Kier secures £5bn hat-trick of major construction schemes

Kier 2Kier’s construction arm has confirmed it has secured places on a trio of major construction frameworks with a potential spend of £5bn that will create new jobs and boost the trades.

These include:

•    A place on the four-year £4bn Department of Health Procure22 framework as one of six principle supply chain partners which commences in October.  Kier Construction is a leading provider in the health sector having delivered over £170m of health projects over the last twelve months.

•    A place as one of five suppliers on two five-year construction frameworks worth up to £750m at Gatwick Airport. The frameworks cover building and civil engineering projects up to £10m as well as a smaller works framework for building projects up to £1.5m. The award reflects Kier’s increasing profile in the aviation sector with a place recently secured on the framework at Glasgow airport focused on infrastructure improvements.

•    A place on the two-year £500m University of Cambridge Framework to provide a range of facilities including laboratories, teaching and lecture spaces and sport facilities. This construction framework provides opportunity to build on our established working relationship with the University.

Kier Group chief executive, Haydn Mursell, said: “These awards demonstrate the breadth of our offering and the strength of our relationships with clients across a wide range of sectors, including healthcare, aviation and education.

Such awards, which account for approximately half of our UK regional building revenues, enable us to work closely with our clients to deliver on their long-term requirements and they further bolster our strong Construction order book.”

More affordable homes for Fort William

The Scottish GovernmentNew affordable homes will be built in the Fort William area as a result of the Scottish Government investing over £2.5 million in charitable bonds.

Charitable bonds are ethical financial products – no profit is taken by Allia, a social investment charity who issues the bonds on the Scottish Government’s behalf. Allia have provided Lochaber Housing Association with a loan of over £2 million.

The interest on the loan, over half a million pounds, is converted into a charitable donation, which the Scottish Government gives to housing associations for the construction of new social housing

There has been considerable success with previous charitable bonds that have been issued with total investments now over £40 million.

This seventh bond provided development finance for 581 affordable homes, and generated over £9 million for charities of which £6.7 million will go towards the construction of new social housing.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said:”Good quality, affordable housing is essential to help attract and retain people in Scotland’s remote and rural communities.

We have committed to deliver 50,000 more affordable homes over the next five years, backed up with investment of more than £3 billion. Announcements such as this one today marks another step on road to delivering that pledge.

Innovative financing schemes such as charitable bonds play a major role in helping us deliver this major expansion in housing supply. We invested £25 million last year and have committed to invest the same again this year and we remain the only Government in the UK to do so.

Through these bonds we are also maintaining Scotland’s leadership in financial innovation, working with partners to deliver more for less public investment.”

Vinci gets £35m Cardiff student accommodation job

Vinci gets £35m Cardiff student accommodation jobVinci Construction UK has been awarded a £35 million contract to design and build student accommodation in Cardiff.

Developer Fusion Students is behind the plan for the 686-bedroom complex at the former Cardiff Metropolitan University Howard Gardens site in the city.

The site, off Newport Road behind the Holland House hotel, was formerly occupied by the university’s School of Art and Design until it relocated its operations to its new Llandaff campus in September last year.

Following demolition of the existing buildings, two new accommodation blocks will be constructed along with community facilities including a library, gym and cinema.

Work on the project is due to be completed in time for the 2017 academic year.

Major investment in Wales to support business growth

Welsh GovernmentThe Welsh Government is investing more than £500,000 in site infrastructure works to expand Presteigne’s Broadaxe Business Park that will create new jobs.

The project involves the construction of a new road and the installation of associated services that will open up a 4 acre site and create up to six serviced development plots for businesses.

The expansion follows enquiries from a number of companies, including businesses based on the Park that want to expand.

The contract, which was put out to tender, has been awarded to Jones Bros. (Henllan) Ltd .

Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure Ken Skates said: “We know that the availability of sites and premises is fundamental in attracting new investment and retaining existing investment.

The Powys Local Growth Zone advisory group report also highlighted the need for sites and premises to address economic development in Powys and I am pleased the Welsh Government is responding to local demand and investing to support business growth.

This project will open up opportunities for companies in the area to expand and grow their businesses and also help attract new businesses to the area that will create jobs and support the local economy.”

It is also anticipated it will attract private sector investment from local construction companies that have expressed interest in developing the plots.

