And finally…

A (sometimes) light hearted look at the weird and wonderful world of construction

And finally… The 28 best construction apps of 2017

The well-known mantra, ‘there’s an app for that’, now applies to tradespeople with even the most hands-on jobs.

IronmongeryDirect has created an infographic of the 28 most useful construction apps for iOS and Android, to put job-revolutionising tech in the pockets of those who need it.

This surge in construction app creation implies a definite shift in attitude in the industry, backed up by the recent release of PwC’s Industry 4.0, which shows the need for cloud computing, technology, 3D printing and smart tech is being increasingly valued among tradespeople. But not all construction workers and tradespeople are up to date with the latest technology, and many still resort to ‘traditional’ methods of working.

According to Designing Buildings, the construction industry is one of the least efficient industries worldwide with some estimates showing a staggering 50-80% of time is wasted on the construction site.

However, app technology is set to bring about change:

  • Co-Construct: Project management app that claims to save workers at least 30 minutes a day
  • Joist app for contractors: Claims to help workers win more jobs, eradicating the need to do paperwork at evenings and weekends
  • Construction Master Pro: Advanced calculator app that claims to reduce costly errors on the worksite
  • TSheets: App to replace paper timesheets making payroll and invoicing faster and less costly
  • Fulcrum: Information capture app claims to decrease costs and risks of paper storage, effectively replacing ‘the clipboard’

Wayne Lysaght-Mason, managing director of IronmongeryDirect, said: “With most people working in the construction sector now owning a smartphone, the apps we have researched have the potential to save considerable time and money. From builders, carpenters and electricians to project managers and employers, their smartphone can become their best tool with a range of powerful apps to help improve day-to-day efficiency both on site and in the office.”


And finally… Construction workers unearth giant swastika monolith


Construction workers in Germany have unearthed a giant concrete swastika underneath a sports field in the city of Hamburg.

German news agency dpa said workers were excavating ground to build changing rooms when they discovered the four-by-four metre block.

Members of the sports club at the Hein-Kling stadium in the city’s Billstedt district said the Nazi monolith served as a foundation for a monument that was torn down decades ago.

City officials say they want the swastika gone as quickly as possible.

But because it is too heavy to be transported away, they are planning to destroy it with jackhammers.

And finally… Room with a view

BeeLiving shower

Image courtesy of BeeLiving Ltd

A studio apartment in Nottingham has been advertised with a shower fitted inside the living room.

The 20m squared space comes fully furnished with a bed, wardrobe, desk and chair.

The property is on the market for £455.00 per month.

BeeLiving Ltd, the estate agent renting out the property, said: “A lot of people like a shower within their living space, we house a variety of people from different backgrounds, cultures and ethnicity. Along with professionals and students so we find that different people have different needs and requirements when it comes to living arrangements.”

And finally… Council puts former World War Two bunker up for sale

AM_Emergency_BunkerA bunker built to survive a direct hit from World War Two’s most powerful bombs has been offered for sale.

Prospective buyers have until 2pm on Wednesday 6 December 2017 to make their offers for the subterranean property in the Raigmore area of Inverness.

The Highland Council expects a six-figure sum for the property.

The Inverness Emergency Bunker includes a tarmacadam surfaced car park and 2 subterranean levels which were built in 1941 to house the RAF during the Second World War. The bunker was built to survive a direct hit from the most powerful bombs of the time. The structure is built with thick concrete walls and ceilings.

During the 1980’s the facility was enhanced to enable it to withstand nuclear, biological or chemical attacks. As a result the premises now benefit from blast and sealed doors, decontamination facilities, two diesel generators to power the building and an air filtration system to provide safe air in the event of nuclear, biological or chemical attack.

The property site is set in a forested area of mature broadleaved trees.

And finally… Radio station offers free bacon butties to construction workers

bacon-egg-and-cheese-2834906_960_720Builders across London will be getting more free bacon butties thanks to a local radio station.

