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January 16, 2017

Wilson Vale strengthens conference portfolio

4 April 2016 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal Wilson Vale has gained a catering contract with Moor Hall Conference Centre in Cookham, Berkshire.   Under an initial 18-month contract, the independent caterer is due to open the new service on 11th April when a team of eight catering staff

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Skanska UK margins trimmed again

Skanska UK grew its construction revenues by 24% in the first half of 2016 but its profit margin fell for a fourth successive year. Above: Skanska completed the Monument Building in the City of London in May, two weeks early Skanska UK construction revenues reached £836m in the first half

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Majority of Australians think it is a good time to buy a home

Almost two thirds of Australian’s think now is a good time to be buying a home while roughly the same proportion believe the housing market is vulnerable to a significant correction. The latest quarterly housing market sentiment survey by CoreLogic and TEG Rewards housing market sentiment survey highlights the paradox

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Big Changes at Customer First Centre

A North Tyneside Customer First Centre will undergo work from next week to make it more disability-friendly. Starting Monday 16 January, North Tyneside Council’s partner Kier North Tyneside will begin work on a brand new Changing Places facility at Wallsend Customer First Centre. The work involves extending the current disabled

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Dangers of Sub Metering

The dangers of sub metering are first of all that it is hardly considered such an important stage in re-building and developing projects. However, research directed by Joanne Merry shows that this is not an aspect of metering that should be ignored or taken lightly by landlords and their tenants

Read More »

Health and safety at work: and How to improve practices

With so much to do on a daily basis, it can be easy to shrug off health and safety procedures or forget to implement strategies that could keep your workforce safe. Unfortunately, slacking in these areas could have disastrous results. So, here’s how to improve your workplace practices.   Invest

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Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024

January 16, 2017

RIBA sets out challenges and opportunities facing UK architects after Brexit vote

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published a new policy briefing highlighting five challenges and five opportunities for architects and architecture in the UK following the referendum to leave the European Union. In the policy document, RIBA, the membership organisation that provides the standards, training, support and recognition for 40,000 architects in the UK and overseas, offers policy solutions for the UK government that will support architecture’s contribution to economic growth and the quality of the built environment. FIVE Challenges 1. Upholding the strength of the UK’s world-class architectural sector – Government must prioritise the promotion of open markets at home and abroad, and ensure that it is easier to access finance for business – but in particular SMEs. 2. Maintaining a skilled and innovative profession – Government must ensure that freedom of movement for architects and the wider construction and creative sectors is maintained. 3. Retaining the free movement of skills/services and mutual recognition of professional qualifications – The UK should seek mutual recognition arrangements for architects in other large markets. The transferability of UK services within the EU, and the recognition of EU architectural qualifications within the UK must be maintained. 4. Sustaining affordable EU product supply and ability to specify product standards – The UK must continue to be party to the European Committee for Standardisation’s (CEN) and European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (CENELEC) discussions on the specific needs of the EU in relation to a given standard, and on mandates and decisions about harmonised standards. To promote business within the UK and the export market, common product standards must prevail. 5. Retaining access to research funding – Now more than ever, ensuring affordable access to high quality professional education will be crucial to the UK economy’s success in light of a widening of the skills gaps in the construction and design industry. FIVE Opportunities 1. Forging new commercial and research partnerships through new trade agreements – The UK Government should seek to forge new trade agreements which include trade in services agreements, especially with the UK’s top non-EU trading partners, and in areas where UK tradesmen can add most value e.g. Asian countries experiencing rapid urban growth and high levels of infrastructure investment. 2. Strengthening the UK economy – The Government should set a target for infrastructure spending that ensures the UK’s road, rail, air and telecoms networks are world class. 3. Gaining a competitive advantage in EU and overseas markets – The government should negotiate transferability of educational qualifications with key partner countries. 4. Improving SME access to public sector projects by reforming UK procurement policy – Government should do more to ensure that procurement policies are designed with a focus on quality and overall value. 5. Using VAT flexibility to boost construction and bring down costs of meeting standards – The government should explore changes to the UK’s VAT regime to promote sustainability in the renovation and refurbishment of buildings.  RIBA President Jane Duncan said: “UK architecture is a flexible and innovative profession. With the right actions taken to address the challenges and exploit the opportunities we’ve outlined today, I’m confident UK architects can deliver strong economic growth, and the buildings and spaces that meet the needs of our communities.” The RIBA Policy Briefing on Brexit is available to read in full here: https://www.architecture.com/Brexit ENDS Notes to editors: 1. For further press information contact Howard Crosskey in the RIBA Press Office howard.crosskey@riba.org +44 (0)20 7307 3761  2. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment. www.architecture.com   Posted on Wednesday 27th July 2016 Source link

