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John Burke Associates

Preserving England’s Heritage: A Glimpse into the Heritage at Risk Register

Historic Buildings

Historic England’s Annual Report Reveals 159 New Additions

Every year, Historic England releases its Heritage at Risk Register. This is a comprehensive assessment of the state of England’s historic buildings and sites. In the latest update, 159 new additions grace the register, highlighting structures at risk of neglect, decay, or inappropriate development.

Unravelling History: Holbeche House in the West Midlands

Among the newly added sites is Holbeche House in the West Midlands, where the infamous Gunpowder Plot unfolded. This historical gem now faces the threat of neglect, urging preservation efforts to safeguard its rich past.

Dickensian Inspiration: Great White Horse Hotel in Suffolk

Another notable inclusion is the Great White Horse Hotel in Suffolk, inspiring Charles Dickens’ inaugural novel, The Pickwick Papers. The peril of neglect looms over this iconic building, emphasising the urgent need for conservation measures.

Rescued Gems: 203 Sites Saved and Removed

While the register expands, it’s crucial to acknowledge the success stories. This year witnessed the removal of 203 historic sites from the register, signifying successful rescue missions and secured futures for these cultural treasures.

Current Landscape: 4,871 Entries in 2023

The Heritage at Risk Register for 2023 features a total of 4,871 entries, a reduction of 48 compared to the previous year. Despite the challenges, the commitment to preserving historic buildings remains steadfast.

Duncan Wilson’s Perspective

Reflecting on the report, Historic England’s chief executive, Duncan Wilson, emphasizes the program’s role in drawing attention to sites in dire need. Wilson states, “The Heritage at Risk program shines a light on our historic sites most in need and can help to attract funding and help.”

Celebrating a quarter-century milestone, Wilson expresses pride in the register’s impact, showcasing the successful preservation of numerous places. The ongoing commitment involves engaging local communities in the care and enjoyment of their heritage, ensuring a collective effort to safeguard England’s historical legacy.


Celebrating Success in Collaboration on Award-Winning Project

Architect of the Year

At John Burke Associates Clerk of Works Division, we are excited to share our recent collaboration with Hall McKnight on the remarkable St. Mary’s Wantage project. The project has garnered acclaim and recognition within the architectural community. This outstanding achievement led to St. Mary’s Wantage receiving the prestigious “One-off Small Project Architect of the Year” award at the Architect of the Year 2023 event. This blog post will delve into the details of this project, the award category, and the significance of this recognition.

The Architect of the Year 2023 Awards

In the ceremony held at The Brewery in London, the Architect of the Year 2023 awards celebrated the excellence and innovation within the architectural sector. This event brought together the brightest minds and most talented professionals in the industry, serving as a platform to acknowledge their contributions.

Recognising Excellence

The “One-off Small Project Architect of the Year” award, which St. Mary’s Wantage secured, stands as a testament to architects who excel in non-domestic projects of relatively small scale. Whether through new construction or refurbishment, this award category is specifically designed to highlight unique one-off small projects. To be eligible for this award, an entry must showcase a single completed non-domestic project constructed between December 1, 2021, and December 1, 2022, with a project value not exceeding £5 million.

St. Mary’s Wantage: The Award-Winning Project

St. Mary’s Wantage reflects the creative genius of Hall McKnight and the meticulous oversight of John Burke Associates Clerk of Works Division. This project embodies the essence of the “One-off Small Project Architect of the Year” award, showcasing design excellence within a limited budget.

Design Excellence That Shines

The judges at the Architect of the Year 2023 awards evaluated entries for evidence of design excellence, and St. Mary’s Wantage undoubtedly delivered on this criterion. The project not only met but exceeded expectations, demonstrating the remarkable results that can be achieved in the realm of small-scale, non-domestic architecture. The synergy between design and execution was evident in every detail of the St. Mary’s Wantage project.


