Constructing a Greener Environment

RICS Chartered Surveyors

There are serious concerns about the construction industry’s contribution to the world’s pollution. With estimates of its responsibility being around 4% more air, water, and noise pollution than any other industry. In addition, the UN states that just over a third of all Co2 emissions are produced from the built environment. Which is also responsible for a third of all energy consumption. As the world faces a climate crisis, we as RICS Chartered Surveyors have a responsibility. We must steer our client’s projects towards building more resilient and sustainable communities.

Why is it important?

The current rate of pollution from the industry and the built environment is not sustainable. To elaborate, we look at the three critical contributors mentioned above and what the consequences are;

Air Pollution

There are various activities within the construction industry which are major contributors to the climate crisis. Such as diesel emissions and construction dust or PM10 – particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter. These all have health consequences such as respiratory illness, asthma, bronchitis, even carcinogenic consequences. Not just a detriment to human health, such emissions are critical to the health of animals and plants.

Therefore, we must work together to find more sustainable fuel options and implement more eco-friendly site procedures.

Water Pollution

Diesel, Oil, harmful chemicals, cement, dirt, and debris are all sources of onsite water pollution. Surface water run-off carries such substances into waterways. Which is toxic to the water life and any wildlife that drinks from them.

In addition, land clearance leads to erosion in the soil which causes silt baring runoff and sediment pollution. The consequence of which is waterways becoming turbid and therefore restricting sunlight filtration, therefore obliterating aquatic life. But it’s not just the animals and wildlife who are affected. If these pollutants soak into groundwater, our drinking water becomes contaminated and furthermore, harder to treat.

Building Consultancy services

Noise Pollution

Construction sites are notorious for high-level noise; HGVs, power tools, machinery, high volume radios, and shouting. If you have ever lived near a building site, you will understand the annoyance this can cause. But the long-term effects of noise pollution can be much more severe than a noisy distraction.

Such excessive noise is linked to issues such as blood pressure, stress, hearing loss and sleep disturbance. Not just for humans but also for the surrounding wildlife. While we appreciate that a quiet construction site isn’t currently possible, we should still explore available avenues of reduction.

What can be done?

As RICS Chartered Surveyors and Building Consultants, we advocate the global adoption of RICS Standards. We aim to ensure we work in synergy with our clients to deploy more capital towards sustainable projects. Therefore, supporting our profession in pioneering healthier more resilient environments. Which in turn provides our clients with the confidence of sustainable project investments. Our portfolio of services offers a full compilation of Chartered Surveying & Chartered Building Consultancy services;

Building a better outlook for mental health

World Suicide Prevention Day 2019

Building a better outlook for mental health

To mark World Suicide Prevention Day 2019, we wanted to focus this blog on mental illness in the construction industry. This is a growing concern as one of the biggest health and safety issues of the industry. According to the Office of National Statistics, construction workers are more likely to commit suicide than any other profession. A sombre statistic that, consequently, has forced contractors to take action to support their worker’s mental wellbeing. Here at John Burke Associates our Clerk of Works division believe worker wellbeing is paramount.

Why are contractors responsible?

In recent media, videos that have become viral highlight the catastrophic consequences of mental health and construction. Taking care of the wellbeing of your workers will pay dividends to your company and project. However, failing to do so can lead to costly and time-consuming disasters on-site or worse, it can be fatal. If that isn’t bad enough, your whole company’s reputation and ethos can be destroyed in a short time.


What can be done to help?

You may have seen the “Time to Talk” campaign which has been launched in the media. You cannot begin to understand the emotions of another unless you talk. Encouraging a positive. none threatening environment for workers to open up about their mental health is vital. Whilst the industry may be known for “workplace banter” it can both cause and cover-up underlying issues. We must learn to recognise, when to leave the “banter” behind and take emotional wellbeing seriously.

