Cruden Group

Cruden and Hart look to the future with new HQ and new image

Steven Simpson, managing director of Cruden Homes (East) Ltd (left) and Colin Macdonald, managing director of Hart Builders

Steven Simpson, managing director of Cruden Homes (East) Ltd (left) and Colin Macdonald, managing director of Hart Builders

Cruden Homes East and sister company Hart Builders have rebranded and relocated from their former head offices as part of the Cruden Group’s continuing growth strategy.

The new homes and building divisions were formerly located in Juniper Green in Edinburgh and Macmerry in East Lothian respectively but are now both centrally based in Cruden House at the South Gyle Business Park.

There are currently 65 staff in the new office, all benefitting from parking spaces and a well positioned location which provides easy access to the city by road, rail and tram, while the Edinburgh bypass, M8 and M9 motorways are minutes away.

Additional staff benefits include three brand new recreational areas for eating or breaks with each fully equipped and interior designed with feature furniture and lighting. Specifically designed high level desks have been installed in key locations for reviewing architectural plans.

There are also several breakout areas for informal meetings, a range of sleek meeting rooms with the latest AV facilities and a fully equipped gym.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Various interiors of Cruden House at 36 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh

Steven Simpson, managing director of Cruden Homes (East) Ltd, said: “These are very exciting times for us. Cruden Group has just recorded its 18th consecutive year of profitable trading with another annual increase in turnover, profit and home sales. Both Cruden Homes and Hart Builders continue to make a significant contribution to these results and this relocation puts us in an ideal position to maximize our continued growth and manage the expansion of our operations.

“Going forward, we benefit from a sound financial base and have a number of exciting projects at various stages of the planning process. With the quality and commitment of our people, this move gives us a strong footing to further develop our reputation and continue our growth in the east of Scotland.”

Colin Macdonald, managing director of Hart Builders, added: “Being centrally based at South Gyle provides us with easy access to other Group companies, which in turn is already providing significant economies of scale that strengthen our operating capacity, enhance synergy and stand us in good stead for the Group’s 75th anniversary in 2018 and beyond.”

In addition to the move to Cruden House, a new look for all Cruden Group divisions has been unveiled ahead of the firm’s 75th anniversary next year. The new brand identity has been styled to both highlight Cruden Homes and Hart Builders’ individuality while at the same time, a cohesive approach to the design emphasises each division’s Group connection.

The new address and contact details for both Cruden Homes East and Hart Builders are as follows: Cruden House, South Gyle Business Park, 36 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9EB.  Tel: 0131 285 6600.

Construction output suffers second consecutive quarterly drop

demolition shadow stockOutput in the UK construction industry fell by 1.6% during September to record consecutive quarterly contractions for the first time in five years.

Data published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that construction output contracted by 0.9% in the three months to September 2017.

The fall follows a decline of 0.5% in Quarter 2 (April to June), representing the first consecutive quarter-on-quarter decline in current estimates of construction output since the third quarter in 2012.

The 0.9% decline in output was attributed to decreases in both repair and maintenance, which fell 1.4% and all new work, which fell 0.7%.

Meanwhile the 1.6% month-on-month drop stemmed from falls of 2.1% in repair and maintenance and 1.3% in all new work.

The estimate for construction growth in Quarter 3 2017 has been revised down 0.2 percentage points from negative 0.7% in the preliminary estimate of gross domestic product (GDP), which has no impact on quarterly GDP growth to one decimal place.

Allan Callaghan

Allan Callaghan

Despite the disappointing figures, Allan Callaghan, Managing Director of Cruden Building, told Scottish Construction Now that there is positivity on the horizon.

He said: “At Cruden Building, we are seeing continuing confidence in the housing market, with strong sales across our new housing developments. Similarly, aspiration and demand for affordable housing is also rising from housing associations and local authorities alike in a bid to address the identified housing shortfall. We are currently working on live projects will deliver in excess of 1,300 new homes in the West of Scotland.

“This potential boost in activity has to be viewed against a backdrop of the trailed effects of Brexit creeping in, as large pan-European suppliers to the building industry are warning that material costs could rise by around 15%. This will put construction companies under huge cost pressures to deliver more with less. Clients need to recognise this and address pricing and the industry needs to continue engaging multi-skilled staff to focus on sustainable, steady growth in order to achieve long term success.”

Quarterly construction output down despite return to growth in August

construction worker stockA growth in construction output across the UK in August failed to offset a fall in output over the quarter, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found.

Construction output grew 0.6% month-on-month in August 2017, predominantly driven by a 1.7% rise in all new work thanks to private housing, which grew 2.3% and infrastructure, which increased by 3.6%.

According to ONS data the output in August 2017 was 3.5% higher than it was at the same time last year.

However, construction output shrank by 0.8% in the three months to August 2017 compared with the previous three months due to decreases in both repair and maintenance, which fell 0.6% and all new work, which fell 0.9%.

Responding to the figures, Kier Construction Scotland’s regional business development manager, Gordon Reid, said: “It’s encouraging to see construction output growing month-on-month and these positive figures echo Kier Construction Scotland’s performance, where our robust set of financial results show that we are expanding our order book and providing diverse and local employment and training opportunities throughout Scotland.

