Biomass Boiler Safety

The Primary Risks and Hazards of Biomass Systems

Anyone involved in the use, installation and maintenance of a boiler system needs to have health and safety at the forefront of their minds. Whatever type of system you are using, where there is a heat source and water, there is always the potential for accidents and injury if someone is careless or does not know what they are doing.

This is particularly the case when it comes to biomass boilers, for which there are a variety of factors that need to be considered, including correct installation, appropriate storage of fuel and safe operation.

Regulations

There are no specific Health and Safety regulations for biomass systems as such, but if you have one professionally installed, the fitter is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations from 2015.

However, the responsibility does not end with the installer. The owner and operator also has a duty to ensure both the system and the fuel is used correctly and for the purposes intended – this is particularly important if the boiler is operating in a public place.

Inherent risks

Most systems are imported from elsewhere within Europe, so it is important to ensure that yours is manufactured in accordance with the appropriate safety standards. Look for a CE mark, which will tell you that it meets European requirements.

The risks associated with a biomass system essentially fall into three categories, which are fuel delivery, fuel storage / handling and combustion. We will take a look at each in turn.

Delivery

The fuel for a biomass system is typically delivered by truck, which tips the wooden pellets into a store. The risks associated with a large vehicle manoeuvring in a confined space are obvious, but there are also considerations relating to potential falls from height, people getting caught in machinery and even asphyxiation if someone is in the storage facility when the delivery takes place.

It is important to keep the area well clear of people, particularly children, and pets when delivery takes place, and to make absolutely certain that there is nothing and nobody in the store prior to unloading.

Storage

When storing a flammable substance, the foremost risk is that of fire. Keep the storage area secure, and ensure nobody smokes in or close to it.

There is also the potential for slips and falls, particularly where children are concerned. A wood store or silo can look like a tempting place to play, so keeping it locked up tight is doubly important if there are kids around.

Combustion

The risks here come in three sub categories. The wet side risks are much the same as for any other type of boiler where hot water, at potential pressure, is involved. It is important to bear in mind that unlike other boilers, a biomass device cannot be instantly shut down.

The fire side risks are specific to biomass. The type of combustion means that users are inevitably getting close to the fire source, and therefore correct operation is absolutely essential to reduce the risk of fire.

Finally, there is the risk associated with flues and chimneys. Toxic gases, including CO, will be created by the combustion process, and adequate ventilation is imperative. There is also the potential for explosive gases to build up, and for this reason, having explosion relief measures built into the flue is an excellent safety precaution to consider.

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Can’t Afford A New Driveway? Park On Your Grass!

Cost effective ways to make use of grassed areas for parking and more

You may wish you could make use of grassy areas around your property without going to the expense of having a new driveway or hard standing area built. The problem of course with parking on grass is it soon wears and, whether during dry or wet conditions, grass can soon look unsightly once cars and other vehicles have driven or manoeuvred on it.

Also, you may only require a temporary parking or hard standing facility so may consider the expense of a new driveway inappropriate for occasional use. Help is at hand in the form of the following effective and flexible solutions.

Grass reinforcement

You can select from various grass protection and reinforcement options depending on your requirements; Suregreen grass reinforcement products are a good starting point.

Ground protection mats

A good, basic way of protecting grass and offering flexibility in that the more parking or pedestrian access you require, the more mats you can add.

Made from a lightweight and durable plastic, the mats can be interlocked when more than one is used and they feature anti-slip surface patterns on each side and can handle the expansion and contraction caused by hot and cold weather conditions.

Grass protection mesh

Available in various types depending on the demands likely to be placed on it, grass protection mesh reinforces the grass to enable it to withstand heavier use without rutting and wearing.

The mesh is placed over the existing grass and fixed in place usually with steel U pins. A certain amount of time needs to be allowed for the grass to grow and become entangled and cover the mesh before first use, but once established the hard wearing mesh should last a good 15 to 20 years.

It will eventually disappear into the grass providing a natural yet heavily reinforced surface to help protect the grass by redistributing loads and protecting the root structure.

Another benefit of grass protection mesh is it won’t affect the natural drainage of water through the grass, so adheres to Sustainable Drainage Solutions (SUDS) standards.

Rubber grass mats

Suitable for protecting access ways from wear, and popular around children’s play areas for protecting grass and providing grip, these rubber mats are fixed by steel pins and sit on top of the grass providing protection and grass reinforcement as it grows though the apertures of the mat itself.

