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Safe and sound

With security a key concern throughout the dark winter months, Martin Smith, product manager at IronmongeryDirect, examines a selection of products aimed at maximising the security of public buildings.

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London build costs soar to second most expensive in world

Building in London costs more than any city in Europe and is the second most expensive city for new buildings in the world, according to cost consultant Arcadis. The latest International Construction Costs Index published by Arcadis analysed the relative costs of construction across 44 major cities and ranked New York as the world’s most expensive place to build closely followed by London, while Bangalore and Taipei are the cheapest. The Index revealed that the cost for the construction of a five star hotel in London is 20% above that in Paris and 50% higher than in Dubai. The rising costs are said to be driven by a combination of limited bidding resource and supplier opportunism. Simon Light, UK client development director, Arcadis, said: “In London, the recovery is losing momentum. With inflated construction costs and high land values threatening the viability of commercial and residential development, workloads look to ...

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Government to directly commission building of homes

In a radical new policy shift, the Government is to start directly commissioning the building of homes on publicly owned land. The first wave of up to 13,000 will start on four sites outside of London in 2016 and up to 40% of these will be affordable ‘starter’ homes. This approach will also be used at the Old Oak Common site in north west London. The Government is also today announcing a £1.2bn starter home fund to prepare brownfield sites for new homes. This will fast-track the creation of at least 30,000 new starter homes and up to 30,000 market homes on 500 new sites by 2020 – helping deliver the commitment to create 200,000 starter homes over the next five years. The new investment will help kick-start regeneration and secure planning permission in urban areas – renovating disused or under-occupied urban sites so builders can get to work without any delays. ...

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Lynx Precast calls for sustainable housing growth

Hollowcore slab and T-beam producer Lynx Precast is predicting a buoyant market in 2016, but is calling for a more sustainable approach to housebuilding and construction if the precast concrete flooring market is to bear longer term growth. Andy Teasdale, managing director of Lynx Precast, which produces its flooring systems from 140,000 ft² of space in Northumberland, said residential new build demand will continue to drive sales over the next 12 months. “Looking ahead, we expect to see continuing strong demand for our products in 2016 in the face of a building and construction sector enjoying growth. “That’s encouraging but I also think it’s important that we create a more sustainable market free from the vagaries of ‘boom and bust’ economics if we are to achieve longer lasting robust growth and deliver the numbers in terms of new housing. “Stricter mortgage lending criteria based on affordability will help to ensure people ...

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Architect confidence on the rise in latest RIBA survey

The RIBA Future Trends Workload Index increased significantly in November, rising to +27 (up from +18 in October), suggesting that confidence levels within the profession have stabilised towards the end of the year. Large practices (51+ staff) remain the most positive about future prospects (balance figure +100), compared with medium-sized (11–50 staff, balance figure +32) and small practices (1–10 staff, balance figure +24). The private housing sector forecast was unchanged in November (+25) and the public sector and community sector workload forecasts also remained the same (balance figures –3 and +3 respectively). The commercial sector workload forecast increased to +14 in November (from +7 in October). The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index also recovered lost ground, rising to +14 in November (up from +9 in October). Only 2% of practices expect to have fewer staff at the end of the next quarter. Large practices continue to be more confident about increasing ...

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Precast in a new light

Building Products showcases the aesthetic versatility of architectural and structural precast concrete, which has been effectively utilised to create striking building envelopes on several high profile projects.

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Steady new home growth for November

New home registrations maintained a steady rate of growth throughout November, with similar levels compared to a year ago, according to the latest NHBC figures. In November 11,390 new homes (8,525 private sector; 2,865 public sector) were registered, an increase of 4% on the same month last year (8,848 private sector; 2,152 public sector). Over the last three months, 38,577 new homes (30,170 private sector; 8,407 public sector) were registered between September and November compared to 37,634 (30,120 private sector; 7,514 public sector) in 2014, an increase of 3%. Commenting on the new registration statistics, NHBC Chief Executive Mike Quinton said: “New home registrations for the last three months have remained slightly ahead of the same period last year, following the growth we have experienced throughout 2015. We hope that this momentum continues into the New Year, as we have been clear that while all growth is encouraging news, the ...

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