Morgan Sindall gets £5.6m Ashford school contract

morgan-sindall-gets-5-6m-ashford-school-contractMorgan Sindall has been appointed to design and build the first phase of the new £5.6 million Finberry Primary School in the heart of Ashford, Kent.

The project for Kent County Council is already underway and will see the school transformed from a one, to a two-form entry facility accommodating 450 pupils, once the second phase of the project is complete.

The new school will be built at the Finberry housing development site at Cheeseman’s Green and is the seventh school within The Stour Academy Trust, a primary sector-only Trust.

Morgan Sindall will deliver the first phase of works at the school which will include the construction of nine classrooms, a nursery area and an SEN resource room. The firm will also deliver a main reception admin area, school hall facility and kitchen area.

The school will comprise a steel frame structure and its brickwork skin will be partially clad in bright orange. Morgan Sindall will also deliver external landscaping as part of the project including; a new sports pitch, a multi-use games area, a soft play area, a habitat area and a covered outdoor learning area.

Julien Jones, area director at Morgan Sindall, said: “We’re delighted to have been appointed to this important scheme which will help to alleviate demand for primary and nursery school places in Ashford.

Finberry Primary School will be unique in design and provide a modern learning space for pupils and teachers to enjoy. Morgan Sindall is well versed in delivering innovative and exciting learning environments and we look forward to handing over the new school in time for the start of the academic school year in 2017.”

Carillion selected by Centrica for £90m scheme

carillion-selected-by-centrica-for-90m-schemeCarillion has been selected by Centrica plc as its preferred partner to deliver facilities management and project services for an initial period of five years, which can be extended to seven years.

The contract has an estimated value to Carillion of some £90 million over five years with service delivery scheduled to start in December 2016.

Carillion has worked in close partnership with Centrica for over a decade as managing agent, helping to deliver significant value to Centrica’s British Gas business.

The new contract builds on this successful relationship with an extension of scope to a Total Facilities Management (TFM) service.

Under the new contract Carillion will provide a wide range of hard and soft facilities management services, including asset surveys and planning, planned and reactive maintenance, cleaning, security and catering for Centrica’s 115 locations in the UK and Republic of Ireland, together with the delivery of certain construction projects for Centrica.

Carillion’s Chief Executive, Richard Howson, said: “We have worked closely with Centrica since 2005 and built a strong partnership. We are delighted to be extending this relationship, which is based on a one-team approach in which Carillion and Centrica work together to deliver award-winning standards of facilities management and customer service across all Centrica and British Gas sites.”

More affordable housing approved

House building starts hit 7-year highThe number of affordable homes in Scotland has increased by 26% on the previous year, bringing the total number of approvals over the year to 8,067.

Official statistics published this week show that during 2015-16, the number of new house builds started, across the public and private sector, rose to 16,910, a 4% increase on the previous year and the highest number of starts since 2008-9.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said the figures showed good early progress towards delivering the Scottish Government’s ambitious target of delivering 50,000 affordable homes over the next five years.

Speaking ahead of a visit to a new housing development in Edinburgh which will provide 236 affordable homes in the city, Mr Stewart said: “We have an excellent track record on housing. The number of affordable home completions from April 2007 to end March 2016 was 60,704 – on average 24% more per year than the 38,015 delivered between April 2000 and March 2007.

“In the previous session of Parliament, we exceeded our target of delivering 30,000 affordable homes, and our bold and ambitious More Homes Scotland approach will build on that achievement.

“We have committed to investing over £3 billion to deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes over the next five years. This is accompanied by increased housing subsidy levels and a new Rural Housing Fund to boost the supply of affordable rural housing.

“We’ve also helped stimulate growing confidence in the private housing market and supported people into home ownership, in particular through our £500 million Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme.”

Employment reaches a record high

employment-reaches-a-record-highThe number of people in work is at a record high with nearly 175,000 more people in work up to July 2016, compared to the previous 3 months.

The Office for National Statistics confirmed today that there are 31.77 million people now in work – up by more than 550,000 in the past year and by 2.7 million since 2010.

The employment rate in the UK continues to run at a record high of 74.5%, and the unemployment rate holds firm at 4.9% – its lowest in more than 10 years.

The rise in employment continues to be driven by full-time work, which has accounted for 75% of the growth since 2010. Average wages including bonuses grew by 2.3% over the last year.

Work and Pensions Secretary of State, Damian Green, said: “It’s great to see another record-breaking set of figures out this month with the unemployment rate at a 10-year low and wages growing healthily.

We know that there are fewer children living in workless households too, which underlines our efforts to help people move into employment and to build a Britain that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.

