With the roadmap out of national lockdown now firmly in mind, many people who have worked from home during the pandemic will be looking forward to returning to work.
That may mean very different things for different companies, however. While some sectors have suffered badly during times of lockdown and social restrictions, others have managed to thrive.
You may be a business owner that has seen success over the past year, but it may have left your previous premises unable to handle your newfound size, staffing or stock requirements.
If so, temporary buildings could offer you a quick and affordable solution. Here are some of the benefits.
If the departure from lockdown continues at its current pace, you may well need new or extended premises in a hurry.
Rather than get tangled up in a protracted deal for a new bricks-and-mortar office, shop or facility, temporary buildings give you the chance to move or extend in a matter of weeks, or maybe even days.
They can be constructed, to your specification, in timeframes that won’t affect your business and can help people get back to work faster.
Many businesses do not anticipate a sudden return to previous working schedules, with working from home set to remain a part of our lives for a long time to come.
There may well be social distancing measures to consider, and a temporary extension will allow you to implement this until a permanent solution is found.
The versatility of the buildings also extends to their use. Whether it is as office space, storage or something else required by your business.
Purchasing new business property does not come cheap, but temporary buildings tend to be much more affordable when comparing those of similar sizes, uses and specifications.
Adding new premises to your company’s portfolio at a more affordable rate will buy you a new space and the time to find a better deal on a site your business can move to in the long-term later on down the line.
They may come at a lower price point, but that does not mean that you have to give up on the high standards of your business and its employees with temporary buildings.
They can be built with fully operating electrical, aircon and plumbing systems, meaning you and your staff don’t have to skip on amenities and breakout areas.
A workforce that operates in comfort is likely to be more productive and focused on the job at hand. Opting for temporary buildings with all the facilities of a regular structure can bring that to your business.
Are you thinking about expanding your premises in the future?Continue Reading
We have joined forces with TaxScouts to bring you more information about the UK’s Construction Industry Scheme.
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What is the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)
The Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) is used by HMRC to collect income tax from subcontractors in the construction industry.
You’re eligible to register for the scheme if you’re a self-employed construction worker. If you’re a full-time employee, the scheme does not apply to you. You can check with your company to confirm which bracket you fall under.
In the past, self-employed construction workers (subcontractors) were paid in cash. The difficulties in keeping track of this led HMRC to create the Construction Industry Scheme in 1971, allowing them to tax subcontractors’ earnings as soon as they were paid out by their contractors.
Why register for CIS if you work as a subcontractor in construction?
If you’re registered for the scheme, you will have only 20% tax deducted from your salary, rather than 30% that is deducted for those who aren’t registered.
What is the CIS rebate?
The 20% deduction usually works out as more than you owe in tax, so subcontractors can claim back a CIS tax rebate from HMRC in the April of the following tax year. For most CIS construction workers, the average refund is about £2,500.
Example of how CIS works:
Big Woodworks Ltd hires John Carpenter on their site as a subcontractor. Every month John is owed £1,500 pounds for his work.
Every month the company pays £300 (20% of the £1,500) to HMRC as John’s taxes
The company sends a CIS statement or payslip to John as proof
The company pays the remaining £1,200 to John as payment for his work.
How do CIS refunds work?
In the example above, John’s annual income was £18,000 (£1,500 * 12).
John technically owes HMRC £2,370.20 (£1,230 Income tax + £1,015 national insurance).
However, throughout the year Big Woodworks Ltd paid £3,600 in taxes on John’s behalf!
John is now due a refund.
Construction Workers can quickly calculate how big your CIS tax rebate is and what expenses you can claim. Sometimes you can claim expenses even without receipts – use this calculator to see if you qualify.Continue Reading
Asbestos was fully banned in the UK construction industry in 1999 and was the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK. Any building built before 2000 could potentially contain it. Here is one of the main asbestos-related illnesses and who could be affected.
With the UK being one of the targeted regions for highest rates of mesothelioma in the world, it’s important to know where the disease can come from.
This disease is caused mainly due to the permittance of asbestos use long after other countries had struck a law against using the mineral.
Global shipbuilding used multiple different asbestos related products to insulate the vessels, including those used in the British Armed Forces. Back in the 1980s it was considered an ideal material to insulate with and would be used in walls, floors, ceilings and even engine and boiler rooms.
Some of these rooms were used for sleeping in, which meant occupants would be exposed for long periods of time and could have inhaled airborne asbestos fibres.
Most of the UK residents who die from the disease are men aged over 65, however some younger people have been diagnosed due to second-hand exposure and because of indirect contact with asbestos materials.
Women are also exposed to asbestos indirectly due to living in areas near asbestos factories or having contact with people who have worked with asbestos.
Why was asbestos used?
