Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction

Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction
Essential Skills - Communication
Level 2 for Construction Students
ES LEVEL 2 RESOURCE FOR CONSTRUCTION STUDENTS - AUGUST 2010
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
Essential Skills Communication for Construction Students
Essential Skills Communication Level 2 is an equivalent to GCSE band A-C. It is accepted by
Queen’s University and The University of Ulster.
At Level 2 you will do a project (Action-based Activity) on a subject you are interested in and will
take an exam (Desk Top Task) at the end of your course.
This resource will help you with the skills you will need to achieve your Level 2 in Communication.
Action-based Activity (Portfolio) guidance and an example portfolio is included.
Good Luck!
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
Acknowledgements
CITB-ConstructionSkills Northern Ireland who
had this resource published. Mark Byrne.
Alex Moorehead, Caylan Ellesmere, David
Burleigh, Ivor Caldwell, Roger McKee of South
Eastern Regional College, Lisburn Campus,
Dept for Built Environment, for their information
and advice on construction issues. Linda Duffy,
Maire McAnespie. Annette Dixon – Essential Skills
for ABA Guidance. Muriel Tafts marketing. Martin
Curran and Adam Curran for photographs used
in this publication.
Guidance for Using Resource
It is not intended that these materials should be
used as a fixed programme of learning but as a
resource which tutors can use to aid them in the
planning and delivery of programmes suited to the
needs of their particular groups of learners. It is
envisaged that tutors will bring their own ideas to
these materials and extend and enhance them in
order to keep activities refreshed and dynamic for
their learners.
Essential Skills tutors should ensure that they read
and understand the following DELNI publication
Aims
before they develop programmes: ESSENTIAL
It is intended that these vocationally contextualised SKILLS GOOD PRACTICE: THE ASSESSMENT
resources will support Essential Skills Literacy
PROCESS. DEL NI, July 2007. Available from
tutors in their efforts to make programmes for
www.essentialskillsni.com/articles
construction students vocationally relevant. This
resource should be used in the context of
All information in this resource is current and up to
appropriately planned and structured Essential
date at the time of printing (September 2010)
Skills programmes and should be used and
adapted appropriately within that context.
Author: Anne Curran
South Eastern Regional College
Disclaimer
The contents of this resource are fictional. No actual person, company, or event, is depicted.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
CONTENTS
READING
TASK NUMBER
PAGE NUMBER
1
2
3
4
5
7
19
24
25
26
6
7
8
9
10
11
TEXTS - PRESENTATIONAL FEATURES
READING AND SELECTING RELEVANT INFORMATION - SUMMARISING
SUMMARISING
FORMAL AND INFORMAL TEXTS
READING AND UNDERSTANDING SKIMMING, SCANNING & DETAILED READING
TYPES OF TEXTS - LINGUISTIC FEATURES
TYPES OF TEXTS - WRITING TO INSTRUCT
TYPES OF TEXTS - PERSUASIVE WRITING
ANALYSING A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE
READING IMAGES
PRACTICE FOR DESK TOP TASK - PART 1
31
36-38
39-43
44-47
48-50
51
Answer Section
56-70
WRITING
TASK NUMBER
PAGE NUMBER
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
SENTENCES
SIMPLE, COMPOUND AND COMPLEX SENTENCES
PUNCTUATION
APOSTROPHES
SUBJECT VERB AGREEMENT
VERB TENSES
SPELLING HOMOPHONES
PARAGRAPHS
MIND MAPPING
STRUCTURING AN EXTENDED TEXT RISK ASSESSMENT REPORT - EXCAVATION
PROOF READING AND REVISE WRITING FOR ACCURACY AND MEANING
WRITING AN EXTENDED TEXT - REPORT ON COMPANY
WRITING AN ESSAY / ARTICLE
FORMAL LETTER – LETTER OF COMPLAINT
72-79
80-81
82-96
97-105
106-107
108
109-117
118-126
127-128
129-130
Answer Section
148-162
11
12
13
14
131
132
133-140
141-147
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SPEAKING AND LISTENING
TASK NUMBER
PAGE NUMBER
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
SELECTING MAIN POINTS FOR A PURPOSE
DISCUSSION - PAIRS - CAREER PATH
GROUP DISCUSSION
RATE YOUR PERFORMANCE - GROUP DISCUSSION CHECKLIST
ONE MINUTE TALKS
RATE PRESENTATION PERFORMANCE - CHECKLIST
TOOL BOX TALKS - HEALTH & SAFETY
PRESENTATION - APPRENTICES IN THE DRAGON’S DEN
165
166-167
168-171
172
173
174
175
176-178
Answer Section
179
ACTION BASED ACTIVITY GUIDANCE
PAGE NUMBER
IDEAS FOR ACTION-BASED ACTIVITIES
RESEARCHING INFORMATION USING ICT
ESSENTIAL SKILLS ACTION-BASED ACTIVITY L2 GUIDANCE
MAKING NOTES
181-182
183-185
186
187
SAMPLE PORTFOLIO ACTION-BASED ACTIVITIES LEVEL 2
PAGE NUMBER
188-216
REFERENCES
PAGE NUMBER
USEFUL BOOKS AND WEBSITES
218
05
READING
Tasks and Answers
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 1
TEXTS - PRESENTATIONAL FEATURES
There are many different types of texts. A text may be written to inform, instruct, describe or
persuade. Texts are presented in different ways.
Types of Texts
Adverts
Newspaper Article
Phone text.
Stories
Newspapers
Letters
Notes
Lists
How Texts are Presented
Texts are presented in different ways:
Letters
Dear Mr Smith
I am writing in reply to your advertisement for a bench joiner, in today’s Belfast Telegraph.
I have just finished my apprenticeship and I am a fully qualified bench joiner specialising in kitchen
and office fitting.
Adverts
Flights
Snap up cheap flights to worldwide destinations with your favourite airlines.
Flights from £91pp
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 1
Newspapers
Broadsheet
Tabloid
Notes
Tools for Building Shed
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Wood preserver – buy (offer at B & Q – call on Thursday after work)
Wood drill bit set
Claw hammer – lent to Joe – text him.
Step ladder – pick up from Chris
Tape measure
Stanley knife
Rubber gloves and goggles
Driver drill bit set
Cordless power drill
Round nails
Sealant gun
Varnish brush
Spirit level
Phone Texts
Gr8 jb m8 ta
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 1
Business Cards
William Foster
Building
& Joinery
Contact William
Telephone: 02891787137
Mobile: 07877756910
www.wfosterbuilding.co.uk
•
•
•
•
•
•
Extensions
Sunrooms
Conservatories
Garages
New Builds
Conversions
COMMERCIAL / PRIVATE
www.wfosterbuilding.co.uk
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 1
PRESENTATIONAL DEVICES are sometimes used to present information and ideas.
They are written this way to have a particular effect on the reader.
Features of Presentational Devices
FEATURE
USE
Heading
To indicate main topic
Subheadings
Show new aspect of topic
Photographs
Illustrate aspects of the text by showing them in a visual way.
Diagrams and graphs
Bring information together in a more visual way.
Use of colour
Colour is attractive. Can be used to separate out certain aspects
of text. Can also be used to indicate a mood e.g. the colour red
is traditionally associated with danger.
Different print size
To separate out different information and to emphasise parts of text
Different types of font
To separate out different information
Bold print
To emphasise something
Bullet points
To list items or ideas within a text.
Numbering
To show order of ideas or information e.g. in written instructions.
Italics
To emphasise something.
Underlining
To emphasise something
Logo
Logos are a company brand and reassure customers they are
receiving best advice, service, product etc.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 1
Read the leaflet on how to lay a patio and see how many of the following presentational features the
writer has used.
PRESENTATIONAL
FEATURE
FEATURE IN
LEAFLET.
PRESENTATIONAL
FEATURE
Heading
4
Graphs
Subheadings
Logo
Diagrams
Bold print
Use of colour
Italics
Different size print
Bullet points
Different font types
Underlining
Unusual use of capital
or lowercase letters
Numbering
FEATURE
IN LEAFLET
Photographs
Now write a sentence or two on the presentation of the leaflet.
1. How colour is being used.
2. The effect of heading and subheadings.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 1
3. Why numbering and bullet points are used.
4. Is different print size or bold print being used? What for?
5. This is one of Homebase’s ‘How to…’ leaflets. Why is the company’s logo important
to the text?
6. Why are photographs and diagrams being used – rather than just more words?
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 2
READING AND SELECTING RELEVANT INFORMATION - SUMMARISING
You will often need to select the relevant points from either written or spoken information and
summarise it for the reader or listener.
When working on your project you will need to read and summarise two texts of 500 words or more.
What is Summarising?
A summary is a shorter description of a longer text or speech, which should be easy to read and to
understand. It contains all the relevant details of the original text/speech but includes none of the
facts, opinions or descriptions that are not relevant to the overall meaning of the original information.
For example, when filling in an application form or preparing a CV (Curriculum Vitae) for a job, you
would include only the information that is relevant to the job application. A CV is only one or two
pages long and the information you provide is a summary of your educational and work history,
achievements and experience. It will allow an employer to judge if you have the necessary
qualifications, training and skills for the job.
(Think about the difference between a CV - education and employment history - and an
autobiography - your life story - where you can write about all the various aspects of your life).
Do’s and Don’ts of Summarising a Text
Do
• Quickly skim read the original text to get the overall meaning. The title and subheadings can
provide clues.
• Reread the text again thoroughly to make sure that you understand its overall meaning.
• Look out for hidden meanings (positive / negative vocabulary etc).
• Find out the meaning of any unfamiliar words.
• Highlight or underline the main points of the text, leaving out any irrelevant information (details,
descriptions or opinions)
• It is helpful to bullet point these main points in order to make it easier to write your summary in
its proper sequence.
• Summarise by bringing the key points together in sentences and paragraphs, using proper
punctuation and grammar.
• Write summary in your own words (technical terms can be taken from the original text but do not
copy out sentences or paragrapghs).
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 2
• Include information provided by images if relevant to the overall meaning.
• Change direct speech into reported speech, e.g. “Sammy Wilson says, ‘I still think man-made
climate change is a con” would be changed to e.g. Sammy Wilson thinks we are not responsible
for climate change.
• Keep summary brief and easier to read than the original.
• READ OVER YOUR DRAFT TO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE CAPTURED THE OVERALL MEANING
OF THE ORIGINAL TEXT.
• ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR SOURCE / S. At the beginning or end of your summary give details of
the original text e.g. Source, title, author and date
Don’t
• Do not include any unnecessary detail that does not support the overall meaning of the text.
For example, when writing a report on a workplace accident, you would not include what the
weather was like that day unless it directly related to the cause of the accident e.g. slip caused
by frost or ice.
• Don’t just jot down rough notes – that is not a completed summary.
• Never just copy chunks from an original text.
• Include information descriptions or opinions that do not support the overall meaning of the text.
• DON’T FORGET TO READ OVER YOUR DRAFT TO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE CAPTURED THE
OVERALL MEANING OF THE ORIGINAL TEXT.
• DON’T FORGET TO ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR SOURCE / S
At the beginning or end of your summary give details of the original text e.g.
Source:
Title:
Author:
Date:
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 2
Example
STEP 1. Below is an original text. The main points have been highlighted in yellow.
Energy Conservation
When we use energy in factories or to heat our homes we contribute to the amount of
greenhouse gasses that are released into the atmosphere.
When greenhouse gasses are released into the atmosphere they cause global warming and
climate change. The government wants us to reduce the amount of energy we use in our
homes and factories. The government, through the Building Regulations, has now issued
guidelines to reduce the amount of energy used. The government wants us to increase the
amount of insulation within the walls of homes and factories. Walls are made up of mainly of
masonry, timber and glass.
102 words
Example
STEP 2. These are the main points selected from the original text and listed in bullet points.
Main Points of Article
• The energy we use causes global warming.
• The government has produced guidelines on reducing energy.
• The government wants an increase in wall insulation in homes and factories.
STEP 3. Here is the final summary. I have rewritten it in my own words. It is written in full
sentences and I have left out any unnecessary detail.
Summary
The government wants to reduce the amount of energy used to heat homes and factories in order
to reduce the amount of greenhouse emissions causing global warming. They have issued
guidelines that homes need to be better insulated in order to reduce greenhouse emissions.
44 Words
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 2
ACTIVITY
Now try this one
1. Building a Shed
When you buy the materials to build your shed make sure you have everything you need for the job.
There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a job and having to down tools and go to the
building suppliers (if they’re open) to buy things like screws, nails and so on, especially when you
thought they were to hand in the first place.
66 words
Main Point/s of Text
(in bullet points)
Summary of Text
Words
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 2
ACTIVITY
2. Now read and summarise the article ‘Design methods that take account of renewable
energy resources.’ (Page 29)
Main Point/s of Text
(in bullet points)
Source: CITB-ConstructionSkills Northern Ireland
Title: Design methods that take account of renewable energy sources.’
Author: A Reporter
Date: 26.05.10
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 3
SUMMARISING
Factors that Influence the Design Decision
You are writing an assignment on factors that influence design decisions. Summarise the following
information selecting only the information that is relevant to your purpose, context and audience.
Air Quality
Air quality needs to be considered as poorer quality of air can cause health and breathing
difficulties in the long term as well as some short term effects. This is important because I know
from first hand the problems of poor air quality. My grandmother had asthma and my sister takes
after her - not just in looks - she has asthma too and has been to hospital three or four times.
Also if a company’s emissions are to be the cause of the problem the company can be liable to
legal action. So less harmful emissions in the air is better all round for the company, environment
and the general public.
Ozone Layer
The ozone layer has also to be considered as greenhouse gasses such as CO” and CFC’s are
causing a harmful affect on it and the ozone layer is letting in some of the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Also heat is being trapped on top of this. I don’t know what all the fuss is about to be honest.
We could do with a bit more sun and heat in Ireland. Areas being affected by this are Antarctica
and Southern Chile because there is a hole in the ozone layer. The harmful greenhouse gases
are causing global warming which affects everyone.
Landscape / Preservation Orders
Landscape also influences the design decision as the landscape of the area you may plan to
build a project on may have preservation orders on them. I once lived in a house which had
a preservation order on it. It was over two hundred years old with thick walls and a narrow
driveway which was built for horses and not for cars. Preservation orders must be considered
before and during the construction project.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 4
FORMAL AND INFORMAL TEXTS
Using formal or informal language depends on the audience and purpose of a text.
Formal style is usually used for:
• Official correspondence e.g. letters to or from your company.
• Official documents and books that have been published.
• Corresponding with people you are not familiar with.
Informal style is normally used for:
• Speaking or writing to people we know well.
Say which of the following features is formal or informal.
Feature
Incomplete sentences
Complex sentences
No contractions
Slang
Short simple sentences
Easy words
Abbreviations e.g. gr8
Would the following be written in a formal or informal style?
Letter of application
An internal company memo
Email invitation to 18th birthday party
Letter of opinion to local newspaper
A mobile phone text to a friend
A holiday postcard
A post it to a family member
A company report
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 5
READING AND UNDERSTANDING SKIMMING, SCANNING & DETAILED READING
Skimming, Scanning and Detailed Reading
We skim read, scan read or read a text in detail depending on the information we want from the text.
This makes for efficient research. Often we need to use all three skills in order to make sense of a text.
Skim Reading
Skim reading a text is where you would read over the whole text quickly to get a general idea of what
it is about. For example, you might skim read a newspaper article or a story in a magazine in order to
get the gist of the story.
Scanning
Scanning a text is where you would look over a text to find specific information. For example, we scan
the yellow pages to find a decorator or a plumber. We would also scan dictionaries, glossaries,
calendars and so on to find specific information.
Detailed Reading
Often when we read it is important that we read every word. For example, when we read a set of
instructions it is important to make sure we do not leave anything out.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 5
SKIMMING, SCANNING AND DETAILED READING
ACTIVIY
1. Skim read the text below and, in just one or two sentences, say what the article is mainly
about.
2. Scan the text to find and list the sources of renewable energies discussed.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 5
Read the text in detail to answer the following questions. Please give your answers in complete
sentences.
3. What are renewable energies?
4. Why are renewable energies now favoured over fossil fuels?
5. How is biomass produced and what is it used for?
6. How does Brundtland define ‘sustainability?’
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 5
CITB-ConstructionSkills Northern Ireland
Design Methods that Take Account of Renewable Energy Resources
By A Reporter
26th May 2010
Building regulations and design methods must take account of renewable energy resources. Energy
is essential to almost everything we do, from heating our homes to sustaining industry. We have come
to rely on it in almost every aspect of our lives. Fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) are used to create
reasonably affordable energy but, unfortunately, the burning of fossil fuels releases vast amounts of
carbon dioxide (CO2) into the Earth’s atmosphere creating global warming. Fossil fuels are also not
sustainable. They will eventually run out.
Brundtland (Brundtland Commission 1983) defined sustainability as “Meeting the needs of the present
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.”
To ensure energy sources were available to future generations, sustainable sources needed to be
employed, and in 2003 the Energy White Paper outlined a long term strategic vision for energy policy.
It looked at environmental issues, social targets, competitiveness and security of supply.
The Energy White Paper promotes the take up of renewable sources. It commits the United Kingdom
to reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses by 60% by the year 2050. As 46% of carbon emissions
relate to building occupation the EU has issued a directive on energy rating for buildings and regional
building regulations have been revised.
There is now a shift towards energy sources and generation technologies that produce much less or
even no carbon. Renewable energy is created from resources that occur naturally in the environment.
These resources also occur repeatedly and so are renewed or replaced over a short period of time.
Types of Renewable Energy
Sunlight, Wind, Water, Sustainable Biomass, Waves, Tides and Geothermal sources are natural
processes that can be replenished over a relatively short period of time and are seen as inexhaustible
Wind Energy
This picture shows the wind turbine at Antrim Area Hospital.
In the first year in which it was installed this generating plant saved
the Hospital approximately £100 000 from its electricity costs.
This was about one fifth of the cost which was required to install
the turbine.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 5
Geothermal Ground Pumps
Ground source heat pumps are one of the most common types
of heat pumps. Typically a cold fluid at about 5 degrees Celsius is
circulated around a network of plastic pipes buried in the ground.
As the fluid passes through the pipe it absorbs heat energy from the
surrounding earth. The fluid returns to the heat pump slightly warmer
than it left. The heat pump upgrades the heat to a higher level of 40
to 50 degrees Celsius to provide heating in the home. This water
can then circulated round radiators, under floor heating pipes or
provide domestic hot water.
Solar Energy
Energy from the Sun can be harnessed to generate Electricity or heat
water. This photograph below shows the large solar panels on the
roof of the ECOS centre Ballymena. The energy from these panels
is used in the office building.
Biomass
Biomass is the harvesting of willow trees to supply fuel for central
heating using a specially adapted burner. The willow is grown in
short-rotation crop and is harvested every two to three years with
a specially adapted harvester. It can then be burned directly or
made into pellets which are more efficient
This type of willow crop can be seen growing at the ECOS centre
Ballymena
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 6
TYPES OF TEXTS - LINGUISTIC FEATURES
The type of text that is written depends on who it is being written for (the audience) and why the text
has been written (the purpose). You will need to become familiar with the features of different types of
text.
TYPES OF TEXT
FEATURES
Information
e.g. Newspaper
Article - Leaflet
Texts that provide information aim to be easy to read.
They may have:
Headings and subheadings - to show clearly the topic and aspect
of a topic in the paragraph
Paragraph length - shorter paragraphs make the text easier to read
Bullet points - show what the main points are
Underlining - to highlight important information
Bold print - catches the attention of the reader. Used for headings
and key words/phrases
Font Size - larger font size indicates more important information
Italics - to emphasize a point
Colour - catches attention of the reader. It also shows difference.
Instruction
Leaflet
The writer speaks directly to the reader
Instructions are in the proper order - often numbered.
Written in the present tense
Writer uses words that give orders - do / do not
Descriptive text
(e.g. stories,
adverts)
Aim: Texts that describe aim for you to imagine what they are
describing. They use:
Adjectives - used to describe nouns, e.g. ‘The views from the
holiday apartment were stunning.’
Verb - lashed
Adverbs - used to describe verbs e.g. ‘The waves lashed furiously
against the rocks.’
comparison
with moon
Comparisons - something is like something else e.g. ‘The moon
was like a huge silver ball in the sky,’
Five senses - to show how something looks, sounds, feels, smells
and tastes, e.g. The rain had the feel of cold metal against our faces.’
sense of touch
- ‘cold metal’
describes how
the wind felt
Noun - views
‘stunning’ adjective describes
the views
Adverb furiously describes
how waves
lashed
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 6
TYPES OF TEXT
FEATURES
Persuasive Texts
(e.g. advertising)
When writing to persuade the writer’s aim is to make the reader do something
or believe something.
