Category Archives: Property & Construction News

Eddisons Confirms Over £4m For Buildings Improvements

Property consultant Eddisons, which is headquartered in Leeds, has secured more than £20m of funding to improve buildings at schools across the UK, including more than £4m for Yorkshire schools, in the latest round of the Government’s Condition Improvement Fund (CIF).

Education sector specialist Eddisons has raised more than £200m in school funding over recent years and the latest round of secured funding for projects in Yorkshire includes £350,000 for the Yorkshire Collaborative Academies Trust to carry out fire safety and roofing works, and over £700,000 to fund a roofing project and asbestos removal for the Brooksbank School in Elland.

Ian Harrington, head of Eddisons specialist education team, said: “This is another year of fantastic results for both our clients and the team.”

“However, the success also highlights once again the fact that education is one of the more poorly funded sectors, with 2,000 projects unsuccessful in their bids in this round of funding alone.”

“We will continue to work with those schools and academies that were unsuccessful, to offer guidance on future bids, as well as offering advice on other funding opportunities that are available. With the total CIF pot remaining unchanged on last year, despite base rate inflation being at 11% and construction inflation nearer 30%, it was one the most fiercely competitive rounds of funding we’ve experienced.”

The CIF programme is an annual round of bidding under which academy schools and colleges can apply for funding for the upkeep and improvement of their buildings and to fund expansion projects for schools that have been rated good or outstanding by Ofsted. In total, the Department for Education received funding requests for over 3,000 projects this year, with 1,033 projects across 859 academies being allocated a share of the £456m.

Mr Harrington added: “The CIF bidding procedure is highly complex and Eddisons’ education team have built up huge knowledge and experience over the years to help deliver successful bids and projects that make a real difference to schools and to the people who study and work in them.”

“Every year the process of submitting a successful CIF bid becomes ever more competitive and we are really pleased to say that we have maintained our position as a key adviser to the education sector, with an excellent success rate for our bids.”

The successful projects will all get underway shortly and will be project managed by Eddisons.

Property Expert Reveals New Build Come With Defects

Whilst there’s no such thing as an issue-free home, new build properties are popular amongst Yorkshire homeowners because they’re viewed as a “safer bet”. But this damaging misconception is causing thousands of new build homeowners to move into a home that is masked with nasty surprises that can cost thousands of pounds, and years to rectify, according to Yorkshire-born property expert James Brook FRICS.

Research by Home Builders Federation (HBF) has revealed that 95% of new build properties come with at least 1 defect, with common issues including poor plastering, bad brickwork and damaged windows.

One Yorkshire family recently found 180 faults with their new build home and were eventually forced out due to flooding. The property, which was purchased for £350,000, had faulty windows and doors that wouldn’t open properly and a faulty boiler.

These results are validated by the work of Novello Chartered Surveyors, co-founded by James Brook FRICS, whose surveys suggest that more than half of new-build properties are hiding defects, even though they’ve never had a previous owner.

James Brook FRICS said“ New builds are particularly popular amongst first-time buyers, who see them as a safer bet than older properties. However, the misconception that new builds are issue-free needs to be addressed so that all buyers can make an informed decision before they purchase a new build property.”

“New builds usually come with a 10-year warranty designed to give prospective buyers peace of mind. But claiming on that warranty can be a nightmare for many buyers, with large housing developers doing everything they can to shift the blame away from themselves. Sites are given extremely tight deadlines to complete the houses, leaving them susceptible to both cosmetic and series issues”

Many buyers don’t think it’s necessary to hire a chartered surveyor to conduct a snagging list or a RICS homebuyer report for a new build – after all, it’s new which means there shouldn’t be anything wrong with it. Yet alarmingly, a recent report highlighted that the average new build snagging list contained between 50 and 150 defects.

James said “When you move into a new build property, it should be in immaculate condition, however, this often isn’t the case. We’ve seen many buyers hit with nasty surprises and huge repair costs for issues that could have been identified and rectified at the very start of the buying process.”

“Buying a house is the most expensive purchase most people will ever make in their lives. Yet it’s a process that has an overwhelming amount of conflicting information. If you are looking at buying a new build, you deserve a property that has been built to the highest standards and is free of issues.”

“Working with a chartered surveyor before the contracts are exchanged is the only way you can avoid potential heartache with a new build. It’s a chartered surveyor’s job to give honest, impartial, advice about a new build properly. Unlike an estate agent or property developer, they have no vested interest in the outcome.”

