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How to avoid winter roofing issues

November 29th, 2018 Comments off

How to avoid winter roofing issues

Sometimes, when we think about winter and getting the house ready for it, the last part of our properties that we think of is the roof. We’re far too excited about getting the Christmas tree out of the loft and whacking the heating up full blast.

But just stop for a minute to think about what could possibly make or break the heat in your house – the roof. Heat rises naturally, so the quality and state of your roof can really make a difference to how warm you are this winter.

Sometimes, there is just no competing with the weather or nature, but hopefully, we can help you to find a way around it. Here are some of our top tips on how to avoid winter roofing issues and make sure your roof is truly ready for the coldest and most adverse time of year.

If you think your roof could be in need of professional help, have a look at these roofers in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Clear your gutters of clutter

This may be a step you’ve never even thought of, but it’s very simple and surprisingly effective in keeping your roof in tip-top shape this winter. All that you need to do is clear the gutters and roof of any debris such as leaves and dirt, and check regularly.

This will prevent water issues from within your pipes, and can also stop the impact of wintertime icicles from being so great. If icicles are left to grow, they can be a danger to the homeowner themselves and the quality of their pipes.

Invest in a high standard of ventilation

Condensation in the attic doesn’t just look unsightly – it can also cause significant damage if left to build up. We therefore suggest investing in a proper ventilation system that will help to prevent condensation and maintain heat, as well as cut down on your repair costs in the future.

Keep an eye and ear out for snow damage

One of the most common problems for roofs during the winter is the build-up of snow and ice, which if you’re from the North East, is a problem you’ll know all too well.

Problems usually start when the snow level reaches approximately two feet. The weight from snow can cause significant problems for your roof, including structural harm, ice dams and even potentially roof collapse.

Some things to look for regarding this issue are cracks, sagging or leaking. Listening out for sounds of popping or cracking is also a good indicator of damage, as are doors that stick.

Be mindful of the scope for wind havoc

Strong winter winds can also have a majorly negative impact on your roof. If the winds are strong enough, they can cause all sorts of wintertime debris to potentially puncture your roof.  A puncture in your roof can be extremely damaging and certainly will not keep your house warm!

If such problems occur for you, make sure you get in touch with suitably qualified and experienced roofers in Newcastle upon Tyne.  Don’t delay when this happens, as it is better to sort out a problem as soon as it appears and nip in it in the bud.

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Engineering sector’s astonishing gender pay gap

November 28th, 2018 Comments off

Research conducted by one of the UK’s largest accountants has revealed that men in engineering earn up to 30% more than women in the same roles.

Hemel Hempstead-based SJD accountants has analysed salaries of both male and females in the sector revealing some astonishing figures.

According to the analysis females with job titles such as mechanical engineer or maintenance engineer earn almost a third less than males with the same occupation.

Derek Kelly, CEO of Optionis which owns SJD Accountancy said: “The gender pay gap has been a topic of increasing conversation, putting the difference in salary into real terms has been shocking.

“This information now highlights the genuine impact that this can have not only on employees but their families and long-term prospects.”

The gender pay gap has been an increasingly important and developing conversation for a number of years within the media and government.

Increasing pressure has been put on businesses to disclose their gender pay gaps and redress the balance to aim for more equal pay.

The survey by SJD Accountancy saw more than a 1,000 contractors questioned, and data gathered on their salaries to create a better picture of which sectors are closing the gap and which are still struggling to find parity.

To find out more details about your industry and the gender pay gaps SJD has launched an interactive tool, visit www.sjdaccountancy.com/gender-pay-gap-tool for more information.

Mr Kelly added: The tool helps to give workers, whether in permanent or temporary roles, more of an insight into the pay gap within their industry. This improves understanding of the pay issues within certain sectors.”

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Timber championed with the launch of WoodFest

November 26th, 2018 Comments off

The North East will celebrate everything built with wood as the first WoodFest comes to Newcastle in December, with an exciting line-up of events organised by the UK timber industry’s campaign, Wood for Good.

