Why you should plan an annual boiler check

Boiler breakdowns happen, but don’t let them cost you

A five-star hotel or a luxury gym and spa losing its hot water, or the local primary school or district hospital losing heating for the vulnerable isn’t a scenario anyone wants to envision.  Boiler breakdowns happen, but don’t let them cost you business, your customers’ happiness or your reputation.

Mitigate downtime with a temporary boiler

Mitigate the downtime of a boiler breakdown by implementing a schedule to include an annual check.  By preparing in advance, a temporary boiler can be hired for the duration with a cross-over of time to allow for any repairs to problems which may be identified during the check – meaning that you can keep on delivering an uninterrupted service.

Additionally, an annual check will ensure that your boiler is kept in optimal condition, highlighting any potential problems and allowing for the schedule of repairs before disaster strikes.  Planning the check in advance, along with the temporary hire of a boiler, allows time for any issues to be dealt with without the downtime, reducing overall stress and costs.

Having a boiler schedule between the maintenance team which runs throughout the year will not only ensure that the boiler is regularly and routinely checked, but that individual parts and elements are also focused on which will only help to capture early warning signs of potential issues.

Get your temporary needs covered

It’s important when hiring a boiler to get the right size and type for your needs.  Staff at Ideal Heat appreciate that no two building’s needs are the same and we will advise on the perfect package.  With sizes ranging from a 22kW electric boiler up to 1MW gas or oil boilers, the company has something to suit any need. To view the full range of temporary boilers, click here.  If Ideal Heat does not stock it, the company will make it with its bespoke services and take care of the installation.

Using state-of-the-art technology, Ideal Heat can identify problems before they’re evident on site and will fix them remotely, meaning that you can rest assured that your temporary boiler needs are being looked after.  Additionally, if you need adjustments to your hot water or heating temperature during the hire, then a few simple clicks and it’s done.

Don’t leave yourself unprepared.  A planned annual boiler check could save you a major headache, money, disruption to your services and help keep your reputation in check.

Bi-folding versus Sliding Doors

If you’re planning a home renovation project that requires large, glazed door solutions, you’ll most likely be making a decision between bi-folding and sliding doors. Both have grown phenomenally in popularity in recent years, and while they are similar in some respects, they have unique features that may affect their suitability for your home.

Bi-folding doors

Express-bifold-FoldingIt goes without saying that bi-folds create a wow factor – when open, they completely transform the space, bringing the outdoors in. We recommend bi-folding doors for a size up to four metres; within this measurement, bifolds look much more impressive than sliding doors. A greater clear opening can also be achieved, creating more sociability between your indoor space and garden.

Express Bi-folding Doors wholeheartedly encourages bi-fold customers to opt for integral blinds, which are both stylish and functional. Big benefits include no cleaning or maintenance, as well as the blinds fitting perfectly into your bi-folding doors. Less bulk means more light, and that’s exactly what we want to achieve! On the flipside, however, you must remember that with a bi-folding installation comes extra framework, which some may want to avoid. That’s where sliding doors come in…

Sliding doors

Express-bifold-SlidingA more traditional option, sliding doors may be the perfect choice for you. They tend to look better when they’re closed, as the large panels of glass welcome light into the home without being broken up by framework. For installations over the four metre mark, they are the ultimate choice; the wider the door, the wider the clear opening.

Express Bi-folding Doors offers sliding doors with 2, 3, 4 or 6 panels, so you can select the most appropriate one for your home. And of course, as with bi-folds, they come with the same colour options and guarantee, so you can sure they fit into your home seamlessly as well as having peace of mind.


Your Business Premises and Metal Theft: Have You Got What It Takes?

It’s easy to consider your bricks-and-mortar premises as being just that, but actually most buildings contain another vital material – metal.  Whilst it might be just part of the building to you, someone interested in a little recycling of the criminal kind, can quickly and easily remove the metal in and on your premises.  So what can you do about it?

Learn the Facts

Metal theft, defined by the Home Office as “thefts of items for the value of their constituent metals” is a growing crime, which falls within the criminal classifications of burglary and theft. According to Home Office statistics, based on metal theft offences in England and Wales, 61,349 metal thefts were recorded by police between April 2012 and March 2013, justifying concern about increasing incidences of metal theft, the driver behind a Home Office push for legislation to tighten the inadequate and outdated Scrap Metal Dealers Act of 1964.

Learn Why this Crime Pays

Acknowledging metal theft as “a fast growing acquisitive crime with over 7,000 police reported crimes a month” Lord Henley’s legislation, proposed in 2012, aims to remove the biggest motivation behind metal theft – cold, hard cash – by prohibiting anonymous sales of metal for cash.   Additionally, the new legislation makes scrap metal dealers more accountable for any involvement (unwitting or not) with metal theft by increasing the penalties within the existing act.police investigate metal thefts

Learn what they’re After

However, on-going legislation isn’t enough to currently buck this growing trend.  In an economic climate which sees many individuals with a downturn in cash flow but an upturn of metal prices (the cash value of many metals has steadily increased since the start of the Millennium) thieves target any items containing saleable metal: air conditioning units with copper tubing; palladium in catalytic converters; roofing lead; copper from cables, you name it. These desirables, classified by the police in two ways, include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Infrastructure-related items: these directly impact the functioning infrastructure of your premises or machinery, including cabling and tubing for water, electricity, heating and other services; roofing lead; catalytic converters and manhole covers.  Another infrastructural example is railway cabling, the highly publicised theft of which presents major problems for the UK’s railway companies – and their passengers.
  •  Non-Infrastructure-related items: these don’t affect your building, but may affect your business: metal gates; redundant metal; plaques and statues; boat propellers; even steel baking trays from a bakery, for example.

Learn About Your Locality

metal-theft---cableSo how can Home Office interest and intervention in metal theft help you protect your premises?  By monitoring this growing crime, the HO provides statistics which could enable you to identify the extent of the problem in your locality.  For example, those most recent statistics indicate Cleveland, Durham, Lancashire, South Yorkshire, the City of London, Kent and Gwent as having a high prevalence of metal theft, whilst West Yorkshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire are not far behind. This knowledge enables you to:

  • Take preventative measures.
  • Check your buildings and contents insurance policies to ensure you have adequate cover and if necessary, update your insurance if you feel your business is high-risk for metal theft.
  • Double-check the small print of all policies to ensure you’re not inadvertently invalidating your cover, for example by having scaffolding up for building works (your insurance company should be informed of this).

Learn About Prevention

Then what can you physically do to prevent costly, inconvenient metal theft from your business premises?

  • Check the crime prevention pages of your local county police service website.  Most of these now offer standard metal theft prevention advice based on how metal thieves operate in your area, so this information is likely to be relevant, as well as useful.
  • Remove anything which thieves can use to gain access: ladders; water butts; outside furniture; tall trees (although check council rules about this).
  • Fit a lockable, gated access to maintain security.  If shared access makes this difficult, see if other business or property owners who share the access know the risks and will share the costs, to improve their own security too.
  • Install warning notices requesting the public to use the police 101 hotline number to report any suspicious activity.
  • Consult with your local council and / or a reputable security company about using additional measures such as anti-climb paint and roof lighting, for security.
  • Mark your property so that it can be identified as stolen if thieves take it.

By learning all you can about preventing metal theft, you’ll have what it takes to minimise risk to your property and business, your insurance premiums and the local crime rate. For more ways to protect your premises against metal theft visit Safe Site Facilities and enquire about one of the many purpose built security products.

Article written by Alex Murray, Community Co-ordinator for Safe Site Facilities

Install a multi function kitchen for a truly Modern Makeover

In previous decades, the living room was the focal point of the family home. Adults and children would congregate there in the evening, watching television and socialising with friends. But times have changed and kitchens have replaced living rooms as the focal point of the modern home.

Perhaps influenced by American TV programmes, where the average room is a vast open space, a lot of families are opting for larger multi-functional kitchens where the family can gather in the evening and share food and conversation. Instead of a small, cramped kitchen and separate dining room, the two rooms are opened up to create a light, airy space. So if this type of kitchen appeals to you, how can you create your own multi-functional kitchen?

Bigger is Better
The key to a multi-functional American-style kitchen is space. There is nothing wrong with a small kitchen, but in order to turn the room into a family room, it needs to be large enough to cope with the addition of extra items of furniture. If possible, create an open plan kitchen-dining room, or, if your kitchen looks out on to the garden, replace a back door with French windows. You could even build a conservatory extension to create extra space if there is sufficient room.

