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September 10, 2015

Remortgaging powers housing activity in August

Remortgaging activity has soared in August, outperforming all other areas of the housing market, according to the latest research from Connells Survey & Valuation. The number of valuations for remortgaging rose 25% in August compared to July. On the back of this growth, the number of remortgage valuations is now

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CONSTRUCTION TRADES CALL FOR GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

Tradesmen have called on the government to protect the industry from future recessions, as part of a roundtable discussion hosted by UK Construction Week in association with Checkatrade. The event, which was chaired by TV personality and Checkatrade Ambassador Craig Phillips, brought together a cross-section of tradesmen from around the

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Angel Lane in Stratford: King’s College London and Unite Students announce new landmark London property and a growing partnership

Unite Students, the UK’s leading provider of student accommodation, and Russell Group university King’s College London proudly announce an extension to their successful partnership with the opening of a new London venue: Angel Lane. Angel Lane will become home to 759 students in Stratford, east London, situated a stone’s throw

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DX celebrates 40 years at the top

After four decades of providing leading mail and courier services, DX looks back at the path well trodden and on to pastures new This September DX, the national document exchange, is celebrating 40 years in business. Four decades on from the launch, the organisation has spread its wings from the

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NFDC first to be audited and approved by the CSCS

The National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC) and National Demolition Training Group (NDTG) are proud to announce that they are the first company to be audited and approved by the CSCS to issue their new “One Card” scheme as a CSCS Affiliate. The compliant CCDO card scheme has given the

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BDC 318 : Jul 2024

September 10, 2015

Remortgaging powers housing activity in August

Remortgaging activity has soared in August, outperforming all other areas of the housing market, according to the latest research from Connells Survey & Valuation. The number of valuations for remortgaging rose 25% in August compared to July. On the back of this growth, the number of remortgage valuations is now up by 102% compared to August 2014 – a doubling in the space of twelve months. Total valuation activity was more muted in August. The number of valuations across all sectors, including remortgaging, rose by 7% compared to July. This leaves activity up by 48% compared to August 2014, driven in large part by remortgaging. John Bagshaw, corporate services director of Connells Survey & Valuation, comments: “Concern and media attention about an interest rate rise in the near future is the key driver of this surge. Due to the very low Bank of England base rate, there are currently some very appealing remortgaging deals on offer from lenders. But homeowners have been influenced by a powerful perception that these deals will not last. “Underneath the short-term surge, remortgaging is also driven by a longer term shift. People are increasingly looking to upgrade their home rather than trade – and so, for a slightly different purpose, are also keen to take advantage of cheaper mortgage deals. “Meanwhile, the wider picture looks encouragingly stable. First-time buyers and home-owners are far more optimistic about the housing market now than they were at this point in 2014 – and this is evident from the strong, steady growth we’ve been seeing throughout 2015.”  The number of valuations for existing owner-occupiers looking to move home has grown by 3% since July. This leaves activity on behalf of home movers up by 30% compared to August 2014. A similar picture emerges for first-time buyers. The number of valuations carried out in August for those looking to take a first step onto the property ladder rose 1% month-on-month and 31% on a twelve month basis. John Bagshaw continues: “Home mover and first-time buyer activity has seen sizeable and speedy growth over the last six months, so a period of more stable growth is a sign of consolidation. It shows that these sectors command long-term momentum and demonstrates a more stable optimism from households about the future. “For those moving up the ladder, low mortgage rates are combining with property price growth as a basis for their next purchase. Meanwhile, first time buyers don’t have the benefit of this natural deposit, but are showing remarkable fortitude in the face of price rises – buoyed by a jobs market that is increasingly showing real wage growth. In the only section of the market to see a drop in August activity, valuations for buy-to-let purposes dipped by 5% on July. Despite this, compared to a year ago, the total number of valuations carried out for buy-to-let investors rose by 29%. John Bagshaw concludes: “Buy-to-let has retained its winning popularity with investors. The slight slowdown the sector experienced this month is likely due to some investors taking a step back to calculate the cost of the Chancellor scrapping certain tax exemptions for buy-to-let landlords in the Summer Budget. “However, the fundamentals of the rental market remain very strong, driven by tenant demand. Even buy-to-let – once a rollercoaster sector in terms of growth – is showing signs of settling into a positive pattern of strong and steady growth, a pattern replicated across many other sectors of the mortgage market.”

