Building Briefs – July 12th

  • Hardies’ energy head to take on Three Peak Cycle Challenge

Hardies Property & Construction Consultants’ head of energy Hefin O’Hare is all set to prove he’s an energetic ‘Hardy Boy’ by taking on The Three Peak Cycle Challenge to raise money for Glasgow’s York Hill’s Children’s Hospital.

The funds will go towards vulnerable and sick children and help end homelessness and fuel poverty in Scotland.

The challenge includes cycling around 796km (494 miles) with around 4000 metres of ascent alongside climbing the three highest mountains in the UK (Ben Nevis – Scotland, Scarfell Pike – England and Snowden – Wales).

O’Hare said: “This is going to be a bit of a challenge to say the least! I’m planning to complete this challenge in August, over as fast a timeframe as possible (hopefully no more than a week). During the evenings, I’ll be camping out by the side of the road to raise awareness of homelessness and to highlight the many struggles modern families face today.

“I consider myself to be a very fortunate person with my young family and with the things that have come my way in life. Therefore, I would like to raise enough money that could impact and change the life of someone less fortunate than myself.

“My previous career as a professional rugby player gave me significant experience in helping coach and develop children from disadvantaged backgrounds and my current career as the head of an energy department at Hardies Property and Construction Consultants has broadened my view and understanding of fuel poverty and homelessness in Scotland.”

Donations can be made to Hefin’s fundraising page here.


  • Joinery company seeks sustainable growth after good results

Dundee-based joinery firm JTC Furniture Group has welcomed an increase in profits as it seeks to “organically grow” the firm in the future.

The company saw an increase in turnover from £20.25 million in 2017, to £24.98m in 2018, which saw a pre-tax profit at the firm of more than £463,000.

The firm supplies kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms and also specialises in social housing and the growing student accommodation sector, as well as education and healthcare facilities.

An increase in turnover from large-scale supply and install projects which required significant working capital funding, together with movement of funds to the parent company for debt reduction saw a drop in liquid funds of £847,000 to stand £267,000 at the year-end.


  • Final phase completed at Highland housing development

Highland Housing Alliance has handed over the final phase of seven new homes at Balgate Mill to the Highland Council.

The handover marks the completion of the development of 92 properties, consisting of 22 homes for mid-market rent, 44 for social rent, 13 for private sale and 13 towards the Lift scheme.

The Alliance took the opportunity to thank William Gray Construction Scotland Ltd, Trail Architects, Helica (Scotland), the Highland Council, the Scottish Government and all the subcontractors involved with the build.


  • Family electrical firm aims to increase footprint from new Perth base

A long-established Highland Perthshire family firm is cementing its presence in the area by opening a new branch in Perth.

RW Bell Electrical, which currently has units in Pitlochry and Aviemore, will begin trading from its new facility in Ruthvenfield Avenue on Monday.

Managing director Stephen Carruthers said that taking on new premises was not an expansion of the business but was aimed at increasing the company’s footprint where many customers lived in rural areas.


  • Road safety improvements to begin ahead of Jedburgh Campus works

A series of road improvements begin this month ahead of the opening of the new Jedburgh Grammar Campus next year.

Works at various roads near the new Campus will begin on July 22 and the overall improvements are expected to take four months.

The improvements are part of a Jedburgh Grammar Campus travel plan, which was created in consultation with the local community, parents, school pupils and local residents with the aim of ensuring the innovative facility can be safely accessed.

One of the main sections of the plan will be The Boundaries road being turned into a permanent one-way towards Waterside Road, with build-outs being created to help slow down traffic and a new crossing point built.

This will require The Boundaries to be closed for four weeks from 22 July, with a diversion in place via Waterside Road, A68 and Oxnam Road. However, access for The Boundaries’ residents will be maintained.


  • Highlands and Islands the ‘happiest place to live’ in Scotland

An annual nationwide survey has revealed the Highlands and Islands region as the happiest place to live in the whole of Scotland.

The latest Bank of Scotland Happiness Index asks Scots how happy or unhappy they are in their local communities, to create an official cheeriness barometer ranging between -100 (very unhappy), to +100 (very happy).

Overall, Scots are slightly less happy than last year as the index recorded a score of 44.6 (a small decrease of 0.3 compared to 2018). However; that’s still 5.6 points happier than they were four years ago.

The wild landscapes of the Highlands and Islands may appeal to those looking for a more joyful life, as it’s been crowned the happiest place to live in Scotland, up from second position in 2018. Those living in the region highlight its rural nature and a strong sense of community as being key to their positive outlook.

Mid-Scotland and Fife is the second happiest region, followed by South Scotland. Those living in Glasgow have less cause for cheer, as they report being the unhappiest in the country.

Getting older doesn’t necessarily mean becoming grumpier as the index reveals that over 65s remain the happiest age group. They’ve consistently been table-toppers for the past four years. At the other end of the age scale, 18 to 24-year-olds’ happiness levels have slumped, falling by seven points to 33.5 to now come bottom of the table.

Two’s company when it comes to a happy home as households with two residents say they’re the happiest. However, those living on their own are the least happy households, falling one place to the bottom of the table.

They say money can’t buy happiness but, according to the index, the more Scots earn, the happier they are. This year, Scots with a household income of more than £60,000 are happiest, with those earning less than £15,000 the least happy.