Architecture around the world

Now the cold weather has begun to pass, and Spring is now upon us, it is the time that we all start to kick back and dream of our summer holidays. Whether you are chasing the sun, culture or just the beauty of a new place, it is time to start making a choice on where you want to go. If you love architecture, sun and beautiful cities then I have some great picks just for you! Some of the worlds best architectural cities are a must see; here are my top five picks.

Dubai is famous for many reasons as a holiday destination and this is mainly due to the gold sandy beaches and glorious sunshine. However, if you wish to visit somewhere that boasts tremendous architecture then, Dubai is the place for you. Wherever you are in Dubai all you must do is stand still and look up and you will be surrounded by some of the best architecture you will ever see. Famous for being the tallest building in the world, The Burj Khlaifa stands at 2,723 feet tall. This piece of modern architecture is incredible to see up close and it will not disappoint. It’s three times as tall as the Eiffel Tower and nearly twice as tall as the Empire State Building. It has the longest single running elevator, which is 140 floors. The elevators go 10 meters per second and are among the fastest in the world. It will take you approximately only one minute to reach the observation deck on the 124th floor.

New York
New York is a fast-paced city; if you love the hustle and bustle then New York is the place for you. It is known for its incredible sky scrapers and architectural history – you will not be disappointed. Now there are many different architectural buildings in New York that will take your breath away. From the Rockefeller Centre to The Empire State Building and all those in-between. The Empire State was constructed in a race for the world’s tallest building in the late 1920’s. It was completed in record time, from start to finish it was done within 20 months.

Beijing is well known; it was home to the Olympic Games in 2008 and this made the city a popular tourist destination. Well known is the Great Wal – architects began building the Great Wall of China during the 7th Century BC to protect the Chinese empire. The length of the Great Wall is 21,196.18 km, and it is more than 2,300 years old. So, the oldest in my top five. It is one of the few landmarks that you can see from space. Something completely different from the Great Wall is the home to China’s Central Television Centre. It is located in the busy commercial area of the city, close to World Trade Centre. The tower was designed by Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren, and was created to look like to inverted “L’s” connecting. This building stands out due to it breaking away from the traditional architecture that is situated in the city. It stands at 234 metres high with 52 floors.

Barcelona is beautiful city, boasting amazing culture. One amazing piece is La Sagrada Familia which was designed by Antoni Gaudis. Antoni Gaudis’ work can be spotted throughout Barcelona; you will simply not be able to miss it. Construction for the Sagrada Familia project began in 1882. When Gaudí died in 1926, only a quarter of the basilica was completed. Gaudí made sure to spend his last few years dedicated to the project. It was obvious that it wouldn’t be finished during his lifetime, with an estimated completion date of 2026. Back when construction began in the late 1800s, there were no computers or digital animation to rely on for the project. In the past, builders had to rely on paper sketches to correctly put together this massive structure.

Paris is well known for being the city of love. This is evident from the Love Lock Bridge which is now situated at Point de Neuf due to it causing damage to the original bridge. Every single building you come across is absolutely beautiful and it is like no other city. The Notre Dame is well known for many reasons; it is known famously for its French gothic architecture. It is one of the largest religious buildings in the world. The famous twin towers go as high as 69 meters (226 feet) and it have 387 steps. The Eiffel Tower was completed on March 31, 1889, and the tower was the world’s tallest man-made structure for 41 years until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930. It is 324 metres tall and weighs 10,100 tonnes. Paris has many other amazing architecture fascinations that you must see, here a few; The Louvre, The Arch De Triomphe and The Sacre Couer.


What are your favourite architectural cities? Are there any I haven’t mentioned that you love? Get in touch with us by tweeting us @HighfieldREC and let us know!

Challenges of population growth for the British Pumping Station

The UK is at the forefront of the water industry worldwide. However, the UK sector faces challenges from population growth, climate change, changing customer expectations and the transfer of private pumping stations all over the UK. So what are the British Pumping Station?

