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Archive for December, 2014

Large contractors pulling out of London bids

December 22nd, 2014 Comments off

We understand that the £600m Ram Brewery site in south-west London is the latest scheme to be hit by the phenomenon.

Developers at the Wandsworth site are believed to be approaching new bidders to potentially tender for the job.

Kier is favourite for the scheme with Brookfield originally its main rival.

But we understand Brookfield has pulled-out of the race leaving developer the Greenland Group to explore other options for its Ram Quarter scheme.

london buildingA source close to the scheme said: “The word is Brookfield has decided not to return tenders.

“The developer is now talking to other potential bidders and sounding out what else is out there in the market.”

Greenland is overseeing basement work on the site with Keltbray carrying out demolition and Brookfield building a marketing suite.

Main construction work is scheduled to start next Spring and will include 661 new homes and a 36-storey tower.

The withdrawal of Brookfield is part of a trend which has seen big name contractors shy away from schemes they were previously interested in.

One market expert said: “A lot of big names seem to be pulling-out of bids at the moment leaving the way clear for others.

“A lot of two-stage tenders are not closing out in the current market leaving clients to find alternatives and go back down more traditional routes.”

Consultant AECOM reported earlier this month that contractors are turning down one in three bidding opportunities across London as they pick and chose work.

The expert said: “This is an extension of that with firms dropping out of schemes they were previously interested in.

“It seems a lot of big players got their fingers burned buying work in the downturn and are now turning a lot of things down.”

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Crossrail under London

December 18th, 2014 Comments off

New images released by Crossrail reveal the project’s progress as it hits the 60% complete mark.

More than 23 miles (nearly 90%) of train tunnels are now complete, with tunnelling due to finish in spring next year.

Six of Crossrail’s eight tunnelling machines have now completed their drives. The construction of ten new stations in central and southeast London is more than half complete.

Andrew Wolstenholme, Crossrail Chief Executive said: “Crossrail is being delivered on time and on budget.

“These fantastic images show the scale of work taking place around the clock beneath the streets of London. We are on schedule to provide London and the South East with a fantastic new railway in 2018.”

More than 10,000 people are working directly on Crossrail at around 40 construction sites.

Over the coming months, while tunnelling will continue, the project’s focus will shift to the substantial job of fitting out the stations and tunnels.

bond street

Bond Street platform tunnels: The 260 metre long platforms run parallel to and around 100 metres to the south of Oxford Street

bond street

From 2018, 220,000 passengers are expected to use Bond Street London Underground and Crossrail station every day

bond street

Several hundred tunnellers have been working 24/7 for the past two years constructing the platform tunnels beneath Oxford Street

farringdon

Farringdon platform tunnel

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The benefits of liquid roofing

December 17th, 2014 Comments off

The low pitch on flat roofs means they are prone to leaks. The damage caused can go unnoticed for long periods of time, as it affects the concealed structures directly beneath the roof. This also means repair is extremely expensive, and can significantly inconvenience the residents or business within the building.

A variety of membranes are used to help waterproof flat roofs, but these often require a lot of maintenance. Without proper upkeep, they are prone to penetration by rainwater, as well as sun damage and fungal growth. Resulting rot or blowing of brickwork means a full roof replacement may be required, at huge expense.

Many proprietors are starting to see the benefits of liquid roofing, a process that creates a durable, seamless watertight seal on flat roofs. Unlike felt and tar, little maintenance is required, reducing the risk of failure while saving the business time and money.

For example, liquid coating specialist Tor Coatings offers products that guarantee waterproofing for up to 25 years. This is certified by the leading approvals house the British Board of Agrément (BBA), so customers are assured of longevity.

Liquid roof coatings are also far easier and safer to install, as they are applied cold. This makes the organisation and execution of adopting this technology quicker and cheaper, and ensures early resistance to rainfall. And despite creating a watertight seal, these products are breathable to allow any condensation to escape, so internal damp is less likely to harm the roof.

As they are suitable for a variety of substrates, and can be used to repair existing damage, liquid coatings are the ideal option for most flat roof projects. Plus, products are available with other features such as UV protection and heat insulation, so proprietors don’t have to compromise.

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Growth of Conveyancing

December 17th, 2014 Comments off

Growth of Conveyancing

 

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Hundreds of jobs at risk as Mabey Bridge to close Welsh factories

December 15th, 2014 Comments off

Steelwork specialist Mabey Bridge is planning to close one of its sites in Chepstow and sell another, with the possible loss of over 300 jobs.

The firm has started consultation with the 150-strong workforce at its Station Road infrastructure division site which specialises in bridges.

It has also revealed it is looking for a buyer for its specialist renewables factory at another site in Chepstow, where 180 people are employed.

The proposal follows a comprehensive review of the Mabey Bridge business and will effectively see the firm pull out of traditional heavy bridge construction

The steelwork contractor said it was confident the proposed changes will help build a stronger, more sustainable future for Mabey Bridge’s modular bridge business in Lydney in Gloucestershire.

The firm presently employs around 130 staff at the site and some may be transfered over when the Chepstow head office closes.

A spokesman said: “We regret to confirm that we have informed our employees today of the proposed closure of the Mabey Bridge Infrastructure division at Chepstow.

“We also told employees that we have taken the very difficult decision to prepare the Renewables division and the Newhouse site for sale.”

He added: “We have not made these decisions lightly and we understand that this is a very difficult time for our people.

“Their welfare is an important concern for us and we will provide them with as much support as possible over the coming weeks.

“A full consultation process will now be conducted with all those affected and we will provide them with as much information as possible.”

