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April 14, 2021

LEEA Research Reveals Optimistic Post-Pandemic Outlook

LEEA Research Reveals Optimistic Post-Pandemic Outlook

Despite the Covid-19 health crisis impacting significantly on the Lifting Industry, Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) Sector Benchmark Research reveals optimism for the post-pandemic future, and a move towards new and possibly more productive ways of working. Indeed, 72% of firms reported being optimistic for the next 6 months, with

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Partnership to Accelerate Innovation in Smart Building

Partnership to Accelerate Innovation in Smart Building

Pelion, the Connected IoT Device service provider, and subsidiary of Arm, jointly announced a partnership with Johnson Controls, the global leader for smart, healthy and sustainable buildings. This partnership will accelerate innovation in connectivity, security and intelligence at the edge for Johnson Controls OpenBlue technology. “This partnership combines Johnson Controls

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BDC 318 : Jul 2024

April 14, 2021

INDUSTRIAL INSPIRED APARTMENT COMPLEX SET TO REVITALISE WOLVERHAMPTON CITY CENTRE

Planning permission has been granted for a significant new apartment complex and office space on the southern edge of Wolverhampton city centre. Designed by East London-based architectural practice, Ackroyd Lowrie, the £11m scheme will regenerate an underused brownfield site on the corner of Dudley Road and Bell Place. Comprising 100 one and two bedroom apartments, basement car parking, cycle parking, communal rooftop gardens and associated landscaping, the Dudley Road development will also have a 230m² office space for use by the developer, M&E Group. “The redevelopment of Dudley Road represents a major regeneration for one of the city centre’s main gateways and we’re pleased it is already being viewed as a positive contribution,” explains director, Oliver Lowrie. “Underutilised and neglected sites like these can have a massive impact in rejuvenating city centres into attractive places to live and work. We are pleased to be working with the developer, M&E Group on the delivery of hundreds of new homes on brownfield sites across the Midlands, supporting the governments’ aim to level-up the economy. “Our design for Dudley Road is focused on providing a visually distinctive building that is suitable for modern living. Taking inspiration from the neighbourhood, which has a predominantly industrial heritage, we’ve created a scheme of varied height and massing to both respond and connect to surrounding buildings. The material palette features characterful dark and light grey brickwork, red zinc cladding along with feature detailing such as balustrading,” concluded Oliver. Extensive consideration was also given to Dudley Road’s environmental impact and a fabric first approach will be adopted throughout construction. The development will include high-efficiency LED lighting throughout as well as rooftop solar PV panels, which are expected to achieve a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of at least 10%. Oliver added: “The pandemic has fundamentally changed people’s priorities and with so much time being spent in our homes, living as sustainably as possible in well-positioned and well-insulated properties is crucial. The new apartments at Dudley Road are situated within just a 10-minute walk of the city centre, and we deliberately designed each space to be dual aspect, so plenty of natural light. In addition, each home has access to private outdoor space in the form of a garden, balcony or roof terrace.” Hardeep Singh, director at developer, M&E Group said: “We’re excited to bring forward this major new development for Wolverhampton and we believe the mix of apartments will have widespread appeal among professionals, young families and investors. We are delighted the Council has echoed this viewpoint by granting planning permission.” Planning permission for Dudley Road was secured by specialist urban planning consultancy, Hybrid Planning & Development. Work is anticipated to begin in summer on an 18 month build programme.

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Let us Evolve our Buildings from being Passive Structures, to Interactive and Reactive Systems

