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And finally… Firm appointed to design artificial island in Vietnam

TTC Land Estate Investment Group and Royal HaskoningDHV have signed a contract for the design of an artificial island in a new Special Economic Zone in the South West of Vietnam.

Designed in the shape of Vietnam’s national flower, Lotus Island will be located at the South East coast of Phu Quoc Island and will be part of a larger waterfront and coastal development by TTC Land Estate Investment Group.

Royal HaskoningDHV is tasked with the design of the land reclamation, breakwater, beaches, revetments and water quality study to ensure the island is sustainable and climate proof.

TTC Land Estate Investment Group and Royal HaskoningDHV will work to preserve the natural features of Phu Quoc, using sustainable solutions to integrate the island completely in its natural environment.

Huynh Bich Ngoc, TTC Land Real Estate Investment Group first vice president expressed her appreciation on having Royal HaskoningDHV as lead consultant for the design of the island as Royal HaskoningDHV was also involved in the design of the Palm Islands in Dubai.

“This safeguards that the Lotus Flower project is being developed according to international standards by a firm with extensive experience and a remarkable track-record,” she said.

Ronald Stive, Royal HaskoningDHV expert in water edge development, added: “I am very pleased to see that creative and carefully shaped nearshore land reclamation is nowadays recognised as a sustainable way of integrated ‘water edge development’. Not only recognised in the Middle-East, where this development started, but also in Southeast Asia and particularly in Vietnam.”

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Police launch second investigation into £380m North Ayrshire schools PFI deal

St Matthew’s Academy in Saltcoats

A Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) deal to build schools in North Ayrshire is to be investigated by police for the second time over concerns regarding the bidding process.

The £380 million project to build four schools in the region was signed in 2007 and attracted two bids but, according to the Sunday Post, campaigners fear councillors only considered one to “allow the pretence of competition”.

This is because the firm in question was a newly-formed company with no accounts, offices or any track record in construction, the newspaper added.

A complaint about the bidding process was made in 2006 and the Crown Office instructed the then Strathclyde Police to carry out an investigation but concluded there was no evidence of criminality.

Last month, North Ayrshire councillors authorised the local authority’s chief executive Elma Murray to write to Police Scotland to ask them to reopen the investigation.

Police Scotland said: “Police Scotland can confirm the issues raised by North Ayrshire Council are currently being reviewed by the Economic Crime and Financial Investigation Unit.”

Former independent MSP Campbell Martin, who has made a documentary about the issue called The Only Game In Town, said: “There was no ‘genuine competition’. In fact, there was no competition whatsoever.”

Four schools – St Matthew’s Academy, Greenwood Academy, Arran High and Stanley Primary – were built under the Labour-led Scottish Executive in 2007.

The first and winning bid for the project was from the First Class Consortium which included Mitie and Hochtief.

A second bid came from CES, which was registered to the address of an accountant in Fife.

At the time, campaigners raised concerns about the viability of the second bidder as it had filed no accounts and had issued share capital valued at just £2.

It later emerged that in its bid document, CES, had indicated it was a subsidiary of a Singapore-based company, CPG Corporation, but this firm denied it had anything to do with CES.

CES has now been dissolved.

A North Ayrshire Council spokesman said: “We will cooperate fully with Police Scotland during their investigation.”

A Freedom of Information request by GMB Scotland in April 2016 revealed that the local authority had a bill of over £1m a month to ensure the upkeep of the four schools.

Green light for £15m Inverurie sports complex

Proposals for a £15 million community sports complex in Inverurie have been given the go ahead by local councillors.

Plans to expand the existing Garioch Sports Centre with a range of indoor and outdoor facilities were approved last week by Aberdeenshire Council.

Designed by Lippe Architects, new facilities planned for the 25-acre sports centre site include an all-weather stadium suitable for football and rugby and a second all-weather pitch, an enlarged gymnasium, fitness rooms, a kids barn, youth hub and also an early learning and childcare setting for up to 40 children.

It will also now include three new indoor tennis pitches, after Judy Murray, the mother of tennis stars Andy and Jamie, was asked to get involved in the design process.

The complex will cost between £12-15 million and will be developed in phases, with various funding sources being pursued.

The sale of Inverurie Locos Harlaw Park will help finance some of the costs, with the Locos moving to a new home at the stadium where they will become a tenant of the Sports Trust.

Graeme Hay, director of the Garioch Sports Centre, said: “We’re delighted that Aberdeenshire Council have approved our planning application. “This allows us to progress external funding applications straight away.

