Willmott Dixon gets £19m University of Brighton contract

Willmott DixonWillmott Dixon has secured a £19 million interiors redevelopment contract to refurbish a 10-storey 1960s-built teaching block for the University of Brighton.

It comes as Willmott Dixon is targeting a £125 million a year turnover in interiors work within three years, paving the way for new jobs in the building construction industry.  

The refurbishment of the University of Brighton’s Cockcroft building involves the refit of a 15,000 sq.m. multi-use building to allow several departments to share modern accommodation that includes staff offices, IT facilities as well as specialist teaching and research facilities.

Each floor of Cockcroft will be completely refurbished while the building remains operational throughout the project, including replacing all windows to provide better insulation and energy performance, together with a timber decking system to create new terraces on the 8th floor that look out across Brighton.

Procured through the IESE framework, Willmott Dixon is working with a design team that includes Fraser Brown MacKenna, Mott MacDonald, Curtins Consulting and Burnley Wilson.

Mike Hart, chief operating officer responsible for Willmott Dixon’s interiors work said: “We’re delighted to be working with the team at the University of Brighton to ensure the Cockcroft building can meet the demands of the 21st century. The modernisation is a major investment by a university that wants to have premium facilities to attract the best students and academics.”

“In the past, our interiors workload was mainly concentrated on commercial work in London.  Now we’re delivering projects across all sectors, including commercial, health, hotels, leisure, retail and education, including Free Schools, and higher education, using the synergies and networks across Willmott Dixon.”

Alex Salmond backs house-building in Scotland

The Scottish GovernmentThe Scottish Government is on track to deliver 30,000 affordable homes and boost the construction industry, the First Minister Alex Salmond has said today.

Alex Salmond officially opened a new housing development in Argyll where he met residents in their new homes at the Park Terrace affordable housing development in Campbeltown.

The £5.267 million development of 32 homes for rent was funded by the Scottish Government, Argyll & Bute Council and Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA). It was built over two years by local firm MacLeod Construction – providing jobs for 60 workers.

Thousands of affordable homes will be built within the current five-year Parliamentary session that will create more employment opportunities in the trades.

As a result of the most recent housing completions, figures for which are published today, a total of 14,298 affordable homes have been delivered within nine quarters. These include 10,611 council homes and registered social landlord homes – 53 per cent of the social rented housing target – with a further 11 quarters still to go.

The First Minister said: “With more than 14,200 affordable homes completed in just over two years, the Scottish Government is well on track to meet our pledge to deliver 30,000 affordable homes over the lifetime of this parliament, including 20,000 social homes.

“We are working closely with our housing sector partners to increase the pace of approvals and this will be greatly enhanced by our decision, announced last month, to increase the grant for every new council and housing association property by £16,000 for each new home.

“We have boosted our budgets for new affordable homes considerably and will now invest almost £950 million in the three years to March 2015.

“Despite reductions to our capital budgets and the challenges facing housing associations, we’re committed to providing more affordable homes across Scotland, especially in rural areas such as Kintyre.”

New Enterprise Zone centre will boost local employment

New Enterprise Zone centre will boost local employment

More than 150 new jobs will be created in the North Eastern Enterprise Zone’s new business start-up centre, boosting the local economy and the trades.

The £6 million centre will be a hub to help new businesses establish and grow. With new offices, workshops and labs, the building will provide work spaces for 200 people when it is completed next year.

Located next to Nissan’s Wearside plant, the centre will benefit companies working in the region’s growing low carbon transport business with access to sector specific skills and expertise.

Barmston Developments are building the hub on the Turbine Business Park. Deverloper, James Scott, said: “Our ability to be back on site so quickly after completing the 422,000 sq ft Vantec warehouse shows how committed we are to delivering at Turbine Business Park.”

Councillor Paul Watson said:“All businesses start somewhere and need a base for their works. This new project is the second major development on the Turbine Business Park as part of the North East Low Carbon Zone.”

This news follows the North Eastern’s success in becoming the first Enterprise Zone in England to achieve foreign direct investment from Vantec Europe, a move that is set to create more than 300 jobs in the Zone.

Barmston Developments has also achieved outline planning permission on the Zone’s remaining 20 acres, the site can accommodate warehouses, industrial, office and retail buildings together with consent for a hotel and a pub.

Attracting new start ups will help the Zone to reach its aim to become Europe’s premier location for ultra low carbon vehicles and offshore energy, building on the existing economic strengths and existing infrastructure.

An Oxford park set to undergo £60,000 regeneration scheme

An Oxford park set to undergo £60,000 regeneration schemeOxford City Council has secured £60,000 of funding from Waste Recycling Environmental Limited (WREN) to transform Spindleberry Park in Blackbird Leys, paving the way for new jobs in the trades.

Work is planned to start this autumn with the development forecast to be fully completed within a 12-month period.

The funding will be spent on strengthening the links between Frys Hill Park, Spindleberry Park and Spindleberry Nature Reserve creating a new and improved Spindleberry Park.

Proposals include new footpaths, a bridge, a natural play area and improvements to Northfield Brook.

Rob Tilley from Groundwork said: “We’re delighted that WREN has awarded the grant to this project.

“We’ll be able to help improve access and implement a range of environmental improvements, benefitting the local community and helping protect the environment.”

Councillor Mark Lygo, Board Member for Parks, Sports and Events said: “This is fantastic news for everyone involved in the project and local residents of Blackbird Leys.

“A huge amount of hard work has gone into securing this funding and it’s great to see that work pay off.

