“September sees a new season and new regulations, a boost for business and a lot of big projects moving forward”
- Take care of your WEEE or face hefty fines
- LIA statement on directional halogen lamp ban
- Second year of success for SELECT
- C.K Tools announces the launch of a competition to find the best cable cutter in the land
- UK tradespeople are quoting for more work than 12 months ago
- Building services specialists see Brexit as boost for business
- 1 in 4 customer’s boiler is unsafe
- APHC supports Gas Safety Week
- PM to back move from Parliament for £4 billion upgrade
- Birmingham signs £2 billion agreement with Chinese house builder
- Barking Riverside masterplan approved
- Network Rail identifies nearly 200 sites to release for house-building
Take care of your WEEE or face hefty fines
As National Recycling Week (12th – 18th September) takes place in the UK, CEF in partnership with Electrical Waste, is urging installers to be clear on their obligations regarding electrical waste or risk a hefty fine or even imprisonment.
Although the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive was re-cast in 2014, awareness of the regulations and how to comply is still very patchy. This means installers who are not compliant put themselves and their customers at risk.
The Government has set aside an additional £4.2m to tackle waste crime, so enforcement is becoming a reality for installers up and down the country.
Shaun Donaghey, group operations director for Electrical Waste says: “Every year an estimated two million tonnes of WEEE is discarded in the UK – the majority of which is toxic and can have a long term impact on the environment and health. In addition, prosecutions are on the increase for companies who incorrectly dispose of their WEEE. Our message is therefore clear – regardless of whether your company is large or small, you need to act now to ensure you are WEEE compliant; doing nothing is no longer an option.”
CEF says it is the only electrical wholesale organisation in the UK to have its own electrical waste management business offering installers a one-stop recycling service and full compliance with all current legislation.
Shaun continues: “Our service is unique and covers everything covered in the WEEE Directive in a single solution – which is basically everything with a plug or battery and includes fluorescent lamps and tubes; high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps and compact fluorescent lamps. We are also the only recycler in the UK able to process LED lamps.”
Every CEF branch offers a handy local drop-off point for waste, or for larger jobs CEF can provide compliant containers on-site with a nationwide collection service which covers every postcode in the UK. All of the necessary paperwork is also covered to ensure that the audit trail is complete and more importantly to ensure that installers are 100% compliant with the law.
Shaun concludes: “In 2015 alone there were over 200 prosecutions issued by the Environment Agency against businesses and individuals for illegal waste activities with fines totalling in excess of £3 million. Installers need to be aware that if they don’t dispose of their WEEE correctly they could become part of this statistic. Finding a solution is therefore critical, but compliance doesn’t need to be difficult – in fact it is something that can be taken care of next time you are down at your local CEF branch.”
For further details, visit: cef.co.uk/electricalwaste
LIA statement on directional halogen lamp ban
September 1st 2016, saw Stage 3 of the Energy Related Products Regulation 1194/2012 take effect.
This means that directional (reflector) mains voltage halogen lamps such as GU10, R63, R50 etc. are no longer allowed to be placed on the market.
Products captured by this regulation that are already placed on the market according to the definition of the term may continue to be sold. This means that existing stocks may be sold through and it is incorrect to state that retailers will not be able to sell them as of today.
There has been other misinformation in the press which suggests that UK householders will be faced with bills of £275 to replace the 11 spot lights in the average home.
Significant price falls in recent years has meant that replacement LED lamps can be obtained at prices compatible with other technologies whilst saving around £3.64 each lamp per year (Which) and lasting considerably longer.
Whilst the Regulation does not ban 12 volt MR16 reflector lamps it does require them to last longer and have fewer failures which means that some of the poorer quality versions will be removed from the market.
Tougher requirements for conventional shaped halogen lamps such as GLS, candle and globe types will not take effect until September 2018 which means they will effectively be banned from then on while R7s and G9 halogen lamps and most 12v G4 capsule lamps will not be banned for the foreseeable future however a new Regulation currently being drafted is due to apply from September 2018 which may change this position.
