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Glasgow’s Garment Factory undergoes £6m revamp

The Garment Factory office development in Glasgow city centre has achieved practical completion following an extensive refurbishment project undertaken by Castleforge Partners.

A category ‘B’ listed building located at the corner of Ingram Street and Montrose Street in the Merchant City Central Conservation Area, the Garment Factory is one of Glasgow’s most notable buildings. It provides 47,382 sq ft of high quality retail and design-focused office space over seven floors.

The £6 million refurbishment project, undertaken by a team which includes lead contractor ISG, project manager PMP and architect Morgan McDonnell Architecture Ltd, involved combining the restoration of the original features, including exposed ceilings, steel and brickwork, wooden flooring and ornate staircases, with the introduction of contemporary finishes throughout to provide a 21st century workplace.

An impressive over-sized entrance lobby/reception with two new high-speed lifts, on-site café and breakout space has been created on Montrose Street to serve the office floors above. Two new retail/restaurant units on Montrose Street and Ingram Street have been formed and offer quirky features including covered outdoor dining areas and a triple level spiral staircase, which is attracting interest from leisure operators and boutique breweries. The basement area has shower and changing facilities as well as lockers and a cycle storage area, event space, games room and communal kitchen with LED lighting throughout.

Works on the open plan office space over the upper six floors included a full overhaul of the suites with the introduction of new finishes in keeping with the building’s listed status.

The existing stairwells have been retained and refurbished and the building’s mechanical and electrical services have been replaced and upgraded. The exterior of the red sandstone building has also been conserved and the roof has been extensively overhauled.

Rachael Pittaway from Castleforge Partners said:  “It’s great news that we can announce we’ve achieved practical completion at the Garment Factory; it really is a beautiful building in a great location and we’re very proud of the finished result. We wanted to restore the building’s original industrial aesthetic and emphasise the warehouse/factory origins by making features of the cast iron columns and leaving services exposed to allow the original fabric of the building to shine.

“Our aim was to create a flagship office and leisure development in Merchant City and to provide a fantastic working environment for creatives and corporates alike.  We have invested significantly in the upgrade project and are confident the large, efficient floor-plates, which are rare to find in a building with such character and quality specification in Glasgow, will appeal to a wide variety of occupiers.”

Architectural practice Threesixty Architecture and digital services provider Incremental Group were confirmed as the first occupiers for The Garment Factory earlier this year.  Threesixty Architecture has taken the entire top floor, comprising 8,374 sq ft of space, and Incremental Group will occupy the whole of the fifth floor, extending to 8,353 sq ft.  Both firms are currently undertaking fit-out works ahead of taking occupation early next year.

Guy Morgan from Morgan McDonnell Architecture Ltd added:  “It has been a privilege to work on the revitalisation of this Victorian mercantile gem. We have been able to liberate the original layout and character of the building which had been hidden under years of unsympathetic alterations and subdivisions. We are very proud of the 21st century office and retail environment we have managed to create within.”

The Garment Factory is being marketed for let by Ryden.

City Building celebrates golden year with multiple awards

Young Decorator of the Year Lisa Murphy at work

Glasgow-based City Building is ending the year on a high following a flurry of awards recognising the construction firm’s unique approach to corporate responsibility and diversity.

The company gained a total of seven accolades throughout 2017, including Diversity Star Performer and Recruitment of Talents and Youth at The Herald’s Diversity Awards, HR NETWORK’s Corporate Responsibility of the Year and Best Employer of the Year, and Glasgow’s Fairest Employer by the Glasgow Guarantee.

After coming to the rescue of endangered water voles living on a site in Easterhouse, and constructing roof-top habitats for the local swift population in Partick, City Building was also celebrated for its environmental work, walking away with the Green Champion Award at the Glasgow Business Awards.

City Building employees picked up a further four awards for individual abilities, including the UK’s Young Decorator of the Year which was won this month by apprentice Lisa Murphy at Johnstone’s Painter of the Year of Awards.

With its trophy cabinet busier than ever, the year marks one of the most successful for City Building.

Employing 20% of all female craft apprenticeships in Scotland and having women in 37% of all senior management roles, City Building is one of the country’s most diverse organisations.

