Learn About the Latest News on UK Government Plans to Utilize More Timber in Construction, CBO Mike Firenze Joins Dome Construction, UK Builders Caught Committing Malpractice, and Marsh and Beazley Expand Construction Coverage

In today’s news, we will look about the construction industry that is pleased with the commitment made by the United Kingdom government to increase the use of timber in construction. Meanwhile, Dome Construction has appointed Mike Firenze as the Chief Business Officer. Additionally, there have been fewer offenders caught among UK builders who have gone rogue. Apart from that, Marsh and Beazley have formed a partnership to provide additional coverage for the construction industry.

Industry Applauds UK Government Plans to Utilize more Timber in Construction

Original Source: Industry welcomes commitment by UK Government to expand use of timber in construction

Today, the UK Government released its Timber Construction Policy Roadmap to enhance domestic wood supply and safe use of sustainable UK timber in construction.

Priority themes in the policy roadmap include improving data, promoting timber, boosting skills, and addressing fire safety to identify timber construction potential and impediments in England.

The roadmap follows the Confederation of Timber Industries (CTI)’s policy report Timber in Construction: Barriers and Solutions, political site visits, and APPG engagements.

After working with government and industry partners in the Timber in Construction Working Group for a year, CTI members Timber Development UK and Structural Timber Association are prominent in the roadmap.

“This roadmap is a commitment to increasing UK timber use and a turning point for our exciting, low-carbon industry,” said Confederation of Timber Industries Chair Alex Goodfellow.

As we highlighted in our recent APPG report, the government must provide appropriate environmental legislation and market incentives to boost UK timber building.

“The roadmap provides a solid foundation for achieving this goal, demonstrating government intent to address timber construction barriers.

We think the report could be bolder, especially on embodied carbon. Shame on the government for delaying this till 2025.

“The CTI will work with all political parties long-term to ensure these positive commitments are actioned and, in some cases, expanded.”

It’s excellent to see the government commit to developing low-carbon timber building in this strategy document, says Timber Development UK CEO David Hopkins.

By expanding low-carbon timber construction, especially in housing, we can decarbonise our built environment while producing high-quality, efficient buildings.

Expanding timber construction helps regions ‘level up’ with green jobs and creates localised manufacturing bases that add value to raw timber goods.

“The roadmap has many positives, but it should be seen as a start rather than the finished product.

Despite its importance to net zero, several policy areas, particularly the carbon section, are timid about addressing embedded carbon.

“The CTI/TDUK will continue to engage with government to ensure commitments are actioned and expanded in the coming years.”

According to Structural Timber Association CEO Andrew Carpenter:

We are pleased that the UK Government has acknowledged the need to securely increase timber use in building and appreciate its leadership in setting this goal.

“The TIC Roadmap will help stakeholders in the construction industry meet the UK’s net zero carbon commitments by providing clarity and guidance.

It’s been a joy to participate in such vital work, and we look forward to ongoing collaboration between Government and industry as we move forward with implementation.”

CBO Mike Firenze Joins Dome Construction

Original Source: Dome Construction Names Mike Firenze Chief Business Officer

The 54-year-old California general contractor Dome Construction has named veteran Mike Firenze its new Chief Business Officer. This significant hire strengthens Dome’s senior leadership team for future growth.

Rob Lynch, President & CEO of Dome Construction, says, “Mike’s extensive experience and strategic vision make him the ideal choice for the Chief Business Officer role, and we are confident in his ability to drive Dome Construction forward.”

Firenze will oversee Dome Construction’s internal divisions and field staff’s alignment with strategic goals. This requires optimising operations and promoting departmental collaboration.

Firenze started with Dome in 1995 as a summer worker and became Executive Vice President in 2020. His firm history shows a dedication to quality, preparing him for this crucial leadership job.

About Dome Building

Dome Construction was founded in 1969 on the principles of Value our People, Seek to Understand, and Do it Right. Dome prioritises diversity, equity, and inclusion with a 93% employee engagement rate. Dome wants everyone to have a voice, see opportunities, grow, and be themselves.

