Tuesday, 24 March 2009

How to Stay Safe on the Construction Site

If you work in the construction industry you will be very aware of the hazards involved in carrying out your day to day work on the construction site. No matter what trade you are involved in there is always a risk involved when you work on a construction site. So what should you do to ensure that you minimize the risk of getting injured, or even worse, killed when working on a construction site?

The best ally that any tradesman can have when working on a construction site is his common sense. Being aware of your surroundings and the potential threats and hazards will keep you alert to what is going on around you. More accidents happen on site when people have dropped their defensive guard than at any other time.

Although there is an inherent risk when using any hand or power tools, which tradesmen do all day, you can make sure that any potential hazard is kept to a minimum by wearing the correct protective clothing and workwear. It is becoming more and more common to see tradesmen wearing gloves and protective eye wear when operating power tools but it is always advisable to wear these protective items when also using hand tools.

Wearing suitable workwear whilst on site is a must. Gone are the days when it is acceptable to simply wear a pair of jeans, baggy t shirt (or even no top at all) and a pair of shoes or trainers. Accidents can occur in so many different ways whilst on site and you should always wear workwear that offers you a level of protection better than standard day to day clothing. The workwear that you choose should be both lightweight enough for you to be comfortable to wear all day as well as being made of a material that will withstand cuts and tears from sharp items.

Finally you should make sure that your head and your feet are always protected to minimize injury from falling objects or from standing on sharp objects. Although having something fall on your foot may not kill you it may lead to a severe injury that will either keep you off work for a time or worse still lead to you having to quit your job totally.

Construction sites are very risky environments to work in so the more precautions you take to ensure your safety the more likely you are to come out in one piece.

For more info on Snickers workwear please visit our site - http://www.snickers-clothing.co.uk

Please feel free to republish this article provided a working hyperlink remains to our site

Harwood E Woodpecker

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Harwood_E_Woodpecker

The Economic Situation of the Construction Industry

The construction industry is very important to the UK's - and indeed to the world's - economy. In the UK, it accounts for more than 10% of the country's gross domestic product and employs an estimated 2.5 million people. In the last three years, an extra £33 billion has been made available to this sector to increase public services. Included in this figure are major investments in transport, health and housing. As the industry is investment-driven, it is subject to the strictures of economic upturns and downturns; during the recessions of the mid 1980's and the early 1990's, there were significant downturns. However, in the late 1990's, there was a marked swing in the opposite direction.

Our construction industry, by very nature of its geographical location, is not subject to the full influences of cross-border competition that are in evidence in mainland Europe. However, construction industries worldwide have been affected by the current economic climate and the increasing rise in fuel prices. For the earlier part of 2008, the German construction industry showed a marked upturn, but this slowed and tailed off later in the year, due to the increase in oil prices and the slowing economic pace of many industrialized countries. In addition to economic factors, there is a turn in the tide of ecological factors. In America, the number of people citing Global Warming as the most important environmental issue rose from 11% in 2003 to 35% in 2006. The construction industry faces new challenges in replacing and renovating buildings with minimal environmental impact. At the same time, the cost of these precautions has to be measured against potential profits.

However, despite the factors that seem to be conspiring against it, the construction industry moves at a very fast pace and is an ever-changing entity. Whilst legislation is forever altering, new techniques, technology and methods are developing to keep up. With the development of new practices, new jobs in construction are perpetually being created. In the UK, the Home Office has released figures stating that the three construction jobs that are most lacking in applicants are those for transportation and highways engineering, ground engineering and contaminated land specialists. With major infrastructures and building developments taking place in the South East of the UK, such as the 2012 Olympics and the Thames Gateway regeneration, construction recruitment in this area is set to soar. Britain's Olympic Games will have 30 venues and a budget of £2.3 billion. It also has a non-negotiable, absolute completion date. As that date draws nearer, the construction industry will find itself heavily in demand as pressure and expectation rise. 2012 promises to be an important year for this industry and many are looking upon it as a chance to showcase its talents.

Of course, construction takes place across the globe and this gives workers a chance to travel as well as work. Construction jobs require large teams of people all working to a common goal and, while the lifestyle can be quite temporary, many get used to it and find it a liberating existence. Some projects are short-term, whilst others can last for years - such as the construction of an oil refinery.

About the Author

Duncan freer - Director - Construction Recruitment is a job site dedicated to the specific needs of candidates who work in the building services and construction industry in the UK. We also provide recruiters with an online service that is effective in terms of cost and ease of use

For interviews, images or comments contact:
John Roberts
Marketing Manager
Email: john@thejobsearchgroup.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Duncan_Freer

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Monday, 23 March 2009

The Credit Crunch Sets in - Builders Are All Chasing the Same Jobs

The housing market has always had its ups and downs, but of late, as well as recent fluctuations in house prices, many homeowners have not only had house price depreciation to worry about, but additionally the progressive collapse of the UK economy.

Too bold a statement?

Well let's look into this a little further! If we look at trends over previous years, the economy has had many a shaky moment causing great concern for UK citizens, and one only has to cast their mind back to the recession of the 1980's, where house prices plummeted and repossessions were occurring every other day.

Sadly with the UK'S current state of affairs, many analysts are now predicting that our economy is heading for even greater devastation than our last recession and believe things have never been this catastrophic since the big collapse of the world's economy in the 1920's.

Banks have gone bust with Lehman Brothers sending the markets into turmoil and here in the UK, we have already lost Northern Rock, Bradford & Bingley are scraping the surface and Alliance and Leicester have been sold to Santander. This is just how bad the economy is right now and massive borrowing from the banks has not helped in the slightest.

Gordon Brown has vowed that he will never allow a British Bank to collapse but at the rate it is only anyone's guess as to what may happen next.

So What Does This Have To Do With The Title of This Post?

Well as builders, a great proportion of our work is dictated by the housing market, sales and prices etc. If the market is booming then there is greater demand for new houses and therefore greater demand for builders or tradesmen to build them.

Large builders are now feeling the crunch of this economical roller coaster and for the most part, have stopped building newer developments and subsequently let go much of its workforce. This has now caused many 'site workers' to look for work in other areas and many of these site workers are now engaging in the private sector.

A couple of years back, homeowners may have had about 2 or 3 tradesmen quoting on jobs they needed doing, but as of late, there may be 5 or 6 tradesmen all chasing the same jobs and making the market highly competitive. On a recent survey we conducted, 4 out of 5 consumers said that in light of the current economical turmoil we are facing, with job losses and cash reserves being tighter, when it comes to giving a job to a builder, it would be price that dictated any assignment and a case of 'whoever gives the cheapest quote'.

While this may seem beneficial for the customer, it is absolutely dire for many builders as they are now dragged into this price war of perhaps having to work for a ridiculously lower price just to try and land the job. For larger companies with bigger overheads etc, they will simply be in no position to compete and will have no option but to decline any prospect of the job.

The Cheapest Quote May Also Be The Most Expensive!

Just to land the job, a more inexperienced builder may not be prepared to stick to his guns and quote for the price the job is worth, but instead, go in at a much lower price in the hope they will be able save on costs on the job and still remain profitable. This is a foolish gamble to take!

If a builder has priced the job correctly he will know exactly what price margins he has to work to and will have accounted for much of the build cost precisely. To then go and try to take shavings off this price in order to just 'get the job' is IMHO, absolute madness.

This is not only bad for the builder himself but also the customer, for they may be catching a falling dagger!! There may be builders who will realise they have priced the job completely wrong and will then try to cut corners to get back on track. This may mean shoddy workmanship and more than likely the use of lesser materials in order to recoup costs. If they are lucky they may even get to finish the job! So in the long term, it may end up costing the customer more than what they bargained for.

I write this post halfway through December 2008 and hope for many builders and consumers alike, that 2009 will bring greater prosperity in light of the current credit crunch. My gut feeling and honest opinion however, is that at this point, I fear the UK markets and economy have further to depreciate and the worst is still yet to come. At least in the short term that is.

Kirk Smith's company 4K Construction are professional builders from Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom. Please visit 4K Constructions Builders Talk for professional help and advice on construction, DIY, and all aspects of building

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Kirk_Smith

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Foundations for a Conservatory

Strip Foundation for a Conservatory

Some conservatories will sit quite happily on a simple concrete slab base which serves both as a foundation and floor structure. However if the ground is covered by a deep layer of topsoil it is much better practice to dig trench foundation down into the natural subsoil.

Excavation of Foundation Trench

Normally the foundation trenches are excavated to 450mm wide by 650/1000mm deep dependent ground conditions.

Where an existing drain punctures a foundation the foundation must be below the (bottom of drain) and a precast lintel must be placed above the drain to ensuring that no weight is put onto the drain.

Casting of Foundations

A mass fill is normally used as this tends to be quicker and therefore cheaper. The concrete is normally finished 150mm below ground level.

It is always generally wise to knock 350mm x 10mm steel pins into the side of the trench at 600mm centers which should be levelled with a spirit level so you will know when the concrete in the trench is at the correct height.


The damp proof course needs to be a minimum of 150mm above outside ground level to meet UK planning regulations. Ideally, it should be at the same level as the existing building.

Raft Foundation

Raft foundations can be a suitable alternative if traditional strip/trench fill foundations cannot be used. They are not suitable in all cases so specialist advice should be sought.

Rafts are most often used these days when the ground is unstable or a normal strip foundation would cover more than 50% of the ground area beneath the building. In areas where mining has occurred there may be areas of movement in the ground which would require a raft foundation.

A raft foundation spreads the weight of the building over the whole ground floor area of that building. The raft is laid on a 150mm of hardcore, or scalping bed. Rafts are most suitable when the ground is of good load bearing capacity and little work is required to get a solid foundation.

Bespoke Conservatories

Beat the Recession and Build your Dream Home

Just because there is a recession and 2009 is proving to not be a great one for the housing market it is not all doom and gloom. Like most things you can always find the good or positive in bad or unfortunate situations and today is no different. Did you realise that this is the best time in years to build your own home from scratch. With cheap land and cheap labour and finance for self build available, now is the time to plan and build that dream home you once thought was unattainable.

Grand Designs is proving to be one of the most successful shows on channel four with over 4 millions viewers each week. This means there are millions of us who either just love the show or watch with envy and wish they were building their dream house. Well now is the time to put your dreams into action.

In the past one of the difficulties self builders had was finding land. Any land available would be hard to obtain as the developers in the boom days would be competing for it left right and centre and prices would rocket. But now there is an increasing amount of plots available and even developers are selling off some of their land, some with planning permission in place. According to Liam Bailey who is head of residential research at Knight Frank estate agency land prices are down by 50%. This is why now is a great time to buy land and plan your self build.

While regular mortgages are not so easy to obtain these days, lenders are still keen to finance self builders. Why? Because generally you will end up with up to 35% equity which means up to a 60% mortgage once the build is complete.

Labour is becoming cheaper as most builders are feeling the pinch and have had to reduce prices. The most important part of hiring builders is finding competent companies that have access to all the right trades’ people. Finding a building contractor that will take you through the whole build makes the whole project run more smoothly. Plus you want builders and trades people to take pride in their work, the last thing you need is to hire cowboys. So how do you tell a cowboy from a decent builder? Well for one they will be proud of their work and will happily point you in the direction of some of their previous projects. If you’re looking through websites, make sure the site shows their name address and phone number, this means they have nothing to hide. It is very important to see examples of their previous work so check for any testimonials pages which should show pictures of past projects.

So if you want to be the next star on Grand Designs, or maybe just want to design and build your not so grand home, then there is nothing to stop, now is definitely the time to do it. Why not build your dream home and be one of the few who actually make some money in these gloomy times of recession.

If building your home is just a bit too much, why not extend your home, add a conservatory, do some renovation, have your garage converted. All of this will add value to your home.

Builders can be hard to find, but if you live in the Midlands you should check out Building & Electrical Solutions who are Builders in Derby, they can offer all aspects of building and construction including Electrical Servcies, Heritage Building Restoration, Gareage Conversions Derby, Roofing Services Derby, Barn Conversions Derby and Home Extensions