Obviously looking back now, using asbestos was a damaging material for society and has caused more trouble than good. But before the issues surrounding asbestos were known, it was a useful building material due to it being cheap, strong, widely available and great at insulating buildings and ship vessels.
It was also fire and heat resistant so would offer some protection against the spreading of fires if one were to break out, and could also absorb sound better, which was favourable amongst terraced housing. At its peak it was used in over 3000 products, including mattresses and even cement.
Who is at risk?
People who have worked in the shipbuilding industry prior to 1980 and have served aboard a ship that contains asbestos are at more risk of developing asbestos exposure related mesothelioma. When a ship is repaired or maintained, or even retro-fitted, there is a risk of the asbestos fibres becoming airborne which then causes the chance of developing an asbestos-related disease.
Construction workers in the UK are also a high-risk group, mainly because the asbestos use was so prevalent for so long in older buildings and residences. Structures built or renovated before the 2000s are likely to contain asbestos, so when undergoing maintenance or refurbishments on these types of buildings extra care should be taken.
Other likely occupation groups that could be exposed to asbestos are:
- Roofing Contractors
- Demolition teams
- HVAC Engineers
- Pipe Fitters
- Maintenance workers
Essentially, anyone who has prolonged exposure to a building erected or refurbished before 2000s in the UK could potentially be exposed to asbestos. If you are concerned it is important to ask your manager or owner of the building to provide background information, or if this isn’t known, to have the building surveyed for any evidence of possible asbestos.
If you think you have been exposed to asbestos and would like to make a claim due to an illness that isn’t your fault, contact a solicitor and inform them of your situation.Continue Reading
Due to their unique combination of durability and reduced weight, hollowcore floors are proving an excellent option for residential builds, be they houses, apartments or even care homes. Here we look at seven benefits of hollowcore flooring, and how the method counteracts some of the most common flooring issues in both the short and long term.
1. Quick and Easy Installation
Because the large floor planks are pre-made, hollowcore is the quickest way to construct an entire floor by craning. Due to the hollowed-out, longitudinal voids, the product is also lightweight, making it even easier to install. The completed floor also provides an immediately safe working surface for follow-on trades, potentially reducing the timespan of the overall project.
Hollowcore floors typically span greater distances than timber, giving the designer more options to play with. Any subsequent alterations at a later date can be carried out without the need for any further structural work. Internal block partition walls can easily be built on top of the floor and don’t require any additional support.
3. Flood Resistant
With building on floodplains becoming more prevalent in the UK due to diminishing space, it is imperative for materials to be suitable for their environment. Unlike timber, in the event of a flash flood, concrete floors dry out quickly and efficiently to remain sturdily in place.
4. Fire Resistant
Concrete is inherently fireproof, which has two key benefits. First, there is no requirement for anti-fire chemical treatment whatsoever. And most importantly, in addition to the fact that it won’t burn or melt, the concrete’s thermal capacity absorbs heat, reducing the flames’ spread. All in all, this adds up to an evacuation time which is four times longer than that of a timber floor.
5. Pest Resistant
Another issue with timber it is susceptibility to common pests, such as vermin and termites. Concrete has no nutritional value to sustain such creatures, keeping them uninterested and out of the way. Concrete is also resistant to rot.
6. Sound Insulation
In a residential home, particularly with a family, something that can often go unchecked but later become a matter of significance is the volume of noise between rooms and floors. Concrete floors provide sound insulation between floors and, due to their density, will never cause squeaking or creaking as a wooden floorboard would. Furthermore, as previously mentioned, concrete floors offer freedom when erecting partition walls, which also contribute towards noise reduction throughout the building.
7. Eco Friendly
Concrete floors are energy efficient and help to balance internal temperatures, eliminating the need for air conditioning, which has been shown to have a negative impact on the environment. In the same vein, fewer draughts means less need for the heating to be on. In addition to this, hollowcore floors also have long-term benefits for the environment, as they are 100% recyclable.
Hollowcore is a cost-effective method suitable for steel, concrete or masonry constructions. As highlighted in this article, they’re built to last, and the immediate benefits they offer will remain present within their new building for many years to come.Continue Reading
The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has confirmed its continued commitment to supporting the Construction Talent Retention Scheme (CTRS) for the industry and is working with CITB and others to support its ongoing development, including a new ‘Talentview’ early careers offering to support the attraction of new talent into the construction industry.
The scheme will remain completely free to use for all construction businesses and candidates until at least April 2022.
So far, CTRS has promoted 8,675 vacancies directly from construction companies across a wide range of roles, both site and office-based, professional and trade, and including many jobs suitable for people with transferrable skills who could be attracted into construction from other sectors such as aviation, retail, hospitality and leisure. It has also supported many larger organisations with internal redeployment programmes.
