CONSTRUCTION MANAGER | MARCH 2020 | WWW.CONSTRUCTIONMANAGERMAGAZINE.COM
MARCH 2020 For members of the CIOB
ETHNIC MINORITIES IN CONSTRUCTION
THE CHANGING FACE OF CONSTRUCTION
HOW ETHNIC MINORITIES FEEL ABOUT WORKING IN THE INDUSTRY
TURNER & TOWNSEND MD PROFILE | LANDSECâ€™S NEW OFFICE CONCEPT | MODULAR TIMBER HOMES 01.CMMar20.Coverfinal.indd 1
Contents News 04 News in pictures 06 Data: Build UK payment times drop 08 Pushing ahead with Platform DfMA 09 Mace and McAlpine’s MAM role 10 Safety regulator launched 12 Ethnic minorities in construction Why is the industry less inclusive? 18 Turner & Townsend’s Patricia Moore The UK MD talks digital upskilling Opinion 20 Shelagh Grant on procurement 21 Caroline Gumble on FCIOBs 22 Supply chains after Brexit 24 Feedback: Readers’ views Technical 26 Landsec’s Office 1.0 A new approach in Southwark 30 DFMA and tolerances New strategies are required 32 38 40
Timber Modular timber housing Timber and net zero carbon Innovative projects in pictures
BIM & Digital 42 Blockchain in construction Willmott Dixon digs into the data Health & Safety 44 HSE dust exposure report Dangers of working with RCS Legal 46 EV infrastructure requirements Implications of the fossil fuel ban Community 48 CIOB’s networking partnership 49 Visit to Brighton’s 3Ts 50 Tolent recruits apprentices 51 Bright Future for Moriarty 54 GMIT wins Student Challenge 55 Diary dates 56 Working on a blood donor suite 57 Coniston’s heritage Training & Recruitment 58 Construction lecturer Crossing over to academia
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Construction Manager is published monthly by Atom Media Partners. The contents of this magazine are copyright. Reproduction in part or in full is forbidden without permission of the editor. The opinions expressed by writers of signed articles (even with pseudonyms) and letters appearing in the magazine are those of their respective authors, and neither the CIOB, Atom Media Partners nor Construction Manager is responsible for these opinions or statements. The editor will give careful consideration to material submitted – articles, photographs, drawings and so on – but does not undertake responsibility for damage or their safe return. Printed by Walstead Group. All rights in the magazine, including copyright, content and design, are owned by CIOB and/or Atom Media Partners. ISSN 1360 3566
firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial advisory board Mark Beard FCIOB, Ann Bentley, Peter Caplehorn, Ian Eggers, Harvey Francis, Professor Jacqui Glass FCIOB, Shelagh Grant, Paul Morrell, James Pellatt, Richard Saxon, Phil Wade
CONSTRUCTION MANAGER MARCH 2020 | 3
2020 Serpentine Pavilion to be made from recycled brick An all-woman team of Sumayya Vally, Sarah de Villiers and Amina Kaskar from Counterspace in Johannesburg has been chosen to design the 2020 Serpentine Pavilion. The Pavilion in Kensington Gardens will be built using both innovative and traditional building techniques, including the K-Briq, made from 90% recycled construction and demolition waste, which has a tenth of the carbon emissions of normal brick.
Tideway mental health campaign launches Mental health first-aiders working on London’s super sewer have been showcased in a new photography campaign highlighting the work they do to support colleagues across the project. In line with its aim to transform attitudes to mental health in construction, the ‘I’m in your corner’ campaign coincided with ‘Time to Talk Day’ on 6 February. Tideway has trained 167 mental health first-aiders, including Tideway CEO Andy Mitchell and the senior leadership team, on how to recognise if co-workers are struggling and ways to offer them support.
Sekisui gets green light for UK’s biggest modular village Japanese modular builder Sekisui and developer Urban Splash have been given the go-ahead to build the largest village in the UK to be manufactured off site. South Cambridgeshire District Council approved plans for the village of Inholm, part of the second phase of Cambridgeshire’s new town Northstowe, which will comprise 10,000 homes when complete. Inholm itself will be made up of 406 modular homes. The majority of homes will be built in a factory in Alfreton in the East Midlands. 4 | CONSTRUCTION MANAGER MARCH 2020
News story for CM? Email email@example.com
Old habits die hard: Legal & General Modular Homes CEO Rosie Toogood discusses the challenges changing the way the construction industry builds houses, p33
News in quotes
London’s first recycled ‘rubber road’ laid A road made partly from old recycled tyres that would once have been destined for landfill has been laid in Tower Hamlets, in a joint scheme between Tarmac and Tower Hamlets Council. Work recently began in Bethnal Green where rubber from approximately 100 recycled tyres was mixed into a new road surface laid by council contractor JB Riney.
Restoration of Grade I-listed Wentworth Woodhouse The first phase of repairs to Grade I-listed Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham has been completed, protecting the Georgian building against the elements. Aura Conservation removed and reslated roofs on the riding school and the chapel, restored the chapel ceiling, replaced roof slates and repaired roof timbers on the Bedlam wing. Heritage construction specialist Robert Woodhead is carrying out phase two work. This phase includes replacing roofs, plus repairs to high-level stonework, Georgian roof statues and urns.
Masterson adopts fingerprint drug test Masterson Holdings, the parent company of concrete frame specialist Getjar, Atlantic Contracts and Glencoe Plant Services, has introduced a new fingerprint drug testing system. The new test, devised by Intelligent Fingerprinting, detects drug use in around 10 minutes by collecting and analysing traces of fingerprint sweat.
“A merry-go-round of buck-passing” Counsel to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Richard Millett QC opened the second phase of the investigation at the end of January, criticising main contractor Rydon, subcontractor Harley Facades, architect Studio E for a failure to make “any unqualified admission against [their] own interests”. “Reprehensible” How Michael Mansfield QC, counsel for the bereaved relatives, described a move by lawyers for key witnesses to request privilege against selfincrimination to protect themselves from future prosecution. Inquiry chair Sir Martin Moore-Bick has decided to allow an application to the attorney general for the request. “No point in fire stopping” Craig Orr, counsel for Celotex, revealed that an email from an engineer at Harley Facades to MD Ray Bailey said: “There’s no point in ‘fire stopping’ as we all know the ACM will be gone rather quickly in a fire!” Orr asserted that Celotex made it clear that its insulation product was combustible. “Epidemic levels of incompetence” “All disciplines involved” were accused by Stephanie Barwise QC, representing a group of bereaved families and survivors. The Grenfell Tower Inquiry continues.
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New home registrations fail to take off
The average amount of time it takes Build UK members to pay their suppliers has fallen to 36 days, down from 45 days 18 months ago. That’s according to the latest payment results submitted to Build UK by its members. Over a third of companies have improved their payment performance by 15 days or more, with contractor members now paying 91% of their invoices within 60 days, up from 80%. The fastest-paying major contractors are Vinci and Mace, each taking an average of 26 days to pay. Still lagging towards the bottom of the table are Engie on 55 days, Multiplex on 49 days and Seddon on 48 days. Specialist demolition contractor Brown and Mason is bottom of the list on 84 days. Five fastest-paying contractors Company Average time taken to pay invoices (days) Ilke Homes 24 Vinci 26 26 Mace Willmott Dixon 30 Osborne 30 Five slowest-paying contractors Company Average time taken to pay invoices (days) 55 49 48 43 42
New build registrations - year-on-year comparison
(long term average)
150,000 100,000 50,000 0
New build registrations - private and affordable and rental sector Percentage of invoices paid within 60 days 96 94 96 99 95
Private Sector 2019
Affordable and rental sector 2019
(2018 - 158,878)
(2018 - 115,584)
(2018 - 43,294)
Percentage of invoices paid within 60 days 81 80 86 67 88
News in numbers
Build UK members’ average payment time drops to 36 days
New home registrations climbed just 1% in 2019, despite government targets to build 300,000 homes a year. The total number of new homes registered in 2019 was 161,022, according to new figures from NHBC. The figures relate to homes registered with the NHBC for its 10-year warranty, which covers around 80% of all new homes built in the UK. The slow increase was a result of the 3% decline in the number of new homes registered in the private sector during the year, which fell to 112,086. That was offset slightly by a 13% increase in the affordable and rental sector, which was 13% up on 2018 to 48,936.
1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Engie Multiplex Seddon Galliford Try Wilson James
days – the amount of time it took to build a huge new hospital capable of housing 1,000 patients suffering from the coronavirus in Wuhan, China. The building was based on a similar hospital set up in Beijing in 2003 to help tackle the SARS virus.
The number of bricks to be used in the construction of a 50m-high ‘Möbius strip’ near Birmingham. A planning application for the planned landmark, called the Wall of Answered Prayer, has now been submitted to North Warwickshire Borough Council.
60,000 40,000 20,000 0
The amount by which HS2 has increased the value of the contract to build Birmingham Curzon Street station after an initial lack of interest. The new contract for the phase one station is worth £571m and is a two-stage design and build contract.
The amount NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) is suing Multiplex for after problems on the £842m Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. NHSGGC claimed there have been issues around the “operational effectiveness”.
The proportion by which profit at consultant Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) has increased as the business grew its UK market share and branched out into new sectors. RLB’s pre-tax profit for the year to 30 April 2019 hit £2.7m, up from £1.2m the year before.
6 | CONSTRUCTION MANAGER MARCH 2020
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Modular timber housing: Early adapters find benefits and barriers, p32-36
Government pushing ahead with Platform DfMA INFRASTRUCTURE & PROJECTS AUTHORITY WORKING ON ‘GRANULAR DETAIL OF STRATEGY’, FOLLOWING LAST YEAR’S CONSULTATION, MMC LEAD WILL VARAH TELLS CM The Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) will this year outline the next steps in its Transforming Infrastructure Performance (TIP) strategy, including a platform approach to design for manufacture and assembly (P-DfMA), which it consulted on last year. Will Varah, programme director for MMC at the IPA, says the P-DfMA call for evidence received around 60 industry responses, identifying barriers to adoption and how the government should behave as a client. “The industry wants certainty that this approach remains the government’s direction of travel, particularly considering the barriers that low margins and wariness of previous policy changes present,” said Varah. “The strategy hasn’t changed. We are now working on the granular detail of P-DfMA, in particular on the way in which by harmonising, digitalising a n d ra t i o n a l i s i n g go v e r n m e n t construction specifications and standards, government can aggregate demand to more effectively provide a pipeline to support increased manufacturing approaches in the construction industry.”
“Strong partnership between government and industry is essential. The work being demonstrated in the Construction Innovation Hub is moving the agenda forward”
Will Varah, Infrastructure and Projects Authority
“Currently there are examples of this – for example the good collaboration between Highways England, Transport for London, Network Rail and industry to rationalise the various designs for footbridges, but the macro picture is piecemeal across public procurers,” he said. “Strong partnership between government and industry is essential. The work funded through the Construction Sector Deal and being demonstrated in the Construction Innovation Hub is moving the agenda forward. It’s encouraging to see the strength of the collaboration in industry’s response to the Construction Innovation Hub’s platform design programme open call.” Varah has been impressed by the emergence of standardised configurator apps, which pull together information such as geospatial data, planning rules and Building Regulations, and help automate the design process. Examples include Bryden Wood’s Prism, developed for housing with the Mayor of London, Seismic, created for primary schools with the Department for Education, and Highways England’s Rapid Engineering Model.
“The next step is to increase the codification of government specifications, applying open data principles, so that these approaches can be applied more broadly across government procurement,” Varah said. The government announced a “presumption in favour of offsite” in November 2017, and that is still in place, added Kerry Smith, senior policy advisor at the IPA. “We are likely to see a spending review by the new government this year which will allow us to provide more detail on long-term spending commitments,” she said. A procurement challenge for the government, Varah explained, is in defining value. “In the absence of that, too often we procure on the basis of cost,” he said. “Lagging indicators can be seen now in procurements that seek offsite approaches, and specifying offsite can have unintended consequences such as ‘picking winners’. In the longer term, defining value would enable wider societal needs to be addressed in portfolio approaches to procurement. “The housing sector has identified seven different MMC typologies. Linear infrastructure may diverge. Within just one typology, how can a client decide whether precast concrete or cross-laminated timber is the right approach for them, and should that be the question? We need procurement approaches, underpinned by the right data and benchmarking, that can be applied to any type of MMC, which brings us back to defining value.” ●
Government backs offsite use for new hospitals The government is encouraging the NHS to use modern construction methods in the construction of 40 new hospitals. That’s according to former minister for care Caroline Dinenage, speaking in a Commons debate on innovation in hospital design in February.
Under its new health infrastructure plan (HIP), the government committed to building 40 hospitals over the next decade, with 20 upgrades now underway. Dinenage said: “Our building programme will take advantage of innovative design and innovative construction methods, and we are
encouraging the NHS to take advantage of a range of modern construction approaches, including offsite manufacturing and standardisation, such as repeatable room design. Such methods can enable new and better buildings to be built quicker than otherwise would be possible.”
Dinenage added that the design of hospitals has a “massive part to play” in achieving net zero carbon targets, with the projects selected for phase one and two of the HIP instructed to follow the framework developed by the UK Green Building Council on net zero carbon buildings.
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Mace and McAlpine given ‘MAM’ role for Landsec office MACE AND SIR ROBERT MCALPINE APPOINTED ‘MANUFACTURING AND ASSEMBLY MANAGERS’ ON SOUTHWARK SCHEME Developer Landsec has appointed Mace and Sir Robert McAlpine as ‘manufacturing and assembly managers’ on a London office scheme that will pioneer a radical new approach to construction procurement. The 135,000 sq ft Sumner Street development in Southwark is the first ‘real world’ application in the private sector of platform design for manufacture and assembly (PDfMA), a more standardised, componentised approach to construction. Landsec and design partner Bryden Wood have already built a prototype at the practice’s Construction Platforms Research Centre in Hampshire. The ‘kit of parts’ strategy has meant a “fundamental change in our approach
Landsec’s Sumner Street office building is currently at design stage
to procurement”, said Neil Pennell, head of design innovation and property solutions at Landsec. “The model construction has defaulted to is based around design and build, where responsibility to complete the building design is passed down the supply chain,” he explained. “It has been driven by a desire to protect investment returns and transfer risk. But it has become a barrier to innovation. And also, it restricts clients from exerting influence once responsibility has been passed to the contractor – which is madness. “So, we are looking at a form of construction management (CM). But this role will require the skill set of a consultant, a constructor, a logistics manager – all the skills needed to make a site run like a factory and with a multiskilled workforce that can step up to that way of working. “We’ve called this procurement model ‘manufacturing and assembly management’ (MAM). We have appointed two companies in this new role for the Sumner Street project: Sir Robert McAlpine and Mace. The important thing is that they are working collaboratively, to manage the risk, not hide it or push it on to someone else and help to grow the supply chain capability to deliver projects in this way. “Finding two industry-leading constructors willing to work together to help us develop this model has been great.” McAlpine and Mace have been working with Landsec in Bryden Wood’s office since the start of 2019, under a pre-construction agreement, with key suppliers “Landsec were prepared to share the risk on the project in exchange for lower prices and more direct control,” said Jaimie Johnston, global systems director at Bryden Wood. “This also opened up the supply chain to new players.” ● Further details, p26-29.
CDBB joins Digital Construction Summit as official partner The Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) will be an official partner at this year’s Digital Construction Summit on 3 June. Representatives from the CDBB, a partnership between the government and the University of Cambridge, will discuss digital strategies, standards and best practice, while offering guidance on the new tools, technologies and skills which support construction’s digital economy. The CDBB, a partner of the Construction Innovation Hub and supported by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, works with government and industry to develop and accelerate the adoption of digital processes across the life cycle of the built environment.
