EDITORS NOTE WITH the winter months imminent, work is less freely available, but definitely more so than last time this year. The worst of the recession has passed, and things are (slowly) beginning to pick up, although it will be a while before they get back to pre-recession levels. Luton Airport and Network Rail have both announced major works recently, which will hopefully provide much needed jobs for the industry. The high standards displayed by the companies featured this month are once again something to envy. Vantage Decorators in particular caught my eye. This small family-run business has weathered the storm and is seeing astounding growth and success. The quality of their work and commitment they show clients is something to be proud of. Sheffield Solar Farm is also of particular interest. The innovative team at the University of Sheffield Physics Department are using solar panels to help predict weather patterns. Their research will hopefully lead to extremely valuable information in an unpredictable climate.
Features Manager Dale Livesey Features Manager - Scotland Stacey Aitcheson Editor Andrew Coates Design and Artwork Mark Alsop Admin Beverley Wood Publisher Mohammed Faraz Steve Rushworth
Very little time is left of 2013, so let us make the most of the next two months and end the year on a successful note.
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NEWS Timber frame delivers top class accommodation for Essex students Student accommodation achieves excellent sustainability rating Stewart Milne Timber Systems has helped to deliver a cost effective and energy efficient student accommodation building for Essex University as part of the institution’s commitment to provide top quality living quarters for students. This project is part of a host of recent wins in the education sector, a growing area of business for the group, which has also delivered BREEAM Excellent and Outstanding rated accommodation for the universities of Plymouth and Bradford. The Meadows at Essex University, which was also designed to BREEAM Excellent standard, was constructed using Stewart Milne’s Sigma II Build System, a cutting edge timber frame technology that delivers superior insulation and air tightness through closed panel systems. Adapting a fabric first approach, the building achieved a U-Value of just 0.23 W/m2K, representing a low level of heat loss and maximising energy efficiency in the process. Additionally, the project achieved Y-Values between 0.05 and 0.06 as well as an air tightness of three. With students due to take up their accommodation in the 2013/2014 academic year, Stewart Milne Timber Systems was able to help meet this deadline by delivering 19 four-storey units in only 11 weeks, significantly quicker than projects delivered with concrete or steel frame systems. Alex Goodfellow, group managing director of Stewart Milne Timber Systems, said: “More and more universities are realising the benefits of employing timber frame in their new builds. “As a build material, timber is a cost
effective, environmentally friendly choice that can significantly increase speed of build – a key concern for institutions that have strict term times and therefore cannot allow for delays.” “Student accommodation is a growing area of success for Stewart Milne Timber Systems, with timber the logical choice for those looking for low cost, high quality projects that are time sensitive. “Essex was a great example of how effective use of timber frame can deliver on all of these fronts for the contractor, university and students.”
MAB comments on the latest Nationwide House Price Index Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), comments: “UK house prices have continued to march steadily upwards in the second half of 2013. Nationwide figures demonstrate an increase of 1% in October, leaving prices 5.8% higher than this time last year. Driving this steady procession is an increased sense of consumer confidence and willingness to enter the market, as Help to Buy and Funding for Lending schemes make mortgage finance more accessible. “However, there’s no reason to suggest that we are racing towards a house price bubble. House prices are rising from a low starting point and the national average is still 7% lower than the 2007 peak. Regional variations mean that the dizzying heights of London house prices do not necessarily apply to the rest of the country, painting a far less fatalistic picture than many would suggest.
the property ladder with both hands. However, we must ensure that those with low deposits are not left behind at the starting line and that mortgage finance remains accessible and affordable.”
Hairy Task Ahead for THSP Things will be getting hairy for Bedfordshire-based Risk Management Consultancy THSP who will be supporting the men’s health charity Movember, which requires otherwise clean-shaven men to grow a moustache throughout the month of November. There are plenty of pictures of health and safety bad practice so as an incentive to anyone participating in Movember, THSP is offering a prize of a bottle of Champagne for the best picture which includes a moustache together with a good example of health and safety best practice. Managing Director Adrienne Massey said ‘Managing Director Adrienne Massey said ‘Our consultants perform safety inspections on construction sites throughout the country and many have joined this initiative to raise awareness of men’s health issues among our clients. We are proud to support this charity and I look forward to seeing the progression of hairy top lips throughout Movember.’ To see the progress of the moustaches as they grow go to mosista.co/ chrisfaulkner189 or if you would like to submit pictures of you, or a colleague’s moustache for the prize.
“With mortgage rates at historic lows, it’s unsurprising that consumers are grabbing the opportunity to jump on
NEWS CONTINUED MOST EXPENSIVE COUNCIL HOUSE COMMENT Following the news that squatters have moved in to Britain’s most expensive council house the day it was sold for £3m by Southwark Council, Emma Humphreys, Partner at City law firm Charles Russell LLP, commented: “It is interesting to see this high-profile attempt to challenge the effectiveness of the new law against squatting in a residential building which was introduced in September 2012. “We questioned at the time whether the police would be willing to use this new criminal offence, given their already stretched resources. In this case, the squatters seem to think that the police will not try to remove them because they are making a political protest. Of course, it remains to be seen whether this belief is well-founded and the situation is an important test for the police. If the police decide not to use their new powers to remove the squatters, the new owner of the building will be left with only its civil remedies - which means spending time and money on going to court. If this proves necessary, many will question whether there was any point in the new law being introduced and whether owners of residential property are really in any better position than before.”
Mark Group provides insulation and air tight membrane to Lovell Passivhaus project Mark Group has aided in the completion of the development of four Passivhaus homes working alongside housing specialist Lovell in Fulmodeston, Norfolk. The company has installed insulation to meet the required U-Values and air tight membrane that enabled Lovell to achieve <0.6 air test results. Lovell Contracts Manager, Brian Leslie, who has worked with Mark Group on previous contracts, said: “We knew from the outset of this project we would require a reliable and
conscientious installation team, hence, Mark Group was asked to work with us on our first Passivhaus project in East Anglia.” The heating requirement in a Passivhaus is reduced to the point where a traditional heating system is no longer considered essential. Cooling is also minimised by the same principles and through the use of solar shading, and continuous mechanical ventilation with summer bypass to regulate the temperature of the home all year round. Lovell Sustainability Manager, Andrew Fisher commented: “Having completed this project, both Lovell and Mark Group have a greater understanding of the Passivhaus process and what it takes to achieve the required results. It’s vital to liaise with a contractor such as Mark Group and discuss, at an early design stage, what can be achieved and how it can be achieved cost effectively.” Mark Group has become a key contractor of choice in insulation for many house builders across the UK, providing custom made and value engineered solutions to help meet energy saving needs.
British Safety Council welcomes drop in fatal and major injuries in GB workplaces The British Safety Council welcomed the improvements in Great Britain’s health and safety performance published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) yesterday in its annual statistics report. HSE noted a significant reduction in the number of workers killed and seriously injured at work. The number and incidence of fatal injuries in Great Britain fell significantly as did the number and incidence of major injuries.
achieve the British Safety Council’s vision that no one should be injured or made in Britain’s workplaces. “While the number of people killed and seriously injured in Britain’s workplaces continues to fall year-onyear we echo the comments of HSE’s chair, Judith Hackitt, that many of these deaths and serious injuries could have been prevented by simple safety measures,” said Alex Botha. “While the number of deaths in British workplaces has halved over the last 20 years – 148 workers killed in 2012/13 compared to nearly 300 in 1993/94 – it remains a major concern that the agriculture, construction and waste re-cycling sectors together account for almost half of these unnecessary deaths. “We must not forget the tragic toll of work-related disease. HSE reports that around 13,000 deaths each year are attributable to work-related disease including occupational cancers – 40% in construction. The British Safety Council has joined many of its member organisations operating in construction and pledged its support for the Public Health Responsibility Deal for the construction and civil engineering sectors to help address the blight of ill health at work and work-related disease. “The British Safety Council and its member organisations firmly believe that our regulatory framework governing workplace health and safety is effective in helping to control the risk of injury and ill health in the workplace. But we all have a role to play in ensuring risks are properly controlled to prevent harm in the workplace. Workplace injury and work-related ill-health have a damaging impact on individuals, business, government and wider society. By working together we can prevent unnecessary harm to thousands of people and help cut the cost to society – an estimated £13.8 billion a year.”
