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Weston Homes stunned by football club sponsorship snub

March 29th, 2018 No comments

House builder Weston Homes has been left fuming after its ten-year sponsorship deal with Colchester United has come to a “bitter end”.

The League Two club confirmed its decision not to renew the deal to staff and fans this week.

But Weston Homes claim they were not consulted and have been left baffled by the decision.

A Weston Homes spokesperson said: “It is really sad and shocking the way this partnership has ended, and it has really upset our Chairman and CEO Bob Weston that the club has chosen to end the deal and then abruptly announced their decision publicly without prior consultation with the housebuilder.

Weston Homes has been extremely loyal to Colchester United and supported the club in so many ways over the last decade, so this has been deeply distressing.

“It’s a sad ending to what has otherwise been a fantastic partnership.”

The club’s stadium is named after the house builder who were keen to continue sponsoring Colchester United.

The spokesperson said: “Up until these recent events historically we have had a fantastic partnership with Colchester United and the decade long sponsorship agreement got our brand name partnered with the Stadium and the football club and, as a result, has seen us associated with a range of extremely high profile sporting, music, charity and cultural events.”

Colchester United said: “We would like to express our thanks and gratitude for Weston Homes for their fantastic support over the past ten years.

“It has been a hugely successful partnership over the past decade and is one of the longest in the club’s history.

Weston Homes’ support has allowed Colchester United to establish the stadium as a key community hub and their backing both as title sponsor and at individual events has allowed us to create many special stories together since the venue opened in 2008.”

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Cladding firm hired for luxury new-build project

March 28th, 2018 No comments

Specialist Cladding Systems (SCS), CA Group Limited’s specialist cladding division, has bolstered its portfolio by successfully securing the design, supply and installation of the façade for a high-end residential development in Salford, Manchester.

 

Working in partnership with main contractors, McGoff Construction, SCS has been awarded the contract to design and install a full cladding system for Downtown Manchester, a 368-apartment scheme along the River Irwell.

Located on the borders of Manchester and Salford, the Downtown development will be a collection of six statement blocks, differing in height and ranging from four storeys up to 14. The residential apartments will be complimented by communal facilities including an onsite gym and spa, 24-hour concierge service and media room.

Paul Guilfoyle, senior project manager at McGoff Construction, said: “Thanks to its hotel-style services, riverside location and proximity to both Manchester and Salford, Downtown is a prestigious development and a desirable residence.

“With its Manhattan-inspired design influence, it aims to create a new iconic property on Manchester’s skyline. The exterior of the six apartment blocks requires an exceptional finish, which is why we have chosen to work with SCS, who are experts in providing specialist cladding solutions.”

Work commences on the first phase of the project next month (April), and will continue over several phases spanning the next three years.

Mike Cinnamond, Divisional Manager for SCS, added: “We are delighted to have been chosen to work in partnership with main contractors McGoff Construction on such a pioneering project. Downtown’s service-led apartment living is sure to provide the aspirational residents of both Salford and Manchester with an apartment that will enhance their lifestyle and exceed expectations.

“New design opportunities, brought about by innovations in cladding, are enabling us to deliver contemporary solutions to the residential new-build market. The role of cladding in building design has evolved, while its main purpose of protecting the building from the elements remains, cladding is central in the overall aesthetic and design of the build, a key factor in the Downtown development.”

The specifications for the project comprise of the design, supply and installation of CA Building Products’ Prime RFX PPC aluminium rainscreen cladding system, together with the Corium brick slip rainscreen system from Taylor Maxwell and a multitude of ancillary products. CA Group is one of the UK’s leading metal roofing and cladding systems manufacturers and installers.

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APPRENTICESHIP SPECIALIST JOINS DTL

March 27th, 2018 No comments

APPRENTICESHIP SPECIALIST JOINS DTL

A learning and development professional with specialist experience of the Apprenticeship Levy has joined Develop Training Ltd (DTL) at their Derby HQ.

For the past six years, Kate Whittaker has worked for private sector training providers in the field of apprenticeships, most latterly in a customer service role dealing with the implications of the Apprenticeship Levy. This followed 15 years with the Department for Work and Pensions where Kate was involved with the Welfare to Work programme.

Now, as a Business Development Manager at DTL, Kate is looking forward to working with clients such as BT, Affinity Water and Northern Gas Networks in an important account management role.

Kate said: “I was attracted to DTL by the company culture; everyone seems to feel valued. I am looking forward to working with a range of clients not only to ensure that their training needs are met but also to provide support and advice around the best use of the Apprenticeship Levy.”

