Wates framework brings employment boost to the Midlands

Wates framework brings employment boost to the MidlandsWates Construction is using its role on the East Midlands Property Alliance framework to boost prospects for job seekers and help the building trades.

In the two years since its appointment to the framework, Wates has engaged a total of 5,215 pupils and students across the region to encourage young talent into the sector, as well as over 250 individuals at careers fairs.

The news comes as the UK Commission for Employment and Skills reports that the East Midlands is currently facing the largest skills gap in the United Kingdom, which stands at 16 per cent of the regional workforce lacking the skills required for their role.

Wates’ presence in the region has included the transformation of Dakeyne Street and the construction of Heathfield Primary School, which join the portfolio of empa projects where 95.7 per cent of sub-contractors appointed have been SMEs.

Work in the region has also seen the contractor provide 1,097 training days in health and safety, professional development and sustainability, as well as 253 days worth of on-site skills training.

In addition, a host of professional and academic qualifications have been awarded to apprentices and employees at Wates, including nine NVQs and three degrees.

Regional business manager, Paul Windle at empa, said: “In 2015 alone, Wates and its partners helped secure almost 250 construction jobs in the industry, through the academy alone.

I would like to thank them for their continued commitment to the scheme which will help see more talented workers pursue a career in construction over the next few years.”

Housing completions at 7 year high

Housing completions at 7 year highThe number of newly built homes continues to rise and is now at the highest level since 2008 to 2009, new figures released this month show.

139,690 new homes were completed in the year to March – a rise of 12% on the previous year.

And the latest house building figures also show that the number of new homes started is also at its highest level since 2007 to 2008.

139,680 homes were started in 2015 to 2016. This continues the upward trend as both starts and completions have continued to grow gradually for the last 2 years.

Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said: “We’ve got the country building again and are seeing our house building efforts paying-off with this considerable increase in the number of homes built in just 1 year.

This is real progress but there is more to do. That’s why we are going further and increasing our investment in housebuilding to ensure many more hard-working people can benefit.”

House building growth across the country

The new figures show strong regional growth in Wakefield and London experiencing high levels of completions.

Delivery in London saw 32% more homes being built in 2015 to 2016 than the previous year with local authorities in Basildon and Haringey seeing completions soar 279% and 1039% respectively over the same period.

And in Wakefield completions were up 59%, from 1,028 to 1,634.

Figures published in November 2015 show that the total number of new homes across the country rose by 25% in 2014 to 2015 when taking into account all homes, including new builds, houses that have been converted into flats and buildings whose use has been changed to residential.

The government’s landmark Housing and Planning Act will also help deliver on its ambition to build a million more homes.

The Act will ensure local authorities continue to play an important role in delivery, and new measures will allow them to provide more homes more swiftly.

Wates extends southern foothold with Farnborough International expansion

Wates extends southern foothold with Farnborough International expansionWates Construction has been appointed to deliver the Farnborough International venue in Hampshire, adding to its growing project portfolio in the south.

Awarded a contract valued at approximately £30 million, Wates has been tasked with building the new Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre at the historic home of the Farnborough International Airshow.

Building work is expected to commence in September and will see the creation of a new state-of-the-art double-height exhibition hall alongside function and meeting rooms.

Designed by architects, Terence O’Rourke, the development will comprise a 12,500 sq m. exhibition hall to support Farnborough International’s expansion.

The scheme will also include multi-purpose function rooms and restaurants, taking the entire new facility to 20,000 sq m of event space.

The new development has been part-funded by the Local Enterprise Partnership, Enterprise M3, Hampshire County Council, Rushmoor Borough Council and Barclays. Completion is expected to be reached by early 2018.

Michael Watton, Venue Director for Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre, said: “The new exhibition and conference centre is an extremely important project for Farnborough International and is a marker of our ongoing growth and long-standing reputation for national and international events and conferences.

We look forward to the start of construction and to working in partnership with Wates to deliver this excellent scheme.”

Peter Whitmore, Business Unit Director, said: “Wates’ southern project portfolio has grown extensively in size and diversity over the course of the past few years and our role in the expansion of Farnborough International’s estate is a mark of the extensive expertise our team continues to build.”

BAM gets £41m Birmingham City Uni scheme

BAM gets £41m Birmingham City Uni schemeBirmingham City University has appointed BAM Construction in the Midlands to deliver a major extension to its City South Campus in Edgbaston.

