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Online training logs a win for trussed rafter designers

July 31st, 2018 Comments off

As the construction industry continues its struggle with skills shortages, the trussed rafter industry is working hard to upskill employees with sign-ups for specialist training quadrupling.

The online training course, run by the Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) in association with Edinburgh Napier University, is proving popular with trussed rafter designers.

Two beneficiaries of the training programme are Gabor Vince, from Taylor Lane Timber Frame Ltd, and Frank Kyne, from Wyckham Blackwell Ltd, who are the highest scorers for the Introduction to Trussed Rafter Design online course.

As a reward for their hard work, Gabor and Frank have been given the opportunity to visit a Swedish forestry and sawmilling operations courtesy of Vida Wood UK Ltd.

Gabor says:

“It’s great to be rewarded for doing a course that, for me, was fundamental to my professional development.

“Going to Sweden will be a real eye-opener getting out into the forest to witness how it all works through the whole felling and logging process and seeing how the timber is processed at the mill.”

Frank adds:

“The course for me was very useful and a great test of my skills. Being able to do this all online was really important to me as I would never have found the spare time to complete this otherwise.

“I can’t wait to go to Sweden and see how my work and my colleagues’ work weaves into what’s happening out in the forest and the mills. It’s a fantastic opportunity.”

Nick Boulton, TRA chief executive, said:

“Training for TRA members is going from strength to strength and it’s remarkable how well the course is doing. It’s a credit to the TRA members and their employees for wanting to be better at their job to provide a better service for their customers.”

The online training course is available in two elements: Part 1 Essentials and Part 2 Advanced. Part 1 is suitable for new staff and designers while part 2 is aimed purely at designers.

TRA members can claim up to two units of training completed per site within three months of registering. With each unit costing £175 per candidate or £300 for both, these are great saving for members.

The course is just one element of the TRA’s commitment to training and recruitment in the trussed rafter industry.

At the TRA AGM in May where the theme was ‘The next generation’, TRA chairman, Jonathan Fellingham, announced he is heading up a project to look at the recruitment of the future pipeline of trussed rafter designers and fabricators, calling on TRA members to get involved.

To register candidates, please send the candidates full name and business email address to info@tra.org.uk where you can also find out further information about the training package.

www.tra.org.uk

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Marvels of architecture across the world

July 23rd, 2018 Comments off

Technology has made it possible for us to design, create, and maintain structures that were not feasible in years gone by. With the additional support of artificial intelligence, architects can make informed choices regarding the building’s structure. Variables such as materials, use, and climate can all be factored in quickly by modern technology.

Together with Oasys, who offer retaining wall solutions, we take a look at some of the best examples of advanced architecture in the world.

Apple Park, Campus 2

One of the most well-known companies in the world, tech titan Apple has moved to its new offices lately. Worth a staggering $234.7bn, the company, which is now one of the biggest on the planet, was able to invest a further $5bn into a new building and move its tremendous workforce into a circular futuristic structure. The new office-space, which opened in April 2017 midway through construction, is made up of 175 acres — and is even bigger than The Pentagon.

This building’s unique trait comes from its roof. The whole structure’s roof is made from solar panels, which makes it one of the most efficient buildings the world has ever seen, in terms of energy saving. The solar panels are capable of generating 17 megawatts of power (75% during peak daytime) and the company has aims to make the complex entirely powered by renewable energy in the future. Another four megawatts are powered through the use of biofuel and natural gas within the complex, using Bloom Energy Servers which are popular within the Californian region, with Google, Yahoo and Wal-Mart using them, too.

The building’s design also prioritised the use of natural heating, ventilation, and air control (HVAC).To achieve this, air is allowed to flow freely between the inside and outside of the building, which can help assist for nine months of the entire year — highlighting the importance of such features in the DNA of design.

