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March Newsletter 2019

March 2019 Newsletter

 

‘Research shows growth in demand for smart controls, First ever tradesman blacklist launched, Kent Uni tenders £20m life science building, Ban new homes from gas grid by 2025, says CCC, Only 21% would upgrade a working boiler, research reveals’.

 

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Research show growth in demand for smart controls

Smart heating controls are likely to take market share from conventional heating controls in the longer term, according to the latest Domestic Central Heating market report (2018-2022) from AMA Research.

In 2017, it was estimated that around 30% of heating controls sold by value were smart heating controls. This figure was deemed likely to increase to over 45% of heating controls sold by value by 2022.

UK householders were becoming much more environmentally aware and using smart heating solutions in order to minimise energy usage and to save money, AMA found, estimating that around 5% of UK homes now have smart heating controls installed.

The future performance of the UK domestic heating market will be influenced by overall trends in housebuilding, home improvement, fuel prices, renewable technologies, and technological developments.” added Hayley Thornley, head of research at AMA Research. “While increasing legislation around energy efficiency represents a major influence in the long-term development of the domestic central heating market. The UK smart heating controls sector has evolved as part of the smart home market and is expected to show good levels of growth to 2022 and beyond.

 

Research show growth in demand for smart controls 

Research show growth in demand for smart controls

 

Source: HPM Magazine

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Lighting for the greater good

In this exclusive editorial, Tamlite Lighting explains why low-quality lighting can have an adverse effect on wellbeing and assesses why high-quality luminaires are essential for today’s business owners.

The importance of quality over price

‘Buy cheap, buy twice’ is an attitude echoed throughout the construction industry, so it pays to provide solutions that focus on quality rather than cutting costs.

To this end, there have been a number of initiatives to try and minimise the prevalence of ‘spec-breaking’, as project design teams look for the cheapest alternative to their needs, rather than using products that will provide the expected benefits.

One such initiative is the Building in Quality (BIQ) Quality Tracker, developed by RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects). This picks up on the construction industry’s many efforts to improve quality in buildings in the wake of several high-profile events, not least the Grenfell Tower fire. It resonates particularly strongly with what Dame Judith Hackitt described in her Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: Final Report as the ‘golden thread’ of information from concept to finished building and beyond.

This is particularly key for lighting designers and specifiers. Lighting upgrades are often required for specific reasons, whether it’s improved energy efficiency, better quality of illumination, or more control of the lighting.

If an upgrade is carried out using cheaper luminaires that do not fully match up to the original specification, then end-users may find themselves no better off than they were initially.

Breaking spec can reduce light quality

When specifying a new lighting system, switching to LED isn’t enough. This is a common pitfall when choosing luminaires for a lighting upgrade. While LED fittings do indeed tend to be more energy efficient than fluorescent alternatives, cheaper LED luminaires may not offer the longevity or improved illumination that comes with higher quality luminaires.

A common complaint with cheaper luminaires is a lack of glare control. Discomfort glare can be a major problem for people trying to focus, particularly in offices or education environments. Luminaires that cause reflection off desks or computers can cause serious problems for workers and students, highlighting the need for luminaires fitted with specialised diffusers or beam angles to reduce the prevalence of glare.

This can be pivotal from a specification perspective, as lighting designs may be put together based on certain luminaires being installed. If a specification required certain spacings between luminaires in order to achieve a higher UGR rating, and cheaper fittings are used instead, then this may lead to dark patches throughout the room.

An uneven light distribution can lead to eye strain and discomfort, which can cause headaches and affect people’s wellbeing. As wellbeing is becoming increasingly significant for business owners and facility managers, a lighting system supplied to full specification can have considerable benefits for end-users in terms of productivity, employee performance and reduced absenteeism.

The impact of low-quality lighting on wellbeing

There has been a lot of recent research into employee productivity and wellbeing, and there is no denying the logic that happier, healthier and more comfortable employees are going to be more productive, and the notion of fashioning workplaces that are conducive to good health is certainly not a new one.

The role of lighting in enhancing wellbeing in the workplace cannot be understated. The circadian rhythm is the natural daily cycle that helps humans wake up in the morning and fall asleep at night. Naturally, humans are exposed to bluer light in the morning to midday, followed by warmer colour temperatures in the afternoon and evening.

Artificial lighting in workplaces that replicate this can make people feel more in tune with their natural rhythms, and in turn will enhance their wellbeing and boost productivity and focus. Higher specification luminaires can achieve this through tunable white lighting. Hence, lighting designs that require tunable lighting must be wary of ‘spec-breaking’, as cheaper fittings may not be able to replicate natural colour changes.

Furthermore, factors such as flicker and glare are more prevalent with poor quality luminaires, and these can seriously impair the wellbeing of employees.

The importance of wellbeing

The considerable benefits of wellbeing for business owners, as well as end-users, cannot be ignored. One in six workers feel that their workplace is having a diminishing effect on their wellbeing (according to the British Council of Offices), so the value for employers in terms of staff retention and happiness is clear.

Furthermore, the World Green Building Council found that an improved lighting design can lead to a 23% increase in productivity, highlighting the link between lighting and improved employee performance for businesses. A number of studies also suggest that concentration, focus and learning retention in schools, colleges and universities are all linked to light.

The problems, then, of ‘spec-breaking’ when installing a lighting system can be significant. If cheap alternatives to modern, high quality luminaires are specified, then substantial benefits may be missed in terms of worker wellbeing and retention.

Highlighting the benefits of lighting for wellbeing to customers can not only discourage cheaper alternatives from being used, but may also increase the likelihood of a one-phase project becoming a multi-phase scheme, which can provide significant, long-term benefits for contractors.

For further information, visit tamlite.co.uk

 

Lighting for the greater good

Lighting for the greater good

 

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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Only 21% would upgrade a working boiler, research reveals 

While 44% would upgrade a TV that still worked, less than half of this would choose to do the same with their boiler, according to new research from Hometree.

In a survey of over 2,000 UK adults, three in five (59%) admitted to upgrading a product needlessly. Of these people, 35% said they just ‘fancied a change’, and 19% said they found a model that looked better.

The research found that while many would upgrade a perfectly good TV (44%), wearable tech (42%), and smart speakers (40%), only half as many (21%) would choose to upgrade a boiler. Boilers, in fact, came at the bottom of the list of items people would choose to upgrade, behind washing machines (25%), fridges (26%), and vacuum cleaners (31%).

79% of respondents actually said they would be irritated to have to spend money upgrading their boiler. A quarter said they would be annoyed, with a further 54% extremely annoyed, “begrudgingly forking out” their money.

On average, the research suggested that people upgraded their boilers around every nine years, while people upgraded their TVs every six, smart speakers every four, and wearable tech every three years.

Simon Phelan, Chief Executive of Hometree, said: “Boilers are bottom of people’s lists when it comes to upgrades, despite them being the heart of the home, arguably the most important white good. For years, it was not just the expense, but the whole rigmarole of the process that was a pain – from the time getting quotes and installing it, to being sold extras you’re not sure you need, and so on. In 2019, things are different. The process can now take days not months, and prices through online-led installers such as Hometree are considerably less than they were with the established providers.

“Consumers can actually save up to 30% on their household bills with a new energy efficient boiler but the initial cost to purchase the boiler puts them off. Opting for finance options or Buy Now Pay Later options can mean that customers get the peace of mind of a new boiler and energy savings without eating into their savings.”

The research was carried out by Censuswide. Fieldwork took place between 25 and 28 January 2019. The questions were asked to a nationally representative sample of 2,005 UK adults aged 16 and over.

 

Only 21% would upgrade a working boiler, research reveals 

Only 21% would upgrade a working boiler, research reveals

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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First ever tradesmen blacklist launched 

A surge in doorstep rogue traders is ripping off thousands of home owners for shoddy work that is unfinished, not even started or grossly overpriced.

Police and Trading Standards held a national day of joint enforcement action, Operation Rogue Trader, which saw Trading Standards work alongside police to target rogue traders and aggressive doorstep sellers. Officers were able to identify 708 individual offences, leading to 19 arrests and the seizure of 39 vehicles. Consumers were saved nearly £5,200. (Source: Trading Standards, November 2018).

There is no single trusted source of cowboy builders and workmen available to the general public, until now.  PropertyHeads.com, the property and social network portal, has just launched a Tradesmen Blacklist of rogue traders that have a criminal record – the first of its kind.  propertyheads.com/tradesmen_blacklist.

With over 1,000 names recorded in the Tradesmen Blacklist, homeowners are invited to report  rogue traders on the portal, so they can be added to the database. Users can search the portal’s database of hundreds of convicted tradesmen, as part of their background checks when looking to hire some help.

But the Blacklist is about more than just cowboy builders and fraudsters, it has several convicted murderers and rapists on the Blacklist – not people you would knowingly invite into your home.

Research from the Traders Blacklist reveals that the majority of rogue traders are builders (26%), followed by roofers (17%), driveway traders and gardeners (13%), painter and decorators (11%), plasterers (10%), bricklayers (6%) and carpenters (4%).

Many rogue traders are repeat offenders and some have more than 50 convictions. High risk areas include County Durham, Kent and Essex with low risk areas including Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire and Greater London.

Ben Davis, CEO of PropertyHeads.com comments: “We are appalled that so many homeowners are being ripped off by rogue traders and want to help. Quite simply reputable companies do not doorstep for new customers and homeowners would be well advised to avoid those that do.

“It is widely accepted that the best way to engage a reliable tradesman is by word of mouth. But how can you possibly know which of your friends and colleagues has used a reliable tradesman without asking all of them? And why is it that traditional tradesman review websites are built around anonymous reviews?

“PropertyHeads.com addresses both of these issues as it shows users the reviews from people they already know and trust when they search for a tradesman. This is great news for the consumer.  Not only do they easily get reviews, they can also attribute to a friend, or colleague.  It makes the process of referencing and inspecting tradesmen’s work that much easier too. It’s also good for genuine tradesmen, as they are able to grow their businesses by word of mouth.

“Three things struck me when we put together the Tradesman Blacklist. Firstly, rogue tradesman will go to extraordinary lengths to mislead their victims including faking their own cancer and using vehicles with government agency sign-writing. Secondly, even those with seemingly reputable backgrounds – we have several ex Police and military in our Blacklist – are capable of awful crimes. And third, the sheer number of victims involved.

“If our Blacklist helps just one homeowner avoid being ripped-off, then we will have done a good service.”

It’s vital that people carry out research before they have any building or maintenance done, as it could save them thousands in the long run.  Ask for recommendations, perform background checks, insist on and keep all paperwork and do not pay in advance. There is so much information available online but, only PropertyHeads.com shows consumers reviews from people they already trust.

PropertyHeads.com has also put together some advice on how to avoid rogue traders:

Be suspicious of anyone who comes to the door offering to fix your roof etc.

          Do not work with door steppers at all. The PropertyHeads.com Tradesmen Blacklist has hundreds of examples of doorsteppers often preying on the elderly (oldest reported victim 99) and sometimes returning to time and again until life savings have been taken.

          Never pay upfront

          For larger jobs have a detailed payment schedule with clear milestones. If you do pay for materials only pay when they arrive on site

          Get paperwork in order. Keep copies of the contract, invoices and receipts. Ask for details of insurance and keep those too. No written contract / details of work, best avoid.

          Go with your gut. Price seems too good to be true? Little idea of how long the job will take? Don’t seem to have the right tools? Cash?

          Ask for and check out at least two references. Inspect the work if possible. Of course it’s easier to inspect the work and quiz the referee if you already know that person.

          Do some basic checks. They should have a landline phone, an address and be registered with Companies House as a minimum.

          By far the best thing is to get word-of-mouth recommendation. Easiest way to do that is on PropertyHeads where you will be shown the tradesmen known by your existing trusted contacts.

For more information, please visit www.propertyheads.com.

 

First ever tradesmen blacklist launched 

First ever tradesmen blacklist launched

 

Source: Electrical Times

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Ban new homes from gas grid by 2025, says CCC

Newbuilds should no longer be connected to the gas grid within the next six years, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has recommended in a new report.

The report, titled UK housing: Fit for the future?, also states that, from 2025 at the latest, new homes should be heated using low carbon energy sources, have “ultra-high” levels of energy efficiency alongside appropriate ventilation, and be timber-framed where possible.

It also found that emissions reductions from the UK’s 29 million homes have stalled, while energy use in homes – which accounts for 14% of total UK emissions – increased between 2016 and 2017.

The report said: “We will not meet our targets for emissions reduction without near complete decarbonisation of the housing stock. Energy use in homes accounts for about 14% of UK greenhouse gas emissions.

“These emissions need to fall by at least 24% by 2030 from 1990 levels, but are currently off track. In 2017, annual temperature-adjusted emissions from buildings rose by around 1% relative to the previous year.”

Key problems halting the progress of energy efficiency and decarbonisation cited by the report included significant policy gaps where climate-related risks are concerned, as well as a lack of ambition with building standards, which the report described as “overly complex” and having poor compliance.

Baroness Brown, Chair of the CCC’s Adaptation Committee, said: “This report confirms what we have long-suspected: UK homes are largely unprepared for climate change. The government now has an opportunity to act. There must be compliance with stated building designs and standards.

“We need housing with low-carbon sources of heating. And we must finally grasp the challenge of improving our poor levels of home energy efficiency. As the climate continues to change, our homes are becoming increasingly uncomfortable and unsafe. This will continue unless we take steps now to adapt them for higher temperatures, flooding and water scarcity. Our report shows that this work has barely begun.”

The report can be found here.

 

Ban new homes from gas grid by 2025, says CCC

Ban new homes from gas grid by 2025, says CCC

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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South Ayrshire sets out a 10-year capital programme

Councillors in South Ayrshire have approved a capital investment programme that will see almost £350m spent over the next 10 years on projects including leisure facilities, schools and roads.

