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August 31, 2018

BIM is set to transform construction management

Like most industries, building and construction is moving with the times. Having long since realised the efficiencies that computers can bring, it is now taking this to the next level with the increasing adoption of Building Information Modelling (BIM). Chris Lloyd, Managing Director of electrical enclosure manufacturer, Spelsberg UK, looks

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Warning Signs That Tell You to Replace a Boiler

The boiler in a home is one of the most used appliances, and one that you want to ensure is working correctly. If the boiler broke down, especially during the cold months of the year, it could leave the home with no heat and leave the household in danger. Even

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BDC 318 : Jul 2024

August 31, 2018

Huge opposition to Government plan to end fair market payments for solar power generated by UK homes

Hundreds of stakeholders call for urgent action to stabilise UK solar Proposal leaves UK consumers with much weaker rights than other European citizens The STA today publishes an open letter to Energy Minister Claire Perry calling on her to urgently confirm the continuation of the ‘export tariff’ from next April. The ‘export tariff’ is not a subsidy but a mechanism that works alongside the Feed-In Tariff to ensure small solar generators are paid at a fair market rate, for the power they feed into the grid. The letter has been signed by over 200 diverse organisations, representing cutting edge ‘smart’ technologies, innovative suppliers, academics, major NGOs, youth groups, city leaders, faith groups, farmers & land owners, as well as leading lights in the solar & battery storage industries. STA Chief Executive Chris Hewett said; “The latest Government proposals for solar power are creating shock waves well beyond the solar industry. Nobody can fathom how Government can contemplate leaving households and small organisations as the only generators left unpaid for the valuable power they put into the electricity network. We are asking the Energy Minister to act quickly and promise to maintain the export tariff & to uphold the basic rights of a market.” The letter is published as the Government closes one of its consultations on the Feed-in-Tariff. The solar industry currently faces huge policy uncertainty when the FiT ends next March. That is despite a recent survey by Client Earth, one of the signatories to the letter, showing 62% of UK homes want to install solar & 60% want to install battery storage. [1] The proposal to remove the fair export payment flies in the face of new EU legislation that will enshrine the rights of ‘prosumers’ (households & organisations that generate, as well as consume power) across Europe to be paid at a fair market rate for the clean solar power they inject into the electricity network. If the UK removes this payment, UK homes, farmers, community organisations and small businesses will be the only groups generating electricity  who are not paid for their power. Other generators spilling onto the network have been paid at a higher rate that the export tariff in 2018. If small generators  are forced to spill their energy onto the grid for free they will effectively be subsidising the big players in the power industry – a scenario that even major suppliers, like E,On and Ovo Energy have rejected as signatories to the letter. James Watson, Chief Executive of SolarPower Europe said; “We are astonished that the UK could propose ending payments to householders for their clean power just as Europe moves to secure the rights of all its citizens to fair payment. Such poor treatment of British small scale energy consumers will harm public engagement in solar, at a time when we need to increase the uptake of clean energies, and will put the UK public at a huge disadvantage compared to other EU countries.” The proposal also comes when UK solar deployment is at an eight-year low and the industry urgently needs Government to provide a fair and level playing field for the technology. Deployment of solar in the UK has fallen by 95% in 2018 compared to 2015, as it has been hit with a series of damaging tax changes alongside the removal of support. Leo Murray, Director of Strategy at 10:10 Climate Action said:   “The Feed in Tariff has been the most popular and successful British climate change policy ever implemented, empowering hundreds of thousands of citizens and communities to help tackle the defining challenge of our time. Scrapping it with no form of replacement doesn’t just mean locking the public out of the renewables revolution, it risks derailing it altogether.” The letter instead asks Government to not only maintain the fair export tariff, but remove a series of regulatory barriers which are currently preventing a market for local flexibility services and exported power to flourish. Chris Hewett added, “It is vital for Government to ensure households and small businesses are taken on a clear & secure journey in the emerging smart energy system. It is not too late for some really positive policies given the potential of smart homes and businesses to save the system and our economy billions of pounds compared to business as usual. Removing illogical barriers to the 830,000 solar homes in the UK to installing battery storage and smart meters is also an easy win. “Let’s be clear; we are not asking for subsidy. We are asking for fair treatment for the everyday people and businesses who want to invest in clean power to do something really meaningful to help tackle climate change. Government must support their efforts.”

