Sound Testing in London & the UK

Sound Testing in London & the UK
Unless plans were fully approved prior to 1 July 2003, sound testing will be required on your London development between rooms or spaces that share a common area of separating wall and/or floor as stipulated in Building Regulations Part E for the passage of sound. Sound Testing is not generally required for internal walls and floors within a dwelling-house, flat or room for residential purposes; however all internal partitions should be designed to achieve 40dB.

APT Sound testing

The buildings that require sound testing are:

  1. Dwelling-houses, flats or rooms for residential purposes created by conversion of existing buildings or new build rooms for residential purposes will need to be tested if work starts after 1 July 2004.
  2. New build dwelling-houses and flats will need to be tested if work starts after 1 July 2004.

The main aim of sound insulation testing in London is to ensure that minimum standards of sound resistance have not been compromised by poor workmanship and/or poor design. You are normally required to undertake sound testing to each type of construction, i.e. if you have a mixture of brick, blockwork, timber and metal studwork walls all four types would need to be tested, followed by a 10% sample of that type using the equipment shown in Plate A below.

Plate A – Our Sound Test Equipment.

For instance, if you have a project with 25 flats you would be required to do 3 x 6 pack of tests; each 6 pack contains 2 airborne wall, 2 airborne floor and 2 impact sound tests; however if any test failures occur, then the number of sound tests may need to increase on the development. When sound test failures occur, then the design and construction of the failed partitions will need to be revisited to try and evaluate the reasons for the failure; thereafter, agreement can be reached on how to rectify problem.

We have carried our hundreds of acoustic design reviews, so we are well placed to help you overcome any potential problems to achieve compliance with Building Regulations Part E.

When designing acoustic partitions you will need to consider the following

  1. The careful design of floor plans to avoid habitual rooms being placed side by side.
  2. The mass and density of products that you are using.
  3. Using good design detailing to ensure the careful isolation of materials.
  4. The whole construction detail and how it is made up.
  5. Undertaking careful acoustic detailing of junctions between walls, ceilings and floors.
  6. Using acoustic wall ties in cavity walls.
  7. Types of doors in sound resisting walls.
  8. Containment of noise within noisy parts of a building such as lift shafts.
  9. Positions of sockets and flues on opposite sides of walls to ensure they don’t sit back to back.
  10. Sealing and filling of joints.
  11. The use of cavity closers on window/door reveals.
  12. Careful sealing of service penetrations.
  13. Designing to reduce potential reverberation in common parts of buildings such as corridors and entrance areas and the subsequent use of absorbent materials.

Unfortunately unless the acoustic design has been taken into account, the floor and ceiling partitions can be the main pathways for sound transmission. The first type of sound transmission is airborne sound such as TV and speech; and the second is the passage of impact sounds such as footfall or children’s toys being dropped on the floor above.  Achieving good airborne and impact sound isolation requires careful acoustic design considerations.

Plate A below shows one cost effective ceiling upgrade that can be undertaken on conversion projects. Firstly retain the existing floor joists, then above the joists install 22mm chipboard. Above the floor board install an acoustic resilient membrane and above this install the 22mm engineered floor. Within the joist cavity install 100mm AW IsoWool. To the underside of the joists fix a resilient hanger system and below this install two layers of 12.5mm sound boards ensuring that boards have adequate laps.

To try and help our clients achieve compliance with Approved Document E, we offer the following 4 step acoustic design package:

  1. Site Survey Visits – to let us view the existing site construction. This allows us to check for potential problematic construction such as inclusion of lightweight blocks in the existing construction. It also lets us check that the installation teams are installing the acoustic materials as per manufacturer’s guidelines.
  2. Sample Sound Testing – of the existing construction. This offers an accurate overview of the acoustic performance of the existing partitions which enables us to offer a targeted acoustic design using the sound insulation performance of the existing construction.
  3. Acoustic Design Review – a full design review of the proposed developments party walls and floors.
  4. Pre-completion Sound Testing to satisfy Approved Document E.

