www.psbnews.co.uk April 2021
STEPNELL MEETS MILESTONES ON MULTIPLE MIDLANDS RESIDENTIAL SCHEMES
MULTI-MILLION-POUND PROJECT COMPLETED BY CLEGG CONSTRUCTION AT CALDER PARK
PROJECT: FLORIS - A PARK EXPANDING ITS’ OWN HORIZONS
PROJECT: A TERRACOTTA TRIUMPH AT THE V&A EDUCATION
Viridis & Forth Valley College committed to kickstarting engineering careers
Millions to be Invested as Council Welcomes Powers for Council Home Building
Fire safety – underappreciated existing obligations and upcoming changes
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On the cover Multi-million-pound project completed by Clegg Construction at Calder Park
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Latest News - Housing association’s pledge for a greener future
TG Escapes modular timber frame net-zero eco-buildings to Inspire
Fire safety – underappreciated existing obligations and changes
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SURREY WINS A FURTHER £3 MILLION TO HELP KEEP MORE HOMES WARM AND LOWER ENERGY BILLS A further 300 householders across Surrey can benefit from an additional £3 million of funding to help save money on their energy bills. More than 500 Surrey residents have already signed up to make their homes warmer, cut their energy bills and improve their green credentials as part of the “Green Jump Surrey” initiative, which is being run by Action Surrey on behalf of partner local authorities including Woking Borough Council. The additional funding for Green Jump Surrey, recently awarded by central government, allows the initiative to support a further 300 households with
up to £15,000 to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
help save on energy bills and reduce carbon emissions.
In addition to the Government’s grant, Surrey County Council is contributing up to £680,000 to the Green Jump Surrey project as top-up funding to allow measures to be fully funded up to £15,000.
Households could be eligible if they are living in hard-to-heat homes and in receipt of an eligible means-tested benefit or have a total gross annual household income of less than £30,000.
Eligible owner-occupied households can use the funding to install energy efficient improvements including loft, solid wall, cavity wall, park home and underfloor insulation, to keep their home warm. Air source heat pumps, solar hot water systems and solar photovoltaics can also be funded in addition to insulation works, to further
The income eligibility criteria has been extended to allow mortgage costs and number of dependent children to be taken into consideration. As funding is time-limited, please contact Action Surrey now on 0800 783 2503 or via www.actionsurrey.org/enquiries to take advantage of this scheme.
HOUSING ASSOCIATION’S PLEDGE FOR A GREENER FUTURE A social landlord has welcomed a sustainability expert to boost its environmental performance. Platform Housing Group, one of the UK’s largest social landlords, has appointed Jessica Tansey as an EcoCampus Housing Coordinator. The appointment came about as part of a pilot project designed by The University of Worcester; the project – entitled the EcoCampus Framework – has been implemented by the university to improve environmental performance and achieve ISO 14001 certification. The framework will now be used to improve the environmental performance of Platform Property Care; the organisation already has an Environmental Management System in place with ISO 14001 certification.
Jessica said : “I am really excited to be appointed to this new role; I am very eager to support organisations to improve their environmental performance. I believe improving environmental performance is the most important conversation of our time and I’m really excited to be involved in Platform Housing Group’s effort to improve its environmental performance.”
Dan Box, Safety, Health and Environment Compliance Officer at Platform Housing Group said : “We are delighted to welcome Jessica to this new role; our path to sustainability is one of the most exciting and challenging issues of our time. With Jessica’s support we hope to secure a greener future for both our colleagues and the communities within which we work.
Jessica is combining her role at Platform with one at the university where she supports with teaching and learning around sustainability, Environmental Management Systems and the auditing process. Jessica explained :
“With environmental performance high on our agenda, we are communicating to both our stakeholders and customers that we are investing in a secure future. Sustainability isn’t just about improving environmental performance, it’s about increasing social wellbeing too, and this role helps us to recognise how the health of the environment and the health of individuals and communities are closely linked. Through recognising this, we can look for innovative solutions to the environmental risks of today that work both for people and the environments in which they live.”
The University of Worcester has been on a long and successful journey around implementing its Environmental Management System and improving its environmental performance, so it’s a great opportunity to show examples of best practice and share these with Platform Housing Group.
The one year contract – which is being funded by the landlord – aims to better understand the organisation’s impact on the environment in the key areas of waste management, travel, pollution and energy efficiency of properties; improving social wellbeing for customers - tackling key issues such as fuel poverty - is also an outcome.
Platform Housing Group – which owns 46,000 homes in total – completed 1448 homes in 2019/20 (1,598 in 2018/19) at an investment of £258m (£228m in 2018/19). The Group also built more social rented homes – at a figure of 981 – during the past 2 years in England than any other provider, 523 in 2019/20, almost 33% of the total homes built. Platform Housing Group’s operating area is from Herefordshire in the West to the Lincolnshire coast in the East, and from the Derbyshire Dales in the North to the Cotswolds in the South.
MID SUFFOLK COUNCILLORS AGREE GREEN SPACES REVIEW Councillors in Mid Suffolk have voted unanimously to launch a review of the district’s green spaces, aimed at making best use of the natural environment to improve residents’ wellbeing and tackle climate change. The motion was proposed by Cllr Rachel Eburne, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council’s Green and Liberal Democrat Group and seconded by Cllr Jessica Fleming, Mid Suffolk’s Cabinet Member for Environment. All councillors present at the meeting supported to the motion. Proposing the motion, Cllr Eburne said: “Mid Suffolk District Council recognises the significant impact of green space on the health and wellbeing of its citizens and is aware that many communities are calling for green spaces to be enhanced and protected. We also know that green space can contribute significantly to the climate change and biodiversity targets in the district, in line with the Council’s climate change reduction and biodiversity action plans, and also contribute greatly to the health and wellbeing of residents. I welcome the level of support this motion has received and look forward to the outcome of the review.” Seconding the motion, Cllr Fleming said: “We have already agreed to prepare additional planning guidance to support our biodiversity commitments, and the inclusion of well-designed green spaces for all new housing developments will add a health and wellbeing element to our biodiversity programme.
Green spaces play such an important role in the wellbeing of residents and health of our planet so I welcome this review and the support it has received tonight.
It comes four months after the council approved its first Biodiversity Action Plan – setting out how it aims to protect and strengthen biodiversity in the district and supporting the council’s carbon neutral aims. The plan was developed by a cross-party Biodiversity Task Force, supported by experts. It is the product of a biodiversity emergency motion passed by Mid Suffolk in 2019.
Headline commitments include: • developing a wildlife network map - to help identify and create important wildlife corridors, and tree and hedge planting areas. This will aim to enhance connectivity and improve management of existing as well as future Local Nature Reserves and wildlife sites in the district • planting wildflower meadow verges and changing strict grass cutting regimes where suitable; encouraging bees and insects • working with town and parish councils and local communities to identify areas where trees and hedges can be planted • increasing hedge planting through the DEFRA Hedgerows and Boundaries Grant scheme, and helping to fund planting which isn’t eligible where possible • developing a Supplementary Planning Document linked to the Joint Local Plan - to strengthen biodiversity protections and set out the districts’ expectations for design, landscaping and open space elements of new developments • exploring the possibility of a green burial site
WORK COMMENCES ON £9.2M AFFORDABLE HOUSING SCHEME IN CASTLEFORD The £9.2 million transformation of a brownfield site into high quality, affordable housing has begun in Castleford. Leeds Federated Housing Association (LFHA) and WDH are working with main contractor Esh Construction to deliver 82 new homes at Pemberton Road which will be available for affordable rent, rent to buy and shared ownership. The development will appeal to all demographics, from families to professionals, as well as downsizers, with Castleford boasting excellent transport links to the M62. Cllr Darren Byford, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Regeneration at Wakefield Council, said: “We are delighted to be part of these new affordable homes at Pemberton Road, and are pleased to have a strong partnership with Leeds Federation and WDH and to see them create this very positive, and much needed housing initiative. The Council recognises that we need high quality housing in our district that is affordable that socially focused landlords can provide, and this is what our partners will provide here. These new homes will provide people with the opportunity to own or rent their own home at an affordable rent, which we especially welcome and I look forward to seeing the development of this new neighbourhood.”
2020. Robin Machell, Leeds Federated Board Member, said: “Leeds Federated are really excited to work with Esh, WDH and our other partners to build these high quality, affordable and very desirable homes which we are sure will be much sought after.” The land is being jointly developed by Leeds Federated and WDH, with each provider managing 43 units and 39 units respectively. Sue Young, Executive Director of Investment from WDH, said: “We are really pleased to see work beginning on site at Pemberton Road. This new development will provide high quality homes, regenerating land that had become unused and overgrown. “As a business, we are proud to be able to create long lasting, confident communities and build new homes in places where we have a high demand such as Castleford. This scheme will further enhance the area, providing more local people with a range of modern living options.” Esh Construction was appointed as the design and build contractor for the development. Stuart Leslie, Divisional Director at Esh Construction, added: “We are pleased to get underway on this new development and once again work in partnership with Leeds Federated and WDH.
Designed by Leeds-based Brewster Bye Architects and supported with Homes England funding, Pemberton Road will be a mixed-tenure development with a blend of different sized family homes and four bungalows.
As a local contractor, we will maximise the economic benefit for our clients and the community through responsible procurement of local sub-contractors and supply – something which is paramount across all Esh Construction schemes.”
LFHA purchased the 2.2-hectare patch of land from Wakefield Council in
The first new homes will be available for residents in Summer 2022.
FUNDING SPURS GROWTH AT NORTH EAST MODULAR HOUSEBUILDER An injection of grant funding is allowing an innovative modular housebuilder to accelerate UK expansion plans at a new manufacturing base in the North East. CoreHaus has secured £50,000 from the County Durham Growth Fund to recruit a highly skilled team to start production in new premises of its unique modular homes which have already been successfully trialled in the region. The company recently set up a manufacturing facility in a 20,000 sq ft unit on Jade Business Park, Murton, near Seaham. CoreHaus managing director Scott Bibby explained that the investment from the fund is an important boost to scale up plans. The County Durham Growth Fund, overseen by Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council, is an £8.9m capital grant scheme providing funding to SMEs in County Durham to accelerate their growth. Scott Bibby said: “This grant from Business Durham is important to us because it allows CoreHaus to scale up within a larger factory than we might otherwise have secured and enables us to manage more of the production within our own premises,” said Scott. He added: “We are really grateful for the additional support from Business Durham and Durham County Council
for helping us secure our new factory unit in County Durham.
CoreHaus is a joint-venture company between Carlton & Co Group, the parent company behind North East based Homes by Carlton, and national social enterprise Fusion21, specialists in public procurement for the built environment.
This larger unit will allow us to perform a greater scope of work including the assembly of steel frames that are central to our modular homes.
In the last few months Scott Bibby has recruited a production manager, a production engineer along with five technicians. He is currently seeking to recruit apprentices and office staff.
The five-year plan will see CoreHaus producing around 1,000 modular homes a year, which will result in more than 100 people working across the business. These homes will be built using modern methods of construction (MMC) which will result in high quality homes, built faster, with engineered precision and expected lower energy bills.
Sarah Slaven, interim MD at Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council, said: “I am delighted we have been able to support CoreHaus through County Durham Growth Fund. “Encouraging businesses to move to the county is key to creating new opportunities for County Durham residents and is exactly what the fund was set up to do. “Supporting innovative companies like CoreHaus in growing sectors of the economy will be crucial in creating jobs and securing economic growth in the future. “We look forward to working with the team as they grow the business in County Durham.”
There remains strong demand for new homes and we know the housing sector wants something that’s both affordable and incorporates high-quality design within a modular frame. We are already in discussions with several regional and national housing associations interested in working with our product.
