Novus Blog

Sharing ideas and successes about Learning and Development

SHARING IDEAS AND SUCCESSES ABOUT LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT

  20 NOVEMBER, 2018      INDUSTRY INSIGHTS
Paul Nixon, our Learning and Development Advisor has been bringing likeminded people together to share their ideas, successes and pains. Here Paul tells us more about the Learning & Development gatherings…     Why do you hold a L&D gathering and who attends? I have been attending a gathering of Learning and Development professionals for the past 12 months.  The group meets every month in Manchester which poses two challenges for me.  Firstly, there is the commute to Manchester which eats up time in my day and, secondly, meeting every month was too much of a commitment.  I’m also a born and bred Stoke lad who wants to see innovation and a sense of community being developed in my city.  There is a quite a varied group of people that attend, all contributing unique and valuable experiences.  We have individuals from ICO, Leek United Building Society, Vodafone and Water Plus along with one or two independent consultants.   What have the group been discussing? When I set up the group, I was very clear about its purpose: sharing the successes we’ve recently had, the challenges we’ve faced and discussing any new trends, ideas or opportunities that may lie ahead.  This means everyone has a story to tell and experience to share.  It’s a relaxed, informal setting where people can speak openly, build relationships and find support.  There are only two major rules: no sales pitches and no touting for business!   What are the benefits to bringing likeminded people together? As the only person in Learning and Development at Novus, the group has provided me with a great opportunity to meet likeminded people who understand my successes and challenges.  Equally, hearing the experiences that other people have had is encouraging and motivating.  Learning about how other people have tackled similar problems helps me to be more creative and innovate in my own workplace.   When do you meet?  We meet every other month, normally on the first Friday of the month, although this is flexible.  We meet in the city centre at The Quarter café, who have kindly allowed us to use a private space for free.  If anyone is interested in attending, please get in touch with Paul via email paul.nixon@novussolutions.co.uk
Welcome announcements from the Budget

WELCOME ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM THE BUDGET

  31 OCTOBER, 2018      INDUSTRY INSIGHTS
In light of the Brexit challenge and the deficit, big changes to the UK’s taxation system were not expected. That said, there have been a number of announcements that will be welcomed by working people, businesses and the construction industry. First, the increase in the personal allowance and higher rate bands to £12,500 and £50,000 respectively have been brought forward to April 2019. Combined with the increase in the Living Wage, this will give millions of people a boost to their net income just as the UK leaves the EU, providing a degree of stimulus to consumer spending power. Second, the two year increase in the Annual Investment Allowance as of 2019 from £200,000 to £1m per annum will encourage people to invest in fixed assets. This will reduce their tax bill by allowing 100% writing down allowances in the year of purchase on the additional £800k. Third, there’s finally a tax incentive to invest in new non-residential property with the announcement of a new structures and buildings allowance. This will allow a 2% per annum writing down allowance for non-residential construction contracted on or after the 29th October.   For Novus, this means we’ll be looking at further fixed asset investments to drive productivity. We’ll also be speaking to our clients to ensure they’re aware of the opportunity to get tax relief on non-residential property construction. In addition, the personal allowance increase will reward our hard working staff with more post tax income, which is great news.   Neil Washington, Novus Finance Director
Fire Sprinkler Systems, Misting Systems and Retrofitting into Residential Properties

