UK construction blog


Archive for January, 2020

BricsCAD® BIM supports the BIMcollab issue management ecosystem

January 23rd, 2020 Comments off

Eindhoven – Bricsys® and BIMcollab are delighted to announce the integration of the BIMcollab BIM Collaboration Format (BCF) Application Programming Interface (API) into BricsCAD® BIM V20. A new BCF panel in the BricsCAD BIM product lets users connect to the BIMcollab platform through this open API. The connected panel allows users to see, open and manage BIM model issues directly inside of the BricsCAD BIM product environment, while working directly with the BIM model.

The open BCF API has been recently released by BIMcollab. It is based on BuildingSMART open standards, to better facilitate effective communications across a variety of BIM tools and workflows. Bricsys is proud to deliver one of the first application software products that uses this open BCF API to connect with the BIMcollab platform.
Using the panel, the BricsCAD BIM user can select an issue and have the relevant model elements automatically selected / highlighted. This workflow enables efficient communications of design issues, without the added hassle of sending emails and attachments back and forth via traditional channels. Also, users can add comments to model issues stored on the BIMcollab server and can change the status of issue notifications.

Click here to see it in action.

About BIMcollab

BIMcollab is an issue management system for BIM in the cloud and bridges the gap between BIM applications by offering a broad set of add-ons for all popular BIM tools. Part of its powerful ecosystem is BIMcollab ZOOM, a free model viewer to find information flaws, communicate issues and verify solutions. Connecting BIM-teams via the BIMcollab cloud means dramatically reducing time spend on communication about issues and helping to improve model quality: less construction errors, lower costs.

About Bricsys NV

Bricsys® builds BricsCAD®, software for people who build things. For the last two decades, our singular focus has been making cost-effective, unique Computer Aided Design (CAD), Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Common Data Environment (CDE) products. Now a part of the global technology giant Hexagon AB, we are reinforcing our commitment to take your design workflows to the next level. Our goal: to help our customers achieve more, in less time, for less money.

For more information, contact


ENGIE joins Midland Metropolitan Hospital project

January 22nd, 2020 Comments off

Leading energy and services specialist, ENGIE, is playing a key role in developing the new £475 million Midland Metropolitan Hospital in Smethwick in the West Midlands.

Work will now re-commence following two years of delays due to the collapse of Carillion, with the project now set to be completed by Balfour Beatty.

Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, which will run Midland Met, said that securing the services of ENGIE, which aims to embrace a lower carbon and more efficient way of working, was a big step towards opening the hospital.

Mark Harris, divisional managing director for ENGIE UK & Ireland, said: “We are very pleased to be working alongside the trust to bring their new flagship site online over the next two years, before becoming a strategic partner at the hospital.

“ENGIE has long-term experience in successfully providing facilities management services to a wide range of healthcare establishments across the UK, including primary care facilities and major acute hospitals. We look forward to working closely with the trust and serving the local community.” Trust chairman Richard Samuda said: “This is a key long-term relationship for us, with a shared commitment to local procurement, local employment and the living wage.”

Trust chief executive Toby Lewis said: “ENGIE is a major energy provider with a focus on sustainability. We know that our future will move towards a zero carbon position and we want to be at the forefront of that movement.

“ENGIE provide facility management services in over 30 hospitals across the NHS and we look forward to working successfully together.”


ENGIE Officially Launches State-of-the-Art Energy Centre in Newcastle

January 21st, 2020 Comments off

Leading energy and services specialist, ENGIE, has launched a high profile new carbon-reduction energy centre in Newcastle

A high profile new district energy centre is being officially launched by ENGIE UK, in partnership with Newcastle City Council.

The official launch event, which took place on Wednesday, January 15, saw the district energy centre – which forms part of a wider £20m low carbon scheme within the City – further boosting Newcastle’s commitment to tackling climate change by saving more than 30,000 tonnes of carbon over 40 years.

The facility on the flagship Newcastle Helix site, will use a 5km network of underground pipes to supply heating and cooling to 10 buildings and up to 450 homes on site.

Using heat and power created through the use of low carbon and cost-effective energy solutions, including natural gas fired CHP (Combined Heat and Power), the centre also generates chilled water and cooling facilities and electricity to neighbouring buildings.

