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CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY FORECASTS GOOD NEWS FOR UK CONTRACTORS AND MANUFACTURERS

September 25th, 2017 No comments

And now for some good news…Construction Industry Forecasts for 2017 to 2019 estimate an overall rise of 7.4% for new-build infrastructure in the UK this year, with a continuation of 6.4% next year. It’s news that bodes equally well for leading suppliers of concrete repair and protection solutions such as Sika, as an increase in new buildings will inevitably lead to defects in newly-poured concrete requiring onsite attention.

So, what is this positive outlook for the country’s new building output based upon? Well, a number of factors across a number of key infrastructural sectors appear to be driving the optimism. Forecasts for the harbours and waterways sector are particularly encouraging, with year-on-year growth predicted thanks to huge waterside projects planned across the country in the coming years.

There’s the Aberdeen Harbour Expansion project for example. Commencing in September this year, the £350 million scheme – due to be completed in 2020 – will see the existing site expanded to include a facility for oil industry decommissioning work. Other upcoming UK harbour projects include a £135 million redevelopment of the port of Dover, and a £10 million project to build a new link-span bridge at the Port of Heysham in Lancashire.

 

Water spend

Upgrades in water treatment works are also continuing nationwide as part of Asset Management Period 6 which runs from 2015 to 2020. Water firms will have spent more than £44 billion in that time on improvement works agreed by water industry regulator, Ofwat, that include the Severn Trent Water’s Birmingham Resilience project, Wessex Water’s integrated supply grid, and the modernisation of United Utilities’ Davyhulme wastewater treatment plant. Work on London’s £4.2 billion Thames Tideway Tunnel project, which is being financed and delivered by an independent provider, is also boosting construction in this sector.

Spending on road maintenance is also expected to rise. Highways England has a maintenance budget of £1.3 billion over its first fixed five-year investment period, which began in 2015/16. In 2017/18, expenditure on maintenance is set to increase to £258 million, from the £254 million allocated for 2016/17.

Thereafter, it is expected to increase in 2018/19, before slowing in 2019/20. However, 97% of the roads network is governed by local authorities, which are financially-constrained due to cuts in central government funding since 2010. Whatever monetary restrictions councils face there is little doubt the condition of the country’s roads require urgent address, as an Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance Survey (ALARM) report revealed a 13-year backlog of local roads maintenance in England.

 

Energy drive

Infrastructure repair and maintenance is also expected to increase in order to maintain the country’s energy provision. With a delay in the building of nuclear power stations, National Grid announced it would be retaining the services of existing power plants initially earmarked for closure. Structural maintenance is likely to be required to extend the lifespan of the plants which will be held in reserve to boost electricity supplies if and when required.

 

Construction Industry Forecasts – headline figures for 2017 to 2019

  • Construction output to grow by 1.6% in 2017 and 0.7% in 2018
  • Private housing starts to rise by 3.0% in 2017 and 2.0% in 2018
  • Infrastructure construction to grow by 7.4% in 2017 and 6.4% in 2018

Construction Industry Forecasts for public housing repair, maintenance and improvement is a little less encouraging, with output in this sector expected to remain flat in 2017 and 2018, whilst commercial offices output is expected to fall by 1% and 12% during the same period. However, prospects for the builders of the nation’s infrastructure, and the contractors and manufacturing firms required to maintain it remain distinctly good. It would seem the UK is building towards a brighter future.

For more information visit: http://www.sika.com/en/group/Aboutus/innovation/products_and_technologies/refurbishment.html

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GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION ALONE WON’T SOLVE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY’S PAYMENTS PROBLEMS

September 21st, 2017 Comments off

The Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group is calling on the Government to solve the UK construction industry’s long-standing and crippling payments problem, labelling the current cashflow position as “critical”.

In a recent article, the SEC Group – which represents SMEs in the construction engineering sector – warns that its members are increasingly being propped up by their directors’ wallets as an interim cashflow ‘solution’.

They cite Funding Options figures that show directors lent their construction businesses £38 million in 2015/2016, up from £29.7 million in 2013/2014 – a jump of 28 per cent in just two years.

Unsurprisingly, the SEC Group labels this rise as “unsustainable” and has urged the Government to introduce legislation to solve the problem.

