News

We've moved!

On Friday 29th September we said a fond farewell to our old Birley Fields office in Hulme after more than 11 and a half years. 

We commenced operations in our new headquarters situated at City Gate in Sale on Monday 2nd October.

You can find our contact details in the Contact Us page of the website.

Preserving our Stone Library

What do we do with a room full of natural stone samples that can't move to our new office with us?

This was the million dollar question that our Manchester based staff was recently faced with when planning for our move to Sale, Manchester.

With the new office being smaller, there was no room for the natural stone library that Vetter has built up over the last twenty years.  With a determination to ensure that the stone was put to good use and diverted from landfill, Vetter approached the Stone Federation of Great Britain and asked if they would assist us by contacting the Stonemasonry departments of UK colleges to offer the stones for free.

A room full of free natural stone proved extremely popular with Weymouth College responding almost immediately to the email offer.  On Wednesday 30th August, Lee Saunders and David Good undertook a 500+ mile round trip to Manchester to prepare the seven tonnes of stone for the journey to its new home.

The samples will form a resource and learning library providing the students and wider community hands on experience working with materials from all over the world, something they don't have at present.

We are delighted that our stone library has been preserved and to know that it will make a big difference to the learning experience that Weymouth College are able to offer.  The stone will now be used for many years to come educating the next generation of stonemasons, stone specialists and geologists.

 

RoSPA Awards 2017

We are very pleased to have continued our winning streak again this year with the award of our third Gold Medal for Occupational Health and Safety in the RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards 2017.

Our award was presented to us on Wednesday 12th July at a ceremony in Birmingham.

RoSPA Gold Medal 2016

We are delighted to have been awarded our second RoSPA Gold Medal for Occupational Health and Safety in the 60th year of the RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards 2016.

Through the scheme, which is open to businesses and organisations of all types and sizes from across the UK and overseas, judges consider entrants' overarching occupational health and safety management systems, including practices such as leadership and workforce involvement.

Our award was presented on Wednesday 13th July at a ceremony in Birmingham.

Christmas should be about more than survival

The Wood Street Mission is a registered children's charity which helps children and families living in Manchester and Salford with everyday items most of us take for granted.

Founded in 1869 by Alfred Alsop, the Wood Street Mission has given over 140 years of unbroken service to families in need.  Their mission is to help alleviate the effects of poverty on local children and their families through practical help, and their vision is that all children in the local area should live a life free from poverty.

For many years now staff based at Laing O'Rourke Manchester office has supported the charity with their Christmas appeal through the donation of non-perishable goods, toys and money.

When we were looking for ways to contribute to their volunteering target for this year, we decided to make contact with the Wood Street Mission to see if they could be of help.

Christine Ellis, who coordinated the volunteering opportunity for Vetter explains: 'I was made aware that the Wood Street Mission might be in need of extra volunteers to sort through and deal with the huge amount of donations received for their Christmas appeal, in addition to those arriving on a daily basis.  I made contact with the Operations Manager, who was delighted to hear from us and very happy to accept our offer to help where needed.

Over a number of days in November and December, members of staff from both Vetter and LO'R set to work sorting through donations of food, putting together food and toy bags and helping to distribute the donations to the many families that are referred for help. 

Last year, thanks to volunteers and supporters, the Wood Street Mission were able to help over 2,000 struggling local families with food, and new toys for over 4,500 children, so that they could enjoy the Christmas season too.

We very much hope to work with the Wood Street Mission again in the future with any of their appeals; Clothing, Easter, School Uniform, Children's Book club and Christmas.

   

Project Completion - Blavatnik School of Government

The Blavatnik School of Government is one of the youngest and most vibrant departments of the University of Oxford. Founded in 2010, thanks to a £75m donation by American philanthropist Leonard Blavatnik and an additional £26m from the University of Oxford, they are a global school pursuing a vision for a world better led, a world better served and a world better governed.

Although the school welcomed its first students in September 2012, the staff, students and academics were housed across three locations until a new, world-class facility could be built to provide the School’s permanent home. In addition to their monetary donation, the University donated a piece of land within the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter where the new building now proudly stands. The BSG is the first purpose-built UK school dedicated to improving government through research and education.

