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February Newsletter 2020

February 2020 Newsletter

 

‘OFTEC embraces decarbonised heating solutions, Rexel smart home offer provides opportunity for installers, Survey finds smart thermostats are UK’s most wanted smart home product, Calls for all future homes to have insulated condensate pipes, Plans go in for HS2 Old Oak Station’.

 

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OFTEC embraces decarbonised heating solutions

The government should embrace solutions to decarbonise heat in future homes focused on achieving set emission reduction targets rather than prescribing technologies, said OFTEC, responding to the Future Homes Standard consultation.

OFTEC’s submission underlined the importance of ensuring the decarbonisation policy is flexible to enable suitable solutions for a range of property building types and locations. Best value for consumers was also key and OFTEC says this will be best achieved by encouraging innovation and competition between technologies.

Paul Rose, chief executive officer of OFTEC, said: “We fully support the consultation’s ambition that properties built to the Future Homes Standard should produce 75-80% less emissions than current new builds. However, the consultation goes on to suggest that future homes will be fitted with heat pumps. OFTEC does not believe this blanket approach is the most effective way to achieve net zero. Alongside heat pumps and heat networks, hydrogen and liquid biofuels have an important role to play in decarbonising heat.

“Research shows liquid biofuels are particularly beneficial for new and existing homes in rural areas. Crucially, this practical, easy to implement solution provides consumers with an affordable option, achieving the highest carbon reduction impact for the lowest cost of all solutions currently available for off-grid homes.”

OFTEC’s consultation response also focuses on the importance of taking a ‘fabric first’ approach in new build properties to future-proof these homes.

He added: “Ensuring modern homes are built to minimise energy use, irrespective of the heating technology installed, should be the foundation for Part L proposals.  

“Such a move will also help to reduce energy bills for consumers. It is essential that net zero solutions are fair to all property owners and we cannot build new homes that may cause additional fuel poverty.”

 

OFTEC embraces decarbonised heating solutions

OFTEC embraces decarbonised heating solutions

 

Source: HPM Magazine

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Domus Ventilation’s Eco-friendly MVHR takes a bow

Domus Ventilation – part of the Polypipe Group – recently had its HRXD Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) systems installed into the Bow River Village development in East London.

Bow River Village is a new residential quarter south of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.  The village has been designed to reflect the architectural heritage of its immediate surroundings, with perpendicular, brick-built contemporary apartment buildings which pay homage to the nearby Victorian warehouses dotted along the river.

The apartments that make up the new development have been designed with modern and efficient living in mind, and are marketed with ‘eco-features to keep energy bills to the minimum’.

The Domus Ventilation MVHR units are a key eco-feature as they provide home owners with substantial savings on energy bills and improved indoor air quality.  They work on the principle of extracting moisture-laden air from wet rooms whilst capturing up to 87% of the heat, which would otherwise be wasted, and using it to temper the filtered air which is simultaneously distributed around the home.

A total of 112 Domus Ventilation HRXD wall mounted MVHRs, along with Domus ducting and sound attenuators, have been installed during Phase 2 of the Bow River Village development.

The Domus Ventilation HRXD is a wall-mounted MVHR unit which intelligently matches ventilation rates to the internal environment and occupants’ requirements, for maximum homeowner comfort.  This is achieved through advanced AMIE (Air Management for Indoor Environments) technology including features such as digital humidity control, automated summer bypass and accurate system balancing.

By accurately measuring air humidity, the HRXD’s extract speed automatically changes from background to boost as the level of humidity increases, thereby providing optimal ventilation performance.  The thermal (summer) bypass feature operates in a similar manor, automatically activating when the air temperature reaches a pre-set level, allowing in cooler, fresh, filtered air, instead of distributing air which has been warmed from the waste energy extracted from the kitchen and wet rooms.

For the homeowner, a key benefit is that these features can be easily programmed based on time and temperature.  This flexibility enables all comfort levels to be catered for.

At the heart of this intelligent air management is Domus Ventilation’s compact Bluebrain control, which also provides homeowners with helpful maintenance reminders for cleaning and replacing filters to ensure performance of the unit is maximised and air quality maintained.

When used with a kitchen and one wet room, at typical installation, the HRXD reportedly provides an 87% heat exchange performance and boasts a very low Specific Fan Power down to 0.66W/(l/s).  It is also quiet, with background (normal) ventilation at 24dB(A) (typically whisper quiet). At Bow River Village, noise reduction has been enhanced through the use of Domus Silencers to provide improved sound attenuation and thermal insulation.

The HRXD has been designed to work most efficiently when used with Domus duct systems, as is the case at Bow River Village.  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's Eco friendly MVHR takes a bow

Domus Ventilation’s Eco friendly MVHR takes a bow

 

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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New APHC workshops to offer insights into heat pumps and electrics

The Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) has teamed up with Travis Perkins to host a series of free workshops across England and Wales which are designed to update plumbing and heating engineers on a number of key industry developments.

In the Sales Trends and the Skills Gap for Alternative Heat Technologies sessions, Travis Perkins will be providing a valuable insight into how the market is developing from a regional perspective with regards to the sales of heat pumps and other alternative heat technologies as the industry develops to assist the country to meet its carbon neutral target.

For New Legal Requirements for Safe Electrical Isolation, the APHC will give an overview of what employers and sole traders need to do to comply with new legal requirements for Safe Electrical Isolation. Part of the legislation requires employers and sole traders to demonstrate they have the required knowledge to work compliantly with the incoming standards. To help assist with this, all attendees will receive a certificate to demonstrate they attended the APHC Safe Electrical Isolation Workshop.

Additionally, the APHC will be providing a technical overview on working compliantly with the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws and explain how installers can benefit from the WaterSafe Contractor Scheme which can be free to join.

