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University of Aberdeen lodges £35m science hub proposals

The view of the building from Bedford Road

Plans for a new £35 million Science Teaching Hub at the University of Aberdeen have moved forward with the formal submission of a planning application.

Featuring cutting edge facilities and flexible teaching laboratory space, it is hoped the new facility will transform the learning experience for thousands of students and encourage school children to get involved in science subjects.

How the proposed hub looks from St Machar Drive

The building, which will be situated just off St Machar Drive near the Fraser Noble building, student Hub and Sir Duncan Rice Library, has been designed by Reiach and Hall Architects to encourage collaboration between students from different disciplines.

Consultations were held by the University throughout September and November after the proposals were first unveiled.

The plans have also been shown to Old Aberdeen Community Council, which covers the area where the University of Aberdeen is situated.

The view from St Machar Drive towards the library

Prior to the public consultations, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, principal and vice-chancellor of the University, said: “We are extremely excited about this new science teaching hub and the benefits it will bring to our students.”

If the proposals are accepted, the University hopes the building will be open and available for teaching in 2021.

Stranraer dementia facility and youth foyer given green light

Loreburn Housing Association has been given the go-ahead by Dumfries and Galloway Council to build dementia-friendly housing alongside an innovative ‘Youth Foyer’ on the site of the former Garrick Hospital in Stranraer.

The proposals, which were designed by Aitken Turnbull Architects, will see the creation of eight one-bed and four two-bed ‘extra care’ dementia-friendly homes. New parking spaces for 37 vehicles will also be created on the site.

Built alongside the new homes, the Youth Foyer will offer supported accommodation for up to 12 young people, in order to combat youth homelessness and to increase employment and opportunity.

Youth Foyers, which are recognised as international best practice, provide safe and secure housing, support and training for young people aged 16 -25. The Stranraer Foyer will be a first for Dumfries and Galloway and only the second foyer in Scotland.

Young people living at the Foyer will be expected to be either in education, an apprenticeship, other employment or training, and will have access to volunteering opportunities within the community.

The Youth Foyer will also offer community access areas, a state of the art conference facility, breakout spaces and access to WiFi, creating a transformational space for Stranraer and Wigtownshire.

Lorraine Usher, chief executive at Loreburn Housing Association, said: “Our idea to create dementia-friendly accommodation alongside a youth foyer in Stranraer has been on the cards for a long time, so to have got the go-ahead from Dumfries & Galloway Council is really exciting news for the whole community, as this is a development which will bring so many benefits. Everyone at Loreburn is delighted and I am especially pleased for development team who have worked hard to bring this project to fruition. By offering shared space which is accessible to grassroots and public bodies alike there is an opportunity to address issues that lead to poor health and wellbeing outcomes for people in the area.”

She added: “The building will be for the whole community, who will be able to use its meeting rooms, break-out spaces and WiFi.  The architects for the development have an excellent track record in residential design, and it will also be eco-friendly and sustainable, using a district heating system and photovoltaics.”

Work on the new development is expected to start on site in spring 2018 and finish in summer 2019.

Quarter million pound payout for workers sacked at short notice

Former employees of the defunct construction company Land Engineering Scotland who were made redundant last year with less than a day’s notice have won a quarter million pound compensation award.

The company, which went under last summer at the loss of 135 jobs, failed to consult the workforce about their redundancies, in breach of UK employment law.

Thompsons Solicitors acted for dozens of Land Engineering’s former staff and helped them win what is known as a Protective Award.

Land Engineering had offices in Glasgow, East Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, the Lothian’s and Fife.

Lawyers at Thompsons said they were happy with the outcome and again raised the issue of company directors breaking the law by not giving staff proper notice of redundancies.

David Martyn, a partner in the firm’s employment law department, said: “This is a fantastic result for former Land Engineering staff. These were people who would have been left with minimal statutory payments had we not undertaken this legal action. All too often company directors think they can flout the law and cast workers aside with little or no notice of redundancy.

“The law on this matter is quite clear but yet many companies continue to behave in this manner. It’s very important that the UK Insolvency Service uses the powers they have to prosecute company directors who behave in this manner. This would act as a strong deterrent against bosses behaving in this shabby and illegal way.”