Emotive language
Sometimes a writer will use words or phrases to make the reader feel
a particular emotion, e.g. sadness, anger, guilt etc.
‘Cowboy builders are conning the elderly and most vulnerable in our society.’
Facts and Statistics
When factual information is given to support a point of view, e.g.
“More than 70% of people living in the western world live in timber framed
houses.”
Opinion presented as if it was fact
When information is given to support a point of view but cannot be proved.
“Most people prefer bungalows to live in
Repetition
Repeating a particular word, phrase or idea throughout the text emphasises
the point that the writer is making.
“Building Houses, Building Community, Building Hope”
(Habitat for Humanity poster)
Rhetorical questions
These make the reader think about what is being asked. They also aim to
involve the reader, making them think that their opinion is important.
‘Is it worth all the bother of moving when a roof or cellar conversion can give
you the space you need?’
Presentational features
Presentational features organize and emphasise certain parts of the text.
Layout, use of image, text features e.g. headings, subheadings, use of colour,
diagrams, bold/italic lettering, underlining, font size/style, bullet points and
numbering
List of three
When three adjectives or phrases are used to emphasise a point, e.g.
‘The new Building Supplies Store was light, bright and airy.’
Exaggeration
Makes something appear really good or really bad.
Best Ever Sale of Building Materials in Northern Ireland!’
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 6
TYPES OF TEXT
FEATURES
Use of supporting viewpoints
Using expert opinion or quotes from famous people to make a viewpoint
appear more convincing.
Question and answer
Used to draw readers’ attention to particular aspects of an issue.
Criticise the other person’s point of view.
This is where the writer attacks the opposing argument to make their own
argument seem better.
Alliteration
Use of the same sounds at the beginning of words catches the reader’s
attention e.g.
‘Thompson’s Tried and tested timber’
Personal pronouns
Using words such as ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘you’, ‘our’, ‘us’, to make the reader feel the
writer is speaking directly to you.
‘We can give you great tips on preparing your house for the market.’
Pun
A play on words to make them stand out and attract the reader’s attention
‘Timber-frame homes wood never let you down’
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 6
Are the following texts information, instruction, descriptive or persuasive?
1. Replacing a Damaged Plug
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Unscrew and remove the cover of the damaged plug.
Turn the plug over and slacken the terminal screws.
Pull the flex cores from the pins.
Loosen the screws securing the flex clamp.
Pull the flex free.
Type of text
2. Titanic Floats Again!
Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, Europe’s largest riverside rejuvenation project, is breathing new life into
Queen’s Island, the home of the famous Harland and Woolf shipbuilders. It is from this very slip
that the RMS Titanic, a legend before even she set sail, set out proudly on her doomed maiden
voyage in April 1912.
RMS Titanic, was the largest and most luxurious ship afloat. No expense was spared on her
elegant furnishings to charm her wealthy passengers. Despite the gloomy outcome, when RMS
Titanic embarked on her ill fated maiden voyage, she was hailed as ‘new wonder of the world.’
Type of Text
3. Holiday Apartment - Spain
Sleeps four. Wonderfully situated, air-conditioned two bedroom holiday cottage. Exclusive private
pool and gardens with outstanding mountain views. Stunning sea views. Peaceful location, ten
minute drive from large supermarket and shopping mall. Peaceful location, five minute walk from
beaches and promenade. Close to bars, restaurants and nightlife. A sporting paradise, five
minute drive to golf. Ideal for your relaxed holiday in Spain's healthiest and sunniest climate.
£430 per week
Type of Text
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 6
4. Listed Buildings
After the Second World War the government created a list of endangered buildings. Listed
buildings are buildings that the government feels are in need of protection from being demolished
or changed unsympathetically. Throughout the UK there are different methods of classifying
buildings but the aims are the same. At the highest level of grading you cannot make changes
to the building and replacements must be identical to the original. Lower down the scale changes
are possible but must be reviewed by the administering body prior to renovation.
Type of Text
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 7
TYPES OF TEXTS - WRITING TO INSTRUCT
Instructions
Reading Task
In the course of your work you will often read or write instructions. Instructions are not just pieces of
advice or suggestions about how to carry out a job. Instructions are about how a job MUST be carried
out so that the end result is a job completed safely and to the proper standards.
Features of Writing to Instruct
1. Instructions must be written in the correct order. When carrying out instructions for a construction
job you could waste time or cause annoyance or even injury to yourself or others if following
instructions that are in the wrong order.
2. Only relevant information should be included. Extra information could confuse the person following
the instructions.
3. Instructions should be clear and easy to follow.
4. Instructions are given in a series of clear simple commands or directions.
The verbs give commands, e.g. ‘Stop here’ and are often found at the
beginning of a sentence. They clearly state what the person should do.
5. Instructions are written in the present or future tense as if the action is
happening now. e.g. Press the button and a light will come on.
Activity 1
Command verb
or imperative
verb.
Future Tense
Present tense
The funds are running a little low and you have jumped at the chance to do a little bit of DIY in your
uncle’s new house while he’s on holiday. Below are two sets of instructions. Which set is more
effective? Give reasons and examples. (Remember to check the list of features of instruction texts).
1. Painting Job
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Clear the room before you start.
Place anything that needs to stay in the centre of the room.
Use dust sheets to cover items.
Fill any cracks or holes.
Wash down with sugar soap solution. (Use protective goggles and gloves).
Prime walls.
Paint ceiling first.
Then paint walls
Finally paint the woodwork.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 7
1. This set of instructions is effective / not effective because:
Activity 2
2. Painting Job
“See before you start, Chris, would you check if the dog’s bowl has water, because we’re away from
5 o’clock this morning and the neighbour can’t pick him up until 10am. If I were you, I would get as
much furniture out of the room as possible and anything you can’t move sure just put it into the
middle of the room with a couple of dust sheets over the top. Take a look and see if there are any
cracks or holes that need fixing up before you start. You’ll need to paint the ceiling first in case the
paint drips down onto the walls and then paint the walls and then the skirting boards and doors. After
you’ve filled in the cracks or holes you’ll need to wash the walls down with the sugar soap solution.
Make sure you put the old goggles and gloves on for the sugar solution wash – the last time I did it my
eyes stung for a week!!!! And don’t forget to prime the walls after the sugar soap solution wash has
dried.
2. This set of instructions is effective / not effective because:
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 7
Activity 3
3. Which of these sentences are instructions?
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.
g.
h.
i.
j.
Pour concrete into the foundation trench.
Timber framed walls differ from those constructed of traditional brick and block
Windows are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials.
Make sure timber frame structures comply with the building regulations.
Carry out the procedure in the correct order.
Allow background to finishes to dry properly.
Hardwood stairs may not be installed until all plastering has been completed.
A plaster finish on masonry walls will last between 50-100 years.
Common brick is used for unseen work and is much cheaper than facing brick or engineering brick.
Place fibre glass insulation into cavity wall.
4. Now make out a set of instructions for the following tasks.
The instruction verbs below may be useful.
a. Instructions for using a ladder.
b. Instructions for using scaffolding.
c. Instructions for mixing concrete
fill
put
cut
dry
pour
check
stir
brush
fit
add
divide
mix
cover
place
use
fold
overlap
link
take
lift
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 8
TYPES OF TEXTS - PERSUASIVE WRITING
Testimonials
Writers use a range of techniques to engage the reader. Writing to persuade aims to make the reader
do something or believe something. The following testimonials express customer satisfaction with a
firm of plumbers on the quality of their work.
Activity
Greg Vaughan is from Northern Ireland and has run a successful plumbing business in Boston for
twenty years. The writers of the testimonials below on his company use a number of persuasive
techniques. Read the testimonials and then answer the following questions.
Vaughan Plumbing and Heating
1. "Greg Vaughan, owner of Vaughan Plumbing and Heating is
trustworthy, professional and hard working. His rates are fair,
and he gets the job done. His many years of experience have
made him an expert in his field. If you are a home owner,
property manager, real estate agent, insurance agent, you
owe it to yourself to add Vaughan Plumbing to your rolodex.
Call Greg if you want the job done right the first time." Jonathan S., Brookline, MA
Read this and other testimonials for Vaughan Plumbing &
Heating at Yelp.com.
2. "Greg did a great job installing my new water heater and
garbage disposal. He's very honest, straightforward, and
punctual. I will definitely hire him again." Jyothi V., Waltham, MA
Read this and other testimonials for Vaughan Plumbing &
Heating at at ServiceMagic.com.
3. "Greg is courteous and reliable. He came to fix my toilet in a
short notice and showed up at the time he promised. He also
diagnosed the problem up front and provided a quote for the
job. He completed the job quick and easy, very neat and
cleaned up afterward. He is friendly and he takes his time to
explain the job. I would call for his service again in the future
and highly recommended."
Greg Vaughan, Owner
Read this and other testimonials for Vaughan Plumbing
& Heating at Bing.com.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 8
1. Who do you think is the intended audience for these testimonials?
2. What is the purpose of the testimonials?
3. On the basis of these testimonials would you hire this plumber?
4. Why?
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 8
5. How does the use of an image (photograph of the owner) help to persuade you that this
is the plumber you want to hire?
6. Give two examples of where facts or statistics are used to support the points of view of
the writers.
a
b
7. There are a number of positive words and phrases used to describe Greg and his work.
Make a list of them.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 8
8. In two of the testimonials the persuasive technique ‘list of three’ adjectives is used to
reinforce the writer/s viewpoint. Identify and write out two ‘list of three’ groups the
writer/s has used.
9. Writers use personal pronouns (‘I’ ‘we’ ‘you’ etc) to show that the writer is speaking
directly to the reader. This is to show that the readers’ opinion is important to them. Give
an example of where the writer directly addresses the reader.
10. Writers use emotive language to appeal to the positive or negative feelings of the reader.
Identify four emotive words in the testimonials.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 8
11. Notice how words and key ideas are repeated throughout the testimonials. This helps to
reinforce the point being made. Give an example of repetition in the three testimonials.
12. In the first testimonial the writer appeals directly to the reader, “you owe it to yourself to add
Vaughan Plumbing and Heating to your rolodex.” Explain how the bolded phrase would help to
persuade the reader to hire this firm of plumbers.
43
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 9
ANALYSING A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE
At Level 2 you will be closely analyzing texts of 500 words or more, both for the Action-based Activity
(project/portfolio) and the Desk Top Task (final exam).
You will need to identify:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
The intended audience of the text.
The purpose of the text – why was the text written?
Is there more than one viewpoint presented?
The events that led the writer to produce the article.
The main idea of the article.
The arguments the writer is putting forward.
Facts / statistics / quotes from expert witnesses etc that support the writer’s main arguments –
his/her sources of information.
If the reporting is true (balanced) or biased?
Different points of view given by the writer.
Is the article balanced, persuasive, informative, convincing.
Your own feelings about the article. Do you agree with the writer’s point/s of view?
Activity
Read the article “Move or Improve” below and analyze the article using the list above.
Write your answers in full sentences which are properly punctuated. If you are using quotes from
the text to back up your comments remember to enclose them in inverted commas e.g.
Jeremy Leaf, a spokesman for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors says, “Moving up the ladder
is very difficult.”
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 9
MOVE OR IMPROVE?
Hannah Booth
The Guardian
16th July 2007
Soaring property prices and the prohibitive cost of relocating are preventing many people climbing the
housing ladder. Now more and more of us are instead opting to extend our homes.
Thinking of moving house? Think again. The next rung of the housing ladder may have been within
reach a few years ago, but it is becoming increasingly hard to upgrade to a larger property: the
apparently unstoppable rise in house prices, the lack of decent properties, the sheer expense of
moving house - from stamp duty to solicitors' fees - are making us question whether it is worth it. It is
no surprise that a growing number of homeowners are deciding that enough is enough: we move
house primarily to gain space; why not stay put, save on moving costs and spend the money on
improving what we have?
Extending your home is typically a lengthy process of applying for planning permission for the smallest
of alterations, and awaiting approval. But the government is aiming to cut red tape, making the
process easier and faster. In May, it announced proposals to allow most loft and kitchen extensions
without planning permission, provided they meet certain size criteria.
So why are we finding it so difficult to move house? According to the Halifax, the average costs are
as follows: valuation, £300-£600; conveyancing, £400-£600; and estate agency fees, usually around
1-2% of the property's value. Then there's stamp duty: 1% on houses from £125,000 to £250,000;
3% for houses worth £250,000 to £500,000; and 4% for houses over £500,000. The average house
price in the UK, according to the Halifax, is now £196,893; in London, £297,132: that's £1,969 in
stamp duty (or nearly £9,000 on the London average). So, at the most conservative, we're spending
£4,700 just to move (£12,700 in London).
It doesn't stop there. There is wasted money if a sale falls through and bridging loans if you have to
pay two mortgages simultaneously. Your house may not fetch the asking price. You may end up
having to offer more for the house you want, or resort to sealed bids. There is the cost of physically
moving your belongings (depending on how far you're travelling and how much stuff you have,
upwards of £300). In fact, research by Abbey suggests that factoring in these costs takes the total
cost of moving to nearer £16,000 - and says the average homeowner then spends a further £6,000 in
the first year doing up their property, furnishing and decorating it. That's £22,000 - ouch.
More importantly, as prices continue to rise, we're not getting significantly more for our money.
"Moving up the ladder is very difficult," says Jeremy Leaf, an estate agent and also spokesman for the
Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). "Often, people are looking to make two 'jumps' - a
bigger home in a better area - which makes it doubly difficult. They're increasingly thinking, is it worth
the effort? The leap between a three-bed and a four-bed house is particularly hard. Four-bed houses
are popular, relatively rare and usually considerably larger and in better areas. And you're competing
with people who are settled in the area, with good friends, schools, jobs, who are prepared to pay the
extra."
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 9
The alternative? Spend the money on a loft conversion or extension. Aside from saving on moving
expenses, you get to keep your neighbours (which may or may not be a good thing), your schools,
and the vegetable patch you have worked so hard on. A growing number of us are doing just this.
Planning applications have nearly doubled in the past 10 years, according to the government. In the
past 12 months, says the Halifax, just 3% of home improvers converted a loft; next year, 10% are
planning to do so.
"People can't afford to move these days," says Neil Yemm, director of Midlands-based loft specialist
Main Pride Lofts. "Most want an extra bedroom and, increasingly, an office as so many work from
home now. What my clients do is work out what they'd have to pay in stamp duty and costs if they
were to move, and spend it on an extension instead."
The government's proposals are designed to improve the quality of extensions you can make without
permission - ministers are concerned about the time involved in deciding minor, uncontroversial
applications. At present, homeowners have to pay up to £1,000 to obtain planning permission for
almost all rear and roof extensions, a process which can take between eight and 16 weeks. Under the
proposals, no planning permission will be needed for these types of extensions if they have little
impact - rather, there will be self-assessment or direct negotiation with a local authority to ensure
extensions comply with height and depth restrictions. And there are no limits on the number of
extensions you can build - under current law, if you have extended by 10%, you have used up your
limits and must seek planning permission.
The average cost of an extension, according to RICS' Building Cost Information Service, is anything
from £14,000 for a modest loft conversion to £50,000 for a large kitchen extension.
Lance Stock, who runs Barnet-based Stock Construction, usually allows £30,000-£35,000 for
kitchen/dining room extensions and loft conversions on an average three-bed semi. "Loft conversions
are more popular than garden extensions because you're often getting a third or fourth bedroom, and
even a second bathroom - and that's more attractive when you eventually come to sell." He says
people who convert their lofts can usually expect the value of their house to rise by two or three times
the price of the extension. Costs rise if you employ an architect: on average, a bespoke kitchen or
basement extension starts at around £40,000. You could equally spend £200,000 for a larger
extension with a high-spec kitchen.
"The single biggest cost when considering an extension is VAT. Our clients often forget to factor it in a quote always excludes VAT so it can come as a bit of a shock," says architect Alun Jones, whose
practice, Dow Jones, has built several extensions. On a £40,000 extension, 17.5% VAT is £7,000. But
you're adding value to your home. "You get more value for money by extending your property," he
says. "Stamp duty is such a waste - particularly on expensive properties. On a house worth £750,000,
you'd pay £30,000 - the cost of a loft conversion."
So is it worth it? "If an extension is well designed, yes, every time - it will always add more to the value
of the house than what it cost, usually at least double what the extension cost," says architect Paul
Archer. "But the cost must be proportional to the value of the house. You wouldn't spend £200,000
on a £150,000 house; and equally, you wouldn't spend £30,000 on a £2m property. But beware: a
poorly designed extension may devalue a property."
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 9
Stock recently built a loft conversion in a three-bed semi in north London for £30,000 plus VAT, with
an additional £5,000 spent on decorating (total cost, around £40,000). "My client had his house
valued four weeks later, and it was worth £82,000 more. And that's a pretty standard uplift."
The proposals are stricter on loft extensions you can undertake without permission. The government
is keen to reduce the visual impact of bulky dormer windows - they are one of the biggest causes for
complaint between neighbours - by limiting their size. Under the new proposals, discreet extensions
built below the ridge of the roof and away from the edge may not require permission - and
conversions with no external changes, including skylights that open out, are allowed without planning
permission.
"The proposed changes take into account the impact of building work, rather than being prescriptive
for the sake of it," says a spokesman. "For example, how far buildings are from neighbouring
properties, whether they drastically alter the look of a house, whether they are the appropriate size for
the size of the house." Planning permission will, however, still be needed in certain cases - where they
are larger than allowed, in listed buildings, and in conservation or protected areas. Final proposals
should be published later this year with a view to being implemented next year.
But not everyone's happy. "For kitchens and conservatories, the proposals are good news," says
Brian Berry, director of external affairs at the Federation of Master Builders. "But for anyone thinking of
converting their loft, it's really bad news. The proposals essentially shrink the size of a permitted loft
conversion, so you have to get planning permission anyway."
"Under the government's proposals, people will find that home renovation is harder, not easier, to
achieve," agrees Jeremy Leaf of the RICS. "Requirements for loft conversions will make it difficult to
create sufficient space for a new room, and will force people to apply for formal planning permission,
which defeats the purpose."
"We appreciate those with a vested interest, such as builders, may be concerned," says a
government spokesman. "But we're aiming for a balance between homeowners and their neighbours.
People can extend their lofts, it's just that for larger schemes that may impact on others, they will have
to seek planning permission."
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 10
READING IMAGES
We often use images (photographs, maps, charts, graphs, etc) to gather information or to put
information across.
There are many health and safety signs used in the
workplace to alert employees and customers to dangers.
DIY instructions on store leaflets can also often be illustrated
by pictures that show how a job should be carried out.
In the course of your work you may need to
take information from architect’s drawings.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 10
USING IMAGES
It is useful to have photographs of the various stages of
development in a new build. This photograph shows the
progression of the foundations in a domestic dwelling.
This picture illustrates a domestic construction with
a steep pitched roof allowing for dormer windows
which creates additional head room in the roof
space and allows for the roof space to be utilised
for habitable rooms.
Pictures of our local natural environment such as this one of the
Giant’s Causeway can provide information to those who have
never visited and this type of photographic evidence of this
natural attraction is vital for our tourist industry.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 10
PUTTING THE MESSAGE ACROSS
Here are two similar site safety signs for personal protective equipment. The audience and purpose of
both signs are the same.
They are written for construction site workers and both signs are intended to keep site workers safe.
Which of the signs do you think puts the message across most effectively? Why? Write about each of
the signs saying why you think one is more effective than the other. Say how each writer uses
language to put across the message.
1.
2.
50
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 11
PRACTICE FOR DESK TOP TASK - PART 1
Bricklayers Help Build Houses for Habitat for Humanity
Twelve Brickwork Apprentices from South Eastern Regional College (SERC) Newtownards
campus were given an opportunity to participate in a Habitat for Humanity programme assisting in
the construction of the ECO Housing Scheme on the ‘Peace Line’ between Templemore Avenue
and the Short Strand in East Belfast.
Habitat for Humanity [HFH] is a non-profit, Christian housing organisation that works in
partnership with families in need of shelter to build decent homes. HFH was founded in 1976 and
has since built more than 300,000 houses around the world, providing more than 1.5 million
people with safe, decent, affordable shelter.
Most of the work which was carried out by the apprentices was not directly related to their
training or course work, but was still extremely beneficial as it provided an insight into the different
aspects of construction and how trades interlink and rely on each other.
