Author: Jemima Stafford

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Redrow Homes donate funds to Girl Guide Eleanor Colston’s appeal

Eleanor Colston is one step closer to taking a trip of a lifetime to the World Scout Jamboree 2019 in West Virginia.

The 14-year-old member of 1st Huntington Guides, in Chester, is desperate to represent her group and make the trip to an event that will bring together 40,000 scouts and guides. She has already carried out a range of fundraising tasks to help her on a way to reaching her target of £3,000. This has included selling handmade cards and crafts, cleaning cars, packing bags and baking cakes to sell.

Eleanor approached us after hearing about our Huntington Community Fund, which was launched from neighbouring Regent’s Grange and Earl’s Parkdevelopments in Chester. Redrow’s fund provides a pot of money which worthy groups and individuals can apply for, and Eleanor was given £500 towards realising her trip and to significantly help with the cost of air miles.

“We were bowled over by Eleanor’s enthusiasm and go-getting attitude towards achieving her goal of getting to the World Scout Jamboree,” said Jason Newton, sales director for Redrow Homes (NW). “We have an unwavering commitment to support local communities around our new developments, such as Regent’s Grange, and after hearing Eleanor’s story we were delighted to be able to help with a contribution. Everybody at Redrow wishes her well and it would be fantastic to see 1st Huntington Guides represented over the Atlantic.”

Eleanor, who attends Christleton International Studio, said the donation was a gratefully-received boost towards realising her long-held ambition. She recently visited our Regent’s Grange development in Chester Lane to officially receive funding towards her trip.

To find out more about Eleanor’s appeal, and to donate toward her cause, visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/eleanor-colston 

Taylor Wimpey make donation to Rockinghorse Children’s Charity

Taylor Wimpey are committed to supporting the communities which it builds, and their South Thames team has recently made a £250 donation to the Rockinghorse Children’s Charity which aims to improve the lives of sick children and babies. The Brighton-based charity raises money for life-saving and cutting-edge medical equipment for the Trevor Mann Baby Unit, based at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, and its sister site, the Special Care Baby Unit at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.

NEWS - TWST - Rockinghorse charity

Rockinghorse Children’s Charity are currently working in partnership with local hospitals and respite centres to fund projects which focus on improving the physical and emotional well-being of sick children and we are proud to be able to offer their support.

Commenting on the donation from Taylor Wimpey Terrina Barnes, Corporate Fundraising Manager at Rockinghorse Children’s Charity, said: “The whole team were delighted when we found out that Taylor Wimpey had offered to make a donation. We don’t receive any government funding so it’s goodwill gestures like this that allow us to maintain our fundraising efforts. We believe no matter where they are, children should always be allowed to be children, and I would like to say a big thank you to Taylor Wimpey for helping us to continue to work toward this.”

Louise Adams, Sales Manager for Taylor Wimpey South Thames said: “We recognise the importance of giving back to the local areas in which we build our new homes and it was our pleasure to present the Rockinghorse Children’s Charity with a £250 donation. The charity does such fantastic work and we hope that our funding will go some way towards helping them to continue to raise much needed money for services which are invaluable for poorly children.”

Barratt Homes on Sustainability

Barratt Developments, the UK’s largest housebuilder, has announced its sustainability performance figures in its new annual report. The figures show that Barratt is fast becoming the leading national sustainable housebuilder and is making strong progress on the ambitious targets that it set back in 2015. These targets form part of Barratt’s sustainability strategy covering health and safety, skills, placemaking, responsible sourcing, innovation, and diversity and inclusion. Responding to the ongoing skills crisis, Barratt has also had success in bringing new trainees into the industry this year by recruiting 204 graduates, apprentices and trainees.

Operational carbon emissions relative to build area have fallen by 21% since 2015, meaning it has hit its target some seven years early. Overall, the group’s carbon emissions have reduced this year from 2.17 tonnes per 1,000 sq ft to 1.87 tonnes of CO2e[1].

