By Carl Davison Technical Services Manager at Kingspan Industrial Insulation.

Thermal comfort has become the focus of increasing attention in recent years as designers and project teams look to create a healthier built environment. Whilst the enhanced thermal performance and airtightness provided by some offsite envelope solutions can help to make indoor conditions more easily controllable, careful attention must also be paid to potential heat sources within a space which can lead to overheating. Research from AECOM has now shown that pipe insulation specification can have a major bearing on how easily properties overheat, as well as on their overall energy demand.

The minimum insulation requirements when specifying hot water and heating systems are contained within the Domestic and Non-domestic Building Service Compliance Guides1. For optimal system efficiency, however, the Energy Technology List (ETL) recommends a higher performance pipe insulation specification based on NES Y50 Enhanced levels.
A wide range of pipe insulation options are now available and a key differentiator between these is their thermal conductivity. Insulation materials with a lower thermal conductivity are more effective at preventing heat transfer through conduction, meaning a reduced thickness can be used to achieve the desired level of insulating performance. Premium phenolic pipe insulants are amongst the most thermally efficient options, with a 25-year aged thermal conductivity as low as 0.025 W/m·K (at 10°C mean), and are available with phenolic insulation pipe supports to further minimise heat losses.

To investigate how these different specifications can affect overheating and system performance, AECOM carried out a detailed evaluation using IES dynamic thermal modelling. The research assessed the performance of three insulation systems on LTHW (Low Temperature Hot Water) and DHW (Domestic Hot Water) pipework, within a multi-unit residential extra-care building with a constant circulation of hot water:
1   Man Made Mineral Fibre (MMMF) Pipe insulation specified to BS 5422: 2009 with rubber lined pipe support brackets.
2  Phenolic pipe insulation specified to minimum standards within BS 5422: 2009 with phenolic insulation pipe support inserts.
3  Phenolic pipe insulation to the enhanced
ETL specification with phenolic insulation pipe support inserts.
The study also considered the use of extraction fans to dissipate heat.

To evaluate the impact of each specification on overheating, AECOM calculated the percentage of hours with a dry resultant temperature of greater than 25°C2 and 28°C3.
The results showed that, when compared with the MMMF system, the BS 5422 phenolic specification provided a reduction of up to 15% in overheating hours at a room temperature greater than 28°C, and up to 9% at a room temperature greater than 25°C.  The ETL specification offered significant further benefits with falls of up to 32% in overheating hours greater than 28°C, and 25% in overheating hours over 25°C.
In some scenarios, the modelling showed that rooms with the MMMF specification would have experienced over 100 additional hours at temperatures above 28ºC when compared to the ETL specification.
These reductions also produced considerable energy cost savings. The projected average energy cost of the MMMF specification was calculated at £3,973, rising to £4,105 when the impact of additional extraction fans was considered. The BS 5422 phenolic specification achieved annual savings of £431 or £463 depending on whether the impact of extraction fans was taken into account. With the ETL phenolic specification even greater savings of £1,252 and £1,384 could be achieved.
Finally, the study showed that when the extract fans were considered, the ETL specification would have an immediate payback.

In control
The move towards a healthier, more energy efficient built environment requires project teams to think more holistically about how all of the elements will interact. As the AECOM research shows, by paying close attention to areas such as pipe insulation specification, it is possible to achieve considerable reductions in both energy demand and overheating hours.


1  This expands on the specifications within BS 5422: 2009 (Method for specifying thermal insulating materials for pipes, tanks, vessels, ductwork and equipment operating within the temperature range -40°C to +700°C)
2  The recommended acceptable indoor design operative temperature within CIBSE Guide A 2006
3 The preferred maximum temperature for thermal comfort

JCB, the world’s number one telehandler manufacturer, is extending its portfolio, with the launch of a totally new JCB rotating telescopic handler.

Recognising the growth in popularity of rotating machines with heavier lift capacities across Europe, the company will initially launch the JCB 5.5-210, offering a maximum lift capacity of 5.5 tonnes and a maximum working height of 20.5m.

Features will include:
•  Highly versatile rotating telescopic handler offering 20.5m lift height
• Maximum lift capacity of 5.5 tonnes
• Rapid set-up time boosting productivity
• All-round visibility improving site safety
•  Wide range of options including winches and aerial work platforms

With more than 40 years of expertise in the telescopic handler design and manufacture, JCB has designed the rotating machine to meet the needs of specialist lifting contractors and the rental market. Utilising a robust boom construction and a familiar driveline, JCB has focussed on reliability, versatility, productivity, ease of use and safety, as a means of delivering improved uptime and increased customer profitability.
To ensure that set-up time is minimised, the outriggers have Auto one-touch deployment, stowage and levelling. Competitive lift end cycle times and high auxiliary flow rates for efficient winch work, boost productivity further. With a lower chassis engine layout, the machine offers excellent access and class-leading serviceability. A low, clean boom design gives excellent all-round visibility, augmented by comprehensive work light options and camera kits, including a boom head camera for precise placement at height.


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The machines are powered by JCB’s proven highly efficient Ecomax engines, offering a high degree of parts and service commonality with other Loadall models. The JCB LiveLink telematics system is fitted as standard and will incorporate features that enable operators to fully exploit the performance of this versatile machine.

With a maximum lift capacity of 5.5 tonnes, the machine offers excellent highly competitive load charts. Easily selectable lift end speed profiles and lift envelope limits help the operator to optimise the machine for specific tasks. A range of specially developed JCB attachments using RFID technology can be identified by the machine, to automatically offer the correct load chart for safe operation.
At launch, the company will offer pallet forks, a 5.5 tonne carriage winch, a 2 tonne x 2m jib winch, a reduced height jib, 5.5 tonne hook, light duty buckets and a range of fork-mounted accessories, such as waste skips and concrete placing skips. Remote lift end operation and access platforms will also be offered.
The JCB 5.5-21 will meet the changing requirements of contractors across the world, as a greater use of off-site pre-fabrication calls for heavier lift capacities and increased on-site versatility. Rotating telescopic handlers have become a genuine cost-effective replacement for smaller mobile cranes, offering rapid set-up and the ability to carry out technical lifting operations.

Buildings need to come together more quickly than ever. To do so without compromising integrity and quality depends on every little detail being thoroughly considered. This detail comes right down to the fasteners and fixings that hold the building envelope together, explains David Fraser, NVELOPE® Business Unit Manager at SFS UK.

Almost everywhere you look in the field of construction, there is talk of needing to build faster and more efficiently. Whether it’s because there’s a lack of crucial infrastructure, or simply because there’s not enough labour, it’s evident that we need to streamline our approach to construction.
This is clearly evidenced by the UK’s housing shortage crisis. In 2018, it was estimated that England had a backlog of 3.91 million homes, meaning 340,000 new homes need to be built each year until 2031. Yet at that time, the government was only targeting building 300,000 homes annually, and any shortfall only further compounds the problems.
However, as the old saying goes, haste makes waste, and this couldn’t be truer for buildings. Structures that are not planned out and correctly specified can cause waste from construction right through to building operation. For example, poor specification can lead to unnecessary servicing and maintenance, and needing to replace materials that don’t meet their expected lifespan.
To ensure that we can maximise construction efficiency, while still maintaining the quality and integrity expected of multi-million-pound buildings, it all boils down to detail. This is especially the case with fasteners and fixings, the very components that hold structures and building envelopes together.


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Planned to Perfection
As with many things in life, well-planned projects minimise the chance for errors to occur during construction, which can be costly to rectify further down the build chain.
Building envelopes, brackets and subframe systems need to be especially well considered. They need to withstand whatever the elements throw at them, from wind loads, to corrosive substances in the air and the substrate they are fixing back to. Meanwhile, they also need to be able to assure the deadweight of the cladding that is being installed on them.
Identifying these components correctly though is easier said than done. For architects and specifiers, trawling through datasheets and product specifications can be time and labour intensive.
Here is where manufacturers can help at the planning stage. With expert knowledge and tools, manufacturers can help suggest rainscreen and cladding systems that are fit for purpose, which was the case during the refurbishment of Kew Tower in Richmond.
This refurbished office building, had the upper floors of its building reclad by building envelope contractors, using the NVELOPE® NV4 system from SFS. The key to the success of the project was as much in the NV4 system as it was in SFS’ Project Builder tool.
Project Builder provides a comprehensive, project-specific cladding solution involving only a two-step process. The tool factors in considerations such as local wind loads, height of the façade, the substrate that the rainscreen system is being fixed to, selected cladding material and the cladding zone.
With this forward-thinking, planned-out approach, Kew Tower achieved an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM rating following the refurbishment. The NV4 system will also help the building endure for many years to come, thanks to built-in adjustability that allows for contraction and expansion in extreme weather conditions.