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CONSTRUCTION TRADES CALL FOR GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

Tradesmen have called on the government to protect the industry from future recessions, as part of a roundtable discussion hosted by UK Construction Week in association with Checkatrade. The event, which was chaired by TV personality and Checkatrade Ambassador Craig Phillips, brought together a cross-section of tradesmen from around the industry to discuss the key topics affecting construction professionals today.  Top of the agenda was a sense of dissatisfaction with the level of support the government gives to construction, despite the industry being a driving factor behind economic recovery and growth. Discussing the prospect of another recession in the future, several participants claimed that the constant cycle of boom and bust is the biggest threat to their businesses today, with not enough being done to support construction companies during the hard times – in sharp contrast to other industries such as automotive and finance. Craig commented: “It’s disheartening that during the last recession the British car industry received a package of benefits and funding from the government, as well as huge bailouts for the banking sector, yet the construction industry was left to fend for itself.  It was the same story during the recession in the 1990s and this on-going cycle continues to threaten long-term construction productivity.  As a major contributor to the UK’s economy, it’s high time the government provided the construction industry with the assurances and security it deserves.” Another issue that the discussion brought to light was around the lack of regulations regarding competent work.  Posing a major threat to the industry’s reputation, several speakers argued that there is not enough enforcement to ensure contractors deliver high quality standards of work, with the heating and electrical trades in particular highlighting this as a real problem.  This means that often jobs are won on cost alone, opening the door for less scrupulous contractors to undercut genuine tradesmen by delivering substandard or dangerous installations. Kevin Byrne the founder of Checkatrade commented: “It was interesting to hear the speakers talk about how important reputation is to them and the difficulties they face with ‘cowboy’ traders out there in the market.  Another issue was around effectively marketing their businesses on social media, as while all of the speakers were aware how important this is, most of them were unsure how to go about it.  We’ll be looking to help the trade visitors get to grips with this as part of our offering at UK Construction Week.” Throughout the event at the Birmingham NEC this October there will be a number of sessions designed to help tradesmen and SMEs develop and promote their businesses.  For example, a communications master class will be held at the Site Zone in the Build Show, covering social media, marketing, setting up a website and making the most of local press contacts.  This is in addition to three full days of free-to-attend educational content and live tool demonstrations, giving tradesmen the skills and knowledge to secure more work, remain profitable, manage costs and cash flow, as well as learning practical ways to save time and money on site. Nathan Garnett, show director at UK Construction Week, commented: “It was great to hear the roundtable participants talk so passionately about the issues they face today.  The concerns they brought up certainly chime with our understanding of the construction landscape at present and are topics that we’re looking to address in our seminar programme. “For example, our keynote session on the UK Construction Week main stage will be delivered by Peter Hansford, Chief Construction Adviser to the UK Government, and will set out the government’s priorities and plans for construction industry policy over the next electoral cycle, clarifying exactly how they intend to support construction as a key driver of the UK economy.” Bringing together nine shows under one roof, UK Construction Week will be the biggest construction trade event the UK has seen in years.  Taking place at the Birmingham NEC from 6 – 11 October (with the trade only days from 6 – 8 October) the event will unite 1,000 exhibitors with an expected audience of 55,000 visitors. Visitors will be able to attend Grand Designs Live, the Build Show (incorporating Civils Expo), Timber Expo, the Surface and Materials Show, Energy 2015, Kitchens & Bathrooms Live, Plant & Machinery Live, HVAC 2015 and Smart Buildings 2015. For more information please visit www.ukconstructionweek.com or follow @UK_CW on Twitter.

