“All types of project news from all types of projects”
- More than 400 tall buildings now planned in London
- Warehouse work set to boom over the next five years
- £150m of package deals to be won on Kent resi job
- Wales’ tallest building plan gets green light
- Construction Products Association positive on prospects for 2016
- Trade bodies launch building services sector initiative on employee health
- The BESA and ECA call for SME support in budget
- The best electrical apprentices in the UK
- Gas engineers top list of most trusted tradespeople in the UK
- Research to look at accidental exposure during pregnancy
- HETAS launches new guide
- Major new construction health survey launched
More than 400 tall buildings now planned in London
The number of tall buildings in the pipeline for London continues to grow, with plans for an additional 119 new tall buildings emerging in the past year.
his takes the total number of tall buildings in the capital’s pipeline to 436.
The research, which is updated annually, is published by New London Architecture (NLA) and GLHearn and includes buildings of 20 floors and more.
Since January 2015, the number of tall buildings that are under construction has increased from 70 to 89.
A total of 233 tall buildings in London have planning approval but are yet to start on site and a further 114 towers are either in planning or at pre-application stage
94 tall buildings were submitted for planning since this time last year, up from 72 in the previous year. Of these 43 were approved in the same year, although 32 of these form part of the Greenwich Peninsula scheme, which has been developed through the planning system over a number of years. Three were refused and the rest await planning approval.
A significant number of the tall buildings planned form parts of wider masterplans, which arrange multiple towers in clusters.
While there is a large number of tall buildings in the pipeline, only a relatively small proportion are actually being built. Just 19 tall buildings were completed in 2015, up from six the previous year.
For the third year running, Tower Hamlets is host to the majority of tall buildings surveyed – a total of 93 are proposed (either in planning or at pre-application stage). Greenwich takes second place, with 67 projects, a significant increase from the eight schemes a year ago. An increasing number of tall buildings are also coming forward in outer London, with 23 proposed in Barnet and 18 in Croydon.
The so-called City Cluster will see a number of new tall buildings around Leadenhall, with the proposed 1 Undershaft becoming the tallest in the City at 73 floors high, and a new design for 22 Bishopsgate.
The average height of London’s new tall buildings is approximately 30 storeys, with 60% of the tall buildings reaching between 20 and 29 storeys. Only eight planned buildings top 60 storeys. City Pride in Tower Hamlets will become the capital’s tallest residential tall building at 75 floors. The trend towards high blocks of flats continues; 73% of the proposed tall buildings are designed primarily for living accommodation.
New London Architecture chairman Peter Murray said: “We believe that well designed tall buildings in the right place, and well-coordinated clusters, are acceptable. It is increasingly important that the planning and development community improves the way it communicates with the wider public. We continue to press for the Mayor to prepare a three-dimensional computer model of the whole of London to better assess the impact of these buildings. The 436 tall buildings in the pipeline is a significant number. However, with the much publicised softening of the housing market, it remains to be seen how quickly they are delivered.”
Warehouse work set to boom over the next five years
Warehouse construction specialists are set for a five-year work boom as internet retailers demand more new space than the market can currently cope with.
Property consultants Lambert Smith Hampton believe demand will outstrip supply by 25 million sq ft by 2020.
The firm’s annual Industrial & Logistics Market Report said “that a significant and unprecedented increase in construction will be required in the next few years to ensure internet retailers are able to continue to fulfil their customer orders.”
Steve Williams, national head of Industrial and Logistics at Lambert Smith Hampton, said: “E-commerce in the UK is not just growing rapidly, but it’s also evolving as retailers attempt to satisfy consumer demand ever more quickly and efficiently.
“This is resulting in unprecedented demand for strategically located logistics warehouse space across many parts of the country.
“Whilst we’ve seen new warehouses being developed over the past couple of years, the amount of new space being planned simply can’t keep pace with the demands of internet retailers and their distributors.
“Unless developers start building warehouses at a rate that we haven’t witnessed during the 20 years I’ve been working in the sector, or major occupiers like Amazon are prepared to wait 12 months for delivery by building it themselves, we could run out of logistics space before the end of the decade.
“The impact of the growth of e-commerce on the retail industry has been well documented and steps are being taken to try to address some of the issues facing our high streets.
“However, the logistics industry will also need to adapt urgently if it’s to continue to support internet retailers in fulfiling their customer orders.
“Some of the sector’s more forward-thinking participants have already recognised this, but more needs to be done if we want to continue to enjoy the benefits of e-commerce.”
£150m of package deals to be won on Kent resi job
Around £150m of subcontract packages are up for grabs on a new housing job set to start in Kent next month.
Residential specialist L&Q is partnering with the Anderson Group to develop 600 homes on the former site of Erith Quarry over the next five years.
Anderson will be carrying out core infrastructure works with a host of package deals yet to be awarded.