Originally from Derby, Kate now lives near Belper with her fiancé and three-year-old daughter.

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Carillion boss offered senior staff bonuses to stop exodus

March 26th, 2018 No comments

Carillion handed senior staff special bonuses to stop an exodus after the firm issued the first bombshell profit warning.

Retention bonuses for senior managers below director level, salary increases for others, and a fee of £750 000 a year for the interim CEO, higher than his predecessor’s salary, were all agreed by the remuneration  committee.

MPs investigating Carillion’s collapse published fresh evidence on Monday showing how Carillion sought to boost and protect the rewards for its top executives as its finances deteriorated.

Acting CEO Keith Cochcrane wrote to selected senior staff:  “As you know, you are part of the team supporting the various projects we have underway at the moment that are critical to our success in 2017 and the business plan period up to 2019.

“We have a particularly challenging period to get through and your contribution is essential. With that in mind, I would like to invite you to participate in a retention bonus that will allow us to be assured of your services until at least the end of June 2018 and reward you for your contribution between now and then.

“These arrangements relate to a very limited group of people and should therefore not be discussed with anyone other than me.”

Fresh evidence also reveals that shareholders, including BlackRock, sought to limit the level of bonuses paid to board directors in 2016.

An attempt by Carillion’s board to increase the maximum bonus level to 150%  – although they promised not to use the maximum possible amount – was met with resistance, forcing the company to back down to 100% of salary maximum bonus pay-out.

MPs also criticised bosses’ contracts, which make it difficult to claw back their bonuses for any wrongdoing.

The joint committee said that the latest papers seemed to reinforce, the opinion of Amra Balic, Head of Stewardship at BlackRock, that Carillion’s board was more concerned with “how to remunerate executives rather than what was going on with the business”

Frank Field MP, Chair of the Pensions Committee, said: “It’s greed on stilts, pure and simple.”

Rachel Reeves, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, said: “These RemCo papers are further evidence that when the walls were falling down around them, Carillion bosses were focussed on their own pay packets rather than their obligation to address the company’s deteriorating balance sheets.

“While these directors could still walk off with bonuses intact, workers were left fearing for their jobs and suppliers faced ruin. Carillion had a notorious reputation for late payments to suppliers.

“But while suppliers were waiting up to 120 days to be paid, Carillion directors were doing their upmost to ensure there was no impediment to their receipt of fat pay and bonuses. Finally, when even the Carillion RemCo considered asking for directors to return their bonuses, the system and culture was so dysfunctional, and the terms and clawback provisions so weak, that even this meek step was ruled out”.

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Passer-by raises safety alarm over solar panel contractor

March 21st, 2018 Comments off

A solar panel installation company and its director have been fined after a passer-by reported unsafe work on a commercial job.

Reading Crown Court heard how an HSE inspector visited the site following the tip-off where Sasie Limited was installing solar panels on the roof of a commercial building.

The inspector identified two workers on the roof without any form of fall protection and a prohibition notice was served.

When the HSE inspector returned to the site three days later there was further unsafe work being carried out on the roof.

An HSE investigation found that the unsafe work was allowed to continue by the director despite a member of public bringing it to his attention and the serving of the prohibition notice.

Sasie Limited of Nottingham pleaded guilty to breaching safety regulations and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,300.

Director Een Marsden Kelly of Nottingham also pleaded guilty and was fined £500.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Dominic Goacher said “Falls from heights are the one of the biggest causes of workplace fatalities and major injuries.

“All work at height must be properly planned irrespective of the task being undertaken and those in control must ensure suitable control measures to prevent falls are in place throughout the duration of the project”.

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Government gives go ahead for Geospatial Apprenticeships

March 20th, 2018 Comments off

The Secretary of State for Education, Damien Hinds, has given final approval for a Geospatial Technician Apprenticeship by approving the funding band, meaning that this is now ready for delivery.

The Institute for Apprenticeships has also recommended a final funding band to the Secretary of State for the Geospatial Mapping and Science Degree Apprenticeship and this will also be ready for delivery very shortly.

The Survey Association (TSA) funded the apprenticeship development work, assisted and guided by Apprenticeship Consultant, Christina Hirst.

TSA Vice President Nick Hampson commented: ‘’TSA has always been committed to encouraging more young people into the survey profession and we are delighted that our funding has helped to make Geospatial Apprenticeships a reality. TSA Member Companies made an important contribution to the Steering Group.’’

‘’Since 2001, over 400 students have graduated from the TSA Course in Surveying at the Survey School and the Geospatial Apprenticeships are the next logical step –  combining both funding and a recognised qualification.’’

