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Archive for April, 2019

UK-Based Procurement Company Saves Interserve £10million

April 30th, 2019 Comments off

The pioneering procurement software company Market Dojo has saved international support, construction and equipment services company, Interserve, £10 million with the use of its software. Market Dojo provided software which enabled Interserve to run an eAuction on fire and security services alongside Per Angusta, which delivered remarkable results.

With a gross revenue of £3.7billion and a workforce of circa 75,000 worldwide, Interserve is a leader in innovative and sustainable outcomes for its clients and is one of the world’s foremost construction equipment and services companies.

The team at were approached by Interserve representatives at an international procurement event, here they purchased a single £500 monthly licence with Market Dojo to run an eAuction on Fire and Security Services.

Following their early success with the tool, Market Dojo, alongside 30 other competitive solutions were invited to a major tender to compete in providing an enterprise solution that would be easy to adopt at all levels across the Interserve organisation. Interserve landed on the decision to place their trust in Market Dojo following the tender and a speedy start-up meant that the international company saw near-immediate results from the plan implemented by the MD team, in co-operation with Per Angusta.

Foregoing a traditional “Full-Suite” approach, Interserve instead elected that the team at Market Dojo would take charge of e-Sourcing and category planning, with Per Angusta providing Pipeline and Savings tracking respectively.

As a result, Interserve now has in excess of 80 active users on Market Dojo and has saved over £10 million in the first 18 months since using the procurement software company’s services. Post-implementation, the business has been able to host a variety of Facilities Management tenders, including maintenance, public displays and Health & Safety.

The solutions have negated the need for users to enter information multiple times in more than one place and, due to their intuitive user interface, very few training or skills materials were needed, cutting down on wasted time.

Rob Barlow, procurement systems and process manager for Interserve commented:

“Market Dojo, in collaboration with Per Angusta, has exceeded our expectations, with a strong customer focus, continuous innovation and proactive communication.  We have already seen a number of enhancements to both platforms in line with our needs, completing such projects within a matter of months. We continue to have regular workshops and review sessions and have already seen numerous success stories across the business.”

Nick Drewe, Co-founder for commented:

“Interserve is such a fantastic business and we were ecstatic the results and return on investment were very evident. It has been great working alongside them. We (alongside Per Angusta) managed to implement a plan that was highly effective with a quick turnaround. We are incredibly proud of the results we have seen and truly think they prove how impactful our service can be.”


Construction Connectivity – Getting Back to Basics

April 30th, 2019 Comments off

The European construction industry is continuing to demonstrate encouraging growth, with Deloitte forecasting that the market is on track to grow at a steady rate of 2.5 per cent a year to 2022. With this continued growth, firms face increasing pressure to deliver against rising demand, but it’s widely recognised that the construction industry has a reputation for often delivering projects later than expected and significantly over-budget. Large scale projects in particular can typically take 20 per cent longer to complete than planned and can be up to 80 per cent over budget – so how can the industry adapt to fulfil these ever-expanding expectations when current efficiency levels often leave a lot to be desired? 

The adoption of new technology and smarter processes can deliver tangible benefits for construction firms, but there remains a fundamental stumbling block for those organisations looking to capitalise on new innovation – a frequent lack of high speed, portable and reliable Internet connectivity. It is therefore imperative that the industry addresses these key issues as a matter of urgency so that firms can gain access to the connectivity they need at new sites from day one. 

The construction site of the future

With rapid advances in technology and the advent of cloud based solutions, the way we work and interact has drastically changed. Technology innovation has led industries to continually strive to be more efficient, productive and cost effective. Yet, when it comes to the world of construction, investment in IT has remained low in comparison to other industries. The market has been hampered by technical challenges relating to projects that can be large, complex and geographically dispersed. Combined with varying proficiency and maturity levels of smaller subcontractors, advancing at scale has been difficult and has subsequently led to the slow progress of the digitisation of the construction industry. 

Despite these challenges, the available technology in construction has advanced rapidly and we are now starting to see examples of how advents in digital technology can deliver efficiency and productivity opportunities at the start of all projects – truly revolutionising the construction sites of the past. Drones, robotics, 3D printing and augmented reality are no longer works of fiction but can be adopted by forward thinking firms looking to capitalise on the benefits that embracing innovation can bring to the construction site.