The supply of water and wastewater in England and Wales was privatised in 1989. Originally ten companies were formed to supply water and wastewater. Their responsibilities included abstraction, treatment, collection, and the return of waste water to the aquatic environment. These services are provided by 32 privately-owned companies in England and Wales. Water companies in England and Wales will invest more than £8 billion in 2018-19. The investment comes in the fourth year of a £44 billion spending promise from 2015 to 2020. Over that 5-year period, the funding will guarantee that more than 370 million litres a day is prevented from leaking from pipes, nearly 5000 less properties will be flooded with sewer water, and there will be cleaner water at more than 50 beaches. Now over 50 million household and non-household consumers receive good quality water, sanitation, and drainage services.

On the 1st October 2016 thousands of private pumping stations transferred to water companies in England and Wales. This was the biggest shake up of the water sector in the last twenty years. In some cases, the adoption amounted to a significant addition to companies’ asset base. Some of the stations were difficult to access, many were in poor condition and all will continue to require ongoing active maintenance and monitoring to mitigate risk.

Some homes or businesses have drainage systems with pumps located inside large manholes, also known as wet wells, that pump the wastewater into the nearest sewer network. The stations are usually accompanied by a kiosk, normally green or grey in colour, which house the electrical equipment.

The main issues that faced the water companies throughout the transfer was based on the condition and location of these pumping stations. Thousands of pumping stations are untraceable, in bad condition and difficult to locate. When the agreement was made in 2011 to start this transfer, water companies predicted thousands of stations would have to be transferred. Original research shows that Northumbrian Water had over 2000 whilst Thames Water had between 10-40 thousand.

During Utility Week Live, Anna Hodson (Customer Experience Manager at Thames Water) explained that there are four core areas to understand if they are to comply with their customer’s needs.

CORE 1:   Owner-Tracking down the owner of the pumping station

CORE 2:   Hosts-  Is the pumping station on a residential property.

CORE 3:   Users- Who uses the pumping station?

CORE 4: Neighbours- How will the transfer affect local resident surrounding the station.

For a smooth transfer during these months it was important for water frameworks to understand these areas. Customer satisfaction was a priority, however there were other potential implications to consider for the UK water industry going forward.

Over the next ten years there will be an increased demand for water and sewerage services and the cost of maintenance will increase. The UK population is expected to increase to 73.3 million by 2037, an increase of ten million since 2013. Increased surface run off from household buildings and urbanisation will increase the risk of overloaded sewers.

What do you think about this? Did you agree with the transfer of the pumping stations? Let us know by tweeting us @HighfieldREC

Blog Post written by Tom, Recruitment Consultant for Highfield Professional Solutions

The Rise of Renewable Energy

The rise of renewable energy is still a huge talking point, therefore it is no big surprise that the debate of nuclear vs renewable energy is still at the forefront of most headlines. As we start to see just how much renewable energy is on the incline, can we really be sure that renewable energy is the way to go?

We know that renewable energy is on the rise due how convenient it is. It is much faster to install and much more scalable than nuclear power is. There is a myth that we need to build more nuclear power if we want to cut electricity emissions quickly. This is something than renewable energy is keen to suppress, especially with it fast becoming the most popular source of power.

There are many advantages of renewable energy. One major advantage renewable energy has over nuclear is that it can typically be installed much faster. Nuclear power plants can require 5-15 years to complete and some have taken much longer than this. There is no doubt that this is obviously going to sway people to choose renewable energy over nuclear.

To make a clear example of this, installing a solar power farm can be completed in a number of months, depending on the extent and complexity of the project. The same can be said about wind farms, which is also only a matter of months depending on the projects complexity. In 2017 alone, China managed to install around 52 MW of solar, this is around 330 acres. The continued popularity of this energy source is bound to go from strength to strength if it continues to become this easily available.

If this continued popularity continues to flourish, the cost of renewables is more likely to keep decreasing, especially as fossil fuel usage declines. With more demand and adoption, it will continue to increase the innovation to make renewables more and more efficient which will in turn boost their effectiveness and the speed at which you can get large amounts of power onto the grid.

