24% growth in UK M&E contracting Sector
The UK market for mechanical and electrical (M&E) contracting has increased by almost 25% since 2012, following a period of sustained growth from 2013 onwards.
The was driven by a buoyant new build market, with rising output in the office and infrastructure sectors in particular. This growth continued in 2016, when the market saw growth of 4%, despite continued constrained public sector capital spending. In 2017, growth is forecast to stagnate, as construction output becomes more subdued.
Many factors support a continuation of market growth, including the development of higher specification and more complex products, changes to legislation requiring the specification of higher value products, greater use of controls and energy efficient products, continued strength in data centre construction as well as greater levels of outsourcing of M&E services.
“A key area of growth has been installations aimed at improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions, driven by legislative requirements and building regulations.” said Fiona Watts, Editor at AMA Research. “There has been a rapid expansion in the range of LED lighting and increasingly sophisticated control systems for heating, lighting, and energy management, therefore this is a growth area that many contractors have been looking to exploit.”
However, several factors are negatively impacting the market at present, such as public-sector budget constraints, uncertainty over the impact of Brexit and greater use of off-site manufactured panels and modules.
The M&E market is fragmented, with the majority of market value accounted for by smaller operators with turnover of under £20 million, though consolidation activity amongst suppliers continues. There have been further strategic acquisitions in response to the growing focus on integrated services within the sector, with contractors widening the range of services offered and examples of strategic joint ventures to secure work on very large-scale projects.
In terms of market prospects, the M&E sector is heavily dependent on the performance of the non-residential construction industry. Non-residential construction output is facing subdued growth into the medium term. Furthermore, new non-residential work remains highly susceptible to changes in levels of business confidence with the private commercial sector being particularly vulnerable to changes in speculative development programmes.
The current uncertain economic climate and falling levels of business confidence relating to Brexit and other issues is likely to halt growth within the M&E contracting sector within the short term, although there are positive influences on market value that will underpin growth to some extent, including a relatively stable RMI sector and increasing prices of imported products. Output within the office and education sectors, which accounted for over 45% of the M&E market in 2016, is expected to decline until 2018. Overall, it is estimated that the market will remain flat through to 2018, then return to growth from 2019 onwards but at a modest rate of 1-2% per annum.
Retailers need to rediscover the role of lighting design
While the release of the latest immigration statistics and GCSE results have dominated the national news agenda, the news that online and high street retail sales declined year on year to August* seems to have slipped through the net.
Commenting on the news, Bob Hall, MD of Greenlite Group said, “Although the summer started well, the recent news clearly illustrates what difficult times these are for retailers, both online and on the high street. It’s encouraging to read that the survey reports sales growth is expected to recover, in the long term, although pressure on household budgets is set to persist given there is little sign of wages picking up.
“Clearly the onus in on retailers to ‘up their game’; whether by discounting or if they focus more on enhancing the shopping experience itself. At Greenlite we’re advising our retail customers to rediscover the role of lighting design in creating a sense of ‘theatre’, encouraging customers back to the high street for a fuller shopping experience.
“In addition, savvy retailers will take advantage of technologies rather than shying away from them. For example, the rise of the changing room selfie (chelfie) means fashion retailers have the perfect opportunity to use well-designed, flattering lighting and well positioned mirrors, enabling shoppers to send that image to their friends for feedback.
“If they look and feel good, if the feedback is positive then they are more likely to make that purchase – all because the retailer thought about how the customer feels and how to enhance their experience.”
Source: Electrical Times
32% of people would not recognise CO poisoning
Dr Ranj Singh is supporting Gas Safety Week to raise awareness of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and its symptoms, as nearly a third of people would not recognise them.
According to Gas Safe Register, one in 10 don’t know the symptoms of CO poisoning symptoms. These symptoms (including headaches, nausea, breathlessness, collapse, dizziness and loss of consciousness) are misdiagnosed by many as:
- Concussion (37%)
- Meningitis (36%)
- A panic attack (27%)
- A stroke (22%)
- Flu (19%).
Gas Safe Register is urging people to learn the symptoms of potential CO poisoning, and what action to take if they suspect they or someone in their family may be suffering from it.
Dr Singh said: “You can’t see, taste or smell CO, so it’s really important that people become more aware of its poisoning symptoms. As Gas Safe Register’s research has found, many confuse CO poisoning for other illnesses such as flu, but CO poisoning can be fatal so it’s important that we raise awareness this Gas Safety Week so that families can take the right precautions and stay safe.”