We agree wholeheartedly with the SEC Group – the cashflow issue has affected growth of construction businesses of all shapes and sizes for too long and needs to be addressed urgently.

However, we feel that while the Government has a role to play in improving B2B payments in the industry, businesses themselves can do much more to take greater control of their finances.

We’ve partnered with Invapay, an Optal company, to make this easily achievable. Our unique proposition – a combined full-service payment solution – provides construction businesses with a quick and effortless way to manage their payment process and maximise working capital benefits.

With Open ECX and Invapay, businesses are able to make their payment processes simple, streamlined and effortless from the moment a payment application is made right through to the point that it is paid.

Our cloud-based paper-free WebContractor solution manages the first half of the process, giving subcontractors and suppliers the ability to submit invoices quickly and easily through an online portal. The automated service then processes the application, sending verification notices emails to the applicant and the QS, allowing invoicing authorisation to be granted hassle-free.

At this stage Invapay’s payment solution comes into play. With no changes to processes and systems, Invapay’s business-tobusiness payment platform allows businesses to optimise their payments to suppliers and subcontractors.

Through Invapay, businesses can take greater control of their cash flow – across working capital, credit lines and third party funds – ensuring long term cash flow benefits for buyers and subcontractors.

For more information and to download a free payments guide visit: http://openecx.co.uk/maximising-payments-maximising-cash-flow/

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How To Get a CSCS Card

September 18th, 2017 Comments off

If you are working in construction in the UK, you have properly heard about the CSCS card. But what is it exactly?

CSCS stand for Construction Skills Certification Scheme, and the whole thing was invented about 25 years ago. It is a card that provide proof that an individual has the required training and qualifications to carry out work on a construction site.

What does it cost?

Before you can apply for the CSCS card you must be certified. That normally requires that you take a CITB Health Safety and Environment Test. Such a test cost £19.50 to take.

Once you have passed that test, you can apply for the CSCS card, which will cost you £30.

But be aware! There have been examples of companies overcharging the prices for the tests. These mentioned fees are the standard, so if you’re being charged more than that, you should make sure that you understand what additional services you will receive. To know more about booking the appropriate test, read more about that below.

Booking the test

At first glance, the whole system can appear a bit complicated with loads of different coloured cards showing people’s qualifications in different areas of construction skills. The number of colours has recently been reduced, but to make it more complicated, one colour card can cover many things. However, things have been made easier now through cscs.uk. On the site you’re able to use their online card-finder to figure out what kind of test and CSCS card you need, based on your occupation.

You’re also able to call them and have people at the other end of the line asking you the questions and be able to advise which card an applicant you should be applying for. That makes the whole decision-making process easy. Once that bit is over, you will be given a date on which you can take an online test in a center.

Revolution Construction

How is the test?

Okay. So you booked the test and everything is set, but how will the test be, you might wonder? The test is a multichoice based test with 50 questions that you have 45 minutes to answer. The questions can be case study or knowledge questions, but the difficulty of the test depends on the type. For entry-level construction workers such as labourers or apprentices, the questions and answers are pretty simple. Moving to the other end of it though, for people like contract managers, their test is actually very demanding as their card is equivalent to an NVQ 7.

Once you book the test, it will take place at a CITB-approved test centre where you can use a computer to take the test online. Make sure to be there 15 minutes before your test begin.

How can you prepare for the test?

There is different ways that you can prepare for the test. You could buy a book with information that can help you prepare for the specific grade of card you’re going to apply for. There are different books out there, which will give you loads of questions and answers that would appear in the test. A good thing is to buy the latest addition though because the different tests keeps getting updated. And then keep reading the book from cover to cover until you are able to pass the test. You will need to score 47 out of 50 questions correct in order to pass.

Another thing you can do, is to go online and use some of the free tests of there. You can find a bunch of tests here.

Is a CSCS card a legal requirement?

No, it is not a legal requirement. It is up to the different contractors if they require workers on their site to hold CSCS cards. But the law in the UK states that anyone undertaking construction work need to be competent. And a way of showing that, is by having a CSCS card as a proof of that. Another things is that if you’re working in an unsafe manner because you don’t know better, the site manager will get fined or imprisoned. That eventually lead to you getting fired.

