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Redbridge Council gives green light to ‘Tesco town’

Collaboration between supermarket firm and housebuilder to provide urban village in east London

Housebuilder Weston Homes and supermarket firm Tesco have obtained a resolution to grant planning permission for their joint plans for a 1,280-home project in Goodmayes.

They secured the go-ahead from Redbridge council to transform an existing Tesco store and car park into a new community called Lorimer Village, which has a gross development value of £ 500m.

The scheme includes a total of 14 towers, rising to 22 storeys, alongside plans for rebuilding the store. It will also include a primary school, a village hall, a landscaped garden and public transport improvements.

The development will also be 100% electric powered, making use of 682 solar PV panels.

The scheme, of which 35% will be affordable housing, was designed by RDA Architects and will take around 8 years to be finished, it’s expected to start in early 2022.

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Post-pandemic construction industry recovery

The volume of contracts signed in April indicates a brighter future for construction industry, while project starts are still below pre-pandemic levels, the past few months have seen a strong rise, the development pipeline is now ahead of 2019 levels, pointing to the prospect of a recovery in starts over the coming months.

The fastest growth was in large projects, starts among these larger jobs has increased by 23% over the previous three months and by 69% over the same period last year.

Compared with the previous three months, the value of contracts awarded has increased by 36%, an increase of 50% over the same period last year, and an increase of 12% over the same period in 2019. Major contract awards of more than £100M increased by 44% in the three months to April, which is 97% higher than the level a year ago.

Underlying contract awards increased by 34% on the preceding three months to stand 38% higher than a year ago.

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Local MP objecting to Greenwich scheme

Local MP launches an objection to £800m Greenwich scheme, saying it is too tall

The development designed by OMA was planned to include four towers up to 36-storeys high

Labor MP from Greenwich and Woolwich, Matthew Pennycook, has written to the Labor-held local authority planning board formally aligning himself against U & I’s £ 770 million plan at Morden Wharf.

The project on the western side was presented for planning at the Greenwich council in June last year and work is expected to begin in 2023 if approved. It would consist of 1,500 homes and more than 17,000 square meters of commercial space in 12 buildings, including four towers between 21 and 36 storeys high.

A new road called Sea Witch Lane, named after a pub that was destroyed by a bomb in WWII, would run through the development into a public square.

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UK-specific issues are adding to global shortages

Consultant Says UK Specific Problems Add To Global Shortage

A combination of UK-specific factors may affect the construction sector’s recovery from this year’s pandemic, Aecom warned.

Rising labour costs due to post-Brexit emigration and permanent non-tariff barriers affecting UK construction product imports from the EU are driving up input costs, the consultant said.

The EU is a major source of supply to the UK for a wide range of building materials.

But some EU exporters have stopped supplying the UK due to additional red tape making it commercially unviable, while others have raised prices to cover new non-tariff barriers and additional administrative costs.

CPA data released in January also showed that the EU-born construction sector workforce declined by more than a quarter in the year to Q3 2020.

And while a record 42% drop in UK commercial exports to the EU in January partially recovered in February, exports in the other direction have seen a much weaker recovery.

EU imports rose just £1.2bn in February after a record drop of £6.7bn in January, according to the latest figures from ONS.

The issues have been outlined in Aecom’s market forecast for construction, which predicts bid prices will increase 2.4% from the second quarter of this year to the second quarter of 2022 and 3% over the next 12 months.

UK-specific cost pressures are occurring in the context of global material shortages caused by supply constraints and increased demand, especially in the US.

Steel prices have risen 25% in the 12 months to February this year, but although it had risen with the value of the dollar, the dollar fell out of sync at the end of February.

Aecom said the weakening of the dollar in recent months now runs the risk of driving up the price of steel and other metals further.

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Designs for 46-storey Westfield tower ready

Developer Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) and Glenn Howells Architects have unveiled the plan for a 46-storey tower next to the Westfield shopping centre, West London.

