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March 31, 2021

SYPRO LAUNCHES NEW BUSINESS REBRAND TO REFLECT FUTURE VISION

LEADING management and compliance software company Sypro has revealed an exciting rebrand to reflect the business’ modern software solutions and people-first approach, along with its company values and vision. Hard-wired into Sypro’s DNA is creating software that makes life simpler, happier, and easier. Its original branding was designed with the

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Housebuilder to Deliver New Homes in Lancashire

Housebuilder to Deliver New Homes in Lancashire

The top ten UK housebuilder, Keepmoat Homes, is redeveloping two sites located in Leyland and Accrington, bringing much needed new homes to Lancashire, with a combined gross development value of £106.6m. The two schemes are a 520-plot development, Farington Mews, in Leyland with a total gross development value (GDV) of

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The waste management opportunity for a net-zero future

The UK became the first major economy in the world to pass into law that it will bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Quickly following suit, we have seen many developers, contractors, engineers, and local authorities all pledging their commitment to ‘Net Zero’ with targets ranging

Read More »
Technology to Drive Occupant Wellbeing

Technology to Drive Occupant Wellbeing

Sustainability has been at the top of the building agenda for many years, with an emphasis on its environmental and economic impact. Such outcomes are of major importance, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that buildings are created for people, and their health and wellbeing should be of the highest priority

Read More »

Software used to build an online casino

The online casino industry has been growing steadily over the last few years and shows no signs of slowing down. In 2019, the market was worth US$58.9 billion worldwide; by 2020 this was US$66.7 billion, and is expected to grow by 50% to almost US$93 billion by 2023. This growth

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How to Choose the Right Type of Brick

There is much more that goes into a building than its design. Choosing the right type of brick is crucial as it adds to the structure’s aesthetic beauty and effect. You need to take the utmost care and attention when deciding the type of bricks you want. Eventually, it can

Read More »

5 Ways To Improve Your Construction Process

Construction project managers can have a hard time on their hands with the sheer amount of variables and tasks they have to handle within any single project. The budget, the schedule, and change orders all have the potential to tie up and undermine the project, especially if a change in

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BDC 318 : Jul 2024

March 31, 2021

SYPRO LAUNCHES NEW BUSINESS REBRAND TO REFLECT FUTURE VISION

LEADING management and compliance software company Sypro has revealed an exciting rebrand to reflect the business’ modern software solutions and people-first approach, along with its company values and vision. Hard-wired into Sypro’s DNA is creating software that makes life simpler, happier, and easier. Its original branding was designed with the construction industry in mind, but as services have expanded beyond this one sector, the visual branding has been evolved to reflect the technology expertise of the company with a refined and more sophisticated appearance. Dr Stuart Kings, technical director at Sypro, said: “This is a really exciting time for the team, with our rebrand including a new logo, website and refreshed brand identity. The strength of our people and our quality services is what defines us, and we now have a distinct personality to take us further as we continue to grow the business and develop our offerings further. At the core of what we do is innovating and collaborating to ensure that we are always moving forwards, finding new and better ways to make work easier for our clients. “Our products are designed to give support in industries where life can get very complicated, very quickly – and if the past year has taught us anything, it’s that harnessing the power of technology will drive us into a more flexible, efficient and productive future, which isn’t limited by where we work.” Made up of a team of 20 talented software developers and business management professionals, the Hull-headquartered company has been providing management software solutions since its inception in 2008. It now has more than 5,000 software users and having a track record of delivering projects across the globe with a combined value of more than £30 billion. Sypro’s range of services includes Contract Manager – the award-winning construction management software tool – and Total Risk Manager, which helps organisations run more effectively and actively identifies and helps to eliminate all aspects of operational risk. Stuart continued: “2021 has been off to a really strong start for Sypro, with the overall volume of contract requests being raised through our Contract Manager tool so far this year rising by more than 50 per cent on the same time in 2020. Added to this, the total project value of those projects has risen by more than 360 per cent to total more than £630 million. “Over the past 13 years, we have been proud to support clients as they have grown from small businesses to being some of the UK’s biggest organisations. The key to our success is our focus on people. This stretches beyond our product solutions and our own team, to encompass absolutely everything we do, including our support of local charities and our part in the Pagabo Foundation, raising awareness of mental health within the construction industry. “We’re proud to have grown from our humble Humber beginnings to the business that we are today and look forward to expanding both our teams and services in the future – all from our central Hull headquarters.” For more information, please visit https://www.sypro.co.uk/