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Wilson Vale strengthens conference portfolio

4 April 2016 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal Wilson Vale has gained a catering contract with Moor Hall Conference Centre in Cookham, Berkshire.   Under an initial 18-month contract, the independent caterer is due to open the new service on 11th April when a team of eight catering staff will provide a breakfast, lunch, evening, and hospitality service for up to 200 people at the venue.   The 80-bedroom residential venue is also home to the Chartered Institute of Marketing.   Moor Hall plays host to hundreds of events and conferences at its nine-acre site near Maidenhead. Source link

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Skanska UK margins trimmed again

Skanska UK grew its construction revenues by 24% in the first half of 2016 but its profit margin fell for a fourth successive year. Above: Skanska completed the Monument Building in the City of London in May, two weeks early Skanska UK construction revenues reached £836m in the first half of 2016 (2015 H1: £675m). Operating profit for the six months to 30th June 2016 was up 2.5% to £16.5m (2015 H1: £16.1m), which equates to an operating margin of 2.0%. In the first half of 2012, Skanska UK’s construction business made an operating margin of 3.6%. There has been a steady deterioration every year since then. However, Mike Putnam, president and CEO of Skanska UK, said the operating margin remained ‘sound and stable’. “Despite a tough contracting environment and with an uncertain future caused by the EU referendum, we have a strong order book and pipeline of work,” he said. “We have also maintained a sound and stable operating margin throughout the first half of 2016. The financial crisis and recession showed that Skanska has a well-honed capability to manage through external change. We will continue to take a measured and calm leadership approach to our business as the picture following Britain’s decision to leave the EU becomes clearer.” Mr Putnam added: “While the EU referendum result has created some uncertainty in our sector, we have seen little impact on our UK business to date. We have a wide portfolio of operations across public, regulated and private sectors that will provide diversity and resilience. We will continue to monitor the situation carefully and work very closely with all our customers, delivering against our commitments.” Business won during the past six months includes a: a £45m contract to build the Copyright Building in the West End of London; a Network Rail contract for the Northern Hub project in Manchester, worth more than £74m to Skanska; and the design and construction of a 5km tunnel underneath the river Humber for National Grid, worth £40m to Skanska. In addition, Barts Health NHS Trust has extended Skanska’s facilities management contract to provide a waste management service until 2021 and there have been highway maintenance wins in North Somerset, Hampshire and West Sussex.     This article was published on 25 Jul 2016 (last updated on 25 Jul 2016). Source link

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Majority of Australians think it is a good time to buy a home

Almost two thirds of Australian’s think now is a good time to be buying a home while roughly the same proportion believe the housing market is vulnerable to a significant correction. The latest quarterly housing market sentiment survey by CoreLogic and TEG Rewards housing market sentiment survey highlights the paradox in housing market attitudes. The data shows that 64% of respondents thought it was a good time to buy a property, up from 60% of respondents a year ago. However, 65% also indicated they thought property values could suffer a significant correction. Sydney based respondents, where affordability constraints are the most pressing of any capital city, were the most pessimistic about whether now is a good time to buy a property, however slightly more than half the respondents still felt it was a good time to buy. Conversely, the regions where dwelling values have peaked and shown a downturn are where respondents are most confident about buying conditions. Some 80% or more of respondents in the Northern Territory, Regional Western Australia and Perth indicated they thought it was a good time to buy. ‘With such as a large proportion of survey respondents thinking that now is a good time to buy a dwelling, it was surprising that almost two thirds also indicated they thought dwelling values could suffer a significant correction,’ said Tim Lawless CoreLogic head or research. ‘While the results suggest that survey respondents are concerned there could be a substantial fall in Australian home values, the proportion is lower from a year ago when 75% of respondents thought the market was vulnerable to a significant correction in values,’ he added. When asked whether dwelling values would rise, fall or remain steady over the next 12 months, the majority of respondents expected values to remain steady, with Tasmanians the most optimistic about the direction of value growth over the next year. Nationally, 38% of respondents are expecting dwelling values to rise over the next twelve months. In contrast, a year ago 45% of respondents thought values would rise, indicating that respondents have become less optimistic with regards to their views on capital gains over the next financial year. For rental market conditions, only 11% of survey respondents are expecting weekly rents to fall over the next 12 months, despite the CoreLogic rental series showing the weakest rental conditions in at least two decades. Nationally, almost equal numbers of survey respondents indicated that weekly rents would either rise or remain stable over the coming year, however there were some considerable variations across the regions. Less than one fifth of respondents in Perth and Regional Western Australia think weekly rents will rise. ‘The low expectation of rental rises in these areas is in line with current rental statistics which show ongoing falls in weekly rents across most parts of Western Australia,’ Lawless pointed out. Source link

