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Construction leads and tenders – July 31st

MIXED USE and NON-RESIDENTIAL

Applicant: Dovelight-in-the-Woods

Planning Authority: East Lothian

Details: Alterations, extensions to redundant steading buildings to form a community based holistic therapy centre and associated works

Location: Standalane Steading, Ballencrieff, East Lothian

Agent: Derek Scott Planning, 21 Lansdowne Crescent, Edinburgh

 

RESIDENTIAL – TEN UNITS OR MORE

Applicant: Mandale Apartments 3

Planning Authority: Aberdeen

Details: Conversion of 1st to 6th floor to form 49 residential flats (Sui Generis) together with the creation of one commercial unit (Class 1/2/3) at ground floor level

Location: Custom House, 28 Guild Street, Aberdeen

Agent: ELG Planning, Gateway House, 55 Coniscliffe Road, Darlington

 

Applicant: J & S Halpern

Planning Authority: Aberdeen

Details: Conversion of 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors to form 12 flats, alterations to existing windows and installation of fire hydrant

Location: 2- 4 Bridge Street, Aberdeen

Agent: Fitzgerald + Associates Ltd, 53 Albert Street, Aberdeen

 

TENDERS

Contract Authority: South East of Scotland Transport Partnership (SEStran)

Details: SEStran wish to investigate the feasibility and detailed design of a series of strategic cycle routes across the South East of Scotland to produce construction-ready design and tender documents.

Location: South East of Scotland

Contact: peter.jackson@sestran.gov.uk

Publication Date: 30/07/2018

 

Contract Authority: Fife Council

Details: fill/re-grade garden areas

Location: Kirkcaldy

Contact: gary.easton@fife.gov.uk

Publication Date: 30/07/2018

Springfield agrees land deal for 1,900-home site in West Lothian

Springfield Properties executive chairman, Sandy Adam

Housebuilder Springfield Properties has secured approximately 400 acres of zoned land in West Lothian to develop a 1,900-home site.

The new site, which has a GDV of over £400 million, is located on the south west border of Livingston, an area which has undergone rapid development with one of the fastest growing populations in Scotland. As a result, there is significant demand for residential property with West Lothian Council committed to building 3,000 new homes by 2022.

Springfield is now working on a masterplan for the site and expects to submit a detailed planning application for phase 1 of approximately 600 private and affordable homes by early 2019. The area is zoned for 1,900 homes as well as commercial units and a primary school.

The company intends to develop the site as a new neighbourhood within Livingston and will pay for the land in instalments, subject to planning being received.

Sandy Adam, executive chairman of Springfield, said: “I am delighted that we have secured this significant land deal, which extends our years of activity – strengthening our long-term future. It is an excellent site in a location with high demand for new homes thanks to its easy access to both Edinburgh and Glasgow. We have a proven track record in delivering long-term projects like this one and by applying the expertise that we have gained through the development of our villages, we can accelerate the successful development of this new site.

“We would expect to be able to begin selling homes around three years from now. We look forward to working with West Lothian Council to bring to life the vision they have for this area to provide much-needed new homes and create a new desirable locality within the established town of Livingston.”

Thomas & Adamson builds for the future with HSBC funding

Alastair Wallace

Construction and property consultancy Thomas & Adamson is modernising its operations using a seven-figure funding package from HSBC UK.

The Edinburgh-headquartered business has seen turnover rise by 10% per year over the last five years, and the bank’s funding will support a modernisation project to enable continued growth.

The modernisation includes new IT systems, including hardware, software, and an online document management system, along with a new telephony system and property improvements. These changes are part of the business’s effort to maintain its market leading position by improving efficiency, increasing service quality and being recognised as a great place to work.

Alastair Wallace, senior partner at Thomas & Adamson, said: “We need to be continuously looking to improve our business to maintain our reputation within the marketplace.  However, many things come at a significant cost, and HSBC UK has shown a genuine interest in our plans and put forward a competitive finance package, which will support us both now and in the future.”

Nigel Kerr, relationship director at HSBC UK in Scotland, added: “Thomas & Adamson are an established business in the UK and have a clear need for modernisation to sustain their business growth. We’re pleased to lend our support to a business with a clear vision for the future.”

