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Construction Firms Missing Out On Tens of Thousands of Pounds

December 15th, 2017 No comments

Construction companies in the UK continue to miss out on tens of thousands of pounds of Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credits, according to the latest figures released by HMRC.

The research shows that despite R&D Tax Credits aiming to drive innovation, construction firms’ R&D claims continue to fall behind other sectors with companies claiming a total amount of £45m in 2016.

The analysis indicates a positive trend for construction firms with an increase of 29 per cent in the total value of Tax Credits claimed since 2015, compared to the average for all sectors of 25 per cent.

However, it is still significantly below other sectors such as Manufacturing which secured £860m in R&D tax claims and Professional, Scientific & Technical which claimed back £635m. Furthermore, the average received per R&D tax claim by construction companies was only £64,000.

Overall, construction accounted for just 2.7 per cent of total claims and 1.7 per cent of the total tax benefits claimed.

This research provides evidence that many construction companies continue to miss out on this valuable tax relief initiative, and according to one of the UK’s leading R&D Tax Credit specialist the Momentum Group, this is due to a number of reasons. These include a lack of awareness and not understanding which activities and costs qualify for this purpose.

Momentum Group Managing Director, Tom Verner, commented: “One of the biggest issues with construction companies claiming their full R&D tax relief, is that many believe R&D Tax Credits are only available for traditional research sectors and ‘white coat’ industries.

“Interestingly, the statistics show that SME’s are driving the growth in claims, accounting for 77% of construction companies’ total R&D Tax Credit claims. This is positive for SMEs in operating in the construction sector which need all the help they can get. As a UK company specialising solely in R&D Tax Credits, Momentum partners with construction companies of all sizes to ensure they claim what they are legitimately entitled to.” he continued.

Tom added: “These claims are so important in encouraging companies to innovate and by not taking advantage of this available tax relief, construction firms risk stagnating their growth and restricting their competitiveness which effectively holds back our overall economy. Relief can be in the form of cash, or a reduction in corporation tax liability.”

Momentum has been working hard to raise awareness of R&D Tax Credits amongst companies in construction. The company is successfully working with leading accountants, banks and financial institutions and many others across the UK to raise the profile of this generous tax relief.

The R&D specialists are calling on all construction businesses and their accountants to take action this year to explore this valuable incentive.

For more information on Momentum visit www.momentumgroupni.com

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Which listed buildings could be yours?

December 12th, 2017 No comments

Which listed buildings could be yours?

There are many beautiful listed buildings across the UK. There are a few on the market that could become yours if you can offer the right asking price!

Lycetts, listed building insurance provider, have brought to us ten listed buildings which are on sale right now to help you make your dreams of owning something truly unique a reality:

Durham — The Castle

The location: Castle Eden, County Durham

The grade: Grade II

The construction date: 1765

Main features: Fancy hosting a party for all of the extended family? You’ll never be short of sleeping space in this property. Boasting nine bedrooms and 14 acres of land — there’s enough space for everyone! Also find a stone-style wine vault, a palm house orangery and a cupola dome that will remind you of Rome’s Basilisca as part of the property.

Walking inside The Castle, you’ll find more luxurious furnishings. Features include a sweeping staircase, a formal drawing room, a games room and two storeys of fully-furnished bedrooms complete with bathrooms.

The asking price: £2,990,000

De Vere House in Suffolk

Where is it situated? Water Street, Lavenham, Suffolk, CO10

What is the grade? Grade I

When was it constructed? Information not available.

What are the notable features? You could be the envy of all Harry Potter fans as this property was part of the set of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. The exterior is designed to impress with exposed timbers, herringbone design, leaded mullions and ornate carved timbers.

Inside is not short of luxury either — a stone spiral staircase which comes complete with a carved brick handrail, a huge timber frame, traditional fireplaces and both Medieval and Tudor wall paintings could all be yours.

How much do you need for it to be yours? £995,000

The Old Coach House in Shropshire

Where is it situated? Badger, Shropshire, WV6 7JP

What is the grade? Grade II

When was it constructed? Built in the 18th century, though remodelled in the mid-19th century.

What are the notable features? This property has been around for a lot of history — it was once used as either a coach or a cart house. Today however, the property is host to a granary on the first floor with open shelter below, an oak framed orangery and conservatory, integrated double garages and approximately 0.25 acres of private garden space.

