CITB, offsite construction, prefabrication

CITB seeks to boost offsite construction

Offsite construction could revolutionise the construction industry and provide a solution to the UK housing shortage, but only if the sector develops the right skills, according to a report* from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). The report shows that 42% of construction-industry companies with over 100 staff expect to use offsite methods in five years’ time. At present, however, offsite construction accounts for just 10% of industry output.

CIBSE, ASHRAE
Future gazing — ASHRAE president Tim Wentz.

Engineers are encouraged to seize future opportunities

ASHRAE* president Tim Wentz has called on engineers to embrace the potential of technology to deliver more comfortable and effective buildings. Speaking at CIBSE’s Technical Symposium at Loughborough University last month (April), he emphasised the dramatic changes that are being driven by digital technologies.

Apprentices, Apprenticeship Levy
Not a numbers game — Tony Howard.

Apprenticeship Levy is ‘not a numbers game’

Following the launch of the Apprenticeship Levy early last month (April), the industry has expressed concern about a critical report from the all-party parliamentary Education Committee that dubbed it a ‘blunt instrument’ that would do little to tackle the skills gap without significant change. The committee said the levy would drive up numbers of apprentices, but not necessarily in the industry sectors and regions where they were most needed.

CIAT, air conditioning, Chillers, heat pumps

CIAT tour comes to UK

CIAT’s 2017 international tour of more than 70 cities across three continents is in the UK during May, visiting six cities from 15 to 22 May and ending in London on 23 and 24 May. Atallah Musleh, sales director for Europe, says, ‘Over the past 18 months, CIAT has transformed its offerings with new products and services. The tour is a great opportunity to demonstrate our new capabilities and engage with our customers by bring our expertise and extensive range solutions directly to their doorstep.

Briggs & Forrester, Briggs, Forrester, contractor

Briggs & Forrester develops residential business

Briggs & Forrester MEP is planning to expand its residential business from £60 million a year towards £100 million a year by 2020. The group’s overall turnover is £180 million, and the residential business has grown from £40 million to £60 million over the last three years. To better reflect the company’s operations and provide greater sector differentiation for clients, the business has been renamed from Briggs & Forrester MEP to Briggs & Forrester Living.

Swegon, air management, grilles, diffusers, ventilation

New paint plant reduces lead times for Swegon

Swegon Air Management has reduced manufacturing lead times for its Air Diffusion range of internal ventilation grilles and diffusers with the installation of a state-of-the-art paint plant. The £150 000 investment enables the company to bring painting in house, dramatically speeding up the process and cutting lead times for customers.

Glenigan
iStock/Pashalgnatov

Boost for first-quarter construction starts

Non-residential project starts in March saw a surge in March, with their value being 7% ahead of the same period in 2016, according to the latest Glenigan Index. The surge was supported by a stabilisation in hotel and leisure starts and increases in private housing, industrial, retail, amenity, and health and community. Residential starts were 1% higher than a year earlier as a rise in private-housing starts was offset by subdued activity in the social-housing sector.

REL Electrical, contractor

REL takes on refurb of historic building

The transformation of the historic town hall in St Albans into a museum and art gallery will see REL Electrical delivering a £1.1 million M&E contract as part of the £7.75 million project. The contract for this Grade II listed building was awarded by Willmott Dixon Construction.

Gilberts, Blackpool, grilles, louvres, diffusers, ventilation, natural ventilation

Gilberts installs laser cutter for metal parts

Gilberts has updated the equipment at its Blackpool factory with the installation of a laser cutter to replace a traditional CNC punch press for processing 2-dimensional components for ventilation grilles, louvres and diffusers. The Platino 200 Lpt21530 laser cutter is more than twice as fast as the former CNC machine, increasing capacity capability.

BSRIA

BSRIA seeks to INSPIRE engineering talent

As part of its INSPIRE programme to help engage young people in engineering, BSRIA recently welcomed a group of year 9 (aged 13 and 14) pupils from Ranelagh School in Bracknell to its test facilities. They were presented with a challenge before their visit to design and make their own prototype ceiling grilles, which were then tested in a classroom mock-up.

JS Wright, contractor

JS Wright wins major Birmingham project

Building-services specialist J S Wright is to provide M&E services for 323 apartments in two high-rise blocks at Arena Central in Birmingham. The £3.5 million project for the 17- and 22-storey blocks is for Galliford Try Building. Work starts on site in August 2017 and is due for completion in February 2019. It is the tenth project for Galliford Try Partnerships in the past eight years.

Briggs & Forrester

Briggs & Forrester wins £6.8 million contract at University of Warwick

Briggs & Forrester Engineering Services has won a £6.8 million contract to provide M&E services for the new 6-storey Mathematical Sciences building at the University of Warwick. The work also includes upgrading the existing energy centre to support the new and existing facilities.

