A silver car
Interior Styles,

Mercedes Benz B Class Unveils Its Interior

The first images of the interior of the upcoming Mercedes Benz B Class broke loose on the Internet almost two months before the car’s official debut, scheduled for the Frankfurt Motor Show. The model will go on sale on the European market by the end of next year.

First of all, the general impression this interior leaves is that it looks very attractive, successfully combining modern and retro elements. The first thing we notice is the disappearance of the gearbox knob, which has been moved from the traditional position on the central dashboard to a brand new location on the steering wheel column. However, this only applies to the models equipped with an automatic transmission; manual gearbox versions will get the regular knob between the front seats, like most cars out there.

The dashboard features a touchscreen display on the upper part of the central console, while the sporty three-spoke steering wheel reminds us of the one from the CLS flagship. The air vents also feature sporty accents and are pretty similar to the ones from the German carmaker’s sports car range, like the SLS AMG or the new SLK.

The new Mercedes Benz B Class promises to make a revolutionary leap in the compact class and has a total length of 4,359 mm (14.3 feet), a total width of 1,785 mm (5.8 feet) and is 1,557 mm (5.1 feet) tall. Thanks to several special optimizations, the car’s drag coefficient is only 0.26 and was the result of more than 1,100 hours spent by the German engineers testing the car in the wind tunnel.

Besides these, customers will also be able to choose an optional package, called ECO Technology, which further improves the car’s drag, lowering it to 0.24. The package features a lowered ride height, several new parts mounted under the car to improve air flow and better frames for the lateral windows.

Regarding the engine range, the new B Class will be offered with several four-cylinder engines. The entry level unit has a 1.6-liter displacement and delivers 122 hp and 200 Nm of peak torque, while the top of the range powerplant is a turbocharged version of the same engine and produces 156 hp and 250 Nm of torque.

As for the diesel engines, Mercedes Benz will offer a 1.8-liter delivering 109 hp and 250 Nm and an optional version of the same engine that produces 136 hp and 300 Nm. These will be the engines the new B Class will debut with, but Mercedes also considers a top of the line 2.0-liter engine, which will be the most powerful unit in the range. All powertrains will come with Start/Stop technology as standard and customers will be able to choose between a six-speed manual or a seven-speed 7G Tronic automatic transmission. Mercedes also plans hybrid, electric and hydrogen-powered versions, but we’ll probably only going to see these in a few years.

man doing calculation

Create and Control a Budget on Your Property Development Project

One of the most common and most serious mistakes made by first-time developers is to underestimate the budget.

Make up your mind what you are doing. If this is not a hobby and you really are property developing then that is a business and you must treat it like one. You must include all your outgoings and costs and allow for contingencies in order to get the best profit possible.

Know in advance exactly where you can make cutbacks if the budget looks like it is getting out of hand. Burying your head in the sand and not looking at the sums because you don’t like what you see is not fooling anyone but yourself.

An overspend will not go away and managing the money does require organisation and discipline. Don’t forget if there is no real profit at the end of the year your business will not be able to trade.

It is absolutely vital to work out a realistic budget, and to make sure the amount you buy your property for makes it a sound investment.

Cash Flow

Remember, cash flow is the key to success or failure. Plan your budget meticulously and itemise in detail the things you will have to pay for.

Avoid getting carried away at the beginning of a project just because your bank balance is looking healthier than it has done in years, you may find that there is nothing left for crucial works later on, leaving you with no alternative but to cut corners to get the work finished.

Working out a realistic budget in the first place is the answer to this. It is absolutely vital to make sure the amount you buy your property for makes it a sound investment before you commit yourself; rather than buying something that happens to be unmodernised and then discovering that the cost of the development and the purchase price actually adds up to more than you can sell it for.

How Much Will It Cost

While it may not be possible to know every outgoing that you are going to make throughout the project, if you itemise realistically you can work out a reasonably sound estimate of costs.

The maths may seem a bit overwhelming and the probable costs may seem terrifying but if you are not realistic at this stage you will be in for big trouble later on.

