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Trade body reveals speaker line-up for structural waterproofing conference

August 22nd, 2018 Comments off

Shared experiences of high-profile projects underground, technical insight and an overview of liabilities and responsibilities will all be featured at this year’s Property Care Association (PCA) structural waterproofing event.

The PCA’s third annual International Structural Waterproofing conference takes place at The Slate, University of Warwick, Coventry on 13 September, 2018.

Speakers at the event have been announced, with the event starting off with an architect’s perspective of structural waterproofing, provided by Kevin Kelly of Building Design Partnership.

He will be joined by other experts from organisations including ASUC and NHBC.

The day finishes with an interactive panel debate on the whether it is time to see a revision to BS 8102. Delegates can claim CPD points.

Full details on the speakers, together with booking information, can be found at

Since its launch in 2016, the International Structural Waterproofing conference has gone from strength-to-strength, offering a broad and comprehensive programme of interest to those in structural waterproofing, as well as a wider audience including construction professionals, surveyors, lawyers, architects, public authorities and academics.

The conference is priced at £100 plus VAT for PCA members and £150 plus VAT for non-members.

A review of the 2017 event can be found at

The PCA is the trade body for the structural waterproofing sector, with a membership including manufacturers, consultants and contractors.

The annual structural waterproofing conference is part of an active programme from PCA overall to ensure technical competence in the industry.

Initiatives include a searchable register of Waterproofing Design Specialists and a range of free technical documents including codes of practice and best practice guidance.

The PCA also offers a renowned training and qualification programme recognised across the construction sector.

Designed to drive forward standards, support best practice and raise technical competency across the structural waterproofing industry, at the core of the PCA’s programme is the surveyor in structural waterproofing training.

This intensive, theoretical training course focuses on different aspects of structural waterproofing including BS8102, and the different types of waterproofing including Types A, B and C.

It is developed for those with existing experience in the field and can also be used as a foundation to go on to take the Certificated Surveyor in Structural Waterproofing (CSSW) industry-leading qualification.


MidKent College is encouraging more young women to study construction in a bid to boost numbers in the industry.

August 21st, 2018 Comments off

MidKent College is encouraging more young women to study construction, in a bid to break down gender stereotypes and boost numbers joining the industry.

Figures show the number of females opting to learn about the profession at the College in both further and higher education since 2014/15 has risen from 141 to 216 for 2018/19.

However the College, which has campuses in both Maidstone and Medway, wants to raise those numbers and challenge gender stereotypes, which they believe do exist in the trade.

Nationally, women make up just 14% of construction industry professionals, with only 1% of those actually working on site.

Kim Howes is the Programme Director for the Building Services Design Engineering course at MidKent College. She said: “The construction industry is still very male dominated.

“All the trade magazines and publications have a big focus on men in the industry whereas women are either hidden or shown in supportive roles, like HR.

“Not all construction paths are grimy and dirty – the design and management fields can be office-based.

“The breadth of career options is just not realised or communicated.

“Construction is a fulfilling career that could take people around the world.

“Women are very creative and the construction industry has a need for those with a creative and design talent.

“We need to pique young women’s interest when they’re at primary school and encourage them to get hands-on, and messy.

MidKent College offers a number of construction courses and programmes at FE and HE levels, from Building Services Design Engineering to Painting & Decorating, Carpentry and Plumbing.

31-year-old Lindsey Todd, from Ramsgate, has been studying an HNC in Construction at the college over the last year.  She said: “I work for a housing association as a contracts manager in the construction industry.







Picture: Lindsey Todd, construction student

“I absolutely love what I do as I’m a very hands-on person.

“ I learn visually, love interacting with people and seeing how the project develops first hand – rather than just from a computer screen.

“Over the last year I’ve also studied maths, personal skills (really helpful after not being in education for a long time!), construction, science and materials and safety in construction.

”I have no doubt that construction is where I’m happiest and what I enjoy most.

