January 2019 Newsletter
‘The benefits for carbon reduction, Wind win for Wales, Colleges gearing up for sparks 2019 competition, Modular village to be built in Corby for London commuters, Funding deal for landmark Birmingham resi tower‘.
Start with the plug
BEAMA is to support the launch of ReDESIGNING REGULATION – Powering from the future.
Launched in Parliament on the 11 December this report helps to untangle the ‘spaghetti of regulation’ that currently exists for the energy sector and return the UK to the forefront of regulatory innovation.
A decarbonised, decentralised and digitalised energy system does not fit into the current regulatory framework. The authors propose as a nation we need to ‘re-engineer the system’ and to do this requires a ‘fundamental rethink of the market design, starting at the plug’.BEAMA agrees doing nothing is not an option to avoid missing out on opportunities for innovation and the UK will be ill-equipped to regulate and manage an increasingly complex system to ensure consumers are protected.
Updated technical guidance by Ofgem released
Updated technical guidance by Ofgem has clarified the treatment of existing payments for homes that currently export solar power to the grid and that want to install battery storage and smart meters.
The clarification is good news for people with existing solar homes looking to invest in battery storage alongside a smart meter, because it means they will continue to be eligible to keep their ‘deemed’ payments for their solar exports. The market had previously been hindered by conflicting guidance.
Nick Wood, chair of the Solar Trade Association’s (STA) Residential Energy Storage Working Group, said: “The government has been telling the industry that it wants to see battery storage market take off in the UK, but the confusion around installing battery storage with existing Feed-In Tariff-accredited solar has been a key barrier.
“It’s very good news that Ofgem has listened and that it has made the right decision to help unlock the retrofit market. This now means that the domestic battery storage industry in the UK can install batteries and smart meters in existing solar homes with confidence that deemed export payments, which are valued by solar home owners, are safe.”
The news helps to unlock the tremendous potential for storage in the UK’s 900,000 solar homes, which represent low hanging fruit for the smart energy transition.
While the explanation published is complex and would benefit from greater clarity, from conversations with Ofgem the STA is confident the updated configurations published means that, in practice, where a domestic customer already has FIT-accredited solar and wishes to install battery storage behind a smart meter, they can now retain their deemed export payments provided that the usual requirements to quality for deemed export are met.
Recent analysis by Imperial College for Ovo Energy estimates that the full flexibility potential from ‘smart homes’ could save the power system up to £6.9 billion per annum.
STA members are already able to provide smart home functionality, but regulatory barriers for export metering need to be addressed and markets for local flexibility created.
Source: HPM Magazine
Call to action for investment in training
The UK is on the verge of what is probably the most momentous change to its business climate since it entered the Common Market 40 years ago, and yet the construction sector is struggling to meet historical challenges, let alone those which it will inevitably face post-Brexit.
We are in an age where we are facing the retirement of the baby boomers! 22% of workers in the sector are aged between 50 and 60, compared with only nine per cent being 24 or younger. The challenge is how to transfer all that knowledge to new entrants before it is lost. Surveys repeatedly show that the construction industry is not attracting enough talent to meet growing demand. A recent BSRIA survey (November 2018) found that 78% of its member companies were having trouble finding suitably qualified workers.Government’s approach to this has resulted in a situation where in 2018 fewer students are considering university courses for fear of the debt they will incur.
Its apprenticeship scheme, for many seen as the utopian answer to encourage vocational training, is stalling, with only 114,400 overall starts between August and October 2017 compared with 155,700 in the same period in 2016.Recent announcements allowing levy payments to more easily flow down through the supply chain are welcome attempts to reverse this trend. In the BSRIA survey, 64% of firms in the sector are planning to recruit apprentices over the next three years to help plug the skills gap.
Stagnant productivity is also a major problem, with a recent World Economic Forum study found that the construction industry’s productivity advancements have been “meagre” compared to those in the rest of the world’s industries during the last 50 years. The study reported that the construction industry has actually lost productivity over the last 40 years.Government has set industry a target to lower greenhouse emissions by 50 per cent by 2025. While admiring ambition, some would say this may be unrealistic. According to the UK Green Building Council, the construction and maintenance of buildings and other structures is responsible for around half of CO2 emissions in the UK.Bsria has said the UK will not be able to address these issues without focusing on the provision of vocational training in our industry.