More than £113m will be invested in schools and early years facilities over the next decade. This includes new schools for Girvan Primary (£22.4m), Carrick Academy in Maybole (£21.2m), Glenburn Primary and St Ninian’s Primary shared campus in Prestwick (£17.6m) and Sacred Heart Primary in Girvan (£3.9m), as well as a range of school refurbishment projects. Early years projects being progressed in 2019/20 include the opening of the new Cherry Tree Early Years Centre.

Almost £50m of the programme will be spent on sport and leisure facilities across the area. This includes £40m for a new leisure facility in Ayr town centre and £7.1m for additional sporting facilities at Craigie Sporting Centre.

An additional £9.5m has been added to the programme for road reconstruction and improvement, taking the total over the ten years to £17.5m, while more than £5m has been allocated for street-lighting and LED replacement.

Funding of £21m has also been added to the programme in respect of investment in Prestwick Airport as part of the Council’s contribution to delivering the Ayrshire Growth Deal, which is being supported by funding of £200m from the UK and Scottish Governments.

Councillor Peter Henderson, portfolio holder for resources and performance, said: “The capital investment we have set out today will touch the lives of everyone in South Ayrshire and make them better – whether that’s through giving our children the best possible start in life, providing our young people with the best education in the highest quality facilities, providing access to first-class sport and leisure facilities that support people to get fit and active and support their health and wellbeing, or delivering the infrastructure to create jobs and grow the economy.”

 

South Ayrshire sets out 10-year capital programme

South Ayrshire sets out 10-year capital programme

 

Source: The Construction Index

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MPs demand review of working at height dangers 

MPs are demanding a major review of working at height in a bid to cut the number of deaths and accidents caused by falls.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Working at Height has published a new report calling on the Government and industry to undertake a major review of working at height culture.

It also wants to see improved reporting of incidents and introduce reporting on near misses.

The report, Staying Alive: Preventing Serious Injury and Fatalities while Working at Heightis the result of a 12 month inquiry by the APPG.

Politicians explored why 18% of people who die at work do so as a result of a fall from height, and what steps can be taken by government and industry to prevent incidents for the millions of people in the UK that work at height.

The report makes 4 primary recommendations to reduce the overall number of falls:

  • The introduction of an enhanced reporting system through RIDDOR.
  • The appointment of an independent body that allows confidential, enhanced and digital reporting of all near misses, to be shared with government and industry to inform health and safety policy.
  • The extension of the Working Well Together – Working Well at Height safety campaigns.
  • An equivalent system to Scotland’s Fatal Accident Inquiry process extended to the rest of the UK.

Alison Thewliss, Chair of the APPG on Working at Height and MP for Glasgow Central said“Every fall from height can have life-altering consequences for workers and their families. There is an urgent need to improve work at height culture, yet this issue is sadly not at the top of decision-makers’ agenda.

“A lack of empirical data prevents us from understanding the root causes of falls from height. This is compounded by a cultural obstacle when it comes to supporting people to report unsafe practices.

“We have made comprehensive recommendations to government, but the APPG’s work does not stop here. Our report must be the first step in a wider process of systematic and cultural change. It is now time for policy-makers to act.”

The APPG is now calling for a further period of consultation and a major review of work at height culture, including how to engage with difficult to reach sectors, the suitability of financial penalties, and the role of digital technologies in improving the safety environment.

 

MPs demand review of working at height dangers 

MPs demand review of working at height dangers

 

Source: Construction Enquirer 

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Women installers together conference returns for 2019

The 2019 Women Installers Together (WIT) conference will take place on 4 July, the event organisers have announced.

The WIT conference aims to provide a forum to discuss ways in which the industry can improve access and conditions for women plumbers.

This year’s conference will take place on 4 July at the Building Centre, Store Street, London, but the format will be slightly different with round table discussions added so that delegates can share stories and experiences of working in the industry.

Features of this year’s conference include:

  • Engaging speakers
  • Round Tables
  • Networking
  • Raffle
  • Lunch

For more information about the conference, please visit stopcocks.uk/women-installers-together

 

Women installers together conference returns for 2019

Women installers together conference returns for 2019

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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Low Carbon Workspaces offers £1,000 energy cashback

Throughout February and March 2019, Low Carbon Workspaces is making grants of £1,000 available to 50 small and medium-sized businesses spending over £2,000 on a first-come, first-served basis – the deadline is March 31st.

The Low Carbon Workspaces £1,000 Energy Cashback grants can be claimed towards LED lighting, heating and cooling upgrades, insulation, double-glazing, energy efficient computer servers and printers and other projects that will result in a quantifiable carbon saving.

Rowan Wallis, Low Carbon Workspaces’ Programme Manager, said: “We are delighted to open the Low Carbon Workspaces programme to SMEs with smaller energy efficiency projects, so they too can benefit from implementing energy, cost and carbon saving initiatives.”

He added: “Applications are coming in already, so I’d encourage interested businesses to get in touch with us ASAP.”

The application process is quick and easy, however, the grant must be awarded before installation commences or any payments to suppliers are made (including deposits).

To apply, visit: https://www.lowcarbonworkspaces.co.uk/EnergyCashback.

 

Low Carbon Workspaces offers £1,000 energy cashback

Low Carbon Workspaces offers £1,000 energy cashback

 

Source: Professional Electrician 

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Bosch Commerical and Industrial announces enhancements to its GB162 light commercial gas boiler

Bosch Commercial and Industrial has announced a series of enhancements to its popular GB162 light commercial gas boiler, for improved installation, servicing and operation.

Increased flexibility

For the first time, the GB162 is available as an 85kW model, meaning the boiler is now available in outputs of 50kW, 65kW, 85kW and 100kW. With the condensing boiler’s innovative cascade design, it can cater for large heat demands of up to 1.6MW, coming into and out of operation when required to ensure even load matching.

A key feature of the new GB162 is the introduction of overpressure flues which result in reduced installation height and increased flexibility. With each flue containing a flue gas non-return valve, the need for a large cascade flue header is removed, while flue gases are prevented from re-entering cascaded boilers which aren’t firing. This results in reduced installation costs due to smaller flue diameters, and makes the solution even better suited for buildings with narrower chimneys and in plant rooms with low ceilings and restricted space, making it retrofit friendly.

Advanced commissioning and servicing

The new boiler model also features an improved syphon with a threaded connection for a secure fit, offering peace of mind to the commissioning engineer, while 360° insulation helps to reduce heat loss and energy consumption. The addition of a single-sided removable cover also improves access to internal components to simplify servicing and maintenance, particularly for cascades in tight plant rooms.

The GB162 now boasts a new pump group which offers the combination of lower hydraulic resistance and more residual pump head, which is ideal for single boilers and single heating circuit installations to reduce installation costs and energy bills, as there is no need to run an external system pump.

State-of-the-art control

Crucially, the updated GB162 is compatible with the leading connected commercial boiler control. The Control 8000 allows for medium and large commercial heating systems to be monitored and controlled remotely via a computer or tablet, helping service engineers to know exactly what is wrong with the heating system before they come to site.

Tim Davies, Business Development Director at Bosch Commercial and Industrial, comments: “The GB162 is an extremely popular product in our commercial boiler portfolio due to its ease of installation, reliability, and high performance. By listening to feedback from heating engineers and building a number of enhancements into the model, we have been able to make it even more versatile for a wider variety of large domestic and commercial installations, from large homes to schools and care facilities.”

For more information on Bosch Commercial and Industrial and its range of heating, cooling and hot water technologies, please visit www.bosch-commercial.co.uk. Alternatively, follow Bosch Commercial and Industrial on Twitter (@BoschHeating_UK) and LinkedIn (Bosch Commercial and Industrial UK).

 

Bosch Commerical and Industrial announces enhancements to its GB162 light commercial gas boiler

Bosch Commerical and Industrial announces enhancements to its GB162 light commercial gas boiler

 

Source: Installer Online

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Construction buyers report first work dip in nearly a year

Construction buyers saw industry activity contract in February for the first time in 11 months.

The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Total Activity Index registered 49.5 in February – the first time it has dipped below the 50 no-change mark since March 2018.

A drop in commercial and civil engineering work caused the fall with residential construction the only sector still expanding.

Tim Moore, Economics Associate Director at IHS Markit, said: “The UK construction sector moved into decline during February as Brexit anxiety intensified and clients opted to delay decision-making on building projects.

“Risk aversion in the commercial sub-category has exerted a downward influence on workloads throughout the year so far. This reflects softer business spending on fixed assets such as industrial units, offices and retail space.

“The fall in commercial work therefore hints at a further slide in domestic business investment during the first quarter, continuing the declines seen in 2018.

“There were also reports that the more fragile housing market confidence has begun to act as a brake on residential work, which adds to signs that house building has lost momentum since the end of last year.

“This leaves the construction sector increasingly reliant on large-scale infrastructure projects for growth over the year ahead.

“Construction companies pared back their purchasing activity in response to subdued demand in February, but delivery delays for inputs were among the highest seen over the past four years.

“Survey respondents noted that stockpiling efforts by the UK manufacturing sector had an adverse impact on transport availability and supplier capacity across the construction supply chain.

“On a more positive note, input price inflation held close to January’s two-and-a-half year low.

“The slowdown in cost pressures from the peaks seen in the first half of 2018 provides a signal that the worst phase has passed for supplier price hikes related to sterling depreciation.”

 

Construction buyers report first work dip in nearly a year

Construction buyers report first work dip in nearly a year

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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The world surges ahead

The 18th Edition regulations represent a change of protection for installations, designed especially to increase the level of safety and reduce the risks associated with transient over-voltages. With the changes now in force, Scott Gallagher of Finder looks at the origins of surge protection.

A shocking start

In 1752, Benjamin Franklin conducted his revolutionary experiment capturing charges from a mere cloud. An early adopter of health and safety, Franklin was cautious to stand on an insulator, keeping his long-frizzled hair dry under cover to protect himself and to prevent the disaster of an electric shock.

Others, captivated by the projects of Franklin, were indeed electrocuted in performing lighting experiments during the months immediately following, which highlighted the danger and the importance of the possibility of this discovery. Not one to be disengaged from his passions, Franklin invented the ‘lightning rod’, the first real step in surge protection.

Enlightenment

1775 marked the year that Alessandro Volta, a professor of physics at the Royal School in Como, developed an improved version of the ‘Electrophorus’; a device that produced controlled, high voltage, static electricity. Volta continued his investigations and in 1776 ignited methane with an electrical spark, 80 years before the invention of the spark plug. One of the first to develop a real understanding of electricity, Volta went on to create the ‘Voltaic Pile’, a precursor to the modern battery, and now all those volts in a surge are named after him as a mark of his discoveries.

The world surges ahead

Franklin’s invention of the ‘lightning rod’ provided the world with what was thought to be almost all of the protection it needed, stopping tall buildings from catching fire during the vicious thunderstorms that arose, until the invention of the ‘electric telegraph’.

However, the development of electrical distribution systems in the late 19th Century brought the unfortunate consequences of electrical disturbances to everyone. And as those systems and the attached installations manifested in size, complexity, and value, so did the need for a more sophisticated approach for protection. That leads us to what we have today and the topic of this article, a new change in the wiring regulations.

Changes to the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations

January 2019 represented an important milestone in the industry. Changes for the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations went live, and some of these changes mean that surge protection devices (SPDs) have increased importance in installations. Now, a risk assessment is required to be carried out by an electrician to determine whether an SPD should be installed. If a risk assessment is not carried out, then an SPD must be automatically installed.

The risk assessment should consider criteria such as:

  • The probability of lightning strikes
  • The exposure of the building to transients
  • The sensitivity and value of the electrical equipment that requires protection
  • Earthing systems
  • Level of protection required

Over-voltage protection is now required in certain circumstances, such as: where there is a risk of serious injury or loss of life; where many co-located people are affected; and where there is an interruption to public services or commercial/industrial activity.

 

The world surges ahead

The world surges ahead

 

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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Kent Uni tenders £20m life science building

The University of Kent is pressing ahead with plans to build a £20m Life Science Building at its Canterbury Campus in Kent.

Architect Stride Treglown with building services engineer Hoare Lea and Craddys have designed the new education building which will connect to the existing science block.

Expressions of interest must be made by the end of March on the Delta E-sourcing portal with bids expected to be invited from selected contractors by 5 April.

 

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Nottingham Forest unveil stadium revamp plans

Nottingham Forest have revealed plans to redevelop the City Ground in a move that will see it become the largest stadium in the East Midlands.

The club have been drawing up redevelopment plans for 18 months with the aim of starting at the end of next season.

Plans include building a new Peter Taylor Stand and improvements to the Trentside area, Brian Clough and Bridgford Stands.

The new stand will include a museum, new club shop and a range of hospitality lounge facilities. When complete The City Ground’s capacity will reach 38,000.

The club unveiled the stadium plan, drawn up by architect Benoy, after an agreement with the City Council for an extended lease on The City Ground

Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis said: “The City Ground has iconic history and memories for our supporters and these legacies were fundamental in our decision us to remain on the banks of the River Trent and not relocating to an alternative site.

“This is our home and we will remain here forever.

“This investment is about our club and the city of Nottingham and we are all committed together to deliver a place that we will all feel proud of, The New City Ground, our home forever.”

 

Nottingham Forest unveil stadium revamp plans

Nottingham Forest unveil stadium revamp plans

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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February Newsletter 2019

February 2019 Newsletter

 

‘Reducing energy consumption with cooler cables, 2019 heating trends with Aestus, Electrical apprentice contest heats up, £200m Liverpool scheme enabling works approved, Manchester building boom outstrips LA and Chicago’.

