- A rise in house building activity and commercial work has helped drag Britain’s construction sector back from a seven-month low.
- However, the report cautioned that the overall rate of expansion remained slightly weaker than seen on average over this period.
- The survey noted that UK construction firms had ended 2015 with a “robust” level of overall business activity, adding that commercial building increased on the back of improving UK economic conditions, leading to new orders.
- Housing activity also showed strong growth, picking up from a 29-month low in November.
IHS Global Insight economist Howard Archer said it was a “reassuring survey”.
UK’s Top Art Award, the Turner Prize, Won by Architecture Project for Derelict Houses
- The UK’s Turner Prize for 2015 has been won by Assemble, a collective group of architects that has restored derelict houses.
- The Turner is the leading award in British contemporary art, and arguably Europe’s most prestigious contemporary visual art prize, and Assemble is its first winner from the architecture and design field.
- Alex Farquharson, director of Nottingham Contemporary, has been appointed the new director of Tate Britain.
- Assemble was nominated both for this “Granby Four Streets” project as well as others.
- The total prize pool for the Turner is £40,000 (about $60,300).
The Big 5 opens today with thousands of certified products on display
- Counting both ongoing and planned construction projects, the GCC’s construction pipeline totals $2.8 trillion, especially in mixed-use mega-developments, airports and seaports, and transportation infrastructure, according to the recent report by Deloitte.
- “The Middle East is seeing nationwide transformation in construction innovation, with projects for mega-events such as World Expo 2020 in Dubai and 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar stretching design boundaries.
- The building and construction sector in Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) has witnessed 74 per cent growth in the last five years growing from Dh10.7 billion in 2009 to Dh18.6 billion in 2014.
- Advancing government BIM mandates further demonstrate the Middle East’s desire to be on par with global innovators in the construction field,” Paul Wallett, area business director, Tekla Middle East, said in a statement.
- Among the top visiting countries to the event will be the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iran, India, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt and Pakistan.
Construction sector ‘in rude health’ as new business surges
- THE UK’s construction sector remains in “rude health”, driven by the fastest rise in new business for a year, a report said.
- Tim Moore, senior economist at Markit, said: “Another relatively buoyant construction PMI reading indicates that the sector remains in rude health.
- But last month’s reading remains comfortably above 50 which indicates growth, and marks two-and-a-half years of sustained output growth across the sector.
- The sector was driven by an uplift in commercial building, with housing and civil engineering work also expanding but at a slower rate.
- The latest Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) survey for the sector showed that activity eased slightly to give a reading of 58.8 in October, although this was down from a seven-month high of 59.9 in September.
‘Amber warning light’ on economy (From Herald Scotland)
- SCOTTISH Chambers of Commerce has declared that its latest economic survey, which shows much weaker manufacturing growth and declining confidence among services firms, is an “amber warning light” for the UK and Scottish Governments.
- The survey shows the first fall in optimism in the Scottish financial and business services sector for a year.
- Scottish Chambers’ survey, conducted by Strathclyde University’s Fraser of Allander Institute, flags a sharp slowdown in investment growth in the manufacturing sector north of the Border.
- The survey signals that year-on-year growth in sales revenue in the Scottish tourism sector accelerated between the second and third quarters.
- And it signals a fall in capital investment in the financial and business services sector.
Sharp decline in construction drags GDP growth
- But while steady growth in the UK as a whole is still expected, the prospects are less optimistic for Northern Ireland.
- A STEEP decline in construction output dragged down growth in the UK’s economy in the last quarter with the slow down worse than anticipated at 0.5 per cent.
- Analysts had forecast that growth would slow slightly from 0.7 per cent in the second quarter to 0.6 per cent in the three months to September.
- Manufacturing continued to struggle as it fell by a more moderate 0.3 per cent, while mining and quarrying increased 2.4 per cent.
Meanwhile, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders Brian Berry said the figures “will shake away any complacency that the recovery in the construction industry can be taken for granted”.
Chinese cash could fund Scottish construction
- CHINESE investors could be attracted to plough hundreds of millions of pounds into key Scottish infrastructure projects – such as road upgrading and connecting offshore wind farms to the grid – on the back of moves to encourage foreign involvement in the HS2 high speed rail project.
Earlier this year it was revealed that Scotland is becoming a hotspot for Chinese property investors looking for an alternative to London with Edinburgh in particular attracting interest.
- Michael Watson, an infrastructure and projects lawyer at Pinsent Masons, said the visit could also have a knock-on impact north of the Border but only if Scotland is able to present an attractive investment proposition for the Chinese.
- Chancellor George Osborne this week travelled to China to try and attract investors there to bid for seven contracts worth £11.8 billion in total covering the first phase of HS2, between London and Birmingham.
- The key is to have projects which are visible, well developed and ready to be invested in, because we are competing in an extremely competitive global market and the Chinese and other overseas investors have a wealth of options on where to put their money.”
Watson said projects of sufficient scale which could interest Chinese investors include the A9 Perth to Inverness dualling project and rail electrification programmes.
Renewable energy outstrips coal for first time in UK electricity mix
- Ageing coal and nuclear plants have been closing in recent years, while renewable energy has been rapidly rolling out.
- Renewable energy has for the first time surpassed coal in supplying the UK’s electricity for a whole quarter, according to government statistics released on Thursday.
- However, the government’s energy statistics released on Thursday said demand “fell by 2% continuing the recent downward trend”.
- Nuclear power was third with 21.5% and coal – the most polluting fuel – fell back to fourth, with 20.5%.
- Gas-fired power stations provided the most electricity – 30% – with renewables second.
Radisson Blu hosts Jersey Architecture Biennale
- The six designers will meet at the Radisson Blu Hotel in St Helier, as part of the Jersey Architecture Biennale.
- A Jersey building, once voted the ugliest in the British Isles, will today play host to some of the UK’s most successful architects.
- The Radisson won the Carbuncle Cup for being the British Isles’ least impressive building seven years ago.
- But the architects meeting there today have all been shortlisted for the Stirling Prize for great building design.
London’s Walkie Talkie judged UK’s worst building
- A City of London skyscraper, nicknamed the Walkie Talkie, has won the annual Carbuncle Cup, awarded to a building judged to be the UK’s worst.
To find a winner, readers of Building Design nominate their most hated buildings, which are then whittled down into a shortlist by a jury of architects and writers.
- Mr Lane, editor of Building Design magazine, said it was a challenge to find anyone with something positive to say about the Walkie Talkie, officially known as 20 Fenchurch Street, which was completed in April 2014.
- Thomas Lane, who runs the awards, said the carbuncle “crashes into London’s skyline like an unwelcome party guest”.
- Other buildings vying for architecture’s wooden spoon were Parliament House, Southampton City Gateway and Woodward Hall in north-west London.