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Aberdeen Art Gallery revamp delayed by an extra year

Aberdeen Art GalleryConstruction work on the £30 million redevelopment of Aberdeen Art Gallery is to take at least a year longer than scheduled, it has been revealed today.

The revamp of the building, which McLaughlin and Harvey began back in 2015, was scheduled to be completed in late 2017.

But Aberdeen City Council today said it now won’t be completed until late 2018 or early 2019.

The reason for the delay has not been disclosed but the Aberdeen Evening News has reported that it understands the project is facing a significant financial overspend.

Aberdeen City Council said: “Contractors responsible for the project are in ongoing discussions with Aberdeen City Council to confirm a completion date for the project, with the Gallery now expected to reopen in late 2018 or early 2019.

A report to the council’s finance, policy and resources committee next month will outline the revised schedule plus “provide further detail on the issues which have led to the extension of the programme and potential budget implications”.

Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s culture lead, said: “High level discussions with the main contractor for the Aberdeen Art Gallery redevelopment, McLaughlin and Harvey, are ongoing to finalise a revised schedule for the project.

“Current indications are that the contractor will conclude work on site in the first quarter of 2018. Following the handover from the main contractor a further fit out programme is required before the collections can be returned and the building is prepared for opening to the public.

“The final schedule is subject to the ongoing discussions but it is anticipated opening will be delayed until late 2018 or early 2019.

“This is an important project for Aberdeen and it is imperative that what will be a lasting legacy for the city is completed to the exacting standards required for a development of this significance – but a delay of this nature is unacceptable.

“It is important the issues with the delivery of the project are fully examined and acted upon.

“Measures have already been taken, with the appointment of specialist project manager Faithful+Gould to represent the council in negotiations with the contractor.

“With any building of this age and complexity there will always be complications which can impact on the programme, and that has been the case with Aberdeen Art Gallery.

“However, we are in discussions with the contractor regarding the circumstances of the extension to the programme.”

Queensferry Crossing worker’s death ‘a freak accident’, inquiry told

The accident happened during construction work on the Queensferry Crossing

The accident happened during construction work on the Queensferry Crossing

A fatal accident inquiry into the death of a construction worker on the Queensferry Crossing has heard that the man may have died as a result of a “freak accident”.

John Cousin was on the bridge deck when he was struck by a crane boom extension weighing 550kg on the north tower deck of the bridge last April.

The inquiry, which got underway at Stirling Sheriff Court on Monday, heard that the 62-year-old died from a chest injury

The crane in question was out of action at the time due to a burst hose that was leaking hydraulic oil.

Fitter Stewart Clark was brought out to the bridge to help fix the machine and was working on it alongside Mr Cousin, who was employed by Galliford Try Employment Ltd and had been seconded to work for Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) as a leading hand foreman.

The court was told the extension to the crane’s boom – the fly jib – was secured to the boom by two large metal pins, one at the cab end and another in the middle.

The accident happened as Mr Cousin was repairing the crane.

Yesterday the court heard from detective sergeant Robert Williamson from Police Scotland’s major investigations team.

He read from a report based on statements taken from witnesses to the accident, including site engineer with responsibility for health and safety, Fraser McIntyre.

Mr McIntyre said: “I could see one of the pins for the fly jib hanging free and the other was lying on the ground.

“It seemed like a bit of a freak accident to me because both pins should not have been removed. I think if only one pin had been removed the jib would still be secure.

“I don’t even know why John would even be there. I think it would be in his nature to give a hand.”

The inquiry heard the accident happened at around 11.30am and Mr Cousin was quickly evacuated from the bridge by boat.

He was declared dead about an hour later after medics attempted CPR after finding no pulse or breathing.

The inquiry, before Sheriff William Gilchrist, continues.

Developers sought to lead ‘ambitious’ expansion of John O’Groats

john o groatsAerial image with red outlineAgents have been appointed to attract new investors and developers to realise “ambitious” plans for expansion at the iconic location of John O’Groats.

Located on the far north coast of Scotland in the county of Caithness overlooking the Pentland Firth to the Orkneys, the popular tourist destination is famous for lying on the north-eastern point of one end of the longest distance between two inhabited points on the British mainland, with Land’s End in Cornwall lying 876 miles to the southwest.

John O’Groats has benefited from the Natural Retreats’ development and regeneration in recent years and the investment of other local operators. The area is also reportedly starting to see the economic benefits of Meygen’s long-term commitment to developing tidal energy within the Pentland Firth.

