Category Archives: DIY

Green Deal joins forces with Kier to boost the trades

Kier Services is the latest big builder to gain Green Deal accreditation from leading certification body NICEIC paving the way for employment in the trades.

Kier Services is now certified to carry out installer work and improve the energy efficiency of existing domestic and non-domestic buildings.

Green Deal is the Government’s flagship scheme to reduce energy emissions from homes and buildings across the UK. It is forecast to create thousands of new jobs in the building services engineering sector.

Last month the new Energy Company Obligations (ECO) was launched, with the aim of making up to 14 million homes more efficient through insulation, draught proofing, double glazing and other measures which are designed to reduce the energy usage.

Scott Murray, head of energy at Kier, said, “Kier has a great track record in providing repairs and maintenance in the housing sector, maintaining in excess of 300,000 homes – together with success in delivering similar government backed energy efficient and funded schemes such as the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) and CERT.

“As these current initiatives are phased out, Kier aims to be at the forefront of the Government’s new flagship initiative, not only helping to reduce carbon emissions by fitting energy efficiency measures, but by working with customers to consider changes in their behaviours to help combat the challenges of fuel poverty.”

NICEIC offer certification to any business wishing to become a Green Deal installer or advisor. The certification process ensures standards are maintained by any business undertaking Green Deal work for consumers.

Green Deal approval involves checks of all quality procedures within an organisation in addition to an ability to carry out the work. By going through these rigorous checks customers can have confidence in the firm they select to carry out the work.

Green Deal Project Manager at NICEIC, Nick Wright, said: “We are delighted to have worked with Kier on this important initiative. Green Deal installers will be responsible for carrying out the work which will see millions of homes across the UK upgraded to improve energy efficiency.

“It is vital that all firms carrying out this type of work have the correct and appropriate procedures in place. Consumers need to have confidence in the firms they employ to make Green Deal a success.”


10-year multi-million maintenance contract to bring new jobs

Outsourcing company Mitie has been awarded a ten-year repair and maintenance contract that will create new trade jobs and boost building sector.

The contract is worth £70 million over ten years with the potential to rise to £120 million if Golding Homes issue additional works. The multi-million scheme will see the housing association’s upkeep of 6,000 properties across Kent.

The deal is expected to benefit customers with more flexible appointment system and a quicker repairs ordering process. It will generate additional opportunities for skills training and employment in the trades.

Peter Stringer, Golding Homes chief executive, said: “We carefully considered a range of models for providing repairs and maintenance services, based on our customers’ priorities.

We concluded that creating a wholly owned subsidiary company as a vehicle for the contract will best help us meet our goals.

“We are confident that selecting Mitie as our partner will bring the professional and innovative approach our customers deserve and we look forward to working closely with them.”

Mitie will work with Golding Homes and its wholly owned subsidiary Golding Services to deliver gas maintenance, responsive repairs, void reinstatements and planned works.

Commenting on the contract award, Peter Griffin, director for social housing at Mitie, said:

“At Mitie we’re passionate about working with our customers to develop strategic partnerships that can provide long-term investment in both service infrastructure and assets. We’re delighted to be working with Golding Homes and Golding Services to deliver this exciting new contract.”

New incentives to drive Green Deal uptake

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has announced the launch of a new project that will kick-start the Green Deal and creates new jobs.  

Speaking alongside climate change minister Greg Barker at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, UKGBC’s chief executive Paul King welcomed the implementation of the scheme and outlined its potential for stimulating economic growth.

Mr King praised the Government’s commitment to the scheme, but warned that it needed adequate support to accelerate the level of uptake and implement its objectives.

He said: “The Green Deal still has the potential to be truly revolutionary in driving mass home retrofit. This new market could, if nurtured properly, create jobs, stimulate economic growth and protect consumers from ever-rising energy prices”.

Among those taking part in the UKGBC task group are Saint-Gobain UK, the Association for the Conservation of Energy, the CBI, Sweett Group, L&Q, Marks & Spencer, Willmott Dixon and Travis Perkins.

Diana Montgomery, chief executive of the Construction Products Association, which is supporting the new project, said that despite the strong industry support for the Green Deal, more needed to be done to encourage households to take it up.

Dr Montgomery said: “Collaborating with the UK-GBC on this Green Deal Task Group project will help us to ensure that we can help Government effectively navigate the options they have available to them for capitalising on that opportunity.”

Incentives to be included:

  • Stamp duty banding/rebates
  • Council tax banding/rebates
  • Energy efficiency feed in tariff
  • Subsidised interest rates for Green Deal
  • Low interest loans (outside Green Deal)/ Green mortgages (underwritten by Government)
  • Lump sum grant/payment (cashback/vouchers)
  • Progressively tightening minimum standards, inc. extending to owner-occupied sector
  • Salary sacrifice (tax free scheme) through work/tax credits
  • VAT cut extension to a wider range of measure

£1bn council housing boost reaches out for new trade jobs

Housing minister Mark Prisk has announced a £1 billion investment package to improve council homes across England that will provide work for thousands of tradesmen.