Fast and Furious Fasteners and Fixings
Raising buildings faster is not just in the planning – it’s in the detail. This includes selecting the most appropriate components that are designed to help installers on the job, such as fasteners and fixings.
Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of fasteners and fixings need to be secured on a given building. The time needed to install these components can quickly add up, leading to costly labour expenses. Here, any incremental gains can lead to major reductions in construction time.
This was certainly the case with the refurbishment of Parsons Tower, Newcastle College. The tower block, which dates to the 1970s, was refreshed with a contemporary zinc and copper façade with the help from SFS’ specialist fastening systems. To secure the cladding back to composite panels on the building, low profile, high-grade stainless-steel fasteners were required. The solution was the SX2/8-D9 self-drilling fastener in A4 316 austenitic stainless steel. As well as giving excellent pull out values, the thread design helped construction time by reducing over-driving.
Similarly, construction time was significantly reduced when installing the PIR insulation into concrete deck of the roof. The contractors were facing issues with extensive drilling and the need for multiple combinations of fasteners and polypropylene sleeves. The isotak® TIA adjustable fastener system from SFS was the ideal solution in this instance. The system reduced fastener and polypropylene sleeve combinations by 50% and in turn, dramatically decreased drilling times.

Buildings? Here’s one I made earlier
As well as planning and choosing the right components to help achieve faster builds, a big shift in the way buildings are realised is through modular construction. More and more, buildings and their components are being prefabricated off-site under factory conditions.
Much like fasteners and fixings that aid installers on-site, manufacturers must also be able to adapt to these new offsite construction techniques and adapt their products to suit.
In reality, this can be as simple as inserting fasteners into their sleeves before they are sent to site or supplying brackets pre-assembled. Crest Girls’ Academy in Neasden, which required modernisation to its various buildings, is a great example of pre-fabrication. As well as using the Project Builder to create a detailed design to support approximately 6,000m2 of timber and cedar cladding, the project also utilised vertical point brackets with thermal isolators to help reduce thermal bridging. These brackets were pre-assembled from SFS, to speed up construction time and also prevent loss of materials on-site.

Fast Tracked for the Future
The future of our world very much depends on the construction projects of today being built right and being built to stand the tests of time for years to come.
While we improve the pace at which we construct new buildings, it must not be to the detriment of the finished products themselves. Building envelopes must be well thought out and designed, to minimise the need for amendments both during specification and installation. They must also be well considered so that they can be as thermally efficient and sustainable as possible. By looking at all these details closely, we can facilitate faster construction and create buildings where future generations can live, work and play in comfort.

Caledonian, working with Stride Treglown Architects, has been selected as one of five companies to deliver a £2bn programme of offsite built secondary schools and blocks, for the Department of Education (DfE) under Lot 1 of the Modern Methods of Construction Framework. The other smaller scale project, Lot 2, will deliver a £1bn programme of offsite built primary school schemes and secondary blocks.

Established by the DfE to build on the success of recent modular procurements, this major framework supports a wider government move towards modern methods of construction as a preference for new build projects and reinforces the desire of the DfE to continue the commitment to Modern Methods of Construction in the delivery of education projects.
This significant win expands on Caledonian’s education offering with the DFE, with over £80m of education projects currently in progress.
David Johnson, Preconstruction Director at Caledonian Modular, said: “We are delighted to be selected as one of the small team of contractors to work with the DfE in continuing to develop standards for education buildings, using high levels of offsite completion to reduce risk, save time and really optimise speed and efficiency of school design and delivery.”
“This win comes as a result of us demonstrating our capability and capacity to continue to deliver full turnkey schools to a high quality, in half the time and with significantly less disruption than traditional methods.”


