October 2017 Newsletter

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20% of cable in the UK is substandard, non-approved or counterfeit

Prysmian Group, the largest manufacturer of electrical cable in the UK and part of the largest global cable manufacturer, has been campaigning for many years to make the manufacturing and importing of substandard electrical cable into the UK illegal.

“Properly manufactured and tested electrical cable is very safe”, says Llyr Roberts, CEO of Prysmian in the UK, “but cable that is substandard or is being used in the wrong situation is a real hazard that can electrocute and cause fires.”

Industry estimates that 20% of all the cable in the UK is substandard, non-approved or counterfeit (Figures from the Approved Cable Initiative) and that some 4,000 fires in buildings each year are down to faulty electrics (From Home Office Fire Statistics for 2015/2016).

“As a responsible manufacturer, Prysmian ensures that all of its products conform to the most rigorous quality standards and we are appalled that substandard and dangerous cable is still allowed into the UK market.

“For many years we have been calling for appropriate legislation to prevent substandard cable – typically manufactured abroad – being brought into the UK supply chain. We support the British Approvals Service for Cables (BASEC) and actively promote the Approved Cables Initiative (ACI), both of which have been established and supported by the cable industry to try and stop dangerous cable getting into UK homes.”

The new European Construction Product Regulation (CPR), which came into effect in July 2017, is a step in the right direction. CPR makes it a legal requirement for cable sold in the UK to carry documentary evidence from the manufacturer identifying exactly which standards it conforms to – but even this regulation does not apply to all types of cable.

There is a clear need for straightforward legislation that makes it illegal to import, sell or install cable that is not manufactured and tested to approved and declared BASEC quality standards.

 

20% of cable in the UK is substandard, non-approved or counterfeit

20% of cable in the UK is substandard, non-approved or counterfeit

Source: Electrical Times

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Plastic pipes dominating new build

Plastics are now the dominant material in hot and cold-water supply systems inside buildings.

Data from Pipes and Fittings Market Report – UK 2016-2020 Analysis shows that use of plastic piping systems for water supply in new build is now up to 60%.

An upward trend is similarly being seen, and predicted to continue, for heating with the availability of barrier and multi-layer pipes for central heating and the energy efficiency benefits of warm water underfloor heating (UFH) in providing space heating at lower water temperatures.

While their flexibility, their quick and simple jointing and the added safety of no hot working have all driven this growth, with the large amount of pipework of different materials in existing buildings, it is definitely an advantage to be able to combine plastic with, for example, copper piping systems.

Bathrooms and kitchens are generally replaced due to lifestyle and design choices, and central heating boilers due to system efficiency and lifespan every ten–15 years. Plastic plumbing system manufacturers provide fittings that form reliable joints from plastic pipes to copper and other metallic pipes, which is a boon when refurbishing older properties. Over a property’s lifetime, the plumbing system can transition to plastic piping with the many in-service benefits of low thermal conductivity (safer to touch), low noise transmission (no creaking pipes), smooth bore (minimises limescale build-up), thermal expansion (reduced risk of bursts during frosts) and inherent corrosion resistance (cleaner heating system).

Well-engineered joint designs have made plastic piping very easy to work with and so, the material of choice for busy plumbers and larger-scale installers. Pipe coils can easily be cut to size, offering flexibility for even the most awkward applications – threading through joists, sitting beneath floors – and with a wide range of push-fit, press-fit and welded joints, ensure that connections are secure and leak-tight.

Gareth Samuel, of BPF Pipes Group, said: “As installer confidence grows, so do the number of applications in which we now routinely see plastic piping systems. The BPF Pipes Group guidance on the use of plastics for discharge pipework from unvented hot water systems sets out the range of materials which can safely be used for discharge pipes and soil stacks taking discharges.

“Underfloor heating systems provide an attractive alternative to radiators – the massive performance improvements offered by warm water UFH systems over electric systems and the dust-generating hot air systems means that this is a real option not only for commercial properties and luxury homes but also for housing developments and self-builders. All this has been made possible by the availability of well-designed and quality assured plastic pipes.”

 

Plastic pipes dominating new build

Plastic pipes dominating new build

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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Brits fearful of smart home revolution

MoneySuperMarket reveals that the nation has deep concerns about the impending smart home revolution, despite the likely cost savings. 76% of Brits admitting to being ‘fearful’ of the smart homes concept, with unapproved data collection cited as the greatest worry.

Other concerns include the technology being hacked by criminals (51%), being made unusable by a virus (43%) and recording you without your knowledge (42%).

The UK’s leading price comparison website polled over 2,000 people to get the nation’s opinions on smart home technology and the so-called Internet of Things.

The research found that whilst the majority (77%) of Brits had heard of a ‘connected’ home, only 6% claimed to know a lot about smart home technology. The most popular gadget was a smart TV, with 30% of Brits owning one, followed by a smart energy meter (16%). However, when asked what smart home gadget they would like to see invented, Brits were both practical and imaginative.

Answers ranged from self-cleaning ovens (29%), self-emptying bins (11%) and self-pouring wine fridges (5%), to smart dog walkers and self-emptying dishwashers. More outlandish suggestions included auto-spray devices that would deal with cold callers and robot dogs with the ability to do chores.

Despite public concern, the benefits of investing in smart home technology are likely to outweigh the fears. The convenience, security and cost-saving elements of owning a connected home can be advantageous and it is predicted that there will be 25-30 billion ‘Internet of Things’ devices worldwide by the early 2020s.

Smart home technology focused on home security and fire prevention benefits insurers as it reduces claims, with insurers then able to pass these savings on to consumers. 58% of Brits said they would buy a smart device if helped them save money on their home insurance. To help consumers understand the facts about smart homes and see how they could benefit, MoneySuperMarket has launched its Connected Homes Hub.

Dan Plant, editor-in-chief at MoneySuperMarket, commented: “Smart technology promises to transform our homes by enhancing security, improving energy efficiency and generally making our domestic lives smoother and more efficient. However, many people are understandably anxious that the benefits will be countered by threats, such as hacking and loss of privacy.

“It’s up to the makers of smart devices and applications to reassure consumers that they are not putting themselves at risk. And it’s also vital that any cost savings that flow from adopting connected technology, such as reduced pay-outs for burglary claims, are passed on to customers in the form of lower home insurance premiums.”

 

Brits fearful of smart home revolution

Brits fearful of smart home revolution

Source: Electrical Times

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Decarbonising heat priority for boiler installations with new legislation

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced Boiler Plus, which encourages energy efficiency by mandating requirements for heating systems, setting out new expectations regarding what both manufacturers and installers have to deliver.

Alongside a host of other measures, this policy will require a new minimum performance standard for domestic gas boilers in English homes of 92% ErP. The ErP Directive aims to phase out poorly performing products across a range of product groups to reduce carbon emissions across Europe, with the ultimate goal of achieving the EU’s 2020 targets.

The legislation will require all those fitting new combination boilers to include one of the following in their system:

  • Flue gas heat recovery systems
  • Weather compensation
  • Load compensation
  • Smart controls featuring automation and optimisation functions.

The premise of the legislation is that it will encourage, and enable, householders to make informed decisions about the products that best meet their needs. The degree of flexibility in terms of which entities render a new boiler ‘compliant’ means that the diversity of the house stock and needs of the consumer are catered for.

Given the extent to which domestic heating contributes to emissions, the new standards, coming into effect in April 2018, will help reduce carbon emissions by 2 MtCO2e in the fourth Carbon Budget and 3.2 MtCO2e in the fifth Carbon Budget, and encourage consumers to prioritise the thermal comfort and energy efficiency of their heating.

 

Decarbonising heat priority for boiler installations with new legislation

Decarbonising heat priority for boiler installations with new legislation

Source: HVP Magazine

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Old bananas and potatoes to become building materials

Organic waste like bananas and potatoes could soon be used as building materials.

Consultant Arup believes millions of tonnes of food waste could be turned into lower-CO2 products such as bricks, insulation and partition boards.

Current organic materials under development include mushroom bricks grown in five days and waste potatoes used as insulation and acoustic absorbers.

Arup has created the Solar Leaf – the first façade system in the world cultivating micro-algae to generate heat and biomass and BioBuild – the first self-supporting façade panel made out of bio-composite materials.

Guglielmo Carra Arup’s Materials Consulting Lead, Europe said: “As one of the world’s largest users of resources we need to move away from our ‘take, use, dispose’ mentality.

“There are already pockets of activity, with some producers making lower-CO2 building products from organic materials.

“What we need now is for the industry to come together to scale up this activity so that it enters the mainstream.

“An important first step is to work with government to rethink construction codes and regulations to consider waste as a resource, opening up the opportunity to repurpose it on an industrial-scale. ”  

For a full copy of the report The Urban Bio-Loop: Growing, Making and Regenerating click here.

The report highlights the following organic matter products already available:

  • Peanuts: shells are being used to produce low-cost materials, such as partition boards that are resistant to moisture and flame retardant.
  • Rice: rice husk ash can be mixed with cement to reduce the need for fillers. Rice can also be used as a raw material for the production of boards.
  • Banana: banana fruit and leaves are being used to make rugged textiles. Bananas contain high strength fibre and have good acoustic absorption and durability.
  • Potato: the peel from potatoes can be cleaned, pressed and dried to create a low-weight, fire resistant, water repellent, insulating material and acoustic absorber.

 

Old bananas and potatoes to become building materials

Old bananas and potatoes to become building materials

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Mayor of London wants wood burning stoves banned in capital

A call by London mayor Sadiq Khan for a ban on wood burning stoves in some areas of the capital has been challenged by Specflue.

According to a report in The Guardian on September 29, Mr Khan said: “Non-transport sources contribute half of the deadly emissions in London, so we need a hard-hitting plan of action to combat them similar to moves I am taking to reduce pollution from road vehicles.

“I am calling on the government to provide the capital with the necessary powers to effectively tackle harmful emissions from a variety of sources.”

Ian Sams, commercial director of Specflue, believes Mr Khan is focusing on the wrong target.

“The volume of particulate matter (PM) in the atmosphere caused by wood burning depends on how the wood is burnt rather than the stove used to burn it,” he said. “Particulates come from incomplete burning of wood, but modern wood burning stoves are highly efficient at doing this.”

Dennis Milligan, head of communications at the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA), said: “Eco-design, a measure introduced by the European Commission to improve the efficiency of appliances and lead to lower emissions, covers a wide range of emissions from PM to carbon dioxide, NOx, other carbon gases compounds and carbon monoxide.

“Although there is no obligation for stoves to meet the stringent emission limits set out in Eco-design until 2022, the SIA has taken the initiative by making ‘Eco-design Ready’ stoves available now.

“All new stove models developed from now on will meet the emission limits and, by 2020, the main manufacturers in the SIA will only produce stoves that meet Eco-design requirements.”

Research from Kings College London suggests that, in winter time, wood burning accounts for about ten per cent of the PM emissions in London. But a survey of 1,000 users of wood burning stoves and open fires throughout the UK found that 70% of the wood burned in London is burnt on an open fire. An ‘Eco-design Ready’ stove reduces emissions by 90%, compared with an open fire.

Ian concluded: “Eco-design will be accompanied by the Eco label, already seen on white goods such as fridges. From January 1 next year, every wood burning stove will have to display a label. Most modern stoves are expected to come in at the A and A+, with pellet-burning stoves achieving A++.”

 

Mayor of London wants wood burning stoves banned in capital

Mayor of London wants wood burning stoves banned in capital

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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New survey shows uplifts in skills, techniques and manufacturing levels

UK Construction Week brought together a wide spectrum of the construction trade together over three days at the NEC Birmingham (10-12 October). Ahead of the event, UK Construction Week conducted a Brexit survey from over 2,500 industry leaders. The survey canvassed architects, contractors, SME builders, surveyors, engineers, local authorities and many more.

The survey clearly shows the UK Construction industry wants to discuss the positive impacts of Brexit, with the majority of respondents believing it will force us to solve the skills shortage once and for all by investing in younger generations and encouraging them into the sector. This places extra emphasis on making sure the CITB is fit for purpose, and also supports the Farmer Report, Modernise or Die.It also points to resurgence in British building materials, as contractors and house builders protect themselves from any tariffs in future, but also to taking advantage of a blossoming UK manufacturing base. This week’s UK Construction Week is a perfect demonstration of this with major British firms taking centre stage, such as Easy-Trim (Roofing and sealants), Forterra (Bricks and Building Materials), Tufeco (Modular Housing), Potterton (Heating), Portakabin (Modular Buildings) and HG Matthews (Bricks).Offsite and Modular construction are also cited as a solution to build quicker in post BREXIT Britain. Event director, Nathan Garnett said “Offsite and Modular Construction is a major theme of UK Construction week in 2017 with over 100 manufacturers and suppliers in the sector exhibiting, an increase of 65% on last year. This is a reflection of how Offsite construction has now become accepted as a mainstream method of construction, increasing speed and productivity in the sector.”The best possible example of home grown manufacturing and skills can be exemplified by the stunning world premiere of a two-story modular house at the show. Jon Gunn, CEO of Tufeco and a partner at ATELIO, said: “We see tremendous opportunity in the next few years for us as British manufacturers of world class modular buildings. We have worked in collaboration with Grimshaw, so our project is a real testament to UK skills and knowledge, and are confident our product can be a real advantage in the challenge to build the homes we need in the next decade.”One of UK Construction Week and Timber Expo’s partners, Dougal Driver, CEO of Grown in Britain, said:”It is great to hear the UK Construction Week survey indicates support for British made materials. British-grown timber returns social and economic value back to communities here in the UK, supporting rural jobs and local economies.”Key survey findings:

  • 64% believe BREXIT will force us to solve the skills crisis and invest in younger generations
  • Over 50% said it will make us buy British Building Materials
  • 43% believe building material costs will stabilise and 10% think materials prices may actually 
go down
  • 53% said we will embrace offsite manufacturing as a solution to the challenges ahead

Whilst leaving the EU poses challenges, the construction industry is already looking ahead to the positives outcomes Brexit could bring. The UKCW survey however has laid down a very clear mandate for the UK Government to invest more in apprenticeships and support British manufacturing.

 

New survey shows uplifts in skills, techniques and manufacturing levels

New survey shows uplifts in skills, techniques and manufacturing levels

Source: Electrical Review

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Landlords up their game on energy, but one in 20 rentals still pose hazard

According to a new study by AXA, the private rental sector has seen a rapid improvement in energy efficiency over the past two years, but properties are not meeting standards.

The number of worst-rated properties has halved, and rentals come out better on boiler upgrades, insulation and smart meters than owner-occupied homes. Despite this, one in twenty rentals still breach minimum standards set to come into force next April. These pockets of inefficiency mean that tenants are over-paying on energy by an estimated £13 million every month.

Energy is certainly a priority for UK tenants, as cold and damp were named the biggest bugbears by 43% of those surveyed. A quarter said they felt they were paying excess bills due to the energy inefficiency of their homes.

The study found that one in 20 rental properties pose an “excess cold hazard” to residents as they fall into the worst-rated bands F and G. This means that more than 200,000 homes are now at risk of being banned from the private rental market next April when minimum standards come into force.

Just how much these failing homes are costing tenants was revealed by analysis of their monthly bills. The average monthly bill in a Band A rental is £61 per month, increasing to £76 in Band E, and then £112 in Bands F to G. This means that UK tenants are still paying for energy failings to the tune of an estimated £13 million every month.

The good news is that the number of failing properties is declining fast. The study found that the number of F and G banded rentals has halved since 2015, when official estimates put them at one in 10. More than half of tenants surveyed by AXA said their current rentals are in bands A to C.

Gareth Howell, Managing Director at AXA Direct, said: “Our study has found that landlords are making significant investments into improving the energy efficiency of their properties. This is part of a bigger trend: when we look at our surveys of tenants and landlords over the past five years, we see progress across the board – on security, maintenance and numbers with proper tenancy agreements in place.

“Many landlords we speak to are ‘accidentals’, who typically own one or two properties. They are, by and large, investing more seriously in their tenants’ comfort and the future health of their rental properties. Pockets of failure exist in this market, but it is not the story for the 95% of landlords who are trying to do the right thing.”

 

Landlords up their game on energy, but one in 20 rentals still pose hazard

Landlords up their game on energy, but one in 20 rentals still pose hazard

Source: HVP Magazine

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easyJet and Wright Electric to fly electrical planes

easyJet, Europe’s leading airline and US company Wright Electric have set themselves the challenge of building an all-electric commercial passenger jet capable of flying passengers across easyJet’s UK and European network within a decade.

The new Airbus A320 neo aircraft will bring significant environmental and operational benefits – up to 15 percent saving in fuel burn and CO2 emissions, and a reduced noise footprint of 50 percent on take-off and landing providing a benefit to airport neighbourhood communities.

easyJet is also introducing new electric, towbarless aircraft tugs and it was announced that a partnership with Safran to trial e-taxi hydrogen fuel cell technology will be implemented in the coming months in what will be a revolutionary zero emissions taxiing system for its aircraft.

Since 2000, easyJet’s emissions have reduced by over 31% per passenger kilometre in 2016. easyJet has a carbon emissions target of 72 grams by 2022, which would be a 10% reduction from today’s performance and a 38% improvement from 2000.

Finally, easyJet announced it will offer inflight entertainment for the first time with ‘Air Time’ – offering passengers prime time content on their devices for free.

 

easyJet and Wright Electric to fly electrical planes

easyJet and Wright Electric to fly electrical planes

Source: Electrical Times

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Virtual reality backpack allows site walk throughs

Tech giant HP has launched a virtual reality backpack with major potential uses in the construction industry.

The Z VR Backpack is wearable as a workstation and connects easily to VR goggles.

It means construction professionals can wander easily through buildings enjoying a virtual walk through simulating any stage of the build process.

The backpack will be making its UK debut at Digital Construction Week alongside all the latest hi-tech industry innovations.

It has been developed from an original model designed for gamers after HP realised the potential for business users.

A Digital Construction Week spokesman said: “Use of VR technologies has increased dramatically across the built environment in recent years.

“Applications have moved on from basic stakeholder engagement to in depth walk throughs and project delivery planning to use in health and safety and onsite training.

“The backpack will offer greater flexibility and open up a number of new opportunities for users looking to explore large areas in virtual reality or requiring greater range of movement.”

 

Virtaul reality backpack allows site walk throughs

Virtaul reality backpack allows site walk throughs

Source: Construction Enquirer

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September 2017 Newsletter

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24% growth in UK M&E contracting Sector

The UK market for mechanical and electrical (M&E) contracting has increased by almost 25% since 2012, following a period of sustained growth from 2013 onwards.

The was driven by a buoyant new build market, with rising output in the office and infrastructure sectors in particular. This growth continued in 2016, when the market saw growth of 4%, despite continued constrained public sector capital spending. In 2017, growth is forecast to stagnate, as construction output becomes more subdued.

Many factors support a continuation of market growth, including the development of higher specification and more complex products, changes to legislation requiring the specification of higher value products, greater use of controls and energy efficient products, continued strength in data centre construction as well as greater levels of outsourcing of M&E services.

“A key area of growth has been installations aimed at improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions, driven by legislative requirements and building regulations.” said Fiona Watts, Editor at AMA Research. “There has been a rapid expansion in the range of LED lighting and increasingly sophisticated control systems for heating, lighting, and energy management, therefore this is a growth area that many contractors have been looking to exploit.”

However, several factors are negatively impacting the market at present, such as public-sector budget constraints, uncertainty over the impact of Brexit and greater use of off-site manufactured panels and modules.

The M&E market is fragmented, with the majority of market value accounted for by smaller operators with turnover of under £20 million, though consolidation activity amongst suppliers continues. There have been further strategic acquisitions in response to the growing focus on integrated services within the sector, with contractors widening the range of services offered and examples of strategic joint ventures to secure work on very large-scale projects.

In terms of market prospects, the M&E sector is heavily dependent on the performance of the non-residential construction industry. Non-residential construction output is facing subdued growth into the medium term. Furthermore, new non-residential work remains highly susceptible to changes in levels of business confidence with the private commercial sector being particularly vulnerable to changes in speculative development programmes.

The current uncertain economic climate and falling levels of business confidence relating to Brexit and other issues is likely to halt growth within the M&E contracting sector within the short term, although there are positive influences on market value that will underpin growth to some extent, including a relatively stable RMI sector and increasing prices of imported products. Output within the office and education sectors, which accounted for over 45% of the M&E market in 2016, is expected to decline until 2018. Overall, it is estimated that the market will remain flat through to 2018, then return to growth from 2019 onwards but at a modest rate of 1-2% per annum.

24% growth in UK M&E contracting Sector

24% growth in UK M&E contracting Sector

Source: Professional Electrician & Installer

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Retailers need to rediscover the role of lighting design

While the release of the latest immigration statistics and GCSE results have dominated the national news agenda, the news that online and high street retail sales declined year on year to August* seems to have slipped through the net.

Commenting on the news, Bob Hall, MD of Greenlite Group said, “Although the summer started well, the recent news clearly illustrates what difficult times these are for retailers, both online and on the high street. It’s encouraging to read that the survey reports sales growth is expected to recover, in the long term, although pressure on household budgets is set to persist given there is little sign of wages picking up.

“Clearly the onus in on retailers to ‘up their game’; whether by discounting or if they focus more on enhancing the shopping experience itself. At Greenlite we’re advising our retail customers to rediscover the role of lighting design in creating a sense of ‘theatre’, encouraging customers back to the high street for a fuller shopping experience.

“In addition, savvy retailers will take advantage of technologies rather than shying away from them. For example, the rise of the changing room selfie (chelfie) means fashion retailers have the perfect opportunity to use well-designed, flattering lighting and well positioned mirrors, enabling shoppers to send that image to their friends for feedback.

“If they look and feel good, if the feedback is positive then they are more likely to make that purchase – all because the retailer thought about how the customer feels and how to enhance their experience.”

Retailers need to rediscover the role of lighting design

Retailers need to rediscover the role of lighting design

Source: Electrical Times

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32% of people would not recognise CO poisoning

Dr Ranj Singh is supporting Gas Safety Week to raise awareness of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and its symptoms, as nearly a third of people would not recognise them.

