BDC

Search
BDC Magazine

October 25, 2017

Nuttall’s picky policy pays off

Thanks to more careful project selection, civil engineering contractor BAM Nuttall returned to profit in 2015. Above: Chief executive Stephen Fox In 2015 BAM Nuttall made a pre-tax proft of £18.2m on turnover up 2% to £787m (2014: £770m). The previous year the company had made a pre-tax loss of

Read More »

Reinforced grid

BKK Nett AS, the Norwegian power company based in Bergen, will soon be the operator of a recording breaking subsea power link as Nexans just completed a project to install the world’s longest and deepest 420 kV XLPE (cross-linked polyethylene) insulated submarine cable system. In a turnkey project worth around

Read More »

Caterpillar cuts 2016 forecasts further

©Bloomberg Japan is planning to invest huge sums in coal technology to replace the winding down of nuclear power Caterpillar cut its full-year sales and profits forecast for a second straight quarter on Tuesday, highlighting the struggle to call a bottom to an emerging market downturn amid fresh risks created

Read More »

RIBA response to Queen's Speech

Browser does not support script. Contact us The Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) President, Stephen Hodder, has given the Institute’s initial reaction to today’s Queen’s Speech.  Of particular interest to the RIBA were:  Housing Bill – including measures to increase the supply of Starter Homes and simplify the neighbourhood

Read More »

Steady rise of equity release in UK housing market continues

Some £8.2 million of housing wealth was withdrawn in the UK every working day in the second quarter of 2016 as equity release lending passed £0.5 billion for the first quarter on record. Overall there was £514.4 million of lending in quarter two, up 34% year on year and 58%

Read More »

Starrett Looks in to Applications of Virtual Reality in Construction

Virtual Reality technology has been developed for a while now, however when people consider this technology their mind could more often go to demonstrations and simulations of space explorations and a range of other equally extraordinary, if not very useful, experiences. However, the technology is getting more diverse applications as

Read More »

Considerations for Shot Blaster Purchase

The Boeing Everett factory is the largest building in the world. The aeroplane assembling facility is located in Washington and needs constant upkeep in order to ensure that the optimal level of production is maintained. Part of this maintenance includes the 398,000 square meter floor space. To carry out such

Read More »

Nimbla and Munich Re Work to Solve UK SME Bad Debt Problem

There has been £5.8 billion of bad debt write-off from all of UK SMEs have been reported in the last financial year. This figure has inspired Nimbla into action. The innovative new insurtech start-up company has been looking into the different ways that they could rethink how smaller companies manage

Read More »

A guide to driving safely in the dark

Summer has been and gone, and we are nearly at the end of Autumn too which only means one thing – here comes winter…and the dark nights. As the clocks go back at the end of October, nights quickly start to roll in earlier and earlier, while morning sunrises seem

Read More »

Howarth at Home puts Kitchens on Display at Home Building and Renovating Show

Howarth At Home, specialist division of Howarth Timber and Building Supplies, is set to showcase its beautiful kitchen designs to homeowners at the Homebuilding and Renovating Show in Harrogate.   Taking place at the Harrogate Convention Centre on 3rd-5th November, the Homebuilding and Renovating Show brings together self-build specialists, renovation experts and leading brands

Read More »

Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024

October 25, 2017

Nuttall’s picky policy pays off

Thanks to more careful project selection, civil engineering contractor BAM Nuttall returned to profit in 2015. Above: Chief executive Stephen Fox In 2015 BAM Nuttall made a pre-tax proft of £18.2m on turnover up 2% to £787m (2014: £770m). The previous year the company had made a pre-tax loss of £18.3m. The 2015 result represents a profit margin of 2.3%, which chief executive Stephen Fox said was “further vindication of our policy of managing risk and only selecting projects with appropriate contract terms”. He said: “We will continue to pursue this strategy of selectivity with projects that we can add value to through two stage early contractor involvement.” Mr Fox added: “We will not target unsuitable projects in pursuit of growth.” BAM Nuttall, part of the Dutch company Royal BAM Group, generates 99% of its revenues in the UK.     This article was published on 22 Jun 2016 (last updated on 22 Jun 2016). Source link

