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Government announces review of building regulations

Government announces review of building regulations

31 July 2017

The Government has launched an independent review of building and fire safety regulations following the Grenfell Tower tragedy. With focus on tall residential buildings, the review will cover design, construction, and maintenance, as well as compliance and enforcement regimes.

 

The review will be led by Dame Judith Hackitt, who served as the chair of the Health and Safety Executive from 2007 to 2016.  An interim report is expected at the end of the year. 

Construction industry growth slows in Q2

Construction industry growth slows in Q2

20 July 2017

The RICS UK Construction and Infrastructure Survey for Q2 2017 shows a slow down in total workload growth, as compared to the previous quarter which had accelerated at the strongest pace since the referendum result last year. 

 

The primary factor for the slow down was financial constraint, caused by the uncertainty of Brexit and the Elections, access to finance, and cashflow and fluidity challenges. Private commercial and industrial sectors were most affected.

 

See the report here >

 

 

Stirling Prize shortlist announced

Stirling Prize shortlist announced

20 July 2017

This year's Stirling Prize shortlist includes Barratt's Grove in Stoke Newington, London by Groupwork and Amin Taha; The British Museum World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre, London by Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners; Command of the Oceans in Chatham, Kent by Baynes and Mitchell Architects, City of Glasgow College - City Campus, by Reiach & Hall Architects and Michael Laird Architects; Hastings Pier, East Success by dRMM; and Photography Studio for Juergen Teller, Ladbroke Grove, London by 6a architects.

 

The winner will be announced 31 October.   Find out more here >

 

 

 

London Mayor deal to build 50,000 affordable homes

London Mayor deal to build 50,000 affordable homes

17 July 2017

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced a £1.7bn deal to deliver 50,000 affordable homes to rent or buy in the next four years.  Allocations have been made to 44 housing associations and 9 boroughs, to build new homes in every London borough.

 

Of these 17,500 homes will be for social level rent, and c. 32,000 for a combination of shared ownership and the new London Living Rent.

 

Read more here >

 

 

 

 

Signs of life for Crossrail 2

Signs of life for Crossrail 2

12 July 2017

Crossrail 2 has been given a mention in Government plans for the first time since the elections, apearing as one of the responsibilities of the new chief secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss.

 

The industry has warned of delays to the project, which were omitted from the Conservatives manifesto and the Queen's speech. 

 

 

 

Government proposes to relax planning along HS1

Government proposes to relax planning along HS1

7 July 2017

The Government is launching a public consultation on proposals to relax current planning restrictions in relation to "safeguarding" along the HS1 line in Kent. Among the proposed plans is to reduce the safeguarding zone from 60m to 30m, which would help to release c. 14 sq km of land for housebuilding.

 

The consultation will open Monday 10 July.

 

Vehicle Excise Duty to fund local roads improvements

Vehicle Excise Duty to fund local roads improvements

7 July 2017

The Department for Transport has proposed that a £1bn fund will be made available to local authorities to improve or replace A roads in their management.  The amount is shared from the VED-funded roads fund previously allocated for national routes.

Sarah Beale named permanent CEO of CITB board

Sarah Beale named permanent CEO of CITB board

7 July 2017

Beale has served as the interim CEO of the Construction Industry Training Board since December 2016.

 

HSE reports record low in construction fatalities

HSE reports record low in construction fatalities

7 July 2017

There were 30 construction fatalities in the year to March 2017, compared to an annual average of 39 over the past five years. The number of fatalities fluctuate from year to year, but has experienced a general downward trend in the last 20 years.

 

Being struck by a moving vehicle is the most common fatal accident at work across all sectors.

 

Read the report here > 

London is still tops for tech investment

London is still tops for tech investment

5 July 2017

The Mayor of London's official promotion agency, London & Partners, reports that since the referendum in June 2016, London has attracted £1.8bn in venture capital funding in the city's technology firms. This compares to £775m received in Berlin, the next most popular European city for venture capital tech investment.

Q1 2017 UK property funds returns 2.1%

Q1 2017 UK property funds returns 2.1%

4 July 2017

The Association of Real Estate Funds and MSCI's Property Fund Vision Handbook reports that in a survey of 55 of the most traded funds in the UK, the 3 month return for the first quarter rose to 2.1%.  The 12-month total return posted at 3.5%

 

For details, click here >  

Property Industry Alliance identifies most reliable property crash predictor

Property Industry Alliance identifies most reliable property crash predictor

3 July 2017

The two-year research by the Alliance's Debt Group has found that Adjusted Market Value (AMV) has been the most reliable long term value measure for predicting property crashes for nearly 100 years, as compared to investment value (IV) and mortgage lending value (MLV).

 

Read more here > 

 

Total office costs in London 42% greater than regional cities

Total office costs in London 42% greater than regional cities

3 July 2017

According to Lambert Smith Hampton's Total Cost Survey, this represents a decrease in last year's record gap of 45% per workstation as compared to the "big six" cities of Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

 

The survey reviews 22 cost factors in over 50 locations. London's West End posted the largest decrease in costs with a fall of 9.6% while remaining the most expensive location in the UK.  The largest factors in the decrease are rents and landlord incentives.  Costs excluding rates and rents have seen a rise of 19.%, reflecting inflationary pressures.  Read more here > 

 

 

 

Liverpool hangs onto "World Heritage in Danger" status

Liverpool hangs onto "World Heritage in Danger" status

20 June 2017

The area between the Three Graces on the Waterfront to St George's Hall and Lime Street Station was granted World Heritage Status in 2004. However, planned waterfront development has placed Liverpool on the "World Heritage in Danger" list since 2012.

