New energy efficient homes on Karbon’s £12m development in Thorpe Willoughby, near Selby are speedily taking shape, thanks to the use of timber frame construction.

All 70 homes on the site are well under way, with each home taking on average three days to complete. The development marks the start of Karbon’s £131.5m strategic partnership with Homes England to develop 2,200 much-needed affordable homes across the North East and Yorkshire.

Phil Lacey, Yorkshire Development Manager at Karbon Homes, said: “We’re really pleased with how the Field Lane site is progressing and I’m really looking forward to seeing these innovative, affordable homes finished.

“We’re starting to use a lot more modern methods of construction to deliver our development programme, and the speed and quality of the work we’ve seen to date has been very encouraging. In a time where new affordable homes are in high demand, the ability to be able to deliver the same high quality homes but quicker, is a real plus for the region.”

Using timber frame, the time taken to deliver a development can be reduced by 25% or more, compared to using traditional construction methods. Through the strategic partnership, Karbon has pledged to build a quarter of new homes using modern methods of construction (MMC).

As well as the speed of build, which also reduces energy use and waste, timber frames are also non-toxic and renewable with the lowest emission levels of any building material, making it one of the most sustainable forms of construction.

The environmental benefits of these homes goes beyond the method of construction used to build them. The new homes will be off-gas and powered by air source heat pumps, a technology three times more efficient than gas boilers. The homes will also have charging points for electrical vehicles.

Using MMC, such as timber frame, is at the forefront of innovation within the housing sector and through the strategic partnership Karbon has pledged to build a quarter of new homes using MMC.

The rural status of Thorpe Willoughby also means the 70 homes contributed towards Karbon’s commitment to building 10% of the programme in rural areas.

The main contractor Countryside is delivering the construction of the timber frames on site. External and internal stud walls, floor joists and roof trusses, all constructed off site, form the super-structure, which is then clad in brick to provide both weather protection and decoration.

Chris Penn, Managing Director, Yorkshire, Countryside, said: “The housing sector has an enormous role to play when it comes to reaching net zero targets. At Countryside we have long recognised that responsibility, which is why we have invested over £30million in our MMC offer. Every home we build in Yorkshire is made off site at our factory in Warrington, with each closed panel timber home emitting over 14,000 kg CO2e less than a traditional brick-and-block house.

“It is fantastic to be working with such a great partner in Karbon Homes at Field Lane – a partner who takes their sustainability responsibilities seriously. Together we have gone the extra mile to ensure that this 100% affordable development is fit for the future, creating a truly sustainable community where people will love to live.”

Field Lane consists of a mix of two and three-bedroom homes and will be available for affordable rent, Shared Ownership and Rent to Buy, helping local people onto the housing ladder.

The homes are set to be completed in Summer 2023.

Delays and cost increases blight the development of the reactor, but could smaller relatives prove more viable

After months of speculation, EDF has finally confirmed that there will be a year-long delay and £3bn cost increase to its Hinkley Point C nuclear project.

The start date for the Unit 1 reactor at the Somerset power station will be pushed back to June 2027, with the cost now sitting at £25bn to £26bn, an increase on the previous £23bn figure.

This is due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, time needed to adapt the reactor design for UK regulations and excess costs for marine works.

Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) senior analyst Jess Ralston said that considering the delays EDF has experienced in France with its Flamanville 3 nuclear project – which uses the same European Pressurised Reactor design as the Hinkley Point C project and planned Sizewell C plant – it is “not really a surprise” to see Hinkley delayed.

But what exactly does the news mean for the UK nuclear industry and the energy supplies of the country?

UK energy supplies

Although the start of electricity generation for Unit 1 is now targeted for June 2027, EDF has said that the risk of further delay of the two units is assessed at 15 months, assuming the absence of a new pandemic wave and no additional effects of the war in Ukraine.

As such, Ralston said that in terms of energy supplies “we’ll not know really what the situation will be until closer to the time” but she does feel that the delay strengthens the case for renewables, which are “quicker, easier and cheaper” to get up and running and provide a more secure investment return.

“The case for renewables now, for me, is so overwhelming,” she said. “I can see this being a catalyst for investment into those sorts of power systems over nuclear which is just getting more unattractive by the month.”

However Ralston added that a nuclear “backbone” is still needed and the government has, for example, said it wants to build eight new plants by 2030 – but making the economic case for this may now become more challenging.

