Thursday, December 22, 2016

Project Management in Small to Medium-Sized Enterprises: Matching Processes to the Nature of the Firm

An interesting paper in International Journal of Project Management 28(8):744-755 · December 2010 looks at how project management can play a significant role in facilitating the contribution that small to medium enterprises (SMEs) make to the economy. Research was undertaken to identify the nature of project management required by SMEs, and the results of the qualitative stage of the research are reported in the paper available here:

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Secondment News

Craig Smith (Computors) recently commenced his latest secondment to the University of Wolverhampton (UniWolv). The focus of Craig's secondment will be to update the user interface of the RiMaCon software prototype, create a test version of the software on a web-server, provide a functionality document for users on the basic functions of the software, and to improve the responsiveness of the software on mobile devices.

Chike Oduoza (UniWolv) will be travelling to Vettorazzo Costruzioni (Vetto) next week for his latest secondment. During this time, Chike will undertake site visits, provide updates on work package 4 and work package 5, and agree with Senior Project Managers from Vetto which live and past projects could be used to test the RiMaCon software. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Can SMEs help solve the housing crisis by taking a philosophical approach to risk?

Construction New (UK) argue that the key to delivering the 90,000 homes a year needed in the UK will be whether SME house builders and contractors can get a fair share of the pie. The article suggests that SMEs shy away from larger projects (£5m - £20m projects) due to the way that risk is allocated and ensuring that risk sits with the party best able to manage and mitigate it. 

Read the full article at

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

UniWolv recruited researcher attending Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) celebration event

The RiMaCon recruited researcher from the University of Wolverhampton (UniWolv) is in Brussels today to attend the 20 Years of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) celebration event. The event celebrates the 20th anniversary of MSCA.

Throughout the day there will be speeches, presentations and discussions from representatives of the EAC as well as current and former MSCA fellows. The full programme can be viewed at

RiMaCon passes on heartfelt thanks and congratulations to all those who have been involved with MSCA over the past 20 years and commends the impact that MSCA has had on research. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

František Steiner returns from latest secondment to Vetto

František Steiner has recently returned to the University of West Bohemia (UoWB) following his latest secondment to Vettorazzo Costruzioni (VETTO).

During his secondment, Frank conducted a literature review on the overview of valid international standards for software testing and developed proposals of forms for testing. Frank found that software testing is becoming increasingly complex and companies engaged in software development are forced to implement new processes, procedures and methods. This is leading to very complex and sophisticated standards.

There are currently two large groups of standards dealing with software testing. Series ISO/IEC 29119 (Software and systems engineering -- Software testing) and ISO/IEC 25000 (Systems and software engineering -- Systems and software Quality Requirements and Evaluation (SQuaRE)).

Frank's work will inform testing and validation of the RiMaCon prototype. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

City A.M. looks at the barriers facing SME construction companies

An article in City A.M (UK) says that more needs to be done  if the Government's target of delivering one million new homes this parliament is to be met. It suggests that Britain's small and medium sized enterprises (SME) will need to be mobilised to get the job done, but barriers stand in the way. 

In an interview with a London based construction SME, problems related to access to labour, planning permission and the 'homebuilder fund' all present challenges to SMEs.

Marco Vettorazzo completes penultimate secondment to the University of Wolverhampton

Marco Vettorazzo (Vettorazzo Costruzioni (VETTO)) has recently returned to Italy following his latest secondment to the University of Wolverhampton. 

During his secondment, Marco carried out tasks such as demonstrating what VETTO and SMEs expect from the RiMaCon software, training on the draft software, looking at how to validate the software and meeting with key project staff to enable Transfer of Knowledge (ToK).

