Archive

Archived news


Javid proclaims "end of austerity"

5 September 2019

Chancellor Sajid Javid has announced an increase in departmental spending of £13.8bn in his first spending review.  Additional funds include £2bn for Brexit, £3.6bn for a new towns fund; £241m to regenerate high streets and £422m for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.  

 

See a summary of key announcements here >

Steepest decline in construction new work since 2009

3 September 2019

According to the IHS Markit / CIPS UK Construction PMI, construction output has fallen for the fourth month in a row.  Construction activity in the commecial experienced the sharpest decline, followed by civil engineering and housebuilding. 

 

Business optimism is at its lowest since December 2008.  Despite this staff retention remain high in a tight labour market.

 

Read more here >

Annual growth for house prices remains sluggish

3 September 2019

According to Nationwide's house price index, the annual growth for house prices remain below 1% for the ninth consecutive month, at 0.6% in August. Enquiries have marginally increased, but transactions have dipped. The average UK house price was £216,096, up from £214,745 in August last year.

 

Read more here >

City of London publishes new wind microclimate guidance

20 August 2019

With the increasing number of tall buildings in the City, the guidance redefines acceptable wind conditions and prioritises safety of cyclists, pedestrians and needs of children, elderly and other more vulnerable groups. It sets out new requirements for the assessing wind impacts, including carrying wind studies at earliest stages of design, applying new codes to computational fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques, and commissioning separate consultants for wind tunnel testing and CFD.

 

Read the guidance here >

£600m boost for infrastructure projects

19 August 2019

The funding boost has been earmarked by Chancellor Sajid Javid for five infrastructure projects in London and Southeast intended to enable the delivery of 50,000 homes.  The projects receiving the funding are Essex County Council's Beaulieu Station, North-East bypass and the Tendring Colchester Borders Garden Community bid for a new single carriage way link road; LB Enfield's Meridian Water; GLA's "East London Line - Growth Capacity" upgrades; and Central Bedfordshire Council's Transformation Growth in Biggleswade bid for a new secondary school and transport infrastructure. 

 

Read more here >

Nadhim Zahawi appointed as new construction minister

19 August 2019

The government has confirmed the appointment of Zahawi, MP for Stratford-upon-Avon since 2010, as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.  He previously served as the He was previously Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education.

 

Read more here >

Eddie Lister resigns as Homes England chair

14 August 2019

He will focus on his role as Boris Johnson's Chief Strategic Advisor.  

 

Lister served as the Chairman of Homes England for the past three years.  The role will be deputised by Simon Dudley, a senior independent director, until a new chair is announced.

 

Read more here >

High street vacancy worst since 2015

12 August 2019

According to the British Retail Consortium and Springboard survey, the national town centre vacancy rate was 10.3%, the highest since January 2015.  High street footfall fell by 2.7%, with a three-month average decline of 4%,

 

The three month average for shopping centre footfall was also negative, at -3%.  Footfall for retail parks however increased by 1.2% in July, with a three month average increase of 0.2%.

 

Read more here >  

RIBA president and UK Green Building Council back September climate strike

12 August 2019

Sparked by the lone protest of Greta Thunberg, global climate strikes are planned for 20th September and 27th September. Walk outs on school and work places aim to serve as a call for action to address climate change.  

Ben Derbyshire, president of the RIBA, says, "‘If members can, I encourage them to do so. The RIBA continues to guide and support the profession – as architects we all have a significant role to play in addressing climate change. We must urgently engage with our clients and in our practices to identify action to reduce carbon emissions."

 

Read more here >

£185m withdrawn from UK property funds in July

9 August 2019

According to Calastone's Fund Flow Index, c. £1.6 bn has been withdrawn from UK Property Funds since October 2018.  Calastone attributes the increase of outflow in July to the increased threat of a no-deal Brexit by both candidates vying to replace Theresa May as prime minister.

 

Read more here>

RICS publishes global best practice for consistent measurement of land for consultations

7 August 2019

The draft guidance has been published for consultations until 17 September 2019, ahead of adoption later this year. It aims to provide new standards for consistent calculation of land measurements and associated metrics. 

 

Among the proposed standards are definitions for land area, site area, net development area, plot ratio, and site coverage.

