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John Burke Associates

Managing a Workforce in National Mourning

Queen Elizabeth

John Burke Associates joins the country, if not the world, in mourning Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth III.  We would like to express our sincere condolences to the Royal Family during this sad time.  Our offices will be closed, and projects suspended on Monday, 19th September 2022, as a mark of respect as our Monarch is laid to rest.

Are Organisations Obliged to Close?

As RICS Chartered Surveyors we feel it is appropriate to take time to commemorate Her Majesty’s Reign. However, the Government has made it clear that there is “no obligation on organisations to suspend business during the National Mourning period”. Whilst this may be the case, we review the CLCs guidance in this blog as to what considerations you should take.

Location

The CLC urges organisations in the Central London area to consider potential site restrictions during the State Funeral. There is expected to be a large influx of people entering the capital to pay their respects. As such, there may be restrictions due to enhanced security, road closures and traffic issues, consequently causing site accessibility issues. Furthermore, local authorities within the area of Her Majesty the Queen’s Lying-in-State have instructed several construction sites not to carry out any noisy works or freight deliveries until Tuesday 20 September.

Reputation

Due to the nature of construction, any works within the capital could be seen as disruptive to gathering mourners. In an age of social media and instant communication, organisations are encouraged to consider the reaction to continued works. Some may perceive this as inappropriate or disrespectful to continue such works during a period of National Mourning.

Workforce

Another consideration you must make, is your workforce. Whilst it is clear there is no statutory entitlement to time off, workers may expect the opportunity to pay their respects. You must consider the moral implications of refusing them the right to do so.

Where Closure is Not Possible

It is accepted that certain parts of the industry where essential services are involved cannot cease work. In such circumstances the following guidance should be applied.

  • Use a common-sense approach to ensure that you are operating respectfully during this period
  • Consider staggering the start and end times of work on site
  • Minimise road movements of freight over the next week

For more information you can read the full guidance by clicking here

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth III | 1926 – 2022

Managing a Construction Site in a Heatwave

How Hot is too Hot to Work?

The UK is experiencing unusually hot weather which is causing complications across the construction industry. As temperatures soar to over 30 degrees again this week, people are asking, how hot is too hot to work? In this month’s blog we look at the principal contractor’s responsibility to protect both their workers and the project.

How Hot is too Hot to Work?

There is no set maximum temperature when it comes to The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA). However, the act does require employers to provide a safe and healthy working environment at a “reasonable” temperature. Where there is a risk of workers suffering prolonged sun exposure, there is a risk of heatstroke, exhaustion, sunburn, and dehydration. It is your responsibility as principal contractor to ensure that if you choose to continue work, you take precautions.

What Precautions to Take On-Site in a Heatwave

  • Ensure you include a sun protection module in your health and safety training. When a weather warning is in place, hold a morning meeting to readdress this policy. Also encourage workers to wear factor 15 SPF or above, allowing time to reapply when necessary.
  • Advise all employees working in the direct sun to wear long sleeves and keep their heads and shoulders covered.
  • Where reasonably practicable, schedule work to minimise sun/heat exposure.
  • Provide onsite water point and shaded rest areas to encourage rehydration.

Other Site Considerations in a Heatwave.

As a project manager you must assess the risk of continuing production in extreme heat. It is not just the effect of the heat on your employees which poses a risk! Operating machinery in extreme temperatures can cause malfunctions and overheating. Working in a heatwave without a full risk assessment could jeopardise your insurance policy or result in injury. It is imperative that you take into consideration the machinery and materials you are working with.

Potential Consequences

If as an employer, you fail to provide a safe working environment for your employees you are breaching HSWA. This means you are at risk of potential prosecution, criminal charges and even a custodial sentence. However, the HWSA also imposes a responsibility on the employee to take reasonable care of themselves. This means they have a duty to adhere to the safety advice you provide.

Preserving Historical Buildings

historical buildings

Here at John Burke Associates we have had the pleasure of working on some of the most exquisite architecture. From innovative modern designs to sublime historical buildings, each project enjoyable through its individual merit. For example, state of the art technology used in modern construction is constantly evolving, giving developers innovative ways to build. Thus, providing project managers such as ourselves new and exciting methodologies and process models. However, there is something about historical architecture, which is thought provoking, when one considers architecture before technology.

Why is Historical Building Preservation Important?

In addition to the law, there is an abundance of reasons to support the preservation of historical buildings and architecture. Whilst the covenants of working on a listed building is often more complicated, the reward is also much higher. Here are a few reasons we believe preserving history is also beneficial.

Intrinsic Value

Many historic buildings play a bigger role in our communities than you may imagine. The grand designs and intricate details of older buildings created by materials such as rare hardwood from primary forests which no longer exist. Such buildings are often focus points for towns and cities to serve as a reminder of the area’s history.

