASUC and its member’s in the drive to improve project delivery capability across all of the specialist techniques and practices the association promotes”.


Caddick Construction lays foundations for building a healthy and happy workforce – thanks to hero partnership

March 25th, 2019 Comments off

Caddick Construction has agreed a partnership with health and wellness provider hero which will see all of its 140 employees benefit from a tailored health and wellbeing programme.

The bespoke wellbeing package covers both mental and physical health and includes one-to-one health checks and screenings, wellbeing training for all direct line managers, mental health first aid training and ongoing workshops throughout 2019.  

Managing Director Andrew Murray from Caddick Construction said: “Our employees are our greatest asset and we want to ensure they feel valued and supported. We are thrilled to be leading the way when it comes to mental resilience and wellbeing in the workplace – issues which should not and cannot be ignored. As employers we take our responsibility to our team members seriously and want to support them in as many ways possible to ensure they are both healthy and happy inside and outside of work.”

He added: “The hero team impressed us with the depth and level of support they provide  behind the scenes. I’m confident this project will deliver tangible results for our staff that will enhance and improve the health and wellbeing our employees, whether office based or on site.”

Right now, one in six construction workers in the UK is experiencing depression, anxiety or stress.

·         In the UK men remain three times as likely to take their own lives than women.

·         The highest suicide rate in the UK was for men aged 45-49.

Joe Gaunt, CEO of hero said:  “It’s always rewarding to see businesses waking up to the fact they play a large and important part in the health and wellbeing of their team.  It’s great to see Caddick Construction leading the way and championing wellness at work in such a bold and committed manner. The ‘Mindset’ programme of events have been purposely designed to offer comprehensive screenings and health checks that cover everything from blood pressure to cholesterol and blood tests too.”

“We have been working with Caddick to understand the current ‘state of the workforce’ enabling us to create a bespoke programme, which will deliver results and have immediate and long-term effects.  The hero Discovery Report demonstrated clear indicators of specific support around what the Caddick team wanted to see. And, as a result, we were able to design a bespoke and tailored programme perfect for Caddick employees.”

2019 marks hero’s second year and since its launch in May 2018 it has acquired two businesses and established exciting and innovative partnerships with organisations such as Moda, Les Mills, MyZone and Jamie Peacock.  


B&K restarts stalled Leeds hotel project

March 22nd, 2019 Comments off

Bowmer & Kirkland has restarted work on the stalled Hilton hotel project that stopped midway through construction with the collapse of builder GB Building Solutions three years ago.

The half-finished scheme has been redesigned by developer Select Property, which will invest £56m to turn the site into 273 student flats, under its Vita Student brand.

Mark Stott, CEO of Select Property Group, said: “For us, finding the right locations for our residences is key and we’ve done just that with Portland Crescent and St Alban’s Place.”

The project near the Leeds Arena was to be a 206-bedroom Hilton hotel and marked GB Building Solution’s first major foray into development.

But the firm collapsed in May 2015 leaving the project unfinished as a concrete frame. The project was part-funded by a taxpayer-backed loan of £4.8m from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership.


Union demands direct employment on HS2

March 20th, 2019 Comments off

Unite is calling for all HS2 workers to be directly employed and an end to using payroll and umbrella companies on the project.

Unite kicked-off its campaign with a demo outside the offices of the Costain-Skanska Joint Venture

The union staged a demonstration yesterday outside the headquarters of Costain-Skanska Joint Venture (CSjv), who are currently carrying out the southern area enabling works for HS2.

Unite want to see CSjv employ workers directly rather than through agencies like Bowercross Construction Limited who supply labour on the job.

National officer for construction Jerry Swain said: “HS2 is one of the most high profile construction projects in the UK and there is an agreement between the unions and HS2 that outlaws these types of practices.

“It would be reasonable to expect that HS2’s management, would want to ensure that first class workers’ rights exist on this project and as a minimum uphold the agreement they signed.”

Unite said it will now be extending its campaign across all of HS2’s sites.

An HS2 Ltd spokesperson said: “We have an agreement with the TUC demonstrating our commitment to working with the trade unions.

“By working together, we will build the new high-speed railway safely and create a diverse, inclusive and skilled workforce.”

A CSjv spokesperson said: “Bowercross Construction Limited (BCL), is one of the CSjv’s approved suppliers, who provide labour to some of our sites on the High Speed Two enabling works programme.

“All BCL workers on our programme are paid via PAYE and receive full employment rights, which include a minimum of the London Living Wage, EU holiday and sick pay and welfare benefits.

“CSjv are keen to meet with Unite to discuss their concerns and have previously offered opportunities for them to meet our workers.”


Chemical giant to invest £500m in two new plants

March 18th, 2019 Comments off

Chemical giant INEOS has unveiled plans to build a £350m steam and power plant at its Grangemouth site in Scotland.

Tobias Hannemann, CEO O&P UK said: “This investment forms part of our wider plans to secure a bright future for manufacturing at Grangemouth and will continue its renaissance as a world class petrochemicals site.”

INEOS will also invest £150m in Hull to construct a new Vinyl Acetate Monomer (VAM) plant.

VAM is a key component in a wide range of important high-end products including laminated windscreens, toughened glass, adhesives, coatings, films, textiles and carbon fibre.

Graham Beesley CEO of INEOS Oxide said: This is an exciting time for INEOS and great news for manufacturing in the region.

“We are proud to be bringing production of this important material back to the UK. This will not only strengthen UK manufacturing but boost exports from the UK to Europe and the rest of the world.”


MPs demand review of working at height dangers

March 15th, 2019 Comments off

MPs are demanding a major review of working at height in a bid to cut the number of deaths and accidents caused by falls.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Working at Height has published a new report calling on the Government and industry to undertake a major review of working at height culture.

