UK construction blog

Archive

Archive for December, 2011

Construction firms face tough times

December 30th, 2011 2 comments

Nearly nine out of ten UK construction firms expect public spending cuts to act as a drag on operating conditions, the CBI said today.
Responding to the first CBI/Speedy Services national construction survey, close to two-thirds of firms described the UK’s planning system as an obstacle to business, while four out of ten have seen a deterioration in the availability of finance over the past year.
However, the Chancellor’s autumn statement contained encouraging news for the sector, including details of the Funded Construction Pipeline and infrastructure spending. The survey portrays a sector well-placed to boost skills and create jobs, with more than three-quarters of firms planning to maintain or increase spending levels on training and investment in apprentices in the coming year.

Nearly nine out of ten UK construction firms expect public spending cuts to act as a drag on operating conditions, the CBI says.

Responding to the first CBI/Speedy Services national construction survey, close to two-thirds of firms described the UK’s planning system as an obstacle to business, while four out of ten have seen a deterioration in the availability of finance over the past year.

However, the Chancellor’s autumn statement contained encouraging news for the sector, including details of the Funded Construction Pipeline and infrastructure spending. The survey portrays a sector well-placed to boost skills and create jobs, with more than three-quarters of firms planning to maintain or increase spending levels on training and investment in apprentices in the coming year.

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

Empty Homes Petition Grows

December 28th, 2011 Comments off

More than 50,000 people have now signed a petition that will be sent to David Cameron calling on the Government to make it easier for individuals to get empty homes back into use. The campaign is part of Channel 4’s series the Great British Property Scandal.

The Great Property Scandal is a week-long series of programmes that highlight the consequences of the housing crisis. Architect and TV presenter George Clarke’s segment on empty homes that aired recently, threw the spotlight on the million homes lying empty in the UK, at a time when two million families are on the waiting list.

He argued that bringing the 350,000 long-term empty properties back into use would be a cheap way to house thousands of families.

Recently Mr Clarke tried to convince the Government to launch a low-cost borrowing fund that would allow tenants and landlords to get some money to do a property up and offset the costs with rent income. In an interview with, he said: “So if you’ve got an empty property that needs work done to it, you can personally apply to get some of those funds at a low cost borrowing.

“If that was a long-term scheme and people borrowed against it, they could just do the property up and offset the costs with the slight increase in rent to pay the loan back. Which basically means the money goes back into the system.”

The show featured a young couple who convinced their council to let an empty home below the market rent. Thanks to that, the couple spent a few months and just £3,000 to do the property up.

Mr Clarke also took the campaign to the Tory party conference where he tried to convince the country’s top politicians to sign his empty homes petition. Housing minister Grant Shapps gladly accepted while secretary of state for communities and local government Eric Pickles refused instead offering George Clarke a hug instead.

Channel 4 cameras also followed a young veteran who struggled to find a council home and was forced to sleep on a couch in his mother’s house while his visiting son slept on an armchair. The show ended with a family of ten who moved into a large, previously empty home in Birmingham. Mr Clarke and his team spent seven weeks deconverting the house from three flats to a large family home with six bedrooms to fit the demand in the area.

Mr Clarke has argued that building a new house of that size would have cost a housing association more than £200,000, when it cost only half of that to refurbish the property to good, energy-efficient standards.


Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

Households In The Dark Over Solar Subsidies

December 23rd, 2011 2 comments

solar-install_1The results of a study reveal that almost three quarters (71%) of British homeowners with their own roof say they do not know how much the renewable energy subsidy scheme; the feed in tariff (FIT) is costing an average household.

This is one of the findings from a study released today by solar panel manufacturer, Sharp Solar. This alarming lack of awareness comes at a time when the cost to households is being cited as a key reason for Government cuts to the tariff, which is being slashed from 43p per kWh to 21p per kWh next week (12th December).

The research also found that over a quarter (27%) of respondents believe households are paying much more to support the FIT than is actually the case, with assumptions from those polled ranging from £12 to over £1200 per year. In fact, official figures released by the Government confirm that the current cost to every household energy bill is approximately £1.40 per year.

Speaking following the release of the findings, Andrew Lee, Head of International Sales at Sharp Solar said: “This research clearly underlines the general lack of awareness amongst UK energy bill payers. This is hampering consumers, businesses and the government from making a rational, informed choice about the most appropriate rate at which to set the tariff. The FIT needs to be more flexible and intelligent to respond to the solar panel (PV) price reductions but these ill-informed cuts will stop the industry dead in its tracks and undo the years of good work that has been invested in skills, infrastructure and businesses.”

Of those polled, solar is shown to be the preferred technology, of those supported by the FIT, with 40% preferring to see more domestic solar power in their community. ”However, over half (55%) of homeowners with their own roof that had considered installing solar panels over the last 18 months are now less likely to do so following the proposed cuts to the FIT.

Around 39,000 jobs have been created by the booming solar industry, many of which are now thought to be at risk. Figures cited by Element Energy[iii] show that as many thousands of solar jobs could go when the changes come into effect, costing the Government £230million a year in tax income.

