Scottish transport minister has announced that one of the most important bridges in Scotland in terms of trade traffic will reopen to all vehicles except HGVs from 6am on Wednesday.

The bridge was closed earlier this month after a 20mm crack was found in the steelwork.

This is much earlier than the date of 4th Jan for reopening given last week, which would have been exactly a month after it was closed.

Amey’s Mark Arndt said last week that their engineers were “working around the clock to get the bridge reopened to that timetable,” but suggested that the opening date in January was entirely dependent on weather.

Heavy goods vehicles will not be allowed to use the bridge and will be required to continue to use alternative routes indefinitely.

The transport minister said that interim repair work has now been completed, which has allowed the bridge to be reopened ahead of schedule.

The sheer scale of the chaos and crisis caused by the closure of the Forth Road Bridge has undoubtedly had a negative impact on Scottish Economy, among other problems. Since the closure, the surrounding roads have regularly seen tailbacks of up to 11 miles on diversion routes. Some 70,000 vehicles cross the bridge each week day prior to closing.

The full economic impact on the economy has not yet been assessed, but just a few years ago bridge management estimated the closure of just one carriageway cost the Scottish economy a staggering £650,000 a day.

Young people from across the county have been given an insight into the wide range of career opportunities available in the construction industry.

A Highways England-led team delivering road improvements in the East of England met with teens at the Huntingdonshire Careers Fair, held at Wood Green animal shelter this week.

The event, part sponsored by Highways England, was aimed at 15-16 year olds who are at a critical point in making their career choice.

More than 600 young people attended and met a wide range of Highways England employees and contractors, to learn more about the opportunities and skills involved in developing and constructing road projects of all sizes.

Adam, a local student who attended the fair, said “I am looking into a career path in design or engineering and it was great to see the range of opportunities the A14 scheme offers. I am in my final year of A-Levels and I was particularly interested in the design portfolio and was able to discuss the possibility of gaining work experience with the possibility of an apprenticeship starting in August 2016.”

Barry Andrews, one of the Highways England project managers present at the fair, said “I was delighted to represent Highways England at the Huntingdonshire careers fair. This was a great opportunity to engage with the potential engineers, technical specialists, project managers, team executives and apprentices of tomorrow on behalf of Highways England.”

“I passionately believe that the young people within our community are the future in which we must invest now and I will continue to support such valuable and creditable endeavours.”

Kirstie Dawe, one of Highways England’s apprentices who also supported the event, continued “I am on the Business Administration Apprenticeship at Highways England. For me, going to the careers event at Wood Green was a great opportunity to encourage young people to consider a career at Highways England and make them aware of the variety of career paths available from apprenticeships to graduate schemes.”

Among the team present were also employees from Highways England’s supply chain and representatives from the £1.5bn A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon major project, which is due to start construction next year subject to statutory processes. The scheme is local to Huntingdon and is set to provide many career opportunities in the coming years.

Chris Taylor, Director of Complex Infrastructure at Highways England, who oversees the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon major project, said “Construction is a really dynamic industry to work in and offers a huge range of interesting career opportunities – from contract and commercial management, to archaeology and ecology, as well as the more obvious construction and engineering paths.”

“The Huntingdonshire Careers Fair gave us a great opportunity to meet young people and talk to them about some of the fantastic prospects on offer in their local area and across the country.”

“We are committed to using the local workforce and businesses as much as possible. As well as delivering much needed journey improvements, we hope to leave a lasting legacy by improving skills and employment opportunities in the communities we are working for.”

Transport Minister Lord Ahmad said “Having a skilled workforce is essential if we want to build a strategic road network fit for the future. That is why the government is committed to delivering on its ambition for 30,000 transport apprenticeships by 2020, by investing in our next generation.”

“We welcome this Highways England initiative which demonstrates the wide range of careers options available in transport for high calibre young people.”

The world’s population is ageing rapidly and with profound results. In response to these changes, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has launched a report exploring the effects of the ageing population on the construction industry and outlined how the sector can adapt to meet some of the challenges.

‘Exploring the impact of the ageing population on the workforce and built environment’ is the second report from the CIOB to study the effects of the ageing population. Six years on from the first study, the research highlights the crucial role the built environment has to play in terms of improving the lives of older people.