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University of Reading’s Research Facility’s Construction Plans Unveiled

The construction plans for a new £50 million research facility at the University of Reading have officially been revealed, as part of the university’s £400 million capital investment programme called ‘2026 Transform’, so what can we expect from the new facility? It will be a Health and Sciences Building that will be built on the same site as the university’s current Engineering Building which is set to be demolished at some point this year, and it is set to contain 7,557 m2 of floor space which will span across four floors, as well as office space for academics and postgraduates and administration. The new facility is also set to include wet and dry research laboratories, teaching facilities and a brand new café, as well as being the home of the upcoming Cole Museum of Zoology, so there are plenty of positive developments that will come from this. “The Health & Life Sciences building will provide a world-class suite of teaching and research facilities, enabling us to continue our tradition of outstanding teaching in biological sciences and pioneering research that addresses the global challenges in biomedical science” commented Professor Steve Mithen, who is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Reading. According to Professor Mithen, this announcement is just a small part of what the university is going to achieve, with several other multimillion pound investments to come as part of its current building programme, which is aiming sustain and enhance Reading’s status as a world leading teaching and research intensive university. The new building is still subject to planning permission but it is expected that everything will run smoothly from here, and the completion of the facility is estimated as 2019, when older buildings at the university such as the AMS Tower and the Knight and Harborne Buildings will also be demolished.  

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Knowsley Council’s £270m Halsnead Garden Village goes to Consultation

Knowsley Council has started a public consultation on one of the largest housing developments in the North-west. The local authority has opened for views on a masterplan for Halsnead, a development worth an estimated £270m which will provide more than 1,600 homes over a 15-year period. The development was one of 14 granted garden village status by the government earlier this month, giving it access to a £6m government fund over the next two financial years. Halsnead is situated at the junction of the M62 and M57 in Merseyside, and the new development will include a new country park, schools, local amenities as well as the new homes. The consultation, produced by the council with support from Turley and Mott MacDonald, targets a 2018 start date for the site’s first residential developments, with an average of about 93 homes delivered per year through to 2035. The client expects to begin with two housebuilders on the £270m scheme initially, with a potential increase to four over the course of the project’s delivery. Graham Morgan, Knowsley’s cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, said the scheme was “the biggest change that Knowsley will see in the next 15 years”. “Historically the site formed part of the Halsnead Park Estate and has been out of bounds to the local community. The masterplan will change this by opening up the area and enhancing it for the benefit of local people and new residents,” he said. “We want people to get involved in the consultation on the draft masterplan and have their say. This is their chance to guide the development of this exciting and unique opportunity.” Read more at https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/markets/sectors/housing/plans-set-out-for-270m-merseyside-garden-village/10016407.article

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Big Changes at Customer First Centre

A North Tyneside Customer First Centre will undergo work from next week to make it more disability-friendly. Starting Monday 16 January, North Tyneside Council’s partner Kier North Tyneside will begin work on a brand new Changing Places facility at Wallsend Customer First Centre. The work involves extending the current disabled access toilet into the children’s area and reconfiguring the interior to house a hoist and shower facilities. The new facility will comfortably provide space for one person and up to two carers, as well as a safe and clean environment with a non-slip floor. Current baby changing facilities will be moved to the public toilets on the first day and for the duration of the project, the staff disabled toilet will be made available to the public. Delighted with the work, North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “It’s fantastic that we are able to start work on this brand new Changing Places facility at Wallsend Customer First Centre. “We know that the Changing Places scheme does so much for people with disabilities and I’m extremely happy that we are supporting it here in North Tyneside. “It is important that we make sure the borough’s facilities are as accessible as possible for anyone who may want to use them and this development will go a long way to helping us do that.” Kier regional director, Mike Furze, said: “We are proud to be delivering this specialist project, which will be of significant benefit to service users for years to come. “By working in partnership with our colleagues at North Tyneside Council we are making a real difference to improving the quality of specialist community facilities for residents across the borough.” Due for completion at the end of February, services at the centre will not be affected but there may be some noise disruption while the work is carried out. Read more at http://neconnected.co.uk/big-changes-customer-first-centre/

