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Archive for February, 2014

Landlords win legal battle over Game

February 27th, 2014 Comments off

Court of Appeal ruling gives high street landlords more protection in administrations

Computer game retailer Game will have to pay £3m to a collection of Britain’s biggest landlords after it lost a landmark legal case about unpaid rent.

Game_group_2182995bThe ruling by the Court of Appeal closes a legal loophole that meant companies could avoid paying rent for three months if administrators were appointed shortly after the quarterly rent day.

Businesses in administration will now have to pay rent on a “pay as you use” basis, with rent classified as an administration expense.

A consortium of property companies including Land Securities, British Land and Hammerson claimed they missed out on millions of pounds in rent when Game called in administrators in March 2012.

Landlords have claimed for years that Britain’s insolvency laws allowed struggling retailers to exploit legal loopholes and leave property companies out of pocket.

Game is now controlled by Henry Jackson’s OpCapita and the hedge fund Elliott Advisors, who bought the company out of administration. It has been considering a £300m IPO after a rise in sales during the Christmas period.

In a statement, Game said the ruling “fundamentally changes the law in relation to the payment of rent in an insolvency context”. The company said it took a provision against the potential rental payment in its accounts for the year to July 31 2013.

Game said: “The real ramification of this decision is that it will have a significant financial impact on all landlords, tenants and insolvency practitioners involved in current and future business insolvencies in this country.

“Game strongly argued against the law being changed on legal and commercial grounds and is now considering the possibility of an appeal to the Supreme Court.”

Hammerson said the judgement “provides a workable, common sense resolution” for future administrations.

Duncan Grubb, head of credit control at Hammerson, said: “Corporate restructuring will now be focused purely on trading patterns and the viability of the ongoing business, rather than on rent free periods from landlords provided by a legal loophole.

“This judgement is beneficial to both landlords and insolvency practitioners, as it removes completely the issue of the rent due date.

“Previously landlords would seek payment of rents prior to an appointment being made, in the knowledge that they may receive nothing afterwards.

“Insolvency practitioners on the other hand could delay appointments until after the rent due date to take advantage of an enforced rent free period.”

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Housebuilder creates first Lego bedroom

February 25th, 2014 Comments off

Using standard and bespoke Lego bricks, mini-figures and themed accessories, Weston Homes has built the first children’s bedroom dressed entirely in Lego products.

legoWeston Homes has created the world’s first Lego-themed children’s bedroom. The brightly-coloured room, which has been created entirely out of red, black, yellow and grey Lego bricks, is on show at the company’s marketing suite for its Silverbrook development of 73 family houses in the village of Markyate in Hertfordshire.

The bedroom also features a host of Lego-themed merchandise, including a Lego lamp and Lego alarm clock.

According to Weston Homes founder and chairman Bob Weston, themed rooms are set to become a popular trend among housebuilders. “Linking in with brands such as Lego, Star Wars, Disney or other children’s products to help promote products or services to families with children is well established in the restaurant, movie-theatre and shopping mall sectors, but its in its infancy in the housebuilding industry,” he said.

“This is the first time in the UK that a major house builder has looked at themed marketing of living spaces to help sell family houses. It has worked really well, and we believe that in future house builders will do more of this themed-living space marketing to help sell homes – so that in future we may have all sorts of children, sports and other entertainment themed rooms to help promote houses and other properties to families and other purchasers.

“This is just the start of themed-space marketing,” said Mr Weston.

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Contractors ordered back to school

February 24th, 2014 Comments off

Construction companies are being urged to visit more schools in a bid to make a career in the industry more attractive to youngsters.

The CITB is leading the charge for a more pro-active approach from contractors following a damning report which found young people were being advised they were “too clever for construction”

CITB Chairman James Wates said: “Our industry has to compete with many others for future talent.

“That means that we must be in the thoughts and choices of pupils making decisions at school – not as they’re about to leave or have already left.

“We can’t leave this to existing careers advice because we need to reach teachers in order to reach pupils.

“Teachers need to be made aware of what training and careers construction has to offer their pupils in order to get our message across.

“We build inspirational icons across the UK and the world – and we build schools, homes and hospitals in local communities.

“We need to inspire tomorrow’s talent with these achievements and I’m asking employers to be part of setting out our stall.

“I’d like to see 50 employers visit 50 schools in 2014 to do just this. That sends a powerful message about our industry and about the opportunities that exist within it.”

EDF Energy is already working closely with local schools near to its planned new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point..

Jennie Chapman, head of partnerships at EDF Energy, said: “We have reached out to 35,000 school students around Somerset through a variety of exciting activities in our ‘Inspire’ education programme as well as tailoring specific events to appeal to female students.

“The results have been very encouraging, with many examples of students thinking again – or for the first time – about a career in construction, engineering or science.

