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Climbing up the building career ladder

This week is National Careers Week – an opportunity for people (young and old) up and down the country to give some thought to their future career and increase their understanding of how they can land their dream job.

Building surveying as a career choice would appear to be relatively Brexit-proof. A recent survey of industry salaries by Building magazine and the recruitment firm, Hays, found that as a result of skills shortages, salaries in building surveying are rising more rapidly than inflation. Specifically, the survey showed that the average salary for a senior surveyor is £46,125 – 3.5% above the national average increase, and for an associate building surveyor, £54,583 (3.4% above).

Data compiled in relation to the survey also demonstrated a wealth of career opportunities in the sector, highlighting the case of engineer Mott MacDonald, which has more than 800 vacancies (80%-90% of them UK based) across its 6,500-strong EU business.

Trident Building Consultancy – one of Property Week’s 50 Best Places to Work in 2018 – values graduate recruitment, staff development and career progression highly. Trident is keen to invest in its graduates, paying for training and RICS fees during the APC process, and is also happy to accommodate those who wish to work part time. Here, some of our employees share their experiences:

Case study: Usmaan Mehboob is currently completing his APC in Trident’s Leeds office

I moved to Trident from a large national firm and into the role of assistant building surveyor. My previous role was assisting on a project for a national housing association and I soon realised that I needed to gain wider experience in order to achieve my APC.

When I arrived at Trident, they knew my experience was limited, so they sent a more experienced colleague with me at first to make sure I knew what I was doing. They showed me the ropes on the first day, then leave me to it. Over the past twelve months, I’ve developed both the understanding and confidence to carry out a range of services on my own.

As a practising Muslim, I pray five times a day and Trident has been so good in making this possible – providing a space for me in the office and acknowledging my faith in a positive way.

Case study: Associate Director Vicky Green has moved swiftly up the career ladder and is exceling at the forefront of property technology

I did a degree in Building Surveying, which included an industry placement, and then joined a national surveying firm. Once I’d completed by APC, I was made a senior surveyor and I joined Trident in 2015. My role also has a strong emphasis on all things PropTech: I have been tasked with expanding our use of technology to provide an enhanced service to the consultancy’s expanding client base.

Over the past few years I’ve been really pleased to introduce new systems to the company, improving the efficiency and the quality of building surveying, and also our other service lines. The deployment of these simple yet powerful tools means that Trident can provide a level of independence to clients; our clients can now manipulate their own data and create reports that are actually useful, ensuring that the most accurate results are given, which has resulted in an increase in repeat business.

In addition to product development, I’ve taken on the challenge of speaking at conferences, chairing events and contributing to RICS guidance notes. I’ve also enjoyed supporting and mentoring new graduates at the company – making sure that competent junior staff excel, regardless of who they are.

Case study: Muhammad Hamzah completed a unique accelerated degree from the University of Salford and is now an Assistant Building Surveyor at Trident.

When I first applied to study at Salford, it was for a standard three-year degree, but as soon as the Accelerated Degree programme was offered, I had to take it up.

The idea that you could gain the same amount of knowledge in less time was really appealing to me. In my eyes, I was still being given the opportunity to learn such valuable information, with the bonus of moving into the industry quicker. I’m very lucky that it’s worked out exactly that way for me, as I moved straight into a job from university.

I think people misunderstand the structure of your year when you’re on the Accelerated Degree Programme, as you do get time off. It’s not the four months off like other students have, instead we have several weeks off at certain points of the year such as Christmas and Easter. We also get a summer break, around two or three weeks. All-in-all the two years aren’t as intense as people may think.

I’m now a graduate building surveyor at Trident and I’m loving it. About a month ago I started my training to become a Chartered Building Surveyor. This will take me two years and will broaden my career prospects.

If you’re interested in joining Trident Building Consultancy visit www.tridentbc.com and contact recruitment@tridentbc.com

Trevor Dowd, Executive Director, Trident Building Consultancy

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New product manager joins the ARRONE brand at HOPPE

HOPPE has appointed Jonathan Walker as ARRONE product manager.

