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March 15, 2016

Welsh Water owner names new chairman

Welsh Water’s parent company, Glas Cymru, has appointed Alastair Lyons as its new chairman from 8 July, succeeding current chairman Robert Ayling. New Glas Cymru chairman Alastair Lyons Lyons has been chairman of Admiral, the Cardiff based FTSE 100 motor insurer, since 2000 and is also deputy chairman

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Warning over public sector bid-rigging danger

John Kirkpatrick, senior director of research, intelligence and advocacy at the Competition & Markets Authority, told Construction News’ sister title LGC that cartels had been found targeting public sector internationally and there was “no reason to suppose” the UK was any different. “I think [the problem] is bigger than it’s currently

Read More »

Build-Zone Insurance exhibiting at MIPIM UK 2016

Build-Zone will be exhibiting at MIPIM UK based at London Olympia from the 19th till the 21st of October. Leading providers of structural warranties and latent defects insurance, Build-Zone, will be exhibiting at MIPIM UK based at London Olympia from the 19th till the 21st of October.  MIPIM UK is

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Alliance formed for £85m Manchester rail job

The Ordall Chord project will link Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly stations by rail for the first time. It is the largest part of a £200m programme of work won by the Bam Nuttall/Skanska JV in 2013 to improve the rail links across Manchester. Amey will join the team to

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Cold Showers Aren’t Fun, So Why Go Without Hot Water?

The joy of getting up and enjoying a shower in the morning cannot be overstated. However, the horror of stepping into that blissful shower to discover that your hot water cylinder is delivering nothing, but icy cold water is not the rude awakening you want. So, what causes a household

Read More »

Spirotech unveils Euro 2016 installer promotion

Spirotech unveils Euro 2016 installer promotion Published:  15 April, 2016 Spirotech UK is celebrating this year’s Euro Championships in style with the launch of a new installer giveaway. Between 11 April and 10 June, Spirotech UK will be giving away a series of prizes, including five pairs of tickets to

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Rental Property Ladder Becomes Harder to Climb

Despite increasing market prospects for the property sector as a whole, concerns have been raised as the overall affordability of rental properties; this time, not solely within the reputedly-expensive London area. As of present, the majority of private sector landlords have a stated requirement of some four weeks’ worth of

Read More »

Hope Construction Continuing as Normal, Despite Takeover Talks

Although in the process of being purchased by Breedon Aggregates, Hope Construction Materials has made the move to continue growing and solidifying its market brand, attempting to secure the future of the company, and potentially lay the foundations for the takeover by Breedon Aggregates. The takeover, which still requites approval

Read More »

China Hongqiao to Expand Aluminium Production Capacity

China Hongqiao Group, the world’s largest aluminium producer has decided to expand its operations and improve overall capacities; a move in stark contrast to the reduced usage rate of aluminium and the weighed on prices for the light metal. As to why, we can only assume that the group maintains

Read More »

Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024

March 15, 2016

Welsh Water owner names new chairman

Welsh Water’s parent company, Glas Cymru, has appointed Alastair Lyons as its new chairman from 8 July, succeeding current chairman Robert Ayling. New Glas Cymru chairman Alastair Lyons Lyons has been chairman of Admiral, the Cardiff based FTSE 100 motor insurer, since 2000 and is also deputy chairman of Bovis Homes. During an extensive executive career, he was chief executive of the National Provident Institution and the National and Provincial Building Society, managing director of the Insurance Division of Abbey National, and director of corporate projects at National Westminster Bank. Speaking about his appointment, he said: “I am delighted to have been offered the opportunity to chair a business that plays as central a part in Welsh life as Welsh Water and whose constitution allows such a strong alignment of interest between itself and its customers, both now and over the long-term.” Ayling joined the Glas Cymru Board in 2008 and has been chairman since 2010. He has played a key role in guiding the company through the 2009 and 2014 regulatory price reviews, and the re-shaping of its core business in 2015 into three distinct business units – water, wastewater and retail services. Welsh Water chief executive Chris Jones said: “Bob has led the Glas Cymru board with great distinction and has played a key role in helping transform the company – not least by challenging and scrutinising colleagues to ensure that we always deliver the best possible water and wastewater services to our customers, at the most affordable price. “I look forward to welcoming Alastair as chairman of Glas Cymru. He brings with him extensive skills and experience at the very highest level and his demonstrable leadership qualities will help us build on the success that we have achieved so far so that we truly become a customer-led provider of the most essential of public services.” Source link