Renewable energy is more scalable and better to address global warming than nuclear, mainly because it costs much less, takes less time to install, and doesn’t carry the problem of potentially causing disastrous damage.

All in all, it seems that renewable energy is the way to go, with it being more cost effective and much faster to install we are bound to see this become the most popular source of energy in years to come.

What do you think about this form of energy? Do you think that this is the best way to go or do you think nuclear will always win? Tweet us @HighfieldREC to let us know.

Will the construction sectors skills shortage affect the Governments plans to build?

The skills shortage in the construction industry is not fresh news. However, it seems to be more evident now than ever before. Will the skills shortage affect the Governments plans to build?

As we have witnessed in the last couple of weeks, 2018 has already proven that there is a strain on the construction industry due to the collapse of Carillion. It seems now we are seeing an even bigger stress with shortage in skills for the industry hitting the worst level on record. This is going to hugely affect the industry due to the number of projects that are planned over the next year.

The current skills shortage is threatening the government’s grand plan to build hundreds of thousands of houses annually. The government has set itself an ambitious target to build 300,000 homes every year in England alone, so this current issue is going to cause huge problems. According to the Federation of Master Builders quarterly report, they found that construction companies are struggling to recruit bricklayers and carpenters when they are in such a high demand at the moment. The demand for skilled plumbers, electricians and plasterers is also in high demand.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB has said “Skills shortages are skyrocketing, and it begs the question: who will build the new homes and infrastructure projects the Government is crying out for?”. The struggle to hire bricklayers is a huge setback for the government as this is one of the key trades in the building industry.

The FMB have said that wages are rising sharply for skilled tradespeople. This, along with the increase in cost of materials, is causing a massive blow to construction companies. With the uncertainty of Brexit still looming, many construction companies are calling out the government to ensure that they make the best decisions when it comes to the construction industry. Without skilled labour from the EU, the skills shortages the construction industry faces would be considerably worse.

The current positivity that the FMB is taking from this news is that the collapse of Carillion has meant that there will be many skilled tradespeople looking for employment, and hopefully this will mean that the skills gaps will get better.

The FMB have said that they are now working with the Department for Work and Pensions as well as the Construction Industry Training Board to matchmake ex-Carillion workers with small construction employers in need of skilled workers.

The Executive for FMB said, “We’re also working hard as an industry to rehome the 1,200 Carillion apprentices who are the innocent victims of the major contractor’s demise,” Mr Berry said.

“It’s in everyone’s interests to ensure that these young people continue on their path to a rewarding career in construction.”

Hopefully this will be the last we see of the skills shortage in construction for a long time. What with Brexit negotiations still on going, and the hope to place ex Carillion employees to fill the current gap, will we start to begin to bridge the current collapse.?

What do you think of the current skills shortage in the Construction Industry? Have you been affected at all? Let us know, tweet us @HighfieldREC.

Architecture Trends for 2018  

Architecture and design is continuing to evolve, and there is an influx of demand for new technologies and new designs. Therefore, the industry is continuing to make changes to keep up with these growing demands and the Architecture trends we see are always changing.

Let’s take look at the biggest architecture trends that are likely to be seen throughout 2018.

Open Plan Living
Open Plan living is becoming increasingly popular and is starting to take shape in a lot of homes. The open plan space is designed to blur the lines between the different sections of a house, and encourage sociability and openness between people in different areas.

This new idea is giving homes a communal, friendly, and welcoming feel. It is becoming increasingly popular for families, ensuring that children grow up in a less segregated home.

This new trend is also taking shape in the place of work in order to maximise space and encourage cooperation and team work among employees.

Multiple Master Bedrooms
As property and rent prices continue to rise, it is becoming more difficult for first time buyers to afford housing and families to afford living costs. Therefore, is it becoming increasingly popular for people to house share. This is creating opportunity for more self-contained living spaces within one property. So, the use of multiple master bedrooms is now necessary to have.