 

Read more here>

Government relaxes architect, engineer visa requirements

5 August 2019

Sajid Javid has adopted the full the recommendations made in May by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) in his last full day as home secretary.  The move will allow practices to hire non-EU architects without having to prove they searched the UK first. Architects are among a shortage occupation list that includes civil, mechanical and electrical engineers.

 

 Read the MAC report here>

Shortlists for Stephen Lawrence Prize and Neave Brown Award announced

31 July 2019

The nominees for the Stephen Lawrence Prize are: Black House, by Dualchas Architects; Cork House, by Matthew Barnett Howland with Dido Milne and Oliver Wilton; The-Green-House, by David Sheppard Architects; Highgate Bowl, by HASA Architects; Pocket House, by Tikari Works; and South London House,by Jonathan Pile Architect. Read more here>

 

The nominees for the first Neave Brown Award for Housing are: Brentford Lock West Keelson Gardens, by Mae Architects; Eddington Lot 1, by WilkinsonEyre with Mole Architects; Goldsmith Street, by Mikhail Riches with Cathy Hawley; and The Colville Estate, by Karakusevic Carson Architects with David Chipperfield Architects. Read more here>

BTR investment volumes grow in 2018

31 July 2019

According to JLL's European Multifamily Report, London's build-to-rent investment volumes grew from £985m in 2017 to £1.8bn in 2018.  This is the fourth best performing in Europe, with Manchester at 11th place, Leeds in 15th, Birmingham in 16th and Brighton in 17th. 

 

Read more here >

Stirling Prize shortlist announced

23 July 2019

The shortlisted buildings are: Cork House, Berkshire by Matthew Barnett Howland with Dido Milne and Oliver Wilton; Goldsmith Street by Mikhail Riches with Cathy Hawley; London Bridge Station by Grimshaw; Nevill Holt Opera, Leicestershire by Witherford Watson Mann Architects; The Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience, Moray by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners; and The Weston, Yorkshire Sculpture Park by Feilden Fowles Architects.

 

The winner will be announced 8 October 2019.  Read more here> 

Banks of England says banks are prepared for worst case scenario

11 July 2019

The Bank of England's Financy Stability Report says UK banks are ready for a worst-case no deal Brexit scenario.  UK banks have been required to withold capital as a measure to allow continued service to households and businesses in case the economy shrinks, unemployment rises and property prices fall. The stress tests take into account such factors as a perceived increased likelihood in a no-deal Brexit and potential impact of trade wars.  However, it warns that financial stability is not the same as market stability, and the report cites the a decrease of inward foreign investment for commercial real estate in Q2019 as evidence of the impact of no-deal Brexit.  Read the full report here >

Commercial scheme reinvented

2 July 2019

Steel construction has come to the fore as a concrete-framed central London commercial block gets redeveloped with additional floor space...

 

Read New Steel Construction feature on 1 Triton Square here >

Greystar and Henderson Park complete deal for BTR at Nine Elms Park

25 June 2019

The two firms agreed a joint venture to deliver 894-unit build to rent scheme, one of the largest in the UK. 

 

Greystar agreed to purchase two plots within Nine Elms Park, the former Royal Mail site, two years ago and planning permission was achieved in March 2019.  Telford Homes is on board as the design and build contractor.

 

Read more here

Help to Buy achieves short term objectives but long term effects remain to be seen

20 June 2019

The National Audit Office (NAO) has published its progress review of the Help to Buy scheme.  It concludes that the scheme's own objectives of increasing housing supply and ownership are being achieved. However, it has found that three-fifths of the buyers could have purchased a home without the scheme; 19% of the buyers have previously owned property and used the scheme to buy more expensive properties than first time buyers, and 10% of the buyers earned more than £80,000 (£90,000 in London).

Read more >

Number of people using coworking space rises 10%

20 June 2019

According to an online survey, UK's coworking population totals 1.3 million - a 10% year on year increase. 29% of these are academics and students, ahead of13% are engineers and 10% entrepreneurs.  

 

The top reason given for choosing co-working space is cost, followed by collaborative opportunities and flexibility.