In 2017, Allies and Morrison was granted outline planning permission for 1,347 homes across three sites on behalf of developer URW, which owns the Westfield shopping centre and the surrounding land. Under the previous plans, the scheme was set to have 1,100 homes across eight blocks.

Glenn Howells has now submitted revised outline plan for the site, which would see 1,760 homes provided across nine blocks, the scheme would also feature a 34-storey tower, a 24-storey block and two 19-storey blocks.

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PAS 9980: Building fire safety assessment standard, consultation launched

A public consultation process for a new code of practice for fire risk appraisal, assessment of external wall construction and cladding of existing apartment blocks has been initiated.

The British Standards Institution is seeking information from people in the building, fire, housing and security industries, as well as consumers and residents.

The new standard, PAS 9980 (Fire risk appraisal and assessment of external wall construction and cladding of existing blocks of flats – Code of practice), will give guidance on undertaking a fire risk appraisal and assessment (FRAA) of the external wall construction of a multi-storey residential building.

The standard is intended for use by fire engineers and other building professionals tasked with advising on the fire risk of external wall construction of existing blocks of flats.

The consultation runs until 20 May, and the standard is due to be published in September.

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Plans for Birmingham health & science campus approved

Green light for the construction of a £210m campus dedicated to health and life science businesses in Birmingham.

The £210m Birmingham Health Innovation Campus will see 133,000 square feet of laboratory and office space built at the site in Selly Oak. The work is set to begin this summer, the developer, Bruntwood SciTech, expects the first phase of the project to be completed in 2023. A main contractor has not yet been formally appointed.

The campus is part of a larger masterplan for the area, which could see 657,000 square foot of office and lab space built over the next decade.

The campus project has received £11m of funding from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) through the Local Fund and the Government’s Getting Building Fund.

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Approval for Network Homes’ 1,000-home project in London

Housing association Network Homes has been given the green light for nearly 1,000-home scheme that will be developed next to Northwick Park Hospital in north-west London.

The scheme is the second phase of a £450m development, the first phase, consisting of 654 homes, was given approval in December last year.

This second phase, with 1,600 homes across 19 buildings, will include student facilities, commercial space and a nursery on the site. It will also include 40% affordable homes.

The land development between Northwick Park Hospital and the adjacent park is led by a partnership between Network Homes, Northwest London Hospital NHS Trust, the University of Westminster and  the City Council. These four organisations have been awarded £500,000 from the One Public Estate programme, a scheme to encourage public sector organisations to make better use of their land.

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Dorset firm Cutler Bros. Ltd fined after worker falls through skylight

Dorset’s construction firm Cutler Bros. Ltd and its director were sentenced after a worker fell through a skylight.

On 22 February 2019, a self-employed labourer was fitting roof sheets to a newly constructed steel-framed barn. The worker fell through a fragile skylight and dropped almost 4m to the floor below. He suffered head and facial injuries, was knocked unconscious and spent nearly two weeks in hospital.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the work had not been correctly planned, with workers operating near a fragile roof without having sufficient platforms and guardrails.

Cutler Bros. Ltd was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,600 after pleading guilty to breaking Work at Height Regulations 2005. Company director Roger Martin Cutler also pleaded guilty, and was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,200.

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Green light for 15-storey tower paves the way for AHMM Southwark tube project

Southwark council has approved a 15-storey residential tower project, which paves the way for a major office scheme to be built above Southwark tube station in South London borough.

At the end of last month the council voted unanimously to approve the Bell Phillips Architects-designed tower. The building will provide 25 homes on the existing Styles House Estate.

The project will require the demolition of existing buildings including the Platform Southwark building, a housing studio space, an art gallery and a theatre.

The council’s green light to the Styles House Estate tower now clears the path for Transport for London (TfL) to progress its plans for the over-station development, which would provide office space with retail space on the ground floor.

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