August 2018 Newsletter
‘A quarter of Brits now own one or more Smart Home devices, BEAMA releases first ventilation white paper, ECS Registered Electrician reaches milestone, Government funding stalled Carillion hospital, Heating sector thriving, London’s Mayor boiler initiative gets thumbs up and young people encouraged to get on board by construction industry.’
Almost a quarter of Britons now own one or more Smart Home devices
YouGov’s Smart Homes 2018 Report indicates that close to a quarter of Britons (23%) own one or more smart home devices (excluding smart meters), while one in ten now (8%) have two or more, underlining the growth in the industry. Smart home devices include; smart lighting, smart security, smart speakers and smart thermostats.
Smart speakers remain most popular (11% own one of these), ahead of a smart thermostat (6%), lighting (5%) and security (3%).
The report shows that once someone buys one smart home device, they are more inclined to purchase another. Among people who currently own at least one smart appliance, consideration for getting other smart devices increases to 40%.
Smart speaker owners are much more likely to own another device. A fifth of smart speaker owners also own smart lighting, compared to 5% of the population. Similarly, 19% have a smart thermostat, against 6% of the public.
What are the barriers to further growth?
Three quarters (75%) of non-owners are aware of smart home appliances, but don’t know much about them. Only 16% of non-owners believe they are fully aware of smart home appliances and know a lot about them (this rises to 39% among owners).
Looking specifically at digital assistants, 56% of smart home device non-owners say they don’t see the need for them, as do 54% of owners.
YouGov’s data underlines how security fears are one barrier to industry growth. Of the concerns people have about smart appliances, hacking/cyber-attacks come out on top, with 39% of non-owners saying this. Over a third (36%) of this group believe the appliances are too expensive, while the same percentage have fears over data privacy.
Ownership numbers are impressive, for this point in the product cycle. The key is to get people buying their first device. Once they do so, they are much more likely to go on and add to their smart home collection. This means that the smart home industry has two areas of growth that may require different strategies – existing entrants to the market, and those from outside.
Having said that, many people are either suspicious or don’t see the need for the devices. To truly initiate a smart home revolution, prospective customers need not only to be convinced of the capabilities of the technology, but why they need it and how it can help them.
Source: Electrical Times
BEAMA launches ventilation white paper
BEAMA has published its first ventilation white paper entitled Better Ventilation, Better Homes, Better Health, with a raft of measures aimed at solving the issues facing the industry and helping to deliver better indoor air quality in UK homes.
The white paper identifies two main issues facing the industry:
- The lack of a joined-up approach towards energy efficiency and ventilation
- Poor-quality installations which are ‘plaguing the industry’
The paper calls for compulsory assessments of ventilation provision following the installation of energy efficiency measures, a revision of Building Regulations to refocus on ensuring ‘in-use performance and end users’ needs’ and asks the government to make it compulsory that all ventilation installations are undertaken by an installer who is a member of a competent persons scheme.
BEAMA also call on the government to make indoor air quality a priority by financially incentivising the installation of ventilation improvements and undertaking public education campaigns on the health risks of indoor air pollution and the simple steps that homeowners can take to improve their own home air.
The white paper details four overarching steps that government should take, and outlines how these can be achieved, in improving ventilation and indoor air quality in UK homes:
- Improve the focus on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in the Building Regulations
- Improve compliance with the current Building Regulations
- Avoid problems of poor air quality following refurbishment
- Make IAQ a government priority
Keith Ritchie, Chairman of the BEAMA Ventilation Group, said: “As homes are becoming ever more airtight we need to focus on ensuring that the ventilation industry plays its part in helping to deliver good indoor air quality. Energy efficiency improvements are being made in isolation without due consideration to the unintended consequences of sealing up homes and where installations of ventilation are being made, they are often not up to scratch.
“Our white paper aims to tackle all of these issues with a few simple steps that government could take to help ensure better indoor air for all.”
To access the White Paper, please click here.
