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April 22, 2016

Together expands longer-term fixed rate range

Together expands longer-term fixed rate range In the current climate, following Brexit and the general uncertainty it has prompted, customers are looking to secure their rates so they know firmly where they stand. Specialist lender Together has launched its first five-year fixed rate residential mortgage, available

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Alumasc completes strategy switch

Alumasc has completed its transition to becoming a focused supplier of niche building products, systems and solutions. The last step in the strategic transformation was the disposal of Dyson Diecastings, a machinery parts manufacturer, which has now been sold to Broadways Stampings for £4m. The cash proceeds will be re-invested

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Lessons of Persimmon versus Arup dispute

With January traditionally a month for detox, Sarah Evans suggests it is time to bring clarity to your contracts. Above: Sarah Evans On 7th December 2015, the Technology & Construction Court handed down judgment on preliminary issues in Persimmon Homes Ltd and others v Ove Arup & Partners Ltd and

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New funding pot for construction trailblazers announced

CITB has launched a new fund to support employers investing in higher Trailblazer Apprenticeships. The Trailblazer Apprenticeship Fund, which opened yesterday, will offer grants to employers training apprentices at levels 4-7, right up to post-graduate qualifications. The fund is a transitory measure, pending the Government announcing full details about its

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Savills Expands Central London Investment Team

It has been announced that Savills will be expanding its Central London investment team in a move whereby it will acquire the City Investment team of Deloitte Real Estate. The team, which includes members: David McArthur, Jamie Binstock, Thomas Reeves, and Jamie Oley, presently provides advisory services for investment within

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Office Take-Up Maintains Growth Despite Brexit Fears

It has been highlighted by CBRE that the demand for London-based office space has continued strongly throughout the first quarter of 2016, despite both fears that organisations may err on side of caution from the possibility of Brexit, as well as the traditionally quiet nature of the start of the

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Featuring Virgin Media Business

The Need For Speed (The Following is a Promoted Article) Virgin Media has been at the forefront of UK broadband infrastructure for a number of years. However, its ambitious endeavours show no sign of slowing. Indeed, the accelerator pedal has been floored once again with the announcement earlier this year

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Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024

April 22, 2016

Together expands longer-term fixed rate range

Together expands longer-term fixed rate range In the current climate, following Brexit and the general uncertainty it has prompted, customers are looking to secure their rates so they know firmly where they stand. Specialist lender Together has launched its first five-year fixed rate residential mortgage, available across its first charge product range which includes right-to-buy, shared ownership, purchase and remortgages. Together says it has launched the product to give customers more options following the uncertainty of Brexit. The mortgage is available on repayment or interest-only up to 75% LTV, with the actual rate available depending on client circumstances. Loans are available up to £250,000, and above this amount by referral up to 60% LTV. Newly-appointed chief executive of Together’s retail division, Pete Ball, commented: “We’re constantly improving and expanding our product offering and in the current climate, following Brexit and the general uncertainty it has prompted, customers are looking to secure their rates so they know firmly where they stand. “We consider a variety of income sources, including employed, self-employed and pension income, and apply our common sense philosophy to each and every lending decision, looking at the individual circumstances rather than a rigid credit score, even if the customer has an impaired credit profile. “We’re offering both repayment and interest-only options on the five-year fixed rate product and there are no early redemption charges; meaning customers can exit at any time without penalties. Our strong financial position means we’re well-poised to navigate any fallout from the vote to leave the EU, and by introducing new products like this, we can support our broker partners and ensure that customers are getting the peace of mind they’re looking for.” Source link

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Behaviour change: Improving health and safety performance – Buxton, 24-25 May 2016