Fix Radio, a station for tradespeople and builders in the city, is to resume its Fix Radio Bacon Butty Tour from January.

The inaugural tour earlier this year lasted 40 days and saw 15,000 hot bacon butties given out to workers on London building sites in return for allowing their radios to be retuned to Fix Radio.

Since its launch in April, Fix Radio has amassed an estimated audience of 25,000 listeners and has announced new big-name sponsorship partners including building merchant Travis Perkins and sealant company CT1, who are co-sponsoring Kicking Off, the daily lunchtime sports and music show presented by Radio veteran Paul Burrell, who is also the announcer for Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.

Other high-profile brands on Fix Radio include Bosch, Osmo, Dr Martens, Tuff Waterproofing,, Grundfos, Chandlers Building Supplies and the Federation of Master Builders as well as partnerships with Kier, Canary Wharf Contractors and Shaylor Group, who stream the radio station directly into their staff canteens.

And finally… Bus blocks live feed of stadium demolition

Georgia_DomeA live broadcast of the demolition of a stadium in the United States was ruined when a bus pulled up and blocked the view.

The Georgia Dome stadium in Atlanta was razed to the ground yesterday and the Weather Channel set up a camera to catch the historic 80,000-seat arena’s final moments.

Unfortunately, with the camera set up on the opposite side of a busy street, a city bus driver had other ideas, stopping directly in front of the stadium to watch the show, thereby blocking the view of the live feed.

The cameraman can be heard swearing at the bus, exclaiming “get out of the way, bus!” as the crowd blessed with full sight of the demolition cheers. By the time the bus departs, all that is left is a dust cloud, and a very unhappy cameraman.

The famous stadium has hosted two Superbowls and the 1996 Olympics and was, until Monday, home to the Atlanta Falcons.

It has been replaced by the Mercedes-Benz stadium, which opened in August.

And finally… Construction firm treats workers to healthy breakfasts, wi-fi and alcohol-free beer

beerForget pies and pasties, construction workers at a Salford development are enjoying healthy nosh, relaxing in an alcohol-free beer garden or designated rest rooms with wide screen TVS and free wi-fi.

The free breakfasts and lunch is being put on by Domis, billionaire Fred Done’s construction company which employs 150 people.

They are on site at Done’s £90m development at Blackfriars, where construction is currently taking place to build 380 luxury flats and townhouses.

The ‘VIP treatment’ is aimed to keep staff on site, especially when it rains, while also attracting top talent.

Domis managing director Lee McCarren told Manchester Evening News: “Society has changed and the building industry needs to change with it.

“We provide free Wi-fi so our people can check their emails and go online during rest periods in the designated rest rooms which are modern and always spotlessly clean. We have the best facilities in the industry; we’ve gone for a Formula One approach and it is working for everyone.

“The subsidised food, including healthy options, which surprisingly many of our fellas choose , keep staff on site longer. We also have drying rooms and showers and first rate medical facilities. We even provide free breakfasts on Saturday mornings.”

Semi professional rugby league player, Danny Price, who works as a steel fitter and plays for Widnes-based Championship team North Wales Crusaders, says the canteen is great as it helps him maintain his match day weight of 13 and a half stone.

Danny, 24, said: “You need plenty of food when you’re doing manual work outdoors but it’s a case of having a balanced diet and everything in moderation. You do need hot, nourishing food because it is hard work outside in all elements so decent food to keep you going is vital. I’m always attempting with difficulty to persuade my work mates to think about what they eat. This is easily the best site I’ve ever worked on.”

The 150-strong workforce will increase to more than 450 during the development that is on target to be completed in November 2019.

The project funded by Fred Done, built by Domis with Salford-based developers Salboy will include a cinema, launderette, reception area and gymnasium.

And finally… Party game company trumps Mexico border wall plan with land acquisition

Trump border wallCards Against Humanity, the self-dubbed “party game for horrible people”, has purchased a plot of land on the US-Mexico border in an effort to protest the development of President Trump’s wall.

