Architecture, Building and Design
2016 / 2017
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
A Y E A R I N P E R S P E C T I V E
F O R E W O R D S The Rt Hon Theresa May MP The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP Louise Ward
A R C H I T E C T U R E , B U I L D I N G & D E S I G N R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S Sealmaster Foster + Partners Argent Design Site Sealants Simon Bowden Architecture Darwen Terracotta Audio Schemes Workhaus Projects
LeeWarren Fabrication and Design Andrews & Mills Construction
F E A T U R E S Review of the Year Review of Parliament
©2017 WESTMINSTER PUBLICATIONS
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP Prime Minister
FOREWORD | deliver the next phase of high-speed rail, improve our energy infrastructure and support the development of automated vehicles and satellite technology, building a modern economy which creates the high-skill jobs of the future. At the same time, work needs to be done to build a fairer society – where people can go as far as their talents will take them and no one is held back because of their background. So we will continue to work to ensure every child has the opportunity to attend a good school. We will continue to invest in the NHS and reform mental health legislation, making this a priority. And we will work to address the challenges of social care for our ageing population, bringing forward proposals for consultation to build widespread support. So this is a Government determined to deliver the best Brexit deal, intent on building a stronger economy and a fairer society, committed to keeping our country safe, enhancing our standing in the wider world, and bringing our United Kingdom closer together. We will continue to put ourselves at the service of millions of ordinary working people for whom we will work every day in the national interest. This year’s Parliamentary review follows a significant year in British politics “ “
This year’s Parliamentary review follows a significant year in British politics. It was a year in which our economy continued to grow, as the Government followed its balanced plan to keep the public finances under control while investing to build a stronger economy. It was a year in which we began to deliver on the result of the EU referendum by triggering Article 50 and publishing the repeal Bill, which will allow for a smooth and orderly transition as the UK leaves the EU, maximising certainty for individuals and businesses. And, of course, it was a year in which the General Election showed that parts of our country remain divided and laid a fresh challenge to all of us involved in politics to resolve our differences, deal with injustices and take, not shirk, the big decisions. That is why our programme for government for the coming year is about recognising and grasping the opportunities that lie ahead for the United Kingdom as we leave the EU. The referendum vote last year was not just a vote to leave the EU – it was a profound and justified expression that our country often does not work the way it should for millions of ordinary working families. So we need to deliver a Brexit deal that works for all parts of the UK, while continuing to build a stronger, fairer country by strengthening our economy, tackling injustice and promoting opportunity and aspiration. In the year ahead we will continue to bring down the deficit so that young people do not spend most of their working lives paying for our failure to live within our means. We will take action to build a stronger economy so that we can improve people’s living standards and fund the public services on which we all depend. We will continue with our modern Industrial Strategy,
The UK has always been at the forefront of business and global trade. Our economy has many strengths: it is the fifth largest in the world, with the highest employment level anywhere in Europe and the best in our history. We can be truly proud of the fact that almost everyone of working age is in work and earning. We are home to many of the world’s most innovative companies, attracting a level of foreign direct investment that is the envy of others around the world. We lead the world in a breathtaking diversity of sectors from financial services to the creative industries to computing. Yet we recognise the need to do more. Low productivity in our workforce and regional disparities have been stubborn issues that successive governments have struggled to address. Our Industrial Strategy will do just that. It will build on the existing strengths of our country while creating the conditions for people, places and firms to thrive in the economy of the future. At its core is the mission to boost earning power for all. We will do this by investing in our people, promoting excellence in innovation, backing the businesses of the future and promoting the strengths of all places in our country. The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy This is a modern industrial strategy fit to tackle the grand challenges of our age: automation, de- carbonisation and ageing, to name a few. It is forward looking and puts the innovators, disruptors and value creators of tomorrow, in cross-cutting technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics, to the fore.