It’s hoped the new centre will be the first of many innovative energy projects resulting from the Regenerate Newcastle Partnership; a joint venture between ENGIE and Newcastle City Council, to develop and operate district energy schemes within the City over a 40-year term.

Nicola Lovett, Chief Executive of ENGIE UK and Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be marking the completion of the new Helix Energy Centre, the first of what we hope will be many innovative low carbon energy projects delivered by our long-term partnership with Newcastle City Council.

“With local authorities playing an increasingly key role in the drive to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions, ENGIE is committed to using its expertise to support Newcastle with its climate goals and on its journey to becoming a zero carbon city by 2030.” 

The centre has been made possible with funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Government’s Local Growth Deal through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Forbes, said: “Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet so it’s incumbent on all of us to do what we can to reduce our carbon emissions.

“Last year we declared a climate change emergency and since then have set up a Climate Change Convention and are putting in place a range of measures to make the city carbon zero by 2030.

“The opening of the District Energy Centre is a significant boost to our climate change credentials and will provide affordable and sustainable heating to residents and cutting-edge businesses which are bringing high quality jobs to the city,” added Cllr Forbes, who also chairs the council’s Climate Change Committee.

Helix District Energy Centre is the first innovative scheme in a venture to develop District Energy in the Newcastle city boundaries as part of the Regenerate Newcastle Partnership.

For further information on ENGIE, visit 


The Most Profitable (and Useful) Home Renovations to Make in 2020

January 20th, 2020 Comments off

What ‘Love It or List It’ Can Teach Aspiring Renovators

After watching series 1-4 of the TV show, they uncovered that the average Love It or List It home renovation costs £54,111.

And that despite spending a huge investment, over a third (36%) of couples still end up moving house – proving that picking the right renovations is key.

So to help, Insulation Express have collated Kirstie Allsopp’s top tips for aspiring renovators:

Problem Solution Notes
A lack of space Adding a loft conversion or an extension to the house. Or if you’re on more of a budget, changing the layout of your home i.e. switching the kitchen and the living room.   64% of ‘participants claimed a ‘lack of space’ was their main reason for wanting to move.
Not making use of the dining room   Knocking through the wall of the kitchen which connects to the dining room, and transforming it into a large open kitchen and diner space. The dining room was the least used room of the house, so it’s no surprise that 86% of participants chose to create an open plan kitchen.   
Using the kitchen for numerous purposes Adding a utility room for washing and ironing, freeing up space in the kitchen. 32% of ‘Love It or List It’ participants added a utility room.
Wanting to renovate but having a smaller budget Consider repainting your home and buying new kitchen doors. One household added £20,000 to the value of their home by making these small changes.
The bathroom being too high maintenance  Updating the current bathroom so that it’s more modern, functional and easier to clean.    64% of properties refurbished their bathroom or added an additional bathroom.

Interested in the full findings? They also delve into the:

  • Top reasons Brits want to move house
  • UK’s most-loved and despised rooms
  • Average cost of renovating your home
  • Number of Brits that choose to renovate rather than move house
  • Most profitable house renovations to consider

World’s first recycled bricks go into production in Scotland

January 16th, 2020 Comments off

Scientists at Heriot Watt University in Scotland have developed the world’s first building brick that’s made from 90% recycled construction and demolition waste.

K-Briq can be produced in any colour

The K-Briq produces slashed the CO2 emissions of a traditional fired brick, using less than a tenth of the energy in its manufacture and can be made in any colour.

After testing, the K-Briq is going into commercial production in Scotland after a deal with Hamilton Waste & Recycling to produce the K-Briq at its recycling site.

The product, which is stronger and lighter than traditional kiln-fired bricks, is being produced by the University’s cleantech spin-out company Kenoteq.

It is produced from concrete, brick and plasterboard waste combined with a secret binder and compressed to size without firing.

Professor Gabriela Medero, who conceived the idea of the K-Briq more than 10 years ago, said: “The K-Briq looks like a normal brick, behaves like a clay brick but offers better insulation properties.

“It is sustainable and not kiln-fired so it is far better for the environment and represents massive savings for the construction industry in terms of related taxes.”

Dr Sam Chapman, who works in close partnership with Professor Medero on Kenoteq, added: “Kenoteq has invested in machinery that can produce three million bricks per year.

“In the past year, we’ve produced thousands of bricks and put them through rigorous testing with the K-Briq now commercially available to construction clients.

