UK construction and property
- ULEZ concerns | A vehicle scrappage scheme for businesses of fewer than 50 people has been extended. The Builders Merchants Federation chief recently warned that the additional charge will be a significant increase for small building companies which are already under pressure from price increases.
- Labour rates | According to Hudson Contract, labour rates have increased by an average of 5% in the year to April 2023, despite a 4.4% fall in April. Average pay packets across the UK were £941. Average pay in London was £974 and wages grew 3.9% annually.
- Building Safety Regulator | All high-rise residential buildings (at least 18 metres tall or have seven or more floors with at least two containing residential units) must be registered with the new Building Safety Regulator (BSR) under the Building Safety Act 2022. Currently, 750 applications have started. The deadline for completing the registration is 30th September 2023.
- Design review | Michael Gove has called in two more schemes for review on design grounds. Recently the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities called in a scheme for Berkeley Homes in Tunbridge Wells on the grounds that it was “generic”.
- Skills college cancelled | The National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure (NCATI), which was launched by the Government in 2017 in order to meet the skills need to deliver major infrastructure projects will close next month after failing to become viable. Few students enrolled in the courses and it faced a funding shortfall.
- Transport planning acceleration unit | The division tasked with improving planning for infrastructure projects, and dealing with “blockages and barriers” has been cancelled after cuts made in the Autumn Statement made near-term delivery of infrastructure projects less of a priority.
- High-rise changes | The latest Tall Buildings Survey by New London Architecture reveals a shift in the use of tall buildings. Whilst residential towers have stalled, office schemes “could not be busier”.