May 2018 Newsletter

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’

 

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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.

 

ECA & FSA respond to the Hackitt Review Final Report

ECA & FSA respond to the Hackitt Review Final Report

 

Source: Electrical Times

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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.

 

Installers baffled by Boiler Plus

Installers baffled by Boiler Plus

 

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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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.

 

Welsh cable manufacturer joins calls for higher fire safety standards

Welsh cable manufacturer joins calls for higher fire safety standards

 

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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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.

 

BEAMA launches online water softener resources

BEAMA launches online water softener resources

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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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.

 

Green light for Manchester's Old Granada studio revamp

Green light for Manchester’s Old Granada studio revamp

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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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.”

 

Drones to move construction materials around sites

Drones to move construction materials around sites

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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£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.

 

£141m Knightsbridge landmark rebuild gets signed off

£141m Knightsbridge landmark rebuild gets signed off

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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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!”

 

UK tradespeople doing unpaid work every day, says CORGI HomePlan

UK tradespeople doing unpaid work every day, says CORGI HomePlan

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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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.

 

Educators and employers form Skills Builder Framework

Educators and employers form Skills Builder Framework

 

Source: Electrical Trade Magazine

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‘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.

 

'Accidental Landlords' putting their tennants' lives in jeopardy

‘Accidental Landlords’ putting their tennants’ lives in jeopardy

 

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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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.

 

Poll reveals "skewed perceptions" of electrotechnical pay amoung young people

Poll reveals “skewed perceptions” of electrotechnical pay amoung young people

 

Source: Electrical Times

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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.”

 

Chinese developers plan bug flashing wheen for Newcastle

Chinese developers plan bug flashing wheen for Newcastle

 

Source: The Construction Index

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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.”

 

Government must transform how it works with construction post-Carillion, says Federation of Master Builders

Government must transform how it works with construction post-Carillion, says Federation of Master Builders

 

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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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.

 

Liverpool to launch plans for business district expansion

Liverpool to launch plans for business district expansion

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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April 2018 Newsletter

April 2018 Newsletter

Underfloor heating market expected to grow, Chinese skyscrapers become art with smart city lighting, more than 500 towers planned for London, Contractors warned over Medium Voltage cables, Social Media used to source tradespeople and some exciting projects have been announced throughout the UK’

 

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UK underfloor heating market forecast to grow 7% in 2018

AMA Research has released new research which predicts that the underfloor heating (UFH) market will experience a 7% rise this year.

According the report, the UFH market has performed well over the last few years, driven by good levels of commercial and domestic construction and RMI, and now accounts for almost 7% of the total UK heating systems sector. More recent growth can also be attributed to rising energy prices and concerns over fuel bills, and the fact that UFH is now seen as a more affordable mainstream heating option. In 2017, the market grew by 6%, with similar growth forecast for 2018.

The domestic sector accounts for almost two-thirds of the overall UFH market value, and includes newbuild activity by housebuilders, the self-build market and RMI/DIY retrofit projects in residential homes. Non-domestic applications account for the remainder. Although large-scale health and education projects represent the most significant non-domestic end-user markets, opportunities are arising in the care home, industrial, warehousing, leisure and entertainment, commercial office, and retail sectors.

Water-based underfloor heating makes up the largest share by value, compared to electric systems. The supply structure is dominated by direct supply, with some manufacturers and other specialists offering a ‘supply and fit’ service. Elsewhere, UFH systems increasingly form a core component of the product ranges of companies such as tile manufacturers and kitchen and bathroom specialists. DIY multiples and merchants also continue to play a major role. Much of the recent growth in the market has come from online retailers, the number of which continues to expand.

Factors that influence demand for underfloor heating include housebuilding activity, which is expected to continue at a steady pace, as demand for new and affordable housing is likely to remain a major political issue. The conversion of commercial office spaces into multi-residential flats and apartments, particularly in areas of high population density, should create additional opportunities for UFH, as they are likely to be smaller in size and high-spec.

Ease of installation continues to be an important consideration within construction, given the ongoing skills shortages and a need to reduce both build time and cost. This is expected to contribute towards further growth in modular build/off-site construction, which should benefit the UFH market. Retrofit activity in both the domestic and commercial sectors are also expected to see steady growth.

In addition, the commitment towards further development of the renewable energy sector and sustainable homes should continue, irrespective of whether the government meets its 2020 targets, and this is likely to favour adoption of UFH. Growth will also be driven by product development focused on flexibility and maximising individual control of systems, which is likely to increase the efficiency of UFH systems further, and the increasing uptake of intelligent technology.

“Although the market value has increased by almost 25% since 2013, there remains significant scope for growth in this sector,” said Keith Taylor, Director of AMA Research.

“The level of installations remains low compared with European countries such as Germany and the Nordic nations. Penetration is forecast to continue to grow with demand driven by concerns over volatile energy bills, ongoing running costs of systems and maximising comfort, and the fact that underfloor heating is becoming a more mainstream product.”

 

UK underfloor heating market forcast to grow 7% in 2018

UK underfloor heating market forcast to grow 7% in 2018

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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Chinese city skyscrapers become art with smart city lighting

Philips Lighting (Euronext: LIGHT), lighting specialist, has completed a large-scale project that involves connected LED architectural lighting to illuminate the facades of 37 buildings, along a 9.2 km stretch of road in the city centre of Ningbo, China.

The project’s aim is to boost the city’s cultural heritage and tourism, as well as stimulating commercial activities in the city centre. It further emphasises the company’s position as the lighting company for the Internet of Things.

Buildings along the 9.2-km-long attract an abundance of tourism. The new lighting system uses nearly 2,000 Philips Color Kinetics fixtures controlled and managed by Philips Activesite software.

The display creates sparkling night scenes in the city’s business district and Tianyi Square.

Dongliang XU from Toryo International Lighting Design Centre said: “The lighting design of the Zhongshan Road project illuminated took advantage of powerful mix of colour architectural lighting and world class narrow projection. Philips Lighting brought our design concept to life, delivering high performance energy efficient lighting and control software which enable everything to be monitored and controlled remotely. The design, the technology and controls combine to not only raise the bar of city illumination in China but does this in a highly sustainable way.”

The Philips Activesite lighting system enables energy savings of 30-40 per cent compared to the previous lighting in place.

 

Chinese city skyscrapers become art with smart city lighting

Chinese city skyscrapers become art with smart city lighting

 

Source: Electrical Times

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IGEM to recognise training for the gas industry

In response to growing concerns about standards in training, The Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM) has been chosen to assess and uphold the “highest levels of professional competence”.

IGEM, the professional engineering institution for the global gas industry, has been authorised by the gas industry’s Strategic Management Board (SMB) to officially recognise training programmes that meet the highest standards.

As of 1 October 2018, assessment centres will be required to ensure that every new entrant who sits an ACS exam with them has first been on an industry-recognised training programme, otherwise they could be prevented from taking the exam.

Once the audit process is complete, the training programme will be authorised for a three-year period and audited annually to ensure their training is still up to standard.

The Institution has already begun the process of auditing training programmes up and down the country to ensure they meet the requirements set out in IGEM/IG/1 Standards of training in gas work, which has been selected as the official industry governance document.

In addition, IGEM will also authorise organisations that have successfully completed an audit to act as fellow ‘Recognisers of Training’. IGEM Recognised Training will be offered to new entrants to the sector ahead of their ACS exams.

Ian McCluskey, IGEM Head of Technical Services, said: “While the majority of training and assessments being carried out across the UK meet the high standards required, there have been growing concerns in recent years that some ACS training programmes are not providing a sufficient depth of knowledge and experience for trainees to be reasonably declared competent.

“In response, the industry is now taking steps to create a single, recognised route of training for new entrants to the gas industry who wish to pass their ACS assessment. It is hoped this new training pathway will mean any concerns over the quality of training being provided can be traced back to the training centre involved, allowing action to be taken if required.”

IGEM is urging all independent training providers that offer gas-related courses to contact the Institution to find out more about Recognised Training.

Training organisations wishing to find out more should contact IGEM at technical@igem.org.uk, or by calling 01509 67815.

A list of recognised training programmes will be made available to the public on the Energy & Utility Skills website at www.euskills.co.uk/gas.

 

IGEM to recognise training for the gas industry

IGEM to recognise training for the gas industry

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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More than 500 towers planned for London

London has 510 tall buildings over 20-storeys in the planning pipeline.

Latest research from New London Architecture (NLA) and GL Hearn also revealed a record 115 towers are under construction in the capital.

More than 90% (458) of the tall buildings coming forward are residential and have the potential to deliver 106,000 new homes.

Greenwich Peninsula is a tower hot spot with 40 applications for tall buildings last year.

Delivering towers has become more challenging with only 18 tall buildings completed in 2017 – a 30% drop from 2016 when 26 were completed.

There was also a 25% fall in the number of tall buildings coming out of the ground with work only starting on 40 in 2017.

Peter Murray, Chairman of New London Architecture said: “We continue to see a steady increase in the number of tall buildings coming forward and with London’s population continuing to increase and the demand for new homes only getting higher, our view remains that that well designed tall buildings, in the right place, are part of the solution.

“Uncertainties and challenges to deliver these tall buildings remain, which is perhaps why we are seeing a slight slowdown in the in the number of applications, construction starts and completions.

“However our reports over the past five years show us in the right places, towers allow us to use the finite resource of land very efficiently.”

Stuart Baillie, GL Hearn said: “Inner London remains the focus for the majority of tall building but Waltham Forest and Bromley feature in the pipeline for the first time.”

 

More than 500 towers planned for London

More than 500 towers planned for London

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Growth to rebound to 2.7% next year after flat 2018

Construction output will stagnate this year before accelerating to 2.7% in 2019 and 1.9% in 2020 as major infrastructure projects gather speed.

Forecasters at the Construction Products Association say that infrastructure and private housing remain the only two bright spots this year amid a fall-off in commercial work hit by a 20% drop in office construction.

This will see overall industry growth flatline in 2018.

But next year civil engineering contractors will benefit from infrastructure output jumping 13.1% as work accelerates on large projects such as HS2, the Thames Tideway Tunnel and Hinkley Point C.

Spring CPA forecast

  • Construction output to remain flat in 2018 (0.1%) and rise 2.7% in 2019
  • Private housing starts to rise 2.0% in 2018 and 2019
  • Office construction to decline 20.0% in 2018 and 10.0% in 2019
  • Retail construction to fall 10.0% in 2018 but rise 5.0% in 2019
  • Infrastructure work to rise by 6.4% in 2018 and 13.1% in 2019

Noble Francis, economics director at the Construction Products Association, said: “The start of the year was a bad one for construction. Carillion, the UK’s second biggest contractor, went into liquidation in January and led to a hiatus on infrastructure and commercial projects.

“The snowy weather badly affected work on site for at least three working days in February and March and, as a result, 2018 Q1 construction is likely to be £1.5bn lower than in 2017 Q4.

“Half of the activity lost in Q1 is expected to be regained during 2018. Work on some Carillion projects has already restarted, on joint-ventures or where major clients such as Network Rail have been keen to continue work.

“Other projects will take time to retender but are still likely to restart this year. Large infrastructure projects should also allow for a catch-up after the adverse weather and often have penalty clauses for delays. Despite the sector’s strong growth prospects, questions remain about poor government delivery of major infrastructure projects.

“Private housing starts are expected to rise 2.0% in both 2018 and 2019 in spite of the slowdown in the general housing market as Help to Buy is clearly sustaining demand for new build homes. Outside London, house building will rise quicker than this but growth overall will be constrained by the ongoing fall in demand for high-end residential in the capital.