Another option could be small modular reactors (SMRs), which are potentially faster to deploy than large scale nuclear. Rolls-Royce is currently developing and designing its SMRs in conjunction with Atkins. The project received £210M backing from the UK government last year, with over £250M more coming from private sources including Qatar’s wealth fund.

Rolls-Royce submitted designs for small reactors at Wylfa and Trawsfynydd, both in Wales, in March, and is expecting to receive UK regulatory approval for its SMR by mid-2024 with a view to powering up by 2029 – two years ahead of schedule.

Existing power plants

MPs have also recently called for a decommissioning delay for UK’s ageing nuclear power stations – and Ralston said the Hinkley delay “puts that on the table a little bit more”.

“There are gaps there – they’ll have to fill them with some sort of power,” she said.

A group of cross-party MPs has released a new report, The future of the Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors, in which it has given feedback on how the changing energy landscape will effect the need for nuclear power and in turn what cost it will bring to the taxpayer.

ECIU head of analysis Simon Cran-McGreehan also previously told NCE that EDF was considering such options.

“Given that Hinkley’s already been delayed several times, the power industry is wise to the fact that it can’t be relied upon in the short term to turn up as expected,” he said. “I know that EDF is looking at whether it can extend the lifetime of the existing nuclear fleet to try and bridge that gap before Hinkley comes online.”

Future projects

EDF is hoping its Hinkley Point C project will provide a blueprint for the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk – so any delay to Hinkley is likely to have a knock on impact here.

Ralston explained: “The plan was to use learnings from Hinkley to make Sizewell C quicker and cheaper but if Hinkley carries on being delayed its difficult to see how Sizewell won’t be delayed because it’s the learnings that will be passed on.

“There is hope they will learn from Hinkley and be able to do things quickly and easily but with the funding model being different in future projects it puts a whole new spin on who is paying. If the public find out there are delays and cost overruns they won’t be happy.”

In addition, EDF’s plan has been for Hinkley employees to move across to work on the proposed Sizewell project, which has been described as Hinkley Units 3 and 4.

Concerns have already been raised that Hinkley workers may be lost to other projects unless Sizewell can progress without delay, and it remains to be seen if the delay to the Hinkley construction schedule would mean a shortage of workers for Sizewell.

When it comes to the proposed Wylfa Newydd power station on Anglesey, this is still in the early stages and Ralston said developers “probably time to consider their options more but with Hinkley they’ve invested so much they sort of have to see it through”.

Construction at Hinkley Point C began in October 2016, bringing the project just past the five-year mark. It was originally forecast to cost £18bn.

After the delay fears emerged earlier this year energy experts said mechanisms were in place to mitigate the potential impact, and the government’s new energy strategy envisages a significant acceleration of nuclear, with an ambition of up to 24GW by 2050 to come from this source of power.

In total, this would represent up to around 25% of the country’s projected electricity demand to reduce reliance on Russian oil and gas.

Hinkley Point C delivery director Nigel Cann has previously backed an increase in energy from nuclear power.

Source: New Civil Engineer

The UK government has set ambitious targets to double the amount of wind energy it produces by the end of the decade. By 2030 every home in the UK could be powered by turbines. The policy is aimed to cut carbon emissions, and reduce the dependence on foreign energy.

But many experts believe the new energy strategy is flawed, as cheaper onshore wind farms are not part of the plan – which relies instead on offshore developments. Because some consider wind turbines an eyesore, getting permission to build them in England is extremely difficult.

On a small patch of grassland just outside Bristol in South West England, a blue metal pipe sticks up out of the ground. It marks the beginning of the end of a process that has taken years of work. A new turbine will be built here in the summer.

It’s the brainchild of local community groups and will benefit many living nearby.

Andrew Garrad is one of those involved. A pioneer of the wind energy industry, he’s also a former President of the European Wind Energy Association. Garrad is disappointed with the government’s resistance to onshore turbines, and told CGTN “We’ve had quite a big struggle to get here.”

“It’s acknowledged, particularly in a windy place like the UK, that onshore wind is the cheapest way of producing new kilowatts, so why on earth would you discourage it? And of course it’s zero carbon,” argued Garrad.

Much of the money the turbine generates by selling energy to the national grid, will help pay the bills of those in the nearby Lawrence Weston area of Bristol. Many there are struggling with the rising cost of household fuel bills.

The project has succeeded with no financial help from the UK government, relying instead on a mix of loans and local council funding.

