UK construction blog


Archive for October, 2019


October 30th, 2019 Comments off

Civil engineering and groundworks contractor, Galtec Ltd, has upgraded its digital capabilities by investing over half a million pounds in more than twenty new pieces of Trimble technology from SITECH UK & Ireland, the exclusive dealer for Trimble technologies in the region, to increase the productivity and efficiency of its operations.

The deal for the new equipment includes a full range of Trimble technology solutions, including Trimble GNSS Rovers & Robotic Total Stations, 3D modelling & Take off software packages, along with the latest in 3D Trimble EarthWorks Machine Control systems.

Galtec, a small to medium contractor whose projects include laying the foundations for housing estates, roads and sewers, first began working with SITECH UK & Ireland 18 months ago. After investigating the potential benefits of GPS technology, Galtec initially invested in the newly released Trimble EarthWorks 3D machine control system along with a SPS855 Modular base station and SPS986 GNSS Rover.

Prior to this, Galtec did not utilise any GPS technology but the company’s Managing Director, Thomas Rayer, was so impressed with the performance of the technology and the return on investment it provided, he decided to learn more about the potential benefits additional Trimble software and hardware could provide.

SITECH invited Galtec along to the 2018 Trimble Dimensions Conference in Las Vegas, which allows visitors to learn about the latest Trimble technology solutions, as well as providing the opportunity to collaborate and network with peers. The Trimble range of solutions connects people, machines and projects to deliver real-time data, offering enhanced information about site conditions and asset utilisation, resulting in improved productivity. What’s more, Trimble’s mix of hardware, software and mobility solutions streamlines communication and collaboration throughout the construction lifecycle – a proposition that Galtec found extremely desirable.

Tom Rayer, said: “After investing in our first piece of site technology 18 months ago, we’re really excited to see how a full technology package can benefit our business. We’ve fully committed to creating a connected site, with everything from software to machine control, allowing us to build a full picture of our operations and drive efficiency improvements that will demonstrate real value for both ourselves and our customers.

“One of the highlights of using Trimble technology was the opportunity that SITECH gave me to join them at Trimble Dimensions in Las Vegas. The event gave me a fantastic opportunity to learn about the latest Trimble solutions, as well as giving me all the information I needed to ensure that I was making the correct decision for my business.”

Carl Parsons, Regional Sales Manager for SITECH UK & Ireland, added: “When it comes to the future of construction, modern, integrated systems are required to leverage the vast amount of data generated by projects to achieve major improvements to efficiency. We’re on a continuous quest to increase efficiency to drive the future of digital construction and transform the industry to maximise productivity and return on investment.

“That’s why we offer digital solutions to optimise concept, design, scheduling and project management, and rugged, field-proven hardware to execute the project. Together, these solutions constitute an ecosystem that facilitates and optimises processes in all phases of a project, which Galtec found ideal for its operations.”

To find out more about SITECH UK & Ireland’s range of Trimble technology, please visit

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STEM: getting women involved

October 29th, 2019 Comments off

According to data analysis from LinkedIn, more women have entered into STEM careers over the last four decades than in any other. Philanthropist and former general manager at Microsoft, Melinda Gates, said: “Innovation happens when we approach urgent challenges from every different point of view. Bringing women and underrepresented minorities into the field guarantees that we see the full range of solutions to the real problems that people face in the world”.

The likes of Science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM, are industries heavily dominated by men. The ratio of women earning jobs in these fields are extremely low compared to men. Statistics from 2017 show that women made up only 23 per cent of the STEM workforce. Although this is low, this is 105,470 higher than the number in 2016.

Stereotypically, STEM related careers were best suited for the abilities of men, however this idea is changing thankfully. This year has seen some of the biggest names and influential figures in the industry being women, such as Kate Bouman, the woman who engineered the first image of a black hole.

Back in 2018, Fitbits 10 day-cycled period tracker was under criticism. If more women were involved in the creation, they would’ve realised this was three days too long. In the States, the tech industry is one of the highest paying fields — yet women are still paid less than their male counterparts.

Throughout this article we take a closer look at how women in the past four decades have entered into STEM careers.

Bye bye Biasness

Throughout our life, we have been taught that men are simply more suited to do certain jobs than what women are. Charles Darwin described women as intellectual inferiors and universities rejected women up until the 20th century.

