Queen Street Tunnel works completed

Queen Street Tunnel works completedA £60 million project to refurbish and upgrade the kilometre-long Glasgow Queen Street tunnel was completed last week, nearly three days ahead of schedule.

Since the high-level station closed on Sunday 20 March, 3,000 engineers have been working around-the-clock for five months to renew 1,800 metres of concrete slab track and install more than 4,000 metres of new rails through the structure.

Station platforms and track layouts within Queen Street have also been extended and altered as part of the project, and both the tunnel and station have been prepared for the electrification of the main Glasgow-Edinburgh line next year.

Electrification will allow the introduction of faster, longer and greener trains on the line – delivering thousands of extra seats, shorter journey times and improved accessibility for customers.

Scottish Transport Minister Humza Yousaf helped tighten the final bolt on the new slab track inside the tunnel and met with customer service staff.

Mr Yousaf said: “I am pleased to see the work on the Queen Street tunnel completed ahead of schedule and on budget. This has been an unprecedented project, both in engineering terms and in the scale of the operation required to keep people moving and services diverted via the underground platforms during the works.

This is a key milestone in our programme of investment for Scotland’s railways and literally paves the way for the introduction of a new generation of electric trains.

I would like to congratulate the ScotRail-Network Rail Alliance on a successful job, and the hundreds of men and women who have worked day and night to deliver the hugely ambitious project.”

ISG secures Asda’s first Level 2 BIM scheme

ISG secures Asda's first Level 2 BIM schemeISG is set to deliver Asda’s first Level 2 BIM (Building Information Modelling) project after securing a £10 million development contract in Clacton-on-Sea that will boost economic growth.

BIM methodology has its foundation in project collaboration, efficient working practices and the instant accessibility of highly-detailed building services data for asset planning.

The contractor was appointed to Asda’s influential global BIM steering group in 2014 and following trial BIM projects at the company’s new Barry store in South Wales and the Beeston store in Leeds – Asda has now awarded its first full Level 2 project to ISG.

The 35,000 sq ft Clacton store is being constructed on the site of a former multi-occupancy retail development in the popular Essex town.

Rob Martin, ISG’s Western regional managing director, said: “The Clacton-on-Sea project represents the culmination of a journey by Asda into advanced collaborative working practices, where ISG has played a key role as a trusted project partner and influencer.

In a sector where operational costs and asset management are critical, BIM not only creates efficiency benefits during the build phase but also throughout the service life of the store and we are thrilled to be working with Asda on such a milestone project.”

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.”

HS2 launches regional Supply Chain Roadshows 2016

HS2 talks business to boost the tradesHS2 Ltd, the company responsible for the construction of Britain’s new high speed rail network, has announced dates and locations for its regional Supply Chain Roadshows 2016.

Starting in May, HS2 Ltd will visit 11 regions across Britain to meet businesses large and small, to explain the types of work packages that will be available and to advise firms on how to get in the best position to bid for billions of pounds worth of contracts with HS2.

Beth West, HS2 Ltd Commercial Director, said: “Building on the success of last year’s events, attended by around 250 companies, I am delighted to announce this year’s HS2 Supply Chain Roadshows, where we hope to speak to as many businesses as possible from all over Britain.

Building HS2 is a massive long-term project, one that offers a huge opportunity for British businesses to bid for billions of pounds worth of contracts.

To construct HS2 and bring it to life will require a vast range of skills and expertise.

Put simply, HS2 is an investment in our infrastructure that will create thousands of jobs and drive regional regeneration.”

Keepmoat and Strata secure landmark Leeds scheme

Keepmoat and Strata secure landmark Leeds schemeThree neighbourhoods in Leeds will soon benefit from a major £142 million investment which will deliver in the region of 1000 new homes on brownfield land.

The scheme will pave the way for employment and training opportunities for local people over the next eight years.

Working in partnership with Leeds City Council and Strata, housing and community regeneration specialist, Keepmoat, will redevelop 13 sites in the Seacroft, Halton Moor and Osmandthorpe areas of Leeds.

The scheme will serve to provide much-needed, quality affordable homes and purchasing initiatives such as Help to Buy, which will offer aspiring home owners a real opportunity of getting on the housing ladder.