 

UNESCO papers have reportedly proposed maintaining status quo this year, but consider its revocation next year.

Rebecca Thompson heads CIOB

Rebecca Thompson heads CIOB

19 June 2017

As the new president of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), she aims to promote inclusitivity, training and conservation.

 

Ms Thompson launched Thompson Heritage Consultancy in 2016 and is a lecturer of Building Studies at York College.

 

Assuming the role fo senior vice president is Chris Soffe, president and chief executive  of Gleeds America.

 

New member of Monetary Policy Committee appointed

New member of Monetary Policy Committee appointed

19 June 2017

Professor Silvana Tenreyro will commence a three year term on 3 July.  She replaces Kristin Forbes, whose term ends at the end of June.

 

Fed raises interest rates while Bank of England holds

Fed raises interest rates while Bank of England holds

16 June 2017

Citing strength of economic growth and job market, the US Federal reserved raised interest rates by 0.25% to 1.25%, the highest since 2008.

 

While the Bank of England kept the interest rate at 0.25%, two more members of the Monetary Policy Committee favoured a rate rise for a 5-3 vote, due to concern over inflation in recent months.

 

May orders public enquiry into Grenfell Tower fire

May orders public enquiry into Grenfell Tower fire

15 June 2017

The fire engulfed the 24 storey 1970s tower block in the early hours of 14 June, killing at least 17 people.

 

The recently refurbished tower block has reportedly been the subject of safety concern voiced by residents for several years.

 

Alok Sharma named as new housing minister

Alok Sharma named as new housing minister

14 June 2017

The MP for Reading West since 2010, Sharma will work with Sajid Javid, the reappointed Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

 

Inflation hits a four year high

Inflation hits a four year high

13 June 2017

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) registered a 12-month inflation of 2.9% in May, the highest since June 2013.  The Office of National Statistics (ONS) cites the rising cost of recreational and cultural goods and services as the biggest contributor to the rise.

 

Meanwhile CPIH (including owner occupier' housing costs) 12-month inflation was 2.7%, and is the highest since April 2012.

 

For ONS details, click here >

1.4m sq ft West End office space under offer in May

1.4m sq ft West End office space under offer in May

13 June 2017

This is the highest level of commercial office space under offer on record. According to CBRE, under offers increased by 6% across Central London to 6.8m sq ft.

Gavin Barwell loses his seat; Michael Gove back in cabinet

Gavin Barwell loses his seat; Michael Gove back in cabinet

12 June 2017

The former Minister of State for Housing and Planning and Minister for London lost his seat in Central Croydon to Labour's Sarah Jones.  Barwell served in the post for less than a year, and was the 14th Housing Minister since 1997.  He has since been appointed Chief of Staff.

 

The cabinet reshuffle also sees the appointment of Michael Gove as Environment Secretary.

 

For more on the new cabinet, click here >

Greystar puchases two plots at Royal Mails' Nine Elms site

Greystar puchases two plots at Royal Mails' Nine Elms site

6 June 2017

Greystar, a US residential developer, plans to introduce 894 build-to-rent apartments with a range of amenities in partnership with Telford Homes.

 

The 2.67 acre site reflects the first two of seven plots on the Royal Mail masterplan, which features a future primary school and a significant portion of the linear park through the Nine Elms area.

 

Read more about the masterplan >

 

 

1 Finsbury Avenue secures planning consent

1 Finsbury Avenue secures planning consent

6 June 2017

The 393,000 sq ft refurbishment of the Grade II listed building renews 287,000 sq ft of Grade A office space, while introducing a range of retail and leisure uses on the ground and basement levels. 

 

The scheme forms the part of the ongoing modernisation programme at Broadgate, owned by British Land and GIC, which has also recently secured planning consent for 2-3 Finsbury Avenue.

 

Read more about Broadgate >

Sale completed for The Leadenhall Building

Sale completed for The Leadenhall Building

26 May 2017

The £1.15 bn sale to CC Land, a Hong Kong listed property and investment group, is the second biggest sale of a single UK building, behind the HSBC tower in 2014.  The 225-m Leadenhall Building was developed and owned by a JV between  British Land and Oxford Properties.  Completed in 2014, the building achieved record rents in the City of London and is fully let with an average remaining lease term of over 10 years to break.

 

Read more on The Leadenhall Building >

 

 

 

 

 

RIBA publishes "Building a Global Britain"

RIBA publishes "Building a Global Britain"

24 May 2017

The manifesto, published in the run up to the General Elections, outlines the RIBA's recommendations to the Government to support sustainable communities and built environment while ensuring the sector continues to thrive post-Brexit.

 

Read the manifestor here >

 

Affordable housing starts rise 13% in 2016 but completions dropped 5%

Affordable housing starts rise 13% in 2016 but completions dropped 5%

23 May 2017

The National Housing Federation has cited uncertainty following the rent cuts in April last year as a factor for the drop.

