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July 22, 2020

GMI teams up with local Kirkby primary school to thank NHS and key workers

Children at Kirkby Church of England Primary school designed posters that were displayed along site hoardings at the 12-acre GMI retail park development project in Kirkby During Covid-19 GMI Construction Group has been working with children from Kirkby Church of England Primary School to showcase  posters that the school children

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Connectivity and continuity: addressing the need for smart workplaces

The working office environment may well be transforming. The transition to remote and flexible working has been a gradual process for many over the years, with some business leaders not fully convinced of the productivity and performance levels achievable by employees working from home. Yet all that changed overnight as

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Builders frustrated by poor performance on crucial planning decisions

Responding to official planning performance statistics for 2019/20 published today, trade body Homes for Scotland (HFS) described another overall increase in decision times for housing applications as “hugely frustrating”. Director of Planning Tammy Swift-Adams said: “Despite an 11.5 per cent drop in the number of decisions made on local housing

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Landwood Adds Health Care Provider to Portfolio

Landwood Group’s Commercial Asset Management division is expanding its headcount as it celebrates adding a leading health care provider to its books. The Manchester-based business have been instructed to manage Mental Health Care UK’s portfolio of over 30 sites across North Wales and the North West of England. MHC is

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Proptech Company Secures Prestigious Award

National proptech company, MakeUrMove, has been recognised for its leading customer service with a prestigious award win for ‘Best Online Estate Agent’ at The ESTAS (The Estate Agent of the Year Awards).  MakeUrMove focuses on providing a software solution for landlords, helping them to manage their properties effortlessly, and the

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Reasons why you should retain an employment lawyer

Life doesn’t require that you hire a lawyer daily, but sometimes you are left with no choice but to retain one for people to take you seriously. For instance, if you suspect discrimination or any employment law violation in your workplace, the best cause of action will be consulting a

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Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024

July 22, 2020

GMI teams up with local Kirkby primary school to thank NHS and key workers

Children at Kirkby Church of England Primary school designed posters that were displayed along site hoardings at the 12-acre GMI retail park development project in Kirkby During Covid-19 GMI Construction Group has been working with children from Kirkby Church of England Primary School to showcase  posters that the school children have designed to acknowledge the work of the NHS and key workers who have supported us through this time during the pandemic. The school has remained open throughout the pandemic, initially providing emergency childcare for the parents of key workers as well as vulnerable children and more recently it has opened to wider year groups. The children who designed the posters were those whose parents were key workers and on the frontline.  The posters have been displayed along the site hoardings that surround the 12-acre retail development GMI is constructing for Knowsley Council in Kirkby Town Centre. Speaking about the initiative GMI Divisional Managing Director Marc Banks said: “Some of the posters designed by the children are fantastic and we are proud to have the chance to display them on the hoardings that surround the Kirkby Retail development.  This is a fantastic initiative in support of the parent keyworkers to recognise the fantastic work they have been doing.   We have already had some very kind and positive comments from the people of Kirkby having seen the posters and the support they have shown has been fantastic.  As a result of the initiative GMI has offered to support the school with any projects it may have coming forward as a show of our thanks to the keyworkers.  We would like to thank again and applaud the children, their teachers and keyworkers again for this amazing initiative.” GMI will also be working with Knowsley Council and pupils at the school in the new academic year on a time capsule project as part of the construction of the new retail development. Also commenting Mair Hindmarch, Headteacher at Kirkby Church of England Primary School said: “We’ve got ten children within the school whose parents are keyworkers and they each wanted to recognise how much they appreciate them and are proud of their efforts.  The children had seen how other posters had been appearing within the community and wanted to design some of their own to display within the school.  When GMI contacted us, we were enormously proud and grateful to have the chance to show these fantastic posters off on such a high-profile development in Kirkby.  We would like to express our thanks to GMI and Knowsley Council.” The 94,000 sq. ft Kirkby retail developmentfeatures a new 42,000 sq. ft Morrisons superstore, petrol filling station and retail units including Home Bargains and a drive-thru KFC.