Outline planning consent is now in place for a masterplan development which proposes a structure formed around a series of six zones: harbour front and public realm; central core; natural retreats site; artisans and craftsmen; events field; and residential quarter.

Heritage GB and Natural Assets have appointed Shepherd Chartered Surveyors and Strutt & Parker as joint agents.

Sandy Rennie, partner in the Inverness office of Shepherd Chartered Surveyors, said: “Expressions of interest are sought from third party investors including developers, operators and any potential tenants. This is a unique opportunity to invest in an iconic location within the UK and capitalise on the tourist trade within Scotland, which has gone from strength to strength, particularly the success of the North Coast 500 route which has rapidly established itself as one of the most scenic driving routes in the world.”

Euan MacCrimmon at Strutt & Parker, added: “We are very excited about the appointment and opportunity, particularly given that John O’Groats is very much enjoying a surge in popularity, following the last five years of large scale new developments and the NC500 effect, which has created another wave of visitation to the area.”

The six masterplan zones are:

  • Zone 1 – harbour front and public realm– sea front with Last House, cafes, small retail, harbour and public areas. Buildings largely existing but scope for careful insertions.
  • Zone 2 – central core – mixed use development around a pedestrian square, including food and beverage, retail, small residential units, existing retail buildings retained and upgraded.
  • Zone 3 – natural retreats site– holiday accommodation and ancillary functions.  Public park and play area. This zone is largely developed except for landscaping improvements, park and possible insertions into gaps.
  • Zone 4 – artisans and craftsmen– small artisan industrial units such as micro-brewery, distillery, weavers, etc. Community buildings such as children’s centre, medical centre, etc.
  • Zone 5 – events field– green space at the centre of the village suitable for large scale community events as well as day to day recreation. Potential pavilion building.
  • Zone 6 – residential quarter– family housing, detached cottages, villas and terraced houses. Walled market garden/allotments and overflow car parking.

Prestwick assisted living development wins planning approval

Prestwick extra careMcCarthy & Stone has secured planning permission for an assisted living development at Links Road in Prestwick.

Designed by Holmes Miller, the four storey building contains 69 independent living flats with common facilities including dining and kitchen.

Prestwick extra care 3Former children’s cancer home Malcolm Sargent House will be demolished to make way for the development.

The seafront scheme aims to enable residents to remain living in the local community by offering residents additional support and companionship.

Prestwick extra care 2Douglas Jack, the residential lead at Holmes Miller, said: “This is a fabulous site with views west across the Firth of Clyde with the silhouette of Arran in the background, and north and east to the beautiful Prestwick golf course. We have designed an outward facing bookend to the Prestwick seafront, with generous windows and balconies opening to both views.  Great to see the planning permission granted.”

Breedon reports volumes and revenues boost in ‘solid’ trading update

breedon-logo_11Breedon delivered “another solid performance” in the 10 months to 31 October 2017, in which both volumes and revenues were ahead of the prior year, according to a new trading update.

The firm said today that the success includes a full 10-month contribution from the former Hope Construction Materials business, which was part of the Group for only three months in the corresponding period of 2016.

Group sales volumes of aggregates increased by 47%, asphalt by 2% and concrete by 99%.  Breedon added that its cement business is performing in line with expectations, while total Group revenue for the period increased by 56% to approximately £561 million.

“Assuming normal weather conditions for the remainder of the financial year, the Group’s underlying EBIT for the full year is expected to be in line with current market expectations,” Breedon said.

It added: “Forecasters expect construction output to grow modestly in 2017 and remain broadly flat next year before returning to growth in 2019.  More significantly for us, new infrastructure and housing work – which together account for approximately two-thirds of our end-use markets – are expected to show healthy growth over the next two years.

“We continue to invest in our business at record levels, which is yielding appreciable benefits in terms of enhanced performance and improved productivity.  This organic improvement gives us confidence that we will make further progress in 2018.”

Preliminary results for the year ending 31 December 2017 will be revealed in March.

Student accommodation plan for former Glasgow print plant

Graeme Todd of DM Hall

Graeme Todd of DM Hall

The former John Watson & Company print works in Glasgow is to be redeveloped as student accommodation and office space following its sale to developers Watkin Jones.

The planned development at Kyle, Calgary and Stafford Streets, will comprise student accommodation of around 300 bedrooms, ancillary accommodation, amenity space and parking.

The 0.85-acre site became available as a result of the sale of John Watson & Company to Multi-Colour Corporation, which is head quartered in Ohio, USA, and its subsequent move to a new build Centre of Excellence in Clydebank.

