Returning troops can get Britain building

Government welcomes house building boostHousing Minister Brandon Lewis has today issued a call to arms to the nation’s former servicemen and women to consider new careers building the nation’s homes.

Housebuilding levels are now more than double those seen in 2009 – meaning developers need more skilled workers than ever.

Mr Lewis argued that men and women who have served our country in our armed forces are well-equipped with the skills that the industry needs – such as opportunities in construction, civil engineering and the built environment sector.

He said that anyone looking to make a return to ‘Civvy Street’ could carve out a successful career in construction – with an industry ready and willing to take them on.

From combat to construction

The housebuilding industry was devastated by the 2008 economic crash, leading to the loss of a quarter of a million construction jobs.

That’s why the government has placed housebuilding at the heart of its long-term economic plan – and it’s working with starts now at their highest since 2007.

Brandon Lewis told armed forces leavers that this means now is one of the best times to build a career in the construction industry.

Mr Lewis attended a BuildForce recruitment event at RAF Northolt, and spoke to ex-services personnel who are looking to start new careers.

Nearly 20,000 people leave the armed forces each year, ready to bring their considerable skills and experience to ‘Civvy Street’.

The regular events offer the chance for people to look beyond bricklaying to see the vast range of skilled jobs on offer and hear form ex-military personnel who work in construction.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “Our efforts have got Britain building with starts at their highest annual level for nearly 6 years, creating thousands of jobs across the country.

The brave men and women in uniform who have served their country in our armed forces should be at the front of the queue for skilled construction careers when they return to Civvy Street.”

Steve Radley, Director of Policy at Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), said: “BuildForce helps ex-servicemen and women take the skills they’ve learned in the forces into construction, where they can build the hundreds of thousands of new homes Britain needs.

The project’s success lies in the strong partnership between industry and the military, which CITB is proud to fund and support.

The construction sector needs over 200,000 talented new workers in the next 5 years, and there are rewarding careers available for people of every background and experience.”

Galliford Try lands Silvertown Way regeneration project

GallifordTryGalliford Try has signed a deal with the Greater London Authority that will see the building of the £380 million Silvertown Way development in Canning Town, East London.

The proposals will create more than 1,100 mixed tenure homes across a series of individual blocks, making it one of the largest standalone housing scheme the company has undertaken.

The project will be delivered through an existing joint venture vehicle with Thames Valley Housing Association.

A third of the homes will be for private market rent, through Thames Valley’s subsidiary Fizzy Living, while around 380 affordable homes will also be constructed for London and Quadrant Housing Association.

Galliford Try’s housebuilding businesses, Linden Homes and Galliford Try Partnerships will be responsible for undertaking the development, which is proposed to include a hotel, restaurant, employment and commercial space alongside the new homes.

Greg Fitzgerald, Galliford Try’s Executive Chairman, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to work with all the stakeholders involved in this project to reach an agreement, and deliver much-needed new homes for London.

As well as being a hugely significant project for our company, Silvertown Way will be a flagship regeneration project for East London, and we are committed to providing high-quality housing of all tenures for the local community.”

Fund to transform empty homes in Scotland

The Scottish GovernmentThe Scottish Government has launched a new £4 million fund to help bring abandoned homes and empty high street spaces back to life, Housing Minister Margaret Burgess announced.

The Scottish Government’s Town Centre Empty Homes Fund will help revamp empty homes and convert derelict commercial spaces into new affordable homes.

The scheme is set to boost the building trades and create new jobs in the construction sector.

Registered social landlords and developers can apply for funding, which will be administered by the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, which is run by the housing charity Shelter Scotland, works with councils to help bring empty private-sector homes back into use.

Since 2010, the partnership has brought over 900 homes back into use and encouraged 17 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities to appoint dedicated empty homes officers.

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: “Town centres are a key element of the economic, social and environmental fabric of Scotland’s towns.

We want town centres to thrive sustainably and meet the needs of residents, businesses and visitors.

Good quality, affordable housing is at the heart of this vision and transforming empty, disused spaces into comfortable homes makes sense.

There are an estimated 27,000 long-term private empty homes in Scotland and it makes sense to make the best use possible of these properties when homelessness still exists.”

Willmott Dixon gets 20m Design Museum fit-out

Willmott Dixon gets 20m Design Museum fit-outWillmott Dixon Interiors has been selected for a £20 million fit-out contract to prepare for London’s Design Museum to move into its new home at the former Commonwealth Institute building in Kensington High Street.

