construction

Floating your boaters as trades students rebuild town’s hat history

A GROUP of construction students have completed work on an abandoned Luton hat factory   under a revolutionary training scheme backed by celebrity builder Tommy Walsh.

Engineering Real Results, the largest trades training organisation in the UK, has spent months buying up neglected and derelict properties in various parts of the UK in a multi-million pound move which gives young tradespeople a way round restrictive Government legislation which forces apprentices to beg for unpaid work for decades.

The scheme allows students to comply with Government rules which demand apprentices carry out 100 hours practical training. The rule has forced apprentices onto the streets begging for unpaid work for decades.

Now they can complete their qualifications in weeks rather than years.

Tommy told the crowd at the launch: “We are witnessing the making of history here … an organisation which is actually doing all it can to get people qualified, competent and ultimately into a job which will give them a better life.”

The project included   an old hat factory on Collingdon Street, Luton, which has been renovated and is used for student accommodation for the school.

Between 1750 and the year 2000 Luton was the hat boom-town of the UK and was famous for its straw hats and boaters.  Some of the most famous hatters, including SG Parker and Vyse, were based in Collingdon Street because of its closeness to Victorian road and rail systems.

Many houses made into hat factories have two large rooms built on at the back. In the ground floor room heavy work like blocking and stiffening was done. The room above was used for sewing the hats. These were still being built as late as the early 1900s. Children and adults sweated in the factories for 12 hours a day earning as little as three shillings a week.

The town was still producing as many as 70 million hats a year in the 1930s

Dr Jan Telensky, the financial angel behind the scheme said: “Life was hard in Victorian times in Luton but the hat industry really put the town on the map, there were plenty of raw materials for plaiting and the new Midlands Railway in the mid-19th century was a boon.

“I came to Luton in the late Sixties and I remember the wonder I felt at this grand old town with its dark imposing buildings, I was also fascinated by the number of terraced houses with  these large rooms almost hidden at the back, that’s when I discovered the history of hat-making here.”

Ground Force star Tommy said: “The Government’s commitment to building hundreds of thousands of homes is threatened by skill shortages.  Britain has plenty of young people ready to build a new life for  their families by learning a trade but they come up against a brick wall  when it comes to completing their skills-set – they need practical experience to prove they can do the job and they find it very difficult to get.”

Dr Telensky said there have been thousands of new construction jobs this year as builders attempt to meet Government targets – but apprentices who spent years learning to become plumbers, gas fitters, bricklayers and electrician have been missing out because of the legislation.

He said: “Our own students were losing out. This new scheme, New Vocational Quickstart, involves renovating properties across the country and enables them to get there NVQ in just weeks instead of years.”

The company has also been buying properties in Watford, Cardiff, Southampton, Featherstone in Yorkshire, Livingstone, West Lothian, Cardiff, Basildon and Wolverhampton.

Mike Head, a spokesman for Brighter Homes, part of the Engineering Real Results organisation, set up to supply practical training for students, said: “We are committed to getting students into work and if we can help them get onto the housing ladder too that would be brilliant.”

And work was completed on the first of the properties, the controversial Grange Hotel on the Great Northern Road, Dunstable, as students set about the first stage of turning the gloomy old late Victorian coaching house into six affordable flats for young people.

For more than a decade people living near the Grange which had fallen into a near derelict state since it finally closing its doors in 2000 have been complaining but now it is welcomed as major improvement to the bustling Gt North Road.

Paul Senior, chairman of the National Federation of Builders, also backed the scheme, saying: “Anything to provide training and experience to young construction students is a very good thing.   The industry is very dependent on up-to-date skills and experience and we welcome innovative solutions such as Engineering Real Results.”

Dr Jan Telensky complimented by Tommy Walsh

Celebrity TV builder Tommy Walsh compliments Dr Jan Telensky for his New Vocational Quickstart project enabling would-be trades people to qualify for their NVQ in a fraction of the normal time. Here what Tommy Walsh say, but of more importance what the recent NVQ student say.


UK Nation Wide NVQ

Dr Jan Telensky has launched a UK nationwide initiate enabling British based trades people to fast track through their qualifications in plumbing, electrical, heating, gas etc. The opening of the first set of properties, totally refurbished by the NVQ students, was opened by TV Celebrity Builder Tommy Walsh. Mr Walsh praised Dr Telensky for the project adding “Jan is a doer, not just a talker”. It is expected many hundreds will be able to find employment because of the scheme.JT The Grange


Jan Telensky working with students for their NVQ in Quicktime

Dr Jan Telensky, described as the ‘financial angel’ behind the project, said: “I began my career as a salesman in offices on the Tettenhall Road so the area has many good memories for me. I remember though that in the 70s and 80s it was an area suffering because of the decline of its manufacturing industry.

“After being made a city in 2001 it has begun to grow in to a place of pride and ambition with a wonderful ethnic mix and good shops and business potential. In our own way we hope to improve this fabulous city too.”

Wolves NVQ StudentsThere have been thousands of new construction jobs this year as builders attempt to meet Government targets, but apprentices who spent years learning to become plumbers, gas fitters, bricklayers and electrician have been missing out because of the legislation.

Dr Telensky said: “Our own apprentices were losing out. This new scheme, New Vocational Quickstart, involves renovating properties across the country and enables them to get there NVQ in just weeks instead of years.”

Read the full story here


Construction Industry Jobs and News from the UK

Skanska wins building job on £1bn Cambridge housing site

The University of Cambridge has awarded Skanska a £1.5 million contract, to undertake enabling works for its development at North West Cambridge that will boost the trades and create new jobs.

Covering 150 hectares, the £1 billion North West Cambridge development will combine residential housing, academic and research facilities, a local centre and public amenities that will energise the local economy.

The Skanska contract involves earthworks, drainage, building roads and a temporary junction and installing a 4.5km security fence.

The development includes substantial investment in new publicly accessible parkland, sports pitches and open spaces.

Gavin Heaphy, construction director of the development said: “Skanska’s appointment as Principal Contractor of this £1.5 million contract marks an important milestone in the operational delivery phase of the North West Cambridge development.”

Skanska’s managing director, Deirdre Murphy, commented: “This is an exciting opportunity for Skanska and it’s great to be involved in the early stages of this huge development. I hope this leads to future projects for the rest of Skanska UK.”

The works will start immediately and should be complete at the end of January 2014.

Future plans for Gloucestershire College new campus revealed

Gloucestershire College has unveiled building plans for its proposed new campus in Cinderford’s Northern Quarter in the Forest of Dean.

Construction work on the £14 million campus is set to begin in Spring 2014 and scheduled to be completed by August 2015.

The regeneration project will be jointly developed and run by Gloucestershire College and Dene Magna School, providing a new centre for further education and creating new jobs in the trades.

The 7,200 sq m site would be built to high energy efficient standards and will feature large panels of glazing which have been included to maximise the views over the adjacent lakes and surrounding forest, as well providing high levels of natural daylight and the opportunity to put teaching and learning on display externally.

Matthew Burgess, Gloucestershire College Principal and Chief Executive said: “I am really excited to see the plans progressing to develop a new college in the Forest of Dean giving the community there the education facility it deserves. It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point so it’s great to reach this stage.”

The plans are supported by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), who are working with the college and its partners to bring forward the education-led Northern Quarter project.

David Warburton, HCA Head of Area, said: “It’s great to see plans forming for an exciting new college development for the Forest of Dean. This is a positive step towards bringing new facilities, investment and opportunities to the district.”

Steve Brady, Headteacher at Dene Magna said: “The journey to this point has been exhilarating for all parties and we are excited about realising our dreams and ensuring that we are part of the very best Sixth Form provision for the area. The future is certainly bright and we are proud to be a part of it.”

Balfour Beatty wins £40m helicopter bases contract

Balfour Beatty has been appointed by Bristow Helicopters Ltd as its infrastructure delivery partner to support the development of its UK Search and Rescue service.

Balfour Beatty will now begin outsourcing various aspects of the £40 million job to local contractors in the communities in which the bases will be established.