But there’s more to do, and we will continue to work with businesses to help more people take up the wealth of opportunities out there in the economy.”

Morgan Sindall to build £10.3m Bromsgrove leisure centre

morgan-sindall-to-build-10-3m-leisure-centreBromsgrove District Council has appointed Morgan Sindall to build a £10.3 million state-of-the-art leisure centre, which will include two swimming pools.

Plans for the development, on School Drive, will see the installation of a climbing wall, a 100-station fitness suite and a 25-station group cycling studio across a two-storey building.

The larger swimming pool will measure 25 x 12.5 metres and alongside it will be a learner pool measuring 15 x 10 metres which will feature an adjustable floor.

Work is scheduled to begin this year and the new centre is expected to be open by the end of 2017.

Morgan Sindall area director, Richard Fielding, said: “We’re pleased to be involved in this project and confident that the finished facility will be well received by the local community.

Once complete it will provide the people of Bromsgrove with a modern environment in which to exercise and prove an enduring addition to the leisure offering in the area.”

The centre will be self-funding, unlike the current Dolphin Centre which runs at a heavy annual loss, and the process of selecting a day-to-day operator to run it will shortly take place.

The leisure centre is the latest redevelopment in Bromsgrove under a strategic Town Centre regeneration partnership of public bodies that was formed in 2010 to redevelop areas of the town, making major efficiency savings across the public purse.

This has led to the total revamp of the high street, major retail developments coming forward across the town and a near-total overhaul of public buildings.

Willmott Dixon to deliver grade A office scheme in Birmingham

willmott-dixon-to-deliver-grade-a-office-scheme-in-birminghamThe significant refurbishment of one of Birmingham’s most well-known buildings has taken a step forward with the appointment of Willmott Dixon as contractor.

Legal & General Property (LGP) which owns the Lewis Building on Bull Street has appointed the construction and regeneration specialist to carry out the comprehensive refurbishment.

When completed, the Lewis Building will offer 114,000 sq ft of contemporary Grade A office space set behind a classic Portland Stone façade.

The £18 million contract will see Willmott Dixon strip back the interior of the building to shell and core, remodeling the building to provide floorplates of 17,000 sq ft – some of the largest in the city’s business district – along with a new 12,000 sq ft, fully glazed seventh story with roof terraces.

All floors will receive high quality finishes throughout and the building will benefit from new mechanical and electrical systems.

The company is also building the National College for High Speed Rail in Duddeston to train HS2 engineers and transforming the Millennium Quarter with another project for Birmingham City University, this time expanding the Curzon building.

Tom Williams, Senior Asset Manager, Legal & General Property, said: “The Lewis Building represents a fantastic opportunity for Birmingham’s commercial market and we have already seen considerable interest from some of the larger requirements currently looking to identify space.”

Formerly known as Temple Court, the Lewis Building was originally built as a department store in the 1920s by renowned 19th Century philanthropist, David Lewis and has been an integral part of Birmingham’s city core for almost 100 years.

Willmott Dixon’s managing director in the Midlands, Peter Owen: “We are hugely proud of our role in creating Birmingham’s exciting new future with these projects, and are excited to be creating superb Grade A offices in the heart of the city’s business district.“

Building work set to start on affordable homes for Leeds

imageLeeds Federated Housing Associationhas appointed partnership housing developer Lovell to build 33 new affordable homes in Belle Isle, south Leeds.

Construction is due to start on the new houses which will all be for affordable rent through the housing association. The £3.6 million scheme will create 20 two-bedroom and 13 three-bedroom houses.

The new housing will take shape on two Leeds City Council-owned brownfield sites in Newhall Gate and Newhall Walk. Designed to complement and fit in with existing homes in the area, the development is expected to be complete at the end of 2017. The scheme forms part of Leeds Federated’s Affordable Homes Programme and is supported by Leeds City Council and the Homes and Communities Agency.

Steve Ellis, head of Assets and Development for Leeds Federated, says: “We are delighted to be partnering with Lovell to build 33 much-needed affordable homes for rent in Belle Isle.

“There is currently a national shortage of affordable housing. Leeds Federated plans to more than double the amount of homes it develops each year to help address the need for high quality affordable homes in the Leeds City region.”

Robert Adams, regional director for Lovell – which is based locally in Gildersome, Leeds – comments: “These much-needed properties will help address the serious shortage of affordable housing locally by creating high-quality modern homes for local people.

“As a Leeds-based company, we’re absolutely delighted to be bringing our expertise in delivering well-designed homes which achieve the highest build and quality standards to this important scheme.” In line with Lovell’s commitment to benefitting local communities, the company will also provide local job and training opportunities through the development.