Facilities Management – The Smarter Choice for Businesses

When we stereotype ‘the professional business’ in an idyllic sense, many of us would associate them with the utmost of efficiency, perceiving them to pay attention to every ounce of detail that could possibly effect the brand and its balance sheet.

However, it seems we’re being deceived. Although commercially minded by nature, there are many operations that aren’t functioning in such a manner, which is significantly hindering their profitability.

Regardless of the sector from which a company operates, there are numerous undistinguishable variables that need appropriately managing in order for proficiency to be achieved, allowing them to perform the services in which they specialise to the highest of standards.

One of the most vital components where financial leakages exist, is the ‘fixed premises’ asset, such as an office, warehouse or retail environment. Regardless of which category, they each have the same dependencies, but equally face similar disruptive and inconvenient dilemmas that interrupt the day-to-day running of a business and ultimately effects sales and profitability.

Looking to rectify such challenges is Mick George Ltd. Already providing a multitude of service provisions across varied disciplines, the business has spotted a gap in the market, and has decided to bundle its offerings together, producing an all-encompassing ‘Facility Management’ package.

The concept is not to dissimilar to that provided in isolation by other firms, but the huge benefit here is the ability to amalgamate multiple services, that wouldn’t be conceived possible anywhere else. From waste management, building and grounds maintenance, electrical or plumbing installations, right through too regulatory asbestos surveys, they’ve got it covered and can provide a bespoke package just for you.

Recognising that each commercial outfit will require differing levels of service, Mick George Ltd has cleverly devised three separate annual contracts types, which correspond to the degree of interaction that the company has with its clients. Irrespective of which agreement is reserved, the new 24hr response service is sure to be a major advantage.

Many high profile organisations are already using the service, they consist of large multinational chains such as Subway, to regional football clubs like Cambridge United FC, right through to independent parties like Huntingdon Racecourse.

Abigail Johnson, Commercial Manager at Mick George Ltd commented: ‘’As a business we possess a wealth of skillsets, so the ‘Facility Management’ provision was a natural progression. We established quickly that there was an opportunity to offer a collective ‘suite’ of services that would prove beneficial for many commercial clients, preventing them to seek remote assistance for issues related to the workplace.’’

Johnson continued: ‘’Clients can have complete peace of mind that their works are being completed by a reputable brand, but more importantly the appreciation that they no longer have the time and cost inconvenience of trawling for several resources to resolve any issues.’’

For further information, please visit: http://www.mickgeorge.co.uk


Saniflo keeps pace with climate change

As Britain basks in the hottest temperatures in 40 years, the heat is on to keep the nation cool. The sale of air conditioning units in the UK has been growing steadily the past few years, particularly in the commercial sector, and now more house builders include air conditioning as standard and a growing number of private households are turning to air conditioning to stay cool. With temperatures set to continue to rise as scientists predict extreme temperatures as a result of climate change, Saniflo – the UK’s leading designer and manufacturer of macerators, pumps and shower cubicles – is predicting a continued upturn in the air conditioning market for commercial and domestic markets, and advises people to ensure efficient condensate removal.

Gravity drain units can be problematic because they must be installed on the nearest outside wall, they require space and they can cause potential water damage to a building’s façade resulting in expensive repairs. In addition, stagnant water can pose a health and safety risk due to potential bacterial and fungal growth.

The Saniflo range of air conditioning pumps comprising the Sanicondens® Clim Pack, the Sanicondens® Clim Mini and the Sanicondens® Clim Deco are specifically designed to expel the condensate from air conditioning units in a quiet and efficient manner without any dripping and with trimmable trunking for a neat finish you’re guaranteed a stylish looking unit every time.

