June Newsletter 2019

June 2019 Newsletter

 

‘£40m growth for bathroom market in 2019, Plan to start £85m Eden Project North in 2020, £1bn Stratford East Bank scheme clears final planning, Visitor numbers soar at Subcon 2019, Water treatment should be considered at design stage.’

 

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£40m growth for bathroom market in 2019

A new bathroom market report from MTW Research indicates that bathroom sales will grow by around £40 million in 2019.

Based on data from 130 bathroom suppliers, the report identifies rising ‘pent up demand’ in the bathroom market, highlighting growing latent demand for several sectors. Bathroom retailers are reporting healthy levels of enquiries according to MTW, but consumers remain reticent to commit to purchase due to Brexit paralysis and economic uncertainties.

Discussing the 200 page report, MTW director Mark Waddy said: “Strong fundamentals for the bathroom market are bubbling under the surface. 400,000 first time buyers in 2019, rising disposable incomes, consumers delaying bathroom refits for 3 years now, growth in experiential bathroom retailing and some great product innovation across the bathroom market are just some trends waiting to boost bathroom sales as soon as Brexit uncertainties are resolved.”

Whilst the report identifies a dwindling number of bathroom suppliers able to unlock these opportunities in 2019, a number of products are outperforming overall bathroom market sales. MTW identify a growing polarisation of the bathroom market, with higher value products underpinning optimism for bathroom retailers targeting the growth markets identified in the report.

The report also discusses key bathroom design trends with the bathroom’s evolution as a ‘retreat’ giving way to more multi-faceted demands from multi-generational and disabled households, changing lifestyles and design trends. MTW highlight myriad design trends supporting growth for bathroom manufacturers and retailers, including urban, luxury, industrial and geometric design trends; changing siting trends in the sanitaryware market, zoning in the bathroom furniture market; rising sophistication of the bathroom lighting market; shifting DIY market and mix and match trends in the brassware market.

Somewhat surprisingly, MTW found that the ‘Brexit effect’ may be starting to have a modest, positive impact for UK-based bathroom manufacturers. Bathroom retailers are becoming increasingly concerned about Brexit’s threat to bathroom imports, with some evidence of a shift to UK produced goods by higher value independent retailers as a result. This trend is modest at present according to MTW but is offering opportunities for UK bathroom manufacturers to use their ‘made in Britain’ credentials to add value and quell fears of supply chain disruption due to Brexit.

As well as identifying products outperforming the bathroom market, including the bathroom lighting market and higher value bathroom furniture market, the report also reviews bathroom distribution channel shares. The research found that share growth is slowing for online bathroom retailers in 2019.  With MTW finding bathroom industry profitability slipping from 5% in 2017 to just 3% in 2019, average prices may have now troughed, with some online retailers repositioning to enhance margins. MTW point to wider evidence of shifting trends in internet retailing, with Amazon recently opening its first physical retail store.

 

£40m growth for bathroom market in 2019

£40m growth for bathroom market in 2019

 

Source: HPM Magazine

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Is your RCD protection up to standard?

The latest British Standard for RCD protection has been in force for over two years, and it really is time to give your customers all the benefits of the latest thinking on their safety.

That’s where the new Timeguard Valiance+ range of RCD-protected switched sockets and spurs comes in. As usual, this trusted supplier has gone the extra mile and, as well as upgrading features to meet the new British Standard BS7288:2016, it has undertaken a complete redesign and upgraded to the latest generation of componentry throughout.  So, both end-user safety and long-term reliability are improved.

The Valiance+ range of one-gang and two-gang RCD switched sockets in both active and passive versions is fully compliant with the new BS 7288:2016: Specification for residual current devices. This latest standard replaces BS 7288:1990.

The comprehensive range of RCD wiring accessories covers all you’ll need, including white plastic and rugged metal clad variants in both one-gang and two-gang, and a choice of three styles of RCD switched fuse spurs.

For further information, visit timeguard.com

 

Is your RCD protection up to standard?

Is your RCD protection up to standard?

 

Source: Electrical Contracting News 

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HSE inspections to target construction firm dust control practice

Firms across Great Britain are to be targeted in a new series of inspections focusing on dust control by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it has been announced today.

Over the next few weeks, HSE will be concentrating on industries such as construction where occupational lung diseases, including in some cases occupational cancers, are more common.

Inspectors will be visiting businesses across the country to see what measures have been put in place to protect workers’ lungs from the likes of asbestos, silica, wood, and flour dust. They will be looking for evidence of businesses and their workers knowing the risks, planning their work and using the right controls. Where necessary, HSE will use enforcement to make sure people are protected.

HSE’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor David Fishwick said: “Exposure to asbestos, silica, wood, flour and other dust can have life-changing consequences.

“Each year work-related lung diseases linked to past exposures are estimated to kill 12,000 workers across Great Britain. In many cases these diseases take a long time to develop after exposure, so the damage done may not be immediately obvious. Others, such as occupational asthma and acute silicosis, can occur more quickly.

“These conditions can and do have a significant impact on both the individuals affected and those closest to them, so it is imperative that workers take the necessary precautions to protect their lungs.”

Sarah Jardine, HSE’s Chief Inspector of Construction said:“We are carrying out this series of inspections to ensure businesses are fulfilling their legal duties to protect workers from harm. This includes controlling the levels of dust in workplaces.

“We want to ensure employers and their workers are aware of the risks associated with any task that produces dust. Such work needs to be properly planned and use the right controls, such as water suppression, extraction and masks.

“The bottom line is we want everyone, workers and their employers, to be protected from harm and ill health so they can go home healthy to their families.”

 

HSE inspections to target construction firm dust control practice 

HSE inspections to target construction firm dust control practice

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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Primary Engineer programme encourages young innovators

Midlands primary school pupils have been challenged with designing and building vehicles, with support from engineers at Schneider Electric.

Primary school pupils from ten schools across the Coventry and Warwick area will take part in a celebration event and competition on 11 June, hosted by Schneider Electric and Primary Engineer, to showcase the results of their hands-on experience of designing, building and styling their own electric vehicle.

The competition will task young innovators with testing their electric vehicles on ramps to test power and durability. The morning session offers an opportunity for pupils to demonstrate what they have learnt and how they built their vehicles.

With funding from Schneider Electric, teachers from the local schools attended a training session at the Coventry offices and were paired with Schneider Electric engineers in order to learn to deliver the school- based STEM activities. Each school was provided with comprehensive lesson plans and resources to construct eight vehicles per school. The Schneider Electric engineers visited the schools throughout the programme to provide pupils with support and to promote careers in engineering.

Part of the Primary Engineer programme is designed to break down stereotypes associated with the world of engineering. The competition offers the chance for school pupils to gain skills and competences and introduce a practical element into the curriculum for pupils at an early age.

The winning teams will be chosen based on the vehicle’s performance in the testing stage, its build quality, its design and control as well as awards for best design and best communicators. The winning teams will be awarded certificates and medals, with a comprehensive on-going support package from Schneider Electric.

Phil Moulden, support director of industrial automation at Schneider Electric said, “The UK faces a huge engineering skills shortage – and we need to do something about it. At Schneider Electric, we are passionate about helping to transition our young people from education to employment. This is why it’s vital that we provide the right training and offer exposure to the world of engineering from a young age. Only then can we ignite a passion for a potential future career in the industry. We chose to partner with Primary Engineer in the hope of supporting schools in STEM training and in widening the potential talent pool of the future.”

According to Chris Rochester, UK director, Primary Engineer, “Working with companies like Schneider Electric is a vital part of what we do. We are thrilled that Schneider Electric has been able to support us in impacting the lives of young people in the Coventry and Warwick area. Ultimately, we aim to inspire pupils and teachers alike through their professional development and through our competitions to spark a passion for a skilled and understaffed industry. We’re excited to judge the electric vehicles that these students have worked so hard on with the support of their teachers. Good luck to all participants.”

 

Primary Engineer programme encourages young innovators

Primary Engineer programme encourages young innovators

 

Source: Electrical Review

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Plan to start £85m Eden Project North in 2020

Details have been revealed of ambitious plans to build an £85m northern version of Cornwall’s Eden Project on Morecambe Bay’s seafront.

The first environmental scoping planning report for the proposed Eden Project North attraction has been submitted to Lancaster City Council.

Backed by Eden Project International, the project will consist of five mussel-shaped domes rising to nearly 40m.

These will offer 21st century re-imagined lidos, gardens, performance spaces, immersive experiences focused on the marine environment and observatories.

It is due to open in spring 2023, following a two-year construction period.

Eden estimates that the complex will attract around 760,000 visitors per year. It would also have a 4,000-capacity outdoor arena designed for live music and entertainment.

David Harland, chief executive of Eden Project International, said: “This is an important milestone for Eden Project North.

“Having a positive impact on the internationally significant environment of Morecambe Bay is fundamental to our vision for this project. This report is the next step towards making Eden Project North a reality.”

EPIL is working with Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Lancaster University, Lancashire County Council and Lancaster City Council to deliver Eden Project North.

Each of these has contributed £250,000 towards the cost of designing and planning. This is in addition to £100,000 pledged by the Government.

The project has the support of Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry MP, who has pledged to help Morecambe and Lunesdale MP David Morris lobby the Chancellor of the Exchequer for further funding.

 

Plan to start £85m Eden Project North in 2020

Plan to start £85m Eden Project North in 2020

 

Source: Construction Enquirer 

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Severfield warns steelwork tender margins tightening

Britain’s biggest constructional steelwork contractor has warned that tender margins are tightening at its UK business.

The firm said that softer market conditions had created some spare fabrication capacity, although the firm said it had begun to see stirrings of more bidding activity in the London commercial market.

Reporting an 11% rise in pre-tax profit to £25m, Alan Dunsmore, chief executive officer, said that the impact of these UK market conditions was being eased by the re-emergence of the market in the Republic of Ireland and opportunities in continental Europe, where the firm has a fledgling Dutch business.

He added that Severfield was also pursuing infrastructure work opportunities for HS2 and the expansion of Heathrow airport.

“We also see good opportunities from the government’s ongoing Network Rail and Highways England investment programmes,” he added.

Revenue in the year to April was broadly flat year-on-year at £275m, mainly as a result of the softer UK market conditions and some project delays, to both contracts within the order book and in the conversion of our pipeline of opportunities.

This predominantly impacted volumes in 2019.

Dunsmore said that growth in operating margin to 8.5% (2018: 8.3%) reflected better risk and contract management processes at the firm.

The order book of £295m was up £65m on the half-year and contained a high proportion of lower risk, regional projects with shorter lead times.

It includes a £50m order for the new Google Headquarters, which will require over 15,000 tonnes of structural steelwork for the 11 storey head office building at Kings Cross.

Dunsmore added: “We remain on track to deliver on our strategic targets, including the doubling of underlying profit before tax to £26m by 2020 and we look forward to another positive year ahead.”

 

Severfield warns steelwork tender margins tightening

Severfield warns steelwork tender margins tightening

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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£1bn Stratford East Bank scheme clears final planning

Plans for the £1.1bn East Bank development on Stratford Waterfront at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London have cleared the final planning hurdle.

The 4.25-hectare site will be a new cultural and education centre in East London.

It will be home to major new buildings for the Sadler’s Wells dance theatre, the BBC, the Victoria and Albert Museum and a new campus for the University of London’s College of Fashion.

The mayor’s office also granted planning for around 600 new homes within a complex including a 27-storey landmark tower.

Mace is leading project and construction management of the commercial part of the scheme which is presently in advanced procurement.

The scheme has been designed by a collaborative team of Allies and Morrison, O’Donnell + Tuomey and Camps Felip Arquitectura.

PJ Careys has the £16m contract for substructure work on the site. Select Plant also was awarded a £5.4m contract for hire of six tower cranes on the job.

Speaking on behalf of all the East Bank partners, Lyn Garner, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “This is a huge milestone for the project and testament to the hard work, and commitment of all those involved.

“East Bank will be the glue that binds together the different elements on the Park from world-class visitor attractions, high-tech business districts, thousands of new homes and wonderful parkland and open spaces.

“Now, with planning permission in place for the biggest and most exciting culture and education project for a generation, we can start to deliver on the promises for jobs, skills and homes for east London.”

The other parts of East Bank are UCL East, a pioneering new campus for UCL in the south of the Park and the V&A’s new Collection and Research Centre will be located at Here East in the north of the park.

Last year, the Mayor confirmed that at least 50 per cent of new homes across the remaining development sites on the Park – Stratford Waterfront, Pudding Mill and Rick Roberts Way – will be genuinely affordable.

 

£1bn Stratford East Bank scheme clears final planning

£1bn Stratford East Bank scheme clears final planning

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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New standard requiring in-line filters welcomed

Following the recent publication of the new British Standard, BS 7593:2019, Adey has welcomed the new guidance, saying it will help drive the adoption of best practice in whole system health, not simply boiler protection.

The revised standard for the preparation, commissioning and maintenance of domestic heating and cooling water systems came into effect on 31 May 2019, superseding BS 7593:2006 which was immediately withdrawn. The standard now includes the following key changes for those specifying, installing and maintaining domestic heating and cooling systems:

  • For the first time, the fitting of a permanent in-line filter is required in addition to a chemical clean and fresh water flush before inhibitor is added
  • An in-line filter should be fitted to ALL systems
  • All recommended cleaning methodologies can be improved with external magnetite capture equipment and mechanical vibration of radiators
  • A water test is required to test the level of inhibitor and cleanliness of the system every year
  • Inhibitor should be re-dosed every five years or a full system water test undertaken
  • BS 7593:2019 is now applicable to both closed loop heating and cooling circuits
  • Biocide is required in cooling and low temperature heating systems, and should be considered for higher temperature systems for added protection during downtime
  • The changes aim to drive greater consideration for correct water treatment chemistry and filtration including prevention, maintenance and monitoring to properly protect a system for the long term.

Dr Neil Watson, Adey’s Chief Technical Officer, explains: “The changes made acknowledge that chemical water treatment isn’t a fit and forget solution, and magnetic filters shouldn’t just be considered a ‘nice to have’. Including these solutions in British Standard’s BS 7593 recognises a critical shift in moving the industry towards a holistic approach to system maintenance.

“A high proportion of boilers that fail in the first year do so because of poor water quality, so by introducing regular testing and redosing, proper system cleaning and the mandatory installation of an in-line filter to the industry’s code of practice, we can significantly improve the efficiency and life expectancy of every household system. This represents massive potential to contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions.”

 

New standard requiring in-line filters welcomed

New standard requiring in-line filters welcomed

 

Source: Pham News

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Visitor numbers soar at Subcon 2019

Subcon 2019, the UK’s premier subcontract manufacturing supply chain show, has achieved a significant uplift in visitor numbers.

Over 4,100 manufacturing and engineering professionals attended this year’s event – which ran from 4 – 6th June at the NEC – marking a 16 per cent increase year on year and on par with the show’s record attendance achieved in 2017.

During this 43rd edition of the Show, visitors had a chance to meet, speak with and gain invaluable insight from more than 250 exhibitors and over 100 companies have already rebooked their stands for 2020.

A spokesperson from exhibitor Washington Metal Works said: “This was our first time at Subcon and only the second time we’ve ever exhibited, and it’s been really good. It’s really important for us to be able to speak to a lot of different industry sectors because of how diverse our customers are, and we’ve made some great connections that could translate into potential clients. We’ll definitely be back next year.”

Fellow exhibitor Bowman added: “Subcon was very good this year; the people who came to see us were very focused and of a high quality, so it’s been a successful show for us and we’ve already signed for next year, when we’ll have even more new things to show visitors.”

