Help to Buy: beware a 1980s-style boom and bust

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Southern Power and Wärtsilä sign MoU to develop two large gas power plants in USA

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My favourites …

first_imgTo continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe now for unlimited accesslast_img read more

City backs online courts for claims up to £25k

first_imgThe City of London Law Society (CLLS) has thrown its backing behind the creation of an online court for claims up to £25,000, breaking ranks with the rest of the profession which has largely warned against it.Responding to an interim report from Lord Justice Briggs on the structure of civil courts, the CLLS said that an online court could bring ‘huge benefits’ and would constitute a major step towards enhancing access to justice for individuals and small businesses who would otherwise find it difficult to secure justice.The society also said it had no objection in principle to the online court hearing claims up to £25,000 and no fundamental objection to the court having exclusive jurisdiction within its remit.Its response puts it at odds with other representative bodies in the legal sector.The Bar Council has warned that an online court could entrench a two-tiered judicial system, while the Law Society said it would support the use of the court only for straightforward money disputes worth up to £10,000.The CLLS’s response was written by the society’s litigation committee, which is chaired by Simon James (pictured) of magic circle firm Clifford Chance. Despite backing the overall idea, the CLLS did sound some caution over the details. It said the online court would need extensive testing and piloting, and noted that its success depends on a computerised ‘triage’ system which does not yet exist. Its reponse also warned that litigation in England and Wales could mushroom if the court becomes too successful.The response said: ‘If the online court becomes seen as an easy way of extracting money for losses perceived to be the fault of someone else, litigation could become the first resort rather than the last […] this could have a deleterious effect on business and other relationships.’The CLLS suggested that a lower limit could be set on the value of claims, and fees should be set at a level which would deter frivolous claims. It also suggested enabling successful defendants to receive a fixed allowance for costs.The society’s response also said it had concerns about the proposals for case officers, which it said might not achieve the stated objective of pushing down the work done by expensive judges, as it is likely most litigants will refer to a judge any adverse decisions taken by a case officer.It suggested that case officers should be treated as judges, with genuine authority of their own, and if they are not treated as judges and do not carry out judicial functions, this casts doubt on the need to create a new cadre of court staff.last_img read more

City firms demand sustainable future post-pandemic

first_imgClifford Chance, Pinsent Masons and DLA Piper are among nine law firms that have urged Boris Johnson to implement environmentally sustainable goals in the wake of the pandemic.The leaders of some of Britain’s biggest companies sent an open letter to the prime minister this morning asking him to use UN sustainable development goals ‘to consolidate and future-proof’ plans for the UK’s pandemic recovery.Clifford Chance, DLA Piper, DWF, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith Freehills, Linklaters, Mishcon de Reya, Pinsent Masons and Slaughter and May were among the signatories.The letter, which was coordinated by the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development and the UN Global Compact Network UK, said: ‘We recognise that the scale of recovery will pose many challenges for the government. But the Covid-19 crisis has shown that businesses, government, and civil society can and will work together to create lasting and positive change.‘We believe the sustainable development goals should be used to establish the level of ambition for the UK’s pandemic-recovery and a future that ensures all people in our country live a good life, prospering on a healthy planet.’The firms urged Johnson to build a stronger and more resilient economy; to prioritise the most vulnerable in our society and ‘level-up regional and societal inequalities’; and to build ‘coherent policies for a healthy planet and to aid the transition to net zero’.last_img read more

Contracts cut commissioning

first_imgSubstantial efficiency gains have been achieved by Denmark’s infrastructure manager, Banestyrelsen, thanks to a law introduced on January 1 1997 which requires materials and work to be procured by open tender – although it has not been fully applied yet.Director of Infrastructure Services Jesper Toft told AiC’s Infrastructure Maintenance & Renewal 99 Conference on February 9 that he was not only buying materials at lower prices, where previously they had been escalating, but the capital tied up in stocks had also been halved. The cost of plant was 10% to 20% lower, materials were typically 6% to 15% down with 50% achieved in some cases, and work packages were up to 50% cheaper for the same functional output. ’We now believe that you can go further’, he said.Toft admitted that to start with there had been resistance to the idea that infrastructure work could be precisely defined in contracts, but now ’we don’t accept that things can’t be described.’ Indeed, the requirement to do this ’stimulates planning and thus optimises the whole process.’There were gains in the time taken to carry out work too. Typical work packages were performed 10% to 20% faster, and time reductions of 54% and 67% had been demonstrated during specific trials. Commissioning times had improved substantially, with reduced disruption to services in consequence.Asked whether more staff were needed to process the procurement paperwork, Toft claimed that, on the contrary, 10% to 15% fewer were required – ’although it may take different people.’ It had, he conceded, been ’a very tough learning process.’last_img read more