For Vetter UK, the project involved the installation of approximately 1800m2 of natural stone paving to the external area surrounding the building, as well as the installation of all street furniture inclusive of 52 no. Sheffield cycle stands, 1 no. timber bench and 1 no litter bin. Whilst on site, Vetter also carried out additional works including the installation and paving of various manhole covers, as well as the installation of 61 no. granite kerbs and 15 no. street bollards.

Vetter UK formed part of an integrated Laing O’Rourke team alongside Laing O’Rourke Construction, Expanded Structures and Crown House. One of the main challenges faced by the team included the logistics of working within a tight city centre location and around a live university campus.

Oxford University has so far educated 26 British Prime Ministers and over 30 other world leaders.

RoSPA Gold Medal

We are delighted to have received confirmation of our seventh consecutive RoSPA Gold Award for Occupational Health and Safety.

The award will be presented in July 2015 at a ceremony in Birmingham.

Forest garden fun

Is there a better way to give something back to the local community than by spending a day working outside in the fresh air?  Well, not according to our teams of employees who have given over 200+ hours since Feb 2014 volunteering at Manchester's Hulme Community Garden Centre.

On Wednesday 25th March, another six volunteers took on the challenge to create a new pathway around the project's forest garden development.

The team began their day by clearing the designated pathway of all weeds, rubble and general rubbish to create a cleaner surface ready to receive the bedding and path finish.

In order to ensure the completion of the project in one day, the pathway was split in to smaller sections with the team sharing the work of laying the sand bedding, raking, levelling and compacting, before adding the woodchip mulch finish on top, raking, levelling and moving on.

The path was created using entirely donated and recyclable materials, with the finishing touch being the addition of a new path edge to the entrance of the forest garden made of disused logs.

Over the past year we have thoroughly enjoyed working with Hulme Community Garden Centre assisting them to make their ambitious plans for the future become a reality.

 

Our latest Volunteering Venture

A real team effort was made last week at the Hulme Community Garden Centre in Manchester, where Vetter UK teamed up with staff from Laing O’Rourke Construction and Select Plant Hire to provide voluntary help preparing the garden centre for their current shipping container conversion project and forest garden area development.

Following on from our Volunteering project at HCGC earlier in the year, we have built up a good relationship with the Garden Centre staff and have been keen to offer our assistance again where needed.  The ambitious shipping container project will be built entirely from donated recyclable materials given to the centre by local Manchester businesses and residents and will bring a much needed indoor area for all the regular volunteers, allowing them to relax and make drinks etc whilst on site.  12 Architecture students from Sheffield University have been tasked with bridging the gap between the two containers to create an external space with a roof canopy.

So far this year a fantastic 221 voluntary hours have been donated by staff from Vetter UK, Laing O’Rourke and Select Plant Hire, in addition to a donation of £6,000 from the Laing O’Rourke Transforming the Future Fund to help the garden centre with their future plans.

Going forward we hope to continue our association with this amazing garden centre and help them achieve their aim of updating the site for the local community.   They are a not-for-profit horticultural project which provides a volunteer, education and training hub for the community and socially excluded people across Greater Manchester.  

For more information, please visit www.hulmegardencentre.org.uk 

   

Project Completion: Beswick Community Hub

The Beswick Community Hub is a large development of new public facilities for the local area in East Manchester.  The scheme forms part of the Etihad Campus materplan, a partnership between Manchester City Council and Manchester City FC.

We began work in mid-June 2014 at what is now known as the East Manchester Leisure Centre (which forms part of the Hub project), where we were responsible for the design, supply and installation of the ceramic tiling to the swimming pool and surrounding areas, the changing village and foyer, including the stairs.

Working to a tight programme to ensure that the leisure centre was complete and ready for opening in early October, our team installed 800m² of tiling to the walls and floor of the pool, including render and self levelling screed, and a further 2700m² of tiles to the changing village, which includes mosaic feature walls and the main foyer (inc stairs).

Built as a community hub for all ages the leisure centre features facilities such as a 35m by 21m pool with a moveable bottom, so that the pool can split into two, 70 new gym workstations, a dance studio and new grass pitches which will openin 2015.

The East Manchester Leisure Centre is the first of three new centres to open following a leisure shake-up around three years ago.  Hough End in Withington will open in June 2015 and will be followed by Levenshulme at the end of the year.