“The growth in infrastructure and private house building this year is forecast to offset falls in the hard hit commercial sector, where Brexit uncertainty continues to hit international investment in new office towers in London and high street woes affects the construction of new retail.”

 

Growth to rebound to 2.7% next year after flat 2018

Growth to rebound to 2.7% next year after flat 2018

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Designs revealed for £100m Glasgow office complex

M&G Real Estate has unveiled plans for its new £100m office development in the centre of Glasgow.

The Grid will provide 277,500 sq ft of Grade A space over 12 levels designed by local architect Cooper Cromar.

Demolition of the existing building is planned for later this year with construction completion scheduled for late 2021.

William Badger, Asset Manager at M&G Real Estate, said: “With a lack of new Grade A space in the city’s office market, as well as in nearby Edinburgh, we are confident that The Grid will attract strong interest.”

 

Designs revealed for £100m Glasgow office complex

Designs revealed for £100m Glasgow office complex

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Builder murdered by colleague on central London site

A murder investigation is underway after a construction worker was found dead on a central London site.

Police were called by the London Ambulance Service on Tuesday to reports of a man injured on the roof of the Pressman Mastermelts building in Hatton Garden, EC1.

Officers attended and the victim, a 47-year-old builder who was carrying out work at the site, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Initial reports indicated that the man may have fallen from height, but officers now believe he was the victim of a serious assault.

A post-mortem examination took place at St Pancras Mortuary on Thursday and gave cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head.

Work continues to inform all next of kin – formal identification has not taken place.

The Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command is investigating, led by Detective Chief Inspector Luke Marks.

DCI Marks said: “Our enquiries have established that the victim was viciously attacked by a male suspect who is understood to have worked at the same site.

“We continue to appeal for information to trace a man who made off from Hatton Garden towards Chancery Lane, and boarded a Central Line train at Chancery Lane tube station at around 14:15hrs.

“Were you in the Hatton Garden area at that time, and did you see a man running towards Chancery Lane, or otherwise acting suspiciously? We would urge you to come forward as soon as possible.”

The man is described as a white male, aged in his mid 20s. He was wearing a navy blue fleece jacket, blue jeans and brown workmen’s boots.

If you have any information that could assist the investigation, please call the Incident room on 0208 358 0200 quoting CAD 4481/17Apr. Alternatively, call independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you would prefer not to give your name.

A 24-year-old man was initially arrested on suspicion of murder on Wednesday, 18 April. He was taken to a south London police station.

He was subsequently de-arrested for the murder offence, and then arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.

He has been bailed pending further enquiries to a date in mid-May.

 

Builder murdered by colleague on central London site

Builder murdered by colleague on central London site

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Contractors warned over Medium Voltage cables

AEI Cables has issued a warning to make sure that Medium Voltage (MV) cables coming onto the market are independently approved and certified as compliant as the pressure mounts on the installation of quality products in modern building developments.

As the incidence of non-approved cables continues, the company is warning the supply chain to be particularly careful around the application of these cables into high-risk environments including hospitals, industrial sites and sub-stations serving infrastructure sites.

Stuart Dover, commercial manager for AEI Cables, said, “We are advising contractors to be careful, especially with new building design and development for modern complex buildings. If these cables are not approved, just question why not and check them out. To follow best practice and all compliance, we also advise that these cables are independently tested and certified by a third-party such as BASEC.

“There have been many instances in the recent past of non-approved cables coming onto the market, but in these environments it is crucial to get it right.

“Take all due precautions. Look for the British Standard, European or international standard number, the manufacturer’s mark and third-party approval markings. Even if there are markings, it is worth checking because some labels and stamps have been used fraudulently.

“Cables which are unmarked but not checked can become untraceable, so it is important at the point of receipt for contractors to check every time. Also keep records of purchases and deliveries to ensure that what is being installed is what was specified originally.”

He added, “It is well worth the small amount of time to make these checks, especially by the nature of the new designs of buildings these are going into and how they will be relied on to provide continuous power supply.”

Of the 29,312 accidental electrical fires in England during 2016-17, 5,241 (18 per cent) were attributed to wiring, cabling or plugs and of these 2,693 (51 per cent) were down to faulty electrical supplies and 1,728 (33 per cent) were caused by faulty appliances and leads.

 

Contractors warned over Medium Voltage cables

Contractors warned over Medium Voltage cables

 

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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Two-thirds of the UK source tradespeople via Social Media, says survey

As many as two-thirds of homeowners turn to social media first to source service providers, including construction and trade workers, according to a survey by www.MyJobQuote.co.uk.

Facebook was voted the most influential social media network, with 71% of consumers stating that they would check out a company or worker on Facebook before contacting them, while Twitter was comparatively lower with just 11% sourcing companies via the platform.

The team at www.MyJobQuote.co.uk undertook the survey as part of ongoing research. 2,825 Britons took part in the poll, all of whom were 18 years old or over, owned their own home and had at least one child.

Initially, all respondents taking part in the survey were asked to state what their primary source of information was when looking to find a new service, to which 67% of Britons use social media as their primary information source, followed by 16% who use family member’s and friend’s recommendations and 11% who scout for companies’ own websites. Just 4% identified ‘review or comparison sites’ as their main source of information when looking for a new service provider.

All respondents who identified social media as their main source of information were then asked “What services have you recruited after using social media as your main/only source to find them?”

‘Construction & Trades’ came in second at 66%, just behind ‘Childcare’ at 69%. When asked about how successful various referrals turned out to be, those who used review or comparison sites were most likely to have a positive outcome (72%); compared to 66% of those who relied upon social media.

Lisa Evans from www.MyJobQuote.co.uk said: “It’s interesting to see the changing and ever-growing role of social media in our lives. The secret to its success is that it’s accessible and convenient; in a couple of taps you can find all you need to, which is great when we are short on time or on the move.”

 

Two-thirds of the UK source tradespeople via Social Media, says survey

Two-thirds of the UK source tradespeople via Social Media, says survey

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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Ideal classroom lighting boosts learning by 20%

Research shows that the correct type of lighting can significantly improve a child’s learning.

Full spectrum lighting, including sunlight and artificial lighting that replicated natural light, has been proven to improve behaviour, reduce anxiety and boost health. All of these factors contribute to a marked improvement in learning.

The study by the California Energy Commission documents that classrooms that receive a high level of daylight offer students a 20 per cent better learning rate in maths in 26 per cent in reading, compared with classrooms that receive little natural light.

Head of marketing and business development for CMD, Bruce Cantrill said: “The days of ‘one size fits all’ fluorescent lighting in schools are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Innovations in dynamic lighting technology now mean that natural daylight can easily be replicated to create a much more positive learning environment for both pupils and staff.”

A recent study published in the journal Optics Express suggests that dynamic lighting – lighting which can be adjusted remotely to suit particular lessons and activities – can further support and enhance classroom learning.

Overhead cool white lighting can be detrimental to learning, says Grangaard of the University of Nevada researcher, Dr. Ellen Mannel. This type of lighting can aggravate hyperactivity and promote off-task behaviour such as fidgeting, daydreaming and talking in lessons.

The glare – or veiling reflection – created when fluorescent lighting reflects off paper and white boards also physically hinders student’s ability to read properly and can result in disengagement with the lesson.

 

Ideal classroom lighting boosts learning by 20%

Ideal classroom lighting boosts learning by 20%

 

Source: Electrical Times

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Green light for £350m Leeds South Bank scheme

Developer CEG has gained the planning green light for a £350m joint office, retail and residential development around what would be the tallest building in Yorkshire.

Regeneration of a 9 acre site in the South Bank area of Leeds has been designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and will involve a mix of buildings ranging from five to 40-storeys.

The site is the principal rail gateway into Leeds and the scheme has been designed to make a powerful positive impact on arrival to the city.

Leeds City Plans Panel has unanimously voted to approve detailed planning permission for two office developments totalling 270,000 sq ft. Outline planning permission will also be granted for the wider mixed-use development of over 1m sq ft of offices, retail, leisure, hotel, health, and up to 750 new homes, along with new public spaces and landscaping.

The scheme is expected to be delivered in five phases over 12 years. The first phase of development is likely to be Globe Point – a flat-iron shaped building acting as a gateway from the east to the site. Thereafter the construction is expected to progress from east to west.

Jon Kenny, development director at CEG, said: “The site is the principal rail gateway into Leeds and the scheme has been designed to make a powerful positive impact on arrival to the city, showing how we are preparing for HS2 and investing to ensure our city offers development of an international quality.”

David Hodgson, head of strategic development north for CEG, said: “This derelict site is an important core in the west of the city, an area which has suffered from neglect over a number of years.

“At the heart of the South Bank regeneration area, our proposals will deliver the same attention to detail and quality as we have delivered at our award-winning Kirkstall Forge development. This will be an exciting mixed-use strategic development of a critical mass and international standard, revitalising the area and reconnecting local communities to the city.”

 

Green light for £350m Leeds South Bank scheme

Green light for £350m Leeds South Bank scheme

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Builders told to wait over a year for brick orders

Some small building firms are being told to wait for more than a year for certain brick orders, according to a new survey that reveals skyrocketing material prices and extending order times.

While there has been rising concern about falling brick stocks and supply bottlenecks, the latest survey by the Federation of Master Builders of its members reveals excessively long lead times being quoted in the market.

More than half of small building firms said that rising material prices are squeezing their margins.

As a result of the changes 30% had recommended clients use alternative materials or products to those originally specified. This has gone up from one in ten nearly a year ago.

And now nearly one in five builders report making losses on their building projects due to material cost inflation, up from one in ten reporting this in July 2017.

The FMB’s latest State of Trade Survey shows that almost ninety per cent of building firms are expecting further rises over the next sixth months.

Longest lead times, in descending order

  • Bricks were in shortest supply with the longest reported wait time being more than one year;
  • Roof tiles were second with the longest reported wait time being up to six months;
  • Insulation was third with the longest reported wait time being up to four months;
  • Slate was fourth with the longest reported wait time being up to six months;
  • Windows were fifth with the longest reported wait time being more than one year;
  • Blocks were sixth with the longest reported wait time being up to four months;
  • Porcelain products were seventh with the longest reported wait time being more than one year;
  • Plasterboard was eighth with the longest reported wait time being up to two months;
  • Timber was ninth with the longest reported wait time being up to two months;
  • Boilers were tenth, with the longest reported wait time being more than one year.

Average materials price rises over 12 months

  • Insulation increased by 16%;
  • Bricks increased by 9%;
  • Timber increased by 8%;
  • Roof tiles increased by 8%;
  • Slate increased by 8%;
  • Windows increased by 7%;
  • Blocks increased by 7%;
  • Plasterboard increased by 7%;
  • Boilers increased by 7%;
  • Porcelain products increased by 6%.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “Material prices have rocketed over the past year. The reason for this could include the impact of the depreciation of sterling following the EU referendum still feeding through.

“High demand due to buoyant international markets could also be contributing to price increases. What’s particularly worrying is that when prices have increased mid-project, almost one fifth of builders have absorbed the increase and therefore made a loss.

“Also, if material price increases weren’t enough of a headache for building firms, they are also experiencing material shortages with wait times ticking up across a range of materials and products. Worst case scenarios include firms waiting for more than one year for a new order of bricks.”

Berry added: “We are calling on builders’ merchants to give their customers as much advance warning of forthcoming material price increases or wait times as possible so that firms can warn their customers and plan ahead.”

“What we don’t want is for the number of building firms making losses on projects to increase as this could result in firms going to the wall. A large number of collapsing construction companies will have a terrible knock-on effect in the wider economy.”

