Cruden Group

Blog: Project management – like never before! The technical team behind the Social Bite Village

Gill Henry, head of business development at The Cruden Group and project director of the Social Bite Village

Gill Henry, head of business development at The Cruden Group and project director of the Social Bite Village

In February of this year, Gill Henry, head of business development at The Cruden Group, agreed to take on the role of project director for the Social Bite Village in Edinburgh.

This exciting project is translating Social Bite’s co-founder, Josh Littlejohn’s vision to eradicate homelessness, into reality.

Initially agreeing to work pro-bono one day a week, Gill’s task was to oversee the design, manufacture and on-site delivery of a new community in Granton.

Inevitably, her role has grown exponentially as the project has developed and after several months of leading the technical team, she now takes this opportunity to explain some of the challenges and pressures of making this unique project actually happen.

From a standing start at the end of February this year, using contacts and relationships built up over many years by The Cruden Group, we assembled a multi-disciplined team without whom the project would simply not be where it is today.

In addition, we are also very fortunate that the profile of this project allowed us to engage much more closely than normal with both Scottish Power and Scottish Water, who, along with utility contractor, Clancy Dowcra, have joined the technical team and are working collaboratively with us to make this all happen.

The Social Bite Village technical team

The Social Bite Village technical team

Technical Team

  • Gill Henry – The Cruden Group – Project Director
  • Gill Cooke & Andy Nolan – Will Rudd – Project Engineers
  • Mike Armstrong – Pottie Wilson – Project Cost consultant
  • David Bell – Fouin & Bell – Project Architects
  • Anthony Keenan – Peter Graham & Partners – Principal Designer
  • James Culbertson and Kevin Keenan – Keenan Consultancy – Project M&E advisors
  • Tina Muldowney – Wardell Armstrong – Project Landscape Architect
  • Patrick Barry – Mason Evans – Site Investigation Consultants
  • Matt Stevenson – Carbon Dynamic – Nest house manufacturer
  • Jonathan Avery – Tiny House Scotland – Nest house designer
  • Bob Gould & Ronnie Bathgate – Robertson Group – Groundworker

The team has worked tirelessly to finalise the design of the nest houses with Tiny House designer Jonathon Avery and Carbon Dynamic who are manufacturing the units, develop the site layout, develop and brief and design for the hub, develop the site works and cut and fill design to minimise costs and to secure all necessary consents.

Identifying a suitable principal contractor has also been challenging as we are benefitting from so many free services and materials which the principal/main contractor will be required to co-ordinate.  Luckily we have the knowledge and experience of Mike Armstrong assisting in contractual arrangements which are slightly less standard than normal contracts.

Co-ordinating all of the above, in parallel with structuring legal agreements for the site with landowner EDI, finalising the necessary contracts for the various work packages and managing the site utilities to ensure the project is deliverable, has required a significant amount of resource, commitment and leadership from The Cruden Group.

The proposed site is currently overgrown, self seeded and has a significant slope from top to bottom.  It is also a well used through route for both pedestrians and cyclists. Because the village is temporary, it has been really important to minimise the cost of the infra-structure. We also have to obtain a caravan licence to allow Social Bite to occupy the village.  Working under caravan legislation, we don’t need a building warrant for the structures, just the drainage, which has significantly helped us to achieve the end date for completion.

Launch of the nest house prototype at St Andrew Square in Edinburgh

Launch of the nest house prototype at St Andrew Square in Edinburgh

Led by Gill Cooke, the project engineers Will Rudd worked closely with Mason Evans to identify how best to deal with the ground conditions in a manner that would produce a robust solution on a temporary basis whilst still meeting all the legislative requirements.

The units themselves are very light,  so the groundworks strategy involves scraping back the site, carrying out an extensive cut and fill exercise to platform the site for the units to sit on.  The excess material will be stored on site in a mound so we don’t have to take anything off site, which helps keep the site works cost as low as possible. The point loads of each unit are such that standard foundations are not required, just a layer of hardcore.

