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Archive for the ‘Industry News’ Category

Challenge yourself: become a qualified door hardware professional

August 16th, 2019 No comments

Architectural ironmongers who are keen to complete their career to become a fully qualified door hardware professional can now re-enrol in the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers’ (GAI) education programme, without having to start from the beginning.   

The Challenge Exam is designed for those who have taken a break during their studies of the GAI Diploma (stage 3) or the Certificate in Architectural Hardware (stage 1 or 2) training courses for three years or more.  

It consists of a short test covering all areas of the last stage of learning that they have passed. Once the Challenge Exam has been passed, they can then progress to the next stage of the education programme without having to start at stage 1 again. 

There will be two challenge exams held this year ready for potential students to enrol in the 2019/20 programme. Both exams will be held at the GAI head office in London on 14 August and 3 December 2019. Online invigilation can be arranged for international students who would like to take the exam. 

The Guild’s education programme is the only?recognised?programme in the world that leads to a qualification in architectural ironmongery to British and European standards.?It is open to all industry professionals and trainees across the world, not just those within GAI membership.   

There are two qualifications available within the GAI education programme. The Certificate in?Architectural Hardware?(CiAH)?consists of two stages with 24 education modules covering everything an architectural ironmonger is required to know.?? 

Once this has been completed, students may choose to continue their studies by enrolling for the GAI Diploma. This stage focuses entirely on the skills and learning needed for scheduling?the architectural ironmongery, electric hardware and key control for a project, and is of particular importance to those architectural ironmongers working on projects being built to UK and European standards across the globe.?Once they have completed the diploma, they become a?DipGAI, an industry recognised symbol of professionalism.? 

The?2019/20 education programme prospectus?has?been?published on the GAI website, outlining the qualifications, course content and training support available. It also gives further information on becoming a Registered Architectural Ironmonger (RegAI) through the Continued Professional Development (CPD) programme. The programme offers flexibility for busy professionals and far more opportunity to gain the CPD points.? 

Enrolments?are open from 2 September until 20 December 2019.?? 

For more information on how to apply for the Challenge Exam, email  

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Engineering skill: can computer programs ever replace human skill?

August 14th, 2019 No comments

In the engineering sector, the innovation of technology has undoubtedly improved the way we operate. But it is important that we do not become reliant on technology as a complete solution i.e. software will only produce quality designs if used correctly, with human input still a crucial component to success.

Computers offer assistance to engineering projects – and the successful link between computer programmes and engineering skill varies depending on which part of the AEC industry they are being used in. Looking at the three main stages of engineering design. 

  1. Concept design: At this stage, the majority of the design comes from the imagination of the engineer, supported by some simple sizing elements or calculations.
  2. Drafting and analysis: This stage brings the concept design into the real world, checking that it is feasible and how it will succeed. This stage is predominantly computer-based, using programmes such as building design software to help engineers work to a greater degree of accuracy.
  3. Detailed design: This stage is when, as the name suggests, the design becomes much more detailed. At this point, the design is almost completely computer-based, with analysis happening in the background.

Things which require an imaginative aspect undoubtedly require the human element. But it’s not just this imaginative aspect that machines cannot replicate in full: fine tuning, for example, still needs a guiding human hand in order to ensure outputs are correct. While leaps and bounds are certainly being made in machine learning e.g. computers can now make decisions based on historical data and records, it is highly unlikely that this will develop to the point where human skill and judgement become obsolete.

It’s also important to note that mistakes can be made when writing the programmes designed to support design, or further along the line when inputting data into these programmes. Either error will result in an inaccurate output. For this reason, the topic of automated checking — whereby computer programmes will check the input against previous projects and their success or failure — has been a hot point of discussion within the AEC industry lately. However, it is worth bearing in mind that the majority of engineering disasters have occurred due to something unusual; that is, something that has not happened in previous related projects. While rule-checkers help when situations where rules apply, they aren’t able to flag something that hasn’t happened in previous records, i.e. something unusual.

