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    North Star Housing Group
    Executive Director Appointments
    North East England
    To £80k package plus relocation assistance

    North Star Housing Group
    is ambitious, innovative and known to ‘punch above its weight’. We were set up in 2006 as a non-charitable parent association bringing together two regional housing providers Endeavour Housing Association and Teesdale Housing Association. The group is now well established with a robust financial framework and is preparing itself for a new and exciting future.

    We recognise our people are the key to our success and we are proud to have been listed in the ‘Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For’ two years in a row. Quality and customer service are central to everything we do; we want to continue to develop our service offering in new areas, we have an exciting community investment strategy to implement, and we have a diverse development programme to deliver. To fully realise our potential and to meet the challenges ahead we need to further strengthen our strategic team with Directors who share our ambition, our passion and our values.

    Group Director of Housing Services

    As Group Director of Housing Services you will lead the housing operations of the two operating companies and work collaboratively on all matters of corporate strategy and business improvement as a key member of the Executive team; ensuring a growing and dynamic group organisation. With a relevant professional qualification or degree, you will have a proven track record at senior management level in at least two of the following three areas: general needs or supported housing management, business improvement or community empowerment. We would expect this experience to have been gained whilst working within a progressive social landlord.

    Group Director of Technical Services

    As Group Director of Technical Services, you will lead on all aspects of responsive and planned maintenance, stock investment and new property growth across the Group and as a key member of the Executive team work collaboratively on all matters of corporate strategy and business improvement. With a relevant professional qualification or degree, you will have a proven track record at senior management level gained within a technical environment in at least two of the following three areas: responsive repairs, asset management or housing development.

    For further information and details of how to apply please visit or contact Mike Dixon or Robert Wright at NRG Executive on 0191 260 4435, email

    Closing date for application is Friday 6th January 2012
    Final interviews will be held on Friday 24th February 2012


  • Applicant: Northumberland Tyne And Wear NHS Foundation Trust
    Planning Authority: Sunderland
    Details: Construction of a new 140 bed Mental Health Hospital with associated landscaping, parking and associated highway works.
    Location: Ryhope General Hospital Stockton Road, Ryhope, Sunderland
    Agent: Medical Architecture, Mr Paul Yeomans, 25 Collingwood Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne
    Telephone No:n/a


  • Applicant: Hellens Investment (Washington) LLP, Teal House, 10 Teal Farm Way, Pattinson, Washington
    Planning Authority: Sunderland
    Details: Construction of 83 dwellings, with associated landscaping, parking and highway works
    Location: Land North Of Pattinson Road, Pattinson Industrial Estate, Washington
    Agent: none
    Telephone No: n/a


  • Applicant: Mrs S Hakim
    Planning Authority: Darlington
    Details: Change Of Use Of First Floor Retail Premises To 3 Apartments (Residential Use)
    Location: 147 Neasham Road, Darlington
    Agent: Mr Norman Pringle, Mistrals, 12 Lapwing Court, Crookgate Burnopfield, Newcastle
    Telephone No: n/a

  • Applicant: Mr Jay Patel
    Planning Authority: Darlington
    Details: Conversion Of First Floor To Form 4 Apartments, Construction Of Two Storey Extension To Rear And Change Of Use Of Ground Floor From Residential To Convenience Store
    Location: 2 And 4 Burtree Lane, Darlington
    Agent: H C Designs, 206 North Road, Darlington
    Telephone No: n/a
  • North East & Yorkshire Construction Leads & Tenders


    Associated British Ports (ABP) and Siemens plc are submitting applications to Hull City Council for the development of the proposed Green Port Hull facility.

    Joint applications are being made for the demolition of existing buildings at Alexandra Dock and the development of a factory, office and amenity facilities and a helicopter landing site, as well as areas for the storage, handling, assembly, and testing of wind turbine components.

    An additional joint application is being made for the erection of an operational wind turbine together with associated infrastructure.

    Dan McGrail, Project Manager for Siemens, said: “We are very pleased that another significant milestone in the project has been achieved, and we look forward to discussing plans further with the local community during the consultation process. Both Siemens and ABP would like to thank Hull City Council and the local community for helping us reach today's milestone and for their support.”

    ABP is also making a number of separate applications, which include marine and listed building consents, and an application for the removal and variation of conditions attached to the consent granted by the Associated British Ports (Hull) Harbour Revision Order 2006 relating to land to be reclaimed to the south west of Alexandra Dock. This is to enable the new quay to be used for the handling of wind turbines and associated traffic.

    Matt Jukes, ABP Port Director Hull & Goole, said: “Developing Green Port Hull for Siemens represents a once in a lifetime opportunity for both the Port of Hull and our region to take the leading role in the UK’s green energy revolution.