Jon has over 25 years’ experience in the door and window hardware industry, specialising in new product development and market research. He has previously worked for Paddock Fabrications and Yale, and joins HOPPE (UK) from Avantis International where he was group sales and marketing director.

Jon says:

“In the short time I’ve been with HOPPE, I’ve seen the wealth of experience and the volume of knowledge that the technical teams have; they are a real authority on what they do. I’m looking forward to tapping into this, and talking to customers to find out exactly what they want and need from ironmongery products to ensure that we tick all right boxes.

“My aim is to give our customers confidence that they can choose any product from the ARRONE range and that it will always be of the highest-quality and tested beyond industry standards. Whether it is a product that has been tried and tested for years or a product we’ve recently added to the range, they will get the same exacting standard of quality.”

Based in Wolverhampton, HOPPE (UK) Ltd is a market leader in door and window hardware. As a member of HOPPE Group, HOPPE (UK) provides architectural hardware products that have been tested to meet the most stringent European and British standards.

www.hoppe.co.uk

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Austrian summer school shares pioneering approach at Futurebuild

Visitors to Futurebuild can learn about the unique attributes of the Green.Building.Solutions. summer university, which has become a magnet for architects and building professionals who want to understand how to put the environment first in their careers.

Representatives from OeAD-Housing Office will be at the London expo to share insight and information on the award-winning programme, from the Advantage Austria pavilion, stand number B100.

Green.Building.Solutions. (GBS) takes place in Vienna this year from July 20 to August 11, with the city providing a live case study in passive house developments and sustainable, smart city expertise.

In 2018, GBS attracted 42 participants from 27 different countries to the Austrian capital, and with all study and social activities carried out in English, the not-for profit programme is well-suited to participants from the UK and Ireland.

This year the OeAD-Housing Office – part of Austria’s national agency for international mobility and cooperation in education, science and research – will once again provide a unique opportunity for global collaboration between like-minded individuals.

Participants develop new skills and inspiration to design and build sustainable cities, through workshops, lectures, fact-finding visits and also gain insight from world-leading academics.

The knowledge accrued is then channelled into a group work project, where teams design homes of the future, with the environment in mind.

The project work brings together different elements of international thought, with features including a greater emphasis on social interaction and connectivity within buildings, measures to adapt to a changing climate and the innovative use of sustainable materials.

Places are limited for the programme, which is relevant to students and professionals alike in the fields of architecture and the built environment, including construction management, project management, building engineering and surveying.

Günther Jedliczka, CEO of the OeAD-Housing Office, said: “GBS attracts like-minded people who aspire to make the world a better place through the built environment.

“Those taking part gain the understanding and inspiration to apply their learning throughout their careers and build an international network of other professionals with the same outlook.”

Run in association with six national partners who contribute to the content, including Vienna’s BOKU University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences and the Vienna University of Technology – and supported by a further 21 universities around the world – the course is priced at €2,490 for professionals and €2,000 for students.

This cost includes all social activities, lessons and tours, as well as accommodation for participants throughout the duration of GBS in one of OeAD’s passive house student residences – giving an added perspective to participants’ experiences in Vienna.

The accommodation is also included as part of the fee for almost a week after the programme, enabling those taking part to explore the city at leisure.

As well as GBS, the OeAD-Housing Office also operates the Alternative Economic and Monetary Systems programme (AEMS).

AEMS analyses how economic, political, monetary and environmental factors need to change to be more sustainable and takes place from July 24 to August 9, 2019.

More details about GBS can be found at https://summer-university.net/study-abroad/green-building-solutions-vienna/

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IronmongeryDirect listed in Top 350 internet retailers

UK’s leading supplier of ironmongery to the trade, IronmongeryDirect, has been named as one of the top internet retailers in the UK.

The company has appeared, for the first time, in the Internet Retailing UK Top 500, entering within the first 350 businesses.

The IRUK Top 500 report ranks retailers by revenue, store networks and website traffic as well as undertaking in-depth analysis into an organisation’s approach to customers.

Wayne Lysaght-Mason, Managing Director at IronmongeryDirect, said while they had experienced their best financial year to date, the Basildon-based wholesaler was not resting on its laurels – with further expansion planned in 2019 and beyond.