According to Gas Safe Register, one in 10 don’t know the symptoms of CO poisoning symptoms. These symptoms (including headaches, nausea, breathlessness, collapse, dizziness and loss of consciousness) are misdiagnosed by many as:

  • Concussion (37%)
  • Meningitis (36%)
  • A panic attack (27%)
  • A stroke (22%)
  • Flu (19%).

Gas Safe Register is urging people to learn the symptoms of potential CO poisoning, and what action to take if they suspect they or someone in their family may be suffering from it.

Dr Singh said: “You can’t see, taste or smell CO, so it’s really important that people become more aware of its poisoning symptoms. As Gas Safe Register’s research has found, many confuse CO poisoning for other illnesses such as flu, but CO poisoning can be fatal so it’s important that we raise awareness this Gas Safety Week so that families can take the right precautions and stay safe.”

32% of people would not recognise CO poisoning

32% of people would not recognise CO poisoning

Source: HVP Magazine

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Wellbeing key to skills shortage

The Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) calls upon the sector to embrace wellbeing into their business culture to address the ongoing skills shortage.

According to the BCIA, wellbeing is a growing trend, one which is here to stay. Research has shown that wellbeing is vital in attracting and retaining individuals in their professional capacity. However, it is not yet a major focus on all business agendas.

In this tough economic climate, there is increasing competition for talent across all industries. Understanding the impact of wellbeing will go a long way in not only attracting fresh new talent, but also in retaining industry stalwarts.

An organisation that considers the wellbeing of its workforce will be a popular choice as an employer. It has been proven that employees who feel comfortable in their working environment, will feel more loyal and connected to their organisation and go that extra mile in their work.

In 2016, sick days in the UK cost over £137 million to businesses. With most individuals spending over 90% of their time indoors, it is imperative that our working environment brings out the best in us, rather than making us ill, unproductive or unhappy. Therefore, if wellbeing is embedded into the business culture, the building controls industry will reap huge benefits.

This in turn leads to a sustainable future which will see the sector flourish. In this technologically advanced age, buildings are now expected to be intelligent. This now needs to evolve to include smart working environments which can be adapted to the needs of individuals.

Malcolm Anson, President of the BCIA said, “As I see it, wellbeing is something that needs to be taken into account across the whole built environment. By being proactive and considering individuals’ needs, we can help address the country’s ongoing skills shortage.” www.bcia.co.uk

Wellbeing key to skills shortage

Wellbeing key to skills shortage

Source: Electrical Times

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Plans in for major London City fringe offices

Plans have been lodged for a 750,000 sq ft office-led mixed-use complex on the London City fringe near Finsbury Circus.

Joint developer Manford Properties and Great Elm Assets is planning to knock down existing 7 and 9-storey 1970s offices to make way for the big new scheme rising to 27 storeys.

It will be located at 20 Ropemaker Street, 101-117 Finsbury Pavement near to City Point, a taller 35-storey building in Finsbury.

Designed by architect Make, its characteristic stepped design for the office complex consists of four linked vertical blocks, topping out at 129m with the tallest part ornamented with a clock.

The building will include three basement levels for retail, cycle parking and changing facilities.

London’s Islington Council will give its verdict on the scheme in several weeks.

Plans in for major London City fringe offices

Plans in for major London City fringe offices

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Nine out of 10 installers carrying the card

New research reveals that more installers than ever are carrying their Gas Safe Register card with them while on a job.

The survey, carried out amongst ATAG Heating Technology’s Selected Partners, revealed that 92% of ATAG’s installer network always carry their Gas Safe card when working.

Of those, two in three carry their card on their person, with the remainder keeping it in their vans. One third of installers are showing it to customers when entering their homes without being prompted.

However, 40% of those surveyed said that homeowners never asked to see their credentials, while one in three said it only happens once every 50 appointments on average.

As well as their Gas Safe card, one in three installers say that they display their credentials on their van as a further public display of their qualifications.

Sam Browne, Managing Director of ATAG, said: “It’s incredibly heartening that so many ATAG installers have their Gas Safe card with them at all times. All of our Technical Product Managers, who are themselves qualified Gas Safe registered engineers, proudly carry their cards. We encourage all of our Partners to prominently wear their Gas Safe cards to provide immediate reassurance and confidence when in a customer’s home.

“Small changes in behaviour like this will do so much to improve gas safety standards

across the country. We’re proud to be supporting the efforts of Gas Safe Register and Gas Safety Trust not only during the national campaign week, but all year round.”

Nine out of 10 installers carrying the card

Nine out of 10 installers carrying the card

Source: HVP Magazine

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Schneider study reveals struggle to be sustainable

Schneider Electric has launched a report that reveals 87% of UK organisations surveyed find themselves torn between doing the right thing for the environment and meeting the business objectives of today.

The Secret to Sustainable Success study has found that while businesses understand the need to become more sustainable in the face of increasing energy demands, nine in ten UK organisations are primarily focused on the short-term economic outlook with only one in ten focused on delivering transformational change.

According to the report, energy consumption is expected to increase by a factor of 1.5 in the next 40 years. To meet climate targets, CO2 emissions must be halved, says Schneider Electric.

Although 79% of organisations feel confident that they can overcome the challenges presented by the increased demand for energy and create a sustainable business for the future, only 13% feel well prepared to address the rapid growth in energy demands.

When looking at how they can address these coming mega trends, 71% of decision-makers believe they will need to go through a period of tougher economic times to deliver a better, more sustainable business. The report illustrates that the mindset around energy usage needs to fundamentally change to deliver against sustainability objectives.

According to the report, almost half of the organisations surveyed are targeting this change through innovation projects – whether it be to use less energy by finding efficiencies in operations, embracing robotics to address the skills gap or adding sensors to identify maintenance needs before they occur.

Additionally, 70% of the businesses surveyed are actively considering digitising operations moving forward. This consideration is triggered by a reduction in energy usage (89.%) and overhead costs (89.9%).

Another 69% of the decision-makers within these business expect to see a noticeable rate of return for digital investments within the first 12 months.

Schneider study reveals struggle to be sustainable

Schneider study reveals struggle to be sustainable

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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Gas Safety Week jingle urges UK homeowners to take Gas Safety seriously

According to research, jingles rattle around our heads for an average of 50 hours a year. That’s 58 minutes a week, lasting around 17 minutes at a time. Imagine if those 58 minutes a week were spent thinking about gas safety?

James Elmy, @the24hrplumber on Twitter, hopes that his memorable three-verse tune will be a lifesaver too after being unveiled as the Installers First Gas Safe Jingle winner. The full version can be seen on YouTube.

James said: “I am over the moon to have won and hope my jingle will help people all over the UK to remember to put gas safety first by getting a regular boiler check, and to only employ reputable tradespeople who are Gas Safe-registered.”

He also won a new Baxi EcoBlue+ combi boiler and Sentinel gift box, plus may have his jingle produced for use by Installers First to continue to promote the messages throughout Gas Safety Week (18-24 September 2017) and beyond.

Gas Safety Week jingle urges UK homeowners to take Gas Safety seriously

Gas Safety Week jingle urges UK homeowners to take Gas Safety seriously

Source: HVP Magazine

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ECS Labourer Card requirements are changing

The application criteria for the ECS Labourer Card are being amended, to reinforce the fact that only those working in the electrotechnical industry are eligible for a card.

Changes implemented by CSCS mean that labourers within the construction industry are required to take a health and safety qualification. This has led to a number of individuals outside of the electrical industry applying for an ECS Labourer card to bypass the new measures that have been introduced.

From 01 October 2017, applicants will need to prove as part of their application that they are employed by an electrical contractor, or other electrotechnical employer.

“The ECS Labourer card is for those working in the electrotechnical industry with a specific role to assist skilled staff in the fitting, setting up and assembly of electrical installations,” said Steve Brawley, chief executive of the JIB who administers the ECS card in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“It must not be seen as an easy way for non-electrical operatives to gain a CSCS partner card for access to sites, therefore we’re introducing this measure to safeguard the card and the legitimate Electrical Labourer cardholders.”

For more information on the ECS card visit www.ecscard.org.uk

ECS Labourer Card requirements are changing

ECS Labourer Card requirements are changing

Source: Electrical Times

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Civil engineers launch Project 13 collaboration drive

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has launched an initiative that it hopes will result in a more efficient, productive and profitable construction industry.

The initiative, called Project 13, appears to be an attempt to replicate working models in the water industry, where contractors and consultants regularly work in alliances, and use this model more widely on other civil engineering projects.

According the ICE, Project 13 will “establish a better business model for infrastructure delivery, improving productivity, performance and mitigating the skills risk. By working with suppliers, contractors and clients it will set out a clear ambition for what this new model should look like across the whole supply chain and life of the assets.”

It adds: “We are in the development phase, designing a blueprint for the future of our industry based on an enterprise relationship that maximises performance rather than a transactional one which transfers risk. By using examples of the best current practice and applying these lessons across the whole industry we aim to create a step-change that will deliver better outcomes across the board.”

It is not entirely clear how this initiative differs from all previous attempts by the construction industry to improve itself, such as Latham and Egan, who set out to end the use of adversarial contract forms.

However, ICE director general Nick Baveystock said: “Our industry is often criticised for low productivity and concentrating too much on margins. Project 13 is the industry’s attempt to address these issues.”

By March 2018 a support package will be available to help clients and suppliers to move to “the new model” of project delivery. This support will take the form of advisory support, tools, guidance and peer review.

KPMG and Anglian Water are involved. Richard Threlfall from KPMG said “Project 13 is a concerted effort to transform the UK construction industry. It requires us to change how we think and act, and crucially how we work together. It won’t be easy but the prize is a world-class industry and better outcomes for our society.”

Dale Evans from Anglian Water said: “The traditional transactional and disaggregated approach to procurement has not only failed for deliver the levels of improvement seen in other sectors, in an increasingly digitally enabled world are not fit for purpose. Project 13 has clearly demonstrated that we must make the shift to delivering through integrated, collaborative and highly aligned enterprises.”

Civil engineers launch Project 13 collaboration drive

Civil engineers launch Project 13 collaboration drive

Source: The Construction Index

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August 2017 Newsletter

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Phenolic foam board cladding system fails fire test

A fourth aluminium cladding material system has failed the Government’s fire safety testing regime set up after the London Grenfell disaster.

The latest cladding system using phenolic foam board insulation with an ACM system filled with a fire retardant polyethylene material has failed the large-scale fire test.

Already 22 buildings have been reported with this type of cladding system, bringing the minimum tally of residential towers failing Building Regulations fire performance guidance to 228.

Results are now in from six of the seven planned large-scale fire tests on different combinations of cladding and insulation systems. The final test on the least combustible combination of elements is expected to pass.

Each of the three common types of aluminium cladding material panel, using either core filler materials of unmodified polyethylene (PE), fire retardant polyethylene (FR) or limited combustibility mineral (A2) are being checked.

These are being tested in combination with two insulation materials – rigid polyisocyanurate (PIR) foam or non-combustible stone wool. The seventh test, later added to the testing programme, examined the performance of commonly-used phenolic foam insulation board with ACM with a fire resistant filler (FR).

Cladding system tests Result 18m-plus buildings
ACM with unmodified polyethylene filler (PE) with PIR foam insulation Failed 82
ACM with unmodified polyethylene filler (PE) with mineral wool insulation Failed 111
ACM with a fire retardant polyethylene filler (FR) with PIR foam insulation Failed 13
ACM with fire retardant polyethylene filler (FR) and phenolic foam insulation Failed 22
ACM with fire retardant polyethylene filler (FR) with mineral insulation Passed 13
ACM with a limited combustibility filler (A2) with PIR foam insulation Passed 0
ACM with a limited combustibility filler (A2) with mineral wool insulation Not published N/A

Even with the latest test information the Government still advises that building owners need to continue to take professional advice regarding remedial work that takes into account the specific circumstances of their building.

The way materials have been fitted and maintained can also affect the safety of the cladding system.

The Government said it will provide more definitive advice for building owners once it has the result the final test.

But the finding that over 200 buildings over 18m have failed fire resistance tests ask big questions about the present building regulation and enforcement systems at work in the industry.

Last month the government announced an independent review of building regulations and fire safety, focussed on the regulatory system around the design, construction and on-going management as well as related compliance and enforcement issues.

Phenolic foam board cladding system fails fire test

Phenolic foam board cladding system fails fire test

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Are you prepared for ErP changes?

New changes to the ErP Regulations come into force next month, removing lower efficiency water heaters from the market

Two years since the last round of energy efficiency improvements, The Ecodesign and Energy Labelling Regulations (ErP) will enter its next phase on 26 September 2017.

From this point onwards, the minimum rating for standard size domestic direct water heaters will be C, or B for size 3XS and 2XS units. This means that manufacturers will no longer be allowed to introduce models beneath this efficiency level into the market, although merchants will be able to sell remaining stock that is compliant with the current regulation requirements through.

Furthermore, indirectly heated water storage tanks, which previously had no minimum class requirement, will be obliged to meet a minimum of band C. While the efficiency of these products is measured by different criteria to direct water heaters, they will be held to the same stringent regulations, and those which do not meet class C or higher will no longer be compliant.

The energy label itself will also be changing to encompass a new A+ rating, while the G band will be removed. Although the colours associated with each rating will change, the actual efficiency parameters per band will stay the same.

For installers, it’s worth paying close attention to how these energy ratings have been calculated, to ensure they work in practice. For example, it’s not unheard of for manufacturers to rate a unit based on a test conducted when the unit is only partially heated, or when the water is only heated to a relatively low temperature, which would not actually be the temperature required in practice. By checking through the technical fiche of a product, installers can feel confident they are choosing a unit which genuinely reaches the rating advertised.

Alan Clarke, technical support manager at Heatrae Sadia, said: “As we approach the latest phase of ErP, it’s vital that installers stay up-to-date with upcoming changes to ensure they choose compliant products.

“While the energy label is a helpful starting point, it is by no means infallible, and it is important that installers refer to the technical fiche – which is required by ErP Energy Labelling regulations – in order to determine whether a product will reach the necessary level of performance when it is in-situ.

“Heatrae Sadia has invested in appropriate testing equipment and takes its ErP responsibilities very seriously. We are committed to being open and honest about the performance and efficiency of our products, and are happy to answer any installer queries around the new ErP requirements.”

For more information, visit www.heatraesadia.com.

Are you prepared for ErP changes?

Are you prepared for ErP changes?

Source: HVP Magazine

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Security will be key for the new Smart Home revolution

Home security is a top priority for homeowners investing in Smart Home technology, a new census reveals.

The research, provided by OnePoll and commissioned by online electrical retailer AO.com shows that if money was no object, UK residents would invest in a smart security system for their home (37%). This beats products such as virtual digital assistants, which only 1 in 8 of the population would buy (12%), robot lawnmowers (18%) and remote controlled heating for the whole house (29%).

Of the 2,000 respondents, 68% see positive factors in owning smart technology such as ‘convenience’ and ‘saving time’. 18-24 year olds believe that this form of technology could benefit the elderly, whilst 25-34 and 45-54 year olds think that a Smart Home would help save money in the long run.

Smart Homes start in the living room

39% of respondents said they currently own a smart TV and a further 15% say they will buy one in the next 12 months, with 75% believing they will have a smart TV in the future.  38% of 18-24 years olds that don’t own a smart TV said they don’t feel the need to buy one, as they already own a plug in or accessory to make a standard TV smart.

Our viewing habits are also changing, as 32% of the nation don’t frequently consume live TV and instead opt for on demand services, subscriptions or streaming, which increases the demand for smart TVs or accessories. 5% of the population now watch TV while commuting, with this figure rising to 11% in London.

Top smart products the UK plans to buy in the next 12 months

The most desired Smart Home products, (listed below) shows that whilst we’re not quite ready for advanced Smart Home technology such as robot vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers, we are happy to embrace smart products such as laptops, tablets and smart TVs.

  • Laptop (17%)
  • Tablet (17%)
  • Smart TV/4K/OLED (15%)
  • Smart TV accessory (11%)
  • Turn on heating remotely (9%)
  • Virtual digital assistant (5%)

We love being connected

Over 1 in 3 people aged below 35 could not cope without access to their phone, laptop or tablet for more than 3 hours, with the majority of this age group not being able to last 8 hours. 29% of 18 to 24 year olds would rather leave the house with their mobile phone than their spouse, children or money.

Commenting on the census results, Andrew Kirkcaldy, Group Brand Director at AO.com said:

“The research suggests that the Smart Home revolution has already started with Smart TV’s and audio, and we haven’t even noticed it. For many homes, smart home security and heating will take this technology out of the living room, leading to a Smart Home that will help save us money and time, while making our lives easier”

Read the full AO Smart Living Census Report here: http://ao.com/life/smart-home-technology/

Security will be key for the new Smart Home revolution

Security will be key for the new Smart Home revolution

Source: Electrical Trade Magazine

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APHC calls for industry to champion quality plumbers

The Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC) is calling for the industry to pull together to champion the diverse skills of plumbing and heating engineers and celebrate the important role they play in keeping people healthy and safe.

APHC is organising Quality Plumber Week 2017, which will run between 2-8 October. This aims to build upon the success of previous years to unite the industry in shining a spotlight on the vital role plumbers play in our communities.

APHC would like the whole industry to come together during the week and is calling for manufacturers, suppliers, plumbers and heating engineers to pledge their support and get involved over social media using the #QPW17 hashtag. During QPW17, APHC will be asking the industry to take part in Twitter Polls, to answer a daily plumbing question, to showcase their work by sharing photographs of their quality installations and plumbing work and by sharing images of their accreditations, qualifications and membership certificates.

Last year, APHC receive more support than ever before for the 2016 campaign, where they also received a record number of entries for a ‘Mega Trade Giveaway’ which included an AKW Wet Room Kit, Bosch Professional Cordless Hammer Drill, BeSMART Thermostat, Klober Wakaflex flashing roll, Intatec Puro bar shower and overhead kit, Iconic by Merlyn Express two-door quadrant shower enclosure, Baxi branded soft shell jackets and a Reliance SharkBite starter kit.

APHC is currently looking for support from manufacturers and suppliers to donate prizes for a social media competition aimed at plumbers and heating engineers.

John Thompson, APHC’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Quality Plumber Week aims to unite the plumbing industry to showcase the important work that we do in keeping society healthy, warm and safe. As part of our efforts to highlight the importance of continuous skills development, we will have 25 £150 Training Reward Vouchers to giveaway. I hope that everyone will come together to celebrate our industry and help raise the awareness amongst consumers of the many highly qualified and proficient professionals that we have in our industry.”

A range of promotional resources available from the APHC are free to download at www.aphc.co.uk/quality-plumber-week.asp.

More information about Quality Plumber Week will follow later in the year, along with information regarding a prize draw for people using #QPW17 in their social media messages.

To pledge your support you can contact John Giazzi at APHC on 0121 711 5030 or via email at john.giazzi@aphc.co.uk.

APHC calls for industry to champion quality plumbers

APHC calls for industry to champion quality plumbers

Source: HVP Magazine

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A third of Brits choose LED lights to save energy

LED lights have become a viable option for UK households wanting to make energy and cost savings, reveals a new survey by reichelt elektronik.

Lasting significantly longer than conventional lamps, a third of respondents say energy savings are the biggest influencer when it comes to buying an LED light but upfront costs remain a barrier to purchasing.

Spotlight on efficiency and design
The survey presents interesting findings for domestic contractors as it revealed that the benefit of these energy savings is of greater concern than luminosity (21 per cent) and colour (nine per cent).

The findings also show that energy efficiency is the most important factor for a quarter of Brits when buying any lamp, as consumers seek the long-term cost savings on offer versus conventional bulbs.

Efficiency is of particular concern to over 35s, with 37 per cent of over 55s saying it influences their choice of lighting. Design with a wide range of lighting options (23 per cent) is the second most important factor for Brits.

Price only ranked the third most important purchasing factor overall. This shows consumers are becoming more concerned with qualitative aspects such as energy savings and design when choosing lamps.

Consumer needs have shifted as they look for ways to become as energy efficient as possible instead of being primarily influenced by upfront pricing.

UK households making the switch
73 per cent of UK consumers is already reaping the benefits of using LED lamps in their home, with 17 per cent of respondents having already switched to LED lights completely.

Over a quarter of Brits (28 per cent) already use LED lighting in more than half of their household and 29 per cent have converted a few lamps (less than half) to LEDs. However, costs are still cited as the biggest barrier to switching to LED lighting with 27 per cent finding it expensive to do so.

A third of Brits choose LED lights to save energy

A third of Brits choose LED lights to save energy

Source: Electrical Times

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Virtual reality set to spread across construction sites

Virtual reality systems developed on Crossrail are set to be implemented across construction in a bid to cut costs by up to 25%.

Innovate UK is pumping £1m of funding into a programme to develop an Augmented Worker System (AWE) for the industry.

A consortium led by visualisation specialist Soluis is developing the wearable virtual reality equipment which was first used on Crossrail by Laing O’Rourke.

Soluis is working alongside an industry steering group of AECOM, Doosan Babcock, Laing O’Rourke, Autodesk and Microsoft.

The firm said: “The Augmented Worker System will provide the construction industry with augmented and virtual reality to improve the construction process at every stage, meeting these standards.”

Martin McDonnell, Chairman of Soluis Group said: “The proof of concept project with Crossrail showed how this technology could be applied and add incredible value to the industry.

“Our vision was to develop this concept much further and create a set of tools that would form the augmented worker of the future.

“For a business like us, we could only drive this innovation a certain amount and working with the consortium and receiving funding from Innovate UK will help us achieve this much faster and more effectively.”

The AWE system will be designed to drive greater certainty, safety, efficiency and sustainability through five key areas – co-design, digital job guidance, progress monitoring, safety guidance and asset management.

David Philp, BIM Director at AECOM said “Construction technology is reshaping how we deliver and maintain our built assets, it is increasingly helping us place digital information into the real world in the right context supporting and augmenting the decision-making process.

“Real time access to individualised data, analytics and instructions during the construction and operational stages will greatly improve productivity, quality and also help worker well-being.

“Creating a framework and guidance around the augmented worker is critically important if we are to successfully unlock this value proposition.”