How much do you need for it to be yours? £650,000

Dukes Place in Kent

Where is it situated? Mereworth Road, West Peckham, Kent, ME18 5JH

What is the grade? Grade I

When was it constructed? Early 15th century

What are the notable features? There are exposed timbers and oak doors which are all inspired by the Tudor era. There are plenty of additions that come with this property too — secondary accommodation, a heated swimming pool, tennis courts and a vegetable garden.

How much do you need for it to be yours? £2,975,000

Dalmoak Castle in Dumbarton

Where is it situated? Renton Road, Dumbarton, G2 4HQ

What is the grade? Grade I

When was it constructed? While an Estate called Dalmoak has been around since the Middle Ages and a structure was in place of today’s building from the 15th century, Dalmoak Castle wasn’t built until between 1866 and 1868 by architect Alexander Watt.

What are the notable features? The castle is recognised by many as a castellated mansion house which comes complete with a tall tower. Once you enter the property you are met with a central hall with an imperial set of stairs, the property’s interior also features a drawing room featuring ceiling plasterwork and scagliola columns and a collection of stained glass windows.

How much do you need for it to be yours? £1,700,000

The Mill House in Norfolk

Where is it situated? Shotesham St Mary, Norfolk

What is the grade? Grade II

When was it constructed? Information not available.

What are the notable features? Living at The Mill House, you’ll always be entertained thanks to the Georgian-fronted property’s four bedrooms and collection of outbuildings. Another attraction is its location — set across from the River Tas.

How much do you need for it to be yours? £695,000

Whittington Old Hall in Staffordshire

Where is it situated? The parish of Whittington, in Lichfield, Staffordshire

What is the grade? Grade II

When was it constructed? Built in the 17th century, though extended and restored in 1891.

What are the notable features? Famous as one of the first great houses of Staffordshire, this property is not one to be missed. Key features include a 19th century Jacobean style timber fireplace surround that is heavily carved in relief, a parlour designed with floor to ceiling oak panelling and a stair window designed with stained glass and etched with the motto “WHERE ‘ERE / WE ROAM / AN ENGLISH MOTHER / IN AN ENGLISH HOME”.

How much do you need for it to be yours? £825,000

Hayes Manor in Gloucestershire

Where is it situated? Viney Hill, Lydney, Gloucestershire, GL15

What is the grade? Grade II

When was it constructed? The 16th century.

What are the notable features? The size is an impressive feature of this house. The 16th century manor house is host to four bedrooms and over an acre of gardens too.

How much do you need for it to be yours? £750,000

The Chantry in Devon

Where is it situated? Honiton, Devon

What is the grade? Grade I

When was it constructed? Estimated to have been built circa 1500s, though extended and modernized in 1937.

What are the notable features? A remarkable staircase is one memorable feature of this property. It was once described as a “remarkable staircase of heart and oak” by Richard Polwhele when covering his History of Devonshire.

The property is built from local flintstone and includes impressive features such as an old bread oven and a beamed dining room. Gardens surround the chantry where a thatched summerhouse sits and huge glasshouse. There is also a small stream that borders the property.

How much do you need for it to be yours? £775,000

Wilton Castle in Herefordshire

Where is it situated? Wilton, Ross-On-Wye, Herefordshire, HR9 6AD

What is the grade? Grade I

When was it constructed? Originally built circa 1300, though partly demolished to make way for a house in the 16th century which then became ruinous, and was thus adapted into a reduce house during the early part of the 19th century.

What are the notable features? The location is one impressive feature of this property as it sits across from the River Wye.

Recently the subject of an impressive restoration programme, the Castle features architecture from a range of eras including the Norman, Tudor, Elizabethan, Georgian and Victorian eras alike. It is also home to the spectacular Great Tower, Medieval castle walls and the ruins of a Tudor manor house.

