The importance of drain mapping

Before planning or undertaking any construction project, whether that be performing some kind of excavation, or new extension, it is vital to identify the drainage system in the surrounding area. 

As these run underground, it is difficult to know exactly where existing drains are positioned and in order to gain planning permission, as well as avoid costly mistakes, drain mapping is a key.

What is drain mapping? 

Drain mapping, or asset mapping, is the process of verifying the layout of drains and sewers beneath a property or area of land, including the location of existing foul water networks, manholes and gullies. 

By using cutting-edge GPS data and technologies such as Radio detection scanning and CCTV cameras, this allows us to gather useful information on the size, depth, and directional flow of pipes within the system to produce a detailed site map. 

The main features of a drain mapping survey include: 

  • A site map with a schematic diagram of the drainage system
  • A complete asset list detailing the location, size, manhole access points and use of each drain section
  • The connectivity of all site drainage 
  • A list of recommendations for remedial action to resolve any drainage problems 

Why is it important? 

Drain mapping is a key part of a drainage survey, especially for builders and architects who can use drain maps to visualise the entire network when planning for renovations, driveways or even roofing projects in case new gutters are required. 

Another reason is to safeguard against damage to pre-existing systems that may become more costly to repair down the line. Any cracks, leaks or root intrusions can be discovered and dealt with immediately, making repair work more efficient. Drain mapping is also important for flood risk management and pollution prevention. 

Plus, older properties may have an inaccurate chart of it’s drainage, therefore drainage mapping helps site managers and engineers make an informed decision on whether it needs an alteration or upgrade.

Find out more 

Hebs Flowtech are on hand 24/7 to help you with any pipeline, drainage or sewer related emergency. Contact our experienced maintenance team now on 0151 2360707 and we’ll be happy to help with any enquiries.

The importance of environmental due diligence in construction

There are many reasons to prioritise environmental due diligence in construction, ranging from a desire to protect the environment, through to some directly business-related impacts on costs and finance.

In this article we’ll look at some of the main elements of environmental due diligence in construction projects, and why they are so important to the successful delivery of the work.

 

Why does environmental due diligence matter?

‘Due diligence’ is about meeting your obligations and responsibilities, and reducing avoidable risks. This has benefits for the environment, your business and the specific project at hand.

 

Help the environment

Major construction inevitably leads to upheaval for the landscape, wildlife, plant life and local ecosystems.

Environmental due diligence allows you to identify protected species so they can be relocated, and to minimise negative effects on important habitats.

 

Protect your business

Carrying out environmental audits gives you information you can publish to show stakeholders and members of the public that you take your responsibilities seriously.

This is good practice in any case, but can reflect well on stakeholders and protect your brand reputation in the event of an environmental incident on a job.

 

Deliver projects

Ultimately, environmental due diligence is a way to keep individual projects on track. No interruptions or delays due to discovering a newt on-site, for example.

This has direct cost implications – by keeping projects on schedule and on budget, and by avoiding the risk of fines and financial penalties for disturbing protected habitats and species.

 

What environmental risks to look for

Some hazardous materials are a threat to human life and health, as well as to the environment, so it is doubly important to assess their presence and prevalence.

Examples include:

  • Asbestos
  • Hydraulic fluids
  • Lead paint
  • Mercury
  • Other known contaminants

In addition to these, your environmental due diligence should also consider the impact of construction on the natural environment, both during and after the work is completed.

Things to put on your checklist here include:

  • Archaeological significance
  • Endangered species
  • Presence of mould
  • Rainwater drainage
  • Wetland habitats

A comprehensive environmental audit can take all of these different factors into account, to create a complete picture of the impact your work will have, and mitigate any avoidable environmental risks.

 

Find out more


To get help with your environmental due diligence on construction projects in the pipeline, contact hebs Group today on 0151 2360707 and a member of our team will be happy to discuss your needs with you.

Maintain your commercial HVAC system for summer

The recent hot weather has made it even more important that you put your commercial HVAC system through its annual summer check-up.