Clerk of Works

Where to get support

There are many initiatives out there to help support better mental health in the workplace. For example, MatesinMind is a, UK registered charity that is actively addressing the stigma of poor mental health. They work with many industries, and supported by the CMI, but the focus is on the construction industry. You can use the links below to find out more;

If you would like to know more about John Burke Associates Clerk of Works division or our other services, please use the links below;

Workplace Gagging – Know Your SA from Your NDA – Part 1

Non-Disclosure Agreements

Workplace Gagging - Know Your SA from Your NDA - Part 1

Non-Disclosure Agreements and Settlement Agreements

With all the recent talk of NDAs in the media, there has been confusion and controversy surrounding such agreements. Often getting confused with a Settlement Agreement (SA) which are usually used in the termination of employment contracts. Therefore, we wanted to write a two-part blog to clarify the difference between Non-Disclosure and Settlement Agreements. Most importantly, we want to highlight why in both matters, it is vital to get professional guidance. This month we will focus on the controversial Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA).

What is a Non-Disclosure Agreement

 What is a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)?

A Non-Disclosure Agreement is also known as an NDA, “confidentiality agreement” or “gagging order”. It’s a legally binding contract of confidentiality which protects you when it’s necessary to share confidential information about your business. For example, you may require advice from accountants, financial advisors or marketing agencies. In order to give such advice, they may require details about your business you wouldn’t usually provide. As such you could be leaving your company vulnerable to such data being shared. A good NDA allows you to share ideas and information in confidence.

Types Of NDA

The non-disclosure agreement can offer one-way protection or mutual. You would use the one-way NDA when only one party is disclosing sensitive information. However, if more than one party is sharing information then you would enter a mutual NDA.

NDA Benefits vs Controversy

NDA has been notoriously used to protect individuals from criminal charges. This has been highlighted in recent media stories. Consequently, they have come under a moral question. But realistically, without them, many businesses would leave themselves vulnerable. How can you develop ideas without involving others? Ultimately despite its controversy, the NDA is a necessary business tool.

The Risks of Non-Disclosure Agreements.

As the agreement is legally binding it is imperative that all parties understand their obligations. From the very start of the agreement, it is important to know what you are asking and be clear. The document must be precise and detailed in its purpose. Remember, the permitted purpose can be widened at any time, however, you cannot narrow the restriction of use post-agreement.

This is just the basics, there are many factors which must be reviewed before entering into a Non-Disclosure Agreement. Such as location; if both parties do not reside in the same country the NDA must state which law governs the agreement. This coupled with the ongoing controversy are very good reasons you should seek professional advice. If you are an employer with questions about NDAs, you can view our services below or call 01780 770 770.

So What’s a Settlement Agreement?

Good question! We will be covering settlement agreements in next month’s blog. So, watch this space. You can follow our social media below to see the announcement of our next blog.

Employee Development

Boosting staff morale

Developing Key Players

Employee Development

When recruiting into your business, at any level, you look for the most suitable candidate, naturally. Those with a skillset that fits your requirements, experience in a similar role, correct qualifications and key qualities. Seeking the application that ticks all the boxes. Therefore, once you find the ideal candidate, it can be easy to assign them to a role and become complacent. They do a fantastic job, you are happy with their work, everyone is happy, right?

Why Dedicate Time to Employee Development?

The fact is, your employee might be happy in their role, which is great! But unless you implement personal development plan’s, you open your company to a potential HR minefield. Not to mention, the potential cost and time wasted by restarting the whole recruitment process again.

The long-term benefits of implementing personal development plans with your employees outweigh the cost and time involved. In addition, overlooking an employee’s personal development could be depriving your business of undiscovered skill sets. It is important that you take your employee’s career and future as seriously as they do. This is key to securing their future within your company and utilizing your resources to their maximum potential.

Implementing Personal Development Plans

Take the time to communicate with your key players to determine their career development goals and expectations. Establish a plan with them which works towards them achieving such goals within your organization. Furthermore, allow your employee to identify their own development needs and discuss how these can be nurtured.