Virtual reality set to spread across construction sites

Virtual reality set to spread across construction sites

Source: Construction Enquirer

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BESA welcomes planned review of building regulations

The commissioning of an independent review of Building Regulations has been welcomed by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA).

Dame Judith Hackitt, Chair of the Engineering Employers Federation (EEF), has been commissioned to lead the review as part of the government’s continuing response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

BESA Chief Executive Paul McLaughlin said BESA had been flagging up weaknesses in the regulatory framework for many years and had long been a champion of tighter enforcement.

Reports suggest that the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is planning to look again at how building components achieve compliance with the regulations; possible ambiguity in supporting guidance; and whether testing regimes are sufficiently rigorous and consistent.

Paul said: “It is hugely depressing that, once again, it requires a catastrophic incident to force changes that many in our industry have been urging for years.”

He pointed out that, while the focus at Grenfell had fallen on the cladding, the failure of one building component was often symptomatic of wider weaknesses in the process.

“Inappropriate and unsafe specifications contribute to the ‘performance gap’ our industry has been flagging up to authorities for years,” Paul continued. “For example, we have often argued that poor energy performance is a ‘canary in the cage’ that should alert those responsible to other failings in the design and operation of the building. If we are missing energy efficiency design targets then what else is wrong?”

A review of fire safety regulations (Building Regulations Part B) was recommended following the Lakanal House fire in 2009, but has still not taken place. The DCLG is now expected to focus on all parts of the regulations and consider how weak enforcement is exploited to cut project costs. However, no timetable has yet been announced for the review.

“Repeated delays to the revision of regulations and the history of incidents are symptomatic of a wider culture of neglect and under valuation of the expertise of building engineers,” Paul said.

BESA said it is encouraged by the broader focus of this DCLG review, looking at current building regulations and fire safety with a particular focus on tall buildings, compliance and enforcement and international regulations.

Recent events have once again highlighted that existing building regulations are not fit for purpose, and calls have grown for an urgent review that is long overdue. Part B of Building Regulations, which include fire and safety, and Part L, which includes energy efficiency, represent one of the key systemic failures in the construction industry, and will now hopefully become a priority for reform.

The review will examine:

The regulatory system around the design, construction and on-going management of buildings in relation to fire safety

Related compliance and enforcement issues

International regulation and experience in this area.

Dame Judith has said: “I am honoured to be asked by government to lead this important independent review. This review will look at building regulations and fire safety to see what changes can be made for the future to make these more effective. I am keen to engage widely with industry and the public to inform the recommendations from the review. I want the recommendations to lead to any necessary improvements in the system being made.”

The BESA has already been in contact with Dame Judith’s office to offer technical and industry expertise, signalling our readiness to work together towards updated building regulations that are safer, more efficient and fit for purpose.

BESA also believes that many of the approved documents, which provide the technical details needed to comply with the Building Regulations, encourage a culture of ‘box ticking’ and corner cutting because they leave too much room for interpretation.

Paul McLaughlin also called for DCLG to make sure the review included the opinions of experts from right across the construction sector, and particularly from building engineering, in order to produce a “well balanced and positive future course for regulation”.

BESA welcomes planned review of building regulations

BESA welcomes planned review of building regulations

Source: HVP Magazine

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BIM in training

Whilst BIM has become a major talking point, there is still a lot of confusion and misinformation around what it is and how it works.

And, as is the case with any new concept, there is a queue of ‘experts’ looking to offer their knowledge through training programmes. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s hard to tell the genuine specialists from those just getting to grips with the topic, so it’s important to do your research first.

Whilst there isn’t a formal accreditation to point to, consider the provider – what is their experience?

Do they have any links to well-known industry organisations, for example, CIBSE or BEAMA?

And, finally, speak to the course leader and get a feel for what their level of insight is before signing up.

The second factor to consider is the breadth of BIM as a topic. From different platforms to the number of possible applications and compatible secondary programmes, there is a huge amount to cover – and not all of this will be relevant across the board. This means that when searching for a training scheme, it is vital to ensure that the course chosen is tailored to your specific needs.

The need-to-know information for a contractor may be different from that of a specifier, and receiving training which isn’t actually applicable to your business could only confuse the issue.

If all else fails, take a look at informal forums. For example, industry discussion pages and articles in the trade press which are likely to be able to provide guidance, if not specific recommendations, for well regarded courses. BIM is here to stay, and it’s positive news that there is an appetite to learn more about it.

However, it’s well worth doing the homework beforehand to make sure you get what you pay for when it comes to getting the lowdown on BIM for your business.

BIM in training

BIM in training

Source: Electrical Times

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Don’t ignore the age of a house when replacing the boiler

Installers are being reminded of the impact improvements to the fabric of a building can have on the efficiency of a heating system.

Martyn Bridges, Director of Technical Communication and Product Management at Worcester, Bosch Group, is calling for heating engineers to consider the age of the entire heating system, and the heat loss of the property, when replacing a standard efficiency boiler with a modern, condensing appliance.

Martyn explained: “Given that around 80% of houses in the UK were built before 1960, the majority of our properties have been designed during a time where energy efficiency was not at the forefront of homeowners’ minds. Modern improvements such as adding double-glazed windows and fibreglass roof insulation significantly improve a property’s heat loss, and this can have a knock-on effect for the most suitable water temperature inside the radiators.

“When a heating system is first installed, the radiators in the property will be sized on the original heat loss of the property. However, as homes are improved to be more efficient, fewer kilowatts of energy are required to heat the building and the radiators in place could then be considerably larger than actually required.

“With this in mind, the flow temperature of the boiler to, and return temperature from, the radiators can often be reduced accordingly – allowing the boiler to condense fully while still heating the living space to the desired comfort level.”

Martyn continued: “It’s important for installers to remember to check the age of the system when changing a boiler in the property and if possible, trace back the history of heating system. In the event this isn’t possible as the house has changed hands since the original heating system was specified, it would be advisable to undertake a full heat loss calculation for the property. From this new calculation, installers can determine whether the radiators are now larger than needed and if they are, can take the necessary steps to replace or run them at a lower temperature to ensure homeowners are provided with a highly efficient heating system.”

For more information on Worcester, Bosch Group, visit www.worcester-bosch.co.uk.

Don't ignore the age of a house when replacing the boiler

Don’t ignore the age of a house when replacing the boiler

Source: HVP Magazine

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IKEA to help homeowners with solar battery storage

Home furnishings expert IKEA has teamed up with solar firm Solarcentury to launch Solar Battery Storage to help homeowners make huge savings on their electricity bills.

Designed to work alongside existing solar panels or as part of a brand new combined home Solar Panel and Battery Storage system, the new offering will make it much easier for homeowners to save on their electricity bills by enabling them to use more of the electricity that is generated by their solar panels.

Solar Battery Storage allows users who have solar panels installed on their homes to store the electricity generated by the sun and use it whenever they like.

Hege Saebjornsen, country sustainability manager, IKEA UK & Ireland said: “With energy bills already going up 15% this year, there’s never been a better time for customers to take back control of their electricity bills and maximise their savings by switching to solar and solar storage.”

Susannah Wood, head of residential solar at Solarcentury commented: “We believe IKEA and Solarcentury are bringing the most competitive package to the market yet so more people than ever before can profit financially and environmentally by producing their own energy.”

The IKEA Solar Battery Storage starts £3000 (5% VAT included), whilst prices for homeowners who already have solar and want to add a battery start from just under £5000 (20% VAT included). This includes a 15% discount available to IKEA Family members.

Solar Battery Storage is available to purchase online via the IKEA UK website. Customers can get a free estimate by visiting Ikea’s website and completing a Solarcentury calculator to see how much they can save.

Ikea says installation can take as little as three weeks from receiving an estimate to installation.

IKEA to help homeowners with solar battery storage

IKEA to help homeowners with solar battery storage

Source: Electrical Times

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July 2017 Newsletter

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Extra Tests for cladding and insulation following Grenfell fire

The government has ordered further tests on cladding and insulation in the wake of the Grenfell fire.

The extra tests will help landlords decide on any remedial action needed to make buildings safer.

These large scale tests will help establish how different types of Aluminium Composite Material panels in combination with different types of insulation behave in a fire.

Tests will look at three different types of ACM cladding combined with different types of insulation in accordance with British Standard 8414.

This involves building a 9 metre tall demonstration wall with a complete cladding system – including panels and insulation – fixed to it, and then subjecting it to a fire that replicates a severe fire in a flat breaking out of a window and whether it then spread up the outside wall.

Six combinations of cladding systems will be subjected to the BS8414 test procedure.

The six systems will incorporate each of the three common types of aluminium composite material panels, with core filler materials of unmodified polyethylene, fire retardant polyethylene, and non-combustible mineral.

The two insulation materials used in the testing will be rigid polyisocyanurate foam or non-combustible mineral wool.

The Building Research Establishment will undertake these tests “as a matter of urgency” and the results will be made publicly available.

Extra Tests for cladding and insulation following Grenfell fire

Extra Tests for cladding and insulation following Grenfell fire

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Four in ten homeowners want solar and energy storage packages

Homeowners looking to save money and improve their level of energy efficiency are looking at a solar/energy storage package to cut their electricity bills.

According to findings from new research by E.ON, when asked about the types of smart technologies people would want in their homes by 2020, four in ten (44%) said they’d like solar panels and/or an electricity battery storage system, more than a third (35%) would like smart lighting, a fifth (20%) wanted a voice controlled smart hub and 13% would like a charging point for an electric car.

But when it comes to solar energy, a number of myths persist with 17% of those questioned mistakenly thinking that solar panels only generate electricity when it’s sunny and one in ten (11%) wrongly believing that solar panels don’t work in cold climates.

Of those surveyed, almost one in ten (9%) homeowners said they already have solar panels. Of these, more than three quarters (76%) said they’re saving money, almost two thirds (65%) said their home is more energy efficient, and almost a third (30%) said they’ve seen the value of their property increase – all as a result of having solar panels installed.

What’s more, four in ten (41%) of those asked said that having a solar panel and battery system would make a potential home more appealing to them if they were looking to buy.

Gavin Stokes, head of Commercial Solutions at E.ON UK, said: “Many of the people we spoke to are already aware of the benefits solar and battery systems can bring – from saving money, to having a more energy efficient home, to making homes more appealing to buyers.”

The research with 2,000 homeowners has been conducted to investigate the nation’s attitudes to the smart solutions available today and in the future. It reveals that the majority of people have already taken steps to make their homes smarter with a third (34%) planning further upgrades.

 

Four in ten homeowners want solar and energy storage packages

Four in ten homeowners want solar and energy storage packages

Source: Electrical Times

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Energy networks making £7.5bn in “unjustified profit” over eight year period, Citizens Advice claims

Citizens Advice is calling for energy network companies to return money to consumers through a rebate. Energy consumers are subsidising £7.5bn in profits made by the businesses responsible for the UK’s gas and electricity networks over an 8-year period, new research from Citizens Advice reveals.

The national charity has published new research, which estimates that key decisions made by the energy regulator Ofgem are allowing energy network companies to make billions in returns on their capital investments, without reflecting how efficient they have been.

Ofgem has said it will set tougher limits on the money that energy networks can make from 2021 and has said that when it sets the next price control for these companies, they should expect lower returns.

Citizens Advice has also called on the energy network firms to return their excess profits from the current price control to consumers through a rebate on their bills.

Energy networks are regulated monopolies – meaning it is not practical for there to be competition between them to drive down the amount consumers pay. Ofgem forecasts the costs for building and maintaining energy networks – including the cost of staff, materials, and the cost of capital used to finance investment – as well as estimating the level of business risk for investors. Energy network companies’ profits are taken from the difference between their actual costs and the amount that Ofgem allows for these costs.

In its new report, Citizens Advice finds three key decisions by Ofgem that are costing consumers money by being favourable to energy network companies’ interests over the current 8 year period – called a “price control.”

First, costing consumers £3bn, Ofgem overestimated the business risk for investors in energy networks. They estimated that energy networks are 90-100% as risky as the average company but market data suggested a more reasonable figure would be 60%;

Second, costing consumers £3.4bn, Ofgem assumed interest rates and returns for government bonds would be higher than they were;

Third, costing consumers £1.1bn, the financial incentives Ofgem has put in place to reward efficiency – such as allowing energy network companies to keep some of the underspend on projects as profit – actually rewarded companies that inflated their initial estimates for the cost of staff and materials.

Energy networks making £7.5bn in "unjustified profit" over eight year period, Citizens Advice claims

Energy networks making £7.5bn in “unjustified profit” over eight year period, Citizens Advice claims

Source: HVP Magazine

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1 in 3 consumers back government changes to smart meter rollout plans

Nearly a third of consumers in the UK back changes to government policy scrapping a commitment to install smart meters in 26 million homes by the end of the decade, new research has found.

As announced in the Queen’s speech, Theresa May’s government will continue to encourage homes to have the energy monitoring devices installed, but has now said that homeowners will be offered the choice to have a meter put in their homes, rather than being forced to do so.

The change comes as new research by Echo Managed Services found that 31% of customers think they should be given the choice about whether to have a smart meter installed or not.

Last week’s announcement is a watering down of then Prime Minister David Cameron’s government’s plan to install 47 million meters into all UK households, however, it is claimed that this new plan will still provide savings of £300 million annually by 2020, increasing to £1.2bn by 2030.

Commenting on the announcement and research findings, Chris Cullen, head of sales and marketing at Echo Managed Services, said: “Giving customers a choice about the services and products they use is a key factor in successful consumer relations and this announcement will be welcomed by homeowners.

“We know there is an appetite for smart meters among UK homeowners, but one of the most common complaints we heard was that people thought this rollout was being enforced on them without properly understanding the benefits so this decision will go some way to calming those issues. In addition, clearly articulating the benefits of meters to customers is vital, without this it can’t be expected that householders will readily agree to meter installation.”

These findings come at the same time similar research revealed that one in five customers could resist having a smart meter installed, primarily due to concerns over data security and privacy.

1 in 3 consumers back government changes to smart meter rollout plans

1 in 3 consumers back government changes to smart meter rollout plans

Source: Electrical Times

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APHC encourages plumbing and heating businesses to use social media

With Quality Plumber Week fast approaching, the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC) is urging more plumbing and heating engineers to use social media.

John Thompson the CEO of APHC, said: “Over the past decade, companies have embraced social media as a valuable marketing tool. Right now, social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are at the forefront and can be impactful marketing tools, giving plumbing and heating businesses the ability to communicate with customers and potential customers directly.

“The most important bit of advice I would give when looking to build a social media network of followers is to not focus on quantity, like gathering tens of thousands of followers, but to focus on gaining meaningful engagement and page impressions from a relevant social media network.

“To do this, I would look to engage with local people and companies whom you may have an affinity with; do they have the same customer base? Find them, follow them and engage with them. Retweet and repost their content and look for opportunities to feature them in your content. In time, you will find their audience becomes your audience.”

  • APHC recommends using social media to:
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Generate questions and enquiries from potential customers
  • Share helpful information
  • Promote deals and special offers
  • Share industry relevant news
  • Encourage customers to leave positive feedback
  • Get behind important causes
  • Network with other professionals and exchange tips.

“If your plumbing and heating business has yet to gain an online social presence, it is not too late to get started. You can sign up for a social media account for free and begin engaging with your audience immediately,” John concluded.

APHC is running Quality Plumber Week between 2nd – 6th October to celebrate the skilled work plumbing and heating engineers carry out every day. You can get involved on Twitter by tweeting using #QPW17 and on Facebook and LinkedIn by mentioning ‘Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors’ or @APHC_UK on Twitter.

During Quality Plumber Week, APHC will be asking the industry to showcase their work and say what makes them a quality plumber.

APHC encourages plumbing and heating businesses to use social media

APHC encourages plumbing and heating businesses to use social media

Source: HVP Magazine

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World’s first sideways elevator unveiled

The world’s first rope-less, horizontal-vertical lift has been installed inside a purpose-built innovation test tower in Germany.

More than 160 years after the invention of the conventional elevator, manufacturer ThyssenKrupp is hailing it as a game changer for major buildings.

Instead of one cabin per shaft moving up and down, the “MULTI” system offers multiple cabins operating in a loop, like a metro system inside a building.

It requires fewer and smaller shafts than conventional elevators and can increase the building’s usable area by up to 25%, representing extra revenues from the additional rentable/leasable space.

Present elevator-escalator footprints can occupy up to 40% of a high rise building’s floor space, depending on the building height.

The first fully functional unit has just been installed in ThyssenKrupp’s purpose-built 246m test tower in Rottweil, Germany.

And now European developer OVG Real Estate plans to become the lift maker’s very first customer installing the MULTI in the new East Side Tower building in Berlin, adjacent to the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

World's first sideways elevator unveiled

World’s first sideways elevator unveiled

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Charity offers vital support for apprentices with learning difficulties

Almost 15% of young adults in the electrical industry are dealing with learning difficulties such as dyslexia and through its Apprentice Support Programme, the Electrical Industries Charity is providing vital support to ensure these young people succeed in their chosen career.

Dyslexia is a hidden problem that can be missed at schools, and often shows its presence through disruptive behaviour and missed schooling. For example, at the age of 15, Scott left school, due to many years of bullying and missed education. He is now well on the way to completing his apprenticeship, and all of his work is well documented. However, he has yet to pass his final written exam, and it is now that his difficulties have come to light.

After years of ongoing bullying at school for being ‘stupid’ Scott almost quit his apprenticeship thinking that his dyslexia was an intelligence issue. His employer was keen to help him through this final stage of his apprenticeship and, therefore, he approached the Electrical Industries Charity to get more support for Scott.

The Electrical Industries Charity joined ties with JTL to facilitate Scott’s first ever assessment for dyslexia and found a specialist tutor to help him on a one-to-one basis. Scott will now be supported right through his exam, and on to a successful journey as a fully qualified electrician.

In the electrical sector, there are many young apprentices like Scott who are not aware of their learning difficulty, which can stand in the way of pursuing their dream career. By joining together, the Electrical Industries Charity and JTL are helping young apprentices to succeed in their chosen careers and aim to end the stigma of mental health issues while creating awareness and giving them the support they need.

Tessa Ogle, managing director of the Charity, says: “Dyslexia is a hidden problem that is often missed throughout schooling. One in 10 people in the UK are affected by dyslexia. The Electrical Industries Charity is working hard to ensure awareness of dyslexia is better understood in the sector. With almost 15% of the electrical and energy industry suffering with it, it makes sense to create greater awareness and provide support through our Employee Assistance Programmes.”

Charity offers vital support for apprentices with learning difficulties

Charity offers vital support for apprentices with learning difficulties

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Boiler industry plays key role in innovating to reduce emissions

The chief executive of The Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA), former MP and international development minister, Mike Foster, will be presenting at the Worcester Bosch Environment 2020 awards, focusing on the role that heat decarbonisation can play in enabling the UK to meet carbon emission reduction targets.

The Committee on Climate Change called for new strategies to be put in place in order to meet our carbon reduction targets. The EUA believe that transforming domestic heating, using green gas, provides a real solution. Mike will highlight the role that Worcester Bosch is playing to help the UK meet its international climate change obligations.

Around 20% of the nation’s carbon emissions are generated by domestic heating. Given that the UK has the world’s leading gas grid infrastructure in place, directly supplying heat to 85% of homes, there is real potential for green gas to be the future of heating. Multiple opportunities exist regarding green gas; namely biomethane, methane and hydrogen blended gas, synthetic gas from black bag waste and, in the long-term, 100% hydrogen.

Mike said: “The UK needs to decarbonise and Worcester Bosch play a vital role in paving a way for us to do so. Using greener forms of gas to heat homes will minimise the disruption consumers face, keeping their costs to a minimum, while helping to save the planet.

“Particularly exciting is the new technology that takes black bin waste and converts it to gas, which can then be used in our homes. The other emerging thinking is around the use of hydrogen, either mixed with natural gas or used on its own. New boiler technology needs to be developed for this to work, and I know Worcester Bosch is at the forefront of this innovation.”

Boiler industry plays key role in innovating to reduce emissions

Boiler industry plays key role in innovating to reduce emissions

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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3 in 4 electrical workers opposed to agency labour

Over three in four electrotechnical workers (76%) say they prefer working for a direct employer rather than a labour agency, according to new survey findings commissioned by the Joint Industry Board.

Of those who say they preferred direct employment, almost two in three respondents (62%) said it was to ‘enjoy their full employment rights’. A similar number say they preferred ‘steady employment’ (63%) and ‘valued the holidays and additional benefits available’ (59%).

Just one in six respondents (16%) say they favour agency labour work over direct employment. Over four in 10 of those who preferred agency work (43%) said it was due to the flexibility, while nearly three in 10 (29%) said it was because they could earn more.

ECA director of employment Alex Meikle comments: “These findings overwhelmingly show that electrotechnical workers are more content and likely to be more productive working directly for an employer.

“While agency workers can be a necessary source of flexible labour for businesses, the industry should take a hard look at the value of temporary employment. It’s now time for a rebalancing that ensures worker productivity is maximised moving forward.”

Some 422 electrotechnical workers from across the UK responded to the survey, which was held during the first quarter of the year.

The ECA’s recent submission to the government’s industrial strategy consultation noted that ‘higher (employee) engagement is associated with higher performance’, and urged the government to consider using the procurement process to improve employer-worker collaboration.

The 2009 government-commissioned Macleod report found that ‘the correlation between engagement, wellbeing and performance is repeated too often to be a coincidence’. This view indicates the value of employee engagement and support initiatives – such as occupational health assessments and CPD training – to ensuring worker productivity.

Another recent ECA survey on the value of corporate social responsibility found that half of electrotechnical businesses said that having a CSR policy in place meant they were more likely to retain and recruit staff.

3 in 4 electrical workers opposed to agency labour

3 in 4 electrical workers opposed to agency labour

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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England stars take on Worcester’s Boiler Box Challenge

Worcester, Bosch Group is inviting installers to take on the Boiler Box Challenge, after taking ex-England stars Wayne Bridge and Kyran Bracken back to their roots for its Rely On campaign.

