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March 16, 2016

GLA to overhaul affordable housing policy

6 August 2016 – by Louisa Clarence-Smith A new definition of “affordable” will be brought forward as part of planning guidance released in the autumn, London’s deputy mayor for housing James Murray has revealed. The new definition will be announced alongside a new, clear methodology for viability assessments and a

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Kawneer launches a new level in ventilation

Category: Construction Industry Today | Subscribe to Construction Industry Today Feed Published Tue, Jun 28th 2016 Kawneer has joined forces with GEZE UK to launch a superior ventilating window. Posted via Industry Today. Follow us on Twitter @IndustryToday Superior automated ventilation for all types of projects is now available through

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EDF sees Britain taking £6bn Hinkley stake

©Getty Hinkley Point in Somerset EDF executives say the British government could have to take a stake of up to £6bn in the Hinkley Point nuclear power station to avoid a “disaster” if the Chinese decide to withdraw from the project. Theresa May, UK prime minister, threw the £18bn project

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Redeveloping Brixton Arches: but at what price?

13 August 2016 – by Janie Manzoori-Stamford When consent was given for Network Rail’s plans to redevelop Brixton Arches, protesters came out in force. Nothing livens up a planning meeting like a glitter bomb. A shower of blood-red sparkles raining down amid catcalls of angry protest is a far more

Read More »

L&G to Move Into Flat Pack Houses Market

Financial services multinational Legal & General (L&G) announced last month that it plans to move into the flat pack houses market. The company, known for its insurance and investment services, plans to build thousands of prefabricated homes every year in the UK. The company is one of several large brands

Read More »

Stamp Duty Effects Hit Home, But with the Right Stakeholders?

Jackson-Stops & Staff, one of the UK’s leading estate agents, has released new information that suggestions as to the reform of stamp duty on second homes, may actually fail to achieve the goal of putting off buy-to-let investors. The information, in effect shows that inflation in housing prices may actually

Read More »

Lloyds’ £1bn Green Incentive for Developers

It has been announced that Lloyds Bank has pledged to a lend sum of £1bn to assist in the incentivisation for developers to incorporate further green credentials across their projects. The loans, which are to be issued directly to property owners, are to be become anywhere up to 20bps cheaper

Read More »

Increased Focus on SME Services Required by Government

In a recent report the government has been urged to consider a more considerable approach on the procurement of services from SMEs. The report, which was produced by the National Audit Office, has highlighted growing concerns as to whether the government will be able to hit increased SME spending targets

Read More »

Record Productivity Levels in Scottish Construction

A good result for Scottish construction professionals – it has been reported by the Office for National Statistics that the industry’s productivity levels and output has reached record heights of success. The results, which highlighted the output figures at the close of last year, signifies the growing prosperity of the

Read More »

