Farrans keep wind in the sails of the UK renewable industry

Farrans keep wind in the sails of the UK renewable industryFarrans has recently been awarded three major windfarm contracts worth a total of £59 million that will boost the renewable industry and the trades.

The appointment to undertake the £4.4 million Sisters Windfarm, the £12.7 million Goole Fields II and the £42.1 million Kilgallioch windfarms marks another major step for Farrans within the clean energy market.

It is a market with which Farrans has particularly long-standing ties. Back in the 1990s, Farrans carried out the very first onshore windfarm in Northern Ireland, constructing 30 turbines at Carbeg, Rigged Hill and Elliots Hill.

Since then, Farrans has completed a range of windfarm contracts throughout the UK for major clients such as ScottishPower Renewables and RWE Npower Renewables.

And with the contracts for all three windfarms now signed, Farrans’ trademark colour will soon be visible in Goole, where 17 turbines are to be erected, as well as Widdrington in Northumberland where work will get underway on the 4-turbine Sisters Windfarm.

The construction of Kilgallioch Windfarm, which will include 96 Wind Turbine Generators, also marks a significant milestone. By its planned completion in June 2017, Farrans will have built 3 of the 10 largest windfarms in the UK.

On completion of the current projects, the total MW of power generated by Farrans on windfarm projects will stand at over 688MW, consolidating our position as one of the leading onshore windfarm construction contractors in the UK.

Enterprise Zones boom with thousands of new jobs

Enterprise Zones boom with thousands of new jobsEnterprise zones are playing a vital role in growing the local and national economy, delivering greater prosperity to the UK economy and creating more than 19,000 jobs, latest figures show.

The 24 zones report that they have now attracted £2.2 billion of private investment and more than 500 new businesses across a range of key industries including the automotive, aerospace, pharmaceutical and renewable energy industry sectors.

Along with boosting the number of jobs the zones are proving popular with colleges seeking to set-up facilities and training opportunities to fill gaps in the local skills market.

Local Growth and the Northern Powerhouse Minister James Wharton said: “We are seeing enterprise zones across the country create thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of investment, boosting the local and national economy. This is testament to the hard work of local people making the most of opportunities the zones bring for attracting firms.

Having 19,000 new jobs on zones is a significant milestone and one which we will continue to build as part of the government’s long-term economic plan to rebalance the economy.”

The government launched enterprise zones in April 2012 as part of the long-term economic plan to rebalance the economy so all parts of the country have the tools to thrive. The Chancellor announced the further expansion of the programme as part of his summer Budget.

The zones, which are delivering a multi-billion boost to local economies, offer a number of benefits including tax incentives, simplified planning and superfast broadband for firms.

Work gets underway on £90m Morpeth housing scheme

Work gets underway on £90m Morpeth housing schemeWork has begun on a £90 million development project which will revive a former hospital site, creating a mixed tenure community in a green, woodland setting.

A partnership comprising the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), Galliford Try and Home Group will transform the disused and derelict St. George’s Hospital, just half a mile from the centre of Northumberland’s County Town, Morpeth.

The project will deliver a mixture of 374 high quality properties from two bedroomed apartments to five bedroomed executive homes, for sale and affordable rent.

All will be designed and built by Linden Homes – Galliford Try’s house building division – and will be exclusive to this site. The developer’s track record of sympathetic design was a key factor in it being selected by the HCA.

Stephen McCoy, Managing Director with Galliford Try said: “The aim is to create a high quality housing development, integrated into the surrounding area by linking to and enhancing existing natural features – including the adjacent Bluebell and Howburn Woods,”

The regeneration project will also provide significant public open space that will produce a development that is very different to anything else available in the area.”

Work on the 374 properties will take place in phases. The first will see 121 homes built, of which 36 will be affordable with 22 available for rent and 14 for shared ownership.

The proposal was given approval by Northumberland County Council’s planning committee in March following public consultation – the feedback from which was used to inform the design of the scheme.

Investment for town centre regenerations

The Scottish GovernmentSocial Justice Secretary for Scotland, Alex Neil, has announced £1.7 million of funding to help revitalise and regenerate town centres across Scotland and boost growth.

The Town Centre Communities Capital Fund is open to community organisations to support capital projects which will make real and lasting improvements to town centres.

Mr Neil made the funding announcement while on a visit to the Beith Development Trust in North Ayrshire, he said: “Scotland’s town centres need to be fit for the 21st century, offering a diverse range of businesses, services and activities that meet local demand.