“The Scottish Government has set very high targets for housebuilding with 50,000 new homes earmarked for construction in the next three years. We hope Kenoteq will be part of those homes.”

Up to 85% of bricks used in Scotland are currently being imported from England or Europe raising considerable questions about the long-term sustainability of the sector.


Wates to go waste and carbon free by 2025

January 15th, 2020 Comments off

Wates has committed to eliminating waste and carbon from its operations by 2025.

The company has committed to three headline targets to help ensure it does ‘zero harm’ to the environment:

  •      Zero waste from Wates operations by 2025 – reduce and then eliminate the production of all waste created from on-site operations.
  •       Zero carbon from Wates operations and operational vehicles by 2025 – reduce carbon emissions and become carbon neutral.
  •       Positive impact on nature from all operations – enhance the natural environment wherever it operates and to increase the value and community benefit of natural environments.

Measure taken will include switching to an all-electric commercial vehicle fleet and eliminating single-use plastic from its operations and supply chain.

Wates will also be investing in sustainable building techniques, organising sustainability placements for graduate and apprenticeship staff, planting 5,000 trees annually and ensuring that all sites or frameworks deliver at least one nature enhancement project.

This year the focus will be on raising awareness, education and engagement and using data collection to set accurate benchmarks.

The company is using a similar approach to its health and safety programme where a target-led approach has resulted in a “sea-change” in culture and behaviour.

David Allen, Wates Chief Executive, said: “We have established bold, ambitious, deliberately stretching targets for creating zero harm to the environment by 2025 because we believe that by committing to something extraordinary, we can achieve something extraordinary.

“Together with our partners, we will reduce waste and carbon, and improve our natural environment for generations to come.

“Our industry has made and continues to make an unhelpful contribution to the global climate crisis.

“We have a responsibility to reduce and eventually to reverse the impact we’re having on our planet and are determined that everyone in the Wates Group will do what is necessary to make a real and lasting difference.”

John Dunne, Group Health, Safety, Environment and Quality Director, added: “We are choosing to take a leading role in reducing our industry’s environmental impact.

“We work with a diverse range of public and private sector partners and businesses of all sizes are part of our supply chain.

“A key part of achieving zero harm to the environment will be working collaboratively with these partners.

“Our strategy will focus our attentions and energies on achieving zero waste, zero carbon and positive nature enhancement by 2025; and everyone has a vital role to play in achieving it.”


Audit watchdog needs more time to probe Carillion collapse

January 14th, 2020 Comments off

Watchdogs at the Financial Reporting Council need at least an extra six months to complete the first stage of their investigation into the collapse of Carillion.

The FRC launched a probe into KPMG’s auditing of Carillion’s books when the contractor collapsed in January 2018.

In an update the FRC said: “The scale and complexity of this case is exceptional, with a huge volume of documents and information that has had to be reviewed and analysed.

“The investigation encompasses a four-year period, and numerous significant audit areas, including the accounting for construction and services contracts, pensions liabilities, goodwill and going concern.

“All of the accounting years and each of the audit areas identified remain under active consideration.

“The FRC therefore currently expects to complete the first stage of its investigation by summer 2020, rather than by January 2020.”

The FRC is also investigating the conduct of former Carillion directors Richard Adam and Zafar Khan.


Breedon swoops to buy 100 Cemex UK sites for £178m

January 13th, 2020 Comments off

Breedon has struck a deal to buy a major slice of the aggregate operations of global materials giant Cemex for £155m cash and liabilities of £23m.

Breedon boosts aggregate reserves to 1bn tonnes and aims to expand asphalt business

The Cemex business that is being sold employs 650 staff across 100 active operations in the UK and will drive further consolidation of the heavyside material sector.

The sale consists of 49 ready-mix plants, 28 aggregate quarries, four depots, one cement terminal, 14 asphalt plants, and four concrete products operations.

These sites are grouped across six divisions located in Scotland, Wales, North-East England, Norfolk, the East Midlands, and Yorkshire.

Part of Cemex’s paving solutions business in the UK, together with some inactive sites, are also included in the sale to Breedon.

Cemex said it would still retain a substantial operation in this country, including cement production, ready-mix concrete, asphalt, and paving solutions.

