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May 27, 2021

SpecifiedBy named as collaborator in IBM-led development of OpenBuilt

Hybrid cloud approach to accelerate digital transformation in the construction industry SpecifiedBy, the specification-led marketing and product data specialist, has been named as one of the global collaborators helping to develop OpenBuilt, a new platform designed to help securely connect fragmented construction industry supply chains. Built on Red Hat OpenShift

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RIDBA Announces Shortlist for the RIDBA Building Awards 2021

Last year, the Rural and Industrial Design and Building Association (RIDBA) launched the RIDBA Building Awards 2021, designed to recognise innovation and excellence amongst members in the industrial and agricultural buildings industry. After receiving a record number of award entries, RIDBA is delighted to announce the shortlisted projects. Now in

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RICS launches new global guidance for ‘Land Measurement’

New guidance on the measurement of land for development projects such as new housing and commercial development have been published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors today (25 May 2021), which defines common measurements used across the built environment and associated metrics such as density. The guidance is now

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BDC 319 : Aug 2024

May 27, 2021

MP Slams Rogue Rating Surveyors in Parliament Today as Numbers of Scams Affecting Small Businesses Escalate

Colliers calls on RICS to Regulate Ratings Industry and Introduce Register of Rating Surveyors to prevent “cowboy” surveyors take advantage of business rates distress. “A group of conmen” “exploiting small businesses to sign unfair contracts”. This is how Kevin Hollinrake MP, the Member for Thirsk and Malton described rogue rating surveyors in a Parliamentary debate today focusing on reports of a significant escalation in the number of  cases of “cowboy” rating surveyors targeting struggling businesses looking to reduce bills during the pandemic. Mr Hollinrake named and shamed  rogue agents who he claimed are “effectively conning” small businesses into signing long term contracts, which are not in their interests , for reliefs  they would have receive anyway and then pursuing them through the courts for payments. The Westminster debate on the “Regulation of business rates reduction services” called for industry regulation to protect vulnerable businesses who are suffering financial distress, in part because of high business rates, from falling victim to such rogue rating surveyors.  Mr Hollinrake has called for the Insolvency Service to step in, but so far this body has not agreed that it is their role to regulate. According to the rating team at Colliers, it should be the RICS, The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors that urgently needs to step in and regulate the rating industry. According to Colliers, and borne out by the debate today, an increasing number of businesses, including Colliers clients, are being approached by rogue rating surveyors promising to obtain a marked reduction in their business rates bills. Some businesses, unaware they are entitled to reliefs are being targeted  by the rogue agents to secure Small Business Reliefs or “Covid” reliefs despite the fact the businesses are in sectors that would have received them for free – by purely writing to the local authorities. The small business involved is then charged an annual fee of up to 52% of the “saving” for the length of the contract. In some cases, businesses have been tied in for 10 or 12 years. And it is not only the smaller businesses that have suffered from unscrupulous rating surveyors. According to Colliers numbers of such incidents has particularly grown during the lockdowns, when many office based businesses, who did not receive the business rates holidays seen in other sectors,  struggled to pay their rates bills and therefore become more vulnerable to such a cowboy element. A particular spike was seen at the beginning of the year when businesses were led to believe that the government’s Valuation Office ( the VOA)  had agreed to  a 25% reduction on business rates for those mounting an MCC, or material change of circumstance, appeal and rogue surveyors made promises they could help obtain this relief. There is no such relief on offer. “Businesses are getting desperate, “says John Webber, Head of Business Rates at Colliers. “Some who are entitled to reliefs were not aware of them and have therefore been targeted by rogue rating surveyors.  Others who are not receiving any support, but with no announcement by the Government of any forthcoming, have been clutching at straws.  Rogue agents are able to take advantage of this distress. The current business rates system with its high multiplier and complex system of reliefs has created an unsustainable system, as has the widely criticised and calamitous system of Check Challenge Appeal introduced by the Government in 2017. Both have played into the hands of cowboys extracting money up front.” “We believe the situation will only get worse after the end of June, when the 100% rates holiday comes to an end for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries and Government support lessens. Businesses must beware of false promises.” Webber continued, “We have long been campaigning for the rating industry to be properly regulated and we are supportive of Kevin Hollinrake MP raising this issue in Parliament. We believe there should be a register of appeals professionals, which should be regulated by the RICS, in the same way the FCA regulates financial advisors.” He continued, “The lack of such a register gives a cowboy element the opportunity to gain credibility and persuade vulnerable businesses that it can save them serious funds. In the current crisis this situation is getting more out of hand. We call the RICS to take robust measures to effectively show these cowboys for what they are. Instead of infighting and navel-gazing, the RICS should take some leadership on a problem which has existed for many years.”

