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Two 1,000 tonne bridges to be wheeled into place on A14

September 26th, 2018 Comments off

Two 1,000 tonne bridges are set to be slid into place later this month as part of an innovative engineering solution on the £1.5bn A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement job.

The abutments for the two new bridges can be seen just south of the existing bridge and further down on the right of the road, the bridge decks are under construction

The bridges have been built at the side of the road and will be wheeled into place over just one weekend to cause minimum disruption to traffic by joint venture Balfour Beatty, Skanska, Costain, CH2M and Atkins.

Over the past few months they have built four abutments to support the new bridges as well as two 44 metre bridge decks at the side of the live carriageway.

The new bridges at Bar Hill, will be installed during the weekend of 14 September.

They will form a new, improved Bar Hill junction which will connect the A14 to the future local access road between Cambridge and Huntingdon, as well as to the existing local road between Bar Hill and Longstanton (B1050).

David Bray, project director for the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon upgrade at Highways England, said: “Redesigning and building the Bar Hill junction was identified from the start of the project as one of the main challenges we would have to tackle.

“I am delighted that we’ve found a way to build the two bridges while keeping the A14 open as much as possible and disruption for people locally and road users to a minimum.

“And I am also excited that we’re using such an innovative solution to our challenge – that’s what makes my job so interesting.”

The new bridges will ultimately replace the old crossing which will be demolished in 2019.

The team has produced a video highlighting the engineering solution

Video:

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New Research Shows Uneven UK Solar Distribution and Highlights Potential Opportunities

September 12th, 2018 Comments off

As summer sees Britain breaking record after record for solar power generation, new research, compiled by Green Business Watch, ranks the UK’s solar performance on a county-by-county basis for the first time.

With the growing public demand for sustainable builds, the UK Solar Power County Rankings provide an unprecedented amount of information about UK Solar energy in one place, allowing property owners see the real benefits of solar in their area.

As the potential savings and income from solar PV installations vary across the country, residents and businesses can for the first time use the map to identify the potential savings and income they could achieve by investing in solar PV.

UK Solar Power County Rankings 2018

Not surprisingly, the rankings show Southern counties leading the way but they also highlight a number of areas that are not making the most out of their solar resource.

Some Key Findings:

  • Solar irradiation across the South of England is uniformly strong but counties such as East Sussex, West Sussex and Surrey seem to be missing out, and have installed less solar capacity than might have been expected.
  • Wiltshire, which ranks number one for installed capacity is neither the sunniest nor the largest of Britain’s counties. Despite being outside the top 10 for solar irradiation, large volumes of commercial solar see Wiltshire top the rankings and hint at opportunities that some other counties are perhaps missing out on.
  • Estimates of domestic income / savings varied from £413 in Shetland to £655 in the Isle of Wight but excluding the extremes of the Islands, differences in solar irradiation and potential earnings are probably smaller than imagined. As an example, sample locations in Angus (Scotland) had a predicted income/savings figure of £538 per year. This was less than southern English counties such as Bedfordshire (£561 per year) but the gap is only £23 per year.
  • Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire are all surprise finds in the top 10 and Northern English counties such as Yorkshire and Greater Manchester make surprise showings in the top 10 for domestic capacity.

Overall, the UK Solar Power County Rankings paint a picture of solar uptake in the UK that is much more patchy than the opportunity, with some counties outperforming their solar potential while others aren’t yet taking advantage of the available resource.

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Measured Building Surveys Nationwide

September 10th, 2018 Comments off

Measured Buildings Surveys throughout the UK

Mobile CAD Surveying Solutions Ltd  can accommodate either a simple single property floor plan for a domestic or logowhitebackground (Small)private customer to a complete schedule of buildings including whatever type of data collection the customer requires for commercial customers. If Architects or Surveyors and you require fast turn around building surveys, please give us a try! we currently work for dozens of architects, surveyors and designers around the UK and into mainland Europe, recently carrying out projects in France, Switzerland and the Channel Islands, or where they haven’t the capacity or staff to handle their own surveys or where they just require someone to make sure the job is done right, first time, Mobile CAD Surveying Solutions can help you.