 

Read more here > 

Heathrow expansion masterplan unveiled

19 June 2019

Heathrow has published plans for the future layout of the airport including the third runway along with proposed phasing.

 

Consultations are open 18 June to 13th September.

 

Review the preferred masterplan here >

Theresa May resigns as Prime Minister

24 May 2019

Theresa May has announced that she will step down as leader of the conservative party on 7th June, expressing regret at the failure to deliver Brexit despite her best efforts.

 

The announcement triggers a leadership contest in the coming weeks.

British Steel enters compulsory liquidation

22 May 2019

After failed talks with the government to secure £30m loan, British Steel Ltd has been taken over by the Government's Official Receiver.  The company will trade as normal and other companies within British Steel Group are not insolvent.

The search for a buyer has commenced.

 

London office construction at three year high

20 May 2019

According to Deloitte's London office crane survey, construction volumes between October 2018 and March 2019 stood at 13.2m sq ft, an improvement of 12% over the previous survey. This was buoyed by 37 new starts totalling 3.5m sq ft, the highest level in three years.

 

55% of the space has been pre-let, pimarily by TMTs (35%) and financial firms (29%),

 

Read more here > 

 

 

Supreme Court rules against Blackpool £1 valuation

16 May 2019

The Supreme Court has reinstated a value of £370,000 for Mexford House, an empty three storey building in Blackpool.  This overturns a ruling by the Court of Appeals, citing that there is no reason why, assuming a willing tenant as per rating hypothesis, and in absence of material evidence, the value should not be assessed in reference to other similar properties.  The ruling does not take a position on the difference between a property that is unoccupied due to supply and demand and a property that has reached "the end of its economic life". 

 

Read the judgment here >

Office fitout cartel directors disqualified

12 May 2019

The Competition and Markets Authority has secured the disqualification of three former directors of the six fit out companies it found to be in breach of competition law last month.  The former directors of JLL and Fourfront fit out subsidiaries are banned from acting as a director or being involved in the management of a company for 5 years, 2.5 years and 2 years respectively. Investigations on other involved individuals continue.  The disqualifications by CMA bring the total to 9 since December 2016.

 

Fourfront , Loop, Coriolus, Third Way and Oakley were fined for their role in colluding on bids in the period from 2001 to 2017. JLL was not fined for reporting the activity to CMA.  Read more here >

£200m fund to to replace unsafe cladding for private residential highrises

9 May 2019

The Government aims to speed to up the replacement of unsafe aluminum composite material (ACM) cladding for c. 170 privately owned residential towers where the owners have failed to take action.  The Government has already provided funding to do the same in the public sector.

 

Owners will have three months to access the funding, and will be required to "take reasonable steps to recover the costs from those responsible for the presence of unsafe cladding."   Read more here >

New City of London Chair announced

2 May 2019

Former deputy chair Alastair Moss has been elected as the Chair of the Planning and Transportation Committee. He replaces Chris Hayward, who has served out his three year term.  Among Moss' responsibilities will be to deliver the City's plan to use planning strategies to bring about more accessible and sustainable buildings and public spaces.

 

Read more here >

Environmental campaigners win climate emergency declaration, lose Heathrow

2 May 2019

The UK Parliament has approved a motion to declare climate emergency, a key demand of the Extinction Rebellion and other environmentalist groups. The move follows declarations already made by a number of local authorities and the Scottish and Welsh government, but does not legally compel the government to act.

 

Campaigners including environmentalist groups, local authorities and the London Mayor have however lost the High Court challenge to stifle the third runway at Heathrow Airport. The High Court however was ruling on the legality of the policy that approved the expansion, rather than the merits of the proposals. 

Office market resilient in West End and the City

2 May 2019

According to Savills, deals for 1.2m sq ft office was completed in Q1 2019 in the West End, the highest Q1 levels in six years. Tech & Media sector accounted for 25% of the transactions, while Finance and the Serviced Office sectors comprise 21%.

 

In the City of London, the Serviced Office represented the largest share of the take up at 20%.  The largest deal to complete in March however was by law firm Millbank LLP with their prelet at 100 Liverpool Street

 

Click links for the reports for the City and West End >

 

Pay rise agreed for construction workers

23 April 2019

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and union Unite have agreed a 2.75% pay rise for construction workers, including general operatives, NVQ3 and NVQ2 crafts, apprentices and trainees.  The changes come into effect 24 June 2019.

