May 2018 Newsletter
‘ECA & FSA respond to the Hackitt Review Final Report, Welsh cable manufacturer calls for higher safety standards, UK tradespeople doing unpaid work every day, Government must learn from Carillion and some large projects get green light throughout the UK’
ECA & FSA respond to the Hackitt Review Final Report
ECA and Fire and Security Association (FSA) “broadly agree” with report recommendations
Following the publication of the independent Hackitt Review into Building Regulations and Fire Safety, ECA and the FSA have responded to the main recommendations.
ECA director of technical, and Head of FSA, Steve Martin commented: “ECA and FSA are pleased that the independent Hackitt Review broadly agreed with many of the recommendations we made during the consultation. We will continue to work closely with government and industry to achieve the broad aims of the Review, and to deliver a holistic approach to fire safety training and regulation.”
Andrew Eldred, director of employment and skills for ECA, added: “It is important that the competence of those undertaking electrical installation is assured and verified. I am pleased to see ECS cards recognised as an industry exemplar in the report and welcome the establishment of an industry-led JCA to strengthen the established competency framework.”
The report comes almost one year after the Grenfell Tower fire that killed 71 people and injured a further 70. Some of the main recommendations and conclusions set out in the final report include:
- Setting up a new regulatory framework for all high-rise buildings over 10 storeys;
- The establishment of a Joint Competent Authority (JCA) to oversee the management of safety risks;
- A rigorous set of roles and responsibilities for duty-holders;
- A series of robust fire safety gateway points for every high-rise project;
- More rigorous enforcement of powers, with more serious penalties for firms that do not comply;
- The creation of digital records charting work on all new high-rise projects, and;
- Addressing poor procurement practices to avoid a ‘race to the bottom’ model prioritising cost over safety.
- Fire safety training will be embedded into all relevant sectors for individuals who work within construction.
- Industry-recognised qualifications emphasised as a benchmark for individual competence together with ongoing CPD, with reference to the ECS card scheme as an example of best practice.
The Hackitt Review held a consultation in October 2017, to which ECA and FSA responded. ECA and the FSA proposed regulatory and other measures that would greatly reduce fire and electrical safety risks in ‘multiple occupancy accommodation’ which include, but are not restricted to, tall buildings.
Source: Electrical Times
Installers baffled by Boiler Plus
According to a new survey by Logic4training, 57% of installers* have little or no knowledge of the Boiler Plus legislation and how it will affect them. Brought in to improve efficiency in domestic heating systems, the scheme came into force on 6th April and heating engineers should now be working to it.
Amongst the survey respondents, opinion was evenly split as to the benefits of the new scheme for consumers and installers, and around half felt they were equipped to take on the work that the new requirements would demand, which includes ensuring timers and room thermostats are installed with all heating systems going forward.
Despite Boiler Plus encouraging energy efficiency improvements, two thirds of respondents (64%) felt that its introduction would not lead to more business; an opinion that could be in part due to information not getting through to the very people Boiler Plus will affect.
Mark Krull, from Logic4training, said: “The government has stipulated the addition of various measures to improve the energy efficiency of domestic heating systems and engineers will be responsible for delivering these. However, it appears that the general sense of confusion about the scheme has led to a feeling of negativity, which is masking the real potential. Boiler Plus represents a great opportunity for installers and their customers will reap the benefit of more energy efficient heating that has less environmental impact and saves money on fuel bills.
“We have updated our Energy Efficiency for Domestic Heating course to reflect the changes in Boiler Plus, ensuring newly trained installers at least will have the right knowledge. It is clear from our survey that more needs to be done to help installers understand and get on board with Boiler Plus – we will help where we can through our training and information on our website – but the powers that be maybe need to re-look at the way information is disseminated to key groups.”
*Survey of 184 respondents, running from November 2017 to April 2018.
Welsh cable manufacturer joins call for higher fire safety standards
Wrexham Mineral Cables, producer of fire survival cables used for critical electrical circuits, has called for higher fire safety standards.