Our collaboration with Hall McKnight on St. Mary’s Wantage has resulted in a remarkable architectural achievement that has received well-deserved recognition within the industry. Winning the “One-off Small Project Architect of the Year” award serves as a testament to our commitment to excellence, creativity, and the successful execution of small-scale non-domestic projects. We are proud of this accomplishment and look forward to more opportunities to contribute to outstanding architectural endeavours in the future. We would like to congratulate Hall McKnight on also being awarded the overall Gold Award and Refurbishment Architect of the Year.

HSE Launches Inspection Campaign to Improve Material Handling Safety in Construction

Construction Safety

Ensuring the Well-being of Construction Workers: HSE’s Material Handling Inspection Campaign. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is taking a proactive stance to enhance safety in the construction industry. Launching a dedicated inspection campaign focusing on the crucial aspect of moving and handling materials. Commencing on Monday, September 4th, these inspections will continue throughout September and October, targeting construction sites across the UK.

Addressing Long-term Health Impacts

The primary objective of this initiative is to educate and alert construction workers about the potential long-term health consequences associated with the manual handling of heavy or bulky objects. According to the safety watchdog, approximately 42,000 construction workers suffer from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). This accounts for a staggering 53% of all health-related issues within the construction sector. The ramifications of MSDs can be severe, often leaving individuals struggling to stand, walk, or even sit comfortably. The constant pain and discomfort associated with such conditions can significantly diminish one’s quality of life.

Spotlight on Best and Worst Practices

In its inspections conducted during 2022, HSE identified numerous practices that safeguard the well-being of workers engaged in material handling. These include.

  • The utilisation of mechanical equipment to handle large glazing panes.
  • Affordable airbags to assist in positioning heavy door installation.
  • The deployment of all-terrain pallet trucks for transporting blocks
  • Brick-lifters for the convenient movement of bricks around the construction site.

However, alongside these positive examples, inspectors also uncovered instances of poor practice that led to enforcement actions. In one notable case, a worker single-handedly lifts an 80kg kerb without any machinery, lifting aids, or assistance from colleagues. In another alarming incident, two operatives had to manually load and unload a 110kg floor saw from a work van at a street works site.

Legal Obligations and Risk Management

It is imperative to note that employers are legally obligated to mitigate the risks associated with the ill health of their workers. This includes the prevention of MSDs. Failure to do so can result in serious repercussions.

“Work Right Construction. Your health. Your future.”

These inspections are conducted in alignment with the “Work Right Construction. Your health. Your future.” Campaign The aim is to provide valuable guidance and raise awareness among construction workers about the potential risks associated with the manual handling of materials on construction sites.

In conclusion

HSE’s material handling inspection campaign represents a pivotal step towards enhancing the safety and well-being of construction workers. By shedding light on best practices and discouraging poor ones, this initiative strives to create a safer and healthier work environment within the construction sector. John Burke Associates encourages all construction companies to embrace these inspections as an opportunity to bolster their safety protocols and protect the health and future of their workforce.

Building upon Action to Safeguard Single-Sex Spaces

building regulations

The DLUHC released a statement on 13th August 2023, announcing its intention to implement changes in building regulations to enforce the provision of gender-specific toilets. The department highlighted that the proposed policy aims to not only reinforce the concept of single-sex spaces but also promote the inclusion of self-contained toilets that cater to diverse needs.

Emphasis on Privacy and Dignity

Kemi Badenoch, the Minister for Women and Equalities, asserted that the introduction of gender-neutral toilets had inadvertently infringed upon the privacy and dignity of women and girls. Badenoch emphasized that the forthcoming regulations would ensure that every newly constructed building in England is mandated to offer separate male and female facilities or unisex alternatives, thus safeguarding the dignity, privacy, and safety of all individuals.

Gender-Neutral Toilets vs. Unisex Facilities

Gender-neutral toilets, designed for use by individuals of any gender, have been the subject of increased discussions surrounding inclusivity. These facilities are especially beneficial for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals who may feel uncomfortable or face discrimination when using gender-specific bathrooms. The government’s announcement made a clear distinction between gender-neutral toilets and unisex or universal facilities. They define the latter as “single, standalone facilities used by both genders”.