    "Our teams have put in a huge amount of work on the project over the last 12 months and I am exceedingly pleased that we’re now in a position to submit these applications which will see the complete transformation of Alexandra Dock, firmly position Hull as a centre of excellence for renewable energy and generate unparalleled opportunities for the city and region.”


    BDP has been appointed to undertake a multi-million pound refurbishment at the Merrion Shopping Centre in Leeds.

    The scheme known as ‘New Front’ has been given the go ahead by Leeds City Council.

    The scheme for property investment and development company, Town Centre Securities, who developed, own and manage the Merrion Centre, will redevelop 7,500 sq m of existing retail space into a lively leisure destination with bars, cafes, restaurants, and a gym.

    It will include the creation of an outdoor area designed to promote continental-style café culture, with increased retail frontages, new trees and high quality external finishes. The 1,000 space multi-storey car park, which sits above the leisure and retail units will also be completely refurbished and upgraded.

    Ian Purser, architect director at BDP said: “This scheme will create a new destination in an area of regeneration, effectively opening up a ‘new front’ to the Merrion Centre while utilising the existing structure and incorporating contemporary food and beverage facilities.”

    BDP is appointed as architect, sustainability engineer, lighting designer and landscape architect for the scheme which will commence early in 2012 and be completed in 2013, to coincide with the opening of the 13,500 capacity Leeds Arena, based opposite the centre.


    Developer Places for People has submitted a £140 million plan to build 800 social housing units on a former shipyard in North Shields.

    Smith's Dock was a major part of the Tyne's shipbuilding industry but closed down in the 1990s.

    Nigel Brewer, project director at Places for People, said that one of the main aims was to connect the Fish Quay and Royal Quays communities.

    Under the proposed plan, a pedestrian boulevard and cycle paths will be built along the bank to open up the riverside.

    Brewer said: “This application marks an important new phase in the history of Smith's Dock. This is the start of its revival, where the site will once again become a destination for people to live, work and socialise.

    “The economic benefits of this site will inevitably extend into the wider Tyneside region.”

    North Tyneside Council will now consider the plans.


    Doncaster Council’s new £20m civic offices reached a significant build milestone as Wates Construction held a ‘topping out’ ceremony to celebrate the placement of the building’s roof.

    Delegates from Doncaster Council and its development partner, Muse Developments, joined Wates at the event, a pagan tradition historically held to bring luck when the construction of the uppermost point of a new building is complete.

    To mark the occasion, Wates presented Deputy Mayor of Doncaster, Patricia Schofield with a customary tree but as a festive twist it was a Christmas tree instead of the yew tree, traditionally given to appease tree-dwelling spirits.

    Picture: (L-R) David Price of Wates Construction, Cllr Patricia Schofield, Deputy Mayor of Doncaster, Michael Broadhead of Muse Developments and Rob Vincent, Chief Executive of Doncaster Council.

    The Christmas tree has now been placed on the 157,500 sq ft office building overlooking the new public square for members of the wider community to enjoy over the festive period.

    Mayor of Doncaster, Peter Davies, said: “It is very exciting to see the new building taking shape. The new civic offices and the Civic and Cultural Quarter will make a real difference to our town centre. Significant major investment is delivering top-class facilities and quality attractions, which together with other key projects in Doncaster will act as a catalyst for further economic growth. Make no mistake Doncaster is heading in the right direction.”

    Patricia Schofield, Deputy Mayor of Doncaster, said: “The progress made with the new civic offices is quite remarkable. This imposing building and the other elements of the Civic and Cultural Quarter are blossoming and it will not be long now until residents and visitors enjoy quality time and experiences in the new look Waterdale area.”

    The five-storey civic offices, currently being delivered by Wates, is due for completion in September 2012 and will become the council’s new headquarters and home to about 1,400 employees. The project will also include a new ground floor one-stop-shop of council services for local residents.

    David Price, Business Unit Director of Wates Construction, Yorkshire, said: “We are delighted to celebrate such a significant milestone and it is important that we acknowledge what has so far been achieved and to punctuate our progress in the delivery of such a significant project. The construction of Doncaster Council’s new civic offices has become a valuable means to ensuring local projects benefit local people and we are looking forward to 2012, which will see us carry out the final stages of the build process.”

    Michael Broadhead, the projects director at Muse added: “We are delighted that this is another positive step forward for the first phase of the Civic and Cultural Quarter which is progressing very well including the recent opening of the refurbished Doncaster Civic Quarter Multi-Storey Car Park and the commencement of the New Performance Venue…. it really is an exciting time for Doncaster.”