APT Sound Testing can advise on all types of acoustic design, whether it’s accomplished during initial construction or during a refurbishment/renovation project. We also undertake UKAS accredited sound testing providing a ‘one stop’ solution for all your acoustic requirements. If you would like more information in regards to sound testing please follow our blog at: http://soundtestinguk.blogspot.co.uk or visit the APT Sound Testing website.

Welcome to the Sekura Window Centre

Welcome to the Sekura Window Centre

If you are in the process of making improvements to your home and are considering adding a new conservatory or new UPVC windows and doors you should definitely take a look at some of the excellent products available at Sekura Window Centre.  With an excellent range of products on offer no matter what style of property you may have you will be sure to find something that complements the rest of your home perfectly.

Sekura Window Centre

With competitive prices for high quality products and a focus on offering top quality customer service every time at Sekura Window Centre they do everything they can to ensure every customer is totally satisfied with any purchase they make. They will be happy to listen to your requirements and design ideas and then help you find the most suitable options for your home, they will also be able to fully explain all product specifications and discuss the various advantages of certain designs so you can make a fully informed decision about any conservatories or UPVC doors you decide to choose for your property.

At Sekura Window Centre they will visit your home to measure up and provide you with a free, no obligation quote so you have the opportunity consider the options before you commit to any purchase. You can also pay the showroom a visit to take a look at some examples of the various conservatories and UPVC windows and doors they are able to provide and have a chat with one of their friendly members of staff and ask any questions you may have, and with a flexible service available no matter whether you are a trade or residential customer they will do everything they can to accommodate your needs.

No matter what design ideas you may have with a variety of styles on offer to choose from you should be able to find something that is ideal for your property. No matter if you are planning to just give your property a quick face lift or are looking for a bespoke conservatory to create a real feature for your home with such a wide choice of products to choose from at Sekura Windows they should be able to help you find something completely suited to your needs, you also have the option to choose other features such as the colour, type of glass and fixtures such as handles and letterboxes so whatever you may opt for you can be certain that it will be completely unique.

With an onsite manufacturing plant at Sekura Window Centre they are able to ensure the quality and workmanship of every product they supply so you can be certain that conservatory or UPVC windows or doors you purchase will be created to the best possible standard and meet all safety standards. All staff are fully trained in their role and always use the highest standards of materials and tools for any products they create so you can be certain that anything you purchase will be produced to the highest possible standards of workmanship.

So if you are looking for top quality conservatories, UPVC windows and doors throughout Newcastle and the North East at competitive prices why not find out more about what is on offer at the Sekura Window Centre where they will be certain to be able to help you find the perfect design for you home, not only will it look great it will also be warmer and more secure as well. Call them today on 0191 214 66 44 or visit the Sekura Windows website.

Benefits of an Interim Executive

Benefits of an Interim Executive
HW Global Talent Partner has built a reputation for excellence in executive search over the past decade among the many global and local brands we serve.

But did you know we also have an interim management business? Many of our executive search clients also turn to us when they require a swift interim appointment at a crucial time for their business, often to bridge the gap during a search process we are conducting.

Interim management

HW Interim provides experienced and talented interim and change management executives to PLCs, private companies, SMEs and private equity backed organisations both in the UK and overseas.The key sectors we work in include Retail, Consumer and Financial Services, and the wide range of recent assignments we have completed have included interim CFO, FD, CTO, CMO, Supply Chain/Ops Director and Head of Risk.

We have access to an elite network of senior executives who specialise in change, turnaround or transformation whom HW have met, vetted, referenced and in many cases known as clients.

Working alongside the executive search business we can source the ideal interim to match our clients’ needs. With a team of dedicated and experienced researchers we can turn round a shortlist of professional interim managers for a client within three working days who can typically be placed within two weeks. Completion rates are well over 90 per cent.

The many benefits of interim management

The professional interim management market is enjoying rapid growth, driven largely by a corresponding increase in business transformation programmes across all industry sectors.

Companies both large and small are increasingly turning to interim executives to help steer them through organisational change – with a particular drive for digital transformation and customer experience programmes.

