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Archive for August, 2015

Employment agency loses £158m tax appeal

August 27th, 2015 Comments off

One of the UK’s largest employment agencies has lost a Court of Appeal hearing contesting up to £158m in unpaid tax.

Employment giant Reed has been fighting a long-running battle with HM Revenue & Customs over unpaid tax on the salaries of thousands of temporary workers.

The Court of Appeal has now found in the Revenue’s favour following the appeal by Reed against an Upper Tribunal tax court ruling in April 2014.

Reed aimed to make non-taxable payments to its employed temps for travel expenses with tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) savings being shared between Reed and the employed temp.

The Court of Appeal agreed with HMRC’s argument that the payments were made as part of overall wages and, as a result, should have been subject to PAYE and NICs.

The Court dismissed Reed’s appeal and awarded HMRC costs.

Ruth Owen, Director General of Personal Tax, said: “This shows that we were right to challenge the complex arrangements that Reed used to try to reduce their Income Tax and National Insurance liabilities, and that we won’t hesitate to litigate cases if necessary to secure the tax due.”

Reed said: “We are extremely disappointed by the decision of the Court of Appeal in this case, which involved complex issues and which we lost on a technical point on the wording of our contracts with our temporary employees.

“We stress that this is a historical tax dispute, covering a period from 2001 until 2006 and will not have an impact on our clients or our temporary employees past and present. We will be working with HMRC to take the matter forward.”

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Construction Manager of the Year finalists unveiled

August 25th, 2015 Comments off

Sixty-nine of the industry’s brightest talents have made the finals for the Construction Manager of the Year Awards.

They represent the successful construction management of a combined £2.3 billion worth of UK building assets.

The annual competition is run by The Chartered Institute of Building.

Saleem Akram, director at the CIOB said: “The value of professional construction managers is felt well beyond the construction site.

“They not only produce outstanding buildings but their work influences the way we live our lives and how we interact with the environment around us.

“Our congratulations go to the finalists who in reaching the final have achieved something very special that will enhance their careers.

“They have all proved themselves more than equal to a wide range of challenges, combining resourceful and creative application of building technology with inspiring project and team management and top communication skills.

“It is very pleasing to see the less well-known companies in construction putting their best people forward and challenging some of the UK’s biggest brands.

“Talent exists throughout the industry and CMYA recognises those who are achieving exceptional work no matter where they operate.

There are ten categories at CMYA 2015 that range from ‘Residential Projects under 6 Storeys’ to ‘New Build and Refurbishment over £60million’.

Winners and medallists will be announced on 8 October 2015 at an awards dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.

For a full list of the finalists and more information about the awards click here

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Measured Building Surveys Nationwide

August 21st, 2015 Comments off

Mobile CAD Surveying Solutions Ltd  can accommodate either a simple single property floor plan for a domestic or logowhitebackground (Small)private customer to a complete schedule of buildings including whatever type of data collection the customer requires for commercial customers. If Architects or Surveyors and you require fast turn around building surveys, please give us a try! we currently work for dozens of architects, surveyors and designers around the UK, where they haven’t the capacity or staff to handle their own surveys or where they just require someone to make sure the job is done right, first time, Mobile CAD Surveying Solutions can help you.

Currently we are working on many Commercial surveys around the country, with a number of domestic and Dimensional Property Surveys around the UK and into Europe, if you require any type of Measured Building Survey then please contact us.

We can provide Floor plans,  Elevational drawings, or a Topographical survey also Underground Utility Traces and all types of Measured Building Survey with varying levels of detailed work – from simple walls, columns, doors and window surveys, to a fully detailed data set including all 3D information including cill & head heights, stair riser and going details, door heights, ceiling heights, beam details, fitted furniture etc.. As part of our measured surveys, the surveyors can also pick up and highlight other information for example: any electrical and data points, sanitary fittings, incoming mains positions, plant, fire fighting and detection equipment, security equipment, signage and so on.

An accurate  topographical survey or land survey is essential to any project that you are considering and can lessen the possibility of costly mistakes or unforeseen issues later on.  The amount and type of topographical survey data that we collect on site is always based on your specification. However, our experienced land surveyors will use their knowledge of planning and development issues and requirements to provide additional information that might be vital for any future design or planning application. We are also able to gather information from any utility companies which can be added to your topographical survey drawings..

360D Panoramic Photography – We can also provide a 360 degree photographic record of your project to aid with design/construction

The ‘as built’ documentation provided by the company is highly detail oriented, every project can be accompanied by 360 degrees photographs to provide better understanding of the plans. Photographs give clients instant visuals which help in picturing the plan in a much better fashion.

