A Company carrying out construction work to convert an eight storey former Ford office block into 384 flats has been prosecuted for safety failings that put many at risk.
On the 26 May 2015, HSE was contacted by the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) to inform them of concerns for men sleeping on the construction site at Trafford House, Station Way, Basildon, Essex.
HSE carried out a joint inspection with ECFRS the same day and found numerous failings on site. HSE concluded that there was a significant risk to life in the event of a fire and issued a prohibition notice preventing workers from sleeping on site.
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Forty eight workers had to be re-housed into safer sleeping accommodation. At the time of the inspection approximately 120 men were working across the site. A second prohibition notice closed the entire site until the appropriate steps had been taken to protect all workers from the dangers posed by fire.
RGB (Plastering and Construction) Limited, of Monkmoor Road Shrewsbury, pleaded guilty/not guilty to breaching Regulation 29(a) and (c) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. They were fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,130.
After the hearing HSE Inspector Adam Hills said: “This case highlights the importance of ensuring those who undertake construction work have the relevant skills, knowledge, training and experience to do so.
“There doesn’t have to be an injury or incident for HSE to take action. If you irresponsibly endanger the lives of those who are simply trying to earn a living then HSE can and will take proactive action to protect them.”
December’s floods caused widespread disruption and misery, and our hearts go out to all those who were, and still are affected.
But it’s happening much more frequently and on a larger scale than we anticipated, and clearly Britain is poorly prepared to defend against or deal with it. It also appears to be on a rising curve, as you’d expect if it’s associated with climate change. So we clearly need to do something about it.
David Rooke, a flooding expert and deputy chief executive of the UK Environment Agency urges a ‘complete rethink’ of UK flood defences as a result of climate change. “We are in a period of known extremes and moving into a period of unknown extremes,” he said. We’d have to look at flood defences and flood-proofing homes and increasing their resilience, he added.
The World Meteorological Organisation expects global average temperature to hit a record high in 2015. The UK Met Office says the world is likely to be even warmer this year and “by the end of 2016, we will have seen three record or near-record years in a row for global temperatures”. A warmer atmosphere contains more moisture and energy, so climate change means more violent storms and extreme rainfall.
In England, December’s mean temperature of 9.50C was well above average and 20C above 1934, the previous record. It was so warm, daffodils were photographed in bloom. It was so moist, Storm Desmond dropped 34cm of rain on Honister Pass in Cumbria in a 24 hour period in December, another UK record.
The problem is, we’ve watched and talked about these changes but acted as if nothing has changed. We haven’t changed our priorities, or the way we behave and build.
The Government has allocated a £2.3bn flood defence budget for this five year parliament. It says that’s an increase on the previous five years. Yet accountants KPMG estimates the full cost of December’s floods to be over £5bn, including £2bn for repairing flood defences.
So, the cost of repairing December’s flooding in the North of England will use up nearly 90% of the UK’s five year flood defence budget!
Despite repeated policy statements and insurance companies withdrawing support, one new home in every 14 in 2013-14, the most recent period for which data is available, was built on land with a significant chance of flooding.
One good thing that has come out of December’s damage and distress is that the way we design and build our homes and properties is now on the agenda. Let’s hope Government asks people in the industry, who have some of the answers, how it should change.
An in-house ground breaking ceremony has been in held in Sheffield to celebrate work commencing on a £65million pound landmark development in the city.
A party of key investors flew in from China for the traditional Chinese style ground breaking ceremony where sand surrounding a plinth was turned over with the help of special shovels.
Construction is now underway on New Era Square — a 20-storey mixed leisure, commercial and residential development which will transform an area between London Road and Bramall Lane, close to the city centre.
New Era Development (UK) Ltd, the Sheffield-based company behind the plans, is creating a cosmopolitan, international, multi-cultural focal point. The scheme has been designed by Sheffield-based architects Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson. Building works are being led by Derbyshire-based Bowmer and Kirkland.