The Lighting Industry Association welcomes the shift to a more energy efficient technology and 2016 has seen a major increase in the uptake of LED lamps by consumers as prices fall and the light output and quality improves.
Second year of success for SELECT
A programme set up by SELECT (the trade association for the electrical contracting industry in Scotland), the Prince’s Trust Scotland, and the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT), has doubled in size in its second successful year.
The programme, Get Into Electrical Installation, is a six week mix of residential and work placement available to young people selected by the Prince’s Trust Scotland. Many of those taking part in last month’s graduation ceremony have already secured further employment in the electrical installation industry.
The programme has come to the attention of the Scottish Parliament with MSP for Clydebank and Milngavie, Gil Paterson, attending the graduation at West College Scotland and MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie attending the ceremony at Edinburgh College.
After the success of last year, the course was doubled in size. The course run by Edinburgh College was completed by seven students while a further 13 were successful at West College Scotland.
Those applicants chosen for a place all passed tests in maths, manual dexterity, colour blindness and, most importantly, teamwork skills. The course consisted of one week of health and safety training, three weeks of electrical techniques, one week of work placement at partner companies, and finally one week of ‘soft skills’ including job searching, and applications.
Elaine Ellis, Qualifications and Skills Development Manager for SELECT, said: “It’s opened up the profession of electrician to individuals who might not otherwise have had access to it. Given the current shortage of skilled workers in the industry, we are very interested to find young people who are eager to learn. “We are grateful to the colleges for giving so generously of their time and to SECTT for their organisational skills.
This has offered young people who have faced significant challenges the chance to find a place in a rewarding industry. “A number of the young people I spoke to at the graduation have already found employment or apprenticeships with our members, and I look forward to working with them in the future.”
Lee Johnstone, Head of Corporate Partnerships for the Prince’s Trust Scotland, said: “The funding and connections provided by SELECT and the quality of instruction from the colleges, have made this year a real success.” Anne Galbraith of SECTT, who was instrumental in setting up of this programme, said: “We have 2,500 electrical apprenticeships in Scotland, but it’s not enough, given the demand for skilled workers.
This programme provides a new route into employment for people who were perhaps looking for a second chance, or maybe had barriers to overcome. I’m delighted at the success so far.” SELECT is the trade body for Scotland’s electro-technical sector whose member companies account for over 90% of all electrical installation work carried out in Scotland.
C.K Tools announces the launch of a competition to find the best cable cutter in the land
Have you got a grip of steel? Can you cut through a length of cable in lightening speed? C.K tools has announced the launch of a competition to find the country’s C.K Cutter King or Queen. Do you have what it takes to win?
The competition comes following the launch of its new and improved range of Redline VDE side cutters, designed specifically with electrical work in mind. C.K tools redefined the cutting geometry of its side cutters to define the optimum blade angles for the effortless cutting of copper and aluminium cables.
Charles Whitfield, New Product Development Manager for C.K tools, commented: “Electricians needs have been overlooked for so long when it comes to cutters that C.K tools’ new Redline VDE side cutters have transformed the way that tradesmen complete a job in terms of efficiency and time saved.
“We felt that was something to celebrate, which is why we’ve launched #CKCutterKing to encourage electricians to think about how easily and quickly they can get the job done, as well as to find the fastest cable cutter in the UK.”
To celebrate the cutters’ launch, C.K tools is on the hunt to find the best cable cutter in the land and crown them #CKCutterKing. The winner will take home the prize of a C.K Magma 3 in 1 Tote filled with C.K tools and a specially designed #CKCutterKing t-shirt.
If you think you have what it takes to take the crown, all you have to do is the following:
- Ask a friend or colleague to film your challenge so that your cutting can be seen and counted
- Take a length of 10mm earth cable
- Using 160mm side cutters, make as many clean cuts as possible in 20 seconds
- Upload the video to the C.K tools’ Facebook page, www.facebook.com/cktoolsuk, using the hashtag #CKCutterKing
- Once uploaded, why not nominate a colleague to see whether they’ve got what it takes to better your efforts.
