BDC

Search
BDC Magazine

July 28, 2023

BESA backs call to triple retrofit recruitment

BESA backs call to triple retrofit recruitment

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has called for a major injection of funding and planning into addressing the skills shortage which is preventing the refurbishment and retrofitting of buildings in line with the government’s carbon reduction targets. A study by the recruitment firm Reed Environment estimated that current rates

Read More »
O’Keefe prepares the ground for pioneering modular development

O’Keefe prepares the ground for pioneering modular development

O’Keefe is carrying out the second phase of groundworks and infrastructure works for a new residential development by modular off-site specialist TopHat. Although located on the site of the historic Kitchener Barracks in Kent, the apartments themselves are precision-engineered at TopHat’ s factory in Derbyshire and delivered to site ready

Read More »
Thames Water extends Barhale appointment through AMP8

Thames Water extends Barhale appointment through AMP8

Thames Water has extended Barhale’s AMP7 framework appointment by five years to the conclusion of AMP8 in March 2030. The AMP8 (2025-2030) programme will see Thames Water continue to invest in its water and wastewater network which serves 15 million people across London and the Thames Valley. The water company

Read More »
DMWR Architects Senior Director appointed as Compliance Inspector

DMWR Architects Senior Director appointed as Compliance Inspector

Senior Director, John Neale has been appointed as Compliance Inspector as part of the Government’s Building Safety Act to improve competence levels and accountability in the sector. The role further strengthens DMWR’s expertise in the cladding and remediation of non-compliant buildings for G15 Housing Associations, private developers, tier 1 contractors

Read More »

Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024

July 28, 2023

Bellway buys land to deliver new homes on former hospital site in Romford

Bellway buys land to deliver new homes on former hospital site in Romford

Bellway Thames Gateway has acquired a parcel of land on the former site of Harold Wood Hospital in Romford, where it hopes to build 96 new homes. The housebuilder has bought the 2.83-acre site off Copse Avenue – formerly home to the hospital’s Long Term Condition Centre and now vacant – from NHS Property Services, . Bellway Thames Gateway aims to deliver a mix of one and two-bedroom apartments and three and four-bedroom houses for private sale, alongside affordable apartments available for local people through low-cost rent or shared ownership. The apartments would be delivered in two five-storey blocks, while there would be a total of 98 car parking spaces at the site. As part of the purchase, Bellway has agreed to provide 23 car parking spaces for the neighbouring NHS Harold Wood Polyclinic. Matt Waterworth is Senior Transaction Manager for NHS Property Services, which enables excellent patient care by acting as a trusted advisor to the NHS and by providing the best estate solutions. He said: “We are pleased to be completing on the sale of this site, which will enable us to reinvest funds back into the NHS helping to tackle the biggest estates challenges, unlocking greater value and ensuring patients can get the care they need in the right place and space for them.” The former hospital in Gubbins Lane began life as a convalescent home for children when it was opened by West Ham County Borough Council in 1909. It became an emergency hospital during the Second World War and was retained as a hospital thereafter. The hospital closed in 2006 after services were relocated to Queen’s Hospital in Romford and the King George Hospital in Ilford. The former hospital site is now home to the Kings Park residential neighbourhood, where plans for 810 homes were given outline planning permission in 2010. The land acquired by Bellway will be one of the final parcels of the hospital land to be redeveloped. Will Weston-Smith, Head of Land for Bellway Thames Gateway, said: “The acquisition of this parcel of land will enable us to deliver a collection of high-quality new homes in a highly sustainable location just half a mile from local amenities including shops, restaurants and convenience stores. “Our proposals will deliver much-needed new homes for the private market as well as a significant proportion of affordable housing, which will be available to local people who cannot afford to buy their own home. “The site is incredibly well located for commuters needing to get into central London. Harold Wood train station is just a 10-minute walk away and has regular services into Liverpool Street and Stratford via the new Elizabeth line. It’s also close to the A12, A127 and the M25, providing easy access to the wider road network. “We are now finalising our detailed plans for this project and are working with the local authority prior to submitting an application for the new homes later this year.” Bellway Thames Gateway is currently building new homes across London, Essex, Kent, and Surrey. For more information, visit https://www.bellway.co.uk/new-homes/thames-gateway. Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals 