Currently we are working on many Commercial surveys around the country and also a number of larger dimensional surveys and many domestic measured building surveys in the UK, if you require any type of Measured Building Survey then please contact us.

 

We can provide Floor plans,  Elevational drawings, or a Topographical survey also Underground Utility Traces and all types of Measured Building Survey with varying levels of detailed work – from simple walls, columns, doors and window surveys, to a fully detailed data set including all 3D information including cill & head heights, stair riser and going details, door heights, ceiling heights, beam details, fitted furniture etc.. As part of our measured surveys, the surveyors can also pick up and highlight other information for example: any electrical and data points, sanitary fittings, incoming mains positions, plant, fire fighting and detection equipment, security equipment, signage and so on.

An accurate  topographical survey or land survey is essential to any project that you are considering and can lessen the possibility of costly mistakes or unforeseen issues later on.  The amount and type of topographical survey data that we collect on site is always based on your specification. However, our experienced land surveyors will use their knowledge of planning and development issues and requirements to provide additional information that might be vital for any future design or planning application. We are also able to gather information from any utility companies which can be added to your topographical survey drawings..

Revit models – we are currently working on a number of modelling jobs, producing 3D Revit models from our own survey data and laser scans.

360D Panoramic Photography – We can also provide a 360 degree photographic record of your project to aid with design/construction

The ‘as built’ documentation provided by the company is highly detail oriented, every project can be accompanied by 360 degrees photographs to provide better understanding of the plans. Photographs give clients instant visuals which help in picturing the plan in a much better fashion.

We can also provide other additional land surveying services that you may require, for example; underground services tracing ( GPR – Ground Penetrating Radar) and 3D laser scanning enable us to provide you with a one-stop-shop for your surveying requirements.

for more information, please visit:-

Mobile CAD Surveying

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Liverpool drylining firm collapses

September 5th, 2018 Comments off

Liverpool drylining contractor Cull & Griffiths has fallen into administration with the loss of 23 jobs.

Administrators from Begbies Traynor were called in at the historic family-owned specialist contractor which has worked on major property regeneration projects in Liverpool since 1971.

Past clients included Laing O’Rourke, Downing and Bramall Construction on jobs like the One Park West flats, Capital Building offices and the refurbishment of the Museum of Liverpool.

Cull and Griffiths was founded by Eric Cull in 1971 and specialised in plastering, drylining and partitioning. Following his death in 2011, his son Eric Cull Jr and William Griffiths took control of the firm. Both have been with the firm more than 50 years.

Paul Stanley, Administrator and North West regional managing partner at Begbies Traynor, said: “Unfortunately, the business was affected by the loss of a couple of key contracts and stiff competition in the marketplace.

“After examining all options, the directors were faced with no choice other than to place the company into administration. We are engaging with creditors and will update interested parties on progress.”

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Specification awards now open for entries

September 4th, 2018 Comments off

Building contractors can now nominate their projects for the internationally recognised biennial GAI/RIBA Architectural Ironmongery Specification Awards.

Organised by the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI) in conjunction with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the awards are designed to identify and reward excellence in the specification of architectural ironmongery.

Projects can be nominated for the following categories: residential; commercial and hospitality buildings; public health and education buildings; international projects outside the UK and Ireland and, new to the 2018/19 awards, best new product: design and innovation.

Architects, specifiers, building contractors, clients and their architectural ironmongery advisers and suppliers across the world can nominate projects from now until Friday 16 November 2018. The winners will be announced at a celebratory lunch in March 2019.

 

David Stacey, president of the GAI, says:

“The Specification Awards ceremony is one of the Guild’s most highly anticipated events. The calibre of entries is always incredibly high and shows architectural ironmongery at its best. The GAI is always proud to see its member companies involved in so many complex projects.

“These awards are unique because they reward the whole specification team, highlighting the importance of the professional partnership between architects and architectural ironmongers.”

