July 2017 Newsletter

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Extra Tests for cladding and insulation following Grenfell fire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Extra Tests for cladding and insulation following Grenfell fire

Extra Tests for cladding and insulation following Grenfell fire

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Four in ten homeowners want solar and energy storage packages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Four in ten homeowners want solar and energy storage packages

Four in ten homeowners want solar and energy storage packages

Source: Electrical Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: HVP Magazine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Electrical Times

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APHC encourages plumbing and heating businesses to use social media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

APHC encourages plumbing and heating businesses to use social media

APHC encourages plumbing and heating businesses to use social media

Source: HVP Magazine

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World’s first sideways elevator unveiled

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World's first sideways elevator unveiled

World’s first sideways elevator unveiled

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Charity offers vital support for apprentices with learning difficulties

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charity offers vital support for apprentices with learning difficulties

Charity offers vital support for apprentices with learning difficulties

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Boiler industry plays key role in innovating to reduce emissions

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

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

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

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

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

Boiler industry plays key role in innovating to reduce emissions

Boiler industry plays key role in innovating to reduce emissions

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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3 in 4 electrical workers opposed to agency labour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 in 4 electrical workers opposed to agency labour

3 in 4 electrical workers opposed to agency labour

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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England stars take on Worcester’s Boiler Box Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

England stars take on Worcester's Boiler Box Challenge

England stars take on Worcester’s Boiler Box Challenge

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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June 2017 Newsletter

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Grenfell Tower fire probe focuses on cladding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Contractors urged to act on upcoming energy regulations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: HVP Magazine

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Electricians wanted to fill assessor skills gap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To find out more visit www.jtlassociatesjobs.com

Source: Electrical Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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Turning teens to engineering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Electrical Times

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Heating firms called up for £600m Scottish housing deal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Training will transform building controls industry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Electrical Times

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Fancy being a local hero?

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

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

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

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

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

To find out more, click here.

Source: PHAM News

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Electrical Trade gets its own focus group

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

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

What is it?

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

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

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

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

Why is it needed?

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

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

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

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

What are the benefits?

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

Why Trade Skills 4U?

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

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

Source: Electrical Times

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Swansea’s £500m city centre regeneration plan approved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Construction Enquirer

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May 2017 Newsletter

Workloads powering ahead for M&E specialists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Safety first for the next generation of electricians

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Electrical Engineering

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New initiative launched to support mental health in construction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: HVP Magazine

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ECA president optimistic on business outlook as term ends

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

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

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

According to Dave Kieft:

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

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

Kieft commented:

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

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

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

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

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

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

To visit the ECA website, please click here.

Source: Electrical Engineering

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ECA and BESA launch engineering services manifesto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: HVP Magazine

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Contractors set to benefit from NEC contract changes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Calls to tackle air pollution from construction sites

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: HVP Magazine

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Brits need help with voice-controlled Smart Home devices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: HVP Magazine

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Solar panel installs fall 80%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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Wise up to smart controls

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

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

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

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

Source: Electrical Times

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April 2017 Newsletter

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The future of lighting control

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the speaker

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

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

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

Programme details:

Date: Wednesday, 7th June 2017

Time: 19:15 Arrival and registration 19:30

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

Registration information

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

The future of lighting control

The future of lighting control

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

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Punctuality is most influential when hiring tradespeople

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Punctuality is most influential when hiring tradespeople

Punctuality is most influential when hiring tradespeople

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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New homes can now be built in just five days

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All components are raised into position by crane.

New homes can now be built in just five days

New homes can now be built in just five days

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All these lights are available now.

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

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

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

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It’s time to think ‘Installers First’

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

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

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

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

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

What is Installers First?

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

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

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

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

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

• Training and skills
• Bureaucracy
• Safety and standards

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

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

It's time to think 'Installers First'

It’s time to think ‘Installers First’

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

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MP’s praise new gas safety technology from Gas Tag

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MP's praise new gas safety technology from Gas Tag

MP’s praise new gas safety technology from Gas Tag

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

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Select to launch new SQA course in electrical safety

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

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

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

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

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

Select to launch new SQA course in electrical safety

Select to launch new SQA course in electrical safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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March 2017 Newsletter

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


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Plans in for Manchester £1.3bn vertical village towers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Engineering Services sector ends 2016 on a high

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Engineering Services sector ends 2016 on a high

Engineering Services sector ends 2016 on a high

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

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Installers encourage interest in smart home products, says survey

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

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

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

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

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

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

Installers encourage interest in smart home products, says survey

Installers encourage interest in smart home products, says survey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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25 million homes need energy-efficiency refurbishments by 2050

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

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

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

The report recommends:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25 million homes need energy-efficiency refurbishments by 2050

25 million homes need energy-efficiency refurbishments by 2050

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

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

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

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

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

The centre comprises three core areas:

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

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

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

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

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Skills partnership established to fulfill industry needs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Skills partnership established to fulfill industry needs

Skills partnership established to fulfill industry needs

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

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Opportunity for big savings

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

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

Opportunity for big savings

Opportunity for big savings

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

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Householders prefer to hire trades who employ apprentices

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

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

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

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

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

Householders prefer to hire trades who employ apprentices

Householders prefer to hire trades who employ apprentices

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

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Go-ahead for London Albert Embankment twin towers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go-ahead for London Albert Embankment twin towers

Go-ahead for London Albert Embankment twin towers

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

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Blog - Uploader 2

February 2017 Newsletter

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


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Energy reforms will help more households stay warm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Energy reforms will help more households stay warm

Energy reforms will help more households stay warm


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

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Construction skills boosted with apprentice sponsorship scheme

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

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

Construction skills boosted with apprentice sponsorship scheme

Construction skills boosted with apprentice sponsorship scheme


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

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New gas safety certification scheme launched

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New gas safety certification scheme launched

New gas safety certification scheme launched


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

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Housing White Paper released

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

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

Housing White Paper released

Housing White Paper released


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

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Inadequate gas training leads to unsafe practices research shows

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Inadequate gas training leads to unsafe practices research shows

Inadequate gas training leads to unsafe practices research shows


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

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Construction Skills Report 2017 – Comment from Schneider Electric

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Construction Skills Report 2017 - Comment from Schneider Electric

Construction Skills Report 2017 – Comment from Schneider Electric


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

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BMA stands up against unsafe bathroom products

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


BMA stands up against unsafe bathroom products

BMA stands up against unsafe bathroom products


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

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The best of industrial automation is yet to come

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



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


Industrial wireless

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

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



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

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

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



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

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



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


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

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


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


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

The best of industrial automation is yet to come

The best of industrial automation is yet to come


Construction outside London hits record levels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

City centre residential construction remains modest in Leeds with only three new residential schemes starting last year.

The first Belfast Crane Survey recorded a healthy 19 schemes under construction and 11 schemes completing in 2016.

Across the cities, the hotel sector is benefiting from serious investment.

Manchester has recorded 1,040 rooms under construction which will be the largest delivery of hotel rooms in 10 years for the city.

Leeds saw more hotel construction starts than at any other time in the last decade, adding 385 rooms into the development pipeline.

Student accommodation is an increasingly active sector. Belfast has almost 2,500 bed-spaces across seven major projects being built in the city centre area. This is in addition to the 413 bed-spaces that completed in 2016.

Birmingham has over 1,000 student bed-spaces coming forward to support its growing student population.

Simon Bedford, local government development partner at Deloitte Real Estate, said: “The results of our four crane surveys reflect the growth and resurgence in the regions, breaking records set more than a decade ago.

“Sentiment towards city centre development is buoyant with residential rising to new levels, quite literally in Manchester, with the addition of towers that will alter the city skyline.

“The unparalleled scale and volume of development in the regions prompted us to monitor a further city.

“Belfast’s development pipeline is in good shape and we expect to see even more cranes there in 2017.

“All sectors are active and we conclude that our regional cities are delivering growth and investment at levels not witnessed for many years.”


Construction outside London hits record levels

Construction outside London hits record levels


Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2017/01/31/construction-outside-london-hits-record-levels/

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Construction employment levels set to top 2.6 million

The number of people employed in construction is set to top 2.6m this year as the industry continues on its upward trajectory.

The latest Construction Skills Network report from the CITB predicts growth of 1.7% over the next five years, with 179,000 jobs to be created.

But the positive figures are heavily dependent on three huge projects – Hinkley Point C and Wylfa Newydd nuclear power stations and High Speed 2 – starting main works on time.

Infrastructure is responsible for 45% of all growth from 2017-2021 with private house building the next best performing sector with average annual increases of 2.2%.

Skills shortages are set to intensify with a rise in vacancies for  carpenters (+3,850 per year), electricians and insulators (+2,250), process managers (+2,150) and a range of IT and other technical workers (+5,240).

Steve Radley, Director of Policy at the CITB said: “We expect construction to keep defying the economic headwinds, with almost half of its  growth coming from Hinkley, HS2 and Wylfa and other infrastructure projects.

“These huge projects give our industry a great chance to seize the initiative on skills and start investing in the next generation and upskilling the current one.

“So it’s vital that we don’t throw this opportunity away by allowing these projects to slip or get squeezed together and worsen the pressure on key skills.”

Sarah Beale, Chief Executive at CITB, said: “While we are forecasting slower growth for our industry than we were last year, employers will still be creating tens of thousands of new jobs.

“We will be working with employers to attract new talent into our industry and to train them for rewarding careers in the sector.

“While we have factored Brexit into this forecast, there remain many unknowns to life after leaving the EU.

“We will be working with our industry to understand what it means for our migrant workforce and what we must do to attract and grow more of our own.”


Construction employment levels set to top 2.6 million

Construction employment levels set to top 2.6 million


Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2017/02/08/construction-employment-levels-set-to-top-2-6-million/

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Blog - Uploader 2

January 2017 Newsletter

‘The New Year see’s some major new projects get approved, schools are invited to raise awareness and there’s praise as industry members help those in need’


Quick Links

Funding secured for £100m London Stratford Tower

Specialist student accommodation builder Watkin Jones is set to start work on a 33-storey scheme at Stratford in East London.

