• WELCOME TO THE PREMIERE MAY 2017 NEWSLETTER
  • Is new technology going to solve the labour shortage in the construction industry?

  • Social Housing Kitchens - worrkforce story
  • The demand for housing in the UK has risen dramatically in the last few years, and continues to increase. Recent data shows that, to keep up with this growth, Britain needs to employ 400,000 extra workers in the housing sector every year.

    This is in addition to any potential economic consequences of Brexit, which could, depending on the outcome of the negotiations, result in the UK construction industry losing a substantial number of EU workers, and so need even more additional workers.

    Despite expert advice that the construction sector should try to embrace technological advances in order to make it a more appealing choice for young people, still only 5% of businesses would consider themselves technologically advanced.

    The industry is not ready to become fully reliant on technology, but slowly integrating automated processes and machinery into the sector could be the key to coping with rising housing demand.

    Off-site construction is of growing interest, and seems like a faster road than pursuing 3D printing. This is because there is a combination of the human touch, paired with the reliability of off-site building, and the excitement of new technology to entice younger workers to the industry.

    Additionally, building information modelling which provides a digital representation of a project in order to enable more accurate testing and analysis, allows houses to be built more quickly, of a higher quality and using energy more efficiently.

    The question of how to make the sector appealing to the skilled workforce is unlikely to go away - embracing new technology might go some way to bridging the gap.

  • Will automated bricklayers cause job losses?
  • Kitchens for social housing - Bricks
  • A surprising number of construction projects in America have been replacing humans with robots  If this continues and moves over to the UK, it could lead to job losses on hundreds of sites.

    Modern bricklaying robots can lay six times as many bricks as humans, and this could well change the face of the construction industry altogether.

    The replacement of humans with automated bricklayers would have serious effects for people working in this sector. Since humans can only lay an average of 500 bricks a day compared to the 3,000 bricks of the robot, the benefits in terms of business efficiency are obvious.

    These super-efficient automated machines look ready to replace humans in some projects, potentially freeing the workforce up to take up some of the new positions created by the growth in the housing market.  Devices have already replaced humans on a few sites in America, and they will become more and more integrated into UK construction over the next two years.


    The robot in question named SAM, made by a New York Based firm, can lay 3,000 bricks a day. The robot can pick up bricks, apply mortar and lay them, but it needs constant supervision, and still needs to be set up by humans. Furthermore, humans still need to be on hand to lay bricks at difficult angles, as well as clearing up after the robot.

    Different companies are also working on bricklaying robots, and an Australian company has also developed a proof of concept for a commercial bricklaying machine. This machine is predicted to be able to handle automatic loading, cutting, routing and placement of all the bricks necessary to build a complete structure.

    A prototype of this robot is due later this year, and other technology is currently being developed to protect workers from other dangers on the construction site. For example, researchers at Nottingham Trent University have developed gloves that alert the wearers when vibrations are likely to cause carpal tunnel syndrome. They look identical to normal worker’s gloves, but embedded sensors can recognise dangerous levels of vibrations and therefore warn the worker against vibrations that can result in a variety of long term damage.

    So, developments in the sector could lead to huge cutbacks and redundancies while making the industry much more efficient. Further developments in health and safety technology will hugely help improve the safety of the workers both long and short term.


  • How 3D printing is changing the construction sector
  • 3d houses image
  • Exciting advances in robotics means that we will be seeing 3D printers on building sites, and perhaps even have houses made purely by 3D printers.

    3D printing is making inroads into every area of construction, with one Dutch robotics firm building a bridge across an Amsterdam canal using only a 3D printer.

    Recently in Melbourne, a 3D printed treehouse was unveiled. If it is possible to print a treehouse, it begs the question, how long until we’re printing real houses for the general market?

    In fact this is much more imminent than you might first imagine. There are now 3D printed concrete houses in China, California and a complete office in Dubai.

    Due to how fast these can be produced, it doesn’t hugely matter about aesthetics at this point in time, but 3D printed homes are a viable option. Metal printing technology has developed, which is what allows the development of the Amsterdam bridge. The same team at the University of Cranfield have recently printed a 6m space-grade aluminium spar for the wing of a plane.

    However, quality control remains a huge challenge in this area. While being produced, the materials must be constantly and consistently monitored to check for any faults. But if this problem is controlled, the upsides of 3D printing for the construction industry could be massive.

    A project in Italy is setting out to print houses using materials from the immediate area. Firstly, it has built a 12m high solar powered 3D printer that uses water, vegetable fibre and soil to build a structure. This will hopefully build a trial eco-village in a town near Bologna. This could be the solution to the high demand of robust and affordable housing in the developing world. Slums could be replaced with natural housing, which don’t leave waste when no longer in use.

    However, at the moment, 3D printing is not viewed as a particularly serious alternative in terms of replacing more common techniques. In the near future, the reality is more likely to involve the printers making building components rather than an entire building.

  • Andy Barham is victorious at Marathon des Sables 2017
  • Since you received your last newsletter, Premiere’s Managing Director, Andy Barham, has completed the ridiculously challenging Marathon des Sables, billed as the Toughest Footrace on Earth.

    You may have seen some of the press coverage, showing how the famous race brings together nationalities from all over the world, to compete side by side in this seven day challenge.

    Covering 156 miles, carrying a backpack of supplies, in heat of around 50 degrees centigrade, the camaraderie helped runners to reach the finishing line and achieve their own personal victory.

    This race isn’t for the faint hearted – endurance is required in both body and mind. The physical strain usually brings pain or injury of some kind, and the mental resilience required to keep going through the challenge is immense.

    Along with blisters and foot problems, cuts and bruises along the way, scorpions and huge camel spiders were common place!

    Developing friendships with fellow runners, along with messages from colleagues, friends and family at home helped Andy through the race.

    Andy was intrigued by the race when he first came across it over 10 years ago, and following a grueling training schedule is now part of the elite group of MDS finishers. His achievement shows how commitment to a goal, focus and hard work really can pay off.

    Congratulations Andy!

    Andy MDS
  • Tim Morgan – Logistics Manager
  • Tim Morgan has been a valued member of the Premiere team for more than 13 years.

    Having held a variety of roles, Tim certainly knows a thing or two about the business, and is often the ‘go to’ man who can help with a customer service, product or delivery query.

    Tim initially joined Premiere as a driver, swiftly moving to the roles of Despatch Supervisor and then Transport Manager.

    He has worked in the Premiere design team, managed groups of surveyors, and held the role of Customer Care Manager. As Logistics Manager, Tim is now able to use his experience of working in different business areas to deliver a successful logistics function for Premiere.

    When he’s not organising logistics, Tim can probably be found at Gloucester Rugby, spending time with his young grandson, or relaxing on a sunny beach somewhere in the Mediterranean.

    tim morgan
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