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Haygrove School and The Sir Frederick Gibberd College
Some of the £80m worth of education projects secured by Caledonian include the £38m Haygrove School and The Sir Frederick Gibberd College. These were secured under separate DfE frameworks and will require the company to act as Lead Designer and Principal Contractor, delivering both projects from feasibility, through design and planning.
The approach will maximise the extent of onsite groundworks prior to the modules arriving on site, which are delivered and installed with final decorations, floor coverings and furniture completed at the company’s Newark based manufacturing facility. This significantly reduces onsite works and disruption to the school and local community and maximises quality control and efficiency, reducing the overall project timescales.
The new £29m Sir Frederick Gibberd College will comprise a 1,200 place secondary school built over three storeys, including a school hall, dining hall, drama studio and a 500 place sixth form teaching area as well as sports facilities and all associated external works and sports pitches. The design incorporates concrete floors and, being a component-based system, allows greater flexibility in design whilst delivering a DfE compliant solution as well as all the efficiency and time saving benefits of a modular build.
Work being undertaken at Haygrove School in Bridgwater will utilise Caledonian’s component based school solutions to replace the main school building with modern and efficient off-site manufactured teaching environments. The construction work is being undertaken while the school remains open with works carefully planned to ensure minimal disruption to both the school and local community. The three-storey building will consist of classrooms, double-height hall and studio spaces, offices, kitchen and associated rooms for educational purposes, along with enabling, groundwork’s and external works.
Both schools incorporate factory installed concrete floors to deliver an acoustically compliant, comfortable, safe and durable environment for occupants.

High quality student accommodation
Other projects within the large education order book include working with Bowmer & Kirkland on a £25m contract to manufacture accommodation modules as part of a £54m development for the University Campus of Football Business, First Way Campus in Wembley. The 678 bedrooms have now been manufactured at the Newark facility. At 10 storeys, the project really shows what is possible with its modular building solutions, which, on this project means bedrooms are 96% complete prior to shipping to site.
Fire compliance capabilities of the modular system featured highly in the selection process, due to the high rise nature of the 10 storey development. Caledonian gave the client and design team confidence by providing a pre-engineered fire compliant modular solution suitable for a development of this scale.
More recently, and working with ENGIE, Caledonian secured another student accommodation project, this time a £10m order at Station Approach, Hereford. The project will provide Hereford College of Arts and the city’s new NMiTE University with 178 student bedrooms each with its own study area and en-suite bathroom, along with other areas of accommodation. Caledonian was selected as the modular building partner because of its long track record in supplying high quality student accommodation, willingness to collaborate with project partners and ability to deliver value
for money.

A variety of wall construction membranes, roofing underlays and accessories from Protect Membranes has been used by modular construction specialists Totally Modular as part of an innovative pilot scheme, built offsite on behalf of social housing provider Citizen in partnership with Coventry City Council.

Built in compliance with BOPAS, CML and LA Building Control requirements, the scheme involved the manufacture of a two-bedroom and a three-bedroom two-storey dwelling in light gauge steel frame, built in controlled factory conditions in Totally Modular’s premises in Birmingham. Using this volumetric modular approach, a series of four fully furnished modules were created, delivered to former disused land in Willenhall and craned into place before being connected together onsite.  Taking just twenty weeks from build to delivery, time on site was reduced significantly in comparison to traditional housebuilding construction.  With offsite construction seen as an ideal way to combat the national housing crisis and deliver a quality, precision product, the pilot was deemed to be successful with the potential for roll out across Citizen’s housing stock where suitable land is available.


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A number of Protect products were supplied and installed in both dwellings to help ensure the management of moisture within the structures. This ensured condensation control and strict airtightness levels were met to help meet a minimum levels of 4.00m³/h.m.² or lower. This included Protect BarriAir, an internal airtightness and vapour control layer to contribute to energy efficiency and Protect Zytec, a roofing underlay offering strong wind uplift resistance and good vapour permeability.  The roof structure also included Protect RediRoll, a universal dry fixed ventilated ridge and hip system, to deliver 5,000mm2/m of ventilation as well as the Protect Eaves Skirt and dry verge system.
Mick Pettitt, Director at Totally Modular commented, “Protect’s comprehensive package of solutions was the perfect fit for this project to help us meet the detailed specification, using materials that we know are tried and trusted.  In particular, the use of BarriAir helped to achieve strict airtightness and vapour control, contributing to an outstanding energy efficiency rating for both properties that exceeded Building Regulation requirements. The dwellings achieved a 97 and 98 EPC ‘A’ rating, which compares very well to the average rating of band ‘D’ for properties built in England and Wales.   Protect understood our needs and provided detailed technical support along the way, whilst ensuring our products were delivered on time to meet our busy schedule.”
Richard Whittaker, Director of Development at Citizen, said: “The products supplied by Protect were ideal for the modular homes and helped them achieve a high energy rating. There are so many benefits to modular housing which include reduced disruption at site, high thermal efficiency and quick completion. We’re looking forward to seeing the use of modular homes increase in future.”
Protect’s range of wall, ceiling and floor construction membranes together with its roofing underlays and accessories provides a comprehensive solution to the modular build sector, helping to ensure the whole building envelope and internal structure can be controlled in terms of moisture management, condensation control and thermal resistance.
For details of how Protect products can be incorporated into both residential and commercial builds constructed offsite,


please email

or call 0161 905 5700, quoting ‘Totally Modular’

or visit

Now that the glamour of being photographed beside the latest renewable technology of wind turbines and solar farms has worn off, the principle of Fabric First is being recognised as a more immediate and reliable process of improving energy efficiency in buildings.   

