jobs

TV builder backs scheme to aid the Trades

Celebrity builder Tommy Walsh has welcomed a one-stop-shop to get building trade apprentices blocked from jobs by ‘out-dated’ Government rules into work within weeks rather than years.

The Ground Force star is supporting the pioneering scheme by a Wolverhampton trades school which is also rescuing Britain’s derelict housing stock.

Tommy, aged 57, said: “The Government’s commitment to building 200,000 homes is threatened by skill shortages. But this one-stop-shop idea is exactly what the industry and the economy needs.”

There have been thousands of new construction jobs in the UK 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 legislation demands that they have 100 hours unpaid practical experience.

Dr Jan Telensky, whose company Engineering Real Results came up with a practical way round the rules, said: “Over the past few years there has been a massive influx of trades people and labourers from the EU, many who are well trained and with excellent skills. They have been able to find work while our own apprentices have been losing out because of the legislation.

“This new scheme, New Vocational Quickstart, involves renovating properties across the country which are either derelict or fallen into disrepair, enables them to get there NVQ in just weeks, instead of years.”

Tommy backed Dr Telensky, whose European-wide business empire is based in Luton, Bedfordshire. He said: “We have 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 because of a lack experience on site.”

The legislation forces newly-qualified tradesman to go cap-in-hand to small builders and beg for unpaid work but they are refused because of complications over insurance.

Engineering Real Results – which was involved in the restoration of an historic factory in All Saints, Wolverhampton – has been buying old houses and flats across the country and now gets students to renovate them which fulfils the demands of the legislation.

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, but it needs to be sustainable to meet the growing demand for student work placements.”

Courtesy Express & Star

Summer time doesn’t bring jobs? It DOES!

Kensington and Chelsea enters £200m regeneration scheme

Kensington and Chelsea enters £200m regeneration schemeCatalyst Housing has received planning permission for phase 2 of its £200 million regeneration of the Wornington Green estate in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Work will begin onsite in Autumn 2015 and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2019. Over 300 private and affordable apartments will be built along with new shops on Portobello Road. An energy centre will be included in Phase 2 which will provide heating and hot water to the new development.

The £66 million second phase follows extensive consultation with local residents which has led to a number of design improvements including a range of balconies to suit differently sized families and changes to the layout of the apartments.

Planning permission for phase 2, along with the recent approval of a major regeneration of Havelock in Southall, continues Catalyst’s award-winning reputation as a developer of high-quality regeneration schemes catering to different housing needs across London and the South East.

Rod Cahill, Catalyst Chief Executive said: “We are thrilled that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea have approved our plans for the second phase of the Wornington Green regeneration.

“I’d like to thank all those that have taken part in the consultation process and given us feedback on the first phase. I’d also like to thank residents of Wornington Green and surrounding area for their patience as the building work continues.

“Reactions from those that have moved into the first phase are positive and we’re excited to keep up this momentum by not only providing new homes but also new shops in phase 2.”

Boost for business energy and electricity sector investment

Ed DaveyBusinesses and industries will get help to cut their energy costs with £10 million available this year to improve efficiency, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey announced today.

He also unveiled new plans that will remove barriers to investment in energy infrastructure, boost economic growth and support up to 250,000 jobs by 2020.

Mr Davey told the CBI’s Energy Conference that the energy sector had seen £45 billion of investment between January 2010 and December 2013, with nearly £8 billion investment in renewable technologies in 2013 alone, as he published the Government’s first report on energy investment in the UK.

According to the Government, the investment won since 2010 will keep the lights on and build a low-carbon energy system that will create new jobs in the energy trades.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: “Our plan is powering growth and jobs in the UK economy. We are building a secure, sustainable energy system for the future, dealing with an historic legacy of underinvestment and neglect that threatened to undermine the whole economy.

“The funds we invest now in keeping the lights on could, in the future, be available to support cheaper projects that deliver lasting reductions in peak electricity demand.

“I want to unlock the untapped potential of better efficiency in electricity use – so that more efficient kit can compete with building new power stations in the future. Our £20 million pilot will fund schemes that will help reduce our demand – not only saving businesses and their customers money, but reducing the amount of electricity we’ll need to generate.

“And by stripping away barriers to investment in our energy market, we’ll make attracting capital investment cheaper and easier – meaning real benefits for the British economy and British consumers.”