There are already a few examples of communities getting involved in their town centres, introducing innovation and helping to reclaim them as vibrant social spaces.

By enabling and supporting enterprising community organisations to take action, we can help make town centres attractive and accessible places that are the thriving civic spaces we know they can be.”

Jane Lamont, Development Manager at Beith Development Trust, said: “We believe in making things happen in town centres and in communities incrementally building up to bigger projects that can then help to transform the community.

As well as our sports offer, we are now based on the High street in Beith which enables more people to connect with the different services that the trust offers. Being visible and joined up is key to the success of any community based organisation.”

BAM to build new leisure centre

BAM to build new leisure centreBAM have been selected to deliver a new £22 million leisure centre on the banks of the Clyde for West Dunbartonshire Council as a key part of the regeneration strategy for the area.

Work has already started on the state of the art four-storey building and once completed in early 2017, the new facility will replace the ageing Play Drome on Abbotsford Road.

Designed by architects Kennedy FitzGerald Associates, the new leisure centre will feature a 25-metre swimming pool, teaching pool, leisure pool with waves and flume; changing facilities, a café, multi-purpose sports hall with retractable seating, fitness suite and a dance studio.

Doug Keillor, Regional Director, BAM Construction said: “This is something of a return visit for us as we are sitting on the doorstep of Clydebank College which we completed in 2007 and which really started the regeneration of this area.

We were selected for our strong track record in delivering this type of project but this is a challenging site as we are virtually in the river and it’s a complex and futuristic design, so we won’t be resting on our laurels”.

Martin Rooney Council Leader said: “Clydebank has a proud sporting history and this centre is going to hone the next generation of sporting talent.

It marks the start of a new chapter for Queen’s Quay and I think we are all excited to welcome the first of our residents to the new centre in 2017.”

Willmott Dixon gets £10m landmark UTC South Durham

Willmott Dixon gets £10m landmark UTC South DurhamWillmott Dixon is set to start work on a University Technical College (UTC) in Durham that will provide new facilities and boost economic growth in the trades.       

The new £10 million University Technical College South Durham on the Aycliffe Business Park will see close collaboration with engineers at Hitachi Rail Europe’s new plant nearby, along with Gestamp Tallent and the University of Sunderland, the UTC’s lead partner.

The UTC’s creation is a huge boost to the region’s manufacturing capability, providing key industry collaboration to encourage a new generation of skills into the thriving sector that will also support more inward investment by companies like Hitachi.

Willmott Dixon was appointed through the Scape Major Works Framework and is working with Newcastle-based Ryder Architecture to deliver the three-storey facility that will be packed with general and specialist engineering equipment such as computer-aided design, science laboratories, workshops and a teaching block for studying GSCE and A level subjects.

Managing director in the North East Anthony Dillon: “We have a highly skilled local team that is really excited to be responsible for this excellent new UTC. As with all our work, we will try whenever possible to use local companies during the project.”

ISG to deliver RIBA’s first regional HQ

ISG to deliver RIBA’s first regional HQISG has been awarded a fit out scheme for Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) first office and exhibition space outside London at Liverpool’s Mann Island.

The new architecture centre is the latest win for ISG on the renowned Liverpool waterfront, with the contractor currently delivering the final elements of the £66+ million Exhibition Centre Liverpool and Pullman Hotel development.

Commencing on site in September, RIBA’s new northern base is set to become a key destination for everyone inspired by the built environment. The visitor experience will showcase RIBA’s world-class collections and become a focal point for those interested in the development plans of Liverpool and beyond.

ISG will undertake significant alterations to the existing internal layout of the striking Building Two structure at Neptune Development’s Mann Island site, and create a new dedicated entrance for RIBA staff and visitors.

Occupying two floors of the building, which sits within a Unesco World Heritage Site, the contractor will install a new passenger lift and feature staircase to link the ground floor and first floor mezzanine level, which will also be extended to provide additional office space.

In addition to the creation of museum standard exhibition space, ISG will deliver a City Gallery, which will become the permanent home for the Liverpool City model and a venue showcasing development plans for the region.

The facility also includes lecture and conferencing facilities, majority open plan office accommodation and a retail outlet. 

Danny Murray, ISG’s Northern regional managing director, commented: “It is fitting that RIBA has chosen such an iconic location for its first architecture centre outside London.