Book Course HSL is to run a 2 day course on Behaviour Change: Improving Health and Safety Performance. 24- 25 May 2016 Not all risks can be engineered out of the work environment.  Even with the best plans, procedures and systems in place, individuals at work still take short cuts and make mistakes. Sometimes risk-taking behaviour is intentional, for whatever reason. In other cases, risks may be taken due to a lack of understanding about a particular hazard, associated controls or inadequate training. To individual workers, such risk-taking can result in injury, ill-health and fatalities. To the organisation, some of the many costs can include lost time, damage to machinery, litigation, and prosecution. If unchecked, these costs can escalate. This course, delivered by HSL psychologists, will provide you with an understanding of the many factors that influence both workers’ and managers’ behaviour. It will also highlight the strengths and weaknesses of traditional behaviour modification strategies for correcting unsafe and unhealthy behaviour, highlighting why such approaches may have limited impact. The course adopts a five step, holistic approach to behaviour change (ASCENT – Achieving Safety Culture Excellence Now and Tomorrow) and concludes with strategies to help reduce the likelihood of risk taking behaviour for health and safety. It differs from other courses on this topic by demonstrating how behaviour change, leadership and worker engagement can be incorporated into the wider health and safety management system to ensure an integrated, and therefore more effective approach to risk management. In doing so, both the immediate and underlying causes of risk-taking can be tackled head on. These strategies apply as much to manager behaviour as they do to operational staff. Why people take risks at work The consequences of risk taking for individuals and the organisation How to prepare an organisation for a behaviour change programme Assessing safety culture and safety climate – use and follow up of the Safety Climate Tool Strategies for influencing senior management Factors that influence behaviour outlining HSL’s model of behaviour change Human failure: errors and violations Strategies to identify the root cause of behaviours Evidence based strategies to encourage safer and healthier behaviour, e.g. How to develop persuasive risk communication Worker engagement Leadership development How to impart knowledge Changing habits Mitigating perceptual biases Changing beliefs, values and attitudes Making best use of nudges Developing interpersonal skills Developing situational awareness Evaluating your programme and maintaining change The course is most appropriate for health and safety managers with limited knowledge / experience of behaviour change approaches. However, it will also be relevant to those who have established behaviour change initiatives but are interested in how the psychological priniciples of human behaviour can be mapped onto an integrated health and safety management system. In our experience whilst this course will prepare delegates to develop and implement a behaviour change programme, organisations often find that they want the security of having HSL experts available to support them through the process and help them tailor the approach to meet their current context, culture maturity level and audience. We will advise and guide you, ‘sense check’ your ideas and trouble shoot problems that arise by drawing on our wealth of expertise (both theoretical and practical) and experience of applying such a process in organisations across industry.  Our knowledge of what has and has not worked previously for other organisations can be invaluable. HSL experts can provide a variety of ‘next step’ solutions to help kick start your behavioural change programme, including: 1. Delivery of a one hour presentation to your senior management team outlining HSL’s ASCENT approach to achieving safety culture excellence. 2. A two hour facilitated exercise encouraging the SMT to develop an organisational vision and associated values.  Alternatively, HSL can provide you with a training/facilitation pack allowing you to run the exercise. 3.  A workshop to explore your leadership capability to deliver a change programme. 4. Facilitated ‘ask the expert’ session affording you and your team an opportunity to ask a member of the HSL safety culture team direct questions about your issues and support in developing your approach. 5. Facilitated action planning session using gap analysis to identify what you are currently doing for each of the 5 steps in the ASCENT process and identify what actions you might consider taking. For further information and pricing on this post event consultation, please email jane.hopkinson@hsl.gsi.gov.uk   The course will be run at the HSL laboratory in the spa town of Buxton. Buxton is in the heart of the Peak District and has good links to mainline train stations and Manchester International Airport. Details of hotels in the Buxton area can be found at www.visitbuxton.co.uk Cost The cost of the course is £825 per person (includes course notes, lunch and refreshments). Comments & Feedback “Excellent course, professionally presented, that provided a range of ideas and approaches as to how we can modify behaviour.”Chris Huckle, Rothamsted Research (North Wyke)     Book Course Please note the invoice option is not available within 4 weeks of the course date, or for overseas customers. For further dates and additional information email: training@hsl.gsi.gov.uk or contact the Training & Conferences Unit at HSL directly on +44 (0)1298 218806. Back to Health & Safety Training Courses Source link

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Alumasc completes strategy switch

