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London office market ends 2017 up 7% on previous year

London office market ends 2017 up 7% on previous year

19 January 2018

CBRE research show the annual take up tally at 13.2m sq ft, with 17 transactions of over 100,000 sq ft.

 

The business services sector reflected 37% of total take up, followed by the creative industries (20%) and banking and finance sectors (15%). 

 

 

UK is top European destination for real estate investment

UK is top European destination for real estate investment

18 January 2018

The Investment Intentions Survey 2018, carried out by NREV, ANREV and PREA, reveals that investors from Europe, North America and Asia Pacific plan to increase allocations to real estate from 8.9% to average allocation of 10.2% over the next two years.A minimum of c. £45bn expected to be invested in 2018.

 

The UK was identified as the top European destination by 66.1% of the respondents overall, and ranked second for office market investment in Europe, behind Paris. Office is the preferred market for investment overall all, followed by retail and residential.  Read more here >

 

 

Carillion liquidated

Carillion liquidated

16 January 2018

Carillion, UK's second largest construction group, has gone into liquidation. An international company with , the collapse is expected to impact 45,000 workers worldwide - 19,000 in the UK.  A number of UK public sector contracts including work for Highways England, Network Rail and HS2 is expected to be affected.

 

Last July, the company experienced a £845m write down on large scale construction projects that included two UK hospitals, road bypass in Scotland and a luxury residential development in Doha.  The company has collapsed with a reported £1.35bn debt and £587m pension deficit.

 

 

New housing minister in reshuffle

New housing minister in reshuffle

10 January 2018

Dominic Raab, MP for Esher and Walton, replaces Alok Sharma as housing minister, becoming the 16th in 20 years. 

 

Savid Jarvid remains in his post, heading the rebranded Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.  

Crossrail 2 consultations delayed

Crossrail 2 consultations delayed

5 January 2018

Anticipated consultations for the Crossrail 2 project has been postponed to the end of 2018. This is due to the need to carry out an independent finance review, which is reported to commence shortly.

 

TfL commissioner Mike Brown is still hopeful that an application could be submitted to the government in early 2020.  The project is among those listed in the government's £600bn National Infrastruction & Construction pipeline 2017-2021.

New Year's honours for industry leaders

New Year's honours for industry leaders

2 January 2018

This year's New Year's honours list include a number of industry figures, including:

  • Knighthoods for Mark Hendrick MP, Geoffrey Robert Clifton-Brown MP, both serve on the High Speed Rail Commons Select Committee
  • Companions of the Order of the Bath for Dr David Prout, former Direct General of HS2; and David Buttery, former deputy director of High Speed Rail Legislation and Environment

Read more >
Government launches consultation for road network funding

Government launches consultation for road network funding

28 December 2017

The Government has invited local councils to bid for funding packages of £100m each for the improvement "A" roads in a consultation paper launched before Christmas. The consultation seeks input on how to define a network, the investment planning process and clear roles for regional and local partners.

 

Click here for the consultation paper >

Interim Grenfell review report issued

Interim Grenfell review report issued

20 December 2017

The interim report, led by Dame Judith Hackitt, has made such recommendations as streamlining building regulation documents, clarifying accreditation systems, establishing a clear responsible dutyholder, and restricting the use of desktop studies.

 

The final report is to be published in Spring 2018.

 

Read the interim report here > 

RICS new Conflicts of Interest rules take effect 1 January 2018

RICS new Conflicts of Interest rules take effect 1 January 2018

7 December 2017

The global Conflict of Interest rules, published in March 2017, will become mandatory for RICS professional and regulated firms in the new year. Review the Guidance here > 

 

Also coming into effect on 1 January 2018 is the UK-specific conflict of interest statement (read more here >)

Central London development activity down 9% in past six months

Central London development activity down 9% in past six months

7 December 2017

The latest Crane Survey shows caution in London Development activity, with the lowest volume of new space starts since 2014. However, new start activity remains above average and there is indication of desire to develop with 8m sq ft of demolition activity.

 

2017 will see the completion of a 13-year high of new office space.  44% of the projects under construction has been prelet.

 

Read more here > 

£600bn over 10 years in National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline

£600bn over 10 years in National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline

7 December 2017

The pipeline includes ongoing investment in the Northern Hub programme, Hinckley Point C, highway improvements and intiatives under the Transforming Cities Fund.  Read more here > 

 

The Infrastucture and Projects Authority has also published the Transforming Infrastructure Performance (read here >) , which aims to improve delivery and performance of infrastructure investment, and Transport Infrastructure Efficiency Strategy (read here >), which outlines 7 challenges to be addressed to improve transport efficiency. 

 

New style questions for heath, safety and environment tests in January

New style questions for heath, safety and environment tests in January

7 December 2017

The CITB will commence phase 1 of its revamp of the health, safety and environment test in January 2018.  The first phase will introduce new style questions, while leaving content unaltered. 

 

The second phase in June 2018 will introduce some new content with additional new style questions. Review is underway for phase 3, slated for June 2019, to ensure the test is fully up to date with industry practices.

 

Read more here > 

 

 

Land Registry aims for open data

Land Registry aims for open data

1 December 2017

The Land Registry has announced its 5 year strategy to improve speed and accessibility of land registry data.  Among its efforts is to set up a data publishing platform that will make 90% of its publishable data available by 2020, and to digitise and automate 95% of its daily transactions by 2022.

