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Leica Geosystems announces new construction layout tool

LEICA Geosystems, part of digital solutions company Hexagon, have announced their brand new construction layout tool.

The iCON iCT30 construction layout tool, combined with the construction-tailored Leica iCON build field software, is an easy-to-use and affordable solution to increase productivity by minimising labour time and mistakes, while increasing accuracy and speed. The new iCT30 is an entry-level construction layout tool built for one-person layout tasks in construction. 

“The Leica iCON iCT30 is designed for users moving for the first-time from conventional manual layout methods to automated workflows. The hardware and software are easy to use,” said Shane O’Regan, product expert Leica iCON at Leica Geosystems. “The new construction layout tool is part of the iCON portfolio for Building Construction and is integrated into iCON build construction-tailored software offering streamlined use of fully rendered models in .IFC format.”

Features for higher productivity 
Features that really distinguish the iCT30 construction layout tool include simpler telescope aiming, reliable accuracy and one-person operation. The iCT30 is a fast and robust tool that provides significant up-time by assisting operators to deal with difficult site conditions such as reflections, interruptions of line of sight, or congestions. With the iCT30, operators will layout more points per day, speeding up the construction process. 

The new Leica iCON iCT30 is being launched at BAUMA in Munich, Germany. For hands-on demonstrations, visit Hexagon at Hall A2, Stand 137.

www.leica-geosystems.com

FMB confirm construction output rises despite Brexit uncertainty

THE Government must not be complacent about the damage a ‘no deal’ Brexit would cause amid positive signs of growth in the UK construction industry, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

The released figures on the construction industry were published by the Office for National Statistics in November 2018.

Sarah McMonagle, Director of External Affairs at the FMB, said: “The UK construction sector grew by 2.1 per cent during September to November 2018 compared with the previous three months.

This is despite unparalleled levels of political uncertainty around the very real prospect of a ‘no deal’ scenario.

However, we are urging the Government not to allow these results to create a false sense of security. Since November, political uncertainty has cranked up and is increasing every day.

A growing and prosperous construction sector will be a distant memory if the Government allows the UK to crash out of the EU without a deal in place.”

McMonagle concluded: “The construction industry is also extremely concerned about the Government’s proposed post-Brexit immigration system.

In the Immigration White Paper, published at the end of last year, the Government revealed that they will make few allowances for low skilled workers to enter the UK post-Brexit.

Most tradespeople will be defined as low skilled and therefore will not be permitted to enter the UK, regardless of whether they are from the EU or further afield.

It is crucial that the Government introduces a post-Brexit immigration system that continues to allow us to draw on essential migrant workers or else their house building and infrastructure targets will be totally unachievable.”

www.fmb.org.uk

Reuse and recycle with PRODEM PSB Rotary Screening Buckets

PRODEM, a leader in the excavator attachments market, has today launched their new range – the PSB Rotary Screening Buckets to the construction industry.

The competitively priced and high quality PSB-R series is ideal for waste material selection on demolition sites, aggregate recovery on construction and building renovation sites, organic waste separation in landfill sites, filling containment cages, covering pipes in pipeline works, and much more.

With nine models available, the PRODEM PSB-R range is suitable for use on excavators weighing 2.5-75T and allows the in-situ usage of otherwise wasted materials, thereby keeping costs down.

The design features an exclusive inlet profile to better facilitate material loading and the PSB120R upwards also features a tapered bottom to increase the screening surface and maximise productivity. Other design features include:

It is also available in a wheel-loader version.

Matthew Bastable, Director at PRODEM, said: “In launching the PSB-R range of Rotary Screening Buckets, PRODEM is showing customers their commitment to helping them make their businesses as productive and cost effective as possible.

“Reuse and recycle is becoming something of a mantra in the construction industry and PRODEM wants to make this as easy to do as possible.”

For more information on the new range or any other of the PRODEM attachments call BPH Attachments Sole UK Importers of PRODEM on 0845 017 6972.

Additionally, BPH Attachements will be exhibiting at the Executive Hire Show 2019 at the Ricoh Arena on stand J20 between February 6-7.

About PRODEM

Established in 2003, PRODEM has since become one of Europe’s most respected suppliers of high-quality hydraulic excavator attachments.

