Are you the fastest out of the blocks with your building estimates?

They say ‘snooze you lose’. But if you’re really busy how can you possibly act quickly to all those requests for quotes? How can you get there first, a good stride ahead of the competition? Well we can help you win at estimating.

We can help you aim for the big prize money with top quality quotes. And that’s because our brand new game-changing Rapid Take-off & Estimate Kit enables you to be more selective and go after the profitable jobs, not just the jobs that keep everyone in work.

Is HBXL’s software right for you? Are you…

…a take-off from a plan kind of company? Great. You can do that with our kit.

…a spreadsheet user? Our estimating function is based on familiar Microsoft Excel

…a cost per square metre business? Our software will give you an accurate cost per sq m based on today’s prices and building regs (no need to guesstimate!).

In fact, however you produce your quotes currently, the new £1499+VAT Rapid Take-off & Estimate Kit is ideal for you. This revolutionary software is:

  • seriously easy to understand,
  • ultra-fast to use,
  • looks professional, is professional,
  • and will lock-in your profit.

The Rapid Take-off & Estimate Kit is a quick win in itself for any forward-thinking building firm. Combining EstimatorXpress and PlansXpress with the new Quick Quote plug-in, we believe this is the UK’s fastest, most accurate estimating software available to the smaller building firm today. And we’re already getting some fantastic feedback from new users:

“It’s just  …brilliant! So quick and easy to use, especially for simple extensions”

Greg Strugacz, Penco Builders

“Quick Quote puts everything at your fingertips.”

Dave Stanley, Union Renovations

Not only will you be able to quote more often thanks to the amazing simplicity of the process, but your professional-looking, detailed quotes will attract the better paying jobs. Plus, 100% accuracy will keep your profit intact.

There are two ways to get the same, high quality results:

Option 1)

You can either get an instant quote when you take off using the software’s clever tracing tools within PlansXpress, the CAD package, and then import the take-off into EstimatorXpress.

See a quick video here.

Option 2)

Or you can use the Quick Quote plug-in within EstimatorXpress within the estimating package. Within four minutes you’ll have estimated an extension. And in two minutes a renovation. (No plan needed).

See a quick video here.

And getting competition-fit won’t take long at all. You could experience the difference in a matter of days. So why not start with a Test Drive. We’ll drop the software onto your computer, take you for a spin before giving you the keys for 14 days!

And as a customer, you can look forward to outstanding support from the Customer Service team.

We can also assist with cash flow by providing the option of stage-payments (with no added interest).  To find out more, call the HBXL team on 0117 916 7898 and we’ll help you reach the top podium.

The latest research from the FMB has reported soaring material prices with 32% of builders reporting their margin being squeezed.

Small building firms were asked which materials have increased the most and the results were as follows:

  1. Timber
  2. Insulation
  3. Bricks
  4. Blocks
  5. Windows
  6. Plasterboard / Slate (joint sixth)
  7. Boilers and radiators
  8. Porcelain products

As you can see, the fundamental materials for most building projects!

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB stated “Material price increases have left builders under severe pressure. This research shows that following the fall in the exchange rate, timber is the material that the majority of builders say has increased most in price but the problem doesn’t end there – everything from insulation to windows to bricks and blocks are soaring in price…” (FMB, 2017)

It’s not surprising that the FMB have stated that more than 1 in 10 builders have reported making losses on their building projects due to material price rise highlighting the need for builders to stay on top of material prices on top of their mountainous to-do list.

Stay on top of material prices rises with estimating software

EstimatorXpress Live building material pricesWith 32% of builders reporting their margin being squeezed, now more than ever it’s important to ensure that your material prices are up to date as it could make the difference between making a profit or a loss on a project. EstimatorXpress can help ease the pressure with our exclusive Price Tracker which links to thousands of live building material prices to ensure you are estimating with up to date prices.

Plus you can link up to your trade accounts to draw live prices for our merchant partners cataloguesincluding Tradepoint, Travis Perkins, Jewson, Keyline, BuilderWarehouse, Crystal Direct (PVC-U doors, windows, conservatories and roof lights) and Graham. Thus, ensuring any changes in the market are reflected in the 100% accurate estimates.

