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Billboard advertising: the power and influence

October 17th, 2018 No comments

Many firms in the construction industry find advertising tough due to competition and so many marketing avenues and product. Arguably, one of the most effective methods of making someone pay attention is with a large billboard placed strategically in a public place.

Discover why your construction business needs to reassess its advertising campaigns to feature billboards, and what strategy you need to follow to make them work!

Billboarding influence

Today, billboards are a critical part of promoting — they’ve even had a film made about them (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri). However, the earliest record of a leased billboard was documented in 1867. Output from the construction industry in 2017 hit nearly £164 million — more than double that of the year 2000. Compeition is fierce, and you need to fight for consumers.

According to Route, the average Brit is classed as ‘out and about’ for three hours and ten minutes every day, spending around 16 minutes in the view of advertisements. So, you want to attract these potential customers by placing a billboard somewhere that sits amid a place of high footfall and traffic.

Do you need more workers and need to advertise from a recruitment perspective? No construction company wants to pass on a project just because they don’t have the resources or manpower. In the construction sector today, 87% of employers are facing an issue due to a shortage of skilled workers, according to City & Guilds. A billboard could be the tool you need to advertise the employment opportunities you have to offer — and it shouldn’t take you too much time to put together. A billboard is a single page of design that is simple to design and print, which saves you time and means you can promote vacancies quicker.

Perhaps you’re trying to promote and sell your services or products, instead. Heard of the ‘Marketing Rule of 7’? Basically, this rule means someone has to hear or see an ad seven times before acting on it. If you put a billboard design on a site that people might pass more than once a day — like on the way to work or school — your potential customers will achieve this magic number of viewings in just a few days.

Now, you need to get your head around designing the right billboard for your brand and objectives.

Designing your billboard

Make sure your billboard gets to the point — make it bold and informative. Think strategically about what you want on your billboard — someone driving past at 40mph+ is only going to be able to take in so much. Do you want to sell a specific product? Are you spreading brand awareness or promoting an event? Only include the essential marketing message information — like contact details, name of product, date and location of event, and call to action.

Images can be very powerful on a billboard. According to research, people generally only recall 10% of information they hear three days later. However, using a relevant image alongside this information increases retention by 55%. When designing your billboard, try and think of an unconventional image that will grab a passer-by’s attention — even something as simple as having a large, black-and-white photo of a construction site with only the workers’ construction helmets in yellow would stand out.

Digestible and clear info on a billboard is essential — what’s the point if people can’t read what you’re saying? Utilise bright and bold colours to catch the eye — contrasting colours are reportedly stay in people’s memories for longer, too — and opt for a simple background and large, readable text — Sans Serif is a good shout.

The above point is especially important if your billboard is on a main road. Remember, a motorist only has between five and ten seconds take in an advertisement. So, the more relevant and informative your image is, the less you should need to convey with text — stick to a brief, punchy message of seven words and you should get your marketing message across, no problem.

Trying to entice the skills of new tradespeople? Are you advertising your construction products to other businesses? Whoever you’re targeting, bear this in mind when choosing your billboard location. For example, if you need young, entry-level employees, find a site near a college. Or if you’re trying to secure deals to work on commercial buildings, go for somewhere near a retail park or area where there’s a lot of trading. Otherwise, you could reduce your ROI due to not being in sight of the people who are most likely to act on your ad.

By making a reference to the local area, you can help boost the power of your billboard. Include an image of a local landmark to create a sense of familiarity or reference the local traffic in a funny way. Humour generally works in advertising. According to a review of 6,500 ads, the funniest were usually cited as being the most appealing and memorable. What’s more, adopting this creates a more welcoming brand persona, which should encourage custom.

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Debate around digital hits a higher level on day one of UKCW

October 15th, 2018 No comments

The future success of digital construction lies with improved planning, more consistent procurement by Government, integrated software systems, the education of the young and the development of hybrid solutions that don’t scare the industry, according to the opening debate at this year’s UK Construction Week (UKCW).

Chaired by architect and TV presenter George Clarke, a panel of digital construction experts took the discussion on digital to a new level compared to previous years. Offsite construction, BIM and even the use of robotic technologies on site were all acknowledged as established solutions – but what matters now is how these are applied and approached with a completely different mindset, the panellists agreed.

“We are at a point of acceptance of BIM”, said David Clark, head of manufacture and innovation at offsite specialists McAvoy. “We all want to take digital data and bring this to the front line of manufacturing. But we need a long-term pipeline coming through – a guaranteed demand which unlocks investment,” he said.

The role of Government was central to this, as the industry’s largest client responsible for 40% of the sector’s capital expenditure, explained Mark Bew, chairman of PCSG.

