Hear the Latest News on Glencar Targets Further Irish Projects, UKEF Funds Angola Burns Hospital, UK Turn an Offshore Construction Vessel Into a Subsea Protection Ship, UK Announces Export Finance Arrangement With Egyptian Construction Titan, and Britain’s Largest Self-build Community

In today’s news, we will look into the happenings after being awarded the contract to construct a distribution hub in Dublin for a large retailer, Glencar has its sights set on more projects in Ireland. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom Aid Fund is providing funding for a new burns facility in Angola. On the other hand, conversion of an offshore construction vessel into a subsea protection ship is planned for the United Kingdom. Additionally, in a move that will enhance post-Brexit trade with Africa, the United Kingdom has signed an export financing contract with an Egyptian construction titan. On top of all that, learn more about the largest self-build community in the United Kingdom at Graven Hill.

Glencar targets further Irish projects after winning a large retailer’s Dublin distribution hub contract

Original Source: Glencar sets its sights on more Irish projects after bagging contract to build distribution hub in Dublin for major retailer

After winning a contract to build a 280,000sq ft (26,013 sq m) distribution centre in Dublin for a multinational retailer, UK-based Glencar Construction, co-founded by Kerryman Eddie McGillycuddy, is targeting further projects here for its €570m order pipeline this year.

The CEO, whose family is from Glencar, told the Sunday Independent that the firm expects revenues of £417m (€477m) last year and between £550m and £600m this year, £500m of which it has already secured.

Last year, the necessity to invest in IT and new people and the rise in fixed-price contract materials cut profitability.

Some projects are less affordable for funders due to greater borrowing costs.

Ireland is my current focus. Seven full-time UK employees are back in the US, some returning home. McGillycuddy hoped for more.

“Paying on time is typically a welcomed unique selling point for us. We have a £120m data centre project in North London and are considering one in Ireland.

Last year’s £200m vaccine plant in Oxford was a clear milestone.

He said the company opened an office nearby to target more life sciences and pharmaceutical contracts and exhibit its work in a large skills and infrastructure cluster on the city’s periphery.

The sector is more economically resilient than Glencar’s UK warehouses and distribution centres, but competition is fierce.

The firm recently secured jobs at Soho Studios and Ealing Studios, which will be renovated utilising BREEAM green building standards.

Tax incentives boost the sector. “We see others being created in Ireland, so it’s an intriguing industry to follow,” he added.

McGillycuddy has a property development joint venture outside of Glencar.

The partnership includes 12 UK properties for renovation, including Bishopsgate in London.

UKEF funds Angola burns hospital

Original Source: UKEF finances new specialist burns hospital in Angola

British exporters receive £130m.

Finance to build a new specialty burns hospital outside its capital city.

UK vendors will supply 40% of the project, boosting UK jobs and businesses.

UKEF, Standard Chartered Bank, and Lloyds Bank will fund a 250-bed burns ward.

UK Export Finance is providing £130m to build a new specialised burns hospital in Kilamba, Angola.

UKEF and the Angolan Ministry of Finance, funded by Standard Chartered Bank and Lloyds Bank, will strengthen UK-Angola trade. UK vendors will provide 40% of the project, creating over £50m in export opportunities for home enterprises.

ASGC UK Limited won the contract. The managing contractor will secure 40% of UK exports, including building materials, electrical equipment, and medical supplies.

Tim Reid, newly appointed CEO of UK Export Finance, said: This funding underlines once again the UK’s world-leading capability in project development and medical equipment exports. Working with the Angolan government and Standard Chartered Bank, we are happy to show how British inventiveness can improve healthcare abroad and assist UK businesses export their best products and services.

Mustafa Sajjad Hussain, Structured Export Finance, Standard Chartered Bank, said: This is another in a long line of finance we have structured for the Angolan Ministry of Finance and arranged through UKEF, indicating we are a trusted partner. We’re delighted to sponsor an initiative that improves local healthcare.

Paul Woodman, Managing Director of ASGC UK, said: In 2022, we delivered three new hospitals to the Ministry of Health, financed by UK Export Finance, and we are honoured that the same customer has entrusted us to deliver another significant healthcare facility for the people of Angola.

