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Two month extension to complete Help to Buy schemes

3 August 2020

The government has confirmed that the deadline for practical completion of  help to buy homes will be extended from 31 December 2020 to 28 February 2021, due to the impacts of coronavirus. At present, the deadline for completion of sales remains at 31 March 2021, when the current scheme expires and is replaced with a more restricted version.

 

Read more here>

Homes England to include diversity criteria in next Delivery Partner Panel

3 August 2020

Following its first annual Equality, Inclusion and Diversity report, Homes England has announced that it is reviewing the criteria for joining the next iteration of DPP, scheduled to launch next year, to support greater diversity.  It is also reviewing ways to better reflect its diverse communities, and promote inclusive, equal access to its services.

 

Read more here >

Government report reveals PD has produced lower quality housing

22 July 2020

While the government is supporting permitted development for commercial to residential conversions, a government commissioned independent research report has concluded that residential units delivered via PD versus planning permissionn tend to provide lower standards in terms of space, daylighting, and access to amenity space. 

 

Factors that are comparable include external appearance, energy standards, and access to amenities.

 

Read more here >

Draft Building Safety Bill published

22 July 2020

A draft Building Safety Bill has been published containing measures for increased safety in homes. These include the requirement for an Accountable Person in residential highrises above 18m, and a new national regulator, who will oversee safety and standards particularly of high risk buildings.  

 

A new set of rules will be introduced for the design, construction, and management of buildings, including a clear party responsible for managing potential risks.

 

Read more here >

More than 750,000 furloughed in construction industry

17 July 2020

According to HMRC figures to 30 June 2020, the construction industry has seen furlough claims for 752,400 emplyments in the construction industry, reflecting 59% of those eligible through c. 75% of the employers in the industry.  This reflects the third highest take up rate behind accommodation and food services (73%) and arts, entertainment, recreation and other services (66%).  London accounts for 1,291,000 furloughed employments, but the rates are broadly consistent across the regions.

Read more here >

BD Architects of the Year shortlist announced

13 July 2020

As well as recognition for body of work for each sector, this year's awards features the new Social Impact Awards, the shortlist for which includes Atkins, HTA Design, JTP, Mikhail Riches, Pollard Thomas Edwards, RCKa, Squire and Partners and Turner Works.

Read more here >

RICS to close six UK offices permanently

13 July 2020

The announcement comes as part of its effort to provide its services on-line including assessments, which has proven success over the course of the lockdown. According to the RICS more than 1,000 assessments has been completed on line.

 

The remaining offices in London, Birmingham and Edinburgh is due to reopen in September. 

 

Read more here >

Apprenticeships, stamp duty and infrastructure among Sunak's Plan for Jobs

9 July 2020

The Chanceller's stummer statement outlined a three-pronged plan to create jobs. The first focuses on incentivising employees to protect jobs for furloughed works and hire young people and apprecentices and funding Department for Work and Pensions. The second elaborates on funding for capital projects, introducing Green Homes Grant and temporarily raising the threshold for stamp duty to £500,000. The third part encourages spending primarily in the leisure and tourism industry through a series of VAT cuts and subsidies.

Read the full speech here >

Affordable Housing Programme extended to 2023

7 July 2020

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has extended the scheme by a year to address delays on projects due to the pandemic.  The £9bn scheme had originally required works on site to commence by March 2022. 

 

A new £12bn Affordable Homes Programme is due to commence next year to support the delivery of 180,000 new affordable homes.

 

Read more here >

 

 

PM announces Build, Build, Build

30 June 2020

Boris Johnson has announced plans for planning reforms that include removing the need for planning approval for conversion of relevant commercial premises to residential or other selected use classes. A policy paper is expected in July, with view to go into effect by September.

 

The plans are announced along side measures to support home building, including a £12bn affordable homes programme and an additional £450m to the Home Builders Fund. Read more here> 

PM announces £1bn for 50 major school projects

29 June 2020

The projects wll be announced later in the year, and will start in September 2021.  A further £560 million has been promised for school repairs and a further £200m has been earmarked for further education colleagues.  This forms part of a 10-year plan, details for which are expected 29 June.

Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill becomes law

26 June 2020

The Act includes both temporary and permanent measures that aim to allow "breathing space" for struggling busineses to survive. These include a moratorium from creditor action of 20 business days - extendable to 40 with court documents filed - to restructure or seek new investment and new restructuring procedures.   Retoractive temporary measures include restrictions on statutory demands and winding up petitions as a result of Covid-19, withholding supplies to businesses entering insolvency or restructuring (with exceptions), and personal liability to directors for wrongful tradings.  Filing deadlines at Companies House have also been extended.

Read more here> 

1FA shortlisted for AJ100 Building of the year award

16 June 2020

1 FA has been shortlisted alongside Murrays’ Mills by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios; Brunel Building by Fletcher Priest; English National Ballet by Glenn Howells Architects; The Standard, London by Orms; Leeds Playhouse by Page\Park; Tottenham Hotspur Stadium by Populous; Hounslow House by Sheppard Robson; and Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology by WilkinsonEyre.

 

Read more here >

Construction output falls by 40% in April

16 June 2020

The Office of National Statistics has reported 40% fall in construction output in April, amidst the Covid-19 lockdown, with a 41% fall in new work and 38% fall in repair and maintenance work.  This follows an 18% fall in the three months leading upto April. 

 

Read more here>

TfL to restart projects in phases

11 June 2020

TfL is preparing to restart major projects including the Northern Line Extension, Bank Station upgrade and Old Street roundabout.

 

Read more here>

Deadlines for furlough scheme announced

1 June 2020

Businesses already using the scheme will need to register employees by 10 June, while new entrants to the scheme must be registerd by 30 June.

 

Employers will be responsible for national insurance and pension contributions by August and contribute to 10% of the 80% salary (up to £2,500) in September. 

Read the Chancellor's statement here >

Code of conduct for commercial rent to be published

1 June 2020

Working with industy bodies including the British Property Federation, Revo and UKHopsitality, the government's code of practice will provide gudiance promoting transparent discussions between landlord and tenant. The code is underpinned by the principles that tenants should pay rent if they are able, and landlords should help struggling businesses if they are able.

 

Read more here >

Property agencies prepare phased return to work

27 May 2020

Several major commercial agencies have announced plans to return to work at limited capacities in adherence to government guidelines. These include Savills, JLL and CBRE.

 

Read more here >

AHMM remodels Broadgate for Generation Z

15 April 2020

Have a look at the building study for the refurbishment of the Grade II listed 1FA, Broadgate by AHMM in the Architect's Journal >

 

Government ploughs on with projects - HS2 and Homes England

15 April 2020

HS2 has been given the go ahead to issue the Notice to Proceed to four major civils works contractors. 

 

Read Building, 16 April 2020 >

 

Homes England buys 19 sites 

 

Read Building 15 April 2020 >

Jenrick announces fire safety measures

3 April 2020

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has published new fire safety measures as a response to the Building a Safer Future consultation. The measures include mandatory sprinklers systems and consistent wayfinding signage in residential blocks of more than 11 meters, as well as appointing David Hancock to review the progress of ACM removal.  A roundatable with mortgage lenders is expected to agree mortgage valuations for buildings under 18 m.

Read more here > 

 

Business secretary's open letter to construction industry

1 April 2020

Sharma thanks the construction industry for continuing work amidst calls for closure, citing advice from Chief Medical Officer.

 

Read letter here >

Sir Robert McAlpine and other contractors shut down sites

25 March 2020

Amidst the wider debate as to whether construction sites should stop, Sir Robert McAlpine has announced it will pause operations as it is difficult to maintain the 2m social distancing rule. Read more here>

 

Other contractors that have also closed sites include Mulitplex, Barratt Homes and Galliard.  Leadlease has halted operations on site for 48 hours to assess activities that can be safely carried out, while Balfour Beatty continues to work on sites where it is able to maintain social distancing.  Read more here >

Measures to support businesses published

24 March 2020

These include deferring VAT and Income Tax payments, Statutory Sick Pay relief, business rates holidays and Business Interruption Loan Scheme.  Read more here >

The Government has also announced a ban on evictions for businesses if rent payment is missed in the next three months.  Read more here >

** M3 BUSINESS CONTINUITY ADVICE **

19 March 2020

Dear All

In light of the ongoing situation relating to COVID-19, I wanted to let you know that in response to this situation we have implemented our business continuity plans.

