City Building

Scottish construction businesses encouraged to apply for green VIBES accolade

Vibes 2015Applications are now open for the 16th annual Vision in Business for the Environment of Scotland (VIBES) Awards and Scottish construction businesses are encouraged to apply for their chance to join the country’s environmental elite.

The awards scheme recognises and rewards businesses that contribute to Scotland’s sustainable development through improving processes or developing new products and services. The awards are free to enter and applications can be submitted until Monday 13th July.

Open to businesses of all sizes and sectors, VIBES aims to encourage efficient use of resources, enhance business competitiveness, improve environmental performance and support wider sustainable development goals. There are seven award categories open for entry this year including; Management Large, Management SME, Environmental Product or Service, Transport, Co-operation, Hydro-Nation and Circular Economy. In addition to this, the Micro Business Award will be presented to the best entry to any category from a company with less than 10 employees.

Last year, Graham Construction received a commendation in the Management (Large) Award category.

The construction company impressed judges with their commitment to environmental improvements which are integral to the business model from the design stage through to construction. As a result of the varied environmental processes the company has diverted 94 per cent waste from landfill in 2013/14. Each site also has a dedicated environmental manager and an environmental and site waste management plan regardless of size.

Previous industry winners include City Building, Clark Contracts and Laing O’Rourke.

Gillian Bruce, chair of the VIBES Awards, said: “Sustainable practices are becoming absolutely crucial to businesses of every kind and through VIBES we want to encourage the fantastic work being done by so many businesses that are working hard to make Scotland more environmentally aware.

“Over the years we have seen some fantastic ideas from a range of different sectors and we’re looking forward to seeing the work of Scotland’s businesses as we celebrate our sixteenth year of the VIBES Awards.”

VIBES is also offering businesses the opportunity to hear from former winners at a series of free events across the country. The events will provide businesses with more information on the awards as well as offering an opportunity to pick up helpful tips from previous sustainable champions.

Sponsoring the awards this year are Scottish Government, ScottishPower, Zero Waste Scotland, Brand-Rex, Chivas Brothers Pernod Ricard and The University of Stirling Management School.

VIBES is a strategic partnership between Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Government, Scottish Water, Scottish Enterprise, Highland and Islands Enterprise, Zero Waste Scotland, Energy Saving Trust and Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group.  The awards are further supported by CBI Scotland, the Institute of Directors, the Federation of Small Businesses and Bright Green Business.

To request your attendance at one of the events, please register through Eventbrite or email:

Adult apprentices flourish thanks to City Building

Adult apprentices Kevin and Adam

Adult apprentices Kevin and Adam

City Building is helping two adult apprentices carve out successful careers in the construction industry through its renowned apprenticeship programme.

Kevin McCarron and Adam Gibbs, both from Glasgow, have additional support needs and were initially employed at the company’s Royal Strathclyde Blindcraft Industries (RSBi) facility after leaving school and subsequently secured apprenticeships in joinery and carpentry with the Scottish construction firm which commenced in August 2014.

The company initially placed Kevin and Adam on its six-week pre-apprenticeship programme and have gone on to provide them with the resources they need to progress through their apprenticeships. This included help from a dedicated learning support worker and apprentice training officer.

Kevin said: “I never thought when attending an additional support school I would ever have the opportunity to be an apprentice joiner. This will change my life forever, after my apprenticeship I will have more choices in life.”

Adam added: “I have had a great experience so far working with City Building and attending the learning centre. The support I’ve received has really helped motivate me to succeed.”

Kevin is now actively working as a joiner on the investment and refurbishment side of the business, while Adam has been working on carpentry projects on the company’s new house building site at Croftfoot Road in Glasgow for Lowther Group and is currently involved in constructing the new care home in Toryglen for Glasgow City Council.

Graham Paterson, executive director of City Building, said: “We are dedicated to training and supporting the next generation of tradespeople through our extensive apprenticeship programme.

“It’s great to see how far Kevin and Adam have developed and to watch their drive and determination turn into great achievements.”

City Building wins European award for excellence

Executive director Graham Paterson in the centre along with Cllr Maureen Burke who is chair of City Building

Executive director Graham Paterson in the centre along with Cllr Maureen Burke who is chair of City Building

City Building has secured a prestigious European award for its commitment to deliver excellence throughout its organisation.

Quality Scotland, national partner of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) an organisation for driving performance improvement, presented its Committed to Excellence award to City Building. The award is presented once a year in recognition of companies that strive to reach sustainable excellence in the private, public and non-profit sectors.

During the assessment process to be considered for the award employees from all across the company took part, from apprentices to the executive director. Participants carried out a number of exercises such as understanding how effective the company’s deployment strategy is, looking at current strengths and opportunities and establishing a baseline position to measure progress over time. Following a number of assessments and interviews with managers and focus groups City Building secured the award for the first time.