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SpecifiedBy named as collaborator in IBM-led development of OpenBuilt

Hybrid cloud approach to accelerate digital transformation in the construction industry SpecifiedBy, the specification-led marketing and product data specialist, has been named as one of the global collaborators helping to develop OpenBuilt, a new platform designed to help securely connect fragmented construction industry supply chains. Built on Red Hat OpenShift and running on IBM Cloud, OpenBuilt will offer new digital solutions to help innovate and drive more efficient, sustainable and safer construction projects. SpecifiedBy has been invited to integrate its industry-leading solution for finding and researching building products for specification into OpenBuilt during the development. This will enable OpenBuilt users to build additional functionality into their intelligent workflows. SpecifiedBy’s Founder and CEO, Darren Lester, said: “OpenBuilt has the potential to transform the building and construction industry by leveraging the huge benefits of technology within an ecosystem to advance digital transformation for everyone. “For us it’s always been about enabling the building and construction industry to adopt more sophisticated digital approaches to their product research and specification processes, and we do this by giving them the tools that they need to make this as simple and straightforward as possible. This exactly aligns with the ambition of OpenBuilt, so we’re delighted to be one of the first to be part of this unique cross-industry collaboration.” The construction industry has long been challenged with project delays, cost overages as well as wasted materials often caused by disconnected processes and poorly coordinated activities and resources. Companies across the built environment including architects, building material suppliers, manufacturers, construction and engineering firms are now looking to innovate and speed up the expansion of their digital strategy. By moving away from largely manual processes, the industry will be able to explore more effective ways of working. OpenBuilt is designed to allow companies across the global built environment and construction industry to securely connect their current technology platforms and digital solutions to partners, suppliers or subcontractors in their supply chain via a single integration hub. It aims to help improve communication and securely exchange data across the supply chain. Alongside IBM, Red Hat and CoBuilder as leaders, the OpenBuilt development is being steered by founding partners Cemex, EDIN Network, Backe, Sol Services and Element.

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RIDBA Announces Shortlist for the RIDBA Building Awards 2021

Last year, the Rural and Industrial Design and Building Association (RIDBA) launched the RIDBA Building Awards 2021, designed to recognise innovation and excellence amongst members in the industrial and agricultural buildings industry. After receiving a record number of award entries, RIDBA is delighted to announce the shortlisted projects. Now in their fifth year, the Awards demonstrate the diversity of skills of RIDBA members, from schools and offices to cattle buildings and grain stores. There are seven categories on show this year including: Education & Leisure, Industrial & Production, Farm Storage, Public Services, Livestock, Residential & Offices, and Retail & Distribution. There is also an additional category to recognise Training. The judging panel consisted of industry experts including: Martin Heywood (Head Judge and RIDBA Technical Consultant), Jamie Robertson (RIDBA Livestock Consultant), Joe Black (Chairman of the Advisory Committee for Roofsafety), Andrew Brown (Owner, Visit Our Farm), Niresh Somlie (Principal Technical Officer at BM Trada), Stuart Roberts (Deputy President of the NFU). The judges were very impressed by the high level of technical excellence demonstrated by RIDBA members delivering successful projects to their clients. Head Judge, Martin Heywood said: “I would first like to congratulate everyone who entered the RIDBA Building Awards this year. We received some excellent entries, demonstrating that members continue to exceed high standards of work in the industrial and agricultural buildings industry. Although a challenge, we are delighted with results of this year’s Awards and look forward to sharing them with you at the flagship event in September.” The winners will be announced at the Awards ceremony on Thursday 30 September 2021 at the Macdonald Hotel in Manchester. Bookings for the event are now open, and guests can secure their places by completing the booking form. RIDBA would like to take this opportunity to thanks its sponsors for supporting this event: Headline sponsor: AJN Steelstock Premium sponsors: Joseph Ash Galvanizing, Hadley Group, Kingspan, and Steadmans. Event sponsor: STRUMIS Media Partner: Farming Monthly RIDBA would also like to thank Joseph Ash Galvanizing as the Evening Drinks Reception sponsor. The shortlisted projects can be viewed here.

