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April 2018 Newsletter

April 2018 Newsletter

Underfloor heating market expected to grow, Chinese skyscrapers become art with smart city lighting, more than 500 towers planned for London, Contractors warned over Medium Voltage cables, Social Media used to source tradespeople and some exciting projects have been announced throughout the UK’

 

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UK underfloor heating market forecast to grow 7% in 2018

AMA Research has released new research which predicts that the underfloor heating (UFH) market will experience a 7% rise this year.

According the report, the UFH market has performed well over the last few years, driven by good levels of commercial and domestic construction and RMI, and now accounts for almost 7% of the total UK heating systems sector. More recent growth can also be attributed to rising energy prices and concerns over fuel bills, and the fact that UFH is now seen as a more affordable mainstream heating option. In 2017, the market grew by 6%, with similar growth forecast for 2018.

The domestic sector accounts for almost two-thirds of the overall UFH market value, and includes newbuild activity by housebuilders, the self-build market and RMI/DIY retrofit projects in residential homes. Non-domestic applications account for the remainder. Although large-scale health and education projects represent the most significant non-domestic end-user markets, opportunities are arising in the care home, industrial, warehousing, leisure and entertainment, commercial office, and retail sectors.

Water-based underfloor heating makes up the largest share by value, compared to electric systems. The supply structure is dominated by direct supply, with some manufacturers and other specialists offering a ‘supply and fit’ service. Elsewhere, UFH systems increasingly form a core component of the product ranges of companies such as tile manufacturers and kitchen and bathroom specialists. DIY multiples and merchants also continue to play a major role. Much of the recent growth in the market has come from online retailers, the number of which continues to expand.

Factors that influence demand for underfloor heating include housebuilding activity, which is expected to continue at a steady pace, as demand for new and affordable housing is likely to remain a major political issue. The conversion of commercial office spaces into multi-residential flats and apartments, particularly in areas of high population density, should create additional opportunities for UFH, as they are likely to be smaller in size and high-spec.

Ease of installation continues to be an important consideration within construction, given the ongoing skills shortages and a need to reduce both build time and cost. This is expected to contribute towards further growth in modular build/off-site construction, which should benefit the UFH market. Retrofit activity in both the domestic and commercial sectors are also expected to see steady growth.

In addition, the commitment towards further development of the renewable energy sector and sustainable homes should continue, irrespective of whether the government meets its 2020 targets, and this is likely to favour adoption of UFH. Growth will also be driven by product development focused on flexibility and maximising individual control of systems, which is likely to increase the efficiency of UFH systems further, and the increasing uptake of intelligent technology.

“Although the market value has increased by almost 25% since 2013, there remains significant scope for growth in this sector,” said Keith Taylor, Director of AMA Research.

“The level of installations remains low compared with European countries such as Germany and the Nordic nations. Penetration is forecast to continue to grow with demand driven by concerns over volatile energy bills, ongoing running costs of systems and maximising comfort, and the fact that underfloor heating is becoming a more mainstream product.”

 

UK underfloor heating market forcast to grow 7% in 2018

UK underfloor heating market forcast to grow 7% in 2018

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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Chinese city skyscrapers become art with smart city lighting

Philips Lighting (Euronext: LIGHT), lighting specialist, has completed a large-scale project that involves connected LED architectural lighting to illuminate the facades of 37 buildings, along a 9.2 km stretch of road in the city centre of Ningbo, China.

The project’s aim is to boost the city’s cultural heritage and tourism, as well as stimulating commercial activities in the city centre. It further emphasises the company’s position as the lighting company for the Internet of Things.

Buildings along the 9.2-km-long attract an abundance of tourism. The new lighting system uses nearly 2,000 Philips Color Kinetics fixtures controlled and managed by Philips Activesite software.

The display creates sparkling night scenes in the city’s business district and Tianyi Square.

Dongliang XU from Toryo International Lighting Design Centre said: “The lighting design of the Zhongshan Road project illuminated took advantage of powerful mix of colour architectural lighting and world class narrow projection. Philips Lighting brought our design concept to life, delivering high performance energy efficient lighting and control software which enable everything to be monitored and controlled remotely. The design, the technology and controls combine to not only raise the bar of city illumination in China but does this in a highly sustainable way.”

