National survey shows worryingly low awareness of fire door safety

A major survey of 2,000 UK adults in support of Fire Door Safety Week, 25 September – 1 October, has shown an alarming lack of general public awareness of the essential role of fire doors, which are a legal requirement in all commercial, public and multi-occupancy buildings.

The research, carried out by IronmongeryDirect which supplies fire door hardware and accessories, revealed that a quarter (25%) of people are unaware that fire doors must be kept shut at all times and that 49% of those surveyed say they have seen a fire door propped open.

The results also showed that over a third (36%) admit that they would prop a fire door open at certain times, such as when needing to regularly pass through a fire door protected doorway, needing fresh air or when moving heavy objects.

According to the British Woodworking Federation, the organisation behind Fire Door Safety Week, three million fire doors are installed each year and IronmongeryDirect – a supporter of the campaign – supply a wide range of critical fire door components such as intumescent seals, closers and accessories.

“Our survey was carried out just a few weeks after the Grenfell Tower fire in June, so it is disturbing that a significant proportion of the general public seem to lack basic fire door knowledge”, said Wayne Lysaght-Mason, Managing Director of IronmongeryDirect. He added: “We would urge people, especially trade professionals, to use our online fire door checklist to help assess whether fire doors in buildings they occupy or are responsible for are legally compliant.”

Following the Grenfell tragedy, the company reported a sharp rise in the sale of intumescent door seals, door closers, smoke alarms, and other fire related products.

The survey also highlighted that nearly six in ten people (59%) do not know how to identify a fire door and that 13% of people who do would either take no action or be unsure what to do if there was an obvious problem with a fire door.

In previous research among its customers, IronmongeryDirect also discovered that most of the tradespeople surveyed (73%) had noticed fire doors without correctly fitted seals, and 74% had seen a blocked or obstructed fire door.

The safety campaign says that fire doors are often the first line of defence in a fire and their correct specification, maintenance and management can be the difference between life and death for building occupants. However, they remain a significant area of neglect, can often be the first thing to be downgraded on a specification, and are too frequently mismanaged throughout their service life, propped open, damaged and badly maintained.

For a comprehensive guide on fire door compliance, visit www.ironmongerydirect.co.uk/fire-safety.

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Tridonic’s EM ready2apply, delivering maximum safety with minimum complexity

Tridonic’s EM ready2apply: an ‘out of the box‘ solution for emergency lighting

  • Recessed emergency downlight
  • New battery technology delivers 3-year guarantee
  • Maintained and non-maintained variants available

Tridonic has announced the availability of a brand new, ‘out of the box‘ emergency lighting solution that gives OEMs, wholesalers, installers and FM managers a product that combines advanced battery technology with the latest in emergency lighting components. This is the company‘s first ever stand-alone emergency luminaire and it comes at a time when there is a heightened awareness of the importance of practical emergency lighting. The EM ready2apply is a new and highly effective solution to the problem of reliable and compact emergency lighting, which unites Tridonic’s lighting expertise with some of the most rigorous testing processes to deliver a product that sets a bench mark for future emergency lighting solutions.

Chris Slattery, Global Product Manager for Emergency Lighting at Tridonic, explains more: “Our aim was simple. Design a compact and easy to install product that would fit into an ever-diminishing ceiling void and through a minimal cut-out. It had to encompass sufficient power to exceed the necessary performance figures, exceed all lifetime and safety requirements, as well as give users the option on installation with interchangeable lenses.” The company wanted to progress from the traditional design of using a hinged inverter or a battery in a protective sock to deliver a product that was both more aesthetic and user friendly.

From concept to release it has taken four years and the combined design and engineering skills of Tridonic’s emergency lighting team based in Spennymoor, strengthened by other engineers around the globe, to complete the robust design and testing procedures. At the heart of the process were some of the most stringent safety and reliability criteria. The first challenge was to find a battery that would be small enough but also pack enough power for all possible applications. The current NiCd and NiMH technologies would not deliver the required performance relative to their size so the search for an alternative started in May 2013. After extensive research and testing far beyond the basic levels required, Tridonic settled on a LiFePO4 battery which exceeded all the safety, lifetime, and performance requirements they had set.