John Watson OBE, former owner of the business, said: “We operated very successfully from Kyle Street since the early 1970s, so its sale represents the end of an era. On the other hand, it please me greatly that the site will be re-born as student accommodation serving what will be the next generation of educated business people in Glasgow and the rest of the country.”

Graeme Todd of DM Hall, who oversaw the sale, said: “The property was sold at a closing date with several offers generated by a marketing campaign which had the benefit of an existing planning consent for a student accommodation development.

“Whilst there is much talk and debate about continuing demand for student accommodation development, our marketing of Kyle Street generated considerable interest, particularly as the site had so much to commend it, being close to the city centre, the motorway and a short walking distance from major bus and rail links.

“Demolition of the old printing works is imminent and the development should be projected for completion in August 2019.”

Firm unveils £3m funding pot for social housing heating retro-fit

Tower thermalHeating installation specialist Ecoliving, part of the Glasgow based Turner Group, is making £3 million available to support social landlords in the fight against fuel poverty.

The timing of the announcement coincides with the opening to applications of the second round of funding from the £150m Warm Homes Fund later this month and just ahead of the December date that marks the three-year countdown to the 2020 EESSH milestone.

The £3m of funding is designed to strengthen bids to the Warm Homes Fund by keeping the amount per property to a minimum and enabling more properties to be treated.

While also available for new gas boiler installations, Ecoliving is most excited about supporting social housing retro-fit projects with its innovative renewable heating solutions, expertise and experience.

This can also open up an additional revenue stream for the social landlord from the Renewable Heat Incentive and potentially ECO funding.

Ecoliving managing director, Keith Kemsley, said: “This funding is the catalyst that makes heating retro-fit projects affordable for social landlords by leveraging project funding from various additional sources and it brings forward action on fuel poverty and carbon reduction. We are speaking to social landlords with projects identified as well as those needing support to scope projects for a Warm Homes Fund bid before the Round 2 application window closes in February.”

Green light for Glenrothes public heating scheme

(from left) Fife Council lead professional Bill Dewar, Rev Alan Kimmitt, Barbara Whiting Fife Council lead professional and Martha Maclachlan energy promotion and development officer during a public exhibition of the plans earlier this year

(from left) Fife Council lead professional Bill Dewar, Rev Alan Kimmitt, Barbara Whiting Fife Council lead professional and Martha Maclachlan energy promotion and development officer during a public exhibition of the plans earlier this year

A project to provide heating for homes and businesses in Glenrothes from a biomass plant at nearby Markinch has received planning approval.

Councillors have granted planning permission for a vast network of underground pipes to be installed throughout the town as part of the Glenrothes District Heating Scheme.

Spearheaded by Fife Council in conjunction with energy firm RWE and the Scottish Government, the £17.1 million Glenrothes Heat scheme is a heat distribution network utilising the output from the RWE-run biomass plant at Markinch, with hopes it could be up and running by the end of the decade.

The proposal is designed to heat businesses, public facilities and offices and up to 372 homes in the town centre catchment area once fully operational.

While the project will initially focus on the town centre, further phases could see the network expand to more homes and to the south of the town, as far as Pitteuchar West Primary School, Fife College and the Michael Woods Sports and Leisure Centre.

Members of Fife Council’s central area planning committee approved the plans on Monday.

Council case officer Alex Laidler insisted that any disruption from laying the pipes would be kept to a minimum.

He told committee members: “There will be a need to connect pipework to homes.

“The pipework will generally follow the route of roads and will try and avoid existing utilities and greenspaces.

“All excavated land will be replaced as it is.”

Addressing concerns from councillors that additional fuel may be needed to provide the necessary levels of heat, Mr Laidler added: “The emphasis is on using the existing power plant.

“It effectively has waste heat and the aim of this is capturing about 80% of that heat to minimise any additional burning of material.”

Around £8.5m is expected to be secured from the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Programme Fund, while £7m has also been committed by RWE Markinch Ltd.

Funding secured to save historical Rosefield Mills in Dumfries

Rosefield Mills ©Kerr Martin

Rosefield Mills ©Kerr Martin

Local building conservation group Dumfries Historic Building Trust (DHBT) has secured funding to begin the process that will save one of Dumfries’ favourite buildings from further neglect and possible demolition.

Rosefield Mills were once the largest woollen mills in Dumfries, positioned beside the River Nith opposite Dock Park, where once stood so many Victorian mills.

However the much-loved, iconic red brick and sandstone landmark, which holds a vital part of Dumfries’ heritage and identity, is currently deemed “At-Risk” by the Scottish Industrial Heritage Society.