Balancing Inclusivity and Need

The proposed policy recognises the importance of providing unisex toilets in new public buildings, as long as the available space permits. However, the government underlines that the installation of unisex toilets should not come at the expense of female toilets. This balanced approach aims to ensure that the needs of various groups are met without compromising the rights and comfort of others.

Benefiting Disabled Individuals and Easing Access

In addition to addressing concerns of privacy and inclusivity, the proposed policy is expected to have a positive impact on disabled individuals. By mandating separate male and female toilets, the government aims to reduce queues for accessible facilities. Currently, these accessible toilets are sometimes the only non-gendered options available, making the policy potentially transformative for those with disabilities.

In Conclusion

The proposed changes in building regulations are set to undergo consultation, indicating the government’s commitment to fostering a comprehensive and well-informed approach to this important matter. As England moves forward with these potential adjustments, the balance between privacy, inclusivity, and accessibility remains at the forefront of the conversation.


Enhancing Fire Safety in Residential Buildings

fire safety measures

Enhancing Fire Safety in Residential Buildings

In a significant statement on housing safety, Mr. Gove, the Housing Secretary, has confirmed the government’s intention to mandate second staircases in new build residential buildings over 18 meters. This decision comes following strong support from expert bodies, adding coherence and certainty to the fire safety measures in tall buildings. The government aims to ensure the safety of occupants in both new and existing high-rise structures, building on the reforms and fire safety measures introduced since the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Gradual Evolution of Safety Standards

The proposed regulation regarding second staircases represents a considered and gradual evolution of safety standards. By incorporating this measure alongside existing fire safety reforms, the government is demonstrating its commitment to enhancing the overall safety of tall buildings in the UK.

Coherence and Certainty for the Sector

With the confirmation of the intention to mandate second staircases, the government is addressing the sector’s call for coherence and certainty in fire safety measures. By setting a clear threshold of 18 meters, new residential buildings above this height will be required to have more than one staircase, offering an alternative escape route during emergencies.

Ensuring the Viability of Ongoing Projects

While prioritising safety, the government is also mindful of not disrupting long-planned housing schemes. To avoid delays and maintain the viability of projects already underway, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) will work closely with industry and regulators to design transitional arrangements. This approach ensures that ongoing developments can proceed smoothly while adhering to the new safety regulations.

Sprinkler Systems for New Care Homes

In addition to second staircases, the government is also considering proposals to mandate sprinkler systems in all new care homes, irrespective of their height. This measure is aimed at enhancing the safety of vulnerable residents and providing crucial support to firefighters during evacuation procedures.

Consultation for Building Regulations Update

The government’s proposals are part of the ongoing efforts to update statutory guidance and building regulations to ensure the safety of those living and working in new developments. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities will conduct a comprehensive 12-week consultation, seeking input from various stakeholders and the public.

Other Measures Under Consideration

The consultation will also explore other important measures, such as removing references to the national classifications (BS 476) from Approved Document B. This step aims to streamline the guidance framework and require construction product manufacturers to test their products to the British standard version of the European Standards, eliminating the dual system in place.

Additionally, the government will undertake a call for evidence on revisions to Approved Document B, focusing on materials and products used in external walls. Industry experts will be invited to share their views on the materials to be covered and suggest ways to enhance the clarity of the guidance provided.

Building on Past Fire Safety Reforms

Since the Grenfell Tower fire, the government has been resolute in its efforts to update and improve fire safety guidance to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future. Several significant changes have been made to Building Regulations and guidance, including the ban on combustible materials for residential buildings, hospitals, and student accommodations above 18 meters.

Moreover, the use of Metal Composite Materials, similar to those used in Grenfell, has been banned in all buildings. The department has undertaken extensive work to clarify guidance, ensuring a better understanding of safety standards in the construction industry.