In a survey of nearly 1,000 CIOB members, responses indicate that despite legislative changes to improve recognition of the ageing population and combat workplace discrimination, awareness of the ageing population and its influence on the built environment has slumped – when compared with the findings from the CIOB’s first report.

The research finds that the built environment has a crucial role to play in terms of improving the lives of older people through measures designed to enhance the accessibility and liveability of buildings. Retaining ageing workers’ knowledge and skills is also crucial, and the report sends a clear message to policymakers and industry leaders: to be successful, construction needs to see far greater investment and recognition of ageing workers.

With 19% of the construction workforce set to retire in the next five to ten years, the report finds that employers need to overcome stereotypes and repurpose, where necessary, job descriptions to attract and, most importantly, retain older workers. However, the CIOB is clear that this not be considered a substitute for investing in training, and should work hand-in-hand to help alleviate the ongoing skills crisis.

Whilst 57% of respondents acknowledged that it was ‘very important’ to retain ageing workers, this was not reflected in the number of respondents who stated that their workplace had measures such as flexible working, succession planning, mid-life career reviews or retirement planning designed to encourage an extension to longer working lives.

The benefits of mentoring are well documented. However, despite the overwhelming majority of respondents acknowledging this, only 63% confirmed that this measure was a regular feature in the workplace. Respondents pointed towards the difficulties obtaining high-calibre staff to deliver and participate in such schemes. Crucially, the report suggests that more needs to be done to make better use of ageing workers’ expertise and skills, and use this to help upskill younger counterparts.

Bridget Bartlett, Deputy Chief Executive of the CIOB said “The findings from this report indicate that the impact of the ageing population and the role of the ageing workforce have slipped down the agenda.

“However, if construction is to meet the skills crisis it faces and fill the 224,000 vacancies needed by 2019, employers should look to take additional steps to overcome the skills shortages they incur by reaching out to older workers. There is a huge opportunity to showcase to both young and old members of the workforce that construction isn’t all hard hats and hi-vis and that off-site opportunities are aplenty. We demand technical skills as much as manual skills.

“Employers must also recognise the skills of their existing workers and put in measures such as flexible working, career reviews or even retirement planning to encourage longer working lives. As our own research tells us, skills shortages in construction are compounded by those entering the industry not being suitably qualified for the position. We should take this opportunity to use older workers to tap into their skills and knowledge and ensure they are passed onto the next generation.”

A full copy of the research can be accessed from www.ciob.org/population.

Single ply roofing membranes are extremely versatile and ideal for virtually any flat roofing project, offering speed of installation and a huge reduction in costs. At the Park Plaza Riverbank in Central London, the installation of high performance Sika-Trocal Type S and Type SGmA membranes will ensure the hotel’s multi-million pound extension and reconfiguration is completed on time and to the highest standard.

Located on the South Bank of the River Thames, within a short distance of Big Ben and the London Eye, Park Plaza Riverbank welcomes guests from all over the world. As part of a European development programme by parent company PPHE Hotel Group, including three new hotels in London and one in Germany, an eight-storey extension complete by 2016 will add 184 new rooms and a new private penthouse with terraces to the hotel.

Working with ESA architects and Gear Construction, the design has been delivered which includes the creation of eight separate roof areas of different sizes, shapes and pitches. With a fast and reliable installation a key requirement, the mechanically fixed Sika-Trocal S and SGmA systems proved to be the optimum roofing solution, offering a smooth and rapid installation, excellent flexibility and crisp, simple detailing.

Innovation in action

Due to the city centre location, two roof pitches of 25° and 44°, and both the complexity and number of roof sections, a forward-thinking application method was required. With the company’s unique and innovative abseiling solution, ICS Roofing was appointed as the project’s roofing contractor. With the complexity of the design, ICS employed specialist Sika-Trocal installers Brightside Roofing to complete the application over a projected 18 week period.

“After careful planning and co-ordination with Gear, they supplied a cantilevered scaffold off the building which allowed us to abseil equipment as a means of fall arrest and to create safe access to the various roof areas,” said Tom Peach, Contracts Manager at ICS Roofing.

“Many flat roof membranes do not lend themselves to installation using an abseil, due to the double fix method of insulation and membrane. Heat welding can also become an issue when working on steeper pitched areas, however, Sika-Trocal system offered us a speedy installation that saw the first two roofs installed in under two weeks – much quicker than the 25 days predicted.”

