In August Dr Hannah Wood presented at the International Council For Research and Innovation in Construction: Coping with the Complexity of Safety, Health, and Wellbeing in Construction conference, in Salvador, Brazil. The conference was attended by academics and industry professional from all over the world.
The paper presented was a continuation of work undertaken by MSc Project Management for Construction student (now graduate) , Jodie Collison, and was co-written by supervisors Dr Emmanuel Aboagye-Nimo, Dr Kevin Wyche and Dr Hannah Wood.
The paper focused on the huge potential for women to work as construction professionals, which would help with the skills gap the industry currently faces. However, in discussion with women currently working in industry, it is clear there are a number of factors that both deter women from joining the industry in the first place as a career choice, or lead to women leaving the industry before progressing to more senior roles.
The paper presented a number of recommendations to improve recruitment, retention and progression of female construction professionals, with particular emphasis on flexibility and support around career breaks and caring responsibilities. This would not only benefit women in construction, but everyone in the industry.
As part of the level 4 Built Environment field course to Construction Live, students were given the opportunity to drive and operate various types of plant on site, including dumper trucks, 360 excavators and telehandler forklifts. This was all carried out under the supervision of qualified instructors in safe conditions but gave the students a real insight into the skill necessary to operate this type of machinery effectively.
In February 2018 a team of student from the Built Environment subject area took part in the regional heats of the CIOB Brighton Futures Challenge, where they came thirds overall, securing them a place in the final. The Final was held last week at the Ballymore head offices and Wardian site, Canary Wharf, London. Despite the snowy conditions we made it to site on time so were able to look around the area at all of the ongoing construction work.
The final consisted of a site visit around the Wardian site, a residential-led development under construction from Eco World-Ballymore and designed by architect firm Glenn Howells. The scheme consists of two skyscrapers , upon completion, expected to be in 2019, Wardian London will be one of the tallest residential developments in London and the United Kingdom. Once the site visit was complete, students were given 90 minutes to prepare a 10 minute presentation analysing the use of prefabrication on the project and identifying where they could make improvements, this was then presented to the project team and CIOB representatives.
The Brighton team were commended for their presentation and came second in the overall competition, narrowly missing out on the top prize. Overall it was a really enjoyable day and the team made lots of connections with industry professionals.
The Brighton team consisted of Building Surveying graduate and MSc Town Planning student Tavis Stringer and Project Management for Construction undergraduate students Rhys Hooks and Dafydd Rees (in final year), and Taka Musimurimwa (in second year).
Four students from the Built Environment subject area competed this week in the CIOB Bright Futures challenge for the Sussex and London region. In total 14 teams entered from across the region, from Universities such as the University of East London, London South Bank University and Westminster University, as well as a team of graduates from a contractor. The challenge consisted of three rounds testing the students’ knowledge, teamwork and innovation.
The final full day of building was a busy one for all of the teams. The drainage and water utilities groups were able to finish laying and joining all their pipework, with the drainage team also installing a toilet ready to be connected to both the water supply and waste water drainage tomorrow.
Due to the very poor weather forecast, the bricklaying team were unable to build their walls on site as they were using a lime mortar that wouldn’t work well in very wet conditions, therefore they constructed their walls in exactly the same way they would have on site, but in one of the covered work areas instead. It was disappointing to not be able to build the walls in situ but was still a great experience for the students who did an excellent job.
The carpentry team completed fixing the stud walls, then clad the external walls in plywood sheeting. Once this was complete the walls were insulated, but again due to the poor weather it was not possible to plasterboard the walls. The outside walls were clad in featheredge boarding, in two configurations, with a section left ready for the banner to be placed tomorrow.
Both the bricklayers and carpenters also took part in the steel fixing workshop to gain an insight into how reinforcing steel is fixed into concrete structures.
In the evening, we had a talk from Andrew Preece from Roger Bullivant, a foundation engineering company specialising in the design and construction of foundations for all types of buildings and structures in all kinds of ground conditions. They built the foundation we have been working on all week on site so were able to explain how that was constructed as well as discussing other projects they are involved in.
Tomorrow is the final day of the field trip, all the works will be completed and the teams will have a chance to reflect upon what they have learnt this week and how it will help them in their careers in the future.