With the campaign aiming to celebrate the things and people that we rely on every day, the manufacturer took the two sporting legends from the world of football and rugby back to surprise the players, parents and coaches at their childhood clubs in Southampton and Liverpool.

As well as offering pep talks and coaching sessions, Wayne and Kyran were on hand to deliver hot beverages and snacks to keep parents warm once the matches got underway. After the games, a final surprise was in store – each club being presented with a £1,000 cheque on behalf of the heating and hot water manufacturer.

Then, back on the very pitches where they first learned to play, the ex-pros took on Worcester’s Boiler Box Challenge, which saw the former internationals attempt to chip or throw a football or rugby ball into an empty boiler box.

Now, Worcester is inviting installers to submit their own efforts. From rainbow flicks to scorpion kicks, the manufacturer is asking for the most impressive ways engineers can get a football or rugby ball into an empty boiler box – with a host of signed balls to give away for the most creative clips.

You can watch Wayne and Kyran taking on the challenge on Worcester’s social media channels. Then, post your own attempts using #BoilerBoxChallenge for your chance to win a signed football or rugby ball.

Worcester is also on the lookout for deserving junior clubs to visit. Nominate a team, club, or society who you think deserves a surprise from the Worcester team before July 30, at: www.worcester-bosch.co.uk/rely.

England stars take on Worcester's Boiler Box Challenge

England stars take on Worcester’s Boiler Box Challenge

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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June 2017 Newsletter

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Grenfell Tower fire probe focuses on cladding

Fire investigators will focus on how the Grenfell tower blaze spread so rapidly jumping up the exterior of the building from the fourth floor to top in just 15 minutes.

A key area of investigation will be the common rainscreen system used on the Grenfell Tower, which is designed to include fire-breaks at every floor and around every window.

Experts believe this may have failed with the void between the aluminium panels and building fabric acting as a chimney to spread the fire.

The system has been used on many tower block revamps and the Government has now ordered checks on all buildings in the UK that have been revamped in recent years.

Chris Miers, a forensic architect, said: “I was surprised to see the extent of fire and its rapid spread. The risk is if the void is not adequately subdivided it would act as a chimney.”

The building was overclad with Aluminium Composite Material cassette rainscreen. This consists of two thin aluminium sheets sandwiching a core material. The panels are available with polyethylene or less flammable mineral cores.

Russ Timpson of the tall building fire safety network, said: “In the UK cladding has to be of limited combustibility. I’m sure it will be questioned what exactly this means and what these types of cladding systems are adding to the fire load of a building.”

The cladding system employs a void behind the panel to vent moisture. An intumescent strip is designed to be installed at regular intervals to expand in the event of fire to become a cavity barrier.

Cladding contractor Harley Curtain Wall fell into administration shortly after completing the £2.6m Grenfell Tower project.

Main contractor Rydon, which delivered the £8.6m upgrade to the Grenfell Tower in 2016 as part of a £57m borough-wide regeneration in Kensington & Chelsea, said it had met “all required building control, fire regulation and health and safety standards”.

“We will cooperate with the relevant authorities and emergency services and fully support their enquiries into the causes of this fire at the appropriate time.

“Given the ongoing nature of the incident and the tragic events overnight, it would be inappropriate for us to speculate or comment further at this stage.”

Both firms also delivered a bigger project, the Chalcot Estate in north London, which involved using similar systems to reclad five blocks as part of an £18m revamp.

The Chalcot estate in Swiss Cottage consists of 706 homes in five tower blocks -Taplow, Bray, Burnham, Dorney, and Blashford – rising to 23 storeys.

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Contractors urged to act on upcoming energy regulations

In less than a year, the government’s new energy bill comes into effect. Ideal Commercial Boilers are urging installers to act now before upcoming changes to the energy efficiency regulations.

From 1 April 2018, landlords of non-domestic rented properties, including public sector landlords, cannot grant a tenancy to new or existing tenants if their property has an EPC rating below E.

A report from global real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield estimates that nearly 20% of commercial property buildings in England and Wales could fall short of the government’s upcoming energy standards.

Ideal Commercial Boilers see is the change as an opportunity for installers to encourage customers to be proactive before the legislation comes into effect and recommending products and services that will be required in less than a year.

Darren Finley, Chief Commercial Officer at Ideal Commercial Boilers, said: “While replacing an inefficient boiler with an efficient one is the obvious solution, we would also urge contractors to use it as a chance to reiterate the benefits of routine inspection protecting the whole heating system, encouraging clients to consider preventative maintenance, monitoring gas bills, introducing controls and water treatment.”

There is mounting pressure to meet the new energy standards, particularly where tenancies are due for renewal in the first quarter of 2018. Commercial landlords who are still heating their buildings with older boilers and inefficient systems will end up losing out.

The regulations will change again from 1 April 2023 and landlords must not let a non-domestic property if that property has an EPC rating of band F or G.

Source: HVP Magazine

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Electricians wanted to fill assessor skills gap

A campaign to recruit more NVQ assessors has been launched by training provider JTL, following concerns of a skills shortage in this area and the negative impact it could have on apprenticeship quality.

A very welcomed rise in the number of apprenticeships has in turn led to an increased need for independent assessors – individuals who can visit an apprentice’s place of work to review their on-site work, provide guidance on their NVQ portfolio and support their development.

However, with a shortage across England and Wales of those currently carrying out this role, the quality of each apprenticeship could be at risk because apprentices are not given the amount of pastoral and technical support they need to progress.

JTL prize the quality of their assessment highly and are keen to ensure that increasing learner numbers do not have a negative impact. Because of the specialised nature of the role, electricians who have already worked ‘on the tools’ in the industry for a number of years are ideally suited to an assessment role, as they are fully versed with current working practices and the industry techniques that an apprentice needs to learn. Those who are able to spend one or two days a week visiting apprentices at work to help progress their NVQ development are being encouraged to apply.

“Becoming an assessor gives you the chance to give something back and, if you’re retired or wanting to take a back seat in your business, allows you to keep in touch with the industry,” said Julie Asher-Smith, human resources director of JTL.

“It’s your opportunity to interact with the industry’s future workforce and allows you to share the experience and skills you’ve gained over the years.

“The skills gap relating to apprentices and electricians has been well documented, but having the right people to assess their training is an important part of the jigsaw. With this campaign we’re taking vital steps to ensure there are sufficient numbers of assessors to develop the next generation of craft professionals.”

Those interested in becoming an assessor are encouraged to contact JTL to find out more. Individuals need to be technically qualified with an apprenticeship or NVQ Level 3 as a minimum, but full support and training related to the role, along with attractive day rates, are provided.

To find out more visit www.jtlassociatesjobs.com

Source: Electrical Times

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Homeowners leave themselves at risk by not checking tradesmen’s credentials

According to the latest research by home service marketplace Plentific.com, nearly four out of five homeowners admit that they would hire a trade professional without checking for public liability or professional indemnity insurance.

Hiring a trade professional who does not have the appropriate insurance cover can leave a homeowner financially vulnerable if things go wrong, or if they are dissatisfied with the work carried out.

All home improvement or renovation projects come with some risk. Without public liability insurance, any costs arising from on site injuries or damaged property will fall to the customer to pay. Similarly, if the work carried out, advice given, or specialist services offered by a pro are unsatisfactory, without professional indemnity insurance, the financial costs to amend the project will again fall to the homeowner to organise.

Shockingly, according to the research, only 54% of homeowners check the Gas Safe Register when hiring tradesmen to work on their gas utilities. This percentage drops to 48% for under 55-year-olds, but rises to 60% for homeowners aged 55 and over. Ensuring that a property’s gas utilities are safely maintained is essential to prevent serious hazards or accidents. Checking the Gas Safe Register lets homeowners know whether a trade professional is qualified to legally and safely carry out work on gas appliances.

The research shows that 57% of homeowners believe checking reviews from previous customers is a must before hiring a trade professional. Checking a trade professional’s website also ranked highly, with 43% of respondents claiming that this was a key step when hiring a professional. This trend was stronger for younger homeowners, with 63% of 18 to 34-year-olds following this rule, compared to just 39% of respondents aged 55 or over.

Knowing what to look for when hiring a professional may be daunting for some, so Plentific does all the hard work for the customer when it comes to checking credentials. The ‘Verified Pros’ available through Plentific have been thoroughly vetted to ensure that they have all the appropriate cover for their trades. With the added backing of the Plentific Guarantee, an industry first insurance policy that comes as standard with Verified Pros, homeowners can also benefit from an extra layer of protection if the job doesn’t go to plan.

Stephen Jury, of Plentific, said: “It’s shocking to think that the majority of homeowners aren’t properly checking the tradesmen they let into their homes to carry out renovation or repair work. These projects can be costly, so if something goes wrong, it’s essential to be protected.

“The fact that more homeowners check previous customer reviews over credentials such as the Gas Safe Register, could be surprising to some. However, it shows how much influence people put on real life testimonials and recent customer experiences.”

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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Turning teens to engineering

According to a survey by Jobsite, the current engineering talent shortfall is driven, not by lack of interest, but by the fact that young people simply do not know how to get started in the field. Indeed, six out of 10 (63%) 16-18 year olds don’t know what qualifications are necessary to become an engineer, while three quarters (74%) didn’t know of any engineering work experience opportunities.

So with more than 50 per cent of respondents expressing a desire to join the industry, the onus is on businesses and schools to bring engineering apprenticeships to the fore.

One company that is already working towards this goal is engineering solutions firm, adi Group, which currently has 19 employees enrolled on its post-16 apprenticeship scheme, and a dozen 14-16 year olds undertaking an adi pre-apprenticeship in partnership with a local school – the first programme of its kind in the UK.

The scheme involves 12 secondary school students – male and female – attending adi Group’s workshop for half a day each week. This occupies 10% of the students’ overall curriculum time as they continue to work on their GCSEs alongside the course. Unfortunately, despite this being the right course of action, these types of partnerships are a rarity.

According to an IAC survey of apprentices, half of all those surveyed found out about their apprenticeship through their own initiative, with a mere 15% finding out from a teacher or careers adviser. In fact, some students are being actively discouraged by their schools to take on apprenticeships, demonstrating the need for employers to work with educational providers to emphasise the value of work-based learning.

Alan Lusty, CEO of adi Group, comments: “We are now seeing a generation of young people seriously considering engineering as a career choice, however, more needs to be done to match students up with high-quality apprenticeship opportunities.

“adi Group’s long term aim is to support the engineering and manufacturing industries by providing a constant stream of young talented people who are well prepared for specialist roles. Our pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programmes are clear demonstrations of that intent.

“However, we can’t do it alone. We need more businesses to adopt similar initiatives and increase the number of work experience placements available. As rising numbers of young people are interested in a future in engineering, this is a demand we must meet. As such, the pre-apprenticeship model is completely available, free of charge, for any employer or school that wishes to replicate an existing scheme which has proven to work, and work well.”

For more information, visit www.adiltd.co.uk

Source: Electrical Times

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Heating firms called up for £600m Scottish housing deal

Specialist heating contractors from across Scotland are being invited to submit bids to take part in a new social housing framework.

The new panel of firms is being set up to help registered social landlords meet their obligations under the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing.

It is being launched by PfH Scotland, the procurement specialist set up by the National Housing Federation and the Chartered Institute of Housing.

To meet the EESSH standard, all social housing in Scotland must achieve an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of Band D or better by 2020.

PfH Scotland’s newly-launched framework is expected to generate contract work worth up to £600m over four years across Scotland’s social housing sector.

Following a process of vetting, shortlisting and selecting contractors, the framework is expected to go live in September of this year.

PfH Scotland Head of Operations Stephen Herriot said: “I would encourage heating contractors of all sizes, including those who may have no previous experience of tendering for public sector contracts, to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in this £600m procurement framework and to secure new work while helping drive ongoing improvements in the energy efficiency of Scottish social housing.”

The framework will be split into six defined geographic regions across Scotland.

PfH Scotland is offering a range of bid support and advice for SMEs with limited or no experience of tendering for public sector work.

To further support participation be smaller local contractors, evaluation of tenders will also be 70% weighted in favour of quality and 30% on price.

In each geographic region, the framework has been broken down into 13 individual lots covering services ranging from energy performance certification to domestic and commercial gas servicing and from the installation of renewables to architectural services.

Those tendering can submit responses for any or all of these individual lots and will then be required to identify the geographic areas within each lot that they can service.

Contractors have until the 17 July to register an interest in the framework and to submit their bid.

Further information about the PfH Scotland EESSH heating services framework is available on the Public Contracts Scotland website.

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Training will transform building controls industry

The Building Controls Association (BCIA) believes the key to a sustainable future in the building controls industry is to invest in young people and find skilled role models for the next generation.

The current skills shortage faced by the industry has been well documented. A recent survey conducted by UK Construction Week discovered that 67% of respondents identified a lack of knowledge as a serious issue in preventing buildings being run more efficiently, highlighting that more needs to be done in terms of education and training.

To tackle the building performance challenge head-on, building controls engineers must be fully trained to optimise buildings and correctly ascertain which controls will be of most benefit to deliver cost savings and enhance overall comfort.

Technical qualifications called T-levels will be introduced next year for 16-19 year olds following a sizeable investment from the government.

Construction and engineering are set to be two of the key areas which will benefit from this. George Belfield, is an ideal illustration of what a young person can achieve with the right training and guidance.

George recently won the coveted Young Engineer of the Year accolade at the prestigious BCIA Awards 2017 and works for InTandem Systems. Inspired by his older brother who was an electrician, George embarked on an intense training programme and has since gained valuable experience by working on various international projects.

George’s next step is to progress up the ranks and become a building controls engineer as he continues his development in his chosen field. George’s journey has been transformed thanks to obtaining the necessary skills and expertise through ongoing training.

Developing the industry’s talented engineers and retaining them is pivotal. Like George, the industry needs more role models and inspirational figures to encourage and motivate young people to opt for a career in this sector.

Malcolm Anson, president of the BCIA says:” We can all play a significant role in helping shape the future of the building controls industry. Let’s unearth the next crop of controls engineers and demonstrate our passion for the sector. Finding suitable role models will be vital in capturing the imagination of young people who wish to make a career in building controls. We must inspire and educate the next generation to ensure a sustainable future across the whole industry.”

Source: Electrical Times

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Fancy being a local hero?

Centrica has launched a new on-demand service, Local Heroes, providing a user-friendly digital platform to find trusted local tradespeople to carry out work in the home. The service currently connects people with local plumbing, heating, electrical and drainage experts.

Local Heroes links the customer-tradespeople journey seamlessly, from searching for a job and providing a price estimate, through to confirmation and online payment. All work that is undertaken via Local Heroes is backed by a 12-month British Gas guarantee.

For tradespeople who are successfully vetted and approved to become Local Heroes, the business model opens up a new revenue stream of work opportunities available within their local area.

Mark Hodges, Chief Executive at Centrica Consumer, comments: “Local Heroes is a perfect example of how we see innovation and new technologies flourishing at Centrica. Local Heroes is the first online platform that offers a complete start-to-finish experience, introducing current and next generation Centrica customers to local tradesmen – crucially, all backed by the peace of mind of a British Gas guarantee.”

There are more than 2500 Local Heroes across the UK. By 2020, the company aims to have completed several hundred thousand jobs in the home via its online platform.

To find out more, click here.

Source: PHAM News

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Electrical Trade gets its own focus group

Are you a small business working in the electrical sector who feels that your voice isn’t heard when decisions are being made in the industry that affect you?

If you are, this could be the perfect opportunity for you to get involved in a new venture by Trade Skills 4U to get the voice of the small business heard. Trade Skills 4U is keen to hear from self employed electricians (one-man bands), companies with two to five employees, five to ten employees and trainees and apprentices from these groups.

What is it?

The Small Employer Electrical Focus Group will be made up of approximately 10 people from small businesses and trainees working in the electrical industry.

The group will meet once a quarter to represent the employees and employers of small businesses and self-employed workers in the sector.

The intention is to be able to voice opinions regarding what is needed to make the industry better by training more people with the right skills to ensure they are competent.

The group will be guided by a director from Trade Skills 4U, and its intention is to listen to the opinions of the group and gather information, which can be used to influence future decision making around the electrical industry. This will ensure that future training and qualification changes represent what the industry really needs.

Why is it needed?

It’s hard to believe that even though the electrical industry consists of 90% of small businesses, it’s the 10% of larger businesses that have the most influence when decisions are being made regarding the skills needed for the industry, to ensure that the workers are competent.

This seems to be unbalanced when you consider that the majority of the larger firms don’t actually do the work themselves as they use sub-contractors to carry out an installation.

Trade Skills 4U believes that the small businesses should have a bigger voice when decisions are made, which is why they are interested in forming this Focus Group.

The aim is to be in a position to voice its opinions regarding training needs and reactions to specific industry related issues around qualification content and regulatory changes, with the intention that the views of the group will be considered to help influence the decision making and development needs of the sector.

What are the benefits?

By being part of this Focus Group Trade Skills 4U will give you the inside track regarding what’s happening in the industry and will share with you up-to-date information about forthcoming changes to regulations and qualifications.

Why Trade Skills 4U?

As the UK’s leading electrical training company, Trade Skills 4U has been representing the interests of the thousands of their customers for many years. They have been involved in the development of new qualifications, writing of course books and even provided evidence to Government on behalf of their customers. They already have close ties with accrediting bodies and industry bodies but they believe their voice will be stronger with your help.

If this is something you are interested in please register your interest via the form on this page or email elaine.hammond@tradeskills4u.co.uk.

Source: Electrical Times

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Swansea’s £500m city centre regeneration plan approved

Ambitious outline plans to redevelop the heart of Swansea have been approved by the council.

The £500m Swansea Central scheme will see over 11ha redeveloped with the partially demolished St David’s site rebuilt as a new retail destination with a cinema and library.

The council has selected developer Rivington Land and Acme to manage the regeneration of the former St David’s shopping centre and surrounding car parks.

The redevelopment site is divided by the Oystermouth Road. A new wide pedestrian footbridge will connect the triangular southern section of the site.

This is planned to be home to a 3,500-seat arena built on the existing car park next to the LC leisure centre, along with a 13-storey residential block or hotel.

The scheme will need planning permission once plans are finalised, with work hoped to start on the southern site first by summer 2018.

A later phase will involve demolishing the civic centre and creating a city beach, which would also include an aquarium and digital science centre. Trebor Developments will lead the redevelopment of this seafront area.

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Blog - Uploader 2

May 2017 Newsletter


Workloads powering ahead for M&E specialists

Business is booming in the M&E sector with 88% of contractors expecting their workloads to rise or stay steady during the current quarter.

The latest bullish sector-wide Building Engineering Business Survey found 79% of engineering services saw turnover increase or remain stable during the first quarter of the year.Hundreds of firms were quizzed in the survey which is run in partnership by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), and Scottish electrical trade body SELECT.

ECA CEO Steve Bratt said: “These figures show that the engineering services sector continues to power ahead, against a backdrop of enormous political volatility.”

“New business opportunities continue to be created across our sector, notably, but certainly not exclusively, linked to energy supply and storage.”

“We remain cautiously optimistic entering into a period of further change with the upcoming general election.”

BESA chief executive Paul McLaughlin said: “We should be extremely heartened by these results.“We continue to live through a period of unprecedented political upheaval, yet the building engineering services sector remains on track.”

“For nine out of ten respondents to be so upbeat about their immediate business prospects in the current uncertain economic climate is testament to this industry’s resilience.”

SELECT Managing Director Newell McGuiness said: “It’s encouraging to see continued optimism on workload, given the backdrop of uncertainty which exists at present.”

“The rise in material costs is a concern and we hope that any further increases will be kept to a minimum.”

“Seven in 10 businesses reported an increase in materials prices – up from six in 10 during Q4 2016.”

Half of the firms who responded said the move to Brexit had negatively impacted on materials prices.

In addition, half of companies said labour costs had risen, up from four in 10 firms in the previous quarter.

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Safety first for the next generation of electricians

Five hundred and fifty apprentice electricians and adult trainees in Scotland will get a safe start to their careers – thanks to Electrical Safety First and the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT), who are providing them with free lockout kits valued at £21 each.

The kits allow for safe isolation – securely disconnecting one or all parts of the electrical installation when working on it – which is a fundamental safety precaution, as ‘live’ working can be fatal. Over the next few weeks, the trainee electricians studying at 20 Approved Centres across Scotland, from the Shetland Isles to the Borders, will receive lock-out kits, totalling almost £12,000.

“It’s vital that everyone in the industry adopts safe working practices and procedures and it’s important that this is established right at the start of an electrician’s career”, explains Phil Buckle, Chief Executive of Electrical Safety First. “By providing free lockout kits to young electricians we not only give them crucial safety equipment, we also hope to help them make safe working an ingrained habit. Because, as we know, it could mean the difference between life and death.”

Anne Galbraith, Chief Executive of SECTT, adds: “We are committed to improving safety for our industry and this is a great way to support Scotland’s newest electricians.  Our longstanding partnership with Electrical Safety First – which is now entering its 9th year – means we have been able to share the cost of these vital safety devices and help safeguard the next generation of Scottish electricians”.

  • Electrical Safety First is the leading UK charity committed to reducing deaths, injuries and accidents from electricity.
  • The Charity offers a range of tools on its website for both professional electricians and consumers, to support electrical safety and best practice – including a safe isolation app for mobile phones. For more information, please visit: www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk.
  • SECTT provides essential information about careers in the electrical industry and useful guidance for employers and young people.  See www.sectt.org.uk for more details.

Source: Electrical Engineering

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New initiative launched to support mental health in construction

The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity and the Considerate Constructors Scheme have launched a new initiative to help support the mental health agenda in the construction industry.

Considerate Constructors Scheme-registered sites, companies and suppliers can now provide their workforce with handy wallet-sized Construction Industry Helpline cards, as well as displaying posters to advertise the services.

The Construction Industry Helpline provides a free 24/7 confidential employee assistance programme for all of the construction workforce and their families in the UK. The Helpline is there to deliver mental health and wellbeing, financial assistance, legal advice and support on education and training. It is operated by the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity (also known as the Lighthouse Club) and is funded by the charitable generosity of the construction industry.