Alex Botha, chief executive of the British Safety Council, while welcoming these improvements, noted that much more needed to be done in order to
NEWS CONTINUED Crackdown on foreign property investors to hit UK growth not house prices Hitting foreign property investors with new taxes will damage the UK’s status as a country that is ‘open for business’ while doing little to curb rising house prices, the property industry said today. The British Property Federation (BPF) spoke out amid fears that George Osborne is considering levying Capital Gains Tax on foreign investors to tackle rising house prices in London and the South East. The BPF said that the central reason behind the high cost of homes was the lack of supply, not foreign buyers, and warned that penalising people who want to invest in the UK would see fewer homes built, not more. It added that the political risk created by the proposal would create uncertainty among people considering investing in a range of assets, including commercial property, and not just in the residential sector. Liz Peace, Chief Executive of the British Property Federation, said: “House prices are rising due to a chronic shortage of new homes, not because of foreign investors, and until this supply issue is dealt with it makes no sense to slap kneejerk taxes on people who want to spend money in the UK and contribute to the UK economy. “Uncertainty of this kind is hugely damaging to Britain’s image as a country that is ‘open for business’, and far outweighs the paltry sums which this tax would raise – indeed it is only with foreign investment that many London schemes are able to go ahead. “We know from bitter experience that some foreign investors will have seen these headlines and will already be thinking twice about whether or not to invest in the UK.” A study published this month by the London School of Economics found that while international investors have enabled a large proportion of development in London, foreign buyers accounted for just 6.5% of sales
by value across the capital as a whole. These homes are also predominately high-value homes, meaning the number sold to overseas investors would be even less.
industry. RICS is eager to address this to ensure the profession is not left behind but instead seizes the opportunities presented by new technologies.
Research from Knight Frank suggests that over the last two years 49% of all £1m-plus sales in prime central London went to foreign buyers by nationality, but only 28% of buyers were nonresident in the UK.
“It is vital that the entire property industry works together to ensure the data BIM produces is transferable across the different professions operating at every stage of a building’s life-cycle. By embracing BIM, FM professionals not only gain additional skills but can also become involved at the design stage as an educated consultant.”
FM needs to wake up to BIM RICS is calling for more ambitious sector targets to raise awareness of BIM (Building Information Modelling) and its benefits to Facilities Management (FM). The results of the recent BIM4FM survey highlight a significant lack of understanding on BIM and how it can be used within the built environment, with 35 per cent of the FM professionals surveyed not being familiar with BIM or its uses. In light of these findings, RICS is concerned the FM industry is missing out on the added value BIM can bring to the smooth running of buildings. Of those aware of BIM, 50.5 per cent cited the initial investment and maintenance costs associated with implementing BIM as a main concern. However, by investing in BIM at an early stage, FM professionals will have access to more accurate and reliable data about the properties they manage. This will deliver significant returns on investment and position BIM enabled practitioners as operating at the top of their profession. As part of the BIM4FM group, RICS is working with the wider industry and its own membership to encourage greater awareness and ultimately adoption of BIM by FM professionals. RICS is also working to influence government policy to encourage investment and understanding from the sector. Johnny Dunford, Global Commercial Property Director at RICS said: “Clearly the benefits of BIM and the competitive advantage it provides are not fully appreciated by the FM
To help raise awareness of BIM across the property industry, RICS is working with the Construction Industry Council (CIC), the governmentinitiated Taskgroup for BIM and the Government Trial Project Support Group and is a member of BIM4FM. RICS is also seeking to engage more widely with industry bodies such as RIBA, BIFM and BPF.
CHARLES RUSSELL PROPERTY TEAM WINS BACK RETIREMENT VILLAGE FOR OWNERS The property team at Charles Russell LLP has successfully advised the retired residents of Crystal Fountain Village in a ground breaking transaction which, reminiscent of the film Quartet starring Dame Maggie Smith, saw the owners of 54 properties purchase their village, neighbouring land and a derelict pub from the administrators providing them with the much desired security and control over their living conditions. The Village, now to be renamed Woodchester Valley, is believed to be the first and only retirement village owned and controlled by its residents and is already attracting considerable interest from prospective new residents. Charles Russell started advising Crystal Fountain residents in February 2012 to work on the corporate and leasehold structure for the residents’ acquisition of the freehold, management of the village and leasehold interest. This involved a complex interplay between
NEWS CONTINUED corporate, landlord and tenant, insolvency and financial services law. Peter Wilson, Chairman of the Residents Association, said: “We are delighted with the outcome as it provides us with security and control over our living arrangements. This purchase is largely due to the determination of our residents association, as, instead of accepting our fate, we worked together to change our situation. We owe a great deal of thanks to Nigel Morton and his team at Charles Russell for their tireless work in structuring the transaction.” Betty Young, Vice Chair of the Residents Association added: “I hope this success will prove to be a blue print for other villages in the future.” Nigel Morton, Head of Real Estate at Charles Russell LLP’s Cheltenham Office, said: “I am pleased that we have been able to help turn Woodchester Valley into a unique Retirement Village.” The Charles Russell team was led by Nigel Morton, with assistance from Francis Rundall, Julie Sharpe, Edward Robinson and Nancy Battell in the Cheltenham Office.
Innov8 drafted in on £120m Cambridge hospital project Following successful collaborations on several projects, specialist investor and asset manager John Laing has brought in Innov8 Safety Solutions to provide construction design and management services on a £120m development at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. The project will bring together under one roof a post-graduate medical education centre, private hospital, a 198-room hotel and a 550-seat conference centre. Innov8 will be using the healthcare estates expertise gained from previously working with John Laing at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital to provide critical planning and management services on the two-year long construction project. Innov8 will have a full team on site from Summer 2014 when the first phase of
construction commences. The team will work closely with project directors from the main contractor, Laing O’Rourke, to ensure all risks associated with the project are minimised, that it is managed competently and delivered safely. Peter Ward, Director of Healthcare Projects at John Laing, said of Innov8’s appointment, “We were extremely pleased at how the Innov8 team performed on a highly complex project at Liverpool’s Alder Hey hospital. “When we were named as the preferred partner to deliver the Forum development on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus development, we had no hesitation in appointing Innov8 as our CDM advisor. The project has a wide variety of challenges in terms of design and build, and we expect Innov8 to help ease some of those demands as they have done for us at Alder Hey.” The work in Cambridge not only strengthens the relationship between John Laing and its partners but also marks an increasing project base for Innov8 in the south of the country. Alan Robson, Managing Director of Innov8 commented, “Thanks to the strong relationships we have with our partners – such as John Laing – we are being invited to work on projects further afield than our north west base.
for all centrally procured Government contracts from 2016, Waldeck has developed a training programme to equip school leavers and graduates with the skills needed for a career in digital engineering. Waldeck’s BIM Academy, which is situated in Lincoln, has already enrolled six students for this academic year, who will initially be trained in Computer Aided Design (CAD). Students demonstrating an understanding of CAD will then progress to BIM and be given the opportunity to test out their skills on live Waldeck projects. Paul Waldeck, who founded Waldeck in 1995, comments: “I am very pleased with the development of Waldeck’s BIM Academy. Digital design is becoming more and more prevalent and many of the country’s major building projects already rely heavily on the use of BIM. “Employment levels within the sector suffered throughout the economic downturn and with this we have lost skills which will be essential if the UK is to profit from its predicted growth in the global construction market. Projects such as our BIM Academy seek to create a solution to the sector skills gap, ensuring that the next generation of British workers have the necessary skills to lead in what is becoming an increasingly global marketplace.”
“London and the south have a buoyant construction sector, and we are determined to be the first choice for construction design and management services here as well.”