The CDBB will be joined at the Digital Construction Summit by other leading digital figures from around the industry. Clients speaking include Landsec, Clarion Housing, Heathrow Airport, the Government Property Agency and Public Health England. Other big names from the sector who will speak include Aecom, Bryden Wood, Skanska and Willmott Dixon. The Digital Construction Summit takes place on 3 June 2020 at the America Square Conference Centre in the City of London. Further information and tickets: www.digitalconstructionsummit.uk Sponsorship: firstname.lastname@example.org General enquiries: email@example.com 3 June 2020 America Square Conference Centre, 17 Crosswall, London EC3N 2LB
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constructionmanagermagazine.com SCAFFOLDING MARCH 2020
KNOWLEDGE, ADVICE AND INSPIRATION ON SCAFFOLDING PROJECTS
www.nasc.org.uk 01 NASCmag2020 coverfinalNR.indd 1
Cladding remediation laggards to be named, as new Building Safety Regulator launched
“Unless swift progress is seen in the coming weeks, I will publicly name building owners where action to remediate unsafe ACM cladding has not started. There can be no more excuses for delay, I’m demanding immediate action.” HSE chair Martin Temple said: “We are proud the government has asked HSE to establish the new Building Safety Regulator. HSE’s vast experience of working in partnership with industry and others to improve lives will ensure people are confident the creation of the new regulator is in good hands.” The government’s independent expert advisory panel (IEAP) has updated advice to building owners on actions they should take to ensure their buildings are safe, with a focus on their external wall systems as well as fire doors.
GOVERNMENT TO GET TOUGHER ON PRIVATE BLOCK OWNERS, AS BUILDING SAFETY REGULATOR LAUNCHED WITHIN HSE. NEIL GERRARD REPORTS The government is to name the owners of private blocks where they have not yet taken action to make their buildings safe by replacing dangerous aluminium composite (ACM) cladding. The news came as housing secretary Robert Jenrick announced that the new Building Safety Regulator, which will operate within the Health and Safety Executive, will be established immediately. The regulator will oversee a new, more stringent regime for higher-risk buildings. It will draw on experience and the capabilities of other regulators to implement the new regime, while Dame Judith Hackitt will chair a board to oversee the transition. The decision to name building owners that have not yet made their buildings safe comes after data for December 2019 from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government revealed that two and a half years on, only 135 high-rise residential and publicly owned buildings had been made safe, leaving a total of 315 still unlikely to meet Building Regulations. Meanwhile the private sector was lagging behind the public sector, with 143 private residential blocks where work has not yet started. To speed up remediation, the government said that it would appoint a construction expert to review remediation timescales and identify what can be done to improve pace in the private sector.
Ban may be extended below 18m Jenrick also confirmed that the government will consult on extending the ban on combustible materials to buildings below 18m to at least 11m and will seek views on how risks are assessed within existing buildings to inform future policy. Jenrick said: “Progress on improving building safety needs to move significantly faster to ensure people are safe in their homes and building owners are held to account. “That’s why I’m announcing a major package of reforms, including establishing the Building Safety Regulator within the Health and Safety Executive to oversee the new regime and publishing consolidated guidance for building owners.
Scaffolding magazine News, projects and technical guidance, inside this month’s CM
Wandsworth Council has successfully reclad Sudbury House in London in response to the Grenfell Tower disaster
Fire Safety Bill The government has also set out further details of the upcoming Fire Safety Bill being introduced to parliament. It aims to clarify the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – ‘the Fire Safety Order’ – requiring residential building owners to fully consider and mitigate the risks of any external wall systems and front doors to individual flats. The government said the changes would make it easier to enforce where building owners have not remediated unsafe ACM by complementing the powers under the Housing Act. ●
CIOB expands health and safety SIG The CIOB is broadening its health and safety focus and is looking for new members to join its special interest group (SIG). The SIG is chaired by Arcadis technical director Steve Coppin and examines all aspects of construction
health and safety, with an increasing spotlight on the role of digital tech. CIOB members interested in joining the SIG should email steve.coppin@arcadis. com and CIOB director of policy Eddie Tuttle, firstname.lastname@example.org.
10 | CONSTRUCTION MANAGER MARCH 2020
ETHNIC MINORITIES IN CONSTRUCTION: PRIDE BUT PREJUDICE WHY ARE PEOPLE FROM ETHNIC MINORITY GROUPS UNDERREPRESENTED IN CONSTRUCTION? AHEAD OF THIS MONTH’S INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, CM HEARS FROM ETHNIC MINORITY PROFESSIONALS ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCES IN THE INDUSTRY – AND THE BARRIERS THEY FACE
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“Not being seen as conventional within the industry proves difficult as you constantly feel like you have to prove yourself” Anjali Pindoria, Avi Contracts
UK construction is nowhere near inclusive enough when it comes to people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. Since the Equality Act of 2010, racial discrimination and the barriers facing people from ethnic minority backgrounds in the workplace have come out into the open – but official figures indicate more work still needs to be done in the built environment sector (see chart below). Construction is not only unrepresentative of the UK at large, it is also missing out on many talented people at a time when the industry has a chronic skills shortage. So why are so few people from ethnic minority backgrounds working in construction? Sadly, several people who CM spoke to reported that they had either suffered racial prejudice in the past or are still doing so. “I have worked for a number of worldleading organisations where I have encountered racial prejudice directly from white managers devised to break me,” says one industry professional from a BAME background, who was reluctant to disclose full details.
Dean Jones, director, strategic projects at Cranfield University, says: “There is a covert form of exclusion which comes in many forms and sometimes from the least likely suspected individuals, which is particularly what I have found – being ignored, not being invited to events, being closely monitored – and there is not much you can do except do the best you can and hope you get acknowledged and appreciated for it at the end.” Anjali Pindoria, project surveyor at Avi Contracts and a public speaker on diversity, adds: “I have had some awkward encounters on site with certain questions asked which, within my culture and tradition, would be a big taboo to talk about on an open forum, automatically putting me in a place of discomfort. It’s the norm to many but when you are the minority it is hard to call it out without being seen as the problem-maker.” She adds: “Not being seen as conventional within the industry proves difficult as you constantly feel like you have to prove yourself, and this is a general consensus among a few of my friends from BAME backgrounds.” Both agree that companies are slowly waking up to the issue – but warn that efforts to boost inclusion of ethnic minorities in construction need to extend beyond box-ticking or policies that aren’t backed by real action. “We need to provide leadership to improve the situation,” argues
Ethnic minorities in construction vs UK population
n Construction managers
According to research from Business in the Community, just 3.4% of all construction managers in the UK are from ethnic minorities. In contrast, based on the most recent census data, 14% of the population comes from ethnic minority groups.
Anjali Pindoria Project surveyor at Avi Contracts
There’s a lack of awareness of BAMEs in construction. Subcontractors make up quite a large population of the industry as a whole. My question, when I speak at events is: “Do you think that portion of the industry is educated enough?” Because I don’t think the industry is fully inclusive, mainly because they’ve never had to cater for us as a workforce. When you look at the industry as a whole, it has always lacked diversity. Within the industry I will either be treated as a daughter, because they see me as a young girl, or their wife, with a more direct approach of telling me how to do things. But I blame this on the lack of education on how to interact with people you have never worked with. There’s nothing at that level to educate people about cultures and traditions. You have all these large companies jumping on the bandwagon of diversity and inclusion. You can have all of these procedures to tick the boxes. But to date I have only seen one major contractor
start listing out religious celebrations and that’s Mace – because they have a BAME-led network group who are making it visible to the directors that we should be marking religious events. As far as racial discrimination is concerned, I do think that my generation won’t accept it – but who do we go to without tainting our names, especially as a subcontractor? Fortunately, there are now more platforms where I can go and share my experiences on panels and speaking events. It’s about educating people and telling people to be more inclusive towards BAMEs, in order to start to change mindsets. As for who my role models are – they are my dad Chem Naran and my uncle Avi Kara. I have seen them graft from being carpenters to directors, and you can see how they’ve pushed against every barrier that they’ve had. Having a more diverse group of people building means you are only going to have a better end product – and I think that is key.
CONSTRUCTION MANAGER MARCH 2020 | 13
Dean Jones Director, strategic projects at Cranfield University
“Whether on site or off site, construction should have conducive working environments for people from all backgrounds” Charles Egbu, CIOB
professor Charles Egbu, president of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and pro-vice chancellor at the University of East London (UEL). “We can learn from those BAMEs who have done well in our industry. We want people from BAME backgrounds to think ‘I have a sense of belonging in this sector and I want to contribute’.” Egbu also calls on construction managers to take responsibility to make sure equality is the norm in their teams. “In the same vein, human resources departments of construction companies have an important role to play in their inclusivity practices for staff recruitment, selection and retention,” he adds. And he asks why there tend to be more ethnic minorities in consulting than contracting, and what contractors can learn from consultants. “Yes, site level culture can be abrasive which can be an issue for BAMEs. That also is the case for women. But whether on site or off site, construction should have conducive working environments for people from all backgrounds. The CIOB is well placed to show leadership on this as
I don’t think construction companies are inclusive enough, although I believe the industry has woken up to this. I also question whether there is in fact a real appetite for change. Most of the organisations I have worked for have provided training via online training portals as part of a structured induction process, but I have only ever attended one classroom awareness training session about what behaviour is unacceptable, including helping staff recognise cultural differences, such as markings. I hear stories from my parents’ and grandparents’ time and sometimes I think: ‘what’s changed?’ Diversity seems to be more of a buzzword and a tick-box exercise in a lot of organisations which is a shame as the current construction workforce in the UK is more culturally diverse than ever before. But the significant
lack of racial diversity at the top of these organisations is plainly obvious. I am proud of my role at Cranfield University. I’m also encouraged that the university values diversity and recognises the new perspectives that this can bring to our working, learning and teaching environment. My goal is to be a role model and help give BAME employees confidence to bring their true selves to work, celebrate what makes them different and actively encourage BAMEs’ voices to inform change as diversity is a key driver of innovation and is a critical component of being successful on a global scale. My own role model is Mary Pierre-Harvey, the UK’s first black female director of estates at Oxford Brookes university. Mary and I both previously worked at the Palace of Westminster from 2018
to 2019 as senior managers and shared many of the same experiences. When I heard that Mary landed the head of estates job – I felt excited, joyful and proud all rolled into one. It was as if I had landed the job.
Angelene Clarke Architectural consultant, Bearded Ladies I see efforts being made in larger companies to be more inclusive towards people from BAME backgrounds, but it still translates as tokenism without real opportunity, inclusion and career progression. What does racial discrimination look like in construction? Racial prejudice is subtle and discreet: creative ideas being used without involving the person who came up with the ideas, limiting site access and being assigned backroom tasks. This all limits career progression and barriers are
often created to disenfranchise a career and create a negative working environment. Out-of-date HR practices and processes can reinforce the problem. Unfortunately, there are only a tiny handful of top leaders from minority ethnic backgrounds across most industries – even less in construction – but I do respect Albert Williamson-Taylor, founder of structural and civil engineering consultant AKT II. I would like to see firms enable conversations on diversity and inclusion at directorial level – and to celebrate a diverse workforce is its proven competitive advantage. We need to recognise the problem in company culture.
14 | CONSTRUCTION MANAGER MARCH 2020
Sumita Singha Architect, author and academic
“Policies alone won’t bring about change. Organisations need to commit to building a ‘critical mass’ of talented BAME role models at senior board level and drive behaviour change” Dean Jones, Cranfield University
we look to inspire the next generation of construction managers,” he says. To create those environments, Jones wants to see more a more proactive, positive approach at board level. “For too long, people have only heard about racism in the context of what not to do, but rarely, if ever, do workplaces promote how their staff can be proactive about the issue,” he says. “I want CEOs, COOs and MDs to consider setting aspirational goals (not quotas or targets) treating diversity as an opportunity to create organisations that people want to work for, not a risk management issue. “Policies alone won’t bring about change. Organisations need to commit to building a ‘critical mass’ of talented BAME role models at senior board level and drive behaviour change by addressing unconscious bias from the top down. It goes without saying that we need to continue to tackle overt discrimination head-on and unconscious bias is one of the main barriers to equality that simply needs to be addressed.” And he concludes simply: “Please listen to us and learn.” ●
I’ve had more experiences of gender-based discrimination than race-based. For instance, when my black male employee and I went on site together, it was assumed that he was the boss and everyone talked to him first. It was only when my employee turned around to ask me that they realised who the real boss was, and they looked surprised. While gender-based discrimination can be overt, much of race-based discrimination
works covertly so it is only possible to piece the story together in retrospect. In architecture, many contracts are taken on trust or familiarity, and therefore it is not surprising to see that candidates may be excluded as they don’t belong to the club. As a BAME immigrant myself, I’ve found it hard to get work as I didn’t have the contacts in the industry when I started in 1993. Everything I do is treated with some scepticism – whether it is designing, writing, or teaching – my work is not valued as much as it should be. Everything
except BAME issues - so I stand recognised for my work on equality and diversity but not for my professional output. For my last 30 years in the UK, I’ve seen my white students winning competitions, being written about and getting more work and my writing being referenced by others. While these are certainly sources of pride for me, I would have liked to have my design work recognised as well. It is certainly true that, despite laws on equality, as a BAME woman you have to work five times as much as others to gain some professional respect.
Alan McKenzie Project design manager, BDP I have seen tremendous change within the construction industry since I started my career in 1984 – in particular, behaviour toward the public, visitors, site operatives and site admin staff. On one particular site, I saw the introduction of prayer rooms with prayer times. I have witnessed translated text of rules, expectations and observations on a few sites too. My heritage is mixed race, but I have rarely encountered or experienced racial prejudice, not even in site banter, because the majority of my onsite experience has been with the design team. However, companies I have worked for did escalate matters where racial prejudice was encountered and proceeded with eviction of a site manager and subcontractor team. Everyone associated with our company is treated equally with respect and without prejudice. My team of approximately 50 is predominantly staffed by people from BAME backgrounds. There is also a healthy mix of diversity across our company.
What encourages me is that our business success is strengthened because of having great core values. I see role models from BAME backgrounds every day. No-one’s achievements should be diminished or heightened because of their BAME status. We need to provide a positive message to encourage people from BAME backgrounds to consider working in construction.
Let everyone know that they will be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their age, disability, gender, race, religious belief or sexual orientation. If there are prejudices in their workplace, it is equally important to provide opportunities for this to be discussed with a credible resource, and for people to have access without jeopardising their work or careers.
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‘CHANGE IS OUR NEW CONSTANT’ TURNER & TOWNSEND’S UK MANAGING DIRECTOR PATRICIA MOORE TELLS NEIL GERRARD HOW THE COMPANY IS UPSKILLING ITS WORKERS IN PREPARATION FOR THE DIGITAL AGE If you want to know why training is such a big issue at consultancy firm Turner & Townsend, then you only need to look at the sheer number of its new recruits each year. It’s a people-hungry business, bringing on board 1,000 employees in the last year alone to help support its growth rate of around 20% per year. “We’ve been in double-digit growth for as long as I can remember,” says UK managing director Patricia Moore. “We are delivering 10% growth in the UK, which in current market conditions and the scale we are currently at is a strong performance as well.” The business prides itself on delivering technical excellence and in order to try to differentiate itself from the competition, it needs to train people in the “T&T way”. To that end, Turner & Townsend has recently overhauled its training for both incoming graduates and management, in a way that takes account not just of its growth, but of the rapidly shifting way in which the construction and property sectors are evolving.
