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Concrete Technology to Encourage Marine Biodiversity

Professional Renovations, New Builds, Extensions, Conversions, Knock Throughs & Complete Refurbishments

seawallSome of the most exciting innovations in recent years have occurred within the construction industry. This is good news for all concerned as construction has been criticized for being a major contributor to carbon emissions production. New materials and methods have been introduced, which are gradually transforming the industry landscape. A groundbreaking type of concrete saw its inventors entered as finalists in the European Inventor Awards earlier this year.

ECOncrete is a product designed to be used underwater, as building material for sea walls etc. It is described as ‘concrete technology to encourage marine biodiversity’, and has been installed in over 40 locations within 10 countries. It is present in countries like Spain, Italy, Monaco, Netherlands, San Diego and New York. The underwater concrete market globally has a value of around EUR 320 Billion [2021], with an estimated growth of over 10.8% per year up until 2030.

A spokesman for ECOncrete said interest in the new material: “Reflects its revolutionary properties among a mission-critical net zero market. Importantly, it also evidences growing global awareness about subsea innovations capable of protecting our oceanic ecosystems through nature inspired, biomimicry design”. Ido Sella, CEO for ECOncrete said: “Think about barnacles, oysters and corals that create their skeleton from taking calcium ions from the water and using dissolved CO2 to create calcium carbonate for their shells. “When these sessile organisms settle on the concrete and encapsulate it with calcium carbonate they actually make it stronger. It was found that concrete covered by oysters can be 10 times stronger in terms of tensile strength than bare concrete.”

Marine construction is an expanding sector, ECOncrete has the possibility to make a major impact on the industry’s global environmental footprint.


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What are the Different types of Flour?

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flour millsYou probably think flour is flour, but there are varieties around that can make a difference to your baked goods. Grain is sorted even before being milled, where its protein content is determined. Protein quality and the ability to form gluten helps decide whether the grain will produce hard or soft wheat. This is the term millers and farmers use, and basically describes the amount of gluten present.

Hard Wheat Flour

This has a high protein content, and if the gluten is up to standard, will ensure a strong, stretchy dough. This allows bread to have an improved structure when risen, ideal for bread, pizza and similar baked products.

Soft Wheat Flour

Soft wheat has a lower protein content and is more delicate with less gluten elasticity, more suitable for cakes and pastries. This ‘all purpose flour’ is light, crumbly and perfect for pancakes, biscuits and sauces. When raising agents are added it becomes self raising flour great for sponges, scones, suet pastry etc.


Wholemeal flour is milled using the whole of the grain including the germ and bran layers for a rich flavour and robust texture.

White Flour

Is simply wholemeal with the coarser particles sieved out, great for lighter bakes like patisserie and light sponges.

Stoneground Flour

Flours that are stoneground are milled in the traditional way, using mill stones, a method which results in very flavoursome, textured flour.

Organic Flour

High quality organic flour is produced by processes that retain all of the original organic grain it is aged naturally and it has no artificial additives,

Gluten Free

Natural wholegrains like oats, brown rice and quinoa can be used to create flour that is gluten free. This is a good alternative for those who need to avoid gluten in their diets.

Ancient Grain Flour

Flour from grains with a long history, as opposed to more modern varieties, and have a variety of distinctive flavours and textures.


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What are the Most Popular Commercial Lights?

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Festoon LightsPeople are starting to relax and enjoy gatherings again, this includes garden parties and even music and dance events. It’s important to set the scene here in order to really get the atmosphere up to speed. One aspect that can’t be overlooked in this case is the lighting used. Lighting or lack of it, can make or break the party mood, without it the surroundings can seem dull and lacklustre. With the right lights sparkling and glittering away, a vibrant, exciting space is created.

Fairy lights are incredibly popular these days, and come in a myriad of forms, colours, shapes and sizes. Most people agree that these strings of twinkling lights are stunning and can be draped on anything to enhance the feel. When it comes to commercial functions and events, Festoon lighting is on trend. These are well known for providing spectacular effects with Edison style string lights decorating the whole area.

Festoon lights use larger, traditionally shaped LED bulbs, which can be replaced should one be damaged. The effects are truly awe inspiring, and these lights can be configured in any way you desire. Perfect for use in gardens, weddings, arenas, festivals, music venues or concerts delivering a wonderful ambience. Festoon lights are functional, decorative and can be used outdoors due to being waterproof. Magical and practical!