FIRE SPRINKLER SYSTEMS, MISTING SYSTEMS AND RETROFITTING INTO RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES

  23 OCTOBER, 2018      INDUSTRY INSIGHTS
Fire safety is a topic which all businesses should be considering and always needs to be revisited to ensure that the latest fire safety practices are being taken into account. Within the following article, we discuss the different types of Automatic Water Suppression System (AWSS) that can be implemented and whether retrofitting should be considered for residential properties, including residential care and social housing. The Benefits of AWSS In the 2017/18 financial year, the Fire and Rescue Service attended 167,150 fires in the UK, which accounts to about 3214 fires attended a week*. When looking at the statistics of AWSS one key point stands out. In fires where sprinkler systems have been implemented no-one has ever died*. Sprinkler systems will also help in protecting a building’s assets as they will only activate in the vicinity of the fire, ensuring that the spread of fire is limited, which will limit the damage caused to the property. Water damage from a fire is also reduced when using a sprinkler system, as manned fire services often use 15 times more water from hoses, to do the same job as a sprinkler. According to data from the Home Office, the difference in time taken to extinguish a fire with an AWSS is around 60 seconds, in comparison to the 7 minutes and 41 seconds average response time of the fire service in England for dwellings*. The video below shows the dramatic difference this time can make: Different Types of Fire Sprinkler System Installation While having a sprinkler system has proven to save lives and reduce water and smoke damage to properties, there are differing options when it comes to fire sprinkler system installations. There are three main installations which all have their individual benefits and drawbacks: Mains Pressure Systems A mains pressure system works using the water provided by the mains supply. This system benefits from having lower capital installation costs and no need to store water; as water is taken from the utility supplied mains. The drawback to a mains pressure system is that there will never be a guarantee of water pressure, or flows supplied by the mains. Equally pipework size may require a noticeable profile of ‘boxing in’ (the process of adding a larger plastic cover, that to some would look unsightly within a room). Boosted Mains Systems Similar to the mains pressure system but boosted, via a pump, these systems use an overhead piping array inside the building, avoiding issues around pressures and flow compared to mains pressure supplied systems. Again, these systems don’t require a storage tank and less investment is also needed. While these systems don’t overcome all of the issues of the mains pressure system, it is more expensive and also intrudes into internal spaces, which can be unsightly and require extensive decorative work to hide unsightly pipework. Storage Tank Systems The main benefit of the storage tank system is that the water must be held on site. Storage tank systems have a number of benefits such as knowing that there will be a guaranteed pressure and flow of water at all times. The system’s pumps also perform automatic weekly tests, giving further reassurance of the system. This is also the most comprehensive sprinkler system for a similar cost to the boosted mains system. The main drawback of this system is that the tank would have to be stored somewhere so would require either loft, or basement space.   Fire Sprinkler Systems vs Misting Systems The three options above all operate the tried and tested sprinkler system, which has been a proven technology for over 100 years. One criticism of the traditional sprinkler system is that they use too much water, leading to unnecessary water damage. One option that has solved this problem is the high-pressure misting systems, which can target fires much more specifically and use much less water. Using only one-tenth of the water of a sprinkler system, misting systems are proving that water damage can be avoided while still providing effective fire protection. Though fire misting systems offer some real positives, they are currently an un-adopted standard. They also haven’t had the same 100 years of rigorous testing that sprinkler systems have endured. Cost is another factor, with misting systems being a new technology and at the cutting edge of fire safety, they are currently more expensive to install, than retrofitting sprinklers. Retrofitting AWSS Whilst the regulations on fire safety in the UK differ between England, Scotland and Wales. Within Wales all domestic new builds require sprinklers in: new houses and flats, care homes, rooms for residential purposes and sheltered housing. Scotland requires sprinklers in new build care homes and high-rise buildings, whereas England only require new build high rise buildings over 30m to have sprinklers. However, while regulations are focussed on new builds, retrofitting sprinkler or misting systems is something every property owner should be considering. The safety benefits that the system presents and the peace of mind for occupiers is something that people are beginning to believe outweighs the initial financial cost. Since many people are now considering it, retrofitting AWSS presents its own challenges when comparing to fitting systems in new buildings, this is where a company like Novus Property Solutions can really help. Retrofitting means working in occupied homes and ensuring as little disruption as possible. Therefore, having a proven track record of being able to work with residents in an efficient and trustworthy manner is essential.
BITC Education Symposium

BITC EDUCATION SYMPOSIUM

  04 OCTOBER, 2018      CORE VALUES , CSR , INDUSTRY INSIGHTS
Our Marketing Manager, Sophie Seddon discloses her top tips for businesses and schools to work together successfully. “I was invited to speak at the Education Symposium hosted by Goldman Sachs on Wednesday 26th September.  This was organised by Business in The Community to encourage and advise other schools and businesses to partner as the benefits are outstanding.” The History of Novus’ Partnership with BITC 5 years ago, we were approached by BITC and The Business Class to partner with a school in Stoke–on-Trent who were going into special measures.  With no hesitation we agreed to work with them to help them through a very difficult time.  We saw an opportunity to get closer to the community we work in, but more importantly we identified an opportunity to work with potential future employees. After 5 years of working with Thistley Hough we have carried out over 100 projects including CV workshops, mentoring, a scholarship programme, donated bespoke school books, built allotments, created a school bank and set up a bank account for every child, and the list goes on.  You can read more about our partnership here. Top Tips for Sustainable Relationships between Schools and Businesses After a very successful partnership these are my top tips for schools and businesses to create a sustainable relationship that really works: Set clear, simple objectives that are easy for everyone to understand including the pupils, parents, teachers and employees. Empower employees to design and own projects and give them the authority to see them through. Be open and honest.  If something isn’t working speak up and move on. Innovate.  Create innovative projects that are interesting for everyone to be involved in. Don’t make excuses!  We are all very busy people and have our day jobs but take accountability and get the job done! Have fun!  It has been a fantastic 5 years for us all and we have had so much fun along the way, so enjoy it!
PRESS OFFICE
Sophie Seddon-Hall
Telephone: 07973 345873
Email: sophie.seddon@novussolutions.co.uk
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