In this series of short articles, buildingspecifier will delve into the history of construction, considering how technologies and old schools of thought have helped shape the built environment we all live and work in today.

The picture above, found on, shows project engineers from 1887 demonstrating the cantilever principles of the world famous Forth Bridge in Scotland. The weight of the central section of a cantilever bridge is transmitted to the banks through diamond shaped supports. Representing the weight in the middle is engineer Kaichi Watanabe, one of the first Japanese engineers who came to study in the UK. The other two men, Sir John Fowler and Benjamin Baker, provide the supports. Fowler and Baker represent the cantilevers, with their arms in tension and the sticks under compression, and the bricks the cantilever end piers which are weighted with cast iron. The action of the outer foundations as anchors for the cantilever is visible in the placement of the counterweights. These are the men that designed the Forth Bridge, which still stands proud to this date.

The bridge itself was built in 1890 and boasts the impressive full length of 2,528.7m, with its longest span being 520m.

Cantilever bridges originated in the 19th century when people began to start thinking laterally about how they could ultimately build longer bridges. Engineers learned that by including many supports throughout the design, any load would be distributed evenly throughout the entire structure, allowing them to build longer and more structurally sound bridges.

Engineers such as Fowler, Baker and Watanabe (pictured above) helped to push the construction and engineering sectors forward, allowing them to flourish and become the amazing industries they are today.

Which methods of construction do you think should be in our next instalment of historical highlights? Let us know in the comments section below!

This amazing video shows a giant machine called the SLJ900/32 building a bridge in China. The SLJ900/32 is built by the Beijing Wowjoint Machinery Company and is an impressive 91m long, 7m wide, 9m tall, and weights a staggering 580 tons. You can sense its size in the video below, when you see workers scale down it to begin work.

It’s lays new bridges one section at a time, progressing gradually across support girders. The behemoth of a machine is a perfect example of how China’s economy and construction industry is booming and requires giant feats of engineering to keep up with the growth.

Last week marked a key milestone in the international project to transform site of 1986 accident. A ceremony in Chernobyl today marked the successful conclusion of the sliding operation, a key milestone before the finalisation of the international programme to transform Chernobyl into an environmentally safe and secure state by November 2017.

Thirty years after the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, the radioactive remains of the power plant’s destroyed reactor 4 have been safely enclosed following one of the world’s most ambitious engineering projects.

Chernobyl’s giant New Safe Confinement (NSC) was moved over a distance of 327 metres from its assembly point to its final resting place, completely enclosing a previous makeshift shelter that was hastily assembled immediately after the 1986 accident.

Read more: Solar PV plant to be built in Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

The equipment in the New Safe Confinement will now be connected to the new technological building which will serve as a control room for future operations inside the arch. The New Safe Confinement will be sealed off from the environment hermetically. Finally, after intensive testing of all equipment and commissioning, handover of the New Safe Confinement to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant administration is expected in November 2017.

Sir Suma Chakrabarti, EBRD President, commented: “We welcome this milestone in the process of the transformation of Chernobyl as a symbol of what we can achieve jointly with strong, determined and long-term commitment. We applaud our Ukrainian partners and the contractor and we thank all donors to the Chernobyl Shelter Fund whose contributions have made today’s success possible. The spirit of cooperation gives us confidence that the project will be completed on time and within budget a year from now.”

Novarka project director Nicolas Caille said: “We are very proud to have been able to actively contribute to meeting this one-of-a-kind technological challenge. The New Safe Confinement in Chernobyl is a feat of engineering that will ensure optimal safety conditions for the Ukrainian people for the next 100 years. I would like to take this opportunity to commend the achievement of the teams of the Novarka joint venture formed by major French groups VINCI Construction and Bouygues Construction.”

Igor Gramotkin, Director-General of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, said: “We were not building this arch for ourselves. We were building it for our children, for our grandchildren and for our great-grandchildren. This is our contribution to the future, in line with our responsibility for those who will come after us.”

On 26th April 1986, during a safety check, reactor 4 of the Chernobyl power plant experienced a meltdown that could not be contained. As a result, it is estimated that more than 100,000 people have died as either a direct result of fallout or from subsequent radiation-related illnesses. It is also estimated that over £111.7 billion worth of damage was caused by the disaster. These astounding figures prove that regardless of who is considered responsible for the accident, cleaning up Chernobyl is of worldwide concern. If another reactor had blown during the meltdown, Chernobyl could have rendered the whole of Europe uninhabitable.

The Chernobyl arch is the largest moveable land-based structure ever built, with a span of 257 metres, a length of 162 metres, a height of 108 metres and a total weight of 36,000 tonnes equipped. It will make the accident site safe and with a lifetime of 100 years allow for the eventual dismantling of the ageing makeshift shelter from 1986 and the management of the radioactive waste.