The building came up for auction at the beginning of the year and since then the DHBT has been working to raise funds and gain support to bring this beautiful building back into the life of the town.

The last element of the Stage 1 funding was approved on Monday thanks to Dumfries & Galloway Council, an anonymous charitable trust and the Architectural Heritage Fund, and the project team has moved swiftly into action with the Feasibility Team holding their first meeting last Tuesday.

Over the next three months a series of community consultations lead by Julia Frost of social enterprise charity, PAS, will gather information about what the Dumfries needs and wants to see happen in the Mills.

Artist's impression of restored Rosefield Mills © Purcell, 2017

Artist’s impression of restored Rosefield Mills © Purcell, 2017

A thorough investigation of the condition and potential of the building itself will be carried out by Purcell Architects and a business plan to test it all will be developed by Michael Booth of Clare Consulting.

The final proposal will be a distillation of the information the team gets from the community so DHBT is keen to invite everyone to take an active interest and get involved in the process.

The DHBT has been assisted through these early stages by the Prince’s Regeneration Trust, BRICK scheme, whose experience has been invaluable.

Julia Frost, leading the community engagement, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to discover what new facilities people would like to see. The regeneration of Rosefield Mills will make an enormous difference to the town and the River Nith.”

Between now and April 2018 the feasibility team is asking locals to look out for a series of events asking the community to contribute thoughts, ideas and its visions for the new Rosefield Mills.

Architect and partner at Purcell, Niall Phillips, said: “This building is a rare gem. Dumfries is so lucky. Its location, its exuberant style, its sheer size give this project a huge advantage. Great things can happen here.”

Building Briefs – November 22nd

Russell Street DundeeDundee housing development could resurrect old street name

A street name that disappeared when two Dundee multi storey blocks were built could be resurrected if councillors back the move next week.

Russell Street was wiped from the map in the late 1960s to make way for Bucklemaker and Butterburn courts at the top of the Hilltown.

The street once joined Strathmartine Road and Derby Street and was a well-used thoroughfare as far back as 1867.

However the name is now being considered as part of a development of 123 flats and 40 houses currently being undertaken by Robertson Partnership Homes, on behalf of the council and Hillcrest Housing Association.

Mark Flynn, depute convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee, said: “The name for the new street is an open secret having been the subject of an extensive local consultation.

“Its historic links with the area have made this a well-received proposal, especially with people who have long memories!

“However it is sad to see the association with one of our historic Nine Incorporated Trades disappear with the demise of Bucklemaker Court.

“However I am sure that with the amount of re-development and building currently going on in Dundee we will find another suitable location to mark their contribution to city life.”

Russell Street was named after Liberal Prime Minister John Russell, who held the office twice between 1846 and 1851 and again in 1865. He also served as home secretary and foreign secretary.

The street was built over as part of the Derby Street multis development, which welcomed its first tenants in 1971. The high rise towers were demolished in 2013.

The city development committee meets on Monday November 27.


Caledonian Exchange recognised for digital connectivity

Caledonian Exchange 2An Edinburgh office building has become the first in the city, and one of the few in Scotland, to scoop a top industry certification for its digital infrastructure and technology-focused design.

Caledonian Exchange, marketed jointly by Knight Frank and Eric Young & Co has been awarded a Wired Certified Silver rating, which recognises buildings excelling in the implementation of digital technology.

Caledonian ExchangeThe office accommodation, located by the Western Approach to the city centre, recently underwent an extensive £120,000 refurbishment project. Its current tenants include property and planning consultancy, Rapleys; recruitment firm, Hudson; engineering consultancy, Mott MacDonald; law firm, Lindsays and telecommunications company, AT&T.


New senior appointment for Savills as Scottish new build market takes off

Carole Mackie

Carole Mackie

Carole Mackie has been appointed Savills head of residential development sales (RDS) in Scotland.

As well as taking on this new wider role for the Scottish region, Carole will remain head of Savills RDS in Glasgow where she has overseen a three-fold increase in turnover over a two year period.

Carole said: “It is an exciting time for the Scottish new homes sector, which has been outperforming the wider market this year. It has seen a 5% annual increase in transactions, and a 12% increase in the market below £400,000.”


Edinburgh’s Burnshot Bridge set to be demolished

Motorists using the A90 are being advised to allow extra time for their journeys this weekend while Burnshot Bridge is being demolished.

Deterioration of joints in the structure means Burnshot Bridge is no longer fit for purpose and must be taken down.

The A90 will be closed under Burnshot Bridge from 20:00 on Friday 24 November until 05:30 on Monday 27 November, with traffic diverted via the slip roads.