Work is now underway to prepare the foundations for the development, which is to include retail units, food and drink outlets on the ground floor, leading out to an open air square for events. The existing KH oriental supermarket established 40 years ago will be redesigned and upgraded to the new large supermarket premises and will offer new range of products from all over the world.
On the first floor there will be office space for professional service businesses, an exhibition hall and a Sheffield City Region China Business Incubator chaired by Richard Caborn to enhance enterprise and trade links between China and the UK.
From the third floor there will be approximately 700 student accommodation units, predominately 30sqm studio rooms, plus micro-flats and student cluster flats.
The project is set to create few hundreds new jobs once construction has been completed.
Speaking at the event, Jerry Cheung, Managing Director at New Era Development (UK) Ltd, said: “This is an exciting day for everyone at New Era and we are thrilled to see work commencing on the project. We have been working incredibly hard behind the scenes for many years to see our vision come to life, so it is fantastic to celebrate by inviting our investors from China for this special occasion.
“New Era Square is a landmark development for Sheffield, the region and the UK. It represents substantial investment for the city and is set to create a cosmopolitan, urban destination, including the new public square, to bring people from across the whole community together.
“We are very much looking forward to developing opportunities for businesses through our Sheffield City Region China Business Incubator, which has the potential to offer significant inward investment. This will offer a fantastic opportunity for any business looking to break into the Chinese market and vice-versa for businesses based in China seeking a UK market entry through Sheffield.”
A food company and their contractor have been fined after asbestos was disturbed during building work and only identified by chance when an asbestos removal contractor attended site.
Stafford Crown Court heard no asbestos survey had been carried out by Mizkan Euro Ltd or D H Welton & Co Ltd and either company could have commissioned a refurbishment/demolition before the work commenced.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found Mizkan Euro Ltd were undertaking a project to remove tanks from a factory which required the demolition of an external wall. They failed to provide an asbestos survey to enable their contractor DH Welton to quote and plan appropriately for the work to be undertaken. However, it also found DH Welton could have commissioned a survey when they discovered that Mizkan only had access to a management survey for the building.
When the wall was demolished asbestos insulation board at the top of the wall was unknowingly broken up. A skip of demolition debris was found to contain asbestos insulation board, which had been identified by an asbestos contractor who had been called to site. For the work to be undertaken correctly, a licensed asbestos removal contractor should have been appointed to remove the asbestos under controlled conditions prior to the wall being demolished.
Mizkan Euro Ltd of Chiswick Park, Chiswick High Road, Chiswick, London pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act after failing to plan and manage the work carried out under their control without ensuring that risks to health and safety are prevented. It was fined £60,000 for each charge (£120k) and ordered to pay costs of £13,589.
D H Welton & Co Ltd of Corn Street, Failsworth, Manchester admitted breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act and regulation 5(1)(a) Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 after failing to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment as to whether asbestos was present or liable to be present during the removal of a wall It was fined £15,000 for each charge (£45k) plus costs of £4,529.
A private landlord was prosecuted today after failing to provide gas safety certificates for two rented properties.
Harrogate Magistrates’ Court heard that following a complaint from a tenant, an Improvement Notice (IN) was issued to landlord Dean Taylor by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for non-provision of a gas safety certificate for the gas appliances in his property.
Mr Taylor did not comply with that notice and during the investigation another of his properties was found to also not have a gas safety certificate.
Dean Taylor, of Gentian Glade, Harrogate, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 33 (1) (g) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, also Section 36(3) and Section 36(6) of the Gas Safety Installation and Use Regulations. He was given 240 hours of community service and instructed to pay full HSE costs of £2767 by Harrogate Magistrates’ Court.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Julian Franklin commented: “If you rent property out, you must comply with requirements of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations, including the need to have a gas safety certificate. Gas appliances should be regularly checked, as faulty appliances can kill.”