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Warning over public sector bid-rigging danger

John Kirkpatrick, senior director of research, intelligence and advocacy at the Competition & Markets Authority, told Construction News’ sister title LGC that cartels had been found targeting public sector internationally and there was “no reason to suppose” the UK was any different. “I think [the problem] is bigger than it’s currently being treated as,” he warned.  The CMA has launched an online tool to help officers identify tell-tale signs of bid-rigging. This can include companies colluding to push the price of a bid up by one of the cartel submitting an artificially high bid to make other bids appear better value, a practice known as cover pricing. This might later be rewarded by the successful bidder sub-contracting some of the work to the competitor. Mr Kirkpatrick said: “Public service organisations let an awful lot of contracts into markets where there is potential for bid-rigging.” While contracts for “blue collar” services such as waste and maintenance were particularly vulnerable, Mr Kirkpatrick said the “global experience” showed services such as recruitment, IT and consultancy had also been targeted by unscrupulous firms. He added: “If you get the same two or three bidders always bidding, year in year out for the same contracts with you and your neighbours that’s an environment in which collusion can flourish.” In 2009 the CMA’s predecessor, the Office of Fair Trading, uncovered widespread cover pricing in the construction sector which led to 103 firms being fined a total of £129m. Tenders including those for schools, hospitals and housing were affected. Mr Kirkpatrick said: “The main thing is just be aware of the risk. If you’re aware of the risk then it’s much more likely that you’ll spot something odd. “Procurement professionals have seen patterns of tendering before, if they see something odd, [for example] if they see a late drop out, if they see an unusual similarity between either the prices or the content of the bids. “If they come to learn subsequently of sub-contracting arrangements between parties who they know to be competitors, rather than think that’s probably just the way it is what we want them to be doing is think ‘I wonder if that’s indicative of something else’.” If a council suspects bid-rigging might be going on, Mr Kirkpatrick said it should pause the procurement and take a closer look. If they find any evidence of cartel behaviour they should pass it to the CMA. He said simple steps such as requiring bidders to sign a non-collusion declaration could also be very effective. “If someone is colluding and they’ve signed a declaration that’s not going to look good if it comes to court,” he said. Source link

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Build-Zone Insurance exhibiting at MIPIM UK 2016