    Construction on the new civic offices began in November 2010, forming part of Doncaster’s new Civic and Cultural Quarter (CCQ). The first phase of this regeneration project includes a new performance venue, public square and additional public area, upgraded road networks and a refurbished Civic Quarter Car Park.

    The project is being part funded by the European Union, as part of the European Regional Development Fund’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.


    Jefferson Sheard and G F Tomlinson Building Limited have successfully handed over of one of the country’s first Sustainable Centres located at Barnsley College aptly named The Think Low Carbon Centre.

    This iconic centre demonstrates the latest technologies and construction methods for making buildings ultra energy efficient, including bio-mass heating, photovoltaics, solar-thermal, ground and air source heat pumps.

    The Think Low Carbon Centre
    The Think Low Carbon Centre

    Frank Johnston, Chair of Governors at Barnsley College said: “The Centre is a vital resource for architects, construction companies, home owners and local companies seeking a better understanding of low energy construction and renewable energy installation. The College is pleased to be leading the way – supporting local companies take advantage of green opportunities and helping the region meet carbon reduction targets.”

    Leeds City Region and The Skills Network are the first visitors to the centre. They are holding an event with Barnsley College to disseminate key findings of research published earlier this year entitled: ‘The Prospects for Green Jobs to 2020’.

    Mr Barry Sewards, Chairman of G F Tomlinson Building Limited said: “It has been a pleasure to be involved in this innovative project. We have certainly increased our experience in carbon free construction and have been delighted to use our expertise in joining Barnsley College to bring this project to completion.”

    The project is supported financially by the European Union where it has attracted £2.75 million of investment from the European Regional Development Fund through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme 2007-2013. The remainder of the project is being funded by the College.

    Tom Rhys Jones, Director of Jefferson Sheard added: “We are really proud of this innovative building. Our recent projects have won lots of awards for sustainable design but the TLC has helped us move to a higher level. It is great for the region that Barnsley College continue to lead the way with this type of development.”


    The Tees Valley local enterprise partnership (LEP) has become the first in England to publish detailed plans for consultation setting out how it intends to simplify planning rules at sites covered by its enterprise zone, Planning Resource has reported.

    The government-designated zone covers 12 sites across Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Redcar and Darlington in which firms will benefit from incentives including eased planning rules, high-speed broadband, capital allowances and reduced business rates.

    A government prospectus on the enterprise zones, published in March, identified local development orders (LDOs) as "the most likely planning mechanism which can be used by local authorities to reduce planning control in enterprise zones".

    The little-used orders allow certain defined types of development to proceed without the need to obtain planning permission from the local authority.

    Last month, the Tees Valley LEP became the first in the country to publish draft LDOs for consultation, setting out how planning rules will be simplified in six of the 12 sites covered by the enterprise zone.

    An LDO for a seventh site is being developed, with the other five intended to be subject to planning performance agreements (PPAs) that aim to speed up development by providing greater certainty on timescales, costs and requirements for all parties involved.

    Linda Edworthy, director of policy and strategy at the Tees Valley LEP, said: "We want to be in a position for the new planning regimes to be operational by 1 April next year."

    The orders will grant automatic planning permission to buildings in particular use classes. In some cases, the waiver of the need to obtain planning permission will be limited to certain types of businesses.

    For example, the draft LDO covering the Port Estates site in Hartlepool would allow development in use classes B1 business, B2 general industrial and B8 storage and distribution. But the planning freedoms would only be available to advanced engineering, advanced manufacturing and renewable energy manufacturing firms.

    The orders will allow such firms to construct buildings in the defined use classes without needing to acquire planning permission as long as they conform to conditions including design, layout and energy efficiency requirements. The LDOs will also allow changes of use between the uses specified in the documents.

    The Tees Valley LEP plans to put in place PPAs for sites not covered by an LDO, which would set out timetables for development.

    Edworthy said that one of these sites - Northshore in Stockton-on-Tees - already has a masterplan that has planning permission, so would not be aided by an LDO.

    The other four sites are in areas that would require environmental impact assessments under European law to develop, meaning that an LDO would be prohibited.

    Edworthy said: "PPAs establish a partnership framework and management programme for dealing with a development proposal. They identify the complex needs of both the project and the location from the outset so help minimise risks, decision-making delays and potential costs of appeal."

    All the LDOs were drawn up by the LEP's planning steering group, Edworthy said, which consists of a planning officer from each of the five authorities in the partnership.

    She added: "The steering group has been talking to statutory consultees so they are not surprised when the documents are produced. Their input helped us identify which sites were suitable for LDOs and PPAs."

    Department for Communities and Local Government regeneration director Philip Cox told a conference in October that the government would like to see LDOs for all 22 approved enterprise zones in place by April 2012.


    Sanctuary Group
    A new £1.7 million housing scheme has been unveiled in the village of North Anston, Rotherham, offering high quality homes for the over 55s.