“I would definitely recommend other women take up a course in construction – there are just not enough of us on site.

“There’s a few more in the employer’s agent type roles, but in hands-on subcontractor roles there’s very few.

“I think I’ve seen one painter and decorator, and one tiler. It’s a very male dominated arena.

“This course has given me credibility and respect among my peers.”

Last month, Lindsey was awarded an industry award. You can read about it here.


UK construction legal roundup — crucial info on 3 key issues

August 20th, 2018 Comments off

Legal developments affecting the construction industry can range from health and safety to data protection, fraud and immigration.

So it’s always wise to keep a keen eye on the latest test law and trending issues.

With that in mind, here’s a UK construction legal roundup with crucial info on three key issues.

  1. EU Workers

According to May 2018 Office of National Statistics (ONS) information, there are currently 2.29 million EU nationals working in the UK — some of whom ply their trades in construction.

And if you currently employ EU workers or need to recruit from Europe, you might have concerns ahead of the 29th March 2019 Brexit date.

So the UK government has released more information on its proposals for EU nationals living in the UK who arrive before 31st December 2020.

There’s no immediate need for EU citizens present in the UK to seek residence documentation — unless they’re applying for British citizenship or sponsoring a family member to join them under current immigration rules.

But they’ll need to apply for settled status under the new scheme as it’s phased in from the end of 2018 and it’ll be mandatory by July 2021.

For more information, consult the UK government EU settlement scheme employer’s toolkit.

  1. Gross negligence

Health and safety should always be at the heart of construction.

And while many more companies get things right than wrong, the results of inadequate safety provisions often have tragic results for employees and members of the public.

The charge of gross negligence manslaughter can be brought against companies who may have disregarded recommended safety measures to cut costs, leading to people losing their lives as a result.

Those convicted can face life imprisonment — but judges weigh up evidence while deciding how culpable an employer is.

To read about the latest changes, consult the sobering guidelines from the Sentencing Council.

  1. Fraud

In construction, fraud covers a wide spectrum of issues — from your firm being paid with fraudulent credit cards to being accused of financial irregularities or improper employment practices.

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has a dedicated fraud department which works with the police to combat fraud across the industry — one such joint investigation resulted with the Metropolitan Police led to a construction gangmaster being sentenced to seven years imprisonment in April 2018 for enslaving 15 workers.

And in 2017, Professional services network PWC reported that the direct costs of fraud cost the industry an estimated £2 billion per annum — although the knock-on effects could be greater.

If you find yourself accused of fraudulent activity, or fear that your company has fallen victim to fraud, contacting a local lawyer with national scope like Switalskis Solicitors is a wise move — they’ll provide all the relevant and timely advice needed for a positive outcome.

So there’s some crucial information on three legal issues currently affecting the UK construction industry — along with top tips on sourcing more detailed assistance.

Keeping abreast of the latest legal issues provides the peace of mind necessary to focus on projects and profits.

Which UK construction legal trends catch your eye? Share your thoughts in the comments section



August 20th, 2018 Comments off

TIMco, one of the UK’s largest independent wholesale suppliers of screws, fixings and power tools accessories has extended its UK quality control facilities to meet the requirements of its growing product base and provide customers with product training and testing facilities.

The new QC facilities are part of TIMco’s latest investment in a new 30,000sqft warehouse space. The new QC facilities have been implemented to provide further quality control checks on products when they arrive in the UK.  The company already has QC facilities in its offices in the Far East that monitor the manufacturing process and ensure that no products are dispatched to the UK without effective checks.

On arrival to TIMco’s Cheshire offices, products then receive further testing before they are stored and distributed to customers.  The new facilities include a range of technologies from salt spray test machines to devices that measure load and insertion speeds. Products that fail the tests at any stage are promptly removed from the supply chain, while products that pass the tests are then verified for use.