How long does it take to get a CSCS card?

It doesn’t take long to get a CSCS card. Once you have paid for the CSCS card, it will be posted to you the next working day. You will just have to wait then, and normally you can expect the card to be there in around 10 days. Be aware that if your card has not been delivered within five weeks of your application, you should contact CSCS. After 90 days your application will be considered closed, and you will then need to pay an additional payment of £30 to reprocess an application.

How long can you keep your CSCS card?

It depends on the type of CSCS card that you are applying for. But in general most of the cards can last five years. Once you have your card, you can read the expiry date on it.

If you need to renew your card, you will have to prove once again that you have the appropriate training and qualification that your job need. That means you will need to retake the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test.

Conclusion

By preparing for the test, you will get a better chance of passing it. The CSCS card is good to have, and something most employers will require that you have (at least in the UK). Therefore, if you are in construction and know what kind of card you need, start preparing today and take the exam to get your CSCS card.

Prepare by taking our quiz and other quizzes online or buy a book that can help improve your knowledge, and make sure that you pass the final test. We wish you the best of luck.

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Considerate Constructors Scheme reaches major 100,000 milestone

September 14th, 2017 Comments off

Considerate Constructors Scheme reaches major 100,000 milestone

 

  • Mulalley celebrates as Network Homes’ housebuilding project is named as 100,000th Scheme-registered site
  • Government praises Scheme’s invaluable role in improving the image of construction

The Considerate Constructors Scheme – the national Scheme to improve the image of the construction industry – has reached a major milestone in UK construction history by registering its 100,000th site.

The Infrastructure and Project Authority’s Head of Construction, Dr David Hancock, welcomed this achievement and the Scheme’s role in helping to improve the image of the industry.

 

The site registration was made by one of the leading UK’s contractors – Mulalley – for the Chauncey Residential Development in Ware, Hertfordshire.

 

Mulalley are working with housing association Network Homes – a Client Partner of the Considerate Constructors Scheme – to deliver this £8.6m project of 18 semi-detached houses and 29 apartments, with associated car parking and amenity space, delivering much needed affordable homes in Ware.

 

In addition to this site being the Scheme’s 100,000th registration, it has also been recognised as an Ultra Site – the highest level of attainment with the Considerate Constructors Scheme.

 

Registering its first site in 1997, the Scheme has firmly established itself as the major force for good in helping to improve the image of the construction industry – for the benefit of the community, workforce and environment.

 

It is highly regarded throughout the UK construction industry as the ‘go to’ organisation to support construction sites, companies, suppliers and clients in raising their standards and best practice above and beyond statutory requirements.

 

One of the very few organisations to monitor the industry’s progress and share best practice on the ground, the Scheme undertakes around 14,000 visits to sites, companies and suppliers per year.

 

Considerate Constructors Scheme Chief Executive Edward Hardy said: “We are delighted to celebrate the registration of the Scheme’s 100,000th site with Mulalley, who have been registering sites for nearly 20 years and are a founding Scheme Partner. This is a truly momentous milestone for the Considerate Constructors Scheme and the industry, and is made even more special with this being the 20th year of the Scheme.

 

“It is with huge thanks to the continuous hard work, commitment and dedication from an increasingly growing proportion of the UK, and more recently the Irish construction industry, that the Scheme has gone from strength to strength since it registered its first site in 1997. At the very centre of this success has been true collaboration across our industry.

 

“As a Scheme, we continue to grow and engage with an ever-increasing number of contractors, suppliers, companies, clients and other construction industry-related organisations to continue to promote the benefits to the industry in looking after our workforce, site neighbours and the environment.

 

“Whilst it is important that we celebrate this phenomenal achievement, it is also important to remember that much more still needs to be done to continue to improve the image of our sector and to encourage the industry to continually raise its standards and share best practice throughout the supply chain. It is only through an ever-improving image that our industry can continue to attract the very best to work in our fantastic sector.

 

“As one of the few people who have been involved with the Scheme from its earliest days, I am incredibly proud of what the Scheme has achieved. I am also hugely grateful to the construction industry for the way in which it has embraced the concept of considerate construction, and how it continues to challenge itself to attain even higher standards.”

