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May 9, 2019

The Best Quirks of Sporting Arenas around the World

Sporting arenas are interesting places from an architect’s point of view. You have to build something which is capable of holding thousands of people and catering to any needs they must have. On top of this, many sporting arenas around the world have their own little quirks about their construction

Read More »

Reposit Offers Tenancy Deposit Alternatives

Reposit, the InsurTech company bringing tenancy deposit alternatives to the forefront of the residential lettings market, has announced its new partnership with Pattinson, the largest independent agency network in the North East of England and its large base of landlord clients. Reposit helps landlords attract new renters by reducing upfront

Read More »

UK Construction Receives Tech Boost

PlanRadar, the web-based application for construction and real estate projects, has launched in the UK to continue its global expansion. For Britain, this launch has the potential to take the country out of its 20-year long productivity slump where over a third of construction projects overrun on time (40%) or

Read More »

Why expats should be looking at the houses for sale in Denia

As one of the most attractive destinations on the beautiful Costa Blanca it offers a chance at the Mediterranean lifestyle, with beautiful beaches and an inspiring artistic heritage and a relaxed marina where you can spend the hours at peace in the sunshine.   It is hard not to fall

Read More »

Review of the Fluidnatek electrospinning machinery range

Electrospinning is quickly becoming the future in the production of nanomaterials now a vital part of the supply chain in production and the subject of very important research into future applications. More and more companies and research and development labs are investing in electrospinning equipment as the potential for this

Read More »

Euroclad Appoints new Managing Director

Euroclad Group is delighted to announce the appointment of Aiveen Kearney as Managing Director. Aiveen will replace Simon Thomas who has elected to leave the company after 30 plus years. Paul O’Gorman commented ‘On behalf of the Kingspan Group, I want to thank Simon for his considerable input and leadership

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Fall protection: it’s too important to be an afterthought

Considering height safety system design from the very outset of a building project is vital to improving aesthetics, usability and most importantly, minimising risk, says Stuart Pierpoint, UK Sales Manager for HCL Safety. HCL Safety specialises in safety at height system design, installation, inspection, maintenance, fall protection training and product

Read More »

Mick George Land £31m Highways Earthworks Package

The £373m project to upgrade the M1 in Northamptonshire to a smart motorway continues to make progress, with local contractor Mick George Ltd now appointed to complete verge enabling works in a £31m contract. Under the programme, the 23-mile section of M1 between junctions 13 and 16 will be upgraded

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DUTCH SUSTAINABILITY FIRM RAISES BAR FOR HIGH-PERFORMANCE BUILDINGS

EXCEPT INTEGRATED SUSTAINABILITY launches a new, innovative blueprint for sustainable  development in the built environment in their latest white paper titled Catalytic Buildings. By looking beyond the physical perimeter of the building itself, the Catalytic Building  approach challenges the real estate industry to use construction projects to improve the  sustainability of the surrounding urban environment. The term catalytic comes from chemistry, signifying a compound which is used to accelerate a chemical reaction, without itself being depleted. In the urban environment, a Catalytic  Building is one that actively improves its surroundings and uplifts the sustainability of a  whole neighborhood. Except’s Director Tom Bosschaert has developed the concept for over twenty years, having applied it to buildings in The Netherlands, United States, and China. “The industry is currently obsessed with circular and energy-neutral buildings, but to  confront the challenges we face due to over-population, rapid urbanization and climate  change, we need to start thinking about buildings that give back to society. “The majority of buildings that we will inhabit this century are already built. So, what is the  added value of a new sustainable building, if it does not provide the conditions for its own  and the neighborhood’s inhabitants to thrive? “By looking beyond energy and materials and incorporating systemic aspects such as biodiversity, culture, social connectivity, education, and neighborhood job-creation, you don’t  need to rebuild an entire city to make substantial sustainability gains,” says Bosschaert. The Catalytic Buildings blueprint creates a new paradigm for sustainability in the construction industry, from design to development, and challenges existing certifications like LEED  and BREEAM. “Our focus should not just be on creating sustainable individual buildings, but on converting the whole city to a sustainable state. This white paper, calls on forward-thinking real  estate developers, policymakers, and built environment professionals to join us at the  forefront of innovation in sustainable construction,” Bosschaert concludes. Click here to view the Catalytic Buildings White Paper   ABOUT EXCEPT Except is an innovation, design, and sustainable development consultancy based in  Utrecht, the Netherlands. Since 1999, Except has combined systems thinking and integrated  sustainability in over 600 projects worldwide. Our multi-disciplinary team of architects, industrial ecologists, and business strategists work at the forefront of sustainability consulting. We realize unique opportunities by embracing the complexity of integrated sustainability for our clients.  

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Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024

May 9, 2019

The Best Quirks of Sporting Arenas around the World

Sporting arenas are interesting places from an architect’s point of view. You have to build something which is capable of holding thousands of people and catering to any needs they must have. On top of this, many sporting arenas around the world have their own little quirks about their construction so here are some of our favourites. La Bombonera Boca Juniors are one of the most popular football teams in Argentina. They are loved by many and their matches always receive a flurry of support and bets from people wanting them to do well, so how about you try your luck at NetBet sport to score a big wager on their next important match. While three sides have the usual tiered seating we see in stadiums all over the world, the fourth side has what is referred to as the “flat” stand. Instead of pushing back, the three tiers of the flat stand are vertical and it can often give the impression that Boca fans are going to dive forward onto the pitch. Victoria Park The Highland home of the football team Ross County might seem ordinary enough to a passer-by or even a football fanatic, however, when you compare its seating capacity to the nearby town of Dingwall, something crops up which is quite amusing. Victoria Park draws crowds of supporters in from all over Ross-shire and so the stadium can support over 6500 fans. Meanwhile, Dingwall has a population of 5491, according to the 2011 census. It’s amusing to think that an entire town can comfortably fit inside the seats of its football stadium and still have plenty of room. The Water Cube Head to the Olympic Park in Beijing and you will be confronted by the Beijing National Aquatics Center, or as it is colloquially known, the Water Cube. The design of this interesting building was chosen from an international competition and, as the name suggests, it resembles a cube of water. The unique pattern to the walls and ceiling makes for a very interesting viewing, whether you are inside the building or out. In addition to its use for the water events in the 2008 Summer Olympics, it will host the curling events of the 2022 Winter Games. The Taiwan National Stadium If you head to the national stadium of Taiwan, you will be confronted by a blue-grey structure half-curving around the stadium itself. This is supposed to resemble a dragon and is the brainchild of architect Toyo Ito. The blue-grey structure is actually thousands of solar panels and they provide 100% of the stadium’s energy in addition to being hooked up to the country’s national grid. Therefore, they can seep off any extra energy for locals to use whenever there is not a match playing. Most people are too focused on what is happening during the games to pay attention to the building they are in, however, this can result in you missing out on some fantastic quirks the architects have put in. Head down to your local sporting arena today and see what you can find out about it. It might be small but there will be something there.

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LANDMARK DECISION FOR NOTTINGHAM AS PLANS TO TRANSFORM ISLAND SITE APPROVED