The Manchester offices of WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff have been appointed to two landmark high-rise schemes in Manchester city centre, adding to the company’s international portfolio of iconic towers which include Manchester’s Beetham Tower, London’s ‘The Shard’ and New York’s ‘Freedom Tower’.
The 597 strong team has been appointed to bring engineering consultancy to the first phase of Allied London’s planned ‘vertical village’, situated on the land formerly part of the ITV estate. The vertical village will form part of Allied London’s new St. John’s neighbourhood and will consist of 1,200 homes within six interconnecting towers across two sites and will incorporate cycle sheds, retail units and restaurants fronting the river, with potential for medical and education facilities, as well as office space.
WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff is supplying a range of services including civil and structural engineering, building services, façade engineering, vertical transportation, geotechnical and fire assessments for the first phase of the scheme – which includes two interconnected 50 storey and 35 storey towers. The team has worked closely with architects Child Graddon Lewis on the detailed planning application which will be submitted in August.
Michael Ingall, Chief Executive of Allied London said, “The vertical village will be a highly sustainable, high-density residential scheme that will provide a critical mass of residents to support the community, commercial and ancillary shopping and leisure spaces within St. John’s and create a vibrant, diverse and integrated village community.”
The WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff Manchester team also helped achieve planning this month for the redevelopment of Astley House and Byrom House on Quay Street into a 270,000 sq ft office space. The new scheme, from West Midlands Pension Fund, advised by CBRE Global Investors and designed by Stride Treglown, will be divided into three blocks which range from 14 storeys to six storeys and will include a restaurant and café unit. WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff is providing a range of services including structural engineering, site investigation and environmental impact assessments.
Comments Peter Lloyd, Senior Technical Director of building structures at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff: “These project wins are a great achievement for the team and a chance for us to showcase our high rise credentials in the North West where, for a number of years throughout the recession, the market has lain low. It is pleasing to see these kinds of ambitious designs both being submitted, and achieving planning, and we’re look forward to cementing our reputation as the leading specialists in high-rise developments in the region. It is a great opportunity for us to utilise the skills that our team has employed on projects nationally and internationally, on home soil.”
The National Composites Centre (NCC) in Bristol, UK has put a new KraussMaffei RimStar Compact 4/4/4 into operation. The mixing and metering machine can process both epoxy resin and polyurethane (PUR) and enables short cycle times for production of lightweight components.
The National Composites Centre (NCC) in Bristol, UK has expanded its TechCenter with a new KraussMaffei RimStar Compact 4/4/4 mixing and metering machine. The system is equipped with two mixing heads, enabling it to process both epoxy resin and polyurethane in high-pressure resin transfer molding (HP-RTM).
«High-pressure injection using the RimStar Compact allows us to process fast-reacting resin systems. This shortens cycle times, enabling us to produce fiber-reinforced components in large quantities,» explains Wolfgang Hinz, Product and Sales Manager Business Unit Composites and Surfaces at KraussMaffei. «Previously, the HP-RTM process primarily used epoxy resin as the matrix material. Recently, however, an increasing number of components are being made of polyurethane in the HP-RTM (high pressure RTM) process. Because the RimStar Compact 4/4/4 can process both matrix systems, it gives the NCC and its member companies great flexibility for carrying out application-oriented test series.»
In the opinion of the NCC, a critical argument in favor of HP-RTM technology was the fact that KraussMaffei’s experts already have extensive experience in implementing the process in series production. This served as the basis for the highly skilled advice provided to the institute with regard with regard to the design and application options of the metering machine.
The National Composites Centre opened in 2011 and is a central element of the UK Composites Strategy, an initiative of the UK government to promote the composites industry in the United Kingdom. Implementing innovative technologies is intended to make the UK-based companies more competitive on an international level. Particular focus is on the aviation and aerospace, vehicle manufacturing and renewable energy industries. «The composites market is experiencing pronounced growth in the UK. In vehicle manufacturing, the big OEMs are advancing lightweight construction development and the use of CFRP in structural components. The aviation industry is also very active,» adds Stephen Lambert, Reaction Process Technology Business Manager at KraussMaffei Group UK.