Source: HVP Magazine
Wellbeing key to skills shortage
The Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) calls upon the sector to embrace wellbeing into their business culture to address the ongoing skills shortage.
According to the BCIA, wellbeing is a growing trend, one which is here to stay. Research has shown that wellbeing is vital in attracting and retaining individuals in their professional capacity. However, it is not yet a major focus on all business agendas.
In this tough economic climate, there is increasing competition for talent across all industries. Understanding the impact of wellbeing will go a long way in not only attracting fresh new talent, but also in retaining industry stalwarts.
An organisation that considers the wellbeing of its workforce will be a popular choice as an employer. It has been proven that employees who feel comfortable in their working environment, will feel more loyal and connected to their organisation and go that extra mile in their work.
In 2016, sick days in the UK cost over £137 million to businesses. With most individuals spending over 90% of their time indoors, it is imperative that our working environment brings out the best in us, rather than making us ill, unproductive or unhappy. Therefore, if wellbeing is embedded into the business culture, the building controls industry will reap huge benefits.
This in turn leads to a sustainable future which will see the sector flourish. In this technologically advanced age, buildings are now expected to be intelligent. This now needs to evolve to include smart working environments which can be adapted to the needs of individuals.
Malcolm Anson, President of the BCIA said, “As I see it, wellbeing is something that needs to be taken into account across the whole built environment. By being proactive and considering individuals’ needs, we can help address the country’s ongoing skills shortage.” www.bcia.co.uk
Source: Electrical Times
Plans in for major London City fringe offices
Plans have been lodged for a 750,000 sq ft office-led mixed-use complex on the London City fringe near Finsbury Circus.
Joint developer Manford Properties and Great Elm Assets is planning to knock down existing 7 and 9-storey 1970s offices to make way for the big new scheme rising to 27 storeys.
It will be located at 20 Ropemaker Street, 101-117 Finsbury Pavement near to City Point, a taller 35-storey building in Finsbury.
Designed by architect Make, its characteristic stepped design for the office complex consists of four linked vertical blocks, topping out at 129m with the tallest part ornamented with a clock.
The building will include three basement levels for retail, cycle parking and changing facilities.
London’s Islington Council will give its verdict on the scheme in several weeks.
Source: Construction Enquirer
Nine out of 10 installers carrying the card
New research reveals that more installers than ever are carrying their Gas Safe Register card with them while on a job.
The survey, carried out amongst ATAG Heating Technology’s Selected Partners, revealed that 92% of ATAG’s installer network always carry their Gas Safe card when working.
Of those, two in three carry their card on their person, with the remainder keeping it in their vans. One third of installers are showing it to customers when entering their homes without being prompted.
However, 40% of those surveyed said that homeowners never asked to see their credentials, while one in three said it only happens once every 50 appointments on average.
As well as their Gas Safe card, one in three installers say that they display their credentials on their van as a further public display of their qualifications.
Sam Browne, Managing Director of ATAG, said: “It’s incredibly heartening that so many ATAG installers have their Gas Safe card with them at all times. All of our Technical Product Managers, who are themselves qualified Gas Safe registered engineers, proudly carry their cards. We encourage all of our Partners to prominently wear their Gas Safe cards to provide immediate reassurance and confidence when in a customer’s home.
“Small changes in behaviour like this will do so much to improve gas safety standards
across the country. We’re proud to be supporting the efforts of Gas Safe Register and Gas Safety Trust not only during the national campaign week, but all year round.”
Source: HVP Magazine
Schneider study reveals struggle to be sustainable
Schneider Electric has launched a report that reveals 87% of UK organisations surveyed find themselves torn between doing the right thing for the environment and meeting the business objectives of today.
The Secret to Sustainable Success study has found that while businesses understand the need to become more sustainable in the face of increasing energy demands, nine in ten UK organisations are primarily focused on the short-term economic outlook with only one in ten focused on delivering transformational change.
According to the report, energy consumption is expected to increase by a factor of 1.5 in the next 40 years. To meet climate targets, CO2 emissions must be halved, says Schneider Electric.
Although 79% of organisations feel confident that they can overcome the challenges presented by the increased demand for energy and create a sustainable business for the future, only 13% feel well prepared to address the rapid growth in energy demands.
When looking at how they can address these coming mega trends, 71% of decision-makers believe they will need to go through a period of tougher economic times to deliver a better, more sustainable business. The report illustrates that the mindset around energy usage needs to fundamentally change to deliver against sustainability objectives.