These experienced business leaders can provide stability following the sudden departure of a senior director, or offer a highly specialised skill set which a business may not have in-house.

Their appointment is an effective way for companies to achieve business objectives and obtain highly specialised leadership skills at crucial times.

The extensive benefits of interim management include flexibility and speed of placement, compared to an executive search for a permanent position which can take many months from commission to arrival in post due to the complexity of global searches and the need to fulfil notice periods.

There are cost benefits too; many SMEs may not be in a position to fund a permanent executive position for a particular specialism such as a digital transformation director.

And without the on-costs of a permanent executive such as bonuses, holiday pay, NI contributions, pension, private health insurance and company car benefits, the day rate suddenly does not seem so prohibitive.

Free from the shackles of office politics, a professional interim can offer a fresh perspective, objectivity and challenge. As a freelance operator whose work is heavily reliant on referrals and reputation, the interim is highly motivated and results driven, and will be fully committed to their client.

Professional interim managers are often over-qualified for the interim position they are commissioned for, meaning they can work independently and hit the ground running, with instant results. Their wealth of experience, skills, contacts and knowledge will also be transferred to the in-house team, giving benefits which outlive their interim contract.

The return on investment of a professional interim manager for a business can therefore be substantial, particularly at a critical time.

To find out how we can help your business contact John Wakeford, MD of HW Interim, via his LinkedIn page, by emailing johnw@hwglobalpartner.com or calling him on +44 (0) 113 243 2004 for an informal discussion.

Young Workers ‘Aware of Pension Reality’

Young Workers ‘Aware of Pension Reality’
Young workers are pessimistic about their retirement prospects but are keen to make preparations to make the most of the situation, a report indicates. UK employees are among the most pessimistic in the world about their retirement finances, according to asset managers State Street.

Its survey suggested that fewer than one in 10 young workers felt financially prepared for retirement. A similar proportion thought they would be able to retire when they wanted to.

“People are interested in securing their financial future and are willing to make changes to their spending habits to make this happen,” said Nigel Aston of State Street Global Advisors in the report. “They are also realistic about their income expectations in retirement. We must use this positivity to make it as easy as possible for individuals to understand their options.”

The survey, of nearly 10,000 people globally, suggested that employees in the UK expected their retirement income to be half of their earnings in work. However, only 6% of young workers asked thought they would be able to afford the lifestyle they wanted in retirement.

This was a far more pessimistic result than their counterparts in the US, where 23% thought they would be in a financial position to live the life they wanted in retirement, as well as Germany (18%), Australia (15%), and Italy (10%).

State Street suggested that the pensions industry needed to do more to help people understand whether they were on track to meet their income expectations in retirement. This was particularly the case as pensions shift from guaranteed pay outs based on someone’s salary to invested pension pots.

The report comes shortly after a separate review suggested women faced a “glaring” gender pension gap owing to career breaks to raise children and lower pay.

Young women aged in their late 20s or early 30s faced an 11% smaller pension pot than men by the time they retired, Fidelity International said. It, too, said that the industry had failed to engage these workers, with the use of jargon a particular issue.

Content Marketing Ideas You Should Try Out

Content Marketing Ideas You Should Try Out
Content marketing is one of the most profitable ways to showcase your business to the web. By creating high-quality content, your website will gain more backlinks from other websites, thus boosting your rankings in Google search results. With pieces of content, you can build a bigger audience to your website through social media, also. The more traffic you can pull into your website, the more people will avail of your products or services.

Content Marketing for SEO

For a website only starting out in content marketing, it can be a daunting challenge to start producing content worthy of backlinks. In this article, we’ll check out four ideas for content marketing. If you like a certain type of article, you can start experimenting with that on your blog to see if it pulls in any traffic.

In this article, we’ll take a look at types of content which is popular on the web today.

1. List Based Article
One of the most popular news websites is Buzzfeed, which creates list based articles. Recent studies into online marketing have shown that customers tend to click on titles with a number at the beginning. Perhaps, having a number in the title consolidates the amount of information. It also gives a quick overview on the number of items the reader can scan through.