The company, which contributed to the Grenfell Inquiry, is a long-standing advocate of more stringent British Standards Institution (BSI) tests when it comes to fire protection.
Tests conducted by the Fire Protection Authority, on behalf of the Association of British Insurers, concluded that BSI tests on building materials such as cladding did not reflect real-world conditions. Both organisations are now calling for an urgent review and fundamental reform of the BSI standards. In addition, an investigation by the Metropolitan police found that the doors to apartments in the Grenfell tower block were supposed to be fire resistant for 30 minutes, but only withstood fire for half that time.
According to Wrexham Mineral Cables, currently polymeric fire-resistant cable will pass the BSI fire tests, but may only provide limited protection when exposed to true fire conditions, says the company. Conversely, mineral cable is fire-resistant for up to three hours. While polymeric cable has limited impact resistance, mineral cable can withstand direct impacts such as from falling masonry, and direct water jets simultaneously – and still remain functional.
Colin Hughes, group manager of Wrexham Mineral Cables, said, “Recent investigations by both the Metropolitan police and the Fire Protection Authority have shown that the BSI tests for building materials simply do not reflect real-world conditions during a fire.
“For years we have been saying exactly the same thing about the BSI test for the cables that power safety-critical systems in the event of a fire. It is time that we came together as an industry to revise standards. More stringent testing will deliver safer systems and ultimately save lives.”
“We are hoping to start some new conversations around cable fire safety standards at FIREX,” added Colin. “We will also be inviting all interested parties to visit the test facility at our headquarters, and see for themselves the disparity between the current BSI test and what actually happens in a fire.”
Wrexham Mineral Cables will be exhibiting at the FIREX International trade show, which takes place at Excel London, 19-21 June.
Source: Electrical Contracting News
BEAMA launches online water softener resources
BEAMA has launched a new Water Softener Resource Centre on its website, which will be the central primary source of product information, guidance and benefits for both consumers and installers.
Hosted within the main BEAMA website, the resource contains links to specification guides, an introduction to softeners pack and case studies showcasing softened water applications. There are also key facts and figures relating to the impact of hard water and softeners.
Kelly Butler, BEAMA Deputy CEO, said: “Our water softening group has been on a very constructive journey since coming into the BEAMA association. The major breakthrough for the industry was the agreement on a statement regarding the permitted use of water softeners in domestic hot water systems when fitted with a bypass in accordance with BS14173.
“With water softeners now an accepted and welcomed addition to the specification of an efficient hot water system, it is vitally important that the new resource centre is kept well stocked with useful content for customers and installers. Over the coming year, we will continue to add more case studies, guidance documents and top tips regarding the specification and use of water softeners.”
You can find the new Water Softener Resource Centre on BEAMA’s website here.
Source: HVP Magazine
Green light for Manchester’s Old Granada studio revamp
Developer Allied London has been given the green light to start work on the conversion of Granada’s former studios in Manchester.
Revised plans by architect Levitt Bernstein have been approved by Manchester City Council.
The existing Granada House building will be converted into a larger hotel than first envisaged with 210 beds with roof top bar.
Under the revised plans an eight-storey office will become a new 10 storey-mixed use building, to replace the existing 4 storey Annexe building following demolition.
This will comprise retail uses at ground and basement level, offices on the lower four floors and residential uses at floor 5-9, with a private roof terrace and swimming pool for residents.
The 02, 06, 08 and 12 studios will be retained and refurbished to provide a suite of multi-functional filming, production and studio facilities.
In front of the refurbished studios a new low level modular complex will be built.
Work will start in June with a contractor still to be named. BAM, McLaren, Kier and Wates were all shortlisted for the project.
The construction programme will span 24 months. This is broken down into six months of asbestos removal and demolition followed by an 18 month construction period for the hotel.
The final four months of the hotel construction will see furniture, fixtures and equipment installed and commissioning undertaken.
