Galliford Try awarded schools building work

Galliford Try awarded schools building workThe Education Funding Agency (EFA) has appointed Galliford Try for the first batch of schools in Hull and East Riding under the priority schools building programme, worth £35.7 million.

The batch represents Galliford Try’s first success since its appointment to the EFA’s main Contractor Framework in November 2013.

The Hull and East Riding batch includes the £18.6 million construction of Hessle High School and Sixth Form College, as well as new buildings for Eastfield, Francis Askew, Wold and Ainthorpe Primary Schools in the region.

Galliford Try Chief Executive Greg Fitzgerald said: “We are delighted to have secured our first success since our appointment to the EFA’s main contractor framework last year.

“Education remains a key sector for our construction business and we look forward to working with the EFA and the schools in the Hull and East Riding batch to produce the high quality buildings and facilities their pupils deserve.”

Willmott Dixon given the go-ahead to £15m Oldham sports centre

Willmott Dixon given the go-ahead to £15m Oldham sports centreWillmott Dixon has secured its latest leisure and sporting venue after Oldham Council appointed the company to build a £15 million flagship facility in the town centre.

It comes just a few weeks after the company was appointed for over £50 million of work to create the Middlesbrough Sports Village and Wycombe Sports Centre, and it is the latest project in Oldham following the successful programme to build three academies.

The Oldham Sports Centre will be located at the junction of Manchester Street and St Domingo Street and aims to attract major regional sporting competitions and televised events.

Features include:

• A 25-metre eight-lane swimming pool of county-level competition standard;
• 250 spectator seating gallery to the main pool;
• 150-competitor seats at pool side;
• Sauna and steam room;
• Eight-court sports hall including flexible seating for 500 people;
• 80-station fitness studio;
• Four-rink indoor bowls hall;

Willmott Dixon given the go-ahead to £15m Oldham sports centre 1Willmott Dixon has also signed up to the Get Oldham Working Construction Charter which seeks to link physical regeneration projects to employment and training opportunities for local residents and supply chain opportunities for local businesses.

Councillor Jim McMahon said: “We are delighted that Willmott Dixon has signed up to the Construction Charter to support our Get Oldham Working campaign by ensuring local residents and businesses benefit from investment in the borough.”

Willmott Dixon managing director in its Oldham office, Anthony Dillon, said: “As a local business we are delighted to be working with Oldham Council to deliver what will be a fantastic facility and significantly contribute towards the ongoing regeneration of the town centre.

“As with all our projects we have delivered in Oldham, we will be working closely with the council to ensure we maximise the local economic benefit in terms of local labour, subcontractors and suppliers.”

Lovell, Vinci and Wates win £50m Midlands’ council repairs

Lovell gets housing repairs dealSandwell Council has launched partnership with three major construction firms that will see a £50 million package of repairs and improvements to some 6,000 during the next three years.

The trio – Lovell, VINCI Facilities and Wates Living Space – will deliver the multi-million pound internal improvements programme which will benefit thousands of council tenants and boost the trades.

Each partner will be responsible for refurbishing around 2,000 properties across the borough, which did not receive improvements under Sandwell’s previous Decent Homes programme.

The range of improvements include: improved kitchens and bathrooms, new central heating systems and electrical rewiring plus external works such as replacing roofs and windows where necessary.

As well as delivering physical improvements to people’s homes, the partnership is also investing in community-based projects that will make a real and long-lasting difference to the communities they are operating in.

This could range from visiting schools to talk about site health and safety issues and investing in the local economy through tangible training and employment opportunities to working with their local supply chains to support community facilities that will continue to deliver benefits to local people long after the improvements programme has been completed.

Councillor Ian Jones, cabinet member for jobs and economy, said: “The council has fought hard to continue investing in its council homes and given the economic climate, I am proud that we have been successful in developing a continuing programme of housing improvements after the Government withdrew our funding.

“This will see more than £50 million being spent on internal refurbishment works, such as new kitchens and bathrooms, new central heating systems and electrical rewiring where needed, to properties over the next three years. Our tenants deserve to have good quality, warm and energy efficient homes for themselves and their families.

