Concrete Tools News

  • VAT increase 'could impact users of concreting tools in a negative way'

    VAT increase 'could impact users of concreting tools in a negative way'

    The increase in VAT from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent from January 2011 is likely to impact on professionals working with concreting tools in a negative way, based on comments from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

    According to the FMB, the direct impact of the VAT rise on domestic renovations and maintenance work will be a two per cent drop in work.

    That could include jobs carried out with concreting tools, ranging from flooring in houses undergoing renovation to laying new driveways to replace old, cracked surfaces.

    FMB director-general Richard Diment says: "At a time when the government wants to create jobs ... they have decided to bring in a policy which will have exactly the opposite effect."

    However, the organisation did express its support earlier this month for government plans to ensure small to medium-sized firms can access public sector contracts, with at least a quarter of jobs due to go to more modestly sized companies in the future.

    Posted by Andrew Miles

  • Having a ball with concreting tools on Bonfire Night

    Having a ball with concreting tools on Bonfire Night

    November 5th is Bonfire Night - and concreting tools could help to make sure that the evening's festivities go with a bang.

    Already in 2010 fire crews have had to deal with bonfires burning out of control.

    One crew from St Neots in Cambridgeshire was called out as early as October 30th to a bonfire lit on open ground on Hardwick Road in Eynesbury.

    A spokesperson for the service said: "Bonfires can easily spread to nearby hedges, trees and even houses, putting the lives of those nearby at risk."

    Putting concreting tools to work could help to reduce this risk by setting a stable and burn-proof base on which to build a bonfire or from where to set off fireworks.

    Meanwhile, Avon and Somerset Constabulary is echoing the need for an awareness of the risks posed by bonfires and fireworks alike.

    "We want people to have fun this firework night, but we want them to do that safely," says Inspector Colin Salmon.

    Posted by Charlie Parkin

  • Concreting tools applied to more cement in Q2 2010

    Concreting tools applied to more cement in Q2 2010

    New figures for deliveries of cement in the second quarter of 2010 show concreting tools were put to work on a greater amount of the building material.

    In its latest official update, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) sees a sequential rise of almost a quarter (24 per cent) in deliveries of cementitious materials of all types.

    Almost three million tonnes of cement were laid using concreting tools in the second quarter of the year, up from 2.35 million in the first quarter.

    The three-month figure is also up compared with 2009, when just over 2.7 million tonnes of cement were laid in the second quarterly reporting period.

    Cementitious materials included in the report comprise cement, ground granulated blast-furnace slag and pulverised fuel ash.

    BIS compiles statistics on building materials on a monthly basis, with quarterly and annual updates also issued by the government department on imports and exports.

    Posted by Jude Whitehouse

  • Concrete groovers 'an economical route to aesthetics'

    Concrete groovers 'an economical route to aesthetics'

    Concrete groovers can offer a simple way to make a driveway look aesthetically appealing in the autumn, says The Concrete Network.

    The information provider on all things relating to cementitious surfaces has published a guide to economical, mid-range and advanced techniques in overhauling existing driveways.

    Advanced methods involve hand finishes, staining, borders and intricate patterns, while mid-range approaches include engraving and two-colour surfaces.

    For an economical way of getting an aesthetically appealing finish, though, concrete groovers could be the solution.

    A textured finish or a single colouring both constitute these basic but attractive options, The Concrete Network says.

    "Digging deeper, concrete driveways offer design and customisation options allowing for one-of-a-kind creations," householders are told.

    The network's aim is to raise awareness not only among homeowners, but also among professionals working in the cement industry, of the ways of applying concrete that can help to get the most from the material.

    Posted by Jude Whitehouse

  • Public sector redundancies could go to work with concreting tools

    Public sector redundancies could go to work with concreting tools

    More people made redundant from the public sector could put concreting tools to work by getting a job with a small to medium-sized construction firm engaging on government contracts.

    Earlier this week, the Cabinet Office announced plans for a quarter of public sector contracts to go to small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across all industry sectors, bolstered by a pledge to pay funds within 30 days to keep good cashflow conditions in small firms.

    Richard Diment, director general of the Federation of Master Builders, said government processes had prevented SMEs from accessing contracts "for too long".

    With efforts to overcome this, more former public sector employees could find they benefit as a result of putting concreting tools into action in the construction sector.

    Stephen Alambritis, spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses, says: "There are five million small businesses.

    "If a quarter of them took on an extra person each, we'd be well into sorting out the unemployment statistics for the public sector."

