Lyte appoints new Product support Advisor

Introducing Lyte Ladders & Towers new addition to the team. Jonathan Ball will now be undertaking the role of Product Support Advisor. His main role will be to demonstrate the wide range of products that are available and to give support and advice to all customers. He will be travelling up and down the UK in our new liveried Ford Transit Van providing demonstrations to new and potential customers.

He will prove to be an important part of the team as most people like to see how a piece of equipment works before committing to purchase. This role will now enable the customer to do so and enable Lyte Ladders & Towers to provide a more thorough service in making sure that customers are using the right equipment for the right job.

Jonathan Ball adds “I am very excited to have been undertaking the role of Product Support Advisor in such an exciting time as the organisation is growing from strength to strength with new collaborations and products being introduced. I look forward to meeting and working with existing and potential customers in the near future and ensuring that the service that we provide will be second to none.”

Some of the key pieces of equipment that Jonathan will be demonstrating will include the Hilyte Leader GRP 500 Tower, Widesteps and the new Glass fibre stepladder range.

If you would be interested in having a demonstration of any of the products then please phone 01792 796666 to discuss.

Get ladder competent says Ladder Association

The Ladder Association is the only trade body dedicated exclusively to providing ladder users with the knowledge, skills and information they need to use ladders and stepladders safely and productively. Working in collaboration with manufacturers, policy makers and key influencers, including the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it harnesses the experience and expertise of its many members - manufacturers, suppliers and training companies - to fulfil a number of roles.

Chief amongst these is the delivery of industry-standard training. “If it’s right to use a ladder, use the right ladder and get trained to use it safely,” says the Association, which now trains thousands of delegates each year though its national network of audited and approved training centres. Successful candidates receive a training competence certificate and a LadderCard.

Ladder Association training ensures that delegates have an understanding of the Work at Height Regulations and the revised 2104 guidance that accompanies them, product standards and classifications, and the potential hazards affecting ladder and stepladder use. Three courses are currently available: Ladders and Stepladders; Ladder Inspection; and Steps and Step Stools.

Steps and Step Stools - the latest addition to the portfolio - caters for occasional ladder users in a variety of industry sectors, including retail, education and the health service. For more information visit

Russell’s Trade & DIY’s Bobby Singh goes to Nepal

Nepal was devastated by a 7.8 Richter Earthquake on 25th April 2015. Bobby Singh is a proprietor of a DIY business in Tooting, South London and a father of two children. Despite having no links to Nepal, Bobby tried to join charities going to Nepal but he was hindered with red tape for vetting.

This did not stop him and he went to Nepal alone, despite his family’s objections, due to their fear for his safety. Bobby decided to help people in the villages in remote areas who have not had any aid or relief from other charities.

Bobby was in Nepal when the second earthquake struck causing further devastation and he witnessed the panic first hand as running down the third flight of stairs the force of the earthquake flung him to the side of the wall. He had a cut on his hand but was lucky to escape unharmed.

Bobby wishes to provide 500 semi-permanent living structures made from brick and corrugated sheeting for the roof which cost about £100 each to erect.

Bobby Singh has set up a Go Fund Me page to raise at least £50,000. He is willing to share his story with the media and to promote the money-raising effort with the hope he can appeal to the general public to donate to his cause. The website is

Bobby can be contacted on 07904 891 411

Vertikal Days 2015 – biggest and best yet!

This year’s Vertikal Days has established the show as a major event in the European exhibition calendar. With a display of cranes and access equipment that is unrivalled anywhere in the world this year, the show has grown and developed year on year, not only establishing itself as the UK’s top lifting event but increasingly attracting visitors from further afield.

Held again this year in May, the weather - despite poor forecasts that included high winds during set up - was warm and sunny on the first day while the Thursday remained dry, although cold. Traffic congestion in the vicinity of Haydock Park - caused by major road works at the intersection of the East Lancashire Road and the M6 - meant queues to reach the venue were longer than normal, but even these did not spoil visitors’ enjoyment or keep them away with over 2,400 individuals attending, many of them for both days.