How much do you need for it to be yours? £1,495,000

Sources:

The Castle:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4941734/Grade-II-listed-castle-complete-sale-3million.html

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1001311

De Vere House:

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-67510955.html

The Old Coach House:

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1367638

Dukes Place:

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1070672

Dalmoak Castle:

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-65526191.html

The Mill House:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/property/period-property/9821700/Britains-best-listed-buildings-for-sale.html?frame=2459965

Whittington Old Hall:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/property/period-property/9821700/Britains-best-listed-buildings-for-sale.html?frame=2459972

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1038870

Hayes Manor:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/property/period-property/9821700/Britains-best-listed-buildings-for-sale.html?frame=2459973

The Chantry:

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-54648563.html

Wilton Castle:

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1214349

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AVOIDING A VOID WITH GROUT

December 8th, 2017 No comments

Applying grout to steel columns and the like sounds simple in theory, but in practise it is quite a specialist process. As with most things in life, lack of proper preparation will lead to poor results.

Filling the gap that exists between a steel plate and substrate when used to secure columns and machinery requires a grout that is easily poured and flows evenly around the void. This is best achieved by installing wooden formwork around the base plate and pouring into a header box/hopper for continuous flow to ensure an even application and prevent any air entrapment.

With cementitious grout, its long-term success is largely decided at the mixing stage – too much water will affect its overall strength; too little will affect its flowable capabilities. As an alternative void-filler for base plates and such, it’s not uncommon for builders to use hand-applied repair mortar. But this is far from ideal as an even application is almost impossible to achieve, thus air bubbles and gaps are a likely result.

 

Sink the shrink

Any product containing cement will ultimately shrink and create gaps; therefore a shrinkage compensated grout is essential. If applying a grout to a concrete substrate it’s essential to pre-soak the substrate in clean water for a minimum of two hours beforehand. Failure to do so is likely to result in the concrete extracting from the grout, affecting its cure, leaving a potential for cracking and reduced adhesion.

The SikaGrout® range contains high-quality, flowable, cementitious grouts for general purpose or large commercial applications. SikaGrout® 111GP, for instance, meets the requirements of Class R4 of BS EN 1504-6. Pumped or poured, it’s ideal for a number of solutions including machine and base plate-filling, concrete repairs and steel reinforcement anchoring. Specifying the correct quantity and strength of grout is a basic requirement for a quality application, but it’s a simple trick that can sometimes be missed.

 

Expert advice

Specifying the correct quantity and strength of grout is a basic requirement for a quality application, but it’s a simple trick that can sometimes be missed. Sika’s technical team is available to eliminate the risk of such oversights. Our staff have the necessary expertise and product information to ensure correct grout quantity and type for a particular project and are also available for site visits to offer application guidance.

Cementitious grout – once it’s fully cured – can achieve compressive strengths greater than standard C40 concrete. Attempting to remove it from beneath a steel base plate due to specification or application error could result in a very long and costly process. Better, then, to ensure this simple but extremely important task is carried out correctly – which means paying close attention to the product data sheet before the grout-pouring begins. In these instances, there is no such thing as being over-prepared.

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SD Sealants accelerates growth with Leeds office opening

December 4th, 2017 No comments

Following a record year, SD Sealants, the UK’s leading sealant and cosmetic repair company, is expanding its workforce in Leeds with a new office opening this month.

The company, which provides sealant application and cosmetic repairs for homeowners, house builders and commercial businesses, has seen rapid growth in the past few months and has created a total of 50 jobs across the UK in 2017.  

Nick Jones, Managing Director of SD Sealants, comments on the new opening: “We are an ambitious company and want to continue the outstanding year we had in 2016. So far this year, we have had an increase in sales and contracts every month.

“In particular, the North East has been a big growth area and we are hoping to improve on that by expanding our offices in Leeds to help us make 2017 another record-breaking year.”

The office, which opened on the 1st November, houses 20 staff across cosmetic repairs, sealant and tiling services and SD Sealants are currently recruiting for a number of positions to be based at the new branch.

Nick adds: “By taking on new staff we have increased our capacity and so far, it has been a sound business move. However, we still have vacancies in all areas of the business, and the country, with a range of opportunities for people to take advantage of.”

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 and cosmetic repair companies, with nine offices across England, Scotland and Wales.  It launched a tiling division earlier this year and is the UKs only dedicated online retailer of Sika products.

In addition to expanding its office space, SD Sealants has appointed a new Sales Manager for the Northern and Scotland regions of the business. Tony Dyson has joined the company to aid the expansion process and build on the successes of the cosmetic repairs service seen already this year.

