November 2018 Newsletter
‘EUA say that more gas storage is crucial to energy security, New £113m Glasgow research hub given the green light, Government establishes £3,500 landlord contribution cap, JTL & Electrical industries charity highlight negative impact of stress’.
More gas storage is crucial to energy security, says EUA
A spokesperson for the Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) has delivered a message to the government about the importance of investing in further gas storage in the UK for energy security.
Roddy Monroe, Independent Chair of the Gas Storage Operators Group, attended a recent gas storage inquiry evidence session at Parliament to provide evidence on behalf of the EUA in favour of increasing gas storage to minimise risk and increase flexibility.
Mr Monroe said: “I firmly believe that there may be serious implications for UK energy security if policy makers rely solely on the market to deliver the right level of investment to meet broader government objectives including transiting to a low carbon economy and providing access to affordable energy.
“Energy security is underpinned by long life, capital intensive investments which require long term financial certainty; these are not characteristics found in our energy market today. We have seen that the government felt it necessary to intervene to help deliver positive changes to the electricity market, such intervention may now be necessary for the gas market if we are to provide the right level of gas security.
“The UK currently consumes over 100 billion cubic metres of gas per year, but only has storage capacity equivalent to 2% of this- essentially 7 days’ worth- compared to a European average of 25%. Gas storage can make a significant contribution to achieving this by ensuring that gas supplies are maintained at times of major supply or demand shocks. It also protects consumers from price spikes, ultimately reducing overall gas bills. Therefore, gas storage is vital for the efficient operation of the UK energy markets.
“We urge the government to look, in detail, at the issue of gas storage, such as they did in 2013. Since then we have seen a number of material changes to the energy market, which have the potential to worsen energy security and, in particular, significantly increase the exposure to extreme price volatility.
“These changes include unprecedented reductions in flexible European gas production (mainly the massive Groningen gas field) and the loss of our own indigenous gas storage capacity, most notably Rough, which comprised 75% of capacity. These detrimental changes to UK energy security are compounded by the uncertainty of the future energy arrangements post-Brexit.
“The ‘Beast from the East’ experience earlier this year, where we witnessed very sharp wholesale price spikes and, despite that, very little UK demand side response, was a real wake-up call and makes this review even more urgent.”
Source: HVP Magazine
JTL & Electrical Industries Charity Highlight Negative Impact Of Stress
JTL is working alongside the Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) to highlight the negative impact of stress.
The joint campaign aims to help people working in the electrical sector to address stressful situations and seek help. It includes a dedicated Apprentice Support Programme, designed to help apprentices with any challenges they may face early on in their career.
The assistance available through the EIC covers a wide range of issues – from caring for a sick or elderly relative to dealing with redundancy. The EIC’s team of trained advisors can offer free financial, legal, emotional or health-related advice.
Thousands of people in the electrical sector are faced with a wide range of difficult situations in their lives, which often lead to mental health issues. Some of those affected reach out for help, but others have no one to turn to and often bury their struggles in alcohol or drug abuse.
Addictions such as alcohol or drug abuse often not only have a dramatic effect on physical health but also has significant consequences on mental health which often leads to problems such as depression, anxiety, and many other issues.
Recent statistics released by the NHS showed that in the UK in 2015/16 there were 8,621 hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of drug-related mental health and behavioural disorders. It was also recorded that each year there were 2,479 registered deaths due to drug misuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) also stated that compared with the general population, people addicted to drugs are twice as likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders.
To help to reduce these statistics and to give crucial access to support services to those who are affected by mental health problems, the Electrical Industries Charity has created the Employee Assistance Programme which offers all of the vital support needed to help people in the electrical sector to get back on their feet and create a life they deserve.
Recently, the charity helped an experienced electrician Rhys Lynch to create a better quality of life for him and his daughter. Rhys first contacted the Electrical Industries Charity in 2012 when his partner left him and his two-year-old daughter. Rhys applied for sole custody of his daughter, leaving his job as an electrician to become a full-time parent. On gaining full custody, the council re-housed Rhys and his daughter into a one-bedroom property, and the charity provided a £1,000 grant for household items. In 2013, they were moved to a bigger, two-bedroom property, which better met their needs and once again the charity helped, providing a £1,000 grant for flooring.
Despite starting a new life, Rhys’ problems were far from over. Over the years, Rhys was faced with numerous financial struggles which sadly resulted in him turning to alcohol and drugs and in 2015, Rhys lost not only his home but also custody of his daughter. With nowhere left to turn, Rhys resorted to theft to feed his addiction, and following many incidences, was sent to prison for 14 weeks.
After serving his sentence, Rhys suffered a further relapse and nearly lost his life. Since then he has sought counselling and support for underlying issues which dated back many years. The charity once more offered support to help with his debts, and he was granted a debt relief order (DRO).
Since September 2015, Rhys has been free from drugs and alcohol and can now see a brighter future ahead. But the road to recovery is never easy, and for people suffering from mental health issues, ongoing support is vital which is why Rhys contacted the charity once more in January 2017.
The charity helped with the cost of updating his qualifications through Able Skills and as a result he has now passed his 2394/95 City & Guilds Testing & Inspection course. He has secured a maintenance contract with a local estate agent and has been offered a contract with a local construction company. Thanks to the support and financial assistance provided by the Electrical Industries Charity, he is once again living with his daughter and is well on his way to building a better life.
Rhys’s story highlights that seeking help and having access to support services can remarkably change someone’s quality of life and this is why the charity always ensures that people in the electrical sector get the support they need when they need it.
If you would like to contact one of the EIC’s team, go to jtltraining.com/free-support/ or just call 0800 652 1618.
Source: Electrical Contracting News
Property owners urged to check for potentially harmful lead water pipes
WaterSafe, the UK register for approved plumbers, is urging everyone to ‘take the scratch test’, as more than two-thirds of homeowners don’t know if their water is supplied through potentially harmful lead water pipes.
Sixty-eight per cent of homeowners don’t know if they have potentially harmful lead water pipes in their property, according to a survey of 2,000 property owners by WaterSafe.