The development will see £300m invested in the 55 acre site including construction of a new 700 capacity primary school.
Andrew Jay, Group Managing Director at the Anderson Group, said: “We are dedicated to bringing life to lost land through responsible development and this project is no exception.
“Erith Quarry presented us with the perfect opportunity to create a thriving community on a site which is currently completely desolate.
“We have worked hard to ensure this project is innovative and replaced the familiar city pattern of flats and car parks with an ingenious, high quality design of terraced family homes that reveals the character of the land.
“We are delighted to be working in partnership with L&Q on this landmark scheme and helping to provide much-needed housing in the area in addition to the provision of a new primary school.”
Wales’ tallest building plan gets green light
Developer and builder Watkin Jones has been granted planning for a 42-storey tower of student flats in Cardiff.
The 132m high block is set to be the tallest building in Wales, overshadowing Swansea’s Meridian Tower at 107m tall.
Watkin Jones aims to start construction of the concrete frame building later this year to complete the project in 2018.
The planning thumbs came as it emerged that Watkin Jones is also proceeding with plans for a stock market float.
It hopes to raise up to £300m with the flotation on the Alternative Investment Market later this month, according to local newspaper reports.
The cash would help to drive the Bangor-based construction group forward after three years of strong growth, which has seen its headcount triple to around 600 staff.
Watkin Jones has expanded building a host of student schemes around the UK, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, Leicester and Leeds.
The 447-room Cardiff block, which will be located in the city centre close to John Lewis, will be its most ambitious scheme to date.
It would be operated by Fresh Student Living, a business linked to the Watkin Jones Group that currently manages about 10,000 student beds across the country.
Construction Products Association positive on prospects for 2016
The ONS’s construction new orders data suggests that activity should increase significantly during 2016, the Construction Products Association has found.
Although new orders in Q4 were 0.5% lower than in Q3, the association said they were still 1.4% higher than a year ago, adding: “Furthermore, new orders can be volatile, so it is better to look at the data within the context of the year as a whole. New orders in 2015 were 2.8% higher than in 2014.
“Our forecasts anticipate that output will increase 3.6% in 2016, with growth in the three largest sectors of construction; private housing, commercial and infrastructure. Nevertheless, whilst fundamentals such as projects in the pipeline remain good, the risks around the forecast are quite high due to skills shortages, concern about the delivery of major projects like Hinkley Point C and increased uncertainty for investors owing to the EU referendum.”
ONS figures published in early March show that construction output in January fell by 0.2% and by 0.8% compared with one year earlier. In addition, the ONS’s orders data indicate that construction new orders in Q4 were 0.5% lower than Q3 but 1.4% higher than a year ago.
Professor Noble Francis, economics director at the Construction Products Association, said, “The fall in the ONS’s construction output in January was disappointing but largely reflects the impacts of poor weather at the start of the year with floods in many parts of the country. In addition, skills shortages in sectors such as house building have meant that project costs have risen and affected the viability of sites.”
Trade bodies launch building services sector initiative on employee health
A major initiative on occupational health in the building services engineering sector has been launched by the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) and Constructing Better Health.
The BESA and ECA call for SME support in budget
The Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) and the Building Engineering Services Association (the BESA) have issued a joint statement on a number of the key issues affecting members of both organisations.
The main areas the BESA and the ECA raise are as follows:
- Action needed on red tape and business rates to reduce the burden on small and medium sized businesses
- Support and direction for energy efficiency, renewables and energy storage
- Introduction of an online payment portal will help ensure those working on public sector contracts are paid on time
The ECA and BESA highlight the unique challenges faced by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially in relation to unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape, and the burden placed on them by the taxation regime. The two trade bodies are jointly calling for measures that will allow small businesses to grow, such as reducing the impact of business rates, thus providing a boost to the overall UK economy, along with additional employment opportunities.
In terms of energy, the associations point to the need to provide not just effective support, but long-term policy direction for energy efficiency and renewable technologies, in order to ensure a stable and sustainable investment climate. In addition, the BESA and ECA are seeking an improvement in the regulatory environment around energy storage, which would help to deliver much needed low-to-no carbon energy capacity, and contribute to UK energy resilience and security.
Finally, recognising the need to ensure fair and prompt payment along contractor supply chains, the ECA and the BESA are also pressing for a centralised online procurement portal, to enable public sector clients to manage the supply chain through better presentation and analysis of “big data”, and allow payment requirements to be transparent and verifiable.
The best electrical apprentices in the UK
One of the UK’s leading training providers for young people in England and Wales, JTL, gathered together the six best apprentices of 2015 and celebrated their successes at the organisation’s annual awards ceremony.
Held at Drapers’ Hall in the City of London, the finalists – all first place winners in their respective regions – were chosen from JTL’s current cohort of 6,000 learners to compete for the accolade of ‘Electrical Apprentice of the Year’.