Through its manufacturing division, Royal Strathclyde Blindcraft Industries (RSBi) it also supports jobs for more than 120 people with disabilities, including those with learning disabilities, hearing and visual impairments, as well as creating employment opportunities for army veterans at its windows factory.

Outside of the workplace, City Building has continued to positively engage with Glasgow communities, raising more than £14,000 for local organisations throughout the year. Apprentices have also been lending a helping hand to local groups. Projects carried out by apprentices include redecorating the Glasgow Marie Curie Hospice free of charge, creating learning spaces in local schools and volunteering at foodbanks and Glasgow Life libraries, where they teach children to read.

Dr Graham Paterson, executive director at City Building, said: “This past year has been monumental for City Building, with our achievements including the launch of our new venture with Glasgow City Council and Wheatley Group and a strong set of financial results which saw us return more than £9m to Glasgow City Council.

“These successes are testament to the core values which drive City Building forward, as well as the outstanding talent and hard work of our many employees.

“Securing employment opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds, encouraging our staff to take a role in protecting the environment and positively impacting the communities of Glasgow are central objectives which support our commercial strategies and it is fantastic to be recognised for these attributes.

“I am extremely proud of the direction the firm is taking and hopefully 2018 will yield further successes.”

In addition to winning a total of 11 awards at a company and individual levels, City Building was deemed a finalist in a further nine categories.

Plastic Surgeon renews agreement with Kier

Surface repair specialist Plastic Surgeon has renewed its contract with Kier Group as it continues to help save unnecessary waste from landfill.

Having worked in partnership for the last 12 years on a variety of projects carried out throughout the UK, Plastic Surgeon has assisted Kier in the handovers of hundreds of projects during that period.

In 2015, Kier Group and Plastic Surgeon entered into a two-party preferred supplier agreement. The second party in the agreement provides repairs required in the East of England, with Plastic Surgeon responsible for the rest of the UK, including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland thanks to having its specialist finishers present in every region.

Since the agreement was signed, Plastic Surgeon has seen significant growth in its business, whilst being able to demonstrate its green credentials thanks to the amount of waste product saved from landfill. Environmental friendliness is a key benefit of Plastic Surgeon’s services, with damaged goods and items being repaired and reused, saving them from being scrapped and sent to landfill.

Having experienced the positives of the successful partnership, Kier has now signed up to an additional two years, which will take the agreement into the autumn of 2019.

Dave Craig, national account manager at Plastic Surgeon, said of the new agreement: “This serves to demonstrate Kier Group’s satisfaction with our services and further strengthens our relationship. Kier Group has been a big advocate of our capabilities, and this helps to acknowledge both the need and the benefits that our services bring, something that some sections of the construction industry are still wary of embracing despite the obvious advantages.”

Paul Coates of Kier Group said: “We’re pleased to extend our contract with Plastic Surgeon for an additional two years. Our companies have the same goal of being environmentally sustainable, and the landfill savings we make through Plastic Surgeon are one of the key reasons we use its service.”

Citizens Theatre revamp awarded £4.8m of lottery support

Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre has received a grant of £4.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to go towards its transformational redevelopment project.

The project will result in the conservation, repair and expansion of one of Scotland’s oldest, and much loved, working theatres. It will protect the physical asset for future generations whilst preserving and revealing the most significant parts of its heritage: the Victorian auditorium at the heart of the site; its rare collection of original 19th century stage machinery and a unique example of a working paint frame.

The redevelopment will also explore and celebrate the fascinating social and cultural heritage of the building and the company, increase public engagement and ensure ‘The Citz’, as it is affectionately known, continues to make and deliver world class theatre for the benefit of local, national and international audiences.

The redevelopment, designed by architectural practice Bennetts Associates, is a radical reworking of the existing building to provide new learning spaces, rehearsal rooms and a 152 seat studio theatre. It will also improve working conditions for staff and transform front of house spaces for greater use by audiences, participants and the local community. The project will be underpinned by 12 creative heritage focused activities including creating a heritage hub on the theatre company’s website; helping people to share their stories about the Citizens; providing volunteer opportunities; and bringing the work of the theatre to life through specially linked heritage productions, to wider audiences and visitors.