 

The report also notes regional differences in affordable housing delivery, where homes delivered via the S106 mechanism accounted for over 60% in the South East, South West and East, as compared to under 20% in London.  Grants aided 79% of completions in the North West, compared to 48% in London and 43% in the South West.

 

For the full briefing, click here >

Manchester resi construction increases by 400% over the last two years

Manchester resi construction increases by 400% over the last two years

19 May 2017

Research conducted by Manchester Place, an inward investment company set up by Manchester City Council and the HCA, reports that the number of units under construction in the city centre increased from 986 in March 2015 to 4,954 as of March this year.

 

A majority of the units being built are build to rent. The population in the city centre is projected to rise by 5.5% a year.

 

 

 

BL launches branded flexible floorspace at 2 Finsbury Avenue

BL launches branded flexible floorspace at 2 Finsbury Avenue

19 May 2017

British Land is planning to launch its flexible floorspace brand next month, to "capture incremental demand from the increasing number of small businesses taking space in London as well as meeting a growing need amongst our existing occupiers for flexible space for specific projects and teams." 

 

The initial launch will include 80,000 sq ft, including office space at Broadgate and Ealing shopping centre.

 

Find out more about 2 Finsbury Avenue >

 

 

London office construction levels slightly down but completions at 13 year high

London office construction levels slightly down but completions at 13 year high

17 May 2017

According to Deloitte's Crane Survey for London office, which tracks construction activity in seven for the six months to 31 March 2017, the highest level of construction activity is in the City of London with 10 new starts in that period.  Midltown and Southbank recorded biggest increase in office development activity at 9% and 6% respectively.

 

See the survey report here >

Lloyds Bank returned to private ownership

Lloyds Bank returned to private ownership

17 May 2017

The Government has sold remaining shares in the bank, which received a £20bn bailout in 2008.  Lloyd's Bank has said that the Government will see a £21.2bn return.

 

The Royal Bank of Scotland remains 73% owned by taxpayers.

General elections delay decision on Crossrail 2

General elections delay decision on Crossrail 2

15 May 2017

The Strategic Outline Business Case was submitted in March 2017, with the decision anticipated for summer 2017. 

 

The decision will now likely be made in early 2018.

1 Triton Square achieves resolution to grant

1 Triton Square achieves resolution to grant

12 May 2017

The development comprises major refurbishment of 1, 4, 7 Triton Square, including over 170,00 sq ft of addtional office space with a three storey extension, provision of affordable workspace and improvements to the ground level and public realm.

 

The development also incorporates 22 affordable units in the former St Anne's church site.

 

 

 

Dublin most attractive European city for hotel investors

Dublin most attractive European city for hotel investors

12 May 2017

The list compiled by Savills takes into such considerations as value per room, GDP growth, yields and stock. 

 

While London has greater numbers of overseas visitors, buoyed by the weakened pound, it ranks fourth as it remains one of the most expensive markets for hotel investment.

 

Have a look here >

Latest RICS survey shows stagnating residential market

Latest RICS survey shows stagnating residential market

12 May 2017

RICS's April 2017 UK Residential Market survey results indicate a continuing, gradual decline in residential sales, enquiries and listing. However, there is an upward trend in house prices nationally, although certain regions including London, East Anglia and the North have experienced a drop.

 

In the lettings market, demand, instructions and rents have remained relatively unchanged.

 

View the report here >

Services sector grows for ninth month in a row

Services sector grows for ninth month in a row

4 May 2017

April data reported by the Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index (PMI) has indicated the sharpest rise in UK business activity since December 2016, with job creation at a four month high. The rise has been linked to such factors as strength in business to business demand, new products, and sales to overseas clients.

 

While 47% of those surveyed are optimistic about the business activity outlook, this is moderated by concerns about inflation.

 

Read more here >

MP reports over half of new homes built by eight largest firms

MP reports over half of new homes built by eight largest firms

3 May 2017

The Communities and Local Government committee report said that there is little incentive for these housebuilders to deliver more quickly and more affordably due to the need to recover investment. To speed up housebuildig, the select committee has called for the government to support smaller housebuilders, and for local authorities and housing associations to increase building activities. It has also urged the government to address skills shortage at school level and support modern methods of construction.

 

To read the report, click here >

No Mayoral Guarantees for Garden Bridge

No Mayoral Guarantees for Garden Bridge

28 April 2017

Following the Hodge report, the London Mayor has written to the Garden Bridge Trust that the GLA is not willing to expose London taxpayers to such risks as increasing capital costs, inability to complete construction and future maintenance costs. 

 

Securing operations and maintenance guarantees is required from the Port of London Authority and the planning authorities before the start of construction.

 

Properties wanted for gig economy companies

Properties wanted for gig economy companies

28 April 2017

Similar to the demand for city fringe on line retail distribution centres, "gig" economy service providers like Deliveroo and Uber are increasingly seeking physical space in central locations.  The nature of the businesses would seek to secure small units (e.g. parking, small industrial / storage units) near their primary customer bases.

 

Read more here >

City commercial real estate investment on a high

21 April 2017

According to Savills, transactions for commercial real estate in the City of London in Q1 2017 was at its highest since 2007. 

 

Totaling £1.9bn, 64% of the transactions were with Asian purchasers, followed by UK (13%) European (13%), US (5%) and Middle Eastern purchasers (5%).