It’s hard to be a client, Mark acknowledged, but he told the packed auditorium about what he described as “the first glimmer of hope” – outcome-based contracting and new forms of procurement which are now starting to be used and which lift the requirements around data. “It’s now an adult-to-adult conversation, not adult-to-child approach,” he said.

He also urged greater Government uptake of common components which, just as in the car industry, allow a huge variety of customisable products for the end-user but essentially all stem from a simple, standardised portfolio of parts.

Lara Ayris, managing director of Waste Plan Solutions, expressed concern about disjointed software solutions which were still not talking to each other and the problems of getting BIM models to reflect the real world, but Raphael Scheps, CEO of Converge, explained how sensors inbuilt into building materials are now starting to cross-reference and validate the on-site reality with the digital models used at design stage.

In the strong international line-up on the UKCW stage, Grant van Wyk, founder of Future Construct and Automation, also told of robotic scanners which check for performance against design, and SAM – the Semi-Automatic Mason – which is possibly a more culturally acceptable form of automation in construction.

“SAM is a co-bot, not a robot,” he explained. “It works alongside traditional trades and makes their work more interesting and enjoyable. These are the incremental steps we need, otherwise the shift is too large. We need easy-to-use interfaces.”

From Eindhoven University of Technology, Theo Salet emphasised the essential role of education, and the way companies and students are increasingly working, exploring and learning together about the best ways to apply digital construction. “It’s multi-skilled workers we will be looking for in the future,” he said.

Again hybrid solutions appear to work best at the moment – George Clarke himself admitted that MOBIE, his new education initiative, is developing courses which integrate traditional construction with digital, in order to gain wider housebuilder take-up.

Despite their continued frustration at the pace of change, the panel provided plenty of evidence of the take up of digital construction and ended with a strong call for increased R&D, based on data and learning from what is currently happening. “We need to look at how it performs and listen to how these new systems, and system of systems, really work,” said Mark Bew.

This virtuous circle and learning loop came up in other presentations too. Elsewhere at the show, building quality and safety were hot topics across the UKCW seminar and CPD programme and culminated in RIBA’s official launch of its Building in Quality tracker. Developed in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Building and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, RIBA president Ben Derbyshire introduced the tracker and details of the five-month pilot set to transform building safety forever.

Other show highlights included:

  • Lord David Blunkett, Heathrow Skills Taskforce, talking about strategies to address the skills gap in construction;
  • Property expert and TV presenter Kunle Barker leading a vibrant panel discussion on diversity, equality and inclusion; and
  • The launch of the Passivhaus 2019 student competition, aiming to arm the next generation of architects and designers with the tools and design skills needed to deliver sustainable buildings.

Nathan Garnett, UKCW event director, said:

“Today has been a powerful opening day. The calibre of debate has been higher, more detailed and more positive than in previous years, and the examples of innovation and best practice are more plentiful. Combined with record numbers for a first day, I’m confident that this show is delivering on its promise to make visible the future of construction.”

The top sessions tomorrow are expected to be:

  • Keynote speaker Barbara Res, who will discuss her experience as a female engineer working on Trump Tower, the renovation of New York’s Plaza Hotel and the successes and challenges of working with Donald Trump;
  • A major debate on solving the UK’s housing crisis, looking at the long-term strategy for housing growth and what roles will be adopted by planning authorities, councils, housing associations, developers and others.
  • The seminar on ‘Quality in construction post-Grenfell’, looking at the outcomes from the Hackitt Review as well as the latest updates on product testing regimes and use of combustible materials in high-rise construction.

All these events are happening on the UKCW stage and will be chaired by TV presenter Steph McGovern.

On display is the EksoWorks exoskeleton in action as featured on BBC Breakfast, and more than other 650 exhibitors to visit, seminars to attend, lots of networking opportunities and all of this under one roof.

UKCW continues until Thursday with nine shows: Build Show, Energy 2018, Timber Expo, Building Tech Live, Surface & Materials Show, HVAC 2018, Civils Expo, Plant and Machinery Live, and Grand Designs Live. An estimated total of 35,000 visitors are expected to attend across the three days.

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Trade body training puts property professionals on the inside track as condensation season looms

October 12th, 2018 No comments

A national trade body is running a series of training programmes throughout autumn and winter to put property professionals in control of damp and wet buildings as ‘condensation season’ approaches.

The Property Care Association offers a four-pronged approach to the subject, offering wide-ranging, specialist insight into the issue.

Included in the series is ‘A Diagnostic Approach to Understanding Condensation, Atmospheric Moisture and Mould,’ which shows participants how to analyse raw information collected by atmospheric data loggers, and then communicate the findings clearly to occupiers.