With a few simple steps, you can keep your commercial air conditioning maintenance under control and avoid a costly – and uncomfortable – breakdown on a hot summer day.

Here are five ways to keep commercial HVAC systems running efficiently through the summer, and reduce the risk of a breakdown.

 

1. Clean vents and ducts

It’s important not to neglect your ducts, as well as the air vents on your HVAC systems themselves as this is how cool air is delivered around your premises.

Clean, dry ducts reduce the risk of airborne pathogens like Legionella, so should be a part of your regular cleaning schedule for health and safety reasons.

You can also reduce dust and other particles like pollen, which can help to prevent allergies from flaring up among your employees.

 

2. Clean filters

Air conditioning filters get clogged with dust over time, affecting the efficiency of air flow, preventing cold air from being released, and triggering allergies in the room.

Cleaning your HVAC filters should again be a regular part of your planned maintenance, but double checking them during the summer months, relieves the strain on your air conditioning compressors.

 

3. Condenser maintenance

If you have a permanent ducted HVAC system, it’s likely you have a condenser unit somewhere on your exterior wall.

Routine maintenance can keep this crucial piece of equipment running well, so that the heat removed from your interior can be released outside efficiently.

 

4. Check capacity

A commercial HVAC system is designed to work in a room of a certain size, which is why the operating manual often advises you to keep doors and windows closed when your air conditioning is turned on.

But commercial premises can be reconfigured quite easily, by taking down a partition wall or putting up new cubicle dividers.

If you’ve made any changes over the past 12 months – especially new physical divisions and barriers as part of COVID-secure precautions – check if your HVAC systems can cope with your new floor plan.

 

5. Adjust the settings

Last but not least, make sure the settings on your control panels are at a sensible position. It’s not sensible to try to cool a room to 5C when it’s 30C outside, and it puts unreasonable strain on your air conditioning compressors.

Set your target temperature at a sensible intermediate value and, once you hit that, then you can consider adjusting it further if you’re still too warm.


For more information about our HVAC maintenance service, contact hebs at info@hebs-group.co.uk or call us on 0151 236 0707 and we will be happy to help.

Cybersecurity risks for smart buildings

An ever-increasing number of the utilities and facilities installed in commercial buildings, as well as some residences, are connected via the Internet of Things.

A common residential example of this is the use of smart electricity meters, which not only monitor your electricity use, but can be controlled remotely via a smartphone app to turn appliances on and off when you are not home.

In a commercial setting, similar automation can control HVAC systems, as well as ensuring lights are turned off when the last person leaves the building.

But increased connectivity – especially via the internet – also brings with it increased cybersecurity risks.

Here are some of the top risks to watch out for, as well as some sensible steps you can take to protect your premises against would-be hackers and attackers.

 

All-network attacks

Your business may have multiple networks, including a LAN, WAN, public internet connection and Internet of Things (IoT) connection for your appliances.

If these networks cross paths at any point, for example if they run via a single server, router or modem, then they are all vulnerable to external attacks.

For maximum security, any connections with the public internet, including IoT connections, should run on completely separate hardware from business-critical internal networks such as LANs and WANs.

 

Software attacks

One of the other cybersecurity risks is hackers attempting to compromise your networks using software such as spyware, ransomware or a Trojan virus to gain control of computers inside your network firewall.

Make sure you have good policies in place, e.g. to prevent employees from opening unfamiliar and unexpected email attachments.

Back this up with strong sentinel antivirus software, which will patrol your network looking for malicious code and quarantine it before it has a chance to execute.

 

Physical attacks

Smart buildings are at risk from direct physical hacks, if a malicious individual is able to gain access to your premises.

Implement good access control at all external doors, and install alarms on any windows accessible from ground level.

When you need maintenance on smart building systems, always work with a reputable maintenance provider such as hebs Group, who you know you can trust.

 

Get in touch

The hebs Group team is here to help by keeping your smart building systems well maintained and up to date, so that you do not expose them to avoidable security risks.

To make an enquiry about smart building maintenance and cybersecurity, contact hebs on info@hebs-group.co.uk or call our engineers on 0151 236 0707 to find out more about any of our services.