Thanks to Jen Knighton and her team at Scottish Water, the drainage and water consents have been in place for some time, well in advance of the planning consent being issued which is testament to the efforts Scottish Water have made to enable the project to start on site as early as possible. Equally, Deborah Philips and her team at Scottish Power have also played a significant role in co-ordination and delivery of multi utilities on site with sub-contractor Clancy Dowcra.

The project is gathering significant momentum now. We are currently finalising a Heads of Terms with EDI for the site and the plan is to now to get the project complete for the end of January 2018 – which is slightly later than originally planned but still only 10 months in total. We are aiming to demonstrate how this very innovative project can be delivered and then potentially rolled out on a more commercial basis.

Josh Littlejohn is extremely persuasive, very talented in mustering support and clear on his vision. With the assistance of Josh and Tony Hackney of BSW the team have collectively managed to procure as many services and materials free gratis as we can with the project benefitting from huge assistance from a wide variety of organisations and individuals.  Josh’s unerring determination and total inability to understand the word ‘no’ has created many challenges along the way for the technical team. At times, trying to translate his vision into practical reality within an extremely challenging programme has been both frustrating and stimulating in equal measures.

The house types set for the Social Bite Village

The house types set for the Social Bite Village

Every project management bone in my body shouts ‘NO NO NO’ on a daily basis, as the sequence and approach we are taking to actually make Josh’s vision happen goes against everything I would normally do in terms of managing a project and the risk associated with it.

However with this in mind we have been able to work, freed from the normal shackles and look at how to do things better, quicker and more innovatively.  It has demanded true partnership working and collaboration which I feel is one of the best outcomes of the project so far.  With everyone so supportive of the vision, we are all working outwith our normal comfort zones to make the project happen.

At time of writing, we are now in week 29 of the project and if I am being honest, I really did not think we would be at this stage so quickly when we didn’t even have a site, brief or design at the beginning of March.

The Carbon Dynamic team is also worth a serious mention. They have been utterly fantastic in terms of driving the project forward and having a prototype ready for St Andrews Square during the festival.

I was involved in installing the prototype on St Andrews Square which was quite possibly one of the most stressful days of my career. We arrived on site just after 5.30am to find two low loaders provided by Ferguson Transport containing the prototype and two forklifts. With tremendous assistance from Grant Stewart of Essential Edinburgh, the Carbon Dynamic team somehow managed to unload the house just as rush hour started and manoeuvre it over the gates, between the trees into position – which took almost 6 hours, the last hour or so under the watchful eye of the Scottish media!

How the Social Bite Village site is laid out

How the Social Bite Village site is laid out

We then spent 12 hours from 3pm in the afternoon to 3am in the morning on September 1, removing it from St Andrews Square on a busy Friday night and moving it out to and installing it at Edinburgh airport, which involved a large crane once we got to the airport.

These aren’t normally the types of activity I would be involved in, but given the profile of the project and the amazing commitment shown by all the partners I am lucky enough to be working with, I felt it was important to assist and lead these moves to ensure the team understands their valuable contributions are genuinely appreciated, which for me, is a big part of being the Project Director especially when most parties are all working on this for no commercial return.

I have no doubt that this project will be delivered.  Whether I will be sane and not an alcoholic at the end of it remains to be seen!  However despite the complexities and frustrations, I am thrilled to be leading the project and to be working with such a fabulous team on what I believe is a particularly important project which will change the way homelessness is managed in Scotland.

I would also like to thank The Cruden Group who have been fantastically supportive in allowing me time to service the project to a significantly greater extent than any of us ever envisaged at the outset.  The Group will also be participating in the “Sleep in the Park” event on December 9.

Construction output drops for fourth consecutive month

Allan Callaghan

Allan Callaghan

Output in the UK’s construction sector contracted by 0.9% in the month of July, while falling 1.2% on a three month to three month basis, marking a fourth month of consecutive decline.

Data released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has attributed the regression on a 1.4% fall in new work, the most in more than three years.