 

Quick Links

 


86% of Brits want more done to tackle energy theft, research finds

86% of respondents to a recent study think that energy companies should be working harder to tackle energy theft.

The study was commissioned by outsourced utility customer engagement specialists Echo Managed Services and Grosvenor Services Group, and endorsed by Crimestoppers UK.

The research surveyed 2,000 UK residents and found widespread public support for greater measures to be taken against meter cheating. Current statistics show that 150,000 cases are investigated annually, but only around 1,500 people are charged.

Among those who advocate further action, 43% said that energy companies have a social obligation to combat meter cheating, given that meter cheating leads to at least one injury or death every 10 days in the UK, due to electric shocks, fires, and gas explosions.

A further 43% of respondents stated it’s because of the extra financial burden that energy theft places on their own bills. The practice currently amounts to £400 million in stolen gas and electricity every year, adding around £20 to every household’s annual bill.

The survey also looked at media visibility of energy theft and found that only 14% recalled seeing any news coverage of the crime in the past 12 months. This may be part of the reason for low awareness levels across the board; 80% of people said they were unaware of the financial implications of energy theft, with 39% of those surveyed stating they weren’t aware of the risks it causes to public safety.

Lloyd Birkhead, Managing Director of Grosvenor Services Group, said: “The overwhelming sentiment from UK billpayers is that energy companies should be doing more to tackle this problem and that it is their duty to do so. While there is an obligation under licence condition 12 to take action, investigation activity varies considerably across the sector, with only some suppliers meeting the Ofgem theft incentive target.

“Too often investigating energy theft is viewed more as an additional cost burden to a business rather than taking into account the long term benefits of avoiding future income losses and potential safety repercussions.

“More must also be done to increase the visibility of energy theft and make it a mainstream crime issue. This can be achieved through reactive reporting – for example, when convictions are secured – but also through proactive public campaigns. These need to drive home the financial harm and public safety risks of tampered meters, as well as raise further awareness of confidential reporting lines, such as the Crimestoppers Stay Energy Safe helpline.”

 

86% of Brits want more done to tackle energy theft, research finds

86% of Brits want more done to tackle energy theft, research finds

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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Reducing energy consumption with cooler cables

Poor cable management requires more conditioned air to prevent hot spots, higher utility bills and potential hazards. Here are some commons cable locations and best practices:

Through raised floors

Avoid bypass air escaping from cable openings and reduce the amount of air conditioning required. Seal all cable openings under racks and power equipment and move or replace all supply tiles in front of IT equipment with solid tiles to improve conditioned air’s flow rate.

Under raised floors

Air dams created from cables obstructing air flow restricts cool air reaching equipment. Prevent cable trays from blocking air flow through supply tiles by placing them in hot aisles and positioning them as high as possible. This will allow air to flow underneath them. Try and place cable trays at the same height wherever possible so that conditioned air can flow in a straight path. Also, don’t forget to remove any unused cables.

In racks

Increasing densities reduces air flow and exhaust. Use wider cabinets with cable management built into the side instead of directly behind the exhaust ports. Deeper cabinets will also give the air more room to escape vertically. Use blanking panels over any unused rack space so that air flows to the installed equipment.

Overhead cables

Overloaded underfloor cables can restrict airflow. Move cable distribution to overhead to increase airflow. Don’t place cable management trays high above the cabinets, instead, position cable management trays within a few inches of the top of an IT cabinet. This will make exhaust air flow to the top of the room and over the top of cable trays, improving your overall airflow management in the room.

Proper airflow management comes from proper cable management. This is how you keep your IT equipment cooled and running efficiently and reliability, improving your power usage effectiveness.

Find out more

 

Reducing energy consumption with cooler cables

Reducing energy consumption with cooler cables

 

Source: Electrical Trade Magazine

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New consumer guide to hot water servicing

A new guide for consumers detailing what they can expect when having their hot water storage cylinder serviced by a registered engineer, has been produced by the Hot Water Association (HWA). Described as the first of its kind, the Homeowners guide to Unvented Hot Water Storage Cylinder Servicing’ lays out an agreed industry best-practice approach to hot water cylinder servicing, while noting the important role played by manufacturer’s’ instructions. The guide also aims to educate consumers on the standards they should expect and details a list of the steps engineers should take when they visit a customer’s home.

Isaac Occhipinti, Head of External Affairs, HWA comments: “Servicing is a topic that crops up almost on a daily basis. What constitutes a full service? What guidelines can I follow? These are regular conversations in the industry. As a result, the HWA, and its members have been considering what can be done to bring greater transparency, quality and consistency to servicing in the UK. Helping the professional, accredited and diligent registered engineer to cut through and raise awareness of the necessity and requirements of a proper hot water storage system service.

“As most cylinders have common component parts, a guide which outlines agreed industry standards, founded on technical competence, legislative compliance and consumer protection seemed sensible. It therefore focuses on compliance with legal requirements (e.g. AD Part G) and ensures essential appliance checks, tests and servicing tasks are correctly carried out, and in a safe manner.

“This consumer-facing guide supports the professional accredited engineer. We believe that by outlining what homeowners can expect from their service, it will assist with the message that ‘the cheapest quote isn’t always the best.”

Engineers can download and share the guide via our website here

 

New consumer guide to hot water servicing

New consumer guide to hot water servicing

 

Source: PHAM News

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Electrical apprentice contest heats up

Following the announcement last September of the 2019 NICEIC and ELECSA Electrical Apprentice of the Year Competition, the organisers have revealed that over 650 students have now entered.

The contest, which is taking place for the fourth year running, measures the technical skills of electrical students across the UK and enables them the opportunity to prove their knowledge and abilities.

Stage one of the contest closed at Christmas, and judges are now working their way through the entries to determine who goes through to the next phase. Stage one was an online, multiple choice quiz of 40 questions.

The second stage will see the top 20% of the contestants take part in a written, 90-minute exam that will be held at several locations across the UK and will be marked by industry experts Darren Staniforth, Jake Green and Tony Cable.

The top eight students will then take part in in the grand final on June 4th 2019 at the headquarters of the competition’s partner, The Scolmore Group. The top three prize winners will receive holiday vouchers, whilst the eight finalists will each get an iPad and goody bags.

Every college that enters 20 or more students into the competition will qualify for a ‘College Pack’ from Scolmore, featuring 25 double sockets, 25 switches, 25 6″ pendants and 25 batten holders. The college that produces the eventual winner will also receive £1,000 worth of Scolmore products.

The employer of the winning apprentice will also receive a year’s free registration with NICEIC and ELECSA, whilst the college that produces the eventual winner will also receive an additional £1,000 worth of Scolmore products.

 

Electrical apprentice contest heats up

Electrical apprentice contest heats up

 

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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Firms named for £1bn East London framework

The company behind the £1bn regeneration of Barking town centre in East London has unveiled the full line-up of main contractors it plans to use.

The council’s wholly owned urban regeneration company Be First will use seven firms to deliver over 40 projects.

Today Be First revealed that McLaren Construction, Willmott Dixon and Wates have secured places on lot 2 to deliver projects worth over £10m.

They complement the four other partners that were selected at the end of last year to deliver smaller projects up to £20m.

Be First framework partners

Projects over £10m value – total £750m

  • McLaren Construction
  • Willmott Dixon Construction
  • Wates Residential

Projects up to £20m value – total £250m

  • J.Murphy & Sons
  • Jerram Falkus Construction
  • Mulalley & Company
  • United Living (South)

As part of the Lot 2 tender process, McLaren Construction has secured the contract to build one of Be First’s flagship projects, Crown House.

Under the plan, the existing Crown House tower block will be demolished and replaced with two new apartment blocks due to complete by April 2021.

Kevin Taylor, chairman at McLaren, said: “We look forward to working with Be First and the people of Barking and Dagenham to help bring to life the ambitions for the borough.”

Together the Lot 1 and 2 projects are worth almost £1bn and cover Be First’s development projects and related infrastructure schemes.

Iain Ferguson, commercial director at Be First, said: “We are happy to announce the winners of Lot 2 of our Development Framework.

“We have now completed the set. These three winners and the four companies selected in Lot 1 are now part of our drive to deliver thousands of affordable homes for local people.”

Town centre regeneration plans have been drawn up by architect Weston Williamson + Partners.

 

 

These have the existing listed station building at its heart, with 2,200 new homes, together with new commercial and social infrastructure, all connected by over 2 hectares of new clean, green, accessible open spaces.

The masterplan includes significant over-track development – creating a series of urban quarters linked by a reinvigorated high street and capillary routes.

 

Firms named for £1bn East London framework

Firms named for £1bn East London framework

 

Source: Construction Enquirer 

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Energy efficiency of homes in England stalling, new report finds

The energy efficiency of English homes has increased considerably in the last 20 years, but has not increased since 2015, according to the latest edition of the English Housing Survey for 2017-18.

In 2017, the average SAP rating of English dwellings was 62 points, up from 45 points in 1996. An increase was evident in all tenures but, according to the report, the increase appears to be slowing and there was no change in the average SAP rating of homes between 2016 and 2017 in any tenure.

The survey found that there are still a significant proportion of homes which do not meet the Decent Homes Standard, which requires homes to provide a ‘reasonable degree of thermal comfort’.

In 2017, 13% of dwellings in the social rented sector failed to meet the Decent Homes Standard, which is lower than the proportion of private rented (25%) and owner occupied (19%) homes.

Over the last decade, the proportion of non-decent homes has declined from 35% of the stock in 2007 to 19% in 2017. This decrease was observed across all tenures, but has stalled in recent years.

OFTEC has raised its concerns about the lack of progress in home energy efficiency improvements since 2015, especially for rural homes.

Paul Rose, Chief Executive of OFTEC, said: “OFTEC has not seen the detailed figures that sit behind this headline, but we know that the average SAP rating for English rural homes in 2016-17 was significantly lower than the overall average – just 45 – equivalent to an EPC rating of E. In October, BEIS minister Claire Perry stated in reply to a Parliamentary question, that only 3% of homes that used oil heating in Great Britain were in EPC band A-C, while 97% (765,000) were rated D-G. We remain very concerned at the lack of progress in this area.

“Rural homes have continually missed out on government support to improve their energy efficiency, and they should now be high on the government’s priority list. However, given that financial support for energy efficiency improvements has fallen steadily in recent years, it’s now right that we question the government’s commitment to this vital issue.”

 

Energy efficiency of homes in England stalling, new report finds

Energy efficiency of homes in England stalling, new report finds

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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Local Preston firm bags £19m Lancaster Uni business school

Preston-based John Turner Construction has secured the contract to deliver new business school facilities for Lancaster University Management School.

The local firm beat off competition from BAM – who were initially expected to deliver the project – Eric Wright and Graham to secure the £18.8m contract.

Main works are about to start after a formal groundbreaking ceremony and the five-storey building is due to be finished for the start of the 2020/21 academic year.

The new 60,000 sq ft building will offer cutting-edge facilities and significantly more space for students, staff and partners.

Offering the space equivalent to around four tennis courts per floor, the building will boast three new lecture theatres, collaboration space, a new reception, multiple offices and an executive teaching suite.

The Dean of Lancaster University Management School, Professor Angus Laing, said: “As one of the first business schools established in the UK, we have a proud history of pushing boundaries and conventions to challenge our students and prepare them to become our future leaders.

“This building marks the start of the next exciting phase of LUMS’ development. The new building will be followed by an extensive refurbishment of our existing facilities to provide innovative study space and a unique all-round experience for our students, staff, business partners and visitors.”

Nigel Sharp, operations director at John Turner Construction Group, said: “As a leading regional contractor, we are delighted to be awarded this high profile LUMS project and to be working with one of the highest ranking universities of the north.”

The new building will be located next to the Management School and Gillow Avenue on Lancaster University’s Bailrigg campus.

 

Local Preston firm bags £19m Lancaster Uni business school

Local Preston firm bags £19m Lancaster Uni business school

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Smart radiator thermostat set to reduce household heating costs

Vestemi, the energy-saving technology company, recently announced the launch of its first product, Radbot – a money-saving, easy-to-use, smart radiator thermostat.

Radbot offers householders the ability to heat individual rooms only when needed whilst reducing the temperature in empty rooms, therefore saving energy and money. In fact, recent customer trials have demonstrated impressive average savings of 31 per cent – around £180 – on an average annual heating bill*.

Radbot is incredibly easy to self-install and is operated the same way as a standard, manual heating thermostat. It also doesn’t require internet connectivity, complex programming or a smartphone app.

Through the use of artificial intelligence, Radbot monitors light and human activity by tracking how often householders use their rooms in order to establish their patterns of movement. By doing this, Radbot then understands when it needs to heat a radiator, ensuring the room is ready and warm for householders.

Not only that, but it is also highly intuitive. If a person uses a room outside of their usual routine, Radbot will understand that it needs to heat the radiator there and then. For extra speed, there is also a boost button that gives householders an extra 30 minutes of heating.

Jeremy Lock, CEO of Vestemi, said: “Energy is a luxury we simply cannot afford to waste. That’s why we’ve brought Radbot to market. You wouldn’t leave the lights on in a room you weren’t using, so why the heating? It’s a simple concept that has already delivered substantial savings during customer trials. But crucially, the design reflects our understanding that consumers want simple solutions they can fit and forget. This is the future of the smart home – the simple, smart home.”

Radbot is now on sale through the EDF Energy website, and direct at the Radbot store, retailing at around £64.99 each or with a 25% discount for four, at around £195.

*Based on four to five devices being installed in a home with an average £1,200 dual-fuel annual heating bill.

About Radbot:

How does the product work?