“If set correctly, this FIT provides a scenario that’s beneficial for all parties concerned; cutting carbon and energy bills for the homeowners that install PV and supporting an industry that creates jobs and tax revenues for the government,” comments Andrew Lee.

“Sharp fully supports measured reductions in the FIT rates and we have made constructive representations to DECC in this regard. By adopting a more considered approach, household costs to supporting the FIT would be between £2.60 and £3.60 a year – a fraction compared to increases in rates of conventional energy. Crucially, it would give all concerned a clear and accurate direction as to the cost of this mechanic to UK homeowners.”

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

Boris Johnson outlines London housing plan

December 21st, 2011 Comments off
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has unveiled plans for the construction of 55,000 new affordable domiciles in the capital, which could potentially create more than 100,000 employment opportunities in the next four years.
He has received £3 billion in funds from the government to invest in residential schemes in the city and will also use this to upgrade 40,000 council houses so they can meet the Decent Homes Standard.
Another 2,000 dwellings could be erected in the Greenwich Peninsula, as Mr Johnson has proposed unlocking this to developers and creating one of the largest construction sites in the country.
This would boost the building industry and heighten the number of jobs in the capital, he pointed out.
Recent data from the Office for National Statistics reveals the proportion of joblessness in London is 9.9 per cent, with only the north-east suffering from a higher percentage.
“This strategy offers us a golden opportunity to push on full steam ahead to deliver more affordable homes,” the mayor stated.

borisjohnsonMayor of London Boris Johnson has unveiled plans for the construction of 55,000 new affordable domiciles in the capital, which could potentially create more than 100,000 employment opportunities in the next four years.

He has received £3 billion in funds from the government to invest in residential schemes in the city and will also use this to upgrade 40,000 council houses so they can meet the Decent Homes Standard.

Another 2,000 dwellings could be erected in the Greenwich Peninsula, as Mr Johnson has proposed unlocking this to developers and creating one of the largest construction sites in the country.

This would boost the building industry and heighten the number of jobs in the capital, he pointed out.

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics reveals the proportion of joblessness in London is 9.9 per cent, with only the north-east suffering from a higher percentage.

“This strategy offers us a golden opportunity to push on full steam ahead to deliver more affordable homes,” the mayor stated.

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

FREE Sitemaster Building Licences

December 17th, 2011 Comments off

Final chance:

A GRAEBERT SPECIAL –  FREE Sitemaster Building LT Licences!

Valid from 1st December to 24th December only – FREE LT Licences

Buy SiteMaster Building FULL version  and get one copy of SiteMaster Building LT for FREE (for a second machine) the cost of this should be £1,290.00net but they are offering it for only £995.00 for the period between 1/12/11 and 24/12/11 so for every FULL Licence you buy, you get an LT Licence for FREE!

A Support Contract if required on the above would be £325.00 per licence set per year over three years. (Licence Set in this case means 1 x Full version, + 1 x LT version)

Remember we can also include this in our market leading Mobile Surveying Solution Bundle so why not take advantage now, buy one Sitemaster Building FULL Licence and get a Sitemaster Building LT Licence which can be used on any other machine for surveying or back at the office for editing for FREE

Training available on all software.
Training manual – FREE with each training day taken with us

For more information please reply to this email or call us on +44 (0) 844 567 2609

www.mobilecadsurveying.co.uk

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

British house building ‘in crisis’

December 15th, 2011 Comments off

House-BuildingThere is currently a crisis regarding the number of houses being built in Britain.

Mount Anvil chief executive Killian Hurley noted during a Property Week webinar a number of factors are constraining the country’s supply of accommodation, one of which is the “absence of an efficient planning system”.

The expert claimed the Localism Act “leaves planning highly politicised” and it is unknown whether or not it will improve the situation.

However, he argued his firm will “engage fully with the process” in order to try to make it successful.

The Department for Communities and Local Government reported the September quarter of 2011 realised 23,410 house building starts, or a fall of one per cent compared with the previous three months.

This is 51 per cent less than the peak in the last quarter of 2005 but 64 per cent above the numbers realised in the first three months of 2009, the body explained.

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

Rise in construction fatalities

December 14th, 2011 Comments off

Between 2010 and 2011, the highest number of deaths related to the building industry were in the Midlands, North-West, Yorkshire, London and Eastern England.

This is according to research from the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (Ucatt), which revealed there were 50 fatal occurrences in the sector during this timeframe, which equates to a 22 per cent increase on the 12 months beforehand.

Eight people died when they were hit by a moving vehicle, while mobile or falling objects killed six individuals.

In addition, 13 workers passed on after a fall from height, which has commonly been a cause of death in the sector, while 13 employees were killed due to collapses, which was more infrequent in the past.

Construction has the greatest number of workplace deaths amongst all British industries, but the growth in fatalities is concerning as activity in the sector was dampened during the timeframe, Ucatt noted.

