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IR35 – Are You In or Out?

July 4th, 2020 No comments

Updated 4th July, 2020

One of the most common concerns for contractors in the UK is their employment status and this is monitored by HMRC using the IR35 calculator. Whether a contractor falls inside or outside IR35 legislation will have a major impact on how much tax they pay. Complications arise for independent contractors because different jobs require different contracts and sometimes these contracts will tread a fine line between being inside or outside of IR35. It can be pretty confusing, but if an independent contractor pays attention to a few key areas they should be able figure out how IR35 affects them.

IR35 was put in place in 2000 to prevent employees posing as contractors for tax reasons. Prior to IR35 it would have been possible for someone to leave their job on a Friday, set themselves up as an independent contractor over the weekend, then return to do the same job on Monday;  while paying a lot less tax without having to take any of the actual risks a genuine independent contractor would.

Outside IR35

If a contractor is genuinely independent then it is likely they are outside IR35 legislation and entitled to label themselves as such; allowing the appropriate tax breaks to apply. To be safely outside IR35 legislation a contractor will typically have to be:

–          Paid a set amount for a specific job

–          Responsible for providing their own equipment

–          Financially responsible for the quality of their work and the time it takes to complete

–          Be in control of what work is done and when

This is the level of responsibility that HMRC would deem appropriate for an independent contractor. By falling outside of IR35 a contractor will pay 22% corporation tax but avoid 40% PAYE and NI at varying rates dependent on the job; so you can see why falling outside of IR35 is appealing to contractors.

Inside IR35

To be “inside” IR35 legislation is to be subject to its terms and conditions. If a contractor is inside IR35 legislation they are technically classed as an employee and as such are due to pay regular NI and PAYE contributions. HMRC will consider a contractor to be inside IR35 if any of the following apply:

–          The contractor cannot work independently (i.e. they have a boss)

–          The contractor is not paying for their own tools or equipment

–          There is no financial risk (the contractor gets paid a wage regardless of results)

–          The contractor is paid a wage, given contributions to a pension or has paid holidays

–          The contractor works a fixed amount of hours

Any of the following criteria would see a contractor classed as an employee. If the criteria above apply then it would unadvisable to claim independent contractor status because an HMRC investigation would likely judge the contractor as fraudulent. The punishment can be a fine of between 30-100% of the PAYE and NI avoided; the severity of the fine depending on whether the contractor’s false status is deemed to be careless, negligent or deliberate.

Unsure?

There are no hard rules regarding IR35 but if HMRC demand proof of a contractor’s IR35 status they are likely to consider the key points mentioned above. The contractor will also have to provide evidence that they are operating within the approved guidelines. If a contractor is still unsure then an increasing number of small business accountants that specialise in   contract accounting are available to advise them on how their work relates to IR35.

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Tips on How to Select Modern Skirting Boards for Your Home

July 4th, 2020 Comments off

Contemporary interiors call for décor that’s minimal yet chic. Skirting is a simple way to facelift the floors, walls, doors, and windows of your house. Investing in such interior moldings not only perks up the home interiors but simultaneously hides any construction flaws that would otherwise surface along the walls, floor, or other visible areas in your house. 

The growing demand for such smart hacks to refurbish the house has resulted in a flood of skirting ideas in the market. This can be daunting; especially if this is the first time you are planning to get it done. We have made it easy with a few handy tips. For those you want to spruce up their home, you must have a look at the modern skirting board designs that can elegantly enliven your living space. Making the right choice can give your house a long-lasting finish. 

Things to consider when deciding on the skirting designs 

Skirting isn’t as elaborate as painting the house or deconstructing and rebuilding walls, but it does involve a fair amount of labor in removing the old one and cladding it anew. Depending on your budget, you can either invest in low-budget skirting or opt for lavish ones. 

It isn’t unusual to find children scraping the boards with toys or colors. Sometimes pets could also playfully make scratch marks on the boards. Investing in simple skirts that can be easily replaced would make a sensible choice in such cases. All you would need is to pick a design that complements the overall scheme of your interiors. 

Start by asking yourself why you want to install new skirts and which type would befit your needs and preference. You might simply consider updating the existing design by little touch-ups or have a completely new design.

If you decide on a design overhaul so that your space looks completely new, you might need to look at the details. For instance, make sure to get a gauge of what dimensions would go best with your home. Also, consider the texture, material, etc. 

What do modern skirting boards look like?

Well, these are usually slenderer with lesser details than their classic counterparts. The modern boards can be done using simple shapes. You can keep the theme linear through the architraves to the doors.