The Building & Allied Trades Joint Industrial Council (BATJIC) has also secured tax dispensation from HM Revenue & Customs for key employee expenses, including lodging allowance and daily fares allowance.

Read more here >

 

Local authorities seek extensions for permitted development rights exemption

23 April 2019

According to Property Week, 15 out of 17 councils with PDR exemptions have confirmed they are seeking Article 4 direction to extend them.  The exemptions, introduced in 2013, are due to expire 31 May.

 

Read more >

Falls in UK commercial investment falls Q1 2019

23 April 2019

According to JLL, total investment fell by 15% year on year fell, from £12.78 to £10.9bn in Q1 2019, with drops in 8 out of 10 regions outside London. 

 

Investment in London are buoyed by large deals in residential and hotel sectors and BTR continue to be in demand, but investment in offices have fallen to c. 30% of volumes nationally, compared to the normal 45-50%.

 

Read more here >

Infrastructure Client Group tackles health, safety and wellbeing

16 April 2019

 The group, comprising of major infrastructure clients like EDF, Environmental Agency, Heathrow, Tideway, and Highways England, will review seven key risks for causes of illness and injury over the next 12 months. These are: people and mobile plant; mental health; striking buried services; lifting operations; heavy goods vehicles operations; hand-arm vibration related disease; and public safety. The target is to develop a set of actions in order to eliminate illness and injury caused by these risks by 2025.

 

Read more here > 

Department of Education publishes guidance on developer contributions to schools

15 April 2019

The government has published non-statutory guidance for local authorities, to supplement the National Planning Practice Guidance. The aim is to help local authorities formulate a "robust and consistent" evidence base for policies and developer contributions towards school places,  It notes that that governement intends to revise the CIL regulations including the current "pooling restriction" that restricts the use of planning obligations.

 

Read more here >

How do you think the Brexit extension will affect the industry? Take the London Development Barometer

12 April 2019

Six months ago, 77% of the respondents to the London Development Barometer (LDB) believed that Brexit will have a negative impact on London development activity over the next five years. This number is better than the 80%  in autumn of 2017, but worse than the 72% who thought the same in spring 2018. 

 

What about now, when no consensus has yet been achieved even after the Brexit dates of 29 March and 12 April have come and gone?  Tell us what you think - take the London Development Barometer Survey >

Article 50 extended until 31 October

11 April 2019

However, Brexit could withdraw earlier with a deal if the Withdrawal Agreement is approved, or without a deal on 1 June if the UK does not hold the European Parliament elections.

 

Click here for a summary of what next > 

London boroughs miss housing targets as new dwellings decline 20% overall

5 April 2019

According to the the Knight Frank London Residential Development H1 2019 report, only 5 out of 33 boroughs in London met housing targets. Overall. new builds were down by 13% in 2017-18 compared to the previous year, while conversion from office to residential declined by 52%.  House prices in London declined by 0.6% in 2017-18.

Shared ownership delivered through S106 has jumped but social rent units have decreased.  

 

Read the report here >

Construction minister quits

26 March 2019

Construction minister Richard Harrington has quit over the Brexit vote yesterday, along with health minister Steve Brine and foreign office minister Alastair Burt.  Harrington resigned to vote against the government, likening the government's approach to Brexit has been like "playing roulette with the lives and livelihoods of the vast majority of people in this country".  He has been construction minister since June 2017.

 

Read the letter in full > 

Competition and Markets Authority opens investigation into construction sector

25 March 2019

The CMA is probing suspected anti-competitive practices in the supply of construction services.  It aims to have a decision in September on whether to proceed with or close the investigations.

 

More information here > 

Brexit gets an extension

21 March 2019

The EU has agreed to push back Brexit. The UK has until 12 April to propose a way forward. It the deal is not approved next week, the extension will run until 22 May, before European Parliamentary elections.

Read more here>

PM asks EU for 3-month extension

20 March 2019

Theresa May has written to Donald Tusk to request a 3-month extension to the Brexit process. A response from Brussels is expected by the end of the week.

