‘Autumn continues with positive news regarding completed projects, plans for a huge project unveiled and announcements for funding and schemes throughout the industry’
- Record two thirds of projects completed on budget
- ECA joins with Considerate Constructors Scheme
- Calor launches ‘Find an LPG Installer’ Tool
- ECA announces extensive conference season
- The search is on for the best UK installers
- Latest plans unveiled for £1bn Liverpool site
- NAPIT Local Authority Trainiing boosts awareness
- Funding announced for district heating schemes
- Electrician in UK Worker of the Year 2016 final
- Gas Review asks for installer input
Record two thirds of projects completed on budget
A record number of construction projects were completed on time last year, according to the latest construction report using KPI measures.
Levels of client satisfaction with contractors on their finished projects was also up halting a three-year decline according to the 2016 UK Performance Report.
Research group Glenigan surveyed over a 1,000 key people on projects completed in 2015 and revealed a broadly positive picture for construction with most key indicators on the rise.
During a period of slowing but steady growth predictability of projects improved overall, but costing forecasts fared better than build time predictions.
Sixty four per cent of projects came in on budget, beating 2014’s 56% figure and topping the previous survey high of 59% in 2011. But only four in 10 projects came in on time.
Client satisfaction rose by 4 percentage points to 85% of clients now rating their overall satisfaction with the finished product as 8 out of 10 or higher.
Contractor satisfaction with the performance of their client and consultancy teams also improved rising from 69% previously to 74% last year.
But increasing labour and material costs last year took their toll on industry profitability which dropped from 2.8% to 2.5%.
The KPI report for the CITB showed that training levels increased from 1.2 to 1.5 training days. The take up of skills CSCS cards rocketed to around three quarters of the workforce nows holding a card, up from just over half in 2014.
Staff turnover slowed to 2.7% but more firms are reducing the size of their workforce. The average firm lost 7% of their direct employees – up from 6.3% in last year’s report.
Steven Radley, Director of Policy & Partnerships, CITB said: “There are some really encouraging findings in this latest industry performance report. Improvements in client satisfaction, predictability and training levels are excellent news – especially where trends have been reversed.
“However, the findings hold stark warnings too. Increasing pressure on margins driven by tough market conditions has begun to impact the bottom line and employers are reducing their workforce to minimise risk.”
Allan Wilén, Economics Director, Glenigan said: “The latest survey results reveal a construction industry working hard to meet clients’ expectations and progressively improving its performance across a wide range of economic, social and environmental measures.
“The construction industry is potentially facing a period of volatile workloads and structural change as the UK economy adapts to life outside of the EU. This will require the industry to redouble its efforts to upskill the workforce, enhance productivity and contain costs.”
ECA joins with Considerate Constructors Scheme
The Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) is now partnering with the Considerate Constructors Scheme, in a joint effort to promote best practice across the industry.
The ECA’s link up with the social responsibility construction body represents the next step in its efforts to maintain a positive image for building activity and improve working practices right across the building services supply chain.
The ECA also has a preferential arrangement with the Considerate Constructors Scheme, which allows member firms to receive a discount on registration with the scheme.
ECA director of business Paul Reeve commented, ‘The ECA is delighted to link up with the Considerate Constructors Scheme, and we look forward to promoting its “Code of Considerate Practice” across the building services engineering sector.’
Edward Hardy, chief executive of the Considerate Constructors Scheme said, ‘M&E contractors comprise a significant part of the construction industry and have a very important role to play in contributing to an improved image of the industry. We are therefore delighted that the ECA is a Scheme Supporter, to help champion the principles of the Considerate Constructors Scheme to its members.’
The Considerate Constructors Scheme promotes a ‘Code of Considerate Practice’ which aims to ensure construction firms engage with local communities, control environmental impacts, ensure safety in and around building sites, and value their workforce.
The Considerate Constructors Scheme was founded in 1997 and is supported by a range of industry bodies, clients and major building companies.
Calor launches ‘Find an LPG Installer’ Tool
Calor has launched a ‘Find an Installer’ tool on its website, a new function that allows homeowners to search for a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) qualified heating installer.
The ‘Find An Installer’ tool has been created to make it easier for customers to connect with local LPG installers. Being included on the Finder means installers can be contacted directly by homeowners currently using LPG for their heating, or those interested in switching to Calor LPG.
Calor is also actively seeking qualified LPG installers to partner with and to pass LPG boiler installation and servicing leads to. As part of Calor’s Installer Scheme, installers can be included on the Finder.
LPG qualified heating installers can find out more about working with Calor and inclusion on the Finder by meeting up with their local Calor representative.
Gregor Dalgleish, sales manager of Calor, said: “We’re constantly looking for new ways to connect and work with rural installers, and help them with any LPG support they need. Our Installer Incentive Scheme rewards up to £250 when a new LPG customer is recommended to us and the ‘Find An Installer’ tool is another way for us to share business opportunities.”
To check out the ‘Find An Installer’ tool, visit: www.calor.co.uk/findaninstaller
ECA announces extensive conference season
Plans include presence at industry-leading ‘UK Construction Week’ and ‘LuxLive’
Launching this year’s industry conference season, the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) will be having a major presence at the industry-leading UK Construction Week, being held at the NEC in Birmingham from this week.
