Read the Latest News on Scottish Highways Upgrade, Gloucestershire College’s Sustainable Construction Hub, Slow Housing Market Profit Warning, Rising Mortgage Rates, and Design Guide for Specialist and Supported Housing

In today’s news, we will look into the £40 million upgrading of Scottish highways that will be completed by Balfour Beatty. Meanwhile, the Gloucestershire College’s proposed environmentally conscious construction centre in Cheltenham has been given the go-ahead. On the other hand, a slump in the housing market pushes Travis Perkins to issue a profit warning. Furthermore, according to Rightmove, rising mortgage rates have caused a slowdown in the early summer housing market in the UK. Moreover, official release of the Specialist and Supported Housing Design Guide.

Scottish Highways Upgrade Awarded to Balfour Beatty

Original Source: Balfour Beatty picked for £40m Scottish roads upgrade

Balfour Beatty will upgrade roads for a £40m Scottish council.

Falkirk Council appointed the largest UK contractor for the Westfield A9/A904 upgrade scheme. 

The council said summer work will enlarge carriageways, build key crossing sites, and modify roads. 

A 28-month construction contract will be inked next month. A council study estimates the contract worth at “up to £40m,” which will be confirmed when the agreement is finalised. 

Balfour worked on pre-construction. 

“By appointing Balfour Beatty, we will ensure a seamless transition from the early discussions with the firm to the construction phase,” said Falkirk Council leader Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn. 

“This continuity will allow us to capitalise on Balfour Beatty’s significant experience implementing big transportation infrastructure projects.”

The Levelling Up Fund gave the project £14m.

Balfour won two £160m NHS contracts and a £90m Fife College campus proposal in Scotland this year.

Gloucestershire College Approves Sustainable Construction Hub in Cheltenham

Original Source: Gloucestershire College given green light for sustainable construction centre in Cheltenham

Gloucestershire College will create a sustainable construction hub in Cheltenham to teach the green workforce of tomorrow and support local school leavers.

The Golden Valley Development, M5 J10, and A417 projects in Cheltenham require professional construction employees.

To complete the job by 2025, 6,400 new hires are needed locally. Construction’s migration to net-zero carbon technology will exacerbate this issue.

“In the face of big challenges, there are often great opportunities,” says Gloucestershire College Principal Matthew Burgess.

“As a FE College, we expect more students by the academic year 25/26. This demographic bulge presents a unique opportunity to address local skills shortage.

“By creating a sustainable construction centre in Cheltenham, our ultimate goal is to position careers in construction as an exceptionally appealing option for these young people and equip them with the necessary training and skills in sustainable technologies and opportunities to engage with industry.”

GC’s 7,000-square-foot sustainable construction centre, which got £70,000 from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and £4m from the Post 16 Capacity Fund, will train 164 students every week in sustainability-focused skills.

The centre will offer full-time courses and apprenticeships in 13 plumbing bays, 21 electrical bays, 21 brickwork, groundworks, and carpentry bays, and 4 classrooms.

The centre and its training will follow national paths but focus on low-carbon energy and the skills needed in this fast-changing sector.

Curriculum will reflect local authorities’ carbon toolbox and Golden Valley Development and Gloucestershire Sustainable Energy Strategy goals.

The new centre will have its own character and be connected with the main campus to inspire young people to work in construction.

Cheltenham Campus will offer T Levels, university degrees, and apprenticeships in masonry, electrical, plumbing, carpentry, property maintenance, groundworks, construction, and the built environment, in addition to modifying existing space.

The local Roberts Limbrick Architects-designed centre, supported by Cheltenham Borough Council and other partners, will bring industry and academia together like the Advanced Digital Academy (ADA) does with the cyber-tech sector.

“ADA proved this approach works,” said Matthew Burgess. “The College-industry partnership benefits employers and students.

We are happy that the council approved our bid to build a new sustainable construction centre and thanks to all the stakeholders. The centre will inspire young people into building, provide them with future skills, and increase social mobility in Cheltenham.