For the color, you can either leave them natural or paint the skirting boards to match the wall color. The latte style does render a contemporary feel to the whole thing. However, if you don’t want the boards to vanish into the walls, a polished timber board can make the board stand out. Find check ideas on how you can paint your skirting boards at https://www.wikihow.com/Paint-Skirting-Boards

Why does the size matter?

The height of the skirting is an important factor that needs to be kept in mind. An overtly smaller or bigger design can ruin the theme of your home décor. Common modern styles include square-edged designs, bullnose skirts, and a variety of sleek designs.

A house with more members or frequent visitors might be better off with a skirting that’s taller than the standard-sized ones. This would act as a shield saving your paint or wallpaper from any external damage. 

Make sure that the boards don’t look out of proportion. Take the size of your room into consideration when deciding on the skirts. For instance, taller boards go well with higher ceilings and vice-versa. This helps in maintaining a visual balance in the room. 

Skirting boards are priced differently and that can make a big difference to its quality as well. When buying them include both the cost of purchase and fitting into consideration. Also, some designs and profiles demand higher maintenance such as Timber. On an average, MDF boards are prone to warping faster. They can develop cracks although they make a relatively pocket-friendly option to go with.

It’s best to discuss the pros and cons of specific fittings with your store to prevent unpleasant surprises. Seek two to three quotations from your local vendor to ensure you are the highest quality of skirts at the best price. If you think the job needs expertise and isn’t your thing, hiring a professional would be a good idea. 

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Record month for Permaroof Company during the Corona Virus Crisis

July 2nd, 2020 Comments off

The company Permaroof has announced that in the middle of this crisis they have just achieved their best months of trading activity.

Unlike most businesses that have suffered greatly due to this pandemic, Permaroof had their most successful May and June trading months. Their success has been due to a rapid response to the Corona Virus crisis, whilst continuing to invest and diversify their products and services.

They enjoyed an increase of 26 percent in sales in May, and a shocking 89 percent increase when comparing June 2020 to the previous year. Permaroof are on track for their top annual performance to date, with an estimated 24000 completed orders expected.

Permaroof’s MD Adrian Buttress has been quoted saying:

“Despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic – such as supply issues, merchants closing, and roofing projects being delayed or put on hold – our team has managed to buck the trend and deliver amazing results that are a true testament to the service it offers, as well as the strong relationships we have with customers nationwide.”   

One of the newly launched products that has helped with the companies better than expected data is a cleaning spray that allows customers to disinfect their work environment, whilst increasing their focus on marketing.

Andrew Buttress (MD) continued to mention that

“Clear communication to both staff and customers has been vital. Pushing forward with marketing has allowed us to do this while reinforcing our brand and putting out messages of stock availability at a really important time. I have no doubt that this has been crucial to breaking our sales records during the UK lockdown. 

“I hope that our success proves that there is still opportunity out there for UK SMEs and that the building and construction sector is ready to bounce back and thrive. We’re certainly committed to supporting both the contractors and merchants we work with and hope that the next quarter is as positive for them all.” 

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£5BN Injection into the UK Construction Industry

July 2nd, 2020 Comments off

Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister has introduced plans to help stimulate and boost the nations’ construction industry. After one of the most serious industry downturns due to Coivd-19, this news has been welcomed by most – but will it be enough?

The initial plans outlined the “Build, Build and Build” scheme, which is to focus on industrial projects. But today this has been revised to the “Repair, Repair, Repair” as looking to focus on the nations infrastructures such as roads, rail lines and hospitals. However, surprisingly there has been now additional funds injected for house building projects – although this may be change and be introduced in the upcoming months.

It is thought that the level of spending per person in the UK would equate to approximately £100 per person. It is hoped that these funds will help kick start the construction industry and encourage firms to invest in training and development of existing employees. Without a scheme such as this, the likelihood of mass redundancies and continued furloughed staff is certainly on the horizon.

Boris Johnson has also reminded the public about his government plans to build and deliver a 40 new NHS hospitals over the next 10 years. It has been mentioned that in order for these to have the positive impact on the wider economy that these projects need to be started this year.

In the Prime Ministers true fashion, he has also spoken of “Shovel ready local grown projects” to help pick up the economy of local towns across the nation. Spending plans for the High Street, pubs and bars will surely be welcomed across the nation

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Lunch is back on – Construction sites canteens reopen

July 1st, 2020 Comments off

After several months of bringing a packed lunch, (or simply going hungry) construction sites are now allowed to reopen their canteens.