Rampion offshore wind farm gets the go-ahead

Rampion offshore wind farm gets the go-aheadA new wind farm of the coast of Sussex that will support 750 jobs and bring over £2 billion of investment into the UK’s economy has been given the go-ahead.

The Government has today given consent to Rampion offshore wind farm. The project is expected to boost the local economy, create new jobs and encourage investment in the area.

Once built, the wind farm would generate enough electricity to power approximately 450,000 homes.

The decision underlines how the government’s policies have made the UK the best place in the world to invest in offshore wind.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: “We’re driving investment in our energy security, and our plans have made us number one in the world for investment in offshore wind energy.

“This project is great news for Sussex, providing green jobs as well as driving business opportunities right across the country in a sector with a clear roadmap for long-term growth.”

Welsh Water confirms £1.5bn alliance partners

Welsh Water confirms £1.5bn alliance partnersWelsh Water has announced the partners it has appointed to deliver part of its £1.5 billion capital investment programme for 2015 to 2020.

The level of capital investment across the period will also enable Welsh Water to continue to support more than 6,000 jobs across Wales.

The successful partners will work closely with Welsh Water throughout the investment period, known in the industry as AMP6, to deliver cost effective and sustainable outcomes that will benefit customers and the environment for many years to come.

The contracts will run for an initial five year period from 2015 – 2020 with an option to extend for a further five years.

The company’s capital partners for 2015 to 2020 have been confirmed as:

Chris Jones, Welsh Water’s Chief Executive, said: “As a company, we want to deliver the best possible outcomes for our customers and for the environment at the most affordable price.

“We went through an extensive procurement process to ensure that we selected capital partners that share our vision and values and are committed to delivering the customer service, environmental and financial outcomes that our customers want and deserve.”

A key driver for Welsh Water in its selection of partners for AMP6 was to identify companies who could work collaboratively in the new Capital Delivery Alliance.

The Alliance will bring together best in class organisations and individuals to deliver Welsh Water’s capital programme safely and efficiently, achieving sustainable outcomes for the benefit of its customers and the environment.

The Alliance will drive value in the planning and pre-construction phase by co-locating Welsh Water, contractor and consultant resource into a single Integrated Solutions Team to help facilitate collaboration and innovation.

Alex Salmond reveals £2.2m to cut costs for offshore wind

Scottish Wind FarmsA project to cut the cost of offshore wind by at least 10 per cent is being awarded £2.2 million by the Scottish Government, First Minister Alex Salmond has announced.

The Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) programme will bring together nine offshore wind developers with over 72% (31GW) of the UK’s licensed capacity.

The project aims to deliver the 10% reduction in time for offshore wind developments in Scottish waters with partners working together to identify technological challenges and prioritising those with the most significant savings potential, before developing innovative solutions.

The OWA will receive £200,000 in 2014/15 and £2,000,000 in 2015/16. The money will be used to:

· encourage international collaboration between the world’s leading offshore wind developers to address cost reduction challenges in Scottish waters

· share knowledge on foundations and installations, operations and maintenance, the best wind farm layouts, electrical systems and cable installation

· support the commercialisation of floating offshore wind turbines for Scottish waters

Following a meeting with representatives of the Carbon Trust and OWA programme in Aberdeen, the First Minister said: “Scotland is admired around the world for our work in renewable energy and in 2013 we set a new record for renewables generation, emphasising our commitment.

“That progress has accelerated into 2014 with new record levels of renewables generation in the first months of this year – up 56% over the year to the first quarter of 2014.

“Renewable energy is extremely valuable to Scotland’s economy, to reducing our carbon emissions and in providing low carbon energy supplies as well as jobs and long term investment.”

Tom Delay, Chief Executive of the Carbon Trust said: “We are delighted to be working with the Scottish Government to drive further cost reductions in the offshore wind industry. The sector has huge potential to generate low carbon power and create economic value.

“Key to that success will be driving costs down through innovation and doing this quickly. The OWA and this new injection of funding will be key to help meet this cost reduction challenge.”

Manchester Uni strikes hotel deal as part of £1bn campus scheme

Manchester Uni strikes hotel deal as part of £1bn campus scheme 1The University of Manchester has signed a deal to build a new hotel and an Executive Education Centre for Manchester Business School (MBS) on its Oxford Road campus.