NOTTINGHAM is on the cusp of creating “possibly the biggest regeneration scheme in the UK” as outline plans to transform the high-profile 40-acre former Boots Island site have been approved this week (17 April) by Nottingham City Council planning committee. Conygar Investment Company PLC intends to transform the site, which has laid derelict for many years, into new homes, grade A office space, creative market space, a five-star hotel, retail units, a ‘linear’ park and community space and student accommodation. The landmark decision, which was overwhelmingly supported, will see hundreds of jobs created, strengthening the local economy and helping to elevate Nottingham as one of the UK’s key regional cities for investors and employers. Christopher Ware of Conygar said this was a significant milestone in Nottingham’s story and one they were proud to be a part of. “I am really pleased that the outline plans have been approved by Nottingham City Council and I look forward to working with our partners to meet the requirements set out by the council to develop all aspects of the mixed-use scheme into a thriving community,” he said. “We are passionate about delivering a sustainable development where people aspire to live and work. This is a long-term phased project which is likely to take up to ten years to complete and will create hundreds of jobs in the region before and after the building work. “Nottingham is a vibrant and creative city where several exciting developments are taking place and our plans for the site are a key part of this regeneration. We believe this is a unique development which will help to elevate Nottingham’s position in the Midlands and the UK.” Councillor Chris Gibson, chair of the planning committee said the scheme was the biggest opportunity Nottingham had seen in years. He said: “This is Nottingham’s biggest regeneration scheme to happen in decades and currently the largest in the East Midlands and perhaps the UK.” Paul Seddon, director of planning and regeneration said this was the right time for the crucial site to redeveloped. “Now outline planning is in place we will continue to work very closely with Conygar to ensure the progress of this hugely important scheme for the city. It’s our priority to help make the Island Site a high quality and vibrant part of the city that Nottingham deserves.” Lorraine Baggs, head of investment for Invest in Nottingham said: “This is a landmark decision which marks a significant milestone for Nottingham. These plans will breathe new life into a site which has sat unloved for many years and I’m confident they will be the catalyst our city needs to help strengthen our economy – particularly with the additional grade A office space which many businesses are interested in.” Greg Millers-Cheevers from urban regeneration specialists Lavignac added: “This decision has been more than two years in the making. We have worked very closely with Nottingham City Council, existing site occupiers and stakeholders in the city to develop these plans. We have also taken the time to listen to the public which has shaped how we plan to integrate the development into the city and neighbouring communities.” Work is expected to start on site during 2019, with the first phase of office and homes intended to be complete by 2020.

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Reposit Offers Tenancy Deposit Alternatives

Reposit, the InsurTech company bringing tenancy deposit alternatives to the forefront of the residential lettings market, has announced its new partnership with Pattinson, the largest independent agency network in the North East of England and its large base of landlord clients. Reposit helps landlords attract new renters by reducing upfront costs, therefore opening up properties to a wider demographic of potential tenants. The pioneering cover protects landlords from those same issues covered by a traditional deposit, such as rent arrears, damages and cleaning costs. According to a 2017 House of Commons briefing study, between 1996 and 2006, the North East area saw an increase in private renting of 212%. This rise in the private rental share of the housing market continues in the area, meaning it is an important area for solutions like Reposit, democratising the rental market for agents, landlords and tenants alike. The InsurTech solution saves money and stress for tenants; its security deposit alternative requires only one week’s rent as a service fee upfront. For Pattinson’s tenants, this would average at £119, compared to £595 in a traditional deposit scheme. The landlord is added to a group insurance policy that is FCA approved and protected by FSCS, demonstrating the care and extensive range of safeguards the modern user expects from financial services and security providers. The tenant remains responsible for any breach of the tenancy agreement and any respective costs at the end, as they are with a traditional deposit. Pattinson is offering Reposit to all new tenants that pass referencing. Rents with the agency range from £275pcm to £2000pcm across the region. Although Reposit might be seen as a solution for the lower end of the renting market, pound for pound, those paying higher rents have more to save upfront, given the higher deposits paid for those properties at the top end of the market, making it an effective option for virtually all renters. With this announcement, Reposit continues its efforts to provide a more cost-effective solution for tenants, whilst driving forward with creating a fair system that offers agents, tenants and landlords an attractive, legal and safe alternative to the traditional systems and processes. Jonathan Parker, Pattinson’s Head of Residential Lettings (MNAEA MARLA) stated: “As a company it is important that we are at the forefront of change and embrace new solutions to existing issues. The 8 weeks of cover for our landlords was a key consideration, especially with traditional monetary deposits being capped at 5 week’s worth of rent come the 1st of June. Reducing move in costs will naturally be an attractive option for tenants when it comes to selecting a property. With FCA regulation and FSCS protection at the heart of Reposit’s product and a similar mindset to client care, our clients have the assurances they need. We are pleased to offer Reposit as an optional alternative to the traditional monetary deposit, therefore providing potential tenants with an informed choice over what route suits their circumstances best.” Jude Greer, CEO, Reposit said: “It is great to partner with another major residential lettings agency. Pattinson has an amazing agency network across the North East. We are proud to be able to extend our offering to the North East. We have been impressed with the attention to detail driven approach of Jonathan and the team at Pattinson when it came to selecting us as a partner. We look forward to working with them for many years to come.” Reposit offers market leading cover of eight weeks rent and the InsurTech firm makes sure that any fees owed to the landlords are paid quickly prior to handling the collection of any owed money from the tenant via its platform.