Short courses, in particular, offer the opportunity for exposure to the latest ideas, technologies, processes and techniques leading to an increase in our capacity to adopt new methods and technologies. From these foundations will spring improvements to productivity.The development of training modules aimed at recent entrants to the sector will make them more productive more quickly, improve worker motivation and reduce staff turnover and absenteeism. Training in the latest project management and construction methods will ultimately improve work quality, leading to better customer satisfaction and improvement in the well being of building occupants.
Source: Electrical Review
The benefits for carbon reduction
Former international development minister, Mike Foster, who now runs the influential trade body the Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA), has called for the UK’s climate change policy to seek international development gains too.
In a submission to the government’s advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), ‘Building a zero-carbon economy’, call for evidence, Mike highlighted the co-benefits that could accrue from adopting a sensible policy framework.
These co-benefits reduce carbon emissions, but also lead to major development gains such as improved health, economic development and greater educational opportunities – all key aspects of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Mike, chief executive, EUA, said: “The UK is at the forefront of climate change policy with its Climate Change Act. It is also, and I speak from experience, a world-leader on international development matters. In response to the CCC’s consultation, I’ve suggested greater use of joint work.
“As an example, supporting some of the poorest people on the planet to give up burning wood for cooking, and using a cleaner fuel such as portable LPG, reduces carbon emissions from cooking. It also stops trees being felled, allowing them to absorb carbon dioxide.
“Indoor wood burning creates enormous health problems, through inhalation of smoke. This impacts economic development. Using LPG cookers allows family members more time to take up paid employment too.
“If the UK, as part of its ambition, took action, we could reduce carbon emissions from the poorest countries, who probably can’t afford to do so themselves, and the UK could reduce global carbon levels cheaper than if it restricted its actions to just UK carbon production.”
Source: HPM Magazine
Wind win for Wales
Scaling up offshore wind generation could help Wales meet its renewable energy and decarbonisation targets, as well as deliver local economic stimulus, says a new report out now. The report, Future Potential for Offshore Wind in Wales, produced by the Carbon Trust for the Welsh Government, delivers a series of recommendations to policymakers to capitalise on the clean growth potential of offshore wind farms.
Currently, 48% of Welsh energy consumption is supplied from renewable technologies. The report estimates that an additional 2 GW of offshore wind power could be delivered by just 2-3 projects in Wales, contributing over two-thirds of Wales’ 70% renewable energy target by 2030 and putting Wales on course to achieve its carbon reduction goal of at least 80% by 2050.Despite limited offshore wind activity in recent years, new seabed leasing and site extensions administered by The Crown Estate are set to open new opportunities for offshore wind development in Wales. Relatively shallow waters off North Wales, in particular, are expected to be attractive for near-term development, while deeper waters off Pembrokeshire hold considerable long-term potential for floating offshore wind technology.
Source: Electrical Review
Modular village to be built in Corby for London commuters
Groundworks will start this month on a new modular village in Corby, Northants targeted at London commuters.
The 47 homes will be built at Priors Hall Park by modular specialist Project Etopia who took over the site when a previous eco-homes scheme stalled.
Etopia Corby will contain 31 houses and 16 apartments with a 4-bed expected to sell for between £320,000 and £350,000.
Factory construction of exterior shells of the new homes will start in February and the first four homes are due to be completed by the end of March with each unit taking no more than six to eight weeks to build.
Joseph Daniels, CEO of Project Etopia, said: “Old building techniques are exacerbating the housing crisis and it’s totally unnecessary.
“Corby is leading the way in showing how villages of the future should be built. Modular building is now so advanced, it is senseless to cling to bricks and mortar, which takes longer to build and is far more expensive.
“With a desperate need for more housing stock around the country, it is vital developers and investors finally let go of preconceptions of modular building.
“These are homes people really want to live in and they present huge environmental benefits from being energy neutral to requiring less on-site traffic during the build.
“Commuter villages like this offer younger would-be homeowners the wage benefits of working in the capital but without the high property costs, and Etopia Corby will be a model other councils can follow.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
Nottingham council injects £50m to kickstart Broadmarsh scheme
Nottingham City Council has agreed on a £50m cash injection to allow the redevelopment of the Broadmarsh shopping centre finally to start.
The funding green light allowed shopping centre developer intu’s board to agree to go ahead, which now means contracts can be finalised.
Sir Robert McAlpine is preferred bidder for the £150m main shopping centre revamp with several contractors in the bidding to redevelop the adjacent car park site with a new central library and bus station.