Balfour Beatty will be responsible for delivering infrastructure projects at nine sites across the UK between 2014 and 2017 including the construction of seven new build search and rescue helicopter bases.

The new bases will be located in Inverness, Manston, Prestwick, Caernarfon, St Athan, Humberside and Newquay, and the refurbishment of an existing facility in Stornoway.

The ninth SAR helicopter base which will be used by Bristow to deliver the contract is an existing Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) facility at Lee-on-Solent and a final tenth base shall be an existing Bristow facility at Sumburgh.

At the forefront of sustainability, the new helicopter bases include a raft of environmental technologies including PV solar panels and rainwater harvesting systems.

Managing Director of Bristow Helicopters Ltd, Mike Imlach said: “We were impressed with the extensive experience and professionalism displayed by the team at Balfour Beatty and have absolute faith in their ability to deliver on this important project.

“We remain committed to involving local contractors in the establishment of the new SAR bases and look forward to seeing these contracts signed in the coming months.”

Hector MacAulay, Balfour Beatty Delivery Unit Managing Director, said: “We will use our extensive experience of airport construction work to deliver these projects which are vital to the ongoing success of this emergency service throughout the UK. We look forward to working with our local suppliers to provide facilities that fulfil our customer’s expectations.”

Crossrail’s Farringdon development gets the go-ahead

Crossrail and development partner Cardinal Lysander have received planning approval from the London Borough of Islington for an over-site development at Farringdon Crossrail station.

The 207,000 sq ft development, located at the corner of Cowcross Street and Farringdon Road, will comprise sixstoreys of high-quality office space, with retail units at street level. The building has been carefully designed to integrate with Crossrail’s operating station and will also improve local views of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Ian Lindsay, Crossrail Land and Property Director said: “By 2018 Farringdon will be one of Britain’s busiest rail stations, connecting Crossrail, Thameslink and London Underground services. The developments will accelerate the area’s regeneration, helping Farringdon re-emerge as a destination in its own right.”

Charles Pinchbeck of Jones Lang LaSalle, development managers for Cardinal Lysander said: “Cardinal Lysander firmly believes in the future of Farringdon as one of London’s premier business districts. The scheme prepared with Crossrail and other stakeholders is well-placed to capture Farringdon’s potential.”

Farringdon is at the heart of the Crossrail route and will be a key link in bringing passengers directly from within Greater London and beyond to the business hubs in the City and Canary Wharf. When complete, over 140 trains per hour will flow through the Farringdon interchange.

Farringdon Crossrail station will comprise two platform tunnels, each the length of two football pitches, linking two new ticket halls, and will be fully accessible from street to train.

The western ticket, hall shared with Thameslink services, will have an entrance on Cowcross Street, directly opposite Farringdon Tube station.

The eastern ticket hall will have entrances at the Long Lane end of the station, on Lindsey Street and Hayne Street.  It will also link directly with the existing London Underground platforms at Barbican station.

The Cowcross Street scheme is one of two over-station developments planned in the Farringdon area. In June, Crossrail submitted plans for a significant new commercial development at Lindsey Street to sit above the new Crossrail station eastern ticket hall, opposite the historic Smithfield Market.

The over-site developments are scheduled to commence during the latter stages of work to construct Farringdon Crossrail station. Crossrail will commence services in 2018.

A total of 3 million square feet of development space is planned above Crossrail stations, helping create new business space, jobs and new homes for Londoners. The scale of Crossrail’s property plans are detailed in the Driving London Development brochure which also outlines the significant development and investment opportunities at London sites.

Scottish tidal industry gets a major boost

Development of the largest tidal array in Europe has today been given the go-ahead after Scottish Ministers awarded consent to build the first tidal energy project in the Pentland Firth.

MeyGen Limited, a competitor in the Scottish Government’s Saltire Prize, has been given the go ahead to install the tidal array in stages, beginning with a nine megawatt demonstration project of up to six turbines.

MeyGen plans to build an initial demonstration array of up to 6 turbines, with construction starting in early 2014 and turbines commissioned in 2015. This initial array will provide valuable environmental data for the subsequent phases and the wider tidal energy industry.

Ed Rollings, Environment & Consents Manager of MeyGen, said: “The award of this consent is the culmination of over 4 years of environmental work and extensive consultation with stakeholders and the local community in Caithness.

“The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters region is an internationally important area for wildlife and we are committed to continuing research with interested parties to ensure that the exploitation of this clean, predictable and sustainable energy resource is done so in a manner that does not have a detrimental effect on the species and habitats in the area.”

Ahead of the Scottish Renewables Marine Conference, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Today, we have granted consent to MeyGen Limited to develop the largest tidal turbine array in Europe and the first commercial project off these shores.

“This is a major step forward for Scotland’s marine renewable energy industry. When fully operational, the 86 megawatt array could generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 42,000 homes – around 40 per cent of homes in the Highlands.

“This exciting development in the waters around Orkney is just the first phase for a site that could eventually yield up 398 megawatts.”

Altrincham £70m regeneration plan gets the go-ahead

A £70 million building scheme to regenerate Altrincham town centre in Greater Manchester and pave the way for new jobs in the construction trades has been approved.

The Altair scheme will also see the building of 150 new apartments and townhouses with Nikal reporting interest already expressed by local first time buyers and downsizers.

The planning application on the 4.5 acre site will look to provide a new leisure centre and a range of restaurants, coffee shops and cafes aimed at local residents, whilst also attracting visitors from the wider Cheshire and Manchester areas.

The existing ice rink will remain in its current position and be extended to incorporate a new tenpin bowling alley.

Nick Payne, managing director of developers Nikal, said: “We’ve had a vision to regenerate this brownfield site for many years and it’s tremendously exciting to be taking the next steps with the support of the council.

“It’s a promising time for Altrincham; the refurbishment of the interchange is under way, there are new plans to revitalise the marketplace and now Altair.

“All these schemes will help rejuvenate the town and bring people and trade back into the area, as well as creating new jobs.”

Trafford Council Leader and Chair of Altrincham Forward, Councillor Matt Colledge said: “I am excited by the refreshed plans for Altair and the positive effect it will have on the town as a whole.

“A considerable effort has been made by Nikal and my officers to regain momentum on the scheme despite a challenging economic climate. This scheme is now more refined, and crucially deliverable, and in my view is a huge step forward in the rejuvenation of Altrincham.

“It now offers a very complementary approach to the town centre, with the mix of leisure uses and cafes bringing a much needed vibrancy to the area and will attract families to spend more time not just within Altair itself but across the town centre generally.”

Government funding set to boost the West Midlands economy

New scheme highlighting the national Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) and the creation of thousands of new jobs in the trades is set to be published next week.

The report will be presented by Birmingham City Council, which is the accountable body of the programme, and will progress to Cabinet on Monday 16 September.

Cllr Tahir Ali, cabinet member for Development, Jobs and Skills, said: “I am very pleased that the team at Birmingham City Council has shown they have the necessary experience to administer and manage £245 million of national AMSCI funding.

“This funding will create and safeguard thousands of jobs nationally and 1,000 across the region in the automotive and aerospace supply chain.

“It will give a real boost to the local and regional economy, supporting local companies who are at the top of their industries and eager to expand and will create lots of new, highly skilled jobs.”

Balfour Beatty gets £24m power line contract in Scotland

Balfour Beatty has been awarded a £22 million contract with SSE to construct a replacement overhead electricity line in the North of Scotland.

The project involves the construction of a 132kV power line connecting substations at Beauly and Mossford in the Highlands. The 26km route will replace two existing lines, which the firm will dismantle as part of the programme of works.

Access and building construction works have begun in August and the project is expected to be complete in 2015.

The replacement of the existing Beauly to Mossford line is a part of ongoing investment in the electricity transmission network in the north of Scotland.  The growth of renewable generation has been significant in recent years and is driving the need for transmission reinforcement.

