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The Most Expensive Landmarks to Build – The Battle of Construction

June 14th, 2019 No comments

The world’s most visited landmarks are huge feats of construction – with some even taking centuries to build and costing well into the billions. While the costs for each landmark may be substantial, the greatest landmarks on the globe do attract millions of visitors each year and boost their local economy.

With that in mind, alpharooms has created the ultimate battle of the world’s landmarks so people can compare the height, cost to build, construction time, number of steps and even visitor numbers of 20 most famous landmarks.

The Great Pyramid of Giza is the world’s most expensive landmark

Surprisingly, it’s the Great Pyramid of Giza, located within the Giza-pyramid complex, which is the most expensive landmark making the list. Today, the Great Pyramid would cost a staggering £3.8 billion to construct. It has been said that the pyramid’s construction is a masterpiece, estimated to feature more than 2,300,000 stone blocks, with some weighing more than 50 tonnes. It is believed that the construction involved more than 100,000 builders and experts are still unsure how they transported and erected the stone blocks.

When analysing further, alpharooms also found that the Great Pyramid of Giza cost £27 million per metre, an eye-watering £18.2 million more than the Taj Mahal – the second most expensive landmark in terms of cost per metre.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the world’s longest landmark build

The Leaning Tower of Pisa takes the crown for longest construction, taking a huge 199 years to build – starting in 1173. While it may be recognisable for its famous lean, the construction time tops La Sagrada Familia – which is still yet to be finished, and will have taken 144 years upon completion date in 2026.

Contrary to popular belief, the Leaning Tower of Pisa’s famous lean did not happen overnight. During the planning stages, the construction team did not take into account the marshy land they were building on. Unfortunately, by the time they had reached the second story, the tower was beginning to lean and it was too late to turn back.

Empire State Building takes the title for fastest build

What was once the world’s tallest building for 40 years, also holds the claim to the ‘fastest build’. Erected in just one year, the Empire State is a remarkable feat of construction. To build in such a short amount of time, the 300 workers took alternative 12-hour shifts. Cafes and concession stands were also placed on five incomplete floors to stop workers from wasting time travelling for lunch, along with temporary water taps, so workers did not waste time buying water bottles.

Similarly, the Space Needle was constructed within one year, with the Needle set to be star of the show at the 1962 World’s Fair. However, with only one year until that fair, the construction team worked around the clock with the final elevator car installed the day before the tower was due to open.

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Construction professionals flood in to become role models to inspire others into sector

June 12th, 2019 No comments

Nominations for the annual UK Construction Week (UKCW) Role Models initiative have quadrupled since last year, according to event organisers Media 10.

Dozens of construction professionals were among the entrants this Spring, attracted to a scheme which provides a schools contact programme and public platform to professionals of any age and background to share inspiring stories of how they came into their career and why they love what they do.

UKCW has chosen 98 Role Models out of hundreds of entries, from all professions and at all levels, and has now published its shortlist for 2019.

These Role Models include people at chief executive, director and associate director level, but also many more junior representatives who have made a huge impact at the very start of their careers. They include architects, engineers, construction project managers, site managers, quantity surveyors, a wide range of sustainability, health and safety and geotechnical experts, tradespeople and professionals focused on digital construction, administration, finance, HR, learning and communications.

All Role Models will be given the opportunity to speak at UKCW on the main stage of the UK’s largest construction event, and will take part in the UKCW’s student initiative at the NEC between 8-10 October to advise and encourage those considering a career in construction.

The overall 2019 Role Model of the Year will then be announced on Wednesday 9 October by BBC’s Steph McGovern.

Last year’s winner, Arleta Andreasik-Paton, a senior project manager at AECOM, said: “I was not from a construction background, but I moved into the industry with transferrable skills. I want to encourage others to do the same. It’s a privilege to be able to become a role model for other talented young people who can find wonderful careers in construction.”

Nathan Garnett, UKCW event director, said:

“The response to this year’s UKCW Role Model initiative has been overwhelming and covers every aspect of construction, from architecture to bricklaying to digital design and management. The Role Models really show the diverse range of jobs available in construction and they are all passionate about their jobs and promoting construction as a great career opportunity.

“Each of our Role Models has an inspiring career story which will spur others into similar roles. Mentoring is a big part of what a Role Model does, and last year’s Role Models have been out visiting schools and meeting young people to give encouragement, while also promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in construction.

“If you want to see the future of the industry, you will want to meet these people and hear what they have to say at UK Construction Week.”