Councillor Max Wilkinson, Cabinet Member Economic Development, Culture, Tourism, and Wellbeing, said: “We have a duty to create opportunities for our young people to learn the green skills to meet the development industry’s needs now and in the future.

“Cheltenham is committed to high environmental standards in construction, particularly at the Borough Council-led Golden Valley Development, and we have shown that by adopting new planning guidance to prompt developers to achieve the highest standards. 

“This nationally significant project and others like Elms Park to the northwest of the town will offer much-needed additional employment and houses over the next 10-15 years. 

“The Borough Council supported the sustainable construction centre at Gloucestershire College through our UKSPF bid because it will help young people play a positive role as our town grows.”

Gloucestershire’s first green construction centre will open in September 2024 after a 12-month project.

Slow Housing Market Profit Warning: Travis Perkins

Original Source: Housing slowdown forces Travis Perkins profit warning

Travis Perkins issued a profit warning due to the property industry slowdown.

The UK’s largest builders’ merchants stated commercial, industrial, and infrastructure sectors were “more resilient”.

The stock exchange announced: “The Group delivered a resilient performance in the first quarter but has not seen the anticipated easing of market conditions in the second quarter to date.

The new build housing and private domestic RMI markets continue to be impacted by rising interest rates and reduced consumer confidence due to continuous, higher than projected consumer price inflation.

By contrast, the Group continues to observe more resilient performance across its other end markets—commercial, industrial, infrastructure, and public sector housing—and Toolstation continues to perform in line with expectations in the UK and Europe.

“The Group is driving the trading strategy to effectively navigate near-term market conditions and deliver operational efficiencies in the business.

“Carefully targeted investment continues to ensure that the Group remains well placed to benefit from a recovery and the long-term structural drivers in its end markets, including the long-term undersupply of new housing and retrofitting of domestic and commercial properties.

Management forecasts a full-year adjusted operating profit of roughly £240m if current conditions continue.

Profit guidance was £272m.

Rightmove: Rising Mortgage Rates Stall UK Housing Market Early Summer

Original Source: Surging mortgage rates bring early summer slowdown for UK housing market: Rightmove

A Monday survey indicated that British home asking prices declined for the first time in six years in June, indicating an earlier-than-usual summer slowdown amid mortgage market instability and predictions of future Bank of England interest rate increases.

Rightmove reported the first monthly dip in asking prices this year and the first June reduction since 2017.

The survey found that typical asking prices for this time of year have grown 0.6% over the past decade. Asking prices rose 1.1% year-over-year.

Rightmove’s director of property science, Tim Bannister, said this week’s inflation numbers and BoE interest rate decision, released Wednesday and Thursday, might affect the home market.

“We expected some more twists and turns this year and we’ve had several in the last month, including stubbornly high inflation figures, surprisingly large average wage increases, and their eventual impact on mortgage interest rates and availability,” Bannister said.

As consumer price inflation and income growth increased, British mortgage lenders regularly repriced or pulled house loan products. Markets expected the BoE’s interest rate-rising cycle, which began in December 2021, to continue.

Nationwide, Halifax, and HSBC announced mortgage rate changes.

On Thursday, the Bank of England is likely to hike interest rates for the 13th time in a row to 4.75%. Financial markets predict Bank Rate to peak at 5.75% by December, up from 4.5%.

On Saturday, the Resolution Foundation think tank predicted that households that refinance next year would pay 2,900 pounds, up from 2,000 pounds in May.

British homeowners usually take out two- or five-year fixed-rate mortgages and then refinance to a new fixed rate or a floating rate.

Analysts are waiting to see how much rising interest rates would harm Britain’s property market, which recovered in early 2023 from the autumn volatility caused by former prime minister Liz Truss’ economic programme.

Bannister said rising interest rates and mortgage expenses may deter purchasers.

Higher mortgage rates did not reduce buyer desire in June, but sales activity did.

Design Guide for Specialist and Supported Housing

Original Source: Specialist and Supported Housing Design Guide launched

SBD’s Specialist & Supported Housing Design Guide complements Homes 2023, its updated domestic property guidance.

