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Girls’ Interest in Construction Work is Growing

July 5th, 2011 Comments off

For a long time construction work and sites have been male dominated with scant regard for women’s capabilities or interests. However, this is changing albeit slowly, and more women are entering the construction industry. This increased interest has resulted in the formation of a number of workshops that teach basic construction skills to girls who can then decide if they’ve enjoyed the experience sufficiently to consider a career in construction.

One such organisation that recently held a construction workshop for girls was the Trust. The training was held at the Trust’s specialised training facility in Wendover and the girls learned the basics of brick-laying, plastering, tiling and painting. The workshop was hosted by three of the Trust’s trades people who were on hand to advise and assist the girls with the activities. Les Evans was one of the trades people at the workshop who were also actively involved in encouraging the girls to apply for the Trust’s apprenticeship scheme. The training day was held after an information day that the girls have previously attended and which proved to be very successful.

The UK is not the only country where girls and women are showing an increased interest in construction; similar training days and workshops are being held in the US. Recently one such workshop was held in Lansing, Michigan, where teenage girls were introduced to the basics of construction and carpentry. This is done in an all female environment where women teach other women how to use power tools, measure beams and construct basic items. Not only does this teach the girls something new but it is also a step forward in terms of gender equality.

With more women donning ladies overalls and getting their hands dirty in the construction industry, we can expect to see an increase of women in the workforce. Even if the girls choose to follow a different career path, the skills and knowledge learned as a result of these training days will go a long way towards making them feel empowered and giving them the confidence to create and fix things on their own.

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Building Costs Aimed at Being Cut By 20%

April 1st, 2011 4 comments

All public infrastructure and construction costs will now be slashed by twenty percent; this is according to the UK government. George Osborn, Chancellor stated in the budget plan that building costs were being recalculated in order to achieve the type of savings that could assist construction firms across the UK. This new growth plan entitled, ‘The Plan for Growth’ has said that the government will reform the methods which were used in the past for the procurement construction and infrastructure materials – standardisation will become the new benchmark as bespoke designs are cutting deeply into the pockets of the construction firms.

He continued by saying that they are in the process of readying the new models of procurement as well as other measures for public sector construction – costs will be reduced by twenty percent and other added benefits will be included; this is still to be defined in the full report which will be published in May of 2011. By the closing quarter of last year, the treasury department has stated that they could save over three billion pounds per year on all infrastructure development as procurement processes were improved. This plan is over five years in the making and a blueprint for cost savings has been established by the government’s construction sector.

So lace up your safety boots and prepare your company for an unbelievable level of savings which will be passed on directly to the companies themselves. Infrastructure UK (IUK) released a report which again outlined how costs such as maintaining energy, transporting waste and overall building management could be reduced. This survey was based on expert opinions from the construction industry, those who would be most affected by decreased building costs. The report closes by indicating that the construction companies are quick to welcome any improvements from the client side of the business.

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10 Tips to Market Your Construction Company

August 4th, 2010 Comments off

10 Tips to Market Your Construction Company

1. Get a well designed, easily recognisable logo.

2. Have the logo on all company materials such as uniforms, letter heads, e-mails and company vehicles.

3. Get a website with including full company details, portfolio of previous work, all accreditations and testimonials from past clients. This is an easy way to show potential clients the capabilities of your company.

4. Use construction forums such as constructionforum.net these are a great way to meet people in the industry and circulate your company name.

5. Social networking. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter et al are all useful tools for networking and getting your company name out there. They are also useful for the promotion and SEO of your website.

6. Use flyers and distribute to the local area. Get a colourful, eye catching flyer designed with some good hi res images of work carried out and get them distributed to houses in the local area. Many people who are only half considering having work done may be swayed by a high quality flyer through the door.

7. Submit your details to a construction directory. There are a few out there and they are being favoured over conventional methods of finding construction companies (e.g. yellow pages) as much more information can be included, such as images of work carried out and customer reviews.

8. Give promotional tools to customers you do work for. Two good ones are fridge magnets and coffee mugs. Put the company details on and give them free to clients on completion of a job. They will stick it in their kitchen and it will provide advertising as well as being a thoughtful gift.

9. Market your website. The majority of people in the construction industry who have a website do not market it whatsoever. It is there to show people but a website can actually get people to ring you enquiring about services. It is worth paying a small amount for traffic that could lead to many new contracts. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and PPC (Pay Per Click) are good ways to bring traffic to your website, which will convert into enquiries and new business.