Source: HVP Magazine
ECS Registered Electrician reaches 10,000 milestone
Over 10,000 ECS cardholders have signed up to become ECS Registered Electricians since the initiative was launched last October, says the JIB.
The JIB established ECS Registered Electrician status to recognise those who are not only working at the industry-recognised Level 3 status, but also have the current edition of the Wiring Regulations.
Following the introduction of BS7671:2018 this month, there will be a transition period until January 1 2019 where both the 17th and 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations will be accepted for a Registered Electrician application. After this point, only the 18th Edition will be accepted.
All Registered Electricians will have until July 1 2019 to update their ECS account with the BS7671:2018 qualification.
“The achievement of 10,000 is a fantastic first milestone and that number continues to grow daily,” said David Thomas. “With the introduction of the 18th Edition, we are set to see even more electricians now opting to become Registered Electrician after gaining their BS7671:2018 qualification.
“Feedback from our cardholders shows that the Registered Electrician status is a highly desired and positive move for the industry, raising not just standards but also the profile of electricians and electrical contracting.”
Source: Electrical Contracting News
Homeowners must ensure gas safety, warns Gas Tag
Homeowners are being urged to check their gas and electrical appliances over the summer months after a survey revealed a basic lack of safety knowledge among property owners.
New research reveals that 66% of homes in the UK have defective gas appliances and 40% of smoke alarms do not work.
There are also over 1.1 million illegal gas installations carried out each year – putting the lives of millions of people at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions.
Leading RegTech company Gas Tag said the summer months are the perfect time of the year to check appliances in the home.
Gas Tag says booking a Gas Safe registered engineer to visit during the summer months will help to reduce the number of gas related incidents during the winter period.
Stephen Ullathorne, co-CEO of Gas Tag, said: “We all know how busy it gets at this time of year, but taking time out from our hectic schedule to ensure our appliances are safe could be a life-saver.
“Research tells us that fewer than five per cent of households put a gas safety check on their to-do list during the summer season, but it really should be the number one priority.”
Gas Safe Register, the official gas registration organisation for the UK, says almost a fifth of households do not have their gas appliances legally checked, meaning as many as 12 million people could be living with dangerous appliances.
As many as 50% of all appliances in the lounge were deemed either at risk or immediately dangerous when audited by the Gas Safe Register.
Source: HPM Magazine
Moveable bridge installed at Canary Wharf
The deck of a movable bridge has been installed in Canary Wharf following a 36-hour voyage across the North Sea from its fabrication site in Belgium.
The 28-metre single-leaf bascule bridge will provide a road and pedestrian link between Montgomery Square and Canary Wharf’s new district, Wood Wharf.
Designed by engineers COWI, Knight Architects and Eadon Consulting, the bridge was manufactured by Victor Buyck Steel Construction for client Canary Wharf Contractors.
Twin hydraulic cylinders underneath the eastern end of the steel span will raise the deck to allow large vessels to pass and only in this raised position will the bridge reveal its steel structure and mechanical parts.
COWI engineer Vlad Opanasiuk said: “As intended, it looks like a simple design – but there is nothing simple about this bridge.
“Both the substructure and superstructure required bespoke structural details to achieve the understated appearance envisaged by the architects.
“The deck needs to be light enough to be raised but strong enough to support the crossing vehicles and pedestrians.
“We therefore selected an orthotropic steel deck solution, which is lighter and more flexible than a concrete one, significantly reducing the power required to raise it.
“To create an open space for pedestrians, the bridge has a relatively wide deck. To provide the necessary torsional stiffness and a visually clean soffit, the main longitudinal girders, which run along the edges of the deck, are tapering closed box sections.
“It’s been a fascinating project to work on. Solving complex engineering challenges to bring brilliant designs like this to reality is what makes being an engineer so rewarding.”
The bridge’s location also posed a challenge.
COWI engineer and project manager Musa Chunge said: “The Jubilee Line runs below the waterway and parallel to the bridge so we worked closely with Canary Wharf and TFL to develop a safe piled foundation design for the bridge abutments and the marine causeway that forms the eastern approach.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
Government to fund stalled Carillion hospital
Work stopped in January following the collapse of original contractor Carillion.