Crane exhibitors were out in force with the UK’s best display of crawler, mobile, pick & carry, spider and tower cranes for well over 15 years. All the major manufacturers were present, reflecting the current mood of the industry.


Vertikal Days is a must visit event for anyone interest in powered access. Since its inception it has attracted all types and sizes of access equipment. This year big truck mounts were back in fashion. At the opposite end of the access scale, the small push around lift is always well represented.

Onwards and Upwards

Vertikal days Cranes

This year is the ninth since its launch in 2007 with the show growing in size every years since, setting new records again this year in terms of the number of exhibitors and visitors. This year also included many subtle improvements including the site layout, a relocated and expanded Marketplace pavilion, a new entrance layout, and improved lunchtime food service. The evening networking party also hit new records with over 750 attending. Coming just a few weeks after Intermat in Paris, one might have thought would have caused a few problems. However the buoyant UK market ensured a record turnout in terms of exhibitors with all the major manufacturers or dealers represented.

There were so many new and unusual items of equipment - some arriving unannounced at the show - that it is difficult to identify each and every one. Vertikal Days has never been about visitor numbers, although those attending must represent around 90 percent of the UK buying power.

Ultimately a show’s success is measured by good contacts and relationships being made and the resulting sales. Many exhibitors reported ‘out of the blue’ unexpected sales, and as usual there were many comments about the quality and serious nature of the visitors with regards to enquiries and purchasing ability.

Next year - 2016 - will be the show’s 10th anniversary- held a little later on June 15th and 16th , further developments and improvements are planned. Let’s hope the industry continues on its upward trend and Vertikal Days 2016 will be even bigger and better!

UKATA promotes free asbestos safety training for small businesses in new campaign

Thousands of tradespeople and DIY enthusiasts are still at risk, says training association

DIY enthusiasts and tradespeople running small businesses are to be offered free asbestos safety training that could save their lives, thanks to a new exclusive national campaign being launched by UKATA, the UK Asbestos Training Association.

Entitled ‘Train Safe, Work Safe, Keep Safe’, the campaign will see UKATA members offering free asbestos training during September and October this year as means of highlighting the dangers of asbestos and the need for essential training for those who may encounter the substance.

Every week in the UK, 20 tradespeople die from diseases caused by exposure to asbestos fibres as long ago as the 1950s through to 1983, when strict safety guidelines on the use and removal of asbestos were introduced. The weekly toll includes eight joiners, six electricians and four plumbers, with experts predicting the UK’s annual death rate of 5,000 will soar in the next five years.

The legacy of more than half a century of exposure to asbestos at work is about to be seen in thousands of former ship-builders, boilermakers, builders, plumbers, teachers, nurses and their families. Mesothelioma alone is thought to be silently afflicting one in every 100 men born in the 1940s in the UK and Guy’s Hospital in London has predicted that 100,000 people in the developing world who are alive now will die from the condition.

Voice of the Industry - Christina Lanz-Azcarate

Interview by Peter Brett Cristina Lanz-Azcarate - London and South East Chair of National Association of Women in Construction.

Originally from Spain and a qualified architect, Cristina moved to London in 1998. London interested her because of its open nature and multiculturalism and she has thrived on the professional challenges she has faced – winning several awards in the process. Diversity in work also seems to appeal to her; she has worked on projects in conservation areas, furniture design, and regeneration developments as well as co-founding and running the design atelier EURA. She prides herself on developing and sustaining good creative relationships with her clients and design team, so it seems as though she is an ideal person to be chair of an organization that is developing the role and image of women in construction.

ToolBUSINESS+HIRE was keen to interview Cristina to get her additional “take” on the acknowledged skills shortages in the construction industry- after all we can’t afford to ignore the potential and skills of half the population simply because of outdated notions of job roles.