Read More »

Reinforced grid

BKK Nett AS, the Norwegian power company based in Bergen, will soon be the operator of a recording breaking subsea power link as Nexans just completed a project to install the world’s longest and deepest 420 kV XLPE (cross-linked polyethylene) insulated submarine cable system. In a turnkey project worth around 75 million euros to reinforce the grid in western Norway, Nexans has delivered 90 km of 420 kV AC XLPE cable. This contract fulfils Nexans’ vision of helping to meet the growing global demand for electricity.   The new power link, comprising three single core cables in parallel, runs between Mongstad and Kollsnes, crossing two fjords: Hjeltefjorden and Lurefjorden. At its deepest point, the cables were installed at 390 m, making this both the world’s deepest 420 kV XLPE system, and longest at this depth, with a length of 22 km. The cable system for the two fjords are manufactured, delivered and installed by Nexans. The cables were laid by Nexans’ cable laying vessel, C/S Nexans Skagerrak. In the near-shore areas, the cables were mainly protected with HDPE pipes, outer shells or trenched by water jetting. Tom Skattum, project manager at Nexans Norway, said, “Achieving these new world records was a great challenge for Nexans and this contract for BKK represents the height of Nexans’ expertise in submarine power cables.” The submarine cables have been manufactured at Nexans’ facility in Halden, Norway, and laying was completed in May 2016. This will be followed by termination work on shore, ready for the handover testing in autumn 2016.   Source link

Read More »

Caterpillar cuts 2016 forecasts further

©Bloomberg Japan is planning to invest huge sums in coal technology to replace the winding down of nuclear power Caterpillar cut its full-year sales and profits forecast for a second straight quarter on Tuesday, highlighting the struggle to call a bottom to an emerging market downturn amid fresh risks created by Brexit and geopolitical turmoil. Weak demand for equipment used in the mining and energy sector continued to weigh on its business while the strong dollar and weaker capital spending in Europe ate into its overseas sales. More On this topic IN Construction Brad Halverson, chief financial officer, said in an interview that the slump in demand was not only a reflection of the broader economic environment but the fact that miners had until a couple of years ago bought more heavy equipment than they needed, which was weighing on replacement demand. On a more positive note, he said dealers had started to see demand for spare parts to rebuild 50 tonne mining trucks, although this year it was expecting to sell only 100 new trucks compared with previous years when it sold between 600-700. “If you go back historically, we’ve not had more than two years down [in sales] since the late 20s, 30s, before it has started to recover,” Mr Halverson said. “For us to be in our fourth year . . . is something we’ve not experienced.” Although the US heavy machinery maker, best known for its yellow excavators, said commodity prices appeared to have stabilised, they remained at low levels and the group warned that the fallout from the Brexit vote in the UK and turmoil in Turkey added to the lack of predictability. Mr Halverson said that the company had contingency plans in place in case the various difficulties in Europe were exacerbated. It is reducing costs by $2bn this year and is prepared to take out further costs if necessary, while spending on areas such as adding digital equipment to its machinery which it sees as a key growth opportunity. If you go back historically, we’ve not had more than two years down [in sales] since the late 20s, 30s, before it has started to recover. For us to be in our fourth year . . . is something we’ve not experienced – Brad Halverson, chief financial officer The company warned that more lay-offs were expected in the second half as it tried to adapt to the tough trading environment. “World economic growth remains subdued and is not sufficient to drive improvement in most of the industries and markets we serve,” the company said in a statement. Caterpillar said it expected sales and revenues to be in a range of $40bn to $40.5bn in 2016. This compares with its previous outlook of $40bn to $42bn issued in April, the $40bn to $44bn guidance in January, and the $47bn recorded in 2015. It expects profits to come in at a midpoint of $2.75 a share this year, or about $3.55 excluding restructuring costs. This is down from the guidance given in April for $3 a share (or $3.70 a share excluding restructuring costs) and the forecast of $3.50 a share (or $4 a share excluding restructuring costs) issued in January. The cut in forecast comes as second-quarter revenue tumbled 16 per cent to $10.3bn. Sales fell in all categories and drove profit down to 93 cents a share, compared with $1.31 per share last year. Adjusted earnings — which exclude restructuring costs — came in at $1.09 a share, ahead of forecasts of 96 cents a share. The recent recovery in commodity prices has yet to translate into increased mining activity or a rise in equipment purchases. Mining companies are trying to adjust their balance sheets and cost structures, and may continue to delay equipment purchases. Analysts at Jefferies also noted that Caterpillar has 20 “key facilities” in the UK and said potential trade restrictions stemming from the country’s decision to leave the EU could impact businesses. Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016. You may share using our article tools. Please don’t cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web. Source link