Next we set about the challenge of combining an LED driver, battery charging circuit, DALI interface, and monitoring circuit inside a space of approximately 75mm x 35mm x 25mm;” continues Chris. “We then had to add two cut-outs on the PCB for the springs that keep the luminaire in the ceiling. This was finally made possible using some clever engineering and a flexi-rigid PCB which allows for the optimal use of available space.”

The development team then needed to work out the best means of connecting the battery. Their unique solution connects the two parts together, allows the product to flex over on installation, contains all the wiring required for the battery and protection circuit, provides a strong strain relief, and contains a simple 2-step method for battery connection and disconnection.

The EM ready2apply combines all the above with an interchangeable lens design to give the user a choice of how they want the product to perform without stocking separate units, the “BlackBox” monitoring gives over 40 data points, the design for manufacture reduces operation steps to provide a cost and time efficient production, and ultrasonic welding is used to finally seal the housing shut (clips took up too much space). An innovative product at a competitive market price!

The product is readily available through Tridonic’s proven network of approved distributors or over the counter at electrical wholesalers. The key elements of its specification are as follows:

  • Maintained and Non-maintained variants
  • Basic, self-test, and DALI (PRO)
  • 3 interchangeable lenses with push-click-connection (anti-panic, escape route and spot)
  • Impressive spacings with lens technology.
  • Battery with an 8-year design life and 3-year guarantee
  • 5-year electronics guarantee

About Tridonic

As a leading global provider of smart and efficient lighting solutions, Tridonic today empowers its customers and business partners to become successful by making their lighting smarter, more exciting and more sustainable. Our lighting components offer the highest quality, maximum reliability and considerable energy saving potential that provide our customers with a great competitive advantage.

Tridonic continually brings state-of-the-art innovations and lighting solutions on to the market. 95 percent of our R&D projects are devoted to the development of new LED systems and connected lighting technologies. Thanks to our well-founded expertise and specialist knowledge vertical lighting applications (for instance in Retail, Hotel & Hospitality, Office & Education, Outdoor and Industry), leading luminaire manufacturers, architects, electrical and lighting planners, electrical installers and wholesalers rely on Tridonic for both indoor and outdoor lighting needs.

Tridonic is the technology company within the Zumtobel Group, which is headquartered in Dornbirn, Austria, and in fiscal year 2015/16 generated sales of 410.4 million EUR. Nearly 1,650 highly skilled staff and distribution partners in more than 50 countries around the world reflect the company’s commitment to developing and launching new smart, networked lighting systems. With more than 40 million lighting points installed each year, Tridonic plays a crucial role in networked lighting as a key element and as important infrastructure for the “Internet of Things”.

www.tridonic.com

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The rise of the machines – yet the role of the FM is certainly not terminated!

FM is part of a wave of digitisation that is transforming every industry but the experts at GRITIT, which is pioneering the use of technology in outdoor FM, argue that skilled people will always be at the heart of effective service delivery.

In virtually every industry, the inexorable forces of digitisation are transforming the nature of business and the nature of work. From the mobile phones in our pockets, to data centres virtualising digital assets into the cloud, to the AI systems that interpret and act faster than the speed of human thought, we are now encouraged to think of digital as the default mode of doing business. As early as 2011, years before the advent of Uber or AirBnB, a report by consultancy EY talked of the “Digitisation of Everything” arguing that “in a world where ‘everything’ is digitised businesses need to pursue innovation to disrupt their own business model before the competition does.” And while certain industries, largely based on physical, real world processes and manual labour, may have seemed immune to these forces, a second wave of change is underway. For example, as red diesel prices soared, farmers have increasingly employed combine harvesters guided with cm precision by GPS to avoid wasteful extra mileage. Meanwhile, the future of truck driving is looking increasingly bleak with Elon Musk’s Tesla announcing the start of trials of their autonomous semi in 2017.

If we follow the money, we can see that facilities management is very firmly in the midst of a second wave of digitisation. In 2016, a study by MTW Research forecast that the UK’s facilities management industry would receive a £200m boost in profitability significantly driven by the adoption of leaner operating models and the deployment of technology. That study argued that market forces in a challenging economy would drive demand for technology that enhances productivity, including Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices, automated monitoring and reporting, robotic cleaning equipment and remote servicing’ – all key areas of opportunity for FM providers.

