Housebuilding team celebrates four centuries of service

Douglas McLeod, regional director for Barratt Scotland, with Willie Donald who celebrates 45 years service

Douglas McLeod, regional director for Barratt Scotland, with Willie Donald who celebrates 45 years service

A group of long serving employees at Barratt North Scotland is celebrating after clocking up almost four centuries of service between them this summer.

The eleven tradesmen and construction professionals, whose tenures range from 20 years to 45 years, picked up long service awards at the housebuilder’s recent company seminar.

Willie Donald, 61, from Turriff, celebrates 45 years with the company this year, after joining Barratt Homes as an apprentice joiner in 1970. Willie has mentored countless apprentices over the years, many of which are still working with the company today.

He said: “Housebuilding offers a range of fulfilling career opportunities. I chose to stay with joinery throughout my time with the company as I really enjoy the challenge and variety it offers, the onsite camaraderie and the satisfaction of a job well done. Earning a trade is a huge benefit – as well as having a job I really enjoy, I’ve been able to build my own home as well as support friends and family with their projects.

“Barratt Homes has also been a great company to work for as you really get to know your team. People tend to stay with the company, so there are plenty of familiar faces. It has also been really satisfying to see many of my apprentices progress with the company – some have chosen to stay on the tools, whilst others have moved into management. It’s an enormous industry and it can take you as far as you want it to.”

Construction manager Kevin Urquhart celebrates 20 years service

Construction manager Kevin Urquhart celebrates 20 years service

Construction manager and joiner to trade Kevin Urquhart, 36, also from Turriff, joined Barratt Homes as an apprentice at 16, and celebrates 20 years with the firm this year.

He added: “I was inspired to pursue a career as a joiner by my father, who I spent many weekends working with as a youngster. Having joined at just 16 I’ve been able to build a career that is both exciting and challenging.

“The construction industry today offers excellent prospects, particularly with companies like Barratt Homes. As an employee I’ve received excellent support and guidance to help me gain my apprenticeship and progress into management. The industry is calling out for new talent – it is full of opportunities for ambitious young people.”

Barratt Homes to deliver affordable homes across the capital

Barratt HomesBarratt Homes has unveiled plans to deliver 96 affordable homes at three housing developments across Edinburgh, which are collectively worth in excess of £10 million.

The housebuilder is currently constructing 44 social housing apartments at its flagship Dalmeny Park development in South Queensferry. The properties on completion will be delivered to Home Scotland.

A further 24 affordable units are in the works at Barratt’s Verdant Walk site in the Blackchapel area of the capital and 26 units at Newcraighall in the South East of the capital. These units will be delivered in partnership with People for Places and Hillcrest Housing Association respectively.

The units form part of Barratt Homes’ commitment to the City of Edinburgh Council to deliver 25 per cent affordable homes and have been finished to the same high standards as the company’s private units.

Mansoor Ali, development director at Barratt Homes in the East Scotland, said; “Barratt Homes ispassionate about delivering affordable homes. Throughout the East of Scotland we are committed to providing 25 per cent affordable units at our developments. Our pledge at Dalmeny Park, Newcraighall and Verdant Walk, follows a significant milestone for Barratt as we have now delivered 332 affordable units in the capital with a further 210 units under construction.”

The announcement follows Barratt’s recent delivery of 16 affordable units, at its City Haven development in Newhaven, to Port of Leith Housing Association worth over £2m.

‘Pride in the Job’ award success for Barratt Scotland

Barratt HomesBarratt Scotland’s construction team picked up six prizes at this year’s NHBC Pride in the Job Awards – the highest number secured in one year by the housebuilder to date.

Now in their 35th year, the National House-Building Council’s Pride in the Job Awards recognise the unique personal contribution site managers make in the creation of UK homes of outstanding quality.

The five prizes went to David Maclean at The Grange, Elgin, David Oliver at Mill Brae, Dubford, Dave Scott at Osprey Heights, Inverurie, Martin Rait at Castlewell, Ellon, Allan Barclay at Kings Court, Aberdeen City and John Shields at Fairmilehead, Edinburgh.

Douglas McLeod, regional director for Barratt Scotland, said: “The official recognition of our winning site managers shows that Barratt Scotland is building some of the best quality homes in the country.

“Site managers play a pivotal role in delivering high-quality new homes and that is why we are so delighted with these five national awards. This is truly an outstanding result – our best yet – and one which should inspire confidence in our buyers.

“I’d like to congratulate our prize-winners and their teams for demonstrating such commitment to delivering quality, safety and workmanship in everything they do.”

Commenting on the importance of the awards, Mike Quinton, chief executive of NHBC, said: “A Pride in the Job award is the highest industry accolade a site manager can receive. It represents success for the site manager, his team and associated trades as well providing a reputational boost for the building company. Most importantly, homeowners who buy a Pride in the Job award-winning home benefit from a high quality product.