The course also provides insight into the development of rectification strategies and gives practitioners the skills to avoid taking the guesswork out of atmospheric moisture monitoring.

Also, in the line-up is ‘Evaluating Ventilation in Existing Buildings’ a one-day course aimed at those already involved or looking to become involved in the surveying of dampness-related problems in residential buildings. This day looks at how moisture is produced and how poor air management can affect existing buildings and their occupants. Delegates will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to identify and understand background infiltration and how this relates to existing and proposed ventilation systems. This highly focused training event prepares surveyors who need to understand the nature of the building, its construction, thermal performance and occupation in order to deliver affective retrofit ventilation solutions.

The third programme is the ‘Residential Ventilation Masterclass’ which looks in detail at retrofit ventilation systems and the associated industry regulations.

Suitable for anyone involved in the design and installation of retrofitting fans and mechanical ventilation solutions in existing homes, delegates will leave with an understanding of how to design and specify ventilation systems that meet the requirements of Building Regulations Approved Document Part F and evaluate existing systems against the standard.

Concluding the series is the ‘Retrofit Insulation Masterclass,’ a training programme dedicated to the emerging issue of poor retrofit internal and external wall insulation.

Developed by the PCA in response to a growing number of reports relating to a lack of quality in the design and installation of retrofit insulation, the course gives delegates an understanding of the defects.

Of relevance to those who work with buildings with retrofit energy efficiency measures, including surveyors and building professionals – as well as landlords, property managers and contractors – this one-day workshop combines the theory and best practice principles of retrofitting older buildings with practical case studies and exercises.

James Berry, PCA technical manager, said: “These courses are ideal individually, or as a suite of four, for those at the frontline in dealing with a subject of increasing importance nationally, namely excessive atmospheric moisture in buildings.

“As temperatures drop, the issue of condensation and dampness can become more problematic.

“We are seeing a number of factors, predominately linked with modern living, that make this issue a rising trend, including increased levels of occupation and rising fuel costs, as well as a drive to make homes more energy efficient.

“Efforts to reduce air leakage through draught proofing and retrofit insulation, as well as the changing climate patterns – featuring warmer, wetter weather – are also of significance.

“Through collaborative effort and investment, the PCA’s focus has been to develop the long-term protection and improvement of buildings, as the custodians, creators and exponents of best practice in the understanding, control and eradication of dampness in buildings.

“Training is a central element of this approach and we welcome input from a wide-range of organisations in sharing this knowledge.”

PCA training takes place at the association’s dedicated training facility in Huntingdon. More details, including dates, can be found at www.property-care.org/training-qualifications

These courses and all PCA training programmes can also be delivered cost-effectively in-house, for maximum benefit. Specific information on in-house training options can be found at www.property-care.org/training-qualifications/training-courses/in-house-training-options/

The issue of excess moisture in buildings and the impact of effective ventilation is a major focus of the PCA.

This year the trade body held a two-day International Residential Ventilation & Preservation of Buildings Conference to further investigate issues including the nature of occupation, methods for identifying and rectifying defects – and the expected performance of existing buildings.

As well as the conference and training programme, other initiatives from the PCA include the development of a Residential Ventilation Group (RVG), the publication of a ‘Code of Practice for the Investigation and Provision of Ventilation in Existing Dwellings’ and a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University College London Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering (UCL IEDE).

The PCA has also produced a video offering a comprehensive overview of the issues faced from moisture in buildings. Featuring interviews with academics at University College London Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering (UCL IEDE), the short film is available to view at https://youtu.be/QFQ2a9XEop8.

Another video regarding ventilation can also be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjNjPUtwHyc

www.property-care.org

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Chartered Building Company T. Gunning Ltd invests in new headquarters

October 10th, 2018 No comments

Chartered Building Company T. Gunning Ltd invests in new headquarters

to support business growth

T Gunning Ltd, the Chartered Building Company specialising in interior/exterior refurbishment, has opened a new headquarters building in Dagenham to accommodate current and future growth.

 

The new building comprises an open plan office, meeting rooms, additional storage and a training facility to ensure its multi-skilled tradesmen and women are fully conversant with the latest products and techniques essential to delivering the highest quality refurbishment projects.

 

Director of T. Gunning, Mike Gawadzyn, says the continued expansion of the business has prompted the need for more space: “The company has enjoyed rapid growth over the last few years, taking on larger projects that demand greater resource. Moving to new premises enables us not only to accommodate a growing number of staff but also gives us the room to expand further as the need arises.”

