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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


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.


The Internet of Things and The Washroom Experience: How it can benefit facilities management

The humble office toilet is something that every single employee will use throughout the working week. They’re rarely talked about, and our experiences within these porcelain worlds are guarded as privately as a confessional – but regardless of their secrecy and relatively taboo nature, they’re an important part of facilities management.

Over recent years the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) has fundamentally changed the washroom experience, and through the use of sensors and connectivity IoT devices now have the potential to not only improve the washroom experience, but to increase productivity and efficiency in the workplace.

Leaving a lasting impresssion

Every touch point, either consciously or unconsciously, contributes to a person’s perception of a business or organisation. Considering toilets are often the very first or last thing a customer sees when visiting an office, they can either make a great impression, or leave a lasting negative opinion.

Unhygienic or poorly stocked toilets can lead to customer complaints, and internally employee’s want to feel part of a quality enterprise. They want to see tangible evidence through the quality of workplace facilities that they’re important, valued and more than just a number.

The challenge for many facilities managers is to learn about the capabilities and the limitations of these new technologies, and deciding how, when, and where to implement IoT strategies.

Monitoring the level of washroom consumables

It’s not news that a number of restrooms already use hands-free, motion-controlled soap dispensers; but the next generation of dispensers are now tracking how often the dispensers are used, and trigger automated actions based on the data.

Through the use of integrated sensors inside soap dispensers, optical systems in toilet paper holders, and portion meter’s in paper towel dispensers, data collection points throughout a building can send the information to an interface that visually displays the various stock levels to both cleaners and facilities managers.

By checking product levels in real time and observing trends in washroom behaviour, facilities managers can start to identify when a washroom is statistically at their busiest or quietest times. Cleaning rota’s can be adjusted based on actual usage (rather than recurring mandatory checks), and by replenishing consumables when they’re actually needed, and at a time with the least impact of people who use them, the whole washroom process can be made more efficient.

It might not seem important to those not directly involved, but in low margin services where much of the cost is associated with people, the improvements in efficiency and productivity can make a real difference to the bottom line.

Customer usage

The same sensors and principles can be also applied to customer usage. Long waiting times at a bathroom are all too common, and can lead to dissatisfaction for customers and reduced productivity for employees.

Through the use of the Internet of Things, connected bathrooms can track when a bathroom is occupied, and display its status and waiting time in other areas of the building, or even on a mobile application.

For example at the recent London World Championships, the Olympic Stadium could have used a branded app to inform attendees that there’s a 15-minute wait at the bathroom by Gate C, but only a 1-minute wait by Gate B. For those without the app, staff could also be deployed to usher customers to the bathroom of least resistance.

Similarly at your workplace, employees could easily view when a bathroom is available, helping to minimise the waiting times outside bathrooms and helping to improve staff productivity.

This could also play a role in the layout of an office. By identifying how users interact with your washroom, which toilets get used the most, which toilets are rarely used etc., you can make changes to the layout of rooms or redesign office floor plans based on usage patterns.

Customer feedback and reviews

While we tend to think of reviews as something’s that’s reserved for a new product launch or the latest TV series on Netflix, the Internet of Things is being used to gather feedback on how visitors rate their washroom experience.

Following this concept, the Indian government – which is particularly interested in improving sanitation throughout the country – is using this very approach to gather customer feedback across a number of public washrooms.

Through the use of colour coded emoji’s (green, yellow and red) users will be able to assess their level of satisfaction by pressing one of the three buttons, with the feedback being sent directly to the urban local body.

In cases where there’s consistently a negative experience, the government will send an SMS to the caretaker for corrective action, and an escalation SMS can be sent to higher management if feedback does not improve. Just as the Internet has opened up Journalists to immediate feedback from their audience, facilities managers can now have real time data from their customers, enabling them to make tangible improvements in the services that they’re responsible for.

A hands free experience

While hands free toilets have been popular in the East for some time, they’re only beginning to catch on in the West, but hi-tech toilets have the potential to improve sanitary care the world over.

It may take some time for everyone to feel completely comfortable with a hands free washroom experience, but the main premise is one of convenience and hygiene. Hygiene will be of particularly importance for the hotel and food industry, where the cleanliness of their washroom has a direct bearing on how customers judge an establishments “food hygiene” practices.

The technology already exists where toilets can detect your presence before opening doors automatically for you. Toilets seats can be warmed to a comfortable temperature, and sensors integrated within the toilets can now recognise when you’re “ready”, before deploying a quick spray of water to the sides of the bowl to help improve lubrication.

Customers looking for toilet paper may initially be surprised to find none (inducing a small amount of panic), but the remote control on the wall is all visitors will need. Displayed before them is an array of washing and drying options, complete with a range of potentially perplexing water jet speeds and angles – all providing a comfortable finale to the events proceedings.