Working for ICS throughout the project, Brightside installed a total of 1,755m2 of the Sika-Trocal Type S roofing membrane across the three main roof areas. Using the unique Sika-Trocal Laminated Metal Discs and thermally broken fasteners, this provided a rapid and economic roofing solution by allowing ICS to secure both the membrane and the insulation in one go, reducing the fasteners required by 40-60% and speeding up installation.

As well as being one of the most rapid and economic systems to install, it allowed the installation team to achieve exceptional waterproofing and durability – approved by the British Board of Agrément (BBA) to have a life expectancy, in their opinion, of in excess of 35 years.

Devil is in the detail

The unreinforced nature of Type S membrane offers exceptional malleability and allows high quality detailing works to be completed to an exceptional standard. On the 44° pitched roof, insulation was cleverly installed in a step formation to allow installers safe and easy access to the highest point of the roof – with the membrane allowing a single continuous application towards a stunning box gutter and parapet detail.

For a number of complex details, ICS turned to Sika-Trocal Metal for a neat aesthetic and crisp finish to perimeter flashings and junctions. As well as a stylish aesthetic and a fast application, health and safety of site operatives and members of the public has been a prerequisite from start to finish.

Working closely with Gear Construction, as well as other trades on site from cladding specialists to steelworks contractors, ICS carefully coordinated site deliveries and use of the crane to minimise disruption and risk. With long term performance of the membrane an absolute must for safety both inside and outside of the hotel, ICS also carefully considered wind load calculations prior to the application.

“Due to the complexity of the roofs and with health and safety absolutely paramount, it was imperative that the roofs were correctly designed and secured to resist wind loads, ensuring outstanding performance and longevity,” added Tom Peach.

Sustainable solutions

As part of the overall application, ICS Roofing appointed Eco Green Roofs to complete the installation above 227m2 of Sika-Trocal SGmA membrane. The system was overlaid with sedum matting to create a living roof area and improve the roof’s thermal performance.

The garden roof systems are compatible with all existing membranes and once installed, will extend the life of the green roof, help reduce heating and air-conditioning costs and even water sewage charges. The living roof system consists of everything from traditional sedum mats, drainage layers and edge trims, to security railings and harnesses.

With low environmental impact a key factor on site, ICS utilised a complex array of insulation ranging from flat board and tapered to new ultra-thin vacuum insulation panels (VIPs). Installed on a series of four terraces, 100m2 of the highly innovative new VIPs were used to overcome the common on-site challenge of door threshold heights.

Completed over a four month summer period, but with the wettest August on record, the innovative, fast and high quality application of Type S and SGmA single ply membranes from Sika-Trocal have ensured that Park Plaza Riverbank remains on track for its 2016 completion date. Thanks to careful collaboration between Gear Construction, ICS Roofing and Sika-Trocal, this stunning extension and reconfiguration will soon welcome thousands of new visitors from all over the world to the highest quality accommodation in the heart of London.

Sika Limited’s head office is based in Welwyn Garden City at Watchmead, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, AL7 1BQ. Call 01707 394444 or visit www.sika-trocal.co.uk.

The first new building to open in Northampton’s flagship Waterside Enterprise Zone is the £8.5m University of Northampton Innovation Centre, seen as a hub for organisations that deliver social impact. This striking six floor cubic building leaves the onlooker in no doubt that Northampton’s new development means business.

Locally based Powdertech Corby Ltd powder coated the solar shading system on the exterior of the building, a contract worth £11K.

Richard Besant, Powdertech Corby Sales Director commented “We coated over 1800 individual sections comprising fins, end plates and brackets, in a premium quality Valspar architectural powder, RAL 9010 white matt. When we viewed the completed building at the end of the job, we could appreciate the fabulous visual effect these solar shades create, in addition to being part of a highly functional design.”

Vertical solar shading fins on the north, east and west side of the building will shade the windows from summer sun and moderate solar gain. They improve the insulation value of glass in the winter by acting as a windbreak. On the south side of the building, horizontal solar shading fins, across the windows, will reduce glare and solar heat gain in the summer but also allow low winter sunlight to shine through in the colder darker months.