SERC Brickwork Lecturer Darren Gregg had this to say, “It’s been a fantastic experience for our
students as they got the opportunity to practice the skills taught in College. Our Apprentices
listened intently to the representatives from Habitat for Humanity, as they described the deprived
living conditions of people less fortunate than us, in other countries of the world, in which they
have worked. The day was a great insight into the ‘real world’ for some of our Apprentices.”
The onsite experience proved to be very satisfying for the apprentices as they realised that their
efforts were directly linked to the speed at which an underprivileged family would receive their new
home from Habitat for Humanity.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 11
Read the article on Habitat for Humanity and answer the questions below. The questions are similar
to the ones you will be asked in Part One of the Essential Skills Literacy Desk Top Task.
1a. Identify the reason for the Habitat for Humanity project.
1b. Name two ways in which the apprentices benefited from their work on the project.
1.
2.
2a. Identify two words or phrases used by the writer to describe the families in need
of shelter.
1.
2.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 11
2b. Suggest a reason why the writer has used these words/phrases.
1.
2.
3a. Give an example of where opinion is presented as fact.
3b. The writer describes the experience of the apprentices as “fantastic” and “satisfying.”
Say why the writer uses this style of language. In other words what effect do these
words have on the reader?
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 11
4. Explain in your own words how the photograph of the apprentices supports the view
of the writer.
5. Imagine you are going to give a short talk in support of the Habitat for Humanity project.
Using information from the article:
5a. Summarise two arguments you would use to support your view.
1.
2.
5b. Explain why you might use these arguments in your talk.
(Persuade, convince listeners etc)
1.
2.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING TASK 11
6. Using the article identify and explain three techniques used by the writer to support
his/her views.
1.
2.
3.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING ANSWERS TASK 1
PRESENTATIONAL
FEATURE
FEATURE IN
LEAFLET.
PRESENTATIONAL
FEATURE
FEATURE
IN LEAFLET
Heading
4
Graphs
Subheadings
4
Logo
4
Diagrams
4
Bold print
4
Use of colour
4
Italics
4
Different size print
4
Bullet points
4
Different font types
4
Underlining
4
Unusual use of capital
or lowercase letters
4
Numbering
4
Photographs
4
Task Answers
1. Colour is being used to make the leaflet more appealing to the reader. It also helps to separate out
some pieces of information.
2. The effect of heading and subheadings.
The title of the leaflet is printed in larger print than the rest. It is written in white on a green
background. The sub-headings are smaller than the title and are written in green print on a white
background.
3. Why numbering and bullet points are used.
Bullet points are used to list the DIY instructions for each step of the job making the text easier to
follow.
4. Is different print size or bold print being used? What for?
The title of the leaflet is in larger print than the rest of the text making it stand out.
5. This is one of Homebase’s ‘How to…’ leaflets. Why is the company’s logo important to the text?
Homebase is a reputable company and product with the Homebase logo would be seen to be
trustworthy.
6. Why photographs and diagrams are being used (rather than just more words). Photographs and
diagrams are used to illustrate and clarify points made in the text. They show the tools to use and
the way the job should be done in a way that is much clearer than just reading information.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING ANSWERS TASK 2
Sample Answer – Highlighted main points of ‘Design methods that take account of
renewable energy resources.’
Building regulations and design methods must take account of renewable energy resources. Energy is
essential to almost everything we do, from heating our homes to sustaining industry. We have come to
rely on it in almost every aspect of our lives.
Fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) are used to create reasonably affordable energy but, unfortunately, the
burning of fossil fuels releases vast amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the Earth’s atmosphere
creating global warming. Fossil fuels are also not sustainable. They will eventually run out.
Brundtland (Brundtland Commission 1983) defined sustainability as ‘’Meeting the needs of the present
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.’’
To ensure energy sources were available to future generations, sustainable sources needed to be
employed, and in 2003 the Energy White Paper outlined a long term strategic vision for energy policy.
It looked at environmental issues, social targets, competitiveness and security of supply.
The Energy White Paper promotes the take up of renewable sources. It commits the United Kingdom
to reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses by 60% by the year 2050. As 46% of carbon emissions
relate to building occupation the EU has issued a directive on energy rating for buildings and regional
building regulations have been revised.
There is now a shift towards energy sources and generation technologies that produce much less or
even no carbon. Renewable energy is created from resources that occur naturally in the environment.
These resources also occur repeatedly and so are renewed or replaced over a short period of time.
Types of Renewable Energy
Sunlight, Wind, Water, Sustainable Biomass, Waves, Tides and Geothermal sources are natural
processes that can be replenished over a relatively short period of time and are seen as inexhaustible
Wind Energy
These images show the wind turbine at Antrim Area Hospital. In the first year in which it was installed
this generating plant saved the Hospital approximately £100 000 from its electricity costs. This was
about one fifth of the cost which was required to install the turbine.
Geothermal Ground Pumps
Ground source heat pumps are one of the most common types of heat pumps. Typically a cold fluid
at about 5 degrees Celsius is circulated around a network of plastic pipes buried in the ground. As the
fluid passes through the pipe it absorbs heat energy from the surrounding earth. The fluid returns to
the heat pump slightly warmer than it left. The heat pump upgrades the heat to a higher level of 40 to
50 degrees Celsius to provide heating in the home. This water can then circulated round radiators,
under floor heating pipes or provide domestic hot water.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING ANSWERS TASK 2
Solar Energy
Energy from the Sun can be harnessed to generate Electricity or heat water. This photograph below
shows the large solar panels on the roof of the ECOS centre Ballymena. The energy from these panels
is used in the office building.
Biomass
Biomass is the harvesting of willow trees to supply fuel for central heating using a specially adapted
burner. The willow is grown in short-rotation crop and is harvested every two to three years with a
specially adapted harvester. It can then be burned directly or made into pellets which are more
efficient
This type of willow crop can be seen growing at the ECOS centre Ballymena
Summarising Activity
When you buy the materials to build your shed make sure you have everything you need for the job.
There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a job and having to down tools and go to the
building suppliers (if they’re open) to buy things like screws, nails and so on, especially when you
thought they were to hand in the first place.
66 words
Main point/s of ‘Building a Shed’ paragraph.
• Make sure you have all the equipment you need before starting to build your shed.
16 words
*Notice that this information was given in the first sentence of the paragraph. It is often the case that
the main point of the paragraph is given in the first sentence – a good thing to remember when
reading and selecting the main points of a paragraph.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING ANSWERS TASK 2
Sample Answer - Main Points of Article
1. Building regulations and design methods must take account of renewable energy resources
2. Fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) are affordable sources of energy but release a lot of carbon dioxide
into atmosphere and increase global warming.
3. Fossil fuels are not sustainable. They will eventually run out.
4. Sustainable sources need to be used to make sure there are energy sources available to future
generations.
5. In the 2003 Energy White Paper the government outlined a future energy policy to look at
environmental issues, social targets, competitiveness and security.
6. The government promotes the take up of renewable sources and is committed to reducing UK
CO2 emissions by 60% by 2050.
7. 46% of carbon emissions relate to buildings and building regulations have now been changed.
8. There is now a move towards using energy sources and generation technologies that produce as
little carbon as possible.
9. Renewable energy is created from resources that occur naturally in the environment and are
replaced over a short period of time.
11. Types of renewable energy are sunlight, wind, water, sustainable biomass, and geothermal
sources (pipes of water which absorb heat energy from the earth).
12. Use of renewable energies in Northern Ireland include wind turbine at the Antrim Area Hospital
which saved the hospital approximately £100,000.
13. Large solar panels are used at the ECOS centre Ballymena and also biomass (willow trees) for
central heating.
Source: CITB-ConstructionSkills Northern Ireland
Title: Design methods that take account of renewable energy sources.’
Auther: A Reporter
Date: 26:05:10
59
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING ANSWERS TASK 3
Your written summary should not contain any of the information that is highlighted in blue.
Air Quality
Air quality needs to be considered as poorer quality of air can cause health and breathing
difficulties in the long term as well as some short term effects. This is important because I
know from first hand the problems of poor air quality. My grandmother had asthma and
my sister takes after her - not just in looks - she has asthma too and has been to
hospital three or four times. Also if a company’s emissions are to be the cause of the problem
the company can be liable to legal action. So less harmful emissions in the air is better all round
for the company, environment and the general public.
Ozone Layer
The ozone layer has also to be considered as greenhouse gasses such as CO” and CFC’s are
causing a harmful affect on it and the ozone layer is letting in some of the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Also heat is being trapped on top of this. I don’t know what all the fuss is about to be
honest. We could do with a bit more sun and heat in Ireland. Areas being affected by this
are Antarctica and Southern Chile because there is a hole in the ozone layer. The harmful
greenhouse gases are causing global warming which affects everyone.
Landscape / Preservation Orders
Landscape also influences the design decision as the landscape of the area you may plan to
build a project on may have preservation orders on them. I once lived in a house which had
a preservation order on it. It was over two hundred years old with thick walls and a
narrow driveway which was built for horses and not for cars. Preservation orders must be
considered before and during the construction project.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING ANSWERS TASK 4
Feature
Formal or Informal
Incomplete sentences
Informal
Complex sentences
Formal
No contractions
Formal
Slang
Informal
Short simple sentences
Informal
Easy words
Informal
Abbreviations e.g. gr8
Informal
Letter of application
Formal
An internal company memo
Formal
Email invitation to 18th birthday party
Informal
Letter of opinion to local newspaper
Formal
A mobile phone text to a friend
Informal
A holiday postcard
Informal
A post it to a family member
Informal
A company report
Formal
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING ANSWERS TASK 5
1. Skim read the text below and, in just one or two sentences, say what the article is
mainly about.
The article is about how renewable energy resources are replacing fossil fuels such as oil, coal and
gas in line with Building Regulations.
2. Scan the text to find and list the sources of renewable energies discussed.
Sources of renewable energies are sunlight, wind, water, sustainable biomas and geothermal
ground pumps.
3. What are renewable energies?
Renewable energies such as are sunlight, wind, water, sustainable biomass, waves, and
Geothermal sources are natural processes that can be replenished over a relatively short period of
time and are seen as inexhaustible.
4. Why are renewable energies now favoured over fossil fuels?
Fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) are used to create reasonably affordable energy but, unfortunately,
the burning of fossil fuels releases vast amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the Earth’s
atmosphere creating global warming. Fossil fuels are also not sustainable. They will eventually run
out.
5. How is biomass produced and what is it used for?
Biomass is the harvesting of willow trees to supply fuel for central heating using a specially adapted
burner. The willow is grown in short-rotation crop and is harvested every two to three years with a
specially adapted harvester. It can then be burned directly or made into pellets which are more
efficient.
6. How does Brundtland define ‘sustainability?’
Brundtland (Brundtland Commission 1983) defines sustainability as ‘’Meeting the needs of the
present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.’’
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING ANSWERS TASK 6
1. Instruction
2. Descriptive
3. Persuasive
4. Information
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING ANSWERS TASK 7
Activity 1
Painting Job
This set of instructions is effective because:
a. It is set out in order.
b. It is clear and easy to follow.
c. It is written in the present tense e.g. ‘Fill any cracks’
d. It uses verbs to command (imperative) e.g.‘ Clear the room before you start.’
e. Only relevant information is included.
Activity 2
Painting Job
This set of instructions is not effective because:
a. The instructions are not in order.
b. It is not clear and easy to follow.
c. It contains a lot of information that is not relevant.
Activity 3
These are instructions. The verb/verb phrase is bolded in each sentence.
a.
d.
e.
f.
j.
Pour concrete into the foundation trench.
Make sure timber frame structures comply with the building regulations.
Carry out the procedure in the correct order.
Allow background to finishes to dry properly.
Place fibre glass insulation into cavity wall.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING ANSWERS TASK 8
1. The intended audience for the testimonials is anyone who is looking to hire a plumber.
2. The purpose of the testimonials is to let other customers know how reliable or otherwise this firm of
plumbers is.
3. Yes.
4. I would hire this plumbing firm because of the positive comments written by previous customers.
5. Using a photograph of the owner helps the customer to ‘get to know’ Greg Vaughan. The
photograph shows Greg smiling and gives the impression of someone with an open, cheerful
personality that appeals to the customer.
6. a. ‘Greg did a great job installing my new water heater and garbage disposal.’
b. He came to fix my toilet
(The bolded phrases give facts that support the writer’s point of view).
7. Positive words and phrases that occur in the testimonials are listed below.
trustworthy
professional
hard working
did a great job
highly recommended
up front
expert in his field
gets the job done
job done right
very honest
reliable
friendly
fair
punctual
neat
straightforward
courteous
8.a. "Greg Vaughan, owner of Vaughan Plumbing and Heating is trustworthy, professional and
hard working.
8.b. ‘He's very honest, straightforward, and punctual.’
9. ‘… you owe it to yourself to add Vaughan Plumbing to your rolodex.’
10. Words and phrases that appeal directly to the readers emotions are honest, trustworthy, up front,
friendly, professional, courteous, reliable, fair.
11. An example of words and key ideas that are repeated throughout the testimonials to help reinforce
the points being made is,
Testimonial 1 – ‘he gets the job done.’
Testimonial 2 – ‘did a great job’
Testimonial 3 – ‘completed the job quick and easy’
(You might have chosen other key ideas e.g. ‘honesty’)
12. The writer of Testimonial 1 says ‘you owe it to yourself to add Vaughan Plumbing to your
rolodex.’ By addressing the reader directly like this we are made to feel that the writer is speaking
personally to us and that we are important to the writer. This phrase also makes us feel that we
deserve the excellent services of Vaughan Plumbing. (Remember the ladies face cream advert
‘Because I’m worth it?’)
65
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING ANSWERS TASK 9
READING AND UNDERSTANDING A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE.
1.
The intended audience of the text.
The intended audience for this article is home owners who are deciding if they should move
home or improve the home they are living in at present.
2.
The purpose of the text – why was the text written?
The text was written to outline the advantages and disadvantages of moving house or improving
an existing home.
3.
Is there more than one viewpoint presented?
The article looks at the advantages and disadvantages of moving or improving from a number
of points of view including those of the homeowners, builders and neighbours.
4.
The events that led the writer to produce the article.
The article was written in response to the government’s plans to introduce new laws making it
easier to make home improvements since planning permission will not now be needed for certain
types of conversions.
5.
The main idea of the article.
The main idea of the article is that it is better to make home improvements rather than to move
house.
6.
The arguments the writer is putting forward.
a. It is too expensive for most people to move to larger homes.
b. New government regulations are making it easier to obtain planning permission for home
conversions so that home owners can develop their existing properties and raise the value of
their homes.
7.
Facts / statistics / quotes from expert witnesses etc that support the writer’s main
arguments – his/her sources of information.
Hanna Booth writing for the Guardian says “Thinking of moving house? Think again. The next
rung of the housing ladder may have been within reach a few years ago, but it is becoming
increasingly hard to upgrade to a larger property: the apparently unstoppable rise in house
prices, the lack of decent properties, the sheer expense of moving house - from stamp duty
to solicitors' fees - are making us question whether it is worth it.”
“It is no surprise that a growing number of homeowners are deciding that enough is enough:
we move house primarily to gain space; why not stay put, save on moving costs and spend
the money on improving what we have?”
Also Neil Yemm, director of Midlands-based loft specialist Main Pride Lofts says "People can't
afford to move these days, most want an extra bedroom and, increasingly, an office as so many
work from home now. What my clients do is work out what they'd have to pay in stamp duty and
costs if they were to move, and spend it on an extension instead.”
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING ANSWERS TASK 9
8.
Is the reporting is true (balanced) or biased?
Reporting is balanced since it looks at advantages and disadvantages of moving home and gives
the pros and cons of moving or improving existing property. This gives home owners the
opportunity to make informed choices.
9.
Different points of view given by the writer.
People are thinking of improving their homes rather buying larger homes. Buying larger homes is
very costly. New government regulations are making it easier to make improvements to existing
properties.
10. Is the article balanced, persuasive, informative, convincing?
The article is balanced in that it presents opposing views regarding moving or improving homes.
It is persuasive and convincing in that it presents persuasive arguments for converting existing
homes rather than moving home. It does this by presenting factual detail to support the opinions
of the author.
11. Your own feelings about the article. Do you agree with the writer’s point/s of view?
I think that the article thoroughly explores the problems of moving home. If a home owner has the
home they want, in an area that suits them, but is in need of a little extra space, then I think that
extensions and / or conversions are the answer.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING ANSWERS TASK 10
Sign 1 is not as effective as Sign 2 because:
It is less attention catching. It is written mainly in lower case letters which is not as attention catching
as the capitals in Sign 2.
The sign says ‘PPE must be worn in this area’ but gives no indication of what might/will happen (injury,
death, sacking etc) if PPE is not worn.
It is also open to interpretation. Where exactly does ‘this area’ refer to? Where are the boundaries? If I
step back a few meters from the sign can I take off my hard hat without getting a warning? With sign
one a site supervisor might have to listen to a list of excuses e.g.
‘I thought I only needed my hat over there.’
‘I thought I only needed my boots for this job.’
‘He said I didn’t need a high visability jacket for this job.’
‘Anyway, how am I supposed to know that hi-viz means high visability?’
‘Nobody told me ...’
Sign 2 is more effective than Sign 1 because:
It gives a very strong and clear message.
It clearly lists the PPE needed for the site and states the consequences of not wearing the proper PPE
for the job.
It is written in block capitals to stress the importance of what is being said. (As Russell Brand said
when reading a letter on a recent comedy show “When I say something loudly then that thing is in
capitals.”)
It does not use the term PPE but instead uses the normal everyday language we all use, e.g. HAT,
BOOTS etc.
High visibility clothing is clearly illustrated and coloured yellow so there is no misunderstanding the
term Hi-Vis.
It ends with a dramatic statement ‘NO JOB!’ (note the exclamation mark for emphasis) to stress that
anyone not wearing appropriate PPE will be sacked.
There is no room for interpretation of this sign and it clearly puts across the message that there are
‘NO EXCUSES!’
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING ANSWERS TASK 11
1a. Identify the reason for the Habitat for Humanity project.
To build safe, decent, affordable housing for underprivileged families living on the ‘Peace Line’
between Templemore Avenue and the Short Strand in East Belfast.
1b. Name two ways in which the apprentices benefited from their work on the project.
1. It provided an insight into the different aspects of construction and how trades interlink and rely on
each other.
2. They got the opportunity to practice the skills taught in College.
ectly linked to the speed at which an underprivileged family would receive their new home from
Habitat for Humanity.
2a. Identify two words or phrases used by the writer to describe the families in need of
shelter.
Word/Phrase 1. Underprivileged
Word/Phrase 2. “People less fortunate than us”
2b. Suggest a reason why the writer has used these words/phrases.
1. The writer is using emotive language to appeal to the emotions of the reader. The reader feels sad
that people are living in deprived conditions.
3a. Give an example of where opinion is presented as fact.
“The day was a great insight into the ‘real world’ for some of our Apprentices.”
3b. The writer describes the experience of the apprentices as “fantastic” and “satisfying.”
Say why the writer uses this style of language. In other words what effect do these
words have on the reader?
These words are positive and uplifting. The writer is using emotive language to engage the reader in
these positive feelings towards the work carried out by the apprentices and the benefits to the
underprivileged families.
4. Explain in your own words how the photograph of the apprentices supports the view
of the writer.
The writer of the article has very positive views of the work of the apprentices. The message put
forward by the article is that this has been a positive and uplifting experience. The photograph of the
apprentices supports this view. The apprentices are shown to be proudly displaying the Habitat for
Humanity banner – this reflects their pride in the work they have just carried out. The banner uses the
persuasive technique of repetition i.e. “Building Houses, Building Community, Building Hope” to
support the view that the work of Habitat for Humanity is vital.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
READING ANSWERS TASK 11
5. Imagine you are going to give a short talk in support of the Habitat for Humanity project.
Using information from the article:
5a. Summarise two arguments you would use to support your view.
Argument 1
Habitat for Humanity is vital work because it provides decent safe affordable homes for people in
deprived living conditions.
Argument 2
Apprentices get the opportunity to practice the skills they have learned at college.
5b. Explain why you might use these arguments in your talk.
(Persuade, convince listeners etc)
Argument 1
I would use this argument to persuade the listeners of the importance of the work carried out by
Habitat for Humanity.
Argument 2
I would use this argument to convince listeners of the benefits of the scheme for apprentices who will
have the opportunity practice their skills while helping underprivileged families.