The most common expense to overlook is the actual cost of buying, owning and selling the property. You also need to include everything from major repairs and structural alterations to light fittings and bathroom and kitchen fixtures. Most importantly, don’t forget to factor in the cost of labour.

Schedule Of The Works

Experience will help you know how much something is likely to cost, but before you have built up the experience it is useful to make a detailed schedule of the works that need to be carried out on the property, with drawings if necessary. Then approach builders and collect together your quotes.

Go over this budget over and over again and adjust if necessary. If you have no experience of what these costs are and are not used to working out a budget, it is easy to miss vital items, forgetting to include, say, stamp duty or perhaps even the wiring, and especially forgetting that there will certainly be unexpected expenses on the way.

Mortgage Protection

Always prepare for the unexpected. Remember that if you decide to give up your job or are made redundant during your development project or if you become ill or injured, you may have difficulty keeping up your mortgage payments. You cannot rely on the state to help to cover the payments. It may be worth buying extra cover to protect your mortgage payments in case this situation arises. Policies differ, so always check them very carefully.

Here are some essential key points For A Successful Project:

  • Don’t overspend: Don’t be tempted to spend money on things just because you like them. Make your money matter; spend where required but not where desired.
  • Get A Survey Done before you purchase any property, make sure you understand its problems, know what work is needed and whether this is the project for you.
  • Get A Second Opinion and check what has been sold for what price recently, and ask the estate agent you are planning to sell the property through what they think will add value to the property.
  • Be Aware of current building regulation requirements and adhere to them. Seek advice from the building regulations officer at your local planning department. Most planning departments are very helpful, so ask their advice.
  • Have Integrity in your product, do a job properly or not at all. Purchasers and certainly their surveyors are not foolish and so don’t labour under the illusion that you won’t get found out.
  • Design For Your Market and not for yourself. While keeping the décor as neutral as possible, don’t feel that you have to make the property bland. Create the best possible layout but leave scope for potential buyers not to feel smothered by your design.
  • Don’t forget that to succeed and to make a profit you must be businesslike from start to finish.
  • Adopt An Organised Approach to the venture, getting advice where it is needed, keeping efficient records and doing things methodically. Then if things go wrong, you have your files and records to refer to.
  • Make Lists and don’t rely on your memory.
  • Deal With all potential difficulties before they reach a head.

Follow these simple but essential key points and you project will stand a greater chance of success and making big profits from your property development project.

A person playing a online game in phone

Gain Awesome Mobile Gaming Experience with These Tricks!

As the usage of mobile phones is increasing a lot, people hardly use the PC and gaming console to play the games. Actually, many modern console games and PC are now rendering the customized version for the mobile phone. The mobile phone becomes a major gaming device due to its convenience and comfort of playing. Are you taking mobile Gaming seriously? Are you spending more of your time playing your favoruite games? Well, it is necessary to follow these tips and tricks. It helps you to enjoy the awesome mobile betting experience.

  • Play games with 100% battery

Whether you use smartphones or iPhone, everything is now getting smarter than ever before. For instance, whenever your battery drops below a specific percentage, the mobile automatically switches to the power saving mode to conserve battery. When you play the game on a low battery, you will see a significant drop in the game performance because it is a resource-intensive activity. This is the major reason for recommending to start playing with the full battery. It helps you to enjoy the peak performance and win the gameplay.

  • Keep the device cool

When you play continuously, your device starts to generate more heat. As soon as your mobile gets too hot, it will begin throttling the CPU automatically to cool down. It protects the internal component from any damage. On the other hand, it is extremely hard to hold the hot device. One of the best ways to counteract this action is playing the game in a cool environment. It is better to play in a room that is equipped with an air conditioner. Never use the phone case when you are playing because it helps the phone cool down much faster.

  • Access the developer options

In your mobile settings, you often find the developer options, which provide several settings to play around with. Accessing the specific settings helps you obtain the best gaming experience. You will find the options to enhance the visual quality, sound, and performance of the game. If you really wish to take your Gaming experience to the newest height, then you need to pay something. It is nothing but charging the mobile several times because the higher performance game maximizes the battery drain. Before you consider the developer option, you need to consider these things.