 

The Burj Khalifa

At 2,722 ft, the Burj Khalifa (also known as the Burj Dubai) is a sight to behold as the tallest structure in the world. Starting construction in 2004 and finalising the project in 2008, many decisions had to be made to ensure that this neo-futurism structure was able to serve its purpose, acknowledging that it would be a free-standing building and understanding the hot climate it would be situated in.

 

A series of underground water networks delivers fresh water, which has been processed be desalination plants from sea water, to the whole city of Dubai, the skyscrapers included. When the water hits the Burj, it is distributed to every corner of every floor on every level. However, with 163 floors, this can become a complicated process, which shows us just how special the Burj Khalifa actually is in terms of design.

The group of architects who planned the structure realised that using one pump for the skyscraper’s water supply could prove dangerous, due to the need for high pressure to send the water higher up. This pressure could lead to the pipes exploding. To counter this problem, they came up with a plan to help the water flow up the building in different stages.

The water supply starts in the basement, then flows up to a 40th floor reservoir station. This station then pushes the water on to a series of 200,000-gallon tanks all the way to the top of the building. As the water reaches the top, the water then travels back down under its own weight — it is said that 946,000 litres of water are supplied per day which also helps the building stay cool in the hot climate.

As a desert city, keeping buildings cool in Dubai is vital. Therefore, another water supply — an ice-chilled water system which is the first of its kind to be used in the Middle East — has also been implemented to enable substantial energy savings.

The Taipei 101

The previous title-holder for the tallest building in the world, the Taipei 101 is a platinum certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) build. Up until 2016, the structure had the fastest elevator on the planet, which could travel from the 5th to 89th floor in 37 seconds!

 

Taiwan has a multitude of different structures to its name, from the traditional Fort Provintia, to the super-modern Tuntex Sky Tower. But what makes it so spectacular? Starting construction in 1999 and ending in 2004, the Taipei has 101 floors (if the name had not given it away) and is 1,666 ft in height — but the environmental factors that took over its design has changed the way we build for good.

 

Just as the Burj Khalifa’s architects had to consider the building’s need to be kept cool, the architects of the Taipei 101 had to consider Taiwan’s affinity for natural disasters, such as earthquakes and typhoons. When it comes to Taipei 101, the structure can withstand high winds of 134 mph, which is due to the model prioritising resistance through the use of curtain walls, protected glass and high-performance steel. The walls can provide heat and ultraviolet protection by blocking external heat by 50%.

The Taipei 101 has a structure that includes 36 steel columns. Eight of these are known as mega columns, and they have 10,000 pounds of concrete per inch. Within Taipei 101, there are outrigger trusses every eight floors which connect to the columns within the exterior to ensure secure resistance from probable natural disasters in and around Taiwan.

Technology will only continue to grow, so we are set to see even more projects come to fruition that balance a design aesthetic with vital survival features. For example, London is set to have 13 new skyscrapers by 2026 — we know that these will be designed to uphold the ethical requirements for a modern-day structure.

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Network Rail starts race for £5bn trio of trackwork deals

July 16th, 2018 Comments off

Network Rail has officially started the hunt for firms to deliver its programme of trackworks for the next 10 years.

It wants design suppliers and contractors to pre-form as consortia to express interest and pre-qualify for the forthcoming invitation to tender on 15 August.

Three partner consortia will be selected to deliver the £3bn- £5bn programme of works through separate Programme Alliance Agreements.

These will cover three regions: North (Scotland Route); Central (LNW, LNE and East Midlands Routes); and South (Western, Wales, Wessex, South East and Anglia Routes).

The scope of work will predominantly cover design and construction of trackworks on plain line track and switches and crossings points, with the new arrangement coming into being from July/August 2019.

Steve Featherstone, Network Rail’s director for Track said: “Combining our plain line expertise with that of switches & crossings will bring huge benefits to both our route customers and the wider supply chain.

“The proven alliance model offers a flexible and cost effective solution with a greater focus on each route’s specific requirements and needs.”

Prequalification information can be obtained from Network Rail’s procurement site.

