Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Project 84

Every two hours a man in the UK takes his own life - that's 84 every week.

Despite such harrowing figures, there is currently no minister in the UK government officially responsible for suicide prevention and bereavement support.

On Monday, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) launched Project 84 in order to raise awareness and encourage both the government and the public to better understand the complexities of suicide and strive for improved prevention and bereavement support.

84 sculptures, created alongside families affected by male suicide, currently stand on top of the This Morning studios and ITV's headquarters on London's South Bank as part of the campaign.

Discussing the exhibition, CALM explain how they intend to “stop people in their tracks, make them pay attention and inspire much needed conversation and action around suicide”1.  Partnering with internationally renowned artist, Mark Jenkins, and his collaborator Sandra Fernandez, the 84 individual sculptures are a reflection on the real lives that are lost and the friends and families who are sadly left behind.

With studies in 2017 showing that male construction workers at greatest risk of suicide2 - this topic is one that can’t be ignored any longer.

Sign the petition for a call for change so that this important issue gets the attention and action it desperately deserves at

If you feel suicidal or vulnerable, if you're worried that someone you know may be feeling suicidal or if you need support after losing a loved one to suicide, go to CALM ( for advice, support lines and webchat.  You can also contact the Samaritans ( or call 116 123.


Monday, 12 March 2018

Theresa May gives speech aimed at fixing our “broken housing market”...but does it offer anything new?

In a speech to the Royal Town Planning Institute conference on Monday, Theresa May described what she called a “broken housing market” which has resulted in a loss of community and social mobility, leaving young people angry at the unaffordability of homes and the consequent rises in wealth inequality.  Her solution is fresh approaches; although for many the speech didn’t really offer any of these.  Yes, there was talk of plans to streamline the planning process and force housebuilders and developers to build on land they own, however these are not new offerings.

The streamlining of the whole planning framework is already underway as confirmed in a letter from Steve Quartermain the Government's Chief Planner and already sent to developers and lobby groups. The letter advises that ministers intend to publish a draft revised version of the National Planning Policy Framework, the policy document that outlines what can be built where, by the end of March, with a final version published in the summer.

Similarly, the subject of ‘land banking’ is already part of an inquiry, with the report to be delivered in the Spring to see if large housing developers are hoarding land and waiting for the value of it to rise instead of building on it straight away. 

To some however, most worrying is that Theresa May’s speech comes over a year after she declared to take “personal charge” after the government published their Housing White Paper with its bold promise to “fix our broken housing market.”

The White Paper announced plans to boost the supply of new homes in England, driving and promoting initiatives such as modular construction and most importantly to create a planning framework that assists increased and quicker levels of development.  Since the White Paper we have seen three new housing ministers which can only be a negative, although in January we did see Sajid Javid become Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government in a move that saw housing elevated to a cabinet position.

Time will tell if this change can make a real difference, although doubters have already voiced their concerns as Sajid Javid’s proposal to allow councils to borrow money to construct social housing has already been blocked by the Treasury and Theresa May in her speech yesterday dismissed there would not be any changes to this in the near future. Indeed she actually went as far as saying that councils were a significant part of the housing problem.

There have however been positive steps since the launch of the Housing White Paper including a further boost of £10 billion to the Help to Buy scheme and local housing projects seeing an investment of £866m. The last budget also saw stamp duty for first time buyers being abolished and a pledge of £44 billion to build 300,000 new homes a year!

We will have to wait and see if the housing problem can be fixed, although since the launch of the White Paper many would argue there has been little progress in solving the real problem: we have simply not built enough houses in the last few decades and this needs to change now.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

International Womens Day 2018!

In light of International Women’s Day today, here are our top tweets of our favourite articles about the leading ladies this year!










Check out the International Women's Day Website at !

Monday, 11 September 2017


Celebrating a fantastic and successful 3rd quarter, our Birmingham team took a day out the office to visit Escape Live! 