Bruntwood, one of the regional property firms, will develop the 326-room hotel in a 19-storey building under an investment deal with M&L Hospitality Group.

The landmark development, designed by architects BDP and Leach Rhodes Walker, will provide high-end accommodation for visitors to the University, its business school and the wider city.

The hotel, which forms part of Bruntwood’s wider redevelopment of MBS, will adjoin a new two-storey Executive Education Centre, which will provide a new home for the business school’s corporate leadership and management programmes.

Professor Fiona Devine, Head of MBS, said: “The hotel will provide an excellent base for all our visitors from across the globe to explore Manchester and the North West, with easy access to MBS and the University.

“The new Executive Education Centre will enable us to grow our international client base of some of the world’s leading businesses and public sector organisations.”

The development is part of the University’s £1billion Campus Masterplan, which will create some of the most modern campus facilities in the world along the southern gateway to the city, known as the Manchester Corridor.

Manchester Uni strikes hotel deal as part of £1bn campus scheme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Roberts, Bruntwood Development Director, said: “The hotel and adjoining Executive Education Centre will be a landmark development for the Corridor and a great addition to the amenities of the city’s tourism and business offer.”

Neil Maxwell, CEO of M&L Hospitality, added: “We are always exploring investment opportunities that have the potential to deliver stable and attractive returns.

“This hotel will be a valuable campus amenity for MBS, the University and other nearby facilities, such as the Central Manchester University Hospitals, the Manchester Science Park and the many cultural assets and arts venues along the Corridor.”

Kier launches new house building division

Kier 2The Kier Group, which employs over 16,000 staff in the building industry, has confirmed its launch of a new housing division that will see the building of more homes.

The new division will bring together three existing Kier housing businesses, from contracting, to affordable housing partnerships to private market housing solutions.

The new division is set to respond to the significant market opportunities created by a nationwide shortage of housing stock while boosting economic growth and creating new jobs.

The company plans to expand its geographical footprint to meet nationwide demand for new homes, to be better able to respond to the volume of public land emerging through the HCA Developer Partner Panel Framework and the HCA Affordable Homes Programme.

The division will target growth in the north and the south-east, supplementing its other existing regional strongholds and providing a true nationwide footprint for the first time.

John Anderson, Kier Living executive managing director, said: “The model of balancing activity across the public and private housing markets will protect the business against market fluctuation and enables Kier Living to really leverage the potential of its mixed tenure model.

“The cross subsidy effect of this model enables our local authority and housing association clients to generate the necessary funding to deliver a wide range of housing solutions limiting the impact on the public purse.

“We believe this is the ideal time to focus our house building offering in this way and to grow our presence across our core markets and regions.

“Housing associations and local authority clients along with other public and private bodies are increasingly asking Kier to help them deliver new housing stock for the first time in many years so it’s vital that we expand our housing delivery solution to respond to this growing demand.”

Morgan Sindall gets £1.2 million hydro scheme contract

Morgan Sindall wins £1.2 million hydro scheme contractMorgan Sindall has been appointed by hydro-power specialists Green Highland Renewables to deliver part of a 1MW hydro scheme near Achnasheen, Wester Ross some 43 miles from Inverness.

Morgan Sindall has already started work on delivering the £1.2 million contract on the Allt Gharagain hydro scheme which will create sustainable electricity in the area.

The team is working on the run-of-river part of the project, a type of hydro-electric generation whereby little or no water storage is required to create sustainable energy with minimal environmental impact.

The work includes the installation of two kilometres of supply pipeline (penstock) from the stream to the new powerhouse and a tailrace to allow the water used for power generation to return back to the river.

As the works cross the Inverness-Kyle of Lochalsh railway line, the Network Rail level crossing needed upgrading. This part of the project has now been completed and construction of the access road has begun.

Green Highland Renewables will operate the completed scheme and anticipates it will begin supplying electricity to the local grid in December this year. The scheme has been developed with funds managed by Albion Ventures LLP.

Robert Ogg, area director at Morgan Sindall, said: “We’re very pleased to have been appointed to this scheme. Work is now underway on the project and the team is making good progress.