The new facilities also provide customers with the opportunity to visit TIMco’s offices to learn how products work and their best applications.  By supporting customer’s employees they in turn are able to sell with more confidence and research also suggests that customers look for outlets that have knowledgeable and helpful staff.

Simon Midwood, Managing Director of TIMco, comments: “We’re committed to providing a broad range of high quality products to our customers and testing them effectively is a key part of delivering on our promises.  The new state-of-the-art facilities ensure that our standards remain high and also provide us with an opportunity to train customers on our latest products and their applications, which in turn improves their product knowledge and benefits end users. We strongly advise that customers utilise these facilities and services which we can offer.”

Over the last year, TIMco has increased its ranges to more than 6,500 products ranging from traditional fasteners and fixings through to gate hardware, building chemicals and adhesives to new and improved impact driver bits and associated builder’s products.

TIMco is head quartered in Nantwich, Cheshire and imports and supplies more than 6,500 product lines from around the world to distributors throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe.  The company was established in 1970 and now employs 115 members of staff from its offices in the UK, Ireland and Taiwan.  For more information, visit


5 Reasons all Warehouses Need Quality LED lighting

August 17th, 2018 Comments off

LED lighting is known to be one the most efficient lighting technologies. For today’s new-build warehouses, it would be unusual to consider fitting anything but LEDs given their long list of benefits when compared with halogen, metal halide, HPS (high pressure sodium) and other more traditional bulbs. However, not all LEDs are created equal. It can be tempting to go for the cheapest brand when choosing commercial LED lighting, with countries such as China mass-producing LED lights at discount prices. Whilst these budget buys may seem like a good deal, factors such as rushed construction and low-quality components will quickly mean that any money saving goes out the window. Don’t be fooled; we’ve listed the top 5 reasons why you should prioritize quality over price.

Cheaper Cost

Whilst high-quality LED bulbs can initially cost up to 6 times more than traditional fittings, their ultra-efficiency quickly leads to incredible savings. This is because they use a lot less energy to produce light, drastically reducing energy bills. The best LED lights can save you up to 80% on annual running costs, which for larger-scale commercial building lighting projects means saving tens of thousands every year.


LEDs are also long-lasting, meaning replacement is required far less often than other light bulbs. What’s more, many of today’s high-quality industrial LED light solutions will have a high enough lumen per watt efficiency to qualify for the UK Government’s Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme. This scheme allows companies to write off the cost of purchasing commercial LED lighting fixtures against their taxable profits in the same year, reducing your initial purchase and installation costs by up to 23%.

Lower Maintenance

LED bulbs are built to last. Most can run for 50,000 to 100,000 hours or more without a significant decrease in light output, for example UK lighting manufacturer Pulsar’s EcoRange of commercial LED lighting guarantees 100,000 hours of design life as standard. You would have to replace incandescent lighting an average of 50 times before ever needing to replace an LED, though this stat

becomes less impressive if using low-quality, cheap LED bulbs.

Less Heat Emitted

The high efficiency of quality commercial LED lighting means it converts 95% of its energy into light with only 5% wasted as heat. This is in comparison to incandescent bulbs, which release 90% of their energy as heat and CFLs (compact fluorescent lights), which convert 80% of their energy into unwanted warmth. This is not only negative in terms of the wasted energy, but can also result in overheated industrial spaces. Particularly for warehouses storing or producing consumable goods, this extra heat can be harmful.

Better Light Quality for Working

One of the instantly visible benefits of LED lighting in warehouses is the better quality of light. Cheap LEDs have a tendency to flicker, which can create an unsafe working environment, especially for those operating heavy or dangerous machinery. This is because cheaper manufacturers build their bulbs using lower-quality drivers, weighing up what is an ‘acceptable level’ of flicker against price point. In contrast, high-quality LED lights use reliable drivers that supply them with a constant, non-oscillating current, eliminating this problem.


Good LEDs can also more than double light levels in a commercial environment. Their unique ability to emit light in a specific direction without relying on reflectors or diffusers makes it easier to create more even light distribution. This means workers enjoy a brighter environment, reducing the risk of mistakes or injury made due to poor visibility.