David Tudgey is the Development Manager for Ambition Community Energy. He told CGTN that community projects could be the way forward.

“It’s about being imaginative about how we support communities to take control of their destinies,” said Tudgey. “I think the more we empower communities and empower people through knowledge, science and resources, they will deliver these projects. And we need to do this now, it’s a climate emergency and also, it’s a fuel poverty emergency right now.”

The green energy company Ecotricity knows all about the challenges of building turbines. It built its first one back in 1996, but since then government policy has shifted to make things much harder. The presumption is now against granting planning permission for turbines.

Dale Vince is the company founder and told CGTN “It’s the cheapest, cleanest, fastest form of energy available to us.” Vince, who also runs Forest Green Rovers with the aim of being the greenest football club in the world, believes solar energy has similar advantages to onshore wind power but is being prioritized by the government.

“Solar is being allowed, onshore wind is not,” explained Vince. “It’s not that funding is being refused because it doesn’t need funding. That’s the amazing thing about it, it’s cost neutral. It’s being blocked through the planning system.”

The new UK energy strategy says there will be no “wholesale changes to current planning regulations” but there will be consultation on allowing more community turbines like the one in Bristol. For now, when it comes to wind energy in the UK – the future is offshore, despite the added challenges, and cost, that this brings.

Source: CGTN

The UK Government has launched a £120m fund to unlock and accelerate new nuclear technologies while encouraging new players into the market.


The Government says that nuclear is a key part of the UK’s energy mix, stimulating investment in nuclear as a clean energy technology of the future. It also helps reduce dependence on global gas markets, boosts UK energy independence, and protects consumers from high energy bills. BBC News reports that efforts for new nuclear plants will increase household energy costs, though only by “a few pounds a year” according to officials.

The Future Nuclear Enabling Fund is expected to help realise the Government’s ambition to approve eight new reactors by 2030, as committed in its Energy Security Strategy. It is to help mature potential nuclear projects ahead of any Government process to select new projects. The fund will provide targeted, competitively-allocated government grants to support construction projects, including for small modular reactors, and attract the private investment needed to help make them a reality.

As it announced the new funding, the Government also announced that it had appointed a new Industry Advisor that will lead and drive its proposals for a new Great British Nuclear vehicle. Government announced the new body in its Energy Security Strategy. It will be charged with helping projects through the development process and developing a resilient pipeline of new builds. The new body will also help realise the Government’s ambition of generating up to 24 GW of nuclear sourced-energy by 2050.

New Industry Advisor Simon Bowen will report jointly to the Secretary of State of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and the Prime Minister. He will develop a plan for setting up Great British Nuclear. Government said it will work with industry to scope the functions of the new entity, building on UK industrial strengths and expertise.

Through the new body, the UK expects to start a selection process in 2023 for further UK nuclear projects, aiming to enter negotiations with the most credible, potentially leading to Government support.

Kwarsi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for BEIS, said the new fund “will push forward our plan to deploy a new fleet of nuclear power stations as part of a British nuclear renaissance.

“By encouraging new companies to come forward and build in Britain, we can spur greater competition in the market to cut development costs so consumers benefit in the long-term.

“Nuclear is central to our long-term plan to bolster the UK’s energy security with cheaper, cleaner, home-grown power, while creating thousands of high-skilled jobs across our country.”


Source: The Chemical Engineer

Just over two years ago the United Kingdom went into its first national lockdown. Overnight, rail lost its monopoly on commuting. Journeys fell from 1.7 billion to 388 million and the industry faced an unprecedented revenue crisis which has burdened taxpayers with a £14 billion bill.


Despite the UK being one of the most open societies across Europe, rail journeys have not bounced back. New figures revealed by the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) show that the number of people commuting every day at peak time is just 15% of the pre-pandemic total. Most commuting now takes place Tuesday to Thursday; Mondays are 20% lower and Fridays are 50% lower than before the pandemic. And overall, commuter journeys remain at just 45% of pre-pandemic levels, with five-day peak hour commuting – Monday to Friday – standing at just 15% of the previous total.


In a new report, CPS Research Fellow Tony Lodge argues that customers’ use of the rail network is becoming far more flexible, with an increased focus on long-distance leisure commuting – and warns that unless UK rail is radically overhauled, and able to respond to new passenger demands for freedom and flexibility, it will be plagued by a future of decline and underinvestment that will necessitate either an extra penny raised on income tax to cover a taxpayer subsidy to the annual tune of £6bn, or cuts to railway lines on a scale not seen since the Beeching cuts in the 1960s.