Allied London’s chief executive, Michael Ingall, said: “This is a second consent for the building and is important as it will enable us to now realise our more defined and focussed plans to revive the former home of ITV and transform the iconic studios in to a new creative, digital and cultural hub.
“We are now going to greatly expand the TV/Film studios activity to create something that will have national prominence through our All Studios platform.
“Our ABC and Bonded Warehouse projects, due for completion this year, will form a big part of this cluster and both encourage use and promotion of the studios and are already attracting big names in the media industry.”
McLaren Construction is carrying out work on the ABC building forming part of the nearby St John’s development.
Source: Construction Enquirer
Drones to move construction materials around sites
A report into the future of construction is predicting drone deliveries on site, 3D printed walls and self-assembled floating buildings.
Future gazer Dr. Ian Pearson was commissioned by contractor Colmore Tang Construction and Virgin StartUp to write the report.
By 2025 Pearson said drones will be able to carry large materials up construction sites while plastic bottles recovered from the world’s oceans will be recycled to create biometric buildings.
Over the next decade, artificial intelligence (AI) will be commonplace, linking to sensors and cameras around construction sites, ensuring that buildings are being developed according to the architect’s plans.
Humans will work alongside AIs and will not only see these robots as clever tools, but also colleagues and even friends as they start to develop unique relationships.
Looking more than 50 years into the future, by 2075 Pearson suggests that self-assembling buildings under AI control will allow a new form of structure – kinetic architecture – where a structure is literally thrown into the sky and assembled while gravity forms the materials into beautiful designs.
3D printing will steal most of the construction headlines in the immediate future, according to the future-gazer, with cheap homes built quickly using the technique solving the housing crisis.
Colmore Tang Construction has partnered with Virgin StartUp to deliver a £10m innovation fund that is open to entrepreneurial companies in a construction industry-first technology accelerator programme called ‘ConstrucTech’.
The fund will be provided to those companies that can successfully show how their innovation and technology could improve the sector’s productivity, sustainability and skills issues.
Andy Robinson, Group CEO of Colmore Tang, said: “This forward-thinking report has shown that technology is set to have a hugely positive impact on the construction industry.
“However, we need to discover those exciting and innovative start-ups, whose products and services could deliver the technologies and innovations that will be the key to future success.
“We are hopeful that our partnership with Virgin StartUp to create the ConstrucTech programme and £10m innovation fund will be the start of a new dawn within the industry, where the future innovations predicted become a reality.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
£141m Knightsbridge landmark rebuild gets signed off
Skanska has signed off a £141m contract with Saudi developer The Olayan Group to build K1 Knightsbridge, a major mixed-use scheme in West London.
The 340,000 sq ft K1 scheme will see the corner of Brompton Road and Sloane Street restored as the gateway to Knightsbridge.
The site was occupied by a mix of offices, retail and flats which have been demolished while retaining the historic building facades on the South East corner.
Skanska will build 100,000 sq ft of high-end retail and 100,000 sq ft of office space, 35 luxury flats and a new rooftop restaurant.
It will also create much-needed step-free access to Knightsbridge underground station via a new entrance and a tunnel cooling system.
At the first floor cast metal arched vaults will replace the underground station which was a late addition to the corner.
A key challenge for structural engineer Waterman has been to design the sub and superstructure over the London Underground infrastructure. Several transfer structures have been resourcefully incorporated within the frame.
Further along the Brompton Road the ground floors of buildings will be restored so that individual gabled ‘houses’ are reconnected to the street.
Demolition contractor Keltbray has completed demolition and is just starting piling for the three storey basement, with Skanska aiming to complete the project at the end of 2020.
Chelsfield is acting as developer for the project which has been designed by Fletcher Priest Architects, with Chapman BDSP acting as M&E consultant.
Source: Construction Enquirer
UK tradespeople doing unpaid work every day, says CORGI HomePlan
British tradespeople are missing out on an estimated £2.7m in potential earnings by taking on extra tasks for free, according to research conducted by CORGI HomePlan.