“I would strongly encourage others to support the CITB’s call to invest in encouraging the construction workers of the future.”

 

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Construction industry expects creation of 182,000 jobs

February 19th, 2014 Comments off

jobsThe training body of construction professionals (CITB) says 182,000 jobs are to be created in the next four years.

The CITB claims the growth will be fuelled by huge government infrastructure projects and demand for housing.

However the body warns that work will be “very South Eastern England centric.”

CITB deputy chairman Judy Lowe says “One has to be careful in trumpeting the growth figures because initially it’s going be the South East which will benefit more.”

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Growth in construction industry revised up as house building leaps almost 20%

February 17th, 2014 Comments off

British construction output rose modestly in the last three months of 2013, official figures showed today led by the greatest expansion in the building of new housing since the start of 2008.

Construction output rose by 0.2 per cent in the three months to the end of December, significantly down on the 2.6 per cent seen in the previous three months but stronger than the 0.3 per cent fall in construction reported in the preliminary GDP data for the same quarter.

Britain’s economy grew by 0.7 per cent in the three months to December an initial estimate by the Office of National Statistics showed last month.

However it said the upward revision to construction output would not be enough to impact GDP.

The upward revision to the construction data was helped by a 2 per cent rise in production in December, after a 4 per cent fall in November.

Compared to the same period a year ago the construction industry grew by 6.3 per cent in December, a significant increase on the 2 per cent rise in November, and the biggest rise since September.

Much of the improvement in the construction industry’s fortunes has come from the recovery in the UK housing market which has spurred a revival in house building, aided by government schemes such as Help to Buy and low interest rates.

The ONS said that total housing construction in the last three months of 2013 was 19.8 per cent higher than a year earlier – the strongest increase since 2010.

House prices are up nearly 9 per cent on the year, mortgage lender Nationwide said last month.

That was the biggest rise since 2010, and fears of a possible bubble prompted the Bank of England in November to announce it would scrap the part of its Funding for Lending Scheme that supports mortgage lending.

But house prices have continued to rise and yesterday the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said its members expected prices to rise by 6 per cent a year over the next five years.

The official construction data today follows a report earlier this month which showed the construction sector grew unexpectedly in January. 

The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index rose to 64.6 in January from December’s reading of 62.1, its highest level since the financial crisis and far exceeding forecasts for a reading of 61.5.

It was the sharpest expansion in UK construction activity since August 2007, and well above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction. Construction accounts for around 7 per cent of Britain’s economy.

British construction output slumped after the financial crisis and remains 12.2 per cent below its pre-crisis peak, a weaker state than in manufacturing or the services sector.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at HIS Global Insight said the data showed the construction industry rebounding and provided reassurance that the sector’s recovery remained firmly on track, adding November’s construction data was clearly a ‘blip’.

He added: ‘Overall the latest construction output and industrial production data point to no revision to currently reported GDP growth of 0.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2013.

‘This is notable as when forecasting that the UK economy will grow 3.4 per cent in 2014, the Bank of England assumed that fourth quarter 2013 GDP growth of 0.7 per cent quarter-on-quarter would ultimately be revised up. Of course, there is still time for this to happen and much will depend on the services sector data.’

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Bolton College’s new STEM centre will be the best, promises boss

February 14th, 2014 Comments off

THE newly appointed head of a multi-million pound centre has promised it will have excellent teaching and the best facilities to educate the next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians.

stem centre boltonPeter Alstead, aged 51, will lead the £4.1 million Bolton College’s STEM — science, technology, engineering and maths — centre, which is currently being built next to the town centre campus and is the first centre of its kind in the North West.

Mr Alstead will oversee the development of the centre, which is due to open this spring, as well as taking charge of the motor vehicle, engineering technology and water engineering sections.

He said: “We want to ensure that our students experience excellent teaching and learning enhanced with the best facilities.

“This will enable them to acquire the appropriate transferable skills that will ensure their future career aspirations and employment opportunities are fulfilled within science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

Mr Alstead has 20 years experience in education having previously been head of area for engineering and construction in three higher and further education institutes.

He has had 15 years industrial experienced at British Aerospace Dynamics and more recently was employed in the post of contracts manager for a leading Manchester-based construction company.

Marie Gilluley, principal of Bolton College, said: “We’re all very excited about Peter’s appointment. His experience is unrivalled and we’re confident his knowledge will prove a real asset for both staff and students here at Bolton College.”

The STEM centre will complete Bolton College’s existing campus in Deane Road and will offer students a range of full-time and apprenticeship and vocational STEM courses.

It will also provide additional skills for people employed in industry.

The centre will provide a pathway to jobs and higher education and increase aspiration and motivation among Bolton’s young people by offering different options following secondary school.