He said: “We are thrilled to have made it into the IRUK Top 500 internet retailers. To be included in a list of companies that consist of the likes of Amazon, John Lewis and Argos is a great reflection of our achievements and is an indication of the positive direction that IronmongeryDirect is heading in.

“In the digital age where the standard 9-5 working hours are becoming less applicable, IronmongeryDirect is leading the way and continually evolving our business strategy, placing our customers firmly at the centre.”

IronmongeryDirect has recently completed a major expansion of its warehouse and is preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary later this year.

Wayne continued: “The expansion has enabled us to improve our service offering whilst continuing to grow our product range, bringing the total range to over 17,000 products.

This further cements our position as the leading supplier of ironmongery and related products to the trade in the UK.

IronmongeryDirect is the UK’s largest specialist ironmongery supplier, with over 17,000 products in stock, available for next day delivery when you order by 8pm Sunday to Friday and by 4pm on Saturday. Free delivery is available on orders over £45 together with free returns.

For more information, visit IronmongeryDirect.com or call their team of specialist advisors on 0800 168 28 28.

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National Apprenticeship Week sees firms still slow to train next generation

A leading provider to major construction and utilities firms, Develop Training Limited (DTL), says too few businesses are making a commitment to apprenticeships despite government initiatives to promote them.

DTL, which has centres in Linlithgow near Edinburgh, Romford, York, Derby, Bolton, Swindon and Lisburn, Northern Ireland, highlighted the issue while giving its backing to National Apprenticeship Week 2019, which runs from 4 to 9 March.

In the run up to the week, the government launched a new promotional campaign, Blaze A Trail, to convince more individuals, families and employers to embrace apprenticeships. Previous initiatives have included Trailblazer Apprenticeships in England and the controversial Apprenticeship Levy.

Yet DTL points out that government statistics for the academic year 2017/18 showed a drop of almost a quarter in the number of apprenticeship starts.

John Kerr, DTL’s Director of Training & Education, said: “It’s clear that businesses in the construction and utility sectors – in common with other industries – have not committed to apprenticeships as enthusiastically as the government hoped. The difference with some industries is that we face an enormous skills gap in construction and utilities, so it’s crucial that the sector responds, including embracing apprenticeships. The levy was intended to nudge them in the right direction but so far, if anything, it has had the opposite effect.”

He highlighted comments from senior HR professionals at DTL’s Industry Skills Forums that the levy had caused confusion and even suspicion with some delegates labelling it a stealth tax. Others said the chance to recoup the levy was not enough incentive when set against the long-term commitment to run an apprenticeship programme.

The training company, whose customers includes some of the biggest names in water, gas, electricity and construction, hopes that attitudes are changing.

“We and our customers have no doubt that, managed well, apprenticeships do work,” said Mr Kerr. “Businesses have now had nearly two years to decide how to respond to the levy, and in April the funds that big firms have paid in will begin to be taken by the Treasury. That should refocus attention on the question of apprenticeships.”

He said it wasn’t clear how uncertainty around Brexit, including the availability of foreign workers, and concerns about global economic slowdown would affect decisions about apprenticeships and other HR programmes.

“There have been reports of a contraction in the construction sector because investors are delaying decisions, but that doesn’t mean the UK can afford to put its infrastructure on hold,” said Mr Kerr.

He said the rise of offsite construction was an opportunity to develop apprenticeships in a factory environment, which is easier than on construction sites. The continuing housing shortage could also lead to incentives by this government or a future one to stimulate building through any potential recession.

“Whatever happens to the economy, we need a new generation of skilled operatives to replace an ageing workforce,” said Mr Kerr. “If we delay making a commitment to apprenticeships for whatever reason, that would be a serious mistake. I hope that National Apprenticeship Week and the campaigns around it will help to generate momentum so that more businesses invest in what are highly cost-effective ways to deliver a loyal and skilled workforce. As approved providers under the levy, we are 100 per cent committed to do all we can to ensure that this happens and to help our customers to maximise their return on investment in people.”

