Page 1 ISSUE 151 MAY

The warmth

of home

After the restructuring and expansion of its facilities, prefabricated construction specialist Baufritz is ready to meet the growing demand for its services

See page 48

Leader in Germany

GBI AG revealed as Germany’s biggest hotel project developer

Spanish market growth

Taylor Wimpey EspaĂąa is planning expansion this year

Striking office revamp

A futuristic office upgrade features products from Proteus


INNOVATION IS YOUR ADVANTAGE You need superior, innovative products. A versatile fleet of aerial work platforms and telehandlers designed for tough rental demands. And you depend on comprehensive support to stay ahead. Financing, training, parts and service that keep your machines on the job, producing value for you and your customer. From powerful, reliable equipment to unwavering support, you can rely on JLG. Learn more at JLG EMEA BV | Polaris Avenue 63 | 2132 JH | Hoofddorp | The Netherlands |

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04/01/18 14:28

contents Chairman Andrew Schofield Editor Libbie Hammond Assistant Editor Will Daynes Art Editor Fleur Daniels Staff Writer Vladi Nikolov Advertising Design Fiona Jolliffe Operations Director Philip Monument Editorial Researchers Adam Blanch Mark Cowles Alasdair Gamble Jeff Goldenberg Natalie Griffiths Tarjinder Kaur D’Silva Managing Director Joe Woolsgrove Sales Mark Cawston Tim Eakins Darren Jolliffe Dave King Theresa McDonald Rob Wagner Production/ Office Manager Tracy Chynoweth

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© 2018 Schofield Publishing Ltd

FEATURES 2 Dubai airports The expansion of Dubai’s two large airports is a megaproject of huge scale – designed to meet everrising passenger numbers, as well as create two of the most advanced, customer-centric airports in the world

26 Diversity Further focus must be placed on how male-dominated organisations can retain and develop female talent and create more female leaders. By Samantha Caine

28 Health and safety Safety awareness expert Larry Wilson doesn’t agree that human error is inevitable, or that workplace injuries are ‘just part of the job’

6 Offsite construction Steve Thompson believes that there has never been a better time to capitalise on the raft of benefits that factory-based solutions deliver

10 Flooding A case study that illustrates how a GRAF UK stormwater management system was chosen and installed at Silverstone Business Park in what was described as ‘not a traditional drainage project’


12 Drone technology For the construction industry, the potential benefits of using drone technology has progressed quickly and many professionals are already enjoying the benefits that it has to offer

16 News


Updates and information from the construction and civil engineering market

18 Telematics How does telematics fit into construction? Helena Ferraro gives three reasons why this technology is important to the industry

company profiles 30 RIDGEONS Limited

20 Materials


David Young believes the construction industry needs to innovate or stagnate – new materials and innovations need to be embraced in order to meet the challenging times ahead

42 Thomasons

22 Collaboration

48 BAUFRITZ 52 DEG Dach-Fassade-HOLZ EG 54 Waitings Limited

Why collaboration is more than just a word – Russell Stillwell discusses how it should be embraced through all levels of the sector

56 JC Elite Construction

24 Construction waste

The volume and potentially hazardous nature of construction waste means that knowing how to effectively deal with it in a safe and responsible way is vitally important for anyone working on site



60 Highways Term Maintenance Association (HTMA)

68 Antea Group Belgium 72 Travis Perkins 78 TOOLSTATION

Please note: The opinions expressed by contributors and advertisers within this publication do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor and publisher. Every reasonable effort is made to ensure that the information published is accurate, and correct at time of writing, but no legal responsibility for loss occasioned by the use of such information can be accepted by the publisher. All rights reserved. The contents of the magazine are strictly copyright, the property of Schofield Publishing, and may not be copied, stored in a retrieval system, or reproduced without the prior written permission of the publisher.


Dubai Airports

A whole new

airport experience

Dubai Airports is expanding the emirate’s two airports to second-to-none facilities that will address the demand for more space and higher customer service efficiency for Dubai’s fast growing number of visitors. Vladi Nikolov reports


he aviation sector in Dubai is pivotal to UAE’s economy, forming a substantial portion of the emirate’s GDP. A study conducted by Oxford Economics in 2013 revealed that aviation supported 416,500 jobs, or 21 per cent of Dubai employment, and the figure is expected to rise to over 35 per cent of total employment by 2030. The strength


of the sector is down to the global significance of Dubai’s two large airports – Dubai International Airport (DXB), and Dubai World Central Airport (DWC). Benefitting from its geocentric location, the open skies policy, and the leading role it has assumed in international trade affairs, Dubai has collected all the pieces to foster immense traffic growth at both of its airports. It

was reported early in 2018 that DXB has retained its top position as the world’s busiest airport in terms of international passengers, after statistics for 2017 came in. Dubai’s primary airport is also the third busiest for total numbers of passengers with over 88 million travellers being served in 2017. Owned and managed by Dubai Airports, DXB and DWC are currently undergoing major

Concourse A

redevelopments, in order to meet rising customer expectations and the growing demand for capacity, caused by the everincreasing number of passengers using the two airports. The Dubai Airports Masterplan was devised to outline the work that needed to be done to optimise the operations at both locations,

but due to the unexpected rise in passenger numbers, it was revisited and poised to complete even more ambitious tasks, in terms of extended capacity and considerable improvement of customer experience. The ‘Dubai Airports’ Strategic Plan 2020’ was launched back in 2011 and projected to provide

capacity to accommodate 90 million passengers at DXB by 2018. The programme included the construction of Concourse A, which was completed in January 2013, the doubling of capacity at Terminal 2, the refurbishment of Terminal 1, the resurfacing of both runways, the construction of Concourse D (opened in February


Dubai Airports

Concourse C 2016), and the upcoming upgrade of Concourse C to accommodate Emirates as its sole user.

Boosted capacity As time progressed, however, it became evident that still more space will be needed at DXB to cater for passengers beyond 2020. This urged Dubai Airports to introduce the DBX Plus programme, whose target is to ensure a capacity of 118 million passengers by 2023. The new project will focus on process improvements and extensive use of the latest technology to boost capacity and service. In total, DXB Plus will include over 350 projects, such as the utilisation of breakthrough retail and F&B concepts, increased self-service options, off-airport check-in, optimised immigration and security processes, new improved air control and air traffic management systems, more check-in and immigration counters, additional aircraft parking stands, and optimised ground traffic management.


Concourse C In addition to redeveloping DXB, the revised long-term strategy also built upon Dubai Airports’ aspirations to develop DWC as the world’s largest, most advanced, and customer-centric airport in the next decade. The new concept involves significant expansion of DWC’s passenger terminal building, as well as DWC Phase 2, which will redesign the airport in a truly innovative way that will enable the continued escalation of traffic, whilst reaching new heights of connectivity and passenger service.

Construction at the passenger terminal has nearly come to an end, and upon its opening, the refurbished facility will be able to handle about 26 million passengers per annum, a staggering increase from the five to seven million it was fit to deal with before redevelopments. It is expected that tests and trials will take place shortly, prior to its official opening later this year. The reconstruction will play a crucial role in the plans Dubai Airports has for DWC as an airport absorbing additional traffic from DXB, including the gradual transfer of flydubai’s operations from DXB Terminal 2. The future passengers landing, or taking off from DWC will tangibly feel the benefits of certain areas’ expansion. These include the check-in zone, the baggage and immigration halls, and the security screening areas.

Passenger focus If redevelopment at DWC at this stage looks remarkable, what can we say about the Phase 2 of its

Terminal 2

DXB expansion programme, scheduled to be delivered in the early 2020s? Its target is to reach a capacity of 120 million passengers per annum, and as aforementioned, Dubai Airports and the Dubai’s aviation sector are taking on the task with a unique approach that will place the customer at the heart of all operations. The airport design will be modular, consisting of two adjacent triple plus-shaped concourses, to optimise connectivity and passenger convenience. The concourses will be connected by automated people movers or trains to a multimodal ground transportation facility, so that the guests are delivered in close proximity to their gate, thus minimising their walking times. The airport’s design will also take good care of transit passengers by optimising their connection times. It is an all-important feature of the project, given that 52 per cent of passengers visiting Dubai are connecting to onward destinations, and predictions are that the figure

will continue to grow. Thanks to its modular design, the DWC can be subsequently expanded incrementally, to handle possible increases in demand. According to Dubai Airports’ forecasts, the hike could reach over 260 million passengers per annum by 2040.

Customer experience Other customer-oriented services that will be incorporated at DWC and will help make it like no other airport in the world,

include the opportunity for departing passengers to check-in and drop their baggage before they arrive at the airport. And to eliminate queues, biometrics will be used at departure gates to enable self-boarding capability. The arriving passengers will experience the same hassle-free exit from the airport, benefitting from the biometrics technology of identification, and being offered the option to choose when and where their baggage is delivered away from the airport. The sizable infrastructural projects undertaken by Dubai Airports reflect the economic strength of UAE, and seal Dubai’s future as a principal destination for business and leisure. It seems that the development of DXB and DWC will turn the two into attractions themselves, worth visiting just for the outstanding customer experience, and the prodigious engineering thought poured in their construction. Shortly we will be ready to pack our bags.


Offsite construction


construction Steve Thompson shares his perspective on perfecting the offsite process



ecent government announcements, underpinned by a number of industry reports and major investment declarations – are advancing the offsite sector. Driven by the demand for more predictability throughout the construction process, the resurgence in the offsite construction has resulted in increased levels of market activity and innovation. Whilst the housebuilding industry appears to be grabbing many of the headlines - offsite construction is also rapidly expanding in other sectors. Steel Framing Systems (SFS) make up a substantial part of the offsite solutions portfolio. Beyond the traditional steel framing markets, the development of volumetric modular and pod products is becoming increasingly important. Steel framing systems provide many of the characteristics that the design and manufacture of these solutions require.

Many of the advantages of steel construction are applicable to all building types and sectors. Building design and construction is the sum of many parts - some projects demand unique and one-off solutions but for many, rapid and robust systems are required to get buildings onstream and ready for occupation or commercial use. As the adoption of offsite technology by what has previously been a traditional industry is gaining momentum - now the transition to more repeatable, Design for Manufacture and Assembly led solutions, is the next logical step. The growing use of volumetric modular solutions is seen as an

Steve Thompson Managing Director EOS Facades

evolution in systems types. The main types of modules are light gauge steel, capable of six to ten storeys depending on the system type. With the greater demand for a medium to highrise applications, corner columns with hot-rolled or cold-formed stronger steel sections and more robust floors, often using concrete - have emerged. Developments in volumetric modular building technology are opening new opportunities for companies such as EOS Facades, to design, manufacture and supply entire solutions or form part of a hybrid structure. Volumetric pods on the other hand are typically nonloadbearing, factory finished internally, complete with building services but not generally finished externally. Most commonly the framing of the structure is either light steel frame or hot-rolled, hollow steel sections. Types of pods include washrooms, bath and shower rooms, kitchens and plant rooms.


Offsite construction

EOS has been involved in the development of prefabricated utility cupboards too - these systems, which are similar to volumetric pods, can be used on any project and there is no limit to how they can be customised to meet project requirements for ďŹ t-out of any space that requires building services. The preplumbed modules include a selfsupporting frame, plumbing, waste connections and typically underfloor heating manifolds and MVHR solutions. On site the modules are lightweight and easy to handle, making installation even faster.

Digital age The prefabrication of the individual steel elements takes place under controlled, highly regulated and safe factory conditions where the use of leading edge systems delivers precision-engineered components. With so much work carried out offsite, the onsite construction programme is reduced, and the build programme is relatively unaffected by adverse weather conditions. Furthermore, steel components can be preassembled or fabricated into modules either offsite or at low


level onsite, which reduces the need for working at height. It is clear that there is an imperative to improve industry performance, with increasing requirements to design and construct in a more detailed manner and at a rapid pace – these processes are reliant upon effective communication. Construction professionals must work together, as knowledge transfer can be mutually beneficial to all those involved along the design, manufacture and construction journey. EOS’ own state-of-the art manufacturing facility has changed beyond recognition, with further expansion planned for next year. EOS has extended its section capability with a significant investment in new advanced rollforming machinery that has been specifically commissioned. The digital age is evolving. We are constantly adapting technology in order to enhance all aspects of the modern world. We have changed the way we socialise, the way we travel and the way we work in order to integrate the latest technology into our everyday lives.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is at the forefront of the latest digital technology in today’s built environment. There is now almost a universal recognition of BIM within the construction industry, as well as widespread private sector investment in the implementation of BIM.

End-to-end These advancements also involve CAD/CAM systems that control this new manufacturing machinery to produce an offsite optimised frame or cassette design. By manufacturing offsite for onsite installation – EOS is able to create much of the finished product in the factory - ultimately minimising onsite labour. As the adoption of offsite technology by what has previously been a traditional industry is gaining momentum, however a common problem still rests in ‘migrating’ the efficiencies of offsite to the construction site itself. It has to be an end-toend continuation - rather than a process of offsite methodology to the factory gate and then being subjected to a traditional approach on site.

Certainly ‘education’ is required at all levels of offsite manufacture – not just its commonly understood long-term benefits but throughout the supply chain and how each stage of the construction cycle is touched by offsite methods. Architects, clients, main and sub-contractors need to understand more about the offsite industry as a whole, including the philosophy behind its use as well as the disparate range of suppliers and products. This is one of the main reasons why EOS Facades has opened its factory doors to construction professionals and welcomes visits from main contractors, architects, designers and specifiers. The company understands engagement and information transfer is the solution and after all ‘knowledge is power’ - the power to collectively take the industry forward and deliver better buildings in a more productive and efficient way. The manufacturing environment is far different to the construction environment - the lack of traditional skills in certain parts of the construction sector is a problem easier solved in the

offsite sector – that is, within the factory-controlled environments rather than on construction sites We are operating in exciting times for the built environment – from my perspective modernisation is more than an option now, it should be seen as an obligation. Historically construction has been compared unfavourably with the automotive and aeronautical industries and a change had to come. There has never been a better time to capitalise on the raft of benefits that factory-based solutions deliver. As an advanced high performance offsite solution, Steel Framing Systems are perfectly positioned to meet construction industry demands – they are future proof and future ready. Steve Thompson is Managing Director of EOS Facades. EOS Facades is running a CPD accredited factory tour at its facility in County Durham on the 20th September 2018. Hosted by the EOS technical team together with the Siniat specification team - the event is completely free to attend. For more information, please see




position When Silverstone Business Park needed an effective flood protection solution, it turned to GRAF UK


ith its main entrance right opposite the famous Silverstone Circuit, the developers of Silverstone Park designed the facility to attract engineering firms and high-tech companies to the area. Comprising a total of four industrial buildings with 12 individual office and warehouse units, contractors Readie Construction were tasked with finding an efficient and compliant stormwater management system – one that would provide longterm protection against flooding. Having previously worked together on a number of


projects, Readie Construction approached GRAF UK for a reliable, futureproof solution that would comply with the strict run-off requirements of just nine litres per second set out by South Northamptonshire County Council. To do this, the GRAF UK team specified, designed and installed a bespoke 945m3 EcoBloc Inspect Flex system, comprising five tanks made of around 4458 heavy-duty crates. In line with DEFRA and Environment Agency guidelines (outlined in the ‘Rainfall runoff management for developments’ document), the system was also built with enough capacity to resist the kind

of extreme storm only likely to appear once in a 100-year period, with an additional 20 per cent contingency buffer for climate change on top of this.