Registration for the event is now open. By registering once visitors will have access to multiple sections: Build, Building Tech, Timber, Civils, Energy & HVAC, Surface & Materials and the newly launched Concrete Expo (8-9 October only) and Grand Designs Live (9-10 October only), which will also be taking place at the NEC, Birmingham.

www.ukconstructionweek.com

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Tired all the time? Considerate Constructors Scheme launches survey to explore worker fatigue in construction

June 11th, 2019 No comments

Worker fatigue is often an overlooked hazard in the construction industry. This is despite the fact that fatigue is a serious health and safety risk in construction; fatigue has the potential to significantly impair physical and cognitive capacities, as well as having a damaging effect on the mental health of our workforce. The inability to respond and react promptly can be highly detrimental across any type of construction activity – leading to errors, near misses, injuries and even death.

To understand how the issue of worker fatigue is being addressed in the industry, the Considerate Constructors Scheme’s Best Practice Hub is running a survey to gain a real understanding of the extent to which this is a problem and how it is being tackled. The Scheme is inviting everyone working across the entire industry to complete this short survey here. The survey closes on 9 August, and results will be used to help inform the Scheme’s Spotlight on…worker fatigue’ national campaign, due to published in the Autumn.

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Smarter Grid Solutions reveals energy and carbon savings for factories at key conference

June 10th, 2019 No comments

Commercial and industrial companies could cut their energy bills or even generate extra income by connecting the computer systems used to run their factories to specialist energy management software, according to the latest study by distributed energy resource management software firm Smarter Grid Solutions.

The Glasgow-based tech business will present its findings at next week’s influential “CIRED” international conference on electricity distribution held in Madrid, Spain.

Distributed energy resources management systems (DERMS) are usually used by utility companies to help run their electricity networks.

DERMS allow grid operators to balance the intermittent supply of electricity from renewable energy devices such as wind turbines and solar panels with demand from energy users, including through the use of energy storage devices like batteries and demand-side response (DSR), through which large energy users are incentivised to lower their demand during peak periods.

SGS’s DERMS software connects a full spectrum of low carbon technologies to the grid while optimising grid operations and revenues for distribution network customers. The company’s flagship product, ANM Strata, is the only DERMS software on the market to combine ‘look ahead’ grid optimisation functionality with real-time control of service delivery.

SGS’s report – which presents results from the European Union’s “OPTIMISED” project – shows that DERMS can also be used inside factories and other energy-intensive industries to improve energy efficiency and cut energy bills.

Businesses could even generate money by selling any excess electricity generated on site by solar panels, wind turbines or other devices back to the grid.

Laing O’Rourke, an engineering and construction company based in the UK, and Spanish high-precision machining outfit Goimek took part in the project and demonstrated Smarter Grid Solutions’ software in operation at their factories.

The project, which deployed SGS’ system in trial mode, looked at how much energy was being consumed, how much was being paid for it, how much carbon dioxide was being generated to produce the electricity and at DSR opportunities.

Using DERMS to control DSR and a combined solar panel and energy storage battery at the Laing O’Rouke factory could produce a financial benefit of £9,000 a year from flexibility services and cut the carbon dioxide emitted to generate its electricity by the equivalent of 12,000kg, the report calculated. The larger energy, renewable and carbon reduction incentive returns are much greater.

Dr Graham Ault, executive director and co-founder of Smarter Grid Solutions, said: “There’s an energy revolution taking place, with energy users becoming active partners instead of passive consumers.

“This final project report demonstrates how DERMS could allow energy-intensive industries and other commercial and industrial energy users to take part in the revolution by altering their usage to fit in with supply and demand on the wider network.

“DERMS could allow commercial and industrial users in the UK to take part in DSR opportunities such as Balancing System Price Response and Distribution Use of System Red Band Reduction.

“Although the financial benefits are modest in this example of two flexibility services, our report clearly demonstrates that savings could be achieved and shows promising results for the future.  Our DERMS software implementations in Spain and the UK also proved the ease of integration and configuration to all the available DSR and on-site energy management opportunities in those markets”

Dr Graham Herries, overall OPTIMISED project coordinator from Laing O’Rourke said, “This project has shown the important role industrial energy users can play in the changing energy landscape. Utilising SGS products to manage and optimise our energy consuming processes has highlighted future savings we can make across our operations and the value of future DER and DSR developments.”

Smarter Grid Solutions is already working with four of the six electricity distribution companies in Great Britain and has connected more than 400MW of generation capacity to distribution grids, as well as saving its clients more than €200m in costs.