The scheme will also provide considerable work opportunities including apprenticeships and training placements to address skills shortages and ensure that local people will get the maximum benefit of this investment in these areas.

As a major landowner in the city, the council has committed to ensuring development takes place on brownfield land first. Currently, around 70 per cent of all new homes in Leeds are being delivered on brownfield sites.

Ian Hoad, operations director for Keepmoat in Yorkshire, said: “We are actively expanding our presence in West Yorkshire, where we see a real appetite for new homes. With 95% of our developments built on brownfield land we are perfectly placed to deliver this scheme and we’re thrilled to have been selected as chosen developer alongside Strata.

Working in partnership with Strata will allow us to accelerate the delivery of these new homes, with the target of achieving 150 properties per annum.”

Go-ahead for multi-million pound Bristol Arena

Go-ahead for multi-million pound Bristol ArenaPlans for building a £90 million Bristol Arena have been granted planning consent, paving the way for the 12,000-seat venue and redevelopment of the wider site.

The new arena would be built on land former diesel depot site on Bath Road and is scheduled to open in 2018. This site is now known as Arena Island and forms part of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone.

The 100,000 sq ft building will be split over four floors with the main entrance from a plaza to the north, accessed from a new bridge over the River Avon.

It has been suggested that the venue could hold up to 116 events each year of which about 20 would make use of the full capacity (10,000 seated and a further 2,000 standing). Up to 400 staff would be working at major events.

Proposals for the Arena Island site include 205,000 sq ft of retail, office and leisure space as well as a hotel, student accommodation and affordable housing.

Bouygues UK has been named as preferred bidder to build the arena, which has been designed by London Olympic Stadium architects’ firm Populous with Bath-based architects’ practice Feilden Clegg Bradley and engineering firm BuroHappold.

Bristol mayor, George Ferguson, has previously confirmed that that 65 per cent of the construction workforce will come from the region with at least a third of that coming from Bristol itself.

HS2 to create thousands of jobs and boost economic growth

HS2 to create thousands of jobs and boost economic growthHS2 has announced significant progress on the design and development of HS2 including the shortlisting of companies in the race to win a package of work which will contribute to the creation of up to 14,600 jobs across the UK.

Through these major contracts, HS2 is creating high quality careers and giving young people the skills and experience needed to seize these opportunities.

This announcements include a shortlist of 9 bidders for between £7.1 and £11.8 billion worth of civil engineering work between London and Crewe.

Civil engineering contracts covering the 140 miles from London to Birmingham are expected to be signed in 2017 with the start of work on site one year later.

The following bidders have been shortlisted for at least one package each:

  • Align Joint Venture (Bouygues, VolkerFitzpatrick, Sir Robert McAlpine)

  • ASL (Acciona Infraestructuras, John Sisk & Son, Lagan)

  • BBV (Balfour Beatty, VINCI BeMo)

  • Catalyst (Bechtel)

  • CEK (Carillion, Eiffage, Kier)

  • Fusion (Morgan Sindall, BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman)

  • LFM (Laing O’Rourke, FCC Construccion, J. Murphy and Sons Limited

  • Momentum Infrastructure (Dragados, HOCHTIEF, GallifordTry)

  • SCS (Skanska, Costain, STRABAG)

Firms that deliver the best results in terms of value and efficiency will be eligible to bid for work on an additional 40 miles between Birmingham and Crewe, due to open in 2027.

The HS2 Bill is due to return to the Commons today, Wednesday 23 March, for the latest vote in the legislative process, before the Bill moves on to the Lords. Royal Assent is expected at the end of the year, with the start of construction in 2017.

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said: “HS2 is an exceptional opportunity for businesses, creating thousands of jobs during construction and helping to rebalance our economy long before trains start running in 2026.

This major moment in the procurement process takes us a step further to getting spades in the ground next year, so construction can begin on this vital railway.”

Additional work covering stations and railway systems will follow over the course of the next year.

In total the first phase of the project is forecast to create 14,600 construction jobs and quality apprenticeships for our young people, the majority of which will be in civil engineering.