 

No more ringing merchant’s, estimating with old prices or having to convince clients when builders can demonstrate how prices are automatically updated live.

Estimating with future prices and inflation

Automatically calculate materials inflation-toolThe Software also allows builders to accurately estimate for future projects with our in-built inflation tool to set inflation over the project to ensure that costs take into account rising costs over time – so you quote the right cost at the start to take account of inflation and make the money you expect at the end of the project!

Users can estimate confidently knowing they have a quote that is representative of the prices at the time of build. This allows builders to line up work to follow current projects which is an essential to running a profitable building firm.

How estimating software that accommodates market changes saves builders money

profit, wastage and inflation calculator

Not only does EstimatorXpress help builders protect their profit margin against material price increases through live updates over the internet but it also factors in wear & tear, wastage and inflation. All these aspects may initially seem like small things but they add up and it makes it a whole lot less painful when it comes to replacing an expensive power tool!

EstimatorXpress 2017 – now even quick and easier to use

Quick Quote Plug-inHBXL Building Software have just launched a brand new EstimatorXpress plug-in which now allows even quicker estimating. The Quick Quote plug-in allows builders to accurately estimate for building projects in as little as four minutes.

Adrian Wild, Managing Director & Founder of HBXL echoed the sentiments of the FMB and the importance of accurate estimating:

Once again the latest statement from the FMB underlines the importance of accurate estimating as many builders report small profit margins or losses undertaking building work as inflation eats away at their profits. Quick Quote automatically prevents that from happening with a single click of the mouse!

 

Start estimating accurately today

Put the software through its paces with a software test drive.  All you have to do is fill in a quick 30 second form. Then one of our team will walk you through the rest. We’ll even helping you install and get started with a live 1-2-1 software familiarisation session. Follow the link or give us a call on 0117 9167 898. We look forward to hearing from you!

The sensational EstimatorXpress 2017 summer software update

If there was ever a time to make sure your Support & Updates is active it’s now! EstimatorXpress, which earlier this year became the 2017 version, has undergone a very valuable update, although ‘update’ doesn’t really do it justice really. The really big news is the new ‘Estimate Wizard’. Starting a job is now just so much easier. Gone are the seven or eight steps to starting a job – now there’s just one instruction. Yes one! You’ll really notice the difference.

The new Estimate Wizard

You can now simply choose to ‘start from scratch using estimating calculators’ or ‘Import PlansXpress for Rapid Take-off’.


And then start filling in the detail of your job. You can check out the video here

 

 

 

 

Plus if you haven’t as yet purchased the Quick Quote plug-in, (great value at £299+VAT when you consider what it does) then this is what you’re missing out on…


With the Quick Quote plug-in installed you are also presented with a third option to choose your 3D model from a huge selection of whole-project 3D models.

You can select a range of finishes of an extension for instance (render, brick, stone) and then you enter your job variables to create your new estimate. And we’re talking an estimate that can be carried out in around four minutes! See the video that proves it here.

 

It’s also worth watching our new video on the Quick Quote templates here.

32 new and updated workbooks

A number of workbooks have been updated and new Quick Quote workbooks added. Take a look at some of the new Dims images.

The team has also put prices in for items that were previously described as “to be defined” e.g. for roof trusses you would normally get a supplier quote, but we have given you a ‘safe’ price to avoid making work for you! The full list of updates and new additions can be found further down the page.

 

The thing with Microsoft Office and Windows…

…is that they make changes to their software which effect the many smaller software companies out there. So when Office 2016 and Windows 10 underwent recent changes we, like many other companies, had to fix various problems that these changes created. And then the next time they add a new fix, we’ll tweak the software to accommodate it, and the next time…

In fact, outside of our quarterly EstimatorXpress updates we release fixes for anything new that occurs so that your software will work correctly. So as long as your annual Support & Updates fee is paid, you will receive all the updates and fixes to the software and your program will always work.

And of course we are already working on our next round of updates which will be released by the end of September. In the meantime if you have any questions on the Summer Update, give the team a call on 0117 916 7899.

And to renew your Support & Updates simply go to the online shop.

