Off-Site Solutions Recognised by Department of Education

The Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, announced in 2004 by New Labour, planned on renovating or rebuilding every English secondary school in a £55 billion scheme.

BSF was cancelled due to coalition spending cuts on the 5th of July 2010, and 719 schools that had been in pre-construction stages were left unable to proceed with their plans. A further 706 schools, having already signed contracts with private construction companies, are to go ahead with works, but have been forced to make substantial savings.

The future for the 719 leftover schools looked bleak. However, a leading off-site construction company have offered up a solution using modular and off-site techniques to lower the cost and enable the remaining schools to be built. A company representative spoke with Milton Keynes MP, Iain Stuart in September, explaining the benefits of off-site construction, and the options available for building schools from standardised modules.

Stewart proceeded to put forward this representation to the Department of Education, and received the following response from Lord Hill, who is responsible for schools capital policy:

“The purpose is to ensure that future capital investment represents good value for money and strongly supports the Government’s ambitions to reduce the deficit, raise standards and tackle disadvantage. Off-site construction…is one of the options under consideration by the Capital Review.”

Lord Hill gave his thanks for raising modular construction methods to his attention and has passed it on to the Capital Review team who he was sure would “find it of value”.

Modular construction techniques provide a cost-effective and efficient alternative to traditional building methods, with a wealth of design opportunity available.

The off-site industry is striving to remove the preconceptions of modular buildings – the modern capabilities being a far cry from the portable classrooms of the 50s – and to show the design flexibility off-site construction can offer.

Modular construction offers broad design flexibility contrary to preconceptions of ‘boxy’ prefabricated buildings of the past. The beauty of many off-site buildings is that they have developed tremendously in terms of visual appeal, and it is often impossible to distinguish them from a traditionally constructed building. Essentially, a menu can be created for schools to be built from, that architects can help to visualise and create.

Innovation in modular buildings over the past 10 years has been significant, making off-site construction even more relevant to the education sector. Corner-Loaded Modules are available that increase design flexibility and generate significant cost savings on site and throughout the life of a building. These hybrid buildings are based around a steel frame, which provides greater architectural freedom in an economical and space-efficient building system. This type of system means the building designer can ‘break out of the box’ and specify modules that are non-rectangular or have internal atria or balconies. The design scope is extensive and this also includes the possibility of corner-to-corner glazed walls, a feature that is becoming very popular in schools.

Off-site capabilities also include energy efficient and sustainable building techniques and materials, as well as a range of environmental additions such as sun tubes and rainwater harvesting. The Hybred® is an innovative modular building solution which offers the potential to achieve ‘A’ rated energy performance, an environmental consideration that is becoming an increasingly important target for schools.

Modular building has been proven to reduce programme times by 50% (PSLG Building June 2010 pp48). The reduction of project time and increased speed of construction mean that buildings can be erected in weeks rather than months; there are no weather constraints as units can be made watertight before arriving on site; and cost certainty can be achieved, because the industry and its techniques are far more predictable than tradition building methods. Statistics show that 99% of off-site projects are completed on time and budget (PSLG Building June 2010 pp48).

With off-site starting out with the prefabricated classrooms of the 50s and 60s, the modular industry has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to meeting schools’ needs. Schools lie at the heart of the community, which means they are often located in built-up residential areas, where long term construction work could cause a nuisance to local residents. Similarly, because of where they are located, access is often difficult and normally restricted. Added to this are the tight deadlines which are imposed due to the need for construction works to be carried out mainly during the school holidays, in order to minimise disruption and prevent health and safety issues on site. Six weeks during the summer is a small window of opportunity in the construction world – and even shorter if you are looking at Christmas, Easter or half term breaks. Being able to create a weathertight seal, often in days, means that even during a two-week half term, the building can be in place with work progressing in the internals – and minimal disruption to the day-to-day activities of the school.

Off-site construction has long presented an attractive option to schools and, in many cases…it is the only practical option.

A leading UK provider of off site construction solutions, Terrapin [http://www.terrapin-ltd.co.uk/education.php] has been in the business of permanent and temporary solutions for 60 years. Off site construction delivers fast, accurate and affordable solutions to permanent, temporary and relocatable building requirements for healthcare, education, developer and commercial projects.

The Alabama Department of Youth Services School District

In 1973, the state of Alabama established The Alabama Department of Youth Services. Its task is to create a comprehensive program that will guide delinquent youths of the state to rehabilitation. The school district was created in 1983. Thus, the Alabama Department of Youth Services became The Alabama Department of Youth Services School District. Under this new department, all educational programs created by the old department will be under its supervision. As a result, three delinquent youth institutions were absorbed by the new department. These are the Alabama Boys Industrial School at Birmingham and in Mt. Meigs, and the Alabama State Training School for Girls.

