April 2018 Newsletter
‘Underfloor heating market expected to grow, Chinese skyscrapers become art with smart city lighting, more than 500 towers planned for London, Contractors warned over Medium Voltage cables, Social Media used to source tradespeople and some exciting projects have been announced throughout the UK’
UK underfloor heating market forecast to grow 7% in 2018
AMA Research has released new research which predicts that the underfloor heating (UFH) market will experience a 7% rise this year.
According the report, the UFH market has performed well over the last few years, driven by good levels of commercial and domestic construction and RMI, and now accounts for almost 7% of the total UK heating systems sector. More recent growth can also be attributed to rising energy prices and concerns over fuel bills, and the fact that UFH is now seen as a more affordable mainstream heating option. In 2017, the market grew by 6%, with similar growth forecast for 2018.
The domestic sector accounts for almost two-thirds of the overall UFH market value, and includes newbuild activity by housebuilders, the self-build market and RMI/DIY retrofit projects in residential homes. Non-domestic applications account for the remainder. Although large-scale health and education projects represent the most significant non-domestic end-user markets, opportunities are arising in the care home, industrial, warehousing, leisure and entertainment, commercial office, and retail sectors.
Water-based underfloor heating makes up the largest share by value, compared to electric systems. The supply structure is dominated by direct supply, with some manufacturers and other specialists offering a ‘supply and fit’ service. Elsewhere, UFH systems increasingly form a core component of the product ranges of companies such as tile manufacturers and kitchen and bathroom specialists. DIY multiples and merchants also continue to play a major role. Much of the recent growth in the market has come from online retailers, the number of which continues to expand.
Factors that influence demand for underfloor heating include housebuilding activity, which is expected to continue at a steady pace, as demand for new and affordable housing is likely to remain a major political issue. The conversion of commercial office spaces into multi-residential flats and apartments, particularly in areas of high population density, should create additional opportunities for UFH, as they are likely to be smaller in size and high-spec.
Ease of installation continues to be an important consideration within construction, given the ongoing skills shortages and a need to reduce both build time and cost. This is expected to contribute towards further growth in modular build/off-site construction, which should benefit the UFH market. Retrofit activity in both the domestic and commercial sectors are also expected to see steady growth.
In addition, the commitment towards further development of the renewable energy sector and sustainable homes should continue, irrespective of whether the government meets its 2020 targets, and this is likely to favour adoption of UFH. Growth will also be driven by product development focused on flexibility and maximising individual control of systems, which is likely to increase the efficiency of UFH systems further, and the increasing uptake of intelligent technology.
“Although the market value has increased by almost 25% since 2013, there remains significant scope for growth in this sector,” said Keith Taylor, Director of AMA Research.
“The level of installations remains low compared with European countries such as Germany and the Nordic nations. Penetration is forecast to continue to grow with demand driven by concerns over volatile energy bills, ongoing running costs of systems and maximising comfort, and the fact that underfloor heating is becoming a more mainstream product.”
Source: HVP Magazine
Chinese city skyscrapers become art with smart city lighting
Philips Lighting (Euronext: LIGHT), lighting specialist, has completed a large-scale project that involves connected LED architectural lighting to illuminate the facades of 37 buildings, along a 9.2 km stretch of road in the city centre of Ningbo, China.
The project’s aim is to boost the city’s cultural heritage and tourism, as well as stimulating commercial activities in the city centre. It further emphasises the company’s position as the lighting company for the Internet of Things.
Buildings along the 9.2-km-long attract an abundance of tourism. The new lighting system uses nearly 2,000 Philips Color Kinetics fixtures controlled and managed by Philips Activesite software.
The display creates sparkling night scenes in the city’s business district and Tianyi Square.
Dongliang XU from Toryo International Lighting Design Centre said: “The lighting design of the Zhongshan Road project illuminated took advantage of powerful mix of colour architectural lighting and world class narrow projection. Philips Lighting brought our design concept to life, delivering high performance energy efficient lighting and control software which enable everything to be monitored and controlled remotely. The design, the technology and controls combine to not only raise the bar of city illumination in China but does this in a highly sustainable way.”