According to research by Sheffield Hallam University commissioned by GRITIT and Servest, one of the key ongoing trends today in facilities management is the ongoing outsourcing of FM services, with 58% of FM professionals surveyed stating that much of this was being driven by a desire for companies to access better technical expertise. Over the next five years the use of technology in relation to improving the delivery services, transparency and cutting costs is expected to be a game changer: The impacts of this would be changes in working practices and the increasing use of big data or analytics to inform decision making.

From our own vantage point in gritting and grounds maintenance, these changes are already well under way and clearly are a change for the better. As a service provider we can use data technologies to reduce our management overheads and time fussing over the transactional side of doing business. At the same time, these very same technologies are a boon to clients who can have real time visibility via a smartphone app or client portal of the services we’ve delivered – whether that’s mowing lawns or gritting car parks. Indeed, the winter gritting industry has always been data-driven and reliant on the ability to service sites in response to weather data. Success in this particular industry is very much predicated on accuracy and responsiveness, with the goal to utilise ever more accurate sources of real time weather data with ever greater precision. Doing so makes a real difference: By gritting only when required by actual conditions, it is possible to ensure greater safety while also avoiding over-servicing – a leaner approach that reduces waste and cost to the client over the course of a winter.

In this context, the dawn of the “Internet of Things” is proving significant as this offers the opportunity to enrich the data that’s available to inform decisions. For example, at GRITIT our in-house technology team is rolling out a next generation offering based on inexpensive, robust temperature sensors that can deliver a real-time, live feed of actual road surface temperature and precipitation conditions on a client’s site directly into our NIMBUS reporting system. By getting a more granular, real time view of local conditions on the ground, more accurate forecasts and automatic triggers enable the delivery of ice and snow clearance on a just-in-time basis. This helps further cut both risks and waste as service can be provided according to the real world conditions on a site – even when that may differ from the weather forecast (for example ice that persists in shady areas even as the day warms up).

So far, although we’ve discussed the apparent inevitably of digitisation and looked at a few benefits, like any revolution it’s essential to avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater in the pursuit of progress. Uber is a case in point. While the ability to call and track cheaper rides from a smartphone has been great for consumers, the master algorithm somehow forgot all about the experience of the drivers themselves, who ultimately found themselves enjoying more of the insecurities of the gig economy than the freedoms. This isn’t only a digital issue of course, but there is no denying that in moving towards a digital first world, we can risk seeing human labour as being commoditised and interchangeable.

This would be a mistake. While sensors and robotics will undoubtedly play an ever growing role in both indoor and outdoor FM, this is and will always will be a people business: There will always be some aspects that can’t be automated easily or will still need to be supervised for practical and safety reasons. While technology is a way of enhancing human effort, there’s no real substitute for retaining good skilled people – and especially in safety critical contexts. While some sectors and roles have moved towards the gig economy, for a reliable quality service you need engaged people who feel part of the team and want to deliver the same high level of service – even where flexibility of available resources are needed for seasonal work.

It is often argued that automation is capable of freeing people from more menial activities, giving them opportunities to upskill and focus more on added value, creative activities. Too often, such arguments provide cover for those wishing to downsize their workforce, but in outdoor FM this can be the case. In our own organisation, we’ve found that spending less time on record keeping and reporting is allowing us to spend more time talking to customers. Similarly placing more power into the hands of customers through smartphones can also give them a new channel to reach out directly to the familiar team members that work on their site.

Is the rise of the machines inevitable? Very possibly, but maybe it’s not going to be an us or them scenario, and that machines and robots will become our partners – letting us work faster, smarter and add more value. This is digitisation as it should be – cutting out the middlemen and connecting people to get things done properly.

For further information contact GRITIT on 0800 0432 911 or email info@gritit.com  http://www.gritit.com

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CHSA’s Accredited Distributors Demand Conformance from Suppliers 

Membership of the Cleaning & Hygiene Suppliers Association’s (CHSA) Manufacturing Standards Accreditation Schemes has increased as distributors joining the Accredited Distributors Scheme demand conformance from their suppliers.