The three month to three month decline in output was due to decreases in both repair and maintenance, which fell 1.8% and all new work, which fell by 1.0%, it added.

“Both the month-on-month and three month on three month series fell for the fourth consecutive month in July 2017,” the ONS said in a release, while noting that output “remains at relatively high levels.”

Noting the decline, and criticising the Scottish Government’s planning system review, Allan Callaghan, managing director of Cruden Homes, said: “The construction sector as a whole has slowed up in recent months, with the effects of economic and political uncertainty, reduced government spending and the fall-out from delayed Brexit decision making and doubt over the outcome of negotiations affecting client and purchaser’s decision making.

“We’re seeing a continued demand for affordable, quality housing across Scotland and this is resulting, currently, in a good trading market for housebuilders. Social housing projects are still having a lengthy development period and there is no doubt that the current projects which started late are supporting this continued turnover but new projects need to come on stream within a shorter development period.”

He added: “The planning system remains challenging and it’s disappointing that the scope of the Scottish Government’s review of the planning system has moved from major reform to a series of procedural changes. Quite simply, the widely held view in the industry is that the planning system needs to speed up or this will threaten the scope of future development right across the country.”

Funding secured for 130 new affordable homes in Stirling

Douglas Spowart, relationship director, social housing & commercial real estate, Bank of Scotland and Margaret Turner, chairperson of Forth Housing Association

Douglas Spowart, relationship director, social housing & commercial real estate, Bank of Scotland and Margaret Turner, chairperson of Forth Housing Association

Forth Housing Association (FHA) has announced a £13 million, three-year plan to build 130 new homes, with support from the Scottish Government and the Bank of Scotland.

The homes will be built at sites across Stirling in a move to address the need for high-quality, affordable social housing in the area and improve living accommodation for families and vulnerable people in the community.

The project has been funded by an £8m grant from the Scottish Government and a £4m loan from Bank of Scotland, with the balance coming from FHA and Stirling Council.

Plans are well in hand for the developments, which include:

  • 76 one, two and three bed semi-detached and terraced houses and flats throughout Raploch
  • 23 one, two and three bed flats and terraced houses at Johnstone Avenue, Cornton
  • 35 two and three bed flats and terraced houses in Cultenhove

Building work will be completed in phases, with workers already on site on some projects, while others will not begin until 2018.

FHA currently owns and manages 800 homes in the Stirling area.

Margaret Turner, chairperson of Forth Housing Association, said: “This is all part of our effort to support the Scottish Government in delivering its target of building 35,000 new affordable homes over the next five years.

“Getting on the housing ladder remains a big challenge in this area as house prices and rents continue to rise, so there is a considerable demand for social housing locally.

“This funding will help to address that need, providing local people with the kind of high-quality, affordable homes that they deserve.”

Contractors Cruden Homes (East), Robertson Group and JB Bennett will build the homes.

Douglas Spowart, relationship director, social housing & commercial real estate, Bank of Scotland Commercial, said: “We’re proud to be able to support Forth Housing Association, which is developing and delivering solutions to the housing pressures that are being felt particularly keenly in Stirling.

“This funding helps to address a real need and will provide a range of high-quality homes that will suit residents with different needs.

“We remain one of the biggest lenders to the UK social housing sector and are committed to helping Britain prosper by supporting organisations like FHA, which make a vital contribution to the city’s housing market.”

Blog: Bringing private and social housing together can be the key to successful regeneration

John Gallacher

John Gallacher at the Athletes’ Village development in Dalmarnock

John Gallacher champions the use of mixed tenure developments to create thriving and sustainable communities as he looks back on four decades spent in the housing industry.

In March I will retire after a 40 year career in housing – a vocation which has given me the chance to make a difference on issues I’ve felt passionate about, like urban regeneration and economic growth and although I am looking forward to retirement, I will also miss my work immensely.