John Thompson, Chief Executive at the APHC, explained: “By attending one of the free workshops, installers will learn how the heating market is already changing in terms of alternative heating technologies and how their knowledge and skills will have to develop to keep up with the industry. Plus, attendees will learn about new legal requirements for the safe isolation of electrical products which employers and sole traders need to be able to demonstrate they are compliant with”.

Readers can contact the APHC on 0121 711 5030 and marketing@aphc.co.uk for further information or to book a place.

 

New APHC workshops to offer insights into heat pumps and electrics

New APHC workshops to offer insights into heat pumps and electrics

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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Rexel smart home offer provides opportunity for installers

The new Smart Home offer from leading electrical distributor, Rexel, contains a sector-leading range of new and innovative products for installers to offer to its customers.

The demand for smart technology in the home is continuing to increase as homeowners seek greater control and want to reduce their spend on energy. Tech UK’s 2018 State of the Connected Home Report stated that, according to the International Energy Agency, by 2040, one billion households and 11 billion smart appliances could be in use worldwide.

To meet this demand, Rexel has joined forces with market leaders to develop its Smart Home offer which encompasses state-of-the-art smart solutions across security, heating, electrical, lighting and EV charging control.

Many items can be obtained immediately from any of Rexel’s 63 specialist Rexel Smart Home branches nationwide. The others are available via same or next day delivery with online ordering. Installers can also access expertise in branches to ensure they find the best solution for their customer.

Key new products include the Google smart control Nest Hub, which, with the built-in Google Assistant, brings users visual help at home. This voice-activated product displays the latest events, reminders and news from a single dashboard, all within an attractively designed digital photo frame.

Security is a key constituent of Smart Home, with a plethora of up-to-the-minute solutions on offer. The Yale Conexis L1 Smart Lock allows users to secure their home without a key. Bearing the British Standard Kitemark, it provides a range of access options, from in-app control and key cards to key tags and phone tags.

 

Rexel smart home offer provides opportunity for installers

Rexel smart home offer provides opportunity for installers

 

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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£1bn London Bankside Yards phase 2 approved

Native Land has got the planning green light for phase two of its £1bn Bankside Yards mixed-use development next to Blackfriars Bridge in London.

The Eastern Yards phase consists of five buildings ranging from seven to 34 storeys tall. These will deliver 550,000 sq ft of the 1.4m sq ft Bankside Yards site by the Thames.

The latest approval for the former site of Sampson House paves the way for 341 new homes, a 5-star, 126-bed hotel, together with office space.

Alasdair Nicholls, chief executive of Native Land, said: “This new planning consent will create a true mixed-use development which brings London together, with new east-west pedestrian routes, multiple transport links, a new village high street in the arches and new town square for Bankside, overlooking the river.”

The entire Bankside Yards project received planning consent in 2014 for homes, offices, restaurants, cultural uses and open space in a 5.5-acre riverside estate in central London, set around 14 historic railway arches.

Multiplex won the first phase at Bankside Yards, known as Western Yards, which started last year with McGee extending its demolition contract to the basement and concrete core for the initial 230,000 sq ft offices project, known as the Arbor.

This initial phase also includes a 240-home apartment building and 49,500 of independent retail, restaurant, cultural and amenity space in the restored railway arches.

 

£1bn London Bankside Yards phase 2 approved

£1bn London Bankside Yards phase 2 approved

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Derwent advances zero carbon building target by 20 years

Developer Derwent London today announced it is bringing its net zero carbon building target forward by 20 years to 2030.

Paul Williams, chief executive, said that the developer’s future business vision would involve buying brown buildings and turning them green.

He said the fresh initiative would come with an extra financial cost, split between a mix of operational costs, extra capital expenditure as well as management time.

But he predicted more energy-efficient buildings would command higher rents and values in due course.

“Climate change presents an enormous challenge to us all, and our industry must respond.

“Derwent London has long recognised this; with regeneration at our heart, we have embedded sustainability into the organisation and are focussed on turning ‘brown’ buildings ‘green’,” said Williams

“Today we are taking our ambition to the next level bringing our net zero carbon target forward by twenty years to 2030, aligned with COP21’s 1.5°C climate scenario.”

Derwent London’s three projects currently in construction will be net zero carbon buildings.

On completion, they will be operated using renewable energy and carbon produced in the development process will be offset.

 

Derwent advances zero carbon building target by 20 years

Derwent advances zero carbon building target by 20 years

 

Source: Construction Enquirer 

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Eye-catching Newcastle office plan

Plans have been unveiled to build a striking new office scheme on Newcastle’s East Quayside.

Internation architect Bjarke Ingels Group has designed the office project on a hairpin-shaped footprint to negotiate the steeply sloping site.

The building height will wind down from 12 storeys to street level by way of a linear roof-top garden.

The No. 1 Quayside project, which will offer just over 100,000 sq ft of office space, will be built on a disused City Road site.

It is the architect’s first project outside of London and is being brought forward by local landowner Rob Cameron.

He said: “This is a landmark site and, as such, commands a landmark building. Something iconic, with real architectural merit.

“We’ve had really positive pre-application discussions with Newcastle City Council and I’m excited to progress the project to fruition.”

Bjarke Ingels, founder and creative director of BIG, said: “Our proposal is born from the unique conditions of Newcastle’s architectural elements, the sloping hills and the curvy frames of the bridges over the Tyne.

“The ascending serpentine silhouette feels like a fresh yet familiar continuation of this unique urban landscape.”

 

Eye-catching Newcastle office plan

Eye-catching Newcastle office plan

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Survey finds smart thermostats are UK’s most wanted smart home product

A recent survey has found that smart thermostats are the smart home product Brits most want to own in 2020.

Sellhousefast.uk surveyed 1,462 UK households to discover the smart home products they planned to purchase this year.

The company found that a smart thermostat is the smart home product of choice for 71% of respondents. Thereafter, 66% want to fit a smart doorbell in 2020.

It also seems home security is a high priority for homeowners this year, with 60% expressing a strong desire to install smart cameras around their property, while 57% aim to have smart locks.