Revising the training programme A core part of that change is the company’s new ‘technical training academy’. “All of our people in our technical competence areas will work through a series of different levels in the technical training academy to get ultimately to advanced level,” Moore explains. The course, which has four levels of attainment, is delivered
through a series of digital and classroom modules and ends up with scenariobased training where employees get to solve a problem together, which Moore claims “really embeds the learning”. Meanwhile, the company is completely redesigning its management training and its global leadership programme and that change too is related to the company’s rapid growth as well as wider
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50/50 changes in the industry. “A big focus is around how we are making our managers able to lead and develop a more intensely diverse workforce,” says Moore. “The other big thing is dealing with changes in the industry and upskilling for different skillsets. We have developed a massive digital programme for our core cost management service. We knew we had to get into digital upskilling and we took probably our most technical skillset, which is our cost management service, and we have digitally remastered it so there is a whole series of apps and platforms that people then systematically work through.” The next step will be to adopt a similar approach to project management services to make sure its project managers are ready for a digital future. Meanwhile, recent acquisitions such as engineering consultancy Sweco and AMCL, which specialises in asset management, are helping to bring in new thinking. It also helps that, as of 2020, the business estimates that around 40-50% of its workforce is made up of millennials. Client influence Of course, some of the drive to change comes from the clients the company works with. It has several internationally renowned technology companies among its client base who also exert an influence. “Working with tech companies does raise your consciousness about it,” says Moore. “And we have other really progressive clients like Heathrow. As part of the Heathrow expansion, we have got the ability to look at modern methods of construction (MMC) on a mass scale. They are one of the biggest clients and they are embracing it and driving the change rather than just talking about it.” Keeping up with technology advances has helped Turner & Townsend’s performance too, Moore contends. “We are taking market share from many of our competitors now because we are
Patricia Moore CV l 1988: Royal Navy
in Scotland, trainee QS working in marine civils
l 1994: BSc in
quantity surveying, Edinburgh Napier University
l 1995: Jubilee
Line Extension Contract 102, cost management services
l 1999: MSc in
construction law and arbitration, King’s College Centre for Construction Law
l 1999: Joined
Turner & Townsend as a commercial manager
l 2006: Promoted to
head of rail, leading the team that won Crossrail
l 2015: Promoted
to MD of UK infrastructure
l 2018: Promoted
to UK managing director and executive board member
able to offer not just being able to trade in a BIM environment and a fully digital project environment – of course we can do that – but we can independently assure the BIM model too, which is really attractive to clients.” She adds that clients recognise now not just that BIM can help manage risk and prevent inefficiencies, but is also useful when it comes to asset performance once the building is finished: “Even the bluechip developers who don’t necessarily have an interest in the asset see that as a saleable product see it is a big part of their offer going forward. So it is really exciting and we feel really well positioned through the investments we have made.” Gender diversity Turner & Townsend has also been working hard to address the imbalance between men and women in its business. Currently, around 30% of its workforce is female, although Moore points out that its early careers cohort has a balance that is closer to 50/50. “We were quite pleased that this year we have been able to drive a reduction in our gender pay gap both in terms of base pay but more significantly in terms of our bonus pay,” Moore says. “For us it is about how do we drive progression and retention of our female staff. I think we are getting the attraction bit largely right. We have targeted getting female representation on all of our boards across our global business by this year.” Moore explains: “I work a lot with our early careers programme, our female gender groups, our diversity groups. And I encourage them to think about what it is that helps you to be successful. I always put the growth mindset at the middle of all of that.” She concludes: “Change is our new constant and if people start with the right attitude and get a deep technical grounding in their field, it really sets you up for a long and interesting career.” ●
Around 30% of Turner & Townsend’s workforce is female, but Moore says its early careers cohort has a balance closer to 50/50
Patricia Moore on… …climate change “We have got big ambitions about putting carbon at the heart of our 2025 vision (the company’s five-year plan, which will be set this year). We are looking at how we can quite easily start to measure carbon capture alongside our cost management service for instance.” …making staff feel valued “I think we have a really rich offer for our people, including exposure to working with some of the industry’s best clients. And we underpin that with a really solid peer group and a very compelling technical training programme and management development philosophy and programmes.” …professional qualifications “Our training is synchronised with the professional bodies and our academy really dovetails into the professional institutions. The challenge now is the diverse skillsets that are coming in. What will the professional pathways of the future look like?”
CONSTRUCTION MANAGER MARCH 2020 | 19
Opinion Shelagh Grant The Housing Forum
Fix the broken procurement system to boost housing quality
Shortcomings in construction have rarely been more evident or under such scrutiny. But if we’re really going to raise the bar in the homes we build and refurbish, it’s time to take a hard look at the way they are procured. Problems around quality are often the unwanted side effects of the systemic problem of short-termism in the industry – and particularly in housing – coupled with fragmentation of the supply chain, lack of clear lines of responsibility and a ‘race to the bottom’ in pricing. In the affordable sector, selecting on price has become pretty much the norm. Opting for contracts based purely on the lowest price means corners are more likely to be cut in design and construction. Clients and their advisers may say they’ve followed the balanced score card approach, but the reality is that even if the bidder scores highly in, say technical competence, it won’t carry that much weight compared to scoring well on price. Bids are often won on single-stage tender, before the design is fully worked up and with no input from the construction team. Then, when the contract is signed, there’s a mad scramble by the design-and-build contractor to ‘value engineer’ to bring down costs and make a margin. As Dame Judith Hackitt has remarked, these processes do not represent ‘value’ nor ‘engineering’.
IF WE WANT TO SEE THE QUALITY OF NEW AND REFURBISHED HOMES IMPROVE, THEN THE SYSTEMIC PROBLEMS WITH CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY PROCUREMENT MUST BE TACKLED FIRST, ARGUES SHELAGH GRANT
Quality check: a clerk of works inspects a housing scheme in Edinburgh
“Procuring for value will pay dividends – not necessarily by selecting the lowest price but by a thorough assessment of what reduces costs over the life cycle and increases performance and quality”
Ideally, the project is designed and fully costed in an environment where risk is properly understood and managed with input from the contractor and specialists to ensure buildability – following which the project starts on site and is constructed as specified. Quality should also be assured by improved processes on site and finishing. It shouldn’t be so difficult. The contract forms are there – and there’s been plenty of good practice in the past. You don’t need a long memory to recall when partnering was in vogue. Reviewing the selection model So, is it time to summon up the spirit of Latham? Revisit Egan? Maybe. At the very least, clients need to spend more time, some of it with their advisers, developing a brief and understanding risk. It’s essential to spend more time in the design phase to work properly to co-ordinate the design and consider buildability. Selecting design teams using criteria more heavily weighted for quality than price will pay dividends, as will procuring for value – not necessarily by selecting the lowest price but by a thorough assessment of what reduces costs over the life cycle and increases performance and quality. And that means reviewing the entirety of the selection model, particularly the scoring rules and the methodology. The overarching message from our dedicated conference, Quality Counts, at the end of last year, was a resounding call to fix the broken procurement system. In the wake of that, The Housing Forum has made procurement reform a central message for 2020 and a key feature of our National Conference on 6 May. The principles we are most likely to set out – in a Housing Forum guide to procurement later this year – are more detailed proposals before work starts on site, tighter control mechanisms put in place to ensure accountability and that the work is delivered as designed. This should be a modus operandi for all in the housing sector to consider. In tackling poor quality – in all its manifestations – procurement can no longer be the weakest link. ● Shelagh Grant is chief executive of The Housing Forum.
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Developing talent for a sustainable world
Caroline Gumble CIOB
Why a CIOB fellowship can drive your career forward BECOMING A CIOB FELLOW IS A CHALLENGING PROCESS BUT JOINING THIS ELITE GROUP CAN GIVE YOU A CAREER ADVANTAGE, SAYS CAROLINE GUMBLE
So far in 2020, I’ve spent time with many more CIOB members – in Malta, London, Wolverhampton, Leeds and Norwich. Looking at the collective influence and achievements of our members, I’m proud to realise that they bring our vision of improving the quality of life for the users and creators of our built environment to life on a daily basis. There has been another theme emerging during many of those conversations, though, and that is what membership means for individuals, rather than the industry, and what it can do for careers. Most members with whom I’ve had this conversation acknowledge that CIOB membership distinguishes them as a true professional and someone with commitment to the industry. What has also emerged is that there is a lingering belief that becoming a fellow – FCIOB, instead of MCIOB – is about ‘time served’ and not something to be sought mid-career. I want members and prospective members to know that NARIC – the National Agency responsible for opinion on professional qualifications – has benchmarked CIOB fellowship as comparable to master’s degree level. Whether or not members may have considered going for a master’s, it’s my belief that those who have been through the CIOB membership process can definitely obtain
their fellowship. I’m not suggesting that it’s easy, but applications are open to those with more than five years’ experience and it is a natural progression from membership status. I want to encourage members to work towards fellowship while they can use it to benefit their own careers. Many prospective leaders in our sector are unaware that we also have a direct fellowship route available. We only have 65 members globally under the age of 40 who are CIOB fellows, so those obtaining it sooner rather than later are joining an elite group with, in my view, a career advantage. It has been, consistently since I started at the CIOB, inspiring to meet members and, from the construction manager members, hear about the breadth of their onsite responsibilities. I have also observed fantastic client relationships on site visits – this is key to establishing long-term relationships and feed into the wider work of driving up standards across the sector. My call to members is to share stories about what you’re working on – inspire the next generation to consider construction as an exciting and important career where they can help change lives for the better, including their own. In a world of social media, sharing has never been easier, and it’s where our next generation of leaders are hanging out! ● Caroline Gumble is chief executive of the CIOB.
Built environment students have strong sustainability aspirations and education should reflect that, writes Aled Williams Sustainability goes beyond addressing day-to-day operations; it also involves influencing and educating industry professionals who design, construct, develop and manage the built environment. At the University College of Estate Management (UCEM), sustainability is a key component of our vision and core purpose – to provide accessible, relevant and costeffective education, enabling students to enhance careers, increase professionalism and contribute to a better built environment. UCEM delivers its vocational programmes with an online delivery model where the learning design process puts the student at the centre. What is important to sustainability is flexibility and accessibility, and this ensures that students can access their learning material 24/7 on multiple devices. A survey in conjunction with charity Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS) confirmed how much students support our sustainability aspirations. The institutionwide survey, completed by 406 students in November 2019, supported our evidence to become a National Union of Students Responsible Futures accredited institution. Key findings included: l 90% of students agreed or strongly agreed that sustainable development is something which universities and colleges should actively incorporate and promote; l 71% of students said they would ‘willingly be paid £1,000 less’ than the national average salary (£20,000 a year) in a company with a strong environmental and social record; and l 72% of students agreed or strongly agreed that sustainable development is something they would like to learn more about. UCEM’s Sustainability Statement outlines our commitment to the principles of sustainable development: “Sustainability is right at the heart of what we do, both in the way that we teach through our online model with its minimal environmental impact, and of course through what we teach and how we send qualified students out into the world able to make their own positive impact through being ambassadors for sustainability.” Aled Williams is director of research, innovation and partnerships at UCEM and a CIC Education Champion. CONSTRUCTION MANAGER MARCH 2020 | 21
Paul Lonergan Rider Levett Bucknall
How is the supply chain preparing for life after Brexit? CONSTRUCTION’S SUPPLIERS ANTICIPATE CHANGE NOW BRITAIN HAS LEFT THE EU – BUT FEEL THE INDUSTRY NEEDS TO MOVE WITH THE TIMES ANYWAY, SAY PAUL LONERGAN
With the UK now officially no longer part of the European Union, many within the construction industry are waiting to see the impact of Brexit upon our businesses. With this in mind, RLB UK recently ran a supply chain round table to ask those at the beginning of the design and build process about how they were preparing for life after Brexit. Companies who attended represented the building services, fit out, brickwork, demolition and structured cabling sectors. There was no surprise that the majority felt they had been ready for the UK to leave the EU, with robust plans in place for Brexit within their business. Although the shortage of labour was still a concern for many in the industry, the general consensus was that the forces of supply and demand have naturally evolved, with many organisations now seeing an influx of nationals from other
countries supplementing the labour force, particularly from Asia. This sparked a discussion around how the industry still had an image problem and about construction not being seen as an attractive career choice in schools and Further Education institutions. There was resounding agreement that we need to address the possible labour shortage and attract and retain candidates to the industry. Most were positive about trade in the year ahead post Brexit, with the participants giving a 7-9 out of 10 rating on an optimism scale for the 12 months ahead. Many had already seen an increase in enquiries and tenders as the market had heated up but also a surge in the number of companies involved in the procurement process. Many of those around the table said that they are often competing with up to 12 other companies for each project.
“Most were positive about trade in the year ahead post Brexit, with the participants giving a 7-9 out of 10 on an optimism scale for the 12 months ahead” For those organisations that worked in the EU pre Brexit, an interesting point was made about the movement of materials post Brexit. Currently many of them are using the UK as an import and distribution hub, with materials passing back and forth between the UK and EU countries several times as part of the distribution process. There were concerns that this process will become cumbersome and expensive in the future. Other observations and challenges that were raised in the supply chain round table included the advance of technology in construction, which the participants believed had brought its own challenges as well as opportunities – with technology only as good as the person operating it and a risk of losing vital skills through automation within projects. There was a general feeling that modern methods of construction and offsite manufacturing were now par for the course for many in the supply chain, driven by a desire for efficiencies, reduction of waste and increase of speed in projects. There was a feeling of change, but in many cases this was seen as the evolution of an industry needing to move with the times – rather than being enforced by the UK’s departure from the European Union. Staying close to the supply chain helps us understand these complexities, the changes that are taking place and provides an educated insight to what is happening across the whole design and build process. It is essential we continue to work collaboratively, listening to those who we work alongside to bring the best outcomes to our clients. ● Paul Lonergan is a partner at Rider Levett Bucknall.
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DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION – OVERCOMING CULTURAL AND BEHAVIOURAL BARRIERS Digital Transformation is a huge opportunity for the AEC industry that has struggled for decades with low productivity and low proﬁtability. Fully embedding digital tools into business as usual oﬀers a way out of this trap. However, many companies are struggling to make the most of existing products and few are on top of the possibilities created by emerging technologies. What can engineering and construction ﬁrms do to accelerate adoption? Focus on digital leadership The industry is not making the most of the technology available because of unawareness about what it can do. At the same time, when technology is deployed it can fail to deliver its potential because of a lack of ﬁt with existing processes and ways of working – or its eﬀectiveness is undermined by the existence of out of date legacy IT systems. Chief technology oﬃcers or chief digital oﬃcers are an increasing presence in engineering and construction ﬁrms. This trend does point to the industry acknowledging that digital transformation is both an organisational change issue and a technology issue. Now is the time for more organisations to consider if they have the personnel in place to deliver digital leadership. © Copyright 2020 Bluebeam, Inc. www.bluebeam.co.uk
What can be done at the industry level? Use technology to develop new business models We have already seen that E&C ﬁrms typically struggle with low margins. This inevitably reduces the appetite to invest in technology and the human capabilities needed to exploit them. Digital transformation does point to a way out of this trap. Digital tools combined with increased volumes of data mean consultants and contractors know more about the assets they design and build than ever before. This insight can be the basis for new business models in which ﬁrms are rewarded for the value they deliver to their clients, rather than the inputs they put into projects. Establish industry standards and improve interoperability Volumes of data are generated in diﬀerent formats via a multiplicity of incompatible systems. This is as a barrier to unlocking the beneﬁts of digital transformation. One size will never ﬁt all but establishing industry standards and improving interoperability would be a big step forward. If industry players can agree to a basic framework, opportunities to develop scalable products and services could be huge. Read the full report created in collaboration with the Institution of Civil Engineers for more insights. go.bluebeam.com/tech-adoption-uk
Willmott Dixon explores the potential of blockchain technology, p42
THEFeedback FACE OF INTELLIGENT BUILDING
A selection of readers’ comments about Aerial view of news and issues in the industry from the proposed Heathrow expansion www.constructionmanagermagazine.com DERWENT LONDON’S WHITE COLLAR FACTORY Terry Thomas Rochford CM 30/01 CM 26/01 NEAR EAST LONDON IS It is encouraging that the Very sorry to hear this news, Beauty fast Heathrow may pay AN track OFFICE FOR THE 21ST is to see zeroaspiration especially of such an old and for homes suppliers for data CENTURY. AS JAMES KENNY carbon homes built as the established firm. REPORTS, THE THREEnorm within five years – and Mark Chungha Cha that is as it should be if Chris Soffe ELEMENT CURTAIN WALLING We seem to have What a great achievement! we are THE serious about the Very sad to read indeed. IS KEY TO DELIVERING contradictions with planning First time I have heard that climate emergency. Also a significant loss to LATEST ENVIRONMENTAL departments. We all hear data, data, data is beginning But the sentiment is the heritage sector of our about the PRINCIPLES. high streets in where it’s supposed to in stark contrast to the industry and a loss to the begin - by identifying what decisions need to be made. Great work and looking forward to the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) doing more wonderful things alongside Heathrow!
