The benefits of wearable technology in construction

Miniaturised wireless electronics and the advent of the Internet of Things have both made wearable technology in construction a more common feature of industry workplaces.

What are the benefits of wearable technology in construction workplaces? What has helped to increase adoption of these devices at all levels?

Convenience

Convenience is crucial for widespread adoption. Construction workers need to be able to move around the work site easily without losing any dexterity to bulky smart clothing.

Over time this has improved, and present-day wearable technology is almost indistinguishable from ordinary clothes, especially when it is built into protective equipment.

Wearable techology can be integrated into normal clothing, protective outwear like hard hats and fluorescent vests, clip-on sensors and fobs, and a range of other formats suitable for different construction sites, without being intrusive for the wearer.

Continuous

A big benefit of wearable technology in construction sites is its ability to provide continuous monitoring of variables like worker location or health and safety data.

This means you get complete data, without employees needing to manually check in, and with little to no admin time required.

In addition to the benefits of this per individual user, you also get organisation-wide visibility of data, all reported to the same standard, allowing you to make broad plans and changes in an informed manner.

Responsive

When wearable technology is connected to a wireless network connection, it can provide real-time monitoring and issue an alert if a certain condition is detected.

This allows rapid response to various situations, for example if an employee working alone in a remote location stops transmitting, or if an individual’s wearable sensor detects unsafe environmental conditions.

By combining data from multiple users, you can identify hazardous areas – for example, specific zones where hazardous gases tend to accumulate – using each individual as a data point complete with GPS coordinates.

Versatile

Wearable technology takes many forms, with different applications on construction sites and in other industries.

Examples include:

  • Heart rate monitors and other personal safety devices.
  • Environmental sensors e.g. temperature, oxygen, carbon monoxide.
  • Smart glasses that can transmit exactly what the wearer sees.
  • GPS/location tracking and accelerometers for fall detection.
  • Security fobs that allow contactless entry to restricted areas.

The list of possibilities goes on and on – and if you need to achieve something specific, unusual, or even unique, there may be a form of wearable tech that can be adapted to suit the purpose.

At hebs Group, we cover the full range of contracting sectors and construction project types, delivering the right result for each client and ensuring all key requirements are met. Contact us today on 0151 236 0707 for more information.

Creating the perfect office fit out space

With autumn and winter approaching and many more employees returning to the workplace, it’s a good time to think about creating the perfect office fit out space for the seasons ahead.

It’s impossible to ignore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean it has to dominate every design decision you make – in fact there are ways to create a COVID-secure workplace using methods and materials that are already on-trend.

Here are some ideas to keep in mind when preparing offices for autumn, especially while keeping Coronavirus workplace precautions in mind.

Transition areas

For the perfect office fit out, it’s sensible to have a transition zone where staff can take off outerwear when they arrive at work.

This doesn’t have to be a large area, but just a space fitted out with coat racks, umbrella stands and so on.

Remember to give people plenty of distance in this area, and have a one-way system in place if necessary, so employees can maintain social distancing at busy times throughout the day.

COVID-19 hygiene stations

Your transition area should include any necessary COVID-secure workplace hygiene precautions, such as:

  • Alcohol hand gel
  • Hand-washing facilities
  • Secure bins for disposable face masks

Consider your local authority or regulatory obligations, as well as what your workforce needs to be safe and secure at work – often some simple additions like wall-mounted hand gel dispensers can make a big difference.

HVAC systems

Don’t neglect your HVAC systems, as we’re coming into the time of year when heating, ventilation and air conditioning will all be in demand.

Make sure your air conditioning filters are cleaned or replaced. There’s not much research about COVID-19 yet but the virus is of a size that should be captured by HEPA filters, around 125 nanometres.

Natural ventilation also helps to disperse the virus to a safe level, to reduce this consider making more use of open windows than you normally would at this time of year.

Seasonal lighting

Workplaces need a minimum level of illumination, but it doesn’t have to come from harsh overhead lighting.

Dimmable task lighting is ideal for autumn-winter, when some staff might be working out of daylight hours, and you can add decorative lighting in the run-up to Christmas too.

Again, give your employees what they need – with a mix of bright lighting when it’s required, and softer individual desk lights for those who prefer them.

On-trend for autumn

If you’re updating some of the smaller fixtures and fittings around your office, consider using copper for an on-trend aesthetic.