Mitchell Shore from the Midlands won the 2015 crown and was presented with his award by JTL chief executive, Jon Graham.
“Our prize-giving represents the culmination of some keenly fought competitions across the country,” says Jon. “As always, it was a difficult process to pick out one exceptional candidate person from what is, without doubt, an outstanding group of candidates. We look after thousands of learners each year, so all of the finalists should be rightly proud to have reached our national final in London.
“The JTL awards highlight the importance of good quality apprenticeships and they also recognise the brilliant young talent that exists in the building services engineering sector. Our conversations with some of the finalists have been nothing short of inspirational – this is a gifted group of young people and their successes are a reminder of the vital role that work-based learning programmes can play in the lives of young people. With the future of the industry in hands of this calibre, I feel very optimistic!
“Special mention must go to Mitchell, who has done an outstanding job in achieving this accolade. He performed exceptionally well at the interview stage and his dedication and entrepreneurial spirit marked him out in a remarkable year group. We wish him every future success.”
Mitchell, who attended West Park Community School in Spondon, Derby, reports a fascination with electrical systems from an early age – a fact that made his career decisions relatively straightforward. Having sent out 180 applications for apprenticeships in Derbyshire and been offered several positions, Mitchell completed his JTL apprenticeship with M&R Electrical Ltd in Burton upon Trent and has since gone on to set up his own company, LECAW Electrical Services.
During his apprenticeship, Mitchell worked four days a week on site and studied at Derby College on the remaining day.
“It took me several seconds to realise it was me that had won JTL’s National Apprentice Award, especially because the other candidates had such great experience and credentials behind them,” says Mitchell. “I felt truly elated and I was also pretty humbled by the whole experience. It definitely goes down as one of the most exciting and challenging few minutes of my life so far!
“I sincerely thank Peter Bunting, my JTL Training Officer, for all his help, commitment and hard work throughout my three years with JTL. He was a great mentor, giving me the guidance and confidence without which it would have been much harder to achieve this great accolade.”
Gas engineers top list of most trusted tradespeople in the UK
Gas Safe Register (GSR) has launched a new public safety campaign called Trust The Triangle to remind the public that the only sign of a trustworthy gas engineer is that they are registered with Gas Safe and have the Gas Safe ID card that sports the triangle logo.
Research carried out among the British public by the Register ahead of the campaign revealed that gas engineers are the most trusted of all tradespeople, followed by gas and electricity meter readers, carpet fitters, and electricians. Builders and plumbers were unfortunately considered the least trustworthy!
The research also revealed that Brits are putting their lives in danger by employing tradespeople based on their appearance and behaviours rather than their qualifications and skills to do the job. They look for politeness, good eye contact, confidence, good clothing and a nice smile. One in four people also admitted they decide whether someone is trustworthy within the first five minutes of meeting them.
These figures are a concern to Gas Safe Register as it believes millions of people could be letting unscrupulous tradespeople into their homes, particularly as Gas Safe Register estimates that around a quarter of a million illegal jobs are carried out every year by fitters who do not have the correct qualifications and cannot be trusted.
Jonathan Samuel, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said: “We know that in the right hands gas is safe, but in the wrong hands badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can be deadly and can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and CO poisoning. With hundreds of thousands of illegal gas jobs being carried out every year in the UK, people are putting the safety of their families in the hands of people they don’t really know and whose competencies they certainly haven’t checked.
“This research highlights the importance of gas engineers differentiating themselves from cowboy tradespeople who are sweet talking their way into jobs. It is great to see Gas Safe registered engineers instilling trust in the public with your appearance and behaviour, but to make sure your customers know that you are qualified to work on gas you should proudly present your ID card when arriving at a job. Seven in 10 people say they would look for an ID card when searching for a trustworthy tradesperson anyway, so why not show them before they have to ask?”
Jo Hemmings, an expert behavioural psychologist, has reiterated how important it is for tradespeople to win people’s trust by showing them they are qualified.
“While human interaction and instinct is vital in helping people determine whether or not to trust someone, people appreciate seeing qualifications,2 she explained. “Offering credentials is the only sure way for tradespeople to prove they are trustworthy and safe, particularly for jobs which require legal qualifications, such as gas and electrics.”
Gas Safe Register is calling on all registered engineers to help encourage the public to trust the triangle and look for the Gas Safe Register logo. If you are aware of someone working illegally, you can report it anonymously to Gas Safe Register.
Look out for the Trust The Triangle adverts placed all over the country and get involved on social media with #TrustTheTriangle.
Research to look at accidental exposure during pregnancy
The Gas Safety Trust (GST) has announced it is to fund a piece of research carried out by the University of Hertfordshire, which will look at accidental carbon monoxide (CO) exposure among pregnant women and their foetuses.
This piece of work will help understand the scale of the problem and what actions should be taken, following on from a number of incidents that have occurred in recent years.
The Trust, which was set up in 2005, has in recent years refocussed its strategy on funding research and data collection, and has identified pregnant women and their foetuses as a high risk group.
This study will seek to understand the incidence of accidental CO exposure among all pregnant women and their foetuses in East and North Hertfordshire. It will commence with a two-month literature review to identify CO, pregnancy and foetus related publications that will inform the study design and also contribute to the GST CO Portal (www.coportal.org).
A six-month winter period of data collection using three non-invasive devices: ambient air, exhaled air and pulse CO-oximetry will measure levels of CO in the home of the pregnant woman on two occasions: late first/early second trimester, then late second/early third trimester.
All CO exposed women will be referred to the National Gas Safety Emergency Service to make their environment safe.
GST Chair, Chris Bielby said: “The Gas Safety Trust put out a call for research proposals last year relating to carbon monoxide and expectant mothers, and as a result I am delighted to be able to confirm that the University of Hertfordshire will be undertaking this work. It has been a longstanding area of concern for the Trust, of which very little is known. I am confident that this piece of unique research will produce some meaningful outcomes and learnings which can be shared with the medical fraternity across the UK and Europe.”
Dr. Tricia Scott, Senior Lecturer and Emergency Care Research Lead at the University of Hertfordshire’s Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care said: “We always welcome the opportunity to work with industry and are delighted that the Gas Safety Trust has invested in the research expertise of the University’s School of Health and Social Work. This study will identify how many pregnant women and their unborn babies are accidentally exposed to CO in Hertfordshire.
“Data will be collected over a six-month winter period to measure levels of CO in the home of the pregnant women on two occasions during their pregnancy. Participants who are exposed to CO exposed will be referred to the National Gas Safety Emergency Service to make their home safer.
“Research on the effects of accidental CO exposure on pregnant women and their foetuses as a result of faulty domestic appliances is limited so this research will help to identify the scale of the problem.”
HETAS launches new guide
HETAS, the official body for approving heating appliances, fuels and services, launched its new and improved 2016 Official HETAS Guide to Approved Products & Services on 8 March.
The Guide, which is updated annually, contains listings of approved appliances, ancillary equipment and products for use with biomass, wood and solid mineral fuels.
An important resource for designers, retailers, installers, maintainers and users, it includes efficiency figures which help to determine whether a particular appliance is suited to a property and can be installed in accordance with Building Regulations. The Guide also states when an appliance is DEFRA exempt or MCS certified.
The 2016 Guide also contains details of chimney sweeps whose operatives have been trained and assessed in safety and good practice.
HETAS has ensured this year’s Guide is more user-friendly than previous editions, in line with installer feedback. The body has also been working closely with manufacturers to identify common descriptors and create icons, which represent different features of the products, making it much easier to use.
Bruce Allen, CEO of HETAS, says: “We are committed to achieving industry best practice for our registrants, and equally importantly, their customers. We have already received a lot of positive feedback from our installers and retailers about the benefits of using the Guide and have taken on board their recommendations for improvement.
“The Guide’s new format is more accessible, allowing readers to understand the most important product features at a glance. And even though this year we have more manufacturers and products than ever, we’ve produced a slimmer volume in line with comments that previous Guides have been a bit bulky to carry around. Ultimately, this will be better for the environment and give better value to our registrants.”
For more information, visit hetas.co.uk or call the team direct on 01684 278170.
Major new construction health survey launched
A major initiative on occupational health in the building services engineering sector has been launched by the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) and Constructing Better Health.
Starting with a new sector-wide survey aimed primarily at employers, the collaboration aims to provide essential baseline data, which will lead to practical occupational health information and support for contractors.
The move follows the recent construction industry ‘Occupational Health Summit’, which was attended by dozens of chief executives and directors of construction firms and trade bodies, including senior representatives from the building services engineering sector.
Tim Rook, director of technical at BESA, said: “The contracting and construction environment is one of the most demanding sectors to work in, and the health of those working in our sector should be considered vital to success. By using the results of this survey we will be able to target and promote best practice, to help both on-site operatives and managers.
“I would encourage everyone to take part as fully and honestly as they can to make this initiative really valuable to the sector, the wider industry, and their own businesses.”
Bob Blackman MBE, chairman of Constructing Better Health, added: “Our collaborative survey will help us to further demystify the cloudy perceptions about occupational health and target those areas where our members and industry colleagues aren’t making the most of the resources at hand. The most important message to share with employees is that occupational health management exists to ensure that your job doesn’t affect your health negatively.”
The overall survey findings will be shared with key stakeholders across the industry in the second quarter of this year. The occupational health survey can be completed here, and is open until Wednesday 13 April.