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September 4, 2019

Contractors You’ll Need When Building an Office Space

Building an office space is quite the endeavor; and not for the faint of heart.  It usually starts with a dream, a goal, or a vision; and when you’re ready, taking the steps to put it into practice.  It’s not easy, or cheap; but if done properly, this process can

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Investment Secures Future of UK Ports

The government has announced an investment of £30 million to ensure the UK’s ports “continue to thrive” after Brexit. Making the announcement Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that the investment would ensure that trade continues to flow smoothly at UK ports after 31 October 2019. The Department for Transport is

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Association for Project Management Supports Highways England

Association for Project Management (APM), the chartered body for the project profession, has announced that it is working with the major projects profession team at Highways England to introduce a scheme for developing its talented project professionals that – once completed – will give early professional recognition and membership of

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Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024

September 4, 2019

Contractors You’ll Need When Building an Office Space

Building an office space is quite the endeavor; and not for the faint of heart.  It usually starts with a dream, a goal, or a vision; and when you’re ready, taking the steps to put it into practice.  It’s not easy, or cheap; but if done properly, this process can lead to major rewards and financial gains in your future. There’s a lot to think about, construction, budgets, staffing, production, accounting, and clientele.  You’ll want to make sure you’re covering all your bases, and that you’re not forgetting some key factors that play essential roles in your project.  Before thinking about business details; you’ll want to focus on creating a space that encourages creativity, production, and focus.  This means your space needs to incorporate many different qualities, and that all starts with building and construction.  Here are five contractors you’ll need when building an office space: 1.     Electricians You may not be aware, but workers and staff are highly affected by the lighting that surrounds them.  It’s been shown in research that proper placement of natural and artificial lights can improve production by 36%.  This means that the work of electricians in the beginning stages is critical and not to be overlooked.  Be sure to get their opinion on the placement and quality of lights in order to maximize your office productivity.  Thinking ahead like this in the beginning stages will save you in more ways than one, later. 2.     Plumber Consider how many people you’re hoping to host and have working in the space beforehand.  There’s nothing worse than not having enough washing areas and/or bathrooms available to your staff and clientele.  It’s also important to consider privacy, sanitation, and well, let’s be honest; smells.  A quality plumber can help you with all this and more during your construction stages, and having their opinion and viewpoints can lessen the stress of future problems. 3.     Interior Designer You don’t want to skip this step! Hiring an interior designer can help create the necessary space needed to optimize your work area.  Fung Shui is a real thing; and is always helpful when designing areas with a purpose; such as office spaces.  A good interior designer will help you create a peaceful and focused environment.  They could also help with things like desk and divider placements, boardrooms and tables, even something as simple as wall art to help create the desired environment. 4.     Paving Contractor Often overlooked, but always appreciated, is a good parking area. There’s nothing worse than not having a clean, quality, and spacious parking lot.  Before nailing anything together, make sure to talk to your paving contractor in regards to space, vehicle expectations, and line placement in the parking lot.  This can be beneficial to not only your staff but to your clients as well.  There’s nothing worse than having to walk five blocks to get to your destination because they weren’t properly prepared for parking. That could make or break your client’s decision on whether to visit your office space or not. 5.     Cleaning Services Lastly, you don’t want to skimp out on the cleaning services.  Construction is messy, and dust can get into places that you didn’t even know existed.  Hire a good cleaning company once all is said and done; someone with experience with commercial properties is your best bet.  Whether your own business in that space, or leasing it to another company, having a clean space will literally make or break the attitude in your business, and you do not want to skip this step. Above all, make sure you trust all the outside help you bring in.  Creating personal rapport with all associated businesses is a good idea in order to ensure great service and the best bang for your buck.  Studies show that people are more likely to do their best work when they’re feeling encouraged, proud and safe; so, whenever possible; ensure you create that environment and relationship with your vendors and workers.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions, do your own research, and ask your community for opinions and advice.  There’s nothing wrong with seeking help when taking on big tasks like this.  Good record keeping is going to change the attitude you have about the whole project.  So, stay as organized as possible to avoid mistakes or financial errors.  Your accountant should be helpful during this process, as well as a general contractor if you find you’re needing some help with the paperwork aspect of things. In the end, the hard work will be well worth it! Putting thought into your office space is going to give you and your staff the best possible environment to create, build, and produce to the best of their ability; which will help you grow your company and gain the respectable reputation you deserve; not to mention, compensate your wallet accordingly!