A good example of this would be the Millennium Bridge’s wobble. This was not picked up in the design’s code. Programmes failed to predict the wind instability of Tacoma Narrows. While engineers can make use of a value judgement, computer programmes do not. As the world changes, engineers will make a value judgement to adapt their designs accordingly.

Formulas must be created, both for computers and the human element. There are several structures and designs that have had formulas developed exclusively for them. For example, the original formula creation for shell structures had to be created by expert mathematicians to ensure success. Now, with Finite Element Analysis, almost any form can be analysed — but that does not mean these forms are always sensible. There’s a certain amount of tension between architects and engineers surrounding this – with engineers focused on functionality, and architects the aesthetic element.  This disparity though, can make for the perfect partnership towards the best designs.

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Ashley Carter takes on new role within Aarsleff Ground Engineering

August 13th, 2019 No comments

Aarsleff Ground Engineering, specialist ground engineering contractor, is pleased to announce Ashley Carter’s promotion from Senior Technical Estimator to Head of Preconstruction.

Ashley’s always been at the sharp end of Estimating, treating every project with the same degree of interest and commitment, no matter of the size or technical complexity. His technical know-how and expertise combined with charismatic people skills and a positive outlook has made a significant impression on the company and their clients, and he will now embrace a wider role in the business.

Ashley joined the business in July 2016 with a very substantial mission on his hands – to establish and grow the company’s sheet piling arm of the business. Ashley’s input quickly strengthened their position in the marketplace, and allowed it to capitalise on the many opportunities this sector presented. Now known as the ‘Specialist Retaining Walls’ team, Aarsleff have extended their product offering to design and deliver king post walls, propped walls, anchored walls, contiguous pile walls and secant pile walls.

Looking ahead, Ashley voices how he would like to implement changes in the wider industry in his new role at Aarsleff Ground Engineering:

“In comparison to other sectors, the adoption of technology and smart systems are still majorly underutilised in the ground engineering industry. I will implement those changes to make us a much smarter company through the digitalisation of our processes –  I know it’s something that our staff and clients will benefit from. Fighting the on-going skills shortage and improving our green credentials is also top of my list”.

As Head of Pre-Construction, Ashley will be representing the Aarsleff brand. Working alongside the management team, Ashley will drive key strategic goals, build customer relationships, identify business opportunities and mentor teams where necessary across the company’s Estimating, Business Development and Marketing teams.

Aarsleff’s Managing Director Kevin Hague commented:

“We look forward to seeing where Ashley will take the company in his new role. As a business, the range of geotechnical techniques and disciplines we can design and deliver in-house is enviable, and the ability to deliver multi-discipline packages under one sub-contract is a key advantage for our clients, but we are never complacent, and we can always do more. The board and I agree he will be instrumental in promoting ours services and adding value to our position as a market leader in Specialist Geotechnical Contracting”.

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4 steps you should be taking to keep your construction workers safe

August 12th, 2019 No comments

Dan Casey, from hydraulic lifting equipment manufacturer Penny Hydraulics, outlines the steps we need to take to ensure the safety of our construction workers.

With so many large materials and heavy machinery, construction sites are amongst some of the most dangerous locations for workers. In fact, between 2018 and 2019, the construction sector had the highest number of staff fatalities compared to other main industry groups (HSE).

As an employer, it is your duty to ensure that your staff can be protected from any potential hazards while working. In this article, I’ll be outlining the steps you should be taking to make your site as safe as possible.

Stick to the relevant safety laws and regulations

Before the project starts, you should ensure that supervisors have gathered as much information about the job as possible. All work should conform to the relevant health and safety regulations, including the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

To help with this, a thorough risk assessment should be carried out to highlight areas where hazards may occur and how workers can be protected from as much harm as they practically can. At this point, measures should be taken to remove or minimise risk as much as possible, then the right personal protective equipment (PPE) and machinery should be decided upon based on the specific tasks at hand.