The ECA will be exhibiting at the ‘Energy 2016’ arena of UK Construction Week, alongside the Fire and Security Association (FSA). On the opening day of Construction Week, ECA’s Steve Martin will be presenting on new business opportunities for contractors, within the ‘Smart Buildings Hub’.
In addition, the ECA is providing speakers at other major conferences this autumn, including Europe’s biggest lighting event LuxLive, and the CIBSE Building Performance Conference.
ECA CEO Steve Bratt commented:
“The ECA is delighted to have an extensive presence during this year’s conference season, particularly at UK Construction Week and LuxLive, two of the biggest trade events on the calendar.
“With the ECA providing speakers at an array of major industry events, including the CIBSE conference, the Association is providing a leading voice in the building services industry.”
The ECA’s conference season plans include:
– CIBSE Building Performance Conference – 17 – 18 November, QEII Centre, London
– Building Services Summit – 23 November, British Library, London
– LuxLive – 23 – 24 November, ExCel, London
– NICEIC – ELECSA Live! North – 24 November, Aintree Racecourse, Merseyside
The ECA has also been actively involved in regional conferences in Wales and Northern Ireland, such as October’s ‘Skills Cymru’ in Cardiff and September’s ‘Plumb Power Heat Light’ in Belfast.
The search is on for the best UK installers
Installers of bathroom, plumbing and heating equipment could be £1000 richer thanks to the latest awards competition by Geberit. Now in its third year, the 2016 awards will crown a winner in four different categories:
- Best Installer Team
- Best Supply Systems Installer
- Best Domestic Bathroom Installer
- Best Apprentice
As well as the prestige of being a trophy winner, those taking the top spots will also have their hard work and dedication recognised with some generous prizes, including £1000 for the overall winner of each category, plus Makita Drill Sets and Radios for the runners up. There will be two runners up in each category.
To make their nominations count, entrants need to demonstrate how their Geberit product installations stand out from the crowd, perhaps by overcoming tricky challenges, or by going that extra mile to ensure a quality end result.
The Geberit Awards 2016 also set out to recognise fledgling installer talent with the Best Apprentice award, with judges keen to hear from apprentices themselves, or their colleagues. In this category, the judging panel will be looking for nominees who are quick learners, are team players and work on their own initiative to master the latest technology.
Entrants need to provide just 150 words for each nomination, which can be supported by photography. So entering the Geberit Awards 2016 takes minimal time and effort for a potentially great reward.
The deadline for entries is 30 November. For more details and to enter, please visit www.geberit.co.uk/awards
Latest plans unveiled for £1bn Liverpool site
Liverpool International College has unveiled proposals for a new ‘live-learn’ facility at the city’s £1bn Knowledge Quarter.
The plans include 45,000 sq ft of modern teaching and learning space and 260 student beds.
Knowledge Quarter Liverpool is a 450-acre urban innovation district and is home to influential players in science, health, technology, education, music and the creative and performing arts.
The latest building for the college will be 12-storeys and act as a gateway to the University of Liverpool campus.
Leelee Yates, director of LIC, said: “With the College growing and requiring more space and the University needing to increase its use of the building, this was the right time for us to develop our own purpose-built facility.
“Students are increasingly demanding when it comes to student experience, and this new facility will allow us to continue to attract the very best students from around the world to the city.
A planning application will be submitted for the proposed new facility next month.
NAPIT Local Authority Trainiing boosts awareness
NAPIT is set to continue to run professional development training courses for local authority teams to raise awareness of basic electrical safety principles following the overwhelmingly positive feedback received.
The courses include presentations on issues surrounding electrical safety, an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) awareness session and showcasing some useful Visual Electrical Guidance documents. Since local authorities are representatives of their communities and are responsible for enforcing Part P of the Building Regulations and assessing housing conditions via the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, the training courses are designed to raise awareness of electrical safety hazards and of the action required to resolve any issues.
These courses include a free half-day Basic Electrical Safety Course, which is designed to provide a general overview of electrical safety issues encountered by members of the public. The course allows participants to find out about many aspects of electrical work, including earthing and bonding, consumer units, socket and radials, visual electrical checks, and much more. All the while, NAPIT presenters are on hand to provide answers to any questions asked by attendees. Other courses include an EICR awareness course which outlines the many factors that make an installation safe for continued use. Attendees on this course are also given an opportunity to enhance their ability to judge compliance, how to review a completed EICR and a practical exercise on visual coding faults.
Feedback from attendees on the training courses has been overwhelmingly positive. 100 per cent of attendees agreed that they had a better understanding about electrical installations after attending one of the courses, while 93 per cent said that they understood the requirements of legislation related to electrical installations and inspections in far greater detail. Attendees were also prepared to give vocal feedback on the courses with one saying ‘even the very complicated topics were explained fully. I learnt a lot from attending the course’.