The Engineer Conference, which ran alongside the exhibition, provided over 30 high-powered free educational sessions, covering a wide range of topics including AI, robotics, nuclear fusion, hybrid aircraft and digitalisation. Speakers including Ian Warhurst, the Bloodhound Landspeed Record Project CEO, Brian Holliday, Managing Director for Siemens Digital Factory and Dave Short, Technology director with BAE Systems.

New features at Subcon 2019 included the Subcon Launchpad and Awards: a new start-up incubator designed to propel six embryonic businesses into the limelight. The winner of the very first Launchpad Award – winning a full sized-stand at next year’s event – is Elements Technology.

This year’s event also helped to celebrate the centenary of the Women’s Engineering Society, with a series of presentations from some of the UK’s leading women engineers including WES CEO Elizabeth Donnelly.

Under new ownership at Mark Allen Group, Subcon will return alongside The Engineer Expo to the NEC Birmingham in 2020 from 9-11 June. For more information, please visit www.subconshow.co.uk

 

Visitor numbers soar at Subcon 2019

Visitor numbers soar at Subcon 2019

 

Source: The Engineer

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Water treatment should be considered at design stage 

Andrews Water Heaters is advising specifiers to factor water treatment into the design stages of the hot water system to ensure peak system performance. 

One year on from the publication of ICOM’s ‘Water quality consideration of domestic hot water systems for commercial applications’ document, David Ridgway, Product Application Manager at Andrews Water Heaters and contributor to the guide, argues that more could be done to account for water treatment prior to the installation and commissioning of a water heater. 

David highlights that the long-term implications of not treating the water that the system uses could be financially damaging to the end user who must pay for non-routine repairs or replacements and increasing poor efficiency. Additionally, the specifier may be putting their reputation at stake by specifying the wrong appliance or water treatment device.

“Our industry has, at times, not paid close enough attention to the importance of water treatment. It is often an afterthought with best-practice treatment seen as a nice to have rather than a must have. This is in spite of poor water quality potentially resulting in energy wastage, reduced system performance, potential appliance health issues and the need for the early replacement of components. Failing to prevent or adequately control the treatment of the water could also result in the risk of exposure to legionella – exposing end-users to unnecessary risks,” David comments. 

David says there are several considerations that must be made during the design stage that will impact the type of water treatment that is employed. For instance, the local water board should be contacted to provide specifiers with the data on the area’s water quality, the hardness of the water will dictate whether a softener or conditioner is required. 

“Further consideration should be made to the issue of corrosion can occur in all systems. Some systems however, may require treatment dependent on the materials present. For example, the UK’s water distribution infrastructure still makes use of lead pipes in some areas, meaning that the local water authority could vary the dosing of phosphates in the water to protect lead pipe – impacting the performance of some appliances and devices”, David said. 

Corrosion and many of the other challenges facing end-users can be controlled from the outset by adopting good system design and installing a water treatment device such as a water softener or a physical water conditioner. It is always advisable to consult with a water treatment specialist to ensure that the chosen device is compatible with the type of water heater, the make-up and the local water supply and the type of application (temperature and loading) being specified.

“Specifiers and manufacturers should work evermore closely together. Linkage at the design stage can help to ensure the chosen treatment device works to promote the longevity and health of the system. As an industry, we can maintain the life, efficiency and reliability of water systems by working together at the design stage,” David concludes. 

 

Water treatment should be considered at design stage

Water treatment should be considered at design stage

 

Source: Pham News

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New online portal seeks to increase communication

TrustMark, the Government-endorsed quality scheme for tradespeople, has announced the launch of a new business and consumer portal, providing a secure, free and convenient platform for businesses and their customers to communicate and be transparent with each other.

The portals, which are available on the TrustMark website, are part of TrustMark’s commitment to make it as easy as possible for consumers to find reputable tradespeople. They will also be strengthened with advice and guidance that supports the scheme’s code of conduct and customer charter.

TrustMark registered businesses and consumers will now be able to exchange messages, photographs, plans and any other relevant documents through the portal, keeping all communications in one convenient place. This method will ensure total clarity on both sides regarding the nature of the work agreed, costings, delivery dates and expected outcomes.

Consumers can now request a quote for work directly through their portal account. By doing so, each selected registered business will receive an email inviting them to log in to the TrustMark business portal, where they can view any new enquiries.

When quotations have been submitted in response to enquiries, the consumer will be notified through the portal and can accept or reject the quote, or request further information. Businesses will be able to see what enquiries are new or open at any time and will be immediately notified by email if the status of an enquiry changes, for example, if a quote is accepted or a question is asked. Once a quote has been accepted and a project is ongoing, either side can track progress and request info or record updates as and when required.

Registered businesses now have the option to personalise their profile on the TrustMark website, allowing them to add company logos, photographs of previous work and highlight areas of specialism and the locations they cover. Businesses using this service will also have access to a range of free template documents such as contracts and invoices

Simon Ayers, CEO of TrustMark, says, “The development of this new functionality of our website is part of our commitment to not only ease consumer access to reputable tradespeople, but to actively champion the businesses we know are doing the right thing.  We believe this portal will make choosing to use a TrustMark registered business simpler than ever for consumers, and by making the quote request process as simple and barrier-free as possible, this will vastly increase the possibility of enquiries transforming into paying customers. We will retain our status as a not-for-profit social enterprise and have no intention to turn into a paid-for lead generation service – we simply want to provide a service that tangibly benefits each of our businesses and helps consumers.”

The portals are part of a series of initiatives designed to help TrustMark registered businesses and consumers improve their communications. Future releases will also include the ability to accept card payments and provide access to finance options.

 

New online portal seeks to increase communication

New online portal seeks to increase communication

 

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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Wooden football stadium plan rejected

Forest Green Rovers have had their hopes of building a 5,000-seater wooden stadium dashed by planners.

Designs for the ground-breaking stadium were drawn-up by Zaha Hadid Architects.

But Stroud District Council voted against the proposal yesterday due to concerns over noise, traffic and impact on the landscape.

The decision has left everyone at the League Two club “extremely disappointed” and chairman Dale Vince said the grounds for refusal were “tenuous at best”.

The stadium was originally the centre piece of a £100m Ecopark development by Vince’s green energy business Ecotricity.

But following earlier discussions with the council plans for the green tech business hub were dropped leaving the stadium to face planners on its own.

 

Wooden football stadium plan rejected

Wooden football stadium plan rejected

 

Source: Construction Enquirer 

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Hammerson unveils new Birmingham city quarter plan

Developer Hammerson has set out plans to redevelop Birmingham’s Martineau Galleries site into a new city centre neighbourhood.

The developer, which owns and manages the nearby Bullring & Grand Central, plans to demolish existing buildings to make way for 1,300 homes, including one building of 35 storeys, and 1.4m sq ft of commercial space.

The 7.5-acre site will also deliver a signature gateway to Birmingham from the proposed Curzon Street HS2 terminal and a new public square and boulevard.

Plans for the site, which currently includes The Square Shopping Centre, King’s Parade and Dale End car park, have been designed by Glenn Howells Architects.

Around 350 full-time construction jobs will be created per year over the life of the demolition and construction phases of the project.

Following the public consultation, Hammerson intends to submit an outline planning application to Birmingham City Council later this year, with the aim of starting works in 2022.

Robin Dobson, Development Director at Hammerson, said: “We are pleased to share the plans for our first major City Quarters scheme for this strategically important site in the heart of the city.

“Martineau Galleries will be a new, vibrant neighbourhood in the centre of Birmingham, where we are already a long term investor, with the Bullring Estate remaining one of the UK’s most successful destinations for both brands and consumers.”

 

Hammerson unveils new Birmingham city quarter plan

Hammerson unveils new Birmingham city quarter plan

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Post Brexit skills shortages to push up tender prices by 4%

Tender prices are set to rise by 4% in 2022 as post-Brexit skills shortages bite across construction.

The latest forecasts from Arcadis predict rises after a period of industry “treading water” while politicians dither over Brexit.

The consultancy has held its short term inflation forecast at just 2-3% to 2021 as clients take a ‘wait-and-see’ approach to the current political turmoil.

Delays are adding competitive pressure to the market but the trend is highly sector specific.

Markets such as data centres are particularly busy, while others including offices, industrial and schools are on a downward curve.

Arcadis said there is enough competition to put a partial brake on input cost inflation in the short to medium term.

But tighter labour markets from 2022-23 means costs are predicted to rise by 1% per annum, reaching 4% by 2022.

Earnings growth for construction employees has averaged 4.2% over the past year, up from 2.1% in 2017.

Simon Rawlinson, Head of Strategic Research and Insight at Arcadis, said: “UK construction has a long-established skills and training problem.

“With skilled EU labour making up 8-10% of the workforce, specialist contractors and employers have been shielded from the necessity of developing and maintaining the skills of their workforce.

“However, with the prospect of post-Brexit restrictions on migration, we’re now facing a real crisis in terms of future labour capacity.

“The supply chain will need to look at other options for increasing productivity.

“Off-site manufacturing currently delivers around 8% of industry output, but with the introduction of a government mandate, this could increase significantly.

“Adopting new technologies to improve processes will help to eliminate waste and duplication, while a renewed focus on training and re-training – particularly with the introduction of T-levels in 2020 – will further help to support a much-needed flow of talent.”

 

Post Brexit skills shortages to push up tender prices by 4%

Post Brexit skills shortages to push up tender prices by 4%

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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May Newsletter 2019

May 2019 Newsletter

 

‘The cables you need, where and when you need them, Plans unveiled for major revamp of The Belfry, Legal & General launches £500m build-to-rent scheme, Upskill heating supply chain now or we won’t hit net zero target.’

 

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The cables you need, where and when you need them

With a 67,000 square foot warehouse facility housing over 3,500 product lines on the shelf, and another 6,000 on short lead times, FS Cables is sure to have the cable you need. It also offers over 800 CPR-compliant cables, including Alternative to Belden, structured wiring, fibre, coax, signal and control, and power cables.

FS Cables has no cut-off time for orders. You can call until 6pm, and if it can, the company will cut and pack your order and dispatch right up until the courier leaves. Next working-day delivery is standard to UK mainland, and is free on orders over £100. For urgent shipments, a range of express delivery options are available, including pre-9am, pre-10.30am and pre-12pm. A same-day courier is also possible, time and distance permitting. FS Cables cuts to length on many product lines, meaning you only buy what you need – reducing wastage and saving you money.

If you need cables delivered outside the UK, FS Cables’ dedicated export team is on hand. The team offers a fast and comprehensive service, supplying you with export packaging, cables cut to length, essential paperwork and certificates. Dispatch is by courier, air, sea and road so that orders are with you where and when you need them. FS Cables is authorised by the Chamber of Commerce to produce all the export documentation in-house, such as certificates of origin and EUR1’s, providing you with a fast and efficient service. Unlike other suppliers, FS Cables provides export packaging as standard – it’s all part of the service. FS Cables will select the most appropriate option to ensure that your goods arrive in perfect condition, regardless of how far they have travelled.

If you need a cable manufactured to your own specification or standard, talk to FS Cables. This can range from a printed or coloured jacket, right through to composite cables containing multiple elements of your choice. FS Cables is also able to help you with over-sheathing or steel wire armouring (SWA) to an existing cable, with short lead times and quantities as low as 100m.

If you have a regular requirement for a particular cable, you may benefit from using FS Cable’s call-off order service. Contracts can be up to 12 months in length, and enable you to fix your cost. Cable called off will normally be invoiced when it has been delivered, spreading the cost over the length of the agreement. In most cases, the entire order will be manufactured in one go and held in stock for next working day delivery.

Whether it is a contractor who has limited storage on site, and wants the cable delivered as and when required, or an OEM customer who may require a regular amount of cable for a particular application, call-off orders are proving to be extremely popular.

Call-off agreements have many benefits:

– Prices are fixed for 12 months, or the duration of the agreement.

– Volume discounts, even if the cable is called-off in relatively small amounts.

– Cables can be made to your exact design or with a special print, without costly storage or financial penalties.

– Peace of mind. Your cable is allocated and stored in FS Cable’s warehouse, and delivered next working day to mainland UK.

– Having a particular cable available at the right place and at the right time is a must for many of FS Cable’s customers. Talk to its sales team for more details about how the benefits of improved flexibility and cost savings by calling-off your orders could work for you.

FS Cables adapts to work your way and embraces your projects as its own, however varied they may be. The company prides itself on keeping it promises; understanding that its customer’s deadlines are important; and will deliver when it says it will deliver.

FS Cables has also been awarded the Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award for the second year running. It is also putting the finishing touches to its ever-popular cabling guide, known as ‘the little red book’, which is back with issue 12. The handy A5 size contains technical information, application data and images for over 8,000 products, and is a must-have resource for those involved in buying or specifying electric cables.

Many with CPR compliant options, sections include AV, data, bus, coaxial, signal and control, power, fire and security, telephone, rubber and crane, marine, fibre, and high temperature, as well as a guide to custom-manufactured cables. There’s also a handy look-up table to find alternative to Belden cables from one of the largest ranges in the UK.

Visit www.fscables.com/lrb to register for your free copy. They will be sent out as soon as they are off the press.

 

The cables you need, where and when you need them

The cables you need, where and when you need them

 

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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CTI showcases environmental technology solutions

Carter Thermal Industries (CTI), one of the most substantial privately owned engineering groups in the UK, is to make its debut at the Temperature Controlled Storage and Distribution Show this June.

The company will be showcasing the expertise of its divisional companies with its main focus being on the part it plays in environmental technology and solutions, particularly with regard to natural refrigerant solutions with low global warming potential such as hydrocarbon and Co2 based systems.

In this respect, CTI are proud to be a sponsor of the inaugural World Refrigeration Day (WRD) on the second day of the show, 26 June. As a future annual global event, the WRD is to raise awareness of the importance of refrigeration and air conditioning to the food supply chain, the health sector and general human comfort.

At the show, CTI will be revealing various exciting new technologies being developed for their refrigerated cabinets. These include new shelf edge technology developed for optimum cold airflow into cabinets, and also integrated LED systems providing low energy illumination.

CTI group companies coming together on the CTI stand are Carter Retail Equipment and Carter Synergy. Carter Retail Equipment specialises in refrigerated retail display cabinets and cold stores, from their design and specification to manufacturing and installation. Here the division gets involved in retail environment and back storage areas; fruit and veg bulk wholesalers’ storage; ripening rooms; and pharmaceuticals.

The Carter Synergy with KB Refrigeration divisions together cover design, consultancy, installation, service and maintenance for refrigeration, heating, ventilation, mechanical and electrical disciplines across England and Scotland.

 

CTI showcases environmental technology solutions

CTI showcases environmental technology solutions

 

Source: HPM Magazine

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MK Electric highlights benefits of apprentices

In support of Learning at Work Week (13 – 19 May), Emma Segelov, EMEA marketing operations manager for MK Electric, highlights the benefits having an apprentice can bring to a business

As a highly skilled industry, we are reliant on a constant stream of new talent. Apprentices are key to ensuring we have the skills required to drive the industry forward and can help a business to grow.

All of our apprentices bring something new and valuable into the business, such as a fresh perspective on an existing process, as well as safeguarding the continuity of essential skill sets, now and in the future. One example is Thomas Hunt, a former apprentice who was crowned BEAMA’S Young Manufacturer of the Year in 2018.

During his time as an apprentice, Thomas quickly became the ‘go-to guy’ for technical support within the mouldshop team at our Southend-on-Sea manufacturing site, showing a particular aptitude for math-based queries. Thomas filled a moulding skills gap and provided crucial assistance in training current staff on new machines and basic moulding skills, overcoming any difficulties which occur with the moulding machines. In fact, as part of his time working in compression moulding, Thomas independently developed a detailed compression moulding manual covering the control of the presses and fault finding, which is now used to assist in the training of others – a major benefit to new staff members.