Thousands of new homes to be built as MOD releases more sites

House BuildingThe Ministry of Defence (MOD) has announced the release of further land to provide thousands of new homes and generate around £140 million.

The 10 sites are expected to provide land for around 7,000 new homes – the vast majority of which will be released in time to contribute to the government’s target of building 160,000 homes by 2020.

The move follows the announcement of 12 sites for disposal in January. It means the Ministry of Defence has released land for up to 22,000 homes, expected to generate around £640 million.

It is part of the department’s plan to reduce by 30 per cent the size of its built estate, delivering a more efficient defence estate.

Defence Minister Mark Lancaster said: “Every pound we make by disposing of excess land will be reinvested into a defence budget that keeps Britain safe.

It will make the defence estate more efficient and better suited to the needs of our armed forces. And it will help thousands of people to own their own home.”

The defence estate currently spans one per cent of all UK land and covers 452,000 hectares. The department has committed to generating £1 billion through land sales during this parliament and contributing up to 55,000 homes.

The 10 sites released today are:

  • Thornhill Barracks (Part of Clayton Barracks, Aldershot)

  • Burgoyne Barracks (Part of Shorncliffe Barracks, Folkestone)

  • Clive Barracks (Tern Hill, Shropshire)

  • Fitz Wygram House – Royal Army Vet Corps (Aldershot)

  • Army Officer Selection Board Westbury (Wiltshire)

  • Defence Training Estate land near Cove (Farnborough)

  • Rylston Road ARC (London)

  • MOD Wethersfield (Essex)

  • Chetwynd Barracks (Chilwell, Nottinghamshire)

  • MOD Cheadle Hulme (Greater Manchester)

Willmott Dixon to build new home for Scarborough FC

Willmott Dixon to build new home for Scarborough FCWillmott Dixon will create a new ground for Evo-Stik First Division North team Scarborough Athletic Football Club as part of a £15 million leisure development.

The company has been appointed by Scarborough Borough Council under Scape Group’s Major Works framework to create Scarborough Leisure Village, which will house an eight lane 25-metre Olympic legacy swimming pool and fitness centre as well as all-weather football pitch and spectator stand that will become home to the town’s football team.

The scheme involves a developer, Wrenbridge Sport Limited, which is part funding the project following a land swap agreement with Scarborough Borough Council.

With enabling works complete, Willmott Dixon will have the leisure complex finished by summer 2017.

The project on the town’s former Weaponness coach park is close to where Willmott Dixon is also building a new £14 million campus for the recently opened Coventry University Scarborough Campus.

This purpose built campus will include a library, IT suites, café, mock law court, engineering and science labs, plus a careers team.

Anthony Dillon, managing director in the North West said: “We are very proud of our track-record in the leisure sector, providing first-class facilities for local people.

Scarborough is a fantastic town and we are looking forward to using our expertise in leisure projects to deliver a facility that will revitalise this part of Scarborough.”

Balfour Beatty bags £170m Tube extension scheme

Balfour Beatty bags £170m Tube extension schemeBalfour Beatty has been awarded a £170 million two-year extension scheme to its Track Partnership contract for London Underground.

Track Partnership, an alliance between Balfour Beatty Rail and London Underground, is responsible for delivering essential track renewal work across the London Underground network.

Balfour Beatty Rail was appointed to the initial contract in 2010, which included an option to extend for a further two years.

The Company will continue to provide design, labour, plant, and materials, as well as surveying, supervision and management of the works while boosting economic growth and creatiing new jobs.

The scope of works includes points & crossings and ballasted track renewal installation together with associated drainage, signalling, traction power and conductor rail works.

Throughout the two-year extension, which takes the contract to March 2018, there will be a focus on enhancing efficiencies including measures which will see Project Managers given more accountability for driving down costs whilst continuing to safely deliver the highest standard of work.

Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty Group Chief Executive, said: “With world-class expertise in track, electrification and power supply systems, Balfour Beatty Rail is a significant player in the UK rail infrastructure market.

We have utilised these market-leading skills and expertise working with London Underground over the last 13 years. This extension is a clear sign of London Underground’s confidence in the capability of Balfour Beatty within the Track Partnership”.