The fall in carbon emissions stems from 20% reductions in both electricity and gas use across the group, through energy reduction programmes such as more efficient site cabins and new lighting in sales offices and in its furniture factory. The fall in carbon emissions is not all down to Barratt however, as the greening of the UK’s electricity grid has also had a positive effect. Following the success in this area Barratt will now look to set a target for UK carbon reductions going forward.

A particular focus over the last two years has been to reduce construction waste. Since 2015 Barratt has reduced the amount of construction waste relative to build area by 15%, a stand-out achievement from the UK’s largest housebuilder. One of the most successful waste reduction initiatives has been working with British Gypsum to optimise the size of plasterboard used. This is estimated to have saved 621 tonnes of a type of waste that is particularly difficult to dispose of, plus reducing the amount of energy and raw materials required to manufacture plasterboard in the first place.

Building on many years of waste segregation on site, Barratt has worked with subcontractors and suppliers to recycle things like 15,000 paint tins and 250,000 wooden pallets. As a result 97% of all construction waste is now being diverted from landfill, a rise of 2% from last year.

David Thomas, chief executive at Barratt Developments, said: “We strive to be the leading national sustainable housebuilder which is why we set ourselves such demanding targets. The group’s sustainability targets are not a distraction or barrier to strong financial performance. Instead, they are integral to our business success, both in the short and long term.”

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UK Connect client case study focus: Redrow Homes

About Redrow Homes

Redrow plc is one of the largest home-builders in the UK, with a network of 15 operational divisions nationwide. Redrow is based in Flintshire, and employs 2,300 people. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is currently a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. Redrow shed some light on their experience as a customer of UK Connect, and Jonny Leivesly, Marketing Co-ordinator, comments.

Redrow’s situation

“We at Redrow Yorkshire have used several different internet suppliers in the past but have now finally come up with our best solution yet – UK Connect. 

From start to finish the whole process of ordering our internet connection, to installation and aftercare was very simple and professional.”

What UK Connect did for us

“UK Connect have now connected 3 sales offices in our Yorkshire Division and we have had exceptional service ever since. We have had a Broadband Router installed and Phone Lines for each development and the quality of internet speed is great. 

The landline telephone lines have enabled us to have fully functioning temporary sales office for the first time ever – and no hassle of using mobile phones!.”

The results

“Installation only took an hour for each development and the engineers who installed the products were very friendly and helpful. Nothing was too much trouble, they gave in depth information to our sales teams on how the product works and how to get the best out of it all. 

We will have a further two developments with the same products installed in the next 2 months and I am very confident the same level of customer service and the same exceptional quality will come out of the products we purchase from UK Connect that we have previously had installed. Lauren & Suzzie have been superb in dealing with any requests and queries we have had with a very quick turnaround time. Thank you!”

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What Internet Options are Available for my Construction Site Broadband?

Construction site broadband

It’s hard to imagine that in 2018, sites still struggle to get up and running due to unreliable phone lines and broadband. However, it is a sad reality for many; landline providers sometimes can’t provide any service at all, and a lot of the time, service is poor and expensive to maintain. Contact us for our online information guide, and below is an exploration of the different solutions on offer to you.

So, what are the current options available to the site agent?

There are several options a site agent can choose to employ into their site.

Fixed Line

A fixed line is likely to be the first solution you will look into. With a DSL/fixed line, Open-Reach, Virgin or Hypertronic etc., will deliver your line as a physical cable. It appears, superficially at least, to be painless because fast connection speeds are available, there are no limits on data usage and fixed IP addresses are available thus offering secure VPN access.

However, a fixed line can take a minimum of 90 days to pull onto site, and you will be tied into a minimum 24-month term. The service is highly inflexible, given that it is a physical line that is fixed into place, and the infrastructure required can cost thousands (the lowest installation is £1,250 but we have seen some sites pay as much as £17,000 for a basic phoneline). If faults are found, more costs will be incurred, and you have very little to no control over the network- plus, if your connection does fail, it can take an elongated period of time before anyone may be able to come and look at the issue.