Read More »

RIBA response to Queen's Speech

Browser does not support script. Contact us The Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) President, Stephen Hodder, has given the Institute’s initial reaction to today’s Queen’s Speech.  Of particular interest to the RIBA were:  Housing Bill – including measures to increase the supply of Starter Homes and simplify the neighbourhood planning system Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill – to give greater powers to councils and local communities RIBA President Stephen Hodder said: ‘We welcome the Government’s commitment to housebuilding, but it is vital that the pressure to quickly alleviate the housing crisis doesn’t lead to sub-standard homes and communities. The RIBA supports the building of more low-cost homes on brownfield sites but high quality design and infrastructure are essential to create desirable homes that meet the needs of current and future generations. ‘Whilst we are pleased to see the Government’s commitment to neighbourhood planning, we remain deeply concerned by the loss of expertise and capacity from local authority planning teams and are cautious that the pressure to speed up the process could put the design quality of developments at risk. ‘Decentralising power from Central Government to English cities is essential to support a growing and balanced UK economy. We welcome the Government’s commitment to give cities the freedom to make big decisions on local transport, housing and skills. Cities must also be able to raise finance and retain income to invest in local priorities, including high quality housing and innovative infrastructure.’ RIBA set out a vision for the new Government in the Building a Better Britain report. ENDS Notes to editors: 1. For further press information contact Melanie Mayfield, RIBA Press Office melanie.mayfield@riba.org 020 7307 3662 2. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members www.architecture.com  3. Follow us on Twitter for regular RIBA updates www.twitter.com/RIBA   Posted on Wednesday 27th May 2015 Search architecture.com just start typing and hit enter again × Browser does not support script. Browser does not support script. Source link

Read More »