Proposals lodged for £40m research hub at University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow has applied for planning in principle for £40 million research hub at its 31-hectare Gilmorehill campus.

Designed by HOK Architects, the 17,000sq/m project will provide a state-of-the-art facility for the university’s researchers to investigate significant global challenges including energy demand and waste management.

The research hub will be the second part of what the University has described as an “inspirational and world-leading masterplan” for the West End campus.

HOK is providing design consultancy services for the project. The consultancy team is collaborating with WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, which has secured the multidisciplinary engineering contract. Ironside Farrar is the planning consultant.

In the design statement, HOK wrote: “In response to the University’s brief of creating a vibrant, collaborative and interactive environment, the Research Hub has a colonnade on the east facade along the edge of the new University Square. The colonnade is formed from sculptural re-constituted stone structural columns with a polished finish and regular rhythm culminating in the entrance portico.

“The colonnade forms a defined, sheltered pedestrian pathway, lit at night. Along the colonnade and returning on the north and south facades the Level 2 facade is transparent revealing the internal functions of the Research Hub, including the Maker Lab and Exhibition Space and with views through to the Atrium providing an interactive showcase for the work of the research groups within the building.”

The view of the entrance from Elder Chapel Place

The project is expected to be completed in 2019.

List of incomplete Queensferry Crossing snagging works revealed

A list of 23 jobs which are needed to be done before the Queensferry Crossing project is finally declared finished has been released by Transport Scotland.

The works, which are scheduled to take until at least September to complete, include concrete, painting and various maintenance tasks.

‘Architectural lighting’ to illuminate the £1.35 billion structure has also to be finished.

Transport Scotland said that most lane closures will take place at night and away from peak times to minimise inconvenience for drivers.

Snagging includes galvanising repairs to the “vehicle restraint system”, work on windshielding post bolts and louvres and “bearing remedials” on two of the bridge piers.

There is also snagging to road lighting and road drainage. Other tasks include completion of equipment inside the bridge deck, such as a dehumidification system to protect against corrosion, a network of monitors that provide alerts of any structural problems, and the tower lifts.

Four painting tasks, involving the outside and inside of the structure, won’t even start until the spring. Concrete “finishing” is needed on the towers, piers and deck edge cantilevers.

Contractors have identified snagging works which require the lifting of the surfacing around the bridge expansion joints

The Scottish Government has stressed the list of outstanding work refers to a range of tasks that have always been intended to be completed after the route opened to traffic.

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “The remaining work has a minimal impact on traffic using the bridge and involves tasks such as under-deck painting, which needs to be undertaken during the spring and summer months, the bridge control room, and work inside the bridge deck and towers.”

Transport Scotland has also published a list of ongoing and planned work for the Forth Road Bridge over the coming months.

An intrusive investigation and inspection of the bridge’s main cables is due to begin in spring, while work to replace truss end links – the part which caused the emergency closure in December 2015 – is ongoing and should be completed soon.

Resurfacing, waterproofing and work to replace under deck access are among the jobs programmed for 2018.

Ongoing and planned works for Queensferry Crossing in full

  1. Complete managed motorway. Target date: end January
  2. Completion of deck internal mechanical and electrical (dehumidification, structural health monitoring, deck shuttle, tower lifts). Target date: end March, but tower lifts end September
  3. Completion of mechanical and electrical in abutments and general finishing work. Target date: end March
  4. Completion of bridge control room systems (structural health monitoring, SCADA). Target date: end March
  5. Concrete finishing, towers, piers and deck edge cantilevers. Target date: end September
  6. Commissioning of tower maintenance access platforms. Target date: end March
  7. Commissioning of cable maintenance access cradles. Target date: end March
  8. Load verification test for weigh in motion and structural health monitoring system . Target date: end May
  9. Bearing remedials at piers S1 and S3. Target date: end July
  10. Completion of internal painting. Target date: March-end September
  11. Touch-up external painting (repair chips to paint from handling damage. Target date: March to end Sep
  12. Galvanising repairs to vehicle restraint system (zinc paint). Target date: March to end September
  13. Complete painting of dampers. Target date: March to end September
  14. Completion of architectural lighting. Target date: end March
  15. Monitoring of towers at cable anchorages. Target date: March
  16. Alignment of underdeck inspection gantry rails. Target date: end June
  17. Commissioning of underdeck gantries. Target date: end July
  18. Adjustment of windshield louvres. Target date: end Feb
  19. Snagging works to windshield post bolts and additional works to wind shield louvres. Target date: end June
  20. Finishing work to baseplate grout at windshields and vehicle restraint system. Target date: end Feb
  21. Snagging to road lighting. Target date: end March
  22. Road drainage snagging. Target date: end March
  23. Planting works. Target date: 26 March