Neil Kirkby, Managing Director, Balfour Beatty – Power Transmission & Distribution, said:
“Power is an important strategic market for Balfour Beatty, both in the UK and internationally and we are delighted to be continuing our relationship with SHE Transmission through this important infrastructure project.

“Scotland offers many unique challenges to our operations, including inhospitable terrain, unpredictable weather conditions and sensitive environments. Our teams have a wealth of experience of working within these constraints whilst delivering other power projects in the area, and lessons learnt from these operations will be key in the successful completion of the Beauly to Mossford line.”

The new contract is one of several major power infrastructure projects being carried out by Balfour Beatty’s Power Transmission & Distribution team in Scotland.

Preston City Deal to create thousands of new jobs and homes

A historic City Deal for Preston and Lancashire has been signed today, supporting the building of 17,420 new homes and £1 billion economic growth over the next 10 years.

The new deal is set to represent one of the most important economic centres outside London. It is forecast that more than 20,000 new jobs will be created – including 5,000 jobs on the Lancashire Enterprise Zone.

The Preston and Lancashire City Deal sets out a detailed plan which will support the building engineering industry and people working in the trades.

County Councillor Jennifer Mein, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “It is superb news for Lancashire we have successfully reached agreement on the Preston and Lancashire City Deal.

“This is a once in a generation opportunity that will enable Preston, and indeed Lancashire as a whole, to reach its full economic potential.

“The City Deal gives us the certainty to plan for the future. It is on a vast scale and forms the basis for major investment in transport and housing. It complements our existing work to create jobs and apprenticeships and will provide the ideal conditions for companies to invest and create employment.”

Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, the private and public sector partnership that provides strategic leadership for the county’s economy, will be responsible for ensuring that the City Deal is delivered.

Local Growth Minister, Mark Prisk said: “This government is committed to helping grow local economies and that’s why we are supporting those cities that want their own powers to deliver prosperity.

“This deal will give Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire the means to build 17,000 new homes and create local jobs by investing in their Enterprise Zone so they can successfully attract new businesses to the area.”

New Housing Development for Alva

Planning permission for 48 socially rented homes to be built on the site of the former Alva Academy has been granted, paving the way for building work to get underway.

Clackmannanshire Council has taken action to stimulate the local economy including marketing the development of the former Alva Academy site in Queen Street.

This led to developer Tigh Grian Limited buying the land from the Council after securing £2.2 million-worth of Scottish Government funding through the Greener Homes Innovation Scheme.

Housing, Health and Care Convenor Councillor Les Sharp said: “I’m delighted that this housing development has been given the go ahead. In the long term it will assist both the economic development and regeneration of the town of Alva and the wider area of Clackmannanshire. Our support for this development demonstrates our commitment to increasing the number of houses available for rent in our communities.”

Tigh Grian Limited are keen to roll-out the environmentally innovative technology and construction methods in delivering a larger affordable social housing project in partnership with a Link and Paragon Housing Associations in Alva.

The development will consist of 16 one-bedroomed cottage flats, 24 two-bedroomed houses and 8 three bedroomed houses.

Enterprise and Environment Convenor Councillor Donald Balsillie said: “I’m particularly pleased that these will be energy efficient, affordable housing, using modern methods of off site construction.

“As well as bringing additional funding into Clackmannanshire to provide an extra 48 social rented homes, it will help develop knowledge and experience to reduce fuel poverty and greenhouse gas emissions in the future.”

The committee heard that a footpath between Courthill and Duke Street is to be re-routed through the housing development. The report also pointed out that the number of parking spaces provided is in excess of that required for low cost housing.

Trades News, Contracts and JOBS! Updated 15 July 2013

£198m contract set to deliver hundreds of homes and new jobs in Leeds

Community regeneration specialist Keepmoat has won a £198 million contract to regenerate three areas of inner city Leeds, as part of the first ever PFI scheme awarded to the company.

The landmark scheme will see Keepmoat refurbish 1,245 properties, create 388 new homes and make environmental improvements to the Holbeck, Beeston Hill and Little London areas of the city.

The tender awarded by Leeds City Council and Sustainable Communities for Leeds (sc4L) will create 250 new skilled jobs and boost the building construction industry.

Sc4L was named a preferred bidder back in 2010, but the work funded through a Private Finance Initiative was delayed during the recession. With funding from a recently completed public bond issue now in place, survey teams are expected on site within the next few days and work is due to start in September.

Nick Ash, Regeneration Director at Keepmoat, said: “This scheme will make a huge difference to residents and communities in Leeds.

“As well as transforming large swathes of the inner city, this scheme is economically important for Leeds. It will create hundreds of skilled jobs, as well as giving local young people the chance to do apprenticeships and work experience.”

Keepmoat has been awarded the £145 million construction contract over the next three and a half years and a further £53 million in maintenance and repair contracts over the next 20 years.

Dave Sheridan, Chief Executive of Keepmoat, said: “This contract win is an endorsement of our exceptional track record in successfully transforming communities. As one of Britain’s foremost experts in community regeneration, Keepmoat has proven it can deliver quality and value for money no matter how large or small the scheme.

“We are currently working on a number of other PFI contracts across the UK as we pursue our commitments to improve British communities and deliver regeneration that works.”

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive member for housing, said: “I am very pleased that we can finally kick-start the project for these communities, who have waited a long time. I want to thank the residents for their continued patience, now is the time to finally deliver results!

“The project brings about a massive regeneration programme for this part of inner city Leeds, along with a boost to employment and the local community.”

Naz Parkar, Head of Area at the Homes and Communities Agency, said: “This is fantastic news for the communities of Little London, Beeston Hill and Holbeck who will now see their homes refurbished and a further 400 new homes built.”

Tender launch to boost Green Deal contractors

Hull City Council has launched the procurement process to appoint Green Deal partners to deliver energy efficiency improvements to thousands of properties across Hull.

Businesses are invited to become a partner that will deliver structural improvements and external solid wall insulation to approximately 3,250 council properties, alongside improvements to private sector properties either fully funded or through the use of a loan product.

Hull has recently launched a new, exciting and ambitious City Plan with the primary aim of creating 7,500 new jobs and improving income levels, health and skills.

This is an exciting opportunity for organisations to work with a City recently shortlisted as one of four contenders for the 2017 City of Culture.

Councillor Martin Mancey, Portfolio Holder for Energy City, said: “The procurement of the partner is part of the city’s wider City Plan objectives to become a green city as well as creating employment and learning opportunities.

“This is an excellent opportunity for a company to provide significant energy efficient improvements to homes that will reduce energy bills for residents, which in turn helps to tackle fuel poverty.”

The procurement opportunity is published in the Official Journal of the European Union Website TED (Tenders Electronic Daily) and YORtender website, the procurement portal of the Yorkshire and Humber regions.

Hull City Council has an agreement with the East Riding of Yorkshire Council which allows them to access the procured partner. This will widen the geographical area in which the Green Deal Partner could potentially deliver Green Deal measures.

The deadline to submit a completed Pre-Qualification Questionnaire is Wednesday 7 August at 5pm.

To support the process a Market Day for interested parties will take place on Wednesday 17 July at the Hull City Hall. Places are strictly limited and any interested contractors and building organisations should email regenerationteam@hullcc.gov.uk with name, job title, company address and contact telephone number.

Miller kick-starts Birmingham Arena Central scheme

Miller Developments has started work on the first phase of the Arena Central scheme in Birmingham that will see the building of a new 210-bedroom hotel. 

The redevelopment of Birmingham’s Arena Central is well underway, with demolition works clearing the way for the construction of a brand new Holiday Inn Express hotel.

The demolition of a redundant multi-storey car park at the corner of Holliday Street and Bridge Street is the first step towards the construction of the building at Birmingham city centre.

The 14-storey hotel will include an atrium link to the adjacent Crowne Plaza Hotel. Once completed, the Holiday Inn Express will back onto Arena Square, forming a key part of this office-led mixed use scheme.

Jonathan Wallis, Development Director at Miller Developments, said: “Arena Central forms an integral part of Birmingham City Council’s Big City Plan as well as having a prime position within the City Centre Enterprise Zone and I am exceptionally pleased that we have been able to appoint a local company to undertake these works.