Steady rise of equity release in UK housing market continues

Some £8.2 million of housing wealth was withdrawn in the UK every working day in the second quarter of 2016 as equity release lending passed £0.5 billion for the first quarter on record. Overall there was £514.4 million of lending in quarter two, up 34% year on year and 58% higher than in the second quarter of 2014, according to the latest figures from the Equity Release Council. The council report points out that the three busiest quarters for equity release lending have all come within the last 12 months and the annual rise in the number of new plans agreed is the fastest seen in 13 years. Common uses for equity release include paying off existing mortgages and loans, providing extra retirement income, funding home improvements or care related adaptations, paying for travel or other one off expenses, and gifting money to family members as a ‘living inheritance’. The council also says that over 55s increased appetite to use housing wealthy has been supported by market developments which include new providers and increasing choice of products and features emerging. In addition, the market received support from the regulator in April when they amended the legislation to allow optional interest repayments to be exempt from mortgage affordability rules. Year on year, the council’s figures show the biggest percentage growth in the value of lending in the second quarter of the year was for lump sum lifetime mortgages, typically involving a larger release of housing wealth in a single payment, up 37% or £56.8 million  compared to the second quarter of 2015. However, lending via drawdown lifetime mortgages, allowing consumers to make multiple withdrawals of equity as and when needed, continued to account for the larger share of the market, growing 31% or £72.4 million to £304 million compared to the second quarter of 2015. Home reversion plans also experienced a rise in the second quarter of 2016 with the total value of activity more than doubling year on year from £623,647 in the second quarter of 2015 to £1.5 million. Looking at new customers’ product choices, some 67% opted for drawdown products in the second quarter, up from 65% a year earlier, while the share of lump sum products dipped slightly from 35% to 33%. With market activity having grown significantly during that time, the number of new drawdown plans agreed was up 27% year on year compared with 16% for lump sum plans. Overall, it meant the total volume of new plans agreed across the whole market was up 23% year on year, the highest annual growth rate in nearly 13 years since the third quarter of 2003. The 6,671 new plans agreed was the largest quarterly total since the fourth quarter of 2008. ‘These figures are the latest sign that UK home owners increasingly see housing wealth as a fundamental part of their retirement funding plans. The long term rise of house prices has allowed many older homeowners to build up considerable reserves of housing equity, which have the potential to solve many of the financial challenges facing the UK’s ageing population,’ said Nigel Waterson, chairman of the Equity Release Council. ‘Growing demand from consumers since the recession has been met by a concerted effort from the sector to grow the range of available products and the reach of specialist advice. Looking ahead, this work will continue with an increasing focus on building relationships within the sector and with related markets such as residential mortgages and later life planning, so consumers can be referred for advice on equity release when it can help their circumstances,’ he pointed out. ‘There is also an important role for government and regulators when it comes to financial education. As well as helping savers to understand the choices offered by the ‘pension freedoms’, it is just as important to help homeowners understand the options they have to put themselves on a stronger financial footing in later life,’ he added. According to Steve Wilkie, managing director of Responsible Equity Release, drawdown continues to provide a lifeline for those seeking to top up day to day finances, particularly in the current low interest rate environment.  ‘The flexibility of drawing money as and when required, without being charged interest until it’s drawn, makes it an appealing option for those looking for an additional income stream. And drawdown is only likely to grow in popularity in this new world of greater pension freedom,’ he said. ‘With more flexibility in how we invest our pensions, many are choosing to keep their pensions invested rather than buying an annuity. The downside is that they are more exposed to fluctuating stock markets. That’s fine when markets are going up, but when shares are tumbling, people are faced with dipping into their pensions at a time when they should be leaving well alone. Drawdown provides an income tap that can be turned on in these uncertain periods, riding out the bad times until markets recover,’ he explained. ‘Customers taking out lump sums are tending to have larger shopping lists as equity release becomes far more of a family decision. Paying off mortgages still accounts for more than a quarter of the larger lump sum releases we handle. But 45% of those taking lump sums have at least three beneficiaries of the cash being released, and this is pushing customers, who choose the lump sum route, to release larger amounts from their properties,’ he added. Alice Watson, product and communications manager at Retirement Advantage Equity Release, believes that equity release is now firmly establishing itself in the retirement finance mainstream. She pointed out that over the past three months there have been new entrants to the market, fresh partnerships and a welcome change to the Financial Conduct Authority’s affordability assessments. ‘These developments have contributed to equity release’s already surging popularity. This huge increase in lending has come despite unprecedented political and economic uncertainty ahead of the European Union referendum,’ she pointed out. ‘That speaks volumes about the resilience of the sector. It’s too early to

Read More »

Starrett Looks in to Applications of Virtual Reality in Construction

Virtual Reality technology has been developed for a while now, however when people consider this technology their mind could more often go to demonstrations and simulations of space explorations and a range of other equally extraordinary, if not very useful, experiences. However, the technology is getting more diverse applications as it becomes more and more accessible, making VR much more practical. Starrett, the hand tool specialist has been looking into the ways in which the construction industry can use virtual reality and what changes this could bring to the industry from contractors. The technical support team leader at Starrett, Graham Munro, has been examining this topic in more detail and feels that the technology can be used for more than just customer engagement by advertisers and online retailers. Video games were the initial and main focus of virtual reality technology, and it is a great way to get a potential customer’s attention. However the developments being made could benefit a wider array of industries. The construction industry has been evolving as technology evolves as well. No longer a blueprints and paper, process, the construction industry uses 3D CAD software as an essential part of architectural design now. Developing from this is Building Information Modelling, or BIM, that is being adopted by a number of construction firms. BIM allows both architects and industry professionals a great deal more insight, which means that they can be more effective when planning, designing and managing their buildings and infrastructure. IKEA has already launched their first high definition interactive showroom which uses virtual reality. The technology used by the Home and furniture giant offers customers the opportunity to see how their homes could look with a range of IKEA designs. Going back to the construction industry, larger construction companies are using VR technology in order to “walk” through and around their sites, transforming the more traditional job site walk. This level of immersion allows engineers and building professionals to assess the ergonomics and practicalities of their floor plans as well as notice any potential challenges ahead of the construction process.