  • Wi-Fi is not a big deal all the time

Even though Wi-Fi is the best way to play the multiplayer games, it is not a perfect option all the time. When you have a bad internet service provider, you tend to notice frequent drops and lags in the connection. It eventually affects your gameplay and its performance. If anyone uses the same network, then your connection will suffer a lot. Using the mobile interest gives you enough stability and renders the fast internet speed. It means you will play without experiencing any lag.
Whenever you think about mobile Gaming especially high-intensity games, you need to keep these tricks in mind.

A person standing in a room

A one-stop shop for LafargeHolcim products in Latin America

Just over a decade since its launch in Ecuador, our retail construction franchise network, Disensa, has built a network of 1,000 stores that spans the Latin America region. Disensa offers easy access to LafargeHolcim products and solutions to self-builders and small-scale contractors.

Disensa, our one-stop-shop

In 2005 we established a retail construction franchise network, called Disensa, in Ecuador. The network laid the foundation for a worldwide expansion that now accounts for 1,000 Disensa stores across Latin America (including Mexico) and more than 600 similar stores in the Middle East and Africa, where they are called Binastore.

Our vision for retail is to offer self-builders and smaller contractors a one-stop shop. Within our stores these customers enjoy easy access to LafargeHolcim’s own building solutions as well as a wide range of other construction materials and services.

The stores support customers with microcredit and technical help as well as complete kits for different phases of home building. They also offer solutions to facilitate construction including financing plans, access to architects and standard building designs.

Laying the foundations of success

To strengthen the foundation we give our franchisees the tools to succeed, for example with training on products, store management, marketing and finance.

With individual customers accounting for around 60% of Group net sales, having direct access to the retail market is a strategic priority. In 2018 we aim to continue broadening our reach, focusing particularly on India and Southeast Asia. This global initiative demonstrates how we are bringing our commitment to commercial excellence to life for our retail customers while developing a strong network of trained franchisees.

A garden in front of a house
Business, Construction,

DURABRIC Homes builds your dream house in Malawi

A beautiful and comfortable house built and delivered to you in 12 to 16 weeks with local, affordable materials. Does this sound like your dream home? Such is the promise of DURABRIC Homes, a turnkey solution launched in Malawi by 14Trees, LafargeHolcim’s joint-venture with CDC. Find out more!

Your dream home in a matter of weeks

Do you remember DURABRIC, our soil-stabilized earth-cement brick for affordable housing? It is now part of a brand new concept launched in Malawi in February 2018. 14Trees, LafargeHolcim’s joint-venture with CDC, the UK’s development finance institution, has developed DURABRIC Homes, a turnkey solution for more beautiful, more affordable houses that are faster to build.

The promise? With DURABRIC Homes, 14Trees delivers your dream home on time (12 to 16 weeks), on budget and in high quality! All that customers have to do is provide their own plot of land, and choose from five free house designs which include kitchens, bathrooms, and even verandas. 14Trees takes care of the rest with its partner contractors to ensure a hassle-free construction process.

What does DURABRIC offer?

DURABRIC Homes will be built from top quality, climate-friendly and innovative materials including products from the DURABRIC range:

  • DURABRIC soil-stabilized brick, which doesn’t require firing and help fight deforestation,
  • DURABRIC Concrete Blocks, which promotes circular economy by incorporating fly ash from local industry,
  • Other integrated products such as doors, windows, sanitation and a solar water heater specifically sourced for the best quality and price from our partner suppliers,
  • A solar kit can also be provided on demand which will protect against grid blackouts.

The DURABRIC Homes concept is being considered for expansion beyond Lilongwe, Malawi. 14Trees is currently looking at other African countries such as Kenya.

A close up of a clock

LafargeHolcim discontinues its share buyback program with CHF 581 million completed

On March 2, 2018 LafargeHolcim announced the discontinuation of its share buyback program.

The program was conducted using a second trading line on the SIX Swiss Exchange (Valor: 35.568.679; ISIN: CH0355686798) and was completed on March 2, 2018. LafargeHolcim has repurchased 10,283,654 of its shares for a total value of CHF 581,395,290.09 at an average price per share of CHF 56.54.

