UK construction blog

Archive

Archive for the ‘Construction’ Category

Construction Firms Missing Out On Tens of Thousands of Pounds

December 15th, 2017 No comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on Momentum visit www.momentumgroupni.com

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

LARGE STUDENT RESIDENTIAL PROJECT SCOOPS PRIZE

December 11th, 2017 No comments

Redesigning the site of a former Leicester bus depot as a major new student living complex has earned maber architects and contractors Winvic the prize for Large Residential Scheme of the Year at the 2017 ProCon Awards.

 

Lumis student accommodation at Southgates in the city’s Cathedral Quarter, close to De Montfort University, provides 567 bedspaces and a host of other attractions, including a gym, cinema and study areas.

 

The £28.5 million development was developed with client Viridis Real Estate and CRM Student Management, and comprises four blocks around a central courtyard, and took 75 weeks to build.

 

Mark Jones, Winvic Construction’s Director for Multi-Room, said: ‘We are delighted to receive the award, it is a great testament to our client, the design team, our project team and the supply chain for the delivery of such a high quality group of buildings. We look forward to working with the team again in the near future.’

 

Midlands-based practice maber, which was established in 1983 and recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of its Leicester office, provided architectural, interior and landscape design.

 

The practice’s Managing Director, Mark Hobson, said: “It’s great to see our work in Leicester earning another award. This is a terrific development and, for us, an opportunity to employ a full range of the design skills we have in house in Leicester and at our offices across the Midlands.”

 

Architects, contractors, developers and consultants worked together to optimise the use of the 7,500 sq m site, which now provides a 50/50 mix of studios and cluster bed groups of varying sizes.

 

Features designed to minimise long-term energy use include a “fabric first” approach with active energy management, combined heat and power, and uses low carbon energy from the District Heating Scheme.

 

High quality interiors suitable for the student market have been used, including neutral, modern finishes to minimise maintenance and take into account the need for robustness and ease of cleaning and replacement.

 

The central courtyard provides spaces that can be used for quiet study, relaxing, socialising or performance. Features have been introduced to facilitate and encourage interaction between students. An amphitheatre adjacent to the internal social lounge connects inside and out while an area for quiet retreat in the courtyard has sculptural attractive seating.

 

Sponsored by Infrastructure Investments, the award was presented at the annual ProCon Leicestershire event at Leicester City’s King Power stadium. The development previously earned Winvic Construction the silver award for best national site in the Considerate Constructors scheme.

 

For a drone’s eye view of the development, visit

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHGERIHNyVw

www.maber.co.uk

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

AVOIDING A VOID WITH GROUT

December 8th, 2017 No comments

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

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

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

 

Sink the shrink

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

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

 

Expert advice

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

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

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

New project wins highlight pressing issues in construction sector

December 6th, 2017 No comments

Construction consultancy MPG has been instructed on new projects highlighting two key issues for the sector.

 

Responding to new heat network regulations, Regal Homes has hired MPG to carry out heat network notifications of their residential apartments property in Bedford Row, Holborn, London. Earlier this year, MPG warned that tens of thousands of landlords face unlimited fines because they have yet to get to grips with the legislation: http://www.mpgqs.com/act-now-on-heat-network-rules-to-avoid-fines/

 

Michael Gallucci, Managing Director of MPG, says many individuals and organisations have missed the deadline for notification. “It is pretty clear that people are perplexed by the requirements for metering,” said Mr Gallucci. “I would urge people to seek professional advice.”

 

In another project, MPG has been instructed by an M&E Contractor to resolve a dispute relating to time and final account on a 160-apartment development. The case highlights a growing number of disputes and legal claims in the construction sector.

 

Meanwhile, the consultancy is providing dispute advice to an MEP Contractor involved in works at Bank tube station where Transport for London is building a new southbound running tunnel to carry a diversion of the Northern line together with a new passenger platform and passenger concourse.

 

On the International scene, with the launch of the much more extensive FIDIC Yellow Book this month, MPG has warned contractors that effective programmes are essential to protect their interests: http://www.mpgqs.com/programmes-vital-for-contractors-as-new-fidic-yellow-book-raises-the-bar/

 

“Programmes are absolutely vital when claiming for delays or combating counter-claims,” said Mr Gallucci. “They become yardsticks against which to measure the effects of delays.”