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Connectivity and continuity: addressing the need for smart workplaces

The working office environment may well be transforming. The transition to remote and flexible working has been a gradual process for many over the years, with some business leaders not fully convinced of the productivity and performance levels achievable by employees working from home. Yet all that changed overnight as lockdown measures were enforced by the government to safeguard the population against Covid-19. Businesses were left with two choices – cease operations or support employees to get up and running from home where possible.  But as lockdown measures are eased, what will the future working environment look like for office workers? A combination of remote and office-based working will likely be how we work, but what do business leaders need to consider in order to get employees working to their full potential within flexible office setups? Connectivity and collaboration hold the key. Smarter and more flexible working environments Research during the pandemic shows that more than 39% of adults in employment are now working from home compared to around 12% last year, and two-thirds (63%) of workers said they are open to working from home full time and never going back to the physical office permanently once ‘normality’ resumes.  We’ve heard a lot about the ‘new normal’ in recent weeks and how many elements of daily life will be different. It’s safe to say that this will affect the working office environment too, with remote working becoming a permanent feature even once lockdown ends. Businesses are already thinking about how they can roll out a more flexible setup, considering new operational procedures around the management of desk space once some workers return to the office. The concept of ‘hot desking’ will definitely change, for example, as additional sanitisation will be required for the next user along with appropriate record keeping. The silver lining is that the additional cleaning may reduce and eradicate other bugs and viruses that circulate in office environments. For shared office space, the automation of shared touch points such as door handles, elevators and sanitary systems is a straightforward way to limit cross-contamination. Use of voice-activated system technology that we already use in our smart speakers at home will be a fundamental element of design to avoid touching common surfaces. Installing new materials for regular touchpoints with properties that interfere with virus reproduction, such as copper (which researchers say kills viruses such as MERS and H1N1 in minutes) could also become commonplace.  Technology can also be used to monitor hand soap and sanitiser bottle fill levels, monitor and alarm the mandatory two-metre distance between people via infrared beams, and analyse movement around the office and density in recreational areas by thermal imaging camera systems. Using AI algorithms, the technology can alert when gatherings of too many people are occurring in one place, enabling measures to be taken earlier to restrict numbers and disperse groups. This can also extend to wearable devices that alert the user based on proximity to and time with other individuals.  Specialist equipment is also being deployed to take temperature readings of employees and visitors to detect high temperatures, which is a key sign of being positive for Covid-19.  Room sensors could be deployed in offices to measure humidity and temperature levels and send alerts when best conditions for virus multiplication are being reached, so that evasive steps can be taken.  As government app-based ‘track and trace’ initiatives start to roll out, initiatives such as these will start to become part of the day to day routine for the entire population. Contact tracing applications that inform us and others about potential exposure to infected persons and monitor how long people are together will be vital to protecting people’s health and wellbeing. Particularly so as lockdown measures ease and everyone starts mixing and interacting with other people outside of their usual ‘bubbles’.  Remote productivity  As the home becomes an extension to the office, there must be separate infrastructure, connectivity and optimisation of the living space for health, for productivity and for professionalism. Those working in bedrooms or on dining tables will be able to do so temporarily, but it’s not feasible for the long term. Some employees will be used to working from home and others won’t. Especially with the orchestration of video conferencing and having to learn how to behave on camera, some prefer the culture and interaction that only a live office setting can provide. One of the primary goals for every business is to achieve optimum productivity levels, so with a distributed workforce, business leaders want to be sure that productivity, performance and outputs won’t take a hit. Technology can be deployed to review productivity levels. For example, many call centres already have monitoring technology which reviews how quickly they can pick up and resolve a call, as well as the actions taken during the conversation. Similar technology could be applied across other performance metrics, including measuring the quality and reliability of internet connectivity, which affects our use of cloud applications and collaboration.  Unified communication and collaboration (UC&C) tools have also become an essential asset for workers to maintain productivity during the crisis and will continue to be an integral component of the new business environment. Employees need streamlined communication and collaboration systems to perform their roles to an optimum level. A shared digital collaborative space where users can assign tasks, participate in discussions and provide updates is the catalyst for productivity, especially in the absence of a shared office environment.  Connectivity supports business continuity This recent huge spike in remote collaboration technology usage by a legion of remote workers has proven to stress broadband networks and impact application performance. These networks at home and in branches will need to be strengthened by additional connectivity/resilience options to ensure optimised user experience, business continuity and to underpin productivity. With excess pressure placed on home broadband networks due to the increased volume of home working, reliable access to corporate networks and cloud applications has been challenging for many. From WiFi extenders to hardware and