Viessmann, boilers, heat pump, renewable energy, space heating

German chancellor opens Viessmann’s innovation centre

German chancellor Angela Merkel has opened Viessmann’s Technikum innovation centre, the group’s new €50 million technology research and development centre. It is the biggest single investment in the 100-year history of this family enterprise.

Uponor, pipework, plastic, underfloor heating

Uponor moves to Watford

Uponor, which provides sustainable solutions for heating, cooling, infrastructure and building-services applications, has moved its UK headquarters from Leicestershire to Watford. UK managing director John Fahy (pictured) says, ‘Our new headquarters provides us with space to grow and has allowed us to create a customer-experience centre where visitors can get to know our solutions first hand and gain insight into the projects we’ve helped to deliver worldwide.

Encon Insulation, pipework,  ductwork

Complete HVAC support from Encon Insulation

Independent distributor Encon Insulation has set up a technical support team to work alongside its internal sales specialists and offer end-to-end technical advice from the earliest design stages of a project right through to on-site support and handover.

Grundfos Pumps

Grundfos reports turnover growth

Grundfos Group has reported results for 2016 that saw net turnover increase and an improvement in earnings before interest and tax. Group president and CEO Mads Nipper (pictured) explained, It is estimated that the global pump market that we can serve remained flat in 2016. Our modest full-year sales growth means that we have bolstered our position as the globally leading pump-solutions provider.’

BESA, Building Engineering Services Association
Badge of quality — Kevin Kingaby.

BESA steps up focus on specifiers

Promoting the expertise of building-engineering contractors to local authorities, consulting engineers, architects and key end-user groups is a central part of the strategy being pursued by BESA (Building Engineering Services Association) this year. The association has created the new position of key accounts manager to spearhead a programme aimed at creating stronger links between specifiers and BESA members to help ensure projects meet clients’ expectations and commercial objectives. Kevin Kingaby, former Travis Perkins senior executive, has been appointed to the position.

EPC, MEES, Minimum Energy Efficency Standards
iStock.com/Maxiphoto

EPC simulations presents shock ahead of MEES deadline

A third of commercial real estate with EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates) rated D and E on the platform of Arbnco (previously CO2 Estates) dropped into the categories of F and G on resimulation. Under the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) legislation coming into force in April 2018, such properties will not be permitted to be let, either via new leases or renewals.

Patrick Parsons

Announcing the building-services woman of the year

Elaine Bissell (right in picture), technical director with multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy Patrick Parsons, has been named engineer of the year for building services at the Women in Construction Awards. This year’s awards were presented by former royal correspondent Jennie Bond

BCIA, Building Controls Industry Association, controls, BMS, BEMS
Exploiting the full benefit of controls — Malcolm Anson.

BCIA stresses need for greater understanding of building controls

With a view to improving the energy performance of buildings, the Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) is urging the industry to work together to make significant changes in how building controls are understood by the wider public and other sector.

LG, Space Air, air conditioning, VRF, Neil Afram

LG appoints Space Air as new distributor

Air-conditioning and energy-solutions provider LG Electronics has appointed Space Air as a distributor to its business in the UK. It is a new company built on the foundations of Space Airconditioning Plc, which went into voluntary administration at the end of 2016. The new company is headed by Neil Afram (second from right in picture), who was managing director of the previous company.

BSRIA Briefing

Sir Ranulph Fiennes to speak at BSRIA Briefing

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is to be the guest speaker at this year’s BSRIA Briefing and lunch on 17 November. The event will look at the issue of performance and wellbeing beyond compliance and will be held at The Brewery in London.

BESA, T level, T-level, Building Engineering Services Association
Positive response to T Levels — Tony Howard.

BESA welcomes T Level technical qualification

BESA (Building Engineering Services Association) has responded enthusiastically to a major boost for vocational training announced by the Chancellor Philip Hammond in his recent Budget. He announced £500 million to develop new ‘T Levels’ in 15 vocational categories, including engineering and construction. T Levels are designed to give technical subjects equal status alongside A Levels so that students pursuing a vocational route are not disadvantaged in the eyes of potential employees or dissuaded from taking a non-academic path by their parents.

Idom Merebrook

Idom Merebrook secures high-profile project in Manchester

Idom Merebrook, a multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy based in Manchester, has been appointed to manage the outline design for all M&E works on a high-profile residential development in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Worth over £9 million, this scheme is on an infill site bordered by Red Lion Street, Church Street and Union Street. It has been granted planning permission by Manchester City Council.