Mike Andrews, the NAPIT Group Chief Executive, commented: “The local authority training we’ve been offering has proven to be a very successful way of raising awareness on the issues surrounding electrical safety. Local authorities ultimately have the power in their communities to tackle unsafe work and play a large role in raising awareness of the dangers of poor electrical installations. We hope that more progress can be made to embolden local authorities and provide them with the knowledge required to protect homeowners and their families.”
Moving forward, NAPIT is dedicated to building its relationship with local authorities further and providing even more opportunities to raise awareness of electrical safety in the future. For this reason, NAPIT has expanded its course offering and has begun to provide bespoke training, giving local authorities even more opportunities to learn about areas of their choice. By encouraging and supporting awareness amongst local authorities, there are real opportunities to improve electrical safety across the country and protect the livelihood of homeowners, and also emphasise the good work of registered competent electrical installers.
If you represent or work for a local authority and would be interested in learning more about the training NAPIT offers, please click here.
Funding announced for district heating schemes
Households across the UK could have their heating bills reduced, thanks to a new funding scheme announced by the government on 17 October.
The first part of a £320m fund will upgrade heating in towns and cities to supply low carbon and recycled heat.
Dubbed ‘central heating for cities’, heat networks also have the potential to reduce heating costs, in some cases by more than 30%. The networks will mean cities can recycle the wasted heat they produce from places like factories, power stations and even the London Underground and pump it into homes and businesses to keep them warm.
Minister of State for Energy, Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: Heat networks can significantly improve the efficiency with which heat is provided to our towns and cities, as well as helping to develop local infrastructure and reduce carbon.
“The new scheme will help us to develop viable reforms to make the most of the heat we produce and use it effectively to bring bills down for people across the country.”
Heat networks have already been used successfully in the UK, and are popular across Scandinavian cities for keeping homes warm in winter. The money will be invested over the next five years to build low carbon heating systems across England and Wales.
Heat networks can also draw their energy from sources such as combined heat and power plants, biomass boilers, or from heat from deep below the earth’s crust.
The £320m scheme will run over five years and further instalments of funding will be released in due course.
Electrician in UK Worker of the Year 2016 final
Christine Vaghela, an electrician from Elstree, Hertfordshire, has been selected as one of the six finalists for this year’s UK Worker of the Year competition.
Co-founder of Elecchicks, Christine retrained as an electrician in order to provide a reliable service for the domestic market in north London and environs.
In addition to the day to day running of a company, she is also ambassadors for the NICEIC’s “Jobs for the girls” campaign.
The competition is the concept of Dickies, the world renowned workwear brand and with fellow sponsors Honda UK and ASDA, aims to recognise hard work and commitment across all industry sectors.
Judging day is on 14th October at the Mercure Dartford Brands Hatch Hotel, when the panel of judges will quiz Christine on a variety of topics, as she bids to become the seventh UK Worker of the Year.
A delighted Christine commented: “I am so excited to have made the final six and feel honoured to be a finalist. I am looking forward to the time at Brands Hatch, and meeting and supporting the other finalists.”
Competition organiser, Gary Barak said: “Year on year the standard of entries has improved and this year has been no exception. Christine and the other finalists have been selected on merit from amongst the thousands of entries received, a selection process that in itself was no mean feat, and we look forward to the judging stage and Awards evening.”
Should Christine be the winner of UK Worker of the Year 2016, she will have the opportunity to choose a luxury holiday, or from a choice of several Honda vehicles, including a Jazz car, motorbike, rib boat, as well as a years shopping from ASDA.
She will also have the chance to win a potentially life changing £250,000 should she correctly predict the outcome of the top six rider positions in the weekend MCE British Superbike race.
The finalists represent a wide range of professions, from across the country:
- Paul Harris, an electronics engineer from County Durham.
- Guy Hodgson, a builder from the West Midlands.
- Samantha Lea, a firefighter from Nottingham.
- Charlotte Morton, a beef farmer from South Yorkshire.
- and Kevin Skeith, a floorer from Sleaford.
Gas Review asks for installer input
Gas Safe Register is to launch an in-depth report into the past, present and future for gas safety. The ‘Decade Review’ report will consider the opportunities and challenges faced across the industry since the Frontline Review, which led to the creation of the Gas Safe Register, was published in 2006. It will also look ahead to some of the issues that will need to be addressed over the next decade.
Engineers are invited to voice their thoughts as part of the pan-industry review which aims to be the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind. There are many ways for engineers to contribute to the review, including through focus groups and online surveys.
Scott Darroch, Project Director for the review, says: “As part of the Decade Review report, we are looking to speak with a wide range of stakeholders from sole trader registered businesses training and assessment companies, charities and national energy companies.
“This consultation will help the team at Gas Safe Register shape and continue to improve the service we offer by giving us an in-depth insight into what the industry needs. In such a fast-changing industry that has seen many developments over the last decade, including new legislation and technology, the intent is for the Decade Review to be a useful report that the whole industry can turn to.”
The process of gathering information for the Decade Review is now underway, with all results to be captured by independent research agency Accent. Details on the different routes any interested parties can use to contribute will be announced shortly. Gas Safe Register aims to publish the results next summer.