26th August Journal Column

Web-LogoBy Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

Last week was A-level results day, and I’m pleased to say that the number of students being accepted on architecture, planning and building courses now stands at the highest it’s been in the past five years.

According to UCAS figures, UK universities handed places to 6,670 students who were looking to study architecture and building associated courses from September, an increase on last year’s 6,430 applicants.

Those that had applied for architecture related courses rose two per cent from last year to 43,600 – that’s over 43,000 young people showing a keen interest in building related subjects, we can’t ask for much more than that, can we?

Students from England make up almost two-thirds of this year’s student cohort – an increase of seven per cent on last year.  And whilst that percentage might not seem like a lot to some, any increase is positive news for the industry in my eyes. For a long time, we’ve wanted to encourage more young people into the industry, and to see that more people are interested in industry related subjects each year is amazing news.

It’s not just England that are seeing an increase in applicants and interest, a further 310 placed students are from Northern Ireland, a 12 per cent rise on last year and Scottish applicants increased by 13 per cent too. The number of applicants from Wales didn’t change, but as long as the number isn’t decreasing, there’s no cause for concern.

A total of 530 successful applicants were from European Union countries outside of the UK, no change from 2015, but the number of students accepted from outside the EU has fallen 14 per cent to 830- not surprising given the uncertainty of the UK’s relationship with the EU in the near future.

Applications from women were up two per cent to 17,640- more than male applications, which grew by one per cent to 25,970. And although applications are still dominated by males, women are quickly catching up.

There’s been a lot of work over the years to encourage women and young people into the industry, and these statistics show that all of our hard work has been worthwhile- it’s finally starting to pay off.

The final numbers for this year are likely to change as more students get places through the clearing process, so we should hopefully see an even further increase in figures. But I for one am more than happy with how they stand now, it gives me hope and promise for the future of the industry knowing there are so many young people showing an interest in our industry. Young people hold the future of our industry in their hands and the more hands, the better!

Constructing Excellence merges with BRE

CE BREFollowing extensive discussions with its members and stakeholders, the board of Constructing Excellence (CE) has confirmed the merger with BRE.  The move is designed to strengthen and grow the CE membership and its positive impact on the industry at a time of significant global challenge.

Under the merger BRE will maintain the distinctive CE brands, develop the network and add critical capacity in developing digital tools, delivering training and events and growing the international reach.  It will also enable CE to achieve its long-term ambition of establishing a Constructing Excellence Foundation under the BRE Trust which would see trading profit channelled into research and education for the benefit of members.

Murray Rowden, Global Head of Infrastructure, Turner and Townsend, and Chairman of Constructing Excellence said ‘CE has a strong vision for our industry and the merger with BRE provides us with the opportunity to strengthen our influence and realise our ambition of being the leading organisation driving improvement in construction and the build environment. It is a good move for our membership who gain additional benefits from BRE’s cutting edge research and global reach. We are all delighted by this development and look forward to sharing knowledge and best practice to benefit the industry.’

What does this mean for the North East?
The arrangement makes huge sense for both organisations, financially, operationally but more importantly, in terms of driving the ongoing change agenda in UK construction and pursuit of collaborative working and whole life vale in all of our projects.

However, it is important for you to be clear that CENE will not be affected in any way by this merger. CENE is a separate legal entity so we remain outside of this merger and we retain our brand.  This is also the case for all Constructing Excellence Regional Centres around the country as they too are separate legal entities.

The deal will allow Constructing Excellence to achieve a step-change in the level of investment in, and impact of, its activities on behalf of the membership. The merger secures the future of the brand, our mission and our movement of Constructing Excellence. It also achieves the long-term ambition of establishing a Constructing Excellence Foundation to raise and leverage funds and support research and education for the benefit of our members and the sector as a whole.

To read the full press release about the merger please go to http://tinyurl.com/hamp52q

25th August 2016 Newsletter

To view this week’s newsletter containing further information about the Constructing Excellence merge with BRE and forthcoming events please click here.

19th August Journal Column

HK Logo - smallBy Graham Sutton, Associate Solicitor at Hay & Kilner

The Insurance Act 2015 (IA 2015) came into effect on 12 August 2016 and applies to all commercial contracts of insurance, and in part to consumer insurances. The Act changes the way in which insurance is conducted and represents a significant change to the legal framework of insurance contracts.

There are a number of fundamental changes that have been introduced, all of which will have an impact on those insurers and insured across the industry, given the heavy reliance on insurance products. These changes include:

  • A new concept of “a duty of fair presentation”. The insured will have to disclose every material circumstance that they know or ought to know to put a prudent insurer on notice that it needs to make further enquiries to reveal the material circumstances. This applies to disclosure before the contract is concluded, new contracts, renewals and mid-term variations.
  • Disclosure of facts must now be made in a reasonably clear and accessible manner, and material representations of facts must be “substantially correct”. Further, material representations of expectation or belief must be made in “good faith”.
  • Where there has been a breach of “warranty”, being a particular type of contractual term, the Act now prevents the insurer being able to discharge all liability for the risks covered by the policy from the time of the breach. Where a deliberate or reckless breach of duty takes place, insurers will still be able to avoid the policy in full and retain any premiums paid. The responsibility will be with the insurer to show that a breach was deliberate or reckless.