For each category there will be a winner, second and third place. The judges will also decide on an overall ‘winner of winners’. At the 2017/18 Specification Awards, this accolade went to Kings Gate, a residential project by architectural ironmongers izé and architect Lynch Architects. A brochure featuring the 2017/18 winning projects can be downloaded from the GAI website.

There is no limit on the number of entries to the 2018/19 awards. The first entry from GAI or RIBA members is free of charge.

To nominate a project for the awards, go to: www.gai.org.uk/SpecAwards2019

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TIMCO EXTENDS QUALITY CONTROL FACILITIES

August 20th, 2018 Comments off

TIMco, one of the UK’s largest independent wholesale suppliers of screws, fixings and power tools accessories has extended its UK quality control facilities to meet the requirements of its growing product base and provide customers with product training and testing facilities.

The new QC facilities are part of TIMco’s latest investment in a new 30,000sqft warehouse space. The new QC facilities have been implemented to provide further quality control checks on products when they arrive in the UK.  The company already has QC facilities in its offices in the Far East that monitor the manufacturing process and ensure that no products are dispatched to the UK without effective checks.

On arrival to TIMco’s Cheshire offices, products then receive further testing before they are stored and distributed to customers.  The new facilities include a range of technologies from salt spray test machines to devices that measure load and insertion speeds. Products that fail the tests at any stage are promptly removed from the supply chain, while products that pass the tests are then verified for use.

The new facilities also provide customers with the opportunity to visit TIMco’s offices to learn how products work and their best applications.  By supporting customer’s employees they in turn are able to sell with more confidence and research also suggests that customers look for outlets that have knowledgeable and helpful staff.

Simon Midwood, Managing Director of TIMco, comments: “We’re committed to providing a broad range of high quality products to our customers and testing them effectively is a key part of delivering on our promises.  The new state-of-the-art facilities ensure that our standards remain high and also provide us with an opportunity to train customers on our latest products and their applications, which in turn improves their product knowledge and benefits end users. We strongly advise that customers utilise these facilities and services which we can offer.”

Over the last year, TIMco has increased its ranges to more than 6,500 products ranging from traditional fasteners and fixings through to gate hardware, building chemicals and adhesives to new and improved impact driver bits and associated builder’s products.

TIMco is head quartered in Nantwich, Cheshire and imports and supplies more than 6,500 product lines from around the world to distributors throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe.  The company was established in 1970 and now employs 115 members of staff from its offices in the UK, Ireland and Taiwan.  For more information, visit www.TIMco.co.uk.

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Peel Energy announces plans to install district energy at Liverpool Waters

August 7th, 2018 Comments off

Peel Energy, the low carbon energy arm of Peel Land and Property, has announced plans to develop a district heat network at its ambitious Liverpool Waters development, under the name of Mersey Heat.

The first phase of the network is centred on existing buildings around Princes Dock along with planned new developments along the waterfront. The heat network will deliver low carbon hot water for the use of space heating and hot water provision within the buildings.

Peel Energy will operate the network through an energy services company called Mersey Heat, which will be responsible for system design, construction of the generation plant and operation of the network, providing low cost, low carbon reliable heat to the building owners and occupiers.

Development at Liverpool Waters will enjoy the benefits of a low cost, reliable heating and hot water solution for the buildings by connecting to the network, which will also have long term cost benefits for occupiers.

Muir Miller, Managing Director of Peel Energy, which also developed the wind turbines at Port of Liverpool said; “Our colleagues and their development partners are producing a first-rate product at Liverpool Waters and it deserves a 21st century heating system to match.  We believe that Mersey Heat can make a significant positive impact on the low carbon credentials of the project and provide cost benefits to developers and occupiers as well.  We are very excited at the prospect of deploying the first phase of the network and seeing how far it can grow.”

Peel’s Development Director for Liverpool Waters, Darran Lawless said: “Liverpool Waters includes the regeneration of 60 hectares of former dockland to create a high quality, mixed use waterfront development which will bring huge commercial and retail opportunity as well as over 9,000 new homes. The fact we can offer low cost, low carbon heat to a development on this scale is a fantastic step forward in us delivering a sustainable community where people can live, work and play.”

