Career Opportunity in Accounting and Finance and Its Overview

I have a financial careers feature coming up next week. It would focus on accounting, banking and insurance - what range of jobs is available, how you get such jobs, what courses you need to do, what professional courses you should be doing to keep up to date, any conversion courses from other careers to financial careers etc.

The banking sector in Ireland is currently undergoing a process of commercial realignment and is bracing itself for job redundancies. There are certainly opportunities within the accounting, banking and insurance sectors, what are these opportunities and how anyone can position themselves to avail of future opportunities and be best prepared to handle the forthcoming turmoil.

As a pre-requisite, most positions within accounting, banking and insurance require an undergraduate qualification, and if you are considering this avenue, investigate the exemptions that the course offers towards professional qualifications. So, not only will you obtain a Degree but also exemptions against professional qualifications from the Certified Public Accountants, Chartered Accounts, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and even the Irish Taxation Institute. If you are unsure of a specific area within these career sectors, choose a generic and wider course title for example 'Accounting and Finance' and tailor your career direction when you have a greater sense of yourself versus the daily job functions of certain roles. The present growth areas within Accountancy and Finance are around auditing, compliance and risk - try and incorporate these types of modules within your degree of study or professional qualification. Within banking and investment the qualification of desire is the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), which should assure career progression and advantage.

If you are an unemployed engineering or construction professional, considering a career transition towards a career in Accounting or Finance you would be well equipped for a career within this sector with your exposure to high levels for mathematics and commercial experience. The soft skills and cultural awareness of a career within this sector would have to be explored before a decision is reached. There are plenty of course options, for example DIT offer a one year Conversion Post Grad Diploma course in Accounting. Ciara Murphy, from the CPA, states that 'In recent years, a huge number of people have switched careers to improve their job opportunities, especially those in the construction and services industry'. Accountancy remains a growing profession, with 40pc of today's graduate jobs based in accounting and finance. At CPA Ireland we provide flexible and varied learning options for those who want to make the change, with no previous qualification or experience needed.'

The Insurance market in Ireland contributes 9% to the national GDP and the main areas within this space are insurance/risk management and regulation. The professional body is the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) and they offer professional qualifications in compliance, financial services and insurance up to FETAC Level 7. The Insurance sector is likely to contract in the short term however there are opportunities and labour shortages as Actuaries, Risk Modellers and quantitative analysts along with compliance skills.

If you are unsure as to what direction to take considering the investment in time and finance involved, speak to a qualified and impartial career guidance practitioner.

What Internet Marketing and Golf Have in Common - The Importance of Assessing Your Website

If you play golf, you probably know that there are more instructional gadgets, trinkets, books and equipment fads in the game than probably any other sport. Every year, a plethora of new things hit the market that we feel compelled to buy to solve our game's ills, and every year we line up to buy them having never really focused on the one thing that will improve our game most: our golf swing.

Like golf, the Internet is never at a loss for new technologies, trends, or fads on which we feel compelled to keep up. From search optimization to e-commerce and email marketing to social media channels, video syndication and analytics, we can go mad trying to understand and stay current with the latest "must dos." But none of that stuff means doodly-squat if the foundation of our Internet marketing, our base website, is fundamentally unhealthy.

Since so much rides on it, the most important thing we can do to make sure all the other things we do to market our businesses on the Web work, is to conduct--or contract for--an unbiased and sober assessment of our base website. Such an assessment should focus first on the site itself:

  • Is it properly constructed for our business purpose, our audience and to fare well on the search engines?
  • Is it aesthetically pleasing and in concert with our other branding and sales materials?
  • Is the site modern, logically arranged and intuitive or does it look dated, feel confusing and feature functional inefficiencies?
  • Where is the site hosted?
  • Who owns and administers the associated domains?
  • Do we know all the associated costs and what we're really being charged for?
  • Is it equipped with the up-to-date tracking code and, if so, do we really know what the tracking data is telling us?

Only after taking a hard look inward, and committing to the fundamental repairs this process may reveal, should our evaluation turn to the other components of our Internet marketing effort.

In the end, Internet marketing is a lot like golf. We get so bombarded with the latest and greatest equipment, instruction and gadgets that we forget to address the fundamental flaws in our base golf swing. Bushels of dollars later, we still slice nine out of ten shots into the weeds. When it comes to Internet marketing, look inward first. Absent a fundamentally sound website, all the Internet marketing trends, gadgets and fads will only accentuate its flaws and put us smack dab in the Internet marketing weeds.

HVAC School Training Is in Demand and Can Provide a Rewarding Career

What can people living in Chicago do without any heating, those in Florida work with out air-conditioning, or possibly grocery stores across the country manage to do without any refrigeration? Not much of a good deal.

Heating and Air Conditioning/HVAC Training Program Business Outlook

So, as you expected, employment prospects for HVAC mechanics as well as, workers are expected to be superb, in particular for the people with technical schooling or possibly formal apprenticeship coaching.

Simply because heating and air conditioning generally occur through the very same programs, the field is often reduced into the abbreviation HVAC. Furthermore, as our market increasingly calls for heating and cooling, Heating and cooling schooling worthy of evaluating.

Heating and air-conditioning units consist of lots of mechanical, electrical, and electrical elements, for instance, electric motors, converters, pumps, oscillating fans, ductwork, water pipes, thermostats, as well as fuses. Within central heating operating systems, for instance, a single furnace heats up air that is sent out throughout the building by way of a system from metal or abs plastic ducts.

Heating and air conditioning technicians must be able to maintain, detect, and correct complications while in the complete system.

As a consequence of growing sophistication associated with HVAC equipment, employers prefer to retain the services of those with Heating and cooling schooling. Numerous technicians and also technicians, nevertheless, often uncover the job informally at work.

Heating and Air Conditioning And HVAC Training

Various trade universities offer 6-month to Two year Heating and cooling schooling classes. Trainees study concepts, pattern, along with machine engineering, and devices. In addition they learn the core involving installations, service, as well as the repair. Good HVAC instruction courses may offer curriculum on shop math, mechanical illustrating, implemented science as well as chemistry, circuitry, plan examining, and computer systems.

Technicians may work for big or small contracting firms as well as exclusively for a vendor or dealer. Many employed by small-scale operations often perform both installation and servicing, and work with heating systems, a / c, in addition to refrigeration hardware. Service contracts-which involve heating, as well as a/c regarding individual home owners on the frequent basis-are getting more common. Services deals help to reduce any temporary fluctuations with this work.

Prior to selecting a great HVAC school, it is vital that your particular college you decide on is accredited. Exclusively certified HVAC universities offer the degree of education that is actually congruent along with the standards set forth written by the numerous Heating and cooling accreditation institutions. Credential via a good recognised training course will be one particular need intended for individuals HVAC School graduates who favor that will carry on with HVAC certification in the future on. At present, there are solely three accrediting establishments for HVAC Training: HVAC Excellence, The National Center for Construction Education and Research, and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration.

Anaerobic Adhesives Reduce Costs and Increase Reliability For Industries

Anaerobic Threadlocking Adhesives

Threaded fasteners set and hold tolerances on assemblies ranging from light duty equipment to heavy machinery. In many cases fasteners that self-loosen during equipment operation may contribute to wear and fatigue, and result in poor operating tolerances, misalignment, and sometimes catastrophic equipment failures that cost millions of dollars in unscheduled downtime each year. Various types of differential stresses such as vibration and shock, thermal expansion and contraction, and micro-movement reduce clamping force on the assembly and ultimately cause machine failure. Case after case, anaerobic threadlocking adhesive technology has proven to be more reliable and cost efficient to prevent the loosening of threaded fasteners and leakage in a variety of applications versus mechanical fasteners such as spring washers, wire retainers and nylock nuts.

Liquid threadlockers have become one of the most reliable and inexpensive ways to ensure that a threaded assembly will remain locked and leak proof for its entire service life. Applied drop-wise to fastener threads, liquid anaerobic adhesives fill the grooves of the threads and cure to a hard thermo-set plastic when exposed to active metal ions in the absence of air. Anaerobic adhesives lock the threaded parts together, ensuring that mating parts will ultimately act as one conjoined part that resists failure and delivers the greatest possible reliability.

Mechanical devices such as spring washers, wire retainers and nylock nuts are costly and are ineffective in preventing loosening of threaded fasteners caused by side sliding motion. They also do not seal or prevent corrosion within the fastener assembly and must be sized appropriately for the specific fastener, resulting in large and costly parts inventories.

Most assemblies held together by threaded fasteners will at some time be dismantled for repairs, maintenance or adjustment. For this purpose, industrial anaerobic adhesives are available in differing grades: low strength threadlockers for easy removal, medium strength threadlockers that can be removed using common hand tools and high strength or "permanent" threadlockers suitable for very demanding assemblies with minimal service requirements. Even the high strength threadlockers can be removed with standard hand tools following direct exposure to 232 - 260°C (450-500°F) high temperatures for about five minutes.

Using Anaerobic Adhesives Reduce Cost and Increase Reliability for Industries

Several case studies from various industries manufacturing and maintenance applications show that anaerobic threadlocking adhesives increase the reliability of threaded fasteners and reduce the cost associated with downtime and unscheduled callbacks.