Funding secured for £100m London Stratford Tower

Funding secured for £100m London Stratford Tower

The decision to go-ahead follows operator UPP and The University of London securing a £104.7m funding deal for the project.

Its Duncan House scheme on Stratford High Street will rise to over 100m and joins a cluster of tall buildings in the area.

It will provide over 190,000sq ft of new accommodation and will involve UPP operating 511 new study bedrooms and communal space for the length of the concession.

Demolition work is already underway on the site with construction due to start in March.

The scheme designed by Hodder + Partners also includes 44 flats for sale, which will be sold by Watkin Jones.


Funding secured for £100m London Stratford TowerFunding secured for £100m London Stratford Tower

Funding secured for £100m London Stratford Tower

Sean O’Shea, Group Chief Executive Officer of UPP said: “The University of London is a world-renowned institution and we are delighted to have reached financial close on this landmark transaction in East London.

“Located in the heart of Stratford, this exciting scheme will offer future generations of students’ competitively priced accommodation and facilities of the highest quality.”

Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2017/01/06/funding-secured-for-100m-london-stratford-tower/

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Praise for electrician’s generous deed

They say one good deed deserves another and that was certainly the case for Wigan based electrician Karl Mather.

He was recently asked by the local branch of Age Concern to attend the property of an elderly couple who had no heating. He quickly found the fault was an old storage heater which was more than 30 years old and needed replacing.

Sadly the couple, who were in their 80s, could not afford a new heater so Karl asked Age Concern to see if the elderly pair might be eligible for a grant.

In the meantime Karl took it upon himself to buy a portable heater for the couple so they would have some heat in the short-term.

He returned a few days later to check in on them and was told a grant could take months to come through, if at all.

Feeling he could just not walk away, Karl ordered a new storage heater and went back to fit and supply it a few days later.

“It was obvious talking to them that they had no money and the husband also suffered from dementia,” commented Karl.

“So, I just decided to write it off as an early Christmas present to myself and told the couple that Age Concern had received a grant to pay for the heater and my time.

“They were a lovely couple and I was happy enough with all the tea and cake they gave me for doing the job.”

Karl, who runs his own one-man business, KDM Electrical, thought nothing more of it until a few weeks later when a mysterious letter arrived at NICEIC headquarters about his good deed.

The letter was from another client of Karl’s who had heard about his generosity.

NICEIC decided to get in touch with Karl, thank him for his good deed and cover the costs of the goods, including the portable heater.

“I don’t think anyone could have just walked away from that job,” added Karl. “I never expected anything in return so was amazed when NICEIC got in touch. It all seems a bit surreal and was a real nice thing to hear just a few days before Christmas.”

Emma Clancy, CEO of NICEC added: “This is a great example of the things our registered contractors do for their customers every day.

“It was a really heart-warming story to hear. Karl’s actions demonstrated a genuine care for his customers and I am proud to have him as a NICEIC registrant.”

Praise for electrician's generous deed

Praise for electrician’s generous deed

Source: http://www.electricaltimes.co.uk/news/story/praise-for-electricians-generous-deed

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Schools invited to help raise awareness of CO

Gas network management companies across the UK have launched their annual school safety competition to raise awareness of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

The Gas Distribution Networks (GDN’s) National Grid Distribution, Northern Gas Networks, SGN and Wales & West Utilities are looking for entries from students in any form of media, such as eye-catching cartoons, videos, models, short stories or poems that are informative and accurate in warning of the dangers of CO poisoning.

Phil Burrows, chair of the GDN CO Best Practice Group said: “All the GDN’s are committed to raising awareness of CO and are pleased to launch the school safety competition for 2017 – a key activity in highlighting the dangers of CO poisoning in schools, homes and workplaces across Great Britain.

“Each year the GDN’s are further impressed by the level of understanding and creativity that goes into making the competition entries and are encouraged the CO safety message reaches not only the students, but to their friends and families in the community as well.”

The competition is open to students in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 (ages 5 to 11) across Great Britain. Winners from each area will be invited to a special award ceremony to be held at the Palace of Westminster in London, where the national winner will be announced. All winners will receive a prize for themselves and for their school.

All queries and entries are to be submitted to COschoolcompetition@energynetworks.org by Friday 5 May 2017.

For further information including key dates and competition Terms & Conditions visit the ENA website.

Schools invited to help raise awareness of CO

Schools invited to help raise awareness of CO

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4559/Schools_invited_to_help_raise_awareness_of_CO.html

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Assembly motion supports Electrical Safety

The London Assembly has made a unanimous motion for the government to introduce mandatory, five yearly electrical safety checks in the private rented sector (PRS).

Phil Buckle, chief executive of Electrical Safety First, comments, “Dangerous electrics in the PRS results in more deaths and injuries than those caused by gas and carbon monoxide poisoning, yet landlords have had to provide annual gas safety certificates since 1998 and the requirement for carbon monoxide alarms came into force last October. Regular electrical checks are required in Scotland and due to come into effect in Wales. Private renters in England should have the same level of protection.”

Electrical Safety First led the charge in ensuring regular electrical checks for PRS properties were included the recent Housing Acts passed by the Devolved Governments in Scotland and Wales. And the England-only Housing and Planning Act, which gained Royal Assent last May, included an amendment on electrical safety – which the charity sponsored. However, a range of secondary legislation will need to be passed before the Act comes into force (which is not expected until April 2017).

The charity has called for regular, electrical checks to be undertaken every five years – by a suitably qualified electrician, registered with one of the government’s Competent Person Schemes. To help ensure landlords understand their obligations, Electrical Safety First has produced a number of tools and guides and a visual inspection App, which can be downloaded to a mobile phone, to help provide an initial electrical safety review of any property.

Assembly motion supports Electrical Safety

Assembly motion supports Electrical Safety

Source: https://electricalcontractingnews.co.uk/2017/01/assembly-motion-supports-electrical-safety/

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UK construction manufacturing continues to grow

Sales in the UK construction products manufacturing market continued to climb for a fifteenth consecutive quarter in Q4 of 2016, according to figures published in the Construction Products Association’s (CPA) latest State of Trade Survey.

The construction products manufacturing industry has an annual turnover of £55bn, directly providing jobs for 288,000 people across 22,000 companies. Products range from heavyside materials such as steel, bricks, timber and concrete, to lightside products such as insulation, boilers, glass and lighting.

On an annual basis, 78% of heavyside firms reported that sales had increased in Q4, while on the lightside, 75% of firms reported that sales were higher than a year earlier, which was the highest balance since 2014 Q3.

However, as uncertainty intensifies and cost pressures from the fall in Sterling post-Referendum hit this year, the CPA believes the industry may struggle to experience similar growth. Among heavyside manufacturers, only six percent on balance anticipate a rise in sales over Q1 2017, with 29% on balance of lightside manufacturers anticipate a rise during the same period.

Rebecca Larkin, CPA senior economist, said: “Construction product manufacturers ended 2016 on a strong note, with half of manufacturers on both the heavyside and lightside reporting an increase in sales in Q4, marking not only a fifteenth consecutive quarter of growth, but also the highest balances for the year.

“Unsurprisingly, manufacturers’ expectations for 2017 appear to have been tempered by the uncertainty surrounding the economic and political outlook. Heavyside manufacturers appeared most exposed to the effects of Sterling’s depreciation during the second half of 2016. In Q4, two-thirds of firms reported an increase in costs, the highest in five years, and a further 89% anticipate an increase over the next year. Rising costs of imported raw materials continue to be a primary driver of cost inflation, but there is now an indication that currency weakness is filtering through to higher energy and fuel costs too.

“The impact of Brexit on the construction industry is, as yet, unclear, but it is unlikely this year will be as buoyant as last unless government is able to provide greater certainty and the industry is able to manage cost pressures.”

UK construction manufacturing continues to grow

UK construction manufacturing continues to grow

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4552/UK_construction_manufacturing_continues_to_grow.html

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BSRIA launches Blue Book 2017

BSRIA is delighted to announce the launch of The BSRIA Blue Book for 2017.

The Blue Book contains invaluable industry information. This includes: key contacts; conversation data; key performance indicators; market statistics; and legislation and financial information. Bsria’s services, training courses and current publications are also covered.Jayne Sunley, Bsria’s information and knowledge manager, said: “The Bsria Blue Book is worth its weight in gold and vital for industry nuggets of information: we urge you to get hold of a copy.Bsria’s annual databook for 2017 is small but concise and continues to provide you with hard-to-find facts about building services.It is loaded with essential facts, figures and contacts. Bsria’s networks and events are outlined, along with the contact details of key Bsria experts. And key industry contacts and a full Bsria member list. The useful financial and VAT information and tables of technical data would certainly help every business in the industry. Annual building running costs are also covered.There is also a section on Brexit!”

BSRIA launches Blue Book 2017

BSRIA launches Blue Book 2017

Source: http://www.electricalreview.co.uk/news/11231-bsria-launches-blue-book-2017

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Underfloor heating system donated for Royal Marine’s accessible new home

A Royal Marine who contracted a chronic illness while serving in Afghanistan is benefiting from the generosity of a number of building product manufacturers contributing to a purpose-built house for him and his family.

Corporal Phil Eaglesham contracted the relatively rare Q fever while serving in Afghanistan five years ago. The condition has left him unable to walk and is unfortunately proving to be degenerative, making his existing home near Taunton increasingly unsuitable.

The Royal Marines Charity appealed for help to construct a bespoke dwelling to meet his specific needs.

Exeter based renewables and underfloor heating specialist, OMNIE, has donated one of its Staples pipework systems for the construction of a fully wheelchair accessible home.

The 600 metres of underfloor heating pipe and made-to-measure manifold will work to keep the entire ground floor of the two-storey property at a carefully controlled temperature.

Sharky Ward, deputy chief executive officer of The Royal Marines Charity, extended his thanks to Persimmon Homes, who donated the land near Taunton, Haldons Chartered Surveyors, who are project managing the build, and Grainge Architects, who developed the plans, all free of charge.

