Have you thought of...

10 February 2012 a dietician for the design of your next project?

The increasing size of British bottoms is apparently prompting some councils to specify oversized benches for high streets and parks. And with the NHS calculating that the number of obese people in the UK will rise from 15 million today to 26 million by 2030, designers are having to cater to the fuller figure, says Jonathan Goss, managing director of Nottinghamshire-based street furniture manufacturer Townscape Products.

Unsurprisingly, the company’s super-sized benches and seats are often installed on high streets where there’s an abundance of fast food outlets.

But is the “sitting experience” ever compromised by structural issues? Thankfully not, says Goss: “Our materials are strong enough to ensure that seats and benches never warp under the weight.” Phew, that’s good news for KFC lovers everywhere.

...ways to keep your waste plastic out of landfill?

In a first for waste management in the UK, Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions has set up a “closed loop” recycling scheme which collects waste plastics from up to 100 Balfour Beatty sites and recycles them into cable protection covers.

The scheme is run by the contractor’s materials and equipment buying team in conjunction with UK plastics recycler Centriforce and waste plastic collection and separation specialist V10 Polymers.  Mixed plastic waste from each site is transported to V10’s Blackburn reprocessing centre, where it is sorted, cleaned and granulated. The resulting material is then delivered to Centriforce’s Liverpool manufacturing centre.

Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions aims to collect between 150 and 200 tonnes of waste plastic each year, which amounts to an estimated carbon saving of between 2,000 and 2,500 tonnes through landfill avoidance and the reduced need for raw materials in manufacturing.

...designing your own iPhone app?

Architects are generally streets ahead of their construction cousins when it comes to self-promotion, so it was no surprise to see an email from Allford Hall Monaghan Morris about its new iPhone app. Download it and enjoy a “visual magazine” of the practice’s recent work. There’s also a “near me” function that locates buildings in the AHMM back catalogue using GPS. The app was built by Woobius, which has also created apps for other architects, including Zaha Hadid and Make. So far it’s the architects who are having an “appy” new year, but the Woobius website suggests it’s also working on offerings for contractors...

...employing a bird of prey to keep watch over your site?

If your site is on the flightpath of the local pigeons and seagulls, you’ll know all about the nuisance they can cause, especially if they nest on your building or rooftop plant. But even ground-nesting skylarks or lapwings can cause delays and problems for construction managers. A solution that has probably not been considered by too many is to hire a trained Harris Hawk to scare them away.

According to NBC Bird & Pest Solutions, inviting a bird of prey onsite (with its handler) is a responsible and ethical solution and a great way to show off to clients and friends. The company has worked with facilities managers, health and safety managers, surveyors and architects, and will be demonstrating the skills of Hazel the hawk at the Health & Safety South event on February 28-29 at Sandown Park racecourse in Esher, Surrey.

Just remember not to look them in the eye, or make any sudden movements.

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