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UK Construction Receives Tech Boost

PlanRadar, the web-based application for construction and real estate projects, has launched in the UK to continue its global expansion. For Britain, this launch has the potential to take the country out of its 20-year long productivity slump where over a third of construction projects overrun on time (40%) or budget (35%). With its SaaS solution, the ConTech firm provides the construction industry with digital construction documentation, defect and task management throughout the lifecycle of construction and real estate projects. Using a smartphone or tablet, even when offline, the platform allows construction workers to automate the entire documentation process with interactive blueprints and floorplans, saving an average of seven working hours per week in admin time and averting errors. More than 3,500 customers already use PlanRadar worldwide to manage construction projects and real estate processes. This new London office will support increased productivity, cost efficiency and time savings for UK Construction. “We will not let Brexit get in the way of our mission to digitise the construction and real estate industry in the UK,” explained Ibrahim Imam, managing director and co-founder of PlanRadar. “Risks around bottlenecks in the supply of construction materials and tradespeople can be mitigated with platforms like PlanRadar; digitised processes can raise their efficiency potential against the competition, improve quality control and deliver 900 per cent ROI.” In the last twelve months, PlanRadar has increased sales by 300 per cent and expanded its workforce to 57 employees. “In light of our rapid growth in the past year and the positive international business outlook for 2019, we have moved our head office to a much larger facility in central Vienna to support the increased demand,” added Imam. As part of this European growth, PlanRadar is boosting its Board with industry heavyweight Colin Smith, founder of the ConTech pioneer BIW Technologies. Smith says: “There’s a lot of interest in ConTech right now, but it doesn’t just mean modular housing and 3D printing. It means simple but effective innovation across the entire supply-chain. PlanRadar has developed an intuitive platform that has revolutionised how Europe manages the documentation and communication process of the asset lifecycle – now it’s time for the UK to benefit.” Regarding his involvement with PlanRadar, Smith says “It’s exciting to join the company during such a fierce expansion process with ambitious growth plans in place. I get asked to work with a lot of ConTech businesses, but PlanRadar has technology that can be rapidly adopted – it just works. I’m really looking forward to seeing the impact this platform is going to have on the UK’s construction sector and the difference it will make.” On Smith’s appointment, Imam, says: “With over three decades of experience at the leading-edge of construction technology and a respected industry figure, we are delighted to welcome Colin to the Board. It’s a testament to the exciting vision we have for the business. I look forward to working with him to help PlanRadar in the next phase of its growth”.

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Why expats should be looking at the houses for sale in Denia

As one of the most attractive destinations on the beautiful Costa Blanca it offers a chance at the Mediterranean lifestyle, with beautiful beaches and an inspiring artistic heritage and a relaxed marina where you can spend the hours at peace in the sunshine.   It is hard not to fall in love with Denia the first time you see it. Denia is situated a little over an hour from Alicante airport, and is quickly becoming the place for tourists and those looking to make their stay much more permanent.   So many choose to relocate here from within and outside Spain, and although tourists are also drawn here, somehow Denia has retained much of its charm and elegance, more so than close neighbour Benidorm. There are a wide range of houses for sale in Denia to suit all needs and preferences for those who would prefer a life in the sun.   Denia has a lot to offer those looking for a better way of life Denia is a beautiful modern city, but it also has all the history and culture of a spanish coastal town. It is impossible to miss the fortress on top of the hill, the Castle of Denia. It plays host to many cultural events that you can enjoy, all while taking in the wonderful views. Heading into the town you will see a fascinating mix of old and new, with elegant buildings and whitewashed fisherman’s houses in the typical Spanish style. It is easy to imagine years gone by in the historic centre. And of course there are the wonderful beaches, the town is lucky enough to have almost 15km of rocky coves and long sandy beaches. There is plenty to do here, from snorkelling and watersports to simply relaxing and taking in the sun and sound of the ocean. The marina is also very active and what better way to spend an afternoon that to rent a boat and explore the coastline or do a little fishing. Of course being on the Mediterranean, the fresh seafood available here is amazing and if you aren’t keen on catching your own dinner you can always head to the fish market to pick up the day’s catch. There many fresh food markets here offering a chance to try the local gastronomy. There are plenty of other shopping opportunities too, with local craft shops and boutiques. There are also many local restaurants and cafes where you can sit out on the terrace and enjoy traditional local dishes in the sunshine with a well earned glass of wine or two. With so much to see and do, it is for good reason people fall in love with Denia. It also makes a great base for exploring more of the Costa Blanca or the stunning mountains and hills of the nearby countryside. Choose your perfect new home, or build one There are some stunning houses and apartments available to buy in Denia. Talking to the Peretó Group for Houses in Denia is a great start to the adventure. Denia is a cosmopolitan place, and it is well worth having an expert  on hand who knows the city inside and out and how to find the right house, villa or apartment while making the most of the available budget. Navigating a house purchase in a new country in a new language can be daunting but with the right support, and with excellent English speakers available Peretó Group can make the whole process much easier. Of course the other option they can also help with is building your own dream home. From the purchase of the plot to development of plans and assistance with the construction process they are there to make sure it is the best possible experience ready for you to start your new life in the home of your dreams.

