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Going Digital for the Digital Enterprise

September 20th, 2017 Comments off

As engineering firms move toward developing a digital strategy, a new phrase – going digital– will resonate with engineering, architectural, and construction professionals, as well as infrastructure asset owners, is now part of the infrastructure lexicon. Going digital refers to the business transformation being realized as infrastructure professionals take advantage of a connected data environment by leveraging a cloud computing platform that digitally connects and converges people, processes, data, and technology to yield significant benefits.

 

In its broadest sense, going digital means moving data that used to be locked in application-specific files or even paper documents, and making the data inherent in these files and documents available to be consumed and analyzed by other software and processes. Through going digital, 3D digital engineering models created during the planning and design phase can provide the interactive 3D environment for operations and infrastructure asset performance modeling, leveraging cloud computing, predictive analytics, and operational data from the Industrial Internet of Things and other sources. These models can now be referenced throughout the full lifecycle of an infrastructure asset, improving performance, safety, and sustainability.

But what about an infrastructure asset that does not have a digital engineering model? Reality modeling, an exciting technology that involves the process of capturing existing facilities and site conditions with the use of digital photographs and/or point-cloud data – enables the rapid creation of 3D, engineering-ready mesh representations of the existing, as-operated conditions. The process is simple: overlapping photographs taken with a camera either handheld or mounted on a UAV are uploaded to a cloud processing service that automatically reconstructs the 3D model for use in engineering applications. Further detail and accuracy can be added to the model through close range photos or point-cloud data from laser scanners.

 

In the past two years, reality modeling has gone from being a specialty service to a mainstream process by engineering and construction firms, and by owner-operators of infrastructure assets. The speed and ease of reality modeling now makes it possible to do nearly continuous surveying to monitor construction progress and as-operated conditions. And, the resulting 3D model components can be classified and hyperlinked to engineering models, documents, and specifications (the ET or engineering technology), historical operations data, (the IT or information technology), and real-time IoT sensors (the OT or operations technology). By going digital, the digital engineering model, whether built from scratch through design and engineering application software, or created from existing conditions through reality modeling, can deliver new value as an immersive environment to access open and live information for visual operations of infrastructure assets—bridging ET, IT, and OT—and with that visibility comes the empowerment to improve asset performance.

 

Making the Digital Enterprise Real

A going digital strategy begins with information technology and seeks convergence with operational technology. As such, realizing the digital enterprise would involve adding engineering technology to complete the convergence. While going digital means different things for different enterprises, in our industry, users of infrastructure engineering can take advantage of new form factors for connecting and computing in their pursuit of it. For many of our large users, the strategy is an opportunity to improve their business model for better asset performance and capital project cost reduction.

An effective digital strategy can realize benefits through all phases of the infrastructure lifecycle. In the CAPEX phase, a digital workflow can take advantage of better decision making with immersive design and collaboration in construction. For OPEX, the value of digital engineering information provides performance improvement opportunities for owner-operators seeking to maximize their assets. The core value is reducing TOTEX (total expenditure) as owners seek to manage and mitigate the risk associated with large capital projects and the ongoing maintenance over time. Owners require information from all phases of the project lifecycle to be useful in the asset management or maintenance management systems when the asset reaches handover, which is fully realized through a digital strategy.

 

For engineers, going digital can mean new business opportunities, such as conceptioneering, the process of quickly creating multiple iterations of a conceptual infrastructure design model with engineering content, at the beginning of a project, to constructioneering, the process of bringing engineering data directly to the field to drive construction workflows and equipment, during construction and into operations. It can also mean inspectioneering, which is the process of bringing as-operated and continuously surveyed, engineering reality meshes into digital engineering environments, enabling engineers to inspect and evaluate infrastructure assets from any location. And, lastly, to productioneering, which is the process of leveraging the digital engineering model, with live and open connections to IT and OT data, and predictive analytics, as an immersive environment for visual operations, decision support, and performance improvement. These are all examples of going digital, and Bentley is providing the solutions for our users to get there.

 

Author: Aidan Mercer, Director Industry Marketing, AEC at Bentley Systems
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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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£300m dualling on A47 set for Spring 2020 start

September 8th, 2017 Comments off

Plans have been unveiled for six projects to upgrade the key A47 road connecting East Anglia with the Midlands.

Highways England said it is aiming for a Spring 2020 start date after revealing preferred routes for dualling three parts of the 115 mile stretch of the A47 between Peterborough and Great Yarmouth.

The programme will also include several junctions and roundabout improvement projects.

Following a public consultation Philip Davie, Highways England Programme Leader for the A47, said: “We have listened to the publics’ views and these have helped shape and inform our approach to our proposed schemes.

“Work now continues, adding detail to the design for each of the dualling and junction improvements, and on planning how we will deliver them in a way that keeps traffic moving.”

A47 dualling

The proposals include converting almost 8 miles of single carriageway to dual carriageway and making improvements to junctions across the route.

The 6 schemes are:

  • A47 Wansford to Sutton dualling
  • A47 Guyhirn junction improvement
  • A47 North Tuddenham to Easton dualling
  • A47 Blofield to North Burlingham dualling
  • A47/A11 Thickthorn junction improvement
  • A47 Great Yarmouth junction improvements
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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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London garden bridge project officially scrapped

August 28th, 2017 Comments off

The charity set up to build a garden bridge across the Thames has official scrapped the ambitious £90m project.

