Building Briefs – October 8th



Vinci UK construction MD exits

Vinci Construction UK managing director Andrew Ridley-Barker has suddenly left the firm, according to Construction Enquirer.

His departure follows John Stanion’s retirement and the appointment of Bruno Dupety as new chief executive last week.

Ridley-Barker, who left at the end of last week, was with the firm for 13 years, first as a divisional director of the Taylor Woodrow for over six years and then operations director at Vinci UK.

He was managing director for UK construction for four years.

The Vinci Construction UK business has been battling to turn around the building division, after it posted a £33m loss in the last published results for 2013.

 

UNISON calls for large scale investment to reverse Scotland’s housing crisis

A survey of Scotland’s housing staff has exposed the reality of frontline staff trying to cope with the huge scale of Scotland’s housing crisis.

A report by UNISON – Open the door: housing staff on the homes we have and the homes we need – looks at the real experiences of members involved in all aspects of providing housing services: housing officers, housing assistants and lettings officers.

The majority of those surveyed (68 per cent) said funding for their service had gone down, negatively impacting on the quality of service they can provide. Three quarters of respondents said changes in welfare and benefit legislation has contributed to the problem. At its bluntest, welfare changes have made life more difficult for tenants and this in turn has created problems for housing staff.

 

Tram project turnaround scoops council top industry award

The City of Edinburgh Council has landed a prestigious industry accolade for ‘turning around’ the Edinburgh Tram project.

At a special ceremony in London for the 2014 Light Rail Awards, chief executive Sue Bruce collected the Judges’ Special Award from Baroness Kramer, Minister of State for Transport and broadcaster and journalist Nicholas Owen.

The accolade was awarded in honour of the ‘strong leadership’ demonstrated by Ms Bruce and Transport Convener Councillor Lesley Hinds in bringing the much-publicised tram project in on its revised timetable and revised budget, following a mediation process in 2011.

 

New Cumbernauld flats mark high-rise milestone

Housing provider Sanctuary Cumbernauld has taken a major step in its £75 million regeneration of the town’s 12 high-rise blocks.

The first of four brand-new blocks of 24 homes in Newlands Place, Seafar, was handed over by Ogilvie Construction to residents this month. These 96 flats are being built primarily to rehouse those who live in Allanfauld Road’s three high-rises, which will be demolished in 2015.

The £10.4m Newlands Place development complements Sanctuary’s Fleming Road flats, which in 2012 housed the first 31 families to leave Allanfauld Road. Those yet to move from Allanfauld Road’s high-rises will be rehoused before Christmas.

The next decade will see all 12 Cumbernauld blocks demolished and replaced with more than 400 high quality homes. Sanctuary’s plans have been developed with the support of residents, the Scottish Government and North Lanarkshire Council.

 

Gleneagles Hotel unveils arena ambition

The Gleneagles Hotel has unveiled ambitious plans for a new investment worth £650,000.

Fresh from their Ryder Cup success, bosses at the five-star establishment want to create the Gleneagles Arena, a 26,910 sq ft indoor tennis centre and events space.

An equestrian area within the 850-acre estate will be transformed as part of the project, which promises a versatile event hall which will double as a four-court tennis complex.

The centre could be up and running as early as spring next year and will be available for conferences, exhibitions, concerts and team-building sessions.

Gleneagles’ director of events and leisure, Stuart Smith, said the project would also include 650 spectator seats, as well as a new combined reception and retail area.

 

MSP officially opens new Hanover housing development

Nevis Mews, a new £740,000 housing development built by Hanover (Scotland) Housing Association, was officially opened by Dave Thompson MSP on Monday.

Mr Thompson cut the ribbon to mark the completion of the four properties for older people and one family home in Drumfada Terrace, Corpach.

Nevis Mews consists of four 2-bedroom amenity homes for older people and one 2-bedroom family house. The total cost of the development was £740,024, and was funded by the Scottish Government to the tune of £230,000, charitable funding of £71,980 and private finance of £438,044.

The building, which was completed in September of last year, is situated on a site previously owned by a local medical practice and was purchased by Hanover in 2012.  It sits adjacent to Hanover’s current sheltered housing development in Walter Cameron Way.

