Hear About the Latest News on Construction Over Greenwashing, the Millom Iron Line, Northern Trust Finishes St Helens Sheds, and Belfast’s Long-awaited Islamic Centre

For today’s news, the construction industry is one of the few conventional industrial sectors that places a significant emphasis on finding ways to lessen the negative impact that it has on the environment. During this time, the implementation of an ambitious plan to transform a coastal lagoon into an exciting place for tourists to visit is currently underway and making significant headway. In addition, the developer’s Gerards Park industrial project had its second phase completed by MJ Fellows, who built 20 workshops ranging in size from 820 to 2,900 square feet each. In addition, the long-awaited construction of a new Belfast Islamic Centre (BIC) officially kicked off this week, more than six years after the project was first announced.

Greenwashing is over

Original Source: Construction is doing more than greenwashing

If only environmental issues were as straightforward as some social media remarks suggest. Keyboard warriors simplify things into good or terrible, right or wrong. It fits their story. The world isn’t so straightforward.

And that’s true of carbon neutrality in construction, dubbed “greenwash” by social media warriors. If you could see through our sector’s layers, you’d find a myriad of ecological difficulties — from transport to materials to projects to suppliers to the operation and longevity of structures. Unwinding and resolving these layers is a huge undertaking to which many in business are dedicated.

Our sector is trying to decarbonize business as usual, but we need a deeper awareness of the issue and mutual support to do so. Instead of negative armchair activism, let’s use social media to highlight best practices and update outmoded procurement and operational methods.

As part of its carbon neutrality effort, Beard Construction bought a 180-acre woodland near Bristol to sequester carbon. Woodland stores twice as much carbon as it emits, making it a good carbon sink. Taking care of and expanding this carbon pool will help offset remaining emissions when we reach net zero. However, comparable purchases have been called “grade-A greenwash” on social media.

Honestly, I’d agree if this was all our industry did. But few traditional industrial sectors are as focused on reducing their environmental impact as building.

BREEAM assessments, for example, apply rigorous metrics to assess best practice in sustainable building design, construction, and operation. Passivhaus is a recognised international design standard, reducing energy use from buildings and offering excellent comfort and health standards.

And the UK Green Building Council’s (UKGBC) Whole Life Carbon Roadmap provides a unified vision and defined measures for reaching net zero carbon in building construction, operation, and demolition.

These programmes aren’t merely industrial virtue-signalling; they involve real environmental activities on real projects. Like Beard’s renovation of Aztec 1000 for Commercial Estates Group (CEG), which will be the South-first West’s net zero carbon development.

The project’s environmental responsibilities begin with conserving the building’s original structure. Repurposing the 1980s steel framework will reduce embodied carbon. The building will be powered by renewable energy from photovoltaic panels on the roof and have energy-efficient heating, cooling, and lighting systems. The building meets BREEAM Excellent and EPC A criteria.

Beyond individual projects, Beard’s board mandates sustainable, low-carbon construction, and we’ve promised to reach net zero by 2050, in line with the UN’s Net Zero Coalition. This goal may be reached much sooner for us.

We’ve cut carbon intensity by 9% in the previous two years and are on track to cut it by 25% by 2025. We’ve done this with electric vehicles, less unneeded travel, energy generation, and other efficiencies. Any environmental plans we make will be science-based.

We’re not alone in our commitments. Many other firms in our field aim to reduce their environmental impact in a true and sustainable way.

It’ll be hard. So be patient. We face a huge and difficult challenge to achieving carbon neutrality. But armchair activists shouldn’t mistrust our sector’s resolve to do so.

Millom Iron Line advancing

Original Source: Work progressing on Millom Iron Line project

Plans and drawings for many sections of the Millom Iron Line project are ongoing.

The Iron Line is a proposal to restore the coastal lagoon into a visitor attraction and reactivate heritage buildings to enhance Millom Town Centre by putting derelict, unoccupied, and underused buildings back into use.

An aerial view of the property with repaired and upgraded features.