Alumasc has completed its transition to becoming a focused supplier of niche building products, systems and solutions. The last step in the strategic transformation was the disposal of Dyson Diecastings, a machinery parts manufacturer, which has now been sold to Broadways Stampings for £4m. The cash proceeds will be re-invested to support thepurchase of new premises for Alumasc’s Water Management Solutions business as it approaches full capacity over the next couple of years. Alumasc chief executive Paul Hooper said: “The sale of Dyson represents another key strategic milestone for Alumasc, which has been transformed over recent years from a diversified group into a focused, growing niche building products business with significant further growth potential.” In 2006, Alumasc changed its Stock Exchange classification from Engineering Products to Construction & Building Products, as the Building Products division became the larger of the group’s two divisions. The acquisitions of Levolux in 2007, Blackdown Greenroofs in 2008 and Rainclear Systems in 2012, together with the disposal of Alumasc Dispense in 2011 and Alumasc Precision Components in 2015, gave the group more focus on its core building products activities.   This article was published on 1 Jul 2016 (last updated on 1 Jul 2016). Source link

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Lessons of Persimmon versus Arup dispute

With January traditionally a month for detox, Sarah Evans suggests it is time to bring clarity to your contracts. Above: Sarah Evans On 7th December 2015, the Technology & Construction Court handed down judgment on preliminary issues in Persimmon Homes Ltd and others v Ove Arup & Partners Ltd and another. The judgment makes clear that where commercial parties of equal bargaining power enter into a contract, the judiciary is reluctant to interfere. This makes it all the more important that parties to commercial construction contracts ensure that the contract reflects their intention and understanding clearly and without ambiguity. The need for clarity was apparent in two respects within the judgment: what contractual terms applied and what the exclusions and/or limitations of liability covered. Excluding/limiting liability Where either party knows of a particular risk, and wants to ensure that liability for that risk is either excluded or not excluded (as the case may be), they need to ensure that the drafting is crystal clear to avoid dispute down the line. The relevant clause of the post-purchase contract in this case read: “The Consultant’s aggregate liability under this Agreement whether in contract, tort (including negligence), for breach of statutory duty or otherwise […] shall be limited to £12,000,000.00 […] with the liability for pollution and contamination limited to £5,000,000.00 […] in the aggregate. Liability for any claim in relation to asbestos is excluded.” This is a clause that may at first glance seem common to similar contracts. However, it caused some bother, with the court noting that “viewed objectively, it is likely that the parties used different words in order to convey a different meaning”. The parties could neither agree whether: 1. the final sentence was absolute, covering all asbestos related claims regardless of whether they were in negligence or otherwise, due to the omission of “whether in contract…”. as found in the first sentence; nor 2. whether the £5,000,000 sub-limit, phrased “for pollution and contamination” covered both liability for causing the spread of pollution/contamination and for failure to identify the presence of pollution/contamination. Both were decided in favour of the consultant: the final sentence was absolute, and the sub-limit did cover failure to identify the presence of pollution/contamination. Multiple professional appointments In Persimmon, a consortium of developers (the ‘consortium’) instructed engineering firm Ove Arup (the ‘consultant’) to: assist in deciding whether to bid for a site, and if so the appropriate purchase price (pre-purchase contract); and provide design and development services, after purchase (post-purchase contract). The consultant believed that the post-purchase contract: superseded the pre-purchase contract, so that there was one source of contractual obligations; or, if it did not inserted the exclusion/limitation of liability clause into the pre-purchase contract. The court held that neither was accurate; each contract operated separately. The arguments involved in this aspect of the dispute relied heavily upon contractual interpretation. Ultimately, the outcome very nearly came down to something as simple as a missing capital ‘S’ on “services”. Come trial, this may have the effect that the consultant will be unable to exclude and/or limit his liability for breach under the pre-purchase contract. Detox Tips Given the minor technicalities on which this case did or could have turned, parties to commercial contracts should ensure they take professional legal advice from the outset of a project to ensure that drafting is as clear as possible. It is also advisable that where parties have doubt as to the intended effect of particular wording, they request some written clarification during contract negotiation of how the other party understands the wording. This will ensure everything is clear and both parties are on the same page, avoiding future dispute. Litigation is an expensive and risky way to find out what your contract means.   About the author: Sarah Evans is a senior associate with Thomas Eggar, a trading style of Irwin Mitchell LLP. This article was published on 10 Jan 2016 (last updated on 11 Jan 2016). Source link