Even without the subsidies and grants awarded for generating energy, the benefits and long term economy of improving the performance of building fabric has at last been recognised as more significant in the equation of balancing our environmental impact.
FABRIC FIRST has become the strapline for sustainable construction.  After all, if you build a decent stable with a well fitted door, the horse (ie. energy) wouldn’t be able to bolt and, given the improved comfort levels in the building, probably wouldn’t want to anyway!
Retaining energy in the building reduces energy demand and the detrimental effect of lost energy on the ice caps.   Reducing energy demand reduces energy costs and environmental impact.   The more passive buildings are in terms of energy needs, the more the environmental impact is reduced – permanently.
FABRIC FIRST – Insulation is the key ingredient
By improving the performance of building fabric – thermal insulation, air tightness, elimination of cold bridges – energy demand is reduced.   ICF (Insulating Concrete Formwork) building systems do just that, as a complete formwork system to contain the concrete structure they are also a complete insulation system to contain the energy.   ICF (Insulation Comes First) is a primary means of reducing energy demand in buildings, and the Wallform ICF system has been designed and detailed to maximise the efficiency of the building envelope.


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The simple logic of ICF construction enhances the overall performance of the building – insulation on the face of the wall where it is most effective, complete insulation with good airtightness and no thermal bridging.   With nothing to rot, corrode or deteriorate over time, a Wallform structure will last significantly longer than other forms of construction.
Although build costs are increasingly competitive as ICF becomes more popular, long life expectancy places Wallform ICF ahead of alternative building methods in terms of both Total Life Costing and carbon footprint.
AND – should the building reach the end of its useful life, the materials can be recycled into a new generation of building materials.

While ICF construction is a practical route to raising performance standards, UK construction still has to overcome the problem of productivity which has not improved in recent years.   Efforts to upgrade the performance of traditional building methods have complicated the building process and constrained output.
Wallform ICF, on the other hand, actually simplifies the building process, speeding up the rate of build at the same time as producing a strong structure which is fully insulated and airtight in its basic format.   Other than use of a concrete pump to place the concrete, the building process does not require any specialist tools or equipment to achieve high rates of productivity.
Quality of construction is also improved as the materials’ functions overlap – no leakage of concrete through the formwork means no leakage of energy as there are no gaps in the insulation.   Similarly as the structure is built, the concrete seals it with a high level of airtightness.   First fix services are then recessed easily into the insulation substrate, with no effect on airtightness.
The practical building technique means that upskilling the existing workforce is a relatively smooth process of transition.   The introduction of ICF methods causes minimal disruption and is an opportunity for the existing workforce to raise levels of output in the process of adopting a Modern Method of Construction.    Site performance is improved and the processes of procurement and management made easier as a consequence of a simpler building method.

New office pushes the limits of modular construction.

“Visitors’ reaction to the building is just ‘wow’. And they can’t believe that it’s a modular building.” That was a comment from one of Wernick’s staff, Naomi Parratt, whose office is in the new building.
Designed by Wernick’s in-house architectural team, the new building aims to push the limits of offsite construction and uses its new Swiftplan® system. It features a high-quality external and internal finish and is packed with sustainable features with the building achieving an EPC rating of ‘A’ and BREEAM rating of excellent.
Using the latest in modular offsite technologies, the building is made up of 28 modules which were constructed at Wernick’s dedicated manufacturing facility in South Wales, then transported to site via lorry and installed by the Wickford team.
Wernick Buildings Director, Andy King, whose team designed the new offices, commented; ‘Modular ‘offsite’ construction delivers shorter project times and reduces costs when compared to traditional construction methods. The fact that much of the work is done ‘offsite’ in a controlled factory environment means the whole building programme is greatly reduced, saving on costs and greatly reducing waste – the percentage of waste recycled and diverted from landfill for this project was 98%!”
The modern external design is covered in Trespa external wall cladding plus a very striking timber Brise Soleil. This is complemented by an attractive two-story glass entrance.
When you enter the building, you are immediately dazzled by the double-height lobby which has an exposed CLT ceiling and porcelain tiled floor. Here, receptionists can answer and transfer calls on-screen using the new telephone software.