While the company said it has no expectations the venture will stop construction, it does think it is a funny way to protest the wall and perhaps cause delays.

Compounding this land purchase is this year’s holiday season marketing campaign: for $15 buyers get six “America saving surprises.” Among these surprises are a map of the land plot just purchased and new cards for the game.

The firm said: “It’s 2017, and the government is being run by a toilet. We have no choice: Cards Against Humanity is going to save America.

“There’s no time for questions—now is the time to act. You give us $15, and we’ll send six America-saving surprises right to your doorstep. It will be fun, it will be weird, and if you voted for Trump, you might want to sit this one out.”

This is not the first time Cards Against Humanity has made an open political statement. This past summer the company launched its “Cards Against Humanity For Her.” The box was pink and, in support of women, the asking price was $5 higher than it normal but the profits made were donated to Emily’s List, a political action committee that strives to put more women into political positions.

And finally… Study reveals importance of street names in determining Scottish identity

Street names word cloudPeople living in Scottish areas with street names commemorating Britain, such as “Queen”, “Royal”, “Regent”, or “London” are less likely to define themselves as Scottish only, new research from the University of St Andrews has revealed.

The finding, by Dr Daniel Oto-Peralías, is part of new research focusing on what street names have to tell us about our culture and identity.

Dr Oto-Peralías, of the School of Management at the University of St Andrews, compared the street names of Scottish Westminster parliamentary constituencies with a recent population census asking people to identify their national identity. In areas with a lower number of such union-themed street names, people were more likely to describe themselves as having a “Scottish identity only”.

The study, published in the Journal of Economic Geography, also shows that religion remains a salient topic with the word “church” featuring in the top four of the ranking of most frequent British street names. The research also found that people in areas with a high percentage of religious-related street names, such as “church” or “chapel”, were more likely to identify as Christian.

Dr Oto-Peralías said: “Street names are cultural markers of a town and its history, and can be used as a rich source of information to create socio-cultural indicators at the regional and local level. With the help of data software with text analysis capabilities, it is feasible to analyse hundreds of thousands of street names to extract themes and trends capturing the culture and history of the population.”

Many topics can be studied using street-name data, for instance, gender inequality. The data indicate that the street map is strongly biased toward men, reflecting a history of marginalisation of women in the public sphere.

For the Spanish case, analysed in depth by Dr Oto-Peralías, the percentage of streets named after men, over the total named after men and women, is 83.1%. If streets named after religious figures are removed, the percentage increases to 86.8%, which is a value close to that found in other studies that focus on specific European cities.

Dr Oto-Peralías added: “This large bias naturally generates controversy and indeed there are some social movements fighting for more gender equality in street names. This is an important issue because street names have strong symbolic power and can contribute to the perpetuation of those social and cultural values contained in them.”

And finally… Bill Gates plans to build his own city

arizona-1966570_960_720The richest man in the world has announced his intent to create his very own “smart city” in the United States.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates plans invest $80 million (£61m) to buy 40 square miles of land just 45 minutes west of Phoenix to build around 80,000 residential units and thousands of acres of commercial and industrial buildings and schools.

Set to be called Belmont, the futuristic city will devote roughly 3,800 of the 24,800 acres to office, commercial, and retail space, while 470 acres will be set aside for public schools.

“Belmont will create a forward-thinking community with a communication and infrastructure spine that embraces cutting-edge technology, designed around high-speed digital networks, data centres, new manufacturing technologies and distribution models, autonomous vehicles and autonomous logistics hubs,” said Belmont Partners, one of Bill Gates’ investment firms.

“Comparable in square miles and projected population to Tempe, Arizona, Belmont will transform a raw, blank slate into a purpose-built edge city built around a flexible infrastructure model.”

Belmont Partners expects its development to feature all the trappings of a futuristic city: high-speed internet embedded in the built environment, accommodations for self-driving cars (such as traffic lights that communicate with one another to minimise congestion), and smarter manufacturing technology.

It isn’t yet known when construction will begin.