They’re made from recycled rubber and, along with foot traffic, can accommodate wheelchairs and pushchairs and are suitable for use in contoured areas. They can be used straight away or left for a time for the grass to grow and ‘entangle’ with them, but if used immediately cable ties securing each mat to one another should be used.

So, there are plenty of options at various price points depending on your needs; you can make use of that grassed area without having to go to the expense and possible upheaval of having an entirely new driveway built.

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Health and Safety Team Building Events

Enhance Cross-Departmental Collaboration At Any Time Of Year

Health and safety is one of the most important aspects of industrial business and studies have shown that teams that work together well are less likely to suffer from accidents in the workplace. So let’s look at team activities to help build a stronger team this year.

If you’re looking to enhance productivity and boost the team spirit of your internal departments, then corporate team building events are a must. They allow your employees to step outside of the relative comfort zone of the office environment and to try new activities, which when done well are an incredibly fun day out for all involved.

However, there are such an extensive range of team building activities available that it can be difficult to choose one that is ideal for your organisation, particularly when you have to think about the logistics of finding space either at your office, in a hotel event venue or risk going outdoors in the good old British weather. While no-one can predict the latter, here are some team building options that are suitable for the various seasons of the year.

Spring

When the weather is still a little Arctic outside, it can often make sense to book an indoor team-building activity so that your team is able to make the most of the experience without worrying about keeping warm. A Crystal Maze activity is ideal in all weathers – participants are split into teams and get to complete tasks in a variety of different Physical, Mental, Mystery and Skill games with the opportunity to win a crystal for their efforts. As the finale, the crystals are converted into seconds that each team spends in the ultimate arena of the Crystal Dome. Teams must grab as many golden tickets as they can within their allotted time and those with the most win the coveted crystal trophy!

Summer

Summer team building activities are exceptionally fun and can even save you money on venue costs if you opt to host your event in a local park. One of the most popular events is an ‘It’s a Knockout’ style tournament which is the perfect way to bring out the competitive nature of your employees whilst enjoying some incredibly silly behaviour. Your team members can enjoy battling against each other in hilarious games involving crazy costume relays, giant inflatables and throwing water-filled sponges.

Autumn

With the summer holidays over, signalling start of term for the kids, why not hold a ‘Back to School’ event for your team too? Your employees are bound to enjoy the nostalgic nature of games such as the Egg and Spoon race, Blindfold Sprint and the Backwards Long Jump. The day concludes with an enormous team relay race and medals aplenty will be dished out to successful competitors.

Winter

Morale is often high in the pre-Christmas period, as the festive spirit seeps into the office and encourages a positive atmosphere. Why not capitalise on this natural boost in morale by rewarding your team with a team bonding experience that can double as a Christmas party. As well as the typical celebrations that you might expect, you can also incorporate Christmas team-building games which are guaranteed to encourage cross-team relationships.

These are only a small selection of seasonal team building activities that are available – have a think about the size of your team, the end goal of what you’d like to achieve from your corporate bonding and the personalities that make up your various departments. This will allow you to narrow down the selection and create an experience that is effective for both your team members and your company.

 

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Is Your Business Wiring Safe?

The importance of ensuring your business wiring is safe and meets your requirements. Hiring electricity generators if extensive wiring work is required.

Checking for safe wiring and how to stay operational if work is required

It’s obviously very important to ensure your business wiring is safe and capable of providing a reliable supply. There’s also the legal implications of providing a safe workplace and complying with Health and Safety regulations, so regular checks and remedial work is important. Thanks to alternative power sources such as portable generators, this needn’t disrupt your workload.

What electrical safety measures are required?

There are certain basic wiring requirements for electrical installations (IET Wiring Regulations), and these cover various aspects of a typical electrical installation such as the fusebox, switchgear, power sockets, light fittings and the wiring itself.

The type of wiring and its condition is taken into account; for example, black rubber coatings on wiring has been superseded by PVC insulation.

How to ensure your wiring is safe

It’s not really a job for anyone other than a qualified electrician. They will inspect your wiring for safety using the IET regulations as a benchmark and provide a full report; their inspection could take half or even a full day.

Ensure your electrician is NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting) certified, and arrange to have an inspection done at least every five years. If your premises is leased or rented, then ensure your landlord has had regular electrical inspections carried out.

Is your wiring adequate for your needs?