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Angel Lane in Stratford: King’s College London and Unite Students announce new landmark London property and a growing partnership

Unite Students, the UK’s leading provider of student accommodation, and Russell Group university King’s College London proudly announce an extension to their successful partnership with the opening of a new London venue: Angel Lane. Angel Lane will become home to 759 students in Stratford, east London, situated a stone’s throw from the Olympic Park and a major transport hub. King’s has the ambition of “attracting the best international minds” and an enviable academic reputation supporting an ambitious growth agenda. The Angel Lane opening provides a solution to a key challenge facing King’s: a need for more purpose-built student accommodation to support growing student numbers. King’s real estate development director Ralph Luck OBE said: “Unite is a trusted partner of the university, and shares our commitment to providing a suitable environment for students to succeed. “We have ambitious plans to increase student numbers over the next few years and given our existing strong relationship with Unite Students they were the obvious partner to choose.” Unite, the UK’s largest supplier of student accommodation, already works in partnership with King’s. Excluding Angel Lane, Unite already provides over 1,000 beds to King’s in three London properties. Unite Students’ managing director of Operations Richard Smith said: “Our partnership approach means we can successfully put students’ needs at the centre of what we do. “Delivering another property in this exciting area of London gives students another accommodation option, ensuring they get value for money and the best environment to succeed.” Unite has a business purpose of providing students with a ‘Home for Success,’ meaning an environment which supports both personal and academic growth. Angel Lane is a new example of Unite delivering a complex project on time and to budget in a sought-after location.

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DX celebrates 40 years at the top

After four decades of providing leading mail and courier services, DX looks back at the path well trodden and on to pastures new This September DX, the national document exchange, is celebrating 40 years in business. Four decades on from the launch, the organisation has spread its wings from the traditional mailrooms of law firms, embracing new technology to become one of the UK’s leading B2B and B2C logistics and parcel distribution providers. ‘DX, as it is known today, was established in the wake of the 1971 postal strike, which paralysed the legal profession for seven long weeks. Pauline Lyle-Smith had experienced the benefits of a document exchange in Australia, and the postal strikes drew attention to a demand in London. Pauline developed the idea of a London-based exchange and she rapidly found a partnership with Henry Seymour. On 15th September 1975, the DX had just two customers: it and its accountants based in a small office off Chancery Lane. On 17th December that same year, a sole practitioner became the first legal professional to embrace the system, and the company flourished. Pauline Lyle-Smith, founder of DX, comments: “As soon as I came to the UK from Australia, I realised the legal profession had no secure document exchange, and it became my dream to establish the DX. I was bowled over by how rapidly the legal profession signed up to the DX, and how we have since developed.” DX quickly became the preferred document delivery service for the legal sector and soon broadened its horizons to all forms of secure delivery for both businesses and consumers, email encryption for the legal sector and specialist courier services such as irregular dimensions and weight (IDW) for sectors including retail and home furnishing. A true sign of the reliability of the company’s security process is shown in the fact that DX is the preferred provider of the UK Government and Foreign embassies for identity documents and visas. In particular, the service shines amongst competitors due its reliability for providing and adhering to next day or scheduled delivery of time sensitive, mission critical and high value items. On the 27th February 2014, DX announced its first entry on the AIM stock market and with £200.5m became the largest corporate fundraising on that market since 2006. The group supports 5,500 colleagues and subcontractors getting sales of £300m per annum. Petar Cvetkovic, Chief Executive Officer of DX, commented: “The market has changed immeasurably since the inception of the Document Exchange and it is still a very important part of our portfolio of services. DX still maintains strong relationships in our traditional markets of the legal, financial and public sectors whilst targeting key growth areas such as retail, health and pharmaceuticals all of which is supported by our focus on great service to our customers. Our mission and promise to our customers is ‘Delivered Exactly’ which I and the team strive for every day. We are now looking towards the next 40 years, and the demands of businesses and consumers alike.”

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NFDC first to be audited and approved by the CSCS

The National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC) and National Demolition Training Group (NDTG) are proud to announce that they are the first company to be audited and approved by the CSCS to issue their new “One Card” scheme as a CSCS Affiliate. The compliant CCDO card scheme has given the NFDC and NDTG an opportunity to develop a robust and progressive training scheme that meets the demolition industry’s needs and ensures a CDM compliant and competent workforce. The NFDC and their training arm, the NDTG offer a wide range of demolition specific training throughout the UK and have trained over 15000 individuals in the past 12 months. www.demolition-nfdc.com www.ndtg.training

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