WoodFest Newcastle will bring together architects, engineers, placemakers, planners, developers, contractors, politicians and local businesses specialising in timber to promote the innovative and striking ways that wood can be used in the built environment in the North East.

Christiane Lellig, Wood for Good campaign director, said:

“The first in a series of regional WoodFests, this as a fantastic opportunity to bring all those involved with the built environment to explore what industry and politics can achieve together.

“Each event is a chance to learn and share about the use of timber in architecture, particularly around health and wellbeing and offsite construction. It provides a platform to discover what’s happening in the region and to be inspired by timber design.”

The week begins with a behind-the-scenes tour of wood-based materials manufacturer, Egger’s site in Hexham on 10 December. In the evening, Dr Oliver G.F. Jones, architecture professor and expert in human-environment interaction at Northumbria University, will give the keynote speech at a seminar on wellbeing, residential design and healthy homes. Taking place at Ryder Architecture’s home in Cooper’s Studios, Westgate Road, Newcastle, Dr Jones will be joined by a panel of experts including local housing providers and design professionals to explore biophilic design, light, space and air quality among other issues.

Offsite construction steals the show on 12 December with an evening seminar debating whether modern methods of construction are the future for homes in the North East. Hosted by Ryder at Cooper’s Studios, an expert panel will explore Home England’s strategic plan incorporatin g offsite construction and will ask if it’s the silver bullet to deliver much-needed homes.

A site visit to the unique self-build home, Shawm House, takes place on 11 December. Designed by Newcastle-based MawsonKerr Architects, the timber home won four regional RIBA awards, a national RIBA award and was shortlisted for Grand Designs ‘House of the Year’ in 2017. This is a rare opportunity to hear the homeowner’s story and experience the house for yourself.

Taking place throughout the week is an exhibition at Cooper’s Studios, exploring healthy buildings and driving the design and construction quality agenda through the use of modern methods of construction.

The finale for WoodFest Newcastle is the Superwood Conference on Friday 14 December at Northumbria University, hosted by Confor. Looking at how forestry and timber can drive a low carbon economy, the conversation will explore the opportunities for increasing forestry in the North East and the lessons that can be learned from Scotland.

Speakers include Paul Brennan, MEP for the North East, Adam James from Ryder Architecture, Councillor Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council, Dr Dan Ridley-Ellis from Edinburgh Napier University, Beccy Speight from the Woodland Trust, Neil Sutherland from Makar, Stuart Goodall from Confor, Simon Hart from Egger Forestry and Christiane Lellig from Wood for Good.

WoodFest Newcastle is organised in collaboration with regional partners Constructing Excellence, Egger, Mawson Kerr, RIBA North East, and Ryder Architecture.

Book your place for the WoodFest Newcastle events here: https://woodforgood.com/index/woodfest-newcastle/

More information will be released soon about other regional WoodFests taking place throughout the country in 2019.

If you would like to get involved in WoodFest please contact Wood for Good campaign director, Christiane Lellig, at christiane.lellig@woodforgood.com

www.woodforgood.com

 

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4 Must-Know Strategies To Weatherproof Your Site This Winter

November 23rd, 2018 Comments off

With UK weather predictions forecasting the coldest winter the country has seen in 10 years, no industry is likely to face the harsh effects of the snowy season more so than the construction sector.

With adversity on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about practical solutions to limit the impacts of this winter’s cold grip, by putting safety measures in place to help weatherproof both the construction site itself and all those working on it.

From minimising speed limits around the site to reduce the risk of accidents, to advocating the importance of staying warm to your staff, in today’s post, we’re exploring 4 must-know strategies for protecting your site come rain or ice.

Prioritise safety measures

When it comes to protecting your site from harsh weather conditions, planning is key to preventing a wide variety of potential disasters. Make keeping an eye on weather warnings a priority in order to take the necessary measures and eliminate as many dangers as early as possible.

 

Depending on the types of vehicles used on your site, speed limits often allow certain vehicles to move at speeds of up to 20 mph. So, when it comes to implementing strategies to minimise the potential risks, why not consider reducing the limit to 5 mph? While initially this hack may appear to reduce efficiency, this easy-to-implement procedure is just one of many temporary measures that can minimise on-site risks and will, therefore, benefit both your workers and the overall efficiency of the project in the long run.