Waldeck Consulting Launches New BIM Academy Design and engineering consultancy, Waldeck, has invested a six-figure sum into the development of the next generation of the UK construction industry by setting up an academy to train young people in Building Information Modelling (BIM). On the back of The Government’s Construction 2025 strategy, which states that BIM will become mandatory
IN HER OWN WORDS – SALLY PHILLIPS WE spoke to Sally Phillips about her company Chimney Sheep… When I first moved into my Victorian Terraced house, I did two things: I set about trying to insulate it and I opened up a couple of chimneys. It soon became apparent that a lot of my precious centrally heated air was escaping up the chimney. 8
I did some research and discovered that not only does warm air passively rise up the chimney, and cold air sink down it, but chimneys are designed to actively suck air out of a building. This loses all the warm air, and sucks cold air in to replace it, causing more draughts. I started sticking my head up as many chimney flues as I could get access to. They vary such a lot but the amazing thing was that with all of them I could feel a tremendous pull of air. I had heard about the insulative properties of wool, and that it was naturally fire retardant, and an idea was born. This developed into the felted wad of wool on a handle that is the Chimney Sheep™. The felt is compressive so it can fit into a range of different apertures. It is a unique product and a patent application has been lodged. In October 2012 Chimney Sheep Ltd was launched. Soon the website started landing on the first page of a search for “chimney draught excluder”. It seems there are draughty chimneys all over the country, as people have been searching out the product from far and wide to purchase Chimney Sheep™. It became apparent that there was demand for more sizes: I was shocked by the size of peoples’ chimney flues, no wonder old rural houses are so draughty! It’s amazing they keep any heat in the building. There are now nine different sizes of Chimney Sheep ™ available, and sales have been going increasing exponentially.
to workers which means they can fit the hours in to suit their own schedules. As far as possible work is outsourced. Last year I managed the marketing and PR myself, but this year have employed the services of a PR company to help launch research conducted by the University of Liverpool that demonstrates the product’s efficacy. As it is a growing company my employees enjoy the variety of applying themselves to a range of different tasks. This includes manual labour on the shop floor, dealing with customers, managing online orders, managing the online shop, managing stock and a gamut of other activities. They also benefit from very flexible working hours. I do employ my teenage son on a part time basis, the main advantage is that I can practice management skills on him. He is available to fill the gap when times are busy, and I don’t feel so bad giving him fewer hours when there is less demand. The advantage for him is that he can do part time work to supplement his student life as and when he can fit it in.
FUTURE GROWTH There are so many opportunities to promote the Chimney Sheep™ but there are a few hurdles and obstacles to overcome too. Eon have expressed interest in using it as part of their ECO measures. The Chimney Sheep™ saves an average of 5% of household emissions, and being low cost and simple to install it can easily contribute to the energy companies’ carbon reduction obligations. To be approved as an ECO product it must have OFGEM approval. To have OFGEM approval it must satisfy SAP and rdSAP requirements. This means gaining BRE approval, which entails further testing. To join the National Insulation Association there are a number of other hoops and testing processes to be accomplished. There are millions of chimneys in the UK and even more worldwide – there are a lot of opportunities for Chimney Sheep Ltd! The product range is limited but the market opportunities are huge. The loss of heat up the chimney is a little known phenomenon. The key ambition for the company would be for the Chimney Sheep™ to be the fifth tool in a fire companion set.
DAY-TO-DAY Two people are employed full time during the winter months, and there are two part time workers. In the first full year of trading turnover was £50,000. The forecast for year two is £200,000 and early signs indicate that this will be achieved. I am the owner and sole director of Chimney Sheep Ltd. Being a small business initially I did everything, but as it expands I can delegate work to people. I have an assistant who manages the online retail side of the business, while I concentrate on expanding the business and developing the wholesale side of it. Part time staff help with assembling and packaging the product. I can offer flexibility
There are few competitors in the chimney insulation field. The main one is the chimney balloon, which has been on the market for a few years now. This is a well-established product and does a good job, but a lot of my customers complain about chimney balloons deflating, popping, squeaking, amplifying the rain, being sucked out of the chimney, and being a fiddle to insert and remove.
From the outset environmental principals have shaped the concept and development of the product. The product is made of sustainable materials: wool is naturally occurring, durable, and compostable at the end of its life. The plastic clamps are made of recycled plastic, and the handles are readily recyclable polycarbonate. The components are manufactured in the north of England, within 100 miles of the factory where they are assembled. Efforts are being made to reduce packaging and biodegradable plastic is being sourced.
The Chimney Sheep™ is low tech and consequently very easy to understand, to insert, to remove, and to re-use. Other solutions to chimney insulation are more complicated and costly. Research conducted by the University of Liverpool states that the savings made by inserting a chimney sheep are almost comparable with having the chimney permanently sealed, which makes the Chimney Sheep™ a much cheaper alternative. During a recession customers are looking for ways of saving money so the Chimney Sheep™ is a product that will continue to sell well when times are hard. The product will pay for itself in savings on heating bills within 6 – 12 months, and this is used as part of the publicity.
The product itself has considerable environmental benefits. Each Chimney Sheep™ saves an average of 185kg of carbon per chimney per year. If every household with a chimney in the UK used one there would be a saving of around 7.5 million tons of carbon per year! Do your bit for the environment – stick a sheep up your chimney! For more information on Chimney Sheep, visit their website on www. chimneysheep.co.uk or give them a call on 08452501298.
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AWARD-WINNING ADA PROVIDE EXCELLENT PRESERVATION SOLUTIONS PRESERVING architectural heritage is one of the many specialties at Scottish company Adam Dudley Architects (ADA), established in December 1989.
With just two full time architects and one student (along with a practice manager), ADA boasts more than 27 years of experience in projects involving new build, conservation, alteration work, and new uses for historic buildings. The practice is a design-based studio with extensive experience of both historical and contemporary architecture. Clients include the City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Borders Council, the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust and the Edinburgh Old Town Renewal Trust.
ACHIEVEMENTS The practice has featured at a number of conferences relating to historic properties and has prepared design guidelines regarding shop frontages for the City of Edinburgh Council Planning Department. Recent awards include two Green Apple 2013 Awards, the Carbon Trust Scotland Low Carbon Building Award 2012, and the Georgian Group Award 2011. The practice was also named within the top 100 in the Urban Realm magazine survey for 2012.
HEALTH, SAFETY, AND THE ENVIRONMENT ADA has an in-house health and safety policy and has also recently gained their CHAS (Contractor’s Health & Safety) accreditation for Designers. They are committed reducing carbon footprints both through their designs and in their working practices in order to contribute to a sustainable future. To find out more about Adam Dudley Architects, visit the company’s website on www.adamdudleyarchitects.com or give them a call on 0131 557 4595.
COMMITMENT ADA is committed to working with existing buildings, whether it be remodelling, refurbishing, extending or conserving, in order to make them economically and culturally viable. Since 2010, ADA has also been developing solutions for improving the thermal and acoustic performance of historic properties, as they believe that sustainability and conservation go hand in hand.
ADA has survived the recession by maximising their ability to diversify and applying their skills to new areas. Their specialist expertise has given them access to a niche market, and their solid relationships with clients, contractors and other consultants has been essential in winning work as their reputation has preceded them.
“It is essential that existing buildings are brought in line with current standards in order to ensure their long term survival and protect their contribution to the historical layering of our environment,” says the company’s Natasha Huq. ADA has extensive experience in working with existing buildings and has built up a library of robust details, combining traditional construction skills with modern materials and technologies. They specialise in the repair and remodelling of historic buildings, creating sensitive, modern interventions where appropriate, so that they are given a new lease of life without having to lose their historic, architectural, or cultural identity.
MARKET LEADERS IN SOLAR PV PRODUCTS ‘Making energy better’ is the key aim at BayWa r.e., a company founded in 2009 that acts as a holding company for various business interests in the areas of solar, wind energy, bio-energy and geothermal energy.
On 30th September 2013 DulasMHH Ltd officially became BayWa r.e. Solar Systems Ltd, and in so doing became the latest addition to the BayWa r.e. family. BayWa r.e. Solar Systems Ltd follow other global subsidiaries, including MHH Solartechnik – one of Germany’s most significant solar PV distributors – in the global re-branding process and will continue to be the PV wholesale company representing BayWa r.e. in the UK.
a contribution to perfecting components and consequently to increasing yields. Customer service and technical support are paramount to BayWa r.e. Solar Systems, who provide a package based on excellent business ethics, making it a good company to work with. There is no clash of interests, as they are a wholesale specialist and do not provide installation services.
BayWa r.e. renewable energy GmbH, a 100 per cent subsidiary of BayWa AG (Munich), is responsible for the BayWa group’s renewable energy business. BayWa r.e.’s business activities range from project development and realisation to retail and consulting services. The company covers the entire spectrum of technical plant support services. If desired, it can also undertake the commercial and technical operations management of plants.
farms and the turnkey construction of biogas and geothermal plants to repowering existing wind farms and carrying out operation and maintenance services. This diversity of activities helps to maintain a strong balance sheet across the group when different renewable technology markets fluctuate. They are the same close team that have been working together for many years and have developed significantly over the last two and half years, small enough to behave like a family and react to changes in the market whilst benefitting from significant parent company strength and growing when every other distributor has been shrinking.