The vote to the leave the European Union marks the beginning of a new chapter in the history of our great businesses. I am very clear that the future of our industry is global. There is scarcely a product or a service made in Britain that does not make use of products or services from overseas – whether that is in capital equipment, components of products, advice and design or specialist labour. That is why the Industrial Strategy has openness, competition and free trade at its heart. As an island nation, international trade is instinctive. We have the opportunity to ask what the world will look like in the next 10, 20 or more years, and shape our country accordingly. While this will not be a quick or easy task, it is one which any responsible government must undertake. As a leading nation of enterprise, our great strength has always been our adaptability to change. And in this time of unprecedented technological and political change, I firmly believe the UK, as always, has the businesses, ideas, people and places to make every success of the opportunities these present. As a leading nation of enterprise, our great strength has always been our adaptability to change
| FOREWORD 2
LouiseWard Policy Standards and Communications Director at the British Safety Council
The fire at Grenfell tower shocked and horrified the nation. Over 80 people lost their lives, and hundreds more lost homes and loved ones. It seems incomprehensible that a tragedy of this scale can occur in 21st century Britain and we mustn’t allow this situation to slip unnoticed from the collective memory with the passage of time. Nothing can bring back those lost to the fire, but we can ensure that action is taken to prevent any recurrence of this dreadful incident. It’s sad to think that a major incident is required to fundamentally challenge the status quo, but hopefully there is some comfort in knowing that lives were not lost in vain and that learning has been applied to drive safety improvements. Health and safety is often viewed as an unnecessary burden, getting in the way of business and social enterprise, attracting high-profile headlines and widespread ridicule. This has made health and safety a focus for the Government’s deregulation agenda. However, the outcomes from the Grenfell fire underline an ongoing requirement for concise and proportionate regulation, establishing clear requirements and responsibilities, so that risk is managed effectively and people can live their lives without worrying about safety. It is timely to consider this as Brexit negotiations begin. Some have called for a significant cut in health and safety regulation as we leave the EU. But we urge caution. The UK regulatory system for health and safety is truly world class. It has significantly reduced injuries and illness over the last 40 years, and is still very much fit for purpose. However, there are still challenges ahead. Britain is now a professional and service-based economy, placing different demands on workers. Technology is blurring the lines between life
FOREWORD | and work, with many people now able to work from anywhere that has an internet connection. Automation, augmented reality and artificial intelligence are changing the way in which people interact with work processes, and the gig economy is changing the nature of employment relationships much has changed since the British Safety Council was established 60 years ago, and there is still more to be done, particularly in the field of wellbeing and mental health, but we have a robust framework to enable this, and it has never been more important. People are at the heart of the British economy and, as we leave the EU, businesses will increasingly focus on taking care of their people, their biggest asset. There are exciting times ahead, but it is essential that we maintain a focus on health, safety and wellbeing in order to ensure that Britain is fit to meet the challenges of the future. It is essential that we maintain a focus on health, safety and wellbeing “ “
return of the Two Party System The BBC’s Andrew Neil gives his take on the state of Parliament following the June 2017 general election.
Nationalist party and a resurgent Tory party representing the Union. Two-party politics was back north of the border. So we should have been prepared for something similar when Britain voted 52% to 48% to leave the European Union in the June 2016 referendum. At the time, we remarked on the power of referenda to overrule both the Commons (where mPs were 65% pro-EU) and the Lords (probably 80% pro-EU). What we did not see was how the Brexit referendum would reconfigure English politics just as the Scottish referendum had redrawn Scottish politics. So we were taken by surprise for a second time. In this year’s general election – perhaps the single biggest act of self-harm a sitting government has ever inflicted on itself – almost 85% in England voted either Conservative or Labour. The English had not voted in such numbers for both major parties since 1970, when the post-war two-party system began to wane – and declined in subsequent elections to a point where barely 65% voted Tory or Labour, encouraging some commentators to think the decline terminal.
The referendum, however, reversed the decline. The Brexit vote ended the schism on the Eurosceptic right as UKIP voters returned to the Tory fold; and those on the Left of the Greens and the Lib Dems flocked to Jeremy Corbyn’s more ‘red Flag’ Labour offering. So, as in Scotland previously, two-party politics was back with a vengeance in England too. But without one crucial element. Our historic two-party system regularly produced one-party government for the life of a Parliament. But our new two-party system has produced a hung Parliament with no party having an overall majority. This knife-edge parliamentary arithmetic means the smaller parties may be down – but they are not out. The Conservatives need an alliance with one small party (Ulster’s DUP) to be sure of a majority. Even then, with the Tories and Labour divided over Brexit, no majority on any issue will be certain and on many votes the smaller parties will be pivotal in determining many outcomes. So politicians return from their summer recess to a great parliamentary paradox: the two-party system has resurrected itself but rather than bringing with it the stability and certainty of the two-party politics of old, almost every major vote in the months ahead will be uncertain and unpredictable – and politics will be peculiarly unstable. Power will rest in Parliament. Government will be able to take nothing for granted. No vote will be in the bag until all the votes are counted. Westminster will have a new lease of life – perhaps even a spring in its step. Our democracy might be all the better for it.
It was a year in which politicians learned not only of the power of a referendum to overrule the will of Parliament – but of its power to change the party system in which they operate. Nobody saw this coming. But, in retrospect, perhaps we should have, since we had the fallout from the Scottish referendum to guide us. In the autumn of 2014 the Scots voted 55%-45% to remain part of the United Kingdom. That was supposed to settle the matter of Scottish independence for a generation, until some Scottish Nationalists began regarding a generation as no more than a couple of years. But in post- referendum elections to Holyrood and Westminster, it also recast the Scottish party system. Remember, Scotland had been one of the first parts of the UK to throw off the British two-party system and replace it with a multi-party choice of SNP, Labour, Tory, Green, Lib Dem and even UKIP. But as the constitutional issue took centre- stage – and remained there even after the referendum – Scottish voters coalesced round a binary choice: for or against independence. Thus was a new two-party system born of a centre-left Nationalist party (the SNP) and a centre-right Unionist party (the Scottish Tories). The other parties have not been completely obliterated, especially in Holyrood with its peculiar voting system. But by the general election
of 2017 Scotland had become a battle between a dominant
Neil believes two referendums have redrawn the map of British politics.