The Philips Activesite lighting system enables energy savings of 30-40 per cent compared to the previous lighting in place.
Source: Electrical Times
IGEM to recognise training for the gas industry
In response to growing concerns about standards in training, The Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM) has been chosen to assess and uphold the “highest levels of professional competence”.
IGEM, the professional engineering institution for the global gas industry, has been authorised by the gas industry’s Strategic Management Board (SMB) to officially recognise training programmes that meet the highest standards.
As of 1 October 2018, assessment centres will be required to ensure that every new entrant who sits an ACS exam with them has first been on an industry-recognised training programme, otherwise they could be prevented from taking the exam.
Once the audit process is complete, the training programme will be authorised for a three-year period and audited annually to ensure their training is still up to standard.
The Institution has already begun the process of auditing training programmes up and down the country to ensure they meet the requirements set out in IGEM/IG/1 Standards of training in gas work, which has been selected as the official industry governance document.
In addition, IGEM will also authorise organisations that have successfully completed an audit to act as fellow ‘Recognisers of Training’. IGEM Recognised Training will be offered to new entrants to the sector ahead of their ACS exams.
Ian McCluskey, IGEM Head of Technical Services, said: “While the majority of training and assessments being carried out across the UK meet the high standards required, there have been growing concerns in recent years that some ACS training programmes are not providing a sufficient depth of knowledge and experience for trainees to be reasonably declared competent.
“In response, the industry is now taking steps to create a single, recognised route of training for new entrants to the gas industry who wish to pass their ACS assessment. It is hoped this new training pathway will mean any concerns over the quality of training being provided can be traced back to the training centre involved, allowing action to be taken if required.”
IGEM is urging all independent training providers that offer gas-related courses to contact the Institution to find out more about Recognised Training.
Training organisations wishing to find out more should contact IGEM at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 01509 67815.
A list of recognised training programmes will be made available to the public on the Energy & Utility Skills website at www.euskills.co.uk/gas.
Source: HVP Magazine
More than 500 towers planned for London
London has 510 tall buildings over 20-storeys in the planning pipeline.
Latest research from New London Architecture (NLA) and GL Hearn also revealed a record 115 towers are under construction in the capital.
More than 90% (458) of the tall buildings coming forward are residential and have the potential to deliver 106,000 new homes.
Greenwich Peninsula is a tower hot spot with 40 applications for tall buildings last year.
Delivering towers has become more challenging with only 18 tall buildings completed in 2017 – a 30% drop from 2016 when 26 were completed.
There was also a 25% fall in the number of tall buildings coming out of the ground with work only starting on 40 in 2017.
Peter Murray, Chairman of New London Architecture said: “We continue to see a steady increase in the number of tall buildings coming forward and with London’s population continuing to increase and the demand for new homes only getting higher, our view remains that that well designed tall buildings, in the right place, are part of the solution.
“Uncertainties and challenges to deliver these tall buildings remain, which is perhaps why we are seeing a slight slowdown in the in the number of applications, construction starts and completions.
“However our reports over the past five years show us in the right places, towers allow us to use the finite resource of land very efficiently.”
Stuart Baillie, GL Hearn said: “Inner London remains the focus for the majority of tall building but Waltham Forest and Bromley feature in the pipeline for the first time.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
Growth to rebound to 2.7% next year after flat 2018
Construction output will stagnate this year before accelerating to 2.7% in 2019 and 1.9% in 2020 as major infrastructure projects gather speed.
Forecasters at the Construction Products Association say that infrastructure and private housing remain the only two bright spots this year amid a fall-off in commercial work hit by a 20% drop in office construction.
This will see overall industry growth flatline in 2018.
But next year civil engineering contractors will benefit from infrastructure output jumping 13.1% as work accelerates on large projects such as HS2, the Thames Tideway Tunnel and Hinkley Point C.