If you have existing thermostats on your radiator (the hand-controlled dial with which you can set the temperature) then you simply unscrew them and replace it with the new product.

This new device takes minutes to install and needs no tools or special skills, in most households. Just put in batteries, install by hand and set the heating level. The device comes ready-to-go with two x AA batteries which should be replaced around every two years.

After installation, the device starts to monitor your heating needs and manage your radiator, looking to save you as much money as possible.

This is a next-generation smart radiator valve. It uses artificial intelligence to monitor your usage of the room in which it is installed.  When you are not using a room Radbot allows it to cool a little (typically by up to 3°C during the day so it won’t get freezing cold) and starts to heat the room in time for it to be warm for when you return.

The device is very secure. It is independent; it doesn’t need Wi-Fi or 4G and does not have a camera. The data it collects is continually overwritten. This means the data cannot alone be attributed, effectively, to an individual or family.

Regional applicability

Radbot is designed to be applied to ‘wet’ radiator systems which are prevalent in the UK and northern European countries. It is mainly of benefit to countries that see defined seasonal ‘winter’ periods where heating systems are on for sustained periods.

The intelligent software which is at the core of the design has applicability to other similar heating and cooling systems, this is a likely development path for further evolution of a product range.

 

Smart radiator thermostat set to reduce household heating costs

Smart radiator thermostat set to reduce household heating costs

 

Source: Plumbing Trade Magazine

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Why all the fuss asks Metrel

“Users of Metrel’s multifunction testers are having difficulty understanding the spat between some of the other manufacturers” commented Brendan Beaver, Sales Manager of Metrel, provider of innovative electrical test solutions, about the recent exchanges concerning the need for voltage drop measurement capability in the media, on social media, at exhibitions, within online forum sites, and in printed statements distributed amongst the wholesaler community.

“So what if the 18th Edition’s amendment 1 does or does not require the ability to perform voltage drop measurement and power quality analysis. Metrel is alone among the high-quality test equipment manufacturers in supplying these functions as standard on its popular range of multifunction installation testers.

“When the regulations do change, be it Amendment 1 or Amendment 2, Metrel users will have been ready for some time. In fact, when the concept of voltage drop was introduced in the 17th Edition Amendment 3, Metrel engineers responded and introduced the function to their multifunction testers.”

This modification showed the benefit of using modern display technology. Introducing the new tests was relatively easy with the dot matrix displays. It was a matter of changing the firmware and designing new screen layouts for the user interface. The use of a touch-screen display meant no restriction due to the use of rotary switches.

Our engineers are not limited by the old fashioned custom LCD displays and rotary switches, so they can respond rapidly to changes of regulation. Metrel customers are the winners as they can be assured that their testers are future-proofed.

 

Why all the fuss asks Metrel

Why all the fuss asks Metrel

 

Source: Electrical Times

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‘2019 Heating Trends’ with Aestus

Aestus,a true manufacturer of quality handcrafted designer radiators and towel warmers in the UK, introduces its trend predictions for 2019. As 70s chic has hit the high streets, we are seeing the theme extend into the home, with velvet and fringed soft furnishings, floral patterns and funky shapes, awakening the UK’s love for seventies fashion. Heating solutions are adding to this vibe with circular, wavy, curved designs and bold black accents, creating an ‘Abstract Silhouette’ and a focal point in the room.

Industrial themed interior design is stronger than ever and you too can now get this look in your home. For example, why not tap into this trend with Zeb, black steel, coil finned radiator that has an innovative design, adding an element of dramatics to a room. However, to achieve a more relaxing and inviting home interior, the Zebradiat or, when coupled with warm neutral tones of grey and beige can take pride of place in your home, creating a warm, comfortable environment that blurs out the stresses from everyday life.

Bathrooms are being inspired by boutique spa-like interiors, with bold dark colours such as black and anthracite, adding a touch of theatrical beauty to a room to create your own private oasis. Impressive metallics with tactile finishes and brushed or polished effects can add to the overall aesthetics of the space, whilst creating a sense of quality and luxury to your bathroom, or indeed anywhere in your home.

Kitchen interiors are going back to basics, in terms of colour schemes, with monochrome being the most prominent for providing a sense of contrast. In addition, continental influences are evoking a new wave of contemporary, modern designs across UK interiors. Sleek, linear and minimalistic heating solutions are being used as a bold statement piece, whether you opt for a unique wavy design, such as our aptly named Wave or an intriguing, etched motif with a background of neutral white, with our Expression design radiator. Whatever your choice of radiator, the end result will be a clean crisp space that remains timeless.

In the living areas, we are seeing the desire for a room with personality or perhaps one that can tell a story. If you want to add a personal touch to your living space, this can be achieved through extravagant bold heating designs that act as a piece of wall art, and our Copy glass or mirrored radiators provide this, even when not in use. Or perhaps, you want to add a more nostalgic feel to your room? This can be achieved with Versailles, sculptured radiators with embossed, floral patterns that awaken the feeling of serenity and calmness to create a peaceful sanctuary within your home.

Aestus the home of distinguished radiators…

For further information on Aestus Products & Services

Call 01902 387080, email info@aestus.co.uk or click here

 

'2019 Heating Trends' with Aestus

‘2019 Heating Trends’ with Aestus

 

Source: Plumbing Trade Magazine

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Scolmore lighting a hit with Edinburgh Council 

Undertaking an upgrade programme of 22,350 social housing properties is no mean feat, and when it came to selecting new bulkhead lighting solutions for the residential buildings, Edinburgh Council needed to bear in mind the cost, performance and the time required to install the products.

There was the added concern of the new lower communal ceiling height that had resulted from the thermal insulation renovation, which meant the need to search for an alternative fitting was looking likely. However, EVO’s unique ability to be recessed via removal of the mounting skirt meant it was an ideal solution, enabling the installation to go smoothly, with the fitting utilised in a greatly reduced vertical space.

Having looked at various products on the market, Scolmore’s Inceptor EVO standard bulkhead was selected, because – according to the council’s electrical and design teams – it provided an overall solution that competing products were unable to offer. The ability to remove the surface mount adaptor ring means that the fitting can be easily semi-recessed to overcome the problem of low ceilings and size of the fitting. Ease of installation, as well as cost and performance of the bulkheads, were also cited as crucial for the project and they are now being installed in all the kitchens and bathrooms in the properties being renovated.

The emergency and microwave sensor versions of the EVO bulkhead are, at the same time, being installed in the communal areas of the two, multi-storey dwellings that make up part of Edinburgh Council’s social housing stock. These EVO bulkheads offer a three-hour emergency function in the event of a power failure and feature a microwave sensor with 8 second to minute adjustment. Their IP65 rating, robust housing and anti-tamper screws were also key features when the council’s electrical team leader was selecting these products.

As part of the renovation programme, the council is also upgrading the switches and sockets and has opted for Scolmore’s Mode range of electrical accessories to provide a cost-efficient replacement solution for all rooms and areas of the residential properties.  As well as offering value, Mode is a contemporary range that offers flexibility.

Edinburgh Council is aiming to complete between 1,500 and 2,000 property upgrades per year over the next ten years or so, and Scolmore is working in close partnership with the team to ensure the procurement and installation of the products is a smooth and efficient process.

 

Scolmore lighting a hit with Edinburgh Council

Scolmore lighting a hit with Edinburgh Council

 

Source: Electrical Contracting News 

Top of Page


Green light for landmark London office job

Plans for a landmark 13-storey office building in mid-west London near the new Crossrail Farringdon Station have been given the go-ahead.

Greycoat Real Estate is the development manager for the new Stonecutter Court project to build a major HQ building.

The project site lies close to the new Goldman Sachs building in an area of London that is booming because of its strong transport links.

The 350,000 sq ft schemes have been designed by T P Bennett and will involve demolition of 1 Stonecutter Street and 81 Farringdon Street.

The successful contractor will also carry out associated works to retain the Hoop and Grapes pub on the site.

Consultant Hoare Lea is on board as M&E consultant and Pell Frischmann is providing structural designs. The project manager is GVA.

According to planning documents demolition is expected to start in the second quarter of this year, with basement works and piling getting underway before the end of 2019.

The office building is expected to be completed by September 2022.

 

Green light for landmark London office job

Green light for landmark London office job

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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£200m Liverpool scheme enabling works approved 

A £4.2m plan to clear land for a £200m office scheme in Liverpool city centre has been given the thumbs up.

City Council planners have approved an application to remediate land at Pall Mall, in the city’s commercial district.

This has been earmarked for a proposed 400,000 sq ft development project, led by Kier Property and CTP.

The remediation works will be carried out by contractor Willmott Dixon and are expected to take around eight months.

Enabling works will include a £1.25m scheme to relocate a substation on site, which will be fully operational by March 2020 to serve future development.

A planning application is expected to be submitted by Kier Property and CTP shortly which will outline a three-phase development.

The proposed Pall Mall scheme, to the rear of the old Exchange Station site, will feature three office buildings, a hotel, and around 80,200 sq ft of public space all, centred around a new green square for workers, residents and the local community to use.

Kier Property and CTP have appointed architect Allies & Morrison alongside landscape architects Re-Form to design the scheme.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “The proposed Pall Mall scheme is of huge importance to the development of our Commercial District as we need Grade A office space to attract companies and highly skilled jobs to the city.

“I’m delighted we have the green light to begin clearing the site in readiness for the next stage of this scheme which if approved will deliver a much needed high-quality green square and new public realm for workers and residents to enjoy throughout the year.”

 

£200m Liverpool scheme enabling works approved

£200m Liverpool scheme enabling works approved

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Manchester building boom outstrips LA and Chicago

England’s big three regional cities are shrugging off Brexit worries and enjoyed bumper construction growth last year driven by city centre residential and office schemes.

Manchester’s construction boom is not only pushing the skyline to new heights but now outstrips construction project numbers in Los Angeles and Chicago, according to the latest Deloitte Crane Survey.

Simon Bedford, partner and regional head at Deloitte Real Estate, said: “If Manchester had featured in the recently published North American Crane Index, it would have ranked number two – behind Toronto but in front of Seattle, Los Angeles and Chicago.

“That might have seemed like a remarkable stat a few years ago given Manchester only had one crane in the sky in 2011, but today the figure is a massive 78 sites under construction.”

Despite Brexit woes dampening activity in commercial and residential in London, Britain’s biggest regional cities still boast a strong pipeline of projects for the next few years.

Birmingham and Leeds are beginning to accelerate with their own crop of inner-city schemes.

Project starts in 2018 by type
Resi Offices Student Hotel Retail/Leisure Education Other Total
Manchester 22 10 3 5 1 2 1 44
Birmingham 13 2 4 1 1 2 0 23
Leeds 3 7 4 2 1 2 2 21

Minimum project size recorded: office or retail – above 10,000 sq ft; residential – 25 units; education, leisure and hotels – significant schemes.

Bedford added: “The marked increase in office construction levels is reflective of the continued draw to all these regional cities for major businesses. Investor confidence is thriving, as the rise in office pre-let deals clearly demonstrates.

“To have construction figures this healthy is somewhat of a surprise given a myriad of market uncertainties,” he said.

“Developer confidence is a key indicator for economic health and to have this many significant construction starts over the last 12 months, especially in speculative office schemes, is a testament to the resilience of the regions and appetite for growth.”

Looking ahead, Bedford said: “Despite record levels now, challenges may arise as we enter the 2020s.

“Each of our featured cities have ambitious plans which, if they are to emerge, will need to be supported by investment in essential infrastructure which is currently struggling to keep up with the pace of real estate development. The next decade may well be all about transport and smarter city solutions.”

Manchester

The residential sector is driving the record levels of development activity. A total of 14,480 residential units are under construction – double that of two years ago.

Last year, 2,569 units were delivered to market – the highest level in 12 years and Manchester’s development pipeline suggests 2020 as delivering the most homes in nearly 20 years.

Manchester’s office sector has over two million sq ft of office space under construction across 13 schemes; a remarkable increase on the consistent levels of 1.5 million sq ft reported between 2015 and 2017.

North West occupiers have been busy as a quarter of office developments in 2018 were pre-let.

Birmingham

The West Midlands city saw 23 new starts, with residential taking the lions share. Thirteen new schemes started, bringing the development pipeline to over 5,000 units under construction.

Last year also saw the delivery of the most residential units to the city centre, the highest since the Birmingham crane surveys started in 2002.

 

 

New office development is down from a peak of seven new starts in 2016, to just two new schemes today.

But the total office volume under construction remains high at 1.4 million sq ft and 2019 is set to be a record-breaking year for office completions.

Leeds

Leeds has recorded the highest level of construction in the city centre since the Leeds crane survey began in 2002, with 21 new construction starts in 2018.

This includes seven new office schemes adding to the record 844,986 sq ft office development pipeline.

Residential development continued an upward trajectory with three new starts, set to deliver a further 533 units to the city, bringing the total to 2,119 units currently under construction.

Five of the developments under construction are ‘build-to-rent’, which will be the city’s first purpose-built private rental homes.

 

Manchester building boom outstrips LA and Chicago

Manchester building boom outstrips LA and Chicago

 

Source: Construction Enquirer 

Top of Page


 

Happy New Year from Hotcost

Happy New Year from Hotcost

 

We hope you had a relaxing break celebrating with friends and family.

We are looking forward to providing you with the very best estimating service in the UK and beyond.

 

If you need to contact us during this time you can email us at client@hotcost.co.uk or upload your project via our easy to use uploader.

 

December 2018 Newsletter

December 2018 Newsletter

‘Vent-Axia welcomes healthy homes and buildings white paper, Keeping your heating on during freezing weather, STA welcomes governments stance on solar, Three quarters of plumbers at risk of knee problems, Small business receive boost from budget plans.