Tony has over 10 years of experience in the sealant business and was previously a sales expert in the tourism industry before coming on board with SD.

He will be working primarily from the expanded Leeds office and will be promoting the business commercially to housebuilders and developers in the Scottish and Northern areas.

Managing Director Nick comments on the appointment: “Building on the success of our sealant services this year, we’re excited to have someone with as much experience as Tony to help maximise the cosmetic repairs side of the business. Our cosmetic repairs division has gone from strength to strength, and we’re looking forward to driving this service forward next year.

“Our repair technicians receive the highest level of training and are incredibly skilled in their field, so it’s never been a better time to start expanding this workforce and developing the business further. We look forward to welcoming new recruits on board in the coming weeks.”

For more information on recruitment opportunities, visit SD Sealants vacancies page.

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One in Five British Homeowners Buy New Property Prior To Selling Their Existing Home

November 28th, 2017 No comments

Following a recent increase in searches for unoccupied property insurance through its website, a non-standard insurance specialist has revealed that as many as one in five British homeowners who sold a property within the last year made the decision to find and purchase a new home prior to putting their existing property on the market.

 

The dilemma of whether it’s more advantageous to purchase a new home before putting an existing property on the market is a tough one, particularly if that means buildings are going to be left unoccupied for a substantial period of time before being purchased by a new buyer.

 

As part of a new study, the team at www.CoverBuilder.co.uk polled 2,847 adults aged 25 and over, all of whom had sold an existing property and purchased a new one within the past twelve months. All those taking part were split evenly across each of the UK regions and were questioned on how they went about the process of their most recent house move.

 

All respondents were asked if they put their previous home on the market before or after putting an offer in for the property that they now lived in. The majority (79%) stated that they waited to make any offers on new properties until they’d accepted an offer from a buyer, whilst the remaining 21% revealed that they’d given themselves the chance to search for and have an offer accepted on their ideal next home before putting their previous home on the market.

 

More than two fifths (41%) of participants that had waited to make any offers until they’d sold their property admitted to researchers that they wished they’d done things the other way around, as they felt rushed into selling their home. A further 28% believed that they would’ve been able to make a bigger profit and sell their previous property for a higher sum had they waited to put their home on the market after securing their new home.

 

Of the respondents that purchased a new home before putting their original property on the market, 17% admitted to researchers that they’d needed to leave their previous home empty and unoccupied after moving into their next home, and whilst awaiting a sale to go through. Despite this, just 21% took out an unoccupied insurance policy for this period.

 

Finally, in order to uncover the breakdown of how homeowners go about selling their properties in different areas of the UK, researchers analysed answers to reveal which region is the most likely to buy a new property prior to selling their existing home, with the answers as follows:

 

  • London  – 28% (% of respondents from this region that purchased a new property prior to putting their existing home on the market)
  • South East – 26%
  • South West – 24%
  • West Midlands – 23%
  • Yorkshire and Humberside – 21%
  • Scotland – 21%
  • North West  – 20%
  • Northern Ireland -18%
  • East Midlands -17%
  • East of England – 16%
  • Wales – 15%
  • North East – 14%

Rob Rushton, Head of CoverBuilder.co.uk said:

 

“Whilst there are both benefits and drawbacks to finding a new home prior to selling your existing one, there is no denying that it gives homebuyers the time and freedom to suss out the housing market and take the time to find a property that perfectly fits them and their family.

 

“Here at CoverBuilder, we are certainly seeing a rise in customers wanting to make sure they’ve found their ideal next home before hammering that ‘For Sale’ sign into the front lawn. In fact, as it currently stands, 20% of our total policies have been taken for empty properties that are awaiting sales, with the average customer taking this cover out for a length of four months.”

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FORUM STRESSES NEED FOR FIRMS TO RESPOND TO APPRENTICESHIP LEVY

November 23rd, 2017 No comments

Businesses have yet to get to grips with the biggest change to apprenticeships in living memory.

That was the verdict on the Apprenticeship Levy from leading HR and operational professionals in the utilities and construction sector at an Industry Skills Forum, which featured SGN, Siemens, Interserve, Skanska UK, Morrison Utility Services, FCC Environment, Develop Training Ltd (DTL) and Mentor Training Solutions.