For MK Electric, employing the best talent has helped us to reach a centenary. It also puts the brand in a strong position to evolve to meet the needs of customers and building users for a smart and sustainable future.

Naturally, we understand that the process of hiring an apprentice is going to be different for each business, depending on its size, infrastructure and the amount of resource available, but the rewards are great. The Education and Skills Funding Agency has information available for potential employers, including guidance on funding and how smaller businesses can apply for support.

We would encourage anyone with the means to hire an apprentice to do so, as it will not only change a young person’s life, but also benefit your business and the wider industry by helping to close the skills gap. It’s crucial that the industry works together to preserve its workforce by ensuring knowledge is passed down to the next generation via apprenticeships.

 

MK Electric highlights benefits of apprentices

MK Electric highlights benefits of apprentices

 

Source: Electrical Review 

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Xylem warns of hidden costs around sewer adoption

Xylem is urging housebuilders and developers to further analyse the Sewers for Adoption process, which may be unnecessarily costing them thousands.

With the introduction of Sewers for Adoption 8 later this year, Xylem is urging housebuilders and developers to further analyse the Sewers for Adoption process, which may be unnecessarily costing them thousands of pounds in outstanding bonds.

The new Sewers for Adoption 8 will, for the first time, provide guidance on most types of sustainable drainage system (SuDS) components that can be adopted by water and sewerage companies, and may also include flood risk performance standards. However, a part of the existing legislation pertaining to pump station design may continue to cost developers and housebuilders thousands of pounds, due to a knowledge gap.

This knowledge gap concerns Section 104 of the Water Industry Act (1991), or S104, and its use in conjunction with the seventh edition of Sewers for Adoption (SFA7). Specifically, it can be found within the legal agreement between the developer and water company, stating that sewers will be built to an agreed standard before adoption by the water company. The legal agreement includes strict requirements around pumping station design, which, if misunderstood, can lead to extensive, unseen costs.

To explain, the water company receives a S104 design submission from the developer containing pumping station designs and calculations drawn up by a specialist contractor, such as Xylem. This must be approved by the water company before building commences, who then test the finished pumping station during a maintenance and monitoring period of around three months.

If the station performs to a satisfactory level during this time, the water company then adopts the sewer from the developer. To ensure the work is completed to a good standard, the developer typically supplies a bond of significant value at the beginning of this process that is only released following adoption.

Issues arise when the developer is unaware of this process and begins building work without official approval from the water company. This approval is important as anything installed without it can potentially be refused by the water company, leaving the developers with the costs of rectifying any refused work. Furthermore, this refusal can result in extended monitoring periods, leaving the developer unable to recover their bond while remaining liable for servicing and maintenance costs during this time.

With these increasing costs in mind, Xylem recommends that developers not rush ahead to installation as soon as the specialist contractor has submitted their proposed pumping system design. Instead, they should stay in close contact with the water company and designer to work through any concerns quickly and receive a full S104 agreement.

Crucially, this installation should also include the implementing specialised control system and monitoring out-station, as specified with SFA7. Bearing in mind that the entire sewer adoption process can take between six months to two years, monitoring performance and remedying any issues in this time is crucial. Installing this telemetry equipment will also limit the potential for faults during the monitoring period, allowing for a quicker return of the developer’s bond and lower maintenance costs.

 

Xylem warns of hidden costs around sewer adoption

Xylem warns of hidden costs around sewer adoption

 

Source: HPM Magazine

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Plans unveiled for major revamp of The Belfry

New plans have been unveiled to revamp the Belfry Hotel and Resort.

Building work at the famous golf centre could start early next year creating 160 construction jobs.

Plans include an extra 144 guest-rooms in a new building on the site overlooking the world-famous Brabazon Course alongside a 600-seat ballroom and banqueting facility.

A leisure club, next to the 18th hole of the PGA National Course, is also in the plans.

This will feature a family-orientated leisure pool as well as a gym and studio rooms, café and changing facilities.

Relocation of the existing leisure facilities will allow space within the existing resort buildings for a new spa.

The Belfry has appointed national planning and development consultancy Lichfields to take forward the proposals.

In 2017 Lichfields secured planning permission for a similar scheme and say the new, amended proposals, place greater emphasis on the resort’s golfing tradition.

The venue near Sutton Coldfield has hosted four Ryder Cups on its Brabazon course.

Ian Kettlewell, Planning Director at Lichfields said: “The Belfry want to build upon the resort’s golfing tradition and success so that it continues to operate as a world class golf and leisure destination into the future.

“The new guest rooms will face onto the 10th hole of the world-famous Brabazon Course and feature private balconies giving open views across the golf course and resort.

“The ballroom will be connected to the new guest rooms by a two storey arrival space and will also face onto the Brabazon course.”

A planning application is due to be submitted to North Warwickshire Borough Council in the summer and construction could start early next year.

 

Plans unveiled for major revamp of The Belfry

Plans unveiled for major revamp of The Belfry

 

Source: Construction Enquirer 

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Plan for 1,300-home led scheme near Harrow

Housing association Network Homes has bought land next to Northwick Park Hospital in Brent to kick-start a major regeneration project, bringing new homes and commercial space to the area.

Network Homes is working in partnership with London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust and the local council to make Northwick Park a landmark destination, delivering new homes, a modernised university hospital, improved infrastructure and transport connections.

Outline proposals for the site masterplan will include the delivery of around 1,300 new homes on land owned by Network Homes.

A detailed planning application for phase one of the development will be submitted at the end of the year and work is expected to start on site in early 2021.

Upfront infrastructure works for the site have been estated at around £18m.

David Gooch, Executive Director of Development at Network Homes, said: “This is a really exciting milestone for the future transformation of Northwick Park.

“We look forward to continuing to work with our partners at Brent Council, London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust and the University of Westminster to deliver improved transport links, more good quality affordable homes, and jobs for local people.”

 

Plan for 1,300-home led scheme near Harrow

Plan for 1,300-home led scheme near Harrow

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Legal & General launches £500m build-to-rent scheme

Legal & General has exchanged contracts on two adjacent sites in Wandsworth which will combine to deliver its largest Build To Rent (BTR) scheme to date.

The £500m development has full planning consent and will provide around 1,000 homes and 85,000 sq ft of commercial space.

Legal & General said construction work will start by the end of this year on the six acre site near Wandsworth Town train station.

Dan Batterton, Head of Build To Rent at LGIM Real Assets said: “This latest acquisition is another great example of Legal & General investing in a location with significant urban regeneration potential and providing large scale sustainable rental schemes which will have a positive socioeconomic impact.

“The location is highly desirable for renters and, with 1,000 units planned for the site, demonstrates Legal & General’s ambition to make a real impact on the delivery of new homes within the UK.

“Representing our largest scheme to date, this flagship BTR development is another step forward towards tackling the severe housing crisis facing both London and the UK, offering homes for all ages and social groups, as well as reduced living costs thanks to economies of scale.”

 

Legal & General launches £500m build-to-rent scheme

Legal & General launches £500m build-to-rent scheme

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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CEF launches priced trade catalogue and website

CEF, the UK’s leading electrical wholesaler, has launched a new, priced trade catalogue and improved website to provide customers with a more transparent, consistent and convenient shopping experience.

The new trade catalogue, which features everyday value prices is a first for the industry and brings much needed pricing consistency and transparency to the electrical wholesale market.

Featuring more than 26,000 electrical products including cable and cable management, heating and ventilation plus lighting, lamps, wiring accessories, switchgear, industrial controls, and not forgetting hand tools, site equipment and test instruments, the CEF catalogue is certain to become an essential part of the electrician’s toolkit.

All products are available for click and collect or next day delivery wherever customers need them, and with thousands more available at cef.co.uk, installers are sure to be able to find what they need, when they need it.

“Traditionally, pricing in the electrical wholesale industry is complicated, time consuming and inconsistent” stated Andrew Moseley, CEF’s Commercial Director. “Our new priced trade catalogue is a direct response to customer feedback and part of a wider commitment from CEF to bring pricing transparency and consistency and improve the level of service we offer to our customers.”

The catalogue also highlights CEF’s new lowest priced everyday Trade Essentials range and features Connected Living products from the company’s recently launched Get Smart, Get Connected campaign.

To support the launch of the new catalogue, and create a multi-channel customer experience, CEF have also enhanced their website to include the same transparent catalogue pricing and improved the search functionality and guest checkout, allowing customers to select and purchase the products they need quickly and easily. Customers can browse more than 32,000 products online and can check stock availability at their nearest store before they ‘click and collect’ or order for next day delivery at a location convenient to them.

“Our customers want to buy the products they need as conveniently and easily as possible,” added Moseley. “With the new priced catalogue and website, CEF customers not only benefit from knowing exactly what the price is when they shop with CEF, they also have more choice over how and where they shop – be it online, in store, by phone or through our new catalogue. Anybody looking to buy electrical products can get them at their convenience and will have the same consistent experience wherever and whenever they shop at CEF.”

The new CEF catalogue is available to pick up from any of CEF’s 391 stores nationwide, or you can request a copy at www.cef.co.uk/request

 

CEF LAUNCHES PRICED TRADE CATALOGUE AND WEBSITE

CEF launches priced trade catalogue and website

 

Source: Electrical Times

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Upskill heating supply chain now or we won’t hit net zero target

Vaillant urges government to pay attention to the call for national training programme on low-carbon skills

Vaillant has added its voice to the chorus of industry reaction over the Committee on Climate Change’s Net Zero report, with the manufacturer calling for the introduction of a low-carbon training programme.

Chris Wilkins, external affairs and training manager said: “Whether or not you agree with the finer points of the report, one thing is certain: it is essential that we upskill the workforce now, across the supply chain, if we are to have any chance of hitting the net zero target. At present, we have an immensely skilled workforce providing fossil fuel solutions. In order to deliver the solutions necessary to achieve the CCC’s 2050 goal, there is an urgent need for a framework, roadmap and dedicated funding to support the transition to low carbon solutions.”

He added: ”The CCC’s report focuses on using a mix of available technologies, rather than backing just one horse – a stance which we at Vaillant have also advocated in recent weeks. It also recognises that green gas and hydrogen boilers have a part to play, especially when linked with heat pumps in hybrid systems. But, whatever this mix of technologies will eventually be, there will need to be skilled individuals to design and implement the necessary infrastructure, and installers qualified to bring these solutions into UK homes…We support the CCC’s call for clear, stable and well-designed policies to support carbon reduction, and agree with the recommendations related to the decarbonisation of heating and the home environment. The emphasis on upskilling is of particular note, as this is an element which can often be missed during such discussions, but which will play a pivotal role in carbon reduction. We look forward to the government’s response.”

 

Upskill heating supply chain now or we won't hit net zero target

Upskill heating supply chain now or we won’t hit net zero target

 

Source: HVN Plus

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Putting the fuse to spark referrals and reviews 

Property Heads have opened it’s doors on there property search engine platform to introduce professional trades to home buyers and renters across the UK.

With over 7,000 trades already signed up at NO cost to join or any fees or subscriptions unlike other trades platforms. Property Heads have developed a platform to enable a link between estate agents, landlords as well as home owners and renters to source local trades, share with friends and introduce recommended trades they have utilised in their local area.

The Property Heads network is a positive platform to help trades such as electricians to links with other businesses such as estate agent who are often looking for local electricians. The agents can refer the trades to clients, and then those customers can add referrals within their network.

The opportunities for electricians to promote there company within a profile along with contact details and website to showcase their services is simple. Just visit www.propertyheads.com and click on the JOIN button.

Property Heads is the first property search engine that works also as a way to keep people connected like LinkedIn.

We look forward to seeing having your readers join our trades section at Property Heads, and please do not hesitate to reach out if you need any further details or information.

 

Putting the fuse to spark referrals and reviews

Putting the fuse to spark referrals and reviews

 

Source: Electrical Times

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Get water quality test results quicker with new app

To make it easier to submit test samples and access results quickly via a mobile, Fernox has developed the Water Quality Test app. Launching this month, installers will be able to register on Android and iOS platforms to download the app and start enjoying the time-saving benefits of this paperless service.

Once Fernox has received the sample, which can be sent using the prepaid envelope included in the Water Quality Test kit, the test results will be available to view via the app within 48 hours – with a full diagnostic report being sent via email or viewable via the Fernox web portal. This allows installers to take speedy and targeted action to resolve and restore system efficiency where central heating problems are caused by dirty and untreated system water.

As part of the service, Fernox will carry out an analysis of five key criteria system water parameters and will advise on the appropriate treatment, if necessary, or confirm that the system has been correctly treated and fully protected.

The new app will provide installers with a short online form to complete, and a location finder, with the option to scan in a boiler’s serial number, its brand name and age. Installers need only register their details once. Test samples can be tracked through the testing process via the app, and a status of ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ is available at the touch of the screen.

The app can also be used to register a Fernox TF1 Filter product warranty.

Anna Tarbuck, Global Product Management Director at Fernox, says: “We are very excited about the launch of our new Water Quality Test app. We wanted to offer installers the ability to keep track of every testing kit logged and review all the results in one, easy to access place. Testing the system water is a key part of the process to ensure boiler efficiency and we hope that this more technology led approach will aid installers in saving valuable time.”  

The Fernox Water Quality Test app is free to download and compatible with all devices.  Fernox Water Quality Test Kits are available for purchase through major and independent merchant branches and reputable stockists.

 

GET WATER QUALITY TEST RESULTS QUICKER WITH NEW APP

Get water quality test results quicker with new app

 

Source: Pham News

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Green light for thousands of homes on former barracks

Planning permission has been granted for the development of thousands of homes on a former RAF airfield and barracks on the outskirts of Cambridge.

The Waterbeach proposal covers the construction 6,500 new homes and associated employment, transport, educational, health and community uses over the former Waterbeach Barracks site on the outskirts of Cambridge.

An application was submitted jointly by Urban&Civic and the then secretary of state for defence Michael Fallon and in February 2017.

South Cambridgeshire District Council resolved last night (13 May 2019) to grant permission for the scheme at a specially constituted meeting of its Planning Committee.

The 716-acre application site is entirely brownfield and is located three miles from the Cambridge Science and Business Park.

The land will remain in majority ownership of the Ministry of Defence, administered by Defence Infrastructure Organisation but subject to a participation in favour of Urban&Civic.

Further preparatory works will begin immediately with initial major infrastructure scheduled to complete by the end of 2019.

Formal planning consent remains subject to completing the associated Section 106 agreement.

 

Green light for thousands of homes on former barracks

Green light for thousands of homes on former barracks

 

Source: Insider Media

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Japan’s biggest house builder moves into UK market

Japan’s biggest house builder has struck a £90m deal with Homes England and Urban Splash to deliver thousands of new properties across England.

Sekisui House are pioneers of modern methods of construction and will bring their techniques to the UK.

The deal includes new investment of £55m into regeneration company Urban Splash’s modular ‘House’ development business.

Sekisui House has invested £22m of new equity, with £30m of equity and debt funding coming from the Government’s Home Building Fund, administered through Homes England.

Entrepreneur Noel McKee, founder of We Buy Any Car, has also made a sizeable investment in the new partnership and will take an incremental 5% stake.

Yoshihiro Nakai, President and Representative Director of Sekisui House Ltd said: “We are extremely pleased to be able to work together with Homes England and Urban Splash to establish our operations and help to create outstanding communities in the UK.

“Using modern methods of construction to build high quality homes with short build times is one of our company’s great strengths.

