The NBS have provided an overview of the new 2016 edition of the JCT family of standard building contracts. The new security requirements introduced in Approved Document Q are explained in an article by Kevin Underwood for Planning & Building Control Today.

Christian Hilber, Associate Professor of Economic Geography at the London School of Economics, argues that the UK planning system has serious flaws, identifying three key flaws: the UK operates a so-called ‘development control’ system, which is inherently geared towards containing development, lack of fiscal incentives at the local level to permit residential development, finally since the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947, residential development has increasingly been prevented ‘in all directions’.

A cross-party committee of MPs and construction experts is calling on the Government to set up a New Homes Ombudsman to mediate in disputes between homebuyers and housebuilders. This is one of 10 recommendations setting out measures to improve the quality of workmanship in new homes and provide consumers with easier and cheaper forms of redress, to get problems fixed.

A group of rebar producers has set up a new independent trade association after a row over proposed amendments to steel standards at the existing industry body, the British Association of Reinforcement. The new trade body, called the British Independent Reinforcement Fabricators Association, aims to give a voice to suppliers and producers, free from ties to a particular commercial interest or process route.

Addressing the Construction Skills Gap

For a better understanding of the skills challenge for the construction sector Construction Online have interviewed the Managing Director of the National Open College Network (NOCN). In the first interview Graham Hasting-Evans sets out the three construction skills challenges that face the industry and in the second he explores how encouraging mature people into construction could address the crisis, as well as other alternatives. At the other end of the demographic scale CIOB have launched ‘Craft your Future’, a construction game aimed at 12-14 year olds that takes place in Minecraft.  Through it young learners explore the methods and skills to become a construction manager, introducing them to a career in construction.

The end of June saw National Women in Engineering Day. A storify highlighting achievements of female engineers has been compiled. NICEIC are also campaigning to get more women into the sector, with only 1 in 1,000 electricians in the UK being female. Research by NICIEC shows that up to 75% of contractors would be happy to see their daughters become an electrician and dads are being encouraged to discuss their trade with their daughters.

Finally good news, unions have negotiated a new pay deal for workers covered by the Construction Industry Joint Council (CIJC) agreement. Pay rates will increase by 2.5% from 25th July 2016 and then by a further 2.75% in June 2017.

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