Discover the Latest News on Sheffield to Assess UK Building, Travis Perkins Says UK Construction Will Halt, Construction Firms Plan Spring Budget 2024, and UK’s First Type 31 Frigate is Being Built

In today’s news we will look into a group of scholars from Sheffield University who will explore whether or not the building assets of the United Kingdom can support the circular economy. Universities in Cardiff, Manchester, Bath, and Cambridge will work together on the BuildZero project, which is supported by the EPSRC and will cost six million pounds. In the meantime, Travis Perkins has issued a warning that the future of the construction industry in the United Kingdom would be tough due to political and economic turmoil. Additionally, the construction industry is waiting for the chancellor’s Spring Budget 2024 at the same time that the United Kingdom is. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is getting ready to make the announcement of the Spring Budget for 2024 in the midst of the crisis in housing, skills, and the cost of living. According to a post made by the firm on social media, the first Type 31 frigate of the Royal Navy, HMS Venturer, has made progress ever since the bow was installed inside the Venturer Building at Rosyth. Because of the plate’s curvature, the geometry of this ship piece is made more complicated.

Sheffield to Assess UK Building Needs with Circular Economy

Original Source: Sheffield University to Probe UK Building Needs via Circular Economy

Sheffield University academics will investigate if the UK’s building assets can support the circular economy.

Cardiff, Manchester, Bath, and Cambridge universities will collaborate on the £6 million EPSRC-funded BuildZero project.

National and regional insights on how to best use existing buildings and waste resources to meet the UK’s building demands with zero new material extraction, emissions, or trash will be provided by the initiative.

Sheffield University academics will investigate whether the circular economy can cover the UK’s building demands without new material extractions, emissions, or trash.

BuildZero, a five-year £6 million EPSRC-funded project, will develop a detailed vision of more sustainable building practices in partnership with the Universities of Bath, Manchester, Cardiff, Cambridge, and industrial collaborators.

Over 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions, 60% of its garbage, and 50% of its mined materials come from buildings and infrastructure. Construction must alter significantly to decarbonise.

A well-known way to cut resource use and carbon emissions is the circular economy. A circular economy maximises material value by upgrading and repurposing structures to extend their lifespans.

Circular economy examples for the building sector have primarily concentrated on case studies of individual buildings or recycling individual materials, missing the chance to reform the system. BuildZero seeks to transform the building industry at the system level.

BuildZero will explore ways to build without extracting new resources, avoiding waste and lowering carbon emissions from material extraction and production. The project will evaluate regional and national circular economy viability and create a framework for scaling up these solutions.

The research will examine the existing building stock, resource and waste flows, social attitudes, and economics of potential circular economy business models for the construction sector using methods from architecture, structural engineering, materials science, and social sciences.

The research programme will produce demonstrator projects, interactive tools, detailed strategies, and pathways to BuildZero’s goal of a UK building stock with zero new raw material extraction, zero emissions, and zero waste.

Dr Danielle Densley Tingley, Senior Lecturer in Architectural Engineering at the University of Sheffield, said: “This funding is an exciting opportunity to explore if and when a circular economy can be achieved for the UK’s building stock while meeting essential societal needs. We will work together with industry partners to facilitate practice reforms and accelerate the built environment circular economy.”

Dr. Rick Lupton of Bath University said: “We’re excited to collaborate with BuildZero’s researchers and partners. Through this research, we hope to better understand how different approaches to a more circular economy fit together for the UK building stock and where the biggest potential are. At Bath, we will map UK resource flows and use Life Cycle Assessment to evaluate circular economy policies’ environmental impacts.”

Dr. André Cabrera Serrenho of Cambridge said: “We are thrilled to join BuildZero and discover new ways to improve our building stock with low emissions and material inputs. At Cambridge, we will study the physical aspects of our building stock and develop tools to help stakeholders make decisions.”

Cardiff University School of Geography and Planning’s Dr. Kersty Hobson said: “BuildZero’s goals and outcomes must prioritise social inclusion, impact, and acceptance. I look forward to leading crucial work in these areas, including co-developing sustainable building futures with many partners.”

The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at The University of Manchester’s Professor Maria Sharmina said: “We’re pleased to start the BuildZero effort to turn the UK’s built environment circular. We will use BuildZero’s engineering, material, and social underpinnings to assess the economic viability of a circular building industry in Manchester. We will co-design circular business models and perform techno-economic modelling with supply chain companies.”