“Our technology and know-how can help resolve pressing social issues in the UK, and I want to see us play our part effective immediately.

“These operations can also help bring vitality to UK regions, and we will work to make the strongest connections with the local communities.”

‘House’ is expected to deliver thousands of homes across England using modern methods of construction.

Minister of State for Housing, Kit Malthouse MP, said: “Sekisui House bring with them a proven track record in harnessing the modern methods of construction that are transforming home building.

“Backed by Government investment, today’s announcement will support our urgent mission to deliver more, better and faster home construction to ensure a new generation can realise the dream of home ownership.”

Sir Edward Lister, Chair of Homes England, said: “When Homes England launched last year we said we’d disrupt the housing market to increase the pace of construction.

“By helping bring one of the world’s largest and most innovative housebuilders to UK shores, we’re putting our money where our mouth is.

“By creating a more diverse landscape – where smaller builders such as Urban Splash get a stronger foothold – we’re rebuilding the building industry; driving up quality and improving consumer choice.”

Tom Bloxham, Chairman of Urban Splash, said: “We believe that there is a real opportunity in the UK housebuilding industry.

“We hope to leverage our 25 years of place-making experience and our recent investments into modular housing by bringing in new partners; having looked far and wide we chose Sekisui House from Japan because of the company’s unrivalled global experience in modular construction and shared values and philosophy that we are making homes not units, and a joint belief in the need for a green future.

“We are incredibly excited about the accelerated production of much-needed homes and evolving traditional practices as we embrace the benefits of innovative offsite construction.

“I hope it will establish us as the housing partner of choice for landowners – both public and private.”

 

Japan’s biggest house builder moves into UK market

Japan’s biggest house builder moves into UK market

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Downing starts £250m London student tower

Liverpool-based developer Downing has started work on its largest London project to date.

The £250m student tower development at Miles Street in Lambeth also includes an adjacent 6 storey office block.

Rising to 37 storeys, the TP Bennet designed project will provide 841 student beds in a range of studios and en-suite rooms.

A second office building will provide nearly 40,000sq ft of space with a multi-use games area on the roof.

Also in Lambeth, Downing is delivering a £35m student accommodation scheme in the heart of the historic Lambeth Palace Conservation Area.

The 133-student project will back onto Archbishop’s Park, overlooks the Houses of Parliament and is located close to London’s leading higher education institutions.

The scheme features accessible rooms and students will also have the benefit of an outdoor terrace.

Ian Harrison, Downing’s development project director, said: “Both projects will create stunning buildings that sit harmoniously within Lambeth Council’s wider vision to reinvigorate the local area and its student community.

 

Downing starts £250m London student tower

Downing starts £250m London student tower

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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March Newsletter 2019

March 2019 Newsletter

‘Research shows growth in demand for smart controls, First ever tradesman blacklist launched, Kent Uni tenders £20m life science building, Ban new homes from gas grid by 2025, says CCC, Only 21% would upgrade a working boiler, research reveals’.

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Research show growth in demand for smart controls

Smart heating controls are likely to take market share from conventional heating controls in the longer term, according to the latest Domestic Central Heating market report (2018-2022) from AMA Research.

In 2017, it was estimated that around 30% of heating controls sold by value were smart heating controls. This figure was deemed likely to increase to over 45% of heating controls sold by value by 2022.

UK householders were becoming much more environmentally aware and using smart heating solutions in order to minimise energy usage and to save money, AMA found, estimating that around 5% of UK homes now have smart heating controls installed.

The future performance of the UK domestic heating market will be influenced by overall trends in housebuilding, home improvement, fuel prices, renewable technologies, and technological developments.” added Hayley Thornley, head of research at AMA Research. “While increasing legislation around energy efficiency represents a major influence in the long-term development of the domestic central heating market. The UK smart heating controls sector has evolved as part of the smart home market and is expected to show good levels of growth to 2022 and beyond.

Research show growth in demand for smart controls 

Research show growth in demand for smart controls

Source: HPM Magazine

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Lighting for the greater good

In this exclusive editorial, Tamlite Lighting explains why low-quality lighting can have an adverse effect on wellbeing and assesses why high-quality luminaires are essential for today’s business owners.

The importance of quality over price

‘Buy cheap, buy twice’ is an attitude echoed throughout the construction industry, so it pays to provide solutions that focus on quality rather than cutting costs.

To this end, there have been a number of initiatives to try and minimise the prevalence of ‘spec-breaking’, as project design teams look for the cheapest alternative to their needs, rather than using products that will provide the expected benefits.

One such initiative is the Building in Quality (BIQ) Quality Tracker, developed by RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects). This picks up on the construction industry’s many efforts to improve quality in buildings in the wake of several high-profile events, not least the Grenfell Tower fire. It resonates particularly strongly with what Dame Judith Hackitt described in her Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: Final Report as the ‘golden thread’ of information from concept to finished building and beyond.

This is particularly key for lighting designers and specifiers. Lighting upgrades are often required for specific reasons, whether it’s improved energy efficiency, better quality of illumination, or more control of the lighting.

If an upgrade is carried out using cheaper luminaires that do not fully match up to the original specification, then end-users may find themselves no better off than they were initially.

Breaking spec can reduce light quality

When specifying a new lighting system, switching to LED isn’t enough. This is a common pitfall when choosing luminaires for a lighting upgrade. While LED fittings do indeed tend to be more energy efficient than fluorescent alternatives, cheaper LED luminaires may not offer the longevity or improved illumination that comes with higher quality luminaires.

A common complaint with cheaper luminaires is a lack of glare control. Discomfort glare can be a major problem for people trying to focus, particularly in offices or education environments. Luminaires that cause reflection off desks or computers can cause serious problems for workers and students, highlighting the need for luminaires fitted with specialised diffusers or beam angles to reduce the prevalence of glare.

This can be pivotal from a specification perspective, as lighting designs may be put together based on certain luminaires being installed. If a specification required certain spacings between luminaires in order to achieve a higher UGR rating, and cheaper fittings are used instead, then this may lead to dark patches throughout the room.

An uneven light distribution can lead to eye strain and discomfort, which can cause headaches and affect people’s wellbeing. As wellbeing is becoming increasingly significant for business owners and facility managers, a lighting system supplied to full specification can have considerable benefits for end-users in terms of productivity, employee performance and reduced absenteeism.

The impact of low-quality lighting on wellbeing

There has been a lot of recent research into employee productivity and wellbeing, and there is no denying the logic that happier, healthier and more comfortable employees are going to be more productive, and the notion of fashioning workplaces that are conducive to good health is certainly not a new one.

The role of lighting in enhancing wellbeing in the workplace cannot be understated. The circadian rhythm is the natural daily cycle that helps humans wake up in the morning and fall asleep at night. Naturally, humans are exposed to bluer light in the morning to midday, followed by warmer colour temperatures in the afternoon and evening.

Artificial lighting in workplaces that replicate this can make people feel more in tune with their natural rhythms, and in turn will enhance their wellbeing and boost productivity and focus. Higher specification luminaires can achieve this through tunable white lighting. Hence, lighting designs that require tunable lighting must be wary of ‘spec-breaking’, as cheaper fittings may not be able to replicate natural colour changes.

Furthermore, factors such as flicker and glare are more prevalent with poor quality luminaires, and these can seriously impair the wellbeing of employees.

The importance of wellbeing

The considerable benefits of wellbeing for business owners, as well as end-users, cannot be ignored. One in six workers feel that their workplace is having a diminishing effect on their wellbeing (according to the British Council of Offices), so the value for employers in terms of staff retention and happiness is clear.

Furthermore, the World Green Building Council found that an improved lighting design can lead to a 23% increase in productivity, highlighting the link between lighting and improved employee performance for businesses. A number of studies also suggest that concentration, focus and learning retention in schools, colleges and universities are all linked to light.

The problems, then, of ‘spec-breaking’ when installing a lighting system can be significant. If cheap alternatives to modern, high quality luminaires are specified, then substantial benefits may be missed in terms of worker wellbeing and retention.

Highlighting the benefits of lighting for wellbeing to customers can not only discourage cheaper alternatives from being used, but may also increase the likelihood of a one-phase project becoming a multi-phase scheme, which can provide significant, long-term benefits for contractors.

For further information, visit tamlite.co.uk

Lighting for the greater good

Lighting for the greater good

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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Only 21% would upgrade a working boiler, research reveals 

While 44% would upgrade a TV that still worked, less than half of this would choose to do the same with their boiler, according to new research from Hometree.

In a survey of over 2,000 UK adults, three in five (59%) admitted to upgrading a product needlessly. Of these people, 35% said they just ‘fancied a change’, and 19% said they found a model that looked better.

The research found that while many would upgrade a perfectly good TV (44%), wearable tech (42%), and smart speakers (40%), only half as many (21%) would choose to upgrade a boiler. Boilers, in fact, came at the bottom of the list of items people would choose to upgrade, behind washing machines (25%), fridges (26%), and vacuum cleaners (31%).

79% of respondents actually said they would be irritated to have to spend money upgrading their boiler. A quarter said they would be annoyed, with a further 54% extremely annoyed, “begrudgingly forking out” their money.

On average, the research suggested that people upgraded their boilers around every nine years, while people upgraded their TVs every six, smart speakers every four, and wearable tech every three years.

Simon Phelan, Chief Executive of Hometree, said: “Boilers are bottom of people’s lists when it comes to upgrades, despite them being the heart of the home, arguably the most important white good. For years, it was not just the expense, but the whole rigmarole of the process that was a pain – from the time getting quotes and installing it, to being sold extras you’re not sure you need, and so on. In 2019, things are different. The process can now take days not months, and prices through online-led installers such as Hometree are considerably less than they were with the established providers.

“Consumers can actually save up to 30% on their household bills with a new energy efficient boiler but the initial cost to purchase the boiler puts them off. Opting for finance options or Buy Now Pay Later options can mean that customers get the peace of mind of a new boiler and energy savings without eating into their savings.”

The research was carried out by Censuswide. Fieldwork took place between 25 and 28 January 2019. The questions were asked to a nationally representative sample of 2,005 UK adults aged 16 and over.

Only 21% would upgrade a working boiler, research reveals 

Only 21% would upgrade a working boiler, research reveals

Source: HVP Magazine

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First ever tradesmen blacklist launched 

A surge in doorstep rogue traders is ripping off thousands of home owners for shoddy work that is unfinished, not even started or grossly overpriced.

Police and Trading Standards held a national day of joint enforcement action, Operation Rogue Trader, which saw Trading Standards work alongside police to target rogue traders and aggressive doorstep sellers. Officers were able to identify 708 individual offences, leading to 19 arrests and the seizure of 39 vehicles. Consumers were saved nearly £5,200. (Source: Trading Standards, November 2018).

There is no single trusted source of cowboy builders and workmen available to the general public, until now.  PropertyHeads.com, the property and social network portal, has just launched a Tradesmen Blacklist of rogue traders that have a criminal record – the first of its kind.  propertyheads.com/tradesmen_blacklist.

With over 1,000 names recorded in the Tradesmen Blacklist, homeowners are invited to report  rogue traders on the portal, so they can be added to the database. Users can search the portal’s database of hundreds of convicted tradesmen, as part of their background checks when looking to hire some help.

But the Blacklist is about more than just cowboy builders and fraudsters, it has several convicted murderers and rapists on the Blacklist – not people you would knowingly invite into your home.

Research from the Traders Blacklist reveals that the majority of rogue traders are builders (26%), followed by roofers (17%), driveway traders and gardeners (13%), painter and decorators (11%), plasterers (10%), bricklayers (6%) and carpenters (4%).

Many rogue traders are repeat offenders and some have more than 50 convictions. High risk areas include County Durham, Kent and Essex with low risk areas including Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire and Greater London.

Ben Davis, CEO of PropertyHeads.com comments: “We are appalled that so many homeowners are being ripped off by rogue traders and want to help. Quite simply reputable companies do not doorstep for new customers and homeowners would be well advised to avoid those that do.

“It is widely accepted that the best way to engage a reliable tradesman is by word of mouth. But how can you possibly know which of your friends and colleagues has used a reliable tradesman without asking all of them? And why is it that traditional tradesman review websites are built around anonymous reviews?

“PropertyHeads.com addresses both of these issues as it shows users the reviews from people they already know and trust when they search for a tradesman. This is great news for the consumer.  Not only do they easily get reviews, they can also attribute to a friend, or colleague.  It makes the process of referencing and inspecting tradesmen’s work that much easier too. It’s also good for genuine tradesmen, as they are able to grow their businesses by word of mouth.

“Three things struck me when we put together the Tradesman Blacklist. Firstly, rogue tradesman will go to extraordinary lengths to mislead their victims including faking their own cancer and using vehicles with government agency sign-writing. Secondly, even those with seemingly reputable backgrounds – we have several ex Police and military in our Blacklist – are capable of awful crimes. And third, the sheer number of victims involved.

“If our Blacklist helps just one homeowner avoid being ripped-off, then we will have done a good service.”

It’s vital that people carry out research before they have any building or maintenance done, as it could save them thousands in the long run.  Ask for recommendations, perform background checks, insist on and keep all paperwork and do not pay in advance. There is so much information available online but, only PropertyHeads.com shows consumers reviews from people they already trust.

PropertyHeads.com has also put together some advice on how to avoid rogue traders:

Be suspicious of anyone who comes to the door offering to fix your roof etc.

          Do not work with door steppers at all. The PropertyHeads.com Tradesmen Blacklist has hundreds of examples of doorsteppers often preying on the elderly (oldest reported victim 99) and sometimes returning to time and again until life savings have been taken.

          Never pay upfront

          For larger jobs have a detailed payment schedule with clear milestones. If you do pay for materials only pay when they arrive on site

          Get paperwork in order. Keep copies of the contract, invoices and receipts. Ask for details of insurance and keep those too. No written contract / details of work, best avoid.

          Go with your gut. Price seems too good to be true? Little idea of how long the job will take? Don’t seem to have the right tools? Cash?

          Ask for and check out at least two references. Inspect the work if possible. Of course it’s easier to inspect the work and quiz the referee if you already know that person.

          Do some basic checks. They should have a landline phone, an address and be registered with Companies House as a minimum.

          By far the best thing is to get word-of-mouth recommendation. Easiest way to do that is on PropertyHeads where you will be shown the tradesmen known by your existing trusted contacts.

For more information, please visit www.propertyheads.com.

First ever tradesmen blacklist launched 

First ever tradesmen blacklist launched

Source: Electrical Times

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Ban new homes from gas grid by 2025, says CCC

Newbuilds should no longer be connected to the gas grid within the next six years, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has recommended in a new report.

The report, titled UK housing: Fit for the future?, also states that, from 2025 at the latest, new homes should be heated using low carbon energy sources, have “ultra-high” levels of energy efficiency alongside appropriate ventilation, and be timber-framed where possible.

It also found that emissions reductions from the UK’s 29 million homes have stalled, while energy use in homes – which accounts for 14% of total UK emissions – increased between 2016 and 2017.

The report said: “We will not meet our targets for emissions reduction without near complete decarbonisation of the housing stock. Energy use in homes accounts for about 14% of UK greenhouse gas emissions.

“These emissions need to fall by at least 24% by 2030 from 1990 levels, but are currently off track. In 2017, annual temperature-adjusted emissions from buildings rose by around 1% relative to the previous year.”

Key problems halting the progress of energy efficiency and decarbonisation cited by the report included significant policy gaps where climate-related risks are concerned, as well as a lack of ambition with building standards, which the report described as “overly complex” and having poor compliance.

