• Specialist sites to get £15bn funding boost

    Specialist property developments like student accommodation and PRS towers are set to attract £15bn in investment this year.
    The schemes are proving increasingly popular among investors looking for a source of long-term secure income.
    Research by Knight Frank has now revealed the flow of funding into specialist property will increase to £15bn this year.Shaun Roy, Head of Specialist property at Knight Frank said: “The growing appetite for long-term secure investments with good c
  • Construction firms: Show staff and suppliers you care

    The clock is ticking for companies to enter the Construction Enquirer Awards and highlight how they conduct themselves in the right way.
    Main contractors, specialists, clients and suppliers have the chance to be voted Top Ten companies to work for and do business with.
    The awards are voted for by the industry and winners will be chosen by staff and suppliers who like the way you operate.The deadline for entries is June 12.
    The entry process is quick and simple and companies can put themselves fo
  • Betting Spy: Chelsea title tip paying off

    After a fairly dire week of FA Cup predictions Betting Spy should be looking forward.
    But instead let’s look back to last August and our tips for the title.
    Now the cynical among you might be thinking this is just a ruse to take everyone’s mind of  a recent run of form which has been challenging to say the least.You’d be right of course but Betting Spy hasn’t had too many trumpets to blow this season so let’s at least have a little puff on this one.
  • Reading FC’s £500m Royal Elm Park scheme approved

    Reading Football Club’s property arm has got the green light to build a major convention centre, 250-bed hotel and ice rink on land next to its stadium.
    The Royal Elm Park plan will develop a 15ha parcel of land used for car parking and training. These plans also include 630 homes across a dozen blocks, a large multi-storey car park, large public square and park.
    Subject to completing the final planning requirements, construction will start early next year, with final completion
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  • Manchester’s Harbur Construction goes under

    Manchester-based social housing specialist Harbur Construction has sunk into administration.
    The firm founded just seven years ago turned over £28m last year and employed more than 20 staff out of its Manchester Business Park base near the city airport.
    Administrators from Leonard Curtis confirmed staff had been now laid off.
    Harbur specialised in buying land obtaining planning permission for schemes and then constructing these schemes in conjunction with the relevant residential provider.
  • New home registrations soar to 10-year high

    The pace of house building is finally showing signs of cranking up a gear with new home registrations for the first quarter of 2017 hitting a 10-year high.
    Nearly 42,500 new homes were registered in the UK by NHBC in the first three months of the year.
    This represent a 17% jump on last year with both private and social housing showing strong growth.
    Private sector homes were up 10% at 31,197 units, while affordable home registration jumped 40% to 11,273 new homes co
  • Taylor Wimpey chief takes reins at Countryside house building

    Countryside Properties is restructuring the leadership of its key house building and partnerships housing operations.
    Former Taylor Wimpey London and South East managing director, Phillip Lyons, is taking over as chief executive of the house building division at Countryside.
    Lyons, who brings over 30 years’ industry experience, will join the group executive committee.
    Current house building operation chief executive Graham Cherry will now move to the partnerships business followi
  • HSE inspector numbers fall by 25%

    The number of frontline health and safety inspectors has been slashed by a quarter in the last six years.
    Figures obtained by union Unite reveal that since 2010 there has been a 25% reduction in the number of Health and Safety Executive inspectors.
    Back in 2010 there were 1,311 frontline inspectors, by the end of last year this had fallen to just 980.
    Unite has released the figures obtained from a Freedom of Information request just before International Workers’ Memoria
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  • Styles & Wood targets schools and Government hub refit

    Fit-out specialist Styles & Wood is now targeting school refurbishment and Government hub office refits as part of a major expansion plan.
    The move on public sector work follows a new strategy to reduce the firm’s reliance on a handful of major clients, while remaining selective about which projects to pursue.
    Last year this helped Style & Wood lift underlying profit before tax by 26% to £4.10m. Although delays on major frameworks with existing banking clients
  • Taylor Wimpey sets aside £130m to settle lease rows

    Taylor Wimpey is setting aside £130m to compensate home buyers locked into unfair leasehold contracts.
    The historic leases have prompted a storm of complaints after homeowners realised their ground rent charges could double every ten years.
    The leases were attached to properties sold between 2007 and 2011 and have been attacked by MPs as the “PPI scandal of the property sector”.In a trading update today Taylor Wimpey outlined its plans to deal with the problem.
    It said: “
  • AstraZeneca HQ project costs skyrocket

    Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has seen the cost of its flagship Cambridge headquarters and R & D building project soar from £330m to over £500m.
    Skanska is delivering the major building project, which was due to be complete for occupation at the end of last year.
    Staff are set to start moving into the new building in late 2018 with the site becoming fully operational by 2019.
    Chief Executive Pascal Soriot revealed the cost increase as he visited the site to mark
  • CSCS backs “try before you buy” apprentices

    Leaders of the CSCS skills card scheme have struck a funding deal to encourage more on the job training for industry apprentices.
    The agreement with apprenticeship body CCATF  will support its Pathway to Construction scheme.
    The scheme financially supports on the job training for young apprentices seeking a work trial or work experience.Funding of up to £1,000 per student helps local employers with the costs of giving that student up to 10 weeks’ work experience on site towards
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  • Heathrow plans offsite revolution for infrastructure construction

    Heathrow bosses are planning to use its £16bn airport expansion project to “revolutionise” the way contractors build major infrastructure.
    Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye confirmed a major push to support more off-site construction.
    And the hunt has now begun for four UK sites to host new off-site logistics hubs which will help deliver expansion plans and drive growth across the country.The new logistics hubs will pre-assemble components for the expanded airport before transport
  • Forrest lands twin towers resi deal in Manchester

    Forrest has landed the deal to build twin residential towers for developer Elliott Group in Manchester.
    The deal to deliver the 14 and 34 storey towers at The Residence will be a major boost for the Bolton based contractor.
    Forrest is focusing on new build residential work rather than its traditional maintenance business after racking-up losses of nearly £26m in its last two full financial years.Elliot Group’s Elliot Lawless said: “I spoke with several other developers about Fo
  • Irish duo scoops £85m Cumbria pipeline job

    United Utilities has picked Irish contracting joint venture Farrans and Roadbridge to deliver a major water mains building programme in West Cumbria.
    The ambitious scheme will involve laying and relining more than 100km of pipes to supply water to homes and businesses from Thirlmere ReservoirThe scheme is designed to ease pressure on environmentally sensitive local water sources in West Cumbria, and provide a secure, long-term supply for the area.
    It has been broken down into 
  • CBI turns to “future leaders” to reform construction

    Business body the CBI has set up a group of young construction professionals to come up with ideas about reforming the industry.
    The group will provide a “view from within the industry” to feed into existing reform initiatives.
    Members represent all sides of construction from designers to subcontractors and will report to the CBI’s Construction Council of 35 chief executives in November.The CBI said: “While government has a role to play in helping to ensure the industry
  • Civils firms win £60m Welsh roads framework

    North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agent has named the line-up of civil engineering contractors for its £60m framework.
    Alun Griffiths, Dawnus Construction, Jones Bros Ruthin and JN Bentley have secured places on all major lots including the key panel for project valued up to £15m.
    Several smaller local contractors have also secured places on smaller regional panels covering projects up to £500,000 across north and mid Wales.North & Mid Wales, including all dual carriagewa
  • Talks start on independent appeals against FFI charges

    Consultation is underway on changes to the appeal process against charges under the controversial Fee for Intervention (FFI) scheme.
    Contractors are currently charged £124-an-hour for visits by Health and Safety Executive inspectors when they break safety laws.
    And any appeals against the charges are currently heard by a committee of HSE staff.Complaints by the industry about the current system have prompted a rethink and the HSE is now consulting about the possible introduction of an inde
  • Interserve and Kier walk away from £100m water deal

    Severn Trent Water has parted company with its preferred contractors on a planned £100m upgrade of the Frankley Water Treatment Works near Birmingham.
    The Enquirer understands that a deal with the Interserve/Kier joint venture has been terminated following a six month Early Contractor Involvement period.
    Sources told the Enquirer that both sides were unable to agree a price.One said: “The contractors told the client that the job was unaffordable at the current budget of £100m a
  • Grosvenor eyes mid-market housing as London chills

    The Duke of Westminster’s property company Grosvenor Estate is targeting mid-market housing in London as the luxury property market weakens.
    In annual results, the firm revealed it had enjoyed six year’s of returns at 10% on property investments but last year this dropped to just 0.3% as London stagnated.
    It is now focused on continuing a programme of strategic sales started early last year to recycle capital in readiness for new market opportunities and to fund its development
  • Laing O’Rourke to get new Chairman