“This is an important scheme for the region, and the country which aims to become a net exporter of energy by 2020. This will only be achieved by using renewable energy services like this one.”

Ian Cartwright, Managing Director at Green Highland Renewables, said: “This is one of four hydro schemes we are currently delivering in the immediate area and it is good to be working alongside Morgan Sindall on what is a technically challenging project.

Green Highland Renewables has a growing track record in consenting, building and operating hydro schemes across the Highlands, and Morgan Sindall’s experienced team is already making an important contribution to the delivery of the Allt Gharagain project.”

£500,000 to help community energy projects across England

£500,000 to help community energy projects across EnglandThirty local renewable energy projects, stretching from Cornwall to Cumbria, are celebrating being offered financial investment from the government’s Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF).

The Government has this year assigned over £500,000 to help develop bespoke projects across England that will create new jobs and boost the renewable industry.

The first 30 projects receiving funding represent a spectrum of technologies, including community scale anaerobic digestion, solar power, hydro and wind as well as renewable and low carbon heat networks.

Energy and Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker said: “It’s great to see so many communities across the UK benefitting from local clean energy.

“I want to see more communities becoming producers of energy – powering schools, market towns and community centres sustainably – and boosting their economy at the same time.

“It’s initiatives like this that are so important for achieving my vision for the Big 60,000 and I wish WRAP every continued success.”

All have sought government support to help raise funding to help realise their ambitions, enabling them to implement environmentally friendly sources of energy at a local level.

Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Dan Rogerson said: “This fund will strengthen the rural economy, safeguard the environment, and will allow communities to unlock the potential of renewable energy.

“Since launching we’ve seen a wide range of projects given the green light and I urge more people to apply and make the most of this opportunity to get their local project off the ground.”

In Cumbria, RCEF is supporting a project which aims to provide heat directly to a local primary school from a community owned anaerobic digestion facility.

This will also generate income from the sale of electricity to benefit other community projects, in a future community group partnership with four farms.

Midland Metropolitan Hospital given the go-ahead

Midland Metropolitan Hospital given the go-aheadChancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has today announced approval for a £353 million new acute hospital in Smethwick that will create new jobs and boost the local economy.

The announcement comes as the Chancellor visited Rowley Regis Hospital – part of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust – where he met with senior executives to hear how they are moving care closer to the community and ensuring the continued delivery of high-quality acute services.

The new Midland Metropolitan Hospital will bring together acute services on to one site, promoting better patient safety and a patient experience while ensuring the best value for money for the taxpayer.

The Chancellor said: “This ambitious package will ensure that patients across the West Midlands continue to benefit from access to world-class acute treatment and cutting edge facilities.

“It is because of the difficult decisions we have taken as a government that we have been able to protect healthcare spending, and announce new facilities like the Midland Metropolitan Hospital.”

Richard Samuda, Chairman of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals said: “This is a vote of confidence in 7,500 staff at the Trust. The Chancellor’s announcement at Rowley Regis Hospital reinforces our strategy of local care for long term conditions and a single specialist acute centre at the Midland Met.”

Chief Executive, Toby Lewis added: “This is a decisive moment for healthcare in the West Midlands. We welcome the determination of the Chancellor to support the regeneration of Smethwick with this vital project for patients.

“Construction of the new hospital is expected to commence in 2016 and be completed by 2018-19. Plans will be finalised over the coming months, with all funding subject to final approvals as usual.”

 

Floods are boosting jobs market and the trades

The UK’s recent flooding damage has given the construction industry an ‘unexpected boost’ that will create new trade jobs and help economic growth, the latest Manpower employment survey revealed today.

Manpower forecasts an increase on the number of hired tradesmen and women.

 

The recruitment company said recent construction work had boosted the industry by an estimated £250 million, and firms were looking to take on more staff in the future.

 

Energy firms have also had to recruit more engineers in the past few weeks to help restore power to thousands of homes, as well as more customer service workers to handle compensation claims.

 

In a BBC interview this morning Mark Cahill, managing director of Manpower UK said that the government’s Help to Buy scheme is partly to thank, but that the bad weather could also be responsible.

 

Mr Cahill said: “With over 6,000 properties flooded, and an average repair bill of £30,000-£40,000, the beneficiaries of all this extra work will be builders who are already being called in to repair homes,

 

“We could be talking about an economic gain of about £250 million to this industry alone.”