The Philips Activesite lighting system enables energy savings of 30-40 per cent compared to the previous lighting in place.

 

Chinese city skyscrapers become art with smart city lighting

Chinese city skyscrapers become art with smart city lighting

 

Source: Electrical Times

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IGEM to recognise training for the gas industry

In response to growing concerns about standards in training, The Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM) has been chosen to assess and uphold the “highest levels of professional competence”.

IGEM, the professional engineering institution for the global gas industry, has been authorised by the gas industry’s Strategic Management Board (SMB) to officially recognise training programmes that meet the highest standards.

As of 1 October 2018, assessment centres will be required to ensure that every new entrant who sits an ACS exam with them has first been on an industry-recognised training programme, otherwise they could be prevented from taking the exam.

Once the audit process is complete, the training programme will be authorised for a three-year period and audited annually to ensure their training is still up to standard.

The Institution has already begun the process of auditing training programmes up and down the country to ensure they meet the requirements set out in IGEM/IG/1 Standards of training in gas work, which has been selected as the official industry governance document.

In addition, IGEM will also authorise organisations that have successfully completed an audit to act as fellow ‘Recognisers of Training’. IGEM Recognised Training will be offered to new entrants to the sector ahead of their ACS exams.

Ian McCluskey, IGEM Head of Technical Services, said: “While the majority of training and assessments being carried out across the UK meet the high standards required, there have been growing concerns in recent years that some ACS training programmes are not providing a sufficient depth of knowledge and experience for trainees to be reasonably declared competent.

“In response, the industry is now taking steps to create a single, recognised route of training for new entrants to the gas industry who wish to pass their ACS assessment. It is hoped this new training pathway will mean any concerns over the quality of training being provided can be traced back to the training centre involved, allowing action to be taken if required.”

IGEM is urging all independent training providers that offer gas-related courses to contact the Institution to find out more about Recognised Training.

Training organisations wishing to find out more should contact IGEM at technical@igem.org.uk, or by calling 01509 67815.

A list of recognised training programmes will be made available to the public on the Energy & Utility Skills website at www.euskills.co.uk/gas.

 

IGEM to recognise training for the gas industry

IGEM to recognise training for the gas industry

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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More than 500 towers planned for London

London has 510 tall buildings over 20-storeys in the planning pipeline.

Latest research from New London Architecture (NLA) and GL Hearn also revealed a record 115 towers are under construction in the capital.

More than 90% (458) of the tall buildings coming forward are residential and have the potential to deliver 106,000 new homes.

Greenwich Peninsula is a tower hot spot with 40 applications for tall buildings last year.

Delivering towers has become more challenging with only 18 tall buildings completed in 2017 – a 30% drop from 2016 when 26 were completed.

There was also a 25% fall in the number of tall buildings coming out of the ground with work only starting on 40 in 2017.

Peter Murray, Chairman of New London Architecture said: “We continue to see a steady increase in the number of tall buildings coming forward and with London’s population continuing to increase and the demand for new homes only getting higher, our view remains that that well designed tall buildings, in the right place, are part of the solution.

“Uncertainties and challenges to deliver these tall buildings remain, which is perhaps why we are seeing a slight slowdown in the in the number of applications, construction starts and completions.

“However our reports over the past five years show us in the right places, towers allow us to use the finite resource of land very efficiently.”

Stuart Baillie, GL Hearn said: “Inner London remains the focus for the majority of tall building but Waltham Forest and Bromley feature in the pipeline for the first time.”

 

More than 500 towers planned for London

More than 500 towers planned for London

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Growth to rebound to 2.7% next year after flat 2018

Construction output will stagnate this year before accelerating to 2.7% in 2019 and 1.9% in 2020 as major infrastructure projects gather speed.

Forecasters at the Construction Products Association say that infrastructure and private housing remain the only two bright spots this year amid a fall-off in commercial work hit by a 20% drop in office construction.

This will see overall industry growth flatline in 2018.

But next year civil engineering contractors will benefit from infrastructure output jumping 13.1% as work accelerates on large projects such as HS2, the Thames Tideway Tunnel and Hinkley Point C.

