Category: Construction Projects

Plans in for £155m Cambridge Devonshire Gardens scheme

Developer First Base and RPMI Railpen, the investment manager for the £35bn railways pension scheme, have submitted plans for Devonshire Gardens, a new sustainable neighbourhood in the heart of Cambridge.

The mixed-use scheme designed by Buckley Gray Yeoman will transform a three-acre Travis Perkins depot into a new neighbourhood set around a new public park.

It will consist of 120,000 sq ft of workspace across two new buildings, 100 build-to-rent homes and various community facilities, including a creche, pavilion and artists’ studios.

The new homes will comprise a mix of apartments, all available to rent at market or discounted rates. The homes are designed to meet the city’s net-zero carbon ambitions and will be powered by electricity from renewable sources, with no reliance on fossil fuels.

Barry Jessup, chief executive of First Base, said: “We have been working hard with Railpen to create a best-in-class long-term investment that will have very strong environmental credentials, provide excellent health and wellbeing facilities to both our residential and commercial tenants, and create real value for the existing local community.”



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Soaring materials prices final straw for failed contractor

Rising materials prices and the Covid pandemic have been blamed for the collapse of Wolverhampton based contractor Arthur M. Griffiths & Son Limited.

The firm – which can trace its roots back to 1899 – was placed in the hands of joint administrators Conrad Beighton and David Griffiths of Leonard Curtis Business Rescue & Recovery last Friday.

On appointment, 44 employees were made redundant and Leonard Curtis are now taking steps for an orderly wind-down of the company and to ensure that maximum realisations are achieved for the benefit of creditors.

The administrators said: “The company had encountered continuous, ongoing difficulties within the construction industry, as a result of the ongoing pandemic and issues associated with Brexit.

“Current volatility in availability and prices of construction materials made the completion of existing contracts on site and any new contracts in the near future unprofitable and therefore unviable.

“Ongoing COVID risks have also further complicated matters, and caused delays in completion of projects.”

Latest accounts for the company for the year to March 31 2020 show the firm made a pre-tax profit of £244,000 from a turnover of £30m.



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Contractors warned over surge in contaminated plastic waste

Contractors are being told to clean up their act after thousands of tonnes of contaminated plastic film and wrap produced in construction were blocked from export at UK ports.

The Environment Agency has pointed the finger at construction and demolition as the worst offender for generating waste contaminated with materials such as mud, sand, bricks and wood.

Waste exporters are frequently classifying this as ‘green list’ waste of low risk to the environment, but it is often contaminated poor grade plastic waste which is illegal to export.

Firms convicted of illegally exporting this contaminated waste face an unlimited fine and a two-year jail sentence.

But Agency enforcers are warning construction firms are also in the firing line and could face enforcement action if they are found to show disregard for the environment.

During the last year, the EA said it had intercepted huge numbers of shipments to prevent the illegal export.  Of 1,889 waste containers inspected at English ports, agency enforcers stopped a quarter from being illegally exported.

This, combined with regulatory intervention upstream at sites, prevented the illegal export of nearly 23,000 tonnes of waste.

It said exporters were undermining legitimate businesses in the UK seeking to recover such waste properly.

Malcolm Lythgo, Head of Waste Regulation at the Environment Agency, said: “We are seeing a marked increase in the number of highly contaminated plastic film and wrap shipments from the construction and demolition industry being stopped by our officers.

“I would strongly urge businesses to observe their legal responsibility to ensure waste is processed appropriately, so we can protect human health and the environment now and for future generations.

It’s not enough just to give your waste to someone else – even a registered carrier. You need to know where your waste will ultimately end up to know it’s been handled properly.”

“We want to work constructively with those in the construction and waste sectors so they can operate compliantly, but we will not hesitate to clamp down on those who show disregard for the environment and the law.”