 

Builders told to wait over a year for brick orders

Builders told to wait over a year for brick orders

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Crystal Palace to start £100m main stand next summer

Crystal Palace FC have confirmed they will start work on their Selhurst Park stadium redevelopment at the end of the 2018/19 season.

The London club set out its building plans for a new iconic Main Stand after gaining planning from Croydon Council.

The project, which is expected to cost between £75-£100m, will increase the capacity at Selhurst Park from 26,000 to more than 34,000, transforming the match-day experience for supporters.

A stunning new five-storey stand will feature an all-glass front – a homage to the club’s earliest days when it stood in the shadows of the original Crystal Palace, erected on Sydenham Hill.

A central vaulted arch, with the famous Eagle crest, is a reminder of the iconic 1851 Exhibition Hall, and eagle wings flank the 41m structure.
It is a major investment in the heart of Croydon, which will generate more than £15m a year for the local economy and create hundreds of new jobs.

The project is being designed by leading stadium architects KSS, the firm behind the redevelopment of iconic sporting venues, including Anfield, Twickenham and Wimbledon. The roof of the new stand will be designed to funnel sound down to the pitch and the Arthur Wait Stand opposite.

Negotiations will now continue with Croydon Council over the terms of the Club’s Section 106 obligations to fund transport and community improvement initiatives.

The Council will now refer the application to the London Mayor, and once he has approved it, the planning permission will then be issued.

The existing Main Stand will remain in full operational use throughout the build process, minimising the impact on the stadium capacity in the coming seasons. Building work will complete in 2021, ready to open for the 2021-2 season.

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish said: “I am absolutely delighted that Croydon Council has backed our plans for Selhurst Park. This project will not only transform the stadium, which has been our home since 1924, but it will also have a positive impact on the south London community.”

 

Crystal Palace to start £100m main stand next summer

Crystal Palace to start £100m main stand next summer

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Specialist trade bodies petition No 10 for payment reform

A delegation representing 76 specialist trade bodies petitioned the Prime Minister as momentum gathered for urgent reform to payment practices in construction.

Representing more than 355,000 construction businesses, the unprecedented coalition of trade groups descended on Number 10 to call for reforms.

The petition urges the Government to back reform of payment practices and retentions after the scale of abuse was again publicly highlighted in the wake of Carillion’s collapse.

It comes just days before the second reading of the ‘Aldous Bill’ on Friday, which proposes cash retentions be held in trust accounts, to protect the supply chain.

Support has also been given from across the construction supply chain, including house building, roofing, scaffolding, electrical, heating, plumbing, interiors and demolition.

Supporters of the Aldous Bill and the petition on fair payments also gathered outside the gates of Number 10, including business owners directly affected by Carillion’s collapse.

The Aldous Bill is supported by over 120 MPs and 76 industry trade bodies, representing over 355,000 companies and many self-employed professionals. Cross-party support for reform includes Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, SNP, DUP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party.

Aldous said: “The industry loses around £1m for each working day, mostly from SMEs. There have been proposals to stop the abuse of retentions before, but this time there is the largest coalition on fair payments ever.”

ECA CEO Steve Bratt said: “The show of support today shows that fair payment is a top priority for our industry. We need urgent government action on payment and retentions to protect the supply chain, and to ensure our industry can deliver growth and prosperity.”

BESA CEO David Frise added: “Retentions and delayed payment put thousands of firms at risk of insolvency and undermine their efforts to invest in skills, training and improved productivity.

“The government will surely want to be seen to protect SMEs and to ensure the construction industry is sustainable, so it can deliver its ambitious plans for housing and social welfare. SMEs are crucial to the government’s built environment and infrastructure programme.”

 

Specialist trade bodies petition No 10 for payment reform

Specialist trade bodies petition No 10 for payment reform

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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March 2018 Newsletter

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Half of Carillion’s UK workforce secure jobs

Around half of Carillion’s 18,000-strong UK workforce spanning construction and support services have secured work with other contractors.

The Official Receiver confirmed this morning that to date 9,073 jobs have been saved and 1,705 jobs have been made redundant through the liquidation.

A further 123 staff will leave the business later this week as the programme of redundancies rolls on.

Around 6,400 staff are still in limbo helping the liquidator to deliver the remaining services on around 70 remaining contracts awaiting a decision on whether to transfer or cease these contracts.

More than half the 460-strong workforce at Carillion’s Wolverhampton headquarters have lost their jobs with just over 200 back-office staff still working with liquidators PwC.

 

Half of Carillion's UK workforce secure jobs

Half of Carillion’s UK workforce secure jobs

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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New industry partnership set to transform electrical training

NICEIC, ELECSA and JTL have formed a partnership that will ensure electrical contractors have the widest choice of training courses in the country for the upcoming 18th Edition changes.

JTL is the UK’s leading training and electrical apprenticeship provider. It supports more than 3,000 companies and 6,000 apprentices every year. NICEIC and ELECSA are the UK’s leading certification bodies with more than 36,000 registered contractors.

The 18th Edition standard will be published on 1st July 2018, leading to the need for more training support. Electrical contractors will be given a six-month transition period to get up to speed with the changes.

From 1st January 2019, it will then be a requirement that all electrical installations designed after this date comply with BS 7671:2018, 18th Edition (2018).

“Helping more customers to gain confidence and understanding of the changes is the reason we have entered into this training partnership,” commented Certsure’s CEO Emma Clancy.

“It means we will be able to meet contractors training needs in more centres across England and Wales than ever before – saving contractors both time and money.”

JTL operates nine of its own centres, and has access to more than 100 training locations throughout England and Wales, whilst NICEIC and ELECSA have access to 80% of the country’s electricians. NICEIC and ELECSA presently manage two dedicated electrical training centres in the UK and have access to another 10 centres.

The collaboration between the organisations means they will be able to provide high quality 18th Edition training at more locations and to more contractors than ever before.

Jon Graham, CEO at JTL said: “We are delighted to be partnering with NICEIC and ELECSA on this exciting initiative which is hugely important for our sector.

“It makes sense to combine the resources and expertise of both organisations.

“Together we bring a wealth of technical expertise, along with experience in delivering high quality and innovative training solutions to our customers.

NICEIC, ELECSA and JTL are currently developing training programmes that will ensure electricians can benefit from the latest training delivery methods. This will include a mixture of classroom and online courses to suit all needs.

For more information visit www.18edition.com

 

New industry partnership set to transform electrical training

New industry partnership set to transform electrical training

 

Source: Electrical Times

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GSR’s ‘Don’t Cut Corners’ campaign finds success

The Gas Safe Register’s campaign to raise awareness among families not to cut corners when it comes to their gas appliances has been a success, according to its Chief Executive Jonathan Samuel.

The campaign went live across various media channels, which included digital marketing, advertising billboards and radio adverts on selected stations such as Absolute Radio and Smooth Radio. The national campaign also focused on specific cities most at risk from unsafe gas appliances as identified by Gas Safe Register’s Investigation’s Team.

Household decision makers were targeted to educate those making the decisions about appliance maintenance and the importance of their gas appliances working safely and efficiently by only using an engineer who is on the Gas Safe Register. These decision makers were targeted through partnerships with Netmums, Your Home and HomeStyle.

Netmums, a parenting website, hosted a coffeehouse thread for parents to share their stories of cutting corners with gas.

Both HomeStyle and Your Home magazines hosted articles about the campaign, which focused on first time buyers and those already on the property ladder ensuring their gas engineer is on the Gas Safe Register. Both magazines found that their readerships became more aware of Gas Safe Register and its role following the partnership content going live across their websites, a social media competition and e-shot emails to their subscribers.

Jonathan Samuel, Chief Executive at Gas Safe Register, said: “Ensuring gas appliances are working safely and efficiently should be a top priority for families and it is important that they are aware of the dangers of cutting corners and not using a Gas Safe registered engineer.

“The brand awareness campaign was a huge success. It was great to see so many registered engineers engaging with the campaign and sending through their examples of unsafe gas work as they play a vital role in helping us inform the public on the importance of gas safety.”

 

GSR's 'Dont Cut Corners' campaign finds success

GSR’s ‘Dont Cut Corners’ campaign finds success

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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Electrical professionals advised to help tackle poor indoor air quality

According to the World Health Organisation, air pollution is the single biggest environmental threat to human health. However, the government’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 fails to address the dangers of pollution that fills our homes and offices.

Specialist supplier, ElectricalDirect, says electrical professionals can take steps to help tackle the problem.

Indoor air quality in domestic and commercial properties is becoming an ever-growing concern amongst experts. In fact, it is thought that it is five times more polluted than the air outdoors.

In February the journal, Science, issued a new study revealing alarming levels of substances which emit potentially harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – or toxins, irritants and allergens. They can be found in products such as paints, printing inks, cleaning products, textiles, toiletries and building materials.

Another study by BEAMA has previously shown that only 9% of 120 UK homes were found to have ‘normal’ levels of these compounds.

Other studies have shown that indoor air can contain over 900 chemicals, particles, and biological materials which can impact our health.

To help lower the risk to the British public – who spend about 90% of their time indoors – specialist supplier, ElectricalDirect, recommends that electrical professionals advise customers on installing adequate ventilation in the workplace and at home.

Products such as the Xpelair Axial Extractor Fan range provide a variety of options to combat poor indoor air quality for domestic settings and commercial properties such as pubs, restaurants and schools.

Wayne Lysaght-Mason, managing director of ElectricalDirect, said: “Poor indoor air quality is often caused by a lack of ventilation, but electrical professionals can help businesses and home owners to easily rectify the issue. I strongly recommend that all electrical professionals respond to this worrying research and talk to their customers about effective ventilation, which is becoming increasingly crucial to a healthy indoor environment.

“Installation is just the first step in reducing bad indoor air quality as it is critical that ventilation products and systems are regularly checked to ensure that they are still doing an effective job, as the use of a building changes over time.”

ElectricalDirect offers a range of Xpelair products designed to combat pollutants, condensation and mould to help improve air quality.

At ElectricalDirect, electricians can choose from a wide range of over 5,500 products, all of which are in stock ready for next day delivery, all over the UK.

 

Electrical professionals advised to help tackle poor indoor air quality

Electrical professionals advised to help tackle poor indoor air quality

 

Source: Electrical Times

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Cash payments could become a thing of the past for plumbers, says the APHC

Many professional plumbing and heating companies accept cash payments for work but, under government proposals announced in the Spring Statement, large cash payments could be made illegal in an attempt to reduce tax evasion.

John Thompson, CEO of the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC), said: “In principle, we welcome the announcement, as this measure would not only make trading harder for the small minority of rogue traders that we have in our industry, but it would also target the rogue consumer wishing to dodge VAT.

“However, as with all new policy announcements, we need to understand the detail and whatever the detail turns out to be, the government needs to ensure that a maximum cash transaction limit isn’t set too low or cause excessive red tape. If the government follows the likes of Belgium, France and Spain who have limits of up to £13,000, then I don’t believe this will be over burdensome for the majority of plumbing and heating contractors.

“The other point to consider is that a maximum cash limit could lead to more transactions being made by card, incurring additional costs, which will inevitably be passed back to the consumer.”

It is also thought that the government is going to look at the feasibility of making it compulsory for tradespeople to issue receipts.

“The APHC would welcome the compulsory issuing of receipts, which is good practice and protects both consumer and tradesperson,” John added.

 

Cash payments could become a thing of the past for plumbers, says the APHC

Cash payments could become a thing of the past for plumbers, says the APHC

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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Council advances plan to build university in Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes Council is moving ahead with feasibility work to scope and cost out plans for a new university in the heart of the city.

Plans to took a big step forward this week when the council agreed terms with Cranfield University to become the lead higher education provider.