    Willow Chase has been developed by Sanctuary Group, one of the UK’s leading housing providers, and comprises 16 two-bedroom apartments for older people.

    The scheme has been made possible thanks to the combined efforts of Sanctuary, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and local developers Cooke and Knight.

    To mark the completion of the new scheme, an official opening was held for partners involved in the project and the first of the residents who have moved into the accommodation.

    Special guest for the event was Councillor Shaun Wright, The Worshipful the Mayor of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough, who marked the occasion by unveiling a commemorative plaque.

    Set across two blocks, Willow Chase has been built to Level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes and incorporates a range of energy efficient features including solar photovoltaic cells and highly efficient gas condensing boilers. Additional features include a cycle and buggy store, landscaped communal garden area and secure door entry system to all properties.

    The development has also received Secured by Design accreditation from the South Yorkshire Police, which recognises homes that have been developed to design out crime.

    Peter Martin, Sanctuary’s Group Director – Development, said: “We are delighted to bring this important scheme to fruition and underline Sanctuary’s commitment to developing new, high-quality housing for local people.

    “These properties are a welcome addition to Rotherham and will ensure older residents can remain in the local community for years to come.”

    Councillor Wright added: “I am very impressed by this development in North Anston. The design and standard of workmanship is excellent and talking to the new residents it is clear that they are equally pleased with their new homes.”


    South Yorkshire Housing Association
    South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA), in partnership with Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council (BMBC), has completed two highly energy efficient developments of 32 homes - 22 family homes at Cross Lane, Royston and 10 family homes at Bramah Street, Carlton.

    The development is part of BMBC’s Green Corridor programme of improvement which has been in operation in Royston and surrounding neighbourhoods since 2003.

    To celebrate the newly completed homes, residents, members of staff from all projects involved – SYHA – BMBC – Bramall Construction and Clayfield Construction joined together with local Councillors on 1st December to officially open the two new developments.

    The four-bedroom and three-bedroom homes are available for a combination of rental and shared ownership.

    Each of the 32 new properties has been built to a contemporary design by SYHA Architects, with a combination of cedar cladding, brick and stonework, and large picture windows to create a striking finish.

    The new homes complement other improvement projects that have been funded by BMBC’s Green Corridor Team, such as property improvements, the reinstatement of the original coping stones and the construction of pillars using bricks inscribed with the names of donors who contributed to the building of a chapel.

    SYHA Architects have designed each of the properties to a high level of sustainability, which means they benefit from a variety of energy efficiency measures. Each home benefits from solar power - to generate electricity from daylight, and high-levels of insulation to keep the heat generated within the home. The majority of the homes also benefit from water saving, rainwater harvesting, systems. The energy efficiency features on the new homes will help to reduce household utility bills for residents.

    Martin Powell, SYHA Project Manager, said: “Not only do these two developments help to satisfy housing need in Barnsley, they also demonstrates how partnership working can tap into a range of funding streams for the benefit of the local community and environment.

    “The Green Corridor programme has improved Barnsley’s appearance and reputation without compromising its local industrial heritage. The new SYHA homes are a shining example of what can be achieved when organisations work together in successful partnerships.”


    Leeds landowner loses town green appeal

    A landowner whose area of land on the outskirts of Leeds has been registered as a town green, and protected from development, today lost its latest appeal against the decision.

    Last December, Leeds Group, which owns 2.2 hectares of the site known as Yeadon Banks, in Yeadon, lost its Court of Appeal claim that Leeds City Council, which owns the rest, was wrong to designate it as a town green for the enjoyment of local residents, thereby robbing it of lucrative development potential and drastically reducing its value.

    However, it was given permission to bring a second Appeal Court challenge on the grounds that the new regime for town and village greens introduced by the 2000 Countryside and Rights of Way Act is in breach of the 1998 Human Rights Act because of its "retrospective effect" in this and other cases.

    In a highly complex legal test case defended by government lawyers on behalf of the environment secretary, as well as by Leeds City Council, Leeds Group claimed that provisions of the 2000 Act, which altered the requirements for establishing a village green, were incompatible with the Human Rights Act and should not be allowed to stand.

    Under the 2000 Act, land can be registered if, for not less than 20 years, a significant number of the inhabitants of any locality, or of any neighbourhood within a locality, have indulged in lawful sports and pastimes on it as of right. This replaced a more restrictive test, under the 1965 Commons Registration Act, which referred to "the inhabitants of any locality" and led to a number of disputes over what this meant.

    The law has since been clarified by the 2006 Commons Act, but the definition introduced by the 2000 Act remains in force.