Working in a team of between two and six people, players have just 60 minutes to escape from a locked room before it is too late! Everyone must work together to find the clues and solve the puzzles in order to make sure you all make your way out in time!

Split into two teams, Team 1 (Steve, Kris, Shaun & Luke) took on Room 13 and managed to escape within an impressive 45 minutes with only 2 clues!

Team 2 (Kris A, Billy, Kyrie, Olie) took on The Lab and managed to complete the challenge just in the nick of time, after 58 minutes with 6 clues!

Great to hear that Birmingham are representing the FT name and coming back with 2 wins!

If you'd like to get your team involved in a fantastic team building (and nerve-wracking!) event, visit the Escape Live website and get signed up!

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Stay cool in the summer months!

After spending the past 5 months of the year complaining about the usual rainy British weather, mother nature seems to have repaid us in immense (and extremely uncomfortable!) proportions.

Whilst most of us can seek shelter inside an air-conditioned office, the UK’s construction force often miss out on the same luxuries and are therefore at a high risk for heat-related illnesses.

Prolonged exposure to the heat as well as the strenuous nature of the jobs puts you on a high likelihood of becoming unwell – so it is essential that sites are proactive in keeping themselves and others safe in the summer months.

Here are FastTrack’s 5 top tips on how to avoid heat related illnesses in the summer months!

Drink up!
We all know we should be drinking a minimum of 2litres of water a day but during these hot summer months, this should increase to nearly 3litres! A great way to keep check is to try having a quick drink every 15-20 minutes, or get your hands on one of these water bottles to help you keep track of how much water you’ve drank throughout the day! 

Handy tip!
We know cups of tea and coffee may not be on the top of your list on a hot summer’s day (they’re certainly not on ours!) but if you find yourself reaching for the kettle regardless – try to restrict the amount of caffeinated drinks you knock back in the heat.  They contain diuretics which can make you even more dehydrated!

Dress appropriately!
It may sound obvious but with H&S regulations interfering with our desire to work topless and in shorts, it can be tricky to choose the gear that will protect you and keep you cool.  When stocking up on your site gear, aim for lightweight and light-colored clothing to help you stay cool and if possible, find clothing and protective gear with moisture wicking properties!
Don’t forget some shades if the sun is reflecting into your eyes and sunscreen for any exposed areas!
Give the new guy some leeway!
According to OSHA, workers who are new on site are more likely to struggle with the heat! They claim,
Workers new to outdoor jobs are generally most at risk for heat-related illnesses. Cal/OSHA investigated 25 incidents of heat-related illness in 2005. In almost half of the cases, the worker involved was on their first day of work and in 80% of the cases the worker involved had only been on the job for four or fewer days.” (This guidance is available online at
It’s therefore key to allow new workers to ‘acclimatize’ to hot temperatures when working on site.  A good way to manage this is to start doing about 50% of your normal workload and gradually work up to 100% over the next week! It may not seem great for the work-load but it will benefit the team if there are no members off sick with heat-stroke!
Take a break!
It’s simple. If you’re not feeling great, have a break!
Whether it’s under a tree, inside an air con’d car or maybe even inside the portaloo(!), taking 5 minutes to sit in the shade and cool down can stop the heat making you ill! Again, a couple of minutes away from the job won’t have a huge effect on the time it takes to complete a project, but coming down ill and needing days off may!
Finally, know what to do!
Keep an eye on one another, and be alert for signs of heat exhaustion! Early symptoms include lethargy, disorientation, stumbling, dropping tools, slurred speech or unresponsiveness – all of which are extremely dangerous on a construction site!
If you suspect that somebody (or that you!) are suffering from a heat related illness, get them in the shade, remove any unnecessary clothing and ensure they are drinking plenty of water.  You can also put some cool, damp towels/clothing on the back of their neck and wrists/ankles to help reduce their body temperature.  If this fails, don’t feel shy about calling the emergency services – heat illnesses can be extremely serious so better to be safe than sorry!
Look after yourselves and eachother, stay healthy and ensure the efficient running of your site!