At the beginning of the year, Edinburgh education came to a standstill following the collapse of a brick wall at one school, leading to the emergency closure of 17. The fact that no injuries or fatalities occurred was described as a matter of luck and timing. The chilling reality is that the outcome could have been very different.
This is a stark reminder of the responsibilities of headteachers, facilities management and the education construction industry, to ensure that the buildings we house our future in, are safe. Key to that safety is maintaining up-to-date industry knowledge. This is why attending trade shows such as UK Construction Week (UKCW) with the experts, knowledge and products to help, is so important. Especially when it comes to the following areas of safety.
Fire, site and security safety
Following the Hackitt Review and catastrophic Grenfell Tower fire, fire safety is at the top of every construction professional’s mind. Experts at UKCW will be covering this topic extensively, from the correct design for fire safety performance and non-combustible insulation solutions to emergency lighting and fire alarm standards.
Connecting with experts to understand their products is especially important when it comes to fire safety. Visitors to UKCW can book meetings with fire-expert exhibitors, including insulation expert Knauf Insulation, award-winning fire door provider Morland, and sealant, foam and adhesive professionals Soudal.
The safety of the construction process is as important as the safety of the finished product, which is why health and safety is a big focus of this year’s UKCW free CPD sessions. The Working at Height hub, supported by the Access Industry Forum, is offering 40-minute sessions on essential information including ladders and stepladders, mobile access towers, and changes to the scaffolding industry.
The Scaffolding Association is also providing advice from its stand, and OM Group is hosting health and safety sessions from its stand.
Technology has also made waves in PPE and risk assessments, as demonstrated by EAVE’s world’s first noise mapping, monitoring and dosimetry system integrated into a Bluetooth ear defender; and THSP Risk Management’s risk assessment builder, which is shortlisted for two awards.
With remote access and cloud-based security systems fast becoming the norm for independent educational facilities, providers such as Risco Group can offer tailored security solutions to accommodate up to 512 zones. But, with any building utilising smart technology, ensuring the security of the system itself is paramount.
At UKCW, Professor Pillai will be discussing cyber security for smart buildings, investigating some of the security vulnerabilities to be aware of.
The talent of the future will have a programme dedicated to them at this year’s UKCW with activities including:
– Announcement of the UKCW Role Model of the Year
– Future of Construction Hub, with Birmingham City University, and a construction simulator from Coventry University
– ‘Design your Home of the Future’ with George Clarke’s MOBIE
– The first BMF Young Merchants’ Conference at the BMF Pavilion
– Save Civil City challenge at the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) stand
– Timber structure project exploring connections by Manja van de Worp and students from the school of architecture at the Royal School of Art
– Finishes and Interiors Sector (FIS) #iBuiltThis2018 photography competition
Universities and colleges with students wishing to attend the event, please contact the organisers for group bookings on firstname.lastname@example.org. UKCW takes place at the NEC in Birmingham between 9–11 October. Visitor tickets are available from ukconstructionweek.com and allow access to all nine shows: Build Show, Energy 2018, Timber Expo, Building Tech Live, Surface & Materials Show, HVAC 2018, Civils Expo, Plant and Machinery Live, and Grand Designs Live on 10 and 11 October.