CTRS is estimated to have saved businesses more than £485,000 to date, based on typical recruitment costs, together with further savings achieved through internal redeployment placements facilitated through the system.
Currently there are more than 1,700 live vacancies being promoted on the CTRS site and more than 1,600 individual candidates registered. Almost three quarters of the employers registered on the scheme are SMEs, but the CTRS has also received strong backing from bigger firms such as MACE, Sir Robert McAlpine, Kier Group, Barratt Developments, AECOM and Costain.
As part of an ongoing investment to help tackle skills shortages and attract new talent into the industry, the CTRS will also broaden its support for early careers provision from next month, including help for employers and candidates interested in developing apprenticeships, graduate recruitment and work experience opportunities.
Linked to CTRS and other related platforms, Talentview Construction will make it easy for those searching for a career in construction to join, helping to address the predicted demand for additional roles to support the industry’s predicted growth and its drive towards net zero.
Mark Reynolds, the CLC lead on skills, said:
“The CTRS was set up last year as a rapid response measure to mitigate any loss of people and skills from the industry caused by Covid-19, having learned what happened in previous recessions. We thank the Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy, CITB, major employers and others for their support.
“While there have obviously been redundancies in our sector, we have also seen a high level of skills retention and redeployment work too, including the fantastic employer response to retaining apprentices.
“The level of support and collaboration from the breadth of the sector has given us the confidence to develop further an industry-wide portal for talent management. Talentview Construction, an addition to CTRS, will soon provide a shop window for all those wishing to enter the industry as new entrants and career changers – a real opportunity to attract the new skills we need and to improve the diversity of the industry.”Continue Reading
Building a house for the first time can be a gruelling yet rewarding process. Whether you intend to live in it, rent it out or sell it on, you have the satisfaction of creating something that may stand for centuries, caters precisely to your tastes, and will enrich the lives of whoever goes on to live there.
However, building a house for the first time involves so many different elements and disciplines that it’s easy to make mistakes – even if you’re not the one holding the hammer. Here are some common errors made by first-time house builders, so you can avoid and diagnose them before they snowball into bigger problems.
Choosing the wrong builders
Unless you plan on doing all of the construction yourself, you’ll probably be enlisting the help of some builders. Depending on how you are going about your house build, this may take a few different forms. If you want the entire process to be managed by a construction company, you will likely be dealing with sales agents who will show you around model homes, and give you prices for the basics and upgrades. If you want to be more hands-on, you can take responsibility for things like sourcing materials, and hire people to bring you plans to life.
If you choose to go the sales agent route, you should explore as many options as possible, and get a sense of the prices involved. The level of detail that agents tend to go into when quoting prices often varies, with some being more upfront (and organised) than others. A good agent will be clear about how much upgrades cost above the ‘base price’ of the home, and which elements of the model home are upgrades. They will also provide costs in detail and explain the whole process in advance of the build.
If you intend to take more control of the project, it’s likely you’ll have building plans which you can use to obtain your own cost estimates, which can then be included in your tender to potential builders. In both cases, it’s wise to look at projects they’ve worked on before, get a sense of average prices in the area, and discuss your requirements with them in depth. Choose the wrong builder and fail to go through these processes, and you may end up with something that’s over-time, over budget and fails to live up to your plans.
Undervaluing cost estimation
The basis for any new house build is a detailed cost estimate. This process will take into account the materials and labour you plan to use as well as any ancillary costs, and give you both a breakdown of figures and an estimate of the time required to complete the build. This is often relied on as a roadmap for house builds, from laying the foundations to the finishing touches, and is something you can refer back to and even amend as the project proceeds.
The worst thing you can do is to ignore the importance of high-quality cost estimation, or recruit builders who do not make best use of it themselves. A reliable breakdown, which can be obtained swiftly via an online estimating service, will often save you far more money than the estimate itself costs, as it allows you to reliably source materials and labour using local price guides. This can be invaluable as a precursor to hiring builders, as it will give you a sense of what similar projects are supposed to cost, and allow you to avoid unfair estimates.
One of the biggest issues people encounter when building a house for the first time is that they run over-time, meaning that even though they may have the necessary materials, parts of the administrative process or setbacks on-site cost them more money in labour. A reliable cost estimate will help you to avoid this by factoring in potential delays, and easing the administrative burden by providing a detailed breakdown of all the materials and processes involved in the build.
Ignoring legal requirements
It’d be nice to think that you can just buy a plot of land, plonk a house down and be done with it. Unfortunately, the realities of modern construction are slightly more complex, and involve a lot more paperwork. Numerous authorities have to be involved somewhere in the planning and construction processes, and failing to consult with them all – and get permission to complete every part of your build – could lead to extra costs, and even demolition in the future.
