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Glazing Clippings and Musings November 2016 by Helen Duval

It’s always great to see the industry getting excited about the Awards Season and it’s such an excellent way to recognise the commitment of the professionals in this sector.  This year has already seen many teams bolstered by their efforts to succeed in a bid to  invigorate growth across the industry.

With a record 271 nominations submitted this year to the National Fenestration Awards 2016, the online awards include 17 categories where professionalism and diligence are acknowledged at every level.  Developed to provide an arena where nominations and results fairly reflect recognition for outstanding quality in the fenestration sector, this year has to be the best one yet.  We are thrilled to see some of our customers amongst the nominees and will keep our fingers firmly crossed as the results are announced over the next few weeks.

Equally, in November we must give a nod to the prestigious G-Awards which once again have recognised excellence across the industry this year.  There have been some exceptional developments introduced during 2016 with market leaders pushing forward to raise standards and by their Award nominations, they have been acknowledged for their contributions to the sector.  With companies including Saint Gobain Glass, Plikington UK, Synseal and Thermoseal once again nominated there was fierce competition on the night for the much sought after trophies.

Nice to see Profile 22 Systems winning Product of the Year with a great team effort on the Optima launch this year.  A great night also for Dual Seal Glass on their G16 win as Glass Company of the Year.   Also, many congratulations to Mila Hardware and Roseview Windows on their respective successes on the night  and a very well done to Thermoseal on their Component Supplier of the Year Award.

The Unsung Hero category always catches my eye with remarkable and worthy nominations each year.  Judging this category must be exceptionally hard as each one merits recognition and  an accolade in their own right.  Many congratulations to Jude Knowles from Business Micros.

Writing about the winners is always rewarding as it reflects such high levels of proficiency and diligence that are present in this industry.  Quite how the judges make their selection and final decisions however is something I would find virtually impossible to achieve.

It was good to see the forward thinking approach of John Rowan and Partners rewarded at the Building Awards 2016 with their training initiative – ‘Classroom to Chartership’ which was awarded Building Skills Initiative of the Year.  Launched to identify and tackle the issues surrounding the skills shortage in the construction sector, it looks to encourage people to enter the industry by working with universities and the Construction YouthTrust to target schools and raise
awareness of opportunities within the construction industry.  The company is hoping to encourage better engagement between companies and schools in conjunction with the Construction Youth Trust and subsequently hopes to create a central resource and information point that will bring industry resources together in one place.

Looking Forward

Looking now towards the end of the year, there has certainly been some economic  turbulence and I’m pretty sure that the ‘fasten your seatbelt’ sign has only just been lit, given the shift in global politics recently.  As we journey towards 2017, the jury is still out on the consequences of eventually triggering Brexit and the political agenda of the new President-elect.

For UK builders however, it would seem a positive result has been declared over the last financial year, with more than 200,000 new homes built, according to a recent construction report. There has been a 52% increase in housing supply over the past three years and government figures show that between April 2015 and March 2016 overall house building was up 10%.

Stewart Baseley, Home Builders Federation executive chairman commented “These figures provide the best evidence to date as to how much house builders have ramped up housing supply. The government’s ambitious target to build one million homes over the course of this parliament is now within reach.

“In response to the positive measures introduced by government in recent years, such as Help to Buy, huge increases in output have been delivered.  Providing government continues to create an environment within which the industry can operate and grow house builders will continue to increase delivery of new homes.

“The industry is committed to delivering the high quality new homes the country needs to address our housing crisis. As we build desperately needed new homes the industry is creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs directly and in the supply chain boosting local economies across the country.

“Moving forward, the house building industry will play a key role in building a new Britain and driving our post Brexit economy.”

It has been suggested by Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders that the current urban regeneration trend is unsustainable and that a ‘step-up’ in relation to new build is needed.  Commenting recently he stated that the total of new houses created in 2015/2016 had demonstrated positive progress but that the number created still fell well short of the government’s target to build one million new homes by 2020.

He stated, “Recent government policies to boost house building are helping, but there is still plenty of room for more radical solutions to meet the one million target.”

In the Capital meanwhile, a recent report states that the latest new starts are fuelled by refurbishment projects, which it is stated are typical at the end of a long period of strong development, Deloitte says. In total, 28 refurbishment schemes account for 70% by volume of the new space started, providing a boost to the delivery of new office space in 2017. However, refurbishments tend to be smaller than new builds; Deloitte has recorded a 26% fall in the average size of schemes started, from 95,000 sq ft to 70,000 sq ft over the past six months.

Deloitte continues to forecast rising delivery in 2017 and 2018, but the peak has now moved to 2019-20.

“Despite an increase in the overall volume of construction, the pace of development activity has slowed compared with our last survey six months ago” said Chris Lewis, head of occupier advisory at Deloitte Real Estate.

On The Sunny Side

Looking at developing sectors it was interesting to learn that solar panels have been generating more electricity than coal over the last six months in the UK according to a recently completed analysis of the market.

The Carbon Brief website found from research that solar power generated nearly 7,000 gigawatt hours of electricity between April and September, which is approximately 10% higher than the 6,300GwH produced by coal during the same period.

Despite being hit by cuts to support from the Government, solar energy capacity nearly doubled in 2015. The figures would seem to demonstrate a phenomenal turnaround in the UK’s electricity supplies but more is needed from investors.

According to James Court, head of policy at the Renewable Energy Association, the idea of solar power superseding coal would have been almost unthinkable five years ago.  The data reflects that  there has been an upsurge in solar energy amongst homeowners and business, with falling costs proving extremely attractive.

As substantial global growth continues it is now one of the cheapest forms of power.  With that in mind, having read about the Illuminated River Exhibition that is due to take place across the heart of our capital city in 2018, I do hope at least one of the conceptual teams has considered using this technology.

Six shortlisted teams have now been selected from over 100 design companies in 20 countries with the concepts now available to view on Levels 3 & 4 of the Royal Festival Hall, in London. One to watch over the coming months.

Finally, just a quick reminder that the guys at MyTrade.tv will once again be asking for your donations for charity at Christmas.  With your donations the team will be buying gifts for the children’s ward at a local hospital to present just before Christmas Day, with our very own Santa, Lee Clarke, turning up to surprise the children who are in hospital this year.

Helen Duval 2016

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