Water used for drinking and cooking that has been supplied through lead pipes can result in a build-up of lead in the body. This can be bad for health – especially for babies and children, whose development can be affected. Another 53% of homeowners don’t know that it’s their responsibility to replace lead pipes should they find them in their homes.
Julie Spinks, director of WaterSafe, said: “We’re asking property owners to do one thing during Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (Oct 21-27) – check your homes and business premises for lead water pipes, especially if you have an older property. It’s quite simple – find the water pipe where it enters your home, which is usually in a kitchen cupboard or under the stairs.
“Lead pipes are normally dull grey and soft and if you scrape the surface gently with a coin you’ll see shiny silver-coloured metal underneath. It’s quite distinct from copper or plastic. If the pipes are painted just scrape the paint off too.”
The use of lead in plumbing has been banned in the UK for more than 25 years, so it’s the houses built before 1970 which are most likely to have lead pipes.
Homeowners who find they do have lead pipes should contact their water supplier who can test the levels of lead in the drinking water and offer advice on replacing them.
Source: HPM Magazine
Bidders day for £40m new London station job
Contractors are being called up for a bidders day for a £40m new station near the Brent Cross Shopping centre in North London.
Called Brent Cross West, the new Thameslink station forms part of the wider Brent Cross and Cricklewood regeneration scheme and already has outline planning.
The London Borough of Brent is planning the market event next month ahead of inviting tenders for a design and build contract.
The new station is required to be completed, commissioned, handed over into operations and maintenance by May 2022.
It will have four platforms, with a single bridge serving the purpose of a public right of way footbridge, as well as access to the new platforms.
The project proposals have been developed to GRIP4 with the successful bidder expected to taken the project forward to GRIP stages 5 to 8.
Registration for the event on 13 November should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org ref Brent Cross West Station November 2018.
Contractor J Murphy & Sons is presently working on an enabling works contract for the new Thameslink Sidings facility near the new station site.
Spurs still don’t know when builders will finish new stadium
Tottenham Hotspur Football Club has confirmed that its new £800m stadium will not be finished before the end of the year but still does not know when it will be able to open.
“I wish I was able to confirm an exact opening date and fixture,” said chairman Daniel Levy. “However, in light of factors completely outside of our control, contractors missing deadlines and possible future unforeseen issues, we are naturally being cautious in respect of our timetable for our test events and official opening game.”
Spurs had expected to play its first fixture at its new stadium on 15th September 2018. During construction works the club has been playing home games at Wembley Stadium.
Key contractors involved in the mechanical, electrical and safety systems are being supported with external resources and closely monitored by Mace, the construction manager, the club said.
Chairman Daniel Levy said: “There isn’t an hour that goes by when I am not asked when we will be able to stage our first game at our new home.
“Whilst we are conscious of the need to keep pressure on our contractors to deliver as soon as possible, we are also acutely aware of how difficult the lack of clarity is for you, our supporters, to plan around games, particularly those at Christmas and New Year.
“In light of the above, and taking into account the restricted availability of manpower over the festive period, we have taken the decision to confirm today that all home games will be played at Wembley Stadium up to and including the game against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 29th December.”
He added: “The delay in the stadium opening has made it possible for some track and station improvements to be brought forward due to the fact that previously non-available construction dates have become available for works.
“We have no doubt when open that this stadium will be one of the finest in the world – a leading example of British research and development delivering engineering and technological firsts that will be showcased globally.
“This is a stadium for another century and a few months’ delay will hopefully soon be forgotten when we proudly return home.”
Source: Construction Index
Multiplex green light for £113m Glasgow research hub
The University of Glasgow has received planning consent for the first building on the site of the former Western Infirmary.
Multiplex can now proceed will full-scale building work on the £113m Research Hub, with completion expected in 2021.
The Research Hub, designed by HOK architects, will host over 600 academics, postdoctoral researchers and PhD students working across five broad research themes.
Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Glasgow, said: “This represents a landmark moment in our £1bn Campus Development programme as the Research Hub will be the first building to be constructed on the site of the former Western Infirmary.
“Upon completion, this building will offer a unique facility to support the University’s world-class research, as well as providing a welcoming and accessible hub for knowledge exchange and public engagement.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
Watersafe survey finds people over 55 not checking for plumber competence
WaterSafe is advising older consumers not to risk their home’s water quality after a survey revealed many over-55s are failing to make important checks when hiring a plumber.
A recent survey of 2,000 households by WaterSafe, the UK register for approved plumbers, revealed that:
- only 17% of over-55s checked if their plumber was a member of an approved scheme – while more worrying, a further 19% admitted to not making any checks at all
- less than 10% of over-55s asked their plumber if the products being fitted met water quality regulations
- only 12% checked if their plumber had insurance.
WaterSafe’s survey also revealed that only 28% of over-55s asked for a written quote and agreed a timescale for any plumbing work.
Julie Spinks, Director of WaterSafe said: “Plumbers approved through WaterSafe can give older homeowners immediate peace of mind as they are fully qualified to carry out plumbing work in homes and businesses, and specifically trained to meet the strict regulations for installing pipes and fittings that keep the nation’s drinking water safe.
“With thousands of qualified, approved WaterSafe plumbers in the UK, it’s simple to find one local to them by either using our online postcode search at watersafe.org.uk or calling us on 0333 207 9030.”
The consumer advice section of the WaterSafe website provides advice and tips for homeowners to help them plan watertight plumbing work. Before getting started, WaterSafe recommends that consumers always ask their plumber for:
- A physical address and contact telephone number
- An established time in business
- Proof of insurance
- Their WaterSafe Registration
- Their Gas Safe Registration (if they work on gas systems)
- Their Competent Person Scheme Registration (if applicable)
Source: HVP Magazine
Keltbray invests in £5bn Kent theme park plan
Keltbray is backing plans for a new theme park in Kent with a multi-million pound investment.
The specialist contractor has formed a joint venture with project developer LRCH to invest £25m into the London Resort Project near Ebbsfleet.
The £5bn scheme was dealt a blow last year when film studio Paramount Pictures walked away from the project.
Proposals for the park have been around since 2012 with the latest timetable promising a planning application next year.