In one case study with hydropulpers - machines designed to agitate a mixture of paper pulp and water to prevent dewatering until this mix can be used in the papermaking process extreme vibration incurred by the machine resulted in problems with keeping the mounting bolts for the gearbox tight. Even with proper torquing procedures, the bolts needed to be retightened every two weeks - requiring additional labor costs and downtime. Unplanned loosening caused misalignment problems and equipment failure resulting in severe productivity loss and maintenance costs. Once anaerobic thread locking adhesives were introduced to all the mounting studs and nuts during a recent downtime, loose bolts were no longer causing problems and held the hydropulper gearbox tight until the next scheduled annual preventive maintenance.

In another case, a pump manufacturer had problems with gland studs and adjustment nuts that either broke during assembly or loosened during adjustment. Gland studs were made to Class 5 interference fit tolerance of 0.0254 - 0.213mm (0.001" to 0.0084") To achieve this, special oversized studs with 0.0762mm (0.003") tolerance pitch diameter were used with a Class 2 tapped hole. Stud drivers were used with a capability of driving M12 (½") studs up to 111.6 kg/m (75 lbs/ft) and M20 (¾") studs up to 282.7 kg/m (190 lbs/ft). Any deviation from tolerance resulted either in broken studs during assembly or loosened studs during gland adjustment with the retaining nut. If studs loosened, the whole pump needed to be disassembled for repair. The heavy interference fits caused high flange stresses which warped the end plates and gland box causing power loss, excess wear, and shortened pump life. The manufacture utilized threadlocking adhesives to solve this problem.

When threadlockers were applied during assembly to Standard Class 2 studs up to and including M12 (½"), over M12 and stud nuts, cost savings were immediately achieved because the manufacture of studs now requires only standard tolerance and standard gauges, while assembly is easily done by hand. The locking ability of the threadlockers exceeds the interference fit strength by about 20% and adjustments of the gland nuts are easy and precise because the studs are never loose. Finally, all housings are now stress and warp free.

A traffic infrastructure tunneling solutions manufacturer, uses threadlocking adhesives to lock all the screws, hydraulic motors, hoses and fittings in their tunnel boring machines, which have to withstand enormous pressure while eating its way through rocks underground. In this case, threaded fittings have to resist up to 350 bar oil pressure. "An insane piece of engineering" is how the Discovery Channel describes the machine that drilled a 5.4 and a 3.9-kilometer tunnel in Kuala Lumpur in 2006. The 82-meter tunnel boring machine is as tall as a high rise building with 20 floors lying on its side. Imagine this machine moving through the ground, encountering a variety of soil types and loading conditions, hard rock or loose rock, working under tremendous pressures, high stresses, torques, rotating and twisting forces. Threadlocking adhesives are able to resist the extremely high oil pressure and provide reliable locking, sealing and long-term vibration resistance.

Liquid threadlockers were also applied at a hydraulic lift manufacturer for forestry, mining and construction use. M16 structural bolts on the base turn table of the lift, which holds the boom & bucket loosened when subjected to severe vibrations, impacts & shear loads. Previously nyloc nuts were used to prevent vibrational loosening of these bolts but they failed to retain clamp load over long periods. Bolts also had to be retorqued frequently. After threadlockers were used, the bolts retained clamp load under severe conditions without any loosening while protecting threads from rust and corrosion. Re-torquing of bolts was no longer needed and safety and equipment reliability were improved.

New Innovations in Anaerobic Threadlocking Technology

New technological advances in anaerobic threadlocking adhesives have also provided many advantages previously unavailable including surface insensitive, high temperature, and chemically resistant materials, as well as formulations engineered to withstand extreme vibrations. Semi-solid threadlocking formulations in a stick format that complement their liquid counterparts have also been developed to work well in overhead or hard to reach applications where liquids might be too messy or potential migration might be a concern.

Since its invention in 1953, liquid anaerobic threadlocking adhesives and thread sealants have become the most reliable and cost efficient methods for sealing and securing threaded fasteners and pipefittings in a variety of assemblies in many different industries. Many case studies have demonstrated that these innovative anaerobic adhesives and sealants are better able to withstand various types of differential stresses such as vibration and shock, wide range of temperatures and micro-movements that reduce clamping forces than traditional mechanical threadlockers to reduce downtime, unscheduled maintenance and costs.

A Quick History of Ballooning and Modern Hot Air Driven Gadgets

In fact, the history of aviation and flight always fascinated humanity since the tale of Icarus and Daedalus. Today, flying is no more something extraordinary and available for everyone who pays the required money. Whether it is helicopters, jumbo-jets, private jets, private jet hire or fighter jets humanity dreamt of flying and indeed realized it nowadays. However, we often forget that the first steps were not easy - especially in the domain of ballooning. The history of ballooning, both with hot air and gas, now spans many centuries. Indeed, this fascinating technical achievement and its visionaries were already in play before Christ. However, until the challenge was completed, the history of ballooning know many firsts, including the first misfortunes, the first human flights, first flights to North America and over the English Channel, and, of course, the first major aircraft disasters.

Pre-Modern and Unmanned Balloon-Flights in Ancient China

Already 220 - 280 AD hot air balloons were a popular topic in ancient China. Several Chinese kings and famous warlords used airborne lanterns for military signaling for instance. Such lanterns were later known as the Kongming lanterns.

Ballooning in Europe came much later into play. In fact, the first balloon was let gone in 1709 in Lisbon, Portugal. A man called Bartolomeu de Gusmao managed to lift a small balloon made of paper full of hot air about four meters. The Portuguese king as well as the Portuguese court were witnesses and great respect followed Bartolomeu over the next years. This even is, according to old documents, the first and earliest recorded model balloon flight known until that time.

The next Attempts: First hydrogen Balloons

In 1766 the world-famous Henry Cavendish published his pioneering essay on hydrogen. Based on this, the Professor Jacques Charles who has studies Cavendish's work for years, conceived the idea that hydrogen would be a suitable lifting agent for balloons and consequently Charles used this notion for designing and constructing the first hydrogen balloon. The Robert brothers, who worked closely with Charles, invented the methodology which was the construction of the lightweight-principle everybody knows today: airtight gas bags. How did they do it? In fact the principle was quite facile. They dissolved rubber in a solution of turpentine and varnished the sheets of silk that were stitched together to make the main envelope. Indeed, this led to another characteristic even children associate with ballooning nowadays: the red and white coloration as the Brothers used alternate strips of red and white silk which left a red and yellow result due to the varnishing and rubberizing processes.

On August 27 in 1783 Charles and the Robert brothers launched the world's first balloon filled with hydrogen (in fact they launched from the Champ the Mars, an area on which later the Eiffel Tower was constructed). The famous Benjamin Franklin was witness to this beside a huge crowd that enjoyed the spectacle.

How did the balloon work? In comparison to modern balloons this one was relatively small. It was 35 cubric metre sphere of rubberized silk and only capable of lifting about 9kg. However, it was filled with hydrogen which was gained by pouring almost a quarter of a tone of sulphuric acid onto half a tone of scrap iron. The hydrogen gas was fed into the envelope through lead pipes. One of the "child-problems" however was, that it had not yet a cooling system. Therefore, the gas got quite hot when it was produced but contracted drastically when it cooled down.

The balloon was able to fly 45 minutes long in which it passed distance worth of 4 kilometers.

The First unmanned Flight in the History of Ballooning

A sheep, a duck and a rooster were the first living "persons" that enjoyed the pleasure of being in a balloon high up in the air. The world-famous Montgolfier Brothers launched their balloon Aerostat Réveillon on 19th of September 1783, including those animals. King Louis the 16th and his wife Queen Marie Antoinette were witnesses to this spectacle. The Montgolfier brothers were clever and applied the principles of scientific methodology: The sheep was believed to have a reasonable approximation of human physiology. The duck was expected to be unharmed by being lifted aloft. It was included as a control for effects created by the aircraft rather than the altitude. And the rooster was included as a further control as it was a bird that did not fly at high altitudes.

In summary this balloon flew for eight minutes, three kilometers long and reached an altitude of 460 meters. It landed safely and the animals were not hurt.

First Attempts to Fly with Humans

France is also the birthplace of the first manned flight in a balloon. Again the Brothers Montgolfier were pioneers in that respect that they were the first to carry passengers using hot air to generate buoyancy. How did they know what buoyancy is and how to use it? The answer for the Brothers was quite simple: they had observed ash rising in paper fires (the Montgolfier family traditionally was a family of paper manufacturers). After having demonstrated that the technique works and that they were able to transport animals in a balloon over a distance of several kilometers and at an altitude of several hundred meters they now aimed at doing the same with humans. And in fact they managed to do so. The first free flight with human passengers was on 21 November 1783. Monsieur Rozer along with Marquis Francois d'Arlandes were the first passengers, entering the hot air balloons (King Louis the 16th originally wanted to use condemned criminals for the project but was eventually convinced not to do that). The first hot air balloons were essentially cloth bags with a smoky fire built on a grill attached to the bottom. Therefore it is not surprising that they were susceptible to catching fire, often upon landing. However, this did not occur very often. Such pioneering work of the Montgolfier Brothers that had managed to invent a hot air balloon that could carry both animals and human beings successfully eventually found its major recognition by this type of balloon being named Montgolfère after them.