Build-Zone will be exhibiting at MIPIM UK based at London Olympia from the 19th till the 21st of October. Leading providers of structural warranties and latent defects insurance, Build-Zone, will be exhibiting at MIPIM UK based at London Olympia from the 19th till the 21st of October.  MIPIM UK is the UK’s largest exhibition and conference for property professionals. It provides a marketplace for industry players and international investors to meet, discuss projects and opportunities and do business, all under one roof. With three intensive days of conferences, exhibitions, networking events and an awards ceremony, MIPIM UK provides a marketplace for international and local investors, developers, occupiers and property professionals to meet, discuss opportunities and do business. MIPIM will play host to over 350 exhibitors representing all assets from both the private and public sector.Representatives from Build-Zone will be on hand throughout the show to talk through all issues on Structural Warranties and Commercial Latent Defects. If you would like to attend MIPIM UK, click here to register. Paul Kempton, Managing Director of Build-Zone said:  “The Build-Zone team are thrilled to exhibit at MIPIM UK 2016. The MIPIM exhibition and conference show is a fantastic platform to showcase our services and most importantly, meet with new and existing customers.” “Our team will be on stand G11/13 every day. We look forward to having an informal chat with those wanting to find out more about the services we can provide for all your projects.” Build-Zone offer a flexible and competitive approach to warranty provision in all sectors of the construction and building industry. Build-Zone products include: Structural Warranty for Residential Developments Social Housing Private Rental Sector Completed Housing Refurbishment & Conversions New Homes  Commercial Latent Defects Commercial Developments Refurbishment & Conversions Mixed Use Development Regeneration Insolvency Practitioners & Receivers Warranty  To arrange an informal chat with the Build-Zone team, please visit stand number G11/13. Click here to register for the show. ENDS. About Build-Zone: Build-Zone is a trading style of Sennocke International Insurance Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  Build-Zone has been providing structural warranties since 2003 and is a major force in the provision of structural warranty products in the United Kingdom and Ireland. We have a wide range of structural warranty products to suit most types of development including our New Home Warranty which has achieved Designated Warranty Provider status..Go online at www.build-zone.com or call the team on 0345 230 9873 For interviews or comments, please contact our PR agency: SMPR (Simply Marcomms Limited) 02476 546150 Email: info@simplymarcomms.co.uk   Source link

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Alliance formed for £85m Manchester rail job

The Ordall Chord project will link Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly stations by rail for the first time. It is the largest part of a £200m programme of work won by the Bam Nuttall/Skanska JV in 2013 to improve the rail links across Manchester. Amey will join the team to assist with the construction of the Ordsall Chord, with Siemens leading the signalling, power and communications work on the line. The Ordsall Chord is a central part of Network Rail’s £600m Northern Hub rail improvement programme, which was given the green light by transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin in March 2015. However, a legal challenge from former Institution of Civil Engineers president Mark Whitby on the grounds the project would “substantially harm” the city’s heritage threatened to derail the programme.  Last week, Mr Whitby’s attempt to stop construction on the site was rejected by the Court of Appeal. Work is now expected to be completed by December 2017. Network Rail’s manager of the alliance Mike Heywood said: “Within this alliance of organisations, we have a wide range of skills and experience to make this vital new stretch of railway a reality and deliver the service all rail passengers deserve.” Amey account director James McDermott said: “This alliance brings together the best experience and expertise in the industry and we’re looking forward to working in partnership to deliver significant improvements to connectivity in the north. “ Source link

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Cold Showers Aren’t Fun, So Why Go Without Hot Water?

The joy of getting up and enjoying a shower in the morning cannot be overstated. However, the horror of stepping into that blissful shower to discover that your hot water cylinder is delivering nothing, but icy cold water is not the rude awakening you want. So, what causes a household to run out of hot water? More importantly, what can be done about it? I once lived in a rental apartment which had a hot water cylinder so small that in order for me to wash and condition my hair required a two-part shower. I’d wash my hair, add the conditioner, turn the shower off and wait for the hot water cylinder to heat up again, then wash my conditioner out. This was great if you wanted a really deep conditioning treatment, not so great if you were running late for work. In order to make sure that you and your household don’t go without hot water, there are a few tips and tricks you can look at. What Type of Cylinder Do You Have? Although continuous gas hot water cylinders are becoming more popular (continuous cylinders are regularly installed overseas), in Australia one of the primary types of cylinder that has been installed in houses and apartments for years is the standard storage tank. These come in a range of sizes and work by filling the cylinder with cold water and heating the water, often with an electrical element. This type of cylinder is prone to providing cold showers, because once the heated water has been drained from the tank, it refills with cold water and needs to be reheated. Sometimes the problem is caused by the household having a hot water cylinder that is simply too small for it’s needs, so it is quickly drained (although it also quickly refills and reheats). However, a larger tank may not always be the solution. One person having a luxurious long bath may completely drain the tank, leaving no hot water for an hour or more. Hot water for everyone If you have the storage tank type of hot water cylinder, your first option to making sure that there is enough hot water to go around is to have a discussion about anti-social behavior and hogging all the hot water. From there, your next option is to work out if you have the right sized tank for your needs. It has been suggested that the average person uses 35l of hot water a day – obviously this is an estimate and will be subject to seasonal fluctuation as well. If there are two of you in a 1-bedroom apartment, a 50l storage cylinder may work. If you are a family of 6, this is unlikely to provide anyone with a warm shower. The South Australian government has provided a calculator that helps you work out how much hot water you need and looks at your options for hot water supply: https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/energy-and-environment/using-saving-energy/water-heaters/water-heater-calculator. This can provide you a great starting point but talk to your hot water installation professional before making your final decision, as they may have suggestions or advice that fits your specific location and needs; the online calculator is great, but may not think about access, sunlight/shade or a multitude of other considerations that an experienced installer will notice immediately. Hot Water, All the Time Once you start looking at options for hot water supply, the idea of instantaneous hot water starts to develop huge appeal. Particularly if you are the one regularly getting a cold shower. Having a gas system can provide a continuous supply of hot water, but people may think they are unable to use this system because there is no natural gas line available in their area. However, these systems can be installed using gas bottles as well as directly to a supply line, so the only issue comes with how easy it is to access the gas bottle to exchange it when it runs out. Free Hot Water Another tempting option is using a solar heater (click here) – either purely solar or solar as a boost to an electrical system. Although not actually free, using a solar hot water solution can bring down the costs of heating your water.