6. Using the article identify and explain three techniques used by the writer to support
his/her views.
Technique 1 and explanation:
The writer uses the ‘list of three’ adjectives “safe, decent, affordable” to describe the new housing
built by the students. This is a persuasive technique used by the writer to help drive the message
home that these homes are built with care for families who cannot afford expensive houses.
Technique 2 and explanation:
In the second last paragraph the writer presents opinion as if it was fact i.e. “The day was a great
insight into the ‘real world’ for some of our Apprentices.” This is a persuasive technique used to
convince the reader of benefits to the students taking part in the scheme.
Technique 3 and explanation:
The writer uses emotive vocabulary to engage the emotions of the reader e.g.
• “deprived” “underprivileged” to describe the situation of the families needing re-homed.
• “extremely beneficial” “fantastic experience” to describe the experience of the apprentices.
• “safe” “decent” “affordable” to describe the shelter provided to underprivileged families
70
Writing
Tasks and Answers
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 1
SENTENCES
Sentences are groups of words that make complete sense. When writing you will need to check that
your sentences are complete.
Example 1. ‘Internal finishes are a matter of…’ does not make a complete statement and is not
a proper sentence.
Example 2. ‘Internal finishes are a matter of personal taste.’ This makes a complete statement
and is a sentence. Every word counts.
Activity 1
Which of these groups of words is a complete sentence? Circle complete or incomplete as
appropriate. Rewrite the incomplete sentences, using the beginnings or endings below, to make
complete sentences.
Activity 2
BEGINNINGS
When applying a finish …
There are two types of finish…
A problem with wet finishes…
Plaster board, timber panelling and carpet
There are two basic methods of …
Sand and cement mixture …
Primer is useful for …
The colour of the undercoat should be an appropriate shade to match …
Normally two coats of undercoat …
The finishing coat …
ENDINGS
… must be to the highest level.
… expansion or shrinkage of the timber components of the build.
… preserve it, to improve its appearance and for reasons of hygiene.
… of the material and evens out the surface.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 1
1. Internal finishes must be carried out in the proper sequence.
Complete / incomplete
2. It is essential that care is taken to avoid damage once a finish is applied.
Complete / incomplete
3. The standard of workmanship must be to the highest level.
Complete / incomplete
4. When applying a finish it is important that the background is perfectly dry.
Complete / incomplete
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 1
5. When considering which finish to use, it is important to think about how the building is
going to be used and the wear, tear and maintenance of the building.
Complete / incomplete
6. There are two types of finish; self finish and applied finish.
Complete / incomplete
7. Types of wet finishes are plaster, paint and wallpaper.
Complete / incomplete
8. A problem with wet finishes is the amount of time it takes to dry out.
Complete / incomplete
9. Wet finishes may cause expansion or shrinkage of the timber components of the build.
Complete / incomplete
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 1
10. Plaster board, timber panelling and carpet are all examples of dry finishes.
Complete / incomplete
11. Dry finishes cause no shrinkage and do not prevent occupancy of the building.
Complete / incomplete
12. Self finish is inherent in the material and does not need to be applied on.
Complete / incomplete
13. Natural stone, facing brick, natural slate and natural wood are all types of self finishes.
Complete / incomplete
14. There are two basic methods of carrying out internal plastering.
Complete / incomplete
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 1
15. The most popular method of applying internal plastering is to apply one or two coats of
sand and cement on block or brick walls followed by a coat of gypsum plaster.
Complete / incomplete
16. Another method of applying internal plastering is to use a lightweight gypsum undercoat
followed by a finish coat of gypsum plaster.
Complete / incomplete
17. Sand and cement takes longer and is harder to apply than lightweight gypsum
undercoat.
Complete / incomplete
18. Sand and cement mixture is much more hard wearing.
Complete / incomplete
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 1
19. Lightweight gypsum undercoat is used where good thermal insulation properties are
needed.
Complete / incomplete
20. Painting is used in buildings to preserve it, to improve its appearance and for reasons of
hygiene.
Complete / incomplete
21. When completing a painting job a primer is used first, followed by an undercoat and
ending with a finish coat.
Complete / incomplete
22. The correct primer must be used depending on the material to be covered.
Complete / incomplete
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 1
23. Primer sticks to surface of the material and evens out the surface.
Complete / incomplete
24. Primer is useful for controlling rust.
Complete / incomplete
25. Primer provides a good surface for the undercoat to adhere to.
Complete / incomplete
26. Undercoat helps to even out an irregular surface.
Complete / incomplete
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 1
27. The colour of the undercoat should be an appropriate shade to match the colour
of the finishing coat.
Complete / incomplete
28. Normally two coats of undercoat are needed to reach the proper standard.
Complete / incomplete
29. The finishing coat adheres to the undercoat and gives a protective layer, the desired
colour and outer texture.
Complete / incomplete
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 2
SIMPLE, COMPOUND AND COMPLEX SENTENCES
When we write we use a variety of sentences to make our writing more interesting and engaging to
the reader.
Simple Sentences
A simple sentence expresses a complete thought and contains a subject and a verb.
Joe is plastering the wall
Subject
Joe is plastering the wall
Verb
Compound Sentences
A compound sentence is made up of two complete simple sentences joined by a conjunction such as
and, but, so, for.
Joe is plastering the wall and Bill is painting the top floor windows.
Conjunction
Complex Sentences
A complex sentence has a complete sentence with a complete thought. It has a subject and a verb –
but it adds additional information. The additional information is given in phrases that tell you more
about the complete sentence. The phrases cannot stand on their own. The information in the
complete sentence part is more important than the additional phrase/s.
Joe is plastering the wall and, although he is terrified of heights, Bill is painting the top floor
windows.
Additional phrase
- is not a complete
thought - less
important part
of sentence
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 2
Activity
Which of the following are simple, compound or comlplex sentences.
1. Scaffolding is a temporary structure.
2. Scaffolding should only be erected, altered and dismantled by a trained scaffolder.
3. Unless a construction worker is properly trained, he/she cannot use a scaffold.
4. Before using a scaffold, you must read the official publications that contain
the regulations for safe use of scaffolding.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 3
PUNCTUATION
Punctuation is important because it helps the reader to understand what you have written.
There are four types of sentence. Sentences all begin with a capital letter but they do not all end the
same way.
• Statements: e.g. Copper pipe is the most popular type of piping used in domestic hot and cold
water systems .
Full Stop
• Questions: Is copper is a good conductor of heat ?
Question Mark
• Exclamations: Lead poisons water !
Exclamation Mark
• Commands: Do not install black iron pipe !
Full stop or exclamation
mark can be used here.
A sentence needs to make complete sense and needs to include a verb.
This is a sentence:
“Bricks are probably the oldest manufactured material we have today.”
Verb
This is incomplete and does not contain a verb. It is not a sentence.
“The method of producing bricks”
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Essential Skills - Communication for Construction
WRITING TASK 3
Activity 1
Read the following sentences and add the correct capital letters and punctuation to each.
1. The method of producing bricks has changed since they were first used in building
2. How do I reduce my carbon footprint
3. do bricks have many advantages over other types of building materials
4. NEVER use power tools near flammable substances
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 3
5. What are the main benefits of home insulation
6. The majority of staircases used in domestic construction are made from solid timber
Activity 2
Comma ,
We use commas are used to break up sentences into orderly chunks.
A comma
separates
each item
Commas are used to separate items in a list, e.g.
The Department of the Environment (DOE) sets out areas in each town for housing ,
industry, hospitals, schools and other amenities.
The Last two items on the list are linked
by ‘and’ - no commas are needed.
Commas separate out additional information that has been added into a sentence e.g.
The Planning Service, after consultation with Local Borough Councils, may decide to designate
areas of towns or villages as Conservation Areas.
(*Try reading the sentence above without the highlighted phase. You will find the sentence reads
perfectly well without it!)
A comma is used to separate clauses.
A clause is a main part of a sentence and each clause must have a verb e.g.
Unless it is a replacement dwelling ,
building is not encouraged in the countryside.
Clause with verb ‘is’
Clause with verb
phrase ‘is not.’
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 3
Rewrite the following sentences putting commas in the correct places.
1. To improve the quality of our environment the Department for the Environment provides
Area Plans for our towns and villages.
2. The Planning Department prepares an Area Plan for all towns which consists of diagrams
illustrations maps and written information.
3. Unless new development plans fit in with the Area Plan they may not be passed.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 3
4. If it has a good reason the department can alter a development plan.
5. The department can alter a development plan at any time if a good reason is given.
6. Northern Ireland’s planning policy “Sustainable Development in the Countryside” will
apply a policy similar to Greenbelt policy to the whole of Northern Ireland.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 3
7. The only types of buildings that are encouraged in the countryside are replacement
dwellings farm workers dwellings and retirement dwellings for farmers.
8. Any new dwellings built must integrate into the countryside be of an approved design and
reflect the area in which it is situated.
9. Building design in conservation areas including size of buildings brickwork doors and
windows will be restricted.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 3
10. Area Plans will provide protection for interesting buildings such as those of architectural
interest historic interest and areas of special character and appearance.
11. To preserve and enhance special places they are protected as Conservation Areas.
12. The Moravian village of Gracehill outside Ballymena is one of the best preserved villages
of its kind in Western Europe.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 3
Activity 3
Colon :
Use a colon before giving an example or an explanation of what has gone before, a list or a quotation.
There are various types of air pollution : acid rain, photochemical smog,
atmospheric gasses.
Rewrite the sentences below putting the colon in its proper place.
1. The vacancy advert in the paper suits me it’s looking for someone with experience in
fitting kitchens.
2. Construction site safety signs are vital they are a constant reminder of the hazards in the
workplace.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 3
3. Instruction leaflets are useful they save time and money when planning a DIY job.
4. Peter made a list of the tools he needed to erect the fence protective gloves, long tape
measure, spade, 2 builders’ lines, panel saw, power drill with twist and wood bits, club
hammer, spirit level, trowel, hammer, canes.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 3
Activity 4
Semi-colon ;
Use a semi-colon to separate two related sentences.
Example
The construction industry accounts for 25% of all injury accidents ; more than 20% of these
accidents occur when manually lifting equipment and materials.
Insert semi-colons into the following sentences.
1. Ladders are not always the best equipment for the job a mobile tower, Air Port Steps or
scaffolding may suit better.
2. There can be no short cuts on safe practice inspect your ladder regularly.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 3
3. Some jobs will require the use of an extension ladder always make sure you extend it
before climbing.
4. You will need to secure the bottom and the top of the ladder you do this by tying it to the
stiles (not the rungs)
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 3
Activity 5
Brackets ( ) and Dashes Brackets and dashes can be used to separate out extra information from the main part of the
sentence or statement. Either works equally well.
Example
1. Protective clothing (especially leather or PVC gloves) should be worn to protect the
hands from sharp or jagged edges.
2. Protective clothing - especially leather or PVC gloves - should be worn to protect the
hands from sharp or jagged edges.
Now try these. Rewrite the sentences below twice – once using brackets and the second time using
dashes.
1. Sprains and strains to muscles joints, ligaments, tendons, disc trouble and hernias are
often caused by sudden awkward movements while lifting.
2. When I first started work with Renovations Workshops at the beginning of my
apprenticeship I was given an induction talk and had training in Health and Safety.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 3
3. When taking nails from old rafters or beams if this is required I use a metal detector to
find nails that cannot be seen.
4. The company is specialises in selling sash windows and their boxes mainly trading in the
Waterford area but also carries out other renovation work on period houses.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 3
Activity 6
Speech Marks “ ”
Speech marks are used to show the exact words spoken.
Tom said, “ The new build is starting next week. ”
Put speech marks in the correct places within these sentences.
1.
The driver asked Jack where do I leave the supplies?
2.
Have you completed your training on Health and Safety legislation the tutor asked
the group?
3.
Did Joe pass on the memo to you the receptionist asked?
4.
Frank said we finish tomorrow for our holidays.
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Inverted Comas
We use inverted commas when:
• Quoting what someone has said or written, e.g. The newspaper article stated that “Global
temperatures are continuing to rise.”
• Giving the title of newspaper, book, film or play, e.g. Peter Brett’s book “A Building Foundation
Craft Foundation” is used by construction students throughout the UK.
• When using slang or when words are used in a particular way e.g. He thought the group was
“real cool.”
Insert inverted commas into the following sentences.
1. Environmental correspondent, Richard Black (BBC News website) in his article Big
profit from nature protection says that “money ploughed into protecting wetlands,
coral reefs and forests can bring a hundredfold return on capital.”
2. Tom thought his manager was a bit of a jobs worth until he realised that the rules were
legal requirements that kept him and his colleagues safe.
3. The title of Peter’s assignment was “Health and Safety Policies improve safety on site”
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APOSTROPHES
Apostrophe or Plural?
Most mistakes with apostrophes are made using plurals. Plural just means more than one. You would
not use an apostrophe with a plural, e.g.
We offer discount on larger orders.
Joiners should look after their tools.
More than one order so it is
plural. No apostrope is used.
More than one joiner so this is
plural. No apostrophe is needed.
Great sale on chart CDs.
Plural again - no need
for an apostrophe.
Activity 1
In the following sentences apostrophes have been used for plurals. Rewrite the sentences correctly.
1. ‘Belfast Building Supplies for cheaper brick’s!’
2. Stepladder’s are one of the most important pieces of equipment in the construction
industry.
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3. In some types of construction rooms are know as cell’s.
4. Bricks are produced to withstand heavy load’s.
5. The ceiling joist’s are only 100mm deep.
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6. Stair’s should be safe.
7. Employer’s must make sure equipment is safe.
8. Window’s are available in different shape’s, size’s and
material’s.
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POSSESSION
Apostrophes are used to show ownership
‘s is added to the word that shows who the owner is.
The carpenter’s hand drill.
The plumber’s van
The Hand drill belongs
to the carpenter ’s
The van belongs to
the plumber so ’s
The safety officer’s inspection
The inspection was carried
out by the safety officer so ’s
Activity 2
The sentences below all have single owners. Rewrite using an apostrophe to show ownership.
The joiners last job took him four days to complete.
The ladders rung was broken.
The builders square is useful for cutting plywood.
When there is more than one owner and the noun ends in ‘s’ add an apostrophe after the ‘s’ e.g.
The customers’ property
The clients’ wishes
When a noun ends in ‘s’ you can add ‘s or just ‘ e.g.
Thomas’s plane
Charles’ drill.
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OMISSION
Apostrophes are used when letters are missing.
Contractions
The apostrophe is used when writing contractions. Contractions are shortened forms of words from
which letters are missing. We mainly use contractions in speech or in informal texts.
We shorten a word or phrase and then use an apostrophe to show where the letters are missing from.
Here are some familiar examples
COMPLETE WORD / PHRASE
MISSING LETTERS
SHORTENED FORM
do not
o
don't
Will not
won’t
Irregular - does
not work neatly
are not
o
aren’t
was not
o
wasn't
would not
o
wouldn't
I am
a
I'm
I will
wi
I’ll
you are
a
you’re
it is
i
it’s
it has
ha
it’s
what is
i
what’s
let us
u
let’s
that is
i
that’s
you would
woul
you’d
your are
a
you’re
can not
no
can’t
could not
o
couldn’t
they are
a
they’re
they had
ha
they’d
that is my hammer.
i
that’s my hammer.
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Often the following are mixed up. If you say the words in full you should not get mixed up.
There / their / they’re
They’re sounds like there (a place) and their (belonging to them). It is short for they are.
You’re / your
Your means belonging to you.
You’re is a short for you are.
It’s / its
It’s is short for it is or it has.
Its means belonging to it.
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Activity 3
Rewrite sentences 1, 2 and 3 below changing the bolded words into contractions using an
apostrophe.
1. They are throwing a party when the new build is complete.
2. You are the best candidate for the job.
3. It is important to use the proper tools for the job.
4. Now write a sentence containing its and one containing it’s.
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Read through the email below. It contains a number of contractions. Underline or highlight the
contractions in the text then rewrite the email message using the words written in full. Does the
rewritten message sound more formal?
Email
To… [email protected]
cc…
Subject: Saturday Job!
Hi Hadyn
I haven’t had a minute since I last saw you. How’s the new job going? Hope you’re not
working too hard! I’m making a start on the conservatory next Saturday and I was wondering
if you’d be interested in some weekend work.
Everything’s worked out well and all the materials have been delivered already so we’re ready
to rock! I’ve just spoken to Barry and he’s said he can give us a hand with the electrics.
You wouldn’t, by any chance, have Adam’s mobile number? I’m hoping he’ll tip in as well
because it’s hard to beat a good team!
Let me know anyway and I’ll see you soon.
Rory
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To… [email protected]
cc…
Subject: Saturday Job!
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SUBJECT VERB AGREEMENT
Verbs and subjects must agree. Rewrite the sentences using the correct verb form so that it agrees
with its subject.
(Remember: Verbs are action words and the subject is who or what is doing the action)
1. The Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order require/ requires that employers
must provide a safe place of work.
2. Employers must provide equipment that are/is suitable for the job.
3. Four main types of ladders is/are used in the construction industry.
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4. Standing ladders have/has rectangular or round stiles.
5. The wooden ladders was/were made from Douglas fir.
6. The aluminium ladder was/were easier to carry.
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VERB TENSES
A verb indicates when an action takes place. It can be the past, present or the future.
PAST
PRESENT
FUTURE
In 2008 I worked
for Builders NI LTD
I am working for
Design Workshops
Next year I shall
own my own business.
When using verbs you need to think whether the sentence is referring to the past, present or future.
Remember to keep the verb tense consistent when discussing the same event.
Verb Tenses
Activity
Read the following report on a workplace accident and chose the correct verb tense for the report.
John Briars and his supervisor Phillip Reid, were / are / will be employees of Adams Building
Contractors, a Northern Ireland building and construction company.
They were / are / will be replacing house windows at number 42, Beach View Estate in Holywood,
and had just started / start / will start back to work after lunch at 2pm.
John rested / rest / will rest a ladder on some grass. The ground looked / look / will look fairly
stable even though it was / is / will be sloping slightly away from the building. He did not tie the
ladder or secure it by any other means.
Phillip had gone inside the building to collect some tools and so was / is / will be not there to foot
the ladder.
John began carrying some silicon sealant up the ladder for the new window. When he had
reached / reach / will reach a height of about 3m the bottom of the ladder slipped / slip / will slip
out and he fell. John fractured / fracture / will fracture his leg badly.
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SPELLING HOMOPHONES
Homophones are words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings.
Many homophones, such as the ones below, are used very often so it is important that you learn how
to spell them.
Rewrite the sentences below using the correct homophone. Then write a sentence of your own
containing each of the homophones.
1. Are, Our and Hour
Are is part of the verb to be – e.g. ‘We are plumbers’ – ‘they are carpenters’– ‘you are a plasterer’
‘Timber framed houses are normally made in factories’
Our means belonging to us e.g. ‘Our new contract begins in October.’
Hour means the time on the clock e.g. ‘The delivery should have been here an hour ago.’
a. Windows ( are / our / hour ) available in a variety of designs, shapes, sizes and materials.
b. ( Hour / our / are ) course tutor is a stickler on Health and Safety issues.
c. We practice bench joinery construction in ( are / our / hour ) workshop at college.
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d. Vertical sliding sash windows ( hour / are / our ) often used in Georgian Architecture.
e. Windows ( our / hour / are ) often part of the external cladding of an office building.
f. Often there ( our / are/ hour ) several different types of roof in one building.
g. The majority of staircases used in domestic construction ( hour / our / are ) made from
solid timber.
h. ( Hour / our / are ) group had a three ( are / our / hour ) risk assessment training
on Tuesday.
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i. Always ensure that roof coverings (hour / our / are) in harmony with the local environment
and that they are fit for purpose.
j. (Hour / our / are) new workshop is well equipped.
2. They’re / their / there
They’re - they are - They are planning to build
There - 1) - a place e.g. over there 2) Used with is, are, were, was.
Their - belonging to them their workshop
Rewrite the following sentences using the correct homophone.
a. ( They’re / there / their ) planning to start the new build in May.
b. A private staircase serves one dwelling. ( They are / their / there ) normally manufactured
in a workshop to specific dimensions.
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c. Most modern windows are casement windows. ( They’re / their / there ) hinges are placed
on the side to allow them to swing open vertically, like a door.
d. ( Their there they’re ) site plans gave the position of the proposed dwelling.
e. Bench joiners use ( they’re / their / there ) portable power tools more often than their
hand tools, but ( they’re / there / their ) both important.
f. Chisels work best when ( there / their / they’re ) very sharp.
g. When using hand tools ( their / there / they’re ) can be danger of injury from fast-flying
objects.
