Latest Reader Comments

  • A Atkins on The London Plan: 7 areas to deliver a legacy of sustainable changeThere is huge scope to reinvent retail and office space for new housing, just as offices are already being converted into flats under PD rights. I question why the carbon targets are so aggressive on new-builds, inevitably pushing up prices and continuing to treat new-build by always-nasty, always-evil private developers and landlords as the natural target for virtue-signalling policy-makers. Where are the policies to *really* crack down on embedded carbon and energy-inefficient *existing* buildings, which form the vast majority of properties that need upgrading? Perhaps we need more aggressive policies, such as: - link council tax to your property's EPC rating as well as its supposed 1991 market value. - triple council taxes, refunding any money spent on energy improvements and a demonstrable increased EPC rating - for those who claim not to be able to afford energy improvement work, supply a government loan, with the debt recorded as a second charge on the freehold or leasehold, and increasing in line with house prices. A sliding scale of interest charges could also be added to encourage early repayment. - reduction in capital gains tax if you upgrade a property in your tenure, or reduced council tax or business rates if...
  • Gareth Davies FCIOB on Carillion collapse exposes corporate deviance“OUR RESEARCH SHOWS THAT ‘NORMALIZED DEVIANCE’ HAS ALWAYS BEEN PRESENT IN THE CONSTRUCTION SECTOR.” – DR HAJIKAZEMI Dr Hajikazemi's term 'normalized deviant behaviour' was certainly present in Carillion as far back as 2006. When they took over Mowlem we experienced first hand that there was a huge difference in the culture and its personnel, operational and commercial practices between what Carillion said they did and what they actually did. From supply chain (late) payment practices to centralised 'supply chain management, 'Low Cost Country sourcing ' (Buying second rate goods from China) and poor construction management they were an entirely dysfunctional corporation akin to a Soviet central committee defying financial gravity by recycling 5 year plans based on half truths and purging anyone senior who espoused a contrary view.
  • Simon Taylor on Carillion collapse exposes corporate devianceCarillion posted huge profits, ie £200m per year for the 5 years running up to the collapse. This is money leaving the business as profit. That's £1bn over 5 years. This is way higher than any other construction company, most reporting small profit or loss of single figure millions during those years. Then suddenly Carillion go bust owing £1bn. This really isnt rocket science.
  • Walk Ride GM on Hunt begins for bidders on £1.9bn Lower Thames Crossing roadsTrying to connect road widening and the furtherance of car dependency with a 'low-carbon future' is pure fantasy, and the 'economic recovery' is highly questionable, as this study of the M25 Jn 23 to 27 concludes: "the absence of observed increase in traffic speed raises questions about the applicability of a long-established transport model and of travel time savings as the main economic benefit of road investment, as well as about the value of investment to increase the capacity of strategic roads where these are used extensively for local trips." (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0965856421000872)
  • Antony Atkins on Government cancels Oxford-Cambridge expressway projectA disastrous decision. So now if a company wants to make an HGV or transit delivery to multiple destinations along the Oxford-Cambridge arc, or if you want to visit a Cambridge or Oxford science park or similar address for business reasons (highly unlikely to be near the railway stations, which were built in the nineteenth century), we will still have to chug along what is a terribly slow chop-and-change cross-country route. And for all the talk about "mass transit", there's highly unlikely to be any public transport from the railway stations to the diverse locations of modern businesses around the peripheries of these cities, so visitors by rail will be forced to mess around at either end getting multiple expensive taxis, on top of an expensive rail fare. Passenger railways are designed for mass commuting into city centres, or leisure travel. They are hopeless for business and multiple point-to-point visits, and for business-related deliveries. Why force people in the Cambridge-Oxford arc, who will remain dependent on the private car for the vast majority of commuting and private journeys for the foreseeable future, to use the train just because they want to travel east-west? It will take at least 10 years...
  • Leanne on Balfour Beatty improves gender pay gap for second year runningHow is this portrayed as a good thing? Reducing the gender pay gap for a second year running... having had two years surely there should be no gender pay gap?
  • B Webb on Confusion and delays hamper Green Homes Grant schemeI applied for a voucher in December and I am still waiting, after many phone calls and being asked for information which I returned immediately, then to receive emails telling me they want more information. In some instances asking for what they already have. Now they have asked for a document that I don't have and never had so I have to put in an appeal which I was told I would hear back in 5 days now to be told it can take up to 15 days. The whole process is so frustrating for a single 81-year-old.
  • Fluix on Construction safety: Four ways to prevent injury in the workplaceThe CEO should place safety concerns on a par or even higher level with other job responsibilities. Company leaders also need to be aware of the most significant risks associated with the activities of the enterprise, as well as plans to reduce them. Many managers require that every serious injury be reported immediately. For example, in a diesel engine company, serious incidents are reported directly to the COO and business vice presidents. Knowing that these reports are immediately received and reviewed by senior management, line managers will remember the importance of preventing accidents.
  • Kerl of Fox County on £125m Jewellery Quarter redevelopment approvedThe concept is sound. A new, mixed used development providing a walking link into the Jewellery Quarter sounds excellent, particularly by adding another public square; St Pauls and the space outside the Big Peg are often quite busy of a weekend and will only become more so as the district's population rises. However, I must say the architecture style is lamentable. I realise that the Jewellery Quarter is historically industrial, but if the so-called architects looked at the work of their predecessors (up to the 30s, anyway.. and with a few honourable exceptions since!) they'd see the buildings all had relief details. Different coloured brickwork, painted bands, archway and detail above the doors, etc. The proposed development has *none* of that, instead just being more dull, box-with-windows buildings. It's kind of pathetic that a so-called gateway will have such mediocre design, akin to the Cube Hotel which blights Caroline Street.. and even that at least has gold window surrounds to make it mildly interesting! If the architects really want to see good, modern development in this historic development, they should look at that on Northfield Street where the new apartments are being matched to the former factory next to them...