Latest Issue

BDC 317 : Jun 2024

March 16, 2016

GLA to overhaul affordable housing policy

6 August 2016 – by Louisa Clarence-Smith A new definition of “affordable” will be brought forward as part of planning guidance released in the autumn, London’s deputy mayor for housing James Murray has revealed. The new definition will be announced alongside a new, clear methodology for viability assessments and a non-negotiable fixed affordable housing tariff, giving developers the option to avoid viability assessments altogether. Asked about the possible exemption of build to rent schemes from starter homes requirements, Murray told Estates Gazette he was keen to exempt starter homes from build to rent and will be making the case to government. The policy overhaul is designed to allow mayor of London Sadiq Khan to start delivering on his campaign pledge to make 50% of new homes delivered in the capital “genuinely affordable”. Supplementary planning guidance allows the Greater London Authority to shape the existing London Plan inherited from Boris Johnson. Khan’s team has started the process of rewriting the development strategy document, but with public consultations and government approval, the process is expected to take two years. All the content from this weekís magazine, including this article, is available in the new app. Will build-to-rent schemes be exempt from starter homes? Murray said he was concerned about the viability of build-to-rent schemes made subject to a starter homes requirement. He said: “On-site provision of starter homes or even commuted sums for starter homes would seriously impact on their viability, so we are concerned about that and we will be making the case that the starter homes requirement, should it come forward more generally, certainly should not apply in that way to build-to-rent.” How the response to starter homes policy is worded in the planning guidance will depend on whether the government has published the regulations in time. How would a 35% fixed affordable housing contribution be implemented? Estates Gazette revealed on Friday that City Hall was consulting developers and boroughs on a 35% flat rate affordable housing tariff. Murray said a fixed rate would give developers the option to opt out of the viability process to help speed up planning permissions. He said the exact level of the fixed rate would be confirmed in the autumn but conceded that there needed to be an incentive for developers to go for the fixed contribution, rather than the viability route. He said: “We are going to have to have those discussions over the summer and work out exactly where the number might land. The end of viability assessments? The move will not mean the end of viability assessments completely, since in the current London Plan viability is central to its determination of planning applications. But through the supplementary planning guidance the mayor’s office does have powers to set out clearer guidelines for how to approach viability. Murray said the lack of “clarity or consistency” across London about which methodology was being used to assess viability was causing conflict between applicants and local planning authorities, and slowing down developments. Click here to listen to the full interview Source link

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Kawneer launches a new level in ventilation

Category: Construction Industry Today | Subscribe to Construction Industry Today Feed Published Tue, Jun 28th 2016 Kawneer has joined forces with GEZE UK to launch a superior ventilating window. Posted via Industry Today. Follow us on Twitter @IndustryToday Superior automated ventilation for all types of projects is now available through a joint venture between leading architectural aluminium systems supplier Kawneer and GEZE UK, a leading manufacturer of door and window control systems and safety technology. Kawneer’s AA®720 parallel opening window now combines with GEZE’s award-winning Slimchain window drive system to provide effective ventilation around the entire window perimeter without detriment to safety and security regardless of sector, be it residential, healthcare, education, commercial, retail or leisure. The AA®720 window already had proven thermal performance, achieving U-values of 1.5 W/m2K for a CEN sized window with a warm edge spacer, offering exceptional levels of natural ventilation and air exchange, with a 86mm clear opening restriction as standard. And now the new and innovative CE Marked assisted-opening system has been fully tested to the PAS 24:2012 enhanced security performance standard as well as BS 6375 Part 1 (weather) and Part 2 (strength). Slimchain is part of GEZE’s range of window drives which share a uniform, discreet design and innovative Smart fix installation system. It is adaptable enough to fulfil completely diverse requirements relating to loads, upstroke lengths of up to 800mm, opening widths up to 1500mm wide and 2400mm high, and the widest range of types of installation. The new system for new-build and refurbishment projects offers more versatile design options than other solutions as Slimchain can be used on windows up to 400kg – a significant weight handling advantage over competitor products. Its intelligent electronics allow continuously adjustable drive strokes and individual speeds. The AA®720 + Slimchain window is backed with full support from Kawneer’s and GEZE’s technical, estimating and design teams as well as the reassurance of extensive testing of a totally integrated assisted opening system. ENDS   Source link

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EDF sees Britain taking £6bn Hinkley stake