Changes and additions to EstimatorXpress workbooks

Bathroom and Cloaks
Update Released
Decoration Sundries
Update Released
Cleaning Update
Update Released
Complete room decoration
Update Released
Complete room plastering
Update Released
Services Charges
Update Released
Site Appraisal Costs
Update Released
Internal Renovation
Update Released
Landscaping
Update Released
Loft Sundries
Update Released
Plumbing Consumables
Update Released
Roofing Sundries
Update Released
Site Acquisition Costs
Update Released
Site Establishment
Update Released
Skirting boards and other mouldings to walls
Update Released

 

Quick Quote workbooks only – general release asap

Bathroom and Cloaks
Soil Pipe Boxing In
Planning and Design Costs
Universal Part L Beam and Block Floor
Universal Suspended Floor
Universal Suspended Timber Ground Floor
Valley Half Hip Roof
Valley Half Hip Truss Roof

 

Can you demonstrate that you follow the HSE’s recommended approach to managing health and safety? Do you always ‘Plan, Do, Check, Act’?

This simple framework is recommended in the HSE’s ‘Managing for Health & Safety’ (HSG65) document, widely recognised as sound guidance on good practice for managing the health and safety of your business and projects.

It identifies the key actions needed in each part of the project cycle and relates them back, where appropriate, to leadership, management, worker involvement and competence.

And Health & Safety Xpert 2017 has all the documents you need to determine your plan, to enable you to implement it, review it and act on the outcome.

So we have created a guide that matches the Health & Safety Xpert documents to the four stages. We hope you find it useful as a checklist for adopting a safe way of working, and ensuring peace of mind.

 

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to put in place arrangements to control health and safety risks. As a minimum, you should have the processes and procedures required to meet specific legal requirements. The HSE’s guidance gives a framework to follow:

PLAN stage – determines your health and safety policy and planning for its implementation on your jobs > Health & Safety Xpert has the policies, plans and checklists to assist you in this process.

You should DO the risk profiling, organising and then actually implementing on site > Which is why the software is all set with the appropriate risk and COSHH assessments, statements, registers and permits to help you get on and do just that.

Next you CHECK how things are going on site through inspections and investigate accidents, incidents and near misses… > That’s where our various records come in.

We can’t say ‘finally’ you ACT because there is no conclusion – it’s an on-going process of checking, planning, doing and acting > and we’re here with your audits, forms and records to enable you to review performance and learn those lessons before getting them implemented into future policy and the way you do things.

The infographic below gives you an ‘at a glance’ view of the approach and just a few of the many documents that come with the software (and are updated as legislation changes). A university in Scotland has already incorporated this chart into their course!

 

The HSE have some key priorities for 2017 as we explain. We can make sure you’re ready for any surprise visit. In fact Health & Safety Xpert makes it ever so simple to comply by matching the right documents to the job in hand – automatically. You should plan to use it…

For more information talk to the team on 0117 916 7898, book a free online demo or read more. Or if you already have Health & Safety Xpert but want to renew your support or upgrade to the latest version (which we highly recommend as it’s been updated very recently!) then click here.

 

The SME construction sector is doing well and remains resilient so far to the impact of Brexit. None the less the run up to the snap General Election certainly put a number of planned projects on hold. According to the FMB, in Q1 2017 workloads increased more significantly than any time since Q2 2016 ie the quarter immediately prior to last June’s EU referendum. The Office of National Statistics has reported ‘output in the construction industry grew 3 month on 3 month for the fifth consecutive period, rising by 0.2% in the first quarter of 2017. So there’s plenty to be happy about.

As we enter the second half of 2017 these are the trends the team at HBXL HQ are watching…

1. Workload: private residential new builds on rise

Overall most firms seem positive with many HBXL software users reporting full order books well into 2018. One in two respondents to the FMB’s quarterly state of trade survey predict rising workloads in the coming months, with just 5% predicting a decrease in activity. Private residential new build is looking the most positive of all sectors together with social new build. Social R&M is also on the rise. But it’s important to secure every client with an impressive EstimatorXpress quote and a ContractXpert contract to nail down the start date – even if it is in 12 month’s time – as who knows what the future holds.