Currently known as MK:U, it is planned the university complex would have around 5,000 students with the first cohort arriving in 2023.

Cranfield’s educational, technological and industrial partners on MK:U include Grant Thornton, MK College, Microsoft and Tech Mahindra.

The university will be designed as an education institution for the 21st century, delivering a distinctive STEM-focused undergraduate courses in key areas like digital, cyber, autonomy, robotics and artificial intelligence.

In each of the university’s key areas of focus, there would be a lead business partner.

Councillor Peter Marland, Leader of Milton Keynes Council, said: “We identified how a university focused on technology could benefit our economy, especially coming alongside the development of the Cambridge-MK-Oxford corridor which also holds great promise.

“This will be the first university anywhere designed as a response to the challenges facing cities today and in the future. We’re delighted to be entering this next chapter with Cranfield University.”

The next step is an 18-month feasibility study, which will consider the planning, design and financing of the new university.

 

Council advances plan to build university in Milton Keynes

Council advances plan to build university in Milton Keynes

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Tradespeople revealed as some of the UK’s happiest

Tradespeople are some of the UK’s happiest workers, according to new research. A survey of 1,024 UK workers, by workplace incentives and rewards provider, One4all Rewards, and published in The 2018 Happiness Survey, surveyed employees from different age groups, genders and industries, asking them to score how happy they are in their current roles out of 10.

The data revealed that the trades industry currently boasts some of the happiest employees – with staff in this sector rating their happiness as a glowing 7.41 out of 10, compared to the national average of 6.81 out of 10.

And as many as 52% tradespeople scored their workplace happiness level as 8 or more out of 10.

Unsurprisingly, tradespeople felt it was the remuneration they receive for the work they do – such as salary and wages – that plays the most important (59%) role in their happiness. But softer factors such as the nature of the work that they do (35%) and the relationships workers have with their colleagues (30%) followed in second and third place.

They also stated that their workload (24%) and the relationships they have with management (22%) play a key part in their happiness in their current role.

Alan Smith, UK Managing Director at One4all Rewards, said: “It is interesting to see how happiness levels can vary and that those working in the trades sector are amongst the UK’s happiest. Despite expectations that salary is the main driver of workplace happiness, the nature of the work they do also plays a key factor in their morale at work.

“Clearly, the workforce recognises that money is not everything. In order to maintain or significantly improve morale, it is important for employers within the trades sector to take note of what drives individuals in their workforce.”

For more information and to read The 2018 Happiness Survey, visit www.one4allrewards.co.uk/categories/workplace-happiness-report-uk.html

The top 10 factors that play a key part in tradespeople’s happiness are as follows:

  1. Salary or wages – 59%
  2. The nature of the work – 35%
  3. Relationships with colleagues – 30%
  4. The workload – 24%
  5. Relationships with management – 22%
  6. Financial based bonuses – 20%
  7. The physical working environment – 15%
  8. Training opportunities – 15%
  9. Annual leave allocation – 13%
  10. Work social events – 13%

 

Tradespeople revealed as some of the UK's happiest

Tradespeople revealed as some of the UK’s happiest

 

Source: Professional Heating & Plumbing Installer

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Be Bright, Stay Safe

UK Power Networks – the country’s biggest electricity distributor making sure the lights stay on for more than eight million homes and businesses across London, the South East and the East of England – is launching its Be Bright Stay Safe campaign, which calls on the trade industries to follow safety advice, to reduce the number of electrical network incidents that take place each year.

The campaign, titled Be Bright Stay Safe, seeks to:

  1. Raise awareness of the risks of the distribution network
  2. Increase understanding of how to work safer around the network
  3. Motivate people who may come into contact with the distribution network to adopt safe behaviours

The main target audiences are those who are at most risk from service cables entering properties from overhead or underground and buried mains cables; namely professional trades and construction workers.

Join the campaign and pledge to Be Bright Stay Say. Send them your safety moments #bebrightstaysafe.

 

Be Bright, Stay Safe

Be Bright, Stay Safe

 

Source: Electrical Times

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Survey reveals consumers’ wishlist for the ‘bathroom of the future’

New research has revealed the innovations that consumers would most like to see in the ‘bathroom of the future’, with automatic facial recognition technology topping the list of desirables.

The survey, completed by 1,100 consumers on DigitalBridge, found a consensus of excitement among consumers that tech is soon to transform the home. Nearly half (46%) think that this transformation will be most exciting in the bathroom. A further 28% said that the kitchen is most ripe for innovation and just 9% believe that the living room will see most technological change in future.

Half of people also claimed that they would be more likely to shop with a brand that offered them access to technologies such as augmented reality (AR) or artificial intelligence (AI). This figure rises to 59% among 25-34 year olds.

Despite this, when questioned on their current bathroom tech, 68% of people stated that they believe their bathroom is outdated – with 42% of these even stating that it is very outdated. Just 14% thought their space was of a modern standard and only 6% believed it to be very modern.

Manufacturers and retailers therefore have a lot to gain if they can offer exciting, new and groundbreaking innovations to this audience, and encourage them to upgrade.

When asked which innovations they would most like to see in the next 10 years, 18% said that facial recognition, which automatically sets the user’s preferred lighting or water temperature variables when entering the room, would top the list.

A further 16% of people said they would love to see an in-shower voice device, which allows them to add shampoo, toothpaste and other essentials to their shopping list when they are running low.

An AR simulator, that shows how a hairstyle could look and provides step-by-step instructions on how to achieve it, came third on the list.

David Levine, Chief Executive of DigitalBridge, said: “As outlandish as some of these innovations may sound, they’re actually not far off being a reality. Breakthroughs in AR and AI are steadily making their way into our homes through devices such as Amazon’s Alexa and software such as Google’s ARCore and Apple’s ARKit.

“Clearly, consumer appetite for ground-breaking new bathroom products is high, so the race is on for suppliers to innovate quickly, in order to take advantage of this captive audience.”

Full wishlist:

  1. A face recognition system which automatically adjusts water temperature and pressure to your personalised settings
  2. A hovering drone mirror which allows you to style the back of your hair with ease
  3. An in-shower voice recognition tool that allows you to add shampoo, toothpaste and other essentials to your shopping list when they are running low
  4. An augmented reality simulator that shows how a hairstyle could look on your head and provides step-by-step instructions on how to achieve it
  5. A pep-talking mirror that gives you advice on your outfits based on a link to your personal calendar
  6. Three taps – one for hot, cold and ‘just right’
  7. A dressing machine that chooses your outfit and dresses you
  8. A full body air-dryer
  9. A height-adjustable sink, toilet and mirror that moves up and down depending on who is using them
  10. An ambient display which allows you to make a cup of coffee and answer the doorbell from the shower

 

Survey reveals consumers' wishlist for the 'bathroom of the future'

Survey reveals consumers’ wishlist for the ‘bathroom of the future’

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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Calling all Bright Sparks… SkillELECTRIC now open for entries

Talented electrotechnical apprentices are being encouraged to register for this year’s SkillELECTRIC competition. The application window is now open and runs until 07 April 2018.

During the competition, entrants will be judged on a series of challenging practical tests in a bid to be named the 2018 SkillELECTRIC champion.

The event, which is run in conjunction with WorldSkills UK, is designed to promote and showcase high standards and skills across the electrotechnical industry. Organised by National Electrotechnical Training (NET), the competition also has the Joint Industry Board (JIB) as its premier sponsor.

Between April and June there will be a number of regional events across the UK. Those who score most highly will progress to a UK final held in November at the prestigious Skills Show, the UK’s largest skills and careers event with over 80,000 visitors.

Candidates may also have the chance to represent their country and compete internationally at future WorldSkills competitions.

“Having a SkillELECTRIC competitor can help boost business performance as it teaches competitors to work efficiently under pressure and improves areas such as time management and precision,” said Carolyn Mason, chief executive of NET. “If you’ve got a shining star in your company we encourage you to work with your training provider to enter them into SkillELECTRIC.”

Entries can be made via WorldSkills UK until 07 April. To take part visit https://www.worldskillsuk.org/champions/worldskills-uk-competitions/find-a-competition/construction-and-infrastructure/electrical-installation

 

Calling all Bright Sparks... SkillELECTRIC now open for entries

Calling all Bright Sparks… SkillELECTRIC now open for entries

 

Source: Electrical Times

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Plumbase launches 24-hour spares service

Plumbase has introduced an exclusive 24-hour spares line, meaning installers can place same-day and next-day orders, even if they happen to be working outside of core trading hours.

While the line will be manned around the clock, Plumbase will also be offering expert spares advice between 7am and 8:30pm from Monday to Friday. During this period, heating engineers can speak to one of a team of nine spares experts.

Heating engineers placing orders before 6:30pm will be given the option of having spares delivered either to a local branch or a specified home address. Those ordering after 6:30pm can arrange for branch collection on the next working day (subject to availability in branch), or can have their products despatched on the next working day for overnight delivery.

Aidan Ogle, Plumbase Spares Director, said: “At Plumbase, we’re proud to deliver a spares service that guarantees installers can get exactly what they need, and our new order line is our latest commitment to that.

“Whether installers are on an emergency callout late at night, or are carrying out a routine boiler service during core working hours, we guarantee that they’ll be able to order the parts they need over the phone, at their convenience.”

 

Plumbase launches 24-hour spares service

Plumbase launches 24-hour spares service

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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Joint venture signs off 200m Liverpool Pall Mall scheme

A joint venture partnership between Kier Property, CTP and Liverpool City Council, has been formally signed up to deliver the £200m Pall Mall mixed-use commercial scheme in Liverpool’s central business district.

The development team will regenerate the vast 1.6 ha site to the rear of Exchange Station, subject to planning approval.

The masterplan comprises 400,000 sq ft of office space for the city, as well as associated leisure, retail and landscaped public realm.

A planning submission is expected to be made in late spring 2018, and subject to approval, the developers are then expected to start on site on the first phase of the masterplan, which will be the regeneration of the Pall Mall NCP car park area.

The scheme is significantly important for the city as it is expected to attract considerable inward investment and create 1,800 jobs.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, said: “Liverpool is undergoing an unprecedented era of growth with £14bn of developments in the pipeline and the council is playing a huge role in enabling this regeneration, be it Paddington Village in the Knowledge Quarter, Ten Streets, Festival Park or our new housing company.

“Pall Mall is in the perfect location as a natural expansion to our commercial district. I’m delighted we have partners of the calibre of Kier Property and CTP in this hugely important scheme and I look forward to seeing their ambitious plans take shape.”

Tom Gilman, managing director (North) Kier Property, said: “We have worked hard to develop plans that not only benefit the city, but also, the people who live and work here every day.

“Next steps will be to conclude legal agreements before submitting a planning application following the consultations that we carried out last year with the public and Places Matter.

“This project adds to Kier’s presence in Liverpool where we’re currently delivering a number of schemes, including the new student accommodation block and three-storey college building for Liverpool International College at the city’s Knowledge Quarter.”

 

Joint venture signs off 200m Liverpool Pall Mall scheme

Joint venture signs off 200m Liverpool Pall Mall scheme

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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February 2018 Newsletter

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ECA & BESA join forces to submit retentions plan to government

Following the collapse of Carillion last month, an action plan has been put forward to the Government by leading engineering services bodies, the BESA and ECA, to lay the issue of cash retention in construction to rest.

The BESA and ECA’s submission includes a request for the Government to put retentions in trust as a key first step, with the Peter Aldous Bill seen as a suitable legislative vehicle. This would then be a stepping stone on an industry roadmap to full abolition of retentions in the near future.