The CHSA’s Accredited Distributor Scheme was launched in January this year and already more than 135 distributor members of the Association have been approved for membership.  To become an Accredited Distributor, as well as passing the auditing process, distributors commit to supplying only CHSA Accredited product in the areas of soft tissue, plastic refuse sacks or industrial cotton mops, or product which conforms to the standards set out in the relevant Scheme.  The result is the new Accredited Distributors demand their suppliers adhere to the same high standards to which they ascribe and, as a result, many are applying to join the relevant Manufacturing Standards Accreditation Scheme.

“Our focus is on driving up and then maintaining standards in the industry,” explained Mike Stubbs, Chairman of the Accreditation Scheme Panels and Vice President of the CHSA.  “We’re delighted distributors have responded so positively to the launch of the Accredited Distributor Scheme; membership signals their commitment to supplying product that can be relied upon to meet the Scheme Standards and the CHSA Code of Practice.

“It’s an unexpected but incredibly positive outcome that the expansion of the Accredited Distributor Scheme is leading to a growth in the number of applications to the Manufacturing Standards Accreditation Schemes.  It’s proof we’re driving standards up throughout the supply chain.

“Buyers of cleaning and hygiene products from our Accredited Distributors and Manufacturers can be really certain what’s on the box is what’s in the box.”

Gaining admittance to the Accreditation Schemes is challenging.  Applicants are admitted to the Scheme on the successful completion of an auditing process conducted by the CHSA’s Independent Inspector.  Once they have successfully passed the audit and secured Accreditation Scheme status they continue to be regularly audited, giving buyers of their products the certainty standards are sustained.

In addition, to join the Accredited Distributors Scheme, distributors must sign a declaration that they will only stock and offer for sale CHSA Accredited products or products that conform to the same Standards as required by the relevant CHSA Manufacturing Standards Accreditation Scheme.

Our Standards.  Your Guarantee.

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Creating a safe learning environment with Access Control

Creating the right level of accessibility and an efficient flow through a building for staff and children is now a key priority for those working in the education sector; however, this must be balanced with the need to provide a safe learning environment. Architects and contractors must consider the need to install access control solutions to meet this requirement in today’s modern learning environment, argues David Hodgkiss, National Sales Manager of ASSA ABLOY Access Control, a UK division of ASSA ABLOY, the global leader in door opening solutions.

Security: a growing concern

Security within the education sector is a growing concern. A Freedom of Information request by the BBC revealed that of the 30,394 crimes reported in 2014, theft, burglary or robbery was the most common offence, with 13,003 incidents taking place1. Meanwhile, a survey led by the Association of Teachers & Lecturers discovered that over a quarter of education staff said they had faced aggression from a student’s parents or carers2.

Learners have the right to a safe environment in which to be educated, while staff should be able to work without fear of being threatened or harassed. While it can be difficult to acknowledge, the fact is that schools, colleges and universities must now take precautions to protect staff and children from these types of incidents.

Securing gates and access points around the site, plus ensuring any visitors register when entering, are just two basic but effective methods of creating a safe learning environment for staff and children. But what are the latest available solutions for those seeking a more sophisticated and intelligent approach to access control, which not only protects but also enhances the learning environment?

Enhancing existing security systems

In addition to assuring the safety and security of students and staff, the education sector is also looking for solutions that help cut energy costs, reduce maintenance and can be easily integrated with existing security measures.

Common problems with traditional security systems include lost or stolen keys. It can be inconvenient, time-consuming and expensive to change these locks, and the re-issuing of keys can be considerable. There is also the risk of stolen keys being copied, which compromises security even further.

It is also not uncommon for larger education sites, such as secondary schools and universities, to leave doors unlocked for long periods of time because of the inconvenience and hassle of opening and securing the room every time it’s entered. This, however, increases the possibility of opportunistic theft and malicious damage.

To meet this need, we have introduced Aperio®, an innovative, battery-operated wireless locking technology. This enables mechanical locks to be wirelessly linked to a new or existing access control system, without any need to modify the door. Meeting BS EN 179 and BS EN 1125 standards, Aperio® offers real time control, and doors can be scheduled to unlock in line with room booking systems or classes. Once a class has finished, doors automatically lock, leaving the room secured.

The system’s ability to update who is able to access a room online and in real-time is hugely advantageous to education sites, who might need to respond fast to ensure security measures are implemented quickly.

Its escape and return configuration is ideal for the education sector, allowing a door to remain unlocked for a certain amount of time after the door has been opened from the inside. Should an incident take place outside a classroom, staff and students can quickly return to the safety of this classroom.