Quality Scotland through EFQM recognises organisations with an indisputable track record of success in turning strategy into action and continuously improving their organisations performance. City Building was distinguished from its competitors by its communication with employees, succession planning and performance management.

Graham Paterson, executive director of City Building, said: “Being selected to receive the EFQM award is an important recognition for our organisation and acts as a great motivator to our entire team who have all played their parts in contributing towards securing this accolade for the company.”

Claire Ford, chief operating officer of Quality Scotland, said: “Quality Scotland are delighted to present City Building with their 1 star Committed to Excellence Award.

“This recognition demonstrates the high level of commitment to continuous improvement evident across the organisation and we look forward to working with City Building as they progress with further levels of European recognition.”

Councillor Maureen Burke, chair of City Building, said: “The decision of Quality Scotland to present City Building with this award reinforces the company as a leader in excellence in its field.

“Congratulations should be given to everyone in the organisation for their continued hard work and in securing this sought after accolade.”

A rigorous assessment processes based on the EFQM Excellence model is put in place to select the award winners, which is based on the fundamental principles of training, assessment, sharing and recognition.

Minister praises City Building’s commitment to encourage women in construction


Scottish construction firm City Building welcomed Annabelle Ewing MSP, minister for youth and women’s employment, to its RSBI facility this week as the firm highlighted its continuing commitment to encourage women to take up careers in the construction industry.

During her visit Ms Ewing met with a number of female apprentices and tradespeople who shared their experiences of working for the company.

City Building has played a leading role in supporting women to take up careers in the construction industry, with the most recent figures from Skills Development Scotland (SDS) showing that the company is responsible for employing a quarter of all female construction apprentices in Scotland.

In addition, the firm has been responsible for developing and supporting a number of initiatives highlighting the opportunities available to women within the industry.  These have included sessions with teachers and pupils at high schools across Glasgow, with female staff within the company taking the lead in encouraging teachers to promote the value of a construction career for young women.


City Building has an extensive training and development programme in place to support women as they develop their careers with the firm and has implemented a female mentor programme with the aim of encouraging younger members of the team to learn from their more experienced co-workers. A group of female managers also set up a peer network where they can meet regularly to share experiences and discuss any concerns. The company is also supporting its female workforce through NHC qualifications in Electrical as part of its Construction for All initiative which aims to open up the construction industry as a career to all communities.

One of the team who met Ms Ewing and was brought on through the Construction for All initiative was trainee supervisor Tracey Jefferson, who joined City Building as an apprentice and is currently studying for an HNC in Construction Management with the support of the company.

Speaking of her experiences, Tracey said: “If there’s one thing that working for City Building has taught me, it’s that there’s no limit to your ambitions if you’re prepared to work hard and take advantage of the opportunities in front of you – regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman.

“When I was younger, I’d always thought of a career in construction, but the opportunities just weren’t there – especially for women. This all changed for me thanks to the City Building. Since qualifying as a full-time joiner in 2010, I’ve wanted to make sure that other women who join the company receive the same help, support and encouragement as I did to help make their dreams a reality.”

Annabelle Ewing, minister for youth and women’s employment, said: “It has been wonderful meeting Tracey and others who have gained so much from City Building.

“Whether it is through mentoring or speaking to school pupils, getting the message out that anyone can achieve their goals if you put in the work is incredibly important for all young people, but especially so for women wanting to go into traditionally male-dominated careers.

“We know that the construction sector in Scotland has a huge impact on the country’s economy and that means there are more opportunities for women to explore a variety of careers.”

Councillor Maureen Burke, chair of City Building, said: “City Building is very proud to lead the way in encouraging young women to consider careers in the construction industry and to support and promote them through the ranks.

“We have a strong history of highlighting the importance of women in construction and look forward to seeing the number of women in construction roles grow over the next few years.”

In addition to leading the way in the recruitment of female apprentices the construction firm has also proved to be a pioneer when it comes to promoting women through the ranks. The company is currently supporting 20 per cent of its female trades people through qualifications that will see them advance to manager level.

The visit follows first minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement last week of the ‘You work, You Learn, You Earn’ campaign aimed at promoting Modern Apprenticeships as career options for young women.

The campaign will highlight the range of opportunities open to young people and will encourage them to consider Modern Apprenticeships in roles traditionally regarded as male dominated.

City Building recognised for commitment to supporting armed forces

City Building staff with footballer Stephen Naismith

City Building staff with footballer Steven Naismith

City Building has been recognised for its commitment to the armed forces community through The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme awards.

The company was presented with the Silver Award at Edinburgh Castle at the beginning of December for its long track record of supporting reservists.

City Building currently employs six members of the 71 Engineering Regiment; Stuart Vandal, Lawrence Johnson, Gordon Mullen, Jamie Nelson, Fraser Steele and Sam Clarke.

