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February 2011

18 Feb
15:48

The Retail Re-imaging challenge – where the breakthroughs are.

Submitted by Colin Turner, EC Harris, Head of Retail

In responding to today’s tough retail climate, the winners are investing shrewdly in the physical brand to make their customer experience distinct, valued and memorable. One of the best examples is the re-image programme underway at McDonalds. We held a breakfast seminar earlier in the week where Henry Trickey – McDonalds VP of Business Development - explained how their UK programme is working. The attendees included senior representatives from major retailers, retail banks and... Read More

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The Retail Re-imaging challenge – where the breakthroughs are.
18 Feb
12:20

The new Affordable Homes Programme and how to gain competitive advantage

Submitted by Rebecca Bennett Casserly, EC Harris, Head of Affordable Housing

DCLG and the HCA have launched the long awaited 2011-15 Affordable Homes Programme.  It sets out the framework for providers of affordable housing to bid for a share of the unallocated remains of £4.5 billion - some £2.2 billion - over the next 4 years.   The Spending Review saw the advent of a "new world" for the sector. This programme along with benefit reform, HRA reform and the Localism Bill, provides a significantly different operating environment to the... Read More

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The new Affordable Homes Programme and how to gain competitive advantage
18 Feb
10:27

How to save the NHS millions through effective procurement...

Submitted by Karen Prosser, EC Harris, Partner, Health sector

The National Audit Office has issued an efficiency target of £500m to be achieved through improvements in procurement across the NHS. This figure is supported by the NHS Business Agency findings (reported last month) and our recent research Refocusing the NHS. Having regularly achieved 10% to 20% savings on capital and service costs, and up to 60% across non-clinical items for clients, we know there is significant opportunity to drive efficiencies in NHS procurement. ... Read More

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How to save the NHS millions through effective procurement...
18 Feb
09:51

Scottish Budget Bill 2011

Submitted by Graham Hill, EC Harris, Partner

The Scottish Budget Bill has been passed, with the minority Scottish Government securing majority support for its spending plans. Finance Secretary John Swinney has had to agree some significant concessions with opposition parties, but has proved the sceptics wrong, with his plans being pushed through Holyrood for a fourth consecutive time. At face value, spending seems to be being maintained at previous levels, with a proportion of the £1.3 billion reduction to the Scottish Budget... Read More

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Scottish Budget Bill 2011
16 Feb
14:39

Beating the Market

Submitted by Simon Rawlinson, EC Harris, Head of Strategic Research

2011 is shaping up to be another challenging year for construction and property, with many economies slowing and continuing headwinds from scarce finance and soaring commodity prices.  Positive action creates conditions for success, and clients with a proactive approach to project set-up, procurement and delivery will be best placed to secure value and viability.  Those who assume that they can rely on weak demand to obtain best value may not obtain optimum results and may be taking... Read More

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Beating the Market
10 Feb
06:06

Putting Productivity Gains at the Heart of Corporate Real Estate

Submitted by Wade Cruickshanks, EC Harris, Partner

We are constantly striving to achieve greater productivity, especially in the current cost-conscious environment where businesses are looking to maintain cost savings and profitability gains and getting the most out of corporate restructuring. Here are few ways CRE can address the productivity challenge... Workplace: A well executed workplace strategy focused on the configuration and design of the workplace can increase productivity by 10% as well as reduce employee absenteeism. Successful... Read More

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Putting Productivity Gains at the Heart of Corporate Real Estate
9 Feb
17:01

The way forward or old news for UK Infrastructure?

Submitted by Mathew Riley, EC Harris, Global Head of Infrastructure, Industry and Utilities

Today I participated in the UK Infrastructure Summit 2011 on a panel alongside the Chairman of Arup Transport, the President of the ICE and former RIBA President . The event provided a platform to debate on the way forward for the Infrastructure Cost Review and recognised the issues raised by the report.  But the challenge to us as a panel was whether this was actually old news and that there was likely to be no substantive shift in the way infrastructure is programmed, financed and delivered... Read More

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The way forward or old news for UK Infrastructure?
8 Feb
12:00

Economic reality exposed

Submitted by Bernie Devine, EC Harris, Asset Management Consultant

This week the UAE Central bank published some much awaited statistics from 2010 which shed new light on the current state of the country’s economy. In summary, the UAE is struggling to boost bank lending after the recent credit squeeze, and the non-performing loan provisions offered by banks increased by 36% to Dh44.3bn. This represents approximately 4.4% of the total loans offered, higher than you would expect to see in a growing economy, and something which is likely to hurt banks... Read More

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Economic reality exposed
3 Feb
10:28

Leaner and Greener: Delivering effective estate management

Submitted by William Green, EC Harris, Head of Local Government and Communities

The “Leaner and Greener: Delivering effective estate management” report was recently launched by the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum.  Unveiled by the communities minister Eric Pickles, the report identifies how local authorities could reduce their space requirements by 30 per cent, saving £7 billion a year in running costs. A number of EC Harris experts were involved in the production of the report, a full copy of which can be found here. To hear Matthew... Read More

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Leaner and Greener: Delivering effective estate management
2 Feb
17:27

Good news for construction – but is it sustainable?

Submitted by Simon Rawlinson, EC Harris, Head of Strategic Research

The release of the Monthly Construction PMI data is not usually an event that quickens the pulse, but I suspect this morning’s release was anxiously awaited from Downing Street to Threadneedle Street.  A fall in construction activity was a major cause of the 0.5% decline in GDP in fourth quarter 2010 – and if the PMI was still falling, then pinning the blame on bad weather would look much less credible. The surprisingly good reading – 53.7 compared to a consensus forecast... Read More

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Good news for construction – but is it sustainable?
2 Feb
16:17

The impact of the health reforms on NHS property

Submitted by Matthew Punshon, EC Harris, Head of Asset Performance & Facilities Management

We are starting to see the shape of the health service of the future – at least the Coalition view of it.  The Times (20th January, p8) has a fascinating description of what the structure might look like.  I was struck by the complexity of the change in the way property needs to be occupied……and probably owned.  In addition, the ‘Right to Require’ will add a new approach with existing teams setting up social enterprises to deliver services direct... Read More

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The impact of the health reforms on NHS property

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