The company has an international focus with its core markets in Europe and the USA. BayWa AG, Munich, is a €16bn turnover, listed trading company operating on an international platform and its main business sectors are agriculture, building materials and energy. Customer service, specification advice, industry know-how, product knowledge and technical expertise are all part of the added value offered whilst benefitting from global purchasing agreements for significant contracts - such as 800 domestic systems for First Wessex Housing Association, a 2.5MWp project which BayWa r.e. Solar Systems will exclusively supply all products.
UNPARALLELED SERVICE AND SUCCESS BayWa r.e Solar Systems Ltd are the UK’s most experienced PV wholesaler and place very high demands on the products that they select to distribute. Their experts only select those products that meet strict quality and yield requirements, with their technical engineers working with customers to seek the ideal solution for every application. All customer feedback is diligently recorded, allowing the company to make
The DulasMHH team was the wholesale solar PV division of renewable energy pioneers, Dulas Ltd. In June 2011 the division was bought by the market leading German PV distributor MHH Solartechnik. The new solar PV wholesale company was then renamed DulasMHH, and celebrated its second birthday back in June this year. The team has grown from seven to 20 staff over the last 27 months and in April this year they launched a full e-commerce website. The company’s expected 2014 turnover is £25m. BayWa r.e. Solar Systems are part of BayWa r.e., a £500m + annual turnover, global player in a number of different renewable energy markets from PV wholesale, large scale PV project development, development of wind
GOALS Operating from Europe’s first Eco Park with close public transport links, Baywa r.e. is committed to environmental wellbeing. Their strapline is: ‘Making Energy Better. Solar Power… accessible and affordable for everyone’. The mission of BayWa r.e. Solar Systems is to be a partner that can be trusted and that will innovate and provide only the highest quality products and services. Looking ahead, the company would like to increase the market share for BayWa r.e in regard to the wholesale of PV products in the UK, increase awareness of the BayWa r.e. brand, supply high quality products at the best possible price, maintain high quality customer services, cutting edge online presence and good technical support and training for the range of high quality products that they supply. For more information about Baywa r.e. please visit their website http://www. baywa-re-solarsystems.co.uk/ or give them a call on 0845 201 6100.
DULAS With over thirty yearsâ€™ experience in the renewables sector, Dulas was one of Britainâ€™s first renewable energy specialists and it remains a leading figure in the industry today.
Operating across all branches of the renewables sector – including wind, solar, hydro and biomass – Dulas has a strong track record of delivering innovative renewable solutions for commercial and residential clients across the UK and beyond. The Dulas mission is to improve lives through renewable energy and sustainable technology. In order to meet these goals it has made commitments to equality and diversity, sustainability, quality management and health and safety. The firm provides a wide ranging service to support renewable projects. For example, its consultancy operation covers everything from initial environmental impact and feasibility studies and help with planning issues through to installation and postinstallation monitoring of completed projects. Dulas is one of the UK’s largest employee owned organisations in the UK, with a team of over 100 renewable experts working across the UK and out of headquarters in Machynlleth, mid Wales, and offices in the Scottish town of Stirling. These strong co-operative roots mean up to 3% of the company profits are donated to charity each year and the company invests heavily in staff welfare. The firm’s extensive experience and knowledge of different technologies continues to set it apart from new entrants to the renewable energy market and those specialising in single market technologies.
Solar Dulas has over 20 years’ experience in installing bespoke solar photovoltaic (solar PV) systems for commercial and public sector clients. Its work in recent years has enabled its clients to generate handsome returns through the government feed in tariff scheme.
Dulas’ offers a range of solutions for public housing and can work with tenants to educate them as to the benefits of renewable energy systems. Dulas are able to install solar photovoltaic systems of all types; on-roof systems for all roof structures, ground-mounted systems, integrated roof tiles for listed buildings and semi-integrated systems built into the roof. Dulas also works extensively with businesses to deliver bespoke solar solutions for commercial purposes. As energy prices continue to rise, businesses have increasingly turned to solar technology to generate their own onsite energy and safeguard themselves against rising fuel bills. Dulas’ reliable and easy to install roof mounted solar energy solutions also help clients to reduce their CO2 emissions and make a visual statement of their corporate social responsibility. In addition to working with businesses for their own use, Dulas works with property developers, M & E contractors, energy or facility managers, sustainability consultants and architects to develop high performing systems for all sizes of project. Dulas recently advised on the planning for one of the UK’s largest solar parks at Glebe farm in Bedford and it was also recently awarded a £4.3m contract by housing association First Wessex to install solar PV technology on up to 1,000 of its affordable homes across the south of England.
Dulas’ team of wind experts have the skills and experience to manage projects of varying sizes whilst ensuring consistency, attention to detail and ultimately success. Dulas turns engineering innovation into environmental and commercial triumphs. Dulas was responsible for the planning of the very first wind farm in Wales and has since delivered over 350MW of consented renewable energy projects as installing the UK’s first Endurance 55kW wind turbine.
Hydro The Dulas Hydro department works extensively in all aspects of small hydropower development and also has a strong reputation for refurbishment and re-commissioning of existing sites. The firm’s consultancy services are based on experience as well as theory.
Wind Dulas offers a complete package of wind development services for commercial and community wind farms. This wind expertise spans from environmental impact and feasibility surveys through to installation and ongoing monitoring.
Dulas both designs and builds systems and the team’s expertise has recently helped deliver an innovative hydro project for Dwr Cymru-Welsh Water that combines power generation and water purification. Dulas was also recently awarded a £90,000 contract to advise on the design and environmental impact of a proposed 5MW hydro scheme in north Wales.
domestic, commercial and public customers from 20kW pellet boilers to a 500kW woodchip-fuelled district heating systems. Past clients include The National Trust, The Forestry Commission, Powys and Pembrokeshire County Council, and many satisfied private and business customers.
Awards Dulas’ work in recent years has seen the company awarded the Queens Award for Enterprise, the Welsh Exporter of the Year, and Welsh Small and Medium Enterprise of the Year awards. Dulas was last year named ‘Installer of the Year’ by the Renewable Energy Association (REA).
Biomass Biomass is fuel produced from organic materials grown over the last few decades. Dulas is a leading company for biomass installations. It has engineered and installed biomass systems for
Dulas believes the key to successful adoption of renewable technology is to ensure that installations are bespoke and tailor-made to suit the circumstances. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution to installing a renewable system and experienced renewables businesses are there to support clients in choosing the right technology to maximise their capacity for generating green energy.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PLACE A FEATURE OR AN ADVERT IN THIS MAGAZINE PLEASE CALL STEVE RUSHWORTH AT S&S PUBLISHING ON 01924 920 483 OR SEND AN EMAIL TO STEVE@SNSPUBLISHING.CO.UK
SOLAR SOLUTIONS AS THE HEART OF ECOLUTION TURNING solar power into an accepted mainstream component is the driving passion at Ecolution Renewables, a company set up in Kent in 1999.
Ecolution has been providing renewable energy solutions to the building industry since they began. They have a team with more than 100 years combined experience in the design, installation, maintenance, and now monitoring of integrated renewable energy technologies. The company has installed several thousand systems on a wide range of buildings and roof types. Their primary focus is to install Photovoltaic and Solar Thermal systems to the building industry and the broader commercial sector.
HIGH QUALITY SERVICE Ecolution provides a complete service including advice, design, supply, installation and maintenance of both solar PV and solar thermal systems. They have strong supplier relationships with quality suppliers, and Ecolution’s UK warehouse ensures stock availability. Ecolution is committed to providing an excellent service to their customers. This is reflected in their customer satisfaction survey, which they ask their customers to complete after every project – 100 per cent of responses would recommend Ecolution services to a colleague.
With an in-house team of 20 installers, Ecolution are able to provide rapid service delivery within budget. From their design aspects, where they calculate wind loading and focus on aesthetics, to their supply, the company stay in constant communication with clients to ensure that all aspects of the project is done to ultimate satisfaction. Ecolution have experience working with UK housebuilders and contractors like Taylor Wimpey, Bellway Homes and Balfour Beatty.