Sites have now been given the go-ahead from the government to start serving lunches to their workforce again.

Over the Covid shutdown building sites were generally kept open, but their facilities to provide food and refreshments to staff was almost completely stopped. There were a few exceptions to the rule, but almost all staff canteens have been collecting dust for the last several months.

The Construction Leadership Council has now issued revised its revised construction site guidelines, which have been updated since the last government changes to social distancing rules.

The new 1m + rules have allowed for the relaxing of the staff canteen rules and regulations. It is important to note that the 2 metre rule is still advised where possible, but in instances where this is not feasible it has been updated to one metre plus.

The other updates made to Version 5 of Site Operating Procedures are minimal, with advise to reduce lift capacity, using private transportation for commuting where possible, and some small changes to entry system cleaning regulations.

Paul Reeve from the Trade body ECA has stated that: “The practical implications of the latest SOP updates will come out in the wash. However, version 5 mainly reflects recent changes to government guidance to industry on social distancing, which includes ‘maintain two meters, or one metre with risk mitigation where two metres in not viable’.

“Many construction businesses are already using mitigating measures when doing essential work within two metres, and so the changes underline the need for mitigation at closer proximity, based on risk assessment.”

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TRA backs Boris to build, build, build

July 1st, 2020 No comments

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday of a major investment in construction and infrastructure to help boost economic recovery, Nick Boulton, chief executive of the Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) said:

“This announcement couldn’t have come at a better time. As the construction industry is getting back on its feet, it is good to know the Government is prepared to spend where necessary and make good on its earlier promises.

“As originally set out in the Budget in March, the £12bn allocated for affordable homes will really help the current situation and the sooner it can be accessed the better. We do not know how long this virus will be part of our lives and so we should start building the safe, affordable homes that create greater resilience, and allow social distancing, as soon as possible. The Brownfield Land Fund is also important to bring much-needed new homes to city locations.

“As a membership body within the construction supply chain, our members need to see a clear pipeline of demand to give them the confidence to protect jobs, take on apprentices and continue their own investment plans. A confirmed commitment to deliver 180,000 affordable homes will help to support that confidence and deliver some of the much needed safe homes, that through this crisis, many of us have come to rediscover as the essential foundation in our lives.”

Provided by Nick Boulton, chief executive of the Trussed Rafter Association (TRA)

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Luton & Dunstable University Hospital Twin Theatres

June 30th, 2020 No comments

Following a competitive tender, MTX were awarded a multi-million pound scheme to deliver a twin operating theatre and eye clinic to Luton & Dunstable University Hospital.

The Requirements

The Trust had a requirement for additional theatre capacity in order to cater for a larger patient intake. The project formed part of the Trust’s broader construction plans for further development at the hospital.

The Solution

The project was completed over various phases, including demolition and enabling package, temporary eye day surgical unit (EDSU) and the construction of the new twin ultra clean canopy theatre complex.

For the operating theatres MTX worked alongside architectural partners IBI Group and M&E Consulting Engineers DSSR, to design and construct a bespoke facility that provided 2 additional storeys of accommodation, directly adjacent to the existing hospital street. A new connection was also constructed to link the new to existing. This also ensured that the new theatre facility operates in full co-ordination with the adjacent building.

The ground floor of the new facility comprises the twin theatres, scrub, anaesthetic, 24 bed recovery, consulting rooms, changing area and central reception with waiting area. The M&E services included, to name a few, 3no AHU’s providing ventilation to the separate departments, ceiling mounted radiant panels, medical gases, smoke fire dampers, LED lighting, nurse call system and video intercom. The first floor houses the dedicated plant room.

The state-of-the-art bespoke theatre facility features an appealing curtain glazed entrance with timber cladding and has provided the Trust with 1450m² of new accommodation.

Main Considerations

Working in a live hospital environment alongside 3rd party contractors meant that key co-ordination and communication was essential, in order to carry out various works such as logistics, Health & Safety and infrastructure works.

Furthermore, works involved connecting the new theatres into the existing live department via linkway breakthroughs.

Forward planning and consideration were vital between MTX, the Trust and the 3rd party contractors to ensure disruption to the ongoing hospital activities was kept to a minimum.

Originally posted: https://www.mtxcontracts.co.uk/luton-dunstable-university-hospital-twin-theatres/

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Advice from Local Roofers About Choosing the Right Material

June 29th, 2020 No comments

There are various reasons why you need to get your roof replaced, some may want to do a refurbishment of the house because they want an upgrade, while others want to sell their house and need to get everything in tip-top shape before letting the buyers in. whatever the reason for getting your roof updated, it is worth every penny to do so.