Leaving a much-loved job has inspired a bit of reflection on what has changed in Scottish housing over the course of my career. One of the biggest differences between now and then is the demographics of housing. Today, Scottish Government figures indicate only 23% of people live in social housing – in 1980 this figure was 60% and social housing was seen as a way of offering affordable, secure accommodation to all. Political parties agreed on its importance, and there was little or no stigma attached. Now, after a generation where most people owned their homes, due to the challenging financial climate, we see younger people returning to social renting.

The problem is building enough of these homes. Over half a million social homes were sold off under Right to Buy policy, but for every three sold, only one was built in replacement. Since the global financial crisis, housebuilding levels have stayed low, leaving thousands of people on waiting lists for secure, affordable homes. For future generations, we as a society must invest in providing high quality homes for social rental, as well as affordable housing to buy.

Much of my career has been spent working on developments that brought together a mix of social housing and affordable homes for sale including more than 75 partnership projects, working with councils and housing associations in some of Scotland’s most challenging areas. By building affordable, high quality, energy efficient developments with facilities, amenities and transport links, we ensured that these developments became thriving and sustainable communities. My work to create successful mixed tenure communities was a major factor in earning me a place on the recently published, Inside Housing’s Scottish Leaders List, of which I am immensely proud.

Mixed tenure developments are relatively commonplace now, encouraged by Government policy, but back in the day they were often met with scepticism. In the 1990s, Cruden was responsible for the first mixed tenure developments of private homes built alongside social housing in Glasgow’s Castlemilk. Despite the many doubters the project was so successful we went on to build more than 600 homes for sale and 450 homes for social rent, and this work is credited as playing a vital part in Castlemilk’s transformation.

In Govan, we delivered 290 homes for rent along with 85 homes for sale as part of the Central Govan Action Plan – a £120 million regeneration initiative. We co-ordinated a team of socially-committed partners, which included Glasgow City Council, Glasgow South West Regeneration Agency, housing associations and credit unions to develop the Unique Property Solutions model. This was a package of bespoke mortgage products and support services designed to help first-time buyers overcome their financial obstacles. More than 90% of the private properties were sold to first-time buyers who benefited from either UPS or the Scottish Government’s LIFT scheme.

I can’t possibly talk about career highlights without mentioning the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village. As part of the City Legacy consortium that developed The Village, I have just had the huge pleasure of receiving a Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Better than any award, though, is what The Village has done for Glasgow’s east end. With 400 homes for social rental and 300 private homes all fully occupied, and residents benefitting from the nearby sporting and community facilities as well as a district heating system, the Village tangibly demonstrates what a success high-quality mixed-tenure housing can be.

I believe that housing brings with it the most important element of regeneration – people, and that mixed-tenure projects bring people from a variety of social and economic backgrounds together. And that, I strongly believe, is how real communities are built.

  • John Gallacher MBE, is the former managing director of Cruden Estates and a director of City Legacy and chairman of Clyde Gateway Development Company Ltd

Athletes’ Village consortium honoured with Queen’s Award win

(from left) Calum Murray, CCG; Ed Monaghan, Mactaggart & Mickel; Lord Leuitenant Eva Bolander; John Gallacher, Cruden; Martin Kiely, WH Malcolm

(from left) Calum Murray, CCG; Ed Monaghan, Mactaggart & Mickel; Lord Leuitenant Eva Bolander; John Gallacher, Cruden; Martin Kiely, WH Malcolm

City Legacy Homes, the consortium that built the Athletes’ Village for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, has been honoured by the city to celebrate winning the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development.

Glasgow City Council’s Lord Provost, Eva Bolander, in her role as Lord Lieutenant, hosted the civic reception where she presented the crystal Queen’s Award for Enterprise to directors of the City Legacy consortium – Calum Murray of CCG, John Gallacher of Cruden, Ed Monaghan of Mactaggart & Mickel and Martin Kiely of WH Malcolm, at the city chambers.

The Queen’s Awards are the highest official UK awards for British businesses. Each year they are presented to companies to recognise outstanding achievements in the categories of innovation, international trade, sustainable development and promoting opportunity through social mobility.