People love this type of lighting whatever the time of year, whether in the summer months or at Christmas. These enchanting lights make everything look better, and create a feelgood factor whether your having a quiet drink with a friend or organising a major bash. Another advantage of these string lights is that should one go out it won’t affect the rest, unlike versions from years ago. Even when the weather is disappointing, these light will cheer the proceedings up. Contact Rolling Stage Hire to discuss your lighting needs on 01245 260 860.


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Lighting Leading the Way

Building Contractors, Renovation, Refurbishment, Electrical, Lighting, Kitchens & Bathrooms


lightingWhen redesigning or updating your home, [very popular in the last little while due to lockdowns etc] lighting can be a game changer. It can change the atmosphere and hint at the personality of homes and occupants. Simply repositioning the lighting in a room can have a massive effect on mood and feel. Different rooms throughout the home have various needs where lighting is concerned. Kitchens may require strongly lit areas to carry out activities like reading recipes etc. Alternatively, living rooms are more suited to soft, relaxing lighting.

Like any other aspect of home design, lighting trends vary from season to season and technology increasingly plays a part. Styles include vintage lighting, Art Deco, mid-century modern, contemporary and so on. Softer colours and brushed metallic finishes have been extremely popular recently. Shades such as ‘greige’ have emerged, which is a sort of blend of grey and beige. Also favourite is a sort of gold and silver mix, a gentle merging of the two. This look sits comfortably within just about any décor be it ultra modern or traditional.

Industrial and retro styles are making a reappearance too, albeit in a more elegant and refined form. We are seeing sleeker, metal rich products in a range of tones, with striking retro fixtures. They typically look more artsy than past versions, in fact more reminiscent of sculpture than light fittings. The latest ‘must have’ lighting often features unique geometric designs and clean lines. Also people are loving curved shapes taken from nature or even a mix of styles.

Lighting whether for domestic, retail or office applications has played it’s part in the push for more environmentally friendly solutions. LED lighting has been replacing the obsolete incandescent bulbs on a vast scale. Not only do they use less energy but they last so much longer, avoiding the need to keep replacing bulbs. You can also easily tailor LEDs and get the desired look for your rooms.


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6 Advantages of a Veranda

Professional Renovations, New Builds, Verandas, Extensions, Conversions, Knock Throughs & Complete Refurbishments

verandasVerandas and sheltered home additions are extremely on-trend for many reasons, one of the biggest is of course the value of fresh air. Since the virus showed its ugly face over a year ago, we’ve all been trying our very best to stay safe. We’ve become familiar with terms like social distancing, mask wearing, hand sanitizer etc. Experts agree that one of the most important aspects in staying safe and well is being outdoors. This is because the virus particles are widely dispersed through the air, and cannot infect as easily. With this in mind, homes, along with bars and restaurants etc have been quick to get verandas installed. Some of the other advantages of this type of sheltered addition include:

1. Larger Living Space

People love the extra space afforded by verandas, allowing them to enjoy their gardens all year round. This is even better if lighting and heating is added for the evenings or colder months.

2. Shelter from the Weather

Being outside in the rain or strong wind is no fun, but with verandas and glazed canopies it’s not as bad. You can take in the garden, have a cuppa, read a paper, check your phone etc while staying dry.

3. Higher Property Values

Alfresco living is loved by many, and it’s a well known fact that these home additions raise the value of a property.

4. Keeps the Party Going

Having some type of sheltered structure is perfect for extending outdoor parties and barbecues. Meaning a change in the unpredictable British weather doesn’t mean an end to the fun.

5. Clean Floors

Verandas are great for slipping your shoes off before entering the home, thus keeping carpets etc clean! They can also protect and extend the life of your timber decking.

6. Relaxation & Stargazing

Lots of people love sitting on the veranda in the evenings, gazing up at the stars through the glass roof.

To enquire about a high quality veranda from Allied Build contract us on 01277 223222.    