 

Draft London Plan published for consultation

Draft London Plan published for consultation

1 December 2017

The Draft London Plan has been published for consultations. The updates include scrapping of density limits near town centres and transport hubs in favour of design quality, reinforcement of 50% affordable housing targets and new growth corridors.

 

Consultations close 2 March 2018.

 

Read the Draft London Plan here >

Budget doubles Housing Infrastructure Fund

Budget doubles Housing Infrastructure Fund

23 November 2017

In the Government's aim to address the housing crisis, the Budget contains a range of measures that includes increasing the Housing Infrastructure Fund to £5bn, removing stamp duty for first time buyers for properties up to £300K, and increasing the Affordable Homes Programme to £9.1bn.  The HCA will be renamed Homes England, which will have greater investment and planning powers.

 

Read the full speech here >

Network Rail announces sale of commercial assets

Network Rail announces sale of commercial assets

18 November 2017

Its commercial assets portfolio comprises 5,500 properties - most of which archways - and is the largest provider of small and medium business space in the UK.  Network Rail is selling leaseholds of the properties, retaining the freehold for asset protection purposes.

 

Network Rail and the Government has approved the sale to bring forth income for major investment projects.  The portfolio is not essential to the running of the business.

Construction salaries up 5% to recruit staff

Construction salaries up 5% to recruit staff

18 November 2017

A survey has revealed new staff are offered rises of 5% or more to attract new staff.  Overall the industry has higher average salary growth - 3%- compared with 1.8% that across all UK industries. 

 

At the same time, staff are concerned about job security and workload, which comes second on their priority list following renumeration package. Work life balance is also becoming increasingly important, with 59% employers offering flexible hours.

CITB drops National Construction College

CITB drops National Construction College

16 November 2017

The CITB has announced restructuring plans that includes dropping direct training through the National Construction College, outsourcing a number of functions to third parties and relocating its head office in Norfolk to a smaller site in Petersborough.  Also affected are its schemes for health and safety and construction plant drivers. 

 

The changes come following the Department of Education's review of Industry Training Boards (read the report here), which has called for CITB to "implement far reach reform."

 

1 Triton Square secures pre-let

1 Triton Square secures pre-let

16 November 2017

Among its committed 1.5m sq ft development pipeline is the refurbishment of 366,000 sq ft 1 Triton Square, which will increase net are by 122,000 sq ft.  The works are slated to commence in March 2018.  Projects also planned in 2018 are the refurbishment of 135 Bishopsgate and a 20-storey hotel in Paddington, which has recently received resolution to grant. 

 

Read more here >

 

Bank of England raises interest rates

Bank of England raises interest rates

2 November 2017

As widely anticipated, the Bank of England has voted 7 to 2 in favour of increasing interest rates by 0.25%, to 0.5%, reiterating that any future rises would be "limited" and "gradual". 

 

This is the first time in 10 years that the interest rate has been increased, reversing the cut last August following the referendum.

 

The pound fell against the dollar and the euro in the wake of the announcement.

 

Hastings Pier wins Stirling Prize

Hastings Pier wins Stirling Prize

1 November 2017

The resurrection of the pier, damaged by storm and fire, involved rebuilding and repairing the structure, transforming a Victorian pavilion into a cafe bar, and the addition of a visitor centre.  The local community raised the funds and commissioned the project to save the pier from demolition.

 

Other projects shortlisted were 6a's Juergen Teller's photography studio, RSHP's British Museum extension, Groupwork and Amin Taha's north London housing project, Baynes & Mitchell's Chatham Historic Dockyard, and Reiach & Hall and Michael Laird's city campus at City of Glasgow College.

86% of industry believes government is not doing enough to enable development activity in the capital

86% of industry believes government is not doing enough to enable development activity in the capital

27 October 2017

Press release

In a damning indictment of government, 86% of the capital’s development industry believes that it is not doing enough to enable London development activity.

Read more >
HS2 boosts contract activity

HS2 boosts contract activity

27 October 2017

According to the Barbour ABI index, contract activity in the infrastructure sector grew 49.1% due to HS2-related activity in the West Midlands, East Midlands and London. 

 

Residential development however experienced a slight fall after three months of growth, remaining 9.4% above levels in 2016.  Overall the construction sector grew by 0.3% between July and August, up 3.5% from 2016.

 

Read the report here >

London offices vacating rate outpaces take up

London offices vacating rate outpaces take up

27 October 2017

Despite high levels of take up in Central London, the net stock absorption rate has been on the decline. According to Seafore Land,  800,000 sq ft more space vacated than taken up in the first half of 2017.

 

Click here to read more >

Industry anticipates fall in development activity

Industry anticipates fall in development activity

26 October 2017

The survey by M3 Consulting reveals that 57% of the respondents believe there will be less development in the next five years and 86% do not believe that the central and local governments are doing enough to enable London development activity.

 

Improving townplanning was ranked by the industry as top priority for the government, followed by public investment and releasing land for development.

 

Read more here >

Growth for construction SMEs dip in third quarter

Growth for construction SMEs dip in third quarter

23 October 2017

According to the Federation of Master Builder's latest State of Trade Survey, 37% of SMEs showed growth in workload in Q3, slightly down from 39% in Q2 2017. The sector has nevertheless experienced growth in 18 consecutive quarters since Q2 2013.

 

The survey also shows a wide shortage of skilled workers, with 61% of construction SMEs reporting difficulties in hiring carpenters and joiners, 59% and 19% struggling to hire bricklayers and site managers respectively. 