Environmental Responsibility

As environmental responsibility climbs ever-higher on the agenda for modern businesses, energy-efficient industrial lighting should be on everyone’s mind. LEDs have a positive impact on the environment in three key ways. Firstly, these lights are built to last up to 20 times longer than traditional fixtures – the better the quality of LED the longer its lifespan. This means that fewer bulbs need to be produced and so fewer of the world’s resources are used overall.


Secondly, good LED flood lights and fixtures are up to 80% more efficient than conventional bulbs, and so waste far less energy.

Lastly, LEDs are non-toxic. This is in stark contrast to the fluorescent tube lighting that still resides in a lot of commercial premises, containing hazardous chemicals that can damage the planet.


The types of insurance that may be vital for your construction business

August 15th, 2018 Comments off

Whether you have just started a construction business or are preparing to do so, you could be brimming with optimism. After all, rising skills shortages in the UK construction sector, as reported by the Independent, have opened up fresh opportunities for people seeking construction jobs.

Still, none of this takes away from your need to source proper insurance. Differentiating the essential policies from those that are simply a “good idea” can be tricky – especially as many policies aren’t meant just for construction workers. Hence, you could benefit from these pointers…

Public liability insurance

Spending hours at a time on a construction site means posing particular risks to members of the public. Of course, you can follow health and safety procedures to minimise those risks – but, as accidents can still happen, public liability cover could get your firm out of a financially tricky spot.

“Financially tricky” is an apt term here because, if the course of your work leads you to accidentally inflict injury on a member of the public, they could sue you and so heavily deplete your company’s funds. Public liability insurance would take the brunt of various costs outlined by the Federation of Small Businesses – including compensation payments as well as legal costs and expenses.

Employer’s liability insurance

It is technically possible to forgo public liability insurance, as it is not required by law. However, this does not apply in the case of employer’s liability insurance. You would usually need cover of this type should you employ anyone – ranging from contractors to casual and temporary workers.

Otherwise, employer’s liability works much like public liability, except that it is your own employees who are protected. For example, if a worker becomes ill because they been exposed to construction dust or an employee suffers an injury due to a faltering piece of equipment, this cover can help.

Employer’s liability insurance would enable you to fund compensation payouts. This is no small boon, as paying such compensation independently could prove financially prohibitive on top of a large fine, as mentioned on the Planning Portal site, you could risk for lacking employers’ liability.

Contractor’s all risks insurance

You might not be quite so familiar with contractor’s all risks insurance. However, for construction workers specifically, it is a crucial line of cover. The benefits of this insurance are various; if your construction equipment is stolen or a property beneath your in-progress extension is engulfed by fire, contractor’s all risks insurance can plug a monetary gap which could otherwise grow.

With many insurance options – including legal expenses cover and products liability cover – to think about, you could anticipate struggling to source all of them. However, turning to insurance specialists like those at Tradesman Saver would let you obtain all of these flavours of construction insurance. An online form on the Tradesman Saver site lets you apply for tailored quotes.

Tradesman Saver also includes both products liability cover and legal expenses cover at no extra charge with each of its policies.


A giant leap for construction!

August 14th, 2018 Comments off

Robert Woodhead’s National Space Centre Ultra Site receives stratospheric praise from Considerate Constructors Scheme  

The National Space Centre’s Launch Pad project lifted off to new heights with a dramatic community launch – which took construction to the edges of earth’s atmosphere.

The launch provided a spectacle for hundreds of school children, local residents and workers who witnessed a teddy bear, and a construction bolt that will later be used as part of the completed works, ascending into the atmosphere powered by a huge helium balloon.

The project carried out by Scheme Partner Robert Woodhead Ltd has achieved Ultra Site status and this launch proves that innovation and technology is at the very heart of their successful engagement with the local community.