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Builders frustrated by poor performance on crucial planning decisions

Responding to official planning performance statistics for 2019/20 published today, trade body Homes for Scotland (HFS) described another overall increase in decision times for housing applications as “hugely frustrating”. Director of Planning Tammy Swift-Adams said: “Despite an 11.5 per cent drop in the number of decisions made on local housing applications (defined as being for less than 50 homes), the time taken to make those decisions crept up for the second year running. “This is concerning given that these small developments are, by nature, the lifeblood of SME home building businesses – a sector supported by Scottish Government loan funding during the crisis, but also needing local government support if it is to thrive”. “Things are no more positive for major housing applications (those for 50 or more homes), decisions on which were two weeks slower than the previous year at 37.5 weeks – more than double the 16 week statutory timescale.” “With all of the consultation and discussion time that has gone into improving the planning system, it is extremely frustrating to see this evidence that improvements are just not emerging on the ground.” “And, of course, we also await the Scottish Government’s decision on whether planning application fees will be increased again. This decision, and the timing of its implementation, must be made in the context of this performance – with home builders currently receiving some of the poorest service across the system whilst already paying the lion’s share of fees.” Swift-Adams also points to the Scottish Government’s new consultation document proposing changes to Scottish Planning Policy. These include removing the principle that planning applications that will help solve housing shortages should be looked upon favourably by decision-makers. The paper also seems to suggest that planning authorities should focus more singly on allocating their preferred sites and pay less regard to whether or not the homes that are needed are actually going to be built. She continued: “Scottish families and communities don’t need housing land. They want real homes to live in, and more of them. That requires a better functioning system and policy that encourages local planning authorities to ensure the sites they choose for housing development can and will be delivered. With the housing market showing encouraging signs post-lockdown, now is the time for local authorities to work closely with home builders to deliver the homes required.”

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Landwood Adds Health Care Provider to Portfolio

Landwood Group’s Commercial Asset Management division is expanding its headcount as it celebrates adding a leading health care provider to its books. The Manchester-based business have been instructed to manage Mental Health Care UK’s portfolio of over 30 sites across North Wales and the North West of England. MHC is one of the UK’s top 50 providers of support to individuals with learning disabilities, mental health issues, autism, and behaviours that challenge. Landwood will provide full asset and property management services, working closely with the on-site estates team to support MHC in “providing positive outcomes for people” across its residential and health care facilities. “We are delighted and proud to have been selected by MHC to provide Asset Management support for their care business. This draws upon our knowledge of the care sector, our asset management expertise and hands-on approach to property management and we are looking forward to working with the leadership team at MHC,” said Anna Main, Director and Head of Commercial Asset Management at Landwood. It comes as Landwood continues to grow its Commercial Asset Management team with two new recruits following a bumper 2020, which has seen them win a raft of high profile new instructions. Clients include Cervidae who have enlisted them to manage its One Didsbury Point office development in Manchester, Si One multi-let offices in St Ives on behalf of Cambridge Corporate properties, Eastbank Street in Southport, and two further mixed use schemes in Liverpool and Warrington. And to ensure they can continue to deliver the outstanding levels of service that have seen the business grow so quickly, Landwood are on the lookout for experienced Client Accountants to join them. “We’re immensely proud of our recent successes at Landwood. It shows that our determination to go above and beyond for each and every one of our clients is paying off. That’s why we’re on the lookout for the very best Client Accountants who will go that extra mile to deliver results,” concluded Anna Main.