Connectivity is essential

Connectivity is a necessity for businesses in virtually every industry and construction is no exception. Crucially, this is still one fundamental hurdle that the industry must overcome if it is to create a solid foundation for all new innovation.

Technology that is crucial for the industry to innovate and keep up with demand, cannot function without high speed, portable and reliable internet connection, but gaining access to connectivity can be a challenge for new sites, particularly those that are located in a Green or Brownfield location where there is typically no existing connection. Often, a fixed line is simply not an option and the reliability of 4G is still patchy, even as talk around the possibilities of 5G continue to dominate the headlines.


The construction industry cannot continue to utilise outdated processes and management methods but instead must embrace digital advances and adopt smarter processes and technology to stay competitive. But there is no way that the construction sites of the future will ever become a reality unless the industry can conquer the basics of connectivity.

So, how can construction firms ensure that a strong and stable connection is established quickly at a new site to ensure lack of connectivity does not negatively impact on projects? By working with an ecosystem of experienced and trusted providers who can supply the connectivity and IoT services that sites require. The industry will then be able to continually benefit from the opportunities that the latest advances in innovation present. The potential rewards to firms that capitalise on digitisation will be instantaneous.


How to Install a Range Hood and Vent

April 29th, 2019 Comments off

Range hoods help you to ventilate your kitchen workspace. Ventilation is particularly important for homeowners with gas stoves since it helps to dissipate gases and smoke for the sake of safety, as well as grease and odours in the kitchen.

Many homeowners rely on their over the range microwaves to vent smoke and odours. This is excellent for kitchens that are low on space and need their appliances to do double duty. However, a nice hood vent tends to rank high on many homeowners’ kitchen remodelling wish list.
Hood vents have a stylish appeal that can draw attention and make a statement in the kitchen.

Check out the rest of the guide here


Design Team Appointed to Lead National Manufacturing Institute Scotland

April 29th, 2019 Comments off

Friday 19 April 2019: Scotland’s international centre of manufacturing expertise is a step closer to being realised following the appointment of the design team.

The National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), hosted by the University of Strathclyde, aims to make Scotland a global leader in advanced manufacturing. By bringing industry, research and the wider public sector together it will drive productivity and skills development.

HLM, a leading design and architecture practice with studios in Glasgow, has been appointed to lead a design team including Waterman Civil & Structural Engineers, Davie + McCulloch Building Services Engineers and Robinson Low Francis LLP Cost Mangers, whilst HLM will also be providing landscape architecture and interior design services. Turner and Townsend have been appointed as Project Managers under the University’s Framework Agreement.

As an industry-led international centre for manufacturers, NMIS, adjacent to Glasgow International Airport, will include a Digital Factory 2050, Manufacturing Skills Academy and collaborative working spaces; complementing the existing University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC).

It will offer Scottish businesses access to expert services, advanced demonstrator facilities and training programmes focused on innovative manufacturing. As a national hub, it will be available to companies of all sizes and sectors, enabling them to be more globally competitive.

It will be the anchor for the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS), which will benefit from a £39 million investment to provide the enabling infrastructure, funded through the Glasgow City Region Deal.

Ross Barrett, Associate HLM, said: “HLM and the design team are excited to be working closely with the University of Strathclyde and their partners to develop the new NMIS facility. This is a huge opportunity to create an innovative, flexible and collaborative environment which will help inspire and attract industry partners and academics alike, reducing barriers to innovation.”

The £65 million plus investment includes £48 million from the Scottish Government and £8m from the University of Strathclyde as well as £9 million in the Lightweight Manufacturing Centre which is a first phase of NMIS. The phase 1 construction value is expected to be in the region of £38 million.


How to deliver true low carbon housing for the planet

April 26th, 2019 Comments off

In its 2019 Spring Statement the government said it will aim to end the use of fossil fuel-based heating systems in all new homes from 2025. It’s a bold move, and one that certainly brings even more focus on improving the sustainability credentials of the UK’s new-build housing stock. But what else should be done to make our homes truly low carbon and sustainable?

Going beyond operational efficiency

In the quest to reduce CO2 emissions and produce ‘nearly zero-carbon buildings’, most designers and builders focus on lowering operational emissions – even if it means emitting more CO2 in the construction process. There’s still very little thought put into reducing the CO2 emitted during the build stage and from the materials used in the building fabric itself.