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Dangers of Sub Metering

The dangers of sub metering are first of all that it is hardly considered such an important stage in re-building and developing projects. However, research directed by Joanne Merry shows that this is not an aspect of metering that should be ignored or taken lightly by landlords and their tenants or private residents. Merry reports an overwhelming number of cases in the West End of London in which more than 80% of the meters installed were discovered to have significant problems with them. This resulted in reparation costs that amounted to over an already staggering amount of 200 thousand pounds. It is therefore of paramount importance that a number of procedures are followed through to ensuring that this sort of thing does not happen. Metering should for a start be viewed as a serious system of its own right to be dealt with considerable caution. The Heat Network Regulations of 2015 were installed in place to ensure that certain standards for even the cheapest meters were met. However, a certain clause of these regulations (Part L) is often considered to be met even without the full and detailed implementation of various tests and measures that would ensure that the installed meters would not break down or give misleading readings. Meters also vary for different environments (one in a workplace would need different requirements compared to, say, one in a small household) and the appropriate meter must be installed properly with all the appropriate installation procedures and testing, including reviewing documents and instruction manuals. These tests and procedures, whilst perhaps lengthy and seemingly unnecessary to the untrained eye, will ensure that such problems as breakages or false misleading meter readings are reduced by a very significant proportion. They will also increase good landlord-tenant relations in rented properties in the long term by enabling the accurate meter readings to be read and the correct and appropriate amounts to be charged.

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Health and safety at work: and How to improve practices

With so much to do on a daily basis, it can be easy to shrug off health and safety procedures or forget to implement strategies that could keep your workforce safe. Unfortunately, slacking in these areas could have disastrous results. So, here’s how to improve your workplace practices.   Invest in the right equipment for heavy lifting  Many jobs require some form of heavy lifting, but it’s important to ensure that tasks are carried out correctly by investing in adequate equipment such as hoists, excavators and loaders. This equipment may need to be fitted with heavy duty castors so that the machine can safely handle heavy weights or perform particular functions, so make sure the equipment your business is using is up to scratch. Employees should not be expected to lift heavy items without the proper equipment (or training on how to use the equipment safely), so take the relevant steps to ensure their safety.   Provide personal protective equipment  Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be supplied to all workers who need it. While hard hats and steel toe boots are required on building sites, those working with dangerous chemicals may also need facemasks, gloves and overalls, as well as other pieces of protective clothing – it all depends on the type of industry you’re in and the requirements of specific jobs       3. Put up health and safety signs In order to comply with The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996, you must use safety signs if a significant risk to employees and others remains despite putting in place all other relative measures. From ‘hot water’ signs to ‘mind the step’ and ‘low roof’ signs there’s a multitude of warning plaques you might need to position.   Think about fire safety All businesses should have someone responsible for fire safety, be it the owner of the premises, the facilities manager or someone else. This person should follow government advice by: carrying out a fire risk assessment and reviewing it regularly alerting the necessary staff members about any risks identified putting in place and maintaining appropriate fire safety measures planning for an emergency providing staff information, fire safety instruction and training It’s important to take all fire safety rules and regulations seriously – lives are at risk, and you could be fined or go to prison if you don’t put measures in place.   Carry out full risk assessments As well as fire safety risk assessments you should also carry out a full assessment of your entire business, identifying anything that could pose a threat to employees or visitors. The Health and Safety Executive provides extensive risk management advice for you to follow (much of which will be useful for the points raised above). Start by addressing the things you current have concerns about. If you discover wobbly steps, for instance, having a driveway repaved could make the entrance to your premises a lot safer. Similarly, if you have a habit of leaving computers on overnight, identify doing so as a fire hazard; send round a company email reminding staff to shut down all electrical equipment properly before leaving at night. Health and safety at work is of paramount importance, so put it to the front of your mind and protect employees in every way you can.

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