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January 12, 2023

Timber import patterns witnessed a considerable shift in 2022, says TDUK

Timber import patterns witnessed a considerable shift in 2022, says TDUK

2022 witnessed a considerable shift in timber trading patterns, with the Republic of Ireland, Latvia, and China supplying significant volumes to the UK. Softwood imports from the Republic of Ireland (ROI) increased by 48% in 2022, overtaking supplies from both Germany and Russia. This comes despite low overall softwood volumes,

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Wates FM appoints new divisional Managing Directors

Wates FM appoints new divisional Managing Directors

Wates has appointed two senior level directors to lead its facilities management and southern planned housing maintenance businesses.  Antony Collett joins as Managing Director (MD) for the facilities management (FM) business and replaces James Gregg, who has moved into the role of MD of the southern planned division, housing maintenance,

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Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals

Financial expert shares top tips for tradespeople heading into 2023

The financial side of running a trade business can be challenging and complicated, but it’s important to get it right otherwise you could end up losing money.  Research by ElectricalDirect found that almost three-quarters (74%) of UK tradespeople don’t feel confident handling their company finances and many have ended up

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Plans approved for redevelopment of Harlow bus station

Plans approved for redevelopment of Harlow bus station

Harlow Council has approved plans to redevelop the town centre’s bus station and Terminus Street area. The proposals, which form part of Harlow Council’s town centre regeneration plans, were approved by the council’s Development Management Committee. The overhaul will be made possible thanks to government support secured by the council

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BDC 318 : Jul 2024

January 12, 2023

Timber import patterns witnessed a considerable shift in 2022, says TDUK

Timber import patterns witnessed a considerable shift in 2022, says TDUK

2022 witnessed a considerable shift in timber trading patterns, with the Republic of Ireland, Latvia, and China supplying significant volumes to the UK. Softwood imports from the Republic of Ireland (ROI) increased by 48% in 2022, overtaking supplies from both Germany and Russia. This comes despite low overall softwood volumes, with imports in October 2022 down 28% from 2021. Hardwood import patterns also varied, with Latvia overtaking the USA as the leading country of supply. Overall hardwood imports increased by 15% in 2022, with 22% provided by Latvia and 16% by the USA. China has cemented itself as a key supplier in the plywood category, providing 68% of hardwood plywood and 20% of softwood plywood. TDUK Head of Technical and Trade, Nick Boulton, said: “The first ten months of 2022 proved interesting, with traditional import patterns shifting as the year progressed. “Against a backdrop of generally low softwood volumes, Irish imports have proved an exception, with Irish spruce proving a cost-effective option for many merchants. “The hardwood trade has outperformed all other wood sectors in the first ten months of 2022 with volumes growing across the category. “The pallet and packaging trade is driving much of the growth in Latvian hardwoods, with these lower-priced, more temperate species substituting typically used softwood. “There are several reasons for increasing Chinese volumes in the Plywood sector, however high South American freight costs earlier in the year and Russian sanctions starting in March 2022 are largely responsible. “These varying trade patterns highlight the resilience and adaptability of the timber trade, with alternative sources being found to satisfy demand at the most cost-effective market rate.” Members can read the full statistics report here Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals

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Arloid launches new partnership programme to drive reduction in energy consumption using AI

Arloid launches new partnership programme to drive reduction in energy consumption using AI Technology

Arloid Automation of London is launching a new partnership programme to enable property professionals and specifiers to access AI technology to reduce their customers’ energy use in the properties they manage in a move towards sustainability, net-zero carbon and savings on utility bills. This is also increasingly important with a lack of certainty as to energy supply provision towards the end of 2023. Property professionals and specifiers are invited to join the partnership programme to offer their customers a reduction in their energy costs, as well as providing energy efficient buildings and an additional income stream. Developers, construction companies, building and facilities managers, utility providers, security companies, energy saving companies are all invited to join the partnership programme. Arloid Automation offers training and marketing resources to industry partners to support them in providing AI solutions to their customers and thus bring significant energy and carbon savings to a wider market. Artificial intelligence – used in conjunction with any building management system – can fine tune the operation of a building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems with remarkable precision. This results in increased comfort for building occupants coupled with energy savings of up to 22%. Dr. Andrey Seleznev, Chief Commercial Officer at Arloid said:  “We are looking forward to introducing new partnerships across Europe, Turkey, and the United States. Our established partners in the Middle East are going from strength to strength resulting in additional revenue streams, energy reduction for tenants and sought after buildings with lower ongoing bills.” It’s becoming increasingly clear that energy use needs to be reduced now to preserve and ensure that supplies are available in the future as well as lowering carbon emissions. The built environment has the most potential as it is responsible for about 40% of global energy use and emits around a third of the greenhouse gases (according to the United Nations Environment Programme).  Property professionals and specifiers are invited to be a part of the solution by partnering with Arloid Automation to make this happen:  the operation of a building management system with AI technology is now available but it is only possible by working together that the move can be made towards a more sustainable, resilient future. For more details on the partnership programme see:  https://arloid.com/become-a-partner Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals

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Wates FM appoints new divisional Managing Directors

Wates FM appoints new divisional Managing Directors

Wates has appointed two senior level directors to lead its facilities management and southern planned housing maintenance businesses.  Antony Collett joins as Managing Director (MD) for the facilities management (FM) business and replaces James Gregg, who has moved into the role of MD of the southern planned division, housing maintenance, having been managing both businesses since December 2021. Antony brings more than 20 years’ experience within the FM and real estate industries, with senior roles at Maintenance Management Ltd, Integral UK and Verisae. His most recent role was Managing Director at Mitie where he was responsible for large scale transformation within its Technical Services business. James is a Wates veteran, having taken a number of roles in the fit out and refurbishment business, ending as pre-construction and strategy director before moving on to lead the FM business in July 2016.  In their new roles, both Antony and James will be responsible for delivering each business’ ambitious growth plans by strengthening existing customer relationships and growing their business in current and new markets, including Wates’ drive to help customers achieve their net zero carbon.  David Morgan, Executive Managing Director, Wates Property Services, said: “In Antony and James, we have two excellent leaders for two critical parts of our business. Our FM business has gone from strength to strength in the last few years under James’ leadership and has had another record-breaking year in 2022.  “Antony brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our business, and we are looking forward to welcoming him to Wates and see him build on the great foundations we have in place. Since taking on the leadership of our south planned division, James has delivered some amazing results. I look forward to seeing them both take our businesses to new levels that help us achieve our ambitious growth plans.”     Wates is currently delivering planned and responsive housing maintenance to over 500,000 social housing properties and FM services to over 350 properties across the public and private sectors in England.  Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals

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"No Compare" Why framework comparison is becoming riskier business

“No Compare” Why framework comparison is becoming riskier business

At a time when the framework market is more competitive than ever, it can be tempting for public sector organisations to shop around for one that ostensibly gives the lowest cost and – in their view – best ‘value for money’. However, Jason Stapley, chief executive at Pagabo, warns that while this may seem a prudent approach in a difficult financial environment, pitting frameworks against each other is like comparing apples to oranges. Frameworks have long provided a mutually beneficial for clients and suppliers alike, and the flexibility, variety and competition that they provide have been huge drivers for sustained growth in the market in recent years.  While this exponential growth can create healthy competition – something that is always good providing it is driving up overall standards – it can create a mindset for clients where they play various frameworks off against each other to see where the best offer lies. There is nothing wrong with public sector organisations taking an approach where they assess the broad market of frameworks available and make an informed decision – the reality is that every penny saved on procurement is another one to reinvest in the project itself.  However, the danger of a surface-level comparison is that it doesn’t give due credence to the complexities of the respective frameworks, and may end up costing the client in the long run. AVOID THE TRAP At Pagabo, we often find organisations coming to us requesting information on a relevant framework, with the caveat that they are also looking at other providers for the purposes of comparison. The crux of the issue with that approach is that no two frameworks are exactly the same. Each provider – and therefore, each individual framework – will be structured differently in its terms of reference and where the risk lies at different stages in the process. The other area in which comparison is particularly futile is with fees. It is the easiest thing in the world for organisations to take a rudimentary look at fees on frameworks and simply plump for the lowest, but the reality is that providers structure their fees in entirely different ways. Many framework providers will eschew a standard cost and claim to be “no fee”, but what that typically means is that they will cover that amount in the overhead and profit percentages they charge, meaning the client is in no better position than they would be with an up-front fee. SERVICE ABOVE ALL Another key area in which comparison can be challenging is the service that is offered by framework providers themselves, and the subsequent added value for money this can provide. The ongoing expansion of the market means that there are ever-increasing numbers of providers out there that simply act as procurement portals, pushing out frameworks with little consideration for market need and without the added support for clients during the process. This not only creates a false economy, but damages the perception of framework providers in general. In the vast majority of cases, those organisations looking to use frameworks are in need of the additional support of procurement professionals that are experts in their particular field. In that sense, paying what on the surface may seem like a higher fee is actually worth its weight in gold over the lifecycle of the project, as you have access to ongoing resource and support that may not have been there had they opted for a framework that was ostensibly the cheaper option. SETTING THE STANDARD The Construction Playbook and the ‘Constructing the Gold Standard’ report have both called for greater standards to be placed on frameworks, something which has been a long time coming. Even though the ‘gold standard’ is still falling short in many areas, the multitude of benefits of framework working mean that it is very much here to stay, and the better framework providers are consistently engaging with the market to identify what its needs are. However, if clients are taking an approach of playing these providers and their services off against each other, we as an industry will find ourselves in the kind of race to the bottom that frameworks are supposed to protect against. By choosing a framework on its individual merits rather than a false comparison, you are much more likely to find one that works for your requirements in the short term and builds strong relationships for the long term. For more information, please visit https://www.pagabo.co.uk/ Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals

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Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals

Financial expert shares top tips for tradespeople heading into 2023

The financial side of running a trade business can be challenging and complicated, but it’s important to get it right otherwise you could end up losing money.  Research by ElectricalDirect found that almost three-quarters (74%) of UK tradespeople don’t feel confident handling their company finances and many have ended up making a loss on jobs because of pricing errors (25%).  While many tradespeople are excellent at their jobs, dealing with finances is a different thing entirely, which is where businesses can fail. One option is to outsource your finances to qualified accountants or to use financial advisers to help you make wise decisions. For example, bfinance.com offers skilled investment advisors to help businesses and individuals alike improve their cashflow. However, there are always ways that individual tradespeople can improve their financial skills and literacy. With this in mind, the electrical retailer has partnered with Rick Smith, Managing Director at Forbes Burton, to share five pieces of expert financial advice for tradespeople as we head into 2023.  “As a small business owner, your income depends on the payment you get from your customers. However, getting funds from your clients on time can be difficult, and this can cause a strain on your mental health and well-being.  “To avoid this problem, it’s best to try and implement a ‘50% up front’ policy. Doing this will help maintain a steady cash flow. It will also help you identify genuine customers interested in your product or services; thus, you save time, resources and money.”  “Your most important asset, as a business owner, is your savings. You can rely on your savings in difficult times or when you need to handle unexpected expenses. Besides that, you can also take a break when you need or want one. It is crucial that you have cash reserves as they allow you to handle these expenses.  “If you want to be comfortable, it is advisable to save 30% of your earnings each month.”  “Tax returns are usually put off for a long time, and you will find this last on the to-do list for most people. Voilà, it’s another year, and you are rushing to submit your tax returns with just a few days to go, which may turn out to be larger than your expectations.  “The easiest solution is to prepare your tax returns as early as possible after April 6th. Doing this will help you handle this critical task on your to-do list efficiently and quickly. Also, it informs you of the amount to pay the following January; thus, you get to avoid any horrible surprises, and you have a lot of time to save if the need arises.”  “We’ve learned from the previous few years that the financial landscape is anything but predictable. Thus, you need to have plans for different scenarios that may happen in 2023 as a business owner.  “How much money have you saved for possible eventualities? What kind of help or options are available? There is no such thing as being over-prepared.”  For expert advice on how to handle your company finances, visit: https://www.electricaldirect.co.uk/blog/financial-expert-shares-top-four-tips-for-electricians    Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals

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RIBA-approved CPD will help architects and builders change working practices in line with Part L revisions

RIBA-approved CPD will help architects and builders change working practices in line with Part L revisions

Architects, builders and building control officers scratching their heads about how to comply with the changes to Part L which came into force last year could find a RIBA-approved CPD, created by insulation experts Actis, will help unveil and summarise all the upcoming changes. The free one-hour Tomorrow’s Insulation Solutions for Future Homes Standards CPD module gives guidance on how to meet revised energy efficiency targets which see new build homes having to reduce carbon emissions by 31% over previous levels. The Actis CPD, which has also been certified by the Construction CPD Certification Service, will look at different tactics to help achieve the greater goal of building Net Zero by 2050, such as the increased importance of having a ‘fabric first’ approach. Actis regional specification manager and co-author of the CPD, Amaret Chahal, explained: “Making sure everyone is confident in understanding the Part L changes and what it means for us to futureproof our buildings, is the main focus of this new CPD. We’ve simplified and summarised all the changes that are happening now, while making it clear that this is ultimately another stepping stone towards the Future Homes Standard. “Combining more use of efficient building technologies with a thermally sound building structure is the key to achieving lowering requirements. Reducing the need for energy in the first place is essential, which means minimising overall heat loss through thermal bridging and improving air tightness.” The CPD will look in detail at ways to improve U-values, reduce thermal bridging, address the performance gap and improve air tightness. And to ensure these changes don’t create a problem in the other direction, it will look at how to ensure there are no issues with overheating. “The key way to minimise thermal bridging is to make sure insulation is continuous and has no gaps,” explained Amaret.  “Using flexible reflective insulation, such as those in the Actis Hybrid range including an insulated breather membrane and vapour control layer, is an excellent way of achieving this. Because Hybris doesn’t need to be cut with 100 per cent accuracy like solid insulation, it can be moulded into corners, gaps and awkward junctions, making for a snug, leak-free fit.” Amaret, the self-styled Actis CPD queen, likes nothing better than helping customers tackle complex specification issues, making her the ideal co-creator of the company’s fourth CPD alongside its UK and Ireland technical director Thomas Wiedmer. The CPD will also look at SAP 10, the latest update to the Standard Assessment Procedure, which is incorporated within the revised Part L regulations and designed to ensure correct thermal modelling junctions are used. The Standard Assessment Procedure is used to work out the predicted energy use and emission rate of a dwelling. It assesses how much energy will be used, how much of it will be lost or gained, how efficient the home is at retaining heat, and ensures minimum fabric energy efficiency requirements are met. The CPD looks at how a building’s energy efficiency is quantified by offsetting heat losses against heat gains and examines the eight areas which have been updated under the new, revised SAP 10. It highlights changes to default y-values, the removal of Accredited Construction Details (ACD’s) and reminds developers of penalties for those who don’t consider heat loss through building junctions by simply overlooking the value of having thermal modelled junctions. This summer’s Part L changes is another step in the direction towards far more stringent energy efficiency requirements for new homes, which will be laid down under the forthcoming Future Homes Standard, expected to be in place by 2025. That in turn will play a key role in enabling the UK Construction industry to meet its 2050 net zero target. Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals

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Hexagon unveils the new release of PV Elite® for the design and analysis of pressure vessels and heat exchangers

Hexagon unveils the new release of PV Elite® for the design and analysis of pressure vessels and heat exchangers