Baroness Brown, Chair of the CCC’s Adaptation Committee, said: “This report confirms what we have long-suspected: UK homes are largely unprepared for climate change. The government now has an opportunity to act. There must be compliance with stated building designs and standards.

“We need housing with low-carbon sources of heating. And we must finally grasp the challenge of improving our poor levels of home energy efficiency. As the climate continues to change, our homes are becoming increasingly uncomfortable and unsafe. This will continue unless we take steps now to adapt them for higher temperatures, flooding and water scarcity. Our report shows that this work has barely begun.”

The report can be found here.

Ban new homes from gas grid by 2025, says CCC

Ban new homes from gas grid by 2025, says CCC

Source: HVP Magazine

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South Ayrshire sets out a 10-year capital programme

Councillors in South Ayrshire have approved a capital investment programme that will see almost £350m spent over the next 10 years on projects including leisure facilities, schools and roads.

More than £113m will be invested in schools and early years facilities over the next decade. This includes new schools for Girvan Primary (£22.4m), Carrick Academy in Maybole (£21.2m), Glenburn Primary and St Ninian’s Primary shared campus in Prestwick (£17.6m) and Sacred Heart Primary in Girvan (£3.9m), as well as a range of school refurbishment projects. Early years projects being progressed in 2019/20 include the opening of the new Cherry Tree Early Years Centre.

Almost £50m of the programme will be spent on sport and leisure facilities across the area. This includes £40m for a new leisure facility in Ayr town centre and £7.1m for additional sporting facilities at Craigie Sporting Centre.

An additional £9.5m has been added to the programme for road reconstruction and improvement, taking the total over the ten years to £17.5m, while more than £5m has been allocated for street-lighting and LED replacement.

Funding of £21m has also been added to the programme in respect of investment in Prestwick Airport as part of the Council’s contribution to delivering the Ayrshire Growth Deal, which is being supported by funding of £200m from the UK and Scottish Governments.

Councillor Peter Henderson, portfolio holder for resources and performance, said: “The capital investment we have set out today will touch the lives of everyone in South Ayrshire and make them better – whether that’s through giving our children the best possible start in life, providing our young people with the best education in the highest quality facilities, providing access to first-class sport and leisure facilities that support people to get fit and active and support their health and wellbeing, or delivering the infrastructure to create jobs and grow the economy.”

South Ayrshire sets out 10-year capital programme

South Ayrshire sets out 10-year capital programme

Source: The Construction Index

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MPs demand review of working at height dangers 

MPs are demanding a major review of working at height in a bid to cut the number of deaths and accidents caused by falls.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Working at Height has published a new report calling on the Government and industry to undertake a major review of working at height culture.

It also wants to see improved reporting of incidents and introduce reporting on near misses.

The report, Staying Alive: Preventing Serious Injury and Fatalities while Working at Heightis the result of a 12 month inquiry by the APPG.

Politicians explored why 18% of people who die at work do so as a result of a fall from height, and what steps can be taken by government and industry to prevent incidents for the millions of people in the UK that work at height.

The report makes 4 primary recommendations to reduce the overall number of falls:

  • The introduction of an enhanced reporting system through RIDDOR.
  • The appointment of an independent body that allows confidential, enhanced and digital reporting of all near misses, to be shared with government and industry to inform health and safety policy.
  • The extension of the Working Well Together – Working Well at Height safety campaigns.
  • An equivalent system to Scotland’s Fatal Accident Inquiry process extended to the rest of the UK.

Alison Thewliss, Chair of the APPG on Working at Height and MP for Glasgow Central said“Every fall from height can have life-altering consequences for workers and their families. There is an urgent need to improve work at height culture, yet this issue is sadly not at the top of decision-makers’ agenda.

“A lack of empirical data prevents us from understanding the root causes of falls from height. This is compounded by a cultural obstacle when it comes to supporting people to report unsafe practices.

“We have made comprehensive recommendations to government, but the APPG’s work does not stop here. Our report must be the first step in a wider process of systematic and cultural change. It is now time for policy-makers to act.”

The APPG is now calling for a further period of consultation and a major review of work at height culture, including how to engage with difficult to reach sectors, the suitability of financial penalties, and the role of digital technologies in improving the safety environment.

MPs demand review of working at height dangers 

MPs demand review of working at height dangers

Source: Construction Enquirer 

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Women installers together conference returns for 2019

The 2019 Women Installers Together (WIT) conference will take place on 4 July, the event organisers have announced.

The WIT conference aims to provide a forum to discuss ways in which the industry can improve access and conditions for women plumbers.

This year’s conference will take place on 4 July at the Building Centre, Store Street, London, but the format will be slightly different with round table discussions added so that delegates can share stories and experiences of working in the industry.

Features of this year’s conference include:

  • Engaging speakers
  • Round Tables
  • Networking
  • Raffle
  • Lunch

For more information about the conference, please visit stopcocks.uk/women-installers-together

Women installers together conference returns for 2019

Women installers together conference returns for 2019

Source: HVP Magazine

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Low Carbon Workspaces offers £1,000 energy cashback

Throughout February and March 2019, Low Carbon Workspaces is making grants of £1,000 available to 50 small and medium-sized businesses spending over £2,000 on a first-come, first-served basis – the deadline is March 31st.

The Low Carbon Workspaces £1,000 Energy Cashback grants can be claimed towards LED lighting, heating and cooling upgrades, insulation, double-glazing, energy efficient computer servers and printers and other projects that will result in a quantifiable carbon saving.

Rowan Wallis, Low Carbon Workspaces’ Programme Manager, said: “We are delighted to open the Low Carbon Workspaces programme to SMEs with smaller energy efficiency projects, so they too can benefit from implementing energy, cost and carbon saving initiatives.”

He added: “Applications are coming in already, so I’d encourage interested businesses to get in touch with us ASAP.”

The application process is quick and easy, however, the grant must be awarded before installation commences or any payments to suppliers are made (including deposits).

To apply, visit: https://www.lowcarbonworkspaces.co.uk/EnergyCashback.

Low Carbon Workspaces offers £1,000 energy cashback

Low Carbon Workspaces offers £1,000 energy cashback

Source: Professional Electrician 

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Bosch Commerical and Industrial announces enhancements to its GB162 light commercial gas boiler

Bosch Commercial and Industrial has announced a series of enhancements to its popular GB162 light commercial gas boiler, for improved installation, servicing and operation.

Increased flexibility

For the first time, the GB162 is available as an 85kW model, meaning the boiler is now available in outputs of 50kW, 65kW, 85kW and 100kW. With the condensing boiler’s innovative cascade design, it can cater for large heat demands of up to 1.6MW, coming into and out of operation when required to ensure even load matching.

A key feature of the new GB162 is the introduction of overpressure flues which result in reduced installation height and increased flexibility. With each flue containing a flue gas non-return valve, the need for a large cascade flue header is removed, while flue gases are prevented from re-entering cascaded boilers which aren’t firing. This results in reduced installation costs due to smaller flue diameters, and makes the solution even better suited for buildings with narrower chimneys and in plant rooms with low ceilings and restricted space, making it retrofit friendly.

Advanced commissioning and servicing

The new boiler model also features an improved syphon with a threaded connection for a secure fit, offering peace of mind to the commissioning engineer, while 360° insulation helps to reduce heat loss and energy consumption. The addition of a single-sided removable cover also improves access to internal components to simplify servicing and maintenance, particularly for cascades in tight plant rooms.

The GB162 now boasts a new pump group which offers the combination of lower hydraulic resistance and more residual pump head, which is ideal for single boilers and single heating circuit installations to reduce installation costs and energy bills, as there is no need to run an external system pump.

State-of-the-art control

Crucially, the updated GB162 is compatible with the leading connected commercial boiler control. The Control 8000 allows for medium and large commercial heating systems to be monitored and controlled remotely via a computer or tablet, helping service engineers to know exactly what is wrong with the heating system before they come to site.

Tim Davies, Business Development Director at Bosch Commercial and Industrial, comments: “The GB162 is an extremely popular product in our commercial boiler portfolio due to its ease of installation, reliability, and high performance. By listening to feedback from heating engineers and building a number of enhancements into the model, we have been able to make it even more versatile for a wider variety of large domestic and commercial installations, from large homes to schools and care facilities.”

For more information on Bosch Commercial and Industrial and its range of heating, cooling and hot water technologies, please visit www.bosch-commercial.co.uk. Alternatively, follow Bosch Commercial and Industrial on Twitter (@BoschHeating_UK) and LinkedIn (Bosch Commercial and Industrial UK).

Bosch Commerical and Industrial announces enhancements to its GB162 light commercial gas boiler

Bosch Commerical and Industrial announces enhancements to its GB162 light commercial gas boiler

Source: Installer Online

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Construction buyers report first work dip in nearly a year

Construction buyers saw industry activity contract in February for the first time in 11 months.

The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Total Activity Index registered 49.5 in February – the first time it has dipped below the 50 no-change mark since March 2018.

A drop in commercial and civil engineering work caused the fall with residential construction the only sector still expanding.

Tim Moore, Economics Associate Director at IHS Markit, said: “The UK construction sector moved into decline during February as Brexit anxiety intensified and clients opted to delay decision-making on building projects.

“Risk aversion in the commercial sub-category has exerted a downward influence on workloads throughout the year so far. This reflects softer business spending on fixed assets such as industrial units, offices and retail space.

“The fall in commercial work therefore hints at a further slide in domestic business investment during the first quarter, continuing the declines seen in 2018.

“There were also reports that the more fragile housing market confidence has begun to act as a brake on residential work, which adds to signs that house building has lost momentum since the end of last year.

“This leaves the construction sector increasingly reliant on large-scale infrastructure projects for growth over the year ahead.

“Construction companies pared back their purchasing activity in response to subdued demand in February, but delivery delays for inputs were among the highest seen over the past four years.

“Survey respondents noted that stockpiling efforts by the UK manufacturing sector had an adverse impact on transport availability and supplier capacity across the construction supply chain.

“On a more positive note, input price inflation held close to January’s two-and-a-half year low.

“The slowdown in cost pressures from the peaks seen in the first half of 2018 provides a signal that the worst phase has passed for supplier price hikes related to sterling depreciation.”

Construction buyers report first work dip in nearly a year

Construction buyers report first work dip in nearly a year

Source: Construction Enquirer

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The world surges ahead

The 18th Edition regulations represent a change of protection for installations, designed especially to increase the level of safety and reduce the risks associated with transient over-voltages. With the changes now in force, Scott Gallagher of Finder looks at the origins of surge protection.

A shocking start

In 1752, Benjamin Franklin conducted his revolutionary experiment capturing charges from a mere cloud. An early adopter of health and safety, Franklin was cautious to stand on an insulator, keeping his long-frizzled hair dry under cover to protect himself and to prevent the disaster of an electric shock.

Others, captivated by the projects of Franklin, were indeed electrocuted in performing lighting experiments during the months immediately following, which highlighted the danger and the importance of the possibility of this discovery. Not one to be disengaged from his passions, Franklin invented the ‘lightning rod’, the first real step in surge protection.

Enlightenment

1775 marked the year that Alessandro Volta, a professor of physics at the Royal School in Como, developed an improved version of the ‘Electrophorus’; a device that produced controlled, high voltage, static electricity. Volta continued his investigations and in 1776 ignited methane with an electrical spark, 80 years before the invention of the spark plug. One of the first to develop a real understanding of electricity, Volta went on to create the ‘Voltaic Pile’, a precursor to the modern battery, and now all those volts in a surge are named after him as a mark of his discoveries.

The world surges ahead

Franklin’s invention of the ‘lightning rod’ provided the world with what was thought to be almost all of the protection it needed, stopping tall buildings from catching fire during the vicious thunderstorms that arose, until the invention of the ‘electric telegraph’.

However, the development of electrical distribution systems in the late 19th Century brought the unfortunate consequences of electrical disturbances to everyone. And as those systems and the attached installations manifested in size, complexity, and value, so did the need for a more sophisticated approach for protection. That leads us to what we have today and the topic of this article, a new change in the wiring regulations.

Changes to the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations

January 2019 represented an important milestone in the industry. Changes for the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations went live, and some of these changes mean that surge protection devices (SPDs) have increased importance in installations. Now, a risk assessment is required to be carried out by an electrician to determine whether an SPD should be installed. If a risk assessment is not carried out, then an SPD must be automatically installed.

The risk assessment should consider criteria such as:

  • The probability of lightning strikes
  • The exposure of the building to transients
  • The sensitivity and value of the electrical equipment that requires protection
  • Earthing systems
  • Level of protection required

Over-voltage protection is now required in certain circumstances, such as: where there is a risk of serious injury or loss of life; where many co-located people are affected; and where there is an interruption to public services or commercial/industrial activity.

The world surges ahead

The world surges ahead

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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Kent Uni tenders £20m life science building

The University of Kent is pressing ahead with plans to build a £20m Life Science Building at its Canterbury Campus in Kent.

Architect Stride Treglown with building services engineer Hoare Lea and Craddys have designed the new education building which will connect to the existing science block.

Expressions of interest must be made by the end of March on the Delta E-sourcing portal with bids expected to be invited from selected contractors by 5 April.

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Nottingham Forest unveil stadium revamp plans

Nottingham Forest have revealed plans to redevelop the City Ground in a move that will see it become the largest stadium in the East Midlands.

The club have been drawing up redevelopment plans for 18 months with the aim of starting at the end of next season.

Plans include building a new Peter Taylor Stand and improvements to the Trentside area, Brian Clough and Bridgford Stands.

The new stand will include a museum, new club shop and a range of hospitality lounge facilities. When complete The City Ground’s capacity will reach 38,000.

The club unveiled the stadium plan, drawn up by architect Benoy, after an agreement with the City Council for an extended lease on The City Ground

Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis said: “The City Ground has iconic history and memories for our supporters and these legacies were fundamental in our decision us to remain on the banks of the River Trent and not relocating to an alternative site.

“This is our home and we will remain here forever.

“This investment is about our club and the city of Nottingham and we are all committed together to deliver a place that we will all feel proud of, The New City Ground, our home forever.”

Nottingham Forest unveil stadium revamp plans

Nottingham Forest unveil stadium revamp plans

Source: Construction Enquirer

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January 2019 Newsletter

January 2019 Newsletter

 

‘The benefits for carbon reduction, Wind win for Wales, Colleges gearing up for sparks 2019 competition, Modular village to be built in Corby for London commuters, Funding deal for landmark Birmingham resi tower‘.

 

Quick Links

 


Start with the plug

BEAMA is to support the launch of ReDESIGNING REGULATION – Powering from the future.

Launched in Parliament on the 11 December this report helps to untangle the ‘spaghetti of regulation’ that currently exists for the energy sector and return the UK to the forefront of regulatory innovation.

A decarbonised, decentralised and digitalised energy system does not fit into the current regulatory framework. The authors propose as a nation we need to ‘re-engineer the system’ and to do this requires a ‘fundamental rethink of the market design, starting at the plug’.BEAMA agrees doing nothing is not an option to avoid missing out on opportunities for innovation and the UK will be ill-equipped to regulate and manage an increasingly complex system to ensure consumers are protected.

 

Start with the plug

Start with the plug

 

Source: Electrical Review

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Updated technical guidance by Ofgem released

Updated technical guidance by Ofgem has clarified the treatment of existing payments for homes that currently export solar power to the grid and that want to install battery storage and smart meters.

The clarification is good news for people with existing solar homes looking to invest in battery storage alongside a smart meter, because it means they will continue to be eligible to keep their ‘deemed’ payments for their solar exports. The market had previously been hindered by conflicting guidance.