    Local firms to shape the future of Sheffield’s neighbourhoods

    A selection of South Yorkshire based firms recently attended an open day hosted by Sheffield Housing Company, the creative partnership between Sheffield City Council, Keepmoat Ltd and Great Places Housing Group, to learn about how they can be involved in the regeneration of the city’s neighbourhoods.

    The largest regeneration scheme of its kind in Sheffield, the private/public partnership will be constructing around 2,300 new homes over the next 15 years, improving the lives of local people and providing a boost to the area’s economy.

    Around 200 companies offering construction based services attended the event at Don Valley Stadium, viewed plans for the scheme and met representatives from Sheffield Housing Company to discuss the tendering opportunities the construction project will present.

    The project will deliver long term change to the city’s neighbourhoods and the provision of local firms as sub-contractors and service providers will bolster its economic sustainability.

    Leeds social housing repairs partnership launches centre of excellence

    A new Responsive Repairs Centre of Excellence has been launched by Aire Valley Homes (AVH) and West North West Homes (WNWH).

    The new centre will provide a more efficient customer service for the 36,000 Leeds homes which are served by partner, Morrison who are also a partner in the scheme.

    The new Centre of Excellence has also helped to create eleven new jobs at Morrison in Leeds, to allow for the increase in telephone traffic and to ensure a high level of service can be delivered.

    Wakefield builder fined for dangerous gas work

    A Batley family was put in danger after a local builder carried out defective gas fitting work while constructing an extension to their home, a court has been told.

    Nigel Parker of Tingley, Wakefield, illegally modified the flue of a gas combi-boiler, extended pipework and moved the bayonet fitting for a gas cooker. He also left a gas meter unsafely perched on a plank above trenches that had been dug for the extension.

    The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which brought the prosecution, told Dewsbury Magistrates that the self-employed builder was hired to build the extension to the semi-detached property in Batley and started work at the end of September 2009.

    During excavations, the incoming gas main was cut through. The gas authorities were called and they repaired the pipe but disconnected the supply as the gas meter had been left supported dangerously by just a wooden board spanning the excavations for the building's footings.

    Mr Parker later used the wrong type of parts, did not tighten joints enough and used duct tape to hold things in place.

    The offences came to light a few months later when the boiler broke down and the householder called out a properly registered gas engineer to repair it. He immediately spotted the dangers and disconnected the boiler. He reported what he had found to the Gas Safe Register and one of their inspectors visited and declared the boiler flue modification to be 'immediately dangerous'.

    Nigel Parker of Haigh Moor Road, Tingley, who traded as Tingley Joinery and Building Services, pleaded guilty to three breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998 between 1 October 2009 and 20 April 2010, and a further breach on or before 9 October 2009. He was fined a total of £5,000 with £1,620 costs.

    Pre-Christmas facelift for homes in Richmondshire

    Homes of council residents across Richmondshire have had a pre-Christmas makeover thanks to work carried out by Kier.

    Tenants were delighted with their newly fitted kitchens and bathrooms and the electrical rewiring work carried out in more than 48 properties in Brompton-on-Swale and Richmond, with another 17 properties set to receive improvements in the New Year.

    Richmondshire District Council and Kier have been working in partnership to improve homes in the borough since signing a new four-year home improvements contract in September 2011. The contract, worth £6.3m over the four-year period, will provide planned refurbishment works to council owned homes across the district.

    Jephson marks 100th affordable home milestone

    Jephson Homes Housing Association has marked the completion of its 100th new affordable home in its northern region this year, with the handover of three properties at Moorbrook Drive, Holmfirth.

    The milestone follows the completion of new homes in Skipton, Sutton-in-Craven, Doncaster, Halifax and Holmfirth during 2011. Jephson expects to have completed around 130 new homes by the end of the year.

    Kier apprentice recognised at South Yorkshire awards

    Kier Sheffield apprentice, Jordan Dean, is celebrating after receiving an Achievement in the Face of Adversity Award at the South Yorkshire Construction Training Group’s 10th Anniversary Celebrations.

    Jordon, who suffers from cerebral palsy and dyspraxia, was crowned overall winner, taking home a trophy and a cheque for £500.

    Having previously studied at the Construction Design Centre, which has close links with Kier and is located on site at its Sheffield depot, Jordan carried out several weeks of work experience on joinery projects with Kier Sheffield’s City Stewardship supervisors, Andy Bandoo and Alan Smith.

    He was then successful in gaining an apprenticeship with Kier Sheffield and began working as an apprentice joiner in August last year. In January 2011 Jordan was named Young Builder of the Year in the 14 to 16-year-old category at the national Youthbuild UK Awards.

    Kier Sheffield recently recruited 17 new apprentices, all of whom are from the local area, to complete training across a number of disciplines including joinery, plumbing, administration and lift engineering.