Ian Cornwell This is an application that’s a great use case for blockchain smart contracts. If you can prove immutably that the data has been handed over (or part of it) then that’s earned value that the smart contract can then execute part of the payment automatically. Suddenly there’s a contractual carrot rather than a stick to supply data.
towns and cities dying and the amount of units to let proves this. But we also see all the new planning approvals for out-of-town facilities. In Glasgow they have approved a development in the West End with cinema, shopping – and of course we have the now compulsory student accommodation beside it. Surely building such facilities will only encourage people to stay away from the city centre. I’m pretty sure this will be a common factor across the UK. As for trees, let’s just hope they think about the roots. There is nothing like tripping over a cracked pavement caused by roots.
proposed revisions to Part L which advocate a reduction in the fabric efficiency of homes. Is this another example of the government rhetoric being diametrically opposed to the proposed course of action, usually driven by corporate pressure?
CM 10/02 Symm & Company administration George Barry Higgs Yet another irreplaceable loss to the industry.
Ronald W Brooker Such a sad day when craftsmen of the calibre this company employed and their craftsmanship are so sorely needed. Perhaps hopefully they will resurrect.
City of Oxford, the university and its wonderful worldclass colleges.
CM 07/02 A14 improvement scheme finishes early Marc Rawinsky Fantastic that it will be completed ahead of planned schedule. Well done the construction companies and crew. Shame it was not scheduled to be completed 20 years or more ago. Why is it that planners seem to be incapable of looking forward on any infrastructure project? Houses keep on being built but no extra schools, local roads, sewage systems, hospitals, fire and police facilities.
John Bale I just hope this success will be as well publicised as delays elsewhere.
CM 24/01 Wates’ ex-offender pilot John Albert Lyons Just a note of support for this initative. I recall earlier in my career my company used prisontrained bricklayers on several of our sites very successfully. It was not a formal scheme but a project of our chairman who believed everyone should be given a second opportunity in these circumstances. He also re-employed a senior accountant previously employed by the company who was imprisoned for fraudulent accounting when, as he said, he had paid for his errors.
Provide your own feedback on latest industry issues by posting comments online at www.constructionmanagermagazine.com or by emailing the editor at email@example.com
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19.ad.CMFeb20.Oscar Acoustics Feb20.indd 27
Technical The facade of Landsec’s Sumner Street office development has a regularised design to suit the structural frame
OFFICE 1.0: LANDSEC’S NEW VISION FOR CONSTRUCTION PLATFORM DFMA – A COMPONENTISED APPROACH TO CONSTRUCTION – IS GETTING ITS FIRST PRIVATE SECTOR RUN-OUT ON A LONDON OFFICE JOB. DEVELOPER LANDSEC AND DESIGN PARTNER BRYDEN WOOD EXPLAIN THE THINKING TO WILL MANN
Landsec, one of the UK’s largest commercial property developers, is working with integrated design practice Bryden Wood on a London office scheme which could transform h ow co ns t r uc t io n pro j ects a re procured, designed and constructed. Benchmarked against Landsec’s typical costs per sq m, the project – currently at design stage – is already achieving impressive efficiency gains: a predicted 9.5% reduction in capital cost against a target of 10%, and a 13% reduction in programme against a target of 15%. This is the first ‘real world’ application of P-DfMA (platform design for manufacture and assembly) in the private sector – essentially a more standardised, componentised approach to construction. Landsec and Bryden Wood have already built a prototype at the practice’s Construction Platforms Research Centre in Petersfield, Hampshire, working with offsite specialist Easi-Space, which was backed by Innovate UK research funding. Now the principles of this ‘kit of parts’ approach are being tested on a Landsec office development at Sumner Street in Southwark. “Our aim is to become a fundamentally different developer,” says Neil Pennell, head of design innovation and property solutions at Landsec. “Digital is the enabler here. It is possible to experiment and prototype much more quickly, so being a follower isn’t an option. You have to innovate and lead to stay ahead of the competition.
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Technical story for CM? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
“This is not about creating identikit buildings that look the same,” he adds, addressing some architects’ fear about P-DfMA. “This approach retains the architect’s creative freedom. Despite the kit of parts being standardised, these can be put together in countless ways to create a huge range of different spaces and aesthetics, without limiting design ambition.” Landsec calls its approach Office 1.0. This may seem an unusual term, but it is actually a clever way for the developer to benchmark the costs of delivering a construction project against its desired return on investment from a site. “1.0 is the construction cost of a ‘perfect’ site, where we can maximise efficiencies in materials, programming and construction,” explains Pennell. “Where there are, for example, onerous planning requirements or difficult ground conditions, the cost may rise to 1.2 or 1.3 times that baseline cost. It’s a useful ready reckoner, when assessing the rate of return on a site.” To create the Office 1.0 strategy, Landsec asked Bryden Wood to analyse a number of office schemes and identify
“Our aim is to become a fundamentally different developer. Digital is the enabler here. It is possible to experiment and to prototype much more quickly” Neil Pennell, Landsec
Integrating services within the platform allows increased perimeter glazing, improving daylight penetration
How Landsec is benchmarking efficiency improvements at Sumner Street n Target n Current position Capital cost Programme Site operatives* 0
Landsec expects to be able to reduce use of site operatives by 35%
*For the two key P-DfMA packages checked so far, structure and cladding, Landsec believes that the predicted productivity gains will see a reduction in the size of site install teams of around 50% for these elements. However, as these only represent part of the project, the overall reduction to date stands at 13.5%. Once the scope of the kit of parts is expanded, Landsec expects to hit the 35% target.
common design themes which would form the basis of the platform strategy. “We like to create an evidence base,” says Jaimie Johnston, global systems director at Bryden Wood. “We found, for instance that most offices in London have a 1.5m planning grid, and they tend to have a structural grid ranging from 9m x 9m to 9m x 12m. “And if you look at the British Council for Offices [BCO] guide for design best practice, this is in line with what they recommend. But architects and designers don’t always follow it. The structural grid might be 9.1m x 9.1m or 8.9m x 8.9m, and then you lose the opportunity for standardisation of components. “Of course, most sites are not perfect, but if you need to include any bespoke requirement in the design, that can be kept to one end of the structural grid, so you can have high standardisation throughout the rest of it.” 105 Sumner Street is a 135,000 sq ft office development behind the Tate Modern, across two nine-floor buildings. Bryden Wood is the architect, structural engineer, building services engineer and
sustainability consultant. The scheme had been taken to RIBA stage 3 using a traditional design, with planning permission granted, when Landsec decided to use it as a pilot project. “What we have done is taken the kit of parts and applied it to a traditional design, which is a good test for the platform approach, showing that it can satisfy planning requirements, while making a direct comparison with traditional construction methods,” says Johnston. “There are a few local planning conditions, relating to the building massing and steps in the facade, so this has set a good challenge for the team to meet using the kit of parts solution. It won’t quite equate to the Office 1.0 perfect benchmark, but we have been able to achieve over 80% standardisation in the products used in our design.” Sumner Street is using a different procurement approach (see box), with key supply chain members brought in early to help identify innovation and efficiency gains. The structural design has been re-engineered from five different floor heights to just two to promote repeatability, while instead of a conventional perimeter grid with beefy columns every 9m, ‘micro’ columns have been introduced 3m apart to reduce the structural zone. “These take up less area and disappear into the wall build-up,” explains Johnston. With P-DfMA, building services are integrated within the platform CONSTRUCTION MANAGER MARCH 2020 | 27
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design, enabling more efficient use of space. “At Sumner Street, this allowed increased clear height within the space and the opportunity to increase the height of the perimeter glazing to improve daylight penetration onto the floorplate,” says Johnston. The on-floor MEP kit of parts has been designed to integrate with the superstructure, using fixings pre-cast into the concrete slabs, minimising the need to drill the slab to create supports for the services modules. “This reduces the need to work at height and almost eliminates drilling and the dust it produces, creating a healthier and safer site to work on,” says Johnston. The MEP modules have been designed to work with the all-electric central plant,
“With cladding, a common problem is the perimeter floor slab deflects or the construction tolerances generally are slightly out, so it becomes harder to make pre-manufactured components work,” says Johnston. “Using a repeatable, manufactured kit of parts allows us to improve the accuracy of the structural components so we can be more confident the cladding panels will fit first time. We’ve also reduced slab deflection by replacing the usual glazing mullions with the micro columns which perform structurally, so the span is reduced by a third from 9m to 3m. “Cladding comes typically in 1.5mwide modules to suit the planning grid but we wanted to see if, through using larger 3 or 6m panels, we could reduce the number of onsite joints and speed up the installation process. “With 3m panels, we will be able to cover 84% of the facade – a pretty good level of standardisation. We may yet end up with smaller panels, so we can have standardisation over a larger area. But we will go through a learning process with this kit of parts approach and understand what is optimum.” The combination of greater levels of standardisation, reduced construction tolerances and a more direct procurement approach is already achieving a significant reduction in cladding costs, says Pennell. Another benefit to the quality of the space being created has come through optimising both the amount and solar performance level of the glass in the facade. The digital model has made it easier to simulate and “tune” the building performance, which informs the MEP installation and the glazing performance requirements, says Johnston. “Because we have the components digitally in the model, we were able to test the energy balance very quickly and found that the reduced structural zone allowed us to increase glazing and improve the
A prototype was tested at Bryden Wood’s Hampshire research centre
using high-efficiency heat pumps to meet heating and cooling requirements, a key part of the zero carbon in use strategy. “Taking a leaf from the car manufacturers’ book, alternative on-floor climate control systems will be developed using fan coil units, active and passive chilled beams, allowing customers to choose a system much as a car purchaser would select options – an early demonstration of how mass customisation techniques could be applied,” adds Johnston. Deflection on the floor slabs has been reduced by the ribbed design of the concrete slab and, at the perimeter, the use of columns at 3m centres. This helps with installation of the facade which has a regularised design to suit the structural frame.
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MAM’s the word: a new procurement approach Landsec has appointed Mace and Sir Robert McAlpine as ‘manufacturing and assembly managers’ on Sumner Street
“Using a repeatable, manufactured kit of parts allows us to improve the accuracy of the structural components so we can be more confident the cladding panels will fit first time” Jaimie Johnston, Bryden Wood
daylighting without incurring any significant energy penalty,” he explains. One consequence of the kit of parts approach is to bring manufacturers closer to the end user. “More of our conversations will be direct with the suppliers and manufacturers,” says Pennell. “This means manufacturers gain more ability to innovate and influence the design, and that opens up possibilities for more efficiencies,” says Johnston. “For example, a steel frame is priced per tonne without considering the level of fabrication. But how about if all the steel components on a project are highly standardised and most need very little fabrication? The steel supplier is likely to say, yes, we can probably knock some money off.” Other innovation will come through the assembly process, Pennell continues. “Building sites depend a lot on tower crane use,” he notes. “But because we re-engineered the structural design at Sumner Street, we believe we can use smaller lifting equipment to raise the main components into place. We have been testing these ideas on the prototype using a modified reach stacker commonly used in warehouses to lift concrete beam formwork into place. “Our prototyping partners EasiSpace have also developed lightweight vertical facade lifters which fix onto the perimeter micro-columns taking advantage of their structural performance to transfer the loads efficiently into the main frame rather than onto the floor slabs using the
larger and heavier counterweighted lifting machines typically deployed.” With this approach, Pennell predicts a 10% cost saving overall. “Yes, the increased focus on offsite manufacture means we have to bring forward some spending in the programme, but we believe the overall cost of the project will be reduced. When you factor in the health and safety benefits, quality improvements and programme savings the business case is compelling.” Overall cost savings There are also impressive sustainability gains, with a forecast 19.4% reduction in embodied carbon per sq m overall in the P-DfMA design. There has been a 36.4% carbon reduction in the substructure and a 20.2% reduction in the superstructure and facade. “And we will take the learning here to other projects – the same structural and MEP components and the same design and procurement principles can be used again,” says Pennell. “This is our first kit of parts project – by the time we’re on our third or fourth project, we will be achieving higher levels of standardisation which should lead to even greater benefits.” Landsec’s strategy here is simply a response to disruption in the wider built environment sector, says Pennell. “We are already seeing specialist global offsite manufacturing companies entering the UK construction market,” he notes. “The innovation in digital design and the application of modern methods of construction is happening in construction all round the world. The UK construction industry is respected globally but if we want to maintain and ideally improve our position, we need to keep innovating.” Meanwhile, Bryden Wood is taking the principles of Office 1.0 into the housing market. “A client has asked us to create ‘Apartment 1.0’,” says Johnston. ●
105 Sumner Street will launch Landsec’s new model The kit of parts approach has meant a “fundamental change in our approach to procurement”, says Pennell. “The model the industry has defaulted to is based around design and build, where responsibility to complete the building design is passed down the supply chain. It has been driven by a desire to protect investment returns and transfer risk. But it has become a barrier to innovation. And also, it restricts clients from exerting influence once responsibility has been passed to the contractor – which is madness. Would BMW hand over the design of one of their cars to another manufacturer to finish? “So, we are looking at a form of construction management (CM). But this role will require the skill set of a consultant, a constructor, a logistics manager – all the skills needed to make a site run like a factory and with a multi-skilled workforce that can step up to that way of working. “We’ve called this procurement model ‘manufacturing and assembly management’ (MAM). We have appointed two companies in this new role for the Sumner Street project: Sir Robert
McAlpine and Mace. Some people may think that the MAM acronym comes from the company initials, but this is, as they say, entirely coincidental. “The important thing is that they are working collaboratively, to manage the risk, not hide it or push it on to someone else and help to grow the supply chain capability to deliver projects in this way. Finding two industry leading constructors willing to work together to help us develop this model has been great.” Both McAlpine and Mace have been working with Landsec in Bryden Wood’s office since the start of 2019, under a pre-construction agreement which also brought on board key suppliers including: Aggregate Industries, Tata Steel, Aluprof, Hall & Kay, Hotchkiss, NG Bailey, Kone, LaserCell and Trimble. “Landsec were prepared to share the risk on the project in exchange for lower prices and more direct control,” says Johnston. “This also opened up the supply chain to new, different and smaller players – such as Easi-Space.” The effect on Sumner Street has been to achieve “earlier design resolution and more cost-effective outcomes”, he adds.
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OFFSITE’S TOLERANCE CHALLENGE ADOPTERS OF DFMA SHOULD UNDERSTAND THAT A DIFFERENT TOLERANCE STRATEGY IS REQUIRED FROM TRADITIONAL CONSTRUCTION. MARK BOYLE, GIORGIO BIANCHI AND KATERINA VATTI EXPLAIN
Offsite construction and design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) are very much in vogue, as government and clients look for quicker and better quality ways to deliver projects. But this approach does present a major engineering challenge that is not a l w a y s a c k n o w l e d ge d : h o w to accommodate tolerances in all elements of the building project. With traditional construction, tolerance issues are handled element by element, and there is the opportunity to control and correct them as the building goes up. But with offsite manufacture, each element is much larger. The points where tolerances can be controlled are far fewer and, if not properly understood and managed, tolerance problems can rapidly accumulate, potentially leading to serious time delays and cost overruns. For tolerances on offsite projects, there should be a strategy to predict, monitor and correct where necessary. This should provide a means to check and adjust as elements are manufactured and again as they are assembled.