City Legacy now joins an elite group of organisations which have received, and are permitted to bear the Queen’s Award emblem. This also marks the 25th accolade that the Athletes’ Village has won for its high quality design, energy efficiency and sustainability.

The Athletes’ Village has been a huge success story in the role it has played in regenerating the east end of Glasgow. Comprising 700 homes and a 120-bed care home, it first provided accommodation for 6,500 athletes and officials during the 2014 Commonwealth Games before being converted into residences as part of the overall project. Demand for the homes was unprecedented, selling out two years ahead of schedule.

In July, City Legacy directors Ed Monaghan and Calum Murray attended a reception for this year’s Queen’s Award winners at Buckingham Palace which was hosted by HRH The Queen.

Martin Kiely, MD of WH Malcolm, and director of City Legacy, said: “It’s been a rewarding and inspiring journey from idea to delivery on the Athletes’ Village, and this award really belongs to the staff at all four companies – CCG, Cruden, Mactaggart & Mickel and WH Malcolm – who worked tirelessly for years to ensure the success of the project. We are grateful, too, for the excellent working partnership we enjoyed with Glasgow City Council throughout delivering the project.

“We knew from day one that The Village would offer a lasting legacy for Glasgow’s East End, and with a decision on planning permission for the second phase of this development expected in the coming weeks, we hope to begin the next chapter of this amazing success story.”

The Lord Provost Eva Bolander said: “Lord Provost Eva Bolander said; “One of the great legacies of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games was the Athletes’ Village, home to the athletes in that fantastic summer and now the site of 700 homes that has won widespread acclaim. The council’s partner in delivering the Athletes’ Village was the City Legacy consortium, and I am delighted that their work has been recognised by this Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development. The Athletes’ Village was key – along with the Emirates Arena and the Clyde Gateway route – in the regeneration of Dalmarnock, which now has a new community centre, nursery, woodland park, and care home, with a new primary school on the way.”

Construction output suffers another dip – ONS

building stock 2Output in the UK’s construction sector fell 1.3% in the three months to June, after a 1.1% rise in the first quarter, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed.

The 3 month on 3 month decrease was driven by a 1.3% drop in new work and a 1.4% fall in repair and maintenance, the fourth consecutive month the figure has dropped.

Month-on-month construction output also fell in June 2017, contracting for the third consecutive month, decreasing by 0.1% compared with the previous month; however, construction output still grew 0.9% compared with June 2016.

The month-on-month decline of 0.1% in June 2017 was driven by a 1.1% fall in all repair and maintenance; however, this was offset by a 5.1% increase in private housing, which reached its highest level on record.

Two large contractors were bullish about their prospects despite the fall in output.

Kier Construction Scotland’s business development manager, Gordon Reid, said: “Although figures have dropped this month, recent reports on the bigger picture point to the industry being stronger and more resilient than ever and this is certainly what we are seeing at Kier Construction Scotland.

“Health and education are key sectors for Scotland and we have recently strengthened our portfolio in these areas.

“Our recent wins support our strategy for growth and as a result we have been able to expand headcount and continue to attract a diverse range of new talent to Kier. The construction industry remains resilient and in good health and we will continue to showcase the breadth of career opportunities and highlight the huge benefit that this important sector delivers to the Scottish economy.”

Allan Callaghan, managing director of Cruden Building & Renewals, added: “The house building sector in Scotland has endured some big challenges this year including the impact of Brexit, the rise in materials like brick and timber and the fall of Sterling.  However, the sector remains buoyant and very resilient. At Cruden, we have secured a number of significant contract wins over recent months and we continue to see high demand at our new housing developments.

“The sector is a major employer in Scotland and plays a big part in addressing youth employment. The issue of labour and resource shortages in the short to medium term needs to be addressed.  At Cruden we have met these challenges head on – setting up the Cruden Academy to deliver best practice in training and education as well as expanding our award-winning modern apprenticeship programmes to invest in our skills and our people.”