Water management Matthew Mayfield, Site Manager at Readie Construction, says: “This particular job wasn’t a traditional drainage project. The challenge here was to find a stormwater management solution that would allow us to drain the water through the natural stream that runs through the middle of the site. The EcoBloc Flex crates were ideal for this, as they have a really straightforward, modular design. We also needed a system

that would withstand the load of the heavy traffic coming in and out of the site, and prepare us for the eventuality of flash flooding. GRAF’s EcoBloc Flex modules fit the bill. “It was also handy to work with a local company based just ten miles down the road from Silverstone. As GRAF UK was able to get on site quickly, it meant we were able to stagger the install. We were responsible for all the preliminary excavation work to prepare the ground for the tanks, and installing the hydrobrakes, which regulate the speed of the water flow coming out of the system. The GRAF UK team then came in to install the water

management system. They were absolutely first-class, and as a site manager, I couldn’t have asked for more!” The EcoBloc Flex modules used at the Silverstone Business Park are made in Germany at one of the most modern production facilities in the world. They have a lorry-bearing capacity of 60 tons with an 800 mm (2’ 7.5”) earth covering, making them the obvious choice for the site, which will see a continuous influx of lorries coming in and out of the warehouses. Each crate boasts a gross volume of 205 litres and can be installed at a depth of up to five metres.

Modular blocs Matthew Rolph, Managing Director at GRAF UK, says: “This project is a very good example of the real flexibility and environmental credentials a well-designed stormwater system can offer. The tanks’ outlet and inlet being at the same level means we were able to install them at a very shallow depth of just 1.78 metres (with a 1100 millimetre earth covering) – considerably reducing the amount of excavation work required, but

maintaining durability for heavy traffic overhead. This also allows for extra storage space, as water can back up into the pipework where needed. “The large void ratio of the modular blocs also means they can hold more water, without requiring as much valuable space. They can easily be stacked inside each other, saving twice the volume per truck, halving transport costs, and reducing carbon emissions in the process. In fact, we were able to load enough blocs to build five tanks in just eight lorries from our factory in Germany direct to the Silverstone site. It’s been brilliant to be involved in such a highprofile project so close to home.”

GRAF UK Ltd (a subsidiary of German-based Otto Graf GmbH) is a European market leader in the water management sector. The company provides innovatively designed rainwater harvesting, stormwater and wastewater management systems that are manufactured in Germany at one of the world’s most modern and sustainable production facilities. For more information, please see


Drone technology


construction Asif Gillani takes a look at the use of drones and UAVs in the construction sector



ver the past few years we’ve seen new, innovative ways drones are being used to enhance different aspects of our lives, alongside promising future applications. From capturing breathtaking photos and videos from new heights to offering a whole new way of delivering online shopping to our doorstep, and even the potential launch of a revolutionary new taxi service – the exciting future of drones and UAVs is always evolving. For the construction industry, this potential has progressed more quickly, and professionals are already enjoying the benefits that drone technology has to offer – ones that initially felt like a distant prospect. Drones have opened new doors to technology that, historically, would have been hugely expensive and time consuming to work with, helping businesses of all sizes to minimise costs, and offer ways of understanding a project in entirely

new and insightful ways. A recent survey by ProDroneWorx revealed that a third of construction firms, surveyors, architects and engineers questioned were already using UAV technology, and almost all of the remaining 70 per cent were planning to implement the technology in their processes in the near future. We’ve seen drones being used across all areas of the construction industry for a few years now, mainly for inspection purposes, stemming from hobbyists putting the kit to the test in a range of environments. Over the past 12 months or so, there have been new developments of consumer drone technologies with a professional audience in mind – making way for a new ‘prosumer’ market. These combine the sophisticated technology and features of expensive, top-ofthe-range industry equipment and software with easy to pilot consumer drones, creating an affordable, efficient and


Drone technology

commercially beneficial solution. This has made the spectacle of drones and their diverse abilities more accessible to construction professionals and SMEs.

Business benefits For construction workers, it’s not a question of whether to invest in drones or not. That much is obvious. Drones are cheaper and faster than surveyors, they can track a site’s progress as frequently as the operator wishes and they’re able to shoot and share data remotely from a construction site, or even in hardto-reach places, at the touch of a button. It’s the difference between sending a whole team between sites (potentially hundreds of miles) and sending one team member and a drone to capture the data and share it instantly with the team back in the office. This, of course, streamlines activity and is much more efficient for the project manager. In 2015, the Crossrail project in London structured a programme to explore and capture pioneering


ideas – including the use of drones in construction, and how the technology can be beneficial for the industry. The team discovered that drones were able to perform close examinations of high risk areas, speedy overviews of large sites, health and safety inspections, assessments of high structures, site planning and capture 360-degree panorama shots. The use cases, the benefits, the efficiency and the affordability has only grown in the three years since the project began, and the accessibility has expanded from major government funded projects such as Crossrail, to the likes of construction SMEs and independent construction bodies across the country.

Accurate information At Parrot, we have ensured these types of drones are more accessible, more efficient and more affordable, opening up the opportunity to smaller businesses, and not just those with large budgets. We launched the Parrot Professional range globally in

2017 to provide a complete and multi-purpose decision-making solution for professionals across the construction industries, as well as farmers and agriculturalists. The range includes Parrot Bebop-Pro Thermal, an all-inone quadcopter thermal imaging solution specifically designed for small construction businesses, thermal inspection professionals and public safety services, and Parrot Bebop-Pro 3D Modelling, an all-in-one drone-based 3D modelling solution for real estate and building professionals. The new additions build on Parrot’s consumer drones, demonstrating manoeuvrability, robustness and ease-of-piloting, and incorporate precision sensors and software for SMEs and independents. The advantages of investing in these professional drones in the construction industry are clear for both larger construction bodies as well as SMEs. The Parrot Bebop-Pro Thermal for instance, can identify thermal irregularities emitting from a building to help understand specifically where and why a building is losing heat, which can result in a grant from the government through a number of schemes. The drone

has the ability to live stream, record videos and take pictures of buildings, roofs, solar panels or specific areas in visual or thermal image mode to quickly and safely provide highly accurate information and data of thermal loss or thermal activity. The drone is not only beneficial to the construction industry, but can also assist firefighters during a blaze, or after a fire to survey building damage or structural weaknesses. The Parrot Bebop-Pro 3D Modelling drone can undertake a multitude of tasks such as producing easy to interpret visual results, delivering regular site progression status updates to help teams understand how well a site is progressing, comparing data using the as-designed vs as-built function to compare the initial site plans to the physical building outcome and introduces a whole new health and safety element – it’s no longer necessary for construction workers to spend the majority of their days crawling across potentially dangerous roofs or structurally damaged buildings, drones can achieve the same images and accurate measurements from a safe distance.

As the industry’s growth continues apace, I’m confident that professionals across all areas will be introduced to more and more innovative technologies and solutions designed to specifically streamline process, enhance results and efficiencies, and – in short – make lives easier. It’s an exciting time for the industry, and there are sophisticated technologies out there that can make a real difference, and do not come with a budget breaking price tag. It’s important for business owners to understand the solutions that are available for them and how they can truly benefit them and their business.

Asif Gillani is Parrot’s Regional Director Northern Europe, Middle East, Africa & India. Parrot is a French-headquartered, wireless technology manufacturer and creator of world leading drones. The company launched in 1994 and, last year, announced a brand-new division of its business; Parrot Professional – providing new drone-based solutions for industries including property and real estate, agriculture and public services. For more information, please see



Leader in Germany

A superior finish April 2018 saw the completion of six apartment blocks in Gibraltar with Andura’s Pro-Flex high performance coating. Built in the mid 1980s, the Watergardens, Gibraltar is a complex of six luxury apartment blocks up to 12 floors high comprising some 300 apartments. Situated beside the Ocean Village Marina and beneath the Rock of Gibraltar, the apartments have panoramic views to both Spain and Morocco. When the apartments came up for external redecoration, having been painted some ten years previously, specialist contractors Noneedtopaint Ltd, were commissioned by facilities management company BFA Management for the refinishing of the glass reinforced concrete constructed buildings. As approved applicators of Andura Coatings, Noneedtopaint Ltd specified Andura’s latest ProFlex technology which is not only water and dirt resistant but also has elastomeric properties giving excellent resistance to any subsequent cracks in the substrate. The 12,000 square metres of external wall area of the six apartment blocks all received a classic primer and then finished with the Andura Pro-Flex specialist coating. Some 3000 litres of both primer and Pro-Flex was used on the project. So, confident are they in the finish and the work, that both the contractor and Andura provided a partner guarantee of 15 years, covering both work and materials.

Office revamp Striking high gloss Proteus HR soffit panels and rainscreen cladding have been used on a futuristic Grade A office redevelopment next to Heathrow airport, London. The original 4 Longwalk in Stockley Park was designed by Arup Associates and completed in the early 1990s. Barr Gazetas architects were commissioned to carry out an extensive refurbishment, including fitting the building out to CAT A standard and achieved an EPC A and BREEAM Excellent, with the works completed by Kier Construction. The makeover has remained faithful to the original Arupdesigned building, with a new dynamic entrance, atrium and dramatic roof soffit featuring Proteus HR high gloss panels in RAL 7004 Signal Grey. Identical Proteus HR high gloss panels were used at the rear of the building to create a vertical band of rainscreen cladding that runs up the building over a stair core and ground level entrance and walkway. The design team at Proteus Facades worked with Deepdale Solutions, the cladding and soffit installer, to create an engineered solution on this challenging project, with visual purity of the soffit and rainscreen cladding being the overall architectural requirement.


Bulwiengesa’s twelfth survey of the top seven cities in Germany has revealed GBI AG as Germany’s largest hotel project developer. Properties in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Stuttgart were decisive for the ranking. The hotel properties there, which were either completed by GBI AG between 2015 and 2017, or are currently under construction or due for completion by 2022, comprise a total of around 100,000sqm of usable space. Newly developed Premier Inn hotels form an essential part of the success. The first Premier Inn in Germany, completed in spring of 2016, was built by GBI AG in Frankfurt. New hotels of the brand will also be built in Düsseldorf and Hamburg. “Defending a lead in the developers’ ranking is harder than getting to the top. That is as true of the hotel market as it is of the world of sport,” says Reiner Nittka, CEO of GBI AG. “Success at this level can only be achieved if development work is a continuous process pursued by a professional team. This shows that our pipeline is well filled and that our leading position is not attributable to one-off effects.” As in 2017, second place in the Bulwiengesa survey went to Münchner Grund with 87,000sqm. Coming in third was ECE with a floor space volume of 78,000sqm. The success of GBI AG is not least due to its close co-operation with wellestablished hotel chains such as Marriot, Hilton, nH and Novum, companies that are introducing new strong brands into the market such as Moxy, Hampton by Hilton and niu.

Spanish market growth According to data from the Ministry of Development, authorised licences to build new properties skyrocketed by 27 per cent in the first nine months of 2017 with the number of new build homes in Spain amounting to 60,695 compared to the same period in 2016. This increase in the construction sector is another encouraging sign for the Spanish property market. Applications for apartment blocks dominate the new build market being the direct result of the significant return of overseas buyers. Spanish home builder Taylor Wimpey España, is leading the way in new-build homes in Spain. In the face of any Brexit

uncertainties, Taylor Wimpey España has continued to deliver beautifully designed homes, having completed 301 units last year (349 including Joint Ventures). “Residential construction is rising once more as demand from overseas buyers continues to strengthen the market. British buyers are leading the market’s

revival and we plan to extend our portfolio this year with a variety of new developments perfect for those looking for high quality holiday homes in the most popular areas of Spain,” said Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director, Taylor Wimpey España. The picturesque Panorama Mar on the Costa Blanca is a prime example of the high-quality properties that are driving the residential construction boom. Just a few metres from the sparkling sea of Punta Prima, the beach apartments’ prices start at €279,000. The development is expected to complete by November 2018.

Fantastic plastic solution Magnetic personality The latest innovation in raised-access flooring, Magna’s magnetic fit system offers a versatile solution for installation in multi-purpose commercial premises, providing accessibility to underfloor services that cannot otherwise be installed in wall cavities. Magna’s magnetised and foam-sealed wood boards provide a secure connection to the supporting structural pedestals, which can be conveniently disconnected using a suction lifter to allow for maintenance and repair to the concealed services. In comparison to conventional fit methods, Havwoods Magna is up to 90 per cent faster to install making it ideal for large-scale office and retail environments where a quick turnaround is essential. The magnetic system is offered across the majority of its wood floor finishes, creating flexible floorcoverings that cater to both aesthetic and practical specifications. Havwoods is also proud to offer a Lifetime Guarantee on Magna’s magnetic components to provide durability and complete peace of mind.

Plastecowood, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of high endurance, long life recycled plastic lumber, is tackling the problem of plastic waste head on with the launch of a new range of innovative fencing kits made entirely from recycled plastic waste. Made from Smartawood - a super durable lumber produced from recycled plastic waste - the new fencing kits offer an easy to assemble, high endurance fence with pre-drilled holes. Virtually no fixings are required and the kits come in different styles including knee rails, durable boundary fencing and equestrian styling. Due to the long-life nature of Smartawood, the Smartafix Forever Fence kits require no maintenance, no replacements, no paint, no coatings and no preservatives as they do not rot and are expected to last indefinitely. The fencing kits can be purchased direct from Plastecowood and a closed loop system is offered whereby if an organisation provides their plastic waste, they can purchase Smartawood products at a reduced rate.




your fleet Three reasons why telematics is important for the construction industry. By Helena Ferraro


ccording to construction industry knowledge base, Designing Buildings, construction output in the UK is more than ÂŁ110 billion per annum and contributes seven per cent to the GDP. This is no small contribution, yet the sector faces many challenges, including a worker shortage and rising fuel costs. It is therefore becoming increasingly important to adapt to the changing economic environment in order for businesses in the industry to remain innovative and profitable. Considering that an integral part of the construction


Helena Ferraro

industry is vehicle-centric, such as moving equipment on and between sites, and for actual building operations, adopting and integrating telematics technologies and services can play a key role in shaping this transition. From a construction industry perspective, telematics can certainly benefit machinery fleets and vehicles, both on- and off-site, in helping to achieve more streamlined, profitable operations that are safe, compliant and responsible.

GPS and the internet. It goes as far back as the 1960s when the US Department of Defense first developed GPS systems to track asset positions and improve communication in the battlefield.

Where does telematics fit into construction?

What is telematics?

Today telematics is highly sophisticated and a vital part of fleet management across a wide range of sectors, with efficiency benefits that extend to analysing routes and journeys to save time and money, while facilitating safety and compliance.