 

See the letter in full here >

Millbank LLP, Peel Hunt LLP and Product Madness sign on at Broadgate

19 March 2019

Millbank and Peel Hunt have taken over 70,000 sq ft and 40,000 sq ft at 100 Liverpool Street, while Product Madness have signed for 30,000 sq ft at 1FA, Broadgate

 

Read more here > 

£3bn Affordable Homes Guarantee scheme announced in Spring Statement

14 March 2019

The fund makes £3bn available for borrowing by housing associations, for the delivery of 30,000 new affordable homes.

 

Chancellor Phillip Hammond also announced the allocation of £717m from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to 37,000 ew homes on sites in West London, Cheshire, Didcot, and Cambridge, and the launch of the £1 billion Enable Build SME guarantee fund next month.

 

Read the full speech here >

76 tall buildings expected to complete in 2019 in London

6 March 2019

According to research by New London Architecture, the numbers of planning permissions for buildings of over 20 stories in London increased from 63 to 72, despite a slight dip in planning submissions for the same, from 78 to 75. 

 

The numbers of anticipated completions tis year are boosted by delays to half of the 50 towers that were due fo completion in 2018.

 

Read more here >  

London Mayor announces loan to rooftop developer

27 February 2019

Sadiq Khan has announced that the London Assembly will loan £10m through the Innovation Fund to the Apex Airspace, which received £9m funding from Homes England in January 2019.

 

The developer uses modern methods of construction and has formed a number of partnerships with housing associations and local authorities to deliver affordable and Help to Buy homes. 

 

Read more here >

NOA issues report on housing delivery performance

11 February 2019

The National Audit Office (NAO) has issued a review of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government's performance in delivering housing targets. The report highlights the shortfalls in achieving housing targets, and recommends working closely with local authorities to assess risks to housing delivery targets, set out strategy to enable delivery, ensure infrastructure is funded, and plug in gaps in skills and capacity.

 

Read more here >

London is top investment destination for offices

7 February 2019

According to a Knight Frank report, London beat Manhattan, Paris and Hong Kong, attracting £16.2bn of transactions in 2018. China is the largest source of inward investment from overseas, accounting 21% of the total, followed by South Korea (16%) and Singapore (9%). Domestic investment accounts for 17%.

 

Read more here>

 

Construction firms top company insolvencies in 2018

7 February 2019

According to government statistics, there were nearly 3,000 new company insolvencies in 2018, the highest number in any sector. This was nevertheless 0.5% down compared to the 12 months to end Q3 2018.

 

Wholesale and retail trade and repair of new vehicles were second in terms of new company insolvencies, although adminstrative and support services a greater number of total insolvencies including bulk insolvencies.

 

Read more here >

Homes England funding boost includes for air rights homes

Homes England funding boost includes for air rights homes

31 January 2019

Communities secretary James Brokenshire has announced £500m funding boost for 11,000 affordable homes. 

 

This includes £9m to fund 78 pre-fabricated homes to be built above existing properties across five sites over the next three years. The deal with Apex Airspace Developments is intended to encourage local authorities to promote use of airspace for new homes.  

 

Read more here >

Annual house price growth slows

Annual house price growth slows

31 January 2019

According to the Nationwide House Price Index, the annual growth for January slowed to a six year low at 0.1% compared to this time last year.  Both properties coming on to the market and new buyer enquiries have slowed in recent months, despite employment growth, wage growth and low borrowing costs.  Nationwide reports that the slowdown may be due to uncertain economic outlook, and expects growth in single digits if the economy continues to grow at modest pace.

 

Read the report here >

Government publishes guidance for EU architects and construction products in no-deal scenario

Government publishes guidance for EU architects and construction products in no-deal scenario

25 January 2019

The architects guidance states that the Architects Act of 1997 will be corrected in order to continue to recognise EEA qualified architects as close to current arrangements as possible, subject to immigration rules. Read the full guidance here >  and the Read the EU advice for UK professionals in case of no deal here >

 

Construction products with the CE marking would continue to be able to placed in the EU market for a limited time. UK notified bodies under CPR are expected to be granted UK "approved body" status.  Read the CPR guidance here> 

London Mayor planning rent control

London Mayor planning rent control

24 January 2019

Sadiq Khan has announced plans to develop proposals to help stabilise or control private rent in London. This follows a poll which showed 68% of Londoners support some form of rent control. 