The line-up of remaining bidders for the £50m project includes Bowmer & Kirkland and G F Tomlinson.
Approval to proceed with the shopping centre and car park redevelopments are essential parts of the Broadmarsh regeneration programme of the southern city centre, which will see £250m invested in the area and see works begin early next year.
Broadmarsh Regeneration plan
- Redevelop intu Broadmarsh into a modern retail and leisure destination
- Create a pedestrianised and pedestrian friendly area between intu Broadmarsh and Nottingham Station
- Provide a brand new bus station and car park
- Create a state of the art Central Library
- Transform Nottingham Castle into a world-class tourist destination
- Develop a new Nottingham College building.
The intu Broadmarsh and Car Park developments have been funded by significant private sector investment, grants and future income from these developments.
Councillor Jon Collins, Leader of the City Council, said: “This is the latest step in turning our proposals for the Broadmarsh area into reality, and approval means that subject to contracts being signed, works in the area can start very quickly and hopefully very soon.
“The City Council and our partners are investing heavily in this redevelopment, which is inspiring private sector investment around the area, at Unity Square, City Buildings and the Island Site to name a few, meaning there will be better opportunities for those who live and work here and more prosperity for local people.
“The money the council is investing in this is not council tax – we have secured external funding and loans, supported by increasing car parking, advertising and rental income so council services aren’t affected.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
How your organisation can benefit from ECA membership
ECA is the UK’s largest trade association representing electrotechnical and engineering services organisations, at regional, national and European level. ECA member-companies are rigorously assessed before membership is approved.
Member firms have a combined turnover in excess of £6 billion annually. Member firms carry out design, installation, inspection, testing, maintenance and monitoring activity across the domestic, commercial, industrial and public sectors. This ranges from power and lighting to data communications, to energy efficiency and renewables, as well as the design and installation of cutting-edge building control technologies.
ECA is renowned for ‘going the extra mile’ to help members find the solutions they need and offer a range of key benefits and services, including the following:
- Free Expert Technical Helpline: Across the full range of electrotechnical disciplines, including electrical, fire, security, high voltage, energy solutions, data communications, building controls, and smart buildings.
- eRAMS is ECA’s highly regarded online risk assessment and method statement service (free to members) – and it includes eCPP (Construction Phase Plans).
- Free Expert Business Helpline:Including commercial and legal, health and safety, prequalification, employment and HR, and skills.
- Discounted BSI Online Library:Extensive access to 80 key industry standards, for just £100 (plus VAT) – an annual saving of up to £18K for your organisation.
- Free access to industry-leading, authoritative information: Including policy and contract templates, comprehensive technical and business guidance and information, and other exclusive ‘member-only’ website content.
- Representation and Lobbying: Ensuring that the voice of members is heard by politicians, civil servants, and other key decision-makers.
- CPD Events & Networking: At national, regional and local level (across our 12 regions), ECA offers a range of networking opportunities, conferences, industry forums and social events – helping you to maximise your business network.
In addition to this, as an ECA member, your organisation can display the prestigious ECA logo, and benefit from ECA’s active promotion of its members’ capabilities to clients, specifiers and main contractors, and in the press.
Your organisation will also be able to offer ECA’s insurance-backed warranty and bond (at no charge) to clients, to provide assurance that your work will be completed to required technical industry standards.
Plus, if your company has already achieved ECA-recognised technical certification, you may be eligible immediately to apply for ECA membership, and receive a 25 per cent discount in your first year.*
To find out more about the extensive member services and exclusive benefits and discounts available, please visit www.eca.co.uk/membership.
Source: Electrical Trade Magazine
The FPS urges people over 75 to sign up to cold weather priority initiative
The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) is urging the elderly aged 75+ using heating oil to sign up to its Cold Weather Priority initiative before the cold weather hits the UK, as it responds to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics which show an estimated 50,100 excess winter deaths in England and Wales during winter 2017/18.
Launched by trade association FPS andits members across the UK and Ireland, the Cold Weather Priority scheme identifies heating oil customers, aged 75+, who are most vulnerable to cold conditions. The scheme ensures FPS member heating oil suppliers prioritise everyone on the scheme and undertake best endeavours for heating oil deliveries, especially in times of fuel shortage or extreme cold weather.
