Search Results for: construction

New Centres of Excellence for sustainable building design launched

New Centres of Excellence for sustainable building design launched

Centres of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design are to be set up at four UK universities in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering. The new centres at Heriot-Watt University, Loughborough University, the University of Sheffield and University College London will form a national network to demonstrate and exchange best practice in teaching and research for a more sustainable built environment. The universities will work closely with the construction industry to develop their engineering and architectural design courses to be as relevant as possible to the work students can expect to do when they graduate. Visiting Professors from industry are a key part of this approach and will be heavily involved in developing the new centres of excellence. More →

HS2 – still a train that symbolises the clash of old and new ways of working

HS2 – still a train that symbolises the clash of old and new ways of working

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We’ve said this before but given the recent round of agonising over HS2 and today’s news that it will already cost £10 bn more than planned, there is no end yet to us hearing more and more about the plans for the Government’s flagship construction project and all-round Keynesian boot in the pants for the UK economy. Most of what passes for debate involves some light class warfare about the route through Tory constituencies, seasoned with a dash of NIMBYism, some chest beating from Labour who started the whole thing but can’t be seen to support it fully and various other bits of pointless to-ing and fro-ing. But what is most remarkable about the scheme as far as we are concerned, has always been how its business case completely and deliberately ignores the way we now work. Something bleedin’ obvious that the NAO has now pointed out.

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RICS developing BIM accreditation standard to advance uptake

RICS accreditation standard being developed to advance BIM

Alan Muse, Director of Built Environment Professional Groups (RICS) is calling for a cultural shift to ensure that Building Information Modelling (BIM) is more widely adopted. This follows the results of a survey taken at the RICS National BIM conference which revealed that despite its overwhelming recognition within the built environment nearly half of respondents were still not using the process, with 46 per cent identifying minimal client demand as a major factor preventing their implementation of BIM. Comments Muse: “Quite simply, some clients are not yet recognising the efficiencies that BIM can bring”, which is the reason why RICs is now developing a BIM accreditation standard.

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Long term investment in infrastructure needed to boost UK economy

ConstructionThe UK government should reverse the long term slump in infrastructure investment to boost the economy, according to a new report from the Centre for Economic and Business Research and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association. The report, Securing Our Economy: The Case For Infrastructure, calls for the government to address the decade long £13bn infrastructure construction shortfall and lays out a series of recommendations to reverse the situation. The report claims the UK endures a £78bn GDP ‘black hole’ each year due to the lack of investment and that by investing at the level of other developed economies, the economy could enjoy an additional £100 billion each year by 2026.

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JSA launches latest league table of European office furniture companies

EU FlagAs the world gets smaller and the communications revolution continues apace, one relatively unnoticed casualty is the design individuality of offices. Time was when you could walk into an office and the furniture would tell you whether you were in Paris, Frankfurt, New York, Milan, Moscow or London. The colours, shapes, materials, construction and image of the furniture were all very local, almost parochial. Who could fail to be struck by the muddy oranges and greens of a French office? Or the inevitable mahogany or teak real wood veneers used in the UK? The panels, worksurfaces and storage units which made up US cubicles were rarely seen outside North America and the massive, dark wood desks and cabinets in Central European deliberately overawed visitors and staff alike.

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Office rental sector benefits from office to home exemption

Office rental sector benefits from office to home exemption says RICS

The office rental sector has benefited from the prospect of reduced supply, stemming from the recent announcement by the government to relax the need for permission to change use from commercial to residential, according to RICS’ property and construction experts. Although the first quarter results of the 2013 RICS UK Commercial Market Survey reveals how the retail side of the commercial market continues to suffer, other areas of the commercial property market – such as office and industrial space have seen demand for premises strengthen slightly with no major increases in empty floor space and rising levels of tenant demand for office premises. More →

BIM provides opportunities for the built environment finds report

BIM provides built environment with opportunities for growth

Building Information Modelling (BIM) will raise productivity, provide better buildings, faster and cheaper and represents opportunities for the built environment to become a powerful international player. This is according to a major new report, Growth through BIM produced by Richard Saxon, the UK Government’s BIM Ambassador for Growth who concludes: “No wonder it has been mandated as government policy“. The Built Environment sector, for the purposes of his report, is defined as Property, Construction and Facilities Management, which accounts for about 15 per cent of GDP, and which he describes as: “an enabling sector, facilitating the performance of most other sectors”. More →

Dubai developers switch unwanted commercial property projects to other uses

Cups gameThe UK isn’t the only country looking to convert its unwanted office space into other uses. According to a new report from CBRE, the oversupply of new commercial property in Dubai is leading developers to switch the use of projects in the Emirate before they have even finished building them. With occupancy levels already at less than 50 percent in some areas and swathes of new developments coming online thanks to Dubai’s ongoing commitment to a policy of ‘build it and they will come’, developers are taking the decision to convert construction projects to homes or hotels.

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Lack of skills hampering business growth say UK CEOs

Lack of skills training is hampering growth say business leaders

Nearly two thirds (65 per cent) of UK employers say a lack of key skills is hampering their growth prospects – with construction, mining, engineering and energy companies reporting the most chronic shortage of skilled employees. Yet, according to a PwC global survey, while three out of four UK CEOs said creating a skilled workforce should be the Government’s highest priority only a third intended to do anything about it for the coming year. Instead, they see it as a longer-term goal; with 70 per cent of respondents saying they plan to increase investment in their workforce over the next three years. More →

New projects to research green building solutions

The BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials

Two major new projects to further the development of sustainable building solutions have been launched. The BRE (Building Research Establishment) National Solar Centre, aimed at providing a research based, independent platform in the use of solar energy in the UK was officially opened in Cornwall today, and a £1m ground-breaking building called the HIVE funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and led by Dr Mike Lawrence from the University of Bath’s BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials, is to be built at a dedicated research park in Swindon.

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Client focus as crucial as great design says RIBA

The architectural profession can't rely on great design alone, but needs to be more business and client focused

The architectural profession can’t rely on great design alone, but needs to be more business and client focused warns the Royal Institute of British Architects. According to RIBA’s 2012/13 Business Benchmarking Survey, 62 per cent of practices do not have a business plan and, of those that do, only 13 per cent plan beyond one year. Interestingly, the survey also finds that 50 per cent of the profession’s work is won as the result of a direct approach with no competitive process. RIBA President Angela Brady said: “One key element exposed in these latest results is the acute split in business management, profitability and specialisms between large and small practices on how to make the most of their own position in the market place. What is clear is that if growth is on the agenda for a practice, then simply being a great designer, or a good project runner, is unlikely to be enough.” More →

Hong Kong’s pioneering zero carbon building wins innovation award

ZCB building in Hong Kong

The Construction Industry Council’s (CIC) Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) in Hong Kong has been awarded Champion of the Innovation Award for the Engineering Industry 2012/2013 by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE). The ZCB, which is the first of its kind in Hong Kong engineered by Arup won the construction category for its integrated innovations, tailored for the city’s sub-tropical climate. It is the first building in Hong Kong to actively feed electricity back to the grid and has BEAM Plus Platinum status – the highest rating for excellent building environmental performance.

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