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Over the two floors of the building you can find glass partitioned open-plan office areas, meeting rooms, staff welfare facilities (including a shower) and the new canteen with state-of-the-art catering facilities. Set up for client and staff presentations, the large board room also impresses with its large mahogany table, leather chairs and 85” TV.
The addition of air-con in all the rooms enhances the comfort and productivity of staff – who can adjust settings using a mobile app. Interior finish is complemented perfectly with brand new furniture which gives a consistent, corporate look whilst creating an inviting work environment for the entire Head Office team.
The BREEAM excellence rating was achieved with sustainable additions such as 10kw of photovoltaics (PV) panels on roof of building, electric car charging points and aptly some nesting boxes for Swifts (bird).
Wernick’s Chairman, David Wernick commented; ‘‘We believe our Swiftplan® system will help change the perception that modular buildings are a temporary solution. The new offices show what can be achieved, and we welcome visitors to come and see this building for themselves. I would like to thank all our staff who were involved in this project. A job well done!”’
The two-storey structure was part of a £3 million redevelopment which also included a new modular building for Wernick’s local Buildings and Hire teams, who moved into their new surroundings sited opposite in March 2019.
About the Wernick Group of Companies:
The Wernick Group is the oldest modular and portable company in the United Kingdom and has been family owned and run for over 80 years. The Group has been headquartered at Wickford since 1980 and the business is made up of five divisions, with over 700 employees operating out of 32 locations.

Deborah Rowntree looks at how we can use AIRSPACE

Rooftop development has been given significant airtime recently. The market-leading innovator in this sphere, Apex Airspace, has received just under £20m of funding from the Mayor of London and Homes England in recent weeks – representing a welcome further emphasis from all levels of government on innovative methods of housing delivery.

According to Sadiq Khan’s draft London Plan, 66,000 homes are needed each year for the next decade in the capital alone. Change is clearly required if we are going to solve the ongoing housing crisis in the UK, and embracing new, advanced methods of development is a major step.

Airspace development is the process of constructing units on top of existing residential, commercial or retail properties – building up, not out. It’s estimated that there is space for 180,000 new homes in London alone, which would represent 42% of the need identified by the London Plan. Undoubtably, the opportunities on a national scale are vast.

However, airspace doesn’t just mean building more expensive penthouses. For local authorities, one of the major benefits of this method is its inherent suitability for developing affordable housing. The £10m boost from the Mayor’s Innovation Fund will allow Apex to partner with more councils across the capital and deliver new schemes that could provide 100% genuinely affordable homes. The Government’s investment in airspace development is welcome, and local authorities should recognise how airspace can help them satisfy social housing objectives.


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Taking stock

Airspace development is well-suited for local authorities as they hold extensive amounts of existing housing stock. Across the UK’s densely developed cities, councils are sitting under swathes of valuable airspace without realising how much the air above their rooftops is worth. Rooftop development helps them maximise their assets, and increases the value of the buildings simultaneously, representing a sound investment.

In addition, development is done with minimum disruption to incumbent residents, as homes are built offsite using modular construction and arrive on site 95% complete before being installed. Modular is one of the most exciting innovations across property and is favoured by Government as one of the keys to addressing delivery shortages and improving efficiency.

The result is precision-engineered affordable homes, built on top of existing developments in ready-made communities. Unlike developing on new – often brownfield – traditional sites, airspace development doesn’t involve unlocking land, identifying up-and-coming boroughs or onerous pre-commencement remediation. By building on existing developments, homes are delivered in areas which already contain the necessary infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and transport links for people to move into established neighbourhoods straightaway.

Reach for the sky

If we’re going to meet housing targets, councils need to be ambitious. However, there are undoubtedly challenges as airspace development continues to grow.

Identifying suitable buildings for adaptation is typically the first hurdle. While there is great potential to build upwards in local authorities across the country, finding the right base can be an intricate process.

For this reason, strategic partnerships are crucial. Councils need to team up with specialist developers who bring the necessary expertise to navigate the untrodden ground that a new form of development typically entails.

