Aerial Thermal Mapping of North Lincolnshire

We all know that wasted energy from our homes means wasted pounds, but North Lincolnshire Council is commissioning an aerial survey to find out exactly which buildings are leaking the most thermal energy.

North Lincolnshire Partnership has commissioned a £16,000 thermal survey, to be carried out by aeroplanes fitted with thermal imaging cameras. The survey is aimed at providing homeowners with information to help them reduce their energy wastage and help to make North Lincolnshire more energy efficient by recording which buildings suffer the most heat loss. The survey will first cover Brigg and Barton, and will then be rolled out to cover the whole of North Lincolnshire, with the results accessible through an online interactive map when published this summer.

Building regulations currently state that houses should have at least 270mm thick roof insulation, depending on the materials used, but houses that were built to previous codes will most likely not have this. This means that energy leakage can be a problem, particularly in winter when fuel bills can rise dramatically. The Energy Saving Trust has suggested that if everyone in the UK had the recommended amount of insulation, as a country we could save £520 million a year. If you’re thinking of improving your insulation, give us a call on 01522 596910 for free advice.

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New Solar Panel ‘Field’ Proposed Near Stow

Planning permission is currently being sought by Stow-based company FreeWatt for a 10,100m² solar panel ‘field’ project to be situated near Stow, Sturton-by-Stow and Willingham-by-Stow in Lincolnshire.

Planning permission has been submitted to West Lindsey District Council for a 10,100m² ‘field’ of photovoltaic cells, estimated to cost £8.5 million by completion and which contains 14,544 solar panels, potentially delivering enough energy to power all of the surrounding villages. Permission has been sought by Stow-based company, FreeWatt, Lincolnshire’s leading photovoltaic specialists. With current Government cuts to subsidies for large solar panel projects such as this one, FreeWatt’s scheme could be the last – but the largest – project of its kind. Estimates suggest that the project could be up and running as soon as July this year.

The land that would house the proposed scheme has been owned by Julian Patrick, FreeWatt’s MD, since 1946, and Mr Patrick is himself one of the main investors in the project. Concerns over the scheme’s appearance have been considered, and the panels themselves would stand only 1.6m off the ground, with five substations connecting them to an existing grid on the site’s boundary. As the panels do not have to be concreted in, the disruption to the land would be minimal and the existing grass would stay, leading to the novel proposal that sheep could graze quite happily around the panels. Hedges could also be used to lessen the impact the proposal has on views.

PCC Construction Services have previously worked in partnership with FreeWatt on a project that proposes to install solar panels onto fire stations in the local area, and wish them luck with seeking planning permission.

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Deans Building Extension, Lincoln College

Lincoln College is planning to expand its facilities for its 11,000 students with an extension to its Deans Building complex, adding brand-new facilities for the use of students, staff and the general public.

Lincoln College is planning an ambitious new extension to their Deans Building complex, which houses their current sports facilities. The College, which also has sites in Newark and Gainsborough, will benefit from an extensive refurbishment, remodelling and extension, with facilities for the College’s sports therapy, hydrotherapy, hairdressing and beauty therapy courses being provided. This will include a sports hall, gym, dance studio, fitness suite, all-weather multi-use synthetic sports pitch and a double-height trampolining hall, as well as extra offices and social space with a juice bar. The facilities will not be exclusive to students, however; not only will the facilities be open to hire, but the building will be open to use by the general public after teaching hours, forging stronger links between the College and the wider community. PCC Construction Services are proud to be the contracted structural engineers for the project, providing full structural design, and look forward to seeing the completed extension open in 2012.

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The Pods, Scunthorpe

A new £21million sports and leisure facility is under construction in the heart of Scunthorpe, at Central Park, based around the concept of free-form geodesic dome structures constructed in timber.

Scunthorpe’s Central Park will soon be home to a futuristic new project called ‘The Pods’. Constructed with timber framing, the collection of five giant free-form domes will house brand-new sports and leisure facilities for use by the general public, including a 25m swimming pool with training pool, state-of-the-art gym, dance studio and six multi-use sports halls. A cafe and crèche facilities will also be provided, and Central Park itself will also be undergoing a £2million rejuvenation, with new street furniture, children’s’ play facilities, boulevard walkway and even an amphitheatre planned.