    KWL highlights business success at fourth annual business briefing

    Kingstown Works Ltd (KWL), Hull and East Yorkshire’s leading repair and maintenance contractor, recently held its fourth annual business briefing at the Guildhall, Hull, to update shareholders and council members on the performance and success of the company.

    This year’s briefing was attended by 50 guests, including the Lord Mayor of Kingston upon Hull, who presented three of KWL’s successful apprentices with certificates for their hard work and achievement in being shortlisted for several awards.

    Despite difficult economic conditions and the completion of the Decent Homes Programme, 2011 has been a successful year for KWL and the team is looking forward to 2012 with optimism. This is thanks, in part, to the recent confirmation that KWL will be Hull City Council’s maintenance and capital works provider to nearly 29,000 homes for the next ten years. The company has also been contracted by Hull City Council to install Solar PV Systems in the area.

    Other successes include the appointment of KWL’s 50th apprentice, highlighting the Kingswood-based firm’s commitment to helping the young people of Hull take their first steps into the world of construction. In addition, several KWL apprentices reached the final stages of the APSE Apprentice of the Year award and the company also hit several significant milestones for staff training and work experience. KWL has now delivered over 3,000 training days and 1,035 work experience days – a figure that is set to grow in 2012.
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    Personnel at one of the RAF’s oldest stations are benefitting from improved ‘down time’ as a result of an Air Command commitment to improving their quality of life.

    RAF Wittering is now the Logistics Hub for the RAF, enabling expeditionary air operations worldwide, and has seen an associated investment in facilities for the 1500+ Service and civilian personnel who work on base, of which approximately 620 of the Service personnel live in single living accommodation on the base. To complement a major six-year upgrade programme to single living accommodation blocks, the site has seen the creation of a new 1000m2 junior ranks mess building.

    To help ensure the new mess will operate effectively, main contractor Morgan Sindell and specialist subcontractor MARS Construction turned to Kingfisher Louvre Systems to provide an assisted value engineering solution to effective ventilation of all the associated plant.

    Kingfisher KW100Z plant ventilation louvres ranging from 12.3m to almost 24m long and over 3m high simultaneously provide a flow of air to the plant to maintain its efficient operation, whilst also creating an architectural feature to the mess roof. The extruded aluminium louvres have been mitred at the corners as part of Kingfisher’s service to ensure an accurate, weathertight fit once installed.

    MARS Construction’s Ashley Redhead, said: “In a building such as this, there is huge demand on the plant to maintain a comfortable environment for both personnel relaxing within and staff catering for them. It is essential that the plant functions- and that includes adequate ventilation but protection from the weather.

    “Kingfisher worked closely with us to develop a solution which enabled efficient installation of the louvres whilst we were undertaking the laying of the single ply and metal roofing, delivering a saving to the client.”

    Kingfisher’s KW100Z series of louvres are designed for permanent ventilation. The Z profile achieves 61% ventilation area and meets BISRA classification C3 up to 1.0m / second face velocity. Plant ventilation louvres are just part of the range of aluminium louvre solutions manufactured by Kingfisher Louvre Systems, which includes ventilation, weather protection, solar screening (brise soleil) and visual screening systems. Kingfisher, part of the Building Product Design Group, invests in a continuous programme of research and development to bring to market innovative yet practical solutions to changing industry requirements.

    National Federation of Builders
    Construction output in October fell 2.5% from September and is 2.7% down on October last year, the latest Office for National Statistics figures have revealed.

    The end of October marked just over a year since the Chancellor’s Comprehensive Spending Review, when the government staked its reputation on the belief that private sector growth would offset the damage from reductions in public sector expenditure.

    The latest ONS figures show that, for construction, this has not been the case. A year on, new work is falling in the private and public sector. In the three months to the end of October output in the sector is 1.1% down on the same three months a year ago, and new orders are down 1.8%.

    Big reductions in public sector work are feeding through - new public non-housing work over these three months was £456 million down (a fall of 12.6%) on 2010 – but there is no private sector recovery in sight. On the contrary, private industrial new work dropped even more sharply, down 13.5% (£130 million in total).

    Chief Executive of the National Federation of Builders, Julia Evans, said: “This is indeed more depressing news, though not unexpected. While we welcome the rise in new infrastructure work and a small rise in repair and maintenance work, the evidence is increasingly clear that, while the drop off in public work has hit the industry, private sector work is not taking up the slack, leaving the industry in an increasingly precarious position.”

    “The NFB will do all it can to support the government in its aim to kick start the economy and we remain hopeful that some of the measures announced in the Autumn Statement will bring relief; in particular shifting public expenditure towards capital investment in infrastructure and help for first time buyers. However more needs to be done to channel finance into private sector construction. The right ‘sticks and carrots’ must be put into place to make sure that the banks increase their lending to the sector and do not continue to sideline construction SMEs.”