 

The proposals are to be developed by Karen Buck, MP for Westminster North, together with James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing.

 

Read more here >

London Assembly Labour report urges abolition of Right to Buy

London Assembly Labour report urges abolition of Right to Buy

24 January 2019

London Assembly Labour has published a report recommending abolishing right to buy in London, to stem the loss of affordable homes.  The report highlights that the intention for one-to-one replacement has not been successful in numbers, unit-types, tenures or specificationand and that many of the units purchased under right to buy are now privately rented. 

 

Other recommendations include amending right to buy covenants to prevent letting at market rents; exempting new council built homes from right to buy; and allowing councils first right of refusal if right to buy homes are sold on.


Read the report >

Contracts exchanged for third development plot at Nine Elms Park

Contracts exchanged for third development plot at Nine Elms Park

21 January 2019

Royal Mail and Galliard Homes have announced that contracts for the 0.9 acre development site has been unconditionally exchanged at Nine Elms Park for £22.2m.   The plot has planning permissio for 262 residential units, providing 25% affordable housing. 

 

Read more about the transaction >

 

Read more about Nine Elms Park > 

Build to Rent continues to grow

Build to Rent continues to grow

21 January 2019

The British Property Federation has published research showing a total of more than 139,500 build to rent (BTR) units completed, in construction or in planning in Q4 2018, a 22% increase over Q4 2017.  The number of completed BTR units in the regions has caught up with London, with c. 5,000 more units in the regions in construction than in London.

Read more here>

 

Inflation falls to 2.1% in December

Inflation falls to 2.1% in December

16 January 2019

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) 12-month rate has fallen to 2.1% in December 2018, down from 2.3% in November.  The biggest contributing factors for the reduction were the cost of petrol and air fares.  However, these were somewhat offset by the cost of housing and household services, which include gas and electricity, Council taxes and rates.

 

For more information, click here >

 

PM's Brexit deal rejected

PM's Brexit deal rejected

16 January 2019

The House of Commons voted against the deal 432-202, a margin of 230 votes. Theresa May faces a no confidence vote today.

 

 

Record take up for large warehouse space in 2018

Record take up for large warehouse space in 2018

15 January 2019

According to CBRE, the take up for warehouse spaces of over 100,000 sq ft over and over 10m high totalled nearly 31.5m sq ft in 2018, a record.  This compares to 17.4m sq ft in 2017 and 29.3m sq ft in 2016.

 

Take up for online retailers hit a record high at 9.98m, accounting for 32% of all take up nationally.  East Midlands continue to lead in this sector, accounting for c. 37% of all take up.

 

 

Building magazine survey reveals lack of readiness for no deal Brexit

Building magazine survey reveals lack of readiness for no deal Brexit

11 January 2019

According to the survey only 15% of the respondents have said they were "very ready" for a no-deal scenario.  More than 55% of the respondents have not undertaken any scenario planning, and 49% have said they do not have any strategies in place for a no-deal scenario.

 

Read more here >

 

London offices take up remained strong in 2018

London offices take up remained strong in 2018

11 January 2019

Knight Frank has reported a 5% increase of office take up in London in 2018, a 5% increase over 2017.

 

This was buoyed by deals over 50,000 sq ft in the final quarter, including 200,000 sq ft by WPP at 1 Southwark Bridge Road and 148,000 sq ft by McCann Group at 135 Bishopsgate.

 

TMTs accounted for the highest proportion of take up at 27%.

 

 

London development industry remains unimpressed with government as over 80% say they’re not doing enough

London development industry remains unimpressed with government as over 80% say they’re not doing enough

14 December 2018

According to the Autumn 2018 London Development Barometer (LDB), the London property and development industry is unimpressed with the central and local governments when it comes to enabling development activity: 82% of the survey respondents believe they are not doing enough. This and other key findings have indicated that, overall, respondents are slightly more optimistic than a year ago, but less so than six months, including key indicators such as predictions on development activity levels. Improving townplanning policies and increasing funding for local authorities, transport, infrastructure and housing delivery remain the top two priorities for the industry. Read more here >

 

Crossrail and HS2 head resigns

Crossrail and HS2 head resigns

7 December 2018

Sir Terry Morgan has resigned as the chairman of HS2 and Crossrail.  This follows the delayed opening and cost overrun of Crossrail, for which he had been chairman since 2009.