Simple, practical steps to ensure that C&D site waste is handled legally

Construction businesses should check what’s in their waste

  • Different waste types need different treatments and so must be correctly categorised to ensure it goes to a site that is authorised to handle it safely.Businesses can also check if waste is hazardous as different rules might apply.
  • When a waste collector is transporting site waste, contractors must check they have a waste carrier’s licence from the EA.
  • Contractors must also check that the end destination site any waste is taken to is permitted to accept it and has the right authorisations in place. Keep a record of any waste that leaves site by completing a waste transfer note or a consignment note for hazardous waste which records what and how much waste you have handed over and where it is going.
  • Contaminated C&D waste plastic – including low-density polyethylene (LDPE) wrap and film – must be exported with prior consent from the EA as well as competent authorities in transit and destination countries.

Anyone with information regarding the illegal export of waste including C&D waste plastics can contact the EA’s Illegal Waste Exports team at [email protected] or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their website

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Guide to Construction Equipment Management: Everything You Need to Know

Construction only grows more complex each passing year, if not each quarter. As these complexities increase and timelines grow tighter, the management of resources becomes increasingly important. Equipment makes up some of the most valuable assets in this category. These items are not only expensive to purchase but also to maintain. Studies show that the maintenance of construction equipment plays a role in about 40% of total project overrun costs.

Broken equipment has a domino effect on projects, leading to downtime, additional expenses, and frustrated owners. Putting more effort into planning the management of your equipment and its maintenance can improve project and financial outcomes. 

Fortunately, prioritizing construction equipment management has proven to pay off. Today, we’ll take a look at what successful equipment management looks like and the innovations to make the management process much more efficient. 

What Is Construction Equipment Management?

As you probably guessed, construction equipment management refers to the administration of equipment used on construction projects. At a more detailed level, the practice encompasses the review of the equipment, its costs, and usage. 

Construction managers want to ensure that the cost of the equipment pays off in the long run. Besides the cost of the equipment itself, there are expenses associated with operation, maintenance, usage, and storage. Construction managers study this information alongside upcoming and current projects to inform decision-making. Ultimately, the goal of these decisions is to generate the highest possible ROI. 

Tips for Effective Equipment Management

Your construction equipment management system will vary depending on your needs. However, here are some key tips to making your system a success::

Determine the Right Tracking Workflows

To manage construction equipment successfully, start by establishing the right tracking workflows. This information should be used to drive decisions made by project managers, professional engineers, superintendents, owners, inspectors, etc. 

Basically, you need insights to determine in real time if:

  • The right equipment has been delivered
  • The equipment has been installed
  • The equipment has been inspected
  • The appropriate data has been collected

With the right tracking workflows in place, this information can also be harnessed for more efficient handover and operations. 

Set Up a Preventative Maintenance Program

Next, prioritize maintenance. Preventative maintenance is essential to extending the life of your equipment and avoiding costly repairs. As MacAllister puts it, “Preventive maintenance is more than regular maintenance like lubricating moving parts and changing filters. A proper preventive maintenance (PM) program is all-inclusive. It’s an intentional approach to equipment management from the time equipment is purchased until the end of its useful life.”

PM programs take action before wear and tear lead to major expenses or equipment failure. Through regular inspections, part replacement, testing, and analysis, you can improve the reliability, performance, and resale value of your fleet. 

Create Collaborative Communications Plans for Equipment

Your frontline workers are the ones most likely to identify issues with equipment or delivery. For optimal usage, your team needs to be notified when equipment is on-site, on its way, or if any changes take place. By creating a collaborative communications plan, this information can get in the right hands at the right time. 

The benefits of this type of plan for construction equipment management include:

  • Proactively addressing damages, repairs, and delays
  • Preventing people from using inoperable or damaged equipment
  • Facilitating ordering of parts

Be sure to integrate cloud-based construction technology into your communications plan; that way, you can collaborate with stakeholders in real time and have a single source of information. 

Monitor Your Equipment Smartly

Managing a fleet can make it difficult to know where your equipment is at all times. The same is true for scheduling maintenance across multiple items. IoT sensors can help to reduce the manual nature of monitoring equipment and planning maintenance.