Activating Community Health will create a new multi-purpose community and recreation hub, and Connected Millom and Haverigg will strengthen Millom’s transport network.

The Iron Line is one of four initiatives in the Town Deal and is being led by Copeland Borough Council and the Millom Town Deal Board. Together, Towns Fund programmes strive to create inclusive economic growth in Millom.

A spokeswoman for the project stated plans and other Town Deal projects are proceeding well. The UK government is currently weighing new ideas, strategies, and costs.

Working with Copeland Borough Council, the Millom Town Deal Board secured £20.6 million from the government’s £3.6 billion Towns Fund initiative last summer.

PLACED is an independent social enterprise that is part of the design team for The Iron Line.

Between late January and May 2022, more than 400 people gave their perspectives on the Iron Line and helped shape the plans.

The team addressed concerns about safeguarding nature, managing automobiles, transport connections, and building and structural designs.

PLACED said, “To ensure designs are compatible with Hodbarrow and the areas of biological protection, the design team has held regular meetings with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (site owners) and Natural England” (government advisers on the natural environment). These conversations will continue into the next step to ensure plans and designs are fit for the location and meet required environmental safeguards.

In the spirit of equitable access and sustainable transport, a new surface will make the path level and more robust for pedestrians, bikers, and horses. Vehicles cannot be banned but will be discouraged by pinch points at entrances and signage directing drivers to official parking.

“The design team has established communication with the local highway authority to assess the current road and public transport network and explore future planning application requirements.”

“Hodbarrow Beacon (the stone lighthouse) will be maintained and its base renovated. The windmill will be reconstructed as a landmark, with the masonry restored and a timber insert inserted to preserve its shape.

“The welcome building will provide core services and facilities for guests, including bathrooms, a Changing Places facility, a café, and educational and/or cultural areas. It can provide storage and be a base for volunteering or educational trips.

The building will be totally accessible, friendly, and offer shelter while being embedded in the terrain.

Work will continue on the project, and community engagement will resume in early 2023.

Northern Trust finishes St Helens sheds

Original Source: Northern Trust completes £4m St Helens sheds

MJ Fellows completed the second phase of the developer’s Gerards Park industrial project, erecting 20 820- to 2,900-square-foot workshops.

The units along College Street in St Helens comprise 35,770 sq ft of industrial space. Larger sheds feature office space and parking.

Mike Grindrod, head of Northern Trust, said 14 of 20 workshops are full.

“Considering the current economic context, this initiative shows our commitment to investing in St. Helens,” he stated.

The Local Growth Fund helped fund part of the $4 million makeover.

Mayor of Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram remarked, “Across the city region, we’re investing in transformational developments like Gerards Park.”

“The £1m we’ve invested guarantees St Helens will continue to grow and flourish, creating new jobs and training opportunities for locals.”

Gerards Park’s first phase opened in 2012. Northern Trust’s in-house managing agency, Whittle Jones, manages both phases.

John Marrow, regional property director at Whittle Jones, said demand for the additional space has been positive. “This development provides much-needed workshop housing for small and medium-sized enterprises,” he said.

Northern Trust’s industrial and office portfolio is currently over 8m sq ft across the UK.

Belfast’s long-awaited Islamic centre building begins

Original Source: Long-delayed new Islamic centre in Belfast begins construction

The long-delayed construction of a new Belfast Islamic Centre (BIC) began this week, more than six years after it was first announced.

It will be located on University Avenue, south Belfast, just minutes from where the charity now operates in Wellington Park. It is set to be completed next year.

Belfast Islamic Centre charity and Mascott Construction Europe Limited, which won the contract, announced construction yesterday.

Shoaib Tareen, who is overseeing the project for BIC, told the Belfast Telegraph he was “extremely thrilled to announce the start of the refurbishing process.”

“This is a moment of great delight for the Islamic community in Northern Ireland.” The Islamic community has wanted a larger building for almost two decades, but it’s been difficult.

“With the community’s wonderful support over the years and further backing from the Department for Communities and Belfast City Council, we can now commence the project.”