 

According to survey responses from employers in the construction industry, more are planning to hire extra staff than decrease numbers.

 

This is the first time Manpower’s forecasts for the building construction sector have been positive since before the recession.

Thousands of jobs to get seaside economies and flood affected areas growing

The government has announced a multi-million pound package to create jobs in coastal towns across the country, including areas affected by the recent floods.

Today, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander and Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles announced fifty projects across the UK that will receive £27.7 million of funding, supporting over 4000 jobs and creating over 1000 new apprenticeships and training places.

The Coastal Communities Fund was created to direct regeneration investment to seaside towns and villages to help rebalance their local economies, reduce unemployment and create new work opportunities for young people from the local area.

The fund has already supported more than 100 projects in the first two years delivering over 4,000 jobs and over 1,000 apprenticeships. This takes the expected total, including today’s projects, to over 6,500 jobs and 2,000 apprenticeships.

The new projects announced today include £1.3 million to diversify the tourism offer in Southend including a Seafront Apprenticeship scheme, £170,000 to develop the Arran Coastal Way in Scotland, £270,000 to develop Northern Ireland’s first lobster hatchery and £100,000 to support the creation of a new water sports centre in Colwyn Bay in Wales.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “The next round of the Coastal Communities Fund is now open and we will be prioritising bids on coastal flood protection and repair.

“This government is committed to supporting the regeneration of our seaside towns and part of that is taking decisive action to help communities and businesses affected by the floods.”

Danny Alexander said: “The Coastal Communities Fund allows us to help communities across the UK to rebuild and regenerate their local economy, with projects this year supporting nearly 4000 jobs and 1000 training places.

“This is even more important given the extreme weather and I’m very pleased we’re giving £17 million of the fund to projects in areas hit by floods. Additionally, we have invested £5 million from the fund’s reserve into the government’s programme for flood recovery.

“The Coastal Communities Fund is supporting some of the most fragile communities. It is a great way to make sure that people living around our coastline can share in the benefits of the increased returns for the Crown Estate’s marine activities.”

Games and Gaming News August 2013

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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.

A Sample of May Construction News

Work to start on Inverness College

Construction work on the new £50 million Inverness College UHI is set to start next month, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed today.

The 13.3 acre University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) development will create 300 jobs during construction, a minimum of 28 modern apprenticeships and provide facilities for over 8,500 students.

Inverness is the first Further Education college to use the Non Profit Distributing (NPD) financing model with City of Glasgow and Kilmarnock colleges to follow later in the year.

NPD ensures that private sector returns are capped, that there is no dividend bearing equity, and any surplus is directed in favour of the public sector.

Other major projects in the £2.5 billion NPD pipeline include M8, M73 and M74 improvements, while construction work has already begun on community health buildings in Aberdeen, Forres and Tain.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The new £50 million Inverness College UHI will be a landmark building, the centrepiece in a high quality, modern and sustainable campus being developed on the outskirts of the city.

“This Government is determined to invest in Scotland’s infrastructure – our schools, roads and hospitals – both to stimulate growth in the short term and lay the foundations for long term success.

“That is good news for the Highland economy and its construction industry and will attract businesses and highly trained professionals to the Highlands to help stimulate economic growth.

“Our investment in schools, hospitals, roads and other infrastructure is set to top £3.4 billion in 2013-14, which is estimated to support more than 40,000 jobs across the Scottish economy.”

Education Secretary Michael Russell said: “The Scottish Government has demonstrated its commitment to Scotland’s college sector by adding £61 million to the sector’s budget over the next two years compared to what was originally planned for the spending review period.

“We are progressing college reforms that will substantially improve students’ chances of securing a job at the end of their course, as well as ensuring local businesses are able to employ the right people with the right skills.

“Our investment in Inverness College UHI sits alongside upcoming investment in Glasgow and Kilmarnock colleges to ensure our students have state of the art learning facilities to help them maximise their potential. The new Inverness campus will play a crucial role in the expansion of research, further and higher education in the Highland region.”

Barry White, Chief Executive of the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), explained: “Reaching financial close of a project of this size and complexity in only 17 months is unprecedented. This project, funded through the SFT led NPD programme, is a massive boost to the local economy with the main contractor committed to deliver at least 25 apprenticeship positions.

