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SD Sealants’ tiling division awarded prestigious £250k contract

January 28th, 2019 No comments

SD Sealants’ tiling department has won a highly sought-after contract worth a quarter of a million pounds in Gloucestershire.

The 59 Lansdown project, which is being built by CALA Homes, is a brand-new residential development in Cheltenham Spa, Gloucestershire.

SD Sealants will be carrying out extensive tiling work across Lansdown’s 42 one and two-bedroom apartments, as well as 25 three and five-bedroom villas which are expected to cost around £1million.

Andre Hunt, Tiling Division Manager at SD Sealants, said: “We are delighted that Cala Homes has awarded the SD tiling division this prestigious project. The development is set to be an incredibly unique and impressive collection of million-pound homes and we’re looking forward to working on them and seeing them take shape over the coming months.”

The design of the home and the development aims to bridge the residential aesthetics between Cheltenham’s growing urban environment and its traditional spa-town origins, and as such the design brief for each property combines modern and classic tiling features.

Managing Director at SD Sealants, Nick Jones, added: “SD launched its tiling service in early 2017 and it’s amazing to see what the team has achieved in less than two years.

“This new contract is the culmination of a lot of hard work and meticulous on-site skills from the tiling team, and we are over the moon that Cala Homes have recognised this and trusted SD Sealants with such a big project. I very much look forward to seeing more exciting developments for our tiling division this year.”

Launched in 1973, SD Sealants originated as a family run business in Somerset that specialised in the supply and application of sealant.

Since then, the business has gone from strength to strength, becoming one of the UK’s largest tiling, repairs and sealant companies, with nine offices across England, Scotland and Wales. 

For more information on SD Sealants, visit www.sdsealants.co.uk

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5 safety considerations for your construction site in winter

January 24th, 2019 No comments

Kelly Friel is a Digital Product Manager with Zoro, a leading retailer of tools and PPE for trade. In this blog post, she shares her insider knowledge for keeping your construction site safe and your employees comfortable through the winter.

Construction sites can be hazardous places at the best of times, but when the temperature plummets and ice and snow become issues, work gets even riskier. Fortunately, it is possible to reduce this level of risk by providing your staff with the right equipment and facilities to stay safe, warm, and comfortable on the job. 

As an employer or site manager, it’s your obligation to provide staff with the right PPE for winter (gov.uk), and ensure that measures are in place to help prevent slips, vehicle accidents, and cold stress. In this article, I’ll outline the basic steps that all construction companies should take to keep their staff safe on site during challenging weather conditions.

Prevent falls, slips, and trips during poor weather

Preventing slips and falls on site is always a priority, especially if your staff carry out work at height. And this is never more important than during the winter months, when wet weather, ice and snow can make surfaces especially slippery and treacherous.

To prevent falls in bad weather, it’s important that all staff have work boots which provide adequate traction and grip. Rubberised mats can also be a good collective solution for adding extra grip to slippery concrete or scaffolding. Hand rails are also important on walkways and scaffolding, or any other area where a fall from an open ledge is a hazard. Remember that metal guard rails can freeze in cold temperatures, so your staff should wear gloves to protect their skin from cold burns and improve grip.

Ensure your employees are warm

Cold conditions present acute health risks to your staff, which is why all workers should be issued with thermal clothing during the winter. Not only are long periods of exposure to cold weather conditions dangerous, but during physically demanding outdoor work, it can also seriously drain staff energy levels.

To help keep your employees warm and comfortable, you should ensure that everyone has an insulative overcoat and trousers designed specifically for outdoor use. It’s also a good idea to offer your staff some accessories that will help to make their existing PPE more comfortable, like thermal hardhat liners, balaclavas, and glove and boot liners. In extremely cold conditions, hand warmers or heated thermal layers might be the most effective solution.

However, it’s not just about providing the right equipment and clothing for working hours. Employees should also have access to a well-heated break room, which should provide a space where they can warm up and enjoy a hot drink: not only will this help to keep everyone comfortable, but it can have a positive effect on your staff’s mental wellbeing and motivation, too. A static caravan or portable office fitted with seating, space heaters, and some basic catering equipment (including a kettle and water dispenser) should be sufficient.

