What are the main design management risks in construction?

Design management risks should be factored into project delivery from the outset, to keep construction on schedule and on budget, and to avoid any health and safety risks.

Some elements of design management risk are mandatory for regulatory and compliance purposes, while others are a means to protect investment and ensure the success of the project.

In general, design risk management (DRM) spans three main areas of activity:

  • Design and preparation by the design team and contractors
  • Health and safety throughout the duration of the project
  • Risk management in tenders and pricing

The end goal is to manage risks that may arise not only during the construction phase, but also due to changes in the design and during subsequent use and maintenance of the building.


Common risks in construction design management

There are several common areas of risk in construction design management. Some of these are specifically design-related, while others are general problems that might arise on any kind of project.

  • Errors and omissions in the design
  • Delays and missed deadlines during delivery
  • Last-minute changes (including requests from stakeholders)
  • Failure to deliver according to contract
  • Scheduling errors and third-party subcontractor delays

Some common risks arise externally, but should still be anticipated and mitigated as far as reasonably possible, for example:

  • Environmental risk, impact and analysis
  • Public objections and changes in local laws
  • Organisational risks (staff absence, employee turnover)
  • Project management risks and personnel conflict
  • Excess costs and changes in technology

Identifying all the relevant risks that apply to the design of your project, and to the successful delivery of that design, can allow you to manage your exposure to avoidable delays and financial losses.


How to mitigate design management risks

A four-step framework is usually applied to identify and mitigate design risks:

  1. Identify risks, working collaboratively with stakeholders and subcontractors across all areas of the project planning and design.
  2. Assess risks on a sliding scale, to estimate potential impacts and to rank the areas of highest priority.
  3. Mitigate risks by developing plans to reduce the chance of incidents occurring and to react to them quickly if they do.
  4. Monitor risks to identify emerging incidents and prevent them from escalating where possible.

Effective project management and design risk management should not be considered a luxury or an additional investment, as it is critical to confident delivery of construction work.

To benefit from hebs Group’s DRM expertise and risk mitigation strategies, contact us today on 0151 236 0707 or info@hebs-group.co.uk.

4 key Facilities Management strategies

Facilities Management naturally involves an element of strategy, for example when scheduling planned maintenance, but by going beyond this you can optimise the outcomes for your organisation.

In 2020, RICS ran an article headed “Introducing Strategic Facilities Management” and outlining several potential approaches to Strategic FM.

Here’s our own pick of four key Facilities Management strategies for 2021 and beyond.


Everything Available

Your Facilities Management strategies should look beyond the operational aspects of building maintenance and take a more holistic view of the availability of assets over their complete life span.

For example, Facilities Managers may want to look at assets like heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting, and ask how to ensure those essential services and utilities are always accessible to the occupants of the premises.

In this sense, Strategic Facilities Management is concurrent with business continuity planning, where continuity depends on the successful functioning of specific facilities.


Building Information Modelling (BIM)

Building Information Modelling, sometimes called Building Information Management, brings together modern trends including computer-aided Facilities Management (CAFM), automation and IT to understand how to strategically deliver FM in the building.

Incorporating BIM into CAFM makes sense, as the two platforms share much of the same information and can streamline the management of assets.

As yet, many organisations have yet to fully achieve this, making it a good prospect to gain a competitive advantage, or to achieve significant efficiency gains that have not yet been made in full or even in part.


Soft Landings

Involving FM from day zero on a new commercial property build and fit out can anticipate future problems with assets and resolve them before they occur.

This can mean paying extra fees upfront for Facilities Managers to start working earlier in the project pipeline, but the long-term return on investment more than makes the business case for doing so.

For the successful future of this trend, FMs need to be involved and their opinions given equal weight, so that if they raise any concerns, appropriate efforts are taken to act on their insights and minimise avoidable future maintenance demands.


Harmonic Environments

Finally, Strategic FM can focus on health and happiness to maximise productivity by creating harmonic working environments for the human workforce.

This can be achieved by ensuring the assets and facilities in the building meet the needs of the occupants, while ensuring their continued comfort at all times.

