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.


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.

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.

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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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.


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.


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


Modern Methods of Construction

Digital Construction Week

Modern Methods of Construction

Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) has long been considered the answer to many issues faced by the construction industry. MMC is a way of achieving more without using more. It is an idea which dates back to post-WW2, but are we using it to its full advantage industry-wide?

During a housing crisis in 2005, The National Audit Office commissioned MMC as a way to get the best value, and a way to ‘produce more, better quality homes in less time’. So why are only 8% of homes built in the UK built using MMC?


Is Cost an Issue?

It is no shock that the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as post-Brexit uncertainty, has had an impact on the profit margins of major construction companies. Until MMC is more widely adopted throughout the industry, we won’t see the costs involved reducing.

Do We Have the People?

Training people in MMC manufacturing and construction often takes less time than training traditional skilled workers. However, due the relative newness of MMC, the industry has struggled to train the right people at the right time.

According to CIOB, 22% of people employed within the construction industry are between the ages of 51 and 60. With almost 25% of the workforce nearing retirement, focus needs to be placed on training the younger generation. However, data from the Office of National Statistics reveals that employment within the construction industry is at a 9-year low.

Is Support from the Government Enough?

In March 2021, the UK Government launched a taskforce, focusing on increasing the use of MMC nationwide. Furthermore, MMC is now a condition of the Government’s Strategic Partnership Grant Programme. Each partner must build 25% of homes using MMC.

In February 2021, a consultation was launched by the Government, which raised the question – should MMC be incentivised as part of the New Homes Bonus scheme? We believe that doing so would reduce costs, increase productivity, and help the UK reach it’s 2025 goal of all new-build homes being zero-carbon ready.

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Pride in Business 2021

diversity and equality

Pride in Business 2021

The month of June marks a month of LGBTQ+ Pride across the UK. As this month ends, it is important to continuously understand the issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community. Furthermore, that these issues are not ‘out of sight, out of mind’ when Pride month ends. John Burke Associates believes leaders must encourage ongoing diversity and equality throughout all aspects of the working environment.

How Business Can Be Inclusive All Year Round

Although June is dedicated to Pride, businesses need to work year-round to become and continue to be as inclusive as possible.

Many businesses adapt their logo to include a rainbow – the worldwide symbol for Pride. Though if the same businesses to not work alongside members of the LGBTQ+ community year-round, this often feels like a small token. Businesses need to address where real change and action is needed to be fully inclusive of everyone.

Are You and Your Business an Ally?

As well as being a celebration within the LGBTQ+ community, Pride month brings together LGBTQ+ people and allies alike. Does your business support the LGBTQ+ community year-round? As businesses change their logo to include a rainbow during June, many have been criticized of ‘rainbow capitalism’. We must all practice what we preach not just in June, but always encourage diversity and equality for all.

Listen to the LGBTQ+ Community

Like many things, becoming a more inclusive business is often easier said than done. If you yourself are not part of the LGBTQ+ community, pay attention to people who are. This may be colleagues, members of your staff, or people from your local community.

Actively Remove Barriers

To treat everyone equal is to treat everyone exactly the same. Although this seems like the most logical way of working to create equality at work, it does not always acknowledge many barriers faced by the LGBTQ+ community. On the other hand, equity acknowledges issues and barriers, and creates opportunities and recourses needed to achieve true equality across the board.