“If not properly managed, tolerance problems can rapidly accumulate, leading to serious time delays and cost overruns”
Compared to other industries, where industrialisation of production was introduced many years ago, construction has less experience in tolerance management. Manufacturers and designers often overestimate the tolerances that can be achieved in current manufacturing environments or hardly consider tolerances during the design process. A closer and more open relationship between designers and the manufacturing world is required. We need to have honest conversations about the tolerances that can be reasonably achieved and agree a strategy to monitor production and assembly and make corrections both off site and again during assembly on site. Prototyping would also help, especially with the new and innovative solutions that are coming into the industry with DfMA systems. The manufacturer builds a prototype unit, then, with the engineers in the factory, sees how easily it fits together, and measures and monitors the tolerances so that it informs the final design. This process helps to identify critical areas and revises the design to include
more tolerance where required, ironing out problems before they go on site, when it is often too late to fix them. Fortunately, many clients now understand the importance of prototyping to reduce risks and to save cost and time. Collaboration is the key word here. At an early stage, the construction and manufacturing teams should agree a project-specific tolerance strategy that everyone around the table is confident of achieving. This is even more important when different materials are involved. Concrete naturally sets into the shape you want it to, but it does shrink with time. Steel can be machined to good tolerances, but the high-temperature manufacturing process means steel elements are often not straight and have a slight curve which should be designed for. Timber can also achieve good tolerances, but again has a natural slight curve and, because it absorbs water, will shrink like concrete. Each of these materials have different needs and different approaches to managing tolerances. As building taller becomes more common, the need for tolerance management will also become more important. Prefabricated high-rise buildings are increasingly being constructed or are at design stage. Here, tolerance strategy is even more vital, because risk of tolerance accumulation is greater than elsewhere. Other design features common to high-rise, such as transfer structures, may also lead to tolerance accumulation that requires a specific mitigation strategy. If offsite and DfMA projects are properly planned and executed, with a tolerance strategy built in, all should go well. If tolerances are left to chance, then the prospect of delivering better quality buildings more quickly will disappear. Mark Boyle and Giorgio Bianchi are directors and Katerina Vatti is an associate at Robert Bird Group. ●
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MGF LAUNCH NEW STRUCTURAL SUPPORT SOLUTIONS DIVISION
The structural support capability sits alongside our established excavation safety solutions and our growing range of safety products and piling attachments. Each addition to the range broadens our service offering, bringing MGF customer service excellence to new areas of the market for new and existing customers. This addition will provide structural propping, jacking and support solutions across the Building and Civil Engineering industries and is built on MGF values: ensuring our customers receive quality, specialist temporary works solutions. Driven by our commitment to improvement, all MGF structural support products have been designed by our development team in consultation with customers and market specialists to deliver innovative products and premium quality whilst meeting the changing demands of today’s construction industry. With safety and simplicity in mind, the UniShore system has been designed and manufactured in-house to Eurocodes and BS EN 1090 Execution class 3 with the high-grade Strenx® steel and unique section profile minimising component weight whilst giving market leading performance.
The system is built from three capacities in light, medium and heavy sections all of which are fully interconnectable offering vertical load capacities of 20, 70 and 150 tonnes to provide designers and site teams with safe, economic solutions to structural support requirements. A full range of bracing and accessories are also available for each of the three capacities including hydraulic jacking capability for the medium and heavy sections to facilitate the controlled application and release of loads and structure movement applications. Bracing accessories feature pinned connections wherever possible, simplifying and speeding installation and removal minimising risk and cost. MGF’s Structural Support Solutions division is based at our new North West – Warrington premises and will service the whole of the UK throughout our expanding depot network.
We are delighted that Chris Carter has joined MGF to lead the Structural Support Solutions business into the industry as Managing Director, bringing with him a wealth of knowledge from his 35 years’ experience within structural support. “Having listened to the industry we have used modern high-grade steels and production techniques to design a system that offers real benefits to our customers. Backed by MGF’s excellent engineering and operations teams we are looking forward to delivering industry leading structural support solutions and service to customers”
Detailed technical information is provided in the UniShore technical file. User information and RAMS guidance are available at mgf.ltd.uk.
Should our UniShore product range or Structural Support Solutions be of benefit to your business and projects, contact a member of our team for more information
T: 0808 1499 484 E: email@example.com W: mgf.ltd.uk
MODULAR TIMBER FINDS BACKERS AS WELL AS BARRIERS TIMBER MODULAR CONSTRUCTION IS THE FLAVOUR DU JOUR IN HOUSING. KRISTINA SMITH EXAMINES WHY – AND ASKS IF ITS CURRENT POPULARITY WILL LAST
After decades of enthusiasts and reports extolling the virtues of offsite construction, the housing industry finally seems to agree that it might make sense. The last 12 months have seen a string of announcements from housebuilders and housing a s s o c i a t i o n s w h o a re te a m i n g up with modular timber system
suppliers – or even starting their own manufacturing operations. I n F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 9, h o u s i n g association L&Q signed a deal with supplier Stewart Milne. In March C o u n t r y s i d e P ro p e r t i e s b e ga n production at its very own factory in Warrington. In June, Barratt bought Selkirk manufacturer Oregon.
Though billed as ‘modular timber’, these announcements all related to timber frame, which in Scotland – and on some sites ‘down south’ – would just be classified as normal practice. However, others are pushing the modular format further, going for volumetric solutions. Swan Housing opened its own manufacturing facility in 2017 and has delivered more homes than Legal & General (L&G) Modular Housing, whose volumetric factory opened officially in 2016. The impetus for this tide of change is two-fold. First, there’s the skills shortages. The CITB’s latest forecast says we need to recruit an average of 33,700 people a year between 2019 and 2023. Second there’s the Thunberg effect: an appetite for more sustainable solutions from both customers and shareholders. “Our critical challenge is the absolute shortage of construction trades,” says Ian Kelley, chief executive, Partnerships North at Countryside Properties. “Against the backdrop of trying to grow our business through a recession of trades, we wanted to control that by having a more advanced timber frame panel system.” L&Q operations director Ian Millard describes his company’s plans to use timber frame panels on all its developments outside London as a way of harvesting “low-hanging fruit”, an easy way to take on board modern methods of construction (MMC). “We are getting a lot of encouragement from bodies like Homes England and the GLA [Greater London Authority] to use MMC,” he says.
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Countryside Properties’ Warrington factory has a capacity of around 1,000 homes a year
“Against the backdrop of trying to grow our business through a recession of trades, we wanted to control that by having a more advanced timber frame panel system”
L&G’s Rosie Toogood: ‘Building a new industry’ The CEO of Legal & General Modular Homes on the challenges of changing construction’s old habits
Ian Kelley, Countryside Properties
Inside London, panels would be less viable, says Millard, as developments tend to be dominated by apartments, rather than houses, with bespoke solutions needed for each site. Going it alone Countryside Properties’ decision to build its own facility seems rather extreme. But the developer wanted a “more advanced” system which no one in England could supply, says Kelley. One of the advances is how the system minimises waste. So, for instance, plasterboard offcuts from one operation are identified and used somewhere else, reducing cost and environmental impact. The panels for a home arrive with the plasterboard required to make joints between storeys and board up the ceilings, so that the plasterboard is delivered straight to where it is needed. Since March last year Countryside has built panels for 633 houses at its Warrington factory – which has a capacity of around 1,000 homes a year – and has erected 481 of those. Now it is about to start construction of a second, larger and more advanced, facility in Leicester which will supply the group’s three Midlands businesses in a year and a quarter’s time with a capacity of 1,500 homes a year. Countryside’s panels don’t come with services installed and ready to connect, but they do have holes cut for sockets and switches and voids behind the plasterboard through which pipes and cables can be fed. Kelley reports that trade contractors are saving a day per house on first fix.
“This really is a new industry. You cannot find someone who knows how to do all of this,” says Rosie Toogood, chief executive of Legal & General Modular Homes. There is a note of irritation as she explains that it takes time to set up a brand-new business like this one. “There’s a lack of understanding in the press about why things take so long.” L&G launched its modular housing business in a 550,000 sq ft factory near Leeds in February 2016. A press release at the time promised the first houses in June that year. However, it wasn’t until late 2019 that the first eight-home development was delivered to housing association Silva Homes on a site owned by L&G. Now, there is a much bigger project on the horizon: almost 150 homes consisting of oneand two-bed apartments and two- and three-bed homes in the centre of a small town. “We have been working very closely with the planning department,” says Toogood, who won’t name the location until planning permission has been granted. L&G Modular Homes has its own 24-strong team of in-house designers, supported by external design consultants who provide expertise and some resource. “We are going to a different level of detail to that which architects are accustomed to. We are designing a product in the same way as the automotive and aerospace industries do,” says Toogood, who joined L&G Modular Homes from
Rolls-Royce in the summer of 2017. “It requires engineers and architects to behave in a different way, go to a different level of detail and be specific about what is required.” L&G Modular Homes has a construction director and a small construction team, says Toogood. “At the moment, they will manage a main contractor to help us deliver on site under L&G management. As we grow and develop and take on more sites, we will grow our internal capability.” The L&G modular units are fully finished inside. External facades – brickwork in the case of the planned 150-home development – and a pitched roof will be added on site. “Facades and roofing systems are not yet developed that are
MMC-based,” says Toogood. “We will develop them in time.” Toogood says that the modular approach halves time on site. “It takes away a lot of the complexity and frustration of the programme management,” she adds. A huge advantage of L&G’s system is that it really will drive continuous improvement because any areas for improvement are automatically incorporated in the next round of homes. Toogood calls it a ‘closed loop system’. There were some minor things from the first project – such as the position of thermostats – which have been changed. “The issues were very small but they all went into our lessons learned log and were immediately addressed. Everything that goes wrong gets fixed, that’s embedded in our design.”
L&G Modular Homes CEO Rosie Toogood (top) and the company’s 550,000 sq ft factory near Leeds (above), which opened in 2016
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factory back in 2016 – is still honing its approach (see box). L&G is using CLT for houses, but will be using steel frame and precast concrete floors for apartments, CEO Rosie Toogood told CM. “Because we are going up to five storeys, we believe it’s a better solution, from the point of view of fire, acoustics, thermal properties etc. The important thing is to take an engineering approach, look at what the requirements are and what the most appropriate material is.”
“I want my site managers to challenge that everything is installed correctly. Don’t accept it if it’s not right. Never compound a problem” Martyn Fennell, L&Q
Swan Housing Association, which opened its factory in 2017, has supplied 30 homes to its Beechwood Village, with hundreds more to come (see box). It is now working on its second project, 65 affordable apartments in Tower Hamlets, and has a future pipeline of nearly 8,000 homes for projects including Laindon town centre, Purfleet and Queensway in Southend-on-Sea. Although Swan was an early proponent of cross-laminated timber (CLT), the government’s new postGrenfell Review regulations – which are frustrating to many CLT advocates [see box] – are forcing it to change tack. “The 2018 ban on combustible materials in buildings over 18m has meant that for future projects we will need to design our modular homes without using CLT in the external walls,” says Geoff Pearce, executive director of regeneration and development, Swan. “The government are now consulting on widening the ban to relate to buildings above 11m, so we will be responding to that in our future designs.” L&G Modular Housing – which made so many headlines when it opened its
The modular manager For L&Q regional construction director Martyn Fennell, the role of construction manager or site manager is subtly different on a timber frame site. Rather than a ‘let’s find a way to build this’ mindset, he wants managers to ensure every detail is correct at every stage. “I want my site managers to challenge that everything is installed correctly,” says Fennell, whose career began as a carpenter 40 years ago. “Don’t accept it if it’s not right. Never compound a problem.” Traditionally a London player, L&Q now has three sites outside the capital: Birnam Mews in Tiddington, Saxon Reach in Wavendon, Milton Keynes, and 450 homes at Beauchamp Park, Gallows Hill. L&Q’s employees and supply chain members have been visiting Stewart Milne’s facility to learn how the system is designed and manufactured, how it should be installed and what the benefits are for householders. Tolerances are a pertinent issue – the groundworking contractor must deliver foundations to plus or minus 5mm so the sole plate for the timber requires only a little packing. Logistics-wise, the fact that the frames are coming in on wagons means roads and other infrastructure go in earlier than for a traditional job, says Fennell. That makes the site cleaner, inside and out. There are still trades to manage, albeit fewer. Kelley reckons that eventually Countryside will be able to reduce its
Customised homes from Swan’s NU Living Thirty houses delivered from Swan’s factory to Beechwood Village in Basildon
Swan’s Beechwood scheme and (left) modules arriving on site
Beechwood Village in Basildon is the first development to receive modular houses from Swan Housing Association’s factory in Warrington. Its first 200home phase is now complete – of which 30 houses came from the factory. Swan plans to supply a further 520 modular homes to Beechwood, which is being delivered by Swan’s development arm NU Living. Buyers can customise their home via NU Living’s configurator, which allows them to choose items including flooring, door colours, and colours of roof tiles and window frames. According to Geoff Pearce, Swan’s executive
director of regeneration and development, the biggest challenges have come in the design phase: “Our consultants have been brilliant but the level of design detail and coordination of drawings is far greater for manufactured homes than it is for traditional buildings – we can’t leave queries to be worked out on site or during the construction process, so this has required a change of mindset.” Swan’s modular design guide, produced by Waugh Thistleton Architects with input from engineer Ramboll, has helped with the design process, says Pearce. Out on site, it’s a case of tight tolerances and tight logistics. “The foundations need to be set out with absolute accuracy and, as crane hire is expensive, deliveries need to be planned with military precision to reduce waiting times,” says Pearce.
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Battling the ban: CLT argues its case Advocates believe further fire tests can prove the product’s safety credentials allowances for prelims and waste. “I can go on site now and look in the mini skips and there’s nothing in them,” he says. For volumetric systems there are fewer logistics challenges, but they may be bigger. “For volumetric construction, you need more laydown space to be able to drop off the modules before they are craned into place,” says Patrick Usborne, director at Perpendicular Architects, which specialises in offsite solutions. “That can be outweighed by the fact that you need less space to put the pieces together.” Problem solved? It’s a bit early to declare the skills shortage in housing solved. But moving activities into factories could attract different people from those who want to work on a construction site. “We offer quite a diverse range of jobs,” says L&G’s Toogood. “We recruit people from every form of life, design some of the complexity out of things, and upskill people to do more. We offer fixed shifts, long-term employment in the same place in a nice warm factory environment.” L&G employs “quite a few” women, says Toogood, when asked. However, all these modular solutions currently require bricklayers and roofers to clad them – although, as Fennell explains, bricklaying is taken off the critical path with a modular system. In time, cladding will be modular too, says Kelley. Already Countryside is moving towards roof cassettes. Brick slips and roof modules will follow, he says. The challenge is that, to achieve any of these advances, we need volume. And here there are still conflicting issues which have held progress back. We haven’t quite worked out what solution works best where. The good news is that a lot of organisations have invested a lot of money into getting these solutions off the starting blocks. This time, we might just get there. ●
“Once you get to 6-12 storeys, it’s cheaper, faster and it annoys the neighbours less because there are fewer lorries and deliveries” Dave Lomax, Waugh Thistleton Architects
The government’s 2018 ban on combustible materials in buildings over 18m – which may yet be widened to buildings above 11m – is frustrating for many CLT experts. It is a lightweight yet strong material, which makes it ideal for higher buildings, and possibly a little over-engineered for low-rise ones. “Once you get to 6-12 storeys, it’s cheaper, faster and it annoys the neighbours less because there are fewer lorries and deliveries,” says Dave Lomax, senior associate at Waugh Thistleton Architects, which designed Dalston Works, the world’s largest CLT building. Using CLT at Dalston resulted in 25% more homes and 80% fewer deliveries than if it had been built traditionally. However, Mike Jacob, co-founder and director at Kiss House, which designs and delivers pre-manufactured homes for the self-build market and small developments, rejected CLT in favour of laminated veneer lumber (LVL). “Using CLT for a two-storey house is like using a sledge hammer to crack a walnut,” says Jacob. “You have quite a lot of redundant structure because only
part of the CLT panel is required structurally. We are using LVL because it gives slimmer, lighter panels, which are easier to more around. You can use forklifts rather than cranes.” Kiss is gearing up to deliver its first site just outside Bath and is close to signing a deal with a manufacturer. It is also developing some new offsite systems which Jacob hopes to commercialise and market to the industry. Patrick Usborne, director at Perpendicular Architects believes that tests will prove that CLT is a safe building material for higher buildings. “The perception is that timber burns but CLT in a panel just burns the outer skin,” he says. “The evidence clearly shows that it behaves as well as, if not better than, traditional forms of construction.” Jeremy English, director at structural timber supplier Södra, adds: “Structural timber and CLT products have very predictable charring rates. When exposed to fire, the load-bearing core of a beam or truss will remain intact while the char layer remains to protect it. The char forms an insulation layer
preventing an excessive rise in temperature within the unburnt core. The core continues to function, providing a predictable period of fire resistance.” The challenge, says Usborne, is that the combustibility issue is “so politicised now”. There was a meeting of CLT specialists – consultants, architects and suppliers – at the end of January to discuss how they could overturn the ban. According to Usborne, there was agreement that there needs to be more testing in the UK to prove CLT’s fire performance, which he says has been demonstrated in other countries including the US, Canada, Austria and Finland. English says: “The Structural Timber Association, among others, is currently augmenting its already extensive fire-resistance testing data. Further investigation will determine how the in-situ fire resistance characteristics of structural timber systems can be best exploited in modern high performance buildings. Once they arrive, I believe that we should then have an informed review of regulations.”