Make sure everyone is fully trained

Prior to any construction being carried out, all workers should be fully trained. This includes up-to-date training on how to do tasks, use machinery and wear any PPE supplied to them safely and effectively. It’s also wise to inform everyone of any rules and method statements and remind them that these have been set in place for their own welfare.

If you’re using new, unfamiliar machinery, there may not always be someone around to train the rest of the team. Luckily, the manufacturer can usually provide training on using their equipment safely.

Supply everyone with the right PPE

To keep them safe and comfortable, all workers should be provided with the quality PPE for the job. These include:

  • Hard hats,
  • Ear protection — like earmuffs or earplugs,
  • Thick gloves,
  • Steel toe cap boots,
  • Goggles
  • Particulate, vapour or gas respirators,
  • Class 2 or 3 high visibility clothing,
  • Harnesses and safety protection lanyards when working from a height,
  • Head torches and floodlights if working at night.

Invest in the right equipment

Construction sites involve a lot of heavy equipment, and this machinery can provide a few potential hazards for those working with them or nearby. Before starting any job, you should make sure that the equipment supplied for the job is suitable. So, you should be checking that it can handle the heavy loads you plan to use it for to avoid the materials or the machinery falling. You should also be making sure that this equipment is maintained regularly to ensure that it is in full working condition.

But sometimes these large machines can be impractical for the job. Construction workers may need to lift and move heavy materials once they’ve been unloaded, and this can cause some serious long-term injuries if these tasks are arduous and repetitive. As an employer, you must take steps to protect your workers from any harm that can come from manually lifting or carrying heavy loads, as stated in The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992.

To aid with carrying and lifting, and to reduce the risk of injury, you’ll need smaller cranes and hydraulic lifts, like our SwingLifts or LoadLifts. These are made to handle lighter loads, such as materials and small machinery like wacker plates, and can be fitted onto flatbeds and vans to aid with unloading and moving. These reduce the need for workers to have to lift and carry heavy items manually. Again, you should ensure that the equipment is suitable for the task at hand by checking the optimum load it can hold. These machines should also be fully equipped with the right harnesses, hooks, winches and hoists to keep the load safe during transportation and lifting.

There is no way to keep workers completely free of harm on your construction site. However, the four steps in this article can help to reduce the risk of hazards and protect your workers in the event that an accident does occur.

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August 8th, 2019 No comments

The City of Liverpool College has partnered with international engineering enterprise Laing O’Rourke and The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, one of the country’s leading cancer centres. The partnership has been designed to inspire students with the digital technologies used to develop the brand-new cancer centre and promote the modern careers now available in the construction industry.

Exclusive preview event at the new Clatterbridge Cancer Hospital Liverpool.

‘Project Innovation’ will see students of The City of Liverpool College’s Computer Science Digital courses collaborate with Laing O’Rourke to develop both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications.

For the first project, students will create an augmented reality interactive app, which is designed to help speed up maintenance requirements at the cancer centre. The AR app would allow staff to see all of the machinery in any given room along with their maintenance requirements. This will in turn be linked to a database which could ultimately order and schedule maintenance automatically, dramatically speeding up the process and saving precious time. 

The virtual reality app will form the second project and would be designed for staff to have the ability to see maintenance requirements and interact with objects, while being fully immersed in the building from elsewhere, allowing them to navigate around the building and stripping back the walls for a ‘behind the scenes’ view.

Estefania Alves, digital engineer at Laing O’Rourke, said:

“Construction is a progressive industry, constantly adopting new technology and digital methodologies to enhance efficiency, to reduce construction time, waste, cost and to create a safer workplace throughout the whole project lifecycle.  For the industry to keep innovating it is vital that skills and experience is brought in from other creative industries.

“Working with The City of Liverpool College allows us to bring a fresh perspective to developing these vital tools, while supporting the future workforce to develop their skills.”