Today, and in fighting this awful virus, it has never been more pertinent to test room integrity, for airtightness. A building that is not airtight cannot be properly mechanically ventilated. Now is the time to build tight, ventilate right. Until the outbreak of this global pandemic there was plenty of frustration around the slow pace of technology adoption within the built environment. Whilst other industries had made good progress, teams of builders were struggling to meet minimum building performance standards. Inefficient processes left much room for improvement. New homes often fail to meet low-energy targets, and to satisfy residents with fundamental issues such as ease of use, summer comfort and energy costs. There is far too little Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) happening routinely on projects to close the performance gap.  HOW COVID-19 CHANGED OUR BUILDING SECTOR The pandemic can be credited with pushing the construction industry in the right direction. Many processes have changed and there is no need to go back to the way it was. The technological advances that would have happened over the next few decades, have now been achieved, due to the pandemic’s dramatic acceleration of technology adoption.     Most buildings are tested for airtightness, air permeability, and air leaks with outdated and intrusive technology, making tests difficult, time consuming and expensive. Yet it is critical to quickly locate and accurately quantify air leaks in rooms and buildings. There is now a unique solution from Coltraco Ultrasonics who have brought testing for airtightness, and air permeability into the 21st Century. Air leaks with a diameter as small as 0.5mm can now be detected and quickly located with the Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520.  BUILDINGS, AIRTIGHTNESS AND VENTILATION In March 2020, the world as we knew it fundamentally and suddenly changed, however, innovation continued to evolve and thrive. There was an urgent requirement within the NHS to prevent infection spread in hospitals and contain the virus by maintaining negatively pressurised ICU Wards and ensuring their airtightness. UK Government put out a COVID-19 emergency response grant through InnovateUK for technology to help the NHS. In June 2020 Coltraco Ultrasonics was one of the winners. The grant was for adapting their already award-winning watertight integrity technology into technology suitable for room airtight testing. Like many businesses, Coltraco Ultrasonics was transformed by the pandemic. In just 8 months Coltraco Ultrasonics had successfully designed and manufactured 2 innovative solutions to help the NHS and healthcare settings with infection control and the building sector to ensure effective ventilation through airtightness. Following from this need to contain the spread of airborne diseases, Coltraco Ultrasonics swiftly saw the demand for this leak detection technology to be re-designed for the built environment. Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 is a new solution to ensure that buildings are airtight so that people can be confident that they are returning to “safe buildings” and “safe working” by properly ventilating them. This is to ensure that all ventilation systems are operating effectively, and thereby enhance indoor air quality (IAQ) which has now become a poignant issue. No alternative leak measuring technologies measure the leak size directly, but instead infer it from pressure differences of airflow measurements, which are assumed to be taken at constant temperature and pressure, something that in reality, is never the case. This means that alternative technologies have inaccuracies that may be minimised, but not eliminated entirely, by highly skilled operators using manual calculators. For the first time, with minimal training, the user can locate a leak, quantify the leak site, calculate the air flow rate through it, and generate an air permeability value for the room. You can then take accurate remedial action where necessary, and have full confidence in both the airtightness of your room, and the effectiveness of your ventilation in circulating clean air.   SOLVING THE PROBLEM OF CLEAN AIR Human Resources and Facilities Management Teams are tasked with keeping buildings and spaces comfortable, sustainable, efficient, safe, healthy and well maintained, and this list keeps growing as buildings, including residential buildings are expected to deliver more. More can include addressing the effects of Climate Change by making a building more energy efficient. More after this pandemic will include a critical appraisal of indoor air quality.  Seventy per cent of the world’s population spends an estimated 90% of its time indoors, and the World Health Organisation estimates that in 2020 there were more than 6 million premature deaths due to air pollution much of it attributed to poor IAQ. Digitalisation has the power to evolve buildings from being fixed passive structures into highly interactive and richly informative systems. Homes are becoming more autonomous, so that the mechanical components inside of the spaces created can ensure that occupants are safer, healthier and more comfortable.  ADDRESSING AIR POLLUTION Air filtration has never been considered a hot topic, but reflecting on what we know now, perhaps it should have been. Air quality plays an important role in our physical and mental health, and with COVID-19 good air filtration could mean the difference between sick and healthy, and in some cases, life and death.  A fundamental requirement for energy efficient mechanical ventilation and for effective air filtration is achieving a minimum level of air tightness in buildings. Air pollution is an increasing concern, as is maintaining an adequate level of Oxygen within the built environment.   The air we breathe is made up of multiple gases, however for a human to function normally the air must contain enough oxygen. Under normal atmospheric pressure we normally inhale air that contains 20.9% oxygen; if this falls even by one or 2 %, then functionality starts to become more laborious and the environment turns hypoxic, meaning that oxygen levels are low and could be harmful. Humans like fires need to have a constant and assured level of oxygen, and as we consume oxygen, more must be delivered to us.   THE LINK BETWEEN PANDEMICS AND BUILDING VENTILATION The design choices being programmed into buildings right now will be with us for years to come. This is a good thing because of the increased emphasis being placed upon, “Build tight, ventilate right.” COVID-19 will not be the last pandemic disease we will suffer, but our spaces will be better prepared for

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Work starts on refurbishment of Innovation Suite at Arts University Bournemouth

Willmott Dixon Interiors has begun work on a £200,000 project to deliver a new suite within the state-of-the-art Innovation Studio at Arts University Bournemouth (AUB). The national fit-out and refurbishment specialist contractor will refurbish an existing administrative space at AUB to create a c.3,000 sq ft Innovation Suite that will include a new reception area to the art incubation facility studio. The Innovation Suite will deliver collaborative work and social space for local businesses, start-ups, CPD delivery and post graduate students working in the innovative creative, cultural, engineering and manufacturing sectors. It will also house specialist digital and clean digital fabrication equipment supplied by the university’s Innovation Resources project. Willmott Dixon Interiors will create a new collaborative reception space and workshop rooms at the Innovation Suite, including AV, body scanner, 3D printing and textiles facilities. The project will see the installation of new mechanical and electrical services and the refurbishment of existing seating areas. Works will include new floor finishes and decoration, as well as new furniture and a timber feature wall. The Innovation Suite project will use £230,000 in Dorset LEP Local Growth Fund allocation and £65,000 in AUB match funding, and was awarded through the Pagabo Refit and Refurbishment procurement framework. It has been designed by architects at Willmott Dixon Interiors, with Selway Joyce as project manager, quantity surveyor and employer’s agent. Graham Shaw, managing director at Willmott Dixon Interiors, said: “AUB has justifiably developed a reputation as a top sector specialist and leading arts university for the creative industries. A new Innovation Suite will enhance the already impressive facilities available through the Innovation Studio. We look forward to delivering a space that supports local businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs and further contributes to the successful growth of the digital and creative sectors in the region.” First established in 1885 as a specialist art institution, AUB is now the UK’s number one specialist university for employability, according to The Times Higher Education’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and is ranked as the UK’s top specialist art and design university by The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. Willmott Dixon Interiors is one of the UK’s specialist high-quality interior fit out and refurbishment contractors. It has delivered a wide range of projects across the higher and further education sectors, including a £39 million refurbishment at London South Bank University’s London Road Building and the design and refurbishment of space across the Waterlooville Campus at Havant & South Downs College.   For more information, visit: www.willmottdixoninteriors.co.uk

