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Archive for April, 2015

Subcontractors wanted for £5m hospital scheme

April 29th, 2015 Comments off

Local subcontractors from Kent are being invited to meet senior decision-makers from Medway NHS Foundation Trust to find out about winning work on its £5m Emergency Department renovation.

Work is due to start in early 2016 and the organisation is looking for contractors who are capable of delivering renovation projects worth over £3m and have previous experience of working in the healthcare sector.

Constructionline will be hosting the free event at the Post Graduate Centre at Medway Maritime Hospital, in Gillingham, on May 1.

Subcontractors can meet with procurement decision makers at the Trust to find out about securing work on the refurbishment programme .

There are a limited number of tickets for the event and they will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Andrew Preston, client relationship manager at Constructionline, said: “These events enable local businesses to meet major buyers in their area, helping them to gain access to work in their region while helping organisations source reliable and quality contractors.

“This is a huge project and a fantastic opportunity for businesses local to Medway – it’s great to see the Trust engaging with local suppliers and offering a significant body of work.”

Phil Griffiths, director of estates and facilities at Medway NHS Foundation Trust, added: “The Emergency Department renovation is a large scale scheme and we’re keen to meet with businesses from around the area which can provide us with a great service. I encourage all those who meet the criteria to come down on the first of May to find out more.”

The event will run from 9am until 1pm and suppliers do not have to be a Constructionline member to attend.

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Construction teams play first rugby match at Olympic stadium

April 27th, 2015 Comments off

The first rugby match has already been held at the Olympic Stadium after construction workers on the site staged an impromptu match.

The workers were spurred into action during a visit by England’s Jason Robinson and New Zealand’s Robbie Hunter-Paul to promote the upcoming autumn international Rugby League series.

Balfour Beatty staff persuaded the rugby legends to head-up two teams who battled it out on a makeshift pitch in the middle of the construction site.

The first – and winning – try at the stadium was scored by Robinson as England notched-up a rare victory over the Kiwis.

Stuart Fraser, Stadium Project Director from Balfour Beatty, said: “We knew Jason and Robbie were coming down to see the Stadium’s progress and as quite a few of the lads are League fans, we joked about passing a ball around and seeing if they’d dare to get their suits dirty.

“We never thought for a second that we’d split into teams with Jason captaining England and Robbie New Zealand. It was a really surreal but fantastic experience.”

The 20-minute game eventually ended when England scored the winning try from a typical Robinson solo effort.

Robinson said: “I certainly didn’t wake up this morning thinking I was going to score the first try at the former Olympic Stadium!

“It all started as a bit of fun but those lads weren’t holding back and naturally they’re built like steel.

“It was a brilliant match, everyone enjoyed it and I can’t wait for the Stadium to be finished. Next time we’ll have some grass to cushion the blows.”

Hunter-Paul added: “I’m bitterly disappointed that we didn’t win. If truth be told, I let Jason win but only because I know the Kiwis will finish what we started when they come here on the seventh of November.

“It should be a really special international series – especially in this fantastic Stadium.”

The England vs New Zealand autumn international series kicks off at the KC Stadium in Hull on Sunday November 1 (5.00pm) before attention turns to the former Olympic Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London on Saturday November 7 (2.30pm). The series concludes at the DW Stadium, Wigan on Saturday November 14 (1.00pm).

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UCATT in crisis as leader goes on sick leave

April 24th, 2015 Comments off

UCATT general secretary Steve Murphy is understood to have offered his resignation as a financial crisis engulfs the union.

murphyIt is understood that Murphy tendered his resignation yesterday.

But members of the UCATT executive council are understood to have persuaded Murphy to take a month off on sick-leave instead.

A UCATT spokesperson said: “Steve Murphy is currently on sick leave”.

The latest blow comes as the union is facing a major redundancy programme in a bid to save money.

One union expert said: “UCATT is in crisis and this is just the latest blow.

“It has been spending more money that it has been getting in for some time now and the whole situation is now coming to a head.”

We understand that UCATT still has around £5m in investments

But it has debts of around £3.5m and the current account is showing outgoings far outweighing income.

Another union source said: “The whole movement in construction is a bit of a shambles at the moment but UCATT is in real trouble.

“It’s amazing to think they are in this sort of state at a time when construction is booming again.”

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Brookfield Multiplex lands £125m Saatchi building deal

April 22nd, 2015 Comments off

Developer Derwent London has selected Brookfield Multiplex as its preferred bidder to deliver its most ambitious London development project later this year.

Brookfield MultiplexSources close to the project said that Brookfield Multiplex has beaten rivals Bam Construct and Mace to the 367,000 st ft  mixed-use development at 80 Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia.