The submission includes results from a 2017 survey, which reveals that 92 per cent of respondents said they have faced construction retentions during the last three years, with two-thirds of current contracts involving retentions. Over half faced total retentions of over £100,000 against current contracts;

Many respondents wait an extra six months longer to get their retention monies than the typical 12 months defect liability period. The average amount of monies held over the past three years, which has not been paid back after the completion date and is thus outstanding, is £34,826.

ECA Director of Business Paul Reeve commented: “Prompt and fair payment is essential for industry collaboration, increased productivity and investment. Putting retentions in trust is vital to making early progress with protecting and supporting SMEs. Looking forward, it would help the industry not just to survive, but to modernize and deliver on the new sector deal”.

BESA Director of Legal and Commercial Rob Driscoll commented: “The Government’s Industrial Strategy relies on an engineering services sector which has both the capability and capacity to continue to deliver against UK demand. Recent events have shone a spotlight on just how critical prompt and fair payment is to ensure a financially healthy, innovative and productive sector best achieved through a move away from the use of retentions.”

ECA & BESA join forces to submit retentions plan to government

ECA & BESA join forces to submit retentions plan to government

Source: Electrical Times

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Unexpected boiler repairs cost UK homes over £725m last year

UK households have paid out more than £725 million in unexpected boiler repair bills in the past year, according to data from uSwitch.com.

Nearly a fifth of consumers (17%) – the equivalent of over four million households – have experienced at least one boiler breakdown in the last 12 months. The research found that the average cost to repair a boiler breakdown was £245, adding up to a collective cost of £725 million. However, 4% of those experiencing a breakdown faced a repair bill that exceeded £1,250.

To cover the cost of an unexpected boiler breakdown, nearly half of households (48%) say they would rely on their savings. However, 3.5 million (13%) say they would have to rely on credit cards or take out a bank loan.

Shona Eyre, Energy Expert at uSwitch.com, said: “Boiler breakdown can be a real-life nightmare for many families, and the temperamental British weather doesn’t help matters. It’s not just the financial impact of having to fix a boiler, having to go without hot water and heating for any length of time can be a huge hardship for many families.”

Unexpected boiler repairs cost UK homes over £725m last year

Unexpected boiler repairs cost UK homes over £725m last year

Source: HVP Magazine

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Schneider Electric launches Go Green in the City 2018

Schneider Electric has launched Go Green in the City 2018, its global contest to find bold ideas and innovative solutions for smarter, more energy-efficient cities, which is now in its eighth year. 

In 2017, nearly 20,000 young innovators from 3,000 universities in 180 countries took part. The stakes for Go Green in the City competitors are high, with mentoring, networking, travel, cash prizes and business/job opportunities all on the horizon.

In 2018, the competition is also offering a wider range of topics. Students are invited to submit their bold ideas in one of five categories, including sustainability and inclusivity, the digital economy, smart supply chain, cyber security, or ‘no boundaries/bold idea for going green’ (any topic).

Olivier Blum, chief human resources officer at Schneider Electric commented, “Schneider Electric has a bold vision to solve our planet’s energy paradox. Go Green in the City was designed as a platform for young innovators to become a part of this vision. Helping students to develop their bold ideas for new sustainable solutions, and gain a foothold in our industry is a great way for us to accelerate positive change.”

Raja Jain and Nimisha Gupta from IIT Roorkee in India won first place in the 2017 Go Green in the City final for their ‘Evacool’ air-cooling system. They said, “Go Green in the City has been a dream come true. Winning the competition has given us such a great sense of achievement, as well as a rich learning experience. If you care about how technology can promote greener practices and sustainability, you will not get a better opportunity than this.” 

Teams must be composed of two students attending accredited business or engineering schools in the same country for the duration of the competition. Each team should include at least one female member, in-line with Schneider Electric’s policy of promoting Diversity and Inclusion. The deadline for submissions is June 1, 2018.

All shortlisted teams will receive mentoring by Schneider Electric experts to produce viable business cases to present at one of seven regional semi-finals over the summer in Europe, North America, China, India, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, and South America. Each of the seven regional winners will then be invited to prepare for the competition final, along with one outstanding all-female team and two ‘wild-card’ teams (additional teams selected from the semi-finalists). 

After this second round of mentoring, ten teams will meet at the global final in the United States in the autumn. The global winning team selected by the executive jury, will be offered the chance to start a career at Schneider Electric, after an international travel to visit any two locations of their choice worldwide, where Schneider Electric offices are present.

Schneider Electric launches Go Green in the City 2018

Schneider Electric launches Go Green in the City 2018

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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Trade apprentices to earn £2,000 above the national average by 2022, says Screwfix

According to research conducted by Screwfix, plumbing apprentices are set to earn at least £2,500 a year more than the national average by 2022, bringing their average salary to over £27,500.

This comes from new research commissioned by Screwfix, which examined ONS salary data from 2010-17 to forecast future earnings of apprentices entering a profession. The research was commissioned as part of its Trade Apprentice initiative, which aims to celebrate and champion the best trade apprentices and future stars of the trade.

Along with plumbers, electricians are predicted to be future high earners with a forecasted wage of over £31,000 per annum. Plumbers are forecast to see a 5% increase (over £300), while electricians are to see a rise of 3% (over £150).

Graham Bell, Screwfix CEO, said: “The research supports our belief at Screwfix that a trade apprenticeship is a strong career choice for young people in this country. Apprenticeships lead to careers in highly skilled jobs, which are in high demand and therefore attract a healthy, competitive salary. For young people starting out they offer a great career choice without the burden of large debts from university fees.”

Trade apprentices to earn £2,000 above the national average by 2022, says Screwfix

Trade apprentices to earn £2,000 above the national average by 2022, says Screwfix

Source: HVP Magazine

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Big four accountants accused of feasting on Carillion

Britain’s big four accountancy firms have been accused by MPs of  ‘feasting on the carcass’ of collapsed Carillion, collecting more than £70m in fees in over a decade.

A joint inquiry by two select committees has published a breakdown of fees collected by KPMG, PwC, Deloitte and EY.

This reveals the big four billed the company, pension schemes and the Government nearly £72m since 2008 relating to Carillion.

Field Field, chairman of the work and pensions committee, said: “The image of these companies feasting on what was soon to become a carcass will not be lost on decent citizens.

“We saw at the end of our evidence session that the former directors of Carillion are, unlike their pensioners, suppliers and employees, alright.

“These figures show that, as ever, the Big Four are alright too. All of them did extensive – and expensive – work for Carillion.”

PwC, now handling the liquidation process, came in for particular criticism.

He added: “PWC managed to play all three sides – the company, pension schemes and the Government – to the tune of £21m and are now being paid to preside over the carcass of the company as Special Managers.

“It was perhaps telling that, with their three fellow oligarchs conflicted, PWC were appointed to this lucrative position without any competition.”

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said watchdog MPs would question KPMG about its role in auditing Carillion’s accounts before the group’s collapse with over £1.3bn of debt.

Reeve said: “KPMG has serious questions to answer about the collapse of Carillion.

“Either KPMG failed to spot the warning signs, or its judgement was clouded by its cosy relationship with the company and the multi-million pound fees it received.

“For the sake of all those who lost their jobs at Carillion and in the interests of better corporate governance, KPMG should, as a bare minimum, review its processes and explain what went wrong.”

KPMG, who will be questioned in Parliament, have audited Carillion’s accounts every year since the company’s inception in 1999, receiving £29.4m in fees in the process.

In documents submitted to the joint committee, KPMG  does not accept any suggestion of blame but said it conducted its work “appropriately and responsibly”.

PwC said: “It’s appropriate that the Joint Committee consider all aspects of the collapse of Carillion and we will continue to cooperate fully with their enquiries.

“The Joint Committee’s request for information dates back to 2008 and the majority of the work that PwC undertook directly for Carillion was carried out prior to June 2015 rather than in the last few months before its collapse.

“Our technical skills and ability to deal with complex business problems led to our appointments to work for the Government and the Pension trustees.

“While there are only four large professional services firms, the market has been subject to extensive review by the Competition Commission (now succeeded by the Competition & Markets Authority) and European Commission. We comply with all rules that have resulted from these extensive reviews.”

Big four accountants accused of feasting on Carillion

Big four accountants accused of feasting on Carillion

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Bid race for £190m Manchester town hall revamp

Manchester City Council has started the hunt for a management contractor to deliver its ambitious Town Hall and Albert Square Revamp.

The client project team includes Mace appointed late last year as project manager and architect Purcell, which has worked up designs to refurbish the Grade I-listed landmark building, opened in 1877.

The project is expected to be worth up to £190m and will run for around four years.

City council procurement chiefs hope to shortlist five firms to bid with the successful contractor appointed in early December.

The winning firm will be responsible for managing the project and procuring around 80 subcontracts ranging from  £10,000 – £40m.

Works will include restoring the Great Hall and its Ford Madox Brown murals, as well as external repairs to the roof, stonework and drains. The council also says ‘significant work’ is needed to address the electrics, heating, ventilation and lifts in the building.

The Council is using the Chest procurement portal with expressions of interest required by 19 March.

Bid race for £190m Manchester town hall revamp

Bid race for £190m Manchester town hall revamp

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Driving more business for LPG Installers

LPG supplier Calor is promoting its ‘Find an Installer’ tool which helps potential customers find a local LPG gas engineer for their boiler service, installation and maintenance. Installers who are LPG Qualified and Gas Safe registered are encouraged to sign up for Calor’s Installer Community in order to appear in the Finder’s search results, all free of charge. Being included on the Finder means installers can be contacted directly by homeowners currently using LPG for their heating, or those interested in switching to Calor LPG.

Matt Dunford, National Field Sales Manager at Calor, says: “If you’re a heating installer working in a rural area, LPG offers your customers all the convenience and reliability of mains gas. We’re constantly looking for new ways to work alongside rural installers and help them with any LPG support they need. Our ‘Find an Installer’ tool is another way for us to share business opportunities with our Installer Community.

“We are also offering an Installer Incentive Scheme, where we’ll reward you with up to £250 for every LPG customer you recommend who goes on to become a Calor customer.”

LPG qualified heating installers can learn about the benefits of Calor LPG and inclusion on the Finder by meeting up with a local Calor representative. To find out more, visit www.calor.co.uk/installer

Driving more business for LPG Installers

Driving more business for LPG Installers

Source: PHAM News

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Tackling gender inequality must be priority, says NICEIC

“Tackling gender inequality must be a trade priority,” NICEIC CEO Emma Clancy has said.

As the nation celebrates the 100th anniversary of the female vote Emma has said that despite a certain level of progress in other industries, gender disparity still remains a prevalent issue in the electrical and wider construction sectors.

“February 6, 1918, was an important milestone in our history, but it only marked the start of a journey that we are still on today to bring about equality,” commented Emma.

“The unfortunate reality is that, despite great progress being made in breaking down gender barriers in other areas of life, there is still a huge job to do in the construction industry.

“In the electrical industry alone, women only make up around 1% of the total workforce. As an industry we need to broaden our approach to recruitment and the image we portray.”

NICEIC continues to promote opportunities for women in the electrical industry through its Jobs for the Girls campaign.

The campaign has helped bring greater focus to the issue and while perceptions of the construction industry are changing, Emma believes there are still more steps that can be taken to create a more inclusive environment.

“There are some great success stories out there of women who have made a great career in the electrical industry,” added Emma.

“They are real trailblazers and evidence that the industry is changing. However, the numbers are still painfully low and many young women are still pushed into careers such as hairdressing or childcare as it is the perceived norm.

“We need to change the perception of the industry as one traditionally for boys and make it more inclusive and appealing to women. Young females need see it as a viable, exciting career option from the very beginning.