Vice president of the American Association of University Women, Laura Segal argued: “Teachers and parents provide explicit and implicit messages starting in early childhood that boys and men are ‘better’ at math, and the gaps in the professions reinforce the opportunities, culture and lack of role models that perpetuate male dominance”.

The likes of schools, recruitment agencies and universities in the UK have tried several encouragements since 2012 to help encourage women to begin STEM careers. Previously, female students reported avoiding STEM courses because of a lack of female role models to identify with. If girls were taught about female role models like Marie Curie, for example, who discovered the effects of radiation, perhaps they’d be more inclined to pursue a career in the field.

More content focusing on women working within the industry has been included on exam boards in recent years to help get rid of this bias idea. Rosalind Franklin, a woman central to the understanding of DNA, has been taught across the nation. This has been linked to this year’s A-level results, which saw female students studying STEM courses (50.3%) outnumber male students (49.7%). In addition, Lookers, suppliers of car service plans, launched a female apprenticeship scheme back in 2018.

How this is being funded

Philanthropists have donated money towards fixing the gender gap in STEM industries to help support women entering into these careers. $25 million has been funded to boost girls’ interest by changing the narrative that they’re masculine careers. It’s expected to inspire other girls to follow other successful women.

After being reported that industries such as engineering have a rather toxic male dominated environment, this has drove many women out of this field. They noted that they had to work twice as hard to be taken seriously and to earn respect.

There has been the introduction of 125 female ambassadors by Lyda Hill Philanthropies to help represent women in STEM careers. Part of the donation will be used to fund grants for women to study STEM courses.

The beginning of development

Due to the lack of skilled STEM workers in the UK, it’s been reported that it’s costing over £1.5 billion a year, according to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Apprenticeships have an equal gender balance, yet only nine per cent of STEM apprentices are women.

More women are being informed about STEM related careers and are being encouraged to start apprenticeships in these sectors in an attempt to fix this disappointing statistic.

When lookers began their female apprenticeship scheme back in 2018, the aim was to double the amount of their female apprenticeships and provide a positive environment to encourage and attract women to STEM. Civil Engineering Consultancy, Patrick Parsons are an example of a company that offer this too.

More gender-neutral language is being used in STEM advertisements, helping to take a positive step in the right direction. However, there is a lot of progress to be made for women in STEM.

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Construction gets a tech boost

October 29th, 2019 Comments off

Productivity and quality in construction get a boost as cloud-based software company, Procore Technologies, expands its presence in the UK and Ireland.

Procore, established in California, celebrates its one-year anniversary at its London base as it secures its newest customer, pioneering building system provider, Project Etopia. Project Etopia is one of a number of leading contractors that have turned to Procore to streamline their building process in the past twelve months.

Joseph Daniels, founder of modular developer Project Etopia, said:

“Our build system is all about speed and technology so we needed a project management platform that could keep up and prove as adaptable as the system itself. None of the alternatives appeared to be able to live up to the variety of demands we wanted to place on it. 

“As our pipeline of projects expands, Procore will allow us to maintain good visibility over all elements of our schemes, across multiple sites and in real time, from tendering right through to on-site coordination of contractors. 

“Other solutions could do elements of this, but it wasn’t all in one place and we were impressed with how easily key metrics were displayed and how easily delays could be identified.”

Brandon Olivieri O’Connor, Procore’s director of UK and Ireland, said:

“We first started working with our UK and Ireland customers four years ago and as demand increased, it became obvious that we needed to be local to service our customers.

“As customer numbers exceed 100, our staff numbers in the UK have also risen from 8 to 24 since arriving here. This has allowed us to increase our support for our customer base by recruiting local construction industry experts to the team.”

Procore is a platform that consists of a number of products that users can choose from based on their needs. Products include Tender Management, BIM, Design Coordination, Project Management, Quality and Safety and Project Financials, spanning pre-construction to project handover. Procore’s open API architecture and App Marketplace features more than 150 best in class construction technology tools. This makes it simple to integrate other software into an extensible platform unique to each business.

The platform is easy to use and fully mobile, putting the power back into the hands of the worker and connecting the construction site to the office. The unlimited user licence model means it can be shared with the entire project team, from clients and professional teams, to sub-contractors. This comes at no additional cost allowing everyone working on the project to collaborate in real-time.

