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November 2017 Newsletter

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Educators and Employers need to ‘wake up’ over apprentices

Recent YouGov findings revealing that less than one in 12 students aged 15-18 are being advised to seek a work based apprenticeship, coupled with a 61% decrease in the number of people starting apprenticeships, shows how educators and employers urgently need to “wake up”, says the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE).

Kevin Wellman, CEO, said: “The skills gap in the UK has been widely publicised for a number of years now, which makes the current state of communication around apprenticeships and uptake, or lack thereof, all the more disappointing. We are now in a position where, if educators and employers don’t wake up and address this problem, the future of vocational industries in the UK will be bleak.”

With the prospect of Brexit looming and the uncertainty this brings with it, Kevin believes there is even more reason to act quickly.

“What is clear, is that if we are to address the skills shortage and safeguard our industry, especially post-Brexit, more needs to be done across all fronts to encourage change, and not just the bare minimum,” he said.

“This means associations like the CIPHE promoting apprenticeships to members, and also working with consumer bodies to educate the public at large, especially parents. This way we are covering all bases by sharing benefits of employing an apprentice with those in the trade, and giving caregivers of school age learners the insight to also be able to discuss apprenticeships.”

 

Educators and Employers need to 'wake up' over apprentices

Educators and Employers need to ‘wake up’ over apprentices

 

Source: Heating & Plumbing Magazine

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Shell to open electric vehicle charging points at UK petrol stations

Shell is opening the first wave of electric vehicle charging points at its UK petrol stations, in a sign of the far-reaching changes underway in the transport and oil sectors.

Drivers will be able to recharge 80 per cent of their battery in half an hour at forecourts in London, Surrey, and Derby from, with a total of 10 service stations to be equipped with rapid chargers by the end of the year.

The move marks Shell’s first step into the UK electric car sector and comes days after the Anglo-Dutch oil company bought NewMotion, a Dutch firm with 30,000 private charging points at homes and offices in Europe.

Shell said the forays into charging were spurred by the swift growth in battery-powered cars, which now number more than 115,000 in the UK, up from almost zero a decade ago.

 

Shell to open electric vehicle charging points at UK petrol stations

Shell to open electric vehicle charging points at UK petrol stations

 

Source: Electrical Times

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Reduced energy bills with Smart Heating

UK adults who currently use smart home heating solutions have reported significant savings on their heating costs as a result.

However, despite the clear benefits of either using smart systems or smart thermostats, the majority of participants who took part in a survey by online electrical retailer, reichelt elektronik, are still not planning to make the switch to smart heating (86%).

The top three barriers cited for this are: high costs for product and installation, not being sure if the investment is worthwhile, and not having the appropriate equipment or compatible radiators or they are missing necessary IT equipment

The eight per cent of UK adults surveyed who do use complete smart home systems for their heating, cited the following benefits as their reasons for doing so:

  • 47% saw improved their comfort at home
  • 46% saw reduced their heating costs
  • 23% report improved wellbeing
  • 19% saw reduced mould in their home

The top factor that would persuade Brits to invest in smart heating is if they knew heating costs could be reduced (60&). This is an important factor for all age groups. A secondary factor is improved comfort – being able to control heating from a distance for example (22%), which is priority for 18-24 year olds. Interestingly, this research shows these are the top two benefits experienced by those currently using smart systems, demonstrating there is a clear gap in knowledge and understanding of the benefits in reality of switching to these systems.

“The reasons preventing Britons from switching to intelligent heating systems reveal that there is still a lot of education about smart heating solutions needed,” said Thomas Kruse, product manager for smart home technology at reichelt.

“With intelligent heating thermostats, for example, homemakers can improve their wellbeing and comfort without permanent intervention in the heating system and they can easily be exchanged when they are removed, offering a simpler solution that avoids serious installation. Starter kits are already available from about £90, but can save up to 30% of the heating costs.”

The survey of 1,000 UK adults conducted by OnePoll in October 2017, also revealed that 37% of Brits would like to see further promotion and investment from the government into smarter heating solutions.

 

Reduced energy bills with Smart Heating

Reduced energy bills with Smart Heating

 

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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Electrical installation checks of rented properties to become compulsory

The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) working group says homes should be inspected every five years and a system of approved inspectors set up.

Following the recommendations of a government report, letting agents and property managers in England and Wales will soon have to organise electrical installation checks of privately rented properties.

After a detailed examination of the subject, the working group set up by the DCLG has recommended that electrical installation checks should be compulsory for properties within the Private Rented Sector (PRS) and carried out every five years.

The working group also says a scheme should be set up to register and approve the people who will carry out the checks and separate electrical safety from the Building Regulations regulatory framework.

Led by five senior figures from the DCLG, the working group’s members included every membership organisation within the lettings industry including most of the main membership associations representing agents and landlords.

The final recommendation is that the requirements for electrical installation checks should be phased in, starting with new tenancies before being rolled out to include existing ones.

But the rest of recommendations are not mandatory and include instead recommendations.

These include that landlords or agents should carry out visual checks of electrical equipment at a change of tenancy, that paperwork confirming that an Electrical Condition Report and any remedial work has been completed be given to both the landlord and new tenant, and that Residual Current Devices be fitted to a device to prevent electric shocks being suffered by tenants.

The working group, which met four times, says although safety standards are improving within the PRS, tenants within it still face a higher risk from ‘incidents’ from electrical faults than their social housing counterparts.

The new regulations, which are now likely to be enacted via the existing Housing and Planning Act 2016, are in addition to the existing regulations that make it a legal duty for landlords and their agent to ensure the wiring in rented homes is safe.

 

Electrical installation checks of rented properties to become compulsory

Electrical installation checks of rented properties to become compulsory

 

Source: Electrical Times

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Plan for 56-floor tapering Square Mile Skyscraper

A Hong Kong investor has unveiled plans for a 56-storey tapering tower in the City of London main cluster.

The new tower at 100 Leadenhall Street will echo the angled appearance of the nearby Cheesegrater but on a taller scale, offering nearly 1.2m sq ft of space.

Far East investment specialist London & Oriental, acting on behalf of Hong Kong investor Lai Sun Development, bought up key sites on Leadenhall to develop the scheme, known as project Dragon.

Plans for the new 263m tall building, which has been designed by New York architect SOM, are due to be submitted by the spring of next year with construction hoped to start in 2019.

The 100 Leadenhall site is one of the last significant sites available for development on the eastern edge of the Eastern Cluster in the City.

WSP is part of the client team as structural consultant with Core Five providing cost consultancy.

The building’s facades are designed as complex three-dimensional forms based on a pattern of interlocking diamonds to create an ever-changing light pattern over the course of the day.

The tower angles away from both Leadenhall Street and Bury Street as it rises to enhance its slender appearance and minimise the impact on the skyline.

 

Plan for 56-floor tapering Square Mile Skyscraper

Plan for 56-floor tapering Square Mile Skyscraper

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Growth in Irish construction slows

October’s data signalled slower growth, with weaker rises in total activity, new orders and employment all recorded.

The rate of input cost inflation quickened to a four-month high amid reports that material shortages had led to price rises.

The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) – a seasonally adjusted index designed to track changes in total construction activity – posted 54.5 in October, down from 56.5 in September. Readings above 50 indicate growth and so October’s value signalled a solid monthly increase in activity, albeit one that was the slowest in over two-and-a-half years. Activity has now expanded in 50 successive months.

Slower rises in activity were recorded on both housing and commercial projects during the month, although both continued to see marked expansions. The faster increase was registered for housing activity. Meanwhile, civil engineering work continued to fall, and at a stronger pace than in September.

Simon Barry, chief economist Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, said: “The latest results of the Ulster Bank Construction PMI survey show that Irish construction firms continue to report healthy rates of expansion. The headline PMI did ease in October, consistent with some cooling in momentum following a very strong first half of 2017, in the process reaching its lowest level since March 2015. However, at 54.5, last month’s reading remains comfortably in expansion territory. Mirroring the pattern of the headline PMI, the sectoral sub-indices also painted a picture of moderating growth in October, though the housing and commercial indices both remain at elevated levels, and very much consistent with ongoing solid expansion. Civil engineering continued to underperform, recording a fifth consecutive monthly decline in activity.”

He added that employment and new business levels continued to rise solidly in October, in line with the trends in total activity. “But a further easing last month has left the pace of growth in both categories some way below the very rapid rates recorded over the summer months,” he said. “While the overall story very much remains one of continuing construction sector improvement, both in absolute terms and relative to other European countries, the evidence of some recent cooling in momentum bears close watching in the months ahead.”

The rate of job creation also eased in October, the second month running in which this has been the case. Employment continued to rise at a solid pace, however, with hiring mainly in response to new contracts.

Construction firms remained strongly confident that output will increase over the coming year. Optimism was largely based on positive expectations regarding new business. That said, business sentiment dipped to an eight-month low.

 

Growth in Irish construction slows

Growth in Irish construction slows

 

Source: The Construction Index

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EIC offers support for employees and their families

The Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) has launched the Employee and Family Support Programme which aims to help employees and their families with challenging life situations in their time of need.

According to the charity, many people are struggling with a wide range of issues in the electrical sector. This could be due to caring for a loved one, going through a relationship breakdown, having financial problems or dealing with mental health issues. Few of these people feel comfortable sharing their problems, however, and therefore continue to suffer on their own in silence, says the charity.

The Electrical Industries Charity has launched the Employee and Family Support Programme to help people in the electrical and energy sectors to look forward to the future.

The charity’s programme offers employees and their families support through its services, including a confidential helpline and free telephone counselling sessions, debt solutions, financial assistance and grants, legal advice and career advice.

“In our industry, there are many people who are struggling with a wide range of challenging situations which are restricting them from having the fulfilling life they deserve,” says managing director, Tessa Ogle. “This is why we have launched our Employee and Family Support Programme to provide support and assist them in each step of the way towards creating a better future for themselves.”

 

EIC offers support for employees and their families

EIC offers support for employees and their families

 

Source: Elecftrical Contracting News

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Not enough funding support for electrically heated households, says Dimplex

Upgrading static electric storage heaters could help to close a combined fuel poverty gap of £160 million, according to a new report by Glen Dimplex.

More than 3.2 million households in England and Scotland are fuel poor according to official statistics. Around 15% of these – almost 500,000 households – use electricity to heat their homes and are paying over the odds for their heating because of a legacy of ageing electric storage heaters and incorrect specification.

Despite this, Dimplex says government incentive schemes are failing to offer the funding needed to support heating system upgrades in electrically-heated homes with modern, smart appliances that can slash heating bills.

The average annual fuel poverty gap in England – the difference between a household’s typical energy bill and the value that their bill would need to be in order for that household to come out of fuel poverty – is £353.

Chris Stammers, Head of Insight for Glen Dimplex Heating & Ventilation, said: “Thousands of households are still paying over the odds unnecessarily for their heating bills, even though modern appliances could lift them out of fuel poverty by dramatically lowering running costs.

“Invariably the issue is the cost of installation – very few homeowners in fuel poverty can afford the upfront cost to install a new heating system, while private and social housing tenants have no choice but to use the heating system they have been given.

“Those with gas central heating systems have access to a number of funding programmes designed to facilitate heating upgrades to improve the energy efficiency of the property, but there is not currently enough support for electrically heated homes.

“For the majority of these properties, switching to gas is not an option. It is either not physically possible or not viable because of the huge costs involved.