Marco identified several key requirements that the RiMaCon software needs to fulfill in order for SMEs to engage and take value from it:

  • The software should be simple and user friendly as many SMEs won't have staff directly involved in risk management
  • The software must help the user see all the risks that would usually be inside someone's head
  • The software must give the user a quick result to simply the job of the project manager
  • For future iterations of the software, it would be beneficial for companies to be able to compare old and new projects
Marco also carried out work to identify additional key risk indicators in addition to those identified in previous work packages before considering how best the software may be validated by VETTO.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

New Year’s Resolutions for SMEs

Business News Wales suggests five New Year's resolutions that every SME should make. They are:
  1. Take time to create a detailed succession plan
  2. Consider outsourcing some of your professional services
  3. Stop using your accountant to simply make sure your books are in order
  4. Get an expert to audit your social media strategy and activity
  5. Get out more!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Construction output in Czech Republic decreases during Q3

The Czech Statistical Office reports that during Q3 2016, construction output in the Czech Republic decreased by 9.8%, year-on-year (y-o-y), in real terms. The average registered number of employees in construction enterprises with 50+ employees fell by 2.6% y-o-y in Q3 2016, but the average monthly wage increased by 5.5% y-o-y and reached CZK 33,783.

The number of building orders of construction companies with 50+ employees increased by 5.2% y-o-y but the total value of the orders decreased by 9.4%. 

Costs a growing threat for construction SMEs?

An article by Construction Products Association (CPA), based on the latest Construction Trade Survey, shows that the UK construction industry grew for a fourteenth consecutive quarter in Q3 (UK). Firms across all areas (including SMEs) reported an increase in activity. However, the article suggest that future activity may be severely hindered by inflationary pressures caused by rising wages and imported raw material costs. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Neil Smith completes latest secondment to the University of Wolverhampton.

Neil Smith (Computors) has recently completed a two week secondment to the University of Wolverhampton. The focus of this secondment was to integrate the statistical analysis code (written by RiMaCon recruited researcher) in the RiMaCon prototype web application. 

During Neil's secondment, the process of integrating the R code into the database was started and boilerplate coding was successfully achieved. Definitions used in the RiMaCon mathematical model have also been integrated. Further work is required to integrate the final R code into the RiMaCon software prototype. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Work underway to enable validation of RiMaCon software prototype

RiMaCon researcher Nengi Odimabo (University of Wolverhampton) undertook a two-week secondment to Vettorazzo Costruzioni in Italy last month in order to begin preparations for work package 5 (testing and validation). 

At the time of the secondment, the complete prototype of the software was still under development, however, it was the focus of the researcher to determine what the expectations of the software are from the users at Vettorazzo Construzioni and what their expected output from the software is. In order to achieve this, interviews with project managers were conducted, documents analysed and site observations carried out. As a result of this secondment, the researcher was able to identify a number of expectations from project managers at Vetto.

Implementing new risk management software for construction SMEs can be a significant shift for an organisation, the software developed should provide a disciplined environment  for proactive decision making, help to determine what risks need to be addressed, and to implement actions to go with those risks.

Further secondments are planned for later this year. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Frank Steiner prepares for next secondment to Vettorazzo Costruzioni

Frank Steiner (University of West Bohemia) will travel to Vettorazzo Costruzioni from 14th November 2016 to 25th November 2016 to undertake a two week secondment.

The focus of Frank's visit will be familiaristation with the software functionality of the prototype risk management system, to develop a test strategy and data for testing, and to develop testing scenarios for software prototype testing. These tasks are associated with work package 5. 

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions - 20 Years of European Support for Researchers Factsheet

​The European Commission has published a factsheet to celebrate 20 years of the Marie Curie and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. The factsheet details why the actions were established in the first place, who can participate, what the impact their impact is, as well as some interesting facts and figures.
The RiMaCon project is funded through the Marie Curie Actions - Industry Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) funding scheme and the consortium can testify to the impact that these schemes make towards supporting and developing world class researchers. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Revenue at SMEs back to pre-crisis levels (Italy)

ItalyEurope24 report that after a long period of stasis, construction SMEs in Italy are showing signs of making progress in productivity and competitiveness according to the 2016 Cerved SME Report.