To demonstrate how this technology puts people at the forefront, Procore teamed up with The B1M to produce a short documentary ‘Step inside the Connected Construction Site’. The film had a live screening with a panel featuring Procore’s president, Steve Zahm, Procore customer Rob Frank from BW Workplace, and digital transformation expert, Vickie Stevenson, from Osborne Construction.

Procore has had a busy autumn so far with a presence at leading construction trade shows UK Construction Week and Digital Construction Week. At the events, attendees have seen live demos of the platform and put questions to the Procore team. At UK Construction Week, Procore’s head of marketing in the UK and Ireland, Ben Douglass, shared Procore’s approach and how it differentiates itself in the market. Procore’s senior product manager, Dave McCool, took part in a panel discussion about changing business models and improving productivity in the built environment on the main stage at Digital Construction Week. 

Procore has previously expanded into Canada, Australia and New Zealand in 2017.

Brandon said:

“One of the primary reasons we invest in country is to ensure we truly understand the local market and culture. We hire staff already experienced in construction where possible and bring in our experts from the global business to support the expansion. This in-depth product knowledge and Procore experience is a catalyst for our business and increases the value we provide to our customers.

“We’re excited to have a presence in the UK and Ireland alongside the growth we’re experiencing, and we’ll be investing further into the market off the back off a successful first year. We’re here to stay and look forward to continuing to partner with our UK and Irish customers, new and old.”

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Has construction heeded the need for more apprentices?

October 29th, 2019 Comments off

There’s a well-known skills shortage within the UK construction industry. The issue has been prevalent over the last few years, with the apprenticeship scheme touted as a potential solution for sourcing homegrown talent into the construction sector. But has the construction sector made the most of the apprenticeship scheme in order the deal with the skills shortage? Nifty Lift, suppliers of work platforms investigate:

The gender gap in apprenticeships

While the government continues to create apprenticeships, there have been concerns over the disproportionate number of males being offered apprenticeship roles in better-paid industries compared to female candidates. According to a report by the Guardian, only 5 per cent of apprentices heading into the construction, planning and the built environment were female, but 94 per cent of apprentices starting in the child development and well-being sector were women.

Arguably then, women could simply be applying to more child development roles than in construction. But if this is the case, is there an issue a step prior to applying for an apprenticeship?

A lack of encouragement

Beyond encouraging more women to look into classically-male associated roles such as construction work, it seems that schools could be doing more to encourage more apprentices in general. The Express and Star pointed out that many schools are falling foul of giving more support to students who are looking towards academic paths rather than apprenticeship routes. Many pupils noted that for those who expressed a desire to seek an alternative route than university, they were often left to figure out how to apply for apprenticeships on their own.

There is certainly scope not only to restructure the outdated view of construction being a ‘male job’, but also for apprenticeships as a whole being supported with useful information and guides at a school level. Taking an apprenticeship should not be treated as the lesser of two options, and instead, be held as valuable and as viable an option as university.

Problems with the levy

When the UK government announced a plan to create 3 million apprenticeship places by 2020, a levy was introduced to fund this. The levy requires businesses in England who have an annual pay bill over £3 million to pay 0.5 per cent for the levy. Businesses who do not pay the levy receive 100 per cent of training costs covered for apprenticeships offered to 16 to 18-year olds. For those aged over 19, 90 per cent of the costs are covered. Plus, for businesses with less than 50 employees who don’t pay the levy, there’s a £1,000 incentive scheme for taking on a 16 to 18-year old apprentice.

However, according to Contractor UK, the levy hasn’t been wholly successful. One report claimed that although levy-paying businesses had put £1.39 billion into the levy in total, only £108million had been drawn through to the apprenticeship scheme. Plus, the number of new apprentices in the first quarter of the levy’s introduction was actually lower overall — on top of this, more than 80 per cent of levy-paying firms had not taken on an apprentice.

The levy may be appealing for smaller businesses, but a certain flexibility and overall review of the process is needed in order to boost the number of apprentices getting places at the larger, levy-paying firms.

The skills gap is, however, closing

There is some positive news in the world of apprenticeships though. The problematic skill gap that has plagued the construction industry is, slowly, closing.

With upskilling and training now taking a priority, apprentices are finding that there are more resources available to them once they find a placement. The levy may not be producing the rapid result companies were hoping for, but it does seem to be aiding in closing the skills gap — potentially, a review and amended levy could push this further.

While there has been progress in regards to apprenticeships in the construction sector, the issue is still very much an ongoing one.

