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November 12, 2020

U+I work with Tunbridge Wells Council to create Thriving Green Business District

U+I have been given support by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to transform 30 acres of unused land in Kent into a thriving new green business community that will address a severe shortfall of office and industrial provision in the area.     Kingstanding, located 3.5 miles from Tunbridge Wells town centre, will comprise flexible, high-quality employment and industrial space to cater for a variety of different businesses. The buildings will be set within a beautiful

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Green commercial properties prove their worth

Nearly half of respondents in a global survey reported stronger occupier and investor demand for commercial properties with green building certificates. This translates into higher rents according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, RICS, sustainability findings within its global commercial property monitor for the third quarter. RICS global property standards director

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Construction with conservation in mind

Considering the environmental impact of a new building Inspired by the Italian novel The Baron in the Trees, Bosco Verticale — or Vertical Forrest in English — are two tower blocks situated in Milan, Italy. What makes these structures significant is the abundance of greenery that encapsulates them. To be

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Simon Jones to spearhead the growth plans at Elland Steel

Experienced business development professional joins growing UK structural steel contractor Elland Steel, a growing structural steel contractor, are excited to welcome Simon Jones into the team to spearhead the planned growth at Elland Steel. Simon will be looking to grow the already expanding customer base, specifically in and around London.

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How To Gain Local Support For Your New Development Project

Any residential or commercial development project can run into massive difficulties if residents are opposed to the plans or want the project to be scrapped altogether. Local campaigns can frustrate timelines, create legal problems or in the worst-case scenario, see hours of work vanish as local authorities scrap the project.

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Latest Issue

BDC 317 : Jun 2024

November 12, 2020

U+I work with Tunbridge Wells Council to create Thriving Green Business District

U+I have been given support by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to transform 30 acres of unused land in Kent into a thriving new green business community that will address a severe shortfall of office and industrial provision in the area.     Kingstanding, located 3.5 miles from Tunbridge Wells town centre, will comprise flexible, high-quality employment and industrial space to cater for a variety of different businesses. The buildings will be set within a beautiful parkland to create an inspiring place for people to work post-Covid, with sustainability and wellbeing at the forefront of the design.   The scheme, which has been designed by Scott Brownrigg, sits on underused greenbelt land and will centre on a reinvigorated pond, itself surrounded by the ancient woodland of King’s Standing – providing biodiversity net gain and a tranquil environment for employees.   Tunbridge Wells has been losing office and industrial floor space at a rate that exceeds regional averages. Consequently, vacancy levels of both office and industrial space are very low, with the shortfall compounded by limited new development activity.   In line with the council’s economic needs study – which noted the requirement for at least 14ha of additional employment land up to 2033 – Kingstanding will alleviate the shortage in office and distribution space and stimulate economic growth. This will be encouraged further by an allocation in the emerging local plan.  U+I’s proposals will see the delivery of nearly 800,000 sq ft of flexible warehouse and office accommodation on a well connected site. It is easily accessible by car, bus and train, while cycling from Tunbridge Wells town centre will take around 16 minutes.    The new offices will be situated around the perimeter of the site, with new warehousing units concentrated in the north-west corner. Buildings will be positioned adjacent to woodland and other key landscape features to allow the occupiers immediate access to nature and other outdoor amenities.  The name Kingstanding is inspired by the ancient woodlands surrounding the site, which once served as hunting grounds for Gilbert de Tonbridge, an Anglo-Norman nobleman of the 11th century.   Richard Upton, Chief Development Officer, U+I, said:  “U+I is now a step closer to unlocking the potential in this underused developable land within the greenbelt just outside Tunbridge Wells town centre into a thriving new business destination and community space, with nature and wellbeing at its heart.    “With demand for office and industrial space far outstripping supply, Kingstanding will attract firms from a range of backgrounds to work in a workspace inspired by the outdoors and fit for the modern era. It will also create over 4,000 new jobs in the local community, stimulating economic growth.” 

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Green commercial properties prove their worth

Nearly half of respondents in a global survey reported stronger occupier and investor demand for commercial properties with green building certificates. This translates into higher rents according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, RICS, sustainability findings within its global commercial property monitor for the third quarter. RICS global property standards director Paul Bagust said: “Whether we look at investors or occupiers, it is clear that demand for more sustainable building is climbing.”  He said it would be crucial to develop accurate measurements of properties to encourage greater capital in sustainable buildings.  “We need to help ensure decisions are no longer based solely on cost, compliance and function, but assess a broader value of a building,” he said.  In Europe 43 per cent of respondents noted demand for properties with green certificates was higher with more than 50 per cent of Asian participants reporting the same trend.  Although, in the Americas, nearly 60 per cent believe that occupier interest in green buildings has not changed in the last 12 months. Green construction proves sound investment  On the investor side, 47 percent of contributors worldwide reported demand for green buildings to have risen in the last 12 months. In Europe and Asia, more than half noted an increase in interest for buildings with green certifications while in the Americas it was a third. Over a third of contributors believed green properties receive a rent premium over comparable non-green buildings. Overone-fifth of these respondents reported increases in rent of up to ten per cent with n early half believing such properties receive a price premium of up to 10 per cent. Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said property development lenders were offering keen rates to builders who were embracing green technology as they saw these properties as a safe bet. Generally, the global commercial property sentiment showed the industrial sector as resilient while office and retail were in the doldrums. Two-thirds of respondents reported headline rents and capital values dropping with six per cent sensing conditions had reached the floor.

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Construction with conservation in mind

Considering the environmental impact of a new building Inspired by the Italian novel The Baron in the Trees, Bosco Verticale — or Vertical Forrest in English — are two tower blocks situated in Milan, Italy. What makes these structures significant is the abundance of greenery that encapsulates them. To be specific, the towers hold 900 trees, 5,000 shrubs and 11,000 perennial plants. The aim — to eliminate city smog and improve air quality. So, what can the UK’s construction industry learn from these environmental structures? Nick Cowley, managing director at windows and doors manufacturer, Euramax explores. Towns and cities across the globe constantly require new buildings. The UK alone needs to build 340,000 new homes every year until 2031 if its housing supply is to meet demand. While we cannot fail to fulfil this need for more buildings, it’s equally important that the building and construction industry acknowledges the environmental impact of building more. Bosco Verticale Considered the European capital of fashion and football, Milan is also one of the most polluted cities in Europe. In fact, the city was named Europe’s most polluted city in 2008. The industrial region is surrounded by mountainous terrain that gathers heavy smog. To help reduce the health and environmental impact of Milan’s atmospheric pollutants, Italian architect Stefano Boeri conjured up the concept of Bosco Verticale. Constructed in 2014, the towers are designed to combat air pollution by using the trees and plants to produce more oxygen. It’s predicted that the trees and plants in the towers convert approximately 44,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year.    The greenery also helps to moderate temperatures in the buildings during winter and summer, by shading the interiors from the sun and blocking harsh winds. This use of vegetation is an effective way to reduce the towers’ energy emissions as there is less need for thermostat heating and air conditioning. Furthermore, the towers’ variety of plant species attracts different birds and insects to the city, improving wildlife conservation. This is important because building and construction often causes irreversible damage to the natural habitats of wildlife and plants. While Milan is proactively reducing pollution and emissions, what’s happening in the UK? Natural England Natural England is the government’s statutory adviser for the natural environment. The group supports the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, its ambitions for agriculture, fisheries and the natural environment and commitment to becoming a net zero country by 2050. Natural England is dedicated to rebuilding sustainable ecosystems and protecting habitats, species and landscapes to help nature thrive. The Chair of Natural England, Tony Juniper, has called for the government to change its thinking towards housing and ensure that environmental considerations are incorporated into the design of new housing estates. He believes that politicians and developers must incorporate green thinking into the design of new infrastructure. According to Juniper, “we need healthy nature to catch carbon, to clean up rivers, to reduce flood risk, to improve public health and wellbeing. All of these have economic upsides, which I fear have been invisible in the development planning process.” Much like the concept of Bosco Verticale, using vegetation to reduce emissions and pollution is something that Natural England wants the government to recognise. Green Homes Grant As well as Natural England’s support, the government announced its Green Homes Grant in July 2020. As part of the scheme, the government will provide vouchers up to £10,000 to make homes more energy efficient. The scheme will run from September 2020 to March 2021 in an attempt to reduce energy emissions and costs. Homeowners and landlords must apply for the vouchers that will fund around 66 per cent of the cost of hiring tradespeople to upgrade the energy performance of their properties. The renovations that qualify for vouchers are categorised by primary and secondary measures. Primary includes a range of insulation and low carbon heating such as biomass boilers and solar thermal. Secondary measures involve draught proofing, double glazing and replacing and updating thermostats. For new buildings and those that need updating, it’s important to minimise their environmental impact where possible, and maximise the energy benefits of the buildings. Updating windows and doors is one action that can offer major energy saving benefits. Using double glazed low emissivity glass units, Euramax’s windows and doors have been rated A for their energy efficiency by The British Fenestration Ratings Council (BFRC). The council rates fenestration products from A to G, with A the most energy efficient, helping to cut emissions and costs to run the building. The Energy Savings Trust UK states that a detached home could save up to £160 on energy bills each year with A rated double glazed windows. While meeting housing demand is vital, so is minimising the environmental impact of construction projects. The UK has already made efforts to improve the sustainability of its buildings with the Green Homes Grant, but it must also demonstrate environmental support from the very start of a construction project. In addition to investing in sustainable materials and energy efficient windows and doors, the UK could take a physical leaf out of Bosco Verticale’s book and rely on natural sources to make construction greener.