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3. Where / were / wear / we’re
Where - a place - Where is the site?
Were - past tense - We were planning to build.
We’re - short for ‘we are’. We’re the proud owners of two Vauxhall Astravans.
Wear - to be clothed in - I wear protective headgear on site. Or to wear out something by using it a lot.
a. On the construction site, it is important to ( were / where / we’re / wear ) safety hats and
footwear to protect from falling objects.
b. It is important to ( where / wear / we’re /were ) high visibility vests to let others see exactly
( where / wear / we’re / were ) you are.
c. ( Wear / we’re / were / where ) all agreed that ( we’re / where / wear / were ) Health and
Safety are concerned, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
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d. Robert knew how important it was to know exactly ( wear / where / we’re / were ) all his
equipment was.
e. If you are using hand tools it is vital to ( where / wear / we’re / were ) the correct Personal
Protective Equipment (PPE) for the task.
f. It is important to know when and ( were / where / wear / we’re ) to use particular hand
tools.
g. We need to maintain tools to protect them from ( we’re / where / wear / were ) and tear.
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h. Never ( where / were / wear / we’re ) loose clothing or jewelry when working with hand
tools as they could catch on the tools.
4. Who’s or Whose?
Who’s - means ‘who is’
Whose - means belonging to whom
a. Make sure you know ( who’s / whose ) job it is to carry out a risk assessment on the
electrical wiring job.
b. “( Who’s / whose ) the new supervisor at the Timber Stores?”
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c. “( Who’s / whose ) hammer is this?”
d. ( Who’s / Whose ) name is on this kit?
5. To / Two / Too
To - towards - ‘I am going to the suppliers later.’
Two - the number 2
Too - as well as - or also - or ‘over the top’ - ‘too much’
a. The joiners knew that if they accepted another job they would have ( to / two / too ) much
work on to be able to complete on time.
b. Most garages are (to / two / too) small for modern cars.
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c. Disruption ( to / two / too ) to your home life can be kept ( to / two / too ) a minimum for
most garage or loft conversions.
d. The job would take ( to / too / two ) hours at the most.
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PARAGRAPHS
Look at any piece of writing – a newspaper article, a letter, a book or a magazine – and you will see
that the text is divided into paragraphs. Dividing the text into paragraphs makes it easier to read and
follow. Each paragraph in a text deals with an aspect of the topic you are writing about.
Activity 1
a. Read each of the paragraphs below then write the topic of the paragraph in a word or phrase.
b. One sentence in each paragraph does not fit in. Write out the sentence that does not belong.
c. Say why it doesn’t fit in.
1. When I first became an apprentice with Restoration Workshops I was given an induction
course on Health and Safety and fire awareness training. I was trained to use Personal
Protective Equipment (PPE) and learned when and where I should wear protective
clothing. There was a great canteen there as well. I had training on how to work safely
with machinery and how to go about making a risk assessment. There were also a
number of fire drills to make so I knew what to do in the event of a fire.
a. Paragraph Topic:
b. Sentence that does not fit in:
c. Sentence does not belong because:
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2. The government is directing us to insulate building walls in an attempt to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions. The more energy we use to heat our homes the more
greenhouse gases we add to the atmosphere. Northern Ireland MP Sammy Wilson
believes that man-made global warming is a con. The government’s Building Regulations
is directing us to increase the amount of insulation within the walls of our homes and
factories. To achieve this, cavity walls are built to hold 60mm thick insulation and double
glazed windows are sealed to prevent heat loss.
a. Paragraph Topic:
b. Sentence that does not fit in:
c. Sentence does not belong because:
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3. More than 70% of people living in the United States and the United Kingdon live in timber
framed houses. The internal structure of a timber frame house is a wooden frame which
is then covered by brick or stone to provide the external finish. The reason timber framed
homes are so popular is because they are quick and easy to assemble. The builder can
buy a timber framed structure as a kit with all of the pieces cut to measure and ready to
assemble. I was always good with jigsaw puzzles and mechano sets when I was a child.
Timber framed dwellings can be assembled much quicker than houses made from brick
and block. A timber framed dwelling can be erected in two or three days and is ready for
roofing, windows and plumbing etc within two weeks.
a. Paragraph Topic:
b. Sentence that does not fit in:
c. Sentence does not belong because:
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4. Adding space to your home can add thousands of pounds to its value. There are a
number of ways you can do this including adding an extension or converting your loft,
cellar or garage. My neighbour says he would rather move house rather than have all the
hassle of renovation. There are advantages and disadvantages to adding extensions or
doing conversions (for example a ground floor extension will mean a smaller garden) so it
is always important to have a workable plan in place before you start.
a. Paragraph Topic:
b. Sentence that does not fit in:
c. Sentence does not belong because:
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5. The Titanic Quarter in Belfast is being redeveloped by the Port of Belfast and Titanic
Quarter Limited. The area was once the site of the Harland and Wolff shipyard from which
the RMS Titanic was launched on 10th April 2010 only to strike an ice-burg and sink four
days later with a loss of 1522 of its 2,200 passengers and crew. Leonardo de Caprio and
Kate Winslett starred in the classic film Titanic in 1997. The site is 185-acres on the banks
of the River Lagan. The redevelopment is expected to cost £56 billion pounds, create
25,000 new jobs and will take around 15 years to complete.
a. Paragraph Topic:
b. Sentence that does not fit in:
c. Sentence does not belong because:
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Activity 2
PARAGRAPH WRITING
The following sentences introduce the topic of the paragraph. Complete the paragraphs.
1. It is better to improve your home than to go through all the hassle of moving.
2. Homes can be affordable and environmentally friendly.
3. Over a third of injuries lasting more than three days are caused by manual handling.
4. Timber framed houses are quicker and easier to build than brick or stone.
5. If you are going to buy a listed building then you will need to plan, plan and then plan again.
6. The Health and Safety at Work Regulations apply to everyone.
7. Scaffolding is an important piece of equipment on the construction site.
8. Care must be taken when using electrical equipment.
9. At 828m high the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates is the tallest building in the world.
10. It is important to know where your wood products come from.
11. Copper pipe is used in most types of domestic hot and cold water systems and is used in
domestic central heating systems.
12. Risk assessment is always the first thing to consider when planning a construction job.
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Activity 3
Paragraph Writing
Divide the following text into five paragraphs. Rewrite the text using paragraphs for each
new section. Remember to think about where one topic ends and another begins.
Local stone was once the traditional choice when constructing dwellings and industrial buildings.
Stone walls were generally very thick and had no damp proofing. Smaller stones were inter spaced
with the larger ones and were bound together with lime mortar. More recently stone walls have been
built with sand and cement. The red brick terrace houses built in close proximity to mills during the
industrial revolution were built one-brick thick. They were cheaply constructed using bricks that were
made locally and English Bond to form a solid wall. A problem with one-brick wall construction was
that moisture travelled from the outside causing damp patches on the inside of the building. Cavity
wall construction was developed to prevent the spread of damp into the inside of the buildings. Cavity
walls are two walls with a space between. Moisture could not travel from the outside of the building to
the inside. It also helps to keep in heat. Energy loss needs to be reduced further so existing cavity wall
insulation will need to be improved even more if a reduction in heat loss is to be achieved. Timber
framed walls differ from those constructed of traditional brick and block work because the structure is
composed of wood. Timber framed structures must comply with every aspect of the building
regulations including fire resistance. Curtain wall construction is used for commercial and industrial
structures. Curtain wall structures have infill panels of glass or opaque materials. They often have an
inner wall consisting of block.
1.
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2.
3.
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4.
5.
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MIND MAPPING
Sixty Minute Makeover
Task
You have been offered the chance to have a thirty minute makeover on your home /or a flat
that you are renting/buying. The makeover team can change three areas for you. Select
three areas you would like changed and use the mind map below to explore your ideas on:
• How things are at the present
• How you would like your home/flat to look when the makeover team have finished.
When planning a project/essay/article etc always mind map your ideas.
Mind mapping is a process whereby we start with a topic and explore ideas the way our mind would.
It is an excellent way of gathering ideas and recording them until they are needed.
For example if we start with the topic ‘HOUSE’ we begin by thinking of the different rooms etc. This is
how our thinking might look.
HOUSE
FRONT DOOR - NEW
HALL – REPAINTED
SITTING ROOM
KITCHEN
BEDROOM 2 NURSERY
BEDROOM 1 – BOYS’
ROOM WITH ENSUITE
BATHROOM
BEDROOM 3 GIRLS’ ROOM
LOFT
ROOF
MASTER BEDROOM
WITH ENSUITE
GARDEN
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Sixty Minute Makeover
Next look at how you might describe how these rooms look at the moment. Take them one at a time.
For example, how would you describe the hallway?
Think Hallway
Is there a colour scheme? What is it?
How is it decorated? Is there a coat rail? Or a mirror? Or a plant?
Is the hallway well lit - or not? Think why or why not e.g. does the front door have glass panes to allow
in light?
Are the walls papered or painted?
Is the floor carpeted or wooden with a runner?
What effect does this have?
What would you like to change? What, if anything, would you like to keep?
You can repeat the process for each of the rooms.
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STRUCTURING AN EXTENDED TEXT RISK ASSESSMENT REPORT - EXCAVATION
Using the mind map provided write a report of 500 words or more on the risk assessment process
when planning excavations.
Remember to include:
• Title - Your title should be a word, phrase or short sentence that tells the reader what the report is
about.
• Introduction - first paragraph - where you outline the purpose of your report and say what it will
be about.
• Subheadings - to highlight clearly for your reader what the paragraph is about.
• Paragraphing - to separate your points.
• Conclusion - final paragraph - you might want to state the importance of following risk
assessment procedures.
You will want to mention excavation dangers such as those listed below.
1. Collapse of excavation
2. Contact with buried services
3. Ingress of water
4. Build up of fumes
5. Being struck by falling materials
6. Contact of overhead lines by diggers etc
7. Effect on nearby structures
8. Confined space implications
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EXCAVATIONS
Every 15
Metres
Cable
Locators
Ladders
Undermining
nearby
Buildings
Buried
Services
Unsafe Access
and Egress
Pre work
Survey
Shoring
Overhead
Cables
Excavations
Hazards and
Control
Collapse
Battering
Soil
Survey
People, plant
or materials
falling in
Crossing
Points
Lighting
Warning
Signs
PPE
Edge
protection
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WRITING TASK 11
PROOF READING AND REVISE WRITING FOR ACCURACY AND MEANING
WRITING CHECKLIST
EDITING CHECKLIST
TICK
Appropriate format is used depending on the audience and purpose of the text e.g.
• formal letter
• email
• report
• informal letter
• memo
• college assignment
Language is appropriate for audience and purpose e.g.
• Formal
• Informal
• Mixture of both (as in some advertising)
Appropriate style is used for the text where required e.g.
• Persuasive techniques when writing an argument
Appropriate structure is used e.g.
• Title
• Paragraphs used to sequence ideas or information
Written text is appropriate length e.g.
• One of the L2 texts for your project needs to be a minimum of 500 words.
All relevant detail is included.
Grammar:
• Use of verbs (doing words)
• Use of adverbs to describe verbs
• Use of suitable nouns (naming words)
• Pronouns used properly
• Adjectives (describing words) used to engage reader
• Appropriate conjuctions (joining words) used to link sentences.
Spelling e.g.
• Checked spelling of unfamiliar words
• Used the correct homophones (same sounding words)
• Checked endings e.g. ‘s’ ‘es’ ‘ed’ ‘ing’
Punctuation:
Capital letters are used at
• Beginning of sentences
• Titles
• Proper nouns
Full stops are used to end sentences.
Question marks are used at end of questions.
Exclamation marks are used at the end of a dramatic statement.
Writing:
On re-reading, the text makes sense and can be easily understood.
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WRITING AN EXTENDED TEXT - REPORT ON COMPANY
Write a Report on Your Company
Here are some ideas to help you with writing your report. You do not need to use them all. Your report
should be two A4 pages long.
Introduction
Give a general overview of the company. Give its name and address and say when the company
started. How many years has the company been in operation? Talk about the kind of work it carries out.
History / Background of the Company
Say how the company got started. Who formed it? How many staff did the company start off with –
how many staff does it have now? Did the company start off with having just a few staff and develop
into one that has a large workforce – has it stayed the same? Is the company still in the hands of the
original owners or has it been taken over or sold on? Who used to run it and who runs it now? What
kind of contracts did the company start off with? How have these contracts changed over the years?
Has your company achieved any awards? If so what were they and what were they for?
The Company Now
What kind of work is currently being carried out by the company? Is the company involved in overseas
contracts? If so say where? Is work carried out by the company in different towns in various areas of
Northern Ireland/Ireland/UK etc. or does it carry out most of its work locally? Does the company
advertise? If so where? Does it have a website? Describe it and give the web address? Does the
company have a logo? What is it and what does it stand for?
Your Role Within the Company
Say how long you have worked for the company? Give the title of your job and talk about your work in
a typical day. Has your work role changed over the time you have been with the company? What were
your responsibilities when you started with the company and what are they now? Are you responsible
for helping to train new members of staff in, for example, health and safety issues? How many people
are in your team? What are the jobs of the other team members? Give details of the types of contracts /
jobs you have helped to carry out (Do not give confidential client information). Have you had any
interesting or unusual experiences while working for the company, for example the opportunity to travel?
Qualifications / Training
What kind of qualifications and training do you need for your job? What training have you had so far?
What training are you undertaking at present and what are the qualifications you hope to gain when
you finish your training? Talk about workplace training and college training and give the titles of the
qualifications you have and the qualifications you are working towards. Give details of the health and
safety training within your company. Do you have regular training sessions and fire drills? Are you
required to wear protective clothing at work? If so, say when and why?
Conclusion
What are your views about the company? What do you enjoy about working there? Where would
you like to see yourself in 5/10 years time?
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WRITING TASK 13
WRITING AN ESSAY / ARTICLE
Audience and Purpose
The two most important things you need to think about with any written activity are:
1. Who you are writing to (audience)
2. Why you are writing (purpose).
Audience and purpose will affect what you write and the way you write it.
Research and Make Notes on Topic
Gather information to use in your article from e.g.:
•
•
•
•
Course Books and Handouts
Library
Internet (some websites are listed at the end of this book)
Television
Mind Map your ideas OR list points FOR and AGAINST if you are writing a balanced argument.
Essay / Article Structure
Essays or articles have:
1. an introduction - or opening paragraph
2. a main section – or middle paragraphs - where all your points are made
3. a conclusion
With a good essay structure you catch and hold the attention of your reader as your writing will be
easy to follow and understand.
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WRITING TASK 13
Introduction (Opening Paragraph)
This is your first opportunity to catch the attention of your reader. If you make a good first impression
the reader will want to continue reading; so make sure your introduction is interesting and engaging.
Here are some ways to make your opening paragraph interesting.
Rhetorical Question
Rhetorical questions engage the reader by making them think about what is being asked e.g.
“Are renewable energy technologies the solution to climate change?”
Rhetorical questions also directly address the reader giving the impression their opinion is important.
Quotation
A quotation from an expert in the topic you are writing about will help persuade the reader round to
that point of view,
e.g. ‘Brundtland defines sustainability as “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the
ability of future generations to meet theirs.” (Brundtland Commission 1983)
Dramatic Statement
Dramatic statements immediately grab the attention of the reader.
“We need urgent action now!”
Balanced Argument
A balanced argument looks at the different views on a topic and will encourage the reader to see your
writing as evenhanded and unbiased e.g. “Many people argue that global warming is a result of
human activity while others believe it is a result of the earth’s natural processes.”
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WRITING TASK 13
Writing an Essay – Balanced Argument
Is Global Warming a Result of Human Activity or is it a Natural Process?
Opening Paragraph - 1 - Introduction
In the opening paragraph you will need to address different views about the topic and provide more
detail, perhaps giving your own point of view or the issues you intend to address.
“Many people argue that global warming is a result of human activity while others believe it is a result
of the earth’s natural processes. I believe that the scientific evidence that global warming is a result of
human activity is now too strong to be ignored.
Main Section
The middle section of a long piece of writing is made up of paragraphs. A paragraph is a series of
sentences on the same topic. Each paragraph deals with a different aspect of the main essay subject.
1. Say what the paragraph is about in a topic sentence (a sentence that introduces the topic)
2. Explain the point in more detail.
3. Give an example to illustrate the point
Paragraph 2
Topic sentence
Former Northern Ireland Environment Minister, Sammy Wilson thinks that
man-made climate change is a con.
Explanation
He believes that climate change is a result of natural processes and that the
billions of pounds spent worldwide attempting to reduce carbon emissions
will not solve the problem of climate change.
Example
Mr. Wilson is convinced that the money spent on reducing carbon emissions
is depriving developing countries of vital funds to tackle famine, HIV and other
diseases.
Paragraph 3 (Opposing View)
Topic sentence
However recent scientific studies of the Antarctic and Arctic have shown that
changes to the climate are due to human activity
Explanation
The new study of the North and South Poles by the Climate Research Unit at the
University of East Anglia shows that temperature increases to Antarctica in the
past 60 years cannot be attributed to natural variations.
Example
The coastal areas of the Antarctic has been most affected by global warming
which has resulted in the disintegration of ice shelves and the speeding up of the
flow of glaciers to the sea.
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WRITING TASK 13
Conclusion
Conclusions are just as important as introductions. In your conclusion you will want to sum up your
arguments into an effective ending for the reader to consider.
Conclusions should:
• Address the original question / topic
• Briefly summarise the main points of both arguments
• Not introduce a new idea
In the final sentence you might want to:
•
•
•
•
•
Ask a rhetorical question
Request some sort of action
Present a warning
Give your own personal view
Consider on what might happen in the future
Conclusion
Last Paragraph - 4
In conclusion, many believe that man-made global warming does not exist. They believe that the
billions of pounds being spent worldwide in an attempt to halt global warming are diverting vital funds
from developing countries where they could be used to address health and education. However,
recent scientific studies indicate that global warming is, indeed, a result of human activity and that
immediate action is needed to reverse the damage that has already been caused. Can we really afford
not to listen?
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WRITING TASK 13
Activity
Write a four paragraph essay giving a balanced argument on the topics below:
Writing a four paragraph essay will give you practice at writing:
•
•
•
•
an effective introduction
a paragraph on the first viewpoint
a paragraph on the opposing viewpoint
an effective conclusion
Topics:
•
•
•
•
Is it better to self-build or buy your home?
Are “cowboy builders” ruining the reputation of responsible construction workers?
Are listed buildings worth all the trouble and expense?
In these days of recession is it better to make improvements to your home rather than move?
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WRITING TASK 13
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 13
Planning a Balanced Argument
Make notes of the points for and against the topic. Then provide evidence (e.g. facts, quotes, statistics).
Topic Statement: It is always better to self-build your home.
Topic Question: Is it always better to self-build your home?
YES – I agree with the question or statement
NO – I do not agree with the question or statement
Point 1
Point 1
Explanation
Explanation
Example
Example
Point 2
Point 2
Explanation
Explanation
Example
Example
Point 3
Point 3
Explanation
Explanation
Example
Example
Point 4
Point 4
Explanation
Explanation
Example
Example
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING TASK 13
Linking Words and Phrases
When writing an article we use different words and phrases to link together our ideas. We use them
to help build an argument, compare and contrast ideas and to sum up what we have said.
USE FOR BUILDING AN ARGUMENT
Firstly
Also
Therefore
No one can deny
In addition
As well as this
Moreover
Some would argue
It might be said
Consequently
As a result
Convincingly
What is more
For that reason
Besides
Importantly
USE WHEN COMPARING / CONTRASTING IDEAS
In comparison
As well as
Just as
Also
Similarly
At the same time
equally
Similarly
Just as
Likewise
In the same way
Both
Despite
Those who disagree
may argue
But
Although
However
In contrast
On the other hand
Though
Although
Nevertheless
Conversely
Opponents of this
view would claim
On the contrary
Still
On the other hand
In opposition to this
In conclusion
To conclude
In summary
To sum up
To Summarize
Finally
To outline the main points
Overall
To recap
On balance I believe
Lastly
To finish
SUMMING UP IDEAS
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WRITING TASK 13
FORMAL LETTER – LETTER OF COMPLAINT
Letter of Complaint
Effective complaints are more likely to produce better outcomes. Letters are the most reliable way
to complain although complaints may be made using emails or phone calls.
The most effective complaints are:
• Brief – short, sharp letters can be quickly read and understood.