The UK government’s investment will boost the city and region’s burns response and medical capabilities. The 2018–2022 Angolan National Development Plan includes the project. The seven-floor, 250-bed hospital will have a burns ward, as well as emergency, palliative, pathology, infection control, and general, geriatric, and paediatric clinics. Five years of construction will open the facility.

UKEF finances large development projects with international partners for a minimum UK content. UKEF connects overseas project sponsors and customers with UK exporters, activating the UK supply chain.

UKEF supported the General Hospital of Cabinda, the Mother and Child Hospital of Camama, and the Hematology Pediatric Hospital in Luanda, Angola’s capital. These three projects will add approximately 550 beds and improve regional outpatient consultation, inpatient treatment, intensive care, and diagnostics. Over 60 UK vendors and subcontractors participated in construction.

The United Kingdom plans to turn an offshore construction vessel into a subsea protection ship

Original Source: U.K. to convert offshore construction vessel to subsea protection ship

As the incident involving the Nord Stream pipeline in the Baltic last year showed, underwater infrastructure can be very vulnerable to sabotage. The United Kingdom is taking the situation seriously enough that in November it accelerated plans to acquire two specialised ships for conversion to Multi-Role Ocean Surveillance (MROS) vessels and delayed plans to create a new national flagship to replace the royal yacht Britannia.

The first of two vessels to be converted arrived yesterday at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead. It is the undersea construction vessel Topaz Tangaroa, which was delivered in December 2019 from the Norwegian outfitting yard Vard Brattvaag.

Following a formal handover to the Royal Navy in the following days, the ship will undergo military modifications before becoming operational this summer.

Once operational, the ship will be devoted to the protection of seabed telecommunications cables as well as oil and gas pipelines. The 98-metre-long ship will serve as a mother ship, with remote and autonomous offboard technologies for underwater surveillance and seabed combat.

The ship will be repainted and key military equipment installed at Cammell Laird before being handed over to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) later this year.

The vessel, which will be renamed after it enters the RFA fleet, was chosen to satisfy the Royal Navy’s requirements, having been developed to support a variety of undersea tasks, including work on oil rigs, construction, maintenance, and inspection work, as well as autonomous submarine operations.

The 6,000-tonne vessel has a helipad, crane, and a large operating deck, as well as a moon pool in the hull through which submersible capabilities can be released.

When it arrives, it will be crewed by approximately two dozen RFA sailors, while approximately 60 Royal Navy professionals will operate the undersea surveillance equipment and other survey and warfare systems.

The acquisition of a second subsea protection ship is now in the idea phase.

UK announces export finance arrangement with Egyptian construction titan to bolster Africa commerce post-Brexit

Original Source: UK signs export finance deal with Egyptian construction titan in boost to post-Brexit trade with Africa

UK Export Finance has signed a post-Brexit arrangement with Egypt’s largest construction and engineering firm, Hassan Allam Holding, to boost African cooperation.

Egypt’s largest firm, Hassan Allam, invests and develops.

Its portfolio includes solar electricity, water, petrochemicals, museums, airports, and thousands of kilometres of roads and bridges.

The pact encourages UK-Africa trade, investment, and project funding collaboration.

UKEF can assist Egypt projects up to £2bn as Britain attempts to trade globally after leaving the EU.

UKEF CEO Tim Reid said it “has sponsored projects in Egypt and across Africa that have altered local infrastructure and boosted livelihoods”. This relationship will help us discover potential possibilities in the region where UK exporters may benefit.”

The Hassan Allam Holding CEO said the pact will “foster a lot of big projects, increasing cooperation on financing projects and encouraging trade between the UK and the continent.”

Hassan Allam added, “Such key alliances demonstrate our commitment to big projects across Africa.”

UK Export Finance helps UK exporters and buyers.

It offered a £1.7bn guarantee for the Cairo Monorail, one of its largest overseas infrastructure projects, in recent years.

UKEF loaned Morocco £4bn a few months before the arrangement.

Graven Hill: Britain’s largest self-build community

Original Source: Graven Hill: Inside the UK’s biggest self-build development

“Your fantasy life. Your dream home… Everyone can self-build.”

The founders of Graven Hill, the UK’s largest self-build community, made that promise almost a decade ago, but does it come true?

It’s the only place in the UK with houses of all shapes, sizes, colours, and styles.

Since Cherwell District Council bought a former Ministry of Defence property in 2014, this apparent idyll outside Bicester, Oxfordshire, has steadily taken shape.