10. Advertise in a specialist construction magazine. This is especially useful for domestic companies who are trying to break into the commercial sector. Magazines such as Pro Build UK are read by main contractors, architects and quantity surveyors all around the country and your company can be brought to their attention to try to gain some lucrative sub contractor work.

For more information on marketing your company visit www.probuildmarketing.co.uk

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Cardiff Construction Obstruction

July 20th, 2010 Comments off

cardiff1Cardiff Construction Obstruction

Over the next few months we will be featuring some images of Construction sites that are of interest or unusual in concept from some young artists and photographers.

Our first in this series comes from James Anthony McNickle an amateur photographer who also sells some of his photographs that take peoples interest.

This one is titled Cardiff Construction Obstruction, if you are interested in seeing anymore from this artist, purchasing copies or simply reading his story, he has a website here and a blog where you can catch up with him.

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UK construction sector shrinks for 22nd month in a row

January 9th, 2010 Comments off

Activity in Britain’s construction sector contracted for the 22nd month in a row in December as demand dried up.

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) said today that its purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 47.1 last month, up from November’s reading of 47. A mark below 50 signifies contraction.

CIPS’s chief executive, said: “December was another disappointing month for the UK construction sector. Unlike other parts of the economy, it seems unable to escape the shackles of the recession, as it entered its 22nd successive month of decline.

“Purchasing managers painted a bleak picture as firms suffered from reduced client demand and falls in new business. As a result, contractors are competing aggressively to secure the relatively fewer new contract tenders there are in the market.”

Construction firms continued to shed jobs in December as work dried up. CIPS said many construction companies reported they were still restructuring their operations in line with lower workloads.

However, they added that there were some glimmers of hope as the residential sector showed a marked improvement in activity, with growth indicated for four consecutive months. “This suggests that the increase in house prices last year is beginning to have an effect on construction and encouraging new building,”

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Turkey to spend billions on infrastructure!

October 8th, 2009 Comments off

notesLooks like we construction workers and companies should be heading over to Turkey asap, if the UK Government is to be believed.

The UK government encourages firms to apply for construction opportunities in the country

Turkey is to spend billions of pounds on major infrastructure and regeneration projects, which could provide work for UK firms. The UK government is encouraging British construction companies to look at “multi-billion pound construction opportunities” in Turkey including plans to build 600,000 housing units, a high speed rail link between Istanbul and Ankara and a 500ha regeneration project in Istanbul.

Sir Andrew Cahn, chief executive of UK Trade and Investment, the arm of government that helps British firms work overseas, said: “Turkey is a tremendously exciting market. Quality infrastructure is a key component to a successful economy and the Turkish government is committed to spend billions of pounds on major infrastructure and regeneration projects. UK companies have the expertise and capabilities to deliver on these initiatives.”

UKTI has produced a report on Turkey, which highlights the following upcoming projects:

Major infrastructure projects

  • Nabucco Project – 3,300km pipeline which will bring gas from Asia to Central Europe. Cost approximately £8bn, to commence work in 2010.
  • Bosphorus Crossings – upgrading two road bridges, new rail tunnel
  • Istanbul – Ankara high speed rail project
  • Izmit Bay Crossing
  • New motorway proposals including 2,250km on new road (more than double current motorway network)

Regeneration

  • projects

  • Kartel Waterfront Project
  • 500ha regeneration project in Istanbul – to include a port, marina, luxury hotels, recreational areas and residential and office blocks
  • Masterplan for 2km continuous ecological corridor won by Llewelyn Davies Yeang

The report’s author David Howell from DMH Consultancy said that despite the global slowdown, Turkey’s economy is expected to grow by up to 3% in 2010 and it’s predicted it will be Europe’s third largest economy by 2050.

He said: “As well as major infrastructure projects like the Nabucco pipeline, the Turkish government is also planning several major regeneration initiatives. In Istanbul for example, it’s planning to transform 500 hectares of wasteland into a waterfront port and marina with luxury hotels, recreational areas and residential and office blocks.

“As the world’s ninth most popular tourist spot, with over 20 million visitors each year, there are also plenty of opportunities for British business stemming from the tourism sector. Additionally, 600,000 housing units are required per year to meet the demands of Turkey’s population growth.

“I encourage UK companies to take a serious look at this exciting market.”

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Sitemaster Building

September 4th, 2009 3 comments
Sitemaster Building Software

Sitemaster Building Software

SiteMaster Building Sitemaster MovieMobile CAD Software
The mobile solution for Professional Building Surveys and CAD Drawings carried out On Site in Real Time. Draw fast and accurate walls (as single or double line), windows, doors and symbols rectangular and circular columns,
recesses, ,chimneys, ducts, room areas, volumes, perimeters and much more.