“Though it may cost you an extra £1000 or so to get a snagging list or RICS homebuyer report conducted by a chartered surveyor, it will save you thousands of pounds in the long run if the survey comes back with issues. It also gives you leverage to renegotiate with the housing developer to get the issues rectified before you move in.”

Trio Of Property Professionals Off To A Flying Start

A team of property planning, architecture and design professionals is enjoying success, following their formation of collective services for landowners. AMS Planning, HG2 Architects and Lloyd Harden Design have joined forces for their combined package, and in four months have collaborated on 25 projects across a range of sectors.

Spearheading this new integrated offering is AMS Planning – a business which has been trading in Yorkshire for more than a decade and specialises in winning planning permission for landowners, housing developers and farmers looking to maximise their land assets.

Now offering its services nationwide, and as winner of the Build 2022 Design and Build Awards for the Most Creative Architectural & Planning Service, Managing Director Steve Hesmondhalgh has 35 years of industry experience and is an expert when it comes to helping his client market to execute their development project.

With an ambition to offer an integrated service, he’s joined forces with two respected firms – Lloyd Harden Design and HG2 Architects.

James Elliott at HG2 covers all aspects of the design process, while Lloyd Harden Design specialises in architectural services for the tourism industry with a particular nous for working on chalet parks, caravan sites and farm diversification schemes.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to grow our businesses and work together on exciting projects. Clients can get an unrivalled level of expertise across the development process, in an integrated offer that isn’t available elsewhere,” explains Steve, who has an ambition to transform the industry for his customers.

Steve adds: “The strategic partnership brings the best in the industry together and offers all the specialist services which probably wouldn’t be achievable in one organisation. Our clients get advice they can trust all the way through their project and a consistent development journey.”

One of the areas the trio is exploring is the leisure sector, with the UK market showing significant growth since the pandemic.

Ben Duffield, Operations Director of Liberty Leisure Group, said: “I am delighted with the collaboration. It gives me the best of both worlds. Great architectural design support alongside commercially astute planning advice.”

Since launching in October last year, the partnership has been working together on around 25 projects, with feedback from the market that the integrated offering is making a fundamental difference to how property development is managed.

HG2’s Design Director James Elliot said: “I’d describe this partnership as an organic meeting of minds. It is a fantastic opportunity because there’s so much crossover in what we all do. We all bring our own expertise to the table, and as a combination, there is more weight to what we offer in the market.”

The businesses have set themselves some lofty ambitions for the year and aim to deliver projects totalling a gross development value of £15 million which will provide more than 500 tourism-related jobs across the UK.

Lloyd, who set up his practice in Market Harborough back in 2020, said: “We always want to partner with the best, and the reputation of all the businesses is high, so it feels quite a natural fit.”

“It takes what we all do to the next level, and our customers get the benefit of dealing with one person and not having to find different specialists for each aspect of their project.”

Consultations Open For Western Docklands Masterplan

A six-week public consultation on the Western Docklands Masterplan has begun today (Monday 6 February).

Hull City Council’s Cabinet last month gave its backing to the masterplan, which suggests a range of different uses for the site, with a strong focus on employment land to the west and residential/commercial and leisure land to the east.

The council now wants to know the views of Hull residents, as well as local businesses in the area. The Western Docklands area lies between Albert and William Wright Dock, Castle Street and the Smith & Nephew site.

The consultation will run until Friday 17 March and also seeks views on the future of the Hull Ice Arena and Kingston Retail Park. The masterplan also sets out how it could create a better link to the marina and Fruit Market area.

Local businesses, residents and the wider public are all invited to take part through a series of in-person drop-in sessions and an online survey.

Posters about the Western Docklands Masterplan will be placed in various locations in Hull, with a QR code for the online consultation. Any responses to this consultation will be considered by the council in drafting a final version of the masterplan, which will then be presented to Cabinet later this year.

Drop-in sessions are based at Hull Ice Arena and public events will take place on Wednesday 8 February, from 4pm to 7pm, as well as on Saturday 18 February from 11am to 4pm.

A business drop-in session will be held on Thursday 16 February from 4pm to 7pm at the same venue.

Huge Investment Boost For Former Burton Building

Two grants have been awarded to Wykeland Group Ltd to help restore and bring back into use the former Burton building, 34-35 Whitefriargate, in Hull city centre.