Even if your wiring is safe structurally, it may be inadequate for the demands you’re placing on it – effectively meaning it could soon become unsafe. This information from the Health and Safety Executive website could prove helpful.

Sockets – do you have enough of them? With the amount of electrical equipment in use in modern workplaces, with some of it often permanently switched on, you may be constantly having to plug and unplug equipment to provide power – or find yourself over-using splitters and extension cables.

If this is the case, some additional sockets may be required. A larger space with only one or two sockets could indicate relatively old wiring.

Fusebox – if it’s an older design with renewable or wire fuses it could likely require replacing; your electrician can advise. If you have a newer looking fusebox, it doesn’t necessarily mean your wiring is also new.

Tripping, cut outs and dimming –

power interruptions, especially if the main trip switch ‘trips,’ could indicate an overloaded wiring system as would lights dimming or flickering periodically.

Keep powered up even if wiring work is required

If a new wiring system is required, possible in an older business premises, then you don’t have to suffer major business disruptions as you can keep the power on using a generator. These can be hired for a short period or longer from companies such as this generator hire in Hertfordshire specialist.

You can choose a model to hire of a power output suitable for your business needs along with related equipment such as cabling and connectors. The hire company will usually deliver the generator to your business place and collect when you’re finished with it.

Check the generator hire company you use is industry qualified such as holding ISO 9001 and 14001 certification, and that they’re happy to advise on what equipment to use based on your requirements.

A popular power alternative

Generators are a popular option, and indeed play a very important part in circumstances where any kind of power outage would be inconvenient. Hospitals and data centres where computer servers have to be running at all times are typical examples, and many have generators in place ready to step in as and when required.

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How To Reduce Risk of Falling in Later Life

6 Simple Steps To Help Prevent Falls

Falls become more common as we get older and the consequences can be serious. But there are a few healthy and safety at home steps you can take to help minimise the risks.

As we get older, many of us become less steady on our feet and, as a result, trips and falls become more common. In fact, around one in three people over the age of 65 will suffer at least one fall each year.  Falls in later life can be serious, leading to broken bones, head injuries and fractured hips. They can also impact on our mental health and wellbeing, causing anxiety and affecting self-confidence. Luckily, there are some simple steps we can all take to help minimise the risk of falls as we enter later life.

Exercise

Improving your balance, strength, flexibility and coordination can help reduce your risk of falling, so consider taking some form of regular gentle exercise. Swimming, tai chi or walking can all work well, and Independent People Homecare advise undertaking a programme of home-based exercises to help you feel steadier on your feet. To find the best exercise for you, ask your doctor to refer you to a physiotherapist who will be able to devise an exercise programme that is tailored to your individual requirements.

Sensible shoes

It may sound obvious, but wearing the right footwear can make a big difference when it comes to ensuring your health and safety. Avoid shoes with slippery soles, high heels, or slippers with no support; instead opt for sturdy, well-fitting shoes with a non-slip sole. As well as helping to prevent falls, sensible shoes can also have the added benefit of helping to reduce joint pain.

Regular eye checks

Poor vision can affect your balance and coordination, and is estimated to be responsible for over 270,000 falls amongst the over 60s each year. With this in mind, it’s important to have regular eye tests so that any problems with your eyesight can be detected and dealt with at an early stage, helping to reduce the risk of accidents and falls.

Home modifications

When it comes to preventing falls, some simple home modifications can make all the difference. What you need will depend on your individual situation, but features such as grab bars for the bath or shower, raised toilet seats, and hand rails for the stairs can all help to make your home a safer place. Smaller measures such as installing good lighting, moving furniture, and using non-slip mats in the bathroom can also be surprisingly effective. A good place to start is with a home hazard assessment where a health professional visits your home in order to identify potential hazards and suggest solutions.

Review medication

Some medications can cause side effects such as dizziness or dehydration which, in turn, can lead to falls. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your GP to have your medication reviewed. This should happen once a year in any case and is especially important if you are taking four or more different medicines a day. If your medication is causing a problem, your doctor may be able to lower the dose or prescribe an alternative.

Care and support

If you are increasingly unsteady on your feet it may be that you require some additional support in order to keep yourself safe and well. When it comes to care, there are a number of options available, from residential care homes through to day care and home help. Generally speaking, people who are cared for in their own home are less likely to fall as they are more familiar with their surroundings. Hiring a live-in carer can help you to safely remain in your own home, and it also means that help will be on hand immediately in the event that you do suffer a fall.