Swegon launches combined air-filtration business

Swegon Air Management is combining its two filtration brands (Trion and Envirco) to form a single air-filtration business called Airfiltrera. Trion provides electrostatic filters for manufacturing facilities and commercial buildings — including shopping centres, hotels and restaurants. Envirco has been designing and manufacturing commercial clean rooms for over 50 years.

Daikin success with R32 refrigerant training

Daikin UK has trained over 550 installers from over 470 companies on the use of the low-GWP refrigerant R32 since the launched of its training course in November 2016. Designed and launched by Daikin UK, the course provides a comprehensive understanding of the installation, commissioning and servicing of R32 systems.

Buildings sector shows positive start to year

The buildings sector of the construction industry showed a strong start to the year, with the value of non-residential project starts on site in the three months to February being 13% ahead of the same period a year earlier, according to the Glenigan Index for February 2017. There was also a marked improvement in the social-housing sector, with the value of projects starts being 17% higher than a year earlier. In contrast, private residential starts were down by 8%.

Imtech Inviron

Imtech Inviron helps keeps trains on track

Imtech Inviron has been awarded a contract with Hitachi Rail Europe to maintain its new purpose-built £80 million depot near Doncaster railway station. The depot is more than a mile long, and Imtech Inviron will provide all HVAC planned and reactive maintenance, electrical and building-fabric maintenance services.

Land Securities, BREEAM, refurbishment

Land Securities wins BREEAM refurbishment and fit-out award

Land Securities’ commitment to putting sustainable design at the heart of its new head office in Victoria, London, has been recognised with the BREEAM offices refurbishment and fit-out award for 2017.The company chose the 10-year-old building at 80 to 100 Victoria Street for its new head office, demonstrating the resilience of its assets, and reinvigorated it into a high-performing office that is sustainable, energy-efficient and creates a great working experience for its people.

Skanska

Skanska wins refurb contract in Old Street

Skanska has won the £73 million contractor to refurbish 207 Old Street in London, a mixed-use development also known as The Tower. The contract was awarded by Helical. The building is part of a larger scheme called The Bower development on Old Street roundabout and will bring over 15 000 m2 of offices and 680 m2 of retail space to the area.

Briggs & Forrester

Briggs & Forrester develops residential business

Briggs & Forrester MEP is planning to expand its residential business from £60 million a year towards £100 million a year by 2020. The group’s overall turnover is £180 million, and the residential business has grown from £40 million to £60 million over the last three years. To better reflect the company’s operations and provide greater sector differentiation for clients, the business has been renamed from Briggs & Forrester MEP to Briggs & Forrester Living.

CIBSE, Building Performance Awards
Winners all — the finale of this year’s CIBSE Building Performance Awards.

CIBSE marks 10th anniversary of Building Performance Awards

The University of Bradford has been named Building Performance Champion, for the second time, for its pioneering Ecoversity programme at the CIBSE Building Performance Awards for 2017, which have been running for 10 years. The university was carbon champion in 2012 and has continued transformational work on its aging infrastructure estate over the last decade to reduce its carbon footprint by 35%. It has also become the only university in the world to maintain three BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rated buildings in its portfolio.

BESA, apprenticeships, apprentices
Confidence in Government’s plans for apprenticeships — Paul McLaughlin.

BESA supports Government’s plans to boost apprenticeships

Criticisms of the Government’s plans to boost apprenticeships are missing the ‘big picture’, according to the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA).

BCIA

Finalists announced for 2017 BCIA awards

Now in their eleventh year, the BCIA awards continue to go from strength to strength, with a record number of entries for 2017 covering all aspects of the industry. The awards are now the leading event in the building controls calendar and will this year take place on Thursday 11 May at the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham.

JS Wright

Management buyout for major building-services provider is completed

JS Wright, one of the UK’s longest-established building-services suppliers, has been bought out by its senior management team. The company is now owned by its team of five executive directors (pictured), who have run the business for the past 10 years. This M&E specialist was founded in 1890 and has its headquarters in Birmingham and offices in Bristol and London. Turnover is projected to reach £50 million this year.

Airflow Developments, MVHR, heat recovery, DCV, demand controlled ventilation

Airflow Developments creates Air Academy

Airflow Developments has created an Air Academy at its head office in High Wycombe to showcase the benefits of effective ventilation systems in commercial and domestic properties. It also introduces visitors to the pioneering technology behind the company’s product portfolio and will provide education and training on best-practice installation methods.

CIBSE, ECA, IoT, smart buildings, Internet of Things

Survey finds that clients are unprepared for smart-building revolution

40% of building clients are ‘unfamiliar’ with the heavily used phrase the ‘Internet of Things’, according to survey findings from the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), CIBSE and SELECT, the Scottish electrical-trade body. In addition, 55% of respondents, which include consultants, engineers, end clients, local authorities and facilities managers says that a ‘lack of clear advice/knowledge’ is a barrier to installing connected technology in their buildings. 61% of respondents say they don’t have any plans to ‘evaluate and install connected technology’.