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Theft Prevention: 5 Must-Haves for Any Brick and Mortar Store

Most of us have encountered that moment in our youth when stealing becomes something of a dare, and we must make that moral choice of whether or not to risk our innocence.  Maybe it starts with a piece of gum from the corner store or a bracelet from the jewelry store.  Whatever form takes on, we all know that stealing is wrong and has punishable repercussions, but it does happen more than we think. It’s been said that theft takes up 37% of retail loss in the United States, in the form of inventory, and/or time and billing. That’s a huge number to account for, especially for a local “ma & pa” shop.  For this reason, I’ve put together a list of 5 must-have to prevent theft in any brick and mortar store: Trained Employees Having trustworthy and trained employees is critical to having a successful business.  30% of theft has been said to come from the employees themselves.  It’s very important to be organized enough to track where all your inventory is; coming or going.  Remind your staff that you keep track of everything and will always notice when something is off.  Keep them trained on how to spot a shoplifter, and what do to when they encounter one. It may be worth it for you to hire outside help with this training, but it may be well worth the investment. Mirrors Sometimes it’s enough to just have a better view of the whole store.  We don’t have eyes on the back of our heads, (although that would be fun!) so to see better, invest in some good mirrors to be hung in those hard to reach areas of the store.  It’ll be easier for your employees to keep their eyes on your customers, without having to follow them around and create an awkward situation. Video Cameras Having video cameras could literally save your company, not just in theft, but in an emergency.  Companies like Mobile Video Guard are easily prepared to set you up with all the equipment and recording devices you could imagine, and answer any questions you may have on the matter.  Setting up recording cameras is preventative and reassurance that you can always lean on that evidence if something were to happen outside of your control.  Rather than spending money on security guards, which can create mistrust between you and the clients (not to mention the payroll for them) security cameras are the most reliable, and cost-effective way to watch your customers (and employees), and keep them accountable for their actions. Security Systems You’ll have to narrow down what type of system would work best for you, but I would recommend looking into a security system for your storefront.  Look for something that works with tags and towers; towers that get placed at all exits and the system will flash and make loud sounds if anyone tries to remove a tagged item from your store; allowing staff to alert the appropriate authorities.  Employees should be the only ones that are able to remove the tags once an item is purchased. Employee Time Tracking Systems You may be surprised to hear this, but time theft is a real concern when it comes to staff and payroll.  Employees are trusted with your time while on the job, but who’s to say that they aren’t pushing their limits, accounting for more hours than what is being put in.  Payroll is a huge expense within a business and can make or break your monthly budgets.  Just because it’s not an item being stolen; doesn’t mean it isn’t stealing.  Time theft is always a concern but can be managed easily with the proper system in place.  You’ll have to ask around or do some research to find what would work best for your specific company, but I’ve seen time stamps hold many employees accountable for their time.  The investment will be well worth the savings! It’s a bit of a hard pill to swallow when you must track your employees just as much as your customers, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry in situations like this.  Theft can bring a business to its knees, so it’s worth it to do the research and investments at the beginning.  These assurances will hold everyone accountable, and help you manage your bottom line effectively.  Knowing you have all these measures in place will not only create a second thought in a thief’s mind but will give you better sleep at night, knowing that if anything does happen, you have many options to fall back on. Prevention is key in circumstances like this; so, it’s always better to get ahead of the problem, instead of wishing you had.