Growing older comes with its hazards, but that doesn’t mean your quality of life has to suffer. By taking some relatively simple measures you can help to keep yourself safe and reduce your risk of falling, enabling you to enjoy your later years to their full potential.

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The Logistics Of European Trade

Transporting goods to Europe

The EU is our biggest trading partner, and road freight transport plays a key role in transporting goods to and from the continent.

As well as our nearest neighbour, Europe is also our biggest trade partner, with 44% (or £250 million) of UK exports going to the continent last year. In order to export goods and services, companies need to have an effective freight transport and delivery system in place. And in the UK and Europe, the majority of deliveries are carried out by road, with the road freight transport sector ferrying over 46 million tonnes of goods each day in 2016.

Getting the logistics right

While European trade is important to both individual businesses and the wider economy, it takes a lot of careful planning and preparation to get right. In order to satisfy customer requirements, freight and haulage companies have to ensure that goods are delivered on time, to the right location, and in the right condition. For countries with well-established trade routes this is often fairly straightforward, but for emerging markets in Eastern Europe for example, more care sometimes needs to be taken to ensure things go to plan.

For example, for all trade deliveries it’s vital for companies to have access to accurate and effective tracking systems so that they can keep tabs on their vehicles and cargo throughout the delivery journey, and troubleshoot any problems that may arise.

In this, as in other areas, the use of technology can make a big difference to performance, and the freight and logistics sector is beginning to recognise and embrace the opportunities offered by smart tech and digital applications. From the automation of paper-based processes, through to the monitoring of vehicle health, and enhanced tracking and notification capabilities, digital technology has the potential to streamline services, helping to improve accuracy and further increase efficiency.
The advent of new technology, along with the availability of goods consolidation and groupage services, means that transporting goods across Europe is becoming easier and ever-more efficient, and many small businesses are benefiting from the lower costs this brings.

The Brexit effect?

Of course, with Brexit on the horizon, we can expect to see some significant changes to how we trade with and transport goods across Europe. One of the main concerns within the sector is that leaving the customs union and single market could lead to additional checks and processes at border crossings, which in turn could result in increased transport costs and a higher likelihood of delays. Other potential issues surround a potential shortage of workers (many of whom are currently from the EU), and changes to regulations

All of these factors would make it difficult for logistics company to meet the levels of service required by their customers throughout the supply chain, and could have a knock-on effect throughout the sector.  With Article 50 only recently being triggered, however, it’s far too early to predict with any accuracy what will happen, and the sector is doing its best to lobby for a fair deal.

What is certain is that Europe will remain a key trading partner for many UK businesses, and the logistics and haulage sector will continue to play a vital role in our economy.

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Extending Your Home With A Conservatory

The advantages and considerations of this popular home improvement

Adding a conservatory to a property is commonly recognised as a worthwhile home improvement from the points of view of adding to the enjoyment and comfort of your home and increasing its value. The advances in conservatory construction and glazing options means the days of a basic structure ‘bolted on’ to a property and only useable on warm days are long gone.

Enhancing value

The Office of National Statistics say we spend over £30 billion a year on home improvements, and when the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) surveyed its members to find out what home improvements added most value to a property, a conservatory was in the top four.

Generally, property commentators and professionals say a well designed and constructed conservatory can add between five and ten percent to the value of a property. The ‘well designed and constructed’ part is vital; a basic ‘one size fits all’ design that doesn’t complement the property could actually put potential buyers off.

Having one designed and built by experts such as Yorkshire based Caulfield Conservatories gives you plenty of design options and the ability to have a conservatory tailor made to your needs and to blend in with the property and surrounding land such as the garden.

On that point, be careful of impinging too much into the garden area. Good sized gardens are a big draw for potential buyers, so don’t let your new conservatory eat up too much of this space.

Improving your living environment

A new conservatory can add a new dimension to your property in terms of adding extra space, extra light, improving ambience and making more of your garden.

Extra space

A conservatory can compensate for lack of space or a need to create some for a specific purpose. For example, if someone works from home a conservatory can make for a pleasant working area with natural light – maybe year round if the area is heated.

Some use the conservatory as a dining area – especially pleasant on warmer evenings.

The conservatory can act as a general ‘den’ area for children and adults alike; the flexibility of using tablets, computers and other devices on wi-fi makes this option even more appealing.