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Countryside and DoE sign agreement for Ark Soane mixed-use development in Acton, west London

Countryside, the UK’s leading mixed-tenure developer, has signed an agreement with the Department of Education to deliver Ark Soane, a mixed-use development in Ealing, West London, comprising a new 1,200-pupil secondary school, Ark Soane Academy, and 116 high-quality homes. Following a public procurement process, Countryside has been selected by LocatED, an Arms-Length Body to the Department for Education, to deliver this multi-million-pound development. A large proportion of the new homes is being constructed for the Greater London joint venture between Sigma Capital Group plc, the build-to-rent specialist, and its partner, EQT Exeter, part of global investment firm, EQT, and will be for the private rental market. Once constructed, these 92 apartments will be let and managed by Sigma Capital Group plc, under the ‘Simple Life London’ rental brand. Of the remaining homes in the new development, 21 will be affordable, managed by Network Homes, and three will be for open market sale by Countryside. The new homes will be located close to The Woodlands Park as well as Acton High Street and will enjoy excellent transport links. A sustainable energy centre utilising a Ground Source Heat Pump is also being delivered as part of the development. Countryside has entered into a £52m design and build contract with Jerram Falkus Construction to deliver all construction works associated with the school and residential development. Full planning permission has been secured, and the new Ark Soane Academy is due to open by September 2022. Designed by Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects, the Ark Soane mixed-use development will see the secondary school occupying the first three floors of the 6 to 12-storey building, with 113 apartments located above this, in addition to three separate townhouses on the site. Ark Soane Academy will be connected to a new nearby sixth form college, and will use the surrounding grounds, which include a multi-use games area, sports hall and playgrounds. Daniel King, Managing Director, Partnerships West London & Thames Valley, Countryside, said: “We are excited to get started on this innovative project which will not only deliver a state-of-the-art new school, but also deliver much-needed new homes in Acton. Drawing on over 30 years of experience of working in partnership to deliver major regeneration schemes across the UK, we’re looking forward to bringing Ark Soane Academy to life with the Department for Education, Sigma Capital, EQT Exeter, Network Homes and Jerram Falkus Construction.” Steven Brewster, Acquisitions Director, Sigma Capital Group plc, said: “We’re delighted to be part of this fantastic new development.  It will add 92 homes to our growing portfolio of build-to-rent homes in Greater London with our JV partner, EQT Exeter. We have been working in partnership with Countryside for over 10 years across other parts of the UK, delivering new homes and regenerating local areas. We’re really excited to be bringing the success we’ve experienced in the regions to the London market and look forward to bringing our formula of high-quality homes, matched by award-winning customer care, to renters in Acton.” David Gooch, Network Homes Executive Director for Development, said: “We’re really pleased to be supporting the delivery of much-needed affordable homes at this development which will see a fantastic educational facility provided at Ark Soane. Network will be delivering 12 properties for London Affordable Rent and nine for London Living Rent, an excellent scheme helping people to save for a deposit to buy their own home.” William Jerram, Joint Managing Director, Jerram Falkus Construction Ltd, added: “We are delighted to be working with Countryside and LocatED to deliver this exciting scheme.  We thank our design team, led by Pollard Thomas Edwards, together with Max Fordham, Price and Myers, Montague Evans and Outerspace. To ensure its success, we have worked very closely to redesign the external envelope to comply with the latest ‘B’ regulations” and simultaneously progress the design and programme to deliver the School for the 2022 academic year. It involved a lot of commitment and work at risk, with the reward of starting works in February 2021.”

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Lincoln Enterprise Park expansion won on appeal enabling economic growth for the city

