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January 31, 2022

BCEGI appointed to build Phase three at Middlewood Locks

BCEGI has been appointed as preferred construction partner to deliver phase three of Scarborough Group International’s £1 billion mixed-use development Middlewood Locks, in Salford at the gateway to Manchester City Centre. BCEGI has already completed phases one and two at the award-winning scheme which is one of the largest regeneration

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PIC INVESTS IN £130 MILLION CORNERSTONE PROJECT FOR UK’S LARGEST URBAN REGENERATION PROJECT

Pension Insurance Corporation plc (“PIC”), a specialist insurer of defined benefit pension funds, has completed a £130 million investment in Wirral Waters One (“WWO”), the cornerstone residential scheme for the broader development of Peel L&P’s Wirral Waters, a 500-acre brownfield site and former dockland. Regeneration specialists Peel L&P has launched

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Green light for first phase of Begbroke Science Park expansion

New research buildings will meet innovation needs of the future Oxford University Development (OUD) today confirms reserved matters planning consent has been granted for the first phase of its Begbroke Science Park expansion, which comprises two new state-of-the-art research buildings. This first phase of the scheme will bring forward new

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Prologis acquires more prime logistics space in Coventry

Prologis, the UK’s leading developer and owner of logistics property, has acquired an additional building at its highly successful logistics park in Coventry, further strengthening its holdings in a core location. The 56,000 sq. ft. building, which is let to UK Flooring Direct until 2025, has been acquired for a

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Zentia ceilings help a Welsh school to evolve

Five ceiling products from Zentia feature at Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg school. A plethora of products from leading UK ceilings manufacturer Zentia met a multitude of challenges at a redeveloped Welsh school. Five square-edged mineral products from Zentia were used on the £20 million regeneration of Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg

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Protecting an entire construction technology fleet

Construction technology is a large investment that businesses are usually willing to make to improve operations. However, the construction industry rarely invests in a warranty or service plan to protect new equipment. Here Lisa Cheshire, Inside Sales Specialist at SITECH® UK & Ireland, A Trimble Authorised Dealer, discusses how construction

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MAJOR CONSTRUCTION COMPLETES AT LEADING NOTTS DEMENTIA CARE HOME  

CONSTRUCTION has completed at leading dementia care specialists Church Farm Care’s Rusticus home in Cotgrave – making its vision of expanding its revolutionary model of dementia care to include this latest location a reality.  From alterations to the internal layout of the existing building as well as the construction of brand-new elements of the site, the development will support family members living at the home to enjoy greater independence and quality of life.    Patrick Atkinson, director of Church

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Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024

January 31, 2022

BCEGI appointed to build Phase three at Middlewood Locks

BCEGI has been appointed as preferred construction partner to deliver phase three of Scarborough Group International’s £1 billion mixed-use development Middlewood Locks, in Salford at the gateway to Manchester City Centre. BCEGI has already completed phases one and two at the award-winning scheme which is one of the largest regeneration projects in the North-West and the UK. The first phase of 571 homes completed in September 2018 and phase two of 546 homes completed in November 2021. Phase two was purchased by award-winning PRS operator Get Living for its first PRS venture outside of London. Both phases are sold out and a new community of over 1,000 residents now live at Middlewood Locks where iconic brewery brand Seven Bro7hers has opened its first beer house alongside Co-op Food and 92 Degrees coffee shop. Phase three which has been named ‘Railings’ features 189 new homes which includes 176 one to three -bedroom apartments in two blocks, one of 10 storeys and the other 12 storeys, on the northern side of the canal opposite Phase 1. There will also be 7 canalside three to four-bedroom townhouses along with 6 mews houses to support family living. The Railings will provide further high-quality accommodation incorporating first class amenity space, balconies and private gardens that blend seamlessly into the public realm areas of previous phases. The project will also feature 5,150 sq ft of ground floor commercial and retail accommodation with an additional 5,000 sq ft of offices. When completed, the 25-acre neighbourhood will provide a total of 2,215 new homes and 900,000 sq ft of commercial space, including offices, hotel, shops and restaurants. Work on The Railings is scheduled to commence in the first quarter of 2022 with completion in 2024. Dongwen YU, Lead Director at BCEGI, said: “We’re delighted to be appointed to deliver The Railings for Scarborough Group International, following our successful partnership in completing phases one and two. “The recent completion of phase two is a significant moment for Middlewood Locks as well as a great achievement for BCEGI in what has been an extremely challenging time for the construction industry. We are thrilled to be, once again, an integral part of what is one of Greater Manchester’s most significant projects.” Kevin McCabe, Chairman of Scarborough Group International, commented: “Our relationship with BCEGI stretches back over seven years, having first met with Senior Directors at their Beijing headquarters before getting to know key personnel at their UK-base office in Manchester. “Our mutual respect, admiration and commitment to excellence in developing inspiring communities for people to live, work and enjoy made BCEGI the obvious construction partner for Middlewood Locks and has culminated in the completion and occupation of 1,117 new homes and 10,000 SqFt of commercial space over the last five years. “This appointment is an important step in continuing the delivery of our vision for Middlewood Locks and we look forward to furthering our partnership with Mr Yu and his team in the years ahead, not only encompassing the future phases of Middlewood Locks but also the Group’s wider development portfolio.”