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Simon Jones to spearhead the growth plans at Elland Steel

Experienced business development professional joins growing UK structural steel contractor Elland Steel, a growing structural steel contractor, are excited to welcome Simon Jones into the team to spearhead the planned growth at Elland Steel. Simon will be looking to grow the already expanding customer base, specifically in and around London. Simon had previously held business development and commercial positions at Bourne Construction Engineering and SCA Group. Mark Denham Elland Steel Chairman and MD comments: “Elland Steel has always punched above its weight as a structural steel contractor, driven primarily by our outstanding people and industry leading levels of expertise.  As we look to further develop the business, I am personally delighted to add Simon to the team and look forward to working with him. He was the outstanding candidate and will no doubt bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and know-how into the business” Simon Jones, Business Development Manager comments: “The team’s expertise backed up by the existing client base means this is a really exciting time to join Elland Steel. The company’s ethos and vision make me confident that we are well positioned for further growth.”

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Kite Packaging expalins the benefits of pallet wrap and pallet wrap systems

Employee-owned business Kite Packaging are one of the UK’s largest packaging distributors offering a range of solutions suited to all industries. Often the hub of many businesses, warehouses commonly see an increase in activity at this time of year. To support operations, Kite take a brief look at some of the benefits of pallet wrap and pallet wrap systems and remind businesses of the importance of applying and using pallet wrap correctly. Not only do Kite have a vast range of solutions, they also have specialist pallet wrap engineers that are on hand to offer support and advice and have access to manual pull plate tests, electronic force/puncture tests and technology lab testing. Some key benefits of using pallet wrap and pallet wrap systems Secure palletised products during transit Protection from dust, dirt, and moisture Prevent damage to goods Improving pallet stability Reduce the risk of injury Increase efficiency and speed Reduce waste Save money Support towards best practice and quality Prevent accidents during transportation and storage For more information, please refer to Kites whitepaper on the brochure section of their website, or give them a call on 02476 420065.