Educate employees on cold stress and injury

Just as you would provide training on preventing and treating workplace accidents or injuries, you should also educate your staff on cold stress. ‘Cold stress’ is an umbrella term for illnesses that occur when body temperature falls dangerously low, like frostbite, hypothermia, and trench foot.  So, before the winter chill sets in, you should provide your staff with training on how to protect themselves, which symptoms to look out for, and what they should do if they think they or another member of staff is falling ill.

It’s a good idea to display signage detailing this information in communal areas, and to ensure that training is refreshed whenever a spell of extremely cold weather is forecast. You can learn more about cold stress and thermal comfort at work on the HSE.

Make sure all working areas are well-lit

Shorter days and longer nights mean that sites can be dark for much of the winter, especially if they work very early in morning or late at night. So, you may need to increase the number of work lights you have on site, and consider investing in a generator if electrical access is a problem.

If your site is very sprawling, mast-mounted floodlights might be the most effective form of illumination. For work on smaller work areas, or on jobs with more than one location, portable work lights will be a more cost-effective solution. Don’t forget that vehicles and equipment may also need additional mounted lighting, especially in poor visibility: this will also help staff on foot to be aware of machinery on the move.

Don’t forget about driving and operating machinery

Extra caution is required when driving in icy conditions or snowy weather, and this is especially true on construction sites, where roads and tracks are often patchy, uneven, and prone to puddles and ice patches. To further complicate matters, construction vehicles are generally less agile and responsive than ordinary cars, which puts them at further risk of skidding and sliding on ice.

To help keep sites clear and safe for vehicles and equipment, a ready supply of grit is essential. This should be applied generously to all surfaces where vehicles will be in operation whenever temperatures drop below 2°C. Your operatives should also be given additional training on driving heavy-duty machinery in challenging weather conditions: you can learn more about this on Vista Training.

Snow, ice, and wet weather can make on-site work exceptionally dangerous, which is why it’s so important to take extra precautions during the winter months. By implementing this advice, and providing your staff with the right PPE and heating equipment, your staff should be able to work safely and efficiently right through until the spring.

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Specialist contractor Aarsleff expands its ground engineering operations

January 24th, 2019 No comments

Aarsleff Ground Engineering has expanded its portfolio of specialist retaining wall solutions to now offer VDW, Secant and Contiguous pile walls. The expansion into new techniques, alongside the investment of a new rig, will allow the company to take on more challenging work and enter into previously untapped markets.

The announcement of their new offerings also comes with the arrival of their latest investment – an ABI TM17 rig, a high-performance telescopic leader rig for drilling and piling applications. With the ABI VV latest technology and high-performance auger attachments, the TM17 maximises performance whilst using considerably less fuel than previous models. Furthermore, from an operator’s perspective, the TM17 is fitted with safety cameras and total monitoring equipment to make manoeuvring, driving and all techniques much safer and more efficient.

Aarsleff’s Head of Specialist Retaining Walls John Storry said “It is certainly an exciting time for Aarsleff Ground Engineering, as we look ahead to future schemes delivering our new improved portfolio of techniques.”

Aarsleff’s Operations Manager Steve Gilbank said, “We’re in such a great position to deliver our new capabilities. Backed by the knowledge and expertise from our Danish parent company Per Aarsleff A/S, we’re ready to kickstart the new year by offering contiguous walls, secant pile walls, sheet piled walls, king post walls and VDW Drilling to our valued clients across the UK.”

Aarsleff Ground Engineering offer an extensive range of retaining wall solutions for all schemes, from everyday projects to complex slope stabilisation solutions. All of their retaining wall solutions are designed and engineered completely in-house utilising different installation methods depending on the soil conditions, environmental constraints and are assessed on technical merit of each situation.

For more information about Aarsleff Ground Engineering, and their Specialist Retaining Wall solutions contact the company on 01636 611140 or email info@aarsleff.co.uk             

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Signs your home isn’t properly insulated

January 23rd, 2019 No comments

Have you started to notice a chill in the air, and not just when you’re outside? While this isn’t concrete proof that your home isn’t properly insulated, it’s certainly an indication that something may be amiss. Remember the ‘Beast from the East’, early last year? Well, it’s blustering its way back in 2019 – so, if you have any concerns about your insulation, now is the time to act.

If you’ve noticed any of the following subtle signs already, you may be in for a chilly start to the year, so we’ve also included a few tips to help you resolve the issue.