Provide suitable storage spaces

In sub-zero temperatures, fragile equipment and the protection of your workers’ personal belongings become a priority. If exposed for too long, expensive and integral pieces of equipment run the risk of being hit by the harsh weather conditions and, in many cases, can face the effects of damage and erosion.

With this in mind, when it comes to maintaining the usability of both vital construction equipment and your workers’ personal belongings, having somewhere secure to store your property is crucial. Installing weatherproof lockers to shield your possessions from the rain and snow will not only help to future-proof your equipment, but also allow your colleagues to come to work safe in the knowledge that their belongings are protected from any spontaneous showers the day brings.

Protect your staff from the elements

We all deserve a much-needed break at work, and, when it comes to the unforgiving winter weather, short breaks away from the cold can be crucial to keeping your workers’ spirits high and their health strong.

By introducing sheltered areas filled with hot drinks, and having food supplies at the ready so that snacks are taken care of, your workers will be encouraged to keep warm – aiding both their physical health and their mental wellbeing. When it comes to prevention, education is key. Prop up informational posters around your break area to inform your staff on the symptoms of cold-induced illnesses and recommendations for how to prevent these from occurring.

Promote weather-appropriate attire

Additionally, when it comes to protecting your on-site workers, what they wear can make the difference between a runny nose and a sleepless night. With bitter, icy winds and freezing cold temperatures set to become the norm this season, dressing appropriately is vital to keeping fit and healthy on the construction site.

Encourage your team to not only protect their head, feet and hands from physical dangers with PPE equipment, but also to dress with extreme weather conditions in mind. Thick socks, sturdy boots, hard hats and warm gloves will keep some of the most heat-loss prone areas of your workers’ bodies regulated come the harsh winter months.

While preparing for the on-site effects of winter’s inevitably harsh weather conditions, it’s crucial to follow government advised restrictions and regulations, as well as using your own initiative. If the weather forecast predicts harsher conditions the night before than initially expected, make the executive decision to protect the safety of yourself and your staff by safeguarding your site however needed. Hang it there – it’ll be summer before you know it.

 


Author bio:
Simon Mitchell has run successful companies in Europe and the US that are focused on delivering exceptional value to clients – while Action Storage offers a diverse range of storage products, along with the technical expertise to help clients’ businesses operate more efficiently. In Simon’s words, that’s a rewarding place to be.
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1,400 construction workers committed suicide between 2011 – 2015

November 20th, 2018 Comments off

Mental Health In Construction

 

  • Over 1,400 construction workers committed suicide between 2011 – 2015.
  • Construction trades have the highest number of suicides of any profession.
  • Risk of suicide for those working in building and construction trades is 1.6 times higher than the national average.
  • More than a quarter of construction employees have considered taking their own life.
  • Workers admit to suffering in silence.
  • Many within the industry suffer in silence due to cultural expectations.
  • Many workers feel forced to “deal with it,” not seeking out the help they need, and symptoms get worse.

The stats surrounding mental health in the construction industry are so shocking that we thought it was important that we highlighted the issue.

The construction industry has the highest number of suicides of any profession with 1,400 workers taking their own lives over the course of only four years. One in seven workers knows a colleague who has taken their own life and many more workers have considered it. The risk of suicide for those working in the industry is 1.6 times higher than the national average, but what is the cause of this and what can be done to reduce these horrific figures?

Suffering In Silence

One big factor that jumps out of the many surveys that have been conducted around this topic is the fact that many workers have admitted to suffering in silence due to cultural expectations. They feel like they cannot talk about their troubles and that, if they did want to speak to someone about it, that there is simply nowhere to do so.

