January 2019 Newsletter

January 2019 Newsletter

 

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

 

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Start with the plug

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

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

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

 

Start with the plug

Start with the plug

 

Source: Electrical Review

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Updated technical guidance by Ofgem released

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Updated technical guidance by Ofgem released

Updated technical guidance by Ofgem released

 

Source: HPM Magazine

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Call to action for investment in training

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

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

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

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

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

 

Call to action for investment in training

Call to action for investment in training

 

Source: Electrical Review

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The benefits for carbon reduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The benefits for carbon reduction

The benefits for carbon reduction

 

Source: HPM Magazine

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Wind win for Wales

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

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

 

Wind win for Wales

Wind win for Wales

 

Source: Electrical Review

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Modular village to be built in Corby for London commuters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Modular village to be built in Corby for London commuters

Modular village to be built in Corby for London commuters

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Nottingham council injects £50m to kickstart Broadmarsh scheme

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

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

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

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

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

Broadmarsh Regeneration plan

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

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

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

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

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

 

Nottingham council injects £50m to kickstart Broadmarsh scheme

Nottingham council injects £50m to kickstart Broadmarsh scheme

 

Source: Construction Enquirer 

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How your organisation can benefit from ECA membership

ECA is the UK’s largest trade association representing electrotechnical and engineering services organisations, at regional, national and European level. ECA member-companies are rigorously assessed before membership is approved.
Member firms have a combined turnover in excess of £6 billion annually. Member firms carry out design, installation, inspection, testing, maintenance and monitoring activity across the domestic, commercial, industrial and public sectors. This ranges from power and lighting to data communications, to energy efficiency and renewables, as well as the design and installation of cutting-edge building control technologies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

How your organisation can benefit from ECA membership

How your organisation can benefit from ECA membership

 

Source: Electrical Trade Magazine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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Colleges gearing up for sparks 2019 competition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

colleges gearing up for sparks 2019 competition

Colleges gearing up for sparks 2019 competition

 

Source: Electrical Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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Funding deal for landmark Birmingham resi tower

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

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

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

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

This would make it the tallest residential tower in Birmingham.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Funding deal for landmark Birmingham resi tower

Funding deal for landmark Birmingham resi tower

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Britain heads for worst house building decade since 1940s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Britain heads for worst house building decade since 1940s

Britain heads for worst house building decade since 1940s

 

Source: Construction Enquirer 

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Firms wanted for £30m Coventry Uni arts building

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Firms wanted for £30m Coventry Uni arts building

Firms wanted for £30m Coventry Uni arts building

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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December 2018 Newsletter

December 2018 Newsletter

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

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Vent-Axia welcomes healthy homes and buildings white paper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

vent-axia

Vent-Axia welcomes healthy homes and buildings white paper

Source: Electrical Times

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Ideal Boilers adds Amazon Alexa integration to boiler thermostat

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

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

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

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

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

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

idea-boilersIdeal Boilers adds Amazon Alexa integration to boiler thermostat 

Ideal Boilers adds Amazon Alexa integration to boiler thermostat

Source: HVP Magazine

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Keeping your heating on during freezing weather 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keeping your heating on during freezing weather 

Keeping your heating on during freezing weather

Source: Electrical Trade Magazine

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Building controls vital to compliance 

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

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

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

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

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

Building controls vital to compliance 

Building controls vital to compliance

Source: HPM Magazine

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Queens Cross Housing Association to install 18,000 FireAngel alarms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Queens Cross Housing Association to install 18,000 FireAngel alarms

Queens Cross Housing Association to install 18,000 FireAngel alarms

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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STA welcomes government stance on solar

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

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

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

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

STA welcomes government stance on solar

STA welcomes government stance on solar

Source: HPM Magazine

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Smart meters research facility to open at University of Salford

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smart meters research facility to open at University of Salford

Smart meters research facility to open at University of Salford

Source: HVP Magazine 

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Designing longer lasting smart home sensors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Designing longer lasting smart home sensors

Designing longer lasting smart home sensors

Source: Electrical Trade Magazine

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Three quarters of plumbers at risk of knee problems

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three quarters of plumbers at risk of knee problems

Three quarters of plumbers at risk of knee problems

Source: HPM Magazine

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Prepare For BS 7671:2018 Coming Into Effect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prepare For BS 7671:2018 Coming Into Effect

Prepare For BS 7671:2018 Coming Into Effect

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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Ex-gas engineer sentenced for illegal gas work while unregistered

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ex-gas engineer sentenced for illegal gas work while unregistered

Ex-gas engineer sentenced for illegal gas work while unregistered

Source: HVP Magazine

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Torquay Landlord handed suspended sentence for gas safety failings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Torquay Landlord handed suspended sentence for gas safety failings

Torquay Landlord handed suspended sentence for gas safety failings

Source: HVP Magazine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: HVP Magazine

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Small businesses receive boost from budget plans 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Small businesses recieve boost from budget plans 

Small businesses recieve boost from budget plans

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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