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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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Hotcost Limited at Ireland’s Electrical Trade Event

Hotcost Limited at Ireland’s Electrical Trade Event

Hotcost Limited would like to thank each and every one of you that came to visit us at our stand at Ireland’s Electrical Trade Event at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin last week. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting all of you and we look forward to working with you in the future.

If you missed us at the show don’t worry you can still get in touch with us to discuss all your electrical and mechanical needs.

Also keep an eye on our website and social media channels for news regarding upcoming shows.

 


 

Our Glasgow Office is Now Open!

Our Glasgow Office is Now Open!

Hotcost are very pleased and proud to announce the opening of our new office based in Glasgow.

Due to the continued growth in 2016 and 2017, we are extremely excited to open our new office in Glasgow. This new location will enable us to continue to provide our quality, comprehensive and cost-effective estimates for Electrical & Mechanical companies in Scotland.

For more information please call us on 0800 052 6115 or email client@hotcost.co.uk

Hotcost Limited at the ED&I Expo

Hotcost Limited at the ED&I Expo

Hotcost Limited would like to thank each and every one of you that came to visit us at our stand at the ED&I Expo at the NEC in Birmingham last week. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting all of you and we look forward to working with you in the future…

 

Hotcost Limited at the ED&I Expo

Hotcost Limited at the ED&I Expo

 

Hotcost Limited at the ED&I Expo

Hotcost Limited at the ED&I Expo

 

If you missed us at the show don’t worry you can still get in touch with us to discuss all your electrical and mechanical needs.

Also keep an eye on our website and social media channels for news regarding upcoming shows.

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!

 

 

July 2017 Newsletter

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Extra Tests for cladding and insulation following Grenfell fire

The government has ordered further tests on cladding and insulation in the wake of the Grenfell fire.

The extra tests will help landlords decide on any remedial action needed to make buildings safer.

These large scale tests will help establish how different types of Aluminium Composite Material panels in combination with different types of insulation behave in a fire.

Tests will look at three different types of ACM cladding combined with different types of insulation in accordance with British Standard 8414.

This involves building a 9 metre tall demonstration wall with a complete cladding system – including panels and insulation – fixed to it, and then subjecting it to a fire that replicates a severe fire in a flat breaking out of a window and whether it then spread up the outside wall.

Six combinations of cladding systems will be subjected to the BS8414 test procedure.

The six systems will incorporate each of the three common types of aluminium composite material panels, with core filler materials of unmodified polyethylene, fire retardant polyethylene, and non-combustible mineral.

The two insulation materials used in the testing will be rigid polyisocyanurate foam or non-combustible mineral wool.

The Building Research Establishment will undertake these tests “as a matter of urgency” and the results will be made publicly available.

Extra Tests for cladding and insulation following Grenfell fire

Extra Tests for cladding and insulation following Grenfell fire

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Four in ten homeowners want solar and energy storage packages

Homeowners looking to save money and improve their level of energy efficiency are looking at a solar/energy storage package to cut their electricity bills.

According to findings from new research by E.ON, when asked about the types of smart technologies people would want in their homes by 2020, four in ten (44%) said they’d like solar panels and/or an electricity battery storage system, more than a third (35%) would like smart lighting, a fifth (20%) wanted a voice controlled smart hub and 13% would like a charging point for an electric car.

But when it comes to solar energy, a number of myths persist with 17% of those questioned mistakenly thinking that solar panels only generate electricity when it’s sunny and one in ten (11%) wrongly believing that solar panels don’t work in cold climates.

Of those surveyed, almost one in ten (9%) homeowners said they already have solar panels. Of these, more than three quarters (76%) said they’re saving money, almost two thirds (65%) said their home is more energy efficient, and almost a third (30%) said they’ve seen the value of their property increase – all as a result of having solar panels installed.

What’s more, four in ten (41%) of those asked said that having a solar panel and battery system would make a potential home more appealing to them if they were looking to buy.

Gavin Stokes, head of Commercial Solutions at E.ON UK, said: “Many of the people we spoke to are already aware of the benefits solar and battery systems can bring – from saving money, to having a more energy efficient home, to making homes more appealing to buyers.”

The research with 2,000 homeowners has been conducted to investigate the nation’s attitudes to the smart solutions available today and in the future. It reveals that the majority of people have already taken steps to make their homes smarter with a third (34%) planning further upgrades.

 

Four in ten homeowners want solar and energy storage packages

Four in ten homeowners want solar and energy storage packages

Source: Electrical Times

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Energy networks making £7.5bn in “unjustified profit” over eight year period, Citizens Advice claims

Citizens Advice is calling for energy network companies to return money to consumers through a rebate. Energy consumers are subsidising £7.5bn in profits made by the businesses responsible for the UK’s gas and electricity networks over an 8-year period, new research from Citizens Advice reveals.