    May Gurney
    May Gurney has reported “solid” results for the half year ended 30 September 2011.

    Revenues were up 21% to £351.0 million with underlying profit before tax also up 21% to £14.5 million.

    Business highlights include more than £290 million in new contracts and contract extensions secured in the first half including waste collection, street cleansing and winter maintenance for Bristol City, highways maintenance for East Sussex and street lighting for Richmond upon Thames.

    The firm has a forward order book of £1.5 billion, including framework agreements, but excluding extensions. Potential contract extensions are at a further £1 billion. There is also £4 billion pipeline of bidding opportunities in core markets.

    Philip Fellowes-Prynne, chief executive of May Gurney, said: “May Gurney has once again delivered a solid financial and operational performance with continued turnover and profits growth, healthy cash generation and significant new business wins providing organic growth and long-term earnings visibility.

    “Our strong financial position is the result of our proven strategy of focusing on developing long-term relationships with our clients for the delivery of essential front-line maintenance and enhancement services.

    “The earnings-enhancing acquisition of TransLinc not only strengthens May Gurney's market leading positions in highways maintenance and environmental services but also extends May Gurney's national coverage and client base, offering significant cross-selling opportunities and providing a broadened service offering to existing clients.

    “Whilst alert to the challenges in the economy, and the pressures on Government linked expenditure in particular, we believe that the essential nature of our services, our flexible approach, together with our solid balance sheet, position us well to continue to build upon the Group's success.”


    Buyer demand for property in the UK rose during November, but economic uncertainty continues to hold the market back from any meaningful recovery, says the latest RICS UK Housing Market survey released today.

    Seven per cent more surveyors reported new buyer enquiries rose rather than fell during November. This was the third consecutive monthly increase for the series, which is a good indicator of buyer demand in the market. Although the pick-up in interest signalled by the results is still modest, this is the first time since the spring of 2010 that the series has been in positive territory for three months in a row.

    The improved tone to buyer demand was also reflected in an improvement in the level of sales transactions. Newly agreed sales rose, with 14 per cent more respondents reporting sales increased rather than decreased (from 9 per cent more in October). Alongside this, the average number of sales per surveyor (per branch) climbed to 15.4 in the three months to November. Although still very subdued, this is the best level since September 2010.

    During November, surveyors were again asked about the factors which they felt were holding back activity in the housing market. Most cited was uncertainty in the economy and this reason was given by 89 per cent of respondents (compared to 79 per cent three months ago). Availability of mortgage finance came in at 70 per cent, while fear of house price falls remained steady at 42 per cent.

    The house price balance continues to be negative, with 17 per cent more chartered surveyors reporting price declines rather increases in November – although this is an improvement from October’s reading of -24 per cent. Significantly, close to three-fifths of surveyors indicated that prices had not changed over the month and of those reporting a fall; the vast majority indicated that it had been in the 0 to 2 per cent range.

    Looking ahead, it remains a broadly similar story to that signalled for much of 2011. Price expectations remain barely changed at -21 per cent while the net balance for sales expectations is still in positive, albeit low, territory at + 5 per cent.

    RICS housing spokesperson, Alan Collett, said: “It is encouraging that buyer interest has edged upwards in the face of the endless diet of negative news from Europe and the turmoil in financial markets. However, a meaningful recovery still seems some way off.

    “While the proposed mortgage indemnity scheme is clearly likely to provide some assistance for the market and is to be welcomed, its focus on the new build sector will inevitably mean that it only offers support for a relatively small share of the market.”


    The Photo-Voltaic (PV) market has an important role to deliver low cost energy despite a planned cut in Feed-in Tariff income (FIT) announced by the Government, according to Willmott Dixon.

    The company has just invested nearly £100,000 to install 150 square metres of PV to provide affordable energy at an extra care scheme it’s completed for Housing 21 in Birmingham. It will cut energy costs at the 87 apartment facility by £1,000 per annum for residents and Housing 21, important in a sector that’s a heavy user of energy.

    Saxon Court
    Saxon Court

    The FIT income generated at Saxon Court on Turves Green Road will enable Willmott Dixon to repay its investment in ten years after which the £6,000 FIT income per annum will go straight to the care home for the following 15 years at current rates.

    Although FIT income from future PV installations will be lower following the Government’s plans to reduce the FIT rate in 2012, Willmott Dixon plans to introduce PV at another extra care scheme it’s building for Housing 21 in Warwickshire to show its commitment to PVs as a source of low cost energy for the most vulnerable in society.