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Review of the Fluidnatek electrospinning machinery range

Electrospinning is quickly becoming the future in the production of nanomaterials now a vital part of the supply chain in production and the subject of very important research into future applications. More and more companies and research and development labs are investing in electrospinning equipment as the potential for this technology is becoming apparent and electrospinning equipment company Bioinicia, is rising to that challenge with their range of Fluidnatek products that meet a wide range of criteria. From benchtop lab machines to a pilot-scale plant, there is a machine, with potential to customize further. Here is a review of the key machines in the range.   Fluidnatek LE-10 The first in the range is the Fluidnatek LE-10, a benchtop sized tool, prefect for proof of concept development and feasibility studies. It can fit easily into smaller lab spaces, and is great as an introductory research machine. Specification wise it is compact and lightweight, and solvent resistant for effective cleaning. It also benefits from the following: Touch control interface Coaxial electrospinning configuration Exchangeable rotating collectors with scanning motion emitter Extraction fan Safety interlock CE certified and UL compatible Fluidnatek LE-50 Similar to the LE-10, this is a benchtop machine, however it has a lot more oomph, as powerful as an advanced research station. It is designed to be adaptable, and to allow various configurations for when you want to go one further than proof of concept. It is also compatible with an AC to unit to allow for climate control. It is perfect for conducting precise research or development activities.Additional features include: Advanced electrospinning machine with hygienic design Touch control interface with data logging multi user-level access Coaxial electrospinning configuration Exchangeable rotating collectors with scanning motion emitter Optional second, independent spinning stage for processing two materials at the same time Compatible AC bench unit for temperature and humidity control Extraction fan to exhaust solvent vapours Safety interlock CE certified and UL compatible Machine Qualification package available to enable GMP or ISO13485 process validation Fluidnatek LE-100 This one is for serious research and advanced R & D . It will be able to cope with even the most complex electrospinning projects. It has a large experimental chamber and wide range of optional features. Like the LE-50 it is compatible with an AC, which makes it an ideal machine for conducting precise research, development, or small-scale production activities. Other features include: Ultimate control of all processing parameters Ultra-advanced electrospinning device with hygienic design Actively regulated exhaust system with pressure sensing Coaxial electrospinning configuration (or even tri-axial) Solvent resistant for effective cleaning and cleanroom compatibility Touch control interface with data logging multi user-level access Up to 20 emitters for increased productivity Programmable X, Y and Z axes motion for patterned deposition Exchangeable rotating collectors with scanning motion emitter Optional second spinning stage for processing two materials at the same time Safety interlock CE certified and UL compatible Machine Qualification package available to enable GMP or ISO13485 process validation   Fluidnatek LE-500 The Fluidnatek LE-500 is intended to be  a pilot-line production tool that provides all of the capability needed to develop a product from initial concept to pilot-scale manufacture. It can be run either in R&D mode or in manufacturing mode. This is a serious piece of kit. Other benefits include:   Pilot-production plant with hygienic design Exchangeable rotating collectors and roll-to-roll with scanning motion emitters Multi-emitter spinning heads for high-throughput electrospinning or electrospraying Configuration for coaxial electrospinning (or even tri-axial) Large-volume solution feeding system for extended production batches (single-phase or coaxial) Solvent resistant for effective cleaning and cleanroom compatibility Touch control interface with data logging and multi user-level access Compatible AC unit for temperature and humidity control Electrospinning apparatus equipped with actively regulated exhaust system preventing the solvent vapours to escape even with the door opened Safety interlock CE certified and UL compatible Machine Qualification package available to enable GMP or ISO 13485 process validation  