“Alongside the development of the hotel, we are working closely with Birmingham City Council to deliver the site’s next commercial building of around 110,000 sq ft, which is planned to sit in a prominent position fronting Broad Street.

“This site is one of the most strategically important locations in the city and our proximity to the Library of Birmingham, the established city core, Brindleyplace and The Mailbox will undoubtedly help to create a fully connected, 21st century location.”

The 9.2 acre Arena Central site is at the heart of Birmingham’s City Centre Enterprise Zone, meaning that it benefits from simplified planning and reduced business rates as well as forming a significant part of the city’s vision for regeneration.

Councillor Tahir Ali, Cabinet Member for Development, Jobs and Skills, Birmingham City Council, said: “Arena Central is an ambitious mixed-use scheme with a key position in the City Centre Enterprise Zone, to which I give my full support.

“Projects such as this are vital to the on-going redevelopment of Birmingham and with an established central location I believe that Arena Central will be of real interest to a wide variety of occupiers, further boosting the reputation of the city and region as a whole.”

£1.9bn net benefit to improve energy efficiency

Proposals for new energy saving assessments for larger firms in the UK have been published today by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

These assessments, required by the new Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), will enable companies to identify opportunities to save money on energy bills through improved energy efficiency and could benefit the UK by £1.9 billion.

Under the scheme, which is being developed as part of the UK’s implementation of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive, large enterprises will be required to undertake ESOS assessments to identify cost-effective ways to invest in energy efficiency, helping reduce energy bills and increase competitiveness.

Organisations who take up energy efficiency recommendations will face lower energy bills – on average, an enterprise taking up recommendations from energy savings assessment will invest £15,000 per year in energy efficiency measures and benefit from bill savings of £56,400 per year.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “Effective energy efficiency means cutting out waste and increasing profits. These new energy saving assessments will help our largest firms identify where money can be saved by installing energy efficiency measures.

“The potential benefits of cutting down on energy waste are significant – £56,400 savings per year on the energy bills of the average large business, and £1.9 billion benefits to the UK as a whole.”

Energy Minister Michael Fallon said: “Investing in energy efficiency can hugely benefit our big businesses, helping British businesses get ahead in the global race.

“Energy saving assessments will show exactly where the biggest savings can be made and if firms then go forward and invest, they will soon see the benefits.”

There will be no legal requirements to implement the energy saving measures identified, but the assessments could help large businesses, large charities and other large organisations to consider the benefits of investing in energy efficiency.

Net social benefits of £1.9 billion could be achieved even if 6 per cent of the potential energy savings identified through assessments in buildings and industrial processes are implemented by participating organisations.

The new scheme will complement other Government initiatives aimed at helping business make investments to improve energy efficiency, such as the non-domestic Green Deal, Electricity Demand Reduction, and Enhanced Capital Allowances for energy-saving plant and machinery.

Enterprise zones investment grows to over a billion pounds

Eleven enterprise zones will benefit from a £150 million boost from the government to create local jobs and secure growth across the country, Local Growth Minister Mark Prisk announced today.

The fourth round of the Regional Growth Fund will help companies in enterprise zones expand their operations, creating new private sector jobs and economic growth.

This means enterprise zones and the local enterprise partnerships which support them will benefit from just under £800 million of government investment which has been already matched by almost £230 million of private sector investment, with many more on the pipeline.

Local Growth Minister Mark Prisk said: “This is more good news for enterprise zones. They are already having a positive impact in the economy, having created 3,000 jobs and attracted £230 million in private sector investment since their standing start 1 year ago.

“Their significant tax incentives, simplified planning and super fast broadband are making the country a great place to do business and rebalancing the economy by creating new local jobs and business ventures.

“Today’s extra investment will give our enterprise zones another boost towards delivering strong and lasting growth so we can compete in the global economy.”

This announcement is just one of range of steps the government has taken to rebalance the economy and support local businesses looking to grow and create jobs.

The government has reformed the way councils are funded by establishing 39 local enterprise partnerships that along with enterprise zones are able to access the billions of government investment to support their local economy, including the £3.2 billion Regional Growth Fund.

UK wind energy set to boost the trades and create new jobs

The power of the UK’s offshore and onshore wind resource is set to be harnessed further today, with the go-ahead given for two large wind farms that will create new jobs.

Planning consent has been granted for what will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm off the Lincolnshire and Norfolk coast, with a total investment of £3.6 billion that will create 1,130 jobs and provide power to 820,000 homes.

New jobs are set to be created as a result of that development that will generate enough power for almost one million homes when completed and bring significant investment into the economy.

Secretary of State for Energy Edward Davey said: “The investments by Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm Limited and Vattenfall are testament to the power of inward investment in the UK.

“These two projects will attract billions in investment into the UK, support hundreds of skilled green jobs in Lincolnshire, Norfolk and in the county boroughs of Neath Port Talbot and Rhondda Cynon Taf whilst providing homes with clean energy.

“Only last week the Prime Minister opened the London Array, the largest operating wind farm in the world, and today we gave planning permission to build a bigger offshore wind farm and also welcome the go-ahead of the biggest onshore wind farm in England and Wales. Offshore and onshore wind is an important contributor to our energy mix.

“We have provided certainty early to onshore and offshore wind investors and now see significant investment decisions being made that will benefit the UK’s economy for years to come.”

BAM gets £10m Salford technical college contract

Salford’s new University Technical College (UTC) at MediaCityUK has taken a major step forward with the selection of BAM Construction for the £10.4 million design and build contract.

The proposed UTC@MediaCityUK, as it would be known, will specialise in the creative and digital industries with a direct link to boosting employment and stimulating economic growth.

UTC Project Manager Abigail Williams said: “UTC@MediaCityUK will provide outstanding opportunities for young people to develop skills in the digital and media industries and we believe that this new college will deliver the right facilities and environment to foster our students’ ambitions”.

BAM construction’s bid manager, Adrian Blackie said: “UTC@MediaCityUK is a fantastic and exciting project to be involved with due to the specific areas of specialisation it will offer, and we are delighted to have been selected.

“We have developed excellent relationships with the sponsors and look forward to working with them to deliver this impressive purpose built UTC to serve the Greater Manchester region.”

Architect IBI Taylor Young is working on designs for the 6,200 sq m building which will accommodate the industries’ specific requirements and include state-of-the-art TV and Radio studios, as well as Interactive Media and Gaming studios.

Supported by the Department of Education and funded by the Education Funding Agency the UTC@MediaCityUK is sponsored by a comprehensive network of partners led by The Aldridge Foundation, The University of Salford, Salford City College and The Lowry.

The design and build team includes architect IBI Taylor Young, civil and structural engineers Curtins, building services consultant Ramboll, landscape architect Planit IE and interior designer Space Zero.

Lovell lands £269m Greenwich estate rebuild

The Royal Borough of Greenwich has appointed developer Lovell to undertake a £269 million redevelopment programme which will transform three Woolwich council estates and pave the way for new construction jobs.

The project, in partnership with asra Housing Group, will see the demolition and redevelopment of the 1,064-home Connaught, Morris Walk and Grove estates and their replacement with 1,500 new high-quality, mixed tenure homes.

Construction work on the 13-year project for the three estates, which occupy around 12 hectares of land to the east and west of Woolwich town centre, is set to start in May 2014 following an extensive stakeholder consultation and the submission of planning applications.

Lovell, which has a solid record of achievement in working with communities to create successful, sustainable mixed tenure neighbourhoods, was chosen for the scheme following a rigorous selection process. The architects are Pollard Thomas Edwards.

The scheme will create 975 new homes for open market sale; 375 homes for affordable rent and 150 shared ownership homes. All properties will be energy efficient, meeting Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

Asra Housing Group will be responsible for the management of the new shared ownership and affordable rent homes.

