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NCE Live News Updates 9 July 2013: Skanska walks out of US Chamber of Commerce over building code row

The US arm of Skanska has pulled out of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce after a row over the business lobby’s stance on the American equivalent of BREEAM.

17:16: Government draws red line round HS2 route

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has slapped a protective cordon around the proposed route of the £50 billion HS2 scheme.

The move means that any developments that could affect the route between London and the West Midlands will now not be permitted.

The official ‘safeguarding’ of the route also means people directly affected by the scheme, typically with in a 120m wide corridor,  can now serve a Blight Notice on the Government asking that their home be purchased from them.

Successful applicants will receive the open market value of their property ‘unblighted’, plus 10% (up to a value of £47,000) and moving costs.

McLoughlin said: “HS2 is moving from the drawing board towards construction. Safeguarding is an important milestone for homeowners and for planning purposes. It shows we are determined to deliver this once-in-a generation opportunity to drive growth, generate jobs, and secure our country’s future prosperity.

“I understand the distress of those who live along the line of route and can assure people that we will process claims to purchase their property swiftly so that those who qualify can move as quickly as possible,” he added.

16:46: Network Rail sets out 30-year R&D strategy

Network Rail has published a technical strategy setting out research and development targets and opportunities.

The document, which has a 30-year outlook, follows on from the release of the overall Rail Technical Strategy in December last year and will  focus on performance, customer experience, capacity, cost-efficiency and sustainability.

One of keys to unlocking the potential for improvement in these areas lies with closer collaboration.

Further details can found within the strategy at: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/publications/technical-strategy/

15:00: End of the line for signals?

Network Rail has unveiled a new test train that is packing kit it described as “the future of railway signalling”.

train

Inside the bog standard yellow train is state of the art European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) equipment that in layman’s terms allows the pinging of information from the train to the control room ensuring maximum efficiency of the trains on the network.

The technology will mean that soon trackside signals will be obsolete with Great Western planning to have all its trains kitted out with ERTMS by the end of the decade.

13:42: Government to road test Local Infrastructure Pilots programme

Five pilot projects are to road test a new government initiative designed to unlock ‘stalled infrastructure projects’.

The so-called is being led by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in tandem with partners the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Construction Industry Training Board.

With non-local authority consultants working on a pro-bono basis, the first wave of schemes is planned for Blackpool, Grantham, Northampton, Norwich and Swindon.

The government hopes “face-to-face interaction with local partners” will “uncover and understand barriers to progress”.

12:46: Full steam ahead for Arup’s sail-shaped tower

This is Arup’s Zlota 44 tower in Warsaw, Poland.

Designed by Daniel Libeskind the sail-shape, 192m-tall building is on target to complete in six months.

Arup Zlotta 44 tower

Zlotta Tower, Warsaw, Poland

12:33: Manufacturer of Trident warheads given go-ahead for new nuclear facility

The Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has given permission for a new nuclear weapons facility at the MOD’s Aldermaston Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Berkshire.

The existing AWE facility, which is operated by a management company one third owned by US engineering behemoth Jacobs, makes the warheads carried by the UK’s Trident nuclear submarines.

In a statement the ONR, part of the HSE, said the new AWE scheme would “have to pass a number of further regulatory ‘hold points’ before operations could commence.

“A number of detailed design and safety documents will be required and will form the basis of these later stages of regulatory permissioning. These later applications are expected over the next four years,” it said.

In January this year work was suspended at the controversial AWE site after steel columns in one of the complex’s buildings were found to be corroded following a routine inspection by the ONR.

The protest centres around the latest version of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building codes; the gold standard in sustainable building in America.

 

10:47: Skanska walks out of US Chamber of Commerce over building code row

The US arm of Skanska has pulled out of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce after a row over the business lobby’s stance on the American equivalent of BREEAM.

Skanska USA and other firms inside the U.S. Green Building Council, which oversee LEED, have backed the new standards that include limits on some chemical-based materials in green construction.

LEED

 

However, US chemical and petrochemical firms, backed by the Chamber of Commerce, are pressing for alternatives to the new LEED code claiming that they threaten to exclude some advanced building materials from green buildings.

After weeks of trying to get the Chamber to change its stance on LEED, Skanska USA decided to leave the business organization in protest.

Mike McNally, president and CEO of Skanska USA told the Wall Street Journal: “I’m not crazy about leaving the Chamber. But on this one, it’s just so wrong, I can’t see us being part of it anymore.”

 

 

 

09:32: Firms awarded CTBUH innovation gongs

Kone ultrarope

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has named a new carbon fibre lift cable and a prefabricated construction methodology as joint winners of its 2013 Innovation Award.  

CTBUH recognised China’s Broad Group for its Broad Sustainable Building (BSB) Prefabricated Construction Process which it used to build a 30-story hotel called T30 in only 15 days in Changsha, China. 

(Have a look at this interview with Laing O’Rourke’s David Scott who has something to say about the T30 technology)

The other winner was lift manufacturer KONE’s UltraRope, (NCE 13 June). The new carbon-fibre-based cables double the distance a lift can travel in a single shaft to around 1,000m.

CTBUH said the innovations will “revolutionise the technology, sustainability and efficiency of tall building construction and operation”.

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