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Euroclad Appoints new Managing Director

Euroclad Group is delighted to announce the appointment of Aiveen Kearney as Managing Director. Aiveen will replace Simon Thomas who has elected to leave the company after 30 plus years. Paul O’Gorman commented ‘On behalf of the Kingspan Group, I want to thank Simon for his considerable input and leadership into the business during the past 30 plus years and, in particular, since the acquisition by the Kingspan Group some 3 years ago. In addition, I want to wish Simon every success in his future career path over the coming years’ Aiveen will commence her role as Managing Director effective from 7th May, 2019. She joined the Joris Division some 15 months ago, prior to this worked in a range of senior roles for Holcim, a global building materials and aggregates company, in both Australia and USA. We would like to wish Aiveen every success in her new role. About Euroclad The Euroclad Group is a modern, market leading manufacturer of metal building solutions with an established reputation of innovation and quality. Founded in 1981 as Euroclad Ltd we have consistently invested in our people and technology to satisfy customer and market needs. The company has recently restructured to form the Euroclad Group and now offers the construction market a complete range of highly engineered building envelope products including roof and wall cladding systems, insulated composite panels and rainscreen facades. From our headquarters in Cardiff we export internationally and have proudly been specified on a broad range of major projects including airports, world cup stadia and data centres for global technology companies. www.eurocladgroup.com  

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Fall protection: it’s too important to be an afterthought

Considering height safety system design from the very outset of a building project is vital to improving aesthetics, usability and most importantly, minimising risk, says Stuart Pierpoint, UK Sales Manager for HCL Safety. HCL Safety specialises in safety at height system design, installation, inspection, maintenance, fall protection training and product servicing.   The importance of early consultation with architects When a new building is first conceived, its future upkeep and general maintenance should be closely considered, especially where access to a roof space (or an area where eliminating, reducing or controlling work at height risks is paramount) will likely be required. Ultimately, it’s about identifying the safest approach that remains fit for purpose and in-keeping with building design.   Detailed consultation with a building designer at the outset of a project helps fall protection specialists (such as HCL Safety) better understand what the requirements will likely be and why access to the roof space is required. After all, no two systems tend to be the same. This isn’t something that can be ordered online and arrives ready to go out of the box. It’s crucial, for example, to understand the unique nuances of each building, the varying reasons for working at height, and the experience and competence of those that will be using the system. Armed with this knowledge, specialists design and install bespoke safety solutions tailored to each project’s unique requirements. For instance, a school caretaker who requires infrequent access to a roof space will need a significantly different solution to an experienced operative requiring daily access.   Working together Work at height safety should never in any way be compromised for aesthetics, but where possible fall protection specialists will work with architects to ensure that the design of the system is in-keeping with the design of the building itself. For instance, if it’s safe to avoid the use of guardrails, then fall protection specialists may look at fall restraint or, as a last resort due to greater risk exposure, fall arrest solutions. If guardrails are unavoidable then they can be made to look more discreet with powder coating and colour alteration. It’s easier to make the solution more discreet the earlier discussions begin. Fixing systems to walls and roofs and non-penetrative options can be explored, but these options can become more limited the later in the process fall protection is considered.   Key considerations – the earlier the better It pays to consider height safety at the earliest stage. Installing fall protection equipment retrospectively tends to be more expensive than simply incorporating it into the building’s initial design. It’s worth remembering that – more often than not – at some point in the future, someone is likely to need to gain access to the roof space. It just isn’t worth avoiding or delaying the installation of fall protection equipment.   We encourage architects to insist as far as possible that the original quality height safety system and product design specification is upheld throughout the entire building design and construction process. It was, after all, likely specified for a reason first time round. Switching out a quality product specification for what can often be a less-expensive and inferior product can, for instance, lead to unnecessary risk.   As a matter of course, we also always prefer to follow a job through to its conclusion, from design and installation through to end-user training, servicing and certification. Using competent and experienced specialists throughout a project provides full traceability of service and helps ensure consistency of quality.    For more information, please visit www.hclsafety.com