    Laing O’Rourke has revealed that Sir John Parker will become Chairman of the country’s largest private contractor.
    Sir John, 75, will take up the role later this year when he steps down from his current role as Chairman of mining giant Anglo American.
    In the interim he will “familiarise himself with key projects and clients.”Laing O’Rourke CEO Ray O’Rourke said: “Sir John has built up an enviable reputation across a range of industrial sectors as a leade
  • Lovell gets summer start for £53m Chorley scheme

    Partnership housing developer Lovell has signed an agreement with the Homes and Communities Agency to deliver 220 new homes near Chorley, Lancashire.
    Subject to planning consent, Lovell will start construction work in late summer 2017 on a £53m housing development at Clayton-le-Woods on land purchased from the HCA.
    It will create 198 homes for open market sale and 22 affordable starter homes – some of the first to be built in the attractive, semi-rural village location.Situated at th
  • British Land submits latest Broadgate revamp plan

    Developer British Land has submitted plans for the latest revamp project at its Broadgate development in London’s Square Mile.
    The plans for 135 Broadgate will see existing office space revamped when tenant RBS vacates the building along with the retail space upped from 8,000 sq ft to 38,000 sq ft.
    Working with Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC, the planning application to the City of London is to extensively refurbish the 340,000 square feet building by Liverpool Stre
  • Staircase contractor fined £185k after death at O’Rourke site

    Specialist fabricator and installer CMF Ltd has been fined £185,000 after Richard Laco died on the £650m Francis Crick Institute job in London where Laing O’Rourke was main contractor.
    Southwark Crown Court heard that Laco had been contracted by CMF to work on the project.
    He was fatally crushed on 6 November 2013 by a concrete staircase that was in the process of being installed.An HSE investigation found there was no safe system of work in place for the installation of the st
  • Former Liverpool Chinatown contractor goes under

    The former main contractor on Liverpool’s £200m Chinatown development is being placed into liquidation.
    Bilt Group is now in the hands of liquidators from Chamberlain & Co.
    The contractor was replaced by developer North Point Global on all of its projects late last year.Bilt Group was stood down at the Baltic House and The Element projects in Liverpool and also at the Chinatown site after completing its work on phase one of the project.
    North Point Global decided to take more wor
  • Willmott Dixon wins £24m Harwell testing lab

    Willmott Dixon is back at Harwell Science Campus in Oxfordshire to deliver another facility that will enhance the campus status as a world leader for science and technology R&D.
    It has been appointed by the Science & Technology Facilities Council for a £23.7m contract to build the Harwell Facilities Building. This will provide specialist support space allowing researchers to test and commission new scientific equipment for use on the campus and around the world.Procured throug
  • Newly merged housing group to build 1,200 homes a year

    Newly-formed housing association Vivid has set out plans to build at least 1,200 new homes a year across all tenures.
    Formed from a merger between First Wessex and Sentinel, the new Portsmouth housing group now ranks as a major builder of new homes among UK housing associations.
    The new housing target is double what the previous housing associations delivered and is set to see more contracting out of new build work.
    It manages 30,000 homes across 20 local authorities in the South
  • Morgan Sindall wins £30m Soton student digs

    Select Property Group has signed up Morgan Sindall to deliver its second Vita Student scheme in Southampton.
    The contractor has just started construction on the Portswood Road scheme, which will deliver 435 beds, a large social hub, movie room, gym, private dining and dedicated study areas.
    Jon Daines, area director at Morgan Sindall, said: “The scheme takes student accommodation to the next level and has been designed with the needs of today’s modern students as the c
  • March Construction Starts Climb 5 Percent

    New construction starts in March increased 5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $743.7 billion, marking the third straight monthly gain, according to Dodge Data & Analytics.
  • Dodge Data & Analytics to Showcase Technology, Data Insights For Design and Construction Professionals at 2017 AIA Conference

    Dodge Data & Analytics will showcase its set of software tools and data-driven insights for the design and build community at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Conference in Orlando, April 27-29 at the Orange County Convention Center, booth #2211.
  • New Bovis Homes boss buys £1.24m shares

    Former Galliford Try chairman Greg Fitzgerald has snapped up £1.24m worth of Bovis Homes share after starting his new job as chief executive.
    Fitzgerald, 52, bought 134,369 shares at around £9.26 in a move that will be seen as a big vote of confidence in the embattled south east house builder.
    His wife Judith Fitzgerald made a more modest investment of £145,590, getting a better deal of 15,825 shares at £9.20.
    Construction industry veteran Fitzgerald s
  • Groundworker killed by concrete drainage cover