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SD acquires H2O Sealants business in Leeds

October 29th, 2019 Comments off

Sealants and repairs group celebrates record third quarter with new acquisition

SD Sealants, the UK’s leading sealant and cosmetic repairs company is putting down roots in Yorkshire with the acquisition of Leeds-based company H2O Sealants.

Over the coming months, the business plans to expand its offering in the North of England and its latest acquisition is set to be the first of many developments in the area.

24.05.16 – SD Sealants –

The existing workforce at H2O Sealants will be coming under the SD banner this year.

On acquiring its first business in the North, SD Sealants Managing Director Nick Jones said; “We’re thrilled to be growing our team here in Yorkshire. After setting up our first SD offices in Leeds two years ago, the demand for work has increased exponentially and we’ve loved being involved in so many historic and new builds in the region.

“There is a great deal of skill and expertise to be found in the workforce up North and we’re looking forward to having some new faces on our team. We pride ourselves on having the best crew in the business and with the addition of the talented H2O team we’re excited to see this continue.” 

The SD sealants and cosmetic repairs team have this year been involved in a number of significant construction projects in the north of England, including Liverpool FC’s training ground, Merseyside and the Dewsbury and District Hospital, Yorkshire.

Nick added; “SD has just celebrated a record sales quarter from July to September this year, and on top of that we’re looking forward to marking an amazing third consecutive year of growth for the business with a new foothold in the north.

“We’ve had the opportunity to work on some fantastic projects in Yorkshire and beyond recently, and we look forward to welcoming some new members to the SD team who can help us to continue our hard work here.”

Launched in 1973, SD Sealants and Cosmetic Repairs originated as a family run business in Somerset that specialised in the supply and application of sealant. Since then, the business has gone from strength to strength, becoming one of the UK’s largest sealant companies, with eight offices across England, Scotland and Wales.

For more information, visit 

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Third phase of development work set to illuminate Royal Liver Building

October 28th, 2019 Comments off

The Royal Liver Building, Liverpool’s most iconic landmark and one of the UK’s most recognisable buildings, will for the first time in its 108 year history be brought to life through light. 

Following on from the recent announcement that the grade 1 listed building will be welcoming 43,000 sq ft of new office space, a coffee shop, bar and gym, the next phase of development is due to launch next month with a unique lighting experience.

The official launch will be the inaugural event that opens River of Light with a special show being created to commemorate the festival. Moving forward the Royal Liver Building’s light demonstrations will become an integral part of the city’s culture calendar as the building will have bespoke displays for special occasions.

The ongoing architectural lighting will form part of the legacy for the Royal Liver Building and represents just some of the significant investment that will see the iconic development open its doors to the public for the first time later this year with the building welcoming a host of new amenities. The extensive work will also see the Royal Liver Building diversify its occupier offering as c.500 sq ft office space will be available for small businesses.

The masterplan for the Royal Liver Building, developed and managed by real estate consultancy practice CBRE, is already coming to life with the iconic landmark being repositioned as a destination for both work and leisure. Earlier this year the RLB360 tour began which has seen over 32,000 visitors go behind the scenes of Liverpool’s most prestigious address in just five months.

Simon Hepple, Director for the National Building Consultancy team in Liverpool, commented: 

“CBRE have produced an incredibly exciting vision for the majestic Royal Liver Building as a world class office building, expanding and enhancing its contribution to the city and ability to attract more businesses.

On behalf of real estate investment manager Corestate Capital Group and trusted partners, we have drawn on expertise to develop a program of refurbishment to create a new dynamic visitor and occupier experience.

The new lighting experience is a vital part of the repositioning of the building and the first of its kind in the UK, showcasing Liverpool’s innovative spirit. We hope that it will bring joy to visitors to the city, serving as a location to meet, enhancing the waterfront and promoting the Royal Liver Building and Pier Head as a desirable destination to work and visit.

Lauren Blow, senior Lighting Designer at Arup said:

“The scheme aims to rediscover the magnificence and form of the Grade I Royal Liver Building during the hours of darkness with a timeless external lighting scheme which transforms into a story-telling platform each night.

The clocks and famous Liver Birds which adorn the Royal Liver Building are fundamental to the Liverpool story and city heritage and are interpreted during the light show. Millions of people have looked to these towers for the time of day and, throughout history, with the hope of security for their loved ones at sea. These towers will be brought back to life with light to reinstate the original purpose of the clock towers in a 21st century ‘digital’ format.”