Thomas & Adamson has UK offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London, as well as global offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kiev and in the United States.

Working in both the public and private sector, the firm is currently delivering the India Buildings in Edinburgh, to create the first Virgin Hotel in Europe. Other clients across the UK include Jaguar Land Rover, Tesco, British Land, Ediston Real Estate and Chris Stewart Group.

Adjudication: whether I’m right or wrong?

Shona McCusker

Shona McCusker on the English Technology and Construction Court’s decision in a construction case dealing with the difficulties in challenging enforcement of an adjudicator’s decision.

The English Technology and Construction Court’s (“TCC”) recent decision in Vinci Construction Limited v Beumer Group UK Limited serves as a reminder to the construction industry of the difficulty in challenging enforcement of an adjudicator’s decision. The TCC confirmed that whether an adjudicator’s decision is right or wrong is not a matter for the court to consider during enforcement proceedings. This blog considers the decision and the options available if you think an adjudicator’s decision is on the wrong side of right.

What happened?

Vinci engaged Beumer under an NEC 3 Engineering and Construction Sub-Contract (with amendments) to, among other things, design and install a baggage handling system forming part of the new Pier 1 at the South Terminal of Gatwick Airport.

Vinci issued a payment certificate to Beumer claiming £9.67m of liquidated damages. Beumer did not pay and Vinci referred the matter to adjudication. By this point, Beumer had already raised six separate adjudications against Vinci in relation to the works. The same adjudicator heard three of the adjudications including the one referred by Vinci.

The adjudicator found in Vinci’s favour ordering Beumer to pay the £9.67m. Again, Beumer did not pay and Vinci raised enforcement proceedings in the TCC. Beumer challenged the enforcement proceedings on natural justice grounds claiming that:

  1. The adjudicator’s decision was inconsistent with his findings in the previous two adjudications before him;
  2. The adjudicator failed to provide proper reasons for his decision; and
  3. The adjudicator failed to order Vinci to disclose information from a previous adjudication.

The TCC rejected all three of Beumer’s arguments.

The TCC also noted that whether the adjudicator’s decision is right or wrong is of no concern to the court in enforcement proceedings. This principle is not new but none the less it remains a bitter pill to swallow for a party that believes the adjudicator has got it wrong.

What are the options?

The courts take a robust approach to upholding an adjudicator’s decision unless the decision is outside the adjudicator’s jurisdiction or there has been a breach of natural justice. A decision will be outside the adjudicator’s jurisdiction if it purports to decide a matter that was not referred in the adjudication. A breach of natural justice may occur if the adjudicator has been biased, failed to act impartially or there is a procedural irregularity. These are high hurdles to surmount.

Where there are no jurisdiction or natural just points to take, the only option for the losing party is to re-run the arguments in either arbitration or court proceedings. Whether Beumer will do this remains to be seen however given the contentious relationship between the parties to date, it seems a distinct possibility.

Top tips:

  • If you are involved in multiple related adjudications, take care to ensure they do not overlap or seek a decision more than once on the same issue.
  • Before deciding not to comply with an adjudicator’s award, consider the cost implications of enforcement proceedings. Ask whether there is a basis to challenge enforcement proceedings if the adjudicator’s decision is outside his or her jurisdiction, or if the adjudicator has adhered to the rules of natural justice.
  • Arguments in enforcement proceedings that imply an adjudicator’s decision is wrong are irrelevant and running them will not win favour with the judge.
  • If you decide to re-run the arguments in arbitration or court proceedings, pay close attention to the cost : reward ratio. Ask whether the time and cost will likely be outweighed by the potential reward. If not, points of principle can be costly!

Shona McCusker is an Associate in the Infrastructure, Construction and Energy disputes team at CMS shona.mccusker@cms-cmno.com.

Unite calls for full investigation into asbestos exposure incident at Aberdeen school

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) should carry out a full and transparent investigation into previous health and safety concerns after an asbestos exposure incident at the Bridge of Don Academy in Aberdeen, a union has demanded.

