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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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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.

 

Merry Christmas from Hotcost

Merry Christmas from Hotcost

 

Warmest thoughts and best wishes for a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year from everyone at Hotcost!

 

During the holiday period we are closed on:-

 

Christmas Day

 

Boxing Day

 

New Years Day

 

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 2017 Newsletter

Quick Links

 


MPs join the campaign to inspire the next generation of engineers

More than 30 MPs have pledged their support for a national campaign to get more young people into engineering, joining government and industry in a united effort to tackle a major skills gap.

The Year of Engineering, which launches in January, will see government work with hundreds of industry partners to raise the profile of engineering among young people aged 7-16, their parents and their teachers. This will include offering at least a million direct experiences of engineering to young people from all backgrounds – from behind the scenes tours and family days out, to school visits and the chance to meet engineering role models.

At an event in Parliament yesterday, Wednesday 6 December, MPs from across the UK committed to supporting the campaign in their constituencies. Pledges included connecting schools with local engineering employers and encouraging businesses to take part in open doors events for schools and families.

Minister for the Year of Engineering and Transport Skills Minister John Hayes said: “If we are going to create a country fit to meet all new challenges, we need to train the next generation of highly-skilled British workers.

“Engineering and all it brings is at the heart of economic success and provides exciting opportunities of fulfilling careers through skills that will shape all our futures, but for too many employers a lack of skilled engineers is limiting growth. That’s why I am delighted to see so many of my colleagues determined to promote engineering. Their determination and dedication, enthusiasm and engagement will help to make the year of engineering not only a year-long campaign but a lifelong success.

“Now, huge opportunities exist as the government’s strategic investment in infrastructure bears fruit. New skills, new jobs and new prospects will turn vision to reality, if we show young people, their parents and their teachers what engineering can mean: a career in engineering offers creativity, variety, the chance to innovate and so make a real difference.”

HM Government Envoy for the Year of Engineering Stephen Metcalfe MP said: “The value of engineering skills is frequently underestimated, outdated perceptions of the profession are still widespread, and the industry continues to suffer from a lack of diversity in its workforce.

“The Year of Engineering aims to tackle these challenges, so it’s vital that the campaign is championed across government, parliament and industry.

“We know how much enthusiasm there is in all parts of the profession to encourage engineers of the future. We want this campaign to unite those ambitions, and I welcome these pledges of support from my fellow MPs which will be vital in helping to drive this across the country.”

The event was jointly hosted by government and the Institution for Engineering and Technology (IET), marking the publication of its annual Skills Survey report – which looks at the skills challenges faced by engineering and technology employers in the UK.

Nigel Fine, IET Chief Executive, said: “The IET 2017 Engineering and Technology Skills Survey highlights a buoyant sector with high value jobs being created. In order to deliver on the skills challenge we must ensure we have enough people with the practical and technical skills required by industry, and recruit widely from a diverse pool of potential talent, bringing in all sections of society.

“The cross-government Year of Engineering campaign will be an ideal way of celebrating the amazing contribution that engineering makes to society, and encourage young people to join the profession. The IET is delighted to be supporting the campaign to highlight the exciting, creative and rewarding world of engineering.”

Hundreds of partners have signed up to support the Year of Engineering, including Siemens, the Science Museum Group, Ocado, Usborne, BAE Systems and Crossrail. Teaming up with partners from many different sectors, the government will deliver a year of UK-wide school visits, exhibitions and open doors events – all aimed at encouraging young people and their parents to take a closer look at engineering.

To find out more, visit the Year of Engineering partner website or follow the campaign on Twitter.

 

MPs join the campaign to inspire the next generation of engineers

MPs join the campaign to inspire the next generation of engineers

Source: Electrical Engineering

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Housing association completes heating upgrade programme

Soha Housing has just completed a comprehensive upgrade programme to improve heating in its least energy-efficient properties.

The Oxfordshire housing association offered 127 homes with a SAP rating of 55 or lower a new heating system: gas, if the supply was available, or more efficient electrical radiators.

The systems installed were the Quantum space heater from Dimplex and Vaillant Eco Tec pure models 612-630 gas boilers.

The average SAP rating across the properties before the works was 47 and the new average has risen to 67.

More than a third of the households upgraded responded to a survey asking them to assess the difference the new heating would make. 57% said they were already enjoying better value for money – £100 a quarter in one case – with Economy 7; others were pleased with the more consistent and controllable warmth. 63% said they no longer needed to supplement their heating with other devices such as a fan heater. Some who were living with gas for the first time were able to identify an improvement in breathing or other chest conditions.