Project Completion: The Leadenhall Building

Standing 224 metres tall, with 45 floors of prime commercial office space and the fastest panoramic lifts in Europe, the Leadenhall Building is the latest landmark to grace the City of London skyline.  Also known as 'the Cheesegrater' due to its distinctive wedge like shape, the building is one of the tallest in the UK offering stunning views south, east and west over London and beyond.

We were responsible for the design, supply and installation of 6,500m² of semi dry screed to level B1 and levels 2-45, 6,000m² of Domus terra tiling to level B1 and levels 3-45, 200m² of Domus Foscer tiling to level B1 and 2,300m² of Granite paving to the ground floor, as well as 820m² of granite flooring to levels 1&2, 314m of granite edging and 130m² of granite sets to the ground floor, 430m of slot drains and 1,200m of structural movement joints from the ground floor to level 45.

Challenges faced by the team included the logistics of workings in a tight city centre location, the coordination of deliveries to site for installation and the laying of screed during the winter months.  With no storage facilities on the ground floor, all materials were held by our suppliers at their facilities and called to site on a 'just in time' basis for installation.  Over the duration of the project, approximately 1550 one ton bags of sand and 249 pallets of cement (12,400 bags) were used, in addition to over 1000 linear meters of structural movement joints.  On each floor 20 x one ton bags of sand and three pallets of cement had to be distributed which was a challenging process in itslef, not only for delivery to site, but the coordination of 'just in time' deliveries with the booking of the site good hoist for materials to be taken straight to the areas of installation.  To avoid moisture getting in to the screed during the winter season, specialist insulation blankers were fitted over thr screed to protect and allow sufficient drying tie.

Due to the standard of our work and the processes we follow as a company, the Vetter UK team were awarded six consecutive 'Quality Contractor of the month' awards by main contractor Laing O'Rourke during 2013.

   

Kick-Off at Victoria Centre, Nottingham

Our latest retail project kicked off at the beginning of July, when we commenced work at the Intu Victoria Shopping Centre in Nottingham.  The works involve a combination of breaking out of existing tiles, screeding and new tiling to the upper mall, over tiling to the lower mall as well as external hard landscaping.  In total the packages cover approximately 11,000m².

Materials being used include Chinese Granite for the External Hard Landscaping package and full body Porcelain tiles for the internal malls.

With the shopping centre remaining a live environment for the duration of the project, the works are taking place out of hours on nightshift.  This is proving a particular challenge with the restrictions on noise after 10pm.  In order for the shopping centre to be fully operational each day, we are installing a temporary floor solution to the live malls.  PVC chequer tiles are being installed allowing the general public to safely access shops and cross between temporary/existing/new floors without issue.   The tiles are both flexible and hard wearing with a very high slip resistance providing a sustainable product that can used over and over again.  The interlocking Jigsaw edge means that once installed they stay firmly in place with almost zero maintenance, imperative in a busy live shopping mall.

The project is due for completion by the end of March 2015.

 

Project Completion: Oxford Brookes University

We have recently successfully completed our works on the £65 million redevelopment of the Oxford Brookes University campus in Oxford. 

The project was split in to three phases; an extension to the Abercrombie building with its Glass Tank exhibition, the new John Henry Brookes building which houses a new library, lecture theatre and teaching space and the third phase New Colonnade building, cafe & shops which are due to open later in the summer.  The overall scope of works included new build, as well as extension and refurbishments to existing buildings and landscaping.

Vetter UK were responsible for the design, supply and installation of approx 1,150m² of external stone cladding, 4,250m² of internal stone flooring (inc 4,250m² of insulation and screeding), 6,800m² of hard landscaping and 900lm of bleachers and steps across phases one and two.

Materials used include Chinese Granites GRA 921 & G684, Purbeck Buff Limetstone, Precast Concrete and Block Paving.

The project was recently awarded 3 RIBA South Regional Awards, with the John Henry Brookes building picking up the Sustainability Award, a Regional Award and the overall RIBA South Building of the Year.

                                           

Project Award: Kings Gate & The Zig Zag Building

Vetter UK is pleased to announce that we have recently been awarded the internal fit-out package to the east side of the new Kings Gate & the Zig Zag Building development in central London.

