Local Authority Building Control and the Modern Masonry Alliance have teamed up to draw up a free set of off-the-shelf design details to minimise heat loss at weak junction points in the building envelope.
The suite of 250 registered masonry construction details is being targeted at smaller and medium-sized builders.
Their use will allow builders a cost-effective means to drawn up designs and specifications that achieve or even surpass required performance standards. The solution-based construction template will also prevent accidental flaws causing energy to leak.
It also means that building owners can also be assured of lower heat loss, fewer occurrences of condensation - and associated mould - and a healthier atmosphere. Construction joints came under the spotlight after research showed they are the most vulnerable areas in the building envelope to thermal bridging, allowing heat to leak out while creating problem cold spots internally.
The Government, Zero Carbon Hub and several trade industry trade bodies and manufacturers have pushed for packaged construction details showing how the design, specification of materials and construction of construction joints should be accomplished.
LABC Chief Executive Paul Everall said: “We welcomed the Modern Masonry Alliance when they approached us.
“We have many SME customers and we know they need packaged advice that has already been calculated and examined.
“We are able to provide help in this and it will streamline the plan checking and site inspections performed by our building control surveyors.
He added: “Architects and contractors have a huge desire to get things right and this will help them in a very practical way without increasing their costs. Everybody wins, including the building owners and eventual users.”
Mike Leonard, chief executive of MMA, said: “Greater participation of local builders is vital if we are to see the massive uplift in new home delivery by 2020 we need to address the growing housing crisis.
“This scheme will make it easier for builders of all sizes to select registered construction details that offer cost effective compliance with the recent changes to regulations.
“We know that LABC provides a service to many thousands of local builders throughout England and Wales and we hope to encourage those designing, specifying and constructing buildings to use pre-registered solutions.”
The new LABC Registered Construction Details will be relevant in England, Wales and Scotland, though there are differences in the calculations due to variations in thermal legislation between the three nations.
LABC and the Modern Masonry Alliance intend to continue to develop further Registered Construction Details to include other elements of the building regulations so that customers can find holistic designs.
Scottish house builder Cala has revealed ambitious plans for a three-fold rise in turnover by 2016, after posting record results for 2014.
The firm, which acquired Banner Homes in March, said it now ranked among the UK’s top 10 house builders and would seek to expand in the south east of England.
During the year to June, the group more than doubled pre-tax profits to £27m from £12.6m the year before.
Completions over the the year remained broadly flat at 677. But a sharp rise in average selling prices from £335,000 to £423,000 helped to lift turnover 22% to £294m.
The big rise in selling price was driven by a change in site mix, sales inflation and Banner’s higher ASP.
Operating margin was also up to 13.6% from 10.2% the year before.
Following the Banner acquisition, Cala is operating from three regional centres in Scotland and five in England.
Turnover in this financial year is expected to top £500m after a full year contribution from Banner.
Alan Brown, Chief Executive of Cala Group, said the targeted rise in turnover by 2016 would be driven by increasing the level of development activity in the East of Scotland and Aberdeen where CALA’s existing landbank is already very strong and through the group’s south east of England operations where there was significant unmet demand for upmarket homes.
Cala’s owned and contracted landbank rose 27% to 12,690 plots with a potential gross development value of £4.7bn, up 48%.
Net bank debt has risen from £40m in 2013 to £142m resulting in gearing of 45% at year end.
Brown added: “Our growth plans are underpinned by the strength of our landbank, and the quality of our development locations with 81% of the projected profit to be delivered through our business plans in the next four years already owned, contracted or with deal terms agreed.
“We have entered the new financial year in a very positive position thanks to strong forward sales and, with a stable market backdrop, I am very excited about Cala’s prospects for the year ahead which will deliver our first year of significant volume growth since the implementation of our new growth strategy.”
The Modern Masonry Alliance has welcomed Sir Michael Lyons’ eagerly-awaited roadmap to build 200,000 homes-a-year by 2020.
The independent review puts local builders and communities at the heart of the comprehensive housing delivery plan.
His review recommends the formation of Olympic Park-style local ‘new homes corporations’ with power to fast-track housing development and assemble land.
Lyons believes these new bodies could build the foundations to deliver up to 500,000 homes over a five-year parliament.
He also calls for fresh impetus at all levels to encourage small house builders to enter the market and end the dominance of a handful of major firms in housing supply.
Lyons points out that small builders built nearly two thirds of homes 30 years ago, but now account for less than a third.
Mike Leonard, chief executive of the Modern Masonry Alliance, said: “We welcome the principal recommendations of the Housing Commission led by Sir Michael Lyons and the overall desire to Get Britain Building.
“Greater engagement to identify local need and release the land to build the right homes for the community is vital.
“Without the involvement of local builders and the increased availability of affordable housing for sale and rent we will not deliver the massive uplift in housing delivery by 2020 that we need to address the growing housing crisis.
Leonard said that the MMA had already established Local House Builder Clubs in Birmingham and Wolverhampton designed to identify and release smaller sites for development by local builders .
“This initiative is based on finding ways to remove red tape and access the land and finance to make projects work. We support the “Help to Build” initiative as an enabler to help get smaller builders delivering more new homes.
We look forward to Sir Michael revealing further details of his findings at the Housing Summit being staged at Arup, Solihull Campus on Tuesday 21st October 2014.
Labour commissioned Lyons to conduct the sweeping housing review to help form new policies to tackle the housing crisis.
But already the Liberal Democrats are embracing his recommendations to reform housing delivery.
Lyons forecasts his house building plan would deliver 230,000 extra jobs and raise economic growth by 1.2%.
He believes the new local housing corporations could build the foundations to deliver up to 500,000 homes over a five-year parliament.
Lyons Housing Review key recommendations
• Set up new homes corporations with powers to push through building on land, including a backstop power for compulsory purchase • Measures to drive competition in the house building industry, increase capacity, and expanding the number of small firms. • A Help to Build scheme to underwrite loans to small builders to get them building again and fast-track planning on small sites. • Financial incentives to local authorities so that they deliver a programme of new Garden Cities and Garden Suburbs to help unlock 500,000 homes.
Unveiling the Lyons Report on a visit to Milton Keynes, Labour leaderEd Miliband declaredthe comprehensive housing plan – the first of its kind in a generation - would meet Labour’s commitment of building 200,000 homes a year by 2020 and set a course for doubling the number of first-time buyers over the next decade.
He pledged that Labour would make it mandatory for local authorities to have a local plan to meet the housing needs of the local community.
Where they fail to allocate sufficient land or come forward with a plan, the planning inspectorate will be given powers to step-in and make sure housing need is not ignored.
He also confirmed local authorities would be able to designate new ‘Housing Growth Areas’ under Labour. These would have powers to assemble land and give certainty that building will take place.
New homes "Think Tank", The Futures Group, details how to rise to the challenge of delivering better homes for the consumer.
Contributors to The Futures Group include leading experts from national house builders, manufacturers and regulatory bodies.
The UK Government has set out an ambitious plan for all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016. The Zero Carbon Hub is here to help you understand the challenges, issues and opportunities involved in developing, building and marketing your low and zero carbon homes. www.zerocarbonhub.org