Utrecht’s bicycle multi storey

In Utrecht they know how do cycle infrastructure, just make it as normal and integrated as motor vehicles. At first sight the bike parking complex has many similarities to a multi storey car park, but the adaptations for cyclists run deep, from ramp gradients to...

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Privacy through history and into the future

Some recent research on developing trends for office design and how they affect the people who work in them led to an Greg Ferenstein's insightful short thesis The History of Privacy covering the last few thousand years of privacy. What becomes apparent is that...

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Land – the mother of all monopolies on BBC Radio 4

If you've ever wondered about the basics of the land business this great episode of the BBC's The Bottom Line with Evan Davis will give you an excellent introduction. It outlines the basic processes of the planning system and how the right planning consent can add...

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Northern UK cities see the best real world yields

We seem to have been here before as we see that London is powering ahead with house price increases of a fifth over the last twelve months. Within the 32 London Boroughs the average home now costs £499k, creating an enormous gulf over the national UK average house...

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Promoting cities 60’s style

In the days before YouTube a short promotional video was produced by Sheffield Council. As you would expect, it’s upbeat, it provides a few flashbacks into how we saw ourselves back then, AND it has Carry On music! Even in 1969 it seemed obvious that steel was...

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Sheffield’s office market shows value with growth potential

The latest Knight Frank regional office market review is reporting that 2016 was a relatively quiet year for the local office market in terms of occupier take up. 63 deals completed compared to 84 in 2015 with a total of 201,500 sq ft being occupied, 36% below the...

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Vertical farming may be coming to our cities

Living in a nation with a supermarket on seemingly every city street corners we're prone to forgetting the cost of bringing fresh food to the market. Improved logistics has enabled us to bring fresh edible for from the four corners of the planet. It might have started...

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Sheffield’s Chief Executive on the housing crisis

Sheffield's Chief Executive, John Mothersole gives an excellent and realistic outline of the challenges facing cities as the supply of housing land shrinks, forcing down new-build completions and pushing up prices for buyers and tenants alike. This will be a difficult...

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A view into Sheffield from outside

It's always wise to listen to outsiders opinion of a city. They have an insight that only detachment can bring, Of course that doesn't mean to say that they are always correct in everything that they say, but it's important to understand external perceptions so that...

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The 137 mile SkyCycle Floating Above London

Foster + Partners and Space Syntax – a team who share Lord Foster’s passion for the benefits of cycling – have jointly developed SkyCycle, a new approach to transform cycling in the capital. Following existing suburban railway corridors, a wide, secure deck would be...

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Does Vince Cable really want to put up interest rates?

Once again house prices are in the news, but this time it's because the Business Secretary Vince Cable is talking about raising interest rates to help keep them under control. Cable was speaking primarily about the overheating in the London and south-east housing...

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When is a shop not a shop?

Enniskillen is the focus of at least some of the world's attention as the G8 summit meeting hoves its not inconsiderable caravan of politicians, advisers, security, protesters and lobbyists into the news this week. The economy of the tiny Northern Irish town with a...

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Additional £100m for Enterprise Zone construction

The investment announced by Communities Secretary Eric Pickle is intended to help enterprise zones attract business and create thousands of local jobs. Thirteen enterprise zones have been green lighted to receive the new money for 18 projects to build service roads,...

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We’re going to need a bigger data centre

Ed Goring passed on an amazing set of statistics a few days ago in relation to our data centre project. The rise of Big Data is predicted to see data centre capacity to undergo massive growth over the next few years, from 0.79 zetabytes of data in 2009 to 35 zetabytes...

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Cut price tendering

The University of Sheffield's scheme for it's new Engineering Faculty is in the news again, but this time not for the planning issues raised by the proposed listed building demolition - that issue still rumbling on with talk of legal action to prevent it. Balfour...

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Why property and construction matters on Budget Day

Wednesday is Budget Day. Chancellor George Osborne will take to the dispatch box to delight or disappoint, depending on what vested interests you happen to have this year. What does seem agreed upon among the financial experts is that it will be a moderate budget...