We can also provide other additional land surveying services that you may require, for example; underground services tracing ( GPR – Ground Penetrating Radar) and 3D laser scanning enable us to provide you with a one-stop-shop for your surveying requirements.

for more information, please visit:-

Mobile CAD Surveying

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Aldi plans to open 130 extra stores in UK

August 19th, 2015 Comments off

German discount supermarket Aldi has unveiled plans to pump £600m into expanding its store network over the next two years.

aldi-signThe ambitious plan to take on rivals like Tesco and Sainsbury’s will see 130 new stores opened and the UK workforce reach 35,000.

Aldi has boomed in recent years, and in April it overtook Waitrose as the UK’s sixth-biggest supermarket, with 5.3% of the market share.

It has focused on smaller-scale stores looking at build costs of £1m-£3m for each store rather than the £10m+  favoured by the other chains.

The supermarket chain is also planning several distribution centres to support the growth programme.

Birmingham contractor DSP Construction Management is about to start work on a 600,000 sq ft regional distribution centre just south of the A6, near Bolton where Imtech is on board as building services contractor.

Aldi is also presently planning to build a similar regional distribution centre at Sheerness in Kent and a major 1.2m sq ft logistic centre at Sawley Crossroads in Derby.

These schemes have been design by Birmingham-based STOAS Architects.

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Brick stocks recover as shortages ease

August 17th, 2015 Comments off

Brick producers are starting to replenish stockpiles offering contractors far more choice again after the surge in demand left reserves severely depleted.

bricks_pileThe latest figures published by the Office for National Statistics show brick producers have got on top of the sudden surge in demand lifting production by 7% compared to last year.

Stock levels slumped to just 323m last October, down almost a third from 500m in 2012, and more than one billion recorded in 2009.

The Government’s Help to Buy scheme boosted construction in a bid to meet the ever increasing appetite for new housing which resulted in increased demand for bricks.

Simon Hay, CEO of the Brick Development Association said: “The brick industry has reacted swiftly in order to meet new demand by increasing brick production by nearly 7% in comparison to the same period in 2014, a tremendous effort by a capital-intensive industry.

“For the first time since the economic downturn, production is approaching 1 billion bricks in a six month period.

“Stock levels have also grown to nearly 450 million, a 33% rise in comparison to the stock levels at the first half of 2014, meaning choice in brick is now possible with reasonable lead in times.”

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Self-employed numbers grow by 39,000

August 14th, 2015 Comments off

The number of construction workers using the CIS tax system rose by 39,000 last year despite Government moves to crack down on self employment in the industry.

The figures were obtained by construction union UCATT.

HM Revenue and Customs confirmed that 963,000 workers received payments via CIS in 2014/15 and “this figure will increase later this year as a result of some returns being made late.”

That is a 39,000 increase on the 924,000 workers paid via CIS during 2013/14.

UCATT said: “In April 2014 the Government introduced new rules that prevented agencies and other “intermediaries” from employing workers on a self-employed basis.

“The changes in the rules, which have resulted in hundreds of thousands of workers being forced to operate via umbrella companies, were expected to result in a fall in the number of workers employed via CIS.”

Brian Rye, National Secretary of UCATT, said: “These figures show the fragmented mess that the construction industry is in.

“The Government’s changes which were meant to reduce false self-employment clearly haven’t worked while at the same time hundreds of thousands of workers are being employed by agencies via umbrella companies.

“It is clear that the only way to resolve the problem is for fundamental change with workers either being classed as employees or being genuinely self-employed in business for themselves.

“Further tinkering of the rules will just make the situation worse.”

Howard Royse, construction industry representative for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and author of the book Construction Industry Scheme – Guidance and Commentary said: “The increase in the number of subcontractors being paid through CIS in 2014/15 does not indicate how long those people were engaged as self-employed – it may have only been for a few days.

“Many of those workers will have been paid through both CIS and umbrella schemes in the course of the year.

“The recent increase in activity levels in construction is bound to lead to more workers being engaged, through direct employment and self-employment. That does not in itself make those self-employment engagements bogus.

“The change in rules for intermediaries resulted in more agencies putting workers through umbrella schemes, for fear of how HMRC may enforce the rules regarding supervision, direction and control.

“No doubt some genuinely self-employed workers were affected by this reaction.

“This may well have produced a short-term reduction in money paid in tax – but the new rules for travel and subsistence expenses should address the matter of dodgy operators offering high take-home pay schemes.”

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Work platform comes away from wall on Balfour block

August 12th, 2015 Comments off

Two workers were left clinging to the edge of an eighth floor ledge on a Balfour Beatty university building after a platform came away from the exterior wall.

Both workers had a lucky escape and were unhurt during the incident at Balfour’s £42m new Faculty of Art, Design and Humanities building at De Montfort University on Monday.

Industry experts said the incident involved a Mast Climbing Work Platform.

An eye-witness told the Leicester Mercury the men were on the open lift while working on cladding.

He said “The lift was going up and one part of it came away from the wall.

“The lift runs on two runners, part of the runner snapped off the wall and fell down. The lift was swinging in mid-air.”

He added that a large chunk of it also then fell on to a van below.