Pat Ward, Breedon’s group chief executive, said: “This is a unique opportunity to extend our national network through a single value-enhancing transaction, substantially increasing our footprint in several regions of Great Britain where we are currently underrepresented and adding 170 million tonnes of mineral reserves and resources. “

He said that the enlarged group’s total mineral reserves and resources would stand at more than 1 billion tonnes.  Several greenfield sites are also included as part of the deal offering further potential for expansion.

Ward added: “It also delivers a step-change in the development of our national asphalt strategy.

“There is potential to drive significant performance improvements across these new assets and they will also strengthen our platform for further organic growth and bolt-on acquisitions.”

Ward said: “In addition to the cost synergies we anticipate, we also expect the deal to be accretive to both earnings and free cash flow in the first full year, with a positive ongoing impact on the cash generation of the enlarged Group.”

Last year Cemex generated £178m revenue, delivering a £23m in trading profit.

Breedon will notify the UK Competition and Markets Authority for clearance but said that completion was not conditional on conclusion of the CMA process.

The deal is expected to be finalised in the second quarter of this year, subject to completion of a TUPE consultation process.


ENGIE Wins £9m East Grinstead Contract

January 9th, 2020 Comments off

Leading energy, services and regeneration specialists, ENGIE, has started work on a £9 million project in East Grinstead.

The development, named Lingfield Lodge, will comprise of 48 contemporary extra care sheltered apartments, complete with associated communal facilities and landscaping, and will be carried out in partnership with Eldon Housing Association in addition to local charitable providers.

Work is set to be completed in January 2021, with the scheme aiming to provide a better standard of affordable housing and facilities for residents and the community, with ENGIE working in partnership with Mid Sussex District Council and West Sussex County Council through Eldon Housing Association.  

The site, located in East Grinstead, saw the demolition of the existing apartments to make way for the new modern facilities.

Simon Lacey, Regional Managing Director at ENGIE, commented: “It’s great to be involved in a project that will make a real difference to residents’ living standards with brand new apartments and the development of communal areas.

“The project will see us make the most efficient use of the land, without disrupting existing amenities in the surrounding area. It’s an exciting project, and we’re looking forward to seeing the positive impact providing 100% affordable homes will have on the local area.”

 Working in conjunction with FUSE Architects, ENGIE plans to build a variety of high quality properties, ranging from 1 – 2 bedroom appartments. 

For further information on ENGIE, visit 


HS2 phase 2 civils design costs rise 50%

January 8th, 2020 Comments off

HS2 has extended its civils design and environmental services contracts for routes from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester with values rising by 50%.

Design fees and environment services work needed to support the hybrid Bill for the route was originally expected to cost around £350m.

That figure has now soared to £524m as HS2 has extended the scope of works to include junctions and connections with Northern Powerhouse Rail plans and the timescale for achieving Royal Ascent for phase 2 has slipped from this year to 2020.

The biggest winner is Arup which sees the value of its package rise from £150m to £269m.

The consultant is delivering civils design for L3 and L4 — Leeds Leg Central and Leeds Leg North – as well as acting as environmental overview consultant.

Mott MacDonald working with WSP sees its fee for the Manchester Leg Spine and Manchester Leg Spur design rise from around £100m to £120m.

The three-way joint venture between Aecom, Capita Property and Infrastructure, Ingeniería Economía Del Transporte sees the value of its work increase from £100m to £135m on its section L1 and L2 — Leeds Leg South and East Midlands.

HS2 routes from Birmingham to the north

Together, they are providing the expert engineering and environmental support needed to take forward the development of the route to allow a hybrid Bill to be presented to Parliament.

Both the forecast dates for this Phase 2b hybrid bill deposit and for Royal Assent have changed since the original contract deal.

This has extended the existing scope and activities provided by consultants.

The project is now also being held up by The Oakervee review into HS2. This is rumoured to recommend that the infrastructure scheme go ahead in full despite ballooning costs to over £88bn.

Major project veteran Douglas Oakervee is understood to recommend changing the excessively expensive contracting model and floats the possibility of re-procuring phase one works for best value.

He also calls on the Government to update and publish a revised business case for the project as a whole.

Oakervee also warns that there are no shovel-ready alternative investments in the existing network to provide for much-needed additional rail capacity.

The review is expected to be published early next year, with the industry then having to wait for the Government’s final verdict on his report.