With the crucial support of the Considerate Constructors Scheme, the Helpline has launched a new range of packs which are available to purchase. Each pack contains wallet-sized Helpline cards for distribution to the workforce and A2 posters to promote the Helpline on site. There are nine packs in total, which are suitable for sites, companies and suppliers of different contract values and annual turnover.

By purchasing a pack, the site, company or supplier is also making a commitment to undertake a “Lighthouse Day”, which can be any day in the calendar year where anything can be done to raise much-needed funds for the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity.

The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity chief executive, Bill Hill, said: “As well as delivering emergency financial aid to those in our industry suffering hardship, we have augmented our Helpline services to support callers suffering from anxiety, stress, addictive behaviours and depression in support of the recent research into the mental health of the industry.

“It is now imperative that we put the Helpline Card in the hands of every construction worker in the industry, so they will always have a safety net to catch them at their time of need. The Considerate Constructors Scheme has fully embraced this initiative right from the start and we cannot thank them enough for their enthusiastic support.”

Considerate Constructors Scheme chief executive Edward Hardy added: “The Scheme is keen to take its ongoing support for the Construction Industry Helpline to the next level, which is why we have launched these essential packs for the benefit of the entire workforce.

“The Helpline provides invaluable support for workers and their families during times of difficulty and hardship and has already made a huge difference to the lives of many people. The Scheme would like to see this important industry asset go from strength to strength, which is why we are urging as many sites and businesses to purchase the packs and pledge to hold a Lighthouse Day to raise funds for the charity. There is no pressure to raise a target amount – just as much as you can on the day to make a difference.”

The Scheme has been supporting the Construction Industry Helpline ever since it officially partnered with the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity in 2014, when the Helpline was launched.

The Helpline is not publicly funded and relies entirely on the generosity and support of industry organisations, fundraising groups and individuals.

To access the Helpline’s team of experts, call the Construction Industry Helpline on 0345 605 1956 or visit www.constructionindustryhelpline.com.

Source: HVP Magazine

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ECA president optimistic on business outlook as term ends

Dave Kieft, the outgoing President of the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), believes there is significant potential for business growth in the engineering services sector, as a result of recent developments and new commercial opportunities.

One of the key themes for Mr. Kieft’s ECA presidential term, which ends in May, has been to raise the profile of the engineering and electrotechnical sector, while promoting the ECA across the UK.

In addition, Kieft has been one of the main drivers in bringing together a number of engineering sector bodies, with many agreeing to work in partnership to promote the value of engineering services to clients and government.

According to Dave Kieft:

“The ECA’s profile has risen significantly in the last year, but it is also building strong, effective partnerships with other bodies in our industry. Partnering will ensure that the interests of the entire sector, and what we have to offer, are communicated to government and other stakeholders with a strong, single voice.”

Kieft adds that for the sector to realise its commercial opportunities, it also needs to bring more young people into engineering.  To boost awareness of both the career opportunities, and to identify the excellent talent that already exists in the engineering services industry, the ECA launched its new ‘Power Players’ initiative in April.

Kieft commented:

“It’s now absolutely crucial for our collective future prosperity that we communicate the considerable benefits of a career in engineering to young people, their parents, teachers and careers officers.”

Kieft formally comes to the end of his year-long tenure as ECA President on 17 May. He is also the ECA’s Wales spokesperson and managing director of Swansea-based RDM Electrical and Mechanical Services.

About the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) and its members:

The Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) is the UK’s largest trade association representing electrical, electrotechnical and other engineering contractors, at regional, national and European level. ECA member-companies are rigorously assessed before membership is approved.

Member firms have a combined turnover in excess of £6 billion annually. Member firms carry out design, installation, inspection, testing, maintenance and monitoring activity across domestic and commercial sectors. This ranges from power and lighting to data communications, to energy efficiency and renewables, as well as the design and installation of cutting-edge building control technologies.

The ECA’s near 3,000 members range from SME electrical firms to nationwide engineering contractors and building services firms that employ thousands of professionals on major UK projects.

To visit the ECA website, please click here.

Source: Electrical Engineering

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ECA and BESA launch engineering services manifesto

Ahead of the general election on 8 June, ECA and BESA are calling on the next government to make sustainable construction a strategic priority.

The five-point manifesto, released by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) and the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), adds to a recent submission by the ECA and BESA on the government’s industrial strategy consultation, and calls for the following:

  • Connecting the output of construction and operation of the UK’s built environment, and making it a strategic priority, to enable the sustainable delivery of economic, social and environmental benefits. Engineering services is uniquely positioned as a cornerstone of both sectors and has a central role in delivering these benefits throughout the lifetime of built assets, and, as a key enabler, should be selected by government for a ‘sector deal’.
  • Ensuring that SME apprenticeship training is fully funded for the entire parliament. At present, there is significant concern that firms not required to pay the new apprenticeship levy may not be able to access the support they need to develop engineering and other technical skills.
  • Ensuring government is a smart client and smaller businesses have stability of cash-flow and payment. A key request is for a digital payment platform in the public sector, linked to digital procurement processes. This would give greater transparency and speed to supply chain payment, and lower supplier risk.
  • Making energy, heat and carbon efficiency a real sustainable delivery priority within the next parliament. Achievable energy efficiency goals, backed by government, need to be fulfilled if we are to meet our emissions reductions targets in the lowest cost way, as well as offering a way for businesses to improve their productivity.
  • Improve productivity through action to enhance employee engagement. Government should introduce additional requirements in the procurement process to help mitigate against false self-employment and other tax avoidance schemes, and facilitate improved employer-worker collaboration, resulting in enhanced productivity.

ECA chief executive officer Steve Bratt, and BESA chief executive Paul McLaughlin, commented: “The next government has a great opportunity to deliver an investment and regulatory climate in which industry thrives and where buildings and infrastructure support UK growth and productivity.

“Our five-point manifesto would support business, by delivering highly skilled apprenticeships, giving SMEs the opportunity to grow, and ultimately, improving UK productivity.”

According to the government’s industrial strategy consultation, the UK lags behind other developed nations including Germany, France and the United States, in terms of worker productivity.

BESA and ECA members have combined annual turnover of £10 billion, spanning building, infrastructure and maintenance activity. Engineering services fulfils 90% of the costs associated with buildings and infrastructure, compared to just 10% for initial building costs.

Source: HVP Magazine

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Contractors set to benefit from NEC contract changes

Contractors are set to benefit from a raft of changes expected in the impending update to the NEC suite of contracts.

The latest NEC4 documents are due to come into force next month – 12 years since the last NEC3 contracts were first published.

Experts at consultant Systech believe the revised paperwork will please contractors as they support the ongoing drive for collaborative working.

Important anticipated changes include possible compensation for contractors preparing quotations and allowing contractors to reach the definition of defined and progressive costs as work proceeds rather than waiting to the end of a project.

Jason Palmer, Systech Associate Director for UK North, said: “Whilst the devil will be in the detail, contractors will welcome a number of the reported changes in NEC4, particularly those allowing cost reimbursement for preparing quotations, the early agreement of defined and disallowed costs [rather than waiting until the end of the project] and the moves to ensure the agreement of the accepted programme.”

Rekha Thawrani, NEC Contracts General Manager, said: “The uptake of NEC products and services has grown exponentially across the globe over the last 20 years and we pride ourselves on the fact that our innovative portfolio will always react to and be shaped by the needs, experiences and feedback of our users.

“As part of our commitment to all our customers, we continue to constantly review ways to enhance and update our products. We believe NEC4’s diverse range of definitive end-to-end project management contracts will empower users to deliver projects on time, on budget and to the highest standards now and in the future to the benefit of both industry and society.”

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Calls to tackle air pollution from construction sites

Former Deputy Mayor of London for Environment, Matthew Pencharz, believes the UK government must do more to tackle the problem of air pollution from construction sites

Mr Pencharz commented after the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) published the consultation on its new UK Air Quality Plan.

Mr Pencharz, current director of Off Grid Energy, believes more needs to be done to encourage local authorities to introduce and have the powers to enforce environmental regulations on construction sites to push the utilisation of clean technologies, after describing the Air Quality Plan as disappointingly unambitious.

Construction sites are important sources of pollution in towns and cities across the UK. In London, for example, construction equipment accounts for 7% of emissions, leading to unacceptably high NO2 concentrations.

“It is disappointing that in its new consultation to deliver the reductions in air pollution the UK needs, the government is not doing more to push the utilisation of clean technologies on construction sites to save both money and emissions and stimulate this high value manufacturing sector,” said Mr Pencharz, who brought in the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) regulations for construction equipment while he was Deputy Mayor of London for Environment.

The GLA brought in regulations in 2015 to begin the cleaning up of construction sites, but in the consultation the government is only talking about regulations which, from 2019, would only apply to new machines, without addressing the thousands of older, high polluting ones.

In addition, other local authorities do not appear to be being encouraged to bring in London-style regulations and, even if they did, any enforcement powers remain weak. Mr Pencharz stated that the government should be proposing to give strong enforcement powers to local authorities wishing to regulate construction equipment operating in their areas and work closely with organisations like the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) to solve this problem.

“The challenge to deliver clean air creates a huge opportunity for the UK’s high value manufacturing sector but it does need reasonable and pragmatic regulation to stimulate the deployment of technologies,” finished Mr Pencharz.

Source: HVP Magazine

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Brits need help with voice-controlled Smart Home devices

Over 50% of Brits would consider using voice-controlled connected devices in their home, but most would need professional help to install them, according to research by online electronics retailer, reichelt elektronik.

The research suggests that installers already fitting smart heating control technology could add a lucrative new revenue stream to their business by offering to fit other voice-controlled connected devices as well.

The enthusiasm for this type of technology in the home is apparent with the success of systems like Amazon Alexa, Google Home or Microsoft Cortana. While 50% percent of respondents said they would consider installing a voice-controlled solution, 6% already use the new technology in their home.

However, most of them (55%) don’t know how to install these types of products and would need professional help, providing installers with a potentially lucrative new revenue stream.

In the case of voice-controlled home automation solutions, the desire to operate heating and lighting either automatically or remotely is the first priority (74%), closely followed by camera surveillance/alarm systems (48%), and kitchen and household appliances (40%).

Across Europe, the trend is similar. reichelt’s research found that most German (70%) and French (63%) people surveyed felt the same as the British about the technology, however about half of Germans would do it themselves.

Of the 30% who wouldn’t consider using devices like Alexa, Siri or Google Home, this was due to concerns over data protection. This is especially striking in the age group of the 18- to 24-year-olds, among whom 65% of those who wouldn’t purchase these devices clearly state privacy concerns (65%).

reichelt commissioned One Poll to conduct the research of 1,000 adults across UK, Germany and France, during April 2017.

Source: HVP Magazine

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Solar panel installs fall 80%

Solar panel installations have fallen by 80%, following the massive cut in government subsidies at the beginning of 2016.

Homeowners have turned their back on solar energy, following the controversial decision to slash payments to households for their solar energy under the Feed-in Tariff from 12 pence per kWh last January to just 4.39 pence.

As a result, the number of people putting solar panels on their homes is now at a six-year low.

Between January and March, there were about 650 rooftop deployments a week – a fall of more than 75% on the long-term average of 2,700 a week since 2010.

Paul Barwell, chief executive of The Solar Trade Association, which produced the figures from government statistics, told the Independent: “At a time when we need more generation, the government is hindering market competition against the best interests of consumers by suppressing the tremendous potential of solar power in the UK.

“Solar is being needlessly impeded in the UK by shock taxes, red tape and by a serious failure in the only remaining supportive policy.

“We urge the government to act now to stabilise the industry.”

Of particular concern is a 65% drop in the number of large-scale solar schemes on hospitals, factories and other large buildings, which backers of solar power say may well have been caused by the business rate increase.

The figures equate to just one large factory roof having solar panels fitted every month in the whole of the country.

Paul admitted he did not want new rooftop subsidies, but added: “What we are asking for, and urgently, is fair tax treatment, fixes to a failing policy, less red tape and just a level playing field.

“It makes no sense to shut the most popular and cheapest clean power out of the energy market.”

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has defended the fall in solar panel installations among homes and businesses.

A spokesman said: “This government wants Britain to be one of the best places in the world to invest in clean, flexible energy. Solar power is a great success, with over 11 GW of capacity installed in the last five years ­– that’s enough to power more than 2.6 million homes with clean electricity.”

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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Wise up to smart controls

British controls manufacturer Drayton, part of Schneider Electric, is encouraging installers to wise up to the next generation of smart heating controls ahead of an exciting new product launch in the coming months.

Allowing installers to work smarter, not harder, Drayton’s newest offering is set to shake up the smart controls market for installers and consumers alike, allowing them to get wise to the benefits of the connected home.

Drayton’s MD Catherine Connolly comments: “We have something very exciting in the pipeline which we feel is not only an innovative proposition for installers but a wise investment for their customers.

“We’ll be revealing all over the next few months, so make sure you follow the @DraytonHeating channel on Twitter and sign up for our e-newsletter to be the first to know!”

Source: Electrical Times

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Blog - Uploader 2

April 2017 Newsletter

‘London’s biggest mechanical job goes ahead, there are new innovations in lighting control and security, punctuality is key for tradespeople and MP’s praise new gas safety technology’

 

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London’s biggest mechanical services job goes ahead in London Docklands

Canary Wharf Contractors has signed up M&E specialist SES to deliver shell and core mechanical services to the 27 floors of the One Bank Street office scheme in London Docklands.

The win represents a major milestone for SES’ London and South East operation since Wates took control of the former Shepherd M&E business.

Use of BIM and offsite manufacture was critical to the firm winning the job.

David Jenkins, SES Regional Director, London and South East, said: “This year is a hugely exciting time for our London and South East operation and the growth of our business is down to our teams’ exemplary work and innovative offsite approach.”

SES will be the lead co-ordinator for the main mechanical plant rooms including associated floors on the project and will provide converted consultant models to all other trade contractors, working closely with Canary Wharf Contractors to fulfil the BIM requirements on the project.

Within a tight programme, SES will utilise its engineering expertise and dedicated offsite manufacturing facility, Prism to design and deliver nearly 100 bespoke HEX units in addition to pumps skids and pre-fabricated pipework.

London's biggest mechanical services job goes ahead in London Docklands

London’s biggest mechanical services job goes ahead in London Docklands

Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2017/04/10/ses-bags-biggest-london-mechanical-services-job/

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The future of lighting control

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is presenting an event about the future of lighting controls.

Presented by Sophie Parry of the Zumtobel group,  the event will cover the evolution of lighting controls through to artificial light output being reduced to ‘blend’ both components to meet the lighting performance objective.

Lighting controls have been in existence for many years now, and can comprise anything from a manually operated one-way switch to an external sensor array that monitors the position of the sun; adjusting internal lighting to mimic its colour temperature and harness natural light levels.

Electric lighting control will, in the next few years, change profoundly as new technologies and concepts such as the Internet of Things, Li-Fi and PoE lighting appear.

So, as designers and specifiers must be aware of the current thinking for the specification and validation of lighting controls, contractors need to be ready to understand and assess the next generation of lighting control technologies that are just over the horizon.

This talk is designed to benchmark current thinking and best practice as a foundation and then to look at the future and what that might bring in the form of new lighting control technology.

About the speaker

Sophie Parry is a qualified electrical engineer and after initially working in general building services, specialised in low voltage/ digital control systems, smoke/fire detection and emergency lighting for many years before re-visiting lighting in 2010, just as the LED lighting revolution started to gain momentum.

She is a member of the Society of Light & Lighting and also a member of the SLL technical & publications committee. She is a published author on the subject of lighting control and speaks on lighting and lighting controls at regional, national and international events.

Sophie works for the Zumtobel group and develops specifications for lighting schemes that typically require an integrated approach to lighting solutions, including luminaires, controls and interfacing to other services.

Programme details:

Date: Wednesday, 7th June 2017

Time: 19:15 Arrival and registration 19:30

Start location: The Adelaide pub, Park Road, Teddington, TW11 0AU

Registration information

Please visit this link to register online and reserve a free place.

The future of lighting control

The future of lighting control

Source: http://www.electricaltimes.co.uk/news/story/the-future-of-lighting-controls

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Punctuality is most influential when hiring tradespeople

Punctuality is the single most desirable quality that homeowners look for in a tradesperson, according to new research by Plentific.com

The home services marketplace’s latest survey also revealed that 81% feel they are more likely to hire a tradesperson who can talk them through the process of their project.

Communication as well as organisation appear to dominate the list of most desirable qualities, which shows how much homeowners value professionalism when hiring the trades. According to the results, 78% are more likely to hire a tradesperson if they send through a professional quote, while 69% are more likely to choose a tradesperson if they create a solid schedule.

Appearances ranked nearer the bottom of the list, with a ‘modern, clean and professional looking van’ only influencing 47% of homeowners, and a branded uniform influencing just 22%. Sitting at the bottom of the table, a tradesperson’s age has the lowest impact on the homeowner’s likelihood of hiring, regardless of whether they are older (19%) or younger (7%).

Looking at the results by location, a tradesman’s punctuality has the highest influence in Sheffield and Edinburgh, with 91% of local respondents admitting they were more likely to hire someone with this quality.

London displays similar preferences to the national average. Punctuality, talking through the process of a job and responding promptly in communication all share the top spot, with 83% of respondents calling them the most desirable qualities for an installer to have.

Spokesperson for Plentific, Stephen Jury, said: “While all of these qualities can help a tradesman get hired, it is clear from our findings that appearances make less of an impact on a homeowner’s decisions. Organisation is key: arriving on time, being prompt in communication and generally having a polite and positive manner will make potential clients more likely to hire a tradesperson.

“To improve the odds of hiring, tradespeople should focus more on their schedule, process and attitude before spending their well-earned money on appearances!”

Punctuality is most influential when hiring tradespeople

Punctuality is most influential when hiring tradespeople

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4748/Punctuality_is__most_influential__when_hiring_tradespeople.html

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Introducing the new connected video internal until for greater security and control

For end users seeking a modern answer to greater security in their home, Legrand has expanded its Bticino Classe 300 range, with the addition of the Classe 300X connected video internal unit.

Using integrated Wi-Fi connectivity and a standard 2-wire installation, the connected video internal unit is easy to install and suitable for both new developments and the replacement of existing 2-wire devices. What’s more, the unit is easily connected and configured via the home’s Wi-Fi network, and is ideal for single properties or multi-dwelling apartment complexes.

Featuring a 7” touch screen display, the Classe 300X provides a modern solution for door entry, with the added benefit of connecting to wider functions and extra services, such as security cameras or lights. With the ability to transform every house to a connected home, the Bticino Classe 300X provides a gateway for the end user to stay in constant contact with their property, for added peace of mind.

Communication between a smart phone and the video internal unit is possible via an app. Free to download, the Door Entry app can be configured in just a few simple steps enabling control of the system from anywhere in the world. Currently available on Android and iOS smartphones, the app has been designed with the end user in mind, featuring simple and familiar controls as well as a help button if required.

Richard Hayward, lead marketing manager for Legrand’s wiring devices business unit, commented: “What truly sets the Bticino system apart is its ease of installation and ease of use. A simple connection to the Wi-Fi network and a straightforward 2-wire installation, make the system an accessible addition to the modern home. The Bticino Classe 300X acts as the ideal entry point for smart home functionality, thanks to its simple installation and the potential to add additional functionality and services.”

For further information about Legrand’s door entry and home automation solutions please visit www.legrand.co.uk

Introducing the new connected video internal until for greater security and control

Introducing the new connected video internal until for greater security and control

Source: http://www.electricaltimes.co.uk/news/story/introducing-the-new-connected-video-internal-unit-for-greater-security-and-control–home-and-away

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New homes can now be built in just five days

Construction giants H+H UK Ltd and SIG Offsite have launched a new house building system which sees homes built in just five days.

The SIG I-House combines all the speed of offsite construction with the familiarity of a traditional build – from foundations to roof in just five days.

The system can encompass the inner leaves of external cavity walls, floors, lintel, cavity closers, insulation and roof trusses.

With the inclusion of soffit and fascia, the system delivers the internal skin of a property, fully wrapped and ready for follow-on trades.

The system is a one stop shop for clients – with a single contractor required to deliver the whole house shell.

It is intended for the construction of domestic houses of up to two storey height, replacing the structure of the inner leaf of external cavity walls, separating walls and internal partitions with storey height Celcon Elements.

Installed by the SIG Offsite team, Celcon Elements are craned into place and fixed using H+H element mortar.

Timber I-Joist cassette floors are used in conjunction with the system to maintain the speed of build and roofs are either standard truss construction or the ‘Roofspace I-Roof’ – panelised roof system.

All components are raised into position by crane.

New homes can now be built in just five days

New homes can now be built in just five days

Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2017/04/06/new-homes-can-now-be-built-in-just-five-days/

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Survey says homeowners want outdoor lighting to make homes more attractive to buyers

Rather than wanting to blend in, homeowners want impact from outdoor lighting to increase the curb-appeal of their home, a European-wide study from Philips Lighting has revealed.

Outdoor lighting is a key consideration when buying a home for nearly half of Europeans (45%) – beating the type of windows, roof or paintwork of a house, as a consideration.

While one third of all Europeans agree that outdoor lighting has a significant impact on the appeal of a home.
Setting the right scene
The study of more than 7,000 adults across five European countries – Germany, UK, France, the Netherlands and Spain – also emphasised the importance of lighting up outdoor spaces to create the right mood, inside and outside the home.

Two thirds (65%) of those surveyed agree that outdoor lighting in the garden adds to the overall atmosphere of a home.

The Spanish place the most value on outdoor lighting for setting the perfect scene, with over 80% agreeing outdoor lighting adds to a home’s ambiance.

While in the North of Europe, many believe the opposite, with nearly half (43%) of Britons disagreeing that outdoor lighting adds to creating the right mood.

“Outdoor lighting can often be overlooked but it is key to showing off your home the way it was meant to be seen at nighttime, and can be used to highlight the most attractive aspects, whether you’re viewing from inside the home, or out.