 

Considerate Constructors Scheme Executive Chairman Isabel Martinson commented: “This is a huge achievement for the industry. By reaching such a significant milestone, the Scheme is clearly demonstrating its ongoing importance in driving higher standards to improve the image and reputation of construction.”

 

Mulalley Director Vince O’Malley said: “Mulalley are extremely pleased for our Chauncy Residential Development project to be the Scheme’s 100,000th registered site. As a Founder Partner of the Scheme, this is a significant milestone and testament to the Scheme’s commitment to improving the construction industry’s image and creating a legacy of continued improvement.”

 

Network Homes’ Executive Director of Development Vicky Savage added: “It’s really important that we provide high quality affordable homes for the communities we work in. This is a positive statement to local people, letting them know we take construction standards seriously. We look forward to continuing our work with the Considerate Constructors Scheme and providing fantastic new homes with Mulalley at the Chauncy Residential Development.”

 

The Infrastructure and Project Authority’s Head of Construction, Dr David Hancock added his congratulations to the Considerate Constructors Scheme in reaching this milestone: “It was a pleasure to present at the Considerate Constructors Scheme’s National Site Awards earlier in the year, and it is great to hear that the 100,000th site has registered with the Scheme.  It reflects well on the efforts that have been made by the industry.  We are seeing much cleaner and tidier sites, efforts being made to minimise noise and having safety systems in place.  This has had a positive effect on the environment and surrounding communities, and also on working conditions.  We are seeing constructors providing a more supportive and caring environment for their workforce.

 

“This is great progress and I hope it will continue and help attract more people into the industry at a time when we are seeing much change and challenge around how the industry operates.”

 

Click here for further information about Site Registration.

Click here for more information about Ultra Sites.

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Want To Improve Your Home Without Breaking The Bank? Here’s How

September 13th, 2017 Comments off

The idea of trying to improve the value of your home can be so overwhelming, especially if you watch television shows where the hosts are always doing big, grand projects.

But increasing your overall home value doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. You don’t need to add another room or do a complete renovation. By following just a few simple steps, you can dramatically improve the worth of your home and attract potential buyers.

Even if you’re not planning on selling your home, these steps can significantly increase your quality of life.

Clean The Clutter

Cleaning your home can have an exponential effect on its value to buyers. Few things turn a buyer off like a dirty house, while a clean house significantly attracts potential purchasers. Consider for a moment: if you had the choice between two identical houses, one clean and one cluttered, which would you pick?

Cleaning has several other specific advantages.

  • It allows you to spot maintenance issues that are hidden behind junk. Clearing out boxes allows you to see that small leak with your water heater or that mold growing in the corner. Spotting these before they turn into big issues can save you massive amounts of money.
  • A clean house is healthier for your family. Junk and dirt can cause allergens and bacteria to breed. By cleaning your home, you not only add value, you also create a friendlier space for your family.

As Jessica Gopalakrishnan says:

“Starting with a couple hundred dollars on a few things could increase the value of your house by a few thousand dollars. People are surprised by that. It’s exciting. People think they have to put in a lot of money to see a big difference and they really don’t.”

The first, and perhaps simplest way to add value to your home is to simply freshen it up. It costs little to nothing and can have a dramatic effect.

Freshen Up That Curb Appeal

How much curb appeal does your home have? Remember, the front of your home creates a potential buyer’s first impression. If your home looks dingy and overgrown from the curb, it can create a negative feeling in a potential buyer. Spending time sharpening up your curb appeal can significantly increase the overall value.

As realtorRoger Voisinet says:

“People forget about their trees more than almost anything. It could really make a significant difference in the price. Nobody likes to spend money, but landscaping might even be the most important thing, even if owners have kept up the house.”

What are some simple ways to do this?

  • Maintain your lawn and shrubbery. Overgrown bushes and grass are an immediate turnoff for buyers. Simply trimming your shrubs and cutting your grass can improve the look. If your lawn is dry or brown, spend some time nurturing it back to a fresh, green look. Planting flowers can also add some splashes of color.
  • Freshen up your shutters and front door. If your shutters are faded and peeling, give them a fresh coat of paint. Same goes for your front door. A brand new front door can make a big difference.
  • Power wash your house. Simply cleaning the exterior of your house can make an enormous difference, clearing away years of grime and giving your house a clean, fresh feel.