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PIC INVESTS IN £130 MILLION CORNERSTONE PROJECT FOR UK’S LARGEST URBAN REGENERATION PROJECT

Pension Insurance Corporation plc (“PIC”), a specialist insurer of defined benefit pension funds, has completed a £130 million investment in Wirral Waters One (“WWO”), the cornerstone residential scheme for the broader development of Peel L&P’s Wirral Waters, a 500-acre brownfield site and former dockland. Regeneration specialists Peel L&P has launched a 30-year strategy which will see the site become the largest regeneration project in the UK, creating up to 20,000 permanent jobs. Wirral Waters is supported by central Government as a key part of its levelling up strategy.   Working in close partnership with Peel L&P and Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council (“WMBC”), PIC is the sole investor for the development of a Build-to-Rent scheme, comprising 500 one- and two-bedroom apartments, with an affordable housing component of 100 homes. Rents on the affordable units will be a maximum of 80% of open market value, delivering significant social impact.    The project will transform the brownfield site into a sustainable location for local and international businesses, creating more than 20,000 permanent jobs for the Liverpool City region, as well as offering a breadth of new housing opportunities. Wirral Waters was designated Enterprise Zone status in 2011 and has been supported by Homes England.  The Build-to-Rent development will use a long-term, regeneration lease structure, providing funding for WMBC which would not have been available from traditional structures, whilst generating the secure long-term cashflows which allow PIC to match its pension payments decades into the future.   WWO brings together an ideal partnership of a long-term investor, a highly experienced developer, and a forward-thinking local authority to generate considerable social value, including:   One in five apartments to be designated as affordable housing units, with rents set at a maximum of 80% of open market value.  All buildings across the Wirral Waters regeneration project are targeting BREEAM Excellent, including WWO, as well as significant bio-diversity improvements with the planting of more than 1,600 trees so far.   WWO will use a range of energy efficiency and low carbon technologies to reduce carbon emissions, including solar power systems, air source heat pumps, and electric vehicle charging points.  The Peel L&P delivery team will continue to engage with the Wirral Met College’s construction students for site visits, seminars, work experience and apprenticeships, enabling the students to benefit from experience on the project as we seek to create the construction workforce of the future.   Sustainable Urban Drainage to manage surface water from the site into the Docks through the provision of rain gardens, climate tolerant planting and tree pits designed to accommodate a 1 in 100-year storm.   James Whitaker, Executive Director of Development at Peel L&P, said: “This project is a great example of partnership working that will not only deliver this development but will act as a model for other schemes in the future. The combination of an experienced regeneration company, a long-term investor, and a progressive local authority will deliver real value for all our collective stakeholders.”  Hayley Rees, Head of Investment Strategy at Pension Insurance Corporation, said: “Our investment in WWO is another step in the development of our purposeful investment strategy and ultimately is a model for how long-term investors can play a key role in the levelling up agenda. We need secure long-term cashflows to back the pensions of our 300,000 policyholders and so seek to invest in assets with a high degree of social value, because what makes sense for society helps us achieve our purpose over decades.”   Councillor Tony Jones, Chair of Wirral Council’s Economy, Regeneration & Development Committee, said: “Already this year with this announcement we are seeing another major step forward for Wirral’s Left Bank with the delivery of this latest significant development.   “The council has worked closely with both Peel L&P and PIC to bring forward this project which will be delivering jobs and affordable housing for people in Wirral.   “With Peel L&P taking the occupational and delivery risks, this Build to Rent development will be able to provide a long term revenue income stream to the local authority which could support wider service delivery and future investment. It is also another key moment in the continuing wider regeneration in the borough, tying in with the work well underway in Birkenhead to drive forward the town’s renaissance and showing the increasing confidence of investors in the plans for Wirral’s future.” 