Fluctuating temperatures

When your central heating is switched on, and a moderate temperature is set for the entire home, every room should hold this temperature steadily. A sure sign that insulation is an issue in a specific room is if this temperature is unsteady. If there is no obvious visible reason, such as one side of the home comprising single-pane windows, then insulation looks likely to be the issue.

While there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ model for performing this test, such is the variety of home sizes and shapes, having all doors and windows shut should keep the temperature consistent. If it doesn’t, the areas you should immediately check are the windows, roof, external doors and walls. Windows and doors are usually the first port of call here, but the walls and roof are typically more troublesome.

This is simply because we frequently interact with windows and doors, so they become much more prominent in the mind at all times. However, the more ‘unseen’ walls and roof can often be the source of those strange chills that appear in the home. If you consider that installing an extra layer of insulation on a hot water tank can save the average household £20 every year, according to The Telegraph, imagine the money and warmth saved by improving insulation throughout the home.

High energy bills

The cost of heating your home is another thing you’ll want to look at closely. Okay, you probably already study it fastidiously and do what you can to keep it low, but if it’s consistently higher than you expect, insulation is the next place you should look.

If your home was built in the last ten years, it’s likely to already have cavity wall insulation fitted as standard. Double-check that this is the case, and then look into what’s above, in the roof. However, if your home is older, while it may have been built with a small space between each walls (known as the ‘cavity’), it is not actually guaranteed to have cavity wall insulation fitted.

According to Which?, the annual cost saving in a standard semi-detached home by having cavity wall insulation fitted is around £150. While it is not exactly inexpensive to fit in the first place, it should actually be saving you money within the next three or four years. Spread over the length of your average mortgage, this becomes a serious saving.

Do note that, even if you haven’t noticed drastically fluctuating temperatures in your home, your heating bill could be the clearest indication that your insulation isn’t up to scratch. If you’re still unsure, perhaps check with a neighbour, or somebody who owns a similar property, to see how much they are paying for their heating.

Water leaks in the attic

While poor insulation means that heat is regularly escaping from your home, if the roof is affected, it normally means water is also getting in. When checking your attic or the upper floors of your house, you may not find pools, puddles or streams seeping in, but you may discover black mould or sniff out a musty, stale smell.

Even if this problem is located in just the one place – even a place you hardly ever visit, like the attic – it’s likely to spread and lead to more damage to your home in the future. Furthermore, because these rooms are so infrequently used, it is also more difficult to both identify a particular insulation problem and resolve it with roof repairs or new, fitted materials.

According to uSwitch, around 25% of heat lost from an un-insulated home goes through the roof, making it only slightly less costly than un-insulated walls. When you consider the added threat of water damage, the roof becomes not only the most problematic in terms of fixing the issue but the most costly over time, too.

Roof insulation options depend on the type of property you have, with pitched or sloping roofs usually more straightforward to insulate. While a professional roofer will be required to check the roof itself for problems, when it comes to dormer and flat roofs, these require genuinely specialist skills in the roofing trade. Companies like Findley Roofing & Building will perform comprehensive checks on roofing insulation, and deliver flat roof repairs in Newcastle upon  Tyne and surrounding areas.

Other signs to look out for

More rarely, but still occasionally, other signs will appear that indicate an insulation issue in either your walls or roof. Finding bugs or rodents residing or nesting in your home means that they’ve clearly managed to get in somewhere you haven’t yet discovered.

With rodents, in particular, that is likely to be somewhere spacious enough for them to forage in and out at will. If you have a basement, the insulation problem you’ve been looking for all around you might actually be just beneath your feet.

Frozen pipes also mean that the temperature between your walls, or floors and ceilings, are reaching extremely cold temperatures and could even burst. Finally, if the ‘Beast from the East’ does hit your home in the next few weeks, the way the snow lies on your home could point you to exactly where the insulation problem lies, itself. 

If the snow seems to have no problem melting away from your roof but is actually freezing as it enters the gutters or forming stalactites as it drips away, you’ll see that too much heat is escaping through the roof of your home.

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What’s in store for tradespeople in 2019

January 23rd, 2019 No comments

What’s in store for tradespeople in 2019

2019 will be all about Brexit, whatever the outcome. The construction industry, along with the rest of the UK, is still awaiting clarity on what the future may hold and what it will mean for tradespeople and the wider construction industry.