With their wealth of experience and steady growth setting them apart from their competitors, Ecolution Renewables accounts for approximately 12 per cent of the new build solar market share in the UK. The company has seen a significant upturn in the last three months and is once again recruiting.
Ecolution Renewables has seen significant growth over the years, and today they employ 50 members of staff and typically have about 100 projects going on at any one time.
The company has over 14 years’ experience in meeting both Code for Sustainable Homes and BREEAM targets. Ecolution Renewables will be exhibiting at the Construction Expo in Kent on November 6. For further information about the company, visit their website on www. ecolutionrenewables.com or give them a call on 0845 2666 558.
ESEYE: OFFERING OUTSTANDING M2M SOLUTIONS AND SERVICE ESEYE is a machine-to-machine (M2M) specialist organisation, set up in 2007 by some of the sharpest minds in the UK technology scene. Since then its founders have selected only the best engineers and support staff to join them, steadily building a company well-deserving of its reputation as a problem solver â€“ whether clients need a concept that can save their company millions, or real-time reporting on an individual application. 24
With more than 50 employees and a turnover of £4m, the company started out just as the recession hit, but have managed to innovate and continue making a profit. We spoke to one of the founders and directors, Paul Marshall.
their area. We have technical training sessions for Marketing and Sales staff so they all fully understand our solutions.
What are your present and future plans? I want to see us develop Eseye so it is the first port of call for global technology providers. I’d like to see businesses making the most of our multi-network AnyNet™ SIM and our range of routers, particularly in the security industry. Members of the public seem to be wising up to the ubiquity of SIMs, so I’d like to see it embedded in more fantastic devices - that way manufacturers can offer total data security and physical SIM security along with the flexibility of a multi-network SIM.
What exactly is M2M? Machine-to-machine - also referred to as the Internet of Things or the Industrial Internet - is an expanding market, predicted to be worth over US $1 trillion by 2022.
I am a company director and Chief Operating Officer. As a founder, I play a big role in developing new products and overseeing technical support, as well as being involved in strategy and planning.
What training do you offer your staff? Every member of staff gets training. I personally run new starters through our internal systems and each department has their own way of training people in
I suppose the cornerstone of our business is the AnyNet™ SIM, so executing that is definitely a big milestone. It’s fundamental to so much of our business and is a real selling point for companies looking to connect their devices without getting tied in to single networks. Winning the European Smart Metering Award for our energy monitor, Shoebill earlier this year is another big achievement. More on eseye.com/ shoebill
I’m really hoping to push our routers in the security market as well. Our HERA range of 3G and 4G integrated services routers can really improve how people run their businesses – especially in construction where pop-up sites need M2M solutions to deliver key information and reduce site visits. A lot of our routers can be adapted to meet an individual client’s needs and in security and construction, I think there’s a lot we can do to optimize efficiency.
Although M2M capabilities and the principle of connected devices and real-time monitoring is nothing new, the industry is still in its nascency, as organisations test and pioneer new technologies that bring about significant changes both for businesses and consumers. Watch our video for more details: (www.youtube.com/ watch?v=SsY9r94OGyw)
What is your role within the business and what does this entail?
Working on our company introduction to M2M video is a big achievement. It’s a really good first look for people who are new to M2M and I’m very proud to have been a part of it!
What do you feel sets you apart from other companies within the M2M field?
As a wider aim, I’d like to see us educate consumers about connected devices and data security, as I really feel we have a huge role to play in pushing forward the M2M revolution – it can’t just come from the top down. People need to have an idea of the possibilities of M2M and drive demand for the solutions.
What would you say are some major milestones or achievements the company has seen since it started?
We strongly believe in the power of M2M and all it can offer major global industries. Connected devices are already common in people’s lives but few understand the complexity involved and the sort of specialists you need to ensure devices stay connected and secure. We develop solutions that are resilient and future proof, so that no matter what happens in the technological landscape, we make sure we’ve ticked all the right boxes – especially when it comes to data security. We’re set apart from other providers in that we offer M2M endto-end. We understand every step of developing an M2M solution, from that initial idea to managing the connectivity. I can’t think of any other providers who offer that full service and support at every level.
You started out at a time when the economy was on the verge of great difficulty. What would you say got you through the last few years? Yes, the recession hit just as Eseye started out, so I suppose we were lucky in that whatever happened financially for the business, it would probably be as bad as it was going to get I suppose – and we did pretty well I’d say! We were lucky to have financial injections from industry experts who knew how to ride the wave of the recession. As we’re in a field that ultimately saves companies time and money, we knew the business would hold its own – especially as the world gets wiser to the importance of really sophisticated technology to help businesses move forward.
simple payment solutions that enable families outside the national grid in Kenya to have clean solar energy. This reduced the need for dangerous kerosene lamps, and is one of the most rewarding projects I’ve worked on. Remotely monitoring solutions with M2M technology also means businesses can reduce site visits, which of course means less petrol and emissions. Some of our Smart City partners have some fantastic solutions and this year we worked with Streetline, who won a GSMA award for their parking solution, which reduces traffic and city centre congestion – using our AnyNet™ SIMs.
Do you have any environmental policies , and what is your company s contribution to the environment? A lot of our solutions directly benefit the environment. Our meters and monitors help businesses and households measure their energy consumption and manage it accordingly. We worked on an awardwinning project with M-KOPA, finding
Can you tell us a little more about the partnership? Although we are not a family business, the founding members have known each other for a very long time and we have a great professional and personal relationship. We’re a company based on respect, and each and every individual is passionate about what they do. I suppose we do all have traits in common; we’re a team of problem solvers – I’ve never known a group
of people more intent on finding the answer to every single question and issue, whether we’re trying to find out why the office printer doesn’t work or to find the cracks in a company’s security system so we can improve it.
For more information about Eseye, visit their website on http://www. eseye.com/ or give them a call on 01483 685200.
When clients come to us with problems that are actually nothing to do with our service, I’m sure any other business would say ‘not our problem’, but we really believe in M2M solutions, and if we’re providing connectivity for a third party device that we suspect is faulty, we will do everything we can to find out exactly what the problem is. For one client, I spent about a year understanding every angle of their business and solution, scratching my head over a problem that I could have just ignored, because I knew it wasn’t an Eseye one. But it’s inherent in Eseye’s business ethos – that need to help and solve a problem. So although we’re not a family business, we definitely do all share that gene! Knowing you can make a problem go away – whether it’s for a big business or a member of the public, it’s a real driving force for everything we do.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PLACE A FEATURE OR AN ADVERT IN THIS MAGAZINE PLEASE CALL STEVE RUSHWORTH AT S&S PUBLISHING ON 01924 920 483 OR SEND AN EMAIL TO STEVE@SNSPUBLISHING.CO.UK
Focus Building Solutions Focus Building Solutions are a construction company formed from the merger of MBW Construction and Focus Building. The origins of the company began in 1994 when the current owners Ed Mata and Gent Mata started a small family building company in continental Europe. During this time the company has moved to Park Royal in North West London and experienced a period of rapid growth. They currently have 100 full and part time employees servicing around 30-40 construction projects annually, with an annual turnover of approximately ÂŁ1M.
Ed concluded “clearly growing is our priority but we must continue to provide a service to the residential customer, these are after all where our business began and where we learned our trade. In particular we are planning to get involved in charity projects with organisations like Shelter and get into local development programmes wherever possible with the view of giving something back to the community.” The future is certainly looking exciting for Focus Building and the future focus now revolves around delivering this ambition.
During a recent interview with Ed Mata, (Focus Building’s MD), an outline of the company’s recent success became clear “We saw an influx of competition in response to the recent housing crisis in the London area. We responded by looking at ways of gaining advantage, especially when the quota of new building permits dramatically reduced. We then found that the best strategy was to focus on people who are seeking to enhance their assets by remodelling their existing homes. We tailored our marketing and targeted our resources to make this happen and this has been a large contributor to our continued success”.
Ed continued “with ambition plans like this we have seen the need to completely overhaul the company’s processes. This includes all aspects of construction from targeting the initial customer through to the after sales service. We are also planning to introduce a business culture into Focus Building, to enable an environment where the future vision of the company can be understood, accepted and shared by all our employees. A comprehensive training programme will commence in October 2013”.