We recommend builders use ProjectXpert to ensure they run the most productive construction project possible. And use it to manage multiple, simultaneous jobs and keep track of how the whole year is panning out at any point, not just at the end.

2. Material prices: will continue to increase

In response to rising commodity prices, currency fluctuations and unavoidable operating costs, some material prices are increasing. Whereas at the end of 2016 when 51% of FMB respondents foresaw no changes in prices, 85% of respondents now believe that material prices will rise over the next three months.

Estimating software EstimatorXpress helps keep firms up to date with increasing material price rises – every user is plugged into live pricing from Price Tracker™ which is regularly updated. Plus they can connect their software to HBXL merchant partners so the prices being estimated are the prices actually being paid to suppliers.

3. Skills shortages: set to worsen

The Federation of Master Builders reported in Q4 2016 a significant skills shortages in ALL trades over and above bricklayers and carpenters. In Q1 2017 FMB reported that 58% are struggling to hire carpenters, a post-financial crisis high! This will of course push up construction costs especially if the economy stays as it is.

Scheduling labour in advance and managing subbies will become more critical as will ensuring contracts are in place so that they don’t lose the subbie to a higher competitive bid leaving the building firm high and dry.

4. Cloud computing: will get more traction

Cloud is growing its share of the construction market. For example builders can;

  1. subscribe to applications which actually run on the web (e.g. via your internet browser)
  2. subscribe to applications which you can access via a secure web log in which actually run on someone else’s server
  3. purchase desktop applications which run on your computer but simply allow you to save to the cloud e.g. save your files to Dropbox or Microsoft One Drive.

An example of point 3 is HBXL’s EstimatorXpress. Small building firms will appreciate being able to save their work from one device to say, dropbox, and then continue working on a second device. Medium sized firms may like that more than one employee can access those files. Whilst large firms can take it a step further and synchronise the company ‘settings’ to ensure everyone has the latest prices, specs, templates and so on.

5. Health & Safety: small firms still facing fines

The HSE continues its focus on SMEs as outlined in their 16/17 Health & Safety Plan. Construction remains one of the most hazardous industries, accounting for about a quarter of all GB fatal injuries to workers. The majority of fatal accidents involve small businesses and nearly half of reported injuries occur in refurbishment activities. So not surprisingly this is where the focus is staying as the HSE believe that there is a lack of awareness on obligations.

HBXL’s health and safety advisor Dave Price says “All building firms, no matter how small, have a duty of care to their employees and the general public. That’s the law. Non-compliance can mean massive fines, site shut downs or even prison sentences. If it’s not written down, how can you prove that you are doing it?”

HBXL’s Health & Safety Xpert software makes sure builders have all the right paperwork giving them the peace of mind that they are complying with latest regulations – and keeping everyone safe.”

You may say you’re not in the right frame of mind for thinking about buying estimating software. But if we overlook the personal misgivings for a moment and concentrate on the business argument and the hard facts, you might have to think differently – your staff (and family) will thank you for it!

The bottom line

If you use HBXL EstimatorXpress estimating software, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Estimate faster and more easily
  • Impress with professional business-winning quotes
  • Get your costs spot on every time
  • Make the money you deserve (no more absorbing costs)
  • Boost your margins with ready-made reports
  • Go after bigger, better jobs that pay well.

Surely that’s worth pursuing? Hopefully the information below will put you in a positive frame of mind and ‘a not yet’, ‘definitely next year’ can become ‘let’s do this NOW’!

Can your business afford to buy the software?

We’re pleased to tell you that we’ve just made our software packages even more affordable. EstimatorXpress Standard Edition for example is now down to £899+VAT. In fact, all our software products have been re-priced downwards.

Cash flow an issue?

Last of the awkward questions… You can opt to pay in interest-free instalments. Try out some numbers on the repayment calculator here. (We’ll never know you were there).

You’re busy for the next 12 months thanks all the same? But what kind of busy is that? The profitable kind? Or the break even kind? Or the ‘we’ll make a loss but at least we’ve kept everyone working without any gaps in employment’, kind? You can put the brakes on that style of business with our software, and fast, in a matter of days in fact.