“Omnie have played key role and very kindly donated the underfloor heating system, which will help provide a consistent temperature, which is critical to Corporal Eaglesham’s needs,” he added. “We are hugely grateful to everyone who has made this dream become a reality.”

The layout of the property has created a totally wheelchair friendly environment across both floors, linked by a lift.

As well as the integral garage, the downstairs contains a master bedroom suite with shower room, while the linked kitchen, dining and living rooms feature folding doors, which open out onto the rear garden.

These areas, together with a lobby and separate cloakroom, are heated by six pipe circuits connected back to the five-port manifold and controlled by programmable room thermostats. Designed to create room temperatures of 19, 21 and 22 centigrade, the pipe layouts were securely clipped down over thermal insulation before a wet screed was laid to provide good heat transference.

Corporal Eaglesham said: “This house gives us the chance to make a life and a future again. Even as my condition deteriorates we can still get on with our lives to the best of our ability, rather than fire-fighting every issue that comes with every little change in my condition. The independence which the house layout gives me is second to none.”

Underfloor heating system dontaed for Royal Marine's accessible new home

Underfloor heating system dontaed for Royal Marine’s accessible new home

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4555/Underfloor_heating_system_donated_for_Royal_Marine_92s_accessible_new_home.html

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ECA’s pick of the bunch

In the market for new test and measurement equipment? Steve Martin, Head of Specialist Groups at the ECA, offers some top tips to aid your selection process.

Vital to any electrical installation is testing, and contractors need to know that the equipment they’re using is reliable, safe and accurate. The industry therefore depends on having the correct procedures and equipment in place to verify the integrity of any installation.

While recent figures from the JIB and ECA show that electrical safety is now at its best since records began, there can never be any complacency. With this in mind, what are the key criteria for electrical contractors and installers when selecting test equipment?

Here are five important considerations when choosing your kit:

1. Usability
The ease (and speed) of testing when on-site remains paramount, particularly with many meters now gaining extended feature sets.

2. Toughness
Contractors should look to invest in a meter that will have a longer lifespan and can stand up to the knocks of daily use.

3. Reputation
The reality is that you get what you pay for. Using a manufacturer that provides full UK support (including technical, repair and calibration) provides assurances, while a full warranty with the product
offers extra guarantees.

4. Safety
Contractors should look for equipment which conforms or exceeds health and safety requirements, particularly given that pre-qualification requirements are becoming more comprehensive over time.

5. Whole life value
The running costs of the tester needs to be considered alongside the purchase price – its physical and electrical robustness are important factors.

“It’s also worth noting that the rise in new connected technologies, such as smart meters, electric vehicles and smart homes, means that contractors need to be aware of any additional regulatory requirements which may apply.”

Taking these steps will ensure that contractors use equipment which helps meet the requirements of building managers and clients, who are themselves becoming more aware of the need to utilise appropriate test equipment.

For instance, when it came to portable appliance testing, Carillion facilities management team running HM Winchester Prison realised the advantages of identifying all individual electrical appliances and other equipment using barcodes, allowing for the correct data to be stored automatically against each item as inspections are undertaken.

The FM services manager at Winchester Prison, Jeff Foster, notes that there is a ‘considerable time saving in being able to identify items, carry out tests, record results and make any notes as part of a fully streamlined process.’

It’s also worth noting that the rise in new connected technologies, such as smart meters, electric vehicles and smart homes, means that contractors need to be aware of any additional regulatory requirements which may apply.

As a result, installers will need test tools which have greater functionality and enable different tasks to be undertaken, particularly given that these technological advances increase expectations among clients for faster testing, and enhanced record keeping, among other requirements.

Here to stay
What remains clear is that contractors will always need testers. Given that the market is highly competitive and innovative products are now widely available, this leaves contractors in a strong situation. With manufacturers competing to deliver high quality products which provide clients with the solutions they need, contractors just need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each product.

By following the five key steps outlined in this article, contractors will be in an ideal position to make such judgements on the range of test equipment available to them.

ECA's pick of the bunch

ECA’s pick of the bunch

Source: http://professional-electrician.com/products/ecas-pick-bunch/

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BESA publishes district heating standard

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has been chosen to publish the UK’s first test standard for Heat Interface Units (HIUs).

This new standard is regarded as an important step towards improving the overall performance of British district heating schemes and has been adopted from a test regime developed by energy consultancy FairHeat.

HIUs are key components of heat networks, used to extract heat from the network to feed individual buildings and dwellings. How they perform is central to occupant satisfaction levels and the overall efficiency of the schemes in terms of return temperatures and network sizing. Up until now many heat networks have failed to achieve their intended efficiency targets.

The initial test regime was developed by FairHeat, in partnership with Martin Crane of Carbon Alternatives. It was adapted from a well-established Swedish methodology to suit typical UK operating conditions as part of a research project funded by the former Department of Energy and Climate Change.

This initial test regime has now been adopted as a technical standard by BESA and it will be used to compare manufacturers’ products and equipment types to help network designers evaluate the performance of individual HIUs against their design parameters. It will also be used to create a comprehensive database and improve the industry’s knowledge of HIU performance to better inform future network designs.

“District schemes are a key part of the government’s strategy for achieving low carbon heat targets,” said BESA’s technical director Tim Rook. “HIUs are the crucial interface between a network and its consumers – and, in many cases, they have proved to be an Achilles’ heel.

“This standard is, therefore, a major step forward for UK heat networks and it is a real accolade for BESA to be asked to publish and disseminate it on behalf of the industry.”

BESA publishes district heating standard

BESA publishes district heating standard

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4554/BESA_publishes_district_heating_standard_.html

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Green light for new Chelsea stadium

Planners at Hammersmith & Fulham council have given Chelsea the go-ahead to build a new 60,000-seater stadium at Stamford Bridge.

Plans for the new £500m ground will see the current stadium demolished.

A club statement said: “We are grateful that planning permission was granted for the redevelopment of our historic home.

“The committee decision does not mean that work can begin on site.

“This is just the latest step, although a significant one, that we have to take before we can commence work, including obtaining various other permissions.”

The new stadium has been designed by architects Herzog and de Meuron and construction work is expected to last three years.

Green light for new Chelsea stadium

Green light for new Chelsea stadium

Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2017/01/12/green-light-for-new-500m-chelsea-stadium/

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Blog - Uploader 2

December 2016 Newsletter

‘The festive season brings some festive cheer as some exciting projects are given the go-ahead, there’s a safety warning from the Gas Safe Register and a new report assesses the future of electrical contracting’

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Winner chosen for lighting London bridges

The winning team will now develop its design concept in collaboration with stakeholders and others along the river, and in consultation with the public. This work will take place in 2017. The ultimate plan is to install lighting on the 17 bridges between Tower Bridge and Albert Bridge.

Hannah Rothschild, chair of the Illuminated River Foundation, which organised the competition, said: “Leo Villareal’s proven ability to paint with light matched with Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ direct experience of building bridges over the Thames was an irresistible and inspirational combination.

“Their scheme is beautiful, ambitious and realisable but always considerate to the environment, lighting levels and energy conservation. The jury is convinced that the winning team will transform the centre of London while remaining true to the spirit and integrity of the Thames and its communities.”


How Westminster bridge might look at night, according to the winning entry

How Westminster bridge might look at night, according to the winning entry


The Illuminated River Foundation is raising funds for the cost of the project from private and philanthropic sources rather than the public purse. The Arcadia Fund (Peter Baldwin and Lisbet Rausing) and the Rothschild Foundation have already each pledged £5m.

Seed funding of £100,000 was granted by the Greater London Authority to support the design competition, alongside funding of £250,000 from the Rothschild Foundation, and a contribution of £500,000 from the City of London Corporation (via the Bridge House Estates) towards the delivery of the first phase.

Leo Villareal designed the light installation on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge. He said: “I’m delighted and humbled by the fact that the jury went with an artistically-driven vision for the Illuminated River. The whole team shares a belief in the power of large-scale public culture and art to enrich our cities. We are deeply committed to this project.

“In order to nuance the concept design and create presence and legibility, we intend to take time to study the river in all its manifestations. We want to listen to Londoners in developing the scheme to deliver at all levels of art and light, urban design and architecture, the environment and sustainability.

“Our aim is for a lighting masterplan which reduces pollution and wasted energy, is sensitive to history and ecology and subtly rebalances the ambient lighting on the river to provide a beautiful night time experience for residents and visitors.”

The winning team in full is:

  • Leo Villareal (lead artist)
  • Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands (lead consultant)
  • Future\Pace (curator)
  • Atelier Ten
  • Beckett Rankine
  • Bradley Hemmings
  • Core Five
  • Futurecity
  • Greenwich+Docklands International Festival
  • Montagu Evans
  • Pentagram
  • Price & Myers
Winner chosen for lighting London bridges

Winner chosen for lighting London bridges


Source: http://www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/news/view/winner-chosen-for-lighting-london-bridges


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Report highlights role of heat pumps in future UK heat policy

Heat pumps can play a leading role in the future of UK heat among a range of other low carbon measures according to a report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) – ‘Next steps for UK heat policy’.

The report, which is welcomed by the Heat Pump Association (HPA), focuses on the need to significantly strengthen policy in order to increase the implementation of low carbon measures over the coming decade.

It states that: “Deployment of low-carbon heat cannot wait until the 2030s. Low-regret opportunities exist for heat pumps to be installed in homes that are off the gas grid. New homes can and should be built to be highly energy efficient and designed for low carbon heating systems.”

The HPA believes the domestic Building Regulations do not currently make reasonable allowances for the future provision of low temperature heat emitters that would support the installation of heat pumps in the future, meaning that future replacement costs will remain higher than necessary and act as a further barrier.