The Department of Health and Social Care said: “Under the agreement, the government will provide funding for the remainder of the building work at Midland Metropolitan Hospital.
“The new hospital will be built by 2022.”
Procurement for a new contractor will start in November with a winner chosen before next summer.
Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust had explored the option of a new private finance deal to complete the hospital but there was no appetite in the market.
Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust Chief Executive, Toby Lewis, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news.
“After a huge amount of work by teams across Whitehall and the Trust, and with the voices of local residents, clinicians, and stakeholders having been clearly heard, we are delighted that we now have a definitive, publicly financed plan.
“We will continue to engage with the construction market over coming weeks and build towards a formal procurement by November this year.
“We always said Midland Met would be delivered and the doubters were wrong”
Source: Construction Enquirer
Tradify launches in the UK
Tradify (www.tradifyhq.com), the powerful job management app for small business owners in the construction industry, has launched into the UK. Tradify simplifies time-consuming administration activities, allowing builders, plumbers and electricians to focus on what really matters.
Already successful with over 10,000 users in Australia and New Zealand, and easy to use, Tradify is designed to simplify everyday administration tasks such as scheduling jobs, completing quotes, tracking materials and sending invoices.
“If you are a builder, plumber or electrician running single or multiple job sites, Tradify takes the hassle out of organising materials and people – and gives you clear information on the profit and loss on a job,” explains Robert Mark, Managing Director of Tradify in the UK.
“For small businesses, saying ‘yes’ to every job brings in money, but also problems, with days spent working while valuable evenings and weekends are spent catching up on paperwork. Tradify helps small business owners streamline these everyday tasks, freeing up time.”
Tradify enables tradespeople to become more professional in their job management, increasing productivity and enhancing their company reputation with customers. Job details and sub-contractors can be set up and managed, with sub-contractors updated on job status, such as task deadlines and materials needed from the merchant or wholesaler, in real time via the Tradify App.
“You can track a job from the initial quote to the final invoice and everything in between, out on site or at the office on your smartphone or tablet,” explains Rob. “Tradify gives you insights into your business which you need to help you grow and become more successful.”
From just £20 per month for one to nine users, Tradify is the business partner every successful tradesperson needs.
For more information visit www.tradifyhq.com
Source: Electrical Times
Heating Sector thriving as demand for oil expertise grows
OFTEC registration figures have hit a five-year high and are continuing to rise, underlining the increasing value both technicians and consumers are placing on professional qualifications.
The continued low price of oil compared to electricity, LPG and renewable heating technologies – the other heating options available to off grid households – has seen demand for oil remain strong with many consumers choosing to stick with, or even switch to oil.
Technicians are capitalising on the popularity of oil by renewing or taking out oil registration for the first time, with OFTEC seeing an increasing number of gas technicians expand into the sector to take advantage of the new business opportunities on offer.
It is anticipated the recent announcement by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) that oil boilers will be included in the next round of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO3), will likely spark a further wave of technicians seeking OFTEC registration which is mandatory to work on the scheme.
OFTEC training manager, David Knipe, said: “While many sectors are facing uncertainty about the future, the heating profession is thriving. All the time households need heat and hot water, there will be demand for skilled technicians.
“However, what consumers are looking for is changing. Social media means that incidences of poor workmanship are widely shared and consumers are becoming ever more aware of the risks of employing an unqualified tradesperson. OFTEC registration demonstrates competence and provides homeowners with the peace of mind they are dealing with a professional. This puts those technicians who can legitimately display the OFTEC badge at a distinct advantage when quoting for work.
“With heating technologies evolving and sector and business legislation continually changing, even the most experienced technicians can benefit from OFTEC training and the additional benefits this brings, including free technical advice and regular sector updates. Being able to confidently advise customers on the best solution for their needs could make the difference between winning and losing a job.”
To keep pace with the rise in demand, the number of OFTEC training centres across the country has grown to 88, with the total expected to top 90 by the end of the year.