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O.C.O Technology wins contract for managing APCr at new Ferrybridge Multifuel 2 power station

October 25th, 2019 Comments off

O.C.O Technology contract award for Ferrybridge Multifuel 2

O.C.O Technology has been awarded a 10-year contract with Ferrybridge Multifuel 2 (FM2) for the management of Air Pollution Control residues (APCr) arising from the new power station. 

O.C.O will process the residues using its Accelerated Carbonation Technology, whereby carbon dioxide reacts with the residues to create a carbon negative aggregate product. This manufactured limestone has many applications in construction, notably as an ingredient for use in the production of building blocks.

The FM2 power station, which is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2019,  will export in excess of 80MW (gross) / 73.5MW (net) of electricity to the local power network and the contract will ensure that up to 30,000 tonnes per year of the APCr is recycled, permanently capturing around 3,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. 

The 75,000 tonnes of manufactured limestone will also help preserve natural resources, with significant environmental benefits. The O.C.O process is unique in combining genuine carbon capture and utilisation whilst advancing the circular economy.

Managing Director of O.C.O Technology, Steve Greig, said: “We are delighted to have secured the contract. Our O.C.O facility in Leeds is gearing up to process the additional inputs, with recruitment of a third shift and the purchase of additional bulk powder tankers to transport the residues. The contract confirms our status as one of the world’s leading proponents of carbon capture and utilisation technology.”

Plant Manager for FM1 and FM2, Colin Drew, stated: “This contract means that FM2 will be a ‘zero to landfill’ site, fulfilling our ambitions towards sustainability. As O.C.O will process the APCr locally, the resulting employment will be in West Yorkshire and the transport miles between our two sites will be low, helping to minimise harm to the environment.”

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Winners of 2019 National Considerate Construction Scheme Company and Supplier Awards to be revealed

October 23rd, 2019 Comments off

The highest-performing construction companies and suppliers will be honoured at the upcoming Considerate Constructors Scheme’s National Awards.  

The Awards, which recognise Scheme-registered companies and suppliers that have excelled in their standards of considerate construction, will take place on 31 October and 1 November in central London.  

Fred Mills, The B1M’s Co-Founder and Managing Director, and Nick James, Partnerships Director at the CITB will be announcing whether each winning company and supplier has received a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award for their achievements. There will also be Runner-up Awards and winners for the coveted ‘Most Considerate Company’ and ‘Most Considerate Supplier’ Awards.  

Only the very top-performing companies and suppliers are eligible to win this year’s awards, based on their performance against the Scheme’s Code of Considerate Practice assessed between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019.  

Amanda Long, Chief Executive of the Considerate Constructors Scheme said: “The highest-performing Scheme-registered companies and suppliers are committed to raising the bar of considerate construction to higher standards, and we are delighted to be recognising these organisations at the upcoming National Company and Supplier Awards.” 

“The efforts and determination of high performing Scheme-registered companies and suppliers shows what can be possible no matter what size or type of organisation. Everyone has a crucial role to play in making our industry more considerate to our workforce, communities and the environment.” 

Follow all the latest from the award ceremonies on Twitter @CCScheme #ccsawards #loveconstruction 

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DIY Milestones: The Tasks You Should Master

October 23rd, 2019 Comments off

Younger generations are often criticised for not knowing the most basic DIY skills, but it’s not just millennials losing their DIY touch – it’s the whole of the UK. Last year, there were nearly 3 million Google searches regarding the most common DIY tasks – and that’s from Britain alone. 

That’s why Insulation Express have collaborated with a DIY & Home expert to drill down on the tasks you should have mastered by the ages of 16, 21, 30 and 40. Better yet, we’ve also uncovered the financial saving of learning how to do-it-yourself.

The DIY Skills You Should Know By Each Age Milestone

Being able to accomplish these skills not only gives you the freedom to work on home renovation projects but also a massive sense of achievement. Better yet, mastering these projects will save you a huge £2,450* in professional costs.

How many DIY milestones have you already got to grips with? Why not read on to discover how to become an expert in every task.

By the Time You’re 16

While you may be surprised to see the age 16 on this list, Creative DIY & Home Decor Expert, DiY Blonde® explains that “it is never too early to start practising and getting to grips with all things DIY.”

DiY Blonde® adds, “without even realizing, at school you would have been taught some basic DIY techniques like sewing on a button or wiring a plug, so there is no reason to not put these new skills into practice at home.”