©Getty Hinkley Point in Somerset EDF executives say the British government could have to take a stake of up to £6bn in the Hinkley Point nuclear power station to avoid a “disaster” if the Chinese decide to withdraw from the project. Theresa May, UK prime minister, threw the £18bn project into turmoil soon after taking office when she put it on hold just hours after the French energy company said it would go ahead with the much-delayed scheme. More On this topic IN UK Politics & Policy Mrs May is understood to be concerned about the wider deal, under which the Chinese would invest in Hinkley Point C in return for winning the right to use their own nuclear technology to build a new station at Bradwell in Essex. The prime minister is thought to be trying to decouple Bradwell from the Hinkley deal to allow more time to consider the security implications for the Essex site, over fears of the potential level of Chinese influence over Britain’s energy supply. The issue will be prominent when the prime minister meets Xi Jinping, China’s president, in bilateral talks during the G20 meeting at the weekend. Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to the UK, has warned that stalling the nuclear project could jeopardise relations between the two countries. The UK government has not set out a fallback option if the Chinese refuse to separate the Bradwell project from the overall deal and abandon their proposed investments in Britain. In public, Beijing remains committed to the deal. However, there has been growing speculation in the nuclear industry that Mrs May is prepared to invest billions of pounds into Hinkley Point if it becomes necessary. “If the Chinese pull out, the UK government itself will raise the money,” said one industry source. Downing Street and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy both refused to comment on whether the government would be prepared to take a stake. But one of Mrs May’s first statements as new leader was to pledge to use infrastructure bonds — or public borrowing — to finance new projects. One senior EDF figure said: “If the Chinese pull out, there is no way that EDF will be able to pay for the rest itself. We would need the British or someone else to step in.” Another said it would be a “disaster” for the project if the Chinese withdrew, but that the company would “wait and see” what happened before assuming it was dead. The idea of the UK government taking stakes in new nuclear power stations was raised this week by the new boss of Horizon, the Hitachi-owned consortium that plans to build stations at Wylfa, on Anglesey, and Oldbury-on-Severn, in Gloucestershire. Duncan Hawthorne, chief executive of Horizon, said Hitachi could seek an equity stake from the British and Japanese governments. Hitachi could even end up merely as a contractor to Whitehall, Mr Hawthorne told the Sunday Times. “I don’t know how far the UK government might be prepared to go but it’s a question of how best to protect the ratepayer,” he said. Investing directly in new nuclear power stations would mark a strategic shift for the British government but frustration is growing after years of delays to the Hinkley programme as fears rise that the UK is facing energy shortages. “The sooner the government comes to accept that it has to take a strategic investment in energy infrastructure, the better,” said one industry figure. An industry source said civil servants were instinctively opposed to any direct investment in new nuclear reactors but that Conservative advisers had been more open-minded in recent months. Barry Gardiner, shadow energy secretary, said that because government borrowing had never been cheaper, it could make sense for Hinkley — and other infrastructure — to be built with new low-interest debt raised by the government. But Mr Gardiner, who is also chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Chinese in Britain Group, said Mrs May’s decision would have wider consequences for trade relations between the two countries. “In China, face is very important,” he said. Mr Liu warned this summer that “right now, the China-UK relationship is at a crucial historical juncture . . . I hope the UK will keep its door open to China.” Any cancellation of the Hinkley deal would be likely to jeopardise other planned Chinese investments in the UK, according to Chinese officials. Noting that, during the past five years, Chinese companies had invested more in the UK than in Germany, France and Italy combined, Mr Liu said trust and respect needed to be “treasured even more” as the UK made its decision about Hinkley. But Richard Graham, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on China, said: “Ambassador Liu would be best focused on working quietly behind the scenes to understand the priorities of our new government and how China can best engage with them rather than trying to negotiate through the media.” Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016. You may share using our article tools. Please don’t cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web. Source link

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Redeveloping Brixton Arches: but at what price?