“Our ambitions remain the same and we’re committed to providing much needed sports and community facilities for Inverurie and beyond.” Mr Hay added: “The hard work really begins now.”

All images provided courtesy of Lippe Architects

Capsule hotel planned at A-listed former Royal Mile jail

Developers are hoping to transform a former court and jail in Edinburgh into a ‘capsule hotel’.

Edinburgh-based Code, which already runs a hotel in the Scottish capital, wants to turn the A-listed former district court and cells at 1a Parliament Square on the Royal Mile into modern pod-style accommodation.

It is proposed that the majority of the existing Georgian building pattern will be kept with the original features and the character of the courthouse and cells exposed to create the boutique hotel.

It is also planned to reinstate many of the existing blocked up windows and recreate the original, historic entrance door in the building currently used mainly for storage.

Code said that the accommodation will appeal to ‘responsible green travellers’ with young Chinese tourists high on the list of target markets.

The applicant’s supporting statement stated: “The existing building is inefficiently utilised given the original design of the building for holding cells and court rooms.

“This proposal by Code seeks to utilise and celebrate the historic fabric of the building through ensuring that every possible aspect of the building is put to good use.

“It is the historic and original use of the building which excites Code and would be used as a key component of the marketing and theme of the new hotel to provide a unique visitor experience.

“Given the number of younger visitors travelling to Edinburgh it is surprising not to see more good modern, high quality hostels in operation.”

The design statement added: “Code are currently looking to provide additional accommodation within their home city, Edinburgh, with the proposals to create a world class boutique pod hotel at 1a Parliament Square.

“This would act as the firm’s flagship property and company headquarters.

“Code are tapping into a trend towards boutique pod-style accommodation in Europe, mirroring its success in Asia,where the hostels help meet the demand for high quality affordable overnight stays in high-density urban areas.

“Code prides itself on working with local business within Edinburgh which includes software developers, designers and architects, and want to take local suppliers on their journey with them.”

Andrew Landsburgh from Code, which also has the Code Capsule Hotel off Rose Street, told the Herald: “Our pod hotel concept is taking off and highly popular.

“We are expanding the successful brand with our second location in Edinburgh.

“This unique venue, in such an iconic Old Town location, will be a great boost to this expanding market particularly with overseas visitors.”

The refit could start this autumn if approved.

CMS Window Systems lands record £10m contract at Atlantic Square

Atlantic Square

CMS Window Systems has been awarded a contract worth over £10 million for the Atlantic Square development in Glasgow.

The deal to design, manufacture and install all of the glazing on the new £100m office development secures the Cumbernauld-based company’s strongest ever order book at £65m over the next three years.

David Ritchie, chief operating officer, said the announcement will also provide a secure future for its 250-strong workforce.

He said: “Winning this contract provides vital job security for our 250 employees who work in both manufacturing and on-site installation roles, and it creates a strong platform for us to invest in the future of the business. Recent economic surveys have painted a relatively negative picture for Scotland’s manufacturing and construction sectors, so it is fantastic to be bucking the trend with a healthy outlook.”

Inside the CMS Window Systems manufacturing facility at Castlecary (from left) David Ritchie (chief operating officer at CMS Window Systems), Alister Patrick (aluminium factory manager) and Stephen Anderson (aluminium contracts director)

CMS Window Systems’ latest financial results will be published soon and are expected to reveal a record year for the Queens Award for Enterprise winning company.

The £100m Atlantic Square development is being built by BAM Construction. CMS will design, manufacture and install a range of aluminium windows, doors and façade elements for the mixed-use development, which will provide high quality office space on York Street capable of accommodating more than 2,700 staff, 187,000sqft of space has already been pre-let by the developers BAM TCP Atlantic Square with the remaining 97,000 sq. ft. being developed as speculative Grade A office space.

According to David Ritchie, the Atlantic Square contract win also illustrates how the company is increasingly being engaged by the developers of larger projects who are seeking a dependable supply chain partner. It continues to work extensively with local authorities, housing associations, housebuilders, commercial developers and trade & retail partners throughout the UK, but it is in commercial development where the value of major project enquiries is on the rise.

Work on the aluminium window and door production line

“Atlantic Square will be a landmark development in Glasgow city centre and we are really pleased to be working with BAM Construction to transform this prime site,” he added.

