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The week that was - 26 January 2024

Published on 26 January 2024

Welcome to the week that was, a round-up of key events in the construction sector over the last seven days.

Construction starts on hundreds of new homes in Oxford

Oxford City Council has granted formal planning permission for the redevelopment of Blackbird Leys, paving the way for the construction of hundreds of affordable homes, retail spaces, and community facilities.  

Housing association Peabody, in collaboration with the council, plans to build 294 homes across two sites to address the housing shortage in Oxford.  The district centre will comprise 210 homes, with 83% designated for social or affordable rent and 17% for shared ownership.  Additional shared ownership houses will be constructed at Knights Road.  The development also includes a community centre, green spaces, shops, and improved roads with a segregated cycle route.  Following over four years of community engagement, Peabody and the council have secured planning consent, and construction has commenced, with the old Community Centre set for demolition.  Opportunities for community involvement, skill development, and artwork contributions are anticipated, contributing to the rejuvenation of Blackbird Leys.

To read more, please click here.

GRAHAM and Bricks Group set to transform Nottingham’s Bendigo Building into luxury student accommodation

GRAHAM has secured a £70 million contract from property developer Bricks Group for the Bendigo Building project in Nottingham, part of the 'true student' management platform. Originally a Royal Mail Sorting office from the late 1960s, the redevelopment aims to revitalise the area, providing high-end student accommodation with excellent connectivity to Nottingham Trent University, the train station, and the high street. The 'True Nottingham' development will offer 661 beds in various living options, including studios and apartments. GRAHAM will collaborate with a consultancy team, including Bricks Development, Abacus, KKA Limited, HSP Consulting, and ME7. The project includes luxury amenities such as a festival zone, multimedia/games lounge, state-of-the-art gym, landscaped garden, commercial units, car parking, and cycle storage.

To read more, please click here

Regulator investigating blocks built with large panel systems  

The Building Safety Regulator (BSR) has confirmed that it will urgently look at large panel system (LPS) buildings as part of its new inspection regime. LPS was a common construction method for high-rise housing blocks built in the 1950s and 1960s. Safety concerns centre on the risk of a gas explosion causing a progressive collapse or gaps in LPS structures posing a fire risk. A BSR spokesperson said it would prioritise assessments of LPS buildings built between 1957 and 1973 “which cannot confirm remediation work has been carried out and have [piped] gas systems/networks”. 

More information is available here.

Pollard Thomas Edwards secures go-ahead for rural eco-housing with ‘parking barns’

Pollard Thomas Edwards (PTE) has secured planning permission on appeal for a ground-breaking Passivhaus development in rural Oxfordshire. The 'zero carbon' housing scheme, commissioned by Blenheim Estate, spans two sites - Hill Rise with 180 homes and Banbury Road with 250 homes. The development on the outskirts of Woodstock village will feature 50% affordable, Passivhaus-standard homes arranged on traditional streets. Both sites will include 'green' living rooms, health living infrastructure such as cycleways, communal food-growing gardens, and 'parking barns' designed to resemble local farm buildings while providing secure off-street parking. The barns are highlighted as a distinctive feature, reducing car infrastructure from a typical 40% to 14%. PTE views the development as a cultural shift in embracing sociable streets over car-dominated roads. The firm reported a decline in turnover and profit in the latest financial year, attributing it to various factors, including changes in building safety regulations and economic uncertainties.

To read more, please click here.

Populous unveils first Saudi 2034 World Cup stadium proposal

Populous has unveiled its design for the Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Stadium in Qiddiya, Saudi Arabia, a proposed venue for the 2034 World Cup.  The stadium, named after the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, will feature a retractable roof and pitch, with one side hosting a large, retractable LED wall for broadcasting live events, films, and laser shows.  The stadium's unique design includes a stacked geometric form covered in digital screens, rising from the cliffside in staggered blocks. Populous aims for the stadium to be the world's first fully integrated venue with a combined retractable roof, pitch, and LED wall. The 45,000-seat stadium is part of Saudi Arabia's bid to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup and is intended to host various events beyond football, including boxing, esports, concerts, and theatre performances.  The stadium will become the home ground for Saudi Arabian pro league football clubs Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr.   The wider Qiddiya entertainment and esports district will feature concert halls, a race track, a golf course, and a Six Flags theme park.

To read more, please click here.

Building Safety Act 2022 regulations come into force

Sections of Part 4 of The Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA 2022) came into force on 16th January 2024, through the enactment of The Building Safety Act 2022 (Commencement No. 6) Regulations 2024. 

These new regulations provide a framework for the ongoing duty to assess and manage safety risks within occupied higher-risk buildings, specifically, the duties of an accountable person.

Key sections of the new regulations impose requirements and duties in respect of:

  • Registration of occupied higher-risk buildings and obtaining/displaying a building assessment certificate (Sections 79 to 82);
  • A resident engagement strategy for higher-risk buildings and the complaints procedures of the principal accountable person and building safety regulator (“the regulator”) (Sections 91 to 94);
  • Assessing and managing building safety risks, including provision of a safety case report to the regulator (Sections 83 to 86);
  • Reporting certain safety information, retaining and sharing prescribed information and documents for higher-risk buildings with certain parties (Sections 87, 88 and 90);
  • Duties of residents including contravention notices for breach of those duties (Sections 95 to 97); and
  • Requirements in relation to regulator enforcement action (Section 102 and Schedule 7) which creates a special measures regime, an enforcement tool of last resort (Sections 98 to 101).

The regulations are available here.

Disclaimer: The information in this publication is for guidance purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  We attempt to ensure that the content is current as at the date of publication, but we do not guarantee that it remains up to date.  You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content. 

Authors for this week's edition: Nikita Austin, Emily Snow and Dom Barnes