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Archive for December, 2019

IronmongeryDirect festive donation brings Christmas cheer to women’s refuge

December 23rd, 2019 Comments off
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Kind-hearted staff at online ironmongery supplier, IronmongeryDirect, have gone the extra mile to collect Christmas gifts, decorations and food for families at the Basildon-based Changing Pathways Refuge, which provides safe accommodation to women and children who are experiencing domestic abuse.

The IronmongeryDirect team collected over 100 gifts for almost 40 children at the refuge, as well as donating a large selection of festive decorations and food including string lights, tinsel and wrapping paper. IronmongeryDirect also held a staff raffle, raising a grand total of £1,000 for the charity. The proceeds will help to support families who would otherwise go without this Christmas.

David Saxby, Senior Category Manager at IronmongeryDirect and collection organiser, said: “Changing Pathways is an incredible charity which provides support and refuge to vulnerable women and their children. As a team, it has been fantastic to rally together this December to collect gifts and help to bring some festive cheer for families at the refuge this Christmas.”

Philippa Robson, Chief Executive Officer at Changing Pathways, said: “We can’t thank the team at IronmongeryDirect enough for bringing some much needed joy at this time of year. The continued generosity from businesses and individuals in our community means so much, especially during the festive period which is often a difficult time of year for our families.”

For more information about Changing Pathways, visit:

For more information about IronmongeryDirect, visit:  


The Royal Liver Building launches new ‘Christmas Show’ light display

December 19th, 2019 Comments off

Liverpool’s most recognisable building, The Royal Liver Building, will light up with the magic of Christmas this year, for the first time in its 108-year history.

Following on from five successful light displays, including the building’s inaugural display, Flight, as part of the River of Light Festival, ‘Christmas Show’ will capture the spirit of the festive period and give onlookers the chance to see the stunning exterior of Liverpool’s most globally recognised landmark illuminated in the Christmas story.

The illuminations have been organised by real estate consultancy practice CBRE and designed by engineering and consultancy firm, Arup. For ‘Christmas Show’, Arup have created a Christmas story for spectators to enjoy, featuring light scenes of snowfall, Reindeer, Santa Claus and Liverpool’s own Liverbirds, ‘Bertie and Bella’, taking their place at the top of the Christmas tree.

The display will run daily from 13th December until 30th December at both 6pm and 7pm. On Christmas Day and Boxing Day the display will be shown at 5pm, 6pm and 7pm.

Specialised light displays have become a permanent feature of The Royal Liver Building, as part of the site’s redevelopment and the city’s cultural calendar, as the building offers bespoke displays for special occasions.

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, with a host of new amenities planned, including new office space, a coffee shop, bar and gym. Earlier in 2019, Heritage Great Britain opened the flagship tourist attraction RLB360 inside the Grade I listed building, which has seen over 30,000 visitors go behind the scenes of Liverpool’s most prestigious address in just six months.

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

“The new lighting experience is a vital part of the repositioning of the Royal Liver Building as a world-class office building and leisure destination. We hope that ‘Christmas Show’ will bring joy to spectators during the festive period whilst also showcasing the iconic building to both locals and visitors to the city.

CBRE have produced an incredibly exciting vision for the Grade I listed building aimed at expanding its contribution to the city and enhancing its ability to attract more business to Liverpool and in particular to the city’s famous waterfront.”

For more details about the Royal Liver Building’s ‘Christmas Show’ please visit:


Now time for Boris to prove his worth

December 18th, 2019 Comments off

Boris Johnson has won the battle of the ‘least worst’ parties to secure a surprisingly large majority Conservative government.

But the country is hardly getting out the bunting after an underwhelming election campaign from all sides.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s brand of socialism has now lost twice at the ballot box and surely it is time for the party to take another tack if they actually want to win power.

Being battered by the Tories in their current state takes some doing.

Obviously Brexit played a huge role in the voting.

But Corbyn and his team managed to scare off business in their zeal to fund spending promises by “bashing the billionaires”.

Not every business person is a superyacht owner.