 

Allan Cook has been brought on to replace Sir Terry at HS2.  His successor for Crossrail has not yet been announced.

 

 

Brexit draft agreement finalised

Brexit draft agreement finalised

15 November 2018

Theresa May has announced an agreed draft Brexit deal with a key point of contention regarding the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland is addressed by keeping the whole of the UK in the customs union until "... a subsequent agreement becomes applicable".   In financial markets, UK has been given similar level of access as the US and Japan. EU citizens rights have been protected during the transition period.

 

A number of cabinet members including the Brexit secretary Dominic Raab has resigned over the draft deal.  The intention is for Parliament to vote on the deal before Christmas.  Read the full draft agreement here>

Take the London Development Barometer Autumn 2018

Take the London Development Barometer Autumn 2018

5 November 2018

With the autumn budget and outcomes for the Brexit negotiations looming, how do you think the London development sector is doing?  Six months ago, respondents were still critical of government efforts to boost developmen activity, with 82% saying they were not doing enough. However, they were slightly more optimistic about prospects.  See Spring 2018 results here >


What do you think?  Take the London Development Barometer survey here >  


Read our LDB privacy statement and Personal Data and GDPR policy.

Mark Wild joins Crossrail

Mark Wild joins Crossrail

5 November 2018

Mark Wild, currently Managing Director at London Underground, will be joining Crossrail as the chief executive temporarily. He replaces Simon Wright, who is stepping down "as planned" a week after Crossrail received a £350m to prop the Crossrail project following delays in opening of the project through the central section. 

 

Nigel Holness will take over as Managing Director of the London Underground during this time.

Budget announces new high street fund

Budget announces new high street fund

30 October 2018

As well as the lifting of borrowing caps announced several weeks ago, the autumn budget outlined a new £475m fund to help transform high street, stamp duty relief for first time buyers of shared ownership properties, and further £500m for the Housing Infrastructure fund.  The chancellor has also proposed reform to business rates and referenced upcoming reforms in response to the Letwin report.

 

Click here for the full speech >

Flexible market take up increases in regional cities

Flexible market take up increases in regional cities

23 October 2018

According to Savills research, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow had the highest take up in co-working and serviced offices sector last year, with figures in the first half of 2018 comparing favorably to a year ago. In contrast, take up in central London has slowed.

Influx of new entrants to the market providing high quality office space has pushed the rents up at the upper end of the market, lowering the rents for existing stock in order to remain competitive. 

Mayor launches £10m Housebuilding Capacity Fund

Mayor launches £10m Housebuilding Capacity Fund

22 October 2018

The fund is intended to help councils, who are invited to bid for up to £750,00, to boost capacity, skills and knowledge for their planning and housing departments, in order to diversify and deliver housing.  The priorities for the programme are to increase levels of housing supply by creating a new generation of council homes; supporting development on small sites; enabling proactive planning in areas with signifant growth potential; and ensuring optimal density.

 

Click here for the Housebuilding Capacity Fund prospectus >

Bloomberg' European Headquarters wins Stirling Prize

Bloomberg' European Headquarters wins Stirling Prize

11 October 2018

The 1.1 million sq ft development designed by Foster + Partners comprises two buildings connected by a bridge, as well as access the Bank Underground station, museum displaying Roman Temple of Mithras, retail and cafes. 

 

Others on the shortlist were Bushey Cemetery by Waugh Thistleton Architects, Chadwick Hall by Henley Halebrown, New Tate, St Ives by Jamie Fobert Architects, Storey's Field Centre and Eddington Nursery by MUMA LLP, and The Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre by Niall McLaughlin Architects.