Inspired by Almere, Holland, where self-building appears to have shaken the status quo, a creative master plan was unveiled to build 1,900 unique homes, sparking innovation and individuality.

Skips, construction vehicles, and drills and hammers are everywhere at Graven Hill.

Not everything goes as planned. A school is under construction, but a community centre and pub are still missing.

Some neighbours worry that the project’s lofty goals are being toned down as its feasibility is evaluated.


Self-build lets you build an energy-efficient dream home on a budget.

“I don’t think it’s ever going to be recreated in the UK on such a scale,” says GHVDC managing director Karen Curtin.

The rest of Graven Hill is custom-builds, new builds, affordable homes, and apartments, with the first phase of individual plots issued in 2016.

Self-builder Paul Troop began construction initially. He was a “phase zero pioneer” on Channel 4’s Grand Designs: The Street.

Says: “It’s the big community that stands out.

“Everyone knows and helps everyone.”

In May, Jules and Emma Faraday left their East Dulwich terraced property.

Mr. Faraday explains: “I wanted the lads to have the freedom I had in Shropshire.

“When we first moved up here, everybody looked up and said, ‘Hello’, and I think that’s because people realise it’s a community.”

The brick house of retired couple Darren and Christine Adams got a Build It award.

“We got to know all of our neighbours and individuals in the neighbouring houses just by watching them build and conversing,” Mrs. Adams recounts.

“People ask for advice, a wheelbarrow, or insulation.”

“Street view’s continuously changing,” explains software engineer Stephen Aggett.

Mr. Aggett, who chairs the Graven Hill Residents’ Association, now lives in Dan-Wood with his wife and kid after renting in Richmond.

“The community is Graven Hill’s best,” he says. “I’ve made lifelong friends here.”

Macedonian Silvana Milenkovska cleans homes and businesses.

Graven Hill gives her “peace of mind” in her three-bedroom new construction with her husband and two children.

“Everyone is friendly—we have great individuals from different cultures, you feel quite welcome,” she says.

After being hired to clean a large self-build property in Graven Hill, Mrs. Milenkovska moved from Bicester.

She recalled thinking, “Maybe here I may start my dreams.”

“We started here, but self-build is our next step.”

Ms. Curtin admits: “Is self-build for everyone?

“You must be budget-conscious, delivery-focused, and project-managed.

“Self-building requires vision and perseverance.

Graven Hill makes things easier because we have land, a 28-day planning procedure, and a service plot.


Mrs. Adams: “We built ourselves and were careful with our budget.

We hired a bricklayer and an electrician, but we did everything else ourselves.

Mrs. Faraday adds: “To say, “Let’s build our own house,” takes a special person.

“Confidence and madness are prevalent.”

Each self-builder has two years to finish their passion project on Graven Hill.

A 420-student elementary school began construction last year on the rest of the land.

Shops, a pub, a combined community and sports centre, extra-care facility, nursery, dental clinic, pharmacy, restaurant, hotel, playing fields, and a major surgery that could replace Bicester’s smaller surgeries have yet to open.

Mrs. Faraday suggests Graven Hill shops selling milk, bread, and newspapers.

“People want a community centre so we can meet and a pub, but I don’t think it will happen. That’s how it sold.”

Mr. Aggett: “We worry they’ll demolish the pub and build houses.

When there are enough people to support a pub, they won’t be able to put it in the centre.


GHVDC states a pub is “an essential aspect of developing a community” “whilst not a planning mandate”.

For two years, White Commercial will market the site to operators.

However, GHVDC’s revised draft consultation’s diminished green areas and greater housing density worry some homeowners.

“No major modifications,” the business states, adding that “appearance, means of access, landscaping, layout and scale” will be discussed.

Mr. Aggett laments the rise of new buildings over self-builds.

“I’ve spoken to many who want to be self-builders in Bicester who are seeking for a plot but there aren’t the cheaper plots coming up anymore, so there’s demand but tighter supply.”

He adds: “Instead of being a development that’s the envy of Bicester and Oxfordshire it becomes a development that’s not nearly as lovely or well-kept as the privately-developed places.”

GHVDC believes market demand has shifted from the project’s “original ethos” of self-build plots.

It blames “delivery issues” on Brexit, Covid, and economic pressures.