The new funding could bring over 86,000 homes up to a decent standard, paving the way for new trade jobs in the building construction industry.

It is the latest round of funding under the Decent Homes Programme which aim is to help councils bring their homes up to a decent standard, from fitting new roofs and windows to updating kitchens or heating systems.

Mr Prisk said that this new construction and skilled work would provide a shot in the arm for thousands of local businesses and tradesmen, supporting the Government’s measures to boost British jobs and the economy.

The Minister said that spending money earlier would help boost local employment as early as possible, as well as delivering home improvements for tenants ahead of schedule.

Mr Prisk said: “By improving this country’s council homes we will transform many families’ lives for the better, bringing their living standards up to scratch ensuring that their home is the safe haven it is meant to be.

“But the benefits of the £1 billion I’ve confirmed today reach far beyond tenants themselves and into the local economy.

“With every pound spent on improvements boosting local business, creating new jobs and supporting local spending, I want to see councils realising the benefits of this cash as soon as possible.”

What is your reaction to the newly announced £1 billion investment programme set to improve thousands of council homes, boost the trades and create new jobs? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

UK cities get Green Deal funding boost

Today, seven cities across England are set to receive a share of the £12 million fund which will kick-start the Green Deal and boost the trades.

Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield are the cities which have put proposals to lower their carbon emissions.

The Green Deal is a Government-backed scheme which offers loans to people to help make their homes more energy efficient.

The money will enable professional builders and trade firms to try certain elements of the scheme including assessment and installation of energy efficient measures.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: “These cities have really ambitious plans to lower their emissions, reduce energy use and help people save money on their bills.

“This funding will help them get up and running and I look forward to seeing a number of properties across whole communities get the energy efficient improvements they need.”

Earlier in the year, the Government announced that cities would be given greater freedoms, powers and tools to help them go for growth.

The new funding will test elements of the Green Deal framework and provide early feedback for the scheme’s future implementation.

It is expected to deliver around 2,500 retrofits to households and non-domestic properties across the seven major cities, providing support to local supply chains and registered installers.

Government to offer bigger benefits to the wind farm industry

Communities that host onshore wind farms could benefit from reduced electricity bills and investment in local infrastructure, Energy Secretary Edward Davey said today.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has launched a consultation into how communities could benefit from having wind farms near them which could boost the green industry and create new jobs.

The community benefits consultation will seek new information on how wind farms could deliver wider environmental and social benefits to communities.

It is aimed at encouraging participation by local businesses in the economic supply chain for wind projects as well as providing new employment opportunities for the renewable industry.

Energy Secretary Edward Davey said: “This new call for evidence will look at ways to reward host communities and ensure that wider investment, employment and social benefits are felt locally.

“We must also ensure that our policies are based on the best available evidence, so that consumers are not over-subsidising any one technology. That’s why we are seeking new evidence on the cost of onshore wind.”

Energy Minister John Hayes said that the new consultation is evidence that both parties in the Coalition are alive to the need for fresh thinking about the green economy.

Mr Hayes said: “Appropriately sited onshore wind has a role to play, but if we’re to make this work in a way that garners popular support, we’ve got to see a big improvement in how developers engage with local communities, new ways of ensuring a sense of local ownership and more obvious local economic benefits.”

Citizens Advice signposts consumers to find reliable tradesmen

The Citizens Advice Bureau and TrustMark, the Government endorsed quality body, have joined forces to help homeowners find reputable tradesmen when they are looking to repair or maintain their properties.

Consumers from across the UK will now be able to search and select a TrustMark registered and inspected tradesman from the Citizens Advice website.

Homeowners in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will have the assurance that all the firm’s competences and their fair trading practices have been independently inspected and checked.

Stuart Carter, Head of Marketing at TrustMark, said: “We are always looking for better ways to increase visibility for this quality mark so we are delighted that Citizens Advice is now signposting consumers to our TrustMark registered tradesmen.

“It is important that we continue to do more joined-up working with the key agencies, independent third sector organisations, trade bodies and advisory services to help consumers make more informed decisions when hiring tradesmen to improve or repair their homes.”

Gillian Guy, chief executive at Citizens Advice, said: “TrustMark is an excellent example of the kind of creative problem prevention initiatives that we really value at Citizens Advice.”

What is your reaction to the partnership which aim is to help consumers make the right choice when they are looking to repair, maintain or improve their homes. Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Get Britain Building to Create 30,000 Jobs

The Homes and Community Agency (HCA) has approved 105 housing schemes that will receive funding as part of the £570 million Get Britain Building fund set to create 30,000 new jobs.

The Government’s fund is set to build around 16,000 new homes and provide financial support for housebuilders on stalled sites across the country, paving the way for employment opportunities in the trades.

