The value of all construction contract awards in June 2019 was £5.2 billion based on a three-month rolling average, which is an increase of 5.5% on May. Regional analysis shows that the North West was the leading region for contract awards in June with a 36.6% value share.

Barbour ABI

The latest edition of the Economic & Construction Market Review from industry analysts Barbour ABI highlights levels of construction contract values awarded across Great Britain. The overall outlook for June contract awards increased by 5.5% on May 2019. The infrastructure sector accounted for 37.2% of total value of contract awards, due to the SPRS. Construction Programme at the Sellafield Site – valued at £1.5 billion, which boosted the North West’s project share.

Barbour ABI

London dominated in only two of the eight sectors for June 2019 – residential with a 26.2% share and commercial & retail with a 23.7% share of total contract awards. Construction activity has moved out of the capital for June, with a more even spread of contract awards across the UK. The East Midlands dominated the industrial sector, largely due to investment in warehousing and storage. The South West took the top spot for hotel, leisure & sport and Scotland took the lion’s share of projects in the medical & health and education sectors.

Commenting on the figures, Tom Hall, Chief Economist at Barbour ABI said “London has dominated project awards every month in 2019. However, for the first time this year, we see a shift in the spread of project awards across the country. Likewise, for the first time this year, we see infrastructure investment overtake the residential sector which has been the most active sector of construction for over 6 months.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has awarded nearly £30 million to projects which will boost local economies, improve the environment and bring people together in some of London’s most deprived communities.

The money has been awarded through the second round of the Mayor’s Good Growth Fund to 33 projects across the city – and will be delivered through the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP), the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for the capital.

The projects focus on supporting Londoners in areas with high levels of unemployment, youth violence and poor mental health, by supporting the creation of new jobs, investing in community assets and driving sustainable economic growth.

Nearly two-thirds of the funding will be invested in areas of London which rank in the top 20 per cent of the country’s most deprived wards, according to the well-established Indices of Multiple Deprivation.

The Good Growth Fund supports regeneration schemes which help Londoners influence how their local areas are shaped. Successful projects in this funding round include:

  • delivering up to 20,000 sq m of much-needed new industrial space in Barking to support local jobs;
  • creating new and refurbished performance, rehearsal, learning and play spaces at the Polka Children’s Theatre in Wimbledon, to support community outreach and creative learning opportunities for disadvantaged children and hard-to-reach families; and
  • investing in Centre 404 to provide much-needed support and services for people with learning disabilities and carers from the LGBTQ+ communities in Islington, Camden, Haringey, Enfield and Hammersmith & Fulham.

In the first funding round earlier this year, the Mayor awarded £24 million to deliver 27 projects. In addition, a further 27 projects were awarded a share of £1.6 million to develop their proposals with a view to submitting a full funding bid in due course. This support helps us to build a balanced programme by addressing any gaps resulting from the open call process.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said “These projects aim to give Londoners of all backgrounds the opportunity to be actively involved in shaping how their city grows and delivering more places to live, learn, work and play.

“I’m so impressed by the range of bids we received – this is testament to the creativity and ingenuity in London’s diverse communities.

“I’m committed to supporting ‘good growth’ by building a city where all Londoners have access to the same opportunities and I look forward to seeing all the positive impacts these projects will have in the future.”

LEAP Board Member, Alexandra Depledge MBE, added “I have always believed that Londoners know what’s best for their communities and this is evidenced in the wide variety and depth of innovation on display in the projects backed by Round 2 of the Good Growth Fund. These investments are good growth in action.”

Sarah Preece, Executive Director, Mountview – which received £843,000 in round one of the Good Growth Fund – concluded “The support from the Mayor’s Good Growth Fund means Mountview is able to open fantastic new performance and training facilities to Londoners, including artist hub spaces, studios and a welcoming box office space – as well as an enhanced public realm with new planting and seating and opening up access to Peckham Square, the Surrey Canal greenway and the green route to Burgess Park.

“These spaces help us to achieve our mission of providing affordable performance training for people of all ages as well as opening community spaces for hire and providing two brand new theatres. Generations to come will benefit from the access to culture, recreation and learning that this enables.”

