Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Final consortium meeting to take place in Padua

The final RiMaCon consortium meeting will take place at the premises of Vettorazzo Costruzioni on Thursday 23rd March. Representatives from all partners will be in attendance. 

The focus of the meeting will be for LEARs to provide updates on progress since the previous consortium meeting (Pilsen, Sepetember 2016), for researchers to update on the progress and achievements of WP4 and WP5, and for discussion of requirements in relation to the periodic and end of project reports.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Subashini Suresh returns from Vettorazzo

Dr Subashini Suresh (UniWolv) has recently returned from her penultimate secondment to Vettorazzo Costruzioni (Vetto).
During her secondment the following key tasks were addressed:
  1. Mapping study: review of project team work on WP5
  2. Visits to four project sites
  3. Understanding and using the variables of health and safety aspects in the software
  4. Project discussions with team from Vetto
Dr Suresh developed her understanding of how the RiMaCon prototype software was being developed and tested and put forward proposals for how SMEs should be supported to use the software in future.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Martin Hirman completes 3 month secondment to Vetto

RiMaCon researcher Martin Hirman (University of West bohemia) has recently completed a three month secondment to Vettorazzo Costruzioni (Vetto). Martin had been at Vetto since December 2016, focusing on WP5.

During the secondment the following key tasks were addressed;

  1. Testing data collection
  2. Preparing test scenarios
  3. Transfer of knowledge on simulation to Vetto staff
  4. Adding testing data to the software database
  5. Verification and validation of software
  6. Preparation of "user satisfaction questionnaire"
The testing data created will serve as the starting data in the prototype software but can be changed by the user. Testing scenarios were prepared and a lecture delivered to staff at Vetto on the theoretical background of software testing and a practical demonstration of the RiMaCon prototype. Martin added all risk factors, key risk indicators and objectives to the software database and verification of the software achieved in collaboration with the recruited researcher from the University of Wolverhampton. A user satisfaction questionnaire was designed and is ready to use. 

The RiMaCon consortium thanks Martin for his significant contribution to WP5. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Secondment News

Two RiMaCon secondments are due to commence on 13th March. Craig Smith (Computors Limited) will travel to The University of West Bohemia in the Czech Republic and Dr Subashini Suresh (University of Wolverhampton) will travel to Vettorazzo Costruzioni in Italy. 

The focus of Craig's secondment will be work on the user interface for the RiMaCon prototype risk management software based on feedback provided by researchers at Vettorazzo. Dr Suresh will be working on WP5 (testing & validation) of the prototype RiMaCon software.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

RiMaCon shortlisted for Construction Award

We are delighted to announce that the RiMaCon software prototype has been shortlisted for the 'Innovation of the Year' award at the 2017 West Midlands Celebrating Construction Awards.

The winner will be announced at an Awards Ceremony on 28th April 2017 at the ICC, Birmingham. 

Development of the RiMaCon software prototype has been led by the UK SME partner, Computors Limited with support and input from other members of the consortium. Testing and validation of the prototype is currently being led by the Italian SME partner, Vettorazzo Costruzioni. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

European construction output sees falls and rises

Output in the construction sector across the Eurozone fell by 0.2% in December compared to November but grew by 0.6% across the 28 countries of the EU (EU28), including a 2.2% rise in the UK & Czech Republic.


Source: The Construction Index

Monday, February 20, 2017

Secondment News

As the RiMaCon project draws to a close at the end of March, several secondments are currently underway in order to continue work on testing and validation of the prototype software.

Marco Vettorazzo (Vetto) is currently on his final secondment to the University of Wolverhampton, as is Craig Smith (Computors). Dr Shuba Suresh (University of Wolverhampton) is also on secondment to Vetto this week, joining Martin Hirman (UoWB) who has been on secondment to Vetto for some time to progress work on WP5 (testing & validation). 

RiMaCon project co-ordinator, Prof. Chike Oduoza has recently returned from Vetto where he spent a week on secondment to familiarise himself  with the prototype and progress work on testing and validation. He was joined by the recruited researcher from the University of Wolverhampton who demonstrated the prototype software to staff from Vetto and those on secondment and advised on the approach to testing and validation.  

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Upcoming secondments to Vetto

Later this month, the RiMaCon Project Manager and the recruited researcher from the University of Wolverhampton will travel to Italy for one week as part of work package 5.