You’re more a take-off from a plan kind of company? No problem. You’d be perfect for the new £1499+VAT Rapid Take-off & Estimate Kit which gives you instant estimates from take-offs. And if you want to go straight into a typical extension estimate you can use the Quick Quote plug-in within the kit, and produce a quote in a matter of minutes. It’s even faster than a take-off.

All the same – your business is different? We’ve thousands of customers, from small building firms and tradespeople to developers, so there aren’t many scenarios we haven’t encountered.

Meet Lee Goodwin, of Oakleafe Property Services, with 60 staff on the books. “Before HBXL I had a system that was quite frankly archaic. I knew I needed to do something that meant I wasn’t working late into the nights and on weekends. Looking back it seems ludicrous the way we used to do our estimating. Using this software has not only made us work smart but has made our life a lot easier and I’d advise others to do the same.” He explains more here.

Meet Dave Stanley, of Union Renovations, jobbing builders but very project based with normally lots of elements to the work. The new Quick Quote plug-in which works with EstimatorXpress has changed his world. As Dave says, “Quick Quote puts everything at your fingertips.” See here.

Meet Charles OKell, of UK Pro Build. Charles first challenged us to produce an estimate ourselves for him. He now has all of our software products. “It’s really changed how we think about doing business, whether we wanted to be ‘busy idiots’; are we making the most effective use of our skills and our team? The software has given us the insight, knowledge and confidence to know that our prices are right.” Charles explains more here.

Meet Kuno Jackson, of Kuno Jackson Builders who produce extensions, loft conversions and new builds. “I have used EstimatorXpress since it first hit the market and have sworn by it ever since to price up everything from small household renovations to £5m building projects.” Read on.

As we did with Lee, Dave, Charles and Kuno, we listen, discuss and advise on the best set-up for your business. In fact we’ve been listening a lot to builders across the UK recently and that’s how the Rapid Take-off & Estimate Kit came about, as we explain here. You see, we get that it’s hugely competitive out there, and it’s the profitable work that’s hard to clinch. Based on the reaction we’ve had to the kit already, we’ve got it spot on.

None the less – how will you know our software is right for you? After the chats we have, it’s unlikely you’ll take on something that’s not suitable. But of course you can have a test drive. We’ll drop the software onto your computer, take you for a spin, before giving you the keys for 14 days! And we’ve got an amazing award-winning support team on hand, however small the query.

At the end of the day what’s the hurry? He or she who hesitates to buy our estimating software loses money on a daily basis … and we can tell you by how much. Go on, fill in our ‘Cost of hesitancy’ calculator – hopefully it won’t be too scary!

So surely there are NO more obstacles to you picking up the phone? We’re ready and waiting on 0117 916 7898. And if there’s still something we haven’t covered here, all the more reason to pick up the phone and challenge us with it! And there’s the ‘Chat’ box that will have popped up – you can message us on this. We look forward to hearing from you – but make it NOW!

Forget what you’ve ever known about estimating software for builders, forget any pre-conceptions about complexity and time-spent doing it…

History has just been rewritten. You see, we know there are times when you just want to be able to pull together an accurate quote LIGHTNING FAST.

The customer’s request is a standard extension but you don’t want to hazard a guess or give them a single A4 sheet. It doesn’t always win you the work. And if it does then it doesn’t always make you good money.

So how about a program that gives you an accurate quote for an extension (in detail – yes detail!) in FOUR MINUTES (and renovation work in less than four minutes)!?

Introducing QUICK QUOTE from HBXL, the producers of award-winning EstimatorXpress. A program that does what it says on the tin.

If you’re already sold then give the guys a call on 0117 916 7898 to have a chat, find out about any special introductory offers and to arrange a free test drive upon launch.

Or read on.

 

How to use QUICK QUOTE in four easy stages…

  1. Choose your project from nearly 60+ project templates with endless permutations of roofs, wall finishes, floors and internal fitting out.
  2. Tweak the dimensions
  3. Scroll down just ONE PAGE using drop-down listings as you go to select the relevant type of wall, roof etc - clicking here and altering dimensions there.
  4. Then press the button to produce the quote. Done.

The speed and simplicity is no exaggeration - as this four-minute video prove.