Aperio® in action

It is estimated that a third of the UK’s university population becomes a victim of crime, predominantly either theft or burglary3. Owners of expensive laptops and bikes are popular targets, particularly during fresher’s week, with approximately 20 per cent of theft incidents occurring in the first six weeks of the academic year.

With this in mind, the University of East Anglia (UEA) required a trusted access control solution for its new student accommodation.

Established in 1963, the university is internationally renowned, having been rated as one of the best universities for student experience in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2016, based in a campus that provides top quality academic, social and cultural facilities to more than 15,000 students. The university sought a locking system for its newest on-site residence, Crome Court, comprising of 231 en-suite rooms rented to post-graduate students. The building was specifically designed by UEA to help reduce its environmental impact, and it was important to the university that the selected access control solution would contribute to this objective.

UEA required a system that offered assured electronic locks, built to serve the unique demands of student accommodation while ensuring the occupants safety and security. A stylish and affordable component design was important, which also fitted the environmentally advanced profile of the new accommodation.

Gallagher, ASSA ABLOY Access Control’s OEM’s partner, helped specify the best security solution for the university. Jason Boyce, Sales Manager at Gallagher, said: “We decided to offer Aperio® to UEA because of its outstanding reputation.” Crome Court’s doors are fitted with Aperio® E100 online escutcheons, with installation training provided on campus by ASSA ABLOY. Students open doors with smart cards instead of keys, with the battery-operated Aperio® locks emitting significantly fewer CO2 emissions than wired locks.

UEA staff can also control doors from a web-based interface or mobile phone. “Unlike other systems, Aperio® provides audit trails online, allowing for real-time monitoring,” adds Jason. “The fact that Gallagher and Aperio® devices can operate with the same data on the card has allowed for tighter integration, which saves the customer money.”

Flexibility is another key benefit to the system, with Aperio® offering the capability for additional doors to be integrated into UEA’s Gallagher system whenever required.

Christine Beveridge, Head of Campus Services at UEA, said: “ASSA ABLOY Access Control have extensive experience within the education sector. We are pleased to be piloting the scheme in our student accommodation and hope to roll out Aperio® across all residential estate.”

An intelligent access control solution is one of the most effective means of balancing this need for the right level of accessibility with creating a secure learning environment. UEA is just one of the sites that has benefited from a sophisticated access control solution, with many more looking set to follow its example. When designing modern buildings and facilities for the education sector, the need to implement a reliable access control solution looks set to become a top priority.

For further information on ASSA ABLOY Access Control, please visit www.assaabloy.co.uk/accesscontrol.

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1 BBC, ‘School crime reports topped 30,000 in 2014’, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-34268942

2 Association of Teachers & Lecturers, ‘Half of education staff have faced aggression from students in the last year’, http://www.atl.org.uk/Images/Sept%201%2C%202014%20-%20ATL%20behaviour%20survey%202014%20FINAL.pdf

3 The Complete University Guide, ‘Stay safe at university’, http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/preparing-to-go/staying-safe-at-university/

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GROW YOUR CUSTOMER BASE BY 30%

If your shop or venue is inaccessible to anyone who needs care support, you’re excluding twice as many potential customers as you think…

So warns Samantha Buck, mother and one of the leading campaigners for assisted accessible toilets.

“It’s not just the person with the disability who needs some of the elements in an assisted, accessible toilet- a Changing Places or a Space to Change facility. It’s their carer too!” she says. “If I’m out anywhere with my son Alfie, if I need the loo, even though I am able bodied, I am faced with the same issues as him in terms of accessing a suitable toilet. I can’t leave him in his wheelchair outside the ladies!

“A carer needs a toilet with the extra space too. They need the privacy screen. Building designers and operators are therefore excluding us too, if they don’t have suitable facilities. So however many people you think are being excluded- double it, to account for their carers. Often the person who needs the Changing Places, or similar, is out with friends or family: that’s at least twice as many entry fees, meals, drinks.

“There are 6.5million carers in Britain today(1). Potentially up to 14million people need a Changing Places or Space to Change(2). Together that’s almost 30% of the population. Can you afford to be inaccessible? What difference would 30% more customers make to your business?”