Steve Norris, Chairman LRCH said: “We are delighted to welcome Keltbray to this most exciting project.
“We have been discussing for some time the best way to harness their specialist construction industry expertise alongside their ability to act as a catalyst for further industry participation and investment.
“Over the next five years, this project will become one of the largest construction projects in the UK and their involvement takes us a significant step closer to delivering a world class resort.”
A £5bn investment will transform seven million square feet of land into two theme parks celebrating brands from across literature, television, music, film and entertainment.
Brendan Kerr, CEO of Keltbray, said:“Keltbray is recognised in the industry as an enabler of projects.
“It has long prided itself on its ability to manage the most challenging of projects thanks to its investment in training, design and plant.
“At seven million square feet, this new theme park won’t be an easy project but that is why the formulation of this JV with LRCH is an ideal partnership.
“We’re delighted to be involved in what I’m sure will provide a significant boost to both employment and tourism in the UK.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
Six ways van drivers can deter thieves
Theft from vans can be a costly issue for British tradesmen and women but now a team of motoring experts have issued six top tips to deter pesky thieves.
The team at LeaseVan.co.uk have researched into the most effective and affordable ways for van drivers to improve their security so that vehicles appear less of a target for those looking to pinch tools.
From choosing parking spots wisely in well-lit areas, to removing precious valuables and keeping them inside overnight, they’ve looked at the easiest ways van drivers can help reduce the chances of their vehicles being broken into.
Tim Alcock from LeaseVan.co.uk said: “As the shorter evenings roll in, van theft can become more prevalent as thieves choose the cover of darkness to come out and do the deed.
“Anyone who has suffered a break-in or who has had valuables stolen will know how devastating it can be. It’s even worse if the perpetrator causes damage to your vehicle in the process as it’s a further expense and can hinder work.
“Certain criminals are savvy enough to find ways around basic security systems and factory fitted immobilisers and alarms often don’t make the cut and can do nothing to prevent theft.
“As the saying goes – you can never be too careful, so we’re trying to advocate prevention over everything else.
“Investing in tighter, more comprehensive security will help deter and protect thieves from trying to break into your vehicle. As well as this, introducing a heavy duty steering wheel and applying plastic window tints are just a few of the straight forward things that can be done to reduce the chance of a break in as much as possible.”
It can be a chore removing valuables from your vehicle every night, but it’s worth popping them in the garage if it means they’re fully protected. If it’s not possible to remove all tools then just take the most expensive and store them securely overnight. Don’t forget to put them back in the morning when you need them for work though!
Consider your parking spot
Where possible, park in a garage or on a driveway, but if you can’t get a spot close to your home or if you have street parking, aim to get it as close to your front door as possible in a well-lit area covered by CCTV. This way you can keep an eye on your car and it will also deter thieves if they can be seen – they are likely to go for darker, hidden spots where they won’t be noticed. If you’re parking your van at home, consider adding extras such as motion-detecting security lights, lockable gates or even rising bollards to your home.
Get a lockable toolbox
Lockable toolboxes are perfect for storing all equipment or just the valuables – if the toolbox has another feature to unlock this may mean thieves will be discouraged to take it as they won’t be able to get to the goods anyway – it’s always good to have an extra layer of protection.
Prioritise security when choosing a new van
When browsing vans – make sure you take into account the security benefits. It’s easy to be led into getting the snazziest model on the market – but it’s equally as important to protect your vehicle, your tools and effectively your trade with concrete security features. Always think about the design – glazed
rear doors, for example, are great for visibility but they can be a security risk as they let everybody know what’s in your vehicle and they can be more easily broken. Most modern vans offer a good range of security features, but if you need to add extras, consider specifying an alarm, immobiliser and deadlocks for all the doors.
Invest in simple security upgrades
Handbrake locks, heavy-duty steering wheel locks, locking wheel nuts and lockable fuel filler caps are just some of the simple and affordable measures you can buy to boost your van’s security. Plastic window tints and upgraded deadlocks and slam locks for doors are also worthwhile physical add-ons for commercial vehicles that can be adapted to suit different needs.
Look at the latest technology
Check out the more advanced electronic alarms and vehicle tracking devices too – electronic GPS trackers can vastly improve the chances of recovering your van if it is stolen and advanced systems can alert police when a vehicle is stolen too. Another option is to install a CCTV system to monitor the area or areas your van is mostly parked. The latest cameras can be connected to your local Wi-Fi network to stream images directly to your smartphone or computer. They can also be set to activate when they detect movement.
Source: Electrical Times
Government establishes £3,500 landlord contribution cap
The government has ended its consultation on proposals to amend the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015, primarily deciding to increase the landlord financial contribution cap to £3,500.
The response said: “In line with the consultation proposal, the government intends to amend the regulations to introduce a capped landlord contribution that will take effect where third-party funding is unavailable or insufficient to cover the costs of energy efficiency improvements.
“This decision has been made in recognition of the current constraints on third-party funding and their impact on the effectiveness of the current regulations. Domestic rental properties in England and Wales affected by this decision represent less than 6% of the overall domestic market.”
This new funding cap is an increase on the initially suggested £2,500, but still lower than the £5,000 cap recommended by the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC). According to the HHIC, setting the cap at £2,500 would have only helped 30% of houses reach EPC band E, whereas a cap of £5,000 would assist a substantially higher number of homes.
Stewart Clements, Director of the HHIC, said: “When government and industry – ‘those in the know’ – work together then the resulting outcomes are better. I am pleased that the government has recognised that legislation is required in the rental sector to improve EPC ratings. The figure of £3,500 improves upon the suggested £2,500, which would have only helped 30% of homes improve upon their EPC rating.
“Having said this, the HHIC still believes £5,000 is the correct level for the cap, as it would help close to 60% of cold , inefficient (band F and G) homes reach the required EPC level. This is because the cost of installing a new central heating system can amount to £4,000, £500 above the new cap level. Insulation alone will not keep a home warm; you need an efficient heating system too, and gas central heating is the most obvious solution.”
The full government response to the consultation can be found here.