“No more running out of hot water at bath time for my little girls”, commented one tenant, who had gas installed for the first time. Another, whose storage heaters were replaced with, as she described them, ‘much nicer-looking’ electric radiators, appreciated that she could programme them for her return from work.

Housing association completes heating upgrade programme

Housing association completes heating upgrade programme

Source: HVP Magazine

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SELECT launches new series of technical videos

SELECT, the campaigning body for the electrotechnical trade in Scotland, has built on the resounding success of its nationwide Toolbox Talks initiative with the launch of a series of technical videos which will be of immediate value to electrical practitioners.

The professionally produced series of technical update films – created by SELECT’s own technical team – begins with a 20-minute presentation on surge protection and its connection to current standards.

With a straightforward, accessible narration, the first video uses a mix of live video, text and diagrams to explain the dangers of surge protection and the measures that can be taken to protect a variety of installations.

The videos can be viewed on a selection of mobile devices, such as phones, tablets and laptops, meaning that they will be instantly available to electrical professionals wherever they are working.

Dave Forrester, head of Technical Services at SELECT, said: “In our Toolbox Talks series, which toured Scotland to great acclaim again this year, we discussed issues of immediate importance to the electrical profession.

“But while the Talks reach audiences of hundreds of interested people, the new video series will allow us to reach out to a far bigger number of professionals at times and places which suit them.”

Surge protection was chosen as the first topic because of the effect it can have on electrical installations. The narrative focused on what can be done to protect sensitive equipment connected to these installations.

It also covered surge protection devices, SPD terminology, British Standards, the selection and erection of SPDs and their future development. The videos can be viewed here.

Mr Forrester said: “Things like IT equipment are particularly susceptible, even to indirect lightning strikes. Even turning equipment on and off can introduce spikes and voltage which can be harmful to sensitive equipment.”

SELECT’s 1250 member companies account for around 90% of all electrical installation work carried out in Scotland. They have a collective turnover of around £1 billion and provide employment for 15,000 people.

SELECT launches new series of technical videos

SELECT launches new series of technical videos

Source: Electrical Times

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Baxi donates boilers to college

Baxi Heating has donated some of its latest boilers and other heating equipment to help train construction students at Coleg Cambria in north east Wales.

The manufacturer has provided four combi boilers, six heat-only boilers, and a Heatrae Sadia Megaflo unvented cylinder. The donation will give students studying for a Level 1 or 2 diploma in plumbing practical experience of the latest products.

Baxi Heating Training Officer Robert Evans, an ex-student at the college, arranged the donation. He said: “We are delighted to have provided Coleg Cambria with up-to-date equipment and training to ensure the next generation of gas engineers are ready to meet the demands of an ever-changing industry.

“At Baxi we are always striving to meet those demands. It has been a pleasure working with the staff and students in a college which is forward thinking and has many talented students.”

Baxi runs 16 training centres nationwide, including eight based at higher education facilities such as Exeter College, Coleg Gwent in Newport and Leeds College of Building.

Ian Hogg, Coleg Cambria’s Deputy Director of Curriculum for Construction, added: “We are really grateful for the kind donation of boilers and equipment Baxi has made to Coleg Cambria. Baxi has supported the college in the past with previous donations and I know that our students and staff have benefited greatly and that these new additions will be put to excellent use.

“Thanks must go to Robert Evans from Baxi Heating, in particular, who has built a really good relationship with our staff and knows the contribution of up-to-date boilers and systems makes to the excellent training our students get here at Coleg Cambria.”

Baxi donates boilers to college

Baxi donates boilers to college

Source: HVP Magazine

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Electricity network operators commit to creating new energy markets to help deliver £17bn smart energy opportunity

A commitment made by electricity network companies on the running of Great Britain’s smart grid could help deliver £17bn back to the economy by 2050, the companies have said.

Electricity network companies operating across England, Scotland and Wales are announcing a joint commitment to “create new markets to enable flexibility services that will compete alongside traditional investment”. Network operators in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are also providing an indication of broad intent to use the services in the future.

The move will help reduce the cost of running the network to customers and provide new opportunities for businesses and communities to offer flexibility services to local network operators. It is published in the “Opening Markets for Network Flexibility” report for the Open Networks Project.