Over half of UK homeowners don’t expect to pay the usual hourly rate for extra tasks carried out, preferring instead to pay in cups of tea (10%), or not paying all together (10%).
When asked why they seek extra work on top of what has been agreed, 62% cited the convenience of having a professional in the home. A further 40% of those surveyed revealed it was because the professionals are experts, and 23% admit they’re rubbish at any kind of DIY themselves.
Younger householders are more likely (73%) to want the work done for a discounted rate, compared to 52% of those aged 55 and above who would happily offer the agreed hourly charge.
From mending a broken plug socket (28%) to putting up shelves (2%) and changing lightbulbs (9%), all the way to wacky requests like making tea for all house guests (8%), keeping an eye on the dog (6%) and even putting the bins out (5%), it seems there is nothing that customers expect a tradesperson to say no to.
Peter Southcott, Chief Executive of CORGI HomePlan, says: “Trades professionals are the nicest you can meet and we regularly hear about how our network of more than 5,000 fully-qualified gas safe engineers, plumbers, electricians and drainage experts are always willing to go the extra mile for our customers. However, that doesn’t mean they are volunteers!”
Source: HVP Magazine
Educators and employers form Skills Builder Framework
Enabling Enterprise, supported by a partnership of over 60 leading skills-building organisations as well as 130 employers and 330 schools, have come together to develop a comprehensive approach to ensure every student builds eight essential skills.
The Skills Builder Framework creates a shared language and common approach to ensure that that one day, all children and young people will have the skills needed to succeed in life.
These skills – listening and presenting, problem solving and creativity, staying positive and aiming high, and leadership and teamwork – are increasingly being recognised as an indispensable part of education.
Research released by the Sutton Trust in late 2017 revealed that 97% of teachers consider these skills as or more important than academic qualifications; 94% of employers in the same study agree.
But in the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)’s 2016 survey, fully 50% of employers say these skills are lacking in school leavers. To close this gap, and building on nearly a decade of work in the sector, the members of the partnership have collaborated and shared their expertise to launch the Skills Builder Framework. It’s a shared, step-by-step approach that makes it easy for teachers, youth workers and employers to teach these skills explicitly. A culmination of four years of learning, the framework has been independently reviewed twice, as well as tried and tested by over 200,000 learners in hundreds of schools and organisations.
Alongside the framework, organisations in the partnership commit to applying the principles that underpin building these skills with rigour.
These include: maintaining a simple focus on the eight skills; starting with children as young as three years old; measuring the skills to see progress; teaching the skills explicitly; allowing time to practise; and link with the world of work to bring the skills to life.
‘We need to prepare our young people for a future we do not yet know’
Dr. Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: “We are entering the days of the fourth industrial revolution and we need to prepare our young people for a future we do not yet know.
“If we think a rounded education is to fill people to the brim with knowledge and assess that with a timed exam, then we are letting our children down.”
Lyndsay Watterson, Head Teacher of Queen’s Park High School in Chester, said: ‘The skills set our students apart and are the skills they can evidence at interview beyond the academic. For many of our students, this is the way to open doors for them, let them see beyond their own context.’
Tom Ravenscroft, CEO of Enabling Enterprise, agrees: ‘Too many children and young people are leaving school and further education without the essential skills, experiences and aspirations to succeed.
‘We need to teach all children and young people the same set of universally important skills, as we do with literacy and numeracy, to create a shared language and common expectations. By building a partnership of schools, employers and other organisations we hope the Skills Builder Framework will help develop skills that underpin success at every stage of life: unlocking learning while at school, ensuring young people are prepared for the independence of college or university, and empowering them to land their dream job.’
Paul Drechsler, CBI President and Chair of Teach First, said: “Skills Builder gives everyone working with children and young people important guidance on the behaviours and attributes they need to succeed. These eight essential characteristics are the foundation on which to build our next generation. I call on businesses to take these skills, champion them, embrace them, and use them to support their interactions with young people.”
