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Two simple letters get top marks for drain management

  • Colour-coded manholes speed up drain maintenance at Scottish schools
  • Two letters - F and S - give schools greater confidence in drainage management
  • Sewer blockages that cause school closures are more easily avoided
  • Schools facilities management team already seeing benefits
  • Innovative system backed by cost-effective preventative maintenance

Drainage and asset maintenance specialist Lanes Group has transformed the way drains are managed in 23 schools in Scotland - with a simple spray of paint.

Its engineers have marked foul drain manholes with a red F and the surface water drain manholes with a blue S. The colour-coding system has made it much easier to identify the location of any problems, like drain blockages.

SPIE`s facilities technicians are more confident that they can look after the drains, and the schools are more confident they will not fail. This is crucial as drainage failure is one of the main causes of temporary school closures.

Drainage engineers at Lanes Group's Glasgow depot worked with facilities management specialists SPIE to introduce the innovation in 23 schools - 17 in South Lanarkshire and six in Dunbartonshire.

SPIE Operations Manager Roy McGlynn said: "It's an excellent idea, and a great solution for us, and for the schools. It's added a significant amount of value to our service. It's also given our schools greater assurance that SPIE is able to react more quickly and smartly to prevent a major drainage problem."

Lanes Glasgow Area Development Manager Chris Fairbairn said: "Marking up manholes in this way is something that's been done with public utility assets, but not with schools before.

"It's a simple idea but can make a big difference. Before, the schools' on-site facilities technicians often had to rely on guesswork to lift the right manhole and find a problem.

"Now the drains are clearly marked up and colour-coded. We've also supplied accurate maps of the drainage system. So, the technicians can quickly identify the source of the problem, and assess whether they can deal with it, or whether they need specialist help."

SPIE called in Lanes Group because it wanted to review the condition of drainage networks at all the schools. It was quickly established that full CCTV drainage surveys at all the sites would be too expensive.

Therefore, it was agreed that the Lanes team would carry out less costly and faster visual asset condition surveys to establish the flow directions, connectivity and general condition of the drainage system at each school.

SPIE approved a small additional budget to include the manhole painting. The Lanes engineers have also marked all fire hydrants on the drainage map, and jetted them clean. This has improved access for firefighters, and made the safety-critical assets quicker and easier to maintain.

An on-going preventative planned maintenance programme was the final element of a comprehensive drainage management plan for all 23 schools.

Roy McGlynn said: "We're already seeing the benefits. Over time, I believe this approach will reduce drainage costs for both SPIE and for the schools, and a little spray of paint and a visual check of all manholes during Lanes visits has been a big part of it."

Lanes Group:


A treasure trove of social and political history is made public

The British Safety Council launches a digital archive documenting 60 years of its campaigning history to prevent injury and ill health at work

The British Safety Council has unveiled a digital archive of its work, featuring momentous events from 60 years of British economic, social and political history. The archive contains unique documents and correspondence, as well as photographs, newspapers, magazines and posters which were thought to be lost but have now been rescued from oblivion.

When James Tye created the British Safety Council in 1957, thousands of people were being killed at work every year in the UK, while many more suffered serious injuries and disease. He campaigned passionately for seat belt laws and comprehensive protection for all workers. His efforts contributed to the creation of the Health and Safety at Work Act in 1974. Far ahead of his time, he helped to establish the British Wellness Council in 1980, which dealt with issues such as repetitive strain and stress. Since its inception, the British Safety Council has been working and campaigning on a variety of platforms to keep workers safe.

In 2015, as the British Safety Council started to prepare for its 60th anniversary celebrations, a treasure trove of materials, in the form of campaign posters, articles, photographs and correspondence, was discovered bursting from old boxes in a Midlands warehouse. These have now been digitized and made publicly available for the first time.

Among the treasures in the archive are:

  • The first UK report into the need for seat-belt laws, from 1959;
  • A comprehensive collection of publications from 1959 to 2010, documenting the British history of this period, including tragedies, eg. the Kings Cross fire and Hillsborough disaster, changes in politics, industry, fashion and gender;
  • Hundreds of unique, hand-drawn posters from the 1970s, 80s and 90s;
  • Photographs of celebrities who were involved in the British Safety Council’s campaigns, including Dame Barbara Windsor DBE, Des Lynam OBE and Dame Esther Rantzen DBE;
  • An insight into the life and struggles of James Tye, a powerful and sometimes controversial campaigning voice trying to change the attitude of British industry and the public to safety and health at work;
  • The British Safety Council’s magazines from the 60s.

Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of the British Safety Council, said: “The British Safety Council has a long history of involvement in health and safety. Our digital archive, which we have saved for future generations, is testament to this. It also offers a unique insight into the history of health and safety in Britain and is a record of the commitment, passion and unrelenting efforts of those health and safety professionals who campaigned tirelessly against all the odds to make Britain a safer place to work.”

The digital archive is now available online for people to freely view and explore. It was created by Storetec Services which supply a wide range of document scanning services across the UK. Storetec is one of the UK’s leading document scanning services that enable businesses to access, manage, protect and share their data.

The archive will also feature in a picture book and a film to be released later this year.

A film based on the archive will be screened at the British Safety Council’s 60th anniversary launch event on the 23 March 2017. The film will tell the story of the charity over the last 60 years, including its big wins and achievements, and feature rare footage and images. The film will be available online after the event.

A commemorative picture book is being prepared by social historian Mike Esbester, which will tell the story of the British Safety Council and James Tye. It will use images from the archive, revealing the charity’s colourful heritage and past campaigns, as well as how they shaped the social, political and economic changes of the last 60 years.


White Light Supports Save the Children Winter Gala at Guildhall

On Tuesday 22nd November 2016, Save the Children returned to Guildhall for its annual Winter Gala. In what was an unforgettable evening, guests were transported into the splendiferous world of Roald Dahl, in celebration of the much-loved author’s centenary. The event was produced by Private Drama and they approached White Light to provide the complete technical support on the evening.

The event was led by WL’s Project Manager Phil Gladman, who comments: “When speaking to Private Drama, we were told this would be an immersive experience in which characters and scenes from Roald Dahl’s most beloved works would be re-enacted for the guests. They wanted production support that would enhance the overall experience”.

To achieve this, Adam Blackwood, Creative Director of Private Drama, worked closely with WL’s Creative Producer Richard Stirzaker to create a technical set-up that would be suitable within the various spaces at Guildhall. This saw WL draw on its unparalleled range of lighting, audio, video and rigging equipment.

On the evening itself, the arriving guests walked through the Basinghall Street Entrance where they were greeted by The BFG. WL also lit a range of items in this space that were being auctioned later that evening. Following this, guests were led down to the Livery Hall where Private Drama’s design team had turned the room upside down  – reflecting one of the most famous scenes from The Twits. Phil adds: “Within the Livery Hall, we were asked to construct a corridor made of truss. This not only helped navigate guests through the space but ensured they did so in a safe manner”. The guests then made their way into the East Crypt where Private Drama had created a garage, reflecting that used in Danny, the Champion of the World. Following a walk through the West Crypt where further characters were present, the guests made their way into the Main Hall where there was a dinner and an auction.

Phil states: “The live auction was led by Oliver Barker, Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe. Not only did we provide the complete PA system but we also supplied projectors and plasma screens which ran videos relating to both Roald Dahl and the charity. These were also used to capture and stream the live auction”.

WL also supplied the audio support for Letters Live - a post-dinner performance where remarkable letters were read aloud by Luke Evans, Miriam Margolyes, Noma Dumezweni and Toby Jones. Phil adds: “On the day itself, we arrived on site at 8am to set up before the rehearsals at 3pm. Guests arrived at 7pm so the time on the day was extremely limited. This meant that preparation was absolutely critical”. To ensure that all of the various production elements worked alongside the various set pieces created by Private Drama, WL asked their 3D Visualizer to create layouts of Guildhall in order to plan the perfect technical set-up.

The guests on the evening included Joely Richardson, Myleene Klass and Grayson Perry. The event raised over £850,000 which will help fund Save the Children’s vital work around the world. Adam Blackwood states: “This really was a magical evening and helped support a great cause. We are extremely grateful to WL for supplying the entire production support and doing so to such a high standard”.

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