13 August 2016 – by Janie Manzoori-Stamford When consent was given for Network Rail’s plans to redevelop Brixton Arches, protesters came out in force. Nothing livens up a planning meeting like a glitter bomb. A shower of blood-red sparkles raining down amid catcalls of angry protest is a far more spirited conclusion to nearly three hours of discussion than a call for any other business. Especially when it is followed by the arrival of several uniformed police officers, drafted in to keep the peace. So very bohemian, so very Brixton. This is exactly what happened last week when Lambeth Council’s planning committee meeting, held in public at the Karibu Centre on Gresham Road, SW9, voted six to one in favour of proposals to redevelop the railway arches beneath Brixton rail station. The site is currently home to an eclectic mix of independent traders, including a fishmonger, carpet seller and hair salon. Landlord Network Rail says it aims to “enhance the character and improve the fabric and structural integrity” of the arches. Over the course of a 12-month, £8m revamp beginning at the end of this month, it says the plans will rejuvenate an important part of Brixton’s cultural heritage. New shop frontages, 26 re-clad units and 13 new kiosks are among the plans to improve the “commercial attractiveness” of the arches which the public sector body says will bring them in line with other Brixton retailers, increase footfall and help boost the local economy. But not everyone is on board. Apart from the glitter bombing protesters, a petition objecting to Network Rail’s proposal has attracted nearly 30,000 signatures. This is just one chapter in the ongoing debate around gentrification in London – for which Brixton has become the poster child. So just how could the transformation of such an historic fixture on Brixton’s retail landscape contribute to the on-going debate around pros and cons of “premiumisation” in London? All the content from this weekís magazine, including this article, is available in the new app. On paper, the arches scheme looks to have real potential to boost regeneration efforts in an area that has in the past been known for crime and poverty. Back in 2001 the centre of Brixton was described by a police chief as a “24-hour crack supermarket”. These days the visitors it attracts from across London are more likely to be there for a gourmet burger or a craft beer in the thriving food and drink hub of Brixton Village, housed in three bustling arcades that were previously home to covered markets. And as Brixton’s desirability has shot up, so too have house prices. Residential property values have increased by 128% in the last 10 years, with the average price of a semi-detached house in Brixton now topping £1m. The cost of renting also shows how far Brixton has come. On average, a one-bedroom property in Brixton rents for £1,744 pcm (up by 23% year-on-year), just £43 less than nearby and traditionally more affluent, Clapham, according to Zoopla. It is certainly a positive story from a landlord perspective, but at what cost? Network Rail says that to achieve its refurbishment ambitions, it needs to terminate the leases of the current occupiers. Around 30 independent traders and tenants, many of which have occupied and worked out of the space for upwards of 25 years, are to be evicted on 19 August. And they are not happy about it. “When Brixton was bad, we were good,” says Riccardo Festa, who owns menswear store The Baron, which his grandfather opened on the Atlantic Road side of Brixton Arches in 1974. “But now that Brixton is good, we are bad.” Festa, who has around 11 years left to run on his 20-year lease, is convinced that his landlord wants the current occupiers out because more money can be made from new tenants. And this is despite an offer by Network Rail to return to a refurbished arch – not necessarily the same one that was vacated – after works complete, with discounted stepped rents over seven years. This means that the 2015 market rate, which Network Rail has determined as being more than double what tenants currently pay, will not be imposed on returning occupiers until 2024. It is a strong offer and one that the company says it does not do anywhere else. But is it affordable? Click here to read more Source link

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L&G to Move Into Flat Pack Houses Market

Financial services multinational Legal & General (L&G) announced last month that it plans to move into the flat pack houses market. The company, known for its insurance and investment services, plans to build thousands of prefabricated homes every year in the UK. The company is one of several large brands to make a move into the flat pack home market in response to the growing shortage of houses across the UK. In 2012, Ikea announced the Aktiv — its $86,000 flat pack house built in partnership with Oregon architectural firm Ideabox. L&G’s homes will be built through a company called L&G Homes at a factory in North Yorkshire, according to the Financial Times. The insurance giant also owns a 46.5% share of home builder CALA Homes, which purchased competitor Banner Homes in 2014 in an estimated £200m deal. The homes will be constructed in North Yorkshire and transported to sites across the country as part of the company’s operations. The flat pack construction and transportation process leads to significant savings compared to traditional construction, reducing costs for home buyers. Flat pack houses are viewed by many in the construction and housing industries as a practical way to increase the number of new homes built throughout the UK, after Minister of State for Housing Brandon Lewis announced an ambitious target of one million new homes by 2020. They’ve also attracted the attention of open source enthusiasts and technology evangelists. An open source building system called WikiHouse, launched in 2011 in South Korea, offers digital plans for flat pack houses to be shared online using the Creative Commons license. Real estate industry analysts believe that L&G’s entry into the flat pack homes market could be a trigger for other companies to make similar decisions, particularly as home builders ramp up their efforts to build throughout the UK.

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Stamp Duty Effects Hit Home, But with the Right Stakeholders?