The consensus among delegates at the event, co-organised by DTL and Mentor Training Solutions, is that many firms still don’t understand the levy. In some quarters it is widely viewed as a tax, in others managers are simply holding fire on making decisions about setting up apprenticeships given continued uncertainty.

Chris Wood, Chief Executive of DTL, which specialises in the utilities, energy and construction sector, said the forum raised important issues about the need for firms to recognise the implications of the levy and to respond appropriately: “This is a sea change in the world of apprenticeships, and businesses need help to navigate through it. Our role is not only to deliver apprenticeship training but also to advise clients on how to select and train coaches and mentors for their apprentices from among their existing workforce. For many businesses, that will be a crucial limiting factor in how many apprenticeships they can deliver.”

Firms have two years from their initial levy payments, which started in April this year, to draw down funds so many are taking their time before making a decision. However, the way the system is structured means that delay may mean they will be unable to recoup everything they pay into the levy.

Nevertheless, several delegates warned against rushing into setting up apprenticeships, which would typically cost more to operate than would be paid for by the levy. There is also the risk that recruitment standards could be compromised by a race to hire new apprentices.

Instead, firms should look at their business needs – both in recruitment of new apprentices and training of existing personnel – and set up apprenticeships to meet those needs.

Speaking at the event, Simon Yorke, technical adviser at City and Guilds, urged businesses to see the levy as an opportunity. It should be viewed as an investment, he said, and forecast that now that firms have to pay for apprenticeships themselves, they would demand a better return on that investment.

Steven Green, provider engagement manager at Energy and Utilities Independent Assessment Service, said that firms have to work hard to agree new standards for apprenticeships that are replacing existing framework agreements. He encouraged more businesses to get involved in the process.

www.developtraining.co.uk
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CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY MUST OVERCOME THE LATE PAYMENTS PROBLEM

November 20th, 2017 No comments

The UK construction industry as a whole tends to cling on to outmoded and inefficient payment practices even when presented with more effective ways of working – a point that is particularly valid when it comes to working capital management and payment processing, writes John Vasili, Director of Business Development at Invapay.

The construction industry has a long-standing problem when it comes to B2B payments. The NSCC & FMB Payment Survey revealed that 40 per cent of businesses are not paid within contracted terms, a third of payments due are late – representing 4.4 per cent of turnover on average – and that subcontractors write off £200 million in late payments and retentions.

Clearly, there’s a need for a more efficient way of processing and making payments – one that will benefit businesses of all shapes and sizes and at all stages in the construction lifecycle, from major contractors right down to specialist subcontractors and general suppliers.

Through our partnership with Open ECX and their WebContractor offer we have developed a combined full-service payment solution, providing construction businesses with a quick and effortless way to manage their payment processes and maximise working capital benefits. The direct and indirect benefits to businesses and their suppliers are multiple.

We find that one of the biggest barriers to the adoption of ePayment processing solutions for many businesses is supplier acceptance – with businesses concerned that the implementation of a revised payment processing approach will have a negative knock-on effect for their suppliers. In our experience, this fear is misguided. Our customers tell us they want to maximise their working capital and to get best use of available credit lines but are concerned about the impact on suppliers.

We solve this issue by simply making payments to the suppliers standard bank account– the supplier doesn’t need to know they are being settled via your working capital or available credit lines; all the while operating in the FCA regulated environment and the assurance that brings.

Our customers benefit considerably and are able to maximise the return on working Capital & to fully utilise any credit lines buyers may have available. They can also make accelerated payments to suppliers, whatever the size, thereby securitising the entire construction supply chain.

Our Open ECX colleagues have also faced concerns over supplier acceptance. Their e-invoicing solution automatically converts and validates PDF invoices received from suppliers, completely removing the need for time-consuming manual entry and eliminating human error.

For suppliers it provides them with the benefit of a reduction in payment delays often caused by traditional processes.

Open ECX has found that supplier adoption is often rapid. One builders’ merchant that stocks more than 13,000 product lines across 13 branches, saw the percentage of e-documents being processed rise from around 25-30 per cent to 60 per cent in a matter of months; this led to huge time and efficiency gains, allowing them to redeploy staff to focus on higher value tasks.