“Instead, by extending funding support to electrically heated homes, we could facilitate hundreds of thousands of additional electric heating upgrades. We could replace the ageing storage heating systems and address those incorrect specifications which are contributing to a fuel poverty gap of around £160million. And we could improve daily life for millions of homeowners, private tenants and social housing residents across the UK.”

 

Not enough funding support for electrically heated households, says Dimplex

Not enough funding support for electrically heated households, says Dimplex

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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Join the battle to beat dementia

NICEIC and ELECSA have launched a campaign to encourage electrical contractors to join the fight against dementia.

They are encouraging electrical contractors to give up 15 minutes of their pay this November to raise money for Alzheimer’s research UK. (ARUK)

Every contractor that takes part will be entered into a prize draw to win a year’s free registration with NICEIC or ELECSA worth up to £500.

Electrical contractors have already raised more than £300 in donations but there is still time to raise more.

The campaign will run throughout November and anyone wanting to get involved can do so by signing up here and registering.

 

Join the battle to beat dementia

Join the battle to beat dementia

 

Source: Electrical Times

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Make the perfect builder’s tea

It’s the hot drink guaranteed to put a smile on every tradesman’s face yet few of us get it right – now experts have confirmed how to make the perfect cup of builder’s tea.

Experts at Leasevan.co.uk have revealed the secrets behind every builder’s dream cuppa after tradesmen across the country complained about anaemic brews.

Their Dos and Don’ts guide finally resolves questions such as whether to add milk or hot water first, what type of tea to use, mug requirements and sugar content.

They were driven to release the builder’s brew guidelines after feedback from their customers suggested that homeowners are failing in this most basic and British of duties.

It is crucial to get builder’s tea right, as strong brews are vital for keeping up energy and morale during a long day of physical labour.

Brewers must first ensure the mug is ceramic, and also the right size as anything too large will lead to weaker tea that goes cold before it can be drunk.

Warm the mug with hot water before adding the teabag and remember that builder’s tea must always be English Breakfast.

Hot water should be poured first over the teabag to release more flavour and ensure that the maker can get the perfect colour when adding milk.

Allow it to brew for approximately one minute, and be sure to squash the bag against the side of the mug several times before removing it to keep the tea strong.

Watch carefully as you add the milk dash, as builder’s tea needs to be strong, milky and a light brown biscuity colour.

It is best to keep stirring while pouring in the milk, so that you can see how the colour is developing.

The traditional sugar serving is two teaspoons, but it is best to check individual preferences to be sure. For a perfect finish, add two biscuits or a slice of cake.

Tim Alcock of Leasevan.co.uk said: “Given that we’re supposed to be a nation of tea drinkers, it’s funny how many people don’t know how to make a proper builder’s brew.

“Tradesmen often talk about ‘anaemic tea’ that really isn’t going to give them the energy they need when they’re doing a hard day’s work in the house or garden.

“A cup of proper builder’s tea is a delight and a British staple, and now there’s no excuse to get it wrong.”

Dos and don’ts for true builder’s tea

Do:

Use a teabag – real builder’s tea is never made from loose leaves.

Pour as soon as the kettle has boiled – you want it to be as hot as possible when it hits the teabag. Some people even suggest boiling the kettle once to warm the mug, and then again before you pour.

Brew it properly and make it strong.

Serve with biscuits, ideally digestives or rich tea.

Serve in a light coloured mug. Darker colours make the tea look unappealing.

Don’t:

Use brown sugar or, worse, sweetener. It must be white.

Use decaffeinated tea.

Use Earl Grey, fruit, herbal, peppermint, chai or indeed anything except English Breakfast.

Serve in a china or plastic mug. It needs to be ceramic.

Use skimmed milk – this is just watery disappointment for an otherwise perfect brew.

 

Make the perfect builder's tea

Make the perfect builder’s tea

 

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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£110m Glasgow shopping store to homes scheme approved

Plans to redevelop Glasgow’s former Goldberg’s department store site into a 1,200 flats have been given the thumbs up.

Mace is project manager for developer Candleriggs on the project, which will be one of the biggest undertaken in Glasgow’s city centre since the Buchanan Galleries in the 1990s.

The project involves building a mix of 132 flats for sale, 435 private flats for rent and 586 student rooms, as well as a 124-room hotel and retail space. It is expected to cost over £110m to build.

Work to clear the site and demolish unlisted buildings is expected to begin soon.

The development will be situated on the site bounded by Trongate, Wilson Street, Brunswick Street, Hutcheson Street and Candleriggs.

The gap site had lain derelict since the closure of the Goldbergs store in 1999. It was bought by retail giant Selfridges with the intention of creating a new department store but those plans fell through.

Developers Candleriggs bought the site in 2014. They secured planning permission in 2016 and have since bought several surrounding sites to enlarge the scheme.

Richard Murphy Architects designed the project, with Curtins Consulting on board as consulting engineers and Cundall Johnston & Partners the building services consultant.

 

£110m Glasgow shopping store to homes scheme approved

£110m Glasgow shopping store to homes scheme approved

 

Source: Electrical Times

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£1.4bn Croydon Westfield shopping centre approved

Plans for a £1.4bn Westfield shopping centre in south London have been approved by local councillors.

Work to redevelop Croydon’s Whitgift and Centrale shopping centres is now hoped to begin in 2019.

Up to 1,000 flats will be delivered in five tower blocks overlooking Wellesley Road. The first two buildings will be developed with the construction of the retail scheme, with the remainder being developed in a later phase.

Joint venture specialist retail developers Westfield and Hammerson will redevelop and combine Croydon’s current shopping centres – the Whitgift Centre and Centrale – to create the 1.5m sq ft retail-led scheme.

Plans were first granted permission in 2014, but in October last year an enhanced application was submitted with the addition of a third storey of retail and restaurants, and a new Marks & Spencer store.

Now the council has approved what will be London’s third Westfield shopping complex, it will be passed on to the Mayor of London who will have the final say on whether planning permission should be granted.

If rubber stamped, the 13-month demolition programme would begin next year to clear the vast site.

Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council, said: “The new homes and the thousands of jobs this development will bring shows investors are rightly confident about Croydon as a place to live, work and spend free time.

“I am delighted contractors will be on site in 2019 to kick-start the exciting transformation of the heart of our town.”

 

£1.4bn Croydon Westfield shopping centre approved

£1.4bn Croydon Westfield shopping centre approved

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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September 2017 Newsletter

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24% growth in UK M&E contracting Sector

The UK market for mechanical and electrical (M&E) contracting has increased by almost 25% since 2012, following a period of sustained growth from 2013 onwards.

The was driven by a buoyant new build market, with rising output in the office and infrastructure sectors in particular. This growth continued in 2016, when the market saw growth of 4%, despite continued constrained public sector capital spending. In 2017, growth is forecast to stagnate, as construction output becomes more subdued.

Many factors support a continuation of market growth, including the development of higher specification and more complex products, changes to legislation requiring the specification of higher value products, greater use of controls and energy efficient products, continued strength in data centre construction as well as greater levels of outsourcing of M&E services.

“A key area of growth has been installations aimed at improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions, driven by legislative requirements and building regulations.” said Fiona Watts, Editor at AMA Research. “There has been a rapid expansion in the range of LED lighting and increasingly sophisticated control systems for heating, lighting, and energy management, therefore this is a growth area that many contractors have been looking to exploit.”

However, several factors are negatively impacting the market at present, such as public-sector budget constraints, uncertainty over the impact of Brexit and greater use of off-site manufactured panels and modules.

The M&E market is fragmented, with the majority of market value accounted for by smaller operators with turnover of under £20 million, though consolidation activity amongst suppliers continues. There have been further strategic acquisitions in response to the growing focus on integrated services within the sector, with contractors widening the range of services offered and examples of strategic joint ventures to secure work on very large-scale projects.

In terms of market prospects, the M&E sector is heavily dependent on the performance of the non-residential construction industry. Non-residential construction output is facing subdued growth into the medium term. Furthermore, new non-residential work remains highly susceptible to changes in levels of business confidence with the private commercial sector being particularly vulnerable to changes in speculative development programmes.

The current uncertain economic climate and falling levels of business confidence relating to Brexit and other issues is likely to halt growth within the M&E contracting sector within the short term, although there are positive influences on market value that will underpin growth to some extent, including a relatively stable RMI sector and increasing prices of imported products. Output within the office and education sectors, which accounted for over 45% of the M&E market in 2016, is expected to decline until 2018. Overall, it is estimated that the market will remain flat through to 2018, then return to growth from 2019 onwards but at a modest rate of 1-2% per annum.

24% growth in UK M&E contracting Sector

24% growth in UK M&E contracting Sector

Source: Professional Electrician & Installer

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Retailers need to rediscover the role of lighting design

While the release of the latest immigration statistics and GCSE results have dominated the national news agenda, the news that online and high street retail sales declined year on year to August* seems to have slipped through the net.

Commenting on the news, Bob Hall, MD of Greenlite Group said, “Although the summer started well, the recent news clearly illustrates what difficult times these are for retailers, both online and on the high street. It’s encouraging to read that the survey reports sales growth is expected to recover, in the long term, although pressure on household budgets is set to persist given there is little sign of wages picking up.

“Clearly the onus in on retailers to ‘up their game’; whether by discounting or if they focus more on enhancing the shopping experience itself. At Greenlite we’re advising our retail customers to rediscover the role of lighting design in creating a sense of ‘theatre’, encouraging customers back to the high street for a fuller shopping experience.

“In addition, savvy retailers will take advantage of technologies rather than shying away from them. For example, the rise of the changing room selfie (chelfie) means fashion retailers have the perfect opportunity to use well-designed, flattering lighting and well positioned mirrors, enabling shoppers to send that image to their friends for feedback.

“If they look and feel good, if the feedback is positive then they are more likely to make that purchase – all because the retailer thought about how the customer feels and how to enhance their experience.”

Retailers need to rediscover the role of lighting design

Retailers need to rediscover the role of lighting design

Source: Electrical Times

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32% of people would not recognise CO poisoning

Dr Ranj Singh is supporting Gas Safety Week to raise awareness of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and its symptoms, as nearly a third of people would not recognise them.

According to Gas Safe Register, one in 10 don’t know the symptoms of CO poisoning symptoms. These symptoms (including headaches, nausea, breathlessness, collapse, dizziness and loss of consciousness) are misdiagnosed by many as:

  • Concussion (37%)
  • Meningitis (36%)
  • A panic attack (27%)
  • A stroke (22%)
  • Flu (19%).

Gas Safe Register is urging people to learn the symptoms of potential CO poisoning, and what action to take if they suspect they or someone in their family may be suffering from it.

Dr Singh said: “You can’t see, taste or smell CO, so it’s really important that people become more aware of its poisoning symptoms. As Gas Safe Register’s research has found, many confuse CO poisoning for other illnesses such as flu, but CO poisoning can be fatal so it’s important that we raise awareness this Gas Safety Week so that families can take the right precautions and stay safe.”

32% of people would not recognise CO poisoning

32% of people would not recognise CO poisoning

Source: HVP Magazine

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Wellbeing key to skills shortage

The Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) calls upon the sector to embrace wellbeing into their business culture to address the ongoing skills shortage.

According to the BCIA, wellbeing is a growing trend, one which is here to stay. Research has shown that wellbeing is vital in attracting and retaining individuals in their professional capacity. However, it is not yet a major focus on all business agendas.