There are, however, pockets of developments appearing across the UK – built by innovative SME builders harbouring a social conscience – that take a more holistic approach to sustainable housebuilding.

One such development currently under construction is Kings Farm Close. A collection of 15 new homes on the outskirts of the Oxfordshire village of Longcot, the development promises affordable, sensitively designed dwellings fit for 21st century living.

More significant, however, is that Kings Farm Close also claims to be the most sustainable housing development in Oxfordshire.

Modern methods of construction

Ian Pritchett, managing director of Oxfordshire-based Greencore Construction, has been championing a fabric-first approach to new home building, using eco-friendly, modern methods of construction for some time. His approach is to build to the highest standards while also delivering comfort and quality at a great price.

Every Greencore home is built offsite in a factory using a timber frame panel system, which is insulated with a mix of hemp, lime and wood fibre. The hemp-lime mix provides exceptional levels of thermal performance – tests carried out by Bath University showed that this system stores nearly four times the amount of heat when compared with traditional insulation materials like mineral wool.

Meeting the double carbon target

This insulated panel system – branded as the Biond Building System – is manufactured almost entirely from natural materials. It means that Greencore’s homes, which are always built to Passivhaus thermal performance standards, can achieve the double carbon target of a low carbon footprint and low operational energy usage.

Ultimately, it means the homes’ occupants won’t need to use their heating as often. This is because the hemp-lime and wood fibre insulation in the superstructure – and a mechanical ventilation and heat recovery unit – help to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature all year round. The heating is provided entirely by underfloor heating, leaving wall spaces clear for furniture and decoration.

So, how is this possible? How does a humble plant-based insulation material like hemp-lime make such an impact on the thermal performance of a home?

Hemp-lime ‘phase change’ properties drive thermal efficiency

It’s all thanks to the natural ‘phase change’ properties of hemp-lime. The moisture naturally present in the cells of the hemp and in the pore spaces of the composite material can change from liquid to vapour and back again. When this change takes place, a lot of energy is either absorbed or released.

This phase change process can take place at a wide range of temperatures and means that energy entering or leaving one face of a wall is very different to the energy entering or leaving the other face. The reality is that the combination of good insulation and exceptional thermal inertia resulting from the natural phase change properties makes hemp-lime an extremely high performing material.

A little hemp-lime history…

Hemp-lime has been used as a building material for hundreds of years in central Europe, but was revived in the 1990s in France as a niche construction technique for new houses and for infilling the panels of historic oak-framed buildings.

The new-build technique involves casting a wet mix of hemp and lime around a timber framed structure to form solid monolithic walls, normally finished with a lime render on the outside and lime plaster on the inside. This form of building has gained popularity in France and spread to the UK in the early 2000s.

Avoiding the delay of drying wet hemp-lime

Despite its rise in popularity, one major limitation hampers the use of wet cast hemp-lime in volume construction projects: it takes a long time to dry. In ideal weather conditions (warm, dry and breezy), drying can take as long as six to 12 months, which clearly isn’t practical for fast-track housebuilding in unpredictable British weather.

To tackle this, Greencore pre-fabricates the superstructure of each home at its factory – ready-filled with hemp-lime and wood fibre insulation – before it’s shipped out to be assembled onsite. This means the drying process can be managed in a controlled, indoor environment. Once on-site, the superstructure of each building can be erected in a matter of days. It’s modern methods of construction with a natural, sustainable twist.

Taking sustainability to the community

For Greencore and its partners, however, the sustainability focus doesn’t stop with the homes themselves. Back at Kings Farm Close, developer Oxford Advanced Living (OAL) – with support from affordable housing provider Sovereign – has made a concerted effort to build sustainability into the very fabric of the community.

“A fifth of the site’s total area will be shared green space,” says Martin Pike, director of OAL, “planted and managed with native trees to support wildlife under a biodiversity plan. This project has really allowed us to put into practice all our ideas and determination to create a genuinely sustainable community in Oxfordshire.”

With 40% of the development given over to affordable housing, Greencore and OAL are keen to champion a ‘sustainability and quality for all’ approach to housebuilding.

“With these homes, the same high performance standards are available to everyone, regardless of whether you’re renting or buying a home,” says Martin. “We believe that all the residents will be able to enjoy greener and healthier lifestyles at Kings Farm Close, and we intend to work closely with them to help us with future projects.”

Alex Brooks, development manager at Sovereign, agrees. “These new affordable homes will not only be great places to live, they’ll also be good for the environment as well as keeping energy bills low for residents. It’s really important that we build homes and invest in communities that are fit for the future.”

Support from MPs

It’s an approach that hasn’t gone unnoticed in political circles, either. In March this year, Ed Vaizey, the former culture minister and MP for the Oxfordshire constituency of Wantage, took time out of his schedule to visit Kings Farm Close and see the project first hand.

“The vast majority of new-build homes in the UK are of bland design, poor build quality and lack basic sustainability credentials,” he says. “Much of this is to do with national housebuilders refusing to embrace new technologies and construction methods.

“The Kings Farm Close development, however, is a shining example of forward-thinking, modern housebuilding from a team of people who are clearly very committed to bringing sustainable living to everyone – whether you own, part-own or rent your home.”

Recognition from sustainability leaders

In October 2018, Kings Farm Close was recognised by sustainability charity Bioregional for its national leadership in implementing One Planet Living, a comprehensive framework for planning, building and managing greener communities.

Nicole Lazarus, head of Bioregional Oxfordshire, praised the development, saying: “The Kings Farm Close team richly deserve recognition for their leadership in creating the kind of sustainable new housing we need so badly. We particularly love the natural materials used in the build system and the high-quality indoor environment that they make possible.”

There’s a lot to be said for the power of plant-based materials in construction. The fact is the more of these materials we incorporate into buildings, the more carbon we lock up – plain and simple.

Recent industry data shows that the construction of an average house produces 50 tonnes of CO2. On the other hand, construction of a Greencore home, using the hemp-lime timber frame panel system, produces very low or zero CO2 in the construction process.

With construction work at Kings Farm Close expected to complete in the autumn of 2019, it won’t be long before the final residents move in and the claim of ‘Oxfordshire’s most sustainable housing development’ can be put to the test.


Why a career in construction could be the next step for ex-military

April 25th, 2019 Comments off

Last year, the number of people employed in the British Armed Forces numbered nearly 150,000. Of those, over 80,000 employed in the British Army and over 30,000 in the Royal Navy.

However, over 14,000 people leave the military every year. This has become somewhat of a blessing for the construction industry, as it has created a sea of potential employees. Over 200,000 extra workers are needed before 2020 and ex-military personnel have highly transferrable skillsets and the potential to reach the top of the industry.

Ryan Latham, Senior Marketing Executive for 3B Training, has experienced firsthand how businesses can benefit from hiring ex-military personnel.

“Construction as an industry is growing, but it’s also is experiencing a gap in skills. An excellent way to fill in the hole for personnel with leadership, project management and teamwork skills is to investigate the pool of military leavers available. These transferable attributes are a valuable resource for the construction industry to help bring in skilled young workers.

Other industries appear to ignore Armed Forces leavers as potential employees, so much so that some leave their service history from their CV. Little do they know that they are missing out on a range of positive personality traits such as courage, discipline, selflessness and respect for others”.

Below, we take a closer look at what it’s like working in the military, what motivates members of the Armed Forces and why transitioning to a career in construction is the ideal next step for a leaver.

Why do people leave the military?

To understand why many people choose to leave the service, we’ve examined data from the 2018 UK Regular Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey Results which look at the impact of decisions affecting personnel.

Life in the Armed Forces requires specific demands that aren’t found in civilian jobs. When deployed, military personnel can find themselves away from their families for long periods of time, often in dangerous situations. Yet despite this, we found that the most common reasons for military personnel to seek a new career path are down to more familiar concerns:

  • Job satisfaction —  Only 55% of military personnel claimed they were generally satisfied with their job.
  • Pay satisfaction — There has been a consistent drop in pay satisfaction since 2010, with only 31% currently admitting to being happy with their salary.
  • Life satisfaction — When questioning their happiness and how worthwhile they feel the things they do in life are, at least one in five members of the military rate them as low.

Since 2005, the Royal Marines have also seen a large decrease in the levels of satisfaction with opportunities for professional and personal development. It seems then, that much like civilian jobs, careers in the military are more motivated by personal growth and satisfaction.