As one of Hull’s most significant Art Deco buildings, it will benefit from funding from Hull City Council’s Levelling Up Funding grant scheme and the Whitefriargate High Street Heritage Action Zone, with full planning permission now approved.

With an investment of £750,000 from the Levelling Up Fund and £450,000 from Historic England through the High Street Heritage Action Zone, the total project will cost approximately £2.4 million and aims to create up to 68 local jobs once the works are completed on the Grade II heritage listed building frontages.

Sitting at the entrance to the Old Town on Whitefriargate, adjacent to Beverley Gate and opposite the Maritime Museum building, the refurbishments will make the spaces suitable for either a retail or restaurant unit on the ground floor and redevelop the second and third floors into high quality office spaces.

Councillor Paul Drake-Davis, portfolio holder for regeneration, said: “I am delighted to be able to award these grants to Wykeland to help repurpose and regenerate what is a magnificent, but currently under-used, building in our city centre.”

“The Levelling Up Fund and High Street Heritage Action Zone have already benefitted many buildings and businesses in Hull and this is another example of the regeneration work it helps to unlock.”

Trevor Mitchell, Director for the North at Historic England, said: “We’re really pleased to be helping to fund the restoration of the former Burton department store through the High Street Heritage Action Zone.”

“The Grade II listed building is a striking and glamorous landmark on Whitefriargate and its rejuvenation will play an important role in transforming the historic street into a thriving and attractive place to live, work, shop and enjoy leisure time.”

Tom Watson, Development Surveyor at Wykeland Group, added: “We welcome this grant, which is essential to the viability of the project we are leading to save the former Burton building from dereliction and the granting of planning permission for our detailed proposals.”

“Having invested in acquiring the property to prevent its further decline, we have worked closely with Historic England, Hull City Council’s Conservation Officer and our own expert consultants to develop a high-quality scheme to revitalise this landmark building.”

“Delivery of this scheme will involve further significant investment on our part to restore this historic building and enable it to have a sustainable, long-term future.”

“As well as bringing one of Hull’s most distinctive buildings back to life, the project will create much-needed new business opportunities and jobs in the heart of the city centre.”

In 2021, the council was awarded £19.5 million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund to support infrastructure and deliver a package of city centre regeneration works.

£7.5 million of this being used for the Levelling Up Fund grant scheme, which aims to bring unused floorspace of any vacant or partially occupied property back into use.

This follows on from targeted investment into Whitefriargate schemes such as the Humber High Street Challenge Fund which was completed last year, and the current High Street Heritage Action Zone.

Both these schemes have provided grants to businesses and property owners to enable the repurposing of vacant buildings on Whitefriargate.

Historically, 34-35 Whitefriargate was originally purpose-built for Montague Burton, a high-end tailor, first opening back in 1936. The building was artistically embellished with Art Deco features and designed by Leeds architect Harry Wilson.

Work Starts On New £4.5 Million York Business Park

Marrtree Investments has begun work on a new 2.4 acre business park on the site of the former B&M store at Clifton Moor in York. The developer will have invested £4.5m in the scheme on completion, which will create 27,000 sq ft of modern business space across four units ranging from 4,000 sq ft to 8,000 sq ft, as well as a Starbucks drive-through café, and will generate dozens of new jobs for the city.

Marrtree Business Park, York, will be the latest in the North Yorkshire-based developer’s portfolio of over 20 business parks, which are located strategically across the north of England. Phase II of the firm’s 70,000 sq ft development at Sowerby Gateway, the new 950-home scheme near Thirsk, was completed in October and is expected to create 40 new jobs for the area.

William Marshall, director of Marrtree Investments, said: “We are really pleased to be bringing more of the high-quality modern business space, for which Marrtree has become well known, to York. Since the pandemic, well-thought-out, ergonomic workplaces, where people actively want to come to work each day, have become more important than ever and that’s what we aim to deliver with all our business parks and the kind of space that is in short supply for York employers.”

The new units are due for completion in the autumn and the developer says there has been considerable interest in the scheme. “We are in conversation already with a number of organisations who are considering either relocating or setting up new operations in the Clifton Moor area of the city,” said Mr Marshall.

“It’s a great location, with excellent road links and with the £65m upgrade to the York outer ring road due to get underway in the next couple of years. There are also great facilities close by, including gyms, restaurants and the Vue cinema.”