“Our light gauge steel-frame system ensures that CoreHaus can be used in both urban and rural locations with elevation treatments tailored to suit each setting, providing almost unlimited design potential.
“The standardised modular core means the solution can be configured for homes of almost any size.” The modular housing sector has been given a recent boost by national housing agency Homes England which is accelerating the delivery of local authority housing schemes, encouraging greater use of modern methods of construction. Housing associations looking to sign lucrative ‘strategic partnership’ deals with Homes England to build large numbers of affordable homes will have to commit to using modern methods of construction to build out at least 25% of their pipeline. Scott added:
Our production and designs draw on modern, technical skills and innovation. We have a real opportunity to break the current mould in housebuilding and construction.
KEEPING CLOSE TO RESIDENTS AT STOCKPORT HOMES, EVEN IN LOCKDOWN Stockport Homes manages 11,500 properties on behalf of Stockport Council and is also committed to building new homes for rental, leasehold and shared ownership. The company aims to offer its customers the highest levels of service and recently upgraded its access control provision with innovative cloud based technology from PAC & GDX which has more than proved its worth during COVID-19 lockdown. Stockport Homes is an arm’s length management organisation (ALMO) that is owned by Stockport Council but which operates independently on the delivery of services to customers. In addition, it also owns properties and manages others on behalf of private landlords, all of which meet the requirements of the government’s Decent Homes Standard. Room for improvement In addition to carrying out repairs, rent collection, property allocation, homelessness services and estate management, Stockport Homes is responsible for ensuring the security and safety of residents across its portfolio of high rise, low rise multi-unit dwellings and sheltered accommodation. Access control plays a fundamental role in achieving this objective and, as part of its ongoing upgrade programme, the company decided to investigate how it could benefit from the latest technology. ‘Being able to respond quickly to the needs and expectations of our customers involves using the best available security solutions,’ explains James Hood, project leader at Stockport Homes. ‘Although our previous access control and door entry systems had served us well, it was obvious that innovations in this area had moved on significantly. I also wanted to explore ways to enable our staff to more effectively access
information, issue and configure key fobs, check occupancy status and carry out their duties remotely. To that end I invited the PAC & GDX national sales manager, Jason Sullivan, to look at the available options.’ On the up The previous access control system operated via a Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) dial-up modem technology, which could often be slow and unreliable, as well as being relatively insecure. Stockport Homes also wanted to move away from an inflexible system that could only be used via two standalone PCs located in an on-site control room, to one that could be operated remotely. After conducting a comprehensive site audit, Jason Sullivan configured a solution for the low-rise element of the estate based around the installation of PAC 512 controller technology and PAC Residential Cloud. He says, ‘PAC 512 devices utilise the general packet radio service (GPRS) platform, which is a faster and cost effective means of connecting remote sites via a mobile network. Using this technology meant that we could create a highly innovative remote monitoring platform, which can now be accessed via a PC, tablet or smartphone. ‘We were also able to fuse our new PAC hardware with the existing GDX door entry system, allowing concierge control (via a control room) in the highrise blocks and remote access control system administration.’ Remote control The cloud is radically reshaping how access control is specified, installed and used, and PAC Residential Cloud allows organisations to remotely manage and monitor their access control systems in a secure environment. Designated users can address technical issues, test systems, deal with key fob management, examine diagnostics, view system status, set and unset a system, and gain access to an event log more easily than ever before – all from a remote location. It is also fully auditable, meaning that an action can be linked directly to a specific user. Asked about the benefits that the cloud now offers his team, James Hood responds, ‘The previous system’s limitations meant that any problems and issues had to be dealt with by on-site individuals. This was obviously restrictive, particularly in the present climate, and meant that a response often took longer than we wanted it to. PAC Residential Cloud has made a massive difference to our response times, as our dedicated technical team can now address connection issues, manage the system and troubleshoot from wherever they happen to be. Just as importantly,
our chosen maintenance provider, OpenView, can remotely access it to diagnose problems and offer us a more immediate service. In addition, there is the option to integrate it with CCTV so personnel can be notified if, for example, a door is forced or left open.’ OpenView’s Business Development Manager, Simon France, was just as complimentary about the support and added value they received from PAC - particularly from Jason Sullivan – and said, ‘I’ve worked closely with Jason on this contract and his help, dedication and attention to detail has gone above and beyond what was expected. The Pac product has proven to be a big hit with our client and the end user.’ Protect and survive The use of personal data comes with significant responsibilities and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires organisations to implement a strong data protection policy, encompassing access, secure storage and destruction. Via its virtual private network (VPN), information from Stockport Homes is stored with The Bunker, a trusted PAC partner, whose UK data centres are located in former nuclear bunkers and certified to the ISO 27001 standard for information security management. PAC Residential Cloud also restricts access to resident data, with employees only given permission to look at information that relates directly to their roles and responsibilities. There are also other less obvious benefits and Jason Sullivan comments, ‘The data collected by the access control system can be used to add an extra level of care. For instance, James and his team can see if a resident’s key fob hasn’t been used during a specific period and send someone to investigate if necessary. Furthermore, in the event that a key fob is lost, an authorisation check can be carried out, access grated and, if necessary, a missing device deactivated – all from a remote location.’ Safety first During the coronavirus pandemic the PAC access control system has allowed Stockport Homes to remotely carry out duties, while adhering to social distancing guidelines. James Hood concludes, ‘Under these difficult circumstances the use of PAC Residential Cloud has proven hugely beneficial in numerous ways. Specifically, I’m delighted with the overall improvement it has made to our responsiveness, flexibility and efficiency, and I’m confident that we have maximised tenant safety as a result of completing this project.’ For further information please E: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.pacgdx.com
TG Escapes modular timber frame net-zero ecobuildings to Inspire TG Escapes modular eco-buildings combine innovative design with the natural beauty of wood and glass. Using modern methods of construction with traditional materials and sophisticated technology, they create a standalone space that is net-zero in operation. The innovative bespoke architect designed system means they can provide timber frame buildings to suit most locations and uses, in a variety of finishes including timber, composite cladding or render in a range of colours, and brick slips. Offsite construction minimises disruption, cost and risk. The buildings significantly reduce environmental impact using a combination of: • MATERIALS that are, wherever possible, eco-friendly with the use of timber frame and sectional wooden insulated panels constructed offsite. • FOUNDATIONS that are designed to reduce the impact on the environment by using a minimal amount of concrete in a unique pad-based system or, when more appropriate, screw pile. • ROOFS that can be finished in sedum, which is not only aesthetically pleasing all year round, but also provides a habitat for a
rich variety of wildlife. A sedum roof significantly reduces rainwater runoff whilst lowering energy consumption. • TIMBER that comes from sustainable forests (FSC and PEFC). These forests are meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. The use of timber reduces the embodied carbon for any project and acts as a carbon store. • RENEWABLE ENERGY such as solar power can be used in the builds as a clean renewable source of energy. • INSULATION made of glass wool manufactured from a combination of silica sand and up to 80% recycled postconsumer glass that would otherwise be heading to landfill. This makes it one of the most environmentally sustainable insulation products on the market today. • SUN PIPES that capture daylight from the rooftop, through highly reflective tubing, and take it to where it’s needed. The pipes offer brilliant natural light as an alternative to artificial lighting, helping to reduce energy consumption. The buildings achieve A+ energy ratings with an air test of 5 or less via the use of:
• ULTRA-EFFICIENT LED LIGHTING calculated for each space to specific levels avoiding over lit areas using photocell detection and timeclock. • VENTILATION SYSTEMS using a mixture of natural ventilation, ultra-energy efficient ventilation systems and low carbon fans with integrated controls that monitor both temperature and CO2 for optimum thermal comfort. It operates in three modes depending on the season to maintain a healthy learning environment. • AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMPS AA rated supplied by Mitsubishi for both heating and hot water. • LOW CARBON USAGE EXTRACT FANS in toilets & kitchenettes. • WATER CONTROLS can be installed on all urinal cisterns and presence sensor taps keeping the overall water usage to a minimum. • With the addition of renewable energy sources, TG Escapes buildings are classified as carbon neutral in operation. The buildings are designed to be aesthetically pleasing, ergonomic and highly practical but, just as importantly, they are built to last 60 years or more with appropriate maintenance. Single or double storey buildings range in price from £80k to over £2m and larger sizes can cost as little as £1500 per m2.
For more information call 0800 917 7726 or email email@example.com
Fire Safety Feature
FIRE SAFETY – UNDERAPPRECIATED EXISTING OBLIGATIONS AND UPCOMING CHANGES By Philippa Jones, solicitor at law firm Womble Bond Dickinson In the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy, the government and construction sector have reconsidered many aspects of building safety and special consideration has been given to fire safety. To target the factors which contributed to Grenfell and to bolster safeguards, the government has introduced reforms and proposed further legislation. There’s been a lot of discussion about that new legislation, in the form of the Fire Safety Bill, but existing legislation should not be overlooked by employers, contractors, building owners and public authorities, as these laws continue to place fire safety obligations on parties involved in building ownership and maintenance. So, what is the existing legislation and are you complying with it? And what changes does the new Bill propose to this? Existing legislation Fire safety in all non-domestic premises in England and Wales (including communal areas of residential
buildings with multiple homes, but excluding houses occupied as single private dwellings) is regulated by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the Order). Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own legislation regarding fire safety. The Order came into effect on 1 October 2006 and, broadly, it requires any person who has a level of control over premises to take reasonable steps to assess the risk from fire and put in place appropriate control measures including measures to ensure people can safely escape the premises in the event of a fire occurring. Are you a “Responsible Person”? The Order imposes various duties in relation to fire safety on each Responsible Person ie: 1. the employer, if the premises are a workplace and the workplace is under the employer’s control, 2. the person who has control of the premises (as occupier or otherwise) in connection with the carrying on by them of a trade, business or other undertaking (for profit or not), 3. the owner, where the person in control of the premises does not have control in connection with the carrying on by that person of a trade, business or other undertaking, 4. the trust, academy chain, or local authority of a public building eg a school or hospital. Identifying the parties that fall under these definitions is not straight forward. For example, despite a contractor being employed by the employer to undertake works at the premises, the contractor itself would be a Responsible Person as it has control over the premises to carry out the works, and as such they would have additional responsibilities and potential liabilities for any breaches of the Order.There can be more than one Responsible Person with obligations under the Order. What must a “Responsible Person” do?
The duties of a Responsible Person include: 1. undertaking fire risk assessments, 2. taking fire precautions to ensure the safety of employees and premises, 3. making arrangements for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of preventive and protective measures, 4. ensuring that routes to exits and
emergency exits are kept clear at all times, 5. ensuring equipment is maintained in an efficient working order and in good repair, 6. co-operating and co-ordinating with other Responsible Persons to manage risks. Contractor’s additional requirements As mentioned above, contractors carrying out works at a premises, despite not being the owner of those premises, are likely to fall within the definition of a Responsible Person because they have a degree of control over the premises for the purposes of carrying out their works. If you are a contractor, steps you should take include: 1. at the start of any works, consider if the Order applies, including establishing whether the building is a private residence or not, 2. carry out a risk assessment, and nominate a competent person to implement any fire safety measures arising from that assessment - you should be transparent, 3. bear in mind that there is an expectation that the contractor will notify the premises owner of any perceived fire safety risks identified by itself or third parties (eg failures of equipment to pass fire safety tests) and to cooperate with the owner regarding measures to address them, 4. consider the risks posed by the storing of potentially flammable materials near fire exits even if this is in a separate part of the premises to where the works are being carried out, and 5. remember that since the owner also continues to have control of premises more generally, your control of the premises may not be exclusive – owners are also Responsible Persons, and where there is more than one Responsible Person, you must both co-operate and co-ordinate with each other over fire safety risks. Failure to comply – enforcement and penalties Fire safety legislation is generally enforced by Fire Safety Enforcement Officers from the local Fire and Rescue Service but the Health and Safety Executive is the enforcing authority for any work place which is on a construction site.