“The latest figures emphasise that it is the elderly who are most vulnerable in the winter months and that a warm home is vital in the fight against excess winter deaths,” says Guy Pulham, FPS Chief Executive.
“The Cold Weather Priority is an industry initiative we launched last year, designed to identify those most at risk so we can ensure heating oil deliveries are prioritised for them and they can continue to heat their homes during the winter months.
“While supply shortages and extreme weather are thankfully rare, they do happen, as the Beast from the East in late February 2018 demonstrated. The Cold Weather Priority helped enormously during this extreme cold snap and meant our members were able to deliver heating oil to those most in need despite the logistical challenges caused by the weather.
“Cold homes can be devastating for individuals, and can cause health problems such as increased blood pressure or lowered immune system making that person more vulnerable to respiratory infections. It is absolutely vital we do all we can to ensure no one suffers the awful consequences of a poorly heated home.
“Our FPS members supply up to 1.5 million rural homes in the UK with heating oil. To date, near to 10,000 people have signed up to the Cold Weather Priority but we want more people to sign up before the weather turns much colder and the forecasted Beast From The East 2019 hits.
“If you want to sign up to the Cold Weather Priority, simply get in touch with your local FPS member who supplies your heating oil and they’ll help you. Similarly, if you know any neighbours, friends or loved ones who are aged 75 and over and who heat their homes using heating oil, encourage them to sign up to the initiative to ensure they stay warm this winter.”
To find out more about the scheme, visit the Cold Weather Priority website.
Source: HVP Magazine
Colleges gearing up for sparks 2019 competition
This year we’re celebrating the 10th birthday of the SPARKS UK Electrical Apprentice of the Year competition. An incredible showcase of young electrical talent, this competition is a great opportunity for student electricians to connect with each other and with industry experts.
Spanning across 7 UK regions with entrants from over 70 colleges and campuses, heats take place throughout January and February. The winner of each regional heat and the highest scoring runner-up will go on to the grand final, which will take place at the 3M Customer Innovation Centre in Bracknell, Berkshire in March.
Level 2 and 3 students will compete in practical tasks, and be judged by industry experts. Last year’s finalists completed the most comprehensive test to date and this year’s competition is set to be even more exciting!
The stakes are high, with an incredible list of prizes worth up to £10,000 up for grabs, not to mention the prestige for both the winning student and their college. The prizes have been donated by well-known industry names including Schneider Electric, Electric Center, WAGO, 3M, HiKOKI, the IET and Rated People.
Last year’s winner, Matt Taylor, from Farnborough College of Technology, said: “I’m ecstatic – I just didn’t see myself winning. I entered to give myself a challenge and I’ve definitely achieved that. The other competitors were great and what I’ll take away from this is the knowledge that I can do something that I thought I couldn’t.”
Running alongside the competition is the Meet the Lecturer/Manufacturer series, a chance for the industry’s most prominent manufacturers to showcase their products and opportunities. This will give lecturers insight into the ever-changing market trade scene to pass on to the next generation of electricians.
“This is now the 10th year of our competition, and it has provided many life changing opportunities for our competing apprentices,” said Celia Matthews, owner of SPARKS Magazine. “Many competitors have gone on to very successful employment or to own their own businesses, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2019’s participants.”
Taking part in the competition can do amazing things for an electrician’s career, and we now have 9 years’ worth of contestants out in the world proving just that.
Source: Electrical Times
Energy theft would be ignored by one in four people, research discovers
A research report has found that one in four UK residents wouldn’t report an instance of energy meter tampering, despite 92% agreeing that the practice is morally wrong.
The study was commissioned by Echo Managed Services and Grosvenor Services Group, and endorsed by Crimestoppers UK.
It surveyed 2,000 UK residents and found that only 54% of the public would report a suspected instance of energy theft “without question”, with a further 21% saying they would alert authorities to the crime, but only if it took place in their local vicinity.
A number of justifications arose among those who would not report an energy thief. These included answers such as it “wasn’t their business” (8%), that they would not want to betray a friend or family member involved (10%), or they thought the person in question was doing it for a valid reason (4%).
Turning a blind eye to this crime is a more common stance among younger people, with 33% of 18-24 year olds and 38% of 25-34 year olds preferring not to act on their knowledge in varying circumstances.
When asked why they wouldn’t report meter tampering, 44% of people said they would be worried about the potential personal repercussions, with a further 13% saying that it’s nothing to do with them. More than one in 10 said that they believe energy companies already make enough money and therefore energy theft causes no harm.