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Campaign to tackle plastics and packaging in construction launched

Survey reveals shocking use of plastics and packaging in construction

18 February 2019: The Considerate Constructors Scheme has launched its industry-wide campaign ‘Spotlight on…plastics and packaging’ to raise awareness and showcase best practice in how the construction industry can reduce, reuse and recycle plastics and packaging.

The launch of the campaign – which features on the industry’s Best Practice Hub – comes in response to startling findings from a Scheme survey of over 900 people working within the UK and Irish construction industries.

The survey discovered that although over 95% of respondents said the industry needs to be doing something to reduce its consumption of plastics and packaging, over half of respondents (51%) have little understanding of the rules and regulations surrounding plastics and packaging, and only 44% know how to recycle different plastic and packaging materials.

The survey also revealed that:

  • 98% said the over-consumption of plastics and packaging is a global issue.
  • 92% believe plastics and packaging are extremely dangerous to the environment.
  • 81% said the construction industry is not doing enough to reduce its consumption of plastics and packaging.
  • 31% said they frequently use plastics and packaging that cannot be reused or recycled.

With the construction industry being the second largest consumer of plastics in the UK, it is imperative that the construction industry reconsiders the way it consumes and disposes of plastics and packaging to protect the environment and all life.

The Scheme is calling on all construction sites, companies, suppliers and clients of construction projects to drastically reduce their consumption of plastics and packaging. Not only does this offer significant improvements for the environment and society as a whole, it also makes commercial business sense, with many organisations reporting significant cost savings achieved.

‘Spotlight on…plastics and packaging’ provides a suite of resources to help the industry to address this issue. It includes a range practical case studies and guidance from contractors, clients and service suppliers including: AMA Waste Management; Aztec; Balfour Beatty; Crossrail; Environment Agency; Griffiths; Knight Build; Protec; Right Waste Right Place; Mace; Morgan Sindall; Multiplex; Skanska; Sir Robert McAlpine; Wates and Ward.

Considerate Constructors Scheme Chief Executive, Edward Hardy said: “As construction is the second largest consumer of plastic in the UK, our industry has one of the greatest responsibilities to society, and to the environment, to ensure that we are working tirelessly to improve our standards in minimising waste from plastics.

“The Scheme’s ‘Spotlight on…plastics and packaging’ campaign provides resources, practical support and guidance helping everyone to take effective measures to tackle this issue. While considerable progress is being made – with over 76% of Scheme-registered construction sites setting targets to reduce, reuse and recycle waste – it is clear that a concerted effort to raise further awareness, and to provide the necessary support, is needed to achieve this drastic reduction in waste from plastics and packaging.”

‘Spotlight on…plastics and packaging’ follows a number of hugely successful industry campaigns which the Scheme hosts on the Best Practice Hub. In 2018, the Scheme launched the ‘Spotlight on…air pollution’ and ‘Spotlight on…the next generation’ with follow-on e-learning courses in each topic. These campaigns have received over 48,000 views to date, with over 50,000 courses being taken.

Click here to access the ‘Spotlight on…plastics and packaging’ campaign.

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Recycling Buildings: 10 Building Materials That Can Be Reused After Demolition

Recycling Buildings: 10 Building Materials That Can Be Reused After Demolition

Construction and demolition waste are one of the heaviest and most voluminous waste streams generated in the EU accounting for approximately 25%-30% of all waste generated.

Demolition recycling is an important step in a building’s life cycle, as material reclamation and good recycling practices can divert over 90% of the building’s material from the landfill. RubberBond have been investigating what materials can be recycled and what they can be turned into.

Concrete, Bricks & Blocks

Research indicates that the average wastage level of concrete is about 4%, while brick and block is around 6%.

Method

Concrete and brick can be recycled by crushing them into rubble.

Repurpose

Once sorted, screened and contaminants are removed, reclaimed concrete or brick can be used in concrete aggregate, fill, road base, or riprap.

Gypsum

Stat

The landfilling of gypsum and other wastes with a high sulphate content together with biodegradable waste has been banned in England and Wales since July 2005. This is to prevent the build-up of hydrogen sulphide gas which is both toxic and odorous.