“The scale of the window, door, curtain walling and façade brief represents our largest ever single contract, but it is exactly the kind of project that our business is equipped to handle given the design expertise, product range and manufacturing and installation capabilities that our business has today. We’ve evolved rapidly since our inception in 2006 and are now in a position where a large proportion of our contracts are in the £5m+ bracket – not only in Scotland but across the UK.”

The Atlantic Square contract follows a series of successful recent collaborations in Scotland between CMS and BAM Construction, including Capital Square in Edinburgh, the new HQ for Ineos at Grangemouth and a number of buildings in Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital campus, including the Imaging Centre of Excellence (ICE). CMS will begin work on site at Atlantic Square in 2019 with the development due for handover the following year.

Dundee City Council signs ‘forward thinking’ agreement with Homes for Scotland

Convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee Councillor Lynne Short (left) with Homes for Scotland chief executive Nicola Barclay

Dundee City Council has signed an agreement with industry body Homes for Scotland (HFS) aimed at ensuring the on-going delivery of the range of homes required to meet the needs of its population.

Building on the positive relationship between the council and the home building industry, the agreement signifies a commitment to further improve the way they work together to deliver more homes and increase the social and economic benefits for the city.

In addition to improving lines of communication between member companies and the council, HFS will encourage home builders to promote the wider community benefits that result from the developments they investment in, as well as the varied apprenticeships, skills and training opportunities that they create.

Reciprocally, the council will pursue positive interventions to identify, release and unlock land for housing. It will also look to attract funding to ensure that the delivery of the necessary infrastructure (such as roads, education and healthcare) is aligned.

Applauding the council’s forward-thinking approach to housing delivery, HFS chief executive, Nicola Barclay, said: “Dundee is one of the country’s most progressive local authorities when it comes to planning ahead for housing and infrastructure, and it has long recognised the wider benefits development offers in terms of regenerating and sustaining communities, supporting business and creating jobs. Through the enabling culture it demonstrates in this agreement, it is leading the way in how it chooses to positively collaborate with the companies who will deliver the homes needed by those who want to live in this unique and dynamic city.”

Councillor Lynne Short, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee, said: “It is vital that we ensure that the right mix of houses are built in the right place at the right time to meet the wide and varied demands of people who want to live in Dundee.

“Achieving that relies on co-operation and collaboration between all of the participants in the process and this agreement seeks to ensure that we are delivering high quality homes in sustainable locations.”

The agreement was signed at Springfield Properties’ Dykes of Gray village on the outskirts of the city. As well as providing 600 new homes, the new community will include shops, play areas, health facilities and business opportunities. With around 60 people working on site, the development also supports many local trades and suppliers, and will bring substantial investment in the area for many years to come.

Esh gets royal seal of approval with Queen’s Award recognition

Gerard McMahon

Esh Group has been recognised by the Queen for its outstanding work in supporting communities.

Staff across the group – including Livingston-based Esh Construction – celebrated receiving The Queen’s Award for Enterprise this week, with the announcement coinciding with Her Royal Highness’ 92nd birthday.

Regional director for Scotland, Gerard McMahon, hailed the award as a “significant milestone for all at Esh” while paying tribute to the exceptional efforts of staff in helping to secure it.

Judges were impressed by Esh’s significant commitment to helping young people develop employability skills through its range of education programmes, which make up just one part of its ‘Added Value’ activity.

Each year Esh supports the development of more than 15,000 students across more than 200 schools through its ‘Building My Skills’ initiative – and last year, 70 sessions were delivered to Scottish schools alone by a variety of business partners.

As a result, Esh has been awarded in the Promoting Opportunity and Social Mobility category of the Queen’s Awards.

Gerard McMahon said: “Our Scottish team is delighted to have contributed to the securing of this prestigious award.

“It’s a wonderful testament to the workforce here and the hard work they undertake every day to ensure we add value to the communities in which we work.

“The Queen’s Award programme is the most respected in the UK. At Esh Construction and throughout the wider group, we’re ambitious and innovative, as well as being proud of what we have achieved with our Added Value programmes, so it made perfect sense to apply.”

The Added Value work at Esh spans skills development, employment opportunities for disadvantaged young people, support for suppliers and environmental responsibility.

The model delivers positive educational impacts across the communities that Esh operates in and involves working closely with schools, colleges, universities, training providers and community groups, while engaging with many business partners to support the delivery of the group’s Added Value programme.

Darush Dodds, head of corporate responsibility and added value, said: “We are committed to giving back to the communities in which we operate and delivering a comprehensive ‘social value’ package on the back of any construction project.