PM proposes snap general election

18 April 2017

The Prime Minister has called for a snap general election on 8th June. She has cited persistant opposition to the Government's Brexit strategy by other parties as the key driver for calling the election, stating: "If we don't hold a general election now, their political game playing will continue and the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most difficult stage in the run up to the next scheduled election."

 

A vote to hold the elections will be held in the House of Commons on 19th April, where two-thirds majority vote is required.

 

 

 

 

Industry pledges longer tenancies for build-to-rent

18 April 2017

In a letter to the Government signed by twenty investors and developers in the build-to-rent sector, the British Property Federation has set out a pledge to offer the option for three-year tenancies for new build-to-rent properties, as well as rent reviews no more than once a year.  Shorter tenancies would continue to be available.

 

The pledge comes as a response to the Housing White Paper calling for mix of tenures, to accommodate households such as families that may require greater tenancy security.

 

4 Kingdom Street practical completion achieved

18 April 2017

The newest addition to the Paddington Central campus provides 138,000 sq ft of office space over nine storeys with 15,000 sq ft of retail on ground. The building also features a roof terrace with a cafe / bar and sports court.

 

Find out more about 4 Kingdom Street >

 

 

 

 

PM triggers Article 50

30 March 2017

Theresa May has triggered Article 50 to start the process of Brexit negotiations.

 

The Great Repeal Bill has been tabled, proposing to repeal the European Communities Act and leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Taking effect the day after finalising UK's exit from the EU, the bill aims to also transpose current EU legislation into national legislation to faciltate a smooth transition.

 

 

 

 

 

New Chair for ARB

21 March 2017

The Architects Registration Board (ARB) has named Nabila Zulfiqar as its new Chair, replacing Peter Coe. 

 

Currently Chief Adjudicator at the Solicitors Regulations Authority, Zulfiqar has been on the ARB board since 2013, having led its Investigations Oversight Committee.

 

 

 

 

 

£6m funds for Heritage Action Zones

21 March 2017

Historic England has launched the fund to help restore listed buildings and conservation areas to bring about regeneration . The ten Heritage Action Zones include Hull Town Centre, Weston upon Mare, Ramsgate and Appleby (see full list here >).

 

Historic England aims to award the Heritage Action Zone status to more towns, villages and cities over the next two years.

 

 

 

 

Housing Forum publishes solutions to boosting housing supplies

21 March 2017

In their report Future proofing housing supply, the Housing Forum offers ten solutions addressing Leadership and structures, Sector capacity and Commissioning and investment.  Among their recommendations is to depoliticise housing delivery, facilitating delivery by local authorities and modernising housebuilding skills and technologies.

 

Read the full report here >

 

 

 

Unemployment rate lowest since summer 1975

16 March 2017

The Office on National Statistics has reported that the unemployment in the three months to January 2017 was 4.7%. 

 

However, while wages are rising above inflation, wage growth as compared to the same period the previous year.

 

More info at the ONS website >

 

 

 

New capital for global real estate investment drops

15 March 2017

According to Cushman and Wakefield's Wall of Money report, there is an overall drop of 2%, which EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Asia) dropping 9%.

 

The report notes a trend of single country investment strategies, with the US and China being the most targeted countries. 

 

 

 

Met Police to dispose of surplus sites

10 March 2017

The Metropolitan Police has told London Assembly that it plans to vacate 75 freehold sites, releasing surplus sites to deliver an estimate of 1,900 homes.

 

This forms part of the plan to reduced the number of desks by nearly half, and the number of buildings in its estate from 363 to c. 100.

 

 

 

Budget increases funding for technical training

9 March 2017

The Government has confirmed an additional £500m funding for technical courses and provide students access to loans, to help equalise regard for academic and technical education.

 

The Budget also allocates an additional £216m for investment in schools over the next three years, including creation of new free schools. 

 

 

 

BSI ranks countries with high risk of modern slavery

9 March 2017

Their Trafficking and Supply Chain Slavery Patterns Index ranks 191 source countries and 193 destination countries from low to severe risk.  According to the report, more than 20% of contruction marterials imported into the UK in 2015 come from China and Italy, both identified as "high risk" countries. 

 

 

 

Foreign investment in UK regional office investment steady

8 March 2017

The overall investment volumes have gone down from £3.2m in 2015 to £2.5m in 2016. 

 

Out of the 10 cities surveyed, only Edinburgh, Bristol and Sheffield have experienced increased investment over that period.

 

 

 

Housing for London reveals extent of reliance on EU construction workers

28 February 2017

The report shows that 27% of London's construction works are from the EU, 3% from other European countries and 14% from the rest of the world. Accordingly to industry experts, c. 13,000 new construction workers would be needed each year to 2021 to ease the potential skills gap as a result of Brexit.

 

The Mayor has created a sub group within the Homes for Londoner's board to produce a strategy to recruit and train skilled workers and develop less labour-reliant construction techniques.

 

 

 

Educational Modular Buildings Framework launched

28 February 2017

The £225m framework spans four years, in four lots covering temporary accomdation through to construction of over £3m.  The aim of the framework is to provide pre-fabricated solultions for cost effective and sustainable learning spaces.

 

 

 

Phase 1 of HS2 passed into law

24 February 2017

The £21.4bn first phase of HS2, running between London and Birmingham, has been granted Royal Assent. The government expects work to begin later this spring, with aim for the line to be in operation in 2026.

