Blog

Welcome to our blog, written by members of the QED team.

This is an outlet for news, observations on renewable energy, sustainable development, urban regeneration and movable buildings and even the occasional rant! (Please note these do not necessarily represent the opinions of QED as a corporate entity).

We hope you enjoy what you read and feel free to give us your feedback. If you would like our latest blogs delivered directly to your inbox please subscribe by clicking the 'subscribe' link below.

Westminster. We have a problem.

  • 4 million working people will need access to affordable homes if there is full employment by 2024.
  • Over the last 40 years, fewer than 150,000 homes have been built per year. We need 250,000 to keep up with demand.
  • In the last decade, London has lost 8,000 social-rented homes.
  • Supply of new affordable homes dropped by more than 70% in Greater London in 2015-16 compared with the previous year.
  • Approximately 50% working households renting privately are receiving housing benefit because they don’t earn enough to cover rent and living expenses.
  • £1,000 extra is being spent to keep roofs over the heads of private renters – rising to £3,300 a year in London.
  • Almost 1 in 3 housing benefit recipients are renting from private landlords.
  • Taxpayers contributed £9.3bn in housing benefit to private landlords last year, nearly double that paid 10 years ago. Providing enough affordable housing, could save £1.5bn a year.
  • Currently there are around 5000 unintentionally homeless people in London. Significant numbers are children/pregnant women living in emergency B&B/hostels.
  • Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, has said that problems with housing are the ‘biggest risk’ to the UK economy. It’s hard to run a business if your employees find it hard to get a home.
  • The future for our cities looks bleak if those who make, maintain and repair things, who care for the ill and old, who clean, who cook and wait in restaurants and who look after and teach children, move away. Our communities rely on police officers, refuse collectors, nurses and shop assistants. The creative and inventive types will go too and they are currently a big part of the UK’s sales pitch to the world.
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A Fairy Tale for our times*

Once upon a time lived a family– there was Mummy and Daddy Pig who had three children – Paris, Pepper and Phoenix, who had all soooo long that Mummy Pig finally declared:

"Enough is enough! You now have to go and stand on your own four trotters. We have approved a loan (from the Bank of Mum and Dad) to go and build houses for yourselves. But take care… if you want to build homes that are fit for the future… you must at first defeat the ogre that is climate change – the biggest threat to our civilization.

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Why circles are better than lines

Well I don't hold anything against lines really, but when it comes to our society, economy and ecosystem, well the circular argument has it.

Since the Romans, we’ve enjoyed ‘taking, making and then disposing’ of stuff – particularly the buildings in which we live and work. It’s a linear process for which we are now counting the cost and more importantly, seeking a different philosophy.

"We are on the cusp of a third industrial revolution, where a convergence of new technologies in communication, energy and transport will completely change the structure of the economy from linear to circular." Richard Boyd, April 2015,

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Errr.... Houston we have a problem

Errr.... Houston we have a problem

Statutory homeless – sounds horrible doesn’t it – a household is considered homeless if they no longer have a legal right to occupy their accommodation or if it would no longer be reasonable to continue to live there, for example if living there would lead to violence against them – certainly not getting any better.

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Friends of Brighton Greenway

The Brighton Greenway now connects New England Road and Brighton train station. QED Property managed the development process of the New England Quarter and saw this green corridor as a key part of its urban regeneration. Check out this video on its history and community importance produced by the Friends of Brighton Greenway.

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Shipping Container Accommodation - not 'Ugly Ducklings' anymore

The old adage ‘An Englishman’s home is his castle’ has engrained the innate desire for home ownership
into the centre of the British psyche. It has seen unsustainable developments spring up all over the country, creating hordes of identical soulless housing estates where lush green fields once were. These
developments built from generic nationwide blueprints and corporate design templates show little
appreciation of site specific design aesthetics, detailed infrastructure needs and environmental factors in
favour of a quick fix wholesale solution which, granted, is needed, however in the long term is a detrimental approach, putting profit before ethics. Hence the search for a rapid, sympathetic and cost effective
modular building system is all the more pressing.

 

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Ghost Train - Jenny Lind steam locomotive

Originally posted on November 12,2010 by Jon Mills AKA "Mr Watt", the designer of the the sculpture. We love this project at QED. The lighting is all signed off and having walked past it at night recently and observing it appear we thought you might be interested in the story of why there is a "ghost train" above New England Road, Brighton. Below is Jon's earlier blog. More information on Jon, Mr Watt and his other works can be found at www.metaljon.com

Enjoy

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Happy New Year from all at QED!

Looking back, 2015 was an exciting year for us.

We picked up two major awards for our shipping container accommodation project together with Brighton Housing Trust.

We were named by 24 Housing as “Innovation of the Year” and won Inside Housing’s “Innovative development of the Year Award”.

As QED continued to grow our team has expanded with Mark Uren, Architect and James Ormiston, Surveyor joining in the latter half of the year. In November we moved into our nice new offices at the foot of the South Downs, Sussex.

2016 whilst young, is looking like being another exciting year.

February will see us start work on site on a new portable Visitors Centre in Hastings, together with further announcements surrounding our next generation of portable accommodation product.

We wish you all a successful and healthy 2016 and look forward to our paths crossing.

If you are passing please do stop by and say hello!

Best

Ross

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QED at the Showman’s Show 2015

The QED Team descended on the Showman’s show this year to explore the possibilities and exciting new events products coming to market in 2016, from portable toilets to portable hotels weren’t disappointed!

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Shipping container accommodation questions

Below are my responses following an enquiry from a student investigating the viability of container homes as permanent dwellings.

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Interim or meanwhile use in development control and planning

Planning policy and the planning system, however necessary is in serious need of an overhaul. It is long winded, bureaucratic, time consuming and expensive never mind just how infuriating and frustrating the experience can be for built environment professionals let alone the general public.

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Business case for PV

Lets face it the PV industry has had a hard time of late. Mainstream media tricks, Osbourne and his gas cronies, and DECC”s seeming revolving door employment policy have all contributed to the uncertainty that is unfortunate at best, given the impending peril we seem intend on ignoring. This blog (slightly technical i”m afraid, but any questions let me know) covers electricity usage data, generation data from an onsite photovoltaic (PV) solar array and the relationship between them.

 

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Architecture World

Andy Winter and I were recently approached by Gail Taylor, a freelance writer for World Architecture News who is writing a piece on the subject of shipping container accommodation for the homeless.

Here is what Andy (AW) and I (RG) had to say in response to Gail’s questions

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Independent report - Residents views of Richardsons Yard, Brighton

Richardson's Yard, Brighton’s award winning accommodation project that uses shipping containers as the primary building blocks, has been open for 6 months now and the first independent report into what it is like first hand to be a resident at Richardsons Yard, Brighton has been released. The work has been undertaken by Juliet Amoruso, who is a student at Sussex University, as part of her final thesis.

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Guide to installing export metering for Solar PV

Getting an export meter takes time and patience. It makes sense to start this process before installing your system as – crucially – payments are not made until you’ve got your meter in place. A flow chart has been been produced to sit beside this blog and can be found by clicking on the link below.

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A future of mobile buildings

Technological innovation, prosperity, social change and mobility, our world is changing fast than ever. Unfortunately, the established ‘take, make & waste’ model is doing so at the expense of our environment. There is a movement afoot to end the linear treatment of resources and shift to a regenerative economic model; a Circular economy; look up Walter R. Stahel, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation or the recent World Economic Forum Report “Towards the circular economy” to find out more.

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Brighton shipping containers installation - week 5

Monday
Call Good Energy first thing to confirm the CT ratio (I don’t know what that is/does either). Things continue to progress methodically with the stairs and walkways providing access to another floor. University of Brighton Professors x 2 (one taught me a few years back), come to site to have a look around and discuss decide how to set up the monitoring equipment. Sensors and data collectors will record internal temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide levels as well as energy consumption for analysis.

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Brighton shipping containers installation - week 4

Monday
Where do you start with utilities companies! The week does not start well, despite permission of highways, traffic management plans and several on site preparation meetings power is not brought to site over the weekend as expected and this will impact our program. On a positive note the plumber is almost through with connecting the mechanical fixings on block 1.

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Brighton shipping containers installation - week 2 & 3

Time is hard to come by at the moment. We’ve been onsite over the weekend. So this latest blog update on the containers takes a predominately picture form.

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Brighton shipping containers installation - week 1

At QED we’ve been blown away by all the interest we’ve had in our development for Brighton Housing Trust to provide temporary accommodation. So I thought i’d run some diary posts detailing whats been going on each week.

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