The CCC report also recognises that heat pumps remain the leading low-carbon option for buildings not connected to the gas grid, asserting that: “Installation of around 200,000 heat pumps between 2015 and 2020 under our scenarios is consistent with the announced funding to 2020 available under the Renewable Heat Incentive, providing that funding is focused on heat pumps and deployed efficiently. Further funding will be needed for deployment in the 2020s.”

The HPA remains unconvinced that the target of 200,000 units will be met with the scheme in its current guise and argues that changes proposed by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) scheduled for April 2017 are likely to further hinder deployment.

The report goes on to state: “Heat pumps remain a niche option in the UK as previous policies have failed to deliver a significant increase in uptake. However, they are used widely in many other countries and are the primary low carbon option for most UK buildings off the gas grid. Improved building efficiency is an essential part of effective heat pump roll-out.”

The HPA agrees that past and present policies aimed at stimulating the heat pump market have fallen well short of expectations, despite significant investment by heat pump manufacturers and installers.

The HPA also supports the report’s view that funding allocated through the Renewable Heat Incentive to 2020 needs to be properly focused and delivered effectively.

Improving the efficiency of existing heating systems (e.g. by moving to lower flow temperatures) in homes connected to the gas grid through the 2020s can cut bills and emissions, and help to prepare the stock for widespread roll-out of heat pumps after 2030. Wide-scale deployment will rely on a mix of incentive and regulation as well as attributing a direct and proportional cost to carbon dioxide emissions.

In conclusion, the HPA shares the report’s observation that achieving greater heat pump uptake is likely to require an adjustment of subsidy rates or a shift towards upfront funding, which could be accommodated within the existing funding pot.

Beyond 2020, in order to meet targets for decarbonising heat in buildings, funding will need to increase significantly in line with the higher aspirations.


Report highlights role of heat pumps in future UK heat policy

Report highlights role of heat pumps in future UK heat policy


Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4503/Report_highlights_role_of_heat_pumps_in_future_UK_heat_policy.html


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World’s worst wiring: the top three most shocking electrical installations

E&T readers and IET members were asked to find the most dangerous wiring on the planet. India, Pakistan and Vietnam provided the most cases, with more than the odd dishonourable mention for France.

One of the UK’s most successful contributions to standards has been our wiring and electrical regulations with the IET’s predecessor– the Society of Telegraph Engineers – first publishing ‘Rules and Regulations for the Prevention of Fire Risks Arising from Electrical Lighting‘ way back in 1882.

But are wiring standards as strictly adhered to around the globe?

E&T magazine decided to investigate and asked its 138,000 engineer readers to find the worst and most dangerous examples of electrical wiring from around the world.

The serious message from the competition was to prove just how far installations can veer from the safe and sensible if standards are not adhered to.

More than 500 examples of truly hair-raising wiring were submitted and E&T readers were asked to use their expert opinion to vote for the worst from a shortlist of 12 particularly bad examples.

Outright winner with more than 50 per cent of the votes was from an office block in Madras (below). A metered mains supply for the building had been ‘hacked’ by multiple bare, unterminated wires – possibly from tenants attempting to bypass the meter. All were loosely hung from a wooden board already bearing the scars of a previous fire. Sometimes you really do need to heed the warnings!

Commenting on the photo’s submitted, E&T features editor Vitali Vitaliev said: “The wiring regulations have kept generations in the UK safe from fires and electrocution and hopefully no professional electrician here would work without them. Unfortunately, that message doesn’t reach all corners of the world and some of the dangerous wiring examples our readers have found are truly terrifying.”

Second place in the vote went to a hotel in the Maldives (below), where showering might literally be described as a shocking experience! Based in a hotel obviously suffering serious space constraints, the system’s installation requires three-pin plugs and the mains supply to be mounted inside the shower – with not one but two opportunities for electrocution thrown in for good measure.

Third place was awarded to a street installation from Hanoi, Vietnam (below) with a collection of telecom, lighting and possibly mains cables – exact details being impossible to tell as all of the cables are a shade of black. Fingers crossed for customers asking for support with wiring emergencies!

E&T’s readers also found that it’s not just Asia that has a blasé attitude to wiring and safety, with two of the top 12 examples located in France, including one in the normally visually perfect enclave of St Tropez. Clearly, even in ST Tropez it pays to hire a professional – or hope holidaymakers don’t look at the back of their holiday villa!


Source: https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2016/11/worlds-worst-wiring-the-top-three-most-shocking-electrical-installations/


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Installers welcomed to have their say on the future of heat in domestic buildings

The consultation on the future of heat in domestic buildings was launched by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) today.

The consultation follows recommendations made to BEIS in the Heating & Hot Water Industry Council (HHIC) paper ‘Boiler Plus – The next step in heating regulation.’

It proposes that appropriate time, temperature and weather compensation heating controls are installed in residential properties at the time a new boiler is installed and that this is mandated in Building Regulations.

Stewart Clements, director of HHIC, said: “As an industry, we have worked collaboratively to help bring this consultation to the market place, and I am pleased that the key ideas outlined by HHIC have been adopted by BEIS.

“We know that changing Building Regulations in 2005 to mandate that all domestic gas boiler installations should use a condensing boiler remains one of the most successful government interventions into the residential energy market to date and I believe that mandating the installation of time and temperature controls with new boiler installations will prove equally successful.

“Adopting this policy will, at little additional cost to consumers and government, make a valuable contribution towards achieving the ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and reduce energy consumption which will reduce household energy bills.

“Currently, we install 1.6 million new gas boilers per year and if each of these boilers was accompanied by a full suite of heating controls the carbon and monetary savings made would be substantial. I am pleased that HHIC could be instrumental in getting BEIS to investigate this option.”

The HHIC is part of the Energy & Utilities Alliance (EUA). A recent survey by EUA found that nine out of 10 MPs believed that to improve energy efficiency in homes, a full set of heating controls should be fitted when a central heating boiler is replaced. Despite this backing, HHIC knows that the success of a policy like this depends on the support it receives from the heating installer and so using their unique and unparalleled position in the market place HHIC will be supporting BEIS to engage directly with installers using a quick and easy to complete survey.

To complete the survey please visit: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/thefutureofheat

Or to read the consultation in full please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/heat-in-buildings-the-future-of-heat


Installers welcomed to have their say on the future of heat in domestic buildings

Installers welcomed to have their say on the future of heat in domestic buildings


Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4502/Installers_welcomed_to_have_their_say_on_the_future_of_heat_in_domestic_buildings.html


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London Mayor targets 90,000 lower cost homes

The Mayor of London has today set out new planning rules to speed up the building of 90,000 affordable housing, alongside record-breaking investment of £3.15bn in the capital.

The 2016-21 funding programme represents the biggest housing deal ever secured by City Hall, rising from £1.1bn previously allocated over the 2015-2018 period.

His target of 90,000 low cost homes by 2020-21 represents a 48% increase from the number of affordable homes built between 2009-10 and 2014-15.

The Mayor is also today launching new planning guidance, setting out for the first time an innovative approach both to speeding up decisions in the planning system as well as supporting build to rent schemes.

It will basically heavily scrutinise projects with less than 35% affordable housing and apply a light touch approach to schemes planning more than 35%.

Following negotiations with government, new rules mean investment in London can now be spent on a mix of homes for low-cost rent and affordable homeownership.

Most homes in the Mayor’s programme will be delivered by housing associations, with the condition that their plans must include a minimum 50% affordable housing, with some partners enabled to deliver at least 60%.

The Mayor said the Supplementary Planning Guidance was the first step to raising affordable housing levels from the low level of 13% given permission.

The guidance has been developed since the Mayor took office in May through extensive discussions with councils and the housing industry.


London Mayor targets 90,000 lower cost homes

London Mayor targets 90,000 lower cost homes


Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2016/11/29/london-mayor-targets-90000-lower-cost-homes/


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New report assesses the future of electrical contracting

A review of key issues affecting the future of electrical contracting has been published by the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), NICEIC and ELECSA.

2021 Vision – the 2016-17 Review’ is the midway update to the ‘2021 Vision’ report, produced by the ECA and NICEIC back in 2011. The latest review considers 30 key issues and predictions made five years ago. The review uses a ‘red, amber, green’ system, with supporting narrative.

In addition to reflecting on the current status of the many predictions and issues, the review also highlights some major developments since 2011, notably:

  • The UK’s ‘Brexit’ decision
  • Digitisation of industry processes, including Building Information Modelling (BIM)
  • The increasing role of ‘Very big data’ and the ‘Internet of Things’.

When ‘2021 Vision’ was written in 2011, the industry was still recovering from one of the worst economic recessions ever. As such, one of the key aims of the 2021 Vision was to “help the electrical contractor to see past short term survival, and prepare for the next stage of their business development”.

Since then, the ECA and Electrical Safety First have worked together to create Certsure, which owns the NICEIC and ELECSA certification brands.

The new ‘2021 Vision – The 2016-17 Review’ document is freely available on the ECA and NICEIC websites.


New report assesses the future of electrical contracting

New report assesses the future of electrical contracting


Source: https://electricalcontractingnews.co.uk/2016/12/new-report-assesses-the-future-of-electrical-contracting/


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Festive fire warning: More gas related fires happen on Christmas Day than any other day

Christmas is the most dangerous time of the year when it comes to gas safety in the UK, according to five years’ worth of data from the Gas Safe Register and Fire and Rescue Service.

More fires in households with gas appliances take place on Christmas day than any other day of the year and Gas Safe Register’s investigation team find a higher proportion of dangerous gas appliances in December that any other month.

A total of 17% of boilers, fires and cookers investigated in December over the last five years have been found to be unsafe.

As a fifth (19%) of households have not had their gas appliances legally checked this year, potentially 12 million people could be living with dangerous gas appliances.

While the majority of festive revellers prioritise buying (64%) and wrapping (41%) presents, only five per cent of British adults put gas appliance safety checks on their December to do list in the run up to Christmas. In fact, almost three times as many people prioritise watching their favourite Christmas film over making sure that they and their families are gas safe at Christmas.