Light and Bright
A modern kitchen should be light, bright and airy. There are lots of lighting options to choose from when redesigning an old kitchen. Ceiling spotlights can be fitted at the time of installation. These will give you plenty of light for preparing food. Under cupboard lights are a nice feature, particularly at night. You could even opt for low level lighting along the bottom of base units if you need a landing strip to guide you to the fridge at 4AM.

Pick the Right Units
There are dozens of modern kitchen units on offer these days. Solid wood units (oak and pine) are still popular, but if you want to create a modern look, check out the latest gloss styles in pale colours. Dark wood or wood effect is also back in vogue. Accessorise with black granite worktops, stainless steel appliances and a few splashes of colour, and you will end up with a modern, sexy kitchen.

Colour is the Key
For a light, bright modern look, go for light or dark units and add an injection of accent colour in your accessories. Glass splashbacks are a fantastic way of stamping your personality in a kitchen. Glass splashbacks are available in any colour under the sun, so if you have a passion for hot pink or startling magenta, pick a glass splashback to suit. Once you have established your main accent colour, co-ordinate blinds and other decorative features accordingly.

Extra Furniture
No American-style kitchen would be complete without a large wall mounted TV, a dining room table and a cosy couch where the family can chill out while you prepare the evening meal.
If you are stuck for inspiration, check out photos on Pinterest to give you a few ideas. Then you can start making plans to turn your boring old kitchen into a multi-functional dream space.

About the author:
This article was written by Ian Shaw from Morley Glass. Ian writes for a number of websites on the subjects of home improvement and glazing solutions. As you might expect, he has a special interest in glass, particularly coloured glass, which he has recently installed in his own kitchen

Save our Beach Huts

With such cold weather plaguing the UK well into April, there is another area of UK property sales which is also suffering a major downturn; our beloved Beach Huts!

Quintessentially British, the seafront beach hut has afforded many families a wonderful way to holiday right on the beach. During the property boom, many huts were enhanced to offer luxury bathrooms or living spaces which sent prices soaring.

Brightly coloured beach huts at Southwold, Suffolk

Depending on location and standard of accommodation prices range from around £5,000 to an incredible £250,000. Since the property crash and financial downturn, the buying and selling of beach huts have, as you might imagine, suffered.

Many people who own huts, benefit from great rental income to tourists, however the costs of owning a hut have increased over the years in ground rent and maintenance charges. If an owner does decide to sell, it now appears to become quite difficult. In today’s market, mortgage lending for a beach hut just doesn’t happen, so sales generally have to be cash.

For some of the more expensive beach huts, this poses a significant problem and certainly reduces the number of readily available buyers.

I love the colourful beach huts which line our sandy shores, and it’s certainly a tradition that should stand the test of time. It’s at the top of those quirky British aspects which brings forth the tourist to our beaches; it would be a shame to see the beach hut life die out.

So what can be done? Well there are many different rules and regulations depending on the location of the hut. Some local Councils do not allow occupants to stay overnight, others don’t have nearby facilities such as toilets and water supplies.

Perhaps there is a case for establishing a lending facility which will keep this essential beach front tradition going. Maybe further investment into the services which can be provided or a relaxation of some of the long-standing restrictive rules in order to offer more flexibility to the owner.

The colour and flair of the UK’s wonderful beach huts needs to be maintained and protected!

Free – 2013 Sporting / Construction Wall Planner

2013 Sporting and Construction Wall Planner
2013 Wall Planner

Back by popular demand, the new 2013 Sporting and Construction Wall Planner is ready to go! This year we have included the Formula 1 motor racing schedule, plus added in the athletics and swimming championships.

As usual we have the key football finals, horseracing, cricket and golf events plus the tennis and 6 nations rugby matches. Intermingled throughout all of these major sporting fixtures are this years building and construction exhibitions.

What more can you ask for – it’s all in one place on one calendar!

If you would like an A3 hardcopy sending to you in the post please email wallplanner@theconstructioncentre.co.uk. 

Alternatively visit the 2013 Wall Planner on our website where you can print from a PDF.

We hope you find the calendar useful!

Coming soon!

At last we have now created our blog!

We’ll  be bringing you regularly updated news and views about the construction industry, along with some anecdotes and top tips, sprinkled with a little humour and fun!

Check back soon, we’ll go live in January 2013.

The Construction Centre Team