Read More »
Passengers urged to plan ahead of major rail track upgrades in Huddersfield

Passengers urged to plan ahead of major rail track upgrades in Huddersfield

Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU) is reminding passengers travelling along the rail line between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York to plan their journeys ahead of time, as track upgrades in Huddersfield are due to take place each weekend throughout September and October. Over the two months, hundreds of engineers working on the multi-billion-pound scheme will replace approximately 650m of railway tracks. This work will enable trains to travel at higher speeds and improve the overall reliability of services passing through the area in the future, as the number of railway tracks will increase from two to four. While the railway line through Huddersfield will be temporarily closed to facilitate the upgrades, passengers will be kept on the move through a combination of diversionary routes and rail replacement buses. Gareth Hope, Sponsor for the Transpennine Route Upgrade said “Between September and October, we’ll be renewing the railway tracks in Huddersfield each weekend. This work is a key aspect of our wider upgrades and will not only allow for trains to travel at higher speeds in the future, but also increase the reliability of services.” “We’re committed to ensuring a smooth transition during the upgrades and passengers can rely on a mixture of diversionary routes and rail replacement buses to keep them moving.” “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their patience and understanding while the work takes place and remind customer to check www.nationalrailenquiries.co.uk or their respective train operator’s if travelling over this period”. Additionally in August, engineers will complete railway bridge upgrades in the Huddersfield area on 6, 13, 19, 20 August 2023. These upgrades will allow the number of railway lines to increase, by strengthening the bridge structures to support more weight. Chris Nutton, Major Projects Director for TransPennine Express, said: “This vital work is key to the overall modernisation of the railway that will be taking place as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade, which will help deliver a faster and more sustainable service for our customers who travel between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York.  “We’d like to thank our customers in advance for their patience while this work take place. To keep customers on the move, there will be some changes to our services, including diversions, and we advise our anyone to check carefully before travelling. We’ll have extra staff on hand at stations to help customers who are travelling on days affected by this work.”  The track upgrades are essential for achieving the TRU’s vision of creating a cleaner, greener, and more reliable railway system, bringing improved connectivity and travel experiences to passengers traveling across the Pennines. Tony Baxter, Regional Director at Northern, said: “Whilst this work is essential and will lay the foundations for the transformation of Huddersfield station, we appreciate that nobody likes the thought of disruption to their journeys. That’s why we’ve worked hard to keep our customers on trains, with trains running as normal during these works between Sheffield, Barnsley and Lockwood, connecting with just a short bus journey between Lockwood and Huddersfield. I’d like to thank customers in advance for bearing with us whilst this work takes place.” TRU will enhance rail connectivity and improve travel experiences for passengers traveling between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds, and York, better connecting towns and cities through more frequent, faster trains, running on a cleaner, greener and more reliable railway. Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals 

Read More »
Office Principles North delivers skills company’s new sustainable Solihull office

Office Principles North delivers skills company’s new sustainable Solihull office

Interior design consultancy Office Principles North, has completed the design and delivery of the new green office of Energy & Utility Skills in Solihull. Office Principles North has handed over 5,000 sq ft of CAT B office space on the first floor of Avon House off the A34 Stratford Road, near Shirley. Its design facilitates hybrid working for up to 70 employees, offering a combination of modern, open plan office space, with hot desking, meeting rooms and collaboration and breakout areas. Sustainability is a key feature of the fit out, in line with Energy & Utility Skills’ vision of ‘skills for a greener world’, and boasts a range of environmentally friendly features such as biophilia, planting and a moss wall. The scheme has been independently assessed as having surpassed sustainability good practice criteria and is one of only a handful of UK office fit out projects to have achieved Ska gold certification. Energy & Utility Skills has signed a ten-year lease at Avon House and has relocated to the building from Blythe Valley Business Park. Katie Jarvis, account manager at Office Principles North, said that Energy & Utility Skills is one of many employers that have chosen to redesign office space to support hybrid working.She said: “The role of the office continues to evolve from solely being a place where work is carried out, to a destination that promotes collaboration and brings people together. “Energy & Utility Skills is committed to providing an inspiring and inclusive workplace for its employees and clients. We have delivered a flexible space where people have the freedom to move around and work in different ways, giving them a great experience. “As a business that operates in the energy and utilities sector, the environment is hugely important to Energy & Utility Skills, so we used the Ska rating method to ensure that the project followed sustainability good practice criteria.” The fit out is the latest project awarded to Office Principles North in the West Midlands. The firm has previously completed the design and refurbishment of 148 and 154 Great Charles Street in Birmingham city centre on behalf of Ergo Real Estate, the creation of 24,000 sq ft of Grade A office space at nearby Summer Row for Aegon Asset Management, and the Solihull headquarters of fast-growing underwear and apparel brand, Lounge. More recently it delivered more than 23,000 sq ft of CAT A office accommodation on level 14 of Birmingham’s The Cube, and the new Birmingham home of law firm Shoosmiths at 103 Colmore Row. Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals 

Read More »
The Skills Centre welcomes the UK Government’s biggest cladding funding scheme

The Skills Centre welcomes the UK Government’s biggest cladding funding scheme

One of the UK’s leading construction skills training companies The Skills Centre, which is currently running specialist cladding skills bootcamps in London, welcomes the announcement that the UK government will be providing more funding for cladding removal. Jon Howlin, CEO The Skills Centre, says: “This is great step for building safety in the UK and will hopefully bring some comfort to those whose properties are affected by removing burden of funding remedial works.. “However, there is still a huge shortfall in trained personnel to complete the works safely. Continued investment in building the workforce is required to ensure remedial works are completed by individuals with the correct training and experience. For those interested in entering construction, this is a great opportunity to specialise from the start, and with funding in place, and 30 years of buildings to retrofit, there are great career opportunities in cladding. “To open the doors to these opportunities, The Skills Centre has led a collaboration with The Greater London Authority, CITB and leading employers to design a bespoke, 7-week bootcamp. Delivered from our specialist facility near Stratford, the newly launched programme provides learners with the specialist skills, knowledge and, crucially, site experience they need to start making the UK’s buildings safer for everyone. “Employers or learners interested in taking part can learn more online or get in touch with the team: https://theskillscentre.co.uk/courses-services/rainscreen-cladding-bootcamp” Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals 