Spring CPA forecast
- Construction output to remain flat in 2018 (0.1%) and rise 2.7% in 2019
- Private housing starts to rise 2.0% in 2018 and 2019
- Office construction to decline 20.0% in 2018 and 10.0% in 2019
- Retail construction to fall 10.0% in 2018 but rise 5.0% in 2019
- Infrastructure work to rise by 6.4% in 2018 and 13.1% in 2019
Noble Francis, economics director at the Construction Products Association, said: “The start of the year was a bad one for construction. Carillion, the UK’s second biggest contractor, went into liquidation in January and led to a hiatus on infrastructure and commercial projects.
“The snowy weather badly affected work on site for at least three working days in February and March and, as a result, 2018 Q1 construction is likely to be £1.5bn lower than in 2017 Q4.
“Half of the activity lost in Q1 is expected to be regained during 2018. Work on some Carillion projects has already restarted, on joint-ventures or where major clients such as Network Rail have been keen to continue work.
“Other projects will take time to retender but are still likely to restart this year. Large infrastructure projects should also allow for a catch-up after the adverse weather and often have penalty clauses for delays. Despite the sector’s strong growth prospects, questions remain about poor government delivery of major infrastructure projects.
“Private housing starts are expected to rise 2.0% in both 2018 and 2019 in spite of the slowdown in the general housing market as Help to Buy is clearly sustaining demand for new build homes. Outside London, house building will rise quicker than this but growth overall will be constrained by the ongoing fall in demand for high-end residential in the capital.
“The growth in infrastructure and private house building this year is forecast to offset falls in the hard hit commercial sector, where Brexit uncertainty continues to hit international investment in new office towers in London and high street woes affects the construction of new retail.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
Designs revealed for £100m Glasgow office complex
M&G Real Estate has unveiled plans for its new £100m office development in the centre of Glasgow.
The Grid will provide 277,500 sq ft of Grade A space over 12 levels designed by local architect Cooper Cromar.
Demolition of the existing building is planned for later this year with construction completion scheduled for late 2021.
William Badger, Asset Manager at M&G Real Estate, said: “With a lack of new Grade A space in the city’s office market, as well as in nearby Edinburgh, we are confident that The Grid will attract strong interest.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
Builder murdered by colleague on central London site
Police were called by the London Ambulance Service on Tuesday to reports of a man injured on the roof of the Pressman Mastermelts building in Hatton Garden, EC1.
Officers attended and the victim, a 47-year-old builder who was carrying out work at the site, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Initial reports indicated that the man may have fallen from height, but officers now believe he was the victim of a serious assault.
A post-mortem examination took place at St Pancras Mortuary on Thursday and gave cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head.
Work continues to inform all next of kin – formal identification has not taken place.
The Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command is investigating, led by Detective Chief Inspector Luke Marks.
DCI Marks said: “Our enquiries have established that the victim was viciously attacked by a male suspect who is understood to have worked at the same site.
“We continue to appeal for information to trace a man who made off from Hatton Garden towards Chancery Lane, and boarded a Central Line train at Chancery Lane tube station at around 14:15hrs.
“Were you in the Hatton Garden area at that time, and did you see a man running towards Chancery Lane, or otherwise acting suspiciously? We would urge you to come forward as soon as possible.”
The man is described as a white male, aged in his mid 20s. He was wearing a navy blue fleece jacket, blue jeans and brown workmen’s boots.
If you have any information that could assist the investigation, please call the Incident room on 0208 358 0200 quoting CAD 4481/17Apr. Alternatively, call independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you would prefer not to give your name.
A 24-year-old man was initially arrested on suspicion of murder on Wednesday, 18 April. He was taken to a south London police station.
He was subsequently de-arrested for the murder offence, and then arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.
He has been bailed pending further enquiries to a date in mid-May.
Source: Construction Enquirer
Contractors warned over Medium Voltage cables
AEI Cables has issued a warning to make sure that Medium Voltage (MV) cables coming onto the market are independently approved and certified as compliant as the pressure mounts on the installation of quality products in modern building developments.