Extra light and improved ambience

By using the same flooring as the room that gives onto the conservatory, it can form part of an integral space that draws the eye giving the impression of a larger overall area.

Conservatories make the most of natural light so yours could make a previously darker area of your home lighter and airier – and making more of natural sunlight makes a space far more pleasant to spend time in. In certain acute cases of ‘dinginess’ you may even find you require electric lighting less often.

Make more of your garden

Conservatories are often used to make a natural segue from living to garden space as opposed to the definite boundaries when one isn’t present. Careful conservatory and maybe garden design means the garden can ‘meet’ the conservatory so you feel like you’re in the garden when you’re inside the conservatory. Large glass areas with the minimum of framing – possible thanks to advanced design and construction techniques – can really enhance the feeling of the garden surrounding you.

Choose carefully

Consider your property type and style and how much of your garden or the land you can ‘give up’ for a conservatory. Ensure you choose a reputable and experienced conservatory company; a good outfit can help design and construct one that blends in with your property and enhances its value.

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Health and Safety For Kitchen Fitters

The average kitchen is filled with numerous hazards that may go unnoticed until an accident happens. That’s why if you work as a kitchen fitter, it’s important to control the risks and hazards around you.

Lifting and using heavy objects

Kitchen fitters are used to carrying heavy objects in the workplace, whether it be tools, equipment or materials for the job. Granite worktops are a popular choice when it comes to having kitchen worktops replaced for example, so it’s important to know how to lift a heavy object properly.

The correct lifting technique is to keep a wide base of support and squat down, bending at the hips and knees only. It’s important to keep a good posture and slowly lift the object by straightening your hips and knees. It’s important to keep the object you’re lifting as close to you as possible. Change direction with small steps and be careful to set down slowly.

There are plenty of high performance back supports on the market that can help you with your posture and reduce the risk of causing injury or harm to yourself.

Using and storing power tools correctly

It may seem like common knowledge, but it’s important to ensure all power tools and equipment are stored safely when not in use. Ensure protective guards are on and that everything is unplugged. Take each job one by one, don’t overload a plug with extension cables and extra plugs because this could damage the electrical system and even cause a fire.

It’s important to keep tools off the floor and to create a dedicated space where they can be kept whilst completing a kitchen job. To control the accumulation of dust on the tools, which is inevitable for kitchen fitters who are constantly cutting and fitting, it’s important to put them back in store. Otherwise, dust could ruin the motor of a machine and prevent it from working.

Safely dealing with water, electric and gas

Only trained and certified electricians and gas fitters are permitted to disconnect and reconnect the appliances. Any electrical work that is carried out in the kitchen is subject to Building Regulations.

To help reduce the risks presented by the use of gas in the workplace, it’s important that all new gas equipment is being supplied and fitted by a Gas Safe Register engineer. All gas appliances should have arranged regular servicing and it’s important that a kitchen is fitted in such a way that there is adequate airflow around gas appliances.

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Why Do Construction Companies Require Marine Plant?

Many cities in Britain have changed beyond recognition since the industrial revolution, leaving behind their industrial pasts and resulting in a greater demand for housing for the continually growing populations.

As a result, this has required the regeneration of many inner city areas close to the rivers and waterways which can often be challenging locations for construction companies to operate in. To meet the increased demand for housing and infrastructure projects, marine plant such as barges, have become more important to the construction industry in providing over-water access to otherwise hard to reach areas of our cities.

Marine plant hire has become crucial to many construction companies to support the delivery of their projects, barges are used for a variety of tasks throughout the project from the initial site investigation works, overwater piling, personnel access, crane platforms and materials delivery.

Transporting equipment and material by river or sea reduces the construction traffic to many of the project sites, which reduces congestion and pollution in our busy cities. Supply barges are used on the River Thames to remove spoil materials from the many tunneling projects that are underway to discharge sites outside of London. This material is being used for regenerating wetlands and recreating saltmarshes for the wildlife along the Thames Estuary. The construction materials are then transported back up the river to the sites, this use of the river as a major transport route reduces thousands of HGV movements every year as the barges can carry hundreds of tons of material in a single movement

Jack up barges have legs which reach down to the sea or river bed so that the barge can be lifted out of the water. The platform is then stable, level and not affected by the tidal movement. A floating barge will move with the water and rise and fall with the tide. Jack up barges can also be used on the inland waterways where a stable fixed platform is required for projects where heavy lift cranes are required

At Battersea a 400t deck load jack-up barge was used to provide a stable working platform for a 160 tonne crane to complete the piling works, driving 28m long steel tubes into the riverbed. These piles will be used to hold the new pier extension in place at Battersea, which will allow TFL to operate improved riverboat transport links from the area into central London for commuters and tourists.