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Housebuilder to Deliver New Homes in Lancashire

Housebuilder to Deliver New Homes in Lancashire

The top ten UK housebuilder, Keepmoat Homes, is redeveloping two sites located in Leyland and Accrington, bringing much needed new homes to Lancashire, with a combined gross development value of £106.6m. The two schemes are a 520-plot development, Farington Mews, in Leyland with a total gross development value (GDV) of £100m and a 48-plot development, Acorn View, in Accrington, with a total GDV of £6.6m. The two schemes, in partnership with Homes England, have secured planning approval from local authorities and will offer two-, three-, and four- bedroom detached and semi-detached homes, along with various purchasing options from open market sale to shared ownership and affordable housing. Homebuyers at the developments will also be able to benefit from the new Government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme, allowing first-time and current homeowners to obtain a 95% mortgage from lenders. This means they will only require a 5% deposit to purchase a new home. “We are very excited to have started work on both sites in Leyland and Accrington. As a company, we’re driven to creating better places for people to live, not only by building new quality homes, but by transforming the communities which we serve. We work to deliver real value through training and employment opportunities via the use of sub-contractors, work placements and apprenticeships, or supporting local schools, colleges and universities with educational talks and site visits,” said Gareth Roberts, Regional Managing Director at Keepmoat Homes. “Our sites aren’t your typical new homes developments but have been designed with the latest technologies for added convenience to homeowners. Acorn View will include car charging points for those with electric vehicles at each of the homes and plans have also been put in place to ensure that public open space remains at the heart of both developments. “We can see from our existing developments, across Lancashire in particular, that demand for new homes is increasing, and the team have been working hard to ensure we continue to deliver these much-needed new homes. The two sites form part of our ambitious growth strategy in the region, bringing the number of developments in Lancashire to four, and we have already identified more development opportunities in the area,” he concluded. The housebuilder announced that construction at Farington Mews is expected to take ten years, and two years at Acorn View, with the first homes going on sale in Spring/Summer 2021 and show homes being available to view late Summer.

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The waste management opportunity for a net-zero future

