Posts tagged with "Construction"

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BIM there, done that: The state of BIM in 2020

As we enter a new decade, BIM (Building Information Modelling) might feel to some like merely the over-hyped remnant of the last, a promised digital revolution that never really changed the world the way it was meant to (see also: the Millennium Bug, Tamagotchi’s, Amstrad Emailers and MySpace).  

However, 2020 could be the year that BIM finally takes it long-awaited turn in the spotlight! With the dual drivers of increasing construction demand and the need for digitisation, BIM could in fact be the hero of the hour.

What is BIM? 

In short, BIM is a way to create an intelligent 3D model that simultaneously stores a vast array of information that can easily be drawn upon at every step of the building’s lifecycle.

Not only can the architect create highly detailed and intricate designs, but the data on each and every building product is easy to find and update for the engineers, construction professionals, facilities managers, owners, operators, refurbishers and maintainers of the site, from the day its first imagined until the day it’s demolished. 

By visualising the data in this way, it’s much easier for the project’s stakeholders to see how their choice of materials will affect the long-term operations and functionality of a building.

The story so far

2016 was meant to be BIM’s year. The UK Government set a deadline for 4th April by which point all public sector construction projects should be designed using BIM. This was meant to be the light that set the fuse on the BIM firework.

As it turned out, the take up was not as decisive as the industry thought it was going to be, and rather than a dazzling rocket it felt to many like BIM was just a short-lived sparkler.

What will 2020 mean for BIM?

Metaphors aside, the current outlook is that BIM sits somewhere between where the government wants it to be and where detractors think it is. In fact, the National BIM Report 2019 states awareness and adoption has grown from “10% in 2011 to around 70% in 2019”, however it admits “the latest survey shows some stagnation in adoption.”

While enthusiasm may not be at a fever pitch, many construction product manufacturers have felt the need to make sure they have a fully stocked BIM library. By having their products readily available as downloadable BIM objects, a manufacturer avoids being the one left off the all-critical specification list for those projects that have finally embraced BIM.

This approach may well be the one that ultimately pays off, as not only is more of the construction industry now using BIM than not, but more and more pressure is being placed on architects and developers to utilise smarter, digital methodologies in order to meet a sharply rising workload.

BIM helps to cut costs and timescales by streamlining the complexities of large-scale construction. It does this by enabling the quick and easy sharing of large quantities of data between large numbers of people, which in today’s fast-paced digital workplaces is an ideal way to enhance collaboration while reducing aggravating errors and duplication.

With growing populations requiring housing, and forecasts predicting growth for multiple sectors, including education, health and civil engineering, it’s possible BIM will see a renewed uptake in popularity. Thanks to its interconnected, holistic nature it could be the best way to increase productivity in the construction industry – which will need to happen if all the work that’s coming the industry’s way is going to get done!

Time will tell if BIM ever becomes the star that we were promised, but it’s fair to say that it’s already made its mark and is going to be a topic of conversation for some time yet.  

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, Construction, PR, Public Relations

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Window with a View gets shortlisted for Best use of Press & Public Relations and Best Mid-Range Budget Campaign

As you may have seen last week, Refresh PR has been shortlisted for EIGHT Construction Marketing Awards, making 2019 a personal best for the company in terms of CMA’s! Today on our blog we’re going to be delving into the Window with a View campaign we’ve been working on with, the consumer arm of the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF).


Refresh has been working with GGF for a number of years, and has worked on the Window with a View competition for the past four years. This year the competition, which invites members of the public to embrace their inner photographer and capture any particularly impressive window and view, involved changes to make it bigger and better than ever.


This year the competition moved from being solely held on’s website, to involve its social channels at both entering and voting stages. This raised awareness of the organisation on social media, as well as prompting a spike in number of entries for the 2019 competition.


In late July a panel of photography, architecture, marketing and glazing professionals met to judge the hundreds of images that the public had submitted, resulting in a winner for each of the 11 regions across the UK. These regional winners, and the competition in general, led to record numbers of pieces of coverage across regional and national titles, which in turn led to an intense few weeks of voting for a national winner on the website, Twitter and Instagram pages.


In early September 2019, the national competition closed and Arundel Castle was announced as the national winner of the Window with a View 2019 competition, again providing with coverage across a number of regional and national titles.


Both Refresh and are over the moon that the competition and its success has been recognised by being shortlisted twice for the Construction Marketing Awards, for Best use of Press & Public Relations and Best Mid-Range Budget Campaign. We’re all looking forward to the ceremony on 28th November - wish us luck!


Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , backlink building, Built Environment, Built Environment PR, Construction, Construction Marketing Awards, Construction PR, North West , online PR, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR award winner, PR campaign essential, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Eight Construction Marketing Award shortlists for Refresh PR

It’s a very happy Monday at the Refresh PR office. We’re celebrating after being shortlisted for not just one, but two agency gongs at the 2019 Construction Marketing Awards (CMAs) – in the Small Agency of the Year and PR Agency of the Year categories.


CMA awards

That’s alongside another SIX nominations for campaigns with our clients Uponor, and Eurocell!

Entries are judged on criteria such as consistent high performance, having delivered client satisfaction, met client objectives and demonstrating a strong culture of creativity and originality.


Our MD, Laura Mashiter, said: “The CMAs, run by the Chartered Institute of Marketing, showcase the commitment, strategic thinking and creativity that sits behind the UK’s most successful construction marketing and communications campaigns. They’re the gold standard so it feels wonderful to be recognised once again – particularly as we approach our tenth anniversary in business. The night provides a chance to look back on the successes of the past 12 months and give our team (and our fantastic clients) the recognition they deserve for being amongst the hardest-working and PR folk in the business.


We can’t wait for the ceremony on 28th November. Watch this space!


The Refresh PR team has over seven decades of PR experience in both the built environment and tech sectors and experienced record growth in 2018/19, with 2019/2020 set to be even bigger. 




Tagged with: #CMA19, B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, Built Environment PR, Construction, Construction awards, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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3 things we learned from UK Construction Week: day three

And, just like that, it’s over! The third and final day of this year’s UK Construction Week certainly did not disappoint.

Importantly, today was World Mental Health Day. The entire event showed its support for this vital initiative – and not just at the designated wellbeing zone.

Getting materialistic

Materials. They’re at the very core of built environment projects – but ongoing conversations around sustainability mean that it has perhaps never been more important to consider the environmental impact that materials can have. It was encouraging to see the issue being taken seriously in a talk by Natasha Watson, a senior structural engineer who highlighted her belief that you can always find a way to reduce the impact of the materials you use, but that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution.

The session chimed with many other talks this week, that have zoned in on the importance of sector unity in the face of the climate emergency, and the critical role we have to play in tackling it. Watson stated: “we can start solving these issues with collaboration and new ways of thinking.” It’s an important message and one that resonated with the audience.

The future of skills

Talk turned to skills this afternoon, with a panel discussion on the ever-present need for businesses to recruit and retain qualified teams. The skills crisis is, of course, not limited to the construction sector alone, but it’s certainly started to bite a little harder in the past few years. Just this week, Randstad revealed that Brexit has created recruitment slump across the sector this summer, with fewer than half of jobs being filled due to parliamentary uncertainty. It was therefore an apt seminar, which included contributors such as Liz Male of the eponymous consulting firm and Sarah Beale of the CITB.

As promised, the team delivered a whole host of practical ways that businesses can tackle the skills crisis head-on – leaving the audience members (including myself!) feeling inspired to put their tips into action back at the office.

The workplaces of the future

The changing face of the traditional “office” has become a central point for discussion in recent years, specifically for the construction industry. Flexible working and the growing number of entrepreneurial digital businesses (that can operate from anywhere with a WiFi connection) are changing the face of town centres and business districts as we know it. 

Architects, planners and developers must therefore dramatically reassess how to design these spaces; that’s to say, with the agility and flexibility required to meet the needs of our future workforce. Disruptors in this space have come in the form of co-working offices such as WeWork and pop-up marketplace Appear Here – both of which fundamentally change how buildings are used by their occupants.

It’s something that was explored in depth on the Main Stage in a session entitled “Future-proofing town centre and workplace: what buildings do organisations need and want?”

The panel included experts from Google, John Lewis and Grimshaw Architects and it was fascinating to hear from some of the biggest names in the field discussing how the sector can create places and communities that thrive. As we have seen throughout the event, a lot of time and effort is – quite rightly - focused on the tech and digital solutions that will drive innovation in coming years. But it will be equally important to ensure the industry designs for people; after all, what is the point of built environment projects if not to improve the lives of those engaging with them?

Key takeaways

There may be weary feet aplenty heading out of the NEC this evening – but it’s safe to say that everyone has come away with a greater understanding of the key issue at stake across the entire construction sector. We are still sad that we didn’t win the Peaky Blinders gin competition…but we’ll have to live with it.

Here’s our three key learnings from day three of the conference. Bring on 2020!

·         The climate emergency can only be solved if the industry comes together as a whole and develops new ways of tackling it

·         The skills crisis is only what you make it – you need to ensure that HR works harder for your business

·         We must design and build to ensure future communities are not just created – but thrive

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, Construction

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UK Construction Week 2019 day one: what we learned

Day one of the UK’s largest built environment event was – naturally – full of expert insights and important conversations from across the sector. It’s a key date in the calendar for a reason; the event seeks to shine a light on the most vital issues and opportunities faced by the industry – from architects and specifiers to housebuilders, contractors and everyone in between.

This year, the theme is innovation and there is certainly a clear focus on the future. In essence, how can we come together to make the construction industry more profitable, more productive and more sustainable in the coming years? And what can we do about it right now?

Digitise or die

One of the first talks of the day addressed this head-on, with architect George Clarke leading a discussion on the solutions that will transform the way we build, increase profitability, deliver projects faster, safer - all without having to compromise on quality.

Entitled: “Are you being left behind? Capitalising on innovation and disruptive change,” the slot saw Clarke being joined by leaders from forward-thinking organisations such as Big Innovation Centre and Construction Blockchain Consortium. All emphasised the rapid speed at which the sector is evolving and how important it will be for every single business within it to keep pace with the change. 

Although not necessarily a new topic, it was great to see how well the audience engaged with the issues raised and showcased why digital transformation is on everybody’s minds.

As Felipe Manzatucci, director of digitalisation at Skanska UK, highlighted later in the day: “Construction is one of the least productive industries in the UK. If you want to stay in the game, digitise.”

Zoning in

And speaking of innovation, the newly-created Innovative Zone provided an inspirational look at the disruptive businesses that are creating genuine change within construction. As organisers highlight, the aim is to show how innovation can create new value in the industry and stop the short-term, purely cost-driven ‘race to the bottom.’

This came across strongly when visiting stands such as JCB Industrial. It’s a business that has been around for decades but has its sights very much on the future of construction, using technology (such as its new “Hydradig” excavator) to improve efficiency and productivity across the board.

A number of other launches were also on show, such as the debut of Platform Design Programme - a project that encourages innovation in offsite construction for a range of projects, including schools, hospitals and prisons.