The building contract is expected to be worth around £125m when finalised before work starts during the second half of the year.

Derwent put the project on hold in July 2013, after advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi, which has occupied the building since 1975, delayed its move away from the property.

But it has now set a date to start work on the office, residential and retail project, which has been designed by architects Make.

The project will be part refurbishment and part new build with a substantial proportion of the existing structures retained thereby cutting waste and carbon emissions whilst reducing the construction period.

The redevelopment scheme will include 336,000 sq ft of office, residential and retail space at 80 Charlotte Street and 31,000 sq ft of residential at nearby 65 Whitfield Street and 1-8 Whitfield Place.

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Job losses looming at Shepherd Construction

April 20th, 2015 Comments off

Shepherd Construction staff are braced for a major round of redundancies as bosses at the firm prepare to rescale the business.

Up to 180 jobs could be at risk with the bulk of the cuts focused on back-office staff.

Employees were told of the plans late last week and a redundancy consultation exercise is now underway.

Mark Perkins, Shepherd’s CEO, said “The executive board is currently reviewing the Shepherd Construction business, with a view to establishing the right scale and platform for future growth and sustainability.

“As part of the review, a formal 45 day collective consultation process with employees within Shepherd Construction and the divisional support teams commenced on 1st April, to assess current resources.

“We must ensure that Shepherd Construction operates as efficiently as possible to meet the demands of today’s market and safeguard the long term future of the company and its workforce.

“We will do everything possible to minimise potential redundancies and prioritise the welfare of staff affected by the consultation throughout.”

Latest accounts for Shepherd Construction reveal it ran up an £8.2m loss last year on turnover down a third to £240m.

Shepherd Engineering Services did better making a £5.3m profit from turnover up 8% at £208m.

These two main Shepherd contracting arms employed nearly 1,400 staff.

Wates was believed to be weighing-up a potential takeover of Shepherd Construction, Shepherd Engineering Services and Shepherd FM earlier this year.

But it is believed Wates has now gone cool on the deal.

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Sound proofing your home

April 15th, 2015 Comments off
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“Welders, Glaziers or Dredgers?” Majority of Young Britons Unsure of What Different Construction Roles Entail

April 14th, 2015 Comments off

According to a new study, the majority of polled young Britons were unable to correctly identify differences between various sectors within the construction industry. ‘Welders’, ‘Glaziers’ and ‘Dredgers’ were revealed as the roles in the construction industry which Britons had the biggest problem identifying.

New research conducted by a leading business insurance website in the UK has revealed how well-known different trades within the industry are. Looking to uncover the levels of awareness of the construction industry amongst the general public, the survey revealed that the majority of young Britons today are not sure what different roles entail.

The team at www.constructaquote.com polled a total of 2,039 participants, all of whom were aged 18-35 years old, for the purposes of the study. There was an even gender divide amongst respondents and, in order to collect a set of valid results, each individual taking part had never worked within the construction industry themselves.

Respondents were given a list of ten trades within the construction industry and asked to summarise in one or two simple sentences what each trade entailed. The trades, ranked in order of the amount of participants correctly able to give a correct description, were as follows:

  1. Lorry/van driver – (99%) (% of respondents who could correctly describe the trade)
  2. Carpet layer- (96%)
  3. Plumber- (93%)
  4. Plasterer- (90%)
  5. Electrician- (83%)
  6. Labourer- (78%)
  7. Mason- (61%)
  8. Welder- (51%)
  9. Glazier- (48%)
  10. Dredger- (39%)

Of participants taking part in the study, almost half claimed that they had never heard of a welder, a glazier or a dredger.  Furthermore, of the 7% of individuals unable to give a correct definition of an electrician, almost one fifth (19%) believed that this was a job linked to the entertainment industry i.e. electronic music.

When asked if they had ever realised that there was such a vast amount of trades within the construction industry, the majority (67%) admitted that they hadn’t. A further 18% revealed to researchers that they would make an active effort to look into the opportunities available in the construction industry as a young person.

Lyndon Wood, CEO and Creator of constructaquote.com, made the following comments regarding the findings of the study:

“I think it’s really important to highlight the fact that such a huge proportion of young Britons polled in our study were unable to correctly describe various construction trades which, 50 years ago, would have been a hell of a lot more commonplace in the UK.”

He continued:

“If schools put a tenth as much emphasis on teaching their pupils about the wide array of options available in the sectors as overlooked as construction, then I would hazard to guess that there would be a lot less 18 year olds leaving school totally clueless and stuck for what to choose as a career path!”

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FA kicks off £200m changing rooms programme

April 13th, 2015 Comments off

changing roomsThe Football Association is preparing to pick a squad of contractors to deliver a £200m building programme of new sports changing rooms across the country.

