News Round-Up: March 2010

12 March 2010

Youth Club: A refurbished bank provides a music venue, dance studio and nightclub for youngsters in Norwich

Youth centres get £270m

A little-known government-funded programme to build facilities for young people will move up a gear in the next few months as new build and refurbishment work on up to 49 projects is tendered.

The £270m three-year Myplace programme is funded by the Department for Schools, Children and Families, and delivered by Big Fund, the project delivery arm of the Big Lottery Fund. It aims to create cutting-edge youth centres, designed with input from the teenagers who will use them, in some of the most deprived areas in England.

Of the 62 projects awarded funding in 2008, 41 worth a total £180m will go out to tender over the next couple of months. A further eight projects announced in December 2009 and awarded £31m are expected to sign off work shortly. London and Yorkshire have been awarded three projects each, along with schemes in Luton and Weymouth.

Meanwhile, 21 fast-track projects that received £61.5m in 2008 are in varying stages of completion. The first to be finished was Norwich Open, a refurbishment of a former bank by Hudson Architects that opened last October.

The centre provides youngsters aged 13-21 with a 1,100-capacity live venue, a climbing wall, dance studio, recording studio, cafe, media lab and a nightclub.

Working on the Norwich Open project posed unique challenges for local contractor John Youngs, says contracts manager Andrew Mowbray. “The building had to incorporate a huge variety of functions in unusually-shaped spaces, which had to be linked together to create an open access environment. This meant designing a three-sided lift to cope with all the converging spaces.

The team also had regular visits from Norwich Open’s Youth Forum. “It helped them come up with ideas for finishing and fittings,” said Mowbray.


Wates sets out to discover website impact

Contractor Wates is surveying teachers on the impact of its website,
set up to support students completing the Construction and the Built Environment diploma.

So far, teachers confirm that the four-month-old site has been effective in raising perceptions of the industry. The website targets students aged 14-19 completing Levels 1 and 2 of the diploma, and provides factual and interactive content to support their learning as well as offering resources to teachers to plan lessons. 


Q&A Dan Labbad

Dan Labbad, chief executive officer of property company Lend Lease, Europe, has succeeded Peter Rogers as chairman of the UK Green Building Council.

What do you see as the current priorities in the green agenda?

One of the priorities is to keep it simple. The agenda is complex and everyone is finding their way, there are no experts. So our new manifesto [launched at Ecobuild] sets out some key issues.

Can you give us a taster?

We want to make sure the industry is measuring and reporting. It’s essential, both at organisational level and at a buildings and product level. We need to know where we’re starting from and set targets. Otherwise how do we know if we’re on the right trajectory set by government?

Aren’t there too many competing measurement frameworks?

In 2008, a UKGBC Task Force of members and non-members recommended that the industry look into the Global Reporting Initiative, which is working on a Real Estate supplement. When it comes to measuring and reporting, it’s about linking up globally because we need to benchmark internationally.

Our reader poll this month suggests there’s a lack of “green” training courses.

Education is essential, we’ve had a lot of feedback from our members on this. Later this year the UKGBC will bring in two education programmes in partnership with leading education providers. With the College of Estate Management we’re running a introductory course on sustainable development, and we’re partnering with the University of Cambridge
on a leadership course about understanding the strategic agenda.

As a client yourself, do you think clients and developers are setting the bar high enough? 

It has to be joined up effort. The government needs to work to set an agenda and platform. Investors are asking for sustainable long-term performance, developers need to set the context to build sustainably, and contractors need to work with their supply chains on measuring and reporting. It’s not a case of one party in the supply chain acting then the others respond - that takes too long. 


Snappers sought

If you can take photos of the built environment to rival these professional shots by regular CIOB photographer Matt Wain, then watch out for the launch of a new CIOB photography competition in April.  

The Art of Building will be a showcase for the best digital photography of on-site construction, completed buildings and the built environment, and will be open to amateurs and professionals alike.

After being pre-selected by a panel of experts, 12 winning photos will be displayed on a dedicated competition website, and an online public vote will decide the overall winner in July.

For full details of the competition rules, look out for more information in April’s CM and on the website.


Month in numbers


The number of jobs that could be created in construction and related industries if the government cuts VAT on home maintenance and improvement work, according to a report produced by Experian for the Cut the VAT campaign group.


The average value, in pounds, of a UK home in February as house prices fell for the first time in 10 months, said figures from Nationwide building society.


The amount that 16 dilapidated churches in Yorkshire will receive from English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out repairs.


The sum, in pounds, the developer of Silvertown Quays is planning to sue the London Development Agency for after it axed the £1.5bn project in east London.