This has led to a staggering 42% of military personnel actively searching for a new career outside of the Armed Forces over the past 12 months.

Why choose construction?

The construction industry is currently suffering from a skills shortage, resulting in a need for over 200,000 more workers by 2020. According to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the lack of skilled workers in the UK is the highest level since 2007, meaning the government’s initiative to build 300,000 new homes each year looks optimistic at best.

Former military personnel have a great opportunity to fill the construction skills gap. There are many sectors in the Armed Forces which provide their personnel with a number of highly transferrable skills, whether that’s engineering, mechanics or electronic.

A number of companies recognise the potential of military leavers and provide specialist training programmes to help them adjust to civilian life and a new career in construction. There are specialist courses available that provide Enhanced Learning Credits to enable lifelong learning to ex-members of the military or those looking to leave. These credits cover 80% of course fees and are available to anyone who has served a minimum of 6 years.

Working in construction allows leavers to put their experience to good use in a number of potential opportunities. The industry is not only in desperate need of construction workers but also manager positions, which is perfect for ex-officers who have experience leading teams and getting results in difficult situations.

What makes ex-military personnel a desirable workforce?

When working in the armed forces, you receive a level of training that simply isn’t available in other career paths. Regardless of their previous role, leavers are all highly disciplined and have fantastic teamwork skills.

  • According to the Armed Forces survey results, 82% agree that they have confidence in themselves as a team, plus, 78% believe their team know exactly what their responsibilities are and that their team can be relied upon to help when their job gets difficult. A strong team that can work well together and keep their cool under pressure is exactly what the construction industry needs.
  • Many working in the military are proud of the work they do, with 50% of the Royal Marines claiming that their service inspires them to do the best in their job. With the construction industry looking for a dedicated new workforce, finding employees who take pride in their work is crucial.
  • Leavers are not just job applicants to the construction industry, they’re assets. Due to their experiences in the Armed Forces, they can pick up skills much faster than most people in civilian professions and can help quickly fill the large skills gap. A team of highly trained, dedicated workers and authoritative, respected managers is the solution the industry has been looking for.

Samantha Gregory, Training Coordinator at 3B Training and former Vehicle Mechanic in the REME, knows firsthand what ex-military can offer the construction industry.

“The work ethic for military leavers is completely different from civilians. It is embedded in us to turn up on time (5 minutes before 5 minutes early) and to just get the job done.

Leavers are great at working under pressure and are taught to work through problems ourselves and come up with practical solutions. They can work with anyone and take instruction well.

Plus, if you’re looking for a manager you’re in the right place, as working in the Armed Forces gives leavers some of the best training in some of the worst environments”.


National winners of ‘Most Considerate Site 2019’ revealed

April 24th, 2019 Comments off

Considerate Constructors Scheme recognises highest-performing construction sites with top honours

United Kingdom and Ireland, 15 April 2019: The winners of the best performing construction sites across the UK and Ireland have been crowned with the industry’s highest accolade of ‘Considerate Constructors Scheme, Most Considerate Site 2019’ at ceremonies across the country.

The 2019 winners of this prestigious title are:

  • Carlisle Gas Holder Demolition Project – Northern Gas Networks (project value under £500k)
  • Columbia Threadneedle Property Investments – Overbury plc (project value £500k to <£1m)
  • Camden FRA Works – Mulalley (project value £1m to <£5m)
  • University Centre, Rotherham – Willmott Dixon Construction (project value £5m to <£10m)
  • Woodmansterne Secondary School – Willmott Dixon Construction (project value £10m to <£50m)
  • One Blackfriars – St George City Ltd (project value £50m and over)      

The glamorous awards ceremonies welcomed thousands of guests and took place at iconic venues in Edinburgh, London and Manchester from 25 March – 12 April.

The Considerate Constructors Scheme National Site Awards recognise the highest-performing construction sites against the Scheme’s Code of Considerate Practice which monitors how considerate the site is being towards their local community, environment and workforce.

This year’s awards were for registered sites that completed in 2018. Sites were eligible to win the ‘Most Considerate Site’ within the following six ‘project value bands’: Under £500k; £500k to <£1m; £1m to <£5m; £5m to <£10m; £10m to <£50m; and £50m and over.