However, besides Brexit, this year a range of regulatory updates and government-led initiatives are expected to have an impact on the construction industry, potentially affecting thousands of tradespeople across the UK.

Building Regulations and Fire Safety following Grenfell

Following the Grenfell tragedy in June 2017, the Government launched an independent review into building regulations and fire safety, which has now resulted in plans to overhaul building regulations.

The Government has now committed to a programme of reform focused on four key areas which include: introducing more effective regulations and accountability; clearer guidance; prioritising residents; and working with the industry to drive change.

A “radically-new system” was promised by Communities Secretary James Brokenshire in response to the tragedy, with the Government also introducing a ban on using combustible cladding on new high-rise homes. This piece of legislation came in effect in December.

The new implementation plan, Building a Safer Future[1], states: “The Government accepts the need to create, in law, a tougher regulatory framework, under which regulators will have greater powers and more opportunities to intervene throughout the lifecycle of a building.”

These new regulations mark the beginning of what is likely to be a thorough and extended period of change for the industry to keep abreast of.

Brexit and the construction industry

Construction output dropped towards the end of 2018 according to the Office of National Statistics, with the continued uncertainty of Brexit highlighted as a contributing factor.

Proposed Government plans for immigration post-Brexit has led to many trade associations raising concerns about the potential impact on the skills shortage, as currently 9% of the UK’s construction workers are from the European Union.

If a limit on low-skilled workers is introduced the industry will need to prepare for the fallout this will have.

Technology continues to be on the rise

With consumers becoming increasingly aware of (and comfortable with) using smart technologies, more suppliers are launching new products in smart home ranges to take advantage of the trend. Considering the growing popularity of these products, tradespeople should look at taking advantage of the increase in customer demand.

Wayne Lysaght-Mason, Managing Director of IronmongeryDirect, said: “Smart products are redefining the way that a property functions, and there is a clear need for tradespeople to keep well-informed of the developments involving smart technology. With basic home alarm systems now enhanced to monitor, control and interact with a home or business premises from a smartphone or tablet, we are just at the beginning of this smart tech revolution.

“There is still a demand for traditional products, but new smart alternatives should not be ignored. There are some fantastic products on the market, whether you want to specialise in security, lighting, heating or household appliances.”

New VAT rules for building trade in 2019

From 1 October 2019, new rules will be enforced meaning, builders, subcontractors and other trades associated with the construction industry will have to start using a new method of accounting for VAT.

The measure is designed to combat VAT fraud in the construction sector labour supply chain which HMRC argue presents a significant tax loss. HMRC has now published draft legislation to introduce the Reverse Charge for Construction Services.

Tradespeople are advised to keep up to date with the new rules later in the year.

IronmongeryDirect is the UK’s largest specialist ironmongery supplier, with over 17,000 products in stock, available for next day delivery when you order by 8pm Sunday to Friday and by 4pm on Saturday. Free delivery is available on orders over £45 together with free returns.

For more information, visit IronmongeryDirect.com or call their team of specialist advisors on 0800 168 28 28.


[1] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/707785/Building_a_Safer_Future_-_web.pdf

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BRITCON TO BUILD PHASE TWO AT MARKHAM VALE SCHEME

January 21st, 2019 Comments off

Building and civil engineering company Britcon has secured a £1 million contract to deliver new speculative industrial premises in phase two of a new development at Markham Vale in Derbyshire.

Britcon has been appointed to build the 15,000 sq ft unit, along with 1,500 sq ft of integral offices, by development partnership Priority Space. Britcon has already delivered 13 SME units in phase one on the site which is now 75% sold. 

The scheme sits within the Markham Vale flagship regeneration zone which is a 200-acre business and distribution park at Junction 29A of the M1 motorway.

Lee Buchanan at Priority Space said, “We have already invested £2.5 million into the business park with phase one which was delivered to exacting standards by Britcon. With strong interest from owner occupiers we are confident in progressing phase two with Britcon to build out a significant detached unit that would suit a larger operator requiring self-contained facilities.”

Paul Clarkson at Britcon said, “We are pleased to secure this second commercial building contract at Markham Vale for which we are providing a full design and build turnkey solution.  We are also extending infrastructure works in partnership with our sister company Specialist Surfacing on this fast-track project which is to be completed by the end of January 2019.”