Blog: Finding a different pathway to my successful career in construction

Elaine Perratt

Elaine Perratt

Elaine Perratt of Cruden Buildings and Renewals, on how she’s progressed up the career ladder as a women in construction.

When I was at school, I wasn’t academic; the thought of going to university had never crossed my mind. I applied for a nursery nursing course and was accepted, so I was looking forward to a leisurely summer before starting the course in September.

My mum, however, had other ideas! She took me job-hunting, and we found a vacancy on what was then known as a YTS scheme, for an office junior with housebuilder and construction company, Cruden Buildings & Renewals Ltd.  I thought it would be a perfect way to get some experience and money over the summer, and it turned out that I loved working in an office.

When September approached, I told Cruden that although I was enjoying my job, I was due to start my college course, and my position with them was only temporary.

Cruden, as an employer, prides itself on finding a pathway to a career for all of their staff.  They offered me a full-time role as an office junior where I would have the opportunity to progress and develop in the company. I jumped at the chance, and what teenager wouldn’t welcome the full time salary?

A dizzy 33 years later, I am still with Cruden. Over the years I have worked in many roles and departments, including accounts and estimating, working with suppliers and helping with tenders. Then, a position came up as an administration manager in the health and safety department, where I initially typed up reports that the health and safety manager was carrying out on site. My manager then suggested it would be easier if I came out on site with him, so I could see what he did behind the scenes.

Once out on site, my manager could see how interested I was in what he was doing, and suggested I sit my NEBOSH general certificate, which is a globally recognised health and safety qualification. I attended a 16-week course on day release at Motherwell College, which Cruden paid for. At the end of the course I sat two exams and successfully gained my qualification.

It was after this that my manager suggested I consider a degree in health and safety. Never in my wildest dreams had I ever imagined getting a degree, but I had really enjoyed my NEBOSH general certificate, so I was delighted to give it a try. My managing director was extremely supportive, explaining that Cruden would help me in any way they could, including giving me time off for studying. My diploma also allowed me to fast track straight into second year of the course.

I attended university for one day a week. At the same time, I was promoted to health and safety assistant, a role which involved carrying out site inspections, checking signage and carrying out risk assessments. I really enjoyed the combination of classroom learning and on-site experience. After three years, I gained my BSc in Occupational Safety and Health, which was a very proud moment.

Even after all these years, I still love working in construction. My favourite part of my job is knowing that I’m getting everyone home safely. It’s good to get people to look at the bigger picture – cutting corners might save someone ten minutes, but an injury could keep them off work for weeks, or even months.

Statistics show that at a typical health and safety seminar or event, in a room full of 100 people, only five will be women. I’ve been lucky that I’ve never experienced any problems with being a woman in construction. Part of that is down to the culture within Cruden – from the top down, everyone supports each other. We are like a big family. Cruden already has an all-female purchasing department, which is quite rare within the construction industry.

There is still work to be done in addressing the sometimes negative perception of the industry. For example, we often visit primary schools to talk about the safety aspect of construction sites, but I feel that more could be done to encourage children into careers in construction at the same time.

I would encourage anyone, male or female, who is considering a career in construction to go for it. My experience has shown that in this industry, even if you don’t start out with qualifications, with the right attitude and a supportive employer you can still have a long-lasting, fulfilling and varied career.

  • Elaine Perratt is an assistant health and safety manager at Cruden Buildings & Renewals Ltd

Cruden given long-awaited approval for Dundee homes

Angus HA Mid CraigieCruden Homes has been given the green light to progress the delivery of 42 new homes on the site of a former Dundee primary school.

An investment of up to £5 million will see a mix of 30 houses and cottage flats for the affordable rental sector, managed by Angus Housing Association, as well as 12 houses for sale by Cruden.

It was hoped that the project would be on site by April this year but negotiations to purchase the former Mid Craigie Primary School site, which has lain empty since the school’s demolition in late 2009, were made more complicated after site investigations revealed the land was contaminated by materials from the school demolition contract.

Now the project is due to begin in September after Dundee City Council granted planning permission earlier this week.