During this week they will work closely with Vetto staff and the RiMaCon secondee from University of West Bohemia to explain how the prototype software works and find a relevant case study to use, set up the software with relevant data from the case study identified, go through the model and generate outputs, and to decide how outputs should be formulated.

This critical visit will take place w/c 13th February. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Construction skills shortage gets worse, warns FMB (UK)

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) warns that the skills shortage in the construction sector has got worse. The FMEs State of Trade Survey for Q4 2016 shows that:

  • Almost half of construction SMEs are reporting difficulties hiring roofers 
  • Shortages of plasters and electricians are at their highest point in four years
  • The SME construction sector has experienced 15 consecutive quarters of growth
They argue that the growing skills deficit is pushing up costs for small firms and adding to the pressure of soaring material prices caused by the weak pound. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Secondment News

Neil Smith (Computors) is currently on a two week secondment to the University of Wolverhampton (UniWolvs). The aim of Neil's secondment is to focus on getting calculation results out of the RiMaCon software prototype. He will create a model with some Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) and Risk Factors (RFs) and apply the calculations to other existing or new models within the database. 

Meanwhile, Chike Oduoza (UniWolvs) will be on secondment to Computors between Monday 23rd January and Friday 27th January. He will work with the LEAR from Computors to update on the progress of WP4 and WP5 as well as make plans for the completion of the project. 

Craig Smith (Computors) recently completed his latest secondment to the University of West Bohemia (UoWB) having finished a two-week secondment on Friday 20th January. The focus of Craig's work while in the Czech Republic was on the user interface of the RiMaCon software prototype. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Reversing the decline of small housebuilders: Reinvigorating entrepreneurialism and building more homes

The Home Builders Federation has recently produced a report detailing the barriers in which SME house builders face in developing housing. Some of the key facts outlined in the report are:

  • In 1988 SMEs were responsible for 4 in 10 new build homes compared with just 12% today
  • Delay and risk during the planning stage has influenced lender attitudes to house building meaning that terms SMEs borrow on are restricting growth opportunities
  • Between 2007-2009, one third of small companies ceased building homes
  • Returning to the number of home builders operational in 2007 could help boost housing supply by 25,000 homes per year
  • Measure to remove blockages in the planning system, reduce red tape and bring about fairer finance for SMEs would enable more companies to realise their ambitions, reinvigorating the entrepreneurial spirit of previous decades

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

How can you improve your safety?

An article by JELF Group lists 8 ways in which safety in the construction sector can be improved:
  1. Ensure equipment has been correctly assembled and installed*
  2. Make sure that all equipment is properly maintained and regularly checked*
  3. Avoid working at height where possible and find ways of decreasing it*
  4. Keep all walkways, stairs, and work areas clear of debris and obstructions*
  5. Make sure that all materials are stored away safely*
  6. Provide staff with protective equipment and make sure they can use it correctly*
  7. Ensure all employees are appropriately trained
  8. Ensure all workplace tasks are risk assessed

Sources: 
*Zywave Risk Insights: Construction Site Safety Inspections

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

How risk management can save your business

An article on 'mybusiness' (Australia) discusses the importance of small business owners devising a Plan B in case things go wrong. They explore some risks that are commonly faced by SMEs, the ways that businesses can benefit from this kind of foresight and how to keep businesses functioning should disaster happen.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Green light for construction of thousands of new Starter Homes (UK)

2017 will see the first Starter Homes being built on brownfield sites across the country, Housing Minister Gavin Barwell has confirmed.
Thousands of new homes backed with financial support will help more first time buyers into home ownership.
They will be built exclusively for first-time buyers between 23 and 40 years old at a discount of at least 20% below market value. 
Central to this will be getting small and medium-sized (SME) builders delivering more new homes. For instance, the announcement of 14 ‘garden villages’ and more garden towns needs to be backed up by implementation plans which provide opportunities to SME builders as well as the large companies, said Housing Minister Gavin Barwell.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Year, New Secondments!

Members of the RiMaCon secondment would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

As we go into 2017 several secondments will shortly take place. Craig Smith (Computors) will travel to the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Daniele Pretto (Vetto) will travel to the University of Wolverhampton, and Chike Oduoza (University of Wolverhampton) will travel to Computors in Wolverhampton to undertake their next RiMaCon secondments. 

The focus of the work will be on finalising work package 4 and looking ahead to requirements for work package 5.