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Crane slips into a ditch

February 13th, 2014 Comments off

An All Terrain crane slipped off the road near Nantes, in France on Wednesday causing a road closure and a cut to the the local electricity supply.

The crane a five axle Liebherr from Mediaco’s depot in Nantes was travelling along the D 744 between Moncoutant and Cerizay to the south east of the city, when it ended up in a ditch and resting against an embankment. Thankfully no one was injured in the incident.

Mediaco ditch Nantes

The crane slipped off the road into a ditch and embankment

Two larger cranes were sent out from the branch to rescue the stricken machine, which also required the overhead power lines to be cut off, and all was cleared up by mid-morning yesterday.

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Workers threaten to strike at Brazil stadium after death

February 12th, 2014 Comments off

Workers at a World Cup stadium in the Brazilian city of Manaus are threatening to go on strike after a third worker died during the construction of the venue.

The Arena da Amazonia stadium in Manaus, Brazil, pictured during construction in December 2013
The Arena da Amazonia stadium in Manaus, Brazil, pictured during construction in December 2013 

A 55-year-old Portuguese worker was killed on Friday while disassembling a crane.

He is now the third person to die at the venue in less than a year.

Construction of the stadium, which is due to host England’s opening game against Italy, is already behind schedule.

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Watts, Volts, and Amps: The Layman’s Guide to Electrical Power Jargon

February 11th, 2014 Comments off

220 volts, 100 amps, 500 watts. Even the most basic units of electrical power jargon are confusing enough to give the average non-expert a headache.

A headache or a nasty shock, that is. While electrical power jargon may seem overly complicated and difficult to understand, the confusing words used to describe the different voltages, currents, and levels of resistance all relate to simple principles.

water

Electricity and water have a surprising amount in common

In this simple guide from neXpower, we’ll be learning about the four fundamental units of electrical power: watts, volts, ohms and amps.

But first, a lesson in plumbing…

What do electricity and water have in common? A lot, surprisingly. While it’s never a good idea to cross wires and pipes, you can learn a lot about electricity by imagining it as a simple water system.

The voltage of an electrical system is equivalent to the water pressure of the pipes in your home. The current of the system (measured in amps) is equivalent to the water flow rate – in this case, controlled by how far you turn the tap.

Finally, the resistance is equivalent to the diameter of the water pipes. The smaller the pipes, the smaller the quantity of water (or in our analogy, electricity) that can flow from one side to the other.

What about watts?

Before we explain how these three units relate to the wattage of a system, let’s keep going with our plumbing analogy.

Pretend you have a bathroom faucet connected to your home’s water tank using a standard pipe. If you increase the tank’s water pressure, what changes will happen at the faucet?

Changing the pressure (in electrical terms, the volts) makes more water flow out of the faucet. But what if instead of just changing the water pressure level in the tank, you also switched the standard pipe for one that’s twice as big?

This doubles the amount of water that flows out of the faucet. This is the equivalent of halving the resistance level in an electrical circuit – if the voltage is high enough, it will double the current.

Finally, let’s talk about watts. Watts are the unit used to measure the total amount of electrical power in a circuit. You can calculate the amount of watts in a circuit using a simple formula:

Watts = voltage (volts) x current (amps)

Watts, Amps, Ohms, and Volts: Breaking it down

Once you understand the water analogy, electrical power jargon becomes far easier to understand. Watts are the total power, amps are the current, volts are the level of pressure, and ohms are resistance.

Visualise the basic home plumbing system described above whenever you struggle to differentiate between these units. Since the fundamental principles of electricity and water are the same, you’ll find it very helpful!

Visit neXpower online to learn more about power supply systems for business and consumer use. Click here to view used diesel generators for sale from neXpower systems and learn more about how your business can benefit from an emergency power source.

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Iconic clock tower may survive storms say engineers

February 10th, 2014 Comments off

 

clock tower cornwall

A cherished landmark which it was feared had suffered terminal damage in the storms may be repairable.

The clock tower at Kingsand and the adjacent building, known locally as the Institute, took a battering from powerful waves last week.

It was initially feared that the foundations of a the sea facing corner, which also form part of the picturesque village’s sea defences, were so badly damaged that the entire structure would have to be demolished.

However, Paul Masters, duty director at Cornwall Council’s Silver Control emergency response unit, said there were cautious hopes that the building could be saved.

He said engineers had erected special props around the structure in the hope of saving it from further damage in the weekend storm.

Further tests are ongoing between bouts of bad weather, he said, but added: “the engineers are reasonably confident of being able to save the building.”

The Clocktower on Kingsand seafront was erected to commemorate the coronation of King George V.ngoing between bouts of bad weather, he said, but added: “the engineers are reasonably confident of being able to save the building.”

The attached building, referred to locally as the Institute, serves as a community hall.

Both are owned by the local parish council.

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