There is absolutely no reason for businesses to continue to operate an outmoded payment approach. There is a tried, tested and regulated alternative delivering major efficiency and cashflow benefits for both sides of the construction supply chain.

And unless we as an industry are willing to adapt, then we are resigned to not achieving the best payment practices, return on working capital and suppliers hindered by late and delayed payments for many years to come.

For more on Invapay’s partnership with Open ECX visit http://openecx.co.uk/maximising-payments-maximising-cash-flow/

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Home Hosting: One Third Of British Homeowners Inspired To Rent Out Their Homes After Rise In Airbnb Popularity

November 13th, 2017 Comments off

A brand new study looking into ‘home hosting’ has revealed that as many as one third of British homeowners have been inspired to rent out their homes to paying customers thanks to the growing popularity of sites like Airbnb, Tripping.com & HomeAway.

 

Homeowners living in the South East, North West and Wales are the most likely to be intrigued by the potential financial opportunities associated with becoming a home host and renting out their properties or rooms to tourists, with the average homeowner expecting to receive £250 per week from visitors staying at their residence during peak periods of the year.

 

As part of the study, the team at www.coverbuilder.co.uk polled 2,983 adults aged 25 and over, all of whom owned at least one property in the UK, in a bid to uncover how much Britons understand about  home hosting, and how many might be looking to take advantage of the growing industry in the coming years. All those taking part were split evenly across each of the UK regions.

 

All participants were initially asked to disclose if they currently had a property or rooms they owned listed on a site such as Airbnb for travellers to stay in, with less than one in ten (7%) claiming that they did. A further 28% of respondents admitted that, although their homes weren’t yet listed on a home hosting site, it’s something that they were planning on doing in the future after seeing others do so.

 

When asked to state their main motivation behind renting out their property, or rooms within a home, the majority (78%) admitted that they were financial and profit-focused.  12% admitted it was ‘in order to introduce family to new people from all around the world’, with 3% confessing that they’d be joining ‘in order to enjoy the company of others and feel less lonely at home’.

 

Relevant participants were then asked to disclose their approach to using home hosting sites, with just over a fifth (21%) stating they’d be advertising their property on a hosting site year-round, with the remaining 79% doing so during peak periods when a local city or town has an event that tourists are likely to flock to.

 

Next, those already renting out a property or rooms, as well as looking to rent out their homes, on a hosting site were asked to state how much money they’d be hoping to make through renting out their home, per week, during peak periods. The average amount emerged as £250.

 

In order to uncover the areas of the UK with homeowners most likely to be using, or planning to use, a home hosting website in the future, researchers analysed answers to reveal the geographical breakdown of participants, with the number of those interested in home hosting revealed as follows:

 

  • South East – 16% (of those using or looking to list their property on a home hosting site lived here)
  • North West -14%
  • Wales – 12%
  • London – 11%
  • Scotland – 10%
  • South West  – 7%
  • West Midlands – 6%
  • Northern Ireland – 6%
  • Yorkshire and Humberside -6%
  • East Midlands -5%
  • East of England – 5%
  • North East – 2%

Finally, all relevant participants were asked if the thought of visitors damaging or causing harm to their property had put them off renting out homes or rooms on hosting sites, with the vast majority (68%) admitting that it had done. Furthermore, just 18% had either purchased or looked into specialist home insurance required to protect those using home-sharing services.

 

Rob Rushton, Head of coverbuilder.co.uk said:

 

“Tourists are increasingly looking to sites like Airbnb in order to experience a more cultural trip and avoid bland or overpriced hotels, and as a result British homeowners living in areas that regularly attract tourism can financially benefit from renting out properties through sites.

 

“Those looking to take advantage of the industry mightn’t be aware, but it’s important to look into specialist insurance for home hosting, as failure to inform your home insurer that you have paying guests occasionally staying at your house could result in them refusing to pay out on an insurance claim you make, even if the claim has nothing to do with a guest.”

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UK’s most considerate construction companies and suppliers to be honoured at National Awards

November 10th, 2017 Comments off

Considerate Constructors Scheme’s soon to reveal winners at prestigious ceremony

 

London, United Kingdom: The Considerate Constructors Scheme – the national scheme established by the construction industry to improve its image – is getting ready to reveal the UK’s highest performing registered companies and suppliers of 2017.