“We are not just talking about physical and environmental improvements to people’s homes, but the improvements to the quality of people’s lives, the boost given to local communities through training and job opportunities for local people and other beneficial projects.

Kier gets Sheffield maintenance contract

Kier 2Kier has been awarded more than £13 million in new contracts to provide new heating systems and carry out adaptation works to homes across Sheffield.

The contracts, awarded by Sheffield City Council, will see Kier’s housing maintenance business maintain homes to a high standard and ensure adaptations are carried out for those who need it most.

The first contract, worth £9.8 million over four years, comprises installing radiators, boilers, piping and thermostats, as well as removing and repairing pre-existing systems.

Kier will also install new central heating systems in council homes where breakdowns have occurred, as well as in void properties across the city. .

As part of the contract, Kier will provide a tenant liaison officer to ensure the smooth running of the programme, and commit to a three working day target for getting the heating systems working and nine days for full completion.

The second contract, valued at £3.6 million over three years, will see Kier deliver adaptations to vulnerable and elderly people’s homes in the city. Kier will be installing wet floors and over-bath showers, as well as access ramps. Council houses will also have other adaptation works including door widening and the installation of handrails and handles.

Kier regional operations director, Phil Oades, said: “These new contracts underline the important work Kier is doing in Sheffield and recognise the quality of our work and the high level of customer satisfaction we deliver, as well as providing sustainable employment for our workforce in the city.

“We will continue to both work hard to maintain the high standards of all homes across Sheffield and work closely with tenants and the council to ensure these targets are met.”

£220m construction boost for Scotland

The Scottish Government£220 million of new investment in infrastructure will see new schools and hospitals built across Scotland, Finance Secretary John Swinney announced today.

The projects will be delivered as part of a £1 billion extension of the non-profit distributing (NPD) programme that would create new jobs and boost the trades.

An additional £100 million of financial support will be earmarked for the Schools for the Future programme to support local authorities in delivering new and refurbished school buildings.

A total of £120 million in NPD investment will develop a new maternity hospital and a new cancer centre as part of the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary Campus.

Mr Swinney also confirmed the provisional outturn on the 2013-14 budget, with over 99 per cent of the Scottish Government’s £28 billion cash budget invested during 2013-14, and resources planned to be carried over to support spending in 2014-15 contributing to a limited cash underspend of £145 million.

Speaking in Parliament after informing MSPs about the Scottish Government’s provisional financial outturn for 2013-14, Mr Swinney said: “This investment will build on the successes of the current NPD programmes, delivering colleges, schools, roads, hospitals and community health facilities across Scotland.

“It will provide the construction sector with the long term certainty of a future pipeline of work that will promote growth and help create jobs.”

Full details of the infrastructure projects contained within the planned £1 billion extension to the programme will be announced in the autumn Draft Budget.

Government investment to build thousands of new homes

Government investment to build thousands of new homesCommunities across the country are set to benefit from thousands of extra homes under new deals revealed by the government today that will boost the construction trades.

Speaking at the Chartered Institute for Housing conference in Manchester, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles set out why housing is the cornerstone of Britain’s economic strength and social well-being.

Mr Pickles said considerable progress has been made to fix the broken housing market, but that there is still more to do and government will continue to get the country building more homes.

Millions of pounds of investment across a range programmes will boost the supply of new homes in all areas of the housing market:

  • over £53 million will accelerate construction of more than 7,000 homes on large developments in Manchester, Medway, Swindon and Kettering. The new deals will bring the total number of homes supported through the Local Infrastructure Fund to over 80,000 since the scheme began in 2012
  • the government has set aside £1 billion over the next 5 years for further rounds of the programme. So far 56 bids have been received which demonstrate the strong interest from developers in getting workers back on stalled large-scale sites and to deliver the homes. An announcement about the shortlisted bids for the first round of funding will be made later in the summer
  • a new £3 million fund to help planning authorities tackle barriers to work starting on site – the fund will give authorities additional capacity to focus on issues such as finalising section 106 agreements and signing off planning conditions, to help get work started on sites as quickly as possible. The fund could accelerate starts on up to 85 sites with the potential for up to 25,000 homes
  • over £49 million will support 3 new schemes under the Build to Rent programme in Hampshire and Croydon. The funding will help deliver over 540 homes specifically for private rent, bringing the total number of homes supported through the programme so far to over 1,600
  • a new prospectus for a new £150 million investment fund for 10,000 ‘serviced plots’ will be published. The funding will help bring forward ‘shovel ready’ sites where people can hire a developer to build the home they want, a type of development known as custom build. A demonstration site at Park Prewett, near Basingstoke, will begin shortly

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “In 2010 we inherited a paralysed housing market and a collapsing rate of construction. Since then we’ve delivered over 445,000 new homes, and house building is at its highest rate since 2007 and still climbing.

“The resurgence in house building is clear evidence that the government’s long-term economic plan is working, but there is still more to do.

“The investment we’re announcing today will help us meet this challenge by driving up the supply of new homes in every corner of the housing market. From new places for rent to people designing to those building their own properties – we will support and deliver the homes this country needs.”

Wind and hydro generation at record levels for Scotland

Scottish Wind FarmsNew figures published today show Scotland’s renewable electricity output was at record levels, creating green jobs in the trades and boosting the renewable industry.

The figures, which were released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, show that Scotland generated a record 6,678 GWh of renewable electricity in the 1st quarter of 2014 – an increase of over 50 per cent from same quarter in 2013, and 10.4 per cent higher than the previous record.

This overall increase is primarily due to a record quarter of hydro output, 9.2 per cent higher than the previous record quarter at the end of 2011. Wind generation is also at record levels, 4 per cent higher than the previous record quarter.

Today’s statistics also confirmation the previous preliminary finding that renewables met a record-breaking 46.5 per cent of gross electricity consumption in 2013, confirming that Scotland is on track to meet its interim target of 50% by 2015.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “2013 was a record year for renewables generation in Scotland, but the initial figures for 2014 show that renewables generation continues to go from strength to strength, with the figures for the 1st Quarter of 2014 setting a new record for renewables generation in Scotland.

“The record high hydro output shows that we are contributing to a balanced mix of energy generation across Scotland which could see hydro power account for up to a quarter of Scotland’s generating capacity in the next decade.

“Scotland’s renewables generation is helping keep the lights on across these islands at a time when Ofgem are warning of the ever tightening gap between peak electricity demand and electricity supply, due to mismanagement of UK energy policy by Westminster.

“The value of renewable energy to Scotland’s economy, and to reducing our carbon emissions, is clear and our commitment to harnessing Scotland’s energy wealth – both onshore and offshore, and in the right locations – will ensure that renewables continue to provide low carbon energy supplies as well as jobs and investment long into the future.”

Help to Buy scheme gets Britain building

Help to Buy helps Britain buildingOver 35,000 aspiring homeowners have been helped onto the property ladder through one of the government’s Help to Buy schemes, Kris Hopkins announced today.

The minister welcomed the key role this scheme is playing in the government’s long-term economic plan, both helping people buy their own home but also boosting house building and creating jobs in construction.

A help onto the housing ladder

New figures today show that since the launch of Help to Buy 14 months ago, 22,831 people have bought newly-built homes through the Help to Buy: equity loan scheme.

There have also been 7,313 sales through the Help to Buy: mortgage guarantee and 5,173 sales through the Help to Buy: NewBuy scheme. This takes total sales through Help to Buy to over 35,000.

All sales through Help to Buy: equity loan – and three-quarters of overall sales through all elements of Help to Buy – are new-build properties.

Since the launch of the scheme, house building is up a third compared to last year and at its highest level since 2007, while 216,000 planning permissions were granted in the last 12 months.