In this way, Strategic FM can bridge the gap between the building fabric and the human capital of the workforce within, to deliver even greater productivity and efficiency gains overall.

To find out more about our facilities management services, email info@hebs-group.co.uk or call our team on 0151 236 0707.

The advantages of using a professional commercial fit out company

Working with a professional commercial fit out company can not only make sure your new premises get fitted out without a hitch, it can also provide you with a better standard of interiors, which will support productivity and efficiency for even longer into the future.

Professional commercial fit out contractors work across many premises and are well aware of what makes for a good workplace design, as well as any emerging trends that can help to future-proof your commercial property.

This means you can expect a higher standard of finish, incorporating any relevant technologies that you might not already be aware of, and protecting your investment in your premises by reducing maintenance demand and maximising resale value.


One port of call

A commercial fit out company should be able to handle the entire project. In essence, you gain the services of a project manager who will coordinate all the necessary subcontractors to get your premises fully fitted out and commissioned.

You can leave it to the fit out firm to recommend their preferred subcontractors for the various different utilities and services required, with better budget confidence as all the costs are covered by a single contract.


Maximise compliance

A good professional fit out company will have plenty of experience and expertise, including a good understanding of the relevant regulations and compliance requirements.

This encompasses everything from building regulations to health and safety. By working with an expert, you can benefit from total peace of mind that these risks are fully assessed and mitigated.


Time and time again

Commercial fit out companies don’t only work on new-build premises, as they can also carry out refurbishment of existing workspaces to upgrade the facilities to a modern standard.

Because of this, many clients return time and time again to multiply the benefits they gain from working with a trusted commercial fit out contractor on a series of branch offices, new locations and modernisations.


Find out more

If you are planning a commercial premises fit out project and would like to learn more about engaging a fit out firm from the outset, to coordinate all the necessary activities without delay, speak to hebs Group today and we will be happy to help.

Our team has worked on a long list of extremely successful commercial fit out projects, including specific markets like retail, leisure, new-builds and refurbishments, and rented student accommodation.

To find out more, email info@hebs-group.co.uk or call our team on 0151 236 0707.

Flowtech leave Ladybridge gutters and gullies as good as new

The Flowtech team are proud of our ongoing work for the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) as regular readers of our blog will know.

Over recent months and years, we have attended many NWAS ambulance stations to repair leaks, clear blocked drains and restore gutters to as-new condition.

A recent call-out saw us visit the picturesque NWAS Headquarters at Ladybridge Hall in Bolton, which was in need of a little maintenance.

We made the short journey to the premises, which stand in Chorley New Road Conservation Area and are considered of architectural significance to the area’s history.


What we did

The pitched slate roofs of Ladybridge Hall slope down to traditional gullies and gutters with custom-built wooden gutter guards to catch larger debris.

Over time, smaller debris and sediment can get through the gaps in the gulley guards, and the Flowtech team responded to a call to clear any residue from the guttering.

We were able to do this and jet washed the gullies to leave them flowing freely, cleared and cleaned just like the day they were first fitted to this historic property.


About Ladybridge Hall

Ladybridge Hall was built around the 1870s in a Gothic style, with steeply pitched slate roofs and an irregular pattern of gables, chimney stacks, parapet and turret.

The former mansion is stone-built with ashlar dressings, with a beautiful arched entrance porch that has its own pitched leaded roof.

In recent years, the property has been home to several emergency services, including Greater Manchester Ambulance Service and Bolton Mountain Rescue Team.

It is now the NWAS HQ and provides the ambulance service with a visually stunning base of operations, which the Flowtech team were delighted to visit to keep those all-important rooftop gulleys and gutters flowing freely.


How Flowtech can help

Flowtech respond to all kinds of calls for planned and reactive maintenance of drains, gutters and gullies at ground and roof level, including underground drains.

We can clear blocked drain pipes and tackle slow-draining sinks inside premises, to diagnose the location of any clogs and blockages, and use the appropriate equipment to restore freely flowing water.

Our services can be scheduled in advance to fit in with your monthly, quarterly or annual maintenance plans, or we can respond to emergency call-outs in the event of a leak, a serious blockage leading to localised flooding, or any other significant situation.

