‘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’
- Winner chosen for lighting London bridges
- Report highlights role of heat pumps in future UK heat policy
- World’s worst wiring: the top three most shocking electrical installations
- Installers welcomed to have their say on the future of heat in domestic buildings
- London Mayor targets 90,000 lower cost homes
- New report assesses the future of electrical contracting
- Festive fire warning: More gas related fires happen on Christmas Day than any other day
- Newcastle United Football Club upgraded with Tamlite LED Lighting
- Survey shows that home buyers are neglecting gas safety checks
- £775m Paddington Cube gets planning green light
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.”
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
- Greenwich+Docklands International Festival
- Montagu Evans
- Price & Myers
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.
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!
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
London Mayor targets 90,000 lower cost homes
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.
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.
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:
- 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
- ‘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
- Sign up for a reminder service to make sure your gas appliances are checked annually: https://www.staygassafe.co.uk/
- Speak to your energy supplier to see if they can provide a free gas safety check
- 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.
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.
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.”
£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.