Project Managers Archives - John Burke Associates

Navigating Construction Work in Snow and Low Temperatures

employer responsibilities

As the temperature drops in the UK this week, the challenges of working in construction during snow or low temperatures are significant. Understanding the legal obligations, employer responsibilities, and practical advice for coping with these conditions is crucial for the safety and efficiency of any construction project. In this blog, John Burke Associates explains your key responsibilities to your workers.

Understanding UK Laws on Low-Temperature Working

In the UK, while there is no legal minimum outdoor working temperature, the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 mandate that employers provide a ‘reasonableworking temperature. For construction sites, this means employers must assess risks and implement reasonable measures to protect workers from the cold. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides guidance on working in cold conditions, emphasising the need for risk assessment and management.

Employer and Site Manager Responsibilities

Employers and site managers have a legal obligation to ensure the health and safety of their workers. This includes:

Risk Assessment:

Identifying potential hazards associated with low temperatures and snow, including risks of slips, trips, falls, frostbite, or hypothermia.

Providing Appropriate PPE:

Ensuring all workers have access to suitable personal protective equipment (PPE), such as insulated gloves, waterproof boots, and thermal clothing.

Site Safety Measures:

Implementing safety measures like gritting for icy surfaces, providing sheltered areas, and ensuring that equipment is safe to use in cold conditions.

Training and Awareness:

Educating staff about the signs of cold stress and the importance of regular breaks in warm areas.

General Advice for Working in Snow or Low Temperatures

Working in cold weather calls for specific precautions:

Stay Warm and Dry:

Layer clothing to stay warm and dry. Waterproof and windproof outer layers are essential.

Regular Breaks:

Take regular breaks in heated areas to prevent cold stress.

Stay Hydrated and Energised:

Drink warm fluids and eat high-energy foods to maintain energy levels.

Clear Snow and Ice:

Keep working areas clear of snow and ice to prevent accidents.

Check Weather Forecasts:

Be prepared and adaptable to changing weather conditions.


Working in construction during snow or low temperatures in the UK requires careful planning and adherence to safety standards. By understanding the legal framework, fulfilling employer responsibilities, and following general safety advice, construction sites can maintain productivity while ensuring the wellbeing of all personnel. Remember, the key to successful winter construction is preparation, awareness, and ongoing vigilance against the unique challenges posed by cold weather. Stay safe and stay informed!

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.


The Fire Safety Act 2022 and Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022

Fire Safety Act

Yesterday the newly amended The Fire Safety Act 2022 and Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 came into force. The changes to the act implement most recommendations set by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report. It is vital developers keep up-to-date with all the latest legislation. Violation of the FSA can lead to fines, imprisonment, or both.

What is the Fire Safety Act?

The Fire Safety Act (FSA) is the primary legislation in the United Kingdom that sets out the fire safety requirements for non-domestic buildings. The Act applies to all commercial, industrial, and public buildings. As well as common areas of multi-occupied buildings such as apartment buildings and dormitories. The FSA places a legal responsibility on the “responsible person” for a building typically the owner or occupier. They must ensure that the building is safe from the risk of fire and that it meets certain fire safety standards.

What are the obligations of the responsible person?

Under the FSA, the responsible person must conduct a fire risk assessment to identify any hazards that may put occupants at risk in the event of a fire, and to implement measures to reduce or eliminate those hazards. This may include installing fire alarms and other fire protection systems, providing fire-fighting equipment, and ensuring that the building is properly ventilated and that exits are clearly marked and easy to use. However, the new legislation gives additional responsibilities for high-rise residential buildings. Namely, multi-occupied residential buildings of at least 18 metres in height or seven or more storeys.

Fire Safety Management Plan

The FSA also requires that all commercial buildings have a fire safety management plan in place. The plan should outline the procedures and protocols that will be followed in the event of a fire, including evacuation procedures, the roles and responsibilities of different staff, and the locations of fire-fighting equipment and emergency exits.