PRODEM attachments are known for their quality, durability and reliability as well as for being competitively priced, and their customers are in the plant hire, construction, civil engineering, demolition and recycling/waste sectors.

www.prodem-attachments.com

The technology helping to prevent construction industry accidents

THE CONSTRUCTION industry continues to thrive throughout the world, with the global market expected to grow in value by 85% to $15.5 trillion (currently valued at £12.2 trillion) by 2030.

Yet while the industry flourishes, one of the biggest issues is that of safety in the workplace, where the number of injuries and fatalities caused by accidents on worksites continues to cause alarm.

In the UK, just over 2.73 million people are employed in construction sector jobs.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, there were 196 fatalities in the construction industry in Great Britain in the five years to 2017. Of these, 10% were struck by workers being struck by a moving vehicle.

Statistics also showed that of the 5,055 non-fatal accidents during 2016/2017, 13% were struck by moving objects.

Research shows that workers in the construction industry are at risk in a number of areas. These include:

  • collisions due to rear, front and side blind spots;
  • collisions due to poor visibility, such as dust, fog, and working at night;
  • site workers being struck by vehicles and mobile machines;
  • ear defenders reducing site workers’ ability to hear clearly approaching vehicles;
  • tonal back-up alarms being ignored by site workers.

In the high-risk construction industry, organisations have a duty to safeguard their workers.

Although many countries are required to comply with their own health and safety standards, organisations are increasingly choosing to invest in enhanced safety systems to protect their workers and keep their reputations intact.

Technology innovations

On construction sites, the need for safety is paramount, particularly as the slightest mistake can have devastating consequences.

The latest innovations in technology mean many of these accidents can be prevented.

A range of safety systems are available to assist construction companies in keeping their staff safe.

On-board camera systems can help to alert drivers to possible dangers, while reversing and warning alarms alert workers when a vehicle is manoeuvring near them.

Brigade’s reversing alarms harness high-spec broadband sound frequency, emitting a wide range of white sound frequencies.

These enable workers to locate the direction of the sounds instantly. Rather than the old style ‘beep beep’, Brigade’s bbs-tek® White Sound® reversing alarms create a ‘ssh-ssh’ sound, which dissipates quickly.

This means the alarm can only be heard in the danger zone, so there is more chance of alarm-weary workers paying attention.

The broadband frequency also gives workers wearing ear protection devices a better chance of hearing the alarm.

Sensing risk

Blind spots on large worksite vehicles and machinery can be particularly deadly. The front, rear and nearside are problematic areas of vehicles, particularly those with elevated driver positions.

Harsh construction site terrains, where thick dust and mud often decrease visibility even more, further increase the risk of accidents. 

Radar systems, such as Brigade’s latest Backsense® Radar sensor system (BS-8000), alert the operator to potential risks.

Backsense® works by emitting a continuous-wave radar that is faster than pulsed-radar products.

Some detection systems can produce false alerts, which can lead to frustration for the driver, resulting in genuine alerts being disregarded.

Continuous-wave radar protects against false alerts, thanks to the controlled beam pattern, which can be programmed, allowing organisations to fix a bespoke detection area specifically suited to their needs. 

When a moving or stationary object is detected, the driver is given an in-cab visual display plus an audible warning.

Another advantage installing a radar system is that, unlike cameras, they will continue to function at optimum levels even in the harshest of conditions, such as rain, fog and snow.

As technology moves forward, systems are being developed to address the need for multiple sensors which have the ability to cover large, complex blind spot areas.

Backsense® Network Radar allows organisations to connect and link up to eight sensors.

This system provides object detection in Controller Area Network (CAN) gateway to display data on control panels on the vehicle and possible trigger outputs.

While it may not be possible to eliminate every element of risk when manoeuvring heavy plant and machinery, radar obstacle detection is a step forward in protecting the lives of vehicle operators and those who work around them.


www.brigade-electronics.com

Growth slows for construction SMEs, says FMB

The SME construction sector grew in the second quarter of 2017, albeit at a slower rate than the first three months of the year, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

 

Key results from the FMB’s State of Trade Survey for Q2 2017, which is the only quarterly assessment of the UK-wide SME construction sector, include:

  • Q2 2017 was the 17th consecutive quarter of positive growth which means that the construction SME sector has been growing for more than four years (ie since Q2 2013);
  • Almost one in two construction SMEs predict rising workloads in the coming three months, with just 9% predicting a decrease in activity;
  • 83% of builders believe that material prices will rise in the next six months;
  • 60% of construction SMEs are struggling to hire bricklayers; 57% are struggling to hire carpenters and joiners; and 47% are struggling to hire plumbers;
  • Almost two-thirds (62%) of construction SMEs expect salaries and wages to increase in the next six months.