The HCA has estimated that the shortlisted schemes could unlock the building of 7,000 homes and create thousands of new jobs in the building construction sector.

HCA chief executive Pat Ritchie said: “The Get Britain Building programme is offering housebuilders the financial support to get stalled developments back on track, and I’m pleased that more than 100 projects can move forward to the due diligence phase.

“We listened to feedback from the sector and reduced the minimum scheme size to 15, and I’m therefore especially pleased that 20 smaller projects have come forward and the majority of bids have come from SMEs.

“These projects must now prove that they can be delivered quickly, provide value for money for the taxpayer and fit with local priorities. As well as building much-needed new homes, the work will create or protect jobs, and boost local economies.”

Around £300 million of recoverable investment has been allocated to more than 130 projects through the first round of the scheme expected to be completed by December 2014. Round two of the scheme, which was announced last week, will continue until March 2015.

Major transformation in St James’s area to create new jobs

The Crown Estate has submitted four planning applications as part of a £450 million redevelopment plan that will transform the St James’s area in central London and create new jobs.

A major part of St James’s will be rebuilt to create nearly 340,000 sq ft of mixed-use accommodation between Regent Street and Haymarket.

The lead scheme, known as St James’s Market, will see the building of a commercial redevelopment which will create offices, retail and restaurant space behind preserved historic facades in central London.

The proposals mark the next stage of the Crown Estate investment programme for St James which comprises nearly 50 per cent of the buildings in the area.

James Cooksey, Head of St James’s Portfolio said: “Our investment in St James’s builds on the area’s status by providing a first rate destination amenity space for those living, working and visiting the area.

“Together with our Gateway scheme and investment in Trafalgar House and British Columbia House, it demonstrates the major progress we’re making in delivering on our St James’s strategy.”

Commenting on the proposals, Alastair Smart, Head of Development said: “St James’s Market is perhaps the most significant development we have ever undertaken and builds on the two schemes currently on site as part of our investment in St James’s and Regent Street to provide modern space for global businesses.”

The St James’s Market proposals also include three associated private residential and affordable housing schemes. These will create new homes totalling 60,000 ft2, ranging from one bedroom apartments to four bedroom family homes.

In March 2012 The Crown Estate consulted the local community and received strong levels of positive feedback on the proposals, particularly in relation to the improvements to the accommodation and quality of the public areas in St James’s.

Cable Unveils Business Growth Plan to Boost the Trades

The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has confirmed plans to create government backed ‘business bank’ which will help companies to invest and create new trade jobs.

Vince Cable’s new institution includes a series of collaborative strategies between businesses and government that are forecast to advance manufacturing and boost the trade industry.

Cable outlined his plans, committing to a long term, strategic partnership that will give businesses clarity about where the Government will be concentrating its efforts.

Speaking at Imperial College, London, Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Our first part of that plan is lifting the barrier that poor access to finance puts on growth. By helping firms to invest capital, businesses expand, and create jobs.

“But I am also setting out a clear and ambitious vision, a commitment far beyond the usual political timescale that will continue to bear fruit decades later.

“It will give our businesses certainty, allow them to make their own plans, and know that the full weight of Government is behind them. We will work in a strategic partnership with industry, focusing our support on specific sectors. This is our commitment to growth in action.” 

The speech sets out a number of other actions including:

  • Creating a new institution to help companies invest in capital and drive their expansion. The scale and modus operandi of the institution are still under discussion, but it could operate through alternative providers such as the new challenger banks and non-bank lenders. Not only would this boost their lending capacity, but would also corral existing provision such as co-investment and guarantees to support business expansion.
  • Developing a series of collaborative but challenging sector strategies in advanced manufacturing, knowledge-intensive traded industries, and the enabling industries. This will include building strategic partnerships with industries and targeting support for them to help realise their substantial growth prospects.
  • The Business Secretary announced that 34 bids had been successful in the first round of the Employer Ownership pilot scheme securing £67 million of public funding and generating £98 million in private investment, making sure that employers can access exactly the sort of skills they need. Ensuring our world class skills policy is linked closely to the industrial strategy, in order that industry gets the skills they need to continue growing. This objective underpins the employer ownership pilot scheme where employers have been putting together radical plans to develop their own training programme.
  • Accelerating the journey from pure academic research to a commercial product being brought to market to help boost ground-breaking technologies of the future. The Government has already made £180 million available to support the commercialisation of innovations in the life sciences sector and building on this new approach, there will now be a new Innovation and Knowledge centre in Synthetic biology to explore the opportunities this sector presents.
  • Recognising Government’s role as a customer and developing a more intelligent partnership with its own supply chain by reforming procurement to make sure that businesses have confidence to take long-term investment decisions.

What is your reaction to the government’s plan to create ‘business bank’ which will help companies to invest and create new trade jobs? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.


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