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Quality Homes Planned for Basildon


Building Contractors, Renovation, Refurbishment, Extensions, Conversions, Kitchens & Bathrooms


Energy Efficient WindowsBasildon will see a new £200m development, after planning permission was granted recently. Inland Homes expects to start the project in the autumn and after a section 106 has been agreed with the council. A section 106 agreement can:

  • restrict the use of or development of the land
  • demand specific activities or operations to be carried out in relation to the land
  • require payment of sums of money, towards future maintenance costs for example
  • ensure land is used in a certain way.

The new Basildon development will cover 54 acres and comprise of 700 new homes and 25,000 sqm of commercial space at Gardiners Park Village. A site will also be provided for the construction of a new school and sporting facilities. Inland Homes joined together with Homes England to submit the planning application. The land is set to be acquired in gradual stages over a period of 5 years. Homes England is the government’s housing accelerator, and has an expertise in driving positive market change. They play a part in enabling developers to make a difference by providing homes, and improving communities and neighbourhoods.

Chief executive of Inland Homes Stephen Wicks, said: “Acquiring and taking brownfield sites through the planning system for development lies at the heart of what we do. Inland Homes has once again demonstrated its skill and tenacity in being able to deliver planning on these complex sites in order to create sustainable communities and homes for the future.

The new homes will of course have to incorporate a certain amount of green technology, and energy efficient additions such as insulation and double glazing. These are now requirements in the world of modern building, working towards lower carbon emissions. For enquiries on energy efficient replacement glazing for your home call specialists Trade Window Services on 01702 557137.



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How to Avoid Plant Machinery Theft

Comprehensive Building Service, Refurbishment, Renovation, Plumbing, Electrical & HVAC Systems


Plant HireAn article on the Planning & Building Control Today [PCBToday] website earlier this year, highlighted a phenomenon exacerbated by the global pandemic. Plant and tool theft has always been a thorn in the side of all concerned [except the thieves obviously!], but incidences have risen considerably thanks to Covid 19. There was an estimated 50% rise in raids on vehicles and sites around the start of the pandemic, causing massive financial loss. Many sites were forced to close and projects put on hold nationwide due to the virus.

Plant machinery like Mini Diggers, Dumpers, Skid Steers, Rollers etc represent rich pickings for those willing to steal, and organised gangs have been rife. Of course when a site is closed, there are no personnel or security staff around to keep an eye on things. This leaves vehicles and machinery worth thousands of pounds vulnerable to theft or vandalism. High end plant machinery from leading names like Kubota, Thwaites and Bobcat have state of the art anti theft systems, but cheaper versions can be easier to take.

Nick Mayell, Datatag’s CESAR Police training and liaison officer said at the time: “The Coronavirus ‘lockdown’ has meant that it’s currently ‘open season’ for criminal gangs who target construction plant. “Whereas a company would normally ‘wind-down’ for seasonal closures by ‘off-hiring’ kit and moving their own machines – sites have closed overnight – in the blink of an eye – and the thieves are having a field day.”

Companies are being urged to remove plant and tools from sites, but this raises the question of safe storage. This is where plant hire yet again is the ideal option, alleviating the worry of loss and business failure. Rhinos Plant Hire offer modern, high performance machines, tools and equipment ensuring a reliable solution when carrying out building work in places like Hatfield.



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Should You Get That Building Work Done?

Building Contractors, Renovation, Refurbishment, Extensions, Conversions, Kitchens & Bathrooms


ConstructionOrganisations such as the Federation of Master Builders have set out some important guidelines for those planning building improvements. It’s all about staying safe in this current climate, and addresses the question of whether to go ahead with projects in places like Croydon.

Points include: –

Being prepared

There is a campaign called ‘Work Safe, Safe Work’ developed by TrustMark, which aims to inform consumers about how to prepare for planned construction work. You can also find out the most helpful key questions to ask a builder at each stage of the work.

Be aware of rogue traders

As if Covid 19 isn’t bad enough, it has given rise to opportunist fraudsters, who wish to take advantage of home owners wanting to get jobs done and dusted. Normal caution is sometimes thrown to the wind when fast and cheap work is offered. Trading standards worryingly reports increased activity of this kind, and urges people to be patient.

Leave it to the professionals

Don’t be tempted to carry out substantial work yourself, apart from things like painting and decorating. This of course particularly relates to work with electrics or gas which can be extremely dangerous.