The four-year grass-roots community programme will typically involve projects worth between £300k and £1m depending on size and scope of each facility.

Under present plans it will invite tenders in June with the aim of selecting contractors to start the improvement programme next April.

Before that the FA, together with The Football Foundation and The English Sports Council,  is undertaking a soft market testing exercise and contractors’ day.

This will help to judge the best route for procurement and explore the market appetite for delivering the programme using modular buildings, although it remains open to more traditional methods of construction too.

To register an interest and participate in the soft market test, complete the SurveyMonkey questionnaire.

The FA said it was looking with consultant Cameron Consulting for firms with experience in the design and construction of modular buildings and of working in the leisure and sports sector.

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Tolent and Gentoo team up to create new company

April 10th, 2015 Comments off

The distinct joint venture business aims to harness Gentoo’s reach into social housing with Newcastle-based Tolent’s project management and construction expertise.

The new company Gentoo Tolent is registered at Gentoo’s Sunderland head quarters and began business yesterday.

Steve Lanaghan, Executive Director of Gentoo Group said: “Tolent is a highly respected and experienced construction company, with whom we have enjoyed an excellent working relationship.

 

“The joint venture will enable both organisations to share skills and knowledge in different and complementary areas of work. With a number of synergies between our businesses, this partnership will create a sustainable regional business with an enhanced offer to the market.”

John Wood, Chair of Tolent said:“This is a great opportunity to boost the strengths of both companies and develop a partnership with a common objective of providing a quality product that is value for money.

“We are looking forward to getting started.”

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Three Quarters of Construction Workers Would Welcome On-Site Drug Testing

April 8th, 2015 Comments off

Researchers at a leading business insurance website have revealed that as many as three quarters of construction workers agree with random drug testing whilst on site. Furthermore, the majority of respondents stated that they would feel a lot safer and more secure if employees operated under rules in which they could be tested and dismissed at any point if they were proved to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

A leading business insurance website in the UK has decided to investigate random drug testing on construction sites, following recent reports of a legal case won by a bus driver who lost his job after failing a drugs test, when he’d actually done nothing except handle some banknotes contaminated with cocaine.

The team at www.constructaquote.com wanted to explore the idea of random drug testing on construction sites. To do this, they polled a total of 1,489 construction workers and 404 construction employers from across the UK, in order to gauge the general reaction of how those working in the industry feel about drug tests. All construction workers taking part were aged 21 and over and had worked within the construction industry for at least five years.

All participants were initially asked whether they had ever worked on a construction site which carried out random drug testing as part of its policy, with less than one tenth (9%) of workers stating that they had done so. Of these individuals, all stated that they had passed their tests without any suspicious results.

When then asked whether they believe that random drug testing should be made a mandatory procedure carried out across all construction sites in the UK, over three quarter of the workers (76%) and half of the employers (49%) agreed that it should be.

Next, construction workers and employers who believed that drug testing should be made mandatory on all sites were then asked to state reasons that behind their beliefs most correctly and given a list of answers, with the most common answers given as follows:

  1. I would feel a lot safer and more secure in my workplace with drug-testing in place- (68%)
  2. I don’t want to work with people who are putting me in danger- (54%)
  3. I don’t want poor work carried out if co-workers are under the influence of drugs- (43%)
  4. I don’t want to work or associate with drug users- (22%)
  5. Drug testing may help those who use habitually to quit their habit and put their career first- (15%)

When the respondents who stated that they did not agree with making the drug testing compulsory across construction sites were then asked to reveal why not, the top five reasons given emerged as follows:

  1. Random drug testing would take up too much time in organisation and implementation- (77%)
  2. The costs involved in carrying out the drug tests would be too expensive for construction companies- (61%)
  3. There are no guarantees the drug testing would be 100% effective – (40%)
  4. I believe workers should be allowed to spend free time however they wish- (16%)
  5. I take drugs occasionally and would be concerned about losing my job- (5%)

Lyndon Wood, Creator and CEO of constructaquote.com made the following comments regarding the findings of the research:

“Taking into account how important safety and accuracy is regarding so much of the work carried out on construction sites, it seems as though implementing drug tests would work out as a perfectly logical step to ensure the safety of workers and the peace of mind of employers and construction clients.”

He continued:

“Having said that, it is argued amongst many think that the science and technology behind the tests are not perfected enough yet to give totally accurate results. Lives and careers could potentially be irreversibly damaged through a faulty drug test, as one can see in such cases as the bus driver who failed his test. So, whilst I do think that drug tests should be implemented across all sites eventually, perhaps now it is too soon to risk the potential problems and risks associated with someone being falsely accused of using.”

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