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.

More About JBA

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.



Reach Out This Festive Season

Mental Health Awareness

Whilst this time of year is joyous for many, for some it is the worst season for mental wellbeing. A recent survey carried out by Toolstation shows the devastating effects the pandemic has had on tradespeople. If you combine this with the usual pressures of the festive season, it is no surprise people are suffering. Thus, John Burke Associates supports the “Head First” Campaign

Mental Health Awareness

What the campaign is about

Working in association with the mental health anti-stigma campaign, Time to Change, Head First encourages tradespeople to open up about their mental wellbeing. As mentioned above, Toolstation carried out a survey with 5000 of their customers. Nearly half (45%) said their main concern is the mental wellbeing of family members and friends. In addition, 25% of those surveyed stated they are concerned about their own mental health most of all. Therefore, this campaign is to get people in the industry to discuss their anxieties and always ask twice.

Ask Twice?

Yes, ask twice! We all know how the conversation goes; Are you ok? Yes, good thanks, you? It is almost an autonomous answer. Consequently, the sentiment loses its true meaning; to check in on the respondent. Take a moment to stop and see if that person really is ok, delve deeper into the question. Ask twice, it has not been an easy year for anyone, are you sure you are ok?

What Can I Do as an Employer?

If you suspect a colleague or employee is not ok, a great way to encourage them to open-up, is to lead by example. When someone asks you if you are ok? it could be because they are not. So, be honest with your response, if you are feeling pressure, talk about it. In doing so, you are creating an environment where it is acceptable to discuss our feelings.  Consequently, encouraging others to admit they are feeling the pressure and demonstrating that nobody must feel alone.

More info on How to Offer Support

 A Message from John Burke Associates

We would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. If you are struggling during the festive season, you are not alone! This year has been unprecedented for so many of us and lives have been affected in untold ways.  Do not suffer in silence! Below is a list of confidential services which are here to help you;

  • Samaritans

    Telephone: 116 123 (24 hours a day, free to call)

  • Mind Infoline

    Telephone: 0300 123 3393 (9am-6pm Monday to Friday) or text 86463


  • The Mix ( 13-25 year olds)

    Telephone: 0808 808 4994 (11am-11pm, free to call)
    Email: Helpline email form
    Crisis Support: Text ‘THEMIX’ to 85258.

  • Rethink Mental Illness Advice Line

    Telephone: 0300 5000 927 (9.30am – 4pm Monday to Friday)

  • Saneline

    Telephone: 0300 304 7000 (4:30pm-10:30pm)
    Website: is a national mental health helpline providing information and support to people with mental health problems and those who support them.

  • Side by Side

    Website: by Side is an online community where you can listen, share and be heard. Side by Side is run by Mind.


    Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.
    Text: 85258

  • NHS England IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies)

    If you’re based in England, you can use webpage to find and refer yourself to mental health services in your area.

5 Positive Implications of Strong Leadership

Employer’s Agent Services

Here at John Burke Associates we believe any company is driven by a strong leadership. A motivating leader inspires higher levels of employee engagement, in addition to promoting productivity. Therefore, our Project Management and Employer’s Agents division work proactively to implement and deliver synergy across all sites. Consequently, we know that a great leader is strong, but also has soft skills. In this month’s blog, we look at five benefits you can gain through developing your interpersonal skills. Especially during challenging times such as these.


Employees are more likely to put their trust in a leader who exhibits charisma and a positive attitude. As a result, this trust leads to greater autonomy and collaboration.


An employee who experiences warm and affective behaviour from their leaders will gain an increased sense of self-worth. Furthermore, this creates a sense of safety and belonging within an organisation, resulting in employee allegiance.


When someone feels like they are being listened to and that their opinions and ideas matter, their creative performance increases. It is vital to nourish your employee’s creativity and embellish their abilities through positive encouragement.


If you want your employees to outperform the competition, you must achieve a common goal. To do this, you must communicate your cause clearly. You need to be concise when explaining your expectations and each employee’s role in delivering these. Developing your interpersonal skills will enable you to understand their requirements and communicate yours, therefore, aligning in a common cause.


If you want your employees to outperform the competition, you must achieve a common goal. To do this, you must communicate your cause clearly. You need to be concise when explaining your expectations and each employee’s role in delivering these. Developing your interpersonal skills will enable you to understand their requirements and communicate yours, therefore, aligning in a common cause.


A leader who inspires their employees often achieves enhanced results. An employee who feels motivated is more open to new ideas and change in the pursuit of excellence. Furthermore, those who feel appreciated will always outperform those who do not.

Lockdown Leadership Advice

Leadership is more important now than ever! Lockdown has left many employees feeling disconnected and it is harder to recognise when people are struggling. Ann Francke OBE recently wrote an article for the CMI titled “Bridging the great disconnect.” Our Project Management and Employer’s Agent division recommend this short read to anyone looking for guidance.

Coronavirus Act 2020 – Update for Commercial Landlords

Coronavirus Act 2020

Earlier this year, Parliament introduced a list of extensive protections for commercial tenants to mitigate the economic fallout of Covid-19. The deadline for such protections was initially set for 30th September 2020. However, this deadline has now been extended until the end of the year. Below we explain the most recent developments, in particular Forfeiture and the CRAR Regulations.


On 25th March 2020, parliament passed The Coronavirus Act 2020 which came into force with immediate effect. This act prevents landlords from recovering outstanding rents for properties subject to commercial lease agreements.