First Manned Flight in a Hydrogen Balloon

Just shortly after this spectacle Jacques Charles and the Robert Brothers managed to launch a new manned hydrogen balloon in Paris. The crowd yelled of excitement. Jacques Charles was pilot of the hydrogen-filled balloon. The envelope in this case was fitted with a hydrogen release valve and was covered with a net from which the basket was suspended - quite similar to those balloons we have nowadays. They also had sand ballast to control the altitude - another milestone in the history of ballooning. In total the balloon managed to reach the altitude of 550 meters and flew for more than 2 hours long, covering 36 kilometers. In another try the same balloon ascended to about 3000 meters - a new world record.

New Inventions New Challenges

Such new extraordinary inventions also led to new challenges. It was again in France when Jean-Pierre Blanchard saw it as his next great challenge to fly across the English Channel - he managed to do on January 7, 1785.

However, that was also the time when the first major aircraft disaster occurred. In May 1785 a balloon crashed down in Tullamore, Ireland and seriously damaged the village. More than a 100 houses caught fire and burned down, making the town home to the world's first aviation disaster.

In the following years Blanchard searched for new challenges and found it in his try to fly a balloon in the United States. On January 10, 1793 Blanchard entered his hydrogen balloon in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He reached about 1,770 meters and landed in Gloucester County, New Jersey. President George Washington was among the guests observing the spectacle.

Between the 1790s and 1960s gas balloons became the most common types of balloons used. The first balloon driven by a steam engine (it was very slow but effective) was flown by Henri Giffard in 1852. Paul Haenlein flew the first internal combustion motor-powered balloon in 1872. And Alberto Santos Duman was the first to fly in an untethered airship powered by an internal combustion engine in 1898.

Ballooning in the 20th century

During the Second World War balloons were especially used as shields in London against the attacks of the German Luftwaffe. They had the task to obstruct any incoming fighter plane. Although their effectiveness was debatable, they were a cheap protection.

Hydrogen balloons were used particularly in upper atmosphere research projects during the first half of the 20th century. Thus they more and more were used to execute research projects in the air. However, they more and more lost their prestige as new planes and jets, companies were invented and became products of mass production and private jet hire companies became reachable for people. Some people were still into ballooning and sought further pioneering challenges such as the first balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean or the first to circumnavigate the world. Both were successfully done around the 1950s.

Ballooning in Modern Times

Modern hot air balloons with an onboard heat source were pioneered by Ed Yost in the second half of the 20th century. The first successful flight was on October 22 1960. However, high-altitude balloons working with hot air are nowadays primarily used for recreation. They more and more lose their attraction and are today more the work of adventurers or researchers.

Changing Trends in Enterprises, Entrepreneurship, and Employment

Industrial transformation...

Before the industrial revolution, families sustained themselves through farming and other trades and crafts including carpentry, cloth production, and metalwork based upon proximity to sources of materials and supplies. In this context, the term "trade" refers to an occupation. Because such activities could be performed at home, and often augmented farmwork, families flourished in cottage industries. In this system, the family was the enterprise - manufacturing products in a workshop at home. Merchants brought raw materials to homes and would take finished products to markets. Entrepreneurs and agents would "put out" work to these workshops, which were in effect their subcontractors.

Journeymen were craftsmen who had completed apprenticeships, such as in carpentry or metalwork. Journeymen traveled between local communities with the right to charge a fee for a day's work accordingly. Apprentices were new practitioners who entered programs to receive training for their careers while working.

As the industrial revolution progressed, work was transferred from homes to factories when the required machinery became too large or expensive. Production moved from a decentralized to a centralized system, creating employment opportunities for laborers in factories.

Initially the "put in" system was used, where workers were treated as subcontractors within a factory and eventually became employees. Factory working conditions were often harsh. Labor movements were founded to fight for workers' rights, from which today's employment and labor laws have evolved.

As the economy shifted from family to commercial and industrial enterprises, employment opportunities grew. Entrepreneurs provided the innovation to start new enterprises in new or existing markets, with new products and/or services, from which new industries evolved.

Enterprises were established that had an identity in their own right separate from their individual founders and owners. An enterprise is an undertaking for prize or cause. Business entities such as partnerships and joint stock companies emerged over time, and eventually the concept of a corporation was developed - a legal entity that exists separately from its shareholder owners.

Trading took place in marketplaces. In this context, the term "trade" refers to buying and selling. A market is a set of potential buyers (prospects) and/or actual buyers (customers) and potential and/or actual sellers (suppliers) who are motivated to execute transactions. Motivated buyers have the desire, want or need, authority, and resources to demand and purchase a product and/or service. Motivated sellers have the desire, want or need, authority, and inventory to supply and sell a product and/or service. A marketplace is where buyers and sellers can meet to execute transactions. Street marketplaces were common in towns along sidewalks or as squares and covered buildings, and still are popular in many places around the world. Financial transactions were conducted in bourses or exchanges where contracts representing financial instruments were traded by dealers and brokers.

Through improvements in manufacturing techniques, such as production lines and automation, the scale of units produced increased dramatically. Through improvements in energy, transportation, and telecommunications technologies, reach extended into new geographic markets for acquisition of materials and supplies, and delivery of end-products.

Chains of suppliers of raw materials, manufacturers and distributors, merchandisers (wholesalers and retailers), and end-consumer customers emerged over time. Some enterprises decided whether to make or buy materials and supplies on a case by case basis. Others became "vertically integrated" by owning and controlling most or all aspects of their supply and demand chains to make hand-offs between processes more efficient and effective. Tremendous wealth could be generated for entrepreneurs participating in chains that created value through both sales and production activities.

Governance, administrative, and operational disciplines emerged as enterprises became larger, creating the need for managers, supervisors, and staff. As a consequence, executive, administrative, professional, technical, vocational, and clerical jobs were created. As such enterprises became stable sources of employment. The word "firm" was used to describe them - suggesting the notion of steadfastness. This term is still common today, especially for professional services partnerships such as accounting, architectural, consulting, engineering, and law firms, where trust and integrity are important factors.

Through acquisition or merger, enterprises can become "horizontally integrated" - offering the same products and/or services in different markets. Through horizontal integration, enterprises can gain economy of scale and become corporate "giants." The world's largest enterprises have gained scale by doing the same thing in multiple geographic markets around the world, although offerings may differ slightly through varying customer demographics and local practices.

In many industries, such as construction, energy, financial services, and manufacturing, there are a few very large global players that have grown mainly through acquisitions and mergers, and a large number of very small players that serve local markets almost exclusively. Joint ventures are also common that share risk, resources, and expertise.

Not only did the construction industry contribute to the growth of economies by building infrastructure, but it participated in globalization trends through the development of large enterprises, such as Bechtel, Halliburton, Black & Veatch, and CH2M Hill, that have worldwide reach.

Construction activity flourished with the development of residential, commercial, industrial, and corporate real estate. Through the use of prefabricated and modular buildings, the construction and manufacturing industries became interrelated.

Energy production and manufacturing activities globalized, driven by the aerospace and automotive industries, with such enterprises as Royal Dutch Shell, Honeywell, and Ford. The financial services industry has globalized with such enterprises as Barclays, HSBC, and JP Morgan Chase. Globalization was necessary not only to achieve scale, but also to serve global customer enterprises. Global financial services enterprises may be able to better manage risk than those only serving local geographies through their ability to move resources between and within multiple markets.

The food service and hospitality industries have partially globalized, primarily through franchising, but the merchandising industry is still primarily local, although products may be sourced internationally.

As a consequence, industrialized societies have stabilized through enterprises that create employment from jobs that provide steady income streams for food, housing, health, education, transportation, taxes, and disposable income for entertainment and recreation. In effect, these enterprises finance the lower levels of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs for many people.

The need for marketing and sales capabilities grew accordingly and media communications vehicles, such as magazines, newspapers, radio, and television, relied upon advertising revenue to cover their costs. Today, many websites rely upon advertising revenue to cover costs, and there is a gradual shift occurring from physical to electronic media of all forms as mobile devices become more popular.

Industry structure...

Today's economy is structured according to either market-driven or production-driven industries. An industry consists of a group of enterprises that share common activities, products and/or services and/or common methods of distribution.

In the market-driven approach, the economy comprises goods-producing and service-providing industries; in the production-driven approach, the economy comprises product-driven and service-driven industries. Goods-producing industries include: natural resources and mining, construction, and manufacturing; service-providing industries include: wholesale and retail trade, transportation (and warehousing), utilities, information, financial activities, professional and business services, education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and public administration. Product-driven industries comprise enterprises that manage inventories available for sale as primary activities (regardless of whether they transform them or not). Under this approach, the retail, wholesale, and food service industries are product-driven.

"Commerce" is a more general term than "trade," that refers to the buying and selling of commodities, merchandise, and services, and the associated warehousing, distribution, and transportation. Commodities are products that are indistinguishable and interchangeable with other products of the same type because there is little to no value added. Commodities include natural products such as produce, minerals, and oils. Merchandise consists of commodities and manufactured products for retail sale to consumers.

Consumers are users of products and/or services - both individuals and enterprises. Enterprise consumers are either entrepreneurial (in emerging or growth stages) or institutional (in growth or mature stages), and consist of sole proprietors, partnerships, limited liability companies, or corporations. Sole proprietors are natural persons, whereas partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations are juristic persons, meaning that they are non-human (business) entities having the same status as a natural person for legal purposes. Juristic persons may be considered separate from their partners, members, or shareholders, for legal purposes, although the distinction is not necessarily absolute. Juristic persons may enter into contracts, own assets, incur liabilities, and sue and be sued.