One launch that garnered a good deal of attention was a unique, curved eco-building with a green roof. Exhibited by manufacturer, Green King, it formed just one small “pod” of an entire building structure – a number of which are already in use residentially, commercially and in public buildings such as schools and visitor centres. The structure is manufactured offsite in modular sections and delivered to site virtually complete.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given that it is often cited as one of the key solutions to the UK housing crisis, offsite was another central talking point of the day. In her talk, Lorraine McMorrow of The McAvoy Group explored about how digital technology is advancing off site construction – speaking at length about the latest digital techniques which radically improve the way we design and produce new buildings. For example, she discussed how BIM, virtual reality, augmented reality and laser scanning is driving offsite construction to the next level. A fascinating insight.

Key takeaways

As the sun sets on Birmingham’s NEC and exhibitors head to the Beer Festival which is kicking off the evening’s festivities, below are just some of the most salient points we have taken on board. Another great day in store tomorrow!

·         Digitise now, or risk being left behind

·         As a priority, organisations much change their mindsets, embrace innovation and attempt to drive disruptive change

·         Offsite will continue to play a vitally important role in future

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, Construction

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A ‘FEIN’ new client for Refresh PR

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve secured a new client – premium power tool manufacturer FEIN – to add to our ever-growing portfolio of clients working within the built environment.  

FEIN has been a world-leading power tool manufacturer for over 150 years, providing professional power tools and special application solutions in the metal, interior and automotive sectors. Having invented the first ever electric hand drill in 1895, FEIN has continued to develop durable power tools for those working in a wide range of industries, including steel construction, machinery production, ship building and repair, plumbing and general building.

Our established built environment PR team has a plethora of experience within the sector, enabling us to deliver considered campaigns for clients on a daily basis. FEIN joins over a dozen other Refresh PR clients within the built environment and building products sector and we’ll be working with the company to raise its brand awareness and ultimately generate business leads through PR strategies and strategic content.

Speaking of the reasoning behind choosing Refresh PR, Channi Revell, marketing manager at FEIN, said: “I felt since the first initial call that we just clicked really well -  I really appreciated how interested and enthusiastic the team has been in the brand and this project and I think Refresh PR is definitely the right team to push this forward. I was also looking for an agency who really understood the technical nature of what we do and Refresh PR demonstrated this well.”

One thing that sets us apart from other PR agencies is our creative campaigns and we were very proud to be shortlisted twice in the B2B Campaign of the Year category at the Prolific North Awards. This recognition for the Future of Homes campaign which we executed for PVC-U window and door manufacturer Eurocell on top of the Refresh PR owned and run Heating Installer Awards helps to demonstrate our prowess for built environment PR campaigns.

We’re passionate about creating successful PR strategies that work for our clients across not only construction but also food & drink and in the tech sector where we have significantly grown our client base following the introduction of several new specialist members of the team.

All of our hard work last year resulted in a record growth year for Refresh PR and we’ve continued to go from strength to strength throughout 2019 so far. We’re looking forward to working with FEIN alongside our existing clients as we help to propel them to future success with innovative campaigns and strategies. 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, Construction, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Second awards shortlist of 2019 for Refresh PR

The Refresh PR team has been celebrating this week, not only because it’s a four-day week, but also because we have been shortlisted for both the entries we submitted into this year’s Prolific North Awards. The awards celebrate excellence and recognise and reward outstanding campaigns and exceptional talent in the creative and media industries across the North of England.


Both Eurocell’s Future Homes campaign and the Heating Installer Awards campaign have been shortlisted for B2B PR Campaign of the Year 2019, vying against not only each other but also against six other outstanding campaigns led by top PR agencies.


The Eurocell Future Homes campaign is a research-based thought-leadership campaign. With over 600 downloads of a whitepaper, 1,400 visits to the campaign landing page and over 30 pieces of coverage in target, highly specialist media, the campaign has met and exceeded its objectives and KPIs.


The Heating Installer Awards, which Refresh PR owns, is an award scheme designed to celebrate quality heating installers across the UK. Every year it gets bigger and better and it is something we are incredibly proud of. We’re currently in our fourth year of the awards, and we are at a crucial and exciting time, with this year’s winner set to be announced in early May.


Congratulations to all those shortlisted for the Prolific North Awards, we look forward to catching up with you at the awards ceremony on 23rd May!



Tagged with: Award winning PR agency B2B Construction, B2B PR agency Manchester , Construction, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Futurebuild 2019 – what we thought

Although it has gone by a few monikers, the basis of Futurebuild has remained the same over the years – the number one destination to explore and tackle the biggest challenges impacting the built environment. In fact, Futurebuild believes its new identity reaffirms its commitment to championing true innovation and sustainability across the built environment. That’s why every year we try and visit the exhibition to allows to get ahead of the curve when it comes to all things construction.        

Futurebuild 2019 tackles the overarching theme of Time for Action, a topic vague enough to cover a range of topics yet still remain relevant. The key themes displayed throughout the exhibition were centred around sustainability, the housing crisis, off-site construction, the skills shortage and digital transformation - all of which feature highly on the news agenda. With a raft of clients in the construction sector, the above topics feature regularly in editorial content, social media and whitepapers that we draft so it was great to speak with industry experts to determine their viewpoints.

Tech in construction

This year, the exhibition hosted a range of seminars and workshops to delve deeper into key topics within the industry, including ‘Unlocking Construction’s Digital Future – A skills plan for the industry’, looking into CITB’s future plans to help the construction industry adopt more technology in its day-to-day running. It covered everything from app downloads and cloud-based systems to AI, VR and augmented reality and how the industry can realistically adopt these modern methods of working to reduce overheads and increase productivity.

It was great to see that bodies within construction are taking technology more seriously and a very valid point was raised within the workshop directly linking the reluctance to adopt technology and the skills shortage. A comparison was made between construction and the pharma and finance industries; with the latter two apparently willing to embrace modern technology, they are seeing a high number of young people seeking employment whereas the youth don’t seem invested in an industry like construction, that seems too traditional and archaic.

Young people are digital natives and use technology in their every day lives. If they aren’t looking to pursue a career in construction then there is a lack of drive from the industry to adopt the latest method of technology – which is what makes CITB’s £3.3million investment in digital training so important.


As well as the drive for tech, it was interesting to see the emphasis that was placed on offsite, with the exhibition having a dedicated section for this method of construction. Deemed as one of the best ways to counteract the housing crisis, most of the ‘show stopping’ offsite stands were ready made rooms and buildings as opposed to the individual components that make a building. The exhibition hall displayed numerous pre-made rooms and buildings, such as Portakabin, and talking to the teams behind these creations, it is clear to see how they can help meet stringent housing targets. One provider can even build a property using five carparking spaces, building upwards, taking away the problem of the lack of land available in our urban areas.


For me, some of the most interesting elements of Futurebuild were not the brands and manufacturers that were there, but the messaging they were putting out. As we approach the deadline for Brexit, a lot of companies were adding an emphasis of the heritage of their business, with stand branding emphasising how many years they had been providing solutions for. This was complemented by their constant innovation, reassuring customers, both current and future, that they have the experience to provide real benefits to a building project whilst still always developing and innovating.


There was also a real emphasis on sustainability and being ‘green’ – something most stands had to some degree. The University of Brighton’s full stand was showcasing its building made of reclaimed products including music cassettes as wall cavity insulation, ex-office carpet tiles used as cladding  and 19,800 toothbrushes used for wall cavity. ZEDpower also displayed a ‘Zero Bills Home’, again showing its passivehaus ideology, something that went down very well with delegates.

Whilst the exhibition has undoubtedly decreased in size over the years, halving in size, the quality of conversations, seminars and workshops has remained as insightful and informative as ever. Whether you’re an architect, specifier or just someone with a vested interest in the construction industry, we’d recommend attending Futurebuild and more importantly, engaging in the opportunities available there.   

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, Construction, Home Interest, PR, Public Relations, Social Media

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Five Construction Marketing Awards shortlists for 2018 for Refresh PR

It’s safe to say that Refresh knows built environment PR. A team of sector specialists executes considered and strategic campaigns for clients on a daily basis. The UK's Construction Marketing Awards (CMAs) are therefore a key calendar date. As a chance to go head-to-head with other agencies, each shortlist gives the hard-working team at Refresh an opportunity to celebrate a job well done that year.


An email from the organisers today informed the delighted team that Refresh had been shortlisted for five national Construction Marketing Awards:  

·        PR Agency of the Year 2018

·        Best use of Press & Public Relations – for the Window with a View for the Glass and Glazing Federation

·        Best use of Press & Public Relations – for the Heating Installer Awards 2018

·        Best Mid-Range Budget (£25k-£50k) - for the Window with a View for the Glass and Glazing Federation

·        Best Mid-Range Budget (£25k-£50k) - for the Heating Installer Awards 2018


The Window with a View campaign, which Refresh PR created and implemented on behalf of the Glass and Glazing Federation’s consumer website,, searches for the best views across the UK. In 2018 Refresh generated first-class entries, millions of page views from coverage off and online, and moreover a host of results aligned with the client’s key business objectives.


Refresh was also able to prove the tangible benefits of being part of The Heating Installer Awards, which in 2018 are sponsored by Danfoss, Geberit, Glow-worm, Polypipe and leading industry magazine, Installer. Each year the awards scheme gets bigger and better, with 2018’s winner having just returned from a trip to Denmark with Danfoss.


With almost seven decades of construction PR experience, the team at Refresh is now providing PR campaigns for over a dozen clients within the built environment and building products sector, while heading for an agency-wide record growth year.


View the full shortlist here:




Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, Construction, Manchester, North West , PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, PR Manchester

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Are you a Senior Account Executive looking for a new challenge? Get in touch!

At Refresh PR we pride ourselves on our ability to get under the skin of our clients’ businesses. Giving bold, strategic advice based on robust insight we deliver fresh and inspired ideas with consistent results. Our fast-growing client base ranges from cutting-edge business start-ups to national companies across both private and not for profit sectors.


We’re looking for a confident and articulate person with a passion for PR who will relish the chance to join the team as a senior account executive working across a range of B2B accounts in the construction, built environment, property, tech and e-commerce sectors.  You’ll have already gained valuable PR agency or in-house experience with at least a year spent working in B2B PR.


You will be great at preparing sector specific copy for trade press as well as developing and maintaining great relationships with journalists to secure the best possible coverage for your clients. You’ll work closely with account managers to ensure we are delivering consistently for our clients, yet will be able to use initiative, working independently most of the time.


You should be able to think creatively, and be interested in working together with our team to inject disruptive campaigns into the most traditional of industries in order to help our clients get noticed. After all, it is this way of thinking that has seen us secure so many award wins over the years!


More broadly, we’re looking for someone filled with energy and enthusiasm who is proactive, persistent and methodical in their approach with a real eye for detail – you may even pride yourself on being a perfectionist! You are considerate and supportive; a real team player with the ability to remain calm and considered when faced with new or pressurised situations.