The partnership will provide students with experience and unique insight into the construction industry , as well as having the opportunity to provide support to the brand new The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.

Students will work closely with programmers and coders from Laing O’Rourke’s digital engineering department as well as Clatterbridge to develop the apps, with the aim of the project creating a lasting legacy by providing students with the chance to work on a real industry project.

Elaine Bowker, principal of The City of Liverpool College, said:

“The partnerships that we have across The City of Liverpool College are designed to provide our students with unique opportunities real world experience. We are passionate about ensuring that we are at the cutting edge of emerging technologies and providing our students with the skills they need to enter the world of work.

“For our students to be given the chance to work with a multinational organisation such as Laing O’Rourke and develop a truly innovative tool for The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre is an opportunity like no other. We look forward to seeing the results of this partnership come to fruition.”

Once developed, the apps will be piloted for The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and, if successful, will be rolled out on a wider scale.

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August 7th, 2019 No comments

Hanson, one of the largest suppliers of bulk construction aggregates in the UK, has invested in the CatÒ 986K Wheel Loader – the first machine of this size and class in UK – in a deal with Finning UK & Ireland. The machine was chosen for its compact sizing and advanced technology features.

The wheel loader is the penultimate addition in a series of new Caterpillarassets added to Hanson’s fleet as part of a 31-machine deal struck in 2018, and will be in operation at Hingston Down Quarry in Cornwall. Hanson has worked extensively with Finning over many years, building a strong relationship that has led to a number of ongoing projects with the business.

The Cat 986K combines reliable, efficient loading with machine longevity, providing lower cost of ownership. Performance is optimised thanks to the power shift transmission, torque converter with lock-up clutch and axle shaft disc brakes.

VisionLink® offers insight into the health, location and productivity of the machine, helping to increase productivity, control costs, improve operator performance and ensure safety on site. Cat Connect PAYLOAD technologies such as Cat Production Measurement provide on-the-go load weighing to assist operators with achieving precise targets every time, further optimising efficiency and increasing jobsite productivity.

The Cat 986K also boasts a redesigned state-of-the-art operator cab featuring STIC steering, touch screen display, enhanced safety with improved access/egress, and better cab visibility. Serviceability is improved with ground-level or platform access and grouped service points, and a suite of performance series buckets are available too.

Sizing was an important determining factor in Hanson’s selection of the machine, and the Cat 986K proved to be the ideal size – larger than a Cat 982M but more compact than a new Cat 988K. The recent reintroduction of the Cat 988K range saw machines larger than their predecessors, and so the Cat 986K was launched as a size replacement for the original Cat 988G.

The machine will be maintained through a Customer Service Agreement (CSA Under the agreement, Finning will also provide technical support through the Finsight condition monitoring team, supplying Hanson with data on machine health that links to the CSA. This data will provide accurate information to organise preventative maintenance operations, as well as information on uptime and machine productivity.

Dave Jenkins, Unit Manager at Hanson UK, explained: “We were in the process of renewing aspects of our fleet at Hingston Down Quarry last year. We sought advice from Finning and Caterpillar on which machines to invest in for better site management and optimisation, and they recommended the new Cat 986K.

“The whole of the site team at the quarry are looking forward to the arrival of the first UK based Cat 986K, with the loader bringing all of Caterpillar’s latest improvements with ongoing upgrades and advanced technologies. This machine is matched perfectly with our face fleet, which includes a 772G and continues the long standing partnership that this quarry has had with Finning – a relationship forged over many years.

“We have been operating our current Cat 988G face loading shovel since its arrival in 2005, and this machine is performing really well after a long working life. It’s still running on its original powertrain, which is proven testament to the Caterpillar standards of durability and reliability for the whole life of their machinery.”

Phil Battle, Head of Quarrying & Aggregates – Finning UK & Ireland, added: “The Cat 986K Wheel Loader is the right size, perfectly matched with Cat off-highway trucks to maximise the volume of material moved and offer the lowest cost per tonne.