Five of the new rented homes will be for special needs identified by the council to allow the households to continue living at home. Broughty Ferry architects KDM have designed the new homes.

Angus Housing Association director, Bruce Forbes, told The Courier: “The last time I was aware we were planning to be on site in September.

“We’re really pleased that it has got to this stage.

“It’s taken a while because of issues regarding the condition of the site. There was a lot of work being done in terms of decontamination.

“All of our houses are built for housing for various needs. They all have to be wheelchair accessible. Hopefully we’ll be on site soon.”

Cruden Homes’ land and development director, Fraser Lynes, added: “Cruden Homes are delighted to secure planning permission for this exciting mixed tenure development in a region where we are looking to grow.

“Working with our partners, Angus Housing Association, we believe our proposals meet the requirements of a large demographic, and importantly supply much needed homes on disused Council land.

“We would like to thank Dundee City Council and hope to work with them again in the near future.”

ONS records largest dip in construction output for five years

building stock 2Output in the UK construction sector fell by1.2% in May 2017 in both the month-on-month and 3 month on 3 month time series, new figures have shown.

The three-month on three-month decrease represents the largest fall in output recorded by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) since September 2012, driven by falls in both repair and maintenance, and all new work.

The main downward pressure on month-on-month growth came from all new work, most notably from infrastructure, which fell 4.0% following strong growth in April 2017.

Construction output also fell month-on-year, falling by 0.3% in May 2017, the first consecutive month-on-year decrease in output since May 2013.

The ONS has now revised construction output growth for April 2017 upwards by 0.5 percentage points from minus 1.6% to minus 1.1%.

Despite the dip in output, the Scottish division of partnership housing developer Lovell said May was “a particularly busy month” for the firm.

Commenting on the figures, regional managing director for Lovell in Scotland, Stephen Profili, said: “May was a particularly busy month for Lovell in Scotland with a total of 23 separate projects underway located throughout the central belt. These included three sites that reached completion during that month and a further two projects that completed pre-construction and moved into the proper building phase.

“Overall construction output figures show a mixed picture but the underlying performance of the new housebuilding sector of the industry gives us continued reason to be optimistic about the outlook for the remainder of 2017. Lovell remains on track to complete more new homes this year than in any previous year, the majority of which will be affordable housing.”

Likewise, Allan Callaghan, managing director of Cruden Building & Renewals, added: “A dip in output is disappointing, but the housebuilding sector is resilient and continues to make a strong contribution to the construction industry.

“With the changes to the Scottish Government’s planning system coming into effect just last month, I hope that the substantial increases in fees are reinvested into planning services, leading to greater performance and output.

“We need an effective and delivery-focused planning service that allows house builders and developers to keep building the new homes that Scotland desperately needs and drives greater investment, growth and jobs.”

Link progresses plans for 199 mid-market rent homes in Leith

Salamander Place Link 2Plans have been submitted to develop 199 new homes for mid-market rent in Leith on behalf of Link Housing Association.

Delivered in partnership with Cruden Homes and the Teague Group, the 7N Architects-designed homes will be located on brownfield land at Salamander Place between Leith Links and the docks.

The project forms part of a wider masterplan which could bring up to 600 homes to the industrial area.

Colin Culross director of development & asset management at Link, told our sister publication Scottish Housing News that the homes will contribute to the ongoing regeneration of the area.

Salamander Place LinkHe said: “Link’s development at Salamander Place is part of a pledge by six housing associations to match the City of Edinburgh Council’s plan to build 8,000 homes within the next ten years, thereby delivering 16,000 affordable and low cost homes to the Capital.

“Developed entirely to meet a mid-market renting profile, Link’s 199 new homes will be built using a simple palette of high quality materials and constructed to meet the silver standard of sustainability.

“The development will contribute to the ongoing regeneration of the area, creating employment and training opportunities, as well as ensuring added value for local communities through Link’s client-based approach to community benefits in procurement.”

Work on the homes could begin as early as the end of the year.