Ann Boardman, Saniflo UK Head of Marketing & Product Management, says: “We encourage industry professionals involved in specifying and fitting commercial and domestic air conditioning units as part of new builds and retrofit projects to not be limited by issues of gravity drainage units. The Saniflo Sanicondens range offers a simple and safe option for air conditioning, whilst increasing the options for unit installation. With Sanicondens you can put the units exactly where you want them without being restricted to outside walls. I would suggest that Sanicondens units are absolutely essential for any type of timber-framed building.”

www.saniflo.co.uk Tel: 020 8842 0033


The light fantastic

Earlier this year, the USA marked Workplace Eye Wellness Month. Jane Embury, marketing director at advanced glazing system supplier Wrightstyle, looks at light in the UK workplace, and why we should all be aware of eyesight issues.

In the creation, it’s what God made first.

You can see it but can’t feel or touch it.  Prosaically, it’s electromagnetic radiation within a certain portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Us humans, and most living creatures, see it through our eyes, which are clever photon detectors tuned to observe the visible spectrum.

As we inch closer to fully understanding light, we are already investigating its quirky properties to develop new kinds of encryption codes and next-generation computers – part of the reason why the United Nations designated 2015 as the International Year of Light.

In a building, light has both form and function – from the intimate restaurant to the intensity of a hospital theatre; from the serenity of a cathedral to the floodlit arena of a football stadium.  Light possesses absolute functionality with the power to change ambience and transform mood.

However, although we receive the majority of information through our eyes, we can still take light for granted.  Too often, particularly in the workplace, its primary importance is still undervalued both in new build and renovation projects.

It’s why in March the USA marks Workplace Eye Wellness Month, to raise awareness of eye strain in the workplace, what can be done by employers and individuals, and how good building design has a fundamental role to play.

Good building design balances form and function in a finished article that looks good from the outside and performs well on the inside.  However, having excellence in both the exterior envelope and the interior lay-out doesn’t necessarily mean that the building will work to optimal effect for its human inhabitants.  It needs light to function – both natural and artificial – and it needs the right kind of light to function properly.

One reason is that the nature of work has changed in recent years.  We no longer just go to an office to move paper from one horizontal in-tray to another horizontal out-tray.  The laptop and desk-top computer, with their horizontal keyboards and vertical screens, have seen to that.

Building design has certainly evolved to take the computer into consideration with, for example, raised floors and large open-plan spaces.  However, what is still not fully recognised in many older buildings – and some new ones – is that the lighting requirements of the computer operator have also changed.  A computer terminal, apart from being vertical, is glossy and luminous.

Studies show that many office workers say that eyestrain is still a serious health hazard in the office.  Not surprising as many workplaces still incorporate lighting systems that were designed for the paper-based office.  Simply, poor lighting coming from overhead sources are reflected off computer screens and into the operator’s eyes.

Modern regulations say that the employer has a responsibility to provide “satisfactory light conditions and an appropriate contrast between the screen and background, taking into account the type of work and the vision requirements of the user.  Furthermore, possible glare and reflection on the screen shall be prevented by co-ordinating workplace and workstation layout with the positioning of the artificial light sources.”

It’s all part of what has become known as sick building syndrome (SBS), a catch-all phrase to describe illness, or illnesses, brought on by the buildings we work in.  The National Health Service says: “Anyone can be affected by SBS, but office workers in modern buildings without opening windows and with mechanical ventilation or air conditioning systems are most at risk.  The likelihood of experiencing SBS symptoms can be higher if you’re employed in routine work that involves using display screen equipment.”

Importantly, there is a correlation between light and Sick Building Syndrome, because a lack of daylight is regarded as one of the most important contributors to it.

Making better use of daylight is the obvious solution, particularly when it comes to designing new buildings or refurbishment projects, because daylighting is dynamic and changes throughout the day, providing natural variation and connecting us to the outside world.

Most building designers now understand the properties of light, and how a well-designed working environment can boost productivity and morale.  But the advantages of using glass in the building environment go further: from reducing heating costs to solar control and, using photovoltaic (PV) cells, converting photons into electrons and, therefore, generating electricity.

Modern glazing systems, with their optical brilliance and safety characteristics, have become as fundamental to good building design as light has always been fundamental to life.  After all, it’s why God created it first.