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BIM is set to transform construction management

Like most industries, building and construction is moving with the times. Having long since realised the efficiencies that computers can bring, it is now taking this to the next level with the increasing adoption of Building Information Modelling (BIM). Chris Lloyd, Managing Director of electrical enclosure manufacturer, Spelsberg UK, looks at the principles of BIM and its potential to improve construction management. The UK construction sector is worth about £90bn a year (7 percent of GDP) and provides work for over 3 million people. As such it is an important part of the national economy and therefore needs to remain competitive by adopting new management and construction techniques. For 50 years or more, the industry has looked to technology to constantly improve the way it operates, in both the design and construction phases as well as for long term building care and maintenance. Some decades ago, computers were adopted in the management of larger construction projects. Then, more recently, the advent of laptops opened up smaller jobs to the benefit of digitalisation. The internet, smartphones and tablets took things another step further, but, because they let many different people use programmes of their own choosing, a degree of confusion or information overload began to emerge. Spelsberg UK makes a wide range of electrical enclosures and distribution boxes, so is very much involved in the nitty-gritty details of specifying new buildings and supplying new equipment for refurbishments, extensions etc. The company has developed a very broad range of standard products and can also customise enclosures for specific jobs. The majority of standard products from the Spelsberg range is Building Information Modelling (BIM) capable, so that accurate-to-the-second information can be shared with appropriate third parties. The National Building Standards define BIM as: a process for creating and managing information on a construction project across the project lifecycle. One of the key outputs of this process is the Building Information Model, the digital description of every aspect of the built asset. This model draws on information assembled collaboratively and updated at key stages of a project. Creating a digital Building Information Model enables those who interact with the building to optimize their actions, resulting in a greater whole life value for the asset. BIM starts with 3D modelling, typically during the architects’ design phase and is augmented with further information relating to costs and time (initially for the construction schedule, then later for the life of the building). Added to this are product specifications for all the components, from the main structural elements to the smallest fixtures and fittings. Further information can also be added to provide information, on for instance, natural light levels, projected and actual energy usage, occupancy levels, traffic levels through circulation spaces, security equipment and services, exterior landscaping, etc. In fact BIM is intended to be open-ended, so that it can be extended as much as required for each individual building. Ideally it should be maintained until the building’s ultimate demolition. The underlying idea is that at any point during the life of the building, managers can instantly look up any information they need. This could be the manufacturer, supplier and warranty details of the light switch in the third-floor cleaners’ cupboard; equally it could include highly technical performance specifications for the entire plumbing system, load calculations from the structural engineers, or fire and safety systems design. Critically, all parts of a BIM model are interactive, so that if a change is logged all consequent changes are accounted for. This can be by auto-adjustment (for example, when an internal partition wall is moved, making one room larger and its neighbour smaller), or by highlighting the need for a manual update procedure (such as deleting the specification of a broken fitting and replacing it with that of the new replacement). The purpose of BIM is to create a virtual information model to be handed from the design team (surveyors, architects, structural engineers, building services engineers, etc) to the main contractor and subcontractors and then on to the owner/occupier. Each adds their data and information to the model, so that it is fully comprehensive, a source of all relevant information. The overall objective is to provide a tool that drives efficiency into both the construction and life-long management of a building. Spelsberg is contributing to the development of BIM by providing all its product information in a BIM compatible format. Perhaps more importantly it is promoting the adoption of BIM by championing it at every level.

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Warning Signs That Tell You to Replace a Boiler

The boiler in a home is one of the most used appliances, and one that you want to ensure is working correctly. If the boiler broke down, especially during the cold months of the year, it could leave the home with no heat and leave the household in danger. Even with regular maintenance, there will come a time when the boiler will need to be replaced. By watching for warning signs, however, you can be prepared for the impending crash of the boiler as to not be caught off guard. Keep tabs on the following signs that are telling you to replace the boiler. Notice a Bad Smell If you notice a foul smell or an odor of any kind coming from the boiler, that is a sign that you will need to replace the boiler right away. That smell is likely coming from a carbon monoxide leak, which can be very harmful and even deadly if breathed in. Although carbon monoxide does not have an odor, the smell would be coming from the boiling not running properly, a result of a leak. Other signs related to a carbon monoxide leak include noticing an increase in condensation on the inside of windows, soot stains around the boiler, or the flame has a yellow hue (rather than a crisp blue), and it blows out frequently. You Hear Odd Noises A healthy boiler will have a quite hum sound to it. However, a boiler in need of replacing will make noticeable noises like a clunk or a bang. Those sounds could be a result of a number of issues, including something broken inside. Notice a Leak A boiler primarily heats the water in your home. Warm water corrodes metal more quickly than cold water. There are parts of the boiler that are susceptible to corrosion. Over time, if corrosion occurs, you’ll start to notice your boiler leaking. Pay attention to any water around the boiler. That is a sign that it will likely need to be replaced. Troubles Heating the House An obvious sign that a boiler needs replacing is when there are issues keeping the house and water heated. Although the boiler is still functioning, it isn’t working at its full capacity. It is likely time to replace the boiler. Expensive Energy Bills If you start to notice an increase in your energy or power bills, it could be from your boiler. If the boiler is coming to the end of its lifespan, it will require more power to do the same amount of work. You would then notice a more expensive bill due to the inefficiency of the boiler. No Heat at All If you notice there is no heat whatsoever, including the water, there is something very wrong with the boiler. When this happens, it’s likely that you need an emergency boiler repair, or having to replace the whole appliance. Although this isn’t a sign you want to have, it will be your most apparent sign of the boiler needing attention.

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