If you’re managing the build yourself, the first thing you’ll need to consider is a soil survey. This isn’t so much a legal requirement as it is plain sensible. While your cost estimation may factor in standard foundations, it’s possible that your house will require a more complex solution. Your first port of call on this should be your council’s building control department, who will have experience with the local ground conditions. They will often ask to perform a free physical check to confirm that your plot is of the expected quality.
The next thing you will need to confirm is the legal status of your plot, and whether there are any passages through it that need to be maintained, such as easements or ancient rights of way (e.g. public footpaths). It’s also vital that you liaise with the local council on planning permissions, and submit your plans to a local planning officer. The former will normally require the services of a solicitor, while the latter will require you to work with architects to formalise and submit your plans.
You will also need to consider how to connect vital services such as water and power to your new property. It may be that they need to pass through someone else’s property to get to yours, in which case you will require a ‘way leave agreement’. Every service you connect to will have an associated cost, and it may be that you can only connect to them in certain places. To ascertain this, you should contact the lead water and energy providers in your area to discuss the build, and options to connect your new home (if you don’t know who they are, your building control officer should be able to help).
The mistakes you make when building a house for the first time can range from not factoring in roof tiles or paint jobs, to having to completely rebuild your roof because it’s taller than the specified limit. As with anything, quality planning is key – particularly keeping across your costs and timescales. By investing in quality cost estimation and communicating with all the relevant authorities at an early stage, you can avoid unwanted surprises, and build the dream home you always wanted.
This post was contributed by Oliver Wilcox, Estimating Director at Proquant – a leading UK provider of construction cost estimations onlineContinue Reading
Housebuilders are you ready? The Housebuilder Challenge is BACK! The days are getting longer, the first signs of spring are showing, and the outdoors is calling. It’s time to turn off your screens, escape the four walls of home working or the dust of the building site and dig out your walking boots. On Friday 9th July, the Housebuilder Challenge will see housebuilders, as well as suppliers and subcontractors to the industry, take on a 10 Peaks Challenge in the stunning Brecon Beacons National Park.
As the restrictions of lockdown, home working and limited travel ease, the Housebuilder Challenge provides the perfect opportunity to meet up with colleagues face to face and take on the ultimate team challenge. Who doesn’t like a bit of friendly competition?!
Teams of between 4 and 6 will hike a route of 34 kilometres with a total of 1,695m ascent over 10 hours and include iconic peaks such as Pen Y Fan, Corn Du and Fan y Big. This is a walk in the park of a different kind and in taking on the challenge you will be not only building better futures for vulnerable young people, but also giving staff the opportunity to get outside, focus on their well being for a day, team build and network.
Mark Davey, CEO of the Youth Adventure Trust says: “After a year of people being more isolated from their colleagues than ever before, this is an opportunity for companies in the housebuilding and construction sectors to actually get their employees outside and bring teams together again in a Covid-safe way. It’s also a chance to remind people of the importance of getting outdoors for better mental health and wellbeing, network with others in the sector and position your brand as one which genuinely believes in ‘building better futures’”.
John Mann, MD Redrow Homes South Midlands said:
“Just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for arranging such a fantastic event. Having attended lots of outdoor activity events I was impressed with your overall efficient & professional organisation which was clearly evident at all times & undoubtedly helped make the weekend such a success.”
The Housebuilder Challenge is now in its third year and has to date raised over £275,000 for the Youth Adventure Trust. The charity uses outdoor adventure as a platform to help some of the most vulnerable young people aged 11 – 15 build resilience, develop confidence and learn the skills they need to face the challenges in their lives. Taylor Wimpey, Redrow Homes, Barratt, Crest Nicholson, Bloor Homes, Galliford Try have all taken part in the past.
Thanks to event sponsorship by Taylor Wimpey and other companies, all the funds raised by teams will be channelled towards enabling more young people to benefit from the charity’s three-year programme. The challenges they face have been further exacerbated by the stress, anxiety and isolation of Covid 19 and lockdown. This challenge will raise vital funds to enable our young people to fulfil their potential and build better futures.
There are a few team places left so don’t miss out! To find out more and to sign up for the ultimate team building and housebuilding network event of 2021, visit https://www.youthadventuretrust.org.uk/housebuilders or contact Philippa Cox on email@example.com
The Youth Adventure Trust is a registered charity which works with vulnerable young people aged 11-15. Its specially designed Programme spans 3 school years and uses outdoor adventure to enable participants to build resilience, develop confidence and learn skills that will last a lifetime. You can find out more about their work at www.youthadventuretrust.org.uk
Taylor Wimpey, Crest Nicholson Dandara, Tile Mountain, EcoWorld International, Kaboodle and Ecofficiency are just some of the companies that are signed up and ready to don their walking boots. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to join them!Continue Reading