Here are some additional simple ways to improve your curb appeal:

Double Down On The Kitchen

The project with the greatest return is almost always going to be your kitchen. Because it’s the focus of so many family activities, few things matter more to potential buyers than the kitchen space.

There are some simple ways you can really improve the look of your kitchen without breaking the bank.

  • Paint or refinish the cabinets. Even the most dated, ugly cabinets can receive new life with a fresh coat of paint. Another easy way to improve your cabinets is to replace the outdated hardware with something modern and clean.
  • Add a tile backsplash. A backsplash is a simple, cheap way to give your kitchen a dash of color and class.
  • Switch to stainless steel. Stainless appliances, faucets, and other items will give your kitchen a new, modern, clean look. This is significantly more attractive to buyers.
  • Add a pot rack. A pot rack opens up the space in the kitchen and will immediately catch the buyer’s eye, particularly if you also add in a rolling island.

Renew Your Bathroom

Perhaps more than anything else, the bathroom needs to have a new, clean feel to it. Few things turn a buyer’s stomach more than a dingy bathroom. By making a few simple upgrades, you can cause the value of your home to surge.

  • Install a luxury faucet. If your bathroom makes people feel like they’re in a spa, they’ll immediately be at ease. A luxury faucet is a really simple way to do that.
  • Install granite countertops. While formica countertops are cheap, they don’t hold up well and look low quality. A granite or marble countertop is a wonderful way to make your bathroom inviting.
  • Use wall mount lighting. Overhead lighting is harsh and creates a sterile feel. Use warm, wall mounted lights to generate a warm ambience in your bathroom.
  • Replace frosted glass with clear.
  • Clean the grout and remove any rust stains.
  • Lay heated floors. Few things are more luxurious than heated floors.

Knock Out Some Walls

Open floor plans are all the rage these days. Taking out a few non-structural walls can give your home a feel of openness and space. This is a minor job that costs very little, but the payback in terms of home value can be significant.

Your goal should be to make the home feel less confined and tight. If there are narrow hallways, consider trying to open those up.

Let There Be Light

Adding light to your home immediately makes it feel more welcoming. There are numerous ways to do this, including:

  • Dimmer switches that allow you to increase the light or cut it down for ambience.
  • Sun tubes, which let in natural light but are cheaper than cutting out skylights.
  • More windows. Admittedly, this is more expensive, but the results can be dramatic. If you have any broken panes, immediately repair those.

A dark house feels cut off and dank. Letting in light immediately increases the overall value.

Make sure to stay away from harsh lighting, like overhead fluorescent lights.

Here are a few more tips for brightening up your home:

Add Green Options

More and more, buyers want energy friendly housing solutions, such as solar panels, energy saving air conditioners, pellet stoves, and other money savers.

The installation of these items can represent huge savings for potential buyers. If they know they’re going to save thousands every year in energy costs, they’re more willing to spend up front on purchasing the house.

This is especially important for the future. If you hope to sell your home in five years, install green options now.

Improve Those Floors

Floors are one of the first things people notice when they enter a house. If you’ve got orange carpeting, that’s where their eyes will go. There are some very simple ways to improve your floors and thus improve the value of your house.

  • Patch any bits of broken tile.>
  • Nail down any squeaky boards and repair any damaged ones.
  • Refinish wood floors.
  • Rip out wall-to-wall carpeting and install laminate.

Making these small improvements can bring back almost a 100% ROI.

Conclusion

Improving your home value doesn’t require months and thousands of dollars. You don’t need to be a home renovation expert or have your own reality television show. In fact, most of these home improvements are relatively small and can be done for a few hundred dollars.

Even if you don’t want to sell your home, there is value in making these changes. They can dramatically increase the beauty of your home and quality of life you experience.

It’s an oft-repeated cliche that home is where the heart is. If that’s true, isn’t it worth a bit of time and money to make that home as nice as possible?

 

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Rebuilding the UK’s infrastructure at Civils Expo 2017

September 11th, 2017 Comments off

Civils Expo, the UK’s leading event dedicated to civil engineering and infrastructure, will once again bring together leading suppliers of the latest technologies, systems and products for the sector when it returns to Birmingham NEC from 10-12 October 2017.