Read the full report at

SME Owners: Take Cyber Security Seriously

An article in Construction Magazine highlights the importance of cyber security for SME owners.

The article reports that in the last year alone, 74% of small organisations reported a breach in cyber security. Despite this, 66% of SMEs don't consider their business to be at risk from an attack. 

Read the full article and see some simple steps that any business can take to understand the potential risks at

Friday, November 4, 2016

Small Business Taskforce sticking up for SMEs

The Telegraph reports how a new Small Business Taskforce has been set up in the UK to champion the needs of SMEs, lobbying the Government for support and preparing for the fallout of Brexit.

‘Business is about managed risks, not stupid risks’

An article in The Telegraph tells the story of how an entrepreneur sees business as being about managed risks, not stupid risks.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Dr Subashini Suresh returns from latest secondment to Vetto

Dr Subashini Suresh has recently returned to the UK following her latest secondment to Vettorazzo Costruzioni in Italy. She was on secondment from 24th to 28th October, 2016. 

The aim of this secondment was to examine the work done to date on the project and investigate Health and Safety risk strand for the Enterprise Risk Management framework based on the Balance Scorecard concept.

During the secondment, site visits were undertaken, discussions took place about Risk Management for Health and Safety aspects, and work was carried out on the Enterprise Risk Management framework incorporating Health and Safety on the Balance Scorecard.  

Dr Suresh will return to Vettorazzo for one final secondment prior to the end of the project. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Legal Risk Identification for SMEs in the Construction Industry

Jennifer Charlson and Chike Oduoza (University of Wolverhampton) have had their paper 'Construction Industry Legal Risk Identification for SMEs' published in the Construction Law Journal, Vol. 32, No. 6. 


This research contributes to a European Union (EU) funded project "Risk Management Software System for SMEs in the Construction Industry (RiMaCon)." The aim was to identify relevant legal risks with a view to manage them. A critical literature review was undertaken and the themes that emerged included procurement, building information modelling, building regulation and construction contract issues including delay, claims and dispute resolution. A case study approach was adopted as the researcher benefitted from a secondment to an SME contractor in Italy where pilot interviews were undertaken. The paper concludes that the literature review seems to have identified legal risks relevant to construction SMEs which will be investigated further.

Further details available at

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Dr Subashini Suresh prepares for latest secondment to Vettorazzo

Dr Subashini Suresh (University of Wolverhampton) is preparing for her next secondment to Vettorazzo Construzioni in Italy. Dr Suresh will be on secondment from 24th October 2016 to 28th October 2016.

The focus of the secondment will be on WP5, specifically:

  • To review the project team work on work packages
  • Enterprise risk management framework incorporating Health & Safety on the Balance Scorecard 
  • Undertake a site visit
  • Report preparation and writing

Monday, October 17, 2016


RiMaCon recruited researcher (UniWolv) is in Delft, the Netherlands this week to attend the fifth International Symposium on Life-Cycle Civil Engineering (IALCCE 2016). This brings world experts together, to share recent progress and formulate future directions to life-cycle civil engineering. 

The recruited researcher is attending this conference as part of his personal development and to identify any areas relevant to the development of the RiMaCon risk management prototype. 

Further information about the conference can be found at

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Neil Smith completes latest secondment to University of West Bohemia

Neil Smith (Computors Limited) has recently completed his latest secondment to the University of West Bohemia (UoWB) in the Czech Republic. He spent one month at UoWB (29/08/2016 - 23/09/2016).

During his time at UoWB, Neil continued work on the development of the risk management prototype including implementing objective weights, implementing KRI sorting, implementing specific attributes for key risk indicators, risk factors and objectives and began the process of integrating DB data into the R algorithm. 

Neil has now completed all scheduled secondments to UoWB but will still undertake a further secondment to the University of Wolverhampton later in 2016.