Jackson-Stops & Staff, one of the UK’s leading estate agents, has released new information that suggestions as to the reform of stamp duty on second homes, may actually fail to achieve the goal of putting off buy-to-let investors. The information, in effect shows that inflation in housing prices may actually offset the reform changes, and that the 3% surcharge placed on second homes may not yet be enough to actually deter potential investors from seeing buy-to-let investments as optimistic. And while it has been declared that there has been a surge in registrations made for buy-to-let properties up to April, it has also been highlighted that the majority of these investors will see greater returns from the inflation of property prices in the modern recovering housing market (potentially in under a year), thus positioning the 3% surcharge as nothing more than an inconvenience. In fact, Jackson-Stops & Staff has warned that those most affected by the surcharge will actually be tenants who will suffer from increased rental prices as reported previously. This, in effect, will likely deteriorate the market conditions for those looking to break onto the rental market as already previously highlighted, with landlords still seeing optimistic market conditions for at least some time. As explained by Jackson-Stops & Staff’s Chairman, Nick Leeming, the government’s attempts to even the playing field for property investors and first-time buyers, the situations does nothing to remove the spotlight which landlords should be seeing on investments into property as one of the most solid investments to this day. He added: “The idea that stamp duty tax will act as a deterrent is a fiction, as for most landlords it won’t amount to a significant figure.” Of course, with the impacts, once again, hitting the tenants of properties as opposed to the pockets of landlords, the growing debate on the depreciated affordability of rental housing stock is of even greater note. The question, however, is as to whether the government can find an alternative way to dissolve interest in buy-to-let investment in a way which won’t come down on the tenant.

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Lloyds’ £1bn Green Incentive for Developers

It has been announced that Lloyds Bank has pledged to a lend sum of £1bn to assist in the incentivisation for developers to incorporate further green credentials across their projects. The loans, which are to be issued directly to property owners, are to be become anywhere up to 20bps cheaper after key environmental improvements have been made to the buildings. The minimum size for tickets has been stated to sit at £10m, which will primarily be seen to support refurbishment projects, where there are shorter lead times present and the benefits can be seen as developers fulfil pre-defined green criteria for credentials. As for the remaining loans, these are to be offered on a similar basis to those traditionally offered by Lloyds, with terms of three to five years being considered. Of course, a key benefit for developers sits within the simple fact that the loans provided by Lloyds will feed directly into projects which can, firstly increase the value of properties, yet also allow for improved operational standards from an environmental perspective. As such, it is hoped that developers will see the combination of these benefits and appreciate the offer of support from Lloyds in allowing them to undertake such projects at greater affordability to themselves. On estimate, it has been predicted by Lloyds that the plan could see reductions of circa 110,000 tonnes of carbon emissions – this figure sitting in line with the approximated energy use of greater than 22,000 homes. And of course, with the development of further homes and infrastructure being a keen focus for developers and the government alike, plans such as these to minimise the increased carbon footprint of doing so are integral to our future. Lloyds’ Global Head of Commercial Real Estate, John Feeney highlighted the goals of Lloyds with regard to increased incentivisation for organisations to shape up their assets into an efficient state. He added: “More often than not that is going to be those assets that are reasonable well performing and where investment in reasonably easy wins could get to a much more efficient place.”

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Increased Focus on SME Services Required by Government

In a recent report the government has been urged to consider a more considerable approach on the procurement of services from SMEs. The report, which was produced by the National Audit Office, has highlighted growing concerns as to whether the government will be able to hit increased SME spending targets by 2020. Although, as reported by the National Audit Office, the government actually managed to reach its 2010 target of spending 25% of overall spending with smaller firms by 2015, a year earlier than the targeted end date, the report highlights concerns as to how the government will take its next step. The new target, set at 33% of overall spending,has been cited to take circa £3bn into SME businesses for central government spending alone; an ambitious target. One of the key measures which has been noted as a positive step forward is the Crown Commercial Service’s contract finder, allowing SMEs to more easily, and readily access governmental contracts worth more than £10,000. Yet, the report highlights that in certain areas of service, such as facilities management, it may still yet be too challenging for SMEs to compete for contracts against larger enterprises. With the list of successful applicants to the government contracts on the contract finder thus far highlighting a lack of success for SMEs, it is hoped that the government will assist in opening up further contracts and elements of the main contracts for subcontracting where SMEs will be able to enter the fray on a more competitive stage. As such, the National Audit Office has suggested for the Crown Commercial Service to alter its approach to procurement, by working directly with key departments to best assess where SMEs can bring the greatest amount of benefit; not solely for SME benefit, but also for the government as a whole. Additionally, suggestions have been made as to the need for oversight of key contractor to subcontractor relationships.

