“More exciting news announced for June as project growth continues throughout the industry”
- London now the third most expensive city to build in
- Plans go in for £1bn second phase of MediaCityUK
- Brookfield Multiplex set for £240m Royal Docks job
- Irish construction employment grows
- ‘New Tradesmen’ are the future of UK construction
- Select survey reveals most qualified electricians prefer to chose quality over cost
- Record-breaking number of ECA award entries
- Electrical Industries Charity lanuches new services to help retired industry professionals
- Installer offers free servicing for charity
- UK has ‘fourth highest’ investment in renewables
- Research reveals UK bathrooms are the most popular choice of home improvement
- UK-wide apprentice scholarships launched
London now the third most expensive city to build in
Only Zurich and New York cost more to build in according to the latest global research by programme managers Turner & Townsend.
The International Construction Market Survey 2016 analyses input costs like labour and materials and charts the average build cost per m2 for both commercial and residential projects in 38 markets around the world.
At nearly $3700 per m2, average construction costs in Zurich are the highest in the world, closely followed by New York ($3650 per m2) and London ($3550 per m2).
Steve McGuckin, Global Managing Director – Real Estate, Turner & Townsend, said: “In overstretched markets both contractors and their clients must take urgent action to improve efficiency and keep cost inflation in check, while those operating in subdued markets should seize the opportunity to strip out waste and get the skills mix right for when demand returns.
“While advances in technology like Building Information Modelling (BIM) and modular construction can help, efficiency improvements of the scale required will only be achieved if the industry evolves – and develops leaner, more collaborative ways of working across the supply chain.”
Plans go in for £1bn second phase of MediaCityUK
MediaCityUK is set to double in size over the next decade under plans submitted to Salford City Council.
Up to ten new buildings are planned with a development value of more than £1 billion.
The second phase will include 540,000 sq ft of offices and 1,800 apartments alongside retail and leisure elements.
The plans are expected to be considered by Salford’s planning panel in September.
MediaCityUK is a joint venture between Peel Land and Property and Legal and General Capital.
The current creative and digital hub already houses 250 businesses including the BBC and ITV.
Steven Underwood, Chief Executive of The Peel Group, said: “This application is another major step forward in the evolution of MediaCityUK.
“Our partnership with Legal and General Capital, alongside continued support from the public sector, provides a strong platform to deliver future development phases of the UK’s fastest growing hub for the creative and digital industries.
“MediaCityUK is a shining example of what can be achieved across the Northern Powerhouse, combining the talents of great people with ambition and vision.”
Paul Stanworth, Managing Director, Legal and General Capital, said: “Urban regeneration of the scale being delivered at MediaCityUK has the ability to make a sizeable economic impact, both locally and nationally.
“We hope to deliver much-needed homes, hubs for businesses and new retail, leisure and public spaces for residents, workers and visitors to enjoy.”
A team of architects led by master planners, Chapman Taylor, was appointed to design the individual plots.
Brookfield Multiplex set for £240m Royal Docks job
Chinese property developer ABP is understood to be in advanced talks with Brookfield Multiplex about building the first phase of the £1.7bn Royal Albert Dock mixed-use development in London.
The developer aims to deliver the £240m first phase of the project with a UK contracting partner working alongside Citic Construction, the contracting unit of China’s state-owned Citic Group Corporation.
According to construction information specialist Glenigan Balfour Beatty and Mace have looked at the scheme but Brookfield Multiplex is now tipped to secure the initial phase of work.
The 4.7m sq ft docklands scheme next to London’s City Airport comprises mainly offices but with residential, retail and public realm.
It is being promoted as London’s third business and financial district, after the City of London and Canary Wharf.
The first phase of the project will be completed in 2018 at the same time that London’s high-speed rail link, Crossrail, opens nearby.
This involves a £40m contract covering infrastructure and enabling works, and a £200m contract to build around 700,000 sq ft of office and retail space.
Irish construction employment grows
The rate of job creation in Ireland’s construction sector ticked up slightly in May although the growth in new orders eased for the third month running.
Activity and new orders continued to rise sharply, despite the further signs of a slowdown in growth.
While construction firms raised employment at their units, businesses reduced their usage of sub-contractors for the second month in a row. That said, the rate of contraction was only fractional. Meanwhile, the availability of sub-contractors continued to fall sharply.
The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) – a seasonally adjusted index designed to track changes in total construction activity – posted 55.9 in May, down slightly from 56.4 in April but still signalling a marked monthly increase in total construction activity.
Activity has now risen in each of the past 33 months, although the rate of expansion eased to the slowest since November last year. Panellists mentioned higher new orders and work on housing projects as having supported growth of activity.