  • Gude at Synsera Homes on UK construction sector continues to recover in DecemberExciting, yet also trying times for all. More adaptability and innovation required, but our industry has already shown it's up to the challenge. Keep on keeping on and stay safe everyone!
  • kattrica jones on Partnership to develop zero carbon homes in CheshireThis is a fantastic opportunity for Winsfords residents. Can I ask if there are plans for a school? I would highly recommend a school for Autism and of course children of SEN. Cheshire West would profit hugely from a local based school for SEN. And it would be a fantastic future for our children to be able to grow up in zero-carbon homes.
  • Derek Booth on NHBC: Looking ahead to 2021Complete nonsense, your flagship product! Check who won this and the development in question. Many more like it which are deathtraps. Runcorn waterside development wins national award https://www.runcornandwidnesworld.co.uk/news/8376900.management-of-the-deck-in-mersey-road-commended/?ref=twtrec
  • Marina De Giulio on Big housebuilders investigated for misleading homebuyersProperty developers are rushing into towered buildings instead of showing some respect to the people buying from them.. Bricks and mortar supported the old buildings whereas cladding supports the new buildings. The old buildings are solid safe and cheaper. The new builds are dangerous and pose fire risks, making them totally unsafe, yet are more expensive. By making rooms so small for no room to put a dining table is even more dangerous when trying to escape from a fire. These developers should be investigated.
  • Kathy Keeley on Oxford-Cambridge Arc: Building a new economic powerhouseI have reservations about Oxford and Cambridge being too closely linked but many don't agree with me.
  • Mark Senior on How BIM has paved the way for construction’s digital transformationGreat article – and I would argue that the value of reality capture tools such as 3D scanning goes beyond what you’ve said here. RC is great for measurements and tracking progress as you’ve said, but it’s also a great tool for capturing as-built conditions during the planning stages of a project. With the right software, RC tools can even turn as-built conditions into BIM objects that can be integrated into digital construction workflows.
  • A Atkins on UKGBC publishes guidance on zero carbon homes This is a fantastic way to curry favour with the electorate and block new housebuilding: just impose stringent "zero carbon" measures and watch your planning applications dry up because it's unviable economically to build. Virtue-signalling coupled with no new homes - what a win win. The same goes for landlords: if they are forced to have minimum EPCs of C by March 2025, as the Government is planning to require - and no doubt some councils are looking to force this on landlords earlier using their licensing regimes - landlords will simply sell up and make the EPC upgrade of old housing stock into some owner-occupiers' problem. But that won't matter when the important thing is sticking it to evil landlords and looking like you're "green". In the meantime, why are these same councils not doing anything to tackle the appalling EPC profile of existing properties? The number of new homes is tiny compared to the existing built environment, yet somehow new-builds are fair game to impose every more stringent requirements, irrespective of cost, whilst owner-occupiers, the vast majority of whom have EPC of B or lower, get away scot-free with doing nothing. One day a local or national government...
  • A Atkins on Green home upgrades held back by lack of Government clarity, says FMBI spoke with a Trustmark-registered builder recently about why so few builders have bothered registering with Trustmark. Just as with the abortive Green Deal of 2015-16 he commented: 1. incredibly expensive, bureaucratic and time-consuming to register and qualify and do all the necessary training and paperwork. These costs are passed on to the consumer, who then feels Trustmark builders are expensive and decide not to proceed. 2. Some improvement because registered builders can now appoint non-registered subcontractors, though the builder remains responsible for the quality of the work. 3. Very poor Trustmark website, with search completely dependent on the (quickly out-of-date) metadata provided by the builders, so it is hard for consumers to find builders for, say, external insulation in their area. 4. Small firms have gone bankrupt by excess quoting: consumers attracted by the grant ask for a detailed quote, then see the final figures, and back away, and all the cost of the quote falls on the builder, who then puts up his or her prices for everyone to compensate. Unless they quickly change the scheme and introduce a simpler way of validating the quality of the work and eligibility to receive the grant - perhaps fee-based inspections...
  • Brian on UK construction sector continues to recover in DecemberGood to know. One thing you may want to make your readership aware of is the impending price rise for PPE & Workwear used by construction workers. Shipping lane operators are hiking their prices up for importers and are targeting lines from the Far East where a great deal of PPE and workwear is manufactured. One example we have been told is a price rise from $2,900 per 40ft container to $14,000. This may well increase operating costs for firms. We’re suggesting they buy their kit sooner rather than later.
  • Gloria on Hanzo Design fined £24,318 for illegal use of ‘architect’ titleInstead of protecting the title ARB should be protecting the profession. ARB should doing more for architects! For decades ARB is trying to protect the title "achitect", but this is not working any more. I have seen many "project architects" who are not members of ARB. Very rarely these are prosecuted... Similarly IT industry is using "IT architect" and " Network Architect" , i dont see ARB going after IT guys and suing them for the title "Architect".
  • Gloria on Hanzo Design fined £24,318 for illegal use of ‘architect’ titleFor decades ARB is trying to protect the title "achitect", but this is not working any more. I have seen many "project architects" who are not members of ARB. Very rarely these are prosecuted... Similarly IT industry is using "IT architect" and " Network Architect" , i dont see ARB going after IT guys and suing them for the title "Architect". Instead of protecting the title ARB should be protecting the profession. Fully qualified Architects earn £30-40k which is extremely low in comparison with IT architects or lawers, doctors etc... but still requires 7 year of studying... ARB should doing more for architects!