A release of the potentially harmful material was discovered on July 12 within a corridor at Bridge of Don Academy where work to improve security is being carried out during the school holidays.

Highlighting previous health and safety concerns raised by union representatives, Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell has asked Aberdeen City Council to hold a full briefing of building services staff by senior management.

He He said: “There is great concern that the workers could be contaminated with a potentially dangerous substance and if the full health and safety procedures relating to suspected asbestos exposure were not followed by management then these workers have left the site and run the risk of contaminating other workers and members of the public.

“Unite representatives have repeatedly made our health and safety concerns known about previous potential asbestos exposure incidents. It beggars belief that we have yet another serious potentially dangerous situation where the management has failed to respond properly in line with health and safety regulations, and their own policies and procedures.

“Unite is demanding that a full and transparent investigation should be carried out by the HSE given the number of serious complaints the union has made over the past year to Aberdeen city council.”

Asbestos materials were disturbed by building service workers during the removal of a panel. However, it took a few working days for the local authority’s own risk control team to be made aware of the suspected asbestos exposure situation. The area involved has now eventually been made safe a week after the incident and the materials removed for further examination.

An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman said: “The format of the meetings being delivered are on a team-by-team basis to all frontline building services staff.

“Support is in place for those staff directly affected by the incident and any subsequent clean-up operation of the site would be carried out by specialist contractors equipped to deal with asbestos, not council cleaning or janitorial staff. The site was made safe as soon as management were made aware of the potential issue.

“As this forms part of the investigation it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

She added senior council officials had met Unite to discuss the union’s concerns.

SELECT provides industry guidance on newly launched wiring regulations

The campaigning body for the electro-technical trade in Scotland has been updating its members on key points from the newly launched 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations.

SELECT’s technical standards adviser, Bob Cairney, prepared the guide which is available in an online format to assist members to understand the changes contained in these important regulations. The guide will also feature in the next issue of SELECT’s CableTalk magazine.

Bob said: “BS: 7671:2018 (The 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations) contains a number of significant changes which reflect industry best practice.

“We have recently been out on the road to highlight the changes during our recent very successful Scotland-wide Toolbox Talks. These were held a few weeks ago and the presentations were well received by the members who attended.”

A central theme of the regulations concerns improvements to the level of safety provided in new electrical installations and in particular with regard to fire safety. The 18th Edition introduces new devices called arc fault detection devices (AFDD) and these, where installed can provide an additional level of electrical safety from faults which other protective devices cannot detect specifically arcing faults. These are expected to be widely adopted by the industry.

There is also new guidance on types of RCD and arrangement of devices to achieve selectivity between protective devices. Also of interest is informative guidance on energy efficiency.

Darrell Mathews, managing director of SELECT, said: “These regulations incorporate the latest in technological developments across our sector and, while they do not come into force until 1 January 2019, we want SELECT members, as ever, to be in pole position.”

Construction insolvencies on the rise

The weaker pound, Brexit and falling house prices have all had an effect on the increasing number of insolvencies in the UK construction sector, according to RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP.

Corporate insolvency figures released by the Insolvency Service revealed that a total of 2,764 company failures in the sector over the last 12 months.

Graham Bushby, head of RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP, said: “A fall in the level of corporate insolvencies from quarter one to quarter two 2018 of 12.4% is masking an underlying increase for the last 12 months of 12%.

“Yet again the primary industries that seem to be suffering are construction (2,764 insolvencies) and retail (2,197 insolvencies) which both showed the highest number of company failures over the last 12 months.”

Mr Bushby added: “For the construction sector, despite a seemingly never-ending demand for new housing, not all is as rosy as it seems. Material prices have been increasing on the back of a weaker pound, and labour costs have also risen, due in part to Brexit.

“Meanwhile, property prices in many areas have started to flatten. This appears to be contributing to yet another increase in the level of failures in the sector.”

Blog: The heat is on and the spotlight is on construction

Chris Hoile

Lawyers Kelly Davidson and Chris Hoile provide a research-backed take on skin cancer in the construction industry.

The Met office issues an Amber weather warning and tells Britons to “stay out of the sun”.