Spring CPA forecast

  • Construction output to remain flat in 2018 (0.1%) and rise 2.7% in 2019
  • Private housing starts to rise 2.0% in 2018 and 2019
  • Office construction to decline 20.0% in 2018 and 10.0% in 2019
  • Retail construction to fall 10.0% in 2018 but rise 5.0% in 2019
  • Infrastructure work to rise by 6.4% in 2018 and 13.1% in 2019

Noble Francis, economics director at the Construction Products Association, said: “The start of the year was a bad one for construction. Carillion, the UK’s second biggest contractor, went into liquidation in January and led to a hiatus on infrastructure and commercial projects.

“The snowy weather badly affected work on site for at least three working days in February and March and, as a result, 2018 Q1 construction is likely to be £1.5bn lower than in 2017 Q4.

“Half of the activity lost in Q1 is expected to be regained during 2018. Work on some Carillion projects has already restarted, on joint-ventures or where major clients such as Network Rail have been keen to continue work.

“Other projects will take time to retender but are still likely to restart this year. Large infrastructure projects should also allow for a catch-up after the adverse weather and often have penalty clauses for delays. Despite the sector’s strong growth prospects, questions remain about poor government delivery of major infrastructure projects.

“Private housing starts are expected to rise 2.0% in both 2018 and 2019 in spite of the slowdown in the general housing market as Help to Buy is clearly sustaining demand for new build homes. Outside London, house building will rise quicker than this but growth overall will be constrained by the ongoing fall in demand for high-end residential in the capital.

“The growth in infrastructure and private house building this year is forecast to offset falls in the hard hit commercial sector, where Brexit uncertainty continues to hit international investment in new office towers in London and high street woes affects the construction of new retail.”

 

Growth to rebound to 2.7% next year after flat 2018

Growth to rebound to 2.7% next year after flat 2018

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Designs revealed for £100m Glasgow office complex

M&G Real Estate has unveiled plans for its new £100m office development in the centre of Glasgow.

The Grid will provide 277,500 sq ft of Grade A space over 12 levels designed by local architect Cooper Cromar.

Demolition of the existing building is planned for later this year with construction completion scheduled for late 2021.

William Badger, Asset Manager at M&G Real Estate, said: “With a lack of new Grade A space in the city’s office market, as well as in nearby Edinburgh, we are confident that The Grid will attract strong interest.”

 

Designs revealed for £100m Glasgow office complex

Designs revealed for £100m Glasgow office complex

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Builder murdered by colleague on central London site

A murder investigation is underway after a construction worker was found dead on a central London site.

Police were called by the London Ambulance Service on Tuesday to reports of a man injured on the roof of the Pressman Mastermelts building in Hatton Garden, EC1.

Officers attended and the victim, a 47-year-old builder who was carrying out work at the site, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Initial reports indicated that the man may have fallen from height, but officers now believe he was the victim of a serious assault.

A post-mortem examination took place at St Pancras Mortuary on Thursday and gave cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head.

Work continues to inform all next of kin – formal identification has not taken place.

The Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command is investigating, led by Detective Chief Inspector Luke Marks.

DCI Marks said: “Our enquiries have established that the victim was viciously attacked by a male suspect who is understood to have worked at the same site.

“We continue to appeal for information to trace a man who made off from Hatton Garden towards Chancery Lane, and boarded a Central Line train at Chancery Lane tube station at around 14:15hrs.

“Were you in the Hatton Garden area at that time, and did you see a man running towards Chancery Lane, or otherwise acting suspiciously? We would urge you to come forward as soon as possible.”

The man is described as a white male, aged in his mid 20s. He was wearing a navy blue fleece jacket, blue jeans and brown workmen’s boots.

If you have any information that could assist the investigation, please call the Incident room on 0208 358 0200 quoting CAD 4481/17Apr. Alternatively, call independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you would prefer not to give your name.

A 24-year-old man was initially arrested on suspicion of murder on Wednesday, 18 April. He was taken to a south London police station.

He was subsequently de-arrested for the murder offence, and then arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.

He has been bailed pending further enquiries to a date in mid-May.

 

Builder murdered by colleague on central London site

Builder murdered by colleague on central London site

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Contractors warned over Medium Voltage cables

AEI Cables has issued a warning to make sure that Medium Voltage (MV) cables coming onto the market are independently approved and certified as compliant as the pressure mounts on the installation of quality products in modern building developments.