“The robust structures withstand tough loading conditions to achieve multiple lifecycles – for a lower total cost of ownership. Hanson will see improved mobility, versatility, and technology built into the 986K Wheel Loader to burn less fuel, operate more efficiently, and achieve a low total cost of ownership.”             

For more information on Cat products and services from Finning UK & Ireland, please visit, or for more information on Hanson UK, please visit  

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Awards and cash prizes for Survey School’s top graduates

August 6th, 2019 No comments

The highest performing students on the TSA Surveying Course at The Survey School, were announced at the annual graduation ceremony at Worcester Racecourse.  

The hard work of 23 students on TSA Surveying Course 45, 46 and 47 was celebrated, with four graduates named as this year’s prize winners for outstanding achievement. 

All the prizes are based on assignment results, exam marks and the overall observations of the tutors. 

The recipients of the Best Student Award, the CICES Best Assignment Award and the RICS Best Measured Building Assignment Award are all employed by Laser Surveys Ltd, a TSA Member company since 1996.

Jointly sponsored by The Survey Association (TSA) and Leica Geosystems, the Best Student Award went to Samuel Grimes. 

Tutor at The Survey School, Andrew Crumpler commented, ‘’Sam has done extremely well on all aspects of this course.  He has the mathematical ability, coupled with the theoretical understanding and the ability to realise this in the field.”

Sponsored by TSA, the Vice-President’s Award went to Jessica Hurp of Evolution Surveys Ltd, who was commended for her attention to detail, her care and the hard work she put into the course.

Eight students were in the running for the Chartered ICES prize for Best Assignment, with Zoe Hundley of Laser Surveys Ltd winning out for her consistently high standard of work and producing ‘a model’ Block 3 Intersection and Resection assignment.

RICS Best Measured Building Assignment required students to produce a measured building survey with floor plans, an elevation and a cross section.

Alexander Cox of Laser Surveys Ltd drew high praise from his tutors for the level of detail

included in his elevation and the first-class standard of his work.

Sue Stewart, Director at Laser Surveys Ltd commented, “We are so proud of Zoe, Alex and Sam and their brilliant achievements. The awards are in recognition of the hard work, dedication and enthusiasm that they have put into their studies over the past two years.

“The TSA Surveying Course encompasses the core knowledge required for surveying today and gives an excellent base to enable them to grow their technical and practical skills even further as they progress their careers.” 

The Survey School has trained some 400 students to a professional standard since the TSA Course in Surveying was launched, nearly 20 years ago and is recognised by industry and employers as the UK’s premier commercial training centre for the education of land surveyors.  

Successful completion of the TSA Surveying Course counts towards AssocRICS membership.

Block 1 of TSA Surveying Course 52 commences on 9 September and places are still available. For details and booking information on this and the shorter technical courses on specific topics, see the School’s website. 


Caption: From left, TSA President Adam Bradley with Best Student Award winner, Samuel Grimes.

Caption:  Graduation Day 2019 at The Survey School.

For further information, interviews or images contact Ruth Badley  

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How to Foster a Culture of Site Safety in Construction

August 5th, 2019 No comments

Despite health and safety being a staple of every company’s policies and procedures, accidents and injuries at work are still commonplace. HSE (Health and Safety Executive) recently published the results of the annual labour force survey, which revealed that between 2017 and 2018, there were 555,000 injuries at work. 144 of them were fatal.

But what about industries that consider safety to be at the centre of their work?

As it stands, the construction industry contributes to a large number of recorded workplace injuries. In fact, HSE found that an estimated 58,000 cases of work-related injury occurred between 2017 and 2018. Around 2.6% of construction workers suffered an injury in this time, roughly 50% higher than the average of 1.8% across all industries.

Below, industry experts at Vizwear explore what it is that construction companies are doing wrong and how you can create a positive safety culture in your business.

How can poor health and safety affect your business?

Having a bad culture of health and safety hits your profits as hard as it does your reputation.

In the construction industry alone, around 2.4 million working days were lost between 2017 and 2018 due to workplace injury and illness. To put that statistic into perspective, that’s the equivalent of 10,000 construction workers being absent from work for a full year.

These absences add up to a staggering £1.06 billion loss, accounting for 7% of the total cost across all industries (£14.9 billion).

What are the signs of poor health and safety?

If you’re concerned that your own health and safety policies aren’t up to standard, there are a number of signs you can look out for:

  • Poor accident reporting – If your team aren’t properly reporting and logging accidents in the workplace, then nothing can be done to prevent it from happening again in the future. Accident and injury books aren’t just for serious cases: they should be filled with any occurrences in the workplace. Your staff may not feel like their injuries aren’t worth the hassle, but the next time it happens, it could have more serious consequences.
  • Blame culture – If your company blames individuals for injuries and relies on disciplining workers for accidents, you’re promoting a negative view of health and safety. You may be influencing employees to avoid correctly reporting incidents due to a fear of being reprimanded.
  • Profitability over safety – When a company values profitability at a detriment to proper health and safety measures, its culture of site safety will inevitably suffer. This attitude will actually end up costing you more in the long run, as you’ll be forced to cover staff absences when accidents occur.
  • Lack of communication – Without openly communicating the reasons behind new safety measures with your employees, you’ll create the impression that health and safety in an afterthought. Your staff won’t take policies seriously and you’ll make it difficult to establish a positive culture of site safety.  

How to foster a culture of site safety

When it comes to creating a successful culture of site safety, it’s not as simple as creating new safety procedures and calling it a job well done – business leaders need to motivate their staff to take safety into their own hands.

Only by ensuring everyone buys into their own safety can management be confident that their staff are taking the right measures to cultivate a culture of site safety.

Here are a few small steps you can take to make sure your business is optimising its culture of safety:

1.   Communicate

A lack of communication can hamper any attempts to develop your culture of workplace safety.  Being open and honest with your employees about why new changes are being implemented at work is the easiest way to help them understand the necessity.

The more transparent you are as a manager, the more likely your staff will help health and safety updates run smoothly. However, it’s not just about communicating changes to your team: all current health and safety guidelines should be easily accessible to ensure everyone remains knowledgable and up to date.

2.   Mental health support

Construction workers have seen a serious problem with the condition of their mental health which has been a continuous issue for the industry over the years. Whether it’s depression, anxiety or stress, the industry suffered 14,000 cases between 2017 and 2018.

If you’re making strides to improve your culture of site safety, it’s crucial to work towards aiding your staff’s mental health. By providing further education and creating an environment that employees feel safe to open up and speak their mind, your workers will develop their own support system to protect each other’s mental health and wellbeing.

3.   Lead by example

It goes without saying that if an employee knows that their manager doesn’t care whether health and safety procedures are followed, then they’re not going to follow them. This toxic behaviour will quickly disintegrate any attempt to create a culture of site safety.

When it comes to safety, you need to walk the walk. Show your team how important it is to adhere to safety standards by following them to the letter yourself. Your employees are far more likely to follow in your footsteps than to just take your word for it.

4.   Training

Making sure your team is fully trained in site safety is crucial to ensure that workers are fully knowledgable in safety procedures. With the correct training, you’ll have peace of mind that they know how to perform their jobs safely and correctly.

Review key training sessions and organise refresher courses often to reinforce key safety issues. With a fully trained team of safety experts at your disposal, your employees will be able to spot potential hazards before they become accidents.

5.   Reporting

Of the estimated 58,000 workplace injuries between 2017 and 2018, only 4,919 were officially reported; meaning over 90% of non-fatal injuries were left unreported.

Reporting incidents shouldn’t be something that employees fear or feel uncomfortable doing. You need to make it clear to your employees that accident reporting isn’t an excuse to scold but rather to find out what caused an injury and what can be done to prevent it from happening in the future. By making proper reporting a core value of your worker’s job description, it will become like second nature to them.

