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Clippings and Musings – Helen Duval – September 2017

September 12, 2017

There have been some unusual stories which recently that caught my eye. As DGB mentioned in a recent item, the demise of the Ice Cream van has been squarely put at the door, or the window, of the glazing industry by the Daily Mail. Whilst greater choice and supermarkets will undoubtedly be a big part of its ruin, (if that is the case), I’m pretty sure that headphones, iPhones and online ‘gaming’ will be another big reason why the chimes can’t be heard. All a bit harsh and not really a news item, but no doubt it was the kind of item written with a tactical purpose. With the television sitcom White Gold leaving quite an impression, albeit probably more than tongue in cheek, the sector probably doesn’t really need anything else to linger in the minds of the consumer, which could act as a deterrent to investment.

The debate about triple glazing and its relevance in a climate that does not have the weather extremes of countries such as Norway, Sweden, Canada or the Siberian Plains, will no doubt rage on, with viable opinion on both sides. There is an evident encouragement for consumers to buy into triple glazing with reduced energy bills and thermal performance key aspects for them to consider. Likewise, security is high on the list of benefits for homeowners when they look to upgrade their existing windows. Noise reduction is not a core selling point – a benefit yes, but it’s not the highest thing on the list for homeowners. So perhaps the article should have focused on the triple U Value helping to melt ice creams as a cause for concern by the Ice Cream Van trade – it’s probably more plausible!

Looking at other areas where security and safety are crucial, there seems to be a constant stream of horror stories regarding attacks on the elderly and vulnerable who still live in their own homes. It was heartwarming to discover one new housing scheme that has been developed to provide elderly residents and dementia sufferers with more secure homes. A number of houses have been been developed by Leazes Homes in conjunction with Newcastle City Council.

A Great Way To Remember

Located in Dinnington Village, 32 properties for the elderly, along with a number of ‘dementia friendly’ bungalows have been built on a mixed tenure site that will also offer 133 homes for sale. A lovely touch has been incorporated into the design with the roads on the estate all named after soldiers from the village who died in WW1.

Dementia Care will be managing five new bungalows which have been tailored to meet the needs of residents with the illness. The properties have been built with remote technology that connects to the company’s head office in nearby Brunswick Village. An open day is to be held on Wednesday 27th September for those wishing to view the new homes.

With constant reminders regarding the escalating housing crisis it was interesting to learn that the Chief Executive of the Town and Country Planning Association considers councils are an integral part of the solution. In a recent report which focused on homelessness and unaffordable rentals it would seem getting onto the property ladder remains a huge issue that is continuing to ‘hurt ordinary working people the most.’

Building Homes, Creating Communities

In the ‘Building Homes, Creating Communities’ report it cited that increasing property numbers was not enough, and that quality homes were needed that were well designed and which people could afford. Chief Executive, Kate Henderson commented, ‘It reveals that 98% of councils across the UK describe their need for affordable housing as severe or moderate.’

Consequently, councils nationwide are developing innovative ways to create solutions to the crisis through new partnerships. With government grants decreasing a number of different solutions are being considered and tested, including the establishment of local authority housing companies to offering support to community-led housing.

The Brexit cloud continues to cause concern for this endeavour however, with councils concerned about the bigger housing and planning issues that could arise nationally. Only 3% of councils surveyed believed that Brexit would bring positive results to enable additional homes to be built. A key concern remains regarding the shortage of construction skills with the construction sector still in extremely short supply, it is felt that Brexit will only hamper the problems due to workers, equipment and materials.

Vitrum Doors Will Soon Be Open

Once again the glass industry will be coming together for the four day exhibition in Milan, where the great and the good of the sector will demonstrate new innovations and techniques to take the industry forward.

With a global attraction Virtue remains high on the list of events for those looking to invest in cutting edge technology.

Held at the Fiera Milano, industry leaders will be attending including Bottero, HEGLA and Bystronic to name a few. Seminars will be run throughout the show where in-depth insights will be given to  “What’s hot in glass processing” and “Glass products for building”. These are intended to explore building design and have been developed with business, architects and engineers in mind.

The uptake for the exhibition this year has increased substantially according to the event organisers, stating ‘There will be numerous new companies exhibiting for the first time: almost one third of these businesses have never taken part in Vitrum. Several among these were interested in the new all-inclusive formula for new exhibitors. This option provides an interesting “turnkey” solution’

The exhibition will run on 3-6 October at the Fiera Milano exhibition complex in Rho.

Helen Duval 2017

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