• Professional – Well written and professionally presented letters will command respect and will
be taken more seriously.
• Factual – they give the reader all the facts they need to process the complaint (names, dates,
times, what you want to happen etc).
• Constructive – Even if you are angry they should contain positive statements and suggestions.
A positive approach is more likely to have a positive outcome.
• Cooperative – No matter how aggrieved you feel it is important to remember that aggression will
not encourage a positive response. A positive letter will encourage the reader to respond positively.
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WRITING TASK 14
Letter of Complaint
Example
Your Address
Post Code
Telephone Number
Name
Position
Company
Address
Post Code
(of the person you are writing to)
Date
Dear (name of person) or
Dear Sir / Madam (if you do not know the person’s name)
Heading alerting the reader immediately to the main issues of the letter, briefly outlining the
problem and relevant details (name, product, reference number etc).
Introduction State the facts simply
Main Section of Letter
Give relevant details.
Let the reader know what you would like to happen (make a positive request for help in sorting
out the problem) to which the reader can respond.
It is best to end by including positive comments about the company (e.g. previous service etc).
Even if you are very angry it is best to end on a complimentary note.
Even if the complaint is long and complicated the letter should still be short and to the point.
Further explanations, notes etc should be attached.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely (if you know the persons’ name) - Yours faithfully (if not).
Your Signature (in black or blue ink only)
Your name printed clearly
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WRITING TASK 14
Writing Task
Responding to a Letter of Complaint
You receive the following letter complaining about some work you have just carried out. You know the
work you carried out was on time, to the proper standard and was correctly priced (the customer
signed that she was satisfied with the work completed). Write a letter responding to this complaint.
Remember:
Always be concise, professional, factual, constructive and cooperative.
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WRITING TASK 14
Letter of Complaint
Example
16 Cottage Row
Ballyrowan
Co Down
BT30 7MC
Tel: 07709 432 234
Mr Frank Ritchie
Customer Services Manager
Self Build Supplies
Belfast Industrial Estate
Boucher Road
Belfast
BT12 4HC
10th September 2010
Dear Mr Ritchie
Re: Pipes and Water Tank Insulation Order – Order No PWTL4567
The above order (due delivery date 15th August 2010) has still not arrived even though I was
expecting it around the middle of August.
Will you please check for me what has happened to the order and let me know when I can
expect it to arrive?
It is very important that I receive the order within the next week as North West build is due to
be insulated the week beginning 17th September.
I have ordered insulation materials from you for 10 years and know you are an excellent
supplier, so I know you will do everything you can to sort this matter out for me.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely
Jack Roberts
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WRITING TASK 14
Letter of Complaint
Holiday Hotel
Dunrowan
Co Down
BT26 7RC
Tel: 07709 642 543
Mr Tom Frazer
Joinery and Building Services
Belfast Industrial Estate
Belfast
BT10 7HC
20th September 2010
Dear Mr Frazer
Re: Loft Conversion
I have just received your invoice for the loft conversion you carried out recently at my hotel. I
have to say I am stunned. The amount we agreed was much less than the amount you are
now billing me for.
Also I am not at all happy with the work you carried out. The work was completed two weeks
after you said it would be completed and it was not up to the standards I expected. You were
recommended to me by friend and I expected much better from you.
I certainly won’t be recommending you to anyone – unless of course I receive a massive
discount on the work you have carried out.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely
Sylvia Smith
Manager of the Holiday Hotel
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WRITING TASK 14
Writing Task
Writing a Letter of Complaint
You are a self employed joiner and have recently refitted a home with outside doors and double
glazing. The invoice you sent was ignored as was the reminder you also sent. Write a letter of
complaint to your customer outlining the issues and reminding him of your policy to pursue
outstanding debts through the courts.
Remember that the same rules apply to this letter of complaint as to the others: always be
professional, concise, factual, constructive and co-operative.
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WRITING TASK 14
Complaints Letter – Proofreading Check List
NO
SCORE 1-10
1.
I considered my audience (the person who will receive my complaint).
2.
I considered the purpose (my reason for writing)
3.
Letter was written in formal letter format with proper spelling, punctuation
and grammar.
4.
It was clear and concise. Any extra information was attached rather than
included in the letter.
5.
It contained all the relevant facts and information needed to resolve my
complaint.
6.
It included positive statements and suggestions.
7.
The tone of my letter was thoughtful and cooperative.
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WRITING ANSWERS TASK 1
SENTENCES
Answers to Activities 1 and 2
1. Internal finishes must be carried out in the proper sequence.
Complete
2. It is essential that care is taken to avoid damage once a finish is applied.
Complete
3. The standard of workmanship must be to the highest level.
Incomplete
4. When applying a finish it is important that the background is perfectly dry.
Incomplete
5. When considering which finish to use, it is important to think about how the building is going
to be used and the wear, tear and maintenance of the building.
Complete
6. There are two types of finish; self finish and applied finish.
Incomplete
7. Types of wet finishes are plaster, paint and wallpaper.
Complete
8. A problem with wet finishes is the amount of time it takes to dry out.
Incomplete
9. Wet finishes may cause expansion or shrinkage of the timber components of the build.
Incomplete
10. Plaster board, timber panelling and carpet are all examples of dry finishes.
Incomplete
11. Dry finishes cause no shrinkage and do not prevent occupancy of the building.
Complete
12. Self finish is inherent in the material and does not need to be applied on.
Complete
13. Natural stone, facing brick, natural slate and natural wood are all types of self finishes.
Complete
14. There are two basic methods of carrying out internal plastering.
Incomplete
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WRITING ANSWERS TASK 1
15. The most popular method of applying internal plastering is to apply one or two coats of sand and
cement on block or brick walls followed by a coat of gypsum plaster.
Complete
16. Another method of applying internal plastering is to use a lightweight gypsum undercoat followed
by a finish coat of gypsum plaster.
Complete
17. Sand and cement takes longer and is harder to apply than lightweight gypsum undercoat.
Complete
18. Sand and cement mixture is much more hard wearing.
Incomplete
19. Lightweight gypsum undercoat is used where good thermal insulation properties are needed.
Complete
20. Painting is used in buildings to preserve it, to improve its appearance and for reasons of hygiene.
Incomplete
21. When completing a painting job a primer is used first, followed by an undercoat and ending with
a finish coat.
Complete
22. The correct primer must be used depending on the material to be covered.
Complete
23. Primer sticks to surface of the material and evens out the surface.
Incomplete
24. Primer is useful for controlling rust.
Incomplete
25. Primer provides a good surface for the undercoat to adhere to.
Complete
26. Undercoat helps to even out an irregular surface.
Complete
27. The colour of the undercoat should be an appropriate shade to match the colour of the finishing coat.
Incomplete
28. Normally two coats of undercoat are needed to reach the proper standard.
Incomplete
29. The finishing coat adheres to the undercoat and gives a protective layer, the desired colour and
outer texture.
Incomplete
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WRITING ANSWERS TASK 2
Answers – Simple – Compound – Complex Activity
Which of the following are simple, compound or comlplex sentences.
1. Scaffolding is a temporary structure.
Simple sentence
2. Scaffolding is erected by a trained scaffolder and only a trained scaffolder can dismantle scaffolding.
Compound sentence
3. Unless a construction worker is properly trained, he/she cannot use a scaffold.
Complex sentence
4. Before using a scaffold, you must read the official publications that contain the regulations for
safe use of scaffolding.
Complex sentence
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WRITING ANSWERS TASK 3
PUNCTUATION
Answers Activity 1
1. The method of producing bricks has changed since they were first used in building.
2. How do I reduce my carbon footprint?
3. Do bricks have many advantages over other types of building materials?
4. NEVER use power tools near flammable substances!
5. What are the main benefits of home insulation?
6. The majority of staircases used in domestic construction are made from
solid timber.
Answers Activity 2
1. Seeking to improve the quality of our environment, the Department for the Environment provides
Area Plans for our towns and villages.
2. The Planning Department prepares an Area Plan for all towns which consists of diagrams,
illustrations, maps and written information.
3. Unless new development plans fit in with the Area Plan, they may not be passed.
4. If it has a good reason, the department can alter a development plan.
5. The department can alter a development plan, at any time, if a good reason is given.
6. Northern Ireland’s planning policy, “Sustainable Development in the Countryside,” will apply a policy
similar to Greenbelt policy to the whole of Northern Ireland.
7. The only types of buildings that are encouraged in the countryside are replacement dwellings, farm
workers dwellings and retirement dwellings for farmers.
8. Any new dwellings built must integrate into the countryside, be of an approved design and reflect
the area in which it is situated.
9. Building design in conservation areas, including size of buildings, brickwork, doors and windows,
will be restricted.
10. Area Plans will provide protection for interesting buildings such as those of architectural interest,
historic interest and areas of special character and appearance.
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WRITING ANSWERS TASK 3
11. To preserve and enhance special places, they are protected as Conservation Areas.
12. The Moravian village of Gracehill, outside Ballymena, is one of the best preserved villages of its
kind in Western Europe.
Answers Activity 3
1. The vacancy advert in the paper suits me: it’s looking for someone with experience in fitting
kitchens.
2. Construction site safety signs are vital: they are a constant reminder of the hazards in the
workplace.
3. Instruction leaflets are useful: they save time and money when planning a DIY job.
4. Peter made a list of the tools he needed to erect the fence: protective gloves, long tape measure,
spade, 2 builders’ lines, panel saw, power drill with twist and wood bits, club hammer, spirit level,
trowel, hammer, canes.
Answers Activity 4
1. Ladders are not always the best equipment for the job; a mobile tower, Air Port Steps or scaffolding
may suit better.
2. There can be no short cuts on safe practice; inspect your ladder regularly.
3. Some jobs will require the use of an extension ladder; always make sure you extend it before
climbing.
4. You will need to secure the bottom and the top of the ladder; you do this by tying it to the stiles (not
the rungs)
Answers Activity 5
Dashes
1. Sprains and strains – to muscles joints, ligaments, tendons, disc trouble and hernias – are often
caused by sudden awkward movements while lifting.
2. When I first started work with Renovations Workshops – at the beginning of my apprenticeship – I
was given an induction talk and had training in Health and Safety.
3. When taking nails from old rafters – or beams if this is required – I use a metal detector to find nails
that cannot be seen.
4. The company specialises in selling sash windows and their boxes – mainly trading in the Waterford
area – but also carries out other renovation work on period houses.
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WRITING ANSWERS TASK 3
Brackets
1. Sprains and strains (to muscles joints, ligaments, tendons, disc trouble and hernias) are often
caused by sudden awkward movements while lifting.
2. When I first started work with Renovations Workshops (at the beginning of my apprenticeship) I was
given an induction talk and had training in Health and Safety.
3. When taking nails from old rafters (or beams if this is required) I use a metal detector to find nails
that cannot be seen.
4. The company is specialises in selling sash windows and their boxes (mainly trading in the Waterford
area) but also carries out other renovation work on period houses.
Answers Activity 6
Speech marks
1. The driver asked Jack, “Where do I leave the supplies?”
2. “Have you completed your training on Health and Safety legislation,”the tutor asked the group?
3. “Did Joe pass on the memo to you,” the receptionist asked?
4. Frank said, “We finish tomorrow for our holidays.”
Inverted Commas
1. Environmental correspondent, Richard Black (BBC News website) in his article “Big profit from
nature protection” says that “money ploughed into protecting wetlands, coral reefs and forests can
bring a hundredfold return on capital.”
2. Tom thought his manager was a bit of a “jobs worth” until he realised that the rules were legal
requirements that kept him and his colleagues safe.
3. The title of Peter’s assignment was “Health and Safety Policies improve safety on site”
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WRITING ANSWERS TASK 4
Answers – Apostrophes - Activity 1
1. ‘Belfast Building Supplies for cheaper bricks!’
2. Stepladders are one of the most important pieces of equipment in the construction industry.
3. In some types of construction rooms are know as cells.
4. Bricks are produced to withstand heavy loads.
5. The ceiling joists are only 100mm deep.
6. Stairs should be safe.
7. Employers must make sure equipment is safe.
8. Windows are available in different shapes, sizes and materials.
Answers – Activity 2
The joiner’s last job took them four days to complete.
The ladder’s rung was broken.
The builder’s square is useful for cutting plywood.
Activity 3
1. They’re throwing a party when the new build is complete.
2. You’re the best candidate for the job.
3. It’s important to use the proper tools for the job.
4 Individual answers
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WRITING ANSWERS TASK 4
Email
To… [email protected]
cc…
Subject: Saturday Job!
Hi Hadyn
I haven’t had a minute since I last saw you. How’s the new job going? Hope you’re not
working too hard! I’m making a start on the conservatory next Saturday and I was wondering
if you’d be interested in some weekend work.
Everything’s worked out well and all the materials have been delivered already so we’re
ready to rock! I’ve just spoken to Barry and he’s said he can give us a hand with the electrics.
You wouldn’t, by any chance, have Adam’s mobile number? I’m hoping he’ll tip in as well
because it’s hard to beat a good team!
Let me know anyway and I’ll see you soon.
Rory
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WRITING ANSWERS TASK 4
Email text with contractions written out in full.
To… [email protected]
cc…
Subject: Saturday Job!
Hi Hadyn
I have not had a minute since I last saw you. How is the new job going? Hope you are not
working too hard! I am making a start on the conservatory next Saturday and I was
wondering if you would be interested in some weekend work.
Everything has worked out well and all the materials have been delivered already so we’re
ready to rock! I’ve just spoken to Barry and he’s said he’d give us a hand with the electrics.
You wouldn’t, by any chance, have Adam’s mobile number? I’m hoping he’ll tip in as well
because it’s hard to beat a good team!
Let me know anyway and I’ll see you soon.
Rory
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WRITING ANSWERS TASK 5
VERB-SUBJECT AGREEMENT
1.
The Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order requires that employers must provide
a safe place of work.
2.
Employers must provide equipment that is suitable for the job.
3.
Four main types of ladders are used in the construction industry.
4.
Standing ladders have rectangular or round stiles.
5.
The wooden ladders was made from Douglas fir.
6.
The aluminium ladder was easier to carry.
7.
Bob does not like using extension ladders.
8.
The wooden ladder needs to be reinforced with wire.
9.
Paul checked that no-one was using the ladder before taking it.
10. Ladders have to be placed on flat surfaces.
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WRITING ANSWERS TASK 6
Verb tenses Answer
Presumably they would both
still be employees so the
present tense is used here.
John Briars and his supervisor Phillip Reid, are employees of Adams Building Contractors, a Northern
Ireland building and construction company.
They were replacing house windows at number 42, Beach View Estate in Holywood, and had just
started back to work after lunch at 2pm.
John rested a ladder on some grass. The ground looked fairly stable even though it was sloping
slightly away from the building. He did not tie the ladder or secure it by any other means.
Phillip had gone inside the building to collect some tools and so was not there to foot the ladder.
John began carrying some silicon sealant up the ladder for the new window. When he had reached a
height of about 3m the bottom of the ladder slipped out and he fell. John fractured his leg badly.
The verbs relating to the
event are all in past tense
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WRITING ANSWERS TASK 7
HOMOPHONES
1. Are, Our and Hour
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.
g.
h.
i.
Windows are available in a variety of designs, shapes, sizes and materials.
Our course tutor is a stickler on Health and Safety issues.
We practice bench joinery construction in our workshop at college.
Vertical sliding sash windows are often used in Georgian Architecture.
Windows are often part of the external cladding of an office building.
Often there are several different types of roof in one building.
The majority of staircases used in domestic construction are made from solid timber.
Our group had a three hour risk assessment training on Tuesday.
Always ensure that roof coverings are in harmony with the local environment and that they are fit
for purpose.
j. Our new workshop is well equipped.
2. They’re / their / there
a. They’re planning to start the new build in May.
b. A private staircase serves one dwelling. They are normally manufactured in a workshop to specific
dimensions.
c. Most modern windows are casement windows. Their hinges are placed on the side to allow them
to swing open vertically, like a door.
d. Their site plans gave the position of the proposed dwelling.
e. Bench joiners use their portable power tools more often than their hand tools, but they’re both
important.
f. Chisels work best when they’re very sharp.
g. When using hand tools there can be danger of injury from fast-flying objects.
3. Where / were / wear / we’re
a. On the construction site, it is important to wear safety hats and footwear to protect from falling
objects.
b. It is important to wear high visibility vests to let others see exactly where you are.
c. We’re all agreed that where Health and Safety is concerned, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
d. Robert knew how important it was to know exactly where all his equipment was.
e. If you are using hand tools it is vital to wear the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the
task.
f. It is important to know when and where to use particular hand tools.
g. We need to maintain tools to protect them from wear and tear.
h. Never wear loose clothing or jewelry when working with hand tools as they could catch on the
tools.
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WRITING ANSWERS TASK 7
4. Who’s or Whose?
a.
b.
c.
d.
Make sure you know whose job it is to carry out a risk assessment on the electrical wiring job.
“Who’s the new supervisor at the Timber Stores?”
Whose hammer is this?”
‘Whose name is on this kit?’
5. To / Two / Too
a. The joiners knew that if they accepted another job they would have too much work on to be able
to complete on time.
b. Most garages are too small for modern cars.
c. Disruption to your home life can be kept to a minimum for most garage or loft conversions.
d. The job would take two hours at the most.
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WRITING ANSWERS TASK 8
PARAGRAPHING
Activity 1
1 a
b
c
Health and Safety at Work
There was a great canteen there as well.
The paragraph is about health and safety at work but the sentence is about the workplace
canteen.
2 a
b
c
Energy Conservation Within Walls
Northern Ireland MP Sammy Wilson believes that man-made global warming is a con.
The paragraph is about the government’s building regulations on conserving energy through
wall insulation and S Wilson’s comments are not relevant.
3 a
b
c
Timber Framed Buildings
I was always good with jigsaw puzzles and mechano sets when I was a child.
The topic is timber framed windows and this sentence is about childhood experience with
toys.
4 a
b
c
Adding Space to Your Home
My neighbour says he would rather move house rather than have all the hassle of renovation.
The paragraph is about ideas on how to renovate a home to make more space. This sentence
gives a personal opinion that has nothing to do with renovating a dwelling.
5 a
b
c
Redeveloping the Titanic Quarter
Leonardo de Caprio and Kate Winslett starred in the classic film Titanic in 1997.
The sentence is about a film while the rest of the paragraph is about the redevelopment of the
Titanic Quarter.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
WRITING ANSWERS TASK 8
Activity 3
1. Local stone was once the traditional choice when constructing dwellings and industrial buildings.
Stone walls were generally very thick and had no damp proofing. Smaller stones were inter spaced
with the larger ones and were bound together with lime mortar. More recently stone walls have
been built with sand and cement.
2. The red brick terrace houses built in close proximity to mills during the industrial revolution were
built one-brick thick. They were cheaply constructed using bricks that were made locally and
English Bond to form a solid wall. A problem with one-brick wall construction was that moisture
travelled from the outside causing damp patches on the inside of the building.
3. Cavity wall construction was developed to prevent the spread of damp into the inside of the
buildings. Cavity walls are two walls with a space between. Moisture could not travel from the
outside of the building to the inside. It also helps to keep in heat. Energy loss needs to be reduced
further so existing cavity wall insulation will need to be improved even more if a reduction in heat
loss is to be achieved.
4. Timber framed walls differ from those constructed of traditional brick and block work because the
structure is composed of wood. Timber framed structures must comply with every aspect of the
building regulations including fire resistance.
5. Curtain wall construction is used for commercial and industrial structures. Curtain wall structures
have infill panels of glass or opaque materials. They often have an inner wall consisting of block.
162
Speaking and Listening
Tasks and Answers
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SPEAKING AND LISTENING
Speaking and listening important parts of your everyday communication within the construction
industry.
Every day you will speak to your supervisor, site visitors, colleagues, clients, college tutors and other
students.
You will provide others with important information and respond to information given to you by others.
To obtain your Level 2 qualification in Communication you will need to take part in a group discussion
and a short talk.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SPEAKING AND LISTENING TASK 1
SELECTING MAIN POINTS FOR A PURPOSE
Read the text below and complete the activity at the end.
You’ve arranged to pick up your colleague, Tom, in the works van at 7.30am and then drive to
Building Supplies LTD to collect your order to plumb three domestic residences.
Unknown to you, your dog has taken a liking to your new, cool and expensive, key ring and has taken
it into the garden to bury. The spare keys of the van are at work.