Working in a fantastic location in the Northern Quarter, we’re a sociable bunch of like-minded people who really enjoy what we do.  We’re proud to be a fun, friendly team offering a more flexible approach to work.  As a fast-growing business, we can offer you the unique opportunity to contribute to the direction of the organisation.  What’s more, we’re dedicated to helping our people grow and achieve their potential through The Refresh Management Academy – a 6-month programme of structured training and development, created and delivered by experienced PR practitioners and expert trainers. This unrivalled programme provides you with all the key skills that will help you to become a highly effective senior account executive and progress your career with Refresh.


Interested in applying or finding out more about the role? Send your CV to





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The Apprentice of the Month Awards

As the Carillion crisis continues, apprentices are among the many who have been impacted by the downfall of the outsourcing giant. Good news came recently when the Department for Education settled the confusion and confirmed that apprentices will be paid until they find new employers.


According to GOV.UK, apprenticeship participation now stands at a record level with nearly all apprentices feeling that they acquire or improve their skills as a direct result of their apprenticeship. At Refresh PR we have recognised the importance of apprenticeships. A new arm of the Refresh PR owned, industry-famous Heating Installer Awards has officially launched, The Apprentice of the Month Awards.


The Apprentice of the Month Awards aims to recognise the efforts of apprentices who go above and beyond each and every day. The awards will accept nominations from lecturers, employers, family, friends and apprentices themselves, via a short video entry, submitted on social media.


Each month, entries will be collated and a winner will be selected by one of the award sponsors: Sentinel, Vaillant UK, Installer Magazine, Polypipe and Wolseley. The shortlisted entries will then go head to head in a public vote.


The Heating Installer Awards is renowned for its great interaction with the installer community, and with levels of engagement higher than ever, it is up to Refresh PR to build up the Apprentice of the Month campaign so it’s as successful as the Heating Installer Awards. We’ll particularly be focusing on the power of social media, with Twitter a key platform for the installer community whether qualified or still in training. Plenty of Twitter activity has been planned over the next few months so watch this space!


At Refresh PR we keep up with all the latest social media advancements, implementing changes and improvements to the social media campaigns we run for our clients. If you think your company could benefit from an engaging social media campaign contact us on 01611 871 1188. For more information about the Apprentice of the Month Awards, follow them on Twitter - @AotMAwards or email
















Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, Construction, Heating Installer Awards, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations North West

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Do you have Britain’s best Window with a View?

The search is once again on to find Britain’s best Window with a View. For the third year, Refresh PR will run the campaign on behalf of, the UK’s independent consumer advice website for home improvement and glazing.


The campaign, which drives hundreds of thousands of visitors to the each year, comprises social media, digital PR, backlink building and traditional media relations activity to generate entries into what is fast becoming a key event in the calendar year.


Adding to a very successful two years, for the first time in 2018 views from offices will be eligible to enter the campaign. So if you’re lucky enough to gaze out of your office window each day onto an amazing view, we want to hear from you. We’re also still inviting entries from tourist attractions and other public buildings as usual.

The campaign will launch at the start of February, so get snapping your views now (remember to include the window frame) and save them up ready to upload to



Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, Construction, creatiive agency Manchester, Creative Agency, Public Relations North West

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Polypipe on Twitter

Earlier this month the team behind the Heating Installer Awards 2018 hosted an evening Twitter Q&A with sponsor, Polypipe.  The hour-long burst of activity was aimed at heating installers who want to know more about Polypipe, its services and also have a bit of downtime at the end of the day.


The Q&A achieved 281 engagements and 6440 impressions from @HIAwards, with further engagement on the @PolypipeTrade account. High quality interactions were achieved from the installer community throughout the duration of the hour.


The hour went seamlessly, with the teams at both ends typing furiously to respond to the questions, and banter, thrown at them.


As an added bonus, the awards saw additional entries over the following days, attributed to the increase in awareness and engagement from this activity. More Twitter bursts of activity are planned for the coming weeks, including giveaways – so get following @HIAwards!


Twitter campaign construction 




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Being passionate in PR

99 per cent of PR professionals are passionate about what they do. A love for telling a great story, the buzz of media relations and the fast-paced nature of the job is what gets us up in the morning. Sometimes, however, a love for the industry is just not enough.


If you work in a PR or creative agency, chances are you will have clients in a range of fields. From glitter to plumbing, we have it all at Refresh PR and that old cliché, no two days are the same, rings very true. In order to do justice to your clients, a love of their industry, as well as your own is imperative.


PR’s speak with dozens of journalists in a day, and we need to persuade them that what our client has to say is more valuable than their competitors. Unless you speak about your clients with true passion, you’ll get nowhere. If the news doesn’t excite you, how do you expect a journalist, who’s received 40 similar calls that day, to be enthused? If you love what you do, and love working with your clients, this will come across. 


Being fully engrossed in your client’s work will eventually lead to your PR agency being an arm of their company, rather than a supplier-customer relationship. Once this happens, you’ll automatically be kept in the loop regarding company news, be able to contact everyone and anyone when that golden opportunity comes through and be totally honest with them- a valuable but often over overlooked trait in our industry. At Refresh PR, we promote hot desking at our clients’ offices, giving us a chance to see what they do, and how they work day to day. Realistically, can you ever really get a true insight into your clients from just a bi weekly WIP call alone?


You’re much more likely to want to learn about an industry or topic that you’re interested in. Whether it’s cosmetics, food and drink or heating installations, find what excites you and you’ll never work a day in your life.









Tagged with: alcohol, B2B PR agency Manchester , Beauty, Built Environment, Construction, cosmetics, creatiive agency Manchester, Creative Agency, drink, Food, glitter, heating installation, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, Marketing, North West , plumbing, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Retail, Social Media

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Ecobuild 2017: Inspiring People, Places and Products

Fresh out of university, I’d be lying if I said I was aspiring towards a career in construction PR. Fast forward the clocks and although construction comms is not 100% of what I do, it’s certainly a sector in which I have built up (see what I did there) solid experience and have a keen interest in. Which brings me to Ecobuild – taking place this week, it has been one of the annual highlights of my working life for a number of years. Usually I’m off to London for the week armed with press materials to carry out a busy schedule of media meetings or events on behalf of one of more clients. Unfortunately, this year I’m unable to attend so instead I’ve been eagerly watching news from the exhibition unfold on social media.


Social media and industry news outlets have been awash with announcements from the event, from both exhibitors and visitors, so I’ve not been short of reading material. As well as the usual packed conference and seminar programme, the first two days of Ecobuild have seen the usual burst of product launches from companies across the sector, including from the Hadley Group, which launched a design competition for student architects with a prize worth up to £6,000.


Day one also saw the winner of Ecobuild’s Big Innovation Pitch announced. For the third year running, Ecobuild partnered with M&S in a search for commercial engineering solutions and innovations that have potential to make a huge contribution to achieving the retailer's Plan A sustainability objectives.  This year saw two winners for first time ever there - Protomax Plastics and Airedale Air Con – congrats to both!


Despite reports from last year claiming the show suffered from a lack of visitors compared with previous years, and many in the industry needing much convincing in order to allocate often large percentages of marketing spend to have a presence in one of the many halls, there is no doubt in my opinion that exhibitions such as Ecobuild provide a companies with the ideal opportunity to deliver compelling brand experiences to a captive, targeted audience.


Whether its via meetings with potential partners, live events on-stand, meetings with key media, hosting seminars or stunts etc, as long as activity is planned and executed correctly, exhibitions can provide organisations with the perfect platform to not only share their latest innovations with those who matter the most but also secure top quality business leads and gain valuable industry insight from their peers.






Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Ecobuild, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Award-winning campaign back for 2017

Having won two awards at the 2016 Construction Marketing Awards – claiming first prize in the Best Use of Press and Public Relations category, and Highly Commended in the Best Mid-Range Campaign category – the campaign is back bigger and better, complete with a rebrand and redesigned website.


The Heating Installer Awards work to champion plumbers and heating installers who make it their mission to bring a superior level of credibility and customer service to the industry. It recognises those using innovative skills and technicality to install energy efficient solutions which change the lives of homeowners.

Sponsored by LG , Vaillant UK, Danfoss, Graham The Plumbers’ Merchant, , Pegler Yorkshire , Sentinel and Continental Underfloor, the Heating Installer Awards is open for entries from now until February, when an expert panel of judges will select the best heating installers from 11 regions across the country.

Following the announcement of the regional winners in March, it will be over to the public to decide the UK’s Number One Heating Installer. The winner will be announced at the industry’s leading plumbing and heating show, Installer2017, in May 2017 at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena.

Laura Mashiter, managing director at Refresh PR, said: “The 2016 Heating Installer Awards campaign was a bold move from our agency – we wanted to create something unique that had a positive impact on the heating industry, which for so long has been plagued by the ‘cowboy’ tagline.

We know that’s not a fair representation of the industry, so we thought it was high time that there was a scheme that recognised the excellent standards of work taking place by tradespeople, and which created a new buzz for the industry.

“We had high hopes back then, and after the success of year one and the multiple award wins, we’re aiming even higher in year two. We’ve created an integrated campaign which utilises online PR coverage, a mobile-responsive website, social media, emarketing and direct marketing which not only works to promote the superstars of the heating industry, but which ties into the individual PR objectives for each of our sponsors over the next 12 months.

“If you know a heating installer or plumber who deserves to stand in the spotlight, encourage them to enter – they could go on to be crowned the UK’s Number One Heating Installer!”

To enter, plumbers and heating installers should visit and fill in the short form, detailing a project the installer is particularly proud of, or which demonstrates going above and beyond for the customer. The deadline for entries is 5pm on 17th February 2017, and full terms and conditions can be found on the website.




Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Heating Installer Awards, Marketing, PR

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Refresh PR builds reputation with wins at Construction Marketing Awards



Last night, we won three awards at the prestigious Construction Marketing Awards in London, cementing our reputation as construction communication specialists.


We scooped two awards for our Heating Installer of the Year Awards campaign, which was awarded the top prize for its use of press and public relations, and also highly commended in the mid-range budget campaign category.


Celebrating plumbers and heating installers who have delivered exceptional customer service, the Heating Installer of the Year Awards used a sustained, integrated communications approach, which included trade and regional PR, social media, email marketing, sponsorship and events.


Our Window with a View campaign, created in association with the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF), was named winner in the best mid-range budget category. The campaign captured the imagination of homeowners and businesses alike, successfully driving high levels of traffic to GGF’s newly launched consumer advice website,


The CIM’s Construction Marketing Awards celebrates the best talent from across the UK, showcasing the construction industry’s creativity, innovation and effectiveness in marketing.


Laura Mashiter, managing director at Refresh PR, said: “Bringing three awards back to the North West is a fantastic achievement. Our team has specialist expertise in the construction sector and for this to be recognised on a national level is testament to our successful and innovative delivery.


“The public relations win is particularly special as it’s the second time we’ve been recognised in this category, having also won back in 2013, for our work with Polypipe. With more and more businesses in the construction industry looking for dynamic ways to reach their audiences, these campaigns demonstrate how creativity can be used to capture audiences’ imaginations and help achieve business objectives.”





Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Construction Marketing Awards, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations

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Scrutinising the Autumn Statement

Against the backdrop of Brexit, today’s Autumn Statement was much anticipated. Ahead of its announcement, the predicted impact of the EU Referendum result, “JAMs” - those “just about managing”- and infrastructure were all hot topics.