Enforcement Officers can enter any workplace at any suitable hour, without notice. They conduct inspections to review the workplace, work activities, and management of fire safety. Non-compliance with the Order can lead to enforcement action including service of Alterations Enforcement and Prohibition Notices and prosecution of corporate bodies and individuals. Fines can be substantial and sentences of imprisonment can be imposed on individuals.Additionally there could be other significant consequences including reputational damage as well as the potential human cost of a fire. The new Fire Safety Bill 1. The new Fire Safety Bill, once it becomes law, will strengthen the existing legislation on fire safety. It will: 2. give greater clarity over responsibilities for fire safety in buildings containing more than one home, 3. enable enforcement authorities to hold building owners to account for cladding related non-compliances, 4. give the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government powers to amend
the list of qualifying premises that fall within the scope of the Order by way of secondary legislation, enabling the government to respond more quickly to developments in the design and construction of buildings, 5. place an increased focus on evacuation plans to ensure residents understand these strategies.
and there is a general lack of understanding regarding the responsibilities of Responsible Persons and enforcement, despite the Order being in force for many years.
The Bill clarifies that, for any building containing two or more domestic premises, the Order applies to the building’s structure and external walls and any common parts, including the front doors of residential parts. It also clarifies that external walls include “doors or windows in those walls” and “anything attached to the exterior of those walls (including balconies).” These amendments are expected to provide for increased enforcement action, particularly where remediation of aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding is not yet taking place or the building does not have ACM cladding but is still defective.
Going forward, construction professionals should be mindful of their continuing obligations under the Order, review sites regularly and report changes which could affect fire safety.
Better self-education for building owners and contractors about their responsibilities for fire safety will lead to safer communities.
Consideration should be given to whether works being performed make a contractor a Responsible Person and whether responsibilities can be shared with building owners and how contractors can discharge their cooperation obligations to ensure fire risks are avoided.
Better understanding of fire safety legislation
The industry should also closely watch out for further developments in fire safety, including the progress of the Fire Safety Bill, and its obligations under that.
The Fire Safety Order is often an overlooked piece of legislation
For more on building safety, visit our re:build Hub.
MULTI-MILLIONPOUND PROJECT COMPLETED BY CLEGG CONSTRUCTION AT CALDER PARK Construction specialist Clegg Construction has successfully delivered its second commercial project at Calder Park in Wakefield. The £5 million two-storey development, which is set to open as a new regional office and control centre for Highways England, totals 30,000 sq. ft of office space, as well as all associated car parking and external works.
£10M TRANSFORMATION OF ‘LONGNEGLECTED’ HEXHAM BUNKER BEGINS The £10 million redevelopment of a former nuclear bunker which will create 60 new permanent jobs on the outskirts of Hexham has now commenced. Led by Newcastle-based Union Property Development Ltd, the project will deliver a 69-room Travelodge, a Lidl food store and a 250-space car park on the vacant 5.5-acre site, which is set to result in an estimated £2.16m visitor spending boost for the town. Esh Construction has commenced work on the site after being named as the main contractor in September 2020. Gary Dobson, Divisional Director at Esh Construction, said: “Esh is delighted to be working with Union Property to deliver the transformation of this site which has been unoccupied for decades. The development of vacant sites like Hexham Bunker –
which will boost visitor spending and create new jobs – is pivotal in the region’s economic recovery from the pandemic. We’re proud to be playing our part as a local contractor through the responsible procurement of local sub-contractors and supply for this development.” Significant infrastructure improvement works will be delivered on Alemouth Road and Station Road, including the formation of a new roundabout and a main access road into site to improve site access and pedestrian safety. The former nuclear bunker site was purchased in October 2018 by Union Property. Plans for the new retail units were given the green light by Northumberland County Council in late 2019 and include outline consent for two further retail units.
Peter Carruthers, Consultant Project Director at Union Property, said: “Despite the economic uncertainty brought about by Covid-19, we are as committed as ever to delivering our development pipeline and are delighted to have now commenced work on site. “We have worked closely with a variety of local stakeholders to design a scheme which will reflect the character of Hexham. This represents a very significant economic investment in the town and will bring a long-term vacant site back into use.” With a completion date of April 2022, Esh Construction is working in partnership with FaulknerBrowns Architects, Portland Consulting Engineers and kyoob. Leading Light Gauge Steel Framing (LGSF)-specialist, Sigmat, recently announced their appointment by Esh to deliver the structure of the fourstorey Travelodge hotel facility which will begin this summer.
Calder Park is a busy business park, so it was important for us to keep the other businesses on the park informed of our operations to allow them to continue their business unhindered. We are therefore very proud to have handed over the keys to Peel L&P, ready for the interior fit out to commence.
Built for Peel L&P, the shell and core along with external works were completed and handed over to the client within 44 weeks to allow Highways England to undertake the final office fit out.
Sam Parker, contracts manager at Clegg Construction, said “We are delighted to have completed our second project at Calder Park and to have delivered such a fantastic facility. Working through Covid-19 has certainly been a challenge but by working closely with the client, design team and our supply chain we were able to deliver the project in just 44 weeks. “Calder Park is a busy business park, so it was important for us to keep the other businesses on the park informed of our operations to allow them to continue their business unhindered. We are therefore very proud to have handed over the keys to Peel L&P, ready for the interior fit out to commence.” The building features Brise Soleil on the south elevation to provide solar shading as well as feature aluminium frame glazed windows and doors, and a traditional steel frame and pre-insulated panel building. Designed to deliver sustainable solutions, the building also features photo-voltaic (PV) panels on the roof and a Stormsaver rainwater harvesting system, helping to reduce energy and water consumption. Richard Bates, project manager at Peel L&P said: “We’re pleased to see the new office space completed ready for Highways England to complete the internal fit-out. Despite construction beginning during the first lockdown, all works were completed on time and budget, which is a real testament to the dedication of the Clegg Construction and the team. “The building looks fantastic - it will be a brilliant new base for Highways England to operate from.” The design team for the project included Peel L&P as project manager, architects Bate & Taylor, employers’ agent and quantity surveyor Innov8, and Alan Wood & Partners as structural engineers.
WORK TO COMMENCE ON NEW DISCOVERY ACADEMY IN SHEFFIELD Work is set to begin on the new Discovery Academy in Sheffield, designed by HLM Architects working with construction specialists Tilbury Douglas Construction. The free special academy will cater for 80 special education needs (SEN) pupils and is being delivered via the Department for Education Framework on behalf of Sheffield City Council. The site is located in the south east of the city centre, on the grounds of a former special school. The new two-storey facility will be a simple linear block, comprising primary and office accommodation on the ground floor, with secondary provision and further office accommodation at first floor. The hall and dining accommodation, which includes a ‘quiet’ dining area, will be shared by all years and is located close to associated service space and external breakout and sitting areas. Primary classrooms will be located on the ground floor to enable direct access to the dedicated outside social space. Internally, the primary school is separated from the secondary school through the use of a secure, pass door adjacent to the main entrance. At the heart of the school sits the library, hall and dining where primary, secondary and entrance routes converge. During the design process, HLM Architects engaged with the school, academy sponsors, planning authority and local community through a series of structured workshops and held a public exhibition to integrate feedback before the submission of planning. The design of the school is based on sustainability principles. This has included optimising daylight and natural ventilation within teaching spaces to promote a passive, sustainable approach. The site is being developed to enhance its ecological value, retaining mature landscape features, and incorporating sustainable drainage measures such as
porous macadam and rainwater attenuation. Wherever possible sustainable or recycled materials have been specified without affecting the schemes durability, such as recycled plastic benches. The school is expected to open in February 2022. John Gittins, Divisional Director at Tilbury Douglas Construction, said: “We are delighted to be working with HLM Architects to deliver the new Discovery Academy project for the Department for Education. Tilbury Douglas’ appointment to this project is real testament to the expertise within our team and our excellent track record in delivering some of the best education facilities in the UK.” Nexus MAT Chief Executive Warren Carratt said: “We are beyond excited to be working with the DfE, Sheffield council, HLM and Tilbury Douglas to build or new special academy. We are passionate about bring greater choice and quality of offer to families in Sheffield, and Discovery Academy will make a huge difference to the local SEND landscape. We have been actively engaged with the design process throughout, and the school has been planned with needs of our specific learners in mind”. AJ Taylor, Associate at HLM Architects, said: “The design of this school has been driven by the creation of a high-quality, personalised provision for pupils with autism-spectrum conditions with related social, emotional and mental health needs, as well as a range of other learning difficulties which will result in a safe and nurturing learning environment.”
STEPNELL MEETS MAJOR MILESTONES ON MULTIPLE MIDLANDS RESIDENTIAL SCHEMES National contractor Stepnell has made significant progress on three residential projects, based in Leicester. The schemes include two student accommodation projects and one private residential build – which is Aimrok’s Wellington House, a £9 million renovation project recently won by the Stepnell’s East Midlands office. The works will see the conversion of the existing office block into 105 apartments, including demolition, structural alterations, drainage, window replacement, partitions, mechanical and electrical services, internal finishes and associated external works. Tom Sewell, regional director at Stepnell, said: “We’re extremely excited about making substantial progress on three great residential projects across Leicester. The national housing shortage is currently a big focus for the construction sector, so helping to expand the Midland’s residential offering is something we’re very proud of and hope to keep doing in the future.” The construction partner has also started on site at Leicester city centre’s newest student accommodation facility, Friar Lane. The £5.4 million scheme – commissioned by Obstrat - includes the construction of 90 selfcontained studio apartments across five storeys, with a recessed element at four storeys to provide a transition between the development and the
rest of the buildings that already populate Friar Lane at a lower level. Not only is the team being conscious of how the build will have an impact aesthetically on the surrounding conservation area, but they are also addressing challenges faced by the site’s historic location. Situated in Greyfriars conservation area, Stepnell – in conjunction with the University of Leicester Archaeological Services - carried out archaeological investigations before works could begin in order to preserve the Roman and medieval remains discovered on site. Tom added:
Despite being built to serve the same purpose, each of these sites are incredibly unique and have presented individual challenges for the whole team to navigate and solve collaboratively. However, due to our extensive experience working on private residential and student accommodation schemes, we have been able to conquer each of these challenges, moving forward with the projects and adding them to our ever-growing portfolio of residential developments.
“Drawing on our extensive experience and lessons learnt within this sector, we are able to provide our clients with real solutions to their challenges and bring true value to their projects.” Stepnell also demonstrated its ‘can do’ approach while completing Upperton Road - another student residential project based in Leicester and the contractor’s sixth project for Zone Developments. The £2 million refurbishment and new build project is in close proximity to a school, meaning that Stepnell had to negotiate restrictive access without communal disruption. The team’s ability to overcome these difficulties resulted in the creation of 46 studio apartments, along with a range of modern communal facilities – including a gym, cinema room, common room, management office, study pods and laundry room. The team also incorporated a living green sedum room to make the build more sustainable. Neil Thakkar, director at Zone Developments, said: “We have worked closely with Stepnell on a number of purpose-built luxury student accommodation schemes across Leicester and it never fails to deliver high-quality builds. “Not only are the team committed to displaying professionalism, experience and quality, they are also able to navigate difficult situations and find solutions to problems during the course of construction. “We value Stepnell’s expertise in the residential sector very highly and look forward to working with them again in the future.” Tom said: “All of the challenges that we have faced – along with the obvious restrictions faced while working on site throughout the Covid-19 pandemic – have only allowed us to excel even further and refine our skills as a leading residential provider both in the East Midlands and nation-wide.