Examples of these titles include:

> 6 Reasons Your Swimming Pool Has Algae
> 5 Exciting Themes for Your Next Party/Occasion
> 7 Durable Apple iPhone Cases We Adore
> 4 Ways To Clear Viruses From Your PC

As you can see, these titles help make it easy for the reader to click on and this can boost your click-through rates on Google search results. Coming up with list based articles is easy, if you know a lot about your website’s niche. Just because your niche is in motoring or mechanics or window cleaning, it doesn’t mean you can’t create content on it. Broaden your scope and focus on the practicalities of your niche and key information consumers would like to know.

2. Infographic
Infographics are the latest trend and they can help you attract more traffic and backlinks to your website. An infographic does what it states in the title. It is a graphic which contains information. In a typical infographic, you can display statistics, facts, figures and images within the graphic.

Infographics have seen recent popularity in the last few years, especially with the rise of Pinterest and photo sharing sites.

You don’t need to be a graphic designer to create an infographic. In fact, you can create one through websites such as www.venngage.com, www.canva.com, or www.piktochart.com. All these tools are free and offer templates. All you have to do is insert your facts and statistics into the template, and you will have a ready-made infographic!

Once you’ve created your infographic, you can ask other websites in your niche to display it or link to the infographic on their website. That way, you are gaining backlinks to your website. If you still want to create a textual article out of the article, just post the text of the infographic to your blog, and you will have a text article, also. If your infographic’s title is catchy and promises useful information, your infographic could garner hundreds of shares on social media, and many backlinks. Some infographics have even gone viral, resulting in millions of viewers. While that is very rare, it is quite possible that your infographic could attract new customers from both Google search results and from social media.

3. A How-To Article
This type of web article focuses on showing the viewer how to do something, whether it’s about baking cookies, or cleaning dust from their car’s interior. The scope can be very broad or it can be very narrow, depending on your niche.

Before you create titles for your articles, put a list of keywords through the Google Keyword Planner. There are many guides online which show you how to do this, but I most recommend Backlinko’s Guide to finding profitable keywords with this tool. When you have found keywords with the planner that get more than 2000 searches per month, you can turn these keywords into titles. Some examples could include:

> How To Bake Cookies In 10 Minutes: A Quicker Method
> How To Clear Your PC of Adware In Thirty Minutes
> How To Track Your Ancestry Using Online Research

When you are writing the article, you can keep the steps brief and concise. This is one of the advantages of the “how-to” article; there is no need to write long, winding passages. As long as you clearly state the steps in a concise way and the steps will help the reader, you have created a valuable asset for the online world.

Your article will start ranking alongside other guides, but if there is little competition, it might start ranking immediately.

Those who use content marketing as part of their business strategy will start seeing results in a few months. The effects of writing content may take a while to see, but once traffic starts to increase, you can expect that traffic to keep streaming in throughout the months.

Utilising Social Media Marketing

Embracing Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing can generally be likened to positive word of mouth for your business. By actively taking part with your customers on Facebook or Twitter, you’re creating a ripple effect, since your customers may share your posts, and those posts will generate yet more likes and comments.

While social media marketing may not be considered a direct form of advertising, it definitely helps your brand’s image and keeps your customers continually engaged with what you offer.

In fact, on average, people spend about 4.6 hours per week on social media. This is the highest amount of hours spent on average for any online activity. Social media has become an integral part of our day to day lives, and by placing your business on these platforms, you’re continually pushing your business to the forefront of your current customer base and further. In fact, over half of US SMBs have said that social media plays an important role in generating business and sales.

As if that weren’t enough, many business owners have said that by taking part in social media marketing, their PageRank has increased as a result (45% of businesses said this), as this has helped drive inbound links to their site. So by embracing social media marketing, you are also helping your search engine results get a boost also.

The effects are shown in these statistics, but if you think about them, it makes sense, because so much of our lives is absorbed in the social media world. Much of your news is gotten on social media, also, and by placing your business out there on the virtual sphere, you’ll have more exposure as a result.