After twenty minutes searching all the usual places, your ten year old brother thinks he remembers
seeing the dog with something resembling your key ring in his mouth and tells you he saw Amigo
digging in the garden a while ago.
You both dash for the kitchen door at the same time. He is still carrying his bowl of Weetabix which he
spills and you slip on. You think you might have broken your ankle. Your brother doesn’t notice and
runs on into the garden to dig up your key ring from the mound of earth Amigo has buried it under.
Your ankle turns out to be just badly bruised but it is not broken. The problem now is that you will be
half an hour late to pick up Tom.
You ring Tom to let him know the new arrangements. Your call goes through to voicemail. What
message will you leave him?
Activity
Write your message in the box below. Remember your AUDIENCE and PURPOSE and make
the message as clear and concise as possible.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SPEAKING AND LISTENING TASK 2
DISCUSSION - PAIRS - CAREER PATH
Divide into twos
Read through the questions below then think about and make notes on your ambitions for the future.
Just keywords will do.
What do you want to be? Why?
What do you need to do to achieve your ambitions? What qualifications / training do you
need? How long will it take?
Will you need to do work experience?
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SPEAKING AND LISTENING TASK 2
What personal qualities / employability skills will you need to succeed?
What would be your second choice of career? Why?
Now tell your partner about the career path you intend to follow and recount your partner’s story to
the group.
167
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SPEAKING AND LISTENING TASK 3
GROUP DISCUSSION
Sample Notes for Discussion
Topic: How important is good communication in the workplace?
Types of Communication
• Interaction with customers, supervisors, site visitors, other departments and other members
of team
• Contract documents, plans etc
• Instructions – written or verbal
• Telephone
• Emails – internal and external
• Memos – within organisation
• Formal letters – outside organisation
• Meetings
• Individual briefings
• Presentations
• Reports
• Forms
Good Communication (examples)
• Effective interaction with customers and other staff
• Co-operating effectively with customers and other
• Giving and receiving information effectively
• Pleasant and helpful telephone manner
• Accurate records kept up to date
• Information passed on promptly to relevant people
• Good non-verbal communication (body language, eye contact)
Results of good communication
• Staff will work well as a team
• Work will be completed correctly and on time.
• Customers will recommend business to others
• More contracts
Consequences of poor communication
• Without effective workplace communication the machinery of an organisation would break down
• Work would not be completed on time or to the correct standards
• Staff will feel dissatisfied and leave
• Business may fail
Conclusion
Good communication and the sharing of information are essential for the success of a company.
Without it a company would become disorganized, customers would become dissatisfied and
workers would become demoralized and the company would fail.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SPEAKING AND LISTENING TASK 3
Activity
Choose a topic and question to discuss. Arrange a time to have your discussion. The discussion will
take 15-20 minutes.
Research the topic and make out a set of notes. You will want to include relevant issues you would
like to explore and questions you would like to ask.
Some Topic Suggestions:
1. Are changes to the environment always beneficial?
2. How important is thorough research and planning when planning
a construction job?
3. Are renewable energy technologies the way forward in creating cleaner and more affordable energy.
You will be assessed on:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Speaking clearly
Keeping to the point
Giving relevant information
Listening and responding to others
Using positive body language
Keeping the discussion going.
Topic: Are Renewable Energy Technologies the Way Forward in creating cleaner and more
affordable energy?
Issues:
1.
2.
3.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SPEAKING AND LISTENING TASK 3
How issues are being addressed at the moment:
1.
2.
3.
What I think should happen to improve situation e.g. development of projects:
1.
2.
3.
170
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SPEAKING AND LISTENING TASK 3
Questions I would like to ask the group:
1.
2.
3.
Conclusion:
171
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SPEAKING AND LISTENING TASK 4
RATE YOUR PERFORMANCE - GROUP DISCUSSION CHECKLIST
Name:
Topic:
Date:
NO
SKILL
1.
I researched and made notes on the topic for discussion
2.
I listened carefully to others to identify relevant information
3.
I followed and paid careful attention to longer explanations,
instructions etc.
4.
I answered detailed / extended questions
5.
I dealt appropriately with criticism noting the points they made and
accepting that others will not always agree with my point of view.
6.
I offered constructive criticism i.e. I suggested ways that others might
make improvements.
7.
I spoke clearly and confidently to suit the situation
8.
I asked questions to obtain detailed information.
9.
I expressed facts clearly.
10.
I made sure the information I provided was in the proper order.
develop & clarify/confirm information
11.
I developed, clarified, or confirmed information provided by others
12.
I made relevant contributions & help move discussion forward
13.
I adapted my contributions to suit the audience, context, purpose, situation
14.
I used appropriate phrases for interruption or to change the topic.
15.
I supported my arguments and opinions with evidence.
16.
I made sure that my attitude was reassuring to others
e.g. I used appropriate body language, phrases etc.
GRADE 1-10
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SPEAKING AND LISTENING TASK 5
ONE MINUTE TALKS
To practice for your 4 minute short talk, choose a topic from the list below – or one you have chosen
yourself - and speak for one minute on it.
Remember:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Plan your talk
Remember your audience and purpose
Will you use formal language, informal language a mixture of both?
Have an introduction - a main section where you develop your ideas – and a conclusion.
Support opinions and arguments with evidence e.g. facts / quotes
Clarify information e.g. technical terms
Speak with enthusiasm.
Stick to the topic
Vary tone of voice to keep the listeners’ interest
Use good body language – open and relaxed
Maintain good eye contact
Topics:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Risk Assessment
Renewable Energies
Improve or Move
An Aspect of Your Job
Building an extension
Choosing wood from sustainable sources
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SPEAKING AND LISTENING TASK 6
RATE PRESENTATION PERFORMANCE - CHECKLIST
Name:
Topic:
Date:
NO
SKILL
1.
I used notes or PowerPoint slides to help structure talk and to introduce
each new section
2.
I used appropriate formal and/or informal language according to audience
and purpose
3.
I spoke clearly and was easily understood.
4.
My voice was at the right pitch and everyone heard me.
5.
I varied the tone so that my audience did not get bored.
6.
I remembered all the points I wanted to make.
7.
I made the points in the proper order.
8.
I supported the arguments and opinions I made with evidence
(e.g. facts, quotes, statistics).
9.
I clarified difficult words or technical terms or phrases
10.
I spoke at the right speed – not too quickly.
11.
My body language was relaxed
12.
I maintained good eye contact with my audience.
13.
I did not read from a script.
14.
Talk was completed within the timescale.
15.
I invited questions from the audience.
GRADE 1-10
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SPEAKING AND LISTENING TASK 7
TOOL BOX TALKS - HEALTH & SAFETY
Tool Box Talks are short refresher talks on health, safety and environmental aspects of the jobs you do
on a day to day basis. Tool Box Talks are important because they keep you alert to the hazards that
occur in the workplace.
Preparation of toolbox talks will also help you prepare for your 4 minute short talk.
Choose your topic from the list below. Information on the topics can be found at:
www.healthandsafetytips.co.uk/Toolbox_Talk
TOOL BOX TALKS
TICK
TOOL BOX TALKS
Site tidiness and security
Scaffolding/ladders and working at height
Personal Protective Equipment
Health Hazards
Energy Conservation
Manual handling
Excavation Safety
Plant and Machinery
Environmental Awareness
Spill Control
Power and Hand Tools
Walkway routes
Storage and use of fuel and oils
Safety signs
Accident reporting
Working on roofs
Working in Confined Spaces
Slips, Trips and Falls
Fire prevention
Working Near Services
TICK
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SPEAKING AND LISTENING TASK 8
PRESENTATION - APPRENTICES IN THE DRAGON’S DEN
Small Group Activity
Divide into small groups and then read and discuss the scenario below.
The firm you work for is an apprentice’s dream. It is offering its apprentices – including you
- the opportunity to build a complex of their choice. Any profit that you make from the
success of your project will be yours to keep. You might never need to work again!
All you need to do is convince your employers that your project will be successful. You will need to
prepare to enter THE DRAGONS’ DEN. With others in your group you must prepare a presentational
pitch that will convince your employers to give you this life-changing opportunity.
Think about:
•
•
•
•
What you will build
Where you will build it
Design considerations you will need to take account of
How you plan to make a profit from your project
Everyone in the group must make a contribution. One member of the group should be appointed to
take notes and you may use power point and/or whichever props you think are appropriate (e.g.
photos, models etc).
Prepare your pitch and make your presentation to the Dragons.
REMEMBER: The dragons will spot any weaknesses in your pitch. For this to work you must present
a united front and be prepared to answer questions.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SPEAKING AND LISTENING TASK 8
Using the pro forma page provided take note of the disagreements that arose as you prepared your
presentation. Say how you went about avoiding conflict and reaching agreement. When
disagreements arose, how did you resolve them, avoid conflict and come to an agreement?
Coming to an Agreement
NO
DISAGREED ON …
CAME TO AGREEMENT BY …
1
2
3
4
5
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SPEAKING AND LISTENING TASK 8
Now produce a PowerPoint to prepare for your pitch to the Dragons. PowerPoint slides will be very
useful for structuring your talk and introducing each new section.
Your Pitch Will Be Assessed On:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Speaking clearly and confidently to suit the purpose and situation
Use of logical sequencing
Expressing clearly statements of fact using appropriate format, language etc
Supporting your opinions and arguments with evidence.
Adapting contributions to suit audience, context, purpose and situation.
Use of appropriate body language, phraseology, tone etc.
The ‘Dragons’ may be your teacher/s or a combination of teacher/s and students.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SPEAKING AND LISTENING ANSWERS
TASK 1
“Sorry Tom, I’m going to be late. Slight accident – nothing serious. Pick you up at eight.”
179
ACTION-BASED ACTIVITY GUIDANCE
180
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
ACTION BASED ACTIVITY GUIDANCE
IDEAS FOR ACTION-BASED ACTIVITIES.
Built Environment
Action-based activities for literacy level 2
1. What are the developers’ aims for Belfast’s Titanic Quarter? Are they realistic?
2. Investigate ONE occupation within the Built Environment e.g. construction/ plumbing & heating /
wood occupations / trowel occupations / interior design / electrical engineering /painting and
decorating / landscape gardening. Is this a job you would like?
3. How important is thorough research and preparation when planning a job within the built
environment?
4. Are renewable energy sources the answer to energy conservation?
5. Look at how the natural environment (air, forests, water etc) can sometimes be detrimentally
affected by the built environment. Can anything be done to prevent this?
6. Is global warming a result of human activity or is it a natural process?
7. Research health and safety requirements within a built environment occupation e.g. construction /
plumbing / wood occupations / trowel occupations etc. Write a report on the importance of the
health and safety requirements.
8. Investigate the history of one or more, old building.
9. Research a prestige building, such as the Millennium Dome and explore how successful the
project was.
10. Investigate how a built environment occupation has changed within the last 100 years.
11. How important is risk assessment when planning a construction job?
12. What design considerations need to be taken into consideration when planning a
construction job?
13. Are listed buildings worth the all the trouble and expense? (How should we go about protecting
our ‘Heritage at Risk’ in Northern Ireland?)
14. In these days of recession is it better to move home or to make improvements?
15. How can we be sure the wood we buy is from sustainable forests?
181
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
ACTION BASED ACTIVITY GUIDANCE
16. Is wood the building material of choice for the 21st century? Discuss the benefits and drawbacks
of timber frame and brick build housing.
17. Do Eco builds make financial as well as environmental sense?
18. Is it better to self-build or buy your home?
19. How would you go about adding value to a property?
20. Are “cowboy builders” ruining the status of reputable building companies? What can be done to
prevent this?
182
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
ACTION BASED ACTIVITY GUIDANCE
RESEARCHING INFORMATION USING ICT
Researching Information Using ICT
• Be clear about the topic you are exploring.
• Know the purpose of your research. For example, are you gathering information to write an article
or a report for your portfolio? What is your topic?
• List the web addresses that are useful to you. Say why they were of use. Use the proforma page
provided which can be added to your portfolio as evidence of your research.
• List the web addresses that you explored but were of no use to you. Say why this was the case.
Again enter these on to the page provided. Include title, author of document and date of
publication.
• Find two 500 word documents for L2 on your chosen topic.
• Read and extract the main points from the documents for the purpose you have intended, for
example, ‘Notes for a Newspaper Article on CO2 Emissions’ or ‘Notes for a group discussion on
Effectiveness of Renewable Energies.’
183
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
ACTION BASED ACTIVITY GUIDANCE
Topic:
Useful Websites:
WEB ADDRESS
WAS USEFUL BECAUSE
184
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
ACTION BASED ACTIVITY GUIDANCE
Topic:
Unhelpful Websites:
WEB ADDRESS
WAS USEFUL BECAUSE
185
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
ACTION BASED ACTIVITY GUIDANCE
ESSENTIAL SKILLS ACTION-BASED ACTIVITY L2 GUIDANCE
ACTIVITY
EVIDENCE
1. Using a Mind Map select a topic for
exploration and formulate a question to be
addressed (Map the topic to the themes
and topics set by CEA/City & Guilds
Mind Map
2. Find two documents that will help
answer the questions set.
Each document must be 500 words long
** Setting a summary as a task is
inappropriate
Chosen documents on same
subject
3. Read the documents and highlight the
key or main points
Make notes
(see ‘Notes’ template)
Highlighted documents
Two sets of notes based on
chosen documents
4. Write two different types of documents
each one must contain information that is
relevant to the topic.
Formal/business letter
Essay/Report
Use of image
DATE ACHIEVED
Documents can include business letter
(see standardized template) short report,
essay, illustrated leaflet or advertising
information. One of the documents
should answer the question set in the
Mind Map.
This piece of work will be regarded as
a summary of the two documents.
Learners are required to use at least
one image in the development of their
portfolio. (Not a table of text/numbers)
If using an image in report/essay the image
should be integrated into this piece of
writing and referred to in the written text.
5. Engage in a group discussion (An image
may be used here to illustrate a relevant
point)
Preparation notes
Tutor feedback sheet
Give a 4 minute talk
(An image or images may be used here to
illustrate relevant points).
Preparation notes
PowerPoint / handouts / leaflets
Tutor feedback sheet
The portfolio should be:
• On a topic linked to your vocational course or based on something that interests you.
• It should be unique and individual.
• Tutors must annotate each piece of written work. For example – Criteria C1.3 met
• If you use more than one research document then you must produce a set of notes for every document
186
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
ACTION BASED ACTIVITY GUIDANCE
MAKING NOTES
Title of Article:
Source:
Author:
Number of Words:
Date Published:
Purpose and intended audience of document:
Main Points
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
187
SAMPLE PORTFOLIO ACTION-BASED
ACTIVITIES LEVEL 2
188
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SAMPLE ACTION BASED ACTIVITY
ESSENTIAL SKILLS – COMMUNICATION LEVEL 2
Candidate Name:
A. Student
Registration Number:
REG2345678
Registration Date:
24.03.10
Assessor Name:
A Tutor
LOCATION OF EVIDENCE
PAGE NUMBER
C2.1a
Discussion
Observation Sheet
C2.1b
Talk
Observation Sheet
Supporting Evidence
C2.2
Reading
Source Document 1
Source Document 2
Summary
C2.3
Writing
Document 1
Document 2
Image
Candidate signature
A. Student
Date
17.05.10
Assessor signature
A. Tutor
Date
17.05.10
Internal Verifier signature
A.N. Internal Verifier
Date
21.05.10
189
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SAMPLE ACTION BASED ACTIVITY
ESSENTIAL SKILLS COMMUNICATION LEVEL 2
NAME:
A Student
VOCATIONAL COURSE:
Joinery On-site
E. SKILLS COMMUNICATION TUTOR -
TOPIC:
A Tutor
Sustainable Resources
PROJECT QUESTION:
How can we choose wood products without damaging the environment?
190
Forests
Deforestation
Site Joinery
Plumbing & Heating
Occupations
Bench Joinery
Interior Design
Trowel Occupations
Wood Occupations
Painting & Decorating
Fire Safety
Air
Risk Assessment
Water
Health & Safety
H & S Law
Health & Safety Training
Environment
BUILT ENVIRONMENT
Electrical Engineering
Training & Qualifications
Greenbelt
CO2 Emissions
Protection of Natural Environment
Roads/Railways
Prestige Buildings
Social
Housing
Town Planning
Millennium Dome
Scottish Parliament Buildings
Public
Amenities
Heritage
Mind Map
Solar
Panels
Loft
Insulation
Cavity Wall
Insulation
Water
Power
Wind
Turbines
Renewable Energy
Double
Glazing
Energy Conservation
Always mind map your ideas so that you will have enough to write about. Each point on the mindmap will give you a lot of information for each paragraph.
Planning and Drafting a Piece of Writing
Mind Map Exploring Ideas
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
191
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SAMPLE ACTION BASED ACTIVITY
NOTES FOR GROUP DISCUSSION
Name:
A Student
Topic:
Deforestation: how do we choose wood products without damaging the environment?
Date:
10th May 2010
Issues:
• Deforestation is a global environmental problem.
• Developing countries most affected (e.g. South America, Southeast Asia and Africa.)
• Land, rivers, native people and animal and plant species are affected.
• Cut trees release tons of carbon dioxide into atmosphere adding to global warming
• We use wood for building, furniture and paper.
What is being done?
• Groups such as the Forest Stewardship Council are working to cut out random logging.
• FSC operates all over the world to check that all logging is done in a way that will not harm the
environment.
• It checks each step of wood distribution.
• An FSC label on wood tells you that the wood was harvested from sustainable forests.
What more can we do?
• When choosing wood products for building or making furniture look for the FSC label.
• If there is no FSC logo, ask where the wood came from and if it was harvested sustainably.
• Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) wants buyers to avoid some tropical hardwoods if they
do not come from sustainable forests.
• Avoid these types of trees that are hard to manage sustainably - Big Leaf Mahogany, Spanish
Cedar, Caribbean Pine, Ipe, Rosewood, Teak, Ramin, Merbau, African Mahogany, and Okoume
• Above trees grow sparsely in forests and do not grow back again quickly.
• Be careful what you buy. Some woods products may have FSC-certified wood but not have a logo
because they do not need to go through the certification procedure. If in doubt ask!
• It is better to use reclaimed or salvaged wood as these do no damage to any forests.
• They may be found in used building supply stores and construction sites.
• Think about using recycled plastic lumber or composites if they would suit your project.
Questions I would like to ask the group
1. Are there lists of reputable dealers for builders to buy their materials from?
2. Would it be a good idea to increase the cost of tropical woods to help put a stop to marketing
wood from unsustainable forests?
3. Should there be penalties for anyone using wood from endangered forests?
Conclusion
The group agreed that instead of choosing woods that come from tropical rainforests that we should
choose from the many types and varieties that would suit just as well and would not damage the
environment. Buyers should check the labels on wood for building, furniture making and paper.
192
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SAMPLE ACTION BASED ACTIVITY
Take part in a group discussion.
Topic: How do we choose wood products without damaging the environment?
Make clear and relevant contributions in a
way that suits your purpose and situation.
Student A researched and made notes on the
topic for discussion. He made the point that
choosing woods such as Maple, Oak, or Pine
rather than Mahogany or Malaysian Hardwoods
would ensure the market for these tropical
forest trees would dry up.
Respond appropriately to others.
He developed Student B’s point that making
people aware of the problem would be a good
place to start by suggesting children should be
educated regarding these important issues.
Help to move the discussion forward
Student A played a full part in the discussion,
introducing new points (web addresses to visit
to learn about the sources of different woods)
and asking questions, e.g. ‘Does the group
think that the EU should stop trading with
companies that destructively clearcut tropical
rainforests?’
Signed Candidate:
A Student
Date: 17.05.10
Signed Assessor:
A Tutor
Date: 17.05.10
193
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SAMPLE ACTION BASED ACTIVITY
Assessor:
A Tutor
Candidate:
A Student
Date: 17.05.10
Give a talk of at least four minutes.
Topic: Deforestation and what we can do about it.
Speak clearly in a way that suits your
subject, purpose and situation
Student A gave a professional presentation
to an audience of peers. He projected his
voice well so that everyone could hear and
maintained good eye contact with his audience.
Keep to the subject and structure your talk
to help listeners follow what you are
saying
A. used power point slides to help structure his
talk and to introduce each new section. He
used subheadings and bullet points to highlight
the main points to make it easier for his
audience to follow.
Use appropriate ways to support your
main points
A. used comparative ‘before’ and ‘after’
photographic images to illustrate the points
raised in his talk i.e. the devastation caused to
tropical rainforests by unchecked logging.