Jonathan Samuel, chief executive at Gas Safe Register, said: “Although Christmas is a very busy time of year, it is really important your gas appliances have been checked and are running safely. With our data showing that December can be dangerous for homeowners, Gas Safe Register is reminding people to get their annual gas safety checks in the diary so this Christmas is a safe and enjoyable time.”

Gas safety – fire prevention tips

To stay gas safe this festive season, follow these top five Gas Safe Register’s top tips:

  1. Only employ a legal Gas Safe registered engineer when having gas work carried out in your home. You can find a registered engineer in your area by calling Gas Safe Register on: 0800 408 5500 or by visiting: GasSafeRegister.co.uk
  2. ‘Trust the Triangle’ and always ask to see your engineer’s Gas Safe ID card. Make sure you check the back of the card, which will state which gas appliances they are qualified to work on
  3. Sign up for a reminder service to make sure your gas appliances are checked annually: https://www.staygassafe.co.uk/
  4. Speak to your energy supplier to see if they can provide a free gas safety check
  5. If you smell gas or think there might be a gas leak, call the free 24-hour national gas emergency number immediately on: 0800 111 999

To find out more about the dangers posed by unsafe gas appliances in your area, visit: www.StayGasSafe.co.uk, and to find a Gas Safe registered engineer, call: 0800 408 5500 or visit: www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk.


Festive fire warning: More gas related fires happen on Christmas Day than any other day

Festive fire warning: More gas related fires happen on Christmas Day than any other day


Source: http://www.hpmmag.com/news/festive-fire-warning-gas-related-fires-happen-christmas-day-day


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Newcastle United Football Club upgraded with Tamlite LED Lighting

The upgrading of Newcastle United Football Club’s home ground with high-efficiency Tamlite LED lighting products has yielded a remarkable two-thirds reduction in energy consumption.

Like senior personnel at many other major sports venues across the UK, the technical team at St James’ Park have become increasingly cognisant of the energy-efficient, cost-saving benefits of the latest LED lighting technology. Accordingly, the stadium is currently in the midst of a multi-phase LED upgrade project based around products from Tamlite Lighting. In time, the redevelopment will cover every area of the venue and encompass several thousand fittings in total.

In the latest phase of work, installation contractor Direct Technology UK Ltd has brought Tamlite LED products to the Bamburgh Suite – which is reportedly the largest function suite in the North West – as well as the underground car park, executive boxes and various staff areas. Once again, the installation has delivered a very immediate improvement in lighting quality, while the expected energy savings exceed 60 per cent in some areas of the site.


Newcastle United Football Club upgraded with Tamlite LED Lighting

Newcastle United Football Club upgraded with Tamlite LED Lighting


Source: https://electricalcontractingnews.co.uk/2016/12/black-and-light-army/


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Survey shows that home buyers are neglecting gas safety checks

New research carried out by CORGI HomePlan has highlighted that many home buyers overlook the importance of a gas safety check when purchasing a new property. The study of 1000 people reveals that only one in 10 home buyers consider it important to check a property’s safety before moving in, while one in four (28%) believe it will be covered in the mortgage lender’s survey. The most common item new homeowners overlook is the working condition of their boiler, with 39% not getting a qualified engineer to test it.

Of the one third of respondents who did carry out a gas safety check before moving in, there was a wide misconception of what is a correct and legal safety check. As a result the ‘checks’ were often inadequate. Less than half said they would find out when the gas appliances in the home were last professionally serviced and one in three said that they would check the boiler themselves, despite not having the professional qualifications to perform this procedure. 

Scottish home buyers were the least home-safe conscious with 73% of respondents having no gas safety checks carried out before deciding to purchase a home. Wales was the safest region, with nearly eight in 10 respondents having a Gas Safe registered engineer check out their property before moving in. 

The same survey also reveals that four in 10 homebuyers who experienced problems with gas appliances after moving in took more than a week to get it repaired. The main reason for this was that it wasn’t urgent (30%) or that the home buyers could not afford the repair (19%). 

Kevin Treanor, director of CORGI HomePlan, comments: “Just as you wouldn’t commit to buy a property without seeing the surveyor’s report first, it is just as important that home buyers also see the full service record of all gas appliances and have a Gas Safe registered engineer inspect the home too. Carbon monoxide still kills around 50 people a year and every one of these deaths is avoidable. People must minimise the risks by making sure all their gas appliances are in full working order.”


Survey shows that home buyers are neglecting gas safety checks

Survey shows that home buyers are neglecting gas safety checks


Source: http://www.phamnews.co.uk/survey-shows-that-home-buyers-are-neglecting-gas-safety-checks/


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£775m Paddington Cube gets planning green light

Westminster City Council has given the thumbs up to developer Irvine Sellar’s revised plans for his £775m Paddington Quarter scheme in West London.

The 14-storey cube-shaped office building replaces earlier plans for a landmark 72-storey residential tower, nicknamed the ‘Paddington Pole’, which was abandoned after running into fierce opposition.

Great Western Developments and development partner Sellar Paddington are aiming to build the distinctive building – likened to an ice cube – at the former Royal Mail sorting and post office site adjacent to Paddington Station.

Designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the 360,000 sq ft Paddington Cube would sit on a three storey podium 12m above 1.35 acres of newly created public realm.

The Paddington Quarter development will accommodate more than 4,000 new jobs for Paddington and include 80,000 sq ft of retail and restaurant space over five levels, including a rooftop restaurant.

£65m is being invested in public realm and major transport infrastructure improvements.


£775m Paddington Cube gets planning green light

£775m Paddington Cube gets planning green light


Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2016/12/07/775m-paddington-cube-gets-planning-green-light/


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November 2016 Newsletter

‘As Winter approaches there’s positive news following Brexit vote, some big projects are given the go-ahead and a campaign to protect elderly people in their homes’


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Go-ahead to turn iconic Waterloo terminal into shopping mall


Plans to revitalise the iconic Eurostar terminal at Waterloo in London with a three level shopping complex have got the green light.

London & Continental Railways and Network Rail are planning to build over 130,000 sq ft of retail space in levels below the former Waterloo international terminal station platforms.

The scheme is aimed to bring the station’s shopping offer up to the standard set by Birmingham New Street and St Pancras International.

Plans also include dramatically improving the public realm fronting Cab Road and improved linkages to Leake Street and Lower Marsh, acting as a retail draw for the redevelopment of the nearby Shell Centre.

The two-year reconstruction plan is expected to cost around £60m, excluding shop fit-out.

The major retail plan forms part of the £800m remodelling of Waterloo, which includes bringing five former Eurostar platforms into use for regular commuter services by Network Rail.

Skanska is carrying out the major infrastructure works including lengthening existing local service platforms and reopening the former Eurostar platforms.


Go-ahead to turn iconic Waterloo terminal into shopping mall

Go-ahead to turn iconic Waterloo terminal into shopping mall


Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2016/11/03/go-ahead-to-turn-iconic-waterloo-terminal-into-shopping-mall/


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ECA poll finds increasing number of businesses see turnover rise following Brexit vote


Over eight in 10 (80.1 per cent) electrical and building services engineering firms say turnover increased or stayed the same during the third quarter of 2016, according to new survey findings from the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA).

The findings cover the three months from July – September, the period almost immediately following the landmark vote this summer for the UK to leave the European Union. The responses indicate that, overall, there was only a modest pre-and post referendum impact on the sector.

Businesses of almost all sizes had a favourable third quarter, with small contracting firms, medium-sized enterprises and large organisations all reporting an improvement on the previous three month period. However, micro businesses with turnover below £200,000 had a slight downturn in Q3.

Looking ahead to the final quarter of 2016, the outlook is also positive overall, although business expectations are down, with 31 per cent of firms expecting a rise in turnover in Q4 (a fall of 11 per cent from expectations in our previous survey for Q3 this year).

ECA CEO Steve Bratt commented: “This ECA survey shows that electrical and building services firms remain broadly confident about their economic prospects, but we should remember that our sector feels any positive or negative effects later than many others in the supply chain.

“In addition, the survey shows that the expectation for business is down for the final quarter of the year, and members are already reporting increasing prices of key materials and equipment.  This means that 2017 may present even more challenges to profit margins.”

The Building Engineering Business Survey, which is held in association with Scolmore, was sent out to ECA members in early October this year. The response rate was the highest in five years.


ECA poll finds increasing number of businesses see turnover rise following Brexit vote

ECA poll finds increasing number of businesses see turnover rise following Brexit vote


Source: http://www.electricaltimes.co.uk/news/story/eca-poll-finds-increasing-numbers-of-businesses-see-turnover-rise-following-brexit-vote


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Plumbers’ merchants market forecast to increase by 4% in 2016


The plumbers’ merchant market was worth an estimated £4 billion in 2015, having recovered strongly in recent years. Demand has increased since 2013, leading to greater demand for plumbing materials, bathroom and shower products, and the plumbers’ merchants market is forecast to grow by around 4% in 2016, according to a report by AMA Research.

Increasing demand has been attributed to the improving economic climate in general since 2013, with demand increasing for both new work and RMI activity.

Price competition remains fierce and AMA Research believes this may influence margins going forward. In order to differentiate themselves, some plumbers’ merchants have invested in improving the overall customer experience through enhanced service, such as extended opening times, greater availability of stock and heightened promotional activity. Many have also expanded their online presence, to ensure that they compete with rising internet sales.

Consolidation has been a feature of the marketplace in recent years, as nationals have acquired smaller regional operations in order to extend their reach and range of services. However, many regional and independent merchants have performed well, with some expanding their number of branches to improve their product offering and stock levels to meet local needs.

It is extremely difficult to forecast the impact of the outcome of the EU Referendum on the economy going forward. Several economic forecasts suggest that the UK economy will start to slow, with business and consumer confidence affected, potentially with lower GDP growth in 2017 and 2018. The situation may improve after this, depending on the outcome of trade negotiations, both within and outside the EU, which have yet to take place.

Both Travis Perkins and Wolseley, two of the leading merchant groups in the country, have streamlined the plumbers’ merchant sides of the respective businesses as a result of uncertainty in the market.