Read More »

Considerations for Shot Blaster Purchase

The Boeing Everett factory is the largest building in the world. The aeroplane assembling facility is located in Washington and needs constant upkeep in order to ensure that the optimal level of production is maintained. Part of this maintenance includes the 398,000 square meter floor space. To carry out such a large and constant maintenance job, the contractors working at the factory need to make sure that the right equipment is used to deliver efficient maintenance to the facility. National Flooring Equipment is a supplier of surface preparation equipment and Dave Bigham, the Director of Global Training at the company is a ware of the main factors that all contractors need to consider when carrying out maintenance work, and renting shot blasters. It is vital that any size surface preparation job, from small residential jobs to working on the Boeing factory floor, the correct equipment is essential. Shot Blasters are considered to be efficient pieces of equipment when carrying out surface preparations. Used to strip older coatings as well as clean and profile a floor, shot blasters can carry out a range of different maintenance processes in one step, making maintenance of larger spaces such as the Boeing Everett factory in Washington quicker and easier to complete. Another positive of shot blasters iis that there is very little cleanup required, which means that the contractors can immediately apply a new coating on to the freshly prepared floor. However for contractors it is important to consider the size of the blaster required for the job in order to get the best production rate without issues with access. It is also important for the purchase of a shot blaster to have a good return on investment, as those with larger sized equipment available already are more likely to be chosen for larger contracts, while smaller blasters can still be useful for moving around tight spaces and corners. It is also vital that contractors consider accessibility to the site and as well as power source accessibility and the correct tooling.

Read More »

Nimbla and Munich Re Work to Solve UK SME Bad Debt Problem

There has been £5.8 billion of bad debt write-off from all of UK SMEs have been reported in the last financial year. This figure has inspired Nimbla into action. The innovative new insurtech start-up company has been looking into the different ways that they could rethink how smaller companies manage their credit. The extensive platform that has been created by Nimbla will offer SMEs access to intelligent credit control as well as on-demand single invoice insurance through their cloud accounting. The platform will also offer smaller companies underwriting rules that are agreed upon by Munich Re’s business unit Digital Partners. Nimbla has been named as one of the 24 successful firms to be accepted into the FCA regulatory sandbox. Nimbla has also been announced as the latest insurtech startup to partner with Munich Re’s Digital Partners. Munich Re is known for being the A.M. Best A+ rated insurance company. The company focuses on delivering exceptional solution-based expert solutions for their clients. The company also delivers consistent risk management, financial stability and client proximity services. Munich Re has a strong track record of being able to identify the most innovative insurtech brands and works to offer a powerful market presence as Nimbla prepares to launch. Nimbla make the most of cloud accounting software in order to offer complete credit management for SMEs. This platform offers single invoice insurance which is underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance SE, Nimbla is also working to offer a more sustainable business model for SMEs. The company has found that Munich Re Digital Partners are progressive and have a great deal of experience that they can benefit from. The changes taking place in the landscape for commercial lines are changing, in particular for SMEs, both companies understanding this could lead to significant benefits being created for SMEs going forward.