Normally if you are struggling at work you turn to your employer for help. However, in this industry, it doesn’t seem to be the case with workers stating that they would not turn to their employer due to “fear and stigma” of the subject and that as many as 1 in 5 say they felt their job would be at risk if they did so. It seems to be so bad that 90% of workers who’ve considered suicide or know a colleague who has committed suicide, do not turn to their employer for support. As a result, many workers feel forced to “deal with it,” not seeking out the help they need, and symptoms get worse.

 

It’s Not Just The Guys That Are Struggling

Women are finding it equally tough to cope with mental health issues too. 45% of women workers said their mental health was average to poor at present, with 43% saying they had experienced reduced productivity and 75% had experienced loss of sleep too.

 

So, How To Help Workers?

After compiling the responses from the multiple surveys on mental health in the construction industry, it’s clear that there are three main areas that need to be improved. The first is to have staff training to recognise early signs of mental health, as 73% of respondents felt their employers lacked this skill. Second is to raise awareness of mental health in the construction industry. A massive 83% of workers agree that there isn’t enough out there at the moment. This will also decrease the stigma of mental health. And finally, there need to be more outlets to enable workers to talk about their struggles. Two-thirds of workers believe this would help with another 43% asking for one of those outlets to be an anonymous helpline.

If you are struggling with a mental health issue there are many ways you can find help. Your GP will be able to make an initial diagnosis and point you in the right direction for further treatment. There are charities and third-party organisations that offer free help and listening services such as the Samaritans and SANEline. However, if you are more open about talking about how you are feeling, always talk to friends & family as they will know you better than anyone. Another route could be co-workers or your employer as they’ll be able to relate work-wise with your issues. Whichever options you choose, the first step is to just talk about it.

 

www.rubberbond.co.uk

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Gilbert-Ash Completes Extended Arnold House in Tech-City, London

November 19th, 2018 Comments off

Award-winning UK construction, refurbishment and fit out contractor, Gilbert-Ash, completed the redevelopment of Arnold House in the fast-growing ‘Tech-City’ area of London. The former warehouse now contains a 75,000 sq.ft. stand-out office and retail space.

The £15m project included a three-story extension reflecting the design of the existing building. It combined its current industrial impression with a high standard modern workplace environment to cater for the thriving technology and media businesses in South Shoreditch.

Working closely with Buckley Gray Yeoman architects, the team at Gilbert-Ash transformed the seven-story building to reveal collaborative open-plan spaces with exposed concrete columns and efficient floor plates. High-ceilings and significant natural light adds to the development to create a contemporary environment.

The ground floor, encompassing retail outlets and a spacious reception area, includes a curtain wall glazing exterior and black steel cladding panels for the signage zone. The façade also incorporates brick cladding and brick slip panels over new external walls. An inverted roof with decking has created terrace spaces, with tenants able to enjoy views of the Shoreditch streetscape.

Gerard Mullan, Gilbert-Ash Project Manager, commented, “The final internal and external Arnold House refurbishment works well in the surrounding modern Tech-City environment. The contemporary space has been carefully constructed to keep the industrial style of the building but with additional features you would expect in a productive, collaborative space. From the ground floor to the roof terrace and landscaped courtyard, we aimed to create a space that would meet the needs of today’s modern, flexible workforce. The building includes office space with retail units on the ground floor in a fantastic location, right in the heart of Tech City.”

Located on the corner of Great Eastern Street and Holywell Lane, the new development is a BREAMM Very Good building with a WiredScore Gold certification. The building was completed and handed over on the 10th August.

Highly detailed design, advanced logistical planning and development goes into every Gilbert-Ash project, with the team skilled in delivering the finest quality projects in the UK and globally.

For more information on Gilbert-Ash visit www.gilbert-ash.com
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CIM announces the Construction Marketing Awards to celebrate industry’s finest

November 16th, 2018 Comments off

CIM announces the Construction Marketing Awards

to celebrate industry’s finest

  • Shortlist announced with 23 awards up for grabs
  • Previous winners include Armitage Shanks, Kier Group and Howarth Timber
  • Tickets available now for awards ceremony and gala dinner

Organised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s (CIM) Construction Group, the Construction Marketing Awards are the most sought-after accolade in the industry’s marketing calendar.