As the incidence of non-approved cables continues, the company is warning the supply chain to be particularly careful around the application of these cables into high-risk environments including hospitals, industrial sites and sub-stations serving infrastructure sites.
Stuart Dover, commercial manager for AEI Cables, said, “We are advising contractors to be careful, especially with new building design and development for modern complex buildings. If these cables are not approved, just question why not and check them out. To follow best practice and all compliance, we also advise that these cables are independently tested and certified by a third-party such as BASEC.
“There have been many instances in the recent past of non-approved cables coming onto the market, but in these environments it is crucial to get it right.
“Take all due precautions. Look for the British Standard, European or international standard number, the manufacturer’s mark and third-party approval markings. Even if there are markings, it is worth checking because some labels and stamps have been used fraudulently.
“Cables which are unmarked but not checked can become untraceable, so it is important at the point of receipt for contractors to check every time. Also keep records of purchases and deliveries to ensure that what is being installed is what was specified originally.”
He added, “It is well worth the small amount of time to make these checks, especially by the nature of the new designs of buildings these are going into and how they will be relied on to provide continuous power supply.”
Of the 29,312 accidental electrical fires in England during 2016-17, 5,241 (18 per cent) were attributed to wiring, cabling or plugs and of these 2,693 (51 per cent) were down to faulty electrical supplies and 1,728 (33 per cent) were caused by faulty appliances and leads.
Source: Electrical Contracting News
Two-thirds of the UK source tradespeople via Social Media, says survey
As many as two-thirds of homeowners turn to social media first to source service providers, including construction and trade workers, according to a survey by www.MyJobQuote.co.uk.
Facebook was voted the most influential social media network, with 71% of consumers stating that they would check out a company or worker on Facebook before contacting them, while Twitter was comparatively lower with just 11% sourcing companies via the platform.
The team at www.MyJobQuote.co.uk undertook the survey as part of ongoing research. 2,825 Britons took part in the poll, all of whom were 18 years old or over, owned their own home and had at least one child.
Initially, all respondents taking part in the survey were asked to state what their primary source of information was when looking to find a new service, to which 67% of Britons use social media as their primary information source, followed by 16% who use family member’s and friend’s recommendations and 11% who scout for companies’ own websites. Just 4% identified ‘review or comparison sites’ as their main source of information when looking for a new service provider.
All respondents who identified social media as their main source of information were then asked “What services have you recruited after using social media as your main/only source to find them?”
‘Construction & Trades’ came in second at 66%, just behind ‘Childcare’ at 69%. When asked about how successful various referrals turned out to be, those who used review or comparison sites were most likely to have a positive outcome (72%); compared to 66% of those who relied upon social media.
Lisa Evans from www.MyJobQuote.co.uk said: “It’s interesting to see the changing and ever-growing role of social media in our lives. The secret to its success is that it’s accessible and convenient; in a couple of taps you can find all you need to, which is great when we are short on time or on the move.”
Source: HVP Magazine
Ideal classroom lighting boosts learning by 20%
Research shows that the correct type of lighting can significantly improve a child’s learning.
Full spectrum lighting, including sunlight and artificial lighting that replicated natural light, has been proven to improve behaviour, reduce anxiety and boost health. All of these factors contribute to a marked improvement in learning.
The study by the California Energy Commission documents that classrooms that receive a high level of daylight offer students a 20 per cent better learning rate in maths in 26 per cent in reading, compared with classrooms that receive little natural light.
Head of marketing and business development for CMD, Bruce Cantrill said: “The days of ‘one size fits all’ fluorescent lighting in schools are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Innovations in dynamic lighting technology now mean that natural daylight can easily be replicated to create a much more positive learning environment for both pupils and staff.”
A recent study published in the journal Optics Express suggests that dynamic lighting – lighting which can be adjusted remotely to suit particular lessons and activities – can further support and enhance classroom learning.
Overhead cool white lighting can be detrimental to learning, says Grangaard of the University of Nevada researcher, Dr. Ellen Mannel. This type of lighting can aggravate hyperactivity and promote off-task behaviour such as fidgeting, daydreaming and talking in lessons.
The glare – or veiling reflection – created when fluorescent lighting reflects off paper and white boards also physically hinders student’s ability to read properly and can result in disengagement with the lesson.
Source: Electrical Times
Green light for £350m Leeds South Bank scheme
Developer CEG has gained the planning green light for a £350m joint office, retail and residential development around what would be the tallest building in Yorkshire.
Regeneration of a 9 acre site in the South Bank area of Leeds has been designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and will involve a mix of buildings ranging from five to 40-storeys.
The site is the principal rail gateway into Leeds and the scheme has been designed to make a powerful positive impact on arrival to the city.
Leeds City Plans Panel has unanimously voted to approve detailed planning permission for two office developments totalling 270,000 sq ft. Outline planning permission will also be granted for the wider mixed-use development of over 1m sq ft of offices, retail, leisure, hotel, health, and up to 750 new homes, along with new public spaces and landscaping.
The scheme is expected to be delivered in five phases over 12 years. The first phase of development is likely to be Globe Point – a flat-iron shaped building acting as a gateway from the east to the site. Thereafter the construction is expected to progress from east to west.
Jon Kenny, development director at CEG, said: “The site is the principal rail gateway into Leeds and the scheme has been designed to make a powerful positive impact on arrival to the city, showing how we are preparing for HS2 and investing to ensure our city offers development of an international quality.”
David Hodgson, head of strategic development north for CEG, said: “This derelict site is an important core in the west of the city, an area which has suffered from neglect over a number of years.
“At the heart of the South Bank regeneration area, our proposals will deliver the same attention to detail and quality as we have delivered at our award-winning Kirkstall Forge development. This will be an exciting mixed-use strategic development of a critical mass and international standard, revitalising the area and reconnecting local communities to the city.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
Builders told to wait over a year for brick orders
While there has been rising concern about falling brick stocks and supply bottlenecks, the latest survey by the Federation of Master Builders of its members reveals excessively long lead times being quoted in the market.
More than half of small building firms said that rising material prices are squeezing their margins.
As a result of the changes 30% had recommended clients use alternative materials or products to those originally specified. This has gone up from one in ten nearly a year ago.
And now nearly one in five builders report making losses on their building projects due to material cost inflation, up from one in ten reporting this in July 2017.
The FMB’s latest State of Trade Survey shows that almost ninety per cent of building firms are expecting further rises over the next sixth months.
Longest lead times, in descending order
- Bricks were in shortest supply with the longest reported wait time being more than one year;
- Roof tiles were second with the longest reported wait time being up to six months;
- Insulation was third with the longest reported wait time being up to four months;
- Slate was fourth with the longest reported wait time being up to six months;
- Windows were fifth with the longest reported wait time being more than one year;
- Blocks were sixth with the longest reported wait time being up to four months;
- Porcelain products were seventh with the longest reported wait time being more than one year;
- Plasterboard was eighth with the longest reported wait time being up to two months;
- Timber was ninth with the longest reported wait time being up to two months;
- Boilers were tenth, with the longest reported wait time being more than one year.
Average materials price rises over 12 months
- Insulation increased by 16%;
- Bricks increased by 9%;
- Timber increased by 8%;
- Roof tiles increased by 8%;
- Slate increased by 8%;
- Windows increased by 7%;
- Blocks increased by 7%;
- Plasterboard increased by 7%;
- Boilers increased by 7%;
- Porcelain products increased by 6%.
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “Material prices have rocketed over the past year. The reason for this could include the impact of the depreciation of sterling following the EU referendum still feeding through.
“High demand due to buoyant international markets could also be contributing to price increases. What’s particularly worrying is that when prices have increased mid-project, almost one fifth of builders have absorbed the increase and therefore made a loss.
“Also, if material price increases weren’t enough of a headache for building firms, they are also experiencing material shortages with wait times ticking up across a range of materials and products. Worst case scenarios include firms waiting for more than one year for a new order of bricks.”
Berry added: “We are calling on builders’ merchants to give their customers as much advance warning of forthcoming material price increases or wait times as possible so that firms can warn their customers and plan ahead.”
“What we don’t want is for the number of building firms making losses on projects to increase as this could result in firms going to the wall. A large number of collapsing construction companies will have a terrible knock-on effect in the wider economy.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
Crystal Palace to start £100m main stand next summer
Crystal Palace FC have confirmed they will start work on their Selhurst Park stadium redevelopment at the end of the 2018/19 season.
The London club set out its building plans for a new iconic Main Stand after gaining planning from Croydon Council.
The project, which is expected to cost between £75-£100m, will increase the capacity at Selhurst Park from 26,000 to more than 34,000, transforming the match-day experience for supporters.
A stunning new five-storey stand will feature an all-glass front – a homage to the club’s earliest days when it stood in the shadows of the original Crystal Palace, erected on Sydenham Hill.
A central vaulted arch, with the famous Eagle crest, is a reminder of the iconic 1851 Exhibition Hall, and eagle wings flank the 41m structure.
It is a major investment in the heart of Croydon, which will generate more than £15m a year for the local economy and create hundreds of new jobs.
The project is being designed by leading stadium architects KSS, the firm behind the redevelopment of iconic sporting venues, including Anfield, Twickenham and Wimbledon. The roof of the new stand will be designed to funnel sound down to the pitch and the Arthur Wait Stand opposite.
Negotiations will now continue with Croydon Council over the terms of the Club’s Section 106 obligations to fund transport and community improvement initiatives.
The Council will now refer the application to the London Mayor, and once he has approved it, the planning permission will then be issued.
The existing Main Stand will remain in full operational use throughout the build process, minimising the impact on the stadium capacity in the coming seasons. Building work will complete in 2021, ready to open for the 2021-2 season.
Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish said: “I am absolutely delighted that Croydon Council has backed our plans for Selhurst Park. This project will not only transform the stadium, which has been our home since 1924, but it will also have a positive impact on the south London community.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
Specialist trade bodies petition No 10 for payment reform
A delegation representing 76 specialist trade bodies petitioned the Prime Minister as momentum gathered for urgent reform to payment practices in construction.
Representing more than 355,000 construction businesses, the unprecedented coalition of trade groups descended on Number 10 to call for reforms.
The petition urges the Government to back reform of payment practices and retentions after the scale of abuse was again publicly highlighted in the wake of Carillion’s collapse.
It comes just days before the second reading of the ‘Aldous Bill’ on Friday, which proposes cash retentions be held in trust accounts, to protect the supply chain.
Support has also been given from across the construction supply chain, including house building, roofing, scaffolding, electrical, heating, plumbing, interiors and demolition.
Supporters of the Aldous Bill and the petition on fair payments also gathered outside the gates of Number 10, including business owners directly affected by Carillion’s collapse.
The Aldous Bill is supported by over 120 MPs and 76 industry trade bodies, representing over 355,000 companies and many self-employed professionals. Cross-party support for reform includes Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, SNP, DUP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party.
Aldous said: “The industry loses around £1m for each working day, mostly from SMEs. There have been proposals to stop the abuse of retentions before, but this time there is the largest coalition on fair payments ever.”
ECA CEO Steve Bratt said: “The show of support today shows that fair payment is a top priority for our industry. We need urgent government action on payment and retentions to protect the supply chain, and to ensure our industry can deliver growth and prosperity.”
BESA CEO David Frise added: “Retentions and delayed payment put thousands of firms at risk of insolvency and undermine their efforts to invest in skills, training and improved productivity.
“The government will surely want to be seen to protect SMEs and to ensure the construction industry is sustainable, so it can deliver its ambitious plans for housing and social welfare. SMEs are crucial to the government’s built environment and infrastructure programme.”
Source: Construction Enquirer