Note at 4 minutes and 20 seconds in, the amazing quote you can provide your customer with – giving them as much or as little detail as you like.

And here's an even shorter video showing a 2-minute renovation!

 

What is QUICK QUOTE suitable for?

All your typical jobs – standard new builds, extensions, garages and renovations – such as a double storey hip valley extension, apex house, double storey flat roof extension, single storey lean-to, apex gable roof single garage…

And if you have a particularly complex, one-off, non-standard project then you can use the conventional EstimatorXpress which allows you to put together an estimate from scratch – still drawing on the same clever calculators, making the whole job so much easier and accurate than any other type of estimating software.

We call it two-speed estimating.

What does the software literally do?

You give the software the dimensions and your specification preferences and the software will do the rest. Your own personal quantity surveyor stuffed inside your computer!

Our in-house software developers in consultation with experienced builders and up-to-date intelligence, have created calculators that work out every aspect of a build project. For instance, how many bricks are required in any given size of wall, what other materials will be needed to build the wall and how much will be needed, who will build the wall and how long they will take.

What does the estimate include?

Everything! It calculates the lot - your walls, floors, roof, finish, structural openings, doors, windows, internal cavity walls, plastering, decoration, wiring, plumbing, electrics, fitting out, drainage and services, external works, landscaping and subcontract quotations…

It will automatically work out wastage, inflation... the list goes on. You even get 80+ reports to help you every which way – from material lists for the merchant to schedules for the site manager.

But at the end of the day what price will win you the work?

The final figure from the QUICK QUOTE plug-in for EstimatorXpress consists of proven, accurate timescales, the latest material prices, the industry average rate for labour and so on, with nothing left out. The true cost.

It’s up to you of course what you do next. Will you reduce your price? Will you increase your margin?

In our experience, customers will actually pay more (or rather the accurate price) for a well presented quote that shows the reality in all its detail, and effectively implies that any lower cost might be the result of cutting corners or forgetting something important. Just saying…

We can point you in the direction of building firms who are proud of their prices and win the work on the strength of their accurate, professional-looking HBXL quotes. And have never looked back.

Is the software worth the price?

Well that’s for you to decide. But by our estimation (which we’re good at) if you produced just one quote a week, over a 12-month period your software purchase would cost you around £6 a quote plus however many minutes of your time. Of course, it would be even less if you quote more regularly. Surely it’s worth it to get the job off your desk quickly and in the hands of a customer, with a very real chance of winning the work? You could try out our ROI calculator here.

Then there’s the law of averages… the more you quote the better chance you have of winning the work.

Take it for a spin with our free test drive…

You need to get behind the wheel and experience the speed, the power and quality. First we’ll lend you our very own ‘Stig’. And it goes like this…

  1. They’ll have a chat with you over the phone
  2. Check that your computer is compatible
  3. Remotely install the software onto your computer (clever)
  4. Then take you for a spin, demonstrating a typical estimate, answering questions as you go
  5. When you’re comfortable you can go solo for 14 wonderful days trying it out on different projects – may be even winning work in that time! (You can test drive EstimatorXpress NOW and Quick Quote from mid-June.)
  6. And when you say YES I need this in my life (and why wouldn’t you?) money passes hands and the software becomes yours forever, with 12 months’ fantastic award-winning customer support and updates included.

So there you have it, the best thing we’ve invented since our take-off software… and that’s another story.

The Quick Quote plug-in is anticipated for launch in mid June.

Give the guys a call on 0117 916 7898 to have a chat, find out about any special introductory offers and to arrange your free test drive.

Introductory discount: Buy the Rapid Take Off Kit in June and get it for just £1,199 + VAT (normal price £1,499 + VAT) - saving £300! 

The National Technology Awards HBXL shortlisting for Tech Company of the Year 2017

Up against Seedrs and Codeplay, HBXL Building Software is shortlisted for the Tech Company of the Year 2017 category.

HBXL Building Software provide a range of software solutions to enable building firms to quickly produce professional, transparent and accurate quotations, building plans, health & safety documents and building contracts. Ultimately improving business bottom line through innovation, in an industry not known for embracing technology.