Social media can also keep your current customers. If they buy from your site and enjoy your product, they just might return again and if they become a fan of Facebook, they’ll be able to enter competitions, see announcements and buy from your site again.

Improve your Home with a New Central Heating System

Improve your Home with a New Central Heating System

Having a new central heating system installed is the perfect way to instantly make an improvement to your whole home and your family’s quality of life and at Arktek you may find that it is more affordable than you may first think. With a wide range of high quality combi boilers and a fully trained team of expert fitters they aim to offer a first rate service to every single customer.

Getting a new combi boiler installed in your home can offer a wide range of advantages as well as helping make your home a more comfortable place to spend time in. A new central heating system can also help you save money on your energy bills and is kinder to the environment, especially if you choose one of the excellent more energy efficient models on offer at Arktek. A modern combi boiler can also add value to your property so its a really worthwhile investment to make.

At Arktek they are real experts in central heating so their fully trained team will be able to give you all the advice that you need to make sure you choose the combi boiler most suited to your property and they can also fit your boiler with the minimum of disruption to the rest of your household. As fully qualified gas engineers they will be able to make sure that all work is done to the highest standards and meet all safety regulations so you can be certain of total peace of mind.

So if you want to make a real improvement to your home that is a real investment in your property why not get in touch with Arktek to find out more about their range of boilers and the services they have available? With all boilers being provided from top manufacturers and coming with a full warranty along with a fully professional fitting service you can be sure that you won’t be disappointed.

Enjoy the benefits of a properly fitted new combi boiler and take advantage of reliable heating and hot water along with lower bills and would like a little more information take a looks at the gas replacement boiler services on offer from Arktek Heating, with competitive rates and some of the latest models of gas boilers available at great value prices you may be surprised how affordable getting a new combi boiler can be without having to compromise on quality.

For further information about the range of replacement gas boilers available from Arktek Heating Services, please call 0191 516 6911 or visit our heating & plumbing services website. We will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

Looking at National SEO for Your Business

Looking at National SEO for Your Business
The goal of National SEO is to target and rank well for keyword phrases that have a “national intent” (non-geographic).  The consumer may be searching for a product or service that they are willing to buy outside city.  In other words, the location of your business is likely irrelevant to them.

These keyword phrases can be more competitive and business owners often struggle to rank well here, without professional SEO consulting services.   Examples may include “European Haulage”, “Investment Banker” or “iPhone case”.

We work closely with your company to understand your business goals and what you consider to be a win.  We Perform a keyword analysis to determine which keyword phrases make the most sense for your business and which ones are being typed into Google most often.  Typically would target the competitive 2 and 3 word phrases, but we will also target what we call longtail phrases, 4 and 5 word keyword phrases.   We have found this to be the most effective approach to a successful National SEO campaign.

National campaigns can be much more competitive, obviously there are typically a lot more websites to compete against, which means ranking may take a bit longer, especially for newer websites.

The good news is that the traffic counts for national phrases can be much higher.  With good rankings, your website can get huge traffic.

We offer a comprehensive range of Internet Marketing and SEO services to our clients, and aim to get your website to the top of the search engine rankings and keeping them there. How can we do that? By using a combination of SEO submissions, link building, social media, directory work and many other ‘white hat’ processes. In short, our expertise and commitment will help keep you website at the top of Google, Yahoo and Bing!

As leading UK Internet Marketing and SEO consultants, we are committed to providing you with the highest level of service and expertise. All our clients are unique and each receives customised strategy that utilises today’s best practices for your business. Call us today on 0845 2722350 and get your website working harder for your business.

Thinking of Hiring a Car or Minibus this Summer

Thinking of Hiring a Car or Minibus this Summer

If you would like to see more of the North East this summer or would like to plan some special trips to enjoy with a group of friends or family hiring a car or minibus could be the perfect way to avoid any transport problems. By simply hiring the vehicle of your choice from Metro Rental you could find that you are enjoying everything that Newcastle and the rest of the North East has to offer without the planning and time required when using public transport and with some excellent value packages available you may actually find that you can save money as well.