At John Burke Associates, staff reviews and skills gap analysis form an integral element of our business strategy, enabling us to ensure that team members acquire knowledge that is both current and relevant-thus providing meaningful professional advice to clients

It is important to revisit the plan with routine reviews to evaluate the progression on both sides. Whether this is done monthly, quarterly or yearly, it’s vital you are consistent in keeping such appointments. If you would like more information, please visit our services page below or call 01708 770770.

Personal Development Plans

ICWCI Building on Quality Awards 2019

Clerk of Works

ICWCI Building on Quality Awards 2019

ICWCI Award Winners

Award Winning Clerk of Works

Last month John Burke Associates attended ICWCI Building on Quality Awards 2019. Our Clerk of Works Jon Tucker was awarded the prestigious Peter Wilson Memorial Trophy. Jon was nominated for the award for his outstanding work on the major refurbishment to the Principle Hotel (formally The Russell hotel) London.

Who is Jon Tucker?

ICWCI Award Winners

Jon is an integral part of the John Burke Associates clerk of works team. His systematic approach coupled with a perceptive nature and perspicuous attributes makes Jon an asset on any project. Therefore, we are delighted that his work has been recognised by the ICWCI. We are proud to have Jon on our team of staff who support our ethos of going above and beyond.

What is the Award?

Peter Wilson Trophy

First introduced in 2013, the Peter Wilson Memorial award is given by the ICWCI to celebrate remarkable achievements. This is a prestigious award, which is in memorial of Vice President Peter Wilson FICWCI. Jon is the fourth recipient since the award’s inception, it is an honour to be nominated and a privilege to win.

Clerk of Works Award
Clerk of Works Award

The Award-Winning Project

Clerk of Works Award

On this occasion, the award was given for Jon’s work on a historic hotel, built in 1898. The Principle London project involved the extensive refurbishment of a historic Grade 2 listed hotel. With a contract sum of £96 million, the design team faced several challenges. Including budget and programme constraints, numerous planning and building applications and a large investment to the fabric of the building.

Due to many refurbishments and a degree of neglect the building required remedial work to ensure it was structurally sound. As such, the extent of the renovation prescribed that mechanical, electrical and public health services were replaced almost entirely. In addition, a significant amount of structural works was required with the existing load-bearing masonry construction.

Spanning over 25 months, the renovation included a hard refurbishment to create 334 individual custom finished rooms. There are also 39 new luxury suites. The public areas have been redesigned to significantly improve guest arrival and experience. At the heart of the building is the reintroduction of a Palm Court with external seating area and winter garden.

Managing Success an Employers Guide

Employers Agent

Employer’s Agent

As an employer’s agent John Burke Associates understand the ongoing pressure of trying to keep a good balance. Success is that word we all strive to achieve in business, but success must be maintained. Therefore, the question is, once you have achieved success, how do you manage it?

Whilst we do not claim to have all the answers, the team have put together a short list of pointers. This month’s blog consists of 5 hints and tips to manage success. However, if you need elaborate advice on a matter you can call 01708 770 770 to talk to us directly.

5 Ways to Manage Success

Project Management Services

Project Management Services

Time Management

Something that every business owner has been guilty of at some time or another is poor time management. Especially in a company’s infancy, it can be tempting to over commit yourself. You want to please everyone, show your commitment and above all achieve success. However, in doing so your actions could be counter-productive to the cause. Over committing either yourself or your employees will have negative results. Listen to your employees, understand their role and the time it takes. Be honest with your clients, don’t put yourself in an uphill battle to complete on a project. Above all never hesitate to enlist help from an employer’s agent when you need it.

Employee Management

Your employees are the backbone of your business. If you look after your employees, they will look after your business. The most common detriment to success is failing to listen to others. It is nothing short of commendable you have succeeded in business, but could you do this without your employees? Respecting their role in the well-oiled engine that is your company will go a long way. Especially when it comes to making detrimental decisions within the company. In addition to the good practice as an employer, you have legal responsibilities and a duty of care. Being unsure of your obligations can become a costly mistake. Talk to our team at John Burke Associates today on 01708 770 770 for professional advice.

Employee Management
Financial Management

Financial Management

Consistent cash flow and keeping a healthy balance sheet is vital to maintaining success. Although in business some financial risks are unavoidable, such risks should always be calculated. Don’t be afraid to seek advice when it comes to the financial forecast of your project. Your clients would be more impressed by an accurate forecast than a low estimate. As Employers agents and project management company we can alleviate the burden of financial planning and management.

Your Word

The ultimate key to maintaining success is to treat your word as a binding contract. Never promise your time if you are unable to commit it. Don’t agree to deadlines you do not feel comfortable with. Trust and respect in business are the seeds to grow solid relationships. If you respect your clients time and they trust your word, your success will continue to grow.

Employer’s Agent
Life Management

Life Management

We all tend to forget that we work to live, not the other way around. Taking time for yourself away from the business is just as important. Success means nothing if it leaves you feeling burnt out and run down. Making time for activities such as holidays, sports or family and friends serves as a reminder to why we work. Time to yourself lets you enjoy the fruits of your labour, recharge your energy and motivates your work ethic. Working with an employer’s agent such as John Burke Associates on your project will allow you to achieve a healthier work, life balance.

John Burke Associates go to MIPIM 2019

Project Management Services

Project Management Services

Project Management Services

MIPIM 2019

Last month, two of our Directors, Stephen Burke and Darryl Pounds, visited Cannes for the world’s leading property market event, MIPIM 2019.  MIPIM provides a perfect opportunity for networking with new clients and catch up with our existing Clients and acquaintances. This provided a good platform to promote our business. Particularly Project Management services Quantity Surveying services, Building Surveying services, CDM services and Clerk of Works Site Inspection services.

It is rare in our industry that we can meet so many contacts in such a short time, all in the same place.  Therefore, it didn’t take much persuasion for Stephen and Darryl to visit to the cultural city of Cannes for the MIPIM event. Of course, the sunshine and sailing did not contribute to their decision at all.

What is MIPIM?

Quantity Surveyors

While this was John Burke Associates’ first visit to MIPIM, the annual event dates back to 1990. With over 26,000 participants, including the most influential players from all sectors of the property market in attendance. From investors and financial institutions, to developers and architects worldwide, MIPIM is unrivalled in its ability to bring the entire real estate value chain together.

Quantity Surveyors

Our Experience

Property Development Projects

Arriving the day before the start of the MIPIM 3-day event, Stephen and Darryl had time to unpack and unwind. A chance to explore the bustling city of Cannes, soak up some of its fine culture and breath-taking sights. This was a great start to a productive week for our Directors at John Burke Associates.

The event itself was impressively executed from start to finish with excellent hospitality.  Steve and Darryl enjoyed networking with many of our existing business contacts; they also built many new relationships. MIPIM gave us the opportunity to elevate the profile of our already expanding Surveying, Cost Consultancy and Project Management business.

Engaging Relationships

Property Investment Projects

At John Burke Associates, we believe in building an ongoing relationship with all our Clients and Contracts. Events like MIPIM allow us to both create new connections and build on existing relationships. You can find out more about all of the services we offer below, including Project Management, Quantity Surveying, Building Surveying, CDM and Clerk of Works Site Inspection Services.

Property Investment Projects

National Employee Appreciation Day

Employer’s Agent Services

Why is Employee recognition so important?

Project Management & Employers Agent Services

March 1st marks National Employee Appreciation Day in America and Canada. As we offer project management & employers agent services this sparked a discussion in our office. The day is a secular holiday which was established in 1995 to encourage organisations to celebrate their employees. In contrast to here in the UK, the holiday is not currently recognised

Employer’s AgentShould We Recognise The Holiday in The UK?