Point ~ Shoot ~ Drawn = Instant Floor Plans

For professional building surveys

The extensive features of SiteMaster Building are especially interesting for users that need to create and deliver professional CAD drawings.

The layer management supports the combination of several floor plans in one single file. Heights of rooms, openings and symbols can be recorded and exported. Lasered distances are recorded in the background and saved on an extra layer for proofing purposes.

Draw fast and accurate walls (as single or double line), windows, doors and symbols. You can draw rectangular and circular columns, Recess

Sitemaster Building

es, chimneys and niches/ducts. SiteMaster Building offers you more than 250 CAD and numerous editing commands. The program features associative dimensioning and room area calculation.

The Camera function allows you to insert icon-referenced inspection photos and images.The SiteMaster Building software contains an Image function for direct insertion and scaling of photos and image underlays with support for file formats as BMP, JPG, PNG, TIFF and RLC digital photos and images.

VoiceNotes that can easily been inserted eliminate time consuming text markup by providing record and playback of high-compressed audio notes and instructions directly inside your drawings.

AutoCAD-compatible drawing symbols / blocks can be used. The Visual Symbol Manager lets you insert symbols ? as-measured, referenced or free in the drawing. You can export Excel-compatible .csv files with room/area lists and room schedule reports/symbol lists. The Check Distance function lets you compare »as-built« distances to plan distances and record this comparison.

Experienced power users can use the visual Desktop, Menu and Toolbar Editor (DME2) and Lisp and/or C++ programming APIs to customize and extend the program furthermore.

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Industry will nominate candidates for the Chief Construction adviser role

August 26th, 2009 Comments off

Construction Industry chiefs are being asked to nominate candidates for the new Government Chief Construction Adviser role. The Department for Business, Information and Skills this week announced that it was looking to recruit for the role by November latest.

It wants to appoint someone for a minimum of two years, on three days per week. The annual salary will be in the region of £120,000 and the adviser will report to both the BIS and the Treasury.

It will not be advertised, and a headhunter has not been been appointed.

Letters have been written to key industry stakeholders including the UK Contractors Group, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, the National Specialist Contractors Council, the Construction Products Association and the CBI’s Construction council and there are also understood to be some names already in the frame.

BIS said the role was part time to allow the candidate to stay closely connected to the industry and potentially continue in an existing role as well.

But the CPA warned that an appointment from within the industry “could be divisive”.

UKCG director Stephen Ratcliffe added: “We are not absolutely clear how much power this person will have. For instance if you have something like the colleges programme going wrong, will they be able to fix it?”

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Productivity or Procrastination?

July 21st, 2009 1 comment

The future of CAD is MOBILE!

The future of CAD is MOBILE!

The future of CAD is MOBILE

Isn’t it amazing to think that just five years ago virtually all surveyors took pencil and pad, tape measure or possibly a laser measuring device out into the field and spent several hours measuring up sites, buildings and all related detail before returning to the office to redraw the detail into their CAD package. Or is it? How much has really changed?

History

Productivity levels and therefore profit margins are a concern to all, but in an industry where so much process is manual there only needs to be one error in measurement, or error in reading a measurement and the entire dimensions of a building will be inaccurate. The result? A return to site to re-measure and then back to the office to amend the CAD drawings. This is a huge resource cost and ultimately vastly decreases profit margins, affects customer service and increases costs for both the supplier and the client.

Anybody connected with design, construction, engineering, facilities management, manufacturing, mapping, real estate and related industries will know what we’re talking about. Local authorities, hospitals, schools, surveyors, facilities management companies – any sector involved in the management of multiple and large buildings that require compliance with Health and Safety regulations, the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and those requiring Asset Registry services began looking at how to shorten the “field-to-finish” time and associated cost.

So, how far has the adoption of mobile CAD technology come, and how easy has it been to bring the construction industry into the 21st century? Has mobile CAD continued with what Blackberry started – and truly taken the technology out of the office and into the field?

“In order to tempt the surveyor away from the traditional pen/paper/laser approach, any solution offered has to be quick, efficient and truly mobile. To persuade the money men it also has to offer a swift ROI – laser scanning options were seeing an increase in adoption a few years back but were still costly, and did not create the “as-built” drawings and floor plans in the field that would significantly cut design and planning time and cost.

