News

Enjoy reading the most important industry news items happening in the UK on a regular basis. The UK Lift / Elevator / Escalator Industry is unique in many ways and generates news that cannot easily be found on other media platforms. EWUK Magazine is the news forum for this specialist industry. News items are submitted by various sectors of the industry, including Lift Contractors, Lift Consultants, Architects, Property Managers, Building Owners, Equipment Suppliers and Government Bodies.

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July 30-August 12

INVESTOR PULLS OUT OF LONDON SKYSCRAPER PROJECT

Singapore-based developer Perennial Real Estate Holdings has decided not to invest in a proposed 73-story skyscraper in London, Architect’s Journal reports. Eric Parry Architects’ approved plan is set to replace the Aviva Tower next to the Gherkin and, at 295 m above ground level, would be the tallest tower in the city. If built, the tower will include 132,000 m2 of office space, 2,178 m2 of shops, a 1,220-m2 restaurant and a 2,930-m2 free public viewing gallery and education center. Construction has not begun on the tower, and with one fewer investor, its future is in question.

BIRMINGHAM TOWER DESIGN SHOWS “SUPER SLENDER” PROFILE

Glancy Nicholls Architects has unveiled its design for 100 Broad Street, a luxury apartment tower in Birmingham, U.K., PBC Today reported in July. Standing 193 m tall, 100 Broad Street is set to become one of the tallest buildings in the U.K. outside of London. Residents of its 500 high-end apartments will be treated to panoramic views and other amenities, including a top-floor sky lounge and restaurant higher than any dining establishment in the country outside of London. The building will also offer ground-floor commercial space, which the source said will contribute to the "evolving Broad Street." It will be the tallest of an emerging cluster of high rises in the area, and its narrow proportions allow it to be classified as “super slender.” The plan has been submitted to the Birmingham City Council for full planning approval.

IEES PROGRAM ANNOUNCED

The program for the second-annual International Elevator and Escalator Symposium (IEES) is now available. To be held at Bally’s Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas on December 3-4, the technical and educational symposium for the global vertical-transportation industry is organized by Liftinstituut Solutions and Elevator World, Inc. Many world-renowned experts are set to present on this year’s theme of safety of elevators and escalators during their life cycle: maintenance and inspections. For more information, or to register or book a booth, email or visit website.

SALE OF THYSSENKRUPP ELEVATOR BEING CONSIDERED BY CEO

Reuters is among news outlets to report that thyssenkrupp CEO Guido Kerkhoff is considering selling the conglomerate's profitable elevator division — valued at up to EUR14 billion (US$15.68 billion) to help stanch profit loss. The news came on the heels of a fourth profit warning issued under Kerkhoff, who assumed the CEO role after the former CEO and group chairman resigned. Quoting unnamed sources, the source said among those interested are KONE and private equity firms KKR, Advent and CVC. Kerkhoff is behind a failed attempt to spin off thyssenkrupp’s capital goods unit and merge the steel division with Tata Steel's European unit. He said he is backed by thyssenkrupp's supervisory board, which includes one of the top two shareholders, Cervian, which has wanted a simplified structure for a long time. The news created excitement among analysts, with Kepler Chevreaux Equity Research Head of Steel Rochus Brauneiser saying the "best move would be to sell a large chunk of the elevator business to pay down debt and fully externalize pensions."

CTBUH AWARDS PROGRAM NOW ACCEPTING NOMINATIONS

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has launched its 2020 Awards Program. Nominations for tall building and urban habitat projects across a multitude of categories and disciplines can be submitted. A panel of experts will judge the submissions based on category, and winners will be named for “Best Tall Building” (distinguished by height and function), Urban Habitat, Innovation, Renovation, Interior Space, Construction and Engineering (separated by type). “In addition to being recognized for their contributions to their city skyline, these buildings are also awarded for their efforts to make their urban habitat a sustainable, human-centric place,” CTBUH Awards Chair Karl Fender explained. The deadline for submissions is September 27, and winners will be recognized at the annual Tall + Urban Innovation Conference on April 5-7, 2020, in Chicago.

11 FLAWS FOUND IN WIND RIVER REAL-TIME OPERATING SYSTEMS

Researchers at Armis Labs discovered 11 potentially serious security flaws in the Wind River VxWorks real-time operating system, Naked Security reports. The flaws reportedly affect about 200 million devices, including elevators, routers and firewalls. The list of 11 flaws includes six remote code execution flaws and five less-serious issues. Armis Labs expressed concern that attackers could exploit the flaws to take control of affected devices without being detected. All versions of VxWorks since 6.5 are affected, as well as some older versions of the software. The VxWorks 653 and Cert Edition are not affected by the security flaws. Wind River issued patches to repair the flaws on July 19.

July 16-29

“EYESORE” ESCALATOR BEING REMOVED IN COVENTRY, U.K.

CoventryLive reports that work to dismantle and remove a large outdoor escalator, part of a project to renovate the City Centre in Coventry, U.K., is progressing quickly. The escalator sits inside a green glass housing considered an eyesore by many, an opinion affirmed by an online poll that favored removing it. It connects the City Centre's upper precinct with a retail area below. It will be replaced with presumably less-obtrusive escalators and elevators, all part of a larger project that includes a new entrance to the shopping area, improvements to the shop fronts, 75 new student residential units and the refurbishment of an empty building.

LONDON MAYOR OVERTURNS PANEL'S APPROVAL OF THE TULIP

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat reports that London Mayor Sadiq Khan has formally rejected planning approval for The Tulip, a 304-m-tall tourist attraction proposed for the Square Mile in the heart of London. Khan had earlier expressed strong disapproval of the design, which has also come under fire from Historic England, Historic Royal Palaces and the Greater London Authority, all of which also cited its impact on views of the Tower of London. Despite the opposition, the City of London's planning panel voted in April to approve the project. The developer envisions The Tulip as an observation tower and educational facility. There was no word on whether the developer would appeal the mayor’s decision, but a spokesperson said "potential next steps" will be considered.

PLANNED HOTEL WOULD BE IRELAND'S TALLEST BUILDING

Custom House Quay, a 34-story hotel planned as part of the redevelopment of the Cork City Custom House, would be the tallest building in Ireland, The Journal reports. NYC-based Tower Holdings Group announced the plan for the site at the Port of Cork. If built, the high rise would bring a 240-bed hotel and 25 serviced apartments to a project that a spokesperson for the developer called "the centerpiece of Cork's new business district." International architecture firm Gensler is designing the building with local architecture office Henry J. Lyons.

EFESME, EW EUROPE COLLABORATE

The European Federation for Elevator Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (EFESME) has partnered with Elevator World, Inc. to make ELEVATOR WORLD Europe the official publication of EFESME. Starting with the September-October 2019 issue, EW Europe will devote an entire section to EFESME publications and articles. EFESME said the collaboration will help it "reach more countries and a larger audience, and extend the breadth of its voice in defense of the interests and needs of small and medium-sized enterprises, which the federation represents throughout Europe." The official launch of the partnership is set for October 17 during Interlift in Augsburg, Germany.

VFA FORUM PROGRAM ANNOUNCED

The program for the VFA Forum during Interlift 2019, planned on October 15-18 at Augsburg Messe in Augsburg, Germany, has been released. Approximately 50 20-min lectures on varying international themes will be offered. The focus is on digitalization. Additionally, the “currently most interesting lift markets will be examined,” organizer AFAG added. The organization also said that more than 530 firms from 42 countries have already registered and expects more than 2,000 visitors to the forum and 560-600 exhibitors at the show.

July 2-15

WORK BEGINS ON QUEEN’S SQUARE IN LONDON

Work on the first phase of Queen’s Square’s regeneration has begun. The project, located in Croydon, London, U.K., sits on 5.5 acres and will include the redevelopment of Nestle Tower, St. George’s Walk and the Segas House, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat reports. The first phase will consist of converting and expanding the two existing office towers, including the 25-story Nestle Tower, into multiple residential buildings, which will be up to 28 stories high and offer 288 new homes. The plan will also reportedly maintain the existing public access beneath the building to the St. George’s Walk shopping plaza. The second phase of the project will include redeveloping most of the site to provide a new town square, as well as commercial spaces, offices and more new homes.

GTBFT COMMITMENT SIGNED BY WORLDWIDE REPRESENTATIVES

The National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII) recently reported on the recommitment of the North American, European and Asia Pacific region elevator and escalator associations to achieve global technical barrier-free trade (GTBFT). The formal commitment to a common line of actions to achieve GTBFT is to promote and improve safety and to facilitate technological innovation and the free movement of goods worldwide. NEII joined the European Lift Association, European Elevator Association, China Elevator Association, Pacific Asia Lift and Escalator Association, European Federation for Elevator Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, European Platform and Stairlift Association, European Lift Components Association, National Elevator & Escalator Association, Associacao Elevadores do Mercosul and (for the first time) the National Lift Union of Russia under the “World Elevator Federation” banner. “Worldwide acceptance of the International Organization for Standardization prescriptive standards is also part of the agreement that will lead to an efficient global approach for building transportation equipment that can be used by all manufacturers and installers,” NEII added.

MIXED-USE COMPLEX PROPOSED FOR BIRMINGHAM, U.K.

Hammerson, a U.K.-based property development firm, announced plans to transform Martineau Galleries in Birmingham City Centre, U.K. into a mixed-use neighborhood, World Construction Network reports. The proposed concept includes a 35-story building and 1.4 million ft2 of commercial space. The plan would offer 1,300 homes, in addition to a new hotel, restaurants and cafés. EPR Architects designed the plans for the 7.5-acre site. The project is expected to create 350 full-time jobs throughout the construction period. Construction is expected to begin in 2022.