The pandemic has further demonstrated to us and our clients how adaptable and solution focused our staff and supply chain are.
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BUTLER & YOUNG REBRAND TO SOCOTEC SOCOTEC, the UK’s leading provider of testing, inspection, and compliance services, has today announced the rebrand of Butler & Young, specialists in building control and fire consultancy services. Acquired by SOCOTEC in 2019, the Butler & Young portfolio includes Butler & Young Approved Inspectors, one of the largest approved inspectors in England and Wales, Trenton Fire, one of the largest independent fire safety consultancies in the UK, and Butler &
Young Consultants, a leading specialist in built environment consultancy. With a turnover of £140m and over 1,700 employees, the UK is the second most important geographical platform in the SOCOTEC Group after France. The integration of the Butler & Young portfolio provides the platform for SOCOTEC’s future development in building control and fire consultancy in the UK. The rebrand to SOCOTEC sees Butler & Young Approved Inspectors rebrand to SOCOTEC Building Control, remaining a separate legal entity with its own identity for regulatory compliance. Butler & Young Consultants and Trenton Fire move under the SOCOTEC UK umbrella. Chris Wallis, managing director of Building Control and Fire Safety said:
The adoption of the SOCOTEC brand allows us to capitalise on the combined services offered by the Group to the benefit of all our clients, providing a breadth of complementary services unmatched by our competitors, while at the same time maintaining the independence of our approved inspector service.
Chris concludes: “This is an exciting time as we embark on the start of a new journey as SOCOTEC, a company with the ambition to become the leading trusted third party in Testing Inspection and Certification in the Construction and Infrastructure sectors.”
TRITON SECURES FURTHER PREMIER INN CONTRACT TO BUILD 80 BED HOTEL IN PORTHMADOG Triton Construction has secured a contract to deliver a new 80-bed Premier Inn hotel in Porthmadog, North Wales. The £5.4 million instruction through Liberty Properties includes the design and build of the hotel on the former site of Ty Moelwyn Tax Office, as well as external services, roads, yards and car parking. The Porthmadog contract follows an instruction with Swangate Developments to deliver a new 63bed Premier Inn hotel in St Davids, Pembrokeshire, which is now under construction. Triton has also recently completed a 14-bed refurbishment with new reception area for Premier Inn at Telford.
Premier Inn is the UK’s largest hotel chain with over 800 locations and more than 72,000 rooms. Triton has a long-standing association with the chain as a number one framework contractor for Whitbread. Paul Halloran, Director at Triton Construction, said, “We are pleased to maintain a strong working partnership with Whitbread and it’s delivery partners. Over the last seven years we have delivered 37 turnkey projects for Premier Inn valued in excess of £50million. We know the brand and its commitment to build quality intimately and look forward to supporting further pipeline projects in the UK.”
Previous completions include a new 80-bedroom hotel in Skegness, a new 80-bedroom hotel in Holyhead, a 33-bedroom extension in Warrington, a 33 bed extension in Liverpool North, a 31-bedroom extension in Wigan, and a 21-bedroom extension in Nottingham. Triton provided full build and fit out services for all projects as well external works. Triton Construction is a £50 million turnover company providing design and build, civils, fit out and refurbishment services. Established for more than 14 years it employed over 80 people across offices in Yorkshire and the North West. Its leisure portfolio includes contracts with Travelodge. The Triton Group continues to develop its relationship with Costa Coffee and has undertaken contracts with Stay City and is invested in a continued relationship with Travelodge.
We are pleased to maintain a strong working partnership with Whitbread and it’s delivery partners. Over the last seven years we have delivered 37 turnkey projects for Premier Inn valued in excess of £50million. We know the brand and its commitment to build quality intimately and look forward to supporting further pipeline projects in the UK.
The development, which forms part of WV Living’s aspiration to build over 1,000 new homes over the next four years and support the regeneration of Wolverhampton by providing good quality new homes, will include market sale, affordable housing for rent, shared ownership and Help to Buy properties, and is expected to complete in Spring 2022. Councillor Jacqueline Sweetman, City of Wolverhampton Council cabinet member for city assets and housing, said: “The development delivers on our promise to create hundreds of muchneeded homes for the city and our residents.
WILLMOTT DIXON LAUNCHES VIRTUAL AND PHYSICAL TOURS OF NEW WOLVERHAMPTON SHOW HOMES Two new show homes have officially opened at WV Living’s latest housing development scheme in Wolverhampton and are now available for virtual and physical viewings, with contractor Willmott Dixon. The £34m project, which is being funded by the City of Wolverhampton Council’s housing development company WV Living, will welcome visitors to explore the fully furnished Langley property - a four-bedroom townhouse - and the Hayes - a threebedroom townhouse either in person or online. Once complete, The Marches development in Wednesfield village will include 266 energy-efficient homes, offering 210 two, three and four-bedroom houses, and 56 twobedroom apartments. Dan Doyle, operations director at Willmott Dixon, said: “After starting on site at the end of 2019, we are delighted to see the progress that has been made on this project throughout 2020 – despite the limitations of Covid-19.
supporting social distancing practices and providing WV Living with added value.
At Willmott Dixon, we believe we have a purpose beyond profit and that includes leaving a lasting positive legacy in the areas where we work. Throughout this project, we have committed to investing ten per cent back into the local community, equating to a monetary value of £3.5m, which will see us provide apprenticeships, work experience and NVQs to local people, as well as ensuring at least 80% of local spend and labour is within ten miles of the site.
“We will continue in our pledge to encourage the development of energy-efficient homes across the city, creating modern communities that reflect the aspirations of our residents. “I am delighted to see this development is continuing to gather pace and reach a key milestone. The Marches will inject further life into the already very vibrant Wednesfield village.” Mark Taylor, director and chair of Company Board, said: “We are delighted to be able to open the doors to our latest show homes, they will allow potential homebuyers to see the space, quality features and attention to details that our homes provide. “The flexible living spaces are designed to meet the needs of today’s families, whether you are working or relaxing. “We are very proud of our top-quality development at The Marches. These homes are beautifully designed, energy efficient, close to public transport, schools and green spaces. We are really excited for visitors to see these fantastic new properties.”
“By implementing strict health and safety precautions, we have been able to stay on site and ensure the project proceeds to move forward to meet the customer’s timescales. “Not only have we adhered to social distancing on the construction site, but we have also helped to implement these measures during the tours of the show homes by offering online viewings using Matterport camera technology. This will allow potential buyers to view the properties virtually –
NUMBER OF OVERSEAS LANDLORDS OF UK PROPERTIES REACHES 184,000, A FIVE-YEAR HIGH BREXIT HASN’T DETERRED INVESTMENT IN UK PROPERTY MARKET The number of overseas landlords owning property in the UK has hit a five-year high of 184,000 – marking an increase of 19% over five years, when there were 154,000 overseas landlords, says residential property market experts, ludlowthompson. The rise in the number of overseas landlords shows that Brexit has not been a deterrent for those looking to invest in UK property. In fact, many overseas investors have capitalised on the drop in the value of Sterling between the EU referendum and the Brexit deal to add to their portfolios. Favourable exchange rates meant that foreign buyers were able to get more for their money, opening the market up to a wider pool of investors. ludlowthompson says despite tax changes, including a 2% Stamp Duty surcharge that will increase costs for overseas investors, property in the UK will remain an attractive long-term investment prospect for investors from many overseas jurisdictions. The UK property market has traditionally been resilient in times of economic uncertainty and a structural shortage of properties has kept rental yields relatively strong. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of Hong Kong buyers of UK property. This is expected to rise following the launch of the new visa for Hong Kong British National Overseas passport holders. The reputation of schools and universities in the UK has also benefitted the property market. Ludlowthompson says many overseas landlords who have purchased property have done so to provide accommodation for their children who were studying in the UK. Overseas landlords have been benefitting from the Stamp Duty holiday, which has enabled buyers to save as much as £15,000 on properties worth up to £500,000. The holiday is set to run until June 30th after which point Stamp Duty will be reintroduced on properties worth £250,000, and will apply to properties over the £125,000 threshold from September 30th. Whilst overseas landlords have benefited from the holiday, from April 1st they will be liable to pay a 2% Stamp Duty surcharge on property investments.
Stephen Ludlow, Chairman at ludlowthompson says: “Fears that Brexit might dampen the appeal of UK property amongst overseas investors have been unfounded, with the number of overseas landlords reaching a record high. Many canny investors took advantage of the temporary drop in Sterling’s value to purchase properties in the UK and
benefited from both an increase in property prices and a recovery in sterling. Investments by overseas landlords into UK buy-to-let properties has ensured that there
has been a steady stream of capital into that sector, which has kept the quality of rental stock far higher than would have been the case with these investors.”
NEW SHEERWATER LEISURE CENTRE NAMED AFTER FORMER COUNCILLOR The new £26m leisure centre in Sheerwater has been officially named the Eastwood Centre in honour of former Woking Borough Council member, Ian Eastwood. Built by Pellikaan, a specialist leisure provider, the keys to the finished building were handed over to the council in mid-February to begin furnishing. Doors will open to the public later this year once the exterior works have been completed and each fitness area has been kitted out with the latest equipment. During his time as a councillor, Ian Eastwood campaigned passionately for better sports facilities in Sheerwater, alongside Cllr David Bittleston, Lead Member of the Sheerwater Regeneration Project. In April 2018, members voted to release the funds for the construction of new communityuse leisure centre and swimming pool, and two months after Mr Eastwood’s retirement in May 2019, work started on site. Two years on and almost complete, key features of the new leisure centre include: • 25 metre pool with 68-seat viewing gallery, steam room and sauna. • Teaching pool with moveable floor and hoist. • Five-court sports hall with dividing wall and underfloor heating. • Two climate-controlled studios with sprung floors. • 65 station gym with group cycling studio. • Full-size floodlit 3G football pitch with covered spectator seating for 100 fans. • Two new grass football pitches and a junior rugby pitch. • Five outdoor tennis courts and four netball courts. • Flexible use changing facilities, two Changing Places Toilets and
wheelchair accessible facilities throughout the building. • Multi-purpose function room with bar facilities, which can be used as a club room by local sports teams or as an additional studio space. • Ground level café with view of the teaching pool. • Car park with disabled parking bays, electric vehicle charging points and bicycle storage. During a recent visit to the leisure centre, Mr Eastwood, a lover of team sports, particularly football, cricket and grass hockey, said he was “very impressed with the finer details” and praised the quality of the facilities, which meet the required standards for a range of competitive sports. Cllr David Bittleston, Lead Member for the Sheerwater Regeneration Project, said:
Throughout his time on the council, Ian championed every aspect of sport and served on every committee which had an influence in this area. Everybody on the council looked to Ian to advise on matters relating to sport. Community use
Bishop David Brown School has shared use of the Eastwood Centre, giving its pupils access to brand new high-quality facilities to support their physical education.
Since returning to the classroom, pupils have already started making use of the new leisure centre along with the new kitchen and dining hall included in the footprint of the building. This area is accessible only to the school and replaces the old canteen block, which will be demolished as part of the exterior landscaping works starting soon.