Artist's impression of The Pods

The most interesting aspect of the project in terms of structural engineering is the timber meshwork that makes up the bare bones of the development. Hidden underneath a variety of roof finishes, including a sedum green roof, individually-laid shingles, a single-ply membrane and a glazed and metal dome, each unique length of glulam timber fits together to form the complex five-domed shape. The project is the largest geodesic timber structure in the UK, and project architect Ron Wallwork noted that ‘every piece of timber is a different length; every code is different. It truly is free-form’. The timbers are connected together using bolts fixed into steel sockets that are inserted into the timber. A secondary triangular timber structure strengthens the framework. Large steel sections have also been used to provide flat arches where adjoining spaces meet. Overall, the diameters of the domes range from 20 metres up to nearly 50 metres, and the largest has an area of almost 2,000m². The architects, however, were keen to create a structure that blended into the landscape rather than sat on top of it, and the slow curves of the dome give the impression of something organic to fit into the setting of Central Park without jarring.

The Pods' intricate timber frame; Photo courtesy of Paul Harrop

In addition to the structural side of the project, sustainability has been thought of, and much of the surface area of the domes is covered in structurally insulated panels, as well as utilising rainwater harvesting for roof run-off and minding solar gain and loss within the building’s glazing. The final BREEAM rating is set to be very good.

The development is currently still under construction but progressing quickly, and is set to be completed by May 2011.

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Lincoln Cathedral: The History

If you’re a Yellowbelly, the sight of Lincoln Cathedral on the horizon is a welcome reminder that you’re home – but how much do you actually know about that famous Lincolnshire landmark and its history?

Lincoln Cathedral has stood overlooking the city of Lincoln for almost 1,000 years, with part of the original cathedral of 1072AD still existing as part of the West Front. Most of us that live in its shadow don’t give it much thought, but the history of the Cathedral is a fascinating one, and its legacy extends far beyond Lincoln.

1072AD: The Beginning

The Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln, to give it its full name, was commissioned by Remigius de Fécamp, the first bishop of Lincoln and relative to William the Conqueror, in 1072AD. Lincoln at the time was both a wealthy town and strategically placed on the River Witham and at the junction of two roads, making it a desirable location for such a prestigious building. Remigius himself was not quite as saintly as his legacy would suggest; within his lifetime he was accused of both uncanonical consecration (for being consecrated by someone who had not themselves been consecrated) and treason against William II. He received papal absolution for the first crime after travelling to Rome to plead in front of the Pope, and was cleared of the second after one of his servants performed the ordeal of the hot iron and survived – meaning that God had found him free of guilt. Unfortunately for Remigius, he never lived to preach in his own Cathedral, dying two days before the consecration in 1092AD. The Cathedral at this time was not quite the majestic building it is today; indeed, it was described as a ‘grim, fortress-like’ building, modelled after the Cathedral at Rouen. The tower that was constructed as part of the building, once a keep tower that was possibly used as a bishop’s palace, is now incorporated into the West Front of the Cathedral.

1141AD: Fire

In 1141, the timber roofing of the Cathedral was destroyed by a fire, and renovation of the roof and extensions to the Cathedral were ordered by Bishop Alexander, or ‘Alexander the Magnificent’ as he was known. Whilst he was known for his ostentatious lifestyle and criticised for the method of his elevation to Bishop (through his uncle’s influence over the King), Alexander also founded a number of religious houses and monasteries, a hospital for lepers at Newark-on-Trent, held royal castles at Sleaford, Banbury and Newark and acted as royal justice in Lincoln. His work on the Cathedral included reroofing the building with stone following the fire, and began the construction of the West Front. His legacy still remains today in the carved doors and the frieze on the West Front. Henry of Huntingdon, writer of Historia Anglorum, declared that the Cathedral was ‘more beautiful than before and second to none in the realm’.

