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January 25, 2018

UK new home registrations up 6% in 2017, reports NHBC

More than 160,000 new homes were registered to be built in the UK last year, an increase of 6% on 2016, according to NHBC latest new home statistics. 160,606 homes were registered throughout the course of 2017, up from the 152,017 the previous year and the highest since the pre-recession

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New Online Library for Construction Professionals

A partnership led by Architecture and Design Scotland and supported by Forestry Commission Scotland, Zero Waste Scotland, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, and BRE, features a new online resource platform for construction professionals, architects, builders, and homeowners. The Materials Library online resource will allow users across the country to access information

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Vivalda Group Invests in Cutting Technology

UK’s largest distributor of high performance facades, Vivalda Group plc, has brought the digitally-controlled cutting technology to all eight of its locations across the UK and Ireland. The £250,000 investment in this project consists of the acquisition of an additional seven beam saws, supplied by Schelling and Mayer, and incorporated

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Why Sprinklers Should Be Mandatory in a Car Park

After a fire eruption at the King’s Dock multi-storey car park in Liverpool, Joe Anderson, the Mayor of the city, questioned whether the existing building regulations are fit for purpose. The fired reached temperatures of 1000oC; it destroyed more than a thousand vehicles inside the car park and damaged the

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Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024

January 25, 2018

UK new home registrations up 6% in 2017, reports NHBC

More than 160,000 new homes were registered to be built in the UK last year, an increase of 6% on 2016, according to NHBC latest new home statistics. 160,606 homes were registered throughout the course of 2017, up from the 152,017 the previous year and the highest since the pre-recession levels of a decade ago. The private sector grew by 3% with 118,825 new homes registered, with the affordable sector increasing by 14% to 41,781 – the highest yearly total for the sector since NHBC electronic records began 30 years ago. New home completions also increased by 4% from 141,685 in 2016 to 147,278 last year. Nine out of 12 UK regions experienced an increase in registrations, with the East Midlands (+19% ;14,481), Wales (+19%; 5,470) and North West (+12%; 16,947) among the areas which saw noticeable growth. Figures for London showed the rate of new homes being registered was slightly up on  2016, with 17,850 units compared to 17,587 the previous year, the first increase year-on-year in the capital since 2014. As the leading warranty and insurance provider for new homes in the UK, NHBC’s registration statistics are a lead indicator of the UK’s new homes market. Commenting on the new home registrations statistics for 2017, NHBC Chief Executive Steve Wood said: “Our figures show the market has delivered strong growth resulting in the highest new home figures for a decade and growth across the majority of the UK, including London for the first time since 2014. “Looking ahead, NHBC will continue to work with the industry to help raise the standards of new homes.  With 6% growth in the quantity of new home registrations, the focus on delivering quality for consumers remains critical.”

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New Online Library for Construction Professionals

A partnership led by Architecture and Design Scotland and supported by Forestry Commission Scotland, Zero Waste Scotland, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, and BRE, features a new online resource platform for construction professionals, architects, builders, and homeowners. The Materials Library online resource will allow users across the country to access information about construction innovation, sustainable design and architecture, resource efficiency, and low carbon building, as well as compare and discover a wide range of building materials. The digital resource is an addition to the physical library at The Lighthouse in Glasgow. “The digital materials library is a powerful tool for finding out about sustainable materials and technologies wherever you are. Building on the success of our library at the Lighthouse, I am delighted that more people will be able to learn about building sustainably and benefit from the knowledge, experience and resources of key partners involved in sustainable design and architecture,” said Jim MacDonald, Chief Executive at Architecture and Design Scotland. The new digital platform will allow its users to browse, search, and compare materials by type, origin, and typical use, view case studies of the materials used in various Scottish projects, as well as find events and training opportunities or download publications and guidance on construction innovation, low carbon building, and sustainable design. “Innovation in construction products and materials is part of Scotland’s heritage and critical to our future. The creation of the digital materials library means that emerging products and materials can now be showcased locally, and to the world. This excellent resource complements our recently opened Innovation Factory where Scottish businesses can prototype and test their products before going to market,” said Rohan Bush, Business Relationship Manager at Construction Scotland Innovation Centre. All companies involved in this project are happy they have been able to help with the development of Materials Library and provide opportunities for a larger audience.

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Vivalda Group Invests in Cutting Technology

UK’s largest distributor of high performance facades, Vivalda Group plc, has brought the digitally-controlled cutting technology to all eight of its locations across the UK and Ireland. The £250,000 investment in this project consists of the acquisition of an additional seven beam saws, supplied by Schelling and Mayer, and incorporated with Magi-Cut computer controls that ensure total accuracy. Vivalda added more value to its offer by providing minimal wastage through better template design and off-site fabrication. An additional investment was made in plant and technology, including a new dust extraction equipment, forklift trucks, and scissor lifts. These acquisitions reinforce the company’s leadership position in the high performance cladding sector. “This major investment demonstrates Vivalda Group’s core strategy to set new quality standards for the off-site fabrication sector. Contractors and specifiers are demanding total accuracy and zero defects on site. This technology ensures we continue to operate at the highest levels of performance in the industry,” said Ben Jayes, Managing Director of Vivalda Group plc. The manufacturing industry is changing as well and the company has to make sure that the appropriate cutting technology and logistics are used. “Our customers know they can rely on the Vivalda Group to supply their orders on time, accurately cut and knowing each panel will be individually labelled so it can be lifted off the pallet and placed directly on to the wall,” added Ben. Vivalda is the number one supplier of rainscreen cladding and facade panels in the UK, offering an independent service to contractors in support of specifiers and architects. Marley Eternit, Cembrit, Rockpanel, Trespa, and Fibre C. are all products supplied by Vivalda. Established in London in 1999, the supplier employs more than 100 people and has an annual turnover of approximately £30 million. The group operates from eight locations across the UK and Ireland, including the new headquarters in Birmingham. In 2017 it was named one of the ‘1000 Companies to Inspire’ by the London Stock Exchange.

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Why Sprinklers Should Be Mandatory in a Car Park

After a fire eruption at the King’s Dock multi-storey car park in Liverpool, Joe Anderson, the Mayor of the city, questioned whether the existing building regulations are fit for purpose. The fired reached temperatures of 1000oC; it destroyed more than a thousand vehicles inside the car park and damaged the building itself, causing a financial impact of over £50 million. The absence of sprinklers in the building only made the situation worse, with people claiming that if they had installed them, the vehicles and the construction could have been saved. According to the UK Fire Statistics, between 1994 and 2005 there were 162 car park fires, in which a fixed fire suppression system was present. In 100 of these cases, automatic sprinklers extinguished or contained the fire and in only 1% of these situations they failed because the fires were to small to activate the sprinklers. Although the car park met current Building Regulations, the lack of focus on property protection led to £20 million being paid out to insurance customers and £15 million going to the construction cost of the building. However, if the impact it will have on the city is taken into account, the total cost of the fire will be a lot larger. The 1,600 spaces that charged £15 per day used to bring a potential revenue of £24,000, which is now lost. If it takes 18 months to reopen, then that means potential lost earnings of approximately £13 million. The installation of a sprinkler system in the car park would have costed between £600k and £950k, which is significantly lower than the cost of the fire. Despite the evidence of the effectiveness of sprinklers in car parks, the regulatory guidance for building safety does not make them mandatory. These regulations only look into life safety and do not take into account the impact a fire has on the wider economy.

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