 

Read the full report here >

Government launches call for evidence regarding home buying process

Government launches call for evidence regarding home buying process

23 October 2017

Communitise secretary Sajid Javid has also said he wants to ensure they do everything they could to encourage housebuilding, including borrowing at current low interest rates to invest in infrastructure that lead to housing delivery.

 

The call for evidence is seeking views on how to make the house buying process cheaper, faster and less stressful.  For full details, click here > 

 

Consultation closes 17 December 2017.

Business call for Brexit clarity

Business call for Brexit clarity

23 October 2017

Five of the UK's largest business lobbying groups have prepared a joint letter to David Davis, urging the Brexit secretary to secure an agreement for the transition period by Christmas. The signatories include the CBI, the Institute of Directors, British Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses and the EEF, collectively representing firms that employ millions of people across the UK.

 

Businsesses say that certainty is needed for business to make decisions about investment and contingency plans, and that the transition plans should as far as possible remain on the same terms as the current relationship to minimise disruption.

Fitch Ratings foresee fall in London office values

Fitch Ratings foresee fall in London office values

23 October 2017

The report by Fitch Ratings suggests the London office market is currently overvalued, supported by supply shortages and the fall of the pound, which attracted overseas investment in prize assets.  The fall in prices have also been buffered by a more cautious approach by development companies that are able to control construction speed afforded by low interest rates.

 

Fitch Ratings anticipate a cyclical correction in 2018, with ongoing Brexit uncertainties and potential rise in interest rates.

 

Find out more about the Fitch Ratings report here>

Land Information Platform prototype launched

Land Information Platform prototype launched

19 October 2017

The digital tool, designed by Future Cities Cataput (FCC), merges data from Ordnance Survey and land registry along with information such as historic planning data and open government information. It could help local authorities with trategic planning and decision making, such as the ability to identify and prioritise land for development.

 

The Land Information Platform is part of a pilot planning commission by the DCLG to design tools that help speed up, reduce costs, and improve the quality and transparency of planning decisions.

London urban logistics requirement set to grow 42% by 2021

London urban logistics requirement set to grow 42% by 2021

19 October 2017

The London urban logistics requirement is projected to reach 13.3m sq ft by 2021.

 

The research by Cushman & Wakefield and P3 shows the current requirement to be  9.4m sq ft, far exceeding Berlin, the next largest Europoean market at 2.3m sq ft. 

Twelve post-war schools listed

Twelve post-war schools listed

18 October 2017

Historic England has announced the listing of 12 schools built after 1945, joining 50 schools on the register.  These include schools that were designed by local councils, including Hopton's Church of England school by West Suffolk County Council, Richmond Primary School by Leicester City Council and Plastic Classroom at Kennington Primary School, by Lancashire County Council, as well as by now-established architects, such as Fleet Infants School by Michael Hopkins and Partners, Archbishop Temple School by Building Design Partnership, and St Olave's Grammar School by RMJM.

 

Read more here >

Jobless rate unchanged at 4.3%

Jobless rate unchanged at 4.3%

18 October 2017

While unemployment fell by 52,000 between Mayto August 2017, total earnings excluding bonuses rose by 2.1%, the real value of earnings fell by 0.3% over the last year.  Tthe employment rate for people between 16-64 is currently at 75.1%, up from 74.5% last year.

 

Read the ONS report here >

 

Inflation hits 3%

Inflation hits 3%

18 October 2017

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose to 3% in September, the highest level since April 2012 and 0.9% above wage growth.  The September inflation rate determines the rise for basic state pension payments from April 2018.

 

The fall of the value of the pound has contributed to driving up cost of imported goods including food prices.  

 

The Bank of England expects the inflation to peak in the next two months.

Year to date West End office leasing activity surpasses 2016

Year to date West End office leasing activity surpasses 2016

12 October 2017

According to Savills, the year to date office take up in the West End through Sept 2017 has totalled 3.99 million sq ft, exceeding the annual take up of 3.97 m sq ft in 2016.  Tech and media occupiers have been the most active, with serviced office operators on the rise.

Hotel investment in UK increases

Hotel investment in UK increases

12 October 2017

Research by Savills and JLL have reported an increase in investment in UK hotel sector by over 25% compared to last year.  More than 30% of the investment come from overseas investors, which has been attributed to the opportunities afforded by the devaluation of the pound sterling.

Network Rail releases land in London and Southeast

Network Rail releases land in London and Southeast

12 October 2017

The sites, located in Bermondsey, Leyton, Edenbridge and Bickley, are being made available for mixed use development, including the potential for up to 300 residential units. This forms part of its target to release land to deliver 12,000 homes by 2020. 

 

Network Rail has also announced that it is changing the way it works with developers, with details to be published over the next six months.

Wales reform stamp duty

Wales reform stamp duty

6 October 2017

The Welch finance secretary Mark Drakeford has announced that it will replace stamp duty with land transactional tax, set to take effect April 2018.  The tax will operate in the same way as stamp duty, raising the minimum threshold to £150,000, as compared to £125,000 under the current system in Wales and England.

 

2.5% will be levied for properties between £150,000 - £250,000; 5% for £250,000 - £400,000; 7.5% for £400,000 - £750,000; 10% for £750,000 - £1.5m; and 12% for £1.5m+.

 

PM pledges £2bn for building council homes

PM pledges £2bn for building council homes

5 October 2017

In her speech at the Conservative Party conference, Theresa May has said that the government was dedicated to addressing the housing crisis and "back in the business" of building council homes.

 

The additional £2bn brings the government budget for building affordable housing to almost £9bn. 

 

Separately communities secretary Javid has confirmed a £2.5m cash boost towards the garden cities initiative, with aim to accelerate delivery of over 155,000 homes in 9 locally led developments across England.

Bank of England updates Approach to resolution

Bank of England updates Approach to resolution

3 October 2017

Providing an update to the 2014 version, the Bank of England's approach to resolution sets out precedures and rules to prevent future burden on taxpayers should a bank fail.   Among the new measures is to require foreign banks to create an "internal debt" system and UK banks will need to put away £116bn by 2022. The approach aims to encourage banks to operate with greater prudence, as the burden of losses are placed on its shareholders and investors.

 

Find out more about the updates here >

November budget to include £10bn for Help-to-Buy

November budget to include £10bn for Help-to-Buy

2 October 2017

The Prime Minister has said details of plans to fund the scheme helping first time buyers on to the property ladder will be outlined in the Budget.

 

At the party conference over the weekend, the Conservatives have also announced a four point plan to regulate the rental sector: to require landlords to be part of an ombudsman scheme; to require letting agents to be registered with an appropriate organisation; to put in place incentives for landords to offer tenancies of 12 months or more; and to consider the case for a new housing court. 

Neave Brown awarded RIBA Gold Medal

Neave Brown awarded RIBA Gold Medal

29 September 2017

The 2018 RIBA Gold Medal has been awarded to Neave Brown, who is best known in the UK for innovative high density, low massing housing schemes in the 1960s and 1970s.  Among his achievements, all three of his UK schemes have been listed: Winscombe Street (Grade II), Fleet Road (Grade II) and Alexandra Road Estate (Grade II*).

House prices dip in London for first time in 8 years

House prices dip in London for first time in 8 years

29 September 2017

According to Nationwide House Price Index, London posted an annual -0.6% change in Q3 2017, the worst performing region in the UK for the first time since 2005.  At £417,761, the average London house price remains well above the UK average of £210,982.

 

East Midlands has the highest annual % change in Q3, at 5.1%. Nationally, house prices grew by 2.2% in the last year.

 

Read the Nationwide House Price Index here >

Two new lease agreements for 4 Kingdom Street

Two new lease agreements for 4 Kingdom Street

28 September 2017

British Land has agreed leases for 30,300 sq ft over two floors with Mars and 15,150 sq ft with Sasol at 4 Kingdom Street.

 

89% of the building, completed in April 2017, has now been let. The remaining office space will be occupied by Storey, British Land's flexible office brand.

 

Read more about 4 Kingdom Street here >

Build to Rent sector grows 37% since Q1 2017

Build to Rent sector grows 37% since Q1 2017

28 September 2017

The British Federation of Property (BFP) reports that the number of BTR units completed, under construction or in planning has reached 95,918 units, up from 69,824 in the first three months of 2017. The growth is buoyed by BTR schemes in the regions, with 12,316 units under construction, compared to 11,696 in London.

 

More BFP info here >

Moody downgrades UK's credit rating

Moody downgrades UK's credit rating

25 September 2017

Moody's has downgraded UK's credit rating from Aa1 to Aa2, citing economic uncertainties around Brexit and public finances.  It has changed the country's long-term issuer and debt ratings from "negative" to "stable". 

 

The UK's credit ratings by other major agencies stand at AA with both Fitch and S&P.

May proposes two year post-Brexit transition

May proposes two year post-Brexit transition

22 September 2017

In the Brexit speech in Florence, the Prime Minister has outlined proposals to continue paying into the EU budget until 2020.  She has underscored commitment to EU security, rejected the jurisdiction of European Court of Justice, and confirmed the intention to seek a bespoke future trade relationship. 

 

Read the full text here > 

Numbers of local authority conservation and archaeology advisers drop

Numbers of local authority conservation and archaeology advisers drop

21 September 2017

The Ninth Report for Local Authority Resources published by Historic England, the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers and Institute of Historic Building Conservation shows a 1% decline of numbers of conservation specialists and 3% decline in the number of archaeology specialists advising local authorities in the past 12 months, despite a rise of planning application and listed building consent decisions last year.  According to the report, this follows a downward pattern since 2006, which saw 37% and 35% drop in number of conservation and archaeology specialists respectively. 

 

See the report here >  

 

Javid announces comprehensive social housing review

Javid announces comprehensive social housing review

20 September 2017

Addressing the National Housing Federation, communities secretary Sajid Javid has announced the intention to publish a green paper on social housing. It will cover a wide range of issues including quality of social housing, management, tenant rights, roles of stakeholders and policy. 

 

Read the full speech here >

Consultation opens for NPPF housing amendments

Consultation opens for NPPF housing amendments

18 September 2017

Following the Housing White Paper issued earlier this year, the Department of Communities and Local Government's "Planning for the right homes in the right places: consultation proposals" sets out proposed changes in legislation to enable housing delivery.  The proposals include methods to calculate housing need, improving viability assessment methods, and potential increases in planning application fees.  