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BSkyB’s Believe in Better Building, the UK’s tallest commercial timber structure
Before she bowed out as prime minister, Theresa May announced the government’s goal for the UK to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. It’s a tough ask, and as the built environment accounts for around 40% of the total carbon emissions in the UK, it needs to be a key driver in making positive changes. This is where timber comes in. The key benefit of wood is its ability to sequester carbon. Buildings turn into a carbon store when their structural frame, insulation and interiors are made from wood. Advancements in technology have allowed timber to play a significant role in the growing offsite construction market (see p32-36). Building with products such as timber frame and cross-laminated timber results in a quicker build time, reduced wastage and less time needed for workers to be on site, thus reducing risk. Wood can be used as a hybrid material too. Where materials such as steel or concrete are used, wood can be woven into the construction and help offset carbon emissions while potentially improving the aesthetics. Additionally, timber is easily reused. Wood, as a biological material, can be turned into a product, often reused in similar contexts or recycled and turned into another product. At the end of its life cycle it can return to the environment. Construction is seen as a traditional industry that is slow to react to
“Building with products such as timber frame and cross-laminated timber results in a quicker build time, reduced wastage and less time needed for workers to be on site, thus reducing risk” change. Moreover, persuading a client to consider using different building materials is no mean feat. But clients also have a moral responsibility to consider ways to minimise the impact the buildings they commission have on the environment. Wood for Good’s online Lifecycle Database provides evidence and data to demonstrate the positive influence wood products can have on a building’s performance and ultimately its environmental impact. There are also real-world examples. BskyB’s Believe in Better Building in west London is the tallest commercial timber structure in the UK, built by Mace with the frame installed by B&K. It included a 15% reduction in embodied carbon of construction, 27% of recycled content, responsible sourcing of materials, while delivering on key principles of the WELL Standard – quality daylighting, air quality and natural material selection. And a 36-home social housing project in Wales, which used local spruce for the structural frame and larch for the cladding, has beaten the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge targets (see p41). Climate change is a real threat and the built environment is one of the biggest culprits. The onus is on the construction industry to change and adapt its ways. The solutions are feasible, realistic and available now, but the industry must react and change its practices today – if net zero carbon by 2050 is to be achieved. ● Christiane Lellig is campaign director at Wood for Good.
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IN PICTURES: SEVEN INNOVATIVE USES OF TIMBER ON CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
ZAHA HADID ARCHITECTS
CM LOOKS AT UNUSUAL, CHALLENGING OR GROUND-BREAKING USES OF TIMBER, FROM PRIVATE HOUSING TO GIANT COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTS
Forest Green gets green light for timber stadium
New French public buildings must be 50% timber France has pledged that new public buildings must be constructed using a minimum 50% wood or other sustainable materials from 2022. Paris has already made a similar commitment and any buildings higher than eight storeys constructed for the 2024 Paris Olympics must be made entirely of timber. The Hyperion towers in Bordeaux (pictured), 50m and 57m in height, will be France’s tallest timber towers when completed later this year.
JEAN-PAUL VIGUIER ARCHITECTURE
Forest Green Rovers FC has been granted outline planning permission for its 5,000-capacity wooden stadium designed by Zaha Hadid. Revised plans for Eco Park were approved by Stroud District Council after the first application was rejected last June. The stadium will have an undulating bowl constructed from slats of timber and use sustainable energy sources. Forest Green is committed to environmentalism, claiming to be the world’s first vegan football club and last year introducing bamboo shin pads for players to reduce its reliance on plastic.
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TIMBER PRACTICE ARCHITECTURE
Zero-carbon hemp house completed
BIG GROUP / HEATHERWICK STUDIO
A zero-carbon house built from hemp and timber-framed cassettes has been constructed in Cambridgeshire. The prefabricated cassettes were filled with a mulch of hemp, lime, and water prior to installation. Once dried, the cassettes were lifted into place in just two days. The ‘hempcrete’ mix provides high insulation, while the exterior is covered in corrugated panels made from the fibres of hemp stalks mixed with resin taken from agricultural waste. The ‘Flat House’ is owned by film director Steve Barron and was designed by Practice Architecture.
World’s largest timber facade on Google London HQ The £1bn Google HQ in King’s Cross, London, will feature the world’s largest wooden facade, with a total area of 23,300 sq m. Designed by BIG Group and Heatherwick Studio, the ‘groundscraper’ is being constructed by Lendlease. Timber supplier Hess is working with facade specialist Josef Gartner, part of Permasteelisa, to test life-size mock-ups of the facade, which will be built from glued-laminated and cross-laminated timber (CLT).
Ikea’s first UK housing schemes exchange contracts
Skanska and Ikea’s offsite homes joint venture, BoKlok UK, has exchanged contracts on its first three UK developments. Construction work on the Bristol, Peacehaven and Worthing schemes is due to start later this year, subject to planning permission, with completion due for 2021. The BoKlok homes will be built primarily from wood and manufactured in Estonia. So far around 12,000 have been built in Sweden (pictured), Finland and Norway.
Welsh timber housing project beats Climate Challenge targets
Six-storey Hackney office to be built using CLT
A social housing project in Wales has beaten the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge targets – which includes reducing embodied carbon by at least 50-70% and operational energy by at least 75%, before offsetting – by 16%. The 36-home ClwydAlyn development used Welshgrown spruce for the structural frame and locally grown larch for the external cladding. All the joinery elements were made from wood and each home features wood fibre insulation.
Developer Southern Grove is to build a £33m, six-storey office block in Hackney, London using CLT. The 4,530 sq m scheme in Shoreditch will be designed by architect Waugh Thistleton, which was responsible for the nearby 6 Orsman Road block, also constructed with CLT. Southern Grove says the new building at 16 Orsman Road will be four to five times lighter than a traditionally constructed building. CONSTRUCTION MANAGER MARCH 2020 | 41
BIM & DIGITAL
BIM & Digital
WILLMOTT DIXON’S BLOCKCHAIN REACTION ON A QUEST FOR IMPROVED INFORMATION MANAGEMENT, WILLMOTT DIXON IS EXAMINING THE POTENTIAL OF BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY TO HELP WITH RECORD-KEEPING AND SUPPLY CHAIN PAYMENTS. WILL MANN REPORTS The Hackitt report and its call for a “golden thread” of information about buildings may prove to be the wake-up call construction needed to get its data management in order. And some built environment businesses are seeing not only the necessity, but an opportunity. Willmott Dixon has recognised the growing importance of data and recently received funding from the CITB’s digital grant fund, to develop a blockchain technology proof-ofconcept – which could transform its approach to information management. “Grenfell and the Hackitt report, which was very critical of construction’s poor record-keeping, kick-started this,” explains Simon Tranter, Willmott Dixon Interiors’ head of sustainability and the company’s blockchain lead. “The industry is on a journey to improve digital methods of record keeping – making it easier to retrieve information relating to the assets it installs and certifies. Customers are increasingly asking for more critical information on safety and quality performance. “We believe blockchain can help with that, along with BIM and other digital technologies. We are trying to develop our technical knowledge, understand what blockchain is and how it can work for our business.” Blockchain is still an emerging te c h n o l o g y t h a t i s n o t w i d e l y understood, certainly in a construction context (see box).
“We struggled at first to identify a business case,” admits Tranter. “But then we realised very quickly that the focus should be on what problems blockchain can solve, rather than the science behind how it actually works. There is plenty of technology you use in everyday life that you don’t understand, a microwave for instance, but you know its benefits and what buttons to press. It’s the same for blockchain. “The key feature within a blockchain is immutability. Blockchain encryption means information can be recorded but can’t be changed. This makes it different to other platforms. With most databases, if you write a record, you can change it.” Tranter’s pilot is concentrating initially on fire safety installations.
“The aim is to give customers certainty and confidence – so they know that the fire stopping and the fire doors that are supposed to be installed actually are installed,” he says. “We want to make that data transparent and available, linked specifically to the supply chain activity, along with an improved payment mechanism.” Willmott Dixon is working with software company Automated Markets on the blockchain project. “The idea is to store information about all goods, works and services employed in construction projects on a blockchain,” says Sam Gamble, Automated Markets CEO. “This is far too much to tackle in one go, so we’re focusing on fire management elements first. The aim is to prove some things about the technology applied to this problem, which can hopefully be used for a more general industrywide application. “It is important to note that when we say ‘blockchain’, we mean private, permissioned blockchains for business, not public chains such as the Bitcoin or Ethereum networks,” he adds. The pair have been examining how the fire safety industry manages information, using software called Bolster, which integrates the installation, documenting and management of fire safety work in one application. “Bolster collates all the information about products used, certifications, sign-offs, which is then available for the site personnel to view and sign off,” says Tranter. “We use a system that is similar,
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BIM & DIGITAL
Digital story for CM or BIMplus? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
but there is much to learn from the fire safety sector in terms of how they record, manage and self-certify information.” Gamble uses a fire door installation to illustrate how the blockchain technology would work. “Willmott Dixon will have a design and place an order for a door,” he says. “That is stored on the blockchain, along with the price. The subcontractor then executes the work and puts in a valuation request. The contractor makes an assessment of the work, checking the quality, the specification of the door, documents such as fire certificates, the O&M information, and that data about the work has been gathered. “And crucially, the surveyor can interrogate the work against what was agreed up front and recorded on the blockchain. Once the chain of information is complete, only then can the surveyor approve the payment.” If the fire safety pilot works, Tranter believes the blockchain technology could be extended to the whole supply chain. “It would provide clarity over the work to be executed, its status, when it is finished,” he says. “Subcontractors know the information is correct because once it is on the blockchain, it’s immutable and its provenance is recorded. “This in turn could make the subcontractor payment process more transparent. The subcontractor is often buying materials on our behalf, which can make it difficult to manage information such as product specifications and compliance.
“There’s a clear benefit for the industry,” Tranter reasons. “We can spend less time quibbling over agreed works and spend more time on guaranteeing quality, which is relevant to all projects.” Another benefit of the process is the capture of O&M information. “Currently this process is left till near the end of the build,” notes Tranter. “We’re looking at moving that up the process and making “There’s a clear it a prerequisite for payment.” But the main goal, he says, is to benefit for the increase customer and public confidence industry. We can that “we can deliver better buildings”. spend less time “Using the fire door example again, quibbling over agreed works if the customer wanted information and spend about the products used and how more time on they were installed, we would give guaranteeing them access through the blockchain,” quality, which Tranter explains. is relevant to “Customers worry that if there is all projects” a faulty component, that problem Simon Tranter, repeats across hundreds of buildings,” Willmott Dixon observes Gamble. Interiors “An analogy is the car and white goods industry. It is very easy for manufacturers to recall products because they know what screws and bolts are in their products at the click of a button. We can’t do that in construction – because we haven’t yet developed the sophisticated systems that allow for timely and specific data retrieval.” Which is where blockchain and better data management comes in. “Companies who get it right will have a competitive advantage,” believes Tranter. “Customers will recognise us
Understanding blockchain A blockchain comprises records of information – called blocks – which are linked together using cryptography. Each block contains information about transactions between two parties, including time and value, plus a link to the previous block. Once information is stored on a blockchain, it is secure by design and cannot be altered. A Blockchain is not a server for holding information; it is used for facilitating sharing of information across a business network. Blockchains differ from conventional databases, which have access rights that need to be managed centrally in an organisation. A Blockchain allows information management to be decentralised. Blockchain can store files in any format using a technique called ‘off-chain storage’.
for our good information management processes. There will also be business efficiencies, such as not spending so long processing payments.” The proof of concept crunch will be “back end of the summer”, says Tranter, at which point he will present to the Willmott Dixon board. After that, it would be another “two to three” years to bring the product to market. “It depends on the benefits we can demonstrate – they have to be quantifiable,” says Tranter. ● Simon Tranter and Sam Gamble will be speaking about Willmott Dixon’s blockchain project on 21 April at County Hall in London and at the Digital Construction Summit on 3 June at the America Square Conference Centre in London. More details at www.digitalconstructionsummit.uk. CONSTRUCTION MANAGER MARCH 2020 | 43
HEALTH & SAFETY
Plot of mean respirable dust concentrations in the breathing zone
Health & Safety This jumped nine-fold to 7.65 mg.m-3 for the second manufacturer’s system, while the third manufacturer’s tests were 18 times higher at 15.65 mg.m-3. The HSE’s Workplace Exposure Limit stands at 0.1 mg.m-3, though this is across an eight-hour working day. The tests were carried out at the HSE’s Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) last year and the report has been authored by HSE scientists Dominic Pocock, John Saunders and Adam Clarke.
HSE ADVANCES DUST EXPOSURE INVESTIGATION REPORT ON POWER TOOLS RAISES CONCERNS ABOUT WORKER EXPOSURE LEVELS TO RESPIRABLE CRYSTALLINE SILICA The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has completed an investigation into construction dust risks, publishing a report on power tool dust extraction systems which shows wide variations in worker exposure levels. The report, which has been shared with CM, follows laboratory tests of three tool manufacturers’ dust extraction systems for hand-held electric diamond cutters, to examine exposure levels to respirable crystalline silica (RCS). In January, the HSE recognised RCS as a carcinogen. The tests (see box) on the first manufacturer’s system – the best performing of the three – recorded respirable dust levels of 0.85 mg.m-3.
“As there is a high health risk, this means that a high level of exposure control should be applied when using diamond cutters” HSE report
Exposure control “Diamond cutters are often used to cut concrete and natural stone, both of which can contain high levels of crystalline silica, in the case of concrete up to 70%. Using power tools to abrade materials containing silica releases dust that contains RCS [which] has been classified as carcinogenic to humans,” the report explains. “The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations state, ‘control exposure by measures that are proportionate to the health risk’. “As there is a high health risk, this means that a high level of exposure control should be applied when using diamond cutters. There is a legal duty for employers to prevent or adequately control worker exposure to construction dust. On-tool extraction is an effective control for this dust and will reduce the risk of ill health.” The tests follow last year’s HSE dust campaign, with inspectors visiting construction sites to examine worker exposure levels. The HSE estimates that past occupational exposure to known and probable carcinogens accounts for about 8,000 cancer deaths each year – and the construction industry has the largest proportion of these deaths, around 3,500. The majority are linked to asbestos and silica. ●
16 12 8 4 0
How the tests were carried out The HSL tests examined the effectiveness of three manufacturers’ dust extraction system solutions for hand-held electric diamond cutters. Each test followed European standards BS EN 50632-1:2015 and BS EN 50632-2-22:2015. Tests were performed at the HSL by trained and experienced operators who were independent of the three tool manufacturers. Three systems were tested, each consisting of a hand-held electric diamond cutter and a matching vacuum unit as recommended by the manufacturer. All tools were operated as per the manufacturers’ guidance and using the manufacturers’ recommended circular blades. Three repeat tests were performed with each system with operators changed for each test to minimise the effects of their behaviour. The efficacy of the dust control systems was assessed by measuring the concentration of respirable and inhalable dust in the breathing zone of the operator while using the tools to make cuts to a depth of 40mm in concrete paving slabs, meeting the requirements as specified in BS EN 50632-2-22. Inhalable dust is the fraction that is inhaled through the nose and mouth. Respirable dust is the key value because this fraction can penetrate the deepest parts of the lung and cause diseases like lung cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (which includes emphysema and other breathing difficulties) and silicosis. When using the first manufacturer’s system, the levels recorded were 0.85 mg.m-3 for respirable dust and 2.45 mg.m-3 for inhalable dust. For the second manufacturer’s system, the results rose to 7.65 mg.m-3 and 16.55 mg.m-3 for respirable and inhalable dust respectively, while the third manufacturer tests reported even higher dust concentrations of 15.65 mg.m-3 for respirable and 38.90 mg.m-3 for inhalable dust. The full results of the tests can be found online at: https://bit.ly/2OO1r4H.