So, what did Philip Hammond actually cover and were there any surprises?

As expected, there were no grand giveaways, but a clearer picture of the nation’s economic future was painted. With borrowing up, growth down and a £122bn black hole caused by Brexit, the Chancellor’s statement focused on the long-term future of the UK, its economic interests and, crucially in a post-referendum world, how the Government plans to keep Britain as the “number one destination for business”.

Alongside its renewed pledges to cut corporation tax, productivity and infrastructure were cornerstones of the Chancellor’s statement. To illustrate the need to invest, Hammond used the analogy that “it takes a German worker four days to produce what we make in five; which means, in turn, that too many British workers work longer hours for lower pay than their counterparts.”

With more than £1bn ringfenced for digital infrastructure and the Government also offering business rate relief on new fibre infrastructure from April 2017, small businesses and those in rural locations will benefit, making them more competitive in an increasingly globalised market.

While the £1.1bn extra investment in local transport networks is a positive step, it actually only represents 0.08% of GDP and still leaves us lagging behind other developed nations when it comes to spending on infrastructure. If an industrial strategy is to be delivered successfully, it needs significantly more financial investment and a focus on how we address the skills shortage in the built environment sector.

One of the most important announcements came in relation to the Northern Powerhouse, so much so that it was trending on Twitter throughout the statement announcement.

£1.8bn will come from the Local Growth Fund to English regions, giving businesses outside of the capital a financial boost. The North has been allocated £556m, with the aim to improve productivity and infrastructure to support the Northern Powerhouse strategy. While the investment is positive and fits into the long-term strategy to reduce the gap between London and northern cities, it’s important to note that infrastructure investment remains low as a percentage of GDP.

There was good news for the construction industry, with a pledge to invest a further £1.4bn to deliver 40,000 additional affordable homes and a £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund, which aims to unlock land over the coming years. With more and more people struggling to get on to the housing ladder, this has been welcomed by many, while also giving a boost to businesses operating in the housing sector.

So, what is the verdict overall?

For business, there are some real positives, particularly from an investment and innovation point of view. Boosting productivity and improving infrastructure could help to protect the UK’s long-term growth ambitions and, crucially, raise the standard of living for millions.

However, at the same time, the skills shortage in the construction sector remains and needs addressing urgently, while pressure on public services could ultimately undo any of proactive, business-centric policies. With two thirds of NHS trusts reporting deficits, the Government cannot ignore the failing health of our health service for much longer.

It will take time to see the results from this latest round of announcements, particularly those around infrastructure, but one thing is for sure, there will be some bumps in the road to economic recovery.


Tagged with: Autumn Statement, Brexit, Built Environment, Construction, Housebuilding, Infrastructure, opinion, Politics, Productivity

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HS2: Manchester to London in just over 60 minutes – what do we think?

Last week, the second phase of the North West and Yorkshire HS2 route was revealed. Once complete in 2033, the £56 billion project will see the rail journey time between Manchester and London cut from 127 minutes to 67 minutes.


Since the HS2 project was first announced, it has received both criticism and support from politicians, businesses, environmental groups and the public.

So what do some members of the Refresh PR team think?

Laura Mashiter: “I welcome the new HS2 route. We need to connect the north with the south more and it will open up further exciting opportunities for businesses in and around Manchester. While it’s great that the links between Manchester and London will be improved, we also need to make sure that links between the north improve to make sure the Northern Powerhouse is as strong and successful as it can be. In this year’s budget, a number of infrastructure announcements were made including HS3, a new road tunnel from Manchester to Sheffield, and completion of a four-lane M62 – and I really hope to see these and more improvements started in the very near future.”

Erin Heywood: “At Refresh we regularly travel between Manchester and London to meet clients, suppliers and partners, as well as attend events, and I personally think two hours for this journey is absolutely fine. To improve the Manchester to London journey, it would be great if some of the peak trains could be more affordable and to make the Wi-Fi more reliable so we could use the time effectively to catch up on work. £56 billion seems a lot of money to improve something that a lot of people wouldn’t really consider a problem in the first place. I think the money being invested in this project could be put to better use in helping the UK economy – in particular healthcare and the NHS.”

Maya Powell: “I think the shorter journey time between London and Manchester will be a good thing for the UK. It will help London be less disconnected with the north and blur the north-south divide. As a recent graduate who has a lot of friends looking for work, I think it’s great that the HS2 railway will help to boost employment opportunities for those in the north who don’t want to move away from home or live in the capital where the cost of living is so much higher. We might also see more London-based companies moving to other parts of the country. I think generally the HS2 will help to rebalance the UK economy and open up employment opportunities, which is a good thing in my eyes.”

Claire Gamble: “On one hand, I think it’s great that we’re investing in a faster, more efficient rail infrastructure which is bound to open up more opportunities for businesses and individuals. However, it’s a huge sum of money to spend on saving an hour on a trip which isn’t that bad in the first place – and this money could be used to improve the wider rail network around the UK. Another potential issue we may see as a result of HS2 is house prices rising in Manchester, as it would become more feasible for people to live further out of the capital but still commute. While it’s an exciting opportunity to be able to work and commute more easily between two major cities, rising costs would be bad news for lots of families in and around Manchester. We’ve already seen prices rise considerably in areas such as Chorlton and Didsbury as more people are moving up from London for jobs in Media City, for example, and this trend could well continue in other parts of the city.”

Laura Holden: “I’m worried the HS2 project will see train fares rise in general all over the UK. As well as paying a premium for the Yorkshire or North West route to and from London, it could result in costs rising for local rail journeys too.  There are a lot of people whose homes and/or businesses will be impacted as a result of the HS2 route and I hope they’ll be reimbursed fairly for the upheaval. Overall, I’d prefer to see the money invested in helping education and the NHS.”

Christy Milmine: “I think HS2 will be good for Manchester. It won’t just open up the north to London, but to the rest of the world too – we’ll have easier access to the Eurostar and the London airports with lots more direct flights than what we currently have access to. It could also lead to a property boom in Manchester and the north as more people could move here from all over the country for the better transport links and infrastructure. I think that’s great if you’ve already bought property in or around Manchester but if you’re trying to get on the property ladder it could become even more of a struggle.”

What do you think of the HS2 high speed rail link? We’d love to hear your opinion!



Tagged with: Construction, Debate, HS2, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West

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Solid foundations? Prefab homes and the housing crisis

Britain’s housing crisis has been building over the past decade. It’s no secret that a lack of affordable housing and the increasing size of deposits required has resulted in rising levels of temporary accommodation, as well as a market where home ownership remains out of reach for millions.

As a prospective first time buyer and reluctant member of “Generation Rent”, considering how to get on to the housing ladder is daunting to say the least. So, naturally, discussions this week about the Government’s plans to build 100,000 modern prefab homes piqued my interest.

First created in the post-war era to bridge the shortage of housing after World War Two, the original prefab homes were hampered by quality issues. Quickly constructed, they offered a lifeline for many displaced families, but were designed to last no more than ten years and thus provided only a short-term fix.

This week’s announcement has been at odds with these long-standing perceptions of so-called “ready-made homes”, repositioning them as a potential long-term solution for the UK’s modern day housing crisis.

So, is the plan built on solid foundations or will it all come tumbling down?

A recent report by the homelessness charity, Shelter, forecasted that the Government will miss its target of one million homes by 2020, with a predicted shortfall of 266,000 and a new solution required. Enter stage right, prefab housing.

This new generation of modern homes takes on a whole new design and manufacturing model. While they are still in a ready-made format – produced in factories and constructed on site – improvements in technology mean that quality is no longer a limitation. Modular design enables designers to work off-site and use new technologies that keep quality, and the end user’s needs, in sight.

Let’s take an example of this approach in action. Property innovator, Urban Splash, has recently unveiled its Manchester-based Irwell Riverside house development, offering prospective buyers autonomy over their living space. Marketing itself with the slogan “offering space not rooms” is very astute; people first decide how many square feet they require and then how to use the space. For example, if a tenant wants their kitchen on the top floor and an open plan environment, this can be easily factored in thanks to the flexible modular design. Urban Splash has won awards for its innovative approach and it appears that the powers that be are taking note.

As well as more control over design decisions and increased flexibility, modern prefabs offer another key advantage for the Government’s house building initiatives: speed. With the manufacturing process generally taking between 12 and 14 days, and then a further ten to 12 days to construct on site, prefab homes offer the kind of turnaround that traditional house building could only dream of.

With 2020 fast approaching and the housing crisis deepening, prefabs could be the solution that the country so desperately needs.







Tagged with: building, Built Environment, Construction, homes, houses, Manchester, Marketing, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, prefab, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Exactly how hard has the Brexit vote hit the construction industry?

It’s been over four months since the British public headed to the polling stations to cast their vote on EU membership. Having worked in Refresh PR’s B2B team for a year now, my vote in the referendum wasn’t one that would solely affect my personal circumstances. We specialise in construction and the built environment, so a great deal of time pre-vote was spent speaking with our clients about how a ‘leave’ result might impact their company.


There was of course uncertainty around how it could potentially affect our business, too.


This was thanks, in large part, to the media but also the undeniable – and well publicised - reliance on our EU membership to bring materials, contracts and tradesmen to the UK. Four months down the line, and the headlines are no less confusing. Some claim businesses are booming, while others are apparently facing an uphill struggle to survive and continue securing business.


Only last week news emerged of Travis Perkins, one of the UK’s leading construction merchants, having to close 30 stores and lose 600 jobs as a pre-emptive measure in anticipation of ‘an uncertain UK outlook in 2017’.

Similarly, last week Telford-based rail freight firm DB Cargo announced redundancy consultations on 893 jobs throughout the UK. The company made significant losses during 2015, long before the EU vote, but has said: “Since the Brexit result, investment decisions relating to major construction and infrastructure projects have been delayed, or cancelled in some instances, meaning some of our construction customers are reviewing their future demand for transport of materials.” The more you read, the more worrying it sounds.

According to the Office for National Statistics, construction output dropped 1.5 per cent in August, putting the sector on course for its worst quarter in four years. However, experts insist the figures are in absolutely no way related to the Brexit vote.

Indeed, t
he October edition of the Economic & Construction Market Review from industry analysts Barbour ABI, revealed the residential sector played a prominent role in stabilising construction figures during September. House prices are stable and mortgages are lower than ever, collectively playing a big impact on sector contracts, which reached £5.6bn in September.

Performing similarly well is the hotel, leisure and sport industry, with construction contracts in the sector valuing over £500m – 99 per cent higher than a year ago.

So what is the truth, and what do the people working in the industry have to say about it all? A survey undertaken by merchants Gibbs & Dandy with builders, joiners, electricians, plumbers, and painters and decorators revealed more than two thirds (69.5 per cent) are optimistic about the future, while only 12 per cent are pessimistic. Furthermore, 14 per cent have seen an increase in work, while 84 per cent reported that their workload is about the same as before the vote.

Is it purely a cautious attitude and scaremongering media that’s dampening outlook within the sector?