Not checking or replacing your roof at the first sign of damage will cost you a whole lot more when the whole thing collapses or caves in. Things such as water leaks, or missing shingles can cause major damage to the internal area and start leaking through it into your lounge or inside the home or in the bedrooms where you sleep. Read all about the consequences here.

Soon, due to the weight and the weakening of the material, the roof will get worse and start to mold or crack and this can end up with a huge hole that will then need to be fixed by a professional and can take up to a few days to complete.

In any case, when you are up to refurbishing your home and want to keep the authenticity of your house by choosing the type of roof that complements the architectural style of the exterior place or your neighborhood in Maryland, there are a few common materials that are typically used.

Let’s take a look at your options.

Flat Roofs or Green Spaces. If you’re going for the modern-day look of having a green space on your rooftop. You can’t go wrong with a flat option. Nowadays, we all should do our part in trying to contribute to the environment in some way or the other.

Some people choose to recycle, while others choose green spaces. For houses that have the capability for one, every chance should be seized in upgrading the top. There are so many benefits of having a grass top that far outweigh the expenses of one, not to mention it is a lot cheaper to grow greenery on your roof than to have to replace any tiles.

These types of roofs have both social, economic and environmental benefits such as cooling down the building or property, during summer seasons, also known as reducing the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHI), plus it can help to manage rainwater during wet seasons, CO2 emissions are also reduced and lots more advantages, not to mention it look aesthetically pleasing as well https://commons.bcit.ca/greenroof/faq/why-green-roofs-benefits/.

Options for a flat structure typically include, either a gravel option or a modified bitumen roofing and sometimes even the single-ply systems such as the energy-efficient EPDM and TRO varieties, all of which reflect sunlight and reduce heat absorption, keeping your home nice and cool in summer and warm during winter.

Asphalt Material. The majority of houses you see in the Maryland area have been adorned using asphalt. The reason for this is because not only are they affordable, but they are also good for houses with a slope on their top and a revival or colonial layout.

The more traditional houses that one can see in the urban areas, such as Victorian or gothic architecture usually use wood shakes or timberline on them.

Tile Roofing. These come in a different color, but the most common ones are the red hues. The style originated from the Spanish or Mediterranean architecture and has remained till date, spreading far and wide to any beach town in any country or state.

The warm colors of these tiles can complement any house color too. Normally they would be used on white exteriors but can work just as well on pastels and earthy tones as well. Ranch-style homes, that have slightly sloped-roofs can easily make this transition quickly and easily by hiring out local roofers in the Maryland area to upgrade it for you within no time. 

The tiles can be made from either concrete or clay and are durable and strong enough to last as long as two decades, plus some people prefer different colors too.

The Metal Kind. Last but not least is the metal version of coverings on your dwelling space. If you’re looking for something more affordable, simple, and unique, this would be the go-to.

They are available in a variety of styles too, so you won’t be left without a choice. The stone-coated metal shingles are usually the most recommended amongst a lot of users, but the preference will be yours at the end of the day. It is a very versatile option for most houses.

It is always best to look at your surroundings when choosing the right one, both including your landscape and your neighbour’s houses too.

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BIMcollab Introduces Integration with Trimble Connect

June 29th, 2020 No comments

EINDHOVEN 29-06-2020 – As BIMcollab continues to expand their ecosystem through integrations with the industry’s most popular BIM tools, recent development efforts have been focused primarily on partnering with CDE platforms. The latest edition is the integration between BIMcollab and Trimble Connect.

Erik Pijnenburg, CEO – BIMcollab: “Our goal is to integrate BIMcollab with as many BIM tools as possible, whether they are model-authoring, model-checking or model-sharing solutions. We are convinced that with the Trimble Connect – BIMcollab integration we are offering our mutual users the best integrated solution available to share and improve models.”

Collaboration made easy

The Trimble Connect – BIMcollab integration provides a cloud-based, single source of truth solution for models, project documents ánd issues. It simplifies collaboration and coordination across each phase of the project lifecycle. From the office to the field, Trimble Connect’s powerful combination of client applications and workflow extensions allows quick, convenient access to the information you need, when you need it.

BIMcollab users, including those who do not have access to BIM modeling tools, will be able to view, edit and comment on issues in the context of the 3D models in the cloud. All of this can be done using the familiar Trimble Connect webviewer, making it easy to use with practically no learning curve. And finally, since the integration makes use of models stored online in Trimble Connect, there is no extra file management needed and users can be certain to use the latest model-versions.