Copper has seen huge popularity in recent years and adds subtle colour to workplace interiors, different to the usual mix of black, white and silver metals.

Significantly for autumn-winter 2020, research suggests Coronavirus cells die within a few hours on copper, making it a good choice for fixtures that are used frequently such as door handles and light switches.

Need a new office fit out in time for the winter period? Call the experts at hebs Group today on 0151 236 0707 or send us an email at info@hebs-group.co.uk and we’ll create the perfect office fit out that’s right for you.

What is integrated facilities management (IFM)?

Integrated facilities management (IFM) is exactly as it sounds – bringing all your facilities management contracts under a single service.

IFM can combine hard facilities management, which includes elements of the building fabric, and soft FM like security, cleaning and waste management.

Bringing these different services together under a single contract gives you one point of call for customer service, better coordination between FM services, and consolidated costs to bring everything in under budget.

At hebs Group we provide IFM services to many of our clients, combining the expertise of all our engineers into a single contract that covers everything you need.

Examples of integrated facilities management

We’ve mentioned hard and soft facilities management above. To give more detail, IFM contracts can combine many different elements, including the following:

These are just some examples – in principle, integrated FM can include any and all of the services you need to keep your facilities running smoothly over the long term.

Benefits of integrated facilities management

Integrated facilities management (IFM) is a best-of-both-worlds solution for maintenance, repair and other services you don’t want to carry out in-house.

You gain several benefits from outsourcing facilities management to a single provider:

  • Expert support with services you don’t want to handle yourself.
  • Less admin compared with coordinating multiple service providers.
  • Lower overall cost of contract and easier to keep within budget.

The benefits of integrated facilities management (IFM) increase the more services you need – so if you have a modern workplace with all the technology and amenities that brings, you should consider arranging an integrated FM contract.

Planned and responsive facilities management

Just like individual FM contracts, IFM can incorporate planned maintenance and responsive repairs as required, again giving you a single phone number to call when you need help.

This gives you peace of mind that work – both planned and responsive – will be carried out to the same high standard at all times, meeting all your service-level agreements and other contractual expectations.

At hebs Group we are proud to work on long-term IFM contracts with many very happy clients who put their trust in us to keep their premises operating and to restore continuity quickly in the event of an emergency.

To find out more, contact us today by calling 0151 236 0707 and we can arrange an initial audit of the different types of facilities management you need.

Why it’s important to perform a percolation test for drainage

A percolation test is an important initial inspection before installing new drainage, especially sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) that make use of a soakaway.

The results of a percolation/permeability test tell you how efficiently the surrounding soil can absorb water from the soakaway or from the surface above.

Light sandy soils can take in larger amounts of water quickly, whereas dense clay soils can only absorb small amounts in any one space of time.

This influences SuDS design because, particularly in systems that use a soakaway or similar, you need to be confident that any wastewater will disperse into the soil before the soakaway overflows.

How does a percolation test work?

A percolation test involves pouring water into a hole of standard size and measuring how quickly it is absorbed into the soil.

The hole is typically a 300mm cube and should drain completely within a few hours. For a precise measurement of permeability, the tester records the time taken in seconds for the water level to drop a specific distance.

By dividing that distance by the time taken, a measure of permeability is obtained in mm/s, which can then be used to calculate the size of soakaway needed to avoid any risk of flooding.

Why is a permeability test important?

Hopefully, the benefits of a permeability test are already clear as it’s a relatively easy way to calculate how fast water will soak into the surrounding soil.

This allows you to make an informed decision when installing drainage systems and especially when installing SuDS with soakaways, which must have sufficient capacity to avoid overflowing before the water can naturally percolate away.

Your local authority may also demand a percolation test before they will grant permission for any new SuDS to be installed – so in many cases it is a mandatory part of the process.

Best practice for percolation tests

There are some simple things to remember when carrying out a percolation test:

  • Conduct testing under normal weather conditions, not when the soil is especially dry or already waterlogged.
  • Use a Trial Site Assessment Hole to find the level of the natural water table, as your soakaway will need to be above this.
  • Repeat the test several times and calculate the average percolation rate for a more accurate result.

If you are considering installing a new septic tank, sewage treatment or any kind of SuDS with a soakaway, contact us today on 0151 236 0707 and make sure you get a professional percolation test carried out before you begin any work.