Read More »

A guide to driving safely in the dark

Summer has been and gone, and we are nearly at the end of Autumn too which only means one thing – here comes winter…and the dark nights. As the clocks go back at the end of October, nights quickly start to roll in earlier and earlier, while morning sunrises seem to get later. Join Grange Motors Land Rover specialists, in this guide, they give you their top tips to driving safely in the dark this winter. Winter goes hand in hand with harsh weather conditions that can affect road conditions when driving, and lead to decreased visibility on the roads. According to the Department of Transport, in the winter of 2014, 2,274 people were injured in reported road accidents. 251 were also seriously injured and 29 people were killed. Add that to the fact that of all fatal car accidents, 49 percent occur at night, despite there being fewer drivers on the road, as well as that night driving has a fatality rate per mile nearly triple that of daytime driving, and it’s vital that you are prepared for your journeys as the dark, colder mornings and nights arrive. Lights Whilst it is essential that you have your headlights on before sunrise and after sunset, in the winter, it is advised that you keep your lights on for an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset to ensure other drivers on the road can clearly see you during twilight. You should do regular checks to make sure that all your lights are operating properly throughout the winter too – failure to switch on your lights could mean that other drivers do not see you approaching and accidents could occur. You can drive with your full beam switched on in rural areas whenever you see it safe to do so, to improve your road visibility. However, you must ensure you dip your lights back down when you encounter another driver to avoid dazzling them and affecting their visibility. Have your eyes checked The dark nights are a trigger for drivers to realise that their sight isn’t great. You should therefore have your eyes checked before it’s too late. Be aware that some drivers struggle with the glare from headlights and street lamps in the dark – fortunately, most opticians offer anti-glare lenses to help improve night time driving. This also helps for reading road signs in the dark, where they might not be as clear to make out – or affected by the weather conditions. If you don’t feel comfortable driving without your glasses, don’t! Make sure you always keep a pair in your car too, so that you can clearly see when driving in the dark. Ensure that you regularly clean your windows and mirrors as well – having a dirty windscreen can catch the glare of oncoming vehicles, or compromise your vision. Allow more time for your journey When driving in the dark, it’s important to take your time as it’s sometimes not as easy to see hazards on the road. By allowing more time for your journey, you can schedule regular breaks when driving long distances to give your eyes a rest. Driving in the dark can be a strain on your eyes, and it’s easy to start to feel fatigue – so, give your eyes a rest and then allow time for them adjust. Be prepared to be patient and cautious of other drivers around you who might not be as comfortable as you are driving in the dark too, or who may have been drinking. Stay alert! 77% of alcohol-related car accidents occur between 6pm and 6am.

Read More »

Howarth at Home puts Kitchens on Display at Home Building and Renovating Show

Howarth At Home, specialist division of Howarth Timber and Building Supplies, is set to showcase its beautiful kitchen designs to homeowners at the Homebuilding and Renovating Show in Harrogate.   Taking place at the Harrogate Convention Centre on 3rd-5th November, the Homebuilding and Renovating Show brings together self-build specialists, renovation experts and leading brands under one roof, making it the ideal venue for Howarth At Home’s beautiful kitchen collection.   Visitors to the show can see an example of one of Howarth At Home’s stunning kitchen designs on Howarth Timber’s stand, M128, giving them a first-hand view of the quality and choice on offer.   The stand features a fully-fitted kitchen, complete with floor and wall units, built-in appliances and a dining area, so visitors can get a tangible sense of how the kitchen would enhance their own home. What’s more, a dedicated kitchen designer will be available throughout the show to discuss specific projects and offer advice.   As well as showcasing the Howarth At Home collection, visitors to Howarth Timber’s stand can find inspiration for their home, inside and out, including the company’s range of Namgrass artificial grass, decking options and internal doors.   Commenting on the exhibition, Howarth At Home kitchens category manager Ratinder Sandhu said: “The Howarth At Home range has added a new dimension to our branches in the past year, and more and more customers are seeing the benefit of dealing with a professional merchant when ordering their new kitchen, bedroom or bathroom.   “The Homebuilding and Renovating Show provides the ideal platform to give people a close-up view of our collection to visualise how it might fit into their project and we look forward to introducing visitors to the range.”   Howarth At Home has been a preferred stockist of the Laura Ashley kitchen collection since January 2016.  Howarth Timber and Building supplies now has Howarth At Home showrooms at 11 of its branches across the country with plans to roll the collection out even further in 2017 and beyond.   For more details on Howarth Timber please visit www.howarthathome.co.uk   Facebook: www.facebook.com/howarthtimber Twitter: @HowarthTimber LinkedIn: Howarth Timber and Building Supplies Ltd

Read More »