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New funding pot for construction trailblazers announced

CITB has launched a new fund to support employers investing in higher Trailblazer Apprenticeships. The Trailblazer Apprenticeship Fund, which opened yesterday, will offer grants to employers training apprentices at levels 4-7, right up to post-graduate qualifications. The fund is a transitory measure, pending the Government announcing full details about its Apprenticeship Levy and CITB completing its ongoing reform of grant funding. Trailblazers are new apprenticeship standards devised by a group of employers for specific occupations within their industry. They allow employers to be at the forefront of developing new standards, to create a workforce with the skills industry needs, including at higher levels. Geeta Nathan, Head of Economic Analysis, says: “Trailblazer Apprenticeships are vital to equipping construction workers with the right skills. They set new and relevant standards for the industry and will help minimise the risk of skills gaps in the future. “We don’t want employers to miss out on the opportunities Trailblazer apprenticeships offer, so this fund will help them keep pace and train to the latest standards, right up to post-graduate level.” Employers can claim £75 per day for off-the-job attendance on Trailblazer Apprenticeship training at Level 4 or above. The funding is payable to a maximum of 35 days per Grants Scheme year, which equates to £2,625 per year. Claims can be backdated to September 2015, in line with the academic year. For more details about eligibility and how to claim, check out: www.citb.co.uk/levy-grant/grants-available/trailblazer-funding/ Source link

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Savills Expands Central London Investment Team

It has been announced that Savills will be expanding its Central London investment team in a move whereby it will acquire the City Investment team of Deloitte Real Estate. The team, which includes members: David McArthur, Jamie Binstock, Thomas Reeves, and Jamie Oley, presently provides advisory services for investment within the City of London itself; looking forward, their involvement will now be seen in Savills’ far broader Central London operations, headed up by Stephen Down. The Deloitte team is cited to be of great experience, with the present head of the team, Jamie Olley, having greater than eighteen years’ worth of experience in investment into real estate. The team has, to date, already worked alongside Savills before (back in 2014) when the Gherkin was sold to Safra at a price greater than £700m. Additionally, the team has also seen involvement in a number of other high-profile acquisitions, including that of Becket House (£112m), acquired by Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity, and also the sale of the 1st Martins Le Grand (£171m) for Noumra. The experience across these deals, as well as with a number of industry-leading organisations, seemingly positions them in a very strong stance for a future with Savills. The move serves as a means through which Savills can expand its team further, then bringing the company closer to its ambition of being the number one investment consultancy for Central London. As highlighted by Stephen Down, it is expected that the team will make a fine addition to Savills and be a great help in achieving the company’s aforementioned ambitions. Jamie Olley provided his thoughts, sayings: “We look forward to joining the London Investment team at Savills which we consider to be the ‘premier’ investment agency in Central London given the success they have had across London and on some very significant high profile transactions over the last few years.”

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Office Take-Up Maintains Growth Despite Brexit Fears

It has been highlighted by CBRE that the demand for London-based office space has continued strongly throughout the first quarter of 2016, despite both fears that organisations may err on side of caution from the possibility of Brexit, as well as the traditionally quiet nature of the start of the year. As a whole, it has been reported that some 3.1m square feet of office space in London was acquired throughout the period and, while the figure does sit marginally below the ten year average volume of 3.2m square feet, it does come at a time whereby a much more substantial drop was to be expected. Additionally, the volume of space presently under offer also remains the same from the final quarter of 2015, with 3m square feet still maintained (a value which is instead marginally above the ten year average of 2.8m square feet). As previously highlighted, the supply for such space may not be able to keep up with the demand for it however. Supply did indeed increase by 2% throughout the quarter, bringing the quantity up to 12.2m square feet, yet this still falls circa 17% short of the 10-year average. Of course, with this also being regarded as one of the quieter quarters of the year, how demand and supply will compare in the coming quarter is unknown. Emma Crawford, CBRE’s Head of Central London Leasing highlighted how the “weak” prospective for global economic growth, as well as the potential for Brexit has thrown a degree of uncertainty into the laps of businesses, yet the level of demand has still yet been maintained. She explained: “That demand for office space has remained so resilient speaks volumes for London’s ongoing attractiveness as a global hub for those companies hoping to lay down roots or expand their footprint in the capital.”