“The improvements will make the area much more appealing for local residents and we hope to see more people getting active in the park

“We are doing a huge amount of work on improving open spaces and other facilities in the area including on-going improvements to Blackbird Leys Park which has recently been awarded Green Flag status.

Earlier in the year, Oxford City Council, working in partnership with Blackbird Leys Parish Council, commissioned Groundwork South, an environmental charity, to consult with the local community on the future of Spindleberry Park.

A ‘green partnership’ of interested groups has been formed including the Leys Housing Consortium, local schools, colleges, youth clubs, wildlife and volunteer groups, and anyone else interested in the future of the park.

The Spindleberry Park proposals form part of Oxford City Council’s Regeneration Strategy and Action Plan for the Leys area. The wide ranging initiatives include on-going improvements to Blackbird Leys Park and proposals for an outdoor fitness trail linking Blackbird Leys Park, Gillians Park and Spindleberry Park.

Morgan Sindall gets £19m Matalan HQ development

Morgan Sindall gets £19m Matalan HQ developmentMorgan Sindall has won a £19 million contract with Maro Developments to construct the new Matalan office building at Knowsley Industrial Park in Liverpool.

The project, which will form part of Matalan’s new headquarters, will see the leading construction and infrastructure company construct a new three-storey office block for the clothing and homeware retailer.

The office will be built on a 15 acre site, and will provide 132,000 sq ft of fully serviced office facilities. The scheme off Acornfield Road will also include extensive car parking.

Chris Stroud, director of development at Maro Developments, said: “We’re very pleased to be making excellent progress on this development and Morgan Sindall’s appointment is a key part of that process. This is an ambitious high-profile project which will have a positive economic impact in the Borough of Knowsley and the wider Merseyside region, and we’re looking forward to working with the various project partners to deliver this scheme.”

The project is due to complete in late 2014. It has been designed to a Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) ‘Very Good’ rating, incorporating sustainable technologies for power, heating and cooling and will also provide opportunities to link into a possible future on-site energy generation facility in a separate building. The design team is being led by Fletcher Rae Architects.

Barry Roberts, Morgan Sindall area director, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed by Maro Developments to construct this exciting new development. The new Matalan HQ will be a bespoke, high-quality office scheme – fitting for a company of Matalan’s scale.

“Morgan Sindall is well versed in constructing specialist office space and we’re looking forward to utilising our specialist knowledge on this project and playing a part in the ambitious regeneration of this key site.”

Morgan Sindall is also working on a £7 million project to expand Liverpool Science Park (LSP). The project team is currently constructing a new four-storey building named Innovation Centre 3 (ic3), which will provide 42,000 sq ft of additional office and laboratory space at the site.

Investment in growing railway delivers £3.2bn boost to businesses across Britain

Investment in growing railway delivers £3.2bn boost to businesses across Britain

Investment in a bigger, better rail network generated more than £3.2 billion of work for businesses across Britain over the last year, according to new figures by Network Rail.

More than a third – around £1.2 billion – of the money spent in 2012/13 went to small and medium-sized businesses, helping support economic growth and jobs across a range of industries from telecoms suppliers and glazers to solar energy engineers and security providers.

This investment has sustained over 90,000 full-time jobs nationwide in addition to the 34,000 people directly employed by Network Rail, generating significant financial returns to central government through tax revenue and savings on benefits as well as boosting local economies.

The enhancement schemes carried out by Network Rail’s major projects division included the redevelopments of King’s Cross, Reading and Birmingham New Street stations, Crossrail, the Thameslink Programme upgrade plus dozens of other schemes to improve stations, lengthen platforms and build new railway.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said: “Investing in infrastructure has a direct effect on the economy, creating jobs, and giving Britain the infrastructure we need to build a stronger economy and fairer society.

“This report is excellent in highlighting the opportunities for small and medium sized businesses that come with infrastructure investment. That is why we have set out £100 billion of investment in infrastructure over the next Parliament, including supporting the largest programme of investment in rail since the Victorian era. I’m very glad to see that Network Rail are doing their bit to drive sustainable and balanced economic growth across the UK.”

Simon Kirby, managing director of Network Rail Infrastructure Projects, said: “The rail industry is increasingly recognised as a key contributor to our national, economic and social well-being. Across Britain, investment in a bigger, better railway has provided a massive boost to hundreds of businesses of all shapes and sizes, supporting sustainable economic growth and jobs.”

The rail industry’s supply chain is both extended and varied, ranging from professional services to the construction industry. Rail investment is therefore an important driver of growth across many of the UK’s industrial sectors.

Kier awarded £2.3m bridge refurbishment work

Kier 1Network Rail has awarded Kier a £2.3 million project to refurbish the historic Kingston Railway Bridge in Kingston that will boost the trades.

Kingston Railway Bridge crosses the River Thames in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. The bridge carries the South West Trains’ branch line from London Waterloo to Shepperton and Richmond.

Constructed in 1907, the bridge is steeped in history. It comprises five steel arches and replaced an earlier bridge of cast-iron steel which dated back to 1863.

The bridge links Kingston and Hampton Wick stations, and crosses the Thames on the reach above Teddington Lock. There are arches on both sides over dry land and the one on the Kingston side has a road running through it.

Sean Hebden, Kier regional manager, said: “We are naturally delighted to have secured the important Kingston Bridge Refurbishment project, which builds on the continuing success of our rail business.

“This £2.3 million scheme involves grit blasting, painting and strengthening the bridge, and the proposed work will extend the life of the bridge by a further 30 years.”