Marcel Broekmaat, Product Director – Trimble Connect: “We are excited to be able to provide Connect’s Common Data Environment and BIM Viewer capabilities to BIMcollab users. BIMcollab and Trimble Connect share a common goal: to offer an open and performant environment for project collaboration with data made available in the context of the 3D design.”

Click here for more info

About Trimble Connect

Trimble Connect is an open, cloud-based collaboration tool that provides the right people with the right data at the right time. Trimble Connect is a brand owned by Trimble, Inc. Trimble provides the widest breadth of technology solutions for each phase of the building lifecycle. With the industry’s only constructible process and a full range of tools and content to streamline team collaboration, Trimble solutions make data from complex projects more meaningful and actionable to improve productivity and achieve operational excellence.


About BIMcollab

BIMcollab is an issue management system for BIM in the cloud and bridges the gap between BIM applications based on OpenBIM, by offering a broad set of add-ons for all popular BIM tools. It reduces time spend on communication about issues and it’s helping to improve model quality: less construction errors, lower costs. BIMcollab is a brand owned by KUBUS, a software company offering BIM solutions for Design & Build which is also exclusive distributor for GRAPHISOFT and Gold partner of Solibri, Inc. in the Benelux. KUBUS operates from offices in Eindhoven, Amsterdam, Hasselt and Belgrade. BIMcollab ZOOM has over 13.000 daily users and BIMcollab Cloud is used by over 70.000 building professionals for better models, better buildings.

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Hygienic materials guide published to support specifiers

June 26th, 2020 No comments

A series of guides for specifiers have been launched to explain the hygienic properties of materials that can be used for surfaces and protective screens.

Bringing together a suite of options, they are organised into categories based on their performance and potential uses. They were developed by materials supplier James Latham and cover five sectors: retail, education, leisure and hospitality, offices and healthcare.

Steve Johnson of the Advanced Technical Panels division specialises in health-related products at Lathams.

He said: “There are many products available and it is not always clear what the differences are between them. For example, there is a lot of confusion between anti-microbial and anti-bacterial products. The difference is that anti-bacterial materials prevent bacteria from growing on their surface, while anti-microbial products halt the growth of bacteria and a broader range of viruses, organisms, protozoa, and fungi such as mould or mildew. This makes them significantly better for high-use surfaces.”

Top of the list for performance is advanced thermoplastic KYDEX. Mouldable to any shape, it is highly robust and has inherent hygienic qualities. It is often used for items such as worktops, counters and desks, wall panels, doors and furniture.

Steve added: “KYDEX is perfect for any environment that is subject to high traffic and needs to be kept clean. It can withstand tough cleaning products, without any staining, fading or surface damage, and contains Microban for anti-microbial protection.

“As a homogeneous product, any damage to the top layer doesn’t affect its anti-microbial properties or visual impact. Also, because it can be colour-matched, it is great for branded environments.”

Unlike KYDEX, which is more suited to an off-site manufacturing process, other products within the guide can be easily added to existing surfaces and therefore offer a much quicker turnaround. These include laminates, with Abet Lamishield the highest performer.

Abet Lamishield is an anti-microbial laminate that incorporates silver-ions within the decorative layer. Utilising BioCote technology, it inhibits surface growth by 99.9%. It is one of the only certified anti-microbial laminates and when combined with good cleaning practices it is highly effective.

Where barriers or protection are needed, the Lathams guide recommends AcryBright, a lightweight clear acrylic sheet ideal for screens and sneeze guards. While costing slightly more than a standard piece of acrylic, it is more hardwearing, something that Steve believes makes it worth the investment.

He added: “These materials are going to be around for a while and will need to be cleaned more often, with higher strength cleaning chemicals. These chemicals can cause damage, from small surface scratches through to potential warping or clouding of the screen.

“This damage not only reduces the hygienic properties of the product but also affects its visual appeal. Why pay twice when there is a better option available now?”

Other categories within the guide include Compact Grade Laminates (CGLs) and Solid Surfaces, both highly recognised for their robustness and resistance to intensive cleaning regimes. Both products are solid sheet materials, which will not delaminate when exposed to the rigours of repeated cleaning with detergents and other chemicals. A range of options from market leading brands such as HIMACS®, Avonite, Kronospan, Egger and Xylocleaf mean that there are colours and textures to suit any design scheme.

Issued on behalf of James Latham by Liz Male Consulting Ltd.

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