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Demolishing Jessop’s

Two days ago, Sheffield City Council voted to confirm an extraordinary decision to demolish a Grade 2 listed building - the remains of the 1902 portion of the Jessop Hospital for Women in Sheffield. The reason for the vote was that in December they took the same...

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Developing in a more challenging environment

One thing about the property business is that it's never boring. We like to think that we are pretty good at innovating new ways of creating space and having ideas that make a project happen. Then something comes along which makes us think again. Right down at the...

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What’s that light at the end of the tunnel?

This article was originally written by Tony for the Hull  & Humber Chamber of Commerce in Summer 2013. There’s no denying that construction has been hit harder than most industries by the downturn, and our region has certainly had it worse than most. The health of...

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Hyde Park Flats Sheffield 1988

While rooting through the image library this photograph turned up. It's of the Hyde Park Flats complex in Sheffield in about 1988, taken for a long forgotten college assignment. It's a dramatic (if grainy) image that shows how aspirations for public housing have...

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An alternative Moor

Sheffield has developed over the years to reach out from the confluence of the River's Don and Sheaf next to the long gone Sheffield Castle. While this in itself isn't unusual in British town morphology, what is different in Sheffield when compared to most other large...

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Housebuilding showing some signs of life

Along with the improved weather, April saw some encouraging indicators that life some is being breathed back into the new homes market from the unprecedented lows seen over the last two years. During the first quarter of 2010 a total of 31,038 new homes were...

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Search for new office premises under way

A recent appointment to carry out a market appraisal and premises assessment in preparation for the relocation of an IT firm to new Sheffield offices means that invitations are invited for suitable properties. A minimum of 8,000 sq.ft. of high quality office space or...

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RICS report steady house price growth

The RICS agent survey for October reports that house prices have risen once again. Despite the plunges in the early part of the year, since the reversal in July 2009 the has been steady growth albeit within a quiet market. Instructions have risen as vendors return to...

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Landlord and tenant – demand rising

Have we seen the worst of the property recession? There is growing evidence to suggest that is the case. The prime residential market in London is on the rise again, though it is still down on the 2008 peak. Knight Frank are reporting that: - Prime house prices in...

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Preaching to the (nearly) converted on supply chain development

Today saw Tony Carroll speaking at the Building Business For Our Region event in a windswept and wet Bridlington on the usually glorious Yorkshire coast. Ven Management's Target initiative have organised a series of seminars aimed at SME's in the construction industry...

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Frozen peas

or; Does a client really need a building? Back in the 90's, when I designed buildings for a living with Crampin and Pring Architects, we had a client, Tim Hopwell, He owned a frozen food distribution business and had a string of cold stores around the UK. Hopwell's...

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Window of opportunity to drive extreme value from projects

The Building Cost Information Service are reporting that tender prices are not expected to return to pre-recession levels in the next five years. The next two few years were always expected to be tough but they predict that prices will continue to fall until growth...

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OFT cover pricing investigation results

After five years the Office of Fair Trading has released a press statement and published the outcome of the investigation into cover pricing. The wording is interesting because while enormous fines have been issued, and the firms involved have undoubtedly been in...

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BPF says that town centre life support plan is not enough

Retail spend has experienced something of a mixed bag recently with some high street traders like Next seeing reasonable increases in profits alongside the supermarkets while French Connection and John Lewis are manning the barricades in the face of worsening figures....

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… and the bees stole the show

I had a great opportunity to attend the From Bees to Best Practice event organised by BITC at the beautiful Temple Newson near Leeds. That's me far right, dressed to kill! The purpose was serious though. The speaker from Leeds Beekeepers outlined the issues around...

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Simple ways to make your project meetings more effective

People usually fall into two categories - those who enjoy project meetings and those who hate them. Both sets of people are right. The opportunity to get together with the rest of the project team is one of the most valuable events that you can schedule, but they have...

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Unite go ahead with new 3rd party investment

There is a some good news in the student accommodation sector as Unite PLC sign up to a joint venture with the Bahrainian Oasis Capital Bank. They will fund the development of three new student accommodation properties in London with a completed value of £194m. For...

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5 planning pitfalls to avoid

All too often when we get carried away on a wave of enthusiasm for a new project but there are lots of traps for the unwary seeking a planning permission for their property. These five common pitfalls are all too easy to fall into, especially when you are...