According to Leverege, construction equipment managers can leverage IoT technology to:

  • Track equipment status and utilization
  • Identify the location and status of equipment in real time
  • Get instant notifications when equipment is moved off-site
  • Monitor engine runtime

Benefits of Successful Construction Equipment Management 

Setting up an equipment management system takes time. You might be wondering, “Is it really worth the effort?”

The answer, of course, depends on the benefits received by the system. You can expect to achieve the following advantages from successful equipment management:

  • Better visibility into where equipment is located, its status, and how it’s being used.
  • Fewer delays and cost overruns. With real-time information at their fingertips, teams can make quick decisions about how to use equipment. 
  • Better safety standards as the equipment is kept up-to-date and maintained.
  • Less downtime as equipment can be used as soon as it’s available. 
  • Reduced expenses in the form of costly repairs and project overtime. 
  • Cohesive data to help inform decisions about retiring, selling, or upgrading assets. 

The Top Technology for Construction Equipment Management 

As managers look for ways to improve the efficiency of their construction equipment, new innovations are coming to the forefront. Here are some solutions to keep in mind while building your system:

Intelliwave: With their SiteSense platform, you can manage all of your owned and rented assets in one single location. The software makes it easy to locate, maintain, and track the utilization of equipment.

Atlas RFID from Jovix: Atlas RFID  is an award-winning Material Readiness application from Jovix. Atlas RFID provides real-time visibility to all stakeholders throughout the supply chain. Employing a combination of web-based server software, mobile devices, and smart RFID tags and barcode labels, Atlas RFID removes impediments to productivity and ensures workers have the materials they need to spend more time on tools.

Milwaukee OneKey: As the industry’s largest tracking network, ONE-KEY streamlines everything from tool tracking to maintenance planning for Milwaukee tools and products. The solution includes asset ID tagging, equipment trackers, barcode scanning, and geofencing capabilities.

Linxup: Linxup helps you track data points for visibility into your fleet’s location in real time, driver and operator behavior, maintenance, electronic driver logs, and more. Its devices use vehicle power, solar power, or rechargeable batteries to tell you where your assets are, where they’re going, and how they’re getting there. 

TruckIt: TruckIt is a dispatching and electronic ticketing cloud-based platform. The dispatch side gives insights into owned and rented assets for optimal utilization. Its ticketing system automates paper tickets, time sheets, billing, and payments. This data can then be used for material delivery verification, driver performance insights, project yield, and ticket reconciliation.

Enhance Equipment Management Processes

Construction equipment management will help you reduce downtime and delays. In the event that you do encounter some downtime, you can use your time effectively based on the information gathered through your management system. That may look like scheduling maintenance, moving equipment into storage, or swapping out parts. As you refine your system, you’ll discover ways to optimize the processes around construction equipment management. 

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IDH opens Bahrain office

Engineering design consultancy Independent Design House (IDH) has expanded with the launch of IDH Bahrain in the Middle East.

IDH Bahrain is based in the Gulf, and will also service markets in nearby Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.  

IDH provides both temporary and permanent works design, with full 2D draughting and 3D modelling services along with all BIM requirements. Clients include ISG and Laing O’Rourk.

The Bahrain office will be run by Hany Ibrahim who brings with him 20 years of industry experience.

He said: “Middle East is presenting excellent business opportunities this year and even more in the next few years. Mega projects are set to come live and some of these projects include those in alignment with Vision 2030 plans that Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia have in place, which aim to help create a thriving post-hydrocarbon economy for the region.

“Our vision is not only to establish the business in Bahrain but to expand it to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE.”

IDH CEO, Tim Burt, added “I am extremely excited about the opportunities opening IDH Bahrain will generate for us, and I believe it will take us to the next level as a business. We foresee continued growth over the coming months as IDH North and IDH Bahrain come on-stream, and we are genuinely forming an international business.” 

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Economic Heavy Lifting by U.S. & Canadian Homebuilders

Texas is in a League of its Own

Through the first half of 2021, the monthly average of seasonally adjusted and annualized (SAAR) housing starts in the U.S. has been +23.2% compared with January-June 2020. The one-quarter increase in groundbreakings warrants the ‘mini-boom’ description being applied to the U.S. homebuilding market.

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