Commercial enterprises are involved in light manufacturing, merchandising, retail, and professional services. They are small to medium sized enterprises, located on Main Street, in shopping centers and malls, and in office parks. Commercial enterprises are typically narrowly held.

Industrial enterprises are involved in heavy and high volume manufacturing and related industries, such as in chemicals and energy. They are medium to large sized enterprises located in dedicated facilities, such as factories and refineries and are typically more widely held.

Corporate enterprises are large service providers in finance, entertainment, health care, and transportation, and include the administrative activities of industrial concerns. Corporate enterprises are typically widely held.

Commercial enterprises are major sources of employment in local communities for entry to mid-level positions. Industrial and corporate enterprises employ both unskilled and skilled employees, and are providers of professional career opportunities.

From a governmental policy perspective, employment provides stability in the economy. An activity that is repetitious provides an opportunity for steady employment, such as food processing and service, and manufacturing in growth industries. Entrepreneurial and sales activities are more prone to uncertainty; in order to promote stability, the compensation of salespeople is incentivised to encourage results on an ongoing basis.

Government policy has also encouraged home ownership, which strengthens stability. For most people, their job provides their largest source of income, and their house is their largest asset; their mortgage and related expenses are a significant component of their monthly compensation. Home value appreciation is a creator of wealth for many families. However, the home as an asset can become a liability if it prevents the owner from relocating to a different geography to pursue new opportunities. In down markets, home values can depreciate to a point lower than the mortgages that finance them - a stressful and sometimes irrecoverable situation.

Challenges for employment in the future...

As industries mature and reposition, restructure, and reengineer as a consequence of changing buyer trends or competition, employment opportunities may erode, and current positions may be eliminated. Reengineering initiatives can lead to a strategic repositioning of an enterprise by changing its activities, pursing different methods of performing the same activity, or streamlining current activities to reduce costs. The application of technology can play a major role by creating jobs in new areas and eliminating them in others. Globalization trends have changed the cost structure of certain activities by outsourcing to providers who offer economy of scale, or to low cost production markets such third-world countries.

The consequence is that job markets have changed dramatically, and that old assumptions for employment have become invalid. The notion of working for one employer for forty plus years is no longer possible because industries, enterprises, and types of employment change quickly.

Even the methods for finding a job have changed. It's not what you know, or who you know, but who knows you that matters. Finding a job is an individual marketing initiative, and many people do not have experience in promoting products and/or services, let alone themselves. However, if individuals cannot promote themselves, how can they promote anything else? It is essential to launch an individual marketing campaign and to keep it refresh an alive in order to find a job in today's economy.

A marketing campaign for an individual begins in the same way as for an enterprise: by developing a strategy that addresses opportunities, threats, strengths, and weaknesses, and by setting objectives, goals, and specific action-oriented initiatives.

The process starts by an individual understanding the power of their own knowledge and skills - the personal, professional, technical, entrepreneurial, leadership, and management competencies that others will want to know and benefit from.

Effective personal and professional competencies are essential for gaining entry level positions in enterprises, and the initial promotions thereafter. However, the enterpriship competencies in entrepreneurship, leadership, and management disciplines determine long-term success from transforming ideas into value, influencing others to follow direction through influence, and applying resources to activities to gain results in both entrepreneurial and employment activities.

Purchasing And Selling Real Estate In Israel

This article is the first of two that will cover the various aspects of buying real estate in Israel. The first article will provide a general overview of the Israeli real estate system, the major differences between transactions in Israel and the United States, and the most important considerations in such a transaction. The second article will cover special issues when the property is new and being bought from the contractor, and also taxation associated with purchasing and selling property in Israel.

There are two types of property in Israel: privately-owned (private land) and state-owned property administered by the Israel Lands Administration ("Minhal"). Private real property, like in the U.S., is owned by the buyer with title vesting in him. Land is registered in the land registry (Tabu) under the name of the buyer. On the other hand, title to Minhal property does not pass to the purchaser. Instead, the buyer gets a long-term lease to the property which is usually for 49 years with an option for an additional 49 years. Over 80% of the land in Israel is Minhal land, so the buyer should not be deterred from buying it. However, private land is often viewed as preferable. As each type of land involves a slightly different purchase process, one of the first things to check is whether the property is private or Minhal.

Most buyers start the process by obtaining the services of a real estate agent in the area in which the buyer is seeking to buy. An agent's fees are success based and range from 1-2% plus VAT depending on the size of the deal, and your negotiating abilities vis a vis the agent. The fees usually become a legally binding obligation once a legally binding purchase agreement is signed. Agents are required sign the potential customer on a written agent agreement and then add each property they show the buyer to the agreement, asking the buyer to initial next to the property to establish the agent's right to a commission in case the buyer purchases that property. Many agents try to sign you up on many properties without actually showing you them all. This can cause a conflict between you and multiple agents so it is advised only to sign after the agent has physically shown you a property.

After finding a property and negotiating a price with the seller, the actual process of buying the property commences. The process of buying land in Israel is different from that in the U.S. in numerous ways. First, there is no standard escrow process and there are no escrow companies. Second, there is no title insurance. Rather, lawyers play a dominant and indispensable role in the purchase process and are responsible for protecting their client's interests and handling the multifaceted and bureaucratic process from start to finish. Should each party retain its own attorney? Ethical rules of the Israeli bar are more liberal than in California and allow one attorney to represent both buyer and seller, a situation that happens often. However, a foreign buyer is particularly vulnerable and should not rely on the seller's attorney, given the obvious potential for conflict of interest. Attorney fees vary between 0.5-2% of the deal plus VAT, depending greatly on the experience of the attorney and the size of the deal.

After finding a property and negotiating a price with the seller, and at times before retaining an attorney, it is not uncommon for the parties to sign an informal (binding or nonbinding) memorandum of understanding which sets forth the main terms, such as price and date of transfer of possession. The buyer may ask for a small deposit at this stage. Most attorneys caution very strongly against the signature of an MOU as it oftentimes leads to legal disputes as the parties who are not yet advised by an attorney do not realize that such a document will be binding upon them, and they may fail to insert certain critical language to it.

There are a few important issues to take into account prior to signing any document. First, the buyer's should obtain a print out of the title of the property and make sure they are dealing with the true owners. The seller's should be identified by formal identification. Second, given the fluctuation of the $/Shekel exchange rate and the devaluation of the dollar, purchase prices are now negotiated in Shekels. For a U.S. buyer to protect himself against further dollar devaluation, he should either negotiate a floor exchange rate, or have sufficient Shekels on hand to buy the property

Third, as there are no standard inspection processes in Israel, it is absolutely vital that no binding agreement be signed before the buyer have a contractor or architect conduct an inspection of the property to make sure that the property is in proper shape. For example, small cracks in the wall, which may or may not have been intentionally concealed by the seller, may indicate that parts of the property have been illegally built and are sinking. It also advisable to retain a licensed appraiser in order to obtain an appraisal as to the value of the property This is especially true for foreign buyers who are less familiar with property values in Israel. An appraiser is also qualified to give an opinion as to whether the apartment/house was built in accordance with the building permit and local zoning laws and regulations, and also to provide information as to what else may be built in the vicinity of the property in question.

The next stage is to retain an attorney to represent you. No transactions in Israel take place without attorneys. The lawyer is responsible for drafting the contract and conducting several aspects of the due diligence. The role of the attorney is vital because there are no other documents that set forth the rights and responsibilities of the parties, no escrow companies and no title insurance to verify title. Remember: other than when buying new property directly from the contractor, there are very few provisions set forth in the law that provide protection to either side beyond what is negotiated and written in the contract.

In preparation for preparing the contract, your attorney will examine title of the property; verify who the owners are and whether the property is owned free and clear of any third party rights or is subject to a mortgage or lien. If the land is Minhal, the attorney will check how many years are left in the current lease and whether a lease payment is due to the State. Usually, the lease payment is paid for the 49 years in advance and thus no monthly or annual fees are due from the purchaser at the time of the sale. However, if the lease is over, or the lease payments were not previously paid for in advance, a monthly or annual lease payment will be due to the State.

One of the issues that the attorney does not check, but which is the responsibility of the buyer is inspection of the property. While the seller is obligated to disclose any defects in the property, he may not. Also, defects may become apparent following the sale. In addition, building code violations such as unauthorized enlargement of the house are common and could result in future municipal lawsuits, demolition orders or payments to the city. As stated above, the best way for the purchaser to minimize these risks is to hire an engineer or architect that will inspect the property before the signing of a binding agreement!

Another very important issue which must be ascertained is whether the property is subject to betterment tax. Betterment tax is levied by the local municipality or regional counsel on properties which have received additional construction rights as a result of a change in the local zoning laws. Thus, if a house has become entitled to construct an additional level, then that is deemed to be a taxable benefit, which is taxed at the high rate of 50% of the value of the benefit. The seller is usually responsible for paying this tax, but if the contract does not address this issue, then the obligation may fall upon the purchaser, who will not be able to transfer the property to his name without settling this debt.

The most important part of the agreement from the standpoint of a purchaser is the part of the contract dealing with the payment schedule and escrow arrangements. The agreement must establish the portion of the purchase price which is paid to the seller at each step of the process, from initial signing of the agreement until the transfer of possession and title.

The amount to be paid at each milestone is negotiable and it is important to understand the various material milestones in the process. Usually, the first milestone is filing a "warning" on the property's title at the land registration office ("tabu") after the contact is signed stating that the property is under sale and cannot be re-sold by the seller. Another milestone involves the removing of any mortgage on the property. If a mortgage exists on the land then the seller is required to bring a letter of intent from his lending bank setting forth the sum required to be paid to the bank in order for it to release the mortgage. In such a case a certain sum is usually paid after the mortgage is removed, or the buyer pays off the mortgage directly to seller's lending bank to release the mortgage.

Another milestone occurs when the buyer providing the seller with all the documents required to transfer title. These documents include certificates from the tax authorities and the local municipality that the seller has paid all debts owed and that there are no building violations. Another crucial document which is required to be furnished by the seller is an irrevocable power of attorney which authorize the purchaser's attorney to sign any document and take any action required in order to transfer the property to the name of the purchaser. This power of attorney is irrevocable, by the terms of Israeli law, because the rights of a third party, the purchaser depends upon its validity. These documents, especially the power of attorney, is released to the purchaser against payment of all or almost all the purchase price to the seller, as the transaction is near the end and the only remaining action is actual transfer of title by the purchaser's attorney, and granting of possession. [not done any more]

With regard to apartments, a few additional point should be mentioned. First, joint buildings (condominiums), buildings containing two or more apartments, involve relationships between tenants. These relationships are covered by building by-laws and address issues such as use of common property, entitlement to use unused building rights, the share of each apartment in building maintenance, and so on. The purchaser should ask the seller for a copy of the by-laws. Many times buildings do not adopt by-laws in which case the statutory by-laws set forth in the Real Estate Law apply. Second, various attachments to the property, such as parking spaces, should be part of the title to the apartment. Third, in addition to arnona, each apartment pays monthly house committee dues. The purchaser should inquire as to the amount of the dues, but unless one is dealing with a building which provides many services (a pool, exercise room, doorman, etc.) these dues are usually fairly nominal.

Exploring the World of Oil and Gas - Possible Careers

In today's society, news headlines are fixated on the price of oil and gas, as overseas negotiations and an ongoing battle in the Middle East continue to affect the perception of this vital commodity. However, behind the scenes - there are plenty of employees who make decisions, transport the oil, and facilitate business deals for the United States. When looking to learn more about the careers centered on oil and gas, consider the following employment possibilities:

Exploration Manager

Discovering vital oil and gas deposits is a valuable job in this day and age that will only continue to increase in importance as resources become scarcer. An exploration manager leads and operates the expeditions to discover more oil and gas. While evaluating the possibilities and value of a potential site, knowledge of federal, state, and local regulations is a must. A bachelor's degree (and preferably a master's degree) is required in this field. Those with eight to 10 years of experience are most likely chosen for this position. The average yearly salary for this career choice is between $157,665 and $208,954.

Oilwell Pumper

While you are quite familiar with the employee who may pump your gas at a service station, have you ever stopped to think how oil is manufactured? An oilwell pumper is responsible for the daily maintenance and care of oil wells. They operate the injection equipment and oversee oil production - making sure to keep in line with standard operating procedures. This kind of pumper will keep reports and make assessments of the volume and pressure of gas and oil contained inside of a well. A high school diploma or its equivalent is needed for consideration. Zero to two years of experience within the field is suggested, as you should display a familiarity regarding the concepts, practices, and procedures within this particular field. Usually, a supervisor or manager manages their progress and projects. The typical salary for this job is between $35,348 and $57,176.

Pipeline Engineer

A pipeline engineer may work with natural and/or liquid gases - heading projects; working with operations and marketing; selecting pipeline routes; reviewing construction sketches; conducting financial tracking and reporting; and provide technical training to other members of the staff. The ideal candidate for this type of position has five to 15 years of experience in transmission size pipeline engineering, and a bachelor's degree in engineering. Preference is usually given to those with a PE certification. The salary for this job varies. For instance, in Texas - you can expect to earn up to $105,000, which is usually contingent upon the amount of experience you possess.

Gas Supply Manager

As a gas supply manager, you are responsible for getting a hold of the required supplies of gas for various companies. Contract negotiation with acceptable sources become a major part of this job, as well as making sure that all conditions are fulfilled. You will oversee the appropriate transport and storage of these gas supplies. Over time, you will create a working relationship with suppliers. A bachelor's degree is required for this position - coupled with at least 10 years of experience in the field. Experience in a related area is also accepted. The average yearly salary for a gas supply manager is found between $89,001 and $136,754.

Rate Analyst

Energy operational costs are the focus of this particular job, which has employees analyzing the gathering and transporting rates for gas. Having knowledge of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission policies is a must with this career. Most often, an advanced degree within an area of specialty is expected. The majority of rate analysts have four to six years of experience in the field already under their belt. A variety of different tasks are expected of this job position, which typically earns between $61,482 and $78,854.

Electric and Gas Operations Superintendent

As an electric and gas operations superintendent, your responsibility is to oversee the work crews in charge of constructing, maintaining, and repairing systems associated with electricity and gas. A superintendent creates plans and watches over the process of their employees by managing crew supervisors. A bachelor's degree is sometimes required for this position, as well as at least eight years of experience within the field. The job also centers on a variety of various concepts, practices, and procedures. In this particular career path, extensive experience and judgment truly come in handy when planning and setting goals. Of course, a superintendent is expected to lead and guide the work of other employees. The earning potential for this job is between $71,607 and $106,982.

College Courses

To get an idea of the potential college courses associated with a career in oil and gas - you may face Oil & Gas Field Operations, Hydrocarbons, Oil Field Production, Oil Field Processing, intense labs, field experience, and testing on wastewater treatment, crude oil handling, artificial lift systems, and drilling techniques.

Machinery Safety in the European Economic Area and the PUWER Regulations 1998 in the United Kingdom

A new look at safety.

European conformity

The single market is one of the great achievements of our time. This economic space, where goods, services, capital and labour can circulate freely, provides a foundation for prosperity in the European Union as we move towards the 21st century.

Since 1987 more than 20 directives, adopted on the basis of the New Approach and the Global Approach, have progressively come into force. The operation of any innovative system inevitably raises questions.

Background on the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 98

PUWER requires users of work equipment to carry out regular risk assessments which are documented and kept on file. Most importantly, those risk assessments must address each of the Regulations under PUWER.

The regulations require that all provided work equipment is suitable for its intended task and can be used without putting persons at risk.

In general terms, the Regulations require that equipment provided for use at work is:

Suitable for the intended use;

Safe for use, maintained in a safe condition and, in certain circumstances, inspected to ensure this remains the case;

Used only by people who have received adequate information, instruction and training.

Accompanied by suitable safety measures, e.g. protective devices, markings, and warnings.

If you are an employer or self-employed person and you provide equipment for use at work, or if you have control of the use of equipment, then the Regulations will generally apply to you.

The Regulations cover places where the HSW Act applies - these include factories, offshore installations, offices, shops, hospitals, hotels, places of entertainment etc. PUWER also applies in common parts of shared buildings and temporary places of work such as construction sites. While the regulations cover equipment used by people working from home, they do not apply to domestic work in a private household.

Machinery inspections

Most companies carry out risk assessments for processes that use machinery, unfortunately that doesn't always mean that the correct risk assessments have been carried out on the machinery itself. The PUWER approved code of practice (ACOP) L22 specifically refer to the competence of the person carrying out the assessment or inspection.

Engineers should carry out thorough inspections, focusing on safety critical components that could affect the ability of the equipment being operated safely. You should consider the design and installation of the equipment and bring any problems to your attention. For example, if an item has a non-compliant Safety Related Control Circuit, inadequate guarding or requires CE marking and is not at present, you should check it.

• Risk Assessments -Satisfying the requirements of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, and will be carried out in accordance with EN 14121-1

• Assessment of electrical systems and safety related control circuitry in accordance with EN13849, EN954-1 or EN62061 as required.

• A Report on compliance of your equipment in respect to each of the sections of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.

• Where non-conformances are identified, we will give detailed help with solutions which reference the Harmonised or other EN Standards.

Competent sign off

When making safety upgrades to machinery, it is important that they are compliant. Whether your upgrades are completed by the Original Equipment Manufacturer, a third party sub-contractor or by your own staff, a competent [person should inspect your equipment and provide certification for physical compliance with the Regulations.

It makes sense to involve experts before upgrades are started as we can advise on the scope and design of those upgrades before money is spent on your machinery. Remember that even if you employ an outside resource to complete the safety improvements, you are legally responsible for inspection before putting that machine back into service.

Incident investigation

The main purpose of investigating incidents is to find the reason why harm was caused to employees, other people or resources such as equipment or facilities. The investigation should not be used to allocate blame, but to identify what went wrong and to prevent a similar incident happening again. Accidents are costly events, besides pain and sufferings there are costs arising from accident, such as human cost, loss of time from work, claim for injury, business disruption and clearers time, therapists time, investigation time, ambulance time, fire brigade, police and other hidden costs such as disruption to family and society.

An expert consultant can provide an independent, third party assessment of the root cause and practical advice on corrective measures to prevent a recurrence and attend meetings and correspond with Authorities on your behalf. They should work for you, to protect your business and your employees.

CE Marking

Background to European Conformity.

To supply products on the market in the European Economic Area (EEA), CE Marking is mandatory.

With the CE marking on a product the manufacturer ensures that the product conforms to the essential requirements of the applicable EC directives.

Most new products placed on the European market must be CE marked. This will include products which are "new" to Europe, second-hand products from outside Europe and which are put into service or placed on the market in Europe for the first time, and existing products which are so substantially modified as to be considered "new".

CE marking is the responsibility of the person who places the product on the market, or puts it into service, for the first time. In law this duty rests with the Responsible Person, which in most cases is either the manufacturer or the manufacturer's authorised (in writing) representative, but can also include those who import non CE marked products into Europe, any user in Europe who makes a product for their own use, and those who modify existing products already in use to such an extent they must be considered "new" products.

CE marking is the final stage of the conformity assessment process as specified in the relevant Directive for the product. The conformity assessment process (sometimes referred to as the CE marking process) is concerned with:

Assessing the risks presented by a product throughout its lifecycle

Meeting safety objectives by design and construction

Taking account of the current best practice to ensure the safety for that product, known as the state of the art

in some cases the supply Directive will require the use of third parties to verify compliance, collecting and retaining information about the design, testing and construction process and the means by which the product complies with the essential requirements of all relevant product safety.

Declaring the product's conformity with all relevant product safety law by means of a document (the Declaration of Conformity), which in most cases must accompany the product down the supply chain to the end user and the preparation and provision of comprehensive product User Instructions, in the language of the end user.

Directives likely to be encountered with your machinery include:

• The Supply of Machinery ( Safety ) Regulations 2008 as amended. SI 1597.

Directive 2006/42/EC applies to machinery, lifting accessories such as slings and chains, and safety components. A machine is defined as "an assembly of linked parts or components, at least one of which moves..."

• The Electrical Equipment ( Safety ) Regulations 1994 as amended. SI 3260.

It applies to all apparatus running on (or generating) an electrical supply in the range 50 - 1000 volts A.C. or between 75 and 1500 volts D.C.

• The Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 1992 as amended. SI 2372.

The Directive requires that products must not emit unwanted electromagnetic pollution (interference) and must be immune to a normal level of interference.

• The Pressure Equipment Regulations 1999 as amended. SI 2001.

Equipment and assemblies with a maximum allowable pressure greater than 0.5 bar gauge including vessels, piping, safety accessories and pressure accessories.

Safety circuit validation

Only competent persons should carry out assessments of your control systems with reference to EN61508, EN62061, EN 954-1 and EN ISO 13849-1.

The new European Harmonised Standard, EN ISO 13849-1:2008 "Safety of machinery - Safety-related parts of control systems" replaces EN 954-1. Get an expert to assist you in selecting the appropriate standard for compliance of your plant, we firmly believe in cost effective safety, not blindly following trends.

A comprehensive analysis, in accordance with the Validation Plan, enables you to model the structure of your safety related control system based upon the components used and the designated architectures, thereby permitting calculation of the reliability values in detail, including relevant parameters such as the overall component reliability (MTTFd), the average test quality (DCavg) of components and blocks and probable common-cause failures (CCF), to determine Performance Level achieved (PL). This is in turn compared to the Performance Level required (PLr) for the level of risk posed by the machine.

Modified machinery

Many companies no longer have the budgets available to invest in new plant and machinery. This means that for many end users the only alternative is to upgrade or adapt existing plant. It is important however, to remember that modifications to existing machinery might fall under the scope of the new Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. It is often a case that an existing declaration of conformity is rendered invalid if machinery undergoes a 'significant' change.

The term 'significant' is often misunderstood and can also include the linking of machinery together such as in a production line. One should exercise caution when linking old and new machinery.

Get an expert to give advice in ensuring compliance, especially at the design stage to ensure that a 'significant' change is not undertaken and exclude CE Marking altogether. This will provide a large cost saving to many capital projects.

Buying machinery CE audit

If you are an end user, or thinking of buying new machinery, or machinery first provided for use after January 1st 1995, then you have specific responsibilities in respect to the conformity of that equipment. Regulation 10 of PUWER (HASAWA 1974 Sec 2/2) states:

Every employer shall ensure that an item of work equipment conforms at all times with any essential requirements, other than requirements which, at the time of its being first supplied or put into service in any place in which these regulations apply, did not apply to work equipment of its type.

In plain language, that means it is in breach of the Regulations for you to use equipment if it does not comply. So if the manufacturer does not CE Mark that equipment properly, you could be held responsible if you use it!!

When purchasing or hiring new or second-hand equipment, special care needs to be taken to ensure that any associated risks have been assessed and that you are complying with the law. You should check that any contract deals with health and safety and that there is no misunderstanding about the condition of the machine and its guards or safety measures. The law applies not only to guarding but also to other aspects, which may affect health and safety, such as noise generated by machinery, solvent vapour emission, and protection against fire and explosion.

Key stages in the purchase or acquisition of new equipment will be;

1. Defining a user requirement specification.

2. Pre-delivery CE Inspection

3. Post installation sign off and PUWER inspection

The purchase and acquisition of equipment for use within your organisation should comply with all National and International Regulatory requirements. In order for this provision to be complied with, a competent person should review the machine acquisition protocol existing within your organisation and, with the involvement of key stakeholders, provide a template User Requirement Specification document that covers the common requirements, industry standards, and organisational standards that apply to Equipment intended for use within European facilities.

It should be read together with the relevant organisational Machine Specification.

This practice will assist in ensuring equipment supplied shall comply with the statutory national, local, legal regulatory requirements, and internal Standards applicable to the equipment type, operating environment and operating site.

Systems Audits

It is important that any consultant communicates effectively to define the level of reduction of risk to the business that is required and how this is to be achieved. The legislation continually changes and new Standards are published with alarming regularity. It is possible that some of the remedial works is no longer compliant. We need to determine the company's viewpoint of "compliant" and "safe" as they are not mutually dependent and there is no infinite pot of capital. This will define the "agreed adequate level of safety" in the business.

Following this process you can audit your HSE & Q Policy and procedure in respect to machinery and its use.

These are necessary to build up a picture of existing health and safety management controls and to determine their suitability. The audit procedure is designed to scrutinise policies, procedures and day-to-day activities from a which a comprehensive report is produced which compares 'what is' against 'what should be', again with practical suggestions for improvement.

Health and Safety Audits are best carried out by an external pair of eyes as nothing is overlooked.

An important part of an audit service is a "gap analysis" regarding competence of employees. You should look at your training records and systems to determine if improvements can be made that will have a positive effect on the behavioural safety of the safe use of your machines.


An approved system demonstrates your legal responsibility in regard to the use of safety-related products, systems or services, wherever you are in the supply chain. Assessment and/or certification to IEC 61508 is either a pre-requisite or it can offer a significant advantage over the competition.

The assessment of the process plant will cover the relevant hardware and software lifecycle and how it is applied. The majority of the work entails detailed examination of the relevant documentary evidence and can therefore be conducted off site.

On completion of the full assessment, you should compile a detailed report, which provides the supporting evidence to enable the wording of the certificate to be framed accurately and appropriately.

Prefinished Hardwood Flooring: Solid and Engineered

Selecting new hardwood flooring for your home can be an alarming and unexpected time consuming task. With the never ending selection of hardwood flooring materials available today with as many locations, each offering discounts, advantages and recommendations over competing rivals, home or business owners are often left in a cloud of confusion with difficulty in making a formidable decision. Far too many times, frustrated home and business owners throw up their hands in surrender, giving in to uneducated sales presentations, purchasing the lowest priced wood flooring material to bring closure to a very un-eventual process. Unfortunately, purchasing hardwood flooring material based on price eventually results in floors once installed, with surprising negative consequences in less time than expected.

To date, there are two types of pre-finished hardwood flooring materials available, solid and engineered, available in a wide spectrum of colors and finishes. Where each type of wood flooring material is similar in durability, however there remains a significant difference in composition and pricing per square foot that remains a determining factor often over-looked by price conscious, weary purchasers.

Solid pre-finished hardwood flooring is as the name implies, "solid" wood with un-limited species to choose from. With thicknesses of 5/16" to ¾" typical, solid wood flooring is fabricated in tongue and groove configuration locking all members together in a "no-glue" fashion. Tongue and groove solid pre-finished wood flooring is typically nailed in with specialized tools, however may be "free-floated" over appropriate underlayment to allow for contraction and expansion during temperature changes. Three- quarter inch (3/4") tongue and groove solid flooring is not recommended for below grade installations, such as basements, due to adverse effect on the wood when installed over existing concrete surfaces. Buckling, cupping and seam separation are common indications of solid wood flooring installed in improper locations or in an incorrect manner.

Associated costs per square foot for solid hardwood flooring are as expected considerably higher due to solid wood composition. With typical costs per square for material only starting or exceeding $4-$5 per square foot, ¾" solid hardwood flooring should be installed by qualified and experienced flooring installers for best results. Home or business owner installation is not recommended due to the complexity of installation and specialized tools required. Of noticeable cost per square foot concerns, home or business owners should take note of professional installation raising the cost of solid wood flooring exceeding $10-$12 per square foot, however the results far out-weigh the additional cost of the original investment. Solid hardwood floors have a life expectancy of 50 years or more when properly installed with the possibility to change finishing colors by re-sanding, keeping abreast with the latest in interior designs.