Satellite

Secondly, you can use a satellite to gain connectivity. The satellite solution requires you to hold a large satellite on your site, and this then sends + receives data from a relay station in space, back to earth to a data centre. The advantages of this are that rapid connectivity can be delivered (within 90 days, however), and connectivity can be delivered to to anywhere in the UK.

On the other hand,  a satellite is hard to place. If moved, even by an inch, connectivity will be lost. The data costs are typically high, and the customer will usually be roped into a long-term contract. Bandwidth allowance is poor, meaning that if a lot of people are using the network, it is likely to break down or give you low speeds. Finally, a satellite is not well supported by the provider, as they do not own the network and as such have limited abilities when supporting speed issues

Dongles

Next, mobile network dongles also seem like an easy solution, as a handy USB device that allows users to access the internet via 3G mobile broadband connection. In the UK alone, a quarter of a million units are sold by month. A dongle is advantageous to you because it’s conveniently portable; as tiny as a USB flash disk, anyone can simply plug the device into a port. A dongle, furthermore, is universally compatible, i.e., can be used with various service providers, and a dongle is highly secure.

On the other hand however, it is very limited in usefulness, particularly with speeds of 3.2 mbps to 7.6 mpbs. One can be affected by the Faraday effect, meaning if your device is in a metal container your network won’t be able to communicate with your dongle. AKA you will lose connection. As pointed out in a study, because coverage relies on mobile phone reception, the mobile blackspots that have you cursing your provider will also affect mobile broadband.  Further, a dongle is typically only happy dealing with one device because of their bandwidth.

SiteConnect

A final solution on offer to you is our solution, SiteConnectThe OIAB 1100 series is an enabler product, enabling your device to connect to the network. LTE-Advanced, or CAT 6 LTE allows our SiteConnect router to receive two signals from a single mast. This effectively doubles our bandwidth. LTE advanced is a next-generation network technology offering improved quality and coverage consistency of the network, better data rates compared to LTE and advanced network security. The features a site will be able to access and see the immediate benefit of, in comparison to other solutions, is that the SiteConnect solution can be delivered in 10 days from the order. The speed of the service is vast, with up to 100mbps minimum speed (the UK average is 23mpbs), and the solution can be up to 30% cheaper than going to BT. The number of users is significantly higher than, say, a dongle – 30 people can access a single device.

And finally, installation itself is virtually hassle-free with a fully qualified network engineer being able to install within 2 hours.

So which solution is the best, for your site?

Contact us on 01483 663366 or e-mail info@ukconnect.com

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WHY SHOULD MY CONSTRUCTION SITE INVEST IN CCTV?

CCTV- What are the real benefits to your construction site?

As technology changes and grows, it can pose as a threat as well as bring opportunity and benefit to your business.

Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) offers a way of protecting your assets from those threats. And as well as threats from technology, threats from the outside world can be easily prevented and monitored using the revolutionary system of CCTV.

The most obvious benefit of CCTV is that the physical presence of a camera on-site will act as a deterrent. Crime is prevented from occurring simply from the mere sight of a camera on the side of a building. The threat of having identity and illegality captured on film stops criminals from acting. You can feel empowered in the knowledge that you are protected from crime before it happens.

Furthermore, the flexibility permitted by the technology behind CCTV allows you to tailor your CCTV needs. They can be placed anywhere with power nearby, can come in any shape or size – tiny enough to be hidden in plants to permit discreet monitoring, or large enough to be a huge deterrent. Depending on your needs, you can buy hidden cameras or mountable ones. This allows you to fulfil your security needs, in whatever form they may come.

Invest in CCTV

Having cameras installed in strategic places will come in handy come any case where you must refer to a certain time and place. This can prove your side to the legal authorities, should it come to it, or to any case of circumstantial evidence. Even when it isn’t related to the law, capturing a moment can prove important when coming to the correct and fair decision when settling disputes on site. Incorrect, inappropriate or fabricated claims can be sorted out when you have a security camera on call. Modern security cameras are not only equipped with high quality video capabilities, but also audio, meaning they are perfectly suited to this ‘monitoring’ criteria.