Among other reforms, the threshold for the provision of sprinklers in new blocks of flats has been lowered from 30 meters to 11 meters, while provisions for wayfinding signage for firefighters have been made in new blocks exceeding 11 meters. Additionally, evacuation alert systems have been mandated in new residential buildings over 18 meters in height.

Collaborating for a Safer Future

As the consultation period commences, the government encourages collaboration with industry professionals, including chartered surveyors, to offer their expertise and insights. Together, we can help shape effective and robust fire safety regulations that prioritise the well-being of residents and the wider community. By working in synergy, the UK can continue to advance its commitment to making residential buildings safer for everyone.

John Burke Associates Attends the Future of Construction Contracts at JCT 2024 Event

JCT 2024 Event

In the dynamic world of the construction industry, staying up to date with the latest developments and advancements is crucial. John Burke Associates recently had the privilege of attending a prestigious event organised by the Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT). This event provided an exclusive preview of the highly anticipated JCT 2024 Edition, unveiling significant changes that will shape the future of construction contracts. In this blog, we will dive into Graham’s experience at the event and highlight the key insights he gained.

JCT 2024 Edition: A Glimpse into the Future

The JCT 2024 Edition, set to be published next year, promises to revolutionize the way contracts are approached in the construction industry. As the current JCT 2016 Edition is widely regarded as the industry standard, the announcement of the forthcoming update generated immense excitement among attendees.

Embracing Digital Transformation

One of the central themes of JCT 2024 is the continued focus on digital working. JCT recognises the importance of adapting to the digital age. Therefore, it will publish the new edition exclusively through its Construct subscription service. Which will ensure easy accessibility and streamlined processes for users. This demonstrates JCT’s commitment to embracing digital transformation and making contracts more accessible in the modern era.

Key Updates and Changes

Several significant updates and changes were unveiled during the event, reflecting the evolving needs of the construction industry. Among the core themes of JCT 2024 are modernization, legislative compliance, and future-proofing. Let’s explore some of the key highlights:

Modernising and Streamlining

JCT 2024 addresses the need for increased flexibility and inclusivity. The introduction of gender-neutral language ensures contracts are inclusive and reflective of the diverse workforce in the industry. Additionally, the adoption of electronic notices provides more flexibility in communication, aligning with the digital era.

JCT Target Cost Contract (TCC)

JCT 2024 introduces an entirely new contract family, the JCT Target Cost Contract (TCC). Comprising a main contract, sub-contract, and guide. This addition offers a fresh approach to managing projects with a target cost framework, enhancing transparency and collaboration.

Legislative Compliance

The JCT 2024 Edition incorporates essential updates to align with legislative changes. Provisions related to the Building Safety Act, Termination accounting, and payment provisions reflecting the Construction Act, and new insolvency grounds reflecting the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 ensure that contracts remain legally compliant and protect all parties involved.


Anticipating the industry’s evolving needs, JCT 2024 incorporates changes to align with the objectives of the Construction Playbook. Additionally, previously optional supplemental provisions related to Collaborative Working, Sustainable Development, and Environmental Considerations will be incorporated into the main document, reinforcing the industry’s commitment to sustainability and responsible construction practices.

A Note from Graham

“It was a pleasure to be at the House of Commons for The Joint Contracts Tribunal Parliamentary Reception. I also had the honour of attending with the new President of the ICWCI Jerry Shoolbred and discussing ideas with JCT Chair Karen Kirkham about future amendments. It was great to hear the updates on the suite of JCT contracts and meet new people from across the industry. A fantastic day ”.

The Role of Commercial Real Estate in Levelling Up.