‘Changing Track’ proposes a series of urgent measures to ensure that the modern railway retail offer focuses on passengers’ priorities. At the heart of the proposals is a simpler, fairer and more flexible cloud ticketing system which is able to respond to new and evolving passenger demands, including the abolition of sky-high peak prices.


These changes should be underpinned by the Government’s new public body, Great British Railways, committing to boosting competition and driving private investment across the network – thereby boosting revenue growth and securing its future. The paper points out that open access competition on the East Coast Mainline, as advocated by the CPS, has resulted in lower fares, greater passenger satisfaction and a stronger rebound in passenger numbers – and calls for it to be rolled out on other long-distance routes, including HS1 and HS2.


It also calls for a greater focus on private investment, and ambitious targets to treble the volume of rail freight.


Not only are these reforms essential in shoring up the railway’s future, they will also help drive forwards the Government’s levelling up and Net Zero agendas.


The alternative is that lower passenger numbers and continued losses to the taxpayer lead to a vicious circle of decline and underinvestment.


Tony Lodge, report author and CPS Research Fellow, said:


‘The pandemic fundamentally changed the nature of rail in the UK. The Government has the opportunity – through the new Great British Railways body – to radically overhaul the current model to make sure that it is fit for purpose and able to meet modern passenger demands.


‘Frankly, if the Government doesn’t implement these reforms, there is no certainty that rail will have a future and taxpayers will inevitably be forced to foot the bill for its decline.’


The “1+X” Modular Inverter features a 1.1 MW single unit as the minimum, and the maximum capacity can be expanded to 8.8 MW by combing eight units together. To meet their requirements, customers can choose from 1.1 MW to 8.8 MW.

From component to system, modularization uniqueness is one of a kind in the industry. The modular design realizes the plug and play function, greatly reducing the maintenance time and even allowing implementation without professionals. In addition, it exceedingly reduces generation loss as the remaining module continues operation when a single module fails. Moreover, O&M efficiency increases by 70% as a failed module can be directly replaced via the backup module.

As a result of the higher power density and larger blocks, the “1+X” Modular Inverter helps reduce the cost of transportation and balance of system (BOS) construction charges. The inverter is equipped with Static Var Generator (SVG) function, ensuring no additional SVG devices and furthering ROI.

The “1+X” Modular Inverter represents figures of modularization with multiple MPPT, leading to more power generation. It breaks through the problem of the limited amount of MPPTs in the traditional solution. Each module is designed with an independent MPPT, further improving the power generation capacity of the power plant.

A safer and more reliable system

The “1+X” Modular Inverter is not only more flexible and convenient for maintenance post-installation, but also safer and more reliable as it has IP65 protection capability. Further, it ensures prompt DC Arc detection and active protection, such as a parallel arcing off time of less than 40 ms.

The product is also equipped with an Intelligent IV diagnosis function, enabling accurate, convenient, safe, and reliable diagnosis for the power plant with a recognition accuracy of more than 95%.

Stronger power grid support

The “1+X” Modular Inverter has industry-leading Grid Support technologies that meet new power system requirements, allowing stable operation in the weak grid, even SCR=1.02 and enabling the reactive response time within 20 ms. The solution can possess continuous low voltage ride through (LVRT) and high voltage ride through (HVRT) capacity without off-grid in the extra high voltage (EHV) grid.

Designed for future hybrid applications

Energy storage is a vital path in tackling the volatility and intermittence of proliferating renewable energy. This is critical to facilitating a quick and smooth transition to a low-carbon future. The robust “1+X” Modular Inverter comes with the DC energy storage interface built into this solution. This supports connecting to the energy storage system; thus, enabling customers to enjoy the storage function for future energy usage.

Environmental sustainability

Since the “1+X” Modular Inverter makes O&M more hassle-free, it helps reduce material usage including water, steel, and even less electricity, making it more environmentally friendly.

On the other hand, as a dedicated member of RE100, EP100, and UNGC, Sungrow continues cutting its internal carbon footprints in manufacturing and operations by using clean energy. Further, the Company continues to enhance energy productivity for both economic and environmental concerns.

“The ‘1+X’ Modular Inverter redefines the inverter with both sides of ‘string inverter’ and ‘central inverter’ and is definitely one of the game-changing innovations that shape future energy as it incubates more possibilities for different stakeholders,” said Jack Gu, Senior Vice President of Sungrow.