“If you have teenagers, it is really important to encourage them to have a go at basic DIY. These small activities may not seem much, but knowing how to fix and adapt to the household is a great start on the road to adulthood.”

Change a Lightbulb

Professional Cost: £0

As one of the most simple DIY tasks, everyone should be able to do this by the age of 16 years old. Yet, 66,840 Britons googled how to change a lightbulb last year.

Changing a lightbulb is pretty straightforward. Firstly, remember to turn off the power, then let the bulb cool before touching and changing it.

Sew a Button

Professional Cost: £10 For 8 buttons

According to the fashion brand,‘Thought’, a third of Brits (33%) don’t know how to sew a button. As 8 million Brits admit to throwing out clothes that need repairing, learning how to sew a button could help lessen the clothing waste generated by Brits. 

Sewing a button is pretty straight forward. Firstly, use a knot and two tiny stitches to fasten the thread on to the inside of the garment. Then thread the needle through to the front of the fabric and onto the button. Sew three or four times through each buttonhole. Bringing the needle to the back of the item, and finish off by tying a knot

Wire a Plug

Professional Cost: £40 per hour

Whilst this may seem a tad intermediate for a 16-year-old to master, this handy skill is actually taught in high-school. But despite this, last year nearly 102,800 Brits searched ‘how to wire a plug’ in Google. 

By the Time You’re 21

At 21 years old you may be living away from home which will leave you feeling independent. With this in mind,  “the need to know some basic DIY is really important,” DiY Blonde® adds, as “you may, for example, find you have a dripping tap.”

Turn off the Water Supply

Professional Cost: £0

At this age, you may be living in rented accommodation, therefore, being able to turn off the water can be particularly handy in an emergency. Being able to do this will minimise any damage whilst you wait for your landlord to source a plumber.

To turn off the water supply to the house you will first need to find the stop tap. This is usually under the sink on the ground floor, however, if you live in a flat this might be outside. Turn the tap clockwise to turn the stop tap off. 

Construct Flat-Pack Furniture

Professional Cost: £35 – £70

“Projects such as attempting to construct flat-pack furniture can often feel like a drag, but the sense of achievement you will feel when you have built the furniture is surprisingly satisfying” claims DiY Blonde.  Plus there’s the added benefit of saving money as a professional will charge between £35 – £70 to construct a single piece of flat-pack furniture. 

If you decide to tackle flat-pack furniture yourself, you should construct it in the room you wish to place it. You may also want to find an assistant to help with reading the instructions or to hold things in place. Put all the fixings in a suitable place so they don’t get lost. Then, the most important thing – read the instructions! If you follow them correctly, it’s hard to go wrong. 

Hem Clothes

Professional Cost: £35 per item

Last year, 31,000 Brits searched how to hem their own clothes. However, more Brits (928,080) searched for a clothes tailor, which could set you back £35 per item. 

That’s why being able to make clothes shorter can be an essential life skill, saving you money by not needing a professional or new wardrobe.

Fix a Dripping Tap

Professional Cost: £94

Last year, ‘how to fix a tap’ was the most Googled DIY-related question Brits asked – racking up 348,746 searches. There’s no denying that a leaky tap can be both costly and annoying. What’s more, it may be a lengthy problem if your landlord is hesitant to shell out £94 for a professional to repair it. 

To fix a dripping tap, first, you will need to turn off the water supply. Next, locate the screw of the tap which is usually found underneath a decorative cap on top of the tap. Once you have located the screw you can take your tap apart. Lay all the parts on the side in order of when you took them off. This will help when you put the tap back together. Now you will either need to replace the ceramic disc, rubber washer or o-ring. This is dependent on your tap.

By the Time You’re 30

By the age of thirty, chances are that you’re in your ‘forever’ home (rented or bought) “so the need to be able to carry out some DIY is essential,” DiY Blonde® comments. Not only will you be saving money through DIY, but it will “inspire you to be creative with the décor in your home – having the freedom to change a room scheme whenever you desire.”

That’s why it’s good to know “simple DIY projects such as painting a wall or hanging a picture.”

Hang a Picture

Professional Cost: £138 for six pictures

Although hanging a picture seems like a straightforward task, it was the seventh most asked DIY query on Google last year. So much so that 244,360 Brits searched for it. For those who haven’t quite mastered this skill, you should have by the age of 30. 