Comfort surely came for many this weekend in the form of positive forecasts, which show the British economy as a whole is performing better than predicted in the immediate aftermath of the vote. GDP was expected to grow by 1.8 per cent in 2016, but has been so resilient experts instead anticipate growth of 1.9 per cent. Similarly, wage growth is expected to stay steady at 2.4 per cent until at least the end of 2017.   

With Prime Minister Theresa May last week demanding the UK continues to play a full role in the EU and its decision-making until we officially leave, it’s up to construction experts to seize the opportunity and these more positive forecasts, and – during what could turn into a two-year charade – use the time we have today to start protecting the future of their business. The construction industry really is stronger together.





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Refresh captures the best view in Britain


September saw our ‘Window with a View’ campaign with the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) come to an exciting conclusion – and with phenomenal results.

Having launched its consumer advice site in September 2015, the GGF came to us in December looking for ways to raise awareness of the new brand. Its aim was to drive 100,000 consumers to the website by October 2016.

Understanding that visual and interactive campaigns are leading the way in the press and on social media, we devised the ‘Window with a View’; a competition to find the country’s most stunning view through a window.

Since January, we’ve been reaching out to the nation’s tourism attractions, hotels, bars and restaurants – anywhere open to the general public – via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, in the press and even over the phone, encouraging people enter a snap of their best window view to the competition.

We received 150 nominations – including entries from the Houses of Parliament, Titanic Belfast, St Paul’s Cathedral, Blackpool Tower and Blackpool Tower – and the competition made the news in every corner of the UK, on TV, in print and – crucially – online. Web coverage was key throughout the campaign, providing opportunity to link back to the site, taking us ever closer to that 100,000 visitors target.

Following an intense judging day, two stages of public voting and an anxious wait to find out which attraction would take the national crown, the Museum of Liverpool was announced as the first ever winner of the Window with a View competition live on BBC Radio Merseyside’s breakfast show at the end of September.

The following week, we were over the moon to hear the news that the 100,000 visitors target had not only been achieved, but exceeded. It just goes to show a well-thought out strategy with a dedicated team behind it can result in great things.

Plans are already in place to launch Year Two in 2017, so watch this space!


Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Facebook, Home Interest, Lifestyle, Marketing, PR, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media

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Refresh PR shortlisted for three Northern Marketing Awards 2016

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve been shortlisted for three of Prolific North’s Northern Marketing Awards 2016!Northern Marketing Awards Refresh PR


Our work for the Food Porn Awards and Heating Installer of the Year Awards has been shortlisted for the Best Food and Drink Campaign and Best Property and Construction Campaign respectively, and we’ve also been shortlisted for the Best Small Agency in the North (up to 30 employees).


Over the last seven years, we’ve worked hard to tailor our offering to our clients across the B2B and B2C sectors to ensure they get the most out of their communications and marketing campaigns. By combining strategic marketing insights with creativity, we pride ourselves on developing and implementing powerful, integrated campaigns that help business cut through the noise and be noticed.


The team in the office this morning is over the moon to hear about the shortlists – and it really is testament to their hard work, passion and expertise. You can find out more about our Food Porn Awards and Heating Installer of the Year Awards integrated marketing campaigns on our blog, and we’ll let you know how we get on at the awards ceremony in October.   



Tagged with: awards, Construction, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Refresh PR drives away with insureTAXI brief

Refresh PR has been appointed by the UK’s largest taxi insurance broker, insureTAXI, to create and implement a PR campaign to boost brand awareness and increase the company’s presence online.


We will work closely with insureTAXI, part of The County Group, to generate headline grabbing news stories and creative content, targeted at national and regional news sites. Part of this activity will see research commissioned to investigate the working habits, attitudes and opinions of taxi drivers. Our team will also build relationships with educational institutes and local councils as a further way to raise awareness of the insureTAXI brand, and boost online engagement.


We have years of experience delivering effective SEO-boosting PR campaigns for clients, and working with such a reputable company in an industry with such diverse topics is a great opportunity for us to produce some really outstanding online content.


More and more businesses are approaching us to help them become more visible online. By understanding the media and not only tapping into but creating the news agenda, thereby getting the client in front of new audiences, creating a buzz and driving traffic to their website.


We can’t wait to get started – watch this space!

Tagged with: Construction, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Refresh PR Builds For The Future With Interior Architecture Firm

Refresh PR has been appointed by leading interior architecture and furniture, fittings and equipment (FFE) consultancy SpaceZero to increase brand awareness as part of the business’ ambitious national and international expansion plans.

With specialist knowledge and experience in the education sector, SpaceZero has delivered more than 200 education projects, along with exciting, effective spaces for clients in the healthcare, commercial and leisure sectors.

Our team has been working with SpaceZero to implement a creative and comprehensive communications strategy, to reinforce and enhance its successes in the education sector and to build the brand in other areas, particularly healthcare. We have also been raising the profile of key spokespeople within the firm, organising speaking opportunities at relevant events, such as May’s Design in Mental Health conference.

SpaceZero has a clear vision of where it wants to go, and we are delighted to be on board and working with such a progressive, forward thinking company.

Tagged with: Construction, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, SpaceZero

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The inaugural Heating Installer of the Year Awards

The team at Refresh PR prides itself on being able to come up with innovative and creative campaigns that bring a new buzz and fresh talking points into industries that are more traditional in nature.  


So last year when our client Continental Underfloor tasked us with developing a campaign that would shine a spotlight on the heating industry’s unrecognised champions, it didn’t take long for us to think up the Heating Installer of the Year Awards. Designed to improve the credibility and reputation of tradespeople, and overturn any negative perceptions of the industry, Heating Installer – or HIOTY as it’s become known in the Refresh office – launched officially in November 2015, inviting installers from across the country to enter and shout about the excellent service they deliver.


In the months following, we worked relentlessly as an agency to unearth heating installers from every corner of the UK who go above and beyond for their clients as a given, working to fit energy efficient heating systems that are environmentally friendly and reduce customer bills.

 Refresh PR Award

Our official sponsors – Continental Underfloor, Vaillant, Adey, Graham the Plumbers’ Merchant, Daikin and media partner Installer Magazine – supported us along the way, contacting their databases of customers and encouraging them to enter until March, when our panel of expert judges met to choose eight regional winners.


It was at this point we realised how big a deal HIOTY was to those who had entered. When we called the eight regional winners to give them the good news, each was thrilled beyond belief. They began making plans as to how they could share the news in their local communities, and we provided advice on how they could use their social media channels to further boost their profile across their region and encourage voting in the national heat.


So for six weeks, our installers (and the Refresh team) hammered Twitter and Facebook, while we liaised with our regional press contacts to get their names in the headlines.


At the end of April, the online voting system closed and – while no-one knew who it might be – the national winner had been decided.


Months of hard work and anticipation culminated on May 11th, when our regional finalists gathered at industry trade show Installer2016, where they would find out the national winner. Refresh PR had worked with Installer2016 organisers to ensure the stage was set for the big reveal, briefed the installers on what to do should they be announced the winner, and had our fingers poised to post the news on the HIOTY social media channels as soon as Chris Ingram, founder of head sponsor Continental Underfloor, announced the winner in front of the packed crowd.


And so it was to be that Dennis Hollingworth of Hollingworth Heating Limited, Stockport, took the national crown – and well deserved it was. Dennis took a large majority of the overall vote, being recognised for his sterling service and ability to install complex solutions that made his customers’ homes warmer and more energy efficient.


Not only this, but the hard-working team at Refresh PR has been shortlisted for an award the 2016 CIPR PRide Awards too!








Tagged with: Construction, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, PRide Awards, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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The FIT Show 2016

This week, the biggest trade exhibition for the window, door and conservatory industry was held at the International Centre in Telford. With manufPR agency Manchesteracturers, suppliers and installers showing off hundreds of new products and services from their stands spanning across three halls, it was clear that many of the exhibitors had gone all out with this year’s event. One of the stands was set up to look like a the coffee shop in the US sitcom Friends, another one was pop art-inspired, and there were even some Only Fools and Horses lookalikes!


We went on the last day of the event to visit our client The Glass and Glazing Federation, who had two seminar slots – one looking at consumer issues and the other one unveiling the new energy saving calculator.


During the first seminar, the GGF’s director of home improvement Brian Smith introduced the audience to the GGF’s new and revised Consumer Code of Practice, which takes into account new consumer legislation and has been approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute. Covering sales, surveys, products, installation and the guarantee, the code of practice outlines how GGF members should work and deal with consumers and outlines the benefits of using a GGF member to homeowners.


In the second seminar, GGF technical officer Micky Sulston introduced the attendees to the brand new energy saving calculator, which enables homeowners to work out approximately how much they could potentially save on their energy bills if they upgraded their windows with modern, energy efficient glazing. Micky gave a live demonstration of the new online tool, which can be found on the consumer-facing website, and it’s user friendly, looks great and helps you to understand how new windows could benefit your home, your bank balance and the environment!




Tagged with: Construction, fabricator and installer, FIT show, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Get snappy, UK!

Here at Refresh PR we love a good visual campaign. A few of us in the office are constantly testing out our photography talents (jaunty angles, abstract and meaningful images – you know the drill) and sharing them on social media with the hope of receiving umpteen likes to gratify our self-taught skills with the lens (find good and bad attempts by searching ‘refreshpr’ on Instagram).


That’s why when we began our PR campaign for The Glass and Glazing Federation, which wanted to run a campaign to raise awareness of the new consumer-facing website, along with the benefits of modern, energy efficient glazing, we devised a photo-led, visually-engaging social media competition. We knew that not only would it put the public’s (and our) photography skills to the test, but it would also get the nation thinking about the importance of using window frames and modern efficient glass to keep a home warm, bills low and views clear.

 Window with a View

And so ‘Window with a View’ was born. In a nutshell, the competition asks for those visiting or working from businesses or locations that are open to the public to enter a photograph of a window boasting a great view. It could be anywhere; from a theme park or golf club, to a derelict cottage in the highlands or restaurant in a city centre – it’s up to you, and we can’t wait to see your images!


Once your photo is submitted it’ll be judged by a panel of pros, who will select the four best photos submitted in 12 areas across the UK. After that, it’s your turn to get involved again, as the images will be open to a public vote, determining the 12 area winners. These will then go into the national heat, competing to be crowned the UK’s Best Window with a View.


Now we don’t mean to burst any bubbles, but there are some rules. Yes it’s 2016 and yes we’re all filter-happy – but to count the photos submitted must be the originals. The location of the photo must be somewhere that’s open to the public (people and car registrations must be unidentifiable) and – here’s the biggy – at least some of the window frame MUST be in shot. 


Whether you’re a traditionalist with a Canon EOS, or you use your smartphone to snap images, it can’t be denied we’re living in an age where photo sharing is rife – so if you’re out and about over the next few weeks and spot an amazing ‘Window with a View’, test out your photo flair and submit the entry at





Tagged with: , #WWAV, Construction, Glass and Glazing PR, Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Window with a View

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Refresh PR wins at the 2013 Construction Marketing Awards


We're delighted to announce that we took home the award for ‘Best Use of Press and Public Relations’ at this year's national Construction Marketing Awards 2013.