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Spirotech unveils Euro 2016 installer promotion

Spirotech unveils Euro 2016 installer promotion Published:  15 April, 2016 Spirotech UK is celebrating this year’s Euro Championships in style with the launch of a new installer giveaway. Between 11 April and 10 June, Spirotech UK will be giving away a series of prizes, including five pairs of tickets to Lens for England’s match against Wales on 16 June, five 50″ widescreen TVs, and a host of other goodies. To enter the prize draw, simply visit www.spirotech-offer.co.uk and follow the instructions. Alternatively, visitors to the PHEX+ exhibition at Alexandra Palace on 18 and 19 May can enter the draw on Spirotech’s stand. (To attend PHEX+, register for your free ticket online here.)  Each week, winning entrants will be announced live via Spirotech’s Twitter feed and on the Spirotech-offer.co.uk website. Installers need simply follow @SpirotechUK following entry, and a new winner will be announced every week in the run up to the fixture. Kevan Peaker, Spirotech UK’s sales director, said: “We’re delighted to launch this latest installer promotion in celebration of the forthcoming Euro Championships. Whether the match is enjoyed live in Lens, or at home in crystal-clear HD quality, the prizes should make the championships a memorable occasion for the winners; even if the home nations don’t deliver on the pitch! “As all the winners will be announced on Twitter, it gives us the opportunity to engage in real time with them, and they will hopefully then choose to share their experiences with us via social media.” No purchase is necessary, terms and conditions apply, details of which can be found via the offer homepage. To be in with a chance of winning, visit www.spirotech-offer.co.uk, or follow Spirotech on Twitter @SpirotechUK for news, product updates, and for all competition announcements. Source link

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Rental Property Ladder Becomes Harder to Climb