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Almost six million claimed back in tax by construction workers

June 8th, 2018 Comments off

UK construction workers have claimed back almost £6 million in overpaid tax this year, according to figures from tax recovery specialist Brian Alfred.

The leading tax recovery firm for workers using the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) or Pay As You Earn (PAYE) schemes, has reclaimed rebates of more than £5.7 million in the last 12 months.

Derek Kelly, CEO of Brian Alfred said: “It’s been another big year for rebates, with almost six million reclaimed for our clients, and to be honest that’s the tip of the iceberg. Around a third of workers on PAYE and CIS schemes are overpaying tax, but often don’t reclaim money which is rightfully theirs.” 

Since Brian Alfred started they’ve recovered more than £36 million in overpaid tax and Derek added: “Workers often forget to claim back expenses such as travel, uniforms and equipment they’ve had to purchase or even food bought during their working day. There’s a huge range of work expenses where you can claim back the VAT and end up with a nice windfall.

“On average, workers who come to us recover around £1,500 in tax rebates. This year though we saw some rebates as big as £10,000!”

Brian Alfred has broken down the average rebate claim by region over the last 12 months. Workers in Northern Ireland came out on top, receiving an average of £1,979 from the HMRC as a result of overpaid tax. However it was a worker in Gloucester who received the biggest windfall of £10,200 from the HMRC.

The breakdown on tax rebates by region is as follows:

Northern Ireland               £1,979.16

South West                       £1,727.93

Greater London                 £1,712.99

Wales                               £1,706.50

North West                       £1,683.09

South East                        £1,681.96

Scotland                           £1,678.07

East Midlands                   £1,635.61

North East                       £1,635.27

West Midlands                 £1,631.61

Workers who are either part of the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) or Pay As You Earn (PAYE) are all eligible to apply and rebates can be claimed for the last four tax years.

Derek added: “You can claim refunds for a range of things, but regulations are complicated, and it can take an expert to get the correct amount of rebate from the HMRC.” 

Brian Alfred is one of the UK’s leading CIS and PAYE tax rebate specialists and has helped thousands of people get their tax rebates, some in as little as 24 hours. 

To find out if you could qualify for a tax rebate visit their free online tax rebate calculator www.brianalfred.co.uk/calculator

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Civils contractor Crummock collapses

June 4th, 2018 Comments off

Civil engineering contractor Crummock has collapsed with the loss of nearly 300 jobs.

Matt Henderson and Donald McNaught at Johnston Carmichael have been appointed as joint receivers for a trio of companies that form the group.

They are now dealing with the receiverships of Crummock (Scotland) Ltd, Crummock Holdings Ltd and Crummock Ltd.

The privately-owned contractor ceased trading today and 287 employees of the business have been made redundant as a result.

Crummock, which operated out of Bonnyrigg just south east of Edinburgh city centre, offered a wide range of civil engineering and surfacing construction expertise including groundworks, infrastructure works, roadworks and road surfacing.

The firm has worked on a range of landmark developments including the Donaldson school residential development in Edinburgh, Fort Kinnaird Retail Park and Shawfair – a major drainage infrastructure project south east of the city.

Matt Henderson said: “Crummock is a long-established construction business which, like many in the industry, has suffered from reduced margins in recent times.

“In recent months it has also encountered cashflow difficulties due to high retention levels, the tight margins within the sector and business specific issues.”

“Unfortunately, the business was unable to raise the capital to enable it to overcome the current financial challenges it faces and we are now dealing with creditors’ claims.”

Latest results for Crummock (Scotland) Ltd show that for the year to March 31 2017 it made a pre-tax profit of £596,000 from a turnover of £23.8m.

Crummock managing director Derek Hogg is also chairman of trade body CECA Scotland but will now be stepping down from the roles.

CECA Scotland Chief Executive Grahame Barn said: “This is a sad day for the civil engineering sector in Scotland and comes at a time when there is little sign of optimism for future workload growth in the sector and SMEs in particular are facing significant challenges.