The company was founded in 2008 by Dr Ault, Dr Bob Currie and Alan Gooding, and now has 70 members of staff spread across its offices in Glasgow, London, New York and California.

Back in February, Smarter Grid Solutions was invited to report about its innovative projects in New Orleans, Louisiana, at DistribuTECH, the largest transmission and distribution conference and exhibition in North America.

Robert MacDonald, Smarter Grid Solutions Head of Consulting & Analysis will present the results of this project at CIRED and also present other project and participate in invited Round Tables on related topics of DER planning and optimisation.

The OPTIMISED project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 680515.

The full report can be read here: https://www.smartergridsolutions.com/media/1264/integrating-der-management-systems-into-industrial-energy-management-deployment-results-sgs-h2020-partners-paper-for-cired-2019.pdf

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Bouygues UK recruits first higher education students as Ambassadors for its Cardiff Innovation Campus project

June 7th, 2019 No comments

Bouygues UK, the construction company building Cardiff University’s cutting-edge Innovation Campus, has welcomed its first higher education Ambassadors on site.

Five student volunteers from diverse backgrounds and areas of academic study at Cardiff University have been recruited to write, blog and share social media posts about their exclusive insights into the build on the city centre site.

Bouygues UK has worked with student Ambassadors in partnership with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) on projects at schools in Margam, Port Talbot and Penarth, but this is the first time Bouygues UK is partnering with students at a higher education establishment to help with community communication.

Three of the new student Ambassadors have visited the site to see how Bouygues UK and Cardiff University are working together to transform a former disused rail yard into a state-of-the-art campus for high-tech job creation and student start-ups, and to create further expertise in compound semi-conductors.

Nick Toulson, Bouygues UK CSR manager for Cardiff Innovation Campus, said: “It is so encouraging that we have students from such diverse courses as Medicine, Urban Planning and Development and Civil Engineering.

“The student Ambassadors at the comprehensive schools we were building were amazing at informing their friends and peers about what was going on with the build, so we were really pleased when Cardiff University wanted to replicate the scheme at the Innovation Campus.”

Nick added: “The Ambassadors will not only get to see how the site is developing from the inside, but they will also gain access to Bouygues UK’s expertise in design, construction management, health and safety and quality – all disciplines which I’m sure will help in their future careers.”

Luke Morgan, a third-year medicine student, is one of the Ambassador cohorts. He explained that the complexity of the project and the abstract thinking and forward planning that is required to get over challenges with the build is what attracted him to be an Ambassador.

“It is a very busy site where Bouygues UK is able to bring together a diverse range of people with their own parts to play and do the job to the standard required, which is a real feat of organisation.”

Fellow Ambassador, Nuzha Nadeem, a first-year Civil and Environment Engineering student, originally from Abu Dhabi, said: “It’s been a very good experience. Normally in University, we get to hear the theory, but here we get to see engineering in practice. Hands-on experience of work on site really matters as our job is physically being here.”

CITB Construction Ambassadors play a vital role in supporting and promoting careers in the construction industry. For more information click here.

For more information about the Cardiff Innovation Campus, visit: https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/innovation/campus-investment

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Innovative £320k development aids pupils’ wellbeing

June 7th, 2019 No comments

Schoolchildren in Cheshire are enjoying a renewed sense of health and wellbeing, following a ground-breaking project at Alsager School. The £320k development has provided students with space to enjoy the fresh air – whatever the weather.

Tasked with overseeing the design, build and installation of a sleek new ETFE canopy to enclose what was previously an open courtyard, Access North Build has made waves within the education sector with its industry-first solution.

Yorkshire-headquartered Access North Build designed, developed and installed a pioneering solution, a lightweight steel space frame – the first of its kind supporting an ETFE membrane in the UK – erected to span the quad, thus enclosing the area beneath.

Alsager School site manager, Matt Harris, explained: “Fresh air plays a pivotal part in the wellbeing and health of people of all ages. Creating a space which allows students to ‘go outside’ while providing protection from the elements – including rain and solar shielding – is key to supporting their development.”

Engineered to carry more weight over a greater area – in order to provide plenty of natural light and promote student wellbeing – the greatest challenge was the location and layout of the outdoor space, which was enclosed by existing buildings on all sides.

As a result, the superstructure – which is over 400 square feet in size – had to be assembled in the school car park before being carefully manoeuvred over the establishment and precisely into position on the pre-installed locating bolts.

Access North Group managing director, Berenice Northcott added: “This type of ETFE enclosure provides an extremely beneficial space for organisations within the education sector where student wellbeing is crucial. Additionally, the new ETFE canopy has a design life of 70 years providing it is regularly maintained, but if the time comes when it is no longer required, the ETFE membrane and steel space frame are recyclable, extending the environmental-friendliness of the build with the circular economy in mind.

“We relished the challenges of this particular project. Craning a huge space frame over a school and courtyard – which was bordered on all sides – without damaging buildings or people, was a testament to the planning, organisation and attention to detail of the team. The new roof has transformed a previously under-utilised area into a light and airy multifunctional space, resulting in a positive impact on staff and pupils.”

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The Crucial Stages Of A Construction Project

June 6th, 2019 No comments

Construction projects must have certain steps and processes followed in order to achieve the desired outcome. It is crucial for these processes to be split into stages as constructing a structure can be a huge undertaking, sometimes taking many months to complete. If a step or process is missed, it can cause serious delays in the construction project. So without further ado, here are the crucial stages of every construction project!

Inception Stage:

This is the stage where it is still largely in the hands of the client and the project owners. The conception of a project can take weeks to months, depending on how urgent the deadline is. During this stage there is a lot of research done and many things are decided, such as the construction location, the specification, the final design and standards of the project, as well as deciding who will be involved, such as contractors.

Concept Design Stage:

This phase is perhaps the most crucial of them all, with a lot of heavy decisions made. Construction project design is influenced by the scope of the project, its individual budget and requirements. Once parameters have been established in the inception stage, logistics are figured out such as how big the structure will be, the number of rooms and how to utilise the space.

Pre-Construction Stage:

Before construction can begin, a project team must be put together. This usually consists of a health and safety manager, an architect, a field engineer, construction project manager and designers. A project can remain in this stage for a while because the project team must examine the site to detect and predict environmental challenges, as well as testing the soil and putting the results forward for reviewal. Once everything has been signed off, the next stage can begin.

Procuring Materials, Equipment and Workforce:

During this integral stage, all the necessary materials, equipment and workforce (including contractors) are procured. Depending on resources and on how big the project is, this stage can be quite challenging and intricate. Materials such as concrete, plaster, cement and mortar, as well as cables, mesh, lighting and metals for fabrication, are procured – this list is not exhaustive and what is procured is largely dependant on each individual project! It is also typical for construction companies to simultaneously order materials and equipment for multiple projects, as well as construction workers working on several projects at once. This stage can also be a major expense in construction, so it’s crucial for this to be planned, executed and controlled accordingly, to minimise costs.

Construction Stage:

Now this is the stage where the construction begins! Lots of initial meetings are held at the beginning of this stage to ensure that everyone involved is on the same page, and knows their role in the project, including timings, deadlines and the location of materials. A lot of employees, contractors and subcontractors will be unable to begin their portion of the project such as installing lighting, architectural rigging and balustrades, until certain aspects are completed. The consequences of poor planning and delays will become evident during this stage.

Post-Construction Stage:


When construction is completed, there needs to be a final inspection of the building. This step is paramount for safety reasons and to ensure that every step and process was followed through accordingly to meet the exact specifications given by the client. Usually, no issues are found at this point as regular inspections will have been conducted throughout the construction stage. The client will also be trained to operate and maintain the newly-built structure, which will also still be under warranty. Contractual agreements and a post-project review usually occurs during this stage as well.

In sum, no matter how big or small a construction project is, there are crucial steps and stages that cannot be skipped. A large part of a project in construction successfully coming to fruition boils down to careful planning and execution. Each phase in a construction project needs to be streamlined in order to meet the pre-agreed time constraints and budgets – it is not a straightforward task!

Byline:

Laura Driver is a Brit working abroad. She works in outreach and has dabbled in copywriting, SEO, Outreach and Digital PR for a wide range of industries. Laura is especially experienced in writing for construction, architectural rigging and fabrication.

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HLM’s Emergency Services Design Expertise Brought to Life as Ground Broken at Crowthorne Community Fire Station

June 5th, 2019 No comments

HLM, a leading design and architecture practice with studios in Belfast, has embarked upon a new project with Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS).

Group shot in front of Crowthorne fires station, , Crowthorne, 9th May 2019

An impressive ground breaking ceremony at Crowthorne Community Fire Station has started the redevelopment of the current fire station facilities to create the second tri-service station in Berkshire. Directed by HLM’s Head of Emergency Service, Steven Lennon, the HLM design team is leading the complete design project for the rebuild, including interior and landscape design.

The project is part of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority’s Capital Investment programme. A vital focus of the new design is to provide a recognisable property brand across the Service area.  The new station will provide a base for all three blue light services, as well as, much needed community accessible facilities in the heart of the village.

The most important outcome for the design is having a fit for purpose facility that support the role of a modern firefighter, as well as the local community that they serve. The design of the new station ensures that operational requirements and processes have been incorporated into the building around them. This has been achieved through the inclusion of a two-vehicle appliance bay, which will support emergency response. There is also a compact gym that demonstrates the understanding and importance of fitness standards for firefighters.

To create a building for all, HLM has designed a community room within the new station, to be used by local community groups. In recognition of the importance of local community involvement, members of the public were invited to the ground breaking ceremony to learn more about the project.

Steven Lennon, Head of Emergency Services, HLM, said, “We are always delighted to work with RBFRS to develop leading fire stations in keeping with contemporary development in the emergency services sector. As well as being lead designers, we are also creating the interiors and landscaping for the project. Crowthorne Community Fire Station will become a strong focal point for all, focusing on the technology requirements and response times for firefighters, and also considering the needs of the local community.  

Alex Brown, Head of Property Capital Projects & Estates at Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service said, “HLM have clearly demonstrated their expertise within the emergency services sector and more specifically in fire station design.  We have enjoyed working closely with the team to develop the design and requirements of Crowthorne Community Fire Station and we look forward to opening the new building.”

This is HLM’s second Tri-Service (on-call) Community Fire Station, working in partnership with RBFRS, having previously designed Hungerford Community Fire Station in 2017.

HLM offers expertise across five disciplines including Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Environmental and Masterplanning. It has studios in Belfast, London, Sheffield, Glasgow, Cardiff and Manchester, as well as Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

For more information on HLM visit www.hlmarchitects.com and follow @HLMArchitects on Twitter.

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POWER PARTNERSHIP SETS OUT TO TACKLE CONSTRUCTION SKILLS CRISIS IN LIVERPOOL CITY REGION

June 4th, 2019 No comments
  • North West construction businesses working on the Paddington Village development join forces to buck the national skills shortage trend
  • Young people challenged to come up with solutions to attract others into construction sector
  • Award-winning programme helping to bridge the ‘skills gap’ for the region’s employers

A consortium consisting of leading construction businesses Morgan Sindall Construction, Curtins, Faithful+Gould, Ryder Architecture and Regenda Group is collaborating with Agent Academy CIC to create new employment opportunities for young people across Liverpool City Region.

With five years’ experience of securing jobs for young people in the creative and digital sector, creating £2.5 million in annual salaries, Agent Academy will work with the consortium to understand what can be done to encourage more young people to consider careers in construction. 

During the three-month project a group of 12 young people will be challenged with finding solutions to the construction sector skills shortage. They will learn from experts in both built environment and marketing, engage in research with other young people from diverse social backgrounds and use the insights they gain to come up with answers to their unique challenge.

Every Agent Academy programme is underpinned with a client challenge enabling the young people to put their learning into practice. During this programme, the programme participants will meet with over 40 city leaders as well as hundreds of other young people to bring about their client recommendations. 

Recent CITB research shows that there is significant room for improvement regarding young people’s perception of the construction industry as a career option, with it scoring 4.2 out of 10 among 14 to 19 year olds. The research showed that young people’s understanding of what a career in the construction industry entails is based on outdated stereotypes and differs greatly from the reality.

Sue Patterson, senior business development manager at Morgan Sindall Construction in the North West, said:

“We regularly visit local schools and run jobs fairs, and often find that many young people are completely unaware of the great variety of career opportunities available in the sector. As an industry, it’s our responsibility to demonstrate the wide variety of fulfilling roles that construction has to offer.

“In order to make construction more sustainable for the future and to boost employment opportunities in the communities in which we work, it’s critical that we demonstrate the great number of careers available to all young people and attract a more diverse workforce in to the sector. 

“The work we are undertaking with Agent Academy enables us to take a completely fresh approach to this complex issue by having young people engage with their peers to consider solutions on how to best promote the many fantastic careers that our industry has to offer.”

Zoe Wallace, director at Agent Academy, said:

“Agent Academy has a track record tackling the talent challenge faced by the creative and digital industry by giving young people the opportunity to upskill and then kick-start their careers. We hope that this experience together with the insight from our students will give a fresh perspective to how the construction sector can tackle talent issues. 

