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February 1, 2019

Brexit Has the U.K.’s ‘Super Prime’ Mansions Selling Like Hot Cakes

Ultra-wealthy tycoons have triggered a boom in sales of U.K. mansions, taking advantage of softening property prices in the wake of uncertainty over Brexit. Figures gathered by property lender Octane Capital show a surge in so-called “super-prime” purchases, defined by some experts as properties costing in excess of £10 million

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1960s Manchester Tower Block Awaits Transformation

A 1960s tower block in Manchester is to be transformed by Willmott Dixon as part of a £22.5 million residential scheme. The contractor has been appointed by Salix Homes to deliver over 100 affordable homes at the Salford Canon Green Campus development on Canon Green Drive in Trinity. New kitchens,

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Huge Success on NWCH Framework for GRAHAM

GRAHAM is celebrating the huge success of being named on all three lots of the North West Construction Hub’s (NWCH) new High Value Framework. Aiming to improve efficiencies, the framework will see contractors deliver construction projects in markets including education, health, retail and leisure. “We have strategically developed the GRAHAM business

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Morgan Sindall Delivers School Project

The contract to complete a £5 million school project in Derby has been handed over to Morgan Sindall, who will deliver a new primary school and nursery on Radbourne Lane. Hackwood Primary will house six classrooms and a 26-place nursery, adding more than 200 new school places to the area.

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Boosting Productivity in the Construction Industry

The quest to increase productivity is known by managers across all industries. However, the construction industry in particular has a well-documented history of mismanagement and inefficiency. In this article, the team at Hitchcock & King will take a look at ways inwhich this can be remedied, so you can get

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Property Maintenance – How To Prevent The Onset Of Decay In Timber

Contractors – Don’t let timber decay cause your project to stall – know what to advise your clients about timber treatment options. A recent survey by Cornerstone Projects has revealed that 85% of UK contractors experience delays when working on a project. The old saying ‘time equals money’ couldn’t be

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Latest Issue

BDC 317 : Jun 2024

February 1, 2019

Brexit Has the U.K.’s ‘Super Prime’ Mansions Selling Like Hot Cakes

Ultra-wealthy tycoons have triggered a boom in sales of U.K. mansions, taking advantage of softening property prices in the wake of uncertainty over Brexit. Figures gathered by property lender Octane Capital show a surge in so-called “super-prime” purchases, defined by some experts as properties costing in excess of £10 million ($12.6 million), as the seriously rich, many from overseas, snap up bargains and take advantage of the weak pound. Octane Capital had requested previously unpublished data from HM Revenue & Customs, the U.K. tax authority, under the Freedom of Information Act. The data shows the number of homes selling for more than £10 million rose by a half in 2017, as uncertainty over the U.K. leaving the EU made property price tags at the highest end of the market significantly more attractive. The figures reveal sales of the country’s most substantial dwellings spiked to 300 in 2017, up from 200 in 2016. In the first three months of 2018, the latest period for which data is available, 100 homes costing more than £10 million were sold. The lack of clarity over Brexit has touched almost every part of the UK economy. The latest purchasing managers’ index, released on January 3, showed manufacturing growing at its quickest rate in six months. Factories have been boosting stock in anticipation of a no-deal Brexit in March. Activity in the property sector was not only seen in the market for mansions. Octane’s HMRC data shows the number of second-home owners buying properties costing over £2 million ($2.5 million) more than doubled in 2017 to 1,900 from 800 in 2016. Jonathan Samuels, chief executive of Octane Capital, said: “While many home owners sit on their hands during times of political and economic volatility, the ultra-wealthy often use these periods to acquire assets at a significant discount. “Brexit had a particular impact on super-prime properties in the capital, so for many very high-net-worth individuals the fallout from the EU referendum vote was an investment opportunity. For investors based overseas, sterling weakness made the price falls even more attractive.” The Brexit-fuelled boom in super-prime property has seen sales of some of the UK’s most stunning piles, according to Octane. It cites a raft of examples including Lambourne Hall in Ascot, Berkshire, close to the racecourse frequented by the royal family. Lambourne Hall, which is over two floors with a lift and two independent staff suites, sold for £21 million ($26.5 million). It includes an indoor swimming pool, gym, spa/Jacuzzi, sauna, steam and treatment room. The property has five reception rooms on the ground floor as well as a separate bar and library/cigar lounge. The five bedroom suites on the first floor all have dressing rooms and en-suite bathrooms. Meanwhile, a four-story, seven-bed Victorian property in Oxford, once home to social reformer and novelist, Mary Arnold Ward, went for a more modest £10.5 million ($13.3 million). Samuels added: “Some of Britain’s wealthiest cities became a goldmine for foreign investors seeking a bargain.” The data also showed the number of homes costing £1 million ($1.3 million) and above exceeded 20,000 for the first time.