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CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING review of the Year
UK Government: construction’s biggest customer
‘We have circa 50,000 people retiring from the industry each year, with circa 15,000 entering,’ he says. ‘On top of this we need to recognise that the construction industry is currently made up of 8% EU nationals and latest figures suggest that they are now returning home due to the increased opportunities in their home countries and the devaluation of the pound. We now have shortages in labour, skills and talent. As a result of these shortages in every area of construction, rates are increasing and build costs and projects will be increasingly delayed.’ The skills shortage is across the board, including blue and white collar. London is perceived to be monopolising talent for major infrastructure build, such as Thames Tideway and Crossrail. The Hinkley Point C nuclear power project is also acting as a ‘labour magnet’. ‘There has been a pull of labour and skilled workers from across the European Union,’ he says. ‘Civil Engineers from Spain and France are held in relatively high regardbut the draw has been from all areas. As EU countries return to health and start to prosper, the effect has been to draw EU nationals currently based in the UK back home.’ Balfour Beatty called for a number of projects, in rail signalling and electrification in particular, to be confirmed in order that contractors can ensure that they can keep the necessary skilled personnel within the rail industry.
Balfour Beatty has 11% of new recruits holding non-UK passports; a result of the decreasing number of people entering the construction industry
The construction industry in the UK is heavily reliant upon public expenditure. more than 40% of National Infrastructure Construction Pipeline (NICP) is public investment, which means that any public finance stresses will quickly feed through to construction projects and contractors. While the inconclusive result of the General Election in June has led to a degree of uncertainty, there are no current indications that the NICP is being reconsidered. Some element of confidence was generated by the announcement, on 17 July, of the first civil engineering contracts for HS2. Balfour Beatty expressed a longer- term concern, when it revealed that over 10% of its workforce and more than 11% of new recruits hold non-UK passports. Those concerns were echoed by Simon Conington, managing Director of BPS World.
REVIEW OF THE YEAR |
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW Review of the Year
The National Infrastructure Construction Pipeline
The Crown Prosecution Service has the smallest budget, at £14.1 million; the Energy sector has the largest, with a total of 114 projects receiving investment amounting to £206.3 billion but more than half of that – £127.6 billion – will be after 2020/21. The sector receiving most funds over the current five years of the NICP is Transport, to which has been committed £91.9 billion up to 2020/21, with a further £46.4 billion thereafter. Transport includes £14.5 billion for London’s Crossrail and £55.7 billion for HS2, the North-South High Speed railway.
In his first major speech as Housing minister at the redefining Early Stage Investments (rESI) conference last autumn, Gavin Barwell, who would go on to lose his seat at the 2017 snap election, signalled a major shift in government policy. Whereas previously the Government had been focused on encouraging home ownership, Barwell said that in order to build the homes the country needed, it would have to support a broader range of tenures. In particular, he signalled the new Government’s support for the nascent, but fast-growing, build-to-rent sector. This involves large institutional investors, often major insurance companies and pension funds, financing the creation of new homes specifically designed for the rental market. Barwell said ‘I’m very clear that our ambitions will never be achieved without a significant boost in institutional investment to ensure more choice and quality for people living in rented accommodation.’ In his Autumn Statement, delivered on 23 November 2016, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that the capital budget for the National Infrastructure Construction Pipeline (NICP) will exceed £502 billion from 2016/17, at 2015/16 prices. Of that total, £201 billion – including an increase of £7 billion announced in the Autumn Statement – is scheduled for projects that will either start or be continuing beyond 2020/21, so a little over £302 billion is committed for projects either ongoing or due to start between 2017/18 and 2020/21. The current year will see spending peak, at a total of £66.1 billion. Building homes to rent
Philip Hammond announced increases in the capital budget for the National
Pipeline in his first Autumn Statement
The Prime minister, alongside former Housing minister Gavin Barwell, meets with construction workers
Unlike many other counties, such as the US, where build-to-rent makes up a large share of the housing market, in the UK the sector is in its infancy. Over here, the market for rented properties has been dominated by small buy-to-let landlords and only in recent years have large investors started to look seriously at the UK market. Attracted by growing demand for rented homes in the UK’s major cities and the prospects
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between London and Birmingham from an hour and 24 minutes (sometimes quicker), to 45 minutes, at a cost of £27.4 billion (2015/16 prices). However, the main gain will be in capacity. When Phase 1 is completed, in 2026, over three times the passenger numbers will pass through Euston, from 11,300/hour to 34,900. HS2 will be exclusively for passengers and, as two thirds of current InterCity journeys will be moved to the new railway, more space on existing lines will be available for freight and commuter traffic. changes, estate agents report reduced demand for properties from buy-to- let landlords and some owners with large mortgages may be forced to sell homes as the cut relief changes are phased in. If the number of buy-to- let properties does fall, it would put significant upward pressure on rents without the contribution of large numbers of build-to-rent homes onto the market. 240,000 new homes will be built by 2030, which Ian Fletcher, Director of real Estate Policy at the British Property Federation, argues would represent a meaningful contribution to tackling the housing crisis. ‘We estimate build-to- rent could help the new Government to meet a quarter of its housing shortfall,’ he claimed. As well as helping boost overall housing numbers, the completion of the first build-to-rent homes represent a timely addition to the rental market in light of the Government crackdown on the buy-to-let market. An additional 3% rate of stamp duty was introduced last year for buy-to-let and second home purchases, and this year tax relief on mortgage interest payments for buy-to-let landlords was cut. In the wake of the two policy
On 23 February 2017, royal Assent was granted for Phase One of High Speed 2 – HS2 – the 350-mile high speed railway from London to the midlands, the North West of England and Yorkshire. contracts for Phase 1, the 140-mile route between London Euston and Birmingham, with a northern branch to a connection to the West Coast main Line (WCmL) between Lichfield and rugeley. It will cut journey times HS2: ready to depart On 17 July, the Government announced the first series of for secure income streams, they have made significant commitments. Over the past five years, UK investors such as L&G and Hermes, as well as many big names from overseas, including Invesco and APG, have collectively pledged to invest billions of pounds. During the past year, yet more leading investment groups and developers have announced plans to enter the market, such as Canada-based Oxford Properties, which revealed in march that it would look to invest more than £1 billion. CBrE estimates that there is currently £27.7 billion targeting the UK build-to- rent sector over the next five years. However, it will take time for these commitments to translate into new homes. Years after the sector’s pioneers started looking at the possibilities, only now are the first wave of build-to-rent schemes coming out of the ground. According to data from Savills and the British Property Federation (BPF) published in June, just 15,925 homes have been built to date. As there are more than 20,000 homes under construction and a further 20,000 with detailed planning consent, that number is likely to increase rapidly. Indeed, Savills and the BPF forecast that
Estate agents have reported a fall in the number of buy-to- let properties being purchased
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THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW Review of the Year
London’s Crossrail, the other major transport talking-point of the last decade, reached a big milestone on 4 June 2015, when the digging of its 42km (26 miles) of tunnels was completed. Since then, the contractors have been busy building 10 new stations, upgrading another 30, and integrating new and existing infrastructure. Now 80% complete, when it starts operating it will be known as the Elizabeth Line. Limited operations, run by shorter versions of the new trains, began between London Liverpool Street Station and Shenfield, Essex, on 22 June 2017; when wider services Fifteen trains per hour will travel to and from Euston. As they will all travel at the same speed and won’t have to make allowances for slower traffic, total capacity will be higher than on conventional lines. more than half of Phase 1 will be sub-surface. The Phase 1 HS2 civil engineering contracts, announced in July, are worth a total of £6.6 billion across two stages. Phase 2, full construction, is scheduled to start in 2019. Phase 1 is expected to support 16,000 jobs across the country and to generate 7,000 contract opportunities in the supply chain, of which around 60% are expected to go to SmEs. confirmed that construction of Phase 2a, which will run to WCmL just south of Crewe, will be brought forward six years, with completion scheduled for 2027. Trains on the dedicated HS2 line will run at up to 400kph (250mph), the fastest in Europe. When completed, 350 miles of new HS2 track will extend The rt Hon Chris Grayling mP, Secretary of State for Transport,
The high speed rail proposal was announced under the Cameron government
begin in may 2019, its trains will carry an estimated 200 million passengers per year. The full service, from reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, is scheduled to start in December 2017. It will increase inner London’s rail capacity by 10% and bring an extra 1.5 million people to within 45 minutes of central London. The trains themselves are a new generation of Underground rolling stock. Each of the 66-strong fleet will be 200 metres long – almost twice the length of existing London Underground units – and carry more than 1,500 passengers. They will be equipped with to manchester and Wigan in the North West, and to Leeds in Yorkshire, with a spur towards Chesterfield. The total HS2 budget is just under £57 billion (2015/16 prices), from project start to 2033. Fare receipts over 30 years are expected to be in excess of £60 billion; the Government estimates that the overall return on HS2 will be in excess of £100 billion. more than 129,000 jobs are set to be created, including 25,000 in private sector construction, 3,000 in railway operations and 100,000 through growth around HS2 stations.
Crossrail: the Elizabeth Line
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The single carriageway Silver Jubilee Bridge, which was opened in 1961, has been extended from two lanes to four and its approach roads have been modernised and redesigned in order to speed up traffic flow. It now carries over 80,000 vehicles a day, and 26 million users a year – far in excess of its original design capacity. The new, six-lane bridge is intended to relieve congestion and stimulate millions of pounds of economic activity. Up to 1,000 people have been working on the site during the construction phase. The mersey Gateway is expected to lead to the creation of 4,640 new permanent jobs, from the operation of the bridge itself as well as regeneration activity and inward investment, adding £61.9 million a year in Gross Value Added (GVA) by 2030. The Gateway was first proposed in 1994, when the mersey Gateway Group technology, including regenerative braking, will enable energy usage to be cut by up to 30%. By contrast with the rest of the London Underground, Elizabeth Line trains are powered by 25kV 50Hz overhead electricity lines. They will be much faster than Underground trains, with an operating speed of 90mph (140kph). Transport for London (TfL) is scheduled to take over the Heathrow to Paddington service in may 2018 and the full-size, nine carriage Elizabeth Line trains will run on this route. Europe’s largest infrastructure project, Crossrail budget is £14.5 billion. TfL says that 55,000 full time jobs and 75,000 business opportunities have been created during construction and that it will benefit the economy by around £42 billion.
Crossrail is Europe’s largest infrastructure project, and has created 55,000 full time jobs
Wi-Fi, 4G, air conditioning and CCTV, and the walk-through carriages will be fully accessible for wheelchair users. Bodyshells are made of aluminium, for lightness, and novel drivetrain
mersey Gateway: a river runs through it
The mersey river crossing will be a six-lane bridge, and is due to open in Autumn 2017
The new river mersey crossing is scheduled to open in Autumn 2017. most new estuary crossings are at the lowest bridging point across their particular river but this is not the case with the mersey Gateway; it is located just over a mile (1.5km) upstream, to the east of the existing Silver Jubilee Bridge. It will also be the first bridge completely located within a single borough – Halton – on which tolls are levied.
REVIEW OF THE YEAR |
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW Review of the Year
was formed. It received initial approval from the Department of Transport in 2006 and funding was approved in 2011. It is a private finance initiative (PFI) project that will operate for 30 years. The merseylink Consortium was selected as the preferred bidder in June 2013 and work commenced in 2014. merseylink’s sponsors are: macquarie Capital (Australia); FCC Construcción SA (Spain); and BBGI SA (listed on the London Stock Exchange). The contractors are FCC Construcción; Kier Infrastructure & Overseas Ltd; and Samsung C&T Corporation, of Korea. The tolls – £2 per journey – will be operated by French company, Emovis, and will be collected by means of number plate recognition; there will be no toll booth plaza. Total costs through to 2044, including design, build, finance, operation and maintenance, are estimated at £1.86 billion, of which approximately £600 million represented land purchase and initial construction costs. The majority of funding will be from tolls paid by road users; central Government contributed a capital grant of £86 million and is providing an operating grant for the first 12 years amounting to £126 million. Halton Borough Council worked with merseylink to reduce procurement costs by £246 million.
Toll booths will be replaced with numberplate recognition
As well as the bridge itself, extensive construction work has been undertaken on the approach roads. On the runcorn side, the A533 Central Expressway has been upgraded and realigned, with new bridges and redesigned junctions; it will link the bridge to Junction 12 on the m56 North Cheshire motorway. To the north, in Widnes, the bridge is connected directly to the A562 Speke Expressway, with links to the m62 and m57 motorways. The existing Jubilee Bridge will remain in place to cater primarily for local traffic. It will be tolled as well, at the same rate as the Gateway, and by the same method of number plate recognition. After a brief but vociferous campaign, local residents within Halton Borough won exemption from tolls. They can register for exemption at the cost of £10.
A303/A358 Western Expressway: Stonehenge and beyond
The A303 dual carriageway that branches off from the m3 near Basingstoke and runs past Andover narrows to a two-lane single carriageway road just after Countess roundabout, at the junction with the A345 just north of Amesbury. Thereafter, this arterial highway is a frustrating mix of single-carriageway roads through villages and dual carriageway across
countryside. There are, currently, still 35 miles of single carriageway road along the Expressway route. Under the road Investment Strategy, the intention now is to link the existing dual carriageways together with three new sections: A303 Sparkford to Ilchester; A358 Taunton to Southfield; and A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down.
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says Derek Parody, Highways England Project Director for the A303 Stonehenge Scheme. The solution now proposed to the public will take the main A303 away from Countess roundabout and into a twin-bore tunnel that will be located to the south of the stones themselves, running west just under two miles to a portal about half a mile east of the north-south A360 and a third of a mile south of the existing A303. The public is being asked which route, north or south, around the village of Winterbourne Stoke is preferred. Whichever is chosen, the new road will re-join the existing A303 where it is existing dual carriageway, to the east of Berwick Down. The proposal now is for a bored tunnel solution. ‘The precise technique will be the subject of a lot of design and discussion but it will be 50 metres deep in some places,’ mr Parody says. A deep-dug tunnel will minimise ground settlement, surface impact and effects on the historical and archaeological artefacts. The Avenue – the ancient approach to the stones – is currently cut in half by the existing A303 so the proposal is to position the Eastern Portal to the east of that ‘green road’, a solution that is claimed to offer the opportunity to improve and enhance the WHS. ‘We have located the Western Portal where we miss the key barrow groups but we are exiting before we get to the end of the WHS,’ Parody says. ‘I think that the return against additional cost involved in stretching the tunnel further would make it unaffordable and the benefit we could gain doesn’t seem to balance itself off.’ The old A303 route will be turned into a ‘green byway’. The Avenue will be able to host processions and walks from Amesbury all the way to the stones. Construction is currently scheduled for 2019/21.
The current state of the A303 road includes a frustrating mix of single and dual carriageways
Larger road schemes such as the A303 Western Expressway are classed as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) and are subject to a planning process that requires a Development Consent Order before construction can commence. The consultation process for the project, which has a total current budget of £1.5 billion, began in late 2016 with formal launches and presentations to the public in the Sparkford to Ilchester and Taunton to Southfields sections. The consultation for the Amesbury to Berwick Down section was formally launched at a presentation in the Stonehenge Visitor Centre in January 2017. This section, budgeted at just under £1.2 billion, passes through the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS). There are a great many sensitivities in the area: the stones themselves, along with innumerable archaeological artefacts thousands of years old. The WHS covers a large area and a route around Stonehenge far to the south was considered, one that would have taken the A303 close to the northern boundary of Salisbury. In total, 60 different route proposals were considered. ‘We have done a thorough sifting process, measuring each one against four key client scheme objectives:
transport, economic growth, environment and biodiversity,’
11 REVIEW OF THE YEAR |
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW Highlighting best practice
The Sealmaster team displays ingenuity and dedication in ensuring our products meet the highest standards
S ealmaster Ltd. is a U.K. manufacturer specialising in fire, smoke, draught, weather and acoustic seals for doors, windows and other apertures. Our key innovation was the development of Intumescent Technology. Intumescent means the ability to swell under high temperatures generated by fire. Every fire door you walk through will include an Intumescent fire or fire and smoke seal which slows the spread of fire and smoke through a building, creating vital time for people to escape. The Seals are activated by high temperatures and expand into a wet mousse which chars and seals the gaps around the door preventing smoke and flames jumping to the next room or corridor and oxygen being drawn by the vacuum to feed the fire. Our compounds allow doors to be opened by fire fighters and will reseal the gaps. Our seals can protect doors for up to 2 hours. Preventing the Grenfell Tower Tragedy We are a family company based near Cambridge. We were founded 56 years ago and have seen the market develop since our invention of the technology in the 1970’s. It is a sad truism that fire regulations have been driven by a series of high profile tragedies. Had our Sealmaster FireFoam been used at Grenfell Tower it could have prevented the chimney effect between the cladding and the structure. The current market has many challenges not least the import of cheap copies from the Far East. In many cases these products do not adhere to the rigorous standards required in the U.K. This jeopardises safety.
FACTS ABOUT Sealmaster »» Sealmaster is a division of Dixon International Group Limited of Cambridge in the UK »» Founded by Bernard Dixon in 1962 »» We have 50 years of conducting cutting-edge research, and Intumescent Fire and Smoke Seals, Acoustic, Draught and Weather Seals, Fire Glazing and Structural fire safety as well as bespoke solutions »» Sealmaster is part of the The Innovation Network and the Sunday Times Enterprise Network developing our products »» We are Manufacturers of
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CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
Product development has been key for our business and stimulated by flagship projects such as the Thames Barrier, the Channel Tunnel and not least The Palace of Westminster. These diverse projects illustrate our range of products spanning major civil engineering projects and iconic historical buildings. We invest heavily in innovative research and development and have a unique combination of experts ranging from chemists to polymer scientists and engineers. We use cutting edge testing facilities. We tap into the expertise of Cambridge University, employing specialist consultants and each summer we employ interns from the renowned Cambridge Engineering Faculty to work with us and give the students real world experience. We manufacture a wide range of Intumescent solutions. Architects, designers and engineers frequently look to us for bespoke design and manufacture of solutions for unusually challenging problems. The Windsor Castle fire When Windsor Castle was gutted by fire English Heritage investigated and concluded that the reason the blaze spread through the Castle so rapidly was due to old thin paneled doors unable to resist the intense heat. English Heritage turned to International Fire Consultants for a solution and they naturally approached us. FireFace After extensive research and testing we invented a unique British product called FireFace. This is a thin timber veneer containing an Intumescent formula which can be applied (reversibly) to doors without changing their appearance or their historical aesthetic. Most importantly it provides The expertise of Cambridge University
30 minutes’ fire protection. We are currently advising the National Trust of Scotland on similar protection for Brodick Castle on the Isle of Arran. We receive worldwide interest in FireFace – most recently for an historic government building in Australia being converted into a luxury hotel. We develop solutions for markets with particular climatic conditions such as the Scandinavian countries. The structure of buildings in Norway for example, present specific challenges for the spread of fire since many are timber framed. So, we have developed a product to prevent fire jumping into roof voids, and are working on a new solution for walls. Scandinavia Our overriding principle is the protection of people and buildings. We were one of fewer than 1,000 British companies to receive a Millennium Product Award from the Design Council. In fact, we received 4 Awards. These were assessed as outstanding by international standards and celebrated Millennium Products
Had our Sealmaster FireFoam been used at Grenfell Tower it could have prevented the chimney effect between the cladding and the structure
Ensuring our products are thoroughly tested, and trustworthy, is a matter of great importance to us
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THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW Highlighting best practice
1960’s and before the oil crisis of the seventies. Our products are energy efficient reducing the loss of heat from a building – decades before climate change entered the agenda. We subsequently developed our range into acoustic sealing and high-performance seals for extreme weather conditions. For instance, we worked with the British Antarctic Survey to protect people and equipment from extreme cold in the Share Caboose Station at the South Pole monitoring the ozone layer. We also worked with the BBC to acoustically seal doors to their recording studios and auditoria. Our staff We employ 65 people, recruit from our local community and invest in training and development. We have one family with 3 generations employed, the oldest with almost 40 years’ service. We have Polish staff who are hardworking and an essential part of our team – helping us to develop our business into Eastern Europe. My Grandfather bought the site we occupy in 1961 enabling us to grow without having to relocate. We invest significantly in testing our products to the relevant British Standards which hitherto have been the benchmark internationally. However, this is being superseded by CE marking (Council of Europe) standards in both Europe and internationally. This will mean investing substantially in re-testing products to comply with the new CE standards. With the current uncertainty over Brexit, this presents a major challenge. Our driving force has been our acute focus on research, innovation and creative ways to solve the challenges presented by smoke and fire to people’s lives. Our staff are our greatest asset and we continue to re-invest and develop our talent for the future.
The SmartSeal range is unique in combining the latest sealing technology with traditional timber weatherboards discretely
in the Spiral of Innovation at the opening of the Millennium Dome. I was subsequently asked to Chair the Sharing Business Innovation Network’s discussions on British exports. The findings were published to wider business and educational communities sharing best practice and helping strengthen Britain’s competitive edge in the global economy. Meanwhile, FireFace was selected by the Design Council, the British Council and the Conran Design Group as one of the UK’s 120 most promising products at the start of the c21st and featured at major international trade fairs sponsored by the government. Our draught, weather and acoustic seals range was initially developed during the energy price rises in the
We protected people and
equipment at a British Antarctic Survey research station and worked with the BBC to make studios soundproof
“ FireFace membranes were selected as Millennium Products by the Design Council, and exhibited on the Spiral of Innovation in London
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CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
Foster + Partners
Collaboration at Foster + Partners © Nigel Young / Foster + Partners
I n popular culture, the architect has often been portrayed as a lone creative genius, or as someone who is the sole author of a building. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth, especially as projects become more diverse and specialised. Even the most basic building project is a collective and collaborative vision that involves multiple stakeholders, frequently transcending international borders. Today, the task of coordinating creative input from various sources is an intrinsic part of an architect’s role. The challenge however, is to leverage the innovative potential of collaboration early in the design process, by creating integrated teams that bring their combined expertise to bear at the beginning of every project. Foster + Partners is a global studio for architecture, urbanism and design, located in Battersea, London, currently working on, among many others: Apple Park in California, Bloomberg Headquarters in London, extra-terrestrial habitats on the Moon and Mars, collaborations with Nissan on the future of urban mobility, Droneports in Rwanda to help deliver blood to remote locations, and 3D printing with steel and concrete. The practice integrates the skills of architecture with engineering, both structural and environmental, urbanism, interior and industrial design, model and film making, aeronautics and many more – our collegiate working environment is similar to a compact university. These diverse skills make us capable of tackling a wide range of projects, particularly those of considerable complexity and scale. Design is at the core of everything that we do. We design buildings, spaces and cities; we listen, we question and we innovate.
FACTS ABOUT Foster + Partners
»» Founded: 1967 »» Turnover: £250m »» Overseas projects: 85% »» Headcount: 1250 »» Average age of employee: 35
NOTABLE PROJECTS INCLUDE »» 30 St Mary Axe (aka the gherkin) »» Wembley Stadium »» The Great Court at the British Museum »» Bloomberg Headquarters, London »» Apple Campus, California »» Hearst Tower, New York »» Chep Lap Kok Airport, Hong Kong »» Beijing Airport, Terminal 3
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Fuel Station of the Future, Collaboration with Nissan Europe © Nissan Europe / Foster + Partners
Over the past five decades, we have continually embraced cutting edge technologies to maintain our commitment to innovation. We have always looked at collaboration as a way of expanding our own horizons and developing new areas of work. For instance, our first 3D-printed models date back to 1999, when we were designing 30 St Mary Axe. We acquired in-house 3D-printing facilities in 2004 as it increasingly became an integral part of the design process. Currently, we are exploring the use of 3D-printing as a way of building structures – as evidenced by our project to build habitats on Mars and the Moon using 3D-printed regolith with NASA and the ESA, respectively. We are also working with Skanska and Loughborough University to look at ways that we can 3D-print building components in concrete. What started as a method of representation, is now transforming the way we construct buildings – at the heart of it all is the spirit of collaboration.
In 1967, when Norman Foster founded Foster Associates, it was centred on a strong philosophy of collaboration. The idea of pulling together all the various disciplines needed to design buildings – including structural engineers, heating, cooling and electrical designers, cost consultants and construction advisers – into one inclusive team, was an unusual approach. The design of any project would commence with everyone sitting around the same table. What eventually became a natural way of working, allowed for the blurring of edges of responsibilities, and for individuals to influence aspects that were not strictly within their own realms of expertise. Since then, our practice has expanded considerably, dramatically increasing these multi-disciplinary collaborations with a wide range of individuals, institutions and specialists located not only in the UK, but all over the world. The prime motivation is to find the best skills, experience and talent globally, and to continually innovate through every project.
It is essential to be able to recruit the best talent in the world from all over the world if you want to compete as the best in the world
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CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
The Hongkong and Shanghai Bank Headquarters in 1979 was an opportunity for us to explore
opportunities to work with the best of the global building industry. The bank’s desire to achieve the best building in the world encouraged us to consider construction technology from all over the world. The contractor was a Japanese company, major façade components were manufactured in the US, and the steelwork was done in the UK – not only was it an exercise in coordination, but it allowed us to harness the best global expertise for the job. The project eventually placed our practice firmly on the international stage. A newfound awareness of skills and abilities available around the world created opportunities for us to take collaboration to new heights. By the end of the 1990s, the vast majority of our work was located abroad. Asia, United States and mainland Europe – where we had earlier discovered those new skills and technologies – were now where most of our projects were located. Only 10% of our projects were in the UK. But interestingly, although we had satellite offices worldwide, our organisation was expanding predominantly here in London. We realised that bringing together a wide range of individuals from different disciplines in the same location was proving advantageous – there was a rapid exchange of ideas, intense and iterative design processes, and also real cultural osmosis. To have people who were local to the places and cultures where our projects were being realised working for us here in London proved to be invaluable. No longer was it people working in defined siloes, but a real collaborative spirit from which emanated new, innovative ideas for design, opening up new avenues for the practice. The interplay of ideas that emerge by bringing together the top talent from
Project Name: 30 St Mary Axe © Jeffrey Milstein
all over the world inspires innovative design solutions that would otherwise not evolve. Foster + Partners now comprises 1,250 people, 80% of whom are based in London. With our global portfolio, we recruit from the top 0.5% of all architectural graduates worldwide. The average age across the practice is 34 and we speak more than 70 languages. This demonstrates our sustained commitment to seek out the best talent, wherever they may be. It is a philosophy that has allowed us to be able to work anywhere on Earth and to develop our unique approach towards integrated design.
Project Name: Lunar 3D printing project © ESA / Foster + Partners
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THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW Highlighting best practice
Argent has enormous experience of heritage architecture, as shown with its sensitive refurbishment of this Grade 1 listed building in St James’s replete with Adams-style plasterwork
A rgent Design has more than 20 years of experience creating many of the world’s most desirable, luxurious and innovative interiors, employing imagination, market know-how and commercial acumen to add tangible value to already super-prime properties. Argent’s founder, Nicola Fontanella, rejects the ‘cookie-cutter’ approach to interior architecture and design, which replicates one style repeatedly. ‘I think of myself as an explorer’, she says, ‘What really counts is getting out there and finding the unique and the special.’ If there is a signature Argent look, it is a 21st-century take on Hollywood Regency. She channels the same vibe in her personal style, although she is used to swapping five-inch heels for hard hat and high-vis jacket when on site. Don’t let appearances deceive though. Over two decades, Argent has proved that outstanding design is crucial to maximising the value of high-end real estate, both in London and internationally, playing an instrumental role in extending and upgrading its clients’ property portfolios. The Story So Far Fontanella founded Argent in 1995 at the age of 27, working as a one-woman band out of a basement in central London. She originally trained at Harrods’ interior design studio and later for a company called Instant Design, which honed her commercial sense. Today, she heads a team of 30 from the studio in Marylebone, routinely running client budgets of many millions.
FACTS ABOUT Argent Design »» Founded by Nicola Fontanella in 1995 »» Head office and studio in »» 70% of its London projects focused on listed buildings »» Champions creativity and craftsmanship »» Proven success in increasing real estate values »» International portfolio includes projects from Europe to China to the USA »» Ambassador for ‘The British Look’ – a style that is glamorous and elegant, but never dull or predictable Marylebone with newly opened office in Miami
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