Commenting on the award, Judith Kilvington, executive director of the Citizens Theatre, said: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this significant support thanks to National Lottery players. This critical funding will allow us not only to preserve our Victorian theatre but also to tell stories which help to uncover and communicate the physical, architectural, social and cultural heritage of the Citizens Theatre to many future generations of theatre goers, participants, and visitors.

“With our increased heritage engagement plans, we will be able to attract new audiences and participants to the theatre for the first time and encourage a deeper level of engagement amongst our existing audiences by offering a variety of ways to explore the Citizens Theatre’s rich and multi-faceted heritage.

“Our redevelopment project is at the heart of the regeneration of the Gorbals and Laurieston and will create a vital cultural landmark and community hub for all the people who use the building.”

Lucy Casot, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “We are delighted to bring some Christmas cheer to one of Scotland’s oldest and best-loved theatres. Thanks to players of the National Lottery, the Citizens Theatre will undergo a transformation which shines a light on its incredible Victorian heritage while providing the modern facilities expected today. After 139 years of entertaining audiences, her future as one of the country’s outstanding production theatres is rosy.”

In June 2018, Citizens Theatre Company will move out of the Category B listed building, which it leases from Glasgow City Council, for over two years. Thanks to a partnership with Glasgow Life the company will continue to produce its ground-breaking work at Tramway and provide its Citizens Learning activities at Scotland Street School Museum. The Company will move back into its iconic Gorbals home in autumn 2020.

RICS launches campaign to give young homeless Scots a home in winter

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has joined forces with property industry charity LandAid to launch a campaign to deliver more bed spaces for homeless people in Scotland during winter.

As part of RICS’s 150th anniversary in 2018, the campaign known as Pledge150 will see RICS – alongside those working in the region’s built environment – raise £2.25 million by December 2018 for LandAid. This money will be used to fund the creation of 150 bed spaces for young people at risk of homelessness.

This time last year, it is thought that as many as 9,187 people in Scotland spent the colder months homeless.

The Duke of Cambridge attended the launch of the campaign in November – along with senior figures from the UK’s leading property and construction firms – where he spoke about his concern for those with nowhere to call home, and how he would like to see all those working in the property industry joining with LandAid to end youth homelessness. His full speech can be read here.

Matthew Howell, RICS managing director, UK & Ireland, said: “The winter months are often the most difficult for young people who are homeless, and sadly as temperatures plummet, those who are forced to sleep rough are at an even greater risk of harm, and even death.

“We were delighted that the Duke of Cambridge could attend our kick-start fundraiser for more warm, secure homes for young vulnerable people. We raised £127,000 towards the £2.25m target on the day, through a number of activities including a charity cook-off, auction and ‘Pledge a Bed’ initiative. This is a great start towards making a real positive change to young vulnerable people’s lives.”

Paul Morrish CEO LandAid said: “There are thousands of young people living in overcrowded accommodation or sofa surfing, but no one counts them, or keeps records of how many people are suffering in such situations. Homelessness is a much bigger issue than rough sleeping – especially for young people. We aim to get as many young people without a safe place to call home, in to secure, affordable accommodation. So, we are delighted to be teaming up with RICS in what is our biggest ever fundraising campaign to end youth homelessness.”

RICS plans to raise further funds for the Pledge150 campaign at a variety of corporate events and challenges in Scotland, and through staff and partner university initiatives in the region. Those working in Scotland’s property and construction sectors are also being encouraged to join in and think big, in terms of their fundraising activities and in helping to publicise the campaign.

Matthew Howell of RICS added: “Individuals as well as companies can get involved with fundraising, or even make Pledge150 their ‘giving something back’ initiative. As part of this campaign, property professionals are also being encouraged to consider providing pro bono property advice to help local charities supporting disadvantaged people, including those experiencing homelessness.”

Building Briefs – December 19th

Artist’s impression of new development at Windmill Street, Peterhead

Grampian Housing Association continues commitment to Peterhead town centre regeneration

Work has started on Grampian Housing Association’s newest development in Peterhead, where it is building 17 affordable two-bedroom flats on a previously derelict site.