The UK became the first major economy in the world to pass into law that it will bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Quickly following suit, we have seen many developers, contractors, engineers, and local authorities all pledging their commitment to ‘Net Zero’ with targets ranging from 2030 to 2050. As the transition to a zero-carbon economy accelerates, how will the supply chain from policy makers, to architects to waste management services impact how these targets are met? Use and re-use first If we look at the waste hierarchy, the last line of defence before landfill is to recycle and recover waste. However, this course of action still takes resources, costs, and consumes energy. Businesses need to evolve their thinking and actively reduce the amount of waste going through traditional routes of waste disposal, such as skips, bins and cages, in the first place. There needs to be a shift in focus from recycling to waste prevention – if a waste material isn’t going through existing methods of waste disposal and being reused or repurposed, should it actually be classed as waste at all? Construction companies should be identifying opportunities to reuse items prior to strip out and demolition stage. These items can then be matched with charities, social enterprises or local organisations in need. Also, for any ‘clean’ excess materials, these can be exchanged or bid for by other construction sites. There are tools available such as Project DIVERT and MATExch online platforms that have been established to facilitate this and provide data on the carbon outcomes based on the decisions that are made. Stay local If there is a carbon measure against every project, then ‘off setting’ is simply not the answer. While planting trees is a good thing, it is not the solution. We need a full carbon track and tracing system that is adopted from the outset of a design through to completion. This will make sure all decisions throughout the project are made with the intention to keep carbon to a minimum. An easy example of this is to source local suppliers and local products. For waste items identified as reusable, we can facilitate the diversion of these to the local community such as libraries may need floor tiles, local colleges may need construction sand for building courses, and homeless shelters may need cutlery and white goods. This stops the waste items going through the traditional routes of waste disposal and contributes social value and community legacy in the area. Early intervention is key Architects and design teams will play a huge role in assisting construction contractors address the carbon potential at the design stage. If projected carbon data around waste away services is calculated in the ‘project planning and design’ phase (ideally RIBA Stage 2) of a building refit or refurbishment project, a pre-construction and environmental audit (PCEA) can be implemented to influence the decisions being made by the designers and environmental teams, with actual carbon data to reference. Within that calculation, we must also include the embodied carbon. If materials can be reused, less will be manufactured and this is a huge carbon saving when you see it on paper.  With this intelligence, the waste management plan can identify opportunities for: Facilitating the reuse of existing materials including furniture, floor finishes, ceiling tiles, and window coverings to local organisations such as schools, libraries, charities, and refuges. Segregating clean excess construction material such as plasterboard, ceiling tiles, and floor coverings that can be bought locally by others or transferred to other live construction sites. Ensuring items that can be recycled and reprocessed such as glass, metal, and timber are segmented, and the end destination is transparent Lowering waste costs, less waste means less skips Reducing emissions from transporting waste All documented with Duty of Care, end destination transparency and a carbon measure Putting these processes in place will mean there is actually minimal waste going into skips, to Materials Recycling Facilities (MRF’s) or EfW (Energy from Waste) Plants. Construction companies are responsible for the environmental impact of their site, therefore in order to meet standards, gain certification or meet council regulations, they must demonstrate they are making improvements to become more sustainable. However, it is not acceptable for companies to accept on behalf of their clients a blanket 98% recycling rate from the waste supply chain. This is not ‘their waste’ but that of all waste received to one destination. Construction companies can demonstrate, if planned and forecasted correctly, 100% end destination, 100% re-use, and a 100% recycle rate depending on the where the waste/ resource has been sent to. If your waste target for zero carbon is ‘zero waste to landfill’, then it’s already not good enough. We have found that while targets are in place within environmental audits to lower the carbon impact of waste materials, few have the data measurements and importantly the carbon track and trace methods which can help reduce carbon through the project life cycle. The fact that no one collates this data is a problem in itself and one we are currently trying to solve using our carbon track and trace technology. A worrying issue raised by the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) in a survey published last year was that almost half of local authorities in England did not know their carbon footprint, while 47 per cent said they did not have a plan in place for reducing the carbon emissions resulting from their built assets. If you don’t know what your carbon footprint is in the first place, how can you implement dynamic plans to reduce it? This means there must be a huge push towards calculating carbon savings and implementing carbon saving initiatives in the early stages of a project to have any chance of meeting the zero carbon targets set.

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Technology to Drive Occupant Wellbeing