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How To Gain Local Support For Your New Development Project

Any residential or commercial development project can run into massive difficulties if residents are opposed to the plans or want the project to be scrapped altogether. Local campaigns can frustrate timelines, create legal problems or in the worst-case scenario, see hours of work vanish as local authorities scrap the project. However, suppose you can bring locals on board with your plan and communicate the benefits to their community. In that case, you may see your profits prosper from the goodwill generated and positivity surrounding your development. Local support can ultimately benefit your bottom line as it can create a smoother project timeline and also bolster the potential for sales within your plot. Here are a few tactics to consider with your next development to help secure community support.  Communication Communication may seem obvious, but it is startling how often breakdowns in communication can lead to gossip and false information being spread about a project. As a developer, taking time to regularly update locals with the work you are undertaking and the aims for your project will give them a chance to see things from your point of view and will also go a long way to ensuring that the facts are in the public domain. Consider whether hiring a PR Company may be a good option, especially if your project is gaining a lot of media attention. A good local PR company will be able to communicate your message to local journalists and work on strategic campaigns that span the length of a project. A PR Company may also help you avert disaster by pointing out potential pitfalls before you may notice them. Take time to approach multiple PR Companies and choose one that can demonstrate they understand the local area and also have a history of fostering trust and if the necessary experience of crisis management.  Help Them Visualize While you have spent a career visualizing how ground floor layouts and architect sketches will look in reality, the majority of the public will be very unfamiliar with this process. They will not have time to stare at the plans long and hard carefully. So any technology that you can utilize that helps them see how the properties might look and how they will fit into the existing landscape is incredibly useful. Remember, that many locals may also be prospective buyers so allow them to see as much as possible. While simple graphics of a street layout can be appealing, allowing them to navigate how a new home or commercial property might look on the inside will also help them imagine it as part of their community. Take time to utilize user-friendly software and consider hosting these inaccessible information platforms online. Remember tools of the trade might not be the best option for this, and it is good to assess the user’s experience before launching any visualizations online.  Do Your Research Do not expect to drop a development into a community in isolation. The community will have its unique concerns and considerations. The more time you can spend researching this, the more likely you will be to address those concerns from the outset. Some key things to consider are: How recently has there been previous development in the area? How was this received? What is the socio-economic status of inhabitants, and how will your product impact this? What are the future employment opportunities within the area? What are the infrastructure pressures in the locality, and what needs updating? Are there any issues that have taken recent focus in local news such as the centralization of hospital services or over-demand for school places?  Ask how your development will be placed into this context and where you can develop an in-depth knowledge to prepare you for community meetings and possible questions that might arise.  Take Time To Listen If you give a community the platform for dialogue, then you must take the proper time to listen to the queries and provide adequate time to respond. You can host face to face meetings, but it may also be worth considering allowing for online communication. Using Click4Assistance UK Live Chat Software may allow you to answer frequently asked questions quickly and allow local community members who cannot attend meetings to feel still your organization is accessible and open to dialogue. This software might also mean you can attend meetings virtually, cutting down travel time to and from your development, allowing you to attend meetings more regularly.  Invest In The Community If you have a charitable or giving arm to your organization, then consider how you can utilize this to generate goodwill in a community. Can you sponsor a local amateur football team or give to a local cause that is dear to the community’s heart? Be creative with your choices to make it memorable. Try and link sponsorship and giving drives to your personnel; it helps to put a face to your organization, and your marketing team can harness fun fundraising activities through social media. Also, consider how you can also utilize your development as a community investment beyond what is just stipulated to you by a local authority. For instance, if you have noticed a lack of green spaces or play park, consider this within your development. It will enhance the overall quality of the locality and therefore increase the appeal to buyers as well.  Give Clear Timelines While you may be looking at the minutiae of a construction timeline and its fluctuations, a community will also be interested in this timeline in a broader sense. You do not need to go through each phase, but broad brush strokes are useful for a community to prepare and plan for the construction phase and the launch of your development. It would be best if you also were prepared to communicate any hiccups in the timeline. People can be understanding if the messaging around this is handled carefully and with consideration.  Be Passionate When You Need To Be  There will be locals who you

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