Joanna Mulgrew, Group Operations Director said: “Naturally we’re delighted to be shortlisted and be recognised for the innovations our development team have delivered to help small to medium sized building companies run their businesses. We’re a family run business and we see our customers as an extension of the family. Customer happiness is at the core of everything we do. Every client receives complimentary Remote Access Training and access to top rated telephone support delivered by “Our Support Super Heroes” team”.

The National Technology Awards, hosted by FStech Magazine, are the showcase for the leaders of technology. The National Technology Awards were created to allow the technology sector to shine, celebrating the pioneers of new technology and to help drive standards and encourage excellence.

The winners will be determined by an independent judging panel and announced at The National Technology Awards Gala and Dinner on 17 May 2017 at the Millennium Hotel London Mayfair.

About the Awards:

The National Technology Awards represent the pinnacle of best practice, a fantastic gala dinner, entertainment and the chance to network with the industry’s finest. Bringing our experience together we have created the arena for all technologies, where the very best can be judged.

Find out more: nationaltechnologyawards.co.uk
Follow National Technology Awards on twitter @NTechAwards #NationalTechnologyAwards

Do you trust to luck and take your chances when it comes to health and safety on the building site or do you cover all bases and leave nothing to chance?

Why not try our ‘fun’ quiz (with a serious message) and choose either an a or b answer. Then see what it says about your attitude to health and safety at the bottom!

Cost

a. Well it’s a costly process spending time on paperwork when I could be earning money on site. And the thought of using a Health & Safety advisor – well that’s another overhead I can do without. Then there’s the cost of implementing any recommendations…

b. I dread the financial impact of a fine on the business, or my insurance premiums having to go up, or even say a £700 Fee for Intervention because I’ve got slippery steps up the site cabin, or I’ve not considered the welfare of the guys on site.

Time

a. Every site induction for a new employee, sub-contractor or apprentice just slows the job down. Site Attendance Registers, they’re another waste of time. Risk Assessments, Method Statements, COSHH Assessments… they probably add a day, if not more, to a job that’s only going to take a month.

b. I can’t imagine a ‘man down’, someone I’ve worked with for years being injured or worse. Morally, ethically, there can be nothing like it – having to tell friends and family that an accident happened that could have been prevented if it weren’t for my negligence. Why would I risk cutting corners or ignoring problems?

Importance

a. Health and safety is political correctness gone mad. It’s red tape for the sake of red tape. Some of the things you’re supposed to do are laughable. I’d go so far as to say much of it is b******t. I’ve been in the construction business for more years than I care to remember and nothing’s gone wrong on my watch.

b. I’ve employees who have been working for me for years. I’ve customers who recommend my firm to neighbours, family and friends. And I’ve never had any trouble getting subbies. They trust me to be fair. I sponsor the local kids football team and we take part in the odd charity match. Reputation is everything to me, so stringent health and safety is a given.

Value

a. The responsibility is so onerous I actually don’t want to think about it. To be honest it’s making me reconsider whether I want to be in the construction business at all. It has become a burden and instead of dealing with it, I just cross my fingers and hope for the best.

b. I read online and on the television about corporate manslaughter and the thought of being in that situation is unimaginable. Leaving it to chance is not an option for me. I’ve got too much financially invested in my building business (including my home) to not follow all the rules and abide by all the laws.

If you mainly answered ‘a’…

We hope you carry a good luck charm on you as your luck may run out. Health and safety management needn’t be complicated or expensive. Construction is still one of the top four risks to injury and death alongside mining, quarrying, deep-sea platforms and agriculture. The odds are stacked against you!

If you mainly answered ‘b’…

You have a good attitude and clearly take your responsibilities seriously. We hope you’ve got the right tools in place to make the process as easy as possible. Sleepless nights are not necessary! Health and safety can be very straightforward if you adopt a logical approach. See our piece on the HSE HSG65 four steps to health and safety management as an example.

What next?

There’s a tongue-in-cheek saying ‘the harder I work the luckier I get’. When it comes to health and safety management you could tweak it to say ‘the harder I plan, the luckier I get’. Funny that! Users of HBXL’s Health & Safety Xpert software stand a much greater chance of sailing through HSE inspections with all the right paperwork in place and all the requirements implemented. And be under no illusion – the HSE have upped their visits to small to medium sites this year – it was one of their focuses. So you need to be ready.