Read more >

Emergency legislation halts evictions

19 March 2020

The goverhnment has introduced measures to help tenants and landlords affected by the coronavirus outbreaks.  The measures will see a ban on evictions proceedings and offer of landlord mortgage holidays for at least a three month period. Interest payment holidays are also extended to Help to Buy equity loans.

 

Read more here >

Bank of England cuts interest rates

19 March 2020

The Bank of England has cut interest rates a further 15 basis points to 0.1% and increased its holdings of UK government and corporate holding bonds by £200bn, as part of futher measures to buffer the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.  This follows rate cuts and bond holdings already introduced earlier in the month, along with the new Term Funding Scheme for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.

 

Read more here>

Government publishes Planning for the Future

13 March 2020

The Minstry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published wide ranging plans to stimulate housing and improve the planning system.  These include funding to infrastructure, reforming planning fees to fund local authority resources, and facilitating compulsive purchase orders. It also sets out intent to address climate change, improve home ownership and renters' rights and building safety.  Plans will be set out in a series of documents includin gPlanning White Paper, Social Housing White Paper, revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework. 

 

Read the Planning for the Future document here >

Government plans for stimulus in Budget

12 March 2020

Chancellor Rishi Runak's first Budget includes for £30bn to stem the impacts of the coronavirus, including additional funds for the NHS, suspending rates for retail and leisure venues with rateable value below £51,000, and temporaray loan scheme for small and medium sized business.  In relation to property and construction, the Budget has allocated £50bn to stimulate housebuilding by housing associations, green transport solutions, roads and flood protection. A further £1bn has been pledged towards a Buidling Safety Fund and £640m to protect natural habitats.  The additional spending will be paid for an additional £96.6bn in borrowing.   Read more here >

MIPIM 2020 rescheduled for June

2 March 2020

Amidst the growing concern for the spread of coronavirus, organisers Reed MIDEM has postponed the annual international property event to 2-5 June.  The event was originally scheduled for 10-13 March.

 

Southwark Council Leader Peter John steps down

28 February 2020

Council Leader since 2010, pro-development John was active in regeneration and building programmes in the borough. Under his tenure, major schemes including Elephant and Castle, Old Kent Road and Canada Water were green lit, leading to significant delivery of housing, office, and leisure in the borough.

His successor will be elected later in March.

Read more here >

Court of appeals rules against Heathrow third runway

28 February 2020

The Court of Appeals determined that the plans did not comply with the current UK legislation for net zero carbon by 2050.  The judges ruled that the government had not taken into account the Paris Agreement.

Read a summary of the judgments here >

Developers for the airport intends to appeal.  The government however has said it would not fight the decision.

100 Liverpool Street signs six retailers and a gym

24 February 2020

The retailers include the UK's first JOHN REED gym, Tommy Hilfiger, L'Occitane, and Dune London. Only two retail units remain to be let ahead of the completion of the 520,000 sq ft commercial office building this summer.

Read more here >

 

 

 

Points based immigration plan published

19 February 2020

The point system favours highly-skilled migrants, students and academics, and treats EU applicants on the same footing as the rest of the world.  No route is proposed for low-skilled labour or self-employment.  The salary threshold has been reduced from £30,000 to £25,600. 

 

Read more here >

 

 

 

British Land’s 1 Triton Square Shows the Commercial Value of Circular Economy Leadership

14 February 2020

The 313,000 sq ft refurbishment project provides a car savings of 56% over a typical new build and 43% operational savings over a typical commercial building.  

 

Read article here >

 

Find out more about the project here >

National audit office recommends review of commercial investment by local councils

14 February 2020

The NAO has published its review of the prudential framework that has enabled £6.6bn of investment in commercial property by local councils, in efforts to generate income and local regeneration following reductions in funding since 2010-11.  The report considered the management of risks and has recommended that the government reviews how risks are evaluated and reported, framework compliance is measured and interventions are arranged.