The Mayor has launched a programme of air quality audits to help clean up toxic air and protect the health of young children at nurseries in some of the most polluted parts of London.

The audits will target sources of indoor and outdoor pollution, with five of the 20 nurseries trialling new air filtration systems to test their effectiveness at reducing indoor pollution. They will focus on reducing NO2, PM10 and PM 2.5 as research shows children exposed to these smaller pollution particles and gases are more likely to grow up with lung problems and to develop asthma.

The new scheme follows 50 successful audits the Mayor delivered to primary schools earlier this year, which have already led to some schools taking action to close roads, upgrade their boilers, tackle engine idling and promote car-sharing schemes.

A recent study by University College London and the University of Cambridge,funded by the Mayor, found that indoor air pollution was significantly higher inside classrooms, due to a range of factors including the age of buildings, ventilation, positioning of windows, and wall-to-wall carpeting.

The findings suggested that the protection offered by the building increased the further away it was from the busiest roads and that airtight buildings may offer greater protection against pollution. The report also found that, in most classrooms, annual exposure to small particles was higher than recommended World Health Organization guidelines, and that this was caused by a combination of indoor and outdoor sources.

The impact of outdoor air pollution on indoor air quality underlines the importance of the hard-hitting measures Sadiq is already taking to tackle London’s toxic air, including introducing the 24-hour Ultra Low Emission Zone in Central London and cleaning up the bus fleet.

The audits will also review a range of methods to reduce pollution outside nurseries,including restricting road access outside entrances at drop off and collection times, moving playgrounds away from congested roads, installing green ‘pollution barrier’ hedges, tackling engine idling and promoting cycling and walking.

The £250,000 programme is funded as part of the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund and audits will be conducted by global engineering consultancy WSP, who will spend the next few weeks in the nurseries, assessing indoor and outdoor air pollution sources, looking at how children travel to the nurseries, and reviewing local walking routes including traffic crossings. These will be the first City Hall trials of indoor filtration, beginning in spring 2019, with results expected later in the year, alongside a toolkit that can be given to all non-participating nurseries so they can conduct their own audits.

Built into the programme is a ring-fenced starter grant of £4,500 for the 20 nurseries to help kick-start recommendations on completion of the audits.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said “It remains a shameful fact that London’s toxic air health crisis is harming the lung growth and respiratory health of our young children, and City Hall is determined to everything in our power to protect them. These nursery audits focus on indoor pollution as well as outdoor sources, and will help us understand ways we can stop toxic air from our congested roads raising pollution limits inside nurseries.

“The 50 school audits we delivered are already resulting in positive changes that are helping reduce pollution and clean the air for thousands of pupils. We will continue to prioritise the health of all Londoners with a range of strong measures including the introduction next April of the 24-hour Central London Ultra Low Emission Zone, cleaning up our bus fleet and working with boroughs on local interventions.

“Now it is high time the Government stepped up and matched my ambition by delivering a new Clean Air and Environment Act and introducing the scrappage scheme we need to remove the dirtiest vehicles off our streets once and for all.”

Dr Simon Lenton, representative of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health added “The adverse impact on health of air pollution is now well established in adults. Infants and children are more vulnerable as their lungs and brains are still developing. Children and infants spend many hours in nursery or at school and it is imperative we know what air pollutants they are exposed to and then take action to ensure the air they breathe is as pure as possible. This is particularly important in proximity to high traffic density and close to industrial areas.”

Louise Beanland, Governor of Melcombe Primary School who received an audit, concluded “I welcome the commitment that the Mayor is showing to doing everything he can to improve the health and wellbeing of our children. The announcement of the 20 nurseries selected to receive an air quality audit and, other interventions, is yet another sign of such a commitment’.

MPs have voted to vacate the Palace of Westminster while a proposed multi-billion pound modernisation of the historic building ensues.

The Commons approved a motion calling for a “full and timely decant”, designed to allow essential repairs, by 236 votes to 220.

The move, part of a proposed £5.6bn refurbishment, is not expected to take effect until 2025 at the earliest.