Gareth Jones, Director, Jones Bros (Henllan) Ltd said: “As a long established Welsh business, we are naturally delighted to be involved in bringing this development site to fruition by constructing the access road and the installation of associated services and infrastructure.

We have recently been involved with business park expansion projects in Carmarthenshire (Cross Hands Food Park) and hope that this investment will help deliver the same economic and employment opportunities.”

The investment in Broadaxe Business Park is the latest in a number of interventions by the Welsh Government in the mid Wales property market aimed at supporting jobs and growth.

World’s largest windfarm gets the go-ahead

World’s largest windfarm gets the go-aheadThe world’s largest offshore windfarm, Hornsea Project Two has received development consent from Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark.

When complete, the windfarm will deliver up to 1,800 megawatts of low carbon electricity to around 1.8 million UK homes.

The windfarm would create up to 1,960 construction jobs and 580 operational and maintenance jobs.

If built to the full capacity, the investment would total around £6bn providing a great opportunity for economic growth in the Humber region and beyond.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “The UK’s offshore wind industry has grown at an extraordinary rate over the last few years, and is a fundamental part of our plans to build a clean, affordable, secure energy system.

Britain is a global leader in offshore wind, and we’re determined to be one of the leading destinations for investment in renewable energy, which means jobs and economic growth right across the country.”

Located approximately 89km off the Yorkshire coast, the windfarm will comprise up to 300 wind turbines and will connect to the grid at North Killingholme in North Lincolnshire.

The Government is making £730 million of financial support available for renewable electricity generation this Parliament, sending a clear signal that the UK is open for business.

The decision was made on the merits of the scheme based on a report and recommendation from the Planning Inspectorate which is being published this week.

£47m plans approved to build new homes

£47m plans approved to build new homesPlans for building a £47 million Woodford Grange housing development in Winsford have been given the go-ahead by Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Chosen developer, Keepmoat, will deliver 401 new homes on the 30 acre brownfield site off Woodford Lane West, where home hunters and first-time buyers will now have access to a collection of two, three and four bedroom properties under the government-backed Help to Buy scheme.

There will be 130 affordable properties built on behalf of the Council within the development; these are understood to be the first local authority houses built within the Borough for nearly 40 years.

A green corridor and a small central village garden will be created at the heart of the development. In addition significant investment will be made in outdoor play facilities at Hebden Green and Oakland schools and a state of the art 3G pitch at Winsford Academy.

Prior to submitting plans, Keepmoat hosted a public consultation event at Hebden Green Community School to hear any concerns and include local input.

Gareth Roberts, regional managing director for Keepmoat in the North West, said: “Working in partnership with the Council, we have identified key ways to regenerate a surplus piece of land and really invest in Winsford while creating housing solutions – particularly for first-time buyers.

This major new scheme will also create new job opportunities, which supports the Council’s aspirations for Winsford.  We’re delighted that this shared vision for Woodford Grange has been given the go ahead and we look forward to getting on site.”

Councillor Angela Claydon, Cheshire West and Chester Council Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “This is really good news for Winsford. The partnership will provide a true mix of properties including 130 homes built for the Council which will give people a real choice from a range of new build homes”

Record 31.7m in work, as unemployment rate falls below 5%

Record 31.7m in work, as unemployment rate falls below 5%The employment rate in the UK is now at a record high of 74.4% and the unemployment rate is at its lowest in over 10 years at 4.9%, according to the latest set of figures.

The Office for National Statistics confirmed that there are a record 31.7 million people now in work – up by 624,000 in the past year and over 2.6 million since 2010.

The rise in employment continues to be driven by full-time work. Average wages before bonuses grew by 2.2% over the last year.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Damian Green said: “This remarkable set of figures shows that there are more people in work than at any other point in our history, which is fantastic news as we build a Britain that works for everybody, not just the privileged few.

We’ve entered a period of significant change, but when it comes to our jobs market we’re in a position of strength, with over 2.6 million more people in work than there were in 2010, the number of workless households cut to an all-time low, 750,000 vacancies in the economy and wages rising too.

Our job now is to build on this success story so that everybody can benefit from the opportunities that are being created regardless of who they are or where they come from. Encouragingly, employment has risen in all regions and nations of the UK over the last year.”

The current labour market statistics also show:

  • the female employment rate is at 69.6%, the highest since records began in 1971

  • at 5.6%, the proportion of 16 to 24 year olds who have left full-time education and are unemployed has never been lower