Small and medium sized enterprises are the backbone of this country so threatening them with rampant corporation and dividend tax rises was electoral suicide.

Corbyn’s most positive legacy may well be to end austerity by proxy.

Labour’s mega-spending manifesto prompted the Tories to promise an end to years of cuts.

Now they must follow through with that to end the national scandal of rough sleeping, food banks and under-funded public services.

The Prime Minister has also made a great play of investing in infrastructure.

For those words not to ring hollow HS2 and the expansion of Heathrow must be green-lighted within days.

Construction will hope for a period of stability and increased public spending as the economy braces itself for the full impact of Brexit.

Hopefully our exit from the EU will be with a less-damaging deal rather than the nuclear no-deal option.

The country voted against Jeremy Corbyn because he was too left wing.

The fear is Boris Johnson may be too right wing if he continues to pander to the rabid flank of his party.

Let’s hope both sides move to the middle in the coming years for the sake of construction and the country.



December 17th, 2019 Comments off

Trans-Atlantic shipping line ICL Agencies UK Ltd, has extended its lease at Princes Dock, part of Peel L&P’s Liverpool Waters, through to the end of 2028, to support the organisation’s ongoing growth.

ICL has occupied 6,500 sq ft at Princes Dock since 2013. This new lease extension, working with commercial property consultants Worthington Owen, will mean that the business will have called Liverpool Waters its home for 15 years.

Paul Sanders, general manager at ICL Agencies UK, said:

“We are delighted to reaffirm our commitment to Liverpool and look forward to being part of the continued growth of the Princes Dock development. 

“Liverpool Waters offers a fantastic environment right here in the city centre and has proven to be the perfect location for us to continue to grow our business. It has been exciting to see so much progress happening at Princes Dock recently and we’re looking forward to seeing even more businesses joining the community here at Liverpool Waters.”

It has been a busy year for Liverpool Waters at Princes Dock, with a number of businesses, including most recently, Odin Consulting, Epic Finance, choosing Liverpool Waters to expand their operations or use the location as a catalyst for growth.

Liza Marco, asset manager at Liverpool Waters, part of Peel L&P, said:

“It has been an incredibly exciting year, with a host of new businesses having chosen to locate themselves at Liverpool Waters, taking advantage of the excellent facilities and its unique waterfront destination in Liverpool. Princes Dock is a fantastic location and having recently been named the safest area in Liverpool, it’s no surprise that so many businesses are choosing to base themselves here.

“It is always brilliant to see one our existing tenants commit to their future at Liverpool Waters and we’re delighted that ICL with be with us for many years to come.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about available space at Liverpool Waters, visit


Ten steps to safe truss installation

December 16th, 2019 Comments off

Weatherproofing a new build home is essential as winter sets in, and applying good practice when it comes to working with trussed rafters will help make the process run smoothly.

Housebuilders can also keep safe through this process by accessing health and safety information and safe ways of working provided by the Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) and its members.

Here are ten tips to safely install a simple domestic roof.

Step 1

Make sure wall plates are level and secured to load bearing walls. Mark the position of the trusses on both wall plates.

Step 2

Mechanically (this is the preferred method) or manually lift the first truss onto the roof in the vertical plane. Install the first truss so that it coincides with the position of the end of the rafter diagonal bracing when fitted. Checking the temporary works plan, brace the first truss to both wall plates using the correct size of bracing and fixings.

Step 3

Install the second truss ensuring its production face matches the first truss by checking the labels or markings on the truss. Brace back to the first truss with temporary horizontal bracing along the rafters and ceiling tie members. Make sure both trusses are vertical.

Step 4

Install the third truss towards the gable end in the correct orientation by checking the details described in step 3.  Check it is vertical and fix it to the temporary bracing along the rafters and ceiling ties to create a stable unit. Install further trusses with temporary bracing back to this stable unit.

Step 5

Fix the permanent diagonal braces to the inner face of the rafters at 45 degrees. This will be nailed to the wall plate at the lower end and then fixed as high up on the first truss as possible but leaving space for the apex brace. All permanent braces should be a minimum 22 x 97mm timber, dry and defect free. Each truss should be fixed with 2 no. 3.1mm x 65mm long mechanically driven gun nails or 3.35mm dia. x 75mm long galvanised nails. Bracing may be jointed provided it spans at least two trussed rafters.