Source: HPM Magazine
ECA’s #Project18 roadshow a major success
ECA holds successful event series introducing changes to the 18th Edition IET Wiring Regulations
Thousands of contractors and installers attended ECA’s #Project18 roadshow events during July, to learn about the changes introduced within the 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations (BS7671).
Over a three week period, around 2,000 people attended 14 events held across the country. In addition, these events had the added bonus of a CPD element delivered by one of ECA’s technical experts, supported by leading industry manufacturers. These roadshows also provided an excellent opportunity for ECA members to network with others within the industry.
Most of the events were also supported by a small exhibition showcasing several promotions and products, including stands from roadshow partners Schneider, Eaton and Legrand.
Steve Martin, ECA Director of Technical, commented:
“The roadshows were a superb way for ECA members to easily learn about the changes contained within the latest edition of the IET Wiring Regulations. It was also great to see ECA members networking with each other to build new business relationships.”
Matt Crunden, Training and BIM Manager at Legrand, commented:
“The ECA Project18 roadshow was one of the ‘not to be missed’ events of the year. The quality of the information presented in the seminars was excellent and the event organisation was first class. Legrand Electric Ltd was proud to be part of the roadshow.”
Marc Gaunt, Segment Marketing Manager at Eaton, commented:
“Eaton was delighted to see the levels of attendance by ECA members at this year’s Project18 events. As well as providing a great platform to understand more about the 18th Edition, the events were a fantastic opportunity to discuss pragmatic, layered approaches for our industry to enhance building safety.”
ECA member representative Keith Basing, of Phoenix ME Ltd, commented:
“I have attended a few presentations on the 18th Edition, but this was the best one by far.”
The new Wiring Regulations were published on 2 July 2018, and will come into full effect on 1 January 2019. ECA is providing members with a range of online tools, resources and discounted training to help get them up-to-speed.
Full details of The ECA #Project18 campaign can be found at www.project18.co.uk.
Source: Electrical Trade Magazine
London Mayor’s new boiler initiative gets thumbs up from industry
The Cleaner Heat Cashback announced last week by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has been broadly welcomed by industry.
The scheme, which will allow small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Greater London to apply for a share of a £10 million pot to replace older, working boilers (ten years plus) will help to reduce overall emission rates within the capital.
Customers looking to make the changes are being urged to do so quickly as the allocation of funds will be made on a strict first come, first served basis. All applications will also need to be made online.
Eligibility for the initiative specifies that applicants must be a London-based SME and either own the building or have responsibility for it and permission from the landlord to make the appropriate changes.
Ideal Commercial Boilers believes the initiative is a great incentive for businesses to reassess their current carbon footprint.
Andy Forrest, national sales manager, said: “For those who will have to upgrade their current heating systems there are several incentives available to help with costs. For instance, the initiative offers 30 to 35% cashback on replacement boilers, an incentive that should encourage SMEs to replace older units.
“The added five per cent capital expenditure will be a bonus for those customers who are within an Air Quality Focus Area (areas with high levels of carbon emissions).
Vaillant “highly commended this positive initiative” to incentivise and support SMEs to replace old, inefficient commercial boilers with much cleaner and more efficient alternatives.
John Bailey, sales director, commercial & renewable systems, said: “We would champion a national roll out of this scheme across other cities in the UK as we believe it will help to reduce energy wastage and unnecessarily inflated heating bills, and contribute to the reduction in air pollution to provide a healthier environment for all. We look forward to supporting the installer network in London to deliver this scheme.”
The Builders Merchant Federation supports the initiative, which builds on earlier residential schemes by successive Mayors.
John Newcomb, chief executive, said: “The fact that Cleaner Heat is now aimed at commercial premises signals not only a political determination to tackle poor air quality, but seeks to change the thinking of SME owners towards their day-to-day running costs.
“Significant savings can be made in business costs by upgrading to a modern heating system that our members make and supply. The 30% rate is generous and ought to entice companies to act. Although his offer is confined to the capital, the Mayor has moved to help London firms to cut bills, reduce emissions, improve air quality and encourage further investment.”
