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Building a thermally-efficient conservatory feature by Michael Holmes

Michael Holmes, property expert for the National Homebuilding & Renovating Show (28-31 March, NEC, Birmingham), provides his advice on building a conservatory to withstand all weather conditions.  ‘Adding underfloor heating and air conditioning can do much to make a conservatory more comfortable year round, but its more effective and ecologically sustainable to invest

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Plans Revealed for NEC Solihull Campus

The ambitious development of the National Exhibition Centre Campus in Solihull has unveiled its plans, which will create up to 10,000 new jobs and 2,500 new homes. The NEC Masterplan, launched by Birmingham City Council and The NEC Group, involves the redevelopment of 75 hectares of land in Solihull into

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Creatives nail it for Construction Careers Week

To launch a series of Construction Careers Weeks taking place in Manchester, Birmingham and London this September and October, the winner of a national competition to design a campaign to encourage young people to consider a career in construction, as well as diversify the sector, has been announced. Built Environment

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Acivico Architect at the Heart of NEC’s Transformation

At the heart of the NEC’s £4.5 million transformation has been an Acivico architect that supplied concept designs for the stunning and technically innovative pyramid formations, which will completely change the look and feel of Birmingham’s iconic premier international conference and leisure venue. Principal Architect Alan McBeth developed three gigantic

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NEC Webinar to Tackle the Collaboration Issue

NEC would like to invite all civil engineering, construction and infrastructure project managers to the NEC webinar entitled ‘Enhancing performance through collaboration’ on the 28th of March. The aim of the seminar is to enhance understanding of the cost and time efficiencies of collaborative working and to persuade project managers

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Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024

NEC

Building a thermally-efficient conservatory feature by Michael Holmes

Michael Holmes, property expert for the National Homebuilding & Renovating Show (28-31 March, NEC, Birmingham), provides his advice on building a conservatory to withstand all weather conditions.  ‘Adding underfloor heating and air conditioning can do much to make a conservatory more comfortable year round, but its more effective and ecologically sustainable to invest in design solutions that will make the climate easier to control by reducing heat gain on sunny days and preventing warmth escaping when it’s cold. Adding thermal blinds can achieve both of these aims in very effectively. Getting the conservatory design right in the first instance is the best approach, avoiding due south orientation to limit solar gain, or at least using planting to provide screening where a south facing wall is the only location option. Limiting the area of glazing to two walls rather than three and adding high levels of insulation in the floor and base walls will also help, as will choosing energy efficient double glazed units fitted with solar glass to reduce solar gain and heat loss. Reducing the glazed area of the roof will also improve thermal efficiency, which is why sun rooms, with two glazed walls but a partially or totally solid insulated roof, are becoming ever more popular. Ventilation is also a key consideration in keeping a conservatory cool, allowing warm humid air to escape through roof vents and cooler fresh air to be drawn in at a lower level. Adding a ceiling fan will also help air movement. Security, style, price, durability and thermal efficiency are all key considerations when choosing a front door, but unless budget is unlimited, these qualities can compete for priority and a compromise will need to be found to choose the right product. For a valuable high end home, it’s very important to choose a door that complements the property’s architectural style and painted timber is what most buyers would expect and will maintain the property’s value. A u-PVC door might be seen as a negative on such a property, even detracting its value if the style is wrong, despite its security and longevity. Conversely, for the typical family home, a uPVC door that will be secure, require almost no maintenance and is likely to last for years will be what most buyers expect, while a softwood timber door might well be seen as a maintenance issue and therefore a negative. An off-the-shelf door made to a standard size will usually be the most cost-effective choice. It will often be less expensive to make minor adjustments to the door opening to suit a standard size frame than to have a bespoke door made to order.’

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Plans Revealed for NEC Solihull Campus

The ambitious development of the National Exhibition Centre Campus in Solihull has unveiled its plans, which will create up to 10,000 new jobs and 2,500 new homes. The NEC Masterplan, launched by Birmingham City Council and The NEC Group, involves the redevelopment of 75 hectares of land in Solihull into 315,000 square metres of new floorspace. “I am delighted to launch this Masterplan which sets out a radical vision for the transformation of the NEC campus which will not only see the Midlands International appeal and global position strengthened but also bring huge economic benefits to our local communities,” said Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council. The site is home to the NEC, its sister benue Genting Arena, Resorts World Birmingham and the recently-opened Merlin visitor attraction – Bear Grylls Adventure. “I welcome the publication of this Masterplan for the NEC which has been identified as one of the main areas for growth in the UK Central Hub, Solihull. These ambitious proposals to continue the diversification of the leisure and entertainment offer are a key component of the UK Central vision to be globally renowned as one of the best connected destinations for business, leisure and living in Europe and a major engine for growth in the UK,” said Councillor Bob Sleigh, Leader of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council. Recently sold to private equity funds managed by Blackstone, the City Council retained a freehold interest in the land at the Solihull site. “With the backing of our new majority shareholder, Blackstone, we have ambitious plans to develop our business further. The Masterplan is an important element of that expansion and builds on the excellent progress we have made over the last few years towards creating a truly world-class business, entertainment and leisure destination,” added Paul Thandi, CEO of NEC Group. The NEC Masterplan will be endorsed at a council meeting on the 13th of November.