The National Literacy Trust, one of the many organisations that have been piloting the Skills Builder Framework, used it to track student progress on its Key Stage 3 Words for Work programme. Teachers completed a baseline and end-of-programme assessment on five skills, allowing them to see if the programme is having the desired impact on young people’s skills.
Billie Dunne, Words for Work Programme Manager, said: ‘As an organisation we invest heavily in the research and evaluation of our programmes. The framework gave us a solution to targeting the specific qualities we wanted to look at.’
Enabling Enterprise (EE) was founded by teachers in 2009, and now works with over 95,000 students nationally. A not-for-profit social enterprise, Enabling Enterprise’s vision is to ensure that, one day, every student will leave school with the essential skills to succeed.
Its practical approach and its impact have been recognised by awards from Teach First and Education Investor who named them as “Partnership of the Year” in 2015. In 2017 Enabling Enterprise won Social Enterprise UK’s ‘Prove it’ Social Impact Award.
For more information and a full list of organisations involved in the Skills Builder Partnership, see the website.
Source: Electrical Trade Magazine
‘Accidental Landlords’ putting their tennants’ lives in jeopardy
‘Accidental landlords’ could be putting the lives of their tenants at risk because they are not aware of their legal obligations.
By law, landlords are obliged to ensure gas appliances are checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer and must provide their tenants with a Gas Safety Certificate within 28 days of the annual check taking place.
Worryingly, one in six homes has a dangerous gas appliance and gas fires are the biggest risk with a third checked by the safety authority deemed unsafe.
Landlords also need to install a working smoke alarm and, since 1 October 2015, regulations require CO alarms in rooms with a solid fuel appliance. Over 4,000 people are hospitalised each year from carbon monoxide poisoning.
The landlord or owner must also ensure that electrical installations and wiring are maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy and electrical appliances must be checked on change of tenancy or at least every five years. If you live in a privately rented home, statistics show that you are at a higher risk of electric shock and there are 2,469 electrical fire incidents reported each year in the UK.
A survey by Gas Tag discovered that many tenants are not even aware of the legal obligations of their landlords.
In its survey of people renting across the UK, Gas Tag found that:
- 28% either didn’t have or did not know if their rented home had a Gas Safety Certificate – the legal requirement;
- Almost a quarter (24%) did not think their landlord was obliged to install a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm if there was a solid fuel burning source like wood or coal;
- 81% did not know that a landlord is responsible for checking all electrical appliances every time a new tenant moves into a property;
- 50% still think their gas engineer should be Corgi registered – it changed to Gas Safe Register almost 10 years ago;
- 36% wrongly thought they were – rather than the landlord was – responsible for electrical safety in the rented home;
- Almost a third (29%) did not realise you should call the National Grid helpline if they smell gas in or around the home.
Poll reveals “skewed perceptions” of electrotechnical pay amoung young people
New figures from a survey commissioned by JIB, JTL and ECA show that a quarter (25 per cent) of people aged 18 to 24 think low pay levels are a barrier to a career in the electrotechnical and plumbing industries. This figure rises to 40 per cent among respondents from ethnic minority (BAME) groups.
27 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds also perceive a lack of opportunities for career progression.
Findings indicate a lack of guidance from teachers and career advisors around careers in the electrical and plumbing industries. Only one per cent of all respondents were advised to consider an electrical or plumbing career by teachers, and two per cent by school career advisors.
Contrary to these perceptions, pay levels are in fact relatively high compared to average earnings in other industries. For example, according to figures published by the FMB in March, site managers, plumbers and electricians earn the highest average annual salaries of all trade professions, with £51,226, £48,675 and £47,265 respectively.
Routes into an industry career have undergone many changes in recent years and are now more varied than ever. The electrotechnical trailblazer remains one of the most popular apprenticeships in the UK. New options including the Technical Baccalaureate and traineeships can now provide further routes into an apprenticeship and open the door to further promotion within the industry.