As part of this celebration of innovation and community engagement, the site produced a special film which includes details about the Ultra Site activities and interviews from the client, site team and Chief Executive of the Scheme, Edward Hardy (click here to watch the film).

The Ultra Site was to build a brand new ‘Launch Pad’ ticketing hall, which will extend the Leicester-based National Space Centre and improve the experience for the record numbers of visitors, reaching over 300,000 in 2017.

Despite this being the shortest duration Ultra Site to date at only 14 weeks, Robert Woodhead’s Launch Pad project achieved the very highest standards of considerate construction, working in true collaboration with the client and its supply chain.

Considerate Constructors Scheme Chief Executive Edward Hardy commented: “The National Space Centre Ultra Site is an example of the exceptional standards of performance which can be achieved in a very short period of time when everyone works together.

“The innovative efforts of Robert Woodhead’s team and supply chain have truly made a spectacle for the local community and workforce, underlining how the industry can adapt technology to enthuse and promote a positive image of our industry.”

Robert Woodhead’s Project Manager Tony Robinson said: “The fast track, 14-week project duration really pushed us to innovate and think of new ideas to demonstrate that exceptional levels of consideration can be achieved in tight timescales.

“We had a whole team collaborative approach which included our site team, office team and supply chain. The client was also fully involved from the outset; they valued what the Scheme stood for and saw the benefits it brought.”

Click here to read more about this project and to watch the film.

Click here to find out more about becoming an Ultra Site.


Tradespeople say heat is forcing them to down tools, and call for on-site water stations

August 13th, 2018 Comments off

Tradespeople say heat is forcing them to down tools, and call for on-site water stations

Apart from the recent thunder storms, Britain’s summer has so far proven to be a very un-British scorcher. With temperatures hitting sweltering highs, spare a thought for the bricklayers, carpenters and other tradespeople that have to work outside, and who have already had to endure the bitter Beasts from the East earlier this year.

To find out how people on the country’s construction sites are handling the heat, the UK’s largest online supplier of ironmongery, IronmongeryDirect, has carried out a poll among its customers – mainly sole traders and small businesses.


The research reveals that almost 40% of respondents have been prevented from completing a job because of the hot weather. As many are self-employed, they are likely to be feeling the impact of any heat-induced pauses in work through loss of income. Their professional reputation can also take a battering despite making decisions to leave the site for safety reasons.

A Met Office spokesperson added: “We would urge high-risk groups including tradespeople to follow the Public Health England advice to take care in the sun, especially when temperatures are potentially reaching 30 degrees or more throughout this week – either stay out of the sun or be sensible and don’t go out in the strongest sunshine hours which are 11am to 3pm.”

In addition, half of the survey respondents felt that water stations should be introduced on-site to help them keep cool at work.

Wayne Lysaght-Mason, Managing Director of IronmongeryDirect, has questioned whether more should be done to protect tradespeople in extraordinary weather conditions: “This heatwave has been more prolonged and relentless than anything I can remember. With it not beyond the realms of possibility for this type of weather to become more frequent, I think it’s vitally important for tradespeople to receive more protection.”

The heatwave is not all bad news. It has resulted in more work for builders – 25% of poll participants said they are being asked to install more swimming pools and 1 in 2 have noticed a higher demand for outdoor decking.


The 2018 Structural Awards shortlist reveals how engineering influences modern design

August 9th, 2018 Comments off

The Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) reveals the shortlist for the Structural Awards 2018, featuring 53 entries selected from 115 projects globally.

Now in its 51st year, these prestigious annual awards celebrate the world’s best engineering structures and demonstrate the diversity of structural engineering.

The shortlisted projects highlight the ingenuity and creativity of these forward-thinking professionals and honour today’s most cutting-edge examples of engineering.