 

Consultations close 9th November 2017, with aim to published a revised NPPF in Spring 2018.  Review the consultation papers here >

 

 

Construction industry groups urge transitional access to EU workers

Construction industry groups urge transitional access to EU workers

15 September 2017

Nine construction industry associations have signed a letter to Brexit secretary David Davis to underscore the reliance on skilled workers from EU in the near term, while a clear strategy for boosting recruitment and training UK workers is developed and implemented.  It is estimated that 8% of the construction workers in the UK are EU citizens, up to c. 27% in London.

 

As well as transitional measures, the letter seeks ongoing arrangements to enable employment of EU migrant workers as necessary to plug skills gaps and shortages in the future.  Read the full letter here >

 

 

 

Grenfell inquiry opens

Grenfell inquiry opens

15 September 2017

The inquiry, chaired by Sir Martin Moore-Bick, will investigate the cause and spread of the fire and how the building became so exposed to fire risk. This will include review into design, construction, modifications over time, regulations and risk assessments, as well as the decision-making and management process. Response immediately following the tragedy will also be examined.

 

Read the chariman's full opening statement here >

 

The lastest information on the inquiry will be provided on www.grenfelltowerinquiry.org.uk

 

 

 

135 Bishopsgate secures planning consent

135 Bishopsgate secures planning consent

15 September 2017

The refurbishment for the British Land and GIC owned building, designed by Fletcher Priest, will add c. 3,500 sq m of retail without increasing the overall size of the building.  In addition, the proposals enhance the approach and access to the building, create green spaces and terraces at the upper levels and comprehensively refurbish the reception area and office space.

 

M3 is currently managing the strip out in preparation for the refurbishment works. 

 

Belfast office rents on the rise while London West end slides

Belfast office rents on the rise while London West end slides

14 September 2017

According to CBRE's Global Prime Office Rents survey, Hong Kong remains the the most expensive office market, with Hong Kong (Central) and Hong Kong (Kowloon), placing first and third respectively.  The survey shows the strongest growth in tech and media hubs, with co-working operators actively acquiring new space.

 

While London (West End) rents featured among the "Top 5 decrease", sliding by 12.5%, it nevertheless is ranked 6th most expensive in the world.  London (City) is the only other UK office market appearing in top 50, ranked 13th.  Meanwhile, Belfast is among the "Top 5 increases", up 14.3%.  Read more about the survey results here >

Bridging loans shows annualised growth since Brexit referendum

Bridging loans shows annualised growth since Brexit referendum

14 September 2017

West One's Bridging Index shows that the gross annualised lending rose to £4.3bn, approaching the pre-referendum high of £4.4bn in 2016.

 

Average bridging loan size over the last 24 months has been £900,000.

 

 

ONS reports construction activity fall in Q2 2017

ONS reports construction activity fall in Q2 2017

11 September 2017

The ONS has reported a 1.2% fall in construction output to July 2017. This is the fourth consecutive month where both month to month and 3-month by 3 month figures have fallen.  However, ONS says outputs remain at relatively high levels. 

 

The month on month decrease in volume were largely driven by falls in private housing and infrastructure.

 

Read more here > 

Government issues guidance on cladding safety

Government issues guidance on cladding safety

8 September 2017

The Government has asked local authorities to encourage owners of buildings over 18m to submit cladding samples for BRE testing to confirm cladding type and make contact with the Fire and Rescue service to receive advice on ensuring fire safety on their buildings.

 

The move follows test results for 173 social housing tower blocks with Aluminium Cladding Materials, in which only 8 passed fire safety building regulations.

 

 

 

Draft London Housing Strategy launched for consultation

Draft London Housing Strategy launched for consultation

7 September 2017

City Hall has issued the draft London Housing Strategy for consultation. Among headline interventions include the intention to earmark £250m towards buying and preparing land for housing development, and using City Hall's statutory powers to the fullest extent as necessary.  The Draft Strategy also sets out plans to diversify the housing sector, make it quicker and easier to develop smaller sites, and improving construction skills and capacity.

 

Consultation ends 7 December 2017.  To read the Draft Strategy, click here >

Crane strikes suspended

Crane strikes suspended

6 September 2017

The crane strike planned for 8th September has been called off following a revised offer by HTC Wolffkran that includes 6% pay increase over two years, additional annual leave and greater flexibility over Christmas period.  Unite members will be balloted on the revised offer by 15 September.

 

Taylor Wimpey buys Mount Pleasant development site

Taylor Wimpey buys Mount Pleasant development site

6 September 2017

The 6.25 acre site, purchased for over £190m, benefits from an extant planning permission for over 1 million sq ft of residential-led mixed use development that introduces 681 residential units, a series of neighbourhood square, retail and community space.

 

Read more about the project here >

GLA report: Embrace off site manufacturing

GLA report: Embrace off site manufacturing

4 September 2017

The London Assembly's report, Designed, sealed, delivered: The contribution of offsite manufactured homes to solving London's housing crisis, aligns with the recommendations made in the Farmer Review and housing white paper. Its key calls to action include developing a Manufactured Housing Design Code; supporting the industry through strategy and funding; and incorporating OSM housing on GLA owned land to help stimulate the sector. 

 

Read the report here >

NHS launches Vacant Space Handback Scheme

NHS launches Vacant Space Handback Scheme

1 September 2017

The scheme allows commissioners to identify and transfer liability for surplus non-PFI properties to NHS Property Services for letting, sale or redevelopment, with aim to divert costs saved from maintenance to other critical services. Among other criteria, the properties must have been transferred to NHS Property Services under the Health and Social Care Act of 2012, vacant, and over 100 sqm.