“It’s no surprise that Pride in the Job winning sites also have higher levels of customer satisfaction as these homes are without doubt among the best the UK has to offer.”

The winners have excelled in a comprehensive year-long judging process, assessed against stringent criteria defined by NHBC’s Technical Standards for building new homes. They are now shortlisted for regional titles which will be revealed in the autumn.

The regional champions will then go forward to contest the national Supreme Winner title in their category at the Pride in the Job Gala Final, taking place in London in January 2016.

Barratt Homes builds Scottish apprenticeship programme

Barratt HomesBarratt Homes is recruiting 20 new apprentices in Scotland this year as part of its ongoing commitment to bridge the skills gap in the construction sector.

The Barratt Academy – Barratt Homes’ apprenticeship programme – is a four year course which combines education and paid employment to build participants’ skills, knowledge and career prospects. Over the past five years, 70 apprentices have benefitted from the Barratt Academy in Scotland.

According to statistics from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), Scotland’s construction industry needs 2,500 apprentices in the coming year to meet the demands of this growing sector.

Speaking during Scottish Apprenticeship Week (18-22 May), Douglas McLeod, regional director of Barratt Homes Scotland, said: “The building and construction sector offers a wide range of career opportunities.

“As the UK and Scotland’s leading house builder, we are committed to investing in Scotland’s young people to ensure that we’ve got the right skills in place to meet Scotland’s continually increasing demand for homes. That’s why we have placed such great importance on developing our award-winning apprenticeship programme.”

Gary Owens, 20, from Coatbridge, is an apprentice joiner in his first year at the Barratt Academy.

He said: “I always wanted an apprenticeship so that I could work my way into a secure career and learn the skills for the job as I go along. Joinery in particular is perfect for me because I enjoy making things and seeing the finished product.

“Barratt offers a lot of valuable support through the academy. Already, the firm has helped me to earn my Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS) card, and has supplied me with a substantial range of tools that will be invaluable throughout my course.

“The apprenticeship is four years long in total, and throughout that time I’ll also be attending South Lanarkshire College to supplement the practical side of things with classroom-based learning. When the course is complete I’ll be a qualified joiner, and further down the line I’d like to progress to management by training to become an assistant site manager.”

Barratt Homes appoints new construction director in West of Scotland

Craig McFarlane

Craig McFarlane

Barratt Homes has promoted Craig McFarlane to the position of construction director in the West of Scotland.

With 20 years’ experience in the construction industry, Craig joined the firm more than five years ago as contracts manager, before becoming construction manager in 2014. In his new role as construction director, Craig will oversee the construction of all sites across the firm’s west Scotland division, reporting to managing director David Scott.

David Scott, managing director for Barratt Homes West Scotland, said: “With strong growth in the market and exceptional sales in the financial year to date, now is a great time for Craig to lead our construction team. His considerable experience and invaluable knowledge about Barratt Homes and the wider industry make him the perfect candidate for the job, and we’re pleased to recognise and support his professional development by handing him the reigns.”

Over the course of 2015, Barratt Homes expects to build more than 500 new homes across the west of Scotland.

Aberdeen backs plans for 323 new homes

Plans to create 323 new homes on the site of the former Royal Cornhill Hospital have been supported by Aberdeen City Council.

The council’s planning development management committee expressed a willingness to approve the scheme from Stewart Milne Homes, Barratt East Scotland and NHS Grampian, subject to conditions.

The approval is also dependent on the conclusion of a legal agreement to secure a 25 per cent affordable housing provision, of which 15 per cent will be on site – and developer contributions linked to primary education, and community, library, and sports and recreation facilities.

The legal agreement will also cover the creation of a ‘car club’ membership scheme for future residents of the development to mitigate a shortfall in parking spaces, and a developer contribution towards road junction works in the event that the development goes ahead before the planned Berryden Road corridor widening programme has been completed.

The plan involves the demolition of former hospital buildings to make way for 89 houses and 198 flats, and conversion of the five Upper Hospital buildings into 36 flats. Car parking, open space and new access routes into and out of the site will also be created. Extensive open space will be maintained in the site’s parkland setting.

Berryden Road is earmarked as the main access point into the site at a newly signalised junction, with a secondary access point on May Baird Avenue restricted to emergency vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.

Committee vice-convener Councillor Andy Finlayson said: “We have waited a long time for an acceptable scheme to come forward for this site. City council planning officials have worked hard to negotiate the best possible scheme in terms of open space, layout, designs and affordable housing provision, and I am pleased that it is moving forward at last.”

The 5.54-hectare site, in the Rosemount and Westburn Conservation Area, lies between Berryden Road and May Baird Avenue and has lain vacant for some 12 years since being declared surplus to requirements by NHS Grampian.

Scottish house sales up 15 per cent for Barratt Homes

Barratt HomesHousebuilder Barratt has reported its strongest start to the year for sales in Scotland for eight years.