Source: Transport Scotland

AECOM named project manager and cost adviser for Clydebank hospital expansion

Design, consulting, construction, and management services provider AECOM has been appointed project manager and cost advisor for the new Elective Care Expansion Programme at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank.

The new build expansion project is part of the Scottish Government’s new investment in Elective Care Centres around the country. The scheme, which will be delivered over two phases, will provide new and additional state of the art ophthalmic and orthopaedic service deliveries.

The new unit will offer care for patients needing cataract surgery which is one of NHS Scotland’s key patient demand areas. By offering improved services and facilities, the expansion will help reduce patient waiting times and enhance patient experience.

Phase One will deliver an integrated Ophthalmology unit with its own outpatient consultation and pre-operative assessment areas which will be combined, cataract procedure rooms and an admin area. The current plan is then to refurbish the vacated theatres to create additional general surgery theatres and an additional Post Anesthetic Care Unit (PACU).

Phase Two will deliver additional theatres for orthopedic surgery and support accommodation.

The appointments derive from AECOM’s winning submission through the Health Facilities Scotland Framework for consultancy services.

The project builds on AECOM’s relationship with the Golden Jubilee Foundation over the past five years, which has seen the company deliver Boiler Upgrading projects and MRI suite re-development, as well as masterplanning services.

Robert Rankin, Health Facilities Scotland Framework manager for AECOM, said: “We are delighted that AECOM has been chosen to be at the forefront of delivery of the Golden Jubilee’s new Elective Care Centre plans. The project wins underline our excellent working relationship with the Golden Jubilee Foundation.”

The project is being delivered by Kier Construction and is planned to open in 2020.

Ambassador Homes to develop two new sites after securing £4.6m funding from Maven Property

Properties previously delivered by Ambassador Homes

Private equity and property manager Maven Property has raised £4.6 million to fund the development of two residential property sites in Renfrew and Clackmannan in conjunction with Ambassador Homes.

The sites have planning consent for the development of 94 private houses and 35 affordable homes, and groundworks are underway at both locations.

Both sites are in prime commuter locations with significant new-build housing demand and the developments have a forecast total sales value of £20.6m. Maven has raised the capital via a £1.6m equity fundraise from its UK-wide ‘Investor Partners’ co-investor network, and a bank development loan of £3m.

The Clackmannan development, situated in a commuter town to the east of Stirling, comprises 77 family homes. The private homes are expected to be sold for between £145,000 and £240,000 and will be released for sale in early January 2018. The development will also include 35 affordable housing units, built under contract with Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association (a member of the Places For People group). The first housing completions are anticipated in July 2018.

The Maitland Gardens development of 52 private homes is located in the Moorpark region of Renfrew. The development has recently been released for sale and the first housing completions are anticipated in March 2018 with purchase prices ranging between £160,000 and £170,000. 

Colin Anderson, investment director at Maven, said: “We are delighted to be working with Ambassador Homes on these high quality residential development projects and are pleased to be able to play a small part in helping to address Scotland’s well documented housing shortage. This is an exciting time to invest in the residential sector as house price growth has been and is expected to remain strong in the right locations and we are delighted to offer our Investor Partner network the opportunity to participate.”