Upon standing, the toilet automatically closes the lid, before water flows over anodized cathodes that electrolyse’s the water (extracting sodium and chlorine) before the water is sprayed into the bowl 45 seconds after you walk away. The slightly acidic solution helps to kill bacteria, before the self-cleaning toilet uses UV-light for further bacteria zapping benefits.

While all of this will undoubtedly make for a memorable experience, there’s now no need to touch a single object in a washroom, helping to mitigate any unsanitary or unhygienic practices. And from a cost perspective, automatic flushes typically use less water and there’s the reduction, or complete eradication of toilet paper.

The future of toilets

While all of this may sound futuristic, the big area of toilet excitement is in biometrics. The idea is that sensors in the toilet could analyse urine and fecal matter, before tracking your bodily changes to provide useful health information, warning you of any potential problems before sending the information directly to your doctor.

As a result, smart toilets may be a crucial element of future healthcare, but today, the Internet of Things has, and will continue to fundamentally change the washroom experience, and provides facilities managers with plenty to think about over the coming years.

This post was written by VR Sani-Co, providing a range of quality washroom services, hygiene solutions and sanitary bins throughout Kent, London & Sussex.


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


A former cattle market gets a sustainable overhaul with Selectaglaze secondary glazing

William Julian Courtauld paid the princely sum of £50,000 to give Braintree its own Town Hall. The first stone was laid in 1926 and it has been in constant use since its construction.

Braintree Town Hall, Grade II Listed, was faced with the task of making its building more energy efficient. Selectaglaze was approached to address issues with the windows, which allowed cold air in and heat to escape.

A meeting was arranged with Braintree Town Hall and the local Conservation Officer, where an aluminium sample from Selectaglaze was set up next to one of the windows. Those in attendance were surprised at how well the timber grain effect blended in with the wood panelling of the room.

After a successful demonstration, Selectaglaze installed 20 vertical sliding units. All products were finished with a timber grain effect that matched perfectly with the interior.

The installation of secondary glazing radically reduces heat loss and all units are bespoke to achieve airtightness which virtually eradicates draughts. An additional benefit of installing secondary glazing was the reduction of outside noise.

“The Council researched a modern secondary glazing system that would complement the oak panelled interior of the Town Hall. A colour matched oak print with raised wood grain has been applied to the visible parts of the aluminium frame achieving an exact match to the existing oak surround.

“The estimated savings from installing secondary glazing in the Town Hall is at least 12% of the combined heating bill, over £400pa at current prices, which are predicted to increase annually.” Said Councillor Robert Mitchell, Deputy Cabinet Member for Environment and Place.

Royal Warrant Holder since 2004; Selectaglaze has 50 years’ experience designing, manufacturing and installing secondary glazing for all building types from new buildings to Listed town halls. Selectaglaze offers a free technical advisory service along with RIBA approved CPDs.

Contact Selectaglaze on 01727 837271 Email: or visit:


TNG’s expertise fits the bill for new police HQ

A new police building in Jersey has been delivered on budget and ahead of time thanks to the technical expertise of the team at TNG Consulting Engineers.

Acting as M&E Co-ordinator, the Southampton-based engineering specialists provided both advisory and supervisory services for the purpose-built police station in La Route du Fort in St Helier.

Directors Russ Pitman (MD) and Ralph Boden worked on behalf of the main contractor, ROK Regal Construction Ltd. TNG’s services included the assessment of the tendered design and the proposals for the mechanical and electrical systems, advice on the M&E programme of works and the management of the Ministry of Justice commissioning procedure.

Russ Pitman also chaired the M&E co-ordination meetings, carried out site inspections and was responsible for the commissioning programming for the £24M project.

The new building is unique as it combines police headquarters with an operational police station, custody suite and emergency command centre. This means that for the first time ever, all of the States of Jersey Police functions are located together.

Russ Pitman, TNG’s Managing Director said, “We were honoured to play a part in constructing this impressive building, which will play a critical role in serving the local community for many years to come.

“The TNG team pulled out all the stops to ensure this high profile project exceeded expectations, and we were delighted to complete the work ahead of schedule and within budget,” added Russ.

The States of Jersey Police’s Chief Officer was so impressed by the Team’s work, that he wrote a personal letter of thanks.

Mike Bowron, QPM (Queens Police Medal), said, “I have been particularly impressed by the team ethos, joint approach and shared effort that has been undertaken by the design team and specialists to deliver this fantastic facility.

“Every team member has played a critical role in bringing this project to fruition and I’d like to thank TNG for its dedication and professionalism. You have produced an excellent building of which you can be truly proud,” added Mike.





New toggle latches from FDB Panel Fittings

These new DIRAK toggle latches from FDB Panel Fittings offer the novel feature of a slider lock mechanism to prevent accidental opening or nuisance opening caused by excessive vibration. They are typically of value on specialist vehicles for compartment closure or on transit cases where the padlockable variant would also be particularly useful.