I started by asking Cristina about the ways in which schools and further education have got involved with training and recruiting suitable candidates for the construction industry. She informed me that there are many ways in which the message can get through – via schools, training colleges, individual businesses and via higher education too. The message is also very inclusive as none of the career days, work experience placements and taster days exclude anyone who wants to attend. However, we all like to see people who “look like us” at these events, so there are still barriers for certain sections of society. Cristina acknowledges that there is more work to do in this area and NAWIC is keen to put across, particularly in schools, that work in construction can be varied, interesting and a challenging and well paid career choice.

Slightly tongue in cheek, I asked Cristina whether ‘White Van Woman’ would ever become as common a phenomenon as ‘White Van Man’. Apparently I am well out of date in this respect. Not only are there many female independent tradespeople in fields as diverse as painting and decorating and locksmithing in London and the South East, but there are regional companies too. One such is the humourously named “Stopcocks”, a group of independent female plumbers who use their gender as a USP. For some customers, especially independent women I would guess, a female tradesperson can often be less threatening, unpatronising, more trustworthy and able to explain what they are doing in simple language rather than trying to confuse clients with technical speak.

Having listened to a radio programme recently in which a survey had found that women can sometimes be charged up to 40% more than men for the same repair work on a car, these USPs could be a significant factor in why women, in particular, might choose a female tradesperson to work for them.

Progress is patchy though. Cristina told me about some women she knew who had worked for small male–owned companies who had had very good experiences. They had been encouraged and enabled on equal terms to their male counterparts. But of course for every example, there is a counter example – again the message is ”More to do to get rid of preconceptions and stereotypes”.

Cristina went on to explain that when it comes to ethnic diversity in the trades there are also some ongoing issues to confront. Monitoring of entrants into various trades has shown that there is still a lot of room to encourage women from ethnically diverse backgrounds into the trades, but that will involve changing attitudes of families and cultures and that is a very hard job. As usual, providing opportunities, examples and encouragement is probably the best way forward.

I also asked Cristina whether she had perceived a North/South Divide in attitudes towards female tradespeople. She informed me that recent surveys done by the organization seems to indicate that that educational colleges and schools in Birmingham and the North East have been just as active in promoting gender and ethnic diversity in the trades with similar results to the South East region so perhaps “traditional” views about “up North” are not current at all.

Cristina rounded off the interview by explaining a bit more about the missed opportunities in explaining to potential candidates about the wide variety of careers available in construction. There are jobs in construction that are office based and many other jobs that involve prefabrication, logistics and design where “getting your hands dirty” is not a requirement, for those who might find this aspect of the trade off putting. She said that the industry is still not communicating well enough about the opportunities and conditions of work on a modern construction site. Both parents and potential candidates need to be better informed about the educational and career opportunities available in construction work if the target numbers are to be met.

High quality apprenticeships and training make for the highly skilled tradespeople needed to build the structures that our world-renowned architects are designing and Cristina is convinced that taking candidates on site visits to experience the skills, craftsmanship and variety of opportunities as well as the buzz created by being involved in a creative team effort is a vital part of recruitment. We can’t simply rely on the fact that overseas trained people will rescue us from our skills shortages.

Jason Industries, Inc. Widens its Finishing Portfolio with Acquisition of DRONCO GmbH

DRONCO joins Osborn as members of the Jason Finishing Group;

Deal broadens Jason Finishing Group’s position as the complete manufacturer of surface treatment solutions and finishing tools

Burgwald, Germany and Richmond, Indiana, June 1, 2015 – Jason Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ: JASN, JASNW), parent company to a global family of manufacturing leaders in the finishing, seating, automotive acoustics and components markets, today announces that it has completed a transaction to acquire DRONCO GmbH, one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of abrasives. DRONCO becomes an integral part of Jason Finishing Group, a Jason business unit and the leading global producer of technical and maintenance brushes, polishing tools and compounds. The Jason Finishing Group portfolio includes well-recognized brands, such as Osborn – the only truly global player in the industrial brush and polishing market, JacksonLea, Lippert-Unipol and Sealeze. The deal allows Jason Finishing Group to enter a targeted and faster growing $6 billion abrasives market segment and solidifies the company’s position as the complete surface treatment and finishing solutions provider.

