logo for UK Construction Blog

Blog Details

Hear About the Latest News on a Cancelled 300 UK Mortgage Deals, Finland’s Wood City, Labour Commits to a Social Housing Drive, and a Historic Medway Building

In today’ UK construction industry news, we will look into the nearly 300 UK mortgage deals cancelled in the previous 24 hours by banks and building societies. Wood is abundantly accessible in Finland, where three-quarters of the country is forested, and it seems to be seen as the future of building. The Labour party has stated that the term “council housing” is not a pejorative in the context of its commitment to a social housing programme. In 2020, the sum of £1.6 million was given to Medway Council in order to revitalise the Star Hill to Sun Pier Conservation Area.

Nearly 300 UK mortgage deals cancelled as pound’s collapse heralds rate rise

Original Source: Nearly 300 UK mortgage deals pulled in a day as pound’s fall heralds rate rise

Nearly 300 mortgage deals were cancelled in the previous 24 hours by banks and building societies after a collapse in the pound fueled estimates of a 6% interest rate hike.

HSBC and Santander were the major lenders to withdraw mortgage products, along with Bank of Ireland, Clydesdale Bank, Post Office Money, and Monmouthshire.

Santander will remove 60% and 85% loan-to-value programs for new customers and increase other rates at 10 p.m. tonight. Customers who have applied won’t be affected. We assess our offerings based on market conditions. “

HSBC halted new business, residential, and buy-to-let programs on Tuesday. HSBC said in a statement, “To stay within our operational capacity, we need to reduce daily business.” Our broker items are back tomorrow. “

Virgin Money and Skipton Building Society pulled mortgage offerings on Monday.

Halifax, the country’s largest mortgage lender, will stop offering fee-paying mortgage products on Wednesday. Borrowers pay an arrangement charge to guarantee a lower fixed interest rate.

A spokeswoman said Halifax is changing its product line because of rising funding costs.

Moneyfacts says there were 3,596 residential mortgage agreements available on Tuesday, 284 fewer than before the pound’s Monday morning drop. Last year, would-be borrowers had 5,315 options.

Rachel Springall, a Moneyfacts finance specialist, said the market is volatile and borrowers should seek independent advice. “The mortgage market instability may force borrowers and brokers to lose deals overnight,” she said.

The 7% overnight decline in agreements comes as lenders struggle to appropriately price their goods after last week’s mini-budget sent the pound and government bonds tumbling.

Mortgage rates are based on the Bank of England’s base rate, which rose to 2.25 percent on Thursday. Financial markets expected the base rate to rise to 4.5% by next spring as the BoE tried to manage inflation.

After Monday’s plunge in sterling, that expected percentage is now 5.8%, as markets fear the increased cost of imported fuel, food, and consumer goods—and the need to calm apprehensive investors—will cause the bank to boost the base rate more sharply.

Moneyfacts lists Vida Homeloans and the West Brom, Cambridge, and Bath building societies as product withdrawers.

About one in five homeowners has a variable rate, either a tracker mortgage where the rate is expressly linked to the bank base rate or their lender’s standard variable rate (SVR).

Halifax and Scottish Widows Bank’s SVRs are increasing by 0.5% to 5.74%.

Wood City: the future of building?

Original Source: Is Finland’s Wood City the future of building?

The 5-story building is mostly wood.

Many of the school’s interior walls already have smooth wooden panels. Wood is used in load-bearing construction, between-floor ceilings, and exterior cladding.

“It’s a more sustainable alternative,” says an engineer at the school’s builder, SRV.

Wood is a great material, and people like wood and its design.

The project is a developing trend in Finnish construction. Developers choose wood over concrete and steel. It’s tied to the country’s goal to become Europe’s top circular economy by 2035.

Wood is abundantly accessible in Finland, where three-quarters of the country is forested, but it must be strengthened for mid-rise and tall buildings.

In Finland, where wooden homes and summer cottages are popular, there is less public anxiety about fires.

SRV’s flammability in taller buildings remains a concern. CLT is engineered to tolerate extreme temperatures and is slower to collapse than concrete, explains Ms. Airaksinen.