 

Read more here > 

Mail Rail ride set to open

Mail Rail ride set to open

1 September 2017

The eagerly awaited Mail Rail ride is set to open next week to visitors. Revitalising the disused Mail Rail system, which carried post from Paddington to Whitechapel for more than 75 years before it was decommissioned in 2003, the attraction forms part of the new archives and exhibitions at the new Postal Museum.  Tickets for the attraction have already sold out for two months.

 

Read more about the project here >

 

 

Value of PFI in question

Value of PFI in question

30 August 2017

Amidst reports that only 6 projects have been procured through the PF2 scheme since 2012, the Centre for Health and the Public Interest (CHPI) has published a report estimating that the NHS payout over the life of its 125 PFI contracts is in the region of £80.8bn, for assets with a total capital value of £12.4bn.  Noting that 8 companies hold 92% of the equity stakes in the PFI contracts, recommendations to curb profit making from PFI contracts include requiring greater transparency in equity sales to prevent further consolidation of market power and buying out PFI contracts with public sector loans.  Read the full report here >

 

The Department of Health has issued a statement indicating that the NHS spends less than 3% of its annual budget on PFI.

 

 

Crane strikes on for 8th September

Crane strikes on for 8th September

30 August 2017

Unite, the union representing more than 50 crane drivers, has announced a 24 hour strike on 8th September over a pay dispute with HTC Wolffkran.  HTC Wolffkran is the largest tower crane company in the UK.

 

Unite has stated that is open to holding further talks in order to avoid strike action.

 

 

 

Beijing issues stricter guidelines for overseas investments

Beijing issues stricter guidelines for overseas investments

21 August 2017

In efforts to curb rapid outflow of capital in recent years, China has put investment in foreign real estate and hotels on the "restricted list".

 

With recent demand for real estate heavily driven by Chinese investments, including the purchases of The Leadenhall Building and Walkie Talkie, analysts are expecting a downturn in UK property prices. 

 

 

 

 

Private student housing set to overtake university-owned accommodation

Private student housing set to overtake university-owned accommodation

17 August 2017

According to Knight Frank's market analysis, the value of private student housing is likely to overtake the value of university provision with the 2,500 beds expected to be delivered this year. 

 

Separately, Cushman and Wakefield has reported that average rental growth for student housing has risen from 2.3% last year to 2.9% this year.

Mayor's SPG on affordable housing and viability published

Mayor's SPG on affordable housing and viability published

17 August 2017

Six months after consultations closed, the Mayor has published the Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) that defines a "Fast Track Route" exempting policy compliant proposals offering 35% affordable housing on site from viability review process, but subject to early review if not progressed within 2 years.  50% affordable housing is expected from publicly owned land and development by Registered Providers.  The SPG also confirms discount market rent, provided by build to rent developments, and the new London Living Rent as forms of affordable housing.  All affordable housing is expected to remain so in perpetuity.  

 

Read more here >

Garden Bridge saga comes to an end

Garden Bridge saga comes to an end

14 August 2017

The Garden Bridge Trust has announced that it is winding up its operations, after it was unable to secure alternative guarantees for ongoing maintenance costs. The Mayor of London declined to underwrite these costs following an independent project review by MP Margaret Hodge, which highlighted a funding gap of £70m and spiralling construction costs.

 

£37.4m of public money has already been spent on the project, with a final bill of up to £46.7m likely after cancellation costs.

 

 

London private rental growth back on the rise as supply drops

London private rental growth back on the rise as supply drops

14 August 2017

According to Countrywide data, London's rental growth increased by 2.2% between June to July 2017 following eight consecutive months of falls. This has been attributed to the decline in rental purchases by private landlords following the stamp duty increase in 2016, which has led to an 18% year on year decrease in available rental properties in London.

 

The supply of rental homes in Great Britain overall continues to grow, however, as the stamp duty acts as less of a disincentive in less expensive areas of the country, where people are also more likely to buy.  Read more here >

 

 

Permitted Development Rights applications slow down

Permitted Development Rights applications slow down

11 August 2017

The latest Department for Communities and Local Government data  shows that the number of permitted development rights (PDR) applications submitted to convert offices to residential has decreased in the last three years, since the initiative was introduced.  In England the total number of PDR applications fell c 28% from 3,980 in year ending March 2015 to 2,858 in the year ending March 2017. 

 

The decrease is set to continue, as several local authorities have cited the safety concerns following the Grenfell tragedy. 

 

 

Industry backing for BTR plans

Industry backing for BTR plans

3 August 2017

Housing minister Alok Sharma has received support from the British Property Federatino and RICS for plans to boost the build to rent sector (BTR) introduced in Housing White Paper earlier this year.  The plans included measures that enable councils to plan for BTR provision, allow private sector to offer affordable rents in lieu of other types of affordable housing, and introduce longer tenancies.

 

It is estimated that BTR sector could provide up to 240,000 additional homes by 2030.

 

 

 

Key issue for 2017 General Elections: Brexit

Key issue for 2017 General Elections: Brexit

3 August 2017

According to the British Election Study (BES), which tracked the political views and choices for the same 30,000 voters over the past three years, Brexit was considered "the single most important issue facing the country" throughout the campaign. This was surpassed briefly by terrorism in wake of the attacks in Manchester and London. (Read more here >)

 

The study showed that c. 19% of voters switched party allegiances between April / May and the election broadly along their views on "hard-" and "soft-" Brexit, with more than half of the switchers going to Labour ("soft") and just under 20% voting Tory ("hard"). (Read more here>)

Rising costs squeeze SME margins

Rising costs squeeze SME margins

1 August 2017

Research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) reports that the rising cost of materials following the depreciation of the pound sterling have led to losses for one in ten small builders, while 32% reported squeezed margins and 22% have had to pass the costs onto their customers.  The materials where prices have increased the most include timber, insulation, bricks and blocks.