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THE KEY ANNUAL EVENT FOR DIGITAL DECISION-MAKERS IN THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT SECTOR
Speaker highlights: Neil Pennell, head of design innovation, Landsec Jon Kerbey, digital director, Heathrow Airport Roy Evans, client solutions lead, Government Property Agency (Cabinet Office) Dan Hollas, fire safety projects director, Clarion Housing Group Javed Edahtally, BIM programme lead, Public Health England David Philp, global BIM/IM consultancy director, Aecom James Daniel, head of digital engineering, infrastructure services, Skanska Simon Tranter, Blockchain lead, Willmott Dixon Delegate bookings: Eva Rugeley, 020 7490 5595 email@example.com Sponsorship: Dave Smith, 07703 532605, firstname.lastname@example.org
BIM+ 3 June 2020, America Square Conference Centre, 1 America Square, 17 Crosswall, London EC3N 2LB
“Securing the necessary power capacity at an early stage is likely to become increasingly important, and decisions on cable routes, equipment and installers need early consideration”
Megan Coulton Trowers & Hamlins
How will the fossil fuel car ban affect new buildings? BRINGING FORWARD THE BAN ON PETROL AND DIESEL CAR SALES WILL LIKELY MEAN INCREASED PROVISION FOR EV CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE, EXPLAINS MEGAN COULTON
The government decision to bring forward the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 to 2035 – or even 2032, according to some reports – has implications for how new buildings and infrastructure will be constructed. In 15 years, the only new cars on sale will be electric or hydrogen – hybrids are also being outlawed – but the cost of electric vehicles (EVs) and the lack of charging infrastructure remain significant barriers to wider take-up. Two legislative proposals to be implemented in 2020 seek to address this. The first key change addresses infrastructure. To develop the necessary charging infrastructure, the government recently consulted on changes to the Building Regulations to require electric charging infrastructure in new buildings and those undergoing major renovations. This builds on the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018, which legislates for the installation
of chargepoints in motorway service areas and large fuel retailers and aims to introduce a consistent approach to charging infrastructure in buildings across the country. The consultation (see box), which closed in October 2019, proposed changes which will have a significant impact on all buildings in England (Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland have their own arrangements) and are likely to go a long way to achieving government intentions of making chargepoints widely available (particularly for new residential buildings). For some, it will be business as usual, but for others the challenge is to adapt to these new requirements on scale – and to do so rapidly. Securing the necessary power capacity at an early stage is likely to become increasingly important, and decisions on cable routes, specification of equipment, and choice of installers/operators need early consideration. The second change is aimed at accelerating the transition to EVs. Draft legislation published by the Treasury last summer reduces the benefit in kind tax rate for electric company cars to 0% from 6 April 2020 (set to remain at low levels through to 2021/22). This adds to existing tax benefits for low emission vehicles, including exemptions from vehicle excise duty, lower VAT rates on electricity (compared to petrol/diesel), and ability to participate in salary sacrifice schemes. If the government’s joined-up policy approach on EVs increases uptake, then attention will turn to chargepoints. The commercial property market is already seeing early adopters, particularly in the retail and leisure sectors, but will the infrastructure keep up with demand? Let’s see what the Budget on 11 March brings. ● Megan Coulton is an associate at Trowers & Hamlins.
Building Regulations consultation on EV infrastructure: key recommendations l All new residential buildings with associated car parking spaces each to have a chargepoint. This would include buildings undergoing a material change of use to create a dwelling. l Every residential building undergoing major renovation with
more than 10 car parking spaces to have one chargepoint, and cable routes for EV chargepoints in every space. l Every new non-residential building and non-residential building undergoing a major renovation with more than 10 car parking spaces to have one
chargepoint and cable routes for an EV chargepoint for one in five spaces. l At least one chargepoint in existing non-residential buildings with more than 20 car parking spaces, applicable from 2025 (to be implemented in separate legislation).
l Some exemptions are proposed, including for listed buildings and buildings in conservation areas – and where installation costs exceed particular thresholds. The revised Building Regulations are expected in the first half of 2020.
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CIOB Community Networking
CIOB signs up as a Built Environment Networking partner MOVE WILL OFFER DISCOUNT TO MEMBERS ATTENDING BEN CONFERENCES
The CIOB has signed up to join BEN (Built Environment Networking), to support members with further opportunities to network and attend events to gain more insight into the future of the built environment. BEN runs more than 100 events across the UK each year. These, Awards
Last chance to enter CMYA ENTRIES CLOSE ON 20 MARCH
Caroline Gumble, CIOB
along with the events and CPD organised by the CIOB, will provide the most comprehensive suite of opportunities to connect people from the construction sector with business leaders and decision-makers from the country’s biggest companies, with event speakers sharing future Could you follows in the footsteps of Joseph McNeil of Sir Robert McAlpine and be the 2020 Construction Manager of the Year? Entries are closing soon for the CMYA awards, celebrating the achievements of those who inspire, lead and enable the very best delivery of a project and produce buildings that have a positive
“It supports and supplements the work we are already doing via our hub network to bring industry professionals together to share what they know and promote best practice”
Built Environment Networking runs more than 100 events a year
development plans, insight from local authorities and land owners and more. Built Environment Networking will provide a 15% discount to all CIOB members attending its conferences. The partnership is being kicked off with an enhanced offer of a 30% discount for next month’s Building Britain’s Energy Future Conference in London, which will examine the energy industry and the movement towards more sustainable solutions in the way our industry works. Caroline Gumble, chief executive of the CIOB, said she is pleased to have entered into the partnership. “It supports and supplements the work we are already doing via our hub network to bring industry professionals together to share what they know and promote best practice.” “I’m very much looking forward to working with BEN to expand our events portfolio and deliver more opportunities for industry insight to our CIOB member community.” ● More information at www.builtenvironment-networking.com.
impact on those who use them. With 22 categories and two additional new awards this year, the President’s Medal and Young Persons’ Awards, the CMYA awards are unlike any other industry gong – they go beyond merely the building to the project as a whole. Winning an award at CMYA can be a springboard in your career. Many
previous medal winners have said that the awards have had hugely positive effects. Entry is free: to submit a nomation or nominate yourself visit www.cmya.co.uk. Entries close at 11.59pm on Friday 20 March. The CMYA annual dinner announcing the overall winner will be held in September in London.
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Improving the patient experience
CORK EVENT TACKLES DRAINAGE
MEMBERS VISIT THE 3TS HOSPITAL REDEVELOPMENT
CIOB Dorking Hub members recently visited Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital to see the work under way as part of its £485m, nine-year programme to replace the buildings on the front of the main hospital site. Called the ‘3Ts redevelopment’ to ref lect the hospital’s role in teaching, trauma and tertiary care, the programme will happen in three stages and be complete by 2024. Lead contractor Laing O’Rourke spoke to members about the project and their focus on quality before giving a tour of the Stage 1 work. Due to be completed by winter 2020, Stage 1 Building will replace the wards and departments of the Barry Building, which opened 20 years before Florence
Nightingale started nursing and is England’s oldest inpatient ward block. A helideck is also being constructed on the top of the Thomas Kemp Tower to move severely injured and unwell patients. The new state-of-the-art facilities will meet the highest clinical standards and offer the hundreds of thousands of patients and visitors that pass through the hospital’s doors each year a modern, spacious care environment. ●
Dorking members visited the Stage 1 Building which will replace England’s oldest inpatient ward block
Construction products firm Kilsaran will present a CPD event on Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) in Cork on 10 March. With the continuing increase of urban ﬂash ﬂoods and subsequent awareness in planning, the restriction of water movement off site means permeable paving and SuDs systems have become a buzz topic within the construction industry. The event takes place at Rochestown Park Hotel. Contact: UHennigan@ciob. org.uk.
Sue Sanders, Founder of LGBT History Month
Building Equality calls for visible role models MANCHESTER EVENT URGES VISIBILITY Building Equality – an alliance of construction organisations and professionals working together to drive LGBT+ inclusion in the construction sector – held an event in February in Manchester raise the importance of role models. Some of the Building Equality Greater Manchester members include the CIOB, AECOM, Amey, Kier, Balfour Beatty, BAM and Mace. Luke Ives of Jacobs, chair of Building Equality Manchester, said: “The importance of visible role models in all aspects of life has never been more important. We’ve seen great strides towards LGBT+equality. However statistics show us that there is still progress to be made and in order to achieve this we need real-life, everyday visible role models.” Speakers and panellists at the event included Sue Sanders, founder of LGBT History Month, Sally Carr, operations director of The Proud Trust, and historian and LGBT+ activist Paul Fairweather. The event also raised money for LGBT History Month: Aecom (£100), Amey (£100), Balfour Beatty (£200), Civic Engineers (£200), Kier (£100), RICS (£200), Ramboll, Seddon (£200), WYG (£100), Hays (catering).
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National Apprenticeship Week
Tolent benefits by having a PlanBEE APPRENTICES CONSTRUCT CAREERS WITH TOLENT
Tolent team members Cody Sheriff and Luke Oldfield
Construction firms invited to join forum NEW NETWORK AIMING TO PUSH SUSTAINABLE AGENDA
Dr Opuku: “This forum will change the business-asusual culture”
North East construction company Tolent is benefiting from an innovative training programme designed to attract new talent into the industry. The firm has boosted its workforce thanks to PlanBEE, a higher apprenticeship programme developed by Gateshead College and Ryder Architecture to inspire young people to pursue a career in the built environment sector. G a te s h e a d - b a s e d To l e n t h a s recruited three PlanBEE apprentices to its team following their successful completion of the programme. Cody Sheriff, Luke Oldfield and Morgan Bridgett are now permanent members of the Tolent team, working at sites across the region. Sheriff, 22, is a trainee engineer and Oldfield, 21, and Bridgett, 20, are trainee site managers. Oldfield is currently working alongside Sheriff on the £120m Milburngate mixed-use development in Durham. He is continuing his learning at Northumbria University where he is studying towards a degree in Construction Engineering Management. PlanBEE launched in 2016. The first of its kind in the sector, the programme
is now being used as an exemplar across the country. It is a bespoke higher-level skills programme that provides budding professionals with study and off-the-job training along with a job working with some of the region’s leading companies. It has been tailored specifically for and by the north-east construction sector, providing young people with a starting salary of £12,409 per year, a professional qualification and a guaranteed job opportunity on graduation. Tolent was one of the first companies to get involved and continues to offer placements to apprentices on the programme. Other PlanBEE sponsors include NBS, BIM Academy, Sir Robert McAlpine and Bowmer + Kirkland. ●
A business forum has been created on sustainable development goals (SDGs). Dr Alex Opoku, an expert in sustainable built environment and associate professor in project management and quantity surveying at University College London (UCL), has set up Construction4SDG2030 in partnership with HTA Design and WokenUp. The focus of the network/forum is to support construction businesses to take advantage of the opportunities SDGs present. “Businesses that align their long-term strategies with SDGs will be efficient and gain competitive advantage,” says Dr Opoku. The Construction4SDG2030 Business Forum is aimed at raising the awareness, facilitating dialogue and sharing best practice among construction industry stakeholders
towards the integration of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development into business strategies. “The forum is committed to support construction companies in the UK align their business strategies with the SDGs by developing approaches to integrate the SDGs into business strategies and operations,” he says. “This forum will change the business-as-usual culture in the construction industry to a more sustainable practice. “Construction companies who sign up as partners or member of the forum will gain the respect and the reputation as leaders in the industry working towards the global sustainable development goals.” To join the forum contact alex.opoku @construction4sdg2030.org.uk.
“PlanBEE provides budding professionals with study and off-the-job training along with a job working with some of the region’s leading companies”
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“I look forward to him joining the business permanently – maturing into a professional manager that we see leading our business in the future” Anthony Clarke, VolkerFitzpatrick
Student challenge prize leads to job MORIARTY TO RETURN TO WORK EXPERIENCE FIRM
This month sees the finals of the 2020 Bright Futures Challenge. Recently last year’s winner of Most Outstanding Student Edward Moriarty (Ned) paid a visit to the site where he underwent the work experience which was part of his prize. Moriarty won work experience with sponsor VolkerFitzpatrick, which he spent at 77 Coleman Street: a refurbishment and extension project, which includes the construction of 68,000 sq ft of office space and over 16,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space. The contractor then interviewed Moriarty and offered him a graduate position which begins this summer when he finishes his Construction Management degree.
Ned Moriarty, winner of the Most Outstanding Student at the 2019 Bright Futures Challenge
Anthony Clarke, operations manager London & South, first met Moriarty at the 2019 London heat for the Bright Futures Challenge where he was a judge. “For me Ned’s team stood out from the start of the event; professional, enthusiastic, polite, creative and full of ideas,” said Clarke. “The graduate scheme at VolkerFitzpatrick focuses on finding talented young individuals that stand out and that we see can fit into our business and grow within. “Ned is one of those individuals. He has worked hard since I met him and I look forward to him joining the business permanently – maturing into a professional manager that we see leading our business in the future.” M o r iar t y s a id : “Th e te a m at VolkerFitzpatrick have provided me with a support network to develop my skills – something I am genuinely grateful for. I’m excited for what the future holds and continuing to develop while driving the industry forward.” John O’Grady, divisional commercial director – building at VolkerFitzpatrick, was also a judge at the final of the challenge – and will be again this year. “This whole process has shown what a huge success the CIOB Bright Futures Challenge is,” he said. “I am looking forward to judging this year’s event again in March to see what emerging talent we have in the industry. The competition does highlight some key characters and potential team leaders, which is great to see first hand!” ●
Gumble tops the bill at hubs’ talk in Birmingham THREE TOPICAL SPEAKERS
Caroline Gumble: discussing plans for the future of the CIOB On Thursday 19 March the Midland hubs will join together at the Resorts World venue in Birmingham to hear from three very different but highly topical speakers. The evening will start with Mark Hotson, head of health and safety at MAG (Airports Group). Hotson will give his account, from personal experience, of how employer, manager and individual can help to prevent crisis situations. Then Frank MacDonald, CIOB Benevolent Fund manager, will introduce the new Anxiety UK and CIOB Benevolent Fund partnership and will talk about the benefits available to members through the scheme. Finally, CIOB CEO Caroline Gumble will discuss her plans for the future of the CIOB. There will be plenty of time for questions and networking. The event, which is sponsored by Chase de Vere, is free to members. Please book via the website events.ciob.org or contact email@example.com.