Andrew Eldred, ECA director of employment and skills, commented: “There are plenty of routes into the electrotechnical and plumbing industries, with a vast array of jobs at the end. These figures show that perceptions are still skewed among young people, who are the future of our industry. Add to that the finding that careers advisors are not talking to them about these options, and it becomes clear that more needs to be done if we want to see a world-leading cohort of electricians and plumbers emerge in the next few years.”
“Our own President Mike Smith began his career aged 16 as an apprentice, and went on to become director of SES Engineering Services and President of the ECA. Mike’s story is proof that apprenticeships can be a springboard for careers that reach the very top.”
Jon Graham, chief executive of JTL, commented: “Here at JTL we’re allocating significant resources into attracting young women and those from the BAME communities into apprenticeships. We have a successful Ambassador programme that sees more than thirty of our apprentices taking on an ambassador role to talk to others about the decisions they have made to enter an electrical or heating and plumbing apprenticeship and to dispel the negative myths that still pervade these target groups.”
“There are challenges for any young person taking up an apprenticeship and it is our experience that many of those from minority groups are as successful in their studies and work experience as anyone, so the more we can attract to give it a try, the better represented they will be in the professions in the years to come.”
Steve Brawley, chief executive of the JIB, added: “The findings of the survey are not surprising given the lack of information given to young people about a career as an electrician. Earnings levels of electricians are significantly higher than average earnings and there are tremendous career opportunities. Young people aspire to careers which pay well and provide prospects. Our industry needs to do more to promote this message.”
Despite considerable career opportunities in the electrical and plumbing industries, respondents were seven times more likely to consider a career as a doctor or lawyer, and ten times more likely to consider a career as a teacher.
These findings come just a few weeks after it was revealed by JIB, JTL and ECA that half of young women are put off technical careers due concerns about a lack of gender diversity.
JTL runs a thriving apprenticeship ambassador scheme focused on women and BAME groups, ECA runs a successful award for apprentice of the year, and JIB runs a long-standing apprentice exchange programme. ECA and JIB both have policies and guidance for members on fair and open recruitment.
Source: Electrical Times
Chinese developers plan bug flashing wheen for Newcastle
Chinese developers have announced plans to build Europe’s tallest observation wheel on Newcastle Quayside – with the world’s biggest advertising screen.
The Geordie Ferris Wheel is dubbed ‘The Whey Aye’, pronounced ‘why eye’. It would stand 140 metres high if actually built, making it five metres taller than the London Eye.
The plans were announced by the World Wheel Company, a Hong Kong company that has built and operated a 120-metre high observation wheel in Suzhou, China and a 90-metre wheel in Tbilisi, Georgia.
The centre of Newcastle’s wheel would be a 10,000 m2 LED digital screen for displaying advertising. It would be the world’s biggest advertising screen.
It is proposed that the wheel is built at the east end of the Quayside on the location of the former Spillers’ Flour Mill, which was demolished in 2011 and has lain vacant since.
The plans include bars and restaurants, a 9,000 m2 ‘Giants of the North Experience’ visitor attraction celebrating the history of the region, and a sports complex with covered five-a-side football pitches and tennis courts.
World Wheel Company said that it will submit a detailed planning application to Newcastle City Council later this year. It also said that the whole development could be built within two years of getting planning permission.
Phil Lynagh, chief executive officer of World Wheel Company’s Newcastle operation, said: “This is without doubt one of the most exciting investment and regeneration projects in the UK, if not the world.”
Chief marketing officer Nigel Hartley added: “The World Wheel Company is reinventing the wheel with its unsurpassed combination of innovation and technology to deliver unforgettable customer experiences.”
Ex-footballer Alan Shearer said: “I think it would be great news for Newcastle. It’s just what the city needs.”