Ms. Airaksinen’s crew is slicing engineered wood called CLT (cross-laminated timber) at the upper school building site. “Stiffening the wood makes it stronger,” she says.

Engineered wood like CLT is lighter than typical building materials, requiring less heavy machinery and energy during construction. No drying process means buildings can be finished faster than with concrete.

Wooden buildings collect more carbon dioxide from the environment than they emit and can store carbon for five to six decades. Steel and concrete are carbon-intensive.

Ali Amiri, a sustainable buildings researcher at Aalto University near Helsinki and a former civil engineer, says it can help with climate change.

“Wooden buildings emit 20 to 30% fewer greenhouse gases than concrete, steel, or brick. Good news! “

According to his team’s findings, 80% of new residential structures in Europe could store 55 million tonnes of CO2 a year. That’s half the cement industry’s annual emissions.

Engineered woods like CLT have been used in Europe since the 1990s, but they have resurged in Finland thanks to a government-backed wood-building project to ensure 45% of public buildings use wood by 2025. Grants aid developers with procurement and risk communication. “Every company [here] does wooden buildings now,” explains Ms. Airaksinen. Sustainability faces strain.

At the upper secondary school, non-flammable gypsum board is utilised to safeguard the interior walls on higher floors. Ms. Airaksinen says, “Fire safety is important.” “We simulated fire evacuation and durability.”

Private businesses are embracing wood. 4% of flats and 16% of commercial buildings use it, according to the Finnish Woodworking Industries Federation.

Wood City, a new neighbourhood in Helsinki, has hundreds of wooden apartments.

It’s also home to the headquarters of Finnish gaming company Supercell, whose carved wooden characters and dramatic curved panels make for an imposing welcome area. Wood lines eight stories of open-plan office space, cafes, and sleeping rooms.

WithSecure is building a new office next door alongside SRV and Finnish engineered wood maker Stora Enso.

One of Helsinki’s most popular leisure attractions is a large wooden sauna and restaurant complex. The Löyly complex earned many global accolades for its wooden cloak-like structure and sloping roof.

WWF warns that increasing wooden building construction could strain the planet’s forests.

“It’s a terrific technique to store carbon, but we’re consuming more natural resources,” says WWF’s Mai Suominen. Because we require additional wood-based products, such as paper or packaging material, we expand chopping.

Finland’s timber firms pledge to replant logged areas sustainably. Ms. Suominen says that if manufacturing increases in the future, it could harm both animals and people.

“The forest processes collapse and become less flexible in response to climate change.” “Rainfall, dryness, and bug outbreaks will increase.”

Sustainability specialist Nani Pajunen from Sitra says construction enterprises in Finland and worldwide shouldn’t jump on the wooden building trend to appear greener.

She argues that firms should examine their carbon impact and the life cycle potential of products.

Recent advances to promote sustainability in the sector, such as recyclable concrete and steel, may be more durable than wood in large-scale projects like apartment towers, public venues, or bridges.

“It’s not a black-and-white issue,” she says. “Attitude matters. As a construction engineer, you must use materials sustainably.

Despite environmental worries, the wooden house sector is developing, with other Nordic countries, Germany, Canada, and the US increasing output.

Fortune Business Insights assessed CLT at $806m (£715m) and anticipated 14% growth by 2028.

After the Ukraine crisis drove up global steel and energy prices, Mr. Amiri’s research team saw a jump in inquiries from corporations and decision-makers.

Mr. Amiri thinks wooden building construction will “certainly rise” in Europe and North America in the next few years. However, building with engineered wood for multi-story buildings is “a bit more expensive” than using more common materials. He says this may make it difficult to convince countries with inexpensive concrete and steel to reverse course.

Ms. Airaksinen says she expects the wooden building sector to grow as new low-carbon materials are developed.

“We’re designing sustainable, lifecycle-aware structures,” she explains. Future?

Labour commits a social housing drive, saying “council” isn’t a filthy word

Original Source: Council housing is not a dirty word, says Labour as it pledges social housing drive

Shadow communities secretary Lisa Nandy spoke at the party’s annual convention in Liverpool to encourage local housebuilding.

In its 2019 election programme, Labour promised to eliminate Right to Buy and build 150,000 social houses every year, with two-thirds built by councils.