DRONCO’s full range, which includes cutting, grinding and abrasive discs, diamond tools, ceramic abrasives, sandpapers and technical brushes, is the ideal complement to Jason Finishing Group’s product catalog. The acquisition opens Jason Finishing Group products to customers and distribution channels where it currently has a limited presence, while allowing the company to become a “one-stop shop” within the Finishing industry.

Under its new ownership, DRONCO will be positioned for continued growth. Immediately, DRONCO products will be embedded into Jason Finishing Group’s well-established, global sales and logistics network, thereby making the DRONCO line available to a much broader market. Geographically, DRONCO’s strong product portfolio will be distributed to global markets, with a focus on further expansion in Europe and North America. To support North American sales growth, logistics and distribution of DRONCO products will be added at Jason Finishing Group’s Richmond, Indiana facility by the end of 2015. In 2016, DRONCO will be expanded into emerging markets to meet increased demand for abrasives in developing and growing economies.

“DRONCO is an outstanding strategic fit for our organization and we are excited to welcome the company and its employees into the Jason family,” said David Westgate, chief executive officer at Jason. “With DRONCO in our portfolio, we reinforce Jason Finishing Group’s status as the leader in finishing. Our customers will benefit from access to DRONCO’s line of quality products, while those of DRONCO will benefit from the availability of Jason Finishing Group’s extensive line of brushes and polishing tools from brands they recognize and may already trust for their surface treatment and finishing needs.”

”By leveraging the numerous inherent synergies between DRONCO and Jason Finishing Group brands, like Osborn, we expect to achieve considerable long-term growth that will benefit each company in our portfolio,” said Dr. Florestan von Boxberg, President of Jason Finishing Group. “DRONCO has earned a privileged reputation as an innovative, well-run company that produces high-quality products. We are proud to add this organization to our portfolio and excited about the value this acquisition brings to our joint customers.”

Jason intends to maintain DRONCO’s Wunsiedel, Germany site as the primary manufacturing and R&D center for bonded products. In addition to its Wunsiedel site, DRONCO has three subsidiaries in UK, Sweden and France. Thus, Jason Finishing Group acquires a global abrasives company that is recognized for quality and product innovation. In fact, DRONCO recently introduced a next-generation line of cutting and grinding discs with a lifespan that is three times that of its counterparts. Through the acquisition of DRONCO, Jason Finishing Group expects there to be a sharing of technologies that will lead to the development of innovative new products for Osborn and other brands within the Jason Finishing Group portfolio.

About Dronco GmbH:

DRONCO is one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of abrasives and sells its products in approximately 100 countries. The company’s range of products, including cutting, grinding and abrasive discs, diamond cutting tools and ceramic abrasives, is recognized for outstanding quality among professional tradespeople and discerning DIY users alike. DRONCO was founded in 1962 and is headquartered in Wunsiedel, Germany, with subsidiaries in France, UK and Sweden.

About Jason Industries, Inc.:

Jason Industries, Inc. is the parent company to a global family of manufacturing leaders in the seating, finishing, components and automotive acoustics markets, including Assembled Products (Buffalo Grove, Illinois), Janesville Acoustics (Southfield, Michigan), Metalex (Libertyville, Illinois), Milsco (Milwaukee, Wisconsin), Osborn (Burgwald, Germany and Richmond, Indiana) and Sealeze (Richmond, Virginia). All Jason companies utilize the Jason Business System, a collaborative manufacturing strategy applicable to a diverse group of companies that includes business principles and processes to ensure best-in-class results and collective strength. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Jason employs more than 4,400 individuals in 14 countries. Shares in the company’s stock are traded on NASDAQ, ticker symbol: JASN.