The national charity has published new research, which estimates that key decisions made by the energy regulator Ofgem are allowing energy network companies to make billions in returns on their capital investments, without reflecting how efficient they have been.

Ofgem has said it will set tougher limits on the money that energy networks can make from 2021 and has said that when it sets the next price control for these companies, they should expect lower returns.

Citizens Advice has also called on the energy network firms to return their excess profits from the current price control to consumers through a rebate on their bills.

Energy networks are regulated monopolies – meaning it is not practical for there to be competition between them to drive down the amount consumers pay. Ofgem forecasts the costs for building and maintaining energy networks – including the cost of staff, materials, and the cost of capital used to finance investment – as well as estimating the level of business risk for investors. Energy network companies’ profits are taken from the difference between their actual costs and the amount that Ofgem allows for these costs.

In its new report, Citizens Advice finds three key decisions by Ofgem that are costing consumers money by being favourable to energy network companies’ interests over the current 8 year period – called a “price control.”

First, costing consumers £3bn, Ofgem overestimated the business risk for investors in energy networks. They estimated that energy networks are 90-100% as risky as the average company but market data suggested a more reasonable figure would be 60%;

Second, costing consumers £3.4bn, Ofgem assumed interest rates and returns for government bonds would be higher than they were;

Third, costing consumers £1.1bn, the financial incentives Ofgem has put in place to reward efficiency – such as allowing energy network companies to keep some of the underspend on projects as profit – actually rewarded companies that inflated their initial estimates for the cost of staff and materials.

Energy networks making £7.5bn in "unjustified profit" over eight year period, Citizens Advice claims

Energy networks making £7.5bn in “unjustified profit” over eight year period, Citizens Advice claims

Source: HVP Magazine

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1 in 3 consumers back government changes to smart meter rollout plans

Nearly a third of consumers in the UK back changes to government policy scrapping a commitment to install smart meters in 26 million homes by the end of the decade, new research has found.

As announced in the Queen’s speech, Theresa May’s government will continue to encourage homes to have the energy monitoring devices installed, but has now said that homeowners will be offered the choice to have a meter put in their homes, rather than being forced to do so.

The change comes as new research by Echo Managed Services found that 31% of customers think they should be given the choice about whether to have a smart meter installed or not.

Last week’s announcement is a watering down of then Prime Minister David Cameron’s government’s plan to install 47 million meters into all UK households, however, it is claimed that this new plan will still provide savings of £300 million annually by 2020, increasing to £1.2bn by 2030.

Commenting on the announcement and research findings, Chris Cullen, head of sales and marketing at Echo Managed Services, said: “Giving customers a choice about the services and products they use is a key factor in successful consumer relations and this announcement will be welcomed by homeowners.

“We know there is an appetite for smart meters among UK homeowners, but one of the most common complaints we heard was that people thought this rollout was being enforced on them without properly understanding the benefits so this decision will go some way to calming those issues. In addition, clearly articulating the benefits of meters to customers is vital, without this it can’t be expected that householders will readily agree to meter installation.”

These findings come at the same time similar research revealed that one in five customers could resist having a smart meter installed, primarily due to concerns over data security and privacy.

1 in 3 consumers back government changes to smart meter rollout plans

1 in 3 consumers back government changes to smart meter rollout plans

Source: Electrical Times

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APHC encourages plumbing and heating businesses to use social media

With Quality Plumber Week fast approaching, the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC) is urging more plumbing and heating engineers to use social media.

John Thompson the CEO of APHC, said: “Over the past decade, companies have embraced social media as a valuable marketing tool. Right now, social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are at the forefront and can be impactful marketing tools, giving plumbing and heating businesses the ability to communicate with customers and potential customers directly.

“The most important bit of advice I would give when looking to build a social media network of followers is to not focus on quantity, like gathering tens of thousands of followers, but to focus on gaining meaningful engagement and page impressions from a relevant social media network.

“To do this, I would look to engage with local people and companies whom you may have an affinity with; do they have the same customer base? Find them, follow them and engage with them. Retweet and repost their content and look for opportunities to feature them in your content. In time, you will find their audience becomes your audience.”

  • APHC recommends using social media to:
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Generate questions and enquiries from potential customers
  • Share helpful information
  • Promote deals and special offers
  • Share industry relevant news
  • Encourage customers to leave positive feedback
  • Get behind important causes
  • Network with other professionals and exchange tips.