Telematics is rooted in three independent modern technology advancements; machine-tomachine (M2M) communications,

Here’s how telematics works to benefit the construction industry:

Asset protection Expensive machinery and materials that are left on construction sites are easy targets for opportunistic thieves. In most circumstances the chance of recovering a piece of stolen machinery without the use of tracking software is minimal. GPS tracking is often used in the plant and construction industry to ensure that there is a better chance of the assets being recovered. By using a small, inconspicuous piece of tamperproof tracking hardware, many construction managers can quickly notify law enforcement of the machine’s location.

Asset management

Safety and compliance Health and safety is a major priority for both company owners and managers, irrespective of the type of construction business in which they operate - nobody can afford to overlook their safety and compliance procedures in this sector. All construction companies have a legal responsibility to undertake regular risk assessments, but they also have a duty of care to their employees. Installing GPS tracking systems improves both the safety of the staff and safety of the asset. With 360 vision available through CCTV, site managers are able to witness any malpractice and monitor their workforce in order to encourage safety on site. Some

construction companies even use CCTV on their machinery to help the machines manoeuvre through the site. The development of advanced telemetry has created the ability to monitor how compliant a construction company is. With telematics solutions such as service breach alerts and Power Take Off (PTO) usage reports, construction managers nationwide are able to be proactive instead of reactive and ensure their plant hire is being used in line with the Construction Products Association (CPA) terms. This type of visibility can help managers identify any repeat breaches and improve the company’s overall compliance.

Telematics also allows for easy asset management by allowing fleet managers to monitor the fleet’s inspections, collections and deliveries, as well as any out of hours’ usage for a company’s specific plant and machinery. This allows them to track how they are being utilised, highlight where the use of machinery is not being optimised, and assess the total usage of the machinery. The construction industry is extremely important to the economy. Taking advantage of telematics solutions can support and help the industry adapt for change in the face of evolving work environments and increasingly tighter safety and compliance regulations.

Helena Ferraro is Group Marketing Manager at Verilocation. Verilocation offers a wide range of vehicle tracking solutions aimed at improving the efficiency and productivity of its customers’ fleet operations. Thriving off the challenges that the modern-day logistics and services industry brings, Verilocation provides forward-thinking solutions to help customers achieve greater operational efficiencies. For more information, please see





David Young explains why necessity is the mother of invention and needy times lie ahead


e are already well in to what looks set to be one of the most difficult years for the construction industry in recent memory. But one of the positives we can take from this is that an industry that is incredibly slow to adopt new and innovative products will be driven by circumstance to break its inertia. Practices we establish now to combat material shortages can change the way the industry works and lead it to a more efficient, more sustainable future. In recent years, government legislation has pushed a drive towards recycled products in new builds. This has been notable in the plastic drainage market where


David Young

pipework with recycled content within the core has become the first choice. But the bulk of innovation has resulted not from legislation, but from necessity - builders are being forced to look for new solutions to very traditional problems. PIR Insulation has been in short supply after China’s problems with MDI production. We’ve seen a rise in the sale of rock and glass insulation products because of this shortage and because, post-Grenfell, they are perceived to be safer. Brick and lightweight block orders have been delayed, sometimes for more than six months. Ten years ago we manufactured five billion bricks in the UK. This year it will be less than two billion. The mothballing

and closure of brickworks during the last recession has led to the problems we now face. We can import bricks, but this is increasingly expensive due to the exchange rate fluctuation.

Global issues The supply of timber can only get slower due to increased demands for European product from America, India and China. Floods in Latvia late last year led to the declaration of a state of emergency in the country’s logging sector further exacerbating the timber crisis. Global issues are having a very real impact on home development in the UK - the rising middle class in India and their need for toilet paper, the increased need for

clients towards these workable solutions. We work constantly to identify new innovation and our challenge is to educate our customers in the use of new techniques and materials.

Need to innovate

timber in the US, the US imposed import levy on Canadian timber, and China’s continued expansion are combining to pull resources away from the UK. In many cases we have yet to find a substitute for timber. The efficient production of sustainable forests still remains an achievable ideal both practically and environmentally. But until that is accomplished we can minimise our reliance by using alternatives at every possible opportunity. Obvious substitutes are posijoists, metal studwork, composite decking, concrete fence posts and gravel boards and as timber prices rise, large-scale builders will have no choice but to use them. A large part of Bradford’s Builders’ Merchant work is to help steer our

The industry does move at a slow pace and this is not helped by the fact that, more often than not, innovation comes at a price. The pioneers of building tend to be self-builders where a once in a lifetime build means more money is spent and more research is undertaken on construction techniques and sustainable solutions. Another hindrance is the shrinking workforce. It is increasingly difficult to attract young people to the industry and we don’t yet know how a Brexit agreement on freedom of movement will affect it. The skills shortage has been widely publicised and we need to think differently about how we are going to build and maintain homes in the future. There is progress in offsite manufacture and even 3D printing but we are still building just half the homes we need and these processes are not going to fill the gap in the short or even medium terms. Offsite manufacture and 3D printing are much less relevant to the repairs, maintenance and improvement market. And that is the biggest challenge – 80 per cent of the homes that will be standing in 2050 are already built. Innovation is key to keeping them in a good state of repair while complying with new regulations and improving their efficiency and performance. This innovation must change the way we live and behave in our properties. Renewable energy systems, new cladding techniques, thinner insulation for roofs and floors and improved window and glass technology can all make a massive impact. But these

solutions are not cheap. We must look at these changes as long-term investments. Maintenance is no longer just a fix – it is preparation for a cleaner, cheaper way of living. Investment in this change is vital but with Brexit looming, research and development budgets are under threat. The market outlook is uncertain and a doldrum period awaits. More than a third of UK construction suppliers are foreign owned - with concerns in the UK market, short and medium-term investment looks to be heading away from the UK rather than towards it. We are depending on some pretty shrewd Brexit negotiations to attract this investment back. All of this signals that we are entering a very tough few years. The construction industry, and local and national government, are left with a stark but simple choice: innovate or stagnate. And we must all work together, suppliers, builders, architects and big government, to make sure it is the former.

David Young is Managing Director, Bradfords Building Supplies, and has worked in the construction materials industry throughout his career including 18 years at Wolseley. Founded in 1770, Bradfords Building Supplies is a familyowned company with c. 145 shareholders. Today, Bradfords Building Supplies Ltd. has 49 branches throughout the South West, Herefordshire and Worcestershire and is one of Britain’s oldest and leading names in the building supplies industry. For more information, please see



At the


For Russell Stillwell, collaboration is a key component to growing a successful business in the construction industry. He discusses how and why collaboration should be embraced throughout all levels of our industry


ollaboration: For many people this word signifies partnership. It represents cooperation. We use the word every day to describe projects we’ve worked on. We talk about how we’ve collaborated with clients and suppliers to deliver the end result. For me, collaboration encompasses much more than this. We are part of an industry which can often be quite fragmented. There can be limited or no integration between design and construction processes. Suppliers and contractors come and go on a project. Different teams often work very separately from each other. Sometimes a lack of synergy and understanding can lead to problems further down the line. Commercial game playing, finger pointing and a bullying culture often occurs in high pressurised environments. Ultimately, this can have


devastating consequences for businesses and the individuals in them. It can cause a domino effect, having a huge impact further down the chain and hitting the bottom line hard. The quality of a job suffers. Corners get cut. Problems arise halfway through a project. Invoices don’t get paid. The cracks begin to show. Suddenly, collaboration becomes unrecognisable in a sea of blame. The collapse of Carillion is an example of what could go wrong when collaboration takes a back seat. I believe it has provided the construction industry with an opportunity to adapt and learn. Collaboration should be something which runs through the veins of our sector. It should be recognised as something which is deeper than simply working together. Something which could bring benefits on many different levels. When we collaborate, we accomplish greater clarity. Long

lasting relationships can be formed at its foundations. A sense of trust is forged between clients and suppliers, and even entire project teams. Every link in the chain feels listened to and valued. But, how can this be realised throughout the construction industry?

Embrace technology When combined with the latest technology, collaboration becomes easier to achieve. Innovation can be used in a unique way to enhance project culture, design and installation processes – this leads to cost and time savings. It can help enhance communication between each level of the process and consequently, it should be adopted by every team at every stage. One example of this is BIM technology. The process of creating and managing a project from the word go means that everyone is on the same page at every step of the journey. BIM

models provide transparency on what is required to make the process quicker and easier. They ensure an efficient means of removing grey matter from the construction process through the creation of black or white results. They provide a more streamlined and accurate approach to project design. An increase in efficiency and a reduction in pressure are just two examples of the benefits this approach to technological collaboration can bring. A heightened focus on collaboration has an impact on the wellbeing of people within our industry. As the MD of a busy business, it’s important that I always have my finger on the pulse. I need to stay one step ahead and have an understanding of the pressures and strains we could face as an organisation. In our industry, daily challenges can leave us and our colleagues feeling stressed and out of control. This can have a serious

and detrimental effect on mental health.

One Team We go to great lengths to assess hazards and put in place risk assessments associated with mitigating physical harm. I believe the entire industry needs to work collaboratively in order to mitigate mental illness and break down the stigma attached to it. As a sector, we need to recognise the signs. We need to work together in order to provide the support and help to prevent individuals adding to the horrifying statistics that exist with mental health. That’s why at RSE we adopt a ‘One Team’ approach. We work collaboratively as a business from the MD right through to the apprentices. We follow a clear and effective workflow process. As a result, everyone involved with the project has clarity and this has a positive impact on the way that any job runs. Budgets can

be adhered to and managed with optimised effect. Outstanding results can be achieved. But, perhaps most importantly, pressure and stress is reduced throughout the entire chain. Yet this focus on collaboration should not be limited to the construction industry of today. As the next generation steps into our shoes, it’s important that these values are instilled into our workforce from a young age. Education is key. Young, agile minds that are eager to learn could be the answer to safeguarding the industry of the future. Young people of today have had access to technology since they could talk. It’s second nature them. They are open minded and inquisitive. By instilling collaboration as a value and naturally integrating technology at an early age, those entering our industry won’t know any different. Ultimately, creating the digital construction industry with collaboration at its core. I believe that an even greater collaboration will revolutionise our industry via the introduction of groundbreaking technology. In the near future, I can see a shift in mindset which will have a positive impact on the culture within the sector. We need to be open to change and committed to a more joined up approach. Collaboration needs to be at the heart of all that we do. Collaboration is more than just a word.

Russell Stillwell is Founder and Managing Director of RSE Building Services, a pioneering company that is leading the way in the use of innovation within the construction industry and one of the leading MEP companies in the South East. The business harnesses technology in a unique way to provide and enhance delivery of projects that creates both cost and time savings throughout every stage of the project. For more information, please see


construction waste



Anthony Holley looks at how construction managers can deal with the industry’s huge capacity of waste sustainably and how to tackle hazardous waste safely and cost-effectively


he construction industry in the UK is one of the largest producers of waste, responsible for over 100 million tonnes of construction, demolition & excavation (CD&E) waste every year according to environmental agency WRAP. With almost 13 million tonnes of CD&E waste each year ending up in landfill in England alone, trying to find more sustainable alternatives for disposing of waste should be a priority for any construction professional, as not only will it protect the wider environment but maintain the company’s reputation as a responsible waste producer. The sheer volume and potentially hazardous nature of this waste means knowing how to effectively deal with it in a safe and responsible way is vitally important for anyone working on a construction site. If not properly managed, these materials could have a severe impact on not only the environment, but the health of on-site workers as well.


Knowledge is key

Anthony Holley

The first step in dealing with CD&E waste is to check exactly what is classified as hazardous waste in the government’s Hazardous Waste Regulations. With the majority of waste typically generated on construction or demolition sites, such as concrete debris or bricks, being typically non-hazardous and inert, it could be easy to overlook any small amounts of hazardous materials amongst the rubble. However, ensuring you can identify exactly what these regulations define as ‘hazardous waste’ and putting in place a responsible disposal process for both non-hazardous and hazardous materials separately, is essential, as companies can be severely fined and potentially further prosecuted by the Environmental Agency if they fail to comply. There have also been numerous recent changes in legislation which impact waste management within the construction industry,

so staying on top of all updates is key. Up until 1st April last year, businesses which generated or stored more than 500kg of hazardous waste on site needed to register with the Environmental Agency, but this is no longer required as part of the government’s efforts to reduce regulatory burdens on businesses.

The waste hierarchy Good waste management comes before waste is even produced. By prioritising the best actions to take to generate the minimum waste possible, construction managers can operate sites sustainably. Produced under the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011, the waste hierarchy was introduced, assisting companies to understand what to prioritise. All businesses which produce or handle waste must apply the waste hierarchy system and try to prevent its generation however possible, with disposal being the

very last resort. Simple steps such as not ordering excess materials and choosing to re-use existing materials, the hierarchy’s first stage, make prevention of waste much more achievable.

Measures to take if prevention is unavoidable Under the Hazardous Waste Regulations, potentially hazardous items, such as asbestos, must be stored separately from all other waste products. Because of this, all construction sites should ensure they have space for multiple bins or skips for different varieties of hazardous and nonhazardous waste. Due to construction site deadlines and pressures to complete projects swiftly and effectively, having a plan in place to ensure all unavoidable waste is segregated quickly is invaluable. Having a partner company whose expertise is waste management is the best way to guarantee this, as they can carry out a comprehensive, tailored waste audit and ensure that all C&D

materials can be managed correctly. These companies can also provide education materials and training to all staff to help them remain compliant with government waste regulations. By drawing from their experience and by taking the right steps in training all personnel regularly present on C&D sites, companies can keep their environment goals in mind. A further step in this development can be taken by appointing a ‘waste champion’ within the company, a member of staff who is responsible for monitoring waste output and ensuring the waste hierarchy is prioritised.

Last stage - disposal Once materials that have been reused or are no longer usable are correctly segregated, they must then be disposed of in a sustainable and safe manner. Outsourcing waste disposal to registered professional waste management companies ensures

that all waste is dealt with correctly while also dealing with all legal documentation required. By correctly segregating construction waste, it can be diverted from landfill and sent to an energy recovery facility instead. It is here that the waste can be converted into Refuge Derived Fuel (RDF), a potential source of energy which makes better environmental and economic sense compared to landfill.

Anthony Holley is Regional General Manager in Yorkshire for leading UK waste management company Biffa. Biffa is a leading integrated waste management business, handling the collection, treatment, processing and disposal of waste and recyclable materials. With an unbeatable service offering, the company boasts a critical mass of 197 operating locations, including depots, waste transfer stations, and processing and energy generation facilities. For more information, please see construction/



Nurturing talent Certain industries still struggle to support the development of female leaders. Samantha Caine explains how this can change


ive decades of research has highlighted a clear link between women in leadership and increased business performance, yet statistics show that women are still in comparatively short supply throughout industries such as manufacturing, construction and engineering – particularly when it comes to management and director level positions. Much attention has been placed on how women can be encouraged to work within these industries, yet further focus must be placed on how once qualified and recruited, male dominated organisations can retain and develop female talent and create a greater number of female leaders.