The answer lies in incorporating handheld devices, software, Bluetooth and wireless technology – to produce a CAD drawing in front of your eyes. The measurements taken by laser meter and sent via Bluetooth into the software installed on the handheld device, produce a pictorial representation almost instantly. Human error is completely eliminated – the surveyor can see immediately if he has taken the measurement incorrectly. The solution also needs to offer the basics for internal building design, down to such detail as furniture if required, thereby producing a finished drawing in the field that can be emailed back to the office.”

But doesn’t all this technology send the average surveyor running for the safety of his pencil and pad?

“Admittedly the biggest challenge faced will be persuading all involved to undergo a complete culture change! From our experience this has been less of an issue in the USA, Australia an the Far East but across Europe those we see as potential adopters just don’t believewhat can be achieved by implementing Mobile CAD Solutions until they actually see it in action, so uptake has been slower simply because it is harder to get through the door in the first place.

And surely the age old excuse of months of training staff on CAD related technology and the affect this has on productivity gives the procrastinating client an immediate get out clause?

“It certainly raises its head. They are most surprised when we can demonstrate that users can be up to speed with our system in 2 days, and producing plans of the same standard as using traditional methods within one week. This is a huge cost saving when we look at how quickly the drawing is produced – using
the “pointshootdrawn” principle within a week the surveyor can be measuring 400-500 square metres per day, make that 750-1000 square metres in 3-4 weeks and as much as 1500 square metres per day for super users!”

“The UK gives us a good example of this. To comply with government directives, many local authorities are facing a race against time to ensure they have accurate up to date drawings for premises like schools and nursing homes as well as offices – a race they can never win using traditional surveying methods.”

“So much information needs to be collected by a variety of people – fire inspectors and asbestos surveyors for example need large amounts of data; asbestos and water hygiene issues in older public buildings cannot be determined unless accurate measured surveys exist and are kept up to date. The fact that many local authorities do not have accurate, (or in some cases ANY), plans for many of their public buildings, is under the spotlight.”

Fire regulations and new laws to improve access to buildings for people with disabilities have also raised the profile of property asset management in many parts of the world.

Samsung Q1 ULTRA

Samsung Q1 ULTRA

“If we say the output is 100% accurate in half the time and at half the cost we’re pretty close. Productivity in simple terms is increased by 100% – the work is delivered in one day – therefore the profit is increased by 100%. Mobile technology has actually been proven to increase productivity by up to 1000% when compared to traditional design methods. And that’s not mentioning the less tangible increase in service level to the customer. A return on investment can be seen in some cases on day 1, but we say on average within 14-15 working days, including the cost of the hardware, software and training.”

“To illustrate; a subsidiary of T-COM measured and drew more than 1 million square metres – 13,778 rooms in 1,230 buildings across Germany. The target objective of the contract was not just measuring the exact area of the rooms with a tolerance of just 3% but also measuring mixed areas in just one “go”. The project was completed using a team of 25 in just 15 weeks.”

And the future?

“It is now possible to upload the finished drawing to a portal, and make it accessible from anywhere in the world, again increasing productivity by giving the client 24×7 global design capability at minimal cost.”

“Sector wise initial uptake by internal surveyors such as fire prevention, asbestos, asset management functions and disability access surveyors has been followed by planners and quantity surveyors needing accurate “lay of the land” drawings and external building representations in CAD. We see the internal surveying market continuing to increase, this is already evident in the USA, and the construction industry as being key in the future. Public services, as mentioned, and also utility companies and hospitals are all growth areas, plus banks in the USA as a result of ADA compliance. Geographically that change in culture is starting to happen across North America and Europe, and from Germany is spreading via the existing client base into Eastern Europe.”

Mobile CAD Surveying Ltd are the UK’s main and Graeberts preferred dealers of the Graebert suite of software in the UK. For more information on the Sitemaster Building software or Software and Hardware Bundles, please call us on 0844 567 2609 or email us at sales@mobilecadsurveying.co.uk

You can also download a FREE trial of the software here and also Book a FREE Demonstration

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A New Opportunity for Construction Tradesmen!

May 26th, 2009 6 comments

FOR ALL BUILDERS & CONSTRUCTION WORKERS OUT THERE! WHY NOT DIVERSIFY?

Steve was like a lot of people working a trade in the Construction Industry, due to the economic climate he was out of work more than in it. One day he saw an advertisement for Sitemaster Software, this piqued his interest as it was something allied to building that he knew and as he already carried out his own surveys for estimating purposes he thought that the added bonus of being able to draw up accurate floor plans would give him another opportunity to earn a living doing something he already had an interest in and which could help in his normal job when things picked up. Sort of kills two birds with one stone!

