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York council terminates Interserve Guildhall revamp contract

April 20th, 2018 No comments

City of York Council is terminating its £9m Guildhall development contract with Interserve.

The two stage contract has been ended after costs came in over budget on the first stage.

The council said: “The first phase has now completed and the council has reflected on the current approach to developing this complex and historic site.

“As a result, the construction phase will not progress and instead, the council will consider options before inviting new bids from the market.”

Interserve was working with SES Engineering Services and hosted a supply chain event late last year to find subcontractors after being awarded the deal last August.

Construction was originally due to start early this year.

Neil Ferris, director of economy and place, City of York Council said: “I can confirm we have terminated our contract with Interserve to develop the Guildhall.

“We set-up the contract following government procurement rules and as such, included a contractual break point after the first stage of the contract.

“We recognised from the start that given the site complexity and risks around the foundation structure, there was always the chance that estimate would be higher than anticipated.

“We structured the procurement in this way to protect York residents from potentially spiralling costs.

“We remain committed to the Guildhall development and are excited about the potential it offers local businesses, communities and visitors.

“Our next steps are to review options to reduce costs, such as revising the scale, scope or access arrangements to the site and we will invite members to confirm their preferred option in May.

“In the meantime, to reduce delays, we will progress less disruptive works, such as fitting new utilities.”

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Carillion collapse hits 2018 commercial property lending

April 17th, 2018 No comments

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 No comments

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 No comments

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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More buildings hit by Scottish school collapse defects

April 9th, 2018 No comments

Construction faults have been found at 19 more public buildings across Edinburgh in the wake of a wall collapse at Oxgangs Primary School in the city.

A report from watchdogs at the Accounts Commission confirms the scale of problems unearthed by investigatiors since the school wall failure.

Nine tonnes of masonry came crashing down in 2016 at Oxgangs due to missing wall header ties.

Seventeen schools were closed following the incident.

Now it has emerged that further problems have been found at schools, libraries, community centres and care homes across the city.

The Accounts Commission report states: “At the end of January 2018, of the 154 properties where assessments had been completed, 19 properties had been identified as having issues similar to those identified at Oxgangs School.

“Remedial work to address the defects identified on these buildings (which include schools, libraries, community centres and care homes) is ongoing.”

The Commission is now calling on all councils to improve their checks on construction work.

It said: “The report emphasises the importance of all councils undertaking regular, comprehensive structural risk assessments and inspections on public buildings to ensure the safety of service users.

“Where a council employs a company to provide construction services, it’s vital that it puts in place appropriate checks and controls.”

Graham Sharp, Chair, Accounts Commission said: “While reduced resources mean councils must make difficult decisions about service provision, they should have an appropriate level of expertise to deliver and safely maintain buildings.

“People must have confidence in the safety and integrity of public buildings.”

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Carillion HQ for sale at £3m

April 6th, 2018 No comments

The Wolverhampton headquarters of Carillion has been put up for sale with a price tag of £3m.

Carillion House still accommodates head office staff nearly three months after the group collapsed into liquidation in January.

At the same time, the Official Receiver revealed another 97 Carillion staff were made redundant taking total job losses to more than 1,800.

A spokesperson for the Official Receiver said: “More than half (54%) the pre-liquidation workforce – close to 10,000 employees – have now been found secure ongoing employment so far through the liquidation.

“A further 873 jobs have been saved with employees transferring to new suppliers who have picked up contracts that Carillion had been delivering.

More than 5,400 staff are still on the payroll to enable Carillion to deliver the remaining services it is providing for public and private sector customers until decisions are taken to transfer or cease these contracts

Noel Muscott of Bulleys said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to acquire an eye-catching office block in a prominent location that will soon benefit from proximity to the Westside leisure development.

“The offices were comprehensively refurbished in 2015 and provide open plan accommodation that would suit occupation as a whole, on a floor by floor or part-floor basis.”

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TIMco TO UNVEIL NEW RANGES AND BIGGEST EVER CATALOGUE AT NMBS SHOW

April 4th, 2018 No comments

TIMco, one of the UK’s largest independent suppliers of screws, fasteners, fixings and power tool accessories, are launching their latest and biggest catalogue to date as well as unveiling brand new ranges at the NMBS show at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on the 11th April.

The catalogue will feature 6,500 product lines including an array of new ranges from screw caps and covers to aerosols, wood glues and wood fillers. The largest catalogue to date will also see the extension of existing ranges including the addition of wagon ropes and brick lines to the VETO range as well as a further extension to the new TAURUS range.

During the show, TIMco will also be hosting visitors at their stand with freshly made coffees and an array of refreshments. Customers can take time out at the stand and discuss the new products/ranges by visiting TIMco on stands 265, 266 and 269.

Simon Midwood, Managing Director of TIMco comments: “The NMBS show is one of our biggest events in the calendar, with a lot of our customers attending the show – making it the perfect place to launch our biggest ever catalogue and see our customers’ feedback first hand. We can’t wait to have a coffee and a chat with visitors about our exciting new product launches and range extensions.”