The development supports Aberdeenshire Council’s Regeneration Strategy, which aims to drive prosperity by breathing new life into empty and derelict plots.

The properties on Windmill Street, which will be available for rent, are all designed to be energy efficient. Four will be specially adapted for disabled people.

The £2.2 million development is being built in partnership with Chattan Estates, backed by grant funding of £1,334,160 from the Scottish Government.

The flats are expected to be completed by the autumn of 2018.

Vacant, deteriorating, derelict and abandoned buildings and land have a highly detrimental impact on the appearance and amenity of the surrounding area, discouraging inward investment and negatively affecting surrounding property values.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Regeneration Strategy sets out the holistic approach required to achieve the renewal and development of Peterhead. The key aims of the strategy focus on People, Places, and Prosperity.


New first time buyer homes approved in Grantown-on-Spey

The Cairngorms National Park Authority has granted planning permission for 16 new homes aimed at first time buyers to be built in Grantown-on-Spey.

The development is part of the Seafield Avenue/Beachen Court development which was granted planning permission in 2016. That application was for a development of 43 plots and associated works as well as a related application for 10 affordable homes on a neighbouring plot, which are currently under construction.

This latest phase of 16 properties – a mixture of two and three bedroom units – are of such a design that first time buyers will qualify for the Scottish Government’s ‘Help to Buy’ scheme.


New council homes completed in Livingston

Tenants have received their keys to a newly completed development of council homes in Livingston.

A total of 10 new homes have been built at Appleton Drive within the Barratt development in Eliburn.

Featuring a mix of cottage flats and semi-detached houses, the housing are amongst the first new build local authority homes to be fitted with PV solar panels and are designed to have a carbon offset which will help reduce the carbon footprint for this development.

West Lothian Council is currently building 1,000 new homes across all nine council ward areas as part of a £111 million investment in housing.


More A9 design work published

Transport Scotland is continuing the design work to progress the A9 Dualling programme.

The draft Orders and Environmental Statement for the Glen Garry to Dalwhinnie and Dalwhinnie to Crubenmore projects have been published today.

Locals and road users will get a chance to see the plans at public exhibitions in Dalwhinnie Village Hall on 17 and 18 January 2018.

Details of the public exhibitions:

Glen Garry-Dalwhinnie, and Dalwhinnie-Crubenmore
Wednesday 17 January, 1pm – 8pm
Thursday 18 January, 10am – 3pm

Dalwhinnie Village Hall, Dalwhinnie PH19 1AB


Aberdeen Royal Infirmary car park set to re-open

A new £10 million multi-storey car park for patients and visitors at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is to reopen on Wednesday.

The facility at the Foresterhill campus – which has space for more than 1,000 cars – opened in October.

However, it closed shortly after to allow more work to be done.

NHS Grampian apologised for the “long period of time it has been unavailable”.


CCG donates £100,000 to charity in 2017

CCG (Scotland) Ltd has given more than £100,000 to charitable projects in 2017, with donations going to local causes up and down the country.

The Glasgow-based construction firm has built a strong reputation in housebuilding and commercial construction, and is currently live on a wide range of projects around Scotland. CCG seek to engage in each of the communities where the firm operates, working with supply chain partners to provide apprenticeships, employment and training opportunities as well as charitable support to local good causes.

In 2017, CCG donated to the Allan Glen STEM Academy at the City of Glasgow College Campus – an organisation which offers educational support to students looking to pursue a STEM-related career. The building company also hosted a fundraising day to raise money for the St Andrew’s Hospice Capital Appeal. The ‘It’s a Knockout Fun Day’ at Strathclyde Country Park saw CCG staff and a number of the company’s supply chain partners competing across an inflatable assault course with donations being put towards the Hospice’s £9m target.

Other projects receiving support include Richmond Hope – a charity based in Craigmillar for bereaved children, East Dunbartonshire Council’s foodbank, Dougrie Terrace Sheltered Housing, Grassroots Clothing, Positive Action in Housing, and the Craigmillar Book Festival as well as various gala days and community events.