Garden Bridge
Garden Bridge Trust fails to realise green dream

The Garden Bridge Trust  announced that it will be winding up the project because of lack of support for the project going forward from the Mayor.

The project will now be formally closed. This includes terminating contracts with Franco-Italian joint venture of Bouygues and Cimolai, and  concluding donor funding agreements.

In April, London mayor Sadiq Khan wrote to Lord Mervyn Davies, Chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust, stating that he was not prepared to sign the guarantee for the annual maintenance costs of the Bridge, a condition of planning consent, despite previous assurances given about his support for the project.

AN22691092New+garden+bridge

Lord Davies said: “It is with great regret that Trustees have concluded that without Mayoral support the project cannot be delivered.

“We are incredibly sad that we have not been able to make the dream of the Garden Bridge a reality and that the Mayor does not feel able to continue with the support he initially gave us.

“We had made great progress obtaining planning permission, satisfying most of our planning conditions and we had raised £70m of private money towards the project.”

“The Garden Bridge would have been a unique place; a beautiful new green space in the heart of London, free to use and open to all.

“It is a sad day for London because it is sending out a message to the world that we can no longer deliver such exciting projects.”

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Big Ben safety row rumbles on

August 23rd, 2017 Comments off

Safety chiefs have hit back following criticism of plans to silence Big Ben’s chimes during renovation work.

The bell of the famous clock will fall silent for four years to protect workers’ hearing during a £29m restoration of the Elizabeth Tower, the Great Clock and the Great Bell.

The revelation caused a storm in some national newspapers who attacked the move as “health and safety gone mad”.

Sir Robert McAlpine secured the £3.5m pre-construction services deal last year.

An HSE spokesperson said: “We’ve been concerned by a minority of the reaction to the announcement relating to the Big Ben conservation project in London.

“People’s health should not be made worse by the work they do, so it is important that no worker should suffer any hearing loss while working on this project. We find any attempt to trivialise this unhelpful.

“As part of our regulatory role, HSE has liaised with both the client and the principal contractor on this major construction project in central London.

“This has been one of many projects where we work with contractors in the planning stages, and we’ve noted how intricate, complex and challenging this particular exercise will be.

“Health and safety aside, we understand these challenges would have silenced Big Ben’s chimes for at least two years anyway.

“While we were aware part of the project related to the clock, we have not been involved in discussions about how that work will be specifically carried out.

“There is broad agreement that the noise risks associated with working around the clock bells are highly significant and we would expect the principal contractor to manage those risks.

“How it does so is a matter for those involved and their client.”

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Construction Safety In the European Workplace – Perception vs. Reality

August 18th, 2017 Comments off

Since the enforcement of the EU Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Strategic Framework in 2014, the numbers of accidents at work have been dropping, suggesting a positive impact on health and safety regulations and compliance at the workplace.

The framework analyzes key challenges and strategic objectives for health and safety at work and aims to identify actions and instruments to address these objectives.

But whether workers actually feel safe at work is a different matter. Perception of safety or danger is none the less a very important question that can have a significant impact on a worker’s performance and well-being at work.

Health and safety consultants Arinite compared research from Eurofound on the perception of safety in the workplace with Eurostat’s recent analysis of health and safety incidents across the EU 28 countries. This is what they discovered.

 

 

 

 

 

Mismatch between perception and reality

Revelations show that actual workplace safety and perceived safety do not always match. Romania, for example, has an incidence rate of 68.9, meaning out of 100,000 workers 68.9 were injured and had to stay off work for more than 4 days (5.5 out of 100,000 on average died).

Compared to other European countries in the survey, that is the lowest rate, followed by Bulgaria and Greece. France, Portugal and Spain show the highest incidence rates.

If you now look at how workers from these countries perceive safety in the workplace, the results are perplexing. Denmark, which scored fourth in the incident rating, now ranks first place, with almost 50% stating they were “Very Satisfied” with their working conditions. They thus having the most satisfied work force in the ranking.

Romania on the other hand, previously having the fewest incidences in comparison, appears to be one of the least satisfied countries, with only 11% saying they were “Very Satisfied”.

Reasons behind the discrepancies

How come the number of accidents at work and the perception of safety do not seem to correspond very much?

Firstly, the feeling of safety can be shaped by many factors, such as job quality, financial security, development of skills or national labour laws.

 

Also, considering the results in Denmark and Romania, the strength of bureaucracy in a country may influence the perception of safety too, as effective and exact incident reporting systems manipulate the ranking. Denmark’s high incident rate might simply be a result of the strength of the Danish accident reporting system, which leads to the assumption that safety is being regarded as a high priority – therefore workers naturally feeling safer.

 

Construction workers seem to feel less at risk when they feel that safety provisions and strong labour laws are in place. Creating a safe work environment is not only a question of compliance, but also of assuring a productive and happy workplace.

The OSH will keep improving prevention measures, implementing existing health and safety rules, and reinforcing coordination with international organisations, like the International Labour Organization (ILO). Social safety nets also need to be strengthened to ensure accidents across the EU decrease further while working conditions improve, leading to a successful relationship between employer and employee.

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