Technology to Drive Occupant Wellbeing

Sustainability has been at the top of the building agenda for many years, with an emphasis on its environmental and economic impact. Such outcomes are of major importance, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that buildings are created for people, and their health and wellbeing should be of the highest priority when it comes to the interior design and workings of offices and other workplaces. Stacey Lucas, Commercial and Marketing Director at Sontay, a market-leader in the manufacture of sensors specifically developed to improve the indoor environment and create healthier, more energy-efficient buildings, looks at how smart sensor technology is being employed for beneficial effect in the places we inhabit most. Pre-pandemic we reportedly spent more than 90% of our lives indoors whether at home, school or in the workplace. Ventilation, temperature and pressure regulation contribute to maintaining an atmospheric happy medium, which in a work environment helps increase employee contentment, leading to increased productivity and fewer sick days. Building sensors installed as part of an efficient building management system, offer an ingeniously smart and effective way of remotely monitoring indoor conditions, as well as giving property owners more control over energy usage; a benefit that not only helps reduce heating and lighting costs, it facilitates a significant reduction in a building’s carbon footprint. Monitoring key criteria such as relative humidity, CO2 and air quality can also offer vital information on the likelihood of viral transmission in the indoor environment and instruct the BMS to increase ventilation to improve conditions. Their usage could therefore be a factor in driving environmental-initiatives, such as the UK government’s pledge for carbon-neutral status by 2050 as well as building confidence in us returning to office buildings in the future. Sensor solutions Sensors can control a myriad of elements that affect our indoor climate including temperature, which in relation to an office environment is found to be around 22°C. However, relative humidity, if not managed correctly can make a room feel hotter or colder than the actual temperature reading. It can increase the likelihood of bacterial spread at lower levels. A sensor can help overcome these issues by monitoring humidity levels, to ensure an ideal 50% reading is maintained. In terms of air quality, airborne volatile organic compounds (VOC), pollutants which are found in paints and other building materials, are known to have a detrimental effect. The same harmful chemicals are also present in hand sanitisers, aggressive cleaning products and detergents; the demand for which has been unprecedented since the onset of the coronavirus crisis. Air quality sensors are able to measure VOC levels and provide data for when ventilation is needed to maintain occupancy comfort, or the need to take action when a potentially hazardous reading is recorded. Crisis management The COVID-19 pandemic has also focused a lot of attention on the amount of indoor space people should be allowed to share in order to maintain distance and prevent viral spread. A CO2 sensor provides a clear visual indication of when a workplace requires ventilation due to deterioration in the indoor air quality. When we exhale we emit CO2, which if left unchecked in a busy office environment for example, can lead to headaches due to increased discomfort levels. A CO2 sensor with an LED traffic light-style display can help alleviate this issue. When showing green, for instance, the sensor is indicating that a room isn’t over-occupied and the risk to air quality is low. Should the sensor show amber, it’s a sign that windows require opening or fewer people need to be in the room to maintain the same healthy indoors environment. When the sensor turns red it is a call to action, as it indicates there is not enough ventilation in the room. At these last two stages, if a sensor is connected to a building management system, it will activate relevant ventilation. Light level and occupancy sensors offer further relevance to the ongoing pandemic. In relation to the nationwide lockdown, many offices in towns and cities remain empty whilst lights and other energy sources continue to burn unmonitored within the buildings themselves. An estimated 40% of a building’s energy costs are attributed to light usage; therefore, installing a sensor which operates lighting based on a building’s occupancy and interior light levels has financial and environmental benefits. Though relatively small in size, building sensors can have a huge part to play in ensuring properties, particularly workspaces, are managed safely, sustainably and profitably. Like a friend we never knew we had, these smart little devices look out for us when we’re in the office, and look out for the office when we’re at home. They are becoming evermore vital to the way we work today, and in the future.

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Software used to build an online casino