Purchasing outdoor lights which use LED modules or LED lightbulbs, such as Philips LED outdoor lighting, is also a great value-add for the property owner, with the short-term investment paying dividends in the long-run,” commented Bianca Heiszwolf, leader of Philips Lighting Home Luminaires.
From scenes to safety
Outdoor lighting around a home is also proven to create a sense of security. The research found that 73% of Europeans feel a home is safer to approach with lighting in the front garden.

The older generation places the most emphasis on outdoor lighting for a sense of safety, versus the younger generations – 77% of those older than 55 years old agree outdoor lighting makes you feel safer, versus only 69% of those under 35 years old.
Increasing the value of a home
All surveyed countries agreed a home’s fabled ‘curb-appeal’ improves greatly with outdoor lighting; around half of respondents are more likely to purchase a home that has outdoor lighting either at the front of the house (51%) or in the garden (48%).

It is also a stronger consideration for younger generations – with over half (53%) of 18-35 years olds stating outdoor lighting would make them more likely to buy a home, versus only 46% of those older than 45 years old.

When it comes to purchase power, the Spanish again responded more favorably than other Europeans, with around three-quarters of adults saying they are more likely to buy a home with outdoor lighting featured in the front (77%) or in the garden (74%).

Conversely, the UK sits at the other end of the scale, with less than two in five (36%) respondents saying they’re more likely to purchase a home with outdoor lighting.

Housing expert, Sam Mitchell of Rightmove, the UK’s largest property portal, commented: “First impressions are everything on viewings, which is why outdoor lighting could be worth considering, as it can be used to help change the look of the exterior of a home, especially if you are conducting viewings in the evening. There are also many other factors to think about when preparing your home to sell it; such as decluttering, spending a bit of money giving the place a lick of paint, or considering larger works like refurbishing the kitchen or extending the property.”
LED lighting perfect for any outdoor space
For those looking to improve their ‘curb-appeal’, Philips LED outdoor lights come in a variety of shapes, sizes and look and feel.

The Philips Hoverfly outdoor wall light is perfect for those who are looking for industrial chic. While the Philips AfterGlow LED outdoor wall light is a great way to emphasize a feature wall or plant. Alternatively for bold, stand-out lights, the Philips Shadow LED outdoor wall light is the perfect choice.

All these lights are available now.

Survey says homeowners want outdoor lighting to make homes more attractive to buyers

Survey says homeowners want outdoor lighting to make homes more attractive to buyers

Source: http://www.electricaltimes.co.uk/news/story/new-research-reveals-outdoor-lighting-makes-homes-more-attractive-to-buyers

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It’s time to think ‘Installers First’

Over the past few weeks, the industry has experienced a certain unity among installers, with plumbers and engineers from all over uniting over social media to make their voices heard.

Now, a new division, ‘Installers First,’ has been launched for Gas Safe engineers. Led by HHIC director, Stewart Clements, the aim is provide engineers with a voice. It’s free to register and independently operated. It also has some Gas Safe installers on board supporting it, and works alongside Installers Unite, with a shared goal of improving the industry for the better.

Stewart said: “We need to communicate with each other, with the government, with manufacturers, and anyone else who has an influence on our livelihood. How can we do this? Well, the reality is that we must remain aware of and be prepared to respond to, a variety of changes from external factors. Government policy, European legislation, building regulations, gas safety, the list goes on.

“It has never been more important for everyone in the industry to get involved and provide a constructive contribution, and by that, I don’t mean twitter. A well-crafted, well timed tweet may get you admiration from your peers for 20 seconds if you’re lucky, but in terms of helping to affect actual change that impacts your business, it’s about as useful as waterproof tea bags.

“Coming together like we have in recent months is just the beginning. If we are to be properly heard we need links and influences. The good news is that ‘Installers First’ can provide those links and influences, it costs nothing to be a part of it and the benefits are immeasurable.”

What is Installers First?

‘Installers First’ is a community of Professional Accredited Heating Installers. The voice of installers, for installers, by installers.

Stewart continued: “It’s very early days for us, but the response we have received so far shows how passionate the industry is about being heard and making improvements. As with any industry, opinion will differ. Our job is to manage that and bring the industry together with a common goal that everyone can support. Common sense is key.”

It provides installers with information and an opportunity to help shape the industry, government regulation and policy, making sure common sense and the voice of the industry is applied and listened to.

‘Installers First’ was created to provide a platform for Installers to have their say and a single point of information on the latest industry developments. This includes government consultations for proposed legislation, regulation and schemes like Energy Company Obligation and Green Deal.

‘Installers First’ has gathered industry feedback over the past few months and identified three key ambitions:

• Training and skills
• Bureaucracy
• Safety and standards

‘Installers First’ will be on stand P320 at Installer 2017 to present its official launch.

Visit: www.installersfirst.co.uk for more information.

It's time to think 'Installers First'

It’s time to think ‘Installers First’

Source: http://www.hpmmag.com/news/time-think-installers-first

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MP’s praise new gas safety technology from Gas Tag

Gas Tag’s efforts to use technology to improve gas safety in homes across the UK have been recognised in parliament, as new research reveals the safety of millions of Britons is still at risk.

George Howarth MP has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) praising Gas Tag and calling on landlords and social housing providers to support the “life-saving initiative”.

The company’s technology allows engineers to sign-in by touching their mobile against a special tag when they visit a registered property, providing the landlord with geo-tagged, time-stamped and photo-verified evidence of all work carried out.

It’s the first real-time system to monitor gas safety in homes and means landlords can access real-time KPI-driven monitoring to ensure their tenants are safe.

The EDM “commends Gas Tag for its work to improve the safety and wellbeing of tenants” and calls on private and public sector organisations involved in procuring safety systems to “use their best endeavours to ensure they are sourced from UK businesses such as Gas Tag”. The EDM can be read in full here.

The support from Mr Howard comes as new research by the Gas Safe Register has revealed that almost five million people across the UK are putting themselves at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions by employing illegal gas engineers who aren’t properly qualified.

The technology has also drawn praise from the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group Barry Sheerman MP, who said: “This is the most significant quantum leap in domestic gas safety compliance in 20 years. It is refreshing to see a start-up begin with a clean slate and use the latest technologies to deliver a product that could help protect hundreds of thousands of families across the UK and ensure competent Gas Safe-registered engineers undertake the work in customers’ homes.”

Paul Durose, co-founder and CEO of Gas Tag, said: “We set out in 2014 with a single-minded goal to save people from the dangers of rogue gas fitters and revolutionise the industry. This latest research reveals just how important gas safety is.

“We are pleased that our work has been recognised by George Howarth and a number of cross-party MPs who appreciate our determination to improve gas safety in homes across the UK.”

MP's praise new gas safety technology from Gas Tag

MP’s praise new gas safety technology from Gas Tag

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4739/MPs_praise_new_gas_safety_technology_from_Gas_Tag.html

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Select to launch new SQA course in electrical safety

Select, the campaigning trade body for the electrotechnical industry in Scotland, is to introduce a major new customised course in electrical safety which will relate to the most current aspects of safety awareness in the sector.

The new Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) course is in development at the moment and is likely to be launched as a pilot in the third quarter of this year before full introduction. With safety a key concern in the industry, it will be aimed primarily at contractors, as well as managers and personnel within these firms who have a responsibility for ensuring safe operations. To be called the Select SQA Customised Award in Electrical Safety, the course will run over two and a half days and will initially be held at Select’s HQ at the Walled Garden outside Edinburgh, though thereafter it will be rolled out across Scotland.

Dave Forrester, head of technical services at Select who runs the organisation’s training department, said: “Those involved in safety management want to stay in front of regulation and technical developments.” “This new course will be part of our ongoing development programme for courses which is aimed at continually improving our training offering by looking at demand and responding proactively to what is new in the industry.” Forrester said that obtaining SQA accreditation was a rigorous process involving strict audits of all the course material, all assessments and all methods of assessment.

Before implementation, the course will also have to achieve a credit rating from the Scottish Credits and Qualifications Framework, the national body which both audits and benchmarks new courses. It is hoped the accreditation processes can be run concurrently. The first day of the course will concentrate on Construction, Design and Management Regulations and Risk Assessment; day two will deal with Safe Isolation of electrical systems; with day three covering the laws relating to environment and waste management. Forrester said: “As well as using some of our existing material, we have employed expert consultants to create entirely new course work.

The inspiration for the course has been the work of former HSE principal electrical inspector John Madden, who wrote Electrical Safety and the Law, the industry bible on electrical safety. “The SQA course in electrical safety is the latest initiative from SELECT. The organisation’s courses have gained a strong reputation within the construction sector in Scotland, because they are relevant, practical and based on the experience of some of the foremost experts in the field.”

Select to launch new SQA course in electrical safety

Select to launch new SQA course in electrical safety

Source: http://www.electricalreview.co.uk/news/11328-select-to-launch-new-sqa-course-in-electrical-safety

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Developer submits plans for a £300m mixed-use tower block scheme in Manchester

Developer Ask Real Estate has submitted plans for a £300m mixed-use tower block scheme in Manchester.

The 750,000 sq ft city centre scheme will include a 40-storey residential building and 14-storey office block on a 1.74 acre site near to the Beetham Tower.

The residential tower will be built on a podium on top of the Manchester Central goods yard, which needs to stay operational during construction.

Plans include significant improvements for pedestrians along Great Bridgewater Street by removing sections of an existing bridge to allow natural light down to street level.

ohn Hughes, Ask managing director, said: “Our scheme will be a visionary development, something which only a few years ago, would have been almost impossible to imagine happening outside of London.
“The huge levels of investment we have seen into Manchester’s infrastructure coupled with efforts by the Universities to attract and retain talent has seen an upturn in graduate retention and consequently an influx of businesses looking to establish themselves in the city centre.
“In turn this has driven demand for new hotels, retail and leisure outlets – the development of which has boosted the city’s economy.

“These factors mean it is now time for us to unlock previously hidden opportunities and the Bauer Millett showrooms is a strong example of this concept.”

Developer submits plans for a £300m mixed-use tower block scheme in Manchester

Developer submits plans for a £300m mixed-use tower block scheme in Manchester

Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2017/04/12/carillion-property-arm-submits-300m-manchester-tower-plans/

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Blog - Uploader 2

March 2017 Newsletter

‘A massive project goes into planning in Manchester, Engineering Services sector ends 2016 on a high, Schneider Electric opens their Customer Experience Centre and a new skills partnership is established’

 

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Plans in for Manchester £1.3bn vertical village towers

Developer Allied London has submitted final detailed plans for a cluster of five towers in Manchester’s St John district.

The ‘vertical village’ designed by architect Child Graddon Lewis will be known as Trinity Islands and attempts to offer residents all the services they need within the one scheme.

Planned are two towers of 26 storeys, one of 37, another of 41 and what will be the tallest in Manchester at 67 storeys.

Manchester’s race for the sky is now confirming it as Britain’s second city for towers. The next tallest building will be a 64-floor block of flats in a group of four at Owen Street, now under construction, by developer Renaker.

Original plans to link the St John’s towers with bridges have been dropped in the final planning submission for 1,400 homes that will be offered as either to buy or rent within the mixed-use development next to the Irwell.

Allied London, which is already pressing ahead with its more centrally located St John’s Place high-rise scheme, said it aims to start work subject to planning before the end of the year.

James Sidlow, Project Director at Allied London, said: “Trinity Islands will appeal to a wide variety of people with its excellent onsite amenity and community-lead retail offering, as well as its sky gardens and lounges that allow residents to relax and unwind.

“One of the tallest residential schemes in Western Europe, residents will enjoy some of Manchester’s most scenic views”.

The Trinity Island towers will offer residents farmers’ markets, shops and educational facilities forming the core of a city-centre village.

Its town square within the cluster will offer cafe and bar life, event space as well as a new boat club.

Allied London’s Chief Executive, Michael Ingall, said “Trinity Islands is without doubt one of our most ambitious developments so far.

“This area, at  the dissection of two cities, is an incredibly important one and is developing rapidly. Our  success in transforming Leeds Docks, the Brunswick Centre Bloomsbury and creating the Chafford Hundred Village in Thurrock represents a relevant track record, one that we will require to build a real community on the edge of two cities.”

 

Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2017/03/14/plans-in-for-manchester-1-3bn-vertical-village-towers/

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Engineering Services sector ends 2016 on a high

Over three in four (78 per cent) engineering services firms say turnover increased or remained steady during the final quarter of 2016, according to findings within the sector-wide ‘Building Engineering Business Survey’, sponsored by Scolmore.

Over the same period, almost four in 10 survey respondents (39 per cent) said that labour costs had increased.

Furthermore, almost six in 10 businesses (57 per cent) said that they were not being paid within 30 days for public sector work, in breach of legislation.

ECA CEO Steve Bratt and BESA chief executive Paul McLaughlin commented: “These new survey findings show that the engineering services sector is powering forward, despite challenges from rising material and labour costs. Our sector is extremely resilient and technological advances are continually opening up new business opportunities.”

SELECT managing director Newell McGuiness added: “This is the first time that SELECT members have participated in the business survey and we are encouraged at the confidence in future workload opportunities. However, this is tempered a little by the increase in material costs, which are beginning to be felt and the on-going issue of extended payment periods, particularly in the private commercial sector”.

Businesses of all sizes had a strong final quarter, with over three-quarters of micro, small, medium and large businesses all seeing turnover rise or remain constant.

Very large businesses (turnover over £20m) had the strongest quarter, with over half (54 per cent) seeing turnover increase.

Looking ahead to the first quarter of 2017, the business outlook is very positive, with almost nine in 10 businesses (86 per cent) expecting their turnover to increase or stay the same.

The engineering services sector covers a broad range of work including electrical, mechanical, renewables, heating and ventilating, datacomms, and fire and security systems.

The survey is now being run in partnership by the ECA, the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), and Scottish electrical trade body SELECT.

It had 529 responses from across the building engineering services sector in January. However, over six in 10 (61 per cent) engineering services firms say their material costs increased during the final quarter of 2016.

Engineering Services sector ends 2016 on a high

Engineering Services sector ends 2016 on a high

Source: http://www.electricaltimes.co.uk/news/story/engineering-services-sector-ends-2016-on-a-high

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Installers encourage interest in smart home products, says survey

As the heating industry gears up for a ‘smart home’ revolution in years to come, new research suggests there is a significant level of interest in ‘connected’ products among UK homeowners.

In a survey carried out by Worcester, Bosch Group, one in four owners of its Wave control stated they were already planning the next purchase of internet-enabled products for their homes. What’s more, over 70% cited the ability to remotely operate their heating system as the main reason for their investment.

The news should come as no surprise to heating engineers, who have no doubt seen an increase in enthusiasm for remotely-controlled devices in recent years. However, the study revealed further areas of interest, suggesting that a Smart Home revolution really could be underway: smart lightbulbs appealed to around 60% of respondents; internet-connected security systems were of interest to 50%; and 30% homeowners would even consider an oven that could be controlled from a mobile phone or tablet.

The research also highlighted the important role installers play in recommending smart heating controls. In light of the vast range of accessories available on the market, well over half of respondents had first heard about their device from a heating engineer – suggesting that despite a glut of online information, homeowners remain keen to source the opinion of respected tradesmen.

“There has been a huge increase in the coverage of topics such as smart homes and the Internet of Things within the media, and clearly this is filtering through to homeowners when it comes to the choices they make for their heating systems,” said Martyn Bridges Worcester’s director of technical communication and product management.

“With so many products on offer, though, it is key that homeowners recognise the devices that are not just internet-connected, but which use this capacity to make our homes more comfortable and efficient. What is most encouraging is that installers remain a vital support in the decision-making process, meaning they can continue to help homeowners make the right choices when called upon.”

Installers encourage interest in smart home products, says survey

Installers encourage interest in smart home products, says survey

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4654/Installers_encourage_interest_in_smart_home_products,_says_survey.html

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Let’s all work to end workplace suicide, BESA urges

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has urged employers to face up to the growing risk of suicide in construction related professions.

It cited a new report from the mental health charity Samaritans highlighting the vulnerability of people with unstable employment, low income or in areas of socio-economic deprivation.

BESA also drew attention to the Mates in Mind initiative, launched last month by the Health in Construction Leadership Group with the support of the British Safety Council, which pointed out that the number of deaths from suicide in construction related professions are up to 10 times higher than those from physical accidents.

One in six people experience a mental health issue in the workplace and 91 million working days are lost each year to stress and depression at a cost of £26bn to employers, according to the Centre for Mental Health.

The Samaritans report: Dying from Inequality, highlights suicide risks linked to the closure and downsizing of businesses and the vulnerability of people in manual, low-skilled employment as well as those facing unmanageable debt.

Awareness BESA has announced plans to raise awareness of the issue and to help its members put strategies in place for dealing with mental health problems among their workforces.

It launched a partnership with Samaritans following a joint mental health workshop in London last year; and has now agreed to step up an information campaign and develop training packages.

“Our industry has a problem with mental health and it is vital that employers and work colleagues create a culture where people feel it is OK to talk about depression and stress,” said BESA chief executive Paul McLaughlin.

“This predominately male and so-called ‘macho’ industry can make it hard for people to open up about their feelings, which means depression can spiral out of control. If we achieve nothing else, let’s at least aim to get a dialogue going and encourage engineers to be better listeners,” said Mr McLaughlin.

“Everyone can feel overwhelmed at times in their life,” added Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland.

“People at risk of suicide may have employers, or they may seek help at job centres, or go to their GP. They may come into contact with national and local government agencies, perhaps on a daily basis.

“So, in light of this report we are asking key people and organisations from across society to take action and make sure their service, their organisation, their community is doing all it can to promote mental health and prevent the tragedy of suicide.”

Anyone can contact Samaritans. Whatever you’re going through, call free any time from any phone on 116 123 (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch.

Let's all work to end workplace suicide, BESA urges

Let’s all work to end workplace suicide, BESA urges

Source: http://www.electricaltimes.co.uk/news/story/lets-all-work-to-end-workplace-suicide–besa-urges

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25 million homes need energy-efficiency refurbishments by 2050

More than “one home every minute” will need to be refurbished in the UK between now and 2050, according to a report by the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC), and it is likely that 25 million existing homes will still not meet the insulation standards required by this time.

The report, ‘Building Places That Work for Everyone’, says four out of five homes that will be occupied in 2050 have already been built. That means 25 million homes need refurbishing to the highest standards by 2050. The UK needs to cut carbon emissions by 80% by then and a third of those emissions come from heating draughty buildings.

Such home renovation would save on bills and improve people’s health, comfort and happiness and the UK-GBC says the “fiddly business of insulating roofs, walls and floors creates more jobs and has more benefits than any existing infrastructure priority”.

The report recommends:

  • Setting staged targets for refurbishing buildings.
  • Reintroducing the “zero-carbon” standard for buildings from 2020.
  • Recognising energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority.
  • Setting long-term trajectories for ratcheting up home energy standards.
  • Obliging commercial buildings to display the amount of energy they use.

BSRIA has welcomed the report, which is says discusses a crucial issue directly affecting home owners, home occupiers and the environment.

Tassos Kougionis, principal consultant – residential, at BSRIA’s Sustainable Construction Group, said: “It is true that the existing housing stock in the UK suffers from low energy efficiency, along with other inherited issued. This not only creates social implications, as in the case of fuel poverty, environmental issues and high carbon emissions, but also directly affects the health and well being of the people living in these properties.”

The wider economy – through additional construction claims, impact on investment, frequent required retrofit work, additional NHS costs and potential reduction in people’s productivity – is also affected, Mr Kougionis explained.

“Undertaking tasks to improve the energy efficiency of existing homes, such as increasing the levels of insulation or adding insulation where non-existent, is an important step forward and can provide the right opportunity for critical maintenance work to be scheduled alongside minimising disruption and optimising the retrofit process. This can also work the other way around,” he argued.

The UK-GBC announcement comes hot on the heels of government’s Housing White Paper, which sets out the government’s preferred approach in tackling the country’s housing crisis focusing mainly on the delivery of higher volumes of new homes.

“Nevertheless the new homes of today will be the retrofits of the future, so it is important to consider resilient new home designs and take into account the buildings’ expected lifecycle. Preventing new homes from facing similar issues in the future will require a good feedback loop being introduced as well as quality standards to be set,” Mr Kougionis continued.

“The Bonfield Review launched at the end of last year picked up on domestic energy efficient issues and called for a holistic approach towards achieving good energy efficiency standards. The report included 27 cross-cutting recommendations assisting in establishing a clearer way forward.

“There are still questions that remain unanswered, including how to best assess the energy efficiency of existing homes, who can cover the costs, what can be the role of local authorities to it and what are the levels of buy in from both potential investors and home owners.

“We have seen numerous incentives in the past with varying results. A proper evaluation of the impact of policies, new innovative solutions and financial support mechanisms will need to further explore solutions that work and adapt to the market needs accordingly.”

25 million homes need energy-efficiency refurbishments by 2050

25 million homes need energy-efficiency refurbishments by 2050

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4664/25_million_homes_need_energy-efficiency_refurbishments_by_2050.html

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Schneider Electric opens State-Of-The-Art Customer Experience Centre

Schneider Electric has announced the opening of its state-of-the-art Customer Experience Centre in Telford. The new facility provides a means of showcasing digitised and connected technology, systems and equipment and is open to everyone.

As part of the investment, the new site will become a key European facility for showcasing Schneider Electric’s partner offering, as well as providing a place for prospective customers to engage with some of the top engineering minds in the industry. The Customer Experience Centre will feature the latest range of products from Schneider Electric, including wiring devices, smart panel, Masterpact MTZ and spacial SFM.

Furthermore, due to its location, next to the Schneider Electric manufacturing warehouse, customers visiting the new site now have a real time view of their products being built on site. They are also able to log-on to the Schneider Electric website to check the build status of their product via webcam connectivity, as well as accessing information on when it will be delivered.

The centre comprises three core areas:

  • Innovation centre – An area to showcase products manufactured in the UK. Solutions are fully modularised to keep up to speed with product enhancements and market trends. Designs can be created that can be replicated at customer events and exhibitions around the country.
  • Training Centre – A space dedicated to training graduates, customers and to host meetings. The training facility and conference suite can be utilised by customers that wish to be trained on the equipment or hold internal meetings. All products are fully controllable from an iPad.
  • Customer reception area – An area to allow visitors to relax, unwind and socialise. Connectivity stations provide an opportunity for visitors to catch up on work.

The UK’s skills shortage is one of the biggest threats to continued economic growth, with one of the worst gaps in Europe, between the skills that companies need and those available. Schneider Electric aims to help address this problem and close a widening skills gap with the opening of its new centre.

Stewart Gregory, vice president, Partner Projects at Schneider Electric comments: “By educating visitors on energy management best practice, we are taking significant steps forward in helping to achieve the goal of making the industry more connected, safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable for today and for future generations.”

Source: http://electricalcontractingnews.co.uk/2017/03/schneider-customer-experience-centre/

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Skills partnership established to fulfill industry needs

The Plumbing and Heating Skills Partnership (PHSP) has been created to take over responsibility for the skills needs of the industry, in view of the imminent closure of SummitSkills.

Established by plumbing industry organisations APHC, BPEC and SNIPEF, this new Skills Partnership will have a UK focus and be led by employers from the plumbing and heating industry. It will ; and will take over responsibility for the skills needs of the industry as from 01 April 2017. The PHSP will work closely with other industry and government organisations that have a keen interest in skills to help meet the needs of our industry.

Andrew Beaumont, chairman of the APHC said: “We are very much looking forward to the plumbing and heating industry taking full responsibility for meeting the education and training needs of those who work in the industry.”

George Thomson, chairman of BPEC, reiterated this and added: “We see the new Skills Partnership as a unique opportunity for employers to be at the very heart of identifying and meeting the skills needs in a complex and rapidly changing world.”

Brian Warrender, president of SNIPEF, concluded: “We believe the PHSP represents an exciting new era for the plumbing and heating industry and we are very much looking forward to the challenges ahead.”

The APHC, BPEC and SNIPEF on behalf of the plumbing industry would like to thank the staff at SummitSkills for leading on the development of the building services engineering sectors standards, qualifications and apprenticeships over many years.

Skills partnership established to fulfill industry needs

Skills partnership established to fulfill industry needs

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4677/Skills_Partnership_established_to_fulfill_industry_needs.html

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Opportunity for big savings

Electrical contractors buying new test equipment now have a great opportunity to make big savings. For a limited time only Megger is offering a Safe Insulation Test Kit, which includes an MIT220 insulation tester and a TPT320 two-pole tester, for a very special price that is around 40% lower than the price of the two instruments purchased separately. As an added bonus, a protective hard carrying case, which will accommodate both instruments, is also included at no extra cost.

The instruments featured in the kit are compact, light and easily pocketable, which makes them ideal go-anywhere companions that can meet 90% of testing requirements in situations where a multifunction installation tester is not readily to hand.The MIT220 is one of the smallest insulation testers currently available, yet it is capable of testing at 250 V and 500 V, and of delivering 1 mA test current at the rated voltage, as required by EN 61557. Insulation resistance can be measured up to 1,000 MΩ. This versatile instrument also offers auto-start 200 mA continuity testing at 0.01 Ω resolution with a fast response audible sounder.The TPT320 two-pole testers included in the Safe Insulation Test Kit are ideal for simple tasks like measuring voltages and checking continuity. TPT320 testers are a standard for proving circuits are dead, as they make connections to the circuit under test with an integral probe and a permanently connected test lead.Both the MIT220 insulation tester and the TPT320 two-pole tester feature rugged construction to ensure long reliable working lives even in tough on-site conditions, together with a range of safety features to protect both the instrument and the user. The MIT320 for example, offers live circuit warning and automatic test inhibit if it detects a voltage greater than 25 V when connected to the circuit under test, and the TPT320 warns the user of dangerous test voltages even if its internal battery is exhausted.Megger
www.megger.com

Opportunity for big savings

Opportunity for big savings

Source: http://www.electricalreview.co.uk/product-news/11300-opportunity-for-big-savings

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Householders prefer to hire trades who employ apprentices

Consumers prefer to hire firms that train apprentices, according to new research from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) that coincides with National Apprenticeship Week.

This new research, based on responses from 2,000 home owners across the UK, reveals that:

  • Almost two thirds of homeowners would have a more favourable image of a building firm knowing they train apprentices
  • Half of homeowners would be more likely to actually hire a building firm knowing they train apprentices (all else being equal)
  • More than two in five would be more likely to recommend a building firm to a friend or family member based on the fact they train apprentices
  • Almost two-thirds of homeowners think that building firms should highlight the fact that they are training the next generation of tradespeople in their marketing material.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said: “This new research confirms what many of us already knew – apprentices are good for your business. The building industry is extremely competitive and these results suggest that training an apprentice will help a firm stand out from the crowd. Homeowners aren’t just concerned about the craftsmanship of their builder, they want to know they are hiring a firm with strong values. It therefore makes sense that a business that invests in young people is seen in a better light. If the burgeoning skills crisis in the construction industry wasn’t enough to motivate those firms not already training to start doing so, hopefully this evidence will do the trick. It’s helpful to know that apprenticeship training can not only provide rewarding career opportunities for young people, but it can also help a firm’s bottom line.”

Mr Berry concluded: “Next month will see the introduction of the government’s new Apprenticeship Levy on large firms, so this year could see a big shift in terms of who is directly involved in apprenticeship training. In construction, two-thirds of all apprentices are trained by SMEs and it is our hope that the new Levy will encourage the larger firms to also engage more readily in training the future workforce. What’s great about this research is that it demonstrates the positive image that a real focus on quality training can bring to a company from a commercial perspective – no doubt this applies across the business community and not just in the construction sector.”

Householders prefer to hire trades who employ apprentices

Householders prefer to hire trades who employ apprentices

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4676/Householders_prefer_to_hire_trades_who_employ_apprentices.html

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Go-ahead for London Albert Embankment twin towers

Lambeth Council has given the green light for a pair of 25-storey towers on London’s Albert Embankment.

Developer Ocubis aims to build the 166-home twin-tower scheme at 36-46 Albert Embankment at a former Texaco garage site in the heart of Vauxhall overlooking the River Thames.

Designed by architect Make, the scheme will test the appetite in the London market for prime residential in the Vauxhall area.

The design presents several engineering challenges with several sections of the stepped 85m tall buildings cantilevered to break up the profile.

Waterman is both M&E and structural consultant on the project.

Waterman’s Regional Director, Marcello Marinoni said that the complex building geometry presented structural engineering challenges that were solved by adopting reinforced-concrete framing, comprising core-and-outrigger stability systems, balanced cantilever floors and “walking walls” to dramatic effect.

The development for site owner Hotchkiss will use combined heat and power to provide over 70% of the heating requirements and have renewable energy provided by 35m2 of photovoltaic cells.

Go-ahead for London Albert Embankment twin towers

Go-ahead for London Albert Embankment twin towers

Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2017/03/13/go-ahead-for-london-albert-embankment-twin-towers/

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February 2017 Newsletter

‘February sees new energy reforms helping households stay warm, a new gas safety certification gets launched and the construction industry continues growth as project and employment levels hit record highs’

 

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Energy reforms will help more households stay warm

Households struggling to pay their energy bills will receive extra support to keep warm during the colder months, thanks to reforms to the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) published on 30 January.

The government scheme, which aims to reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty, will be extended from April 2017 to September 2018.

The reforms, which were consulted on last year, will usher in a simplified scheme, with energy companies required to provide struggling households with free energy efficiency measures to make their homes warmer and bring their bills down.

Minister for Energy & Industry, Jesse Norman said: “The government is committed to tackling fuel poverty, and a key part of that is to help people keep bills down by living in more energy efficient homes. These changes will move the UK a further step towards the goal of insulating a further 1 million homes by 2020.

As well as an increased focus on low income and vulnerable homes, eligibility will be extended to social housing tenants in EPC bands E, F and G, and local authorities will also be able to help match people with energy suppliers, he explained.

Suppliers will also be required to install a minimum 21,000 solid wall insulations per year, up from the consultation figure of 17,000.

“There will be continuing protection for the delivery of energy efficiency measures in rural areas, with a requirement that 15% of suppliers’ Carbon Emission Reduction Obligation be delivered in these areas,” Mr Norman added.

“ECO has proved a very effective delivery mechanism with over 2 million measures installed in around 1.6 million properties between 2013 and the end of November 2016.”

 

Energy reforms will help more households stay warm

Energy reforms will help more households stay warm

 

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4606/Energy_reforms_will_help_more_households_stay_warm.html

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Construction skills boosted with apprentice sponsorship scheme

Hudson Contract is celebrating having helped more than 80 apprentices begin a career in construction with its ground-breaking Apprentice Sponsorship Scheme. The professional workplace construction audit and contract solutions provider is dedicated to investing in the future of construction. Now, it is encouraging other firms to host similar schemes to help address the skills shortage in the industry.

Launched back in 2011, the Apprentice Sponsorship Scheme offers 12 months’ financial support to employers to help them take on an apprentice. As part of the scheme, Hudson Contract pays 50% of each apprentice’s wages for the first year of their training. It has helped more than 60 firms to date.The firm hosted a celebration for its apprentices last week. Attended by school and college career advisors and construction industry professionals, the event promoted the scheme and rewarded four young apprentices with special prizes on the night.The Rt Hon Sir Greg Knight, MP, presented the awards to the winners; Danielle Sharpe, plumbing apprentice (first place); Ben Dolan, electrical apprentice (second place), Regan Hewitt, carpentry and joinery apprentice, and Jordan Forsdyke, joinery apprentice (joint third place), received prizes kindly donated by West BS and Hudson Contract.Hudson Contract founder and chairman David Jackson said: “We are passionate about ensuring young people have every opportunity to begin a career in construction. We recognised several years ago that there is a real need to develop places for apprentices which is why we created our apprenticeship programme. The introduction this year of a new national apprenticeship levy and training service is very welcome, but it will not be enough on its own. We would really like to see other companies in the region offer a sponsorship scheme like ours, which has proven to be successful. The scheme is really simple – and it has to be, to ensure there’s plenty of take-up in an area where only a handful of construction firms have more than five employees.“I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who joined us at the event last week, and to congratulate all the apprentices who have participated in our scheme, especially those who won prizes on the night.”Speaking at the event, Alex Sheldon, head of construction at East Riding College said: “Initiatives such as the Hudson Contract Apprenticeship Scheme and the governmental Apprenticeship Levy coming in April, make it easier for employers to build their workforce from the ground up. Companies must also take up the mantle of responsibility themselves if they truly wish to contribute to industry productivity.”

Construction skills boosted with apprentice sponsorship scheme

Construction skills boosted with apprentice sponsorship scheme

 

Source: http://www.electricalreview.co.uk/news/11264-construction-skills-boosted-with-apprentice-sponsorship-scheme

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New gas safety certification scheme launched

Capita, the company behind the Gas Safe Register, has launched a new scheme that is said to set a new benchmark in best practice in the management for any company or organisation involved with gas related matters. The new gas safety certification scheme from Capita Gas Compliance Services (CGCS) is UKAS accredited and is claimed to give businesses a competitive edge, as well as saving on assessment costs and raising safety standards. In addition to helping to secure a competitive edge, UKAS accreditation of CGCS provides assurance for an organisation and employees against the risks of gas safety work.

Matthew Hickman, Managing Director at Capita Gas Compliance Services, comments: “The CGCS certification will give businesses that go ‘above and beyond’ for gas safety work the recognition they deserve among their customer base, potential new business opportunities and other organisations in the industry. We welcome businesses to get in touch to find out how they can achieve CGCS certification and look forward to working with them.”

 Assessments for businesses looking to achieve CGCS certification will cover a number of areas including: quality control and supervision policies, standard of gas work service warranties and an on-site gas work assessment of employees and contractors across the areas of the organisation’s scope of certification

Two organisations who have already achieved CGCS certification are Blackpool Coastal Housing and Optimum Technical Services. 

Martin Watson, Managing Director of Optimum Technical Services, says: “Achieving certification demonstrates our commitment to providing excellent customer service and provides our clients with further confidence that our work is to the highest quality standards and is in line with industry best practice. CGCS certification shows we are not only Gas Safe registered and meet Gas Safety regulations and British standards, but that we operate to the highest standards of quality in this area.”

Martin is pictured above (right of picture) receiving certification from Matthew Hickman.

The CGCS certification cost will vary depending on the size of the business and the scope of the gas work undertaken. The assessment process will take approximately six to eight weeks depending on the number of operating centres. To find out more about CGCS Accredited Certification, visit www.CapitaGasComplianceServices.co.uk/CGCS-Certification.

New gas safety certification scheme launched

New gas safety certification scheme launched

 

Source: http://www.phamnews.co.uk/new-gas-safety-certification-scheme-launched/

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Housing White Paper released

Bsria has welcomed the government White Paper on Housing setting out the government’s preferred strategy in tackling the country’s housing crisis. As described in the White Paper, 225,000 to 275,000 (or more) new homes per year will be needed to keep up with population growth and years of under-supply. That could translate into almost one million new homes built by 2020.

Among other issues, the White Paper discusses the role of the local authorities in delivering higher housing volumes, potential changes in the way planning permissions are granted, new and innovative accelerated construction processes, the need for supply chain improvements and also addresses quality and sustainability.For private developers, in line with the recently released industrial strategy, Government aims to boost productivity, innovation, sustainability and skills by encouraging modern methods of construction in house building.Government also expects builders and developers to take responsibility for investing in their research and skills base in order to create more sustainable career paths and genuinely bring forward thousands of new skilled roles.For housing associations and other not-for-profit organisations, Government has already announced funding worth a total of £7.1bn through an expanded and more flexible Affordable Homes Programme. More clarity over future rent levels is also expected soon. The current Parliament will strongly focus on the delivery of more affordable homes.For lenders, institutional investors and capital market participants, Government is offering a clear and stable long-term framework for investment, including properties for rent. In return, it will call upon lenders and investors to back developers and social landlords in building more homes.For utility companies and infrastructure providers, Government is exploring an improved approach to developer contributions to help pay for new infrastructure.

Housing White Paper released

Housing White Paper released

 

Source: http://www.electricalreview.co.uk/news/11271-housing-white-paper-released

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Inadequate gas training leads to unsafe practices research shows

Poor levels of training provided to some gas engineer students in the UK is potentially leading to unsafe practices, according to research commissioned by the Gas Industry Safety Group (GISG) and the Institution of Gas Engineers & Managers (IGEM).

The research was undertaken due to the increase in unsafe gas work from recently qualified engineers, with volumes up from 1% to 5% (Gas Safe Register).

Concerns were raised that some training appears to focus on passing assessments rather than really testing job competency. There was also a worry that some training establishments are willing to keep training failing students until they passed the assessments, regardless of how many attempts taken to gain the qualification and with little apparent regard for the students’ ability to fulfil the essential competency requirements.

In-depth interviews with newly qualified gas engineers included questions relating to course lengths, theory and practical components in course content, assessments, industry placements and mentoring opportunities.

The research revealed particular unease expressed by some interviewees that training had been too short, particularly for those with no prior experience.

“The GISG is shocked and disappointed by these research findings as they highlight a fundamental flaw in the gas industry, which ultimately could affect the safety of customers,” said Chris Bielby, chairman of the GISG.

“We are specifically concerned about the discrepancy in course durations, the certifications of very short courses, the imbalance between theory and practical course content, and differences in pass and fail criteria between some training colleges.”

“It is paramount that we as an industry work together to ensure high standards of gas engineer training and capability are upheld across the country. We call on the government and industry to undertake a review to establish minimum standards of training across all gas engineer training programmes.”

Ian McCluskey, head of technical services at IGEM agreed that the findings were disappointing and was alarmed by the apparent lack of consistency in the standards of training in the industry.

“As the professional body for the gas industry we are committed to ensuring that all training meets the necessary standards and that engineers are competent to carry out their role,” he said.

“This research highlights the need for the gas industry to now come together and ensure there is a robust system in place which will create a level playing field and put an end to these poor practices.”

 

Inadequate gas training leads to unsafe practices research shows

Inadequate gas training leads to unsafe practices research shows

 

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4612/Inadequate_gas_training_leads_to_unsafe_practices,_shows_research.html

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Construction Skills Report 2017 – Comment from Schneider Electric

In response to the latest Construction Industry Training Board report, which forecasts that Britain’s construction industry is on course to add 35,000 jobs a year for the next five years, Tanuja Randery, Zone president UK & Ireland, Schneider Electric has called for greater investment in skills for Britain to remain globally competitive and thrive in a modern economy.

“Britain is facing its biggest skills shortage for a generation. Skilled trades are one of the most sought after roles in the UK, yet employers are struggling to fill the vacancies because demand is outstripping supply.

“Nearly a quarter of all job vacancies last year were a consequence of the skills crisis, and at present, 43% of vacancies in skilled trades are a result of this skills shortage, with electricians making up 13% of these.

“The hole is widening as mature contractors check out of the industry, some because of recession led retirement and others due to career changes.

“As such, this is an exciting time to be part of the electrical industry, with rapidly increasing opportunities for skilled professionals. The government has set a target of building 1 million homes by 2020, resulting in increasing pressure on trade industries to fill the quota.

“However, energising a new house has become increasingly complex. Gone are the days of simply installing a phone line, running a handful of main cables, fixing a TV aerial and wiring up the doorbell. Now, there is an increased demand for smart technology such as home automation systems, power and data supply solutions, customisable consumer units and everything in between.

“In addition, regulations have moved on too, demanding the addition of smoke detectors, setting ‘special locations’ such as kitchens and bathrooms, and requiring you to alert building authorities before embarking on a project.

“The construction sector has historically developed and managed internet and infrastructure as two different domains. However, as IoT gains pace and the adoption of smart home technologies increases we’ll continue to see a surge in demand for multi-skilled electrical professionals with the skillset and know how to carry out successful IoT-ready installations.”

 

Construction Skills Report 2017 - Comment from Schneider Electric

Construction Skills Report 2017 – Comment from Schneider Electric

 

Source: http://www.electricaltimes.co.uk/news/story/citb-report—comment-from-schneider-electric

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BMA stands up against unsafe bathroom products

The Bathroom Manufacturers’ Association (BMA) is raising concerns over the habitual flouting of EU regulations by unscrupulous manufacturers and importers, recently highlighted in a report by the European Commission.

Harmonised European Standards dictate that the CE Mark which denotes ‘fitness for purpose’ must be fixed to the product, instruction literature, or packaging.

By implication, the safety of unmarked bathroom products that are making their way on to the market are called into question.
Members of the BMA embraced the regulations and complied with the new laws when they became legally binding in 2013. However some manufacturers and importers are known to contravene the regulations and consumers are the worse for it, says the association.

“This is outrageous and nothing short of a scandal,” said Yvonne Orgill, chief executive of the BMA.

“Consumers throughout the UK are being duped into purchasing goods which they genuinely believe to be up to standard and safe to use. But, in fact, because they don’t know where they were made and who made them, they could be spending hard-earned cash on substandard and illegal product. The new report confirms what we have been saying for years and action needs to be taken for the public good.”
The report, ‘Enforcement and Compliance’ was published at the end of January on the DG GROW website and shows the results of a survey of companies, SMEs, micro-enterprises and industry associations throughout Europe.

Most respondents agreed that there was a high level of non-compliance in industry and 80% of businesses confirmed that non-compliance has a negative impact on their sales and/or market share.
Furthermore, all respondents agreed that the market surveillance authorities (the likes of Trading Standards) lack both financial and human resources, and also the technical means, to clamp down on the fraudsters.
“The end consumer has the right to know that their bathroom products do comply with the regulations and installers need to know of this regulation to reinforce their commitment to professional practice,” added Ms Orgill.

“We will continue to be very vocal about the problem and highlight the issues with the relevant authorities.”

 

BMA stands up against unsafe bathroom products

BMA stands up against unsafe bathroom products

 

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4619/BMA_stands_up_against_unsafe_bathroom_products.html

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The best of industrial automation is yet to come

Need a pick-me-up? Here are some of the industrial technologies you can look forward to in 2017.

 

Connectivity

Regardless of whether you call it Industry 4.0, the Industrial Internet or the Internet of Things (IoT), the shift towards connected technologies is clear across most industry sectors. Ongoing developments are lowering the cost of smart technologies for industrial automation systems and making these new technologies available to the wider industry. Smart sensors, vision systems, data analytics software and cloud computing are the building blocks of the connected manufacturing facility and the smart supply chain.

 

Industrial wireless

Most industrial companies currently rely on wired systems, such as fibre optic to support their network infrastructure. Although wired networks facilitate high transmission speeds and large volumes of traffic, cables tend to degrade over time, resulting in poor transmission quality and high maintenance costs. Not to mention that when production facilities are spread over a large space, cables can become inconvenient very quickly.

Historically, there have been two factors that have limited the wide adoption of wireless in industrial environments: cost and security. The former looks like it will soon become extinct, as wireless sensors and IoT devices are becoming more affordable. Similarly, improvements in cyber security and an increasing awareness of best practice are making wireless a more viable option for industry.

 

Integration

The convergence of Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT) is clearer now than ever before. The benefits of tight integration between the factory floor and enterprise business systems result in improved manufacturing efficiency and flexibility, paving the way to the smart factory. Layers of compatible software suites are helping manufacturers collate and curate design, production and business data into clear reports that companies can use for asset management, process optimisation, supply chain system and customer service.

At SPS Drives 2016, more than ten leading automation suppliers came together to back OPC unified architecture (OPC UA), the most popular machine-to-machine (M2M) communication protocol for interoperability developed by OPC Foundation. ABB, Bosch Rexroth, Cisco, General Electric, Kuka – to name but a few – intend to support OPC UA in their future products.

This is a significant moment for the industry because it could signal the end of an era in which industrial automation systems relied on incompatible and non-interoperable standards to communicate between devices. In turn, this could mean that manufacturers never again find themselves locked into proprietary systems and can pick and choose the best technologies from different original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

 

Analytics

As huge volumes of data become available across manufacturing facilities, the shift towards condition monitoring and predictive analytics finally become possible. Cloud-based software tools are becoming more affordable and user-friendly, allowing manufacturers to achieve advanced process control and optimisation. Platforms such as Microsoft Azure mean that manufacturers can have a clear, real-time overview of their production facilities and use this insight to improve decision making and refine manufacturing processes.