Architectural powder coatings are especially suited for use on solar shading systems. The powders have excellent gloss retention, resistance to corrosion and UV light and will last for up to 40 years without significant colour change.

The Waterside Enterprise Zone is part of the Northampton Alive regeneration scheme and incorporates a new £330m campus for the city’s University alongside global brands and thriving small businesses.

For further information on Powdertech (Corby) Ltd and the benefits of powder coating please call 01536 400890,visit www.powdertechcorby.co.uk or email Richard.b@powdertech.co.uk.

Nittan’s Evolution EV-DP Dual Wavelength Photoelectric smoke detectors have been installed into The Cliff Hotel & Spa in Cardigan, West Wales by Fire and Security Alarms Ltd. (FAS) Carmarthen.

The Cliff Hotel & Spa is a large family-owned hotel featuring 70 en-suite bedrooms, spa and gym facilities, function suite and a golf course. As part of a hotel wide refurbishment project, the existing fire alarm system has been removed and replaced with a sophisticated Nittan Evolution system featuring 260 Nittan devices, including over 200 EV-DP smoke detectors. The system runs on four loops controlled by an Advanced Electronics control panel.

Nittan Dual Wavelength Photoelectric smoke detectors were selected by installer Fire and Security Alarms Ltd. (FAS) to prevent further issues of false alarms that the hotel had been experiencing previously. The primary cause of these had been steam escaping from the en-suite bathrooms and activating the smoke alarms.

As an NSI Gold, BAFE and NICEIC approved contractor, Fire and Security Alarms Ltd. (FAS) provides both design, installation and maintenance of fire and security systems primarily in West Wales. It has a diverse customer base including nursing and residential homes, factories, shops, schools, social and domestic housing. It has built its business on the of quality of its services, providing effective fire and security solutions to customer’s requirements, including The Cliff Hotel where it identified Evolution EV-DP smoke detectors as an ideal solution to the false alarm issue.

Nittan Evolution EV-DP smoke detectors have been designed to reduce false alarms caused by non-combustion products such as steam, dust and aerosols. Unlike other industry standard (single optical sensor) smoke detectors on the market that claim to distinguish between smoke and non-combustion products, the EV-DP effectively measures the actual particle size in the chamber via its combined IR and blue LED technology. As steam and dust are much larger particles than smoke, the detector won’t false alarm.

Nittan EV-DP alarms are not just highly resistant to false alarms, but come with a number of key features and benefits, including their use of a sophisticated and highly flexible Sine Wave FSK protocol for data transfer to and from the panel. This protocol also allows for substantial amounts of information to be transmitted back to the panel at very high speeds. Furthermore, they come with a 360 degree OMNIVIEW LED indicator, permitting clear and visible indication of the sensor’s operation from any angle. Increased EMC immunity is also achieved by the inclusion of a “Bandpass Discriminator Circuit” which is built into every sensor head and loop device.

The Nittan Group has been at the forefront of the international fire protection industry since 1954 and has sales, R&D and manufacturing bases in four countries, including the UK. The company continuously innovates and strives for exceptional quality products that meet the highest of standards.

For sales information, please contact Nittan on 01483 769 555 or by email at sales@nittan.co.uk or visit the website www.nittan.co.uk.

Marley Eternit’s Canterbury premium handmade clay plain tiles are available in three colours to achieve truly unique roof design.

Loxleigh boasts an antique appearance due to its semi-sanded finish in red and grey shades, Burford is a rich red-brown tone in a fully sanded texture and Chailey offers a vibrant orange tone and can be used on the main roof or as a contrast tile for vertical tiling.

The authentic blend of colours means all three tiles can be mixed on the roof to create their own unique design or replicate a patchwork of colour often seen on traditional roofs in Suffolk, Sussex and Kent. Canterbury clay plain tiles are also available with a complementary range of traditional handmade fittings and decorative accessories to achieve the perfect finish.

To request a brochure or samples contact 01283 722588 / www.marleyeternit.co.uk/handmade

To help you prepare for the colder months we’ve got winter wrapped up with our comprehensive range of winter safety products. Turbocast 800™ towable grit spreader can be used as a broadcast or drop spreader. Turbocast 800 will hold approximately 10 x 25kg bags of rock salt and gives controlled, accurate coverage up to 8 metres width at speeds from 5-20mph. Turbocast 300™ manual grit spreader spreads to a width of between 3 and 7 metres with minimum effort and can be easily pushed along, even when fully laden. Nestor 400 grit bin has a double skinned lid for supreme strength and durability. The weight of the lid is sufficient to minimise the risk of it opening in strong winds and therefore protects the contents from adverse weather conditions.