A Health and Safety guide to Display Screen Equipment (DSE) can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg36.pdf.


Flexible workplaces need consistent hygiene

Steve Nurdin, marketing manager at Cannon Hygiene, discusses how changing workplace expectations are demanding more from facilities management’s role in hygiene.

Facilities management increasingly needs to accommodate new workplace practices such as flexible working while still providing a business with a high-quality service. Cleaning procedures also have to adapt to work in tandem with these shifting working patterns, to maximise efficiency and create a working environment with hygiene at its heart.

An increase in people working from home or visiting from other offices means businesses are adapting the way their space is used to take into account fluctuating numbers of people in one building. For example, many have created shared spaces through collaborative working hubs and hot desking policies.

Hygiene standards can become diluted as a result with more people sharing office spaces and transmitting bacteria. People’s attitudes and vigilance towards cleanliness often differs greatly and bad practices can encourage the spread of germs. This can seriously impact productivity in a business, especially during peak seasons for illnesses which can spread rapidly around an office and severely deplete a workforce.

To tackle this problem, there’s been a shift towards hygiene systems that work in the background to ensure levels of cleanliness are being automatically maintained, especially in shared spaces. For example, filters are now available that actively clean and fragrance the air, killing airborne bacteria and stopping illnesses from spreading. Shared surfaces such as door handles are another germ hotspot, but solutions are available that spray an antibacterial mist on washroom door handles to prevent germs from entering the wider office. Automated solutions can provide peace of mind that effective hygiene is remaining consistent at a time when flexible working is on the rise.

Appearance and functionality

People are generally more aware than ever of the impact of germs, driving hygiene to the forefront of facilities management. Washrooms, for example, are one of the most visited places in an organisation – people may share a desk with two or three, but a washroom with 50 others. As such, hygiene has to work much harder to match a business’ needs and expectations, demanding solutions that offer a top-class service. A washroom can not only affect employees’ opinions of their workplace but also a visitor’s impression of the business, so care should be taken to fit a suite that reinforces a positive company image.

As more businesses up their investment in facilities, it becomes more noticeable when a company hasn’t made the same commitment to their hygiene procedures. People expect the same levels of cleanliness in the workplace as they would at home or in a restaurant, and want to see a consistent and high quality hygiene policy being visibly practiced. From installing hand sanitisers across the office to actively promote good hand hygiene, to ensuring that doormats are kept well laundered and attractive, many businesses are now going above and beyond on their hygiene commitments to meet expectations.

Flexibility looks set to continue shaping workplace practices and maintaining a hygiene approach that reflects this should always be of high priority. By implementing a hygiene strategy that suits shifts in demand while staying consistent in its levels of service, facilities managers can be sure that their business continues to provide a quality environment for staff and visitors alike.


Imtech and Harrogate District NHS Foundation Trust Collaborate to Successfully Deliver Energy Savings

Imtech and Harrogate District Hospital have recently unveiled a new Energy Centre, following a programme of improvements to the mechanical and electrical infrastructure. The enhanced systems will deliver guaranteed savings of over £15m in the next 25 years (approx. £635,000 per annum) directly benefitting frontline care for the hospital.

Over the last 18 months Harrogate’s Estates Team and Imtech’s engineering teams have been working within the Carbon Energy Fund (CEF) framework to identify, design, specify and install numerous improvements to the mechanical and electrical systems across the hospital, with the guaranteed savings providing not only financial and carbon benefits to the Trust but also a significant reduction in the Trust backlog. These initiatives include:

  • Installing a new electrical infrastructure consisting of High Voltage substation and generator network. This has improved the resilience of the electrical systems on site and created more capacity.
  • Replacing expired boilers with new high efficiency dual fuel steam boilers combined with a CHP and waste heat composite boiler. With the introduction of a new absorption chiller, the heat can be used during the summer months when less is required, thereby improving the system’s energy efficiency. The CHP system also provides the ability to export electricity back into the Electrical Distribution Network at peak times to maximise savings.
  • Replacement of old light fittings for energy efficient LED lighting throughout the site. This provides annual electricity cost savings and patients have benefitted from a more natural, stable light. Also, through taking time to discuss requirements in various locations, the team were able to make 20% of light fittings redundant, as some wards were deemed to be too bright. This project is maintenance free for the next five years due to the lifecycle of approximately 9,000 LED light fittings.
  • Imtech’s innovative approach was realised in a solution to utilise waste heat, created by the main system. Usually lost into the atmosphere, this heat is rerouted to the top deck of the hospital car park and reused within the underfloor heating system to de-ice the surface, eliminating gritting costs.

Ensuring the new infrastructure successfully delivers on its guarantees for the next 25 years is the responsibility of Imtech Inviron, the technical facilities management arm of Imtech. Imtech Inviron’s experienced engineers will ensure the continual optimisation of the systems through the implementation of a planned preventative and reactive maintenance regime across the Harrogate Hospital site.

The savings will be monitored constantly over the 25 year period to prove that the savings have been achieved, with continual independent monitoring and verification by the CEF all for the Trust’s benefit.

Phil Sturdy, Deputy Director of Estates, Harrogate & District NHS Foundation Trust commented: “This scheme will support the Trust in continuing to deliver high quality patient care supported by robust engineering infrastructure, capacity to support future clinical developments, reduced backlog maintenance obligations and reduction in energy costs and emissions in line with its Carbon Management Plan.”

Noel Clancy, Managing Director, Imtech Inviron said: “It is extremely rewarding to be involved in this project that will make such a difference to NHS funds for frontline care. Low carbon solutions are a key sector for us and following the successful installation of the new infrastructure services at Harrogate, we look forward to delivering the maintenance regime for the next 25 years. I am confident our specialist team will continue to innovate and ensure the systems are fully optimised to deliver the guaranteed savings.”

Peter Fairclough Director of CEF said “We are also delighted with the success of this scheme, which we see as a template for how significant backlog issues can be addressed by using the CEF financial model and contract, and we look forward to proving the savings work throughout the term of the contract.”

For more information please visit www.imtech.co.uk.


HWM wins Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2017

PermaNET+ water network monitoring system recognised in Innovation category

Utility monitoring specialist HWM has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2017.

The Innovation award recognises HWM’s PermaNET+ system, which constantly monitors water networks to detect signs of leakage. Able to detect a problem as soon as it occurs, the system significantly reduces both the size and impact of leaks, reducing damage to the network and saving water.

PermaNET+ was chosen for the largest ever deployment of leak noise detection equipment by Affinity Water. 20,000 units were installed to cover a water network serving over 3.6 million people.

Now in their 51st year, the Queen’s Awards are the UK’s most prestigious industry accolade, celebrating and encouraging business excellence in the UK. The Innovation award is given to companies that have shown outstanding commercial success due to innovation over two years, or continuous commercial success over five years.

Winning the Queen’s Award for Enterprise means HWM can now use the official emblem on all publications for five years, showcasing the best of British business.

Tel: +44 (0)1633 489 479
Fax: +44 (0)1633 877 857
Email: marketing@hwm-water.com
Website: www.hwmglobal.com


Hydrogen project advances clean energy deployment

The successful installation of the hydrogen technologies at the Levenmouth Community Energy Project represents the dawn of a new energy era, according to specialists Logan Energy.

The Edinburgh-based company has designed, supplied and installed a state-of-the-art hydrogen-based energy storage systems and two mobile hydrogen vehicle refuelling units at Methil, in Fife, Scotland.

The renewables industry is becoming increasingly important to energy supply. Scotland has recently produced more electricity from renewables in a single day than it used. However, energy storage is required to match production with demand. Hydrogen is one of the key solutions to this dilemma.

Logan Energy believes this project is a turning point in positively proving the case for hydrogen as a key clean energy solution.