Changing Places toilets compliment conventional wheelchair-accessible toilets, bringing, alongside the standard ‘disabled WC’ provision, more space (12m2) and equipment (the addition of an adult-sized height adjustable changing bench, ceiling track hoist and privacy screen).

Clos-o-Mat, Britain’s leading provider of such facilities, has worked with Sam, and other campaigners, to help venues optimise accessibility, even if they don’t have the available space or budget for a full, British Standard (BS8300:2009) Changing Places. That solution is a Space to Change, which builds on a conventional wheelchair-accessible toilet, adding more space (a total 7.5m2) with an adult-sized changing bench and hoist.

Under latest Building Regulations and good practice guidelines, a Changing Places toilet is ‘desirable’/ should be provided in buildings to which numbers of the public have access. Space To Change toilets plug the gap between conventional (Building Regulations Approved Document M 2013) wheelchair-accessible toilets, and the ‘desirable’, additional, larger and better equipped Changing Places toilets, being an enlarged wheelchair-accessible toilet that further includes an adult-sized changing bench and a hoist.

Clos-o-Mat, Britain’s leader in supporting delivery of dignified, independent toileting at home and away, is unique in its ability to deliver both Changing Places and Space to Change facilities. It was the original sponsor of the Changing Places campaign, and has helped campaigners develop the Space to Change concept.

Clos-o-Mat can provide, in-house, the design advice, supply, installation, commissioning, project management and maintenance across the ambit of accessible toileting equipment. To help venues ‘get it right’, the company has a raft of downloadable information on its website, www.clos-o-mat.com, including white papers, CAD blocks, room renders and videos.

Tel 0161 969 1199; www.clos-o-mat.com; e: info@clos-o-mat.com

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Something for everyone at Trade Fair & Convention

HAE EHA Trade Fair & Convention 2017

Ricoh Arena, Coventry, October 11-12

Members are urged to make a beeline for the HAE EHA Trade Fair & Convention at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on October 11-12 – where topics will include the latest industry initiatives for training and retaining staff, empowering women in the workplace and a safer working environment, all backed up by an impressive line-up of keynote speakers.

Being ‘sent to Coventry’ will benefit delegates at the convention as they get insights from, among others, Derek Redmond, an Olympic and world champion athlete who will be discussing improving performance and retaining talent. Financial expert Lee Coles, Head of Workplace Education at Jelf, part of Mercer Marsh Benefits, will be sharing his extensive knowledge concerning the wellbeing of employees and retirement planning.

Other speakers over the two days are HAE EHA Chairman Andy Martin, who will give the welcome and introduction and Guy Van Der Knaap, Managing Director of MCS. Guy is to deliver a presentation on how to make the best use of mobile devices to improve productivity. There will also be opportunities to network and share information and best practice with other members.

In addition, there will be training workshops including HAE’s ILM Level 5 Graduation scheme and the exciting developments in virtual reality (VR) programmes in partnership with the University of the West of England. Just one of the innovative VR training tools that will be featured at the show will give delegates the opportunity to control and operate a VR mini digger.

Richard Whiting of Commercial Training at HAE, said: “The training and NVQ programmes we’re offering are a far-reaching ‘cradle to grave’ approach to a career in hire. Virtual reality is an inventive way for us to demonstrate the training available throughout the hire supply chain. In addition to a virtual digger we also plan to have an articulated boom.”

To ensure a steady stream of talented people throughout the industry, it is essential that progression in the hire industry is open to all who show the skills and commitment required to successfully deliver high quality work on time.

Education and training to help career development and improve productivity is a strong theme of the convention and empowerment of women in the sector will be under the spotlight. A key factor in the future success of the industry will be tackling ways in which training programmes and changing attitudes can help women benefit from the huge variety of jobs which are available in plant, equipment and hire.

Tackling safety issues is also on the agenda at the Trade Fair & Convention. SafeHire is sponsoring the networking and refreshments area in the Ricoh Arena where anyone can drop by, speak to the team about the benefits of the scheme and book assessment dates to achieve the certification.

The area will have case study information from HAE members who have achieved certification and there will be plenty of examples of the good, the bad and the ugly instances involving safety – or the lack of it.

To discuss the opportunities for business improvement and the importance of being recognised for supplying safe, quality equipment there will be speaker sessions from construction industry bodies and Government procurement, along with a speaker panel fronted by the SafeHire plus Build UK.