To see an example video of what the judges are looking for visit the C.K tools Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/cktoolsuk
Deadline for entries is Friday 30th September 2016. For full terms and conditions, visit the website at: www.ck-tools.com
UK tradespeople are quoting for more work than 12 months ago
Nearly half (44%) of the UK’s plumbers, electricians, builders, carpenters and other trades say they are quoting for more work than they were 12 months ago, according to Plumbfix’s latest survey.
Of the 95% of tradespeople currently working, the majority (67%) said they have enough work to keep them busy and 16% claim to have more work than they can handle, with nearly half (48%) believing business will improve for them over the next year.
However, the latest Trade Pulse report also revealed this optimism is tempered with a degree of concern around the general UK economy. Nearly one in three (32%) think it will worsen in the next 12 months, increasing from 20% who felt the same way one year ago.
Trade Pulse is a monthly index from Plumbfix’s umbrella organisation, Screwfix, which surveys more than 500 UK tradespeople including plumbers and heating engineers to track work levels and optimism among the trade. The retailer undertakes the research to gain greater insight into the needs of its customers to ensure it provides the services and products required.
Andrew Livingston, chief executive officer of Plumbfix, said: “The optimism seen among the UK’s tradespeople at the start of 2016 is continuing, however, there also seems to be more uncertainty on the nation’s economic outlook from the trade. Despite this, it is very encouraging to see that many continue to be in work, with more jobs to come, which is something we see reflected by our busy trade customers across our network of Plumbfix trade counters.”
Building services specialists see Brexit as boost for business
Major new survey findings from the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) and SELECT show almost half of survey respondents (46%) believe Brexit will have a positive impact on their company in just five years’ time.
Less than one in five (19%) believe it will have a negative impact.
The largest contractors in the survey (with over £20 million turnover) are slightly less optimistic about the short term business prospects than smaller contractors.
The sector puts maintaining access to the EU ‘Single Market’ at the top of its list of Brexit aspirations, closely followed by more control of employment law and the need to negotiate non-EU trade deals.
Despite the general positivity about Brexit, 47% of respondents fear the cost of materials will rise as a result.
Reflecting a general tendency to use skilled UK rather than EU workers, the vast majority (92%) of respondents said they ‘do not rely on EU migrant workers’, and only 25% agree that Brexit would ‘worsen the shortage of qualified workers’.
ECA CEO Steve Bratt said: “No matter how our relationship with Europe develops, our sector has a huge role to play in achieving UK business growth. This includes providing skilled jobs, fully functional buildings and infrastructure, and UK energy security.
“To help us achieve these aims, it’s vital that we know the initial views of our sector as we head towards Brexit. Significantly, contractors are telling us that they want the UK to maintain access to the Single Market, while they are less concerned about ensuring freedom of movement.”
BESA chief executive Paul McLaughlin added: “Our survey clearly shows that many contractors are conditionally optimistic in the wake of the Brexit vote.
“In fact, putting these findings alongside the brighter than expected data for the UK economy as a whole gives us a much more upbeat feel than could reasonably have been predicted back in June.
“The survey provides extremely valuable feedback about what matters most to contractors as the UK sets about negotiating a new relationship with Europe. As a result, we will draw up an action plan for the building engineering services sector to focus our lobbying efforts in the coming months.”
SELECT Managing Director Newell McGuiness stated: “The results of the UK wide survey provide a valuable insight into the hopes and needs of contractors and will be very useful as we seek to influence government policy going forward.”
1 in 4 customer’s boiler is unsafe
Nearly one in four homes checked by Swale Heating has an unsafe gas boiler, according to figures it has released in time for Gas Safety Week this month.
The statistics were collated for the quarter May to July 2016 amid concerns that householders do not understand enough about gas safety to keep themselves and their families safe.
Sales director, Matthew Edwards, said: “During the survey period, our engineers made 29,024 service calls and had to issue 6,714 notices of unsafe boilers. That’s boilers only; in some cases where the boiler was working satisfactorily there were other appliances that were unsafe.
“It’s frightening to know that so many people are living in potential danger without even realising.”