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Featuring Virgin Media Business

The Need For Speed (The Following is a Promoted Article) Virgin Media has been at the forefront of UK broadband infrastructure for a number of years. However, its ambitious endeavours show no sign of slowing. Indeed, the accelerator pedal has been floored once again with the announcement earlier this year of Project Lightning. In the single largest investment in UK broadband for a decade, Virgin Media is investing £3bn to extend its ultrafast capability to an additional four million premises, taking its reach up to 17 million by 2020. As the world’s most internet-based major economy, broadband infrastructure and the opportunities it offers, is increasingly central to the country’s growth over the coming years. Virgin Media is already central to this growth but it recognises that it cannot stand still. The £3bn of additional private investment it is making is essential for individuals and businesses to thrive in the global digital economy, currently  providing speeds up to 200Mbps with 300Mbps announced for 2016. Significantly, the investment also has the potential to create thousands of new jobs in what will be a multi-billion pound boost to the national economy. Certainly, Virgin Media Business has the potential to make a huge impact in future. It already provides products and services to a wide community of businesses and public sector organisations with most of its 40,000 clients being small and medium-sized enterprises. In a groundbreaking report issued recently, it found the economy could receive a £92bn boost if firms fully develop their digital potential. It also found that in the last 12 months, digital capabilities generated £123bn in business revenues, equivalent to 3.4% of total GDP. It is therefore fundamental for both the growth of business and the UK economy, that businesses of all sizes have access to cheaper, faster, more reliable broadband in order to fulfil this potential digital opportunity. Critically, Virgin Media Business works closely with key government departments including the DCMS to remain at the forefront of developments. This has included assistance to enhance commercial opportunities through the internet. For example, recently it launched a free small business broadband installation scheme to help them get online. This came as the Government’s Super Connected Cities (SCC) voucher programme closed in October. Following high levels of demand for the vouchers and the support the scheme provided to thousands of small businesses, Virgin Media Business committed to cover up to £1,000 of installation costs for new business customers in the same cities covered by the SCC. This is being trialled until the end of the year. Elsewhere, in September, Virgin announced it was bringing ultrafast broadband to Manchester’s Tech Quarter, giving a boost to the local economy and business productivity in the area. Through a package that has been specially designed to support the connectivity needs of businesses located in multi-tenanted buildings, 3,000 businesses co-located in 300 buildings will now have access to the fastest, cheapest and most reliable internet connections. This followed a similar launch in London’s Tech City earlier this year where more than 450 London businesses located in 70 buildings are being connected to Virgin Media Business’s dedicated connections. Delivery of its ambitious plans isn’t a straight forward task but these are challenges Virgin Media Business is confident it can tackle. When rolling out broadband there are numerous things that can get in the way – wayleaves, business rates and even things like parking restrictions – so it is vital that a close working relationship with local authorities is established. Innovative ways of deploying fibre cables such as narrow trenching are assisting the process through increased efficiency and speed of installation. Moreover, narrow trenching reduces the width of the trench used to lay fibre cables from around 40cm to just 10cm and enables engineers to cover up to 100m in a day, twice as fast as current methods. Crucially, Virgin Media is the only widely available provider to use DOCSIS 3 technology to provide broadband from the cabinet to people’s homes. It is the use of this coaxial cable which enables it to support faster speeds without deterioration over distance and is what allows for ultrafast speeds of 200Mbps and beyond. Yet, the advantages of this are only possible through support at a local level. It’s important local authorities work with Virgin Media to cut red tape and remove barriers to broadband rollout. Plans are now in motion with over 250,000 premises already earmarked for build in Manchester, Nottingham and Leeds with more locations to be announced this year.  