Method

Gypsum is relatively easy to recycle. Contaminants need to be removed, such as screws and nails, and separate the paper.

Repurpose

It can be ground into a powder or turned into pellets. The resulting material is sold to manufacturers that use gypsum for different applications.

Wood

Stat

Wood waste from all sorts of building sites – including new builds and refurbishments – amounts to around 0.85mt per year.

Method

Wood can be reused, repurposed, recycled, or burned as bioenergy.

Repurpose

Wood can be used in pathways, coverings, mulches, compost, animal bedding, or particleboard.

Glass

Stat

The UK manufactures 750,000 tonnes of flat glass each year, three-quarters of which goes into glazing products for buildings. Currently, the recycled content of flat glass produced in the UK is between 20%–30%.

Method

There are various methods of recycling glass in order to make it fit for repurposing such as crushing, screening to remove contamination, air classification, optical sorting, size classification and washing and drying.

Repurpose

Glass can be used for pretty much anything including decorative materials, fluxing agent in the manufacture of bricks and ceramics, insulation, containers and even sports turf applications.

Metals

Stat

Britain exports 15 million tonnes of industrial waste each year, half of which is valuable scrap metal

Method

Metals are collected, sorted and then shredded. The scrap is then melted and purified and finally allowed to cool to solidify.

Repurpose

Metals—including steel, copper, and brass—are valuable commodities to recycle. Like glass, they can be repurposed into a vast array of items such as appliances, furnishings, fixtures and lighting.

Aggregates

Stat

Approximately 275 million tonnes of aggregates are used each year in the UK as raw construction materials, but a lot of it goes to landfill.

More than half (54%) of waste recorded as ‘Recycling and other recovery’ is ‘Mineral wastes’, while a further 12% is soils.

Method

Concrete aggregate collected from demolition sites is put through a crushing machine. Crushing facilities accept only uncontaminated concrete, which must be free of trash, wood, paper and other such materials.

Repurpose

Aggregate can be reused as a base material under foundations, roads and railroads.

Plasterboard

Stat

Up to 1.3 million tonnes of plasterboard waste is generated within the new-build construction and refurbishment sectors each year.

Method

Composting.

Repurpose

Standard plasterboard, which hasn’t been contaminated by paint or similar, can be added to an aerobic composting system and is likely to have a neutral or beneficial effect when added to the soil, especially clay soil.

Plastics

Stat

According to National Geographic and the National Geographic Society, 91% of plastic isn’t recycled.

Method

All plasterboard recycling goes through a thorough process which takes away all of the added material which is left on the plasterboard when it’s removed from the wall or ceiling.

Repurpose

In construction, plastics are generally used for pipework, interior fittings, window frames, scaffolding boards and kerbstones. These can be repurposed into packaging, textile fibre and clothing, street furniture to name only a few.

Floor & Wall Coverings

Stat

Almost 600,000 tonnes of flooring is disposed of each year, of which less than 2% is recycled. A small quantity is incinerated but the vast majority, over 90%, goes to landfill.

Method

Fibresolve – subjecting wood fibre to a vacuum and pressurised steam with mechanical agitation at a high temperature.

Microrelease – using microwaves to reclaim wood fibres from the resin.

Thermohydraulic processes – separating the adhesive from the wood fibres.

Repurpose

There tends to be a lot of wastage when it comes to floor and wall coverings due to over ordering, pairing this with the fact that a lot of it can also be recycled afterwards, materials such as ceramic and terrazzo tiles, wallpaper, carpet, carpet tiles, vinyl and linoleum and laminate flooring can be repurposed into many things including road cone manufacturing and animal bedding material.

Insulation

Stat

In just 23 housing projects in the UK, the average amount of insulation wasted was 1.0m3 per 100m2 floor area.

Method

Insulation can be recycled by returning materials through take-back schemes offered by manufacturers, but reclamation and reprocessing can only happen after removing impurities such as nails and screws.