    Hague Construction Limited has been fined £100,000 following the death of Daniel Clifford Yeowell.
    Lewes Crown Court heard Yeowell was employed by Hague as a ground worker and on 4 October 2013 he and his colleagues were constructing and installing drainage boxes at a site at Langley Green Primary School, Crawley, West Sussex.
    Yeowell was struck by a concrete drainage cover as he was standing in the excavation area and later died as a result of his severe head injuries.An HSE investig
  • Graham lands latest Manchester build to rent tower

    Graham Construction is set to start work this summer on a 16-storey build to rent tower in Manchester.
    Work will go-ahead on the last undeveloped site overlooking Erie Basin in Salford Quays following acquisition of the site from Peel by developers Moorfield and Glenbrook.
    Planning permission has been granted to create 270 new homes, residents’ gardens, amenity space and car parking.The site is located adjacent to MediaCityUK in the heart of Salford Quays.
    It is the third BTR scheme undert
  • Multiplex turnover soars to record £1bn on tower boom

    London high-rise builder Multiplex has ramped up revenue by two-thirds to a record £1bn as a dozen major projects topped out last year.
    But the strong revenue growth failed to drop to the bottom line with pre-tax profits sliding from around £22m in 2015 to £19m last year.
    As a result operating margins halved from the 2015 high of 3% to industry norms of around 1.5%.
    Multiplex also revealed for the first time the contract for 22 Bishopsgate Tower in the
  • Sisk set for £37m Sheerness steelwork clear-up

    Developer Peel is pressing ahead with plans to redevelop the disused Thames Steel steelworks in Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey.
    John Sisk is in line to manage the job, which will involve the steelworks tear-down, land remediation and refurbishment of existing warehouses.
    Steel production furnaces and a large rolling mill on the 53-acre site have been left untouched since the specialist rebar steelworks was closed in 2012.
    Now Peel through its Port of Sheerness operation pla
  • BAM takes £30m Southampton Uni job

    BAM is set to start main building work for Southampton University on a learning and teaching block at the Highfield Campus in the city.
    The £30m building project will include a 250-seat lecture theatre, a range of seminar and teaching rooms and a café.
    The facility will be comprised of two wings reaching a maximum height of seven storeys and will be located on Salisbury Road, next to the University’s bus interchange.Site preparation contractor PTC has handed over the
  • Local construction firms demand fair crack at public contracts

    Smaller contractors across the North East are calling for more public work to go their way rather than straight into the hands of the majors.
    The Construction Alliance Northeast has launched a Construction Charter highlighting the need for change for its 500 member firms.
    The charter raises awareness of the need to re-think public procurement strategy so that regional SMEs get a better chance to compete for contracts in the open market.It highlights the need for a greater focus in tender documen
  • Roofing firms fined for skylight and snow dangers

    Two local roofing contractors have been fined £66,000 each after putting their workers at risk during roof replacement works in Oldham.
    MKM Fabrications Ltd had been employed as the principal contractor to carry out a roof replacement on one of the buildings at Valley Mills, Millgate, Delph, Oldham which is currently used for textile production.
    The company subcontracted part of the project, which involved replacing a northern light roof structure with a modern composite roof, to Clad-It L
  • Small builders bullish despite rising costs

    Small construction firms enjoyed rising workloads in the first three months of 2017, despite growing concerns over the cost of labour and materials.
    According to the Federation of Master Builders latest trade survey one in two members predict rising workloads in the coming months, with just 5% predicting a decrease in activity;
    Around 85% of builders believe that material prices will rise in the next three months and around six out of 10 are reporting problems finding carpenters &
  • Balfour bags southern England power line upgrade

    Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks has chosen Balfour Beatty to design and refurbish five 132kV overhead lines across Southern England.
    The project will replace parts of the network that are coming to the end of their working life, minimising the risk of power cuts.
    Balfour’s power transmission and distribution business will manage the delivery of all wayleaves, undergrounding and undercrossings, temporary works including scaffolding and access works.
    Alongside this the project tea
  • Cemex drivers ballot on strike action