The award recognises the success of our campaign to launch and raise brand awareness for Polypipe Home Solutions, a consumer-facing offering from international manufacturer, Polypipe.


Judges were impressed with our implementation of an ongoing creative strategy, which saw sustained results secured on TV, across the national consumer media and online.


Refresh PR CMA awards Polypipe


The UK-wide Construction Marketing Awards, which were held at the Radisson Blu Portman Hotel, London, recognise national marketing excellence across the built environment sector.


Our client, Polypipe, also reigned victorious in a further category, after being named ‘Marketing Team of the Year’.


To find out more about our award win, follow us on Twitter: @RefreshPR.



Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Manchester, PR, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations

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Refresh PR constructs a campaign worthy of a national award shortlist

Manchester’s Refresh PR will compete against three other PR teams at the national Construction Marketing Awards in December, having been shortlisted in the ‘Best Use of Press and Public Relations’ category for the second year running. Organised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Construction Group, Refresh PR is the only North West-based PR agency shortlisted for the PR award.

Refresh PR’s nomination acknowledges the success of the agency’s campaign to launch and raise brand awareness for Polypipe Home Solutions, a consumer-facing offering from international manufacturer, Polypipe.

Following an extensive audience analysis and media audit, Refresh PR developed and implemented an ongoing creative strategy which saw sustained results secured on TV, across the national consumer media and online.

Speaking about the agency’s nomination, Refresh PR’s managing director, Laura Mashiter, said: “It’s been an incredibly tough few years for the construction industry.  As the situation improves, companies will need to do even more to stand out from the competition. PR activity needs to be creative, engaging, on message and importantly demonstrate ROI – all of which our campaign delivered. Being recognised in this category for the second year running firmly cements Refresh PR’s position as an expert within this sector.”

The Construction Marketing Awards, which seek to recognise national marketing excellence across the built environment sector, will take place on 5th December in London.


For further information on Refresh PR, visit or call 0161 8711 188.

Tagged with: awards, Best Use of Press and Public Relations, Built Environment, Chartered Institute of Marketing, CMA, Construction, Construction Marketing Awards, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Refresh PR

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Britain’s oldest building site unearthed in Berkshire

Think of building sites and you’ll probably think of the modern ones we see in big cities today such as The Shard or Gherkin  -  masses of steel, hard hats, high-vis jackets and maybe the odd wolf whistle if you’re lucky. You probably don’t think that large scale construction projects were attempted in pre-industrial days 5,700 years ago.

However archaeologists think they’ve found just that, a construction site which was put up in 3700BC in Cemex’s Kingsmead Quarry, Berkshire. That makes the remains of the buildings older than Stonehenge!

The site would have consisted of four houses made of timber with the largest measuring 15x7 metres. Quite an impressive feat when you consider everything was built without large scale equipment. The timber materials which formed the walls have rotted away, but the foundations and examples of pottery and even leftover food remain.

It’s unlikely the hunter-gatherers who might have lived in these buildings thought about creating eco-friendly residences; but amazingly that’s what these houses are. Made of natural materials such as timber and weathering quite well in their five thousand year history, these buildings could also be the first example of green housing.

Much to my disappointment however, the houses wouldn’t have looked like the Flintstones’ rather chic residence with leopard print accessories. They would have had no windows and indoor smoking fires. I suppose the cavemen couldn’t have it all.

Tagged with: archaeological dig, archealogy, Berkshire, cavemen, Cemex, Construction, Kingsmead Quarry, Lifestyle, Manchester, neolithic, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations North West, settlement, Stonehenge, The Gherkin, The Shard

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Downing Street and North West developments win awards for sustainability

It’s not often that the Prime Minister is the recipient of an award (or praise of any kind for that matter – sorry Dave), so David Cameron must be particularly pleased with the news that Downing Street has been named Most-Sustainable In-Use Building by environment assessment group BREEAM.


BREEAM (the BRE Environmental Assessment Method) awarded the coalition’s headquarters the prize because of the building’s year on year efforts to become more sustainable.


These include ingeniously heating water via IT equipment, recycling 90% of construction waste into the building and cutting back electricity use by 13.5% by installing features such as motion detection lighting.


The building, which is over 300 years old, serves as an office to 152 people as well as being the official residence of the Prime Minister, Sam Cam and their children.


Downing Street wasn’t the only building honoured for its efforts; many of the winners were from the North West including a redevelopment of Victorian terraced houses in Salford, an industrial renovation in Wigan and the new Co-operative Building in Manchester.


Manchester can be proud to say that the Co-op’s office at One Angel Square is one of the most sustainable (and therefore green) buildings in Europe. And if there’s one thing Refresh PR loves its sustainability and being green.


Many of our clients provide sustainable solutions for the home (yes, it’s time for a massive plug, brace yourselves): Polypipe Home Solutions, Refresh conservatory roofs and Planitherm all offer sustainable solutions for the home, should you wish to follow the Prime Minister’s lead (sustainability wise, not texting kisses to former News Of The World editors obv).


All of the winners, including Downing Street, received their awards today at Ecobuild in London.




Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Ecobuild, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations North West

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We Are Recruiting

In case you've missed it on our news tab, we are recruiting.  If you're interested in a new challenge, read on.


We’re on the look out for experienced PR people to join Refresh PR.  In particular we’re searching for an account manager and account executive to join our ‘home’ PR team, which means working with trade and consumer clients who supply products for the home - from underfloor heating through to building materials.  


We want to boost our team at all levels.  We’d like to meet you if you:

·        Are a team player

·        Have experience of both consumer and trade PR – agency side. Sorry, we already have two great interns!

·        Are already an account manager with experience of managing clients

·        Can see a consumer PR angle and sell this to national consumer home journalists – and equally be confident drafting a trade feature

·        Have a great portfolio

·        Are keen to work on lots of projects and use lots of skills outside of the above ‘home’ remit - we're a growing agency and you could be helping with new business by day three!  In any sector that is!

·        Want to progress

·        Are as enthusiastic and passionate as we are


Execs will get a clear chance to progress and managers will get the responsibility and room to develop to account director level, should they choose.


Start date is asap.  Please get in contact with us - laura at - for more information and with your CV.

Tagged with: Built Environment, CIPR , Construction, Home Interest, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Can we fix it? Yes we can: Why we need Home Improvement Blogs

What do you do when you’re not sure what tiles to lay in your new bathroom, or which type of shelving unit to install? You may pop down to B&Q and ask them what you should do, or may do a quick Google search to try and find an answer. Ever increasingly, you will find that a Google search will lead you to home improvement and DIY blog posts about your problem of choice. Be it top tips, Q&As, DIY projects or guest blogs about specific products; home improvement blogs have more of a role to play now than ever before. Blogs can be run by tradesman, who know their industry inside out and can provide you with inside knowledge without having to cough up for it, or by brave folk who may be undergoing a huge renovation and letting everyone know the dos and don’ts of a big project.

The fact is that a home improvement blog provides you, as a consumer, with better and impartial knowledge of the products out there and the amount of blogs out there is only increasing. The popularity of DIY blogs is on the up as the housing market struggles; many property oweners are opting to improve rather than move, and often undertake work themselves. Seeking free help from online experts has been the answer for many residents across the UK.

So, whether you’re nosey and want to check out other people’s projects or need top tips for your own project, be sure to check some home improvement blogs out!

Here are some of the UK’s top home improvement blogs that have hit the nail on the head:

Top Home Improvement Blogs:

1. UK Home Improvement Blog: for tips on green living, information on alternative products and articles ranging from conservatories to plumbing and power tools, UK Home Improvement Blog covers all areas, and includes guest blogs. There’s something for all you DIY-ers.

2. Homebuilding & Renovating Blog: for real life project blogs from self-builders and renovators. You'll also find news, views and comments from the Editors and Experts behind Homebuilding & Renovating magazine.

3. Home Improvement 101: With 15 categories to choose from, this blog has everything you need in home improvement from roofing to flooring and home decoration.

4. UK Building and Construction: specialising in DIY and home improvements, this blog gives you hints, tips and advice on the construction world, and with the potential of guest blogging, it welcomes anyone who wants to share their DIY experiences of their own.

5. You? There’s nothing to stop anyone starting up a home improvement blog – so, if it is something that interests you, get involved!


Tagged with: Blog, Construction, DIY, Home Improvement, Home Interest, Social Media

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Bring a conservatory alive with a new glass roof!

Refresh Glass site visit – November 2012

Last week I went on a site visit to see some work being carried out on a conservatory in a home in Gateacre, a pretty area just outside of Liverpool. I went to see a new conservatory roof being fitted by our newest client – Refresh Glass, manufacturers of replacement glass roofs for conservatories.

Refresh Glass conservatory roofs are fitted in place of those not so effective plastic polycarbonate conservatory roofs commonly found on the majority of conservatories in homes across the country.

The semi-detached property I visited in Gateacre was owned by the Taylors, a retired couple who were keen to improve their home and reinvigorate their lifeless conservatory, situated to the rear of the property and overlooking their pretty, well maintained back garden full of flowers and plants.

The Taylors have a common conservatory story that is shared with many homeowners across the UK – their conservatory was not in use as much as they’d like it to be as it never really felt comfortable enough to sit in – generally feeling a bit too cold in winter and often overheating in summer months.

You might be surprised to learn that in the UK alone there are over 3.5 million homes with conservatories.  Despite good intentions, the conservatory is very often the least used room within a home. And I can tell you why this is. It’s largely due to the fact that like the Taylors, many of these out-of-use conservatories have been fitted with plastic polycarbonate roofs, which are, quite frankly, both inefficient and unsightly.

Although plastic polycarbonate roofs for conservatories are light, low cost and durable, they do the conservatory roof no favours when it comes to staying clean, reducing noise caused by rain, and controlling the temperature inside the conservatory.  Plastic polycarbonate roofs are a reason for making a conservatory an uncomfortable place to relax in, whatever time of year it is.

Refresh Glass conservatory roofs offer a clever and practical solution to all of these problems – and they are set to drastically improve the performance of a conservatory roof and transform a conservatory like the Taylor’s into a comfortable room to relax in. The recent availability of new Refresh Glass could not be timed any better either; as the housing market struggles, many property owners are opting to improve rather than move so the chance to create a new space in a home with minimal fuss and maximum results is an appealing one.  

This new glazing concept for conservatory roofs has been made possible due to advancements in the manufacturing process of glass. New Refresh Glass conservatory roofs work well in place of old plastic polycarbonate roofs because Refresh Glass has a special, invisible metal oxide coating on it, which gives it a perfect balance of solar control properties (reflects heat away) and thermal insulation properties (retains more radiated heat within a room).

The invisible metal oxide coating within this roof glass means it is able to reflect up to 78% of the heat from the sun away. The clever glass is also able to retain radiated heat within the room due to the roof glass having a centre pane u-value of 1.0, an impressive measurement that means Refresh Glass conservatory roofs are extremely thermally efficient.