Celebrating creativity, innovation and effectiveness in marketing across the construction industry, the awards shine a spotlight on excellence at a business and individual level.

With a record number of entries for 2018, Mike Lomax, chair of the CIM construction group, said: “The construction sector is renowned for its innovation and creativity and when it comes to marketing, the awards confirm that the industry recognises and celebrates the insight, creativity and impact of marketers in construction. This year we’ve received the highest level of entries which reflect the very best in construction marketing talent and are a fantastic way to raise awareness of the originality across the industry.”

The year’s awards feature 23 award categories including best use of content marketing, best low, medium and high budget campaign and marketing team of the year. New for this year is the best distributor marketing campaign and small agency of the year.

A competition for the best promotional giveaway is also being held and marketers are encouraged to submit their branded products for the light-hearted contest, which last year was won by JCB. Items must be received by 26 November.

Mike added: “Judged by some of the leading figures from brands such as Tarmac Cement, BMI group, MRA marketing from across construction and marketing, the Construction Marketing Awards set the benchmark for marketing success in the construction sector.

“We look forward to celebrating with guests at the annual awards ceremony and honouring marketing excellence across the built environment.”

The Construction Marketing Awards Gala Dinner takes place on Thursday 29th November at Hilton London Bankside, 2-8 Great Suffolk Street, London. Tickets can be booked individually or in tables of 10 and 12.

Visit www.cmawards.co.uk to book tickets, view the shortlist and for details of the promotional giveaway competition.
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Roof Flashing 101: Everything You Need to Know

November 14th, 2018 Comments off

Are you having problems with water dripping from the ceiling after every rain shower? If you are, then there is something wrong with the roof. Well, not “something,” since it’s most likely that you are either missing the flashings or they are severely damaged so they do not perform their main function. In case you are wondering what flashings are exactly, they are a form of isolation that ensures your roof does not leak. It is mostly installed on its edges and more importantly, around any openings in the roof, such as the chimney, skylight or the ventilation pipe. Basically, flashings prevent the water from seeping through the smallest of holes that might exist in your roof structure. If you thought that you need not read on, you were wrong, as flashings are much more complex than this. They serve other purposes and can come in a number of shapes and functions.

Directing water to the gutter

 

Despite its primary role, flashings can have an additional function on roofs with two or more slopes. Since they are installed at the seams of the roof, they intersect to form a provisional drain that can direct water downwards into the gutter. This is really useful because it does away with the need of installing additional gutters for larger houses and the ones with zig-zag roofs and gables.

Chimney flashing

The oldest and the most common type of flashing is the chimney flashing. It is at the same time the most intricate kind of flashing in terms of the shape. It is flat at the place where the chimney protrudes from the roof structure. Then it is diagonal, or step flashing as it is called, along the steep edges of the chimney and the roof and finally there is saddle flashing at the very top. Because the angles are hard to cover, the flashing on the chimney is let into the mortar in order for it to stick better. This way, rainwater simply has nowhere else to go but down the roof and into the horizontal gutter.

Skylights

For some reason, people who have slated roofs in their homes always opt to install skylight no matter the cost. The aesthetic appeal is undisputable, but they do not think that such a window set at an angle is at the mercy of the elements. Were it not for skylight flashing, the highest room in the house would turn into a pool. Most skylights come with integrated flashing, but their curves are flashed additionally just in order to be safe. The method of this particular flashing is similar to the one used for chimneys.

Lead flashing

The material used for flashing is mostly lead, but nowadays there is also flashing made from plastic, rubber, and zinc. However, there is a good reason why lead is the oldest in use material for flashing. It has a high density, but it can be easily worked with, as well as being durable and lasting for over a hundred years. This is especially important in places such as Australia, where roofs have to withstand the relentless pounding of the elements season after season. This is why any good quality lead flashings in Sydney must have environmental credentials to ensure the purity of the lead that is reusable. This way, it will be considered a green building material with a low carbon print.

Easy to install

Even lead flashings are surprisingly easy to install. They are malleable so putting them into place is not as hard as it seems, but it still requires an expert hand. Flashings are cut from pre-fabricated rolls of metal so there is no delay at the construction site waiting for them to be made.