“Our thoughts are with all the directors, employees and creditors of that company at this very difficult time.

“CECA Scotland will be actively involved in supporting everyone impacted through this very challenging period.

“Regrettably, this announcement means that Derek Hogg will be stepping down as CECA Scotland Chairman and we have already taken steps to ensure a smooth transition to allow the activities of CECA Scotland to continue as normal.”

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Site workers secure 6% pay rise

May 30th, 2018 Comments off

Employers and the construction unions have agreed a two year pay deal which will see minimum rates rise by more than 6%.

The agreement covers more than 400,000 construction workers and will see pay rates rise 3.2% in year one and 2.9% in year two.

The new Construction Industry Joint Council Working Rule Agreement comes into effect from June 25.

It will see the minimum hourly craft rate rise to £12.67 in 2019 resulting in a £494.13 pay packet for a 39-hour week.

The minimum hourly rate for labourers will hit £9.53 representing £371.67 a week.

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FINANCIAL PLANNER WILLSON GRANGE RELOCATES TO LIVERPOOL WATERS

May 29th, 2018 Comments off

Chartered financial planners Willson Grange Limited will be relocating its headquarters from Hoylake on the Wirral to a new space on Liverpool’s waterfront.

The wealth management company has signed a 10-year lease of 10,500 sq. ft at No. 12 Princes Dock, Liverpool Waters.

The firm will be occupying space on both the third and fourth floor of the Grade A office building on Princes Dock, alongside neighbours including the international manufacturer Cargill, shipping group CMA CGM and global insurance broker Griffiths & Armour.

No. 12 Princes Dock is one of the most striking office buildings located at the waterfront based Liverpool Waters, and boasts stunning panoramic views of the River Mersey and a rooftop terrace. With some recent high profile moves, the five storey Grade A office space is now 93% let.

The news of Willson Grange’s move to Princes Dock is one many exciting announcements and developments at Liverpool Waters. This year is set to be the busiest yet for the £5 billion regeneration project, which recently broke ground on the £21 million residential building Plaza 1821 and announced plans for a brand-new heritage trial visitor centre at Collingwood Dock.

Stuart Willson, chief executive officer at Willson Grange, said:

“Relocating our headquarters to Princes Dock will signal a new and exciting phase in Willson Grange’s development. Occupying a space in the city centre of Liverpool will not only make us much more accessible to many of our clients but will also allow us to reach a much wider recruitment pool of the very best financial talent the city has to offer.

“We are delighted to be joining the many prestigious neighbours who already occupy many office buildings on the Princes Dock, and of course we are excited to witness the upcoming developments of the Liverpool Waters scheme, which will be happening right on our doorstep.”

Liza Marco, asset manager at Liverpool Waters, said:

“It is fantastic to see yet another successful and thriving local business choosing to relocate to Princes Dock. Businesses are seeing the advantages of being located in the city centre and the benefits that it brings in terms of welcoming new clients and team members. We’re encouraged to see so much interest in our number of office spaces across Liverpool Waters, and as we enter our next phase of development, we’re looking forward to seeing many more organisations join us on Liverpool’s iconic waterfront.”

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

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Subcontractors wanted for south coast sites

May 15th, 2018 Comments off

Main contractors in the south of England are looking to boost their supply chains at a major ‘Meet the Buyer’ event this week

Constructionline is hosting the event in Brighton where local subcontractors can discuss upcoming projects with some of the south’s largest building contractors and public-sector authorities.

It takes place at the American Express Community Stadium, Village Way, Brighton, BN1 9BL, on Thursday 17th May 2018, between 8:30am and 2:00pm.

Andrew Lowe, Constructionline Sales Director said: “We are very much looking forward to meeting new businesses in Brighton. Previous events in the area have drawn our attention to some great businesses and we are sure the event is going to be very successful.”

The event is open to members and non-members of Constructionline and will feature representatives from Bouygues, McGoff Construction, Baxall Construction and Westridge.

