Posts by :

Three Glasgow sites mooted for new £100m jail to replace Barlinnie

Image: Google Street View

HMP Barlinnie is to be closed down and replaced with a new £100 million jail, the Sunday Mail reports.

Reports state that the Scottish Prison Service has identified three sites as potential new homes for the successor prison and that all that is now required is a final decision from the Scottish Government.

It has also been reported that the new prison will cost around £100 million and will be located either within the city or on its outskirts.

The new facility will be double the size of Barlinnie, which was designed to hold 1000 inmates but is constantly overcrowded.

Barlinnie would be sold off and could be developed into social housing or private flats.

A spokesman for the Scottish Prison Service said: “The government have a surplus land disposal policy. In the first instance, we would have to offer the land to other parts of government to use it for other purposes.

“Barlinnie is a Victorian prison and in need of replacement.

“We’ve enjoyed unprecedented levels of investment in our prison estate in the last decade, which has seen us tackle a number of major priorities.

“Barlinnie remains one. Its replacement is in the government infrastructure plan. We’ve been active in looking at a number of potential sites to relocate the prison.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman added: “The Scottish Government and Scottish Prison Service are committed to modernising and improving our prison estate.

“Plans for the improvement of the prison estate will be part of ongoing budget considerations for 2019/20.”

Taylor Wimpey to build 100 new homes in East Lothian

A typical home by Taylor Wimpey

Property developer Taylor Wimpey East Scotland has secured planning permission for more than 100 new homes in East Lothian.

The housebuilder has been given the green light to build 94 houses and eight flats on land to the west of Greendykes Road in Macmerry.

The site, which will be marketed as Fairfields, consists of agricultural land that is identified for housing in the adopted Local Development Plan.

East Lothian Council intends to take ownership of 26 affordable homes planned for the site once built and would use them for social renting.

The planning application was unanimously approved by councillors on the planning committee.

akp to deliver Hobart House refurbishment in Edinburgh

Global asset manager Aberdeen Asset Investments has appointed akp to deliver the refurbishment of one of Edinburgh’s most esteemed business addresses, Hobart House.

Set to provide an open plan ‘defurbished’ space, akp will be refurbishing windows, installing new ceilings, carrying out extensive decoration, new M&E services, along with a number of other alterations across the 2nd & 4th floors.

Martin Rowley, akp joint managing director, said: “Careful planning and preparation has been put in by our team in full consultation with the team at Trident Building Consultancy. This is a great project win for us and not only further emphasises our presence within the city but demonstrates the experience and sympathetic approach that the akp team have to offer working within listed buildings.”

Simon Capaldi, partner at Knight Frank Office Agency, added: “The refurbishment to the office suites and main entrance, one of only three currently underway in Edinburgh city centre will provide much needed good quality open plan office accommodation in the core city centre. Hobart House has the ability to provide a wide range of suite sizes and has excellent tenant amenities including showers, lockers and secure bike storage.”

Culture change required for construction to adapt to digital age

Digital technology is aiding construction at Bertha Park

Digital technology has the potential to transform the construction industry but only if the sector is equipped with the right skills and knowledge, according the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

CITB’s new report, Unlocking construction’s digital future: A skills plan for industry, shows how modern technologies such as 3D printing and drones can increase productivity, transform efficiency and help attract people to the sector.

Without widespread adoption of digital, construction risks being marginalised and losing a generation of new talent to other sectors. CITB’s report, the first of its kind, reveals that for change to happen, new cultures and ways of working need to be driven from the top; leaders of companies large and small need to ‘think digital’ in everything they do.

Following the report’s findings, CITB is committing to a programme of support, including targeted funding, to help meet the skills challenge to enable sector digitalisation.

Key research findings:

  • Digital tech being used in construction is not cutting-edge
  • Better use of data by everyone in the industry is central to digital transformation
  • Skills for individual tech elements are less important than broader soft skills such as creativity and problem solving – from new entrants to CEOs
  • Industry lacks a shared vision of what digitalisation should achieve for the sector.

The report contains a number of best practice case studies from organisations including Tideway, Highways England and Dudley College of Technology.

Interviews took place with 35 organisations in England, Scotland and Wales.

Steve Radley, director of policy at CITB, said: “There is no question that construction needs to upskill and recruit new talent to harness the huge opportunities digital technologies present. It’s not too late, but it won’t happen without rapid action.

“Our report shows that the lack of common understanding on what digital construction actually means is part of the problem. Industry has to be clear on its definition and what skills employees will need. Sharing best practice will be critical.