Have a chat with one of the team about Health & Safety Xpert and they’ll give you the no-bull low-down on how it can help your firm. It has been produced in association with a health and safety consultant. It follows all the guidelines, covers all the legal requirements and assists in best practice.

Health & Safety Xpert is also great value for money and is simple to use. You only have to answer a few questions before the clever software selects ALL the relevant documents for the job – automatically. Stand back and watch them come out of the printer!

Call us on 0117 916 7898 or find some more information here.

HBXL serve a warning to all UK builders and developers – the HSE have raised their Fees For Intervention (FFI).

Some builders may hear that and deflect believing they are above board on all health and safety requirements. HBXL believe this assumption is ill advised given the HSE‘s aim to increase inspections and enforcement. In addition, the nature of infringements that the HSE deem require intervention may shock some.

What are Fees For Intervention (FFI)?

Not sure what Fees For Intervention (FFI) are? Simply put, they refer to the HSE attaching a monetary value to the time they spend addressing your health and safety issue. This includes identifying the material breach, helping you to put it right, investigating and taking enforcement action. This will comprise of time spent:

■ Carrying out visits (including all the time on site during which the material breach was identified);clipboard HSE raise fees for intervention

■ Writing notifications of contravention, improvement or prohibition notices, and reports;

■ Taking statements; and

■ Getting specialist support for complex issues. This total amount of time will be multiplied by the FFI hourly rate to give you the amount you must pay. For the current FFI hourly rate, visit www.hse.gov.uk/fee-for-intervention/index.htm

Frequent causes for Intervention

Still believe that your building company are not at risk of unwanted HSE attention? Why not read some of the HSE Public Register of Enforcement Notices to see what kind of issues have been flagged, leading to penalties. Below are a selection of the top causes for the HSE to submit a notice.

  • Failure to demonstrate Construction Phase Plan has been completed
  • Lack of adequate hand washing facilities for either food prep, toilet sanitation or in order to use a cement mixer
  • Lack of lighting to avoid trip hazards
  • Demonstrating consideration of separation of pedestrians and vehicles
  • A clear emergency exit route
  • Unsanitary toilets

What is it going to cost me?

This is quite an open-ended question really. The straightforward answer is £129 per hour but it is wise to take note of the potential cumulative cost. Looking at the cases in the HSE Public Register of Enforcement Notices, fees can quickly mount up. This results in a higher total cost or fee. The average Fee For Intervention is £700!

This figure could get even worse when you consider the fact that an inspector is likely to be more vigilant when they realise you have failed in one area. For example, you may have muddy steps to the site cabin – a reason for intervention. This may lead to the investigator to be more thorough perhaps finding your fuse is blown on your hot water boiler in your cabin. Another intervention. Now he’s on a roll and likely to pick up anything that you may have let slip and look. Maybe you have not put a bin in the cabin. Guess what. It’s another intervention.

Three seemingly small, simple things that have built up to cause a hefty fine and your company’s name to feature on the HSE register. Lastly but importantly, featuring on the HSE register will likely mean anyone who searches for your company on the internet will find your notices before they find you! This is because the HSE website is likely to be better ranking than your own website on Google (if you have one). This could have a negative effect on your company image and therefore affect sales!

What can UK builders do to avoid Fees For Intervention (FFI)?

Did you start thinking that HSE fines did not worry you because you know you are safe on site? Now you may be thinking it is impossible to have every little thing covered and avoid a fine. Well HBXL are not just here to scare or worry you. We have a solution. A software solution.

Health & Safety Xpert is the answer to keeping up with health and safety requirements and avoiding HSE fees. Our software is the easiest and fastest way to ensure that you have everything in place to meet your health and safety requirements. Health & Safety Xpert automatically lines up all the paperwork and things UK builders would need to consider based on job specification. Then all you need to do is complete by filling in finer details and print off. It could not be simpler! Give us a call to find out more – 0117 9167898. Alternatively, drop us an email and we will get back to you.

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