As the incidence of non-approved cables continues, the company is warning the supply chain to be particularly careful around the application of these cables into high-risk environments including hospitals, industrial sites and sub-stations serving infrastructure sites.

Stuart Dover, commercial manager for AEI Cables, said, “We are advising contractors to be careful, especially with new building design and development for modern complex buildings. If these cables are not approved, just question why not and check them out. To follow best practice and all compliance, we also advise that these cables are independently tested and certified by a third-party such as BASEC.

“There have been many instances in the recent past of non-approved cables coming onto the market, but in these environments it is crucial to get it right.

“Take all due precautions. Look for the British Standard, European or international standard number, the manufacturer’s mark and third-party approval markings. Even if there are markings, it is worth checking because some labels and stamps have been used fraudulently.

“Cables which are unmarked but not checked can become untraceable, so it is important at the point of receipt for contractors to check every time. Also keep records of purchases and deliveries to ensure that what is being installed is what was specified originally.”

He added, “It is well worth the small amount of time to make these checks, especially by the nature of the new designs of buildings these are going into and how they will be relied on to provide continuous power supply.”

Of the 29,312 accidental electrical fires in England during 2016-17, 5,241 (18 per cent) were attributed to wiring, cabling or plugs and of these 2,693 (51 per cent) were down to faulty electrical supplies and 1,728 (33 per cent) were caused by faulty appliances and leads.

 

Contractors warned over Medium Voltage cables

Contractors warned over Medium Voltage cables

 

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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Two-thirds of the UK source tradespeople via Social Media, says survey

As many as two-thirds of homeowners turn to social media first to source service providers, including construction and trade workers, according to a survey by www.MyJobQuote.co.uk.

Facebook was voted the most influential social media network, with 71% of consumers stating that they would check out a company or worker on Facebook before contacting them, while Twitter was comparatively lower with just 11% sourcing companies via the platform.

The team at www.MyJobQuote.co.uk undertook the survey as part of ongoing research. 2,825 Britons took part in the poll, all of whom were 18 years old or over, owned their own home and had at least one child.

Initially, all respondents taking part in the survey were asked to state what their primary source of information was when looking to find a new service, to which 67% of Britons use social media as their primary information source, followed by 16% who use family member’s and friend’s recommendations and 11% who scout for companies’ own websites. Just 4% identified ‘review or comparison sites’ as their main source of information when looking for a new service provider.

All respondents who identified social media as their main source of information were then asked “What services have you recruited after using social media as your main/only source to find them?”

‘Construction & Trades’ came in second at 66%, just behind ‘Childcare’ at 69%. When asked about how successful various referrals turned out to be, those who used review or comparison sites were most likely to have a positive outcome (72%); compared to 66% of those who relied upon social media.

Lisa Evans from www.MyJobQuote.co.uk said: “It’s interesting to see the changing and ever-growing role of social media in our lives. The secret to its success is that it’s accessible and convenient; in a couple of taps you can find all you need to, which is great when we are short on time or on the move.”

 

Two-thirds of the UK source tradespeople via Social Media, says survey

Two-thirds of the UK source tradespeople via Social Media, says survey

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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Ideal classroom lighting boosts learning by 20%

Research shows that the correct type of lighting can significantly improve a child’s learning.

Full spectrum lighting, including sunlight and artificial lighting that replicated natural light, has been proven to improve behaviour, reduce anxiety and boost health. All of these factors contribute to a marked improvement in learning.

The study by the California Energy Commission documents that classrooms that receive a high level of daylight offer students a 20 per cent better learning rate in maths in 26 per cent in reading, compared with classrooms that receive little natural light.

Head of marketing and business development for CMD, Bruce Cantrill said: “The days of ‘one size fits all’ fluorescent lighting in schools are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Innovations in dynamic lighting technology now mean that natural daylight can easily be replicated to create a much more positive learning environment for both pupils and staff.”

A recent study published in the journal Optics Express suggests that dynamic lighting – lighting which can be adjusted remotely to suit particular lessons and activities – can further support and enhance classroom learning.

Overhead cool white lighting can be detrimental to learning, says Grangaard of the University of Nevada researcher, Dr. Ellen Mannel. This type of lighting can aggravate hyperactivity and promote off-task behaviour such as fidgeting, daydreaming and talking in lessons.