But, to make it look effective you need to plan – use a measuring tape and a pencil to mark where you want to hang the picture. Once you have fixed the frame to the wall, use a spirit level to ensure it’s straight or consider using an app on your phone. 

Paint a Wall

Professional Cost: £1,500 for the whole house

Painting a wall can seem like a daunting task, but the end reward is so worth it. Once you know how to paint one wall you can paint your whole house and save yourself £1,500. The actual act is simple, you just need a bit of prep to make it work. 

Remove all of the furniture out of the room before you start. Then you should clean the walls, by either washing or vacuuming to remove any dust or dirt. Once you’ve done that, tape off the trim and anywhere else you want to protect – then you’re good to go.

Bleed a Radiator

Professional Cost: £100 for up to 10 radiators

This DIY task is a must for any homeowner. Which is probably why it’s the second most googled DIY question, with 348,746 Britons asking Google ‘how to bleed a radiator’ last year. If your home takes a while to heat up, or it’s colder than normal – you may have air trapped inside your radiator and you need to bleed it. This will cost you £100 for a professional to do it, or you can do-it-yourself completely free!

Firstly, you’ll want to turn the central heating off to avoid any hot water spraying out of the radiator. Place a bowl underneath the radiator, then turn the bleed screw slowly with your radiator key – just a half-turn, anti-clockwise. You should hear a hissing sound, hold a cloth close to avoid water dripping. When the hissing sound stops and water is trickling, tighten the screw. Once you have bled all your radiators you can turn the heating back on. 

Put Up a Shelf

Professional Cost: £88 per shelf

If you thought you could leave putting up shelves to the professionals, you’re wrong. Being able to put up shelves is a key skill in passing DIY school. This task is a bit more tricky, but once you’ve mastered it you will feel a big sense of achievement. Just think of all the shelves you can hang! 

Ensure there’s no electrical wires or pipes behind the wall before you start drilling. Hold the metal bracket on the wall – check it’s straight by using a spirit level or phone app. Then mark the fixing position on the wall with a pencil. Drill the holes in the marked positions, then gently hammer the wall plugs into the holes. Screw the metal brackets into place, then slide the shelf onto the bars. 

By the Time You’re 40

“With age, comes confidence and this can apply to pushing yourself to develop your practical skills further. By now you will probably find DIY a breeze and you won’t bat an eyelid at cleaning your gutters or changing a plug socket.” DiY Blonde® says.

You may even be inspired to take on your own dream build project, or start restoring furniture, “leading to sustainable living, which is very topical at present.”

But, DiY Blonde® says “the main benefit of expanding your DIY repertoire, is that it encourages you to stay active and it will keep your mind young.” 

Restore Furniture 

Professional Cost: £150 per item

Restoring furniture can mean anything from, repairing, reupholstering, or revarnishing. This can give an old piece of furniture a new lease of life, which can be particularly handy if you’re short on money, or just fancy remodelling your furniture into something else. 

Clean Gutters

Professional Cost: £150 

By the age of 40, you’ve probably lived in your home for some time now, so it’s more than likely that your gutters need cleaning. Having clean gutters is crucial in the overall maintenance of your home, it allows the rainfall to drain efficiently and helps to avoid dampness.

Whilst the task isn’t hard, it does require some physical effort and good safety practice. That’s why many leave it to professionals. But if you feel comfortable working at height and with ladders there’s no reason you can’t do it as this could save you up to £150. 

Before you begin, ensure you dress appropriately for the job and wear gloves.You can either use a scoop or your hands to remove the debris. Once the gutters are clear, use a hose to clear out any remnants. 

Wire a New Light Switch

Professional Cost: £75 per switch

‘How to wire a light switch’ was the fourth most-Googled DIY question for Brits last year. It received 319,190 searches. This is definitely one of the more tricky DIY jobs on our list, as you need to follow the rules around electrical safety and you must comply with electrical regulations. However, if you’re able to accomplish this you can save yourself £75 per switch and have the power to light up a room!

If you manage to complete all these DIY tasks, you would save yourself a colossal £2,450*, so it really pays to DIY. Even if you’re experienced or inexperienced with DIY, there’s always time to learn new projects and give you the satisfaction of a job well done! 

*Professional costs added up using averages from tradesmen prices.