This will be Peel’s second district heat project after the successful installation at MediaCityUK in Salford which has been in operation since 2009 supplying such blue-chip customers as the BBC and University of Salford as part of the world’s first BREEAM approved sustainable community.

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Online training logs a win for trussed rafter designers

July 31st, 2018 Comments off

As the construction industry continues its struggle with skills shortages, the trussed rafter industry is working hard to upskill employees with sign-ups for specialist training quadrupling.

The online training course, run by the Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) in association with Edinburgh Napier University, is proving popular with trussed rafter designers.

Two beneficiaries of the training programme are Gabor Vince, from Taylor Lane Timber Frame Ltd, and Frank Kyne, from Wyckham Blackwell Ltd, who are the highest scorers for the Introduction to Trussed Rafter Design online course.

As a reward for their hard work, Gabor and Frank have been given the opportunity to visit a Swedish forestry and sawmilling operations courtesy of Vida Wood UK Ltd.

Gabor says:

“It’s great to be rewarded for doing a course that, for me, was fundamental to my professional development.

“Going to Sweden will be a real eye-opener getting out into the forest to witness how it all works through the whole felling and logging process and seeing how the timber is processed at the mill.”

Frank adds:

“The course for me was very useful and a great test of my skills. Being able to do this all online was really important to me as I would never have found the spare time to complete this otherwise.

“I can’t wait to go to Sweden and see how my work and my colleagues’ work weaves into what’s happening out in the forest and the mills. It’s a fantastic opportunity.”

Nick Boulton, TRA chief executive, said:

“Training for TRA members is going from strength to strength and it’s remarkable how well the course is doing. It’s a credit to the TRA members and their employees for wanting to be better at their job to provide a better service for their customers.”

The online training course is available in two elements: Part 1 Essentials and Part 2 Advanced. Part 1 is suitable for new staff and designers while part 2 is aimed purely at designers.

TRA members can claim up to two units of training completed per site within three months of registering. With each unit costing £175 per candidate or £300 for both, these are great saving for members.

The course is just one element of the TRA’s commitment to training and recruitment in the trussed rafter industry.

At the TRA AGM in May where the theme was ‘The next generation’, TRA chairman, Jonathan Fellingham, announced he is heading up a project to look at the recruitment of the future pipeline of trussed rafter designers and fabricators, calling on TRA members to get involved.

To register candidates, please send the candidates full name and business email address to info@tra.org.uk where you can also find out further information about the training package.

www.tra.org.uk

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Marvels of architecture across the world

July 23rd, 2018 Comments off

Technology has made it possible for us to design, create, and maintain structures that were not feasible in years gone by. With the additional support of artificial intelligence, architects can make informed choices regarding the building’s structure. Variables such as materials, use, and climate can all be factored in quickly by modern technology.

Together with Oasys, who offer retaining wall solutions, we take a look at some of the best examples of advanced architecture in the world.

Apple Park, Campus 2

One of the most well-known companies in the world, tech titan Apple has moved to its new offices lately. Worth a staggering $234.7bn, the company, which is now one of the biggest on the planet, was able to invest a further $5bn into a new building and move its tremendous workforce into a circular futuristic structure. The new office-space, which opened in April 2017 midway through construction, is made up of 175 acres — and is even bigger than The Pentagon.

This building’s unique trait comes from its roof. The whole structure’s roof is made from solar panels, which makes it one of the most efficient buildings the world has ever seen, in terms of energy saving. The solar panels are capable of generating 17 megawatts of power (75% during peak daytime) and the company has aims to make the complex entirely powered by renewable energy in the future. Another four megawatts are powered through the use of biofuel and natural gas within the complex, using Bloom Energy Servers which are popular within the Californian region, with Google, Yahoo and Wal-Mart using them, too.

The building’s design also prioritised the use of natural heating, ventilation, and air control (HVAC).To achieve this, air is allowed to flow freely between the inside and outside of the building, which can help assist for nine months of the entire year — highlighting the importance of such features in the DNA of design.