Sites asked more questions by CCS

Sites will come under closer scrutiny this year as the Considerate Constructors’ Scheme introduces a more stringent assessment procedure.

A set of 15 new questions has been added to the CCS site monitors’ checklist, which will ask sites to demonstrate new targets for improving environmental performance; monitoring embodied energy of materials; implementing a drugs and alcohol policy; and improving the literacy and numeracy of operatives.

Meanwhile, several questions on the existing checklist have been elevated to “bold” status, meaning sites must show they have considered or addressed them to achieve compliance with the Code of Considerate Practice.

The questions cover the management of smoking; the use of sustainable materials and products in the construction process; efforts to delitter the site and its perimeter, as well as increasing responsibilities to appease neighbours.

“Every year we update the checklist to take into account the best standards we are seeing within the industry,” said Edward Hardy, CCS chief executive.

 Interest in the scheme reached a peak this January, when a record 717 sites signed up. “Companies see the scheme as a means of gaining a competitive edge in a tough market,” Hardy concluded.


Now you can do your CPD online

Good news for CIOB members who want to combine their CPD with sustainability and efficiency: we’ve now switched to providing an online questionnaire to go with our monthly CPD articles.

The online system also allows readers to download and print their own CPD confirmation letters, which should be retained as a record of CPD activity.

To complete the questionnaire, go to, and click on the CPD article. At the end you will find a link to the questionnaire, which will also ask for your contact details.

If you select an incorrect answer, you can retry by pressing “submit” again.

Readers who submitted January and February CPD questionnaires by fax or post will receive an email acknowledgement in due course.


Mansell to build Barking council houses

Contractor Mansell has been chosen to build Barking and Dagenham’s first new council housing for a quarter of a century. Mansell Partnership Housing will put up 31 houses in the King William Street Quarter of Barking town centre (pictured). The new homes have been funded by grants from the Homes and Communities Agency, plus  the council’s own funds.

For more on the HCA’s plans for affordable housebuilding, see page 14.


Fast learners: front row (l-r): Graham Shelton MCIOB, Peter Harris MCIOB, Peter Chaffey MCIOB, Alex Hayden MCIOB, Adrian Clamp MCIOB, Paul Leach MCIOB, Dean Emblin MCIOB. Matthew Hanlan MCIOB is on the back row extreme left, and Scott Shearing MCIOB

Mace Business School helps nine achieve chartered status

Nine new corporate members of the CIOB, including seven whose formal education ended when they left school, became the first “graduates” of the Mace Business School when they were elected into membership last month.

The nine work for trade and specialist subcontractors who have enrolled staff at the Business School, set up by Mace in 2006 to raise the management capacity of companies in its supply chain.

“Seven of the group had no academic experience, but we got the whole group chartered in just over a year,” said Brian Moone FCIOB, director of the Mace Business School. “Their knowledge and experience supported it, but they still had to write eight 2,000-word assignments.” The seven who followed the Experienced Practitioner route all received distinctions.

Adrian Clamp, contracts manager for J Coffey Construction, becomes MCIOB after 38 years in the industry. “It was a bit like going into the unknown, but once you got into the stride, it all became more manageable,” he said. “The knowledge we gained was incredibly beneficial.”

Moone believes MCIOB status will help the individuals’ careers, and indirectly help them to add value to Mace projects. “An M&E guy who’s been in the business for years might instinctively know what the right answer is. But as an MCIOB, he will have the confidence to stand up and articulate to the architect and engineers exactly why that’s the right approach.”

CIOB trainer Chris Westacott is now coaching another Mace group, while Clamp has also encouraged three more J Coffey managers to sign up.

The Mace Business School, which is a CIOB training partner and a Chartered Building Consultancy, delivers training courses to staff at 46 suppliers.


Institute teams up with Telegraph for supplement

On Wednesday 17 March, The Daily Telegraph will publish its annual Careers in Constructionsupplement. Produced in association with the CIOB, the eight-page supplement contains both editorial and advertising.

The editorial will focus on growth areas in construction including the Olympics, Crossrail and Transport for London projects, as well as international construction and hiring UK workers for key projects overseas. Sustainability, green building and ensuring long-term “legacy” will also feature.

Construction is a core market for Telegraph Jobs both online and in print. It has a market-leading share of 65% of all construction roles carried in the national quality press.

Advertising and sponsorship packages are available across The Daily Telegraph’s print and digital platforms to promote your brand and recruit from 73,000 readers in construction and building. Contact Henry Vowden at the paper on 020 7931 3126.

Recruiters and job-hunters are reminded that another forum for industry recruitment advertising is on its way –

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