GREEN LIGHT FOR ACTON DEVELOPMENT BRINGS RAFT OF COMMUNITY BENEFITS Babergh District Council today agreed outline planning permission for up to 100 houses in Acton – providing ‘affordable homes’ for low income families, sustainable transport contributions and public open space for the village. Plans for land to the south east of Barrow Hill were originally given the go-ahead in December 2017, however with work onsite yet to begin, a new application was considered at today’s planning committee meeting, held virtually to ensure public safety during the current coronavirus outbreak. Following input from the planning officer, applicant, the community and councillors – and subsequent debate – the committee voted by seven to two, with two abstentions, in favour of
£1.4M FOR CARBONSAVING MEASURES AT COUNCIL LEISURE CENTRES Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are set to make further significant CO2 savings, thanks to a £1.4m Government grant for carbonsaving measures at their leisure centres, and other buildings. Funds are expected to see solar PV panels and air source heat pumps installed on the council-owned sites so they can begin to move away from fossil-fuelled heating systems. These include Hadleigh Pool and Leisure, Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre, and Wenham Depot. Separately, Kingfisher Leisure Centre is also expected to have a hybrid air source heat pump, and Stradbroke Pool and Fitness Centre should see solar PV panels installed. The funds are thanks to the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which supports capital energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects within public sector non-domestic buildings. Cllr Elisabeth Malvisi, cabinet member for environment at Babergh District
authorising the chief planning officer to approve outline planning permission for the scheme, subject to conditions. The development benefits from 35 affordable homes, offering shared ownership opportunities and lower rents than the local market rate to meet identified need from the district’s housing register. These homes will range in size – accommodating families, local residents wishing to downsize and those looking to get on the property ladder. Proposals also incorporate plans for extensive public open space including a play area and nature reserve for use by the village, as well as the allocation of land for a new scout hut with canoe storage, at the request of the local scout group.
Council, said: “This is another important and vital step towards achieving our climate ambitions, and making Babergh greener and cleaner.
This money enables us to further advance our climate change ambitions by decarbonising some of our major assets, while also supporting improved health and wellbeing for our communities.
The funds build on a £25k Government Low Carbon Skills Fund grant given to the councils back in January, to start the feasibility work required for the projects.
Works will also form part of the councils’ Carbon Reduction Management Plan, which sets out how the councils aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Cllr Jessica Fleming, cabinet member for environment at Mid Suffolk District Council, said: “We want to be setting an example for our districts when it comes to reducing carbon emissions – and this funding and work is a vital step in that process. “Our leisure centres are one of our largest sources of CO2e - so putting in place measures which use less energy and heat, and making them more selfsufficient is crucial if we’re to reach our carbon ambitions over coming years.”
A number of conditions have been agreed to ensure that the development is sustainable, with the applicants agreeing to fund a travel plan – promoting greener modes of transport – in addition to contributing £50,000 towards enhancing a demand responsive public bus service, serving residents and the wider community. Funding will also be made available for public rights of way improvements and links to the existing footpath network – securing safe pedestrian access to local amenities. During the meeting, the committee sought a Construction Management Plan to minimise potential impact from construction of the new homes on the community. Further measures, such as landscaping and biodiversity mitigation, will be agreed if, and when, final details of the scheme are approved.
Jack Saunders, programme manager at Salix Finance, said: “We’re really pleased that Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils have benefited from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. “Installing air source heat pumps and Solar PV at four leisure centres and a depot is a great step towards reaching their Carbon Reduction Management Plan of net-zero target by 2030. We look forward to continuing to support the councils with any future plans.” Solar PV panels will help to decarbonise the buildings, by providing renewable electricity to the centres, in order to power the air source heat pumps. Air source heat pumps, which draw their heat from the air, will provide a more energy efficient method of heating the buildings. This will help move away from and replace existing fossil-fuel heating systems, while also significantly reducing the amount of electricity needed to run the system. All works are subject to ongoing feasibility studies at the sites, and will link in with solar carport pilots at two centres. These will determine exactly what measures are possible, as well as more precise data on expected carbon savings for the council. Final details are expected to be scoped out during Spring, ahead of formal procurement of a contractor to carry out the works later in the year.
Events & Awards News
NBS IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THE LAUNCH OF ITS NEW PODCAST SERIES - DIGITAL CONSTRUCTION CONVERSATIONS. EPISODE ONE IS OUT! NBS, the leading digital construction data platform, has launched its brand new NBS Podcast – Digital Construction Conversations. The monthly podcast features prominent built environment figures from the worlds of design, sustainability, policy, and change management. Author, architect, and NBS’s Head of Technical Solutions, Paul Swaddle, hosts the podcast and will interview a new guest about key topics and their inspiring work and career. Listeners can expect candid conversations, insightful views and useful approaches to the future of construction. The first episode, features an interview with Jon Arnott, Director of Digital Practice at global design and urbanism practice, Broadway Malyan. The thought-provoking first episode talks about Jon’s journey in architecture, training, and technology. He shares his experience in making digital transformation work across remote teams working on real projects, upskilling designers with a range of needs, and how he made the shift from design into an operational, change management role. Paul and Jon discuss the importance of standardisation, and trying to stay positive in stressful situations. The podcast has a fascinating series of guests lined up from across the construction industry. The next episode, out on the 1st of April, will feature Miranda Sharp, Lead for the Commons Streams of the National Digital Twin Programme. “The new podcast aims to be a joyful and informative look at the future of digital construction and appeal to listeners from outside the industry interested in technology, design, and management. We hope it will encourage more people to explore fresh and dynamic NBS content. Every month I will be speaking to key industry figures and asking them to explain their approach to the work they do and their hopes and visions for the future.” said Paul
The podcast is available on Spotify, YouTube, Apple Podcasts and other online platforms.
MARKS CONSULTING PARTNERS DOES THE DOUBLE WITH A BRACE OF AWARDS SHORTLISTS AND NEW HIRES Specialist Recruitment Consultancy Marks Consulting Partners is delighted to have been shortlisted in two categories of the Recruiter Awards 2021. The Recruiter Awards are the UK’s most prestigious honours in recruitment, recognising best practice and celebrating the great work and achievements in-house, agency and RPO teams, and individuals. Marks Consulting Partners has been shortlisted in the Best Public/Third Sector Recruitment Agency and the Recruitment Agency of The Year (Up to 19 employees) categories. Winners will be announced live at a glittering gala dinner on Thursday 23 September 2021 at JW Marriott Grosvenor House, London. Judges from across the recruitment industry, as well as previous Recruiter Awards winners, will make their final decisions on over 30 hard-fought categories. Toby Marks, co-founder and director of Marks Consulting Partners said: “We are delighted to be recognised in these highly respected industry awards. We founded our agency in order to be different. To be honest and put candidates and clients first. “To add value to our clients’ businesses and contribute to their success, whilst placing candidates in roles that really are the right next career step for them. As recruitment experts for property professionals, we truly understand the markets we operate in, the qualities of our candidates and the needs of our clients. We are looking forward to the awards night and reflecting on everything that we have achieved over the past 12 months.”
In response to recent company growth, Marks Consulting Partners have also welcomed Jack Price and Ethan Mooney to their team as Trainee Recruitment Consultants. Both will be specialising in supplying Development and Regeneration staff to the Property Services sector, under the experienced supervision of Toby and Jake Marks. Jake Marks added “2021 was definitely the most challenging that we have faced since we founded Marks Consulting Partners in 2015, but we are so proud of everything we have achieved. Faced with a global pandemic and national lockdown we quickly transitioned to remote working. We worked hard to support our clients and candidates throughout the difficult lockdown months. We were delighted to win multiple tenders to become the preferred supplier for both temporary and permanent recruitment in several housing associations and win many new clients including several District Councils across the South East. Due to this expansion, we are delighted to be adding to the team and welcome Jack and Ethan to support us on our next stage of growth.” Marks Consulting Partners is a specialist recruitment consultancy, dedicated to contract and permanent recruitment within the property services sector. Founded by brothers Toby and Jake Marks in 2015, from their Hertfordshire base they cover construction and maintenance recruitment into Local Authorities and Housing Associations including related Private Sector Consultancies and Contractors across the South East.
GOLD FOR OCEAN WITH MENTAL HEALTH FOCUS The awards, run by Cornwall Council, act as a toolkit to encourage employers to think about ways to improve the health and wellbeing of their employees. Recognised for its continued mental health support and safe working from home initiatives, Ocean has maintained the gold award for the third year in a row. Heather Taylor, HR coordinator at Ocean, said: “Supporting our staff is always a main priority for us as we strive to be a great place to work. In a year full of changes for everyone, we are proud to have continued to look after the team as best as we can. “Communication has been key, with monthly video briefings from our group chief executive Mark Gardner for all staff to join, as well as regular support emails from the HR team providing tools and reminding staff that there is always someone available to talk to. Our content is strongly driven towards supporting staff’s mental health, and
we have five mental health first aiders available to provide support should a member of staff need it.” The business ran a mental health awareness week in May, which provided staff with helpful tips on a variety of subjects including parenting and working from home, supporting mental health in lockdown, coping with living alone, and staying positive. The week finished with a virtual coffee morning and quiz for all team members to enjoy. With most staff working from home, Ocean designed a number of initiatives to keep members of staff safe and supported. Departments created WhatsApp groups and scheduled Zoom calls for regular check-ins, while the HR team arranged for gifts to be sent out to ensure everyone knew they were appreciated, including grow-your-own sunflower kits and a Christmas hamper. Flu jabs were also offered to all staff in October.
Mark Gardner said: “I really appreciate how the whole Ocean team has pulled together this year, for each other and also our tenants, and I’m delighted to see this reflected with this gold award. We already had plans for a smart working programme to be introduced over the next few years, which has been put into practice more quickly due to pandemic. “As part of this movement, we have created a scheme for eligible staff to receive a payment to purchase vital equipment they need to continue working safely from home, such as a new desk and chair. Smart working will involve a combination of home and office-based work throughout the week, which will mean less commuting for our staff, and will also help towards providing a safe and flexible environment for their families.”
Ocean’s Facebook page helped keep staff and tenants updated with ideas to support their mental health and staying active, as well as updates from the Government to keep everyone safe.
Engel high-viz workwear helps save the environment A brand-new range of high visibility protective safety clothing with 50% of the material made from recycled plastic bottles has been introduced by workwear manufacturer Engel Workwear. Called ‘Safety Light’, each item of clothing can be verified to consist of regenerated polyester fibres ultimately spun from a specific number of plastic bottles to make up 50% of its content. This is combined with 40% cotton and 10% standard polyester (245 g/m2) to produce a cool-to-wear, durable fabric. By using regenerated polyester which is equally as efficient as new, there are also significant consumption savings on energy, water and C02. The Danish firm has worked closely with Unifi, one of the world’s most advanced recycling centres which transforms the recycled bottles into a polyester yarn called ‘REPREVE©’ The smart, mix-and-match range includes boiler suits (containing 37 plastic bottles), work-jackets (20 bottles), trousers (19 bottles) with Cordura kneepad pockets and PSBN321008 F. Engel Workwear Half Page Edit.indd 1
elasticated waistband, bib-overalls (23 bottles) and shorts (14 bottles). All have many practical pockets and comfort-design features. There is also a specific selection especially for women called ‘Ladies Light’, all with the same benefits. Commenting on the initiative, the CEO of Engel Workwear, John Engel said: “We are delighted to be able to make a positive contribution in helping to reduce the impact of the single-use global plastic waste crisis by putting many thousands of otherwise discarded bottles to further practical purpose. By doing so, we are able to not only do our bit to help improve the environment, but also be the first to use this versatile fabric to produce a unique range of lightweight, hardwearing and comfortable highvisibility clothing which will help keep our customers safe” The Engel ‘Safety Light’ collection is to be further extended during 2021. New garments will include Safety ‘Super-Stretch’ Jacket, trousers, Waterproofs, T shirts, Sweatshirts and
a zipped Hoodie. Due to elastic fibres woven into the fabric, Engel ‘SuperStretch’ garments are extremely flexible allowing greater comfort through freedom of movement whilst maintaining their original style and shape. For more details contact Gareth Bladen at email@example.com Telephone +44(0) 7759 520034 or visit www.engel.eu/en & ENGEL Workwear - Catalogue (f-engel.com) Click here for more information. https://youtu.be/ nc2se7xKKlE
23 20/04/2021 13:11:14
All Images: © Alex Filz
FLORIS: A PARK EXPANDING ITS’ OWN HORIZONS When architecture takes on the vibrancy and rich diversity of nature, it will never be perceived as alien. As part of a special hotel project, noa* has incorporated features that will evoke memories, dreams and perhaps a touch of adventure in every guest.