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THE FUTURE HOMES STANDARD AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR UK HOUSEBUILDERS AND THEIR BUYERS

In November 2021, Housebuilder and Developer magazine1 conducted a survey across the UK housebuilding sector on the Future Homes Standard (FHS). Its findings revealed only 13% of housebuilders fully-understood the new standard, whilst 51% stated their buyers were unaware it even existed. The survey also showed the vast majority of builders claim the government had not done enough to prepare the industry and members of the public for the standard’s potential impact. So, what can be done to bridge the knowledge gap about the coming measures? Designed to help the UK government fulfil its net-zero greenhouse gas emissions pledge by 2050, the Future Homes Standard sets the parameters for new housing to produce 75-80% less carbon emissions than 1990 levels. It means from 2025, gas boilers will not be permitted to heat new homes, which will be required to be future-proofed in order to use the electricity grid as a means of decarbonisation. This will encourage housebuilders to install electricity-only heat pumps or other adoptive technology. The new measures will also tighten standards for already-built homes in relation to extensions, replacements and repairs. This is intended to save energy, make homes warmer, and reduce fuel bills. Do new standards come at a cost? So, what do these new measures mean for builders? The FHS highlights a need for improving energy standards of a building’s fabric through correctly specified and installed insulation, but the construction industry as a whole must come to a general consensus as to how to achieve the future standard with the materials and renewables available to them. As outlined in the Housebuilder and Developer survey, one issue most respondents were agreed upon was the inevitability of the new measures incurring additional build costs, which it was assumed would be priced in as part of a house sale. Measures to improve living standards Tighter building regulations are set to be introduced via the FHS. Measures include contractors being required to take photographs as part of a more stringent on-site monitoring process. The pictures will be passed to homeowners, with the aim of giving them a better understanding of how the as-built energy calculation of their property was carried out. Such procedures could help improve living standards – an issue Recticel is seeking to address through its membership of the National Home Improvement Council (NHIC). The non-profit organisation was set up nearly 50 years ago to promote the benefits of safe and sustainable homes as a means of creating comfortable, affordable interiors. This is particularly aimed at occupants facing fuel poverty, a threat that’s been exacerbated for many households nationwide due to the current worldwide rise in energy prices. The NHIC endorses taking a fabric-first approach to improving a property’s thermal performance, as does another high-profile industry body which counts Recticel as a member: the Sustainable Energy Association (SEA). With a membership comprising retailers, manufacturers, regulators and housing providers, all of which are committed to energy-saving measures, the SEA aims to combine building-level technologies and the wider energy system to achieve a secure, low-carbon future for the UK. Sustainable benefits of innovative PIR solution  With its manufacture of Eurowall+, Recticel has created a solution that fulfils the most important criteria – namely thermal performance, as well as speed and ease of installation – when specifying insulation for its all-round sustainability. The rigid full-fill PIR board is the first of its kind to feature a tongue-and-groove joint on all four edges, an innovative detail that makes it capable of achieving a U-value of 0.18 W/m2K in a traditional 100mm masonry cavity wall. Its beneficial size, coupled with its improved airtightness from the tongue and groove joint, means Eurowall+ extracts more performance compared to typical partial-fill solutions without widening the footprint of the external wall. The 10mm air gap, which is created by a 90mm Eurowall+ PIR board achieving a U-value of 0.18 W/m2K in a traditional 100mm masonry cavity wall, makes for a more convenient fit for bricklayers when it comes to applying the insulation. This speeds-up installation times, thus reduces labour costs and time spent on site. Domestic thermal efficiency pays-off in the long-term The Housebuilder and Developer Magazine survey revealed that 25% of its customers considered issues concerning reducing the carbon footprint of homes of little-to-no interest. Additionally, 43% said it was a small factor to buyers. Survey respondents said improved government engagement through TV, social media or via the post was key to persuading the public that energy-efficient homes pay dividends in the long-term. In the UK, the financial benefits of owning a property that has sufficient thermal protection will soon be felt, with fuel costs expected to soar due to the global increase in the wholesale price of gas and energy supplies. In terms of enforcement, the FHS will comprise a series of amendments to Part F (ventilation) and Part L (conservation of fuel and power) of the Building Regulations for non-domestic buildings and dwellings; and overheating in new residential buildings. The legislation will be there in black and white which if followed correctly, will contribute to a greener environment for future generations to enjoy.