At the other end, a smart oven/hob is the smart home product Brits least intend to buy, with only 17% wanting the appliance in their kitchen this year.

Additionally, Sellhousefast.uk sought to find out the methods households would use to get advice/recommendations on smart home products.

From this, Sellhousefast.uk found that Brits are most likely to use an online search engine (48%) like Google to get more information on a smart home device/appliance they are interested in.

Subsequently, 43% would opt to directly contact a smart home technology manufacturer. Moreover, 39% feel their family/friends will give them good advice/recommendations on smart home products.

Robby Du Toit, Managing Director at Sellhousefast.uk, commented: “The rise of smart home technology over the last few years has been nothing short of extraordinary. With multiple smart home devices/appliances now available on the market, there is now greater choice than ever before.

“As Brits awareness and understanding of different smart home products gradually improves, the overall adoption rate for the technology will only increase. Especially if the products continue to be innovative and make everyday home tasks/responsibilities quicker as well as easier.”

 

Survey finds smart thermostats are UK's most wanted smart home product

Survey finds smart thermostats are UK’s most wanted smart home product

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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New electrical safety guide launched to help duty holders reduce workplace risks

With 1,000 workplace accidents associated with electric shocks and burns reported each year1, Bureau Veritas, has unveiled its new Electrical Safety Guide, designed to support duty holders in understanding how to reduce risks within its organisation.

Reflecting the health and safety expert’s continued commitment to educating businesses on the importance of compliance and best practice in electrical installations, the guide has been designed to support duty holders in growing their understanding of electrical responsibilities and fill any gaps in knowledge.

With a sleek design and clear format, the guide sets out a best practice concept for a compliance strategy, including the business’ recommended ‘safe system of work’. This is a combination of systems, processes and procedures designed so that a defined work activity can be done without undue risk to health or safety, including but not limited to risk assessments and method statements, control measures, and permits and supervision. The guide also defines the competency requirements of a person carrying out works on electrics, and the importance of regularly testing and inspecting an installation, to ensure compliance to the BS 7671 and EAWR regulations.

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (EAWR) – part of the Health and Safety at Work Act – places statutory obligations on duty holders to ensure the safety of electrical installations. EAWR applies to all operational voltages, and electrical systems and equipment, assisting duty holders to achieve electrical safety, take precautions against risk of death and personal injury and comply with the duties imposed.

Michael Kenyon, Technical Manager at Bureau Veritas, said: “More than ever, businesses are facing increased pressure to drive efficiencies within electrical installations, whilst simultaneously achieving compliance and meeting best practice standards, in order to prevent injury or death, reduce the risk of damage to buildings, and trying to reduce costs too. And the statistics speak for themselves, with more than half of all fires in the UK caused by electricity in 2015/161, and 25 workplace fatalities since 2014 from contact with electricity or electrical discharge1.

“However, while electrical safety is no doubt at the top of the agenda for many duty holders, a sizeable proportion may not fully understand what their role and responsibilities truly entail. Knowledge is power and taking full advantage of our electrical safety guide will ensure duty holders have the correct information to hand, and will hopefully be able to successfully mitigate any risks regarding electricity in the workplace, and undoubtedly, will help to save lives.”

This latest launch follows on from the recent electrical safety awareness course, led by the Bureau Veritas Learning Academy, which taught senior business leaders about the important aspects of the law around electrical safety including recent changes to BS 7671 – IET Wiring Regulations, with guidance on how to apply this within a workplace environment and create an effective electrical compliance strategy.

Michael Kenyon, continues: “There is no one-size-fits-all solution to compliance regarding electrical safety. Ultimately, an organisation must be confident that it has taken all reasonable steps and exercised all due diligence to ensure compliance. Key to this is a reasonable, realistic and achievable compliance strategy, which our technical specialists at Bureau Veritas can support on.”

Whatever the level of in-house expertise, Bureau Veritas offers a comprehensive package of electrical services to suit all requirements. From external audit services to fully bespoke electrical management schemes, it offers clients the unique opportunity to select the services they require for electrical testing and inspection, whilst benefitting from the cost-efficiencies of a combined service.

 

New electrical safety guide launched to help duty holders reduce workplace risks

New electrical safety guide launched to help duty holders reduce workplace risks

 

Source: Electrical Times

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Calls for all future homes to have insulated condensate pipes

Condensate Pro has called for all builds to have condensate pipes insulated as standard.

The company has commented following a recent consultation from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) setting out the UK Government’s plans for the Future Homes Standard.

This included a proposal to include more stringent build quality advice on pipework where it enter or exits a building.

Dave Smith, managing director of Condensate Pro, said: “We welcome the fact that new build quality guidance is potentially being included in the Building Regulations, which will help energy efficiency. However, you must not ignore the pipework itself. If the condensate pipe connected to condensing boilers, or the pipes running to Air Source Heat Pumps are not fully protected properly, including those systems which are powered by gas/ oil or even in the future, hydrogen boilers, they may be at risk of breakdown or not running efficiently.

“Boiler breakdown due to frozen pipework is usually at a time when the heating is really needed and a professional installer may not be able to get to a home due to the weather conditions. We would like to see external condensate and heating pipes running to and from heat pumps insulated properly and this practice added to the Build Quality guidance outlined in Annex C of the consultation and also bring British Standards up to date.

“Our hope is that the focus in the new building regulations on energy efficiency and pipework coming into the home, encourages the industry to look again at best practice, even in retrofit situations on existing houses. We believe the current industry guidance is slightly flawed as it is very difficult to achieve practically on site – mainly in terms of pipe size and holes drilled into cavity walls where the pipe passes through. I would like the guidance to be changed, but in the meantime Condensate Pro provides a much simpler, better looking and easy way to make sure pipes are protected.”

Condensate Pro fits any condensate pipe installation, with specially designed UV/water resistant lagging, bond and seal adhesive.

