Monthly Archives: March 2021

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Civils contractors “recruiting for…

It's reported that rising workloads mean civils contractors are now “recruiting for recovery.” The latest Civil Engineering Contractors Association’s quarterly workload trends survey shows that after two successive quarters of falls, workloads rose in 2020 Q4. Order books increased for 20% of firms in the last quarter of 2020 – the highest balance in  three years. And nearly half of all firms expect headcount to rise in the coming year – the highest balance  in almost six years. CECA Chief Executive Alasdair Reisner said: “These survey results show that the infrastructure  sector is primed to drive the recovery from Covid-19 in 2021. “As one of the few sectors that has been able to continue working safely throughout the pandemic, we  have already seen the strategic importance of the construction and infrastructure sectors to the whole  economy. “Now that CECA members’ workloads are increasing and order books are growing, we will see the sector  deliver much-needed job creation in all parts of the UK. “Given the UK Government’s stated intention to ‘Build, Build, Build’, coupled with its aspiration to ‘level  up’ the economy, there has perhaps never been a better time to enter our industry, which will be at the  vanguard of our national recovery from Covid-19 as our members deliver the key infrastructure businesses  and communities rely upon.”

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71 new schools in…

The Department for Education has named the schools projects that will be brought forward in the first wave of its £1bn rebuilding and improvement programme. The first round will include 50 school rebuilding projects plus 21 new free schools. The schools include primary, secondary and specials as well as a sixth form college in West Yorkshire, with more than 70% of the schools in the North and Midlands. 50 rebuild and improvement projects Birmingham King Edward VI Handsworth Wood Girls’ Academy Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Oak Academy Cambridgeshire Sawston Village College Coventry Cardinal Newman Catholic School Coundon Court West Coventry Academy Derbyshire Somerlea Park Junior School Wilsthorpe School Doncaster Ash Hill Academy Ridgewood School Essex The King Edmund School Gloucestershire Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School Thomas Keble School Hammersmith and Fulham Fulham Cross Academy Hampshire Bay House School Hertfordshire Pinewood School Kingston Upon Thames Coombe Boys’ School Kirklees Greenhead College Lancashire Lytham St Annes High School Tarleton Academy Whitworth Community High School Leicester Catherine Infant School Leicestershire The Castle Rock School Manchester Sandilands Primary School North Tyneside Whitley Bay High School Nottinghamshire Sutton Bonington Primary School Yeoman Park Academy Rochdale Kingsway Park High School Littleborough Community Primary School Newhouse Academy Sefton Deyes High School Shropshire Belvidere School St. Helens Longton Lane Community Primary School Wombourne High School Sunderland Farringdon Community Academy Sutton Greenshaw High School Trafford St John Vianney School Wakefield..

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Build to rent project…

The surge in build to rent projects looks set to continue with the number of homes presently in the planning pipeline 22% ahead of last year. Research from the British Property Federation shows the sector remained particularly resilient during the Covid pandemic last year. The number of completed build-to-rent homes increased by 23% in 2020 with build-to-rent accounting for 4% of all new homes, and around a fifth of all new homes in London, in the final quarter of 2020. Build to rent continues to accelerate new housing supply outside of London, outstripping the capital in both current and future supply. But the number of new homes in planning has stabilised in the capital with just a 2% rise as it competes with the regions for investment. Every region of the UK recorded positive growth in future supply, with the planning pipeline in Northern Ireland increasing the most significantly. The East of England and Scotland ranked second and third, respectively. With 32,395 build-to-rent homes – complete, under construction or in planning – the North West still boasts the largest number of build-to-rent homes outside of London. While build-to-rent homes under construction in the North East,  North West and South West slowed in the final quarter significant increases in the number of homes in planning, suggests a healthy future pipeline for the sector in these regions. Ian Fletcher, Director of Real Estate..

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The government has approved…

The new funding includes £760m for the next phase of East West Rail to reinstate direct rail services between Bicester and Bletchley for the first time since 1968. It also includes £34m to progress plans to reopen the Northumberland line between Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Ashington, which closed to passengers in 1964 as part of the Beeching cuts. The works between Bicester and Bletchley in this phase of the project (Western Section Phase 2) will include the construction of a new stations at Winslow, as well as enhancements to existing stations along the route, including Bletchley. By 2025, two trains per hour will run between Oxford and Milton Keynes via Bletchley, the Department for Transport said. Simon Blanchflower, chief executive of the East West Railway Company, said: “This funding will enable us to get on with the construction work that will connect communities who live on the East West Rail link. We are committed to improving connectivity across the Oxford-Cambridge arc, and fully recognise our responsibility to ensure that it is delivered in a way that minimises disruption, supports the regional economy, maximises benefits and supports jobs across the region.” The first section of the East West Rail, between Oxford and Bicester (Western Section Phase 1), was completed in December 2016 and saw an upgrade of the existing rail line between Oxford and Bicester to facilitate future East West Rail services. It..

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Brighton & Hove City…

Up to 60 students will be accommodated in the new development’s studio flats, which will be built over three and four storeys, and feature several communal areas and facilities. The £6m development is targeted at students at Brighton’s Screen & Film School – Alumno plans a movie theme for the building to appeal to them – but other students will also be accepted. Sustainability measures will include solar panels, low-energy lighting and high-efficiency heating. Construction is scheduled to start in spring 2021 with completion planned for summer 2022. “This project, which has been beautifully designed by Greenaway Architects, went through a thorough and lengthy consultation process with Brighton and Hove council in terms of the overall design, streetscape elevation treatment, layouts and amenities for the students,” said Alumno managing director David Campbell. “Lewes Road is known as Brighton’s Academic Corridor due to its strategic location near to a number of higher education establishments, including Brighton and Sussex Universities, making it the ideal site for a student residence.”