“We will work with industry to agree on digital skills goals and a plan of action to achieve them. If we can do that, British construction can become more productive, more profitable, and more attractive to the talented workers it needs.”

Writing in the report’s foreword, John O’Connor, group commercial director from Laing O’Rourke, said: “Digital technology and wider understanding of its benefits are the vital next steps for construction industry modernisation.

“As this timely report from the CITB identifies, to truly benefit from digital technologies, our industry must have a common understanding of what’s available, how it works, and what the minimum standards are that we can all rely on.

“Digital technology will be a cornerstone of construction sector reform to productivity, efficiency and quality of delivery. Done right, it can also support the attraction, retention and inspiration of new generations of talent for our sector.”

CCG completes major Glasgow regeneration project at Anderston

CCG (Scotland) Ltd has completed Phases 4 & 5 of the multi-award winning Anderston Regeneration Masterplan, a landmark housing project in Glasgow.

Delivered on behalf of Sanctuary Scotland and supported by funding from the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council, the new development revitalises a site that was home to traditional concrete block multi-storey flats built in the 1960’s.

The new development has created 206 mixed-tenure properties built in a stunning mix of sandstone and brick and in a style that reinstates the frontage of St Vincent Street, improving city centre sight lines and connectivity. In addition, the new five blocks of flats have been carefully constructed around amenity and green spaces as well as offering new cycle and pedestrian routes.

Selected properties also have the benefit of balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows taking advantage of views across the west of the city.

Sanctuary’s requirements for the new homes covered both quality standards and energy performance with a fundamental focus to reduce fuel poverty for residents. To achieve these requirements, CCG embraced the use of its ‘iQ’ timber frame system which has been utilised on previous project phases. The iQ timber frame system is quicker to assemble and also offers improved environmental performance which will benefit future residents.

The completion of Phases 4 & 5 delivered 119 flats for mid-market rent and 87 for social rent.

CCG chairman and CEO, Alastair Wylie, said: “The Anderston Regeneration Masterplan has been a resounding success for CCG and our partners Sanctuary.

“Manufactured under factory-controlled conditions, the ‘iQ’ system has a much improved level of air tightness when compared with traditional methods. This, aligned with use of energy efficient appliances and solar PV, will encourage energy savings and minimise fuel costs for residents.

“The project also had to be delivered at pace due to instances of rehoming some existing residents and as components such as windows, doors and insulation are pre-installed, a faster speed of construction could be achieved.  The entire development was erected, wind and watertight (excluding closes) in just 36 weeks.”

A wide range of community benefit initiatives were also provided in the delivery of this phase including six full-time jobs; 20 trade apprenticeships were sustained, five work placements delivered and a number of donations were made to community projects.

Alastair added: “Through the support of our client, we were able to provide a unique level of community benefit initiatives with a key focus on employment and training which is something we will look to sustain as we continue our strong working relationship.”

Blog: BIM can boost your bottom line – interested now?

Colin Hastie

Colin Hastie, BIM consultant at Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) reveals how BIM can boost the bottom line of a business.

If you’re a business leader in the construction sector, the chances are you’ve heard of BIM. You might even know that despite the common misconception, it isn’t a piece of 3D software – it’s a collaborative process where all parties in a design team work together to deliver a better building for their client.

Quite simply, BIM – or Building Information Modelling – puts all the information that you and your client will ever need about a building into one easily accessible place. It compels the design team to consider the building beyond its handover and gives the client better tools to maintain and operate their building.

Think of the mountain of plans and drawings you would normally give to your client when their building is complete. BIM replaces them all with one accurate, reliable 3D model with information embedded into it – the single source of truth, as some people call it. This model can tell you anything at the touch of a button, from what insulation is in the walls to how often a sensor needs to be cleaned.

You may already have a good understanding of all this, but still be burying your head in the sand and wondering why you should care. What’s in it for your business, other than a big bill for new software and a myriad of staff training requirements?

Construction Scotland Innovation Centre has been offering free BIM workshops and seminars around Scotland for the past year, aimed at everyone from the complete beginner upwards. In my experience, the people who usually attend are the “hands-on” people within a construction business. They go back to the office and tell their managers that BIM is a fantastic idea, but those decision makers aren’t convinced.