These spring wire loop catches with hook plates are in tough AISI 304 stainless steel with slider locks in either stainless or Red ABS for greater visibility.

FDB Panel Fittings and sister company FDB Electrical share their online shopping website at Further information on FDB products and services may be found at: Find the latest information and news on the FDB blog –, or follow them on twitter: – also see


Hunter & Uro to launch key worker discount scheme

Family law firm Hunter & Uro is launching a new scheme to help key workers access its legal services at a discounted rate.

The firm, which has practices in London and Bedfordshire, will offer a 20% discount on its standard hourly rates to eligible clients, who are typically performing public sector roles.

Philip Hunter, Partner at Hunter & Uro, said: “We are delighted to be unveiling our key worker discount scheme. We recognise that there are people in our local communities who do an amazing job and provide essential services for our community on a daily basis but feel they cannot afford legal support when they need it.

“We wanted to do something practical that acknowledged the contribution made by these people and provide tangible support to them whenever they have a need for family law advice – for example with divorce, finance, pensions, separation, issues relating to children, or any other ongoing family legal issue.”

Fellow Partner Pui Uro added: “We’re always looking for ways of making it easier for people to access our specialist family legal services, and we’re very proud to offer this new initiative for key workers. It follows our commitment to providing monthly payment plans and the imminent launch of our Pro-Bono Scheme.”

Clients eligible for Hunter & Uro’s key workers discount scheme include:

  • NHS staff
  • State sector teachers and nursery teachers
  • Police Officers
  • Community Support Officers
  • Prison Officers and prison staff
  • Probation service staff
  • Social workers
  • Firefighters
  • Ministry of Defence personnel
  • Environmental Health Officers
  • Highway Agency Traffic Officers.

Key workers are required to provide evidence of employment, such as a payslip or a suitable contract of employment, to qualify for the scheme.

Full details and terms and conditions are available on the Hunter & Uro website at


New Security Fasteners from Challenge Europe Ltd

Challenge Europe are delighted to have in their portfolio the Hafren range of security fasteners – a range of anti-vandal, anti-tamper screws and nuts proven in applications from architectural and street furniture, to marine and industrial equipment.

2 hole headed (otherwise known as pignose or snake eye) A2 stainless screws, bolts and self-tappers provide a versatile and clean look to installations while deterring vandals and keeping installations safe. Likewise, shear-nuts in zinc plated steel, galvanised, A2 and A4 stainless.

The Hafren range from Challenge Europe also covers 6-lobe driven threaded fasteners in A2 stainless steel with centre pin, in self-tapping, machine screw, self-drilling, barrel nut and floor anchor formats. Both countersunk and dome headed types are available.

Further information on Challenge Europe products can be found on their website –


Andrews Provides Chilled Out Music

Hire of a 50kW chiller coupled to air handling units enabled Andrews Chiller Hire to achieve and maintain the correct temperature within a temporary music rooms at a South East University whilst the main Music Hall underwent major internal renovation.  Achieving the perfect environment ensured students could actively continue on their music degree courses, uninterrupted.

Fluctuations in temperature ultimately affect humidity, which can be a complicating factor when examining the effect of increases in temperature on musical instruments. Both reed and stringed instruments suffer, not only affecting the actual sound but also minute delays in timing. In stringed instruments such as violins higher temperatures decrease the tension in the string, changing the way the bow pulls on each string. In reed instruments, such as an organ, the dimension of the pipes change, altering the sound.

For degree course students these changes may have an unnerving experience, therefore the University needed to ensure that the new temporary music rooms could maintain a constant environment.

As a leading chiller hire specialist, Andrews Sykes has a broad knowledge and considerable experience in providing solutions that will reduce and stabilise temperatures.  It also operates with one of the large ranges of chillers which ensures it can cope with any situations and with a nation-wide network of depots a solutions is always close at hand..

When contacted by the SE England University a same-day site survey was conducted and it was decided that the Andrews 50kW chiller and a number air handling units would create the perfect temperature controlled environment.  The units were commissioned for use within hours of arrival on site, allowing the University to achieve and maintain the optimum playing conditions inside the temporary music rooms.  As the campus has considerable foot traffic, care was taken to keep the hoses above head height to eliminated trip hazards.

The Andrews 50kW fluid air chiller circulates chilled water to each of the air handling units.  Warm air from the music rooms is drawn into the lower portion of the air handling units, then passes over the ‘cold’ coils resulting in a drop in temperature, the cooler air is then gently blown back into room from the top vents.  Since temperature change will depend on air flow, air temperature and humidity, the Andrews Chiller solutions had to adjust automatically to these variants.

The campus maintenance team and lectures alike where delighted with the results achieved by Andrews Chiller Hire, it created the perfect temporary cooling solution that ran through-out the length of renovation works.  It gave the University effective climate control, enabling all music courses to continue without any disruption.