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Creatives nail it for Construction Careers Week

To launch a series of Construction Careers Weeks taking place in Manchester, Birmingham and London this September and October, the winner of a national competition to design a campaign to encourage young people to consider a career in construction, as well as diversify the sector, has been announced. Built Environment Skills in Schools (BESS) – the organisation behind Construction Careers Week – teamed up with One Minute Briefs, a user-generated social media content community that challenges people to create an advertising concept in only one minute in response to a one sentence brief. In total, over 80 designs were submitted in 24 hours to BESS’ challenge to: “Create posters to inspire the next generation of construction workers to address the skills shortage and make the sector more diverse for #ConstructionCareersWeek.” The campaign generated 1,800 social media engagements and reached over 41,000 people online. The entries were whittled down to a shortlist of 13 and the winner – Yellow is the New Black, by David Felton was chosen as the winner by BESS. Kathryn Lennon Johnson, founder of BESS, said: “We were so impressed by the creativity that came from all the entries to our One Minute Brief challenge, and it was difficult to choose just one winner. The skills shortage in the construction industry is a major issues – and something we need as many people as possible to be aware of. Collaborating with One Minute Briefs gave us the opportunity to not only generate some amazing ads, but it also gave us a platform to communicate to people across the UK what we’re trying to achieve with Construction Careers Week. “We’ll show the designs to the students we meet during Construction Careers Weeks in Manchester, Birmingham and London to start conversations and challenge their perceptions of what a career is like in the sector.” Manchester Construction Careers Week starts 24 September, focusing on diversity and gender, with the Inspire Summit at the Bridgewater Hall on 25 September a key date. In Birmingham, the careers week starts 8 October, focusing on the future of construction and tech, with a number of activities taking place at UK Construction Week at the NEC Wednesday 10 October. Finally, London Construction Careers Week will take place from 15 October and focus on past, present and future. Additional activities will take place at London Build Thursday 25 October.   For more information, visit the BESS website.

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Acivico Architect at the Heart of NEC’s Transformation

At the heart of the NEC’s £4.5 million transformation has been an Acivico architect that supplied concept designs for the stunning and technically innovative pyramid formations, which will completely change the look and feel of Birmingham’s iconic premier international conference and leisure venue. Principal Architect Alan McBeth developed three gigantic custom designed trapezoidal shapes, each the size of a three-story house, using the latest design software. When connected, these form a 3D wall of 37 units, reinventing and giving life to the flat facades on five of the halls, originally constructed in 1976. Using state-of-the-art membrane technology and a healthy dose of imagination, the vision was for the facade to be covered with stretched membranes combined with colourful vector graphics panels, positioned between the 3D trapezoidal shapes. “The design required the use of the latest in tensile fabric innovation from within the UK and we found the print graphics specialist in Holland – the only company in the world that could print the polyester fabric which covers the trapezoids to the correct lifespan requirement,” said Alan McBeth. “The magnitude of this work has to be seen to be appreciated, but it is very scalable and there is no doubt this type of design treatment can be applied to give an economical facelift to other aging buildings, large or small, in need of some TLC,” he continued. The final colour changing boulder pattern was designed and supplied by international PR and advertising firm McCann whose programmable LED animated backlighting has created a dynamic and engaging environment for the 7 million annual visitors to the campus, but it’s at night that guests can really see the complex come to life. Acivico has used graphic visualisation technology to share the display. “We are delighted with the outcome of these concept designs by Acivico. The team understood the brief perfectly and came up with a unique concept using innovative technology which they brought to life using superb 3D visuals. The finished results are stunning,” commented Martin Clarke, NEC Marketing Director. The NEC’s ‘project facelift’ will be officially revealed with the launch of the Bear Grylls adventure world in October 2018.

