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Green paper on social housing published

Green paper on social housing published

15 August 2018

The Government has published a Green Paper for social housing reforms for consultation. The proposals aim to address five principles: a safe and decent home; resolution of complaints; empowering residents and strengthening regulation; stigma around social housing; and increasing supply and home ownership.

 

Review the Green Paper here>

 

Consultation closes 06 November.

PMI improves in July

PMI improves in July

6 August 2018

July has seen the fastest rise in construction output since May 2017, according to the IHS Markit / CIPS Construction Market Purchasing Management Index (PMI).  The PMI rose to 55.8 according to data collected in July, in comparison to 53.1 in June, with the fastest increase in residential wokr in 2.5 years. 

 

Respondents have cited catch up from harsh winter conditions, improving demand and higher volumes of new project starts.

 

More info here >

Heatwave report recommends building regs changes

Heatwave report recommends building regs changes

31 July 2018

The Environmental Audit Committee has published a report to address health, wellbeing and productivity for increasing frequency of heatwaves.  Among the recommendations include requiring thermal modelling test and mandatory water usage standards as requirements for building regulations; discontinuing funding for modularisation; requiring SuDS in all new development; and introducing urban green infrastructure targets.

 

Read the report here >

Stirling Prize shortlist announced

Stirling Prize shortlist announced

19 July 2018

Winner will be announced 10 October.   The shortlist comprises:

Housing minister Raab replaces Davis as Brexit secretary

Housing minister Raab replaces Davis as Brexit secretary

9 July 2018

Dominic Raab, MP for Esher and Walton has been appointed Brexit secretary following the resignation of David Davis on Sunday.  Davis and junior Brexit minister Steve Baker resigned over the plan agreed by the Cabinet last Friday.  

 

Raab is replaced with Kit Malthouse, MP for North West Hampshire, who has served as the undersecretary for family, support, housing and child maintenance at the Department for Work and Pensions.

 

Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, has also resigned and has been replaced by Jeremy Hunt.

 

New London Award for 1FA, Broadgate

New London Award for 1FA, Broadgate

5 July 2018

1FA, Broadgate has been named the Unbuilt Winner - Offices for the New London Awards 2018.  The sensitive refurbishment of the Grade II listed building, by AHMM, provides modernised offices and roof terrace within the retained envelope, while improving ground level amenities and permeability.

 

See all New London Awards 2018 winners >

 

Read more about the project >

 

 

 

Homes England agrees affordable housing partnerships

Homes England agrees affordable housing partnerships

4 July 2018

Homes England has announced the first wave of strategic partnerships to boost delivery of affordable housing. The deals with eight housing associations total £590m, to deliver 14,280 additional affordable homes by March 2022 including homes for social rent in areas of high affordability pressure.

 

Read more >

 

MPs vote yes for third Heathrow runway

MPs vote yes for third Heathrow runway

27 June 2018

MPs have voted in favour of the controversial third runway at Heathrow Airport 415-119.  The third runway is forecasted to increase the number of takeoffs and landings to c. 740,000 per year, from the current figures of c. 480,000.

 

The cost of the project is now projected to be c. £14 bn, with expansion of existing terminals rather than a new one.

 

Read the Airports National Policy Statement here >

 

 

Letwin review - draft analysis published

Letwin review - draft analysis published

26 June 2018

The independent review of build out rates headed by Sir Oliver Letwin has ruled out land banking by major developers as a cause for slow build out rates.  It has also suggested that the planning system and infrastructure delays do not prolong build out rates per se, although the latter does delay start on site.

 

Build out rates are slowed by housebuilders holding back delivery to avoid flooding the market and lack of construction capacity.

 

Read the draft analysis here >

Everyman Theatre signs on at 1FA, Broadgate

Everyman Theatre signs on at 1FA, Broadgate

4 June 2018

Everyman Theatre will take 11,000 sq ft across the ground and lower ground floors at 1FA, Broadgate, currently being refurbished. The 3 screen cinema is expected to open in 2019.

 

Read more here >

 

Find out more about the 1FA project here > 

 

The Postal Museum shortlisted for Art Fund Award

The Postal Museum shortlisted for Art Fund Award

2 May 2018

The Postal Museum has been shortlisted for the Art Fund Museum of the Year award.  The museum showcases Britain's postal heritage and features a 15-minute Mail Rail ride exploring the mothballed underground network that once transported mail from Paddington to Whitechapel.  Since its opening in the summer of 2017, the attraction has boosted visitor numbers to the post office archives from 3,000 annually, to an anticipated 185,000 in its first year. Read more about The Postal Museum >

 

The shortlist for the prestigious prize also includes Tate St Ives, Glasgow Women's Libary, Ferens Art Gallery in Hull, abd Brooklands Motor and Aviation Museum in Weybridge.  Winners will be announced 5 July.

 

 

 

Three new food and drink brands at Paddington Central

Three new food and drink brands at Paddington Central

30 April 2018

British Land has signed HUCKSTER, a new dining concept for London, to a 15-year lease for 4,700 sq ft at 4 Kingdom Street; as well as a 10-year lease with Lords of Poke for 840 sq ft and 10-year lease for 1,100 sq ft with Coco di Mama.