From a maintenance perspective, this continuous monitoring of equipment and production allows manufacturers to dramatically minimise maintenance and repair costs. It also has the potential to eliminate an age-old industry bugbear – unplanned downtime.

 

Cobots

If you attended any industry events in 2016, you will be familiar with the thrill and trepidation around the latest generation of industrial robotics – collaborative robots. The lightweight, affordable cobots are making cages a thing of the past and can work alongside people on a production line. Their integrated vision systems and advanced software mean cobots display excellent situational awareness.

 

Perhaps the most exciting thing about the cobot saga is its familiarity. Just like the personal computer revolution was sparked by the lowering cost of technology and accessibility to a wider audience, so too are industrial cobots becoming more affordable and available, with some cobots currently priced at less than $40,000.

Another peculiarity of the robotics market is the rapid international growth. China is now the second largest market for robotics in the world. Sectors like automotive and electronics are still leading the way in terms of robotics sales, with metal, chemicals and food production quickly increasing their usage of the technology. Other high growth sectors are logistic systems, defence, construction and service robots used for cleaning or customer relations.

 

There is no doubt that the super trends above will all have an impact on the industry in the coming year. Whether manufacturers choose to implement any of the technologies or not, one thing is clear – companies can no longer ignore the truly momentous shift that smart technologies are causing in industry.

 

2017 is looking like a bright year for the industry. It might even be the year when we see the first smart factories and warehouses make a debut.

The best of industrial automation is yet to come

The best of industrial automation is yet to come

 


Construction outside London hits record levels

Construction levels in UK regional cities have hit record levels according to the Deloitte Real Estate Crane Survey.

The survey shows significant increases in activity in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Belfast.

The Birmingham Crane Survey identifies 1.4m sq ft of new office space under construction – a 50% increase on the previous year (969,000 sq ft).

The surge signals the highest level of activity since this crane report was first published in 2002.

Birmingham has also witnessed a 10-fold increase in residential schemes starting construction last year, totalling 2,331 units in the city centre.

Manchester’s city centre has a record 22 residential projects breaking ground on site last year.

This was eight more than the previous high of 14 in 2007 and is scheduled to deliver nearly 7,000 units to the market.

The Northern Powerhouse’s skyline continues to evolve with the addition of four residential towers over 25 storeys high, all now under construction.

This includes the UK’s tallest residential tower, marking a new era for the Manchester housing market.

Leeds saw 20 major construction schemes complete in 2016, including the highest level of office space (over 700,000 sq ft) delivered to market since 2007, and the city also recorded six new office starts in this survey.

Retail was dominant in Leeds as the delivery of new shopping areas doubled the average annual total of retail space with nearly 600,000 sq ft brought forward in 2016.

City centre residential construction remains modest in Leeds with only three new residential schemes starting last year.

The first Belfast Crane Survey recorded a healthy 19 schemes under construction and 11 schemes completing in 2016.

Across the cities, the hotel sector is benefiting from serious investment.

Manchester has recorded 1,040 rooms under construction which will be the largest delivery of hotel rooms in 10 years for the city.

Leeds saw more hotel construction starts than at any other time in the last decade, adding 385 rooms into the development pipeline.

Student accommodation is an increasingly active sector. Belfast has almost 2,500 bed-spaces across seven major projects being built in the city centre area. This is in addition to the 413 bed-spaces that completed in 2016.

Birmingham has over 1,000 student bed-spaces coming forward to support its growing student population.

Simon Bedford, local government development partner at Deloitte Real Estate, said: “The results of our four crane surveys reflect the growth and resurgence in the regions, breaking records set more than a decade ago.

“Sentiment towards city centre development is buoyant with residential rising to new levels, quite literally in Manchester, with the addition of towers that will alter the city skyline.

“The unparalleled scale and volume of development in the regions prompted us to monitor a further city.

“Belfast’s development pipeline is in good shape and we expect to see even more cranes there in 2017.

“All sectors are active and we conclude that our regional cities are delivering growth and investment at levels not witnessed for many years.”

 

Construction outside London hits record levels

Construction outside London hits record levels

 

Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2017/01/31/construction-outside-london-hits-record-levels/

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Construction employment levels set to top 2.6 million

The number of people employed in construction is set to top 2.6m this year as the industry continues on its upward trajectory.

The latest Construction Skills Network report from the CITB predicts growth of 1.7% over the next five years, with 179,000 jobs to be created.

But the positive figures are heavily dependent on three huge projects – Hinkley Point C and Wylfa Newydd nuclear power stations and High Speed 2 – starting main works on time.

Infrastructure is responsible for 45% of all growth from 2017-2021 with private house building the next best performing sector with average annual increases of 2.2%.

Skills shortages are set to intensify with a rise in vacancies for  carpenters (+3,850 per year), electricians and insulators (+2,250), process managers (+2,150) and a range of IT and other technical workers (+5,240).

Steve Radley, Director of Policy at the CITB said: “We expect construction to keep defying the economic headwinds, with almost half of its  growth coming from Hinkley, HS2 and Wylfa and other infrastructure projects.

“These huge projects give our industry a great chance to seize the initiative on skills and start investing in the next generation and upskilling the current one.

“So it’s vital that we don’t throw this opportunity away by allowing these projects to slip or get squeezed together and worsen the pressure on key skills.”

Sarah Beale, Chief Executive at CITB, said: “While we are forecasting slower growth for our industry than we were last year, employers will still be creating tens of thousands of new jobs.

“We will be working with employers to attract new talent into our industry and to train them for rewarding careers in the sector.

“While we have factored Brexit into this forecast, there remain many unknowns to life after leaving the EU.

“We will be working with our industry to understand what it means for our migrant workforce and what we must do to attract and grow more of our own.”

 

Construction employment levels set to top 2.6 million

Construction employment levels set to top 2.6 million

 

Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2017/02/08/construction-employment-levels-set-to-top-2-6-million/

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Blog - Uploader 2

January 2017 Newsletter

‘The New Year see’s some major new projects get approved, schools are invited to raise awareness and there’s praise as industry members help those in need’

 

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Funding secured for £100m London Stratford Tower

Specialist student accommodation builder Watkin Jones is set to start work on a 33-storey scheme at Stratford in East London.

Funding secured for £100m London Stratford Tower

Funding secured for £100m London Stratford Tower

The decision to go-ahead follows operator UPP and The University of London securing a £104.7m funding deal for the project.

Its Duncan House scheme on Stratford High Street will rise to over 100m and joins a cluster of tall buildings in the area.

It will provide over 190,000sq ft of new accommodation and will involve UPP operating 511 new study bedrooms and communal space for the length of the concession.

Demolition work is already underway on the site with construction due to start in March.

The scheme designed by Hodder + Partners also includes 44 flats for sale, which will be sold by Watkin Jones.

 

Funding secured for £100m London Stratford TowerFunding secured for £100m London Stratford Tower

Funding secured for £100m London Stratford Tower

Sean O’Shea, Group Chief Executive Officer of UPP said: “The University of London is a world-renowned institution and we are delighted to have reached financial close on this landmark transaction in East London.

“Located in the heart of Stratford, this exciting scheme will offer future generations of students’ competitively priced accommodation and facilities of the highest quality.”

Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2017/01/06/funding-secured-for-100m-london-stratford-tower/

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Praise for electrician’s generous deed

They say one good deed deserves another and that was certainly the case for Wigan based electrician Karl Mather.

He was recently asked by the local branch of Age Concern to attend the property of an elderly couple who had no heating. He quickly found the fault was an old storage heater which was more than 30 years old and needed replacing.

Sadly the couple, who were in their 80s, could not afford a new heater so Karl asked Age Concern to see if the elderly pair might be eligible for a grant.

In the meantime Karl took it upon himself to buy a portable heater for the couple so they would have some heat in the short-term.

He returned a few days later to check in on them and was told a grant could take months to come through, if at all.

Feeling he could just not walk away, Karl ordered a new storage heater and went back to fit and supply it a few days later.

“It was obvious talking to them that they had no money and the husband also suffered from dementia,” commented Karl.

“So, I just decided to write it off as an early Christmas present to myself and told the couple that Age Concern had received a grant to pay for the heater and my time.

“They were a lovely couple and I was happy enough with all the tea and cake they gave me for doing the job.”

Karl, who runs his own one-man business, KDM Electrical, thought nothing more of it until a few weeks later when a mysterious letter arrived at NICEIC headquarters about his good deed.

The letter was from another client of Karl’s who had heard about his generosity.

NICEIC decided to get in touch with Karl, thank him for his good deed and cover the costs of the goods, including the portable heater.

“I don’t think anyone could have just walked away from that job,” added Karl. “I never expected anything in return so was amazed when NICEIC got in touch. It all seems a bit surreal and was a real nice thing to hear just a few days before Christmas.”

Emma Clancy, CEO of NICEC added: “This is a great example of the things our registered contractors do for their customers every day.

“It was a really heart-warming story to hear. Karl’s actions demonstrated a genuine care for his customers and I am proud to have him as a NICEIC registrant.”

Praise for electrician's generous deed

Praise for electrician’s generous deed

Source: http://www.electricaltimes.co.uk/news/story/praise-for-electricians-generous-deed

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Schools invited to help raise awareness of CO

Gas network management companies across the UK have launched their annual school safety competition to raise awareness of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

The Gas Distribution Networks (GDN’s) National Grid Distribution, Northern Gas Networks, SGN and Wales & West Utilities are looking for entries from students in any form of media, such as eye-catching cartoons, videos, models, short stories or poems that are informative and accurate in warning of the dangers of CO poisoning.

Phil Burrows, chair of the GDN CO Best Practice Group said: “All the GDN’s are committed to raising awareness of CO and are pleased to launch the school safety competition for 2017 – a key activity in highlighting the dangers of CO poisoning in schools, homes and workplaces across Great Britain.

“Each year the GDN’s are further impressed by the level of understanding and creativity that goes into making the competition entries and are encouraged the CO safety message reaches not only the students, but to their friends and families in the community as well.”

The competition is open to students in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 (ages 5 to 11) across Great Britain. Winners from each area will be invited to a special award ceremony to be held at the Palace of Westminster in London, where the national winner will be announced. All winners will receive a prize for themselves and for their school.

All queries and entries are to be submitted to COschoolcompetition@energynetworks.org by Friday 5 May 2017.

For further information including key dates and competition Terms & Conditions visit the ENA website.

Schools invited to help raise awareness of CO

Schools invited to help raise awareness of CO

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4559/Schools_invited_to_help_raise_awareness_of_CO.html

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Assembly motion supports Electrical Safety

The London Assembly has made a unanimous motion for the government to introduce mandatory, five yearly electrical safety checks in the private rented sector (PRS).

Phil Buckle, chief executive of Electrical Safety First, comments, “Dangerous electrics in the PRS results in more deaths and injuries than those caused by gas and carbon monoxide poisoning, yet landlords have had to provide annual gas safety certificates since 1998 and the requirement for carbon monoxide alarms came into force last October. Regular electrical checks are required in Scotland and due to come into effect in Wales. Private renters in England should have the same level of protection.”

Electrical Safety First led the charge in ensuring regular electrical checks for PRS properties were included the recent Housing Acts passed by the Devolved Governments in Scotland and Wales. And the England-only Housing and Planning Act, which gained Royal Assent last May, included an amendment on electrical safety – which the charity sponsored. However, a range of secondary legislation will need to be passed before the Act comes into force (which is not expected until April 2017).

The charity has called for regular, electrical checks to be undertaken every five years – by a suitably qualified electrician, registered with one of the government’s Competent Person Schemes. To help ensure landlords understand their obligations, Electrical Safety First has produced a number of tools and guides and a visual inspection App, which can be downloaded to a mobile phone, to help provide an initial electrical safety review of any property.

Assembly motion supports Electrical Safety

Assembly motion supports Electrical Safety

Source: https://electricalcontractingnews.co.uk/2017/01/assembly-motion-supports-electrical-safety/

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UK construction manufacturing continues to grow

Sales in the UK construction products manufacturing market continued to climb for a fifteenth consecutive quarter in Q4 of 2016, according to figures published in the Construction Products Association’s (CPA) latest State of Trade Survey.

The construction products manufacturing industry has an annual turnover of £55bn, directly providing jobs for 288,000 people across 22,000 companies. Products range from heavyside materials such as steel, bricks, timber and concrete, to lightside products such as insulation, boilers, glass and lighting.

On an annual basis, 78% of heavyside firms reported that sales had increased in Q4, while on the lightside, 75% of firms reported that sales were higher than a year earlier, which was the highest balance since 2014 Q3.

However, as uncertainty intensifies and cost pressures from the fall in Sterling post-Referendum hit this year, the CPA believes the industry may struggle to experience similar growth. Among heavyside manufacturers, only six percent on balance anticipate a rise in sales over Q1 2017, with 29% on balance of lightside manufacturers anticipate a rise during the same period.

Rebecca Larkin, CPA senior economist, said: “Construction product manufacturers ended 2016 on a strong note, with half of manufacturers on both the heavyside and lightside reporting an increase in sales in Q4, marking not only a fifteenth consecutive quarter of growth, but also the highest balances for the year.

“Unsurprisingly, manufacturers’ expectations for 2017 appear to have been tempered by the uncertainty surrounding the economic and political outlook. Heavyside manufacturers appeared most exposed to the effects of Sterling’s depreciation during the second half of 2016. In Q4, two-thirds of firms reported an increase in costs, the highest in five years, and a further 89% anticipate an increase over the next year. Rising costs of imported raw materials continue to be a primary driver of cost inflation, but there is now an indication that currency weakness is filtering through to higher energy and fuel costs too.

“The impact of Brexit on the construction industry is, as yet, unclear, but it is unlikely this year will be as buoyant as last unless government is able to provide greater certainty and the industry is able to manage cost pressures.”

UK construction manufacturing continues to grow

UK construction manufacturing continues to grow

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4552/UK_construction_manufacturing_continues_to_grow.html

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BSRIA launches Blue Book 2017

BSRIA is delighted to announce the launch of The BSRIA Blue Book for 2017.

The Blue Book contains invaluable industry information. This includes: key contacts; conversation data; key performance indicators; market statistics; and legislation and financial information. Bsria’s services, training courses and current publications are also covered.Jayne Sunley, Bsria’s information and knowledge manager, said: “The Bsria Blue Book is worth its weight in gold and vital for industry nuggets of information: we urge you to get hold of a copy.Bsria’s annual databook for 2017 is small but concise and continues to provide you with hard-to-find facts about building services.It is loaded with essential facts, figures and contacts. Bsria’s networks and events are outlined, along with the contact details of key Bsria experts. And key industry contacts and a full Bsria member list. The useful financial and VAT information and tables of technical data would certainly help every business in the industry. Annual building running costs are also covered.There is also a section on Brexit!”

BSRIA launches Blue Book 2017

BSRIA launches Blue Book 2017

Source: http://www.electricalreview.co.uk/news/11231-bsria-launches-blue-book-2017

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Underfloor heating system donated for Royal Marine’s accessible new home

A Royal Marine who contracted a chronic illness while serving in Afghanistan is benefiting from the generosity of a number of building product manufacturers contributing to a purpose-built house for him and his family.

Corporal Phil Eaglesham contracted the relatively rare Q fever while serving in Afghanistan five years ago. The condition has left him unable to walk and is unfortunately proving to be degenerative, making his existing home near Taunton increasingly unsuitable.

The Royal Marines Charity appealed for help to construct a bespoke dwelling to meet his specific needs.

Exeter based renewables and underfloor heating specialist, OMNIE, has donated one of its Staples pipework systems for the construction of a fully wheelchair accessible home.

The 600 metres of underfloor heating pipe and made-to-measure manifold will work to keep the entire ground floor of the two-storey property at a carefully controlled temperature.

Sharky Ward, deputy chief executive officer of The Royal Marines Charity, extended his thanks to Persimmon Homes, who donated the land near Taunton, Haldons Chartered Surveyors, who are project managing the build, and Grainge Architects, who developed the plans, all free of charge.

“Omnie have played key role and very kindly donated the underfloor heating system, which will help provide a consistent temperature, which is critical to Corporal Eaglesham’s needs,” he added. “We are hugely grateful to everyone who has made this dream become a reality.”

The layout of the property has created a totally wheelchair friendly environment across both floors, linked by a lift.

As well as the integral garage, the downstairs contains a master bedroom suite with shower room, while the linked kitchen, dining and living rooms feature folding doors, which open out onto the rear garden.

These areas, together with a lobby and separate cloakroom, are heated by six pipe circuits connected back to the five-port manifold and controlled by programmable room thermostats. Designed to create room temperatures of 19, 21 and 22 centigrade, the pipe layouts were securely clipped down over thermal insulation before a wet screed was laid to provide good heat transference.

Corporal Eaglesham said: “This house gives us the chance to make a life and a future again. Even as my condition deteriorates we can still get on with our lives to the best of our ability, rather than fire-fighting every issue that comes with every little change in my condition. The independence which the house layout gives me is second to none.”

Underfloor heating system dontaed for Royal Marine's accessible new home

Underfloor heating system dontaed for Royal Marine’s accessible new home

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4555/Underfloor_heating_system_donated_for_Royal_Marine_92s_accessible_new_home.html

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ECA’s pick of the bunch

In the market for new test and measurement equipment? Steve Martin, Head of Specialist Groups at the ECA, offers some top tips to aid your selection process.

Vital to any electrical installation is testing, and contractors need to know that the equipment they’re using is reliable, safe and accurate. The industry therefore depends on having the correct procedures and equipment in place to verify the integrity of any installation.

While recent figures from the JIB and ECA show that electrical safety is now at its best since records began, there can never be any complacency. With this in mind, what are the key criteria for electrical contractors and installers when selecting test equipment?

Here are five important considerations when choosing your kit:

1. Usability
The ease (and speed) of testing when on-site remains paramount, particularly with many meters now gaining extended feature sets.

2. Toughness
Contractors should look to invest in a meter that will have a longer lifespan and can stand up to the knocks of daily use.

3. Reputation
The reality is that you get what you pay for. Using a manufacturer that provides full UK support (including technical, repair and calibration) provides assurances, while a full warranty with the product
offers extra guarantees.

4. Safety
Contractors should look for equipment which conforms or exceeds health and safety requirements, particularly given that pre-qualification requirements are becoming more comprehensive over time.

5. Whole life value
The running costs of the tester needs to be considered alongside the purchase price – its physical and electrical robustness are important factors.

“It’s also worth noting that the rise in new connected technologies, such as smart meters, electric vehicles and smart homes, means that contractors need to be aware of any additional regulatory requirements which may apply.”

Taking these steps will ensure that contractors use equipment which helps meet the requirements of building managers and clients, who are themselves becoming more aware of the need to utilise appropriate test equipment.

For instance, when it came to portable appliance testing, Carillion facilities management team running HM Winchester Prison realised the advantages of identifying all individual electrical appliances and other equipment using barcodes, allowing for the correct data to be stored automatically against each item as inspections are undertaken.

The FM services manager at Winchester Prison, Jeff Foster, notes that there is a ‘considerable time saving in being able to identify items, carry out tests, record results and make any notes as part of a fully streamlined process.’

It’s also worth noting that the rise in new connected technologies, such as smart meters, electric vehicles and smart homes, means that contractors need to be aware of any additional regulatory requirements which may apply.

As a result, installers will need test tools which have greater functionality and enable different tasks to be undertaken, particularly given that these technological advances increase expectations among clients for faster testing, and enhanced record keeping, among other requirements.

Here to stay
What remains clear is that contractors will always need testers. Given that the market is highly competitive and innovative products are now widely available, this leaves contractors in a strong situation. With manufacturers competing to deliver high quality products which provide clients with the solutions they need, contractors just need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each product.

By following the five key steps outlined in this article, contractors will be in an ideal position to make such judgements on the range of test equipment available to them.

ECA's pick of the bunch

ECA’s pick of the bunch

Source: http://professional-electrician.com/products/ecas-pick-bunch/

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BESA publishes district heating standard

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has been chosen to publish the UK’s first test standard for Heat Interface Units (HIUs).

This new standard is regarded as an important step towards improving the overall performance of British district heating schemes and has been adopted from a test regime developed by energy consultancy FairHeat.

HIUs are key components of heat networks, used to extract heat from the network to feed individual buildings and dwellings. How they perform is central to occupant satisfaction levels and the overall efficiency of the schemes in terms of return temperatures and network sizing. Up until now many heat networks have failed to achieve their intended efficiency targets.

The initial test regime was developed by FairHeat, in partnership with Martin Crane of Carbon Alternatives. It was adapted from a well-established Swedish methodology to suit typical UK operating conditions as part of a research project funded by the former Department of Energy and Climate Change.

This initial test regime has now been adopted as a technical standard by BESA and it will be used to compare manufacturers’ products and equipment types to help network designers evaluate the performance of individual HIUs against their design parameters. It will also be used to create a comprehensive database and improve the industry’s knowledge of HIU performance to better inform future network designs.

“District schemes are a key part of the government’s strategy for achieving low carbon heat targets,” said BESA’s technical director Tim Rook. “HIUs are the crucial interface between a network and its consumers – and, in many cases, they have proved to be an Achilles’ heel.

“This standard is, therefore, a major step forward for UK heat networks and it is a real accolade for BESA to be asked to publish and disseminate it on behalf of the industry.”

BESA publishes district heating standard

BESA publishes district heating standard

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4554/BESA_publishes_district_heating_standard_.html

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Green light for new Chelsea stadium

Planners at Hammersmith & Fulham council have given Chelsea the go-ahead to build a new 60,000-seater stadium at Stamford Bridge.

Plans for the new £500m ground will see the current stadium demolished.

A club statement said: “We are grateful that planning permission was granted for the redevelopment of our historic home.

“The committee decision does not mean that work can begin on site.

“This is just the latest step, although a significant one, that we have to take before we can commence work, including obtaining various other permissions.”

The new stadium has been designed by architects Herzog and de Meuron and construction work is expected to last three years.

Green light for new Chelsea stadium

Green light for new Chelsea stadium

Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2017/01/12/green-light-for-new-500m-chelsea-stadium/

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