Nick Wood, chair of the Solar Trade Association’s (STA) Residential Energy Storage Working Group, said: “The government has been telling the industry that it wants to see battery storage market take off in the UK, but the confusion around installing battery storage with existing Feed-In Tariff-accredited solar has been a key barrier.

“It’s very good news that Ofgem has listened and that it has made the right decision to help unlock the retrofit market. This now means that the domestic battery storage industry in the UK can install batteries and smart meters in existing solar homes with confidence that deemed export payments, which are valued by solar home owners, are safe.”

The news helps to unlock the tremendous potential for storage in the UK’s 900,000 solar homes, which represent low hanging fruit for the smart energy transition.

While the explanation published is complex and would benefit from greater clarity, from conversations with Ofgem the STA is confident the updated configurations published means that, in practice, where a domestic customer already has FIT-accredited solar and wishes to install battery storage behind a smart meter, they can now retain their deemed export payments provided that the usual requirements to quality for deemed export are met.

Recent analysis by Imperial College for Ovo Energy estimates that the full flexibility potential from ‘smart homes’ could save the power system up to £6.9 billion per annum.

STA members are already able to provide smart home functionality, but regulatory barriers for export metering need to be addressed and markets for local flexibility created.

 

Updated technical guidance by Ofgem released

Updated technical guidance by Ofgem released

 

Source: HPM Magazine

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Call to action for investment in training

The UK is on the verge of what is probably the most momentous change to its business climate since it entered the Common Market 40 years ago, and yet the construction sector is struggling to meet historical challenges, let alone those which it will inevitably face post-Brexit.

We are in an age where we are facing the retirement of the baby boomers! 22% of workers in the sector are aged between 50 and 60, compared with only nine per cent being 24 or younger. The challenge is how to transfer all that knowledge to new entrants before it is lost. Surveys repeatedly show that the construction industry is not attracting enough talent to meet growing demand. A recent BSRIA survey (November 2018) found that 78% of its member companies were having trouble finding suitably qualified workers.Government’s approach to this has resulted in a situation where in 2018 fewer students are considering university courses for fear of the debt they will incur.

Its apprenticeship scheme, for many seen as the utopian answer to encourage vocational training, is stalling, with only 114,400 overall starts between August and October 2017 compared with 155,700 in the same period in 2016.Recent announcements allowing levy payments to more easily flow down through the supply chain are welcome attempts to reverse this trend. In the BSRIA survey, 64% of firms in the sector are planning to recruit apprentices over the next three years to help plug the skills gap.

Stagnant productivity is also a major problem, with a recent World Economic Forum study found that the construction industry’s productivity advancements have been “meagre” compared to those in the rest of the world’s industries during the last 50 years. The study reported that the construction industry has actually lost productivity over the last 40 years.Government has set industry a target to lower greenhouse emissions by 50 per cent by 2025. While admiring ambition, some would say this may be unrealistic. According to the UK Green Building Council, the construction and maintenance of buildings and other structures is responsible for around half of CO2 emissions in the UK.Bsria has said the UK will not be able to address these issues without focusing on the provision of vocational training in our industry.

Short courses, in particular, offer the opportunity for exposure to the latest ideas, technologies, processes and techniques leading to an increase in our capacity to adopt new methods and technologies. From these foundations will spring improvements to productivity.The development of training modules aimed at recent entrants to the sector will make them more productive more quickly, improve worker motivation and reduce staff turnover and absenteeism. Training in the latest project management and construction methods will ultimately improve work quality, leading to better customer satisfaction and improvement in the well being of building occupants.

 

Call to action for investment in training

Call to action for investment in training

 

Source: Electrical Review

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The benefits for carbon reduction

Former international development minister, Mike Foster, who now runs the influential trade body the Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA), has called for the UK’s climate change policy to seek international development gains too.

In a submission to the government’s advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), ‘Building a zero-carbon economy’, call for evidence, Mike highlighted the co-benefits that could accrue from adopting a sensible policy framework.

These co-benefits reduce carbon emissions, but also lead to major development gains such as improved health, economic development and greater educational opportunities – all key aspects of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Mike, chief executive, EUA, said: “The UK is at the forefront of climate change policy with its Climate Change Act. It is also, and I speak from experience, a world-leader on international development matters. In response to the CCC’s consultation, I’ve suggested greater use of joint work.

“As an example, supporting some of the poorest people on the planet to give up burning wood for cooking, and using a cleaner fuel such as portable LPG, reduces carbon emissions from cooking. It also stops trees being felled, allowing them to absorb carbon dioxide.

“Indoor wood burning creates enormous health problems, through inhalation of smoke. This impacts economic development. Using LPG cookers allows family members more time to take up paid employment too.

“If the UK, as part of its ambition, took action, we could reduce carbon emissions from the poorest countries, who probably can’t afford to do so themselves, and the UK could reduce global carbon levels cheaper than if it restricted its actions to just UK carbon production.”

 

The benefits for carbon reduction

The benefits for carbon reduction

 

Source: HPM Magazine

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Wind win for Wales

Scaling up offshore wind generation could help Wales meet its renewable energy and decarbonisation targets, as well as deliver local economic stimulus, says a new report out now. The report, Future Potential for Offshore Wind in Wales, produced by the Carbon Trust for the Welsh Government, delivers a series of recommendations to policymakers to capitalise on the clean growth potential of offshore wind farms.

Currently, 48% of Welsh energy consumption is supplied from renewable technologies. The report estimates that an additional 2 GW of offshore wind power could be delivered by just 2-3 projects in Wales, contributing over two-thirds of Wales’ 70% renewable energy target by 2030 and putting Wales on course to achieve its carbon reduction goal of at least 80% by 2050.Despite limited offshore wind activity in recent years, new seabed leasing and site extensions administered by The Crown Estate are set to open new opportunities for offshore wind development in Wales. Relatively shallow waters off North Wales, in particular, are expected to be attractive for near-term development, while deeper waters off Pembrokeshire hold considerable long-term potential for floating offshore wind technology.

 

Wind win for Wales

Wind win for Wales

 

Source: Electrical Review

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Modular village to be built in Corby for London commuters

Groundworks will start this month on a new modular village in Corby, Northants targeted at London commuters.

The 47 homes will be built at Priors Hall Park by modular specialist Project Etopia who took over the site when a previous eco-homes scheme stalled.

Etopia Corby will contain 31 houses and 16 apartments with a 4-bed expected to sell for between £320,000 and £350,000.

Factory construction of exterior shells of the new homes will start in February and the first four homes are due to be completed by the end of March with each unit taking no more than six to eight weeks to build.

Joseph Daniels, CEO of Project Etopia, said: “Old building techniques are exacerbating the housing crisis and it’s totally unnecessary.

“Corby is leading the way in showing how villages of the future should be built. Modular building is now so advanced, it is senseless to cling to bricks and mortar, which takes longer to build and is far more expensive.

“With a desperate need for more housing stock around the country, it is vital developers and investors finally let go of preconceptions of modular building.

“These are homes people really want to live in and they present huge environmental benefits from being energy neutral to requiring less on-site traffic during the build.

“Commuter villages like this offer younger would-be homeowners the wage benefits of working in the capital but without the high property costs, and Etopia Corby will be a model other councils can follow.”

 

Modular village to be built in Corby for London commuters

Modular village to be built in Corby for London commuters

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Nottingham council injects £50m to kickstart Broadmarsh scheme

Nottingham City Council has agreed on a £50m cash injection to allow the redevelopment of the Broadmarsh shopping centre finally to start.

The funding green light allowed shopping centre developer intu’s board to agree to go ahead, which now means contracts can be finalised.

Sir Robert McAlpine is preferred bidder for the £150m main shopping centre revamp with several contractors in the bidding to redevelop the adjacent car park site with a new central library and bus station.

The line-up of remaining bidders for the £50m project includes Bowmer & Kirkland and G F Tomlinson.

Approval to proceed with the shopping centre and car park redevelopments are essential parts of the Broadmarsh regeneration programme of the southern city centre, which will see £250m invested in the area and see works begin early next year.

Broadmarsh Regeneration plan

  • Redevelop intu Broadmarsh into a modern retail and leisure destination
  • Create a pedestrianised and pedestrian friendly area between intu Broadmarsh and Nottingham Station
  • Provide a brand new bus station and car park
  • Create a state of the art Central Library
  • Transform Nottingham Castle into a world-class tourist destination
  • Develop a new Nottingham College building.

The intu Broadmarsh and Car Park developments have been funded by significant private sector investment, grants and future income from these developments.

Councillor Jon Collins, Leader of the City Council, said: “This is the latest step in turning our proposals for the Broadmarsh area into reality, and approval means that subject to contracts being signed, works in the area can start very quickly and hopefully very soon.

“The City Council and our partners are investing heavily in this redevelopment, which is inspiring private sector investment around the area, at Unity Square, City Buildings and the Island Site to name a few, meaning there will be better opportunities for those who live and work here and more prosperity for local people.

“The money the council is investing in this is not council tax – we have secured external funding and loans, supported by increasing car parking, advertising and rental income so council services aren’t affected.”

 

Nottingham council injects £50m to kickstart Broadmarsh scheme

Nottingham council injects £50m to kickstart Broadmarsh scheme

 

Source: Construction Enquirer 

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How your organisation can benefit from ECA membership

ECA is the UK’s largest trade association representing electrotechnical and engineering services organisations, 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 the domestic, commercial, industrial and public 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.

ECA is renowned for ‘going the extra mile’ to help members find the solutions they need and offer a range of key benefits and services, including the following:

  • Free Expert Technical Helpline: Across the full range of electrotechnical disciplines, including electrical, fire, security, high voltage, energy solutions, data communications, building controls, and smart buildings.
  • eRAMS is ECA’s highly regarded online risk assessment and method statement service (free to members) – and it includes eCPP (Construction Phase Plans).
  • Free Expert Business Helpline:Including commercial and legal, health and safety, prequalification, employment and HR, and skills.
  • Discounted BSI Online Library:Extensive access to 80 key industry standards, for just £100 (plus VAT) – an annual saving of up to £18K for your organisation.
  • Free access to industry-leading, authoritative information: Including policy and contract templates, comprehensive technical and business guidance and information, and other exclusive ‘member-only’ website content.
  • Representation and Lobbying: Ensuring that the voice of members is heard by politicians, civil servants, and other key decision-makers.
  • CPD Events & Networking: At national, regional and local level (across our 12 regions), ECA offers a range of networking opportunities, conferences, industry forums and social events – helping you to maximise your business network.

In addition to this, as an ECA member, your organisation can display the prestigious ECA logo, and benefit from ECA’s active promotion of its members’ capabilities to clients, specifiers and main contractors, and in the press.

Your organisation will also be able to offer ECA’s insurance-backed warranty and bond (at no charge) to clients, to provide assurance that your work will be completed to required technical industry standards.

Plus, if your company has already achieved ECA-recognised technical certification, you may be eligible immediately to apply for ECA membership, and receive a 25 per cent discount in your first year.*

To find out more about the extensive member services and exclusive benefits and discounts available, please visit www.eca.co.uk/membership.

 

How your organisation can benefit from ECA membership

How your organisation can benefit from ECA membership

 

Source: Electrical Trade Magazine

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The FPS urges people over 75 to sign up to cold weather priority initiative

The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) is urging the elderly aged 75+ using heating oil to sign up to its Cold Weather Priority initiative before the cold weather hits the UK, as it responds to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics which show an estimated 50,100 excess winter deaths in England and Wales during winter 2017/18.

Launched by trade association FPS andits members across the UK and Ireland, the Cold Weather Priority scheme identifies heating oil customers, aged 75+, who are most vulnerable to cold conditions. The scheme ensures FPS member heating oil suppliers prioritise everyone on the scheme and undertake best endeavours for heating oil deliveries, especially in times of fuel shortage or extreme cold weather.

“The latest figures emphasise that it is the elderly who are most vulnerable in the winter months and that a warm home is vital in the fight against excess winter deaths,” says Guy Pulham, FPS Chief Executive.

“The Cold Weather Priority is an industry initiative we launched last year, designed to identify those most at risk so we can ensure heating oil deliveries are prioritised for them and they can continue to heat their homes during the winter months.

“While supply shortages and extreme weather are thankfully rare, they do happen, as the Beast from the East in late February 2018 demonstrated. The Cold Weather Priority helped enormously during this extreme cold snap and meant our members were able to deliver heating oil to those most in need despite the logistical challenges caused by the weather.

“Cold homes can be devastating for individuals, and can cause health problems such as increased blood pressure or lowered immune system making that person more vulnerable to respiratory infections. It is absolutely vital we do all we can to ensure no one suffers the awful consequences of a poorly heated home.

“Our FPS members supply up to 1.5 million rural homes in the UK with heating oil. To date, near to 10,000 people have signed up to the Cold Weather Priority but we want more people to sign up before the weather turns much colder and the forecasted Beast From The East 2019 hits.

“If you want to sign up to the Cold Weather Priority, simply get in touch with your local FPS member who supplies your heating oil and they’ll help you. Similarly, if you know any neighbours, friends or loved ones who are aged 75 and over and who heat their homes using heating oil, encourage them to sign up to the initiative to ensure they stay warm this winter.”

To find out more about the scheme, visit the Cold Weather Priority website.

 

The FPS urges people over 75 to sign up to cold weather priority initiative 

The FPS urges people over 75 to sign up to cold weather priority initiative

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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Colleges gearing up for sparks 2019 competition

This year we’re celebrating the 10th birthday of the SPARKS UK Electrical Apprentice of the Year competition. An incredible showcase of young electrical talent, this competition is a great opportunity for student electricians to connect with each other and with industry experts.

Spanning across 7 UK regions with entrants from over 70 colleges and campuses, heats take place throughout January and February. The winner of each regional heat and the highest scoring runner-up will go on to the grand final, which will take place at the 3M Customer Innovation Centre in Bracknell, Berkshire in March.

Level 2 and 3 students will compete in practical tasks, and be judged by industry experts. Last year’s finalists completed the most comprehensive test to date and this year’s competition is set to be even more exciting!

The stakes are high, with an incredible list of prizes worth up to £10,000 up for grabs, not to mention the prestige for both the winning student and their college. The prizes have been donated by well-known industry names including Schneider Electric, Electric Center, WAGO, 3M, HiKOKI, the IET and Rated People.

Last year’s winner, Matt Taylor, from Farnborough College of Technology, said: “I’m ecstatic – I just didn’t see myself winning. I entered to give myself a challenge and I’ve definitely achieved that. The other competitors were great and what I’ll take away from this is the knowledge that I can do something that I thought I couldn’t.”

Running alongside the competition is the Meet the Lecturer/Manufacturer series, a chance for the industry’s most prominent manufacturers to showcase their products and opportunities. This will give lecturers insight into the ever-changing market trade scene to pass on to the next generation of electricians.

“This is now the 10th year of our competition, and it has provided many life changing opportunities for our competing apprentices,” said Celia Matthews, owner of SPARKS Magazine. “Many competitors have gone on to very successful employment or to own their own businesses, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2019’s participants.”

Taking part in the competition can do amazing things for an electrician’s career, and we now have 9 years’ worth of contestants out in the world proving just that.

 

colleges gearing up for sparks 2019 competition

Colleges gearing up for sparks 2019 competition

 

Source: Electrical Times

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Energy theft would be ignored by one in four people, research discovers

A research report has found that one in four UK residents wouldn’t report an instance of energy meter tampering, despite 92% agreeing that the practice is morally wrong.

The study was commissioned by Echo Managed Services and Grosvenor Services Group, and endorsed by Crimestoppers UK.

It surveyed 2,000 UK residents and found that only 54% of the public would report a suspected instance of energy theft “without question”, with a further 21% saying they would alert authorities to the crime, but only if it took place in their local vicinity.