The Company profiled the best of its technical innovations during Intersolar Europe with other portfolios exhibited as well, including the PV Magazine Award-winning inverter SG350HX, the liquid cooled energy storage system PowerTitan, and its residential solar-storage-EV charging solution and more.


Learn more about Sungrow by visiting:

One of the UK’s leading energy lawyers says the discussion on new nuclear power generation in Scotland lacks the detailed facts needed to ensure the country’s future energy security and contribute to a global reduction in carbon emissions.

Andy Renton, principal at Castletown Law, an international law firm specialising in energy and infrastructure law, said the consensus of global scientific opinion is that net zero power generation was not achievable without nuclear power.

Opponents of new nuclear power say it is environmentally damaging, poses a public safety risk and is financially unaffordable – arguments which Mr Renton said are founded on outdated information and bad data.

In advance of an event at Edinburgh’s Signet Library on May 24th, Mr Renton said an examination of the facts around new nuclear energy would demonstrate its potential role in Scotland’s and energy future.

The event will see a number of experts address an audience of industry and political attendees. Simon Stuttaford from Castletown Law will open the event, followed by George Tarambikos from Holtec Britain, a manufacturer of nuclear plant technology.

Michael Ward, from the University of Strathclyde Advance Nuclear Research Centre, will provide an overview of Scotland’s nuclear sector and the skill sectors engaged in the industry, and Remi Zante from the National Manufacturing Institute of Scotland will examine the potential for supply chain;  particularly how the engineering supply chain in Scotland can participate in future domestic and international nuclear projects.

The event will look also at the potential decommissioning of nuclear power installations in Scotland and internationally.

Mr Renton said: “Nuclear energy is misunderstood. Despite being a safe, low carbon and cost-effective source of energy, it has been seen as a last resort. We desperately need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel generation and the science shows that nuclear power, alongside renewables, is an essential part of that transition.”

In its report ‘Net Zero by 2050’, the International Energy Association (IEA), which works with global governments and industries on energy policy, said renewable energy should account for 90% of the global energy mix if net zero was to be achieved by 2050. Most of the remainder would come from nuclear power. This would require 20 gigawatts of new nuclear capacity to be added to global capacity every year between 2020 and 2050. A net total of six gigawatts was added in 2021.

According to the website, which checks claims made by government and other bodies, in 2020 renewables accounted for 56% of electricity consumed in Scotland, with nuclear contributing 30% and oil and gas 13%. The equivalent of 96% of all Scottish energy was generated by renewable sources, but much of this was exported.

Mr Renton said nuclear, which enables stable and dependable energy, was an essential power source which could smooth out the peaks and troughs of renewables.

He said: “The wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine, as we know only too well in Scotland. Nuclear is a safe, clean and cost-effective way of ensuring sustainable and reliable power without having to rely on hydrocarbons.

“This isn’t about one clean energy source versus other. It’s about focusing on creating a sustainable energy mix for the planet which gets us to net zero in an acceptable timeframe. Fossil fuels are stable and well-tested but contribute to air pollution and carbon emissions. Taking them out of the mix means they have to be replaced by something else – new nuclear capability lets us balance the energy mix with renewables.

“Providing a long-term dependable power source at a predictable cost for the next 50-60 years is a vital component to investment in industry and economic growth. This applies everywhere, not just in Scotland, and the project demand for power generation in the coming 10 years is multiples of current production capability.

“The objective must be not to supplement existing fossil fuel generation, but to replace it and provide low carbon power generation for future needs. These needs will include significant power consumption in the production of green hydrogen as a complimentary low carbon fuel source to nuclear.”

Other claims by opponents of nuclear power are that building new nuclear sites is more expensive than other generation methods, and that the risk to life is far greater in comparison to renewables in particular.

However, analysis of IEA data, based on almost 240 power plants across the world, showed the lifetime cost of energy – including construction and power production over the operational life of a given plant – was lower for nuclear than most other technologies, particularly in relation to the long-term operation of existing plants.

Nuclear power plants tend to have a longer lifespan than other methods of power production. The president of the World Nuclear Association has said that future nuclear plants are likely to be designed for 100 years operation and that life extension of existing plants should be a primary objective.

The IEA data showed the average cost for nuclear production was just under $50 per megawatt hour (MWh), compared to $94 for wind and $98 for solar. Coal had a cost of $102 per MWh and hydro energy cost $108 per MWh.