Hidden opportunities

Samantha Caine

The lack of female leadership in manufacturing, construction and engineering comes down to a combination of factors. These industries simply aren’t promoted enough in schools as a desirable career choice – particularly for women – yet this is when young people so often realise their aspirations and choose their career paths. There are numerous functions other than engineers and technicians supporting these industries that are so seldom talked about. There are incredibly rewarding careers that demand aspirational talent, but those roles simply aren’t given enough exposure to capture the imaginations of young women. This creates a knock-on effect for recruiters that are actively seeking a diverse mix

of male and female candidates, finding a far higher percentage of male candidates and very few females. Women are typically well represented in HR, marketing and PR, and junior functions in these professions often attract women into organisations before they begin their upward trajectory through the organisation’s hierarchy. However, in the manufacturing, construction and engineering industries, these functions are commonly outsourced, providing further explanation to why these industries generally lack female leadership.

The parameters of diversity If organisations are serious about increasing the number of

mindsets. The obvious route forward for organisations is not to solely focus on attracting more female talent, but to attract and retain a generally diverse pool of talent, not just in terms of gender but also in terms of race, background and experience. Through a varied collective of individuals working together, approaching challenges from different angles and differing backgrounds, organisations can meet their objectives more efficiently and effectively. This can be achieved by creating training programmes that promote group activity and encourage collaboration.

Developing the collective

females they employ, they must take a proactive approach. Some are beginning to recognise the importance of nurturing more diverse workforces, however, many lack an understanding of where to start and how to make it happen. Mentoring schemes are an effective way to address this, facilitating the development of women into management positions. However, these schemes often exclude male mentors and solely rely on senior female mentors and this only side-steps the collaborative approach that is required to solve the problem. In examples where women have been mentored by men in senior positions, greater opportunities have been made for both the individuals and the organisation through the sharing of different

To inspire and support the development of female talent – or any talent that is underrepresented in the organisation’s leadership – organisations must cultivate pools of talent that can develop and grow together. But individuals must also be able to work towards their own goals based on their own individual objectives. While e-learning is widely recognised as an appropriate solution for large, dispersed organisations to support employee training and development, many e-learning platforms simply offer a one-size fits all solution that only provides the opportunity for self-study without the opportunity for shared experiences through group sessions. If organisations can provide their future leadership talent with blended solutions that provide elements of both selfstudy and face to face group learning, the talent pool can grow stronger through shared experiences, providing a support network that further inspires and supports the development of each individual. This is supported by one of the seven principles of human learning that teaches us

that individual development of expertise, metacognitive skills, and formation of the learner’s sense of self is enhanced through socially supported interactions. By blending workshops with online training, there are greater opportunities for successful development through virtual sessions, peer coaching, selfstudy, online games and business simulations as well as one to one and group sessions. As well as being better for the employee, this approach enables organisations to adapt their training quickly and easily to reflect technological advancement and changing market environments further positioning those who are currently under-represented as strong, capable leaders in an increasingly disruptive business landscape. When it comes to inspiring women to become leaders in male dominated industries, rolling out development programmes that combine face to face training with mentoring schemes incorporating men in senior positions and opportunities for group activity are all positive ways to broaden an organisation’s pool of future leadership potential and succeed as a business. Samantha Caine is Client Services Director at Business Linked Teams. Based in the UK, Business Linked Teams has a network of highly experienced international associates and project managers that develop and deliver custom built training programmes and learning solutions that reflect the individual needs of each organisation. Business Linked Teams specialises in collaborating with its customers to develop, deliver and project manage global programmes that can be delivered in more than 22 languages and adapted to reflect the needs of people from a diverse range of cultures. For more information, please see


Health and safety



Larry Wilson doesn’t agree that human error is inevitable, any more than he believes that workplace injuries are just part of the job


ut he argues that in order to prevent all injuries, everybody has to do more than follow procedures, they also have to stop making injury-causing errors. Simple, right? Of course, it’s not so simple in reality because we are essentially talking about basic human nature. To err is human after all. But although some might argue that human error is eventually inevitable, there are ways to significantly reduce mistakes and critical errors that cause the vast majority of injuries if we attack the issue ‘head-on’. In a high-risk industry such as construction, protecting workers and creating a safe environment requires companies to go beyond legal safety compliance and rules. They also need to start


Larry Wilson

addressing the human factors that can lead to critical errors, which can lead to injury if the people are moving or things around them are moving. Even companies with high performing systems which can include behavioural safety observations (and other psychological approaches) have had very limited success at completely eliminating injuries like: - slips and falls - sprains and strains - cuts, contusions and abrasions - and back injuries These four categories of injuries are typically the top four in every industry category (not including third world countries). These types of injuries are difficult to prevent with conventional methods including behavioural safety because they don’t tackle human error

head-on. Yes, behavioural safety observations do tackle deliberate risk, like someone not wearing a seat belt or a face shield, and they do create additional awareness or attention to safety, which indirectly helps to prevent mind on task errors, but it’s a byproduct. And how much attention or awareness is actually increased has a lot to do with how well the observations are actually done. So, the amount of that indirect benefit is dependent on the quality of the observations, and whether the observations actually have a meaningful feedback session or discussion included.

The direct approach: What causes people to make mistakes that increase the risk of injury? Usually it’s states of mind or body like rushing, frustration, fatigue,

being in or moving into the line of fire, or somehow losing your balance, traction or grip, can and do lead to injury. Over 95 per cent of all acute injuries, whether at work, on the road at home or in the community will have one or more of these critical errors are errors as contributing factors. Unfortunately, eliminating the four states from life or even work life just isn’t reality.

If the states are inevitable, how do we reduce or eliminate the errors? Workers can be trained to recognise when they’re in one of the first three states and how to self-trigger on the state before a critical error happens. This is the first critical error reduction technique (see figure one CERT card).

complacency, panic, extreme joy or sorrow. However, extreme joy is not a big problem at most workplaces and although extreme sorrow and panic cause critical errors it’s not like we’re going to a funeral every day and (thankfully) were not running out of a burning building every day either. But unfortunately, not many days go by when we’re not in a rush, frustrated, tired or complacent. In fact, most days we can probably tick off all four states. What’s important though, is for people to realise that these states can cause common errors if they’re not moving, like not noticing an incorrect address on a shipping label, but that they can also cause critical errors and injuries if they are moving or things around them are moving. Critical errors such as eyes not on task, mind not on task,

Analysing close calls from a states and errors perspective, changing old habits and developing new (good) ones, and looking at others for state to error risk patterns are other techniques that enable workers to reduce the number of critical errors they make. It takes effort and time to build skills and create a new habit which means that the training has to provide that motivational component. These techniques reduce errors, incidents and injuries at work, but they also become skills that

your employees can use at home and on the road too. What’s more, they will also improve performance issues by reducing quality problems, unscheduled downtime or efficiency problems, and the needless equipment or vehicle damage that can also result from critical errors caused by the same four states. From our experience, companies that are implementing a workplace process focusing on human error prevention and safety awareness are enjoying significant reductions in recordable injuries as well as fewer home injuries and vehicle incidents. However, training workers in a construction environment has many challenges. The training has to be efficient but flexible to accommodate the different trade groups and when they arrive on site. So, something that has a shorter front end but a longer back end in terms of toolbox talks or other ways to keep these concepts and techniques in mind is required. When it is done well, workers (including construction workers) appreciate this kind of safety training, and it is common for them to take these concepts: states and errors, as well as the critical error reduction techniques, home to their families. In addition, they also feel more valued when they know that their safety and wellbeing 24/7 is genuinely a top priority for the company.

Larry Wilson is the author of SafeStart, an advanced safety awareness training programme. The company is committed to improving employee engagement, culture and business results through critical error prevention training. SafeStart has worked with thousands of companies in over 60 countries help their workers to improve their situational awareness, become self-compliant, make better decisions and stay more alert to risk. For more information, please see


profile: Ridgeons Limited

Tricks of

the trade By maintaining the strong position of respect and integrity that it has built up over more than 100 years, Ridgeons Limited is far and away its customers’ preferred independent supplier of building materials


ach month, the East of England’s leading timber and builders’ merchants Ridgeons Limited hold an


induction day for its new starters. Here it has become customary for Chief Executive Ian Northen to present to his new colleagues, introducing them to this 107-year-

old, family-owned business. As he describes to Construction & Civil Engineering, he always ensures that he refers back to the values and vision of the business that

have steered it through more than a century of operations: “The values we have as a business have their roots firmly entwined with our history.� The values in question (ethical, enterprising, straightforward, supportive and trusted) manifest themselves in a number of ways;


profile: Ridgeons Limited

seeing change as an opportunity, thinking of Ridgeons as a place of learning, avoiding complacency and building a high-performance culture. “Like any business, these core values can be found referenced throughout our facilities, but they run much deeper than that, and we constantly refer back to them, consciously or otherwise, when we make key decisions that affect the business,” Ian explains. “To me this is an explicit part of being an independent, family-owned organisation.”

Adaptable approach Founded by Cyril Ridgeon in the back room of his Cambridge home in 1911, Ridgeons today employs approximately 900 colleagues and trades from 26 local branches throughout the East of England. Boasting an extensive breadth and depth of product stock, from bricks, timber and paints, to kitchens, bathrooms, and plumbing/ heating solutions, the Group encompasses Ridgeons Timber & Builders Merchants, PlumbStock,


...the Group is not letting anything distract it from its on-going mission, which is to build a long-term sustainable business

which is its dedicated plumbing and heating brand, Ridgeons Forest Products, Anglia Tool Centre, a specialist seller of professional power tools, and CRS Wholesale, a bathroom and sanitary ware wholesaler. Together they serve a diverse mix of tradespeople, including builders, plumbers and heating engineers. “In any given year, we will deal with something in the region of 20,000 or more customers,” Ian states. “These range from the stereotypical ‘man in his van’ individual tradesman, right up to some of the larger regional housebuilders that are responsible for building several

hundred units per year, and who operate under all the relevant ISO accreditations and processes. As you can imagine, this requires a high level of adaptability on our part, a characteristic that we have honed and perfected through the decades.”

Development process During the course of said decades, the business has steadily grown through a healthy mix of organic and acquisition-based expansion. In the process, it successfully built up its portfolio of properties and branches, allowing it to be closer to its customers and to offer an increasing number of vital services. These branches represented a major part of a medium-term plan that was initiated by the company at the end of 2016, the goal of which was to implement a series of improvements across the Ridgeons network. The plan itself

Dale Joinery Leading timber window and door specialist, Dale Joinery is delivering fantastic results for customers across the UK thanks to great working relationships with its merchants network. As part of its commitment to supporting leading merchants across the UK - such as Ridgeons Dale Joinery is undertaking a major merchant investment programme with the launch of a mini-showroom display campaign. The show pods – featuring a selection of Dale’s made to measure timber entrance doors, and sash and flush casement windows – have been designed to give merchants’ customers the opportunity to see and feel the quality of the Dale Joinery range. In addition to the new display pods, the Dale team is also providing merchants with training to highlight the features and benefits of each product, along with the finish, hardware and glazing options. According to National Sales Manager Matt Chambers, the new campaign is already having a positive impact. “The teamwork approach between our merchants and ourselves has generated fantastic results for customers and the new pods are an extension of that. They really help create an effective sales platform for merchants particularly in conjunction with the training we are providing to support them.”


. JO

DALE JOINERY PRODUCTS SELECTED FOR EPPING DEVELOPMENT A beautiful development of detached properties in Epping are standing out from the crowd thanks to a range of Dale Joinery’s timber casement windows and statement entrance door. Property developer Gary Field specialises in creating bespoke, quality sites in and around the Epping area, building beautiful family homes. Working on his latest development, Gary was introduced to the Dale Joinery range of timber windows and doors by Ridgeons. Having seen the quality of the range for himself, Gary opted to incorporate Dale’s flush casements, sash windows and doors. Dale’s range of made to measure timber windows and doors, includes casement windows, sash windows, entrance doors, French doors, sliding patio and bi fold doors, ideally suited to both new build properties and the refurbishment of character homes.

Building on the manufacturing qualities, Dale’s range of windows and doors are fully factory finished and delivered to site ready to fit. They also feature a range of manufacturing guarantees including 10-year guarantees for the sealed units, hardware and workmanship and an 8-year paint guarantee. Gary was delighted with the finished look of the properties, commenting “the quality of the casement windows is excellent, I would definitely use Dale Joinery’s windows and doors in future projects.”

The quality of the casement windows is excellent, I would definitely use Dale Joinery’s windows & doors in future projects.

DALE JOINERY - FEATURES & BENEFITS Engineered timber to ensure no twisting or warping Exceptionally high levels of insulation Factory applied microporous paint for maximum protection Part Q certification for new build properties (in line with PAS24) High performance double glazing Multi-point locking systems Dale Ridgeons feature advert 297 x 210.indd 1

0845 652 7399 18/04/2018 15:06

profile: Ridgeons Limited

called for investment to be made in the building and refurbishing of its sites and showrooms, beginning with its Saffron Walden and Cambridge branches. “These branches at Saffron Walden and Cambridge are very much within the heartland of our business activities,” Ian adds. “For slightly different reasons, both of these branches had reached a point where they needed to evolve, and what we have done is invest in making them fitfor-purpose, 21st Century sites, perfectly designed for the next phase of our development.”

Friendly environment Measuring approximately 45,000 square feet in size, the Saffron Walden branch was opened in January 2017, and in addition to the core merchant operation includes the kind of extensive kitchen and bathroom showroom that the Group wants to see recognised as the first choice for local trade customers. An attractive, light and spacious showroom, it has been designed in line with Ridgeons’ vision of offering a friendly environment to its customers, showcasing a combination of kitchens, bathrooms, tiling and flooring.

More recently, on Tuesday 3rd April 2018, to be exact, the Group celebrated the official opening of its new flagship branch in Norman Way, Cambridge. Offering a modern environment and designed to provide what it calls ‘a quicker customer journey’, Norman Way supplies both heavy side and light side building and construction materials, and also houses a state-of-the-art kitchen and bathroom showroom itself. “Our presence in Cambridge has grown considerably over time, to the point where we now have five locations in and around the city,” Ian describes. “What we have determined is that going forward our strategy will be to have a higher number of branches in key regions that are slightly smaller in size and supported by a network of larger delivery hubs. This will be the blueprint in the coming years, however we will retain the approach that ensures that no two branches are the same, each possessing their own unique qualities.” The success of these new branches has already begun to reap rewards for the Group, not only in terms of improved sales and customer satisfaction

Anderton Concrete At Anderton Concrete, part of Ibstock plc, our roots are set in traditions, manufacturing excellence and dedication to customer service that have existed for many years. Our name is synonymous with product quality and deliverability; we have a proven track record of supplying precast concrete fencing and building products, suitable for all types of applications to the construction and civil engineering industry. All of our products have an unrivalled reputation for quality, design and innovation, and there are many reasons you should choose Anderton Concrete; ease of use, cost effectiveness and durability to name a few. Our extensive range includes slotted fence posts, prestressed lintels and padstones, wall copings, edgings, domestic inspection chambers, postmix, and many more. This is backed up by an experienced sales and technical team who are on hand to offer support whenever it is needed. All these factors combined have allowed us to build long term partnerships with our customers. If you are looking for a company who always puts the customer first, for a company with national coverage, and a company that is equally equipped to supply all sizes of construction and civil enginnering projects, then Anderton Concrete is the natural choice.


profile: Ridgeons Limited

scores, but also in the form of industry recognition. It was at the 2017 BMN (Builders’ Merchants News) Awards, held at the London Hilton Hotel at the end of November 2017, that it picked up the award for ‘Showroom of the Year’ for its Saffron Walden branch.