The glare – or veiling reflection – created when fluorescent lighting reflects off paper and white boards also physically hinders student’s ability to read properly and can result in disengagement with the lesson.

 

Ideal classroom lighting boosts learning by 20%

Ideal classroom lighting boosts learning by 20%

 

Source: Electrical Times

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Green light for £350m Leeds South Bank scheme

Developer CEG has gained the planning green light for a £350m joint office, retail and residential development around what would be the tallest building in Yorkshire.

Regeneration of a 9 acre site in the South Bank area of Leeds has been designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and will involve a mix of buildings ranging from five to 40-storeys.

The site is the principal rail gateway into Leeds and the scheme has been designed to make a powerful positive impact on arrival to the city.

Leeds City Plans Panel has unanimously voted to approve detailed planning permission for two office developments totalling 270,000 sq ft. Outline planning permission will also be granted for the wider mixed-use development of over 1m sq ft of offices, retail, leisure, hotel, health, and up to 750 new homes, along with new public spaces and landscaping.

The scheme is expected to be delivered in five phases over 12 years. The first phase of development is likely to be Globe Point – a flat-iron shaped building acting as a gateway from the east to the site. Thereafter the construction is expected to progress from east to west.

Jon Kenny, development director at CEG, said: “The site is the principal rail gateway into Leeds and the scheme has been designed to make a powerful positive impact on arrival to the city, showing how we are preparing for HS2 and investing to ensure our city offers development of an international quality.”

David Hodgson, head of strategic development north for CEG, said: “This derelict site is an important core in the west of the city, an area which has suffered from neglect over a number of years.

“At the heart of the South Bank regeneration area, our proposals will deliver the same attention to detail and quality as we have delivered at our award-winning Kirkstall Forge development. This will be an exciting mixed-use strategic development of a critical mass and international standard, revitalising the area and reconnecting local communities to the city.”

 

Green light for £350m Leeds South Bank scheme

Green light for £350m Leeds South Bank scheme

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Builders told to wait over a year for brick orders

Some small building firms are being told to wait for more than a year for certain brick orders, according to a new survey that reveals skyrocketing material prices and extending order times.

While there has been rising concern about falling brick stocks and supply bottlenecks, the latest survey by the Federation of Master Builders of its members reveals excessively long lead times being quoted in the market.

More than half of small building firms said that rising material prices are squeezing their margins.

As a result of the changes 30% had recommended clients use alternative materials or products to those originally specified. This has gone up from one in ten nearly a year ago.

And now nearly one in five builders report making losses on their building projects due to material cost inflation, up from one in ten reporting this in July 2017.

The FMB’s latest State of Trade Survey shows that almost ninety per cent of building firms are expecting further rises over the next sixth months.

Longest lead times, in descending order

  • Bricks were in shortest supply with the longest reported wait time being more than one year;
  • Roof tiles were second with the longest reported wait time being up to six months;
  • Insulation was third with the longest reported wait time being up to four months;
  • Slate was fourth with the longest reported wait time being up to six months;
  • Windows were fifth with the longest reported wait time being more than one year;
  • Blocks were sixth with the longest reported wait time being up to four months;
  • Porcelain products were seventh with the longest reported wait time being more than one year;
  • Plasterboard was eighth with the longest reported wait time being up to two months;
  • Timber was ninth with the longest reported wait time being up to two months;
  • Boilers were tenth, with the longest reported wait time being more than one year.

Average materials price rises over 12 months

  • Insulation increased by 16%;
  • Bricks increased by 9%;
  • Timber increased by 8%;
  • Roof tiles increased by 8%;
  • Slate increased by 8%;
  • Windows increased by 7%;
  • Blocks increased by 7%;
  • Plasterboard increased by 7%;
  • Boilers increased by 7%;
  • Porcelain products increased by 6%.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “Material prices have rocketed over the past year. The reason for this could include the impact of the depreciation of sterling following the EU referendum still feeding through.

“High demand due to buoyant international markets could also be contributing to price increases. What’s particularly worrying is that when prices have increased mid-project, almost one fifth of builders have absorbed the increase and therefore made a loss.

“Also, if material price increases weren’t enough of a headache for building firms, they are also experiencing material shortages with wait times ticking up across a range of materials and products. Worst case scenarios include firms waiting for more than one year for a new order of bricks.”