About three quarters of the boilers were identified ‘At Risk’ (AR) where the appliance had one or more faults which could pose a risk to lives or property.
However, in a quarter of cases, the engineers had to issue an ‘Immediately Dangerous’ (ID) notice where the installation is considered to pose an immediate danger to life and property if it is left on.
Engineers cannot disconnect the appliance without the householder’s permission; if permission is not given, the engineer must report to the Gas Emergency Service Provider (ESP). The ESP has the legal right of entry to make the appliance safe and this includes disconnecting the gas supply to the property entirely.
Swale Heating is working with Gas Safe Register to make sure Gas Safety Week makes people more aware of gas safety in their homes. The heating firm has already announced it will give away a free carbon monoxide (CO) monitor with every private order of a new boiler from September 19-25 in an effort to reduce the number of people who are poisoned or even killed by CO fumes.
Matthew continued: “Make sure all gas work in your home is carried out by an engineer registered with Gas Safe Register and get your gas appliances regularly serviced.
“Then perhaps we’ll see a fall in the number of AR and ID notices issued and we’ll know the gas safety message is really getting through.”
APHC supports Gas Safety Week
The Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) has pledged its support for Gas Safety Week 2016 – the sixth annual campaign coordinated by the Gas Safe Register. Running from 19th to 25th September, Gas Safety Week aims to bring the whole plumbing industry together to remind people of the importance of gas safety and will be providing tips for improving safety and reducing cases of carbon monoxide poisoning.
As part of the campaign, the Gas Safe Register is providing consumers with the following six safety tips for staying safe and warm in their homes:
- Only use a Gas Safe Registered engineer to fix, fit and service your appliances. You can find and check an engineer at www.gassaferegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.
- Check both sides of an engineer’s Gas Safe Register ID card and make sure they are qualified for the work you need doing. This information can be found on the back of the card.
- Have all gas appliances regularly serviced and safety checked every year. If you rent a home ask for a copy of the landlord’s current Gas Safety record.
- Know the six signs of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning – headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse and loss of consciousness. Unsafe gas appliances can put you at risk of CO poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions.
- Check gas appliances for warnings that they are not working properly e.g. lazy yellow flames instead of crisp blue ones, black marks/stains on or around the appliance and too much condensation in the room.
- Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm, which will alert you if there is carbon monoxide in your home.
John Thompson, Chief Executive at APHC, commented: “We are proud once again to be supporting Gas Safety Week, with its important aim of protecting members of the public from the silent killer, carbon monoxide. In relation to this important area, we also welcome recent MP campaigning for carbon monoxide alarms in all rented UK properties, with recent research indicating that around 50 people each year still die of carbon monoxide poisoning.”
Major work to save the crumbling grade I listed Palace of Westminster is scheduled to start in 2022. It will be the first time MPs have moved out since the Blitz.
Vacating the building for the refit is the cheapest solution of three considered by a special Parliamentary Committee of MPs and peers. This is expected to be recommend by the committee today as its favoured option.
The other choices are a partial move-out, which would take 11 years and cost £4.4bn. The third option would allow the MPs to stay put – which would cost £5.7bn and the work would last 32 years.
A study by Deloitte last year highlighted the appalling condition of the Palace of Westminster, with potentially deadly fire risks, collapsing roofs, crumbling walls, leaking pipes and large quantities of asbestos.
According to The Times today, the Prime Minister will back the call, increasing the chances that it will happen, but the final decision still rests on a parliamentary vote.
MPs would relocate to the Department of Health while the House of Lords would decamp to the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in Westminster.
Birmingham signs £2 billion agreement with Chinese house builder
As part of the agreement, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed company Country Garden will explore large-scale investment opportunities in Birmingham, with particular focus around HS2.
It also agreed to work with the council to deliver large numbers of new homes.
Council leader John Clancy signed the joint statement of investment commitment with Country Garden on a week-long trade mission to China.
Cllr Clancy said: “The landscape has inevitably changed post-Brexit and Birmingham is already out of the starting blocks. That’s why I’m here selling our city to many of China’s leading investors.
