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high rise construction over london

BIG CHANGES TO BUILDING SAFETY AHEAD AS THE GOVERNMENT PUBLISHES BUILDING SAFETY BILL

  21 JULY, 2020
The new measures outlined in the draft bill represent the “biggest changes to building safety for nearly 40 years” and are ultimately intended to help “people feel safer in their homes.” 3 years on from Grenfell The Grenfell Tower fire that broke out in West London on 14 June 2017 claimed 72 lives; a national tragedy that represented the biggest loss of life in a residential fire since WWII. This tragic event exposed serious and systemic failings in fire safety, particularly in high-rise homes in urban areas. A subsequent independent review conducted by Dame Judith Hackitt, concluded that the whole system needed full-scale reform and that residents’ safety must always be the priority – from the initial design phase, through to construction and occupation. Building Safety Bill This week, the government published its draft Building Safety Bill, which has been formed in conjunction with residents through engagement groups, sets out how the Government will improve building and fire safety. Amongst the measures set out by the draft bill are: People living in high rise buildings will be empowered to challenge inaction from their building owner Residents will have better access to safety information about their building. A new Building Safety Regulator will be given powers to hold building owners accountable for safety A ‘building safety charge’ will give leaseholders greater transparency around costs incurred in maintaining a safe building Building inspectors responsible for signing-off buildings as fit for habitation, will have to follow new rules and must register with the Building Safety Regulator. Up to two years in prison and unlimited fines for breaches of building regulations. Building Safety Regulator The Building Safety Regulator will be in effect the building control authority for all work on high risk buildings and will operate a unified regulatory structure for all building control bodies. This addresses the complaint that local authority building control and approved inspectors were subject to different professional standards. Developers will no longer be able to appoint their own building control body, instead the Building Standards Regulator will appoint a registered building inspector to help enforce building regulations. Dame Judith Hackitt said: “I welcome this draft bill as an important milestone in delivering the fundamental reform this industry needs to make residents and buildings safer. It meets the ambitions and recommendations set out in my review,” (The Construction Index) “The industry is now on notice that the race to the bottom, the fragmentation, the passing on of responsibility to others has to stop.” “We all understand that businesses will need to work hard to survive in these challenging economic times but the safety of residents must become core to building new and maintaining existing properties.” (Building.co.uk) As this is a “draft” Building Safety Bill, all aspects are still open to debate and amendment before it is presented to the House of Commons or House of Lords and ultimately enshrined in UK law. A copy of the full document is available on the Government website or by clicking here.
green homes grant budget

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENTS BY CHANCELLOR RISHI SUNAK

  08 JULY, 2020
Rishi Sunak has today set out plans to mitigate the impacts that coronavirus has had on the construction sector and economy at large. Here are some of the key highlights from today’s announcement. The Construction Talent Retention Scheme In a move to protect against widespread redundancies across the sector, the Government in conjunction with the Construction Leadership Council, announced a new Construction Talent Retention Scheme. Under the scheme, employers will be able to redeploy staff at risk of redundancy through an online portal and temporarily loan employees between different businesses. This scheme will also make it easier for redundant workers from other sectors to find employment in the construction sector. The Talent Retention Scheme will launch later in July and all services provided by the scheme are initially free until April 2021. Further information on the scheme is available by downloading CLC’s flyer and businesses are able to register their interest in the scheme by visiting the website. The Green Homes Grant With the UK aiming to go carbon neutral by 2050, it was also announced that from September 2020, homeowner occupiers and landlords are able to apply for vouchers to cover costs associated with making their properties more energy efficient. The vouchers will cover two-thirds of the cost to make their homes more energy efficient, up to a limit of £5,000 per home. Up to £10,000 will be provided for low income households to cover the entire cost of the upgrade. “Taken together we expect these measures to make over 650,000 homes more energy efficient, save households up to £300 a year on their bills." "And, most importantly right now, support around 140,000 green jobs.” Said the chancellor. In order to pay for the vouchers, the Government has set aside £2bn, with a further £1bn allocated to making public buildings and social housing more energy efficient. reminder that Novus are able to assist with any energy efficient works required to properties. Make an enquiry via our contact page >> Temporary cut to stamp duty From tomorrow, the Government will raise the stamp duty threshold to £500,000 in a move that will see “nearly nine out of 10 people buying their main home this year will pay no stamp duty at all.” The chancellor hopes that this will give people the confidence “to buy, sell, renovate, move and improve” properties that will in-turn “drive growth, that will create jobs.” This temporary cut is in place for England and Northern Ireland and will run until at least 31 March 2021. VAT has been slashed for hospitality sector To get the hospitality sector moving again, VAT will be slashed by the chancellor. Beginning 1 week from today (8th July) until 12th January, VAT has been cut from 20% to 5% on food from restaurants, cafes and pubs, accommodation in hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites, and attractions such as cinemas, theme parks and zoos. Mr. Sunak also introduced a surprise pioneering scheme to provide everyone in the UK "Eat Out to Help Out" discount during August. "Meals eaten at any participating business, Monday to Wednesday, will be 50% off, up to a maximum discount of £10 per head for everyone, including children," he said. Further job retention schemes Further measures to ensure job retention were also given the green light today. “If you stand by your workers, we will stand by you.” That was the clear message to struggling businesses faced with making their staff redundant due to the coronavirus pandemic. "If you're an employer and you bring back someone who was furloughed - and continuously employ them through to January - we'll pay you a £1,000 bonus per employee.” So for businesses to get the bonus, the employee must be paid at least £520 on average, in each month from November to the end of January - the equivalent of the lower earnings limit in national insurance."
affordable homes - house keyring

THE GOVERNMENT STEPS IN TO SAFEGUARD 53,000 NEW BUILD HOMES

  07 JULY, 2020
On Monday 6th July, the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced that the Government will be extending the current Affordable Homes Programme until March 2023. Delays in the Construction Industry Construction on new build homes to be built under the Government’s £9 billion scheme originally needed to be underway by March 2022. However, today’s announcement means that housing associations and councils have a year longer to begin building these new homes. The extension applies to homes which are in contract to be delivered by the current scheme. The Government has made the move in light of unavoidable delays in the construction industry due to coronavirus, where the building of 53,000 new affordable homes has stalled, putting their eventual completion at risk. Providing Flexibility to Councils Mr. Jenrick said that this measure will give housing associations and councils more flexibility “to help them deliver affordable homes.” He added that “building the homes the country needs is central to the mission of this Government.” This latest announcement follows last week’s package of measures, including confirmation that the new £12 billion Affordable Homes Programme will support up to 180,000 new build homes, including for shared ownership and social rent. The programme will lead to a further £38 billion in public and private investment in affordable housing. Full details can be seen on the Government website.
Sophie Seddon Headshot

NOVUS DIRECTOR JOINS CITB BOARD TO HELP GUIDE FUTURE OF INDUSTRY’S TRAINING

  03 JULY, 2020
Sophie Seddon, people and culture director at Novus, has been appointed a board trustee at the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) in a role that will see her play a part in future-proofing the sector and making it more inclusive. Shaping future training schemes She will be using her experience, both within the industry and after more than 10 years at Novus, to help shape and inform future training schemes. Growing the use of new technology, improving sustainability and encouraging inclusivity within the construction industry. Novus offers numerous routes to help young people kick-start their careers in construction, from a range of apprenticeship opportunities to its graduate training programme, helping tackle the skills shortage felt across the industry’s talent pool. To date, the business has trained 70 apprentices.  Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) The CITB is the construction industry’s training board for England, Wales and Scotland. It provides knowledge, research and insight to help inform training and apprenticeship schemes across the industry. The CITB also works with business leaders from across a range of different subsectors to help inform and guide its programmes. Tony Elliott, Group HR Director at Robertson Group, has also joined the board. Sophie Seddon, people and culture director at Novus, said: “The CITB plays an invaluable role in the training and development of the construction industry’s talent of tomorrow." "To join the board and help guide its future direction is an honour and a challenge that I’m looking forward to getting stuck into." “I’m aware from my own experience that more can be done to help make the industry more inclusive, tech-savvy and sustainable and I’m looking forward to ensuring these themes are prevalent in our future work.” Peter Lauener, Chair of the CITB Board, said: “I’m delighted to welcome two extremely talented people to our Board." "We need a diverse range of talent, in terms of skills, experience and personal background, and I’m sure Sophie will strengthen our decision-making at this critical time." "With the challenges we face through Covid-19, and with a new CITB Strategic Plan in development, she will play a leading role in ensuring there is a strong skills-based recovery for construction.”
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Hannah O'Brien
Telephone: 07854 781631
Email: hannah.obrien@novussolutions.co.uk
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