The construction cost of large nuclear power plants has also been cited as a problem. Small modular reactors (SMRs), which produce less power and cost a fraction of traditional nuclear power plants, can be manufactured in a factory and transported to site. The International Atomic Energy Agency reports there are more than 50 SMR designs and technologies being developed globally.

Nuclear power also stacks up well from a safety perspective. According to research collated by Our World In Data, which reviewed death rates from energy production based on accidents and air pollution, nuclear accounted for 0.07 deaths per terawatt hour (TWh), compared to 0.04 deaths for wind and 0.02 for each of hydro and solar. By contrast, coal was responsible for close to 24.62 deaths per TWh and oil for 18.43 deaths per TWh. A terawatt hour is approximately the energy consumption of 187,000 people in Europe, according to the website, which has been quoted by the Financial Times, BBC, New York Times and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Mr Renton said: “Things have moved on enormously in nuclear power over the years and, from any objective analysis, it is a safe, clean and cost-effective source of predictable power. This is a huge issue not just for Scotland but for the world.

“Policy decisions of course require the delicate balancing of a spectrum of conflicting opinions and interests, but science and data have to be key considerations in such an important matter.

“Our event is not about policy or politics, but about trying to present the objective facts to inform the debate around what is almost certainly the key set of decisions any country has to make over the next few years.”

Building Better, an alliance of 29 housing associations and councils, supported by the National Housing Federation, has appointed an initial six manufacturers to its new dynamic purchasing system (DPS) for MMC category 2 construction systems.

Future Built, LoCal Homes, Project Etopia, Roe Timberframe, Sigmat and Starship Homes are the first firms selected by Procurement for Housing and Building Better to provide 2D panelised systems, assembled on-site.

The DPS is worth £600m over four years and will run in parallel with Building Better’s first MMC framework which launched in July 2021 and covers category 1 volumetric 3D systems. The alliance aims to give members access to a range of different MMC solutions so they can find the right one for their site.

Building Better took the decision to create a DPS, not a fixed framework, so panelised manufacturers can join at any point during the term of the DPS. The category 2 segment of the offsite market is evolving rapidly with new products and manufacturers emerging all the time. By setting up a DPS, social housing providers can access the latest solutions and suppliers as they come to market.

Over 215,000 homes are managed by the 29 housing associations and local authorities that make up Building Better. Since the launch of its volumetric framework in 2021, alliance members have put nearly 40 schemes through it, getting costs on over 900 MMC homes. With the launch of its DPS, Building Better will help the social housing sector to produce around 5,000 MMC properties by 2026.

Manufacturers wanting to join Building Better’s DPS must first be certified by the Buildoffsite Property Assurance Scheme (BOPAS) or assessed by building warranty provider the National House Building Council (NHBC) and their products must aim to meet the Future Homes Standard.

Once they have passed an additional selection procedure, looking at their commercial, social and sustainability credentials, manufacturers can bid for opportunities via a tender call-off.

This process has been streamlined for social housing providers too, with members receiving a tender template pack and hands-on support from Procurement for Housing.

Trina Chakravarti, Project Director of Building Better said: “The emerging nature of this part of the MMC marketplace means that social housing organisations have, to date, been wary of category 2. Some told us they were anxious about committing to a panelised manufacturer; not knowing if the company or even this form of MMC would be around in four years. Because of this, we knew a different procurement approach was needed; one that would still provide high standards and ease of access like our category 1 framework, but a solution that didn’t ‘clip the wings’ of manufacturers operating in such a fluid environment.”


John Bellamy, Category Manager for Construction & Sustainability at Procurement for Housing (PfH) said: “A major benefit of setting up a DPS is the learning. As an alliance, we’ll be able to grow our understanding of what housing organisations actually require with category 2 and the technical solutions they gravitate to. Creating a framework now would have meant guessing the answers. But a DPS allows us to gather data and feedback on products and manufacturers, educating ourselves and helping us to normalise offsite and use it at scale across the sector.”


For further information about using Building Better’s MMC Category 2 DPS, click here


For manufacturers wanting to join Building Better’s MMC Category 2 DPS, click here

In the current climate, more businesses than ever are choosing to support the UK economy by purchasing homegrown products and brands. At West Fraser, formerly known as Norbord, all engineered wood panels are made in the UK and the company is committed to making better products for a sustainable future.