The organisation is the largest union in this industry and represents employees throughout the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

Construction site causes Christmas shopping closures

December 13th, 2011 Comments off

Parts of Oxford Street were closed to traffic last weekend amid fears that Christmas shoppers could be crushed on pavements that have been narrowed due to building work near Bond Street London Underground station.

Major building work is taking place near the station as part of its major redevelopment and the ongoing work has narrowed the pavements in the surrounding areas.

Fearing a Christmas crush, Westminster City Council transport commissioner Martin Low said the decision was made by the council to apply for a traffic management order in consultation with the Metropolitan Police.

The area from Oxford Circus to Portman Street was closed for eight hours on Saturday and the same stretch of road was closed on Sunday too.

It is unlikely to be a one-off either. As Christmas draws nearer and the roads get busier, similar closures could happen on future weekends and possibly even weekdays.

Commenting on closure, Low said: “This was a pre-emptive decision in response to concerns about possible crushing on the pavements as a result of narrower walkways, which are being caused by ongoing construction works.

“The council is hopeful that a redesign of the building site will be possible going forward, but cannot rule out further weekend traffic closures at this stage.

“Our paramount concern is to ensure the safety of pedestrians during this busy weekend of Christmas shopping in Oxford Street.”

Similar work is ongoing on the other end of Oxford Street near the Tottenham Court Road Tube station.

New Crossrail stations are being built along the central route of the line at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel and Canary Wharf.

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

Construction firms can cash in on £2bn nuclear boost

December 12th, 2011 Comments off

CONSTRUCTION firms in the North-East could miss out on a £2bn boost from a new nuclear plant in the region if they don’t invest in skills training, it was claimed.

Industry body CITB-ConstructionSkills (CITB) said that building a new plant in Hartlepool could play a significant role in tripling present levels of construction work available to firms in the region, compared to their present levels.

In June the Government confirmed eight sites, including Hartlepool, that it deemed suitable for new power stations by 2025.

If and when work on the new plants will start is still to be debated in Parliament.

CITB, a not-for-profit organisation funded by firms in the construction sector, has carried out research, called Nuclear New Build Employment Scenarios, on the economic impact to the building industry in each of the eight areas.

It anticipates that around 2,700 extra construction jobs will be created in the North-East during the building of a new plant at Hartlepool.

But the analysis found the recent decline in construction employment levels in the areas where the new nuclear builds are planned would mean existing workers will have to be reskilled and upskilled.

CITB warned that firms could miss out if they werent up to speed on the rigorous safety standards demanded by the nuclear industry.

Steve Housden, sector strategy manager for CITB in the North-East, said: The new nuclear build project in Hartlepool could breathe new life into the local construction industry but, to benefit and meet the demands of the project, firms need to ensure they have the right skills.

Safety considerations are far more prominent and complex than in other industries and need to be fully understood.

We need to appreciate the current strengths and weaknesses of the skills base and promote effective training planning with employers and trade unions, ensuring that the North-East supply chain is ready to play its part in the nuclear renaissance.

CITB subsiduary the National Skills Academy for Construction yesterday signed an agreement with the sector funded National Skills Academy for Nuclear to work together to promote skills development.

CITB chief executive Mark Farrar added: “Nuclear represents a big cultural shift in terms of behaviours needed on site. Safety considerations are far more prominent and complex than in other industries and need to be fully understood.

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags:

Camden Cuts Emissions By 9%

December 9th, 2011 Comments off

Camden Council’s carbon footprint was cut by an impressive nine per cent last year putting it at the forefront of a national campaign to reduce carbon emissions. The Council joined hundreds of organisations and leading public figures in pledging support for the 10:10 campaign against climate change in September 2009.

Becoming part of the 10:10 scheme meant Camden committed itself to strive to cut its carbon footprint by 10 per cent during 2010/11.

New figures show that in 2010/11 the Council reduced its emissions by nine per cent. This means it is a leading borough under the 10:10 Campaign by exceeding the average seven per cent reduction reported by local authorities nationally.

Cllr Sean Birch, Camden Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainability and Transport, said: “We’re proud to be one of the leading local authorities involved in this important stand against climate change. Ten per cent was a very tough target but we were determined to do all we could and to show the way for other organisations in Camden.”

10:10 Executive Director Angela Bryant said: As an organisation that calls Camden home, 10:10 is very aware of how much the council is doing, not just to bring down their own carbon footprint but also to encourage the local community to act similarly. Camden Council was the first London borough to report their result and a 9% carbon saving in a year is terrific, particularly for an organisation that’s been working on this for a while. 10:10, along with everyone else in the borough we’re sure, is excited to see where the council will go next!”

Camden Council has been taking pioneering action to cut its share of carbon emissions and has set itself a series of challenging carbon reduction targets, 21% by March 2015 and 40% by March 2020.

Link To This Page
1. Click inside the codebox
2. Right-Click then Copy
3. Paste the HTML code into your webpage
codebox
powered by Linkubaitor
Tags: