Tom Hughes is known to a number of our customers and partners.
For those who don’t know Tom, he’s our Director Mick Hughes’ son. Tom has worked for us on occasion, on site, helping us deliver on projects as a labourer. The Abbott team always welcome Tom’s help on site during his breaks from his education. He’s a mature, reliable, 21 year old, with a great work ethic and a brilliant personality (he’s much funnier than his Dad). He’s currently studying for a degree in English Literature, due to graduate in 2024.
Tom lost a close friend to meningitis 6 years ago. He and Alex met when they were 8 years old. They developed a close bond through mutual interests. They ran together, they were involved in stage productions together and they shared experiences that Tom will never forget, including being paired on tasks as part of their Year 6 residential trip.
Tragically, Alex’s life was cut short at the age of 15, but Tom holds Alex’s memory and love for life dear, as someone who had a passion for living, for taking chances, and grasping opportunities.
Bacterial meningitis (as opposed to viral meningitis) is mercifully rare, and incidences are declining thanks to research and a vaccination programme, but it still affects more than 200 in the UK each year, of all ages. Children and teenagers are the most at risk and unless detected early, it is often fatal.
Treatment is hindered by initial flu like symptoms, which are often dismissed as anything serious, but the infection has rapid progress. 90% of children and teenagers who die of meningococcal meningitis die within 24 hours of diagnosis.
Vaccines are available to prevent some types of meningitis and most of these are part of the UK routine immunisation schedule. However, not all types of meningitis can be prevented by these vaccines.
Funds to continue research into new vaccines and also, to allow better promotion of the early warning signs to the population, are key to eradicating this aggressive infection, that takes lives so quickly.
Reading University, where Tom is studying, have organised a trip to Tanzania this August, where a group of 15 students will climb Kilimanjaro in the name of Meningitis research. The trip is self-funded, so every penny raised will be donated to the Meningitis Research Foundation. Tom will be part of the group, Joint Team Leader in fact, climbing with his heart on his sleeve for his friend Alex.
Tom has told us how when he was presented with the challenge, it immediately made him think of Alex, that he knew he would have loved to do this. It is part of the reason he wants to do it. To reach the summit in his friend’s name.
Abbott are only too proud to sponsor Tom in his efforts, with a £500 donation, and are hoping our network will support him too, including joining us in fundraising activities over the coming months.
We will be holding our inaugural Bat and Trap tournament in July, with the intention of this becoming an annual charity fundraising event. We’re looking for sponsorships or raffle prize donations from our supply chain, and so will be in touch with you all shortly.
Please dig deep and support this important cause. The Meningitis Research Foundation are working to defeat meningitis by 2030. Join us in helping them make that happen.
If you wish to donate directly, you can do so through Tom’s Just Giving page here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tom-climbs-kilimanjaro
Or, if you want to get involved in any way with our fundraising efforts, please contact email@example.com
The popularity of green roofs has increased in recent years, being a unique feature of a building’s design and aesthetic and showing off the talents of architectural teams and contractors’ abilities.
Green roofs are exactly what you probably think they are. A roof of a building, whether that is the top of an apartment block or a sloping roof of an extension, consisting of its own ecosystem, filled with greenery and life.
With the net zero deadline creeping closer and closer, green roofs have been one of the most eccentric developments that have helped to combat carbon through our buildings. Not only are they an impressive design element, but they also have plenty of hidden benefits that are helping cities all over the world to counteract carbon emissions.
Because plants help to remove toxic chemicals out of the air, increasing the number of green roofs in urban areas can improve the overall air quality of the area, and in turn, reduce the number of respiratory diseases caused by pollution.
On a larger scale, a green roof can be used as a garden for those that don’t have much outdoor space or want to grow their own food. It can be somewhere people can connect with nature in places where it’s difficult to find and gain many mental and physical benefits from. It’s a method of rewilding an area and integrating rare plants or encouraging animals and insects, such as bees and butterflies to fulfil their roles in the ecosystem.