The Industrial and Commercial Energy Association believes the scheme is a positive step for businesses, carbon reduction and air quality.
Ross Anderson, director, added: “There is widespread recognition that domestic heating requires decarbonisation but industrial and commercial energy efficiency also needs to be addressed. A commercial boiler scrappage scheme will not only improve London’s air quality, it will also act as a catalyst to spur businesses on to consider additional energy efficiency improvements such as controls.”
Source: HPM Magazine
Young people encouraged to get on board by 85% of construction industry
The Considerate Constructors Scheme has launched the ‘Spotlight on…the next generation’ campaign to provide essential information and resources to help the industry address the urgent issue of attracting the future workforce.
The survey revealed that although 85% of respondents would recommend a career in construction to young people, 84% feel the ongoing perception of construction as being manual work is the main reason it remains an unpopular career choice.
The survey of the construction industry in the UK and Ireland received around 800 responses, and also uncovered that:
- 77% view the skills shortage as the most pressing issue facing the construction industry.
- 72% cite the challenging nature of work as the main benefit of a construction career.
- 53% know young people who are, or could be, interested in a construction career.
On the subject of what the industry can do to attract the next generation:
- 37% mentioned changing perception/promoting benefits.
- 26% suggested engaging schools and colleges.
- 15% mentioned apprenticeships and training.
‘Spotlight on…the next generation’ – hosted on the Scheme’s Best Practice Hub – has been launched by the Scheme to raise awareness of the wide range of resources, organisations, case studies, key information and guidance available to help construction to attract the future workforce.
The campaign contains a wide range of practical case studies of what organisations have done to help attract more people in to the industry. These include contributions from organisations such as: Balfour Beatty; Class of Your Own; Engie; Hobson and Porter; Kier; Laing O’Rourke; Mace; McLaughlin & Harvey and Wates.
In addition, the Scheme has collaborated with CITB’s Go Construct initiative to produce promotional posters for registered sites, companies, suppliers, clients and professional partners to use to help attract potential workers to consider a career in construction.
With over a quarter (26%) of survey respondents seeing engagement with schools and colleges as crucial to helping address the shortage of workers, the Scheme is pleased to report that 91% of respondents said their site or company engages with schools or youth groups – and 66% have personally visited schools or youth groups to discuss their career.
A key mechanism to help improve perceptions amongst school children, teachers and parents is through the industry’s mascots Ivor Goodsite and Honor Goodsite. In 2017 alone, Ivor/Honor visited over 22,000 school children.
Considerate Constructors Scheme chief executive Edward Hardy said: “The shortage of new entrants in to the workforce is one of the most pressing issues facing the construction industry. With over 400,000 new recruits needed each year to deliver construction projects, we must all take steps to attract the next generation.
“While we do have a great industry, one that is working hard to improve its image – as evidenced by the fact that 85% of those within the industry would recommend a career in construction – we need to do so much more to continually improve our standards in order to drive the perception change much needed to make the industry more attractive.
“The Scheme’s Best Practice Hub is at the epicentre of helping to share best practice across construction. Through the ‘Spotlight on…the next generation’ campaign, we are delighted to use our reach and influence across the entire industry to help provide key resources to address this critical issue.”
‘Spotlight on… the next generation’ will be continually updated with new case studies, resources and guidance. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any ideas and suggestions you may have and to showcase any case studies from your organisation.
Source: Electrical Times
Plans in for Birmingham Commonwealth Games village
Birmingham’s plans to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games have stepped up with the submission of plans for the athlete’s village.
The Commonwealth Games Village, proposed to be built on the site of the former Birmingham City University campus in Perry Barr, would be large enough to accommodate the 6,500 athletes and officials coming to Birmingham in the summer of 2022.
The accommodation will also feature a running track and green spaces and is a short distance from Alexander Stadium where the track and field events will take place.
Glancy Nicholls Architects has developed the masterplan of the Commonwealth Games Village.