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LEEA Research Reveals Optimistic Post-Pandemic Outlook

LEEA Research Reveals Optimistic Post-Pandemic Outlook

Despite the Covid-19 health crisis impacting significantly on the Lifting Industry, Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) Sector Benchmark Research reveals optimism for the post-pandemic future, and a move towards new and possibly more productive ways of working. Indeed, 72% of firms reported being optimistic for the next 6 months, with this increasing to 80% for the next 12 months. However, the breadth of specialisms and the number of supply chains in the sector have produced a varied picture in the research. LEEA does not expect the sector to return to pre-pandemic patterns of work as there are now clearly different expectations around training, travel and work patterns, according to the research. The majority of firms (over two thirds) reported their attitude towards e-training had changed in the past 12 months, with it being seen much more as an option. Training by Zoom specifically has its supporters, with nearly three quarters of firms reporting that they now see it as a more likely option. However, there is clearly a view that face-to-face training remains the preference, regardless of company size or specialism. Most firms are looking at more focussed travel, however, with 65% reporting that they expect to make changes to their business travel budget post lockdown. Few can be surprised to see such a large percentage of respondents recording revenue falls due to the economic impact of the pandemic and associated lockdowns. Surprisingly, however, the survey reveals a larger percentage recorded an increase in revenue. The picture improves when looking over the duration of the crisis: during the initial pandemic period (April to June 2020), there was an equal split between those reporting revenues up or down compared to the same period in 2019 (45% each). But, across the longer period of April 2020 to February 2021, the balance shifts to 54% reporting revenues up compared to 39% seeing a drop, which gives reason for optimism looking forward. Nevertheless, there has been a dramatic impact on the workforce with an incredible 50% of respondents making job losses attributable to the pandemic across a range of roles. Half the respondents expect the workforce to be smaller in March 2022 than it was in March 2020. While we can speculate about the reasons behind the ups and downs, further research will be required to fully understand which parts of our sector did better than others. “2020 has been a year that none of us expected. Our personal and work lives have all been impacted and as we look forward, we are now trying our best to predict what the future will look like. A year on from the initial lockdown in the UK, LEEA has issued this research aimed at helping us to understand the implications of the pandemic on our industry. It allows us to see the huge financial effects on our industry and the retrenching we are expecting concerning the size of the workforce, how training is conducted and changes to everyday work,” commented Ross Moloney, CEO of LEEA.

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Partnership to Accelerate Innovation in Smart Building

Partnership to Accelerate Innovation in Smart Building

Pelion, the Connected IoT Device service provider, and subsidiary of Arm, jointly announced a partnership with Johnson Controls, the global leader for smart, healthy and sustainable buildings. This partnership will accelerate innovation in connectivity, security and intelligence at the edge for Johnson Controls OpenBlue technology. “This partnership combines Johnson Controls deep domain expertise in healthy buildings with Pelion’s device and edge management capabilities to usher in an era of truly smart, updatable facilities at cloud scale,” said Mike Ellis, chief customer and digital officer for Johnson Controls. “OpenBlue’s AI capabilities at the edge will consolidate diverse points of intelligence distributed across various floors, sites or even continents into insights and actions, creating an updateable building that can self-heal and evolve over its lifespan.” This innovation mirrors the automotive sector, where software, multiple sensors and AI-trained models have transformed the industry by enabling autonomous driving and software updates that blend data to continually improve vehicle capabilities and experience. Johnson Controls is applying the concept to the built environment. They will leverage Pelion’s flexible device management capabilities to unite diverse device types and application layers to feed AI models that respond to dynamic workloads. “Johnson Controls has the strategic foresight to rely on a partner to streamline the complexity of IoT device management security and secure firmware updates over the air,” said Hima Mukkamala, CEO of Pelion. “Pelion’s connected device platform will standardise the onboarding process for all systems, including the edge and endpoint devices that run on them, plus offer world-class public key infrastructure for secure and simple integration with third-parties.” This secure, open and flexible approach to device management will allow OpenBlue to run any device and hardware configuration, from hardware gateways to constrained temperature sensors. In order to provide sustainable, low cost and low power intelligent processing at the edge, the partnership will utilise proven energy-efficient processors from Pelion’s parent company, Arm, which are a key part of Johnson Controls’ distributed hardware deployment.

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