 

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “Rising material prices and salaries could be starting to dampen growth among construction SMEs. However, it is encouraging to see that the sector has continued to grow despite the recent snap General Election and the resulting hung Parliament. The construction SME sector is particularly vulnerable to any dips in consumer confidence that might come from periods of political uncertainty. It may be that a number of home owners decided to delay any big spending decisions on new extensions or loft conversions while the election campaign was underway – this would account for the slow-down in growth seen in the second quarter of 2017.”

Berry concluded: “Looking ahead, almost two-thirds of construction firms expect wages and salaries to increase over the next six months and this is in contrast to stagnant wages elsewhere in the economy. Rising salaries are undoubtedly the result of the escalating construction skills shortage – construction workers know their worth and are demanding higher wages from their employers. The majority of construction SMEs are struggling to recruit key tradespeople such as bricklayers and carpenters and we’re seeing shortages in other trades, such as plumbers and plasterers, starting to creep up. With Brexit on the horizon and worrying talk of the so-called ‘Tier 2’ immigration system replacing the free movement of people, the construction industry urges Ministers to bear in mind their strategic house building and infrastructure targets before pulling up the drawbridge on EU migrant workers.”

Construction skills shortages to worsen in 2017

Skills shortages across the construction industry are set to worsen in 2017 as workload and productivity rises, according to One Way

An analysis by the specialist construction and rail recruiter found that, while activity rose at the fastest pace in eight months in November, there was still not enough skills entering the industry to meet the growing demand. This comes at a time when Markit’s private sector survey revealed that workloads are being boosted by a “resumption of projects delayed after the Brexit vote.”

Paul Payne, Managing Director and Co-Founder of One Way, reports.

“It’s been a year of peaks and troughs for the construction industry, and while it’s difficult to suggest with too much confidence what will happen over the coming months, our analysis shows that there are still far too few people operating within and, crucially, entering the field. It’s all well and good trying to make do with the current skills in the market but ultimately there will come a point when we need much greater numbers of people considering construction as a viable career choice. For example, we’ve launched our own initiative, #GirlsAllowed, which aims to increase the number of women working in the industry and more programmes like this are drastically needed.”

“At the moment that’s simply not happening and with productivity rising at its current rate as investors shake off their Brexit fears, something is going to have to change fast. There are significant skills shortages across the market in roles like planners, estimators and project managers. These are skilled positions that require a considerable amount of training and experience so they can’t just be recruited off the street and placed in roles. Construction contributes around 6% of the overall economy and we need to see a longer term strategy for improving talent pipelines across the industry developed before it’s too late. We’ve been fortunate that we’re a robust enough organisation to meet the challenges brought on by shortages, but others may not be so lucky.”

New apprenticeship funding ‘fair settlement’, says FMB

New apprenticeship funding proposals announced today by the Government look like a ‘fair settlement for small employers’, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Brian Berry, FMB Chief Executive, said: “Getting skills and apprenticeships policy right is essential to the UK, and particularly so to the construction industry right now. We face serious skills shortages in our industry at the moment. The only long term cure for this is to recruit and train more people, in particular to attract a new generation of talent to take on the skilled jobs the industry creates. Small and medium-sized firms do the majority of training in our industry - micro businesses (those employing fewer than ten people) alone train around half of all construction apprentices. It is therefore crucial that new apprenticeship funding arrangements work for these firms and do not impose higher costs on them.”

Berry continued: “The funding arrangements announced today appear to strike a reasonable balance, which takes into account the support that small employers need. Those employers with wage bills of less than £3 million, who will fall beneath the threshold for paying the new Apprenticeship Levy, will be required to pay 10% contributions towards the cost of training and assessment. This means most small employers should not end up paying more towards training costs than they currently do. Furthermore, FMB members report significantly higher costs and difficulties associated with training apprentices straight out of school. Therefore, it is right that for small employers training 16-18 year olds this co-investment requirement will be waived and a further £1,000 payment will be paid to employers to help with these costs.”

