In today’s construction news, we will look into the Pirbright, construction has begun on a brand new welfare centre catering to Army recruits. Meanwhile, the Preston Tower project is moving forward. On the other hand, CMO’s Plymouth headquarters as the company rises to become one of the most successful in the UK. On top of that, Kingshurst continues with business as usual even as the town gets ready for the destruction to begin.
New Army recruit welfare centre at Pirbright begins construction
The Army Training Centre (ATC) at Pirbright, Surrey, is building a £11m wellness centre for recruits.
Phase 1 Training, a 14-week course taught by ATC Pirbright, prepares adult recruits for Initial Trade Training, where they learn their Army trade skills. The new Alexander Barracks Soldiers Centre (ABSC), scheduled for completion in 2024, will centralise welfare support for these soldiers.
The British Army and its grant-making charity, the Army Central Fund (ACF), jointly support the ABSC, which is delivered by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). On Thursday 16 March, Army, ACF, DIO, Henry Brothers, and WSP representatives broke ground at Pirbright.
Army Infrastructure Planning Chief Colonel Richard Brown said:
ATC Pirbright recruits will benefit greatly from the Alexander Barracks Soldiers Centre. This initiative is one of many examples of increased investment across the Army estate that is improving how our soldiers live, work, and train. Infrastructure is about people, not structures.
Major General Aidan Smyth, Deputy Commander Field Army, said:
The Alexander Barracks Soldiers Centre’s construction excites me. The Army Central Fund grants projects that benefit troops and their families. We are happy to deliver this new facility, which will boost recruit morale at ATC Pirbright.
The ABSC, designed by WSP, will have retail, refreshments, and a meeting space for passing out parade families. The building seeks Net Zero and a “Outstanding” Defence Related Environmental Assessment Methodology rating (DREAM). Photovoltaic (PV) panels will provide renewable energy as the Glulam structural structure is built using modern technology.
MPP Programme Director – Army Warren Webster said:
DIO is happy to have delivered this remarkable welfare facility, which represents the start of a significant site renovation at Pirbright. It will benefit recruits and help the government reach Net Zero.
Henry Brothers Managing Director David Henry said:
The new Soldiers Centre at Alexander Barracks, Pirbright, will equip recruits with a modern social and well-being facility.
Henry Brothers is honoured to work on this prestigious project. We are proud to continue our longstanding partnership with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation at this Pirbright site and help soldiers who train here for years to come.
The Alexander Barracks Project, sponsored by Defence Estate Optimisation (Army), Army Estate Modernisation, and Basic Training Adaptation Plan Army infrastructure Projects, will support the Army’s future Soldier Academy. The Army’s Integrated Review depends on this. It enables greater Basic Training Adaptation and creates a world-class Centre of Excellence for all Regular Army non-combat Basic training at Alexander Barracks Pirbright.
Preston Tower developing
Original Source: Preston Tower project progressing
A £1.1m effort to restore Preston Tower’s masonry and gardens in Prestonpans continues.
The doocot has been repaired and new interpretive boards featuring artist impressions of the tower at different times have been installed.
The gardens now have a dining area surrounding a carved stone contemplation circle with accessible walks.
Preston Tower is a 15th-century Historic Scheduled Monument. The current repair project has been carefully planned to respect the building’s structure and fabric.
The council has been working with professional contractors and consultants to conduct an acceptable restoration project with Historic Environment Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland reviewing all activities. Traditional construction techniques and materials are needed.
The scaffolding used to repair the tower’s external masonry will be removed in April, and the final phase of the project, the installation of an external staircase to allow public access to the tower for the first time in over 40 years, will be completed in the autumn, pending Historic Environment Scotland’s approval.
Salt of the Earth, a community heritage network associated with the Preston Seton Gosford Area Partnership and supported initially by the Heritage Funds ‘Great Places’ project, has been a vital partner in Preston Tower’s development, providing financing for the initial conservation assessment report.
The Scottish Government, UK Shared Prosperity Fund, and National Trust for Scotland funded the tower, doocot, and gardens renovation project.
The council is working with the community to form a volunteer guardianship group to open Preston Tower often and provide visitors with further interpretation.
As a major UK corporation, CMO’s Plymouth headquarters
Original Source: Inside CMO’s Plymouth HQ as it becomes a top UK company
CMO is the UK’s leading online building materials retailer.
CMO, founded by four Plymouth guys over a Chinese supper, is now an £83m company with great plans. The Burrington Way online construction products firm has become a UK industry leader in 15 years and plans to stay in the city.
Brand director Ben Hodson remarked, “This is our headquarters. Plymouth will stay.”
Plymouth’s top 10 corporations include CMO Group Plc. It sells building materials to small and medium trades enterprises and homeowners.
Their market-leading catalogue has over 120,000 goods. 350 firms ship straight to its 182,000 clients.
It runs 10 specialised websites: Clickbasin.co.uk, Building Superstore.co.uk, Door Superstore, Drainage, Insulation, JTMplumbing, Plumbing, Roofing, Tileandfloor, and Totaltiles. CMO leaders said customer service is key to its success.
The company has over 35,000 Trustpilot “excellent” ratings. “Customer service has been important for this firm,” stated CMO CEO Dean Murray.
That performance increased turnover from £45m pre-Covid to £76m in 2011 with a £3.7m profit. Mr. Murray stated, “We have tremendous aspirations.” 2022 pre-audit revenues were £83m.
Mr. Hodson stated: “Our objective is to be the retailer of choice for everyone developing or improving a house.” We supply everything they need.
“Recruiting continues. We want to stay the biggest. It’ll be big business.”