 

 

 

New HCA board members named

24 February 2017

Four new Board members have been appointed at the HCA: Richard Blakely, formerly London's Deputy Mayor for housing, land and property under Boris Johnson; Simon Dudley, Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead; Teresa O'Neill, Leader of the London Borough of Bexley; and banker Stephen Bell.

 

 

 

New Assistant Director of Planning for the GLA

New Assistant Director of Planning for the GLA

14 February 2017

The GLA have confirmed the appointment of Juliemma McLoughlin as Assistant Director of Planning. Juliemma leaves her role as Director of Planning and Growth at the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fullham, having worked on projects including White City and Chelsea FC's stadium redevelopment.

 

In her new role at the GLA, Juliemma will oversee the development of the new London Plan, due later this year. 

London Mayor unveils vision for Thames Estuary creative hub

London Mayor unveils vision for Thames Estuary creative hub

14 February 2017

Sadiq Khan has submitted plans to transform the Thames Estuary into a major hub for the creative industries across several London Boroughs, Essex and Kent, including facilities for the production of large-scale artworks, a centre for experiential arts and opportunities to deliver training to some of the 1.2 million new workers required for the creative sector.

The vision document, produced with the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, has been submitted to the head of the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission.    

Second phase of Priority School Building Fund goes out to market

10 February 2017

The Education Funding Agency (EFA) has released the £2bn fund to rebuild or refurbish 277 schools after several delays.   It is understood that the EFA will manage most of the capital programme centrally as per Phase 1, but has also given the go ahead to local authorities and several academy trusts to procure more than 70  projects directly.

Housing White Paper published

8 February 2017

The Government has published the long awaited Housing White Paper.  Aiming to boost delivery of new houisng supply, the White Paper provides support to the Build-to-Rent and modular construction sectors, while enabling local authorities to increase planning fees and use compulsory purchase powers to seize stalled development land.  It also puts pressure on local authorities, with new delivery tests to identify local authorities that do not meet its targets and introduce presumption in favour of development for those areas. 

 

To review the White Paper in full, click here >

 

 

 

London Mayor seeks devolution of property taxes to London

London Mayor seeks devolution of property taxes to London

31 January 2017

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has expressed his support for the London Finance Commission's recommendation that the capital should be granted control of the full range of its property taxes. The proposal would see the UK's capital align with competitors such as Tokyo and New York, who both retain significantly more of their tax revenue than London currently does. 

 

The full report is available here

Business rates self-assessment under consultation

Business rates self-assessment under consultation

30 January 2017

The government is considering asking businesses to self-assess their own business rates in a bid to cut costs at the Valuation Office Agency, the body responsible for informing the government's taxation policies. The switch - if implemented - would affect around 2 million businesses. 

EU heritage funding for Liverpool

EU heritage funding for Liverpool

30 January 2017

Liverpool will receive €10 million from an EU programme aimed at promoting Europe's historic city centres. The funding will be used to market the city's heritage assets to residents and visitors, boosting the local tourism economy.

 

The city was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2004 because of the vital role played by the mercantile port city in the development of the British Empire.

Sector Scorecard for affordable housing launched

Sector Scorecard for affordable housing launched

26 January 2017

A pilot scheme for Sector Scorecard was launched with backing by the governement and the National Housing Federation.  The scheme aims to provide a common set of agreed measures for performance and value for money among housing providers. 

 

The Scorecard includes 15 indicators over five main categories: business health, development, outcomes delivered, effective asset management and operating efficiencies.

Twentieth Century Society issues top 10 buildings at risk list

Twentieth Century Society issues top 10 buildings at risk list

25 January 2017

The Campaign group has identified 10 buildings around the UK it considers most at risk, primarily from redevelopment. 

 

The list includes Dunelm House in Durham, BHS murals in Stockport & Hull, Manchester Reform Synagogue and Police Station, The Elephant & Swimming Baths in Coventry, High Cross House in Dartington, Devon, Cumberbatch North & South Building in Oxford and St. Leonards Church in St. Leonards-on-Sea.  

 

London buildings included on the list are 60 Hornton Street, West Kensington, Holborn Library and Central Hill.

May announces industrial strategy

May announces industrial strategy

23 January 2017

On the heels of the government's plans for Brexit (read full transcipt here), the Prime Minister has set out a strategy that provides special support for five industrial sectors: nuclear, life sciences, low-carbon-emissions vehicles, industrial digitisation, and creative industries.

 

To promote sector-specific hubs around the UK, the strategy provides opportunities for other sectors to strike “deals” with government, which may include support such as addressing regulatory barriers, reviewing trade and investments, and boosting innovation and training.  May has also announced £556m of new funding for the Northern Powerhouse.

London tops Alpha City index

London tops Alpha City index

20 January 2017

The index aims to determine the "most desirable city" for prime residential property. London tops the index despite Brexit uncertainties.

 

New York, Tokyo, Sydney and Paris round out the top 5, while Manchester appears at no. 26.

Sarah Weir appointed Design Council Chief Executive

Sarah Weir appointed Design Council Chief Executive

20 January 2017

Taking over from John Mathers from April, Weir joins from her role as interim executive producer at the Roundhouse in north London. 