Harrogate-based HACS construction group has been appointed as main contractor for the construction of the business park, with the Leeds offices of Colliers, and Cushman & Wakefield appointed as letting agents.

Founded in Bradford in the 1940s, and now run by the third-generation brothers William and George Marshall, the Marrtree Group of companies has operated for over 80 years. With interests in commercial and residential property, quarrying and forestry, the business is now based in Harrogate.

Construction Law Firm Fulfils Its Ambitions

Yorkshire-based specialist construction solicitors, Hawkswell Kilvington, has relocated from Wakefield to Leeds to fulfil its ambitious growth plans.

The firm, which is celebrating 21 years in business, has moved its team to a modern office space at Thorpe Park in Leeds, a thriving and progressive hub with a raft of amenities.

With significant space for growth, the new office design incorporates state-of-the-art technology and provides a welcoming environment in which its team can work collaboratively and efficiently with clients.

As part of the move, the firm has also invested heavily in its IT infrastructure, enabling its team to work more effectively; whether they are in the office or working remotely.

Partner, Daniel Silberstein said, “This is an incredibly exciting time for the firm. We have brilliant people, superb clients and a great future. The move is a significant investment, and underlines the confidence we have in our growth plans. The new office perfectly reflects our ethos as being a forward-thinking law firm.”

Partner, Thomas Salter said, “We are also focused on driving the firm forwards in a more eco-friendly and sustainable way. We recently achieved the Carbon Neutral Plus Standard which recognises our efforts to reduce carbon emissions through energy and resource efficiency. The new space, including its EV charging points, will allow us to continue on our journey to a more sustainable future. The move also supports our recruitment ambitions. Staff retention is incredibly important to us (myself and Rachel Heald joined the firm as trainees), and the new office has already enhanced our ability to attract new talent. Long may that continue.”

The firm represents a number of blue-chip clients, including John Sisk and Son, Shepherd Construction and Briggs & Forrester, and has recently gained recognition as a Tier 1 firm in the Legal 500.

Eddisons Completes £1.9 Million Project At York School

Property group Eddisons, which is headquartered in Leeds, has project managed the £1.9 million refurbishment of new dining areas, toilet blocks and classrooms at Millthorpe school, a 1,000-student York high school run by South Bank Academy Trust.

Completed this month, the project has upgraded and modernised outdated areas of the school as well as freeing up the circulation of students and staff through the building by reconfiguring areas where bottlenecks were creating logistical problems and causing lengthy lunchtime queues.

A new external covered dining area, the refurbishment and extension of the existing dining room, upgraded toilet blocks and refurbished teaching areas were all included in the scheme which took Eddisons four months to complete once work began on site this summer.

Declan Williams, a building surveyor with Eddisons’ 60-strong specialist education team, which works with school and college academy trusts to secure government funding for improvement projects and sees them through to completion, said: “We have been working with South Bank Academy Trust for four years after being approached to carry out the initial condition survey.”

“Circulation was identified as being a major issue that was disrupting the school day and that was one of our main challenges, to reconfigure the way people travel around the entire school.”

He added: “We have had excellent feedback from the school who have told us that both staff and pupils are enjoying the more orderly atmosphere and increased capacity to serve more people at lunchtimes. Some of the new, modern space we have created is multifunctional so that it can be used either as a dining room or as a teaching area, which has been particularly useful for maximising the space available.”

Millthorpe School, which is in the South Bank area of York, is expected to grow in student numbers in the coming years as nearby new housing developments at the Civil Service and British Sugar are developed. The £1.9m refurbishment project was funded by City of York Council.

Eddisons carried out the initial survey into the condition of the school buildings, as well as providing architectural and design services for the £1.9m project and project managing the construction of the new areas.

Construction Firms Struggling As Job Applicant Numbers Fall

Construction firms are relying on financial incentives as job applicant numbers tumble.

Skills shortages and the cost-of-living crisis have driven salaries up across construction, despite the demand for staff beginning to slow. That’s according to the latest report from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).

The data, provided by the world’s largest network of job boards, Broadbean Technology, revealed that despite vacancies dropping 6% between January and October 2022, the number of applicants per vacancy has fallen at a far greater pace, down 44% for the same period.

While this is indicative of an ongoing skills shortage across the sector, the report suggests that the cost-of-living crisis and a general reluctance to move roles during economic uncertainty could also be impacting application numbers, with salary inflation being used to lure recruits.