Read More »
BESA backs call to triple retrofit recruitment

BESA backs call to triple retrofit recruitment

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has called for a major injection of funding and planning into addressing the skills shortage which is preventing the refurbishment and retrofitting of buildings in line with the government’s carbon reduction targets. A study by the recruitment firm Reed Environment estimated that current rates of recruitment for professions carrying out building retrofit work would have to triple if the country was to meet its 2050 Net Zero target. It concluded that the UK is currently on track to miss the required number of building energy efficiency upgrades by 55 years – only reaching it in 2105 – due to “a serious shortage of retrofit training and recruitment pathways”. BESA said building retrofits should be “a main policy and business pillar of Net Zero”, but that the country was falling behind its targets due to the lack of a comprehensive plan for how the 2050 target could be delivered. “Retrofitting homes and commercial buildings needs to be a main building block of Net Zero,” said the Association’s director of training and skills Helen Yeulet. “This requires a serious acceleration in recruitment of the necessary skills, which will also underpin business growth and job creation in the sector.” LaggingThe UK is also lagging comparable European countries when it comes to retrofit work, according to research from the MCS Charitable Foundation, which revealed it was installing less than a tenth of the number of heat pumps as France despite having a similar heating market. Only 55,000 heat pumps were sold in the UK last year, compared with 621,000 in France. 20 other European countries also had higher installation rates than the UK, which is being held back by the lack of a comprehensive and consistent plan for ‘green skills’, according to BESA. The MCS report said that there was currently “little chance” of the UK meeting the government’s target of 600,000 heat pump installations a year by 2028. However, with a proper skills strategy it should be possible to create 50,000 new jobs in this market, up from just 2,000 today. BESA welcomed the launch of the government’s £5m Heat Training Grant which offers £500 towards heat pump training for self-employed installers, the unemployed and those working for a business with 250 employees or less. It is expected to help upskill around 6,000 heating engineers, but the Association said it was important that the government made long-term policy commitments and abandoned its ‘stop-start’ approach to funding. “Employers need to have the confidence to invest in their workforces and diversify their businesses,” said Yeulet. “We need to take a leaf out of France’s book.” She also called for the government to give a clear commitment to the Future Homes and Building Standard, which is due to come into force in 2025 and would set energy efficiency benchmarks that could drive retrofit work. France has benefited from energy efficiency and electrification of heat being political priorities for more than a decade underpinned by generous financial incentives. The installation market grew from 100,000 a year in 2010 to over 600,000 last year and France now has more than 30,000 people employed full time in heat pumps. “There is no mystery about why other countries are doing better than us,” said Yeulet. “They have clear policy commitments and long-term, properly funded training programmes in place that give employers the confidence to invest and grow their businesses. “We have been talking about this for years, but this is not just about government. We all need to step up and do what we promise by investing in our workforces. Not just because it is the right thing to do for the planet, but also because the potential for business growth is huge.” Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals 

Read More »
O’Keefe prepares the ground for pioneering modular development

O’Keefe prepares the ground for pioneering modular development

O’Keefe is carrying out the second phase of groundworks and infrastructure works for a new residential development by modular off-site specialist TopHat. Although located on the site of the historic Kitchener Barracks in Kent, the apartments themselves are precision-engineered at TopHat’ s factory in Derbyshire and delivered to site ready for installation. The project is part of a larger scheme that will see TopHat deliver almost 300 new homes over three phases on the 4.8-acre Kitchener Barracks site. O’Keefe is the groundworks contractor on the current second phase, which started with enabling works in January 2022 followed by the main works package in March 2022. The company was principal contractor on the first phase of the scheme, completed in early 2021. The site knowledge gained by the team on that phase has assisted greatly when dealing with the construction element of the phase two works. “We have worked with TopHat previously on other schemes so there is a positive relationship between TopHat and O’Keefe,” says O’Keefe project manager Daniel Gough. The Kitchener Barracks project involves the construction of three four-storey blocks of modular apartments which will comprise 96 one- and two-bedroom homes. On this phase, some 240 modular sections were assembled on site and cassette corridor sections were then installed at the upper levels between the rows of apartments. O’Keefe’s role includes part-construction of foundations, drainage and services for the modular apartments, plus access roads and external finishings. Although the apartment modules are manufactured off-site, they still require foundations and services to be built in-situ. The foundations are mass concrete strip footings bedded a minimum 200mm into the underlying chalk strata. One of the biggest challenges for O’Keefe has been to ensure the on-site works perfectly align with the factory-built modules. Working to exacting tolerances, O’Keefe has formed upstands to receive the prefabricated modular units. “Co-ordination is vital when off site manufacturing and site build foundations are carried out,” says Daniel Gough. “It is essential that precise as-built surveys are carried out to ensure that the position and levels are within the specified tolerance and any drainage pipes are located correctly.” O’Keefe formed the drainage connections prior to the modular sections being installed. Service entries were taken into the plantrooms situated in the two stair cores and then distributed to the modular units. Reinforced concrete upstands and slabs were constructed within the two cores and the end escape stairs and a reinforced concrete in-situ lift core constructed to each of the cores, with a steel framework installed prior to installation of the modules. O’Keefe’s contract has also involved construction of a reinforced concrete (RC) frame extension off the back of the existing Khartoum Building, dating from the 1930s. The RC frame comprises a lower ground floor/basement level for parking, including electrical vehicle charging bays, with a ground level transfer slab above. This forms part extension for housing apartments and part outdoor terrace. A particular challenge here was the interface between the existing Khartoum Building and the new RC frame. “The existing building was originally cut to demolish the western side some years ago – this was carried out and surveyed in a method to assist with best coordinating the design of the new RC frame with the remaining building elements,” explains Daniel.  “The complex design has been a continuous, coordinated process assisted by O’Keefe, the consultant engineers, architects and TopHat, to ensure that further survey work was carried out to slabs, roofs, cavities and foundations for the structural frame to have its final design. “Underpinning was carried out on the building in the early stages of the project and then the installation and cutting back completed after the concrete had cured. “TopHat and O’Keefe have worked together throughout the RC frame element of the works to monitor progress and provide live survey data to the consultant engineers and architects to assist with overcoming any issues encountered during the RC frame build,” says Daniel. Andrew Shepherd, managing director of TopHat Solutions said: “TopHat have worked closely with O’Keefe on this complex and ground breaking project.  It was essential that we had a partner that was able to address a number of different challenges from foundations for an innovative modular project through to a concrete frame that would tie into an existing heritage building.  This ongoing relationship has been formed on a process of innovation and continuous improvement, which underpins our joint approach to future projects.” Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals 