Quick Links


Vent-Axia welcomes healthy homes and buildings white paper

Leading British ventilation manufacturer Vent-Axia is delighted to welcome the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Healthy Homes and Buildings’ White Paper Building our Future: Laying the Foundations for Healthy Homes and Buildings, published on 24 October 2018. The White Paper makes clear recommendations to the Government on how it can improve standards in housing to benefit occupants’ health and wellbeing. This follows on from the APPG’s green paper published last year which set out the political, economic and business case for healthy homes and buildings.

The White Paper details how, as a nation, healthy homes and buildings can and should be delivered. These fall under three overarching recommendations.

  • The Government needs to establish a cross-departmental committee for health and buildings to champion change; recognising the interaction between buildings, health, education and the economy.
  • To grow the research and evidence base to develop a clear case for further Government action to improve new build standards.
  • To make renovation of current housing stock and infrastructure a Government priority and develop plans for retrofitting that takes a holistic approach to maximising health and wellbeing.

Within these recommendations to help overcome the problem of unhealthy homes the White Paper calls for better and consistent building standards and regulations. It also calls for both New Build building design and building renovations to consider health and wellbeing and take a holistic approach to consider elements such as ventilation, air quality, lighting and acoustics.

At Vent-Axia we are committed to sharing the importance of ventilation with households to help protect public health. We therefore support the publication of the APPG’s White Paper and welcome its recommendations,” said Jenny Smith, Marketing Manager at Vent-Axia. “Ventilation is often overlooked when implementing energy efficiency measures in homes. This can have a detrimental effect on indoor air quality. Without good ventilation in a home air quality can potentially deteriorate and as a result can lead to condensation, mould and a build-up of toxic chemicalsWe are therefore delighted that the White Paper calls for a national renovation strategy that takes a holistic approach to building renovation and that it recommends improved standards and regulations, which will improve installer best practice.”

A staggering 65% of homes in the UK suffer from poor indoor air quality (IAQ) as a result of inadequate ventilation. This is having a significant negative impact on the health of people in their homes with poor IAQ contributing towards many serious health problems such as asthma, lung cancer, strokes and cardiovascular disease.

In the White Paper it cites that poor IAQ is reported to cost the UK over 204,000 healthy life years, with 45% of those lost to cardiovascular diseases, 23% to asthma and allergy and 15% to lung cancer with the Royal College of Physicians warning in 2016 that indoor air pollutants cause at a minimum, thousands of deaths per year and are associated with healthcare costs in the order of ‘tens of millions of pounds’.

The publication of the White Paper follows hot on the heels of DEFRA’s new Clean Air Strategy consultation, published on 22 May 2018, which confirmed the importance of clean air in the home. This draft strategy outlines the Government’s ambitions to reduce air pollution, making our air healthier to breathe, protecting nature and boosting the economy, with the draft setting a clear direction for future air quality policies and goals. The consultation closed in August 2018 and the final UK Clean Air Strategy and detailed National Air Pollution Control Programme is to be published by March 2019.

To help protect health in the home Vent-Axia has been working hard to provide ventilation solutions to improve IAQ for households. Designed to work with the natural air infiltration, continuous ventilation systems control the air path through the home, preventing the migration of damaging humidity and pollutants, such as VOCs.

For new builds, Vent-Axia’s Sentinel Kinetic mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) system boasts an impressive 94% thermal efficiency. For private refurbishments, Vent-Axia’s Lo-Carbon Svara offers quiet, disturbance-free running helping ensure good indoor air quality and comfort. Meanwhile the Lo-Carbon Revive and the new PoziDry ProTM PIV unit has been designed specifically with social housing in mind offering an effective continuous ventilation solution for residents.

For up-to-date ventilation guidance visit www.vent-axia.com/healthyhomes. For further information on all products and services offered by Vent-Axia telephone 0844 856 0590 or visit www.vent-axia.com.

vent-axia

Vent-Axia welcomes healthy homes and buildings white paper

Source: Electrical Times

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Ideal Boilers adds Amazon Alexa integration to boiler thermostat

Ideal Boilers has announced that it is introducing Amazon Alexa integration to its Touch Connect product, giving customers the option to control their home heating through voice activation.

Touch Connect thermostats can now connect with Amazon’s voice-activated speaker, Amazon Echo, enabling the technology to respond to spoken commands through Alexa.

Customers can now ask Alexa to check their home temperature, turn the heating up or down, turn heating completely on or off or even return to any pre-set schedules. It’s also possible to check what the heating temperature is currently set to before making the decision to adjust. A series of commonly used phrases, such as ‘make it warmer’ or ‘turn the heating down’ have been programmed for use.

Luke Pykett, Head of Marketing at Ideal Boilers, commented: “Earlier this year we responded to increasing consumer demand for smart home devices through introducing Touch Connect, the app-controlled thermostat offering total heating comfort directly from smartphones, and have received fantastic customer feedback.

“As part of our mission to deliver incredible customer service we are continuing to innovate and enhance usability through introducing voice activated command services, making it even easier for customers to control their heating when, where and how they wish to.”

The use of smart speakers in UK homes is on the rise. YouGov reports that UK ownership has doubled in six months, from Q3 2017 to Q1 2018 and around 1 in 10 Brits currently own a smart speaker, which totals around 6.6 million people. 75% of the UK market uses Amazon Echo, making it the clear market leader.

idea-boilersIdeal Boilers adds Amazon Alexa integration to boiler thermostat 

Ideal Boilers adds Amazon Alexa integration to boiler thermostat

Source: HVP Magazine

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Keeping your heating on during freezing weather 

There are over 1.6 million new Condensing boilers installed every year and they can produce between 600 and 1200 litres of condensate per year which needs to be piped to a drain. If the pipework runs externally, isn’t large enough and insulated with PVC coated weather proof insulation. This pipework can freeze sending the boiler into lockout mode and will leave the home without heating.

Dave Salmon, of Plymstock Gas & Heating Services Ltd in Plymouth is one of many installers across the country that gets called out by his customers’ during harsh winter conditions within the boiler condensate pipes frozen up and putting boilers out of action.

Having followed the boiler manufacturers technical advice which solved the problem in the short term, Dave began working on a long term solution. This led to the development of the Boiler Buoy condensate bypass valve, a solution which allows the engineer or householder to drain off the condensate in a controlled way using a valve connection and hose.

This easy to fit, low cost solution can be fitted as part of the original boiler installation or during emergency call-outs or regular servicing. Once fitted the boiler buoy, will ensure that the boiler can operate uninterrupted throughout the coldest of winter conditions.

On his product, Dave said: “The idea came about following the winter of 2009/10 when the temperature reached a historic low and put tens of thousands of boilers out of action because of frozen condensate pipes leaving many homes without heating. As installers, whilst we can solve the problem in the short term, I felt that a long term solution was well overdue.

The products is now in its 9th year of production and tens of thousands have been installed and are a preferred option for many housing associations looking to avoid tenants being without heat in the winter months on historical boiler installations.

The product has been tested by some of the larger boiler manufacturers and acknowledged as an optional solution to keep boilers running.

During March 2018 we once again encountered severe low temperatures and home across the country were once again left without heating.

The Boiler Buoy is manufactured by Pump House and is available via all major heating wholesalers.

Keeping your heating on during freezing weather 

Keeping your heating on during freezing weather

Source: Electrical Trade Magazine

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Building controls vital to compliance 

BCIA, the Building Controls Industry Association, is encouraging the wider industry to consider the importance of implementing effective building controls from the outset of building projects in order to meet current legislation.

The 10 80 10 rule represents the total lifetime costs of a building, whereby only ten per cent of costs are invested at the design stage while a staggering 80% is spent on the running and maintaining of a building.

The BCIA is calling for a change in approach from those in the supply chain at the initial stages of building projects. By investing in an efficient controls system at the start of construction, this will dramatically lower operational costs in commercial buildings over the long term while also helping to meet a wide range of legislation.

A good example of this is the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) which came into force earlier this year. It is now unlawful for a landlord to let or renew a lease on a property if the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating is F or G.

By installing additional zone control for instance, or demand control of lighting and heating using occupancy sensors, your EPC rating can receive a welcome boost and substantially lower unnecessary energy usage. It is these relatively simple additions to the BMS system that have a significant impact on the EPC rating.

Building controls vital to compliance 

Building controls vital to compliance

Source: HPM Magazine

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Queens Cross Housing Association to install 18,000 FireAngel alarms

FireAngel has signed a contract to supply Glasgow-based Queens Cross Housing Association with over 12,000 battery-powered smoke and heat alarms.

The WST630 smoke alarms and WHT630 heat alarms will be installed in over 3,500 properties across the city centre due to Scottish Government’s pending legislative changes following the Grenfell fire tragedy.

Under these changes to the Housing (Scotland) Act, all homes will require sealed long-life battery or mains wired alarms that are interlinked, with one functioning smoke alarm in the room that is frequently used by the occupants in the daytime, one functioning smoke alarm in every circulation space on every floor, such as hallways and landings, and one heat alarm in every kitchen. A carbon monoxide alarm will also need to be fitted in each room with a carbon-fuelled appliance or flue.

The Wi-Safe 2 wireless interlink alarms from FireAngel were chosen not only to ensure each property achieves constant compliance through the use of interlinked alarms installed in the kitchen, hallway and living room, but also due to the utilisation of FireAngel’s Thermoptek Multi-Sensor technology.

Jim Williams, maintenance manager at Queens Cross Housing Association, said, “We’ve used FireAngel’s carbon monoxide alarms in the past, so we know the quality and durability of the brand well. Following the government’s legislative updates, it’s vital that we ensure we’re providing every single tenant with the highest level of protection, which we can easily achieve with FireAngel’s range of interlinked alarms.”

Over an eighteen month period, the alarms will be installed by Queens Cross Housing Association’s maintenance team, with FireAngel’s W2-CO-1OX carbon monoxide alarms also being installed in properties where there is a carbon-fuelled appliance or flue present.

Graham Whitworth, executive chairman of FireAngel, commented, “We are delighted to be providing Queens Cross Housing Association with our range of interlinked alarms. It is crucial that all Scottish housing associations are taking a proactive approach to the new legislative changes and our Wi-Safe 2 alarms help them do just that as they are designed to provide the highest levels of protection at all times.”

Queens Cross Housing Association to install 18,000 FireAngel alarms

Queens Cross Housing Association to install 18,000 FireAngel alarms

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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STA welcomes government stance on solar

The Solar Trade Association (STA) has hailed a significant breakthrough for its #Fair4Solar campaign during the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
(BEIS) Select Committee Oral Questions.

Energy Minister Claire Perry stated that “solar power should not be provided to the grid for free”, representing a shift in government stance on the issue of fair payments for surplus electricity sold to the grid.

Responding to a question from Kevin Hollinrake MP, she said “I do completely agree that solar power should not be provided to the grid for free and that’s why I’ll shortly be announcing the next steps for small scale renewables.”

She also added in answer to a question from Richard Graham MP: “It would be wrong to have power provided to the grid for free,” and in reply to a question from Alan Whitehead MP, said: “People who have gone through the installation process should not be essentially captive takers should someone want to buy their energy and I’m looking forward to announcing some further deliberations on this shortly.”

STA welcomes government stance on solar

STA welcomes government stance on solar

Source: HPM Magazine

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Smart meters research facility to open at University of Salford

The UK’s first smart meters research facility opens this month at The University of Salford.

The ‘Smart Meters>Smart Homes’ laboratory aims to supply government and consumers with data and advice on smart meter performance and usage, and provide a research base for industry and manufacturers.

University researchers, working in partnership with industry, will explore how smart meters best work in tandem with the growing array of home technology like energy savers and storage devices, EV chargers, bots, smart speakers, sensors, and wearables.

Lead Researcher Professor Will Swan said: “Domestic energy systems are becoming more complex due to the advent of renewables, time-of-use tariffs, energy storage, and a greater fluidity in the customer-supplier relationship.

“What we currently have is an explosion of tech – but little impact on common objectives like lowering bills, cutting carbon and customer satisfaction. The University of Salford can provide clarity around the benefits, possibilities and pitfalls of this new home energy technology for consumers, regulators and innovators.”

The launch, on 7 December, will be attended by Rebecca Long-Bailey, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and MP for Salford & Eccles, along with research, industry and consumer representatives.

Smart meters research facility to open at University of Salford

Smart meters research facility to open at University of Salford

Source: HVP Magazine 

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Designing longer lasting smart home sensors

Why long-lasting sensors are key to designing the home of the future!

Home automation has been gaining traction over the past few years, with massive developments in features and relevant technologies. However, these technologies are only as effective as their power source. Here, Michele Windsor, global marketing manager at home automation battery provider Ultralife Corporation, explains the importance of having long lasting batteries at the centre of home automationproduct design.

Rube Goldberg machines are a fascinating spectacle to watch, with intricate parts moving around to create a symphony of movement to perform tasks. However, to function, every single part must work perfectly, otherwise it takes a lengthy reset before the spectacle can resume.

Just like in a Rube Goldberg machine, every piece in a smart house must work perfectly in order to create the spectacle that makes your life easier and more efficient. To make sure your smart house is always working, its sensors must always be working.

Sensors are what feed data to the smart house, so it knows what time it is, what the temperature is, or whether the sun is glaring through your windows. Most sensors are battery powered and, as they need to be active constantly, it is important to make sure that they have batteries that are reliable and long lasting.

Based on Ultralife’s experience in the sector, many sensors for smart home devices arrive on the market with CR123A model batteries. However, not all these batteries are created equal. Many are often limited in their battery capacity, which means a shorter operating life for the sensor.

Design engineers can overcome this by choosing a long-lasting CR123A battery suitable for home automation sensors, such as the CR123A range of batteries produced by Ultralife. They have an improved internal spiral construction that provides a higher capacity than is currently available in similar products on the market, while remaining long lasting for home automation functions.