According to the analysis, average pay across construction increased 4% between January and October, with salaries increasing 1% between September and October when signs of economic instability began to show.

Ann Swain, Global CEO of APSCo commented: “While the construction sector has been on a roller coaster ride in terms of jobs throughout 2022, it is the sustained fall in application numbers that presents the greatest challenge to recruiters across the sector. This latest data does show that the economic uncertainty since the beginning of September has hampered hiring, something we don’t expect to see a reverse in the immediate future.”

“It’s crucial that the government enacts policies that will bring stability for workers, including announcing the long-awaited Employment Bill and revising policies to better recognise and support the unique needs of the highly skilled contractor labour market.”

Improving Health & Safety In Construction With Technolgy

For construction workers, there are many dangerous risks to face. In fact, the cost of injuries within the industry across the UK has reached more than a staggering £16.2 billion a year, truly emphasising the impact that working on a building site can have.

However, despite the overwhelming findings, there are more ways to offer protection thanks to advanced technology. But how exactly does this work? Here, in an article drafted by the team at van leasing company, Van Ninja, we delve into five ways technology is helping to improve the health and safety of the construction sector, and how construction workers across Yorkshire could benefit.

  1. Wearable Technology
    While PPE is an essential measure for construction workers to ensure their health and safety, that’s not to say there’s room for improvement; in fact, there are more items that workers can wear to protect themselves.

    Wearable technologies are yet another way that safety can be improved in the construction industry, with many helping monitor vital signs, identify collisions, and keep track of workers who are working unaccompanied. So, if workers are using van leasing to go from site to site, you can keep an eye on them for their safety.

    When out and about, especially during rush hours, mishaps can take place at every turn. Even slamming the breaks to avoid colliding with another vehicle or a pedestrian can be harmful. You are likely to suffer an abrupt movement of the head and neck, which may result in whiplash injury.

    Susanne McGraw, Head of Personal Injury at Watermans, said: “As part of a team of personal injury lawyers, I support many people who have suffered a whiplash injury when at the wheel of their vehicle. Most of them will recover within days, whereas others have to deal with its effects for weeks or even months. My recommendation is to seek medical assistance as soon as possible. This will give you the chance to get the treatment you need and alleviate feelings of discomfort in a timely manner.”

    Exoskeleton is one example of wearable technology which assists the workers’ physical support when there is a high risk of injury.

  2. Site Sensors
    There are many risks that can affect the health of a construction worker, but with site sensors, there’s extra protection in place against these.
    With site sensors, which companies like SmartSite and Pillar Technologies have developed, many things such as noise levels, temperature, and dust particulates can be monitored to protect the workers from high exposure. Across the construction site, these sensors can be implemented to inform the employees if they are in danger of passing the exposure limit.

  3. Digitalised Safety Processes
    Turning the safety process to digital instead of having a pile of paperwork will not only provide more time to be used elsewhere, but also contribute to the safety process of the construction site.

    With an ePTW system, safety is ensured while making life easier. Digital sign-offs allow for more traceability, and you can rest assured that you have clarity of what’s going on throughout the construction site, thanks to real-time visibility, even if you aren’t on-site. In addition to this, consistent standards can be implemented across various sites, even for different types of construction work. With consistency across teams and visibility over the sites, you can rely on this technology for a safer working environment.

  4. Drones To Monitor Sites
    It’s essential for site workers to be aware of hazards to avoid major injuries. Thankfully, technology can monitor sites to improve workers’ safety.

    Drones are excellent for construction companies as they can be used for an aerial inspection of their site, which offers a wide view of the area and the surrounding environment. Given their ability to reach elevated areas and places that may be deemed unsafe, the inspection is much more accurate and efficient. With this technology, any safety hazards can be spotted prior to work being carried out to identify any procedures that need to be in place.

  5. Digital Training Sessions
    Training is important in any job role for upskilling, but for the construction industry in particular, it is vital due to the many physical health risks like back injuries and the harmful chemicals in paints.

    By streamlining training sessions, all workers across several sites can learn the same information, avoiding miscommunication that could be spread through in-person training through multiple sites. As well as this, sessions can be recorded for workers to revisit to refresh their memory, ensuring excellent safety conditions as employees can become much more familiar with necessary procedures.

Technology provides an abundance of opportunities for many different industries, but given the risks for construction workers, the advancements are particularly useful for this sector due to the ability to improve safety.