Read more here >

New cabinet, new housing minister

14 February 2020

The cabinet reshuffle has led to the appointment of Christopher Pincher, MP for Tamworth, as housing minister, 10th in the last 10 years. He replaces Esther McVey, who took on the post in July 2019.  Robert Jenrick remains in his post as the secretary for housing, communities and local government.

 

The most high profiles departure is former Chancellor Sajid Javid, to be replaced by Rishik Sunak, while George Eustace is the new environment secretary.  Alok Sharma and Grant Shapps remain as the business and transport secretaries, respectively.  Read more here >

Boris Johnson announces green light for HS2

12 February 2020

The long delayed railway project provides high speed links between London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.  The project, costing more than £106bn, is expected to be delivered as three projects and fully operational by 2040. 

 

Read more here >

Migration Advisory Committee recommends mixed post-Brexit immigration system

28 January 2020

The MAC has recommended retaining the existing system for Tier 2 (General) work visa for those entering the UK with a job offer, but modifiying the points-based system for Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) to reflect promise rather than track record. It has also recommended reducing the general salary thresholds to £24,600 rather than £30,000 per annum, further reducing that for new entrants, and enabling different thresholds for different occupations. 

 

Read more here >

Housing secretary recommends combustibles ban

24 January 2020

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has announced a number of proposals relating to fire safety, including a ban on Aluminum Composite Material with polyethelene core on buildings of any height and reducing the threshold for sprinklers and combustibles from 18 to 11m. 

 

Read more here >

Mayor issues Intend to Publish London Plan

19 December 2019

The document has taken on board a number of recommendations by the Inspector's report, including targets for new housing delivery, but has retained on issues like restrictions on Green Belt, Metropolitan Open Land and fracking.  The draft is with the Communities Secretary to comment or approve.  

 

Read the responses to the Panel's recommendations here > and the Intend to Publish version here >

Conservatives retain power with largest majority since 1987

13 December 2019

The Conservatives have secured a majority of at least 76, with 364 seats. This is the largest majority since 1987. Meanwhile, Labour suffered its worse results since 1935, with 203 seats. 

 

The Scottish National Party won 48 out of 59 seats - a gain of 13 over the 2017 general elections  This could lead to a second referendum on independence. Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson lost her seat for Dunbartonshire East to SNP and has announced her resignation as party leader.

Number of high court cases increases

9 December 2019

The Technology and Construction court has heard 397 in 2018/19, slighlty higher than the previous year.  This follows and spike up from 311 in 2015/16, following the collapse of Carillion. 

 

Read more here >  

British Property Federation publishes Accelerated Planning Manifesto

6 December 2019

Following its general elections manifesto, the BPF has launched its more specific manifesto for reforming the planning system.  These include better resourced local authority planning departments, more effective intervention by Planning Inspectorate, and publishing good practice guidance for use of Planning Performance Agreements.

 

Read the manifesto here >

 

British Property Federation publishes manifesto

29 November 2019

The manifesto outlines the policy changes the BPF would like to see following the general elections, including reducing o removing VAT on refurbishment, investing in local authorities to help speed up planning processes, and using business rates to incentivise investment in green technologies.

 

Read the manifesto here >

 

Parties pledge investment for housing and construction

25 November 2019

The Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats have published their manifesto, each pledging investment to address housing, infrastructure, and sustainability issues.

 

Here is a summary from Building  >

 

Here are the published party manifestos in full: 

Read more >

Confidence in overseas inward investment falters

18 November 2019

The autum 2019 London Development Barometer survey reveals that only 42% of the respondents believe the level of investment will increase or remain the same, compared to 64% just six months ago.

 

Read the Property Week article here >

 

Click here for the press release and summary of results 

 

 

Crossrail delay to "as soon as practically possible in 2021"

8 November 2019

Otherwise known as Elizabeth Line, Crossrail was originally intended to open in December 2018.  The latest announcement pushes the operational date back from the previous projection of Q4 2020- Q2 2020.