Company culture Equally as satisfying, meanwhile, was the second award it picked up on the day, this being for ‘Heating and Plumbing Merchant of the Year’ in recognition of the successful marketing launch of its specialist PlumbStock brand and the creation of an entity that appeals directly to its customers’ needs. Since investing in PlumbStock it has expanded to 21 stores, seven standalone branches and 14 box-in-box businesses at existing Ridgeons’ stores, which resulted in a groupwide increase in plumbing and heating sales of over 50 per cent in the first half of 2017 alone. “As is the case with any award, it is always nice to receive recognition from one’s peers, and the latter was particularly satisfying given that promoting the PlumbStock brand had been something that was relatively new to us at the time,” Ian enthuses. “Such awards are also a great reflection on the people who make up our teams across the Group. Like many independent businesses, you will find we have a lot of long serving members of our team, and we are constantly taking a view towards internal development and promotion wherever possible. The culture we have created here is one that encourages good, hard working people to have the freedom to get out there and thrive, and clearly this continues to pay dividends.”

Sustainable business Turning to the current calendar year, while 2018 has so far come to be defined almost


exclusively by the adverse weather conditions experienced throughout the UK in its first few months, the Group is not letting anything distract it from its ongoing mission, which is to build a long-term sustainable business that is built for the needs of the future. As Ian goes on to reveal, this requires a well-planned strategic approach. “There is something of a balance that we have to maintain between achieving growth in our top line, and improvements in efficiency and the way we operate. One of the slogans we like to use is ‘better for customers and

simpler for us’, meaning that we endeavour to do things in a fundamentally Lean way, but with our customers’ needs always at the forefront of what we do.

“At the end of the day, all of the efforts we have discussed are about getting the business set for what the future holds. We spend a lot of time and effort getting feedback from the right people, communicating constantly with our customers to ensure that we are offering the services, products and support they need, and that we achieve the results we want in the right way.”

Ridgeons Limited Services: Timber and builders’ merchants

EGGER EGGER are industry leaders in the manufacture of building solutions and structural chipboard flooring. Our advanced structural chipboard flooring range consists of EGGER P5, EGGER Peel Clean Xtra and EGGER Protect. When used in conjunction with EGGER Joint & Joist D4 Adhesive, and fitted using the EGGER Advanced Structural Flooring System, we offer a unique structural ‘Lifetime Guarantee’. We also produce a selection of OSB3 and OSB4 products in a variety of thicknesses for various applications. The latest addition is EGGER OSB HDX, a 30mm heavy duty load bearing OSB panel, ideal for use where 38mm chipboard would typically be used.


70 years nurturing to maturity Responsible felling

33 million saplings 8 sawmills and 3 pulp mills

19 forestry areas

Sustainable merchant supply

Sustainable construction

Growing sustainable timber supply. Timber is increasingly becoming the construction material of choice. As the most versatile and sustainable solution, it combines pleasing aesthetics and low energy ratings with fast-build, off-site and labour efficiencies. Choosing, Sรถdra as your supplier extends these benefits. With 51,000 forest owners in Sweden we provide an assured supply of stronger, slow-grown, top quality timber, together with valuable knowledge and support. Our business also operates sustainable and environmentally responsible processes from seed to sawmill to final delivery. Sodra supplies more than just timber, we give you genuine peace of mind. Phone: +44 (0)1285 646000 E-mail:

Sodra A4 Tree Stump Specifiers' Ad - Construction & Civil Engineering ARTWORK.indd 1

24/04/2018 08:49

profile: Lawsons (Whetstone) Limited


before profits Operating throughout London and the South East of England, Lawsons prides itself on its hard-earned reputation for being a professional, responsive and knowledgeable one-stop timber, building and fencing merchant


utting people first’. Rather than being some kind of marketing slogan or gimmick, this is a phrase that repeatedly comes up when discussing the work and success of Lawsons (Whetstone) Limited. Established in North London in 1921, this one-stop timber, building and fencing merchant, and loft conversion materials supplier is today owned by John Lawson, the thirdgeneration owner of the company, a man for whom regard for people is a guiding principle. The reason he gives for this is simple, it is because it is people who are the driving force behind every good business. “The strap line of the business is ‘Family Values – Professional Service’, and this encapsulates what Lawsons is all about,”

explains Managing Director, Paul Sexton. “We are a customerfocused, family business with a professional attitude, and this is underpinned by our Trading Charter and our Lawson’s Family Values document. The Charter publicises the values we hold dear in everything we do, including adopting a personal approach, striving to supply everything a customer needs to complete their job, delivering to site on time, responding to all enquiries promptly and serving our customers in the right way.”

Södra Södra is Sweden’s largest forest-owner association, with 51,000 forest owners making up its membership. Södra is also an international forest industry group, with operations based on the processing of its members’ forest products. Södra’s business is built on value-generating relationships and a long-term approach. The overall assignment from its owners is to promote the profitability of their forest estates by providing advice and support for responsible and sustainable forestry. Södra Wood Ltd aims to be the UK and Ireland’s market leading supply partner of planed structural timber, engineered wood products and timber treater to the roof truss, timber frame, timber and builders’ merchants, and industrial markets. It offers consistent and reliable supply of strength-graded softwood and engineered wood products to customers nationwide.

The latter document, meanwhile, sets out the many ways in which the company aims to provide the best possible working environment by promoting job security and honesty, empowerment, a sense of belonging, a fair job package, promotion prospects and excellent working conditions. “We take huge pride in the fact that we are sincere when we say that we put people before pound notes, as it were,” Paul enthuses. “The results we achieve as a company come as a direct result of the hard work of our employees, so it is only right that we put them and their needs first.” The welfare package offered by the company is certainly one of the most generous that this writer can remember discussing, and includes providing every member of staff with salary protection insurance


profile: Lawsons (Whetstone) Limited

against critical illness for five years, annual health checks that it has dubbed ‘Know Your Numbers’, and an employee assistance programme to provide any type of counselling or support that may be required. In addition, Lawsons also hosts a number of company-wide activities and events throughout the year, including its annual Family Fun Day, a Black and White Ball in aid of various charities, and its Kids Christmas Party, which sees John Lawson donning Santa’s trademark costume and beard. It is hard to overstate the role played by Lawsons’ employees over the years, helping to energise a business that Paul himself admits came out of the recession of 2008 close to insolvency. “We, like many others around us, were hit by the financial crisis that took hold a decade ago and, in the time that


followed, we really had to work hard to get back on our feet,” he states. “One of the things we identified was that we already had the required skills and tools in place to truly establish ourselves as a key player in the loft and basement markets, specifically in the field of repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI), in the London and M25 corridor area. “In London, in particular, the sheer volume of homes means that for many people, when they need to extend their properties they look to do so through the addition of a loft or a basement. A basement can be especially beneficially as it provides owners with the opportunity to expand out under their above ground premises, creating more space and ultimately greater property value. The end result for us, as a

business, has been a significant contribution to the last seven years of record breaking turnover we have achieved.”

Manpower drive This increase in business understandably required investment in both equipment and manpower, the former including the expansion of Lawsons’ fleet. These vehicles are often replaced every seven years, keeping them in line with the latest emissions targets, and the newest addition to the line-up is its first IVECO natural gas-powered Eco Truck. Fitted with a fully electric Hiab crane, it is also the first vehicle of its kind in the UK to offer ultralow emissions deliveries to the building industry. The custom-built 26 tonne truck is powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) and omits 70 per cent less NOx, 99 per cent less particulate matter, and up to 95 per cent less CO2 when using biomethane. Combining the vehicle technology with the Hiab electronic power take off system (ePTO) also allows for the engine to be switched off during unloading, reducing truck emissions to zero at the point of delivery. Meanwhile, when it comes to the company’s manpower drive, Paul channels a message that he looks to share with his team whenever possible and that is that Lawsons ‘employs attitude and teaches skills’. “We are proud to be recognised as a market leader

when it comes to our training and development programme, which is supported by a substantial training budget,” he adds. “At a grassroots level, we are also a part of a nationwide team working to develop standardised apprentice training for our industry. For our own part, we have a target to recruit a total of 16 apprentices this year, and we can also take pride in the success of our graduate programme and the work that we are also now doing to develop the skills of people not currently in employment or education.” When our discussions turn to the issue of what the future holds, Paul has an optimistic response and that is, ‘more of the same, but on a bigger scale’. “We are always looking at ways in which we can grow, albeit not to the detriment of our existing staff,

targeting niche markets such as the loft and basement arena, but also landscaping, which is an area of potential for us going forward,” he reveals. “We like to think of ourselves as a tug boat within our industry, as opposed to an oil tanker, by which I mean we have the flexibility to adapt quickly to changes in the financial environment. At the same time, we continue to strive to achieve best-in-class results, which we do by remaining grounded. This has no doubt helped immeasurably in making Lawsons the third most financially successful independent business of its kind in the UK.”

Lawsons (Whetstone) Limited Services: Timber, building and fencing suppliers


profile: Thomasons

Bedford Modern School, Science Facility (Photography Hundven-Clements)



engineering Established in 1947, and passionate about quality engineering, Thomasons is committed to the creation of safe, efficient and sustainable environments that draw on the latest design techniques


profile: Thomasons



integrity, reliability and independence, that is our mantra and it has served us extremely well over the years.” Those are the words of Thomasons’ Director Nick Russell, and with the company having celebrated its 70th birthday in 2017 there is clearly much truth in them. With nine offices strategically located across the UK, providing employment to approximately 125 supremely talented men and women, it has grown into one of the most established independently owned consulting engineering firms in the UK. Having carved out a deserved reputation for engineering

...we have also continued to make strong headway in other sectors such as private and tertiary education, and residential housing

Nick Russell Director at Thomasons

excellence, innovation, creativity and customer service, Thomasons undertakes commissions in many areas of civil, structural and glass engineering, including major town centre redevelopments, residential, retail, healthcare, education and leisure projects. For his part, Nick, a chartered structural and civil engineer with several decades of experience,

has been with the business for the past 33 years and has witnessed its growth and success first hand. “An important contributor to our success is not only the fact that we have spread our activities across a diverse range of sectors, but that in each project we undertake we look to identify all the ways that we can exceed our client’s expectations,” he explains. “We believe that what sets us apart is that we are very responsive, always identifying ways to work more cost effectively and operate creatively. We have some extremely bright minds under our roof, both young and older, and it is our people who really help to drive the business forward.”

Bedford Modern School, Science Facility (Photography Hundven-Clements)

Macdonald Joinery & Construction Limited “Construction professionals understand that to turn a striking architectural design into reality requires the close support of a trusted and competent structural engineer. This is why Thomasons have been our consultant of choice for more than a decade now, supporting us to build many premium stores, including Superdry Glasgow Fort. Structural work included a new mezzanine deck, architectural steel staircase and a unique double-height crittal and glass shopfront. “Besides providing all structural calculations for this project, Thomasons closely liaised with us throughout the build to ensure that we handed over a beautiful store fully compliant with building regulations.” David Macdonald, Managing Director


profile: Thomasons

Nick believes that a number of the unique skills and qualities of the company have their roots in Thomasons’ activities within the fast-moving retail environment. It is here that the company’s long-standing relationships with numerous high street names have helped shape their respective developments over the years. “Our longest established client is Debenhams, for whom we have worked on a large number of its high-street stores over the years, delivering engineering and building surveying services,” he continues. “In the case of Harvey Nichols, we have worked with them since the 1970s, and more recently we have worked closely with Selfridges for the past ten years, investing a great deal of time and effort to become embedded in what they do and playing a key role in how each brand wants to grow.” The healthcare industry is another area in which Thomasons has an important role, contributing significantly to numerous high


profile projects over the years. One of the more recent examples of its work can be seen in the soon to be completed Chase Farm Hospital, a £150 million project in Enfield, the largest contract ever secured by the company’s London office. The project has involved the replacing of existing, outdated buildings with a new build hospital, complete with wards, theatres, urgent care and day surgery facilities, a new energy centre and an extended car park.

Industry expertise “In the meantime,” Nick adds, “we have also continued to make strong headway in other sectors such as private and tertiary education, and residential housing, as well as in the field of glass engineering. We are also beginning to make moves into industrial work by expanding our civil engineering department. This will allow us to take on projects such as those involving roads and drainage systems, as well as

Selfridges, Wonder Room

Debenhams Oxford Street

Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup

Harvey Nichols Beauty Lounge

pre-planning activities including feasibility studies, flood risk assessments and soil engineering, to name just a few.” As Nick goes on to detail, the expertise that Thomasons has built up over the years means that to many of its clients, it is much more than just a service provider, helping to channel ideas and best practices to create a profitable outcome for all parties. “In the case of one project based in Gloucester, the client was looking to transform seven and a half hectares of undeveloped, unused railway sidings into a residential scheme,” he recalls. “We were asked to put together a plan for remediating the ground, and after much investigating we helped the team conclude that a residential development would be prohibitively expensive, and that a retail park would be a much more viable option. As a result of our investigations and the evidence we gathered over a number of months, we managed

to prove the case for a change in approach and this was ultimately able to allow the site to deliver value to the client.”

Raising awareness In addition to his work with Thomasons, Nick also has strong ties with the Institution of Structural Engineers, becoming the organisation’s 94th President in 2014, and is currently Chair of the Joint Board of Moderators, which accredits civil engineering degrees. Much of Nick’s efforts in both roles have centred on shaping the education landscape of the industry. In the case of the former, he was part of efforts to extend comparability exams into parts of the world including China, Singapore and the United States, while his current remit has been to work towards the revision of guidelines for civil engineering degrees. “One of the other things that I am promoting at the Joint Board of Moderators is to challenge the

universities about the criteria they set out in terms of which A Levels they expect civil engineering degree candidates to have when enrolling,” Nick enthuses. “At the moment, much of the emphasis is on maths, physics and technology qualifications. What we don’t see at the moment is an appreciation of subjects such as art, economics and sociology, for example. Engineering is, after all, not only about nuts and bolts, but about the Built Environment, and I believe that by changing traditional attitudes universities can access a much wider pool of potential talent.” As Nick tells us, somebody once said to him that they considered Thomasons to be one of the industry’s best kept secrets. While this was a compliment, it also spurred him on to want to create a greater awareness of the company’s fantastic engineering capabilities, a goal that continues to be a part of its continuing five-year business plan. “Achieving

this aim requires us to build even greater links with our clients, expand the civil engineering services we offer and maintain the high level of quality that we possess,” he adds. “We always take a long-term view of where we want to take the company, trying to best identify where we are going to be in five or ten years time,” Nick concludes. “When it comes to succession planning, we want to retain the fact that Thomasons is a company that is relevant to both the people within it and those it works on behalf of, and this is done by creating an organisation where anybody can succeed to the level that they want to. That is the kind of company I want to look back on in ten years time myself, one that is thriving and going places.”