Day 4 saw students arriving to a very wet and muddy site which added extra challenges to the construction activities. Before work could continue, the flooded trenches dug by the drainage and water utilities teams had to be pumped out due to heavy rainfall over night. Once this was completed these teams were able to continue with the work they started yesterday, laying more pipework and drainage for the project.
The bricklayers spent the morning laying the brick and block floor on site ready for the wall construction tomorrow, this involved positioning the precast concrete beams and laying the blocks, some of which needed to be cut which a number of students were able to try. The carpentry team transported all of the floor and wall panels that they had manufactured to site. They positioned the floor units and joined them together, then laid a chipboard floor on top ready to start constructing the external and internal stud walls.
The afternoon was spent on further team building activities, one group tried their hand at archery whilst the others went canoeing or tackled the high ropes course at the activity centre.
Tomorrow the majority of the construction activities will be completed providing everything goes to plan ready for the conclusion of the project on Friday.
Day three saw the most construction activity so far, the bricklaying team learnt the skills they will be using to construct the brick and block walls, from mixing mortar to laying bricks straight, level and plumb, building practice walls to test their skills. They also spent time on the site to identify the challenges they will be facing allowing them to plan the rest of the week’s activities.
The water utilities group began installing the water supply using fusion jointing on all of the pipe work – an electromechanical system for joining pressurised pipework. First a trench had to be dug which was completed by machine, with students having the opportunity to operate the digger under supervision. The pipework so far was tested and luckily no leaks were found! The team also got the opportunity to try their hand at some steel fixing operations.
The drainage group located and dug trenches both by hand and machine and laid granular bedding ready for the pipe work and began joining some of the pipe work. They learnt about how drainage works and the importance of correctly installing drainage on site.
The carpentry group spend the morning building the frames for the suspended timber floors, which consisted of 5 separate frames which will then be constructed on site, they then moved onto the wall frames, constructing the internal and external stud wall frames, which like the floors, will be transported to site to be put together.
In the evening, we had a talk from Chris Williams, director of Prolectric, a company focussing on the design and installation of a range of mechanical and electrical systems, based principally around renewable technologies or energy efficiency services. Chris discussed the types of solar lighting they offer and the financial and environmental benefits thee offer over traditional methods, giving the students an insight into new renewable technologies that the construction industry can take advantage of.
Tomorrow the build continues as well as further team building activities in the afternoon, ready for the final full day of construction on Thursday.
The second day started with an early visit to the site we are working on for the rest of the week, students are tasked with building a washroom and toilet block facility for a fictitious campsite using a number of different methods, the teams are split into the block and beam floor and wall team, the drainage team, the water supply team and the carpentry team.
The morning was spent being inducted into the site, having health and safety briefings and manual handling training and then splitting into the teams and beginning the task. The carpentry team studied the drawings and prepared cutting lists ready to begin work tomorrow, the brick and block team planned their work and were familiarised with their materials, the water supply team learnt how to joint the pipework they will be laying and the drainage team had a steel fixing workshop in addition to planning their work.
In the afternoon, we visited two local construction sites to gain an understanding of how large scale construction works, being shown around by the project teams who explained all the different processes happening on site, this was a useful insight for the students and gave them an excellent opportunity to see how real construction sites operate. Tomorrow the hard work begins with a full day of construction!
All first year built environment students are away for a week of hands on construction activities at Construction Live, run by Bridgwater and Taunton College in Somerset.
We left on Sunday morning from Brighton, arriving at around 3pm ready for an afternoon of management and leadership skills training at the outdoor activity centre. In 4 groups the students worked together to accomplish a number of tasks such as getting the whole team over a 10ft high wall, through a spider web of ropes only using each gap once and building a bridge using planks and poles without any one falling off (if they did the whole team started again!). The tasks allowed the students to plan their approach, think about how they needed to work in a team and listen to all team members. The afternoon was a great fun activity which really helped with teamwork and management, an essential skill in the construction industry.
Each year the local centre of the Chartered Institute of Building present the student with the highest marked dissertation in Construction Management or Project Management for Construction with an award for excellence.
This year two graduating students received the award as they achieved the joint highest mark. Josh Warby and Michael Smith were presented with their award by Centre Chairman, Paul Hawkings at the recent BIM CPD event at the University.
Congratulations to Josh and Mike on their achievement!