The online casino industry has been growing steadily over the last few years and shows no signs of slowing down. In 2019, the market was worth US$58.9 billion worldwide; by 2020 this was US$66.7 billion, and is expected to grow by 50% to almost US$93 billion by 2023. This growth has been driven by a number of factors, including the advent of the smart phone, changing player habits, the rise of the casual and hyper casual gamer, and, perhaps most importantly, advances in technology. The advances in technology have allowed for operators to design ever more engaging and complex games to attract and retain players, as well as making devices more affordable for players, and on the go connectivity more prevalent. Gone are the days that players had to go to a physical location to play; anyone (of age!) can now access all sorts of different types of games at the touch of a button, from the comfort of their own homes. But what is needed to build a successful online casino? Random Number Generators This is the foundation of any casino game. Without a reputable RNG, there is no way to reassure players that the games are fair, and no matter how good a game is, a rigged game will never be successful. Any reputable online casino will ensure they have a RNG; Virgin Games for example uses an industry certified Random Number Generator that is regulated and audited by the UK Gambling Commission in all its games. Variety of type of Software The more successful casinos use a variety of different types of software, some developed in-house, the majority from third parties (which is why there may be similar games in different casinos) to provide a range of types of games to suit different playing styles, as well as for compatibility across different devices. 1- Downloadable Software This is usually only compatible with PCs (although with mobile devices becoming more powerful some newer models may be able to run this type of software), and allows players to download once, and from there just log in and go! 2- Instant Play Software This type of software is very common in online casinos, as it allows players to open and play, without having to download anything, making it a popular option for mobile gamers, despite still being browser-based. 3- Mobile Apps This is by far the most compatible option for mobile gamers. Rather than accessing the casino through a browser, players simply download an app to their phone and click and play. It also means that the content is optimised for mobile devices, meaning that text can be read easily and games fit the screen! Variety of Software Developers There are a large number of different third party software developers who sell their products to many casinos online. Whilst it may feel that this will reduce the variety for players, they work closely with their clients to build bespoke games with individual themes and house rules. It does also mean that players can be assured that when they are playing a game that there is consistency across the market and they aren’t going to be ripped off! 1- Net Entertainment This is one of the most well established and reputable casino game developers in the world, having won a large number of awards over the years. They primarily focus on slots, though have branched out into other casino games, including live dealer games. Virgin Games has tapped into their expertise in the world of slots, with 36 slot games offered that have been created by NetEnt, including top ones such as Gonzo’s Quest, Starburst, and Twin Spin. 2- Microgaming Around since 1994, Microgaming is one of, if not the, oldest casino game developer. Dominating the market with over 600 different games in their portfolio, Microgaming provides some of Virgin games most popular offerings, including slots and blackjack. They are also leaders in the usage of new technology and are currently working on an Oculus Rift compatible roulette gaming, taking steps into the use of Virtual Reality in the world of online casinos. 3- Evolution Gaming Evolution gaming is an innovative developer which provides the majority of all Virgin Games Blackjack and Roulette games, including 10p Roulette, Instant Roulette Live, and Phoenix Roulette. As well as working with operators to develop bespoke games, they also have their own original games, setting the apart from the competition. Additionally, they are experts in Live Dealer games and specialise in creating Game Show Category Games, such as Monopoly, also available on Virgin Games and hugely popular with the more casual gambler. Stable Platform The final key to a successful online casino is to have a stable platform to host all the games. Virgin Games ensures this by using Unity. Unity provides support to ensure the consistent and constant delivery of the service to players, as well as offering high quality graphics and integration capability, and interactive tools to make changes easy and in real-time, allowing operators to react to needs in real time. There are a number of different elements to take into consideration when building an online casino, from the target demographic, the types of games, and, hugely important, the foundations, of software, security, and fairness to the player. Without these, no matter how attractive the games and offers, no online casino could succeed in the market.

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How to Choose the Right Type of Brick

There is much more that goes into a building than its design. Choosing the right type of brick is crucial as it adds to the structure’s aesthetic beauty and effect. You need to take the utmost care and attention when deciding the type of bricks you want. Eventually, it can prove extremely costly if as an architect, your client doesn’t like the aesthetics you choose for their building after a few years. Are you among those who think brick is a brick? There is more to choosing a brick than what the ordinary homeowner thinks. This article will look at brick selection, choosing your brick colour, and the mortar variations. In reality, there is more to bricks – facing bricks or engineering bricks. Once you know about this, you can decide on the right brick for your building. Brick Selection Brick selection is the first and most important aspect of our building construction. Here, you can choose between facing bricks and engineering bricks. The particular type you choose would depend on your location and budget. For instance, if you want a more water-resistant type of brick, the best option would be engineering brick. However, for an aesthetic effect on your wall or building, facing brick will serve that purpose. Furthermore, if you decide to use facing bricks, you also have to choose from soft mud or extruded bricks. For engineering bricks, you can opt to use either class A or B engineering bricks. All of these come in different colours and shapes. Nevertheless, for a smoother and smarter brick, you can use machine-produced extruded brick. Choosing Brick Colour We have building bricks of different colours for you to choose from. Besides the stress of selecting the right brick, you also need to find the perfect colour to match your building. For most people, a major consideration is the colour and texture of bricks. To help you, here are a few colours to choose from for your building project. Your location would depend on the brick colour you choose. For instance, in London, yellow bricks are common, whereas deeper reds are used in north England. However, those in the Midlands usually use an orange tone colour. Mortar Variations The particular mortar you use would depend on the project and the design specification. Mortar r of different types such as N, O, S, and M. Each of these have specific areas where you would use them. For instance, they are used below grade, manholes, sewers, and retaining walls for mortal type S. You need to ascertain the project you are working on to determine the mortar type you choose. Conclusion The choice of brick for a building project can make the project a success or failure. If you choose the wrong brick, it could spell a resounding failure. Selecting a brick is beyond the colour and size; you also have to determine the type of brick to use for your project. With MGN Builders Merchants online store, you can get a variety of facing bricks for your building. Interestingly, you have everything within the swap of your finger.