Graham Paterson from the firm said: “We are delighted to have been presented with the Silver award for our support of the armed forces. We believe we are a supportive employer to all our team but we are very proud to support our employees in the armed forces.

“The transferable skills and dedication they bring to the job helps demonstrate good working practices to the wider team. We also believe that we can help provide them with valuable skills and training to help them in the military roles and in their careers outside of service.”

In addition to its support of reservists City Building also took on four long-term unemployed veterans earlier this year which it had helped back into sustainable employment through its new state of the art window factory in Glasgow.

Ex-servicemen, Jon Collins (AGE), Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, Barry Thomson, Royal Highland Fusiliers, Steven Nicol, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and Richard Brown, Scots Guards all secured their roles at RSBi through the Glasgow Veterans Employment Programme.

Blog: Work hard and success will follow you

By Sean McCulloch, trainee quantity surveyor at City Building

Sean McCullochEveryone wants to be successful no matter what industry you’re in. But success isn’t handed to you – you have to work hard for it and take advantage of opportunities when they come your way. This is what I’ve done and it’s served me pretty well so far.

I’d always wanted to learn a trade and work with my hands and that’s why I decided that an apprenticeship was the best fit for me. I started my career with City Building as an apprentice carpenter and joiner in 2009 and really enjoyed learning all about my trade as well as the wider construction industry. I knew that if I got my head down, worked hard and showed that I was keen then I would progress and do well. In the final year of my apprenticeship I was nominated for and won the Scottish heat of Skillbuild – the largest multi-trade competition in the country.

After completing my apprenticeship and winning the Skillbuild heat I still wanted to progress more. I was becoming more curious about the ins and outs of managing the large projects that I had worked on as joiner. I had seen on our intranet that a position had become available for a trainee Quantity Surveyor. I’d enjoyed maths at school and I was interested in finding out how the projects were managed and budgeted so I decided to throw my hat in the ring.

Sean McCulloch City Building

It’s been a great move for me. It was a bit of an adjustment at the start – taking a step back from the tools and looking more analytically about the bigger picture but I love it and can’t wait to get stuck in when I complete my traineeship.

City Building have supported me through this new step in my career giving me time to study and attend my classes as well as funding my traineeship. When I speak with the other apprentices at City Building I tell them that if they work hard and get their head down like I did then the same opportunities can come their way – but nobody is going to hand success to you, you need to claim it for yourself.

City Building defends £4.3m losses

City_Building_GlasgowCity Building Glasgow has revealed it is pleased with its results despite ending 2013-2014 more than £4.3 million in the red.

The arm’s length external organisation, which lost £1.2m the year before, says it has performed well in tough economic times and remains a going concern, with backing from its local authority owner.

Executive director Graham Paterson, in annual accounts filed to Companies House, said that considering the pressures on the construction industry, “we are pleased City Building delivered strong results”.

A spokesperson for City Building added: “Thanks to the hard work of our first-class workforce over the past year, City Building was able to generate over £100m in new contracts and return £5m to Glasgow City Council.

“As a result of international accounting regulations, the accounts appear to include a loss.  Any attempt to suggest that this is money which would otherwise be available to the council is to misunderstand the situation.”

Luddon secures raft of contract wins

LuddonCivil engineering and building company Luddon Construction has been awarded three new contracts for First ScotRail with a combined value of around £2.1 million.

The contracts include construction of new station access ramps along with associated works at both Bishopton Station where Luddon will install a 74m long structural steel elevated ramp section and at Cumbernauld Station where it will install a reinforced concrete ramp.

Luddon will also construct a new car park deck to create 108 additional spaces together with associated works at Johnstone Station.

The projects are the latest in a long line of contracts Luddon have secured and successfully completed on behalf of First ScotRail.

The firm has also been appointed to construct the Burn of Mar hydro scheme near Drymen, a contract which further reinforces its continued activity in the renewable energy sector and adds Hydro to its Wet and Dry Anaerobic Digestion capabilities.

The 500kw run of river scheme will have two intakes and a 3.5 km buried pipeline leading to the turbine house and once operational in the autumn of 2015 it will generate power feeding into the national grid.

With the project being situated within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, Luddon will be liaising closely with SNH, SEPA and other agencies to ensure that any potential environmental impacts during construction are minimised.

In other news the firm has recently completed reinforced concrete floor slab for the new school of dance at Knightswood Secondary School for City Building.

The two phase project saw over 2020 M2 (300 M3) of concrete poured over four floor levels.

This was the latest in a long line of concrete floor installations at both ground and raised levels carried out in schools, offices and warehouses, many of which required highly polished “Super flat” finishes to assist telehandlers loading high bay racking systems or the inclusion of underfloor heating.

City Building celebrates successful year of new business wins

City_Building_GlasgowThree new business wins worth more than £2 million have helped Scottish construction company City Building break the £100m milestone in new contracts in the last year.

