Vox pop: What do you feel optimistic about for 2013?
Phillip Hall, managing director, Hall Construction
This year is actually looking quite healthy for us, we have a full order book for the first half of 2013, working on a farmhouse conversion for a VIP client, no less, and several other barn conversions. I attended the CIOB’s biannual dinner at Trinity College, Oxford in December and other contractors I spoke to were similarly upbeat and saying workloads were increasing compared with the past couple of years. Past CIOB president Professor Roger Flanagan was also encouraging, and said it was important that the industry continued to project a positive attitude to encourage future investment and growth.
Chris Harding, chairman, BDP
Next year I expect to see more interesting partnerships being set up to get the most out of sites that local authorities have been sitting on for years. On urban sites this will mean trying to realise the value of land by increasing the density of schemes or the number of mixed-use activities — there are some fantastic unexploited sites in London. In times of austerity you are forced to become more creative and as a result something better comes out of it.
As architects we’ll also be working more closely with communities, which now have to become much more involved in local authority developments to get projects off the ground, which is very rewarding.
Lucynda Jensen MCIOB, project manager, Morgan Sindall
I worked on the Athletes’ Village plot NA1 for Bovis Lend Lease and the guys are currently transforming it into legacy mode, transforming the sporting context into the East Village complex of public spaces, homes, apartments and a school, so I’m looking forward to revisiting the site to see what they have done with it.
Ben Derbyshire, managing director, HTA Architects
Recent government decisions should have a beneficial impact on the house building sector in 2013. I’m happy about clearer direction on how the house building industry can access its reported £10bn of funding guarantees to encourage investment in housing development.
I also applaud the decision to acquiesce to EU Directive 2010/31, which requires that all housing should be appropriately labelled with information on size, energy efficiency and energy costs. This information is currently available in Energy Performance Certificates but hidden in the particulars rather than obviously displayed.
The government’s insistence that local authorities should use section 106 arrangements to leverage opportunities for the new build private rented sector and dispose of land at discounted rates should also help improve our business.
Emma Nicholson FCIOB, senior sustainability consultant, Rider Levett Bucknall
It’s a positive move by the government to ensure that by 6 April 2013 all companies listed on the main board of the London Stock Exchange will have to include carbon footprint data alongside financial data. Up to 1,000 organisations will have to report their greenhouse gas emissions. Their carbon footprint information will have to be included in the Directors’ Report in the same way as their audited financial statements.
This is just the first step in the process as, in 2015, the UK government will be reviewing progress in implementing mandatory carbon reporting to include all large companies by 2016.
Vance Babbage, director, B&M Babbage
I’m happy to see that CITB-ConstructionSkills will continue to free up funds for industry training, particularly feeding money into local safety associations.
We belong to the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Construction Safety Association, which last year received £10,000 of government funding and will get the same amount in 2013. It’s feeding back into the industry at grass roots, for accident awareness training, working at height, scaffold erection, etc. It softens the financial impact of training for smaller contractors and sends out the right message that contractors don’t have to bear the costs for everything.