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The effect of Brexit on overseas workers

October 22nd, 2019 Comments off

Despite the fact bookmakers such as Paddy Power will no doubt be offering rather tempting odds on an apocalyptic-style meltdown following the outcome of Brexit, it seems unlikely that even a crystal ball would even be able to provide an accurate prediction. One accepted impact, however, is the significant hit the workforce is going to take…

The UK’s approximate population currently stands at 67 million, with Poland representing the largest EU nationality group. 17 per cent of the people employed in the UK were born abroad and considering 3.7 million people living in the UK were born within the EU, the impacts are going to be stark. That said, which industries are going to suffer the most, with a diminished work force following Brexit.

After Brexit hits, seven in ten EU workers are expected to be lost and despite, what leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has argued regarding the mechanisation will keep us ticking, it appears the void will struggle to be filled. The Tory backbencher, one of the more prominent figures throughout the course of negotiations, pointed to the likes of self-service checkouts in supermarkets as a form of mechanisation which will enhance efficiency post-Brexit.

With the help of Lookers, who stock the Ford Transit Custom, we take a look at the sectors due to experience the bite.


The motor vehicle industry in the UK is a worth approximately £82 billion — a little more than a drop ocean. Making up 13 per cent of Britain’s annual exports, more than 800,000 people are employed in this sector. Although the workforce isn’t as heavily dominated by EU nationals as other industries, it is still set to feel the effects. Some manufacturers invest more in immigrant workers than others, for example.

A KPMG report laid out details that Vauxhall, based in Luton, regularly drafts in staff from its Opel base in Poland, while BMW called upon the help of 150 EU nationals to help develop one of their new models. John Neill, the Chief Executive of Unipart, detailed his fears that: “hard-line Brexiteers are in danger of destroying the British car industry”.

It isn’t just the jobs of EU nationals that are at risk however, as Ralf Speth argued. Speth, the CEO of JLR (Jaguar Land Rover) told the British Government Brexit could result in the manufacturer levying £1.2 billion in tariffs per year, placing thousands of jobs at risk.


One industry in the UK that is virtually dependent upon European nationals is fruit picking. Back in 2018, the Independent ran an article charting the drastic lack of British workers on farms in the UK. Speaking to recruitment company Concordia, the publication discovered that the recruiters, who assist more than 200 farms with employees, had received only two applications from Brits, out of more than 10,000 total applications.

There are more than 60,000 seasonal workers in total in the UK, but chief executive of the Berry Gardens Growers Cooperative, Jacqui Green, reported that throughout 2018 there was a 30-40 per cent decrease in labour. The vast majority of workers carrying out the role are from either Bulgaria or Romania, with Concordia’s chief executive, Stephanie Maurel explaining that Brits don’t want to do the job because of: “early hours, long days, and lack of affordable transport”.


The staffing crisis within the NHS is by no means a revelation. News outlets, think tanks, and the health service have been voicing their concerns for years regarding a serious lack in staff. However, estimates propose that an additional 51,000 nurses will be required after 2021. With eight per cent of nursing staff in the UK being EU nationals, it should come as no surprise that Brexit poses serious a risk to the future of the NHS.

The Nuffield Trust’ chief executive, Nigel Edwards, voiced his concerns and commented how Brexit could prove troubling to healthcare as a whole. For example, social care is facing a gap of 70,000 workers by the year 2025. A report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research noted that the number of EU workers joining the NHS after the EU referendum had fallen by 17.6 per cent. The cost associated with alleviating the pressure on the NHS estimated at £900m, including introducing more workers and training them.


Some of the most severe impacts regarding the workforce will be felt within the hospitality industry however.  It is expected that 60,000 workers will be lost every year. This is a significant amount, considering that 700,000 of the 4.5m strong workforce within the industry as a whole are from the EU. On average, the number of EU workers in a hotel in the UK is between 12.5 and 25 per cent however, in some cases its between 35 and 40 per cent.

Harry Murray, who is the president of hotel association HOSPA, suggests despite the fact the figures make for concerning reading, this presents an opportunity for British workers. In particular, it would be an opportunity for those aged over 55 interested in re-entering the workforce. Murray, who has worked in the industry for more than 50 years, suggests that those in that demographic could be offered vocational training, helping plug the inevitable gap in the market. He notes: “Our biggest challenge now is to attract people to join the industry”.

European nationals and overseas workers play a major role in almost every industry here in the UK. For this reason, Brexit is sure to have an impact. But accurately predicting the course of the events is near impossible.

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