Environmental Considerations

In an era where net zero is at the forefront of the construction industries priorities, refurbishment is a positive step. Regenerating old buildings to give them a new lease of life saves energy resources spent on building materials, equipment, transportation, and tools. Therefore, reducing the harms of construction waste while preserving historical beauty.

Educational & Cultural Aspect

As mentioned earlier, when looking at an older building, one can’t help but appreciate the beauty created without advanced technology. These buildings are evidence of the work our forefathers and ancestors put into making our towns and cities beautiful. Restoring and preserving historical buildings and landmarks enriches the cultural values of those residing nearby. Consequently, unifying goals towards a better future whilst preserving the fundamental history of construction.

Work with an Award-Winning Team

John Burke Associates provide a comprehensive portfolio of services to our clients. Our award-winning team have worked on a variety of projects pertaining listed buildings. Most recently, father and son team David and Dale Hayward received the prestigious Peter Wilson Award 2022. This was given for their work on the grade 1 listed Indigo Hotel in Bath a large and complex project. Click here to find out more.

 

Peter Wilson Award 2022

Peter Wilson Award

We are proud to announce that our father and son team David and Dale Hayward are the recipients of the prestigious Peter Wilson Award 2022. They have been given this award for their work on the grade 1 listed Indigo Hotel in Bath. This was a large, complex, and challenging project which both David and Dale displayed great passion towards throughout.

More About David & Dale

Both David and Dale work in our Clerk of Works division at John Burke Associates. David was appointed as Head Clerk of Works, mentoring his son Dale as Assistant Clerk of Works. Dale worked on this project whilst completing a BSc (Hons) Construction Management Degree. They enjoyed working as a team, especially when they discovered the original Architects were also father and son.

The Project

The project was to enlarge the Indigo Hotel at South Parade in Bath to include connecting buildings within Pierrepoint Street and Duke Street. The development was to provide a total of 166 rooms with associated facilities. This involved the restoration, renovation, conversions, alterations, and extensions of the six-storey building.

The History

The buildings are Grade 1, Grade 2* and Grade 2 listed and form part of an architectural set-piece c1743 to 1749. As mentioned earlier, the original architects were also a father and son team, John Wood the Elder and John Wood the Younger. The properties are constructed on stone vaults and the ownership of the property have a boundary in the centre of a main road. This is because the vaults extend below the highways.

Clerk of Works

As Clerk of Works, their main involvement was recording, photographing, and sketching the original historical features. This is so that such features can be removed for the stabilization and builders works and replaced afterwards. Such features included historical panelling, lime plaster, original coving, stairs, windows, and doors.

Site Inspection

The building inspection was an enjoyable task, as many of the items of the original building had a variety of characteristics. Often the characteristics are the biggest requirement to reflect the age of the building. As such, only the safety aspect took precedence over this. The client’s requirements included out of plumb, bows, curves in walls and open texture of lime wall finish to maintain the charm of the building. There aren’t any British Standards to cover much of the work carried out, but the workmanship of the craftsmen brought out much of the character. The Conservation Office and Architect gave David and Dale guidance on a variable range of acceptable standards of finish for their daily inspections.

The Award

The Peter Wilson Memorial Award was introduced in 2013 and is awarded by the ICWCI to celebrate remarkable achievements. Here at John Burke Associates we are proud of our team and celebrate their achievements. Back in 2019 our colleague Jon Tucker was also the recipient of the award for his outstanding work on the major refurbishment to the Principal Hotel (formally The Russell hotel) London.

Click here to read more

Digital Construction Week (DCW)

Digital Construction Week

Digital Construction Week (DCW)

This month, Europe’s leading technology and innovation event for the built environment returns. The must-attend event takes place over two days in ExCel London on the 18th and 19th May 2022. Digital Construction Week (DCW) will be demonstrating the latest innovations which will revolutionise the built environment. With over 150 well-known brands in attendance, along with the latest cutting-edge start-ups. All of which showcasing the latest tech, tools, and solutions for digital construction.

Expert Speakers

In addition to the introduction of the latest technology, they also offer a free-to-attend education programme. This programme features over three hundred of the industry’s brightest and most forward-thinking minds. These expert speakers will be discussing the future of digital construction and the latest key trends.

The Net Zero Stage.

With Net Zero looming, decarbonisation is at the forefront of the industry’s priorities. DWC has a dedicated stage to face the challenges of low carbon construction. The focus is to use digital tools to make carbon more visible and accountable to project teams. Thus, work on reducing the emissions released from material extraction, transportation, and processing of all construction activities.

Other Theatres.