In this tough economic climate, there is increasing competition for talent across all industries. Understanding the impact of wellbeing will go a long way in not only attracting fresh new talent, but also in retaining industry stalwarts.

An organisation that considers the wellbeing of its workforce will be a popular choice as an employer. It has been proven that employees who feel comfortable in their working environment, will feel more loyal and connected to their organisation and go that extra mile in their work.

In 2016, sick days in the UK cost over £137 million to businesses. With most individuals spending over 90% of their time indoors, it is imperative that our working environment brings out the best in us, rather than making us ill, unproductive or unhappy. Therefore, if wellbeing is embedded into the business culture, the building controls industry will reap huge benefits.

This in turn leads to a sustainable future which will see the sector flourish. In this technologically advanced age, buildings are now expected to be intelligent. This now needs to evolve to include smart working environments which can be adapted to the needs of individuals.

Malcolm Anson, President of the BCIA said, “As I see it, wellbeing is something that needs to be taken into account across the whole built environment. By being proactive and considering individuals’ needs, we can help address the country’s ongoing skills shortage.” www.bcia.co.uk

Wellbeing key to skills shortage

Wellbeing key to skills shortage

Source: Electrical Times

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Plans in for major London City fringe offices

Plans have been lodged for a 750,000 sq ft office-led mixed-use complex on the London City fringe near Finsbury Circus.

Joint developer Manford Properties and Great Elm Assets is planning to knock down existing 7 and 9-storey 1970s offices to make way for the big new scheme rising to 27 storeys.

It will be located at 20 Ropemaker Street, 101-117 Finsbury Pavement near to City Point, a taller 35-storey building in Finsbury.

Designed by architect Make, its characteristic stepped design for the office complex consists of four linked vertical blocks, topping out at 129m with the tallest part ornamented with a clock.

The building will include three basement levels for retail, cycle parking and changing facilities.

London’s Islington Council will give its verdict on the scheme in several weeks.

Plans in for major London City fringe offices

Plans in for major London City fringe offices

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Nine out of 10 installers carrying the card

New research reveals that more installers than ever are carrying their Gas Safe Register card with them while on a job.

The survey, carried out amongst ATAG Heating Technology’s Selected Partners, revealed that 92% of ATAG’s installer network always carry their Gas Safe card when working.

Of those, two in three carry their card on their person, with the remainder keeping it in their vans. One third of installers are showing it to customers when entering their homes without being prompted.

However, 40% of those surveyed said that homeowners never asked to see their credentials, while one in three said it only happens once every 50 appointments on average.

As well as their Gas Safe card, one in three installers say that they display their credentials on their van as a further public display of their qualifications.

Sam Browne, Managing Director of ATAG, said: “It’s incredibly heartening that so many ATAG installers have their Gas Safe card with them at all times. All of our Technical Product Managers, who are themselves qualified Gas Safe registered engineers, proudly carry their cards. We encourage all of our Partners to prominently wear their Gas Safe cards to provide immediate reassurance and confidence when in a customer’s home.

“Small changes in behaviour like this will do so much to improve gas safety standards

across the country. We’re proud to be supporting the efforts of Gas Safe Register and Gas Safety Trust not only during the national campaign week, but all year round.”

Nine out of 10 installers carrying the card

Nine out of 10 installers carrying the card

Source: HVP Magazine

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Schneider study reveals struggle to be sustainable

Schneider Electric has launched a report that reveals 87% of UK organisations surveyed find themselves torn between doing the right thing for the environment and meeting the business objectives of today.

The Secret to Sustainable Success study has found that while businesses understand the need to become more sustainable in the face of increasing energy demands, nine in ten UK organisations are primarily focused on the short-term economic outlook with only one in ten focused on delivering transformational change.

According to the report, energy consumption is expected to increase by a factor of 1.5 in the next 40 years. To meet climate targets, CO2 emissions must be halved, says Schneider Electric.

Although 79% of organisations feel confident that they can overcome the challenges presented by the increased demand for energy and create a sustainable business for the future, only 13% feel well prepared to address the rapid growth in energy demands.

When looking at how they can address these coming mega trends, 71% of decision-makers believe they will need to go through a period of tougher economic times to deliver a better, more sustainable business. The report illustrates that the mindset around energy usage needs to fundamentally change to deliver against sustainability objectives.

According to the report, almost half of the organisations surveyed are targeting this change through innovation projects – whether it be to use less energy by finding efficiencies in operations, embracing robotics to address the skills gap or adding sensors to identify maintenance needs before they occur.

Additionally, 70% of the businesses surveyed are actively considering digitising operations moving forward. This consideration is triggered by a reduction in energy usage (89.%) and overhead costs (89.9%).

Another 69% of the decision-makers within these business expect to see a noticeable rate of return for digital investments within the first 12 months.

Schneider study reveals struggle to be sustainable

Schneider study reveals struggle to be sustainable

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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Gas Safety Week jingle urges UK homeowners to take Gas Safety seriously

According to research, jingles rattle around our heads for an average of 50 hours a year. That’s 58 minutes a week, lasting around 17 minutes at a time. Imagine if those 58 minutes a week were spent thinking about gas safety?

James Elmy, @the24hrplumber on Twitter, hopes that his memorable three-verse tune will be a lifesaver too after being unveiled as the Installers First Gas Safe Jingle winner. The full version can be seen on YouTube.

James said: “I am over the moon to have won and hope my jingle will help people all over the UK to remember to put gas safety first by getting a regular boiler check, and to only employ reputable tradespeople who are Gas Safe-registered.”

He also won a new Baxi EcoBlue+ combi boiler and Sentinel gift box, plus may have his jingle produced for use by Installers First to continue to promote the messages throughout Gas Safety Week (18-24 September 2017) and beyond.

Gas Safety Week jingle urges UK homeowners to take Gas Safety seriously

Gas Safety Week jingle urges UK homeowners to take Gas Safety seriously

Source: HVP Magazine

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ECS Labourer Card requirements are changing

The application criteria for the ECS Labourer Card are being amended, to reinforce the fact that only those working in the electrotechnical industry are eligible for a card.

Changes implemented by CSCS mean that labourers within the construction industry are required to take a health and safety qualification. This has led to a number of individuals outside of the electrical industry applying for an ECS Labourer card to bypass the new measures that have been introduced.

From 01 October 2017, applicants will need to prove as part of their application that they are employed by an electrical contractor, or other electrotechnical employer.

“The ECS Labourer card is for those working in the electrotechnical industry with a specific role to assist skilled staff in the fitting, setting up and assembly of electrical installations,” said Steve Brawley, chief executive of the JIB who administers the ECS card in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“It must not be seen as an easy way for non-electrical operatives to gain a CSCS partner card for access to sites, therefore we’re introducing this measure to safeguard the card and the legitimate Electrical Labourer cardholders.”

For more information on the ECS card visit www.ecscard.org.uk

ECS Labourer Card requirements are changing

ECS Labourer Card requirements are changing

Source: Electrical Times

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Civil engineers launch Project 13 collaboration drive

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has launched an initiative that it hopes will result in a more efficient, productive and profitable construction industry.

The initiative, called Project 13, appears to be an attempt to replicate working models in the water industry, where contractors and consultants regularly work in alliances, and use this model more widely on other civil engineering projects.

According the ICE, Project 13 will “establish a better business model for infrastructure delivery, improving productivity, performance and mitigating the skills risk. By working with suppliers, contractors and clients it will set out a clear ambition for what this new model should look like across the whole supply chain and life of the assets.”

It adds: “We are in the development phase, designing a blueprint for the future of our industry based on an enterprise relationship that maximises performance rather than a transactional one which transfers risk. By using examples of the best current practice and applying these lessons across the whole industry we aim to create a step-change that will deliver better outcomes across the board.”

It is not entirely clear how this initiative differs from all previous attempts by the construction industry to improve itself, such as Latham and Egan, who set out to end the use of adversarial contract forms.

However, ICE director general Nick Baveystock said: “Our industry is often criticised for low productivity and concentrating too much on margins. Project 13 is the industry’s attempt to address these issues.”

By March 2018 a support package will be available to help clients and suppliers to move to “the new model” of project delivery. This support will take the form of advisory support, tools, guidance and peer review.

KPMG and Anglian Water are involved. Richard Threlfall from KPMG said “Project 13 is a concerted effort to transform the UK construction industry. It requires us to change how we think and act, and crucially how we work together. It won’t be easy but the prize is a world-class industry and better outcomes for our society.”

Dale Evans from Anglian Water said: “The traditional transactional and disaggregated approach to procurement has not only failed for deliver the levels of improvement seen in other sectors, in an increasingly digitally enabled world are not fit for purpose. Project 13 has clearly demonstrated that we must make the shift to delivering through integrated, collaborative and highly aligned enterprises.”

Civil engineers launch Project 13 collaboration drive

Civil engineers launch Project 13 collaboration drive

Source: The Construction Index

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Major Brands to showcase new products and innovations at ED&I Expo

Major Brands to showcase new products and innovations at ED&I Expo

The ED&I Expo takes place at the NEC Birmingham on the 6th & 7th of September 2017 and major electrical brands have been announced to showcase their latest products and innovations at the show.

Just some of the major brands on display will be:

  • CP Electronics – Showcasing a range of new lighting control products by CP Electronics – a brand of Legrand – will be on display at this year’s ED&I. The company will be launching its mid-range presence detector, EBDMR, and its RAPID scene control solutions.
  • Legrand – From eye-catching and innovative wiring devices through to state-of-the-art power distribution and cable management, Legrand, global specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructures, says it will be showcasing its expansive product portfolio for electrical professionals at the show.
  • Scolmore – Electrical wiring and lighting specialist Scolmore will be showcasing a diverse range of new products at ED&I Expo.
  • Epson – Epson will be demonstrating its complete LabelWorks range of printers, Epson says its LabelWorks handheld label printers are ideal for electrical and IT engineers, maintenance contractors, builders and plumbers.
  • Goodlight – Goodlight, the award-winning brand by LED Eco Lights, is launching a brand new architectural range of LED ceiling panels alongside the new Chroma, an all-in-one multi-purpose integrated LED downlighter.
  • PremSpec – Manufacturer of high quality electrical products, PremSpec will launch key new lines for the company including a new range of single phase PremShield consumer units with the company’s new three-phase, British-built switch gear.
  • Flex Connectors – Just one of the many top names gracing the show floor of the UK’s new national electrical trade show, Flex Connectors will be exhibiting its expansive range of flex7 lighting connection and control products.
  • Aico – Aico, one of the market leaders in domestic Fire and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detection products.

This is just a fraction of the fantastic brands and suppliers that will be on display over the two days at the exhibition and you can see a full list of exhibitors by clicking here.

Don’t forget Hotcost will be attending the expo and you can find us at Stand 128 for all your electrical and mechanical estimating needs and if you haven’t already, click here to signup for this fantastic event.

 

 

 

5 reasons to visit the ED&I Expo

5 reasons to visit the ED&I Expo

Hotcost are delighted to be attending the ED&I Expo at the NEC in Birmingham on 6th-7th September 2017, you can find us at Stand 128, and here are 5 reasons you should be attending too.

 

TRAINING | EDUCATION | LEARNING | KNOWLEDGE

Expand your knowledge through a variety of hourly seminars and get involved with daily panel discussions at ED&I Expo. Seminars include the 18th edition, best practice for smart homes, CDM for contractors and more. All sessions are free to attend, so book a seat today and put yourself on the front foot for improving your business.