It also wants to see improved reporting of incidents and introduce reporting on near misses.

The report, Staying Alive: Preventing Serious Injury and Fatalities while Working at Heightis the result of a 12 month inquiry by the APPG.

Politicians explored why 18% of people who die at work do so as a result of a fall from height, and what steps can be taken by government and industry to prevent incidents for the millions of people in the UK that work at height.

The report makes 4 primary recommendations to reduce the overall number of falls:

  • The introduction of an enhanced reporting system through RIDDOR.
  • The appointment of an independent body that allows confidential, enhanced and digital reporting of all near misses, to be shared with government and industry to inform health and safety policy.
  • The extension of the Working Well Together – Working Well at Height safety campaigns.
  • An equivalent system to Scotland’s Fatal Accident Inquiry process extended to the rest of the UK.

Alison Thewliss, Chair of the APPG on Working at Height and MP for Glasgow Central said“Every fall from height can have life-altering consequences for workers and their families. There is an urgent need to improve work at height culture, yet this issue is sadly not at the top of decision-makers’ agenda.

“A lack of empirical data prevents us from understanding the root causes of falls from height. This is compounded by a cultural obstacle when it comes to supporting people to report unsafe practices.

“We have made comprehensive recommendations to government, but the APPG’s work does not stop here. Our report must be the first step in a wider process of systematic and cultural change. It is now time for policy-makers to act.”

The APPG is now calling for a further period of consultation and a major review of work at height culture, including how to engage with difficult to reach sectors, the suitability of financial penalties, and the role of digital technologies in improving the safety environment.


Why Every House Should Have a Toolbox

March 13th, 2019 Comments off

A few generations ago, the toolbox was a staple in the home. Your Mum, Dad, Gran and Grandad all know how to fix the odd problem around the house, but do you?

More recently, there has been a crisis in DIY. Millennials, on the whole, don’t have the time, don’t know how or plain just don’t want to do it, with things as simple as bleeding a radiator or changing a lightbulb being out of the question for many.

Is it time we turned things around? Here’s why and how you should go about bringing the toolbox back into your home.

Outside of avoiding feeling a tad embarrassed when having to admit you don’t know how to rewire a plug, there are numerous reasons that it’s worth learning a few tricks of the trade.

• Save serious money: The cost of external labour is significant. Often the simplest of tasks come with an initial ‘callout fee’ with an additional charge. Learning basic DIY tasks, especially when it comes to remodelling or moving into a new home, could easily be worth thousands in savings.
• You’re the boss: You know what you want and how you want it done, so who better to do the work than you? You are the only one who can recreate the picture in your head, and it saves the trouble of paying for something you didn’t quite ask for.
• Learn the craft: Whether it’s online tutorials or taking a few courses, learning DIY can give you valuable life skills that not only save you money, but give you a sense of achievement as well.
• The best results?: Following on from being your own boss, there’s no reason to say you won’t do a better job on your home than a local tradesmen. After all, you can devote more time to a job, plus you have a vested interest in the final product being as good as it can be.

What Should I Have in There?

If the above has done enough to persuade you to get involved, then you need to know what a basic home toolbox should have:

• Electric drill: The handiest of all power tools. Go cordless for sake of ease, but make sure you get a good battery to power it.
• Hacksaw: For cutting wood, plastic and metal.
• Screwdriver set: A set of multi-headed screwdrivers is an absolute essential.
• Claw hammer: For banging in new nails and removing old crooked ones.
• Pliers: A versatile tool that can clamp and cut.
• Adjustable wrench: For tightening nuts and bolts.
• Tape measure: An obvious must for any measuring needs.
• Spirit level: Avoid wonky photos, shelving and wall fitted appliances.
• Utility knife: Multi-purpose for all sorts of little jobs.
• Flashlight: So you can see what you’re doing.
• Safety gear: Safety goggles and work gloves should be a basic requirement.

Now you’ve got some good reasons to do it and a basic list to get you started, you can join the DIY revival.

Don’t be afraid to start small and grow to bigger and brighter things. Before you know it, you will be completing projects to be proud of, and you’ll have some extra cash in your pocket to enjoy as well.


Nottingham Forest unveil stadium revamp plans

March 13th, 2019 Comments off

Nottingham Forest have revealed plans to redevelop the City Ground in a move that will see it become the largest stadium in the East Midlands.

Architect Benoy has designed the revamp

The club have been drawing up redevelopment plans for 18 months with the aim of starting at the end of next season.

Plans include building a new Peter Taylor Stand and improvements to the Trentside area, Brian Clough and Bridgford Stands.

The new stand will include a museum, new club shop and a range of hospitality lounge facilities. When complete The City Ground’s capacity will reach 38,000.

The club unveiled the stadium plan, drawn up by architect Benoy, after an agreement with the City Council for an extended lease on The City Ground

Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis said: “The City Ground has iconic history and memories for our supporters and?these legacies were fundamental in our decision us to remain on the banks of the River Trent and not relocating to an alternative site.

“This is our home and we will remain here forever.

“This investment is about our club and the city of Nottingham and we are all committed together to deliver a place that we will all feel proud of, The New City Ground, our home forever.”


Paragon Interiors goes into administration

March 11th, 2019 Comments off

Fit out and refurbishment specialist Paragon Interiors Group Plc has recently gone into administration.

The Midlands based contractor is in the hands of administrators from Leonard Curtis Business Rescue & Recovery.

The joint administrators are now seeking offers for the business in order to preserve jobs and maximise the return to creditors.

It is understood that the company employs in excess of 90 people.

Paragon Interiors is not related to Interserve company Paragon which continues to trade well.