The company will turn into reality an interior vision created by John Pawson to transform the vacant Grade II listed building into a thriving 21st century museum providing three times more space than the Design Museum’s current location at Shad Thames.

With major funding contributions from Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Sir Terence Conran, Willmott Dixon Interiors’ year-long project will see the Design Museum join the Royal College of Art, V&A, Science Museum, Natural History Museum and Serpentine Gallery in Kensington’s cultural quarter.

Willmott Dixon Interiors chief operating officer Mike Hart said: “This is a high-profile and prestigious project that will see the Design Museum become one of London’s biggest attractions when we complete the fit-out, with over 500,000 visitors expected annually.

We are very proud to be delivering this last, important stage of the museum’s long-term plan for a bigger home, especially as we have a long track-record restoring listed buildings into modern spaces fit for the 21st century. We will be using our experience to deliver an exceptional home that will showcase our rich cultural heritage.”

The scope of work includes provision of new galleries with space to accommodate one permanent and two temporary exhibition areas, as well as modern learning spaces, a library, auditorium, office areas and a new restaurant. It will provide 10,000m² of total space, 400m² of which will be devoted to learning facilities.

For Willmott Dixon Interiors, it’s another major project for the company that fits-out over 1,000,000m² of new space each year.

Osborne bags Hampshire University job

Osborne bags Hampshire University jobOsborne has been appointed for pre-construction services to design and construct new buildings at the West Down Campus of the University of Winchester.

This is Osborne’s seventh deal with the University and they will build a new lecture theatre and create learning spaces for the use the staff and students of the University and the local community.

The project, valued at over £20 million is due to start in August 2016 and be completed in January 2018.

All work will be carefully planned to avoid unnecessary disruption to students and the local community.

Osborne Bid Manager Robert Baxter said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Osborne to demonstrate its skill and experience in enabling academic bodies to realise their ambition to improve facilities for students and the local community.

Following success with the St Alphege Building and the new student accommodation buildings, we will work closely with our partners to deliver on time and within budget and hopefully, surpassing expectation.”

BAM gets £90m Three Snowhill scheme

BAM gets £90m Three Snowhill schemeThe third and final phase of Birmingham’s Snowhill development – Three Snowhill – is set to start in September after developer Ballymore Properties appointed BAM Construction as its preferred contractor.

The final phase of the Snowhill estate, which has already attracted world class, blue chip occupiers to its first two phases which are fully occupied, is expected to cost approximately £90 million.

It forms part of Birmingham’s 20 year master plan for redeveloping Snowhill known as “Vision 2030”.

BAM will be remodelling the existing five levels of basement and cores which serve all three phases, creating office, leisure and conference space and car parking.

Above ground it will be a steel framed office tower with curtain walling to all elevations with 17 levels of high quality office space and two levels of plant room.

The fully curtain walled 32,000 square metre development is targeting BREEAM Excellent under the 2014 regulations and has an EPC rating of at least B.

Richard Probert, Ballymore Project Director, said: “Three Snowhill has now been awarded detailed planning consent and we look forward to starting on site shortly.

It is the final component in what has become a land mark gateway development for our City – changing the skyline and setting new standards for regional office development.”

Kier Living expands with £55m of new contracts across the north

Kier 2Kier Living has confirmed the expansion of its northern region, following the novation of 17 contracts with a combined value of £55 million that will boost the building trades.

The contracts, which range in size from developments of 15 units up to schemes of over 100 units, are in various stages of completion, and are located across the north west and Yorkshire.

Kier will be looking to replicate this DPP2 success in the north-east across the north west and Yorkshire over the next 12 to 18 months, in the next stage of its expansion, which all forms part of company’s ambitious plans for growth.

As part of the expansion and reorganisation of the Kier Living Northern business, the Halifax team will be moving across to Kier’s regional hub in Thorpe Park in Leeds over the coming months, while retaining a presence in Warrington and North Tyneside.

John Anderson, executive director, Kier Living said: “This is proving to be an exciting first year for the business. Having successfully formed our national residential division, Kier Living, in 2014, we have been independently rated by the Home Builders Federation as 5* by our customers, and we have accelerated our plans for growth this year, moving the business closer to our 4,000 unit a year ambition.

Combined with the northern talent through the Southdale acquisition, we are now in a very strong position to work with clients to help solve the national housing crisis, with a capability to manage projects of all scales across the UK, leveraging our almost unique end-to-end offering from funding, planning, development, housing maintenance, FM and private market sales expertise.”