“What we have found in particular is that women who do become electricians often do so later on in life – when in fact they could have started out much sooner if they had the appropriate information or encouragement.”

For more information, visit the NICEIC’s Jobs for the Girls campaign.

Tackling gender inequality must be priority, says NICEIC

Tackling gender inequality must be priority, says NICEIC

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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World Plumbing Day is coming up

The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) is reminding the industry that 11 March 2018 is World Plumbing Day.

Initiated by the World Plumbing Council (WPC), World Plumbing Day highlights the global water and sanitation crisis, while also promoting the important role that plumbing plays in the health and safety of modern society.

While here in the UK, we feel a million miles away from dangers of severe water shortages and the sanitation crisis seen in the developing world; that is not to say that all UK water systems are safe. With longstanding issues such as hot water scalding, Legionnaires Disease, lead in pipework and pollution caused by plumbing misconnections, we are still very much living in a time where even first world plumbing problems can be deadly.

Kevin Wellman, CEO of the CIPHE, said: “Days such as World Plumbing Day highlight both the good and the bad in our vital and vibrant industry. We know the health of the nation sits on having safe, clean drinking water and effective sanitation. While the majority of tradespeople are out there working to an exceptional standard, each year people are still being severely injured and killed by poorly designed, installed and maintained plumbing systems.

“Plumbers are also on the frontline in the fight to conserve water, while safekeeping our families and the environment we live in. At the CIPHE, we believe that education and knowledge is the key to fighting a variety of problems in the industry. We wholeheartedly celebrate the role that plumbers make to our everyday lives, but still recognise more needs to be done to make all plumbing systems safe and sustainable.”

You can keep up-to-date with the latest news and events online by logging onto www.worldplumbingday.org or following @WPlumbingDay on Twitter.

World Plumbing Day is coming up

World Plumbing Day is coming up

Source: HVP Magazine

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Triveneta admits production fault in flexible cord

Italian cable company, La Triveneta Cavi (LTC), has confirmed it experienced a production fault last year that resulted in flexible cord cable with exposed copper conductors, on sale in the UK, reports the Approved Cables Initiative (ACI).

The cables, which failed the British and European Standards flex test, were found on sale following random market place sampling by the ACI. The Initiative has recently stepped up this programme of surveillance following an increase in reporting of substandard cable.

In a written notification, LTC outlined that the incident, which the ACI originally reported in November last year, may be attributed to the `running-in’ phase of a new production plant in Moldova at the end of 2016 and into early 2017.

Since the ACI’s original announcement, certification body IMQ has indicated that it has been addressing issues identified during routine surveillance work with the Triveneta factory in question. These issues were being dealt with in accordance with the HAR scheme rules and IMQ requirements.

The company has also confirmed it is working with IMQ and that during the latest inspections at its production site by IMQ, no problems or anomalies were detected. BASEC also reported that testing of a further batch of cable passed relevant tests.

In September last year, tests of cable samples were commissioned by the ACI and carried out by three independent sources. All showed similar results. Other non-conforming results were also noted but the exposed copper conductors were deemed to be the most dangerous failing of the tested cable.

All cable samples failed flex tests under BS EN 50525-2-11 2014.

The affected three core 1.5sq.mm cords could potentially be fitted to vacuum cleaners, electric drills and extension leads, all of which are exposed to constant flexing during their everyday use. The ACI believes the copper conductor strands which penetrated the PVC insulation and sheathing during the test could cause serious electric shock or even death if they come into contact with a user.

The samples of Triveneta flexible cords which were tested were marked with the manufacturer’s identification ‘La Triveneta Cavi’ and carried a 2016 manufacturing date. They were also marked with the IEMMEQU <HAR> approval mark. The failed flexible cords were orange and white in colour – however the ACI advises that all colours should be treated with great caution.

For further advice on this issue and other substandard cable can be found at www.aci.org.uk.

Triveneta admits production fault in flexible cord

Triveneta admits production fault in flexible cord

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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Financial concerns hit construction’s largest sectors

The Construction Products Association’s Construction Trade Survey 2017 has revealed that the proportion of companies in the construction supply chain struggled with rising costs for raw materials, labour and energy has remained elevated in each quarter, last year.

The survey found that although activity continued to increase for main contractors, SME builders, product manufacturers and specialist contractors during the quarter, civil engineering firms reported the first fall in workloads in four years. Net balances for orders, enquiries and expected product sales for the year ahead weakened, and contractors reported lower orders in the commercial, infrastructure, industrial and public non-housing sectors. Combined, these sectors account for over 40 per cent of total construction output.

Rises in fuel and energy costs were prevalent among heavy side product manufacturers, reflecting the lagged impact of Sterling’s deprecation during 2016 on hedged commodity prices.

This, in combination with existing price pressures for raw materials and labour, has intensified the cost inflation passing through the supply chain.

Overall, costs were reported higher for 82 per cent of civil engineering contractors, whilst raw materials increased for 82 per cent of main contractors and 91 per cent of light side product manufacturers.

Commenting on the survey, Rebecca Larkin, Senior Economist at the CPA, said: The Q4 survey marked the fourth consecutive quarter of falling profit margins among building contractors. This combined with Carillion’s liquidation at the start of this year only emphasizes the financial strains exerted by a protracted period of rising costs passing through the supply chain. Falls in new orders reported in the four sizeable sectors of commercial, infrastructure, industrial and public non-housing add another downside to the outlook for 2018 given the early signs of slowing activity at the end of last year.

Financial concerns hit construction's largest sectors

Financial concerns hit construction’s largest sectors

Source: Electrical Times

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North London £650m Heat and Power project open day

North London Waste Authority (NLWA) will be holding an industry open day, in London, for the construction sector on 6 March 2018. This is for the companies who want to be part of a project that offers a range of construction activities over approximately the next ten years. By building the facilities, it will enable the sustainable management of waste in North London in the long term.

The construction work will deliver the North London Heat and Power Project (NLHPP) at Edmonton EcoPark – a 16 hectare site in the Upper Lee Valley.

Providing a vital asset for NLWA, the project will ensure the ability to dispose of waste responsibly and cost effectively for many years to come.

NLWA have said they will work to the highest standards of health and safety, work as a “good neighbour”, be committed to equality, diversity and inclusion, and play a positive role in skills development of their workplace.

The components of the NLHPP are an Energy Recovery Facility (ERF), located in the north of the site, which will treat up to 700,000 tonnes of residual waste a year and provide electricity that can power over 127,000 homes, with energy diverted to supply heat to local homes and businesses via a heat network.

Located in the south of the site will be the Resource Recovery Facility (RRF), where bulky waste will be separated for recycling, and will also be the location of a recycling centre for the public and businesses from 2021.

Eco Park House, located near the River Lee Navigation, will contain office accommodation and a visitors’ centre where people can find out about recycling, waste, heat etc.

The estimated capital cost of the project is around 650 million pounds. In advance of main construction activities, a series of preparatory works will be required to prepare the site, provide new utilities and create new site access points.

NLWA’s industry open day is to explain their proposals for the preparatory works so that interested companies can soon engage as soon as practicable in the plans.

To register for the event, please do so through the website: northlondonheatandpower.london

North London £650m Heat and Power project open day

North London £650m Heat and Power project open day

Source: Electrical Times

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January 2018 Newsletter

Quick Links


Carillion bankers set up £225m fund to help subcontractors

Bankers who refused to lend Carillion more cash have set up a £225m fund to help subcontractors and suppliers caught up in the contractor’s collapse.

Lloyds Banking Group has launched a £50m fund, HSBC £100m and RBS £75m.

The trio will waive fees and suspend loan repayment for firms struggling with cash flow after losing money in the wake of Carillion’s demise.

All three were major lenders to the company and are facing huge losses following its failure.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “I welcome this quick and positive move by banks.

“This follows my meeting with the banks yesterday where I challenged them to see what further support they could provide for SMEs affected by Carillion’s insolvency.

“It is essential that small businesses exposed are given the support they need by their lenders, and I look forward to other banks following suit.”

A government task force has also been set up to “monitor and advise on mitigating the impacts of Carillion’s liquidation on construction firms.”

It includes representatives from leading business bodies, the construction trade sector, unions, banks and government.

Clark said: “It got key people round the table to drive forward steps that we believe can give confidence to workers and the supply chain; support from banks, the ability to link workers with employment and support for apprentices.

“I am determined that collectively we will take the steps necessary to give workers and businesses the information they need at this difficult time.”

Carillion bankers set up £225m fund to help subcontractors

Carillion bankers set up £225m fund to help subcontractors

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Gas Safe Register launch new campaign

Gas Safe Register has launched a new brand awareness campaign to remind people not to ‘cut corners’ when it comes to gas safety and only use a legally qualified engineer by checking that they’re on the Gas Safe Register.

The campaign is now live across Gas Safe Register’s various media channels.

As part of the ‘Don’t Cut Corners with Gas’ campaign, the intended target audience of household decision makers will see and hear that it is their responsibility to ensure that their gas appliances are working safely and efficiently by only using an engineer who is on the Gas Safe Register.

Jonathan Samuel, chief executive, said: “With so many things to juggle in this day and age it’s understandable that some people may look for quick and easy solutions, but when it comes to gas safety our message is clear – you cannot cut corners.

“Our new campaign highlights Gas Safe Register as the trusted source to find a qualified and legal engineer to work on gas appliances to make sure they’re working safely and efficiently.”

The campaign theme was trialled at various focus sessions, capturing both qualitative and quantitative research to determine the most striking and memorable campaign messaging for the intended audience.

Gas Safe Register launch new campaign

Gas Safe Register launch new campaign

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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BEAMA launches indoor air quality campaign as 65% of UK suffer symptoms

BEAMA is launching a new video as part of its ongoing ‘My Health My Home’ campaign, aimed at driving public awareness of the risks of poor indoor air quality and a lack of ventilation, in response to rising symptoms of poor air in UK homes.

A recent poll of UK homeowners, commissioned by BEAMA, has shown that 65 per cent of people had experienced the signs of poor indoor air quality while 80 per cent believed indoor air quality was as important (if not more important) than outdoor.

The video has been produced to inform homeowners of the benefits of ventilation in helping to achieve good indoor air quality, as well as warning of the health risks associated with poor indoor air quality –  including asthma, allergy, and long-term exposure is linked to heart disease and respiratory problems including lung cancer. With 73 per cent of those surveyed in agreement that poor indoor quality should be a health priority for government, BEAMA are most definitely onto something.

The video has been produced to inform homeowners of the benefits of ventilation in helping to achieve good indoor air quality, as well as warning of the health risks associated with poor indoor air quality –  including asthma, allergy, and long-term exposure is linked to heart disease and respiratory problems including lung cancer.

Colin Timmins of BEAMA said: “While we are working with industry and Government to deliver better ventilation systems in UK homes, householders also need to be aware of the impact they are having on their own indoor air, what this could mean for them and the steps they can take to improve it.”

For more information, visit: https://indoorairpollution.co.uk/

To watch the video, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JiQTaC3lvo

BEAMA launches indoor air quality campaign as 65% of UK suffer symptoms

BEAMA launches indoor air quality campaign as 65% of UK suffer symptoms

Source: Electrical Times

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Bathroom taps market on the up

Tap and shower manufacturer, Bristan, has welcomed a recent report revealing that the bathroom taps market is set to grow by 7.25% by 2021.

According to WiseGuyReports, the growth will be driven by the large-scale popularity of eco-friendly faucets such as sensor taps which are expected to be the fastest growing product during the projected time.