The pan-industry Open Networks Project is a “key initiative” for addressing the changes that need to be made to energy networks to create a more flexible energy system, as recently set out in Ofgem and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan.

Flexibility services include businesses and consumers increasing electricity generation, or choosing to adjust their electricity consumption up or down to support balancing of supply and demand in real time in response to a financial incentive provided to them by an agreement with a network operator. They include:

  • Selling power generated by new technologies such as solar panels and wind turbines.
  • Businesses adjusting their electricity use at the times of day when they least need it.
  • Using new smart energy efficiency technology to adjust consumption remotely and buying electricity from battery storage.

Research conducted by Imperial College London and The Carbon Trust for the Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan shows that the UK could deliver £17-40bn of benefits across the energy system by 2050. A smarter, more flexible energy system, with the use of flexibility markets, will deliver these benefits.

The report also states that network companies will also “rapidly increase the use of competitive markets” over the next 6 years, under the current RIIO ED1 price control period.

The roles and responsibilities of network companies are changing as they respond to the deployment of new types of smart and renewable energy technology connected at a local rather than a national level. These changes mean that Distribution Network Operators are moving from their traditional role of simply distributing electricity to playing a more active role managing supply and demand locally.

At the same time the role of National Grid as System Operator is also changing to facilitate the transition to a more decentralised, low carbon system. The Open Networks Project will describe the new roles and responsibilities required to support the transition to a smarter, more efficient electricity network.

David Smith, CEO of Energy Networks Association, comments: “Our energy networks have a great track record of delivering for households, businesses and communities when it comes to network reliability, reducing costs to the bill payer and driving forward new investment in our infrastructure.

“Today’s announcement builds on that, as our energy market rapidly changes. It is about creating a system that creates a platform for a whole range of new energy technologies and services that not only allows network companies to manage the system more effectively but give other organisations the chance to benefit from that, whether that be directly or indirectly.”

Richard Harrington MP, Minister for Energy & Industry, said: “Upgrading our energy system to make sure it is fit for the future is a key part of our Industrial Strategy and the Smart Systems Plan published in July sets out what we will do to make that happen.

“A smarter, more flexible energy system will create opportunities to reduce energy costs, increase productivity and put UK businesses in a leading position to export smart energy technology and services to the rest of the world.”

Dermot Nolan, Chief Executive of Ofgem, said: “We welcome today’s commitment by network companies to create new markets for flexibility services following the joint publication of the Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan by Ofgem and the Government in July.

“Flexibility is key to the transition to a smarter energy system which saves consumers money on their energy bills. We will work with the energy industry, Government and consumer groups to make sure that these new services are delivered in whatever way works best for consumers.”

Electricity network operators commit to creating new energy markets to help deliver £17bn smart energy opportunity

Electricity network operators commit to creating new energy markets to help deliver £17bn smart energy opportunity

Source: Electrical Times

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Construction start date for £350m Tower Hamlets site

Construction is set to start next year on a £350m scheme to regenerate one of the last remaining brownfield sites in Tower Hamlets, East London.

The timetable was unveiled as the London Borough of Tower Hamlets granted the green light to plans from a consortium led by Galliard Homes and Lindhill.

The Ailsa Wharf site will contain 785-homes as part of a mixed use regeneration scheme designed by architecture practice Stockwool.

Work will transform a heavily contaminated 2.5ha tract of land next to the River Lea which has laid barren and unused for many years.

The approved proposals will create a mixed-use hub of high quality housing and 3,000m2 commercial space in 13 buildings varying between 3 and 17 storeys set within significant areas of new public realm.

The development has the potential to kickstart wider regeneration in Poplar Riverside, particularly the sites to the south such as Iron Mountain and the Nairn Street Estate.

Construction is due to start in 2018 with first completions due in 2021.

Construction start date for £350m Tower Hamlets site

Construction start date for £350m Tower Hamlets site

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Tradespeople spend the most on Secret Santa gifts, says Wonga

Tradespeople spend the most on Secret Santa presents for their colleagues, according to research from Wonga.

Wonga reports that 21% of tradespeople spend between £21 and £25 on a Secret Santa gift, compared to the national average of £13.

The professions that spend the most on Secret Santa gifts on average are:

  1. Plumber, builder or electrician – £18
  2. Designer or artist – £16
  3. IT – £16.

The thriftiest professions, by the percentage of people who spend £5 or less on a gift, are:

  1. Teacher – 21.1%
  2. Sales – 12.5%
  3. Retail – 11.4%.

Plumbers, builders and electricians also spend the most overall on seasonal workplace festivities, with 19% spending £76 to £100 on everything including Christmas parties, lunches, decorations, gifts and treats.