 

Since acquiring Paddington Central in 2013, British Land has invested £100 million into the transformation of the campus' public realm as well as the the construction of 4 Kingdom Street. 

 

Read more here > 

James Brokenshire named new Secretary of State at Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

James Brokenshire named new Secretary of State at Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

30 April 2018

The Prime Minister has announced that James Brokenshire, a former Northern Ireland Secretary, will replace Sajid Javid as the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). Javid steps into the role of Home Secretary following the resignation of Amber Rudd.

London Development Barometer Spring 2018 launched

London Development Barometer Spring 2018 launched

17 April 2018

The inaugural London Develoopment Barometer (LDB) in Autumn 2017 showed that 86% of the respondents believed that central and local governments are not doing enough to enable London development.   80% saw Brexit as having a negative impact while 88% believed there will be rise in demand for build to rent markets.  

 

A second LDB has been launched to find out if and how industry sentiment has changed in the last six month.  The results - a bit more optimism. Read more here >

Year-on-year office take up rises

Year-on-year office take up rises

17 April 2018

JLL has reported a 14% rise in office take up in London in the first quarter of 2018, as compared to the same period a year ago. 28% of the transactions for 1.98m sq ft were on a pre-let basis. 

 

The service industry, which includes serviced offices, accounted for 26% of the transactions, followed by TMT (22%),  professional services (21%) and banking and finance (20%).

Pound at highest level since Brexit referendum

Pound at highest level since Brexit referendum

17 April 2018

The pound sterling has reached its highest level against the US dollar at £1.437 since the results of the Brexit referendum in June 2016. While the pound has been steadily rising since its lowest at £1.2068 in January 2017, the increase is partially attributable to a drop in the value of the US dollar with the uncertainty around their trade policy.

 

The value of the pound is unchanged against the euro. 

Pay deal for SME construction workers

Pay deal for SME construction workers

16 April 2018

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and union Unite have agreed a one-year pay deal that will see a pay rise of 3.1%. The rate increase comes into effect 25 June 2018 for general operatives, NVQ3 advance craft, and apprentices and trainees.

 

Read more here >

 

Built to rent completions surge by 45%

Built to rent completions surge by 45%

13 April 2018

Completions also rose by 47%, compared to a year ago. The number of BTR units in planning stage also grew, albeit at a more modest 19%.

 

According to research by Savills on behalf of the British Property Federation (BPF), the build to rent (BTR) pipeline is growing and diversifying, with 17% of BTR schemes including houses as well as apartments.

 

Read more here>

Councils invest in town centres

Councils invest in town centres

13 April 2018

Research by Revo and Carter Jonas has reported that counils acroos the UK has invested £3.8bn into commercial property between 2013 and 2017.  The investments include nearly half on offices, and c. one-third on retail assets.

 

The primary driver for the investment is to help improve town centres, threats to which were seen by respondents to include online shopping, business rates and reduced demand from retailers.

Construction output falls again

Construction output falls again

13 April 2018

According to ONS figures, construction output has fallen again in the three months to February 2018, with 0.8% overall dip. This was primarily due to decline in repair and maintenance, which was partially offset by growth in infrastructure and housebuilding activities. However, new work in infrastructure decreased by 9.4% in February, and construction as a whole experienced a decrease of 1.6%.  

 

Read more here >

 

 

Consultation on restricting desktop studies for fire performance launched

Consultation on restricting desktop studies for fire performance launched

13 April 2018

The Government has published consultation papers in regards to tightening building safety regulations by restricting or banning the use of desktop studies as a means of asssessing fire performance fo external cladding systems.  The use of desktop studies is being considered as part of Dame Judith Hackitt's independent review of building regulations and fire safety following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower.  The results of will inform amendments to Approved Document B (fire safety).

 

Click here to read the consultation paper >  Consultation closes 25 May.

Store openings on high streets lowest since 2010

Store openings on high streets lowest since 2010

11 April 2018

According to a study by Local Data Company, online shopping has impacted the number of retail outlets on UK's high streets.  It reported 4,083 new openings in 500 towns and cities across the UK, against closures of 5,855 shops - a net loss of 1,772.

 

Fashion outlets closed at the fastest rate, while the number of beauty salans, ice cream parlours, coffee shops and book shops increased.

 

Read more here >

Mimecast signs on to 1FA, Broadgate

Mimecast signs on to 1FA, Broadgate

11 April 2018

British Land has signed Mimecast for a 15-year lease, on 79,000 sq ft at 1FA, Broadgate. The letting equates to 32% of the building's office space.

 

Read more about the letting >

 

Read more about 1FA, Broadgate >

EU & UK agree "large part" of Brexit transition

EU & UK agree "large part" of Brexit transition

19 March 2018

Michael Barnier and David Davis have announced that the EU and the UK have agreed on several key issues regarding the transition period, which has been set to last from 29 March 2019 to December 2020. This includes an emergency "back stop plan" with regards to the Northern Ireland border; rights of the EU citizens currently in the UK and the vice versa, as well as those who arrive during the transition period; and that the UK would be able to negotiate and sign trade deals during the transition period, to come into effort after December 2020.