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5 Reasons You Should Go with Natural Stone Counter tops in Your Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the popular places in the home, and there are many advantages to installing granite & other types of natural stone in this space. Popular Reasons You Should Go with Natural Stone Counter tops in Your Kitchen Whether you are remodelling the entire kitchen or replacing the counter tops only, you have numerous surface choices. While narrowing down your options, you might consider price, return on the investment, and of course, appeal. One option that stands out is natural stone. Natural stone counter tops are growing in popularity, especially for kitchen remodels. However, the upfront investment often creates sticker shock when you’re looking at using it in your home. If you find yourself not sure whether to pay the high upfront cost of natural stone, you should consider the vast benefits of doing so before going for a cheaper alternative. Reasons Natural Stone Counter tops Are Worth the Investment Yes, natural stone will cost more, but will last longer. These surfaces include everything from granite to marble to soapstone and even limestone surfaces. While they cost more than linoleum or laminate surfaces, there are benefits to paying a little extra upfront, including: 1. Natural Stone Counter tops Are Easier to Maintain and Offer Superior Durability When compared to laminate counter tops or even linoleum, natural stone is easier to maintain and will last longer in your home than other counter top types. Furthermore, if you invest in a non-porous natural stone, such as quartz, you get something that requires little to no maintenance. Granite, marble, and other non-quartz surfaces do require annual sealing, but outside of that, they are relatively easy to maintain. Likewise, they will have fewer scratches or cut marks from daily use like laminate surfaces, and that means you have fewer chances of replacing it over the next few decades. If you properly care for your natural stone counter tops, they can last a lifetime, while everyday use wears out laminate surfaces within ten years or even more. Every natural stone has different care procedures, and not all natural stone is as durable as the other. For example, quartz is stain-resistant, but marble is not. Regardless, when you compare natural stone surfaces to non-natural stone, they are much more durable and easier to care for. 2. A Quick, Easy Way to Update Your Older Kitchen Do you have an outdated kitchen that could use a pick-me-up, but you do not want to pay the average cost of a kitchen remodel? To do a full remodel, you could be looking at anywhere from $10,000 to over $35,000. Instead of gutting your entire kitchen, you can add new counter tops as a quick revival. With a fresh coat of paint and brand-new natural stone counter tops, your kitchen is reformed without the high price tag or inconvenience of a full renovation. 3. Increased Home Value More home buyers see potential in natural stone versus laminate and non-stone surfaces. After all, they know a kitchen with granite or even quartz is easier to maintain, and they would rather pay more for a home that has gone through the upgrade process than one where they will have to upgrade themselves. Natural stone counter tops do pay you back over time because your home’s value increases the more natural stone you have in kitchens and bathrooms. Also, it can make your listing competitive in a “buyers” market. 4. Family-Friendly Surface for Daily Use The kitchen is the gathering zone for most homes. Whether you have small children, your counter tops take quite the beating with everyday use – from cooking to tossing a gym bag on the surface while grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge. Natural stone can withstand the daily abuse you throw at it, and when you have smaller children that do not understand the damage their spilled juice or crayons can make, it is worth the investment. Laminate counter tops stain and bubble quickly, while most spills and messes are wiped up without much fuss on natural stone. 5. Variety of Colours and Options to Choose From One of the best features of natural stone is the colour. Every type of natural stone surface has a unique colour and pattern waiting for you to use in your kitchen. Regardless of your colour preferences, you can easily find a natural stone surface that matches your new remodel. Take quartz, for example. You can find quartz  in colours ranging from white and marble-esque to sleek black with crystal sparkles. With granite, you have shades ranging from black to white to red to brown and even blues. You can browse the endless rows of natural stone slabs and find one colour that suits your budget and colour preferences with ease – making it easier to match the natural stone to your new kitchen. Bottom Line: Natural Stone Counter tops Provide Durability, Longevity, and Value to any Kitchen Whether you are remodelling the entire kitchen or just replacing your surfaces, natural stone is a contender. If you want a counter top that will last you for years, hold up against everyday use, and still provide your home with value, then you need natural stone. Natural stone is a category of counter tops, and within that category, you can find a surface that suits your budget – and the prices might surprise you. If you are on a tight budget, start with granite. If you want something that is indeed maintenance-free, look to quartz. If you want a surface that is sleek, rustic, and still durable, consider soapstone. No matter which natural stone surface you end up using, you will have a counter top that lasts your home for decades and with proper care can look as great as the day you installed it even 20 years from now.

