Sunday, 26 February 2017

Construction Industry has much to learn on building resilience from flooding

The chairman of the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Select Committee, Neil Parish MP, has been on a fact-finding mission to a damage restoration depot in his own constituency.

Mr Parish was shown Richfords Fire & Flood’s facility at Cullompton on 17th February 2017 where he saw the equipment used to dry out buildings after an escape of water or flooding. The EFRA chair was also shown a training mock-up of a stud-wall which had been rigged up for injection drying and remote monitoring.

After his tour, the Tiverton & Honiton MP said:

“I applaud the work of Richfords in allowing people back into their homes much more quickly and then, in the future, increase the resilience of that property. That’s great news because people don’t want to be out of their homes for a very long time. I chair the EFRA select committee and we recently published a report on floods and flooding. The report stressed how important it is to improve properties if they have flooded and make them more resilient afterwards.

I’m very interested in Richfords’ work because it will put in very good stead some future programmes. There is a lot that the Government and local authorities can learn through the planning process and the building control process as well. It is up to Government and local authorities to work with companies like Richfords so we can make life easier for people, get a better construction and better building in the first place so that hopefully, if it floods or has a fire, then it is more resilient.”

Among the other topics discussed was the new British Standard for Damage Management (BS12999) and the importance of getting this embedded in industry across the country.

Richfords’ Business Development Director, Michael Cooper, said:

“It is important that we make our knowledge available to politicians who are shaping future policies because the buildings being constructed now will have an impact on how we deal with the potential increase in flooding events in the future. We want to make getting people’s lives back as fast and effective as possible. However, we need to know that the housing being built can be restored. Our fear is that some of the new stock is NOT resilient. This fear is based on recent experience of dealing with a water damage incidents in new timber-frame homes.”

Richfords Fire & Flood’s campaign to educate includes more meetings with politicians in the coming months and a series of CPD sessions for constructors and architects across the south west.

Images and Video from the visit.

from The UK Construction Blog

Friday, 17 February 2017

The Survey Association launches smart new website

The Survey Association launches smart new website

New features give clients a fast route to TSA’s expertise  

The Survey Association (TSA), the UK’s trade body for commercial survey companies, has redeveloped its website, following a year of exceptional growth in visitor numbers and applications for membership.

During 2016, TSA’s website logged more than 142,000 visits from 100 different countries, an increase of 153% on 2014. TSA also received 19 applications for membership, the highest ever in one year.

TSA President Adam Bradley said, ‘’Improvements to the website’s functionality and refreshed design has been essential to align with the growth of the profession in a number of sectors. With a clearer, easy to navigate listing, clients can now quickly contact a trusted industry professional from our growing list of Member companies.’’

‘’The Job Opportunities section, the most visited page on the site, has been improved too, with a cleaner layout, showing vacancies within a range of survey specialisms,’’ he added.

TSA’s free Client Guides and Guidance Notes on specific survey topics are authored by industry specialist Members. Construction professionals and international organisations regularly consult these documents.

TSA Manager, Rachel Tyrrell explains, ‘’During 2016 there were almost 8,000 (7,961) downloads by engineers, local government, educational establishments and surveyors from all over the world.  The new site makes it simpler for these users to review and download from our growing library.’’

To complement the Client Guides and Guidance Notes, TSA plans to establish a new library of Work Samples, illustrating the standard and quality of work expected from a trusted survey company.

TSA’s website also carries information about professional training courses as they become available. For specific information on the TSA Surveying Course and shorter technical courses offered at The Survey School visit

For further information on The Survey Association visit    Tel: 01636 642840  Email:  

from The UK Construction Blog

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Participants from the 2016 GBS programme

Find out more about ‘green’ construction summer university programme at Ecobuild

Visitors to Ecobuild can find out more about a pioneering Austrian summer university programme, which provides world-leading insight into sustainable architecture and the built environment.

Green.Building.Solutions. (GBS) takes place in Vienna, the capital of energy efficient construction in the summer.

Representatives from the OeAD-Housing Office will be on hand at Ecobuild from the 7 to 9 March to discuss the course, from their base located within the Advantage Austria pavilion, on stand number A189.