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Green light for first phase of Begbroke Science Park expansion

New research buildings will meet innovation needs of the future Oxford University Development (OUD) today confirms reserved matters planning consent has been granted for the first phase of its Begbroke Science Park expansion, which comprises two new state-of-the-art research buildings. This first phase of the scheme will bring forward new research facilities for the University’s Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences departments and associated groups, as well as providing space to incubate spin-out companies. The two buildings, totalling 12,500 sq. m., will house both academic and commercial research at the Science Park, north of Oxford. The development will also deliver improvements to sustainable transport infrastructure, as well as soft and hard landscaping and public art integrated into the landscape.   Anna Strongman, CEO, Oxford University Development, said: “This first phase of our vision to progress the design and development standards of Begbroke Science Park is one step closer to realisation thanks to the consent granted today. These new research facilities will be fit for the future needs of our research community, by providing high quality spaces for innovative work and collaboration.” OUD is a property development company set up under the £4bn joint venture between the University of Oxford and Legal & General Capital. Bolstering its long-term pension commitments by creating real assets which provide new jobs, housing, productivity and wage growth. Legal & General has invested over £30bn in levelling-up regional economies throughout the UK. This includes forming major partnerships with local and central governments, universities and local businesses in place such as Cardiff, Manchester and Newcastle, as well as Oxford. OUD is collaborating with Bruntwood SciTech as Development Manager for the first phase.

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Prologis acquires more prime logistics space in Coventry

Prologis, the UK’s leading developer and owner of logistics property, has acquired an additional building at its highly successful logistics park in Coventry, further strengthening its holdings in a core location. The 56,000 sq. ft. building, which is let to UK Flooring Direct until 2025, has been acquired for a consideration of £8 million from a UK fund. Prologis now owns and manages 1.86m sq. ft. of prime logistics space at the park, with potential for further expansion in the future. Built by Prologis in 2003 as a design-and-build project, the building has been bought back to help meet existing and future demand for logistics space in the area. From its location within the logistics ‘golden triangle’, at the heart of the UK’s motorway network, Prologis Park Coventry is less than 2 miles from Junction 3 of the M6. The site is currently fully-let and along with UK Flooring, customers include household names such as Bridgestone, DHL, Royal Mail and Co-Op. James Hemstock, Director in the Capital Deployment & Leasing team at Prologis UK, said: “This is a purchase which signals our commitment to strengthening our asset base at Prologis Park Coventry – an excellent location that continues to meet the needs of our customers in a core Midlands market. We hope that we will soon be in a position to extend the site further, so we can continue to meet demand for much-needed warehouse and logistics space within the logistics ‘golden triangle’.” Prologis was advised on the property acquisition by Acre Capital.

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The Royal Town Planning Institute responds to initial Levelling Up White Paper briefing

The Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove has released initial blueprints for the long-awaited Levelling Up White Paper. Victoria Hills, Chief Executive of RTPI, has put together the following statement in response: “The Royal Town Planning Institute is reservedly optimistic of the Secretary of State’s initial briefing. There is clear recognition of the built environment’s vital role in addressing economic inequality and shifting power closer to communities. Planning is more than delivering homes, it encompasses transport, health, work, environmental sustainability, and other policy areas across the missions that Michael Gove has mentioned. “The regeneration of 20 towns and cities is a positive first step for the Levelling Up White Paper. Previous regeneration projects have put strategic planning at their heart and shown how the planning system can set the context for development, creating a more sustainable and healthier built environment. The RTPI hope the model established by these schemes can be adopted across England to help communities restore pride in the places they live, work and interact. “Our members will be encouraged by these initial announcements. Planners are passionate about the communities that they live and work in. Our members tell us consistently that being resourced appropriately to engage communities and reflect their needs in development is the most important factor. The right level of support can help to make a planner’s career fulfilling and bring planning professionals to the table early and often can create better economies of scale. “The RTPI will be keeping a close watch in the coming days, but it is our ambition that the planning system will be provided with the adequate recognition and resourcing necessary to benefit housing delivery, better quality development and regional imbalances to create and shape communities that citizens can be proud of.”