 

The projected costs has also increased to over £18bn, well in excess of the £17.6bn agreed among the Mayor, the Government and Transport for London.  TfL is in talks with the Department for Transport to discuss how the additional costs will be funded.

 

Read more here >

 

 

No Starter Homes built under 2014 government pledge

6 November 2019

The National Audit Office has published a report on its Investigations into Starter Homes, revealing that no starter homes have yet been delivered despite having earmarked £2.3bn in the November 2015 Spending Review.  An estimated £250m has been spent buying land and preparing sites. However no legislation or planning guidance has been passed to support the programme.  Policy shifts has also meant that funds allocated to Starter Homes have been expended more generally on housing delivery.

 

Read more here > 

 

 

 

Mandatory registration for drones

6 November 2019

Drone operators are required to register drones between 250 gram and 20kg with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), set to become law 30 November 2019.

 

The new regulations required drone operators to pass an online test to obtain a flyer ID, register for an operator ID, and register any drones or model aircraft for which the oeprator is responsible.  Children must also pass the online test to fly a drone. 

 

Members of five model aircraft associations are exempt.  Read more here >

 

MPs vote for 12 December general elections

30 October 2019

Following EU's agreement to extend the Brexit deadline to 31 January, Parliament has voted to hold general elections 438-20.  More than 100 Labour MPs did not vote.

 

This is the first December general elections since 1923.

Private purpose-built student accommodation to surpass university beds in 2020

23 October 2019

According to StuRent's Annual UK Student Accommodation Report 2019, more than 34,000 private beds will be added in 2019, with more than 120,000 beds approved or awaiting a decision. 

 

Read more here > 

Government response to housing committee report regarding building safety reforms

22 October 2019

The Government has stated that making changes will take time, but cites actions undertaken and underway. These include the conclusion of consultations for ‘Building a Safer Future: proposals for reform of the building safety regulatory
system’ in July 2019; consultations on building height thresholds for sprinklers closing at the end of November, and funding for private building owners to replace ACM cladding systems.

 

Read the full response here >

Queen's speech outlines 22 bills

15 October 2019

A number of bills revolve around crime, NHS and Brexit, including the EU bill itself and bills on trade, agriculture, fishing and immigration. 

 

The speech sets out the intention to bring forward a National Infrastructure Strategy covering digital, transport and energy infrastructure; a white paper to "unleashing regional potential in England", building safety standards and an Environmental Bill. 

  

Read the Queen's speech here >

Goldsmith Street wins Stirling Prize

10 October 2019

The 100-home energy efficient council housing scheme for Norwich City Council was selected over London Bridge Station by Grimshaw; Cork House by Matthew Barnett Howland with Dido Milne and Oliver Wilton; the Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience by RSHP, Nevill Holt Opera by Witherford Watson Mann Architects and The Weston, Yorkshire Sculpture Pak by Feilden Clegg Bradley.

 

The scheme was the winner of a numer of 2019 RIBA awards, inlcuding the RIBA East Award, RIBA East Sustainability Award and the Neave Brown Award for Housing. Read more here >

Supreme Court has ruled that suspension of Parliament was unlawful

24 September 2019

The Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the Prime Minister's advice to the Queen to prorogue Parliament from week of 9th September until 14 October was unlawful, void, and of no effect, on the basis that:

  • The Court has the juridiction to rule on the existence and limits of prerogative power
  • The advice to the Queen to prorogue if it prevents Parliament to conduct its duties without reasonable justification is unlawful
  • Justifications for the "extreme effect" of the prorogation has not been put forward


Parliament is expected to reconvene 25th September.   Read president of the court Lady Hale's statement here >

Bank of Montreal takes 60,000 sq ft at 100 Liverpool Street

18 September 2019

Furthermore SMBC has committed to a further 22,000 sq ft, taking 184,000 sq ft in total at 100 Liverpool Street.

 

Read more here > 

 

Read more about 100 Liverpool Street here >

Parliament passes law to prevent no-deal Brexit

8 September 2019

In the run up to the prorogation, Parliament has passed a law to require a deal or parliamentary for no deal by 19 October. Otherwise, the prime minister must request a further extension to 31 January.

 

Opposition parties have also rejected the call for a general election before 31 October.