As I mentioned earlier, plastic polycarbonate roofs are also unsightly. And this is because they are not as clear as glass roofs and they are also inherently difficult to clean, often building up with green mould over the years that can be difficult to remove.

Refresh Glass conservatory roofs tackle this issue with a built-in self-cleaning function. This reacts with natural daylight to break down dirt and rainwater then washes the dirt away, helping to keep the glass cleaner for longer.

A Refresh Glass conservatory roof also offers a far clearer view of up above than a plastic polycarbonate roof, helping to make a conservatory a brighter, lighter space, something that is due to the special aqua-tint of the glass.

The Refresh Glass conservatory roof installer was at the Taylor’s property for just over a day before the conservatory roof had been replaced and the space had been totally transformed, which is a pretty speedy turnaround.

The Taylors were delighted with the result and are looking forward to eating Christmas dinner in their conservatory this year.  The before and after pictures (below) speak for themselves.

Tagged with: conservatory, Construction, cool, extension, glass roof, Home Interest, Lifestyle, new home, Silver Surfers, warm

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Airport City: we’re excited, are you?

Refresh PR has been out and about networking a lot over the past few weeks.  From Women in Business events to the CIM Manchester’s Building Credibility in the Boardroom talk, we’ve been hearing about the amount of optimism out there at the moment in Manchester.


One talk that has got our tongues wagging in the office is a presentation about Manchester’s Airport City, which we watched while at the CIM Construction Industry Group’s Northern Conference. 


In recent years airports have had to diversify to generate income; with an increase in taxes on aviation and fuel prices, plus an increased need for security, the profit per person has been in decline.  So through car parking, retail and accommodation, airports have been able to re-address this balance and build new areas of profit into their business plans. 


Manchester Airport Group (MAG)’s biggest development plan is Airport City in Manchester.  It recognises that airports can be more than places that people use to travel.  That said, Manchester is the third busiest airport in the UK and flies to over 200 destinations (more than Heathrow).


So, what’s Airport City?


More than 80 Airport Cities have been built across the globe in the last 10 years.  Hong Kong, Singapore and Memphis are three examples.  Airport Cities consist of retail malls (which, we’ll be honest, is what really got our attention), conference centres, warehousing and logistics, office space, hotels, advanced manufacturing sites – and basically create areas for people to live, work and play.  Manchester’s Airport City will compete with Amsterdam, Barcelona and Frankfurt.


Airport City will reach out to international companies needing international access quickly.  These include graduates and entrepreneurs as well as those working in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, R&D, pharmaceuticals, professional services, IT, retail and leisure and hotel and conferencing.  The enterprise zone will offer tax breaks. 


·        Location: Land adjacent to Wythenshawe is being developed, which is situated between Jn5 and Jn6 of M56 over 4m sq feet of land.  It will take 15 years to complete and will cost £650m to build, becoming the best connected business destination in the world

·        Transport:  Links will be via train, bus and coach, plus via the Metrolink in 2016 which will go through various stops in Wythenshawe on the way into the city centre

·        Jobs: The airport employs around 19,000 workers, mainly from the local community.  The expansion of Airport City will see more local jobs created for people from Wythenshawe and the surrounding areas


So all in all, a great move to boost Manchester’s economy, create jobs and make us our city an even more desirable destination to visit than ever before – we’ll be up from seventh in no time!  Watch You Tube for more information: and



Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Leisure, Manchester, Manchester Airport, Marketing, Networking Event, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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What's the big deal about being green?

Being green is now what smoking was in the 50’s - fashionable and good for you. In the professional circles I’ve found myself mixing in over the course of my career in PR, the words ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ have come to be what I like to call buzz words. Truth is, if you’re an organisation working in the built environment, you’ll not fare well if you cannot communicate effectively that you and / or your products are green and sustainable.

PR Agency Manchester SmokingImagine Mrs Smith’s reaction when she realises that the windows you are trying to sell to her are not energy efficient – which will happen after she’s read about Planitherm’s superior energy efficient windows (in an article I wrote about the product being green and sustainable). She’ll evidently opt for Planitherm over your product – because the product is green and good for her. Plus, she’ll be that little bit more fashionable than that Mrs Jones from across the road, whose husband won’t let her have new windows. Result.


Plug over, it must be said that these days we’re constantly reading about changes in legislation and standards that practically force everyone to think more seriously about how green we are.

Legislation, that is, such as changes to Building Regs and standards like The Code for Sustainable Homes. As one speaker told the audience at a green seminar I recently attended at Grand Designs Live “we've only got one shot at this”.


Further to this, last week I attended the inaugural Build It Awards with my client, Polypipe (who was nominated for Best Heating & Plumbing Product for Overlay Lite). The event was hosted at the National Selfbuild and Renovation Centre in Swindon, and from the outset it was clear that one thing was being celebrated over and above everything else – sustainability.


With the housing market still stagnant, and many people now sitting firmly in their properties waiting for an opportunity to sell, there’s a wider thought among us that we would be better off improving, not moving.


Here is an opportunity for companies working within the built environment – your audience is ready and waiting, now it’s time to communicate to them.


Construction doesn’t have to be conservative, it can be fashionable. Sustainability and green living are both hot topics, and more importantly people are receptive to it – they want to live it.


So, next time you sit down to discuss your marketing or PR strategy, think about the opportunities that are in front of you, because despite the constant news that construction is suppressed, it’s far from it. PR Agency Manchester Home


P.s - Just in case you’re wondering, Refresh PR is sustainable. We recycle our paper and I use the same cup for my copious amounts of coffee each day. I also think twice about printing my emails, opting to read them on the screen instead. See, sustainable.

Tagged with: Build It Awards, Built Environment, Construction, Green Living, Home Interest, Lifestyle, Manchester, Marketing, PR Agency Manchester, Smoking, Sustainability, The Green Deal

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Gary Neville’s tellytubby home gets the green light

Guest blog from Naomi Tan, work experience (17th - 21st Sept 2012)


Despite being given permission for his 127ft wind turbine to be built here in the North West, ex-footballer Gary Neville has scrapped the idea – which should appease his neighbours - and will now use a ground source heat pump, rainwater harvesting and photovoltaic cells (these turn light energy directly into electricity) to keep his house ‘green’.  With clients like Polypipe Home Solutions, this is right up Refresh PR’s street.

Although Mr Neville got rid of the wind turbine his house will still be eco-friendly and he will still be raising awareness, after all he’s a famous footballer. His decision to have an eco-friendly house may encourage other people to do the same, although not to that extent, so his ‘green’ house may help the environment more than he intended as others may be inspired to help too.

Gary Neville’s house will be the first carbon neutral house in the North West. It should now only take four to five months to build, and is smaller than the original plan (therefore takes up a smaller amount of land) it is also on two storeys instead of one. To avoid too much noise and disturbance, Neville plans for a lot of construction to take place off site.  He has also done work previously to help the environment as he is also the co-founder of sustainability in sport (SIS).

Gary Neville’s new plans have had fewer objections since he got rid of the wind turbine idea, so hopefully this updated plan will be successful. He will be speaking at a UK Green Building Council event tonight to give more information about his ‘teletubby house’, so to find out more, you will have to attend on Thursday 20th September!

Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Everyone’s heard of climate change, but are we ignoring it?

Guest blog by Naomi Tan, work experience (17th – 21st Sept)


Climate change is caused by many things such as pollution, deforestation, use of fossil fuels etc… Increasing levels of greenhouse gases trap heat from the sun, on earth, and prevent it being reflected back into space. This means the temperatures rise and the polar ice caps melt which leads to rising sea levels (which isn’t good for polar bears) and unfortunately means there could be more rain for Britain.

The ozone layer protects our planet from the sun’s harmful UV rays, however it is being damaged by things such as CFC’s (harmful chemicals which are found in aerosols) and as a result of this, half the ozone in the stratosphere has completely disappeared. To try to stop further damage to the ozone layer some CFCs are replaced with HFCs, however these are greenhouse gases which don’t help at all against climate change. Climate change has a lot of effects such as rising sea levels and change in temperature and weather.

So what are we doing to try and stop climate change? By 2020, 10% of fuel will be biofuel made from plants such as maize or sugarcane. Although this is better for the environment as the fuel is renewable and carbon zero, it also has bad effects for example causing hunger in other countries as the maize is used to fuel cars and not feed people.

Do your bit!

5 Top Tips to help save the planet:

·       Turn off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth. Leaving the tap running wastes up to 5 litres a minute. The water is just wasted and then has to be recycled and cleaned before it can go back to your taps. This process uses energy, and electricity which is produced when you burn fossil fuels. Burning these contributes to global warming.  

·       Turn off the lights when you leave a room or get energy saving light bulbs. This will reduce the amount of energy used, so could lower your energy bill significantly.

·       Turn your TV and computer off at night. Putting them on stand-by still uses energy, so if you turn them off at night you will save more energy and up to £30 a year.

·       Only fill the kettle with the amount of water necessary. Boiling the kettle uses a lot of energy, and the more water you put in, the more energy is needed to heat it and make it boil. This means that by only putting in the amount of water you need, you are using the minimum amount of energy required, which means you can save energy and money.

·       Have a quick shower instead of a bath. Having a bath uses on average 80 litres of water whereas a quick shower uses only around 30 litres.

(stats courtesy of Energy Saving Trust)

So, are you doing your bit?

Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Home Interest, Lifestyle, Manchester, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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The fruits of a sustained trade PR campaign come together

We’ve been working hard with construction and built environment journalists to secure some great coverage for client Spectus Window Systems.  A series of specifier-focused case studies have been produced, spanning the education, social housing and healthcare sectors, and we’re excited to be rolling these out in a planned calendar of exclusives with key magazines.  Building Products reported on Spectus' work at Campus House, Bradford this month, and Local Government News is running with another exciting project in its August issue.

All this translates to great PR coverage across the glass and glazing trade press, showing Spectus’ fabricators and installers the sheer range of applications of the PVC-U window profiles.  Along with some new product launches, it's been a busy few months.

Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Ecobuild day two: the competition is hotting up

Day two of Ecobuild is giving Rare Creative Group, Refresh PR's client, a chance to really show off the culmination of months of hard work.  Today Rare's client, Saint-Gobain Isover, will award the winner of the Isover Architectural Student Design Competition 2012.


This year’s competition sees architectural students from RIBA accredited university courses across the UK challenged to design a sustainable community for 12-15 families within the Trent Basin area of Nottingham, to the principles of the Isover Multi-Comfort House standard.


Isover has run this competition both nationally and internationally for a number of years, with the original UK stage run in partnership with the University of Nottingham, who embed the design challenge into the fourth year curriculum. Having been brought on board to manage and launch the highly successful national roll out of the competition in 2011, Rare was asked to refresh it for 2012. 


Rare's work began some months ago, initially by raising awareness with university lecturers and creating tutor packs and student entry information. From there the team encouraged entries by designing online tutorials, information and resource packs and even filming a live lecture on the challenge that had been set for the dedicated competition website that the team created at


Eight finalists, each consisting of up to three students, have their work displayed proudly on a stand that Rare designed for Isover at Ecobuild.  The stand features eye-catching graphics, which detail case studies that show how theory has been taken into reality using the Multi-Comfort House concept.  It also features a model, to scale, of the regeneration site in Nottingham and individual student team models of their regeneration scheme.