Recent estimates still show that Help to Buy accounts for just 3% of overall house sales

Help to Buy across the country

Nationally, 86% of Help to Buy: equity loan sales were to first-time buyers, while the average house price under the scheme was £206,084 – far lower than the £252,000 average house price. The vast majority of Help to Buy: equity loan sales – 94% – are outside London.

Overall, the highest numbers of Help to Buy sales are in:

  • Leeds: 580
  • Wiltshire: 506
  • Central Bedfordshire: 458
  • Milton Keynes: 417
  • Peterborough: 379

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said: “In 2010 we inherited a broken housing market, where hard-working people who could afford a mortgage were locked out of home ownership because they couldn’t get the deposit together.

“Help to Buy is changing that – to date, this scheme has enabled 35,000 people buy their own place with a fraction of the deposit they would normally require.

“And with house building up a third over the past year, it’s clearly having a wider impact, getting workers back on construction sites and building the homes communities want and need.”

ISG wins Suffolk framework school

ISGISG has been awarded the £4.7 million contract to carry out the construction of a new state-of-the-art building on campus of Bridge School in Ipswich.

Since planning was agreed late in 2013, ISG has been working closely with Concertus Design & Property Consultants, to get the details around the final specification and cost agreed.

Concertus has been involved right from the start, undertaking the feasibility study and carrying out the design. It will now move on to project manage the scheme on behalf of the client, Suffolk County Council.

Key design considerations for Concertus included accessibility, ergonomics, internal and external colour palettes and the provision of well-designed external spaces.

The building has also been designed to be highly efficient and will incorporate a biomass boiler and high-performance building materials to mitigate its impact on the environment.

Over the next six weeks, ISG will be carrying out enabling works on-site erecting the perimeter fencing, installing the tree protection arrangements and setting up the site offices. Construction work will start in earnest in the middle of August.

Alan McCarthy-Wyper, managing director of ISG’s Construction business, said: “The early engagement between key stakeholders has already sparked real innovation within the construction process.

“Also, bringing the combined experience of all project partners to the table from the very outset will undoubtedly result in the delivery of an excellent scheme tailored to the specific requirements of pupils and staff.”

The stand-alone, single-storey, cross laminated timber frame building, will provide 10 class spaces, office and specialist accommodation including an occupational therapy and physio gym, a library, soft play room and a new school hall. Externally, ISG will carry out a wide ranging landscaping scheme designed to provide for the specialist needs of the pupils.

ISG’s project is envisaged as phase one of a staged programme. Future phases will aim to provide improved shared accommodation and replacement facilities for the secondary-aged pupils.

Hammerson’s £70m scheme gets the go-ahead

Hammerson’s £70m scheme gets the go-aheadHammerson’s detailed planning application for its £70 million Watermark WestQuay development has been approved by Southampton City Council.

The leisure-led scheme was unanimously supported by councillors and will deliver a landmark 10 screen cinema, up to 20 restaurants and a major public piazza for the city.

Following the approval of the application, building work is expected to start on site later this autumn with Watermark WestQuay set to open in autumn 2016.

The design of Watermark WestQuay includes upper and lower promenades which will be lined with restaurants and cafes, with the leisure and cinema building set above.

The new public square located in front of the city’s historic wall has been inspired by water pools created by mudflats on the Southampton coastline and includes a unique water feature that ebbs and flows like the tide. The piazza will also be used during the year for events such as open air cinemas and concerts.

Guy Wells, Hammerson Development Manager said: “This site offers a unique opportunity to deliver an exceptional leisure and dining destination for Southampton. We have been encouraged with the level of support we have received on the scheme from stakeholders and we have worked hard with the council to create a scheme which is already generating strong interest from potential occupiers.”

Councillor Simon Letts, Leader of Southampton City Council, said: “Watermark WestQuay will add a fantastic dynamic to Southampton both visually and as a leisure hub within our city centre, providing a vast array of new dining and leisure experiences, as well as up to 500 jobs; not including the construction jobs that will come during the build phase. I look forward to seeing work start on site later this year and frequenting the facilities in 2016!”