As well as the Net Zero stage, there will be eight other theatres focusing on some of the key areas shaping digital construction. Such areas include Information management using BIM, geospatial, visualisation, digital transformation and more. Furthermore, the programme has over 160 plus hours of free to attend content from the expert speakers we mention above.

Connect, Collaborate, and Innovate.

Here at John Burke Associates we agree the industry must connect, collaborate, and innovate to meet decarbonisation targets. Digital Construction provides a platform for this to take place, bringing the decision makers and developers together. If you are in the construction industry and wish to attend this event you can request a free trade ticket by clicking here. You can join the industries most creative and brightest minds in digital construction

 

Building Safety Act 2022

Building Safety Act 2022

The Building Safety Bill was granted Royal Assent on 28th April 2022. This means that whilst it may not deliver what everyone wants, it is a step in the right direction. This act aims to fundamentally change the way UK property is designed, built, and managed. Thus, closer to resolving the building safety crisis and giving leaseholders more protection. However, the bill comes with hundreds of clauses which require further clarification through secondary legislation.

RICS Response

RICS has released an article on their website which details their intended solutions to the concerns which surround the bill.  They continue to work constructively with Government, the Building Safety Regulator (BSR within HSE), BSI and industry to support the measures in the Building Safety Act to be implemented swiftly. We have summarised the points they have raised in the article below.

Timing & Clarification

It is imperative that organisations such as RICS who represent our profession (and others impacted by the act) can give their valuable input. The industry will need a clear brief from our government outlining the timeline going forward. This includes when the legislation will be ready and forewarning any consultations to be brought in. Therefore, allowing the industry to support it at pace.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Whilst PII does not feature in the bill, RICS feel it is a vital component in the implementation of the Act. Currently, it seems the PII market is too weak to meet the requirements of the industry. This is a point RICS have pursued since late 2018 and continue to call out. They feel it needs delivery of the long-awaited Government EWS (External Wall Systems) PII scheme to support professionals that are carrying out external wall assessments. Furthermore, they also need the Government to intervene to find a solution for PII firms providing wider fire risk and building safety assessments and those carrying out remediation; and for all those involved in HRBs design, construction, and management.

Remediation Funding

RICS continues to support the Government to review holistic ways to fund the remediation programme. But ultimately up-front funding should be made available to leaseholders along with a clear timeline for remediation. Consequently, enabling mortgage lending, meaning sellers can sell, and buyers can proceed with confidence.

Click here to read more

Train to Become a Clerk of Works

What is the Role of a Building Inspector?

Are you a site supervisor or senior building tradesman looking to progress your career? Retraining to become a Clerk of Works or building inspector may be the next step. John Burke Associates can offer the right candidates with transferable competences, on-site mentoring. If you can answer yes to all the questions below, this could be the role for you.

Do you have experience in new build construction and/or remediation projects?

Do you hold a construction related qualification at ONC level or higher?

Do you need a new challenge or a change of career?

What is the Role of a Clerk of Works?

The role of a Clerk of Works is to provide independent third-party site inspection and is best suited to those with a vigilant approach to their duties. You will be responsible for the systematic inspection of construction work including the following.

  • Work carried out conforms with the drawings, specifications and British Standards etc.
  • Materials are measured, tested and comply to requirements
  • Anticipating and identifying potential problems, before they arise.
  • Ensuring clear communication to all parties.
  • Ensuring Health and safety guidance is adhered to.
  • Monitoring the project and compiling accurate and concise reports and records.
  • Highlighting variance in construction work, by means of sampling, benchmarking, testing and measuring.

The Benefits

Becoming a Clerk of Works or Site Inspector allows you to develop and diversify your construction skills. A change of pace from your usual duties whilst retaining a key role in the industry. You will be a self-employed consultant with a choice of full or part-time projects available. Therefore, allowing you to manage your own workflow.

What We Are Looking For

John Burke Associates requires building Clerk of Works and site inspectors in Greater London. We have both full and part-time projects across the Greater London and Home Counties regions. Such opportunities may suit experienced site supervisors or senior building tradesmen who have the relevant transferable competences. If you would like more information to train to become a Clerk of Works or Building Inspector contact Ian Carey for an informal chat.

Biodiversity Net Gain and Property Development

property developers

Biodiversity Net Gain and Property Development

In a bid to combat the climate crisis and restore nature within the built environment, property developers will soon be required to improve biodiversity. In November 2021, the government announced a landmark amendment to add biodiversity net gain to the new Environment Act 2021. This means that biodiversity net gain will become a mandatory part of the planning process. Furthermore, developers will be required to deliver a minimum 10% net gain in biodiversity.

What is Biodiversity Net Gain?