For many years the cosy guest rooms of Parc Hotel Florian, situated at the foothills of the village of Siusi allo Sciliar, has been providing the perfect yearround holiday experience. A unique feature of this property is the magnificent park, where you are encouraged to linger among ancient trees, an idyllic pond and an outdoor pool. The complex has recently been expanded with ten brand new suites in a stand-alone building, which connects to the existing structure, providing both a sense of continuity and a fresh perspective with a distinctive architectural language.
Noa* architects were commissioned to enhance the design of the hotel, which meant confronting a complex building situation. On the one hand, the pride of the hotel – its unique grounds - had to be preserved in an optimal way. On the other hand, the immediate surroundings, with adjacent single-family residence, car park and the hotel itself, produced a building site that required a lot of tact and sensitivity: the perfect challenge for noa*. BECOMING PART OF IT At the outset, the idea was to separate the building with the new suites from the original site in order to leave the grounds untouched and occupy as little space
as possible. A building at ground level would have resulted in the loss of sizeable portion of the grounds. But the idea was not just a row of rooms door to door, but an orderly grouping of intimate, self-contained tree houses elevated on three-metre high supports, leaving the grounds fully accessible underneath. At the same time, there was a growing desire not only to accommodate guests in the new suites in the park, but to allow them to be a part of it. During the design process the park became the central theme of the architecture, thoroughly embedding the building within the nature, as if it had always been there. The intellectual concept of tree houses began to take shape: at the end of the connecting walkway that forms the backbone of the new development is the two-storey structure containing the suites, with five rooms on each floor, all of which have views over the park. In order to make the architectural complex even more dynamic, the rooms are located above each other at a slight angle, creating the impression of a natural, grown structure while preserving the views. Guests have the sensation of being ensconced in their own little house. Despite this architectural openness, the appearance of the whole building is preserved, as it nestles into the park landscape. This is anchored by a pregrey wooden façade, which confers a degree of uniform tranquillity to the unique cluster of tree houses. GENTLE FUSION The new “Floris Green Suites” are
no less spectacular inside than they are outside. The conventional living, bedroom and bathroom areas have been reimagined in an unusual way. The central living area opens out onto a sheltered balcony overlooking the magnificent mountain scenery, a benefit also afforded by the glass bedroom. Everything is confluent: Rooms, functionality, exterior and interior. Only the toilet and bidet has been designed as a self-contained unit. A free-standing vanity unit with mirror, which can also be used as a console desk, provides a pivotal point. This is where the bathroom area merges into the living area, which has been wonderfully designed with hybrid furniture. The most intimate area is located at the far end of the suite, where the entrance is: an open shower is elegantly flanked on one side by the self-contained toilet and bidet unit, and on the other by a small, private Finnish sauna, which guests can use whenever they wish. In addition to the many views and vistas, there is another highlight that makes a stay in the Green Suite irresistible: an open patio with an outdoor hot tub, which complements the sauna offer in an exceptionally appealing way. The interior decor is designed around a subdued green interspersed with shades of grey, adding to the treehouse ambience. Underpinning the overall concept are the fabric covers, tiles and painted surfaces, which help to merge inside and outside. The smoked oak flooring, fittings and bathroom units in a restrained shade of black blend harmoniously together. Continued >>>
BECOMING ONE Expansive horizons, casual openness and personal freedom are the defining undertones in this project - in every sense. The unhemmed patio provides a private, garment-free retreat, as does the external terrace area, which is bordered by apertures through which the newly planted tall trees grow and where you can sink back and relax in a hammock-like mesh.
The interior decor is designed around a subdued green interspersed with shades of grey, adding to the treehouse ambience. Underpinning the overall concept are the fabric covers, tiles and painted surfaces, which help to merge inside and outside. The smoked oak flooring, fittings and bathroom units in a restrained shade of black blend harmoniously together.
Planters on the balconies and terraces enhance the natural ambience. Various architectural openings create unique lighting moods. The coherent interior colour concept, the consistency of architectural touches such as the soffits of the suites clad in larch wood, and the discreet but deliberate irregularities of the tree houses enhance the quality of stay for guests at the Florian Hotel. The enthusiasm of the architects is palpable in every detail and will find its resonance in visitors, who despite of the new structure will be able to take full advantage of the park, which has been the guiding principle for this project from the very beginning. Project name
Siusi, South Tyrol (Italy)
noa* network of architecture
noa* network of architecture
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The British Council has moved into a creative new office facility in S9, an ‘outstanding’ BREEAM rated building in the International Quarter London (IQL). Prioritising the adaptability of available space, partitioning expert Style was bought in early to work with 5plus Architects and main contractor, BW Interiors. As a result, the expansive ground floor concourse benefits from 7 bespoke, 5m high Dorma Hüppe moveable wall elements. Operating on a complex tracking layout, they can be used to form an innovative display screen, to create individual exhibition boards, or to screen the café from the conference suites. One side of the panels is finished with magnetic, writable laminate, encouraging casual meetings where teams can collaborate and share ideas, whilst the other side includes an Autex board, providing essential acoustic sound absorption in this highceilinged space.
Style’s sales director for the South, Michael Porter, said, “By being brought into the development at an early stage we were really able to maximise space flexibility in multiple areas, while offering the highest possible sound reduction levels from sustainable products.
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An international organisation for cultural relations and education, The British Council builds connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries. The interior of the prestigious new offices aims to reflect and accommodate these diverse roles.
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People On The Move
FOUR NEW RECRUITS JOIN RG+P’S THRIVING QS TEAM The QS team at multi-disciplinary design practice, rg+p has welcomed four new team members following a sustained period of growth. Najmul Ahmed and Russell Mumford join as quantity surveyors in the Leicester and Birmingham teams respectively while Haroon Masood and Alice Nash have commenced one year work placements as assistant quantity surveyors. “Despite the challenges of the last year, the team’s workload increased by 10%,” explains cost and project management director, Mitch Dale. “This is attributed to our solid reputation within the affordable housing
sector, appointment onto five major frameworks including the £10.4m EN:Procure Consultancy framework and a series of significant projects wins including a residential development in Bulwell, Nottingham for Godwin Developments; a commercial development at Kings Cross for Kier; a mixed use scheme in Clapham for MTVH as well as almost 600 new homes on sites in Rugby, Stowmarket and Upton.
TWO YOUNG FEMALE ENGINEERS SAY APPRENTICESHIPS ARE A KEY ROUTE TO STEM DIVERSITY It’s no secret that the UK construction sector is suffering from a serious skills shortage, with a reported 182,000 new engineers alone needed each year to bridge the gap. Apprenticeships have been proven as a great way to combat this crisis and are becoming a serious option for all school leavers as Covid-19 makes higher education a decreasingly attractive option. With most apprenticeships rooted in STEM fields, another key action point when closing the skills gap is encouraging more diversity. The latest figures from the Women’s Engineering Society1 (WES) show that women make up just under 13% of the engineering workforce and just less than 18% of higher apprentices in the engineering and manufacturing sector.
This is something Zoe Fittock and Angelina Stankovic, both trainee apprentices at national M&E consultancy Couch Perry Wilkes (CPW), are hoping to change. Zoe said: “Apprenticeships have always been an attractive option for many, including myself, and are increasingly seen as a strong rival to higher education, providing the valuable skills and real-world experience needed for success in the construction sector. With it being Women in Construction Week, it’s an important time to be talking about the need for more women in the construction sector. Apprenticeships are a great way for women to circumvent the glass ceiling and get their foot in the door. “By making it easier for women to step into the industry from the start of their career, we can challenge stigmas around female engineers and normalise equal representation from the start.” For new trainees entering the industry, the need for frequent technical engagement is a key part of development. CPW’s twofold approach ensures that this can continue despite the challenges of lockdown restrictions.
“Considering all these factors, it was essential to commence a recruitment programme for both experienced and trainee professionals and we are now very pleased to welcome Najmul, Russell, Haroon and Alice to the team.” Adding further to rg+p’s QS success is the news that the practice’s Birmingham team leader, Arron Iliffe has completed his RICS qualification and is now fully Chartered. As a result, Arron has been promoted to an associate at rg+p and also commenced a mentoring programme to assist aspiring RICS students from Nottingham Trent University.
Firstly, a straightforward mentor hierarchy for trainees keeps lines of remote technical input clear and concise, and secondly, CPW currently retains some weekly office presence options for trainees to sit alongside mentors. Apprentices are given priority over socially distanced desks and office numbers are appropriately limited, while still allowing some of the regular face-to-face interaction that is vital to progression. Angelina added: “The construction industry is as hands-on as it gets and having the opportunity to gain practical experience with software, design implementation, and working as a team on a common project goal is invaluable. We’ve already had great insights into the sector, enhancing our knowledge of M&E engineering and construction industry trends beyond what could be learnt in a university classroom. Entering a traditionally male-dominated industry can be daunting to say the least. It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy as the ‘boys club’ mentality deters women from applying for roles at all. By beginning at an apprentice level, it paves the way to gender equality in engineering. Learning alongside male counterparts and benefitting from the expert knowledge of your more experienced team members, really helps challenge the stigma.” Taking on new trainees each year, CPW will be launching its 2021 apprenticeship scheme later this year.
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EFFECTIVE GRAFFITI REMOVAL In many cities, graffiti is a serious public nuisance. Daniel Took, Head of Professional Product Marketing at Kärcher UK explains four of the most effective ways to tackle graffiti and leave surfaces looking like new. Particle blasting procedures – for stubborn dirt Particle blasting is used when stubborn dirt, such as graffiti, must be removed gently. The procedure uses an air flow (compressor with a minimum output of 4 m³ per minute) to which precisely dosed spray agents are added. By selecting the appropriate type and quantity of spray agent, as well as air pressure, the procedure can be adapted for different surfaces. There are around 2,000 types of spray agent available on the market, ranging from blast furnace slag to chalk and glass powder, as well as calcium carbonate. The differences are not just down to the output
materials used, but also the size, shape and hardness of the grain. Dust is largely prevented by adding water at the nozzle (“damp blasting”) which has the added benefit of binding the spray agent and removed pigments in the water. Flexible injector blasting systems Injector blasting systems have proven to be extremely flexible, as they are easily transported in a case and have short set-up times, making them particularly effective for graffiti removal, as graffiti can often only be dealt with at individual points, rather than over a large area. It can be used as one-man operation and is very adaptable. All parameters – air flow and air pressure, water flow and spray agent volume – can be set by the operator on the trigger gun according to the level of dirt and the surface being cleaned. This means that the operator can quickly switch the type of spray agent being used, from very gentle to very abrasive. Injector blasting offers the following advantages: • easy transport and short set-up times • high adaptability • versatile • environmentally friendly • low operating and investment costs • safe handling In order to be able to precisely determine costs and area
performance, it is always advisable to carry out a test clean on-site. High-pressure cleaning High-pressure cleaners are a popular choice. The type and level of dirt will dictate whether cold or hot water machines are used. There is a trend towards using hot water machines, as the higher temperature makes greasy and oily dirt easier to remove, as well as lighter graffiti. Additional benefits of the hot water machines are a reduced cleaning time of up to 40% and that less cleaning agent is required, sometimes even none at all. Drying times are also reduced so that next steps can get underway more quickly. Water flow is another important factor when selecting a machine, as it is crucial for impact pressure, which generates the cleaning action and aids the removal of the dislodged dirt. The type of nozzle, spray angle (a 25° nozzle is normally used) and spray distance are also extremely important. Dry ice blasting While still a relatively new cleaning method, dry ice blasting is gentle, effective and has a wide range of uses, including grease, oils, adhesives, binders and silicone. It is also noncorrosive and virtually non-abrasive, which means it can be used on sensitive surfaces. Dry ice blasting is recommended when other cleaning procedures are prohibited by legal regulations, or if these methods would not be successful or could only be used with considerable investment of time and at great expense. However, this method does require consideration, as the technology is more costly. Dry ice particles are ejected from the trigger gun with a compressed airstream up to the speed of sound and sublimate immediately upon contact with the surface being treated. They take effect in three main ways: • Ejected particles release their kinetic energy upon impact. • The layer being removed cools suddenly upon contact with the –79 °C ice, becomes brittle and cracks. • Some of the frozen carbon dioxide penetrates into the cracks of the encrusted dirt and paint layers and sublimates, thereby increasing its volume by a factor of 400, and causing the dirt to split off completely at a microscopic level.