As temperatures reach near record highs of 33.3C, and are predicted to rise further, it is important that the risks to the health of construction workers associated with hot weather are assessed and controlled by employers and those managing construction projects.

Outdoor workers are at a significantly higher risk of skin damage, including developing skin cancer in the longer term, than indoor workers. The failure to properly appreciate and manage the risks from working outside during hot weather is graphically illustrated by the fact that construction workers account for 44% of the estimated 48 ‘vocational’ skin cancer caused deaths per year in the UK, according to the British Journal of Cancer [2017].

Occupational disease still accounts for far more lost work days than injuries arising from work-related accidents in England & Wales.  It is therefore not surprising there is an increasing focus by the Health and Safety Executive on the health and wellbeing of workers.

The Law

Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) imposes a non-delegable duty on employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of its employees.  A similar duty is owed by employers under Section 3(1) HSWA in respect of non-employees, such as contractors.

Many of the measures that could be taken by employers to minimise the risk of skin damage may be perceived as unnecessary or difficult to implement and manage.  However, the law requires duty holders to take reasonable steps to assess and control foreseeable risks arising from work activities and the working environment. A failure to do so will give rise to a breach of that duty, with proof of actual harm to workers not being required for a criminal offence to be made out.

A considerable amount of HSE and construction industry guidance is freely available, including HSE publication INDG147 entitled “Keep Your Top On“, to assist duty holders in controlling the risks associated with working in hot weather.

What can employers do? 

Practical ways in which the risk of skin damage can be minimised include;

  • where possible, rescheduling work to cooler times of the day
  • providing more frequent rest breaks and introduce shading to rest areas
  • providing free access to cool drinking water
  • introducing shading in areas where individuals are working
  • encouraging the removal of personal protective equipment when resting to help encourage heat loss, and
  • educating workers about recognising the early symptoms of heat stress

Forward thinking   

Employers should take their duty to minimise the risks to the health and wellbeing of workers, including the risks posed to those working outside, as seriously as the duty to minimise the risks from work activities such as working at height and the operation and use of plant and equipment.

Kelly Davidson and Chris Hoile are lawyers at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Scotland’s biggest sewer superstructure now operational

Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham has hailed the Shieldhall Tunnel in Glasgow as an “extraordinary” feat of engineering as Scotland’s biggest sewer superstructure became operational.

Visiting the Scottish Water control room where the country’s vast network of pipes and sewers are managed, Ms Cunningham said the tunnel built on the legacy of the country’s engineering and water pioneers and would benefit communities for centuries to come.

Flows have started to run through the tunnel from across the south-side of Glasgow with communities expected to benefit from fewer flooding incidents and improved environmental conditions.

Ms Cunningham said: “The strategic importance of the Shieldhall Tunnel as part of the ongoing investment across Glasgow by Scottish Water cannot be understated. It’s a fantastic example of the capital investment programme delivering real long-term benefits for communities to reduce flooding, help deal with the impact of climate change and improve the environment.

“Much of our underground infrastructure for water and waste water dates to the Victorian era when we proudly led the way in introducing massive improvements to deliver positive impact on the health of our communities. Communities across Glasgow will benefit for years to come from this latest extraordinary feat of engineering which lies hidden deep beneath the city.

“It represents the latest chapter in our collective aim to provide safe and sustainable ways of managing waste in our biggest city. It is a significant part of the overall investment in Greater Glasgow which is essential to economic prosperity regionally and nationally. Scottish Water is investing £3.5 billion throughout the country to deliver infrastructure which is fit for communities now and for decades to come.”

The tunnel is the flagship project in Scottish Water’s investment in the Glasgow area’s waste water infrastructure, the biggest since Victorian times, and stretches for 3.1 miles from Craigton to Queen’s Park via Bellahouston and Pollok parks.

It was constructed over almost two years by a team of more than 100 workers, from countries across the world, using a state-of-the-art tunnel boring machine (TBM) named Daisy the Driller by a local schoolboy, which weighed 1000 tonnes and was longer than 14 buses.