Persuading business leaders to adopt BIM can be tricky, because let’s face it, most people don’t like disruption or change. CSIC is on a mission to demystify the process and spell out the business benefits that BIM can bring, like increased productivity and decreased wastage. Add that to the fact that more and more clients are now asking for BIM, and tenders are increasingly listing it as a requirement, and you can start to see why considering BIM might be a good idea.

I believe the trick is to break it down into small, manageable steps. I won’t lie – there is a cost outlay for the software itself, and a training requirement at the start. But once that is in place, the benefits – such as increased productivity – will far outweigh the initial investment.

With BIM, designers work in three dimensions instead of two. The design team, from the architects to the mechanical and electrical engineers, will each work up their own 3D model of the building. Because they are all compatible, these models can be layered on top of each other and exchanged, allowing problems to be spotted and resolved at an early stage, saving time and money.

BIM is also incredibly useful for easily figuring out the consequences of design decisions. If you change the pitch of a roof, for example, the model will tell you instantly how much more or less wall you will need, and the resulting cost implications. You could use the 3D model to calculate how much the sun will heat your building, and how this will change depending on how it is oriented on site. You can accurately predict how much of a material you will need, leading to less wastage. The model can also be adapted for offsite manufacture – and by constructing elements of a building in a factory, you can engineer much greater efficiency.

We’ve just introduced a free e-learning platform to our BIM programme, so if people can’t get along to our workshops and seminars, they can log on and learn about BIM at their own pace. If questions arise, they can join our LinkedIn discussion forum and ask an expert.

Our first e-learning module, available now, is aimed at the complete BIM beginner. The second, which will be added soon, will be crucial as it is aimed at those business leaders who have yet to be persuaded to begin their BIM journey.

So if this means you, watch this space – soon you won’t even need to leave your office to find out why forward-thinking construction businesses are getting clued up on BIM.

To find out more about CSIC’s BIM in Practice programme, and access the e-learning platform, visit

ScottishPower moves to 100% wind power after Drax sale

ScottishPower has become the first integrated energy company in the UK to shift completely from coal and gas generation to wind power, after completing the sale of its traditional generation business to Drax for £702 million.

In the last decade ScottishPower has closed all of its coal plants, and with the sale of the remaining gas and hydro stations, the company now generates 100% of its electricity from wind power. Currently ScottishPower has 2,700 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity operating or under construction in the UK, and a pipeline of future projects capable of generating more than 3,000 MW.

Keith Anderson, chief executive of ScottishPower, said: “This is a pivotal shift for ScottishPower as we realise a long-term ambition. We are leaving carbon generation behind for a renewable future powered by cheaper green energy. We have closed coal, sold gas and built enough wind to power 1.2 million homes.

“Every working day we are investing over £4m to deliver cleaner, smarter power for customers. From today we can focus solely on making energy generation cheaper, cutting carbon quicker, building smart grids and connecting customers to renewable electric future for transportation and heating.”

Dr Sam Gardner, acting director at WWF Scotland, added: “This is a hugely welcome move from Scottish Power and another clear signal that the clean energy transition is accelerating. Too often people talk about renewables being the future but this just shows how critical a role they already play in the here and now – cutting emissions, creating jobs and keeping our lights on. The latest climate science tells us that we will need to see this kind of transition replicated around the world and we’re proud to see a Scottish company creating a portfolio that works to keep people and nature safe.”

Building Briefs – October 16th

Saint Gobain’s Andrew Rafferty, Steve Chaplin and Rosie Dewar at the event

Saint-Gobain brings a world of innovation to Edinburgh College

Saint-Gobain brands inspired students at Edinburgh College this month by organising an event focused on innovation.

Jewson, British Gypsum, Weber, Isover and Build Aviator were just some of the Saint-Gobain brands who attended the event and demonstrated their products. Also in attendance were some nationally recognised brands stocked by Jewson, including Bosch, Bristan, Wavin and Stelrad.

The college currently uses a number of products from the Saint-Gobain portfolio of businesses, making sure its student apprentices are working with the industry standard materials they require to become skilled workers in their chosen discipline – be that joinery, plumbing, bricklaying, roofing, or electrics.


TLT accelerates Scotland growth with acquisition of specialist Glasgow commercial real estate firm

UK law firm TLT has acquired Glasgow-based commercial real estate firm Leslie Wolfson & Co.

The Leslie Wolfson team’s specialist real estate expertise adds further weight to TLT’s existing capability in Scotland. It will also bolster the firm’s 200+ strong real estate offer, given Leslie Wolfson’s experience advising clients in Scotland and England & Wales. In particular, the move expands the firm’s services for corporate occupiers, developers, banks, investors and public bodies, as well as its work advising on the property issues facing retailers and leisure operators.

