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FIRST LOOK AT LIVERPOOL WATERS’ VISION FOR THE FUTURE

May 10th, 2018 Comments off

Incredible new visuals for the £5 billion Liverpool Waters project, which will transform Liverpool’s Waterfront, have been released to show how the 60-hectare development will look once completed.

The new CGI’s bring to life Liverpool Waters’ vision to completely restore the city’s northern docks, regenerating the 2 million sqm site to create a world-class, mixed-use waterfront quarter in Liverpool.

Within this vision are five unique and dynamic neighbourhoods, running from the edge of the already established Princes Dock, nearly 2km north along the waterfront until it reaches Bramley Moore Dock, the proposed site for the new Everton football stadium.

 

As well as aerial views of the entire project, the CGI’s also offer a glimpse of some of Central Dock’s most impressive features, including Clarence Square, Central Park and a new cultural hub. The 185,860 sqm neighbourhood will also be home to family housing with private gardens as well as residential and office buildings that will offer views of Central Park and the River Mersey.

 

These CGI’s have been created to accompany a refreshed masterplan for the project which encompasses all five unique neighbourhoods. The masterplan has been updated to maximise the project’s potential and ensure it is future-proofed for generations to come.

 

One of the biggest changes in the plan is the relocation of Central Park, with the intention to move it closer to the River Mersey. Covering almost two hectares, Central Park will be one of the many jewels in Liverpool Waters’ crown and will perfectly encapsulate the distinctive mix of culture and community to be found at the Central Dock neighbourhood.

 

Other changes in the plan include a re-imagined Clarence Square at Central Dock, which is set to be one of the most distinctive and interesting public spaces on Liverpool’s waterfront. The masterplan also showcases many changes to the layout of various pedestrian areas to prioritise pedestrians and cyclists and ensure that views of the River Mersey are maximised and highlighted where possible.

 

Managed by Peel Land and Property (Ports) Limited, this year Liverpool Waters has already moved forward with a number of developments including breaking ground on the sixteen-storey residential tower Plaza 1821, which when finished will house 105 one and two bedroom apartments as well as offering commercial space on the ground floor.

 

Darran Lawless, development director at Liverpool Waters, said:

 

“This really is a landmark time for the Liverpool Waters project. Following a decade of meticulous planning, we are now firmly in the delivery phase of this project, and I am excited to see these plans take shape. The aim of the Liverpool Waters project is an ambitious one, but one that will expand the city centre as well as creating jobs and bringing economic benefits to not only North Liverpool, but the region as a whole.”

 

Ian Pollitt, assistant project director at Liverpool Waters, said:

 

“For over 10 years we have developed this project from an initial idea into the biggest single regeneration project in the history of Liverpool and one of the biggest of its kind anywhere in the world. It’s the comprehensive re-imagining and subsequent restoration of this derelict dockland which will reinstate the area back to its former glory. With these new CGI’s and our updated masterplan, we are demonstrating that Liverpool Waters will truly be a waterfront to the world.”

 

To learn more about the Liverpool Waters Development project led by Peel Land and Property (Ports) Limited, please visit http://www.liverpoolwaters.co.uk.

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Construction activity falls 3.3% in first quarter

May 1st, 2018 Comments off

Construction activity slid by 3.3% in the first three months of 2018, impacted by Carillion’s collapse and bad weather.

The fall contritubed a 0.2% fall to UK GDP, which grew by jus t0.1% during the first quarter.

It is the first preliminary estimate of GDP by the ONS and incorporates 45% of total data for the quarter, so be subject to further revisions.

The ONS published its preliminary estimate for GDP in the first quarter of 2018.

Rebecca Larkin, Senior Economist at the Construction Products Association, said: “This preliminary estimate gives the first full indication of how construction was affected by the liquidation of Carillion in January and the adverse weather at the end of February and beginning of March.

“The quarterly decline of 3.3% was the worst since 2012 Q2 and implies a £1.3bn loss of output in the opening months of 2018.

“Some degree of catch-up is expected throughout Spring and Summer, but on the CPA’s forecasts, amid continued economic uncertainty and weakness in commercial construction, output for the year is still expected to be flat at best.”

 

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Construction’s most considerate contractors revealed

April 30th, 2018 Comments off

The country’s best performing construction sites have been confirmed at the Considerate Constructors Scheme’s 2018 National Site Awards.