Section 82 of the act essentially negates the landlords right to enforce forfeiture under a relevant business tenancy, for non-payment of rent. Initially the postponement of such rights was to run until 30th June 2020. However, the end date has now been deferred to 31st December 2020.

View the Act

CRAR Regulations

The Taking Control of Goods and Certification of Enforcement Agents (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 came into force 25th April 2020. Before this date, the minimum notice required for CRAR was 7 clear days excluding Sundays and Bank holidays. This has been temporarily increased substantially to 90 days. Thus, preventing landlords from taking more pugnacious approaches to outstanding arrears and protecting businesses during uncertain times.


The Government has been presented with a monumental challenge to protect business’s, jobs and our economy. As we enter a second wave of the pandemic it is yet to be seen if they can achieve this objective. The extension is welcomed by struggling tenants who will undoubtedly benefit from such measures. However, this offers little reassurance to commercial landlords whose tenants have defaulted. As many of the remedies for commercial landlords have once again been postponed.

John Burke Associates

We offer a full portfolio of professional services to the commercial and housing sectors for both public and private sector clients. Including but not limited too.

  • Multinational Developers
  • Private Developers
  • Housing Associations
  • Housing Trusts
  • Offices
  • Retail Units
  • Leisure & Sports Facilities
  • Private Investment Schemes

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from John Burke Associates.

Supporting Sustainability
Supporting Sustainability

We would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from John Burke Associates. Instead of sending Christmas cards this year we have donated to “Veterans for Wildlife”. This donation will support the charity in both the empowerment of veterans and protecting critically endangered creatures. While many of us will be spending the Christmas season with friends and family, these brave individuals will be risking their lives, working through the evenings, to secure our wildlife.

Supporting Sustainability

We are proud to support this cause, which promotes a sustainable environment and has such a positive impact on society. Therefore, supporting our practice’s environmental commitment and sustainability ethos.

Find out more

A Time to Reflect

2019 has been a auspicious year across all the departments. From our trip to MIPIM in April to elevate the profile of our already expanding Surveying, Cost Consultancy, and Project Management business. To our Clerk of Works Jon Tucker winning the ICWCI Building on Quality Award. Which is a remarkable achievement for his work on the Principle London project. We have much to be thankful for. But above all else, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our clients for their ongoing support.

Cost Consultancy

Looking Forward to 2020

Our aim for 2020 is to continue to build ongoing relationships with all our clients and contracts. Our organisation’s strategic business objectives are underpinned by repeat business with key clients. This ethos relies on a ‘Partnering’ mentality based on trust and performance delivery. Therefore, we strive to continue our growth by treating every client with the upmost importance and urgency.

Christmas Open Hours

The offices will close for a short time for the Christmas period to allow staff to enjoy the festivities. Our offices will close on Monday 23rd December and reopen on Thursday 2nd January. If you have any queries during this time, please use the link below to fill in a contact form. We will respond to any enquiries after the 2nd January 2020.

Workplace Gagging – Know Your SA from Your NDA – Part 2

Settlement Agreement and Non Disclosure

Settlement Agreements and Non-Disclosure Agreements

Following on from last month’s blog discussing NDA’s in business, we wanted to look at Settlement Agreements. As the two are sometimes confused, we aim to explain what they are and when they are used. But above all, why it is important you seek the correct professional guidance before agreeing to either.

What is a Settlement Agreement?

A Settlement Agreement or Compromise Agreement – as they were previously known, is a legally binding contract between employer and employee. The main purpose of the agreement is to relinquish an employee of their rights under the Employment Rights Act 1996.

The agreement would offer an employee the opportunity to negotiate a severance pay on their exit of your company. In return, they would enter into a legally binding contract which prevents them from taking tribunal action. Therefore, a mutually beneficial way to protect your business.

Settlement Agreement
Workplace Gagging

The Legal Requirements

There are many legal requirements to validate such an agreement, such as;

  • The agreement must be in writing.
  • It must relate to a specific complaint.
  • The document must identify the independent legal advisor.
  • It must state said advisor has given the employee advice and is covered by a contract of insurance.
  • Confirm the Statutory provisions governing settlement agreements has been met.

When would a Settlement Agreement be used?

Disputes between employers and their staff can be inevitable in business. Most of the time such disputes are resolved internally in an informal manner. However, if an employee makes a substantiated claim that you have breached their employment rights, a formal approach is required. Furthermore, a settlement agreement should be considered.
Attempting to negotiate a mutually beneficial agreement now, could save you a lot of money and litigation costs. In addition, such an agreement would be completely confidential. Therefore, allowing the matter to be dealt with privately, rather than in the public eye.

Are Negotiations “Without Prejudice”?

Since July 2013, an employer has the right to have a “protected conversation” with their employees about the termination of employment. As stated in Section 111A of the Employment Rights Act 1996. While it is advisable that negotiating correspondence is stated to be “without prejudice” it does not mean you are protected.

However, due to the complex legislation surrounding such agreements. Simply stating something is without prejudice, does not enforce the rule. In certain cases, the negotiations can be used as evidence against you at a tribunal. Therefore, it is vital both parties receive professional advice before the agreement is signed.

If you are an employer with questions about Settlement Agreement contact our team today on 01708 770 770. Alternatively, click below to view our employer services.

So, what is a Non-Disclosure Agreement?

We are glad you asked! You can find out more about Non-Disclosure Agreements by clicking the link below;

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