Source: The Construction Index
Government must transform how it works with construction post-Carillion, says Federation of Master Builders
The Government must learn from Carillion by enforcing fair payment and opening up public sector contracts to smaller firms, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Commenting on the joint report on Carillion from the Work and Pensions and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committees, Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “It’s the small firms in Carillion’s supply chain that bore the brunt of the giant’s demise earlier this year. The Government now has a unique opportunity to completely change how it works with the private sector. For too long, many large firms have reigned supreme and walked all over their supply chains. MPs are right to note that “measures that Government has taken to improve the business environment, such as the Prompt Payment Code, have proved wholly ineffective.” As a signatory of the Government’s Prompt Payment Code, Carillion should have paid 95 per cent of invoices within 60 days. However, Carillion enforced standard payment terms of 120 days to its suppliers and we know of FMB members that have had to wait for more than 200 days to be paid by major contractors. A company that was so flagrantly breaking the rules should not have been rewarded by the Government with juicy contract after juicy contract.”
Berry continued: “The collapse of Carillion created a ‘domino effect’ among sub-contractors. We know of firms that have lost more than £200,000 since the collapse and of others that were so reliant on Carillion contracts, they’ve gone out of business entirely. Once a company at the top of a chain goes under it creates a ripple effect. In this instance, however, the ripple has been more like a tsunami because of the extent to which the Government relied on this single company. At present, there is nothing in place to ensure another Carillion doesn’t happen again.”
Berry concluded: “This report is welcome, but we now want to see root-and-branch reform in terms of how the Government procures from the private sector. The Government should exclude suppliers from major Government procurements if they do not demonstrate fair, effective and responsible payment practices. The Government should also end retentions abuse by ensuring that retentions are held in a deposit scheme. Finally, the Government must also make greater efforts to work directly with small firms by breaking larger contracts down into smaller lots. That way, not only will the Government spread its risk, it will also reap the benefits that come from procuring a greater proportion of its work from a broad range of small companies. Small companies reinvest profits into the local economy and in construction, small firms train two thirds of all apprentices. Ensuring SMEs win a higher proportion of public sector contracts makes sense on every level.”
Liverpool to launch plans for business district expansion
Plans are being drawn-up for a massive expansion of Liverpool’s business district.
A report to city council’s cabinet on Friday will recommend a Spatial Regeneration Framework (SRF) be drafted seeking to develop the district and potentially connect it to the development of Princes Dock in the £5.5bn Liverpool Waters scheme.
The business district, which covers 40 acres at the northern fringe of the city centre, predominantly consists of offices.
It saw office take-up up rise by 16% in 2016 but vacant office stock continues to fall and now stands at just 958,083 sq ft with only 330,438 sq ft ready to occupy.
To address the shortage the city council is seeking to support a £200m plan to develop a scheme in Pall Mall, with Kier Property, that will provide 400,000 sq ft of new Grade A office space.
The council is also investing £100m in new road infrastructure at the northern fringe of the district and has recently submitted a planning application to create a new cruise terminal at Princes Dock.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “Liverpool’s business district is a major engine in the city’s economy and its future growth needs to be proactively managed to maximise its potential and further underpin the development of Liverpool Waters.
“The supply of Grade A office space is critical to any successful city centre which is why we are supporting the Pall Mall development but to stimulate demand and provide more supply, which will in turn create much needed jobs in the professional sector, we need a long term vision which this Spatial Regeneration Framework will underpin.”
Steve Stuart, Chair of the Professional & Business Services Board for Liverpool City Region, said: “There is a shared concern between public and private sector about the commercial office market in Liverpool in terms of low rentals and availability of high quality Grade A and Grade B space.
“Working with partners we recommend a framework that enables the proactive development of the commercial district that can meet current and future demands.”
Following cabinet approval a brief will be put to the market in the summer with consultation to follow in the autumn, before a final SRF is submitted in early 2019.
The city council has recently followed a similar process to masterplan for the Ten Streets Creativity District, Knowledge Quarter Gateway and Baltic Triangle.
Source: Construction Enquirer