The bathroom taps market is mainly dependent on the growth of the global construction industry. Although forecasts for UK growth have been downgraded to 0.7 per cent this year, with a slowing economy expected as the UK prepares to leave the EU, it is projected to bounce back to 1.8 per cent in 2019.

Matt Hicks, head of product at Bristan, said: “This latest report is great news for the bathroom taps market which, like the rest of the economy, has been in a period of uncertainty following Brexit. The next few years look set to be an exciting time for the market and we as a brand can’t wait to see what lies ahead.

“With one in four homes estimated to have a Bristan tap or shower, we are pleased to see the market continue to develop and expand, and are dedicated to continuously pushing the boundaries of innovation.”

Bathroom taps market on the up

Bathroom taps market on the up

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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‘Partners In Education’ – Inspiring the next generation of electricians

New Hager initiative designed to support educational establishments provision of market-leading products, learning aids and technical support enhance learning experience for tomorrow’s electricians.

Hager will play its part supporting the development of the next generation of UK electricians at a time when the Government is committed to delivering 3 million apprenticeships by 2020.

Its new ‘Partners in Education’ initiative will see Hager partner with a number of further education colleges across the UK to help enhance the learning experience for budding electricians.

The initiative, which was launched in 2017, is designed to provide practical and educational support for colleges charged with teaching electrical apprentices and students.

To support this, Hager is making available a range of equipment from its broad product portfolio. This will allow students to benefit from working with the very latest product models in the classroom as they begin their journey towards qualification as an electrician.

In addition, Hager is delivering further support through a range of technical materials such as an easy-to-understand materials reference guide to explain industry terminology to those new to the sector and interactive training classes with Hager’s technical experts. The company has also extended an open invitation for students and teaching staff to visit its manufacturing and training facility in Telford.

Paul Collins, training manager at Hager, said: “We have been delighted with the positive response from colleges around the UK to our innovative ‘Partners in Education’ initiative. I am well aware of the frustrations the teaching profession has when using substandard and overused equipment as teaching aids in the classroom. At a time when every penny counts across the education system, it is important that Hager, as a major manufacturer, can support colleges in this manner.”

“By partnering with a number of teaching establishments, we are able to provide access to the very latest technology and product solutions. This optimises the opportunity for students and apprentices to work with market leading products such as Hager’s MCBs and RCDs. In addition, we are providing a range of marketing materials such as posters and guides that colleges can use to further enhance their students’ learning experience.”

As part of the initiative, Hager also plans to sponsor prizes for a number of ‘Top Student’ awards for individual colleges, as well as offering an innovative service where colleges can request replacement components rather than ordering complete units, such as instances when a terminal fails on a consumer unit.

Helen Hampton from Bridgend College, which is taking part in the initiative, comments: “We are pleased to have Hager’s support. Being able to offer our students the opportunity to work with quality products not only enables them to install accessories far more easily, but also to a higher standard. We’re looking forward to working with Hager in this exciting partnership to help train the electricians of tomorrow.”

Paul Collins concluded: “It is vital that the whole industry gets behind the development of tomorrow’s generation of electricians. By helping students and apprentices commence their careers with access to quality learning products, as well as the ability to utilise helpful teaching aids and technical support, Hager is playing its part in this important objective. The Hager ‘Partners in Education’ initiative has got off to a great start, and we are determined to build upon its success to reach as many apprentices and students as possible.”

'Partners In Education' - Inspiring the next generation of electricians

‘Partners In Education’ – Inspiring the next generation of electricians

Source: Electrical Times

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Survey drone hits crane on construction site

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch was called in when a drone hit a crane on a site in Kent.

Investigators have now published their report into the prang last summer.

The report said the drone pilot “had not taken into account the addition of a new crane.”

The pilot had flown a pre-programmed profile at the site before the tower crane was erected.

But the investigators found the last flight came to a premature end when the drone struck the jib of the recently erected machine.

The report stated: “The crane had not been at the site during the previous flight, and from where the pilot was situated in the car park it was difficult for him or his observer to tell that it was about to strike the crane because of a lack of perspective.”

“The unmanned aircraft fell to the ground and was damaged but there was no damage to the construction site.”

Survey drone hits crane on construction site

Survey drone hits crane on construction site

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Skills shortages reach record high

A survey by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), has found that of skills shortages in the construction industry are reaching an all-time high.

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB), which represents small and medium-sized (SME) construction firms, has found that more than two-thirds of members are struggling to hire bricklayers and carpenters.

The FMB’s latest quarterly state of trade survey reveals that 68% of respondents are struggling to hire bricklayers and 63% are struggling to hire carpenters and joiners. These are the highest figures since the FMB began gathering data in 2008.

The number of firms reporting difficulties hiring plumbers and electricians has reached 48%, plasterers 46% and floorers 30% – all numbers representing a new high, the FMB said.

Recruitment problems are here despite a downturn in optimism in the sector. Fewer master builders predict rising workloads in the coming three months, down from 41% in the third quarter of 2017 to 38% in Q4.

They are also resigned to spiralling costs: 87% of builders believe that material prices will rise in the next six months, up from 82% in the previous quarter; and 61% expect salaries and wages to increase in the next six months.

FMB chief executive Brian Berry said: “Skills shortages are sky rocketing and it begs the question, who will build the new homes and infrastructure projects the government is crying out for. The government has set itself an ambitious target to build 300,000 homes every year in England alone. More than two-thirds of construction SMEs are struggling to hire bricklayers which is one of the key trades in the building industry. This has increased by nearly 10% in just three months which points to a rapid worsening of an already dire situation. What’s more, nearly as many are facing difficulties hiring carpenters and joiners. These figures are the highest we’ve noted since records began a decade ago. As a result, the wages for these increasingly scarce skilled tradespeople continue to rise sharply; that’s a simple consequence of supply and demand. This, coupled with the fact that small construction firms continue to face significant material price increases, will inevitably squeeze their margins and put a brake on growth.”

Mr Berry continued: “The government must take account of the worsening construction skills shortage with Brexit looming large on the horizon. The prime minister must ensure that the immigration system that replaces the free movement of people can take account of the particular needs of key sectors such as construction and house building. Without skilled labour from the EU, the skills shortages we face would be considerably worse, and it is not in anyone’s best interest to pull the rug out from under the sector by introducing an inflexible and unresponsive immigration system. On the domestic front and in the longer term, to ensure we have an ample supply of skilled workers in the future, the government must continue to work with industry to set the right framework in terms of T-Levels and apprenticeships.”

He concluded: “The silver lining to current skills shortages among construction SMEs is that the numerous tradespeople and professionals, who may find themselves out of work following the collapse of Carillion, have a ready supply of alternative employers.”

Skills shortages reach record high

Skills shortages reach record high

Source: The Construction Index

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Lendlease launches £1.5bn Build-to-rent partnership

Lendlease has struck a deal with a Canadian pension fund to invest £1.5bn in build-to-rent.

The first investment of £450m will be ploughed into the next phase of new homes at Elephant Park in south London.

Construction has already started on the first homes at the Elephant & Castle site and the deal with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board paves the way for the full scheme to be completed in 2020.

Under the deal CPPIB will invest £350m for 80% and Lendlease will invest the balance.

The partnership will also pursue fresh opportunities within Lendlease’s wider residential urban regeneration activities in London and across the UK under a 50:50 joint venture.

Lendlease will develop, construct, and manage the build-to-rent homes on behalf of the partnership.

Dan Labbad, CEO of International Operations at Lendlease, said: “In recent decades, structural shifts in the housing market have meant that demand has outstripped supply in the private rented sector, leading to a shortfall of homes in London and across the UK.

“Today’s announcement is a logical next step for us as a business and delivers on our strategy to grow our urban regeneration pipeline and accelerate the delivery of much-needed homes, by working with institutional capital partners to launch this new asset class for Lendlease’s investment platform.”

Andrea Orlandi, Managing Director & Head of Real Estate Investments Europe at CPPIB, said: “Through this partnership, we are able to access a sector we believe is poised for long-term growth, and we are pleased to be able to do so with Lendlease, one of our existing top global partners.”

Lendlease launches £1.5bn Build-to-rent partnership

Lendlease launches £1.5bn Build-to-rent partnership

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Carillion collapse adds urgency to resolving retentions issues

The liquidation of construction giant Carillion could lead to potentially catastrophic losses for thousands of SMEs, according to the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) and the electrotechnical and engineering services trade body ECA.

According to its latest set of accounts, Carillion was holding over £800m in retentions payments owed to sub-contractors. There is growing alarm that much of this money will be lost leaving many more firms at risk of financial collapse.

Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney and longstanding champion of SMEs in industry, introduced a draft Bill to Parliament just last week, which seeks to amend the 1996 Construction Act to ensure retention money is held in a deposit protection scheme – avoiding just this kind of situation.

“The Bill was developed precisely with just this kind of nightmare scenario in mind,” said BESA President Tim Hopkinson. “We are aware of the frantic attempts going on behind the scenes to rescue Carillion’s projects and switch them to other contractors, but unless retention money is protected – there is a danger that the problem is just being moved to another place and that SMEs will remain equally vulnerable.”

“Carillion’s move into liquidation places their huge supply chain – which includes many electrical and other specialist contractors – at risk of losing millions of pounds, which will threaten companies and jobs”, comments ECA Director of Business Paul Reeve. “While this is a clear and present disaster for construction and wider maintenance, the question will ultimately follow, why did Carillion appear so attractive to clients even as they moved towards collapse?”

As a result, BESA and ECA are calling for the following five-point action plan:

  • Any SME contractors already working on Carillion projects should be allowed to continue on these projects and be paid directly.
  • The UK Government must actively support the Peter Aldous Bill on retentions and ensure it is allocated enough Parliamentary time to progress.
  • Major public sector suppliers like Carillion should be precluded from winning any further contracts unless it can prove it pays its supply chain promptly.
  • Major corporate public sector suppliers like Carillion worthy of their own Government account managers, and who rely on SME supply-chains for successful delivery must be made to implement transparent supply-chain payment systems, statutory public sector payment requirements, Project Bank Accounts and no retentions, throughout the supply chain.
  • Government must monitor and enforce the public sector 30 day payment supply chain model as opposed to Carillion’s own 126-day payment terms, which leaves thousands of SMEs struggling for cash flow to pay staff and suppliers.

Given that 99% of the industry’s 280,000 businesses are SMEs, we would also ask that the Paul Uppal, small business commissioner, support this plan. The Bill, which has attracted widespread cross-party support, highlights the fact that more than £10.5bn of SME’s potential working capital is locked up in retentions every year and £700m was entirely lost to SMEs over the past three years.

“Well run businesses are being starved of vital working capital and put at risk of insolvency through no fault of their own,” added Mr Hopkinson. “It is time for the abuse of the retentions system to end and for sub-contractors’ hard earned money to be protected from this kind of supply chain failure.”

The average UK contractor has £27,500 withheld per year in retentions and, under the terms of the ‘Aldous Bill’ this money would be protected in the event of an insolvency somewhere else in the supply chain.

Reeve concluded: “The fact that a company who recently worked on prestigious public contracts such as Crossrail and the Olympic Stadium can be in this situation should be a wake-up call to those procuring major public infrastructure work.”

www.theBESA.com

www.eca.co.uk

Carillion collapse adds urgency to resolving retentions issues

Carillion collapse adds urgency to resolving retentions issues

Source: Electrical Review

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Near zero energy retrofit project launched

A new European research project has launched at Brunel University London, which will demonstrate how buildings can be renovated to use “near zero energy”.

Featuring 17 partners from nine European countries and funded by Horizon 2020, the €8.4m project brings together academia and industry to develop a ‘retrofit kit’ that can be used to reduce energy consumption by 60-95% in renovated buildings.