Gordon Coster, managing director at Ambassador Homes, added: “Having worked on the pre-development phases of these sites for over two years now, we are thrilled to have partnered with Maven to secure the funding to progress the developments at Clackmannan and Maitland Gardens. We are encouraged by the initial levels of interest in the properties and are confident that their optimum positioning in key commuter locations will result in a very strong uptake.”

Green light for Edinburgh Marina retirement living scheme

A ‘unique’ waterside retirement living scheme which will form a key element of the forthcoming £500 million Edinburgh Marina redevelopment has secured detailed planning permission.

Living for Retirement has been designed by Wilson Gunn exclusively for the over 55s, comprising 104 apartments with their own dedicated guest accommodation, concierge, private storage and parking set within a private landscaped garden.

Developers Edinburgh Marina Holdings said the scheme will be a first for Edinburgh and for Scotland, designed to provide its residents with the means to lead an active, fulfilling retirement.

Residents will have full access to the new Health & Wellness Centre – incorporating steam and sauna rooms – as well as a private cinema, bistro, lounge, library and fully equipped laundry room.

Developer Kevin Fawcett said: “This development will take retirement living to a new level. We are delighted that detailed planning permission has been granted for our luxury retirement concept at Edinburgh Marina. Living for Retirement will bring a unique new offering to the Edinburgh property market delivering a level of design and service that raises the bar above any retirement living options currently available in the city.

“The creation of Edinburgh’s first prime waterside residential quarter encompassing our Living for Retirement concept, adds major impetus to the city’s attraction as one of the UK’s most attractive and liveable lifestyle destinations.”

Detailed planning permissions for the remaining elements of Edinburgh’s new waterside residential quarter are anticipated in early 2018, with construction scheduled to begin in the latter part of the year.

89 jobs lost as Falkirk timber firm collapses

Falkirk wood processing firm James Callander and Son entered administration with the loss of 89 jobs.

The company has been trading for 74 years, processing softwood for construction, packaging and fencing.

Administrators at KPMG said it was turning over £12 million per year, but that it had been making losses recently.

The administrators said it faced challenging market conditions, funding constraints and disruption to supplies.

Logs are delivered to the company’s leased site at Devilla in Fife where they are then sorted and transferred to its premises at Falkirk to be processed and despatched.

Most of the job losses are at the Falkirk site. Six staff have been retained to assist in the sale of equipment and premises.

Blair Nimmo, joint administrator and KPMG’s global head of restructuring, said: “We will be working with all affected employees and the relevant government agencies to ensure a full range of support is available.

“We will also be exploring the possibility of securing a sale of the company’s assets and would encourage any interested parties to contact us as soon as possible.”

Tribunal rules against Aberdeen quarry visitor centre plans

Plans for the heritage centre were designed by Halliday Fraser Munro

Plans to create a heritage centre at Rubislaw Quarry in Aberdeen have suffered a setback after a tribunal denied the application.

Businessman Hugh Black wants to transform parts of the flooded quarry into a £6 million heritage centre and tourist attraction celebrating Aberdeen’s granite history.

A five-day Lands Tribunal for Scotland hearing was held last November into the application to vary title conditions at the site to allow the project to go ahead.

However, in a report which it is understood will be published today, the application has been denied, casting doubt on the future of the project.

Mr Black has six weeks in which to lodge an appeal at the Court of Session.

The businessman said he was “shocked” and would be seeking further legal advice.

Carttera’s rival plans for Rubislaw Quarry

Rival developers Carttera, who hope to build a £68m, up to 10-storey high development on the northern edge of the quarry including 300 flats, a gym and more, welcomed the decision.

The Toronto-based company’s founder Jim Tadeson said he felt “gratified” by the news.

Carttera’s proposals for the quarry also feature a “heritage bistro” which is planned to host a permanent exhibition detailing the history of Rubislaw Quarry, which gave Aberdeen its Granite City nickname.

A spokesman for the Lands Tribunal for Scotland said: “It was a big decision, in that it was a five day hearing, to do with an application to vary a title condition that affected the quarry and on the face of it prohibited a granite heritage centre that the applicants wanted to build.

“Mr Black was applying for the decision, and that outcome has not gone in his favour.”