According to data from Strategy Analytics, 38 per cent of homes in the USA will be smart homes by 2019.Because of this, it is incredibly important to set out solid design foundations now. Putting long lasting batteries into smart homes design now will avoid mass sensor outages, customer dissatisfaction and possible backlash against manufacturers in the future.

Whether it be your security cameras, lights, sprinklers, or your fans, sensors keep smart devices fed with relevant information to ensure they are working precisely to maximize user comfort and convenience.

In a sense, making intelligent decisions about smart homes now will allow our future selves to be awed by anintricate connected Rube Goldberg machine, performing millions of tasks simultaneously to make our lives simpler and stress free.

Designing longer lasting smart home sensors

Designing longer lasting smart home sensors

Source: Electrical Trade Magazine

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Three quarters of plumbers at risk of knee problems

The study conducted by The IPG, a leading group for plumbing, heating and bathroom specialists, also discovered that 57% of plumbers surveyed felt that they would need to undergo knee replacement surgery in the future due to the hardships of the profession.

Nearly two thirds (59%) also felt that they would be forced to retire early because of the injuries they pick up in their work.

On average, a UK plumber works 47 hours a week, with around half of that time spent on their knees. This can have a detrimental effect, especially if no protective work wear is worn. However, even with kneepads 77% specified that they still experience issues.

Those who have been working for over 30 years were the ones who had the worst knee issues, with 68% stating they have had physio, keyhole surgery or other operations on their knees. However, it’s not just plumbing veterans who are experiencing problems.

Tony Dark, director of trade at The IPG, said: “This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. We would like to urge all plumbers and installers to ensure they are using specialist protection while on the job, from apprentice level all the way up to those who have been working in the trade for decades.

“It is also essential that if any plumber or installer starts to have any trouble with their knees that they consult a GP straight away in order to discover any possible problems early on to avoid more serious issues.”

Three quarters of plumbers at risk of knee problems

Three quarters of plumbers at risk of knee problems

Source: HPM Magazine

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Prepare For BS 7671:2018 Coming Into Effect

As we approach the date when the 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations (BS 7671:2018) comes into effect (January 1 2019), it is important for all electrical contractors to ensure that they are up-to-date with the new requirements.

Mark Coles, head of technical regulations at the IET, says, “The 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations contains some significant changes to the way all electrical professionals are required to carry out their work in order to safeguard themselves and the public. With this in mind, it is essential that all electrical professionals ensure that they are up to speed with the new requirements.”

This includes new and amended requirements and recommendations around the use of Arc Fault Detection Devices (AFDDs), Surge Protection Devices (SPDs), methods of support of wiring systems and earthing arrangements for electric vehicle charging equipment, among others.

To help industry get up-to-date, the IET offers a dedicated course on their online training resource, the IET Academy, offering comprehensive training for City & Guild’s 2382:18 qualification.

The IET Academy provides the only course for 2382 that has been prepared by the IET, which jointly publishes the IET Wiring Regulations with BSI. The authors have been carefully selected for their industry experience and knowledge of BS 7671. It is also the only online course to be endorsed by City & Guilds for this qualification.

David Phillips, director of apprenticeships and technical education City & Guilds said, “City & Guilds are committed to the highest standards of skills development and learning in the electrotechnical industry. We are proud to have collaborated with the IET on this innovative online tool, which will up-skill thousands of individuals on the 18th Edition. It will enable electrical professionals to get up to scratch on this important new regulation quickly, flexibly and cost-effectively.”

Fitting around work, the IET Academy provides a learning solution that doesn’t take electricians away from their job and can be completed anywhere and at any time.

The course, which is suitable for anyone needing working knowledge of BS 7671, including electrical installers, designers, specifiers and those working in the inspection and testing of electrical equipment, will also fully prepare electricians for the City & Guilds 2382:18 exam.

Martin Davies, head of the IET academy added, “The IET Academy’s Wiring Regulations course provides a customisable and flexible approach to technical learning and knowledge, allowing electricians to be in control of how their learning is delivered. This not only ensures that the course is manageable around working hours, but by using an IET endorsed course, electricians can be safe in the knowledge that they are familiar with the current requirements for electrical wiring as well as preparing them for their City & Guilds 2382:18 exam.”

The course is available for individuals or for corporate customers. For more information, visit theiet.org/academy-regs-ecn or contact academy@theiet.org.

The IET also offers BS 7671 and a range of expert guidance, both in print and digital versions, to help you get up-to-date ahead of the 18th Edition coming into effect. Find out more at theiet.org/18th-resources-ecn

Prepare For BS 7671:2018 Coming Into Effect

Prepare For BS 7671:2018 Coming Into Effect

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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Ex-gas engineer sentenced for illegal gas work while unregistered

A former gas engineer has been sentenced today after conducting gas work he was no longer registered or competent to do and leaving it in a dangerous condition.

Exeter Crown Court heard how Scott Lowry, who previously traded as S J Lowry Plumbing and Heating, undertook the installation of a new gas boiler at a property in Ivybridge during September 2017. A matter of hours after he had completed the installation, the boiler developed faults and the homeowners reported these faults to him. Mr Lowry attended the address on numerous occasions after the installation but was unable to resolve the issues. A Gas Safe-registered gas engineer later inspected the work and found it to be of poor standard, classing it as ‘At Risk’.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Mr Lowry’s membership of Gas Safe Register had expired on 19 April 2017 and, after this time, he was no longer registered to undertake gas work. Mr Lowry used his old Gas Safe Register number on the commissioning document supplied to the home owners and did so knowing that this was no longer valid. The investigation also found Scott Lowry had left the gas boiler flue that he fitted in a dangerous state that allowed the gas boiler fumes to leak into the property and could have caused carbon monoxide poisoning.

Scott Lowry of Broad Street, Modbury pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 3(3), 3(7) and 26(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He has been sentenced to eight months prison, suspended for 18 months for each offence, to run concurrently. In addition he was fined £500, and ordered to pay the homeowners £500 compensation and £1,000 for the prosecution costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Simon Jones said: “Mr Lowry undertook gas work which he knew he was not registered to do. He deliberately deceived a retired couple.

“The gas work that Mr Lowry undertook put the lives of the homeowners and anyone visiting them at serious risk from carbon monoxide poisoning.

“All gas work must be done by a registered Gas Safe engineer to ensure the highest standards are met to prevent injury and loss of life.”

Ex-gas engineer sentenced for illegal gas work while unregistered

Ex-gas engineer sentenced for illegal gas work while unregistered

Source: HVP Magazine

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Torquay Landlord handed suspended sentence for gas safety failings

A Torquay landlord has been sentenced after failing to ensure proper landlord’s gas safety checks were undertaken at his tenanted property.

Newton Abbot Magistrates’ Court heard how Mr Mehmet Sevim, a former Gas Safe-registered engineer and current landlord of residential properties, had contracted a fitter who was not a member of Gas Safe Register to undertake a landlord’s gas safety check at one of his tenanted properties.

During an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Mr Sevim repeatedly maintained throughout that he had used a person who he could not name to undertake the landlord’s gas safety check for him. He failed to make any checks on the individual, including checking if he was registered with Gas Safe Register. The investigation also found the landlord’s gas safety certificate used false Gas Safe Register engineer details which Mr Sevim later admitted to the court that he had produced the fraudulent certificate. It was also found that Mr Sevim had tried to bribe a prosecution witness before the trial by offering them £300 to change their evidence.

Mehmet Sevim of Ellacombe Church Road, Torquay was found guilty of breaching Regulations 36 (4) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations and has been sentenced to 26 weeks prison, suspended for two years and ordered to undertake 240 hours unpaid work. Mr Sevim was also ordered to pay costs of £5,330.76.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Simon Jones said: “Mr Sevim lied throughout this investigation and only at sentencing did finally tell the truth about how he falsified a landlord’s gas safety certificate.

“There can be no excuse for a landlord to ever falsify a gas safety certificate and this sentence should send a clear warning to all landlords’ that the courts take such matters very seriously.

“Landlords must ensure that only Gas Safe-registered engineers work on gas appliances at their tenanted properties. A landlord can check that a person is registered on the Gas Safe Register website and these checks are free and quick.”

Torquay Landlord handed suspended sentence for gas safety failings

Torquay Landlord handed suspended sentence for gas safety failings

Source: HVP Magazine

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Households in fuel poverty climb to £2.55 million, despite Government efforts

Fuel poor households in the UK have risen by 210,000 to 2.55 million, according to the Committee on Fuel Poverty’s (CFP) Third Annual Report.

The CFP is an advisory non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) with a remit to support and challenge the government on its fuel poverty strategy.

The committee has made a series of recommendations on how the government can alter its current strategy to meet 2020/25 milestones, and 2030 targets for fuel poverty and energy efficiency.

As a result of “slow than forecast progress” and an increase in fuel poor homes, the CFP estimates that the funding gap needed to successfully deliver the government’s fuel poverty strategy has increased from £15.1 billion to £17.1 billion.

The fuel poverty strategy is based on the idea that energy efficiency upgrades are the most effective way to tackle fuel poverty. However, because this is fundamentally a long-term strategy, it is important to have assistance schemes in place to help homeowners pay fuel bills and stay warm.

The CFP report recommends that the government improves these relevant schemes to better target fuel poor households and ensure that households in fuel poverty receive assistance at least equivalent to pensioners.

To read the CFP report, and see the committee’s full list of recommendations to the government, click here.

Households in fuel poverty climb to £2.55 million, despite Government efforts

Households in fuel poverty climb to £2.55 million, despite Government efforts

Source: HVP Magazine

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Small businesses receive boost from budget plans 

ECA and BESA’s call to protect SMEs from employment red tape and to increase support for engineering skills has been reflected in the Budget announcement made by Chancellor Philip Hammond on Monday October 29.

The Chancellor plans to change the way self-employed people working for companies are taxed, by extending the public sector IR35 system to the private sector. The government move is aimed at ensuring that individuals who work through their own companies, but operate like employees, are classified as employees for taxation and national insurance purposes.

This change only applies to private firms with more than 50 employees or a turnover of more than £10 million, in order to protect small businesses from red tape. These medium and large businesses will be responsible for checking contractors’ status from April 6 2020, allowing employers time to prepare.

The Chancellor also acknowledged the vital importance of investing in technical skills, by announcing that the 10% contribution rate that SMEs must pay when they take on apprentices will be halved to 5%, although the exact date this will come into effect remains to be confirmed. While the change applies principally to SMEs, it could also benefit Apprenticeship Levy payers who have used up their levy pot, and wish to take on more apprentices.

Andrew Eldred, ECA director of employment and skills, commented, “The decision to reduce co-investment rates for apprenticeships, and apply IR35 changes in the private sector to medium and large employers, show that the government has taken on board representations from ECA.

“These measures will mean that small businesses won’t be burdened with the changes to taxation, while employers will be able to offer more apprenticeships and narrow the skills gap.”

“We will continue to work closely with government and industry decision makers to ensure the details of the implementation of these budget provisions are in its members’, and the industry’s, best interests.”

Alexi Ozioro, BESA public affairs and policy manager, added, “Overall we are pleased with this budget. Changes to investment allowances, plant and machinery tax breaks, the Apprenticeship Levy and relaxing the rules around repurposing commercial buildings to be demolished and replaced with homes are all welcome.”

“We hoped the Chancellor would have referred back to his Spring Statement promise to ‘tackle the scourge of late payment,’ although other Ministers have made good commitments on this recently.”

A further consultation on the detailed operation of the IR35 reform will be published in the coming months. This consultation will inform the draft Finance Bill legislation, which is expected to be published in summer 2019.

Ahead of the Budget, ECA and BESA issued a five point plan to Chancellor Philip Hammond, including proposals on IR35, technical skills, fair payment, cash retention and low-carbon investment for buildings and infrastructure.

Small businesses recieve boost from budget plans 

Small businesses recieve boost from budget plans

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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November 2018 Newsletter

November 2018 Newsletter

‘EUA say that more gas storage is crucial to energy security, New £113m Glasgow research hub given the green light, Government establishes £3,500 landlord contribution cap, JTL & Electrical industries charity highlight negative impact of stress’.

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More gas storage is crucial to energy security, says EUA

A spokesperson for the Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) has delivered a message to the government about the importance of investing in further gas storage in the UK for energy security.

Roddy Monroe, Independent Chair of the Gas Storage Operators Group, attended a recent gas storage inquiry evidence session at Parliament to provide evidence on behalf of the EUA in favour of increasing gas storage to minimise risk and increase flexibility.

Mr Monroe said: “I firmly believe that there may be serious implications for UK energy security if policy makers rely solely on the market to deliver the right level of investment to meet broader government objectives including transiting to a low carbon economy and providing access to affordable energy.

“Energy security is underpinned by long life, capital intensive investments which require long term financial certainty; these are not characteristics found in our energy market today. We have seen that the government felt it necessary to intervene to help deliver positive changes to the electricity market, such intervention may now be necessary for the gas market if we are to provide the right level of gas security.

“The UK currently consumes over 100 billion cubic metres of gas per year, but only has storage capacity equivalent to 2% of this- essentially 7 days’ worth- compared to a European average of 25%. Gas storage can make a significant contribution to achieving this by ensuring that gas supplies are maintained at times of major supply or demand shocks. It also protects consumers from price spikes, ultimately reducing overall gas bills. Therefore, gas storage is vital for the efficient operation of the UK energy markets.

“We urge the government to look, in detail, at the issue of gas storage, such as they did in 2013. Since then we have seen a number of material changes to the energy market, which have the potential to worsen energy security and, in particular, significantly increase the exposure to extreme price volatility.