 

She was formerly Director of Arts and Culture for the London Legacy Development Corporations, with a career that also included senior roles at Arts Council England, London Olympic Delivery Authority, and Lloyd's of London.

 

She was awarded an OBE for her contribution to arts and culture in 2012.

CIH estimates c. 250,000 low rent homes lost between 2012-2020

CIH estimates c. 250,000 low rent homes lost between 2012-2020

19 January 2017

The figures from the Chartered Institute Housing follow government report that a decrease of 120,000 homes available at social rent between 2012-2016.

 

While homes for social rent has been built during this period, this has been offset by units converted by housing providers to higher affordable incomes, and right to buy. The projections were based on current government funding proposals and a similar rate of conversions and right to buy to 2020.

Maria Balshaw confirmed as Director for Tate Gallery

Maria Balshaw confirmed as Director for Tate Gallery

18 January 2017

Balshaw steered the award-winning redevelopment of the Whitworth Gallery and has been the head of Manchester Art Gallery from 2011. She was instrumental in securing The Factory's place in the Northern Powerhouse Plans and was awarded a CBE in 2015.

 

Commencing 1 June, Balshaw replaces Sir Nicholas Serota, who will go on to chair Arts Council England.

Investment volumes fall in Q4

Investment volumes fall in Q4

13 January 2017

Investment volumes in Q4 of 2016 fell by 18.5% compared with the same period in 2015. However, the Q4 total was a 31% increase on the volumes recorded in Q3 following the Brexit vote. 

Lloyds sells off bank branches

Lloyds sells off bank branches

13 January 2017

Lloyds Banking Group has agreed deals to sell 84 of its high-street bank branches ahead of a return to full private ownership within a few months. The deals follow the announcement by Lloyds in July 2016 of their intention to close 200 branches by the end of 2017, saving the group around £400m a year. 

Hackney council to act as developer for East London residential scheme

Hackney council to act as developer for East London residential scheme

13 January 2017

Hackney Council will use the receipts from the sale of the flats to fund a new school at the site and contribute towards their affordable housing programme. The move by Hackney aims to fill the shortfall in government funding that has put pressure on the borough's services. 

2016 a record year for skyscrapers

2016 a record year for skyscrapers

12 January 2017

2016 saw a total of 128 buildings above 200m completed around the world, according to a report by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Asia continued to dominate the construction of skyscrapers with 107 buildings completed, around 84% of the global total. 

London mayor calls in first schemes since taking office

London mayor calls in first schemes since taking office

11 January 2017

Sadiq Khan has intervened in two highrise schemes within designated Opportunity Areas and Housing Zones in Tottenham and Wealdstone. Both schemes were rejected by their respective planning committees against officer recommendation with concerns regarding height, which in the case of the Tottenham Hale scheme is deemed to have a negative impact on the green belt.

 

City Hall has said that it will work with the local councils to bring forward improved proposals that "will protect the green belt from development and will deliver much-needed affordable housing." Both councils have welcomed the move.

 

 

Construction orders growth at 11-month high

Construction orders growth at 11-month high

5 January 2017

The UK Construcion purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to 54.2, surpasssing forecasts of 52.6.  Following the post-Brexit vote aftershock over the summer, this follows a trend of growth since September primarily driven by activity in the housebuilding sector. 

 

However, input costs have also risen due to devalued pound.

 

 

 

 

FTSE 100 starts the year on record high

FTSE 100 starts the year on record high

3 January 2017

The FTSE 100 index surpassed its record high achieved on the last day of trading last year.

 

Overall the blue-chip index grew by 14.4% in 2016, despite Brexit uncertainties.

 

 

 

Robert Davis stepping down as Westminster planning chair

Robert Davis stepping down as Westminster planning chair

3 January 2017

The Westminster councillor has headed the planning committee for 17 years and has been a cabinet member for planning for nearly 15 years. He will take on a new role as cabinet member for business, culture and heritage and continue to serve as overall deputy leader, chair of the Westminster World Heritage Site committee, and lead for ongoing major public realm projects at Oxford Street and Bond Street.

 

Richard Beddoe replaces Davis as chair of the planning committee, while Daniel Astaire will be the cabinet member for planning and public realm. New cabinet appointments will be confirmed by incoming council leader Nickie Aiken later this month.

 

 

 

New garden villages announced

New garden villages announced

3 January 2017

The government has announced the sites for 14 new garden villages and 3 new garden towns to provide 48,000 new homes.  The new garden villages - settlements of 1,500 - 10,000 homes - have access to a £6m fund over the next 2 years to help with delivery, while the new garden towns will be supported with a £1.4m fund.  Together with the 7 garden towns already announced, the programme aims to provide more than 200,000 new homes across the country.

Read more >
London house prices growth below UK average in 2016

London house prices growth below UK average in 2016

30 December 2016

According to Nationwide, London's average house prices increased by 3.7% in 2016, in comparison to 4.5% across the UK.  However, the average house price in the capital remains more than twice the national average. 

 

The building society has forecasted modest growth in 2017, bolstered by low interest rates and housing shortage.

 

 

 

 

Nick Walkley appointed as HCA Chief Executive and Accounting Officer

Nick Walkley appointed as HCA Chief Executive and Accounting Officer

23 December 2016

Walkley previously has served as Chief Executive at Haringey Council and Barnet Council.  The appointment follows a number of General Manager appointments earlier this month, which include General Jackie Jacob for Housing Programmes, Ian Piper for Land, Terry Fuller for Large Priority Projects and Paul Kitson for East and SouthEast.