Dome is one of the top five California general contractors with the lowest EMR rate, making it one of the safest builders. The Construction Employers Association (CEA) has recognised Dome for Excellence in Safety for 20 years due to their robust safety culture. As innovators in construction, Dome uses methods and technology that improve worker safety, such eMOD.

Fewer UK Builders Caught Committing Malpractice

Original Source: UK builders going rogue but fewer offenders caught

MAST Quay, a 23-story tower structure overlooking the Thames, warns unscrupulous builders intending to circumvent London’s planning system.

In September, scores of planning violations led to the demolition of the £36 million (S$60.7 million) Woolwich apartment complex. The developers failed to offer a roof garden, commercial floorspace, or disability access, among other things, per the planning agreement.

Not everyone is caught. Bloomberg FOI requests show that planning permission cases have been declining for years. Since 2010, the average number of new cases has practically halved, causing local communities anxiety and safety worries while illegal developers operate unpunished. Local authorities in 17 London boroughs and nine large UK cities provided that data.

The data reveal another consequence of Britain’s clogged planning system, which homebuilders are criticising and is shaping up to be a major political battleground before the next general election. Departments are staffing low after years of underfunding, which Bloomberg discovered through separate FOI requests earlier this year. 

“Rogue housing developments are a symptom of chronic under-resourcing,” said Goldman Sachs Group-owned TopHat managing director Andrew Shepherd. Political parties must fund planning departments to build nationally significant infrastructure to effect meaningful change.

According to self-employed television producer Samantha Stein, a developer began rebuilding a hotel next to her Lincoln home without planning permission this year, causing her distress. 

Stein requested guidelines from the city’s planning department to limit midnight building noise, saying it was distressing and that her living room was once filled with odours. The officer indicated the planning department could not handle the issue, directed her to a separate council team that also failed.

“This should never have been kicked to another department,” Stein added. “Protecting the public from upcoming development health hazards is a planning department issue, but their team has not been helpful.”

Lincoln City Council rejected comment.

Stein believed she had moved into her dream home overlooking Lincoln Cathedral two years ago. She claims the hotel’s construction noise has reached 100 decibels inside her house, forcing her to lose sleep and hindering her remote work.

“I’ve had to take time off work several times,” Stein said. “I couldn’t sleep last night because they were drilling, hammering, and moving furniture past midnight.”

The most recent noise survey by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health found that sound complaints in England jumped 54% between 2019-20 and 2020-21, with Greater London three times the national average. Only 3% of local authorities’ 350,000+ noise complaints were addressed.

Death can result for some. The Housing Ombudsman, which investigates property complaints, judged social housing provider Clarion’s handling of noise concerns by a resident who committed suicide to be inadequate earlier this year.

Absence of enforcement raises builders’ and locals’ injury risk. The Health and Safety Executive reported 45 construction-related deaths in 2022-23, up from 30 in 2021-22.

“Planning enforcement suffers from less resource and enthusiasm than other parts of the planning function,” said Forsters lawyer Matthew Evans. “Overstretched councils will have less time to agree on changes, whether voluntary or forced.”

Nine in 10 local authorities have a backlog of enforcement notifications, according to a Royal Town Planning Institute report. 80% of respondents said there weren’t enough cops to handle the workload, allowing unscrupulous developers to go undetected. 

According to FOI requests, Hounslow, which has cut its planning spend by almost half since 2010, issued 21 enforcement letters last year compared to 150 in 2014.

Although UK housebuilding is below century-low levels, annual homebuilding has increased since 2010. Even though construction has accelerated, local authorities have taken less action on illegal developers.

Enforcement personnel are the backbone of the planning system, defending the public and the environment from planning control violators’, said RTPI head of policy practice and research Richard Blyth. “Unmanageable workloads and insufficient staff have left most councils unable to meet public demand.” 