After the Games, the Village would provide around 1,400 new homes across a range of different tenures. The development would also include an extra care village for older people and a community centre.
John Crabtree, Chair of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, said: “In the seven months since being awarded the 2022 Games there has been a lot of work done to prepare this planning application.
“Now is the time for anyone with an interest in the regeneration of Perry Barr to look at our plans in detail and give feedback to the city council planners.
“We want the people of the West Midlands to have ownership of the Games and this is one of the first significant ways in which they can do that.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
Human Rights Commission warns on flammable cladding
The use of flammable cladding on Grenfell Tower and other high-rise residential blocks constitutes a breach of the residents’ human rights, according to the Equality & Human Rights Commission, and thus exposes public authorities to prosecution under the Human Rights Act 1998.
The Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has written to the Department for Housing, Communities & Local Government (DHCLG) outlining its concerns about the continued use of combustible cladding in existing buildings and advising the department of its responsibilities under human rights laws to protect lives.
The EHRC is supported by the British Safety Council in its challenge to the government over its failure to protect lives
In a briefing paper on the subject, the EHRC says: “A key issue in the Grenfell inquiry will be whether the building regulations banned the use of polyethylene-based cladding in high-rise residential blocks, due to the risk of fire associated with it. If the building regulations did ban its use, questions will be asked about the adequacy of the systems for monitoring and supervising compliance with those regulations, including in council buildings, to ensure that cladding was installed safely. Both scenarios raise questions about whether the UK has met its duty to protect life. Additional issues arise concerning fire safety regulations, including the installation of fire sprinklers in high-rise buildings.”
The EHRC has expressed its concern that the consultation on the use of external cladding omits any reference to the government’s duty to protect lives under article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights and schedule 1 to the Human Rights Act 1998.
British Safety Council chairman Lawrence Waterman said: “The British Safety Council has participated in the consultation, calling for much tighter building controls, clearer guidance and effective enforcement. The EHRC intervention takes a wider view and supports our long-held and consistent argument that health and safety is a crucial underpinning of the human right to life.”
The EHRC explains: “The right to life is one of the fundamental guarantees in international human rights law. In many respects it is a prerequisite to, and closely linked with, the enjoyment of all other rights. The right to life is protected under international and European human rights treaties, including Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The UK government has signed up to these treaties and has to abide by them at all times.
“Article 2 of the ECHR is particularly important in the UK as it has been incorporated into domestic law by the Human Rights Act 1998. This means that all UK governments and public bodies – central, local and devolved – including all public officials, have to take appropriate measures to safeguard life by making laws to protect people and, in some circumstances, by taking active steps to protect people if their lives are at risk. If they don’t do this, they can be taken to court.”
Solicitor Anjon Malik, construction partner at Gordons law firm, commented: “The Human Rights Commission’s intervention that the use of flammable cladding on Grenfell Tower and other high-rise buildings is a breach of human rights is an issue that the Grenfell Inquiry will not be able to ignore. If it turns out that the use of polyethylene-based cladding in high rise cladding had actually been banned by building regulations but it’s continued use had not been properly monitored, the public will rightly expect those in authority to be held to account. And, unless and until those responsible face the severest consequences, the clamour for heads to roll will continue.”
Source: The Construction Enquirer
UK tradespeople most safety conscious in Europe, finds survey
According to the findings of a recent health and safety survey conducted for Bosch, UK tradespeople are the most safety conscious in Europe.
The poll canvased the views plumbers and other building trade professionals in the UK and eight other European countries including Germany, France, Spain and Italy.
Over 100 tradespeople from the UK were surveyed, with 824 participants across Europe in total.
The results found that 56% of the UK tradespeople said that they stopped work several times a day or even more frequently in order to meet health and safety requirements. Across the channel in France around 35% of workers were stopping a similar amount of times, while in Spain it was 37.5% and in Germany a little over 39%.
The survey also shed light on which tasks trade professionals place most importance on, in terms of using protection. In the UK grinding metal was rated highest, with 46% of respondents flagging it up. After this came drilling concrete and sawing wood.
Source: HVP Magazine