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Zentia ceilings help a Welsh school to evolve

Five ceiling products from Zentia feature at Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg school. A plethora of products from leading UK ceilings manufacturer Zentia met a multitude of challenges at a redeveloped Welsh school. Five square-edged mineral products from Zentia were used on the £20 million regeneration of Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg school in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales, that included additional BB93 accommodation for 300 pupils. The modernisation and upgrade of facilities at the school saw the construction of five new extensions, including a design and technology teaching block, a new sports hall, and a reception area and dining hall. Zentia’s Perla tiles, which feature light reflectance of 86%, were used in the corridors and circulation spaces while sister Perla dB tiles, which perform to sound absorption Class C, featured in the classrooms. Anti-bacterial Bioguard Acoustic tiles, which also perform to sound absorption Class C, were used in the food technology classrooms, and Bioguard tiles, which are clean room classified to ISO 5, in the kitchens. Finally, Hydroboard tiles, which are 100% humidity resistant and perform to sound absorption Class A, were used with a Prelude non-corrosive suspension grid in the changing rooms and toilets. They were selected by Austin Smith Lord architects, who have specified Zentia many times before for school projects, as they met the aesthetic and acoustic requirements of this particular 11,000m2 steel-framed scheme. Architect Matthew Wray said: “Our valued client, Vale of Glamorgan County Council, was extremely happy with the project overall and it’s something we’re really proud of’.” Specialist sub-contractor Richard Kemble Contracts, who are a member of Zentia’s Pinnacle partnership scheme, had a team of up to 10 working on site, installing a total of 7,168m2 of Zentia products, for 28 months. Richard Kemble said: “This project was challenging as we were just starting when the pandemic hit which caused materials and labour shortages. It was also part phased refurbishment and that meant working around the school children and teachers during term time.” He added: “Zentia provided technical backup as some classrooms needed to have additional acoustic rating so further calculations were carried out and the Perla dB tile was specified and used in the majority of classrooms to maintain the optimum levels of acoustic performance.” Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg brings to life the school’s vision to create an exemplar environment on a single campus, where pupils start in primary school and finish sixth form all within one site. IT and the remodelled sixth-form area are now at the heart of the school, promoting Welsh language learning post-16. Main contractor ISG won the contract on the influential SEWSCAP capital works framework as part of the Welsh government’s 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme, designed to transform and upgrade the country’s education estate. Externally, ISG delivered six new multi-use games areas and a floodlit 3G all-weather rugby sports pitch, which is available for community use out of school hours. Zoe Price, group director for public sector frameworks at ISG, explained: “Important capital frameworks like SEWSCAP provide the space and early involvement that enables contractors to problem solve creatively and develop innovative solutions that prove transformative to programmes, budgets and social value outcomes for our local communities.” Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg won a ‘Highly Commended’ across the Value and Sustainability categories in the 2021 Constructing Excellence Wales awards. It was also a finalist in the Digital Construction and Innovation awards. The Vale of Glamorgan were also a finalist in the ‘Client of the Year’ award category and the council’s 21st Century Schools programme was also a finalist in the Integration and Collaborative Working and Value’ categories. The distributor was SIG Cardiff.