“The young people on this programme will come up with the answers that many construction industry businesses are looking for. 95% of the young people we work with gain full-time industry employment after completing the programme so it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

“We have a lot to look forward to, despite the skills challenges faced by our region’s employers there are so many opportunities and by coming up with new ways to engage the regions young people and motivate them we can make sure they are ready to take on the careers of the future.”

Ged McNicholl, regional director, Faithful+Gould, added:

“The opportunities in the construction industry are vast. Diversity in the industry is a challenge, but through the research from this project we are determined to change this to make a career in the construction industry appealing to all.  

“We are all taking a collaborative and forward-looking approach to solving the challenges faced by the sector and I believe the next generation can play a big part in this, particularly when it comes to bringing new technology and more digital ways of working into the industry.”

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Uncertain times hold no fears for trussed rafter manufacturers

June 3rd, 2019 No comments

In the face of Brexit and other challenges this year, leading trussed rafter manufacturers and timber engineering firms learned to tackle fear like a Marine Commando, at a high energy AGM and conference for the Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) on 2 May.

More than 70 directors and business leaders within the sector met in Warrington this month to discuss some of the key issues creating uncertain times.

This included presentations on changing legislation regarding wood dust, changing Building Regulations and testing requirements on fire safety, and a continuing skills crisis across construction.

Nick Boulton, TRA Chief Executive said:

“That was an uplifting and thought-provoking conference. It has left trussed rafter and metal web joist manufacturers and installers much better informed of the big issues affecting our industry this year and next.”

“Prepare now to demonstrate professional competence in everything you do,” warned Barry Turner, director of technical policy at LABC. This was the main issue that all firms, big and small, should take seriously in the post-Grenfell era, he explained, while also making clear his concerns regarding the new ‘clarified’ Approved Document B on fire safety which is due for publication this month.

Similar warnings to prepare for new legislation came from occupational health expert Alan Ballard from ELAS. He broke the news of reduced softwood dust workplace exposure limits by the HSE coming into effect in 2023 – a health and safety change which is going to demand innovative solutions from the industry and its cutting machinery suppliers.

Mental health is continuing to be an issue within construction. “Construction has the highest suicide rate of any industry in the UK, America and Australia. This is a statistic that needs to change,” said Bill Hill, chief executive of the Lighthouse Construction Industry charity.

In light of this shocking statistic, The Building Mental Health campaign has been launched to support construction workers at all levels, with a free Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). Other support tools are also available via their website. 

How do you market your company and its career opportunities to Generation Z? That was the question posed by Liz Male, managing director of LMC, the TRA’s PR and marketing agency.

As the skills crisis escalates, attracting and retaining talent is becoming an increasingly urgent issue. Liz’s description of Generation Z and what engages them really resonated with the TRA members and highlighted the need for much more face-to-face communications and involvement with local schools and colleges in the battle for talent.

A big technical innovation also had its debut at the TRA’s conference. The Cullen Gable Restraint Bracket allows for a complete system to connect timber gables and masonry walls to the roof structure in order to resist wind loadings.

Scott McAndrew, R&D manager at ITW Construction Products explained how the system has now been accepted by the NHBC as meeting its technical requirements and how it delivers a robust structural fixing for timber gables. Site testing with housebuilders had gone well, he said, and the new connector will be adopted by the TRA in its forthcoming Gable Panel Guide.

Housebuilders in Ireland can also have more confidence in the fire safety of the homes they are building, thanks to a successful metal web joist fire testing programme carried out by the TRA. This was off the back of Irish Government’s decision to move to Eurocode test standards.

An update on this fire safety project was presented by Julian Marcroft of MiTek. TRA Ireland has already issued guidance to its members who produce metal web floor joists, to assist them with designing and constructing products which are compliant with fire safety in Part B of the Ireland building regulations.

Finally, back to the Commando reference. A tour of Afghanistan taught former Marine Commando, Ben Williams, a lot about fear and how to manage it. He brought this experience to the AGM but with a business spin on it.

Fear can stifle creativity within a company, he explained, before talking about how all businesses – including those in this industry facing an uncertain future – can build up resilience and overcome fear and anxiety to perform in the most gruelling of circumstances.

Ben is now a leadership coach and mentor working with premier league footballers as well as business leaders in VW, Travis Perkins, Keyline and Oneserve. His wisdom was the perfect end to the conference and left everyone feeling positive and reinvigorated for the year ahead.

www.tra.org.uk

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