Integrated Electronics
As smart devices continue to evolve and become a demand for many people, it is becoming a necessity for most homes. Smart devices are now more common and more accessible in terms of cost and ease. For example, it is now popular for furniture to come with wireless charging pads built-in. It is being noted that eventually we will just be able to walk into certain rooms in our home and our phones will be able to charge through wireless technology.

Natural Lighting
Natural Lighting is an increasingly popular trend that is set to take wave in 2018. Glass walls and bigger windows are going to start showcasing the wonders of natural lighting. This trend is said to become popular due to it being most visually pleasing and complimentary to both the inside and outside of buildings.


Are there any other architecture trends we should be looking out for? What would you like to see in 2018?? Tweet us @highfieldrec to let us know your thoughts.

Construction Trends of 2017

There have been plenty of new construction trends making an appearance in the construction industry throughout 2017. The increasing demands, evolving needs of clients and the ever changing market place mean that the industry must continually improve, resulting in new techniques and ‘ways to do it’.

However, it’s not just down to the change within the industry. A big part of this is advancements in technology, and an increased focus on sustainability. This plays a vital role, pushing construction companies to consider different construction methods and technologies that are smarter and greener than ever before. Although many of these trends are prominent in the construction world, it is interesting to see just how impactful these trends currently are, and how they are going to change the industry.

The demand for smarter buildings is increasing due to the rapid progression of technology and its affordability. As a result, The Internet of Things is an innovation which is being incorporated into modern building designs to automate certain functions, such as energy and water consumption. The use of this technology will look to improve sustainability, efficiency, safety, interacting and personalisation to those who use the it.

Mobile technology for on-site construction management is a new way in which will help construction workers manage their time and site more efficiently. The use of apps will enable workers to increase their productivity and make their time easier for administration purposes. These new apps will enable all field coordination, as well as people management processes such as timesheets, performance reports and task allocation. These can be assigned, reviewed, and tracked, meaning that management will have more time on their hands to organise sites and other tasks.

Green buildings are growing at an increasing rate. They use a lot less energy, which, in return, will make them considerably cheaper to run. Combined with the growing concern on the environment, this has led to building regulations being put in place to increase the use of renewable energy, and the government are now aiming to have 4 million solar powered homes up and running by 2020.

3D computer designs that use Building Information Modelling (BIM) are the new standard. These drawings provide an incredible visual experience that will give the whole picture. This innovation is becoming a popular process to view the design, which will make it easier to find any faults or issues before construction is set to take place.

The above is only a few of the many construction trends that are shaping the construction industry. How do you feel about how technology is changing the industry as we know it? Let us know by tweeting us @HighfieldREC !

Should the Water sector stay Privatised or become Government Controlled?

In recent months the water sector has come under political and public scrutiny due to its quality and services issues. Water privatisation started in 1989 by the government, which partly privatised the ten previously public regional water authorities (RWAs) in England and Wales. This has, in recent years, caused some questions on whether the sector is doing right by their consumers.

England is currently the only country to have completely privatised its water and sewage system. Investors paid £7.6bn for the water and sewage companies in 1989, and the UK Government took on the sector’s entire £4.9bn debt. This gave the new private corporations £1.5bn of public funds.

Figures have shown that in the past decade, the nine companies in control of the Water sector have made £18.8 billion of post-tax profits. Far from using the money to make the water system better, they have paid out £18.1 billion in dividends, and financed investment through loading £42 billion of debt on to consumers.

It is estimated that the privatisation of the water sector costs £2.3 billion more per year. The labour party would like to return the water and sewage companies back to government control, and have stated that they would do this if they were ever to be elected. Many voters have voiced their concerns over rising prices and poor performance by some of the best companies on leakages and pollution; Thames Water received a record £20 million fine earlier this year for dumping more than 4.2bn litres of raw sewage into the river Thames.

Speaking at Moody’s third UK Water Sector Conference in London, Cathryn Ross, Chief Executive of Ofwat, stated “more than £140 billion of investment has gone into the sector since privatisation and yes bills have risen to accommodate this, but costs haven’t spiralled out of control as they have in some other sectors, and our efficiency challenge has kept costs in check and bills a third lower than they otherwise would have been.”