 

In other project wins, MPG has been hired by estate and property management company Principia to manage the refit of a boiler house, including the tendering process, for a 20-apartment residential property.

 

The consultancy joined a team of experts to carry out inspections and prepare a ten-year planned and preventative maintenance report for a 48-flat property in St John’s Wood, London, built in 1970 and comprising three blocks around a central tower.

 

MPG has also been providing commercial assistance to an M&E Contractor working on a complex public realm project in central London, and was recently commissioned to price tender for a new build scheme in Harrow.

 

www.mpgqs.com

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

SD Sealants accelerates growth with Leeds office opening

December 4th, 2017 No comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Since then, the business has gone from strength to strength, becoming one of the UK’s largest sealant and cosmetic repair companies, with nine offices across England, Scotland and Wales.  It launched a tiling division earlier this year and is the UKs only dedicated online retailer of Sika products.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

WINTER WARNING

December 1st, 2017 No comments

Winter is coming, and employers need to watch out for the risks that the cold season with its shorter days brings to construction and utility personnel working and travelling outdoors.

 

Vocational learning specialist Develop Training Ltd (DTL) points out employers have a duty of care to protect their employees, even in the absence of a legal minimum working temperature limit. Failing to do so, if it results in injury, could lead to prosecution. Managers should also realise that employees suffering from cold will be less able to do their jobs and may be more likely to make a hazardous error, DTL says.

 

The scale of the risks can range from reduced dexterity with cold fingers to loss of limbs due to frostbite or even death from hypothermia.

 

The first step to prevention if you are an employer or manager is to carry out a risk assessment to ensure you are not putting people in danger. This should take into account factors such as air temperature, wind chill, clothing, protective equipment such as gloves, rest breaks, respite areas such as heated on-site cabins, and the availability of food and hot drinks.

 

The risks posed by the cold are exacerbated by wind chill and wet weather while shorter, cloudier days often mean reduced visibility, which can be a safety risk in operational areas as well as on the road.

 

If suitable steps are taken to plug any gaps following the assessment, this should avoid any serious problems, but it’s still important that employees and supervisors know what do if they or any of their workmates start to show symptoms of a cold-related condition.

The HSE’s relevant recommendations for modifying the work environment include erecting barriers that shield or insulate the work area and redesigning jobs to remove the employee from the area or restricting the length of time he or she is exposed to cold conditions. You can also look at reducing the amount of work and the rate at which it is expected to be completed for the same reason. Introducing mechanical aids may be an option to help employees who are wearing a lot of clothing. If employees are required to wear uniform, it should be evaluated for thermal comfort.

 

When it comes to monitoring employees, they should be properly supervised and receive appropriate training. You may need to consult an occupational health professional for employees who are pregnant, have an illness or disability, or are on medication

 

On the move

 

With winter comes more wet weather, employees on the move should be properly trained to ensure they drive safely in adverse conditions. Driving in the wet can be deceptively dangerous. Useful tips include:

 

  • Decrease your speed and keep your distance from the vehicle in front
  • Keep your windscreen clean to combat reduced visibility
  • Know how to deal with aquaplaning – ease off the accelerator
  • Beware of flooding but if you must drive through, stay in first gear
  • In foggy conditions, give your driving 100 per cent attention

 

www.developtraining.co.uk

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

FORUM STRESSES NEED FOR FIRMS TO RESPOND TO APPRENTICESHIP LEVY

November 23rd, 2017 No comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.developtraining.co.uk
Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

STRONG, RELIABLE CONCRETE REPAIR…SIKA’S GOT IT CRACKED

November 21st, 2017 No comments

With winter almost upon us, the anticipated damp and sub-zero temperatures will provide a severe test of the quality of the concrete used to build structures old and new. Over time, frost and ice will do its best to debilitate a building by finding its way into cracks caused by any one of a number of issues. Excess water in the concrete mix; improper strength of concrete poured on-site; conditions too cold for effective application…these are just some of the reasons fissures, which are susceptible to the freeze/thaw process, resulting in crack-widening and the structural integrity of the concrete being tested.

Fortunately, Sika has a proven, high-performance solution for crack repair in newly-poured and refurbished concrete. Sikadur®-52, an injection or poured epoxy resin, provides a reliable seal for a wide range of structural or non-structural applications and uses such as joint and hole filling; crack and void sealing. Easy to mix and apply, Sikadur®-52 is ideal for dry and damp concrete surfaces in horizontal and vertical locations.