 

The Scheme will be hosting the much-anticipated 2017 National Awards on 2 and 3 November at the renowned Four Seasons Hotel in London.

 

All registered companies and suppliers had their considerate performance assessed against the Scheme’s Code of Considerate Practice between 1 August 2016 and 31 July 2017, as part of the awards selection process.

This year’s ceremonies mark the second year suppliers have been eligible to win National Awards, after Supplier Registration was introduced by the Scheme in 2014.

 

Steve Radley, Policy Director of CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) and Clare Watson, Chair of the NFB (National Federation of Builders) will be announcing whether each winning company has received a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award for their achievements. Runners-up for the coveted ‘Most Considerate Company’ and ‘Most Considerate Supplier’ Awards will also be announced.

 

Considerate Constructors Scheme Executive Chairman Isabel Martinson said: “The Scheme is very excited to be hosting its Company and Supplier Awards 2017 in recognition of the persistent and increasingly innovative efforts being made by registered companies to improve their image as well as the image and reputation of our industry.

 

“From all of the registered companies and suppliers eligible, 115 companies and nine suppliers will be crowned as award-winners for their outstanding commitment to the Scheme and respectful consideration towards the public, their workforce and the environment.

 

“With many more companies and suppliers registering with the Scheme and raising the bar of considerate construction, competition is extremely fierce. As always, the Scheme is delighted to recognise those who have pushed their performance to the highest levels.

 

“We hope their achievements will serve as an inspiration and motivation for other companies across our industry, as well as encouraging increased collaboration and truly considerate working practices throughout the sector.”

 

Follow the awards on Twitter at @CCScheme #ccsawards.

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GIVING GUARANTEES MEANING THROUGH TRAINING AND SUPPORT

November 6th, 2017 Comments off

 

How guaranteed are product guarantees? The answer, unfortunately, is not as simple and clear cut as perhaps they should be, with a wide range of caveats and get-out clauses often hidden among pages of complicated T&Cs.

At Sika UK, our mission statement is ‘Building Trust’ and as part of this endeavour we believe in giving meaning to the guarantees we place on each of the various products we manufacture.

That starts with taking care of everything within our control at our Sika sites; investing in our research and development, production and delivery processes and teams to ensure our products are always the best that they can be.

But it doesn’t stop there. To make sure our guarantees have the greatest value possible, we also take great care on ensuring our products are being specified and installed correctly.

That’s why we work closely with roofing contractors up and down the country to give them the training and support they need to carry out installations to a satisfactory standard.

In terms of training, we insist that anyone who wants to install our products comes to our sites for product training. We have a range of bespoke courses, including two-day courses for Sika Liquid Plastics and Sika-Trocal and four-day course for Sika Sarnafil, which, once completed, will see each operative issued a Sika ID competency card.

We train more than 600 people every year across our sites in Preston and Welwyn Garden City.

We also offer a number of management training courses to help contractors gain a better understanding of our products and their various advantages and applications to help simplify and improve specification.

Beyond this, we also have two training support vehicles, both equipped with TVs, roofing products and various tools, which we take out on the road to deliver refresher training and new product courses.

The final element in securing and validating our guarantees comes through inspection of installations and on-site support.

We have a team of 16 field technicians, all of whom have a minimum of five years’ experience in the roofing industry, who are based across the country.

These technicians go to sites on a regular basis to give their expertise and assistance where required and to carry out a number of checks, from product specification to installation – checking all layers within the system – and storage. Once the job is finished, they will carry out a final inspection and issue a guarantee only if every stage has been completed to a satisfactory level.

We carry out more than 6,000 site inspections every year.

All of this helps to give meaning to our guarantees and reassure our customers that the products they’re purchasing will deliver what they’re expecting them to.

And that helps to reduce the risks to the installing contractor and improve their efficiency.

It’s a time-consuming process but one that we’re happy to pursue in order to maintain our position as a leading manufacturer of products working across multiple industry sectors (see http://bit.ly/2o8Ca6Z).

To find out more about the impact Sika is making every day, visit http://gbr.sika.com/en/group/about-us/sika-everyday.html

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