 

 

AWARENESS | EXPERIENCE | UNDERSTANDING

With hundreds of products and show exclusives on display, ED&I Expo is a must attend trade show for any decision makers in the industry looking to add more profitability to their business. Experience hands on demonstrations and gain access to exclusive show deals from a big range of manufacturers and distributors.

 


INTERACTION | OPPORTUNITIES | CLIENT ACCESS

Interact with like-minded businesses, suppliers, industry clients, contractors and consultants to increase company awareness. If you are still looking for more, on the night of the 6th, ED&I Expo will be holding an industry networking dinner for those looking to build new business relationships and partnerships. A night full of food, drink and entertainment.


BRANDING | RELATIONSHIPS | PROGRESSION

With the right strategy, every trade show you attend is an opportunity to drastically expand your company’s customer base. Support from leading industry associations and exhibitors ensure that all the information you need is provided to move business in the right direction.

 


STAYING ONE STEP AHEAD

At ED&I Expo there are plenty of opportunities to explore new industry sectors and discover what products and services are breaking new ground and uniting the industry in moving forward. The show gives visitors a vital chance to plan and prepare for the significant changes, challenges and opportunities ahead. Make a trip to ED&I Expo part of your strategy for 2017 and beyond!

 

 

Secure estimating from Hotcost Limited

Understanding the tender documentation is essential for any project and is a must for any estimator. Some aspects of the requirements may be very familiar but others may be new and sometimes pioneering.

It is therefore vital for estimators to be alert and knowledgeable. An estimator needs to expect the unexpected and they need to be knowledgeable enough to know instinctively how to deal with all requirements of the project.

And that is all of our estimators here at Hotcost. Because we work continuously in the field of estimating, we have daily knowledge and experience of all type and size of project across the UK and beyond.

With up-to-the-minute costs and vast experience taken into consideration when providing a detailed estimate for our clients, it’s no wonder our clients can be secure in the knowledge that their project has been estimated exactly how it should be – profitable and competitive.

January 2017 Newsletter

‘The New Year see’s some major new projects get approved, schools are invited to raise awareness and there’s praise as industry members help those in need’

 

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Funding secured for £100m London Stratford Tower

Specialist student accommodation builder Watkin Jones is set to start work on a 33-storey scheme at Stratford in East London.

Funding secured for £100m London Stratford Tower

Funding secured for £100m London Stratford Tower

The decision to go-ahead follows operator UPP and The University of London securing a £104.7m funding deal for the project.

Its Duncan House scheme on Stratford High Street will rise to over 100m and joins a cluster of tall buildings in the area.

It will provide over 190,000sq ft of new accommodation and will involve UPP operating 511 new study bedrooms and communal space for the length of the concession.

Demolition work is already underway on the site with construction due to start in March.

The scheme designed by Hodder + Partners also includes 44 flats for sale, which will be sold by Watkin Jones.

 

Funding secured for £100m London Stratford TowerFunding secured for £100m London Stratford Tower

Funding secured for £100m London Stratford Tower

Sean O’Shea, Group Chief Executive Officer of UPP said: “The University of London is a world-renowned institution and we are delighted to have reached financial close on this landmark transaction in East London.

“Located in the heart of Stratford, this exciting scheme will offer future generations of students’ competitively priced accommodation and facilities of the highest quality.”

Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2017/01/06/funding-secured-for-100m-london-stratford-tower/

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Praise for electrician’s generous deed

They say one good deed deserves another and that was certainly the case for Wigan based electrician Karl Mather.

He was recently asked by the local branch of Age Concern to attend the property of an elderly couple who had no heating. He quickly found the fault was an old storage heater which was more than 30 years old and needed replacing.

Sadly the couple, who were in their 80s, could not afford a new heater so Karl asked Age Concern to see if the elderly pair might be eligible for a grant.

In the meantime Karl took it upon himself to buy a portable heater for the couple so they would have some heat in the short-term.

He returned a few days later to check in on them and was told a grant could take months to come through, if at all.

Feeling he could just not walk away, Karl ordered a new storage heater and went back to fit and supply it a few days later.

“It was obvious talking to them that they had no money and the husband also suffered from dementia,” commented Karl.

“So, I just decided to write it off as an early Christmas present to myself and told the couple that Age Concern had received a grant to pay for the heater and my time.

“They were a lovely couple and I was happy enough with all the tea and cake they gave me for doing the job.”

Karl, who runs his own one-man business, KDM Electrical, thought nothing more of it until a few weeks later when a mysterious letter arrived at NICEIC headquarters about his good deed.

The letter was from another client of Karl’s who had heard about his generosity.

NICEIC decided to get in touch with Karl, thank him for his good deed and cover the costs of the goods, including the portable heater.

“I don’t think anyone could have just walked away from that job,” added Karl. “I never expected anything in return so was amazed when NICEIC got in touch. It all seems a bit surreal and was a real nice thing to hear just a few days before Christmas.”

Emma Clancy, CEO of NICEC added: “This is a great example of the things our registered contractors do for their customers every day.

“It was a really heart-warming story to hear. Karl’s actions demonstrated a genuine care for his customers and I am proud to have him as a NICEIC registrant.”

Praise for electrician's generous deed

Praise for electrician’s generous deed

Source: http://www.electricaltimes.co.uk/news/story/praise-for-electricians-generous-deed

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Schools invited to help raise awareness of CO

Gas network management companies across the UK have launched their annual school safety competition to raise awareness of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

The Gas Distribution Networks (GDN’s) National Grid Distribution, Northern Gas Networks, SGN and Wales & West Utilities are looking for entries from students in any form of media, such as eye-catching cartoons, videos, models, short stories or poems that are informative and accurate in warning of the dangers of CO poisoning.

Phil Burrows, chair of the GDN CO Best Practice Group said: “All the GDN’s are committed to raising awareness of CO and are pleased to launch the school safety competition for 2017 – a key activity in highlighting the dangers of CO poisoning in schools, homes and workplaces across Great Britain.

“Each year the GDN’s are further impressed by the level of understanding and creativity that goes into making the competition entries and are encouraged the CO safety message reaches not only the students, but to their friends and families in the community as well.”

The competition is open to students in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 (ages 5 to 11) across Great Britain. Winners from each area will be invited to a special award ceremony to be held at the Palace of Westminster in London, where the national winner will be announced. All winners will receive a prize for themselves and for their school.

All queries and entries are to be submitted to COschoolcompetition@energynetworks.org by Friday 5 May 2017.

For further information including key dates and competition Terms & Conditions visit the ENA website.

Schools invited to help raise awareness of CO

Schools invited to help raise awareness of CO

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4559/Schools_invited_to_help_raise_awareness_of_CO.html

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Assembly motion supports Electrical Safety

The London Assembly has made a unanimous motion for the government to introduce mandatory, five yearly electrical safety checks in the private rented sector (PRS).

Phil Buckle, chief executive of Electrical Safety First, comments, “Dangerous electrics in the PRS results in more deaths and injuries than those caused by gas and carbon monoxide poisoning, yet landlords have had to provide annual gas safety certificates since 1998 and the requirement for carbon monoxide alarms came into force last October. Regular electrical checks are required in Scotland and due to come into effect in Wales. Private renters in England should have the same level of protection.”

Electrical Safety First led the charge in ensuring regular electrical checks for PRS properties were included the recent Housing Acts passed by the Devolved Governments in Scotland and Wales. And the England-only Housing and Planning Act, which gained Royal Assent last May, included an amendment on electrical safety – which the charity sponsored. However, a range of secondary legislation will need to be passed before the Act comes into force (which is not expected until April 2017).

The charity has called for regular, electrical checks to be undertaken every five years – by a suitably qualified electrician, registered with one of the government’s Competent Person Schemes. To help ensure landlords understand their obligations, Electrical Safety First has produced a number of tools and guides and a visual inspection App, which can be downloaded to a mobile phone, to help provide an initial electrical safety review of any property.

Assembly motion supports Electrical Safety

Assembly motion supports Electrical Safety

Source: https://electricalcontractingnews.co.uk/2017/01/assembly-motion-supports-electrical-safety/

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UK construction manufacturing continues to grow

Sales in the UK construction products manufacturing market continued to climb for a fifteenth consecutive quarter in Q4 of 2016, according to figures published in the Construction Products Association’s (CPA) latest State of Trade Survey.

The construction products manufacturing industry has an annual turnover of £55bn, directly providing jobs for 288,000 people across 22,000 companies. Products range from heavyside materials such as steel, bricks, timber and concrete, to lightside products such as insulation, boilers, glass and lighting.

On an annual basis, 78% of heavyside firms reported that sales had increased in Q4, while on the lightside, 75% of firms reported that sales were higher than a year earlier, which was the highest balance since 2014 Q3.

However, as uncertainty intensifies and cost pressures from the fall in Sterling post-Referendum hit this year, the CPA believes the industry may struggle to experience similar growth. Among heavyside manufacturers, only six percent on balance anticipate a rise in sales over Q1 2017, with 29% on balance of lightside manufacturers anticipate a rise during the same period.

Rebecca Larkin, CPA senior economist, said: “Construction product manufacturers ended 2016 on a strong note, with half of manufacturers on both the heavyside and lightside reporting an increase in sales in Q4, marking not only a fifteenth consecutive quarter of growth, but also the highest balances for the year.

“Unsurprisingly, manufacturers’ expectations for 2017 appear to have been tempered by the uncertainty surrounding the economic and political outlook. Heavyside manufacturers appeared most exposed to the effects of Sterling’s depreciation during the second half of 2016. In Q4, two-thirds of firms reported an increase in costs, the highest in five years, and a further 89% anticipate an increase over the next year. Rising costs of imported raw materials continue to be a primary driver of cost inflation, but there is now an indication that currency weakness is filtering through to higher energy and fuel costs too.

“The impact of Brexit on the construction industry is, as yet, unclear, but it is unlikely this year will be as buoyant as last unless government is able to provide greater certainty and the industry is able to manage cost pressures.”

UK construction manufacturing continues to grow

UK construction manufacturing continues to grow

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4552/UK_construction_manufacturing_continues_to_grow.html

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BSRIA launches Blue Book 2017

BSRIA is delighted to announce the launch of The BSRIA Blue Book for 2017.

The Blue Book contains invaluable industry information. This includes: key contacts; conversation data; key performance indicators; market statistics; and legislation and financial information. Bsria’s services, training courses and current publications are also covered.Jayne Sunley, Bsria’s information and knowledge manager, said: “The Bsria Blue Book is worth its weight in gold and vital for industry nuggets of information: we urge you to get hold of a copy.Bsria’s annual databook for 2017 is small but concise and continues to provide you with hard-to-find facts about building services.It is loaded with essential facts, figures and contacts. Bsria’s networks and events are outlined, along with the contact details of key Bsria experts. And key industry contacts and a full Bsria member list. The useful financial and VAT information and tables of technical data would certainly help every business in the industry. Annual building running costs are also covered.There is also a section on Brexit!”

BSRIA launches Blue Book 2017

BSRIA launches Blue Book 2017

Source: http://www.electricalreview.co.uk/news/11231-bsria-launches-blue-book-2017

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Underfloor heating system donated for Royal Marine’s accessible new home

A Royal Marine who contracted a chronic illness while serving in Afghanistan is benefiting from the generosity of a number of building product manufacturers contributing to a purpose-built house for him and his family.

