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              What’s In
Store For
Throughout 2018
This year a range of regula- tory updates and govern- ment-led initiatives are expected to have an im- pact on the construction in- dustry, potentially affecting thousands of tradespeople across the UK.
The 2018 could be instrumen- tal in terms of making – or preparing to make – significant changes for trade professionals and the services they deliver. To help IronmongeryDirect has produced an overview bring- ing together these key changes.
Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety
Following the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, the government launched an independent re- view into building regulations and fire safety, led by Dame Ju- dith Hackitt. An interim report was published in December 2017 which stated that the cur- rent regulatory system for en- suring fire safety in high-rise and complex buildings has been deemed not fit for pur- pose. Tradespeople are ad- vised to familiarise themselves with the findings when the full
report is published in spring 2018, since it could bring about changes to working practices.
Additional Funding for
New Homes
The autumn budget provided positive news for the construc- tion sector which should start to filter though during 2018. £15.3 billion of additional funds have been made avail- able to facilitate the construc- tion of 300,000 new homes a year over the next five years. In addition, the skills shortage in the construction sector has been addressed with the Chan- cellor setting aside £204 mil- lion to train younger trade professionals.
The government will also be in- troducing the new technical vo- cational qualifications – or ‘T Levels’ – and increasing the hours of training for technical students aged 16-19 by more than 50%.
Wiring Regs
Mainly affecting electrical pro- fessionals, but still very impor- tant for construction projects
are the changes to the Wiring Regulations, due to be an- nounced in July 2018. From 1st January 2019, it will be a re- quirement that all electrical in- stallations designed after this date comply to the updated regulations. It is important for tradespeople working in this field to at least be aware of these changes.
Consultation on
Cash Retention
With a shift in focus to small business management, the cur- rent consultation launched by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is addressing the practice of cash retention under construc- tion contracts. According to a recent survey, one in three busi- nesses (32%) said that between 3 and 10% of their turnover was being held in retentions.
The results of the consultation will not be released until later in 2018 but it is hoped that they will lead to changes that will result in prompt and fair payment for firms working in the construction sector, particularly small and start-up businesses. i

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