Following the continued demand for commercial property in and around Lincoln and a successful planning appeal win – Lincoln Enterprise Park has been granted planning permission for the extension of the site – bringing new jobs to the city. Following the completion of phase 6 in 2019, the newly approved phase 7 will bring 15 new mixed-use units to the park – located on the A46 near Thorpe on the Hill – offering in-demand expansion opportunities for current occupants and new commercial premises for other businesses. It is estimated that circa 50 jobs will be created following the extension of Lincoln Enterprise Park, which in due course could directly or indirectly grow to 200. Developer and site owner LEP Developments brought together a team of highly experienced industry professionals to successfully appeal the local authority’s initial decision to deny the planning approval. Managing director of LEP Developments, Nicholas Falkinder, said: “Lincoln Enterprise Park’s growth over the last 15 years has been driven by the demand from businesses wanting to either expand, or relocate to the area. “Naturally, we are pleased with the decision to enable us to progress with our plans – myself and the wider team have worked hard to ensure our proposals are in line with the local authority’s policy to support economic growth and productivity, protect employment and encourage new business start-ups. “We will be delivering a high-quality and sensitively designed development, which has carefully considered its context and setting – contributing towards driving the Lincolnshire economy forward.” Alongside LEP Developments, Lincoln-based Heronswood Architectural Design led the original application, planning consultancy GraceMachin Planning & Property led the appeal, and landscape architect practice, Influence, created the landscape plans and impact assessment of the extension. Partner of GraceMachin Planning & Property, Nick Grace, said: “This is the right decision to enable welcome economic growth in Lincoln – a vibrant city which continues to attract inward investment from businesses that want to operate here. “The National Planning Policy guidance published in 2019 gives significant weight to economic growth and productivity, and this should be driven forward in Lincoln, as it is in other areas, for the benefit of the local economy. “LEP Developments offer a premium product in a unique and highly accessible location and those firms that are already on the park and are thriving, will be able to expand their premises and operations.” Landscape architect Influence created the landscape design and planting plans for the site, which includes the addition of native trees, hedgerows and wildflowers. Sara Boland, managing director of Influence, said: “The current footprint of phase 7 which is grassland is low in ecological diversity and this is a good opportunity to improve on the biodiversity and habitats on the site. Our plans include significant ecological and biodiversity enhancements and the landscape provision goes above and beyond what is usually expected at a commercial site – which is fantastic. “As a practice we have supported LEP Developments since its first application for this extension and conducted a detailed landscape visual assessment. We maintained our position in the appeal that the plans had no landscape or visual impact, and we are pleased that the Planning Inspectorate was in agreement. “I wish Nicholas and the team all the best with the extension and look forward to seeing the business park continue to thrive.” Rather than speculative building, LEP Developments does not begin construction until the majority of the units have been let or sold, so there are rarely long-term vacancies. The new units, which range from 1,500 to 12,000 sq ft. are being marketed by Lambert Smith Hampton. Lincs-based law firm Roythornes worked with LEP Developments on the planning appeal.

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£400 million Woolwich Exchange regeneration approved by Greenwich Council

Ambitious plan will bring new homes and reimagine the Grade II-listed market building as a five-screen cinema, restaurants and bars Proposals to create a sustainable new neighbourhood and transform the Grade II-listed Former Covered Market in Woolwich, SE18, have been approved by the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s Planning Board.  The Planning Board showed overwhelming support for the plans, with five out of seven councillors voting in favour of St. Modwen and Notting Hill Genesis’ vision for the important town centre site A sustainable development, designed for the community Woolwich Exchange will deliver 801 high-quality homes, designed for flexible living, with space to live and work at home.  158 of the new homes will be offered as affordable tenures of which 56 will be  family sized homes. The scheme will also provide new facilities for the community to use, including a nursery, children’s play areas and workspaces. The regeneration will feature new green, public spaces at the heart of the site, with extensive planting, benches and outside seating available for cafés, bars and restaurants – offering a new, outdoor environment in the middle of Woolwich town centre, as well as promoting urban biodiversity. A new green buffer will be created along Plumstead Road, forming a pleasant pedestrian route separated from vehicle traffic. The development will be one of the most sustainable in London, with innovative heating and cooling systems, which will see savings in CO2 emissions of over 50% compared to the requirements defined by building regulations.  Preserving Woolwich’s heritage for future generations The approved plans for Woolwich Exchange retain the historic Former Covered Market on Plumstead Road, transforming the Grade II listed building into a new five-screen Picturehouse cinema, cafés, bars and restaurants.  The reimagined space will allow visitors to experience the expansive Lamella roof structure, which was the main focus of the decision to list the building in 2018.  Picturehouse, which has confirmed its commitment to the scheme, will open Woolwich’s first cinema in a generation following the closure of the Coronet in 1999. Creating new connections across Woolwich town centre Woolwich Exchange sits between the Royal Arsenal Riverside development, which includes the forthcoming Elizabeth Line’s Woolwich Station , and the Woolwich Arsenal DLR and National Rail stations.  New, people-friendly pedestrian and cycle routes across the car-free development will create pleasant connections to different parts of the town centre. Engaging the community and local businesses Businesses currently based on the site have been engaged in detailed dialogue about the plans and their relocation over the past few years, and this will continue as the project team aims to begin construction in 2023. Extensive consultation with the Woolwich community helped shape the plans from the start and, as a result, there has been a high level of local support for the regeneration. The community requested historic elements of existing buildings were incorporated into the design, to help tie the new development’s identity to Woolwich’s heritage. In line with the Woolwich Conservation Area, several of the historic buildings on Woolwich New Road will be preserved and enhanced as part of the approved plans. Creating jobs and boosting the local economy The regeneration will generate over 600 temporary jobs during construction and nearly 200 permanent jobs in the retail, leisure and new employment spaces.  The site represents a major investment and commitment in the future of Woolwich, with the development estimated to add £60 million per year to the local economy during construction, and £10 million a year once complete. Woolwich Exchange has been developed by a joint venture partnership between developer St. Modwen and housing association Notting Hill Genesis, which was appointed by the Royal Borough of Greenwich to deliver the scheme.  This is great news for the future of Woolwich.  Woolwich Exchange is an ambitious regeneration that will transform this part of the town centre, while also respecting the area’s rich heritage.  Adding a new cinema within the historic covered market building is going to be a spectacular addition to the area. From the beginning, it has been critical that we bring the community with us as we evolved our plans and we would like to thank local residents who have shown our proposals such incredible support. Securing planning permission is a major step forward in making Woolwich Exchange a reality.  There is still much hard work ahead of us and we will continue to closely engage with local residents and businesses.” Gary Morris, Development Director for St. Modwen Strategic Land & Regeneration The Council’s approval is fantastic news for Woolwich, its community and for London, offering something for everyone. Woolwich is growing and the transformative plans for Woolwich Exchange are part of its sensitive evolution which will bring a huge range of benefits to the area and help unite the town centre. The regeneration will deliver many new, well-designed affordable homes, as part of a sustainable development that is truly fit for the future.” John Hughes, Group Director of Development for Notting Hill Genesis

