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Efficient way of thinking

Jon Bootland, chief executive at the Passivhaus Trust, looks at why increasing numbers of housebuilders are embracing Passivhaus – widely considered as the ‘gold standard’ of energy efficient design.

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New homes reach highest annual increase for 28 years

The number of new homes in England has risen by 25% over the past year, the highest annual percentage increase in 28 years, according to figures released today. The net supply of housing report, released by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), revealed that annual housing supply in England amounted to 170,690 net additional dwellings in 2014-15, a 25% increase in net additional dwellings from 2013-14. The DCLG said there has been a significant increase in the amount of new homes delivered by converting buildings into residential properties. More than 20,600 of these homes were built in 2014-15, a rise of 65% on the year before. The Government recently announced it would extend permitted development rights that enable offices to be converted into new homes without having to submit a planning application. Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “We’ve brought the housebuilding industry back from the brink, giving them ...

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Civic centrepiece

Ceramic granite cladding panels were used to provide a crisp finish for a new landmark community hub in a historic part of East London. Building Products reports.

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Stair manufacturer confidence on the rise

A new survey among UK timber stair companies has revealed ambitions for significant staff increases in the year ahead. In a poll of British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Stair Scheme members, 81% of respondents are expecting to create jobs within the next 12 months, and of those expecting to create jobs, 55% are aiming to make 10-50 employment opportunities within their company. The survey suggests that members are feeling positive about the industry and are motivated to plan investments. However, some these hopes have been suppressed by the current construction climate, with the skills shortage identified by 73% of respondents as a major constraint to the UK timber stairs market. Other factors causing concern were cost increases and economic uncertainty. Hannah Mansell, BWF schemes and technical manager, said: “Our members seem to be very optimistic about the future of the market but obviously they have concerns. Price is continuing to be a large factor ...

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Light fantastic

Manufacturer Rodeca showcases its product offering with a number of high-profile case studies where its translucent building materials have been utilised to great effect.

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London office construction hits seven year high

Office construction in central London has grown by 18% in six months and hit a seven year high according to a survey by Deloitte Real Estate. The London Office Crane Survey recorded 26 new office schemes, with total space under construction in central London now at 11.1m sq ft, spread across 77 schemes. Will Matthews, head of research at Deloitte Real Estate, said: “We expect that just 3.3m sq ft of space will complete in 2015, the lowest amount for three years. “Looking ahead though, the development pipeline for 2017-19 is filling up as work commences on new schemes. We have also recorded a further 24% upsurge in sites being demolished and readied for construction, meaning early indications are that space completed in these years will exceed the long-run average. Developers will be mindful of the fact that this rise in office construction comes at the same time as high ...

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Diverse workplace

Lisa Jane Risk, national chairman at The Association of Women in Property, argues that although diversity in construction is gradually improving, support networks still have vital role to play in ensuring skilled staff remain within the sector.

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Versatility in walling

Maccaferri looks at how the humble Gabion has found widespread use in construction projects the length and breadth of the country since its introduction in the late 1900s.

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North West leads new build residential sector in Q3

The North West residential sector saw a significant boost in the number of new build properties commissioned in Q3 this year, leading all regions with 5,275 units. According to Barbour ABI’s latest Market Insight report, £621m worth of property development was commissioned in Q3, with £608m from the private sector. Greater Manchester had the leading amount of residential investment in Q3 within the North West, with major projects commissioned including two city centre £40m projects, the New Union Street and Axis Tower developments, constructing 302 and 172 apartments respectively. Six of the top ten largest residential projects commissioned in the region in Q3 were private developments for flats, which has been a major area of residential growth within the region. Commenting on the figures, Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI, said: “With a lack of housing across the North West heavily publicised, it’s welcoming news that the region leads ...

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Balancing act

Simple precautions, such as the installation of a thermostatic mixing valve (TMV), can cut the risk of injuries from scalding and infection from legionella, argues Roger Crabb, marketing manager at Mira Showers.

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