Source: HVP Magazine
New energy efficient Domus Ventilation MVHR wall units launched
Domus Ventilation, part of the Polypipe group, has launched the HRXE range of high-performance Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) units for small to medium size residential properties.
MVHR systems combine supply and extract ventilation in one system. They efficiently recover the heat typically lost in waste, stale air and use it to temper the fresh air drawn into the building via a heat exchanger. The filtered, pre-warmed air is distributed to areas of the home such as living rooms and bedrooms, effectively meeting part of the heating load in energy efficient dwellings.
Building on its success in MVHR, Domus has developed the HRXE units to provide even greater efficiency through advanced heat exchange proficiency and low Specific Fan Power (SFP). When used with a kitchen and one wet room, a typical installation, the HRXE provides a 90% heat exchange performance and boasts a very low SFP down to 0.57W/(l/s).
The new HRXE range is not only efficient but also exceptionally quiet, with background (normal) ventilation at 24dB(A) (typically whisper quiet). Noise reduction can be further reduced through the use of an Anti-Vibration tray, which isolates the unit from the wall to reduce any low levels of vibration induced noise which can be distracting to residents.
There are four models in the HRXE range, all with a two year warranty and all featuring 100% thermal (summer) bypass which automatically activates when the air temperature reaches a pre-set level, allowing in cooler, fresh, filtered air without warming it through the heat exchanger. The smart design of the HRXE means there is no reduction in airflow when operating in bypass mode.
Within the range, models are available with integral humidity sensors, which is much in demand. By accurately measuring air humidity, the HRXE’s extract speed automatically changes from background to boost as the level of humidity increases, thereby providing optimal ventilation performance.
When it comes to installation, Domus Ventilation has designed the HRXE units to be even smaller than their predecessors making them ideal for wall-mounted cupboard installation, with opposite-handed models available to meet different on-site requirements. Spigots on the top of the HRXE are 125mm, but with Domus Ventilation’s extensive duct portfolio, adaptors are available to enable direct connection to the most common ducting size – 204x600mm flat channel duct –for quicker and more cost-effective installation. Furthermore, integrated controls are accessed via a front panel for easy commissioning.
The HRXE range has been designed to work most efficiently when used with Domus duct systems, including its Flow Control Plenum and High-Efficiency Green Line Bends, which reduce duct bend resistance by up to 60%. Domus duct systems offer improved system performance through the exacting tolerances and engineered fit of the system, whereby pressure drops are minimised and air leakage virtually eliminated.
Domus Ventilation has a well-deserved reputation for quality, supported by an excellent technical support, from a market leading manufacturer and designer. It is well placed to offer immediate, practical solutions to Building Regulations Parts F & L.
Source: Electrical Trade Magazine
Fake skills card dealer jailed for more than three years
Online trader Andrew Weeks was sentenced at Warwick Crown Court for offences under the Fraud Act.
Weeks was caught following an investigation by Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards.
Officers discovered that he was manufacturing construction industry skill cards at his printing firm and selling them via his website.
Weeks was sentenced to 3 years and 8 months after pleading guilty to the manufacture of fake documents.
The investigation was supported with information from the Construction Industry Training Board and a number of card schemes including the Construction Skills Certification Scheme and the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme.
Graham Wren, Chief Executive at CSCS said: “This is another example of the industry working together to tackle card fraud.
“CSCS will always support the authorities to identify and act against those attempting to deceive construction employers.
“This case also highlights the need for thorough card checks, ideally electronically, to ensure construction workers are who they say they are and have the correct qualifications for the job they do on site.”
Weeks was also sued by CSCS for copyright infringement and ordered to pay damages of £6,000.
Steve Brawley, Chief Executive at ECS said: “We hope that this case will serve as a message to would be fraudsters that their actions will not be accepted.
“Fraudsters on construction sites present a danger to themselves and others and we need to work together to stamp this activity out.”
Ian Sidney, Fraud Manager at CITB said: “This sentence shows just how serious construction card fraud is and the lengths that CITB and the whole industry will go to in order to stamp it out.
“The use of fake cards could easily lead to accidents, injuries or even fatalities where contractors do not have the required skills, training or qualifications.
“Employers must remain vigilant when checking workers’ documentation and keep an eye out for any suspicious activity.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
Government names TrustMark as the new all-encompassing mark of quality for consumers in and around the home
In support of the Government’s Green GB Week, TrustMark, the Government-endorsed quality scheme for tradespeople, announces that it has expanded its remit to include Repair, Maintenance and Improvement (RMI), retrofit and energy efficiency sectors, in order to now cover any work a consumer chooses to have carried out in or around their home.
TrustMark has extended its responsibilities following the industry led Government-commissioned Each Home Counts review in 2016, which identified a requirement for an all-encompassing mark of quality for consumers to recognise and trust. TrustMark was chosen to be the brand that the quality mark has now become with clean growth and energy efficiency being a key focus of the scheme.
TrustMark’s expansion has bought significant changes to the scheme, including:
· The Core Criteria document will be replaced by the Framework Operating Requirements (FOR). This will be delivered through the network of Scheme Providers who will vet and monitor each business registered within the scheme.
· The FOR will be supplemented by additional documents such as the Code of Conduct (setting out requirements to Registered Businesses) and the Customer Charter (outlining the rights and responsibilities of customers), both of which aim to improve clarity of communication for tradespeople and their customers.
· New and updated branding, which includes a refreshed logo to reflect the significant incoming changes, whilst celebrating the core values and name that remains at the heart of TrustMark as an organisation.
· The TrustMark website has also been updated to display the new branding and features an enhanced consumer search facility. A customer/business portal will also be available over the forthcoming months to handle all aspects of communications between consumers and trade, from quote to payment.
TrustMark’s new independent Chairman, Ranil Jayawardena, says:
“The evolution of TrustMark into the Government Endorsed Quality scheme for any work that a consumer has done to their home is great news. I want to make sure that TrustMark puts consumers first and gives them the best information from which they can make their own decisions. At the same time, I believe this will be good for the industry in the long run, as it should mean that consumer-power drives the industry to be better.”