Repurpose

Similarly, materials involved in insulation such as glass and stone wool, polystyrene, sheep’s wool, spray foam, polyurethane and fibreboard can be transformed into concrete blocks, fibreglass board and fibreglass ceiling tiles.

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Tips to Improve Construction Site Safety

Construction projects can be a chaotic mess full of bureaucratic problems and lots of stalling. Managing a construction site can be an especially stressful ordeal. No matter what’s going on behind the scenes, safety should remain the number one priority. The machinery you use is heavy enough that it warrants caution. It’s estimated that about every ten thousandth hour of crane usage results in injury. Working with cranes is dangerous work and that is why there are a whole bunch of measures that exist to prevent worker injuries. Here are some examples.

1. Improve awareness

Before stepping onto the construction site, every single worker has to know the possible hazards that await them. Ignorance is the most dangerous attribute you can have in such a dangerous environment. Understanding the risks involved will make the workers more careful when they do their jobs. Alertness is the best way to prevent any potential man-made accidents.

You should go over the OSHA Safety Check List with your employees every once in a while. Every job on the construction site has some level of danger attached to it, which is why every worker should be aware of what they’re getting themselves into. This goes double for any work that is done with a crane. It’s the job of the construction manager to inform operators on where they should be taking a heavy load. It’s especially important to point out where cranes and their loads are located at any given time.

There are dozens of preventable deaths per year due to material detaching from the crane. Workers also often disregard the dangers of things falling on top of them. It would be best to filter out those who don’t follow safety protocols as they can be liabilities in the event of something going wrong.

2. Communication is key

Proper communication is something that is criminally underrated on construction sites. Accidents don’t just happen spontaneously. They are usually the result of some form of miscommunication or misunderstanding. If daily goals and activities aren’t discussed together, it could lead to some clashing while work is being done. If different teams are doing different jobs that involve dangerous equipment, it would be wise of them to communicate their movements to each other.

Having a briefing at the start of the day would do wonders for construction site safety. Communicate your goals to your crane operators and workers on the ground and make sure they don’t get in the way of each other. During the work day, communication should continue in the form of walkie talkies or headsets. Sudden changes in the weather can spell trouble for anyone working near a crane. It’s crucial that you’re able to tell them to find cover in case the wind speed changes. Cranes can safely function in normal weather conditions, but wind speeds above twenty-two miles per hour could lead to the load being dropped.

With these channels of communication, you can always be sure where every worker is located and if they’re in the path of a dangerous piece of equipment. Being able to tell someone to watch their back or move from somewhere is an invaluable part of worksite safety.

3. Have the right tools for the job

There’s only so much you can do with the tools that you are given. Even an expert artisan depends on the equipment he’s working with. Safety protocols don’t just apply to the people on the work site, they also apply to all the different kinds of equipment they work with. Using the wrong kind of equipment for the job will inevitably lead to injuries on the job site. Many construction companies work with outdated machinery and cranes that have quite a bit of wear and tear on them. Experts like Advance cranes recommend replacing older cranes with more up-to-date equipment that will reduce the chances of a critical failure.

Safety is of the utmost importance on any construction site, which is getting your workers the most state of the art gear is crucial. Nobody should step foot on a construction site without a helmet on their head. If there’s welding involved, you don’t want your worker to have blisters and eye damage. Get them protective gloves and eye-wear to prevent this. Fewer injuries mean fewer lawsuits and that makes these changes worth the money.

4. Documentation is crucial

Writing everything down might be a chore, but it’s one of the most important jobs on the construction site. Everything that is done on the job has to be documented for various reasons. In order to begin building, construction companies need to jump through quite a few legal hoops and getting things in writing is one of them. Supervisors have to make sure all the necessary permits and licenses are in order so that work can continue.

When it comes to safety, documentation can save you from a heap of legal trouble. Newer hires might try to speed things up a bit by adding more weight to a crane than is recommended. The average crane can only lift about eighteen tonnes at a time. If you document exactly how much weight was approved for movement, you’ll know where the blame lies if changes are made. In the event of an injury where the worker was doing something they weren’t allowed to, you could be liable if you don’t have proof of otherwise.