“These changes include unprecedented reductions in flexible European gas production (mainly the massive Groningen gas field) and the loss of our own indigenous gas storage capacity, most notably Rough, which comprised 75% of capacity. These detrimental changes to UK energy security are compounded by the uncertainty of the future energy arrangements post-Brexit.

“The ‘Beast from the East’ experience earlier this year, where we witnessed very sharp wholesale price spikes and, despite that, very little UK demand side response, was a real wake-up call and makes this review even more urgent.”

More gas storage is crucial to energy security, says EUA

More gas storage is crucial to energy security, says EUA

Source: HVP Magazine

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JTL & Electrical Industries Charity Highlight Negative Impact Of Stress

JTL is working alongside the Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) to highlight the negative impact of stress.

The joint campaign aims to help people working in the electrical sector to address stressful situations and seek help. It includes a dedicated Apprentice Support Programme, designed to help apprentices with any challenges they may face early on in their career.

The assistance available through the EIC covers a wide range of issues – from caring for a sick or elderly relative to dealing with redundancy. The EIC’s team of trained advisors can offer free financial, legal, emotional or health-related advice.

Thousands of people in the electrical sector are faced with a wide range of difficult situations in their lives, which often lead to mental health issues. Some of those affected reach out for help, but others have no one to turn to and often bury their struggles in alcohol or drug abuse.

Addictions such as alcohol or drug abuse often not only have a dramatic effect on physical health but also has significant consequences on mental health which often leads to problems such as depression, anxiety, and many other issues.

Recent statistics released by the NHS showed that in the UK in 2015/16 there were 8,621 hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of drug-related mental health and behavioural disorders. It was also recorded that each year there were 2,479 registered deaths due to drug misuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) also stated that compared with the general population, people addicted to drugs are twice as likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders.

To help to reduce these statistics and to give crucial access to support services to those who are affected by mental health problems, the Electrical Industries Charity has created the Employee Assistance Programme which offers all of the vital support needed to help people in the electrical sector to get back on their feet and create a life they deserve.

Recently, the charity helped an experienced electrician Rhys Lynch to create a better quality of life for him and his daughter. Rhys first contacted the Electrical Industries Charity in 2012 when his partner left him and his two-year-old daughter. Rhys applied for sole custody of his daughter, leaving his job as an electrician to become a full-time parent. On gaining full custody, the council re-housed Rhys and his daughter into a one-bedroom property, and the charity provided a £1,000 grant for household items. In 2013, they were moved to a bigger, two-bedroom property, which better met their needs and once again the charity helped, providing a £1,000 grant for flooring.

Despite starting a new life, Rhys’ problems were far from over. Over the years, Rhys was faced with numerous financial struggles which sadly resulted in him turning to alcohol and drugs and in 2015, Rhys lost not only his home but also custody of his daughter. With nowhere left to turn, Rhys resorted to theft to feed his addiction, and following many incidences, was sent to prison for 14 weeks.

After serving his sentence, Rhys suffered a further relapse and nearly lost his life. Since then he has sought counselling and support for underlying issues which dated back many years. The charity once more offered support to help with his debts, and he was granted a debt relief order (DRO).

Since September 2015, Rhys has been free from drugs and alcohol and can now see a brighter future ahead. But the road to recovery is never easy, and for people suffering from mental health issues, ongoing support is vital which is why Rhys contacted the charity once more in January 2017.

The charity helped with the cost of updating his qualifications through Able Skills and as a result he has now passed his 2394/95 City & Guilds Testing & Inspection course. He has secured a maintenance contract with a local estate agent and has been offered a contract with a local construction company. Thanks to the support and financial assistance provided by the Electrical Industries Charity, he is once again living with his daughter and is well on his way to building a better life.

Rhys’s story highlights that seeking help and having access to support services can remarkably change someone’s quality of life and this is why the charity always ensures that people in the electrical sector get the support they need when they need it.

If you would like to contact one of the EIC’s team, go to jtltraining.com/free-support/ or just call 0800 652 1618.

JTL & Electrical Industries Charity Highlight Negative Impact Of Stress

JTL & Electrical Industries Charity Highlight Negative Impact Of Stress

Source: Electrical Contracting News 

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Property owners urged to check for potentially harmful lead water pipes

WaterSafe, the UK register for approved plumbers, is urging everyone to ‘take the scratch test’, as more than two-thirds of homeowners don’t know if their water is supplied through potentially harmful lead water pipes.

Sixty-eight per cent of homeowners don’t know if they have potentially harmful lead water pipes in their property, according to a survey of 2,000 property owners by WaterSafe.

Water used for drinking and cooking that has been supplied through lead pipes can result in a build-up of lead in the body. This can be bad for health – especially for babies and children, whose development can be affected. Another 53% of homeowners don’t know that it’s their responsibility to replace lead pipes should they find them in their homes.

Julie Spinks, director of WaterSafe, said: “We’re asking property owners to do one thing during Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (Oct 21-27) – check your homes and business premises for lead water pipes, especially if you have an older property. It’s quite simple – find the water pipe where it enters your home, which is usually in a kitchen cupboard or under the stairs.

“Lead pipes are normally dull grey and soft and if you scrape the surface gently with a coin you’ll see shiny silver-coloured metal underneath. It’s quite distinct from copper or plastic. If the pipes are painted just scrape the paint off too.”

The use of lead in plumbing has been banned in the UK for more than 25 years, so it’s the houses built before 1970 which are most likely to have lead pipes.

Homeowners who find they do have lead pipes should contact their water supplier who can test the levels of lead in the drinking water and offer advice on replacing them.

 

Property owners urged to check for potentially harmful lead water pipes

Property owners urged to check for potentially harmful lead water pipes

Source: HPM Magazine

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Have you taken your 18th yet?

Contractors undertake latest training in variety of ways

More than 1,000 conscientious contractors have now successfully taken and passed their 18th Edition training with NICEIC and ELECSA.

The 18th Edition officially launched in July this year with electrical contractors given a six-month transition period to get up to speed with the changes.

While some contractors have decided to delay any training – others have been keen to get cracking straight away.

Neil Vincent, Training Manager at NICEIC and ELECSA said: “It has been interesting to see people’s attitude towards training since the 18thwas launched.

“Some have been extra keen and jumped straight in and others are still biding their time and looking to do it over the next 3-6 months.

“Everyone is different and with the six month window we know everyone will have a different approach. We have had more than 3000 bookings in total so far with many preferring to take the course over the next few months so it is going to be busy in the run up to January.”

NICEIC and ELECSA have been at the forefront of delivering training packages to suit contractors’ needs.

It currently runs two different 18th Edition courses. The full course takes three days and is for contractors who feel they need a working knowledge of the latest edition of the Level 3 Award in the Requirements for Electrical Installations BS 7671:2018 qualification.

The update course is a one-day option for those who have recently completed their 17th edition Amendment 3: 2015 qualification

Both courses can be taken online or in the classroom and there has been a real split in the type of course and the way contractors are choosing to access training.

Neil added: “In terms of the full version and the update course, we are seeing a real 50/50 split. We expected that as many contractors chose to update their training requirements at the time of the last amendment in 2015.

“It is also curious to see that the majority of bookings are for classroom based learning where contractors can discuss and share information with fellow electricians.

“However, there is definitely a growing demand for online training too and it is totally down to the individual and what they prefer. By offering both options contractors have that choice.”

A partnership with JTL also means contractors choosing NICEIC and ELECSA now have the option to take the course at more than 35 locations across the UK.

In addition, NICEIC and ELECSA can also offer in house training for companies looking to train large numbers of employees in one go. More than 150 people have taken training this way already with organisations such as Mitie, Places for People and others choosing this method.

Neil added: “We can offer a range of options to all contractors. For any individual or organisation that has not yet booked in their training, we would encourage them to get in touch and speak to our team.

“An ability to show a level of understanding and awareness of the changes should be a priority for everyone involved in the electrical industry.”

For more information visit 18edition.com or call the training team on 0333 015 6626

Have you taken your 18th yet?

Have you taken your 18th yet?

Source: Electrical Times

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Bidders day for £40m new London station job

Contractors are being called up for a bidders day for a £40m new station near the Brent Cross Shopping centre in North London.

Called Brent Cross West, the new Thameslink station forms part of the wider Brent Cross and Cricklewood regeneration scheme and already has outline planning.

The London Borough of Brent is planning the market event next month ahead of inviting tenders for a design and build contract.

The new station is required to be completed, commissioned, handed over into operations and maintenance by May 2022.

It will have four platforms, with a single bridge serving the purpose of a public right of way footbridge, as well as access to the new platforms.

The project proposals have been developed to GRIP4 with the successful bidder expected to taken the project forward to GRIP stages 5 to 8.

Registration for the event on 13 November should be sent to procurement@barnet.gov.uk ref Brent Cross West Station November 2018.

Contractor J Murphy & Sons is presently working on an enabling works contract for the new Thameslink Sidings facility near the new station site.

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Spurs still don’t know when builders will finish new stadium

Tottenham Hotspur Football Club has confirmed that its new £800m stadium will not be finished before the end of the year but still does not know when it will be able to open.

“I wish I was able to confirm an exact opening date and fixture,” said chairman Daniel Levy. “However, in light of factors completely outside of our control, contractors missing deadlines and possible future unforeseen issues, we are naturally being cautious in respect of our timetable for our test events and official opening game.”

Spurs had expected to play its first fixture at its new stadium on 15th September 2018. During construction works the club has been playing home games at Wembley Stadium.

Key contractors involved in the mechanical, electrical and safety systems are being supported with external resources and closely monitored by Mace, the construction manager, the club said.

Chairman Daniel Levy said: “There isn’t an hour that goes by when I am not asked when we will be able to stage our first game at our new home.

“Whilst we are conscious of the need to keep pressure on our contractors to deliver as soon as possible, we are also acutely aware of how difficult the lack of clarity is for you, our supporters, to plan around games, particularly those at Christmas and New Year.

“In light of the above, and taking into account the restricted availability of manpower over the festive period, we have taken the decision to confirm today that all home games will be played at Wembley Stadium up to and including the game against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 29th December.”

He added: “The delay in the stadium opening has made it possible for some track and station improvements to be brought forward due to the fact that previously non-available construction dates have become available for works.

“We have no doubt when open that this stadium will be one of the finest in the world – a leading example of British research and development delivering engineering and technological firsts that will be showcased globally.

“This is a stadium for another century and a few months’ delay will hopefully soon be forgotten when we proudly return home.”

Spurs still doesn’t know when builders will finish new stadium

Spurs still doesn’t know when builders will finish new stadium

Source: Construction Index

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Multiplex green light for £113m Glasgow research hub

The University of Glasgow has received planning consent for the first building on the site of the former Western Infirmary.

Multiplex can now proceed will full-scale building work on the £113m Research Hub, with completion expected in 2021.

The Research Hub, designed by HOK architects, will host over 600 academics, postdoctoral researchers and PhD students working across five broad research themes.

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Glasgow, said: “This represents a landmark moment in our £1bn Campus Development programme as the Research Hub will be the first building to be constructed on the site of the former Western Infirmary.

“Upon completion, this building will offer a unique facility to support the University’s world-class research, as well as providing a welcoming and accessible hub for knowledge exchange and public engagement.”

Multiplex green light for £113m Glasgow research hub

Multiplex green light for £113m Glasgow research hub

Source: Construction Enquirer 

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Watersafe survey finds people over 55 not checking for plumber competence 

WaterSafe is advising older consumers not to risk their home’s water quality after a survey revealed many over-55s are failing to make important checks when hiring a plumber.

A recent survey of 2,000 households by WaterSafe, the UK register for approved plumbers, revealed that:

  • only 17% of over-55s checked if their plumber was a member of an approved scheme – while more worrying, a further 19% admitted to not making any checks at all
  • less than 10% of over-55s asked their plumber if the products being fitted met water quality regulations
  • only 12% checked if their plumber had insurance.

WaterSafe’s survey also revealed that only 28% of over-55s asked for a written quote and agreed a timescale for any plumbing work.

Julie Spinks, Director of WaterSafe said: “Plumbers approved through WaterSafe can give older homeowners immediate peace of mind as they are fully qualified to carry out plumbing work in homes and businesses, and specifically trained to meet the strict regulations for installing pipes and fittings that keep the nation’s drinking water safe.

“With thousands of qualified, approved WaterSafe plumbers in the UK, it’s simple to find one local to them by either using our online postcode search at watersafe.org.uk or calling us on 0333 207 9030.”

The consumer advice section of the WaterSafe website provides advice and tips for homeowners to help them plan watertight plumbing work. Before getting started, WaterSafe recommends that consumers always ask their plumber for:

  • A physical address and contact telephone number
  • An established time in business
  • Proof of insurance
  • Their WaterSafe Registration
  • Their Gas Safe Registration (if they work on gas systems)
  • Their Competent Person Scheme Registration (if applicable)
Watersafe survey finds people over 55 not checking for plumber competence 

Watersafe survey finds people over 55 not checking for plumber competence

Source: HVP Magazine

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Keltbray invests in £5bn Kent theme park plan

Keltbray is backing plans for a new theme park in Kent with a multi-million pound investment.

The specialist contractor has formed a joint venture with project developer LRCH to invest £25m into the London Resort Project near Ebbsfleet.

The £5bn scheme was dealt a blow last year when film studio Paramount Pictures walked away from the project.

Proposals for the park have been around since 2012 with the latest timetable promising a planning application next year.

Steve Norris, Chairman LRCH said: “We are delighted to welcome Keltbray to this most exciting project.

“We have been discussing for some time the best way to harness their specialist construction industry expertise alongside their ability to act as a catalyst for further industry participation and investment.