 

Read more here >

 

 

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.

Lord O’Neill resigns as Commercial Secretary to the Treasury

Lord O’Neill resigns as Commercial Secretary to the Treasury

23 September 2016

Lord O’Neill of Gatley has resigned from the government and will join the crossbenches in the House of Lords.

 

Appointed by George Osborne in 2015, the minister was responsible for infrastructure policy and promoting foreign inward investments. He also took on delivering the Northern Powerhouse project, which aims to improve links to and economic competitiveness of the North of England.

Regeneration Investment Organisation’s remit expanded

Regeneration Investment Organisation’s remit expanded

22 September 2016

In a push by the government to draw more foreign investment, the Regeneration Investment Organisation (RIO) has been bolstered with significant additional resources and had its remit expanded to include infrastructure and energy, as well as regeneration. The organisation will now adopt the name the Capital Investment Organisation (CIO).


New focuses for CIO include increased investment and job creation in the North and Midlands through projects such as HS2, and prioritising the allocation of investment to the private rented sector (PRS).

Consultations launched for City of London local plan

Consultations launched for City of London local plan

22 September 2016

In preparation for the City of London’s new local plan, which will guide planning decisions over the next 20 years, The City of London Corporation has begun holding consultations on key planning issues.


Consultations will run up until the end of October and cover a wide range of challenges facing the City, gathering input from residents, businesses and key stakeholders.

Manchester Metrolink - Piccadilly Gardens, 8th May 1999

Sir Howard Bernstein to retire from Manchester City Council

16 September 2016

Sir Howard Bernstein, the Chief Executive of Manchester City Council for 19 years, has announced he will be retiring next spring.


During his service to Manchester, Bernstein has played a key role in the economic growth and regeneration of the city, including the rebuilding after the IRA bombing in the 1990s, securing the 2002 Commonwealth Games, establishing the Metrolink, expanding Manchester City Aiport, and negotiating for the Devolution Agreement for Greater Manchester.

 

Professional bodies warn government of skilled migrant shortage

Professional bodies warn government of skilled migrant shortage

16 September 2016

RICS, RIBA, the RTPI and CIOB have all backed a letter to Brexit Minister, David Davis, urging him to not allow Brexit negotiations to worsen the already present migrant skill shortage.


The letter also outlined five other priority areas that require attention as a result of the Brexit vote: developing common standards, research excellence, infrastructure investment, devolution commitment and community development.

May puts National Infrastructure Commission law to the side

May puts National Infrastructure Commission law to the side

13 September 2016

The latest revision of the Neighbourhood Planning law, released yesterday, has no mention of the National Infrastructure Commission. The bill was created by George Osborn to enable government to plan long term infrastructure priorities spanning outside the 5-year election cycle.

Land for nearly 30,000 homes to be released by MOD & Network Rail

Land for nearly 30,000 homes to be released by MOD & Network Rail

7 September 2016

Leading the governments push to sell land for 160,000 homes by 2020, the Ministry of Defence and Network Rail have identified land capable of accommodating 17,000 homes across 13 sites and 12,000 homes across 200 sites respectively.

 

Partnering with developers, Network Rail plans to release its land over the next three to four years, with the possibility of some bundled sites being available by spring 2017.

PMI Survey shows construction industry recovering

PMI Survey shows construction industry recovering

5 September 2016

Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) has shown the construction industry is still contracting but at a slower rate. PMI for the sector rose from 45.9 in July to 49.2 in August – a score above 50 indicates growth.

Reclassification set to boost real estate equities

Reclassification set to boost real estate equities

31 August 2016

In acknowledgement of its growing importance, Real Estate will be classified separately as an 11th sector of The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS), from the 1st September. 

 

The move is expected to increase visibility and investment in the sector and lower trading volatility. 

Zero Carbon requirements fast approaching for housing developers

Zero Carbon requirements fast approaching for housing developers

30 August 2016

New, stricter zero carbon requirements are coming into effect for significant residential developments in London this October. The new requirements, imposed by the GLA, will ask 35% more of sustainability efforts in developments than Part L of building regulations. If the new targets are not achieved developers will have to pay compensation into a carbon offset fund.

 

 For more on London’s response to climate change, Click here >

 

Pokémon Go banned from construction sites

Pokémon Go banned from construction sites

30 August 2016

The combination of the real world and one populated by Wild Pokémon characters has recently led to dozens of cases players trespassing onto construction sites.  Many contractors has put up signs reminding people not to trespass their site in search of augmented reality characters from the hit game Pokémon Go.

 

Niantic, the game's developer, also alerts players not to play on dangerous sites, and provides an on line form to report trespassing incidents.

‘Deliveroo clauses’ being added to turnover rent contracts

‘Deliveroo clauses’ being added to turnover rent contracts

26 August 2016

Landlords engaged in turnover leases have begun adding a ‘deliveroo clause’ to their contracts specifying that restaurant tenants must declare orders made through the food delivery service.


The changes comes after the success of the start-up, with reports of some restaurants making as much as 90% of their sales through Deliveroo.