Corporal Phil Eaglesham contracted the relatively rare Q fever while serving in Afghanistan five years ago. The condition has left him unable to walk and is unfortunately proving to be degenerative, making his existing home near Taunton increasingly unsuitable.

The Royal Marines Charity appealed for help to construct a bespoke dwelling to meet his specific needs.

Exeter based renewables and underfloor heating specialist, OMNIE, has donated one of its Staples pipework systems for the construction of a fully wheelchair accessible home.

The 600 metres of underfloor heating pipe and made-to-measure manifold will work to keep the entire ground floor of the two-storey property at a carefully controlled temperature.

Sharky Ward, deputy chief executive officer of The Royal Marines Charity, extended his thanks to Persimmon Homes, who donated the land near Taunton, Haldons Chartered Surveyors, who are project managing the build, and Grainge Architects, who developed the plans, all free of charge.

“Omnie have played key role and very kindly donated the underfloor heating system, which will help provide a consistent temperature, which is critical to Corporal Eaglesham’s needs,” he added. “We are hugely grateful to everyone who has made this dream become a reality.”

The layout of the property has created a totally wheelchair friendly environment across both floors, linked by a lift.

As well as the integral garage, the downstairs contains a master bedroom suite with shower room, while the linked kitchen, dining and living rooms feature folding doors, which open out onto the rear garden.

These areas, together with a lobby and separate cloakroom, are heated by six pipe circuits connected back to the five-port manifold and controlled by programmable room thermostats. Designed to create room temperatures of 19, 21 and 22 centigrade, the pipe layouts were securely clipped down over thermal insulation before a wet screed was laid to provide good heat transference.

Corporal Eaglesham said: “This house gives us the chance to make a life and a future again. Even as my condition deteriorates we can still get on with our lives to the best of our ability, rather than fire-fighting every issue that comes with every little change in my condition. The independence which the house layout gives me is second to none.”

Underfloor heating system dontaed for Royal Marine's accessible new home

Underfloor heating system dontaed for Royal Marine’s accessible new home

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4555/Underfloor_heating_system_donated_for_Royal_Marine_92s_accessible_new_home.html

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ECA’s pick of the bunch

In the market for new test and measurement equipment? Steve Martin, Head of Specialist Groups at the ECA, offers some top tips to aid your selection process.

Vital to any electrical installation is testing, and contractors need to know that the equipment they’re using is reliable, safe and accurate. The industry therefore depends on having the correct procedures and equipment in place to verify the integrity of any installation.

While recent figures from the JIB and ECA show that electrical safety is now at its best since records began, there can never be any complacency. With this in mind, what are the key criteria for electrical contractors and installers when selecting test equipment?

Here are five important considerations when choosing your kit:

1. Usability
The ease (and speed) of testing when on-site remains paramount, particularly with many meters now gaining extended feature sets.

2. Toughness
Contractors should look to invest in a meter that will have a longer lifespan and can stand up to the knocks of daily use.

3. Reputation
The reality is that you get what you pay for. Using a manufacturer that provides full UK support (including technical, repair and calibration) provides assurances, while a full warranty with the product
offers extra guarantees.

4. Safety
Contractors should look for equipment which conforms or exceeds health and safety requirements, particularly given that pre-qualification requirements are becoming more comprehensive over time.

5. Whole life value
The running costs of the tester needs to be considered alongside the purchase price – its physical and electrical robustness are important factors.

“It’s also worth noting that the rise in new connected technologies, such as smart meters, electric vehicles and smart homes, means that contractors need to be aware of any additional regulatory requirements which may apply.”

Taking these steps will ensure that contractors use equipment which helps meet the requirements of building managers and clients, who are themselves becoming more aware of the need to utilise appropriate test equipment.

For instance, when it came to portable appliance testing, Carillion facilities management team running HM Winchester Prison realised the advantages of identifying all individual electrical appliances and other equipment using barcodes, allowing for the correct data to be stored automatically against each item as inspections are undertaken.

The FM services manager at Winchester Prison, Jeff Foster, notes that there is a ‘considerable time saving in being able to identify items, carry out tests, record results and make any notes as part of a fully streamlined process.’

It’s also worth noting that the rise in new connected technologies, such as smart meters, electric vehicles and smart homes, means that contractors need to be aware of any additional regulatory requirements which may apply.

As a result, installers will need test tools which have greater functionality and enable different tasks to be undertaken, particularly given that these technological advances increase expectations among clients for faster testing, and enhanced record keeping, among other requirements.

Here to stay
What remains clear is that contractors will always need testers. Given that the market is highly competitive and innovative products are now widely available, this leaves contractors in a strong situation. With manufacturers competing to deliver high quality products which provide clients with the solutions they need, contractors just need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each product.

By following the five key steps outlined in this article, contractors will be in an ideal position to make such judgements on the range of test equipment available to them.

ECA's pick of the bunch

ECA’s pick of the bunch

Source: http://professional-electrician.com/products/ecas-pick-bunch/

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BESA publishes district heating standard

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has been chosen to publish the UK’s first test standard for Heat Interface Units (HIUs).

This new standard is regarded as an important step towards improving the overall performance of British district heating schemes and has been adopted from a test regime developed by energy consultancy FairHeat.

HIUs are key components of heat networks, used to extract heat from the network to feed individual buildings and dwellings. How they perform is central to occupant satisfaction levels and the overall efficiency of the schemes in terms of return temperatures and network sizing. Up until now many heat networks have failed to achieve their intended efficiency targets.

The initial test regime was developed by FairHeat, in partnership with Martin Crane of Carbon Alternatives. It was adapted from a well-established Swedish methodology to suit typical UK operating conditions as part of a research project funded by the former Department of Energy and Climate Change.

This initial test regime has now been adopted as a technical standard by BESA and it will be used to compare manufacturers’ products and equipment types to help network designers evaluate the performance of individual HIUs against their design parameters. It will also be used to create a comprehensive database and improve the industry’s knowledge of HIU performance to better inform future network designs.

“District schemes are a key part of the government’s strategy for achieving low carbon heat targets,” said BESA’s technical director Tim Rook. “HIUs are the crucial interface between a network and its consumers – and, in many cases, they have proved to be an Achilles’ heel.

“This standard is, therefore, a major step forward for UK heat networks and it is a real accolade for BESA to be asked to publish and disseminate it on behalf of the industry.”

BESA publishes district heating standard

BESA publishes district heating standard

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4554/BESA_publishes_district_heating_standard_.html

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Green light for new Chelsea stadium

Planners at Hammersmith & Fulham council have given Chelsea the go-ahead to build a new 60,000-seater stadium at Stamford Bridge.

Plans for the new £500m ground will see the current stadium demolished.

A club statement said: “We are grateful that planning permission was granted for the redevelopment of our historic home.

“The committee decision does not mean that work can begin on site.

“This is just the latest step, although a significant one, that we have to take before we can commence work, including obtaining various other permissions.”

The new stadium has been designed by architects Herzog and de Meuron and construction work is expected to last three years.

Green light for new Chelsea stadium

Green light for new Chelsea stadium

Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2017/01/12/green-light-for-new-500m-chelsea-stadium/

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December 2016 Newsletter

‘The festive season brings some festive cheer as some exciting projects are given the go-ahead, there’s a safety warning from the Gas Safe Register and a new report assesses the future of electrical contracting’

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Winner chosen for lighting London bridges

The winning team will now develop its design concept in collaboration with stakeholders and others along the river, and in consultation with the public. This work will take place in 2017. The ultimate plan is to install lighting on the 17 bridges between Tower Bridge and Albert Bridge.

Hannah Rothschild, chair of the Illuminated River Foundation, which organised the competition, said: “Leo Villareal’s proven ability to paint with light matched with Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ direct experience of building bridges over the Thames was an irresistible and inspirational combination.

“Their scheme is beautiful, ambitious and realisable but always considerate to the environment, lighting levels and energy conservation. The jury is convinced that the winning team will transform the centre of London while remaining true to the spirit and integrity of the Thames and its communities.”

 

How Westminster bridge might look at night, according to the winning entry

How Westminster bridge might look at night, according to the winning entry

 

The Illuminated River Foundation is raising funds for the cost of the project from private and philanthropic sources rather than the public purse. The Arcadia Fund (Peter Baldwin and Lisbet Rausing) and the Rothschild Foundation have already each pledged £5m.

Seed funding of £100,000 was granted by the Greater London Authority to support the design competition, alongside funding of £250,000 from the Rothschild Foundation, and a contribution of £500,000 from the City of London Corporation (via the Bridge House Estates) towards the delivery of the first phase.

Leo Villareal designed the light installation on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge. He said: “I’m delighted and humbled by the fact that the jury went with an artistically-driven vision for the Illuminated River. The whole team shares a belief in the power of large-scale public culture and art to enrich our cities. We are deeply committed to this project.

“In order to nuance the concept design and create presence and legibility, we intend to take time to study the river in all its manifestations. We want to listen to Londoners in developing the scheme to deliver at all levels of art and light, urban design and architecture, the environment and sustainability.

“Our aim is for a lighting masterplan which reduces pollution and wasted energy, is sensitive to history and ecology and subtly rebalances the ambient lighting on the river to provide a beautiful night time experience for residents and visitors.”

The winning team in full is:

  • Leo Villareal (lead artist)
  • Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands (lead consultant)
  • Future\Pace (curator)
  • Atelier Ten
  • Beckett Rankine
  • Bradley Hemmings
  • Core Five
  • Futurecity
  • Greenwich+Docklands International Festival
  • Montagu Evans
  • Pentagram
  • Price & Myers
Winner chosen for lighting London bridges

Winner chosen for lighting London bridges

 

Source: http://www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/news/view/winner-chosen-for-lighting-london-bridges

 

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Report highlights role of heat pumps in future UK heat policy

Heat pumps can play a leading role in the future of UK heat among a range of other low carbon measures according to a report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) – ‘Next steps for UK heat policy’.

The report, which is welcomed by the Heat Pump Association (HPA), focuses on the need to significantly strengthen policy in order to increase the implementation of low carbon measures over the coming decade.

It states that: “Deployment of low-carbon heat cannot wait until the 2030s. Low-regret opportunities exist for heat pumps to be installed in homes that are off the gas grid. New homes can and should be built to be highly energy efficient and designed for low carbon heating systems.”

The HPA believes the domestic Building Regulations do not currently make reasonable allowances for the future provision of low temperature heat emitters that would support the installation of heat pumps in the future, meaning that future replacement costs will remain higher than necessary and act as a further barrier.

The CCC report also recognises that heat pumps remain the leading low-carbon option for buildings not connected to the gas grid, asserting that: “Installation of around 200,000 heat pumps between 2015 and 2020 under our scenarios is consistent with the announced funding to 2020 available under the Renewable Heat Incentive, providing that funding is focused on heat pumps and deployed efficiently. Further funding will be needed for deployment in the 2020s.”

The HPA remains unconvinced that the target of 200,000 units will be met with the scheme in its current guise and argues that changes proposed by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) scheduled for April 2017 are likely to further hinder deployment.

The report goes on to state: “Heat pumps remain a niche option in the UK as previous policies have failed to deliver a significant increase in uptake. However, they are used widely in many other countries and are the primary low carbon option for most UK buildings off the gas grid. Improved building efficiency is an essential part of effective heat pump roll-out.”

The HPA agrees that past and present policies aimed at stimulating the heat pump market have fallen well short of expectations, despite significant investment by heat pump manufacturers and installers.