Engineered pre-finished wood flooring is rapidly becoming the most popular selection of hardwood flooring beyond the conventional means of floor covering, carpet. Constructed from 3-10 layers of wood, typically 5, the layers of engineered flooring are oriented in opposite directions glued under extreme pressure for endurance. The term, "engineered" has long been associated with stigmas of poorly constructed or "cheap" flooring upon initial introduction; however has little or nothing to do with the composition of pre-finished hardwood flooring material other than a manufacturing process used in the production of this superior flooring material.

Of the five types of hardwood flooring material available, engineered pre-finished wood flooring has gained recognition and notoriety for value and affordable pricing. Similar to pre-finished solid hardwood flooring material, engineered wood flooring material is installed in a tongue and groove manner however offers options in installation over solid pre-finished wood flooring, increasing consumer awareness two-fold.

Nailed, glued, glue less or floating, pre-finished engineered flooring is both "eco-friendly" and "user-friendly". With latest in installation design technology, engineered pre-finished hardwood floors offer "click and lock" design with no glue, nails or special tools required. The simple "click and lock" technology allows home and business owners to self- install pre-finished floors in their home or place of business saving hundreds of dollars in professional installation costs. With novice experience, a home or business owner can install a pre-finished hardwood floor over s week-end with dramatic results in overall room appearance.

Ranging in pricing and depending on grade selected, engineered pre-finished flooring is available starting at $3.50 per square foot, home or business owner installed. Subsequent selections of better quality grades (thickness of material) and finishes will increase overall costs per square foot accordingly.

Taking all choices, styles and colors into consideration when selecting a flooring material, the eventual outcome will produce a hardwood floor that is beautiful, long lasting, tested by time and performance. While the debate may continue for many years yet to come a home or business owner can be assured of one remaining factor, a superior floor that is solid and engineered.

12 Structural Foundation Tips, a Horror Story and a Good Method

Choose the right Expert

Groundworks and foundations are potential financial black holes. They are often misunderstood and mistakes are seldom cheap or delay free. It is as much about knowing what not to do as how best to obtain the support you must have to carry off a successful project. There are a surprising number of so called experts who are ill equipped to lead technical projects with an equally surprising lack of understanding of the subject you are taking to them. This too often results in people leading projects for industry on the same basis as they would approach smaller or domestic works and that inevitably leads to delays, misunderstandings and unnecessary avoidable frustrations. This article helps to clarify various roles and milestones which will stabilise and smooth the path to a successful conclusion.

What do Engineers do?

The best foundation you can have for strength is a strong rock, like granite. However it is unlikely to be the right shape and rock is not easy to shape so what is the best sort of ground to have? Geotechnical engineering is a very big subject and often confused with structural and civil engineering. The answer to the question is ground with sufficient strength to be able to take the weight you wish to impose on it. The geotechnical engineer will be able to tell you what you have got by taking samples, measuring the compressive strength and analysing the materials sampled.

Structural engineering is simply about structures. Civil engineering has become associated with altering the shape of the landscape but its origins quite simply emanate from the civilian end of military engineering.

I divide it up into two categories for the purposes of building and construction. Above ground is everything which is factory prepared and brought to site to be erected and below groundworks, which include all the services works, preparations, slab and foundations works, comprise the onsite preparations.

The structural engineers need metallurgists and the civil engineers need geotechnical engineers. This latter part is something which vanishes into the mists of time until you want some work doing which involves the floor or beneath it so when the information is published at the very outset of the project it usually disappears into the groundworks designs and never re-emerges. Make sure you always keep a copy of it. If you want to develop the site in future, it is the first thing the engineers will ask you for.

Before anything can be constructed on land (or below water) you have to establish exactly what you are building on and whether or not it will support the weight of the proposed structure.

I am amazed at how many experts there are in this field who are prepared to take massive risks and place amazing confidence in the properties of concrete even after 60 years of use. It's a bit like assuming Blondini's tight rope would be as good today as it was the day it was put up and then deciding to go for an afternoon stroll across it in ski boots.

Ground moves, it's as much alive as you or me, there are hundreds of small tremors and vibrations at work all the time and this has an effect on everything we do or make. To just assume it will be safe to erect a mezzanine floor on a concrete slab is an unsound decision which could be costly. The same applies to shelving and racking especially if you intend to erect it on a mezzanine floor. If you load it to full capacity without knowing what you are doing you could be applying the equivalent of a stiletto heel load on balsa wood and we all know what stiletto heels do to lino and timber floors!

I was shocked after structural engineers had stated that a former canal side engineering works should have the floor strengthened that the directors of the company overruled the structural engineers and refused to pay for the works to be carried out. They went on to build cantilever racks designed to take 20 tonnes a bay onto a cracked floor stating that they had done the same at other locations and never had any problems. It's like driving south on the north bound carriage way at 2.30 in the morning in thick fog and saying it is safe just because you can't see anyone else and you are driving slowly!

Why does Pisa lean?

When we build load bearing structures these connect inevitably to the ground and that is where, with the aid of gravity, the full force is finally taken. You can make most things stable and perfectly able to accept very heavy and extreme loads. Steel will float if it is designed to do so and sink and re-surface again. Air will support metal. Groundworks are every bit as important and there are many ways of finding out what is going on in the ground. The leaning tower of Pisa is an amazing and famous example of problem ground. There was much argument and discussion regarding the work to save the tower from falling over completely and in particular how much of the "lean" to preserve in the reconstruction works. The answer was they reduced the lean by approximately 1.5 degrees to just short of 4 degrees and it leans because the ground is very weak and unstable. It was constructed over a substantial period of time which probably saved it in a period when little was understood about foundations. There were a lot of corrective building works which in fact make the tower curved as well as leaning. This is fine as a tourist attraction but you certainly do not want it in your factory!

12 Tips to help you understand foundations

1) What weight will the ground take? Core samples must be collected from key areas for any proposed load bearing application whether green, brown or developed sites. If you don't have the results of this sampling you are guessing.

2) Pick the correct professionals, they are faster and right. These samples are then analysed and a ground bearing capacity assigned to them and some sums, that could look like the ones below,may be done relative to the location and proposed work. If you don't understand them you probably require professional help.

Moment causing rotation

= load x lever arm = [(q - qo) x B] x [½B]

Moment resisting rotation

= shear strength x length of arc x lever arm= [s] x [p.B] x [B]

At failure these are equal:

(q - qo ) x B x ½B = s x p.B x B

Net pressure (q - qo ) at failure = 2 p x shear strength of the soil

This is an upper-bound solution.

3) Decide what weights and loads your process imposes. This is just the beginning. It now goes to the structural or consulting engineer who uses the data to construct a suitable specification for the base building materials. You are never going to see these. Before this can happen they need to know what weights and loads are to be placed on them and how. Its all a bit like a computer, there are several levels between you and the plug in the wall and what you can do on the key board. It is this that is so frequently missed and simply not understood.

4) You need calculations. Once the soil conditions are understood a technical design can proceed. There are pages of calculations and scenarios required to do this. When you take over someone else's property or building you assume the floor won't collapse beneath you and thanks to building regulations it probably won't.

5) Research as much as you can from existing archived information. In order to start a building project from the ground up, the first thing you need is a floor that will take the weight. To do this you will need to trace back the history of the build to the original core samples and calculations, not the drawings of the slab and foundations but the two prior stages. The architect won't have them but may know where you can get a copy. There should be a set lodged at the local authority if your building is less than 10 or 12 years old but if you can't find them its back to item 1 again, core samples.

6) Understand good ground conditions. There are many ways to construct foundations. Before you can commence you need to support and stabilise the ground into which they are going. Generally speaking you will need more than 50 kNm2 ground bearing pressure and most fabricators cover themselves by stating minimally 150 kNm2. The fact is that without this information building regulations won't allow you to proceed or worse still will allow you to proceed and then condemn the building.

7) Organise good control procedures If a floor in its current condition won't take a load you can open up the ground and strengthen it. This is a good way of doing things because you can see what you are dealing with. However disturbing the ground can be fraught and if it is brown ground or very soft ground you might as well bury your wallet in it because the costs will just spiral.

8) Stabilisation options. With the right type of ground you can stabilise it by adding man made resins. This bonds the soil material together and self seals itself so damp proof membranes are less of a problem. As it is the engineer's equivalent of keyhole surgery there is little or no mess and it is very quick. It is cheaper than piling and the ground can be used straightaway once the process is installed.

9) Get to grips with the basic site. With good ground or new works it is always going to be cheaper to conventionally construct foundations. If the ground is poor, restoring the strength is going to be expensive. It is always dirty and takes a minimum of 15 days before you can really use it.