“When it opens in summer 2015, Inverness College UHI will be housed in modern, high quality and fit-for-purpose buildings and achieve great value-for-money thanks to the collaborative efforts and professionalism of all partners involved.”

Go-ahead for £150m Olympic Stadium conversion

Go-ahead for £150m Olympic Stadium conversion

Multi-million pound Cardiff Pointe project is under way

Multi-million pound Cardiff Pointe project is under way

The first stage in the exciting multi-million pound International Sports Village development at Cardiff Pointe has been launched by Cardiff Council leader, Heather Joyce.

The launch marked the official start of the latest major project in Cardiff Bay, which includes a new Olympic standard, twin-pad ice arena and Cardiff Pointe, a sustainable residential quarter consisting of around 800 new homes.

Future stages will also include a 150 million indoor ski-slope, one of the world’s largest indoor snow play centres, a stunning mixed-use tower that will be the tallest in Wales, gallery space, a hotel, retail outlets, housing and office accommodation.

Cardiff Council leader, Heather Joyce, said: “This development will not only look fantastic but will also create thousands of jobs, attract tens of thousands more visitors to the city and provide homes – including affordable homes – for people in Cardiff.

“The end results will be state-of-the-art facilities that everyone can use, including, crucially, two ice rinks which will provide a new home for the Cardiff Devils and offer people a range of winter sports to try out. This will all go a long way to enhancing Cardiff’s reputation as a world class sporting capital city.”

Jonathan Smith Director at Helium Miracle 113 said: “We are immensely proud of the Sports Village’s design and content, which follows the high standard set by the Cardiff Pointe residential quarter. We believe the new facilities will strengthen Cardiff’s reputation as a forward-thinking, cosmopolitan centre of sports, culture and housing.

“The benefits to the area will be enormous and tangible: not only will Wales gain a Centre of Excellence for Winter Sports, available to professionals and the public alike, but we will be extending both Cardiff’s tourism season and catchment area; and employing, conservatively, over 1,600 people from the local area.”

Kier to upgrade Harlow housing

Kier 1Repairs and maintenance provider, Kier is further extending its work in Harlow with an additional £4.5 million contract to improve Harlow Council’s housing stock.

Kier began working with Harlow Council in 2007 when a joint venture partnership, Kier Harlow, was formed to provide a number of services to the town from housing repairs for the council’s 10,000-plus properties to street scene and grounds maintenance.

Due to start in June this year, the additional contract sees Kier appointed as principal contractor to work alongside Kier Harlow in improving kitchens and bathrooms throughout the council’s housing stock.

Continuing for up to four years, the works will upgrade all of Harlow Council-owned properties to ensure they meet and surpass the Government’s Decent Homes standard requirements.

Kier Services planned works manager Christopher Bunker is responsible for delivering the programme. He said: “The partnership will operate from our existing Kier Harlow base and will benefit considerably from the wealth of existing knowledge within the JVCo team.

“Kier is very proud of the contract award and is looking forward to making a big difference in residents’ homes – I’d like to say a big well done to all those involved in securing the work.”

Kier Harlow operations director, John Phillips said: “It is Kier’s goal to continuously improve the customer’s experience in Harlow and this contract together with new team members will be pivotal in achieving our aim. I would also like to extend my sincere appreciation to the team who worked hard to secure this contract.”

£32m investment to unlock 5,000 jobs£32m investment to unlock 5,000 jobsProposals to create thousands of new homes and jobs in Devon have been backed by the Government to invest £32 million in the project to get the first phase of work underway.

The investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is intended to unlock the development of the long-awaited new community of Sherford, which is anticipated to bring 5,500 new homes and create 5,000 jobs.

The development is expected to generate around £1billion in development expenditure to the area and provide an economic boost worth around £2billion.

Subject to the agreement of legal terms, the investment would be used by a development consortium led by Red Tree to start work on the development and begin a series of important road and utilities improvements to accommodate the early phases of house building.

The funding, unveiled by housing minister Mark Prisk, is set to kick-start construction of houses and community facilities at the new town of Sherford.

The scheme will also include 893,000 sq ft of employment space as well as schools, a town hall, swimming hall and community park.

