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 http://ec.europa.eu/research/mariecurieactions/news-events/events/year/2016/1129-20-years-msca_en.htm.

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 http://www.italy24.ilsole24ore.com/art/business-and-economy/2016-11-03/bilanci-imprese-190730.php?uuid=ADuemmoB.

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 http://www.constructionmag.co.uk/2016/sme-owners-take-cyber-security-seriously/#more-5460.

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.