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5 Ways To Improve Your Construction Process

Construction project managers can have a hard time on their hands with the sheer amount of variables and tasks they have to handle within any single project. The budget, the schedule, and change orders all have the potential to tie up and undermine the project, especially if a change in one part of the process manifests a widescale change in the whole. However, there are tools and tips that project managers can implement to improve that construction process, some of which we’re going to take a look at now. Plan More Effectively The problems that lead to change orders and schedule changes typically happen in the planning stage of the project. As such, it’s important to work with project planning tools that allow you to more accurately gauge what resources you are going to need to complete a project, what processes are part of that project, and what equipment and skills are needed to complete those processes. Otherwise, if you later find out that you are missing the materials, equipment, people, or information that you need, you’re going to have to halt or slow the project in order to try and find them. Train Your Team to Work with Better Project Standards We’re going to assume that you have already found a team that is well-trained in operating their equipment and providing the labor that you need them to provide. However, they need to be more than experienced in their roles during a construction project.  Your team should be trained to collaborate and communicate more effectively as possible. Training them to break down the end goal of processes, to create and follow check-off goals, and to use any workflow planning software that allows them to update project plans when they have complete a process within it can allow them to help you keep better track of project process. Supervising your team so that you are able to correct them on any incorrect methods during projects is crucial, too. Eliminate Change Orders as Best as Possible Change orders, as most will know, are work processes that are added or removed from the scope of a project, and often they cost time, money, and bring problems to projects that were not part of the original design.  There are two main types of change orders, the first being owner-initiated changes which are typically unavoidable (unless you can advise the project owner otherwise), but there are also change orders caused by design omissions and errors, which can definitely be prevented.  Project management software can play a huge role in lowering change orders. It can help better define workflows so that omissions are easier to notice, use reminders to keep you on track, and provide an audit trail so you have evidence on project planning and changes all the way through. Get Your Team Involved in the Project Planning If you trust that you are working with a competent team, especially those that have technical expertise that you may not, then it’s a good idea to get their opinion on project plans. You may, for instance, choose to share plans with them ahead of time, to see if any of those with plenty of experience in the field highlight something that the plan may be missing.  Even when the project is underway, you should ensure that your team is given the confidence to speak up if they think something is going wrong with the project. One person `cannot spot every potential difficulty; those working on the project every day might easily spot something that you miss. Keep the Crew Accountable While your team may be a crucial asset that can provide more insight than you are currently gathering from them, they can also be responsible for the mistakes and under-performance that can lead to schedule and budget changes. The right key performance indicators (KPIs) can help you keep track of how they are doing within a project, highlight problem areas in advance, and providing the training, advice, or restructuring where it might be needed. You can tie performance measurements and record-keeping to rewards, such as bonuses, so your workers are better incentivized to help you accurately keep records on them, too. Keep your bottom line intact, avoiding schedule delays and projects going over budget as best as you can with the tips above. You can’t control every aspect of the construction process, but you can make sure that you have the right systems in place to prevent major disruptions.

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