Simon Barry, chief economist Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, said: “The latest Ulster Bank Construction PMI signalled ongoing growth of construction activity in Ireland during May, with the headline index remaining well above the 50.0 no-change mark at 55.9. Although the rate of expansion eased slightly, it was still marked and above the pre-downturn average. A slowdown from the record rate of expansion seen in February was probably inevitable, but it would be reassuring to see some stabilisation in the growth rate in coming months.
“Looking beyond the headline figure, weaker expansions were also seen with regards to housing activity and new orders, while business confidence dipped. On the other hand, there were positive signs from a faster rise in commercial activity, while construction firms were in a position to up their rate of job creation slightly. To sum up, the overall picture is one of solid improvements, albeit with less spectacular rates of growth than were seen in the first quarter of the year.”
Housing activity continued to rise sharply in May, albeit at a slightly slower pace than in the previous month. The fastest increase of the three monitored categories was on commercial projects, where the rate of expansion accelerated. Civil engineering activity rose only slightly over the month, with the latest increase the slowest in the current nine-month sequence of growth.
The rate of input cost inflation accelerated again and was faster than the series average. Panellists reported higher prices for raw materials including metals, as well as increased fuel costs. Meanwhile, the rates charged by sub-contractors also rose at a faster pace.
Business confidence dropped sharply in the latest survey period and was the lowest in more than two-and-a-half years. That said, sentiment remained strongly positive, with over half of all respondents forecasting growth of activity over the coming year.
‘New Tradesmen’ are the future of UK construction
Research by AXA, one of the UK’s leading construction industry insurers, reveals that a new generation of tradesmen and women is arising. Far from being short on skills, these younger people are bringing a greater diversity of backgrounds and talents to the building trade.
The popular image of a tradesman is someone who left school at sixteen, worked on the job and then cemented that experience later on with a vocational qualification. And for older generations that was mostly the case, as sixty per cent of those aged 45 or over followed this route in.
The picture is radically different for those just starting out now. Half of young tradesmen come from a university background, and eighty per cent have A-Levels or equivalent. Fifteen per cent now enter the trades after previously working in a corporate or professional role. Only 2% have no formal qualifications, compared to 18% of older tradesmen. The number with a formal apprenticeship behind them has almost doubled too.
The number of women entering the trades remains low: accounting for just one in ten, a figure that hasn’t changed since the late 90’s. Those who do join quote the ‘tradesman lifestyle’ as the top draw, independence, choice of jobs and a good work-family balance are named as benefits.
Indeed, passion for the job is the hallmark of the new tradesman. One in five now say their trade was a hobby before it became their work. Half, meanwhile, said they started their own business because they on an innovation or original idea, and 2% even invented something in the process.
Creative types are welcome in the building trades too. When asked what skills they most need to bring into their business, tradesmen named ‘fresh ideas’ top, far ahead of technical skills. Interestingly, one in ten also named virtual reality (for example, use of gaming technologies to show clients 3D building plans) a vital skill for the future.
Some things don’t change: courtesy, family and community.
Of all the business sectors, tradesmen have the strongest family business traditions. One in ten tradesmen took over their firm from their father. “My grandfather, great grandfather, and great-great grandfathers have all done the same,” as one builder put it. And this tradition is just as important for younger tradesmen: twenty per cent say they plan to pass their business on to their children.
Darrell Sansom, managing director of AXA Business Insurance, said, “People often talk about an image problem in the building trades, and the industry has long wrestled with a skills shortage. Our study offers some hope here: the trades offer a very attractive option to young people.
There are few industries where you can be your own boss within a few years of starting out – and earn a better living than most graduate jobs offer. And far from being mundane, the work is often both creative and requires constant innovation. Tradesmen, though rarely credited with this, are often the glue that hold communities together and develop extraordinary relationships of trust with their customers.”
Select survey reveals most qualified electricians prefer to chose quality over cost
The concept cost is the most important consideration in business took a sharp knock following a survey of its members by Select, the electrical sector’s campaigning trade body, which showed quality and service are the overriding factors.
Newell McGuiness, Select MD, unveiled the results of the survey at the Regional Business Forum of the Electrical Distributors’ Association, which represents the electrical wholesale distribution industry within the UK.
The event, at the Glynhill Hotel in Renfrew last month (19 May), highlighted Select’s survey and the message the electrical industry is more concerned with getting things right than doing them cheaply.
Newell McGuiness said: “It is quite revelatory that hard-pressed businesses, who are under pressure to cut costs wherever they can, are still insisting on quality as the primary consideration in major purchases – in the interests of their own customers.”
The survey showed, when choosing a particular manufacturer, 65% of respondents based their decisions on quality, compared to only 19% who decided on price.
Availability also scored highly at nearly 51%, indicating that respondents were keen to deliver promptly and efficiently to their customers. After sales service was also seen as being particularly important.
Electricians were also more likely to buy a product if it had been manufactured in the UK, indicating not only a propensity for quality goods but also an inclination to support other locally-based manufacturers.
Quality of service and availability also featured strongly, at 50% and 41%, when respondents were asked what they based their purchase decisions on when they were selecting a distributor.
Most purchases were made at a trade counter, with phone, email and web purchases following in descending order. It was also very clear, at 75%, that purchasers expected the distributor to ensure that products were compliant with British and EU standards.
Alan Wilson, head of membership and communications at Select, who was also at the EDA Forum, said: “The survey makes it clear that quality products are sought by properly qualified electricians and poor installations and poor products can impact on the reputation of manufacturers and distributors.”
Record-breaking number of ECA award entries
High quality winners anticipated at upcoming ECA Annual Gala Dinner and Awards.
A record-breaking number of award entries have been received for this year’s ECA’s Annual Awards, with judging now set to take place to shortlist top performing firms within electrical engineering and wider building services.
In total, 142 submissions were made to the ECA, spread across all eight award categories, which include ‘Contractor of the Year’, ‘Best Client/Contractor Partnership’, and ‘Best Health and Safety Initiative’.
This year’s judges comprise a range of leading industry figures; including CEDIA executive director Wendy Griffiths, Electrical Safety First’s head of electrotechnical Martyn Allen, Electrical Industries Charity managing director Tessa Ogle, and the ECA’s director of business Paul Reeve.
ECA CEO Steve Bratt commented: ’In recent times we have had a range of top class ECA award winners and with a record-breaking number of entries this year, the bar looks set to be raised yet again.
‘This interest in the ECA awards is a real testament to the high quality work being undertaken by ECA members for their clients, and the innovation and technical excellence within the industry.’
Last year’s winners included Quartzelec Ltd, who won Large Contractor of the Year, SSE Enterprise Contracting, winners of the ‘Best Health and Safety Initiative’, and Darke & Taylor Ltd, who scooped the ‘Excellence in Training and Development Award’.
The award winners will be announced at the ECA Annual Gala Dinner and Awards, supported by headline sponsor LEDVANCE, on Friday 8 July at Celtic Manor, South Wales.
Attendees will enjoy an evening of entertainment hosted by Alan Dedicoat – the voice of The National Lottery and Strictly Come Dancing – alongside top comedian Stephen K. Amos.
Electrical Industries Charity lanuches new services to help retired industry professionals
The Electrical Industries Charity has launched its Pensioner Support Programme to help retired colleagues in the electrical industry to live a full life while supporting them with any financial struggles that come their way.
Retirement is traditionally the time when people stop working, but they do not stop living. Retirement can be seen as a new phase in life, which can bring a lot of new and exciting opportunities, but there could be a host of new challenges too.
Currently, it is estimated that 40% of all people aged 65 or over in the UK have a limiting long-standing illness. For many individuals, being retired means a reduced income, which means they may struggle when paying household bills, debts or any unexpected expenses such as replacing a broken appliance.
The Pensioner Support Programme is designed to assist retired people and their families in the electrical industry by giving them a way to connect with fellow retired industry colleagues as well as helping them out with any financial issues that they may be facing.
The Charity assists 69% of people who are over 55 years of age with most of this support directed at three primary care areas: financial and debt; household repairs and essential items; and mobility and disability support.
The Programme is allowing people to have safer, healthier and more independent retired lives by offering free and confidential advice on debt, telephone counselling, complex case management support, and a will writing service among many other areas.
Managing director, Tessa Ogle, said, “There is an acute need to provide retired people, especially when they are socially isolated, with immediate care and service, which the charity’s Pensioner Support Programme provides. This Programme will give retired people in our industry the support they need and will enable them to have the enjoyable retired life they deserve.”
Don’t let retirement be a struggle-register for the Pensioner Support Programme today.
The Confidential Helpline number is: 0800 652 1618.
Installer offers free servicing for charity
Leeds-based heating installer Allen Hart, owner of CCH Leeds, offers free boiler servicing and installations to customers in return for a donation to his chosen charity, The Candlelighters Trust.
The Trust donates hundreds of thousands of pounts to research into children’s cancer every year, as well as providing practical and emotional support to families of children suffering from cancer.
Recently passing his target of £25,000, he first began providing charity installations in memory of his daughter Laura Hart, who lost her battle with a rare form of cancer in 2007, aged just three years old.
To be able to complete the projects, Mr Hart relies on boiler and parts donations from manufacturers and time donated by local installers.
On his latest installation in Harehills, Leeds, Mr Hart worked with boiler manufacturer Ravenheat. The company donated a highly efficient WH90 combi boiler for the seven-radiator system, and the company’s technical service manager, John Wilson, also provided the radiators needed to complete the project.
Mr Hart said: “I’d like to thank Ravenheat for donating the boiler and for their ongoing support to The Candlelighters Trust. It’s not the first time they’ve donated to our charity installs and without their help, this wouldn’t have been possible.”