“While there are indications of a slowdown in growth in the housing and commercial sectors from mid to late-2016, the plumbers’ merchants market is still forecast to increase by around 4% compared with 2015, with a further 2 to 3% per annum expected from 2017 onwards” said Keith Taylor, director of AMA Research.


Plumbers' merchants market forecast to increase by 4% in 2016

Plumbers’ merchants market forecast to increase by 4% in 2016


Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4442/Plumbers_92_merchants_market_forecast_to_increase_by_4_25_in_2016_.html


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NICEIC and ELECSA launch campaign to protect elderly people from faulty electrical equipment


A new, consumer-facing, campaign from NICEIC and ELECSA is urging householders to think electrics when they carry out their checks on the elderly this winter.

Proportionately, older people suffer more fatal and non-fatal injuries from electrically-related house fires than the rest of the population.

People over 65 are particularly at risk because they often live in old or poor-quality housing that contains faulty electrics or old appliances.

Yet research by NICEIC and ELECSA has revealed that although many people will be looking in on an elderly relative or neighbour this winter, the one thing that could be getting overlooked is a quick check on the state of the electrics.

“Some of the results we found were quite startling,” commented NICEIC and ELECSA’s Technical Development Manager Darren Staniforth.

“While up to 50% of people will be making regular calls on a relative or neighbour this winter, less than 20% of those would think to take a quick check of the electrics to make sure everything is ok.

“With people over 65 statistically more likely to be involved in a fire caused by faulty electrics, this is obviously concerning.

“During the colder months, the elderly are more likely to be plugging in electrical appliances such as heaters or electric blankets, many of which could be old and potentially dangerous.

“They could also be plugging these appliances into an electric supply around the home that might not have been checked in decades or perhaps never at all.

“We want to encourage those looking out for an older relative or neighbour to have a quick check of the home and make sure there is nothing there that could potentially lead to something awful occurring.”

Research carried out by NICEIC and ELECSA revealed that:

  • 50% of us hold the opinion that the elderly are more at risk from the electrical dangers in our homes.
  • 75% have never helped their relative to have their home safety checked by an electrician.
  • 80% have never been concerned by the safety of the electrical appliances in their elderly family member’s home.

As Darren added: “Our research shows that the Great British public does a great deal of work looking out for the elderly in the winter time.

“The lack of concern over electrical safety is not one about not caring, but generally a lack of knowledge about what to look out for.”

NICEIC and ELECSA have produced a checklist, of what to look out for to reduce the risk of an electrical fault. This quick visual check includes:

  • Ensuring that plug sockets are not damaged or scorched. Any scorch marks around a socket are an indication that something is not right and that you should call a registered electrician to investigate further.
  • Checking that any leads or cables are not damaged or frayed
  • Checking that lights are working correctly and there is no signs of visible damage
  • Checking that sockets are not overloaded or that too many extension leads are in use.
  • Check that the main fusebox (consumer unit) has RCD protection fitted. An RCD (Residual Current Device) will trip should it detect an overload in the circuit.

“By carrying out these simple checks people will be able to reduce the risk of fire or spot something that could potentially lead to a problem in the future,” added Darren.

“If they see something that doesn’t seem to be working properly or may need further investigation we always suggest they call their local registered electrician.

“A registered electrician will be able to rectify any faults or carry out an Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR) which will identify any potential issues that could lead to further problems.”

Faulty electrics in the home account for 20,000 house fires each year, causing upwards of 70 fatalities.

Most electrical issues in the home are easily preventable by ensuring a home is regularly checked by a suitable, registered electrician.


NICEIC and ELECSA launch campaign to protect elderly people from faulty electrical equipment

NICEIC and ELECSA launch campaign to protect elderly people from faulty electrical equipment


Source: http://professional-electrician.com/news/niceic-elecsa-launch-campaign-protect-elderly-faulty-electrical-equipment/


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Free boiler guide for your customers


The AA has produced a straightforward boiler guide to help householders better understand their boiler, hot water and central heating system. Covering everything from boiler types and controls to how to effectively use the system, the guide is designed to help householders save energy by using their system properly and encourage them to get it regularly checked and serviced.

The guide explains how combi, sealed systems and open vent systems work using simple diagrams. Other advice addresses boiler controls, temperature timings, room thermostats and the pilot light. There is also a section on how to achieve cost-effective heating.

To access the Big Boiler Handbook, click here.


Free boiler guide for your customers

Free boiler guide for your customers


Source: http://www.phamnews.co.uk/boiler-guide-for-your-customers/


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2.7 million renters at risk from dangerous gas appliances, says Gas Safe Register


Unsafe gas appliances have been found in a fifth of privately rented accommodation, leading Gas Safe Register to believe that more than 2.7 million people could be living in dangerous housing.

Investigation data by Gas Safe Register spanning five years revealed that gas heaters are the most dangerous appliances in rented accommodation, accounting for 59% of all unsafe appliances.

According to the data, a fifth of renters are unaware their boiler should be safety checked annually, and 11% don’t think their boiler has been inspected this year.

Despite landlords being responsible for ensuring that all gas appliances provided by them are safety checked every year by a qualified Gas Safe-registered engineer, more than a third are unaware of their duty of care. In fact, one in seven landlords reportedly think gas appliance safety is the responsibility of their local council.

Jonathan Samuel, managing director at Gas Safe Register, said: “Gas safety can be a matter of life or death. The findings from the 122,000 inspections carried out by our team over the last five years show us that more unsafe appliances have been found in rented accommodation than in privately owned homes.

“However, any unsafe appliance can have devastating consequences, regardless of the type of property. We are urging renters, homeowners and landlords alike to make sure they know to get gas appliances checked on an annual basis and, as a legal requirement, to ‘trust the triangle’ by using a Gas Safe registered engineer.”


2.7 million renters at risk from dangerous gas appliances, says Gas Safe Register

2.7 million renters at risk from dangerous gas appliances, says Gas Safe Register


Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4433/2.7_million_renters_at_risk_from_dangerous_gas_appliances,_says_Gas_Safe_Register.html


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Workers call for site shutdowns in freezing weather


Union leaders are calling for housing sites to be closed down when temperatures plummet below freezing.

Chiefs at UCATT have written to the major house builders demanding the introduction of extreme weather health and safety guidelines for construction workers.

The National House Building Council publishes minimum temperature guidance to protesct materials on site.

Now UCATT wants to see similar recommendations to protect workers.

It said: ” The NHBC makes it clear mortar should not be used below 2 degrees C, whilst construction workers should put their gloves on, get out there and suffer.”

The union also hit out at an “institutionalised” macho culture which prevents workers from complaining about the cold.

UCATT Acting General Secretary, Brian Rye, said: “It’s a complete indictment of an industry that has temperature guidelines to safeguard materials but none whatsoever for the workers. This must now change.

“We have written to the NHBC to ask them to inject some humanity into the industry and provide clear temperature and extreme weather guidelines for constructors to apply to workers.

“In an age when we no longer send young children up chimneys to clean them, we should equally not be forcing construction workers to work in inhuman conditions.

“If it’s too cold for mortar – it’s too cold for mortals!”

There is no current legal minimum or maximum temperature for working outside.

Unions are currently negotiating to have rules or guidance on working in extreme weather included in the Construction Industry Joint Council agreement.


Workers call for site shutdowns in freezing weather

Workers call for site shutdowns in freezing weather


Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2016/11/14/workers-call-for-site-shutdowns-in-freezing-weather/


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Schneider Electric expands and enhances Partner Programme


Schneider Electric is to continue its commitment to electricians with the expansion of its enhanced and newly titled Electrician Partner Programme.

Formerly known as Ultimate Installer, the scheme is dedicated to supporting electricians and is free for professionals working in the residential and light commercial sectors and who can demonstrate one of the entry criteria.

Partners is designed to solve challenges such as striking a balance between time on the tools versus administration in the office, to maintaining skills and knowledge for emerging technology trends as well as the evolving marketing needs of starting a new business through to maintaining an established one.


Benefits for Partners include: a welcome pack with complimentary branded work wear; a business listing on Schneider Electric’s Partner locator for end-users; training opportunities; special promotions; and events.

In addition, Partners will receive exclusive access to the My Rewards Loyalty Scheme where they can make their spend on thousands of everyday materials go that bit further and reap a reward for choosing Schneider Electric.

Underpinning the Programme and helping electricians save time online is the launch of the new mySchneider Electrician portal.

The free portal provides a one-stop shop for product information, pricing, stockist locator, online training and quick links to customer and technical support. Partners also get further access to the loyalty scheme facilities and client support tools at Partner rates.

To support the launch of the portal, Partners have the chance to enter the Business Booster prize draw and win up to £5,000 to spend on their business simply by registering and activating their mySchneider Electrician portal.

One lucky winner will have the chance to spend the prize money on anything from a new website, to branded workwear, company video, van wrap or van insurance and trade membership fees paid for one year.

“I’ve been really happy with the quality of Schneider Electric products and the Partner scheme benefits are useful extras that set it apart from other manufacturers.

Schneider Electric understands the challenges that many electricians face as small or growing business owners in an increasingly demanding and competitive climate. I have no hesitation in recommending the scheme – there’s no risk and plenty of reward!” said Jon Darby at Oldland Electrical.

May Lee, electrician programme manager at Schneider Electric adds, “We believe it’s the cornerstone of our Partner Programme to identify and support the needs of electricians and to truly understand the challenges they face day-to-day.

“Our vision is to be the electrician’s business partner of choice by making their life and the running of their business easier; ensuring we continuously invest, innovate and provide the value and support they really need in the field and online.”

For more information about the Electrician Partner Programme, customers can contact their local Schneider Electric representative or visit: http://www.schneider-electric.co.uk/en/partners/electricians/


 Schneider Electric expands and enhances Partner Programme

Schneider Electric expands and enhances Partner Programme


Source: http://www.electricaltimes.co.uk/news/story/schneider-electric-expands-and-enhances-partner-programme1


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More funding available to boost apprenticeships


A number of new measures have been announced by the Government designed to help employers take on more apprentices, including  a budget of £60m to be spent on helping to get young people from deprived backgrounds into work. It is hoped that the reforms will result in the creation of 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020.