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1960s Manchester Tower Block Awaits Transformation

A 1960s tower block in Manchester is to be transformed by Willmott Dixon as part of a £22.5 million residential scheme. The contractor has been appointed by Salix Homes to deliver over 100 affordable homes at the Salford Canon Green Campus development on Canon Green Drive in Trinity. New kitchens, bathrooms, heating systems, sprinkler systems and exterior re-facing and insulation will be included in the Canon Green Court tower block’s redevelopment plans. A new 11-storey apartment block within the grounds of the site, as well as complete external works on the neighbouring Westminster House apartment block will also be delivered by Willmott Dixon. “The start of work on our Canon Green Campus development marks a pivotal moment for Salix Homes and for Salford, and we look forward to seeing work progress on site over the next two years. This is the largest affordable housing development in the area and we are confident that this ambitious scheme will make a valuable contribution to delivering the high quality, affordable homes that Salford desperately needs. Canon Green Court is an iconic building on the city’s skyline, but it has suffered from lack of investment over the years. We are proud that we can now deliver on our promise to the existing residents to refurbish their homes and create modern apartments fit for the future,” said Lee Sugden, chief executive at Salix Homes. This project adds to Willmott Dixon’s success in Greater Manchester, with recent schemes delivered in Wythenshawe and Old Trafford. “With our track-record for creating new homes in Manchester, we’re proud to be working alongside Salix Homes on what is a much-needed, exciting and transformational investment for the Salford community. Together, we share a commitment to leaving a lasting legacy for existing and future residents who will continue to play a central role in shaping these plans,” added Anthony Dillon, managing director of Willmott Dixon in the North.

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Huge Success on NWCH Framework for GRAHAM

GRAHAM is celebrating the huge success of being named on all three lots of the North West Construction Hub’s (NWCH) new High Value Framework. Aiming to improve efficiencies, the framework will see contractors deliver construction projects in markets including education, health, retail and leisure. “We have strategically developed the GRAHAM business in the North West of England, beginning with the opening of our Manchester office in Salford (2012) and more recently our Liverpool office (2018), and this award underlines our now established reputation in the region. It is a tremendous result and presents us with unique opportunities to deliver lasting impact right across the North West. As a business, we are focused on partnering with clients and procurement bodies who share our vision and values. Collaboration is central to NWCH and that fits perfectly into the GRAHAM approach whereby true collaboration is at the forefront of every relationship. Working in partnership allows us to engage locally, provide greater efficiency and generate better value for money and social value outcomes for our clients and partners. We look forward to undertaking our first projects with NWCH in 2019,” commented the firm’s Strategic Alliances and Frameworks Director, Patrick McDonald. Available to public sector bodies in the North West of England, the framework icovers Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire, Cheshire and Cumbria. The lots range in value from £8 million – £15 million (Lot 1), £15 million – £35 million (Lot 2) and £35 million+ (Lot 3). “It is very exciting to see some new names join our existing partners and there are already some interesting projects lined up with clients who have been eagerly awaiting this announcement,” added NWCH Framework Lead, Joanna Chomeniuk. GRAHAM will deliver ‘Design & Build’ or ‘Construct Only’ projects within each lot over a four-year term.

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Morgan Sindall Delivers School Project

The contract to complete a £5 million school project in Derby has been handed over to Morgan Sindall, who will deliver a new primary school and nursery on Radbourne Lane. Hackwood Primary will house six classrooms and a 26-place nursery, adding more than 200 new school places to the area. The school will also be a Sunesis Mosaic model. The school project is being delivered through the Scape Venture framework, with funding from Redrow Homes East Midlands and Miller Homes as part of their plan to build more than 700 new homes on the neighbouring Hackwood Farm estate. “Innovative framework procurement options offer long-term social value for councils and the communities they serve. We are pleased to be delivering the new, first class education facilities at Hackwood Primary School as part of Scape’s Venture framework,” said Rob Cant, framework director at Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure in the Midlands. The project management and quantity surveying services of the school project are being provided by independent property, construction and infrastructure consultancy, Pick Everard, which is currently being fabricated off-site in Hull. “Hackwood Primary School is a perfect example of how the private and public sector can work together through the Scape Venture framework to deliver a new community facility in the most efficient way. It’s an innovative and exciting collaboration with Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure, Lungfish and Sunesis working together utilising our Mosaic offsite product to ensure the school is delivered quickly with minimal impact on the environment,” added Mike Salter, Group Development Director at Scape Venture. The project is expected to be complete in time for the new academic year in September 2019.

