Bookings are now open for a
national structural waterproofing conference, which has become a significant
event in the industry’s calendar.
Property Care Association’s fourth annual International Structural
Waterproofing conference takes place at The Slate, University of Warwick,
Coventry on 17 July, 2019.
dynamic programme – which includes a knowledge sharing hub, where experts and
the audience debate key industry issues and best practice – has seen the event
gain increasing recognition within the architectural, civil engineering and construction
well as professionals from these sectors, the event also attracts surveyors,
lawyers, public authorities, geologists, ground engineers and academics.
Last year’s conference included insights into high-profile
projects underground, technical details and an overview of liabilities and
responsibilities, with speakers including academics, practitioners and industry
went on the record books as the PCA’s biggest one-day conference to date, with
over 160 delegates attending.
year’s conference was also the first to be supported by specialist event technology
– the PCA Structural Waterproofing app – which helped amplify the conference’s
system played a key part in the proceedings, allowing delegates to ask
questions to the speakers throughout the day and in advance of the Q&A
sessions and panel debate.
conference is of appeal to both members and non-members alike.
James Berry, technical manager of the PCA, said: “The
structural waterproofing conference goes from strength to strength and the
speakers lined-up and the subjects being covered in 2019 are set to make this
year’s event a success too.
“The participants share a deep interest in this technical
subject, and in turn that creates the atmosphere for an interesting and
“Early booking is advised, as last year we were at
In the wake of tripled
turnover and the launch of a brand-new division, West Yorkshire-based Access
North Ltd is marking its biggest financial year to-date with an office
relocation, following a recruitment drive which has seen the team double in
Company owners, Berenice
and Daniel Northcott, credit the new Access North Build division – launched in
2018 – as the driving force behind the financial uplift, which has seen the
group generate £1.75m of revenue over the past 12 months.
To facilitate a marked
upturn in service demand, the firm has made eight new appointments since March
2018 and – having recently celebrated its eighth birthday – has now outgrown
the base it has called home since 2013.
As a result, the 13-strong
team recently moved to a larger space at the Park Valley Mills Business Park in
Lockwood, Huddersfield – the local regeneration project complimenting the
firm’s own commitment to breathing new life into existing spaces.
With a trio of team members
having been appointed in October 2018, a further three new faces have joined
the growing team of specialists in recent weeks. These include, Sales Project
Manager, Paul Crawford, Procedures and Operations Manager, Louis Aspeling, and
Business Admin Apprentice, Naomi Collins.
Access North Ltd managing
director, Berenice Northcott reflected on a positive year: “It goes without
saying that it’s been a brilliant year for us. With additional team members
joining us and an office move, we have high aims for the next 12 months.
“Access North Build has
enjoyed a fantastic start. Our work at Alsager School in Cheshire saw the team
pioneer an industry first – a lightweight steel space frame supporting an ETFE
membrane – while our work at Haggerston Castle in Northumberland has breathed
new life into an inspiring space.”
Established in 2011, Access
North Structures specialises in the installation, inspection and maintenance of
complex structures, ETFE facilities and tensile fabric canopies, via rope
Meanwhile, Access North
Build specialises in the design, engineering and construction of ETFE,
lightweight tensile fabric structures and structural glass roofs and facades –
across a variety of construction projects.
Grimsby-based Forbes Burton, a company rescue and
insolvency specialist has warned that ongoing uncertainty over Brexit means
more companies could be facing financial difficulties in the months to come.
This warning has come as
new figures from risk management specialists Red Flag Alert and The Insolvency
Service have been revealed, showing that almost 1 in 5 UK businesses are
classified as being in ‘significant distress’.
Rick Smith, Managing
Director at Forbes Burton says: “This is a real concern and should be taken
seriously. For example, in the Yorkshire and Humber area, companies with
Critical Problems (companies with County Court Judgements totalling £5,000 or
more) rose from 130 Q1 2018 to 172 Q1 2019 and in the East of England, which
includes Lincolnshire, the figures were up from 155 to 168 over the same
“The impact of the
uncertainty around Brexit is really starting to take hold now and we may see
even more increases in the number of businesses facing problems in the future.”
The construction industry,
usually used as a ‘bellweather’ for the UK economy showed a 9% increase in
businesses in financial difficulty. The East of England specifically showed a
6% increase from the from Q4 2018 to Q1 2019.
