Howard Chapman, Buildingtalk Editor, reviews the latest building news including: Carillion’s struggle for survival; new homes for 400k people in skyscraper city; record UK green electricity in 2017; 50 million trees for Northern Forest; new Retentions Bill to halt construction industry abuse; how Maggies Centres are changing the way care facilities are built; and UBM bids goodbye to Building.
Carillion, a flagship UK construction services group involved in the HS2 high-speed rail link and other Government infrastructure projects, needs new funding soon to stave off collapse after its latest plan exposed a funding gap running to hundreds of millions of pounds, plus the business is carrying around £1bn of debt. Carillion employs 19,500 people in the UK and may need financial support from the Government if it cannot secure it from private sector sources.
The developers are aiming to complete construction before the Dubai World Expo in 2020 but property price in Dubai are falling, so will it still be a commercial success?
2017 was the first year that ‘low carbon’ power plants and installations provided the majority of the country’s electricity. The UK electricity sector passed a number of green milestones last year including its first coal-free day since 1882 and new records for wind and solar generation. The largest increase in generation for a single source came from wind which was up 31%. The use of coal is down 84% over the past five years and accounts for around 80% of the fall in overall UK carbon emissions. Low-carbon sources generated more UK electricity than fossil fuels in 2017.
50 million trees will be planted to create a new Northern Forest stretching from Liverpool to Hull. However, the whole project will cost £500m and the government has only pledged £5.7m. The Northern Forest may also get funds allocated for mitigating the environmental impact of major transport projects expected in the north, such as road-building and HS2, but the rest will need to be raised by charities. The UK has one of the lowest rates of woodland in Europe and the area to be covered by the Northern Forest is one of the most denuded in England. So it has been welcomed by environmentalists.
Peter Aldous, the MP behind a new bill aimed at outlawing directly held retentions in construction has said the current system is subject to abuse and wastes millions of pounds at every level. 12 MPs have pledged their support and the bill also has the backing of 30 construction industry bodies including the Federation of Master Builders, the Home Builders Federation and the Finishes and Interior Sector.
Maggie’s Centres are designed so cancer patients don’t ‘lose the joy of living in the fear of death’. Take a look at the latest one, a luminescent cube structure designed by New York architect Steven Holl, newly designed luminescent cube structure at the side of St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. It ‘emits an undeniable feeling of calm’.
Steven Holl is the latest in a line of eminent architects who have designed Maggie’s Centres across the UK, including Norman Foster finished work on a centre at The Christie Hospital in his home town of Manchester in 2016.
Building is one of Britain’s oldest magazines, having been founded in 1843 by Joseph Hansom, better known for designing the Hansom cab. The title has been sold to its management team, led by director Tom Broughton.
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