On the other hand, security cameras enable users to record footage for later viewing and help stop criminals, rather than stop a crime when it is in progress. They do not alert neighbours, or the police, like an alarm system would. This means you will incur losses even as you run to the court, make insurance claims and reorder stolen inventory.

In conclusion, CCTV is a valuable asset to your site as you will be able to monitor and protect site from criminal damage and false claims, as well as add a sense of security to your plot. However, you should manage your expectations as to how much CCTV can actually do to help you – they cannot stop thievery in its tracks.


Need to know more? UK Connect provide CCTV for the construction industry.

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5 ways a new phone system can boost your business

5 ways voip can help your business

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a technology that has been around for some time, as mass market VoIP services were first launched in 2004. Basically, VoIP allows users to make and receive free voice calls over the Internet. More recently, providers have found increasingly innovative uses for VoIP technology that are helping businesses large and small to be more efficient, streamlining workflows and saving money simultaneously. Here are five innovative uses for VoIP that your business might be interested in:Read more

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How to increase employee productivity

Different ways to increase your employee productivity

The issue of declining employee productivity in the UK

Employee productivity in the UK has been steadily declining despite the fact people have been working more. It’s a paradox: working hours are at an all-time high and more people are employed than ever before, yet business productivity is collapsing – government figures show output is at its lowest level since 1991.  An online survey of 3,019 employees conducted by Unlocking Productivity: Working in the UK report found that 23% of respondents admitted to feeling “unproductive”. If nearly a quarter of UK employees rate themselves as “unproductive” at work, the potential is there for employers to adjust their practices and office environments to inspire a boost in worker efficiency and output.

What can I do if I feel my business isn’t being as productive as it could be?

Although this problem of productivity is negatively affecting business efficiency rates, it also provides an opportunity for employers. In this modern age where technology is key to daily life, it is also key to utilise technology to get the most out of your working life. Can the process be digitised? Can those opportunities be accessed with technology? Because, if so, it is likely that if you are not using the right tools, you aren’t maximising the potential of your workforce. If procedures can be removed or simplified, it could free up individuals’ time and increase output.

In the surveys conducted for the Unlocking Productivity: Working in the UK report, 80% of employees who described themselves as productive said they had the right technology for the job.

 

So how can I increase my employee productivity with technology?

Firstly, having the right software, and knowing what it does. Stay up to date with software like Smartsheets and Basecamp, and regularly hunt for tools your industry uses (you can do this by simply searching the internet, or having tech firms on your social media to follow the trends). Keep your business modern; a new phone system may not only save you costs in the long term, but it will also allow your workers to access remote working, video conferencing, call barging and other great and handy features. Providing employees with the right mobiles and computers creates an “anywhere office”, with those employees being able to communicate with colleagues and collaborate wherever their base is. Workplaces thrive when they’re kitted out with the requisite tools; employees are more productive and businesses can keep up with competitors.

If the UK workforce is to overcome its productivity issues, employers have to be ready to adapt and modernise their businesses to explore workplace flexibility.

Countrywide Telecoms are committed to improving business productivity through our services. Please visit www.countrywidetelecoms.com for more information.

Countrywide Telecoms has a new name but still delivers construction site broadband in under ten days
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Construction Boom in the North West

The North-west of England has seen a construction boom over the last year, according to new figures

Total construction output across the region is up 15% to more than £4.6bn in the three months to August compared to the same period last year, according to the Office of National Statistics. Overall construction output in Great Britain for the period was up 1.5% on the same time in 2017 – meaning the regions’s increase was 10 times the national average.Read more

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UK Connect shares client news

Redrow Homes West Country celebrates National Apprentice of the Year award

A Devon born and bred aspiring painter and decorator with huge ambitions has been named as Redrow’s National Apprentice of the Year. Courtney Baker-Edwards from the West Country division was presented with the award at Redrow’s annual Apprenticeship Awards. Redrow prides itself on valuing and developing its employees. The housebuilder has been listed as a Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer for five consecutive years and was awarded Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) Apprentice Employee of the Year.Read more