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National living wage

Ruth Phillips, senior associate, and Alistair Smith, trainee solicitor at Shakespeare Martineau, take an in-depth look at the implementation of the national living wage next year and its likely impact on the construction industry.

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Residential totals almost half of all October construction contract values

Residential construction comprised nearly half the value of all UK construction contracts in October, according to the latest Economic & Construction Market Review from industry analysts Barbour ABI. Higher residential activity levels will be warmly welcomed by the industry after lagging behind an infrastructure dominated few months. To put the sector’s supremacy in October into perspective, commercial and retail construction was the second highest sector for contracts awarded by value, but only made up 15% of the market, compared with residential at 49% – totalling a value of £3.7bn. Overall for October, the value of residential projects is the highest since Barbour ABI started tracking the series, helped significantly by a number of projects within private housing, which accounted for 81% of all residential contract values. Major construction projects in October that fuelled the residential revival were spread right across the United Kingdom, from the City North Development in London’s Finsbury Park ...

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Clear marking

Joe Dart speaks to distributor SIG about Assured – an initiative launched to make product compliance information and documentation easier to access for construction purchasers.

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Hydro International welcomes revised SuDS guidance

Revisions to the CIRIA SuDS Manual, the so-called UK ‘bible’ for Sustainable Drainage System design and delivery, has been welcomed by Hydro International for heralding a more pragmatic approach that could help to get more SuDS schemes delivered in future. “CIRIA is to be commended on delivering an excellent document through widespread industry consultation,” said Mark Goodger, Stormwater regional technical manager for Hydro International, who was a member of the project steering group consulted prior to the publication of the new CIRIA C753 SuDS Manual on 12 November. “The update is a significant step forward, particularly in the way it has realigned the use of proprietary treatment devices as a fully-legitimate member of the SuDS component toolbox. In the 2007 edition, manufactured treatment devices that remove pollutants through processes such as hydrodynamic vortex separation were classed only for use in ‘pre-treatment’; this distinction led to restrictions in the way they could be ...

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Guiding light

Simone Hellyer speaks to lighting specialist Philips about the applications of its LED carpet system, manufactured in partnership with Desso.

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Ecobuild launches Big Innovation Pitch call for entries

Ecobuild is again teaming up with Marks and Spencer to provide a platform for companies to pitch innovative building products and solutions in the hope of becoming a potential supplier to the retailer. Ecobuild’s Big Innovation Pitch is open to any company operating in the UK sustainable built environment market and has been created to unearth innovation across the design, construction and energy sectors. The collaboration supports M&S in discovering the latest innovations that will help its properties perform better and be more sustainable. These goals form part of M&S’ Plan A sustainability strategy, under which M&S aims to source responsibly, reduce waste and help communities, with the ultimate goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable major retailer. Ecobuild’s Big Innovation Pitch presents two prime opportunities for entries to be seen at the event. The 15 shortlisted entries will be displayed at Ecobuild’s new central social hub – the DISCOVER ...

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Flogas to hold free event highlighting biomass benefits

Flogas Renewables is inviting businesses to learn about the benefits of biomass at a free event in Bedfordshire. The event will take place on Thursday 3 December (10 am – 2 pm) at Cranfield University, where a host of industry experts will be on hand to explain how biomass can boost businesses’ bottom line, and why it pays to act now to get the very best long term returns. As well as learning about the business case for biomass, attendees will also get the chance to see a successful system in action. Having recently integrated a 950 kW Flogas Renewables biomass boiler into its existing district heating setup, the team at Cranfield University will be showcasing how it’s now able to deliver 24/7 heating and hot water to 34 campus buildings – all while saving up to 500 tonnes of CO2 each year. In addition to a guided tour of the university’s ...

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Improving productivity

Sharni Verity, marketing manager at Heckmondwike FB, looks at how specifiers are increasingly being tasked with creating commercial interiors that promote a productive workplace.

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Peter Hansford backs Solid Wall Insulation drive

A new report, conducted by chief construction adviser Peter Hansford, has outlined a number of recommendations for revitalising the Solid Wall Insulation (SWI) market. The ‘Solid Wall Insulation – Unlocking Demand and Driving Up Standards’ report was commissioned by the Green Construction Board to consider what more might be done to unlock demand for solid wall insulation, improve its affordability and increase its attractiveness as a solution. By April 2012, only 132,000 solid wall homes in the UK had been insulated – less than 2% of all solid wall homes – and most of these were in the social housing sector. Marking a rapid expansion of capacity and activity, 77,000 solid wall homes were insulated between April 2012 and July 2013, driven by the Government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO) policy. However, since the Government’s announcement in Autumn 2013 to reduce the level of ECO funding support, installation of SWI has reduced. In the report, Hansford makes 10 key recommendations for the Government ...

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Light of day

Lightweight polycarbonate sheeting from Brett Martin has helped create what is claimed to be the largest gravity supported cantilevered roof in the world, at the newly refurbished Olympic Stadium in London. Building Products reports.

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