Commercial Real Estate

Commercial real estate plays a crucial role in the process of levelling-up in the UK. Levelling-up refers to the government’s objective of reducing regional disparities and promoting economic growth and prosperity across all parts of the country. Here’s why commercial real estate is vital to achieving this goal:

Economic Growth and Job Creation

With commercial real estate comes space for businesses to operate, expand, and create job opportunities. When businesses thrive, they generate employment, income, and tax revenues. In fact, it contributes more than £60bn of added value to the UKs economy. Furthermore, it employs more than 1m people. By developing commercial real estate in underdeveloped areas, economic growth is stimulated. Consequently, leading to a more balanced distribution of wealth and opportunities.

Infrastructure Development

Commercial development involves improving infrastructure in the surrounding areas. This includes constructing roads, utilities, public transportation systems, and other essential facilities. These infrastructure investments not only support commercial activities but also enhance the overall living conditions of the region. Better infrastructure attracts businesses, encourages private investment, and helps close the economic gap between different regions.

Attracting Investment

Valuable commercial development prospects are a catalyst for attracting domestic and foreign investment into the UK. Investors are more likely to allocate funds to areas with a thriving commercial sector, as it indicates a favourable business environment and growth potential. Increased investment can provide capital for further development, promote innovation, and create a cycle of economic prosperity.

Skills and Talent Retention

Commercial real estate developments can create demand for a wide range of skills and expertise. As such, attracting and retaining talented individuals in the region. This is particularly significant for levelling-up efforts, as it helps to prevent “brain drain” from less prosperous areas to major cities. By providing appealing workspaces and amenities, we can foster a vibrant business ecosystem. Which will in turn encourage skilled workers to remain or relocate to these areas.

Urban Regeneration

Many levelling-up initiatives aim to revitalize deprived urban areas and promote urban regeneration. Commercial projects can play a pivotal role in transforming neglected or run-down areas into attractive business districts. This not only brings economic benefits but also enhances the quality of life for residents by creating new amenities, public spaces, and community facilities.

Diversifying Local Economies

Some regions in the UK heavily rely on specific industries or sectors, which can make them vulnerable to economic shocks. Development that caters to a diverse range of businesses helps broaden the local economy. It encourages the growth of different sectors and promotes resilience by reducing dependency on a single industry.


Overall, commercial real estate development is vital for levelling-up in the UK as it fuels economic growth, attracts investment, creates employment opportunities, improves infrastructure, and promotes balanced regional development.

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Aspire to become a Clerk of Works!

progress your career

Aspire to become a Clerk of Works!

Are you currently working in a supervisory role within the construction industry? Perhaps you are a senior building tradesman looking for a change in career? John Burke Associates may have the ideal opportunity to allow you to progress your career and earn while you learn. We are looking for the right candidates with transferable competencies, who will receive professional mentoring to become a clerk of works.

What’s Involved in the Role?

The Clerk of Works role is to provide independent third-party site inspection i.e., to Systematically Inspect, Record, Report, and Highlight potential issues. As such the role is best suited to someone who has a meticulous approach to their work.

A Clerk of Works Must…

  • Ensure that all work carried out conforms with the technical requirements, drawings, specifications, and British Standards etc.
  • Inspect and test materials to ensure they comply with requirements.
  • You will be expected to anticipate and identify potential issues before they arise.
  • You must ensure that all communication is clear between all parties.
  • Ensure Health and safety guidance is adhered to.
  • Monitor the project and compile accurate and concise reports and records.
  • Highlight variance in construction work, by means of sampling, benchmarking, testing, and


The Benefits

If you love the construction industry but feel that working on-site full-time is no longer manageable, change your pace. Becoming a Clerk of Works or a Site Inspector allows you to develop and diversify your skills. It also gives you the freedom to work at a different pace while allowing you to retain a key role in the industry.

Want to Know More?

If you are interested in finding out more about the role of a Clerk of Works and progress your career, call Ian Carey CMgr MSc DMS PgDip FRICS FCIOB FCMI FICWCI FCABE today. We require both Clerk of Works and Site Inspectors to cover the Greater London and Home Counties regions. Furthermore, we have both full-time and part-time projects available, all roles are on a self-employed basis. Therefore, allowing you to manage your own workflow.



