Construction activity 'at seven-month low'

Reports that UK construction activity fell to a seven-month low in November feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Telegraph reports that housebuilding, "which has been the main driver of growth in recent years, slipped behind commercial property last month, according to survey compiler Markit". The newspaper says that the "Markit/CIPS construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 55.3 in November, from 58.8 in October. While activity remained well above the 50 level that signals an expansion, it was the slowest pace of growth since April and below economists' expectations for a slight easing to 58.5."

The Independent reports that a leading architect has claimed that racist and sexist discrimination goes through her profession "like a stick of rock, and it starts at the top with the Royal Institute of British Architects". The newspaper says that "Elsie Owusu OBE claimed there was ‘institutionalised racism’ at the institute, and said she was ‘absolutely bloody flabbergasted’ by the ‘boys’ club’ culture she found after joining its national council in September." The newspaper quotes a RIBA spokesman saying the body takes the allegation "very seriously" and is investigating.

The Guardian reports that "six dramatic designs have been shortlisted for a new bridge that will link the rocky Cornish coast to a wave-lashed outcrop wreathed in legends – Tintagel Castle, the legendary birthplace of King Arthur." The newspaper says that the "£4 million bridge, proposed by English Heritage, will be perched above the waves, 28 metres higher than the current crossing, with a 72-metre span."

The Daily Mirror reports on an eco home in West Kirby, Wirral that "costs just £15 a year to run." The newspaper says that Colin Usher, "who is a director at Liverpool-based John McCall Architects, designed the home in Lang Lane, West Kirby for himself and his wife, Jenny."

The Guardian reports that the Botswana government "has quietly sold the rights to frack for shale gas in one of Africa’s largest protected conservation areas, it has emerged". The newspaper says that the Kgalagadi transfrontier park, "which spans the border with South Africa, is an immense 36,000 sq km wilderness, home to gemsbok desert antelope, black-maned Kalahari lions and pygmy falcons. But conservationists and top park officials – who were not informed of the fracking rights sale – are now worried about the impact of drilling on wildlife."

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