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Property confidence hits a new low

Not much happens in the summer but it does give people time to take stock. Grant Thornton have just published their latest International Business Report which among other things takes a snapshot of business confidence. It makes grim reading: The level of optimism...

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China gives 50% – 70% subsidies to solar projects

China’s Ministry of Finance has unwrapped plans to subsidise half the cost of building independent solar-array projects in the country, including new power transmission and distribution systems to link projects to the grid. The subsidy will stretch to 70% for solar...

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What an airbrained idea!

This Shorts 360 small commuter aeroplane has been saved from scrapping and put to use as a classroom at Kingsland Primary School in Stoke....

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Eco towns – new towns with a green veneer?

Tomorrows announcement that there will be another ten eco towns must be taken with a pinch of salt. Eco towns are a key Government regeneration and housing policy but so far we have yet to see a single one come to fruition. Since the idea was muted in 2007 there have...

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Life without MS Office – Day 2

Not too much of note to report today, just work. A busy day out and about so the only real use has been with Google Calendar. This app seems to work quite nicely and in the past I've found that it syncs nicely with MS Office packages. It's definitely one of the...

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Life without MS Office, Day 1

So how is it going - life without MS Office? Not quite as I expected to be honest. On Sunday I reinstalled my desktop PC system and in the process removed MS Office completely to avoid cheating. That was my first mistake. I needed to create a template letterhead and...

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Is it possible to survive only on Google Apps?

Since moving more and more of our work onto cloud computing, in particular using the growing Google suite of applications I'm now in a position to see if it really is possible to live without MS Office. So from Monday I'll not to use any MS Office applications to see...

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Solar and fossil fuels to reach price parity in five years.

Solar Century are claiming that solar electricity costs will reach parity with fossil fuels by 2013. This is an interesting development coming from one of the larger UK suppliers and it is largely in line with other predictions. But it isn't as clear cut as it seems....

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Agri-business innovation from the USA

A contact called earlier with a great idea brought back from an conference that he has just attended in USA. By combining the solar and LED packages there is a neat solution to an animal welfare problem that has been saving one American farmer in particular around...

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Renewables policies, who actually benefits?

An interesting meeting this morning with planners. They have the age old problem with implementing their new renewables policies because of the detachment between the development teams and the ultimate building user. The problem goes something like this; A developer...

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Park Hill Flats – the funding facts

From the Council's website: Funding Most of the funding will come from Urban Splash as the Developer. However, the public sector will contribute the following: Transform South Yorkshire, the Government’s Housing Market Renewal Agency is providing £13m to cover...

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Anthony Gormley’s missed opportunity in Leeds

I'd been toying with thoughts of my Shirecliffe Hub and spoke being a kind of Wicker Man (geddit?) and so  while checking the various interpretations of the Colossus of Rhodes and more modern interpretations like the Angel Of The North. Today I came across an item on...

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75% efficiency

Zenith Solar have launched their new installation in Israel - it's an amazing technology for the right location and there is talk that the array in the Negev desert could soon supply 20% of Israel's electricity from units which are scalable and track the sun. The...

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Environmental numerology

I just heard an interesting piece on Radio 4's More Or Less with Tim Harford. David MacKaye of Cambridge University was talking about his book - Sustainable Energy - Without The Hot Air that deals with a mathematical analysis of the joys of the various renewables that...

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Perceptions of solar

We're running a few online surveys on the merits of solar PV. Here are the questions: 1. What are your thoughts on solar generated electricity as opposed to wind (on shore / off-shore) and tidal. 2. What sort of payback period would you consider reasonable? Is that...

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All change for residential development?

House builders woes never seem to end. Initially they were forced to go into hibernation in an effort to conserve cash as demand dropped. Some companies like Persimmon actually suspended all construction work regardless of what stage work was at. This saw the sites...

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Where shall we put them?

So just where can we install our PV arrays? The first consideration is that they should be at or adjacent to the point of need. It doesn't matter if that need is a house, a factory a distribution warehouse or even an airport or car park. Next we need to take advantage...

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