Do you agree and think the water sector should become Government controlled? Or do you think privatisation is the best for the sector? Tweet us at @HighfieldREC to let us know how you feel.

The Future of Rail Technology

We are all aware of how technology is changing everyday life as we know it, and it’s only a matter of time before the future of rail technology will start to shape the way we travel.

2017 was the year technology in rail really came into practice. Systems introduced included The Internet of Things, as well as Augmented and Virtual reality, and Intelligent apps. Something that we may see tacking more of shape by 2020 is ‘digital twins’.

We’ve broken down the array of new features in the industry below, to give you a better idea of what you could be using in the near future…

The IoT (Internet of Things)

This enables metros, passenger and freight services to use sensors, data analytics, cloud computing and many other tech to gather and analyse information on a wider scale. The idea of this is to be able to offer passengers a better service on an easier and a more cost-effective measure. The IoT will enable the rail industry to move forward and will offer many more opportunities to those in the industry and those who invest into it. The great thing about this is that it will not only benefit those in the IT departments, it will also benefit those in engineering, maintenance, communications and the whole on board service. This is a fast and evolving digital revolution in rail technology that is set to excel the rail industry.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

We all know what virtual and augmented reality is, and most of us have experienced this new concept in one way or another since it’s leap in the digital world since 2016. In the last few years we have seen virtual reality headsets become a craze, leading to these becoming more affordable to buy. We also saw the mania of the Pokémon Go Augmented reality app, which saw millions of downloads and incorporated the underground and rail in its game.

So, how is this concept of rail technology going to help in the rail industry? This idea of virtual reality is going to see an increase of virtual manufacturing technology, which allows designers to create 3D models of products and to also virtually test the efficiency of its performance. This concept is also going to be expanded on board.

Deutsche Bahn have been working with the team at Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) to develop augmented reality windows on their ‘Innovation Train’. Keolis Commuter Services, which has operated the MBTA, deployed smart glasses by AMA XPertEye which use “augmented reality lite” and link staff in the field with technicians at the maintenance headquarters. Images can be transmitted from the glasses back to base, and the idea is that the office-based colleagues can offer advice without having to travel to the site of the problem. The good news is this will save time and money for the company, and stop possible delays for passengers.

Intelligent apps

We all use apps every day. In 2009 alone, approximately 2.52 billion apps were downloaded worldwide. By the end of this year this is expected to rise to 268.59 billion. The idea of these apps is that they are built to use both historical and real-time data, which will make predictions and decisions to deliver a personal experience. We will see how this new wave of app will shape technology in the use of personal assistants, which will have a clear link to rail and metros when it comes to booking tickets, organising travel and make the user aware of changes to their commute. This is to ensure the customer experience is improved.

Digital Twins

The idea of ‘digital twins’ is a big leap in the digital world and is something that we may not see happen until around 2020, although work on this is prevalent today. Digital Twins is a software model of a physical system which can be used to analyse and simulate real world conditions, and improves operational performance which help rail and metro. It is a system that will create a deeper understanding of maintenance and bring the work of engineers and data scientists together. This will offer a detailed virtual view of the real world.


All in all, things are changing, and fast. Customer experience is the forefront of innovation, especially with increasing delays and costs to commuters.

How do you feel about the way rail technology is shaping the rail industry? Are you excited for this new development? Tweet us @HighfieldREC !


What are the requirements needed to work at Hinkley Point C?

Hinkley Point C has promised to create 25,000 employment opportunities, with the aspiration to create 1,000 apprenticeship opportunities. These opportunities will include construction, civil engineering, electrical installation, hospitality, catering, logistics, security, site services, support roles and others over the coming years.

Although there are 5 phases to Hinkley Point C, the 10-year project is already delayed and will be taking longer than first predicted. Each phase will last 1-3 years, with the end result providing opportunities for local, national and international businesses. Communities throughout the South West will also see ongoing benefits to their economy.