Marine plant hire is essential for projects such as these to solve the issues such as access, the lack of suitable shore side working compounds and to allow the safe delivery of many of these projects. Aside from jack-up barges, there is an extensive range marine plant that may also be used, flat top barges, jack-up barges, modular pontoons, workboats and various bespoke items of plant

Although ideal for coastal and city redevelopment, the versatility of marine plant means it is used in many different sectors from marine construction through to the offshore renewables industry, where it is used to service the operations and maintenance on the offshore wind farms.

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Efficient Electric Heaters Save Money

Consider Tubular Heaters as Affordable Alternative to Central Heating

If you have a smaller home, then tubular heating could save you a fortune in heating costs. Try one out from as little as half a pence per hour of warmth!

Recent stories in the media have warned homeowners about the rise of fuel costs in the coming months. Scottish Power, for instance, has announced that it will be increasing its standard domestic gas and electricity prices for 1.1 million customers from the end of March. This amounts to an average of 7.8% or £86 being added to the typical annual household fuel bill. The energy provider’s rival Npower also added an additional average of £109 to over 1.4 million homeowners recently.

Naturally, the companies are citing “rises in energy wholesale markets and compulsory non-energy costs” as legitimate reasons for the price hikes. However, this does little to ease the concerns of the average consumer, whose main concern is finding the money to keep their homes warm, particularly during some extremely cold winter periods.

Introducing Tubular Heating

While there is no denying that central heating is an efficient investment for many properties in the long term, some households may benefit from the use of tubular heating, particularly for short bursts of time. These convenient and reliable aluminium heaters offer a low-wattage output of around 150W per foot. They are typically wall-mounted and provide a steady background heat which make them ideal to use in smaller spaces. Tubular heaters can often be found in areas such as the garage, greenhouse, or behind appliances such as fridges or freezers that fail to operate if they are too cold. However, the economically-savvy are now realising that tubular heaters could be the perfect heating solution for those with smaller living quarters, such as a 1-bed flat, bungalow or studio apartment.

Prevent Allergies

Tubular heaters don’t tend to dry out the air in the same manner that central heating with convectional radiators do. This means that allergies such as eczema and asthma are less likely to occur if you use a tubular heater. Similarly, the latter are excellent at de-misting windows and preventing mould and dust mites from forming within the home. A lack of these also contribute to less likelihood of allergy triggers.

Cost of Tubular Heating

Depending on the energy charge which is being used, it is possible to heat your room up from as little as half a pence per hour when using electric tube heaters. In comparison, central heating prices vary, but Which estimates that the average household in the UK spends around £609 on it per year, so going tubular could save you a fortune in heating costs.

If your property doesn’t yet have central heating, then it can be an expensive commodity to install, often setting homeowners back somewhere in the region of £3000-4000 for labour, a gas boiler, radiator parts and pipework supply. If the property has not yet been connected to the gas mains, then this will be an additional cost.

Instead, you could trial using a tubular heater, or even a set of them in various rooms in your home for as little as £16.34 per appliance. Safety guards are also available as an accessory to protect you from the direct heat source. Why not try one out today and see how much money you could save on your fuel bill next winter?

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Maintain a Safe Building Site

It’s important to maintain a safe working environment to ensure there are no hazards or potential accidents waiting to happen. Tidying up a building site is often a job that is left to the end of the day, but this shouldn’t be the case as it just means you are exposing yourself and others to hazards all day.

So with this in mind, here are 10 good housekeeping rules for a tidy site. With these implemented, you should see a reduction in accidents and near misses to your workforce. It is important to make all workers onsite aware of the safety rules, so after you find local tradesmen, be sure to run a health and safety induction for all site workers.

Designate an area for rubbish and waste and store materials safely

Create an area where all the rubbish and waste can go, whether it be a designated skip or other waste disposal bin. It’s a good idea to segregate the waste types for reuse, recycle and landfill. Making it a lot easier to sort out at the end of the week!

Materials and tools need to be stored safely to prevent any crushing injuries or damage to property. Poorly stacked materials can also block access routes and pathways, making it a hazard for people working around them.