From a technical perspective, these challenges start with negotiating financing and bespoke contracts for deals – the specifics of airspace don’t conform to standard documentation. As such, when facilitating the deal with Homes England, we needed to be alive to the challenges thrown up by negotiations with existing freeholders and leaseholders, planning impacts on rights to light, and convincing lenders and mortgage providers to engage with modular built homes.

Building up

It is encouraging to see government embracing a new way forward – and upward. As more rooftop homes are built, the potential of airspace development to help local authorities build affordable housing will become more and more evident.

Every suitable council-owned property in the country represents an opportunity, and in the context of a national housing shortage, local authorities can scarcely afford to ignore this missed chance to provide new affordable homes.

Policy makers are already responding, and airspace was referenced in both the draft London Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) last year. We now hope that more local authorities will show willing to adopt this fresh approach.

Deborah Rowntree is senior associate in the real estate finance team at Winckworth Sherwood


Source: LocalGov


Expo 2020 Dubai takes on greater significance for UK post-Brexit

Expo 2020 Dubai will provide the perfect platform for the newly divorced United Kingdom to showcase itself to the world.

While the UK left the European Union (EU) on January 31, the country has entered an 11-month transition period that keeps it bound to the EU rules until December 31, 2020.

That coincides with the UK’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, which is set to run from October 20 this year to April 10, 2021.

Simon Penney, HM Trade Commissioner for the Middle East, told Arabian Business: “It’s bang in the middle of the UK leaving the European Union on December 31, so it is the UK’s first global event where we will be represented on the global stage, which is a fantastic point for the UK to showcase global Britain.”

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The 3,417 square-metre, two storey UK pavilion is due to be delivered in May or June this year at an estimated cost of $18 million.

Highlighting a drive for AI and space exploration, the pavilion will showcase innovations in culture, education, tourism and business.

Founding partners of the pavilion are De Montfort University (DMU) Leicester and London-headquartered HSBC.

Daniel Howlett, regional head of commercial banking, Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, told Arabian Business: “The UK is the largest single corridor for HSBC from a UAE perspective. We’re keen to continue building that. We’re confident when you look at the UK pavilion, it’s going to be outstanding.”


Source: Arabian Business

It’s a double celebration for SevenCapital this week as the developer, alongside construction partners Colmore Tang and Creagh Concrete, marks the topping out of its St Martin’s Place development – and announces it is now sold out one year ahead of expected completion.

Construction on the development, which sits adjacent to SevenCapital’s Park Regis Hotel – also constructed by Colmore Tang, on the site of the former Five Ways Shopping Centre, began in June 2018 and is expected to complete by Q2 2021.

With 228 new one, two and three- bedroom apartments across four blocks of between six and 17 storeys, the development will feature exclusive private residents’ amenities, including cinema room, WiFi lounge and a gym. It also promises to be a first of its kind in Birmingham, by offering hotel services to residents, provided by the neighbouring Park Regis.


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The building envelope is now complete, with floors laid across the development and windows fitted to all levels. M&E has been integrated into panels off-site. The build utlised a total of 3000 precast pieces, manufactured by Creagh at their head office facilities in County Antrim (NI), benefitting the project with six months build betterment against traditional construction methods.

The work has provided significant employment opportunities for the local workforce, with contractors for both Colmore Tang and Creagh Concrete coming from the region.

Damien Siviter, group managing director for SevenCapital said: “St Martin’s Place is a flagship development for SevenCapital, so we’re pleased to see such fantastic on-site progress from our construction teams. This is an important milestone for the project, which having sold out of all but one unit has already exceeded expectations, and everyone is working hard to ensure delivery is on time and to the highest standards.”

Steve Underwood, CEO of Colmore Tang Construction commented: “We have worked with Creagh on developing an innovative solution, which has accelerated our programme and offered significant benefits in terms of quality, safety and construction. This project is now our 16th in the region, having delivered 3500 apartments, demonstrating our expertise and making us the contractor of choice for delivering high density residential schemes in the Midlands area.”

Seamus McKeague Chief Executive of Creagh Concrete added: “This is a proud moment for Creagh. In recent years we have moved from being just a concrete and materials supplier to a specialist subcontractor, which has opened up new opportunities. We are seeing strong interest in our Rapidres Fastrack Build System because developers now understand the true value of slashing programme times. Investors not only benefit from revenue gained by the early occupation of units but, also, from the mobility of their capital resource. Quite simply, shorter build times mean developers can complete more projects with the same pot of finance.”


See inside St Martin’s Place in the most recent development update.