Marco Vettorazzo completes latest secondment to University of West Bohemia

Marco Vettorazzo (Vettorazzo Costruzioni) has recently completed his latest secondment to the University of West Bohemia (UoWB) in the Czech Republic. He spent one week at UoWB (03/10/2016 - 07/10/2016).

During his time at UoWB, Marco undertook tasks including looking at the impact of different risks from the perspective of Vettorazzo Costruzioni, training in simulation models, and looking at specifications for SMEs in terms of Time, Cost and Quality.

Marco is due to undertake further secondments to the University of Wolverhampton in October and December 2016.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Public land to be broken up for SMEs? report that large public owned sites will be broken up into small plots in order to encourage SME builders to develop them under the government’s new Accelerated Construction initiaive, housing minister Gavin Barwell has pledged.

Read the full article at

Monday, October 10, 2016

Jiří Tupa completes latest secondment to Vettorazzo Costruzioni

Jiri Tupa (University of West Bohemia) has recently completed his latest secondment to Vettorazzo Costruzioni (Vetto) in Italy. He spent two weeks at Vetto (26/09/2016 - 07/10/2016) and addressed the following tasks:

  • Delivered 'IPR managemement as part of risk management and IPR of SW products and their licensing' lecture
  • Validation of results (WP3)
  • Testing strategies for SW prototype testing

During his stay, Jiri passed knowledge of SW testing standards to Vetto as part of WP5 and transferred basic knowledge about software IPR. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Latest RiMaCon secondments underway

This is a busy period for the RiMaCon project as we enter our final six months. Several secondments are currently taking place to progress work on the prototype risk management system.

Jiri Tupa (University of West Bohemia) is currently on a two week secondment to Vettorazzo Construzioni, as is Nengi Odimabo (University of Wolverhampton). In addition, Marco Vettorazzo (Vettorazzo Construzioni) is currently on a one week secondment to the University of West Bohemia.

Further secondments to Vettorazzo Construzioni are planned for later this month. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Construction companies building smaller savings pots than any other industry

Builder & Engineer report that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the construction sector are saving less than any other industry, new research reveals.
According to a study of 500 SMEs by Hampshire Trust Bank in partnership with Coleman Parkes, construction come bottom when it comes to the amount of money held in business savings accounts, with the average balance standing at £319,000.

RiMaCon Management Meeting in Pilsen

The latest RiMaCon management committee meeting took place in Pilsen, Czech Republic on Wednesday 14th September. Representatives from all project partners attended the meeting.

Project coordinator, Professor Oduoza provided an update on progress to date and all partners gave presentations covering Management Issues/Activities, Secondments, Dissemination Activities and General Progress updates for the period Apr-16 to Sep-16.

Jan Simota then presented his findings from work package 3 before Alexios Tamparopoulos and Neil Smith delivered a presentation on work package 4 and the development of the risk management prototype. The presentations illustrated the significant efforts that all partners were putting in to conclude the project within the timeframe. Forward planning then took place to look at remaining secondments and associated key tasks to be completed over the final six months of the project.

The final project meeting will take place in Italy in March 2017.

Friday, September 9, 2016

RiMaCon Recruited Researcher to present at ESREL 2016

RiMaCon recruited researcher (Uni WLV) will present at the upcoming European Safety and Reliability (ESREL2016) conference in Glasgow.

The conference takes place from 25-29 September at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. ESREL 2016 brings together researchers and practitioners in safety, reliability, risk, resilliance and asset management to look at new approaches to deal with challenges faced across all industry sectors.

The paper being presented by Alexios is titled Towards a Risk Management Prototype for Small and Medium Enterprises in the Construction Sector.

A review of the conference and presentation will be added in due course.

Further information about ESREL2016 can be found at

New EU Project Officer for RiMaCon

The RiMaCon consortium would like to welcome Linda Curzola as its new EU Project Officer.