CCG is also focused on skills development and offers apprenticeships and work placements in the local communities where it has live projects. In 2017, 22 young people began an in-depth construction apprenticeship programme within the CCG Group, taking the total number of apprentices up to 70. The company also offers work experience placements to young people, many of which lead to full time employment opportunities.

And finally… Video reconstruction shows historic buildings as they appeared 500 years ago

Historic buildings at the heart of St Andrews have been digitally reconstructed to reveal how they looked nearly 500 years ago before the Reformation changed the face of the town forever.

St Salvator’s Quad and Chapel, at the heart of the University of St Andrews, can now be seen in a virtual recreation which reveals how these historic buildings appeared before the religious changes of the Reformation.

The reconstruction, created by Historians and Computer Scientists at the University, drew from images and manuscripts in the University’s Special Collections department.

This is the first phase of a wider project to digitally recreate the entire burgh of St Andrews as it appeared in 1559 – just before the citizens of the town officially adopted Protestantism and set about transforming the community’s Catholic religious foundations.

The St Andrews 1559 project is led by the University of St Andrews’ Professor Michael Brown, of the School of History, and Dr Alan Miller of the School of Computer Science. The digital model of St Salvator’s was created by Sarah Kennedy of the School of Computer Science, with historical advice from Dr Bess Rhodes of the Schools of History and Computer Science and with help from students.

The St Salvator’s site was chosen as the first release from the St Andrews 1559 project because of its significance in the early phases of the Scottish Reformation. In February 1528 a 24-year-old academic, Patrick Hamilton, was burnt outside the gates of St Salvator’s College for advocating support for the German Reformer Martin Luther’s criticisms of the Catholic Church. Hamilton was the first person to be executed in Scotland for voicing Protestant ideas.

This year marks five centuries since the event regarded as the start of the Protestant Reformation, when Martin Luther posted his 95 theses attacking the practices and doctrines of the late Medieval Catholic church in Wittenberg, a University town in Eastern Germany.

Dr Bess Rhodes said: “We selected St Salvator’s as the place to begin our reconstruction as a major landmark in the modern university and the town. It was of course also the scene of one of the most horrific events of the Scottish Reformation – the burning of Patrick Hamilton for his Lutheran beliefs.

“Particularly chillingly, Hamilton’s death was something the university was directly involved in – playing a role in the prosecution and conviction of this very young man. Yet at the same time St Salvator’s has been the scene of fantastic academic achievement and many happy incidents in the University’s history.”

St Salvator’s College was founded in 1450 by Bishop James Kennedy as both an educational and a religious institution, providing a rigorous academic training for young men who would primarily go on to serve in Scotland’s late medieval Catholic Church.

During the Middle Ages St Andrews was the religious capital of Catholic Scotland. However, in the sixteenth century many Scots turned against Catholicism, inspired by new ‘Reformed’ interpretations of Christianity coming out of continental Europe.

In 1559 the St Andrews burgh officials (inspired by the Protestant preacher John Knox) officially rejected Catholicism, and set about transforming local religious buildings, smashing altars and statues, burning church furnishings and books, and ending the religious function of many sites within the city.

The St Salvator’s buildings were altered by the Reformation, and by further rebuilding work in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Although, today only small sections of the medieval College buildings survive the glories of the medieval College can now be explored virtually.

Construction leads and tenders – December 19th


Applicant: Erskine Stewart’s Melville Schools.

Planning Authority: Edinburgh

Details: Extension to the Nursery and Primary School building within the Mary Erskine School campus to provide kitchen and dining facilities for the school with revised staff and administration areas.

Location: Mary Erskine School, 95 Ravelston Dykes Road, Edinburgh

Agent: Squires and Brown Architects, FAO: Rick Barber, Mallory House, Goostrey Way, Mobberley, Knutsford


Applicant: First Church Of Christ, Scientist.

Planning Authority: Edinburgh

Details: Improvement of access by creating a level entrance, retrofitting a lift and creating accessible WC.