A brief history

Completed in the 1860s, the Palace of Westminster is an iconic building that currently houses the British Parliament. It is a world famous and instantly recognisable structure and stands as a celebrated international symbol of our parliamentary democracy. Just as UK Parliament is constantly in a state of flux, so too has the building; adapting accordingly to suit its primary and functional purpose. Taking massive damage during the WWII blitz, the Houses of Parliament were repaired as a matter of utmost national priority post-1945. The project was seen as a real opportunity to create some much-needed new facilities that would be consistent with the original design.

From the 1960s onwards the requirement for individual Members of Parliament to have offices, coupled with the expansion of other parliamentary services led to the acquisition of additional buildings and the Palace became the core of a much larger Parliamentary Estate. In 1992 responsibility for maintaining the Palace ‘on behalf of the nation’ transferred from the Government to Parliament itself. How did this work out?

Fighting a losing battle

It appears that since 1992, every effort has been made to maintain what is ultimately an outdated and increasingly unsuitable infrastructure. Services such as heating, cooling, water, sewage, electricity and cabling have been kept semi-functioning, but have not been modernised. Astoundingly, there has been no real general renovation of the building and its services since the partial rebuild of 1945-50 – some of the services even predate the war. The original basements and vertical shafts that litter the building are now completely filled with pipes and cables, making further work difficult to carry out – which results in further expense.

Reports illustrate that asbestos features heavily throughout the palace and although asbestos remains safe if treated with great care in compliance with safety regulations, it makes any intervention so much more difficult. Another issue is that most of the work undertaken over the last 50 years is largely undocumented and since many areas are inaccessible, the state of dilapidation and subsequent risk is mostly uncharted. The building is completely at the mercy of fire, with little modern safety practices in place and fire compartmentation considered almost impossible.

The original roofs are no longer watertight and there are many areas plagued with penetrating damp, damaged by interior leaks and flooding.

      Read more: Radical concept for temporary floating parliament unveiled

Today, an influential committee is expected to recommend that MPs and peers should abandon the crumbling Houses of Parliament for six years so that drastic refit works can be carried out.

The cost

So now at the crux of the issue, how much does it cost to renovate a 150 year old Grade I listed building which is partly sinking, contains asbestos and has outdated cabling? The short answer is ‘a lot.’ The sheer amount of work and the sensitive nature of refurbishing a World Heritage Site results in a sky-high estimate of £5.6bn, with some suggesting the sum could rise to as much as £7.1bn.

A 2012 report warned that “major, irreversible damage” may be done to the building unless significant restoration work is carried out soon, making the refurbishment one of the most urgent and arguably important renovation projects in the UK today. Some feel that the whole thing is a needless expense to the taxpayer and a vanity project for British Parliament. Another previous report concluded that the maintenance costs alone are so astronomically high that if the Palace of Westminster was a commercial structure of no historical significance, it would be far more cost-effective and efficient to demolish it and rebuild using modern methods of construction, such as modular offsite building.

Whatever you stance, the Houses of Parliament are of national, historical and cultural importance and refurbishment will happen.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today called on the Government to grant him additional powers so that he can effectively tackle non-road pollution sources in the capital.

Only half of the capital’s air pollution is caused by on-road vehicles and Sadiq believes London needs more powers so that it can combat pollution from the River Thames, emissions from machinery used on construction sites and pollution from the domestic burning of solid fuels.

Since becoming Mayor, Sadiq has more than doubled investment in tackling air quality to £875 million over the next five years. He has also introduced the boldest plans to tackle air pollution in the world, including a £10 Toxicity-Charge (T-Charge) which will start in October this year, the introduction of the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in 2019 (subject to consultation), and the cleaning up of London’s public transport fleets such as buses and taxis so that they lead the way in ultra-low emission technology.

Sadiq has now written to Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, setting out the additional powers that he believes are required.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said “Non-transport sources contribute half of the deadly emissions in London so we need a hard-hitting plan of action to combat them similar to moves I am taking to reduce pollution from road vehicles.

“With more than 400 schools located in areas exceeding legal pollution levels, and such significant health impacts on our most vulnerable communities, we cannot wait any longer and I am calling on Government to provide the capital with the necessary powers to effectively tackle harmful emissions from a variety of sources.”