 

As well as moving to new premises, the company has also invested in a new Cloud-based project management system, enabling site-based integration to the main office IT, further enhancing its professional delivery on site.

 

Growing consistently over the last thirty years, T.Gunning has cemented its reputation for the fast turnaround of major refurbishment works for Universities, Property Management Companies, and the NHS, either as part of a framework agreement or as a preferred contractor.

 

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DIY roof replacement vs professional roofing replacement

October 6th, 2018 No comments

Have you reached the conclusion that your roof needs to be replaced? Perhaps you have settled on this as a result of a roofing firm having checked your roof and provided their own professional opinion. However, should you replace the roof yourself or leave that task with a professional?

Though anyone can – in theory – replace a roof if they have the right supplies and guidance, the case for going down the DIY route is not quite as clear-cut as this situation might suggest.

Is a DIY roof replacement even an option?

To your surprise or not, the answer is yes, with DoItYourself.com explaining that you wouldn’t need any special skills to carry out a roof replacement. You would, however, need “proper tools, materials and guidance”, the site adds. At one point, any roof will need repairing or wholly replacing.

For a new roof, you can choose from various materials – including rubber, EPDM, GRP and slate. However, DIY roof replacement isn’t always recommended just because it is theoretically possible.

Replacing a roof is not for the faint-hearted

There’s no sugar-coating the fact that roofing is difficult. While on that roof, you wouldn’t be shielded from the weather – and, even on a relatively mild and clear day, you could run another risk: that of fearing heights! Quite simply, you can’t afford to fear them when doing roofing work.

It would also be necessary that you are pretty fit, but The Family Handyman has put together a guide aimed at helping you to test whether you really have what it takes to replace your own roof.

Check whether you pass the tests – yes, the plural

Before you commit to doing any DIY roofing work, use a ladder to ascend to your roof and try walking around it. If you struggle to do this comfortably, treat this as a clear sign that you should hire a professional. You probably won’t have difficulty in finding a local firm that can assist you.

If your home is in North East England, for example, you could turn to Findley Roofing & Building, the coverage area of which encompasses this region in its entirety. The company also offers a range of finance options, making it easier for you to source a Teesside, County Durham, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear or Newcastle roofing finance package that is sufficiently flexible for your needs.

A friendly and helpful member of Findley staff is on the other end of a phone on 0191 417 3422, but what if you can actually comfortably walk on your own roof? In that case, fetch some shingles and carry them on your shoulder while climbing the ladder again.

Could you imagine repeatedly going through that process in the effort to build a new roof? If the prospect doesn’t daunt you, then a DIY roofing replacement might be practically possible, but please follow insurance giant AXA’s advice on how to use proper safety equipment when on a roof. Lack confidence? Get a professional roofer to do the work.

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Single-use plastic crackdown at UK Construction Week to benefit clean water in Nairobi

October 3rd, 2018 No comments

Single-use plastic crackdown at UK Construction Week to benefit clean water in Nairobi

In an attempt to reduce the number of single-use plastic water bottles thrown away at the UK’s largest construction show, UK Construction Week (UKCW) has partnered with Join the Pipe to install water fountains around the event providing free tap water to its 35,000 visitors.

Everyone will be able to top up at water stations at every bar at the show and at Join the Pipe’s stand (stand number H200 in Hall 12).

The first thousand visitors to attend one of the three CPD hubs on each day of the event will also receive free reusable UKCW water bottles.

The initiative will help to raise awareness of Join the Pipe and is raising funds for its drinking water projects in developing countries, including a scheme in Nairobi aimed at providing clean drinking water in under-developed urban areas of the Kenyan capital.

Nathan Garnett, UKCW event director, says:

“Awareness of the terrible impact of our throwaway attitude to plastic has been rising ever since the Blue Planet programme earlier in the year. A staggering 13 billion plastic bottles are used each year in the UK, and 5.5 billion of those end up in landfill, litter or incinerators. We do not want our event to add to that appalling waste.

“That’s what makes this such a great idea. Our visitors can stay hydrated with free water and a stylish reusable bottle, and we can help to reduce the growing amount of plastic waste we put into our environment while also helping children who have desperate need of clean water. Everyone’s a winner.”

Andrew Eversden, Managing Director of Join the Pipe International says:

“It has been proven that if you provide easy, convenient and reliable places for people to fill up their bottles and drink tap water, they will. Our refills stations are designed to do exactly that, bringing tap water to everyone, everywhere. In the process, supporters are contributing to a water project in a developing country.

“We have a variety of styles of water stations to suit all needs and with our sleek and aesthetic design we also aim to put the style back into tap water. I think this will be of interest to many architects, designers and developers attending this show.”