The tunnel will alleviate pressure on the existing waste water network with 90,000 cubic metres of extra storm water storage. That’s more than 108m litres or the equivalent of 36 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

It will also reduce the risk of flooding in Aikenhead Road and Curtis Avenue in Mount Florida and Robslee Drive, Robslee Road, Robslee Crescent and Orchard Park Avenue in Giffnock.

Some of the key facts and figures about the £100 million tunnel include:

  • More than 500,000 tonnes of earth, stone and clay was excavated.
  • More than 3200 six-segment concrete rings were installed.
  • It took over 1.5 million working hours to construct.
  • Over 90% of material excavated was recycled.

The tunnel will substantially reduce the amount and frequency of waste water discharged from a number of Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) and enable more than 90% of what was discharged at these CSOs to be treated at Shieldhall Waste Water Treatment Works before being discharged there.

Douglas Millican, Scottish Water’s chief executive, said:  “We are delighted to have completed the Shieldhall Tunnel, which is the flagship project in Scottish Water’s investment in the waste water infrastructure in the Greater Glasgow area – the biggest in well over a century.

“The city’s waste water infrastructure required major improvements to help transform it into a modern, integrated and sustainable system which will improve the environment and biodiversity on the River Clyde and help tackle flooding.

“As the Greater Glasgow area continues to develop, we are modernising our waste water infrastructure to support the needs of both existing and future customers.

“The completion of the Shieldhall Tunnel is a key part of that network modernisation.”

Dominic Flanagan, Scottish Water project manager, said: “Many hundreds of people have worked as part of Costain VINCI Construction Grand Projets (correct) Joint Venture (CVJV), which was set up to deliver the tunnel.

“To enable the construction of the tunnel required a wide range of specialist skills, knowledge and expertise. Over the course of the project, our workforce has included local contractors and those with international experience and backgrounds.

“We are all enormously proud of what we have achieved for the good of the people of Greater Glasgow.”

Neil Grosset, the project director, of Costain, said: “Everyone in the Costain and VINCI Construction Grands Projets team is delighted to have delivered the Shieldhall Tunnel project for Scottish Water and the people of Glasgow. Completing this scheme, one of the most challenging of its kind in history, is testament to the passion, skills and team spirit of everyone involved in the project. The Shieldhall Tunnel is infrastructure that will have a huge positive impact, reducing the flooding risk and improving the environment for the people of Glasgow and the River Clyde now and in the future.”

Building Briefs – July 30th

Commercial Quay, Leith

Business booming in Leith as office space take up soars

The regeneration of Leith continues to go from strength to strength, according to statistics from GVA.

In the first half of 2018, transactions in the area totalled 18,500 sq. ft, with a further 35,000 sq. ft. of space under offer. This totals 53,500 sq. ft., an increase of 27% from the 42,125 sq. ft. of space transacted in all of 2017 and a massive 72% rise from 31,000 sq. ft. in 2015.

As well as an upturn in commercial office uptake, Leith has seen a resurgence in bars, restaurants and leisure options in recent years and comparison website TravelSupermarket named it second in the UK in its ‘hippest place’ index for 2017.

Rents are as much as 40% lower in Leith compared to Edinburgh city centre, where there is a lack of Grade A supply against demand.

 

Expansion planned at Aberdeen’s Chester Hotel

The Chester Hotel in Aberdeen is to undergo a major expansion.

The Granite Suite function room will increase its maximum numbers from the current limit of 200 to 320 for a conference set up.

Work on the extension plans are due to get underway in late December and are expected to be completed in spring.

 

‘More ambitious approach’ needed to improve energy efficiency and tackle fuel poverty

CIH Scotland has called for all homes to be brought up to a minimum of EPC C by 2030 as a new poll revealed public backing for more investment in warmer homes.

In its response to government consultations on energy efficiency, CIH Scotland has welcomed consideration of higher standards for homes in the social rented sector but raised concerns about meeting the cost of improvements without additional funding from the Scottish Government.

In addition, the Institute does not believe there can be justification for differential standards across the sector – with the government proposing a target for private rented homes to reach EPC C by 2030 and for home owners to meet EPC C by 2040.

CIH Scotland notes that the social rented sector has been at the forefront of energy improvements with all homes due to meet the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH) by 2020 and new standards for EESSH2 already under consultation.