19% said that they wouldn’t know who to report it to, with 11% saying that there would be no point as it’s unlikely that anything would be done about it.
Lloyd Birkhead, Managing Director of Grosvenor Services Group, said: “Demonstrating the impact of investigations is also key – rather than keeping the great work being done to tackle energy theft covert, more could be done to let the public know about meter changeovers, arrests and convictions, underlining how this has prevented injuries and will help tackle inflated bills.
“These figures show that the energy sector mustn’t assume that the general public will be working with them to reduce energy theft; as it stands at least one quarter won’t.”
Source: HVP Magazine
Funding deal for landmark Birmingham resi tower
Funding has been secured for one of Birmingham’s tallest residential blocks in the second phase of the City’s Exchange Square scheme.
This morning build to rent specialist Grainger said that it had agreed to forward fund and acquire the planned 373-home project for £77m.
The deal still requires developer Nikal to secure planning consent but should allow construction to start in mid-2019,
Already planning is in place for 223 flats. But Nikal will now submit fresh proposals in early 2019 for a landmark building that has been mooted at 46-storeys.
This would make it the tallest residential tower in Birmingham.
The tower, will form part of a new urban village at Exchange Square, and will be a gateway landmark for those arriving at the Birmingham HS2 Curzon Street Station, which is directly opposite the site.
Presently, Sir Robert McAlpine is working on the first phase of developer Nikal’s Exchange Square in Birmingham City Centre, which consists of three buildings, including a 27 storey tower.
Helen Gordon, Chief Executive of Grainger, said: “We are delighted to announce today’s acquisition at Exchange Square in Birmingham for £77m, which will deliver 373 homes for rent in a great central location in one of our top target cities.”
Once Exchange Square is complete, Grainger will have 529 purpose-built PRS homes in Birmingham worth .£105m, including our other PRS development scheme, Gilders Yard in the Jewellery Quarter.”
Waheed Nazir, Corporate Director, Birmingham City Council said: “The skyline in Birmingham City Centre is changing rapidly and investment and confidence is at an all-time high.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
Britain heads for worst house building decade since 1940s
Britain is heading for the worst house building decade since World War Two.
Despite Government efforts to boost house building, completions in England between 2010 and 2019 are set to average out at around 130,000 per year.
This is well short of the 147,000 achieved in the 2000s or the 150,000 of the 1990s, and half of the level in the 1960s and 1970s.
The picture becomes even worse when population size is factored in.
In the 1960s, the new-build construction rate in England was roughly the equivalent of one home for every 14 people over the decade. In the 2010s, that ratio was one to 43, more than three times higher.
The figures are improved somewhat when you factor in conversions of existing properties, which push the total up – but even then, the total of net additional dwellings – the yardstick for overall housing supply – is likely to be lower this decade than last.
Across the United Kingdom as a whole, the pattern is broadly similar, with house building falling from a peak of 3.6m new units in the 1960s to 1.9m in the 1990s and 2000s, with the 2010s set to come in lower still.
Robert Colvile, Director of the Centre for Policy Studies, said: “The housing crisis is blighting the lives of a generation, and robbing them of the dream of home ownership.
“But as this analysis shows, this is not just the consequence of the financial crisis – it is part of a pattern stretching back half a century, in which we have steadily built fewer and fewer new homes.
“The Government has rightly promised to focus on this issue, and there are encouraging signs that house building is picking up.
“But ministers need to take bold action in 2019 to ensure that the 2020s become the decade in which we break this hugely damaging cycle.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
Firms wanted for £30m Coventry Uni arts building
Coventry University has opened prequalification for firms to build a new faculty of arts and humanities and overhaul several existing buildings
It aims to spend around £30m delivering the redevelopment scheme, which is expected to get underway at the start of next year and run for nearly three years.
The project will be broken down into three key elements. This includes construction of a new 40,000 sq ft three storey, building adjacent to the existing school of art and design accommodation and full overhauls of an 80,000 sq ft, six storey tower and 45,000 sq ft four-storey block.
The site of the proposed new build element is currently green open space between the buildings being redeveloped around the Graham Sutherland building at Cox Street in the city centre.
A planning application will be submitted by the University design team this April with the aim of signing off stage III design at the start of May to award the design and build contract in June.
Firms can express an interest in bidding on the in-tend website by 19 January.
Source: Construction Enquirer
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