Employ an Expert

Project Managers have a critical role to play in ensuring compliance with the Fire Safety Act throughout the project life cycle. From design to occupancy and management of the building. John Burke Associates provides independent expert advice on all aspects of technical support and management functions. With our guidance you can achieve a “zero defects” project through our portfolio of tailored services.


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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.


Why is there a Shortage of Materials?

materials shortage

Why is there a Shortage of Materials?

In recent months the shortage of materials has become a widespread issue across the construction industry. Many trades have been affected by the reduction in supply, from SMEs to large contractors. Which in turn has caused prices to increase by 14.7% in comparison to last year! A trend which does not seem to be improving any time soon. Furthermore, in just one month the prices rose by 2.2% from May to June this year. Therefore, it is possible the prices will continue to increase as suppliers struggle to meet demand. In this month’s blog we look at the possible causes.

What Materials Have Been Affected?

There is a wide range of materials which have become increasingly difficult to source without inflating price tags. Whilst circumstances will differ from material to material, most shortages are forecast to last throughout 2021. Materials including:

  • Concrete
  • Timber
  • Bricks and Blocks
  • Steel
  • Roof Tiles
  • Paint and Sealant
  • Plumbing Items
  • Electrical Components
  • Plaster & Plasterboard
  • PIR Insulation
  • Aggregates
  • PE & PP Plastics

What is Causing the Shortages?

There is a combination of factors contributing to the shortage in supply of such materials and consequently the inflation of prices. These factors include:

Covid-19 Pandemic.

The pandemic is a big contributing factor to the lack of building materials available. From staff shortages in both warehouse and haulage to border closures, it is arguably the leading cause of diminishing supplies.


Since leaving the EU, exports to the UK are subject to long delays. This is due to issues such as the Declaration of Conformity making it difficult for manufacturers to keep up to date. This causes further delays in exportation.

Increase in Demand

In June 2020, the Prime Minster Boris Johnston announced the most radical reforms to our planning system since WW2. With the aim to make it easier to build better homes where people want to live. This gave the green light to many developers and homeowners alike, to begin construction work. As such, demand for materials increased rapidly.

How We Can Help

Employing Project Managers and/or Employers Agents for your project negates the burden of such scenarios. Here at John Burke Associates we pride ourselves in creating and maintaining effective communication channels for our clients. We can also provide Interim payment Certificates for valuations of works and materials on and off site. To discover our full portfolio of services please browse our website.

Brexit – How to plan for the unexpected

Project Managers

February marks the first month of Britain’s post-Brexit transition period, thus the beginning of much uncertainty across the country. Whether you perceive the British resignation from the EU to be positive or negative, we can all agree it will bring change. Consequently, with change comes challenges. Therefore, this month’s blog will offer guidance to project managers facing the challenges Brexit may bring.

Knowledge is Power

Whilst we undergo the transition period it would be prudent to research the potential consequences to your industry. Brexit will undoubtedly affect us all, both personally and professionally. The Government has provided an online tool to assist individuals and companies ascertain what preparation will be required. Simply click the link below and follow the online instructions. Furthermore, you can also subscribe to email updates to notify you about any changes that affect you.

Visit .Gov.uk

What Action Should Project Managers Take?

Project Managers need to offer strong leadership throughout the time of uncertainty. Your team will look to you for reassurance and guidance. It is likely that you will not have answers to all the questions posed to you. However, maintaining a flow of practical information through consistent communication within your company will pay dividends in team reassurance. Keeping abreast of the latest developments in trade discussions will provide you with a valuable foresight in your preparations for 2021.

Valuable Resources

The UK government, RICS and the CMI offer an abundance of articles offering proactive solutions and advice throughout the post Brexit era. Each providing companies and individuals across the UK with online information hubs dedicated to offering support and guidance. The CMI offers articles advising on scenarios such as handling change in the workplace to planning for the unpredictable. Whereas gov.uk offers the latest news and information such as “The Future Relationship between the UK and the EU”. A statement published 3rd February 2020 setting out the UK proposed approach to the all-important negotiations. Here at John Burke Associates, we would recommend the following resource links;