At the NCC, new production methods are being developed for composite materials and advanced into industrial series production. The research is focused on areas including the automated manufacturing of fiber preforms, component manufacturing using autoclaves and compression molding and post-mold processing of the fiber-reinforced components. Furthermore, measurement and inspection systems for visual investigation and thermal and rheological analysis are available. Over 30 industrial companies are now organized as members of the NCC. The total floor space of the institute was expanded to 8500 m². As part of this expansion, the RimStar Compact 4/4/4 was also put into operation. Since then, KraussMaffei has also been a member of the NCC, offering interested companies the opportunity to run tests on-site.
UK construction companies ended 2015 with a robust and accelerated expansion of overall business activity, according to the seasonally adjusted Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI® ).
The Index registered 57.8 in December, up from a seven-month low of 55.3 in November. Higher levels of construction output have been recorded by the survey since May 2013, but the overall rate of expansion remained slightly weaker than seen on average over this period.
Commercial construction remained the best performing sub-category of activity in December, with the latest upturn the fastest since October 2014.
Housing activity also increased at a robust rate that was much stronger than the 29-month low seen during November. Anecdotal evidence cited an improving flow of development opportunities and new invitations to tender. Meanwhile, a fall in civil engineering activity was only marginal, but this ended a seven-month period of sustained growth.
Just over half of the survey panel (51%) anticipate a rise in business activity over the course of 2016, while only 7% forecast a reduction. Although this indicated the weakest degree of positive sentiment since February, the index remained well above its post-crisis average. Survey respondents noted that greater client budgets, improving economic conditions and a strong pipeline of new projects had underpinned business confidence in December.
Tim Moore, Senior Economist at Markit and author of the Markit/CIPS Construction PMI® , said: «UK construction companies finished 2015 in a positive fashion, as overall output growth recovered from November’s seven-month low. Across the UK construction sector as a whole, the latest survey indicated a strong degree of optimism about the outlook for 2016, with firms mainly citing a strong pipeline of commercial development projects and new housing starts. There were also reports that sustained improvements in UK economic conditions had led to upbeat expectations for clients’ budget setting for the year ahead.»
David Noble, Group Chief Executive Officer at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, said: «With both new orders and general business activity on the rise, this month saw a considerable spike in purchasing activity and the second fastest increase since January 2015, amidst an environment where suppliers struggled more as lead times lengthened.
«Though commercial activity was the main driver of growth, the housing sub-sector remained strong, rejecting the previous 29-month low and showing solid steady increases overall since February 2013. Hirings in the construction sector also bounced back from November’s 26- month low and sub-contractors remained in demand to support increased workloads.
«This was a welcome surprise to the end of the year. The perfect conditions of lower commodity prices, helping bring cost inflation close to April’s six-year low, and a supportive UK economy have given the sector a solid foundation to build on with continued positive sentiment for the year ahead.»
AMA Research have published the 5th edition of the report ‘Utilities Construction Market Report – UK 2015-2019 Analysis’. This report incorporates original input and primary research, and represents an up-to-date and perceptive review of the market and its development. It includes a review of recent market trends and forecasts for the utilities construction market over the next few years.
Key areas covered:
• Detailed assessment of the market — analysis of market structure and recent developments in the market, with forecasts to 2019.
• Water sector analysis — market size, capital investment, water and sewerage construction output, key developments, leading providers.• Electricity sector analysis — market size, capital investment, construction output, influence of renewables, growth prospects into the medium term. • Gas & Telecoms sector analysis — market size, product mix, changes to sectors, investment and output, key companies, key influences etc.• Procurement and key contractors — EU directives, recent contract awards, contractor profiles.