In 2008, four roofers nearing retirement came up with the notion in a Chinese restaurant.
Building Materials Online, a small company in Plymouth’s Airport Business Park, has no windows. Yet management is happy that it was profitable from the start and grew from 33 to over 100 employees by 2017.
130 of its 200 employees work in Plymouth, while the rest work in Ipswich and Darlington warehouses. Staff work from home, the office, or both. Plymouth headquarters has a small warehouse and up to 50 employees.
Key Capital Partners (KCP) invested £8.65m in the business in 2017 after seeing its potential. Rebranding, product expansion, and acquisitions followed.
Door Superstore was formed by acquiring Doorweb, Total Tiles, JTM Plumbing, and Click Basin. The London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market listed CMO in 2021. (AIM).
CMO launched Plumbing Superstore and rebranded in 2022. Building Superstore, formerly CMO Trade, supports professional builders, contractors, and developers.
Good Build Shop will help homeowners improve their homes. A loyalty program is planned.
Organic and acquisitive growth are planned. CMO sees prospects in landscaping, eco-builds, and repair and maintenance.
CMO sees bricks, aggregates, and electricals as opportunities not covered by its specialist websites. Mr. Murray stated: “We are lacking essential verticals. Plenty more.”
Kingshurst prepares for demolition as usual
While homeowners prepare for large-scale destruction, ambitious Council-led plans to reconstruct Kingshurst Village Centre are underway.
Last year, the old clinic, garage blocks, and housing office were demolished to start site clearance (Solihull Youth Hub building). Before demolishing the main body of the arcade (The Parade), contractors are finishing utilities work.
Demolition is planned to begin in late March and last until July.
During demolition and renovation, several businesses and services on The Parade have been temporarily relocated to minimise disruption to Kingshurst residents and workers.
The opticians, pharmacy, and Co-op were temporarily relocated last year to assist retain essential local stores and services during the development period. This supported the Pharmacy’s Post Office reopening.
The Council helped the local hairdressers move after internal refurbishment. Hair Asylum, previously at 95 The Parade, joined the Co-op in a separate unit in the former Youth and Community Centre building. The Parade building can now be dismantled since this is the last business to move.
Jackie McKay, salon owner: “We’ve been cutting hair in Kingshurst for almost 30 years and have become a significant part of the community. I know many of our customers value having a hairdresser nearby without having to drive or take a bus. Our temporary location is working great. We are open for business and thank our loyal customers for their support. Since moving, our phone number has changed. Now call 0794 765 6936.”
“Paul, Central Co-op Store Manager,” “Since November, our new temporary store has been operating normally. After moving, we added self-scan checkouts, a bakery, and more ranges. We’re now open 7am-9pm daily.”
The neighbourhood dentist, under new management, is remaining put, as is the GP surgery.
Dentist Dr. Shiv Parekh said: “As the Kingshurst regeneration project begins to shape our community we will initially be staying put in our existing location opposite the library. We hope to be in the new “Kingshurst Integrated Health and Community Wellness Hub” alongside your local GP, pharmacy, and opticians by the time our building is demolished. I look forward to working with Solihull Council and the NHS Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care Board (ICB) to assist shape the ideas and requirements for this exciting new community building.”
Last year, a comprehensive planning proposal was approved for up to 79 sustainable houses, most of which will be socially rented through Solihull Community Housing (SCH), and a new vicarage for St. Barnabas’ Church. It also depicts an improved road pattern connecting the village hub to the surrounding region, with open green space and a large footpath connecting Kingshurst Park to the school and the centre of the development. The designs include 1207m2 of modern floor space for retail and high street applications, 2,001m2 for health uses and flexible community spaces, including a community café, GP, dentist, opticians, and pharmacy in a Community Hub, and new dwellings.
The project team is carefully preparing the next stage of the project, taking into account the current construction climate and how rising material costs and inflation are affecting development projects nationwide.
Solihull Council, the developer, is using a phased strategy to address these issues and change stage order, priority, and delivery.
Solihull Council and Community Housing are committed to redeveloping Kingshurst Village Centre.
Solihull Council Leader Ian Courts said:
“Kingshurst Village Centre renovation was always going to be complicated. It was decided early on to temporarily relocate several village centre shops and services to keep them there. They can operate around The Parade during demolition and building.
Throughout the past two years, we have accomplished much. In that time, we have unified land ownership across the property, decided on an ambitious masterplan, and obtained planning permission. The first major demolition phase begins in weeks. I want to reassure residents that we will finish this significant regeneration initiative despite its hurdles.
“I applaud local residents for their patience and support in this complex and demanding endeavour. As with any project like this, we will assess and adjust our delivery approach, but we will remain focused on our ultimate objective of delivering a transformative scheme with high-quality modern family housing and a mix of community, health, and local services.”
Summary of today’s construction news
Overall, we discussed the Army Training Center (ATC) at Pirbright, Surrey, is in the process of constructing a wellness centre for recruits that will cost an estimated £11 million.
Meanwhile, the stonework of Preston Tower in Prestonpans is currently undergoing restoration as part of an ongoing project costing 1.1 million pounds. The Preston Tower is a Historic Designated Monument that dates back to the 15th century. The current project to repair the building has been meticulously designed with consideration for the structure and fabric of the building.
Furthermore, among UK-based online suppliers of construction goods, CMO is without peer. CMO is an £83 million firm with big ambitions that was started by four people from Plymouth over a Chinese dinner. The Burrington Way e-commerce site for building supplies is a UK market leader in just 15 years and is settling down there to stay.
Moreover, Kingshurst Village Centre is the focus of the Council’s ambitious ambitions to rebuild the community while residents brace for widespread destruction.