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Former National Infrastructure Commission Chair Lord Adonis to deliver this year’s NEC Users’ Group Annual Seminar keynote

Lord Adonis, Labour peer and former National Infrastructure Commission chair, is to deliver the keynote address at the 2018 NEC annual seminar on Wednesday, 20 June, where finding a better approach to delivering high-performing infrastructure across the UK will take centre stage. A year on from the launch of the NEC4 suite of contracts at last year’s seminar, Lord Adonis is set to discuss priorities for national infrastructure, building a digital society and achieving success through collaboration in front of an audience of public and private sector industry experts at County Hall, London He joins an outstanding programme of expert speakers from across industry and Government, to include opening remarks by Dr David Hancock, Construction Director for the Infrastructure and Projects Authority Cabinet Office, and a talk from David Ferrousatt, Development Procurement Director at Heathrow Airport. Using case studies of Terminal 5 and Terminal 2, Mr Ferrousatt will discuss how NEC has helped shape Heathrow’s contracting journey and inspired greater collaboration and leadership as the airport looks ahead to future expansion. Kevin Murray, Deputy Director, Crown Commercial Service (CCS), then asks whether amendments to standard forms of contracts are ‘a Cure or Curse’? Discussing findings from a review of contract amendments by central government departments and wider public sector clients, Mr Murray will cover the impact of contract amendments and explain how Crown Commercial Service (CCS) will deal with contract amendments in their new commercial agreements. Held in the iconic County Hall, overlooking Westminster and the River Thames, the event, which has sold out for the past three years, will also allow NEC’s international community to engage directly with a variety of experts and industry leaders from infrastructure and facilities management. The ICE’s Project 13 intends to inspire a new long-term, value driven approach to infrastructure as Dale Evans, Director of the @one Alliance and Emma-Jane Houghton, associate director at KPMG, will explain. Ian Heaphy of the NEC4 Contract Board will then introduce the new NEC4 Alliance Contract (ALC), providing advice on when and why to use it, key aspects of the contract and an insight into NEC’s approach to alliancing. Linda Hausmannis, CEO of the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) will outline the opportunities and challenges faced by the FM sector, provide a guide to choosing the right procurement strategy and discuss the memorandum of understanding signed between NEC and the BIFM. This is a valuable opportunity for NEC users to hear about NEC4, share best practice, get the latest insights from case studies and strengthen relationships through networking with other delegates. During the afternoon sessions of the event, attendees will also take part in one of three practical NEC workshops, allowing them to get involved in sharing their own experiences and improving their own knowledge of NEC contracts. Rekha Thawrani, NEC Global Head, said: “Following ICE’S Project 13 launch, its commitment to driving better value driven infrastructure projects in the UK, I’m sure Lord Adonis’s outstanding insight will be of tremendous interest. “We’ve been delighted with the industry’s response to NEC4 one year on, and the quality of this year’s seminar speakers demonstrates the significance of NEC Contracts in the future of UK infrastructure.” The seminar will conclude with a celebration of users who have successfully delivered projects using the spirit of mutual trust and cooperation encouraged by NEC contracts at the NEC Awards. For more information on the seminar or the NEC suite of contracts, visit www.neccontract.com

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NEC Webinar to Tackle the Collaboration Issue

NEC would like to invite all civil engineering, construction and infrastructure project managers to the NEC webinar entitled ‘Enhancing performance through collaboration’ on the 28th of March. The aim of the seminar is to enhance understanding of the cost and time efficiencies of collaborative working and to persuade project managers to abandon the widespread ‘fear of failure’ that prevents the collaborative approach from happening. Simon Vaughan, Managing Director at JCP Consultancy Limited will be hosting the free-to-attend webinar alongside Robert Gerrard, NEC Consultant and NEC Users’ Group Secretary and together will provide tactical advice on creating the right conditions for collaboration between project partners, mitigating risks and achieving the benefits of a more collaborative approach. Additionally, the webinar will also highlight how the industry can effectively plan and prepare for such a change. The call for greater collaboration comes at a time of significant pressure on the industry to modernise following the high profile collapse of Carillion. “While companies are already aware they should support more collaborative attitudes to projects, they don’t always take the steps to do so,” said Simon, who believes that a collaborative approach depends not only on contracts but also on people’s behaviours and mindsets. “The construction and engineering industry often finds itself clinging to long-held traditions and practices that they’re used to, mainly out of a fear of failure. While embracing collaboration may be breaking with tradition for some, it is vital,” he continued. “Integrating the entire supply team for large complex projects can lead to a much deeper collaboration, bound common interests and reduced grounds for dispute, allowing all parties to work together in achieving client objectives, and sharing the risks and benefits of doing so.” The NEC webinar will be taking place on the 28th of March at 1pm and those wishing to register can do so by visit: http://www.neccontract.com/Collaboration.

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