About LafargeHolcim

LafargeHolcim is the leading global building materials and solutions company serving masons, builders, architects and engineers all over the world. The Group is organized in four business segments – Cement, Aggregates, Ready-mix Concrete and Solutions & Products – and is a partner for clients ranging from affordable housing and small, local projects to the biggest, most technically and architecturally challenging infrastructure projects. As urbanization increasingly impacts people and the planet, the Group provides innovative products and building solutions with a clear commitment to social and environmental sustainability. With leading positions in all regions, LafargeHolcim employs around 80,000 employees in more than 80 countries and has a portfolio that is equally balanced between developing and mature markets.

A plane sitting on the ground

Tailored solutions for major construction projects

Every infrastructure sector has its own specific challenges when it comes to construction and operations. LafargeHolcim’s expert infrastructure teams work from the design stage to deliver sector-specific solutions so that infrastructure projects are more efficient and sustainable, anywhere in the world.

Built to last

Mexico City’s new international airport will be the most sustainable in the world — and we are proud to support it. Our teams designed special concretes able to withstand aggressive sulfate and chloride conditions for 75 years, with a minimal environmental footprint. This project adds to the list of major airports we helped build, a list which already includes Jeddah International and Kuala Lumpur International.

Specific solutions

We also have expertise in mining. In Canada’s Timmins mining camp, we are on-site at one of the worlds deepest underground mines where we’ve developed and continue to supply specialty backfill products to help increase mine output. LafargeHolcim has deployed such mine-specific solutions in more than forty mines across North America, Africa, Europe and Asia Pacific. In Algeria LafargeHolcim worked with contractors and local authorities to develop a range of solutions for road foundations and pavement. As a result we helped lower the cost and construction time of road projects and at the same time made them far more durable (enabling a typical lifespan of 15–20 years, as compared to 2–5 years for conventional road projects). These specific road solutions are now available in more than twenty countries.

A train on a steel track

Geocycle solves a mounting challenge

Geocycle offers a unique and sustainable solution to the problem of increasing global urbanization; co-processing waste for use as fuel in cement kilns.

Building to a circular economy

Fifty million people move to cities each year to find better opportunities for themselves and their children. One consequence is a lot more waste. Between 2012 and 2025, the amount of municipal solid waste generated each year will increase from 1.3 billion tonnes to 2.2 billion tonnes, according to World Bank estimates.

Our Geocycle business offers a unique and sustainable solution to this growing challenge. Today Geocycle treats around 10 million tons of waste annually, serving more than 10,000 customers in over 50 countries. Our aim is to reach 22 million tons by 2025.

Using state-of-the art technology, tailored processes and in-depth expertise, Geocycle converts industrial, municipal and agricultural waste into a suitable material from which mineral and/or combustible components can be recovered in our cement kilns.

The extremely high temperatures required for cement production offer a unique and safe solution to dispose of waste for which no other solution exists. Geocycle thus opens a channel for a ‘circular’ economy: it takes waste that cannot be reused or recycled, treats it and then converts it into a resource.

Geocycle contributes to lower CO2 emissions from cement production by reducing use of natural resources such as fossil fuels and virgin raw materials. Simultaneously it conserves land which would otherwise be used for landfill and reduces air and water pollution as compared to either landfill or incineration. This also significantly reduces the burden on municipalities who need solutions to this ever-growing problem.

Geocycle in Goa

In India about 80% of municipal waste is uncontrolled, dumped and openly burned. The problem is felt acutely in Goa, where the economy thrives on tourism. Local authorities are tackling the problem head-on, showcasing new methods to create a clean and green Goa. In 2017 Geocycle India met with public and private sector players working on landfill remediation.

To demonstrate how they could help, Geocycle co-processed approximately 5,000 tonnes of refuse-derived fuel, winning the trust of authorities. The pilot provided a sustainable model for cleaning up landfills without any future liability for the state government. The Goa site is now being visited by city officials from all over India as a showcase of successful partnership between Geocycle and municipalities. Municipalities of Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and others are now looking at similar projects.