Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Protecting Your Workers From Industrial Hazards

Most civil engineering firms in Denbigh and far beyond struggle with the inevitable presence of dust within their construction duties. ‘Construction dusts’ of course are a catch all phrase for varying types of dusts which are commonly generated on a site. While indeed they can be considered a cause of nuisance, they are mostly harmful to the health of a site’s workers and to the general public.

While it’s only certain types of dust (asbestos being the most well known) which can cause harm with very little exposure, most dusts from cutting paving blocks, kerbs and flags, chasing concrete and raking mortar, dry sweeping site areas, cutting roofing tiles, cutting and sanding wood, and sanding taped and covered plasterboard joints can be a very real concern for construction workers, as their activities on sites mean that they are at particularly high risk of developing long-term health complications.

As an employer, it is your responsibility to prevent or control your worker’s exposure to construction dust, and risk assessments are expected and controls are developed for review.

Some common forms of construction dusts encountered upon construction sites are silica dust – usually found in materials such as concrete, mortar, and sandstone. Wood dust is created when working with all types of wood, as well as MDF and plywood.

Some lower toxicity dusts (which are no less unpleasant, even if less toxic) are found when work is started on materials such as plasterboard, limestone, dolomite and marbles. Please keep in mind that even non-toxic types of dust still builds within the lungs and with enough exposure, leads to permanent damage and disease such as – Lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma – so the risks simply cannot be understated.

It is vital that your workers are made aware of the risks from dust and how it can harm them. It is mandatory to have your workers fully-trained in this and informed how to use dust control measures that have been put in place, how to maintain their equipment – especially respiratory protective equipment.   

Remember, as an employer, you are lliable, so make sure everything's to scratch and preventative measures are in place!

Monday, 22 August 2016

What Are The Benefits of Commercial and Satellite Installation?

What are the benefits of commercial and satellite installation?

Tourism in North Wales is highly competitive. Despite being situated in the heart of the mountains and countryside, B&B’s need to be able to offer a service that means they can still have all the luxuries that guests may or may not already have at home. With increased use of online services, consumer expectations have also been sent soaring too, with thanks to the ability to source and share information effortlessly. Now, guesthouses need to up their game. But what are the benefits of satellite installation, North Wales?

Domestic and business rates
Of course, with any added guesthouse service comes an added premium, particularly if the service is not widely available in the area. Is makes good business sense to capitalise on this. Financially speaking, a commercial system is a cost effective way of installing a satellite or radio service at multiple points - so in theory, the more rooms you offer, the more you can benefit. By installing a commercial wide system, you are catering to a wider market; both business and domestic which offers potential to increase your revenue.

Increased expertise and support
When you use a commercial service, you will be working with experts in the field who are perfectly able to create a setup especially tailored to your business. Aware of the needs of your establishment, a more hands on approach is taken to deliver a more comprehensive solution as required. As each business might be set up with a different system, you’ll need a specialist with experience working with the full range including Vision, Triax, Fracaro, MATV, SMATV, and full IRS aerial/satellite systems.

Commercial suppliers normally have a good range of experience within the same industry. This is particularly helpful should something go wrong - it can be corrected with fast response. Unlike domestic service providers only, commercial service providers can test your setup quickly, fully understanding it’s more complex (but more suited) setup.

You should be able to receive a quotation free of charge, with no obligation to accept, just as any quality and competitive commercial service offers.

3 Reasons Why You Should Move to LED

Most homeowners and those looking to make their first steps into purchasing or renting one are of a breed which have grown up with technology. While indeed we remember fondly the sound of dial-up internet, we still furrow our brows at people saying that the radio was better than television. What’s with that? It’s a silly sentiment, that something that is far less of something than the modern equivalent is just… better without giving any good reason. We can concede that 56k internet was trash. Today’s wireless fibre-optic beats the pants off it,  but have you considered it’s the same for lighting? Lighting is lighting, you say? Wrong. There’s a vast variety of LED strips and LED Rope Lighting that decimates the dull yellow glow of a lightbulb, so what are you waiting for? Here’s our top reasons to make the switch.

Energy and Time Savings
Fun fact: LED Lighting runs far cooler than both fluorescent and normal light bulbs. While you might think that running cooler only benefits the odd moth that gets too close every now and again, that’s really not the case. Running cooler means that less energy is wasted and converted into heat, (Remember GCSE Science?) and less energy is required. Which directly equates to much less money being demanded by your supplier every month. A LED Light Bulb lasts between 25,000 and 100,000 hours, with advances being made all the time. In 2016, the very least you can expect from a bulb is 11 years. “But they’re expensive to buy!” might moan your dad, while he’s screwing in a lightbulb or 10 around the house. Yes. But 11 years. The savings overall are absolutely astronomical.