Simon Ayers, CEO of TrustMark, says:
“These steps only represent the beginning of change at TrustMark and I am delighted with the direction the scheme is going in and believe these improvements will pave the way for positive, far-reaching change for both consumers and businesses. We have significant plans for developing the services to our Scheme Providers, Registered Businesses and the consumers that rely on them and together we can carry on our journey.”
Claire Perry, Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, says:
“The UK has led the world in cutting emissions whilst growing our economy – with clean growth driving incredible innovation and creating hundreds of thousands of high quality jobs. on our successes and explain the huge opportunities for business and young people of a cleaner economy. I’m delighted to see how many more businesses and organisations, such as TrustMark, are seizing this multi-billion pound opportunity to energize their communities to tackle the very serious threat of climate change.”
Since 2005, TrustMark has been a champion of consumer protection and when a consumer sees the TrustMark logo they will know the business they are engaging with is technically competent and has made an additional commitment to customer services and trading practices. This will be the case regardless of the type of work they require on their property.
For further information about TrustMark, visit www.trustmark.org.uk
Source: Electrical Times
October 2018 Newsletter
‘NICEIC, ELECSA and CCUK to provide training on the dangers of working with asbestos, Survey reveals top plumbing issues, Bursary helps more women in to the electrical industry, Seaward goes on the road with PAT workshops, Vehicle tracking sparks improvements in the electrical industry and London boroughs get £1bn council homes construction boost‘.
Asbestos awareness training for electrical contractors
Figures from the Health and Safety Executive suggest that 14 people will die prematurely every day as a result of being exposed to asbestos – this equates to around 5,000 deaths a year. It is the single greatest cause to work related deaths in the UK and is considered a major factor to many types of health complications.
Although receiving a total ban in 1999, there are an estimated 12.5m households that could still potentially contain asbestos.
Working with CCUK, NICEIC and ELECSA contractors can take online or face-to-face training in asbestos awareness courses, fully certified by the UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA).
Mark Smith, marketing director for NICEIC and ELECSA said, “Tradespeople need to know they are working in a safe environment. These figures are a startling reminder of the work that needs to be done to protect those who are at greater risk of being exposed to asbestos.
“These courses will highlight what to look out for if they believe asbestos to be present in their vicinity and what immediate action they need to take to prevent themselves and others around them from being exposed to this harmful material.”
Billy Quinn, managing director for CCUK, added, “We are delighted to be working with NICEIC and ELECSA, who share the same passion to help standards and improve knowledge amongst construction workers.
“There are potentially thousands of contractors who are still not aware of the dangers surrounding asbestos. At CCUK, we strive to get the message across that professional training can change the way today’s workers operate so they don’t put their lives at unnecessary risk.”
The partnership means NICEIC and ELECSA contractors can take online training at a special discounted rate. Anyone looking to take the course should visit centralcompliance.uk/certsure.
Source: Electrcial Contracting News
Top plumbing issues revealed by WRAS survey
Dripping taps are the number one plumbing issue in the UK, with more than one in 10 homeowners experiencing the issue in the past five years, according to a new Water Regulation Advisory Scheme (WRAS) study.
Even a small trickle from a dripping tap can waste water and money and, according to WaterSafe, fixing a dripping tap could save homeowners at least £18 a year if they are on a water meter, as well as 5,500l of water.
The study of 2,000 homeowners also found that leaking pipes, clogged drains, and a continuously running toilet topped the list of homeowners’ complaints.
The top complaints were:
- Dripping tap (14%)
- Leaking pipe (11%)
- Slow or clogged drains (10%)
- Running toilet (9%)
- Burst pipe (6%)
- Water temperature issue (5%)
- Noisy pipes (5%)
- Frozen pipes (4%)
- Flooding (3%)
- Water storage tank failure (2%)
Source: HVP Magazine
Bursary helps more woman in to electrical industry
NICEIC has been helping more women into the electrical industry through its Jobs for the Girls Bursary Scheme.
The scheme offers grants to women already working in the industry or looking to get a helping hand at the start of their career. It is open to females of all ages and designed to cover training or other associated costs up to a maximum of £500.
One of those who benefited from a bursary was 40-year-old Amanda Pugh from Buckinghamshire. She used the funding to set up a website for her business Amanda Electrics.
“I was just starting out on my own and although I had help with some of the training and was fortunate to have a good amount of tools I still had to pay for additional courses, books, registration, insurance, website fees, business cards, work clothing and other tools.
“The set-up costs were more than I anticipated but the bursary from the NICEIC helped to offset some of these costs and meant I was able to start making money from my work sooner.”
Coleen Everitt, runs Alto Electrical in Lincolnshire. She used the money to buy materials for circuit boards, which she custom builds and uses for talks in local schools and colleges.
“I am a keen advocate of promoting a career in the trades to young boys and girls. By offering a hands-on practical lesson I want to encourage both boys and girls into the construction sector.
“It was great to get support from NICEIC and as a female in the trade I fully support the Jobs for the Girls campaign.”
Another one to benefit was 18-year-old Britany Douglas. She had just started an apprenticeship and used the money to buy tools and the latest 18th Edition wiring regulations.
She said: “The bursary meant I was able to buy the tools I needed to start my apprenticeship. There are a lot of things you need to buy when just starting out so it was great that I could get a helping hand.”
In the six months since launching the bursary, NICEIC has provided £5000 of funding to more than 20 women.
The youngest applicant was a 17-year-old just staring out at college and the oldest was a 55-year-old who wanted to get back on the tools after a career break.
The average age of all applicants was 29 – perhaps an indicator of the later age that women traditionally come into the electrical industry.
Emma Clancy, CEO of NICEIC, commented: “Over the last seven years we have seen a marked increase in the number of women who come to us looking for help and assistance. Employers have also been in touch to see how they can attract more female candidates.
“Where possible we have provided access to training, technical information and opportunities with our registered contractors, but it has not always been possible to assist those who just need a helping hand along the way.
“Through this bursary we have been able to offer practical and financial support and hopefully create a smoother route into the industry.
“If we can help out those women who are just starting out or inspire others who might be thinking about a career in the electrical industry then we will be well on the way to addressing the gender imbalance directly.”