Lovell regional director Peter Taylor says: “We’re delighted to have been selected to work with residents, the Royal Borough of Greenwich and asra Housing Group to deliver this wide-ranging regeneration programme which will bring new open market and affordable housing of the highest quality to the area along with new community facilities and infrastructure and significant employment and training opportunities.”

Matt Cooney, Chief Executive of asra Housing Group, said: “We are proud to be delivering more than 500 homes affordable homes. This is happening at a time when there is a housing shortage, particularly in London.

“This development will breathe new life into the area and we are certain it will become a thriving community who will be living in high quality sustainable homes at affordable prices.”

Work starts on new school campus

Kier Construction has started work on a brand new £5.2 million primary school campus in North Tyneside that will boost the construction industry and help the local economy.

The Longbenton Voluntary Aided Schools campus will house two schools – St Stephen’s RC Primary and St Bartholomew’s Church of England Primary.

Children from both schools were invited to a special blessing and ceremony where they helped perform the official turf cutting alongside council chairman Cllr Janet Hunter, and cabinet member for children, young people and learning, Cllr Ian Grayson.

Kier is building the campus on the former Goathland Primary School site in Longbenton. Both new schools will retain their individual identities and remain two distinct and separate schools with their own registration, faith and ethos.

Cllr Grayson said: “This is an exciting and long-awaited day and I am delighted and honoured to be helping the children cut the first piece of ground.

“This is a first for North Tyneside. We are building two fantastic new primary schools in one state-of-the-art building with bright, modern classrooms, a community building and extensive outdoor facilities. The children will get the best possible chance to learn and achieve their full potential, while teachers will have the best possible environment in which to deliver the first-class educational opportunities our children deserve.

“This is a brilliant opportunity and I can’t wait for the building work to be finished and the new schools to be open in September next year.”

The event was also attended by the Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn, local councillors, head teachers, teachers, church officials and representatives from Kier Construction.

Mrs Redfearn said: “This symbolic ceremony marks the start of the work and who better to get it under way than the children themselves.  They are our VIPs – very important pupils – who are such enthusiastic and wonderful ambassadors for their schools.”

Steve Lynn, Kier Construction project manager, added: “We are delighted to be involved with this innovative project, which sees two high quality schools housed under one roof benefitting from shared efficiencies and savings. It is satisfying to get on site and make a start on what will be a fantastic facility.”

Hull Council appoints housing developer to kick-start new regeneration scheme

Hull City Council has appointed Compendium Living as its development partner to build new modern housing within the Ings area of Hull that will create new trade jobs.

Hull City Council and Compendium Living have been working together to develop plans and designs for 770 new quality homes that will transform the Ings focus area into an ‘urban village’ and boost the local economy.

This appointment will allow the Council and Compendium Living to replicate the success of the housing developments created by the Council and its partners in the west of the city.

These are some of the fastest selling developments in the country last year. It is hoped that following planning approval building will begin in summer 2014.

Councillor John Black, Portfolio Holder for Strategic and Operational Housing, said: “We are pleased to announce the appointment of Compendium Living as our Lead Developer Partner for Ings. We look forward to working in partnership with Compendium to develop high quality, modern housing in a much needed area. These are exciting times for the area and it presents a real opportunity for the community to shape the area for generations to come and to be involved in the regeneration.”

Dave Bullock, Managing Director of Compendium Living, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been appointed by Hull City Council to carry out this very important regeneration project, and now to be starting the detailed work which will lead to the revitalisation of the Ings area of East Hull.

“We believe that the scale and quality of the plans we have devised with the City Council and local people will help transform this part of the city and create a more attractive, safe and popular place to live for all those people who make this their home.”

Galliford Try wins £41m Edinburgh hospital job

Galliford Try and its Scottish business partner, Morrison Construction, have been appointed as preferred contractors for the first phase of the £41.8 million redevelopment of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital.

In addition to that contract, Galliford Try has been chosen to provide ongoing hard facilities maintenance and lifecycle management worth approximately £18 million over the next 25 years.

Morrison Construction will deliver a new state-of-the-art 15,500 sqm specialist mental health facility on the west edge of the existing campus in Morningside, Edinburgh.

When operational the facility will provide services for the adult acute mental health inpatient service, intensive psychiatric care, national brain injury unit, mental health rehabilitation and older people’s mental health assessment and treatment services.

Galliford Try Chief Executive Greg Fitzgerald said: “We are delighted to have been selected by hub South East for this major project in Edinburgh.

“This appointment demonstrates the strength of our business across our construction, facilities management and investments teams and we look forward to working with hub and NHS Lothian to create the top class facilities the local public deserve.”

Preston reaches out with new homes and jobs

A major new development in north Preston will boost economic growth and create more than 175 jobs if planning application is approved by Preston City Council.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has unveiled plans to create up to 300 homes, neighbourhood facilities and a major link road on land off Eastway in Preston.

Building construction work is set to continue for 15 years, paving the way for new employment opportunities in the trades.

The 25-hecatare site has been masterplanned following extensive consultation with local residents, statutory consultees and a panel of North West design experts.

A key feature of the layout of the new development has been to work within the framework of the existing ecological features, creating an attractive network of open spaces and ensuring permeability from the site into the surrounding area.

Tom Warburton, head of Cumbria and Lancashire at the HCA said: “The site has been identified for development for many years so submitting a planning application for this scheme is great news for the area.

“Once we get the go ahead, we can start to unlock the site to create much needed new homes for Preston.

“Longer term, this 15-year development will include new infrastructure to support the growth of Preston city centre and surrounding areas, bringing with it new jobs, enhanced communities and economic growth for Central Lancashire.”

Leeds City Council gets £120m housing regeneration boost

Leeds City Council gets £120m housing regeneration boost

Leeds City Council has signed a major contract set to deliver a huge regeneration programme, build new homes and create hundreds of trade jobs.

The Council and sustainable communities for Leeds (sc4L) have signed the contract that will last for 20 years and help communities across the Little London, Beeston Hill and Holbeck areas of the city.

Local communities will benefit from the refurbishment of the 1245 council homes, and the construction of 388 new council homes to rent with environmental improvements to the estates.

Capital investment of over £120 million over the next three and a half years will provide training and employment schemes leading to jobs, work placements, apprenticeships and social enterprise opportunities.

The project is funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government under the Private Finance Initiative.

Leeds City Council has forecast that the refurbishment of homes and new regeneration activity will improve the lives of local residents and boost the local economy.

Councillor for neighbourhoods and planning, Peter Gruen, said: “We welcome the news that this project has reached financial close. I am very pleased that we can finally start to deliver the project for these communities, who have waited a long time. I want to thank the residents for their continued patience, now is the time to finally deliver results!

“The council has worked extremely hard with its partners over many years to move this project along at the various stages. It is great to sign it off and be able to tell local people they will start to see work happening soon.

Jon Hinchliff, sc4L general manager said: “We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to work with Leeds City Council and the local communities within Little London, Beeston Hill and Holbeck.

“The team we have assembled to deliver this project is local, committed, professional and vastly experienced. We are all keen to get started and are looking forward to making a positive difference to the neighbourhoods and communities living here.”

Rydon secures £11.3m housing contract

Rydon wins £11.3m housing contract

Thames Valley Housing Association (TVHA) has appointed Rydon as their delivery partner for a new £11.3 million development on the site of the former Newman House office block in Surrey.

The scheme will see the building of 90 one and two-bedroom apartments with shared courtyard space built above 1,100 square metres of commercial space and a new car park.

The new six-storeys building will occupy a central location on the corner of Victoria Road and Russells Crescent, working with local sub-contractors and people in the trades.

75 homes will be available through TVHA on a shared ownership basis with the remaining 15 available through affordable rent. The retail space will comprise one large unit of around 500 square metres and three smaller units of around 200 square metres.

Mark Mitchener, Managing Director, Rydon Construction said: “This is a significant scheme for the town and we will ensure local sub-contractors reap the benefits throughout the construction process. We also intend to support the next generation of the construction industry through a training programme for young people in the area.”