Rick added: “The hotels and
leisure industry have also been hit hard by Brexit uncertainty. The reduced
labour supply as the number of foreign workers falls and the cost of a 5%
increase in the national living wage has pushed 9% more hotel businesses into
financial distress as last year.”
Rick explains that the lack
of business travel could have had the biggest impact on hotel profits, as
businesses cut back on travel in light of the uncertainty over whether or not
the UK can scramble together a Brexit deal.
Premier Inn owner Whitbread
reported a 40% decrease in annual sales since the Brexit referendum and
blames lack of business travel as a major factor.
Rick continued: “Many
businesses have been preparing for a no-deal Brexit for a while now, but if you
haven’t, now is certainly the time.
“A no-deal Brexit has the
potential to seriously disrupt business in the UK for an extended period. Every
business should be ensuring that it has good cash flow and that all financial
accounts are up to date. Should the country hit a period of even more economic
uncertainty, it is essential that you know how healthy your business is and how
well you can weather out the Brexit storm.”
“It’s also a good idea to
check on your suppliers. I would always recommend you keep your options open.
If your most trusted clients start to feel the pressure, ensure you can fall
back to another more stable supplier. It’ll help keep your business strong and
prepared for the future.”
It isn’t too late for
businesses in the UK to find themselves back out of financial distress, as Rick
explains: “The UK economy is generally in good shape and we are seeing a record
number of people in employment. Hopefully, the government will be able to
provide greater certainty around Brexit over the next couple of months which
should increase confidence.”
A growing workplace
specialist is making an impact in sensor-based office space management, as
firms seek better returns on real estate and new ways of working and retaining
Hundreds of corporations
worldwide have introduced Abintra’s WiseNet system to monitor and manage the
use of desks, meeting rooms and other office spaces.
The patented system, two
years in the making, relies on industry-leading sensors that detect if anyone
is occupying a desk or a seat in a meeting room. The Wisenet software then
delivers a real-time visual display of space usage floor by floor. Crucially,
it gathers statistics over time that can be used to make space saving decisions
such as implementing desk sharing, how many desks are required and
rationalisation of office space. This in turn creates opportunities to
introduce new ways of working with wellbeing spaces, such as break out and cafe
Once a desk sharing system
has been implemented, the system delivers information on communal screens so
that employees can locate free desks, meeting rooms and other spaces.
Meanwhile, for managers, it
allows for ongoing review of space usage and for dealing with that trickiest of
tasks, managing use and abuse of meeting rooms. It displays information about
how many people, if any, are in a meeting room against booking information for
a better understanding of space requirement.
Abintra says Wisenet sets
the standard in space utilisation systems. Unlike competing solutions, it
doesn’t rely on employees to log on to a computer, upload an app to a phone or
carry a sensor around with them to sense that someone is using a space. Methods
like these have obvious drawbacks because they fall down if the employee
accidentally or on purposes fails to use them. They also raise the spectre of
employers spying on employees whereas the Wisenet sensors effectively record
that someone is in a space without reporting on what he or she is doing or his
or her identity.
Wisenet also scores against
systems using off-the-shelf sensors, because its purpose-built devices are more
precise and more discreet because they can be mounted underneath and at the
back of a desk rather than close to the edge. That precision is important
because it enables monitoring of other kinds of spaces than desks, notably
individual meeting room seats. Wisenet says other systems can’t match its
reliability in those areas and often amazed how companies get talked out of this
most important requirement.
Tony Booty, director at
Abintra, says: “Most organisations know they could reuse some space, probably a
lot of it, but fear staff won’t understand how that can happen without them
being cramped together. We can help. Instead of corporate real estate managers
being seen as the enemy by building users, we give you a way to prove what will
best support the requirement. Once people understand the statistics, they will
understand the solution, which can be a better environment with a variety of
spaces, better suited to the changing world of work.”
Wisenet maintains that any
organisation can benefit from reviewing its space utilisation, but the company
is typically called in when a corporation is going through a reorganisation,
restructure or merger, or when it is considering moving offices.
“Once you have the data,
you might discover you do not need to move to bigger premises, after all, but
if you do, you will have a much better understanding of how much space you need
in the new location,” says Tony Booty.
Banks, insurance companies
and local authorities are among those who have used Wisenet to inform decisions
about real estate, sometimes making huge savings in space usage and associated
costs. Another significant benefit that Abintra points to is staff retention
and reduced HR costs, by allowing customers to reconfigure floors for agile
working with collaborative spaces and even coffee shops.