Signed Candidate:
A Student
Date: 17.05.10
Signed Assessor:
A Tutor
Date: 17.05.10
194
195
By A Student
The Impact of the Built Environment on the Natural
Environment
(And what we can do about it!)
Deforestation
196
to the world. This is a disaster for us all.
! Every second, 1 ! acres of tropical rainforest are lost
animals and insects per day (50,000) species a year
! Ecosystems are disappearing -137 species of plants,
fight cancer are found only in rainforests.
! A quarter of our medicines and 70% of plants used to
! Rainforests supply 35% of the worlds oxygen.
disappearing at an disturbing rate.
! Rainforests are vital to our planet but they are
Introduction (The Issues)
197
Rainforests are cut down to make way for farmland to grow
crops and bred livestock.
Precious metals are also found in the tropics and trees are cut
down for mining.
Rivers are dammed for power and water supplies.
Rainforest wood is sold as timber and is burned as fuel.
Hardwoods from the tropics are in big demand in the
developed world and are used to make furniture and in
building timber framed houses.
!
!
!
!
Reasons for Deforestation
198
This is a picture of a rainforest before
the loggers came.
199
This is a picture of the after effects of
Deforestation
200
the devastation that deforestation causes.
! Picture 1 – In the ‘before’ picture you can see
the lush green forests that is home to many
species of plants and animals.
! Picture 2 – The ‘after’ picture shows that
there is little hope of survival for any of those
species once the forests have been cut down.
! These before and after photographs show
Before and After Pictures
201
boats and ornaments.
! We use it for furniture, hardwood flooring,
from the tropical rainforests.
! Mahogany and Malaysian Hardwoods come
Europe and the United States.
! Wood from tropical rainforests is popular in
Tropical timber
202
! How was your wood harvested?
1. Selective logging – where some of the trees
are cut down and some are replaced.
2.‘Clearcutting’ a forest is where all the trees are cut
down.
! Wood may be harvested using:
! How the wood is harvested makes all the difference.
Harvesting Tropical Wood
203
the wood is more valuable. More devastatation
happens through clearcutting.
! Forests are ‘Clearcut’ mainly in Southeast Asia where
South America and Africa. If done properly, selective
logging limits the damage done to the forest and
allows the forest to grow back fairly quickly.
! Selective Logging happens mainly in Central and
How was your wood harvested?
204
Here a scientist is growing a
Mahogany seedling to plant
back in the forests of South
America where Mahogany is
native and belongs
Reforesting
Replanting in Costa Rica is done with
Teak, which is from India and is no benefit
to the wildlife of Costa Rica.
It is important that the trees that are
replanted are a species from the area.
Reforestation is only useful if the trees
planted as a replacement are native to the
area.
Some forests are reforested but it is
important to do this properly.
Reforestation and Plantations
205
No. But it is important to look at the labels of the wood you buy.
harvested – DO NOT BUY IT!
! If you do not know the source of a wood product or how it was
well.
! Woods such as Maple, Oak, or Pine might do the job just as
! Look for alternatives to Mahogany and Malaysian Hardwoods.
Indonesia or any other Southeast Asian country, you can be
fairly sure the wood came from clearcutting rainforests.
! If wood or wood products come from Malaysia, Thailand, China,
!
So is it always wrong to buy wood
from tropical trees?
206
recommended.
! Old Growth forests are ancient forests that
have not changed much over the centuries.
! They are our heritage and should be
protected for future generations.
! Using Old Growth wood is not to be
Wood Products from North America,
Europe and Northern Asia.
207
Alternatives to OldGrowth that are
appropriate for the environment.
! Rainforest Action Network looks at
This site provides information on forestry
practices that are protective of the
environment.
! SmartWood.org
Find Out More
208
!
!
!
!
hardwood flooring, boats and ornaments
It is important to look at the labels of the wood you
buy.
Look for alternatives to Mahogany and Malaysian
Hardwoods.
Woods such as Maple, Oak, or Pine would do just as
well.
If you do not know the source of a wood product or
how it was harvested – DO NOT BUY IT!
! Wood from tropical rainforests is used for furniture,
How can we help?
209
! Any questions or observations?
Conclusion
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SAMPLE ACTION BASED ACTIVITY
DOCUMENT 1
Which Wood Should We Buy?
Support good forest management with your consumer choices.
5.1.2010
EarthTalk The Environmental Magazine
Deforestation continues to be one of the world’s biggest environmental problems, especially in fast
developing regions like South America, Southeast Asia and Africa. Cutting down large numbers of
trees erodes land and silts waterways, displaces native people and wildlife, and releases tons of
carbon dioxide (which is stored in living wood fiber) into the atmosphere, contributing to global
warming.
Of course, wood products are essential to modern life. Without wood we wouldn’t have the buildings,
furniture, paper and other essentials we make use of every day. That’s why protecting sources of
wood has become a leading concern among not just environmentalists but everyone else as well.
In response to the problems wrought by increasing deforestation, some forward-thinking wood
products professionals teamed up with environmentalists, native people’s advocates, community
forestry groups and responsible corporations to form the nonprofit Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
in 1993. Previous attempts to stem the tide of unchecked logging—including international
negotiations and boycotts—were having little effect, so FSC vowed to use the power of market forces
to create change for the better.
FSC promotes responsible management of forests by certifying forestry operations around the globe
and promoting its certification system at every step of the wood products distribution chain. Whether
you’re shopping for wooden furniture, building materials or other items, one easy way to tell if the
wood you are considering buying was harvested from sustainable sources is to look for the FSC label
on it or its packaging. If it is, you can trust that such products were harvested sustainably and are not
contributing to deforestation-related woes. If you don’t see the FSC logo, you should inquire as to
where the wood came from and whether or not it was harvested sustainably.
The nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) warns consumers to avoid purchasing
some tropical hardwoods unless they can be assured that it came from sustainable forestry
operations. Many of these woods—including Big Leaf Mahogany, Spanish Cedar, Caribbean Pine,
Ipe, Rosewood, Teak, Ramin, Merbau, African Mahogany, and Okoume—are difficult to manage
sustainably as they typically grow in low densities in natural forests and regenerate poorly after
logging. Some woods and wood products may contain FSC-certified wood without bearing the logo,
while other woods may be OK without going through the FSC certification process. If you don’t see an
FSC logo you should ask. If the store salesperson can’t provide information, then you can’t be sure.
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Even better than purchasing sustainably harvested new wood is to seek out reclaimed or salvaged
wood, as it precludes the need for logging altogether. An added benefit of using reclaimed or salvaged
wood - look for it at used building supply stores and even at construction sites where older materials
are being tossed - is that it provides incentives for municipal recycling programs. NRDC suggests that
if you can’t source used wood, consider recycled plastic lumber or composites if they are applicable
for your project.
GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine,
P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it here or via e-mail. Read past columns here and check
out the recent book Earthtalk: Expert Answers to Everyday Questions about the Environment
505 Words
Main Points of Document 1
• By buying wood carefully you can support endangered forests.
• Globally, deforestation is a huge environmental problem especially in South America, Southeast
Asia and Africa.
• Deforestation erodes land, blocks waterways and destroys human and wildlife habitats.
• Carbon dioxide is stored in living wood and tons of it is released into the atmosphere, adding to
global warming, when forests are cut down.
• Wood is needed for buildings, furniture and paper so its source needs to be protected.
• The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) was set up in 1993 to work towards bringing an end to
unchecked logging.
• The FSC is made up from wood produce professions, environmentalists, native people’s
advocates, community forestry groups and corporations.
• FSC certifies each step of forestry operations at each step of the distribution chain.
• Wood products (furniture, building materials etc) that have been harvested sustainably will have an
FSC lable on it.
• If products do not have the FSC logo then ask where the wood came from.
• Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) urges purchasers not to buy some tropical hardwoods
if cannot prove they came from sustainable forestry operations.
• Big Leaf Mahogany, Spanish Cedar, Caribbean Pine, Ipe, Rosewood, Teak, Ramin, Merbau, African
Mahogany and Okoume grow fairly sparsely in natural forests and do not regenerate well once they
have been cut down.
• The best wood products to buy are reclaimed or salvaged wood which can be found at used
building supplies stores and construction sites.
Source: Earth Talk: The Environmental Magazine
www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/sustainable-wood
Title: ‘Support good forest management with your consumer choices.’
Authors: By Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine
Date: 5.01.2010
211
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SAMPLE ACTION BASED ACTIVITY
DOCUMENT 2
Madagascar bans rainforest timber exports following global outcry
Rhett A. Butler, wildmadagascar.org
March 25, 2010
Under mounting pressure over illegal logging of its national parks, Madagascar's transitional
government on Wednesday reinstated a ban on rosewood logging and exports.
The decree (no. 2010-141), which prohibits all exports of rosewood and precious timber for two to five
years, was announced during a council meeting held yesterday at Ambohitsorohitra Palace in
Antananarivo, Madagascar's capital city. Madagascar's Minister of Environment has already proposed
a plan to address the illegal timber trade, according to the Madagascar Tribune.
With the export ban in place, the fate of 10,000-15,000 metric tons of rosewood awaiting export
remains uncertain. It is also unclear whether illegal loggers and traders will be prosecuted.
Nevertheless, groups that have been protesting the resumption in exports of illegally logged timber
cautiously welcomed the move.
“The moratorium is a massive victory on the
rosewood front,” said Derek Schuurman, a tour
operator and author who has been a vocal opponent
of rosewood trafficking. “Global outcry over rosewood
logging obliged the government to take action.”
“There is still a lot to do... but we have succeeded on
the first step,” added Lucienne Wilmé, a French
scientist who has been tracking the rosewood trade.
Criticism of rosewood trafficking ratcheted up in last week when Delmas, a French cargo company,
resumed timber shipments from Vohemar, a port in northeastern Madagascar where large stockpiles
of rosewood are held. Ecological Internet, a Web-based activist group, expanded an email campaign
which has sent thousands of messages of protest, while environment groups Global Witness and the
Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) launched a public appeal to the governments of France and
Madagascar. The concerns were spotlighted in national and international press, putting pressure on
Madagascar's transition government, which sanctioned timber exports at the end of 2009 despite a
long-standing ban on rosewood logging.
But questions remain on whether the current government — which seized power during a military
coup a year ago — has the will to effectively implement and enforce the moratorium. Some prominent
advisers to the administration have been linked to the timber trade.
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SAMPLE ACTION BASED ACTIVITY
Andrea Johnson of EIA, an NGO that has been documenting timber trafficking, told mongabay.com
that it is too early to say whether the moratorium will effectively address Madagascar's illicit rosewood
trade.
“We're hopeful that this moratorium marks a decision by the transition government to consider the
long-term value of Madagascar’s natural resources and end the uncontrolled exploitation of the forest
for quick profit,” she wrote via email. “We'd like to believe this is actually the beginning of a new book,
not just the start of another chapter in the recent sad story of corruption and plunder of Madagscar’s
irreplaceable forests.”
Rosewood's toll
In the aftermath of a military coup last March, Madagascar's rainforests were pillaged for precious
hardwoods, including rosewood and ebony. Tens of thousands of hectares were affected, including
some of the island's most biologically diverse national parks: Marojejy, Masoala, and Makira. Illegal
logging spurred the rise of a commercial bushmeat trade. Hunters slaughtered rare and gentle lemurs
for restaurants. Timber trafficking, which involved armed gangs marauding through national parks,
also hurt tourism, a critical source of direct and indirect income for many Malagasy, as the people of
Madagascar are known. Rosewood traders intimidated, and in some cases, beat, those who
attempted to stop the plunder.
595 Words
Main Points of Document 2
• Madagasgar has banned rainforest timber exports.
• The government has come under pressure from international environmental groups to put an end
to illegal logging and exporting of rosewood trees from Madagasgar’s National Parks.
• Exports of rosewood and valuable timber are banned for two to five years.
• It is not known what will happen to the 10,000-15,000 metric tons of rosewood that is stockpiled in
for exportation.
• It is not known if illegal loggers will be prosecuted.
• This is the first step in permanently stopping illegal logging in Madagascar.
• A French cargo company heightened the rosewood trafficking problem recently when it collected
timber shipments from port Vohemar in Madagasgar.
• An activist group, Ecological Internet, sent thousands of emails protesting against the French
exporters and environment groups, Global Witness and the Environmental Investigation Agency,
made an appeal to the French government. The actions of the cargo company were reported in the
international and national newspapers.
• This action put pressure on Madagasgar’s government who turned a blind eye to timber exports
even though there was a ban on rosewood logging.
Source: www.wildmadagascar.org
Title: ‘Madagascar bans rainforest timber exports following global outcry.’
Author: Rhett A. Butler
Date: 25.03.10
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Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SAMPLE ACTION BASED ACTIVITY
Save Our Trees or Pay the Price!
By Martin James
It is important to choose the wood you are buying very carefully as it may have come from
endangered forests. All over the world, deforestation is a huge environmental problem and it is
especially a problem in South America, Southeast Asia and Africa.
Deforestation erodes the land, blocks up waterways and destroys human and wildlife habitats. Carbon
dioxide is stored in living wood and, when it is cut down, tons of it is released into the atmosphere.
This adds to the problem of global warming.
In the modern world we need wood for buildings, furniture and paper, so its source needs to be
protected if we are to have enough wood for future requirements.
Madagasgar has banned rainforest timber exports but environmental groups know this is just the first
step in permanently stopping illegal logging in Madagascar.
The government has come under pressure from international environmental groups to put an end to
illegal logging and exporting of rosewood trees from Madagasgar’s National Parks. Exports of
rosewood and valuable timber are banned for two to five years.
It is not known what will happen to the 10,000-15,000
metric tons of rosewood that is stockpiled in for exportation
or if illegal loggers will be prosecuted because of the new
laws.
The pressure to stop the illegal trafficking of rosewood
heightened when a French cargo company collected timber
shipments from port Vohemar in Madagascar. In protest, an
activist group, Ecological Internet, sent thousands of emails
objecting to the actions of the French exporters. They were
backed by environment groups, Global Witness and the Environmental Investigation Agency, who
appealed to the French government. The actions of the cargo company were reported in the
international and national newspapers putting pressure on Madagasgar’s government who had
previously turned a blind eye to timber exports even though there was a ban on rosewood logging.
In 1993 the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) was set up to work towards bringing an end to
unchecked logging. The FSC is made up from wood produce professionals, environmentalists, native
people’s advocates, community forestry groups and corporations. The FSC certifies each step of
forestry operations in the distribution chain.
Wood products (furniture, building materials etc) that have been harvested sustainably will have an
FSC label on it. If products do not have the FSC logo then it is important to ask where the wood came
from.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) also urges purchasers not to buy some tropical
hardwoods if cannot prove they came from sustainable forestry operations. Big Leaf Mahogany,
214
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SAMPLE ACTION BASED ACTIVITY
Spanish Cedar, Caribbean Pine, Ipe, Rosewood, Teak, Ramin, Merbau, African Mahogany and
Okoume grow fairly sparsely in natural forests and do not regenerate well once they have been cut
down. Opt for bamboo, cane, mango and maple if you truly want to make a difference to the
environment.
The very best wood products to buy are reclaimed or salvaged wood which can be found at used
building supplies stores and construction sites.
Instead of buying wood for flooring, home owners can choose to use eco friendly rubber tiles,
bamboo or cork flooring from www.sustainablefloors.co.uk. The options are there if we just take the
time to look for them.
To anyone who thinks that deforestation is not a serious issue I would ask them to think about what
will happen when the problem begins to affect our ability to have the wood we need for building,
furniture or paper. Are we prepared to live in a world like that?
530 Words
215
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
SAMPLE ACTION BASED ACTIVITY
39 Castle Street
Lisburn
Co Antrim
BT27 4SU
Greenpeace
Canonbury Villas
London
N1 2PN
29th March 2010
Dear Greenpeace
I would like to apply to join your organisation as I am interested in knowing more about sourcing wood
from sustainable sources for my building projects.
I am an apprentice site joiner and I plan one day to own my own business. I would like to start up my
own salvage company and would appreciate your advice in how to go about this while guarding
against receiving wood from endangered forests.
I would particularly like to become involved in the Sustainable Forestry Initiative which certifies wood
for building as logged from sustainable forests.
I am also interested in the Global Forestry Services Inc ‘Wood Tracking Programme’ which monitors
manufacturers and traders use of wood from its source to the finished product. I would like to know
for sure if the wood I am using is from an accredited source.
I realise that this kind of work will be challenging and I would appreciate it if you would outline some of
the details for me while I await full membership.
Yours sincerely
A Student
A Student
216
References
217
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
Useful Websites and Books
There are many useful books, articles and websites you can use to research documents for your
Essential Skills Action-based Activity or just to practice your skills.
www.cityandguilds.com
For Action based Activity ideas in construction.
Joinery- on site
Joinery – bench
Tiling
Brickwork
Plumbing
Construction – Health and Safety
Painting and Decorating
www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise
This website has a wealth of information on all aspects of communication for Level 2 Communication
students. There are fact sheets at different levels which explain things clearly and worksheets that
allow you to work on reading, writing, spelling, grammar, vocabulary and listening skills. There are
sports and news quizzes and cool interactive games. Have fun!
www.visuword.org
Is an online dictionary, thesaurus.
www.freerice.org
To help you learn new words – and also send food to Africa. It’s a win-win situation!
www.gcsebitesize.org
Is a website for GCSE students and will provide help for students working at Level 2.
www.skillsworkshop.org
Provides Essential Skills Literacy and Numeracy resources to L2
www.teachit.ac.uk
Your Own Work and NVQ Construction Tutors’ Handouts
You can do your Action-Based Activity (project) on your job or the construction course you are doing
at the moment. The articles that your construction tutor gives you may provide you with documents
that can be used in your Essential Skills Action-based Activity.
Health and Safety at Work
www.safetyline.wa.gov.au
www.bbc.co.uk/health/health_living/health_at_work
www.hse.gov.uk/construction/experience.htm#ladders
Pictures highlighting problems with how ladders are being used and how things could be put right.
www.hse.gov.uk/construction/information.htm
Free downloadable information for the construction industry. It covers such areas as health and safety,
risk assessment and workplace transport. You will find more links to PDF guides.
218
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
www.hse.gov.uk/construction/clients.pdf
Guidelines for clients on construction sites and what they need to be aware of.
Construction
www.citbcsni.org.uk
This is CITB-ConstructionSkills Northern Ireland website containing information on qualifying the
workforce, improving business and recruiting new entrants.
www.bconstructive.co.uk
List of careers and job profiles of occupations within the construction industry.
www.considerateconstructors/bbc/learningzone
www.trada.co.uk
The Timber Research and Development Association is an internationally recognised centre of
excellence for timber and wood products.
www.bre.co.uk
The Building Research Establishment (BRE) carries out research and testing for construction and the
built environment in the UK. They look at building codes and Building Regulations
www.wmsa.org.uk
Suppliers of woodworking machinery.
www.goodbuilderguide.co.uk
This website shows you how to find a builder you can trust.
www.findalocalbuilder.com
How to go about finding builders in the local area.
www.constructionalliance.org
Construction recruitment agency supplying permanent and temporary construction workers and staff
for the UK construction industry.
www.selfbuild123.co.uk/constructin
Information for selfbuilders.
www.homebuilding.co.uk
Masonary VS Timber builds.
Videos
Construction v Timber You
www.youtube.com - Videos
Construction versus Timber
www.completehome.ie/page/tips/39/
Decide if it is better to move or improve.
219
Essential Skills - Communication Level 2 for Construction Students
Health and Safety Resources
www.safetyline.wa.gov.au/PageBin/actsoha0015
http://www.hse.ie/publisher/index.jsp?&1nID=102&nID=111&aID=713
www.bbc.co.uk/health/healthy_living/health_at_work
Useful resource for any work-related health issue, including physical health, emotional well being,
balancing work and family, practical considerations and working abroad. Also a list of links and
organisations.
Books
Brett,P (2002)(2nd Edition) A Building Craft Foundation Construction NVQ Series Levels 1 & 2 Nelson Thornes
Brett,P (2002) (2nd Edition) Site Carpentry and Joinery Construction NVQ Series Levels 1& 2 Nelson
Thornes
Brett,P (2002) (2nd Edition) Bench Joinery - Construction NVQ Series Levels 1 & 2- Nelson Thornes
Brett,P (2002) (2nd Edition) Wood Occupations - Construction NVQ Series Level 1 - Nelson Thornes
The Guide to Workplace Health and Safety Health and safety Executive for Northern Ireland (also
online) 83 Ladas Drive, Belfast BT6 9FR, Northern Ireland Tel: 028 9024 3249
220
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