10) What you should be concerned about. Foundations can, and do, cost as much as the intended build on them. They can be a bottomless pit for money and beware of anyone who does or says any of the following:

a) Oh planning won't be a problem - you cannot say that until it is awarded.

b) I don't think building regulations will apply - building regulations always apply.

c) I have already done the building regulation drawings for you - why would you do that? They are supposed to be submitted after the works are complete, as constructed.

d) Well first we will go for planning approval, that will only take 4 weeks - in your dreams!

e) Your building project can be done in less than 6 months - highly unlikely.

f) What are percolation tests? - these test what happens to surface water and are an indication of the drainage requirements and also are used to check they are working properly, for example French drains. The local authorities will expect to see drawings and the results of these tests and might make you dig the drainage up if you can't prove them.

g) Oh the builder will sort the foundations out and you won't need planning for this - this is a cavalier approach, almost guaranteed to cost you extra money. If the foundations have not been done the builder is not going to be in a position to provide the calculations required by the local authority.

h) I know this man who can do that cheaply for you - in this case I would find out who he is and go and see some works he has done cheaply for other people.

i) Doesn't know anything about your business - or want to - an indication that he is working to a hidden agenda.

j) Doesn't quote, advise or know about any of the content of this article - deeply suspicious - avoid.

11) Legs - Finally if you are going to have anything with legs or pillars involved you have to know how much weight it will put on the floor and be sure the floor (slab) can take it. You may be asked to mathematically prove it. If it fails load tests you will need a block of concrete or construction to support it in the ground. I have seen this crop up as an expensive afterthought on dozens of occasions - don't get caught out.

12) The difference between planning and building regulations

If you did the building regulations drawings they would be wrong. The only reason for doing them prior to planning consent is ignorance or increasing fees to the unsuspecting client. Either way your money is down the drain. Building regulations are the main area of flexibility, whereas planning is much more restrictive. Why?... because the engineers run that part so the build may have to vary, but it still has to comply with regulations because planning governs shape and building regulations deals with method and content or put another way planning is about 'what' and the building regulations are about 'how'.

My customer took 5 months to get planning consent with a book of conditions that his professional adviser would really struggle to deal with. If he thought he should do building regulations drawings first he is unlikely to understand or take seriously the consent terms.

Horror story tip

If you think none of this happens I have a customer who was told by his "professional" adviser (who had full professional memberships and accreditation with internationally respected Royal Charter Institutes) that he was going to get planning approval in 2 weeks prior to the government's re-organisation of the local authorities in 2009. He couldn't make certain changes because he had already done the building regulation drawings so the work had to be built the way he had drawn it. This is what actually happened:

• There were serious issues with the highways department that our "professional" knew nothing about.

• He had no idea about groundworks and hadn't even had a ground survey done.

• He obviously had no idea of how to approach a planning application.

• He seriously underestimated the timescales.

If he did know all this then the implications are even worse because he knew what he told my customer was wrong. I would like to say this is rare but it is far from rare, it is common place to tell the customer what they want to hear to get their work. NEVER ever get building regulations drawings done prior to planning approval because at that stage you don't have:

• Permission to build

• Technical designs

• Planning conditions

• Ground or environmental survey information

The epilogue - How to do it right - A Good Method

8 months later his project had still not concluded. It should have taken 12 weeks to plan, 8 weeks to build and 4 weeks to fit out. Unfortunately 6 months was too slow for my customer and then when someone told him it could be done in two weeks it was time for us to walk away. This is very common. This is what should have been done.

• The newly re-organised authority should have been contacted straightaway. They would have had better facilities anyway. Getting snarled up in the changeovers with the demised departments guaranteed this project was going to fail to meet expectation from the outset.

• Consult the highways department where parking or road access is an issue.

• Consult the client with a suggested range of solutions.

• I would then have taken a set of discussion plans (really cheap rough information) and tested the local authority for other lurking problems.

• Don't do the ground survey until there is a strong chance of obtaining planning consent. The survey usually is the lesser of the two costs but you may find the likely terms of consent exceed your budget expectations in which case the survey money is wasted in the event you abort.

• Work backwards from the finished article/design to ensure your ground designs are right. If you think design work is expensive and time consuming wait until you try demolition!

• Only when all this is agreed should there be a move to a planning application. Why? Because if you want a door or window moving or changing, it is a new application and/or associated cost. It could even delay or abort the project so always keep the exit route of least cost open

• Nail down contractors, suppliers and work schedules with fixed price contracts.

• Check for hidden costs and delays. Obviously you need to know where these are likely to occur but that is one very good reason to implement regulations prior to work beginning

• Once the work is completed to the planning terms, then and only then, are the final "as built", building regulation drawings done. Up to this point you will be using manufacturer's drawings derived from the planning consent drawings which is why you never do the building regulation drawings otherwise the cost of revisions would be enormous. One of my projects had 31 drawing revisions prior to the building regulation drawings. Revisions are normal, they are there to save costs and not to incur them.

• You can't change the procedures. The planners make sure you don't try because many people depend upon them. Their job is to help everyone safely use the system and benefit from its supporting role. This attitude is what gets applications through the quickest.

The moral of all this is if it sounds too good to be true it probably isn't true.

How to Avoid Building Construction Failure in Kenya

Of late, several buildings have collapsed in Kenya.

There are procedures and best practices that should be followed to avoid this.

Step 1.

Have the building designed by registered professionals. Architects in Kenya are registered by the Board of Architects and Quantity Surveyors of Kenya. The Board of Architects and Quantity Surveyors of Kenya is under the Ministry of Public Works. The registration process is rigorous and is a 2- year examination whereby the Government ensures that the applicant has undergone training under a registered Architect for a certain period after graduating from a recognized Architecture School.

After registration as an Architect, the applicant can then register with the Architectural Association of Kenya as a corporate member.

The Architectural association of Kenya also registers students-student membership, architecture graduates who are not registered-graduate membership, building contractors, developers, draftsmen-virtually everyone with an interest in construction.

This begins the confusion in that a would-be developer will approach a quack who is not registered to give Architectural services in Kenya. The quack will then prove to the innocent developer that he is registered to offer Architectural services by producing a registration certificate from Architectural Association of Kenya as a Licentiate member. What the developer doesn't know is that only Corporate and Fellow members have the Board of Registration of Architects and Quantity Surveyors certification as a must have requirement.

I also noticed that even leading Banks and Financial institutions still can not differentiate between the Board of Registration of Architects and Quantity Surveyors of Kenya certificate and an Architectural Association of Kenya certificate. They insist that for someone to offer Architectural services to their customers, one has to hold the Architectural Association of Kenya certificate. What they don't know is that the Architectural Association of Kenya Licentiate certificate is open to a wide variety of applicants-except the Corporate Membership certificate. This is the trick that is used by most quacks to confuse innocent developers and Financial institutions that they have certificates to offer architectural services since none of the developers will insist of Corporate Membership certificate because they don't know about the categories of membership.

If a law is established to create one centre of reference for Architects-such as with the Law society of Kenya, we will be one step ahead in ensuring qualified personnel offer Architectural service to Kenyans.

Step 2.

Once the developer has maneuvered their way into getting a licensed Architect to offer the service, drawings are produced and lodged for approval at the relevant Local Authority.

Most local authorities don't have adequate technical personnel to decipher the drawings and give the necessary input for approval.

Nairobi city council has the personnel but they are too few to handle all the workload that comes to them daily.
Since the council can not offer professional technical information regarding the approvals, due to understaffing and lack of the technical know-how, this creates a perfect recipe for corruption. The developer's approvals are delayed to the point that he is forced to part with some money for the plans to be approved-usually without the plans being scrutinized. If the plans are scrutinized and all processes are followed, a fatal omission will be easily noticed and structural drawings from a registered structural engineer are supposed to be produced. The Local authority is also supposed to check that the plans have been produced by a registered architect.

Of late, local authorities have been insisting on the architect's registration-registration from the Board of Architects and Quantity Surveyors of Kenya.

This is a good step but the quacks and corrupt council officials have found a way of going around this by attaching a 'real' architect's certificate on the drawings produced by the quack. This can be easily stopped by ensuring that all buildings being constructed should have a sign-board showing the name of the professionals who have been involved in the design.

Step 3.

After the developer getting the necessary approvals to commence construction, he is supposed to contract a registered building contractor for construction services.

Building contractors are registered by the Ministry of Public Works.

The developer can either single-source a contractor or request several registered contractors to quote or the building construction and choose the best.

The registration of the building contractor is supposed to show that the contractor has proved that he understands building construction and has agreed to adhere to the best practices as stipulated by the Government.

In Kenya, most developers do not use the building contractors. This requirement is again not enforced in private developments. In Government, Parastatals and corporate developments, this requirement is fully followed to the letter.

The Architect who has been contracted by the developer is supposed to offer periodic supervision of the building construction until completion of the building whereby he is supposed to certify that the building is complete and ready for human habitation. These processes are enforced by the local authority who as we said earlier, are understaffed and don't have enough technical personnel hence this step is rarely taken unless when the developer wants to insure his building and the insurance company insists that they need to see the completion certificate.

In corporate sector projects, all these processes are followed to the letter-that's why we never hear of the 20 -plus storey buildings collapsing in Upperhill, Kilimani and other areas where the corporate sector develops even though the buildings are approved by the same local authorities and constructed within the same laws that govern the individual-owned buildings which are prone to collapse. The building construction collapse is mainly on the individual-owned constructions who do not follow the laid -down procedures and whom the local authorities are too overwhelmed to cater for. If all the laid-down procedures are followed regardless of the size of the project, collapse of houses will be a thing of the past.