The Scheme presented only 764 National Site Awards from a total of over 6700 eligible sites. In addition to the six Most Considerate Site Award winners, there were 336 Bronze, 252 Silver and 152 Gold, as well as 18 Most Considerate Site Runners-Up.

For the second year running, Ultra Sites, the Scheme’s highest attainment of registration, were also recognised for their outstanding commitment in collaborating with their supply chains, during the awards ceremonies. The highest performing Ultra Sites and their supply chain partners will receive recognition and a separate awards ceremony held in July.

Considerate Constructors Scheme Chief Executive Edward Hardy said: “Congratulations to all the 2019 National Site Award winners. Each award winning site should be extremely proud of receiving this prestigious industry accolade, which recognises their invaluable contribution to improving the image of construction.

“Special congratulations must go to the highest performing construction sites winning the coveted title of ‘Most Considerate Site 2019’, which represent the very best of the construction industry in how they have raised their standards of considerate construction to the highest levels.

“Year-on-year, the Scheme places a higher level of expectation for the 7000 plus construction sites typically registered with the Scheme at any time.  We work with sites to push the boundaries of what is achievable and this year’s accomplishments by sites have certainly not disappointed, with over 764 sites receiving National Site Award recognition.

“We are always amazed by the increasing levels of performance on site across the country, and we look forward to performance continuing to increase through next year and beyond.”

All award winners are available to view on the Construction Map here.


Reporting Minor Incidents to Prevent Future Catastrophe

April 23rd, 2019 Comments off

Recording data on all workplace incidents and near misses, from seemingly insignificant events to serious injury, is essential for all organisations. Whilst some may deem it unnecessary or tedious to report every minor accident in the workplace, such as an employee tripping or narrowly avoiding injury caused by faulty equipment, recording these instances can be an effective strategy to prevent major incidents from occurring in the future.

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) requires employers to report and keep records of incidents on site from ‘dangerous occurrences’ that include near-misses, to work-related accidents that cause death. However, there are a number of other types of incidents that are not required to be reported under RIDDOR that could be key to mitigating dangerous events.

For example, small fires on construction sites are not legally required to be reported, but this has led to a significant number of fires being underreported and a subsequent data void. With an industry-wide lack of data for near-misses and fires, there is no way to analyse why these instances might be occurring in the first place and put mitigation efforts in place to prevent them and more catastrophic occurrences in the future. As a result, there has been a notable rise in the number of devastating fires on construction sites, such as the recent Belfast Bank Primark fire, or Glasgow School of Art which has caught fire twice in the last four years.

Although reporting near miss incidents such as small fires is not required under RIDDOR, there is a growing data gap forming which is impeding efforts to manage and mitigate risk. Reporting minor incidents can help to identify patterns within a business that may be as a result of health and safety procedures being ignored or the early stages of faulty machinery, for example. Is the same machine frequently leaking water? Are minor incidents happening in the same area? Are the incidents occurring within the same department or is there a trend in when the incidents occur? Without capturing this data, there is no way to analyse and identify the root cause.

For example, reporting a small water leak could seem trivial, but if it is left unaddressed it could cause an employee to slip and injure themselves, or it could be the first sign of an equipment malfunction. The ramifications of these examples could be significant – the employee may need time off work due to injury, or the equipment malfunction could result in product loss or the machine needing to be shut down for a length of time for a fix to be performed.

If the water leak had been reported when it was first spotted, the cause could have been identified and rectified quickly, avoiding an ongoing slip hazard and if a fix was required, preventing the faulty machine getting any worse. Recording incidents of this type could also highlight similar faults with other machinery which may not have been previously identified.

It is crucial that a culture of reporting every incident is encouraged, to identify safety system weaknesses and put in place proactive measures to prevent these minor incidents becoming major catastrophes. So how can organisations make safety reporting part of the workforce’s everyday role? Streamlined apps
integrated into smartphone handsets are one way to address the problem. If the workforce can quickly
and easily document incidents – no matter how small – and escalate this to the appropriate department,
incidents can not only be addressed quickly but the level of underreporting can also be reduced.


ANC workshop sets out best practice approach in sound insulation testing

April 18th, 2019 Comments off

Acoustic professionals shared best practice in sound insulation testing at a workshop organised by the Association of Noise Consultants (ANC).