The winners at the London presentation

The coveted title of Most Considerate Site went to:

  • Minton Lane – Northern Gas Networks (project value under £500k)
  • Lovell Partnership Norwich – Overbury Plc (project value £500k to <£1m)
  • Hutton C of E Primary School – John Perkins Construction Ltd (project value £1m to <£5m)
  • Eastern Balancing Reservoir – Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure Ltd (project value £5m to <£10m)
  • Bravo Taxiway Realignment – Ferrovial Agroman (project value £10m to <£50m)
  • Greenwich Peninsula Upper Riverside – Mace (project value £50m and over)

The National Site Awards recognise projects that have demonstrated the highest level of consideration in respect of the community, environment and workforce.

The awards ceremonies welcomed over 3000 guests and took place at venues in Edinburgh, London and Manchester this month.

The Scheme presented 840 National Site Awards, out of a total of around 8,000 eligible to win.

In addition to the six Most Considerate Site Awards, there were 348 Bronze, 304 Silver and 159 Gold, as well as 23 Most Considerate Site Runners-Up.

This year’s awards also introduced special recognition for Ultra Sites, following the official launch of Ultra Site registration earlier this year.

Ultra Sites were recognised for their outstanding commitment in collaborating with their supply chains during the awards ceremonies. A separate awards ceremony will be held for top performing Ultra Sites later this year.

Considerate Constructors Scheme Chief Executive Edward Hardy said: “Winning a Scheme National Site Award is a monumental achievement.

“To receive this top level of industry recognition reflects how much effort and commitment award-winning sites have made to push their standards, and those of the industry, to even higher levels.

To find out more about the 2018 National Site Awards, visit the Scheme’s online Construction Map here.

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Bill proposes greater security for SME construction contractors

April 23rd, 2018 Comments off

Bill proposes greater security for SME construction contractors

A change to the way UK construction companies deal with contractors may be imminent as MPs get set to debate the second reading of a proposed new Bill later this month.

The Construction (Retention Deposit Schemes) Bill is seeking to ensure retention money (payments to contractors that are withheld for an agreed period of time after the completion of a project) is held in a ring-fenced trust.

According to construction law experts at Manchester firm Slater Heelis the Bill, if passed, will offer greater financial security to SME construction contractors.

Matt Grellier, head of construction & engineering at Slater Heelis, said: “Employers rarely place retention in a separate bank account held on trust. This exposes contractors to financial risk as the money is not ‘ring-fenced’ in the event of employer insolvency.

“The collapse of Carillion has amplified the concerns of many SME contractors. The new Bill proposes that retention monies are placed in a Government approved scheme, similar to that which applies for deposits taken from shorthold tenancies.”

According to Government figures, almost £8bn of cash retentions have remained unpaid over the past three years and with no ring-fencing in place retention cash can be used to pay other creditors in the event of employer insolvency, leaving contractors out of pocket.

According to Mr Grellier, even if the Bill is passed, contractors must not become complacent over the terms of contracts into which they enter.

He added: “Contractors must still ensure they protect themselves in the terms of their contract to ensure prompt payment.

“It pays to be on your guard in relation to bespoke amendments to ‘standard form’ building contracts. Amendments to provisions regarding payment, defects and time for completion may have knock-on effects on retention release.

“Contractors should risk review payment terms pre-contract formation. Contractual ‘milestones’ in relation to payment should be diarised so that key dates are not missed.”

The Construction (Retention Deposit Schemes) Bill is set to be debated by MPs in the House of Commons on Friday 27 April.

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Specialist surveyor fails to spot asbestos

April 18th, 2018 Comments off

A specialist asbestos company has been fined after failing to detect asbestos at a demolition site.

Greater Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how EAS Asbestos Limited were commissioned to conduct refurbishment and demolition surveys by Mercer Brother Limited who were demolishing garages for Hyndburn Homes.

EAS Asbestos stated in their surveys that asbestos was only present in the cement roof sheets, there were no areas that could not be accessed, and that there was no asbestos insulation board present in the garages.

On Wednesday 1 February 2017, the demolition of the garages went ahead but work was immediately stopped when suspect material was found.

Another surveying company was brought in and confirmed the presence of large amounts of asbestos insulation board in the demolition rubble.

An HSE investigation found that the survey carried out by EAS Asbestos Limited was incorrect and misleading.

EAS Asbestos Limited of Sutton in Ashfield, pleaded guilty to breaching safety regulations and was fined £6,700 and ordered to pay costs of £1,000 and a victim surcharge of £170.

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Jacqueline Western said “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards”.