The Mayor is requesting new powers in the following areas:

Non-Road Mobile Machinery

Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) such as diggers and bulldozers are currently the second largest source of ultra-fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions in London and the fifth largest source of oxides of Nitrogen (NOx). This is likely to grow as traffic related emissions decline and as construction increases across London.

Sadiq wants greater powers for the capital to enforce the standards of the Non-Road Mobile Machinery Low Emission Zone (NRMM LEZ) – a scheme that uses the Mayors planning powers to impose minimum emissions standards for machinery used on construction sites.

Sadiq does not believe this scheme is as rigorously applied by the boroughs as it could be, especially where they already have stretched resources.

He has already invested £400,000 so that local authorities can better enforce the zone. However, he is keen to ensure that boroughs, or GLA bodies have greater ability to apply the standards.

He also thinks it should be possible for the rules of the NRMM LEZ to be applied across the board to existing planning permissions and to other users of NRMM as the current regulations mean that more than 1,000 sites are not registered and activities such as roadworks and events are not covered at all.

Sadiq also wants either himself, or another appropriate authority, to have the power to set minimum emission and technical standards for all NRMM used in London. This could be done by amending the GLA Act so that the Mayor can use his powers to regulate NRMM in the same way as he can for road vehicles.

In order to support these powers, Sadiq wants the creation and maintenance of a DVLA-style national database for NRMM.

River and canal emissions

There are currently at least five different regulators that play a role in policing emissions. In addition, current emission regulations only apply to new vessels.

With ambitious plans in the growth of traffic on waterways, unless sufficient controls are introduced, the number of people exposed to this source of pollution will only grow.

Sadiq wants to see the regulations simplified so that there is a single regulator with the ability to charge and enforce and a single emissions control framework. The body would also be able to set minimum emission and other technical standards for specific classes or types of vessels. It would also provide clarity for local, national and international shipping accessing the Thames and canals.

In the meantime, Sadiq is leading by example with the vessels that are owned or run by Transport for London (TfL). The new Woolwich Ferries that will be entering in to service next year will be some of the cleanest vessels working on the river. TfL will also shortly be retro-fitting a Thames Clipper boat with emissions-reduction technology. If successful, this could provide an important example of how existing boats can reduce their pollution.

The Mayor currently does not have any formal powers to control emissions from vessels on the River Thames or the canal network but has recently set up a Thames and London Waterways Forum, which will bring together the regulators and other stakeholders to ensure that growth in the use of London’s waterways is co-ordinated and sustainable.

Wood and solid fuel burning

Current controls on emissions from domestic burning of solid fuels like wood and coal are obsolete, with the definitions barely revised from the original Clean Air Act of 1956. For example, terms like ‘dark smoke’ and ‘smokeless’ don’t reflect a modern understanding of pollution – which can be invisible.

The Mayor’s recently published Environment Strategy set out his ambition to reduce emissions from this source, but without reform of the existing Clean Air Act this is likely to be limited in impact.

The Mayor wants the Clean Air Act to be amended to allow for the creation of zones where the burning of solid fuel is not allowed. These would complement his existing plans to create transport zero emission zones in small areas from 2025 onwards. In addition, the Clean Air Act should be reformed, so the Mayor can set tighter emission limits for new domestic heating appliances like wood burning stoves for pollutants such as PM10 and PM2.5 that are invisible and are known to have a detrimental effect on health.

To ensure these new zones are effectively implemented, local authorities should be given enhanced powers to ensure compliance, including the ability to inspect and enforce, such as by issuing penalty charge notices. Similar powers could also be used to address emissions from larger and commercial premises.

The Stove Industry Alliance and Woodsure, the UK’s woodfuel accreditation scheme, have recently launched their voluntary “ecodesign ready” and “Ready to Burn” labels for stoves and fuels to help consumers make the right choice in London and other smoke control areas. The Mayor believes that more should be done to empower consumers to make the right choice, including better information at the point of sale and mandatory labelling of products that are legal to use in smoke control areas.

The London Housing Strategy’s strong focus on bringing forward more small sites will help solve the housing crisis by opening up the market to SME house builders, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Commenting on the draft London Housing Strategy, Barry Mortimer, Director of FMB London, said “If we’re to build the number of new homes Londoners need, we must urgently make much better use of the many existing small sites that are dotted all over London. In doing so, we will the strengthen the capacity of SME house builders to build more new homes and perhaps even attract some new SME firms into the market. FMB research has consistently shown that a lack of available and viable land is the main factor stunting the ability of small builders to deliver more homes. Indeed, over half of SME house builders believe that the number of small site opportunities is, if anything, decreasing.

“We therefore welcome strongly the Strategy’s proposal for a presumption in favour of appropriate residential development on small sites, which goes further than proposed changes to national policy as laid out in the Government’s Housing White Paper. The ‘Small Sites, Small Builders’ programme will also link up public land owners with small builders, which could make accessing public land easier for small firms. We also welcome moves which will mean that less of the Community Infrastructure Levy is payable upfront on small sites. This will really help with cash flow for smaller builders and make the economics of small scale development slightly easier.

“The London Housing Strategy therefore marks a step forward in empowering smaller house builders in London. In order to reach the 50,000 new homes London needs to build each year, this renewed emphasis on small sites is vital. However, all such progress could be undermined if the Mayor fails to protect small sites from onerous levels of developer contributions. National planning guidance states that planning obligations should not be sought from developments of ten units or fewer, but implementation of this policy in London is patchy at best. Unless the Mayor, and London Boroughs, recognise the need to minimise burdens on the very smallest developments, SME builders will continue to struggle to enter the market.”

On Monday 21 August at noon, Big Ben’s famous bongs will sound for the last time before major conservation works are carried out. The Elizabeth Tower, home to the Great Clock and Big Ben, is currently undergoing a complex programme of renovation work that will safeguard it for future generations. While this vital work takes place, the Great Bell’s world famous striking will be paused until 2021 to ensure the safety of those working in the Tower.

Steve Jaggs, Keeper of the Great Clock, said “Big Ben falling silent is a significant milestone in this crucial conservation project. As Keeper of the Great Clock I have the great honour of ensuring this beautiful piece of Victorian engineering is in top condition on a daily basis. This essential programme of works will safeguard the clock on a long term basis, as well as protecting and preserving its home – the Elizabeth Tower. Members of the public are welcome to mark this important moment by gathering in Parliament Square to hear Big Ben’s final bongs until they return in 2021.”

The Great Bell, popularly called Big Ben, weighs 13.7 tonnes and strikes every hour to the note of E. It is accompanied by four quarter bells, which chime every 15 minutes. Big Ben has marked the hour with almost unbroken service for the past 157 years. The bongs last fell silent for maintenance in 2007, and prior to that between 1983-5 as part of a previous large scale refurbishment programme.

The Great Clock is operated by a custom built Victorian clockwork mechanism, which relies on gravity to trigger the renowned bongs. To stop the bells the striking hammers will be locked and the bell disconnected from the clock mechanism, allowing the Great Clock to continue telling the time silently. Parliament’s specialist clock makers will ensure that Big Ben can still bong for important national events such as New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Sunday. The bells will resume their regular time keeping duties in the course of 2021.

Conservation works

Standing at 96 metres tall, the Elizabeth Tower is a focal point of the Grade I listed Palace of Westminster, which forms a part of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Not only is it a world famous landmark, it is also the most photographed building in the UK. Conservation is required to:

  • Repair problems identified with the Elizabeth Tower and the Great Clock, which cannot be rectified whilst the clock is in action
  • Conserve significant elements of the Tower, as designed by architects Charles Barry and Augustus Welby Pugin
  • Repair and redecorate the interior, renew the building services and make improvements to health and safety and fire protection systems
  • Improve energy efficiency to reduce the Tower’s environmental impact

The project started earlier this year, with the start of scaffolding works. Once this scaffolding reaches the necessary height, work will begin at the very top of the Tower with the renovation of the Ayrton Light (which shines to show that Parliament is sitting) and the refurbishment of the cast iron roofing.

The team will then work their way down the building, removing scaffolding as they go, and tackling a wide range of the complex issues created by the height and heritage of this unique landmark.

The Great Clock

As part of this intricate series of works, the Great Clock itself will be dismantled piece by piece with each cog examined and restored. The four dials will be carefully cleaned, the glass repaired, the cast iron framework renewed, and the hands will be removed and refurbished. Whilst the Great Clock and the dials are undergoing conservation, it will be necessary to cover the faces for some time. However, to ensure that the public are still able to set their watches by this most important of time pieces, one working clock face will remain visible at all times throughout the works. As the clock mechanism itself will be temporarily out of action, a modern electric motor will drive the clock hands until the Great Clock is reinstated.

The biggest development of homes built specifically for private rent in the UK is set to receive a £65 million boost from the government.

The deal will help to unlock over 7,600 new, high quality homes at the Wembley Park development in Brent, London – one of the largest strategic regeneration projects in the country. At least 6,800 of these homes will be for rent.

The measures include:

  • changing planning rules so councils proactively plan for more Build to Rent homes where there is need
  • making it easier for Build to Rent developers to offer affordable private rent in place of other types of affordable home
  • introducing longer tenancies which are more family friendly to provide better security for renters – government action in this area has already seen the offer of 3 year or longer tenancies being made available to 35,000 tenants across the country according to British Property Federation estimates.
  • Build to Rent homes are built at scale for the primary purpose of being rented long-term, they can boost choice and quality in the private rented sector.

Across England the sector is expanding, with 80,855 homes either completed or planned. The industry estimates investment in the private rented sector could grow to £70 billion by 2022. This could provide a further 15,000 homes each year – with the potential to reach at least 240,000 homes built specifically for private rent – by 2030.

Housing and Planning Minister Alok Sharma said “Whether renting or owning all families should have the security they need to be able to plan for the future.

“That’s why as part of our plan to fix the broken housing market we’ve been taking action to create a bigger and better private rental market, supporting new Build to Rent developments so that tenants can have greater choice.

“Developments like Wembley Park are a great example of doing just that, boosting the choice and quality of homes on the market – meeting the needs of renters in cities and towns across England.”

The Wembley Park development is backed by a loan from the government’s £3 billion Home Building Fund. It will bring over 8,000 jobs to the area and support infrastructure to free up land for development.

Delivered in phases over the next 7 years, the flats will include a mix of studios, 1, 2 or 3-bedroom properties, all located closely to the underground station. The site next to the National Stadium will also include up to 2,350 affordable homes.

Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) Chief Executive Nick Walkely said “This autumn, the HCA will relaunch as Homes England with the ambition of creating a better housing market. We’re determined to get more homes built now and increase the rate of future development.

“This development is a fantastic example of how we fund vital infrastructure to speed up the construction of much-needed quality homes for people to rent.”

Quintain Chief Executive, Angus Dodd said “This £65 million government loan will be match funded by Quintain to provide a £130 million infrastructure investment into Wembley Park to deliver new car and coach parking, an energy centre and the first phase of the new 7 acre public park. Not only will this funding allow these critical elements to be brought forward, it will also support the more rapid delivery of new homes.

“We are delighted to welcome the Housing Minister to Wembley Park today. The area is already home to a thriving community and will become the largest build to rent development anywhere in the UK.”

Work on the new homes at Wembley Park has already begun and is set to be completed in 2026.

With five storeys below ground and a depth of 28.5 metres, it is big enough to contain the Royal Albert Hall. This basement will be home to one of two world-class NHS high energy proton beam therapy centres.

Proton beam therapy is a form of radiotherapy used to treat cancer which can be targeted extremely precisely, causing minimal damage to surrounding tissue.

Together with the Department of Health, NHS England is funding the development of two world class centres at The Christie in Manchester and UCLH (University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) for NHS patients to be treated in the UK. Patients are due to be treated at The Christie from summer next year, with UCLH following in summer 2020. When complete they will each treat up to 750 patients every year.

Fabienne Viala, Chairman of Bouygues UK, said “This is exactly the kind of project we relish. The complexity of undertaking London’s biggest excavation within a tight site at the heart of central London enables us to add value through our technical knowledge and the infrastructure expertise of our colleagues within Bouygues Travaux Publics. This is no ordinary project: as well as being an innovative and complex build, the finished development will have the potential to improve and even save the lives of those suffering with blood disorders and complex cancers.”

The low down

  • The deepest point is 28.5 metres below ground and the basement measures 87 metres long by 67 metres wide.
  • 80,000 cubic metres of ground has been removed from the site. This is the equivalent of around 640 London buses.
  • With five storeys below ground and six above, the height of the building (including below ground) is 57 metres, making it equivalent to London’s Tower Bridge.

Below ground there will be:

  • A multi-storey gantries for the proton beam therapy equipment.
  • Two Mechanical and Electrical plant levels
  • Two floors for patient proton beam therapy care,
  • Eight surgical theatres.

Above ground there will be 6 floors which include Europe’s largest centre for the treatment of blood disorders.

300 people have been involved the excavation so far, with 3000 expected to participate in the construction works overall. Interestingly, more than 12% of the staff working on the site live in Camden.

The UK Government has been urged to scrap its approach to deregulation of health and safety legislation in the light of the Grenfell Tower blaze.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, over 70 leading organisations and figures from the UK’s safety and health profession have jointly called for a political sea change in attitude towards health and safety regulation and fire risk management following the tragedy.

The collective has also pressed the Government to complete its review of Part B of the Building Regulations 2010 – the regulations which cover fire safety within and around buildings in England – as a matter of urgency, and to include a focus on improved safety in the forthcoming Parliament.

The letter is signed by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), Park Health & Safety, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and the British Safety Council.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), International Institute of Risk & Safety Management (IIRSM), National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH), Trades Union Congress (TUC) and Unite the union have also given it their backing, alongside senior health and safety professionals.

“We believe it is totally unacceptable for residents, members of the public and our emergency services to be exposed to this level of preventable risk in modern-day Britain,” the letter states.

“At this crucial time of national reflection and sorrow, we urge all politicians to re-emphasise the need for effective health and safety regulation and competent fire risk management. These are fundamental to saving lives and sustaining our communities.

“We believe it is vital that this disaster marks a turning point for improved fire safety awareness and wider appreciation that good health and safety is an investment, not a cost.”
In calling on the UK Government to complete its review of Part B of The Building Regulations 2010, the signatories add: “Together, we offer our organisations’ support in undertaking the review – we all have valuable links to experts in this area who can advise on best regulatory outcomes. In the meantime, we welcome the Government’s commitment to act and to implement the interim findings of the forthcoming public inquiry.

“You have it in your power to remove immediately a further risk to people at work and outside of the workplace – unwise deregulation – which threatens public and worker safety.
“We, leaders in health and safety in the UK, call on you to scrap the Government’s approach to health and safety deregulation and think again.”

The open letter, in full, is as follows:

Dear Prime Minister,
There have, understandably, been strong public reactions to the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower and its tragic consequences – the largest civilian loss of life from a single event in the UK since the Hillsborough disaster.

The occupational safety and health community is deeply saddened and disturbed by the Grenfell Tower fire and all the lives it claimed. We believe it is totally unacceptable for residents, members of the public and our emergency services to be exposed to this level of preventable risk in modern-day Britain.

Central Government and the Kensington and Chelsea local authority share responsibility for building standards and their enforcement locally, as well as for the funding and management of the maintenance of social housing. These responsibilities must be backed up with good, essential regulations.

However, for many years, Ministers and others with influence over them have called for, including in health and safety, regulations to be axed as a matter of principle. Arbitrary rules were imposed to establish deregulation of health and safety, such as a requirement to abolish two health and safety regulations (and more recently, three) for any new one adopted.

This mind-set has meant that, even when it was recommended and accepted that mandatory fitting of sprinklers would make homes or schools safer, this was rejected in favour of non-regulatory action. In practice, this approach favours inaction.

Good, well-evidenced and proportionate regulations in health and safety, based on full consultation, are developed and adopted because they save lives and protect people’s health and wellbeing. They are not “burdens on business” but provide essential protection for the public from identifiable risks.

At this crucial time of national reflection and sorrow, we urge all politicians to re-emphasise the need for effective health and safety regulation and competent fire risk management. These are fundamental to saving lives and sustaining our communities.

We believe it is vital that this disaster marks a turning point for improved fire safety awareness and wider appreciation that good health and safety is an investment, not a cost.
We call on the Government to accelerate and confirm the timeframe for completing its review of Part B of The Building Regulations 2010 and to include a focus on improved safety in the forthcoming Parliament.

Together, we offer our organisations’ support in undertaking the review – we all have valuable links to experts in this area who can advise on best regulatory outcomes. In the meantime, we welcome the Government’s commitment to act and to implement the interim findings of the forthcoming public inquiry.

You have it in your power to remove immediately a further risk to people at work and outside of the workplace – unwise deregulation – which threatens public and worker safety.

We, leaders in health and safety in the UK, call on you to scrap the Government’s approach to health and safety deregulation and think again. This could be announced immediately, it does not need to await the results of a public inquiry, and is the least that the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire deserve.

Yours sincerely,

Park Health and Safety
Lawrence Waterman OBE
Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH)
Graham Parker, President
Bev Messinger, Chief Executive
Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)
Errol Taylor, Acting Chief Executive
British Safety Council
Lynda Armstrong OBE, Chair
Mike Robinson, Chief Executive
Also supported by:
Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH)
Anne Godfrey, Chief Executive
Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA)
Peter Crosland, Civil Engineering Director
International Institute of Risk & Safety Management (IIRSM)
Siobhan Donnelly, President
Phillip Pearson, Chief Executive
National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH)
Teresa Budworth, Chief Executive
Trades Union Congress (TUC)
Hugh Robertson, Senior Health and Safety Officer
Unite the union
Susan Murray, National Health and Safety Adviser

Stephen Asbury CFIOSH
James Barnes BSc (Hons) LFOH
Karen Baxter CMIOSH
Roger Bibbings MBE
Joe Brannigan LLB (hons) DipLP PgDip Construction Law CMIOSH
Melanie Boucher, MSc CMIOSH
Professor Neil Budworth MSc CFIOSH FIIRSM HonFFOM
Dr Tim Carter
Iris Cepero, Editor, Safety Management magazine
Professor John Cherrie PhD CFFOH
Arnold Clements BSc, MSc CMIOSH CEng MEI
Philip J Cullen BSc (Hons) CMIOSH
Declan Davis CMIOSH
Brian Donnachie BA (Hons) CMIOSH
Phil Dyson-Hurrell MIIRSM
Coenraad Fourie
Shelley Frost BSc (Hons), Post Grad DipOHS, Executive Director – Policy, IOSH
Professor Alistair Gibb PhD CEng MICE MCIOB, Loughborough University
Melodie Gilbert
Dr David Gold PhD CMIOSH, Chair, IOSH Fire Risk Management Group
Robert Hackett
Neil Hancox CMIOSH, Managing Director, Safety Intervention Services
Anne Harris
Cllr Ali Hashem
Andy Hawkes, Deputy President, IIRSM
Angela Hayden CFIOSH
Clinton Horn CFIOSH
Chris Hughes BSc, LTT Consultancy
Ian Hughes MSc BSc (Hons) Cert Ed Dip2OSH SPDipEM CMIOSH
Kelvin Hughes CMIOSH
Dr Roberta Jacobson OBE
Clive Johnson, Council Member, IIRSM
Wayne Jones, Chair, Cardiff & South East Wales Occupational Health and Safety Group
Wendy Jones
Cllr Caroline Needham
John O’Keeffe CMIOSH
Shirley Parsons MSc CMIOSH
Louise Phillipson
Stu Pollard BSc, PgCert CMIOSH
Ian Rabett CMIOSH
Dylan Roberts
Angela Rudkin Tech IOSH
Mike Salmon MSc, CFIOSH
Jonathan Schifferes MA
Jim Senior CMIOSH
Phil Sidman MIFE, MIFPO
Karl Simons MSc MIoD CMIOSH
Dr Susan Tannahill CMIOSH
Mohammad Torabi BSc MSc MA CMIOSH
Ceiran Trow CMFOH
Michelle Twigg MSc CMIOSH
Alex Vaughan
Dr Emma Wadsworth, Cardiff University
Professor David Walters, Cardiff University
Louise Ward BSc (Hons) CMIOSH
Selina Woolcott BSc (Hons) DipOHS CMIOSH