Free water bottles can be collected from CPD hubs in each hall of UK Construction Week from 9-11 October. Register for UK Construction Week at: www.ukconstructionweek.com

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Aspiring ironmongers receive globally recognised door hardware qualification

September 28th, 2018 No comments

The next generation of architectural ironmongers is celebrating its Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI) education results.

Exams were sat in 23 different countries by 355 learners. So far, 102 students have attained the Certificate in Architectural Hardware and 32 students have now completed the GAI Diploma this year.

The Guild’s education programme continues to grow overseas, with 49% of learners based outside the UK. There has been a particularly high number of learners in the UAE, China, India, Hong Kong and South Africa.

Rachel Tipton, manager of the GAI education programme, said:

“The GAI has been providing a unique education, qualification and CPD programme for people who work in and around the architectural ironmongery industry since 1961. It’s the only recognised programme in the world that leads to a qualification in architectural ironmongery to British and European standards, and with over 60 of these standards to get to grips with, gaining this qualification is something that all our students should be incredibly proud of. We look forward to celebrating with our newly qualified Diploma holders at this year’s Education Awards.”

The core of the education portfolio is separated into two qualifications. The Certificate in Architectural Hardware (CiAH) consists of two stages with 24 education modules covering everything an architectural ironmonger is required to know, supported with eight block assessments to test the students’ understanding.

Once learners have gained their CiAH, they can continue their studies to achieve the GAI Diploma. This stage focuses entirely on the skills and learning needed for scheduling the architectural ironmongery, electric hardware and key control for a project, and is of particular importance to those architectural ironmongers working on projects being built to UK and European standards across the globe. Once they have completed the diploma, they become a DipGAI, an industry recognised symbol of professionalism.

The 2018/19 education programme prospectus has been published on the GAI website, outlining the qualifications, course content and training support available. It also gives further information on becoming a RegAI through the Continued Professional Development (CPD) programme. The programme was revamped last year to make the process more flexible and give busy professionals more opportunity to gain CPD points.

Enrolments are now open until 31 December 2018.

Download the prospectus here: www.gai.org.uk/prospectus

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Trade Direct Insurance

September 27th, 2018 No comments

Trade Direct Insurance  one of the UK’s leading Tradesmen Insurance providers 

Public Liability info Graphic

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Since the Brexit referendum in 2016, construction wages have risen by an average of 11% according to data from a staffing software supplier

September 27th, 2018 No comments

Since the Brexit referendum in 2016, construction wages have risen by an average of 11% according to data from a staffing software supplier

Over the past two years, Crawler crane operators have seen their pay increase by 54% followed by Electrical testers who have seen a 34% increase and steel fixers who have seen a rise of 22%.

The analysis of pay trends since June 2016 was conducted by Engage Technology partners which attributed the pay rise to shifting patterns of migrant labour.

Bradley Post, Managing Director at RIFT Tax Refunds commented: “It’s great to see the rise in construction wages and it’s something we expect to see continue in the coming years.  Currently the UK construction industry is facing a serious skills shortfall in the next 10 years. We’re looking at a potential 25% drop in the labour pool over the coming decade and that’s before we even consider the effects Brexit might have.

“Short term, a high demand for skilled labour is likely to mean lower unemployment rates among construction workers and possibly higher wages. The trouble with a shrinking talent pool, though, is you can quickly find yourself with too few skilled hands for your workload. Projects get delayed or cancelled and investors get nervous about putting money at risk. It looks like we’ll be feeling the aftershock of Brexit for the years to come but we’ve always worked closely with the construction industry and will continue to do so to make sure we’re on top of any rules and regulations that may start to change.”

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Spurs boss loses confidence in stadium builders

September 24th, 2018 No comments

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy said he is not confident about the ability of Mace and its contractors to deliver the delayed stadium to a revised timetable.

His comments came as the club confirmed it would be shifting the Man City fixture to Wembley on October 29 plus all Champions League group stage games up to Inter Milan on November 28.

The new ground was due to open on September 15 but that was postponed due “issues with the critical safety systems.”

Spurs have been in constant contact with Mace and its team as the club tries to agree a firm revised opening date.

Levy said: “We are now being regularly updated on progress and as soon as we have confidence in our project managers’ and contractors’ ability to deliver against the revised schedule of works, we shall be able to issue dates for test events and the official opening game.

“We are all focused on ensuring contractors deliver our new stadium in the shortest possible period of time and opening our stadium at the earliest opportunity.

“We are facing many issues, but although disappointing, costly and frustrating, I am uncompromising in my determination to deliver something extraordinary to our fans.”

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