The deal adds three partners to TLT in Scotland, including:

  • Senior partner Howard Beach who advises on a wide range of commercial real estate work including investment purchases, sales, leasing and banking & security work for public and private property companies, leisure operators retailers and banks. Howard is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in commercial leasing.
  • Partner Andrew McCowan who acts for a range of UK-based and overseas property clients and has considerable experience of working in most aspects of commercial real estate practice, including investment purchases and sales, commercial leasing transactions (acting for both landlords and tenants), secured lending and property development.
  • Partner Donna Strong who is experienced in all aspects of commercial real estate with particular emphasis on investment work, commercial leasing and portfolio management. Donna regularly acts for institutional investors, pension funds, retailers, leisure operators, developers and funders as well as owner-occupiers.

This is the latest addition to TLT’s Scotland practice since disputes partner John Paul Sheridan took over the leadership of the firm in Scotland in February 2018. Other 2018 hires include clean energy real estate partner Nick Shenken from Pinsent Masons and banking & finance partner Douglas Gourlay from Weightmans.

The firm has also been building its real estate offer across the UK with six partner hires in the last few years including Judith Allen and Kevin Murphy in the firm’s Belfast office, Jason Juden and Matthew Cox in the firm’s London office, John Hyde in the firm’s Manchester office and Richard Turnbull in the firm’s Glasgow office.


South Ayrshire homes plans unveiled at well-attended consultation

A Hamilton developer has thanked the South Ayrshire community for their valuable input and contributions at a recent consultation event.

More than 70 people attended Banks Property’s event at Symington Community Hall earlier this month to discuss the developer’s initial plans to bring around 120 much needed homes to Symington.

Included in the proposals was the potential to include provision for part of a relief road built to ease traffic through the conservation village’s main street, with Banks Property especially keen to get feedback from local people to help it shape its final proposals.

The plans for the 5.6 hectare Stockbridge site – to the north of Symington Road South – would see a range of homes, including the provision of affordable homes.

In line with company’s development with care approach, Banks Property has committed to working closely with the local community throughout every step of the planning and development process.

The developer now hopes to submit a detailed planning application to South Ayrshire Council in the early months of 2019.


Clackmannanshire issues invitation for proposals for City Region Deal Funding

A call has gone out to local organisations encouraging them to put forward their proposals for part of the promised funding from the UK Government as part of the City Region Deal in Clackmannanshire.

The appeal was launched at the first formal meeting of the Clackmannanshire Commission.

The UK Government has committed up to £8 million for capital projects to boost innovation, internationalisation and economic transformation.

The Clackmannanshire Commission is a partnership of local public, private and third sector organisations acting as an advisory board, guiding investment, project development and prioritisation. Commissioners will be active participants in driving inclusive economic growth through the City Region Deal and other local and regional programmes.

The UK and Scottish Governments are investing over £90 million in Stirling and Clackmannanshire through an ambitious City Region Deal. This deal will unlock economic opportunities across the whole of the region, delivering new and up-skilled jobs across a range of sectors.

The guidance and application form can be found at the council’s City Deal web site.


Plans to demolish Aberdeen pub and build flats refused

Plans to demolish an Aberdeen pub and build nine flats in its place have been refused by the local authority.

The application was made by David Murray Associates for the Croft Tavern site on Stockethill Crescent in September.

Proposals would have seen the Croft Tavern pub, which was built in the 1970s, demolished, with new flats erected in the same place.


Merchants deliver summer landscaping surge

Builders’ merchants have reported an increase in August sales of 3.5% compared to August 2017 on a same day basis. Timber & Joinery and Landscaping led with 9.5% and 6.9% growth respectively.

Total merchant sales in the three months were up 5.9% on last year on a same day basis. With Timber & Joinery and Landscaping also seeing an increase in three-month on three-month (June – August) performance from last year, with Timber & Joinery up by 10.1% and Landscaping up 10%.

Total sales so far this calendar year January – August 2018 have grown on a same day basis by 3.9%

All the data is contained in the Builders Merchants Building Index which tracks builders’ merchants’ actual sales using GfK data supplied by the UK’s leading merchants.

Builders merchants supply materials to the construction industry and directly to consumers for interior and exterior building and home refurbishments projects.


Greenwell Equipment welcomes building success

An Aberdeen-based industrial services business has notched up strong growth with the completion of a number of large-scale projects over the past 12 months.