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Featuring Ballymore: Interview With Sean Mulryan (Chairman & Group Chief Executive)

Making The Difference (The Following is a Promoted Article) “Ballymore is different,” says Chairman and Group Chief Executive Sean Mulryan. Driven by creative ingenuity, a passion for improving the lives of those people its work ultimately serves, and an ingrained desire to get the best out of its workforce, Ballymore sets the bar high. What is astonishing is that it keeps surpassing its own ambitious goals. This has seen the business grow substantially from its origins in Ireland into one of London’s top developers. Indeed, the company has become synonymous with regeneration across the entire city. Its history dates back to its founder’s twenties and Mulryan’s time as a bricklayer and stonemason. He established Ballymore as a source for accomplished bricklayers to serve the needs of local contractors before moving into development work in and around Dublin. Many noted his attention to detail; a work ethic that brought the best out of those that worked with him, and as a result delivered optimum standards. These principles remain the cornerstone of the business today. Growth was unsurprisingly rapid and by 1992 Ballymore was one of Ireland’s largest homebuilders. A reputation for quality, creativity and value for money drove the sort of word of mouth any company director craves for, and the business flourished. However, Mulryan’s ambitions demanded he took Ballymore further afield, finding and successfully undertaking opportunities in London. Now an established developer in the city, the company has extended its reach, quickly showcasing its exacting standards and strict quality control in Europe. Proudly, for example, a development in Bratislava won two major European Awards for Best Building and Best Retail Development, highlighting not only the company’s ability to take its expertise to the international market but showing its depth of knowledge in building mixed use developments that combine office, retail, hotel and leisure facilities. “We’ve always taken a different approach,” notes Mulryan. “The difference is in the detail. We put an enormous amount of thought into every development, as if we were going to live or work there ourselves. A lot of time is spent discussing how and where people are going to live in the future. I like to think that the imaginative work we do in our developments and their surroundings will play a big part in improving the quality of life of our customers. “If we can achieve that, as well as creating great buildings that truly grace the landscape, then we will have succeeded in realising the vision I had for this company some thirty years ago.” Mulryan, as CEO, now oversees a business that has an accomplished track record as an international investment and development company. With a focus on large-scale projects in London and across Europe, Ballymore is recognised as a leader in urban regeneration and distinguishes itself over competitors through a capability to take on a scheme from initial conception through to final realisation with full management control along the way. It is the company’s hands-on approach and skill to tackle every element of a project that enables it to deliver the standards it strives for. Unquestionably, the painstaking attention to detail witnessed in Sean Mulryan’s work from the outset is still seen today; the only change being Ballymore’s scale. This combination of workmanship, management and expertise across all aspects of a development not only delivers customer satisfaction but has caught the attention of many awarding bodies within the sector. One of its most recent accomplishment was the successful delivery of Embassy Gardens Phase One in London, a 2.6m square foot mixed use development that includes apartments, office space, housing, and flexible retail and leisure space. For this, the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) rewarded Ballymore with a Bronze in its 2015 National Site Awards. Indeed, if Ballymore sets out to improve the life of its customers on delivery of a project, the CCS award highlights how that ethos begins at conception. Fergus Boyle, Projects Director, believes there were several reasons why Ballymore achieved the CCS award. “We were very considerate of the local environment and the people in that area,” he says. “As we were working on public roadways we kept everything neat and tidy and continually kept our carbon footprint as low as possible through the project. This meant managing our traffic movement effectively, keeping as much traffic as possible on back roads so it would not block up public roads. In terms of deliveries on site and the public traffic around the area, we separated our walkways from the public so we would not be interfering with people’s daily movements.” The Scheme looks at all aspects of construction activity that may directly or indirectly impact on the image of the industry as a whole. This involves focusing on three key areas: the general public, the workforce and the environment. Boyle says that these areas are given equal footing on every project Ballymore undertakes. “It is very important to have a considerate site especially for the surrounding public as we are effectively disrupting their lives. Therefore, we must be as considerate as we possibly can in all aspects of the project. The main things that we carry out when setting up our site is to keep it away from the general public so that it does not affect them. Also, all of our deliveries go on back roads rather than the main public routes.” This extends to the safety of the workforce on site including, importantly, subcontractors. “Before anyone is able to come on site we insist that they take an online site induction – this includes all of our subcontractors and suppliers. The induction can be done in 12 different languages and we make sure that these inductions are done ahead of time rather than when someone comes to the site for the first time and having to go through it then. “In the mornings, anyone that is coming to the site for the first time after completing the induction, would have to do a further half an hour tour

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