Vision and Mission of Alabama’s DYS
The Alabama Department of Youth Services School District (DYS) envisions that success can be experienced through the help of an environment educational and promote good values such as life long learning, community, family and good character. In order to achieve this vision, they need to prepare and equip the youth/students through discipline and proper formal education.

Beliefs of Alabama’s DYS
The DYS further believes that, everybody in the community must help participate in creating a better environment, be fair and just, treat others with respect, be responsible, be patient and understanding, admit own mistakes, develop self-esteem, and the learning environment must be orderly, safe as well as secure. These beliefs act as their foundation in helping the delinquent youths become a better person and be prepared for the real world.

Programs of DYS
Aside from values education, other programs include skills development. It is through skills development programs that these delinquent youths are profiting. The DYS understands that some of these youth offenders do not have the access to proper and formal education. As a response, they designed programs that will enhance the skills of a student so that when she/he finishes the program, she/he will have job opportunities.

Some of the created programs were specialized by institutions and some runs generally. The programs run by these institutions are majorly categorized into two: short term and long term programs. Youth offenders are evaluated and a proper program is given. The program continuously runs until such time that the student is ready to go back and start a new life.

Facilities of DYS
Today, the DYS supervises more than three facilities. The following facilities are: Autauga Campus, Chalkville Campus, Mobile Group Home, Mt. Meigs Campus, Thomasville Campus and Vacca Campus. Each institution caters to different types of youth offenders.

Chalkville Campus is located at P.O. Box 9486, Birmingham, Alabama. Their main focus is to help rehabilitate girls usually from 12-18 years old. Some of their programs include, physical education, sex education, campus service projects, general education (GED) preparation, group counseling, drug and alcohol education. They also provide social skills training, value clarification, assertiveness training and medical services. Recently, the Chemical Addiction Program (CAP) was created to strengthen alcohol and drug rehabilitation.

Mt. Meigs Campus is located at P.O. Box 66, 1000 Industrial School Road, Mt. Meigs, Alabama. The campus has 13 dormitories that can hold a total number of 312 delinquent youths. They admit children of up to 21 years old. The campus offers programs that focus on medical, vocational and academic education, psychological services, chronic behavior, assessment as well as treatment for sex offenders and the CAP.

Thomasville Campus is located at P.O. Box 695, 2109 Bashi Road Building 509 Thomasville, Alabama. This campus specializes in offering short term programs for delinquent youths. The programs usually run up to 28 days. The student can be released from the service once he finishes the program.

5 Tips To Help You Keep Your Conveyor Chains Operational

Conveyor chains are used to drive different types of conveyor units and use different types of power transmission. If you want to get the most out of your equipment, make sure you maintain them. This is even more important if they are installed in the mining and construction industry. Given below are a few tips that can help you ensure your conveyor chains will continue to work properly.

1. Follow the Maintenance Schedule

First of all, you may want to inspect and service them to ensure proper alignment, lubrication and tension. If inspected on a regular basis, they can last up to 15,000 hours. It’s better if you schedule filter and oil changes every 3 months. On the other hand, the cleaning of bigger parts, such as shafts, machine lubrication and replacement of damaged or worn sprockets and sideplats should be done on an annual basis.

Following the maintenance schedule is paramount, especially if you have installed the conveyor chains in the construction and mining industry.

2. Lubricate Wisely

For smooth operation, conveyor drives and chains should be free of moisture and dust. Most of these systems require petroleum-based oil. It’s not a good idea to opt for heavy greases and heavy oils. The reason is that they are overly stiff and can’t lubricate the system properly. Given below are some common ways of lubricating the conveyor chains. Some of them are listed below:

Stream lubrication
Disk lubrication
Drip lubrication
Manual lubrication

Based on the power and chain speed, the right method can be used. For reducing wear and tear and enjoying all the benefits, it’s important that you lubricate the system properly.

3. Get Heat-Treated Parts

Heat treatment can be used to improve the mechanical components. Therefore, manufacturers control the treatment methods for best results. In other words, to reduce wear and tear, it’s important to perform proper heat treatment.

Case hardness and depth are the two primary parts of component heat transfer. This plays a great role as far as resistance and durability is concerned. If the depth is too much, the parts may break while working due to brittleness.

4. Make sure there is Proper Alignment and Tension

Make sure you check the slack span and chain tension, and perform the required maintenance. If you need to reduce the tension, you can eliminate two pitches and then connect the chain again. However, you may need to replace the entire chain if the wear and tear goes beyond the functional limits.

Also, you may not want to connect new chains to the worn one as it can damage the drive. Misaligned sprockets can also cause the link plates of the roller chain to get a lot of wear and tear.

5. Check the Primary Parts

Typically, conveyor chains have two main parts that go through wear and tear: sprockets and chain. Chain stretching happens due to this very reason and results in the complete replacement of the sprockets and chain.

Therefore, you should inspect conveyor chains for any broken parts, deformation and cracks.

In short, these are the tips you can follow to maintain your roller chains.