Hydrogen has been demonstrated at Levenmouth to be a significant resource for both electricity and heat requirements, as well as a sustainable zero emission transport fuel which can drive the energy sector through the global clean energy revolution.

Bill Ireland is CEO of Logan Energy, a hydrogen and fuel cell specialist business which is also responsible for the installation of over 1.1MWe of fuel cell based clean energy technology in the UK. He said:

“At the Levenmouth Community Energy Project we have delivered what many visionaries have been talking about for some time and shown that it can be integrated into the existing energy systems for stationary power and transport needs.

“The drive for increasing our reliance upon renewable technologies is not new but the economic need to do so, and means to time shift energy, has never been more pertinent. The work we have completed at Levenmouth is a true first and highlights the power of hydrogen as a standalone multisector energy resource that also supports existing energy networks.

“This is a milestone in the energy sector and marks the practical delivery of a new hydrogen based energy era.”

The energy balancing system designed and installed by Logan Energy comprises a 250kWe Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) Electrolyser, a gas storage arrangement and a 100kWe PEM fuel cell. Coupled with a smart control system, the energy balancing is achieved by generating and storing hydrogen when there is excess renewable energy available. The hydrogen is then used to power the fuel cell to provide power to the private wire network at times when there is insufficient renewable energy being generated.

The mobile refuelling units are self-contained modules, based upon ISO shipping container dimensions, so they can be readily transported and easily relocated from site to site. These are used to refuel Europe’s largest fleet of hydrogen hybrid vehicles which includes vans and refuse lorries.

Hydrogen is stored at the site and reconverted to electricity at times when on-site wind and solar generation is low, helping to offset the intermittency of renewable energy as well as being compressed and stored for 350bar refuelling of vehicles.

Logan Energy will maintain the newly-installed systems for the next five years during which information will be gathered and assessments made on the performance of the different technologies implemented.

Bill Ireland added: “Seeing just a snapshot of the potential of hydrogen becoming a reality here in the UK is a tremendous step forward.

“As world leaders in the deployment of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in commercial applications, we are pleased to have played a pivotal role in this project which is so important to the integration of the renewables industry in our energy strategy.

“The UK, and Scotland in particular, has a wealth of expertise in the energy sector. There is a massive potential to harness the skills and the innovative mindset that drove the growth of the traditional energy sector and bring that to the hydrogen and wider renewables sectors.”

With Scottish Government support, Logan Energy has assisted the traditional service industry to develop their existing skill sets to support this rapidly growing sector and, on the back of new global projects, the company is set to build on this knowledge base.

Logan Energy was founded in 2005 and has a vast amount of experience designing, installing, commissioning and maintaining fuel cell and hydrogen energy systems in the UK and Europe.

Levenmouth Community Energy Project comprises Bright Green Hydrogen Ltd along with Fife Council, Toshiba, Leven Valley Development Trust, Fife College, BOC (for hydrogen transport), Green Business Fife, Community Energy Scotland, and the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (SHFCA).





eSight Energy are named in Top 10 Energy Management Software Review

An independent review conducted by Business Energy highlights eSight Energy as one of the top 10 Energy Management Software Providers.

Within the review it is highlighted that eSight Energy is global therefore it is perfect for an international company as well as being ideal for smaller businesses as the software is scalable for those who cannot justify a large system.

Other aspects of the software highlighted are the web-based nature of eSight, meaning it can be accessed anywhere and its worldwide capabilities to work with multiple currencies and cultures.

The author, Alex Loijois, states that, “eSight directly converts a company’s consumption data into monetary units, making it easier to digest. One thing that really sets it apart is its ability to set up a revenue contract, which is meant to be used in tenant billing… A global company could probably take advantage of eSight’s international data focus.”