Key areas of insight include:
• Analysis of market performance in 2010-2014 – utilities output as part of the wider infrastructure market. Forecasts of market performance to 2019.
• Factors affecting the market and analysis of key market characteristics — (eg: energy legislation & European Directives, growing influence of the electricity sector, changes to regulatory framework in water sector, influence of 3G and 4G networks in telecoms sector, etc).• Performance of each key sub-sector – water, electricity, gas and telecoms, quarterly analysis of output and new orders, influencing factors, forecasts to 2019.• Procurement – European Purchasing Directives and the Utilities sector, contract thresholds, changes to purchasing procedures 2012-14.• Key contractors operating in the utilities sector – contractor profiles, recent contracts awarded, etc.
Some of the companies included:
AMEC Foster Wheeler, Arup Group, Balfour Beatty, BAM Nuttall, Barhale Construction, Bechtel UK, Black and Veatch, Carillion, Costain, EDF Energy, Galliford Try, GDF Suez, Interserve, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Morgan Sindall, Morrison Utility Services, Skanska UK, SSE, Vinci Construction, UK Power Networks.
Key areas covered in the report include:
• UK Construction Output – overview of UK construction market 2009-19, mix by sector 2014, key influencing factors, trends.• Infrastructure and Utilities Market – size in terms of GB construction output, sector mix 2014, key trends in infrastructure sectors.• Utilities Market – sector mix, output by sector, quarterly analysis by output and new orders, key influencing factors, future prospects.• Utilities output forecasts – assessment of potential performance 2014-19, key influencing factors, and output forecasts to 2019.SECTOR ANALYSIS — WATER, ELECTRICITY, GAS & TELECOMS
• Industry structure – by sector and by country for individual sectors, regulatory control, industry size, factors influencing structure of the industry, etc.
• Construction output by sector – 2009-14 with forecasts through to 2019, quarterly analysis of output and new orders. • Future investment by sector – current plans for capital investment and future investment, influence of legislative or regulatory controls.• Key trends in the market place — factors of influence; are the trends and factors of influence set to continue, or will there be changes?• Identification of key companies for each sector – profiles of key utilities companies involved in each UK sector — eg water companies, gas & electricity generation, transmission & distribution organisations, leading telecoms companies.• Current forecasts to 2019 – construction output by electricity, gas and total utilities in GB.PROCUREMENT AND LEADING CONTRACTORS
• Procurement of utilities works – European Procurement Directives, exemptions for utilities companies, current contract thresholds and those applicable to utilities sector.
• Recent contract awards in utilities sector – includes recent AMP 6 contract awards in water sector as well as some major electricity contracts recently awarded.• Structure of utilities contracting sector – analysis by employee numbers for water, electricity and communications sectors, recent corporate activities.• Leading contractors in utilities sectors – company profile, area of activity, recent utilities works, contracts awarded, major clients in utilities sector etc.REVIEW OF FUTURE PROSPECTS
• Trends over the medium-term and forecasts to 2019; key influencing factors within the market, potential influence of regulative and legislative changes.
• Recognition of need to secure UK’s future energy supplies — change to renewable generation as well as greater influence of nuclear power likely to boost electricity sector output.
The utilities sector comprises the water, energy and telecoms markets, which were previously operated as state run monopolies but have been opened to private competition for more than 25 years. Construction output for the utilities sector for Great Britain in 2014 was around £7.9bn and has experienced growth of 64% since 2008, outperforming the wider infrastructure market over the last 2-3 years due to outstanding growth in the electricity sector. Construction output in the electricity sector more than quadrupled 2008-14, and this accounts for the overall improvement in sector performance over the period.
The chart indicates that utilities construction output grew by 49% 2009-11 but only by 10% 2011-14 when growth in the electricity sector was partly offset by declines in the water and sewerage sectors. The level of capital spending within the utilities sector is underpinned particularly through 5 year asset management and renewals programmes for individual sub-sectors such as water and electricity.
