Howard Chapman, Buildingtalk Editor, takes a look some of the latest industry news including why construction gets the Brexit blues, the nuclear bunker building boom, Britain’s most beautiful university, London’s housing scandal, and how employees with disabilities can benefit business.
Read more about Nuclear bunker boom, Brexit blues, Tall building risks + more in the latest edition of Buildingtalk News
Construction has been particularly hit by the uncertainties and currency fluctuations that followed the Brexit vote. However, we know from the report leaked by The Times, that construction has been listed under ‘low priorities’ in the Brexit negotiations. In the meantime, contractor’s profitability has been hit badly with, for example, Carillion and Interserve share prices falling sharply after profit warnings.
A sharp slowdown in construction in the third quarter, with output in the building sector falling, ran counter to other industries doing better. Construction is now technically in recession after largest output fall in five years even though the UK economy grew 0.4%, beating market expectations.
And now Lord Henley has been announced as yet another new construction minister, the fourth to hold the post in the last two years. Is this ministerial turn-over another sign of the lack of Government focus on the industry?
The new minister should help kick-start the construction sector by supporting Communities Secretary Sajid Javid call to ‘invest in the future’ of our social infrastructure and really tackle the housing crisis by building hundreds of thousands of new affordable homes. Or maybe follow the example of the Indian government who are investing £80bn in transport infrastructure to boost their slowing economy.
It comes as no surprise that there has been a 300% nuclear bunker sales surge since Donald Trump was elected. But now we can survive a nuclear apocalypse in style. The business of bunker-building is booming in Britian, joining the US, South Korea and Japan in the race for survival. Britain is set to become its largest market in Europe, with ten ‘super bunkers’ being built next year. Take a look inside the ‘billionaire bunkers’ where the world’s super rich will ride out the apocalypse.
Take a look at an interesting video in Construction News that shines a spotlight on diversity within the construction workforce with a focus on how employees with disabilities can provide benefits for businesses. It looks at how a disabled workforce can thrive within the industry, and potentially bring benefits to its business and the wider sector.
A recent Blog in the Independent by Ellie Reeves, Labour MP for Lewisham West and Penge, looks at the ‘terrible housing crisis legacy’ in London. She says the Government must fix this mess created by Boris Johnson leaving office with no social homes funded for the year that Sadiq Khan came into office. Britain has not invested enough to build the new homes we needed every year.
Now millions of people either priced out of the market or exploited by rogue landlords. Now the current Mayor in London shows what can be achieved when those in office have a genuine desire for change. He is funding homes at social rent once again and the number of affordable homes is up from 13 per cent to 38 per cent in the first six months of this year.
Congratulations to Royal Holloway, University of London, winning the accolade of the UK’s most beautiful university in an online competition set up on the Holiday Lettings website.
The Princess Royal recently opened a new £57 million building at Royal Holloway. The Emily Wilding Davison Building has been described as one of the most ambitious buildings in the campus’s history and was designed to complement Royal Holloway’s Grade 1-listed Founder’s Building, which was modelled on the famous Château de Chambord in France and first opened by Queen Victoria in 1886.
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