Are UK employees missing out on this holiday? Would introducing the holiday here benefit employers?  While we appreciate the concept we feel that employee recognition should not be defined as an annual occurrence. As a result of undertaking project management & employers agent services, we’ve found a little appreciation goes a long way. Hence, for this months blog, we have put together a short list of the key tips for employee management.

The Benefits of Employee Recognition


It seems like while looking at the bigger picture in business, it can be easy to lose focus on the journey. Above all, it is important to remember your business could not run without its employees. It may seem the deadline and client demands need to take priority. However, it is your employees who are going to get you there. Consequently, it is imperative you value the work they are doing for you.


When feeling the pressure of a deadline, it’s likely you will need your staff to carry out extra duties. Whether it is working late, taking on additional tasks or giving up more of their own time. Therefore, this should never be an expectation. Therefore, if your project requires extra work let your staff know you appreciate their additional efforts. Recognise they have worked hard, be it through 1-2-1 meetings/appraisals or informally.


You employee your employee’s to do a job, you choose them because they have experience in their field. Therefore, you should respect this fact. If your employee has a suggestion or an idea always make time to listen to them. You should always make time to discuss any reservations your employee may have on a project. Even if you disagree with their reservation you should respect their input and knowledge.


Communication is key. All of the advice above is useless without communication. You may know you value, appreciate and respect your staff, but if they don’t know what is the point? Communicate with your staff, you should trust everyone you employ and allow them to trust you. Encourage open communication and praise to create a positive working environment.

“If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.” – Richard Branson

employers agent services

Project Management & Employers Agent Services

If you require more information about our services you can contact the team here at John Burke Associates on 01708 770 770. We provide independent advice on all matters of technical and management functions in the construction industry. From inception through to operation and completion

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The Psychology of Architecture

Building Consultants

The Psychology of Architecture

Chartered Building Consultants Blog

We are a skilled practice of Chartered Surveyors and Chartered Building Consultants. As such we have given a commitment to providing a forward-thinking approach across our portfolio of services. This allows us to provide an environmentally friendly and sustainable service to our clients. Therefore, in this months blog, we give consideration to the psychological effect of architecture in the public and commercial sectors.

Can a building affect your mood?Chartered Surveyors

You may believe that buildings do not have any effect on your mood or physical well being. But buildings are an integral part of our daily environment, we surround ourselves with architecture. So we rephrase the question to “can your environment affect your mood? If you still think it doesn’t we ask you to consider why you take holidays. Most of us are happier led on a beach in the sunshine listening to the waves crash, why? Because this is our optimum environment and it has a positive effect on our well being.

What Evidence Supports The Theory?

While it is difficult to prove the exact psychological effects of a poor design. Both neuroscientists and psychologists agree it is a factor. The findings state we have specialised cells in the hippocampal region of our brains. These cells react to the geometry and arrangement of our environment. A dark area may make you feel cold and can dampen your mood. Alternatively, a poor layout and design can hinder your tasks. This, in turn, has an effect on your overall well being. In contrast, a large open area with bright natural light which is adapted to your routine can reduce stress.

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Which Sectors Are Affected?

“We shape our buildings and afterward our buildings shape us,” – Winston Churchill 1943

Architectural determinism is relevant to all sectors. Schools and hospitals to commercial and housing developments will reap the benefits of considering the occupant’s psychological well being. Combining science and architecture will provide a more future proof investment into construction resulting in sustainability.

Who Is Responsible?

Most assume the architect will take in to account the occupants well being when designing a building. However, historically it has been found that the pressures of providing uniqueness in design often takes priority. Leaving the building design to determine the behaviors of its occupants as oppose to the reverse. As Chartered Building Consultants we work proactively to deliver a successful project which supports the client’s aspirations and well being.

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