The HPA also supports the report’s view that funding allocated through the Renewable Heat Incentive to 2020 needs to be properly focused and delivered effectively.

Improving the efficiency of existing heating systems (e.g. by moving to lower flow temperatures) in homes connected to the gas grid through the 2020s can cut bills and emissions, and help to prepare the stock for widespread roll-out of heat pumps after 2030. Wide-scale deployment will rely on a mix of incentive and regulation as well as attributing a direct and proportional cost to carbon dioxide emissions.

In conclusion, the HPA shares the report’s observation that achieving greater heat pump uptake is likely to require an adjustment of subsidy rates or a shift towards upfront funding, which could be accommodated within the existing funding pot.

Beyond 2020, in order to meet targets for decarbonising heat in buildings, funding will need to increase significantly in line with the higher aspirations.

 

Report highlights role of heat pumps in future UK heat policy

Report highlights role of heat pumps in future UK heat policy

 

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4503/Report_highlights_role_of_heat_pumps_in_future_UK_heat_policy.html

 

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World’s worst wiring: the top three most shocking electrical installations

E&T readers and IET members were asked to find the most dangerous wiring on the planet. India, Pakistan and Vietnam provided the most cases, with more than the odd dishonourable mention for France.

One of the UK’s most successful contributions to standards has been our wiring and electrical regulations with the IET’s predecessor– the Society of Telegraph Engineers – first publishing ‘Rules and Regulations for the Prevention of Fire Risks Arising from Electrical Lighting‘ way back in 1882.

But are wiring standards as strictly adhered to around the globe?

E&T magazine decided to investigate and asked its 138,000 engineer readers to find the worst and most dangerous examples of electrical wiring from around the world.

The serious message from the competition was to prove just how far installations can veer from the safe and sensible if standards are not adhered to.

More than 500 examples of truly hair-raising wiring were submitted and E&T readers were asked to use their expert opinion to vote for the worst from a shortlist of 12 particularly bad examples.

Outright winner with more than 50 per cent of the votes was from an office block in Madras (below). A metered mains supply for the building had been ‘hacked’ by multiple bare, unterminated wires – possibly from tenants attempting to bypass the meter. All were loosely hung from a wooden board already bearing the scars of a previous fire. Sometimes you really do need to heed the warnings!

Commenting on the photo’s submitted, E&T features editor Vitali Vitaliev said: “The wiring regulations have kept generations in the UK safe from fires and electrocution and hopefully no professional electrician here would work without them. Unfortunately, that message doesn’t reach all corners of the world and some of the dangerous wiring examples our readers have found are truly terrifying.”

Second place in the vote went to a hotel in the Maldives (below), where showering might literally be described as a shocking experience! Based in a hotel obviously suffering serious space constraints, the system’s installation requires three-pin plugs and the mains supply to be mounted inside the shower – with not one but two opportunities for electrocution thrown in for good measure.

Third place was awarded to a street installation from Hanoi, Vietnam (below) with a collection of telecom, lighting and possibly mains cables – exact details being impossible to tell as all of the cables are a shade of black. Fingers crossed for customers asking for support with wiring emergencies!

E&T’s readers also found that it’s not just Asia that has a blasé attitude to wiring and safety, with two of the top 12 examples located in France, including one in the normally visually perfect enclave of St Tropez. Clearly, even in ST Tropez it pays to hire a professional – or hope holidaymakers don’t look at the back of their holiday villa!

 

Source: https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2016/11/worlds-worst-wiring-the-top-three-most-shocking-electrical-installations/

 

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Installers welcomed to have their say on the future of heat in domestic buildings

The consultation on the future of heat in domestic buildings was launched by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) today.

The consultation follows recommendations made to BEIS in the Heating & Hot Water Industry Council (HHIC) paper ‘Boiler Plus – The next step in heating regulation.’

It proposes that appropriate time, temperature and weather compensation heating controls are installed in residential properties at the time a new boiler is installed and that this is mandated in Building Regulations.

Stewart Clements, director of HHIC, said: “As an industry, we have worked collaboratively to help bring this consultation to the market place, and I am pleased that the key ideas outlined by HHIC have been adopted by BEIS.

“We know that changing Building Regulations in 2005 to mandate that all domestic gas boiler installations should use a condensing boiler remains one of the most successful government interventions into the residential energy market to date and I believe that mandating the installation of time and temperature controls with new boiler installations will prove equally successful.

“Adopting this policy will, at little additional cost to consumers and government, make a valuable contribution towards achieving the ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and reduce energy consumption which will reduce household energy bills.

“Currently, we install 1.6 million new gas boilers per year and if each of these boilers was accompanied by a full suite of heating controls the carbon and monetary savings made would be substantial. I am pleased that HHIC could be instrumental in getting BEIS to investigate this option.”

The HHIC is part of the Energy & Utilities Alliance (EUA). A recent survey by EUA found that nine out of 10 MPs believed that to improve energy efficiency in homes, a full set of heating controls should be fitted when a central heating boiler is replaced. Despite this backing, HHIC knows that the success of a policy like this depends on the support it receives from the heating installer and so using their unique and unparalleled position in the market place HHIC will be supporting BEIS to engage directly with installers using a quick and easy to complete survey.

To complete the survey please visit: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/thefutureofheat

Or to read the consultation in full please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/heat-in-buildings-the-future-of-heat

 

Installers welcomed to have their say on the future of heat in domestic buildings

Installers welcomed to have their say on the future of heat in domestic buildings

 

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4502/Installers_welcomed_to_have_their_say_on_the_future_of_heat_in_domestic_buildings.html

 

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London Mayor targets 90,000 lower cost homes

The Mayor of London has today set out new planning rules to speed up the building of 90,000 affordable housing, alongside record-breaking investment of £3.15bn in the capital.

The 2016-21 funding programme represents the biggest housing deal ever secured by City Hall, rising from £1.1bn previously allocated over the 2015-2018 period.

His target of 90,000 low cost homes by 2020-21 represents a 48% increase from the number of affordable homes built between 2009-10 and 2014-15.

The Mayor is also today launching new planning guidance, setting out for the first time an innovative approach both to speeding up decisions in the planning system as well as supporting build to rent schemes.

It will basically heavily scrutinise projects with less than 35% affordable housing and apply a light touch approach to schemes planning more than 35%.

Following negotiations with government, new rules mean investment in London can now be spent on a mix of homes for low-cost rent and affordable homeownership.

Most homes in the Mayor’s programme will be delivered by housing associations, with the condition that their plans must include a minimum 50% affordable housing, with some partners enabled to deliver at least 60%.

The Mayor said the Supplementary Planning Guidance was the first step to raising affordable housing levels from the low level of 13% given permission.

The guidance has been developed since the Mayor took office in May through extensive discussions with councils and the housing industry.

 

London Mayor targets 90,000 lower cost homes

London Mayor targets 90,000 lower cost homes

 

Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2016/11/29/london-mayor-targets-90000-lower-cost-homes/

 

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New report assesses the future of electrical contracting

A review of key issues affecting the future of electrical contracting has been published by the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), NICEIC and ELECSA.

2021 Vision – the 2016-17 Review’ is the midway update to the ‘2021 Vision’ report, produced by the ECA and NICEIC back in 2011. The latest review considers 30 key issues and predictions made five years ago. The review uses a ‘red, amber, green’ system, with supporting narrative.

In addition to reflecting on the current status of the many predictions and issues, the review also highlights some major developments since 2011, notably:

  • The UK’s ‘Brexit’ decision
  • Digitisation of industry processes, including Building Information Modelling (BIM)
  • The increasing role of ‘Very big data’ and the ‘Internet of Things’.

When ‘2021 Vision’ was written in 2011, the industry was still recovering from one of the worst economic recessions ever. As such, one of the key aims of the 2021 Vision was to “help the electrical contractor to see past short term survival, and prepare for the next stage of their business development”.

Since then, the ECA and Electrical Safety First have worked together to create Certsure, which owns the NICEIC and ELECSA certification brands.

The new ‘2021 Vision – The 2016-17 Review’ document is freely available on the ECA and NICEIC websites.

 

New report assesses the future of electrical contracting

New report assesses the future of electrical contracting

 

Source: https://electricalcontractingnews.co.uk/2016/12/new-report-assesses-the-future-of-electrical-contracting/

 

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Festive fire warning: More gas related fires happen on Christmas Day than any other day

Christmas is the most dangerous time of the year when it comes to gas safety in the UK, according to five years’ worth of data from the Gas Safe Register and Fire and Rescue Service.

More fires in households with gas appliances take place on Christmas day than any other day of the year and Gas Safe Register’s investigation team find a higher proportion of dangerous gas appliances in December that any other month.

A total of 17% of boilers, fires and cookers investigated in December over the last five years have been found to be unsafe.

As a fifth (19%) of households have not had their gas appliances legally checked this year, potentially 12 million people could be living with dangerous gas appliances.

While the majority of festive revellers prioritise buying (64%) and wrapping (41%) presents, only five per cent of British adults put gas appliance safety checks on their December to do list in the run up to Christmas. In fact, almost three times as many people prioritise watching their favourite Christmas film over making sure that they and their families are gas safe at Christmas.

Jonathan Samuel, chief executive at Gas Safe Register, said: “Although Christmas is a very busy time of year, it is really important your gas appliances have been checked and are running safely. With our data showing that December can be dangerous for homeowners, Gas Safe Register is reminding people to get their annual gas safety checks in the diary so this Christmas is a safe and enjoyable time.”

Gas safety – fire prevention tips

To stay gas safe this festive season, follow these top five Gas Safe Register’s top tips:

  1. Only employ a legal Gas Safe registered engineer when having gas work carried out in your home. You can find a registered engineer in your area by calling Gas Safe Register on: 0800 408 5500 or by visiting: GasSafeRegister.co.uk
  2. ‘Trust the Triangle’ and always ask to see your engineer’s Gas Safe ID card. Make sure you check the back of the card, which will state which gas appliances they are qualified to work on
  3. Sign up for a reminder service to make sure your gas appliances are checked annually: https://www.staygassafe.co.uk/
  4. Speak to your energy supplier to see if they can provide a free gas safety check
  5. If you smell gas or think there might be a gas leak, call the free 24-hour national gas emergency number immediately on: 0800 111 999

To find out more about the dangers posed by unsafe gas appliances in your area, visit: www.StayGasSafe.co.uk, and to find a Gas Safe registered engineer, call: 0800 408 5500 or visit: www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk.

 

Festive fire warning: More gas related fires happen on Christmas Day than any other day

Festive fire warning: More gas related fires happen on Christmas Day than any other day

 

Source: http://www.hpmmag.com/news/festive-fire-warning-gas-related-fires-happen-christmas-day-day

 

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Newcastle United Football Club upgraded with Tamlite LED Lighting

The upgrading of Newcastle United Football Club’s home ground with high-efficiency Tamlite LED lighting products has yielded a remarkable two-thirds reduction in energy consumption.

Like senior personnel at many other major sports venues across the UK, the technical team at St James’ Park have become increasingly cognisant of the energy-efficient, cost-saving benefits of the latest LED lighting technology. Accordingly, the stadium is currently in the midst of a multi-phase LED upgrade project based around products from Tamlite Lighting. In time, the redevelopment will cover every area of the venue and encompass several thousand fittings in total.