“The two guys in it were hanging on the window ledge as the rest plummeted down and landed below.

“I felt pure fear thinking are they going to be okay?

“At that point we were all ushered away as we did not know whether the rest would come down.”

A spokesman from Balfour Beatty said: “We are investigating an incident on our De Montfort construction site on Monday afternoon.

“While no-one was hurt as a result of the incident, we are working closely with the HSE and are assisting them with their enquiries to learn the causes and plan appropriate action.

“The safety of the public and our workforce is always our primary concern.”

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Green light for Birmingham’s tallest building

August 10th, 2015 Comments off

Developers Sterling Property Ventures and Rockspring have got the go-ahead to demolish Birmingham’s NatWest tower for a new 26-storey office building.

The 105m-high tower planned for the 103 Colmore Row site has been designed by Doone Silver architects and will be the tallest building in Birmingham once completed.

Work on erecting the new tower will begin in summer 2016, creating 500 construction jobs and completion is targeted for summer 2018.

It will then offer 196,000 sq ft of office space over 19 floors, with restaurants on the upper and ground floors.

Demolition contractors H Smith (Engineers) have been on site since mid July, stripping out the building’s interior.

Natwest tower

Scaffolding is now being erected to allow for the floor-by-floor dismantling of the concrete tower, which will take around 12 months.

The two-storey former banking hall fronting Colmore Row is scheduled to be removed by November this year.

Peter Graham, construction director at Sterling, said: “We’re very pleased that Birmingham City Council has acknowledged our unwavering commitment to this project and this great city.

“It means we can now move this project off the drawing board and on to site, replacing an outdated, inefficient building with a modern, landmark office development that Birmingham can be proud of.”

Eric Linden, European director at Rockspring, said: “We are pleased to be playing such a significant role in the improvement of this prime area of Birmingham, a city we view as a strengthening target for regional investment in the UK and where there is significant demand for quality, modern office space.”

Colmore Row

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Finance threat to £2bn Scottish hub deals

August 6th, 2015 Comments off

Construction work on schemes planned under the £2bn Scottish Hub programme could be delayed following changes to accounting rules.

The Scottish Government has been forced to reclassify the £745m Aberdeen Bypass from a private to public sector project.

The move follows an Office for National Statistics review after a tightening of EU rules around publicly-funded building programmes.

The bypass is funded under the non-profit distribution (NPD) scheme which is an alternative to the PFI model

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the bypass would not be delayed by the change.

But the decision could have an impact on building plans under the Hub programme which is run by the Scottish Futures Trust under a similar NPD model.

Swinney said: “In light of today’s opinion on an NPD project I am considering whether further changes are required to the Hub model.

“There is likely to be some further impact on the delivery timetable for Hub projects that are in the current pipeline.

“The Scottish Futures Trust will engage closely with project partners to discuss the implications for them.”

The ONS is also reviewing two other NPD projects signed since September 2014 – the Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary and the Edinburgh Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

Swinney said:  “This is a statistical accounting classification and has no impact on the cost or delivery timetable of the AWPR or the two NHS projects that the ONS has also indicated it will review.

“We fully expect these projects to be completed on time and on budget – as they are currently on track to do.”

O Galliford Try’s Morrison Construction business has achieved financial close on the £55.75 million hub North Scotland contract for the Shetland Islands Council to build the new Anderson High School.

Morrison Construction will carry out the construction of the new four-storey high school for up to 1,180 pupils and the three-storey 100-bed residential block and associated infrastructure works, providing a replacement for the existing high school on the Clickimin site in Lerwick, Shetland.

In addition Galliford Try Investments will invest £1.7m in the funding for the project.

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Green light for 40-storey City of London tower

August 5th, 2015 Comments off

Mitsubishi Estate London has received planning permission from the City Of London Corporation for a 40-storey office tower.

The Japanese developer plans an office-led, mixed-use tower with flexible retail use at ground and mezzanine floor levels and a public access viewing gallery at level 40.

The 71,510 sq metre tower at 6-8 Bishopsgate, EC2 and 150 Leadenhall Street, EC3 has been designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects and comprises a series of stacked blocks.

Managing Director and CEO of Mitsubishi Estate London, Mr Naoki Umeda, said: “I would like to thank the City Corporation planning team for their assistance and efficiency in processing this application.

“We have really valued the open and collaborative approach from the City.

“This project is a major investment signalling Mitsubishi Estate’s confidence in the City of London as a world financial centre.

“We are delightedmitsubishi-laNDMARK TOWER that we will now be able to deliver a striking landmark building for London that will further enhance its global appeal.”

Development manager on the scheme is Stanhope.

Stanhope chief executive David Camp said: “We are delighted to continue our long term association with Mitsubishi Estate.

“We’d like to pay tribute to everyone in the design and planning team for their role in the achievement of today’s result.”

Gerald Eve advised on planning. Arup is the structural and services engineer and Alinea is the cost consultant.

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