The HAE EHA Trade Fair & Convention is open to all members but people wishing to attend need to register in advance as numbers are limited for catering, workshops and guest speaker sessions.  For more details and sponsorship opportunities go to http://hireconvention.org.uk

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Free online training on fire doors launched for facilities managers

Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy and in support of this year’s Fire Door Safety Week (25 September – 1 October 2017), a new free online training tool has been launched to boost the basic understanding of fire doors needed by those with responsibilities for fire safety.

The course has been developed by the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS), Europe’s first competency framework for fire door inspectors. It is delivered virtually through an online interactive learning portal and is open to anyone who is responsible for specifying, selling, installing or maintaining fire doors and their components.

The service builds on the highly popular half-day ‘Bite size fire door training course’ launched earlier this year in response to the increasing demand for training to increase knowledge about the legal and practical issues relating to fire doors. It also provides an introduction to the FDIS Diploma in Fire Doors.

Kevin Hulin, FDIS manager, said: “The lack of basic knowledge about fire doors is a real challenge to all parts of the industry, and we felt this was something simple that we could do to help.

“There are now 30 inspectors operating throughout the UK accredited through the FDIS process and we have had more than 1,100 people sign up to study the diploma.

“This new course is an introduction to the diploma, tailored for the generalist who needs to know the basics and also needs to be able to recognise when to bring in an expert. I hope it will also encourage them to continue their studies further, and support the challenge laid down by the Fire Door Safety Week team to make our building stock that bit safer.”

The free online training tool is available at http://trial.fdis.co.uk

FDIS is Europe’s first fire door inspection scheme. It was launched in 2012 as a joint venture between the BWF-Certifire Scheme and the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers. It aims to transform people’s knowledge about how and why fire doors work and the potential dangers of getting it wrong.

FDIS provides an online learning centre leading to a Diploma in Fire Doors, and a route for diploma holders to become Certificated Fire Door Inspectors through independent assessment by Exova Warringtonfire. www.fdis.co.uk

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Boss Design sets the scene at Wates HQ

When one of the UK’s largest privately-owned construction, development and property services companies, the Wates Group, embarked on the refurbishment of its head office, it called upon Boss Design’s expertise in workplace design solutions.

Following a period of significant growth for the business, the Wates Group was looking to consolidate its London offices. This included re-establishing the business’ head office in Leatherhead, Surrey as its main hub by providing employees with a flexible, collaborative and private working environment – all in time for the Wates Group to be presented with the Queens Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development, for the second consecutive time.

Given that modern, contemporary, and high quality furniture was a primary requirement for this project – together with a good supply relationship and ability to offer a furniture design solution at competitive value – Boss Design was the perfect choice and supported the refurbishment with an emphasis on quality, value, environmental sustainability, and staff well-being.

Committed to its philosophy that good workplace design centres on creating ‘Habitats’ to support workers in all their activities and corresponding surroundings, Boss Design supplied a comprehensive range of furniture to meet the requirements of various settings. These included; office environments, formal meetings, collaboration, flexible meetings, and breakout areas. In addition, Boss Design’s furniture was specified in the building’s atrium, restaurant, and reception.

Designed to support modern methods of working, the furniture specified in the main offices included high performance Q task chairs, together with Agent high tables and stools for collaborative tasks, and Arthur high backed booths for breakout areas and smaller meetings. A variety of coloured upholstery also helped to distinguish between the different departments. The reception area features Raft seating and Q task chairs, with a higher raised level featuring both Marnie and Layla armchairs, and Cuba coffee tables.

It was important for Wates to make the most of its reception area and restaurant space as multi-functional areas for working, socialising and refueling. As a result, Boss Design supplied Agent dining tables and benches for the restaurant, together with Loop chairs and high stools. Raft booth seating also provides added comfort and privacy, as well as additional meeting space. Complete with integral power points, the restaurant is now a dynamic hub throughout the workday and provides a compelling new way to generate energy.

In addition to furnishing multiple settings, Boss Design helped to maximise workspace occupancy, re-enforce Wates branding throughout the building, and ensure the furniture offered excellent value and cost savings without compromising the original interior or quality of product. Furthermore, Boss Design’s detailed recycled content and recyclability for every product fully supported Wates’ impressive environmental and sustainability ethos.