Biodiversity net gain also known as BNG, aims to preserve the natural environment in development as well as improving where permissible. The goal is to leave nature in a measurably better state than it was beforehand. Therefore, contributing to achieving the commitments made at COP26. The recent change in legislation means it will become a mandatory requirement as of Winter 2023.

How Will This Affect Property Developers?

Many property developers are already adopting the biodiversity net gain approach voluntarily or in line with local authority requirements. The proposed mandatory legislation would give more clarity and certainty of what is expected. As we are a quality and environmentally driven consultancy, we support our clients in achieving results in this area.

Have Your Say

While the Environment Act 2021 sets out the core components, the journey to implementation is an arduous one. Therefore, a crucial part of this journey is the DEFRA led consultation. It is essential this consultation receives feedback from all interested parties to understand how best to implement the legislation. The public consultation is now open and runs until 5th April 2022. The responses will help shape the success of BNG and develop secondary legislation and guidance for all.

 Do You Need More Advice?

John Burke Associates work with a varied and prestigious portfolio of clients across the UK. Our forward-thinking approach provides pro-active advice and cost-effective solutions. We are also certified under ISO 14001 as an Environmental Management Organisation. We continue to review our procedures for improving our environmental performance.

Positive News for Procurement

Digital Construction Week

Positive News for Procurement.

According to the latest PMI from IHS Markit-CIPS UK, 30% less construction companies are experiencing supplier delays. This is in comparison with the peak of 77% reporting delays in procurement of materials in June 2021. November’s report shows under half (47%) of companies are still experiencing extended waiting times for deliveries. Therefore, suggesting that supply times are improving, and we are out of the worst phase in procurement.

“A Glimmer of Hope”

This is all welcome news to an industry which has been plagued with supply issues. Whilst the rapid input price inflation continues, operating expenses are marked at its lowest for seven months. It appears staff shortages within the haulage industry continue to affect costs. Consequently, 72% which is about three quarters of those who responded to the survey, report an increase in purchase prices. However, 3% did cite a decline.

Commercial Construction on the Rise

The report also shows that the commercial construction sector is the best performing area. With the rebound in November resulting in the quickest level of output growth in four months. This upturn means that client spending continues in response to the reopening of the economy. With commercial construction leading the way to economic recovery through new projects. This in-turn counteracts the recent decline seen in the development of new housing.

 Is This the Light at the End of the Tunnel?

It’s important to remember that input price inflation continues to be very strong. Therefore, we are not out of the woods yet. But according to Tim Moore, director at IHS Markit they are starting to see a downward trend after the peak in summer. It is also important to bear in mind that this report predates the announcement of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Here at John Burke Associates, we remain optimistic that the road to recovery will continue. Furthermore, we will continue to monitor the guidance and practices in place from our governing bodies to keep our clients informed.

 

COP26 and Commercial Property

Commercial Property

COP26 and Commercial Property

Since the beginning of the pandemic the commercial property sector has had to adapt much of how it operates. In addition to transforming buildings to be safer, adaptable, and more autonomous, the focus is now on sustainability. Consequently, the demand for more eco-friendly space and green sustainable buildings is on the rise. According to The Q3 RICS Facilities Management (FM) Survey, workplace and relocation FM is likely to see its biggest growth this year. Therefore, it’s important we follow RICS guidance to transform traditions.

Supporting Green Developments

Both investors and occupants alike are favouring sustainable solutions when it comes to property. From smart homes to the materials used to build them, the future is very much green! We are seeing a growing trend of “green buildings” bringing in a higher premium in contrast with “non-green buildings.” Such premium is now driving the market towards more sustainable developments than ever before.

Decarbonising commercial buildings

The commercial property industry is currently responsible for around 39% of energy related CO2 emissions. Furthermore, as of March 2020, “nearly two-thirds of UK homes are still failing to meet long-term energy efficiency targets with the majority of buildings predating modern energy standards” (BBC). Therefore, it is vital the industry prioritises the decarbonisation of such commercial buildings to meet net-zero targets.

Adopting Innovation

Developers are being urged to adopt new innovative technologies to retrofit buildings. Technology such as Smart Grids allows us to collate information and allow cross-communication across components and central systems. Thus, making buildings more efficient. Furthermore, software such as Digital Twin uses sensors to collect real-time data to highlight inefficiencies in a building’s energy uses. Using such technologies will accelerate the decarbonisation of commercial buildings, therefore contributing to the UN’s SDGs.

The Future is Green!

The world must collaborate to work towards a greener planet. Consequently, the demand for eco-building and retrofitting will continue to increase. As RICS Chartered Surveyors we urge you to keep up to date with industry standards. There is a RICS Commercial Property Conference on the 6 – 8 December 2021, please click here if you wish to join.