The properties benefit from an environmentally-friendly biomass heating and hot water system, initially installed to serve Hanover’s Walter Cameron Way development, but deemed to have capacity to serve the new properties in Nevis Mews. Since the installation of the system, residents at Walter Cameron Way have seen heating bills reduce by around 40 per cent.

 

Scotland TranServ to improve M74 through Lanarkshire

Scotland TranServ on behalf of Transport Scotland will improve the M74, supporting the economic growth and development of Lanarkshire and central Scotland.

The southbound stretch of motorway between Larkhall and Motherwell (Junction 6-7) is reaching the end of its operational life and is in need of resurfacing.

The work will take place from 20:00 on Sunday 19th October to 06:00 on Saturday 25th October 2014 and has been specifically scheduled to avoid the busy October holiday period for Glasgow and Lanarkshire schools.

Scotland Transerv is also to carry out improvements to the road surface on the A77 through Maybole.

The repairs will see approximately one kilometre of the carriageway upgraded, delivering long-term benefits to drivers along the A77 at Maybole.

A full road closure will be implemented on Sunday 12 and Sunday 19 October from 0800hrs to 1800hrs. Works will also be carried out under convoy control from Monday 13 to Thursday 16 October from 0930hrs to 15.30hrs.

 

CALA granted approval for new Bridge of Don homes

CALA Homes (North) has been granted planning permission for a proposed development at Balgownie Home Farm, Bridge of Don.

Balgownie Gate, located just off Balgownie Road, will comprise 26 three, four and five bedroom homes.

This will be CALA’s second live development in the Bridge of Don area, with sales recently launched at The Links at Dubford, which features 76 four and five bedroom homes and apartments.

CALA Homes have also submitted plans for 175 homes and 2,000sq/ft of commercial space on the site of a former Royal Mail sorting office at Brunswick Road, Edinburgh.

Designed by Ian Springford Architects and Harrison Stevens Landscape Architects the scheme will place apartment blocks in parallel with Brunswick Road to reinforce the street edge.

The scheme supercedes an earlier bid to provide 238 new homes on the same plot which was refused planning on the basis of a lack of larger three bedroom homes and poor architectural quality.

 

Work starts on £1.5m East Lothian home insulation scheme

Work has started on East Lothian Council’s £1,498,566 programme to make local homes warmer under the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland: Area Based Schemes (HEEPS:ABS).

Keepmoat has been appointed as the contractor to install external wall insulation in homes in the Macmerry and Musselburgh areas. Keepmoat surveyors will be contacting householders over the coming weeks to assess the structural suitability of their properties for the programme.

The insulation will be offered at a considerable discount to private householders in the areas identified for improvement under the council’s Housing Strategy.

The insulation work would usually cost up to £11,000 but the council hopes to make it available at a fraction of the price in areas which qualify under HEEPS: ABS funding. Details are still being negotiated but an announcement is expected shortly.

Home Energy Scotland, the advice service funded by the Scottish Government, is working with the council and will contact all eligible householders with further information as it becomes available.

 

Honour for manager at housebuilding awards

An Angus man has been recognised at the UK’s housebuilding awards.

Site manager Duncan Moon won a seal of excellence in the second round of the NHBC Pride in the Job Awards out of 15,000 people.

Mr Moon, of Guild Homes (Tayside) Ltd, was one of 10 recognised at a ceremony held at the Hilton in Glasgow.

He oversees the Restenneth Fields site in Montrose Road, Forfar.

Mr Moon has worked in construction for 28 years and was a joiner and workshop manager before moving into site management.

 

Next phase of Kirkintilloch housing renovations begins at Burns Court

A £1.25 million programme of works has begun which will transform homes in Burns Court, Kirkintilloch.

The work is the second phase of improvements to the area, which will total £3m when complete.

The regeneration works will bring 52 homes up to the Scottish Housing Quality Standards (SHQS) in time for the 2015 deadline and ensure they also meet strict energy efficiency standards, five years ahead of the 2020 target.

Previous works provided tenants with new double glazed windows, new kitchens and bathrooms, energy-efficient boilers, solar panels, roofs and front doors.

This second phase – which will last around eight months - will concentrate on door entry systems, balconies and closes. Each close will be re-painted as well as receiving new flooring, lighting, stair handrails and entry call systems.

The work will be carried out by Helensburgh contractor Stewart and Shields who have extensive experience of similar projects.