 

To read the draft agreement, click here >

PM announces NPPF overhaul

PM announces NPPF overhaul

6 March 2018

The Government has published consultation papers to amend the National Planning Policy Framework.  At the National Planning Conference over the weekend, the Prime Minister has signaled the intention to implement up to 80 proposals outlined in last year's Housing White Paper.  Key targets include encouraging delivery of consented schemes and making available land for affordable housing, while protecting the Green Belt.

 

Consultations close 10 May 2018.  See the consultation papers here >

May sets out Brexit negotiation tests

May sets out Brexit negotiation tests

2 March 2018

Theresa May has reiterated UK's intention to leave the single market following Brexit, and the call for a bespoke trade model.  She has set out five fundamentals for future trade relationship: 1) fair and open competition 2) independent arbitration mechanism 3) means for regular consultation with EU  4) arrangement for data protection 5) enable "links between our people".

 

The Prime Minister has also set out set out five tests for negotiations with EU: The agreement must 1) respect the referendum 2) endure 3) protect jobs and security 4) be consistent with the kind of country [the UK wants] to be 5) strenghten the union. 

Read the full speech here >

1 Triton Square starts on site

1 Triton Square starts on site

2 March 2018

Vacant posession has been achieved to enable start on site for the 366,000 sq ft commercial redevelopment, which includes 20,000 sq ft of retail and leisure and 10,000 sq ft of affordable work space.  Construction commences with 310,000 sq ft of office space pre-let to Dentsu Aegis Network.

 

Read more about 1 Triton Square >

Eataly signs at 135 Bishopsgate

Eataly signs at 135 Bishopsgate

1 March 2018

The Italian food hall and market place operator has signed on for 42,000 sq ft on the ground and first floors at Broadgate's 135 Bishopsgate.  The refurbishment underway will increase retail space and improve access from both Bishopsgate and Exchange Square as well as provide high quality office space with roof terraces.

 

Opening in 2020, this will be Eataly's first location in the UK.

 

Read more here >

 

Investor confidence in UK commercial property remains high

Investor confidence in UK commercial property remains high

20 February 2018

According to Savills research, the outcome for 2017 was c. £65.4tn, an increase of 26% over 2016. Industrial property led the way, with volumes of 80% more than the previous year.  Initial data for January 2018 shows a 66% increase over the same month last year across all sectors.  Nearly half of the investment volume for 2017 was by overseas investors.

 

Prime yields have generally remained unchanged from the previous quarter.

 

Read more here >

 

 

World's tallest timber tower planned in Japan

World's tallest timber tower planned in Japan

20 February 2018

Japanese Woods products company Sumitomo Foresty is planning to celebrate its 350th anniversary in 2041 with the construction of W350, a 350 m tall timber tower. At 70 storeys, the tower will be built with 90% wood and 10% steel, in a braced tube structure to withstand earthquakes.

 

The cost is estimated at 600 bn yen (c. £4 bn) - about twice as much as conventional tall buildings.

 

Brock Commons in Vancouver, Canada, is currently the tallest wooden building at 18 storeys and 53 m high. 

Pre-let secured for 160,000 sq ft at 100 Liverpool Street

Pre-let secured for 160,000 sq ft at 100 Liverpool Street

13 February 2018

British Land has signed an agreement for lease with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Limited ("SMBCE") for 161,000 sq ft at the 100 Liverpool Street redevelopment at Broadgate. SBMCE's letting represents 37% of 100 Liverpool Street's office space.

 

Read the press release >

 

Read more about the project >

 

 

Mayor launches Small Sites, Small Builders programme

Mayor launches Small Sites, Small Builders programme

12 February 2018

Ten Transport for London sites have been earmarked as pilot projects, delivering 111 new homes with 68% affordable housing in total. Each site has the capacity to deliver between 2 to 42 homes.

 

A review of the new process will be carried out for the pilot sites to determine how and when the programme can be used by other public sector organisations. 

 

Read more here > 

St Helen's Square opens

St Helen's Square opens

1 February 2018

After 9 months on site, the public realm enhancement works to St Helens Square are now complete, with practical completion accomplished on 31st January 2018.

 

The new square provides an exciting and vibrant public realm space at the junction of Leadenhall Street and St Mary Axe, refreshing the backdrop to Aviva Tower and providing connectivity to the Galleria at The Leadenhall Building, opened in 2014.

 

Read more about the project > 

 

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.

Lord Adonis resigns from NIC

Lord Adonis resigns from NIC

3 January 2018

Lord Adonis served as interim Chairman since the launch of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) in October 2015 and Chairman since April 2017. His resignation comes as a result of "fundamental differences [with the Government] that simply cannot be bridged." These include policies on Brexit and the "indefensible" decision to bail out the Stagecoach/Virgin East Coast rail franchise.

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 >