 

Calls for all future homes to have insulated condensate pipes

Calls for all future homes to have insulated condensate pipes

 

Source: HPM Magazine

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UK utilities sector quadruples investments in EU since Brexit vote

The UK utilities sector has quadrupled its investments in the EU since the Brexit vote, while earnings have increased just a quarter, analysis of the latest ONS data has revealed.

UK outward investment positions by electricity, gas, water and waste firms were £1.3 billion in 2015, the year before the Brexit referendum, but increased to £5.1 billion in 2018 – up 292%, according to analysis of the latest statistics1 by R&D tax relief specialist Catax.However, over the same period, the sector’s earnings on UK investment positions in the EU have risen by only a quarter (23%) — up from £107 million in 2015 to £132 million three years on.Meanwhile, the UK telecoms industry saw earnings on its investments in the EU double after the Brexit vote, rising from £1.8 billion in 2015 to £3.5 billion in 2017, before falling back to £2.5 billion in 2018.Mark Tighe, chief executive of R&D tax relief specialists Catax, said, “For the past few years, we’ve heard horror stories about what would happen to investment in the UK following the vote to leave the EU.

“UK utilities firms haven’t shied away from investments in the EU, and now they will be hoping that earnings catch up.

“That would be good news for British industry as the country starts to set its own course on the journey to become a new outward-looking nation outside the EU.”

 

UK utilities sector quadruples investments in EU since brexit vote

UK utilities sector quadruples investments in EU since brexit vote

 

Source: Electrical Review

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Sisk wins £21.5m deal to upgrade Leeds Corn Exchange area

John Sisk & Son has been confirmed as main contractor on a £21.5m scheme to improve the Corn Exchange area in Leeds.

Leeds City Council has now approved the scheme which is part of the £270m Connecting Leeds programme.

Sisk will start in June to transform Call Lane, New Market Street, Kirkgate, Lower Briggate Duncan Street and parts of Vicar Lane and Boar Lane.

Work will include widening pavements, introducing more greenery and improved public realm.

The scheme will also offer priority for pedestrians and cyclists in a bid to encourage a modal shift from private cars to walking, cycling and public transport use.

The expected completion date for all of the work is by winter 2021.

Leeds City Council’s executive member for climate change, transport and sustainable development, Councillor Lisa Mulherin, said: “The enhancements will place the iconic buildings of the Corn Exchange and Kirkgate Market in a more appropriate setting.

“The bus priority measures and improved walking and cycling routes will improve connectivity services and air quality in the city.

“Like all major schemes, there will be disruption, however Leeds City Council will work closely with the bus companies, other transport providers and business to keep this to a minimum and will work hard to keep the public informed of changes which affect them.”

 

Sisk wins £21.5m deal to upgrade Leeds Corn Exchange area

Sisk wins £21.5m deal to upgrade Leeds Corn Exchange area

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Millwall FC reveal new stadium plan

Millwall FC are preparing plans to expand the Den stadium in South London to 34,000 seats.

The proposals under development will see a phased expansion of the existing stadium, built as additional upper tiers behind the existing seating bowl.

The plans, drawn up by AFL Architects, include a new public plaza at the heart of New Bermondsey, which is elevated over parking and service areas and will accommodate retail, commercial and community use spaces along the street frontages.

Complementing all of this will be flexible commercial space for events and conferencing, alongside residential developments. 

Before submitting for planning, the Club needs to reach an agreement with the land-owning local borough council on a new lease for The Den and surrounding land.

The development strategy is to retain as much of the existing stadium structure as possible while providing for a flexible phased uplift to both facilities and capacity over time.

This maintains the stadium in use for fans, and minimises demolition and construction waste. 

Steve Kavanagh, Millwall’s Chief Executive, said: “It has been a long and at times difficult journey to this point, but we are delighted with progress now. As long as we can secure an appropriate new lease, we can play our part in the growth and development of Millwall Football Club and its community.

 

Millwall FC reveal new stadium plan

Millwall FC reveal new stadium plan

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Plans go in for HS2 Old Oak Station

HS2 has revealed fresh designs for its west London super-hub at Old Oak Common after formally submitting it for planning approval.

Work at Old Oak Common to prepare for construction of the station has been ongoing since 2017 and the site is nearly ready to be handed over to HS2’s station construction partner at Old Oak Common, Balfour Beatty Vinci Systra JV.

HS2’s enabling works contractor, Costain Skanska JV has cleared 32,000 cubic meters of former rail depot sheds and outbuildings, working through 105,000 cubic meters of earth to clear the site and remove any contamination built up over a century of continuous railway use.

Engineering consultant WSP, and architects WilkinsonEyre have led the design for the station with six high-speed platforms situated underground.

These will connect to the adjoining conventional station at ground level via a shared overbridge. This has eight conventional train platforms, to be served by the Elizabeth Line, taking passengers to Heathrow and Central London, and trains to Wales and the West of England.

A light and airy concourse will link both halves of the station, unified by a vast roof inspired by the site’s industrial heritage.

To the west of the station, above the HS2 platforms, there will be a new public park to greet visitors to Old Oak Common.

The submission also includes an application to lower and widen Old Oak Common Lane, which will improve access to the station for buses and pedestrians.

The planning application will now be considered by OPDC and a decision is expected this summer.

 

Plans go in for HS2 Old Oak Station

Plans go in for HS2 Old Oak Station

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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July Newsletter 2019

July 2019 Newsletter

 

‘Apprentices deliver clear ROI, new research shows, Research shows basic repair skills gap, Go-ahead for eight-storey student scheme in Derby, Plans go in for 40-storey tower in Docklands, Positive prospects for the electrical wholesale market.’

 

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Apprentices deliver clear ROI, new research shows

Companies that recruit apprentices can see a return on investment (ROI) as soon as year two of the apprenticeship programme, according to new figures from The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership.

