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7 January 2011

How studying would be less stressful on the deck of a cruise liner?

Well, imagine our delight when we came across Cruisin’ Construction Issues in the Bahamas, a course offered by US-based company Lorman Education Services, which gives delegates the chance to study the latest US contractual issues and project management methods in the Caribbean aboard the deluxe cruise liner Majesty of the Seas.

The course is sadly no longer available, but we think there’s a gap in the market for an enterprising training provider, and CM would like be delighted to review the first cruise. Sorry, course.

Disposing of unwanted Christmas presents without feeling guilty?

How about taking them along to 2K Manufacturing’s new factory in Luton where they will be melted down to create environmentally-friendly construction site hoardings? 2K is the company behind EcoSheet, a substitute for recycled plywood site hoardings made entirely from unwanted waste plastic. The company has issued an open invitation to the industry to visit its facility throughout January, bringing along its scuffed hard-hats, broken MP3s and unwanted mobiles.

Widespread use of the product could avoid landfilling of unrecyclable plywood sheets, and divert 30,000 tonnes of industrial, construction and household waste a year, says the manufacturer. Contractors including Bovis Lend Lease, Apollo Group, Morgan Sindall and Wates are already using the product on sites.

Building a science-fiction factory?

In January 2009, CM looked a decade into the future at the technologies that would define the low-carbon age. One exciting prospect was positive-energy buildings, which create more energy than they use. So here’s the evidence that it wasn’t just sci-fi: a manufacturing facility built for sustainable building products manufacturer Isoltop near Avignon, in southern France.

The factory building features a 1,500m2 photovoltaic array that’s capable of producing 228,000kWh of electricity a year. According to the PV manufacturer Tenesol, that’s more than 3.5 times the 75,000kWh the factory requires and enough to power around 60 homes. All the excess generated electricity is channeled into the grid, which will allow Isoltop to cover the cost of purchasing the system within 10 years. Who said the future doesn’t look bright? 

Winning the CM challenge to build the first iPad app for construction?

In the July/August 2010 issue of CM, we told readers we were on the look out for the first construction IT tools to take full advantage of the iPad. So congratulations to Vertice Development Management, a specialist in quantity surveying and project management run by Marc Preston MCIOB MRICS, which has launched a multi-platform app designed to de-mystify our industry.

Divided into sections for developers, main contractors, sub-contractors, consultants and home-owners, the guide provides practical and easy-to-understand explanations of common problems encountered every day.

The app has been designed to allow users to contact Vertice in order to seek further professional advice. It’s available at the Apple app store for iPhone and iPad and also for android and Nokia phones. For full details, visit

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