Britcon’s commercial sector experience includes the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Sheffield, Treleigh Industrial Estate in Cornwall, and Langage Science Park in Plymouth. It has also recently completed a £2 million expansion of premises for packaging firm CEPAC.

Established for more than 30 years, Britcon is £47 million turnover business headquartered in Scunthorpe and directly employs 110 people on its project sites across the UK.  Key contracts secured in the last 12 month includes Key contracts secured in the last 12 months include a £5 million project for McCain Foods, a £13.5 million contract to deliver a new anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Dagenham for food waste recycler ReFood (UK) Ltd, a series of new developments, extensions and refurbishment projects valued in total over £20 million for Lidl, and contracts worth over £4 million for global chemicals business Kemira.

@Britcon_Limited

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Construction forecasters bet on delayed soft Brexit

January 18th, 2019 Comments off

Forecasters predict construction will just avoid an output decline this year if a soft Brexit is finally delivered.

But economists for Experian warn that their forecast of sluggish growth would have to be ripped up if the UK crashes out of the European Union with no deal.

The latest forecast for the next three years predicts construction will see a weak 0.4% rise in workloads this year followed by a return to stable but below trend growth of between 2.5%-3% in 2020 and 2021.

Forecasters now presume a “soft Brexit” will be the eventual outcome, with the UK gaining similar access to the EU single market as it does currently.

“We fully anticipate that such a deal could take longer to conclude than the initial transition period, and we do not expect a Brexit deal related bounce back in output growth to materialise until 2021,” says the report

It also assumes the planned  Wylfa nuclear power station is not cancelled and the road building programme does not slip, as some in the industry fear.

Of the three key construction sectors housing and infrastructure are expected to experience good growth while there is weakness in the non-residential building sectors, like offices, retail and education.

It will probably not be until towards the mid-2020s that this profile unwinds.

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Balfour boss in Brexit blast at Chancellor

January 16th, 2019 Comments off

Balfour Beatty chief executive Leo Quinn is reported to have taken part in a conference call with ministers last night after the Government’s Brexit deal defeat,

Sky News said Quinn and bosses from Tesco and Amazon voiced their concerns to a trio of ministers including Chancellor Philip Hammond.

Quin is reported to have asked: “I would like to know when we might get back to a normal functioning government.

“Decisions are being delayed on HS2, new nuclear, Heathrow expansion.

“The enemy of business is delay and procrastination, and the construction industry will face large-scale restructuring where it cannot carry the resources it will need over the next 25 years, and capability will have to be let go.

“Once resources are lost to industry it is very difficult to get them to come back; the next six months are critical.”

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Builders Guide to Public Liability Insurance

January 15th, 2019 Comments off
https://www.tradedirectinsurance.co.uk/
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New technology and red tape will drive change in learning and development in 2019

January 15th, 2019 Comments off

New technology and red tape will drive change in learning and development in 2019

That’s the verdict in a new report from utilities training specialist Develop Training Ltd (DTL).

With the utilities sector facing rapid and fundamental change, the white paper highlights how new regulatory and technological developments will present businesses in the sector with a raft of challenges. 

The report entitled ‘Utilities sector: Facing regulatory and technological change’ is available to download at https://tinyurl.com/DTL-RegandTechReport.

The authors, whose customers include household names in the utility and construction sectors, point out that these industries face growing challenges in mission critical areas. Those challenges include improving efficiency, reducing costs, increasing resilience and meeting customers’ changing expectations.

Yet, the report notes, it is unclear how many of these tests will unfold, or how best to approach them.

John Kerr, DTL’s Operations Director, said: “To be successful in this business environment, organisations must be innovative, responsive and customer-focused. That takes a skilled, flexible and motivated workforce, and investing in the right kind of training now so that businesses are prepared is critically important.”

He said as the challenges facing the sector were constantly developing, organisations would need to keep reassessing and revitalising their learning and development approach to ensure that the right skills were in place.

The whitepaper discusses the challenges facing organisations in the utilities sector in depth, and forecasts how these will affect learning and development strategies in 2019 and beyond.

It concludes that adapting learning and development processes is a vital part of strategic planning, as utility companies prepare for an uncertain future.

www.developtraining.co.uk

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