Geographically, people in Edinburgh are the most festive, with 90% buying a colleague a Secret Santa gift and attending at least one party. Workers in Southampton are the biggest party poopers, with just 51% taking part in Secret Santa and only 64% going to a party, according to the research.

Tradespeople spend the most on Secret Santa gifts, says Wonga

Tradespeople spend the most on Secret Santa gifts, says Wonga

Source: HVP Magazine

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UK Tradespeople struggle to recruit due to a lack of focus on training

More than half of tradespeople (57%) struggle to find skilled labour – 37% think apprenticeships are not respected as much as university and 31% believe school leavers are put off by a poor perception of trade careers

The UK’s electricians, plumbers, builders, carpenters and other trades are optimistic about the future, with 82% expecting business activity to remain at the same level or grow over the next 12 months, additionally, nearly half (45%) report being busier than last year.

However, research conducted by trade retailer, Electricfix’s umbrella organisation, Screwfix, has revealed the majority (57%) are reporting difficulties in recruiting staff to support them. This is primarily due to:

  • a lack of focus on encouraging new people to train in the trades.
  • not enough local skilled tradespeople.
  • too much red tape.

‘For those who struggle to recruit skilled employees, more than one third (37%) believe it is because apprenticeships are not given the same level of respect as a university education. Furthermore, 31% say poor public perception of a career in the trade means school leavers are not interested in pursuing a future in construction.’

The research, conducted as part of Screwfix Trade Pulse*, a monthly index of more than 500 UK tradespeople, also revealed strong work levels across the trade at the moment, as nearly one fifth (18%) of tradespeople has more work than they can handle and 40% are quoting for more jobs than 12 months ago.

Nearly all (94%) tradespeople said they would recommend a career in the trade and of the reasons why, 85% say they have a strong sense of achievement when a job is done and, 80% enjoy seeing the results of their hard work.

More than half (57%) of those surveyed said they started as apprentices and, when it comes to increasing the numbers undertaking trade apprenticeships, more than one third (35%) believe greater focus is needed on vocational education in schools. More than one quarter (26%) believe improved awareness about the opportunities offered by a career in the trade would drive greater uptake of apprenticeships, with 19% saying that reducing red tape for employers looking to hire an apprentice should be considered.

The research also looked at views around those entering construction at a later stage in their careers. The significant majority (82%) of tradespeople think more could be done to attract people to the trade further into their working lives. More than two thirds (69%) think increasing awareness of the opportunities available would help attract people into the trade and 61% believe greater knowledge of the support available to retrain is also crucial.

Graham Bell, CEO of Electricfix and Screwfix, comments: “When we speak to tradespeople across our 546 stores, they reflect what these findings show us. Tradespeople tell us they have full work diaries but, many struggle to recruit skilled employees when looking to support their growing business so, it is clear that focused efforts are needed to drive recruitment and training into the trades.

“There is much focus on a reported construction skills challenge with various reasons given including loss of talent during the downturn and a lack of new entrants joining the trade. That’s why, now more than ever, all parties including government, suppliers and education providers should work together.

“It was encouraging to see the investment pledged into improving construction skills by the government in the recent Budget but, collectively, we also need to demonstrate why construction is such a great sector to work in and, help those who may be interested in embarking on a career in the trade to overcome barriers they may face.

“We also need to support tradespeople who want to take on apprentices or hire skilled labour to support their business at a time of much opportunity.”

Screwfix supports the trade however it can, so alongside practical support such as opening a store at the rate of one per week, to bring Screwfix even closer, it offers ‘Your Guide to Hiring an Apprentice’, a free, bitesize guide available in stores for those tradespeople who may be looking to take on an apprentice.

To further shine a light on those hardworking new entrants to the trade, it also holds an annual Trade Apprentice competition where a £10,000 business start-up kit is up for grabs. Both this award and its Britain’s Top Tradesperson nationwide search showcase what a great career option the trade offers, whether you start out as an apprentice or retrain later in your working life.

In addition, to support skills growth in the construction trade, Screwfix has recently started to work with colleges directly, partnering locally first with Yeovil College. It has invested in the Screwfix Trade Skills Centre, a new purpose-built site for students studying the pilot Screwfix Trade Academy course, which covers bricklaying, plumbing, carpentry and electrical contracting. The first recruits started in September 2017.

