Unused materials database aims to reduce construction waste

Unused materials database aims to reduce construction waste

Supply Chain Sustainability School has hit ‘go’ on its free Materials Exchange Platform Map (MEP Map).

The School is a collaboration working towards a ‘sustainable built environment’ and their mapping tool aims to help reduce the volume of waste entering landfill by providing construction contractors and their suppliers with a central database of local MEP projects.

The map is a quick way of finding a home for unused construction materials. It has been developed through a collaboration of the School’s industry partners, including BAM, Berkeley Group, Canary Wharf Contractors, Kier, John Sisk & Co, National Grid, Reconomy and Skanska.

How it works

The free mapping tool gives the user access to a national network of Materials Exchange Platforms and allows them to compare those in their local or regional areas. The user can search the database for materials by using filters based on location, MEP type and material information.

Matt Nichols, of Reconomy, and chair of the School’s Waste and Resource Efficiency group said: “Awareness of the importance of a circular economy – based on the principles of designing out waste and ensuring that we efficiently use all the products and materials that we buy – is definitely gathering pace.

“The MEP Map performs the crucial task of connecting those with excess materials and products to those who can make good use of them, therefore reducing the volume of waste we send to landfill.”

Alongside reducing waste by redirecting unused resources, the tool also aims to save contractors disposal costs and potentially generate additional income. Furthermore, it’s hoped the map will aid local businesses and smaller contractors by providing access to quality materials at a lower cost, or even free.

Mark Turner, of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, commented: “Whilst Materials Exchange Platforms are not new, they are sadly very much underused. We hope that by providing this interactive map to our 37,000 online members, and indeed the whole industry, we can more easily access the platforms that exist across the UK, to ensure less unused or over-ordered materials end up in landfill.”

The latest report (March 2020) from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), states that in 2016 the UK generated 66.2 million tonnes of non-hazardous construction and demolition (C&D) waste.

Waste occurs for a number of reasons including onsite via over-ordering, incorrect orders, mishandling materials, offcuts, and unnecessary packaging of materials.

Access to the MEP Map is free, through a free membership of the Supply Chain Sustainability School. Anyone can join.

Changing Places toilets to be compulsory in new public buildings

Changing Places toilets to be compulsory in new public buildings

A major change to building rules in England will require thousands of Changing Places toilet facilities to be designed and built into new public buildings, from next year.

Changing Places toilets are larger and include equipment such as hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches and space for carers.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government says the large (12m2), well-equipped toilets will help more than 250,000 severely disabled people have greater access to public places.

The government estimates it will add the toilets to more than 150 new buildings a year.

Places of assembly, recreation and entertainment with a capacity for 350 or more people will be required to install the facilities if they are newly built or have a major refurbishment.  

They include art galleries, cinemas, concert halls, conference centres, further education colleges, universities, hotels that include leisure facilities, libraries, motorway services, museums, places of worship, and theatres.

Shopping centres or retail parks with gross floor areas of 30,000m2 or more, retail premises of 2,500m2 or more, sport or leisure buildings over 5,000m2, and stadia, theme parks, zoos, or exhibition centres with a capacity above 2,000 people will also be included in the rules.

Building Accessibility Minister Lord Greenhalgh said: “For too long, the lack of Changing Places toilets has meant that severely disabled people have faced severe difficulties in attending public places.

“Changing Places toilets give disabled people and their carers the space and equipment they need to have the confidence to leave their homes and go out. We are making the installation of these toilets compulsory in hundreds of new public buildings in years to come to help bring major, life enhancing freedoms to the more than 250,000 people who need them.”

Rob Burley, director of campaigns, care and support at Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: “This is huge news for the quarter of a million people in the UK who need Changing Places toilets. Having access to these much-needed facilities increases independence and improves quality of life.

“This legislation will make it easier for disabled people and their families to enjoy activities that many take for granted, whether that’s a day’s shopping or attending a concert. None of this would have been possible without the hard work of our wonderful campaigners. Thanks to everyone working together, we have taken a big step towards ensuring Changing Places toilets will be more widely available to everyone who needs them and tackling the exclusion people face.”

Meanwhile, a £30 million fund to install Changing Places in existing venues will open in the next few months

There are more than 1,400 Changing Places toilets in the UK, up from just 140 in 2007, but many more are needed. The Department for Transport, in partnership with Muscular Dystrophy UK, has also announced £1.27 million to install 37 more changing places at service stations across England. This will mean 87 of England’s 118 service stations will have Changing Places toilets in them by the early 2020s.

This investment is part of the government’s Inclusive Transport Strategy, which aims to provide equal access to transport by 2030, with assistance if physical infrastructure remains a barrier.

The Changing Places Consortium launched its campaign in 2006 on behalf of the over 250,000 people who cannot use standard accessible toilets. This includes people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, as well as older people.

To find your nearest Changing Places toilet, click here.

Avant Homes and Moorfield Group in £20m show homes sale

Avant Homes and Moorfield Group in £20m show homes sale

Avant Homes has sold 77 show homes to property investor Moorfield Group for £20m.

The UK property investor has acquired the 93,000 square feet portfolio, located across 29 different sites, from the house-builder which operates in Scotland, the north east of England, Yorkshire and the Midlands, in a sale and leaseback agreement.

Upon acquisition the show homes were immediately leased back to Avant Homes on an average three-year term. When the individual leases expire, Moorfield will either sell the homes on the open market or rent the homes alongside its existing build-to-rent activities. The high-spec show homes occupy prominent locations on each of the estates on which they are located.