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Mick George Land £31m Highways Earthworks Package

The £373m project to upgrade the M1 in Northamptonshire to a smart motorway continues to make progress, with local contractor Mick George Ltd now appointed to complete verge enabling works in a £31m contract. Under the programme, the 23-mile section of M1 between junctions 13 and 16 will be upgraded to an all-lane running smart motorway, providing a continuous smart motorway from the M25 all the way through to junction 19 at Catthorpe. The scheme, operated by Costain / Galliford Try joint venture on behalf of Highways England is thought to be vital in easing congestion on this stretch of motorway, which passes through Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire, connecting Bedford, Milton Keynes and Northampton. Consequently, this key arterial route in England will offer increased capacity and more reliable journey times for the hundreds-of-thousands of people that use the M1 every day. Forecast to be complete in March 2022, the initiative is thought to offer approximate benefits valued at £959m to the local economy, though boosting productivity and supporting future housing developments. The programme of works between junction 13 and junction 16 includes; the installation of a rigid concrete barrier to avert vehicle cross-overs from opposite sides of the carriageway, upgrading to four lanes running with no hard shoulder, as well as the fitting of 38 new emergency areas and emergency roadside telephones. Additional improvements include hardening of the central reserve and the formation of wide gantries to support variable speed limit and travel information. Michael George, Managing Director at Mick George Ltd commented: ‘’The award of this contract is an exciting one for the business as it represents the first opportunity for us to display our Earthworks services in a live highways environment.’’ George continued: ‘’We’re currently providing some of our other contracting provisions to another significant highways project on the A14 Huntingdon to Cambridge scheme, and the fact that we’ve been selected to contribute towards this project in tandem, is a testament to the qualities we’ve produced elsewhere.’’

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DUTCH SUSTAINABILITY FIRM RAISES BAR FOR HIGH-PERFORMANCE BUILDINGS

EXCEPT INTEGRATED SUSTAINABILITY launches a new, innovative blueprint for sustainable  development in the built environment in their latest white paper titled Catalytic Buildings. By looking beyond the physical perimeter of the building itself, the Catalytic Building  approach challenges the real estate industry to use construction projects to improve the  sustainability of the surrounding urban environment. The term catalytic comes from chemistry, signifying a compound which is used to accelerate a chemical reaction, without itself being depleted. In the urban environment, a Catalytic  Building is one that actively improves its surroundings and uplifts the sustainability of a  whole neighborhood. Except’s Director Tom Bosschaert has developed the concept for over twenty years, having applied it to buildings in The Netherlands, United States, and China. “The industry is currently obsessed with circular and energy-neutral buildings, but to  confront the challenges we face due to over-population, rapid urbanization and climate  change, we need to start thinking about buildings that give back to society. “The majority of buildings that we will inhabit this century are already built. So, what is the  added value of a new sustainable building, if it does not provide the conditions for its own  and the neighborhood’s inhabitants to thrive? “By looking beyond energy and materials and incorporating systemic aspects such as biodiversity, culture, social connectivity, education, and neighborhood job-creation, you don’t  need to rebuild an entire city to make substantial sustainability gains,” says Bosschaert. The Catalytic Buildings blueprint creates a new paradigm for sustainability in the construction industry, from design to development, and challenges existing certifications like LEED  and BREEAM. “Our focus should not just be on creating sustainable individual buildings, but on converting the whole city to a sustainable state. This white paper, calls on forward-thinking real  estate developers, policymakers, and built environment professionals to join us at the  forefront of innovation in sustainable construction,” Bosschaert concludes. Click here to view the Catalytic Buildings White Paper   ABOUT EXCEPT Except is an innovation, design, and sustainable development consultancy based in  Utrecht, the Netherlands. Since 1999, Except has combined systems thinking and integrated  sustainability in over 600 projects worldwide. Our multi-disciplinary team of architects, industrial ecologists, and business strategists work at the forefront of sustainability consulting. We realize unique opportunities by embracing the complexity of integrated sustainability for our clients.  

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