Step 6

Fix all remaining longitudinal bracing to rafters, struts and ceiling ties. Remember all bracing is repeated on both sides of the roof.

Step 7

The temporary bracing can now be removed allowing any outstanding trusses to be installed using the completed section of the roof as a means to temporarily brace them.

Step 8

At this stage all remaining longitudinal, diagonal and chevron bracing specified should be fixed, along with the metal restraining straps, to the gable end. If using ‘top hat’ trusses, the upper section can now be connected.

Step 9

Once installed but before felting and battening the roof, double check that all trusses are aligned vertically and are restrained from bowing out of the vertical plane.

Step 10

If access to high level bracing or ‘top hat’ trusses is required, this must be considered during the site-specific risk assessment. Access can be safely achieved using proprietary equipment such as ‘DTE Safe Step’ or ‘STA access system.’ Or additional timber members can be incorporated within the design to form a support for a temporary access platform. This needs to be requested during the design stage.

Finally, trusses should never be cut or adjusted in any way. Change should only be made with the prior knowledge and consent of the trussed rafter designer.

For further advice on trusses and their applications please visit


Trussed Rafter Association urges new government to deliver on housing promises

December 13th, 2019 Comments off

Commenting on day one of the new Conservative government, Nick Boulton, chief executive

of the Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) said:

“Throughout the election campaign, a consistent need raised by people in all communities across the country was the need for more, and better, housing. The Conservatives pledged to tackle that, promising measures to help first-time buyers and boost new housebuilding, targeting the delivery of at least a million more new homes over the next five years. While lower than their previous target from 2017, which had been to build 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s, it is probably more realistic given the severe skills shortages in the sector. What matters now is delivery on those promises.

“Housebuilding fulfils a basic social and public need, but also stimulates a vital supply chain of goods, skills and materials to act as a multiplier across the economy. While we all recognise that Brexit will once again dominate the agenda next year, we are urging the new government to also use its first 100 days to tackle the housing crisis through rapid planning reforms, support for more affordable housing development via local councils, fast progress with the regulatory changes on fire safety, and continued support for high quality MMC. In particular, we will also continue to push for major new housebuilding programmes in 2020 to be tied to the UK’s zero carbon targets. The timber supply chain in construction is ready and waiting to support this, solving problems across multiple policy areas.

“As a member of the Confederation of Timber Industries (CTI), the TRA assisted the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Timber Industries and helped it to quantify the benefits of timber in construction, including lowering carbon emissions, speeding up delivery, improving quality and creating local jobs.

“The APPG report published earlier this year clearly identifies ways in which we can help housebuilding happen by ensuring greater productivity, higher quality and better performance standards in buildings, more job opportunities and stronger local economic growth, all while improving the sustainability of housing in the UK with a reduced carbon footprint. Like other organisations within the CTI, we will be taking this report to the newly elected MPs and to local authorities to show how they can improve their housing delivery and housing stock in their own communities.”


How Mercedes Dominate with Technological Innovation

December 13th, 2019 Comments off

A leading car brand in the automotive industry, the German manufacturer, Mercedes, have mastered the art of luxury engineering. This highlights that Mercedes aren’t just luxury vehicle engineers, they’re innovators too.

This should hardly be surprising given the fact that Karl Benz, back in 1886, was patented with the rights to the development of the first ever car, a three-wheel vehicle, titled Motorwagen. It’s also unsurprising that this brand, originally from Stuttgart, are the creators of some of the most premium models of vehicles we’ve been graced with.

Popularly known as the G-Class, the Gelandewagen is a SUV like never before. Initially built as a military vehicle back in the late 70s, it has become synonymous with the affluent members of society throughout the world. Sharp edges and a bold frame sit outside the natural smooth ergonomic design of Mercedes-Benz. However, there is no denying that this is a fan favourite —the six-wheel model even became popular with the Pope. Meanwhile, the 300 SL model, recognisable from a movie series featuring a certain Mr Bond, was the car that helped bring Benz back after the Second World War.

Without a doubt the most iconic vehicle in the Mercedes lock up, despite astounding capabilities on the race track and an exterior design which makes it look like it belongs on the winding roads of the French Riviera accompanying a Stella Artois advert, it wasn’t that that made the car so memorable. Gullwing doors, opening up as opposed to out, were a first — but, despite what one may think, this wasn’t a style choice. In fact, the shape of the car’s chassis prevented conventional doors being included.

After Benz’s successes over the years, they have certainly been on the frontline of technological innovation which allowed them to perform better than their competitors. If you’ve had your Mercedes Gle in for a service, you’re probably aware of the main features these beasts have to offer. However, further into this article, we will take a look at ways the German manufacturer has kept a distance between themselves in and other automotive companies in the industry, maintaining the title of tech leaders.

When Imagination Becomes Real Life

The F200 model was initially introduced as a concept prototype with a wide range of technological augmentations. Helping form the basis of the design used in the S-Class and the CL-Class, the F200 imagination, interestingly, didn’t include side mirrors or your standard rear-view. Instead of these features that aid visibility, the F200 included four cameras mounted in the corners of the roof, and one additional camera fixed to the rear bumper.

Output from the cameras was fed to a digital screen where the mirror would typically be located. Despite the fact cars in 2019 are still using mirrors, quite remarkably, the F200 started a revolution that would see parking cameras included in the vast majority of vehicles. Meanwhile, ambience was high up on the list of priorities of the F200, with an industry first lector-transparent glass roof, which, with the touch of a button, would morph from see-through to opaque.

Creation of the Airbag

It’s hard to believe that airbags weren’t always a necessary feature of cars. Back in 1981, after more than a decade of development and testing, undoubtedly the world’s most crucial safety feature was finally introduced. Becoming a common feature in all Mercedes vehicles as of 1992, two years before the passenger side airbag was introduced, there is no denying that the airbag has transformed automotive health and safety.

Anti-lock Brakes

The concept of the anti-lock brakes was originally created by Gabriel Voisin in 1929, which prevents wheels from locking. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s when a joint venture between Bosch and Mercedes saw the system introduced into production vehicles. Now, ABS, which helps the driver maintain control of the vehicle, is a standard feature on every vehicle following the introduction by Mercedes. The safety in vehicles was rapidly enhanced as a result.

Implementation of Touch-Sensitive Controls

A concept which has completely revolutionised motoring is ease of use,

Ease of use is an increasingly important aspect of motoring, for example consider cruise control and how this has drastically enhanced the everyday driving experience. Back in 2017, Mercedes unveiled the tech features available on their next generation E-Class, one of which being an innovative system which lets the driver control the infotainment system from the steering-wheel using finger swipes. Not only is the system effortless and considerably safer than the alternatives, it was also an industry first when Mercedes rolled it out.

It is undeniable that Mercedes are an industry leader in the automotive industry. From innovation in safety to amusement, Mercedes have truly thought of it all. One step ahead of their competitors, we can’t wait to see what other advancements they have under their sleeve.


ENGIE Celebrates Hamilton Road Project with Groundbreaking Ceremony

December 12th, 2019 Comments off

Energy, services and regeneration specialist, ENGIE held a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, November 29, to mark the commencement of a £2.5 million construction project in Bellshill.

The development, in partnership with the Clyde Valley Housing Association, will see derelict land on Hamilton Road transformed into 24 brand new, energy efficient affordable homes; eight one-bedroom cottages and 16 two-bedroom cottage flats across six blocks.

The aim of the project is to help regenerate the area, enhancing its visual appeal, in addition to bringing life to brownfield land. The infrastructure works will ensure the new homes will be energy efficient and affordable – placing local residents and businesses at the heart of the project.

Regional Managing Director of ENGIE’s Places & Communities division, Brian Pettigrew, commented, “This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the new project in Bellshill, we’re excited to kick-start the scheme, especially as the town plays host to ENGIE’s regional offices.

“We strongly believe that by using a local workforce, we can engage the local community and offer employment and training opportunities, in addition to working with our local partners to identify groups that would benefit from ENGIE’s support.

“We’re keen to be working in partnership with Clyde Valley Housing Association, and to have the opportunity to transform the disused space into energy-efficient homes which will benefit the local community.”

Allan Murray, chairperson of CVHA said, “We are pleased to be delivering these 24 properties in partnership with ENGIE. There is strong demand for properties across North Lanarkshire and in particular within Bellshill and this development will go some way in meeting local need.”

Work on the 24 new homes on Hamilton Road is expected to be completed in April 2020.  

For further information on ENGIE, visit 


Why it’s Important to Reduce the Effects of Human-induced Vibrations in Engineering

December 11th, 2019 Comments off

Human induced vibration is when footfall causes vibrations in structures. This might sound dangerous to a structure’s integrity, but the effects from human induced vibrations are more likely to cause discomfort in people rather than ruin the design. It’s important for engineers to make their structures secure and comfortable for people to pass through, so in this article we’ll explore what can actually happen from these vibrations.

Resonance and Fluttering Vibrations

Two of the main effects of vibrations on structures are resonance and aeroelastic fluttering.

Resonance vibrations happen when two objects vibrate at the same natural frequency as each other. Think singing to break a wine glass! Although the person singing isn’t touching the glass, the vibrations of their voice are resonating with the glass’s natural frequency, causing this vibration to get stronger and stronger and eventually, break the glass.

However, aeroelastic flutter is slightly different. A force is applied to an object, which causes it to shake. It’s not necessarily at the same frequency as the object’s natural vibration, but it makes the object move all the same.

When an object resonates, it flutters too. But not everything that flutters is necessarily resonating. This is how confusion over disasters such as the Tacoma Bridge collapse occur — for a long time, and to this day, the event is used as a textbook example of resonance. However, it’s been argued that the bridge’s collapse wasn’t caused by resonance, but by fluttering.

Human induced vibrations are categorised as fluttering because human movement is applying force which causes the structure to vibrate. Some instances would also see resonation happening too, but it wouldn’t be a certainty. Engineers must, of course, design to reduce the damage or discomfort caused by either fluttering or resonating. 

Human-induced Vibrations Effects

Human induced vibration can lead to several affects upon the structure and its users. These include:

  • Having damaging effects on sensitive equipment. Depending on the building’s purpose, what it houses can be affected by the vibrations of people using the building. Universities, for example, may have sensitive equipment whose accuracy and performance could be damaged by vibrations.
  • Causing bridges to sway. One of the most famous examples of resonance, human induced vibrations, and fluttering all impacting a structure occurred with the Millennium Bridge. As people walked across the bridge, the vibrations and swaying caused oscillations in the bridge. Everyone crossing the bridge would then sway at the same time to avoid falling over, resulting in a cycle of increasing and amplifying the swaying effect.
  • Causing human heath to suffer. According to research, vibrations in buildings and structures can cause depression and even motion sickness in inhabitants. Buildings naturally respond to external factors such as the wind or human footfall within. This low-frequency vibration can be felt, even subconsciously, by people. It has been argued that modern designs featuring thinner floor slabs and wider spacing in column design mean that these new builds are not as effective at dampening vibrations as older buildings are. 
  • Threatening structural integrity. The build-up of constant vibrations on a structure can, eventually, lead to structural integrity being compromised. A worse-case scenario would be the complete collapse of said structure.

Reducing the Effects

Unlike older designs, modern designs have an affinity for thinner slabs and wider column spacing, which makes them prone to vibrations. Using structural design software at the design stage is an effective method for engineers to test footfall on a design and see the resulting vibrations.

Vibrations are always going to happen, so it’s important for engineers to make sure the effects are reduced as much as possible.



December 10th, 2019 Comments off

Here at My Tool Shed, we thought we’d take a look to see how much some of the fastest-growing cities across the world have vastly evolved over the last 30 years. To highlight this, we wanted to go beyond just showing you stats and figures. As a result. we’ve created gifs that show five cities (Doha, Dubai, Las Vegas, Manama and Singapore) transforming from how they looked from the sky back in 1988, all the way through to last year and each year in between. So, read on and see how these cities have changed.