He went on to articulate his vision for future growth “now we are established in the residential sector, our aim is to consolidate our position by delivering on quality, service and price. This will then provide the springboard to our next milestone of entry into the commercial sectors.”
Preliminary plans are in place to continue to develop strong relations with developers, architects and quantity surveyors to create and harness the true potential of a winning team and deliver this future vision.
Safety and environmental issues were the first and most important areas chosen for a revamp. A Health and Safety Officer was appointed at the start of the year and a detailed policy was written which is available on the company website. This then dovetailed into a review of waste management and other environmental activities and has also led to the formulation of an environmental policy document which will also be available on the website in the next few weeks.
SUSTAINABILITY A KEY PRIORITY FOR HTA DEVELOPING strong relationships with their clients is a key focus at HTA, a multi-disciplinary practice based in London and Edinburgh, specialising in regeneration.
The team provides advice, consultancy and sustainability assessment services to the company’s internal design teams and directly to clients on other projects. They review all projects to ensure that they are promoting sustainable design and that they comply with the various regulatory frameworks they work within. They also give regular training updates to the rest of the HTA team to ensure that they are up to date with current legislation and best practice in the field of sustainable design.
HIGH ACHIEVERS With a total of 110 employees and a turnover of almost £5m (2012), the company’s ambition is to add value to projects through design. Founded in 1969, the company became an LLP this year, and has won multiple awards over the years. This year alone they were shortlisted for the Sunday Times British Homes Awards - House of the Future (2013), the Housebuilder Awards - Best Low or Zero Carbon Initiative (2013), and the Inside Housing Sustainability Awards Sustainability Consultancy of the year (2013).
to combat climate change, they are ideally placed to provide one point of responsibility to clients and seamless designs that meet the challenges of modern practice.
HTA have a strong environmental policy and are currently undergoing accreditation against ISO 14001. They are confident that their work in delivering sustainable places is contributing to a better environment by creating places that people like to live in, in homes that are energy efficient and sustainable. They have designed and helped to realise thousands of homes to high Code levels across the UK from Dundee to Plymouth, and are designing and realising thousands more.
HTA delivers the benefits of design on all their projects by combining the ideas and expertise of a diverse team. The practice has a strong history of delivering great projects. Comprised of specialist teams, HTA Design LLP employs over 100 staff working in architecture, landscape design, planning, urban design, sustainability and graphic design & communications.
They also created the sustainability strategy for Hanham Hall, a groundbreaking zero carbon residential scheme of 185 new homes currently under construction in South Gloucestershire on the edge of Bristol. Barratt Developments Plc, the UK’s largest housebuilder, are constructing and selling the scheme. Furthermore, HTA created the design and sustainability strategy for the VELUX CarbonLight Homes project, and are currently carrying out a post occupancy Evaluation of the project with the residents.
SUSTAINABILITY EXPERTS By integrating sustainable design with architectural practice, HTA are able to bring a wide range of expertise and diverse views to their projects from the earliest stage. This helps to guide their clients and their projects through the complex regulatory structure that the work with. As the regulations tighten
The Sustainable Futures team is a team within HTA responsible for delivering their objectives to design places that are enjoyable, successful and environmentally sustainable. They are a team of architects who have additional sustainability training, usually a Masters Degree and further industry accreditations such as Energy Assessor, BREEAM Assessor, and others.
HTA are Investors in People, and provide training on a weekly basis for staff as well as a regular set of CPD events and presentations by invited visitors and clients.
Staff Retention Ensuring that employees view HTA as a great place to work is one of the company’s priorities. They undertake a number of internal initiatives to ensure their staff feel valued. They work hard to retain their highly skilled staff.
FINAL WORD “We have developed strong relationships with our clients and much of our work is repeat business from clients that we know well and who trust us and want to work with us again. This meant that even in a recession we maintained a strong group of clients and were able to come through it in good position to grow,” says th company’s Rachel Hardman.
HTA aims at maintaining the motivation of staff for their retention thereby reducing turnover. As well as formal annual appraisals in which they set SMART objectives and Training plans that they monitor, the company provides regular informal feedback to employees. They also use such tools as staff turnover monitoring and exit interviews. Many of their employees have been with the company for a number of years and continuity of teams has always been an important aspect at HTA.
HTA offer wide learning and development opportunities including a variety of CPDs, presentations, competitions as well as personal development plans, training, promotions, regular evening presentations by teams, whole office meetings including gaining regular feedback from staff.
“We recently became a Limited Liability Partnership and this has created a stronger atmosphere of collaboration and energy in the practice. We have a strong partner team each of whom is expert in their own area and who will work together to design great projects in the UK and abroad. By building in succession into the practice structure, we are ensuring that the practice has a long term future in the industry and has a strong foundation of committed senior staff”.
They aim to maximize skill and unlock the potential of each individual employee to provide their clients with the best products and services in their market. They have been recognised as an Investor in People for the last 10 years.
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PROMINENT REPUTATION FOR SCOTTISH INDUSTRY LEADER FORMED in 1988 and enjoying its 25th Anniversary, Muirfield Contracts Limited has steadily grown from a £300k business to a highly profitable £60m turnover private company. The development of the company has been achieved through a well-managed programme of organic growth, leading to Muirfield establishing itself as the principal ’all trades’ contractor. 34
EXPERTISE Muirfield provides a full construction service through a variety of procurement procedures including; traditional tendering, negotiation, partnering, framework agreements, and design & build contracting. The company has valuable experience in all sectors of the industry covering housing (affordable and private for sale), education, leisure, care homes, commercial, and public buildings. The company’s expertise covers both new build and refurbishment works, with projects having been delivered for many of Scotland’s Local Authorities, including Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Dundee, Perth & Kinross, Fife, East, West and Midlothian, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire and Stirling Councils, Housing Associations throughout Scotland and various Private Clients. Muirfield’s considerable expertise is delivered through a dedicated team of managers and personnel, many with continuous periods of service ranging from five to 25 years. Whilst the core business is general contracting and the delivery of property services, the company can also evidence skills in managing complex residential and
commercial projects from inception to successful completion, through interpreting client’s briefs, managing design teams and utility providers, obtaining planning and all other consents, and complying with wide ranging design standards.
REPUTATION Muirfield enjoys an enviable reputation for delivering certainty of quality, program and cost on all its projects, and as a result the company regularly
benefits through repeat business from a very high proportion of clients. The company has always taken a conservative approach to business, spreading any risk across a balanced portfolio. Their company’s strength lies in their diversity and commitment to excellence. They continue in their pursuit to be recognised as the regional contractor of choice and further enhance the Muirfield brand and reputation within the region and in the communities in which they operate. Muirfield aims to provide a complete
professional service to their clients, and provide a commitment to their local community by directly employing a skilled workforce to carry out a complete range of building services. The company’s reputation is the most successful thing they have ever built and whether working on a traditional design and build or partnering contract, Muirfield’s strength is the ability to provide a flexible and personal approach to contracts, ensuring their clients’ needs and wants are at the forefront of everything they do.
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS In May 2013 the entire share capital of Muirfield Contracts Ltd was acquired by John Stodart, Chairman of Azure Investments. John now performs the role of Group Chairman, supported by the new Group Managing Director, Lindsay Cowan, who was formerly Regional MD of Mansell (Tayside and Fife). The remainder of the company structure and its staff remain unchanged, and plans are presently being developed and implemented to expand and grow the
company within its current sectors and geographical area, and beyond. With approximately 320 staff and operatives, growth is now the company’s key focus. They hope to achieve this by
increasing their presence in Aberdeen and building on the core of business they have. Their Head Office in Dundee will focus on growth in Perthshire and the Central belt of Scotland. The plan is to grow the business over the next five years through both traditional organic methods as well as further acquisitions. The companyâ€™s key ambition is to be the number one construction services business in Scotland. Muirfield is very happy to work with a high proportion of local sub-contractors and suppliers where the circumstances are appropriate. For more information about the company, visit their website on www.muirfieldcontracts.co.uk/ or give them a call on 01382 810 000.