In an interview with the Sunday Independent in May, Mr. Tareen criticised the project’s delays.

He remarked, “There is a lot of dissatisfaction over the delays to our new centre, and we believe that not enough is being done to serve the Muslim community here.”

The historic centre has been attacked multiple times over the past decade. In 2013, a paint bomb was hurled at the centre, and in September 2016, red paint was daubed on the front door.

In December 2017, bits of pork — a meat Muslims don’t eat — were hurled through the door.

The BIC was created in Belfast more than 40 years ago and is related to the Muslim Council of Great Britain. The charity’s principal function is to serve the Muslim population in Northern Ireland through education and resources, especially prayer facilities.

Mascott Construction Europe is excited to work with Belfast Islamic Centre, Belfast City Council, CBS Consulting, and Taylor & Boyd on this project.

The new location, in the former Aldersgate House, purchased by the centre in 2015 for £750,000, will comprise a drop-in centre, educational facilities, and a coffee shop available to the public.

The centre originally announced its plans to move in January 2016, alleging its existing facility was “not fit for purpose” due to its age. The existing building is a Victorian-style mansion that was turned into a conference centre.

In a screening application, the Belfast Islamic Centre noted its current facility has room restrictions, restricting “cultural, social, and recreational events” that can be outsourced. It also noted the structure is in “poor repair,” which “discourages attendance,” and it lacks disability or mobility access.

Plans to create the new centre began in May 2020 after the centre got a £500,000 grant to aid with refurbishments from the Department for Communities after a complete assessment and screening.

The grant covers the cultural parts of the centre but not the religious elements, with one level of the new building dedicated to religious space, which will not receive public cash.

Other money has been raised directly by the centre, notably via a crowd-funding portal that now has over £40,000. The entire cost of refurbishment is £1.6m.

Plans were postponed many times, with the centre citing a shortage of money and the COVID epidemic.

The new three-story centre, which will retain the name Belfast Islamic Centre, will primarily offer resources for the Islamic community but will also host interfaith and intercultural interaction and debate.

The new facility promises to offer mother-and-baby programs, English and Arabic education, resources for older people, a youth club, and a food bank.

The precise number of Muslims in Northern Ireland is unknown, but it’s believed to be over 10,000. Many neighbourhoods around the new centre, like Botanic and Holylands, have a substantial Muslim population.

Gary McKeown, SDLP member for the area, said “progress on the new Belfast Islamic Centre is really welcome.”

“South Belfast is a dynamic, diversified community, and this centre will finally meet the demands of the Islamic community.” In recent years, our city has become a place where people from all over the world live, so it’s crucial that they have amenities to help them and make them feel welcome, he said.

Green Party councillor Aine Groogan said she was “delighted to see work started on the new Islamic facility on University Road.”

I know the Islamic community in Belfast had outgrown their former place of worship, so this is long overdue. She said she believes this new community hub will allow Belfast Islamic Centre to continue to thrive, providing space and support for a growing community in Belfast and beyond Northern Ireland.

Work on the building will be done by July 2023.

Summary of today’s construction news

It seems likely that you have acquired more information in this post. If only the answers to environmental problems were as simple as some posts on social media would have us believe. People who only communicate via keyboard tend to reduce complex issues to black and white, right and wrong. This is consistent with what they’ve been saying all along. It’s not that easy to navigate the globe.

In the meantime, the Iron Line is a plan to revitalise Millom Town Centre by reusing abandoned and underutilised structures and restoring the coastal lagoon as a tourist destination. The reactivation of historic buildings would put these structures back to work.

Furthermore, the combined square footage of the St. Helens warehouses on College Street is 35,770 square feet. Parking and offices are available in larger sheds. According to Mike Grindrod, CEO of Northern Trust, 14 out of 20 available workshops are currently at capacity.

Over and above that, after being announced for over six years, construction finally began this week on the new Belfast Islamic Centre (BIC). Just a short distance from the current charity headquarters in Wellington Park, the new building will be found on University Avenue in south Belfast. It will be finished by the end of the year.

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