NICEIC is committed to encouraging more women in to the electrical industry via its Jobs for the Girls campaign. Applications for the 2019 Jobs for the Girls bursary will open in Spring next year.
For more information about the campaign and the bursary scheme visit www.niceic.com/jobsforthegirls
Source: Electrical Times
Polypipe opens £250,000 underfloor heating training centre
Polypipe, the manufacturer of underfloor heating (UFH) systems, has officially launched a £250,000 training facility to inspire the next generation of budding heating professionals.
The Doncaster-based firm held the official opening of the state-of-the-art Polypipe Professional Development Centre (PDC) at Kirk Sandall on Tuesday, September 25.
The facility features specially-designed training spaces to give trainee and experienced plumbing professionals the opportunity to improve their practical skills. It is set to become one of the UK’s leading training centres for professional heating engineers, installers, plumbers and merchants.
The courses on offer at the PDC include BPEC-accredited courses on installing warm water UFH, apprenticeship training and guides to domestic ventilation product installation.
The PDC will also now be home to the technical design team and the new underfloor heating senior management team.
Rachel Smith, Polypipe Underfloor Heating general manager, said: “We want to further strengthen our position as the market leader for UFH solutions and a key part of that is the level of service and support we offer to our trade customers. Offering accredited training and development for heating professionals is a key part of that support.
“The new PDC will also help us tackle the skills gap head on by working with schools and colleges to help train the plumbers of the future. It will also ensure that Polypipe continues to serve the local and national workforce by developing new talent. We hope that the centre will demonstrate just how much training plays a fundamental role in our business model for many years to come.”
Tracy Richardson, president of Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE), presented a plaque to commemorate the centre being granted CIPHE-accredited status.
Polypipe has a strong focus on investment in professional training and development, having relaunched its Registered Heating Engineer Network earlier this year, which provides heating engineers and plumbers with free access to training courses and events, and helps small firms generate new business.
Source: HPM Magazine
Suffolk council to renew £750m East of England framework
The council is expected to formally call-up firms to prequalify next month for the framework renewal.
The four-year framework, which is also open to councils across the East of England, will be used for public sector building works, and is expected to be used for around £750m of spending.
Morgan Sindall, Wates, RG Carter and Barnes Construction presently hold the high-value work bands.
This time around, the council plans to introduce four value bands to replace the three presently used.
East of England construction framework
- Band 1: projects valued up to £750,000
- Band 2: projects from £0.5m to £3.5m
- Band 3: projects from £2.75m to £10m
- Band 4 Projects over £8m
This exercise will be tendered and managed by council-owned company, Concertus Design and Property Consultants.
The framework is set to be operational from 2019 June and will govern the procurement of a full spectrum of new build and refurbishment schemes in education, health and community. These may include libraries, civic office developments and programmes for Suffolk Fire and Rescue.
In addition to the contractors undertaking traditional construction and refurbishment works, the framework can be used for specialist trades via the main contractor.
A prequalification questionnaire will be released next month. To express an interest email Concertus.
Source: Construction Enquirer
Free webinars offer a quick fix to keep your skills up to date.
As part of its latest series of free webinars, HBM – a market leader in the field of test and measurement – invites participants to help expand their skills and grow their knowledge
Designed to fit in with challenging time constraints, which can often make attending relevant training courses difficult, the latest series of webinars from HBM, which will take place in November 2018, will provide advice and focus on a variety of topics.
Starting off the week with “Requirements of Modern Automated Systems”, on Tuesday 13th November 2018, participants can learn more about precise measurement technology, real time control and control functions, and discover how simple operation without programming can be easily achieved.
Following on with “Efficient Data Acquisition with Fast DAQ Software” on Thursday 15th November, participants can further their knowledge of HBM’s new DAQ software EVIDAS. Providing an informative overview of the software, a short live demonstration will also help users to clearly see how data can be quickly and simply acquired.
Finally, on Friday 16th November 2018, “Strain Gauge Methods for Measuring Residual Stress” offers a brief introduction into strain gauge methods, with a particular focus on hole-drilling and its application in compliance with the ASTM E837 standard.
Each webinar, which will commence at 9am (GMT) and usually takes a maximum of 30 minutes, can be easily assessed at a later date or simply used as a refresher course. As an added benefit, all registered attendees will receive a link to the webinar, via email, after the presentation.
All HBM webinars are free of charge and open to anyone. However, spaces are limited and available on a first come, first served basis. Please reserve your space by booking at https://www.hbm.com/en/3157/webinars/
Source: Electrical Times
£90m Glasgow waterfront hotel approved
Isle of Man-based Artisan Real Estate has got the planning green light to build a hotel and leisure quarter on the Glasgow waterfront.
Contractor McAleer & Rushe is on board to deliver the £90m plan to redevelop the historic sandstone Grade A-Listed Custom House and build a 300-bed four-star hotel alongside with another 162-room aparthotel.
The site sits on the north side of Clyde Street, facing the riverfront, just south of Glasgow’s City Centre and Buchanan Street.
Artisan project director Clive Wilding said: “This is a hugely significant opportunity to, once again, bring Glasgow’s burgeoning waterfront area back into the vibrant heart of its city centre.”
Artisan has agreed on a leasing deal with the Dalata Hotel Group for the four-star hotel and conference facilities while complementing will be an Adagio-run aparthotel together with street-level bars and restaurants.
Glasgow-based Sheppard Robson is the architect for the scheme, with Caldwell Consulting delivering services design and Quattro civils and structural engineers.
Seaward goes on the road with PAT workshops
ELECTRICAL industry professionals and those new to PAT testing are being offered workshops by the UK’s leader in PAT testing equipment, Seaward.
The “Understanding and Implementing PAT” half-day workshops will be held at 12 venues across the UK from October 12 to December 7 and include a Q&A session.
The new workshops will cover topics such as legal requirements, industry guidance and common practice, how to perform PAT risk assessments, how to run an efficient PAT system and how to improve safety standards.
There will also be an opportunity to get answers to frequently asked questions, technical support and advice – as well as a chance to try out Seaward’s latest products.