The dirt is dislodged without the use of high pressure or water and falls off the surface. As the dry ice turns into a gas upon impact, no residues are left.
REPAIR BACKLOGS AND HOW TO AVOID THEM
Understandably during the height of the pandemic, there was an enormous waiting list for general repair and restoration works, especially towards the end of 2020. In the lettings sector alone, landlords and housing associations received an unprecedented number of complaints from tenants - 43% of which were about repairs – but we have learned so much since then. When November’s lock down was announced by Boris Johnson, the government were clear to designate repair companies as essential services which has allowed operators such as ourselves to play our part in reducing the backlog in domestic properties wearing full PPE. The landscape has of course changed but with additional health and safety, PPE and social distancing considerations front of mind and fully in place, it does mean that the backlog of stalled projects and repairs is now being handled. Many postponed ‘nonessential’ repairs are back underway within housing stock, education and health care but with the road map in place to further parts of the economy opening-up imminently, we have the opportunity to do so much more. Sports facilities, museums, theatres and galleries are cautiously preparing to open their doors once more and it is time to address any outstanding wear and tear that might impact visitor confidence at such a sensitive time.
By repairing an item, Magicman typically save customers 80% of time and money, with craftsmanship second to none. Before
As a business Magicman are passionate about partnering with housing associations, healthcare, education and other areas of the public sector to move forwards together into this new landscape, building trusted relationships and community within the public sector as they go.
Magicman now see a great need and opportunity to work hard together to not only overcome this backlog but to ensure that tenants and visitors to public amenities feel safe and protected while repairs are carried out. Ahead of a general re-opening, we will be thinking about how we can work collaboratively, sustainably and safely to ensure this. After
Magicman provide sustainable insitu repairs of baths, sinks, worktops, windows, doors, tiles and floors that are unparalleled in their quality and customer service. As the originator of in-situ repairs and snagging, environmental concerns have always been a core part of their operation. Repairing damaged items on-site instead of replacing items that many do not realise are perfectly repairable reduces landfill, and the greenhouse gases produced in the manufacture and distribution of replacement items. By repairing an item, Magicman typically save customers 80% of time and money, with craftsmanship second to none. Magicman means less stress, time wasted and costs for housing associations and public buildings such as schools, healthcare facilities, museums and galleries. But most importantly less downtime, interruption and stress from start to finish. This is even more important at a time when there is still uncertainty about social contact and where there is a need to reassure employees, tenants, visitors and patients. Public confidence as well as bricks and mortar will also benefit from some careful restoration. To discuss how you can work together with Magicman, contact email@example.com.
NATIONAL ROLE FOR MANNINGHAM HOUSING ASSOCIATION BOARD MEMBER Manningham Housing Association (MHA) board member and tenant Cath Bacon has been chosen to represent the views of social housing tenants around the country on a high profile committee. She will serve as a member of the Housing Ombudsman’s Resident Panel which provides feedback and advice on the formal process of investigating complaints about registered social housing providers including housing associations, other landlords, managers and agents. The Panel also examines key areas of the Housing Ombudsman’s work including the annual business plan and three-year corporate plan. Membership is made up of tenants from a cross-section of landlords in the Housing Ombudsman Service, ensuring that occupants with different types, size and location of social housing provider in England are represented. In addition to her role on MHA’s board, Cath Bacon is also Chair of the Bradford-based association’s
my experience as an elected member of Bradford Council and my role as a trade union local organiser.
“ Customer Panel which scrutinises the services it offers to tenants. Away from MHA, she is Vice Chair of Bradford District Credit Union and is preparing to stand for election to Bradford Council in May having previously served a four-year term on the local authority. Cath Bacon said: “I am proud to be appointed to the Housing Ombudsman’s Resident Panel following a competitive process. I believe I bring a wealth of experience to the role through my work with MHA,
VIRIDIS AND FORTH VALLEY COLLEGE COMMITTED TO KICKSTARTING ENGINEERING CAREERS Leading sustainable building services company Viridis has strengthened its relationship with Forth Valley College and its commitment to apprenticeships with the appointment of Alicia Barrett. Based in the Falkirk office, Alicia is the second apprentice Viridis has taken on from Forth Valley College, with Cameron Graham joining the growing team in 2019. Viridis is committed to training and educating the next generation of net-zero design engineers to create a greener, more sustainable future and help bridge the skills gap.
Alicia - having always had a passion for science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) subjects completed a pre-apprenticeship engineering course at Forth Valley College, which earned her a Higher National Certificate (HNC) prior to joining Viridis.
Alicia said: “I first became interested in pursuing a career in engineering after one of my teachers suggested that I look into apprenticeships. Personally, I like the fact that the various engineering disciplines strive to make the world a better place – whether that be building more sustainably or finding new and innovative ways to do things. I was immediately attracted to Viridis when I found out about the company’s commitment to discovering green solutions that can be implemented to create a more environmentally-friendly future.”
Tenants who choose to bring complaints to the Housing Ombudsman do so because they have felt let down by their social housing provider and want their voice to be heard.
“I will seek to give them that voice whilst working with the Housing Ombudsman to deliver service improvements.”
Barrington Billings, MHA Chair, said: “Putting tenants first and shaping our services according to their needs are MHA’s guiding principles. “No one understands this better than Cath which makes her an excellent choice for this vital role which will allow her to speak up for tenants on a national level.
studying route. It can sometimes be challenging to juggle working and studying, but in the long run it offers you the best of both worlds and will provide a more rounded approach to your career. I really enjoy the variety of my day-to-day role at Viridis and it’s great to be able to learn and earn at the same time.” Lee Marshall, managing director at Viridis, added: “First and foremost, I want to formally welcome Alicia and say how fortunate we feel that she’s become part of our team. At Viridis, we’re incredibly passionate about providing opportunities for budding engineers who are enthusiastic about sustainability, as well as supporting them with any part-time education or training that that will benefit their future.
Cameron initially started his Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) in Building Services Engineering course in 2019 and is now finishing his degree parttime alongside his role as a junior design engineer at Viridis.
“Cameron is a fantastic example of how someone with the right attitude and determination can carve out a successful start to their career, while also taking the time to earn some industry-recognised qualifications.
He said: “For anyone at the start of their engineering career, I would strongly recommend the part time
“It’s been great to work alongside Forth Valley College over the last few years to nurture some of their former
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“She has been a first class board colleague and I know she will do a magnificent job.” Lee Bloomfield, MHA Chief Executive, said:
There is a wonderful culture of togetherness at Manningham Housing Association which has enabled us to achieve the highest possible gradings from the Regulator of Social Housing, attain the Customer Service Excellence quality mark and become the first housing association in the country to be accredited for our work in promoting equality, diversity and inclusion. Cath is an incredibly important part of our team and her appointment is fantastic news for MHA, social housing tenants in England and the Housing Ombudsman Service.
pupils and provide as much support as possible to give them the best start within the engineering world.” Lorraine Kerr, Forth Valley College business development partner, said: “Alicia has worked hard throughout the year on the engineering pre-apprentice course, and she was absolutely delighted to secure an apprenticeship with Viridis. “The engineering pre-apprenticeship has been running very successfully for four years now, and is a fantastic steppingstone for young people to progress onto a MA.
DLA Architecture, a top 100 UK architectural practice*, has promoted Mark Redfern as Head of Design across all three studios in Leeds, Manchester, and London. The newly created role has been generated by the business restructure and succession plan announced earlier this year. Mark, who joined the practice in 2006, operates across all office locations and drives the design ethos within the practice. As Head of Design, Mark will take the lead in developing a more integrated design culture to deliver the company’s ethos of contextual narrative-led architecture across all the DLA studios. Mark has contributed considerable design leadership through several high-profile projects including the redevelopment of ‘The Majestic’ which is to become the new HQ for Channel 4, and the Central Square development in Leeds which was one of the first BREEAM Outstanding speculative office developments in the UK. He is also currently leading the master planning for Lisbon Square, a critical gateway site in Leeds’s West End. Chris Levett, Board Director and Head of the London office at DLA, said, “Mark’s skills and experience are perfect for this new and vital role demonstrated by Mark’s passion for contextual and integrated design which is widely recognised in the property sector. He is able to balance the commercial requirements of the client’s brief with the challenges that each site brings to create
high quality, award winning civic architecture.” Mark Redfern, said, “I am delighted to take on this new role at DLA and see tremendous value in embracing the collective design expertise across all our offices to enrich our design culture. This is a very exciting time for the future of the practice and indeed the property industry as we emerge, post pandemic, with an evolved perspective on the effects of the built environment around us.” DLA Architecture has been established for more than 40 years with offices in Leeds, Manchester and London. The award-winning practice employs over 75 architects, landscape architects, architectural technologists, and graphic designers. In January DLA announced its succession strategy with a rebrand and has streamlined its core architectural services to focus on core growth sectors. Whilst its HQ remains in Leeds, it has committed to grow its North West presence with larger premises in Manchester city centre. DLA is recognised nationally for its award-winning work which includes the sensitive, £21 million PPP delivered community project at Hackney Gardens in London and the transformation of the iconic Majestic building in Leeds city centre. Its expertise covers a broad range of sector including learning, sport, industry, care, workplace, housing, retail, conservation and re-use.
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“Cameron has taken another route via the HND and it has also helped him progress to university and then to fulltime employment which is great. It is very rewarding to see Alicia and Cameron and so many other young people progress into MAs and full-time work after completion of courses such as these.” Viridis Building Services Limited specialises in providing sustainable passive environmental building services solutions that incorporate renewable, low carbon, low energy, H.V.A.C and MEP systems for the built environment.
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MILLIONS TO BE INVESTED AS COUNCIL WELCOMES NEW POWERS FOR COUNCIL HOME BUILDING Mid Devon District Council has welcomed the Government’s decision to support local authorities with their own council housing build programmes, as it sets out ambitious plans to build more than 50 new council homes in the district. The reforms, announced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government gives local authorities in England more freedom on how
they spend the money from homes sold through Right to Buy (the sale of a council house) to help them build the homes needed within their own communities. The changes to the scheme follows recent lobbying by Mid Devon District Council, and other councils, for greater flexibility that will enable them to add to the supply of affordable and social rent housing and unlocks the
ROLLALONG COMPLETES LATEST RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT USING MMC Offsite manufacturer Rollalong has completed its latest turnkey residential project, delivering 13 new modular council-owned homes in Barking, East London.
successful housing project for Rollalong, which specialises in manufacturing buildings offsite for the residential, defence, health and education sectors.
The new homes were manufactured in a controlled factory environment in Dorset and have been installed on Sugden Way in Barking as part of a development managed by Be First for Barking and Dagenham Council. The development is the latest
“We’re extremely pleased to have completed this residential scheme which now provides a range of highquality, affordable homes for people in Barking and Dagenham,” said Clive Harris, Construction Manager at Rollalong. “Like many parts of the UK, Barking and Dagenham suffers from a shortage of housing, and our modular approach offers local authorities a chance to address this shortfall in around half the time of a traditional build.