For more information about hebs Flowtech email info@hebs-group.co.uk or to speak to a team member immediately call 0151 236 0707.


How to manage construction compliance for success

As construction projects grow in scale and scope, and regulatory demands increase, contractors of all kinds face the need to manage construction compliance end-to-end in order to deliver a successful project.

With non-compliance comes a plethora of problems for the project as a whole. At best, this can lead to an interruption and delays on delivery deadlines. At worst, enforcement action by the relevant regulatory body could lead to significant financial losses.


1. Know your obligations

The first step towards managing your compliance obligations is to identify exactly what they are.

In the construction sector, the most obvious compliance demands are things like building regulations, union agreements and agreed terms with contractors and subcontractors.

Another major area of construction industry regulation is health and safety. By learning the rules that apply to your business, you can see more easily how to implement them on a daily basis.


2. Increase automation

While construction is inherently a very human sector, compliance is one area where automation can help to reduce human error.

By digitising your records, you can make sure all your compliance data is ready and can be recalled easily from any location via a secure internet connection.

This also makes it easier to update records when information changes, compared with having a printed document to amend or replace every time.


3. Demonstrate compliance

Compliance is not just an internal process. It is also a way to give customers confidence in your processes – and may even be a requirement for public sector contracts.

By implementing a management system certified to ISO 45001:2018/OHSAS 18001:2007 and SSIP you can pre-qualify for the common assessment standards used at the tender stage of public sector projects.

You can also install systems that support significant other standards, such as ISO 14001:2015 for environmental management and/or ISO 9001:2015 for quality management.

This means that by ensuring compliance upfront, you could potentially unlock access to a large and lucrative marketplace, while providing private sector clients with greater peace of mind too.


Take a step ahead

If you want to get ahead of your closest competition, a streamlined approach to construction compliance could be the answer, especially if your existing processes have been built up over time and have become complex and woolly.

Contact hebs Group today on 0151 2360707 to find out more about how to manage construction compliance for success on projects of all sizes, for the private and public sector alike, and how to gain that all-important competitive edge by doing so.

Top telecom challenges

Top telecom challenges 2021

It goes without saying that in 2020, the biggest challenge faced by most of us, at work and at home, was the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the Coronavirus remains a primary concern, the rollout of vaccines and improved treatments for the disease is allowing major economies around the world to begin the delicate task of opening back up.

As we move into the second half of 2021, Let’s take a look at top telecom challenges – some deriving from the pandemic, and others from more general market forces.


1. Digital everything

With many of us working from home during the pandemic and unable to visit family and friends, video conferencing took on new importance as a way to keep in touch.

From a Monday morning Teams meeting with colleagues to a Friday-night Zoom ‘pub quiz’ with distant friends, the webcam has replaced the phone as the go-to device for real-time contact.

As the analogue telephone network begins to shut down, this move to digital communications will only accelerate, and it’s already time for the sector to take the necessary action to keep devices operating in the coming years.


2. 5G potential

Consumer understanding of 5G is often very limited – most see it as nothing more than a faster version of 4G, at best.

For the industry, 5G offers huge potential for remote real-time communications with all kinds of devices, supporting the next phase of the Internet of Things for anything with a SIM card and a 5G signal.

The increasing implementation of 5G and the installation of new masts to support the protocol will play a major part in transforming mobile communications in the second half of 2021.

One remaining telecom challenge in this area is to ensure public perception is positive by dispelling some of the myths surrounding 5G technology and pushing home the advantages of high-speed mobile data connections, especially in locations not covered by public Wi-Fi.


3. Safe and secure

Finally, one of the other top telecom challenges is security as more devices connect to the IoT and more employees work flexible terms from remote locations.

The more data is stored, the more value it represents for would-be cybersecurity attackers, and the harder it becomes to prevent the smallest leaks.

In 2021 and beyond, it will be as important as ever to ensure remote workers can dial in securely to WANs, while putting in place firewalls and other perimeter security measures to keep out potential hacks and attacks.