Employers with fewer than 50 employees will be entitled to receive 100% of the cost of training apprentices between 16 and 18. This will also apply if they take on 19 to 24 year olds who were in care.

The apprenticeship levy will be set at 0.5% of the pay bill, but will only be payable by those employers with a payroll above £3m. It is estimated that this will apply to just 2% of employers.

The Government has also simplified the funding model and built in greater flexibility so employers will now have longer to access the funds. The new scheme also provides greater flexibility to train those with prior qualifications in a bid to help existing workers develop new skills.

The announcement has received the support of industry bodies such as the Building Services  Engineering Association (BESA) and the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC).

“This is the news we have been waiting for,” says BESA’s Director of Training, Tony Howard. “Employers need certainty about future funding provision so they can plan their recruitment strategies, and this provides welcome reassurance.”

Graeme Dryden, Technical Services Manager at APHC, adds: “It’s encouraging to see further evidence of the Government’s commitment to creating apprenticeships. These latest policies certainly appear new and fresh, with good opportunities for smaller employers to engage with apprenticeship training.”


More funding available to boost apprenticeships

More funding available to boost apprenticeships


Source: http://www.phamnews.co.uk/more-funding-available-to-boost-apprenticeships/


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SELECT wants to make “Electrician” a registered profession


SELECT signals to Scottish Parliament that it intends to push for legislative change to make “Electrician” a regulated profession.

SELECT, the campaigning trade body for the electro-technical industry in Scotland, has signalled to the Scottish Parliament that it intends to press hard to make the occupation of electrician a regulated profession in the same way that anyone working with gas is currently required by statute to be regulated.

Presenting the Scottish Committee MSP of the Year Award at The Herald newspaper’s Scottish Politician of the Year event in Edinburgh last night (Thursday 27th October 2016), SELECT’s Head of External Affairs, David Wright, said that the risk posed to Scotland’s householders increases with every passing year as the number of untrained individuals portraying themselves as ‘electricians’ gets bigger and bigger.

“ I’m an economist by training but if I wished, I could start up in business as an electrician tomorrow,” said David, “but it would not be a good idea.”

“Incredibly, it is not illegal to do that – but we believe that it most certainly should be.  So that, when we are in our homes of an evening, we can enjoy the same protection from electrical risks as we currently do from gas faults”.

Mr. Wright said that before Christmas the Minister and the Scottish Government’s ‘Better Regulation’ team will receive a report from SELECT which puts the case for statutory “Regulation of Electrician as a Profession” to bring Scotland into line with other civilised European countries”.

Newell McGuiness, SELECT’s Managing Director, said: “It has been a long-standing goal of ours to achieve Regulation for our industry because the population of Scotland is being exposed to unreasonable risks associated with electrocution and fire without even being aware of this.

“Last night we announced our intention to secure the support of Scotland’s politicians – and of the general public to deliver statutory regulation for our industry.  Many occupations from lawyer and doctor to bodyguard and night club bouncer are regulated in the UK but Electrician is not one of them.

“Electrical installation is a safety critical occupation and it’s time for Scotland’s politicians to acknowledge that where there is electricity, there is danger – and to do the right thing”.

SELECT’s 1200 members account for around 90% of all electrical installation work carried out in Scotland and have a collective turnover of around £1 billion, providing employment for some 15,000 electricians.


SELECT wants to make "Electrician" a registered profession

SELECT wants to make “Electrician” a registered profession


Source: http://professional-electrician.com/news/7846/


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October 2016 Newsletter

‘Autumn continues with positive news regarding completed projects, plans for a huge project unveiled and announcements for funding and schemes throughout the industry’


Quick Links


Record two thirds of projects completed on budget


A record number of construction projects were completed on time last year, according to the latest construction report using KPI measures.

Levels of client satisfaction with contractors on their finished projects was also up halting a three-year decline according to the 2016 UK Performance Report.

Research group Glenigan surveyed over a 1,000 key people on projects completed in 2015 and revealed a broadly positive picture for construction with most key indicators on the rise.

During a period of slowing but steady growth predictability of projects improved overall, but costing forecasts fared better than build time predictions.

Sixty four per cent of projects came in on budget, beating 2014’s 56% figure and  topping the previous survey high of 59% in 2011. But only four in 10 projects came in on time.

Client satisfaction rose by 4 percentage points to 85% of clients now rating their overall satisfaction with the finished product as 8 out of 10 or higher.

Contractor satisfaction with the performance of their client and consultancy teams also improved rising from 69% previously to 74% last year.

But increasing labour and material costs last year took their toll on industry profitability which dropped from 2.8% to 2.5%.

The KPI report for the CITB showed that training levels increased from 1.2 to 1.5 training days. The take up of skills CSCS cards rocketed to around three quarters of the workforce nows holding a card, up from just over half in 2014.

Staff turnover slowed to 2.7% but more firms are reducing the size of their workforce. The average firm lost 7% of their direct employees – up from 6.3% in last year’s report.

Steven Radley, Director of Policy & Partnerships, CITB said: “There are some really encouraging findings in this latest industry performance report. Improvements in client satisfaction, predictability and training levels are excellent news – especially where trends have been reversed.

“However, the findings hold stark warnings too. Increasing pressure on margins driven by tough market conditions has begun to impact the bottom line and employers are reducing their workforce to minimise risk.”

Allan Wilén, Economics Director, Glenigan said: “The latest survey results reveal a construction industry working hard to meet clients’ expectations and progressively improving its performance across a wide range of economic, social and environmental measures.

“The construction industry is potentially facing a period of volatile workloads and structural change as the UK economy adapts to life outside of the EU. This will require the industry to redouble its efforts to upskill the workforce, enhance productivity and contain costs.”


Record two thirds of projects completed on budget

Record two thirds of projects completed on budget


Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2016/10/11/record-two-thirds-of-projects-completed-on-budget/


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 ECA joins with Considerate Constructors Scheme

The Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) is now partnering with the Considerate Constructors Scheme, in a joint effort to promote best practice across the industry.

The ECA’s link up with the social responsibility construction body represents the next step in its efforts to maintain a positive image for building activity and improve working practices right across the building services supply chain.

The ECA also has a preferential arrangement with the Considerate Constructors Scheme, which allows member firms to receive a discount on registration with the scheme.

ECA director of business Paul Reeve commented, ‘The ECA is delighted to link up with the Considerate Constructors Scheme, and we look forward to promoting its “Code of Considerate Practice” across the building services engineering sector.’

Edward Hardy, chief executive of the Considerate Constructors Scheme said, ‘M&E contractors comprise a significant part of the construction industry and have a very important role to play in contributing to an improved image of the industry. We are therefore delighted that the ECA is a Scheme Supporter, to help champion the principles of the Considerate Constructors Scheme to its members.’

The Considerate Constructors Scheme promotes a ‘Code of Considerate Practice’ which aims to ensure construction firms engage with local communities, control environmental impacts, ensure safety in and around building sites, and value their workforce.

The Considerate Constructors Scheme was founded in 1997 and is supported by a range of industry bodies, clients and major building companies.


ECA joins with Considerate Constructors Scheme

ECA joins with Considerate Constructors Scheme


Source: http://www.electricalcontractingnews.co.uk/index.php/home-3/3155-eca-joins-with-considerate-constructors-scheme


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Calor launches ‘Find an LPG Installer’ Tool


Calor has launched a ‘Find an Installer’ tool on its website, a new function that allows homeowners to search for a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) qualified heating installer.

The ‘Find An Installer’ tool has been created to make it easier for customers to connect with local LPG installers. 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.

Calor is also actively seeking qualified LPG installers to partner with and to pass LPG boiler installation and servicing leads to. As part of Calor’s Installer Scheme, installers can be included on the Finder.

LPG qualified heating installers can find out more about working with Calor and inclusion on the Finder by meeting up with their local Calor representative.

Gregor Dalgleish, sales manager of Calor, said: “We’re constantly looking for new ways to connect and work with rural installers, and help them with any LPG support they need. Our Installer Incentive Scheme rewards up to £250 when a new LPG customer is recommended to us and the ‘Find An Installer’ tool is another way for us to share business opportunities.”

To check out the ‘Find An Installer’ tool, visit: www.calor.co.uk/findaninstaller


Calor launches 'Find an LPG Installer' Tool

Calor launches ‘Find an LPG Installer’ Tool


Source: http://www.hpmmag.com/news/calor-launches-find-lpg-installer-tool


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ECA announces extensive conference season


Plans include presence at industry-leading ‘UK Construction Week’ and ‘LuxLive’

Launching this year’s industry conference season, the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) will be having a major presence at the industry-leading UK Construction Week, being held at the NEC in Birmingham from this week.

The ECA will be exhibiting at the ‘Energy 2016’ arena of UK Construction Week, alongside the Fire and Security Association (FSA).  On the opening day of Construction Week, ECA’s Steve Martin will be presenting on new business opportunities for contractors, within the ‘Smart Buildings Hub’.

In addition, the ECA is providing speakers at other major conferences this autumn, including Europe’s biggest lighting event LuxLive, and the CIBSE Building Performance Conference.

ECA CEO Steve Bratt commented:

“The ECA is delighted to have an extensive presence during this year’s conference season, particularly at UK Construction Week and LuxLive, two of the biggest trade events on the calendar.

“With the ECA providing speakers at an array of major industry events, including the CIBSE conference, the Association is providing a leading voice in the building services industry.”

The ECA’s conference season plans include:

–          CIBSE Building Performance Conference – 17 – 18 November, QEII Centre, London

–          Building Services Summit – 23 November, British Library, London

–          LuxLive – 23 – 24 November, ExCel, London

–          NICEIC – ELECSA Live! North – 24 November, Aintree Racecourse, Merseyside

The ECA has also been actively involved in regional conferences in Wales and Northern Ireland, such as October’s ‘Skills Cymru’ in Cardiff and September’s ‘Plumb Power Heat Light’ in Belfast.