Berry concluded: “One issue on which we have ongoing concerns is the difficulties and complexities which might come with the new digital apprenticeship service. Small firms express nervousness at the more hands-on role they are being asked to play in negotiating with and paying training providers, and there is real danger in the new system being time-consuming and complicated to a degree which puts off small firms from training. As such, we strongly welcome the decision not to require small employers to start using the new system until at least 2018. Government and representatives of small employers need to use this time to thoroughly road test the new system and make sure that it fits the needs of the very smallest firms, those we continue to rely on to train the majority of our industry’s workforce.”   

Research project seeks to strengthen CDM weaknesses

Contractors BAM Construction and ISG are among a host of organisations involved in an international research project aimed at reducing occupational injuries and illnesses in the construction industry.

The academia-led project will focus on improving health and safety through design.

The aim is to create a new tool that will enable architectures and engineers to assess and improve their ability to produce designs that are inherently safer for contractors to build and maintain as well as being safer for occupants to use.

The project, funded by the UK Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council, is being undertaken by an international research team of academics and practitioners from the Health & Safety Executive, Heathrow Airport, Mott MacDonald, BAM Construction, ISG, Nick Bell Risk Consultancy, GCP Architects, Safety in Design, the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), Loughborough University and East Carolina University. The project commences in October and will run for two years.

It is estimated that the global construction sector accounts for 100,000 fatalities annually and about 30 to 40 per cent of all fatal occupational injuries. Injuries and new cases of ill health in construction are estimated to cost society more than £1.1bn a year in the UK.

The project's principal investigator Patrick Manu, a senior lecturer in construction project management at UWE Bristol, said: “The construction sector is notorious for the numerous occupational injuries and illnesses it records which also leads to huge social and economic costs for the industry, governments and societies. Studies have established that design is a significant contributor to the occupational injuries and illnesses in construction and as a result 'design for safety', also called 'prevention through design' is increasingly becoming prominent in construction worldwide.”

Design for Safety (DfS) is mandatory under the UK Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 which stipulate that designers, when preparing or modifying designs, should eliminate, reduce or control foreseeable risks that may arise during the construction, maintenance and use of their buildings. The regulations also state that the appointment of organisations with design responsibilities should be based on their capability. However, there is currently no robust systematic approach for establishing the DfS capability level of design firms.

The research will  seek to develop a web-based DfS capability 'maturity indicator' tool which will offer an improved approach for accessing the DfS capability of construction supply chain organisations involved in architectural and engineering design.

Dr Manu said: “In order for firms with design responsibilities to produce inherently safer designs for construction, maintenance and use of built assets, they need to have the appropriate level of capability maturity. The question then is how can this level be reliably assessed when existing schemes do not fully enable that? Furthermore, in line with the popular maxim, 'If you can't measure it you can't improve it', a bigger question is how can firms improve their capability when they are unable to systematically ascertain their current level in the first place?”

Liz Bennett, of Safety in Design, an organisation which supports designers and decision makers in the built environment, said: “The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 require at Regulation 8 the skills, knowledge, and experience (SKE) for individuals and the organisation capability for companies supplying services to construction projects. The construction industry struggles with what is meant by ‘organisational capability’ and how to demonstrate quickly and easily the necessary SKE. The capability maturity indicator tool will provide a much needed flexibility. It will recognise that companies develop and can improve, especially when benchmarking themselves against others in their sector and of their size. It will allow clients to define a level of maturity and to provide the appropriate level of support and fees to allow for effective project delivery. It is naive to suppose that every company has the same approach to health and safety in design and the same ability to engage effectively. The tool will allow for clarity for all stakeholders and the reduction of inappropriate assumptions.”

Professor Mike Behm, of East Carolina University, said: “This research project will enable design organisations to assess and improve their understanding of, and ability to, engage in meaningful safe design. The project is important to the global design and construction sector, which continues to be plagued by a disproportional accident frequency and severity rate compared to other industrial sectors.”

CIOB calls on construction to act against exploitation

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) is calling for construction companies and clients to do more to eradicate cruel and unfair labour practices, wherever they occur.

The CIOB says that clients and tier one organisations can no longer turn a blind eye to what goes on down the supply chain, stating that they need to take greater responsibility for their supply chains and not simply take the lowest offer.