Moorfield Group previously worked with Avant Homes in 2013 when they acquired the developer’s Edinburgh city centre £750 million mixed-use Quartermile scheme in 2013 for an undisclosed sum. The group’s investments in the residential sector also include senior living (Audley), Build-to-Rent (More. Superenting) and student accommodation (Domain).

Avant Homes has a turnover of £483 million, five regional offices and employs over 700 people.

Charles Ferguson-Davie, chief investment officer at Moorfield Group, said: “Despite the volatility caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, we remain convinced that the residential sector will continue to be a resilient asset class, providing ongoing opportunities to generate outperformance on behalf of our investors. We have pioneered investment into a range of residential use classes and this innovative transaction provides our investors with further diversification.”

Mark Mitchell, Avant Homes chief operating officer, added: “Covid-19 has presented the housebuilding industry with many challenges, which we have responded to dynamically, with the safety and wellbeing of our people as our first priority. Looking ahead, we remain committed to continuing to execute against our growth strategy, underpinned by the resilience and agility of our business, the excellence of our product and the commitment of our people.

“Moorfield Group’s investment is testament to their belief in our ability to continue to succeed. As part of our growth strategy, we are exploring a number of other opportunities with Moorfield Group and hope to be able to reveal more detail about what they are in due course.”

Ban on using credit cards for gambling in the UK from April 2020

Ban on using credit cards for gambling in the UK from April 2020

The Gambling Commission has announced a ban on gambling businesses allowing consumers in Great Britain to use credit cards to gamble.

The ban comes into effect on 14 April and follows the Commission’s review of online gambling and the Government’s Review of Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures. A public consultation was carried out between August and November 2019.

The Commission says 24 million adults in the UK gamble, with 10.5 million of those gambling online. UK Finance estimate that 800,000 consumers use credit cards to gamble.

The ban, which will apply to all online and offline gambling products with the exception of non-remote lotteries, where payment is made face-to face, will provide a significant layer of additional protection to vulnerable people.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, said: “Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm. The ban that we have announced today should minimise the risks of harm to consumers from gambling with money they do not have.

“Research shows that 22% of online gamblers using credit cards are problem gamblers, with even more suffering some form of gambling harm.

“We also know that there are examples of consumers who have accumulated tens of thousands of pounds of debt through gambling because of credit card availability. There is also evidence that the fees charged by credit cards can exacerbate the situation because the consumer can try to chase losses to a greater extent.

“We realise that this change will inconvenience those consumers who use credit cards responsibly but we are satisfied that reducing the risk of harm to other consumers means that action must be taken.”

Mr McArthur warned that, although likely to reduce gambling harm, the banning of credit cards needed to be accompanied by other efforts.

“The ban is part of our ongoing work to reduce gambling harm,” he added. “We also need to continue the work we have been doing with gambling operators and the finance industry to ensure consumers only gamble with money they can afford to spend.”

Culture Minister Helen Whately said: “While millions gamble responsibly, I have also met people whose lives have been turned upside down by gambling addiction.

“There’s clear evidence of harm from consumers betting with money they do not have, so it is absolutely right that we act decisively to protect them. In the past year we have introduced a wave of tougher measures, including cutting the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals, bringing in tighter age and identity checks for online gambling and expanding national specialist support through the NHS Long Term Plan.

“We’ve also secured a series of commitments from five leading gambling operators that will include £100 million funding towards treatment for problem gamblers.

“But there is more to do. We will be carrying out a review of the Gambling Act to ensure it is fit for the digital age and we will be launching a new nationwide addiction strategy in 2020.”

Metropolitan Thames Valley and Bovis Homes to build nearly 800 new homes near Cambridge

Metropolitan Thames Valley and Bovis Homes to build nearly 800 new homes near Cambridge

Housebuilder Bovis Homes has announced a new joint venture with G15 housing association Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing for 783 homes at Cambourne West, near Cambridge.

The £240m development will be made up of 70 per cent private units, which range from one to five-bedroom homes, and 30 per cent affordable housing. The 235 affordable homes will be comprised of affordable rent and shared ownership.

Together, the housing association and housebuider will also provide facilities to support the local community as part of the project. Bovis Homes will contribute almost £13m towards education, including the expansion of a secondary school and two new primary schools while £3.2m will also go towards highway improvements.

Building at the site is expected to begin in February next year. The plot is near to the Bovis Homes and Taylor Wimpey Cambourne location, made up of around 4000 homes which were built between 2008 and 2018.

John Lougher, strategic land managing director at Bovis Homes, said: “We’re delighted to announce the joint venture with MTVH to deliver much-needed homes in the area and look forward to working closely with them.

“Local house hunters, whether they are looking at the private market or through a well-respected affordable housing provider, will benefit from a wide range of stunning homes within a popular, easy-to-reach location. The range of housing on offer – from one-bed apartments to five-bed houses – means the development will appeal to a wide range of people at different stages of their lives, creating a real sense of community.

“Building by the established new settlement of Cambourne, the area will become a flagship development over the next decade, demonstrating our commitment to housebuilding across the region while also boosting investment and jobs in the area.”

Richard Evans, development director of Innovations & Partnerships at Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing, added: “We’re really pleased to be partnering with Bovis Homes to deliver homes at Cambourne West, as we continue MTVH’s commitment to delivering excellent quality housing and services in Cambridgeshire.

“MTVH is about more than building homes, we also build and invest in people and communities for the long term too. This new joint venture with Bovis Homes gives us a fantastic opportunity to do this at scale, ultimately helping more people.”