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Carillion collapse hits 2018 commercial property lending

April 17th, 2018 Comments off

The collapse of Carillion is being blamed for a unexpected 4% fall in lending to the commercial property sector in January to £4.1bn.

Lendy, one of Europe’s leading peer- to-peer secured property lending platforms, said construction would typically sees an increase in lending and investment in-between December and January as new commercial building projects began for the New Year rather than this year’s fall.

It blamed the collapse of Carillion for spreading nervousness among many mainstream lenders to property and construction.

It said there was a particular concern about whether smaller construction firms, whose main client was Carillion, would be able to stay in business.

Some traditional lenders have also seen their loan books severely affected by Carillion’s collapse, with Lloyds commercial banking writing off £108m of loans to the failed group.

Santander tripled its impairment costs in 2017 to £203m, citing bad loans made to Carillion.

Liam Brooke, co-founder of Lendy, said: “The unexpected fall in lending highlights just how big an impact Carillion has had on the commercial property industry.”

“Lenders who have had to deal with heavy losses following Carillion’s collapse may think twice before giving loans for some future commercial real estate projects.”

“However, the fundamentals of the construction sector remain strong, and the decline in lending from traditional sources, creates opportunities for non-traditional lenders to enter the marketplace.”

“There are still numerous opportunities for lenders, both traditional and non-traditional to get involved in good, financially sound construction projects.”

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TSA Members welcome SmartWater’s co-ordinated response to equipment theft

April 16th, 2018 Comments off

A new alliance between The Survey Association (TSA) and SmartWater is leading to detailed analysis and police follow-up on every incident of equipment theft.

A three-year agreement between TSA and SmartWater, sponsored by the leading manufacturers, is the first, co-ordinated response to thieves that persistently target surveyors.

As a direct result of the TSA initiative, SmartWater operatives are sharing incident information with the police and discussing the impact of theft on survey companies with crime prevention officers.

Dave Bennett, Business Manager at Topcon GB & Ireland, commented: ‘’The biggest impact theft has on surveyors is loss of working time and the additional cost of replacing equipment.’’

‘’Collating data around stolen equipment will support affected engineers, as well as elevate the issue within the industry, which is why we back TSA’s initiative with SmartWater,’’ he added.

Incidences of equipment theft routinely halt work schedules, raise concerns about personal safety and security and incur additional costs in replacement and insurance premiums for survey companies.

John Fraser, President, UK & Benelux Hexagon Geosystems said, “Theft in the UK of survey equipment is rife, and Leica Geosystems is working hard on many fronts to provide solutions and support to the industry, so we actively support the TSA initiative of the Smart Water database.’’

Theft data submitted to SmartWater’s Intelligence Portal puts the estimated cost of stolen equipment to TSA Member companies from September 2017 – February 2018 at £1.8 million, an average of £300,000 per month.

Ian Pennington, Geospatial Strategic Key Account Manager at Trimble said, “Theft of survey equipment has become a huge problem for our profession causing tremendous distress to the surveyors involved and significant financial loss to businesses.’’

‘’We fully support this important initiative by TSA to assist their members on crime prevention and equipment recovery measures,’’ he added.

Information submitted through the Intelligence Portal is also used to compile monthly reports for TSA Members, identify crime hotspots, emerging crime trends and possible links to current investigations.

An additional risk rating briefing for Members is issued each quarter, with advice for crime prevention to those likely to be a target.

For further details and to submit information on theft of survey equipment, email TSA office@tsa-uk.org.uk

Non-TSA Members can also report their thefts through the Intelligence Portal to ensure that the whole picture is captured, though only TSA Members will receive SmartWater’s monthly reports and briefings. For more information on TSA www.tsa-uk.org.uk/

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LEADING TRAINING PROVIDER SUPPORTS CALLS FOR APPRENTICESHIP LEVY CHANGES AS NUMBERS DROP AGAIN

April 10th, 2018 Comments off

A leading utilities and construction training provider has added its voice to calls for change in the Apprenticeship Levy.

As latest figures showed a 25 per cent slump in new apprentices, Chris Wood, CEO of Develop Training, said: “The government should take action and make structural changes to the Levy.”

Develop Training, whose customers include some of the biggest names in construction and household name utility companies, has called for three adaptations to the scheme.

  • Make the Levy more flexible by extending the time allowed to use funds beyond the current two years
  • Widen apprenticeship choice
  • Unshackle the de facto value cap on apprenticeships, a move which would help training firms to deliver more schemes

Mr Wood added that employers also needed to get to grips with the scheme: “There are issues with how the Levy works, but it could be argued that a major cause of the problem remains ignorance of the Levy and its implications.”