Using scenarios based on low, medium and high charge-out rates for unskilled and skilled work, the overall net costs and benefits of apprentice recruitment have been projected.

At the lowest rates, an apprentice delivers a net benefit of around £11,400 over the four years, and starts to make a return in year three of the apprenticeship. At higher charge-out rates, the apprentice begins to pay for themselves in year two, and by the end of year four, has created a net total benefit of just over £34,000 at medium charge out rates and £56,700 at high rates.

Research specialist, Pye Tait Consulting, carried out the analysis on behalf of TESP after speaking to 20 companies of different sizes and specialisms. Each company was asked about the weekly wages of apprentices over the course of the apprenticeship, as well as additional costs for course fees, travel, equipment, in-house training and the time spent by supervisors and other skilled staff for mentoring and support.

The calculations take into account the weekly costs of an apprentice and supervision, the percentage of time spent on supervision, and the increasing amount of time the apprentice spends completing the work of a qualified electrician.

With 95% of training costs in England now funded by the Government for apprentices of all ages, these new figures provide a strong case for employers to consider apprentices as a means of bringing new skills into the business.

For smaller companies that often struggle with the resource for managing the apprenticeship and initial impact of productivity, TESP believes these projected returns demonstrate that, with the support of a quality training provider, an apprenticeship will eventually pay off.

“Although it is a commitment, which can be daunting to small businesses in particular, investing the time and resource into apprenticeships will ultimately drive business growth,” says Ruth Devine, Managing Director of SJD Electrical and Chair of TESP. “As a small business owner, I have experienced first-hand that, over time, apprenticeships increase capacity and strengthen the business culture.

“A strong relationship with a quality local FE college or training provider is vital, however. Industry organisations such as the TESP partners are also happy to help and give advice. When I first started at SJD, I found the supportive network of fellow ECA members invaluable to navigate some of the challenges of managing apprentices and providers; it’s always good to benefit from others’ experience.”

Leading apprentice training providers, JTL and Focus Training, also welcomed the release of the ROI figures to support their employer recruitment efforts:

“The report is really helpful to us as a training provider. We’ve never been under any illusion about the value of apprentices, but the analysis will help us to convince employers of the tangible benefit to taking on an apprentice,” comments Liam Sammon, JTL’s Director of Learning and Innovation.

Bernard Collins, Curriculum and Quality Director at Focus Training Group, adds, “It is great to see evidence that having an apprentice not only delivers an individual who fits in with the companies’ ethos and work ethic, but also provides an appreciable financial return, even after making allowances for support and expenses.”

To read the report in full, visit www.the-esp.org.uk/ourwork/lmi

 

Apprentices deliver clear ROI, new research shows

Apprentices deliver clear ROI, new research shows

 

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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Research shows basic repair skills gap

Young Brits haven’t been taught basic home repair skills, according to new research. Less than a third (31%) of 18-24 year olds know how to how to change a light fitting, compared to 60% of over 55s. Just over a third (37%) of young adults know how to replace a shower head, whilst 65% of over 55s would be confident with the same task.

The survey, commissioned by the Water Regulation Advisory Scheme (WRAS), found that adults born after 1985 are increasingly unable to take on simple tasks.

Only one third (31%) of 18-34 year olds, both millennials and Gen-Zs, would know how to bleed a radiator – whereas an impressive 79% of over-55s would be able to do this quick job.

In fact, across the board of basic home repairs, those born in the 1960s and earlier are more capable of repairs than younger generations.

On average, the home repairs Brits feel most capable of are:

  • Bleeding a radiator – 57%
  • Fixing a squeaky door 54.5%
  • Replacing a shower head – 53.3%
  • Fixing a blocked toilet – 44.6%
  • Replacing a light fixture – 44.5%
  • Fixing a hole in a wall – 43.9%
  • Fixing wobbly furniture – 43%
  • Fixing a leaky tap – 30.2%
  • Fixing a leaky loo – 21.1%

Julie Spinks, managing director of WRAS, said: “There is a clear generational divide when it comes to doing repairs in the home. ‘Generation Rent’ seems to have created a nation of people who aren’t confident in dealing with straight forward DIY tasks, from changing a light fixture to even bleeding a radiator. Knowing how to do some of these tasks can save time and money.

WRAS is urging people to know which repairs can be done by themselves and which ones require professional advice.

What’s reassuring is that most people wouldn’t tackle more technical plumbing jobs themselves, regardless of age. A small leak can cause havoc in the home and is something most homeowners, renters or landlords don’t want to deal with, given the emotional and financial impact it could cause if it’s not fixed properly. It’s always advisable to use an approved plumber to resolve any leaks,” she added.

 

Research shows basic repair skills gap

Research shows basic repair skills gap

 

Source: HPM Magazine

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Could an electrician be Britain’s top tradesperson 2019

In its tenth year, Screwfix is proud to announce that its Britain’s Top Tradesperson competition is now open, and electricians can put themselves forward for the top prize.

The annual competition by Screwfix, aims to celebrate the outstanding work and professionalism of UK tradespeople, resulting in one exceptional individual winning a £20k trade bundle, comprising of £10k worth of tools, £5k tech and £5k to go towards future training.

Screwfix will shortlist the UK’s top tradespeople to take part in a semi-final, before picking the top 10 finalists, who will travel to Screwfix LIVE at Farnborough to meet a panel of judges.

Caroline Welsh, Director of Brand and Marketing at Screwfix said: “As Screwfix celebrates the 10th anniversary of Britain’s Top Tradesperson, our goal is to find someone who is the embodiment of their trade. The search is on to crown someone who not only champions their trade, but also acts as an ambassador to help futureproof the industry and encourage future generations.