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SOLAR PANELS TO PREDICT WEATHER PATTERNS USING solar panels to understand weather patterns is the brainchild of Sheffield Solar, a research project launched in 2010. 42
THE SOLAR FARM Sheffield Solar is a cross-disciplinary research project at the University of Sheffield, forming part of Project Sunshine, which aims to harness the power of the sun to tackle the increasing food and energy needs of the world’s population in light of uncertain climate and global environment change. Based on the roof of the Physics Department, The Sheffield Solar Farm provides a facility for real-world testing of solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies. The project is funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund, to promote knowledge transfer and new links between industry, society and academia. The 58 square metre photovoltaic solar panel installation includes a test bed to compare new and existing photovoltaic technologies, linking laboratory testing to field application. The data collected will be distributed to researchers, installers, policy makers and the public. Power generation data from the Farm will be continually accessible online, along with the sun’s irradiance (both direct and diffuse), temperature and wind. The Farm’s website provides an educational tool to allow the demonstration of the real world performance of photovoltaic technologies.
Flexible thin film photovoltaics – such as amorphous Silicon, Cadmium Telluride and Copper Indium Gallium Selenide – for lightweight integration into buildings.
Dye sensitised solar cells and polymer photovoltaics – the potential next generation of low cost solar power.
VOLUNTEER INFORMATION The Solar Farm’s sister project is the Microgen Database, which records PV generation in the UK by collecting data from volunteers. Since Sheffield Solar launched in the summer of 2010 the database has grown to over 6000 installations, many of which have been in the last year. In return for donating data, users are offered a free monthly performance analysis. Reports are published in the form of Performance Maps, so donors can see how well their system is performing in the context of others in their area and across the country.
THE TECHNOLOGIES Sheffield Solar Farm plays host to a comprehensive range of photovoltaic technology. Primarily, a large crystalline silicon installation feeds back into the University’s electrical system and the national grid. It is expected to generate around 6,500 kW hr per annum. Secondly, the Farm contains a test bed for a new generation of photovoltaic technologies, including the following: • Different silicon manufacturers – to compare the latest developments in the state of the art silicon products.
value of energy storage for their home. The app gives unique results based on location, solar installation details and energy usage patterns and returns annual totals of energy generated from the virtual PV installation, the amount of that energy which is used in the home and the amount which is sent to the grid.
The Microgen Database uses weather data from across the country to accurately assess performance, whilst the site’s forum offers a source of help and advice for all things PV. The team are also working to provide free tools to PV installers including developing their own annual yield predictor. Installers can also use the Microgen Website to monitor their clients’ installations – providing a crucial after sales service without the hassle or cost.
The user can then change the virtual storage size to see how these figures change and what the impact would be for their own home. There is also a competition running to win an iPad, if entrants recruit users onto the Microgen Database, find out more by heading to the group’s twitter page @ShefSolarF. For more information about the Farm, visit their website on www. sheffieldsolarfarm.group.shef.ac.uk.
Linked to the physical testing of battery storage at Sheffield Solar is a free iPad app which is available on the Apple App Store and allows users to explore the
DESIGN, MANAGEMENT, INSTALLATION, AND MAINTENANCE FROM SOLAR ADVANCED SYSTEMS ESTABLISHED in 2009, Solar Advanced Systems were predominantly focused on providing renewable energy solutions for the domestic market. Having installed solar PV for over 5000 homes across the UK, the company looked to carry their expertise into the commercial sector.
Since 2011, Solar Advanced Systems have worked extremely hard in providing bespoke renewable energy solutions to the commercial market, with their most recent commercial client and project being the 1.28MW installation for Greggs the Bakers. Along with Solar PV, the company also specialises in Air Source Heatpumps, Solar Thermal and Thermodynamics. With 27 full-time employees and expansion plans in the pipeline, Solar Advanced Systems are committed to providing straight forward, trustworthy and impartial advice to allow their clients to achieve the best suited solution to reducing energy use and carbon saving.
DEVELOPMENT Since 2009, the company has installed solar PV for over 5000 homes across the UK. Since filtering across to the commercial and agricultural sector in 2011, they have installed for over 500 farmers and 150 commercial enterprises. During 2012, Solar Advanced Systems won multiple contracts to install solar PV for local schools in Kent, Sussex and Gloucestershire. The company also installed systems for the NHS, several high street retailers and major blue chip companies. All of their systems have exceeded generation expectations. In addition, Solar Advanced Systems were shortlisted and awarded a highly commended for their Greggs the Bakers project, just short of winning the category Best Commercial Rooftop installation for the Solar Power Portal Awards.
PROJECTS Solar Advanced Systems are currently involved with several large projects in the commercial and agricultural industry, offering sustainable energy solutions to those with large roof spaces and whose energy use is high. Whilst aiming to help many large commercial enterprises reduce their energy usage from the national grid along with reducing their carbon footprint, the company is still heavily involved in the domestic sector for solar PV and Air Source Heat pumps. Along with the Domestic and Commercial sector, over the last 12 months they have played a large part in installing solar PV for the agricultural sector. Being the chosen installers for Agriculture Machine Suppliers, Ernest Doe, and with an agricultural client list that exceeds 500, Solar Advanced Systems are often seen as the trusted authority in this field and they have plans to double this figure by 2015.
The company regularly checks and monitors the PV system for any faults that may occur such as power outages that switch the system off to ensure the system is generating to its maximum capacity. They aim to fix any problems and faults within 72 hours of finding them. Solar Advanced Systems’ dedication and passion to the solar industry has played a vital role in keeping them afloat throughout the recession. They pride themselves on being extremely reliable and they treat each job, large or small, with the utmost professionalism.
Solar Advanced Systems pride themselves in offering unbiased, professional advice when it comes to renewable energy. Over the past year, they have noticed a large increase with competing companies offering financial packages for commercial and agricultural customers. What sets Solar Advanced Systems aside from the rest is their maintenance package and promise to maintain the solar PV array for 20 years after the installation has been commissioned. Once the Domestic sector took a huge blow from the government’s decision to reduce the FIT’s, it was Managing Director, Nick Porter, and Commercial Director, Kevin Downes, who put together the company’s finance and maintenance programs. This, combined with their continuing development of new markets, has allowed the company to remain a key player in the renewable energy sector. By always putting the customer first, and always delivering a project that meets the needs of the client, Solar Advanced Systems has built up a strong reputation that sets them ahead of the rest of the installers. For more information about the company and what they offer, visit their website on www. solaradvancedsystems.co.uk, or give them a call on 01732 866 731.
PERSONALISED SERVICE AND OUTSTANDING REPUTATION HIGHLIGHTS UPRIGHT CONSTRUCTION FOUNDED at the height of the recession in 2010 by Matthew (Matt) Charlton and Ben Wilson, Upright Construction Limited has built an outstanding reputation and rapport within Surrey.
The company currently employs three full-time members of staff and uses the skills of fully vetted subcontractors to deliver building projects with unrivalled quality and finish. At the moment, Upright turns over in excess of £1m due to hard work and dedication of the directors Matt and Ben.
PERSONALISED SERVICE Completing a variety of jobs including loft conversions, kitchens, extensions, and bathrooms, Upright manages every detail and advises customers throughout the entire process from concept to completion. Their services are all in house, distributed between their team of qualified and experienced craftsmen. This enables the company to offer customers a premium service at an affordable investment. Matt and Ben employ a very hands-on approach and are always available for clients. They have a frequent presence on site, monitoring progress and quality. Their office is open five days a week and clients are always welcome to visit to discuss current or proposed projects. Upright Construction’s mission statement is “to exceed expectations by building on time, within budget and to your specification, while delivering a product and service which is second to none”. Their reputation is maintained through their reliability, integrity and fairness with their suppliers, professional associates, staff and most importantly customers. With their fully insured services they will take clients through the entire building process, giving peace of mind whilst adding value and charisma to their home.
At Upright, the team takes a different approach to construction. Their philosophy is to exceed client expectations by building on time, within budget and to their specification, whilst delivering a product and service that is second to none. As with all projects, the desire for the end result is the driving force behind the hard work. When it falls into place it gives the company a real sense of reward. “To see ideas become reality is rewarding, which is why our quality and finish is unrivalled and why we are not happy until you are,” shares Matt. Upright is very conscious of the environmental impact of construction and always endeavours to produce a result which uses energy saving products. They are currently researching alternative methods of construction to reduce their carbon footprint using new products on the market. The company has a rigorous health and safety policy which all employees/ subcontractors must adhere to when on site. As these projects are mostly in residential properties the safety of the client is paramount and precautions such as fencing off areas and safe storage of materials are insisted upon.