Glasdon UK Limited
Telephone: 01253 600410
E-mail: sales@glasdon-uk.co.uk
Website: www.gritbins.co.uk

Interior Film from David Clouting is a self-adhesive film that can be applied to almost any surface including: wood, metal, plaster board, plastics and melamine. This enables feature walls, pillars, doors, furniture, skirting and architrave to be quickly transformed with minimum disruption and at low cost.

Features & benefits:

  • Safety – Self-extinguishing when tested for flammability.
  • Application – no air bubbles
  • Durability – resistant to impact, abrasion and scratching
  • Stability – remains stable when exposed to heat, cold and humidity
  • Flexibility – can be adhered to complex shapes and curves
  • Economical – rapid installation, easy to repair or remove
  • CE Certificated –specify with confidence
  • Manufactured by LG Hausys – innovative technology
  • Available in a range of designs and finishes including: Exotic woods, Leather effect, textured metals and Natural stone, the Interior Film range is also available to view on the BIMSTORE website.

For a sample or further information:

Email: marketing@davidclouting.co.uk

For more information please visit www.davidclouting.co.uk.

Environment Secretary announces work to identify additional flood protection measures in Cumbria.

Work to identify additional flood protection measures for Cumbrian communities affected by extreme weather events like the record rainfall seen last weekend was announced by Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss today.

The new Cumbrian Floods Partnership group will consider what improvements to flood defences in the region may be needed, look at upstream options for slowing key rivers to reduce the intensity of water flows at peak times and build stronger links between local residents, community groups and flood defence planning.

The group, who will publish a Cumbria Action Plan next summer, will be chaired by Floods Minister Rory Stewart and made up of local authorities, the Environment Agency and community flood defence groups.

Elizabeth Truss said “After seeing first-hand the impact of the flooding in the north of England it is clear that the growing threat from more extreme weather events means we must reassure ourselves, and those communities at risk, that our defences, our modelling and our future plans are robust.”

The Environment Secretary also announced today a National Flood Resilience Review to better protect the country from future flooding and increasingly extreme weather events.

She outlined how her department would look afresh at how we calculate flood risk, in light of recent events, to be delivered by a new cross Government team. This will see Government updating ‘worst case scenario’ planning, considering the future impacts of climate change and carrying out a risk assessment of critical infrastructure, like electricity substations.

The review, also to be published next summer, will be led by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Letwin and include the Government’s Chief Scientist, Defra, DECC, DCLG, HMT and the Chief Executive of the Environment Agency.

Elizabeth Truss added “We are already spending £2.3 billion over the next six years to better protect 300,000 homes from flooding, but we need to be sure we have the very best possible plans in place for flood prevention and protection across the whole country.”

“We will take prompt action where we identify any gaps in our approach and where our defences and modelling need strengthening.”

Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, commented “Our thoughts are with people who have experienced flooding this week. Our teams are on the ground providing support to these communities as part of a multi-agency response, checking and maintaining flood defences, pumping out flood water, clearing blockages in rivers, monitoring water levels and working with local flood wardens in the areas worst affected.”

“Whenever an exceptional event happens it’s important to review what happened and how to prepare for the future. With a £60 million fund to help with recovery in Cumbria, in addition to the £2.3 billion Government have committed to protect homes from floods across the country, we have the resources necessary to manage flood risk in England. The National Flood Resilience Review and the Cumbria Floods Partnership give Government, the Environment Agency and community groups the forums to review and ensure we are directing our resources to protect people most effectively.”

Rory Stewart will also be taking on a special Floods Envoy role across Cumbria and Lancashire coordinating the flood recovery operation across local agencies over the coming months.

To aid recovery efforts in the affected regions, the Chancellor has already announced an additional £51 million to support households and businesses affected by last weekend’s devastating floods in Cumbria and Lancashire. This takes the total support pledged by the Government to over £60 million.

This will be in addition to £2.3 billion of investment over the next six years to build 1,400 new flood defence schemes that will better protect 300,000 more homes.