Industry News

The Circular Building opens its doors to the public

On the occasion of the London Design Festival 2016, The Building Centre, Arup, The Built Environment Trust, Frener & Reifer and BAM have teamed up to create The Circular Building.

The installation - raised in front of The Building Centre in London and open to the public Monday - Saturday 10am - 5pm - intends to explore how we might apply circular economy principles to the design and construction of buildings.

The Circular Building offers a solid example of how we might:

- Lease rather than purchase materials and products

- Maximise off-site fabrication

- Select materials that can be re-used, remanufactured or recycled at end of life

- Choose mechanical and push-fit connections rather than adhesives to allow deconstruction

- Avoid wet trades

- Design fit-out to comprise interchangeable panels leased from suppliers

- Ventilation provided by prototype equipment made from recycled plastic, cardboard and re-manufactured drinks cans

- Electrical system is low voltage and off-grid, facilitating future flexibility and ease-of-maintenance

The installation is also accompanied by Circular Living - an exhibition exploring the impact of the circular economy in a range of industries, from fashion to product design- and by the conference 'Circular economy in the built environment' to take place on 21 September 2016.

Further information is available here.


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CYT launches Campaign to boost work placements across Construction Industry

The Construction Youth Trust (CYT) has recently launched the campaign #ExperienceConstruction in partnership with the Building Magazine.

The initiative aims to encourage young people, parents and teachers, and the industry to consider work experience placements in construction.

Along with the #ExperienceConstruction campaign page, the activity is supported by a brand new careers hub – a growing resource for teachers, parents and young people.

"We believe that to encourage young people to enter the industry and help fill the skills gap, they need to understand the sector and get a taste of the wide range roles which are available to them – particularly those which they may not have been aware of",  said the Construction Youth Trust in a note.

"Work experience placements are vital to this – 1-2 weeks where a young person can shadow employees in multiple roles and really understand the opportunities on offer. All too often, work experience placements are undertaken by those who have friends or family in the industry – but the Trust want to challenge this and broaden the reach to those who might not otherwise get a foot in the door."

"The construction industry suffers from negative perceptions, and opening its doors to welcome students is a crucial step towards challenging these misconceptions. As the current workforce ages and retires, it is their responsibility to pass on their knowledge and experience."

Sarah Richardson, editor of the Building, added: “Construction offers a hugely varied range of career opportunities for young people, but many are simply not aware of the roles on offer as they have no contact with those working in the industry."

To get involved in the #ExperienceConstruction Campaign, you can pledge a placement, or share a story of how a work experience placement has had a positive impact on your career.


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Planning permissions reach highest level since 2008, but it's not enough

The number of planning permissions granted for new homes in Q1 of this year remained high, HBF and Glenigan’s latest Housing Pipeline report shows. Permissions for 66,102 homes were granted in the first three months of the year in England, up 4% on the previous year. 

As underlined by the Home Builders Federation (HBF), permissions have risen steadily every year since 2009, with actual housing supply also increasing markedly over the past two years as more of the permissions have progressed to the point where builders can begin building. The last 12 months have seen a 66% increase in permissions granted on the nadir of the recession in 2009. Numbers are now only 0.3% below where they were at the highest point in early 2008.

Nonetheless, demand for new homes remains extremely strong. HBF estimates there is a shortfall of well over one million homes in England. Almost a third of young people (3.35m) are living at home with their parents and 1.24 million people are on housing waiting lists. The Help to Buy equity loan scheme continues to drive demand for new homes and interest rates remain historically low.

Over 180,000 new homes were added to the housing stock in 2014/15 – up 22% on the previous year - as house builders increased output in response to the rise in demand for new homes.


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BSRIA Chief on Brexit aftermath: "Construction Industry to remain confident and optimistic'

One month after the EU referendum, the Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA) has launched a positive message to members and stakeholders saying the construction industry should remain confident and optimistic about the opportunities out there for existing and new industry projects.

Nonetheless, BSRIA will be offering extra service to members to help them tackle the new political and economical scenario.

Julia Evans, Chief Executive, BSRIA, commented: “Now that the dust has settled from the Brexit decision – for BSRIA it is definitely business as usual – we are where we are. There are opportunities out there for our members to garner new work and deals – we all just need to find them.

Against a backdrop of political and ‘economic spaghetti’ BSRIA can lead and support its members into a bright new future. It is a brave new world. We appreciate there is certainly political turmoil, noise and volatility in Westminster – but BSRIA needs to join in this debate."

Ms Evans added: "As an industry – we must now start to shape future policy. Indeed it is a chance to revise industry regulations and to renegotiate the framework for the future and find new trade rules.

We need to protect what has already been invested in and make the most of our assets, especially investments and buildings. And ensure that investors have confidence in our industry.

I was especially encouraged to learn that government ministers have begun efforts to reassure industry leaders that housing and infrastructure spending will not drop and in fact both will become ‘more important, not less’ after Brexit. The Mayor of London has also announced to boost housing.”

Industry cannot afford any period of parliamentary inaction and uncertainty on non-EU related issues, whether two years or more in length, and BSRIA seeks urgent reassurance from government that this will not be the case."


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BMF urges new government to discuss Brexit impact on Construction Industry

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) is leading calls for urgent talks with the government over the impact of Brexit on the construction industry. 

Following the appointment of the new Prime Minister, Theresa May and her Cabinet, the BMF has written to key Ministers to highlight the urgency and importance to the UK economy and jobs of the construction sector in the context of Brexit.

The BMF has welcomed the new Prime Minister’s early pledge that the new government will prioritise housebuilding, which is recognition of both the importance of the sector and the current uncertainty in the economy.  

BMF has called for a clear plan from the new Prime Minister and the Government that includes:

  • Assurances of continued support for housebuilding, investment in infrastructure to unlock sites, and further reforms to speed up the planning process
  • Recognition of the importance of investing in apprenticeships and other skills development in the industry to build a workforce for the future, taking account of the impact of the possible end of free movement.
  • Guarantees that the construction industry will be consulted about the impact of the transition to operating within a potential UK only framework, including new product standards and a possible return to the emphasis on the British Kite Mark
  • Confirmation that the BMF along with other key industry bodies, including the FMB and the CPA, will be consulted and involved in a dialogue with the government as Brexit talks and negotiation develops.

BMF MD John Newcomb said: “Construction is hugely important for the UK economy and it is vital that the industry is prioritised and consulted by the government as Brexit plans develop.  We want to hear concrete commitments from the government to support housebuilding.  It is also critical that we are involved in planning for the potential end of free movement, so that we have the skilled workforce ready that we will need for the future."

"We have had very constructive relations with David Cameron’s government and we are looking forward to working closely with the new government”.


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