Entekra to build off-site house construction plant in California
Irish housebuilding firm Entekra will construct a huge plant in Modesto, California which it says will deliver 3,000 homes a year once fully operational.
The site will construct homes in a fully automated process and is expected to be open by May 2019.
The construction phase is predicted to create around 500 US jobs and 250 staff will operate the facility once it is up and running.
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Entekra finalised the deal at the SelectUSA Investment Summit, once of the US’s most important events designed to attract foreign investment into the country.
The company’s CEO Bran Keogh also said that Entekra plans to build another off-site construction plant in Southern California in 2020, which will see another 250 people employed.
Off-site, precast construction is growing in prominence due to its cost and timesaving capabilities.
According to a report by McKinsey & Company, the global construction industry is suffering from a $1.6trn productivity gap, something which off-site building methods can help to reduce.
Indeed, global demand for precast construction is set to grow at a rate of 6.5% a year, reaching $185.35bn in value by 2023.
Asia Pacific is the largest consumer of precast concrete products, with big markets including China, India, Japan, Indonesia and Australia.
In an interview with Construction Global magazine, Senior Market Advisor for Techcrete John Hunt explained another reason for the rise in demand.
“Developers with new capital are coming into the market developing homes and they’ve had to look beyond the existing supply chains at more productive, cost certain methods of delivering homes,” he said.
BT and Microsoft unveil strategic partnership
BT and Microsoft have launched a strategic partnership to accelerate innovation across enterprise voice, cyber security and industry-focused services in sectors from digital manufacturing to health.
BT has already been named one of the first development partners for Microsoft Operator Connect and Operator Connect Conferencing. The renewed agreement will allow BT to build on this relationship and offer its own branded global managed voice services directly through Microsoft Teams, with an approach that further enhances customer experience and creates new opportunities for growth.
The strategic partnership will build on BT’s existing portfolio of cyber security services built on Microsoft technology. It will see the companies push forward with the design and launch of a new generation of managed security services to enable and protect the modern collaborative workplace. BT will work closely with Microsoft to develop distinct security propositions to defend customers’ operations across the cloud as well as its own IT estate.
Sustainability and collaboration on digital skills are integral to the partnership. BT and Microsoft will work together on further enhancing sustainability credentials within their supply chains and join forces on promoting digital skills in the communities.
“BT and Microsoft are at the forefront of innovation in global digital platforms and connectivity that will take technology and communication beyond limits,” said Bas Burger, CEO of Global at BT and executive sponsor of BT’s partnership with Microsoft. “This partnership will ensure all of Microsoft’s solutions work ‘Best on BT’ and support both companies’ commitments to improving digital skills in the community.”
Omar Abbosh, corporate vice president of industry solutions at Microsoft, said: “BT can use Microsoft’s cutting-edge tools to develop new communications services that meet the needs and demands of today’s customers. By aligning our visions for communication, connectivity, security and digital technology, Microsoft and BT will support real growth for businesses across the world.”
Microsoft's vision is to transform construction and built environment businesses with design innovation, a supply chain you can control, and a connected, safer, more productive workforce.
Microsoft recently unveiled strong results for the quarter ending June 30:
- Revenue totalled $46.2 billion, up 21%
- Operating income was $19.1 billion, up 42%
- Net income was $16.5 billion, up 47%
- Diluted earnings per share was $2.17, up 49%
For the year, revenues totalled $168.1 billion (up 18%), operating income hit $69.9 billion (up 32%), net income was $61.3 billion GAAP and $60.7 billion non-GAAP, and increased 38% and 37%, respectively.
“We are innovating across the technology stack to help organizations drive new levels of tech intensity across their business,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and chief executive officer of Microsoft. “Our results show that when we execute well and meet customers’ needs in differentiated ways in large and growing markets, we generate growth, as we’ve seen in our commercial cloud – and in new franchises we’ve built, including gaming, security, and LinkedIn, all of which surpassed $10 billion in annual revenue over the past three years.”
In a trading update last month, BT reported profit after tax £2m, down £446m, due to a "one-off tax charge in the quarter to reflect the remeasurement of deferred tax balances following the enactment of the new UK corporation tax rate of 25% from April 2023".