He said that Mabey Bridge was hopeful that it would find a buyer for the Renewables division at the Newhouse site, who would provide the necessary investment to support this business in the long-term.

He said: “Like many companies we are forced to consider every possible option to remain competitive in difficult times.”

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Morrison chief engineer takes charge of Forth Crossing

December 11th, 2014 Comments off

Morrison Construction’s Michael Martin has taken over as project director of the consortium building the £1.4bn Queensferry Crossing.

Transport Scotland is expected to confirm this week that he has taken over from Hochtief’s Carlo Germani, who was chief engineer for the Forth Crossing Bridge Const­ructors consortium.

Germani announced he was leaving the project last month after nearly four years heading the bridge building team to take up a new job in Qatar.

Martin, 61, has represented Galliford Try-owned Morrison on the four-company consortium for two years and will now take over the chief role for delivering the new Forth bridge project.

The Carlisle-born engineer started his career with Ove Arup and was involved in both the Kessock Bridge in Inverness and the building of both the Dornoch Bridge, and Kylesku Bridge in Sutherland.

Galliford Try is part of the four-company consortium that includes Hochtief, Dragados, and American Bridge of Pittsburgh in the US.

After early setbacks with the setting of the foundations the project is now reported to be back on schedule and budget as the first deck support sections were launched in the summer.

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “After three and a half years on the Forth Replacement Crossing (FRC) project, Carlo Germani has informed us that he is to leave his position as Project Director for Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors in December this year.

“Carlo has made a hugely significant contribution to the successful delivery of the FRC project to date and we pay tribute to that contribution as he prepares to move on to new challenges in Qatar. He leaves the project in a very healthy state as we move towards its final two years.”

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Design contest for new Thames bridge at Nine Elms

December 9th, 2014 Comments off

Wandsworth Council in London has launched an international competition for architects and engineers to design a new central pedestrian bridge over the Thames.

The planed new river crossing would link the Nine Elms development district with Pimlico embankment to the north.

Pedestrian Thames bridgeIt forms part of a £1bn infrastructure package transforming the Nine Elms regeneration area including two new Northern Line tube stops, improvements to rail stations and two riverbus piers.

The plan for the design competition comes after a TfL feasibility study confirmed the bridge could cost around £40m and carry around 9,000 walkers and 9,000 cyclists a day.

Around four teams will be selected to develop design ideas.

Up to £26m is already committed to the project through the development of Nine Elms. The winning design will be used to attract extra funding or sponsorship.

Transport for London studies show the bridge has a strong transport case and would provide walkers and cyclists with an attractive car-free alternative to Chelsea or Vauxhall Bridges.

Once the winning design is selected, it would need to go through the planning process before work could begin.

Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth Council and co-chair of the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership, said: “This is a competition to find a team of brilliant engineers and architects to design a beautiful bridge spanning the Thames.

“This bridge has the potential to become an inspiring landmark, heralding the changes that are taking place south of the river and making vital connections to the north shore. The transport case is very strong indeed and this will be a valuable and sustainable addition to London’s transport infrastructure.”

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Carillion secures £75m contract to deliver new Anfield stand

December 8th, 2014 Comments off

INFRASTRUCTURE and support services group Carillion has secured the £75m contract for the redevelopment of Liverpool Football Club’s main stand at its famous Anfield ground. The award comes after the Wolverhampton-based group was announced back in July as the preferred bidder for the contract.Work on the project, which will add around 8,500 seats to the main stand and increase the overall capacity of Anfield to around 54,000, is expected to start this week and is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2016

An idea of what the re-developed stand will look like

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Output and orders in South East manufacturing industry at 16 year high

December 5th, 2014 Comments off

Manufacturers in the South East will end the year on a high, with firms reporting output and orders at their highest levels for 16 years, according to the Q4 Manufacturing Outlook survey by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP

man on craneThe survey shows that a balance of 67% of South East manufacturers have seen growth in both order books and output in the final quarter of 2014.

It is only the third and fourth time that orders and output respectively have increased for more than 50% of firms since the survey began in 1998.

One driver of growth is the electronics sector, which has some of the strongest sectoral results and has continued to punch above its weight in the South East.

UK-wide, a buoyant domestic market has helped secure the strongest annual growth rate across the sector this year since 2010.

Jim Davison, South East region director at EEF, says: “2014 has proved to be a strong year for South East manufacturers. As we steam into 2015 it’s going to be a case of ‘steady as she goes’ with firms viewing next year with confidence mixed with a healthy dose of realism.

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Government jump starts SME house building sector

December 3rd, 2014 Comments off

The Government’s announcement that it will lower the threshold on the Builders Finance Fund to five units has been welcomed by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “The Government’s decision to open up applications to the Builders Finance Fund to the very smallest house builders is going to make a real difference to our sector. We know that access to finance is the main barrier to SME house builders increasing their output and the fact that Ministers have taken our advice, shows that government is committed to empowering small local builders and ensuring they can contribute to the much-needed uplift in new homes.

“We also welcome the government’s recognition of the need to reduce disproportionate burdens on small developer contributions and back its decision to waive S106 affordable housing contributions for sites of ten units or fewer. To put this into context, around a third of SME house builders state there are sites they would otherwise be interested in developing, but view as unviable owing to Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy contributions.”

Berry concluded: “I can’t stress enough how today’s policy announcements will impact positively on the ability of the SME house building sector to build more new homes. We are currently building fewer than half the number of new homes required to meet demand and these proposals will now unleash small local builders to build and grow.”

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