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A tunnel under the…

The party wants to build a modern, zero-carbon network that is affordable and accessible to all. The Rail for All programme should be a central part of Scotland’s green recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, said the party’s transport spokesperson John Finnie. “The Scottish Greens are proposing the biggest rail investment programme Scotland has ever seen,” he said. “Our fully-costed £22 billion plan would transform Scotland’s railway, building a modern, zero-carbon network that is affordable and accessible to all. Rail for All is about making rail the natural choice for every journey, whether you’re commuting, travelling for business or leisure.” The key principle of the Rail for All programme is to make the rail network accessible to everyone. The party’s aim is, as far as realistically possible, for every town with a population of over 5,000 to be connected to the network. That would see new stations developed across the country, with existing lines upgraded, and previously closed lines given a new lease of life. “The investment would also be a central component of Scotland’s green recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, creating thousands of quality, unionised jobs whilst delivering the infrastructure so necessary to tackle the climate emergency,” he said. In addition, the Scottish Greens are proposing that one publicly owned rail operator is formed, by re-integrating ScotRail and Network Rail (Scotland). Government decision-making processes – which the party said are..

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Planning approval has been…

Developer Gazeley has secured approval from North West Leicestershire District Council to develop the 68-acre site. Until 2004 the site was a coal lounge, coal preparation and disposal point but is now disused. Most of it is identified as suitable for employment provision in the district’s local plan. Representations against the application included concerns about the size and scale of the building, the traffic and the impact on air quality. Councillor Nigel Smith, chair of the council’s planning committee, said: “This was a difficult decision for the committee but on balance the opportunity to bring new jobs to North West Leicestershire on land already earmarked for employment provision proved decisive. “The last nine months have been very difficult nationally, but this development offers a real economic boost for our district and new jobs for local people in the coming years of recovery from Covid-19.”  

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Glasgow approves £470m housing…

Glasgow City Council has approved an investment plan aimed at building over 4,400 affordable homes over the next five years. The city’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) for 2021-26 will see grant funding of £469.71m made available with the aim of building the additional homes. The Glasgow SHIP outlines the city's priorities and resources available for investing in housing to achieve the ambitions and housing supply targets of the Glasgow Housing Strategy (GHS). The GHS has two main themes: increasing the supply and improving the quality of housing available to the people of Glasgow, and improving access to appropriate housing.  The strategy also has six strategic priorities: new-build housing and area regeneration; the management, maintenance and improvement of existing housing; raising standards in the private rented sector; the tackling of fuel poverty, energy inefficiency and climate change; improved access to housing across all tenures; and the promotion of health and wellbeing. The new SHIP takes into account the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, in particular the 36 affordable housing development sites that were closed temporarily during the initial lockdown, with a subsequent average project delay of around three months. A key focus of the SHIP is to ensure the delivery of those sites in Glasgow identified as having strategic importance. The 2021-26 SHIP for Glasgow was developed through consultation in October 2020 with the council's housing partners, including housing associations,..

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Go-ahead given for £34m…

Planning permission has been granted for development of a major industrial and commercial development in Bowling, West Dunbartonshire. The £34m Glasgow City Region City Deal project will see the former ExxonMobil site transformed into a mixed-use development that will include storage, distribution, industrial, business and office space. Plans detail office and industrial development located in Eastfield, business in Centrefield and storage and distribution in the Westfield areas. The project is expected to generate 670 jobs during the construction and to provide up to 980 full-time jobs when complete. Granting of the application by the council’s planning committee follows an agreement reached with ExxonMobil last October under which the site will be remediated and then transferred to the Council. The 150-acre site is currently undergoing extensive remediation by ExxonMobil to prepare it, and the council will start work when this is complete. In addition, the works will also include a number of road improvements connecting to the site,  including the creation of a new 1.95km relief link road in West Dunbartonshire; 1.32km of upgrades to the A814; a new junction on the A82 at Dumbuck; a remodelled junction on the A82 at Dunglass; a new under-bridge of the Glasgow-Dumbarton Railway at the west access to the site with a new railway over bridge for eastern access; and enhanced routing of the National Cycle Network Route 7. The Council will also undertake..

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Government sets up building…

The government is setting up a new regulatory body to oversee the safety of construction materials. The construction products regulator will be a division of the Office for Product Safety & Standards within the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and have an initial £10m to get going. The introduction of a new tier of bureaucracy has been deemed necessary because of the failure of the construction industry to regulate itself, as proven by the nationwide  scandal that was exposed by the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire. Time and again products have been used in buildings, including high-rise residential buildings, that have supposedly been independently certified as fit for purpose, only for the whole system of certification to have been exposed as a sham. The job of the new national construction products regulator is to make sure that structures are built only from safe materials. The announcement follows recommendations in the Dame Judith Hackitt Review that industry and government must ensure that construction products are properly tested, certified, labelled and marketed. That review was commissioned in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in London in 2017. The regulator for construction products will have the power to remove any product from the market that presents a significant safety risk and prosecute any companies who flout the rules on product safety, the government said. The Ministry of Housing said: “This follows recent..

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