 

The HCA is streamlining its operational model with view to speed up housing delivery and explore new approaches to housebuilding.

 

 

£60m annual fund launched to mitigate impact of second homes

£60m annual fund launched to mitigate impact of second homes

23 December 2016

The Government has launched the Community Housing Fund available to eligible councils for distribution to community housing organisations. The fund aims to boost the delivery of housing in areas with high levels of second home ownership, where first time buyers are being priced out of the market.

 

The first year of funds can be used by community organisations to build capacity, with subsequent funding directed to actual delivery.

KWM files notice of intention to appoint adminstrators

KWM files notice of intention to appoint adminstrators

22 December 2016

The law firm King & Wood Malleson (KWM) has notified relevant courts of its intention to appoint adminstrators for its European arm. The move follows failed merger discussions with Denton last week.

City of London considers requirement of consolidation centres

City of London considers requirement of consolidation centres

15 December 2016

In response to the increasing numbers of deliveries due to the popularity of online purchases, the City of London is reviewing the potential to require external consolidation centres to mitigate impact on traffic levels. This follows its decision to grant permission for the 62-storey 22 Bishopsgate with the condition that all deliveries during construction and following occupation are rationalised through consolidation centres.

CITB Chief Executive resigns

CITB Chief Executive resigns

13 December 2016

Adrian Belton, Chief Excecutive of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) since January 2014, has resigned.  Sarah Beale, currently the Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Performance Director at CITB, will serve as Acting Chief Executive.

Bank of England Crash-Test Results

Bank of England Crash-Test Results

30 November 2016

The results of the Bank of England’s biannual stress-test of the UK financial system have revealed that UK banks are better prepared for a crash in the commercial real estate market than they were in the period following the 2008 financial crisis. The Financial Stability Report found that banks have improved the quality of the assets on their books as well as disposing of less well performing assets. Banks are now showing greater resilience and ability to lend under periods of stress, as may be the case as the full implications of Brexit emerge.

EFA May Consider Non-Traditional Contractors

EFA May Consider Non-Traditional Contractors

30 November 2016

The Education Funding Agency (EFA) has indicated that it may be prepared to look beyond its existing framework to deliver the estimated 600,000 additional school places required over the next four years. This may be open to small and medium sized (SME) contractors, mirroring the government’s drive to recruit SMEs to deliver shortfalls in housebuilding.

Draft SPG on affordable housing and viability out for consultation

Draft SPG on affordable housing and viability out for consultation

29 November 2016

The Mayor has released the Draft Affordable Housing and Viability Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) for public consultation. The guidance aims to increase delivery of affordable housing, streamline viability, and support purpose-built rental properties, with such measures as forgoing requirement for viability assessments for schemes proposing 35% or more affordable housing, introducing "London Living Rent" tenure, and establishing a build to rent "pathway.

 

Public consultation closes 28 February 2017.  To view the SPG, click here >

Partnership For Healthier Developments

Partnership For Healthier Developments

28 November 2016

The BRE and the International Well Building Institute (IBWI) are joining forces to identify overlapping credits within their respective systems. The agreement aims to save time and money for accreditation processes and encourage developers to target both BREEAM and WELL certification, which measures a development’s impact on human health. The process of identifying mutually applicable credits is expected to be completed in January 2017.

Report: 18m sq ft of new logistics space needed annually

Report: 18m sq ft of new logistics space needed annually

22 November 2016

Law firm Addleshaw Goddard has released a report suggesting that 18m sq ft of logistics space would need to be built to accommodate the growth of the online retail industry.  This compares to approximately 3.4m sq ft of logistics space expected to be delivered over the next year.

With the housing crisis being top priority for local authorities, the industry calls for action to recognise the potential for job creation and local economy boost by designating more public land and funding remediation for to industrial use, as well as streamlining local planning system to accelerate the success of “uncontroversial” applications.

Industry leaders commend the UK ratifying Paris climate agreement

Industry leaders commend the UK ratifying Paris climate agreement

21 November 2016

The Paris climate change agreement has been formally ratified, with Boris Johnson signing the document last Thursday.

Industry leaders have praised the move, bringing the UK into the first comprehensive global agreement to combat climate change.

FTSE drops while property companies recover

FTSE drops while property companies recover

14 November 2016

While the FTSE 100 has dropped, property company shares has seen a recovery in the days following the results of the US elections, with the FTSE REIT index closing up at 0.9% on Friday, and housebuilders seeing the largest gains.

Trend of increasing lease length tailing off

Trend of increasing lease length tailing off

11 November 2016

MSCI’s Lease Events Review 2016 puts the average length of new leases for the first half of this year at 7.0 years – consistent with reviews over the past two years showing lease lengths to be hovering around the 7 year mark. Rising from a low of 6.0 years in 2011, the trend of increasing lease length has been caused by a period of growth and increased demand for space.

The report also found an increase in incentives as landlords try to attract and retain tenants. The first half of 2016 has seen an increase in rent free periods and almost 38% of lease include a break option compared to 35.4% in 2015.