Travis Perkins Says UK Construction Will Halt Until Post-Election Clarity

Original Source: UK Construction to Stall Until Post-Election Clarity, Travis Perkins Highlights Sector Challenges

Travis Perkins warns that political and economic instability will make the UK construction sector’s future difficult.

The UK construction sector expects a slowdown due to political uncertainties surrounding the general election. Customer hesitation and a tough economy have led Travis Perkins, a large building materials supplier, to predict a dismal future for the industry. With important decisions on hold until the new administration’s plans are clear, the sector’s revival awaits government stimulus and interest rate clarity.

Anticipating Election Results

Travis Perkins explained the building industry’s caution ahead of the UK general election on January 28, 2025. The company’s recent statements show that large and small clients agree to postpone investments until post-election economic efforts and interest rate directions are announced. The expectation of a government stimulus package to revive the industry drives this wait-and-see strategy. Interest rate volatility complicates matters, making stakeholders wary of new ventures.

Financial Challenges and Strategy

Travis Perkins may sell its French Toolstation business, which struggles with brand awareness, targeting less populous regions, and low demand, in a strategic move. The decision emphasises the company’s focus on more profitable activities as 2024 losses approach £20 million. Toolstation Benelux, with 119 stores, lost £19 million last year despite an 11% sales increase, raising questions about its sustainability. These changes reflect Travis Perkins’ goal to streamline operations and fix failing segments during economic headwinds.

Economic Stress and Market Conditions

Travis Perkins reported a major financial decline due to the broader economic issues. Revenue fell 2.7% to £4.9 billion and pre-tax earnings fell from £245 million to £70 million, indicating challenging market circumstances. The building supply giant attributed these issues to a weakness in new build housing and domestic repair, maintenance, and improvement, as well as commodity product deflation. In response, Travis Perkins has made targeted investments to boost profitability and cash creation despite predicted market headwinds.

The UK construction sector faces uncertain times, and the next general election could boost or hurt the business. Across the board, stakeholders are watching politics for sector-boosting initiatives. Travis Perkins leads the discussion on the industry’s urgent issues, shifting the focus to how the incoming administration will solve this critical sector’s demands. Construction enterprises must be resilient and adaptable to withstand the storm and rebound in a post-election environment.

Construction Firms Plan Spring Budget 2024

Original Source: Construction industry prepares for Spring Budget 2024

As the UK awaits the chancellor’s Spring Budget 2024, the building industry does too.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt prepares to announce the 2024 Spring Budget amid the housing, skills, and cost of living crisis.

Reports suggest that the chancellor may extend Rishi Sunak’s 2022 5p per litre fuel duty cut on petrol and diesel by another year in what may be the last Budget before a general election.

Regardless of the Spring Budget 2024, the chancellor wants to lower the tax burden, which is expected to reach record highs.

Increasing supply requires planning adjustments.

According to Oliver Boundy, executive director of development at Anchor, “It is no secret that the UK is in the midst of a housing crisis, there is a huge shortage of affordable homes. While conversation on this often centres on younger families and first-time buyers, those in later life may be forgotten. We saw that older folks and younger people need suitable housing.

We believe planning reforms and affordable house grant funds are essential to meeting older people’s housing needs. We support a new senior housing planning classification. Please assign 10% of Local Plans sites to age-restricted dwellings. Finally, we think Stamp Duty should be allocated equally to first-time and last-time buyers to encourage ‘right sizing’.”

The government can be bold in the Spring Budget.

The Spring Budget is “even more important” as UK GDP fell 0.3% in 4Q 2023 and the country entered recession, according to BCIS head economist Dr. David Crosthwaite. None sector performed worse than construction. Everyone will watch the government to see if they make a difference.

Thus, the chancellor must take steps to boost the economy and offer the industry renewed optimism.

We have repeatedly urged for ‘clarity and consistency of policy and regulation’ in the government’s infrastructure investment and performance. Current plans are uneven and inadequate, as the long-awaited Infrastructure Pipeline highlighted.

“It failed to bring certainty to a sector still reeling from costly financing, budget erosion, and hyperinflation.