    John Frankiewicz, divisional CEO at Willmott Dixon Capital Works, said: “While there was disappointment about the plans to reduce the FIT, the technology is becoming cheaper to install and remains an excellent way to provide low cost energy from a renewable source.

    “The savings in the cost of energy are still substantial and while the payback times are longer and investment returns smaller, we will look at how to adjust our business model so that we can continue using PV for sectors like elderly care.

    “With more and more people falling into fuel poverty, we need to send a message to the market that to achieve affordable energy from a renewable source, technology like PV is an important part of the equation. It’s not about investors making a huge return, it’s about companies like Willmott Dixon taking action and investing in technology that will deliver low cost energy at a time when the price of fuel will continue to rise. We think PV is a viable technology to deliver affordable energy, especially as the costs of PV will continue to fall.”

    Willmott Dixon’s decision to invest in PV at Turves Green gives renewed focus to a market re-adjusting to the Government’s announcement that it plans to reduce the FIT for PV installations with a total installed capacity of 4kW or less to 21p/kWh (16.8p for multi installations), which it indicates should deliver around a 4.5% rate of return.

    According to Frankiewicz, energy hungry sectors like care and health need innovative thinking to mitigate against the cost of energy.

    He added: “It’s up to companies like us to show leadership on behalf of clients like Housing 21 who will benefit from this over 25 years. We’ll learn from our installation of PV at Turves Green Road and look at how we introduce this technology on selected future projects to deliver real value for our clients.”

    Andrew Apps, head of development for Housing 21 said: “We’re really pleased that Willmott Dixon has taken such a decisive step to help us and our residents reduce energy bills at a time when there is so much pressure to reduce cost, particularly for vulnerable sectors of the community.”


    Construction union UCATT has welcomed the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) decision to reinstall the award winning Hidden Killer campaign in 2012.

    The Hidden Killer campaign was launched by the HSE in 2008 and warned construction workers, particularly those involved in maintenance and refurbishment work, of the dangers of asbestos.

    Construction workers are now the group most likely to be exposed to asbestos in the workplace. Despite this, there is a very high level of ignorance of the ongoing dangers of asbestos among these workers.

    A further phase of the campaign was due to have taken place in October 2010 but it was postponed due to the Conservative-led Government’s freeze on communications. In January 2011 UCATT became aware of the HSE documents that admitted: "there is no intention to run the Hidden Killer campaign again."

    As soon as UCATT became aware of the decision not to continue with the Hidden Killer campaign the union embarked on a lobbying campaign including contacting relevant ministers and assisting MPs who raised the matter in Parliament.

    At the HSE's Board meeting earlier this month it was announced that a new phase of the campaign would be launched in 2012.

    George Guy, Acting General Secretary of UCATT, said: "This is excellent news, the Hidden Killer campaign saves lives. A fresh phase of the campaign is long overdue. All the feedback shows that the campaign has been successful in educating construction workers on the dangers of asbestos."

    Natascha Engel, Labour MP for North East Derbyshire, who raised the proposed cancellation of the campaign in Parliament, said: "It is good news that the Hidden Killer campaign is being reinstated, it should never have been frozen in the first place. Far too many people every year die from asbestos diseases, the vast majority of these deaths could easily have been prevented."


    National Insulation Association
    Companies providing the benchmark for excellence in the insulation industry were given national recognition at a prestigious gala awards event hosted by the National Insulation Association (NIA).

    With the Government’s growing commitment to energy efficiency and the strong focus on consumer assurance and protection within its forthcoming flagship schemes, the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation, the high standard of entries to the NIA Industry Best Practice Awards this year highlight the professionalism of NIA member companies and their commitment to delivering quality and standards in workmanship and customer service.

    Neil Marshall, NIA Chief Executive, said: “This is the third year that the NIA has staged industry awards and the quantity and quality of entries received has been unprecedented.

    “At a time when the Government is calling on the insulation industry for support in tackling climate change and encouraging householders to address energy efficiency, NIA members continue to rise to the challenge demonstrating the highest level of service and commitment in areas ranging from Employer and Environmental Initiatives through to Customer Service and Health & Safety.”

    The award winners were:
  • A & M Insulations Ltd of Rainford, St Helens– Employee Training/Development
  • Climate Energy Solutions Ltd of Braintree, Essex – Health & Safety Awareness
  • Gavin Ward Ltd of Burnley– Outstanding Customer Service
  • Kingspan Insulation Ltd of Pembridge, Herefordshire – Environmental Initiative
  • KNW Ltd of Newcastle – Best Social Housing/Regeneration Project
  • Solarwall Ltd of York – Best Marketing Campaign
  • Solarwall Ltd of York – Website of the Year
  • Wetherby Building Systems of Warrington – Design and Innovation.