“Since we launched the competition in 2009, we have seen record levels of entrants year on year and we are excited to see what this year has to offer. We know from talking to our trade customers how much they enjoy taking part, and with such strong competition we will be looking for one high calibre individual”

Darren Staniforth, from NICEIC, the leading certification body for registered electricians, will be a part of the 2019 judging panel. Darren said: “Britain’s Top Tradesperson gives electricians and all tradespeople the chance to receive the recognition they deserve. We’ve been supporting this campaign for the past decade, and would encourage our registrants and other electricians to apply to represent the best of the electrical trade.”

Past winners include Plumbing and Gas Engineer, Michael Cairns from Edinburgh and 2018 winner, Carpenter, Stuart Roache from Northampton.

Speaking from experience on how winning the competition can transform your livelihood, 2012 winner, Michael Cairns said: “Being named Britain’s Top Tradesperson was such an achievement. It has allowed me to lay a stable foundation and further invest in my business; I now employ 15 people and continue to see year-on-year growth. It genuinely changed my business for the better. ”

2018 winner, Stuart Roache added: “Winning the competition last year changed my business forever and created so many fantastic opportunities. The accolade is the ultimate recognition a tradesperson can receive. I would definitely encourage others to enter; the rewards are life changing!”

Entries are open until 4th August 2019 and you can enter at: Screwfix.com/btt.

 

Could an electrician be Britain's top tradesperson 2019

Could an electrician be Britain’s top tradesperson 2019

 

Source: Electrical Times

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Plumbers too busy for time off

A Glow-worm survey reveals nearly a third of gas engineers and plumbers’ workloads prevent them from taking time off.

The survey found that on average, plumbers and gas engineers only take 18 days of holiday per year, compared to other UK full-time workers who are entitled to a minimum of 28 days’ paid holiday.

Glow-worm, in association with OnePoll, quizzed 300 tradespeople on their work-life balance and holiday preferences and found the amount of time they have off falls well short of the national average.

When asked which factors stop them from going on holiday, 39% of electricians and 30% of gas engineers and plumbers stated it was down to their busy work schedule. Cost is also a barrier for 39% of gas engineers/plumbers and approximately a third of builders, carpenters and electricians.

This struggle to take a break, combined with money worries, can have serious consequences on mental health. In fact, 49% of ‘general tradespeople’ and 45% of gas engineers/plumbers agree that ‘taking regular holidays is necessary for good mental health’.

Reasons such as these are why Glow-worm recently relaunched its Mystery Trip, it said, allowing 80 lucky heating engineers to be whisked away on an all-expenses paid trip to the now-revealed secret location of Vietnam. Installers can secure their place by hitting their personalised target of Glow-worm installations via Club Energy.

Spencer Clark, commercial director at Glow-worm, said: “Time off should be viewed as an investment in your wellbeing, rather than a detraction from your usual earnings. It doesn’t have to be a full week. Even just a day spent winding down and doing something enjoyable can help to re-set your mind and make you more productive when you do return to work.

“We know that time away from work can help to improve wellbeing and increase productivity, making initiatives like the Mystery Trip invaluable to tradespeople who feel as though they can’t any time off the job.

 

Plumbers too busy for time off

Plumbers too busy for time off

 

Source: HPM Magazine

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Go-ahead for eight-storey student scheme in Derby

Plans to develop an eight-storey student accommodation scheme in Derby have been approved by the city council.

Godwin Developments will transform the Agard Street site into 142 studio apartments for students from the University of Derby.

Gurdeep Gill, associate director at Godwin Developments, said: “We are excited to develop this site which will be the perfect location for students, as it’s just a stone’s throw from the University of Derby’s law school.

“As developers, we work closely with universities to ensure our developments contribute as much as possible to improving the wellbeing of students.

“The property will be designed to encourage social interactions as students are now looking for an environment that has a sense of community and provides both private and social spaces.

“At Godwin Developments, we strive to meet the demands of students themselves, by ensuring accommodation has high-quality personal space that allows them to concentrate on their studies in a space they feel safe in – enabling them to get the most out of their university experience.”

The Agard Street site is one of the latest projects to be added to Godwin Developments’ growing portfolio, which contains a diverse range of commercial, residential and mixed-use property assets in key regional locations.

The developer now has 3,000,000 sq ft of development space across the UK totalling £600m GDV.

 

Go-ahead for eight storey student scheme in Derby

Go-ahead for eight-storey student scheme in Derby

 

Source: Construction Enquirer 

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Construction’s best performing “ultra sites” revealed

The UK’s best-performing construction jobs have been revealed at this year’s Considerate Constructors Scheme’s 2019 National Ultra Site Awards ceremony.

Highways England’s A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme was crowned with the highest honour winning the coveted ‘2019 Ultra Site of the Year Award’.

There were a total of ten Ultra Site award categories and, for the first time, the top-performing supplier within six of these award categories were also honoured with a special individual recognition award.

Hundreds of guests from the UK’s top-performing Ultra Sites gathered at the Plaisterers’ Hall in central London yesterday for the awards ceremony, which was presented by Ann Bentley, the Construction Leadership Council lead on Supply Chain and Business Models.

The aim of Ultra Sites is to achieve ever greater integration of a contractor’s supply chain to meet and exceed the Scheme’s Code of Considerate Practice.

Considerate Constructors Scheme Chief Executive Edward Hardy said: “Ultra Sites represent a real turning point for the construction industry, by providing a way for the industry to work more collaboratively and realise the benefits of this greater integration for their workforce, community and environment.

“The winners and finalists of these awards range from small scale local projects through to large scale regional multi billion pound projects. This clearly shows how the Ultra Site model can be embraced by any type of construction activity, no matter the size, scale or budget.

Click here to view the 2019 Ultra Site Award winners.

 

Construction’s best performing “ultra sites” revealed

Construction’s best performing “ultra sites” revealed

 

Source: Construction Enquirer 

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Plans go in for 40-storey tower in Docklands

Developer Rockwell has submitted plans to transform Quay House in London’s Docklands  from a three-storey building into a 40-storey tower.

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets will now consider plans put together in partnership with FirethornTrust.