The development is due for completion in spring 2015 and forms part of the master plan for the regeneration of Horley, which includes 2,600 new homes, better public transport as well as enhanced recreation and leisure facilities.

Geeta Nanda, Chief Executive Officer of Thames Valley Housing added: “We’re delighted to be working with Rydon on a proposal that will help to regenerate this important site in Horley town centre and improve its vitality by providing quality affordable homes both for rent and for shared ownership.”

“The new homes have all been designed to a very high standard and are very local to supermarkets, shops and other amenities.  The homes for sale been designed to appeal to professional people wanting to get onto the housing ladder, ideal because of the close proximity to the London to Brighton mainline and to Gatwick as well as the town centre.”

Rydon secures £11.3m housing contract

Thames Valley Housing Association (TVHA) has appointed Rydon as their delivery partner for a new £11.3 million development on the site of the former Newman House office block in Surrey.

The scheme will see the building of 90 one and two-bedroom apartments with shared courtyard space built above 1,100 square metres of commercial space and a new car park.

The new six-storeys building will occupy a central location on the corner of Victoria Road and Russells Crescent, working with local sub-contractors and people in the trades.

75 homes will be available through TVHA on a shared ownership basis with the remaining 15 available through affordable rent. The retail space will comprise one large unit of around 500 square metres and three smaller units of around 200 square metres.

Mark Mitchener, Managing Director, Rydon Construction said: “This is a significant scheme for the town and we will ensure local sub-contractors reap the benefits throughout the construction process. We also intend to support the next generation of the construction industry through a training programme for young people in the area.”

The development is due for completion in spring 2015 and forms part of the master plan for the regeneration of Horley, which includes 2,600 new homes, better public transport as well as enhanced recreation and leisure facilities.

Geeta Nanda, Chief Executive Officer of Thames Valley Housing added: “We’re delighted to be working with Rydon on a proposal that will help to regenerate this important site in Horley town centre and improve its vitality by providing quality affordable homes both for rent and for shared ownership.”

“The new homes have all been designed to a very high standard and are very local to supermarkets, shops and other amenities.  The homes for sale been designed to appeal to professional people wanting to get onto the housing ladder, ideal because of the close proximity to the London to Brighton mainline and to Gatwick as well as the town centre.”

Skills2Learn opens new centre to make learning easier

An award-winning virtual reality and digital training developer, Skills2Learn, has celebrated its successful multimedia legacy with the launch of a new state-of-the-art Head Office in Milton Keynes.

Skills2Learn has been helping people from different trades to gain professional skills in a risk-free environment through innovative e-learning training solutions and game-based environment scenarios.

In a true Skills2Learn style, Mayor Brian White and Mark Lancaster MP, cut the ribbon and unveiled the plaque using an interactive virtual reality programme, which has been designed and built by a dedicated team at Skills2Learn.

Commenting on the long-lasting legacy of Skills2Learn and the exciting launch of company’s new Head Office Mark Lancaster MP said: “This is my first experience of opening an office with the power of just one finger!”

Other official guests included Iain Stewart MP and Mayoress Mrs Leena White who were able to view the new offices, meet with members of staff and experience some of the new technologies that Skills2Learn are pioneering including interactive virtual reality scenario based assessments, mobile augmented reality solutions and the new revolutionary virtual holographic environment.

Commenting on the official opening of the centre Chief Executive of Skill2Learn, Majid Al-Kader, said: “We are pleased that so many friends and clients could join us today, this is a great opportunity for us to say thank you to all who have supported us over the past few years and introduce the new members of our team.

“We are very proud of our achievements and I think the number of clients who have supported us today is a great reflection of not only the standard of the work that the team produces but how we work with our clients and deliver their objectives.”

Mr Al-Kader added: “We moved in at the end of April and have already added more than twelve new members of staff to the team. This year, Skills2Learn has secured major projects with well-known National and International clients.

“We wanted to stay local to Milton Keynes especially as we have such great links with local colleges and business’ so these new offices are ideal.”

Many of Skills2Learn’s clients and partners joined the celebration including Babcock, British Gas, Capita, Cengage Learning, Centrica, EAL, EU Skills, Network Rail, Milton Keynes College, College of North West London, Stoke on Trent College, Central Bedfordshire College and Weldability SIF.

Support for energy intensive industries

Support for energy intensive industriesEnergy intensive businesses will get help to offset the cost of energy policy on their electricity bills under plans published by Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon.

Proposals to exempt the most electricity intensive industries from a proportion of the costs of Contracts for Difference will be subject to consultation. The move will “level the playing field” so that British businesses are not made uncompetitive due to the costs of this policy.

Contracts for Difference have been introduced to support investment in low carbon electricity generation. They are a significant element of Electricity Market Reform (EMR) and aim to stimulate investment by providing a stable long-term price for low carbon electricity.

Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon said: “As we reform the market to attract new investment into our energy infrastructure, it is vital that we do not undermine the competitiveness of UK industry.

“Energy intensive manufacturing is central to strengthening our industrial base and rebalancing our economy. These industries are significant employers and play an important role in the low carbon economy through the products they manufacture.”

The exemption from the costs of Contracts for Difference is part of a government package to support the most electricity intensive industries. This consultation sets out what the exemption might look like, and seeks views on eligibility criteria.

The recommended option is to use the same eligibility criteria as the EU Emissions Trading System and Carbon Price Support indirect costs compensation. This would exempt industries with a total combined value to the UK of approximately £50 billion in turnover, employing 150,000 people.

David Cameron launches world’s largest offshore wind farm

The Prime Minister has attended the inauguration of London Array, the world’s largest offshore wind farm located 12 miles off the Kent and Essex coasts in the outer Thames Estuary.

More than 75 organisations and 6,700 individuals were involved in its construction, with up to 1,000 people working on site. The lessons learned are expected to help reduce the cost of future offshore wind farms.

Speaking at the inauguration, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “This is a great day for Kent and a great day for Britain. London Array has been built by some of the bravest seamen, the most talented engineers and hardest workers. It will bring benefits to Kent for years to come.”

London Array will be able to power the equivalent of around half a million UK households and should help reduce harmful CO2 emissions by more than 900,000 tonnes a year.

As well as marking a big step forward for UK renewable energy generation it will help ensure a reliable electricity source for the south east.

Inward investment for the project came from Denmark-based DONG Energy, the E.ON Group and Abu Dhabi’s Masdar.

Later, the PM joined Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in London for the official ground-breaking ceremony of the 39-acre Battersea Power Station site redevelopment.

The long-awaited project will transform the area into a vibrant new neighbourhood and see the iconic Grade II listed power station fully restored and opened to the public, 30 years after it was decommissioned.

Some 3,500 new homes, shops, restaurants and offices will be built, set in a 6-acre riverside park with the power station at its heart.

The redevelopment will generate 15,000 new jobs and has attracted inward investment from a Malaysian-led consortium of SP Setia, Sime Darby and EPF, with redevelopment undertaken by the British-based Battersea Power Station Development Company.

Miller wins £48m of schools work in South East

Miller Construction has been appointed as preferred contractor for 13 schools across the South East, with a construction value of over £48 million.

Clients include Hampshire County Council, Reading Borough Council, Surrey County Council and West Sussex County Council that will share services arrangement set to boost the trades and stimulate employment.

The Property Services Cluster (PSC), which enables all four Councils to work together to achieve substantial efficiency benefits and cost reductions, has selected the IESE (Improvement and Efficiency South East) framework to deliver about 30 schools with a combined construction value of £100 million.

Chris Webster, Chief Executive, Miller Construction, said: “We are delighted to have been selected to deliver services on 13 schools for the Property Services Cluster via the IESE framework.

“This appointment reiterates our continued commitment to our strategy focussing on long-term partnerships and framework agreements.

“We have a proven track record in the education market and we are confident the schools we deliver as part of this framework will leave behind a positive legacy for the pupils who will use them.”

The latest tranche will see Miller initially delivering pre-construction services on ten schools across Surrey; De Stafford Primary, Stamford Green Primary, Cranmere Primary, Hurst Park Primary, Esher High School, Redhill, Horley NE, Langshott Primary, Earlswood Junior and Holmesdale Infant School, with a combined value of £35.5 million.