A number of justifications arose among those who would not report an energy thief. These included answers such as it “wasn’t their business” (8%), that they would not want to betray a friend or family member involved (10%), or they thought the person in question was doing it for a valid reason (4%).

Turning a blind eye to this crime is a more common stance among younger people, with 33% of 18-24 year olds and 38% of 25-34 year olds preferring not to act on their knowledge in varying circumstances.

When asked why they wouldn’t report meter tampering, 44% of people said they would be worried about the potential personal repercussions, with a further 13% saying that it’s nothing to do with them. More than one in 10 said that they believe energy companies already make enough money and therefore energy theft causes no harm.

19% said that they wouldn’t know who to report it to, with 11% saying that there would be no point as it’s unlikely that anything would be done about it.

Lloyd Birkhead, Managing Director of Grosvenor Services Group, said: “Demonstrating the impact of investigations is also key – rather than keeping the great work being done to tackle energy theft covert, more could be done to let the public know about meter changeovers, arrests and convictions, underlining how this has prevented injuries and will help tackle inflated bills.

“These figures show that the energy sector mustn’t assume that the general public will be working with them to reduce energy theft; as it stands at least one quarter won’t.”

 

energy theft would be ignored by one in four people, research discovers

Energy theft would be ignored by one in four people, research discovers

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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Funding deal for landmark Birmingham resi tower

Funding has been secured for one of Birmingham’s tallest residential blocks in the second phase of the City’s Exchange Square scheme.

This morning build to rent specialist Grainger said that it had agreed to forward fund and acquire the planned 373-home project for £77m.

The deal still requires developer Nikal to secure planning consent but should allow construction to start in mid-2019, 

Already planning is in place for 223 flats. But Nikal will now submit fresh proposals in early 2019  for a landmark building that has been mooted at 46-storeys.

This would make it the tallest residential tower in Birmingham.

The tower, will form part of a new urban village at Exchange Square, and will be a gateway landmark for those arriving at the Birmingham HS2 Curzon Street Station, which is directly opposite the site.

Presently, Sir Robert McAlpine is working on the first phase of developer Nikal’s Exchange Square in Birmingham City Centre, which  consists of three buildings, including a 27 storey tower.

Helen Gordon, Chief Executive of Grainger, said: “We are delighted to announce today’s acquisition at Exchange Square in Birmingham for £77m, which will deliver 373 homes for rent in a great central location in one of our top target cities.”

Once Exchange Square is complete, Grainger will have 529 purpose-built PRS homes in Birmingham worth .£105m, including our other PRS development scheme, Gilders Yard in the Jewellery Quarter.”

Waheed Nazir, Corporate Director, Birmingham City Council said: “The skyline in Birmingham City Centre is changing rapidly and investment and confidence is at an all-time high.”

 

Funding deal for landmark Birmingham resi tower

Funding deal for landmark Birmingham resi tower

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Britain heads for worst house building decade since 1940s

Britain is heading for the worst house building decade since World War Two.

Despite Government efforts to boost house building, completions in England between 2010 and 2019 are set to average out at around 130,000 per year.

This is well short of the 147,000 achieved in the 2000s or the 150,000 of the 1990s, and half of the level in the 1960s and 1970s.

The picture becomes even worse when population size is factored in.

In the 1960s, the new-build construction rate in England was roughly the equivalent of one home for every 14 people over the decade. In the 2010s, that ratio was one to 43, more than three times higher.

The figures are improved somewhat when you factor in conversions of existing properties, which push the total up – but even then, the total of net additional dwellings – the yardstick for overall housing supply – is likely to be lower this decade than last.

Across the United Kingdom as a whole, the pattern is broadly similar, with house building falling from a peak of 3.6m new units in the 1960s to 1.9m in the 1990s and 2000s, with the 2010s set to come in lower still.

Robert Colvile, Director of the Centre for Policy Studies, said: “The housing crisis is blighting the lives of a generation, and robbing them of the dream of home ownership.

“But as this analysis shows, this is not just the consequence of the financial crisis – it is part of a pattern stretching back half a century, in which we have steadily built fewer and fewer new homes.

“The Government has rightly promised to focus on this issue, and there are encouraging signs that house building is picking up.

“But ministers need to take bold action in 2019 to ensure that the 2020s become the decade in which we break this hugely damaging cycle.”

 

Britain heads for worst house building decade since 1940s

Britain heads for worst house building decade since 1940s

 

Source: Construction Enquirer 

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Firms wanted for £30m Coventry Uni arts building

Coventry University has opened prequalification for firms to build a new faculty of arts and humanities and overhaul several existing buildings

It aims to spend around £30m delivering the redevelopment scheme, which is expected to get underway at the start of next year and run for nearly three years.

The project will be broken down into three key elements. This includes construction of a new 40,000 sq ft three storey, building adjacent to the existing school of art and design accommodation and full overhauls of an 80,000 sq ft, six storey tower and 45,000 sq ft four-storey block.

The site of the proposed new build element is currently green open space between the buildings being redeveloped around the Graham Sutherland building at Cox Street in the city centre.

A planning application will be submitted by the University design team this April with the aim of signing off stage III design at the start of May to award the design and build contract in June.

Firms can express an interest in bidding on the in-tend website by 19 January.

 

Firms wanted for £30m Coventry Uni arts building

Firms wanted for £30m Coventry Uni arts building

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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December 2018 Newsletter

December 2018 Newsletter

‘Vent-Axia welcomes healthy homes and buildings white paper, Keeping your heating on during freezing weather, STA welcomes governments stance on solar, Three quarters of plumbers at risk of knee problems, Small business receive boost from budget plans.

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Vent-Axia welcomes healthy homes and buildings white paper

Leading British ventilation manufacturer Vent-Axia is delighted to welcome the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Healthy Homes and Buildings’ White Paper Building our Future: Laying the Foundations for Healthy Homes and Buildings, published on 24 October 2018. The White Paper makes clear recommendations to the Government on how it can improve standards in housing to benefit occupants’ health and wellbeing. This follows on from the APPG’s green paper published last year which set out the political, economic and business case for healthy homes and buildings.

The White Paper details how, as a nation, healthy homes and buildings can and should be delivered. These fall under three overarching recommendations.

  • The Government needs to establish a cross-departmental committee for health and buildings to champion change; recognising the interaction between buildings, health, education and the economy.
  • To grow the research and evidence base to develop a clear case for further Government action to improve new build standards.
  • To make renovation of current housing stock and infrastructure a Government priority and develop plans for retrofitting that takes a holistic approach to maximising health and wellbeing.

Within these recommendations to help overcome the problem of unhealthy homes the White Paper calls for better and consistent building standards and regulations. It also calls for both New Build building design and building renovations to consider health and wellbeing and take a holistic approach to consider elements such as ventilation, air quality, lighting and acoustics.

At Vent-Axia we are committed to sharing the importance of ventilation with households to help protect public health. We therefore support the publication of the APPG’s White Paper and welcome its recommendations,” said Jenny Smith, Marketing Manager at Vent-Axia. “Ventilation is often overlooked when implementing energy efficiency measures in homes. This can have a detrimental effect on indoor air quality. Without good ventilation in a home air quality can potentially deteriorate and as a result can lead to condensation, mould and a build-up of toxic chemicalsWe are therefore delighted that the White Paper calls for a national renovation strategy that takes a holistic approach to building renovation and that it recommends improved standards and regulations, which will improve installer best practice.”

A staggering 65% of homes in the UK suffer from poor indoor air quality (IAQ) as a result of inadequate ventilation. This is having a significant negative impact on the health of people in their homes with poor IAQ contributing towards many serious health problems such as asthma, lung cancer, strokes and cardiovascular disease.

In the White Paper it cites that poor IAQ is reported to cost the UK over 204,000 healthy life years, with 45% of those lost to cardiovascular diseases, 23% to asthma and allergy and 15% to lung cancer with the Royal College of Physicians warning in 2016 that indoor air pollutants cause at a minimum, thousands of deaths per year and are associated with healthcare costs in the order of ‘tens of millions of pounds’.

The publication of the White Paper follows hot on the heels of DEFRA’s new Clean Air Strategy consultation, published on 22 May 2018, which confirmed the importance of clean air in the home. This draft strategy outlines the Government’s ambitions to reduce air pollution, making our air healthier to breathe, protecting nature and boosting the economy, with the draft setting a clear direction for future air quality policies and goals. The consultation closed in August 2018 and the final UK Clean Air Strategy and detailed National Air Pollution Control Programme is to be published by March 2019.

To help protect health in the home Vent-Axia has been working hard to provide ventilation solutions to improve IAQ for households. Designed to work with the natural air infiltration, continuous ventilation systems control the air path through the home, preventing the migration of damaging humidity and pollutants, such as VOCs.

For new builds, Vent-Axia’s Sentinel Kinetic mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) system boasts an impressive 94% thermal efficiency. For private refurbishments, Vent-Axia’s Lo-Carbon Svara offers quiet, disturbance-free running helping ensure good indoor air quality and comfort. Meanwhile the Lo-Carbon Revive and the new PoziDry ProTM PIV unit has been designed specifically with social housing in mind offering an effective continuous ventilation solution for residents.

For up-to-date ventilation guidance visit www.vent-axia.com/healthyhomes. For further information on all products and services offered by Vent-Axia telephone 0844 856 0590 or visit www.vent-axia.com.

vent-axia

Vent-Axia welcomes healthy homes and buildings white paper

Source: Electrical Times

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Ideal Boilers adds Amazon Alexa integration to boiler thermostat

Ideal Boilers has announced that it is introducing Amazon Alexa integration to its Touch Connect product, giving customers the option to control their home heating through voice activation.

Touch Connect thermostats can now connect with Amazon’s voice-activated speaker, Amazon Echo, enabling the technology to respond to spoken commands through Alexa.

Customers can now ask Alexa to check their home temperature, turn the heating up or down, turn heating completely on or off or even return to any pre-set schedules. It’s also possible to check what the heating temperature is currently set to before making the decision to adjust. A series of commonly used phrases, such as ‘make it warmer’ or ‘turn the heating down’ have been programmed for use.

Luke Pykett, Head of Marketing at Ideal Boilers, commented: “Earlier this year we responded to increasing consumer demand for smart home devices through introducing Touch Connect, the app-controlled thermostat offering total heating comfort directly from smartphones, and have received fantastic customer feedback.

“As part of our mission to deliver incredible customer service we are continuing to innovate and enhance usability through introducing voice activated command services, making it even easier for customers to control their heating when, where and how they wish to.”

The use of smart speakers in UK homes is on the rise. YouGov reports that UK ownership has doubled in six months, from Q3 2017 to Q1 2018 and around 1 in 10 Brits currently own a smart speaker, which totals around 6.6 million people. 75% of the UK market uses Amazon Echo, making it the clear market leader.

idea-boilersIdeal Boilers adds Amazon Alexa integration to boiler thermostat 

Ideal Boilers adds Amazon Alexa integration to boiler thermostat

Source: HVP Magazine

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Keeping your heating on during freezing weather 

There are over 1.6 million new Condensing boilers installed every year and they can produce between 600 and 1200 litres of condensate per year which needs to be piped to a drain. If the pipework runs externally, isn’t large enough and insulated with PVC coated weather proof insulation. This pipework can freeze sending the boiler into lockout mode and will leave the home without heating.

Dave Salmon, of Plymstock Gas & Heating Services Ltd in Plymouth is one of many installers across the country that gets called out by his customers’ during harsh winter conditions within the boiler condensate pipes frozen up and putting boilers out of action.

Having followed the boiler manufacturers technical advice which solved the problem in the short term, Dave began working on a long term solution. This led to the development of the Boiler Buoy condensate bypass valve, a solution which allows the engineer or householder to drain off the condensate in a controlled way using a valve connection and hose.

This easy to fit, low cost solution can be fitted as part of the original boiler installation or during emergency call-outs or regular servicing. Once fitted the boiler buoy, will ensure that the boiler can operate uninterrupted throughout the coldest of winter conditions.

On his product, Dave said: “The idea came about following the winter of 2009/10 when the temperature reached a historic low and put tens of thousands of boilers out of action because of frozen condensate pipes leaving many homes without heating. As installers, whilst we can solve the problem in the short term, I felt that a long term solution was well overdue.

The products is now in its 9th year of production and tens of thousands have been installed and are a preferred option for many housing associations looking to avoid tenants being without heat in the winter months on historical boiler installations.

The product has been tested by some of the larger boiler manufacturers and acknowledged as an optional solution to keep boilers running.

During March 2018 we once again encountered severe low temperatures and home across the country were once again left without heating.

The Boiler Buoy is manufactured by Pump House and is available via all major heating wholesalers.

Keeping your heating on during freezing weather 

Keeping your heating on during freezing weather

Source: Electrical Trade Magazine

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Building controls vital to compliance 

BCIA, the Building Controls Industry Association, is encouraging the wider industry to consider the importance of implementing effective building controls from the outset of building projects in order to meet current legislation.

The 10 80 10 rule represents the total lifetime costs of a building, whereby only ten per cent of costs are invested at the design stage while a staggering 80% is spent on the running and maintaining of a building.

The BCIA is calling for a change in approach from those in the supply chain at the initial stages of building projects. By investing in an efficient controls system at the start of construction, this will dramatically lower operational costs in commercial buildings over the long term while also helping to meet a wide range of legislation.

A good example of this is the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) which came into force earlier this year. It is now unlawful for a landlord to let or renew a lease on a property if the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating is F or G.

By installing additional zone control for instance, or demand control of lighting and heating using occupancy sensors, your EPC rating can receive a welcome boost and substantially lower unnecessary energy usage. It is these relatively simple additions to the BMS system that have a significant impact on the EPC rating.

Building controls vital to compliance 

Building controls vital to compliance

Source: HPM Magazine

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Queens Cross Housing Association to install 18,000 FireAngel alarms

FireAngel has signed a contract to supply Glasgow-based Queens Cross Housing Association with over 12,000 battery-powered smoke and heat alarms.

The WST630 smoke alarms and WHT630 heat alarms will be installed in over 3,500 properties across the city centre due to Scottish Government’s pending legislative changes following the Grenfell fire tragedy.

Under these changes to the Housing (Scotland) Act, all homes will require sealed long-life battery or mains wired alarms that are interlinked, with one functioning smoke alarm in the room that is frequently used by the occupants in the daytime, one functioning smoke alarm in every circulation space on every floor, such as hallways and landings, and one heat alarm in every kitchen. A carbon monoxide alarm will also need to be fitted in each room with a carbon-fuelled appliance or flue.

The Wi-Safe 2 wireless interlink alarms from FireAngel were chosen not only to ensure each property achieves constant compliance through the use of interlinked alarms installed in the kitchen, hallway and living room, but also due to the utilisation of FireAngel’s Thermoptek Multi-Sensor technology.

Jim Williams, maintenance manager at Queens Cross Housing Association, said, “We’ve used FireAngel’s carbon monoxide alarms in the past, so we know the quality and durability of the brand well. Following the government’s legislative updates, it’s vital that we ensure we’re providing every single tenant with the highest level of protection, which we can easily achieve with FireAngel’s range of interlinked alarms.”

Over an eighteen month period, the alarms will be installed by Queens Cross Housing Association’s maintenance team, with FireAngel’s W2-CO-1OX carbon monoxide alarms also being installed in properties where there is a carbon-fuelled appliance or flue present.

Graham Whitworth, executive chairman of FireAngel, commented, “We are delighted to be providing Queens Cross Housing Association with our range of interlinked alarms. It is crucial that all Scottish housing associations are taking a proactive approach to the new legislative changes and our Wi-Safe 2 alarms help them do just that as they are designed to provide the highest levels of protection at all times.”