SES, Contractor

SES completes major student accommodation

SES Engineering Services has completed a £6.5 million contract to provide a full range of M&E services for the £30 million student residences at the University of Hull. The company was appointed by main contractor Sewell Construction for the project, which included the installation of building-management systems, heating, ventilation, CCTV and access systems, as well as small power and lighting and dry risers.

Sweco

Sweco teams with BAM to modernise UK facilities in Antarctica

Sweco, a leading European engineering, environmental and design consultancy, has partnered with BAM, which has been appointed to the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) construction partner framework to provide design and construction services for the modernisation of research facilities in the Antarctic. The £100 million programme has been commissioned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and will take place over the next 10 years. It will enable British Scientists to continue research into major issues facing the planet.

Pegler Yorkshire

Pegler Yorkshire promotes the industry to young people

Pegler Yorkshire is supporting children and young adults find their ideal occupation by invoking enthusiasm from an early age for careers in its industry. Among the initiatives is participating with Doncaster Metropolitan Council in a programme of community engagement with 10 and 11-year olds and sponsoring a high-achieving student at a Doncaster secondary school.

Briggs & Forrester, Accidents, RIDDOR

Briggs & Forrester achieves clean sheet for accidents

Briggs & Forrester Group and its subcontracted workforce had no RIDDOR-reportable accidents in 2016. In excess of 7.4 million main hours were worked, continuing the trend of the last few years for growing project turnover, number of man hours worked and number of workers — all with a year-on-year reduction in accidents and lost-time injuries.

RPS Group

RPS sets out on next stage of growth strategy

RPS Group’s building-services consultancy has embarked on the next stage of its growth strategy with the appointment of three new professionals in its M&E and vertical-transportation teams. The company is currently engaged as building-services consulting engineer on several high-profile city-centre developments in Manchester. They include SK Developments’ Greengate Embankment office-led mixed-use scheme, Select Property Group’s City Suites residential development on Chapel Street and Balfour Beatty Investments’ PRS scheme at New Cross, Ancoats.

Elta, Acoustica, air distribution, fans

Elta Group acquires Acoustica

Elta Group, which specialises in fans, air movement and distribution, has boosted its noise-control offering with the acquisition of the business and technology of UK-based acoustics specialist Acoustica. Acoustica is a specialist engineering company involved in the control of industrial and environmental noise and vibration. By positioning the brand alongside its existing noise-control and acoustics capabilities, Elta Group will benefit from an enhanced knowledge and experience of highly effective noise-control solutions.

NG Bailey

NG Bailey completes services for Tottenham Court Road station

NG Bailey provided all M&E communications, fire and public-health services for the recently opened new Tottenham Court Road Station in London, part of the Crossrail project, in a contract valued at over £36 million.

BESA, Indoor Air Quality
iStock.com IR_Stone

BESA calls for Clean Air Act to support buildings as ‘safe havens’

Proposals for a new Clean Air Act should include measures supporting the role of buildings as ‘safe havens’ from Pollution, according to the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA). While tackling emissions from transport is vital, BESA believes that much could also be achieved in a shorter time frame by focusing on how building occupants can be protected from rising external pollution.

Platinum, FM

Platinum appointed to hard-FM services for London Bridge City

Platinum Facilities Management Services has been appointed sole M&E contractors for the London Bridge City property portfolio of eight buildings covering an area of about 150 000 m2 of mixed commercial office space. The contract covers all mechanical, electrical and fabric assets.

Ideal Commercial, boiler, space heating

Ideal Commercial marks 30 000 Evomax boilers

Ideal Commercial Boilers has marked the completion of its 30 000th Evomax commercial condensing boiler since this wall-hung range was introduced in 2011. It is the company’s best-selling commercial boiler and is available with seven outputs from 30 to 150 kW.

Hamworthy, boiler, Energy Technology List, Enhanced Capital Allowances

More Hamworthy boilers on Energy Technology List

Hamworthy Heating’s Stratton mk2 range of compact wall-hung boilers is now on the Government’s Energy Technology List, qualifying it for the Enhanced Capital Allowances scheme. All six models, from 40 to 120 kW, are eligible.

Cavendish Engineers, CentraLine, controls, BMS, BEMS, building management system

Cavendish becomes CentraLine partner

Cavendish Engineers has signed an agreement with Honeywell to become an official CentraLine partner across the entire range of building-management services. Based near Old Spitalfields Market in east London, the company has been in the industry for over 20 years.

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