Thomasons Services: Independent civil and structural engineering consultancy

Caterham School


profile: Baufritz

The warmth of home Baufritz has optimised its construction processes, largely thanks to the extension of its facility, completed early in 2017. The building company has been commissioned to deliver a number of projects in Britain and expects to remain strong in the region, despite impending Brexit



ailing from Germany, prefabricated construction specialist Baufritz has operated in the British market for over 30 years now. We spoke with the company’s UK Managing Director, Oliver Rehm, to learn more about the latest

developments at the business. “Surprisingly, people in the UK are still very interested in building a new home now, despite the uncertainty of Brexit, and they continue to trust the product that we can offer,” he begins. “It

appears that they want to have their new home built before the actual Brexit happens, because nobody can tell how the divorce between Britain and Europe will work, with regards to changes in building standards, necessary approvals, or the introduction of taxes or duties. Still, it is very interesting that the market remains buoyant. According to my observations, I would even say that the house itself in the UK is generally getting larger, which probably has to do with land affordability. At the same time, we have recently received enquiries for much smaller buildings, too. Typically,


profile: Baufritz

our customers are in their mid50s and at that time of their lives, they still want to live in larger houses, where they can take care of their grandchildren and host family gatherings. When they enter their 70s, however, they feel they need to downsize, because they can no longer maintain a big house. Notwithstanding, they still want to live in a house, instead of going to care homes, so we have designed numerous smaller buildings for our elderly clients,” Oliver reasons.

Market trends He goes on to compare the requirements Baufritz has seen from the British market, with the demands it has to address in its domestic market in Germany. “Lately, there have been more enquiries for the building of flats in Germany. Again, there is a tendency showing that people want to downsize. Where this differs from the trend in the UK, is that they no longer want to live in houses, but prefer moving to a flat. They want to live in sociable places with a community


around, where they can be in connection with neighbours and friends,” Oliver highlights. “In the detached house sector, which is a traditionally strong area for us, there is more interest in larger buildings that create multigenerational living, i.e., children, parents, and grandparents living together, so that they can look after each other and spend more time together.” Baufritz extended its production facility at the beginning of 2017 to increase its capacity and meet the boosted market demand. “We introduced a new production line and changed all of our old machines to more efficient equipment of the latest technology. Everything is up and running now and working very well, so I am confident that we are well-prepared to receive new orders,” Oliver states proudly. “We had to expand, because we realised that we need to invest more in machinery, chiefly because of the shortage of craftsmen that will occur in the future. The entire process is getting more digital, so we have

to invest in technology to keep in pace. “We restructured the layout of some of the practices and machines during the expansion,” Oliver continues. “For example, we made tweaks at how things arrive in the factory and in what order different tasks are performed, which has now opened sufficient space for certain elements that have grown in significance in our job. The level of prefabrication has changed, too. We aim to prefabricate as much as possible to reduce the amount of work we have to do onsite. We have identified ways in which we can manufacture certain components more effectively. For instance, we have established a dedicated area for heating, plumbing, and electric installations, much larger than the one we had before. Similarly, we now have more space to pre-finish larger elements more accurately.”

closely with our suppliers to find a way to eliminate the need for this type of packaging, or at least make sure that the plastic can be returned, recycled, and reused,” Oliver maintains.

Brand growth Taking a look at the future, he predicts there will be more contracts in the commercial buildings sector for Baufritz in the next several years. “To accommodate this need, we are preparing our construction system, because there are differences in building regulations and standards between commercial and domestic sites. In Britain, we really have to carry on doing what we have been doing lately. We feel that the right thing to do, is to continue investing in the country. We

cannot waver or show levels of uncertainty, because this means sending a negative signal to customers. Britain remains a thriving market, uses the most advanced technology, has a strong financial service industry, the design and architecture community is in a good shape, and the property market is going forward, so we have to continue being part of that. I do not think that the industry in the UK has an equivalent to what we can offer, so I am sure that the company will continue to grow and strengthen its brand in the years to come,” Oliver concludes in high spirits.

Baufritz Services: Construction of prefabricated timber homes

Green targets Oliver draws our attention to Baufritz’ sustainable practices, which are considered at all levels of the company’s factory. “It has always been on our mind that we have to work towards reducing our carbon emissions and the amount of waste we produce. Last year, we reached the status of a carbon-neutral manufacturer, meaning that all of the energy that we require for our production and administration, comes solely from renewable sources. We have our own photovoltaic installation, which produces up to two-thirds of the energy we need, and we also use wind power. It is a fantastic achievement for us, but as our tradition goes, we have already set ourselves another task for this year, which is to become zero-waste, too. It is true that at the factory, we recycle everything straight away. However, when we have to deliver roof windows or pieces of machinery, these always come heavily packaged. There is a lot of plastic and we are working


profile: DEG Dach-Fassade-Holz eG



Benefitting from a co-operative model, which can be described as “all are one, and one is all”, DEG is expanding its network with new branches appearing in the middle-west part of Germany, while deftly adapting to the higher digital requirements of its customers


ore than 3000 guests gathered to celebrate DEG Dach-FassadeHolz’s 70th anniversary in 2017. Headquartered in the city of Hamm, in Germany’s most populous state – North Rhine-Westphalia, the roofing material supplier is run as a cooperative, which means that it is an organisation of roofers and carpenters who established this business model in the wake of World War II to help each other get the necessary timber elements for their construction purposes. The company started with just seven founding members, but today, it numbers a total of 1713 shareholders. Last year, the glamorous party for DEG’s jubilee brought together the 500 staff and their families, as well


as representatives of the 450 suppliers the company is working with, who all congregated to celebrate the organisation’s lasting legacy. The 70th anniversary coincided with the business recording its highest-ever turnover, as it hit the 240 million euros mark, notching a growth of 7.4 per cent, compared to 2016. “It is important to make it clear that the profit we earn, we give back to our members,” DEG’s Managing Director, Jörg Lecke explains the company’s philosophy and the structural features of co-operatives in Germany. “These organisations are widespread in the country, but ours is a true market leader for roofers and carpenters. We have 500 employees and 20 branches, which has allowed us to extend our network in North Rhine-

Westphalia,” Jörg points out. “We have attracted interest from employees working for our competitors and have managed to establish new contacts and bring new customers who had not bought from us before,” Jörg discusses. “There is a lot of competitive displacement in our industry, so we can increase our market share only if we get new customers, shareholders, and members from our competitors. “Our shareholders are essentially our customers. We have a really good team of employees who take care of clients’ needs. We have worked together for so long that our staff not only know what the customers want, but we collaborate as if we are one big family. This connection is vital. We stay close to our clients and they see each of our 20 branches

as their home and a true logistics centre, where they can get valuable support,” Jörg maintains, adding that it is the human factor that should be considered the company’s core strength.

Logistics investment Over the years, DEG has specialised in the provision of elements for both flat and steep roofs, as well as for façades, as its full name suggests. “We are fully concentrated on supplying and distributing all the wooden items that belong to a roof. This is the niche where we have made a name for ourselves, and the one we would like to grow in the future.” In order to keep its service standards high, DEG has invested continuously in the development of its fleet, taking into account the specifications of the region the supplier chiefly operates within. “There are big traffic jams in North Rhine-Westphalia every day, meaning that we need to find more optimal ways to deliver our articles to the various construction sites. We have already got a fleet of 100 trucks and we are aiming to continue strengthening it through investment in new vehicles. Together with investing in people and enriching the range of items we offer, this will help us become more flexible in our services,” Jörg reasons. “Our ambition for the immediate future is to keep on improving the service and logistics sides of the business. We have made some significant investments in logistics management,” he reports. “We recently hired a dedicated Logistics Manager, but we also have at least one person in every branch, who is responsible for its logistics activity. It is crucial to strengthen this area of the business, so that we can cope with traffic issues and with special delivery requests.” Jörg observes a trend among customers that has seen online shopping become a more and

more popular method for placing an order. “We have had an online shop since 2002 and we can see that it is growing significantly. This has led us to further invest in streamlining the digital interaction we have with our clients.” Having worked tirelessly on its IT services, DEG introduced the OBIS online system and mobile app as part of its strategy towards digitalisation.

“We do our best to explain the specifications of each article we sell, and present the necessary information about how customers can work with these and what they need to take into consideration when using them,” he comments. The record turnover DEG enjoyed at the end of 2017 is a strong indicator that the co-operative roofing material supplier is progressing firmly on its development path. Determined to perfect its services and foster new and existing customer relationships, while increasing its digital capabilities, the company is poised for an exciting future of even greater growth.

DEG Dach-Fassade-Holz eG Services: Roofing material supplier


profile: Waitings Ltd

Family values

The entrepreneurial spirit of David Waiting lives on today with the company he founded, Waitings Ltd, maintaining his vision and values, while continuing to expand its scope of works and expertise


avid Waiting held a lifelong passion for engineering, and from a young age was blessed with an inventive mind. It was this, together with a clear vision for what he wanted to achieve, that led to the founding of Waitings Ltd (Waitings) in 1970. In the early days of the Cumbria-based business, David went about establishing a different type of construction company, one that was able to design and build solutions to complex tasks, and engineer out problems. To this day, the company continues to be led by the Waiting’s family and has become specialised in multiple sectors, including drainage, piling, dredging, civil engineering, earthworks and renewable energy. This wide range of capabilities has resulted in the company being tasked with a variety of different projects, occurring


in environments from housing estates and schools, to docksides, wind farms and waste water treatment facilities. In December 2015, severe weather conditions resulted in floods across several areas of the country. In the immediate aftermath of these events, Waitings was called upon for a number of emergency projects. One of these involved the flooding of Sockbridge Mill, a collection of listed properties, where the company needed to fill in old man-made ponds and reprofiling the existing land to form a bund up to 1.8 metres high. This will protect the properties from future flooding and create a lowlying area for river water to pass over more easily in the future. When it comes to some of the more unique projects that the company has been involved in, one saw the installation of Hartlepool’s dockside berthing pontoon at Victoria Quays. Having been approached by EDF,

Waitings assisted with both the maintenance for the offshore Teeside Wind Farm and the installation of steel works that were welded to the existing quays dock. In June 2016, it also successfully installed a new dock side hoist that is used to lift new parts on to vessels, which take workers and supplies out to the farm.

Challenging projects Another wind farm to benefit from Waitings expertise is the Ray Wind Farm, situated 20 miles north of Hexham. Here the company was contracted by RJ McLeod to install ducting and cabling to a grid connection point at a local distribution network operations substation. Upon completion of the project, Waitings will have installed over 90 miles of ducting and cables, which is enough to run from Glasgow to Edinburgh, and back again. Equally as complex has been the work of the company on

the waste water treatment facility and associated pipeline that makes up part of a new power station project adjacent to Sellafield. Waitings’ role falls into the project’s feasibility stage. During this, hundreds of boreholes have been drilled across the site and the water produced in this process is not able to be directly discharged into the environment. Waitings is acting as the Principle Contractor to deliver a treatment facility that will take out all impurities in the waste water, before discharging into a 900-metre-long pipeline that it is installing from the treatment building to the river Ehen.

Mutual partners As a business, Waitings focuses on maintaining a strong and competent service, treating all of its clients as mutual partners, and working with sub-contractors, suppliers and its workforce fairly and ethically. The company’s reputation dictates a high level of quality, robust management systems and safe working environments, with the goal being to safely complete each and every project on time and within budget. Completing such an eclectic mix of challenging projects requires a shared mind set and a collective desire to achieve a client’s aims. By maintaining the structure of a family business, the company has been able to promote a very distinctive sort of togetherness among its team. Waitings places immense attention to developing its manpower, and keeping its staff members happy. As an Investor in People-accredited business, it has happily taken on the responsibility of supporting its workers with training, mentoring, and promotion opportunities at all levels throughout their career. It comes as no surprise, then, that Waitings has kept a considerably low staff turnover of

just 3.31 per cent. The company has also formed a dedicated training and development team to help staff fulfil their potential in the best possible way. It offers a wide range of training courses, from NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) courses, to NEC (New Engineering Contract) courses, and customer care. All of the above has been achieved against the backdrop of solid organic growth, with turnover rising from £9 million in 2015, to over £13 million in 2016. With the company’s order book for 2018 looking strong, this is a positive pattern that Waitings expects to continue in earnest.

Waitings Ltd Services: Drainage and pipeline contractor


profile: JC Elite Construction Services

Thriving in

New York

Young and bold, JC Elite Construction Services has already worked on some major projects in New York to make a name for itself as a quality and reliable construction company



C Elite Construction Services might have been established only four years ago, but the New York-based construction company has already built a hefty portfolio of clients. What is more, JC Elite Construction even opened its first international office, Clenn Construction, recently, in the Irish city of Limerick, thus creating 50 new jobs in the region. “We founded JC Elite Construction Services on two main tenets: to develop and maintain our client’s trust and deliver a final product that exceeds our customer’s expectation,” says President Michael Clarke. The company achieves those goals by taking a client-centred approach with every project. “One of our biggest strengths is the expertise of our founders, and the experience they can draw upon for every project we take on board,” Head of Operations, Alan Fahey maintains. He reckons that clients are first and foremost looking for a reliable construction provider that can be easily reached, should a problem occur. JC Elite Construction applies thorough project scheduling, milestone tracking and analysis, and takes pride in sticking to its deadlines. The company also chooses its subcontractors very carefully, vetting and prequalifying each of them, prior to adding them on its bid list. JC Elite Construction is characterised by its commitment

to work closely with clients. “From day one, we work together, side by side, until the project is completed,” says Michael. Its initial approach involves sitting with the client and its consultants, so that the constructor can understand the functional, aesthetic, budget, and schedule goals it is expected to achieve. Then, the company prepares a budget that will help it identify big ticket items, and finally, it conducts a schedule analysis, before entering the contract phase. Once the contract stage has begun, JC Elite Construction performs a critical item analysis to assess how best to maintain schedule and budget, and makes sure that it stays in touch with the client at all times. The company’s construction software – Procore Technologies - enables customers to follow the progress of their project in real time, offering them photos of the site, as well as budget tracking and schedule views. “We offer construction management and general contracting for both interior fit out and ground up construction,” Alan notes, listing the services JC Elite Construction offers to its clients. “Another specialism of ours is modular construction, so we do feasibility studies and modular design engineering. On top of that, we can provide emergency response to water or fire damage.” But before the actual construction begins, the company performs a wide range

For 2019 and beyond we will continue to work with previous clients on new projects, but also grow the company while staying true to our core mission and embracing the newest technologies


profile: JC Elite Construction Services

of preconstruction tasks to define the most cost-effective and time-saving path to getting the job done. These include budget and estimating, pre-purchasing, site surveys, value engineering, infrastructure analysis, scheduling, site assessment and safety programme implementation, and critical path and lead time analysis.