1186AD: St Hugh

Many Lincoln residents have heard of St Hugh, but probably aren’t sure why his name is in everything from school titles to village names. St Hugh of Avalon was born in Avalon and grew up in a priory near Grenoble, both in France, but took to monastic life well and was sent to Somerset at the age of 35 to become a prior at Witham Charterhouse. Following his successful tenure and securing of royal patronage for the Charterhouse, Hugh was elected Bishop of Lincoln in 1186, and set about repairing the Cathedral after it was heavily damaged in an earthquake the previous year. The repairs included a large extension to the Cathedral, with Hugh said to have overseen and contributed to the radical new architectural style incorporated into the Cathedral. This style was so new and different it was named ‘English Gothic’, deriving from the popular Gothic style used on the Continent. This style incorporated pointed arches instead of traditional rounded ones and flying buttresses and ribbed vaults that allowed the Cathedral to have a wider roof span and a greater height. Unfortunately, in 1200 Hugh was struck down by a mystery illness and never recovered, dying two months later and with the building work for the Cathedral still unfinished. St Hugh was remembered as a kind figure and an exemplary Bishop, being charitable and raising the quality of education at the Cathedral school, as well as protecting Lincoln’s Jewish population from persecution and violence. His contribution to the Cathedral is its beautiful Gothic style, and one particular point of note includes the matching Dean’s Eye and Bishop’s Eye windows on the north and south of the building, with the north-facing window keeping the devil out and the south-facing window letting the Holy Spirit in.

1237AD: Collapse and Rebuild

Whilst the Cathedral pioneered its new style of Gothic architecture and its new extensions and additions, it is believed that the new technologies that came with it didn’t quite run smoothly. In 1237, it is thought that some mistakes in the support of the central tower led to its collapse. A new tower was soon commissioned, and in 1255 the Dean petitioned Henry III to allow the removal of part of the town wall in order to make space for an extension to the Cathedral, including the rebuilding of the central tower and spire (as the tower all originally had spires attached to them). St Hugh’s small, rounded chapels were replaced with a larger, square east end, built to accommodate the rising number of pilgrims that came to worship at the Shrine of St Hugh. This was consecrated in 1280.

1300AD – 1549AD: The Tallest Building in the World

For 249 years, Lincoln Cathedral held the title of tallest building in the world, surpassing the Great Pyramid of Giza, which had held the title for 4,000 years. The central tower was raised to its present height of 83 metres (271 feet) between 1307 and 1311, along with improvements to the towers at the western end, and at this time a tall, lead-encased wooden spire sat on top of the central tower, giving it a total height of 160 metres (525 feet). To put this into perspective, the Blackpool Tower is 158 metres high – 2 metres shorter. Unfortunately, though, in 1549 the central spire collapsed, leaving the two smaller western spires in place.

1730AD & 1807AD: Becoming the Present

By 1730, the remaining spires were beginning to lean because of their weight, and improvements had to be made. The influential architect James Gibb created a Narthex for the Cathedral – a lobby area within the Cathedral that featured strengthened cross walls to try to support the weight of the spires. However, by 1807 the spires were considered too dangerous to stay and were removed, and this created the final form of the Cathedral that exists today.

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The Future of the Brayford?

The potential future of the Brayford Wharf area of Lincoln is revealed through a series of hypothetical sketches and drawings after consultation with local planners, historians, architects and experts.

It’s not every day that a vision of the future is revealed in Lincoln, but thanks to The Brayford Trust and its team of experts, a series of designs and sketches have been unveiled that do just that. Titled ‘Framework’, the collection produced by historians, planners, experts and architects examines how growth in the area could affect the landscape. A series of hypothetical sketches brings their vision to life. Darren Grice, Chair of the Brayford Trust, and Leader of the City Council, explained that ‘the framework is designed to unlock the potential of this historic and valuable site’ and that ‘it provides a vision for future development which will create a high quality environment and the conditions to generate the maximum additional floor space and footfall passing commercial outlets’. Pete Harness, Principal Planning Officer for the City Council, added that, ‘Development in and around the Brayford Pool is central to the future development of the city’. See how the Brayford may look in the future in the sketches below.

Overview of the Brayford as it might become

View north along Brayford Wharf East

View west from Brayford Wharf North

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Brayford Doubletree Hilton Hotel Progress

The construction of the new Doubletree Hilton Hotel on Lincoln’s Brayford Wharf North has been progressing quickly since construction began in July 2010 as the steel frame rises on Lincoln’s horizon.