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Boosting Productivity in the Construction Industry

The quest to increase productivity is known by managers across all industries. However, the construction industry in particular has a well-documented history of mismanagement and inefficiency. In this article, the team at Hitchcock & King will take a look at ways inwhich this can be remedied, so you can get your team working at optimal efficiency! Workflow map Creating a map of the entire workflow is an excellent starting point for any project. However, it’s often overlooked simply because it can be rather time consuming. Without it, though, resources might not be allocated properly and time not managed correctly, leading to sluggish performance. Knowing who’s doing what at any given time is a good starting point for many managers wanting a more productive and efficient project. Keep an inventory On a construction site, when the flow of work is obstructed momentum can quickly go. For example, if workers are waiting for supplies to be brought in when they run out, the consequent delays can have a real impact on productivity, and getting things back up to speed can be difficult. To combat this, keeping an inventory of all the materials and equipment on site ensures that things can be replenished before they run out, keeping the momentum up. Regular breaks Breaks are important for any workforce as it give employees time to recharge. Construction is no different. In fact, if anything, breaks in the construction industry are even more important. This is largely because, as well as mentally sharp, manual workers need to be well rested in order to carry out their work efficiently. Competitive pay and benefits While money isn’t the only way to incentivise workers, it’s still one of the best. If you only offer low pay and no benefits, you shouldn’t be surprised if you find that your workforce are unhappy and unmotivated. With the right pay, benefits and bonus schemes in place, you will find that employees will be more than happy to keep their energy up all week long. What’s more, sometimes it’s not even about the money – a workforce want to feel valued, and in the construction industry this is no different.   Training initiatives Not only does training improve a workforce, allowing them to develop new skill sets, it empowers them, too. That is, if you offer your staff more work and work which enables them to grow, develop and keep their mind focused, they will be much more likely to maintain a high level of productivity. On top of this, offering training initiatives demonstrates to your staff that your company is somewhere worth working for long term, making it much easier to keep their interest. Hitchcock & King are the premier supplier of timber and builders’ materials to construction companies throughout London and the surrounding areas. We have a number of branches throughout the capital stocking high quality tools, materials and more, all at competitive rates. We also offer same/next day delivery services for your complete convenience. Be sure to contact our friendly team today to find out more.

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Property Maintenance – How To Prevent The Onset Of Decay In Timber

Contractors – Don’t let timber decay cause your project to stall – know what to advise your clients about timber treatment options. A recent survey by Cornerstone Projects has revealed that 85% of UK contractors experience delays when working on a project. The old saying ‘time equals money’ couldn’t be more accurate when translated into the construction industry. Unfortunately, in many cases, 90% of costs caused by delays are the responsibility of the client to pay, whereas in other cases contractors may rely on their insurance to bridge the gap and get the project back on track. One reason for a project to be delayed, particularly during property maintenance work, can be due to the uncovering hidden problems such as decaying timberwork. This problem may not be immediately obvious at the start of a project but removing flooring or taking down ceilings will expose timber. If there are signs of rot or woodworm, then best practice is to get it treated and remedied before continuing with the project. Therefore, knowing how to spot the signs, are essential in your work as a contractor. Tell-Tale Signs of Woodworm Unfortunately, as a sustainable material, timber is susceptible to damp conditions which will increase the chances of insects such as the House Longhorn or furniture beetles taking hold and destroying the strength and makeup of the timbers. Signs to look out for are small insect holes or lines in the wood. An infestation can be so severe it can make timbers completely crumble. Tell-Tale Signs of Rot Revealing signs of a dry or wet rot problem include localised fungus on the wood, cracked sections of beam work, and timber that feels damp. You might also be able to detect a musty odour in the property. Identifying Timber Decay Early in the Project A site visit to carry out a building works quote for a client, will usually include an assessment of the structural integrity of the building before committing to the job. At this point, it is wise to be on the lookout for signs of timber decay or damp and if seen, the best option is to advise your client to get a specialist company to carry out a damp and timber survey. This will provide professional advice on the source of the damp and the steps needed to resolve and treat any problems. It may also highlight any hidden issues such as dry rot lurking under floorboards, and so reduce the risk of any unpleasant surprises being found during the project. Consider Using Specialist Damp and Timber Contractors In many cases calling in professionals who specialise in timber treatment is the best course of action.  The treatment of dry rot and woodworm problems is very specialist and it is worth using a professional company who will use and apply the right chemical treatment as well as providing 10 or 20-years timber treatment guarantees. Timber replacement may also be a requirement and advanced techniques such as timber resin repair can be used to do this. This involves replacing sections of the wood rather than removing a whole piece or beam. The damaged section of wood is removed, and holes are drilled into both the existing and new pieces of wood – which will be connected by strengthening bars and resin used to reinforce the repair. Whatever your specialism as a contractor, recognising the signs of timber decay and knowing the most advanced treatment methods to stop the damp and treat the timber problem, will allow you to provide the best possible service to your clients. Ignoring timber decay should never be an option. The most valuable advice is to book a survey with a specialist company who can carry out the work and provides guarantees on the treatment options available to you. Get the problem resolved quickly and correctly, allowing you to get on with the project in hand.

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