Despite increasing market prospects for the property sector as a whole, concerns have been raised as the overall affordability of rental properties; this time, not solely within the reputedly-expensive London area. As of present, the majority of private sector landlords have a stated requirement of some four weeks’ worth of rent before handing over the keys which, given increases in the average rental price of such properties, is beginning to raise similar concerns of affordability as have been seen in those relating to getting onto the property ladder. In fact, the average rental deposit has been predicted to increase by approximately 40% by 2026, hitting a colossal value of £1,111 which, though seemingly far smaller than the costs of getting onto the property ladder, may put people off approaching the rental ladder, even as a temporary measure. With the average monthly rental deposit then, based off these predictions, sitting at around 70% of the average monthly wage, the difficulty of individuals getting their own property in any shape or form is seemingly on the rise. Yet, there are considerable regional variations in this percentage, as reported by the Centre for Economic and Business Research. In London, where affordability has always been of great concern, it has actually been reported that the average rental deposit may reach up to 120% of the average monthly wage, serving as a stark 99% increase on last year and no-doubt putting concerns in the minds of many individuals looking to move or break away from home. Additionally, research has also highlighted that more and more landlords will expecting deposits to be of closer to six weeks’ worth of rent in the coming times, this then adding to the burden of those looking to get onto the rental ladder. With these growing prices, reduced affordability and barrier to enter onto the rental market, it begs the question how the market will react. Will getting onto the rental market be too much of a burden for some? As the major benefit of rental over purchasing a property lies within the affordability, these changes may very well change the landscape of the rental and property sectors entirely. Only time will tell, however.

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Hope Construction Continuing as Normal, Despite Takeover Talks

Although in the process of being purchased by Breedon Aggregates, Hope Construction Materials has made the move to continue growing and solidifying its market brand, attempting to secure the future of the company, and potentially lay the foundations for the takeover by Breedon Aggregates. The takeover, which still requites approval from the competition authorities, is predicted to come to fruition over the course of the year, yet, whether through uncertainty of approval or a determination to prove the strength of the brand to Breedon Aggregates, the company is displaying a degree of normality in operation as if planning for the future of the organisation, much like any other. Additionally, Hope Construction Materials is also set to launch a brand new brand of bagged cement, to be transported from the production plant in Derbyshire by rail, through to distribution at the new plant in Dagenham. The products, once distributed, are expected to be available to customers throughout the South of England. The move represent the company’s first time both producing and branding its own cement products for mass distribution – previously the supply of its cement products had been undertaken by third party suppliers. It’s of no real surprise that Hope Construction Materials expects to go ahead with the product launch, despite the takeover talks, due to the stage of the project which has been some around a year and a half in the making. Additionally, a great deal of research has been undertaken so as best to ensure that the product is targeted towards the increasingly-specific requirements of the modern building industry – this undertaken through communication with leading builders and merchants to understand their needs. Hope Construction Materials’ Commercial Director, Gary Brennand explained: “Using this insight we have developed a full package which we believe will redefine the sector.” As such, the new, professional grade cement is expected to be received with much anticipation with the greater construction industry.

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China Hongqiao to Expand Aluminium Production Capacity

China Hongqiao Group, the world’s largest aluminium producer has decided to expand its operations and improve overall capacities; a move in stark contrast to the reduced usage rate of aluminium and the weighed on prices for the light metal. As to why, we can only assume that the group maintains a positive outlook on the sector despite the bleak picture painted for many of its rivals, and with the group seeing a 39% annual increase up to 2015 despite production cuts, this would be of no real surprise. The expansion plans include an overall increase in capacity to 6m tonnes this year, building upon the already-considerable capacity of 5.19m achieved last year – this figure may vary depending on market conditions, of course, as the company’s Chief Executive illustrates: “If demand is good, we will stick with the plan. If not, we can slow down new capacity expansion or even suspend it.” It is predicted that some $2.3bn will be spent on the capacity improvements, which will see the refurbishment and retrofitting of some of the company’s coal-fired power plants in line with China’s new regulation for carbon emissions. Of course, with one of the primary reasons for the success of Chinese aluminium smelting revolving around the provision of cheap power and production costs, how these changes will affect China Honquiao is uncertain at this point. Hongquiao is also one of the few smelters in China to have set up the capacity to purchase excess inventory, a move which has been noted to support aluminium prices. Critics, however have cited that this has been unable to resolve the growing supply and demand imbalance of aluminium however, and with the group increasing overall production capacity, this imbalance is only expected to increase in severity. Only time will tell how this move will pay off for China Hongqiao, yet, it is still great to see some organisations maintaining an optimistic view of the market and determinedly pushing for growth.

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