Why Employ a Project Manager?

Project Management Division

Here at John Burke Associates, we offer our clients a comprehensive project management service. Our collaborative project management division delivers successful projects which realise the client’s aspirations. We apply a variety of methodologies and process models to exceed client expectations. In this blog we discuss how employing an experienced project management team will benefit your project.

The Quality-Cost-Time Conundrum

The Quality-Cost-Time Conundrum is also known as the Project Management Triangle or Iron Triangle. This concept states that the three primary constraints of any project are quality, cost, and time. The conundrum lies in the fact that these three factors are interdependent. Therefore, improving one may come at the expense of the other two. For example, if you want to improve the quality of a project, you may need to increase the cost or extend the timeline. Similarly, if you want to complete a project quickly, you may need to sacrifice some quality or increase the cost.

The Role of a Project Manager

The role of project management is to find the optimal balance between these constraints that will result in a successful project. Our Project Management Division works with stakeholders to define the scope of the project including goals, deliverables, timelines, and budget. We work with our clients to prioritize the project requirements. This includes risk assessment which identifies potential project risks and ensures such risks are mitigated.

From Inception to Completion

Working alongside stakeholders we develop a realistic project schedule that accounts for the available resources, timelines, and budget. We will monitor the progress of the project making necessary adjustments to ensure that the project meets deadlines. Whilst also tracking expenses, identifying areas where costs can be reduced, and ensuring that the team stays within budget.

Get in Touch

If you wish to discuss your project, contact us today on 01708 770770. We offer a full compilation of Chartered Surveying & Chartered Building Consultancy services. This includes full independent construction and property advice on technical and management matters.


Introducing Graham Little Technical Manager

technical manager

John Burke Associates is proud to announce that we have a new member of our Clerk of Works department. Graham Little is our new Technical Manager, we are excited about the level of experience he brings to the team. Graham tells us a little more about himself below.


My name is Graham Little, and I have joined JBA as the Technical Manager for the Clerk of Works department, reporting to the Technical Director Ian Carey.

Health and Safety is always my priority. I am NEBOSH certified, a first aider and a mental health first aider. My background is 25 years in the construction industry, where I have worked both client and contractor side.  I started my career as a Carpenter & Joiner and in my years I have cut fully blind dovetail joints, hand-dug trenches with a graft and have worked Civils, Quantity Surveying and as a Setting Out Engineer.

This has allowed me to work on Bridges, schools, hospitals and major infrastructure projects.  I progressed to the Design, Construction and Maintenance of Proving Grounds in the International Testing and Inspection sector. I managed a facility that was 650 acres, 26 building complexes and 50 miles of test track and designing and delivering on all construction projects within the company’s capex expansion plans. I had responsibility for a c.£10m p/y opex budget and a c.£42m p/y capex budget. Covering UK, France, Finland and Morocco and have notable projects consisting of;

Notable Projects

  • Designed and delivered the UK’s first Electric Vehicle Battery Test Facility.
  • Designed and delivered c.£100m of capex construction projects in the UK during 2017 to 2020.
  • Designed the global office standard for interiors of all company buildings in the group.
  • Managed the project to design and deliver an HV supply upgrade from 1.65MW to 10MW. This took two years from conception to completion. I also secured grant funding.
  • Legal responsibility for all Fire safety design and compliance.  I designed and implemented the fire strategy and upgraded all existing structures to current fire regs. This includes barriers, breaks, zoning, detection and suppression.
  • Designed all DSEAR areas on site, all fuel storage & testing, and designed controlled explosion zones for thermal run away from Battery tests, ethanol and Hydrogen which were the first facilities in the UK.
  • Designed and installed structures and buildings to government organisations specifications.

In conclusion

I am very excited to be on board with JBA and look forward to working with all our stakeholders and through knowledge, experience and CPD; Grow the business and contribute to the quality and safety of the industry.