Borrowing caps for local authorities to be lift says PM

Borrowing caps for local authorities to be lift says PM

5 October 2018

In her speech at the Conservative Party Conference, Theresa May has annouced that borrowing caps for local authorities will be lifted in effort to achieve the target of 300,000 new homes a year.  This follows the increase of £1bn on that cap afforded by the Autumn 2017 budget in areas of high affordability.

PM pledges long term funding for housing associations

PM pledges long term funding for housing associations

21 September 2018

Speaking at the National Housing Federation summit, Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a £2bn fund to help housing associations build affordable housing themselves.  The fund is intended to provide the sector with long term stability and abillity to leverage private finance.

RIBA Plan of Work updates on fire safety published for consultation

RIBA Plan of Work updates on fire safety published for consultation

19 September 2018

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has updated its Plan of Work to incorporate elements of the Dame Judith Hackitt's post-Grenfell review.  Among the proposed changes are to require consideration of Part B of Building Regulations to in Stage 2, while details drawings are approved in Stage 4 before start on site;  independent inspection of construction works by the principal design and clerk of works are carried in Stage 5; and an inspection of post-rectification works by the same in Stage 6.

 

Consultations close 15 October.  View the consultation documents here>

Carney extends Bank of England tenure to January 2020

Carney extends Bank of England tenure to January 2020

12 September 2018

Mark Carney was slated to leave his post as Bank of England governor until June 2019, but Government says the seven month extension would help smooth the Brexit transition and allow time to recruit his successor.

 

Deputy Governor Sir Jon Cunliffe has been re-appointed for a further five years. 

Government warns developers over unsafe cladding

Government warns developers over unsafe cladding

11 September 2018

Communities secretary James Brokenshire has written to c. 60 developers to remove unsafe ACM cladding from nearly 300 buildings. As well as potentially facing legal action if the steps to avoid penalties are not taken, the government has also warned that they may be barred from government contracts.

 

New construction qualification to be launched

New construction qualification to be launched

11 September 2018

A new Level 3 Applied Diploma in Professional Construction Practice (PCP) is being launched today. Equivalent to an A-Level, the course covers modern construction mangement, including technology and innovation to broaden the appeal of the course and complement STEM subjects.  It provides an early gateway into the profession and prepares students to progression into Level 4 built environment qualifications.

Northern HS2 legislation delayed

Northern HS2 legislation delayed

6 September 2018

The bill to enable the construction of Phase 2B of HS2, which includes the lines between Crew and Manchester and between Leeds and Birmingham, have been delayed by a year, to 2020.

 

The Department of Transport says the lines will open in 2023 as planned.

 

 

House prices dip in August

House prices dip in August

31 August 2018

According to Nationwide, house prices dipped in the last month by 0.5% to soften annual house price growth to 2%.  Overall this remains within the range of 2-3% over the last 12 months.

 

Tracking the impact of Help-to-Buy, figures suggest that the scheme accounted for c. 8% of house purchase mortgages in 12 months to March 2018, with a greater share in the North and East Midlands.

 

Read more here > 

Crossrail opening pushed back to Autumn 2019

Crossrail opening pushed back to Autumn 2019

31 August 2018

The central section of the Elizabeth Line running from Paddington to Abbey Wood was due to open in December 2018, but has been delayed to allow more time for testing, completion of works and software development.

 

It is now estimated to open in autumn 2019.

IPPR calls for land market reforms

IPPR calls for land market reforms

30 August 2018

The IPPR Commission on Economic Justice has published a discussion paper linking wealth inequity, borken housing market, poor productivity, and macroeconomic instabilty to a "dysfunctional" land market.

 

Recommendations including reforming CPO laws, freezing prices at current use value, and ending highest bidder sales.  Further recommendations are made for reforming the housing market, taxation, and finance sector regulation. 

 

Read more here >

Government issues "no-deal" advice

Government issues "no-deal" advice

23 August 2018

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has announced that a series of technical advice will be published to help people and business plan in the case of a "no deal" scenario.  The first 25 technical notices providing "practical and proportionate" advice are available here >  

 

Raab says that c. 80% of the Withdrawal Agreement has been the agreed, and that he is "confident a good deal is within our sights."   Read the full speech here >

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 >

 

 

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.

 

Page 1 of 2