    Posted by Andrew Miles

  • Cost of concreting tools could be a concern for many

    Cost of concreting tools could be a concern for many

    The cost and availability of concreting tools could be two of the main concerns faced by builders at the moment.

    According to Rod Bennion, non-executive chairman of the National Merchant Buying Society (NMBS), a representative organisation for procurement in the building, plumbing, timber, hardware and heating industries, stock and pricing levels are key factors in meeting customer demand at present.

    Speaking at the recent NMBS Strategic Sales Conference, he explained that each issue is instrumental in allowing suppliers to meet the wants and needs of their client base.

    Concreting tools that offer good quality levels without putting undue strain on project budgets could be particularly in demand among builders looking to achieve more in a competitive environment.

    Mr Bennion's speech is summarised by the NMBS with the words: "Suppliers need to be both agile and responsive."

    While he noted the presence of other concerns in the market as a whole, cost and availability were singled out as the two main factors at present.

    Posted by Jude Whitehouse

  • Concrete tools feature in Certificate of Achievement

    Concrete tools feature in Certificate of Achievement

    A one-year Certificate of Achievement created by the Concrete Society and University of Derby Corporate covers the process from quarrying to on-site preparation of cementitious materials using concrete tools.

    Richard England, chief executive officer of the Concrete Society, explains that many professionals have previously worked with concrete tools for some time without the opportunity of gaining a formal title.

    "We realised that we had a lot of very experienced people in the industry who didn't have a formal qualification related to their work," he says.

    With the one-year certificate in Concrete Technology, the properties and production processes of concrete, batching, mixing and testing the material are all covered.

    The Concrete Society says that qualifications not only help to educate the people who work with the substance.

    In addition, they allow concrete work to become more widely recognised as a specialism in disciplines such as construction and engineering, the organisation adds.

    Posted by Charlie Parkin

  • Users of concreting tools 'deserve praise' for safety commitment

    Users of concreting tools 'deserve praise' for safety commitment

    Many members of the Mineral Products Association (MPA) may put particular effort into working safely with their concreting tools and plant hire on a day to day basis.

    Last week, those who exhibit the highest standards of health and safety were recognised at a ceremony hosted at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, located in London.

    Nigel Jackson, chief executive of the MPA, says: "The efforts our members are making to improve health and safety deserve praise and recognition."

    He adds: "MPA members are also pushing towards the goal of a fully competent workforce."

    This could see many engage in professional development to improve their skills with concreting tools and the other paraphernalia of the trade.

    Almost 340 delegates including international representatives of mineral products firms from overseas attended the event.

    The MPA also annually conducts the Stay Safe campaign, urging young people to protect themselves by not playing, swimming or cycling in quarries without permission or supervision.

    Posted by Jonathan Gordon

  • Concreting tools could help homeowners reach DIY targets

    Concreting tools could help homeowners reach DIY targets

    Ambitious homeowners could find professional concreting tools help them to undertake the kinds of DIY projects they have previously been afraid to attempt.

    Build It editor Anna-Marie Desouza suggests that there is a balance to strike between the capabilities of the individual and the scale of project that they try to complete.

    For instance, she says that most people could probably pick up a patio slab, but that laying 50 of them could prove too much for some.

    "Don't overestimate your own strength," she advises, adding: "Take a sensible approach at all times."

    Using the correct concreting tools could help to make sure that some projects involving cementitious materials are completed without too much difficulty.

    With a lightweight tamp beam, for instance, substantial areas could be smoothed over with the minimum of effort and no heavy lifting required.

    "The more you do and the more confident you become, the bigger the task you can take on," Ms Desouza suggests.

    Posted by Charlie Parkin

  • Not all users of concrete tools are manufacturing'

    Not all users of concrete tools are manufacturing'

    While it may seem sensible to suggest that everyone who picks up concrete tools to build something is working in the manufacturing sector, that may not be so.

    In a blog post for the Work Foundation, Andrew Sissons explains that some roles that often get referred to as being in primary industry are actually in the services sector.

    Among them are gardeners, who may use concrete tools in landscaping work, along with plumbers and cleaners.

    His comments follow an article in the Guardian by Simon Jenkins, suggesting that graduates unable to find jobs in industries traditionally perceived as being academic may instead look to manual labour as an alternative.

    "The only problem is that most of the manual jobs he celebrates are not actually in manufacturing at all," Mr Sissons points out.

    In his article, Mr Jenkins suggests that many educated people have already gone into disciplines such as decorating and gardening, but assign titles such as interior design and landscaping to their professions instead.

    Posted by Jude WhitehouseADNFCR-2977-ID-800107116-ADNFCR

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