Heathrow decision expected by October

Heathrow decision expected by October

25 August 2016

Theresa May is targeting October for the decision on the airport expansion at Heathrow or Gatwick.


A full list of May’s selected committee members is expected to be released soon.

Government plans to stimulate residential development

Government plans to stimulate residential development

22 August 2016

In the wake of the Brexit vote, a weakening economy and the housing crisis the government plans to provide financial backing to residential developers with a multi-billion pound fund.


The fund will be managed through the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), with plans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and developers implementing modular construction first in line for loans.

Construction Excellence to merge with BRE

Construction Excellence to merge with BRE

19 August 2016


Construction Excellence will become a wholly owned subsidiary of BRE while maintaining its CE brands.  Don Ward will remain CEO of Construction Excellence, with no expected changes to the managing structure.


For more information, click here >

RTPI report: More investment in planning required to deliver better development

RTPI report: More investment in planning required to deliver better development

18 August 2016

The RTPI report entitled “Delivering the value of planning” has concluded that the UK’s evolving planning policies over the last 30 years and local government budget cuts have hindered the ability to effectively deliver good quality places and housing development.  Main recommendations include greater consideration of economic, social and environmental outcomes and the powers, resources and expertise needed for planning services.


For more information, click here >

Central London office lettings back to pre-referendum levels in July

Central London office lettings back to pre-referendum levels in July

12 August 2016

July has seen a month-on-month increase in office lettings of 24%, bringing transactions back to pre-referendum levels, according to CBRE.


A total of almost 980,400 sq ft was let over July - an amount not seen since March this year.

Commercial capital values down 3.3% in July

Commercial capital values down 3.3% in July

5 August 2016

The CBRE monthly index shows that although UK commercial rents remained level in July, capital values dropped by 3.3%, with a drop of 6.1% in the City of London.


Retail property values have seen a similar trend, experiencing a drop of 3.6% in July. Meanwhile, industrial property saw a more modest drop of 2.2%.

£14m sustainable drainage system planned for Nine Elms

£14m sustainable drainage system planned for Nine Elms

1 August 2016

The largest sustainable urban drainage system is set to be installed in the Nine Elms regeneration area. The system will capture and transport rainwater from the site into the Thames, reducing flood risks and cutting out the energy and cost of treating rainwater once combined with waste from toilets, showers and sinks.


The 561 acre site includes Nine Elms Parkside, new US Embassy, the £1bn One Nine Elms twin towers and the redeveloped Battersea Power Station.

ONS: Construction now in recession

ONS: Construction now in recession

27 July 2016

Having experienced two consecutive quarters of declining output, the UK construction industry is now in recession.

 

Despite the overall UK economy showing an unexpected growth of 0.6% last quarter, construction fell by 0.4%.

City airport expansion gets go ahead

City airport expansion gets go ahead

27 July 2016

London’s city airport is set for a £344m expansion after getting the green light from communities and local government secretary Sajid Javid and transport secretary Chris Grayling.

 

The works will include extending a terminal and the addition of a new taxiway, which are estimated to provide 1,600 jobs at the airport and a further 500 upgrading transport links. Overall the upgrade is predicted to contribute £1.5bn to the UK economy by 2025.

5 Broadgate shortlisted for Building Awards 2016

5 Broadgate shortlisted for Building Awards 2016

22 July 2016

After winning the LABC Building excellence award for Best Large Commercial Building earlier this year, 5 Broadgate has been shortlisted as a contender for Sustainable Project of the Year at the prestigious Building Awards 2016.


For the full shortlist, click here >

London Midtown office market unfazed by Brexit

London Midtown office market unfazed by Brexit

22 July 2016

Research published by Farebrother shows over the 2nd quarter of 2016, London Midtown offices have had the largest number of deals in the last four quarters, coming in at 85 transactions. Of the 478,300 sq ft let, 85% of transactions were under 10,000 sq ft. It is largely this demand for small floor size which gives the Midtown office market its resilience.


Read the full report here >

Investment and confidence in commercial property diminished

Investment and confidence in commercial property diminished

21 July 2016

Lambert Smith Hamptons quarterly UK Investment Transactions report indicates that transaction volumes were down 45% year on year for Q2 2016, and down 20% over a five year average.


As indicated by the RICS UK Commercial Market Survey, confidence has dropped abruptly in the second quarter of 2016. The data collected two weeks after the leave vote, shows London currently has the most pessimistic view with 54% feeling that the market is entering a downturn, while country wide 36% share this view.

Paul Nash elected as new president of CIOB

Paul Nash elected as new president of CIOB

18 July 2016

Paul Nash, a Director of Turner and Townsend Project Management has taken over from Chris Chivers as President of the Chartered Institute of Building.


Nash plans on ethics and productivity to be cornerstone to his time as President. Giving his inaugural address at the CIOB members’ conference in Hong Kong, he said: “Ethics defines what it means to be a professional. Behaving ethically entails tough decisions. And we have a responsibility to help our members make those right decisions.”

Industry reassured protection of EU workers’ rights

Industry reassured protection of EU workers’ rights

13 July 2016

Theresa May has relaxed her position on EU nationals, having previously saying they would not be guaranteed the right to stay in the UK after Brexit.


The Cabinet Office, Foreign Office and Home Office have released a joint statement saying: “When we do leave the EU, we fully expect that the legal status of EU nationals living in the UK, and that of UK nationals in EU member states, will be properly protected.”

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