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Protecting an entire construction technology fleet

Construction technology is a large investment that businesses are usually willing to make to improve operations. However, the construction industry rarely invests in a warranty or service plan to protect new equipment. Here Lisa Cheshire, Inside Sales Specialist at SITECH® UK & Ireland, A Trimble Authorised Dealer, discusses how construction customer Galtec chose to go from no warranty, to a fully protected fleet to help reduce costs. Galtec provides civil engineering and groundworks for the housing industry throughout south-west England. Protecting their assets and maximising uptime has always been high on Galtec’s agenda but they had not yet invested in a warranty. With expert, money saving guidance from the team at SITECH, they decided to invest in a four-year Trimble Protection Plan on all 14 of their Trimble kits. In doing this Galtec have minimised the risk of unexpected, costly call outs and covered the cost of routine recalibration and replacements. Businesses typically protect their fleet in different ways, depending on the age of their technology. Newer products remain under factory warranty for set periods of time. Further protection can be taken out as warranties end, ensuring that they are always fully protected. There is flexibility to choose how long components are protected for and protection can cover selected set periods. For instance, if a construction business has a large job that is running for a year, they can take protection out on the equipment just for that period. Galtec chose to invest in protecting its technology fleet on an ongoing basis by opting for a four-year plan, meaning they will not have to renew their plan during this time. “Our fleet protection plan has given us the peace of mind that we won’t have any unexpected bills to pay if machines break down in the middle of a job for the next four years,” explained Jim Swift, GPS Manager at Galtec. “When a part needs to be taken off site and repaired, SITECH quickly turns the part round, so we have as little downtime as possible.” “Galtec immediately understood the value that the Trimble Protection Plan would give” Carl Parsons, Regional Sales Manager at SITECH UK & Ireland explained. “The cheapest technology part to replace typically costs more than an entire year’s warranty, so Galtec will quickly see a return on investment as its parts are recalibrated, serviced and replaced over time.” Compared to the costs of a construction machine, investing the small cost to fully protect a fleet from any eventuality and get access to experienced technology professionals will provide clear return on investment. To find out more about reducing downtime on your construction site, visit the website http://www.sitechukandireland.com/products or call Lisa Cheshire to start the discussion about your Trimble Protection Plan options on 07736631988. 

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MAJOR CONSTRUCTION COMPLETES AT LEADING NOTTS DEMENTIA CARE HOME  

CONSTRUCTION has completed at leading dementia care specialists Church Farm Care’s Rusticus home in Cotgrave – making its vision of expanding its revolutionary model of dementia care to include this latest location a reality.  From alterations to the internal layout of the existing building as well as the construction of brand-new elements of the site, the development will support family members living at the home to enjoy greater independence and quality of life.    Patrick Atkinson, director of Church Farm Care, said: “Seeing the site develop, from initial concepts through to delivery, has been incredibly exciting and we’re thrilled to finally be able to open the doors, not just to our family members but also to the local community.    “There’s no arguing that the past few years have been challenging for all of our staff and family members due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. So being able to celebrate Rusticus’ completion is extremely rewarding and a fantastic way to start the new year.”   The completed phase has seen the addition of Hickling Lodge, a state of the art 30 -bedroom standalone building with new lounges and lifestyle kitchens that are furnished and equipped to the highest standard.    Patrick added: “The location of Rusticus also makes a huge difference to our family members, as the surrounding woodlands help to create a sense of calm and tranquility. Everyone is looking forward to enjoying the outdoors and the walk-through aviary when spring arrives. Meanwhile, those who don’t want to venture too far will be able to benefit from bedrooms and lounges that all have views and access to outdoor patios and balconies to take in the beautiful woodland scenery.     “Our plans for this extension weren’t just about creating more comfortable and accessible environments for our family members but were also about helping to ensure they remain an integral part of the community through features that bring the public into the home. After two years in and out of lockdowns this has never been more important, and we can’t wait to be able to welcome people in the months to come.”   The development also includes a brand-new social club, Socius, which includes a cafe, hairdressers, and cinema for both residents and the community to access and enjoy.   Church Farm Care has four homes in Nottingham – three of which offer specialist dementia nursing within innovative and supportive environments.   For more information about Church Farm Care, please visit www.churchfarmcare.co.uk.   