Maintain a safe work area and keep access routes clear

Throughout the day, make sure to check the work area and clear up as you go along.  If trip hazards and mess is starting to build up, it’s better to sort it out sooner rather than later before any accidents happen.

A safe work area means it is easily accessible and easy to get out of. Ensure materials, tools and benches are stored away from gangways and corridors. Having these tools blocking corridors could impede someone’s escape route or be a trip hazard.

It would be worthwhile to hire Euromats for your building site as they can help protect work areas and roads from heavy vehicles. They’re also good to use as pedestrian surfaces on construction sites.

Put tools away once the job is done and set a tidy example

Put away any tools or equipment that aren’t being used. It’s easy to leave tools lying around because you’re moving from job to job, but it’s important to put them away so they aren’t a hazard to yourself and your colleagues.

Take responsibility for the whole workforce; if you see something laying around be sure to move it to a safe place. Leaving tools laying around on the floor and stairways will only cause people to trip and fall. Don’t wait for someone else to move it!

If it’s broken, fix it

It’s important to ensure things are in good working order on the site. Damaged tools or equipment must be taken out of use immediately and steps must be taken to either throw it away or have it repaired.

Tidy up trailing leads and cables

Leads and cables from equipment are the most common trip hazards, especially when using portable equipment. You may not have a socket close in the working area, but it’s important to make sure the lead is away from walkways or access points.

Avoid fire risks

It’s important to make sure waste and materials are stored as far away as possible from fire escapes, in the case of an emergency. Make sure waste material is stored away from sources of ignition to avoid any fires from breaking out. If all waste is regularly collected and put into a skip or bin, in the event of a fire, the danger is then confined and more easily dealt with.

Make others aware

It’s important that everyone gets involved in keeping the work area tidy, and that requires commitment from everyone. Get everyone practising good housekeeping techniques and your workforce will be on their way to a tidy and safe site for everyone.

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Selling Your House? Be Sure Building Work Was Signed Off

Have the Right Approvals in Place to Avoid a House Sale Disaster

Selling your house is stressful enough without finding out that the whole deal could fall through because you are missing a crucial piece of paper.

Anyone who has bought or sold a house will know about the seemingly limitless forms, reports and sundry pieces of information that conveyancing solicitors demand. Often, they seem to ask for them moments before exchange of contracts, and invariably the one piece that is missing is the one that could make or break the deal.

This is why Balgores Estate Agents urges every one of their property sellers to make sure they have the right paperwork for any and all building work that has been carried out the moment they list their property for sale.

Planning consent

The majority of major alterations require planning consent from the local authority, and if you have had any such work done on your property, prospective buyers will, of course, want to see that it was approved correctly.

If the consent documents are lost, you can usually get a copy from the local council for a nominal administration fee, but it is better to do this as early as possible. The last thing you need is the added worry of furiously trying to get hold of a piece of paper at the eleventh hour in order to exchange contracts.

Building regulations

Even if building works or improvements did not require planning permission, they will still need building regulations approval. This is a certificate stating that the work meets the essential safety regulation laid down by the government.

The Competent Persons Scheme allows authorised individuals (such as builders, plumbers and electricians) to sign off their own work. This means that when they finish the job, they issue a Completion Certificate, confirming that the work complies with the applicable regulations.

It is important to hang on to these Certificates, as copies are not held by the local authority.

Missing approvals

If you are missing any of the necessary approvals, there are a number of steps you can take. Firstly, it is important to discuss the problem with your solicitor as early as possible, so that any potential issues can be ironed out before they can endanger the sale.

Where a Building Regulations Certificate is missing, it might not be an issue if the work was carried out some time ago, as regulations have changed over the past 10-20 years.

If a certificate is definitely needed but not present, then it is impossible to get one retrospectively, as the building inspector would need to assess the work from the very beginning. In this situation, the best solution is to obtain building regulation indemnity insurance, which will pay out in the event that the works have not been carried out correctly. Cover is relatively inexpensive – a basic policy for a £500,000 house costs around £175.

Absent planning permission is potentially a bigger problem. If it emerges that your building work needed planning approval but was done without it, you should think twice before approaching the planning authorities retrospectively. Even a speculative telephone call could trigger an inspection and result in a demolition order, so speak to your solicitor before you do anything else.

Photo by Holland And Green Architectural Design via Flickr CC Licence.

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