The firm said it secured nearly 190 sales in January, up 15 per cent on a year ago, with some of its Scottish sites “selling at twenty per cent above the UK average of 0.58 sales per week per site”.

Barratt attributed the success in part to a surge in activity from buyers seeking to buy in advance of changes to property taxes in April.

It also cited high buyer confidence, particularly in the mid-value housing market.

Barratt Scotland regional director Douglas McLeod said: “January is traditionally a slow month for the economy, and this has certainly been the case for new home sales in previous years.

“We believe that a combination of factors, including high demand for quality well-priced new-build homes, changes to stamp duty, buyer confidence, Help to Buy and favourable lending conditions, have all conspired to create a very favourable climate for home buying.”

Barratt Homes has already announced plans to open up to 13 new sites this year across Scotland, creating almost 2,100 new homes.

They include: Newcraighall Village, Newcraighall; Duddingston Gardens, Edinburgh; Alnwickhill, Edinburgh; Kings Way, Renfrew; Highland Gate, Stirling; Silver Bell, Hamilton; Parklands, Coatbridge; Barclay Grange, Newmachar; Harlaw Gait, Inverurie; Ocean, Aberdeen; Muggiemoss Road, Aberdeen; and Mugiemoss Village, Aberdeen.

Barratt targets expanding number of Scottish housing sites

Barratt HomesBarratt Homes is to deliver 2,100 new homes across 13 new sites in Scotland after citing “a strong recovery in the housing market following the launch of the Help to Buy scheme”.

The housebuilder said its expansion north of the Border underpins employment for about 4000 new and existing jobs.

Barratt said it predominately employs local sub-contractors and tradesmen for each development site.

The company will open new sites at in Edinburgh at Newcraighall Village, Dunddingston Gardens and Alnwickhill; in Aberdeen at Muggiemoss Road, Mugiemoss Village and Ocean; Kings Way, Renfrew; Highland Gate, Stirling; Silver Bell, Hamilton; Parklands, Coatbridge; Barclay Grange, Newmachar; and Harlaw Gait, Inverurie.

Douglas McLeod, regional director at Barratt Scotland, said: “We have seen demand for new homes expand very quickly over the year and the new sites we are opening mean that there will be more choice for local buyers.

“And it’s good news for the local economy, as in addition to supporting existing local construction jobs as well as creating new ones by building new homes, the local people who move into the new housing will also spend their wages locally.

“This means a significant boost for local retailers as well. It’s exactly what our local communities need.”

Sir Tom Hunter invests £100m into West Lothian 3,500 homes project

Sir Tom Hunter

Sir Tom Hunter

Sir Tom Hunter has made a £100 million investment in a scheme for a new village in West Lothian.

The Ayrshire entrepreneur (pictured) has taken control of the giant Winchburgh development 11 miles west of Edinburgh where 3,500 new homes are planned along with a mix of retail and industrial space.

Sir Tom’s West Coast Capital investment business is understood to have bought out a number of shareholders in the development in recent months, putting it in the driving seat for the scheme.

The latest accounts for the West Coast Capital Holdings property business filed at Companies House show the company recorded £107m work in progress in respect of Winchburgh at the end of its last financial year, on March 30.

The company expects there will be five housebuilders on site at Winchburgh in January, reflecting strong demand for homes in the area. Barratt and Miller have started work.

Sir Tom told The Herald: “We view this, in our patient capital model as a 20 + year development so undoubtedly we’ll see a couple of recessions and maybe a financial crisis thrown in so we need patience, determination, financial stamina and of course a wee bit of luck.”

West Coast Capital Holdings returned to the black in the year to March 30. It made a pre-tax profit of £1.6m compared with a loss of £64.2m in the preceding year.

Barratt Developments and Taylor Wimpey set to join FTSE 100

FTSE 100

Two of Britain’s biggest housebuilders Barratt Developments and Taylor Wimpey are to join the FTSE 100 index, it has been announced.

The decision, which was made by a committee of market experts yesterday, will become effective after market close on December 19.

The companies’ shares have gained 30 per cent and 20 per cent respectively this year on the back of Britain’s rising property market.

They will replace Petrofac and IMI on the London Stock Exchange.

The LSE said on Wednesday that the six companies on the FTSE 100 reserve list, which is used in the event of a merger, delisting or suspension, would be Amec Foster Wheeler, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Inmarsat, Investec, Merlin Entertainments and Pennon Group.

Companies entering the FTSE 250 – often regarded as a better barometer of the state of British business than the multinationals on the blue-chip index – will be bakery chain Greggs, newly floated shoe firm Jimmy Choo, and retailer Game Digital, along with investment firm Allied Minds, property group CLS Holdings and Spirit Pub Company.

Foxtons is one of the companies falling out of the FTSE 250. Shares in the estate agent have fallen 44 per cent since floating in September 2013.

Others losing their place include EnQuest, Fenner, Ferrexpo, Hochschild Mining and Spirent Communications.