As a business, we have a strong pedigree creating innovative spaces that encompass multiple activities, and just like The Crystal in London’s docklands, RIBA’s Mann Island base will perform perfectly as an office, leisure destination and location for public engagement.”

Kier wins £34.5m Victoria redevelopment contract

Kier wins £34.5m Victoria redevelopment contractKier has been awarded a £34.5m contract with Royal London Asset Management for improvement works at Parnell House, a mixed-use development on Wilton Road in Victoria, London.

The works will take place as part of the large-scale regeneration projects currently being undertaken to develop and modernise Victoria as one of central London’s most desirable locations.

Kier Construction will undertake the redevelopment of Parnell House, which involves the infilling of the central atriums at the first six levels, to deliver additional office floor area, and the construction of an additional three floors, to provide space for 14 high-end residential units.  

To enable the new residential units to be built, the existing post-tensioned roof slab will be replaced by a substantial reinforced concrete transfer structure to carry the residential column layout above.

Cliff Thomas, managing director of Kier Construction in London, said: “The redevelopment of Parnell House is a key phase in the overall redevelopment of Victoria. We will deliver a high-end mixed-use scheme while maintaining continuity of service for the existing tenant, J D Wetherspoon, who will occupy the ground floor of the building throughout the construction period.

“We are also mindful of party wall considerations with the Grade II listed Apollo Theatre and Neathouse Place office block, and will bring our wealth of redevelopment experience to ensure a high quality finish.”

Works have started on site and are expected to complete in spring 2017.

Balfour Beatty joint venture gets £416m London ‘Super Sewer’ job

Balfour Beatty joint venture gets £416m London ‘Super Sewer’ jobBalfour Beatty and its joint venture with Morgan Sindall and BAM Nuttall has been awarded a £416 million contract to construct part of London’s new ‘super sewer’, the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Mobilisation work for the ‘West’ tunnel will begin in September this year, creating more than 9,000 direct and indirect jobs at the peak of construction.

The Thames Tideway Tunnel will ensure the capital’s sewerage system is fit to support its projected population for at least the next 100 years, and will tackle the issue of discharges of untreated sewage that currently enter the River Thames on a regular basis.

Balfour Beatty’s three-way equal joint venture is which is known as BMB is scheuled for completion in 2022.

BMB’s ‘West’ section will run from Acton in West London to Wandsworth in South West London and will incorporate seven separate work sites along the route.

Works will include design, construction, commissioning and maintenance for a two to five year period following construction completion.

Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty Group Chief Executive said:  “Balfour Beatty’s expert teams have for many years helped to make the London landscape – both visible and invisible – what it is today, ensuring it can to continue to grow as one of the world’s leading capital cities.

The award of this unique infrastructure project, which is part of the largest ever undertaken by the UK water industry, is another example of the part we are playing in 21st Century engineering.

At the same time, together with our joint venture partners, we are committed to delivering tangible benefits for our local communities and their economy – through sensitive construction, engaging local businesses and SMEs into our supply chain and providing local job opportunities, including 50 new apprenticeships.”

Go-ahead for £55m Kingston University building

Go-ahead for £55m Kingston University buildingKingston University has received the go-ahead for a new £55 million building and landscaping scheme at its Penrhyn Road campus that will boost local growth and create jobs.

Councillors on the Royal Borough of Kingston‘s development control committee unanimously approved the application at its meeting on 11 August and heard there was strong support for the plans from the local community.

Construction work is due to start in summer 2016, with the new building and landscaping scheduled to be complete in late 2018.

The project include a modern learning resources centre over several floors, a 300-seat multi-media auditorium and three new public landscaped areas.

The University will also be working with the Council to see how its Mini-Holland cycling proposals can be accommodated into the design of the landscaping.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Julius Weinberg is delighted with the strength of support for the Town House project: “Many students, staff and local residents have been inspired about how the development will benefit both the University and the borough. It has something for everyone and will help to put the University firmly on the map.

We can now be justly proud and excited about being able to deliver a sympathetically-designed, yet remarkable, landmark building that will transform the learning experience at the University.”

Kingston University’s Director of Estates Sean Woulfe said: “Local people and heritage groups have responded very warmly to this project. The design reflects the University’s intention to engage with the public and open up learning opportunities for everyone.

The colonnade draws people in, and the lively landscaped terraces showcase the University’s learning activities to everyone passing by, on this key gateway to the town centre.”