Impressive contracts When out in the field, JC Elite Construction co-ordinates, manages, and supervises all construction activities to ensure that the project is complete, safe, and built to a high standard. It holds regular co-ordination meetings, and compiles and issues monthly project status reports to keep its clients informed about the development of their location. The company also enforces quality control and safety programmes, expedites project close-outs and finally, coordinates client move-ins. Among the trademark projects the constructor has undertaken, features the remodelling of the Science Lab facilities and the

school’s cafeteria at St. Francis College in Brooklyn. Following the successful, on-time completion of the renovation in 2016, JC Elite Construction was contracted to provide further retrofitting of multiple classrooms and upgrade lighting in the student lounge, in 2017. As part of the second assignment, the company also renovated two corridors to create new bright spaces with modern lighting and finishes. The scope of construction for the project JC Elite Construction did for New York’s Radio One,

is another example that speaks volumes of the company’s capabilities. It first had to demolish the existing site before proceeding with building up new offices, corporate meeting rooms, an onsite kitchen, four new bathroom facilities, new mechanical and HVAC systems, core and infrastructure upgrades, and all data and network wiring. Having come up with an open floor space concept, the highlights of this project included Dorma glass office fronts, extensive lighting, new sound studio space, and new AV low-voltage systems for the radio and TV studio.

Range of services At the moment, JC Elite Construction is working on a major project on City Island, in the Bronx. The venture involves the construction of a ground up residential condominium complex, which will include a rooftop lap pool on each of the two buildings, along with a common picnic area on the roof for residents, plus underground parking. Under the project, JC Elite Construction will also construct a new marina, where each resident will be able to rent or purchase a slip for their boat. The company has also been engaged with a number of projects for EF Academy in the village of Tarrytown, New York,


where it develops the boarding school’s campus area. The job onsite includes the improvement of sport facilities, such as setting up a new soccer field, new bleachers, and a new volleyball court. In addition to this, JC Elite Construction is also building new retaining walls and a new parking facility. It is also doing some environmental site works, such as the removal of an existing oil tank. Designating new office space and leading MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) upgrades highlighted the already completed renovation of Butler Hall, and the entire facility had main distribution and electrical upgrades installed. When asked about the company’s future intentions Alan reveals: “To finish our 2018 projects on time and on budget,

so our clients remain fully satisfied.” “For 2019 and beyond we will continue to work with previous clients on new projects, but also grow the company while staying true to our core mission and embracing the newest technologies,” Michael concludes.

JC Elite Construction Services Services: Construction management and general contracting for interior fit out and ground up construction; modular construction; emergency response to water or fire damage


profile: Highways Term Maintenance Association (HTMA)

The road to


HTMA is an informed and influential force in the highways maintenance industry and provides a unique forum for discussion and information sharing on core issues affecting the industry as a whole


he leading voice of the highways term management and maintenance industry, The Highways Term Maintenance Association (HTMA) works to improve the image of the industry, shares knowledge and feedback, fosters best practice and improved industry standards, whilst also working to


influence government and other stakeholders’ policies. As George Lee, HTMA’s Chief Executive explained, ensuring that the organisation is functioning in the most efficient and high-quality way is paramount, and continuous improvement is key: “The past year has been a successful one for HTMA, as we have focused on the confirmation and implementation

of our new five-year strategy; a strategy designed to provide increased representation and support for our members, as their operational environment continues to change at pace. Within the Association this has meant the appointment of our first full time Chief Executive and a refined focus on communication with our key internal and external

MA) As the leading voice of the highways term management and maintenance industry, HTMA engagement reflects the strategic importance of our sectors’ activities

stakeholders, across a range of industry critical areas.” The Association’s evolution reflects the broader changes developing in the sector as contractual structures undergo further change, most noticeably within Highways England, but also with the emergence of further regional devolution leading potentially to new client structures

and maintenance models throughout the UK. “The changing approach by Highways England to progressive implementation of its Asset Led Delivery Model represents a fundamental shift in engagement, as it expands its involvement with the supply chain, with an increased interface with more contractors. This has been reflected in the changes in

HTMA’s membership structure, where we have seen a significant growth in members whose role in the market had traditionally been as sub-contractors, but are now emerging as direct suppliers, in their own right, to the Strategic Road Network (SRN),” George added. Whilst the investment in the SRN has remained in


profile: Highways Term Maintenance Association (HTMA)

contrast with the comparative squeeze on funds for the local roads network, this financial challenge continues to drive deeper engagement between HTMA members and their Local Authority Clients. This is reflected in the commitment that HTMA has continued to provide to the Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP) and the significant partnerships many HTMA members are developing with their clients to lever in greater productivity, in highways maintenance, through better asset management practices.

is a critical part of delivering the Government’s Industrial Strategy, economic growth and housing targets.

“As the leading voice of the highways term management and maintenance industry, HTMA engagement reflects the

Leading voice As George noted, the delivery of efficient and effective highways maintenance remains key not just to HTMA members but also to the broader economy; a well-maintained roads network


VolkerHighways is an integrated highways service provider operating across London and the south of England. The business provides a wide range of services ranging from term maintenance, street lighting and associated electrical works to surfacing and traffic management. VolkerHighways works extensively with long-term clients including the London Boroughs of Camden, Hackney, Havering, Barking and Dagenham, West Berkshire Council, Medway Council and Luton Borough Council. Other key clients include the boroughs of Poole and Bournemouth and the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead as well as long-term contracts with Slough, Reading and Wokingham Borough Councils. In early 2018, the business launched ‘VolkerSmart Technologies’, focusing on all aspects of smart city technology and infrastructure. VolkerHighways is part of VolkerWessels UK, a multi-disciplinary construction and civil engineering group. Through close collaboration with the other VolkerWessels UK business units, VolkerHighways is able to offer a truly integrated and seamless service.



strategic importance of our sectors’ activities,” he stated. “In the past year, we have built stronger constructive

engagement with a range of key stakeholders and partners such the Department for Transport, ADEPT, CBI, the Office for Road

and Rail, and Transport Focus.” However, the activities of HTMA go well beyond being simply a leading voice; its deep understanding of industry issues and challenges has created a foundation of legitimacy that is demonstrated by its involvement in a range of projects each led by industry experts, drawn from the membership, and undertaken through its specialist Working Groups. These projects have included: • At a strategic level: Working with Highways England to refine their Asset Delivery Model; advising Transport Scotland on options for their forthcoming 5G contracts; providing input to Transport for London and other Local Authorities on procurement options for highways maintenance.

DBi Services

DBi Services has been delivering road markings, road studs and high friction surface treatments for a diverse range of clients for over 35 years. The acquisition of leading infrastructure soft estate ‘fence to fence’ maintenance company, ATM in July 2016 has helped DBi Services to become one of the UK’s leading highway maintenance companies. DBi Services provides highway maintenance solutions throughout the UK. With nine locations in the UK, our clients include those responsible for managing the Strategic Road Network and Local Authority Networks. We also serve clients in the health, retail, commercial, industrial, airport, MoD and energy sectors. With long-standing contracts and diversified products and services to offer, DBi Services continues to expand and develop their product portfolio and client base throughout the UK. We have established an excellent reputation with our proactive, positive approach and have secured a high level of repeat business from satisfied clients.


profile: Highways Term Maintenance Association (HTMA)

• At a functional level: The development of a Fatigue Management Tool to promote best operational practice and address health and welfare risks; Launching a Sustainability Charter promoting environmentally and socially responsible maintenance. “These specific projects have been supported by a range of presentations, articles and responses to requests from client bodies for advice and guidance; a telling reflection of the standing the Association has as a trusted and reliable contributor to best practice within the sector,” added George.

Policy and practice The development and change within HTMA over the past 12 months is, of course, a mirror of the fast pace of change within the highways sector, which continues to face significant challenges in delivery, in a very competitive business environment. As George pointed out, one example of such an issue was the demise of Carillion. “It is important that the correct lessons are learned from that situation and that we


are not swept along by a tide of political indignation or dogma; at the end of the day Carillion did not go under because it made too much money, but rather a combination of factors including, but not exclusively, cash flow and unrealistic margins,” he noted. “In the highways sector we are seeing a variety of pressures that make it difficult for contractors of all sizes; these pressures include increasingly complex and expensive tendering and contract structures often without any guaranteed work for successful tenderers, constant price pressures that do not reflect the reality of delivering a reliable and efficient service, and even cherry picking of low risk activities by clients that they choose to retain, whilst believing that the private sector will happily take on the high risk activities on a tenuous margin.” HTMA is focusing a lot of attention on these areas going forward. “At a policy level, we continue to promote and

provide evidence that private sector provision does offer the most efficient form of highways maintenance, as it drives innovation and collaboration; at a practical level, we are working with clients and client groups to simplify processes and structures, with initiatives such as HMEP,” said George.

Positive change There are other practical challenges faced by the sector, including training, recruitment and retention of a skilled workforce, whilst worker safety and welfare remains an ongoing issue. These are areas where the Association and its Working Groups remain at the forefront of driving positive change. “Our recently launched Highways Training Strategy Group brings together sector professionals and other highways trades bodies to try to build a consensus approach to a standardised training regime within the highways sector, simplifying structures and helping to create a clearer career path, to help attract new entrants into the sector. At a strategic policy level, we are working with the CBI to lobby for policies that will minimise the impact of Brexit on the makeup


and profile of our workforce,” George elaborated. Looking forward, George highlighted some of the immense changes that the highways sector is going through: “These include funding, contractual relationships and supply chain management, as is seen on our Strategic Roads Network; a change in Network structure, as is heralded with the development and implementation of the Major Roads Network, and; a potential change in Local Roads Funding which could result from the imminent Highways Spending Review in late 2018, early 2019,” he said. “These changes require a strong voice for the highways sector, a voice tempered with the experience and knowledge of experienced practitioners, and a desire to develop collaborative and mutually beneficial solutions to those challenges. HTMA will

continue to be that voice and will sustain its role in promoting innovation and best practice, sharing knowledge and experience and influencing government and key stakeholder policies. “As such our priorities over the coming 12 months are to ensure continuity of input into those areas of strategic importance to our members and further develop relationships with Government departments, regulators and client groups; all underpinned by operational best practice solutions developed by our members, through their input into our Working Groups.”

Highways Term Maintenance Association (HTMA) Services: Leading highways maintenance industry association

Galliford Try

Galliford Try Highways is part of the infrastructure division of Galliford Try. The Highways business undertakes both capital and maintenance projects primarily for public sector clients throughout the UK. Key Highways Maintenance clients include Highways England, Salford City Council, Middlesbrough MBC, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, North Yorkshire City Council and East Riding of Yorkshire County Council. Services comprise general highway improvements, road surfacing, street-lighting maintenance and renewals, gritting, temporary traffic management measures, carriageway markings and anti-skid surface treatments. Galliford Try plc is a leading UK housebuilding, regeneration and construction group. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and a member of the FTSE 250.


profile: Sigmat

Building the future


Working closely with contractors, architects and industry bodies, and leveraging decades of experience in steel frame and structural steel projects, Sigmat has become the largest constructor in its field of expertise


etween 2001 and 2017, P.A.W. Structures led the way in the specialised design, manufacture and build of load bearing light gauge steel framed (LGSF) structures that meet the ever-growing demand for offsite construction solutions. More recently, the company would come to develop and launch its own Sigmat system, ushering in the next generation of LGSF buildings. It was this development that led to the rebranding of the business to Sigmat in September 2017. “Following a successful management buyout in 2016, we began to lay the ground work for presenting all of our activities under one umbrella,”


explains Sigmat’s Estimating Director, James Walker. “We have always set ourselves out as being something of a one-stopshop for our clients, delivering services from source to site, and by rebranding everything we do under the Sigmat name we really enhance the message we are trying to spread throughout the industry.”

Key partners By being able to offer a complete range of project services covering LGSF structures, and with an ability to contribute to all stages relating to the specification, manufacture, logistics, delivery and installation of frames and structural steel work, Sigmat continues to rack up an enviable list of clients. One of those to

recently benefit from Sigmat’s skills has been the Village Hotels group. The company’s involvement with Village Hotels, through the main contractor Willmott Dixon, began with the development of the first Urban Resort Hotel in Portsmouth. It was here that Sigmat’s structural expertise, manufacturing, assembly and installation teams provided the LGSF superstructure for the build, which included 153 rooms, conference facilities and a leisure club, complete with a 20-metre swimming pool, gym and fitness studios. The success of the Portsmouth hotel resulted in Sigmat being contracted on a second Urban Resort Hotel in late 2017, this time in Bristol. Once again, the

company is providing both the load bearing LGSF superstructure and hot-rolled steel transfer structure for the building, utilising its tried and tested approach. “These projects are by no means straight-forward,” James goes on state. “With each one we have to find ways to treat the steel to suit certain environments, around the poolside for example, incorporate little nuances on the lower floors of buildings to accommodate things like linen rooms and store areas, and at times even create hybrid areas where we bring hot and cold rolled steel together. With each project of this kind we make the various processes smoother and cleaner, meaning that we better understand just what clients want to achieve. For this reason, as well as our proven ability to bring their ideas to fruition, we hope to remain key partners as the Village Hotels roll-out continues in the years to come.”

and renewal programmes, we are seeing significant growth in demand across the residential sector, particularly in the buildto-rent segment,” he adds. “Our LGSF system is ideally suited to this market. By focusing on mid-rise structures, developers can make more efficient use of land and our rapid offsite construction method aligns us with the government’s ambitions

of delivering significantly higher volumes of housing over the coming years.” At the heart of this plan is the company’s target for growing its turnover on a year-on-year basis, something that it has achieved with flying colours in recent times thanks to a simple, yet highly effective philosophy. “We continue to innovate when it comes to the services and products we provide, bringing in small incremental changes over a period of time, which ultimately add up to bigger and better improvements in the way we do things,” James concludes.

Sigmat Services: Offsite light gauge steel framing

Continual improvements When we last spoke to James in 2017, he talked about the success the company had gained from its construction of student accommodation buildings across the country. As he goes on to say, this field of expertise continues to prove valuable for Sigmat. “The student accommodation arena remains buoyant and we are currently on site with a number of projects in this sector. Most notably, we are mid-way through our largest ever project, to deliver 1462 apartments across nine accommodation blocks as part of a £155m development at the University of Hull.” Outside of this particular sector, the focus of James and his team is now turning to the residential market and the opportunities that await here. “Whilst we expect demand in the student accommodation market to remain strong, supported by large university expansion


profile: Antea Group Belgium

Engineering experts

Antea Group Belgium has been regularly commissioned to conduct technical and feasibility studies for a range of projects all over the world, as its profound proficiency in multiple sectors guarantees the highest quality of its work 68


rawing upon 44 years of experience, Antea Group Belgium plays a valuable role in major infrastructure projects across the country and abroad. Part of Antea Group, an international engineering and environmental consulting firm, it employs nearly 240 people who work in four main fields, where the company specialises – environment, infrastructure and civil engineering, water, and urban planning and mobility. “Here in Belgium, it is the infrastructure and civil engineering sector that is the largest one for us, and it forms one-third of our turnover,” Antea Group Belgium’s CEO, Jan Parys says. Over the years, the company has developed vast knowledge and expertise within its areas of operation, which has enabled it to secure multiple assignments. One of these is the Stora Enso project; Jan tells us more about: “It aimed to connect the paper factory of Stora Enso with Volvo Car Gent, the two of them sitting on the opposite sides of the GhentTerneuzen sea canal, in a bid to reduce their carbon footprint.” Antea Group Belgium was commissioned to engineer the heat exchange between the two factories, which resulted in the construction of a pipeline with a total length of four kilometres. The engineering took place between November 2014 and July 2015, and the construction finished in August 2016. Later that year, on 18 November, the new heating network was officially opened.