The programme provides a unique opportunity for professionals and students in the fields of architecture and construction to strengthen their knowledge and gain a career advantage in the field of sustainability – an area of increasing global significance.

Organised by the OeAD-Housing Office, which offers passive house accommodation for students across Austria, together with the BOKU University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, the course advocates the use of natural resources by connecting natural, engineering and economic sciences.

The three-week programme’s lectures and all associated social activities are carried out in English and the course is of appeal to – but not limited to – those working in and studying architecture, construction management, project management, building and energy engineering and surveying.

It concludes with a collaborative project, where participants work together to bring their learning and experiences from the course to design a ‘green’ building. Student participants are entitled to seven ECTS points after successful completion.

The GBS summer university takes place from July 22 to August 13, 2017.

The cost of the course is €2,490 for professionals and €2,000 for students. This price includes all social activities as well as accommodation in OeAD’s passive house student properties in Vienna. The cost also includes accommodation for participants for almost a week after the programme, enabling them to explore the city at leisure.

G√ľnther Jedliczka, CEO of the OeAD-Housing Office, said: “Austria is world-renowned as a pioneer in sustainable construction and GBS offers professionals and students from the UK and Ireland the opportunity to broaden their perspective and build a network of useful contacts across Europe and beyond.

“We offer a truly international atmosphere, with 38 participants from 20 nations successfully completing the programme last year covering topics including Sustainability in Building and Urban Planning, Principles of Passive House Planning and Renewable Energies and Business Concepts.

“Everyone wanting to find out more is warmly welcomed to come to our stand at Ecobuild, where we will be able to provide more details.”

The OeAD-Housing Office – which won the Austrian Climate Protection Award in 2013 and the Environmental Award of the City of Vienna in March 2015 – operates the Green Building Solutions course under a not-for-profit arrangement.

As well as GBS, OeAD also runs the Alternative Economic and Monetary Systems programme (AEMS), which analyses how economic, political, monetary and environmental factors need to change to be more sustainable – from the 26 July   July until 11 August, 2017.

More details about GBS and AEMS can be found at

from The UK Construction Blog

New Wear Crossing giant pylon raised in single lift

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Letting fee ban: a round-up

Unfair letting fees have long been a problematic issue and it wasn’t until the the late 2016 Autumn Statement produced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, that the problem was tackled head-on at last.

The statement was given on the 23rd of November 2016 last year in the Parliament (the full version can be found here, on the official government’s website) and the news spread rapidly like wildfire and raised numerous questions among tenants, landlords, letting agents and property portfolio managers alike all across the country.

Will tenants really save hundreds?

In recent years, fees had become so out of control that when the Autumn Statement was publicly released, it resulted in a 13pc share prices drop for Foxtons, one of the most high-market estate agencies in London. On average, tenants pay around £337 so savings could indeed be quite substantial.

What the ban means for letting agents

Some experts believe the fee ban might drive landlords to self-manage their property, potentially signifying great financial loss for letting agents. Are landlords really ready to take the plunge and go solo?

Will renting cost go up?

The ban was probably intended to shift the costs from tenants to landlords. Many people firmly believe that the unintentional consequence of this letting ban might be rising rent costs, as landlords will be looking to make up for the financial loss. Admin fees and commissions might go up but landlords shouldn’t be charged for it without trying to re-negotiate. According to conservative party member Mike Freer, this is exactly what happened in Scotland in 2012 when the ban was implemented. There is another side to the story though, as an independent research commissioned by Shelter actually found that the rise was small and short-lived. Another recent survey conducted by online letting agent Upad (and published on their blog) showed that around forty percent of landlords intend to rise up prices if extra fees are passed onto them to pay. But those numbers don’t reveal facts, only intentions: tenants and landlords will have to wait and see.

In recent years, fees had become so out of control that when the Autumn Statement was publicly released, it resulted in a 13pc share prices drop for Foxtons, one of the most high-market estate agencies in London.

When is the letting fee ban going to be implemented?

A few months after the Autumn Statement, tenants are now growing worried that the government will drop the ban as consultation for the projects has not began yet. It is however due to be held in the Spring, so everything suggest that the ban is indeed going forward even if it might take a little while to be implemented.

from The UK Construction Blog