“We believe the people who use our houses, buildings, landscapes and infrastructure are as important as the projects themselves. This is reflected in our company motto –‘leading the way in constructing communities’.”

Esh Group can trace its history back to 1971 with the formation of Lumsden & Carroll.

Since then the business has grown to become a multidisciplinary construction group with turnover of more than £225m and a workforce of 1,000.

The business delivers multi-million pound projects for a range of public and private sector clients.

City Building sees double after winning second Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development

(from left) Apprentices Cameron Moir, Pheobe Ali, Dylan Trewavasm, Linzi Wylie & Martin McGarvey

City Building is celebrating after winning the Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development for a second time.

The Glasgow construction firm’s successful bid was announced on Saturday 21 April, which is designated as the Queen’s Official Birthday. It previously won the Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development in 2012.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise recognise and celebrate business excellence in the fields of innovation, international trade, sustainable development and promoting opportunity (through social mobility). They are UK’s most prestigious business awards and are regarded as the pinnacle of business achievement.

City Building apprentice Andrew Weir at work on Pollok House

Established in 2006, City Building has grown to become one of Scotland’s largest construction firms, employing over 2,200 staff and providing a wide range of construction, maintenance and manufacturing services.

The organisation was recognised for its unique social ethos which includes providing sustainable employment for a diverse range of people including those with disabilities and other under-represented groups.

The company’s socially responsible approach also underpins its business operations, ranging from its procurement processes, which aim to support local or sustainable organisations, to its waste management. The business has reduced its waste by 10% over the past five years. Of the remaining waste, 93% is re-used or recycled and further methods to divert waste from landfill are being developed. Meanwhile, the firm has cut its electricity and water consumption by 18% and 15% respectively since 2012.

Councillor Greg Hepburn, chair of City Building (Contracts), said: “It is a huge honour to receive our second Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development. As well as being a major boost for our workforce, it is also fantastic for our customers, our suppliers and the communities in which we work and serve.

“This award shows that we are leading the way in the construction industry and will put the company in a strong position to develop and grow.”

City Building’s youth employment strategy was also crucial to its success. The Glasgow firm operates Scotland’s largest apprentice programme, with a completion rate of 94% compared to an industry average of 75%. It employs 20% of all female craft apprentices in Scotland.

Gordon Sloan, chair of City Building (Glasgow), added: “By putting sustainability at the heart of its operations, City Building is helping to deliver stronger and safer communities. Its unique approach is also creating employment opportunities that will enable Glasgow to thrive.”

Arc-Tech helps charity reap benefits of new facilities

St Andrew’s Hospice

A charity in Airdrie is reaping the benefits of a new bespoke mechanical and electrical service package installed by building services contractor Arc-Tech (Scotland) Ltd.

St Andrew’s Hospice, which provides specialist palliative care, has now completed the £9 million upgrade of its facility in North Lanarkshire which included refurbishment and reconfiguration works to improve facilities for patients and staff.

Glasgow-based Arc-Tech were brought on board in May 2017 to assist with the upgrade in addition to providing an extensive range of mechanical & electrical services, including all heating, domestic water, ventilation, medical gases, power, lighting, fire and security systems.

The project also benefitted from off-site prefabricated products in the form of a complete boilerhouse and M&E multi-service corridor distribution modules. This prefabrication was engineered from the Project REVIT model which was developed from the design model through construction to an as-installed status by Arc-Tech.

John Gallacher, Arc-Tech managing director, said: “We’ve undertaken a comprehensive programme of works at the Hospice which has been aided by our use of REVIT modelling. Our organisation is very proud to be delivering prefabricated solutions at this stage of our development, we believe this greatly benefitted the project programme at St Andrew’s Hospice. This capability enables Arc Tech to approach any potential contract with confidence, maintaining our industry-leading quality standards and innovative approach.”

Two of Arc-Tech’s engineers – Brian Hughes and Romano Cocozza – who worked on the project, both had family members cared for by the Hospice.

John added: “Brian’s sister and Romano’s uncle were both expertly cared for by St Andrew’s Hospice in recent times before they sadly passed away from their illnesses. The contract could have been difficult for the pair to work on but they were both eager to give something back in memory of their family and to the Hospice for their care. They did Arc-Tech proud and we would like to extend our thanks to them for the professionalism and expertise.”

The cost of works for the contract is being funded by the St Andrew’s Hospice Capital Appeal. Donations can be made through the Hospice website.