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RICS launches new global guidance for ‘Land Measurement’

New guidance on the measurement of land for development projects such as new housing and commercial development have been published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors today (25 May 2021), which defines common measurements used across the built environment and associated metrics such as density. The guidance is now available and will be used by planners, surveyors, developers, architects, government and legal administrators around the world. Titled ‘Measurement of Land for Planning and Development Purposes’, it provides clear definitions for measurements widely used in the property and built environment sectors, advocating consistency worldwide. Five core definitions have now been formalised by RICS to assist with the global measurement of land, they are: Land Ownership Area (LOA): an area of land, measured on a horizontal plane, which is held in a single legal interest or title by one or more legal owners, which may be the subject of a proposed or actual sale, letting or other disposal, valuation or compulsory purchase, and which may comprise all or part of that single legal interest or title. Site Area (SA): the total land area on which development authorisation is sought, measured on a horizontal plane. Net Development Area (NDA): the extent of the Site Area upon which one or more buildings or other operations and their ancillary space can be built, measured on a horizontal plane. Plot Ratio (PR): the ratio of total development floor area to SA. Development floor area may be measured as gross external area (GEA) or gross internal area (GIA) but whichever is used or modifications of them should be clearly stated. Floor Area Ratio (FAR) and Floorspace Ratio (FSR)are similar terms, used interchangeably in some jurisdictions to reference the same point. For consistency, PR should be used wherever possible. Where jurisdictional requirements are for the use of either FAR or FSR, PR should be reported as well. Site Coverage (SC): the ratio of ground floor area (measured in accordance with GEA) to SA, expressed as a percentage. A key difference with the new guidelines is that calculations of density should now always be expressed in terms of Gross Density (based on SA), rather than on a Net basis, with Net Density providing an additional and complementary metric for understanding the intensity of development of a site. The formal Guidance for Land Measurement can be read [here] The guidance is lead-authored by one of Britain’s foremost urbanists, chartered surveyor and town planner Jonathan Manns, Executive Director at Rockwell, who said: “Land measurement is a vital day-to-day component of real estate and this Guidance introduces, for the first time, clear and fixed definitions to assist with that process. “In doing so it establishes international best practice to be used whether buying, selling, evaluating, valuing or developing land. “This has the potential to profoundly improve consistency, once in regular use, to the benefit of both professionals and the general public alike, in countries around the world.” With over 130,000 qualified and trainee professionals, the RICS promotes and enforces the highest international standards across the built and natural environment. Tony Mulhall MRICS, Associate Director of the Land Professional Group at the RICS, stated: “This guidance offers a consistent way to measure land – whether that’s delivering desperately needed homes, new infrastructure or preparing vacant spaces for future development.”

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