The economic growth of Dubai eclipses most others. Its initial boom was, like most other Middle Eastern cities, down to its oil supplies, but what most people don’t realise about Dubai is that its supply was modest compared to neighbouring cities and countries. Consequently, Dubai focused resources on tourism and in 2002, reforms allowed foreigners to own real estate. The industry boomed overnight, which is apparent when you discover that oil accounts for only 1% of Dubai’s GDP.

Dubai Evolving

City Stats

City Population End Of 1988 = 416,000

City Population End Of 2018 = 2,785,000

Increase (Number) = 2,369,000

Increase (%) = 569%



Manama is the capital and largest city of Bahrain. It’s been an important trading centre in the Persian Gulf historically, but its main growth recently has been a result of oil. In the ‘90s a concerted diversification effort led to expansion in other industries helping Manama develop into a financial hub in the Middle East.

Manama Evolving

City Stats

City Population End Of 1988 = 123,000

City Population End Of 2018 = 565,000

Increase (Number) = 442,000

Increase (%) = 359%

Las Vegas

Las Vegas

Billed as the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas is the home of nightlife. Casinos, bars, clubs, shopping, fine dining, you name it, Vegas has it. Not surprisingly, it’s the most populous city in the state of Nevada, but you might be surprised to discover that it’s becoming favoured more and more by families and those retiring too.

Las Vegas’s population was to hit 2 million in 2006 but thanks to a recession that number wasn’t met. However, it’s steadily recovering, now the 11th fastest-growing metropolitan area in the U.S. according to Forbes, with projected growth to 3.32 million by 2042, a 67% increase over 30 years, making it one of the largest expected population booms in the United States.

Las Vegas Evolving

City Stats

City Population End Of 1988 = 642,000

City Population End Of 2018 = 2,541,000

Increase (Number) = 1,899,000

Increase (%) = 296%



Doha is located on the coast of the Persian Gulf in the east of the country and is the capital and most populous city of the state of Qatar. Not only is it the most populous, it’s also the fastest-growing, with over 80% of the nation’s population living in the city or its surrounding suburbs. The city was founded in the 1820s when it became an offshoot of Al Bidda, previously the largest town in Qatar and became the country’s capital in 1971. It’s recognised as one of the emergent financial centres in the Middle East and has its own purpose-built artificial island off its coast called The Pearl.

Doha Evolving

City Stats

City Population End Of 1988 = 226,000

City Population End Of 2018 = 633,000

Increase (Number) = 407,000

Increase (%) = 180%



Singapore is technically known as a sovereign island city-state. Its territory consists of one main island and 62 other islets and has increased 23% in total size due to extensive land reclamation. It’s also one of the Four Asian Tigers, also known as Dragons or Little Dragons, which are the economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. These territories have become both world-leading international financial centres (Hong Kong & Singapore) and electrical component and device manufacturers (South Korea & Taiwan). They enjoyed rapid industrialisation and exceptionally high growth rates between the ‘60s and ‘90s and have served as role models for many other developing countries such as the ones included in the Tiger Club of South Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam).



Johor neighbours Singapore on the coast of mainland Malaysia. Its capital city is Johor Bahru, which is also the economic centre of the state. Currently Malaysia’s third largest city, it’s one that’s rapidly growing with its population increasing 162% in the last 30 years. Similarly to Singapore, Johor Bahru hosts many of the world’s top electronics manufacturers but is considered far more of an industrial city rather than one for tourism.

Singapore & Johor Evolving

City Stats

Singapore Population End Of 1988 = 2,877,000

Singapore Population End Of 2018 = 5,792,000

Singapore Increase (Number) = 2,915,000

Singapore Increase (%) = 101%

Johor Bahru Population End Of 1988 = 375,000

Johor Bahru Population End Of 2018 = 983,000

Johor Increase (Number) = 608,000

Johor Increase (%) = 162%

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