Read More »
Thames Water extends Barhale appointment through AMP8

Thames Water extends Barhale appointment through AMP8

Thames Water has extended Barhale’s AMP7 framework appointment by five years to the conclusion of AMP8 in March 2030. The AMP8 (2025-2030) programme will see Thames Water continue to invest in its water and wastewater network which serves 15 million people across London and the Thames Valley. The water company is spending £2.3bn on infrastructure improvements through the current AMP7 period (2020-2025). Civil engineering and infrastructure specialist Barhale will continue to operate under FA1488 covering Lot 1, the Non-Infrastructure framework, and Lot 2, the Infrastructure framework. Lot 1 focuses on capital maintenance and enhancement across many of Thames Water’s own operational sites, and Lot 2 includes new installations and capital maintenance of existing key assets. Lots 1 and 2 will be the principal delivery route for the AMP8 capital programme. Thames Water has also confirmed the extension of Barhale’s appointment to FA1495 – Lot 5 of the AMP7 framework – covering the delivery of the water and wastewater AMP7 infrastructure programme across North London. Activities will include the new installation and replacement of existing trunk and rising mains; pressure management; the inspection of aqueducts, bridges and tunnels; the rehabilitation of sewers, pumping station refurbishment and gravity solutions to maintain asset health and accommodate growth. The programme will also continue work on SUDs and pipeline-related emergency works. Shane Gorman, Barhale’s Water Director – Southern Region, believes the extension reflects the strong positive relationship between the two businesses and Barhale’s deep understanding and experience of some of Thames Water’s most important assets. “We are very proud of the work we continue to carry out for Thames Water,” he said. “Water infrastructure across London and the South East presents some unique challenges – not least responding to the huge demand from the country’s most dense poplulation. “At Barhale, we have fully embraced Thames Water’s collaborative approach which has yielded some impressive benefits under AMP7 already including greater agility in the way we have been able to deploy our teams to react to changing conditions, better utilised and shorter planned outages and swifter programme delivery. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with Thames Water through the AMP8 period.” Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals 

Read More »
One in ten tradespeople thinking of quitting after losing customers in the past year

One in ten tradespeople thinking of quitting after losing customers in the past year