Now Nandy aims to grow the nation’s social housing stock so it’s second only to privately owned homes. In recent years, private rentals have eclipsed social housing.

“Council housing isn’t a terrible word,” she said. Today, I can declare we’ll be the first administration in a generation to make social housing the second largest form of tenure. Council housing, council housing, council housing.’

The MP for Wigan continued, ‘We’ll rebuild our social housing stock and return homes to local councils and communities, opening up home ownership to millions.’

According to Shelter, there are 1.4 million fewer social housing households in England than in 1980. To meet Labour’s goal of a “new generation of council housing,” local governments would need to create 600,000 new social dwellings. Government websites reveal that 15.6 million residences are held outright, 4.8 million are privately rented, and 4.2 million are rented from housing organisations and municipal governments.

This will enhance productivity greatly. In 2020, the AJ reported that local authorities in the UK constructed 4,010 dwellings in 2018-19 and that English and Scottish councils started building on just 4,330 units of social housing.

Although low, these numbers are up from past years. Right to Buy legislation obliges councils to sell any new homes they create.

The AJ reported last month that Mikhail Riches’ Stirling Prize-winning social housing project is poised to sell its first home under Right to Buy.

An AJ Freedom of Information request to Norwich City Council showed one sale ongoing in the 100-home Goldsmith Street complex, crowned Britain’s greatest new building in 2019.

Goldsmith Street was the first municipal housing scheme and second housing project to win.

A historic Medway building was renovated

Original Source: A Medway historic listed building has been revitalised

Rochester’s Grade II* The Georgian home has been restored.

Government financing has refurbished Chatham House on Hulkes Lane.

Medway Council received £1.6 million in 2020 to revitalise the Star Hill to Sun Pier Conservation Area, which includes parts of Chatham and Rochester high streets, as part of Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zone Programme.

Around £200,000 of this financing was used to repair the front of Chatham House, including reinstalling the old portico entry and railings that were destroyed in 1930 to erect a modern shop front by Featherstones Ltd. Rear wall structural work is done.

The 18th-century property has housed Featherstones Ltd.’s furniture, carpet, and hardware departments since the 1920s.

Medway Council, Historic England, and Featherstones restored the building’s front. This is the initial stage of a long-term initiative to restore the building and the first major capital project funded by the High Street Heritage Action Zone Programme, which runs through 2024.

Featherstones is seeking a contractor to repair the building’s interior. Work is expected to begin by the end of the year.

Unlocking potential

Cllr Alan Jarrett, leader of Medway Council, said: “Medway is steeped in history, and I am glad that the front of this lovely Georgian home has been restored. We’re happy to cooperate with Featherstones and Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zone Programme, which is revitalising the region. Many citizens visited Chatham House’s Heritage Open Days to learn about the building’s history.

Achievement reached

Sheila Featherstone, Featherstones’ director and the founder’s great granddaughter, said Chatham House looks excellent. The external works are complete thanks to concentrated teamwork. Historic England, Medway Council, and all the tradespeople who made this possible are greatly appreciated. It’s hard to believe so much has been done in 9 months, and I’m glad we can share this building with the community. It was excellent to open in time for the Heritage Open Days, which welcomed 600 guests over four days.

The building’s revival

Historic England’s Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas, Alice Brockway, said the building’s makeover heralds a new chapter in its 300-year history. The High Street Heritage Action Zone keeps achieving. Please answer Medway Council’s current consultation survey, open until October 7th.

Summary of today’s construction news

Overall, we have discussed that in the United Kingdom, approximately 300 mortgage arrangements have been cancelled by banks and building societies due to the collapse of the pound, which has fanned predictions of a 6% interest rate increase.

In Finland, three quarters of the country is forested, and wood is very accessible. That is why it is called the “Wood City,” which brings us to think that this is the future of the building.

Lisa Nandy, Shadow communities secretary said, “Council Housing isn’t a terrible word,” and declared that they will be the first administration in a generation to make social housing the second largest form of tenure.

Medway Council has acquired £1.6 million in 2020 to revitalise the Star Hill to Sun Pier Conservation Area, which encompasses Chatham and Rochester main streets.