When the system was used to
reconfigure one floor of an insurance company’s building, it opened the door to
staff welcoming a move to new offices where they knew all floors would be
configured that way.
There are other uses for
the data, including risk management, providing information on how much space
would be needed if an operation has to relocate because of an emergency such as
a flood. It can be used to plan efficient security routes and to reduce energy
costs and carbon footprint by managing heating and air conditioning based on
utilisation. The sensors record temperature as well as occupancy.
Perhaps the feature that
resonates most loudly with customers is accurate meeting room scheduling.
Unlike button systems or paper trails, the system reports on how many people,
if any, are in a meeting room at any time without those people being required
to do anything. One customer discovered a senior executive was routinely using
a large meeting room as an annex to his office. Another found that staff were
regularly booking pricey hotel meeting rooms in Belgravia when, contrary to
what their Intranet was telling them, there was meeting space free in the
apprentice, who was among the first to take part in a trade body’s pioneering
training programme within a specialist area of construction, has been named one
of the best trainees in the country.
Kris Marriott, aged 33, has won the Southern
Counties Apprentice of the Year accolade at the recent Southern Counties and
London Master Builder Awards.
From Biocraft UK – based in Reading – Kris will
now go up against other winning apprentices from across the UK for the chance
to win the coveted National Apprentice 2019 crown, as well as a cash prize of
£500 from the Federation of Master Builders. The result will be announced in
was among the first group of trainees to join the Property Care Association’s
NVQ Level 2 diploma in Insulation and Building Treatments (Wood Preserving and
Damp Proofing) apprenticeship in December 2015.
cohort took two years to complete their training, with a
programme including 21 days of offsite training held at the PCA’s dedicated
educational facility in Huntingdon.
and funded by CITB, the programme has gone from strength-to-strength since Kris
and the others in the first cohort were inducted.
has an industry-high retention rate of 91 per cent, with 18 students having
passed the NVQ and a further 17 currently going through the training.
programme provides a springboard into an area of construction not always
considered as a career option and draws in trainees from companies based across
the UK, in both PCA member and non-member organisations.
Jade Stocker, the PCA’s Training Manager, said: “We
are delighted that Kris’s work has been recognised at this level.
“It is a well-earned achievement and we wish him
luck in the next stage of the contest.”
to the PCA, new recruits to the property maintenance and preservation sector
are vital, to ensure the skills in this specialist area of construction are
retained and fine-tuned for the next generation.
say the apprenticeship is a valuable way of addressing a skills gap within the
property care industry.
programme covers important skills necessary to preserve and protect properties,
with insight into subjects including wet and dry rot, wood boring insects,
rising damp and timber treatments.
Kris Marriot said:
“I am really pleased to achieve this award.
“Previously I had
been a labourer with several other companies and when I joined Biocraft UK, I
asked Martin Fosbrook, the managing director, about an apprenticeship to
improve my job prospects.
was almost a return to education for me. It was daunting starting the training,
but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and never looked back.”
Kris has worked for Biocraft UK for 10
years and the company has an award-winning approach to staff development.
Last year the business secured the
Training and Staff Development title, at the PCA’s annual awards, held at The
Slate, University of Warwick, as well as a Highly Commended accolade in the
Outstanding Customer Service Category.
Run by Martin and Jill Fosbrook,
Biocraft UK carries out specialist damp-proofing, timber treatments and
basement waterproofing and conversions across Berkshire, Surrey, Hampshire and
said: “We are very proud of all that Kris has achieved.
are key to the development and success of our business. Kris’ award is
testimony to the opportunities and career satisfaction in our company and in
PCA apprenticeship is an excellent industry specific programme that meets the
needs of our business.”
The newly created Hard Asset Vendor section at
Henry Howard Finance have increased their team with two new appointments, to
support companies who offer finance solutions to their business
Ben Bennet, Senior Account Manager at Henry
Howard Finance, joins the team from DLL. Prior to this Ben held financial
roles spanning 25 years, at GE Capital.
Simon Dodd, Account Manager, has over 30 years
financial industry experience, and also previously held a role at GE Capital.
The Hard Asset Vendor team specialise in
working with dealers and manufacturers in the Construction, Materials Handling
and Transport sectors.
Henry Howard Finance provides dealers and
manufacturers access to industry leading technology, a dedicated sales support
service and innovative funding facilities, offering instant credit approval
decisions within their online leasing portal ‘HowApp’.
The Hard Asset Vendor team is spearheaded by
Marie Dunkley, who joined Henry Howard Finance in September from her role as UK
Sales Director for Construction, Transport and Industrial at DLL. Prior
to this Marie held senior roles at Hitachi Capital and GE Capital and has
previously won the NSA Sales Director of the Year Award.
Marie says: “I’m delighted to be heading up the
Hard Asset Vendor Team at Henry Howard Finance. The company’s
forward-thinking approach, customer centric ideals and growing own book lending
is already making waves in the industry, and I am excited to be part of their
journey to establish a stronger presence in Vendor Asset Finance. The
experience Ben and Simon add to the team is exceptional, and, coupled with our
flexible approach, we are looking forward to supporting even more companies
across the UK’.
pioneering procurement software company Market Dojo has saved international
support, construction and equipment services company, Interserve, £10 million
with the use of its software. Market Dojo provided software which enabled
Interserve to run an eAuction on fire and security services alongside Per
Angusta, which delivered remarkable results.
With a gross revenue of £3.7billion and a workforce of circa 75,000
worldwide, Interserve is a leader in innovative and sustainable outcomes for
its clients and is one of the world’s foremost construction equipment and
The team at www.MarketDojo.com were
approached by Interserve representatives at an international procurement event,
here they purchased a single £500 monthly licence with Market Dojo to run an
eAuction on Fire and Security Services.
Following their early success with the tool, Market Dojo, alongside 30
other competitive solutions were invited to a major tender to compete in
providing an enterprise solution that would be easy to adopt at all levels
across the Interserve organisation. Interserve landed on the decision to place
their trust in Market Dojo following the tender and a speedy start-up meant
that the international company saw near-immediate results from the plan
implemented by the MD team, in co-operation with Per Angusta.
Foregoing a traditional “Full-Suite” approach, Interserve instead
elected that the team at Market Dojo would take charge of e-Sourcing and
category planning, with Per Angusta providing Pipeline and Savings tracking
As a result, Interserve now has in excess of 80 active users on Market
Dojo and has saved over £10 million in the first 18 months since using the
procurement software company’s services. Post-implementation, the business has
been able to host a variety of Facilities Management tenders, including
maintenance, public displays and Health & Safety.
The solutions have negated the need for users to
enter information multiple times in more than one place and, due to their
intuitive user interface, very few training or skills materials were needed,
cutting down on wasted time.
Rob Barlow, procurement systems and process manager for Interserve
“Market Dojo, in collaboration with Per Angusta,
has exceeded our expectations, with a strong customer focus, continuous
innovation and proactive communication. We have already seen a number of
enhancements to both platforms in line with our needs, completing such projects
within a matter of months. We continue to have regular workshops and review
sessions and have already seen numerous success stories across the business.”
“Interserve is such a fantastic business and we
were ecstatic the results and return on investment were very evident. It has
been great working alongside them. We (alongside Per Angusta) managed to
implement a plan that was highly effective with a quick turnaround. We are
incredibly proud of the results we have seen and truly think they prove how
impactful our service can be.”
The European construction
industry is continuing to demonstrate encouraging growth, with Deloitte
forecasting that the market is on track to grow at a steady rate of 2.5 per
cent a year to 2022. With this continued growth, firms face increasing pressure
to deliver against rising demand, but it’s widely recognised that the
construction industry has a reputation for often delivering projects later than
expected and significantly over-budget. Large scale projects in particular can
typically take 20 per cent longer to complete than planned and can be up to 80
per cent over budget – so how can the industry adapt to fulfil these
ever-expanding expectations when current efficiency levels often leave a lot to
The adoption of new
technology and smarter processes can deliver tangible benefits for construction
firms, but there remains a fundamental stumbling block for those organisations
looking to capitalise on new innovation – a frequent lack of high speed,
portable and reliable Internet connectivity. It is therefore imperative that the
industry addresses these key issues as a matter of urgency so that firms can
gain access to the connectivity they need at new sites from day one.
site of the future
With rapid advances in
technology and the advent of cloud based solutions, the way we work and
interact has drastically changed. Technology innovation has led industries to
continually strive to be more efficient, productive and cost effective. Yet,
when it comes to the world of construction, investment in IT has remained low
in comparison to other industries. The market has been hampered by technical
challenges relating to projects that can be large, complex and geographically
dispersed. Combined with varying proficiency and maturity levels of smaller
subcontractors, advancing at scale has been difficult and has subsequently led
to the slow progress of the digitisation of the construction industry.
Despite these challenges,
the available technology in construction has advanced rapidly and we are now
starting to see examples of how advents in digital technology can deliver
efficiency and productivity opportunities at the start of all projects – truly
revolutionising the construction sites of the past. Drones, robotics, 3D
printing and augmented reality are no longer works of fiction but can be
adopted by forward thinking firms looking to capitalise on the benefits that
embracing innovation can bring to the construction site.
Connectivity is a necessity
for businesses in virtually every industry and construction is no exception.
Crucially, this is still one fundamental hurdle that the industry must overcome
if it is to create a solid foundation for all new innovation.
Technology that is crucial
for the industry to innovate and keep up with demand, cannot function without
high speed, portable and reliable internet connection, but gaining access to
connectivity can be a challenge for new sites, particularly those that are
located in a Green or Brownfield location where there is typically no existing
connection. Often, a fixed line is simply not an option and the reliability of
4G is still patchy, even as talk around the possibilities of 5G continue to
dominate the headlines.
The construction industry
cannot continue to utilise outdated processes and management methods but
instead must embrace digital advances and adopt smarter processes and
technology to stay competitive. But there is no way that the construction sites
of the future will ever become a reality unless the industry can conquer the
basics of connectivity.
So, how can construction
firms ensure that a strong and stable connection is established quickly at a
new site to ensure lack of connectivity does not negatively impact on projects?
By working with an ecosystem of experienced and trusted providers who can supply
the connectivity and IoT services that sites require. The industry will then be
able to continually benefit from the opportunities that the latest advances in
innovation present. The potential rewards to firms that capitalise on
digitisation will be instantaneous.
Range hoods help you to ventilate your kitchen workspace.
Ventilation is particularly important for homeowners with gas stoves since it
helps to dissipate gases and smoke for the sake of safety, as well as grease
and odours in the kitchen.
Many homeowners rely on their over the range microwaves to vent smoke and odours. This is excellent for kitchens that are low on space and need their appliances to do double duty. However, a nice hood vent tends to rank high on many homeowners’ kitchen remodelling wish list. Hood vents have a stylish appeal that can draw attention and make a statement in the kitchen.
19 April 2019: Scotland’s international centre of manufacturing expertise is a
step closer to being realised following the appointment of the design team.
The National Manufacturing Institute Scotland
(NMIS), hosted by the University
of Strathclyde, aims to make Scotland
a global leader in advanced manufacturing. By bringing industry, research and
the wider public sector together it will drive productivity and skills
a leading design and architecture practice with
studios in Glasgow, has
been appointed to lead a design team including Waterman Civil & Structural
Engineers, Davie + McCulloch Building Services Engineers and Robinson Low
Francis LLP Cost Mangers, whilst HLM will also be providing landscape
architecture and interior design services. Turner and Townsend have been
appointed as Project Managers under the University’s Framework Agreement.
As an industry-led international centre for
manufacturers, NMIS, adjacent to Glasgow International Airport, will include a Digital
Factory 2050, Manufacturing Skills Academy and collaborative working spaces; complementing
the existing University of Strathclyde’s Advanced
Forming Research Centre (AFRC).
will offer Scottish businesses access to expert services, advanced demonstrator
facilities and training programmes focused on innovative manufacturing. As a
national hub, it will be available to companies of all sizes and sectors,
enabling them to be more globally competitive.
will be the anchor for the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland
(AMIDS), which will benefit from a £39 million investment to provide the
enabling infrastructure, funded through the Glasgow City Region Deal.
Ross Barrett, Associate HLM, said: “HLM
and the design team are excited to be working closely with the University of
Strathclyde and their partners to develop the new NMIS facility. This is a huge
opportunity to create an innovative, flexible and collaborative environment
which will help inspire and attract industry partners and academics alike,
reducing barriers to innovation.”
The £65 million plus investment includes £48
million from the Scottish Government and £8m from the University of Strathclyde
as well as £9 million in the Lightweight Manufacturing Centre which is a first
phase of NMIS. The phase 1 construction value is expected to be in the region
of £38 million.