Queens Cross Housing Association to install 18,000 FireAngel alarms

Queens Cross Housing Association to install 18,000 FireAngel alarms

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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STA welcomes government stance on solar

The Solar Trade Association (STA) has hailed a significant breakthrough for its #Fair4Solar campaign during the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
(BEIS) Select Committee Oral Questions.

Energy Minister Claire Perry stated that “solar power should not be provided to the grid for free”, representing a shift in government stance on the issue of fair payments for surplus electricity sold to the grid.

Responding to a question from Kevin Hollinrake MP, she said “I do completely agree that solar power should not be provided to the grid for free and that’s why I’ll shortly be announcing the next steps for small scale renewables.”

She also added in answer to a question from Richard Graham MP: “It would be wrong to have power provided to the grid for free,” and in reply to a question from Alan Whitehead MP, said: “People who have gone through the installation process should not be essentially captive takers should someone want to buy their energy and I’m looking forward to announcing some further deliberations on this shortly.”

STA welcomes government stance on solar

STA welcomes government stance on solar

Source: HPM Magazine

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Smart meters research facility to open at University of Salford

The UK’s first smart meters research facility opens this month at The University of Salford.

The ‘Smart Meters>Smart Homes’ laboratory aims to supply government and consumers with data and advice on smart meter performance and usage, and provide a research base for industry and manufacturers.

University researchers, working in partnership with industry, will explore how smart meters best work in tandem with the growing array of home technology like energy savers and storage devices, EV chargers, bots, smart speakers, sensors, and wearables.

Lead Researcher Professor Will Swan said: “Domestic energy systems are becoming more complex due to the advent of renewables, time-of-use tariffs, energy storage, and a greater fluidity in the customer-supplier relationship.

“What we currently have is an explosion of tech – but little impact on common objectives like lowering bills, cutting carbon and customer satisfaction. The University of Salford can provide clarity around the benefits, possibilities and pitfalls of this new home energy technology for consumers, regulators and innovators.”

The launch, on 7 December, will be attended by Rebecca Long-Bailey, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and MP for Salford & Eccles, along with research, industry and consumer representatives.

Smart meters research facility to open at University of Salford

Smart meters research facility to open at University of Salford

Source: HVP Magazine 

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Designing longer lasting smart home sensors

Why long-lasting sensors are key to designing the home of the future!

Home automation has been gaining traction over the past few years, with massive developments in features and relevant technologies. However, these technologies are only as effective as their power source. Here, Michele Windsor, global marketing manager at home automation battery provider Ultralife Corporation, explains the importance of having long lasting batteries at the centre of home automationproduct design.

Rube Goldberg machines are a fascinating spectacle to watch, with intricate parts moving around to create a symphony of movement to perform tasks. However, to function, every single part must work perfectly, otherwise it takes a lengthy reset before the spectacle can resume.

Just like in a Rube Goldberg machine, every piece in a smart house must work perfectly in order to create the spectacle that makes your life easier and more efficient. To make sure your smart house is always working, its sensors must always be working.

Sensors are what feed data to the smart house, so it knows what time it is, what the temperature is, or whether the sun is glaring through your windows. Most sensors are battery powered and, as they need to be active constantly, it is important to make sure that they have batteries that are reliable and long lasting.

Based on Ultralife’s experience in the sector, many sensors for smart home devices arrive on the market with CR123A model batteries. However, not all these batteries are created equal. Many are often limited in their battery capacity, which means a shorter operating life for the sensor.

Design engineers can overcome this by choosing a long-lasting CR123A battery suitable for home automation sensors, such as the CR123A range of batteries produced by Ultralife. They have an improved internal spiral construction that provides a higher capacity than is currently available in similar products on the market, while remaining long lasting for home automation functions.

According to data from Strategy Analytics, 38 per cent of homes in the USA will be smart homes by 2019.Because of this, it is incredibly important to set out solid design foundations now. Putting long lasting batteries into smart homes design now will avoid mass sensor outages, customer dissatisfaction and possible backlash against manufacturers in the future.

Whether it be your security cameras, lights, sprinklers, or your fans, sensors keep smart devices fed with relevant information to ensure they are working precisely to maximize user comfort and convenience.

In a sense, making intelligent decisions about smart homes now will allow our future selves to be awed by anintricate connected Rube Goldberg machine, performing millions of tasks simultaneously to make our lives simpler and stress free.

Designing longer lasting smart home sensors

Designing longer lasting smart home sensors

Source: Electrical Trade Magazine

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Three quarters of plumbers at risk of knee problems

The study conducted by The IPG, a leading group for plumbing, heating and bathroom specialists, also discovered that 57% of plumbers surveyed felt that they would need to undergo knee replacement surgery in the future due to the hardships of the profession.

Nearly two thirds (59%) also felt that they would be forced to retire early because of the injuries they pick up in their work.

On average, a UK plumber works 47 hours a week, with around half of that time spent on their knees. This can have a detrimental effect, especially if no protective work wear is worn. However, even with kneepads 77% specified that they still experience issues.

Those who have been working for over 30 years were the ones who had the worst knee issues, with 68% stating they have had physio, keyhole surgery or other operations on their knees. However, it’s not just plumbing veterans who are experiencing problems.

Tony Dark, director of trade at The IPG, said: “This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. We would like to urge all plumbers and installers to ensure they are using specialist protection while on the job, from apprentice level all the way up to those who have been working in the trade for decades.

“It is also essential that if any plumber or installer starts to have any trouble with their knees that they consult a GP straight away in order to discover any possible problems early on to avoid more serious issues.”

Three quarters of plumbers at risk of knee problems

Three quarters of plumbers at risk of knee problems

Source: HPM Magazine

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Prepare For BS 7671:2018 Coming Into Effect

As we approach the date when the 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations (BS 7671:2018) comes into effect (January 1 2019), it is important for all electrical contractors to ensure that they are up-to-date with the new requirements.

Mark Coles, head of technical regulations at the IET, says, “The 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations contains some significant changes to the way all electrical professionals are required to carry out their work in order to safeguard themselves and the public. With this in mind, it is essential that all electrical professionals ensure that they are up to speed with the new requirements.”

This includes new and amended requirements and recommendations around the use of Arc Fault Detection Devices (AFDDs), Surge Protection Devices (SPDs), methods of support of wiring systems and earthing arrangements for electric vehicle charging equipment, among others.

To help industry get up-to-date, the IET offers a dedicated course on their online training resource, the IET Academy, offering comprehensive training for City & Guild’s 2382:18 qualification.

The IET Academy provides the only course for 2382 that has been prepared by the IET, which jointly publishes the IET Wiring Regulations with BSI. The authors have been carefully selected for their industry experience and knowledge of BS 7671. It is also the only online course to be endorsed by City & Guilds for this qualification.

David Phillips, director of apprenticeships and technical education City & Guilds said, “City & Guilds are committed to the highest standards of skills development and learning in the electrotechnical industry. We are proud to have collaborated with the IET on this innovative online tool, which will up-skill thousands of individuals on the 18th Edition. It will enable electrical professionals to get up to scratch on this important new regulation quickly, flexibly and cost-effectively.”

Fitting around work, the IET Academy provides a learning solution that doesn’t take electricians away from their job and can be completed anywhere and at any time.

The course, which is suitable for anyone needing working knowledge of BS 7671, including electrical installers, designers, specifiers and those working in the inspection and testing of electrical equipment, will also fully prepare electricians for the City & Guilds 2382:18 exam.

Martin Davies, head of the IET academy added, “The IET Academy’s Wiring Regulations course provides a customisable and flexible approach to technical learning and knowledge, allowing electricians to be in control of how their learning is delivered. This not only ensures that the course is manageable around working hours, but by using an IET endorsed course, electricians can be safe in the knowledge that they are familiar with the current requirements for electrical wiring as well as preparing them for their City & Guilds 2382:18 exam.”

The course is available for individuals or for corporate customers. For more information, visit theiet.org/academy-regs-ecn or contact academy@theiet.org.

The IET also offers BS 7671 and a range of expert guidance, both in print and digital versions, to help you get up-to-date ahead of the 18th Edition coming into effect. Find out more at theiet.org/18th-resources-ecn

Prepare For BS 7671:2018 Coming Into Effect

Prepare For BS 7671:2018 Coming Into Effect

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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Ex-gas engineer sentenced for illegal gas work while unregistered

A former gas engineer has been sentenced today after conducting gas work he was no longer registered or competent to do and leaving it in a dangerous condition.

Exeter Crown Court heard how Scott Lowry, who previously traded as S J Lowry Plumbing and Heating, undertook the installation of a new gas boiler at a property in Ivybridge during September 2017. A matter of hours after he had completed the installation, the boiler developed faults and the homeowners reported these faults to him. Mr Lowry attended the address on numerous occasions after the installation but was unable to resolve the issues. A Gas Safe-registered gas engineer later inspected the work and found it to be of poor standard, classing it as ‘At Risk’.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Mr Lowry’s membership of Gas Safe Register had expired on 19 April 2017 and, after this time, he was no longer registered to undertake gas work. Mr Lowry used his old Gas Safe Register number on the commissioning document supplied to the home owners and did so knowing that this was no longer valid. The investigation also found Scott Lowry had left the gas boiler flue that he fitted in a dangerous state that allowed the gas boiler fumes to leak into the property and could have caused carbon monoxide poisoning.

Scott Lowry of Broad Street, Modbury pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 3(3), 3(7) and 26(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He has been sentenced to eight months prison, suspended for 18 months for each offence, to run concurrently. In addition he was fined £500, and ordered to pay the homeowners £500 compensation and £1,000 for the prosecution costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Simon Jones said: “Mr Lowry undertook gas work which he knew he was not registered to do. He deliberately deceived a retired couple.

“The gas work that Mr Lowry undertook put the lives of the homeowners and anyone visiting them at serious risk from carbon monoxide poisoning.

“All gas work must be done by a registered Gas Safe engineer to ensure the highest standards are met to prevent injury and loss of life.”

Ex-gas engineer sentenced for illegal gas work while unregistered

Ex-gas engineer sentenced for illegal gas work while unregistered

Source: HVP Magazine

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Torquay Landlord handed suspended sentence for gas safety failings

A Torquay landlord has been sentenced after failing to ensure proper landlord’s gas safety checks were undertaken at his tenanted property.

Newton Abbot Magistrates’ Court heard how Mr Mehmet Sevim, a former Gas Safe-registered engineer and current landlord of residential properties, had contracted a fitter who was not a member of Gas Safe Register to undertake a landlord’s gas safety check at one of his tenanted properties.

During an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Mr Sevim repeatedly maintained throughout that he had used a person who he could not name to undertake the landlord’s gas safety check for him. He failed to make any checks on the individual, including checking if he was registered with Gas Safe Register. The investigation also found the landlord’s gas safety certificate used false Gas Safe Register engineer details which Mr Sevim later admitted to the court that he had produced the fraudulent certificate. It was also found that Mr Sevim had tried to bribe a prosecution witness before the trial by offering them £300 to change their evidence.

Mehmet Sevim of Ellacombe Church Road, Torquay was found guilty of breaching Regulations 36 (4) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations and has been sentenced to 26 weeks prison, suspended for two years and ordered to undertake 240 hours unpaid work. Mr Sevim was also ordered to pay costs of £5,330.76.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Simon Jones said: “Mr Sevim lied throughout this investigation and only at sentencing did finally tell the truth about how he falsified a landlord’s gas safety certificate.

“There can be no excuse for a landlord to ever falsify a gas safety certificate and this sentence should send a clear warning to all landlords’ that the courts take such matters very seriously.

“Landlords must ensure that only Gas Safe-registered engineers work on gas appliances at their tenanted properties. A landlord can check that a person is registered on the Gas Safe Register website and these checks are free and quick.”

Torquay Landlord handed suspended sentence for gas safety failings

Torquay Landlord handed suspended sentence for gas safety failings

Source: HVP Magazine

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Households in fuel poverty climb to £2.55 million, despite Government efforts

Fuel poor households in the UK have risen by 210,000 to 2.55 million, according to the Committee on Fuel Poverty’s (CFP) Third Annual Report.

The CFP is an advisory non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) with a remit to support and challenge the government on its fuel poverty strategy.

The committee has made a series of recommendations on how the government can alter its current strategy to meet 2020/25 milestones, and 2030 targets for fuel poverty and energy efficiency.

As a result of “slow than forecast progress” and an increase in fuel poor homes, the CFP estimates that the funding gap needed to successfully deliver the government’s fuel poverty strategy has increased from £15.1 billion to £17.1 billion.

The fuel poverty strategy is based on the idea that energy efficiency upgrades are the most effective way to tackle fuel poverty. However, because this is fundamentally a long-term strategy, it is important to have assistance schemes in place to help homeowners pay fuel bills and stay warm.

The CFP report recommends that the government improves these relevant schemes to better target fuel poor households and ensure that households in fuel poverty receive assistance at least equivalent to pensioners.

To read the CFP report, and see the committee’s full list of recommendations to the government, click here.

Households in fuel poverty climb to £2.55 million, despite Government efforts

Households in fuel poverty climb to £2.55 million, despite Government efforts

Source: HVP Magazine

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Small businesses receive boost from budget plans 

ECA and BESA’s call to protect SMEs from employment red tape and to increase support for engineering skills has been reflected in the Budget announcement made by Chancellor Philip Hammond on Monday October 29.

The Chancellor plans to change the way self-employed people working for companies are taxed, by extending the public sector IR35 system to the private sector. The government move is aimed at ensuring that individuals who work through their own companies, but operate like employees, are classified as employees for taxation and national insurance purposes.

This change only applies to private firms with more than 50 employees or a turnover of more than £10 million, in order to protect small businesses from red tape. These medium and large businesses will be responsible for checking contractors’ status from April 6 2020, allowing employers time to prepare.

The Chancellor also acknowledged the vital importance of investing in technical skills, by announcing that the 10% contribution rate that SMEs must pay when they take on apprentices will be halved to 5%, although the exact date this will come into effect remains to be confirmed. While the change applies principally to SMEs, it could also benefit Apprenticeship Levy payers who have used up their levy pot, and wish to take on more apprentices.

Andrew Eldred, ECA director of employment and skills, commented, “The decision to reduce co-investment rates for apprenticeships, and apply IR35 changes in the private sector to medium and large employers, show that the government has taken on board representations from ECA.

“These measures will mean that small businesses won’t be burdened with the changes to taxation, while employers will be able to offer more apprenticeships and narrow the skills gap.”

“We will continue to work closely with government and industry decision makers to ensure the details of the implementation of these budget provisions are in its members’, and the industry’s, best interests.”

Alexi Ozioro, BESA public affairs and policy manager, added, “Overall we are pleased with this budget. Changes to investment allowances, plant and machinery tax breaks, the Apprenticeship Levy and relaxing the rules around repurposing commercial buildings to be demolished and replaced with homes are all welcome.”

“We hoped the Chancellor would have referred back to his Spring Statement promise to ‘tackle the scourge of late payment,’ although other Ministers have made good commitments on this recently.”

A further consultation on the detailed operation of the IR35 reform will be published in the coming months. This consultation will inform the draft Finance Bill legislation, which is expected to be published in summer 2019.

Ahead of the Budget, ECA and BESA issued a five point plan to Chancellor Philip Hammond, including proposals on IR35, technical skills, fair payment, cash retention and low-carbon investment for buildings and infrastructure.

Small businesses recieve boost from budget plans 

Small businesses recieve boost from budget plans

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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