Kevin Smith, category manager at Seaward, said: “We believe our customer care is second to none and this is just one of the ways we can help those working in the electrical testing industry.
“PAT testing is vital to keep people safe, and we take our responsibility as part of the industry very seriously.
“We regularly update our PAT equipment and it is important that we give our customers the chance to keep up to date with the latest technology, such as the Apollo 600+, The PrimeTest 250+ and PATguard 3 software.”
Delivered by experts from Seaward, the workshops will visit: Nottingham (Oct 26); Portsmouth (Oct 26); Stoke (Nov 9); Potters Bar (Nov 9); Bristol (Nov 16); Leeds (Nov 16); Warrington (Nov 23); Birmingham (Nov 23); Dublin (Nov 28); Peterborough (Nov 30); Belfast (Nov 29); Heathrow (Dec 7).
Similar sessions previously run by the company have proved very popular and those who want to attend should register early to avoid disappointment.
At every workshop attendees will also have the chance to win a Prime Test 100 PAT tester.
For more details or to register go to www.seaward.co.uk/patworkshops.
Source: Electrical Times
Plumbers urged to support campaign to keep people safe from hot water burns
With around 2,000 young children ending up in A&E each year with scalds from bath water, the UK body for approved plumbers is raising awareness on how to prevent burns and scalds in homes, schools, hospitals and care homes.
According to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), hot bath water is responsible for the highest number of fatal and severe burn injuries in young children and an average of 15 pensioners die each year from tap-water scalds.
One of the main reasons scalding occurs is that hot water is stored at 60°C or above to limit the growth of harmful Legionella bacteria. However, if water comes out of the tap above 60°C, people can suffer third degree burns in just six seconds.
Therefore, WaterSafe is raising awareness of the importance of using thermostatic taps and mixing valves (TMVs) to support National Burn Awareness Day on October 17. The valves are particularly important for larger plumbing systems in places such as schools, care homes and hospitals.
TMVs allow water to be stored at a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria but reduce it to a safe temperature as it comes out of the tap, by mixing it with the cold supply. They can cost as little as £30 and be retrofitted to older systems.
Julie Spinks, director of WaterSafe said: “While TMVs do need servicing annually, this is a small price to pay to reduce the risk of hot water burns.
“It only takes a few seconds for hot water to cause serious injury, which is why it’s important to know a plumber you employ is competent and qualified to install plumbing correctly, keep your tap water healthy and those in your care safe.
“The WaterSafe register is backed by all water companies in the UK and the water quality regulators and we make sure all its members are fully qualified in the water regulations, insured and have a customer redress scheme in place.”
Source: HPM Magazine
How vehicle tracking is sparking improvements in the electrical industry
The electrical industry has always been a highly-charged marketplace. Numerous companies compete for the same projects, the market is subject to constant regulatory changes, and a shortage of skilled workers often results in companies having to carry out more work with less staff. All these places additional strain on internal resources which, in turn, has a negative impact on impact customer satisfaction due to late arrivals, cancellations, poor “first time” fix rates and a host of other issues. In order to overcome these issues, more and more electrical companies are turning to technology for assistance. Vehicle and fleet tracking is one of the most readily available technologies that businesses can employ to lower internal costs and improve working efficiency. Here are three main ways that vehicle tracking can improve your organisational efficiency:
Lower overhead costs
Using fleet tracking hardware & software to monitor activity and performance online is a proven mechanism for significantly reducing fuel overheads and insurance costs, as well as improving vehicle and asset utilisation and driver productivity. All of which has a direct impact on the bottom line. Back-office teams can easily locate and track vehicles in real time, giving them the visibility required to optimise driver itineraries, avoid traffic congestion, allocate drops and task more effectively in order to reduce journey duration’s, time spent idling, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
Real time, in-cab coaching systems that alert drivers to harsh or intemperate driving behaviour also have an incremental effect on running costs. Extensive research has demonstrated that the addition of an in-cab coaching device can reduce fuel consumption by an additional 5-6%.
Develop customer service
Telematics solutions provide accurate fleet data that can be leveraged to improve customer service. Fleet data enables companies to provide accurate arrival times and live updates to help keep customers happy! Apart from the obvious benefits, this can also boost your brand’s reputation and improve customer retention.
Improve business productivity
Fleet managers can pinpoint the location of any vehicle at any time and can even track how long is spent at each stop-off point. This level of precision allows fleet managers and dispatchers to prioritize work based on driver proximity, skill-level and kit on-board, whilst keeping an eye on the time spent at one job can help maximize productivity and working efficiency.
These data-led insights offer the ideal solution to maximise output, whilst maintaining top-level customer service, especially in a the highly competitive industry.
Source: Electrical Trade Magazine
Greater Manchester Major cuts ribbon at HVAC academy launch
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham emphasised the importance of new training facilities as he opened Thermatic’s new Academy in Salford.
The Academy has been created by Thermatic, and developed in partnership with the Salford Foundation, which supports social and academic development of young people and adults in Greater Manchester.
Its aim is to help address the growing skills shortage in the engineering sector and to make engineering more appealing and accessible for young people, regardless of gender.
Mayor Burnham said: “Facilities such as Thermatic’s are not only providers of knowledge and skills but they are also economic drivers, because they help increase opportunity, improve productivity, reduce wealth inequalities and help meet the need of the communities and region in which they are based.
“My ambition in Greater Manchester is to create an integrated employment and skills eco-system which has the individual and employer at its heart and contributes to the growth of our economy. I want to see an employment and skills system where young people will leave education with the attributes they need to succeed.”
Thermatic’s hope is to encourage a new perception of the engineering industry and the new academy is part of their ongoing ‘Women in Engineering’ campaign, which has already seen two new female HVAC engineers taking up roles.
Colin Tennent, Chairman of Thermatic, said: “Our sector is simply not the go-to sector for those leaving school and so this academy is about investing in the future of the community and the industry with the purpose of not only tackling the skills gap in our industry, but also to inspire the next generation to pursue a career in engineering.”
Source: HVP Magazine
Engineers call for new ways of raising alerts over structural safety
More needs to be done to help engineers raise concerns about safety in order to avert future failures, says a new report from the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).