Finalists include:

Louvre Museum, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Structural Engineer: BuroHappold Engineering

Tamina Canyon Crossing, Bad Ragaz, Switzerland

Structural Engineer: Leonhardt, Andrä und Partner Beratende Ingenieure VBI AG

The Hoover Building, London, UK

Structural Engineer: Interrobang

Haiti Chapel

Structural Engineer: Webb Yates

This year’s shortlist of ground-breaking projects offers a glimpse into a diverse selection of buildings, commending excellence through exemplary engineering solutions. The buildings, bridges and landmarks selected are beyond the ordinary, indicating technical superiority, clever design and absolute attention to detail.

Chair of the awards judging panel, Professor Tim Ibell, comments:

“This year we’ve received an unusual and imaginative collection of entries, from sculptural monuments by renowned artists through to a cricket stadium which has been dubbed the ‘Lord’s of East Africa’. The shortlist gives a fantastic overview of what’s going on in the structural engineering community on a global scale, highlighting the ambition, imagination and expertise of our profession. We’re delighted to have seen many more new firms entering their work for consideration in our unique celebration of structural engineering excellence.”

Martin Powell, Chief Executive of The Institution of Structural Engineers, says:

“Where in the past structural engineers have often been seen as the unsung heroes of built environment projects, we are starting to see greater recognition for the important work they do. The media interest attracted from last year’s diverse shortlist gave both the construction industry and the wider public an insight into how engineers creativity, innovation and problem solving skills help make a structure iconic, ensuring it is fit for purpose and safe for our use and enjoyment.”

He continues: “Structural engineers remain the guardians of public safety who ensure any structure can withstand all kinds of stresses and strains. Given that 2018 is ‘The Year of Engineering’, our awards are more relevant than ever. They prove just how innovative our industry is in bringing truly ambitious and monumental projects to life.”

Following strict judging criteria, shortlisted entries were selected for excellence, creativity and innovation, as well as elegance and detailing. Sustainability, economic viability and value for money were also core considerations.

The complete shortlist can be viewed at The winners will be announced at the awards dinner and ceremony which takes place on Friday 16 November 2018 at The Brewery, London.

A full gallery of shortlisted projects can be downloaded here.


A full list of shortlisted entries can be downloaded here


Peel Energy announces plans to install district energy at Liverpool Waters

August 7th, 2018 Comments off

Peel Energy, the low carbon energy arm of Peel Land and Property, has announced plans to develop a district heat network at its ambitious Liverpool Waters development, under the name of Mersey Heat.

The first phase of the network is centred on existing buildings around Princes Dock along with planned new developments along the waterfront. The heat network will deliver low carbon hot water for the use of space heating and hot water provision within the buildings.

Peel Energy will operate the network through an energy services company called Mersey Heat, which will be responsible for system design, construction of the generation plant and operation of the network, providing low cost, low carbon reliable heat to the building owners and occupiers.

Development at Liverpool Waters will enjoy the benefits of a low cost, reliable heating and hot water solution for the buildings by connecting to the network, which will also have long term cost benefits for occupiers.

Muir Miller, Managing Director of Peel Energy, which also developed the wind turbines at Port of Liverpool said; “Our colleagues and their development partners are producing a first-rate product at Liverpool Waters and it deserves a 21st century heating system to match.  We believe that Mersey Heat can make a significant positive impact on the low carbon credentials of the project and provide cost benefits to developers and occupiers as well.  We are very excited at the prospect of deploying the first phase of the network and seeing how far it can grow.”

Peel’s Development Director for Liverpool Waters, Darran Lawless said: “Liverpool Waters includes the regeneration of 60 hectares of former dockland to create a high quality, mixed use waterfront development which will bring huge commercial and retail opportunity as well as over 9,000 new homes. The fact we can offer low cost, low carbon heat to a development on this scale is a fantastic step forward in us delivering a sustainable community where people can live, work and play.”

This will be Peel’s second district heat project after the successful installation at MediaCityUK in Salford which has been in operation since 2009 supplying such blue-chip customers as the BBC and University of Salford as part of the world’s first BREEAM approved sustainable community.