The first of the new contracts will see the company cover gas services over three years for 600 properties belonging to Thistle Housing Association and a further 1,400 properties over a two year period for Knowes and Faifley Housing Associations.

In addition, City Building has also secured a one year contract extension c£500k from the West of Scotland Housing Association to deliver repairs and maintenance across all its properties with another c£500k contract awarded by Cassiltoun Housing Association.

With an annual turnover approaching £200m, the company also confirmed that £5m was returned to Glasgow City Council last year (up from £3.5m y/e 31 March 2012) to enable further investment in the council’s frontline services. Since 2007, over £41m has been generated in financial returns to the council.

In addition, Royal Strathclyde Blindcraft Industries (RSBi) has secured a second contract in Aberdeen to manufacture and deliver a range of furniture for student accommodation on behalf of Robert Gordon University – all crafted to the highest standard by skilled professionals.

City Building executive director, Graham Paterson, said: “We have vast experience in delivering a range of services to housing associations throughout Glasgow and this looks set to continue.

“These new contract wins are testament to the quality of work consistently produced by our employees, which has enabled us to continue winning business in this area.

“By securing an additional student contract, RSBi has further proved that it is a successful commercial business which happens to employ individuals with disabilities but is more than able to compete successfully in the marketplace.”

Around 50 per cent of RSBi employees have a disability, making it one of the country’s leading examples of social enterprise, successfully combining commercial success with socially responsible practices. The skills of the workforce, in conjunction with advanced production machinery and equipment to cater to their varied needs, ensure that products are manufactured to an exceptionally high standard.

RSBi has already demonstrated that it can successfully deliver student accommodation projects. In January, the factory successfully delivered a contract to furnish 250 student residences for the University of Aberdeen while prior to this, it successfully manufactured and delivered bespoke communal fitted kitchens for students at Dundee University – the first time ever that the company had secured a student accommodation contract outside of Glasgow.

This latest announcement takes RSBi’s contract wins for student accommodation to almost £500K, representing further growth outside of Glasgow in an area the business is keen to develop even further.

The company has delivered a range of projects from providing schools with educational furniture to fitting office furniture for Highlands and Islands Fire & Rescue’s call centre.

City Building delivers 81 new apprenticeships in 2014

New apprentices with City Building chair, Cllr Paul Carey

New apprentices with City Building chair, Cllr Paul Carey

City Building (Glasgow) LLP has continued to lead the way in delivering apprenticeships by recruiting 81 apprentices this year and offered contract extensions to 127 time out apprentices.

The apprenticeships have been created in construction, painting and decorating, electrical, plumbing and administration.

City Building, Glasgow City Council’s arm’s length construction firm, has noted addressing youth unemployment as a key commitment.

These new positions help to support the delivery of Glasgow City Council’s £25 million Glasgow Guarantee, which aims to ensure that every Glaswegian between the age of 16 and 24 has access to a job, training or apprenticeship opportunity.

As confidence returns to the construction sector – as evidenced in a recent Scottish Building Federation survey – City Building is once again at the forefront of investing in craft apprenticeships.

Ibraheem Kahn (18) from Pollokshields was one of this year’s intake of new apprentices.

He said: “Gaining the apprenticeship is a really big achievement for me.  I found it very difficult to find an apprenticeship but I got lots of encouragement from my support worker.  Before gaining this apprenticeship, I volunteered in a carpet company for six months and also participated in a vocational course at City Building’s Skills Academy.

“Without this apprenticeship, it would be impossible for me to train to this level. One of the great things about an apprenticeship is you are paid while you learn. Thanks to this, I will achieve an SVQ3 in carpentry and joinery and will be a qualified joiner when I’m 22.”

Jordan Turner (18) from Knightswood started his apprenticeship in joinery earlier this year.

He said: “I’ve always wanted to be a joiner and enjoy practical work.  I applied last year but didn’t get selected so I went back to school for another year, gained some Intermediate two qualifications and was successful this time round.

“I’m looking forward to becoming a joiner. I think I will be able to complete other qualifications while I’m here and hope to complete an advanced craft or an HNC. There are definitely lots of opportunities for me.”

Councillor Paul Carey, chair of City Building LLP, added: “City Building continues to make investment in new apprenticeships a top priority and I am pleased to welcome our latest intake to the firm.

“These positions demonstrate our continued commitment to investing in Glasgow’s young people, providing them with the opportunity to learn a trade and gain meaningful employment.

“As optimism returns to the construction industry, it is vitally important that we equip young people with the skills needed to develop within the sector and we are happy to offer these 81 individuals the opportunity to create a brighter future for themselves.”

City Building runs one of Britain’s largest apprenticeship programmes and operates two of the most successful, award-winning training centres – Queenslie Training Centre and the Skills Academy in Laurieston.