Whether you are looking to enjoy a weekend with friends as a group, want to go sightseeing for the week with the family or simply need some transport for a fun night out at Metro Rental they offer a flexible service for all vehicles so you can be certain that they will be able to offer you a package that is totally suited to your plans and the size of your party, and if you are travelling for business reasons they will be more than happy to find you a vehicle that is perfectly suited to your need as well.

At Metro Rental they aim to offer every customer a top quality service every time so they offer a range of car hire and mini bus hire options that are designed to offer the best possible value depending on how long you require the vehicle, and with regular special offers and options available such as flexi hire and long term hire on offer as well no matter how many types of vehicle you may need or the amount of time you may need them for at Metro Rental they will do everything they can to fit around your requirements for the best possible price.

As safety is their main priority at Metro Rental they make sure that every car, minibus or van that they hire is fully cleaned, safety and maintenance checked before it is allowed to leave their premises so any vehicle that you hire will be fully roadworthy and comfortable, with insurance for two drivers and roadside assistance coming as standard with every car or minibus hire if you do run into any problems you can be certain that you will be fully covered and receive and recovery help that you may require and with the added benefit of Hireguard Ltd cover as well you can have total peace of mind.

With an easily accessible office based near Newcastle Airport and Newcastle Upon Tyne city centre whether you are a local customer or are just visiting the area you won’t have any problems finding them, and with a straightforward and quick booking process at Metro Rental arranging your minibus or car hire should be just as simple as long as you have all the required documents and your card to hand. If you do find you have any questions or need any advice at all one of their friendly team will be happy to talk you through the process and available options and give you any further information that you may require.

So if you want to get out and about to see a bit more of Newcastle and the North East this summer why not take a look at some of the excellent packages for minibus hire and car hire available at Metro Rental? You might be surprised how straight forward and affordable it can be!

Contact Metro Rental
As specialists within car hire Newcastle and the North East, they have a proven track record of providing a first class service to their customers and have the experience and knowledge required to make sure that they only hire cars of the best possible standard every time.

For more information hiring a car in Newcastle or for touring Northumberland call (0191) 460 33 44 and speak to one of our friendly staff or visit the Metro Vehicle Rental website today. You won’t find a better car hire company anywhere in the North East.

Looking at Ranking Factors for SEO

Looking at Ranking Factors for SEO

Google uses a variety of factors in its algorithm to determine what results will be the most helpful for the user. The Google algorithm is smart; it is constantly changing, improving and adapting to give users the best experience and to prevent black hat SEO tactics from manipulating search results. Part of the mystery of Google’s search algorithm is that it takes a number of ranking signals into account before displaying results.

Some of the major issues that are thought to impact on search engine ranking factors with Google include:

•Secured sites (HTTPS vs. HTTP)
•Websites that are mobile-friendly
•Page speed
•Schema mark-up
•Webpage content quality
•Webpage content length
•Social signals
•Quality backlinks
•Optimised images
•Domain age

A word on Quality Content (again).
We’re sure you’ve heard this one before, but we believe content is still really important for SEO this year. Why? because the ‘user experience’ is known to high up in Google’s plan and creating quality content that is easy for the user to find and understand is key. There’s a lot that goes in to creating quality content, but the basic idea is that Google will recognise and reward content that helps users find the information they were looking for.

Quality content means not falling for the most common SEO mistakes, such as keyword stuffing, scraping content, or writing thin content that has little or no value to users. Google’s overall priority is user experience, so if your content doesn’t deliver on this, it won’t rank well.

The official tweaks that Google will make to their ranking algorithm may be a mystery, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the ever changing Google ranking factors and still aren’t sure where to focus your SEO efforts on in 2018, Direct Submit can help. Direct Submit prides itself on the underlying process by which we approach each and every SEO project we are involved with.

We understand that each client will have specific, individual needs and our approach in creating and implementing the correct SEO strategy is vital to the success of the SEO project. This approach and attention to detail is what has helped Direct Submit become a leading Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) company. Call us today on 0845 2722350 and get your website working harder for your business.