Both apprenticeships were approved in September 2017 by the Institute for Apprenticeships and the employers who developed these have been awaiting these funding band approvals before delivery can start – now agreed at £9,000 for the Geospatial Technician Apprenticeship and £27,000 for the Geospatial Mapping and Science Degree Apprenticeship (the latter subject to final sign off from the DfE).

The approval of these apprenticeships means that geospatial employers can use their Apprenticeship Levy payments or Government’s apprenticeship funding to pay for the development of new talent for their businesses.

Antony Jenkins, Chair of the Institute for Apprenticeships said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to approve these standards. High quality apprenticeship standards like this help learners and employers reach their potential.

“More and more businesses of all sizes are realising the benefits that high quality apprenticeships can offer. The Institute is putting employers in control of developing the standards they need, giving learners a basis for lasting employment and overcoming national skills gaps.”

The geospatial apprenticeships have been developed by a group of 19 employers*, led by Skanska and supported by the two relevant professional bodies, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES). The apprenticeship development was also supported by Class of Your Own.

Mark Lawton of Skanska, Chair of the Trailblazer Group said: “It was truly inspiring to see professional bodies, trade bodies and different sectors of industry collaborate together under the project management of Christina Hirst. The future geospatial educational requirements for the apprenticeship have been tailored by the Trailblazer Group, and I feel this is a huge educational step for our geospatial future talent.”

The Geospatial Technician apprenticeship will provide the knowledge, skills and behaviours for successful apprentices to apply to become Associate members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors or of the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors and successful apprentices from the Geospatial Mapping and Science Degree Apprenticeship can apply to become Members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors or the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors.

A number of Colleges and Universities are gearing up to provide these Apprenticeships and employers interested in supporting apprentices can find more information and the Trailblazer contact for these Apprenticeships by visiting

https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/apprenticeship-standards/geospatial-survey-technician/

for the Geospatial Technician Apprenticeship and by visiting

https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/apprenticeship-standards/geospatial-mapping-and-science-degree/

for the Geospatial Mapping and Science Apprenticeship.

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SD Sealants appoints new Area Manager to head up expansion

March 19th, 2018 Comments off

Leading sealant and cosmetic repair company gearing up for a Corker of a year with new recruit!

Following a record year, SD Sealants, the UK’s leading sealant and cosmetic repair company, is expanding its offering in Northern England with new Area Manager, Mat Corker at the helm.

The company, which provides sealant application and cosmetic repairs for house builders and commercial businesses, has seen rapid growth in the past year, having created upwards of 20 new jobs in the North East, following the launch of its new office in Leeds last November.

Heading up the expansion is Mat Corker, who has over 15 years of experience in the cosmetic repairs industry, and for the past six years has been running his own company, Cosmic Cosmetic Repairs, which takes on projects nationwide.

Nick Jones, Managing Director at SD Sealants, said on the appointment: “Mat has an incredible wealth of knowledge on the cosmetic repairs industry, and we’re very excited to have him coming on board to drive expansion this year. I’m confident that his experience will be invaluable as we look to grow our services in Yorkshire and beyond.

“We are going through a period of major growth at the moment, recruiting more staff and expanding across the UK so having someone with Mat’s experience is a fantastic boost for the team.”

The cosmetic repairs division is recruiting for a number of staff in the North of England, and will be carrying out repairs across a range of sectors including residential, hotel, catering and corporate buildings.

On his new role, Mat said: “I’m delighted to be joining the team at SD Sealants this year, particularly as they are going through such an exciting period of growth. I’m Yorkshire born and bred, and so I’m thrilled that I can help to create job opportunities and drive business development in the area.

“Although I’ve been running my own company for the past few years, bringing an already well-established and organised business into Leeds is a fantastic opportunity and I’m really looking forward to the new challenge.”

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

Since then, the business has gone from strength to strength, becoming one of the UK’s largest sealant and cosmetic repair companies, with nine offices across England, Scotland and Wales.

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

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Average salaries for construction managers top £80,000

March 15th, 2018 Comments off

The average salary in construction management has hit £81,609 according to the latest pay survey of UK property professionals by RICS.

And that is topped-up by an average annual bonus of £22,252.

Construction management was one of the best paid professions in the survey which covered 42 disciplines.

Across all property professions base salaries grew on average by 12% to £58,633.

Quantity surveyors earned an average of £56,212 with an annual bonus of £5,754.

RICS qualified professionals are earning 21% more than their counterparts and 14.2% of those who received a pay rise in the last year did so through gaining professional qualifications.