Berry added: “We are calling on builders’ merchants to give their customers as much advance warning of forthcoming material price increases or wait times as possible so that firms can warn their customers and plan ahead.”

“What we don’t want is for the number of building firms making losses on projects to increase as this could result in firms going to the wall. A large number of collapsing construction companies will have a terrible knock-on effect in the wider economy.”

 

Builders told to wait over a year for brick orders

Builders told to wait over a year for brick orders

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Crystal Palace to start £100m main stand next summer

Crystal Palace FC have confirmed they will start work on their Selhurst Park stadium redevelopment at the end of the 2018/19 season.

The London club set out its building plans for a new iconic Main Stand after gaining planning from Croydon Council.

The project, which is expected to cost between £75-£100m, will increase the capacity at Selhurst Park from 26,000 to more than 34,000, transforming the match-day experience for supporters.

A stunning new five-storey stand will feature an all-glass front – a homage to the club’s earliest days when it stood in the shadows of the original Crystal Palace, erected on Sydenham Hill.

A central vaulted arch, with the famous Eagle crest, is a reminder of the iconic 1851 Exhibition Hall, and eagle wings flank the 41m structure.
It is a major investment in the heart of Croydon, which will generate more than £15m a year for the local economy and create hundreds of new jobs.

The project is being designed by leading stadium architects KSS, the firm behind the redevelopment of iconic sporting venues, including Anfield, Twickenham and Wimbledon. The roof of the new stand will be designed to funnel sound down to the pitch and the Arthur Wait Stand opposite.

Negotiations will now continue with Croydon Council over the terms of the Club’s Section 106 obligations to fund transport and community improvement initiatives.

The Council will now refer the application to the London Mayor, and once he has approved it, the planning permission will then be issued.

The existing Main Stand will remain in full operational use throughout the build process, minimising the impact on the stadium capacity in the coming seasons. Building work will complete in 2021, ready to open for the 2021-2 season.

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish said: “I am absolutely delighted that Croydon Council has backed our plans for Selhurst Park. This project will not only transform the stadium, which has been our home since 1924, but it will also have a positive impact on the south London community.”

 

Crystal Palace to start £100m main stand next summer

Crystal Palace to start £100m main stand next summer

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Specialist trade bodies petition No 10 for payment reform

A delegation representing 76 specialist trade bodies petitioned the Prime Minister as momentum gathered for urgent reform to payment practices in construction.

Representing more than 355,000 construction businesses, the unprecedented coalition of trade groups descended on Number 10 to call for reforms.

The petition urges the Government to back reform of payment practices and retentions after the scale of abuse was again publicly highlighted in the wake of Carillion’s collapse.

It comes just days before the second reading of the ‘Aldous Bill’ on Friday, which proposes cash retentions be held in trust accounts, to protect the supply chain.

Support has also been given from across the construction supply chain, including house building, roofing, scaffolding, electrical, heating, plumbing, interiors and demolition.

Supporters of the Aldous Bill and the petition on fair payments also gathered outside the gates of Number 10, including business owners directly affected by Carillion’s collapse.

The Aldous Bill is supported by over 120 MPs and 76 industry trade bodies, representing over 355,000 companies and many self-employed professionals. Cross-party support for reform includes Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, SNP, DUP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party.

Aldous said: “The industry loses around £1m for each working day, mostly from SMEs. There have been proposals to stop the abuse of retentions before, but this time there is the largest coalition on fair payments ever.”

ECA CEO Steve Bratt said: “The show of support today shows that fair payment is a top priority for our industry. We need urgent government action on payment and retentions to protect the supply chain, and to ensure our industry can deliver growth and prosperity.”

BESA CEO David Frise added: “Retentions and delayed payment put thousands of firms at risk of insolvency and undermine their efforts to invest in skills, training and improved productivity.

“The government will surely want to be seen to protect SMEs and to ensure the construction industry is sustainable, so it can deliver its ambitious plans for housing and social welfare. SMEs are crucial to the government’s built environment and infrastructure programme.”

 

Specialist trade bodies petition No 10 for payment reform

Specialist trade bodies petition No 10 for payment reform

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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December 2017 Newsletter

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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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Our Glasgow Office is Now Open!

Our Glasgow Office is Now Open!

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

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

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