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BUREAU VERITAS TO DEMONSTRATE HAZARD-TESTING AND AIR QUALITY AT CONTAMINATION EXPO SERIES

Health and safety expert Bureau Veritas is encouraging visitors to this year’s Contamination Expo Series to come and witness its intuitive field hazard-testing and air quality technology to see how it is transforming the testing and inspection industry. More than 3,000 contamination professionals are expected to flock to Birmingham’s NEC for the event on 11th and 12th September this year, which brings together suppliers and partners from across all aspects of contamination including land, spill, clean air, hazardous, waste, nuclear and geothermal. With an established reputation for providing bespoke consultancy services around regulatory compliance in areas of hazardous chemical and environmental management, Bureau Veritas’ respected thought leaders will be on hand at stand F85 to share best-practice advice and guidance in areas including emergency response planning, asbestos, air quality and hazardous materials – to name just a few. Fire science consultant, Sarah Bergin, will also be delivering a presentation in one of the ‘speaker slots’, discussing the air quality considerations during a major incident, bringing in her own experience as a scientific advisor during the Moorland fires of 2018. Keen to showcase how its technology is helping to improve testing, inspection and certification, experts from the renowned Bureau Veritas Technical Centre are calling on visitors to pop along to its stand to see its latest solutions. Bureau Veritas’ scientists have combined the capabilities and strengths of the existing HazMat testing kits to create a wet chemistry testing system designed to allow emergency responders to quickly and accurately classify unknown chemicals. The CHASE kit, which will be demonstrated at the Expo, enables the responder to quickly identify the hazards of the substances involved and understand the implications of this when planning the emergency response, as well as protecting emergency responders, other personnel, and the environment, in the process. Mike Shaw, Principal Consultant at Bureau Veritas, comments: “Our specialist Technical Centre leads the industry in providing innovative solutions that add value to customers. As a business we are dedicated to best practice in health and safety and we’re excited to showcase our latest solutions in hazardous chemicals management, air quality issues, industrial risk assessment and asbestos management at the Contamination Expo Series. “So whether you are seeking to invest in new compliance services, or simply looking for help and advice on everything from fire science and emergency response to air quality and asbestos inspections – we’d urge all attendees to pop along and talk to our thought leaders to find out more.” Bureau Veritas offers a wide range of specialist services to help firms achieve compliance. Attending and conducting demonstrations at the Contamination Expo will be thought leaders and experts from across the Bureau Veritas business, including fire science, who are dedicated to the provision of appropriate scientific advice at emergency and other incidents; asbestos, who offer assistance overseeing asbestos surveyors, as well as supporting with feasibility studies, risk assessment and management studies; and air quality, who work with a large number of organisations to undertake feasibility studies, bring forward air quality compliance and assess the potential benefits of air quality improvement measures prior to implementation. For further information on Bureau Veritas, call 0345 600 1828 or visit www.bureauveritas.co.uk. To find out more about attending the Contamination Expo Series, please visit the Contamination Expo website or contact Daniel Rogers on 0117 990 2005.

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Investment Secures Future of UK Ports