Setting a minimum energy efficiency standard of EPC C for all homes by 2030 will improve the fabric of homes, help to reduce fuel bills and tackle fuel poverty, and ensure that all tenants and homeowners benefit from better living conditions.

Campaign group WWF Scotland has also called for more investment in warmer homes after it published an opinion poll in which 72% of Scots backed investment in projects to reduce emissions.

According to the survey, 72% of the Scottish public think the Scottish Government should “invest in projects that reduce emissions, like public transport and affordable heat networks, to create a low carbon Scotland”.

The opinion polling data follows the recent publication of a report by the UK’s National Infrastructure Commission which showed that consumers can have low carbon energy at no extra cost by 2050.

 

Housing and infrastructure ‘most significant challenges’ to future of rural living

Rural communities are increasingly feeling as though they are becoming more remote through the increased unaffordability of housing, according to a new research.

In a public survey looking in to how life is experienced in rural areas of the UK, more than 3,000 people expressed concerns over a lack of affordable housing and an exodus of young people.

Poor mobile and broadband access and poor infrastructure were also major concerns.

The Recharging Rural report published today by The Prince’s Countryside Fund and Scotland’s Rural College received five times as many responses as expected.

Respondents repeatedly expressed their desire for improved infrastructure in the countryside, which they feel will help them to encourage young people and businesses to stay in, or move to, rural areas.

A minority of respondents have seen improvements in broadband and mobile coverage, and in opportunities for community empowerment through asset and land purchase, but the majority feel that remoteness is happening to them through the increased unaffordability of housing, the decline in the number of rural businesses and employment prospects, and the outmigration of young people.

The centralisation of services such as schools, libraries, health services and leisure facilities, coupled with the effect of commuting and mass housing developments, are also seen as contributing to community breakdown.

Respondents to the report make it clear that they are very keen to engage with policy makers and with other communities, and are full of ideas, energy, and creativity that they wish to share.

Based on the survey responses, the report makes several recommendations to rural stakeholders, policy makers, and communities as to how things can be improved in rural areas, with a focus on encouraging cohesive policy across the UK and aiding collaboration.

 

Scotland’s retirees facing ‘significant’ property shortfall
People approaching retirement in Scotland are facing a significant financial property shortfall, according to new research published by planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore.

The firm’s ‘Later Living – Are We Planning for our Future?’ report reveals that specialist UK retirement properties built so far have mostly been aimed at the better-off, while the majority of current and imminent retirees are far less wealthy.

Barton Willmore’s figures show that most new-build retirement flats and homes are aimed at those with £300,000 or more of property wealth. Yet the fastest growing demographic amongst older people across the UK is actually those with assets of under £163,000 when they retire.

Using the government’s own data, the report calculated that up to 10.1 million people aged 43 to 65 are approaching retirement with too little housing provision – and warns that local planning authorities and the housing market need to work closer together if this shortfall is to be met.

In Scotland, the potential financial shortfall is even greater due to an average property wealth of just £110,000 across all age groups, amongst the lowest anywhere in the UK. This is less than half the average property wealth of £240,000 across London and the South East

 

New flood barriers to be installed across South Lanarkshire

A host of new flood barriers are to be installed across South Lanarkshire to protect property and infrastructure in the region.

The mobile ‘Floodstop’ barrier is a flood defence system which can be assembled to any length or orientation by connecting one metre long modular units using weighted keys.

The modular units fill with rising flood water and, along with the weighted keys and hard-wearing gasket seals, create a solid flood barrier.

A test of the ‘Floodstop’ barrier took place at Clydesmill Community Fire Station in Cambuslang. South Lanarkshire Council’s Flood Risk Management team rehearsed deploying the system with help from Scottish Fire and Rescue.

 

356 more Carillion staff lose jobs

A further 21 members of staff from collapsed construction contractor Carillion have been transferred to new suppliers over the past week, with 356 more people made redundant.

In total 13,516 jobs have been saved (74% of the pre-liquidation workforce), however the total redundancies has now reached 2,778 (15%) jobs.