Draft planning guidance on viability assessments due out before Christmas

Draft planning guidance on viability assessments due out before Christmas

10 November 2016

James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, has announced plans that would allow developers to bypass viability assessments and have greater certainty over planning permission if they pass an affordable housing threshold of 35% “or very near that”.

Planning guidance is expected to be released “before Christmas” laying out details of the policy for industry feedback.

Theme of London Festival of Architecture 2017 to be ‘memory’

Theme of London Festival of Architecture 2017 to be ‘memory’

9 November 2016

The London Festival of Architecture has announced ‘memory’ as the theme for the 2017 festival. A wide range of events and activities will explore the theme throughout the city from 1-30 June 2017.

Government planning ‘buy as you go’ housing scheme

Government planning ‘buy as you go’ housing scheme

7 November 2016

Chancellor Philip Hammond’s autumn statement is set to reveal the Tory’s strategy to give struggling families the opportunity to buy their homes after paying rent for 25 years.

 

The scheme would allow buyers to build up equity over time and negate the need to arrange a mortgage or pay a deposit. Rents payed by tenants under the scheme would be roughly 90% of market rate and split between equity and rent payments.

Government to stimulate modular construction

Government to stimulate modular construction

31 October 2016

The government is due to release a white paper next month proposing plans to stimulate the modular construction of 100,000 homes, in an effort to reach the target of one million new homes by 2020.

 

Following the recent announcement of the £3bn Home Building Fund, the government is reportedly reviewing measures that include encouraging banks to lend to modular construction firms.  

137 fewer sites considered ‘at risk’ by Historic England

137 fewer sites considered ‘at risk’ by Historic England

26 October 2016

Historic England’s 2016 Heritage at Risk Register contains 5,341 entries compared to 5,478 in 2015 – a 137 site reduction.

New sites added to the list include Brighton’s old town, London Zoo’s Aviary and two of Nicholas Hawksmoor’s churches in the City of London. Among those rescued are the grounds of Castle Howard in North Yorkshire and Wilton’s Music Hall in East London.

More information at the Heritage England website.

Construction market review

Construction market review

25 October 2016

Barbour ABI’s monthly Economic & Construction Market Review (full report here) affirms the recent market sentiments that:

  • The market is recovering from initial post-Brexit downturn, with increasess in activity from August. Biggest contributor to the increase of new contracts in this period are infrastructure and residential.
  • Markets are still cautious with Brexit uncertainty, with new contracts in September decreasing as compared to a year ago.
  • The drop in the value of the pound is widely expected to lead to a period of inflation forwards with the consumer price index increasing from 0.4% to 1% in September.

Farmer Review calls for tax to support skills development and innovation

Farmer Review calls for tax to support skills development and innovation

18 October 2016

The Farmer Review of the UK Construction Labour Model has called for the implementation of a 0.5% tax on the construction value of schemes to fund the construction industries skills development and innovation.


The report recommends exempting firms from paying the tax if it is evident they are “directly or indirectly supporting skills development, pre-manufacturing facilities, or other forms of innovation and research and development”.

 

The full report is available here.

21% increase in London office leasing in Q3

21% increase in London office leasing in Q3

17 October 2016

Spurred on by Wells Fargo taking 220,700 sq ft at 33 Central, King William Street and Apple leasing 467,300 sq ft at Battersea Power station, Q3 has seen 2.9m sq ft of prime London office space let according to CBRE – up 21% from Q2’s 2.4m sq ft.


Despite Q3’s high leasing activity, London’s available space still sits above the 10 year average of 3m sq ft, at 2.8m sq ft.

BPF: Bring in measures to support build to rent sector

BPF: Bring in measures to support build to rent sector

14 October 2016

The British Property Federation (BPF) has called on the government to support the build to rent sector, to help meet housing targets within a climate of Brexit uncertainty. 

 

Figures from the BPF indicate a 200% increase in build-to-rent units in the UK with planning permission, under construction or completed. The BPF has suggested a number of measures that could boost investment into the market, including clearer national planning policy, removal of the stamp duty surcharge for additional homes, and allowing flexibility on space standards.

The Economist signs the Adelphi Building

The Economist signs the Adelphi Building

13 October 2016

The politics and business magazine The Economist has signed a 15 year lease to take 26,000 sq ft on the 6th floor of the Adelphi Building.

 

Read more about this project here >

2-3 Finsbury Avenue achieves resolution to grant

2-3 Finsbury Avenue achieves resolution to grant

4 October 2016

2-3 Finsbury Avenue has achieved resolution to grant. The redeveloped site will comprise of a 900,000 sq ft building across a groundscraper and two integrated towers, at 18 and 32 stories respectively. It also enhances the retail offering at the lower levels and introduces an amenities zone, including a 400 seater auditorium, conference facilities, restaurant, bar and a publically accessible roof terrace.

Read more about the project here >

Governments business rates proposals receives expert backlash

Governments business rates proposals receives expert backlash

26 September 2016

The Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) consultation on proposed business rate changes published in August has caused a backlash from trade bodies, who describe them as ‘unjust’ and urge they be scrapped. Experts believe the new regulations could have businesses over-paying by 10% on their tax for a number of years.

 

In the proposed system, rateable values not “outside the bounds of reasonable judgement” could not be amended, and challenging a VOA assessment will become a burdensome ordeal with the planned ‘check, challenge, appeal’ system. Collection of responses for the consultation ends 11th October 2016.

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