Incentivising accident reports through prizes or monetary bonuses is a common action that managers take but the results may be counterintuitive. Safety incentive programs become routine and many employees become entitled; believing they deserve rewarding for carrying out their jobs.

Rather than trying to ‘buy’ your staff with incentives, allow them to set their own safety goals. Employees are more likely to respond positively to working towards their team’s own targets, rather than those set by executives who may be out of touch with their day-to-day operations.

6.   Get the team involved

As site safety affects everyone, it’s only right that your employees should get to help shape your culture. The more you give your staff the opportunity to participate in safety initiatives, the more likely they are to adhere to precautions.

By running regular safety seminars, your team can voice their own safety concerns. This open style of contribution gives workers the chance to help implement safety changes that affect their own roles, making them much more likely to follow them and encourage others.

How to manage change

Now that you’ve got an idea of some of the ways you can change your businesses safety culture for the better, you can start implementing. However, it’s not just a case of putting on a training session and expecting to see results. To develop a genuinely progressive culture of site safety, you need to be always aware of what health and safety measures are in place and what needs to change.

Following the generic model of change, you can see how it relates to your business and how it refers to successful safety culture:

  1. Recognise the need for change – This is the moment you realise that your current health and safety standards aren’t cutting it and that improvements need to be made.
  2. Diagnose what needs to change – At this stage, you’ll pinpoint specifically which health and safety measures and issues are causing problems for your business.
  3. Plan for, and prepare to change – With your problems discovered, you’ll then design exactly what you need to do to improve and how you’ll do it.
  4. Implement the change – This is when all your planning and preparation comes into place and you put into place the solution to the problems you discovered.
  5. Sustain the change – Often neglected, this stage is one of the most important. This is where you need to ensure your initiatives are followed and the culture of site safety you’ve created remains at a high level.

Each stage of this model plays a vital role in developing your company’s culture, but the ability to recognise the need for change and sustaining change are the most crucial. With these two steps, you’ll always be aware of the safety standards in the workplace and will be striving to make sure current policies are followed.

“Health and safety in the construction industry isn’t something that can be ignored and picked up later,” says Daniel Ure from online PPE retailer Vizwear, “it’s a vital part of everyone’s day to day work.”

“By keeping workers up to date with safety procedures, health and safety will become a natural part of their roles, rather than something they need to remember. When your staff become more aware, they’ll take fewer risks and make sure any accidents are logged: two simple ways that will keep everyone safer in the future.”

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Sliding door hardware – we have lift off, says HOPPE (UK)

August 1st, 2019 No comments

Over recent years, large patio doors that allow lots of natural light into the home have become increasingly popular in the UK. The trend for linking the home and garden into one connected living space has fuelled a trend for a wide range of glass doors, from the simple French doors to bi-fold doors and entire, sleek contemporary walls of fully retractable glass.

It’s a lovely way to create lots of natural light and a feeling of spaciousness and wellbeing. But although they look great, some of these door systems can be very heavy, difficult to manoeuvre, and in some cases quite dangerous for unwary hands.

Thanks to the flush lift and slide door handle from HOPPE (UK), homeowners can now let more light into their home without having to worry about how to operate the door.

Lift and slide patio doors allow you to use larger glass panels than other types of door systems but, despite the additional weight, lift and slide door systems are much easier to use than traditional sliding doors.

Architectural Ironmongers B J Waller approached HOPPE (UK) looking for a solution to a non-traditional sliding door installation.

“I was asked by our customer to come up with a solution for a pair of pocket lift and slide doors that closed onto a corner post,” said Adrian Bailey, technical sales representative at B J Waller. “Standard lift and slide handles would have collided with each other, but as the HOPPE handle sits flush to the door, it provided the perfect fit and our customer was really pleased with the final design.”