John Wilson said: “We would like to thank CCH Leeds for giving us the opportunity to support this fantastic cause. Ravenheat are proud to be involved and we are humbled to see so many people giving up their time.”
Anyone interested in booking a free boiler service is asked to get in touch with Mr Hart on 07725 692 699, or by visiting www.cchleeds.co.uk. Donations are accepted via the JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/cchleeds.
Pictured: Matt Butler, Paul Daley, Phil Howard, John Wilson (Ravenheat’s technical service manager), Dale Evans, Allen Hart (owner of CCH Leeds), Tahir Rafiq, and Louis Pickersgill (Ravenheat’s managing director).
UK has ‘fourth highest’ investment in renewables
The UK has been ranked the country with the fourth highest investment in renewable energy in a new global report, despite a series of significant cuts to green subsidies over the past year.
In 2015, the UK’s solar industry saw a 60% tariff decrease in a year that saw new solar, wind and hydropower sources added at the fastest rate the world has yet seen.
In total, about 147 gigawatts (GW) of capacity were added in 2015, according to the Renewables Global Status Report. China, the US, Japan, the UK and India added the largest share of green power, despite the fact that prices of fossil fuels have fallen significantly. The costs of renewables have also fallen.
The report also revealed 2015 was the first time that emerging economies spent more than developed economies on renewable power and fuels, in a year that also saw a new peak for global spend on renewables.
John Thompson, chief executive at the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC) said: “We welcome the news of these statistics, however, it must be stressed that the UK’s high position on the renewables table has been achieved in spite of ever-increasing cuts to renewables subsidies. We would urge government to ensure these are not taken any further to avoid causing further adverse impact on the UK renewables job market, and a significant dent in our positioning in dealing with the renewables agenda on the world stage.”
Research reveals UK bathrooms are the most popular choice of home improvement
According to a new study by The Tile Depot, UK bathrooms are now the most popular choice of home improvement, with nearly half of people choosing to renovate their bathroom. In comparison, the kitchen comes a close second with 42%, followed by the garden with 17%.
Notably, the study showed the bathroom to be a more affordable renovation option – equating to an average spend of £4,900 compared to £9,600 on kitchens and a whopping £19,750 on extensions.
Steve Kaye, marketing director at bathroom products manufacturer, HiB, said: “From what we’ve seen as a business specialising in the KBB sector for a quarter of a century, it’s no surprise that the bathroom is taking centre stage when it comes to home improvements. In addition to being one of the most important rooms in the home, offering a personal retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the bathroom is one of easiest ways to add value when selling your home.”
Steve added: “For those who aren’t able to afford a new bathroom suite, however it’s important to remember than smaller adjustments can still make a big impact. A well-placed mirror or cabinet, new lighting and some new accessories, for example, can instantly inject a new lease of life into a tired bathroom setting.”
UK-wide apprentice scholarships launched
A new apprenticeship scholarship programme has been launched to give two construction firms the chance to benefit from the placement of an apprentice, who will be completely funded to work for them for 12 months.
The initiative is being launched by construction audit, contract and payroll provider Hudson Contract, to celebrate its 20th anniversary and also provide opportunities to two young apprentices hoping to take their first steps on the construction career ladder.
Hudson Contract will sponsor the apprentices by covering their salaries for up to a year. Firms can be in with a chance of gaining one of the apprentices by visiting http://www.hudsoncontract.co.uk/scholarship and describing in up to 100 words how an apprentice can benefit their company.
With the scholarship scheme designed to help support the future of the construction industry, recent government figures reveal that there has been year-on-year growth in apprentice starts across England. There was a record 18,290 construction apprenticeship programme starts in 2014/2015, compared to 15,890 in the previous year.
Ian Anfield, managing director of Hudson Contract, said: “Having worked in the construction industry for 20 years, we’re a business that is passionate about investing in apprenticeships. The building trade is one of the biggest apprenticeship employers, and with a serious skills shortage impacting the sector we really wanted to give something back to construction firms of all shapes and sizes. Hopefully it can also provide the perfect platform for two apprentices to kick-start their careers.”
The new scholarships coincide with Hudson Contract’s ongoing apprentice support. Through its successful Apprenticeship Scheme, the company has part-funded over 70 apprentices since 2011.
Mr Anfield added: “The scheme was put in place after discovering construction students were struggling to find companies willing to take on apprentices, particularly small firms that couldn’t afford to do so. We’re now building on this heritage of supporting apprentices by completely removing the financial headache for two more firms through our 20th anniversary scholarship programme.”
The winning apprentices will be starting their scholarship in Autumn 2016, and will be producing a video diary of their experiences throughout the year.
For further information on the new apprenticeship scholarship programme, please visit http://www.hudsoncontract.co.uk/scholarship.