Location: 9 – 11 Young Street, Edinburgh

Agent: Zone Architects, FAO: David Jamieson, 211 Granton Road, Edinburgh



Applicant: GLM Developments. FAO: Kristi Greer, 58 North Castle Street, Edinburgh

Planning Authority: Edinburgh

Details: Change of Use from commercial offices to 3 x residential units with external alterations to existing openings, formation of a new external stair with balustrade + erection of a new boundary wall at rear.

Location: 13 Manor Place, Edinburgh

Agent: n/a



Contract Authority: Glasgow West Housing Association Limited

Details: Kitchen, Bathroom, Rewiring and Gas Central Heating Works

Location: Glasgow


Publication Date: 15/12/2017


Contract Authority: Fife Council

Details: Isolation of Gas and Water Supplies to 2 Science Classrooms, disconnection and removal of Sinks and Taps with reinstatement after replacement of worktops

Location: Glenrothes


Publication Date: 15/12/2017

Kier wins £7.7m contract to transform Murchison House for University of Edinburgh

Murchison House

Kier Construction Scotland has been awarded a £7.7 million contract by the University of Edinburgh to carry out the transformation of the Grade B-listed Murchison House.

Work began in mid-December 2017 and is to be complete in time for the teaching semester in September 2018.

Murchison House is located on the King’s Buildings Campus within the University. The former British Geological Survey building, which is currently lying vacant, will receive an extensive fit-out and refurbishment to transform it into a dynamic multi-functional building with open-plan teaching hub with study spaces, lecture theatres, exhibition spaces, Edinburgh Innovations offices and incubation units and a range of student service offices.

Murchison House will also be equipped with the very latest in IT and audio visual facilities, improving the working and learning environment for students and staff.

The announcement builds on Kier’s extensive expertise within the higher education sector. The contractor is currently on site at a number of iconic buildings, including the refurbishment of Edinburgh College of Art and carrying out the intricate restoration of the fire-damaged Mackintosh Building at the world-famous Glasgow School of Art.

Brian McQuade, managing director of the Kier Construction Scotland and north east, said: “We are delighted to have won this important contract which demonstrates our solid record of successfully completing major projects of this scale and builds upon our relationship with the University of Edinburgh where we are currently working on the refurbishment of Edinburgh College of Art.”

Sheppard Robson gets green light to extend North Highland College UHI’s Burghfield House

Architectural practice Sheppard Robson has received planning permission for the refurbishment and extension of Burghfield House in Dornoch for The North Highland College UHI.

The redevelopment will create a single Dornoch campus for the North Highland College UHI’s hospitality and professional cookery curriculum, the University of the Highlands and Islands’ golf management degree, and the University of the Highlands and Islands Centre for History.

Plans for the new 650 sq. m. extension, proposed to be clad in natural stone and timber cladding, incorporate a new entrance and reception area for the facility, as well as specialist teaching space for the golf management degree, the first of its kind in the UK. Internal redevelopments to the house itself will also provide increased administration space and teaching space.

The dynamic facility will enable learning and research in an environment that promotes a culture of academic excellence to a global learning audience. Offering a seamless and collaborative interface between learning and the local community, the space will nurture a vibrant, practical and scholarly atmosphere that will attract world-class students and staff.

Accommodating all educational activity for the Dornoch campus on one site will play a key role in the sustainability of North Highland College UHI in the Sutherland area with the revitalised campus offering facilities that will both address the needs of the College and support key economic drivers for the area. The campus will initially accommodate three key provisions – the curriculum in golf and hospitality together with the Centre for History.

Michael Dougall, architect at Sheppard Robson, said: “It is a privilege to be involved in the redevelopment of Burghfield House and the continued growth of the North Highland College UHI. Our proposals seek to enhance the current experience at Burghfield House through the addition of a new teaching wing.

“The form of the extension is intentionally subservient to the existing house, however a new building frontage was required to welcome staff and students to the campus. Golf teaching spaces have been located above a new building entrance offering glimpses to the activity, so familiar to Dornoch, on arrival.”

Debbie Gray, a director of the North Highland College UHI, and project manager for this development, added: “We are delighted with progress made by Sheppard Robson and the team involved in bringing this development to the planning stage. The Dornoch campus plays a key role in the development of tertiary education for North Highland College UHI and we very much look forward to confirming the funding package in the near future.”