Tickets are free but the event is expected to be in very high demand, so all wishing to attend must book in advance here

 

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New national research suggests 1 in 10 suspect illegal drug use by workplace colleagues

May 14th, 2018 Comments off

New national research suggests 1 in 10 suspect illegal drug use by workplace colleagues

  • One in five don’t take any action if they suspect a friend, family member or colleague of using illegal drugs
  • Regional variations show that almost twice as many Londoners suspect colleagues of drug use compared to national average
  • Would simple drug tests in the workplace help? New technology enables employers to screen employees using a simple fingerprint sweat test

New research released today suggests that more than one in ten workers across the UK have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs. This figure rises to 24% in London – almost twice the national average, while at 6% those surveyed in the North-East appeared to be far less suspicious of their colleagues.

The research, commissioned by Intelligent Fingerprinting to determine UK attitudes to drug screening in the workplace, also shows that one in five employees took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use. This, despite the fact that 43% of people worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe. Similarly, just under a quarter (22%) have suspected a friend of taking illegal drugs, but again those one in five did nothing about it.

Dr Paul Yates of Intelligent Fingerprinting commented: “drug misuse has always been a concern when it comes to health & safety in the workplace, however this latest research suggests the issue could be even more widespread than previously thought. It is clear that drug usage not only puts the safety of individual employees at risk, but also contributes to the cumulative workplace accidents that cost the UK some £4 billion every year[1]. It’s particularly an issue in those sectors where drug misuse takes place in safety-critical working environments such as construction, manufacturing, logistics, public transport networks and utilities.”

“What is notable from the research is that colleagues are reluctant to act – perhaps because they do not have the ability to provide proof or evidence that drug usage has actually taken place,” adds Paul Yates. “Employers who do implement a drug and alcohol policy are often frustrated by the practical challenges within their specific workplaces. Operating a traditional drug screening service using urine tests on a construction site, for example, is rather inconvenient. It’s perhaps no surprise that our new fingerprint-based drug screening test – thanks to its portability, ease-of-use and non-invasive approach – is already generating interest from those health & safety managers and occupational health professionals who are responsible for safety in the workplace. It takes only a few seconds to collect a fingerprint sweat sample and screens for multiple drugs of abuse – amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine and opiates – in a single test, delivering results in under eight minutes. It’s an ideal platform for spontaneous workplace drug screening and we know that regular random drug screening, combined with an effective drug and alcohol policy, acts as a strong deterrent to drug use in the workplace.”

Interviews are available with Dr Paul Yates, a Director at Intelligent Fingerprinting and Abigail Morakinyo of Health in Check – to find out more information about the research.

Facts and figures from the research and regional breakdown

The research for Intelligent Fingerprinting was carried out online by Opinion Matters between 27/04/2018 and 30/04/2018 amongst a panel resulting in 1,200 respondents. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act (1998).

National
13%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
43% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
20% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

East of England
11%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
46% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
17% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

London
24%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
37% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
21% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

East Midlands
11%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
42% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
18% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

West Midlands
12%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
42% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
13% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

North East
6%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
44% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
11% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

North West
12%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
42% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
29% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

Northern Ireland
15%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
50% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
40% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

Scotland
13%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
49% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
22% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

South East
13%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
42% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
22% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

South West
12%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
45% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
23% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

Wales
15%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
39% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
11% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

Yorkshire and the Humber
11%
have suspected a colleague of taking illegal drugs while at work
45% worry that working alongside someone under the influence of drugs makes their workplace unsafe
21% took no action to help or confront the colleague they suspected of drug use

The Intelligent Fingerprinting Drug Screening System consists of a four-panel test cartridge and the portable Intelligent Fingerprinting Reader 1000 analysis instrument. Together these have the potential to be used almost anywhere, any time to support a range of applications including drug rehabilitation programmes, tackling drug use as part of offender management, police initiatives such as roadside testing for drug driving, coroner services, as well as establishing fitness for duty in safety-critical workplaces such as the transport and construction industries.

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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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