Working for main contractor Lend Lease, we are responsible for the supply and installation of natural stone from Germany, Portugal and Tunisia to the bathrooms and ground floor reception area, together with the ground floor stairs and lift cars. 

Situated only a few hundred yards from Buckingham Palace, this mixed-use scheme comprises both residential (Kings Gate) and offices (the Zig Zag Building). 

The development will transform the area into a vibrant West End hub. Works will commence next month and are due for completion in December 2014.

Project Completion: Manchester Town Hall & Central Library

Vetter UK has successfully completed their works on the £93.5m transformation of the Grade II* listed Manchester Town Hall & Central Library. 

This challenging scheme consisted of both new build and refurbishment/restoration work to transform these 1930’s buildings to an open multi functional facility for all.  As part of the substantial changes to the Central Library building, a feature stairs and lift core was introduced between each of the five floors.  This encompassed design from the company’s BIM team and included glazed lift shafts and radiating steel staircases to which Vetter UK supplied and fixed UK sourced limestone treads, risers and landings together with feature flooring to each of the floor levels.  The restoration of significant heritage spaces (such as Rates Hall) together with the Grade II* buildings now being connected for the first time, has created a more accessible, multifunctional public facility for use as an extended lending library, new civic Customer Service Centre, public cafe and multimedia library.

We were responsible for the restoration to the external and internal facades, paving to the colonnades, together with new build flooring.  To the parapets of the Mount Street elevation, an arrangement of embedded steel supports had corroded to such an extent that masonry had fallen off and was of continuing risk to those using the pavements below.  We took down these parapets exposing as much of the steel as practically possible to allow treatment of the steel before then re-erecting the parapet, incorporating a new “Stanton Moor” sandstone string course.  As with all works to listed buildings, the proposed works required a series of hold points to agree methods and materials with Heritage representatives.

The entrance on St Peters Square now provides access to the Library over a newly laid entrance foyer floor.  We supplied and fixed Portuguese limestone to the floor area to replicate the original floor pattern layout, which had been lost over the years, through extensive damage and the overlaying of floor coverings to hide it.

    

RoSPA Gold number 6

We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded our sixth consecutive RoSPA Gold award for Occupational Health and Safety.

RoSPA Gold awards are presented in recognition of ‘very high levels of performance, demonstrating excellent occupational health and safety management systems and culture, exceptional control of risk and very low levels of error, harm and loss.’

The RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) Awards scheme is the largest and longest-running programme of its kind in the UK.  It recognises commitment to accident and ill health prevention and is open to businesses and organisations of all types and sizes from across the UK and overseas.  The scheme not only looks at accidents records, but also entrants overall health and safety management systems, including practices such as leadership and workforce involvement.

The award will be presented in June 2014 at a ceremony in London.

Paving the way

Can you bring a community together through gardening? Manchester’s Hulme Community Garden Centre has made it their mission to do so – with a recent helping hand from Vetter UK.

The not-for-profit horticultural project provides a volunteer, education and training hub for the community and socially excluded people across Greater Manchester.

A perfect fit for Vetter UK when our volunteers were looking for ways to contribute to the volunteer hours target set out in our Sustainability Challenge 2013-14.

Sarah Meah, who coordinated the project, explains: “I knew that the garden centre had been granted a plot of land by the Council to enable them to double the size of their gardens, but due to limited funding and sponsors they had made little progress with its development.  So, last July I met with them to discuss how we could assist them in moving the development forward.”

Having already donated 50m2 of natural granite paving to create an accessible route for visitors with physical disabilities, 13 Vetter UK employees joined community volunteers in the middle of February to clear the designated area, build new flower beds and install the paving.

From pre-construction advice stage, through to the design, procurement of materials and finally work on site, the team clocked up over 150 volunteer hours with the project.

One of our main objectives was to share our expertise and knowledge with the garden centre staff and volunteers, so that they could use these new found skills to benefit the gardens in the future.

We also benefited as a team: being outside in the fresh air helped to boost morale and gave a lot of people the opportunity to work together in a different way.  Plus, we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the local community. 

Vetter hopes to work with Hulme Community Garden Centre again in the future.