Work gets underway for new Durham homes

Construction work is underway to build 24 affordable homes in County Durham, thanks to a partnership between Yuill Homes and the Vela Group.

Leading North East housebuilder Yuill Homes will deliver eight new two bedroom bungalows for rent at Greenwood Cottages in Thornley Village with funds generated at its successful nearby private housing development, Crossways.

Built with support from Durham County Council and the local parish council, the energy-efficient homes will be available to rent through the Vela Group, which incorporates Tristar Homes and Housing Hartlepool. Each home will be allocated to people in the greatest housing need via the Durham Key Options lettings system.

Stephen Jackson, head of partnership development at Yuill Homes, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the Vela Group on these important affordable housing schemes. Each scheme also forms part of our Affordable Homes Programme with the Homes and Communities Agency to continue to provide new affordable homes in local communities over the next few years.”

As well as delivering eight new affordable homes in Thornley Village, Yuill Homes is also working in partnership with the Vela Group to develop 16 two and three bedroom homes for rent at its Denewood development in Murton.

Part funded with an investment from the HCA, the £1.3 million scheme will see each home at the development built to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3 Standard, helping residents to keep their energy bills affordable.

Sarah Fawcett, Head of Development at Vela said: “We have a long history of working with Yuill Homes, to deliver attractive, high quality modern homes for customers to rent or buy as shared owners. These are our first schemes in Thornley and Murton and we know that people will be delighted with the new homes that we will be able to offer here.”

Cllr Eddie Tomlinson, Cabinet member for housing, said: “Durham County Council is committed to ensuring more affordable housing is available across the county and we’re delighted that Yuill Homes are building such good quality homes in line with our strategic aims.

“The new houses promise to not only be built to a high standard but will also be environmentally friendly, increasing the range of affordable homes for County Durham residents.”

Construction News June 1 – 12

New homes and employment boost at new Telford development

New homes and employment boost at new Telford developmentMuch-needed new homes, jobs and training opportunities are being created in Telford as part of an ambitious £11 million project by Sanctuary Group.

The housing and care provider is developing 86 extra care apartments for over 55s as well as 12 apartments specially designed for people with learning difficulties, in the suburb of Ketley.

A 500-strong workforce has begun work on the Ketley Park Road site as part of a £60 million partnership with contractor Seddon to build more than 700 new homes in the Midlands.

Local suppliers will be used wherever possible on the development and there will be grants available for local community projects.

Andrew White, Sanctuary’s Development Director, said: “This is an ambitious project which will create much needed homes for older people in this part of Ketley. Sanctuary is dedicated to creating new jobs and apprentice posts at all our developments and this site is no different.”

Councillor Hilda Rhodes, Telford and Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Customer Services, marked the start of work on site during a special sod cutting ceremony.

She said: “This is an excellent scheme which very much reflects the council’s drive to support businesses and I was delighted to kick start the work on the site. I look forward to seeing the projects develop in the months to come.”

Ian Calder from Seddon said: “We’re delighted to be creating apprentice training opportunities through this important housing scheme. Boosting local economies by providing new jobs and training is a central feature of our work with Sanctuary.”

The project has been part funded by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) through the Affordable Homes Programme and is being carried out in partnership with Telford and Wrekin Council.

Extra investment bringing ‘real results’ and jobs- says Jane Hutt

Extra investment bringing real results and jobs says Jane Hutt

An extra £1.3 billion has been spent on building affordable homes, new health facilities and schools in the past year, the Welsh government has said.

Finance Minister Jane Hutt has outline today how the Welsh Government has helped deliver new hundreds of affordable homes since the its  Infrastructure Investment Plan was published in May 2012.

Jane Hutt said that despite cuts to the capital Budgets, the Welsh Government has focused on important priorities of creating new jobs and boosting economic growth.

Ms Hutt said: “The additional investment we have made from capital reserves, totalling almost £462m, in the short term has the potential to create around 8,000 jobs during construction phases.   In the longer term, this will boost growth and support the delivery of more efficient public services.

“In addition we have continued to work across the Welsh Government to maximise our opportunities.  For example, we have worked to develop an Infrastructure Priority in the 2014 – 2020 European Structural Fund Programmes.

“A potential £1.8bn source of investment which could make a significant contribution to the delivery of our key priorities.”

The additional infrastructure investment in Wales will see a number of construction schemes underway including  the Local Government Borrowing Initiative to the 21st Century Schools programme and completion of the A465 through a non-dividend investment vehicle

Enterprise zones get £100m building boost

Enterprise zone activity gets £100m building boost

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has announced to increase the Government’s infrastructure investment in enterprise zones by £100 million that will create thousands of local jobs in the trades.

The investment package will help the thirteen enterprise zones to receive more money for 18 projects to build new service roads, car parking and other infrastructure, transforming ‘shovel ready sites into job ready sites’.

The fund, originally £60 million, is designed to help zones reach their real growth potential faster as economic engine rooms of local economies. Following a competitive bidding process the successful proposals will now undergo further testing to ensure value for money for the taxpayer.

Enterprise zones have already created 3,000 new jobs, attracted 126 businesses, generated 105,000 square metres of new commercial floorspace and secured almost £229 million of extra private sector investment.

In addition to this, 5 enterprise zones are also receiving £24 million to tackle traffic bottlenecks and road congestion near their site through Department for Transport funding.

Eric Pickles said: “Enterprise zones are stimulating job creation and economic growth in different parts of the country with their special package of incentives to attractive new business ventures.

“The government is putting its money where its mouth is and making sure enterprise zones have the buildings and infrastructure they need to make sites ready for business to set up in.

“Enterprise zones are proving extremely popular with business – they have already created over 3,000 jobs for local people – a 75% increase in just 5 months – and many more will be coming down the pipeline because of this new support.”

Andy Rose, Chief Executive at the Homes and Communities Agency, which is administering the fund, said: “The response from the enterprise zones to this investment opportunity demonstrates just how crucial upfront infrastructure is to development.

“It is great news that this additional investment means more priority sites can be funded than first thought, creating more jobs in the areas that need them.”

Today’s announcement is just one of range of steps the government has taken to rebalance the economy and support local businesses to grow and create jobs.

The government has reformed the way councils are funded so they have new incentives to go for growth and support local businesses. It has established 39 local enterprise partnerships that along with enterprise zones are able to access millions in government investment to support their local economy, including the £770 million Growing Places Fund and £2.4 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Mayor announces £40m to create jobs and economic growth

London Mayor Boris Johnson

The schemes backed by the London Enterprise Panel (LEP) are in areas where ambitious regeneration plans are in place and where transport infrastructure will help unlock significant economic growth.

These schemes are set to deliver improved rail links between Tottenham Hale and the Upper Lee Valley; major road improvements in Bexley and support Ealing to harness the economic opportunities coming from Crossrail.

Collectively the projects could safeguard existing or create an estimated 45,000 jobs, support the construction of tens of thousands of homes and attract significant private investment into deprived areas.

The LEP’s adoption of these bids is a significant milestone for these projects and the proposals will now progress to a final stage, including more detailed work developing business cases, technical modelling and delivery mechanisms.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Transport links are a vital precursor to economic development. This money is earmarked for investment into transport schemes which have significant potential to stimulate growth and job creation.

“I welcome the London Enterprise Panel’s assessment of which projects are best placed to do this and City Hall will now be working with the bid teams to progress these ambitious proposals.”

The bids approved by the London Enterprise Panel will provide extra services at Northumberland Park and Tottenham Hale, improving rail links between Stratford, the Upper Lee Valley and beyond including Stansted Airport.

Collectively with Angel Road Station improvements, this will support the commencement of the Meridian Water development and regeneration at Northumberland Park where there are plans for an estimated 3,500 homes and 500 jobs.

It will also support the development of an estimated 15,700 new homes, 21,900 new jobs in the Lee Valley and up to 15,000 jobs in adjoining areas.