For more information on what Upright can offer, visit their website on www.uprightconstruction.co.uk or give them a call on 01737 245040.
The company was very proud to have been very involved in a Community Project in the centre of Redhill creating a drop-in centre and café which is part of the town’s rejuvenation process.
STANDING OUT Upright Construction was established during the recession and this difficult financial period really focused Matt and Ben to drive their company forward and create a quality product which would always be sought after. With properties being hard to sell people were looking for alternative ideas to expand their current homes but naturally wanted to invest their hard earned money into an extension/loft conversion which was delivered by a reputable company. Upright have strived to create an excellent local reputation and maintain this with a first class service and fabulous aftercare for their clients.
FAMILY BUSINESS VANTAGE PROUD OF HIGH QUALTIY WORK BEING a family business means offering customers a personal touch for Vantage Decorators, specialist painters and decorators based in Wilmslow, Cheshire.
With over 14 years’ extensive experience in both the domestic and commercial decorating markets, the company has a focus on traditional values: best trade practices, customer service and creative solutions, tailored to individual clients. Their key ambition is to ensure every client feels assured that they are dealing with an industry specialist that will offer them a superior decorating service.
RUNNING Run by Chris Simpson and his wife Jill, Vantage are a high-class decorating company, providing brilliant finishes and combining this with brilliant customer service without exception. Through large demand they have now extended their services to Alderley Edge, Holmes Chapel, Sandiway, Prestbury, Knutsford and the surrounding areas. As a sole trader, Chris is currently at the hub of the business. He has managed to build up a great local reputation and this is based on the results that he achieves. He is fastidious about his approach to decorating and proud of the amount of work he gets through customer recommendations and repeat work. Chris completes all quotations and the decorating work while Jill assists with the administration side of the business and handles incoming enquiries and the company website.
With continued growth year-on-year, Chris and Jill hope to keep building up the company, and have looked into getting an apprentice in order to build the business and expanding it naturally. They want to be able to continue the guarantee of high level work and therefore found this to be the best way forward in order to achieve this. In the future, they wish to have a team of decorators that share their ethos and high standards.
of dealing with our company. We will always try to ‘exceed expectations’ where possible in order to build up our reputation”.
“We are genuinely passionate about our trade and excelling in the field of painting and decorating. We are highclass decorators who work to provide superior finishes. We are on the cusp of the opportunity to grow the business and eagerly await the coming years. We have managed to succeed where others have failed in a competitive trade and in difficult times”.
Ensuring that their standards do not drop has been pivotal for getting Vantage through the recession. In addition, using quality materials and trying to offer competitive prices has been an important aspect. Their website has helped propel them and has given them a great internet presence. The company uses every opportunity to spread the word about themselves and try to be smart about the ways that they employ marketing techniques. “Two things set us apart from others,” says Chris, “The high standard of finishes that we achieve and the lengths we go to, to provide each and every customer with a positive experience. We arrange quotations, turn up on time, issue written quotations in a timely manner and offer advice and information where appropriate. We inform clients of start dates and make sure that they are wellinformed throughout the process
“The huge benefit of being family run is a personal touch; our customers deal with us and we are always available to take enquiries and offer information and advice. We are able to control the direction that the business takes and focus on the mission of the company and use this in decision-making opportunities”.
For further information about Vantage Decorators please contact Jill or Chris on 01606 831255, or visit their website; www.painters-decoratorscheshire.co.uk
The company’s website was launched two years ago; this generates a large proportion of their incoming enquiries and continues to promote their services. It has provided an opportunity to gain a reputable Internet presence which continues to cement their market position. Vantage are members of the Painting and Decorating Association and abide by the Association’s Code of Practice ensuring customers are provided with the security and reassurance that they are using a professional company.
Insulation manufacturer, Superglass works with UK house builders to get the job done In an ever evolving marketplace, such as the construction industry, it is crucial for manufacturers to be one step ahead of the house builderâ€™s requirements to fulfil increasing regulatory specifications and to meet the cost and energy efficiency targets they demand.
It is no secret that this sector has experienced some difficulties over the years, but with anticipated growth projected particularly in the new build sector, it is important for manufacturers to focus on positioning for the future and be at the forefront of providing the very best in customer service. Manufacturers at the heart of the industry are adapting to this changing and challenging environment by continuing to look at new product development and market opportunities, meaning that their customers can access the right products at the right time. Superglass Insulation recently completed an ambitious plan which has transformed its manufacturing capability and enabled it to further develop the products that it offers to its customers. What has emerged from the project we have named ‘Phoenix’ is not just a plant transformed with the most up-to-date technology, but a company with a new business philosophy and an extended line of innovative products in the pipeline, broadening Superglass’ routes to market.
Products and People are the winning combination The new pipeline of products together, with Superglass’ experienced specification team, who work closely with architects, designers, house builders and contractors, provide the much needed specification standards and technical expertise the industry needs. By being involved as early as possible in the design process the team is able to deliver the right outcomes for energy efficiency ratings and building regulation compliance.
An example of the ever changing construction landscape relates to the market for masonry and timber frame separating walls where, until the start of 2012, there was very little competition for acoustic insulation in this space. Superglass recognised this gap and set about coming up with a solution and so last year, partnered with national and regional house builders to secure the first proprietary fully filled aircrete Robust Detail (“RD”) (E-WM-23). In addition to its aggregate block RD (E-WM-22), Superglass has continued to work on new RD solutions which couple with new and innovative foundation types to promote the use of these walls with new flanking constructions. In August 2013 Superglass featured in the RD Handbook after securing a further RD (E-WM-27) for use in masonry wall construction. By increasing interaction with the house builder to provide sufficient insulation solutions, such as securing more Robust Detail products, Superglass has been able to work with them to help enhance construction performance, whilst providing products with strong regulatory and environmental credentials.
Andrew MacDonnell, Demand Generation Manager at Superglass comments, “By concentrating on a more’back to basic’ and simplistic approach to building design we have helped to streamline supply chains and make them more cost effective for all concerned.”
Value-Added Products are the Key
the right time and making money from this transaction,” Alex McLeod explains. Penetrating the market has always been the challenge for merchants moving into the value added space as it is currently dominated by the distributors. However, Superglass believes this will change going forward with the right strategic partnerships in place.
Product development has been ongoing with a strong focus on creating a ‘differential’ for house builders and merchants. Superglass has developed a new business philosophy which delivers added value for the house builder and merchant alongside the new products being developed. The company wants to move away from the industry’s ongoing dispute about what is essentially a commodity product. “The sector’s pool is reducing in size,” says Alex McLeod, Superglass Chief Executive. “Now, it’s about moving out of that pool and providing real value-added opportunities for our house builder and merchant customers.” “These customers are well placed to play in the value-added sector of the marketplace but they have never really embraced it because of the complexity of the various stockholdings which the manufacturers ask them to retain,” Alex McLeod comments. “For house builders and merchants, ‘commodity’ is about customers walking in, picking products up and taking them away. ‘Value-added’, on the other hand, is identifying where a project is and then acting as a useful third-party logistics interface for that project; taking the ‘value’ to the site at
, Meeting house builders requirements through investment The new manufacturing capabilities brought about by Superglass’ plant upgrades allow the company to have the flexibility to deliver the specification, value and efficiencies that house builders expect as efficiently as possible.
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“Project Phoenix has been an exciting journey from the old to the new Superglass,” says Alex McLeod. “At the forefront of our vision are our customers. We have looked at how to service and support them better by delivering the very best in enhanced product quality combined with outstanding customer service and one to one personalised contact with the Superglass team. To reach this goal we have installed the best in class technology in order to meet the increasing demands of the marketplace in terms of competitive pricing and product specification.” Project Phoenix completed earlier this year. The newly installed production lines were upgraded with the latest technology and these are now running at full capacity. The installation of new fiberising technology, which as well as improving the cost base, has enabled the company to meet the increasing demands of the marketplace.
British Success Story Following the completion of the capital investment programme at our plant in Stirling, Superglass continues to work ever more closely with house builders in the UK to explore the opportunities that they can offer. With more building regulation around the corner and a journey to zero carbon, the company and its technical team are well placed to provide the market with sustainable and cost effective solutions to meet the ever growing demands for energy conservation and efficiency.
Published on Nov 19, 2013
Published on Nov 19, 2013
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