Don’t pressure your builder

Do not put pressure on your builder to cut corners where health and safety is concerned. Due to the virus, building projects are likely to take a little longer as new rules will be in place.

Make use of remote contact

Good communication is crucial if work is to get done safely and to the satisfaction of all parties involved. Keep in touch and updated with your builder by phone, email etc, but stay aware of cyber crime.

If there is any work you feel able to do yourself, you can hire tools and equipment [even small diggers] from specialists like Rhinos Plant Hire. Rhinos offer an outstanding range of high performance products from major manufacturers.


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6 Benefits of Air Conditioning in the Workplace

Building Contractors, Air Conditioning, Renovation, Refurbishment, Extensions, Conversions, Kitchens & Bathrooms


As the summer gets ever nearer, many are wondering if we will have much hot, dry weather this year. Heat can be pleasant if you’re in the garden relaxing, but not too much fun if you are in a warm, stuffy office. Once back at the office and trying to work, you may just appreciate the advantages of air conditioning. It’s well known that a stifling work environment is uncomfortable and not conducive to concentration. 6 benefits of professionally installed, high quality air conditioning include:-

1. Energy Efficiency

Air conditioning systems of all types are becoming increasingly energy efficient, with evolving technology. They can cool and heat a building extremely effectively, ensuring a constant and comfortable temperature. This is achieved while at the same time limiting energy use and reducing fuel costs and also the building’s carbon footprint.

 2. Comfort & Control

Changes in temperature whether exterior or interior are responded to immediately maintaining consistently comfortable surroundings. Some advanced systems can recover heat from areas that are warmer, and distribute it where needed.

 3. Humidity Reduction

The result of a humid atmosphere is general discomfort, as the body feels hot and sticky. Workers may feel sluggish and disinclined to get their tasks done. They can also become thirsty, with the consequence of frequent bathroom breaks.

4. Air Quality

Offices filled with staff are breeding grounds for coughs, colds and worse! Air conditioning systems purify the air using special filters. This reduces bacteria, dust, allergens and odours. Filtered air is essential where people suffer from respiratory conditions.

 5. Quiet Function

The latest hi tech systems are exceptionally quiet, meaning less disturbance for busy workers. This is the case even when the air conditioning is working flat out dealing with excessive heat.

 6. No Equipment Damage

Technology in a modern setting produces lots of heat as well as humidity, which needs to be removed. Heat etc can interfere with the smooth operation of office equipment, which is where air conditioning can help.

For advice on reliable supply and installation of high performance air conditioning systems call CSM Installations on 0208 5965163


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Swimming Pool Refurbishments

Professional Renovations, New Builds, Extensions, Conversions, Knock Throughs & Complete Refurbishments

Do you have a swimming pool? Does it get used? If your pool has become drab, neglected and undesirable you might consider a refurbishment. Restoring your pool to the beautiful water feature it once was, could be the best thing you do this year. New technologies and methods mean your pool will be much more functional and usable all year round. Refurbishments can include:-

  • Lining replacement
  • New coping stones
  • Terrace addition
  • Re-tiling
  • Painting.
  • Repairs to concrete
  • Repairs underwater
  • Liners replaced
  • Upgraded heating or filtration systems
  • Internal finishes such as re-tiling
  • Freeboard to deck level conversions
  • Concrete to liner pool conversions
  • The addition or removal entry steps
  • Moving floors and lots of other features

You can ensure a clean, safe pool with safety or automatic slatted covers, so you wont have to put up with debris etc, meaning less maintenance. These additions also retain heat, and provide a neat and tidy look during the winter months. An upgrade can include a renewable, low cost, energy efficient heating system, always welcome! Air source heat pumps are a favourite for many, and are very effective for outdoor swimming pools.

Before making any big decisions, have an experienced swimming pool specialist like Pool Maintenance Ltd, inspect your pool. These skilled professionals will be able to assess what, if any, issues there are with your pool. They can also tell you how sound the structure itself is, and if the filtration system is working, or could do with modifying or replacing. This is an important aspect of any swimming pool, as bacteria build up can be extremely troublesome.

The team at Pool Maintenance are qualified to work underwater and in confined spaces and offer a full service. Contact them for advice on pool refurbishment, or any of their other services such as filtration on 01457 765533  or 07748 908201

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