    Ready-mixed concrete and heavy side building material supplies to sites could be disrupted by a row over drivers pay at Cemex UK.
    HGV drivers have started voting for industrial action in a pay dispute which could lead to supplies to Heathrow and infrastructure projects, such as the Mersey Gateway being disrupted.
    The 74 HGV drivers, based at four depots in Rugby, Warwickshire, Tilbury, Essex, Barton-on-Humber, north Lincolnshire and Newport in South Wales will be balloted for a programme of
  • Atkins agrees £2.1bn takeover by Canadian group

    Canadian giant SNC-Lavalin has agreed a takeover deal with Atkins which values the company at £2.1bn.
    Both boards have agreed the move which will create a company with 53,000 employees.
    The deal will now need to be rubber-stamped by shareholders and is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year.Neil Bruce, President & CEO of SNC-Lavalin, said: “By combining two highly complementary businesses, we will increase our depth and breadth of services to position us as a
  • Willmott Dixon poaches Galliford Try northern ops boss

    Willmott Dixon has hired former Galliford Try northern operations director Andrew Hurcomb to drive its expansion in Yorkshire.
    Hurcomb joins as new regional operations director, based out of the builder’s Morley office near Leeds.He brings 28 years experience, originally starting out as a site engineer and rising through the ranks to regional director.
    Anthony Dillon, managing director of Willmott Dixon in the North said: “It is an exciting time with a surge
  • Construction VAT fraudster ordered to pay back £2.2m

    A convicted construction VAT fraudster from Lancashire must repay more than £2.2m.
    Salim Sakaria, 46, of Preston, was one of the key players in an 11-strong crime gang that attempted to steal £4.2m between 2009 and 2011.
    The gang, led by Sakaria, set up 19 fake construction companies, used ‘puppet’ directors, fake invoices and bogus building contracts for housing developments as a smokescreen to hide their criminal activity.People were paid up to £35,000 to act as d
  • Sellafield seeks 20-year construction partners

    Sellafield is planning to place its multi-billion pounds construction programme in the hands of four long-term construction partners.
    The new procurement model will change how major projects are delivered at the nuclear site over the next 20 years.
    Working as an intelligent clients Sellafield Ltd aims to now establish integrated team partnerships for four key tasks.
    One partner will deliver project and programme integration, another design and engineering, the other
  • Betting Spy: FA Cup cheer for Spurs and Man City

    It’s a real battle of the heavyweights in the FA Cup this weekend with the two form sides fancied to come out on top in a tasty looking 4/1 double.
    Tottenham are in rude health and take on a Chelsea side starting to splutter a bit.
    Stop Eden Hazard and you can stop the Blues at the moment as Diego Costa has his head turned by a pot of Chinese gold at the end of the season and a previously watertight defence is springing leaks.Spurs meanwhile pose a threat all over the pitch and are playing
  • First strike threat hits Hinkley construction work

    Hinkley Point nuclear power station project faces industrial disruption and delay after unions declared plans to ballot construction workers over a simmering row about bonus pay.
    The GMB and Unite unions claim the Bouygues/Laing O’Rourke joint venture overseeing main construction has failed to pay the bonus rate predicated in the site industrial relations agreement.
    An industrial relations flare-up so early in the project is a set back for the HPC Civil Construction agr
  • Leeds Council backs £35m Headingley stadium funding deal

    Leeds City Council has approved a new deal that will see a third-party investor provide up to £35m to fund the redevelopment of the Headingley Carnegie Stadium.
    The deal paves the way for a June start on the new stand with the previous design team being automatically re-engaged to speed up construction plans to enable the project to be completed in time for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
    The council found the financial services investor after a previous scheme to pay for the stand r
  • Go-ahead for Oxford Balliol College scheme

    One of Oxford University’s oldest colleges has got the planning green light for a cluster of eight new buildings around the Master’s Field cricket pitch.
    The scheme designed by Níall McLaughlin Architects for Balliol College will involve demolition of several buildings to make way for the new scheme.
    In their place builders will erect a sports pavillion, a ‘barn-like’ assembly space and accommodation for over 200 students.City planners passed the dev
  • Work up for grabs across Sussex for subcontractors

    A host of main contractors and clients will be looking to link-up with suppliers across Sussex at Constructionline’s latest Meet the Buyer event next week.
    Firms should register now for the event next Wednesday April 26 at Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club in Brighton.
    Local SMEs will be able to meet with some of the leading main contractors and public sector authorities in Sussex to discuss work opportunities on local projects.Confirmed contractors at the event include: Barhale and

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