In particular, priority should be given to tackling illegal recruitment fees, the institute argues.

But the industry also needs to accept its complicity with the mistreatment of workers on the other side of the world.

All of this is set out in a new report from the CIOB, Building a fairer system: tackling modern slavery in construction supply chains, written by Emma Crates.

The report, produced in consultation with a number of businesses and NGOs, including Amnesty International, Verité, Engineers Against Poverty and the Institute for Human Rights and Business, examines the root causes of unpaid labour, and sets out priority actions for moving the industry towards greater transparency.

With its fragmented supply chains, opaque procurement processes and high demand for migrant labour, the construction sector faces a unique set of challenges in tackling human rights abuses, the report says.

Building a fairer system examines how workers from developing countries become tricked or coerced into paying illegal and extortionate recruitment fees, and, once in debt, become vulnerable to exploitation in their place of work. Abuses range from forced or bonded labour, late payment, unsanitary living conditions, unfair deductions from wages, withheld passports and loss of freedom of movement, lack of representation, violence, intimidation and physical abuse.

The report also examines how faults in the procurement process allow exploitative practices to remain hidden in building materials supply chains.

The report makes a series of recommendations for the construction supply chain:

Recommendations for tier one organisations:

  1. Map out supply chains and identify areas of highest risk, geographically and by activity. Tackle these areas first
  2. Lead policy from the top of an organisation, at CEO and COO level
  3. Provide tailored training and education to staff at all levels of the business.
  4. Work directly with labour supply agents and/or increase the proportion of directly employed labour on a project
  5. Take more responsibility for shifting the culture in lower tiers of the supply chain: provide support and training for SMEs
  6. Collaborate with NGOs that can provide support and understanding of the complex challenges of different regions
  7. Set long term strategy by following international guidance produced by organisations such as the UN Global Compact, the Ethical Trading Initiative, the Institute for Human Rights and Business, OECD or the International Labour Organization

Recommendations for procurement teams and materials producers:

  1. Educate procurement teams and improve communication between the professions - designers, engineers and architects and project managers - to ensure that boardroom policy is translated to site and subcontractor levels
  2. Embed robust checking procedures that do not default to box ticking exercises or ineffective audits
  3. Work directly with suppliers to help them improve their practices

Recommendations for industry:

  1. Participate in cross industry initiatives, sharing best practice and drawing on expertise from other sectors
  2. Encourage and support the development of ethical recruitment companies
  3. Influence and lobby clients and governments to accelerate change
  4. Encourage widespread adoption of ethical standards.

Building a fairer system: tackling modern slavery in construction supply chains can be found at  http://tinyurl.com/jtbk6s2

New Zealand looks towards UK for construction talent

New Zealand’s leading infrastructure, commercial engineering and building contractor, Fletcher Construction is looking to the UK to recruit top-level talent to help deliver an extended pipeline of the largest infrastructure projects in the nation’s history.

Fletcher Construction is seeking a wide range of top British talent – engineers, project managers, surveyors, designers and builders – and is hosting an event in central London on 28 July to kick-start its recruitment drive.

Chief executive Graham Darlow says global turmoil means Fletcher Construction will appeal to ex-pat and UK construction leaders as it is headquartered in New Zealand where a comfortable lifestyle is balanced by the challenges of world class construction projects. While the Christchurch post-earthquake rebuild is well underway, Auckland is making up for a massive infrastructure deficit and the firm has 30 years-worth of large-scale projects in the offing.

“I have never seen so much construction activity of such a scale right across New Zealand in my 40 years working in the industry,” he says.

“In Auckland right now, we’re working on several major highway projects, an international convention centre and several large five star hotels,” Darlow says.

"Recognising the international competition for skilled infrastructure project managers and engineers, Fletcher Construction has multiple initiatives underway at home and abroad to secure its long term talent pipeline, but is targeting the UK for senior construction leaders."

“We already employ many of New Zealand’s top construction talent but we need more,” says Darlow.

Darlow is realistic about what New Zealand offers: “We might not be able to beat the salaries on offer in Dubai and elsewhere. But where we can compete is the lifestyle and quality of life available here in New Zealand.

Registration for the Fletcher Construction recruitment event can be found at http://www.projectyounz.com/.

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