The government has announced an investment of £30 million to ensure the UK’s ports “continue to thrive” after Brexit. Making the announcement Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that the investment would ensure that trade continues to flow smoothly at UK ports after 31 October 2019. The Department for Transport is calling on ports across England to bid for a share of £10 million, as part of the Port Infrastructure Resilience and Connectivity (PIRC) competition, to help deliver upgrades which will enhance capacity and maintain trade flow. On top of this, the government is providing £5 million to 4 key Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) – made up of emergency responders, councils and other public services – in areas with key freight ports. This will help them build infrastructure improvements to minimise any potential traffic disruption at the border. A further £15 million will go towards longer-term projects to boost road and rail links to ports and ensure more freight can get where it needs to be faster. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We are leaving the on 31 October and we will be prepared whatever the circumstances. “As the continues to develop as an outward-facing global trading nation ready for a post-Brexit world, the resilience of our trading hubs is more critical than ever before. “This £30 million investment supports our ports in their work to boost capacity and efficiency, ensuring they’re ready for Brexit and a successful future.” The funding comes as part of the government’s £2.1 billion investment to step-up the country’s preparations for leaving the EU. The competition will be open until 6 September, after which successful bidders will be given up to £1 million each to deliver infrastructure improvements. For example, this may include providing more parking and container storage space or developing traffic systems to ensure the free flow of cars and lorries. The £5 million is targeted specifically at delivering infrastructure improvements to manage road traffic around maritime ports with important trade routes. It comes a week after the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced a separate £9 million scheme for local councils and to support their overall planning for Brexit in local areas and major air, land or sea ports. This funding could include supporting the hiring of additional staff or implementing regional communications campaigns. The Department for Transport continues to prepare for all circumstances after 31 October and has been implementing a multi-channel information campaign to ensure hauliers have the documents they need to carry goods into the EU.

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Association for Project Management Supports Highways England

Association for Project Management (APM), the chartered body for the project profession, has announced that it is working with the major projects profession team at Highways England to introduce a scheme for developing its talented project professionals that – once completed – will give early professional recognition and membership of APM.  To make this happen, Highways England is introducing two new certificates for emerging project professionals which will align with APM’s frameworks and standards. Highways England has defined these as Foundation Project Professional and Practising Project Professional. These certificates are effectively the stepping stones to provide a clear ‘line-of-sight’ from the beginning of their careers, through to chartered status if they choose to pursue it. The Foundation Project Professional certificate, as the first step, is awarded for supporting project delivery and embedding learning from the APM Project Fundamentals Qualification (APM PFQ). To achieve this evidence is submitted against six APM competencies – covering technical and behavioural disciplines at level 2 of the APM competence rating scale. The more challenging Project Professional certificate is awarded for taking ownership of delivery tasks within a project team by providing evidence against eight APM competencies covering technical and behavioural skills across level 2 and 3 of the APM competence rating scale, with 12 months of continued professional development (CPD) activity. Highways England has made the commitment to award Associate Membership of APM with the practicing professional, giving staff access to additional APM professional development resources and networks. The Highways England team is promoting these steps to drive a professional development culture through their project delivery community, make it achievable for talented and emerging professionals to target their CPD and career pathway, learn from the wider professional community through APM associate membership to achieve Full Member status within the APM (MAPM) and on through to Chartership earlier in their career. “Project professionals are vital to our success,” said Peter Mumford, major projects executive director at Highways England. “As indicated in The Golden Thread, Association of Project Management’s latest research paper, project professionals generate over £165 billion of gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy every year. That’s £43 billion more than the entire construction sector.” He continued: “We want to attract the best new talent and enable our project professionals to reach their full potential – and that’s why we’re working with APM. Developing recognised project professionals through independent assessment will give our people the support they need to build their experience and meet their career ambitions. Not only will it endorse the progress they are making, but it will provide us with the governance, organisation and controls to deliver our schemes effectively and assure our customers that we’re delivering safely and making the most from every pound we invest. With that in mind, I’m going to lead by example and have set myself the target of achieving APM certification this year!” Speaking about what this means for him, for early talent and for the company, apprentice project manager at Highways England, Owen Adams said: “This news gives me real confidence that I made the right decision to join Highways England as a project management apprentice. I know where I want to get to and I can build my pathway there, right up to Chartered.” Chief executive at Association for Project Management Debbie Dore welcomed Highways England’s commitment to the profession: “Raising the profile of project professionals and the roles they play is pushing the industry forward and encouraging innovation across delivery.By mapping its career paths to the professional qualifications and chartership offered by APM, Highways England will give its employees a great opportunity to develop their career aligned to professionally recognised standards.”

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