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Apr 12
2011

M&S is introducing sustainable construction

Posted by CarlHood in Untagged 

M&S is introducing sustainable construction techniques into all future builds – as it strives to become the world’s most sustainable retailer by 2015.

You can’t really be in the construction business and not notice green initiatives.  It’s good to see that the ever popular chain leading the way. It will open its most eco-friendly store in Sheffield next month, which has been constructed entirely from recycled materials. Makes you want to go and have a look doesn’t it.

The Ecclesall Road store is the first of two “sustainable learning” stores the company intends to open. It’s all part of an overall green programme (Plan A) which has been in operation since 2007.  They want the learning stores to help deduce “the most appropriate building techniques”.  It’s built on a brownfield site, the bricks came from a disused mill and the floors are laid with polished concrete. The heat supply will be sourced from the shops’ refrigeration facilities while rainwater will be recycled for the toilets.

Clem Constantine, director of property and store development with M&S, said: “This store represents a big milestone in our sustainable construction programme as we are installing a host of unique technologies and features.”

“The learnings we have taken from building the store will help us achieve our goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable major retailer by 2015.”

Paul King, chief executive of the Green Building Council, said: “Sustainability is increasingly important in the construction and property sector and major companies like M&S have a crucial role in driving that process, particularly given the relationship not just with suppliers, but also with consumers.”

This article was sourced from Construction Enquirer.

Apr 11
2011

New-build homes have problems with central heating

Posted by CarlHood in Untagged 

It seems that it’s not just older houses that might have need of an overhaul in the Spring.  I recently came across some research that suggested that lots of people who have purchased new-builds are having problems with their central heating or hot water systems. The study by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) found that 25 per cent of people moving into a new house found problems with the central heating or hot water, while the same number reported damage or faulty kitchen appliances or units.

Similar amounts of people (24 per cent) also experienced difficulties with taps or showers, with some saying these features were not present in the house at all!

Of course there were other problems, lots of people didn’t like the decoration, but when asked about  the most serious problem, central heating and hot water came out tops, with 20 per cent choosing this option.

Good plumbing really is the life blood that makes a house a home and there are so many good product out there it really is a crying shame that contractors have not been making good with the bathrooms and kitchens.  A good boiler and a really efficient central heating system is vital to a comfortable home and for minimising fuel costs. If you have been suffering through the winter with your heating or hot water the spring really is the time to make plans for getting everything up to speed before the Summer holidays and the Autumn rush.

Apr 08
2011

Less Red Tape has got to be a good thing

Posted by CarlHood in Untagged 

There can be little doubt that this year is going to be a hard one for most people in many walks of life but we have to hope that there is some substance in the call made by the Prime Minister David Cameron at the beginning of March.  His call for the Government to give more construction contracts to small and medium sized (SME) firms by breaking down the barriers to enterprise and doing away with the red tape can only be a good thing.
Cameron said: “For over a decade in this country the enemies of enterprise have had their way. Taxing, regulating, smothering, crushing, and getting in the way.”

“So I can announce today that we are taking on the enemies of enterprise.”

“The bureaucrats in Government departments who concoct those ridiculous rules and regulations that makes life impossible for small firms.”

“The town hall officials who take forever to make those planning decisions that can be make or break for a business.”

“The public sector procurement managers who think the answer to everything is a big contractor with a big business and who shut out millions of Britain’s small and medium sized companies from a massive potential market.”

Small to Medium sized Enterprises have so much to offer to their local communities, our work with School Developments in Cambridgeshire have thankfully been very successful but all too often schools are tied into maintenance contracts with huge organisations who often sadly do not meet the schools real needs.

Apr 07
2011

You Cant Keep a Good Builder Down

Posted by CarlHood in Untagged 

I was heartened to see in the FMA news that  the 92 year old honorary life member of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), the largest trade association in the UK building industry, is doing a sky dive for the RAF charity, Wings Appeal.

Jack Hitchmough, from Knowsley in Merseyside, severed in the RAF from 1939 to 1946 and upon leaving did a short course in Carpentry and Joinery. He then started a building company with his brother, who specialized in bricklaying. The brothers’ general building company predominantly worked in industrial and commercial construction with Jack also looking after the administration side of the business. In 1956 the company joined the FMB and Jack went on to serve on the FMB’s National Council for 25 years and as National Treasurer for 18 years. Jack is also a Second World War Veteran, having served in the RAF and is a Life Member of the RAF Association.  As late as 2006, Jack was still actively involved in building with a project to construct a self-contained annexe to his home.

Jack will be doing his first ever sky-dive tandem from 10,000 feet (2 miles), free falling to 5000 feet (1 mile) before the parachute will be opened on Saturday 19th March at Grange over Sands to raise money for the RAF charity, Wings Appeal, which provides welfare for serving and ex service personnel and their families. Jack will be met by Chris Osborne, Director of RAF funding, when he reaches the ground. Good on you Jack.

Apr 06
2011

Matching up to Bog Standard

Posted by CarlHood in Untagged 

It was good to see that our School Toilet work is all in line with the guidelines worked out by Bog Standard.  They developed these in consultation with student, health professionals and architects. 

If you are considering renovation of your School Toilets these are the key things to consider:

• Pupils should feel comfortable and safe when using the toilet. • Bright, colourful toilets boost morale. Inviting pupils to design a mural for toilets    encourages ownership and pride. Take a look at some CDHood case studies
• Toilets should be adequately lit. Sensor lighting could be used, or switches could be placed out of reach of pranksters. • Toilets need to be warm enough to be comfortable in winter. • Consider ease of cleaning when designing toilets. Most pupils' toilets need cleaning at least twice a day. An extended day may increase this to three or more times. Soap dispensers that leak, awkward corners and cracked surfaces all contribute to a dirty environment. Self-cleaning toilets can be considered. A floor gulley is highly recommended for cleaning up after accidents. • Smells can be a problem. Consider ways of addressing this, such as ventilation, air fresheners and automatically flushing toilets. Mechanical ventilation systems are now required by building regulations. •    Music systems could be wired in; this not only creates a more relaxed, calmer environment, but also helps conceal embarrassing noises.

Bog Standard - Better Toilets for Pupils
Any work in schools requires lots of consultation with the various stake holders and none are more important than the students.  Students can always be involved with the design.  Wish they had had music systems in my day!

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