BAM will create the University’s £41 million new building to facilitate a range of new courses in sport and life sciences.

The three storey design and build contract will establish laboratories and teaching spaces that allow the development of new courses in health, nutrition, biomedical science and sport.

The spaces will provide teacher training and specialist facilities for health sciences including provision for research, a new lecture theatre, a multi-purpose hall, speech therapy, physiotherapy and ultrasound suites, art and technology classrooms and IT hubs.

The facilities, on Westbourne Road, will extend the University’s practice-led learning and tackle the challenges of obesity and modern lifestyles as well as supporting elite performers.

BAM has been carrying our enabling works and is due to commence its main contract in June, completing towards the end of 2017. It is a two-stage design and build contract. The architect is Sheppard Robson, with whom BAM recently worked on an award winning complex remodelling of Hull University’s Brynmor Jones library.

Construction manager at BAM Steve Roome said: “Our extensive experience in this sector and our collaborative approach to construction are the critical factors in creating these very modern new facilities in a cutting edge educational field. I have a dynamic team and it is an exciting challenge for us.”

Kier secures £24m St James, Dover contract

Kier 2Kier has been awarded a £24 million contract by developer, Bond City, to deliver the multi-million pound St James development in Dover town centre.

This forms part of the comprehensive redevelopment of the St James area to create 156,915 sq.ft of prime retail and leisure space in the high-profile location close to Europe’s busiest passenger port.

Pre-construction work on the site is already underway with piling works for the foundation of the cinema and restaurant complex due to start later this month. The main build is anticipated to be completed in Autumn 2017.

The St James development sits alongside the A20, the main road leading to the Port of Dover, and the design is sympathetic to the surroundings with a slate roof and flint wall used on the Townwall Street loading area.  

The build includes 156,915 sq. ft. of new retail and leisure space, with parking for 445 vehicles. The retail offering will be anchored by a 16,000 sq. ft. M&S store, whilst the leisure offer includes a six screen multiplex Cineworld cinema, a 108-bed Travelodge hotel, and six restaurants.

Paul Abrahams, operations director, Kier Construction Southern, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Bond City, Legal & General Property, and Dover District Council to deliver this major project.

It’s an important scheme for Dover and the area’s economy, and we will be building on our relationships with the local supply chain to help create valuable employment opportunities through the delivery of this key regeneration scheme.”

Clive Lynton of Bond City said: “This development promises to transform the retail and leisure offer in Dover with its prime town centre location and proximity to Europe’s busiest passenger port.”

Local contractors urged to take part in £6bn schools deal

Small builders urged to bid for £6bn schools frameworkThe Education Funding Agency (EFA) is urging local contractors to apply for places on its new £6 billion schools framework that will pave the way for new jobs in the building trades.

The EFA Construction Framework will be used to deliver free schools, university technical colleges, studio schools, and academies.

Contractors must register their interest online by 6 June 2016 at http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/ZOFA0/ in order to be considered for a place on the framework.

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) played an active role in pointing out the lack of SME participation in previous school building frameworks.

In March 2015, the NFB published a report finding that no SMEs had been awarded contracts in the EFA regional framework, despite it being initially conceived to generate work for local contractors.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “We are strongly encouraging members with experience in school building to sign up for the EFA construction framework.

Regional SMEs have local communities at heart because they employ, train, and invest money locally and represent value for money. For every £1 spent with an SME, 90p remains in the local economy.”

The NFB hopes the EFA will not only take into account a firm’s capacity to build, but also its ability to deliver cost effectively, while bearing in mind the Government’s target for SME engagement.

Stockport’s transformation gets underway

Stockport’s transformation gets underwayWates Construction has begun building work with a ground breaking ceremony on Stockport Council’s major £1 billion investment programme that will create new jobs.

Eamonn Boylan, Chief Executive of Stockport Council, joined Wates and Keith Pullinger from The Light Cinema on site to mark the start of construction work, which is also set to create extensive training and employment opportunities for local people.

Also forming part of the scheme will be Pizza Express and Zizzi restaurants, which the Council announced as its flagship restaurant tenants in March this year.

The new development forms a significant part of Stockport Council’s ‘Investing in Stockport’ programme, which is taking place across the town centre and the borough, fulfilling a vision to further enhance its appeal as a thriving place to live, work and visit.

Throughout the project, Wates and Stockport Council have made a joint pledge to ensure that local SMEs are engaged in the build and that on-site training and employment opportunities are created.