It expects 26% self-build plots, 30% custom homes, 26% apartments, and 18% affordable homes by March.

“Really proud of the progress,” said district council leader Barry Wood.


The distribution strategy has “developed” yet offered a “combination of opportunities that are responsive to market demand”.

Mr. Aggett also criticises the quality and design of the new constructions, especially since the corporation holds self-builders “to such high standards of producing ecologically-friendly dwellings”.

“Graven Hill isn’t developing houses of equal quality, so there’s a tremendous disparity,” he says.

He said residents’ association members have complained about new structures’ missing insulation and broken mechanical ventilation systems.

Mr. Troop deems the scenario “difficult,” saying community activities mostly attract self-builders and custom-builders, creating a social division on site.

“”That’s absolutely needless,” he says. “Everyone is entitled to a decently-designed and built house that’s affordable to run, at least on a local council project.”

“Hiring an architect to build nice, blend-in units wouldn’t cost much more.”

Mr. Troop, a lawyer who moved from Jericho to Oxford with his wife, feels that plots have gotten too expensive, resulting in a wealthier self-builder generation.

“We got in early so we were lucky when plot costs were inexpensive and it was fairly reasonable,” he explains.

“Locals or young families like us couldn’t self-build readily.”

The firm calls the project with Mr. Troop and the other phase-zero pioneers a “marketing initiative” with “substantial incentives” that reflected the “experiment, placement of the plots, lack of connectivity to the main site, and its close proximity to the rail track and sewage works”.

“That shows the values are set correctly,” it says.

“If GHVDC were to subsidise land prices, which we are not permitted to do, then it would simply depreciate its own development and that of the home buyers,” it continues.

It adds: “Design, colour, and material preferences are subjective.

“Like every developer, we occasionally have snagging issues, but overall the quality of the homes is very high which is reflected in our customer satisfaction ratings.”

It says Graven Hill is a “totally distinct type of housing development that offers more choice for the homeowner” and is collaborating with eight designers.

“The Graven Hill team continuing to work closely with residents will handle any difficulties in a timely fashion,” Mr. Wood said.

Mr. Aggett says he’s staying despite his concerns about Graven Hill’s direction.

He says self-builders are less likely to sell.

“This house is perfect for us.”

Mrs. Adams doubts. “We didn’t consider remaining here long,” she admits.

“It’s great but we don’t need all this space, so in the next three years we’ll move somewhere smaller, whether that’s near here or elsewhere, I don’t know,” she says.


Mr. Troop, Graven Hill’s first housebuilder, may leave if the company doesn’t produce.

“He says, “We moved here thinking it would be one thing, but we’ll see.”

“It could be diverse, quality housing for anyone, accessible to a wide range of people—not just the extremely rich—with really wonderful community facilities, connected to a lively market town.”

He adds: “Someone really needs to get cracking and fix out the things that are going wrong.”

Graven Hill should finish in 2032. It delivered 456 homes last year.

“We will have a development that has highlighted the benefits of self and custom-build to the UK market,” Ms. Curtin explains.

“There will be true customer choice in other UK developments, though not on this magnitude.

“So I’d like the legacy to be that Graven Hill changed how home developments are delivered in the future.”

Summary of today’s construction news

Overall, we discussed Glencar Construction, headquartered in the UK and co-founded by Kerry native Eddie McGillycuddy, recently won a contract to build a 280,000sq ft (26,013 sq m) distribution centre in Dublin for a multinational retailer and is now looking to add more Irish projects to its €570m order pipeline for the year.

Meanwhile, Standard Chartered Bank and Lloyds Bank are supporting UK Export Finance and the Angolan Ministry of Finance to enhance commerce. The project’s reliance on UK suppliers will allow British enterprises to export over £50 million.

Additionally, the UK is converting offshore construction ships into submarine defence vessels. Birkenhead shipyard Cammell Laird received the first of two modified warships yesterday. Vard Brattvaag will deliver the undersea construction vessel Topaz Tangaroa to the client in December 2019.

On the other hand, After Brexit, the UK’s Export Finance department signed an arrangement with Hassan Allam Holding, Egypt’s largest construction and engineering conglomerate, to expand operations in Africa.

Above all that, Graven Hill, a spectacular master plan to develop 1,900 unique residences, was recently launched, inspired by the Dutch city of Almere, where self-building has upended the status quo.

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