Barry Cullen, RICS Diversity & Inclusion Director said: “The latest results from this survey show the built environment continues to be an attractive sector to work in with professionals’ pay hitting highs not seen since the financial crisis.

“As headcount is once again expected to increase in 2018, more employers are placing greater focus on attracting and retaining talent, with attractive pay and benefit packages.

“However, organisations must embrace an offering beyond an attractive salary and benefits package if we are going to truly diversify the profession and meets the needs of our future.

“In 2018, the gender pay gap still remains evident and whilst it is significantly less for those under 26, more still needs to be done.”

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Trade contractors unite in retentions fight

March 13th, 2018 Comments off

More than 60 construction trade bodies are now united in their support for the Aldous Bill to reform retentions.

MP Peter Aldous will see his bill get its second reading next month.

It proposes that cash retentions owed to the supply chain are held in trust rather than lost when companies like Carillion go under.

The bill is being supported by a broad cross section of the entire supply chain including electrical, plumbing, heating, interiors, house building, roofing, scaffolding and demolition.

ECA Director of Business Paul Reeve said: Quite simply, the time for major change to retentions is now.

“Putting retentions in trust would help to protect the supply chain from future upstream insolvency, and it would reduce the amount held in retentions when buyers see that they can no longer use suppliers’ cash to support their own business model.”

BESA Public Affairs & Policy Manager Alexi Ozioro said: Levels of support for the Bill are very encouraging, and this is a real opportunity for government to show it can respond to urgent developments and legislate on more than just Brexit.

“It will take months, maybe years to feel the full effect of Carillion, and what this Bill will do is make sure thousands of people can enjoy a more secure future.”

Peter Aldous MP said: “This coalition of support shows the urgent need for reform and unity of industry following Carillion.

“Support covers so much of the industry that we now have a golden opportunity to change construction for the better.

“I hope government gets behind industry and this Bill.

“We need action to protect SMEs before more millions are lost, and this Bill is about ensuring people’s money is safe so businesses can grow and invest in their future.”

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5 awesome tech tools for successful construction companies

March 12th, 2018 Comments off

5 awesome tech tools for successful construction companies

Technology has its pros and cons — it can lead to role reductions but increase efficiency.

And although construction is one sector that might always require the human touch, it includes areas ripe for improvement through digital innovations.

With that in mind, here are five awesome tech tools for successful construction companies.

  1. Virtual Reality (VR)

Architects, designers and engineers have relied on flat 3D construction models for years to work out how their projects will look in real life.

But looking at a scale model of a bridge, shopping centre or office block on a desk or computer doesn’t enable an accurate assessment — which leads to expensive snags once building work is well underway.

VR is being adopted by specialist firms like Victaulic to solve this age-old problem. It allows staff to walk inside a built environment to see and feel whether their designs for mechanical piping and fire-protection systems are up to the job.

  1. Wearable tech

Wearable tech like exoskeleton suits and Augmented Reality (AR) goggles looks set to carve a foothold in the construction industry very soon.

And it should make sites safer for all workers, as well as increasing efficiency.

Exoskeletons will improve the power and precision of the human body, while protecting it from injuries.

And AR headsets from firms like Meta allow teams in different locations to collaborate on construction layouts in real-time — and quickly create prototypes for clients so that they see how their new home or business premises will look prior to physical construction.

  1. Automated HR

Making sure staff get paid on time, with the appropriate deductions and benefits, is fundamental to good business relations.

And construction firms who operate across different tax jurisdictions often employ expensive HR teams to cope with this admin-heavy and time-consuming task.

But outsourced payroll services can be less expensive and more accurate, so less time is spent correcting inaccuracies, and data analytics produce detailed reports allowing management to monitor useful metrics.

  1. Project management software

Pulling together all the work streams on a large civil engineering or architecture project and delivering results on time and to budget is no easy task.

Project management software can help to make the process more efficient at every stage by identifying problems early, reducing risks and using rich data to automatically generate high quality handover manuals for subcontractors and clients.

  1. Field productivity software

Large construction projects with tight timescales require regular detailed monitoring to stay on track.

And that entails daily field report being completed, collated and sent to management.

Field productivity software from niche firms like PlanGrid allows workers to fill out forms and reports on mobile devices onsite and upload them instantly so they’re easily found, analysed and shared.

This means project leads can report to clients regularly without a wasteful paper trail.

Invest in any of these five awesome tech tools for successful construction companies and impress every stakeholder involved in your next project.

Has your construction form adopted new technology recently? Share your story in the comments section.

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