“Investment action plans to boost energy, water, transport, and communications are essential.

“Investing in public transport, improving underperforming parts of the national road network, developing a long-term rail plan, reducing the number of properties at risk of flooding, and adding low-carbon technologies to the electricity system to create a new strategic energy reserve are National Infrastructure Commission recommendations.

Last year, the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) was developed to address construction labour difficulties. The extra construction roles added six months ago may make a difference, but we’re not sure.

The government still lacks a clear strategy for ensuring we have the additional 224,900 people needed to meet UK construction production between 2023 and 2027, notably the green-collar workforce we need to reach net zero.

Restoring RAAC would demonstrate infrastructural support. The government may improve housing by investing in a social housing initiative as part of a comprehensive housing policy.

We also ask that the government prioritise important repair and maintenance (R&M) work across the public and commercial sectors to protect vulnerable social housing tenants and keep schools and hospitals habitable.

We argue for obligatory reporting of whole life embodied carbon as a crucial step towards 

decarbonisation.

We applaud the government’s investment in energy efficiency in homes and buildings, including the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, but operational carbon is only one part of the equation.

“Akerlof, an MMC (Modern Methods of Construction) consultant, found that Scope 3 emissions (embodied carbon) account for 94-98% of UK top contractors’ emissions in Carbon Blind Spots.

“The government should encourage data sharing and subsidise manufacturers’ costs to produce verified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) on their materials and components to help the industry reduce carbon emissions in the built environment.”

UK’s First Type 31 Frigate is Being Built

Original Source: Construction of UK’s first Type 31 frigate presses ahead

Since the bow was fitted inside Venturer Building at Rosyth, the Royal Navy’s first Type 31 frigate HMS Venturer has advanced, according to the company’s social media post.

The plate curvature complicates the geometry of this ship element.

“The Type 31 bow’s efficient design optimises the ship’s fuel efficiency, speed, and performance. Babcock says its form will cut through water and reduce drag for easy sailing.

The Royal Navy just confirmed HMS Venturer’s Essex ties. Civic leaders in East Anglia choose to affiliate with the Type 31 frigate, presently under construction in Scotland, connecting it to almost 1.8 million people from Chigwell to Colchester, Braintree to Basildon.

“It is wonderful that HMS Venturer is affiliated with the County of Essex,” said frigate Senior Naval Officer Commander Chris Cozens.

Its extensive naval and maritime history and current viewpoint make it a good ‘Next Generation Frigate’. We both emphasise community outreach, tying the sea to STEM and industry to boost national wealth.

Type 31 frigates (Inspiration-class) will replace five Type 23 frigates that have served the navy since the early 1990s. Babcock’s Arrowhead 140 design for Type 31 frigates is the Royal Navy’s choice. First-half 2024 will see the launch of HMS Venturer.

Summary of today’s construction news

Overall, in order to meet the construction needs of the UK without generating additional emissions, waste, or new material extractions, researchers from Sheffield University will study the viability of a circular economy. Collaboration between the Universities of Bath, Manchester, Cardiff, and Cambridge, as well as industrial partners, will form the basis of the five-year, £6 million BuildZero project, which is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). At the same time, political uncertainty surrounding the general election is causing the UK construction sector to anticipate a slowdown. Large building materials supplier Travis Perkins has pessimistic predictions for the industry’s future due to customer reluctance and a challenging economy. Government stimulus and interest rate certainty are awaiting the sector’s rebirth as crucial decisions are put on hold until the incoming administration’s policies are made known. In addition, in the last Budget before a general election, the chancellor may decide to extend Rishi Sunak’s fuel duty cut on petrol and diesel from 5p per litre in 2022 by an additional year, according to reports. The chancellor is determined to reduce the tax burden, which is projected to hit record highs, regardless of the Spring Budget 2024. A change in strategy is necessary to increase supply. Moreover, the Type 31 bow, with its sleek and efficient design, enhances the ship’s performance, speed, and fuel efficiency. Sailing will be easier thanks to its shape, according to Babcock. Just now, HMS Venturer’s ties to Essex were confirmed by the Royal Navy. Connecting over 1.8 million people from Chigwell to Colchester, Braintree to Basildon, civic leaders in East Anglia have chosen to affiliate with the Type 31 frigate, which is currently being built in Scotland.

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