“Over the next five years, this project will become one of the largest construction projects in the UK and their involvement takes us a significant step closer to delivering a world class resort.”

A £5bn investment will transform seven million square feet of land into two theme parks celebrating brands from across literature, television, music, film and entertainment.

Brendan Kerr, CEO of Keltbray, said:“Keltbray is recognised in the industry as an enabler of projects.

“It has long prided itself on its ability to manage the most challenging of projects thanks to its investment in training, design and plant.

“At seven million square feet, this new theme park won’t be an easy project but that is why the formulation of this JV with LRCH is an ideal partnership.

“We’re delighted to be involved in what I’m sure will provide a significant boost to both employment and tourism in the UK.”

Keltbray invests in £5bn Kent theme park plan

Keltbray invests in £5bn Kent theme park plan

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Six ways van drivers can deter thieves

Theft from vans can be a costly issue for British tradesmen and women but now a team of motoring experts have issued six top tips to deter pesky thieves.

The team at  LeaseVan.co.uk have researched into the most effective and affordable ways for van drivers to improve their security so that vehicles appear less of a target for those looking to pinch tools.

From choosing parking spots wisely in well-lit areas, to removing precious valuables and keeping them inside overnight, they’ve looked at the easiest ways van drivers can help reduce the chances of their vehicles being broken into.

Tim Alcock from LeaseVan.co.uk said: “As the shorter evenings roll in, van theft can become more prevalent as thieves choose the cover of darkness to come out and do the deed.

“Anyone who has suffered a break-in or who has had valuables stolen will know how devastating it can be. It’s even worse if the perpetrator causes damage to your vehicle in the process as it’s a further expense and can hinder work.

“Certain criminals are savvy enough to find ways around basic security systems and factory fitted immobilisers and alarms often don’t make the cut and can do nothing to prevent theft.

“As the saying goes – you can never be too careful, so we’re trying to advocate prevention over everything else.

“Investing in tighter, more comprehensive security will help deter and protect thieves from trying to break into your vehicle. As well as this, introducing a heavy duty steering wheel and applying plastic window tints are just a few of the straight forward things that can be done to reduce the chance of a break in as much as possible.” 

Remove valuables

 It can be a chore removing valuables from your vehicle every night, but it’s worth popping them in the garage if it means they’re fully protected. If it’s not possible to remove all tools then just take the most expensive and store them securely overnight. Don’t forget to put them back in the morning when you need them for work though!

 Consider your parking spot

 Where possible, park in a garage or on a driveway, but if you can’t get a spot close to your home or if you have street parking, aim to get it as close to your front door as possible in a well-lit area covered by CCTV. This way you can keep an eye on your car and it will also deter thieves if they can be seen – they are likely to go for darker, hidden spots where they won’t be noticed. If you’re parking your van at home, consider adding extras such as motion-detecting security lights, lockable gates or even rising bollards to your home.

Get a lockable toolbox

Lockable toolboxes are perfect for storing all equipment or just the valuables – if the toolbox has another feature to unlock this may mean thieves will be discouraged to take it as they won’t be able to get to the goods anyway – it’s always good to have an extra layer of protection.

Prioritise security when choosing a new van

 When browsing vans – make sure you take into account the security benefits. It’s easy to be led into getting the snazziest model on the market – but it’s equally as important to protect your vehicle, your tools and effectively your trade with concrete security features. Always think about the design – glazed

rear doors, for example, are great for visibility but they can be a security risk as they let everybody know what’s in your vehicle and they can be more easily broken. Most modern vans offer a good range of security features, but if you need to add extras, consider specifying an alarm, immobiliser and deadlocks for all the doors.

 Invest in simple security upgrades

 Handbrake locks, heavy-duty steering wheel locks, locking wheel nuts and lockable fuel filler caps are just some of the simple and affordable measures you can buy to boost your van’s security. Plastic window tints and upgraded deadlocks and slam locks for doors are also worthwhile physical add-ons for commercial vehicles that can be adapted to suit different needs.

Look at the latest technology

Check out the more advanced electronic alarms and vehicle tracking devices too – electronic GPS trackers can vastly improve the chances of recovering your van if it is stolen and advanced systems can alert police when a vehicle is stolen too. Another option is to install a CCTV system to monitor the area or areas your van is mostly parked. The latest cameras can be connected to your local Wi-Fi network to stream images directly to your smartphone or computer. They can also be set to activate when they detect movement.

Six ways van drivers can deter thieves

Six ways van drivers can deter thieves

Source: Electrical Times

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Government establishes £3,500 landlord contribution cap

The government has ended its consultation on proposals to amend the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015, primarily deciding to increase the landlord financial contribution cap to £3,500.

The response said: “In line with the consultation proposal, the government intends to amend the regulations to introduce a capped landlord contribution that will take effect where third-party funding is unavailable or insufficient to cover the costs of energy efficiency improvements.

“This decision has been made in recognition of the current constraints on third-party funding and their impact on the effectiveness of the current regulations. Domestic rental properties in England and Wales affected by this decision represent less than 6% of the overall domestic market.”

This new funding cap is an increase on the initially suggested £2,500, but still lower than the £5,000 cap recommended by the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC). According to the HHIC, setting the cap at £2,500 would have only helped 30% of houses reach EPC band E, whereas a cap of £5,000 would assist a substantially higher number of homes.

Stewart Clements, Director of the HHIC, said: “When government and industry – ‘those in the know’ – work together then the resulting outcomes are better. I am pleased that the government has recognised that legislation is required in the rental sector to improve EPC ratings. The figure of £3,500 improves upon the suggested £2,500, which would have only helped 30% of homes improve upon their EPC rating.

“Having said this, the HHIC still believes £5,000 is the correct level for the cap, as it would help close to 60% of cold , inefficient (band F and G) homes reach the required EPC level. This is because the cost of installing a new central heating system can amount to £4,000, £500 above the new cap level. Insulation alone will not keep a home warm; you need an efficient heating system too, and gas central heating is the most obvious solution.”

The full government response to the consultation can be found here.

Government establishes £3,500 landlord contribution cap

Source: HVP Magazine

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New energy efficient Domus Ventilation MVHR wall units launched

Domus Ventilation, part of the Polypipe group, has launched the HRXE range of high-performance Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) units for small to medium size residential properties.

MVHR systems combine supply and extract ventilation in one system.  They efficiently recover the heat typically lost in waste, stale air and use it to temper the fresh air drawn into the building via a heat exchanger.  The filtered, pre-warmed air is distributed to areas of the home such as living rooms and bedrooms, effectively meeting part of the heating load in energy efficient dwellings.

Building on its success in MVHR, Domus has developed the HRXE units to provide even greater efficiency through advanced heat exchange proficiency and low Specific Fan Power (SFP).  When used with a kitchen and one wet room, a typical installation, the HRXE provides a 90% heat exchange performance and boasts a very low SFP down to 0.57W/(l/s).

The new HRXE range is not only efficient but also exceptionally quiet, with background (normal) ventilation at 24dB(A) (typically whisper quiet).  Noise reduction can be further reduced through the use of an Anti-Vibration tray, which isolates the unit from the wall to reduce any low levels of vibration induced noise which can be distracting to residents.

There are four models in the HRXE range, all with a two year warranty and all featuring 100% thermal (summer) bypass which automatically activates when the air temperature reaches a pre-set level, allowing in cooler, fresh, filtered air without warming it through the heat exchanger.  The smart design of the HRXE means there is no reduction in airflow when operating in bypass mode.

Within the range, models are available with integral humidity sensors, which is much in demand.  By accurately measuring air humidity, the HRXE’s extract speed automatically changes from background to boost as the level of humidity increases, thereby providing optimal ventilation performance.

When it comes to installation, Domus Ventilation has designed the HRXE units to be even smaller than their predecessors making them ideal for wall-mounted cupboard installation, with opposite-handed models available to meet different on-site requirements. Spigots on the top of the HRXE are 125mm, but with Domus Ventilation’s extensive duct portfolio, adaptors are available to enable direct connection to the most common ducting size – 204x600mm flat channel duct –for quicker and more cost-effective installation.  Furthermore, integrated controls are accessed via a front panel for easy commissioning.

The HRXE range has been designed to work most efficiently when used with Domus duct systems, including its Flow Control Plenum and High-Efficiency Green Line Bends, which reduce duct bend resistance by up to 60%.  Domus duct systems offer improved system performance through the exacting tolerances and engineered fit of the system, whereby pressure drops are minimised and air leakage virtually eliminated.

Domus Ventilation has a well-deserved reputation for quality, supported by an excellent technical support, from a market leading manufacturer and designer.  It is well placed to offer immediate, practical solutions to Building Regulations Parts F & L.

For further information on the Domus Ventilation HRXE MVHR appliances, please contact vent.info@domusventilation.co.uk or visit www.domusventilation.co.uk

New energy efficient Domus Ventilation MVHR wall units launched

New energy efficient Domus Ventilation MVHR wall units launched

Source: Electrical Trade Magazine

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Fake skills card dealer jailed for more than three years

A man who manufactured and sold fake construction industry skill cards has been jailed for more than three years.

Online trader Andrew Weeks was sentenced at Warwick Crown Court for offences under the Fraud Act.

Weeks was caught following an investigation by Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards.

Officers discovered that he was manufacturing construction industry skill cards at his printing firm and selling them via his website.

Weeks was sentenced to 3 years and 8 months after pleading guilty to the manufacture of fake documents.

The investigation was supported with information from the Construction Industry Training Board and a number of card schemes including the Construction Skills Certification Scheme and the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme.

Graham Wren, Chief Executive at CSCS said: “This is another example of the industry working together to tackle card fraud.

“CSCS will always support the authorities to identify and act against those attempting to deceive construction employers.

“This case also highlights the need for thorough card checks, ideally electronically, to ensure construction workers are who they say they are and have the correct qualifications for the job they do on site.”

Weeks was also sued by CSCS for copyright infringement and ordered to pay damages of £6,000.

Steve Brawley, Chief Executive at ECS said: “We hope that this case will serve as a message to would be fraudsters that their actions will not be accepted.

“Fraudsters on construction sites present a danger to themselves and others and we need to work together to stamp this activity out.”

Ian Sidney, Fraud Manager at CITB said: “This sentence shows just how serious construction card fraud is and the lengths that CITB and the whole industry will go to in order to stamp it out.

“The use of fake cards could easily lead to accidents, injuries or even fatalities where contractors do not have the required skills, training or qualifications.

“Employers must remain vigilant when checking workers’ documentation and keep an eye out for any suspicious activity.”

Fake skills card dealer jailed for more than three years

Fake skills card dealer jailed for more than three years

Source: Construction Enquirer 

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Government names TrustMark as the new all-encompassing mark of quality for consumers in and around the home

In support of the Government’s Green GB Week, TrustMark, the Government-endorsed quality scheme for tradespeople, announces that it has expanded its remit to include Repair, Maintenance and Improvement (RMI), retrofit and energy efficiency sectors, in order to now cover any work a consumer chooses to have carried out in or around their home.

TrustMark has extended its responsibilities following the industry led Government-commissioned Each Home Counts review in 2016, which identified a requirement for an all-encompassing mark of quality for consumers to recognise and trust.  TrustMark was chosen to be the brand that the quality mark has now become with clean growth and energy efficiency being a key focus of the scheme.

TrustMark’s expansion has bought significant changes to the scheme, including:

·  The Core Criteria document will be replaced by the Framework Operating Requirements (FOR).  This will be delivered through the network of Scheme Providers who will vet and monitor each business registered within the scheme.

·  The FOR will be supplemented by additional documents such as the Code of Conduct (setting out requirements to Registered Businesses) and the Customer Charter (outlining the rights and responsibilities of customers), both of which aim to improve clarity of communication for tradespeople and their customers.

·  New and updated branding, which includes a refreshed logo to reflect the significant incoming changes, whilst celebrating the core values and name that remains at the heart of TrustMark as an organisation.

·  The TrustMark website has also been updated to display the new branding and features an enhanced consumer search facility.  A customer/business portal will also be available over the forthcoming months to handle all aspects of communications between consumers and trade, from quote to payment.

TrustMark’s new independent Chairman, Ranil Jayawardena, says:

“The evolution of TrustMark into the Government Endorsed Quality scheme for any work that a consumer has done to their home is great news. I want to make sure that TrustMark puts consumers first and gives them the best information from which they can make their own decisions.  At the same time, I believe this will be good for the industry in the long run, as it should mean that consumer-power drives the industry to be better.”

Simon Ayers, CEO of TrustMark, says:

“These steps only represent the beginning of change at TrustMark and I am delighted with the direction the scheme is going in and believe these improvements will pave the way for positive, far-reaching change for both consumers and businesses.  We have significant plans for developing the services to our Scheme Providers, Registered Businesses and the consumers that rely on them and together we can carry on our journey.”

Claire Perry, Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, says:

“The UK has led the world in cutting emissions whilst growing our economy – with clean growth driving incredible innovation and creating hundreds of thousands of high quality jobs. on our successes and explain the huge opportunities for business and young people of a cleaner economy. I’m delighted to see how many more businesses and organisations, such as TrustMark, are seizing this multi-billion pound opportunity to energize their communities to tackle the very serious threat of climate change.”

Since 2005, TrustMark has been a champion of consumer protection and when a consumer sees the TrustMark logo they will know the business they are engaging with is technically competent and has made an additional commitment to customer services and trading practices.  This will be the case regardless of the type of work they require on their property.

For further information about TrustMark, visit www.trustmark.org.uk

Government names TrustMark as the new all-encompassing mark of quality for consumers in and around the home

Government names TrustMark as the new all-encompassing mark of quality for consumers in and around the home

Source: Electrical Times 

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