Both texts aim to secure new and rebuilt homes for disabled and older people, victims of domestic abuse, and those with protected characteristics.

The instructions encompass the Building Regulations and other UK regulatory requirements and the latest security standards to combat growing criminal methods of attack.

SBD is increasingly aware of the need to incorporate adapted, accessible, and inclusive housing and neighbourhoods in our suggestions to avoid creating barriers for disabled and older persons. Inclusive design removes obstacles that cause effort and separation and makes all buildings, places, and surrounding environments accessible and comfortable for everyone.

SBD developed this guide with standards owners and trade associations based on sound research that has shown to reduce crime and save money for local authorities, housing associations, landlords, residents, and the police service.

SBD Design Guides Homes 2023 and the Specialist & Supported Housing Design Guides are part of a series of authoritative Design Guides produced by SBD to help the building, design and construction industry incorporate security into developments to comply with Building Regulations in England, Scotland and Wales and SBD requirements.

The Design Guides have been revised to reflect evolving criminal conduct, building design, and technology.

They serve architects, developers, self-builders, local authority planners, and police officers in residential, education, health, transit, and commercial building sectors.

Download all SBD Design Guides for free here.

SBD Design Guides can be contributed to by emailing sbdconsultations@police-cpi.co.uk.

Design Secured

The UK Police Service owns Secured by Design to reduce crime and improve safety.

SBD, part of the Police Crime Prevention Initiatives portfolio, was founded in 1989 during the 1960s-1980s housing boom, when estates were built hastily and inexpensively without basic security. The Police Service created SBD to address the rise in burglaries.

SBD crime prevention methods have reduced crime since its debut, according to numerous organisations. The Secure Societies Institute at the University of Huddersfield (2009), the Caledonian Environment Centre, commissioned by Glasgow Housing Association, Strathclyde Police, and the Scottish Government (2009), and Police Scotland and Kingdom Housing Association (Sept 2017) are examples.

The Home Office Modern Crime Prevention Strategy also emphasises SBD’s role in eliminating crime chances. “We are working with the police to maintain the Secured by Design brand, which is an important source of advice on how design of, for example, housing estates or shopping precincts can prevent crime and anti-social behaviour.”

Academic and other research shows that enhancing security in new and refurbished houses deters and reduces crime. Reducing crime and fear of crime, especially for high-volume offences like domestic abuse, improves health.

From idea to completion, SBD collaborates with builders, developers, local authorities, and registered housing associations to apply its police crime prevention guidelines into properties. UK police departments have professionally trained Designing Out Crime Officers (DOCOs) who provide free SBD and DOCO guidance.

Some local governments impose SBD criteria for planning.

Urban designers

SBD offers professional development on crime prevention and designing out crime for architects and town planners here. 

RIBA-accredited online course introduces Secured by Design to architects and planners. This workshop earns architects 3 RIBA CPD credits and improves SBD understanding and collaboration with the local police Designing Out Crime Officer.

Development Awards

For incorporating crime prevention methods and strategies into their residential, school, health, transport, business, retail, sport, and leisure complexes, UK developers can receive SBD awards.

SBD’s specially trained police Designing Out Crime Officers help architects, developers, and local authority planners before and during construction to win these prizes. Free service.

Summary of today’s construction news

Overall, we discussed the Westfield A9/A904 upgrading project was awarded to the largest UK contractor by Falkirk Council. Construction will take place during the summer to widen lanes, add new crossings, and make other improvements, according to the council. Meanwhile, to prepare the next generation of environmentally conscious workers and assist recent high school graduates, Gloucestershire College plans to open a sustainable construction hub in Cheltenham. On the other hand, due to the slowdown in the construction business, Travis Perkins has issued a profit warning. The top construction suppliers in the United Kingdom reported that business and industry as well as the infrastructure sector were doing well. Furthermore, a survey released on Monday suggested that asking prices for British homes fell in June for the first time in six years, signalling an earlier-than-usual summer slowdown amidst mortgage market turbulence and expectations of future interest rate increases from the Bank of England. On top of that, to supplement Homes 2023, SBD has released the Specialist & Supported Housing Design Guide.

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