The proposals include a 400 bedroom hotel and 279 serviced apartments which will create 300 construction jobs during the building phase.

Jonathan Manns, Head of Planning & Development at Rockwell said: “We are extremely proud of our proposals, which will maximise employment and training opportunities whilst significantly enhancing South Quay and the surrounding area.

“Rockwell is committed to the redevelopment of Quay House and we are excited to transform the currently vacant building into a landmark mixed-use development.

“This application follows extensive engagement with the local community and, drawing on inspiration from New York’s “highline”, the proposed public realm responds directly to the feedback we received from our consultation events.”

 

Plans go in for 40-storey tower in Docklands

Plans go in for 40-storey tower in Docklands

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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ECIC urges electrical contractors to declare diversification

As new laws have been announced to guarantee payment for solar homes providing excess electricity, demand for solar panel technology from homeowners is expected to increase. This will in turn present a number of new opportunities for electrical contractors looking to broaden their contract opportunities.

ECIC, the specialist insurer for the building services sector, is encouraging electrical contractors who are diversifying into renewable technology to make sure that their insurance reflects the new work they are undertaking, to help ensure they are adequately protected if they need to make a claim.

New government legislation states that all new solar homes and businesses exporting electricity to the grid will be guaranteed a payment from suppliers. What is being described as the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) will ensure that the owners of small-scale electricity generators with a capacity up to 5MW will be paid for each unit of electricity they sell to the grid – tracked by a smart meter.

Consequently, demand for renewable technology that generates this electricity is anticipated to grow, creating an opportunity for electrical contractors to fulfil this demand. However, change in work changes the insurance risk and under the Insurance Act 2015, contractors are under a duty to ensure that they present a ‘fair presentation of risk’ to their insurer. This means declaring changes in the type of work contractors are taking on.

Richard Forrest Smith, CEO of the ECIC, comments, “This new legislation has the potential to create a number of new business opportunities for electrical contractors. However, these opportunities can only be capitalised on if the contractors themselves are properly accredited and insured. Fitting solar panels and other renewable technologies have different risk factors, so insurance covers need to be adapted accordingly. Declaring these changes to their broker or insurer is essential to ensure the contractor is properly protected in the event of a claim.”

 

ECIC urges electrical contractors to declare diversification

ECIC urges electrical contractors to declare diversification

 

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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IGEM seeks installer feedback on low pressure gas supplies

IGEM’s Low Pressure Supply Working Group is seeking industry comment on a number of recommendations designed to address the root cause of low supply issues on the gas distribution network.

Following a series of cross-industry meetings, IGEM’s Low Pressure Supply Working Group has concluded that low pressure is not a widespread issue and that the design of the UK distribution network remains fit for use with the majority of gas appliances currently on the market. However, it has acknowledged that over recent years there has been a progressive increase in the capacity of domestic boilers.

“The major reason for this is the increase in the average net heat input of domestic boilers being supplied, largely driven by the requirement for instant hot water for showers and baths,” said Ian McCluskey, IGEM’s Head of Technical Services & Policy.

“As a result of the discussions, the group concluded that procedures put in place to deal with incidents of low pressure can vary dramatically across the industry. This can sometimes mean the customer is unable to use certain appliances once they are installed.”

The group also concluded there is a need for greater cooperation across the industry to improve communication and to increase the level of understanding of all aspects of the gas system across the board.

“In particular, the group has identified a need for clarification on the pressure requirements for the low pressure supply system and for processes and procedures to be agreed across the industry,” said Ian.

“It is hoped this will enable the various industry standards and guidance to become consistent in their requirements and will mean manufacturers’ instructions match those requirements,” he added.

The working group has developed a set of proposals to address the concerns of the industry, which cover limits on the normal kW capacity of a domestic gas supply service, harmonise procedures for installing appliances, and cover precommissioning, commissioning, post commissioning, conditions for reporting low pressure supply, how emergency service providers should respond and downstream testing methods for low pressure.

The Low Pressure Supply Working Group was formed by IGEM in response to a request from the Standards Consultation Forum (SCF), back in 2016.

It is made up of representatives from British Gas, Cadent, DNV GL, Energy Assets, Global Energy, Heating and Hot Water Industry Council (HHIC), HomeServe, Health & Safety Executive, National Grid, Ofgem, OPGO, SGN, Tuffentech, and Wales & West Utilities.

Following an increase in the number of complaints from installers concerning incidents of low pressure on the gas distribution network, the SCF instructed the operators of Cadent, SGN, Northern Gas Networks, and Wales & West Utilities, to investigate and formulate a response.

Unfortunately, many in the industry felt the resulting Energy Networks Association (ENA) gas industry bulletin did not sufficiently address the issue and IGEM was subsequently approached to carry out further work in this area.

The full proposals and industry comment form can be found at www.igem.org.uk/technical-services/comment-on-draft-standards. Those working in the gas industry are invited to read the proposals and supply comments by 26 August to technical@igem.org.uk or send them for the attention of Peter Hurst, IGEM Technical Officer, IGEM House, 26 & 28 High Street, Kegworth, Derbyshire, DE74 2DA.

 

IGEM seeks installer feedback on low pressure gas supplies

IGEM seeks installer feedback on low pressure gas supplies

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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Positive prospects for the electrical wholesale market

According AMA’s latest electrical wholesale research report, prospects for the electrical wholesale market are taking a positive turn, and a lot of it is credited to a growth in online sales.

Despite the uncertainty that came with Brexit in 2016 and a slower output growth in 2018, the research report suggests that the market has undergone a steady period of growth.  In 2017, for instance, the market saw improved growth particularly in the domestic sector.

Factors supporting the market include sales growth in niche markets; innovation in product development; the establishment of new, specialist services and non-core products; and new legislation and regulations leading to a requirement for higher specification of products.