Linda replaces Gianluca Coluccio as Project Officer and the RiMaCon consortium looks forward to working her. We would like to thank Gianluca for his involvement in the project.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

SME owners taking unnecessary risks with business future

A study carried out by Haines Watts suggests that UK SME owners are putting business success ahead of personal gain, reports SME Insider. It also revealed that company owners are ploughing a lot of their personal wealth back into their business, leaving their financial security hanging in the balance. 

The survey showed that as many as half of company owners have a main supplier that they could not live without and 43% have a major customer that they rely on.

Little referendum hangover for SME house-builders

The Construction Index (UK) report that a survey of SME house-builders has revealed that two-thirds have seen no significant changes to their project pipelines in the wake of the EU referendum. 

A survey of 108 SME house-builders in England by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) found that 69% are yet to see any impact on their business. Although 10 firms (9.5%) had seen a project cancelled since June's vote. and 23 had experienced delayed decision-making.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Pioneering procurement contract makes it easier for SMEs to access big contracts

Builder & Engineer report how a new Framework Alliance Contract (FAC-1) can help SMEs gain access to significant public contracts. 

This new contract combined with the latest procurement rules has enabled SMEs to tender for parts of bigger overall frameworks with Futures, creating healthier competition in the marketplace and access to a richer resource pool for the organisation.

RiMaCon Consortium meeting in Pilsen (CZ)

The next RiMaCon consortium meetings takes place in Pilsen on 14th September. Representatives from all partners will be in attendance.

As well as focusing on management activities, partners will receive a presentation of the final report on work package 3 from Jan Simota and a presentation on the progress of work package 4 from Neil Smith and Alexios Tamparopoulos. There will also be forward planning activities to look at secondments due to take place between September-16 and March-17, work package 5 planning and planning for further dissemination activities. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

UK construction sector stabilises in August

Property Reporter write that UK construction companies indicated a sustained reduction in business activity during August, but the pace of decline was only marginal and much softer than the seven-year record seen during July, according to IHS Markit data.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The big risks for the construction sector

Lucas Fettes has produced a new infographic highlighting the key risks in the construction sector. These include workplace issues, emerging risks and accidents, injuries and illness.

Find out more at

Construction Safety Week (Ireland)

The Construction Safety Partnership Advisory Committee launched Construction Safety Week today. The week will commence on September 12th and will see a series of week-long initiatives run across construction sites and offices nationally. The aim is to help construction companies establish a safety mindset amongst their employees. This will ultimately reduce workplace accidents and maximise the safety and well-being of their employees. 

Further information is available here

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Latest RiMaCon secondments underway in Czech Republic

Craig Smith and Neil Smith (Computors UK) have both begun their latest secondments to the University of West Bohemia in Czech Republic. They will be staying for 2 weeks and 4 weeks respectively. 

The focus of their secondments will be to continue progressing work package 4 (development of the prototype risk management system), focusing on details such as implementing objective weights, KRI sorting and beginning the process of integrating DB data into the R algorithm. 

Craig and Neil will provide end of secondment reports at the end of their visit.

COSME: Europe's Programme for SMEs

Cosme is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs, running from 2014 to 2020, with a budget of €2.3 billion. COSME will support SMEs in the following areas:

  • Facilitating access to finance
  • Supporting internationalisation and access to markets
  • Creating an environment favourable to competitiveness
  • Encouraging an entrepreneurial culture

Further information is available at

Small construction firms most impacted by “bad debt”

Business Advice say that "bad debt" currently affects more than a quarter of the UK's small businesses, according to the latest statistics. Non-payment of invoices by customers - known as "bad debt" - has resulted in 27% of companies across all sectors writing money off in the last 12 months, with the transport and construction sectors particularly badly affected.

Over half of construction bosses start their careers as an apprentice

Training Journal report how nearly 60% of SME construction owners started their career as an apprentice, according to a study from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). The report also says that 98% of construction SMEs value an apprenticeship over a degree when looking for new staff. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

ISO 31000 - Risk Management

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) launched a handbook to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) better manage potential risks.The new publication, titled “ISO 31000 – Risk management” aims at helping SMEs improve the identification of opportunities and threats, and effectively allocate resources for risk treatment.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Why late payment hits the construction sector hardest

An article in describes how delays in paying contractors puts jobs at risk all along the supply chain, with the construction sector which includes many SMEs particularly vulnerable.

The Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA) says that slow payments of bills is a major reason why the construction sector has such a high number of insolvencies.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Can support for construction SMEs in the UK help meet demand for housing?

An article in The Telegraph (UK) suggests that a "help to build" policy for construction SMEs would help raise the level of house building to the levels required in the UK. The article, based on a report produced by Capital Economics and Shelter suggests that the Government would be 226,000 homes behind the target it set to build one million new homes by the end of parliament in 2020.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Adopting risk management software in 5 key steps describe how risk management software can be a powerful tool to help SMEs deliver projects efficiently and effectively. They outline five areas to consider for SMEs looking at a risk management implementation:

  1. Understand the risk
  2. Have a plan
  3. Engage at all levels
  4. Track and communicate 
  5. Lead by example

View the full article at

Is Your Construction Site a Pokémon Go PokéStop?

Construction Executive have written a topical piece on the risk of the Pokémon Go phenomenon to construction sites, as well as some tips on how to minimise the risks.

Leading entrepreneur Emma Jones appointed as new Small Business Crown Representative (UK)

GOV.UK report how Emma Jones MBE has been appointed to help more small businesses in the UK bid for and win government contracts.

This supports the UK government's manifesto commitment to spend £1 in every £3 with SMEs by 2020.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Builders fear impact of deteriorating exchange rates (UK)

The Construction Index (UK) reports that there appears to be mounting fear in the UK construction industry about the impact of the weak pound on building costs, with two-thirds of construction SME bosses predicting material price inflation.

Upcoming RiMaCon secondments

One of the key features of the RiMaCon project is the transfer of knowledge (ToK) between commercial and non-commercial partners. This ToK takes place by employees of one organisation in the consortium going on secondment to another organisation within the consortium in order to share knowledge and progress work.

Craig Smith and Neil Smith from Computors (UK) will shortly be travelling to the University of West Bohemia (CZ) to undertake secondments with the aim of progressing work on work package 4. Craig will stay for a period of 2 weeks, Neil for 4 weeks. 

Nengi Odimabo from the University of Wolverhampton (UK) will be travelling to Vettorazzo Construzioni (IT) in September for 2 weeks to begin work on work package 5, and Jiri Tupa from the University of West Bohemia (CZ) will also travel to Vettorazzo at the end of September for a period of 2 weeks. 

RiMaCon researcher to attend ESREL 2016 conference in Glasgow

RiMaCon experienced researcher, Alexios Tamparopoulos will be attending the upcoming European Safety and Reliability (ESREL) conference in Glasgow between 25-29 September. ESREL brings together researchers and practitioners in safety, reliability, risk, resilience and asset management to look at new approaches to deal with challenges faced across all industry sectors.

Alexios will also be presenting a paper at the conference titled Towards a Risk Management Prototype for SMEs in the Construction Sector.

Visit for further information.

New poll claims the skills shortage is crippling the construction industry

City A.M Limited (UK) report that the skills shortage in the construction sector is at "breaking point" according to a new survey of project managers and contractors.

Read the full article at

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Welcome to the new RiMaCon website

Welcome to the website for the EU funded RiMaCon project. The project began in April 2013 and will run for four years. The project coordinator is the University of Wolverhampton (UK) with commercial and non-commercial partners University of West Bohemia (CZ), Computors Ltd (UK) and Vettorazzo Construzioni (IT).

The aim of the project is to develop a cost-effective, user friend, risk management prototype system for use by SMEs in the construction sector. The intention is that the prototype system will evaluate, monitor and review both imminent and impending risks with a view to eliminating or minimising their impact.

More information about the project, work packages, consortium and research outputs can be found on the associated tabs. This website is currently under development and will be updated in due course.