The steel skeleton of Lincoln’s new Doubletree Hilton Hotel has risen up into the skyline recently, showing exciting progress on the new build. Situated on Brayford Wharf North, opposite the University campus, the site was originally a former electricity works but has been derelict for over 20 years. The new development will offer 97 bedrooms and 8 suites over six storeys, as well as conference and events facilities, skytop bar and restaurant on the top floor and high-tech fitness suite open to the public. Its placement next to the marina will offer beautiful views of both the Brayford and the wider cityscape. Progress on the development has been swift, as the ground was broken for the project by Gethin Jones, former Blue Peter TV Presenter, in July 2010. PCC have been watching the build with interest, following their involvement with the development and their role in the Party Wall Agreement for the site and its neighbours. Photos below show current progress on the build.

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Christmas Closures

Please note that PCC Construction Services follow the Construction Industry’s usual holidays and will be off from Thursday 24th December and returning to work on Tuesday 4th January. In the meantime, we wish all of our clients and staff a very merry Christmas, and a happy 2011. See you in the New Year!

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Savoy Cinema, Worksop

The proposal to build a new six-screen independent cinema on Worksop’s Potter Street has been granted planning permission following a meeting on 9th December 2010 with Worksop Council planners.

Planning permission has been granted for a new Savoy Cinema in Worksop following a planning meeting on 9th December 2010. The new cinema is set to be constructed on Potter Street despite concerns from English Heritage, who felt that the site might have a ‘buried archaeological resource’ as it lies within Worksop’s conservation area of the Castle and the Grade II-listed Ship Inn. However, the Council felt that the regeneration prospects of the new 968-seater cinema outweighed the risk to the area, with Councillor Terry Yates declaring that ‘the cinema is the sort of catalyst that Worksop needs’. It’s also good news for PCC Construction, who have been contracted to provide all substructure and superstructure engineering for the project (conceptual steel frame shown below). Projections place completion of the six-screen multiplex project as being early 2012.

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Litigation and Expert Witness

If you’ve had to suffer bad builders or a neighbour’s dodgy development, you’ll know the pain of a construction project gone seriously wrong – but what legal options are there available to you?

If you’ve suffered builders that can’t seem to build, or a neighbour’s project that has gone drastically wrong, you’ll know how aggravating construction projects can be. For some people, however, badly-built projects can have a devastating effect on their homes and their lives. For these people, pursuing a legal course of action can be the best option for them.


If you or your property have been adversely affected through faulty construction projects – be they your own or someone else’s – then the first step for you may be dispute resolution: arbitration and mediation services.
Arbitration can be thought of as a ‘mini-court’, with arbitrators presiding instead of judges. Often arbitrators are experts in their field and have technical knowledge that judges in court proceedings would not necessarily have access to, and generally arbitration is quicker than court proceedings. However, arbitration can be highly complex, with little to no appeals process if a decision is considered erroneous, and often parties are required to pay the arbitrators’ fees without the recovery of legal fees process that is more common in judicial proceedings.
Mediation has two branches: mediation and conciliation. Conciliation tends contain more of an advisory element than mediation, but both work to find an agreement between two parties. Mediation offers the chance for both parties to find a path that is agreeable, but which could be enforceable in court later. However, mediation requires both parties to be willing to enter the mediation process – should one party not wish for this, then mediation cannot take place.


If dispute resolution hasn’t worked, or you simply decide that it’s not for you, then you may wish to try the court system. This is typically longer and can be costlier than a non-litigation option. It does, however, offer the option of legal aid or other such funding, or recovery of legal fees following the court judgement.
The outcome of a litigation case is legally binding and often followed up by the courts. There is also an appeals process to follow in the event of an incorrect court decision. However, compared to mediation, neither party are likely to come away from proceedings entirely satisfied as judge rulings tend to take into account actions that each party have committed rather than what each party wants to achieve.


Should your dispute come to a court case, a qualified structural engineer can be called upon to testify on your behalf as to the cause and extent of the problem and its future implications for your property. We have, in the past, acted as expert witnesses in a number of court cases where clients have been the victims of builder error or have had neighbouring projects impact on their own properties. An expert testimony allows the judge to access technical knowledge and opinion where their own is limited, and gives a further dimension to the proceedings.

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