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GMIT team wins CIOB’s Student Challenge Ireland EIGHT TEAMS BATTLE FOR STUDENT PRIZE
four were submitted from: University of Ulster Jordanstown; Letterkenny IT; Cork IT; IT Carlow; GMIT (Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology); University of Limerick; Waterford IT; and TU Dublin. The teams were provided with a brief on the morning of the competition: the refurbishment of a building in Dublin’s city centre. They had 2.5 hours to work on a report and a 15-minute presentation. The three top teams were chosen and asked a further three questions, before judges ranked them from first to third. The final three questions were the same for each team and included a question on how to support mental health on site. Adam Brennan, Declan Coll, Liam Flatley and Ali Al-Windi made up the winning team, supported by lecturers John Hanahoe and Martin Taggart. John Sweeney, chair of CIOB Dublin Hub, was impressed with the calibre of the students. “The judges were impressed by the standard of the final presentations provided by all teams,” he said. “My favourite part of the challenge was how the final top three teams replied to questions of which they had no prior notice of in front of the audience. The future for talented construction managers/professionals is promising.” The CIOB would like to thank the colleges and judges. Thanks also go to sponsors the Construction Industry Federation, Mitchell McDermott, Ardmac, Dublin City Council, and Collen Construction. ●
GMIT was the winner of the CIOB’s Student Challenge Ireland 2019, with silver going to University of Limerick. The bronze winner was Letterkenny IT. The event, in Croke Park, Dublin, was attended by eight third-level institutes from around the country, including Northern Ireland. Student teams of
Back row: Ali Al-Windi, John Sweeney (CIOB), Adrian Lynch (sponsor), Declan Coll, Front row: Martin Taggart, Liam Flatley, Adam Brennan, John Hanahoe
Alan Barnes, CMYA Ireland 2019 winner, will deliver a presentation regarding his winning project, in TU Dublin, Bolton Street, on 11 March. Barnes (right) will outline his role on Collen Construction’s renovation of Scots Church, now part of the VHI Headquarters. He will outline the project scope and the key
CMYA Ireland winner to share his project ALAN BARNES TALKS ABOUT HIS ROLE
Karting fun in Kent SIGN UP FOR INDIVIDUAL AND TEAM ENTRY TO THE NOVUS KARTING CUP The Novus Kent Construction Karting Cup is set for another round in what has become a keenly anticipated event on the calendar. This popular, sell-out annual competition is once again taking place at the Bayford Meadows Karting Circuit in Sittingbourne. The friendly (although hard-fought) race on one of the country’s premier outdoor floodlit kart circuits offers ample opportunity to network during the evening and includes a meal. Individual entries or teams of three are very welcome. Thanks are given to Teampol (www.teampol.co.uk), which will be sponsoring the event for the third year. Contact Beverley Lawrence on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01344 630861 for further information or book online at events.ciob. org/200199374.
challenges faced throughout the two-year build. The Construction Manager of the Year Awards (CMYA) in Ireland recognise the achievements of those leading complex schemes. Barnes was praised for his ingenuity, dedication and skills, with the job delivered to an extremely tight budget and time frame.
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Rachael Keeble MCIOB
Meet a member RACHAEL KEEBLE, SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER AT 3PM
Diary dates HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CIOB CALENDAR FOR THE COMING MONTH. FOR MORE EVENTS VISIT CIOB.ORG
nHouse – Offsite Building 12 March, 6-8.30pm, Norwich, Norfolk Daniel Everett, sales director of nHouse, will explore how offsite construction techniques can be delivered and installed quickly and efficiently. Built in quads and delivered to site, the nHouse is 25% bigger than the average new home and is environmentally friendly, using carbon-capturing timber. Innovations include skirting board heating, a home management system and a delivery drone landing pad. Contact: email@example.com Biodiversity in Building 18 March, 7-9pm, Chelmsford, Essex Will O’Connor, chartered ecological consultant and director and principal ecologist at MKA Ecology, explores what we can do to promote biodiversity in the built environment. The presentation will cover some of the background to the issues, legislation and policy to provide a greater understanding of why we need to work with biodiversity in the building industry. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org The Great Debate: One future, one planet 19 March, 5.30-8pm Reading, Berkshire Join RICS, RTPI, CIOB, RIBA, Women in Property & LISE for The Great Debate, as we discuss the future of the built environment. By 2050, our sector needs to reduce its carbon emissions by 84bn tonnes. It’s a big challenge, but the industry is responding. The World Green Building Council (WGBC) and International Energy Agency have estimated that, to limit global warming to less than 2°C, the built environment sector needs to cut its carbon footprint by 84bn tonnes. Emissions from existing stock must be reduced by 80%, and all new development must be net zero energy by 2050. Meeting those targets would require a radical rethink – not just of how we build and refurbish, but also of how
properties are funded, valued, procured and managed. Our panel will discuss the opportunities, challenges and expectations for our sector. For more information, please contact Aimee Manester: email@example.com Book at: www.rics.org/greatdebatese Belfast Annual Dinner 27 March, 7.30pm-11.30pm, Belfast CIOB Belfast is delighted to invite you to attend its 2020 Annual Dinner at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast. The Belfast Hub Annual Dinner remains the premier social networking opportunity in the Belfast construction industry calendar, with over 250 attendees enjoying an entertaining evening, fabulous food, wine and company. UTV Live sports editor and presenter Adrian Logan (Logie) will act as compere and provide some lively entertainment, including a live interview with after-dinner speaker Wilma Erskine, former secretary manager of Royal Portrush and driving force behind the Irish Open, and Chris Henry, former Irish rugby union player. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Why is BIM still a barrier? 1 April, 6pm-8pm, Glasgow Despite the drive towards the universal implementation of BIM, studies have found that the majority of clients are still not sufficiently equipped to work to BIM Level 2. ECD Architects is working with Eildon Housing, supporting it in taking the first steps of Implementation. As the first practice to win the Construction Excellence Award for BIM implementation within a council, we share their journey and lessons learned, which will help you take the first steps into BIM Implementation strategy, based on work with Eildon Housing and Westminster City Council. Numbers are limited so book early. Contact: email@example.com
Tell about your career and why you chose construction? I started my career working as a development management consultant in residential and commercial development. After completing my master’s in Construction Management with UCEM, I moved to Turner & Townsend’s Health, Science and Education team, where I worked on a number of high profile projects including Bupa’s UK Headquarters relocation, the Dyson School of Design Engineering and one of the Department for Education’s flagship schools projects. In 2019 I moved to 3PM as a senior project manager on health, higher education and science and research projects. I am currently running a number of interesting projects as well as working on business development and helping to develop a company CSR (corporate social responsibility) strategy document. I fell into the construction industry completely by accident. I had not really considered it as a viable career path until I saw the job spec for a construction project manager and realised that ticked a lot of boxes for me. You are fairly new to membership and already involved with London Hub. Why? I wanted to get involved with CIOB for several reasons. A lot of the CIOB mission
statements align with my own values. I consider it a privilege to be chartered and also like the way the CIOB represents all those in the built environment, up and down the supply chain. I really enjoy working in the industry, however I do think that there are improvements that can be made. Applying to be a part of the London Hub was the next step in being able to create some of those positive changes. What changes would you like to see? I think there is already positive change happening within the industry with more collaborative methods of working being embraced. The industry is becoming slowly more diverse and mental health issues associated with construction are starting to be addressed. However, when you compare the rate of change with other industries it is clear that construction has a way to go and some catching up to do. I would like to see a future where when I attend meetings I am not one of the only female representatives. I hope to see a future where designing a building to embrace the diversity of user needs is considered simply as a moral duty rather than seen as a burden on the bottom line. I would like to see modern methods of working encouraged by everyone up and down the supply chain to keep the industry competitive and up to date. I hope to see the old methods of squeezing project supply chains disappear, instead encouraging smaller companies to emerge and succeed. I also really hope that we can continue to build the future of the industry on the model of collaboration and inclusivity.
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Me and my project
Blood, sweat and cheers MCCARRICK CONSTRUCTION’S JAMES BROWN SAFEGUARDED THE DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS OF A LIVE HEALTHCARE FACILITY WHILE REMODELLING THE DONOR SUITE AT NHSBT’S NEWCASTLE BLOOD DONOR CENTRE
Working on a live medical facility, cleanliness is of course of the utmost importance, and access can be an issue. I have managed far larger jobs but, for me, overcoming the severe limitations set on our schedule by the continuous use of the facility was the most satisfying aspect of this complex job. Our brief was to renovate the extensive donor suite, and demolish internal structures to create a new recuperation room and reception area. At tender stage, we understood we’d have access to the whole area to work on at once, however at our pre-start meeting it quickly became clear that staff and donors would need usage of a reception and recuperation area in some form throughout, so as not to disrupt the vital process of blood donation. Maintaining seamless service Newcastle Blood Donor Centre processes 500 pints of blood and 204 doses of platelets per week. Supplied nationwide to hospitals, clinics and air ambulances, any disruption to their supply could quite literally cost lives. Helping the Donor Centre to provide a
Above: James Brown in the reception room Below: The donor suite was extensively refurbished
seamless service during construction was a huge responsibility to take on, but as a team with years of healthcare construction experience, we quickly revised our plan in order to carry out the works safely and on schedule. We had already asked our flooring subcontractors to come in over the weekends, but now we had to ask our whole team to do the same. Thankfully, we have a very loyal workforce who understood the importance of the task and so we all agreed to work weekends over the six-week run-up to Christmas. To allow normal service to continue, we divided the reception project into two phases, treating them as separate jobs and allowing staff to use half the space at a time for donor treatment. Full-height, sealed hoardings were built to contain noise and dust, electrical
“I had to manage deliveries and waste removal to the minute to make sure our skips and vans didn’t get in the way of blood supplies getting out” circuitry relocated to allow easy usage by staff, then work began demolishing toilets, storage rooms and partition walls, creating a new recuperation room with kitchen and seating. Phase two involved more demolition work, reinstating floors, walls and ceilings and the eventual creation of a new reception area complete with a bespoke reception desk. All the while, the larger donor suite was undergoing its staged renovation, with new ceilings, lighting, plumbing, decor and flooring all going in at weekends and then being cleaned up in time for donations to resume on Monday. Shared lift access to site To make things even more complicated, site access was via lifts shared with staff, so waste could only be removed, and supplies brought in, outside office hours. I had to manage deliveries and waste removal to the minute, to make sure our skips and vans didn’t get in the way of blood supplies getting out. The access issue came to a head when we discovered a hidden difference in floor level, which necessitated a 2.5 tonne concrete pour, mixed and delivered by hand using the shared lifts. Our team couldn’t have been more cooperative during this phase, and we managed to achieve the pour and continue on schedule eventually handing over on time – satisfied we had not only achieved a quality finish but also built a great relationship with our client. ● James Brown is a site manager at McCarrick Construction.
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Partnership Future investment CONISTON WILL BE A PLATINUM SPONSOR OF THE CIOB CONSERVATION CONFERENCE IN APRIL. HERE IT TALKS ABOUT ITS WORK WITH APPRENTICES IN HERITAGE SKILLS
For the fifth year running, Coniston is proud to be a sponsor of the CIOB C o n s e r va t i o n C o n fe re n ce. Th e conference, taking place on 28 April, is a key event in the diary for the conservation sector, with a range of guest speakers and case study presentations. This year, Coniston’s operations director, Mustafa Ulla FCIOB, will present Coniston’s approach to apprenticeships within the heritage sector and collaborative working, to an audience from all corners of the conservation industry. Coniston is a main contractor, with a number of offices throughout London and Kent. Founded in 1979, it has been specialising in conservation and heritage work for over 40 years,
during which it has had the privilege of working in some of the UK’s most prestigious heritage buildings. Many of these have been awardwinning projects, with work recognised in the RIBA, RICS, Museums + Heritage and Europa Nostra awards. An impressive portfolio of work includes clients such as The British Museum, Canterbury Cathedral, the National Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum and Historic Royal Palaces. Currently Coniston is working at the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace and the King’s School, Canterbury, carrying out restoration and conservation projects. Over the five years that Coniston has been sponsoring the conference, its presentation slot at the event has
“Coniston’s portfolio includes clients such as The British Museum, Canterbury Cathedral and the National Gallery”
Above right: The completed lead roof of Canterbury Cathedral Below: The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich
provided a unique insight into a number of its projects, including the restoration of the roof at the Wallace Collection, the reinstatement of the Clocks and Watches Gallery at The British Museum and the RIBA National Award-winning conservation of the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. This year, in keeping with the conference theme of ‘Future Skills for Traditional Buildings’, Coniston will be presenting the contemporary approach it has adopted to encouraging apprenticeship schemes within the industry through collaborative working. The subject of skills and apprenticeships within the heritage sector is of particular interest to Coniston, having given a presentation at last year’s event examining exactly this concern and highlighting the differences in the approach to apprenticeship value between the UK and German construction industries. In practice Coniston has taken on trainees and apprentices from colleges and universities, providing both trade and management opportunities and is therefore in an informed position to provide an interesting insight into how the industry in general and specifically the conservation sector might improve the perception of apprenticeships demonstrating their true worth. ● The CIOB Conservation Conference, Future Skills for Traditional Buildings, is being held on Tuesday 28 April at Church House, Westminster. Please see the CIOB event website (events. ciob.org) for more details or to book. CONSTRUCTION MANAGER MARCH 2020 | 57
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TRAINING & RECRUITMENT
A sporting chance
Training & Recruitment Job spotlight Tim Jones Principal lecturer – markets and recruitment lead, Department of Natural & Built Environment, Sheffield Hallam University
UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE TIM JONES MADE THE MOVE TO LECTURING IN CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT
What made you make the move from industry to academia? When I was considering my options at 18 years old, I worked in the summer holidays for my physics teacher (he had his own construction business). He basically put me off taking up teaching as a career move. I went on to do a degree in construction and the rest is history. Over 22 years later working in the industry, I saw a job alert from CIOB saying Sheffield Hallam University was looking for staff to teach construction management. The advert said no prior experience in teaching was necessary and I met all the other criteria. So I took a punt and applied. To be honest I was also looking for a better quality of life and the prospect of spending the six-week holidays with my wife and kids was a big attraction. I have always been a person who wanted to give something back and that was also for me a big motivation. Did you have to undergo special training to become a lecturer? Part of the job offer was the insistence that we undertake a postgraduate teaching qualification, which I did alongside my teaching.
What are the challenges in attracting students to take construction courses There are numerous challenges – some of them are just like any industry. We too are affected by the peaks and troughs in the economy. We experienced a large dip in numbers during the 2008 recession and the years that followed – largely because parents and schools thought if you do a degree that is vocational and there are no jobs you might not get one. This is totally wrong: we have always had positive outcomes due to the industry shortage in good people, so our graduates found jobs, even during the recession. Many of those are now in senior positions because of the gaps in recruitment caused by the recession. The other big thing is the lack of awareness in schools about the construction professions. Most people have heard of an architect, but beyond that our jobs and roles are largely unheard of in careers talks. Teachers think built environment courses are for their ‘low ability’ kids, which could not be further from the truth. We have some highly intelligent young men and women who go on to have very successful careers in the sector. The final challenge is the gender and diversity gap. We suffer, just like our industry, in not being able to attract a diverse enough cohort. I think this is a societal issue; it is getting better, but we have a way to go to get close to our targets for diversity and inclusivity, that reflect better the demographic of society as a whole. The construction industry is becoming more inclusive, but we are not yet where we want to be. It’s great to see that we now have a female at the top of the CIOB – a trend that I hope continues long into the future. ●
Hundreds of the best jobs in construction. Recruitment news and insight. www.constructionmanagerjobs.co.uk
Debbie Rutherford on Graham’s initiative to help young people in Scotland into construction Graham has agreed a partnership with Street League – the UK’s leading ‘sport for employment’ charity, which targets sports to engage with young people, as well as teach them the key life and work skills they need to move into sustainable employment. The two organisations have worked together to establish construction skills academies, giving young people employability support such as career advice, CV writing and interview skills – alongside construction sector specific insights. This partnership enables young people who access Street League’s services to get motivated and informed about career pathways in the construction industry. Each participant is given assistance by Street League to receive a CSCS card upon completion. Work placements and the promotion of skills has always been an extremely important part of Graham’s overall vision for Scotland and we plan to create those opportunities. We will also be fundraising for Street League throughout the year as well as linking its supply chain partners with the organisation’s modern apprenticeship offer, enabling young people working for those partners to gain an SVQ in business administration. As a company, we believe it is vital that the younger generation are educated on the various routes to employment available to them and receive encouragement and support along the way. Graham is a member of the 5% Club, made up of companies committed to ensuring that at least 5% of their workforce over the next five years is comprised of young people on structured learning schemes. Our collaboration with Street League felt like the perfect opportunity to build on this further. Street League’s vision is to see an end to youth unemployment in the UK. It tackles poverty, using sport to help young people who need it most get into sustainable education, training and job opportunities. It has a national team, working in 36 local communities across Scotland and England. In the year ahead Street League plans to support over 1,600 young people into jobs, education or training. Debbie Rutherford is social impact manager at Graham.
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