Council’s multi-million pound council building scheme. Under the new measures it will be easier for councils to fund new homes using Right to Buy receipts and give them greater choice over the types of homes they provide, enabling them to reflect the needs of their own communities. It will also give councils more time to use the funds from the Right to Buy scheme, allowing
“Modular offsite construction also significantly reduces disruption to the neighbouring properties during the project.” Be First Construction Manager Sam Parry said: “We’re really pleased to say that in spite of the coronavirus we’ve delivered 13 new affordable homes for the council in a fraction of the time a traditional build would take. “More importantly, the standard is excellent, which means top-quality new homes for local people that will stand the test of time.” The new homes include a onebedroom flat, eight two-bedroom flats and four three-bedroom flats. The modules were transported to the site and lifted into position and connected together over a five-day period, after which the internal and external finishing process commenced. Internal finishing times on site were greatly reduced as the modules were approximately 80% complete before they were installed. Sugden Way is the first of two developments Rollalong is creating in Barking and Dagenham; it will also deliver a three-storey apartment block featuring six individual apartments at Mellish Close.
We’re really pleased to say that in spite of the coronavirus we’ve delivered 13 new affordable homes for the council in a fraction of the time a traditional build would take. More importantly, the standard is excellent, which means top-quality new homes for local people that will stand the test of time.
authorities to develop more long term building programmes. Under the scheme local authorities will be able to spend the money on building homes for shared ownership, First Homes and housing at affordable and social rent. Simon Newcombe, Corporate Manager for Public Health, Regulation and Housing, said “This is a hugely welcome announcement. After a year where the pandemic and uncertainty around funding has held back our new build programme, this means we can quickly move forward and deliver our
AFFORDABLE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT IN DUDLEY A housing association has started work on a social housing development in the West Midlands. Platform Housing Group – which has its headquarters in the Midlands – has started work on 80 new homes in Dudley, the first time the social landlord has built in the town. The development will offer a mixture of affordable homes for shared ownership and rented units. The homes – which are due for completion in summer 2022 with first handovers in the winter of 2021 – will be made up of 59 for affordable rent, 10 shared ownership and 11 rent to buy. The scheme – which is costing £12.3million - has been made possible by grant funding from Homes England, Recycled Capital Grants Fund and Platform Housing Group funds. Those involved in the new development include the developer – and architect - Village Partnerships Ltd, employer’s agent GRM Associates, engineer Banners Gate and Dudley Borough Council.
ambitious plan to allocate more than £2million of Right to Buy receipts to new homes over the next three-years. Together with more than £5million of our own housing capital this equates to a £7.4m programme to build more than 50 new council houses between 2021 and 2024. This will ease pressure on our local housing demand with secure, high quality and affordable accommodation across the district.” This use of the Right to Buy receipts is in addition to the Council’s existing commitment to build 70 affordable homes at Post Hill in Tiverton over the same period.
Martin Wright, Project Manager at Platform Housing Group said: “These new homes will form a high quality and sustainable affordable housing development that meets the needs of local people and, importantly, help regenerate the area. “Ensuring people have access to social housing is of vital importance in today’s world. We look forward to completion of the project and welcoming residents into their new homes.” Councillor Laura Taylor, Cabinet Member for Housing, Communities and Residents’ Welfare at Dudley Council said : “Housing is such a massive part of our plans to regenerate and improve Dudley. “We have more than £1billion worth of schemes well under way and it is vital we think about housing to complement these. “I am delighted to see this important development well underway and potentially bringing more people to our borough.”
Platform Housing Group – which owns 46,000 homes in total – completed 1448 homes in 2019/20 (1,598 in 2018/19) at an investment of £258m (£228m in 2018/19). The Group also built more social rented homes – at a figure of 981 – during the past 2 years in England than any other provider, 523 in 2019/20, almost 33% of the total homes built. Platform Housing Group’s operating area is from Herefordshire in the West to the Lincolnshire coast in the East, and from the Derbyshire Dales in the North to the Cotswolds in the South.
These new homes will form a high quality and sustainable affordable housing development that meets the needs of local people and, importantly, help regenerate the area. Ensuring people have access to social housing is of vital importance in today’s world. We look forward to completion of the project and welcoming residents into their new homes.
The site – which formerly housed Midland Electricity Board – MEB – offices and facilities and has been waiting for redevelopment for 8 years - will comprise a mixture of one to four bedroom homes and one and two bedroom flats. The development and the site is part of a larger plan to regenerate the area.
Building standards have changed substantially since Victorian times. Often with conservation work, you need to deconstruct something and then reconstruct it, taking into account modern regulations and requirements, which can be challenging.
A TERRACOTTA TRIUMPH AT THE V&A DBR (London) Limited salvages 19th century balcony at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), is one of the world’s leading museums of art, design and performance, and home to over 2.27 million historically significant objects. Named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the museum was built in 1852 to exemplify the epoch’s finest contemporary design, and remains one of the world’s best examples of Victorian architecture.
Recently, when one of the terracotta balconies in the museum’s John Madejski Garden began eroding, leading UK conservation construction company, DBR (London) Limited, was contracted to restore the feature, ensuring it would stay intact for another several hundred years. Salvaging a piece of history DBR was tasked with creating new, hand-carved terracotta units using a traditional manufacturing process. Initially, the balcony required extensive investigations to understand the cause of the decay, and planning for the deconstruction and reconstruction phases. During this investigation phase, the terracotta was surveyed and detailed by specialist suppliers, Hathern Terra Cotta, with any required replacement material subsequently manufactured at their factory over a period of approximately 20 weeks. The balcony was then meticulously deconstructed, and the embedded ironwork treated and strengthened. Finally, DBR reconstructed the balcony with a mix of salvaged and new terracotta.
DBR’s work has also improved the life safety of the building, which is an incredibly important consideration for any public institution when approaching the maintenance of its historic fabric.
Further, faithfully reconstructing the balcony using traditional methods has meant DBR was able to sustain the building’s original architecture for future generations of visitors to appreciate and enjoy. Overcoming challenges
While the project was successful, there were a few challenges during the restoration process. For example, there was a large amount of decay due to corroding ironwork. When an iron beam corrodes, it can expand up to 14 times its original thickness. In order to repair this, DBR had to treat all the iron with marine-type coatings to ensure the corrosive forces didn’t reengage. The heritage construction experts also had to form compression points within the ironwork, so if there was any expansion, it wouldn’t impact the terracotta itself. Commenting on the process, Adrian Attwood, Executive Director of DBR, says, “Building standards have changed substantially since Victorian times. Often with conservation work, you need to deconstruct something and then reconstruct it, taking into account modern regulations and requirements, which can be challenging. “However, we managed to treat and reuse a lot of the existing ironwork that supports the balcony, and introduced additional supporting beams, which are hidden within the structure, to counterbalance the weight of the balcony. “We actually managed to re-fix the terracotta units in the traditional manner in which they were originally fixed.”
However, we managed to treat and reuse a lot of the existing ironwork that supports the balcony, and introduced additional supporting beams, which are hidden within the structure, to counterbalance the weight of the balcony. We actually managed to re-fix the terracotta units in the traditional manner in which they were originally fixed. Trusted technology
Digital tools played an important role in the restoration of the balcony. DBR used CAD software to produce drawings of the balcony, measured to scale, prior to dismantling it to guarantee every step was recorded.
By doing this, every piece of salvaged terracotta was given a unique reference number, which the team could refer to ensure every piece was put back in its original place. The technology also allowed them to take cross sections of profiles, then given to Hathern to reproduce the terracotta. As opposed to iron, terracotta contracts when heated, so everything had to be made on a larger-scale to allow for inevitable shrinkage, unevenness and stress cracks in the kiln. DBR were also able to identify points of weakness within the original construction, and slightly modify to achieve thicker bearing points in the terracotta, so the stresses from the iron work and support walls were less vulnerable at those points. Greater strength was further achieved by thickening other supporting parts and flanges. Conclusion While there were several challenges, DBR was triumphant in restoring the Victorian balcony to its original state. The company has worked on a variety of landmark conservation projects in recent years, such as the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, and was able to bring the same level of knowledge and expertise to yet another iconic project.
PUPILS SETTLE IN AT OLDHAM’S NEWEST SECONDARY SCHOOL Students from Oldham’s Oasis Academy Leesbrook have been enjoying their brand-new school again after it opened late last year, just prior to the recent national lockdown. The school, designed by Pozzoni Architecture and built by Galliford Try North West, is operated by the Oasis Community Learning Multi-Academy Trust and is located on the site of the former Breeze Hill School on Roxbury Avenue off Lees Road in Oldham. Oasis Academy Leesbrook has been designed to be a school where all young people receive a personalised educational experience and holds 1,500 students between the ages of 11 and 16. The main school building is a four storey ‘Super Block’ with an adjacent two storey sports hall and one storey building housing a fitness suite and PE classroom. Red brick was chosen as the primary material so that the school would be in keeping with the local design vernacular in Oldham, with the building’s form and materials reminiscent of the town’s industrial history.
distributed and positioned along circulation routes to enable passive supervision and wayfinding. The social areas of the school include a large, bright and airy dining hall with two storey curtain walls, while a covered external dining area is also available for Year 11 students to use at lunch times as well as offering a social space for break time along with a nearby informal terracing area and grassed amphitheatre. The school’s Learning Resource Centre takes pride of position on the first floor, acting as a mezzanine within the dining hall as well as offering views over the playing fields. The art department has also been positioned to enjoy inspiring views across the school grounds and neighbouring Leesbrook Nature Park.
The double height main visitor entrance is set back to provide a natural sheltered recess leading on from the external plaza, which offers a secure and welcoming arrival to the school. There is a second entrance for pupils which leads onto the performance hall while a third offers a dedicated entrance to the sports facilities for community usage.
The school’s sports pitches, multi-use games area and playground are also being made accessible to the local community, offering benefits for the wider health and wellbeing benefits of the residents across the neighbourhood as part of the Oasis Hub: Oldham, which runs activities designed to help build a strong, safe, and resilient community.
To ease movement around the school, an ‘oval’ circulation system has been created, improving pupil circulation and reducing travel distancing between classes to reduce congestion. Staff areas are evenly
Catherine Mulley, Director at Pozzoni and head of the practice’s education team, said: “We are delighted that the students at Oasis Academy Leesbrook have been able to start enjoying their new school again, which offers a truly
exceptional facility for the local area as a whole. The project benefitted from being located on the very large site of a former secondary school and this has enabled the design to offer a spacious, inspiring and welcoming learning environment for 1,500 students. “The opening of this school continues our ongoing relationship with Galliford Try in the education sector with Vanguard School, for the National Autistic Society Academies Trust via the Department for Education, which opened last January and received a Highly Commended status in the Education Estates Award 2020 for Inclusive Learning Spaces for All.” Sarah Livesey, Principal at Oasis Academy Leesbrook, said: “Oasis Academy Leesbrook is a school that is passionate about providing the very best for our families, our community, and our wonderful students who are our pioneers and the future of this community. This building is one small part of us delivering on our promise to do our best for this community by providing an inspiring, engaging and caring educational environment in which our students can flourish.
We are proud that our Academy is already oversubscribed since opening in 2018; this is testament to our wonderful staff and students the building now gives the staff, students and community the facilities that they deserve.
Darren Parker, Managing Director for Galliford Try Building North West, commented: “This has been a fantastic project for our business unit. By working closely with Oasis Community Learning we have enhanced the experience for the whole community creating greater social value along the way of the project, while in step with creating a new Academy for local students that we can all be proud of.”
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