Almost 100 testers from ANC member companies attended the event, held in Birmingham.

The ANC launched their Approved Document E Registration Scheme in 2003 to provide independent verification of pre-completion sound insulation testing.

Since then the scheme has gone from strength-to-strength, recording over 450,000 tests over the years.

Latest figures reveal a pass rate of 97.4 per cent from approximately 30,000 tests carried out in 2018.

Part of this success stems from the commitment of ANC testers to share experiences gained across the industry.

Dan Saunders, Chairman of the ANC, said: “What makes the difference with the Association’s registration scheme is the fact that it enables the building industry to tap into the expertise of 300 registered testers, all qualified in acoustics, who are able to deliver the Approved Document E testing nationwide.

“This means the testing service comes with reassurance of consultancy advice from member firms, backed up by the know-how of some of the most highly qualified and experienced acoustic experts in the country.

“The workshop provided a very useful opportunity to continue to drive forward best practice and keep the scheme in pole position within the housebuilding sector.

“The number of successful projects and the results achieved to date is testimony to the scheme’s ability to deliver compliance in this important area.

“This is particularly important when you consider these tests come at the end of the construction phase and getting it wrong and then having to address the issue can be a very costly process.”

To find out more about the ANC and search for members registered to carry out pre-completion testing please visit

A video from the workshop can be found at


Lock Out Tag Out Essentials

April 17th, 2019 Comments off

As part of a safe system of work, lock out tag out should be employed to ensure hazardous energy has been safely isolated. When conducting maintenance, repairs or cleaning work on any machinery and equipment, a safe procedure should be in place to ensure stored energy has been safely dispelled, and re-energisation does not accidentally occur. Here we have highlighted the essentials for a lock out tag out procedure.

What is Lock Out Tag Out

When correctly implemented and followed, a lock out tag out procedure ensures that machinery or equipment is completely shut off, stored energy safely isolated and re-energisation cannot occur accidentally. Recognised as a safety standard, lock out tag out is widely implemented as part of safety regulations and used across a variety of machinery and equipment.

Stages of Lock Out Tag Out

The lock out tag out procedure begins with the preparation of the equipment and the area. Workers should be made aware a lock out procedure is about to take place to ensure they don’t accidentally attempt to restart the equipment. The equipment is then shut down using the manufacturers procedure.

After shut down has occurred, all energy sources should now be isolated and devices applied to the equipment. At this point lock out devices can be implemented by utilising padlocks from Reece Safety and identifier tags. Stored energy should now be isolated by blocking moving parts and inspecting for any remaining movement.

The procedure now requires the try out phase, whereby you safely attempt to restart the equipment. If the procedure has been implemented correctly this should not occur. After safely shutting back down, you may now complete the desired work. After work has complete, the lock out devices can be removed and the equipment safely restarted.

Lock Out Tag Out Essentials

As part of the lock out procedure, there are a few essential pieces of equipment required to ensure safe isolation. These include the following:

Safety Padlock: A highly important aspect of lock out tag out is having the correct locks to place on your equipment. By choosing the correct safety padlock, specifically designed for lock out tag out, will help to ensure a safe system of work.    

Identifier Tag: Tags allow for a visual method of identifying who applied the lock, as this is the only person during a lock out procedure permitted to remove it. The tags often include information such as name, type of isolation and the date of the lock out. These tags will sometimes include photographs for easy identification.

Lockout Hasp: Vital for multi-person lock out procedures, lock out hasps allow energy sources to be isolated by more than one worker for a safe system of work. This means the equipment cannot be re-energised until every worker has removed their lock from the hasp.

Key Cabinets: For padlocks with individual keys, storing these within a key cabinet will ensure only authorised personnel can access them. Key cabinets are also especially useful for storing the equipment keys to prevent accidental re-energisation.

Lock Out Stations: These are highly beneficial for storing all of your lock out equipment in one place. As lock out equipment should not be used for any other procedures in the workplace, keeping them all together in a secure environment can ensure they don’t become misplaced or misused.

When implementing a lock out tag out procedure in the workplace it is vital that employees have been trained to a high standard and that the correct equipment is on hand. Without this safety procedure, or a high level of training, accidents in the workplace are far more likely to occur.