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THE NEW AGE OF INSURANCE CONSTRUCTION RISK: DETECTING FIRE WITH WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY

In the construction sector, the leading cause of financial losses between 2016-2020 was fire – resulting in insurance claims reaching a staggering €11.3bn. With engineering and construction playing a vital role in Europe’s economic recovery amidst COVID-19, the industry can’t afford to not take the risk of fire seriously. What’s more, any fire protection measures must be robust if they are to meet the requirements of insurance providers. Nicolas Lochet, Regional Technical Manager for Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty explains the relationship between fire and insurance for the construction industry. This includes how wireless fire protection solutions can mitigate risk and support insurance cover or claims for construction sites. How has evaluating risks in construction changed over the last five years? The switch to sustainable energy and the adoption of modern building methods is already transforming the risk landscape, with radical changes in design, materials, and construction processes. These changes mean that risk engineers need to be integrated far more cohesively into each project, enabling a deeper understanding to be acquired, along with a tailored made assessment. In terms of the new kinds of risks being evaluated, there are three main areas. Firstly, modular construction is growing rapidly in pace, which brings with it enhanced exposures, particularly in the use of timber, which can breed multiple fire risks should an incident occur. Secondly, extreme weather events have caused large losses for the property insurance market in recent years, driven by climate change. Then there’s the risks associated with the digitalisation of construction. Cyber exposures, particularly from a data point of view, are of huge concern for site bosses, particularly when you take into account large-scale projects, which can have millions of data points that each have to be individually protected and managed safely. What has been the biggest headache for insurers and primary risk in construction? In our latest research document, ‘Examining the new age of construction risk’, we undertook a huge analysis over a five-year period examining the top named causes in EU engineering and construction claims between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2020. Our analysis, of 29,640 claims, uncovered that fire was responsible for more than a quarter of the value of all construction insurance losses, toppling more than £11bn in total. Alongside this, natural hazards accounted for almost one in five claims, so the need to manage site safety from a fire accident or emergency point of view is a critical element site managers need to account for. During redevelopment/renovations, many sites are forced to disable a permanent fire alarm whilst works are ongoing. Are sites insured if they don’t use a temporary fire alarm system or waking watch during this period? Some insurers on the market may insure in this respect, but not many. Our own policy makes a temporary alarm system a mandatory or highly recommended requirement above a certain threshold of values, or total sum insured. It is also important that this is checked on a country-by-country basis, but if going through a global provider, the risks will more than likely be assessed the same regardless of region or market. Our own policy is that projects of a similar nature will require the same level of protection for all hazards. If a fire takes place on a construction site that hasn’t got a temporary fire alarm system installed, will this affect the insurance pay out? If a claim occurs and the cause and consequences are covered by the insurance contract, the insurer will pay. However, when the project is submitted, the presence or lack of a temporary fire alarm system is assessed. It is then the choice of the insurer whether or not to cover the risk. What is the average pay-out time frame once a major incident has taken place (for example, a fire, collapse, flood etc.)? Depending on the complexity of the claim, around two years is usual. Determining loss is a long and complex process, and project managers should take into account the fact that most insurers will require some pre-payment to start the work. This is why having a robust fire safety system to prevent the risk to a construction site is imperative, even whilst construction is taking place. How can construction bosses mitigate the risk of fire and how is technology changing the game? Communications technologies play an ever-increasing role in emergency response and rescue efforts, as well as overall personal safety. Apps can provide operators, staff and safety employees with one-click access to site-specific emergency protocols, resources as well as emergency notifications and access to critical information. What’s important is to train staff to use the apps, to make it intuitive in the intent to save time and lives in responding to emergency situations. This is where advanced wireless fire emergency response systems are so useful to construction sites. Using smart equipment, integrated with an IoT software platform, creates a community where workers are connected with their environment, safety managers and their wider team – helping to bring 24/7 safety to sites. Solutions like the Ramtech WES3 fire evacuation detection system eliminates the need for a hardwired power source, which is important as not all construction sites will be connected to the grid. Each unit is placed at strategic points across the site and powered by a battery, with a three-year life under normal use, to secure the job site during all phases of construction, whether electricity is available or not. When this EN54-25 compliant connected device is seamlessly integrated into cloud-based platforms, such as REACT, this then allows for real-time fire monitoring for alerts even remotely. Furthermore, these alerts can be automatically redirected to emergency authorities should the worst happen. In summary, utilising wireless technology to help protect construction sites from the risk of fire is hugely beneficial. When considering the lengthy pay-out timeframes and uncertainties over risk definitions when it comes to insurance, it makes sense to ensure that everything that can be put in place to stop a fire from happening, or to

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