“This agreement is about bringing good jobs and quality homes to Birmingham.
“Country Garden has a proven track record of building homes at pace and scale. They have played a major role over the last 20 years, as housebuilders have met the massive demands of China’s rapidly expanding economy.”
Founded in 1992, Country Garden has developed 300 high-end township developments, 54 five-star hotels and more than 2.5 million properties.
Country Garden founder and chairman Yang Guoqiang added: “I have been impressed with Birmingham’s ambition and huge potential.
“We have a proven track record in delivering quality housing at a scale to match Birmingham’s ambitions and with major projects coming to the city, including the forthcoming High Speed two project, these are exciting times for Country Garden and Birmingham.”
Barking Riverside masterplan approved
The mayor of London has approved plans for up to 10,000 new homes to be built in Barking.
Sadiq Khan gave his consent to a revised masterplan for Barking Riverside – a 180-hectare brownfield site on the northern banks of the River Thames in Eats London that is the single largest regeneration site in the capital.
London & Quadrant (L&Q) is developing the site with the Greater London Authority.
Previous plans for 28% of the housing to be classed as affordable have been tweaked. There is now to be at least 35% affordable housing, with provisions to raise this to 50% over time through additional investment and viability reviews.
L&Q chief executive David Montague said: “As Barking Riverside is one of the largest and most ambitious regeneration schemes in Europe, L&Q is committed to delivering homes, across a range of incomes, that are genuinely affordable for everyone. The revised masterplan approval helps us achieve this goal.
“The potential of Barking Riverside is enormous and for L&Q it is a significant step forward in delivering on its promise to build 100,000 homes over the next decade. We are delighted to be at the forefront of making this exciting vision a reality.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Barking Riverside has enormous potential to deliver thousands of the much-needed homes Londoners so urgently need.
“I’ve made it clear that tackling London’s housing crisis is my number-one priority. Fixing this problem will be a marathon, not a sprint, but developments like this one will play a huge part in our efforts to provide genuinely affordable homes to buy and rent.
“Our next task is to ensure this development includes the facilities and infrastructure which will make this a fantastic place to live and to visit, rather than simply a housing development.”
The site is owned by Barking Riverside Ltd, a joint venture between the Greater London Authority (49%) and the housing association L&Q (51%), which took over Bellway’s stake in the development earlier this year . Until the 1990s it was home to three power stations and a large amount of landfill.
Network Rail identifies nearly 200 sites to release for house-building
Network Rail is finalising plans to release land for the development of around 12,000 new homes as part of its contribution towards the government’s target to release land with the potential for 160,000 homes.
There is land for around 5,000 of these homes in London, 3,600 in the north of England, 1,700 in the Midlands, and around 1,400 homes in the south of England.
The sale programme is now under way with the largest 20 sites offering potential for more than 5,000 new homes. Earmarked projects include the former Exchange Station site in Manchester, which will deliver land for 700 homes, and a major scheme at Chesterton near Cambridge which will release land for over 800 homes.
Network Rail will partner with developers to release land on a site-by-site basis over the next three to four years. The company is also considering an accelerated approach by grouping sites for sale as multi-site developments. These sites could go to market as early as spring 2017.
Releasing land for homes is not new for Network Rail; it released land for more than 1,700 new homes during its last investment period (2009-14), and land for 1,200 new homes has already been delivered in the current investment period (2015-20).
The land release programme is part of a wider government drive to build homes on surplus public sector land.
David Biggs, managing director of Network Rail Property, said: “Network Rail has been unlocking land for development for over a decade, providing space for thousands of homes, while generating income to reinvest back into the railway.
“The railway stands as a backbone of the UK economy. Unlocking railway land for redevelopment investing in stations and infrastructure, can and does transform large swathes of our towns and cities and boost local and regional economies.
“As we now ramp up our land release programme to deliver thousands more homes, we will be working closely with the Homes & Communities Agency, London Land Commission, local authorities and developers to bring identified sites forward to help meet the country’s housing needs.”