Find out more

To discuss how hebs Group can help you solve your own telecoms challenges in 2021, contact us today on 0151 2360707. All enquiries are welcome and we’ll be happy to help.

hebs NICEIC Contractors are here for you!

At hebs Group we’re rightfully proud of our numerous accreditations and affiliations, which provide our clients with valuable peace of mind about the quality of our services.

It’s not just about having a logo or quality mark to put on our website. These professional memberships require high standards of service and workmanship, and ultimately they are about you, our clients, and how well we serve you on each and every project.

One of our proudest accreditations is NICEIC Approved Contractor status, which verifies that our electrical installation work is carried out to very high industry standards, something that is especially close to our heart.

This goes right back to the beginnings of hebs Group, but also proves that we are not complacent – we remain as committed to quality today as we have always been.


A history of electrical installations

Our company history is centred around electrical installations and maintenance, and they remain a core function of our present-day activities. So it’s only right that we prove our capabilities in this area and continue to build on our unparalleled track record.

As NICEIC Contractors, we are able to do exactly that. NICEIC accreditation demonstrates that we have met and exceeded the required standards for membership, giving our electrical engineers industry knowledge and experience to bring to your project.

When you hire hebs Group to complete electrical work for you, whether it’s a new electrical installation or maintenance of existing systems, you can rest assured of receiving a service that upholds this exacting standard at all times.


Other accreditations

At hebs Group we understand the importance of external certification and accreditation, so that you can always know you will receive the highest standards of service from us, and don’t have to take our word for it.

Some examples of our accreditations and professional affiliations include:

  • Safe Contractor Approved
  • NICEIC Approved Contractors 
  • Constructionline UK Government Certification Service
  • CHAS Accredited Contractor
  • ISO 9001-17735 ISOQAR Registered
  • ISO 14001-17735 ISOQAR Registered

We are also NHS Framework Contractors, allowing us to carry out work for public sector organisations. Our Framework Reference Number is SBS/MN/PZJ/8874.


Get in touch

If you would like to know more about our NICEIC status or any of our professional memberships and certifications, please contact us on 0151 2360707 and we’ll be happy to help.

We look forwards to hearing from you, and all enquiries are very welcome.

How to prepare for drainage construction

Drainage construction has traditionally been quite disruptive. In the past, to install new sewers and water mains, you had to excavate the entire length of the pipeline, lay the pipework itself, and fill in the trench.

While this is still sometimes necessary, in most cases trenchless drainage construction is now a valid alternative, with a lot less disruption to the land, and often a lot less expense as a result.


What is trenchless drain construction?

As the name suggests, trenchless drain construction allows new drains and other pipelines to be installed without the need to dig an open trench.

Instead of excavating the route of the pipeline from surface level above, directional drilling equipment is used that can steer along the route underground, drilling horizontally from point A to point B, without breaking the surface at any other point.

This even enables pipes to be laid beneath roads or under riverbeds, where it would previously have been very difficult, if not impossible to gain suitable access to excavate using open-cut methods.


How to prepare for trenchless drainage construction

Because of the minimal disruption caused by trenchless construction, there’s also relatively little preparatory work required, and we can help you to understand what needs doing on your site.

For example, if you have records of existing pipework along the planned route, or you know other utilities are present, this is useful to know – but again, we can survey for all these things too.


Types of trenchless technology

It’s important to know what you want to achieve. Do you want a stronger pipe, a wider or narrower diameter, or are you installing a completely new drain by drilling through solid earth?

Depending on the intended outcome, it may be necessary to use different technology:

  • Cured-in-place pipe for minor repairs
  • Pipe bursting to increase diameter
  • Directional drilling for brand new pipelines

We may recommend open-cut drainage installation in some locations too, especially if there will be a gutter or grating installed directly over the pipe at surface level.


Find out more

If you would like to know more about trenchless technology or conventional open-cut drainage installation, please contact us today on 0151 2360707 and we’ll be happy to help with any enquiries.

We can guide you through the complete process from start to finish, so if you’re really not sure what you need, you can put your faith in us to recommend the best solution – either open-cut or trenchless – based on a survey of your specific premises.

The importance of soil compaction testing

Soil compaction testing is a way to measure how much a quantity of soil can be compressed into a smaller space.