He said a cut in the rate of the Levy, which some have called for, was highly unlikely as it could be politically suicidal and fail to address underlying skills shortages. Conversely, raising the rate, in an attempt to put more pressure on employers to make use of it may negatively impact the important work performed by other separately levy-funded bodies such as the CITB and ECITB.

More flexibility in the scheme, allowing Levy funding to pay for different kinds of training, might help, he said, welcoming news that more firms were implementing higher level apprenticeships.

This month (April) marks the first anniversary of the Levy, which requires larger employers to invest in apprenticeships or forfeit their contribution to the scheme. However, preliminary government figures released at the end of March showed a 25 per cent drop in the number of people starting apprenticeships in the first two quarters of 2017/18. This led to employer organisations, including the Engineering Employers Federation and the CBI, to renew calls for an overhaul.

The government pointed out that the latest figures are preliminary, and also welcomed the rise in higher level training being provided under the Levy.

www.developtraining.co.uk

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APPRENTICESHIP SPECIALIST JOINS DTL

March 27th, 2018 Comments off

APPRENTICESHIP SPECIALIST JOINS DTL

A learning and development professional with specialist experience of the Apprenticeship Levy has joined Develop Training Ltd (DTL) at their Derby HQ.

For the past six years, Kate Whittaker has worked for private sector training providers in the field of apprenticeships, most latterly in a customer service role dealing with the implications of the Apprenticeship Levy. This followed 15 years with the Department for Work and Pensions where Kate was involved with the Welfare to Work programme.

Now, as a Business Development Manager at DTL, Kate is looking forward to working with clients such as BT, Affinity Water and Northern Gas Networks in an important account management role.

Kate said: “I was attracted to DTL by the company culture; everyone seems to feel valued. I am looking forward to working with a range of clients not only to ensure that their training needs are met but also to provide support and advice around the best use of the Apprenticeship Levy.”

Originally from Derby, Kate now lives near Belper with her fiancé and three-year-old daughter.

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Carillion boss offered senior staff bonuses to stop exodus

March 26th, 2018 Comments off

Carillion handed senior staff special bonuses to stop an exodus after the firm issued the first bombshell profit warning.

Retention bonuses for senior managers below director level, salary increases for others, and a fee of £750 000 a year for the interim CEO, higher than his predecessor’s salary, were all agreed by the remuneration  committee.

MPs investigating Carillion’s collapse published fresh evidence on Monday showing how Carillion sought to boost and protect the rewards for its top executives as its finances deteriorated.

Acting CEO Keith Cochcrane wrote to selected senior staff:  “As you know, you are part of the team supporting the various projects we have underway at the moment that are critical to our success in 2017 and the business plan period up to 2019.

“We have a particularly challenging period to get through and your contribution is essential. With that in mind, I would like to invite you to participate in a retention bonus that will allow us to be assured of your services until at least the end of June 2018 and reward you for your contribution between now and then.

“These arrangements relate to a very limited group of people and should therefore not be discussed with anyone other than me.”

Fresh evidence also reveals that shareholders, including BlackRock, sought to limit the level of bonuses paid to board directors in 2016.

An attempt by Carillion’s board to increase the maximum bonus level to 150%  – although they promised not to use the maximum possible amount – was met with resistance, forcing the company to back down to 100% of salary maximum bonus pay-out.

MPs also criticised bosses’ contracts, which make it difficult to claw back their bonuses for any wrongdoing.

The joint committee said that the latest papers seemed to reinforce, the opinion of Amra Balic, Head of Stewardship at BlackRock, that Carillion’s board was more concerned with “how to remunerate executives rather than what was going on with the business”

Frank Field MP, Chair of the Pensions Committee, said: “It’s greed on stilts, pure and simple.”

Rachel Reeves, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, said: “These RemCo papers are further evidence that when the walls were falling down around them, Carillion bosses were focussed on their own pay packets rather than their obligation to address the company’s deteriorating balance sheets.

“While these directors could still walk off with bonuses intact, workers were left fearing for their jobs and suppliers faced ruin. Carillion had a notorious reputation for late payments to suppliers.

“But while suppliers were waiting up to 120 days to be paid, Carillion directors were doing their upmost to ensure there was no impediment to their receipt of fat pay and bonuses. Finally, when even the Carillion RemCo considered asking for directors to return their bonuses, the system and culture was so dysfunctional, and the terms and clawback provisions so weak, that even this meek step was ruled out”.

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