Eamonn Boylan, Chief Executive at Stockport Council said: “I am thrilled that we have reached this landmark stage on Redrock Stockport, and that our vision of transforming this area of the town centre is becoming a reality.”

Tony Shenton, Business Unit Director for Wates Construction, North West, said: “There is an anticipation growing for Redrock Stockport and for good reason; it is going to become a great asset for the town, the economic benefits of which will keep on building.

As with all of our projects, employing a local supply chain will be a key part of our delivery of Redrock Stockport, as will our ongoing engagement with and support of neighbouring businesses.”

Forrest to build £12.6m Manchester resi scheme

Forrest to build £12.6m Manchester resi schemeContractor Forrest has been appointed to deliver M-One Central, a £12.6 million new build development in the heart of Manchester.

The Factory Estates Limited scheme will comprise 119 one and two-bedroom apartments over 12 storeys, in addition to communal spaces including a roof-level terrace, a ground-floor gym for residents and a new landscaped public square.

Designed by architects IDP Group, the building will be clad in oxidised metal panels to complement neighbouring structures, with construction due to begin at the end of May 2016 and completion expected in summer 2017.

M-One Central follows Forrest’s work in delivering both X1 Eastbank and X1 The Plaza, both luxury private rented apartments, also on Great Ancoats Street.

Andrew Leaver, associate director, at IDP Group, which created the design, said: “It’s an exciting time to be working on one of the many new buildings changing the Manchester skyline.

The city’s red brick architecture is iconic and M-One has been designed to recognise the existing look and feel of the area, yet offering buyers modern, open plan living in a vibrant neighbourhood.”

Ted Macdougal, development director at Forrest, said: “As more people embrace city centre living in key locations such as Manchester and London, the demand for developments is rising.”

Chris Bowman, director at Factory Estates Ltd, said: “We’re looking forward to working with Forrest on this exciting project, which is set to be a striking addition to a new movement of residential schemes in Manchester.”

Go-ahead for construction of £2.6bn Scottish windfarm

Go-ahead for construction of £2.6bn Scottish windfarmConstruction work on the £2.6bn Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd (BOWL) project has been given the go-ahead, paving the way for new jobs and boosting economic growth.

The scheme is expected to bring a range of socio-economic benefits to the local, regional, Scottish and UK economies during both the construction and operational phases.

Expected opportunities include job creation, skills training, investment in Scottish ports and harbours, supply chain opportunities and community benefit funding.

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd said: “The UK is the world leader in offshore wind; and this industry, backed by the UK Government and benefiting from our access to the EU single market, is a success story going from strength to strength.

“This project will provide home-grown clean energy boosting skills and creating jobs and financial security for working people and their families in Scotland, and across the UK.”

Paul Cooley, Director of Renewables at SSE, stated: “Today’s decision reaffirms SSE’s commitment to offshore wind and we are proud to progress such a flagship project for the Scottish offshore wind industry and the UK’s skilled supply chain.

It shows SSE will continue to play its part in investing in the critical energy infrastructure the country needs to power homes across the UK both today and in the future.”

ISG wins Oxford Uni development scheme

ISG wins Oxford Uni development schemeISG has been awarded a contract to refurbish and extend the University of Oxford’s Tinbergen Building, encompassing around 600,000 sq ft of space.

The contractor will also build and fit out a new three-storey structure to create a suite of highly-specified undergraduate laboratories for the Department of Chemistry, sympathetically designed to reflect the building’s architectural ethos.

The phased refurbishment and upgrade of the existing accommodation includes teaching, research and write up areas.

ISG will deploy silent sheet piling installation methods to enable the basement level to be excavated for the new build element of the scheme.

The new chemistry teaching laboratories will provide undergraduates with world-class practical laboratory facilities, with ISG installing 60 fume cupboards – each with separate extract outlets, medical gas supplies and robust safety systems.

ISG is targeting a BREEAM Excellent rating for the new chemistry teaching laboratory. Sustainable measures include the installation of external solar shading, an extensive roof-mounted photovoltaic panel array, advanced heat recovery system and connection into the university’s combined heat and power (CHP) district heating system.

Paul Sharp, divisional director of ISG’s Engineering Services business, said: “ISG’s niche expertise in this sector and our proven track record delivering new build and operational refurbishments gives us a richly compelling market proposition, which sees us securing an increasing volume of quality opportunities with customers operating some of the most highly engineered and technologically advanced buildings in the UK.”