Powdertech (Corby) Ltd is pleased to be sponsoring the Society of Facade Engineering Competition 2016. The competition invites designers, architects and engineers to submit imaginative and innovative building facades. These will be judged by some of the world’s leading exponents of facade engineering.

“As a niche supplier of specialist metal finishing to the architectural sector we are highly appreciative of the technical competence and design skills displayed in facade form and function,” said Richard Besant, Sales and Marketing Director, Powdertech (Corby) Ltd. “We have seen excellence and creativity in facade design grow year upon year, and supporting the Society of Facade Engineers is a natural fit with our business. We look forward to seeing the final winning entries.”

The winners will be announced at the SFE’s Glass Supper held on December 1st in the splendid Gibson Hall in the City of London.

For more information please visit

With three months having now passed since the outcome of the EU referendum, John Morris, CEO at JAM Recruitment takes a look at how the result has impacted the job market and production within the engineering and manufacturing industries.

Whilst the initial reaction to Brexit was one of concern, three months on, we’re yet to see a change to the market – we certainly haven’t seen the levels of disruption that were predicted. We’ve placed hundred’s of engineers across the likes of BAE Systems and GE over the last three months, and we actually started to see a growth in contract jobs in August – something that can be seen as a real positive for UK employment.

The overall impact

Despite initial warnings of job cuts, leading to increased skills shortages in engineering and manufacturing, the market hasn’t seen a great amount of change. Unemployment is still holding up at an 11-year low of 4.9%, which is incredibly promising. However, it’s too early to draw solid conclusions about the impact Brexit will have on employment rates, especially as Article 50 is yet to be triggered.

What does it mean for engineering and manufacturing?

Contrary to the initial predictions, recent reports have shown that British manufacturers have enjoyed rising output and a steady flow of new orders over the past three months, meaning Brexit didn’t deliver an immediate blow to businesses. Further to that, a recent REC report highlighted that engineering was the second most sought-after job category when it came to permanent staff, showing that any dip in confidence within the sector was short-lived.

What will the future bring?

The recent Engineering and Technology Skills and Demand in Industry report found that while demand for qualified engineers is increasing in the UK, the education system fails this industry by not producing engineers that are fully prepared and experienced enough. As a result, the best option for employment would see the UK Government ensuring that STEM subjects are given more of a push, which will better equip our future workforce.

To ensure that there remains access to skilled engineers in the UK, it’s crucial that the government doesn’t stifle access to the skilled candidates with its immigration policy. Whilst we do have an incredibly strong network of skilled professionals in the UK, the freedom of being able to recruit staff from Europe is still hugely beneficial, especially within the industries where there is a well-recognised skills shortage.

Whilst we wait for the activation of Article 50, it’s essential that we continue to work closely with clients to ensure that we’re taking preventative steps to minimise the impact Brexit may have. This will mean continuing to attract students to the UK industry, whilst also investing in up-skilling those already working within the sector.

Written by John Morris, CEO at JAM Recruitment


For more information about JAM visit

As the construction industry strives to provide the optimum building solution, just how can companies today differentiate themselves and ensure they are offering best value?

Steve Thompson, Managing Director of light steel frame manufacturer, EOS Facades explains how they are using value engineering and Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) to meet the demands of today’s construction industry.

Value Engineering – What is it?

Today’s customers are savvier, more commercially aware and they expect more for their money. As manufacturers and service providers, we need to react and meet this demand, or risk losing out.

But before we can do this, we need to understand what value really is.

Assessing best value depends on the objectives set – speed of construction, build costs or the development of a sustainable, energy efficient building – or perhaps a combination of all.

Adopting a ‘one system fits all approach’ will not necessarily deliver best value. It is not about economies of scale but it is about an optimised approach – working with the client to select the right solution, at the right price, to deliver the right performance.

Adding Value: Design for Manufacture and Assembly


As a manufacturer of steel solutions, EOS Facades take full advantage of offsite manufacturing techniques by adhering to Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) protocols. DfMA is now recognised as the foundation for concurrent engineering processes to streamline and fully optimise the structure. The process aids the building design process and helps to identify, quantify and eliminate waste or inefficiency where possible.

At EOS Facades we pride ourselves on driving quality through precision manufacturing whilst delivering accurate results on time and on budget.

We have taken steps to ensure that DfMA is integrated throughout the design and manufacturing process. We have made considerable investment in developing technology to aide specification and design. We are totally committed to working with our clients on product and service innovations to help them gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace – delivering cost and time efficiencies.

The EOS manufacturing facility is a 40,000 sq ft operation that houses state-of-the-art machinery and technology providing offsite systems and solutions that meet the needs of our customers. Our manufacturing facility is well equipped to cater for the demands of offsite construction and precision engineering. Our sophisticated roll-forming machines have embedded framing technology that enables production of self-jigging framing components that are ready for assembly, eliminating the need to manually cut onsite.