After Labour leader Keir Starmer highlighted housebuilding failures at his party’s annual conference in October and made a number of development pledges, the Conservatives are trying to regain public support. 

A month later, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced proposals to allow Britons to fix or extend their homes without planning permission next year. It allows residences to be converted into two flats without public consultation. 

According to Forsters’ Evans, that shows the government prioritises new dwellings over planning violations.

He stated central government policy may indicate less enforcement. The increase of approved development rights reflects a light touch approach and an acceptance that delivery is paramount.”

Mast Quay had too many problems for the council to overlook. At least 26 major alterations were made to the 2012 planning authorization, including noticeable architectural changes, different cladding, fewer glass, smaller balconies and windows, and lower-quality residential accommodation. 

The council issued an enforcement notice to demolish the building and restore the property. Developers have 12 months to comply but can appeal.

“Without enforcement, our planning system can have no integrity,” said Royal Borough of Greenwich councillor Ann-Marie Cousins. 

Marsh and Beazley Expand Construction Coverage

Original Source: Marsh and Beazley team up to offer additional coverage for construction industry

ESG performance of building contractors will determine it.

Marsh, an insurance broker and risk advisor, and Beazley, a specialty insurer, will provide building contractors additional professional indemnity (PI) cover depending on their ESG performance.

“ESG concerns are a growing area of scrutiny for the global construction sector, and financial institutions are looking to ESG performance as a marker of sustainable and resilient businesses,” said Marsh Specialty CEO Kelly Looney, UK construction, infrastructure, and surety. “Despite their best efforts, many contractors are not always able to satisfactorily display their positive ESG goals in a way that provides meaningful risk and insurance benefits.”

Marsh will offer more capacity to non-US clients that complete its ESG Risk Rating. ERR scores that meet Marsh and Beazley’s criterion will determine their coverage.

We help ESG-focused construction contractors. Andrew James, focus group leader, big client professional liability, Beazley, said companies that care about the environment, their communities, and their governance are more likely to manage and mitigate their risk landscape.

Construction contractors who fulfil underwriting conditions can get $1 million in PI coverage if they score a six or better on the ERR. This was 20% above Beazley’s $5 million limit.

Contractors and subcontractors are protected by PI insurance for professional errors, such as Building Safety Act 2022 and cladding concerns.

“A specialty insurer’s role is to work with clients to improve risk management, and we are pleased to offer construction contractors that perform well against ESG criteria additional capacity,” added James.

Marsh’s ERR, announced in March 2022, evaluates an organization’s ESG performance. It helps the firm evaluate sustainability and climate risks and opportunities and access insurance market capacity.

As well as accessing additional insurance market capacity for professional indemnity risks, our contractor clients can use the ESG Risk Rating to identify their most critical sustainability and climate-related risks and increase transparency as they develop their ESG strategies, said Looney.

The ERR evaluates a client’s performance across 19 ESG themes against more than 10 internationally recognised standards and frameworks from leading organisations like the Global Reporting Initiative, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, and World Economic Forum.

Summary of today’s construction news

Overall, we discussed in this article about improving the availability of domestic wood and ensure the safe utilisation of sustainable UK timber in building, the UK government has published its Timber building Policy Roadmap. The policy roadmap aims to identify the potential and obstacles of timber building in England by prioritising data improvement, promoting timber, enhancing skills, and addressing fire safety. In the meantime, Mike Firenze has been chosen Chief Business Officer of the 54-year-old general contractor Dome Construction in California. With this major addition, Dome’s executive team is better prepared for the company’s future expansion. In addition, the 23-story tower MAST Quay, which stands guard above the Thames, serves as a warning to shady developers who want to get under London’s planning system. Furthermore, the it will be decided by the ESG performance of construction contractors. Depending on their ESG performance, building contractors will receive supplementary professional indemnity (PI) cover from Marsh, an insurance broker and risk advisor, and Beazley, a specialised insurer.

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