The latest generation of OSB3, SterlingOSB Zero, is made at the state-of-the-art facility in Inverness, Scotland. Each board has a smooth finish and is made without adding any formaldehyde, so is safer to work with and builds greener homes.


The range includes SterlingOSB Zero OSB3 and SterlingOSB Zero T&G.


For specifiers and housebuilders looking for an OSB supplier who is committed to sustainable production and supply, West Fraser is the one.  With visible end-to-end supply chains and dedicated, streamlined logistics, coupled with excellent customer service, more companies are choosing West Fraser as their supply partner of choice.


  • Streamlined logistics
  • Sustainable supply chain
  • Improved product availability
  • Recyclable packaging
  • Excellent technical and customer support


To find out more about West Fraser’s products for housebuilders, get in touch with Dan Clarke



or CLICK HERE to download product brochures from the housebuilder page of the West Fraser website


For further information, call 01786 812 921 or visit

Long levity of the built environment has come into focus recently.  Some sites have an ongoing need to update their structure.  Schools with growing populations or hospitals where new treatments and technology are constantly changing the day-to-day operation are typical.  However, the environmental cost of demolition and rebuild means that alternative methods of site development has come to the fore.

Modern construction methods can minimise both the cost and environmental impact of sites that are in a constant state of flux.  The more infrastructure that can be retained and incorporated into the new structure the lower the environmental impact.
Many public buildings have recognised the flexibility and benefits of modular construction methods.  The short on-site construction periods are often beneficial.  However, sometimes it is the utilities that can impact on the developments’ timeline.


Water Services on Tap – The business benefit of plug and play systems

Traditional underground supply and metering is not only environmentally expensive but can impact negatively on the critical path of construction.  Imagine a situation where your services can be fully installed, with surface mounted meters allowing ‘plug and play’ style installation.  Not only does this take the water supply out of the critical path, but enables future site development, without the need for a new supply to be installed
With Groundbreaker water management system, you have that ‘plug and play’ option – no need to imagine.
The only system of its type, it is designed to be installed at any time during the construction period.  Fully compliant with Water Regulations, it provides an accessible, safe and secure location for the water meter and controls to a specific property.
The concept is simple.  Water services are connected to an externally mounted, pre-installed water service controls.  This allows flexibility in the management and scheduling of connection to the mains supply.  For modular build projects the pre-installation and certification of plumbing can facilitate early approval of water services to a plot.
There is no need for boundary boxes or underground meter housings.  This simplification of the connection allows for improved efficiency and reduces the time required for highway closures and cost of reinstatement.

Design out leak paths:

comply with Water & Construction Industry Guidelines comply with “Water Safe” initiatives
The unique location of the Groundbreaker water management system allows for an unjointed water supply, minimising the risk of developing future leaks.  Installation of Groundbreaker meets the best recommendations of Water UK and the Home Builders Federation1 and in some water company areas, such as Portsmouth Water, are now the standard required for all new properties.

Future proof properties

Water Metering is the future.  Utility companies have not been slow in recognising the benefits of a ‘Smart Buildings’.  The ability to interrogate and manage energy usage at any given time of day or night has been recognised as an effective way for organisations to reduce usage and manage costs.
Gas and electricity meters located on external building walls has enabled easy upgrades and introduction of countrywide ‘Smart Meter’ programme.  However, the traditional location of a water meter in a metal-covered hole in the public highway is not conducive to this new way of thinking. A ‘Smart Water Meter’ located in such a situation is exceedingly poor in transmitting a signal even to a local pick up.
The best location for a ‘Smart Water Meter’ is on an external property wall  – co-located with other utility meters. With Groundbreaker water management system, properties are future proofed to allow for easy installation of ‘Smart Water Meter’ technology as it is introduced across the UK.
Recent field trials of Groundbreaker have proven that the range of such meters can be over 3Km (2 miles).  The impact on data collection is massive.  The improved data transmission range could allow for single point data capture in towns the size of Norwich or Coventry.
This ability to link into ‘Smart’ Building Management systems also allows for organisations to monitor for exceptional usage and potentially identify maintenance issues or leaks.

Bringing Water Supply into the 21st century

If you are looking for a way to bring water services into the 21st century, Groundbreaker’s range of water supply management products can be the way forward for time and cost efficient installation and replacement of water supply and allow for future site redevelopment with minimal environmental cost.

CLICK HERE for futher information on the Groundbreaker water management system

CLICK HERE for further information from the Home Builders Federation Guide