ABUS ‘Shop-in-Shop’ Merchandising Gives Distributors Presence, Margin & Stock Turn

The ABUS ‘Shop in Store’ (SiS) merchandising unit system was first launched in the UK in 2011 and has been a spectacular success. The modern look, accentuated by the ABUS brand colours effectively puts the spotlight on the system and products on display.

Many ABUS partners have already implemented the SiS system with great success and take advantage of this modern sales solution to reap the benefits in their day-to-day business.

Cleverly packed on portable pallets, the innovative and handsome merchandising units can be quickly and efficiently set up in-store. The displays enhance and showcase the world-class market leading ABUS padlock and security ranges making eye-catching and brand enhancing merchandising.

In addition these innovative SiS units come with a complete set of colour barcode product labels for the suggested ranges. The labels are applied to backing cards specifically designed to complement the ABUS product hooks provided to make re-ordering and barcode pricing simple.

The original ABUS 1m SiS unit now has some 250m of UK exposure and includes a full range of padlocks, ‘KeyGarages’, ‘VanLocks’, wall anchors, chains and cables. This SiS im unit is an impressive 225cm high x106cm wide x 60cm deep.

Alongside the original padlock selections, ABUS SiS units can be exploited for displaying and demonstrating the increasingly popular ABUS 2 wheel, cylinder, and CCTV ranges.

For more information on the ABUS ‘Shop-in-Shop’ system, please contact ABUS UK, on 0117 204 7000 or [email protected]

Modular off-site building could be the solution to the UK’s housing crisis

The UK House Building: Manufacturing Affordable Quality Homes report is calling on Government to provide more incentives for the off-site construction of homes. Dr Tim Fox, Lead Author of the report and Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said:

“The UK is in the middle of an acute housing crisis. Current annual construction levels are typically less than half of the estimated 250,000 new homes this country needs built every year through to at least the 2030s"

Off-site construction technologies have advanced greatly in recent years and can offer shorter build times, better quality, better energy efficiency, less waste, and lower costs for buyers.

The report calls for the Government to introduce a comprehensive housing market reform programme aimed at growing the self-build sector, supported by UK-based off-site manufacturers, to supply at least 50% of market demand (125,000 homes a year in England) by 2030.

The key recommendations in the report are:

1.Government should support investment in the UK supply chain for off-site construction technologies.

2.Government must reverse policies that are working against improvements in quality and standards.

3.Government should work much harder to diversify the UK housing supply market, by opening up much greater opportunities for self-builders, local authorities and housing associations.

Selco Give Tradespeople Perfect Platform

Two Birmingham tradesmen have been able to spread the word about their business to an audience of tens of thousands after winning a competition to win free advertisements.

Stephen Maher’s business SCJ Building & Carpentry and Hammond & Sons, run by Daniel Hammond, have won the competition promoted by leading builders’ merchants Selco Builders Warehouse.

Selco ran the competition with Free Radio on which the two businesses received free advertising for two weeks to an audience of over 230,000 listeners.

Helen Gemmell, marketing director at Selco, said: “We are delighted to be able to assist both SCJ Building & Carpentry and Hammond & Sons with the advertising on Free Radio.

“Selco is keen to support tradespeople wherever possible and we are delighted this campaign has reached such a big audience for our successful businesses.”

Selco’s 36 branches in England and Wales include five in and around Birmingham, at Tyburn, Stirchley, Perry Barr, Tyseley and Dudley, while the central support centre is based in Wythall.

Each branch supplies a massive range of building materials including doors, windows, insulation, roofing, heating, plumbing supplies, lighting, electrical products, kitchens, bathrooms and timber.

Branches also offer an in-branch café, trade counter services, direct-to-site delivery options and van size parking spaces, all designed to make it easier for tradespeople to get onto the job as soon as possible.

Tool and plant hire is also available across 23 branches in London and Nottingham.


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