Planning for obsolescence management

first_imgMOXA: At InnoTrans Moxa will highlight how the in-house development of CPUs for its ToughNet series of ethernet switches will ensure long-term availability, which in turn will assist rolling stock refurbishment contractors with obsolescence management.ToughNet supports Moxa’s new Dynamic Ring Coupling. This enables fast automated reconfiguration when trains are reformed in mid-journey, with a network recovery time of under 1 sec to prevent disruption to CCTV surveillance, wi-fi and passenger information systems.last_img

Ostrava airport rail link opens

first_imgCZECH REPUBLIC: Ostrava became the first city in the country with a rail link to its international airport when a single-track electrified line to Leoš Janáček Airport in Mošnov was inaugurated on April 13.The KC553m project was 85 % funded by the European Union, with the remainder from the Moravskoslezský regional budget. Construction involved two separate projects: the KC420m modernisation and 3 kV DC electrification of the 5·6 km line from Studénka on the Praha – Ostrava main line to Sedlnice, plus the construction of a 2·9 km spur and the new station at Mošnov-Ostrava Airport, linked to the terminal by a covered walkway. This was the country’s first ‘green field’ railway project for many years. The airport is served by an extension of regional service S2 linking Mošnov with Mosty u Jablunkova via Studénka, Ostrava, Karviná and Bohumín. National operator ČD provides 10 trains each way per day, taking 30 min to Ostrava Hlavní station. The services are currently operated by ČD Class 471 CityElefant double-deck EMUs. From the December 2015 timetable change these will be replaced by a pair of Class 650 RegioPanter two-car single-deck dual-voltage EMUs, which will be delivered as the first from a framework contract for 11 units ordered from Škoda Vagonka in February and 33% co-funded by the Moravskoslezský region.The line is also expected to serve a new multimodal freight terminal in an industrial zone close to the airport.last_img read more

Strategic partnership targets Belt & Road projects

first_imgASIA: A strategic partnership which aims to ‘identify and pursue cross-border corporate finance and investment opportunities’ linked to China’s Belt & Road Initiative has been announced by the Singapore-listed Sapphire Corp parent of Chinese urban rail construction company Ranken and the Singapore subsidiary of Hong Kong-based financial services group Haitong International Securities.The companies will co-operate to exchange information about opportunities, and Haitong Singapore is to help Sapphire source investment.‘Ranken is one of the leading private companies in the urban rail transit sector in China, with a good track record in project delivery and strong business fundamentals’, Sapphire CEO Wang Heng said on April 15. ‘Haitong Singapore can leverage its expertise in procuring partners and tapping funding to support Sapphire and Ranken, which we believe will benefit our growth.’last_img read more

Overpass creators release new gameplay video

first_img Credit: Zordix Racing Development Overpass is the upcoming offroad simulator from Zordix Racing Development, it is due to be released on PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch on 27th February 2020. In the newly released gameplay video, Joakim Eriksson (Director of Zordix) gives us more of an insight into the game.From 23 officially licensed vehicles in the game, Joakim chose the Wildcat Sport LTD from Arctic Cat to demonstrate the different ways to play the game. Each track has been created to present players with a unique and tough challenge. There are challenges all along the course: artificial obstacles, mud, rocks, etc. All these must be tackled to get to the finish line.Check out the video below:When starting a race for the first time, players need to explore the track to familiarise themselves with the terrain and the traps ahead. They can then complete it as fast as possible to get on the leaderboard or challenge the community in multiplayer in real-time. Forcing through at full throttle is a sure way to send your wheels spinning and get stuck, losing precious seconds. But driving with finesse, with precise acceleration and wise use of the differential, will ensure you navigate the hardest sections successfully.In this off-road simulation, challenge yourself on extreme tracks at the controls of buggies and quads from major manufacturers. In a variety of local and online game modes, master the terrain physics, overcome obstacles and cope with damage to your vehicle to triumph in this demanding off-road challenge.For more information head over to the official Overpass website.Overpass is available to pre-order now.View some overpass screenshots in our gallery below: Credit: Zordix Racing Developmentcenter_img Credit: Zordix Racing Developmentlast_img read more