According to the report, almost half of the organisations surveyed are targeting this change through innovation projects – whether it be to use less energy by finding efficiencies in operations, embracing robotics to address the skills gap or adding sensors to identify maintenance needs before they occur.
Additionally, 70% of the businesses surveyed are actively considering digitising operations moving forward. This consideration is triggered by a reduction in energy usage (89.%) and overhead costs (89.9%).
Another 69% of the decision-makers within these business expect to see a noticeable rate of return for digital investments within the first 12 months.
Source: Electrical Contracting News
Gas Safety Week jingle urges UK homeowners to take Gas Safety seriously
According to research, jingles rattle around our heads for an average of 50 hours a year. That’s 58 minutes a week, lasting around 17 minutes at a time. Imagine if those 58 minutes a week were spent thinking about gas safety?
James Elmy, @the24hrplumber on Twitter, hopes that his memorable three-verse tune will be a lifesaver too after being unveiled as the Installers First Gas Safe Jingle winner. The full version can be seen on YouTube.
James said: “I am over the moon to have won and hope my jingle will help people all over the UK to remember to put gas safety first by getting a regular boiler check, and to only employ reputable tradespeople who are Gas Safe-registered.”
He also won a new Baxi EcoBlue+ combi boiler and Sentinel gift box, plus may have his jingle produced for use by Installers First to continue to promote the messages throughout Gas Safety Week (18-24 September 2017) and beyond.
Source: HVP Magazine
ECS Labourer Card requirements are changing
The application criteria for the ECS Labourer Card are being amended, to reinforce the fact that only those working in the electrotechnical industry are eligible for a card.
Changes implemented by CSCS mean that labourers within the construction industry are required to take a health and safety qualification. This has led to a number of individuals outside of the electrical industry applying for an ECS Labourer card to bypass the new measures that have been introduced.
From 01 October 2017, applicants will need to prove as part of their application that they are employed by an electrical contractor, or other electrotechnical employer.
“The ECS Labourer card is for those working in the electrotechnical industry with a specific role to assist skilled staff in the fitting, setting up and assembly of electrical installations,” said Steve Brawley, chief executive of the JIB who administers the ECS card in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“It must not be seen as an easy way for non-electrical operatives to gain a CSCS partner card for access to sites, therefore we’re introducing this measure to safeguard the card and the legitimate Electrical Labourer cardholders.”
For more information on the ECS card visit www.ecscard.org.uk
Source: Electrical Times
Civil engineers launch Project 13 collaboration drive
The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has launched an initiative that it hopes will result in a more efficient, productive and profitable construction industry.
The initiative, called Project 13, appears to be an attempt to replicate working models in the water industry, where contractors and consultants regularly work in alliances, and use this model more widely on other civil engineering projects.
According the ICE, Project 13 will “establish a better business model for infrastructure delivery, improving productivity, performance and mitigating the skills risk. By working with suppliers, contractors and clients it will set out a clear ambition for what this new model should look like across the whole supply chain and life of the assets.”
It adds: “We are in the development phase, designing a blueprint for the future of our industry based on an enterprise relationship that maximises performance rather than a transactional one which transfers risk. By using examples of the best current practice and applying these lessons across the whole industry we aim to create a step-change that will deliver better outcomes across the board.”
It is not entirely clear how this initiative differs from all previous attempts by the construction industry to improve itself, such as Latham and Egan, who set out to end the use of adversarial contract forms.
However, ICE director general Nick Baveystock said: “Our industry is often criticised for low productivity and concentrating too much on margins. Project 13 is the industry’s attempt to address these issues.”
By March 2018 a support package will be available to help clients and suppliers to move to “the new model” of project delivery. This support will take the form of advisory support, tools, guidance and peer review.
KPMG and Anglian Water are involved. Richard Threlfall from KPMG said “Project 13 is a concerted effort to transform the UK construction industry. It requires us to change how we think and act, and crucially how we work together. It won’t be easy but the prize is a world-class industry and better outcomes for our society.”
Dale Evans from Anglian Water said: “The traditional transactional and disaggregated approach to procurement has not only failed for deliver the levels of improvement seen in other sectors, in an increasingly digitally enabled world are not fit for purpose. Project 13 has clearly demonstrated that we must make the shift to delivering through integrated, collaborative and highly aligned enterprises.”
Source: The Construction Index