For more information on the NMBS show or to register for tickets to the show, visit: http://www.nmbs-exhibition.co.uk/register

 

TIMco is headquartered in Nantwich, Cheshire and imports and supplies more than 6,500 product lines from around the world to distributors throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe.  The company was established in 1972 and now employs 137+ members of staff from its offices in the UK, Ireland and Taiwan.  For more information, visit www.timco.co.uk.

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MILLIONS TO BE CLAIMED IN TAX REBATES

April 3rd, 2018 No comments

Workers are being urged to claim back their tax rebates before the deadline passes.

The call comes from tax recovery specialists Brian Alfred who have claimed back more than £36 million for clients in overpaid tax.

According to the firm, around a third of tax payers are due a rebate in the UK and claims can range from £1,500 to £7,300 for people working in the construction industry.

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.

However anyone who fails to put their claim in before April 6th will permanently lose the chance to claim a rebate for the 2013/2014 tax year.

Derek Kelly, CEO, Brian Alfred said: “Each year millions of pounds of hard earned money goes unclaimed. The time is now fast approaching to get your tax rebate claims in, as you can only go back four years at a time, so basically if you haven’t claimed a rebate for the year 2013/14, it’s either do it before April 6th or forever lose the opportunity for that year.

“Whatever your trade or profession, we are here to help you. The tax rebates really can make a difference and it is money that people are entitled to and have worked hard for.”

According to Brian Alfred it’s simple things that people don’t realise they can claim for, from travel expenses to work uniforms to equipment and even food costs. 

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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Weston Homes stunned by football club sponsorship snub

March 29th, 2018 No comments

House builder Weston Homes has been left fuming after its ten-year sponsorship deal with Colchester United has come to a “bitter end”.

The League Two club confirmed its decision not to renew the deal to staff and fans this week.

But Weston Homes claim they were not consulted and have been left baffled by the decision.

A Weston Homes spokesperson said: “It is really sad and shocking the way this partnership has ended, and it has really upset our Chairman and CEO Bob Weston that the club has chosen to end the deal and then abruptly announced their decision publicly without prior consultation with the housebuilder.

Weston Homes has been extremely loyal to Colchester United and supported the club in so many ways over the last decade, so this has been deeply distressing.

“It’s a sad ending to what has otherwise been a fantastic partnership.”

The club’s stadium is named after the house builder who were keen to continue sponsoring Colchester United.

The spokesperson said: “Up until these recent events historically we have had a fantastic partnership with Colchester United and the decade long sponsorship agreement got our brand name partnered with the Stadium and the football club and, as a result, has seen us associated with a range of extremely high profile sporting, music, charity and cultural events.”

Colchester United said: “We would like to express our thanks and gratitude for Weston Homes for their fantastic support over the past ten years.

“It has been a hugely successful partnership over the past decade and is one of the longest in the club’s history.

Weston Homes’ support has allowed Colchester United to establish the stadium as a key community hub and their backing both as title sponsor and at individual events has allowed us to create many special stories together since the venue opened in 2008.”

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Cladding firm hired for luxury new-build project

March 28th, 2018 No comments

Specialist Cladding Systems (SCS), CA Group Limited’s specialist cladding division, has bolstered its portfolio by successfully securing the design, supply and installation of the façade for a high-end residential development in Salford, Manchester.

 

Working in partnership with main contractors, McGoff Construction, SCS has been awarded the contract to design and install a full cladding system for Downtown Manchester, a 368-apartment scheme along the River Irwell.

Located on the borders of Manchester and Salford, the Downtown development will be a collection of six statement blocks, differing in height and ranging from four storeys up to 14. The residential apartments will be complimented by communal facilities including an onsite gym and spa, 24-hour concierge service and media room.

Paul Guilfoyle, senior project manager at McGoff Construction, said: “Thanks to its hotel-style services, riverside location and proximity to both Manchester and Salford, Downtown is a prestigious development and a desirable residence.

“With its Manhattan-inspired design influence, it aims to create a new iconic property on Manchester’s skyline. The exterior of the six apartment blocks requires an exceptional finish, which is why we have chosen to work with SCS, who are experts in providing specialist cladding solutions.”

Work commences on the first phase of the project next month (April), and will continue over several phases spanning the next three years.

Mike Cinnamond, Divisional Manager for SCS, added: “We are delighted to have been chosen to work in partnership with main contractors McGoff Construction on such a pioneering project. Downtown’s service-led apartment living is sure to provide the aspirational residents of both Salford and Manchester with an apartment that will enhance their lifestyle and exceed expectations.

“New design opportunities, brought about by innovations in cladding, are enabling us to deliver contemporary solutions to the residential new-build market. The role of cladding in building design has evolved, while its main purpose of protecting the building from the elements remains, cladding is central in the overall aesthetic and design of the build, a key factor in the Downtown development.”

The specifications for the project comprise of the design, supply and installation of CA Building Products’ Prime RFX PPC aluminium rainscreen cladding system, together with the Corium brick slip rainscreen system from Taylor Maxwell and a multitude of ancillary products. CA Group is one of the UK’s leading metal roofing and cladding systems manufacturers and installers.

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