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Construction has the chance for a sustainable recovery

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altFORTUNES are mixed for many Welsh business people and the construction industry is no exception.

Some people are nervous about what 2013 will bring, but at Constructing Excellence in Wales (CEW) we prefer to take a more positive but realistic view of the opportunities ahead. Not because we can see a recovery around the corner, but because we know there are opportunities for Welsh construction to achieve a sustainable recovery by working collaboratively and generating long term value.


HS2 awards engineering and environment deals

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altHS2 Ltd has named six firms for engineering and environmental services for the second phase of the £33bn high speed rail link.

There are three firms named on each of the two frameworks for the second phase, which includes links from Birmingham to Manchester and to Leeds through the East Midlands and South Yorkshire, as well as a spur connection from the Phase 1 line to Heathrow.

Tender invitations were sent out in August and the firms will provide professional services to support Phase Two of the scheme through the consultation stage.


Environmental Issues in Construction

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altGreen design is not merely the use of energy-efficient materials. It also involves the creation of products and systems that leave a light footprint on the environment over the full life-cycle—from production to transportation, installation, use and renewal. As such, sustainable green design should be thought of as a process, not just a goal—allowing for a broader evaluation of the environmental, economical and societal impacts of product, as single units and as part of their environment.

When considering environmental issues in construction and life cycle, some focus on evaluation of manufactured products in terms of waste disposal (although a product’s end-use can account for as much as 90 percent of a product’s impact on the environment). Instead, a host of factors and influences of a product’s impact on society should be evaluated and contrasted to the product’s performance. A systems approach allows for determination of the environmental impact of a product in terms of energy consumption at each state of a product’s life cycle, beginning at the point of raw materials extraction from the earth and proceeding through processing, manufacturing, fabrication, end-use and disposal. Transportation of materials and products to each process step should also be included.


Two wind turbines go up at Cotton Farm - and create a new landmark

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altA wind farm at Graveley is beginning to take shape, with two of the turbines now complete and a third well on the way.

The site, at Cotton Farm, is expected to put more than £300,000 into the local community over its lifetime once it starts generating electricity next year.

Energy firm Renerco is building eight turbines at the site and construction of the wind farm is on track for completion early next year.


Nuclear Reactor Designs 'Approved'

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altRegulators are expected to announce that they have approved the design for nuclear reactors put forward by EDF and Areva as suitable to be built in the UK.

The move will mark the end of a five-year, £35 million "generic design assessment" process by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency to assess the companies' UK EPR reactor for use in the UK.