What’s most attractive isn’t just that they bring nature into an otherwise concrete jungle, but that it can work for most existing roofs and is relatively easy to implement with little change needed to the planned design.
The natural layers that a green roof is made up of also act as a barrier to all weather types. In the sun, the plants absorb the sun’s energy, reducing the summer temperatures indoors. Whereas, in winter, it acts as a natural insulator, helping to lock the heat inside, keeping up to 25% more heat inside as opposed to an uninsulated roof. They can also be a great addition to the drainage system of the building, as the water is absorbed into the substrate, reducing the amount that is released into the pipework where flooding can be a risk.
Because of this, the roof’s waterproof membrane is better protected from the elements, helping to increase the lifespan of it, with little to no maintenance involved.
The simple fact is that this is a great alternative to a typical roof that is usually a neglected area with no real use. It has some amazing economical and environmental benefits while also supporting biodiversity and wildlife habitats.
So, with all these benefits, why aren’t we seeing these everywhere in the UK?
Like almost everything else in the construction industry, it’s mainly down to cost. The implementation of green roofs costs more overall than a standard roof. That includes sourcing the materials and adapting the structural integrity of the roof to bear the excess weight – which is where retrofitting green roofs becomes a problem.
Some existing buildings won’t be suitable to adopt a green roof for practical and maintenance reasons such as the gradient of the slopes and the location. In these cases, installing a green roof can be even more costly and require large structural changes to be made.
Green roofs aren’t as popular in the UK as they are internationally. As an industry, we are working our way towards becoming more innovative, but don’t want to make changes or leap too far from the norm in fear that it doesn’t work and cause costly mistakes.
Green roofs are tried and tested, and just from reading all the above, you should be tempted to try it out on one of your buildings too.
In most cases, any disadvantages are counteracted by the other amazing benefits that they can bring to the environment, the community and a building’s functionality.
Abbott Construction have recently completed a project on Spring Lane in Canterbury for East Kent College Group where sustainability is at the heart of the design. The wildflower blanket of the green roof not only provides an aesthetic for the overlooking buildings, but has influenced the rest of the development and the values it’s been built on. The benefits to the ongoing efficiency outweighs any advantages of other roof material choices and because of this, we’re predicting an increase in popularity throughout Kent and the UK.
‘Eco-friendly,’ ‘sustainable’ and ‘net zero’ have become a part of most construction businesses daily vocabulary. The global ‘green’ issue will never truly go away. From modern technology we’re given more and more data to work with. We’re more informed regarding the impact we’re making on our planet, and we know we need to collectively work to reduce this impact and keep carbon levels from creeping up again.
Unsurprisingly, due to this, ISO 14001 standard is growing in popularity. Businesses are wanting to show their contributions to reducing their carbon footprint and what ideas they’ve got in the pipeline that continues with better practices.
Not only does this make the business’s actions look pretty good, but they also may require evidence of the official standard when tendering for contracts. Without this, doubts may arise from current or potential clients which may lose you work.
With the urgency to slam the breaks on climate change and meet a net zero target, ISO 14001 evidently tells others that the accredited company is actively assessing themselves on a regular basis to improve their processes and methodologies.
The standard doesn’t just apply to companies associated within the construction industry; any business can go through the process. It’s also not a necessity to have, but those without it already face a collection of huge disadvantages.
The ISO 14001 standard requires for you to document all the necessary information within your Environmental Management System, and to continue to do so through the annual audits. Some of this documentation includes outlining their environmental processes, monitoring of sites, equipment, products etc. and detailing the aspects of the businesses that the environmental control will be subjected to and has an influence on.
Because this is an audited standard, the certification body ensures that you meet all current legislation and challenges you to make greater environmental improvements year-on-year, in your office processes and on site.
ISO 14001 also helps you to make those initial changes in your business if you don’t know where to start or are unsure what else you can be doing to work more mindfully.
Arguably, every construction-related business should be working towards the accreditation, considering that the construction industry is the biggest source of waste and producer of embodied carbon in the UK. Every business should be acting towards reducing their environmental impact, accreditation, or no accreditation.