 

The Burj Khalifa

At 2,722 ft, the Burj Khalifa (also known as the Burj Dubai) is a sight to behold as the tallest structure in the world. Starting construction in 2004 and finalising the project in 2008, many decisions had to be made to ensure that this neo-futurism structure was able to serve its purpose, acknowledging that it would be a free-standing building and understanding the hot climate it would be situated in.

 

A series of underground water networks delivers fresh water, which has been processed be desalination plants from sea water, to the whole city of Dubai, the skyscrapers included. When the water hits the Burj, it is distributed to every corner of every floor on every level. However, with 163 floors, this can become a complicated process, which shows us just how special the Burj Khalifa actually is in terms of design.

The group of architects who planned the structure realised that using one pump for the skyscraper’s water supply could prove dangerous, due to the need for high pressure to send the water higher up. This pressure could lead to the pipes exploding. To counter this problem, they came up with a plan to help the water flow up the building in different stages.

The water supply starts in the basement, then flows up to a 40th floor reservoir station. This station then pushes the water on to a series of 200,000-gallon tanks all the way to the top of the building. As the water reaches the top, the water then travels back down under its own weight — it is said that 946,000 litres of water are supplied per day which also helps the building stay cool in the hot climate.

As a desert city, keeping buildings cool in Dubai is vital. Therefore, another water supply — an ice-chilled water system which is the first of its kind to be used in the Middle East — has also been implemented to enable substantial energy savings.

The Taipei 101

The previous title-holder for the tallest building in the world, the Taipei 101 is a platinum certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) build. Up until 2016, the structure had the fastest elevator on the planet, which could travel from the 5th to 89th floor in 37 seconds!

 

Taiwan has a multitude of different structures to its name, from the traditional Fort Provintia, to the super-modern Tuntex Sky Tower. But what makes it so spectacular? Starting construction in 1999 and ending in 2004, the Taipei has 101 floors (if the name had not given it away) and is 1,666 ft in height — but the environmental factors that took over its design has changed the way we build for good.

 

Just as the Burj Khalifa’s architects had to consider the building’s need to be kept cool, the architects of the Taipei 101 had to consider Taiwan’s affinity for natural disasters, such as earthquakes and typhoons. When it comes to Taipei 101, the structure can withstand high winds of 134 mph, which is due to the model prioritising resistance through the use of curtain walls, protected glass and high-performance steel. The walls can provide heat and ultraviolet protection by blocking external heat by 50%.

The Taipei 101 has a structure that includes 36 steel columns. Eight of these are known as mega columns, and they have 10,000 pounds of concrete per inch. Within Taipei 101, there are outrigger trusses every eight floors which connect to the columns within the exterior to ensure secure resistance from probable natural disasters in and around Taiwan.

Technology will only continue to grow, so we are set to see even more projects come to fruition that balance a design aesthetic with vital survival features. For example, London is set to have 13 new skyscrapers by 2026 — we know that these will be designed to uphold the ethical requirements for a modern-day structure.

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Network Rail starts race for £5bn trio of trackwork deals

July 16th, 2018 Comments off

Network Rail has officially started the hunt for firms to deliver its programme of trackworks for the next 10 years.

It wants design suppliers and contractors to pre-form as consortia to express interest and pre-qualify for the forthcoming invitation to tender on 15 August.

Three partner consortia will be selected to deliver the £3bn- £5bn programme of works through separate Programme Alliance Agreements.

These will cover three regions: North (Scotland Route); Central (LNW, LNE and East Midlands Routes); and South (Western, Wales, Wessex, South East and Anglia Routes).

The scope of work will predominantly cover design and construction of trackworks on plain line track and switches and crossings points, with the new arrangement coming into being from July/August 2019.

Steve Featherstone, Network Rail’s director for Track said: “Combining our plain line expertise with that of switches & crossings will bring huge benefits to both our route customers and the wider supply chain.

“The proven alliance model offers a flexible and cost effective solution with a greater focus on each route’s specific requirements and needs.”

Prequalification information can be obtained from Network Rail’s procurement site.

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