The knowledge capital the company has accumulated throughout its years of operation can be seen as the foundations upon which it has built its international presence

of the most challenging aspects of the project. We had to have an open trench on the Stora Enso side, and then we made three horizontal directional drillings of which two with steel-in-steel pipes, followed by the process of bringing them out and connecting them to the Volvo factory,” Jan explains some of the technicalities.

Pipeline highway

Enso factory to the Volvo Car Gent facility on the other side. We succeeded in connecting the two sites via an underground pipe, which now transports water heated to 125 degrees Celsius and under pressure, to heat the Volvo buildings and especially its paint factory, which needs to reach a certain temperature, so that parts of the car can be painted. After the hot water reaches the car factory, it is cooled to 85 degrees Celsius, and then returned to Stora Enso.” Due to the presence of underground pipelines and cables, Antea Group Belgium had to perform a number of feasibility studies that would allow its pipeline to go seven metres below the channel bottom. “It was one

Parallel with the successful implementation of the Stora Enso undertaking, Antea Group Belgium has also been working on another substantial project. The company was approached by the Port of Antwerp and the Flemish Government to conduct a technical feasibility study for the reservation of a new international pipeline corridor connecting Antwerp in Belgium, Limburg in the Netherlands, and the Ruhr area in Germany. “The Port of Antwerp is home to Europe’s largest integrated petrochemical cluster and pipelines are vital in managing supplies to this cluster,” Jan points out. He lists the objectives of the research: “First of all, we want to proactively allocate a ‘pipeline highway’, a corridor that is reserved specifically for

Impressive project Jan discusses the nature of the project: “Stora Enso operates two biomass-fuelled combined heat and power systems that produce more than 70 per cent of the electricity it requires. The project’s objective was to transport the heat from the Stora


profile: Antea Group Belgium

transporting not only gas, but also petrochemical fluids and future industrial resources, water, or even high-voltage cables. Furthermore, one such corridor will connect the large petrochemical clusters in Flanders, which is necessary to secure the supply to the surrounding countries. “The project is about promoting long-term economic development and safeguarding the competitiveness of Flanders, too. Having a designated area for the corridor will facilitate the construction of new underground pipelines, which will benefit those companies that are willing to invest in pipelines. It will also make the process of obtaining construction permits hassle-free, especially if a company wants to connect a long, cross-country pipeline,” Jan reasons. “Another objective of the study is to capitalise on the advantages of one main pipeline versus various individual guide strips. This means that everything will be concentrated in one area, therefore the subsequent management of the corridor will be easier.”

Harnessing specialities Antea Group Belgium has divided its study into three phases, and Jan offers his brief comment on each of these. “During the first stage, which covered the technical study, we worked to choose the best area where the corridor could be built. Then, the second phase represents the economic feasibility study, which is in progress at the moment. Again, we are collaborating with all the stakeholders. And in the third phase, we are researching the possibilities of land use for a corridor of such a scale. We are holding talks with architects, various stakeholders, and the local communities across Belgium to come up with a viable solution,” he assures us. Well-versed in several disciplines, Antea Group Belgium


has been trusted to provide engineering services for lots of other projects, beside the two presented to us in great detail by Jan. He sketches some of the allimportant ventures the company has participated in lately. “I can pinpoint the work we regularly do for Belgium’s electricity transmission system operator,

Elia. It is a big client of ours, and we harness one of our specialties, namely bringing high-voltage cables underground, to support Elia in its quest for shifting to more sustainable energy sources, such as solar and wind. Belgium is a very densely-populated country, and most companies are obliged to place their high-voltage cables underground, which enables us to apply our knowledge and prepare feasibility and technical studies for connecting electricity plants all over the country.” The knowledge capital the company has accumulated throughout its years of operation can be seen as the foundations upon which it has built its international presence. Antea Group Belgium is continuously working on projects in developing countries in Asia and Africa. “We

export our knowledge worldwide. For example, we are nearly finishing a project in Papua New Guinea, where we were assigned to identify climate risks, caused by climate change and variability, and sea-level rise, including tsunamis, cyclones, river and

coastal flooding, landslides, and droughts,� Jan reveals, also noting that for this activity the company is partnering with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which has discovered that a lot of developing countries are in need of this type of

knowledge coming mainly from Europe and America.

Antea Group Belgium Services: Engineering and consulting

Photo credit Š Peter Knoop


profile: Travis Perkins

Ready with a solution

The Contract Merchanting Division at Travis Perkins ended 2017 with a remarkable profit growth, thanks to its extended product range and close collaboration with its customers


taying on the top in a competitive industry like construction requires mastering the ability to adjust your strategy to what customers need, and the Contract Merchanting Division (CMD) at Travis Perkins spent a fair amount of time in 2017 developing its customer proposition according to the insights it generates all the time while working on different projects. “We are committed to the principle of continued evolution


Frank Elkins, Divisional CEO

of everything we do, and one of the aspects we are particularly mindful of, is developing a service that reflects exactly what the customers want,” Divisional CEO, Frank Elkins claims. “We are seeing certain changes in customer behaviour. We are being challenged to offer solutions that improve onsite efficiency and tackle skills shortages. There are a lot of factors in the construction market that force us to adapt and adopt different approaches to what we are doing. We endeavour

to offer complete solutions, which add real value to customers, rather than simply one-off products,” Frank explains. The UK’s largest product supplier to the building, construction, and home improvement markets, the Travis Perkins Group reaches its customers through over 2000 branches and stores across the country. Overall, it is comprised of more than 20 different businesses divided into four divisions – General Merchanting, Consumer,

Our clients want to be able to manage their accounts, look at quotes and stock availability, and talk to our branches online. This has led us to start examining our opportunities to develop IT and digital capabilities for them to benefit from

Plumbing and Heating, and Contract Merchanting (CMD).

Recent growth The three businesses brought together under the CMD umbrella – BSS, CCF, and Keyline, performed well in 2017, and the division achieved a doubledigit profit growth, compared to its results a year before, also increasing its market share in the process. Frank discusses the reasons that led to this achievement: “We applied a

very focused approach towards the areas that we want to trade in, making sure that we have a wide range of solutions in every category that interests us. Our rich catalogue guarantees that we are able to offer working alternative solutions to clients.” The business’ recent growth can also be linked to the advances the CMD made in its technical specialisation. “In order to serve the customers in the most efficient way, we made sure that we have the right team of people

who speak the right technical language to our clients. We placed emphasis on training and developing our colleagues, so they are well-versed in providing technical support and expertise at all times,” Frank comments. “Another all-important practice we established that has definitely helped us grow last year, was to engage early on with the main contractors and subcontractors of various projects. This kind of project tracking brought us closer to what was happening onsite,



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profile: Travis PerkinS

and gave us a better idea of the products and solutions we had to design that would be specific for every job.”

Understanding clients A perfect example that confirms the workability of Travis Perkins’ strategic decisions, could be found in the rise of Keyline to the number one supplier of civils, drainage, and heavy building materials. Putting together all of the aforementioned practices has accommodated the progress Keyline has made in the past four years. “Together with expanding our range of products, we also paid attention to our logistics and infrastructure. As a result, we developed a new model branch for the business, which is a lowercost service but with a higher product availability. We intend to continue extending our branch network and provide a better access for clients to the civils products we offer,” Frank asserts. “We have also been working with a number of strategic suppliers, looking to get involved in their projects at an early stage. Again, this allowed us to understand clients’ demands better, so we were able to

develop more customised propositions, taking into account health and safety measures, requirements for safe offloading, and also environmental requirements and how we would reduce the carbon footprint of the products we had to deliver to specific supply chains,” Frank points out. “We won a number of projects by doing this, the Thames Tideway being a notable example. Other major ventures we were part of, are the Aberdeen bypass, and the A14.” Frank singles out the enhanced variety of tool hire offerings, as one of CMD’s product development highlights in 2017. “We introduced a new range of low-level access equipment to our portfolio in the category. We have been providing tools for the specialist trades

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profile: Travis Perkins

mechanical engineers work in, such as pressing, grooving, and electrofusion welding, but we can now offer more specific low-level access products for them to more easily reach the areas they need to get in.”

Training and skills Known for its dedication to cultivating talent, Travis Perkins offers plenty of training opportunities to its employees, and regularly runs award winning apprenticeship schemes for aspiring youngsters. “We want to embrace the Government’s initiative regarding apprenticeship schemes. The Group has opened a multitude of opportunities, from day-to-day warehousing, all the way through to management training. We also pride ourselves on the in-house training academy


we have founded. It teaches our employees technical and product knowledge skills through on-line learning courses, but sometimes we would invite some of our supplier colleagues to provide training on specific products. In addition to this, we have done a lot of work on developing our people’s sales technique,” Frank remarks.

Over the past 12 months, he has observed a shift in customer demands with regards to the way they communicate with Travis Perkins. “Our clients want to be able to manage their accounts, look at quotes and stock availability, and talk to our branches online. This has led us to start examining our opportunities to develop IT and digital capabilities for them to benefit from,” Frank notes. “We are developing a cloud-based platform at the moment to make our IT platforms fit for the future, and enable customers to reach us anytime, anyplace. The digitalisation of customer’s journey will reduce transactional costs and effectively extend our hours of trade. Under the new programme we are running, we hope to have replaced some of

our back-office systems in the next year and a half. “Looking into 2018, it is clear that we are operating in an uncertain market, and Brexit is not helping in any way, especially when it comes to the commercial segment. However, as I monitor the market dynamics, I notice

that the demand for housing is still very strong. Driving more affordable homes into the UK market is on the Government’s agenda, and I believe that Travis Perkins Group is well-positioned to capitalise on this trend, and continue to provide its customers with good solutions in the

market,” Frank concludes, sharing his expectations for the coming years.

Travis Perkins Ltd Services: Builders’ merchanting and home improvement retailing


profile: Toolstation Toolstation Eastleigh - 300th branch opening

Tools, supplies and service to the trade Boasting an enormous in-stock availability of tools and trade supplies, Toolstation has developed an impressive network of branches all over the UK, which allowed the company to finish 2017 with a record turnover of £300 million


oolstation is rightfully claiming to be one of the fastest growing retailers to the trade in the UK. Founded in 2003 and headquartered in Bridgwater, Somerset, the company now operates over 300 branches across the country. In 2017, it reached a benchmark turnover of £300 million for the first time in its history. In the 15 years of its existence, Toolstation has never stopped building upon the foundations it had laid out at its inception – to offer a comprehensive range of tools, accessories and building supplies to the trade, self builders and home improvers.


“We have over 11,000 trade quality products stocked in branch and over 2000 more online, and we are constantly expanding our product range, by introducing new trade brands our customers have been asking for,” Managing Director, James MacKenzie notes, telling us the story of the supplier’s remarkable rise. “Part of our recent success has been formed by the development of our range. Adding thousands of new products this year, with a particular focus on plumbers and electricians, has led to existing customers spending more, because of our enlarged offering. We want to have a real depth of our current product

categories, so that customers can get the full range of, say, power tools or screws, if they like.” The gradual configuration of a wide network of branches covering the whole of the UK is another important piece of the jigsaw. Toolstation opened its 300th branch in Eastleigh in February 2018, and just three months later, the number of stores has grown to 312, with the business’ ambition to open a total of 40 new locations this year, creating over 280 jobs in the process. “We have opened an average of 30 new branches every year for the last ten years,” James points out, “we are opening a new store practically every week. It is

really all about convenience to our customers. The combination of a vast branch network and the consistency and reliability of product availability, makes our proposition a really strong one. The fact that we have a tenminute click & collect service really adds to the customer experience, as clients can order what they need online and pick it up from their selected branch within ten minutes.” This being said, digitalisation has played a significant role in Toolstation’s proposition. “We have been developing our digital presence, because this is what our customers need from their suppliers. They want to shop wherever they are, by simply using their phone, so we give them the ability to do so. Our ambition is to continue strengthening our online channel, and we are going to

launch our brand new website this summer, making it even easier to buy this way,” James announces.

Key advantages He goes on to pinpoint the speed with which staff in each branch process every delivery, “Our service is exceptional,” he marvels, “as 85 per cent of our branches have their deliveries overnight. We are totally focused on getting them on the shelves as quickly as possible, so products are ready for when our

customers come in, especially as the majority of our branches open at 7am. We understand that a lot of our customers are dealing with jobs where not every eventuality can be planned, so this same day capability along with the depth of our ranges cover most trade’s requirements effectively and efficiently. “This year, we are about to move our order cut-off time from 8pm to 9pm, Monday to Friday, which means that orders placed


profile: Toolstation Toolstation branch opening with James Mackenzie

by 9pm can be delivered to UK addresses on the next business day, what’s more orders over £10 qualify for free delivery. We are also exploring launching Sunday delivery this year. Our branches are open during the weekend, but there are still customers who want to get their tools delivered to a given address and have expressed interest in deliveries on a Sunday,” James explains. “I would single out pricing as one of our key advantages that keeps us abreast of competition. We are a low-cost business and we have been able to consistently offer some of the lowest prices in the market to our customers since we have started trading,” he maintains. “It is also worth mentioning that we always have a fixed price, so there is no haggling when a customer comes in. Furthermore, we are going to launch a trade credit card in June, which will offer up to 116 days of interest-free credit. I believe, this is a really compelling proposition for our business customers that will strengthen our service further.”


Ambitious plans Toolstation’s successful exploits have garnered a couple of industry awards, too. Which? presented the tools supplier with its ‘Retailer of the Year’ prize for a second time in a row in 2017, and Toolstation has been shortlisted

again for the 2018 edition of the awards. “It is a nice recognition and a real testament not just to our pricing and the availability we are able to offer, but to our overall service, too,” James comments. As he has already discussed some of the key areas of improvement the company has set its sights on, James shares his long-term vision for the business: “We know we can get to 500 branches in the next few years. There are plenty of opportunities in the market and we are keen to make the most of them.” Blending an extensive range of products, quick order processing and delivery, low prices, efficient digital customer experience, and determination for continuous improvement, there is little doubt that Toolstation will keep continuing to grow at an exceptional rate.

Toolstation Services: Supply of tools for the construction industry

Architect: Dark Arkitekter Fabricator: Staticus Photo: Š Hufton+Crow

WICONA offers solutions that are adapted to the most sophisticated, international requirements in terms of energy and performance. Its service provision is exceptional and it offers maximum flexibility, making it the ideal partner for urban planners, construction authorities, architects and aluminium joiners from across the world. As a key player in the construction industry, we are driven to provide the market with new ways to build, by placing people at the heart of the discussion.

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Construction & Civil Engineering Issue 151 May 2018  

The latest edition of Construction & Civil Engineering

Construction & Civil Engineering Issue 151 May 2018  

The latest edition of Construction & Civil Engineering