It’s Good For the Planet
Maybe the older generation are starting to get the fact that we all have to do our bit for the world, but they’re being pretty slow about it. Say what you want about Baby Boomers, but they’ve never been born in a time where they’ve not had everything perfect. On top of lower energy consumption, LED Lighting boasts a (much) lower C02 emission rate, have absolutely no toxic chemicals that’ll leak out when they’re eventually trashed, and are fully and completely recyclable. While the older generation might sneer, the planet’s hardly going to start healing itself if we’re still dumping all kinds of icky things in landfill.

It’s just Easier
LED bulbs no longer come in silly sizes where you have to pay someone to fit it as well as the price of the product. While your dad’s memories of LEDs were just that, it’s not the case, not any more. What’s also new is that there’s a series of colour options, and cool little things such as light temperature in LED products, as well as absolutely no dingy (and quite dangerous, actually) dim glows as you wait for the thing to get warm.
LED Lighting is certainly the future, and the future’s come. There’s a slew of retailers out there, all fully capable of  giving your home the glow it’s always deserved.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Is Sustainability Expensive?

A popular question which is raised in the construction industry as of late is that cost associated with planning, building, and maintaining a project throughout all stages of it’s lifetime are raised to an enormous degree in the aim of making buildings sustainable. The construction industry appears to be dragging its heels when it comes to standardising green building efforts, under the presumption that dividends increase due to increased sustainability effort. In matters of civil engineering in Flintshire, the whole of Wales, and even the UK at large, this doesn’t have to be the case.

There is an increasing doubt in the construction industry as to whether or not creating green buildings, meeting sustainability certifications and generally paying more mind to resources even affects costs. While indeed in the past scare tactics have been used to turn construction firms and civil engineers away from sustainable building methods, recent research has brought evidence to light that directly contradicts the sentiment that incorporating sustainability and green building means additional cost.

Research by the Sweett Group and BRE published in 2014 applies cost data from actual projects (an office, a school, and a community healthcare centre, respectively) into three case studies. A range of individual sustainability strategies were employed with all three projects, and additional cost directly associated with sustainability was recorded – as well as money saved in the effort as a direct result of using sustainable materials. The result of this study has indicated that the identification and specification of sustainability measures during design and procurement stages can bring cost savings – not incur additional upfront cost.

Achieving the lower BREEAM sustainability ratings on all three case studies incurred no additional cost. Targeting higher BREEAM ratings upon all three case studies incurred an additional cost of 2%. It should be mentioned that this 2% was paid back in 2 years through the building’s utility savings, a direct result of sustainable building.

There are some of us that would state that research evidence and case studies, while sounding promising, mean nothing. How does a school, an office and a community health centre being built somewhere in the UK mean they’re going to meet dividends? A lot of it relies upon investors.
Sustainable buildings appear to be very sought after commodities by most investors today. Real estate investors and developers are using sustainability to improve the value of their assets increasingly. The road ahead seems to be clear -- Sustainability issues must be part of everyday business.

Whether that business is located in Wales, England, or even further across the world – it’s very clear. Companies that fail to recognise this will be at a major disadvantage to companies that do.  

Method Statements: What You Need To Know

Method statements are a useful tool within construction in Gwynedd and other areas of Wales and the UK. Where a few firms seem to struggle with getting to grips with the nature of this documentation, it’s not half the ordeal most seem to think it is. Generally, a method statement is a document that is composed when a health and safety risk on-site has been discovered, and is a very effective means of assessing risks, managing them, collecting worker’s views and briefing workers, all at once.

There’s no hard and fast rules for Method statements, but they should be written by a person of competence who is familiar with the processes described within the document. It is recommended that they should not be overcomplicated, should be clear, and should be illustrated where necessary.

Your person of competence should keep in mind that there is no character or word limit, enough to get the point across is perfect. A typical statement (though please keep in mind, there is no such thing as typical, as every job is different) should contain varying information such as the following.

  • Details of an organisation (or any individuals) in control of an activity
  • An activity description and explanation of how this work will be managed
  • The location, boundaries, means of access to this activity and how it is segregated from others
  • Details on plant and equipment which is required.

Of course, there are multiple other things which can go on one of these method statements, though this is a very basic example.

After your Method statement is composed, it is recommended that it is agreed upon between the client, contractor, and principal contractor. Subcontractors should also be involved as even if their discipline does not cover the risk identified, they are still site workers and therefore still should be aware of any potential hazards to themselves or their staff.

While indeed Method statements aren’t a requirement of the Construction Regulations, they are identified by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as being a way of satisfying requirements of the CDM Regulations, which means that it’s well worth looking into the implementation of Method statements on your site.   

Monday, 15 August 2016

Avoiding LED Failure

While LED Lighting is a wonderful way to reduce your energy bills, we have heard cases of rogue suppliers and manufacturers with poor quality control ruining the industry’s good name. Sadly, it stands to sense that whenever something new and truly amazing comes along, lots of people and companies want to get on the bandwagon to make a quick buck, and in the case of poor manufacturing, can really harm a customer’s confidence in the product in general. There are a number of reputable suppliers of both LED Strip Lighting and LED Rope Lighting, which sell quality products at affordable prices.