Qualifications and experience can be a minefield when working out exactly what employers will look for, especially on a large-scale project such as Hinkley Point C, so we’ve outlined the key information that should help you with your application…


Employers for Hinkley are looking for candidate with a background in nuclear, or a professional who comes from a major infrastructure background. Depending on the role that you’re applying for, specific experience and requirements will obviously vary, but this industry experience is required by all contractors.


Clearly, you must be competent in your job role and have the right attitude, resilience and the desire to work as part of a team or in a leadership role. This will be assessed via checks of your CSCS card, and CCNSG Passport.

Hinkley Point C recommend that you attend Bridgewater College for your CCNSG safety passport. They are an approved training provider whose tutors have all the relevant industry experience that you will need. To obtain a CCNSG Safety Passport, you will need to complete a two-day training course and pass a final test.

Security clearance

Most workers on the Hinkley Point C project require security clearance, so there are minimum standards you must meet. Therefore, aspects such as your criminal record, financial past, family links and references will be thoroughly checked in order for you to gain clearance. Without this clearance, for many roles, you will not be granted access to site.


Highfield are a trusted recruitment supplier to the Hinkley Point C project. If you are interested in working on the project, head over to our dedicated Hinkley Point C page and take a look at the latest available jobs.

Alternatively, if you would like a confidential chat with one of our expert nuclear consultants, give us a call on 01489 774 010 today.

A Journey through Olympic Construction

The Olympics is arguably the most well-known sporting event in the world. The anticipation and excitement in the host country is unexplainable, and the boost to economy second-to-none. But, constructing an entire village for athletes from all over the world to live in, compete and relax is not easy, even for the most experienced professionals.

During the 2016 Rio Games, Olympic officials for Tokyo announced ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that they cannot afford to construct the centre piece stadium. Not the best news to hear with 4 years to go.

Now it’s less than 1000 days until we head to Tokyo for the sporting event of the year, let’s have a look back through the years to divulge ourselves in all things Olympic construction…


London 2012

London 2012 was a historic event for the country, which fortuned a proud and united front from all who participated, helped and watched. Most of us may have seen these structures being built through the years, and many of us will have visited at least one site since 2012.

Astoundingly 6,449 people worked on the Olympic Park at the peak of its construction during December 2010. This gave over 2,000 unemployed workers the chance to work from April 2008 up until the games took place. This saw the Olympic park being one of the largest urban parks to be built in Europe for 150 years.

The estimated cost of constructing everything required for the London games was originally £280m, but these projections soon grew to around the £701m mark and beyond.

Rio 2016

In 2016, Brazil welcomed the torch and became home to the Olympic Games. There were many challenges being faced during the construction of these games, starting with cost. In Rio’s bid, they promised 14 new structures to hold various sporting events. However, due to the recession this was not implemented.

Just 12 months before the games were set to begin, only one of the original fourteen promised buildings had been completed, so the negative press was coming in thick and fast. Eventually, they completed 9 new buildings, falling short of their bid promise.

Rio took inspiration from our London 2012 Games, however, building their Future Arena with a Nomadic feel, similar to the Copperbox in London.

Tokyo 2020

The construction for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is expected to cost £1.1 billion – one of the largest budgets the Olympic games has ever seen. Currently, there are 40 different buildings expected to be constructed for the games, including 5 different stadiums just to host the football.

In addition, there will be the Olympic village and a building hosting the ‘Tokyo International Exhibition Centre’.

“It is an opportunity to design the whole area surrounding the station,” said architect Kengo Kuma, who is designing the new national stadium for the Tokyo Games. “It would be a great project because it will connect the sea and the hill of Tokyo, which will make a new face to the city.”

With less than 1000 days to go until the start of the opening ceremony, it will be interesting to see the outcome of this mega construction project, and whether they will be able to keep up with the demand of their original bid. Especially considering they’ve already announced they can’t afford to construct the centre piece stadium…

What has been your favourite piece of construction so far from all the Olympic games? Were you involved in the construction of the London 2012 buildings? Tweet as at @HighfieldREC to let us know.

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