Screwfix is also looking at other ways it can support the trade and will be launching further initiatives in the future.

Click the link to see the full EF Trade pulse infographic.

UK Tradespeople struggle to recruit due to a lack of focus on training

UK Tradespeople struggle to recruit due to a lack of focus on training

Source: Electrical Times

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Gas Safe Register releases its Decade Review

Review report, which covers opinion on key topics, the current state of the industry and what the future has in store.

Key findings include an agreement among many of the respondents that the last decade has been characterised by improvements in safety and technological advances. However, there is also concern that the industry is becoming fragmented and that training standards are not adequate.

Jonathan Samuel, Chief Executive of Gas Safe Register, said: “Gas Safe Register commissioned the Decade Review to give a voice to the entire industry, from the many sole traders to the training bodies and manufacturers to the big energy companies. It gave each specialist sector in the industry the opportunity to reflect on their experience and share their often strongly held views and perspectives.

“The UK’s gas industry has seen many changes over the past decade: more registered engineers, tougher penalties for health and safety offences, new technologies, and innovation are all helping to keep the public safe and warm. But what does the industry believe it needs and wants now? The Decade Review sets out to answer these and many more questions.”

Nearly 3,000 people took part in the research that the Decade Review is built from, including consumers and stakeholders, with the majority of respondents (95%) being made up of Gas Safe-registered engineers.

Gas Safe Register enlisted an independent research agency to host multiple focus groups, share an online survey for completion, carry out in-depth telephone interviews, and then analyse the findings and feedback.

You can download a copy of the Decade Review here: www.gassaferegister.co.uk/decade-review.

Gas Safe Register releases its Decade Review

Gas Safe Register releases its Decade Review

Source: HVP Magazine

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UK online sales of electrical products worth £1.3bn, says report

In 2017, the market for online distribution of electrical products was estimated to be worth £1.3 billion, having grown by almost 300% on 2012, according to a new report recently published by AMA Research.

This can be compared to growth of 20% within the overall electrical products market over the same period. Online sales are now estimated to account for around 8% of the overall electrical products distribution market, says the report.

This significant growth can be attributed to the fact that leading wholesalers, as well as both trade and DIY distributors, have expanded their internet presence in recent years, launching transactional websites and starting to move towards ‘omni-channel’ services.

The increasing use of click and collect has also made a significant difference to the way contractors purchase, allowing them to combine the convenience of on-site ordering with convenient collection options.

The report states that the largest distribution channels with regards to sales of electrical products are direct from manufacturers and via electrical wholesalers, while merchants and other trade distributors, such as HVAC specialists, are also significant in this market. In terms of online sales, the most significant distributors of online sales are ‘internet only’ distributors, with around 42% of the market.

In general, the distribution market for electrical products is starting to move towards ‘omni-channel’ distribution, whereby customers can access information, goods and services via multiple platforms and channels within one transaction, with a focus on the overall customer experience.

The full report – The Electrical Products Distribution Market Report, Online Focus, UK 2017-2021 Analysis – is published by AMA Research, and is available online.

UK online sales of electrical products worth £1.3bn, says report

UK online sales of electrical products worth £1.3bn, says report

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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Fire Angel launches ‘Check the Date’ campaign

Fire alarm manufacturer, Fire Angel, has launched a ‘Check the Date’ campaign to encourage homes throughout the UK to check their smoke alarms every year.

Smoke alarm sensors will degrade over time, leading to a reduced sensitivity in detecting heat or smoke. As a result, fire alarms need to be replaced every ten years.

Jess Pennington, campaign manager for Fire Angel, said: “The Check the Date campaign aims to make people aware of the importance of fire safety in the home, especially in the run up to Christmas when candles and decorative lights become more prevalent in the home.

“Unfortunately, a majority of burns incidents occur in the home, but the risk of a fire incident can be dramatically reduced by regularly checking and replacing a fire alarm. In order for a smoke alarm to be certified to European safety standards, they need to have a replace by date on the alarm.”

The launch coincides with the launch of a charity single, ‘Never Be Alone’ written and produced by Andy Lawrence Flynn, 32, and Dan Hodges, 34, to remind people that the smoke alarm is a guardian angel of the home.

“All funds from the single will go to the Children’s Burns Trust and we hope that the money raised will allow them to continue supporting victims of fire,” added Jess.