All of our products are manufactured under strict quality management control which is fully compliant with BS EN ISO 9001:2008. Our accredited quality management systems and procedures eradicate onsite variability and ensure life time ‘in service’ performance and durability.

Adding Value: Software and Building Information Modelling

Precision built offsite products require the application of leading-edge technology and contemporary manufacturing processes. We have invested substantially in the latest software and hardware systems in steel frame production. Our systems combine the latest E-Frame technology platform with proven assembly processes, providing fully framed panels that do not require jigging.

Sophisticated software transfers building design information directly to our production plant where we are able to manufacture to accuracies that exceed construction industry norms. Once the panels have been designed using our 3D Tekla modelling software, they are directly uploaded to the roll-forming machines, using a bespoke CAD/CAM interface, where they are produced to exact dimensions using CNC technology. Each stud is identified with an inkjet printer to match the assembly drawing and every frame has an identification label attached. This identifies the project, frame number, order number and site location on the GA site drawings so they can be positioned quickly to their onsite location.

Adding Value: Product

Product quality is essential. EOS only use minimum S390Nmm2 G275gsm steel (higher grades and coatings on request). By only using steel with a protective coating and design detailing that eliminates prolonged exposure, EOS are confident in the durability of our systems. Research has shown in these conditions coated steel has a potential life of over 1,000 years.

The team at EOS support key industry standards and strive to exceed expectations on reliability and delivery. All of our products are manufactured to rigorous quality standards which are fully compliant with the Construction Products Regulations – EN 1090-1: 2009 + AL: 2011. Our quality management systems are BS EN ISO 9001: 2008 registered.

Adding Value: Cost


We offer all-inclusive fixed price packages that are uniquely supplied with proprietary brackets and fixings required. All Double Studs/Opening Jambs/Lintels and Sills will be dispatched from our factory preassembled. This is a flexible service and should you require the product to arrive unassembled, EOS will pre-punch in the factory, ghost assemble and supply, together with all the necessary screws and special drill bits, for assembly and installation onsite.

Adding Value: People

EOS Facades are constantly striving to improve the way we work and the resulting benefits are passed onto our customers. Research & Development is a core focus of our business and it is not just down to one specific team, at EOS everybody is encouraged to put recommendations forward, whether this is a process or an alteration to a product – that way every part of our business can be enhanced.

EOS also offer a total partner solution including application consultancy, structural design support and value engineering, as well as quality manufacturing.

To meet the demands, we need people to make the change happen.

Now the construction industry is starting to recognise the shift in needs of the client, manufacturers must ask themselves, are they well equipped to meet demands or will they risk losing out?

For more information on EOS Facades’ products and services visit:

Adding Value: Knowledge Sharing

In a bid to share their extensive knowledge, EOS Facades are offering a series of CPD sessions, designed to highlight the various light gauge steel solutions available, and explain how these can be applied in real life scenarios.

The hour long seminars will cover a wide range of steel solutions and services including:

  • Cold Formed Sections
  • SFS Infill Systems
  • SFS Onsite Stud and Track
  • SFS Offsite Pre-assembled
  • Other applications – including LBS, Lattices and Cassettes
  • Design
  • Partnering
  • Examples of Best Practice

These CPD sessions could not be more convenient – an EOS Facades technical representative will come directly to you and the seminars are completely free of charge. Get involved and start talking about light gauge steel!

To request your CPD session, simply contact Thomas Elliott, EOS Facades Technical Sales Manager on: Email: or Telephone: 07528 364 581.

For more information please visit

With higher standards of thermal efficiency and security now top priorities for commercial door specification, Jack Aluminium’s high performance Jack Door offers a cost effective solution due to its value engineered design.

The requirement for external doors with advanced locking solutions has been driven in part by three new Secured by Design Guides published in the last year. High energy performance is also increasingly important to building users. Commercial door and window specialist Jack Aluminium Systems has developed its thermally enhanced Jack Door TD68 in standard hook lock, anti-panic and Mag Lock variants. All 3 doorsets have achieved PAS 24 and the system is BM TRADA Q Mark certified so fabricators can easily produce doors that meet Secured by Design approval.

Jack Aluminium designed Jack Door TD68 from scratch to provide a best in class product that is highly competitive. “For low volume applications, system suppliers often adapt an existing product and this adds extra cost for the fabricator that often can’t be passed on,” explains Jeff Pearson, Sales and Marketing Director at Jack Aluminium. “Adopting value engineering principals has helped us innovate products that improve performance without adding unnecessary cost.

“Jack Door enables fabricators to deliver energy efficient doorsets with enhanced security benefits, and remain competitive in the price sensitive construction market.”