So what did he have to loose, he sent off for more information and agreed to a FREE NO obligation demonstration.  What Steve witnessed  was professionally-finished building floor plans, area estimates and inspection drawings using a Bluetooth handheld laser talking directly to the software held on a UPMC (Ultra Mobile PC) tablet, he saw that there was no longer any need to take measurements using tape measures, no need to write any notes or draw pencil sketches anymore, the dimensions are instantly inserted into the drawing programme and it draws the lines in real time – On Site!


Steve stated at the time
“I have experienced first-hand the immediate gains that
Sitemaster Building software can provide to construction and building information mangers in terms of accuracy, speed and cost-savings”


He was told of how this software had been instrumental in saving time and costs on many projects around the world,  “On a recent service project, I was contracted to verify a commercial lessee’s office square metreage and was able to determine irrefutably that they were being overcharged by more than 25 square meters on their contract”. Quite a rental saving over a period of a few  years.
It is obvious  that where commercial office space commands a premium, the cost-savings to the lessee will be significant over time and positively impact their cash flow each month”  Just one of the ways this software can be used effectively.


Building Talk recently commented  “
Sitemaster Building is an amazing application, and is generating a lot of interest in the marketplace”.


Steve was so impressed by what he was shown, that he
decided to buy there and then and take up the optional  offer of a days training. This was carried out in due course and Steve immediately put this software/ kit to good practice. In fact he was in touch with some old clients who gave him work from time to time, construction work, but they had none available just now, so he offered his services as a surveyor and offered to draw up floor plans of some of their property portfolio, he knew through the grapevine that they needed this due to recent changes in legislation, the two negotiated a price and off Steve went to start his first proper floor plan survey. The first building he worked on took him some time, he was after all learning as he went along, but by the time he started the second project he had ironed out all the queries and problems he was having and with the help of the training he had received and the telephone support from the company, he was well on his way.


He was now starting to produce finished floor plans much quicker and  700 – 800 square meters per day were not uncommon. He knew through experience that most surveyors/architects will hand sketch and measure maybe 500 – 700 square meters per day, and then spend at least another day back at the office drawing the floor plans up. Yet Steve on only his second project was walking off site at the end of the day with circa 700 square meters surveyed, measured and drawn and of course
FINISHED!
It quickly dawned on him that there was a real opportunity here to offer this as a full time service and make some good money along the way. What started off as an attempt to try and earn a bit more money due to lack of construction work, had now turned into a possible future gold mine offering his services of providing finished, accurate floor plans quickly and efficiently both for his own clients and for others. He had now in effect gone from a pretty ordinary builder to a much sought after professional member of the construction industry, more or less overnight, he now charges his clients on a per square metre basis for most projects as he has now got to  a point where he can produce nearly 1000 sq metres per day on a large project.


Of course producing accurate floor plans is one thing, but the
Sitemaster Software is so good it also works out area, volume and perimeter calculations of rooms, it also automatically and in the background builds up door and window schedules, lists of radiators, plug points,  and in fact anything else you  collect along the way, the data collection feature of this programme is ideal for Asset and Facilities Managers.


Along with the floor plans, Steve now finds he can charge for providing door and window schedules, that for most traditional surveyors/architects can take hours or even days to produce, takes Steve seconds with the push of a button. The programme does this all automatically for him, his earnings are now rising exponentially as he finds more ways and new markets to put this programme to work for him.

Steve has since shown this to some of his fellow workmates on the construction site and comments:

“Once people see
Sitemaster in action and witness the finished results, they can’t believe they have been using a tape measure and paper for so long”.

“Architects, designers – anyone wanting to create as-built drawings can now complete the task in record time without leaving the clients site.  Better yet, there is no need to send two people to a site and finished drawings can be generated up to 10 times faster than traditional measuring-tape and paper methods.”


Profiled in a recent Microsoft white paper,
Sitemaster is claimed to be the first system of its kind to automate the creation of wireless, laser-generated as-built floor plans, area estimates and building inspections for architects, appraisers, contractors, engineers, estimators, facilities managers, floor-planners, estate agents  and other professionals involved in the design, construction and management of buildings.


Using a
Leica Disto A6 handheld laser, Sitemaster facilitates instant on-site creation of detailed, AutoCAD-compatible drawings on a Bluetooth wireless Pocket PC, Tablet PC or laptop computer running Microsoft’s Windows mobility operating systems.

“Sitemaster provides the missing link for thousands of potential clients”.


Now it is time for you Construction Tradesmen who are maybe looking for other ways of earning a living, to
try this for yourselves
, why not? What have you got to loose? It worked for Steve, why shouldn’t it work for you?

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