Crack repair using Sikadur®-52 couldn’t be simpler. The crack itself doesn’t need to be cut out or the area widened before filling. Sikadur®-52, with its low viscosity, permeates into the smallest of cracks to provide a permanent seal. Impermeable to liquids and water vapour, the system hardens without shrinkage – a vital property when repairing cracks.

As well as offering superb abrasion resistance and mechanical strength, Sikadur®-52 provides excellent adhesion to most construction materials including natural stone, ceramics, fibre cement, mortar, bricks, masonry steel, iron and wood. It is the ideal concrete crack-repair solution for a wide range of infrastructure projects. Slabs, beams and columns found in buildings, bridges and the like are among surfaces ideal for the application of Sikadur®-52.

The upkeep of our infrastructure is not only vital to maintaining elements such as nationwide road and rail routes; neglecting to treat cracks in concrete structures sooner rather than later can lead to greater damage and costly, time-consuming repairs. This could result in cash-strapped local authorities passing the financial burden of such work onto the community in the form of increased council tax bills.

Prevention is better than cure, as the well-known saying goes, and so it is better to repair concrete when the damage is minimal with a reliable, robust solution such as Sikadur®-52, before greater problems take ahold.

To ensure areas that have been repaired are protected from future environment conditions, such as freeze thaw, concrete facades, column, soffits etc. are coated with anti-carbonation coatings. Sika offers a range of coating solutions, which include water based crack bridging systems, resin coatings and hydrophobic impregnations. In buildings and infrastructure projects these protective systems are applied as part of the future repair and maintenance strategy.

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

360 x 360: Autodesk BIM 360’s Data and Collaboration to become immersive through HoloBuilder

November 16th, 2017 Comments off

HoloBuilder announces partnership with Autodesk’s Connect & Construct Exchange, BIM 360 integration program

SAN FRANCISCO, California – November , 2017 – HoloBuilder Inc., the leading provider of digital construction sites for general contractors and owners, is proud to announce a new partnership with Autodesk, the leader in 3D design, engineering and construction software. The partnership allows customers to seamlessly move between Autodesk’s BIM 360 construction management platform and HoloBuilder’s Construction Solution. This closes the gap between the workflow for 360 reality capturing and virtual walkthroughs as well as document and issue management. The partnership is based on the commitment of both companies to serve professionals in the field and in the office to accelerate delivery, save money and reduce risk. The cross-platform integration is implemented utilizing Autodesk Forge technology. The announcement was made at Autodesk University, the company’s flagship user conference in Las Vegas, which welcomes more than 10,000 Autodesk customers annually.

The integration allows users to add issues to the BIM 360 platform from within their HoloBuilder project. The connection between immersive 360-degree construction documentation and issue management also allows users to virtually walk the construction site and create issues at the same time, without ever needing to leave their desks. Created issues are also linked to their position within HoloBuilder’s documentation so that users can easily find the affected area and understand the context.

HoloBuilder’s integration with BIM 360 eliminates data silos. Users can add documents, like sheets and floor plans, from BIM 360 to the HoloBuilder environment. This ensures that any documents used within HoloBuilder are always up to date. Further functionality which allows customers to link additional information between BIM 360 and HoloBuilder will be released shortly.

“I am excited for this partnership as it allows us to connect and streamline construction project workflows,” Mostafa Akbari, CEO of HoloBuilder. “We have built HoloBuilder from the ground up to save time for our construction customers around the world when capturing reality and sharing this with stakeholders. As we now provide access and a connection to the BIM 360 construction management platform, this eliminates duplicate work and interruptions in the overall workflow, resulting in further efficiency gains.”

“We are thrilled to have HoloBuilder, a leader in 360-degree reality capture, serve as an inaugural member of the Connect & Construct Exchange,” said Sarah Hodges, Director of Autodesk’s Construction Business Line. “HoloBuilder’s seamless integration with Autodesk’s BIM 360 construction management platform is another example of how partnerships like these will make construction safer, simpler, and smarter.”

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

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

November 10th, 2017 Comments off

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Follow the awards on Twitter at @CCScheme #ccsawards.

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags: