This week, a plea to work together for the sake of industrial relations, a look at things from small firms’ point of view and a suggestion that the Thames Hub be transported away from the, err … Thames

Collaboration is the way forward

The coalition of building services trade associations (APHC, ECA, SELECT, and SNIPEF) referred to in the story featured on page 14 of 9 December of Building would like to respond. We believe that collaboration is key and that trade associations and contractors should, as they have in the past, move forward together to form a comprehensive plan, rather than create a new trade association and national agreement.

We recognise modernisation is required, and as a result, have established an Industry Modernisation Forum. We urge those companies proposing the new agreement to come forward and have their say. This is a more dependable route than that proposed and would avoid fragmentation of the industry - the ramifications of which would be ruinous for our sector.

In terms of industrial relations, forming agreements without union backing puts the industry firmly on track for a great deal of instability and unrest, not to mention an erosion of market confidence in an economic climate where the industry should be working together rather than breaking apart and undermining its own position.
Collaborative working has served us well in the past and a unilateral move away from this approach causes great concern for the future wellbeing of the industry. We urge all parties to work together to find a safe and agreeable solution.


Rhinos or cattle?

Chris Wise’s article on 9 December, page 27, is a good piece with logical thinking. Rhinos or cattle - what you rather be? I don’t see BIM though being an impediment to creative, problem-solving, innovative solutions formed and delivered by small practices or individuals. As a number of small architectural firms are recognising, the ability to use technology and process can allow the little person to stand on the shoulders of giants.

Erland Rendall, via

The planet pays the price

The only way to keep the FITs pot filled up is to increase the Climate Change Levy tax on fuel bills. Someone at last got the calculator out at Westminster and worked out that the high FITs offered were just too good an opportunity to miss.

Perhaps it was always envisaged that the CCL would go up as a punishment to those who continued to use fossil fuels, but this would now prove to be an unpopular “stealth” tax, whatever the good intentions were. “Save the Planet” - more like “Save the Economy” first.

Mark Taylor, via

Not in my hub

In reference to your article ‘New images of Thames Hub unveiled’ (29 November,, please Mr Foster move it further out towards the North Sea and not opposite the North bank of the Thames where there is a huge population!

People seem to forget that there are three airports nearby with Southend only a stone’s throw away, with EasyJet coming next year.

Stephen Austin, via