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Record Productivity Levels in Scottish Construction

A good result for Scottish construction professionals – it has been reported by the Office for National Statistics that the industry’s productivity levels and output has reached record heights of success. The results, which highlighted the output figures at the close of last year, signifies the growing prosperity of the construction sector in Scotland, with the output figure reaching in at a staggering £14.5bn, a welcomed increase from the £14bn previous-high experienced in the 12 months building up to last September. With clear indications of a prosperous Scottish construction industry, it has also been highlighted that many of the key industry sectors have all contributed to the figure, hinting at quite widespread success, as opposed to success solely in one sector alone. Of those performing best, however, infrastructure is the frontrunner, which boasted a figure clocking in at about £4bn, effectively some 28% of the total output over the year. Additionally, the private commercial sector also performed incredibly well, adding another £2.4 to the pot, with a further £2.3bn seen in the much-welcomed housing sector, where investment is surely deemed a priority. Yet, despite the positive figures and inherent outlook of the sector, construction professionals have highlighted the impact that employment and recruitment figures may have on the continued success of the sector. With the present employment levels sitting well below to the figures reported pre-recession, concerns have been raised as to how, and why the construction industry has been able to perform at such levels with employment levels being maintained at such a low level. Keen to develop the integral link between productivity and levels of employment, the Scottish Building Federation’s Managing Director, Vaughan Hart commented that: “Against that backdrop, there is still work to be done to secure sustainable long-term growth in the Scottish construction industry – no least by re-establishing the important link between output and employment within the sector.”

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Joint Venture, Belgravia Living Group, Announced between GMI and Town Centre Securities

It has been announced that GMI Construction and Town Centre Securities have recently agreed on a JV for a residential development organisation to begin with the construction of a block of flats in the Manchester area, under the name of Belgravia Living Group. Designed by architect, Simpson Haugh, the new development serves as the first project to be pursued by the newly-formed JV, which will see the development of circa 91 apartments across some 90,000 square feet of residential space. The project is to be pursued around the Piccadilly Basin in Manchester and will provide much-needed addition to the residential availability in the ever-busying Manchester area. Headed up by Robert Rushworth, formerly of Shepherd Construction, the Belgravia Living Group has far greater ambitions than this sole project however, and actually hopes to deliver approximately 900 apartments in the area over the course of the following years. To support this, the Greater Manchester Housing Fund has issued a £9.7m loan for phase one of the present development, which will serve to showcase the group’s capacity to deliver quality residential stock. Additionally, planning consent has also already been provided for phase one, with the early stages of the development work to begin this April, with the development going into full swing by June. It is then hoped that the programme will face completion in approximately a year and a half’s time. The location for the development, Piccadilly Basin, has already been developed by Town Centre Securities as was outlined in the masterplan of 1998, with the Urban Retail Village, some 150 apartments, the renovation and extension of commercial space and accompanying car parking facilities. As such, the upcoming JV plans appear to follow on from the existing plans with the potential goal to develop the area into one with both opportunities for living and working in Manchester. It is also expected that HS2 will contribute significantly to the area, with the combed development having a major impact on Piccadilly Basin. Jarrod Best, Managing Director of GMI also commented: “We are delighted to have joined forces with TCS to deliver what will be a high quality residential scheme to suit discerning owners and occupiers within the key Manchester M1 postcode.”

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