Cyrille Ragasa, Site Surveyor at Wates, explains: “We were looking for a high-end furniture designer and manufacturer that could provide us with a good product, without compromising on design. Boss Design was chosen for its sustainability credentials, values, history of good client relationships and excellent furniture options.

“It was important to us that the suppliers we selected were committed to upholding the reputation and values of the Wates brand and for this to be reflected in the final install. Boss Design has impressive environmental and CSR commitments and were the right fit from the start. We are extremely happy with the finished result.”

Oliver Ronald, Sales Director, at Boss Design comments: “Having worked in partnership with Wates supplying furniture for some of their major corporate and retail clients in the past, we were delighted to have been appointed to supply workplace solutions for its own head office refurbishment.

“We are particularly proud to have been able to support Wates in delivering its sustainability, environmental and CSR commitments, contributing to their SKA assessment Silver award. Our solutions were also endorsed by Dr. Zainab Dangana, Research and Development Manager at the Wates Group and a leading figure in the field of sustainable technologies.”

For further information contact Boss Design Headquarters: +44 (0) 1384 455570 or Boss Design London Showroom: Tel.: +44 (0) 20 7253 0364. Alternatively, visit www.bossdesign.com

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Flex it or fix it? It depends on your appetite for energy risk

Ben Archer, Head of Risk Management, Gazprom Energy

Given the recent volatility of wholesale energy costs, it’s important that organisations choosing a new energy contract reconsider what type of deal is right for them. Figures from ICIS Energy found that gas prices ranged from over 80 pence per therm in 2013 to just over 30 pence per therm in 2016. As customers feel the impact of these price fluctuations it raises the question of whether to take a risk averse approach with a fixed rate contract, or alternatively consider a more closely managed flexible contract approach.

Choosing a fixed contract means keeping your energy costs static and predictable for the contract duration – typically one to five years – regardless of what happens to market prices. On the other hand, a flexible contract means buying gas based on your demand or when the price suits you. With a flexible contract you can forward buy (hedge), or simply let a published market index determine your price, which allows you to make the most of low current and future energy prices if they occur. In comparison, fixed contracts mean being able to budget for energy with certainty, knowing for sure how much you’re paying from one month to the next.

Both approached offer opportunities and benefits for the customer whether that be cost certainty or a savings opportunity. What’s important is to consider your business model and risk profile to make an informed judgement on which route to go down.

For instance, would it be able to pass the costs to customers to maintain profitability? The benefits of taking a risk should be considered too, such as the opportunity to save costs by strategically buying energy under flexible terms.

The finance or procurement manager can establish how the organisation would fare should the price of energy go up or down by the amount it has fluctuated previously. A business with strict budget controls when it comes to energy may not have a business model that could support such a price rise. A fish and chip shop owner, for example, may simply not be able to cope with energy prices higher than their current value, and opt for a fixed deal. Price certainty and peace of mind could be just what some businesses are satisfied with, even if energy prices drop. However, if an organisation is prepared and able to buy in line with changing market prices to get cheaper energy than it perhaps would with a fixed contract, it might find a flexible contract a worthwhile option. Although more risky, it could save money in the long-term.

Risk appetite isn’t the only factor involved in choosing an energy contract; the human resource available to manage energy buying should come into it too. Other than checking that energy bills are accurate and based on contracted rates, fixed contracts require minimal input or resource. However, managing flexible contracts is a strategic purchasing activity. With a flexible contract, energy buying needs to be planned around market rates and trading conditions that best suit the organisation. This can be carried out in-house, but only with an in-depth understanding of the market. An internal procurement department may have the necessary knowledge, in which case you might not require additional personnel. But to reap the full benefits of a flexible energy contract, organisations might choose to take on a dedicated energy manager, or consult with an independent energy specialist or the procurement desk within their energy supplier. These people specialise in tracking the market and buying energy accordingly.

Whether they select a fixed or a flexible energy contract, organisations can use the market to their advantage. But it is important to decide which approach to take by considering the business model, resources and financial position before deciding. It’s also key to establish whether budget certainty is more important, or if the ability to utilise a dip in prices is a priority for energy buying. Only then can a confident decision be made about which option is most suitable.

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