Alison Tweddle, of The Children’s Burns Trust, said: “The success of our charity is dependent on the kind donations of people to ensure that we can offer burns survivors both rehabilitation and financial support, as well as helping us to raise awareness of the important messages around prevention and good first aid”.

The single costs £0.99 and is available to download now from Spotify and iTunes and all proceeds will go to the charity.

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

Fire Angel launches 'Check the Date' campaign

Fire Angel launches ‘Check the Date’ campaign

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Just nine ‘fire-risk’ social housing blocks being reclad

Retrofit cladding work has so far got underway on just nine high-rise social housing blocks around the country to replace combustible cladding.

According to new Government statistics mapping the extent of remedial works just one social housing block has been completed six months after the Grenfell disaster.

The new data, which will now be published monthly to track progress on the vast backlog of retrofits,  confirms that 162 social housing buildings are fitted with combinations of aluminium composite material cladding and insulation judged to have failed the large-scale tests, as of 10 November.

While combustible cladding has been removed on just over a third of these high-rises, progress remain slow on funding and starting the recladding work.

Cladding has been removed on 57 of these buildings over 18m in height. Of these, 26 buildings have had all cladding removed.

Work has started on nine blocks to install replacement cladding and one building has finished the installation of replacement cladding.

The Government also confirmed the full scale of the retrofit facing clients and the industry.  Including private residential and student homes, a total of 284 have combinations of ACM and insulation of the types that failed the large-scale tests and are therefore unlikely to meet current Building Regulations guidance.

No figures are published for progress on private homes or student residences, but several schemes are known to be in planning or underway.

On the latest reckoning there are 63 local authorities in England with at least one such building within their boundaries. London Boroughs of Brent, Tower Hamlets and Westminster, as well as Manchester and Salford, all have 11 or more buildings with a cladding system that failed the large-scale tests.

Just nine 'fire-risk' social housing blocks being reclad

Just nine ‘fire-risk’ social housing blocks being reclad

Source: Construction Enquirer

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November 2017 Newsletter

Quick Links


Educators and Employers need to ‘wake up’ over apprentices

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

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

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

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

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

 

Educators and Employers need to 'wake up' over apprentices

Educators and Employers need to ‘wake up’ over apprentices

 

Source: Heating & Plumbing Magazine

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Shell to open electric vehicle charging points at UK petrol stations

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

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

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

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

 

Shell to open electric vehicle charging points at UK petrol stations

Shell to open electric vehicle charging points at UK petrol stations

 

Source: Electrical Times

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Reduced energy bills with Smart Heating

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Reduced energy bills with Smart Heating

Reduced energy bills with Smart Heating

 

Source: Heating & Plumbing Monthly Magazine

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Electrical installation checks of rented properties to become compulsory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Electrical installation checks of rented properties to become compulsory

Electrical installation checks of rented properties to become compulsory

 

Source: Electrical Times

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Plan for 56-floor tapering Square Mile Skyscraper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Plan for 56-floor tapering Square Mile Skyscraper

Plan for 56-floor tapering Square Mile Skyscraper

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Growth in Irish construction slows

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Growth in Irish construction slows

Growth in Irish construction slows

 

Source: The Construction Index

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EIC offers support for employees and their families

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

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

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

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

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

 

EIC offers support for employees and their families

EIC offers support for employees and their families

 

Source: Elecftrical Contracting News

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Not enough funding support for electrically heated households, says Dimplex

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Not enough funding support for electrically heated households, says Dimplex

Not enough funding support for electrically heated households, says Dimplex

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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Join the battle to beat dementia

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

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

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

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

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

 

Join the battle to beat dementia

Join the battle to beat dementia

 

Source: Electrical Times

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Make the perfect builder’s tea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dos and don’ts for true builder’s tea

Do:

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

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

Brew it properly and make it strong.

Serve with biscuits, ideally digestives or rich tea.

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

Don’t:

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

Use decaffeinated tea.

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

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

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

 

Make the perfect builder's tea

Make the perfect builder’s tea

 

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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£110m Glasgow shopping store to homes scheme approved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

£110m Glasgow shopping store to homes scheme approved

£110m Glasgow shopping store to homes scheme approved

 

Source: Electrical Times

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£1.4bn Croydon Westfield shopping centre approved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

£1.4bn Croydon Westfield shopping centre approved

£1.4bn Croydon Westfield shopping centre approved

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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