The risk of structural failures could be reduced by the creation of a new organisation where engineers could raise and share concerns about safety, says the report. The ICE should play a bigger role in empowering engineers to come forward with their concerns as well as information about near misses and catastrophic incidents about infrastructure, according to the report, In Plain Sight. This includes doing more to highlight and inform its members about whistleblowing options.
The report was commissioned last year following the Grenfell Tower fire disaster. Tim Broyd, then-ICE president, asked Professor Peter Hansford to chair a panel tasked with considering the state of current infrastructure and advise on whether any significant risks are ‘hiding in plain sight’.
The report recognises the need to ensure confidential reporting of issues, near-misses and catastrophic incidents. It calls on the ICE and other professional bodies to scope, sponsor and find funding for a sector-wide organisation, building on the work of Structural-Safety. The report recommends the body’s remit should allow for concerns to be raised about design, construction and long-life use, and should also permit for the sharing of information to allow the wider industry to learn from such concerns.
It recommends the Institution do more to highlight existing information and avenues open to engineers who want to raise concerns about infrastructure, including sharing information about relevant prescribed bodies, and advising on appropriate wording when raising concerns.
Hansford said: “As professional engineers, we already know many of the factors that can contribute to the risk of infrastructure failure and we must remain diligent and critical to ensure they don’t stay hidden. This report is about empowering us to have a voice throughout the whole life of the infrastructure we design, construct and operate.
“I look forward to seeing the whole construction sector take forward these recommendations, working with industry and members to strengthen lines of defence, improve accountability across the sector and mitigate the risk of infrastructure failure to enhance public safety.”
ICE vice president Kyle Clough said: “It is essential that professional engineers feel able to speak up about any concerns they might have, and are provided a clear, confidential way of doing so. Further, it is only by sharing the knowledge about these concerns, accidents or near-misses that the industry can learn and take the necessary steps to stop them happening again.”
This final report challenges ICE, as a key industry institution, to lead on efforts to look at the industry’s risk of infrastructure failure.
The report’s recommendations include that ICE should:
- Work with professional bodies to scope, sponsor and find funding for a sector-wide organisation to review, comment on and disseminate lessons from concerns, near misses and catastrophic incidents, building on the work of Structural-Safety.
- run an annual event with the Health and Safety Executive on infrastructure near misses, incidents or forensic reports, to promote understanding and identify sector-wide responses.
- Encourage engineers to highlight unaddressed infrastructure concerns, risks and near misses to their management and provide guidance via the ICE website on suitable confidential reporting channels should these become necessary.
- establish an electronic system that captures ICE members’ Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities, increasing tenfold the CPD returns audited annually; and work with the Engineering Council to explore introducing periodic mid-career peer reviews.
- identify and communicate mandatory risk-related topics, themes and reading lists for members to include in their annual CPD learning.
- strengthen awareness of ICE’s Code of Professional Conduct through guidance, education, disciplinary processes, sanctions and publicity.
- The report will be presented at the ICE Council meeting in December, where a decision to endorse the recommendations will be made.
Source: The Construction Index
London boroughs get £1bn council homes construction boost
The money will kick-start work on 11,000 new council homes
It will see councils increase their building rates over the next four years to five times greater than existing levels.
Khan said: “London’s housing crisis is hugely complex and has been decades in the making.
“There is no simple fix, but council housing is the most important part of the solution.
“Londoners need more council homes that they can genuinely afford, and local authorities have a fundamental role to play in getting London building the homes we need for the future.
Newham was the biggest beneficiary with a £107m injection.
The Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, said: “This funding will kick-start our ambitious housing programme, which will see the construction of more than 1,000 quality homes across 40 sites in Newham started by 2022, and available at London Affordable Rent.”
|Barking and Dagenham||565||£25.3m|
|City of London||156||£14.9m|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||251||£15.3m|
|Kensington and Chelsea||336||£33.6m|
|Kingston upon Thames||713||£67.8m|
|Redbridge||400||(Right to Buy receipts)|
Source: Construction Enquirer
Surveyors report rising workloads but Brexit fears loom large
Results of the Q3 RICS UK Construction and Infrastructure Market Survey show 20% more chartered surveyors reported that their workloads had risen rather than fallen – up from +15% in Q2.
Private housing and infrastructure workloads reported the strongest rise while activity across the private industrial and public non-housing categories improved modestly with net balances of 9% and 11%, respectively.
A soft patch was highlighted in public housing where the pace of workloads slowed from +12% to +7%.
Regionally, workloads are now reported to be increasing across all areas with notable acceleration in the Midlands and East.
Financial constraints are reported by 75% of surveyors to be by far the most significant brake on growth with firms reporting difficulties in accessing bank finance and credit.
Surveyors reported growth in the number of new business enquiries received and 42% more respondents saw more new hires in their company over the last three months.
But the outlook for the economy as a whole has led to a reduced optimism for the construction sector over the year ahead as Brexit casts its shadow.
Jeffrey Matsu, RICS Senior Economist said: “While ongoing capacity constraints have supported steady workload activity, the outlook going forward is far from clear.
“Recent Brexit-related indecision has added considerably to this uncertainty, but whatever the outcome, the pace of growth is expected to decelerate if only due to cyclical market conditions.”
Hew Edgar, RICS Head of Policy added: “Despite challenging market conditions and Brexit looming, overall construction output in the UK is up on the second quarter of the year, and in particular it’s very positive to see that workloads for much needed new homes and infrastructure are increasing.
“We’ve long called on the government to secure funding to ensure Britain’s exit from the European Union doesn’t impact the delivery of vital infrastructure schemes, and encouragingly our latest survey revealed that rail, roads and energy are the subsectors expected to see the strongest growth in output over the coming twelve months, unsurprising given recent announcements in these sectors.
“However, the government must act promptly to put measures in place to keep the funding from European Investment Bank (EIB) or introduce a new lender, or lending mechanism, to plug the gap created from the potential loss of EIB funds, particularly for big ticket infrastructure projects such as HS2, Hinkley Point C and Heathrow’s expansion as these are of great importance to the UK.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
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