Colin Molton, HCA executive director for the South and South West, said: “The new community of Sherford is an incredibly important project, because it will go a long way towards meeting the significant need for new homes in Devon and Plymouth and provide a major boost for the economy.

“It is a complex development, which has taken years to bring to this stage. It is fantastic news that investment has been approved which will support the development of the sustainable new community of Sherford. I look forward to seeing work start on the project soon.”

Plymouth City Council leader Tudor Evans added: “For every home built, one and a half permanent jobs are created. This is not just good news for the construction industry, it’s good for the wider supply chains and the businesses and shops that will all begin to see new customers as this new community begins to take shape.”

£29bn boost for the renewable industry

£29bn boost for the renewable economyMore than £29 billion worth of investment has been announced in the renewable energy sector since 2010 with the potential to support around 30,000 jobs and boost the trades.

At the All Energy Conference today in Aberdeen, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey revealed new regional renewables job and investment figures for the green economy.

Speaking at the conference, Mr Davey called on Scotland to remain in the UK to protect current high levels of renewable investment in the trades and safeguard additional employment opportunities for people in the trades.

Mr Davey said: “The UK offers a uniquely attractive, stable, transparent and supportive environment for investment in low carbon generation.

“Between now and 2020, the support we give to low carbon electricity will increase year-on-year to £7.6 billion – a tripling of the support for renewable energy.

“New research by my Department estimates that, since 2010, across the UK, over £29 billion of private sector investment in renewables has been announced supporting almost 30,000 jobs.

“Many of these jobs are highly-skilled and well-paid positions and employees can be proud to be a part of securing the UK’s energy supply.

“The commitment of the UK Government to a vision of a low carbon future is building up a bow wave of new jobs and investment in the economy.”

Renewables jobs and investment

New research shows that since 2010 more than £29 billion worth of investment has been announced in renewable energy with the potential to support around 30,000 jobs.

The figures produced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change show that between January 2010 and April 2013 industry has announced:

  • 18,613 jobs and £14.5 billion investment in England,
  • 9,143 jobs and £13.1 billion investment in Scotland,
  • 1,952 jobs and £1.4 billion investment in Wales,
  • 239 jobs and £304 million investment in Northern Ireland.

Morgan Sindall wins £3.3m contract to expand Cambridge school

Morgan Sindall wins £3.3m contract to expand Cambridge school

Morgan Sindall has begun work on a £3.3 million extension project at The Perse Upper School in Cambridge that will boost the building industry.

The new build development comprises the construction of a three-storey block with a number of associated external works that are due to complete in the summer of 2014.

The new building will significantly expand the school and provide new teaching and classroom facilities for staff and pupils.

Morgan Sindall will construct the building using a traditional concrete frame and a combination of pre-aged zinc cladding, glass curtain walling and render.

The building will be joined to an existing part of the school by an interconnecting covered foot-bridge built to the first floor.

As the project team is working on a busy school site, hoardings have been put into place to ensure that the building works are segregated and that there is minimal disruption to the children’s learning environment.

Ed Elliott, head teacher of The Perse Upper School, said: “We are all delighted to see construction underway. The building will house new classrooms and a large flexible area that can be used for assemblies, rehearsals, exams and meeting space.”

Bob Ensch, Morgan Sindall area director, said: “The new building will bring a wealth of benefits to both pupils and staff at The Perse Upper School and will provide an excellent learning environment for years to come.

“Morgan Sindall has a proven track record in successfully delivering projects on time and within budget and we understand the complexities that are involved when operating within existing educational environments.”

Work on site has begun and will complete following a 60-week programme of development.

The development at The Perse Upper School is the third major project Morgan Sindall has secured in the local area in recent years. The company completed the £9 million redevelopment of office space at Botanic House on Hills Road last year and is currently on site delivering a £1.7 million commercial development at 90 Hills Road.

More money for renewable heating kit

More money for renewable heating kitHouseholders across Great Britain will be able to get even more cash for renewable heating kit, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced today.

The money off vouchers available under the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme have been increased to £2,300 for ground source heat pumps, £2,000 for biomass boilers, £1,300 for air source heat pumps and £600 for solar thermal systems.