With tradespeople across the country struggling to make ends meet, a new study has revealed that one in five are adapting their business to survive. The research, by leading designer radiator specialists BestHeating, asked 2,000 tradespeople about their thoughts for the future, and has led to experts providing advice to help anyone struggling in the industry. Financial pressures continue to trouble all trades and one in 10 are thinking about giving up their business, whilst a further 29% are willing to get a second job to survive. In an effort to keep themselves going, 11% have stated they are exploring new technologies so that they can adapt their work and attract customers. Many independent businesses don’t utilise social media but one in nine plan to use the likes of Facebook and Instagram more to show off the work they have done and expand their clientele. To support tradespeople, John Lawless, content marketing manager of BestHeating has provided three pieces of advice to help them be noticed by new customers and expand their business. Reviews “With search engines one of the go-to places to find a tradesperson, take advantage of this to improve your reputation. Make sure to ask anyone you do a job for to leave an online review, whether it’s through Google, Facebook, Trustpilot or any other site, as this will be the first thing a potential customer will see online. Take this further and react or respond to posts where possible, this lets customers know you are thankful and respectful of them. People who are new to an area are more likely to search online so it’s imperative to have a good average rating. Reviews also reflect highly on referral sites such as Checkatrade, which leads consumers to know the trade they have hired is certified.” Post consistently on social media “The best way to increase awareness of a local business is to publish content on social media regularly. Identify the platforms which your target audience use the most, this is likely to be Facebook and Instagram for homeowners and those who will need a tradesperson. Content should include completed work with before and after pictures or videos. Educational posts will also add value, this could be a heating engineer explaining the importance of bleeding a radiator. Be sure to post in the right places too – publish a project you worked on in the relevant online neighbourhood group, and add your personality so people can relate.” Diversify your offering “Keeping up to date with trends within the industry is good, but take this further and expand the services you offer to appeal to new customers. A key example right now is with energy efficiency and bills being top of the news agenda for over a year – incorporate newer or Smart technology to help people lower their bills and offer a wider variety of services such as installing better insulation, this will lead to more repeat business and an improved reputation.” Finally John adds: “With price rises affecting all trades, it is challenging to keep a business going as the public look to cut back on non-essential updates to their home. Increasing your number of customers is a difficult prospect and there is no surefire way to do so, but there are small steps that can be made to your strategy to help with growth. Whether it’s using social media to display stunning work you have done in the local area or encouraging people to leave reviews online, we hope our advice proves beneficial to those within the trade industry.” Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals 

Read More »
DMWR Architects Senior Director appointed as Compliance Inspector

DMWR Architects Senior Director appointed as Compliance Inspector

Senior Director, John Neale has been appointed as Compliance Inspector as part of the Government’s Building Safety Act to improve competence levels and accountability in the sector. The role further strengthens DMWR’s expertise in the cladding and remediation of non-compliant buildings for G15 Housing Associations, private developers, tier 1 contractors and resident groups. As Compliance Inspector, John will act independently of the contractor and design team to perform regular site inspections to ensure that the new cladding installation is consistent to the design specification and requirements set out in the works contracts and that the project is being completed in accordance with the project documents, the guidance and good industry practice.  John Neale, Senior Director for DMWR Architects comments, “As a practice we have built up a strong reputation for offering a specialist and expert service to assist in the recladding and remediation of non-compliant buildings. This will continue and my new appointment will add to this offering, by providing an independent service that is vitally needed within the industry. “The safety of homeowners and leaseholders is the highest priority, and my new role will help address this by overseeing the safety and performance of all buildings with a special focus on high rise buildings.” The Compliance Inspector will be responsible for the design and delivery inspections of the project, ensuring the work that is being carried out is compliant with the Guidance and will provide Homes England a report within a month following cost consultation certifying each of the following milestones – the point at which cumulative spend against total eligible costs approved to date exceeds 20%; 40%; 60%; 80% and 100%. For further information about DMWR Architects please visit https://www.dmwr.co.uk Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals 

Read More »