 

Exhibitors already signed up to launch new products, showcase software and provide technical advice include HS2, CEMEX, Breedon Group, Creagh Concrete and Bluebeam. Leading figures from across the industry will also attend the show, such as Crossrail, Heathrow, BAM Nuttall, Kier, Transport for the North and Highways England, where they will debate the industry’s most pressing topics and discuss the challenges and opportunities currently facing the sector.

 

The seminar programme for Civils Expo has been designed to inform and educate visitors about the planning and implementation of significant projects, as well as introduce them to suppliers so they can learn about new products, gain skills and make long-lasting contacts. One of the show’s biggest attractions will be The Infrastructure Hub, which will explore the process of planning, designing and building a variety of projects from road infrastructure and rail infrastructure through to airports and seaports. Topics such as future proofing infrastructure and construction, sustainability in business, drones, offshore wind turbines and connecting Britain to the world post-Brexit will be discussed at the show, while projects that are having an important impact on the sector such as Crossrail, Ordsall Chord and Hinkley Point will be explored by those leading them in front of a live audience.

To tackle the issue of building safety head on, Civils Expo will also bring together leading authorities to deliver free CPD advice and guidance on key issues such as fire prevention and safety in buildings; guidance on sprinklers, fire doors and dampening; health and safety and how to improve safety through technology, as well as the latest advice on cladding and other flammable building materials. These free CPD and workshop sessions will be hosted at The Infrastructure Hub and have been specially tailored for those responsible for building safety. The sessions are expected to book up quickly, so registration is encouraged.

 

Nathan Garnett, Event Director at Media 10, which runs the show, said: “This year’s Civils Expo will bring together the UK’s largest and most important infrastructure projects with the latest products and innovations being used to build them. Our programme is evolving with more speakers, exhibitors and suppliers signing up every day, and we’re committed to making this our most successful show to date. In addition to showcasing new products for the sector, we will also tackle the issues surrounding building safety head on with a carefully chosen schedule of talks, workshops and events.”

 

Consisting of Build Show, sponsored by Easy-Trim, Civils Expo, Plant & Machinery Live, Energy 2017, Smart Buildings 2017, Surface & Materials Show, HVAC 2017 and Grand Designs Live, UK Construction Week caters for the entire spectrum of the industry from builders, architects, innovators and consultants, each show provides exhibitors with the opportunity to network alongside decision makers and purchasers while showcasing their services and products to thousands of visitors.  For more information and free registration visit www.ukconstructionweek.com.

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4 tips for a clean construction site

September 7th, 2017 Comments off

Health and safety on a construction site is most closely associated with the use of heavy equipment and hazardous materials.

But each year in the UK, there are 1000 slips or trips on worksites that cause fractured bones and dislocated joints.

And many of these accidents are caused by a messy and disorganised work environment.

So here are four tips for a clean construction site that keeps your staff safe.

Safe storage

Clients, contractors and suppliers should all be clear about where certain types of materials and equipment are stored onsite and any materials that are flammable or hazardous should be separated and labelled clearly.

Large pieces of valuable kit can be kept safely overnight in vandal-safe storage containers but secure portable cases for smaller tools are also useful.

And if you store materials and equipment that only certain workers are qualified to work with, then it might be wise to only provide keys for these zones to qualified staff.

Once you’ve decided where various materials and equipment should be stored, be sure to leave pathways for workers to travel safely on foot.

Waste management

There are stringent guidelines regarding the collection and disposal of hazardous waste materials.

But even more commonplace waste like rubbish and rubble can cause serious accidents if it’s allowed to pile up.

Rubbish chutes offer a solution to this problem — waste is collected by workers and slid down smoothly into skips positioned below.

All onsite workers should be responsible for clearing their own work areas throughout the day and a rubbish rota can be used so there’s a shared responsibility for cleaning general areas.

Clear floor spaces

Trailing cables and abandoned equipment can present risks from falls.

But workers’ dirty boots can also drag mud and hazardous materials from one area of your site to another, resulting in risky cross-contamination.

So plastic shoe covers should be worn in certain areas, while floor mats should suffice for keeping shared canteens and restrooms clean.