In the latest phase of work, installation contractor Direct Technology UK Ltd has brought Tamlite LED products to the Bamburgh Suite – which is reportedly the largest function suite in the North West – as well as the underground car park, executive boxes and various staff areas. Once again, the installation has delivered a very immediate improvement in lighting quality, while the expected energy savings exceed 60 per cent in some areas of the site.

 

Newcastle United Football Club upgraded with Tamlite LED Lighting

Newcastle United Football Club upgraded with Tamlite LED Lighting

 

Source: https://electricalcontractingnews.co.uk/2016/12/black-and-light-army/

 

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Survey shows that home buyers are neglecting gas safety checks

New research carried out by CORGI HomePlan has highlighted that many home buyers overlook the importance of a gas safety check when purchasing a new property. The study of 1000 people reveals that only one in 10 home buyers consider it important to check a property’s safety before moving in, while one in four (28%) believe it will be covered in the mortgage lender’s survey. The most common item new homeowners overlook is the working condition of their boiler, with 39% not getting a qualified engineer to test it.

Of the one third of respondents who did carry out a gas safety check before moving in, there was a wide misconception of what is a correct and legal safety check. As a result the ‘checks’ were often inadequate. Less than half said they would find out when the gas appliances in the home were last professionally serviced and one in three said that they would check the boiler themselves, despite not having the professional qualifications to perform this procedure. 

Scottish home buyers were the least home-safe conscious with 73% of respondents having no gas safety checks carried out before deciding to purchase a home. Wales was the safest region, with nearly eight in 10 respondents having a Gas Safe registered engineer check out their property before moving in. 

The same survey also reveals that four in 10 homebuyers who experienced problems with gas appliances after moving in took more than a week to get it repaired. The main reason for this was that it wasn’t urgent (30%) or that the home buyers could not afford the repair (19%). 

Kevin Treanor, director of CORGI HomePlan, comments: “Just as you wouldn’t commit to buy a property without seeing the surveyor’s report first, it is just as important that home buyers also see the full service record of all gas appliances and have a Gas Safe registered engineer inspect the home too. Carbon monoxide still kills around 50 people a year and every one of these deaths is avoidable. People must minimise the risks by making sure all their gas appliances are in full working order.”

 

Survey shows that home buyers are neglecting gas safety checks

Survey shows that home buyers are neglecting gas safety checks

 

Source: http://www.phamnews.co.uk/survey-shows-that-home-buyers-are-neglecting-gas-safety-checks/

 

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£775m Paddington Cube gets planning green light

Westminster City Council has given the thumbs up to developer Irvine Sellar’s revised plans for his £775m Paddington Quarter scheme in West London.

The 14-storey cube-shaped office building replaces earlier plans for a landmark 72-storey residential tower, nicknamed the ‘Paddington Pole’, which was abandoned after running into fierce opposition.

Great Western Developments and development partner Sellar Paddington are aiming to build the distinctive building – likened to an ice cube – at the former Royal Mail sorting and post office site adjacent to Paddington Station.

Designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the 360,000 sq ft Paddington Cube would sit on a three storey podium 12m above 1.35 acres of newly created public realm.

The Paddington Quarter development will accommodate more than 4,000 new jobs for Paddington and include 80,000 sq ft of retail and restaurant space over five levels, including a rooftop restaurant.

£65m is being invested in public realm and major transport infrastructure improvements.

 

£775m Paddington Cube gets planning green light

£775m Paddington Cube gets planning green light

 

Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2016/12/07/775m-paddington-cube-gets-planning-green-light/

 

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Blog - Uploader 2

Steps for accurate estimating

You have the tender documents and now you have to produce an estimate. So, another tedious and time-consuming task lies ahead. You go through the drawings, you analyse the bill of quantities, and you scrutinise the specifications. Then before you start work on the project, you check that all-important date. The deadline date. Now you know the full extent of the task ahead of you.

Of course if you’re an estimator all this will be familiar to you. You will approach the task one step at a time ensuring all your figures are as accurate as they can possibly be. If your company is a pre-approved contractor then inevitably the final decision will simply come down to cost. With this in mind, you might want to double check all the figures, which is yet another time-consuming exercise.

With so much time and effort going into producing an estimate, it’s only natural you will want to ensure you have covered every step of the process, methodically and mathematically. That’s what we do at Hotcost. We follow a step by step plan, which ensures nothing is left to chance. We look at every aspect of the tender documents, and we ensure that we always cost every element accurately.

We know all about timescales and we know how important accuracy is, so we work to ensure we combine both of these vital factors. We’re doing this every day, so we really do have our finger on the pulse when it comes to getting it right. Why not call us now and find out how we can help you get it right?

November 2016 Newsletter

‘As Winter approaches there’s positive news following Brexit vote, some big projects are given the go-ahead and a campaign to protect elderly people in their homes’

 

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Go-ahead to turn iconic Waterloo terminal into shopping mall

 

Plans to revitalise the iconic Eurostar terminal at Waterloo in London with a three level shopping complex have got the green light.

London & Continental Railways and Network Rail are planning to build over 130,000 sq ft of retail space in levels below the former Waterloo international terminal station platforms.

The scheme is aimed to bring the station’s shopping offer up to the standard set by Birmingham New Street and St Pancras International.

Plans also include dramatically improving the public realm fronting Cab Road and improved linkages to Leake Street and Lower Marsh, acting as a retail draw for the redevelopment of the nearby Shell Centre.

The two-year reconstruction plan is expected to cost around £60m, excluding shop fit-out.

The major retail plan forms part of the £800m remodelling of Waterloo, which includes bringing five former Eurostar platforms into use for regular commuter services by Network Rail.

Skanska is carrying out the major infrastructure works including lengthening existing local service platforms and reopening the former Eurostar platforms.

 

Go-ahead to turn iconic Waterloo terminal into shopping mall

Go-ahead to turn iconic Waterloo terminal into shopping mall

 

Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2016/11/03/go-ahead-to-turn-iconic-waterloo-terminal-into-shopping-mall/

 

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ECA poll finds increasing number of businesses see turnover rise following Brexit vote

 

Over eight in 10 (80.1 per cent) electrical and building services engineering firms say turnover increased or stayed the same during the third quarter of 2016, according to new survey findings from the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA).

The findings cover the three months from July – September, the period almost immediately following the landmark vote this summer for the UK to leave the European Union. The responses indicate that, overall, there was only a modest pre-and post referendum impact on the sector.

Businesses of almost all sizes had a favourable third quarter, with small contracting firms, medium-sized enterprises and large organisations all reporting an improvement on the previous three month period. However, micro businesses with turnover below £200,000 had a slight downturn in Q3.

Looking ahead to the final quarter of 2016, the outlook is also positive overall, although business expectations are down, with 31 per cent of firms expecting a rise in turnover in Q4 (a fall of 11 per cent from expectations in our previous survey for Q3 this year).

ECA CEO Steve Bratt commented: “This ECA survey shows that electrical and building services firms remain broadly confident about their economic prospects, but we should remember that our sector feels any positive or negative effects later than many others in the supply chain.

“In addition, the survey shows that the expectation for business is down for the final quarter of the year, and members are already reporting increasing prices of key materials and equipment.  This means that 2017 may present even more challenges to profit margins.”

The Building Engineering Business Survey, which is held in association with Scolmore, was sent out to ECA members in early October this year. The response rate was the highest in five years.

 

ECA poll finds increasing number of businesses see turnover rise following Brexit vote

ECA poll finds increasing number of businesses see turnover rise following Brexit vote

 

Source: http://www.electricaltimes.co.uk/news/story/eca-poll-finds-increasing-numbers-of-businesses-see-turnover-rise-following-brexit-vote

 

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Plumbers’ merchants market forecast to increase by 4% in 2016

 

The plumbers’ merchant market was worth an estimated £4 billion in 2015, having recovered strongly in recent years. Demand has increased since 2013, leading to greater demand for plumbing materials, bathroom and shower products, and the plumbers’ merchants market is forecast to grow by around 4% in 2016, according to a report by AMA Research.

Increasing demand has been attributed to the improving economic climate in general since 2013, with demand increasing for both new work and RMI activity.

Price competition remains fierce and AMA Research believes this may influence margins going forward. In order to differentiate themselves, some plumbers’ merchants have invested in improving the overall customer experience through enhanced service, such as extended opening times, greater availability of stock and heightened promotional activity. Many have also expanded their online presence, to ensure that they compete with rising internet sales.

Consolidation has been a feature of the marketplace in recent years, as nationals have acquired smaller regional operations in order to extend their reach and range of services. However, many regional and independent merchants have performed well, with some expanding their number of branches to improve their product offering and stock levels to meet local needs.

It is extremely difficult to forecast the impact of the outcome of the EU Referendum on the economy going forward. Several economic forecasts suggest that the UK economy will start to slow, with business and consumer confidence affected, potentially with lower GDP growth in 2017 and 2018. The situation may improve after this, depending on the outcome of trade negotiations, both within and outside the EU, which have yet to take place.

Both Travis Perkins and Wolseley, two of the leading merchant groups in the country, have streamlined the plumbers’ merchant sides of the respective businesses as a result of uncertainty in the market.

“While there are indications of a slowdown in growth in the housing and commercial sectors from mid to late-2016, the plumbers’ merchants market is still forecast to increase by around 4% compared with 2015, with a further 2 to 3% per annum expected from 2017 onwards” said Keith Taylor, director of AMA Research.

 

Plumbers' merchants market forecast to increase by 4% in 2016

Plumbers’ merchants market forecast to increase by 4% in 2016

 

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4442/Plumbers_92_merchants_market_forecast_to_increase_by_4_25_in_2016_.html

 

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NICEIC and ELECSA launch campaign to protect elderly people from faulty electrical equipment

 

A new, consumer-facing, campaign from NICEIC and ELECSA is urging householders to think electrics when they carry out their checks on the elderly this winter.

Proportionately, older people suffer more fatal and non-fatal injuries from electrically-related house fires than the rest of the population.

People over 65 are particularly at risk because they often live in old or poor-quality housing that contains faulty electrics or old appliances.

Yet research by NICEIC and ELECSA has revealed that although many people will be looking in on an elderly relative or neighbour this winter, the one thing that could be getting overlooked is a quick check on the state of the electrics.

“Some of the results we found were quite startling,” commented NICEIC and ELECSA’s Technical Development Manager Darren Staniforth.

“While up to 50% of people will be making regular calls on a relative or neighbour this winter, less than 20% of those would think to take a quick check of the electrics to make sure everything is ok.

“With people over 65 statistically more likely to be involved in a fire caused by faulty electrics, this is obviously concerning.

“During the colder months, the elderly are more likely to be plugging in electrical appliances such as heaters or electric blankets, many of which could be old and potentially dangerous.

“They could also be plugging these appliances into an electric supply around the home that might not have been checked in decades or perhaps never at all.

“We want to encourage those looking out for an older relative or neighbour to have a quick check of the home and make sure there is nothing there that could potentially lead to something awful occurring.”

Research carried out by NICEIC and ELECSA revealed that:

  • 50% of us hold the opinion that the elderly are more at risk from the electrical dangers in our homes.
  • 75% have never helped their relative to have their home safety checked by an electrician.
  • 80% have never been concerned by the safety of the electrical appliances in their elderly family member’s home.

As Darren added: “Our research shows that the Great British public does a great deal of work looking out for the elderly in the winter time.

“The lack of concern over electrical safety is not one about not caring, but generally a lack of knowledge about what to look out for.”