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Proptech Company Secures Prestigious Award

National proptech company, MakeUrMove, has been recognised for its leading customer service with a prestigious award win for ‘Best Online Estate Agent’ at The ESTAS (The Estate Agent of the Year Awards).  MakeUrMove focuses on providing a software solution for landlords, helping them to manage their properties effortlessly, and the company’s fantastic service, efficiency and expert advice resulted in the Proptech firm taking home the Gold award. The ceremony, which usually sees more than 1,000 guests attend each year, was held virtually and hosted by TV property personality, Phil Spencer.  “As the longest-standing and fastest-growing landlord software platform, we’re delighted to have been recommended by our landlords for our fantastic service. Our technology is built around our landlord’s needs, so it really is an honour to be recognised as part of these esteemed awards, celebrating the greatest companies within our sector,” said Alexandra Morris, managing director of MakeUrMove. The ‘Best Online Estate Agent’ category, which is voted for by landlords, saw MakeUrMove shortlisted against HouseSimple. In 2019, MakeUrMove was awarded Silver in the same category.  The ESTAS is the UK’s largest independent customer service feedback and awards platform for the residential property sector, and celebrates those property firms who deliver great customer service.  MakeUrMove is a leading proptech company and the only platform of its kind aimed at landlords. 

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Reasons why you should retain an employment lawyer

Life doesn’t require that you hire a lawyer daily, but sometimes you are left with no choice but to retain one for people to take you seriously. For instance, if you suspect discrimination or any employment law violation in your workplace, the best cause of action will be consulting a top employment lawyer to help you understand the cause of your claim. Employment law is complex, and you would want someone who has studied and practiced the same for years on, if not decades. Moreover, your employer ordinarily has more money than you and will probably retain a counsel before you. Therefore, it only makes sense if you lawyer up from the word go! It is important to note that you don’t have to wait for an official termination letter from your employer to hire a lawyer. A reasonable employment lawyer will help you analyze the employment law challenges at your workplace and offer possible advice or resolutions that can help you avoid a bigger dispute altogether. After all, you are hiring a lawyer to try to rectify a problem and not spark a battle. So, what are the reasons that should prompt you to retain an employment lawyer? Well, they include but aren’t limited to the following: Suspicion of employment law violation You might be working at a frustrating place, and you come to conclude that it is your employer who is violating the employment law to intimidate and get the most out of you. It is important to understand that frustration doesn’t equate to illegality. Maybe the place is evidently daunting, but the circumstances and conditions are completely legal. Instead of spending much money and time filing for an immediate complaint, it would help if you first hire an employment lawyer to investigate your suspicion and determine the best options for a response without further legal loopholes. Establishing legal claims Not all employees understand the extent of the employment law and will often confuse opinions and suggestions for the actual law. You should retain an experienced employment lawyer before pursuing your legal options to determine the exact claims that you are dealing with. Lawyers charge a constant consultation fee, and you’ll only be required to pay more if you choose to retain full services Employer interaction Your employer will always take your direct complaints for granted until you show some level of seriousness. Instead of always trying to prove your point with the company’s handbook, try and retain a lawyer, and the employer will have your full attention. Review your employment agreement Most people sign contracts under duress and unnecessary pressure, especially when they are threatened that the jobs might be awarded to someone else who is “needier”. Therefore, it is common to find employers agreeing to clauses and phrases that they either interpret wrongly or don’t know their meanings at all. If the job is a high-gear net, it will be best to let your lawyer evaluate and explain the employment terms. Remember, one term this is favorable to another employee might be controversial to you. It is better to go there knowing what you are walking yourself into. Negotiate case settlement Lastly, you might want to hire an employment law attorney to negotiate case settlement, especially after determining that a clause in your employment agreement has been violated. You will want to air your thoughts and best interests without feeling trapped in an emotional bubble. Moreover, you might also want to get the settlement and still continue working with the same employer, and so a feeling of hatred and animosity between the two of you will not help in any way. Lawyers are trained to negotiate professionally without losing their cool. Your employer will also likely accord your lawyer more time and respect than if it was only you in the negotiation table.

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