Vent pipe flashing

Many houses today are being refitted with new exhaust hoods that need vents. These are often drilled straight through the roof construction and left like that by the handymen. They do put some water protection, but it is insufficient as only a flashing can permanently seal such holes off. Specially designed vent pipe flashings have a cone base which is set directly into the shingles. It is further strengthened with a second layer of counter flashing. In general, the smaller the hole, the harder it is to seal it off.

Protecting the drip edge

So far we have only discussed roof seams. Water actually quite often penetrates the roof at the very edge. This is called a drip edge as it directs the water down towards the gutters. Since it is mostly made of wood, poor construction gets this wood into contact with water and it slowly rots away. That is why a narrow layer of flashing is installed here, so as to prevent drip edges from deteriorating.

The next time you clean the gutters inspect the state of your flashings and if you notice a problem, tend to it immediately. Any failure to immediately react can result in irreversible water damage to the roof structure.

 

 

Liam Smith is a young and aspiring Australian blogger with a passion for everything related to home improvement, design and style. He has a B.Sc. in Interior design and is an avid reader.
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Clients fastest payers among Build UK members

November 14th, 2018 Comments off

Build UK has revealed that none of its major contractor or large specialist member firms pay their bills within 30 days.

The trade body is a signatory to the Construction Supply Chain Payment Charter which set a 30 day payment target.

But latest Build UK payment data shows only four client members of the organisation have hit the target.

British Land, Landsec, Heathrow and Berkeley Homes have average invoice payment times of between 14 and 24 days.

Great Portland Estates took an average of 46 days.

The fastest paying specialist contractor was Carey Group at 36 days with the slowest Brown & Mason at 103.

Build UK revealed the payment practices of its major contractor members earlier this year.

Build UK said publishing the data will “help the construction supply chain to make more informed decisions and drive good practice.”

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Toshiba scraps £15bn Moorside nuclear power station plan

November 12th, 2018 Comments off

Plans to build Europe’s biggest nuclear power station in West Cumbria have collapsed after Japanese engineering giant Toshiba said it is pulling out of the project.

The £15bn Moorside power station project involved building three reactors at the site near Sellafield using Toshiba company Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactors.

Toshiba’s decision to wind-up its UK nuclear construction operation, Nugen, is a serious set back for Government plans to develop next-generation nuclear power as part of its shift to a low carbon economy.

The Moorside rector in Cumbria was expected to deliver 7% of the UK’s electricity needs from 2025.

A statement from the Japanese engineering giant said: “After considering the additional costs entailed in continuing to operate NuGen, Toshiba recognises that the economically rational decision is to withdraw from the UK nuclear power plant construction project, and has resolved to take steps to wind-up NuGen.”

Korea Electric Power Corporation had been a preferred bidder to take over the nuclear power plant project.  But after more than a year of negotiations, a deal could not be secured.

The Moorside site in Cumbria remains a site designated by Government for nuclear new build, it now passes to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority as the owner of the site and the Government to determine its future.

The scheme had been projected to create between 14,000-21,000 jobs over the lifetime of the project – including peak on-site employment of more than 6,500.

Director of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (North West) Guy Lawson said: “The decision to wind up NuGen is a potential hammer blow to the nuclear sector in Cumbria, and the local economy.

“The area is home to the UK’s greatest concentration of companies and workers with genuinely world-leading capability in nuclear delivery and operation.

“It is essential that this competitive advantage and the nuclear skills base are maintained, through sustained investment in nuclear new build, harnessing this capability and delivering low carbon energy to power the UK economy.”

General union GMB has called for an urgent rethink and wants the government to build a small modular nuclear reactor at the site.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary, said: “A golden opportunity exists to take control and develop a small modular nuclear reactor in a part of this country which has a groundbreaking nuclear past that can be repeated in the future.

“The lessons from the collapse of Toshiba should have been well and truly learned long ago – relying on foreign companies and countries for our essential energy needs is utterly irresponsible.”

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