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The UK construction sector's contribution to GDP has risen by 1.7% per annum in the last decade. It now accounts for between 5% and 10%, says a new Construction Industry Research & Innovation Panel report into construction's contribution to sustainable development. It says new technologies will play the most important role in increasing the value and sustainability of construction. The report can be found at www. ncrisp. org. uk

Property developer, Marketing Exchange for Africa and a director Murli Motiram Thadani were last week fined a total of £99,000 and ordered to pay costs of £95,000. This follows the collapse of a parapet wall in Hull on 3 April 2000. Three workers died during the refurbishment of a five storey mill.

A new task group charged with improving the sustainability of buildings was launched by the deputy prime minister last week. The Sustainable Buildings Task Group is to be jointly chaired by Environment Agency chairman Sir John Harman and deputy chairman of regeneration quango English Partnerships, Victor Benjamin. It will report in February on how it plans to go about 'identifying cost-effective improvements in the quality and environmental performance of buildingsà together with actions that government could take to facilitate faster progress.

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