To read more please visit http://www.businessenergy.com/electricity/review-of-energy-management-software.html


MSA Safety’s V-TEC™ self-retracting lifeline is first to use dampener technology for additional safety

MSA Safety’s V-TEC™ self-retracting lifeline is first to use dampener technology for additional safety

MSA Safety is launching its new V-TEC™ self-retracting lifeline (SRL). It is the first in the market to include an inbuilt retraction dampener which allows the user to release the cable safely via controlled retraction; this prevents potential injury to the user and damage to the main body of the unit. It also offers safe operation and a reduction in costs and downtime.

Part of the innovative and easy-to-use V-Series of safety harnesses and SRLs, in addition to the inbuilt dampener, the V-TEC also benefits from patented radial energy absorbing technology which ensures control over any force exerted on it. Together, the radial energy absorber and dampener translate the latest technology into ease of use, inspection and maintenance.

Its construction is based on an award-winning design first used in the MSA Personal Fall Limiter. A clear outer casing allows instant inspection and peace of mind, while the radial energy absorber requires no calibration or adjustment before use. A convenient carrying handle is fitted for easy transport.

“The V-TEC carves out new territory in SRL design and shows the kind of engineering innovation and user-friendly features the world has come to expect from MSA Safety fall protection,” says Alastair Hogg Director for Fall Protection Sales and Business Development, International, “our team at the Fall Protection Centre of Excellence in Devizes, Wiltshire, deserves much credit for keeping us ahead of the field.”

He adds: “The V-TEC SRL and other V-Series products have been designed for use with our Latchways® engineered lifelines to bring customers the highest specification of fall protection on the market.”

The V-TEC SRL is made using stainless steel and engineered plastics for great durability and, when necessary, its cable, energy absorber and retraction dampener can all be quickly replaced on site. A choice of galvanised or stainless cables, is available to meet the needs of different situations.

MSA Safety’s new V-TEC 6m self-retracting lifeline is now available from registered suppliers. Other lengths will be launched later this year.

For further information please contact your local MSA affiliate or visit MSAsafety.com.


Trade body awards celebrate top flight acoustic performance

The skills and ingenuity of UK-based acoustic professionals working on national and international projects across a variety of environments were celebrated at a trade body awards.

ANC, the Association of Noise Consultants, unveiled the winners of its acclaimed Acoustic Awards programme at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham.

Promoting and recognising excellence among UK acoustic consultants, the awards showcased the skills of members across five categories.

Hoare Lea secured the winning project in the award for ‘Architectural Acoustics: Commercial Buildings,’ sponsored by H & H Acoustic Technologies, with Sandy Brown Associates highly commended and SRL Technical Services commended in this category.

‘Architectural Acoustics: Education Buildings,’ sponsored by Ecophon, was secured by Sandy Brown Associates, with Adrian James Acoustics receiving the highly commended accolade and a commended award for Pace Consult.

‘Environmental Noise,’ sponsored by ANV Measurement Systems, was won by Apex Acoustics, with Southdowns Environmental Consultants taking highly commended and a commended title for AECOM in this category.

It was another successful outcome for Apex Acoustics, the winners in the ‘Smaller Projects’ award sponsored by Bruel & Kjaer, with AECOM taking the highly commended award and Red Twin the commended title.

The final award, ‘Vibration,’ sponsored by Pliteq, was won by Cole Jarman. WSP were highly commended and RBA Acoustics commended in this category.

Full details about the winning entries, with a link to a brochure featuring case study information on each project, can be viewed at http://www.association-of-noise-consultants.co.uk/2017-award-winners-revealed/

The awards were presented by James Woudhuysen, forecasting and innovation specialist and visiting professor at London South Bank University, with a distinguished panel of judges comprising of academics and professionals, as well as representatives from the sponsor companies, scrutinising the national and international entries.

Robert Osborne of ANC, said: “Now in their fifth year, the ANC awards continue to gain ground as a major opportunity to highlight world-leading expertise in the industry, and to inspire the next generation of acoustic consultants.

“Once again this year, the judges were hugely impressed with the scope and scale of the entries.

“The projects illustrate the unique skills of our UK-based acoustic and noise professionals and their innovative approach across the built environment, transportation and entertainment sectors.”