The Retrofit Kit will bring together a number of advanced, cost efficient, and energy saving technologies – including smart windows with pre-heating and cooling technology, ventilation heat recovery, photovoltaic panels, and nature-based technologies – which can be fitted 30% quicker than typical renovations. It’s hoped that implementation of the technologies would have a payback period of under 15 years.

Four demonstration sites will be created as part of the project, including one at Brunel, which will offer practical, real-world examples of ‘Near Zero Energy Buildings’ or ‘nZEBs’ retrofit.

Located in the UK, Denmark, Switzerland and Spain, the sites will demonstrate the Retrofit Kit’s effectiveness in different climates, and using different construction methods. Work on the retrofit buildings will begin in summer 2019.

Professor Maria Kolokotroni, leader of Brunel’s Resource Efficient Future Cities research team and Technical Manager of the project, said: “We’ve built an excellent team since this project first began to take shape back in 2016, and it’s exciting to think that by the time we finish we will have demonstrated at a number of sites across Europe that it’s possible to massively reduce the energy usage of a building, in a cost-effective way, while simultaneously increasing indoor environmental quality and decreasing installation time.”

Near zero energy retrofit project launched

Near zero energy retrofit project launched

Source: HVP Magazine

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High Rise reduces energy costs with Variable Speed Drives

A London office complex has saved £15,000 on electricity costs in six months following the installation of 18 ABB variable speed drives (VSDs). The drives, ranging from 5.5 kW to 37 kW, are used on hot water and chilled water pumps as well as air extraction systems. The £48,000 project is expected to pay for itself within 18 months.

Harbour Exchange Tower is a 46,500 sqm office development near Canary Wharf in London. Consisting of two linked towers, the 17 floors of the building house a number of financial and Internet service providers.

The building’s maintenance contractor, CBRE, also has responsibility for running the building efficiently. When the building was completed in 1989, only the most energy intensive applications were speed controlled. CBRE was keen to improve energy use on other applications. It asked ABB authorised value provider, Inverter Drive Systems (IDS), to investigate which applications offered the greatest energy-saving potential. IDS performed an energy assessment together with engineers from ABB.

CBRE’s technical supervisor for the site, Patrick Phatty, said, “Some of the pumps on-site were almost 20 years old so we were keen to maximise their efficiency. IDS was recommended to us by colleagues at other sites.”

IDS undertook an energy assessment at the site concentrating on applications that were not speed controlled, but were switched on and off via a star/delta arrangement.

Andrew White of IDS, said, “The applications we looked at included hot water and chilled water pumps along with air extraction systems, with our energy assessment determining the payback period of each one. Several energy cost rises had taken place, with the unit cost per kWh increasing from 11p to 15p, which would help to shorten the payback period and increase savings.”

The assessment revealed that installing 18 VSDs would produce savings of around £2,500 a month, with a payback in only eight months for the larger drives.

IDS demonstrated the savings by installing one of the larger drives in a trial application. The ABB HVAC drive, ACH580, features a built-in energy calculator which measures energy use in kWh, CO2 reduction and money saved, to help users monitor and fine-tune processes to ensure optimal energy use. This information is displayed on the drive’s keypad screen in real time, enabling the user to see exactly how much energy the drive is saving compared to running the same application direct-on-line.

The installation of the 18 VSDs was spread over three applications – hot water pumps, chilled water pumps and toilet supply and extraction fans. The pumps and fans are controlled by a building management system (BMS), which switches them on and off according to pre-selected timings.

The biggest savings have come from the chilled water system. This has eight drives running eight pumps. Six of the drives are 30 kW and two are 37 kW. The drives reduce the speed of the pump motors by 20%. In the first six months of operation, this has saved 55,000kWh and £8,000 in energy costs.

Four 22 kW drives were installed on four hot water pumps. The pumps operate in pairs in standby/duty mode, with each set supplying hot water for one of the two towers in the development. Again, the drives cut motor speed by 20%. Over six months, this has resulted in a saving of 48,000kWh, cutting energy costs by £6,000.

Each building has one supply and two extract fans for the toilets. Previously run at full speed constantly, the supply fans are now run by two 5.5 kW drives, while the extract fans are run by four 7.5 kW drives. CBRE opted to use the drives to reduce the speed of the fan motors by 10 percent. This has saved 7,900 kWh and £1,100 in energy costs in the first six months of operation.

High Rise reduces energy costs with Variable Speed Drives

High Rise reduces energy costs with Variable Speed Drives

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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New facility to produce next-generation fuels

A new £4m facility is to be developed, capable of producing next-generation bio-coal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

CPL Industries, together with The University of Nottingham and the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA), is using new technology known as Hydrothermal Carbonisation (HTC) which mimics the long-term natural process of coal formation. The technology will convert high-moisture biomass, including food waste, into next-generation solid fuels with coal-like properties.

The process, which will be managed by CPL at its manufacturing plant in Immingham, North Lincolnshire, takes a matter of hours rather than millennia. The HTC method allows for the mass production of a high-energy, low-carbon biofuel for domestic and industrial uses, offering a solution to the issue of air quality. Production is scheduled to begin this summer.

Tim Minnett, CEO of CPL, said: “The technology has the potential to revolutionise the treatment of high-moisture organic waste streams, producing value-added products that displace fossil fuels and promoting the circular economy. CPL and the rest of the project partners stand ready to engage with local authorities and waste managers to source suitable waste material, conduct trials and develop the wider commercial and environmental benefits.”

The new facility is being co-funded by ERA, a consortium of six Midlands universities and the British Geological Survey (BGS), which has investment from the government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, to research and demonstrate low carbon technologies.

CPL is working with Professor Colin Snape at the University of Nottingham, who is Director of the Centre in Efficient Power from Fossil Energy and Carbon Capture Technologies.

Professor Snape added: “This new HTC facility is the first such plant in the UK, enabling us to look at how we can convert waste streams into value-added fuel products that have many domestic and industrial applications. Also, by using the bio-coal that has been made from bio-waste, we are producing a carbon-neutral fuel and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

New facility to produce next-generation fuels

New facility to produce next-generation fuels

Source: HVP Magazine

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Ireland’s construction industry up 18%

Ireland’s construction output grew 18% last year and continued growth is expected in 2018, according to a study by Aecom.

Output value is expected to increase by a further 14% to approximately €19.5bn (£17.2bn) in 2018.

The Aecom Ireland Annual Review of the Construction Industry includes the results of a survey of professionals in the construction and property sectors in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It found that growth in construction output has been focused on the commercial and foreign direct investment sectors. The residential sector, transportation and utilities have not kept up with the demands of a growing economy.

Aecom launched the review at an event in Dublin. “Some big issues remain for Ireland’s construction industry, namely Brexit and its potential impact on new construction project demand, as well as the availability of resources and tender inflation,” said head of buildings and places, Republic of Ireland, John O’Regan. “Despite those issues, the future looks promising. The positive news is that the opportunities for economic growth and increased foreign direct investment are great and dynamic approaches to addressing challenges are making a difference.”

Last year saw Dublin’s commercial market continue to strengthen, with developers and investors continuing to see strong demand for office accommodation. A considerable number of commercial properties are still under construction and 2017 also saw increased construction activity extending beyond the Greater Dublin area.

The residential sector, which historically has been the key driver of output, has been struggling to respond to the housing crisis. There was some movement in 2017 with the number of starts increasing in the first eight months of the year to 4,055 – a 25% increase from a very low base for the same period in 2016.

The report said that it is very positive that there is a budgeted 18.5% increase in value terms in the public sector capital programme for 2018. However, there is a concern around the delivery of the increase, with questions raised regarding whether various government departments have the ‘shovel-ready’ projects available for implementation this year. The pace of development of public infrastructure is likely to continue to be hindered by a lack of internal resources, a challenging planning process, inappropriate procurement routes and time-consuming approvals structures, warned Aecom.

The construction industry in Northern Ireland has seen the value of output rise by 11.6% in value terms compared to the previous 12 months. The review predicted that 2018 is set to be another stable year for the industry in Northern Ireland.

Ireland's construction industry up 18%

Ireland’s construction industry up 18%

Source: The Construction Index

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Artisan unveils £90m hotel and leisure quarter plan for Glasgow’s waterfront

One of Glasgow’s most significant waterfront development sites is set to be transformed into a thriving hotel and leisure quarter following outline plans unveiled by Artisan Real Estate Investors.

The investment partnership, which is driving Edinburgh’s New Waverley project, has submitted a pre-application notice to Glasgow City Council to develop the Custom House site, which links the city’s famed Buchanan Street with the River Clyde waterfront.

The £90 million plan spans a development area of 2,700 sq.m. and includes the historic sandstone Grade A-Listed Custom House and its former stable block, together with two adjacent tenement buildings straddling the corner of Clyde Street and Dixon Street.

Artisan purchased the site in August 2017 and agreed a leasing deal with the Dalata Hotel Group in November to bring Scotland’s first Clayton Hotel to the Custom House – a four-star development including 300 bedrooms, a bar, restaurant and conference facilities. A 150-room aparthotel is also planned for the adjacent tenement buildings, together with street level bars and restaurants.

Welcoming the proposals, Artisan’s project director Clive Wilding said: “This is a hugely significant opportunity to, once again, bring Glasgow’s burgeoning waterfront area back into the vibrant heart of its city centre.

“For too long, the imposing Custom House with its distinctive Greek revival frontage and its neighbouring tenements had become the forgotten segment of the city’s waterfront, having lain mostly vacant for the best part of a decade. We are now in a position to bring these wonderfully characterful buildings back to life, introducing established boutique hotel and aparthotel brands, which will fill the area with energy and life throughout the day and evening.

“We will now work with our partners to create a flagship regeneration project for the city, providing a seamless link from the Clyde waterfront to the St Enoch Centre transport hub and Buchanan Street – part of Glasgow’s ‘style mile’ and generally regarded as the best shopping street outside of London.”

He added: “We are looking forward to expanding our footprint in Glasgow, and securing another high-quality regeneration opportunity in such an excellent city centre location fits our model perfectly.”

Artisan brings a wealth of experience of sensitive city-centre development, and is currently spearheading the award-winning transformation of Edinburgh’s Old Town through its New Waverley project.

Designed by Irish-born customs official and engineer John Taylor, who was also responsible for the Customs House in Dundee, Glasgow’s Custom House opened in 1840 and provided a direct link from the bustling Clyde quayside to the heart of the city centre. The building underwent internal modifications in 1873 carried out by the renowned Glasgow architect Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson.

The imposing double height first floor rooms, fronted by classically styled Doric columns, are the standout feature of the building and will form the heart of the new conference centre for the Clayton Hotel.

The Custom House was more recently occupied by the Procurator Fiscal’s office, which vacated the building in 2007. The neighbouring former tenement buildings were home to a department store in the 1960s as well as other small businesses.

The wider area, including Custom House Quay, Custom House Gardens and Carrick Quay form part of a long-standing Council-backed scheme to transform the waterfront with mixed use development including hotels, retailers, luxury flats and a promenade including restaurants and bars, aiming to create an extension to the retailing and commercial activities within the city along the riverside.

The Custom House project will be delivered by Artisan St. Enoch Quarter Limited, a subsidiary of Artisan Real Estate Investors. Architects will be Glasgow-based Sheppard Robson. Following an ongoing consultation exercise, a detailed planning application is expected to be submitted in spring 2018 with a completion date set, subject to planning, for mid-2020.

Artisan unveils £90m hotel and leisure quarter plan for Glasgow's waterfront

Artisan unveils £90m hotel and leisure quarter plan for Glasgow’s waterfront

Source: Scottish Construction Now

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