Hexagon’s Asset Lifecycle Intelligence division, a global leader in digital reality solutions, today announced the availability of a new version of PV Elite, its complete software solution for vessel and heat exchanger design, analysis and evaluation. Since its launch three decades ago, PV Elite has helped users have confidently design equipment for the most extreme uses. The new version provides them with expanded capabilities for unparalleled safety. Specifically, this latest release incorporates all the tools necessary to perform a broad range of vessel analysis and boundary-defining data inputs, enabling engineers to efficiently design and quickly comprehend results that ensure safety.  It includes: This version of PV Elite also includes user experience enhancements, making it easy to learn, start up and use for new and experienced engineers alike. It streamlines data entry by breaking input into sensible subsets, while analysis may be done in one pass over the entire pressure vessel model or on individual components (such as shells, nozzles, flanges, etc.). Kristin Coyle, Product Owner, Hexagon’s Asset Lifecycle Intelligence division, said, “Pressure vessel engineers are tasked with projects that vary greatly by size, type and material. This new version of PV Elite provides them with everything they need to improve their productivity, save time and optimize engineering design using enhanced data capabilities. In addition, it’s easier than ever to learn and use, which makes it perfect for users requiring fast start-up and confidence in their safety code calculations.” Maximilian Stechhammer, Head of Sales & Marketing, Hering AG, said, “PV Elite has helped us save time and money. We have reduced our engineering and calculation costs by 30%. We have also kept our quality level high, as PV Elite is an excellent tool for designing and validating our products.”

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Plans approved for redevelopment of Harlow bus station

Plans approved for redevelopment of Harlow bus station

Harlow Council has approved plans to redevelop the town centre’s bus station and Terminus Street area. The proposals, which form part of Harlow Council’s town centre regeneration plans, were approved by the council’s Development Management Committee. The overhaul will be made possible thanks to government support secured by the council as part of its successful £23.7m Towns Fund bid. The planning permission makes way to develop a new transport hub and interchange for Harlow bus station services, as well as a cycle hub and dramatic improvements to the area’s public realm amenities and landscaping. Works, which are due to start in the coming months, will deliver: • The entire redevelopment of the bus station and Terminus Street • A new single-storey transport hub to the north of the site, with green space and a canopy covered waiting area • A cycle hub to the south with storage space for up to 80 cycles • Flexible events space • A new exit for buses from Terminus Street onto Crown Gate • Transformation of Terminus Street • The removal of the bridge connecting East Walk and Terminus House • A new entry area to Terminus House, with a lift to serve the first and second floors • Works to the existing Terminus House bin store. The development will support both existing public transport routes and proposed sustainable transport corridor routes, which will promote walking and cycling, as part of the development of Harlow and Gilston Garden Town. The inclusion of green areas and an events space will also help to transform the overall character of the area and create a welcoming environment. “This is another major step forward for the regeneration of the town centre following the recent purchases of Occasio House and the Harvey Centre, the £46 million investment from Strawberry Star and the many other plans that are coming into fruition – all in line with our Town Centre Masterplan,” said Councillor Dan Swords, Deputy Leader of the Council. “This transformation of Terminus Street and the entire rebuilding of the bus station area will completely overhaul a run-down part of the town centre into a welcoming gateway into Harlow’s new town centre. The new transport hub will allow for sustainable transport and cycling and will be built to the highest quality, with fantastic landscaping, public realm and build quality. This has all been made possible by the £23.7 million Towns Fund investment from the government which will also transform Broad Walk too – seamlessly connecting the new gateway into the town centre with the high street. “This is truly a historic moment for our town as the regeneration of the town centre motors on with construction work starting shortly. We are delivering on the council’s commitment to entirely rebuild our town centre and to restore pride in our town. We are also continuing our work with all our other regeneration priorities for the town, like building new council homes, repairing existing council homes and restoring pride in the town,” he added. Building, Design and Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals

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