£2.5 million allocated to upgrade Angel Road station and support regeneration in Enfield (bid from Enfield Borough Council). Angel Road station is vital to the regeneration of Enfield and specifically to support the Meridian Water development and regeneration in the Lower Lea Valley more widely.

Station improvements will increase passenger capacity through an enhanced commuter rail service and boost employment across wide range of trades in the building construction industry.

Government to unlock thousands of new homes and jobs

Government to unlock thousands of new homes and jobsThe Government is going to build thousands of homes at stalled housing sites and create new construction jobs through a multi-million investment package set to kick-start the economy and boost the trades.

Today, Housing Minister Mark Prisk confirmed that 14 major housing schemes across the UK  will benefit from the investment that can start building up to 38,000 new homes.

A share of the Local Infrastructure Fund, which has a total budget of £474 million, will create thousands of jobs for local communities and people in the trades across the country.

The funding programme is targeted at large-scale sites of over 1,500 homes that could deliver real benefit to their communities.

Housing Minister Mark Prisk said: “This government is determined to get Britain building again. That’s why we are working with local housing schemes that have their plans in place, but need help to move forward.

“Our support through the Local Infrastructure Fund will help deliver the homes this country needs, create thousands of jobs and inject millions of pounds of investment into local economies.”

Homes and Communities Agency Chief Executive, Andy Rose, said: “This investment from the Local Infrastructure Fund is about building momentum behind some of those larger locally-backed housing developments to accelerate the supply of new homes.

“There is work to be done to ensure these bids deliver value for money for the taxpayer and fit with local priorities, but I am looking forward to getting out on site and seeing progress on successful bids in the months ahead.”

Hinkley Point builders to get paid at least £13 an hour


Hinkley Point builders to get paid at least £13 an hour

Construction unions have signed a ground breaking industrial relations agreement to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point that will employ 5,000 workers at the peak of construction.

The project will be the largest single site construction project in Britain. The Civil Engineering Sector Agreement has established pay rates for the workforce which is significantly above those agreed by the Construction Industry Joint Council.

It has been confirmed that a minimum craft rate of £13 an hour for civil engineering work and additional bonus payments to workers on site will establish the job as the best-paid site in the UK.

After months of negotiating, unions UCATT, Unite and GMB have secured agreement with the client EDF Energy and the principal contractors Bouygues Laing O’Rourke for a Common Framework Agreement which addresses how industrial relations will be managed and a Civil Engineering Sector Agreement.

The agreement also makes clear that the training of traditional apprenticeships and adult trainees will be a priority. A target of training at least 500 apprentices and adult trainees during the lifetime of the project has been set.

In an important step to combat casualisation and poor productivity the site will only directly employ workers through PAYE. For the first time in such an agreement there will also be strict rules placed on the recruitment of workers through employment agencies.

A top of the range occupational health scheme will be established to help ensure the short-term and long-term health of the construction workforce.

The agreement also sets out provision for a bonus scheme, a productivity scheme and milestone payments, which has laid the foundations for the best paid construction project the industry has seen.

Steve Murphy, General Secretary of construction union UCATT, said: “This ground breaking agreement will ensure that workers building Hinckley Point will receive excellent rates of pay and first class conditions. This agreement will act as the blueprint for all future major construction projects.”

Kevin Coyne, Unite National Officer for Energy and Utilities, said: “A new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point will be a significant milestone towards meeting Britain’s low carbon energy needs.

“We’re pleased that progress towards a greener future is also characterised by good pay and conditions for thousands of highly skilled workers. The agreement reached between the unions and employers is the result of intense but constructive negotiations.

“This agreement sends a clear message to the rest of the construction industry that good productive relationships can deliver positive results. The unions and employers have made real progress in laying the right foundations for this important project. It is now time for the government to stop delaying and give EDF the certainty it needs so the company can get on with the job of meeting the UK’s energy needs.”

Inward investment on the rise as Olympics brings £2.5bn to UK economy

Inward investment on the rise as Olympics brings £2.5bn to UK economy

Britain’s Olympics has delivered a £2.5 billion boost in foreign direct investment (FDI) over the past year, bringing with it more than 31,000 jobs, according to preliminary figures published today.

The investment projects generated following the 2012 Olympics’ British Business Embassy programme of global business summits have helped ensure that the UK has again retained its position as the leading European destination for foreign direct investment.

The preliminary data published today at the Global Investment Conference shows that during 2012-13, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) recorded 1,462 projects which brought with them or safeguarded 163,489 jobs. Of these 58,170 are new jobs – beating both the quantity of investment attracted and employment secured in the previous year.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron joined other high profile delegates from 40 countries at the Global Investment Conference, including the German and Canadian finance Ministers, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde, global chief executive officers, sovereign wealth funds representatives and corporate investors.

Senior Ministers Chancellor George Osborne, Energy Secretary Ed Davey, Trade Minister Lord Green, Treasury Ministers Greg Clark and Lord Deighton and London Mayor Boris Johnson also spoke to delegates about the UK’s compelling offer as both a hub for global growth and an international investment destination.

Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green said: “Foreign investment creates hundreds of thousands of jobs and helps to increase the productivity and competitiveness of the UK economy. It’s a vital strand of the Government’s plan for growth.

“The 2012 Olympics were a once in a generation opportunity for the UK to showcase to the world Britain’s compelling investment offer and these preliminary figures are very encouraging. Despite strong competition from our traditional competitors and emerging economies, Britain has retained its position as the leading destination for foreign direct investment in Europe.

“To retain the UK’s enviable position as one of the most attractive global locations of choice, Britain will need to continue to work hard to attract high value foreign investment in the coming year and beyond.“

The preliminary data published today compares favourably with last year’s 1406 recorded projects (4% increase) and 112,659 jobs (45% increase). Of the 163,489 jobs, 58,170 are new jobs and 105,319 safeguarded jobs. UKTI and its partners were involved in delivering nearly 84% of the projects. Full results will be published in July.

Work starts on new homes at Trinity South

Work starts on new homes at Trinity SouthAn exciting £30 million scheme to create new homes and jobs in South Shields has moved forward thanks Keepmoat Homes and the Homes and Community Agency (HCA).

Work has begun to build the 222 new family homes on 13.1 acres of land, which includes part of the former Circatex factory site and the southern end of Frederick Street, and is adjacent to the Zero carbon housing development at Sinclair Meadows

Local ward members Councillors visited the site alongside Lead Member for Housing and Transport, Councillor Jim Foreman and Ian Prescott from Keepmoat Homes, to see the work get underway.

Councillor Malcolm, who is also Lead Member for Resources and Innovation, said: “I’m delighted to see work starting on these new homes. It’s a major milestone in our ambitious plans to transform the Riverside area.

“There is so much happening locally, with the recently completed eco-friendly business incubator at One Trinity Green and new carbon negative homes at Sinclair Meadows going on to win awards for innovation. This new development will build on this success and I can’t wait to see it take shape over the coming years.”

The new homes will include 20 Council properties, which will be available to rent through South Tyneside Homes with the remainder for sale through Keepmoat.

The development will also feature a landmark apartment building and a specially designed £500,000 linear park, which will provide a new play area as well as create better pedestrian links to the riverside.

Councillor Clare, ward member and Lead Member for Regeneration and Economy, said: “These new homes form part of our wider plans to revitalise the Riverside area, which also includes Harton Quays Park, where work is already underway.

“It’s wonderful to see our ambitious plans progressing. This particular development will be a real asset to the Rekendyke area and a huge benefit to the wider community.”

Ian Prescott, Land and Partnerships Director at Keepmoat, said: “Keepmoat share in the Council’s exciting ambitions for the regeneration of this part of South Shields. Our £30 million Trinity South scheme will have a significant impact on the local community.

“In addition to developing high quality, new and affordable homes in an attractive landscaped setting, we are engaging with local businesses to create employment and training opportunities for local people.”

The development will also meet Level 3 of the Government’s Code for Sustainable Homes.