The paperwork is mostly used to protect the construction company and managers from being sued by various sources. Workers won’t want to work for you if you don’t take employee safety seriously. Having written proof of everything done on the site helps you and your workers know that everything is being done by the books.

Conclusion

Preventing injuries on the work site is one of the most stressful jobs you can have in construction. Not only do you have to educate each and every single worker, you also have to make sure all the equipment is up-to-date and ready for use. It can be quite a handful for construction site managers. One thing is for sure, keeping workers safe is the most important job and it has to be done right.

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DTL wins apprenticeship contract with South Staffs Water

Utilities specialist Develop Training Limited (DTL) has won a contract to deliver an apprenticeship in water mains laying for South Staffs Water.

DTL, an approved provider under the apprenticeship levy scheme, is now putting nine apprentices through the 13-month programme, including hands-on learning at its newly-opened mains-laying facility.

Daryll Garavan, DTL’s Delivery Manager for the water industry, said: “Having this new facility is ideal. There is plenty of space for several candidates to work on it at once instead of having to wait their turn, and the practice area includes numerous water mains connections that people can hone their skills on.”

DTL opened the new water mains training area last year at its Derby training centre, one of seven across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The candidates, mostly from the Tipton and Walsall area, are made up of five South Staffs Water employees and four new recruits from OnSite Specialist Maintenance, which like South Staffs Water is also part of the South Staffordshire plc group. They are expected to complete the course, “Network Construction Operations Water Mains Laying”, in January next year (2020).

The course is a 50-50 mix of classroom and practical training, combining an introductory NVQ in the subject with a more in-depth technical certificate. The apprentices will video record their practical work in e-portfolios to demonstrate they have achieved the necessary hands-on skills.

www.developtraining.co.uk

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The Benefits of a Mezzanine Floor for your Business

Have you ever been at your place of work, looked around, listened to the multiple sounds and observed the varying activities in the workplace and wondered how to create a degree of separation, how to maximise productivity and employee satisfaction?

Well, perhaps a mezzanine floor could be the answer to your problems. In order to entertain the possibility you will need an area with around 5 metres head height and you can begin to look into the idea of a mezzanine floor.

Firstly, let’s take a minute to explain just what a mezzanine floor actually is. A mezzanine floor sits in-between the principal floors of a building and is therefore, not counted among the overall number of floors of the building itself, mezzanines usually have low floors and protrude rather like a balcony.

From a purely financial point of view, mezzanine floors are great as they usually avoid the need for time-consuming planning permission applications and in addition to this as the mezzanine floor is freestanding and can be dismounted and relocated (another advantage) it is exempt from business rates, making mezzanine floors a great way to expand without adding to the rates bill. Another financial benefit of the mezzanine floor option is that they are inexpensive to install. You could be looking at as little as £75 per square metre.

If you have reached that awkward stage in your business, like so many do, when you need extra space but cannot justify the costs associated with relocation or more significant expansion, then a mezzanine floor could be just the ticket. You can create extra space, more workstations and allow for more separation of distinct tasks to increase contentment in the workplace and productivity. You may even prevent the sort of accidents that lead to damaged equipment or injuries. In any workplace the ideal scenario involves distinct work spaces for distinct job types. Having noisy production related jobs share a space with office work can lead to stress, arguments and reduced productivity. Having a mezzanine floor affords the opportunity to create more office space and allow for some quiet places on the premises.

Mezzanine flooring benefits from being very robust and allows for great weight per square metre ratios which means heavy and bulky equipment or inventory can be stored. There are also a tremendous variety of purpose-built mezzanine racking systems which can truly transform your mezzanine floor into a storage heaven. This can have a knock on benefit on your cost-effectiveness when ordering expendables as you can benefit from bulk discounts as you are able to store more. Mezzanine floors are not only removable as mentioned, but highly open to customization, allowing for a flexibility of space that is hard to come by in traditional extensions. This means that you can modify your mezzanine in months and years to come and even look into expansion or simply change things around as your needs evolve. Mezzanine floors are, as you have seen an excellent, adaptable, cost-saving expansion option that can really help your business to grow without excessive investment.

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