Greenwell Equipment has seen turnover for its modular building division double from a year earlier.

The company – launched in 1996 – supplies modular buildings, containers, warehouse racking and office furniture.

It said the latest figures secured Greenwell’s position as Scotland’s largest supplier and principle trading partner of worldwide cabin manufacturer CTX Containex.

The family-owned firm has supplied more than 500 modular buildings to several large infrastructure projects including the Queensferry Crossing joint venture and the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route consortium.


Funding for new electric vehicle chargepoints in East Lothian

East Lothian Council has been awarded £45,000 from the Department for Transport (DfT) to install electric vehicle chargepoints in residential areas of five East Lothian towns and villages.

The council applied to the DfTs Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) for funding for the chargepoints following approaches from members of the public wishing to invest in electric cars. The funding will be topped-up with money from Transport Scotland to install new vehicle chargers in Aberlady, Dunbar, Stenton, North Berwick and West Barns.

Once installed, each chargepoint will be able to be used more widely and improves access to the charging network within residential areas. Householders with private driveways or off-street parking are able install their own electric chargepoints and may apply for funding from Energy Saving Trust Scotland for this purpose.


Plans to demolish Dundee pub

A pub could be bulldozed and the land converted into flats under new plans submitted to Dundee City Council.

The Rock on Dickson Avenue has been identified for demolition, as part of a proposal to build four shopping units and nine above-ground flats on the site.


Sidey opens new Edinburgh showroom

Sidey has opened the doors to its Edinburgh Showroom in the out-of-town shopping area near Edinburgh’s Ikea.

It’s kitted out with 36 entrance doors as well as lots of different types of traditional and modern windows, all full sized and installed in home style settings.

And finally… Amazon investment could signal Alexa-enabled prefab homes

Image courtesy of Plant Prefab

Tech giant Amazon has invested in a home design and prefabrication company with plans to integrate its suite of voice-controlled Alexa devices into affordable easy-to-build houses.

California-based Plant Prefab announced that it has received funding from Amazon’s Alexa Fund, which was established to support projects that innovate in voice-enabled technology.

Amazon will now work with Plant Prefab to integrate similar smart technologies into its residences.

“Voice has emerged as a delightful technology in the home, and there are now more than 20,000 Alexa­ compatible smart home devices from 3,500 different brands,” said Alexa Fund’s Paul Bernard in a statement.

“Plant Prefab is a leader in home design and an emerging, innovative player in home manufacturing,” he added. “We’re thrilled to support them as they make sustainable, connected homes more accessible to customers and developers.”

Plant Prefab uses a patented prefabrication method to build affordable single and multi-family homes for dense and expanding US cities, with the aim to reduce cost and construction time, wasted energy and air pollution. It bills itself as the “first prefabricated home factory in the nation dedicated to sustainable construction, materials, processes and operations”.

Construction leads and tenders – October 16th


Applicant:  BDW Trading Ltd

Planning Authority: Edinburgh

Details: Proposed residential development with commercial units and associated landscape, drainage, roads and infrastructure.

Location: 1 Bath Road, Edinburgh

Agent: EMA Architecture and Design, 42 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh

Reference: 18/08206/FUL

Application Link


Applicant: Lightstorm Estates Ltd.

Planning Authority: Edinburgh

Details: Change of Use of existing offices to 12 x serviced holiday apartments

Location: 1F 53 George Street, Edinburgh

Agent: Covell Matthews Architects, 6 Manor Place, Edinburgh

Reference: 18/08217/FUL

Application Link


Applicant: The Royal Bank Of Scotland Plc.

Planning Authority: Edinburgh

Details: Proposed development of class 4 office with associated car parking, access inc. construction of new access bridge, landscaping and ancillary uses inc. restaurant/catering facilities, banking, surgery and shops, conference and creche

Location: Royal Bank Of Scotland, 201 Gogar Station Road, Edinburgh

Agent: GVA Grimley Ltd, Quayside House ,127 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh

Reference: 18/07851/FUL

Application Link



Contract Authority: Aberdeenshire Council

Details: Design and delivery of a car park at the Ythan Estuary

Location: Aberdeenshire


Publication Date: 15/10/2018


Contract Authority: National Records of Scotland

Details: Stone repairs and replacement, repointing, leadwork, slate overhaul, mastic asphalt repairs, timber repairs, external decoration and ancillary works.

Location: Edinburgh


Publication Date: 15/10/2018