RIBA reports positive picture for architects and construction sector

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RIBAThe latest Future Trends Survey by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is showing a more positive picture for the architect profession and the wider construction sector. The RIBA’s Workload Index for February 2013 stands at +16, the third consecutive monthly increase, and has now remained in positive territory since November 2012 which continues to suggest improved confidence amongst architects regarding their future growth prospects. RIBA practices report that overall actual workloads remained stable throughout 2012, following falls in every calendar year from 2009 until 2011.

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BIM task force group to represent built environment

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BIM

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is of as much importance to those tasked with using and managing buildings as those involved in their design and construction and has led to the formation of the BIM4FM group, which represents institutes, trade associations and professional bodies within the built environment. Supported by the Cabinet Office Government Property Unit, the BIM4FM group will provide input into the on going development of BIM and work being developed through the Government Property Unit and BIM Task Group. Geoff Prudence, Chair of the BIM4FM group said: “Although BIM has long been discussed at the construction end of the supply chain it has only recently and repeatedly started to raise its profile with those operating and using buildings.” More →

London calling for Green Sky Thinking events

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GST13-ButtonIf you’re looking for some practical guidance on sustainability check out a free London-wide event, Green Sky Thinking, a week-long series of free sustainability-focused events showcasing innovative and practical solutions to greening London’s built environment, which runs across London from 15-19 April. Ranging from onsite project talks, round-table discussions, pecha kuchas and seminars, it offers attendees the inside view from top experts, industry leaders and collaborative teams to understand innovations and what works in practice. Victoria Thornton, Founding Director of Open City, said: “The value of Green Sky Thinking Week is offering the solution of ‘how’ to make London’s built environment  sustainable.” More →

Where are the muggles in Terry Farrell’s architecture policy review?

Where are the muggles in Terry Farrell’s architecture policy review?

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One of the standard complaints commonly ascribed to facilities managers and others who work to manage our buildings and the people and stuff inside them is that they are not consulted well enough when it comes to the development, architecture and design of buildings. Well, now they may have a chance to see how that all feels writ large following yesterday’s announcement from Culture and Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey of the launch of an independent review of the UK’s architecture which will be undertaken by the architect Sir Terry Farrell leading a panel of mainly architects.

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HSE swoops to take action against fifth of refurb sites

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Hard hatsThe UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has taken enforcement action against a fifth of the refurbishment sites it visited as part of a month long programme of inspections. HSE inspectors visited 2,363 sites where refurbishment work was taking place and served 631 enforcement notices at 433 sites.A total of 451 notices were served that ordered work stop immediately until appropriate action was taken to minimise risks to workers and members of the public.  The inspections took place between 18 February and the 15 March as HSE officials made unannounced visits to constructions across the UK to check on measures taken to counter high risk situations such as working at height and other circumstances such as the use of PPE equipment.

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Video: how networks of engaged people can achieve more than nations

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In spite of all its flaws, the Internet can empower people to address specific issues in ways that exceed the abilities of nation states. In this energising talk for the Royal Society for the Arts, Don Tapscott, a Canadian businessman and now one of the world’s leading authorities on the impact of technology on people and societies, explores the idea that engaged and connected people can work together to innovate and solve issues that can seem intractable to the world’s governments and international bodies, including the most serious demographic and environmental challenges we all face.

Muted response from built environment sector to Budget 2013

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BudgetThere’s been a muted reaction by the building and construction sector to the Budget announcement of a boast to infrastructure investment and relief that revised energy management regulations are likely to be pushed through. CIBSE has welcomed the news that the Government will be giving a detailed response to last year’s Consultation on changes to Part L of the Building Regulations, which covers energy efficiency, by May 2013. The body which represents building services engineers had raised concerns that delays in changes to Part L of Building Regulations in England should not hold up much needed, cost beneficial changes to Part L for the non-domestic market.

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$16m revamp of High Commission in London to showcase Canada’s identity

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Canada HouseAs part of the Canadian government’s consolidation of its diplomatic mission in the UK, it has put up for sale MacDonald House in Grosvenor Square in London and will look to develop its other main building Canada House in Trafalgar Square. MacDonald House was formerly the American Embassy until 1961 and the Canadian Government has been looking to consolidate its operations for a number of years. As well as moving its functions under one roof, the Government has earmarked $16 million for a revamp of Canada House which will also be designed to showcase Canadian values and know-how.

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Building Information Modelling is unstoppable finds survey

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BIMNearly three quarters (71 per cent) of building design and construction experts agree that BIM (Building Information Modelling) represents “the future of project information” and 39 per cent confirmed that they are already using it. But the annual industry-wide BIM survey, undertaken by NBS, reveals a lack of clarity around the subject which could prove an obstacle to its more rapid adoption. 74 per cent of those polled agreed that the industry is “not clear enough on what BIM is yet” and only around one-third claim to be “very” or “quite” confident in their BIM knowledge and skills.

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Rise in jobless figures puts pressure on Chancellor

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The Treasury

There is more pressure on Chancellor George Osborne ahead of today’s budget with the news that uemployment rose by 7,000 to 2.52 million between November and January. However the overall unemployment rate for November 2012 to January 2013 remained at 7.8 per cent, unchanged from August to October 2012. The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) also show that while pay rose by 1.2 per cent during the same period, with inflation measuring 2.7 per cent between January 2012 and January 2013, there continues to be a cut in the real value of pay. More →

New procurement systems to make it easier to bid for Government work

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Public SectorThe Cabinet Office has unveiled a new centralised system that it claims will make it easier and cheaper for suppliers to compete for government and public sector work  because they will only have to register once to have access to a range of contracts. Currently, suppliers to government and the public sector have to register on several systems to be able to view, access and tender for business opportunities. The Cabinet Office believes the new system will be particularly attractive for SMEs who found the current system too onerous.  The system will replace an existing system which serves over 80,000 registered suppliers and the same number of customers

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Gone est Lumiere: Leeds approves new city centre office blocks

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Leeds Central Sqaure plansPlans for two buildings on the site of the failed Lumiere mixed use skyscraper project in Leeds have won planning approval. The new Central Square scheme in the city centre  will deliver 262,000 sq.ft. of office space in two new buildings, one consisting of 89,000 sq.ft. over eight floors and a larger 11 storey building with 173,000 sq.ft of space. The new plans replace those for the landmark Lumiere tower  Lumiere originally intended to be completed in 2010 but put on hold in 2008 and finally cancelled two years later. The new scheme has been designed by Aedas. (Forgive the Franglais in the title.)

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