NICEIC and ELECSA have produced a checklist, of what to look out for to reduce the risk of an electrical fault. This quick visual check includes:

  • Ensuring that plug sockets are not damaged or scorched. Any scorch marks around a socket are an indication that something is not right and that you should call a registered electrician to investigate further.
  • Checking that any leads or cables are not damaged or frayed
  • Checking that lights are working correctly and there is no signs of visible damage
  • Checking that sockets are not overloaded or that too many extension leads are in use.
  • Check that the main fusebox (consumer unit) has RCD protection fitted. An RCD (Residual Current Device) will trip should it detect an overload in the circuit.

“By carrying out these simple checks people will be able to reduce the risk of fire or spot something that could potentially lead to a problem in the future,” added Darren.

“If they see something that doesn’t seem to be working properly or may need further investigation we always suggest they call their local registered electrician.

“A registered electrician will be able to rectify any faults or carry out an Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR) which will identify any potential issues that could lead to further problems.”

Faulty electrics in the home account for 20,000 house fires each year, causing upwards of 70 fatalities.

Most electrical issues in the home are easily preventable by ensuring a home is regularly checked by a suitable, registered electrician.

 

NICEIC and ELECSA launch campaign to protect elderly people from faulty electrical equipment

NICEIC and ELECSA launch campaign to protect elderly people from faulty electrical equipment

 

Source: http://professional-electrician.com/news/niceic-elecsa-launch-campaign-protect-elderly-faulty-electrical-equipment/

 

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Free boiler guide for your customers

 

The AA has produced a straightforward boiler guide to help householders better understand their boiler, hot water and central heating system. Covering everything from boiler types and controls to how to effectively use the system, the guide is designed to help householders save energy by using their system properly and encourage them to get it regularly checked and serviced.

The guide explains how combi, sealed systems and open vent systems work using simple diagrams. Other advice addresses boiler controls, temperature timings, room thermostats and the pilot light. There is also a section on how to achieve cost-effective heating.

To access the Big Boiler Handbook, click here.

 

Free boiler guide for your customers

Free boiler guide for your customers

 

Source: http://www.phamnews.co.uk/boiler-guide-for-your-customers/

 

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2.7 million renters at risk from dangerous gas appliances, says Gas Safe Register

 

Unsafe gas appliances have been found in a fifth of privately rented accommodation, leading Gas Safe Register to believe that more than 2.7 million people could be living in dangerous housing.

Investigation data by Gas Safe Register spanning five years revealed that gas heaters are the most dangerous appliances in rented accommodation, accounting for 59% of all unsafe appliances.

According to the data, a fifth of renters are unaware their boiler should be safety checked annually, and 11% don’t think their boiler has been inspected this year.

Despite landlords being responsible for ensuring that all gas appliances provided by them are safety checked every year by a qualified Gas Safe-registered engineer, more than a third are unaware of their duty of care. In fact, one in seven landlords reportedly think gas appliance safety is the responsibility of their local council.

Jonathan Samuel, managing director at Gas Safe Register, said: “Gas safety can be a matter of life or death. The findings from the 122,000 inspections carried out by our team over the last five years show us that more unsafe appliances have been found in rented accommodation than in privately owned homes.

“However, any unsafe appliance can have devastating consequences, regardless of the type of property. We are urging renters, homeowners and landlords alike to make sure they know to get gas appliances checked on an annual basis and, as a legal requirement, to ‘trust the triangle’ by using a Gas Safe registered engineer.”

 

2.7 million renters at risk from dangerous gas appliances, says Gas Safe Register

2.7 million renters at risk from dangerous gas appliances, says Gas Safe Register

 

Source: http://hvpmag.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4433/2.7_million_renters_at_risk_from_dangerous_gas_appliances,_says_Gas_Safe_Register.html

 

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Workers call for site shutdowns in freezing weather

 

Union leaders are calling for housing sites to be closed down when temperatures plummet below freezing.

Chiefs at UCATT have written to the major house builders demanding the introduction of extreme weather health and safety guidelines for construction workers.

The National House Building Council publishes minimum temperature guidance to protesct materials on site.

Now UCATT wants to see similar recommendations to protect workers.

It said: ” The NHBC makes it clear mortar should not be used below 2 degrees C, whilst construction workers should put their gloves on, get out there and suffer.”

The union also hit out at an “institutionalised” macho culture which prevents workers from complaining about the cold.

UCATT Acting General Secretary, Brian Rye, said: “It’s a complete indictment of an industry that has temperature guidelines to safeguard materials but none whatsoever for the workers. This must now change.

“We have written to the NHBC to ask them to inject some humanity into the industry and provide clear temperature and extreme weather guidelines for constructors to apply to workers.

“In an age when we no longer send young children up chimneys to clean them, we should equally not be forcing construction workers to work in inhuman conditions.

“If it’s too cold for mortar – it’s too cold for mortals!”

There is no current legal minimum or maximum temperature for working outside.

Unions are currently negotiating to have rules or guidance on working in extreme weather included in the Construction Industry Joint Council agreement.

 

Workers call for site shutdowns in freezing weather

Workers call for site shutdowns in freezing weather

 

Source: http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2016/11/14/workers-call-for-site-shutdowns-in-freezing-weather/

 

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Schneider Electric expands and enhances Partner Programme

 

Schneider Electric is to continue its commitment to electricians with the expansion of its enhanced and newly titled Electrician Partner Programme.

Formerly known as Ultimate Installer, the scheme is dedicated to supporting electricians and is free for professionals working in the residential and light commercial sectors and who can demonstrate one of the entry criteria.

Partners is designed to solve challenges such as striking a balance between time on the tools versus administration in the office, to maintaining skills and knowledge for emerging technology trends as well as the evolving marketing needs of starting a new business through to maintaining an established one.

Benefits

Benefits for Partners include: a welcome pack with complimentary branded work wear; a business listing on Schneider Electric’s Partner locator for end-users; training opportunities; special promotions; and events.

In addition, Partners will receive exclusive access to the My Rewards Loyalty Scheme where they can make their spend on thousands of everyday materials go that bit further and reap a reward for choosing Schneider Electric.

Underpinning the Programme and helping electricians save time online is the launch of the new mySchneider Electrician portal.

The free portal provides a one-stop shop for product information, pricing, stockist locator, online training and quick links to customer and technical support. Partners also get further access to the loyalty scheme facilities and client support tools at Partner rates.

To support the launch of the portal, Partners have the chance to enter the Business Booster prize draw and win up to £5,000 to spend on their business simply by registering and activating their mySchneider Electrician portal.

One lucky winner will have the chance to spend the prize money on anything from a new website, to branded workwear, company video, van wrap or van insurance and trade membership fees paid for one year.

“I’ve been really happy with the quality of Schneider Electric products and the Partner scheme benefits are useful extras that set it apart from other manufacturers.

Schneider Electric understands the challenges that many electricians face as small or growing business owners in an increasingly demanding and competitive climate. I have no hesitation in recommending the scheme – there’s no risk and plenty of reward!” said Jon Darby at Oldland Electrical.

May Lee, electrician programme manager at Schneider Electric adds, “We believe it’s the cornerstone of our Partner Programme to identify and support the needs of electricians and to truly understand the challenges they face day-to-day.

“Our vision is to be the electrician’s business partner of choice by making their life and the running of their business easier; ensuring we continuously invest, innovate and provide the value and support they really need in the field and online.”

For more information about the Electrician Partner Programme, customers can contact their local Schneider Electric representative or visit: http://www.schneider-electric.co.uk/en/partners/electricians/

 

 Schneider Electric expands and enhances Partner Programme

Schneider Electric expands and enhances Partner Programme

 

Source: http://www.electricaltimes.co.uk/news/story/schneider-electric-expands-and-enhances-partner-programme1

 

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More funding available to boost apprenticeships

 

A number of new measures have been announced by the Government designed to help employers take on more apprentices, including  a budget of £60m to be spent on helping to get young people from deprived backgrounds into work. It is hoped that the reforms will result in the creation of 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020.

Employers with fewer than 50 employees will be entitled to receive 100% of the cost of training apprentices between 16 and 18. This will also apply if they take on 19 to 24 year olds who were in care.

The apprenticeship levy will be set at 0.5% of the pay bill, but will only be payable by those employers with a payroll above £3m. It is estimated that this will apply to just 2% of employers.

The Government has also simplified the funding model and built in greater flexibility so employers will now have longer to access the funds. The new scheme also provides greater flexibility to train those with prior qualifications in a bid to help existing workers develop new skills.

The announcement has received the support of industry bodies such as the Building Services  Engineering Association (BESA) and the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC).

“This is the news we have been waiting for,” says BESA’s Director of Training, Tony Howard. “Employers need certainty about future funding provision so they can plan their recruitment strategies, and this provides welcome reassurance.”

Graeme Dryden, Technical Services Manager at APHC, adds: “It’s encouraging to see further evidence of the Government’s commitment to creating apprenticeships. These latest policies certainly appear new and fresh, with good opportunities for smaller employers to engage with apprenticeship training.”

 

More funding available to boost apprenticeships

More funding available to boost apprenticeships

 

Source: http://www.phamnews.co.uk/more-funding-available-to-boost-apprenticeships/

 

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SELECT wants to make “Electrician” a registered profession

 

SELECT signals to Scottish Parliament that it intends to push for legislative change to make “Electrician” a regulated profession.

SELECT, the campaigning trade body for the electro-technical industry in Scotland, has signalled to the Scottish Parliament that it intends to press hard to make the occupation of electrician a regulated profession in the same way that anyone working with gas is currently required by statute to be regulated.

Presenting the Scottish Committee MSP of the Year Award at The Herald newspaper’s Scottish Politician of the Year event in Edinburgh last night (Thursday 27th October 2016), SELECT’s Head of External Affairs, David Wright, said that the risk posed to Scotland’s householders increases with every passing year as the number of untrained individuals portraying themselves as ‘electricians’ gets bigger and bigger.

“ I’m an economist by training but if I wished, I could start up in business as an electrician tomorrow,” said David, “but it would not be a good idea.”

“Incredibly, it is not illegal to do that – but we believe that it most certainly should be.  So that, when we are in our homes of an evening, we can enjoy the same protection from electrical risks as we currently do from gas faults”.

Mr. Wright said that before Christmas the Minister and the Scottish Government’s ‘Better Regulation’ team will receive a report from SELECT which puts the case for statutory “Regulation of Electrician as a Profession” to bring Scotland into line with other civilised European countries”.

Newell McGuiness, SELECT’s Managing Director, said: “It has been a long-standing goal of ours to achieve Regulation for our industry because the population of Scotland is being exposed to unreasonable risks associated with electrocution and fire without even being aware of this.

“Last night we announced our intention to secure the support of Scotland’s politicians – and of the general public to deliver statutory regulation for our industry.  Many occupations from lawyer and doctor to bodyguard and night club bouncer are regulated in the UK but Electrician is not one of them.

“Electrical installation is a safety critical occupation and it’s time for Scotland’s politicians to acknowledge that where there is electricity, there is danger – and to do the right thing”.

SELECT’s 1200 members account for around 90% of all electrical installation work carried out in Scotland and have a collective turnover of around £1 billion, providing employment for some 15,000 electricians.

 

SELECT wants to make "Electrician" a registered profession

SELECT wants to make “Electrician” a registered profession

 

Source: http://professional-electrician.com/news/7846/

 

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