ECA announces extensive conference season

ECA announces extensive conference season


Source: http://www.electricaltimes.co.uk/news/story/eca-announces-an-extensive-conference-season1


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The search is on for the best UK installers


Installers of bathroom, plumbing and heating equipment could be £1000 richer thanks to the latest awards competition by Geberit. Now in its third year, the 2016 awards will crown a winner in four different categories:

  • Best Installer Team
  • Best Supply Systems Installer
  • Best Domestic Bathroom Installer
  • Best Apprentice

As well as the prestige of being a trophy winner, those taking the top spots will also have their hard work and dedication recognised with some generous prizes, including £1000 for the overall winner of each category, plus Makita Drill Sets and Radios for the runners up. There will be two runners up in each category.

To make their nominations count, entrants need to demonstrate how their Geberit product installations stand out from the crowd, perhaps by overcoming tricky challenges, or by going that extra mile to ensure a quality end result.

The Geberit Awards 2016 also set out to recognise fledgling installer talent with the Best Apprentice award, with judges keen to hear from apprentices themselves, or their colleagues. In this category, the judging panel will be looking for nominees who are quick learners, are team players and work on their own initiative to master the latest technology.

Entrants need to provide just 150 words for each nomination, which can be supported by photography. So entering the Geberit Awards 2016 takes minimal time and effort for a potentially great reward.

The deadline for entries is 30 November. For more details and to enter, please visit www.geberit.co.uk/awards


The search is on for the best UK installers

The search is on for the best UK installers


Source: http://www.phamnews.co.uk/the-search-is-on-for-the-best-uk-installers/


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Latest plans unveiled for £1bn Liverpool site


Liverpool International College has unveiled proposals for a new ‘live-learn’ facility at the city’s £1bn Knowledge Quarter.

The plans include 45,000 sq ft of modern teaching and learning space and 260 student beds.

Knowledge Quarter Liverpool is a 450-acre urban innovation district and is home to influential players in science, health, technology, education, music and the creative and performing arts.

The latest building for the college will be 12-storeys and act as a gateway to the University of Liverpool campus.

Leelee Yates, director of LIC, said: “With the College growing and requiring more space and the University needing to increase its use of the building, this was the right time for us to develop our own purpose-built facility.

“Students are increasingly demanding when it comes to student experience, and this new facility will allow us to continue to attract the very best students from around the world to the city.

A planning application will be submitted for the proposed new facility next month.


Latest plans unveiled for £1bn Liverpool site

Latest plans unveiled for £1bn Liverpool site


Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2016/10/18/latest-plans-unveiled-for-liverpools-1bn-knowledge-quarter/


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NAPIT Local Authority Trainiing boosts awareness


NAPIT is set to continue to run professional development training courses for local authority teams to raise awareness of basic electrical safety principles following the overwhelmingly positive feedback received.

The courses include presentations on issues surrounding electrical safety, an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) awareness session and showcasing some useful Visual Electrical Guidance documents. Since local authorities are representatives of their communities and are responsible for enforcing Part P of the Building Regulations and assessing housing conditions via the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, the training courses are designed to raise awareness of electrical safety hazards and of the action required to resolve any issues.

These courses include a free half-day Basic Electrical Safety Course, which is designed to provide a general overview of electrical safety issues encountered by members of the public. The course allows participants to find out about many aspects of electrical work, including earthing and bonding, consumer units, socket and radials, visual electrical checks, and much more. All the while, NAPIT presenters are on hand to provide answers to any questions asked by attendees. Other courses include an EICR awareness course which outlines the many factors that make an installation safe for continued use. Attendees on this course are also given an opportunity to enhance their ability to judge compliance, how to review a completed EICR and a practical exercise on visual coding faults.

Feedback from attendees on the training courses has been overwhelmingly positive. 100 per cent of attendees agreed that they had a better understanding about electrical installations after attending one of the courses, while 93 per cent said that they understood the requirements of legislation related to electrical installations and inspections in far greater detail. Attendees were also prepared to give vocal feedback on the courses with one saying ‘even the very complicated topics were explained fully. I learnt a lot from attending the course’.

Mike Andrews, the NAPIT Group Chief Executive, commented: “The local authority training we’ve been offering has proven to be a very successful way of raising awareness on the issues surrounding electrical safety. Local authorities ultimately have the power in their communities to tackle unsafe work and play a large role in raising awareness of the dangers of poor electrical installations. We hope that more progress can be made to embolden local authorities and provide them with the knowledge required to protect homeowners and their families.”

Moving forward, NAPIT is dedicated to building its relationship with local authorities further and providing even more opportunities to raise awareness of electrical safety in the future. For this reason, NAPIT has expanded its course offering and has begun to provide bespoke training, giving local authorities even more opportunities to learn about areas of their choice. By encouraging and supporting awareness amongst local authorities, there are real opportunities to improve electrical safety across the country and protect the livelihood of homeowners, and also emphasise the good work of registered competent electrical installers.

If you represent or work for a local authority and would be interested in learning more about the training NAPIT offers, please click here.


NAPIT Local Authority Trainiing boosts awareness

NAPIT Local Authority Trainiing boosts awareness


Source: http://www.electricaltimes.co.uk/news/story/napit-local-authority-training-boosts-awareness


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Funding announced for district heating schemes


Households across the UK could have their heating bills reduced, thanks to a new funding scheme announced by the government on 17 October.

The first part of a £320m fund will upgrade heating in towns and cities to supply low carbon and recycled heat.

Dubbed ‘central heating for cities’, heat networks also have the potential to reduce heating costs, in some cases by more than 30%. The networks will mean cities can recycle the wasted heat they produce from places like factories, power stations and even the London Underground and pump it into homes and businesses to keep them warm.

Minister of State for Energy, Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: Heat networks can significantly improve the efficiency with which heat is provided to our towns and cities, as well as helping to develop local infrastructure and reduce carbon.

“The new scheme will help us to develop viable reforms to make the most of the heat we produce and use it effectively to bring bills down for people across the country.”

Heat networks have already been used successfully in the UK, and are popular across Scandinavian cities for keeping homes warm in winter. The money will be invested over the next five years to build low carbon heating systems across England and Wales.

Heat networks can also draw their energy from sources such as combined heat and power plants, biomass boilers, or from heat from deep below the earth’s crust.

The £320m scheme will run over five years and further instalments of funding will be released in due course.


Funding announced for district heating schemes

Funding announced for district heating schemes


Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4401/Funding_announced_for_district_heating_schemes.html


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Electrician in UK Worker of the Year 2016 final


Christine Vaghela, an electrician from Elstree, Hertfordshire, has been selected as one of the six finalists for this year’s UK Worker of the Year competition.

Co-founder of Elecchicks, Christine retrained as an electrician in order to provide a reliable service for the domestic market in north London and environs.

In addition to the day to day running of a company, she is also ambassadors for the NICEIC’s “Jobs for the girls” campaign.

The competition is the concept of Dickies, the world renowned workwear brand and with fellow sponsors Honda UK and ASDA, aims to recognise hard work and commitment across all industry sectors.

Judging day is on 14th October at the Mercure Dartford Brands Hatch Hotel, when the panel of judges will quiz Christine on a variety of topics, as she bids to become the seventh UK Worker of the Year.

A delighted Christine commented: “I am so excited to have made the final six and feel honoured to be a finalist. I am looking forward to the time at Brands Hatch, and meeting and supporting the other finalists.”

Competition organiser, Gary Barak said: “Year on year the standard of entries has improved and this year has been no exception. Christine and the other finalists have been selected on merit from amongst the thousands of entries received, a selection process that in itself was no mean feat, and we look forward to the judging stage and Awards evening.”

Should Christine be the winner of UK Worker of the Year 2016, she will have the opportunity to choose a luxury holiday, or from a choice of several Honda vehicles, including a Jazz car, motorbike, rib boat, as well as a years shopping from ASDA.

She will also have the chance to win a potentially life changing £250,000 should she correctly predict the outcome of the top six rider positions in the weekend MCE British Superbike race.

The finalists represent a wide range of professions, from across the country:

  • Paul Harris, an electronics engineer from County Durham.
  • Guy Hodgson, a builder from the West Midlands.
  • Samantha Lea, a firefighter from Nottingham.
  • Charlotte Morton, a beef farmer from South Yorkshire.
  • and Kevin Skeith, a floorer from Sleaford.


Electrician in UK Worker of the Year 2016 final

Electrician in UK Worker of the Year 2016 final


Source: http://www.electricaltimes.co.uk/news/story/electrician-in-uk-worker-of-the-year-2016-final


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Gas Review asks for installer input


Gas Safe Register is to launch an in-depth report into the past, present and future for gas safety. The ‘Decade Review’ report will consider the opportunities and challenges faced across the industry since the Frontline Review, which led to the creation of the Gas Safe Register, was published in 2006. It will also look ahead to some of the issues that will need to be addressed over the next decade.

Engineers are invited to voice their thoughts as part of the pan-industry review which aims to be the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind. There are many ways for engineers to contribute to the review, including through focus groups and online surveys.

Scott Darroch, Project Director for the review, says: “As part of the Decade Review report, we are looking to speak with a wide range of stakeholders from sole trader registered businesses  training and assessment companies, charities and national energy companies.

“This consultation will help the team at Gas Safe Register shape and continue to improve the service we offer by giving us an in-depth insight into what the industry needs. In such a fast-changing industry that has seen many developments over the last decade, including new legislation and technology, the intent is for the Decade Review to be a useful report that the whole industry can turn to.”

The process of gathering information for the Decade Review is now underway, with all results to be captured by independent research agency Accent. Details on the different routes any interested parties can use to contribute will be announced shortly. Gas Safe Register aims to publish the results next summer.

Gas Review asks for installer input

Gas Review asks for installer input


Source: http://www.phamnews.co.uk/gas-review-asks-for-installer-input/


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