The RHPP scheme, first launched in July 2011, is designed to encourage householders to switch to renewable heat from traditional heating systems by offering money off the cost of the equipment. The scheme is targeted at those living off the gas grid, where most money on bills and carbon can be saved.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “Over 10,000 householders have already taken advantage of money off renewable heating kit and we want to see even more consumers stepping up to the plate and getting on board.

“But I want to go even further. I want to kick start this exciting new market for consumer renewable heat technologies.

“This time limited, big increase in the value of vouchers for hardworking people who want to do something positive to install money saving green heating in their homes, should be a real boost for this growing green sector.”

The scheme was extended in March this year until the end of March 2014 ahead of the launch of a Renewable Heat Incentive for householders, with around £12 million up for grabs.

Alongside changes to the voucher values, householders will now be required to undertake a Green Deal assessment before submitting a claim to the Energy Saving Trust to redeem their voucher.

This will help householders think about how renewable heat could fit with energy efficiency improvements for their home and ensure they are advised on choosing the right technology for them.

The additional voucher values are intended to reflect the cost of a Green Deal assessment, as well as the cost of getting these technologies installed in homes. Householders can also use the Green Deal to pay for some of the cost through savings on their energy bill.

The increased voucher values and Green Deal assessment requirement will kick in for any applications submitted today onwards.

Willmott Dixon gets Scape contract to drive growth and create jobs

Willmott Dixon

Willmott Dixon has announced to use its re-appointment as sole contractor on Scape’s major works framework to create jobs and boost opportunities for local companies over the next four years.

Willmott Dixon estimates that under the previous Scape framework, where it was the incumbent contractor, local authorities saved a minimum of 14p in every £1 they spent on projects procured through Scape.

The construction company is planning to increase that saving to 20p in every £1, while ensuring 60 per cent of project budgets are spent on companies within a 20 mile radius of each Scape site, and raising employment and skills targets by 1,400 per cent.

Mark Robinson, CEO of Scape said: “Scape’s frameworks are becoming increasingly sought after with the number of public bodies using Scape’s services doubling over the last two years.  It is important that this new framework focuses more than ever before on supporting local people and local businesses in a tough economic climate.”

Scape’s frameworks are worth £3 billion and over the last decade Scape has delivered over 1,200 projects on time and in budget for 250 public sector clients.

Scape specialises in providing a range of national and regional procurement frameworks enabling the UK public sector to procure construction services quicker and more efficiently, without having to go through lengthy and costly OJEU processes each time.

Scape’s new major works framework, which Willmott Dixon won after a seven-month re-procurement process, is expected to generate £1.25bn of construction work over the next four years. It comes as public sector budget cuts and reduced spending on capital projects put the spotlight on contractors generating even more value and efficiency in their construction output.

The benefits to clients of using Scape, including the reduced procurement time it brings, was underlined by Willmott Dixon delivering all 157 projects under the previous framework on time and in budget.

 

Longer HS2 tunnel could create over 7,000 jobs in East Midlands

A tunnel on the proposed route of Britain’s High Speed 2 rail network could be extended to enable plans for a major development next to East Midlands Airport to progress.

The initial preferred route would have seen the new rail line cross the site of the proposed SRFI, which has the potential to create 7,000 jobs in the region, and threaten the feasibility of the proposed development.

 

During discussions with MPs and local authorities on the proposed route for phase two of HS2 from Birmingham to Leeds, concerns were raised by Leicestershire County Council, and MP for North West Leicestershire, Andrew Bridgen, in conjunction with Roxhill Developments Limited, that the proposed line could affect plans for a strategic rail freight interchange depot (SRFI) next to the airport.

 

After listening to these concerns, the government has now developed a revised option involving extending the proposed tunnel under the East Midlands Airport, avoiding the majority of the proposed SRFI site.

 

The Department for Transport will consult on the route later in the year as part of its public consultation on phase two, and after that consultation, a decision will be made. In the meantime, the developer will progress its plans for the proposed depot.

 

Kate Bedson, Senior Development Director at Roxhill said: “Our proposals for a new SRFI with 6 million square feet of associated warehousing have the potential to create 7,000 jobs, providing a boost to the economy in the region.

 

“Since the announcement, through our MP and local authority, we have enjoyed an early and positive dialogue with DfT and HS2 Ltd and are very pleased with the decision to amend the proposed route. This now allows us to consult with the public and other bodies on our plans before submitting our application at the end of the year.”