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
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