Today each team will be making a final presentation of their work to a prestigious judging panel, including Professor Wolfgang Feist, founder of the Passive House concept and the PassiveHaus Institut in Germany, before the winners are announced live on the Isover competition stand at Ecobuild, N230, at 3pm.


With cash prizes of up to £1000 on offer to the best three UK entries, plus a trip to represent the UK in the international finals in Bratislava in Slovakia up for grabs, it’s one not to miss today.  Watch from 3pm when the awards announcement will be streamed live on via media partner


Full details of the winners will also be posted to the Multi Comfort House site at

Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction

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Is The Green Deal the Real Deal?

On the opening day of Ecobuild 2012, in a jam packed seminar room, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change Greg Barker announced a string of adjustments to The Green Deal which is still on target to launch in Autumn 2012.                                   

Deregulating key parts of The Green Deal will make it easier for SMEs to compete, he argued, before outlining the changes which were announced for the first time at the show:


1.      The requirement to have a surety bond in place prior to accreditation has been removed, which will take away one obstacle for SMEs

2.      The requirement to provide an independent conciliation process has also been removed.  The Green Deal Ombudsman, a new entity, will deal with any complaints

3.      There will no longer be the need to provide warranties for the length of the life of the ‘measure’ installed.  No longer will a window or insulation need to provide a guarantee for its whole payback period, instead the Government will require a five year product warranty and 10 year building protection


Mr Barker reiterated that The Green Deal is not an extension of CERT or CESP funding, but rather a new initiative which will create a brand new market and breathe life into the industry.  Employment in the sector is set to double by 2015, he believes, as a result of The Green Deal measures.


With 26m homes leaking energy in the UK, it makes the nation one of the worst performing in Europe.  To retrofit all 26m homes is expected to take up to 20 years, and Mr Barker assured the room that The Green Deal was here to stay. 


He hinted at measures that will be included in The Green Deal listing heating, glazing, lighting, smart controls, microgeneration and even waste water systems and flue gas heat recovery.  Measures that actively cool as well as those that heat are included.  He also said that projects could be part financed under the scheme, provided the energy saving was greater than the finance charge for the green deal cash advance.


The good news is that when innovations are ready to launch, independents tests will take place and these will be added in to the Deal.  And there’s more good news for the six million homes with no double glazing, seven million with no heating controls and 16.5 million with no condensing boiler in the UK as energy companies will be obliged to help with fuel poverty and hard to finance initiatives such as solid wall insulation.


So, what’s clear is that there’s a £multi-million training pot, most of which will go on training installers about solid wall insulation, but part going on training advisors too.  A Green Deal provider’s guide will be issued shortly which will include a step by step guide on how to become a provider, and 10 regional events will take place nearer the time to launch the scheme and help businesses understand what they need to do to be part of The Green Deal.  Becoming an official provider, through a new BSI standard which will launch, will be central to opening up the mass of opportunities for SMEs and large firms alike.


Coming out of the talk was a great deal of optimism.  The Green Deal is set to help not only consumers and the nation’s carbon footprint but the economy too, providing much needed employment and training opportunities to thousands upon thousands.  The next six months will be important for all concerned.

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MediaCity UK – Opportunities Galore

Last week Refresh PR went along to an event organised by the CIM Manchester committee at MediaCity UK. The audience, both CIM members and non-member marketers from the region, went along to listen to Paul Newman’s talk and then take a tour round the awe inspiring site which is set to change the media landscape in Manchester forever.  Sponsored and filmed by WebVM – - the video of the event can be viewed here.


Some quick media facts that we gleaned from Paul’s talk:

·      The BBC currently has 1200 staff on site, which will increase to 2500 by end of move

·      Coronation Street is due to complete a whole new build of its famous cobbles, moving the whole team from its historic Quay Street site in the city centre to the modern MediaCity UK by June 2013

·      Question of Sport was one of the first programmes to be transmitted, and the first Match of the Day came from studio next door last Saturday night.  In December the BBC’s flagship  Sports Personality of the Year will come from MediaCity UK too

·      BBC Breakfast will begin to broadcast from the site next March, and Radio 5 Live and the children’s programmes are already mostly transferred   


Planning permission has been gained for a big screen on the piazza, to entertain the crowds day and night.  The huge screen can even broadcast different content on each side, meaning that any potential programme clashes of next year’s sporting events – from London 2012 and Euro 2012 to Wimbledon – can be avoided, and the big sceen will still cater for all tastes by streaming live content across the site. Of course, there’s also the opportunity for commercial user generated this space!



Student opportunities

What an opportunity for students at The University of Salford!  By January 2012, 1500 students and staff will be occupyingthe site, providing each and every one with access to the best broadcast technology in existence today.  Students will even share the same building as ITV staff. 


And for the people of Manchester?

Businesses have launched in a creative way on the site over the past year, most notably Booths which brought sheep down from Cumbria for a photoshoot – the unusual stunt certainly created news headlines!  The shop is open until 10pm every night to cater for workers and local people in Manchester.


Since the site opened many local people have been to visit and see the site for themselves – everyone is welcome. The Holiday Inn is well occupied during the week and weekends – and the site is going from strength to strength.  And did we mention there are 400 flats for sale on the site, all supplied with up to 100mb broadband at the owner’s fingertips?  Navigation around the site is easy and parking is available at The Lowry Outlet car park – why not go and have a look next time you’re visiting Salford Quays? 


Tagged with: Construction, Manchester, Marketing, Networking Event, North West , PR, Public Relations

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Girls on Film

Spectus Window Systems, one of Refresh PR’s clients, is launching an exciting new marketing campaign for its customers.  As part of the launSpectus Window Systems launches new marketing campaignch activity, marketing manager Joanna Plane prepared herself for the camera and took to the big screen today as she was interviewed by top industry online publication The Glazine.




With not one but two cameras on her, Joanna rose to the occasion and we’re very excited to be getting a sneak preview of the edit on Friday, before it goes live on on Tuesday. 

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Joanna will also be appearing with a specialist marketing column in Glass and Glazing Products magazine this month, so for top marketing tips why not visit the magazine online over the next month?  For more information visit









Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Manchester, Marketing, PR, Public Relations

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CIM event review: Creating one of Manchester’s greatest assets

Refresh PR went along to Manchester Airport’s Concorde Conference Centre recently for a very insightful Chartered Institute of Marketing networking event.  Situated just next to the runway, and housing a Concorde (pic to follow we hope!), the facility was a great venue to hold a conference – if you don’t mind the sound of planes taking off and landing every few minutes of course.


So, to start off, here are a few facts that you may not know:

·         19,000 people are employed at Manchester Airport

·         There’s 3,000m of runway serving the three terminals

·         The airport typically targets people in a 90 minute travel time radius with its marketing

·         There’s a brand new Escape Lounge in Terminal 1 (which we like the sound of a lot)

·         There are still opportunities for more carriers to fly from Manchester airport – even now it has capacity


After networking and lots of food, we sat down to listen to some of the marketing plans, strategy and tactics employed by one of Britain’s best airports.  What quickly became obvious is the massive marketing machine that sits behind its public face.   The airport certainly has a well thought out, and continually evolving, marketing strategy that considers every aspect of the customer experience.  So, whether it’s subtle lighting to subconsciously guide a traveller around the terminal (and into the shops) or the amount of research and feedback being constantly processed, everything revolves around making the customer centre stage, and ultimately making sure numbers come through the door. 


Understanding that the most visited page on its website is the flight tracking page, the airport has developed an iPhone app for people to check flights on the move.  Car park booking is now a lot easier over handhelds too – and as a major revenue generator for airports around the country it’s certainly worth the investment.  The car parks have been made much more visitor friendly, with green traffic lights above a space to indicate that it’s free, meaning those in a rush can easily see where the free spaces are – whilst trying to stick to the car park speed limit of course...


Twitter, which began as a discount/promotions newsfeed, became a major news source for customers and journalists during the ash cloud in April ’10.  Again, during the snow for the past two winters, the @manairport feed has been a way to communicate with travellers and those seeking the most up to date information.  It’s got nearly 17,000 followers and Sky News journalists are big fans.


While embracing social media has been a priority, it’s also great to see the airport sticking to tried and tested methods of marketing.  Local door drops to inform residents of changes and promotions are measured for success through visits to specific URLs, redemption of specific discount codes and the general uptake following an e-shot is tracked.  In addition, the team works in the Wythenshawe community (near to the airport) to support local initiatives to ensure the airport gives back to the community.


It was also interesting to hear about a new CRM package being implemented which means that when travelling through the airport, all passengers will soon be tracked and data on each visit recorded.  Those flying regularly will develop patterns of behaviour which will be highlighted on the system, from using the car park to purchases made inside the terminal, opening the door for specific discounts and more targeted campaigns.  Well, I’m hoping for the specific discounts anyway – must remember to hand over my boarding card when I buy a G&T! 


All in all, this was one of the best CIM events of the year so far – informative, interesting, well attended and useful for marketers to know what’s happening on their own doorstep.  More please!

Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Leisure, Manchester, Manchester Airport, Marketing, North West , PR, Retail

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Refresh PR visits the National Painting and Decorating Show 2010

Earlier today [Tuesday 9th November] Refresh PR ventured to the National Painting and Decorating Show at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry (see  As it is an industry that we have worked in for years, we were delighted to bump into the editors of both Professional Builder magazine and Professional Painter & Decorator (PP&D) magazine early on. 


After a quick catch up with both, we hit the exhibition armed with some very impressive goody bags containing some fab DIY items from a paint brush to a carpet cutter! We sought advice from as we look to style the new offices in Manchester and London – so all in all there really are no excuses now!  We did decline the chance to have a go at the Johnstone’s Paint kickertube and also on the Dulux Trade car racing game though. 


The show was very busy and the organisers obviously did a great job this year – great news for the industry and possibly indicating the sector is on the up once again.  And if the trip to Manchester City  FC tomorrow night (for the derby vs Man United) is as successful as our trip to Coventry City FC today, the Manchester half of Refresh PR will be delighted!

Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, PR, Public Relations

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BEST for Refresh PR

Recently the Refresh PR team headed down the motorway from Manchester to Birmingham NEC to attend BEST – the Built Environment Solutions & Technology exhibition aka Interbuild.


Having attended a seminar in the Low Carbon City area on meeting the 2050 Low Carbon Commitment (with Forum for the Future) we stayed for another talk on how the European standards on embodied carbon are changing from Jane Thornback of the Construction Products Association.


Feeling suitably empowered on the European standards and all things BREEAM we moved on to have a look round the show.  In GlassEx we got to catch up with old contacts at Glass Times and see DeWalt's hotly contested tradesman’s challenge. In BEST itself we spent quite a bit of time in the show bar – strictly for work reasons of course as there were rumours of a reaction to the corporate spending review from industry experts.


All in all it was a useful day out for Refresh PR – we caught up with trade journalists and contacts from the industry too.  We’ll wait to see how the show evolves for 2011.

Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, PR, Public Relations