By simply turning the lever handle to 180º, the panels lift completely off the track and slide open, quite literally with the push of a finger. The advanced running gears mean that the doors are much easier to move, regardless of the weight. It allows you to move multiple inline panels that weigh up to 440kg each.

To return the door to a stationary position, the handle is used again to lower the panel. The wheels are protected from excessive wear, and the panel weight creates a weather-tight seal.

Lisa Nightingale, door and window sales manager at HOPPE (UK), says:

“Lift and slide door systems are becoming increasingly popular in the UK as they allow us to create much larger openings than with traditional sliding doors. The flush design of the handle complements the smooth, minimalist design, and homeowners feel like they are bringing the outside in without having their view blocked by bulky doors and hardware.”

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Housing the urban population: solutions for our cites

July 30th, 2019 No comments

In June, three architecture practices came together with Graphisoft UK, the company behind the BIM software solution, ARCHICAD, for the premiere of Habitation: Reinventing housing for the urban age. The film looks at issues such as urban density, affordable homes and sustainability, and outlines how each architecture practice has offered a solution to these challenges.

Three innovative approaches

Designed by Waugh Thistleton, Watts Grove is an affordable modular scheme of 65 homes for Swan Housing in east London. The project is set to be constructed with cross laminated timber (CLT) panels produced in Swan’s factory in Basildon.

After taking the decision to go modular, Swan commissioned Waugh Thistleton to develop its initial outline scheme based on the architects’ previous experience with CLT schemes.

“One of the reasons Swan have looked towards offsite manufacture is they want to control their supply chain,” explains Kieran Walker, associate at Waugh Thistleton.

The scheme contains 158 modules of 85 different types.

“The important thing to understand about offsite modular construction is that it’s really about repeatable processes and customisable products,” explains Walker. In this way, he adds, “we can get homes much quicker and more cost-effectively, onto more difficult sites.”

While Waugh Thistleton has turned to modular, offsite construction and engineered timber, Chris Bryant, partner at Alma-nac, has embraced a concept that he describes as “urban dentistry”.

“You can look at this idea of urban dentistry as carefully picking apart or adding to what’s there with a sort of surgical precision,” Bryant explains.

Alma-nac has applied this approach to Paxton House; an office to residential conversion in Croydon, south London. Although initially conceived as a build-to-rent scheme, some tenants have since purchased their properties.

Bryant’s team have managed to avoid many of the pitfalls of this type of project by designing dual aspect flats, with living spaces oriented to the south and south west and an access gallery to the north side of the building.

“Most of our work happens in this highly complex urban environment – complex in terms of policy, in terms of the urban fabric, sustainability and the environment,” Bryant concludes. “All of these parameters together set up something where innovation really shines.”

At Brentford Lock West, Mae Architects created an innovative residential scheme of 557 homes on brownfield land.

“A lot of our housing need can be delivered on repurposed sites,” explains Alex Ely, principal at Mae.

However, this does not mean designing and delivering identikit housing devoid of character. Instead, Mae Architects designed the scheme to fit in and reflect the qualities of the surrounding area, while still delivering a dense residential scheme.

“It’s a mixture of responding to the industrial past and then trying to marry that with the human scale of a neighbouring conservation area,” says architect Helen Clark.

This means not only creating a mix of dwelling types, such as townhouses and flats, but also integrating architectural features such as garden walls, front gardens and gable ends.

Such an approach created a mix of housing types while also addressing the need for family housing in outer London.

“We tried to innovate in the project [by developing] a new typology of villas connected by townhouses. The villa plan allows us to create a lot of dual aspect apartments with generous outdoor space and well-lit, generous internal spaces” adds Ely.

Creating homes for all

From reimagining the waterside, to embracing offsite techniques and adapting existing structures, these schemes prove that the challenges of the UK’s housing crisis can be overcome through innovation. Moreover, the urgency of housing need does not have to drive the delivery of knee-jerk, reactionary developments that sacrifice quality and architecture in order to achieve speed.

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