“If your plumbing and heating business has yet to gain an online social presence, it is not too late to get started. You can sign up for a social media account for free and begin engaging with your audience immediately,” John concluded.

APHC is running Quality Plumber Week between 2nd – 6th October to celebrate the skilled work plumbing and heating engineers carry out every day. You can get involved on Twitter by tweeting using #QPW17 and on Facebook and LinkedIn by mentioning ‘Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors’ or @APHC_UK on Twitter.

During Quality Plumber Week, APHC will be asking the industry to showcase their work and say what makes them a quality plumber.

APHC encourages plumbing and heating businesses to use social media

APHC encourages plumbing and heating businesses to use social media

Source: HVP Magazine

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World’s first sideways elevator unveiled

The world’s first rope-less, horizontal-vertical lift has been installed inside a purpose-built innovation test tower in Germany.

More than 160 years after the invention of the conventional elevator, manufacturer ThyssenKrupp is hailing it as a game changer for major buildings.

Instead of one cabin per shaft moving up and down, the “MULTI” system offers multiple cabins operating in a loop, like a metro system inside a building.

It requires fewer and smaller shafts than conventional elevators and can increase the building’s usable area by up to 25%, representing extra revenues from the additional rentable/leasable space.

Present elevator-escalator footprints can occupy up to 40% of a high rise building’s floor space, depending on the building height.

The first fully functional unit has just been installed in ThyssenKrupp’s purpose-built 246m test tower in Rottweil, Germany.

And now European developer OVG Real Estate plans to become the lift maker’s very first customer installing the MULTI in the new East Side Tower building in Berlin, adjacent to the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

World's first sideways elevator unveiled

World’s first sideways elevator unveiled

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Charity offers vital support for apprentices with learning difficulties

Almost 15% of young adults in the electrical industry are dealing with learning difficulties such as dyslexia and through its Apprentice Support Programme, the Electrical Industries Charity is providing vital support to ensure these young people succeed in their chosen career.

Dyslexia is a hidden problem that can be missed at schools, and often shows its presence through disruptive behaviour and missed schooling. For example, at the age of 15, Scott left school, due to many years of bullying and missed education. He is now well on the way to completing his apprenticeship, and all of his work is well documented. However, he has yet to pass his final written exam, and it is now that his difficulties have come to light.

After years of ongoing bullying at school for being ‘stupid’ Scott almost quit his apprenticeship thinking that his dyslexia was an intelligence issue. His employer was keen to help him through this final stage of his apprenticeship and, therefore, he approached the Electrical Industries Charity to get more support for Scott.

The Electrical Industries Charity joined ties with JTL to facilitate Scott’s first ever assessment for dyslexia and found a specialist tutor to help him on a one-to-one basis. Scott will now be supported right through his exam, and on to a successful journey as a fully qualified electrician.

In the electrical sector, there are many young apprentices like Scott who are not aware of their learning difficulty, which can stand in the way of pursuing their dream career. By joining together, the Electrical Industries Charity and JTL are helping young apprentices to succeed in their chosen careers and aim to end the stigma of mental health issues while creating awareness and giving them the support they need.

Tessa Ogle, managing director of the Charity, says: “Dyslexia is a hidden problem that is often missed throughout schooling. One in 10 people in the UK are affected by dyslexia. The Electrical Industries Charity is working hard to ensure awareness of dyslexia is better understood in the sector. With almost 15% of the electrical and energy industry suffering with it, it makes sense to create greater awareness and provide support through our Employee Assistance Programmes.”

Charity offers vital support for apprentices with learning difficulties

Charity offers vital support for apprentices with learning difficulties

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Boiler industry plays key role in innovating to reduce emissions

The chief executive of The Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA), former MP and international development minister, Mike Foster, will be presenting at the Worcester Bosch Environment 2020 awards, focusing on the role that heat decarbonisation can play in enabling the UK to meet carbon emission reduction targets.

The Committee on Climate Change called for new strategies to be put in place in order to meet our carbon reduction targets. The EUA believe that transforming domestic heating, using green gas, provides a real solution. Mike will highlight the role that Worcester Bosch is playing to help the UK meet its international climate change obligations.

Around 20% of the nation’s carbon emissions are generated by domestic heating. Given that the UK has the world’s leading gas grid infrastructure in place, directly supplying heat to 85% of homes, there is real potential for green gas to be the future of heating. Multiple opportunities exist regarding green gas; namely biomethane, methane and hydrogen blended gas, synthetic gas from black bag waste and, in the long-term, 100% hydrogen.

