The Week That Was - 22 April 2022

Published on 22 April 2022

Welcome to The Week That Was, a round-up of key events in the construction sector over the last seven days.

Warehouse construction at an all-time high

The warehouse and logistics industry was valued at £5.59bn in 2021, the highest since the Office for National Statistics began measuring the sector in 1985.  This represents an increase of nearly 150% on the previous year. 

This rapid shift has been driven by increased demand for online shopping, together with retailers looking to increase warehouse space for stock, in order to deal with global supply chain issues.  It is anticipated that the sector will continue to grow, with the boom expected to continue into 2023. 

Winvic (a contractor that works extensively in the warehouse and logistics market) has recently been appointed in relation to a £58m warehouse development in Kettering and a £45m development in Northampton. It expects its turnover to nearly double to c.£1bn in the year ending January 2022.  In addition, a joint venture, led by Berkeley Group, is set to develop the UK's first multistorey warehouse in London and global logistics firm, Prologis, is to fund c.£1.5bn towards the development of zero-carbon warehouses in England.

To read more, please click here.

J Murphy & Sons to support Ukrainian refugees

J Murphy & Sons are aiming to offer employment to 175 Ukrainian refugees and is in correspondence with the Home Office to offer a range of meaningful jobs to support Ukrainians relocating to the UK.  A range of onsite, operative and functional jobs will be made available, including within the finance department and skilled work in the engineering, operations and commercial activities of the company.  This forms part of a drive to "support those impacted by the current situation in Ukraine".

J Murphy & Sons also plans to provide practical assistance, including support with housing searches, cultural integration, language barriers and informal mentoring.  In support of this, the new recruits will be paired up with a volunteer buddy, who will be a current employee with Ukraine or another Eastern European country listed as their country of origin.

Other construction companies, including Ferrovial Construction UK, Redrow, Wilmott Dixon and Balfour Beaty are also making donations to support Ukraine.

To read more, please click here.

Government Building Safety Pledge from developers

The government has announced the publication of a "building safety pledge", to which over 35 major developers are signatories.  The pledge commits to addressing "life-critical fire-safety issues" on all buildings in England, of 11m or above and that were developed or refurbished since 5 April 1992.  As part of the commitment, the developers will not seek payment from the government's Building Safety Fund or Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) Fund and will reimburse any payments previously received from these funds.

The manufacturers of construction products have not yet signed up to any similar pledge.

For implicated buildings without developer involvement, the government has confirmed that it will use the Building Safety Levy under the Building Safety Bill to fund the necessary remedial works.

For more information, please click here.

City recruits green skills taskforce

The City of London has established a new taskforce to address skills shortages in green construction in an attempt to achieve net zero carbon emission for the Square Mile by 2040. 

The taskforce will consider ways to bridge the green skills gap in the construction, retrofit and maintenance of commercial buildings in the City.  The taskforce, which will run for a three-year period, is being chaired by Chris Hayward from the City's policy and resources committee and includes Julia Barrett (chief sustainability officer of Willmott Dixon), David Frise (chief of the Building Engineering Services Association) and Emma Hoskyn (UK head of sustainability for JLL).

For more information, please click here.

New study of construction adjudication

Kings College London (KCL) and The Adjudication Society (ATS) have launched a new survey into UK construction adjudication.

ATS publishes an annual report identifying trends and developments in construction adjudication. However, in recent years, they have found that there have been fewer trends reported due to the limited nature of their research.  ATS has now engaged KCL to assist with its research and to develop a more comprehensive survey which encompasses a broader cross-section of the industry. Everyone involved in adjudications is now encouraged to take part in the survey, including adjudicators, the parties and their advisers.

The survey remains open until 13 May 2022 and KCL will publish a summary of the results in November 2022.

You can read more here and find the survey here.

£30m fund for innovation to decarbonise highway construction

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced a fund of £30m to support innovative projects to decarbonise local highway infrastructure across the country.  There will be a particular focus on improving the sustainability of the construction, maintenance and running of roads in the UK.

The launch of the three-year competition (named Live Labs 2) follows the success of the first competition which was launched in May 2019, which contributed to eight local projects which tested innovative solutions to local roads.  This included Staffordshire County Council introducing "living walls" to tackle road emissions and pothole detection using drones in Kent.

The new round of DfT funding forms part of the government's objective to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

To read more please click here.  

Thanks to Sophie Parkinson, Nina Charalambous and Ella Ennos-Dann for contributing to this week's edition.

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

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