And don’t forget the basics — buy sufficient stocks of brushes, brooms and dustpans that can remain in arm’s reach in every area.

Dust control

Construction dust is another substance subject to regulatory control in the UK — it can cause serious diseases like asthma and cancer.

And many tasks carried out onsite create dust, so it’s essential that workers are provided with protective equipment like masks and suits.

But a specialist dustguard machine can be used for dust control and washing equipment on larger sites.

As with any construction housekeeping task, keeping dust at bay relies on team members working together to ensure it doesn’t build up until it’s unmanageable.

The success of a construction project isn’t just based on the quality of the finished building — it relies on a safe and efficient site that’s kept in good shape throughout.

These four tips for a clean construction site should ensure your project runs smoothly from start to finish.

Do you have other tips for keeping construction site clean? Share your advice in the comments section.

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Time nearly up for skills cards for fringe trades

September 5th, 2017 Comments off

All 85,000 Construction Related Occupation (CRO) skills cards currently in circulation will expire by the end of this month.

CRO_clock_cmyk_hi-res

The deadline is part of the industry’s drive towards full qualification.

The CRO cards cover a host of ancillary construction roles but crucially you don’t need industry related qualifications to hold one.

Construction Skills Certification Scheme Head of Communications Alan O’Neile said: “In early 2015, the Construction Leadership Council announced that skills certification card schemes carrying the CSCS logo must only certify those occupations with nationally recognised construction related qualifications, i.e. NVQs or approved equivalents.

“The CRO card was issued without the requirement to demonstrate the applicant has achieved an appropriate qualification and as such does not meet the expectations of the CLC.”

Many CRO card holders will be required to register for existing or newly developed qualifications before their cards expire.

Others will be transferred to one of CSCS’s Partner Card Schemes that are more appropriate for their occupations.

For some, where their occupation is not construction related or no suitable qualification exists, a CSCS card will no longer be issued.

CSCS Chief Executive Graham Wren added: “The withdrawal of the CRO card is a practical step towards achieving the CLC’s requirement of ensuring nationally recognised qualifications are in place for all occupations.

“The 30th September is fast approaching however, together with our industry stakeholders, we have been preparing for the withdrawal of the CRO card since 2015.

“A lot of work has taken place to ensure CRO card holders know which qualifications are available and to make the transition to appropriate alternative arrangements as straightforward as possible.”

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Contractors named and shamed over minimum wage

September 4th, 2017 Comments off

A raft of building companies are among the latest list of 233 firms named and shamed by the Government for not paying the National Minimum Wage and Living Wage.

More than 13,000 of the UK’s lowest paid workers will get around £2m in back pay as part of the government’s scheme to name offenders.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has published the latest list of 233 businesses that underpaid workers.

Employers on the list have also been fined a record £1.9m by the government. Retail, hairdressing and hospitality businesses were among the most prolific offenders.

Since 2013, the scheme has identified £6m in back pay for 40,000 workers, with 1,200 employers fined £4m.

Business Minister Margot James said: “It is against the law to pay workers less than legal minimum wage rates, short-changing ordinary working people and undercutting honest employers.

“The recent naming round identifies a record £2m of back pay for workers and sends the clear message to employers that the government will come down hard on those who break the law.

Common errors made by employers in this round included deducting money from pay packets to pay for uniforms, failure to account for overtime hours, and wrongly paying apprentice rates to workers.

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Google gets green light for £1bn King’s Cross HQ

September 1st, 2017 Comments off

Internet giant Google has been given the green light by planners to build its new £1bn headquarters at King’s Cross in London.

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Camden Council’s planning committee approved the deal last night.

Main contractor Lendlease will start on site next year on a contract believed to be worth around £350m.

The 11-storey building will be more than one million square feet of which Google will occupy 650,000 sq ft.

The Google HQ building, designed by Heatherwick Studios and BIG, in collaboration with BDP, will be home to 4,000 Googlers on completion.

Thomas Heatherwick said: “Strong support for an ambitious building in an important part of the city is more proof that London is not afraid of its future.

“We’re excited to start building.”

Neil Martin, Manging Director of Lendlease’s Construction business in Europe, said: “With our global construction experience, we are confident this will be as distinctive as everything else Google does.”

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