Mike said: “The UK needs to decarbonise and Worcester Bosch play a vital role in paving a way for us to do so. Using greener forms of gas to heat homes will minimise the disruption consumers face, keeping their costs to a minimum, while helping to save the planet.

“Particularly exciting is the new technology that takes black bin waste and converts it to gas, which can then be used in our homes. The other emerging thinking is around the use of hydrogen, either mixed with natural gas or used on its own. New boiler technology needs to be developed for this to work, and I know Worcester Bosch is at the forefront of this innovation.”

Boiler industry plays key role in innovating to reduce emissions

Boiler industry plays key role in innovating to reduce emissions

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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3 in 4 electrical workers opposed to agency labour

Over three in four electrotechnical workers (76%) say they prefer working for a direct employer rather than a labour agency, according to new survey findings commissioned by the Joint Industry Board.

Of those who say they preferred direct employment, almost two in three respondents (62%) said it was to ‘enjoy their full employment rights’. A similar number say they preferred ‘steady employment’ (63%) and ‘valued the holidays and additional benefits available’ (59%).

Just one in six respondents (16%) say they favour agency labour work over direct employment. Over four in 10 of those who preferred agency work (43%) said it was due to the flexibility, while nearly three in 10 (29%) said it was because they could earn more.

ECA director of employment Alex Meikle comments: “These findings overwhelmingly show that electrotechnical workers are more content and likely to be more productive working directly for an employer.

“While agency workers can be a necessary source of flexible labour for businesses, the industry should take a hard look at the value of temporary employment. It’s now time for a rebalancing that ensures worker productivity is maximised moving forward.”

Some 422 electrotechnical workers from across the UK responded to the survey, which was held during the first quarter of the year.

The ECA’s recent submission to the government’s industrial strategy consultation noted that ‘higher (employee) engagement is associated with higher performance’, and urged the government to consider using the procurement process to improve employer-worker collaboration.

The 2009 government-commissioned Macleod report found that ‘the correlation between engagement, wellbeing and performance is repeated too often to be a coincidence’. This view indicates the value of employee engagement and support initiatives – such as occupational health assessments and CPD training – to ensuring worker productivity.

Another recent ECA survey on the value of corporate social responsibility found that half of electrotechnical businesses said that having a CSR policy in place meant they were more likely to retain and recruit staff.

3 in 4 electrical workers opposed to agency labour

3 in 4 electrical workers opposed to agency labour

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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England stars take on Worcester’s Boiler Box Challenge

Worcester, Bosch Group is inviting installers to take on the Boiler Box Challenge, after taking ex-England stars Wayne Bridge and Kyran Bracken back to their roots for its Rely On campaign.

With the campaign aiming to celebrate the things and people that we rely on every day, the manufacturer took the two sporting legends from the world of football and rugby back to surprise the players, parents and coaches at their childhood clubs in Southampton and Liverpool.

As well as offering pep talks and coaching sessions, Wayne and Kyran were on hand to deliver hot beverages and snacks to keep parents warm once the matches got underway. After the games, a final surprise was in store – each club being presented with a £1,000 cheque on behalf of the heating and hot water manufacturer.

Then, back on the very pitches where they first learned to play, the ex-pros took on Worcester’s Boiler Box Challenge, which saw the former internationals attempt to chip or throw a football or rugby ball into an empty boiler box.

Now, Worcester is inviting installers to submit their own efforts. From rainbow flicks to scorpion kicks, the manufacturer is asking for the most impressive ways engineers can get a football or rugby ball into an empty boiler box – with a host of signed balls to give away for the most creative clips.

You can watch Wayne and Kyran taking on the challenge on Worcester’s social media channels. Then, post your own attempts using #BoilerBoxChallenge for your chance to win a signed football or rugby ball.

Worcester is also on the lookout for deserving junior clubs to visit. Nominate a team, club, or society who you think deserves a surprise from the Worcester team before July 30, at: www.worcester-bosch.co.uk/rely.

England stars take on Worcester's Boiler Box Challenge

England stars take on Worcester’s Boiler Box Challenge

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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This month Hotcost were featured on Electrical Contracting News

This month Hotcost were featured on Electrical Contracting News website discussing the ED&I Expo.

The ED&I Expo is the UK’s new national trade show for the electrical industry and is taking place at the NEC, Birmingham, on 6th-7th September, the show will provide hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of brands, learning opportunities and networking events. Sign up is available here.

Hotcost will be in attendance this year, you can find us at stand 128, and we are also delighted to a Gold Sponsor for this fantastic event.

Have a look at the featured article on the Electrical Contracting News website by clicking here and if you haven’t already signup for this fantastic event below.

 

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