There are three points you need to consider when buying LED Lighting:

1-     Sources are very important. The LED Lighting industry is under a period of some very significant growth, and while prices indeed are coming down, buying based on price can be precarious. While indeed it’s a very good question of “Why should I buy this tube for £20 when I’ve seen it for £9?” most failures are the result of poor manufacturing. Choose reputable suppliers, and established names, and you likely won’t go far wrong. Remember, paying £20 for a product from a British supplier is a million times better than buying a dud for £9 and not knowing how to get a refund.

2-      Ask for your product to be tested. Most manufacturers, to ensure quality, place batches of LED Lamps and fixtures into specially designed “hot rooms” and leave them on for up to 10 days at a time. If a fault exists within the way that the product has been assembled, a hot room will ensure that the product will fail, before it reaches you. Consult with your supplier about the quality tests your product has gone through. They’ll be more than happy to answer any of your questions.

3-      Look up the registration number. Here’s a question for you. Would you buy an Apple computer from a different manufacturer such as Toshiba, HP, or Dell because it has an Apple logo and a pricetag that’s £500 lower? Hopefully you wouldn’t. While Toshiba, HP, and Dell have their own range of products and certainly wouldn’t do anything as shady as copy another companies’ branding, certifications and registrations, there are companies out there that do- especially with what’s big and new. There’s an online directory in order to allow consumers to shop with confidence and be certain that they’re not purchasing fakes. Remember: Fakes do not come with warranties.

Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll have confidence that your investment’s a good one, and you’ll be protected against lamp failure – and get all of your projected savings, and then some.  

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Why We Need Nitrogen Testing

Even the tightest pressurised systems will inevitably come to experience leaks at some stage. Regular changes in pressure in hose assemblies cause micro leaks that aren’t visible to the eye. With this, dirt and residue can settle in tiny tears, making the hose appear perfectly good to use. The reality is that these leaks can seriously impact the performance of your units, reducing productivity and the overall quality of your product. Nitrogen testing is an established method of identifying leaks that would we wouldn’t normally be able to find without.

Nitrogen is most commonly used as a pressure testing gas in identifying leaks and ensuring that the hose assembly is completely sealed. This process involves setting up the hose assembly to the test rig – using safety values on the other end of the hose. Nitrogen is then released into the hose at the desired pressure after it has been submerged into a bath. The pressure will be carefully monitored throughout – also checking the entire length off the hose for air bubbles that reveal leaks.

Perhaps you require helium testing instead? Helium is particularly helpful in identifying leaks due to its nature.  Not is it only a very safe gas, its small molecular structure is able to penetrate the tiny holes, other testing liquids cannot reach. Different levels of helium should be available, depending on your requirements in a clean and controlled environment.

A good testing provider will provide a report for each hose and label it accordingly for the business. Usually, specialist industrial testers will be able to test with other required gases. Ask your industrial servicing specialist how they can help.

Monday, 8 August 2016

It's Never Been Easier To Go LED

We’ve heard for years and years, that despite it’s high startup price LED lighting is indeed the future, and offers dramatic and gigantic savings for all types of consumer – whether they’re looking to retrofit a small domestic environment with LED Strip Lighting , or whether they’re looking to outfit a far more commercial type of establishment with LED Rope Lighting, they stand to save a lot of money by retrofitting their existing systems to LED Lights.

So here are our Top Tips for LED Retrofit Installations. Please keep in mind that although it is theoretically possible, even easy, to fit LED Lighting yourself, you should always consult a professional if you’re unsure of anything you’re doing. Most light providers offer full support along the way, and a wealth of knowledge and experience in order to get your fit right, first time.
LEDs vary from fluorescent light fixtures by the virtue that they don’t require separate ballasts.

LEDs are clever little diodes that make use of internal drivers. For your retrofit, upgrades can be done in varying ways, depending on what you presently have installed. Mostly, lighting fixtures can be adjusted and upgraded by simply swapping out the bulbs – and fluorescent tubes with LED tubes while also removing the ballast and fluorescent light holders.

Many LED replacements have a “plug-and-play” option that is as simple as it says. Simply screw in your new bulb, and you’re done. The other option is a retrofit kit, which mounts directly into your existing luminaire housing.

If you’re working with something of a particular age, you’ll most likely want to consider replacing the entire old fixture. Likewise, this may be the only option if your existing lighting fixture is completely enclosed – as LED Lighting should not be used in tightly enclosed spaces unless pre-approved. Please keep in mind that a LED Light which is not specifically designed to be held in enclosed housing may struggle with dissipating heat from it’s sink, which leads to premature lamp failure.

If in doubt, consult a professional. But for what it’s worth, most fixtures are easy to upgrade, and will offer you the full deal; reduced replacement time directly equating far less cost, decreased cooling load, and 50% ~ 90% savings on your energy bills, depending of course how inefficient your present system is.

Now’s the time to go LED – and it’s easy!