Compaction is a natural process in which the solid part of soil settles into the air spaces in between, but it depends on several factors, such as the forces exerted on the soil.

Over time, soil compaction leads to a denser material – you can see this easily when you water a freshly potted plant and the soil level in the pot drops significantly.

Because of the changes in volume, strength and permeability, soil compaction testing is an important process that should not be neglected during any engineering or construction work.


What are the risks of soil compaction?

Loose soil can compact significantly, especially when placed under substantial pressure from above, or after becoming waterlogged and then drying out.

This can cause the level of the land to drop, leading to subsidence and other issues. This is not only a risk to buildings, but can also lead to other surfaces becoming uneven, such as driveways, pavements and car parks.

In the immediate term, there is also a risk to vehicles and machinery attempting to move over loose soil during construction work, and potentially sinking into the ground as it compacts.


What are the benefits of soil compaction?

Compacted soil is more solid and less porous. This can have benefits in many applications, making a firmer surface to build on and reducing the risk of subsidence in the future.

For large engineering works, compacted soil allows firm foundations, especially on very large structures like dams, bridges and man-made embankments.

However, very compacted soil can have implications for drainage as it is less porous, as well as aesthetic landscaping like lawns, flowerbeds and shrubberies, as plants may find it more difficult to put down roots.


How to test soil compaction

There is complex science behind soil compaction, as there’s a ‘goldilocks’ level of water content that maximises the compressibility of the earth – enough to lubricate the dry particles, but not enough to resist them packing together.

Soil compaction testing typically involves taking a sample of earth and adding water to it, then measuring the weight of soil that can be compacted into a fixed volume at that level of moisture content.

The process is repeated several times with different amounts of water, and the results plotted to find the optimum moisture level for the soil.

If you would like to know more or you have a site where you need soil compaction testing to be carried out, contact hebs Group today on 0151 2360707 and we will be happy to help.

Engineering and construction trends in the hospitality industry 2021

The past year has been challenging for many sectors, but hospitality was especially hard hit by COVID-19 and as we move towards the main summer months of 2021, many venues are only just starting to open back up with limited capacity.

Engineering and construction have also had to adapt to new methods of working, with a focus on reducing the number of employees in close proximity and avoiding enclosed areas as much as possible throughout the pandemic.

However, there are signs of optimism with vaccinations rolling out and infection rates falling. As the UK moves towards herd immunity, the economy is already showing signs of bouncing back strong, with high demand for hospitality venues that are able to operate.


Domestic demand

We’re looking at another summer of staycations, this time due to travel restrictions rather than economic issues – and that means there is potentially more money to be made than during previous staycation seasons.

Hoteliers should look to create self-contained units wherever possible, with holidaymakers able to stay within their bubble, rather than needing to access shared bathrooms, toilets and other facilities.

Ventilation is also important as we look to live with the novel Coronavirus long-term, so HVAC systems should be inspected, improved and updated where necessary to keep clean air circulating.


International tourism

The medium-term future of international tourism into the UK is unclear, as countries have yet to decide on their respective COVID passport rules, and free movement of tourists is far from assured during the coming years.

As international travel resumes, hospitality operators ranging from hoteliers to restaurateurs can target the upper end of the market with well-appointed premises that offer a taste of luxury that many travellers will be craving after 12 months spent at home.

It may also be wise for hotels and guest houses located near airports to ready themselves for any tourists who need somewhere to quarantine – including those who have to extend their stay at short notice.


Casual hospitality

The casual hospitality sector, including pubs and restaurants, is starting to see brighter times ahead, with outdoor service already open to the public once again.

Early indications are that demand will be high from consumers who have spent a year sat at home – and who already associate emergence from lockdown with 2020’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Although indoor service will soon also be possible, many customers may continue to prefer the natural ventilation of an outdoor table, so venues should continue to invest in outdoor heating as well as indoor HVAC systems, to optimise both areas for COVID-secure service.

Whatever type of hospitality establishment you operate, hebs Group are here to help with the recovery – please get in touch without delay if you’d like to make an enquiry by calling 0151 2360707.