For other breaches, the remedies are based on what the insurer would have done if the breach had not taken place and the insured had made a fair presentation of the risk.

  • What are known as “basis of contract” clauses are now abolished. Insurers will now generally remain liable for all legitimate losses suffered by an insured if a fraudulent claim is made.
  • The duty of good faith remains but the right to avoid the insurance policy if the other party fails to act in accordance with utmost good faith has now been removed.
  • Parties to non-consumer insurance contracts can agree less favourable terms than those in the Act. However, it is not possible to contract out of the new prohibition on the “basis of contract” clauses.

Construction companies will need to review how they have conducted their disclosure to insurers and make sure that they comply with the new requirements. It might seem like a lot of work, but it’s important that you/your project fully complies with the Act’s provisions and that you have appropriate and effective internal procedures in place to ensure the relevant employees are fully conversant with the new requirements. Yes it might make the process a little longer, but do you want the job doing right, or do you want the job doing fast?


18th August 2016 Newsletter

To view this week’s newsletter with articles regarding Apprenticeship government levy and forthcoming event information please click here.

12th August Journal Column

HK Logo - smallBy Richard Freeman-Wallace, Partner at Hay & Kilner Solicitors

The whole issue of asbestos, understandably because of the nature of the substance, spreads fear across the industry, but in my experience, it’s fear without anybody actually really understanding the problem. Do people actually know who is responsible for asbestos in a building and what happens when there is no Asbestos Report relating to the property?

Luckily for us, the answers to all our queries can be found in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, in particular Regulation 4. The regulations impose a duty on the “duty holder” to manage any risk from asbestos in commercial properties. The duty is to establish whether asbestos is, or is likely to be present in the building. If it is present or likely to be present, then it states it is their responsibility to manage what happens.

Most people think that in order to sell or let a property an asbestos survey must be carried out, when in fact this is not the case. The only requirement is to keep records and a written plan on how to manage asbestos, keeping information regarding the location and condition of asbestos available to anyone who is likely to disturb it – meaning a survey is not needed.

So who exactly is the “duty holder”? The “duty holder” can be the landlord/seller, the tenant/buyer, or both the landlord and tenant or one and then the other. It all depends on who is obliged to maintain and repair the commercial property and who exercises control over access to it. Potentially, the “duty holder” can be anyone who has an interest in the property, whether they are a freeholder, tenant, a sharer of occupation or concessionaire. Typically, in the case of a lease, the landlord is the duty holder before the lease is granted, but the tenant then becomes the duty holder, where the tenant is solely responsible for the area where there is asbestos. The landlord can continue to remain the duty holder in parts of the building where there is asbestos, for instance in common areas such as areas where communal boilers, heating systems etc. are kept.

The management of asbestos is still very much an issue which must always be kept in mind, especially in the North East since we still have a lot of old buildings where the use of asbestos in one form or another was very common.

Another huge misconception is that “managing” asbestos means removing it – this is not necessarily the case. The only obligation is to have a record of where it is, what state it is in and a system of managing the risk that asbestos may cause. Usually, the best thing to do is to leave the asbestos in place, undisturbed, so that it is contained and safe – like the old saying goes, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it!

11th August 2016 Newsletter

To view this week’s newsletter along with articles featuring the CIC Brexit discussion and news about Desco as well as upcoming event information please click here.

5th August Journal Column

Web-LogoBy Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

We might have gotten off to a slow start compared to other industries in the digital revolution, but it’s fair to say we’ve definitely caught up. Technology and modern tools have helped speed up and improve the construction process, and although the need for manual labour has always remained constant, these modern advances could mean that’s all about to change.

The building site of the future is going to look very different to what we are all used to seeing today. Instead of hundreds of men in hard hats and work boots, there are going to be drones, robotic bulldozers and 3D printers rolling out new structures.

There are now apps, programmes and even robots that can do everything from carry out minimal tasks to building houses with very little human interaction. Automated robots are being used to construct beams, lay bricks, drill, dig, paint and perform almost any task required to build structures.

Technology is about to get cranked up a gear as the Construction Industry Training Board has been given the go ahead to train five members of staff to fly drones to the Civil Aviation Authority standard.

Spending the day flying a remote controlled aircraft might sound like a hobby, or something to do on your day off, but it could soon be just another ‘day in the office’.

Could we soon see the end of working life as we know it? Is the robotic revolution coming, and does it have the potential to significantly change the industry? Here’s hoping, because the robotic revolution is set to improve project times and reduce the risk of health and safety – which is what we’ve all wanted for a long time!

The roofers will be trained to use drones to carry out surveys and find faults, rather than getting up on the roof themselves to carry out these tasks, massively reducing the risks of working at a height.

Research has shown that approximately 10 per cent of manufacturing tasks are currently carried out by machines, with the number predicted to rise to 25 per cent by 2025 if pilot schemes like this are rolled across the industry.

Machines get smarter and more capable each year, which scares a lot of people, but with the industry tackling huge projects and housing shortages over the next few years, we’re going to need all the help we can get.

Contractors will need to consider how technology can make a difference to project budgets and timescales, and with drones having the potential to make construction faster, more cost-effective and most importantly, safer, they could be the answer to all of our problems.

4th August 2016 Newsletter

To view this week’s newsletter please click here.