The research report highlights the factors which are negatively affecting market growth to be: continued public-sector budget constraints; uncertainty over the outcome of the Brexit process; price competition with many products in the mature phase of their life cycle; threat from other distribution channels, and longer product life-spans which have affected the replacement market.

Online sales of electrical products, however, are becoming an increasing important area of the electrical wholesale market. The growth in online sales between 2012 and 2017 was around 300%, compared to around 20% for the electrical products market as a whole.

Forecasts indicate that online sales growth will continue to perform strongly and achieve double digit growth each year from 2019 to 2021, when they are predicted to account for over 10% of all electrical product sales having represented just 3% in 2012.

The growth of e-commerce solutions among electrical wholesalers has aided the large nationals in particular, as they move towards adopting multi-channel sales. Most of the large national wholesalers now offer electronic versions of catalogues online and are operating online trading facilities.

 

Positive prospects for the electrical wholesale market

Positive prospects for the electrical wholesale market

 

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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Heating tops the list of cost-effective home improvements

New research from self-storage experts Safestore has revealed that upgrading a property’s boiler and heating system has the highest return of investment when it comes to increasing a property’s value and is more cost-effective than other renovations and refurbishments.

The study looked at the typical cost someone would be expected to pay for various types of home improvements and the estimated value increase it might deliver.

  • With an average cost of £1300, new boilers/heating systems can boost your home’s value by almost 2% and have the biggest return on investment in our study.
  • Refurbished kitchens and lofts can bolster a home’s value by over 8% but their respective level of investment places them slightly lower.
  • A renovated garage or storage area can set you back up to £7000 but offer less than 1% of a home value increase in return, which ranks only above solar panels in terms of ROI (0.5%).

You can find the full study here

 

Heating tops the list of cost-effective home improvements

Heating tops the list of cost-effective home improvements

 

Source: Pham News

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Leeds Merrion Centre 17 storey office block approved

Leeds-based Town Centre Securities has got the planning go-ahead to build a 17-storey office and retail tower in the heart of the Merrion Centre in Leeds.

The new tower is planned to be built near the existing 12-storey Wade House and forms part of wider plans for the phased redevelopment and refurbishment of the Merrion Centre to make it a mixed-use destination.

The proposed new building will sit above the Home Bargains store and offer 170,000 sq ft of offices over 16 levels.

A four-storey disused cinema building, currently known as 100 Merrion Centre, will be demolished to make way for the commercial block.

Edward Ziff,  chief executive of TCS, said: “We have identified considerable latent opportunity within our Merrion estate which we believe provides a platform for future growth.

“We firmly believe we are on the right track with Merrion and will continue to invest in and develop the asset, broadening our offer and delivering more for Leeds from this important mixed-use city centre destination.”

Ziff added: “A critical pillar of our strategy is to create long term future value by building a significant development pipeline.

“Our pipeline now has an estimated development value in excess of £600m.”

Last month GMI Construction completed the developer’s joint venture PRS scheme Burlington House in Manchester.

 

Leeds Merrion Centre 17 storey office block approved

Leeds Merrion Centre 17 storey office block approved

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Six firms win £1.5bn Oxford Uni framework

The University of Oxford has named its preferred building contractors to deliver a £1.5bn pipeline of projects over the next decade.

The shake-up sees Morgan Sindall take top honours with places on all three framework lots covering small projects up to £5m, medium-sized projects up to £20m and large-scale builds.

BAM Construction and Wates also share the major project lot, while long term University builder Laing O’Rourke and McAlpine had to be content with reserve status.

Projects will include a mixture of new developments and refurbishment of some of its existing 237 buildings.

Capital Projects Partner Framework
Projects up to £5M £5m-£20m Over £20M
EW Beard Morgan Sindall Wates
Kingerlee Willmott Dixon Morgan Sindall
Morgan Sindall Midas BAM
Reserves Reserves Reserves
Speller Metcalfe BAM Sir Robert McAlpine
Stepnell EW Beard Laing O’Rourke

The UK’s oldest university tendered the framework to support its estates strategy and will route around £150m of construction work annually through the selected builders.

The first tranche of work is expected to be tendered through the framework imminently.

James York, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “The University of Oxford has an ambitious estates plan, and they have made the bold move to change how they operate to get the best from the market.

“We are extremely proud that they have chosen to put their faith in us. Providing valuable up-front advice, designing and building modern facilities fit for 21st century higher education, and doing so in a sympathetic fashion befitting Oxford’s heritage, is a brief that we are relishing.”

 

Six firms win £1.5bn Oxford Uni framework

Six firms win £1.5bn Oxford Uni framework

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Plan to expand Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park

Sheffield City Council has signed up developer Scarborough International Properties to lead the expansion of the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.

The developer will spearhead the major regeneration project in the lower Don Valley area, initially aiming to build 750,000 sq ft of business space for the sport, health and well-being sector.

This will be built on 70 acres of land around existing buildings such as the Fly DSA Arena, the English Institute for Sport, Sheffield, the UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park and the Oasis Academy Don Valley.

Scarborough’s role will be working with the Council and all Legacy Park Limited stakeholders to assemble the site and lead the project team through the whole design, development, letting and funding process.

Scarborough is already under contract with Sheffield City Council to bring forward a £6m Community Sports Stadium at the park, incorporating more than 20,000 sq ft of business and conference space, which is planned to complete next summer. 

Among other teams, the stadium will be home to Sheffield United Women’s football team.

Scarborough plans for its first project as preferred development partner a building of around 40,000 sq ft of office space, close to Sheffield Hallam University’s ‘Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre’ which is due to open this Autumn.

Scarborough expects to commence work on its building early in the New Year.

Kevin McCabe, chairman of Scarborough said: “We have been building our commitment to the project over the last two years, signing up in 2018 to develop and run the Community Stadium, and we now look forward accelerating the delivery of Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park to bring jobs and economic growth back to the Lower Don Valley area”.

He said the vision was for the park to become one of the world’s leading locations for innovation in sport, health and wellbeing.

 

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