Rugby fans travelling to see Scotland take on Australia at BT Murrayfield on Saturday and football fans heading to Tynecastle for Hearts v. Ross County on Sunday are urged to plan their journeys especially carefully to ensure they make it to the match on time.

Detailed design work on a replacement structure will get under way once Burnshot Bridge has been demolished.


Mactaggart & Mickel CEO Ed Monaghan and homes director Joanne Casey with the award

Mactaggart & Mickel CEO Ed Monaghan and homes director Joanne Casey with the award

Mactaggart & Mickel Homes and AMA Homes scoop UK house building awards

Mactaggart & Mickel Homes has received the Bronze Award in the Best Medium Housebuilder category at the highly acclaimed WhatHouse? Awards 2017.

The family-owned housebuilder impressed the judges with its strong financial performance, quality of design and build, and outstanding customer care to take bronze for the Medium Housebuilder of the Year category.

Scottish luxury property developer AMA Homes won a Bronze Award in the Best Luxury development category for its Caer Amon Crescents development at Cramond in Edinburgh.

The judges praised the Caer Amon Crescents development of two eight terraced houses comprising six four-bedroom and two five-bedroom homes set around a central landscaped courtyard.

Caer Amon Crescent

Caer Amon Crescent

Now in its 36th year, WhatHouse? Awards is the biggest and most prestigious event in the UK for new homes builders. This year’s event took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Park Lane where around 1,700 senior house building figures attended.


Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce names Clark Contracts ‘Employer of the Year’

(from left) Chamber President - Tom Johnston, Craig Brackenbury - manufacturing executive from Rolls Royce who presented the award, Craig McHugh - recruitment manager at Clark Contracts accepting the award and comedian Fred MacAuley

(from left) Chamber President – Tom Johnston, Craig Brackenbury – manufacturing executive from Rolls Royce who presented the award, Craig McHugh – recruitment manager at Clark Contracts accepting the award and comedian Fred MacAuley

The 2017 Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce ROCCO Business Award for Employer of the Year, sponsored by Rolls Royce, has been awarded to Clark Contracts.

The ROCCO’s are the annual business awards of the Renfrewshire Chamber of commerce and have been taking place for over a decade.

Construction, refurbishment and maintenance contractor, Clark Contracts was shortlisted following a written submission. The contractor was then invited to take part in a face to face presentation and interview with the judges.

The winners were announced at the awards night hosted by Scottish comedian Fred MacAuley at the Normandy Hotel, Renfrew, on Friday November 17.

The award seeks to recognise those who make efforts to reward performance and loyalty, provide staff with training and development opportunities, encourage staff engagement with the local community and charities, encourage loyalty, reduce staff turnover and improve the working environment.


South Lanarkshire window replacement work enters second phase

Garrion People’s Housing Co-operative has appointed CCG Asset Management to a window replacement contract for a further 40 properties throughout South Lanarkshire.

The announcement follows the success of the first contract which saw CCG replace windows in 40 properties in Wishaw during the summer.

Works are set to take place this November and will be undertaken over a 6-week period ensuring delivery just in time for Christmas.


MSP slides into Glasgow student development

James Dornan MSP visits true Glasgow

James Dornan MSP visits true Glasgow

true Glasgow West End, the student accommodation development which includes a Google-inspired helter-skelter slide, welcomed James Dornan MSP for a tour of its facilities earlier this week to discuss how it is fitting into the local area.

James Dornan, MSP for Glasgow Cathcart said: “I’m impressed by the quality of the student accommodation provided at true Glasgow West End, including both the facilities and holistic care the provider offers its guests. It is a welcome addition to the student accommodation landscape in Glasgow, and interesting to learn about the innovative construction methods used to deliver it quickly and sustainably.

“This project has proven positive for Glasgow, from the number of jobs created and £40 million-plus investment into our city, to the ongoing positive effect students have on the local area’s economy. It was heartening to see students coming and going from the complex and to speak to them about their favourite bars, shops, and eateries in the area.”

Iain Cameron, operations manager at true, added: “We’re very proud of the unique accommodation and brand experience we offer. Our focus is on student wellbeing and helping guests get the most from their study years, which is why offering onsite pastoral care, a fully staffed gym with classes, and a curated programme of social activities is central to the service we provide.

“More than a student accommodation block, this is a home from home for our guests, so we encourage them to get out and about in the community where we’ve also partnered with a range of local businesses to drive loyalty and footfall through our exclusive true Loyalty Card.”