Underpinning construction output growth for the electricity sector during the past three to four years has been the expansion of the renewables sector, in particular offshore wind. In addition, the decommissioning of outdated power stations (both fossil fuel and nuclear) and the construction of new generation capacity, as well as the programme of renewal and improvement to the transmission and distribution networks have all boosted construction output. The water sector benefits to a degree from the continued focus of the Regulator on improved customer service and water quality initiatives which have resulted in greater spending on improvements to mains and water treatment plants. The refurbishment of the gas distribution network and building of new gas storage facilities have assisted in boosting output growth in this sector in recent years. Telecoms revenues have remained steady over the period, despite increasingly competitive pricing for mobile contracts.
Current prospects for the utilities sector into the medium-term remain optimistic with output set to increase until 2019. Fundamental to this positive forecast remains the influence of Government policy commitments in a number of areas such as the Renewables Obligation, energy security and the rollout of superfast broadband. These policies are underpinned by the Government’s National Infrastructure Plan and the implementation of a number of measures to incentivise private investment. Another key influence is the influence of the regulatory environment in the water and energy sectors, which provides a framework for medium-term programmes of capital investment.
Two building companies have been fined after a man was seriously injured when a structure that allows water to flow under roads collapsed on him.
Maidstone Crown Court heard that Kent County Council appointed Enterprise to replace an old, damaged, brick culvert under Tudely Lane Tonbridge. Enterprise in turn appointed Topbond to do the majority of the work.
A culvert is an embedded structure, usually surround by soil and can be made from steel, brick or reinforced concrete or other material and is used to transport water underground from one side of a road or railway to another.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting told the court that on 27 January 2012 water was being pumped out of the work area when three workers including 63-year-old Michael Skitt of Kingsnorth, Ashford, entered the area between two culverts in order to clear a channel for the remaining water to flow toward the pump head.
They had begun to clear loose material, but had not started digging.
Shortly after they entered the area, the old brick culvert collapsed. One man jumped clear, another was hit but managed to release himself, but Michael Skitt was trapped and injured.
Mr Skitt suffered multiple injuries including shoulder blade breaks, an open shin break and a dislocated knee. Ongoing issues with his foot may see him need further operations. Mr Skitt spent 26 days in hospital and has now had to give up full time work and walks with a stick.
HSE said the stability of the structure was not assessed adequately, nor sufficient planning undertaken to ensure adequate control measures were in place.
Its investigation found that originally the old culvert was to be totally demolished early in the work, when this was changed the implications of uncovering half of the damaged culvert and therefore loading it unevenly and undermining it were not managed.
Although culvert repair/replacement is a relatively unusual construction job, the collapse of excavations and structures is common and the court heard the defendants in the case were made aware of the potential of collapse by the original designers/engineers several times.
The culvert could have been demolished early in the work, failing this, there are a number of commonly used ways to support structures during construction work.
Enterprise (AOL) Ltd of the Sherard Building, Edmund Halley Road, Oxford admitted breaches of section 22 (1) and 28 (1) of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2007. They were fined a total of £90,000 and ordered to pay an additional £22,876 costs.
Construction firm Topbond PLC, of Oyster Quay, Castle Road, Sittingbourne, Kent admitted breaches of section 13 (1) and 28 (1) of the same regulations. They were also ordered to pay £22,876.60 costs and were fined £70,000.
After the case, HSE inspector Nicola Wellard said: “This is a sad case that has changed at least one man’s life for ever. The culvert was being replaced because it had been damaged previously.
“Just this one piece of information should have been enough to ensure both contractors assessed the stability of the culvert throughout the work and took appropriate measures to ensure people were protected from the risk of collapse. These risks are well known and the fact that the two other men escaped without serious injury was just pure luck, this could easily have been a multiple fatality.»