“We have recently been appointed as a partner on the £160m Aberdeenshire Council Social Housing Improvement Framework and we are also seeing steady growth from the education, health and heritage sectors.

“While these exciting projects bring the chance to attract new talent, the sector is facing a skills shortage and a lack of attraction by youngsters to careers in the construction sector which is exacerbated by poor careers advice. To help combat this, Kier has pledged one percent of our workforce who will act as school career ambassadors in a bid to change the outdated perceptions of working within construction and to highlight the breadth of career opportunities that the industry offers and the significant boost that the sector delivers to the economy.”

Allan Callaghan, managing director of Cruden Building & Renewals, added: “While there is no doubt that the construction industry has faced significant challenges in recent months, including economic and political uncertainties, the house building industry in particular, remains resilient.

“In fact, at Cruden, our order book has continued to grow, and we have recently reported our eighteenth consecutive year of profitable trading.  Proof in itself that quality, affordable homes remain in high demand.

“It’s important that we look ahead and ensure we have the right skills and resources in place to continue to grow. We invest heavily in our Cruden Academy to do exactly that – delivering best practice training and education as well as an award winning modern apprenticeship programme.

“I’ve no doubt the construction sector will continue to weather the storm and Cruden in particular will continue our steady and sustainable growth over the coming months and into 2018.”

Cruden Group breaks £200m turnover barrier following ‘fantastic year’

Cruden Group managing director Kevin Reid

Cruden Group managing director Kevin Reid

Construction and residential development firm Cruden Group has exceeded the £200 million turnover mark for the first time as the business recorded an eighteenth consecutive year of profitable trading.

Audited results published today for the year up to 31 March 2017 have revealed an increase in turnover, profit and home sales.

Pre-tax profits hit £10.4m for the year to March from £7.5m last time as turnover increased to £200.6m from £154.2m. The company’s net assets now stand at £43.6m (an increase from £38.8m in 2015), and access to a £9m bank facility remains undrawn.

The number of homes sold by the Group increased from 139 in 2016 to 280, reflecting the greater number of sales outlets this year. Of these homes, 62 were sold through joint ventures compared to 34 in 2016. Whilst the average sales value in 2017 (including joint ventures) was £226,000 (a decrease from £259,000 last year) sales were achieved across a broad price range (£99,000 to £1,300,000) demonstrating the diversity of the Group’s product range.

Construction turnover also grew from £136m in 2016 to £160m – an increase of 18%. Key activity remains the construction and refurbishment of residential housing for clients in the public sector.

Cruden’s King’s View development in North Toryglen, Glasgow

Cruden’s King’s View development in North Toryglen, Glasgow

Kevin Reid, Cruden Group managing director, said: “I’m very pleased to report that 2017 has been a fantastic year for Cruden, delivering the Group’s highest turnover and profit in its history. To have had eighteen consecutive years of profitable trading is a wonderful achievement, especially against the challenging economic backdrop we’ve had in recent years.

“The Group board is delighted with the strong performance of the business, and we look towards our 75th anniversary next year with optimism. We fully expect our business to continue to grow sustainably in the years ahead.

“In terms of residential sales, business remains encouraging in this area as a result of the suitability and affordability of many of our homes for first time buyers, along with our team’s expertise in providing guidance and support to this market sector. The continued availability of Help to Buy (Scotland) has also been beneficial to our first time purchasers.

“Training and skills development is a key focus within the Group, so it is also fantastic news that we have continued to retain in excess of 50 apprentices on our books – this will provide a pipeline of skilled and talented employees for the future.

“Winning the Queen’s Award for Enterprise as part of the City Legacy consortium was another wonderful moment for the whole team at Cruden Group. I am extremely proud that Cruden continues to be recognised at the highest level for the top quality build projects that we deliver, and also for our excellent team of employees who provide impeccable customer service.

“As a company with CSR firmly at its heart, I’m also proud that one of the Group’s shareholders, Cruden Foundation, has now donated £6m to community based charities in Scotland.”

The Woodcroft development in Edinburgh

The Woodcroft development in Edinburgh

Key achievements in 2016/17 – Residential Developments 

  • At the King’s View development in North Toryglen in Glasgow (374 units in total), work is complete on 100 units for rent and the first phase of 55 units for sale has sold out months ahead of schedule. Sales are now ongoing on Phase Two, with only a limited number of units left. This development was voted Affordable Housing Development of the Year in 2016 at the Herald Property Awards, with Cruden Homes also being recognised as Residential Sales Team of the Year.
  • At the Helenvale development in Glasgow (237 units in total) sales have also got off to a flying start, with the first phase sold out, and limited availability in the second phase.
  • In 2015/2016, the Group delivered 97 highly sustainable apartments and houses as part of the continuing regeneration of Craigmillar.  Construction has now commenced on the next phase of this project, with a further 150 units becoming available in due course.
  • Demonstrating the breadth of the Group’s activities, at The Grange in Edinburgh, the award-winning Woodcroft development (81 units) sits in one of Edinburgh’s most prestigious residential addresses and consists of 24 luxury three-storey townhouses and 57 executive apartments, including a number of impressive penthouses and this development has been extremely well received by the market – only 1 flat remains available. At the Hydro Gardens development in Peebles (delivered under the Queensberry JV), only 4 homes remain available out of 33.
  • Subsequent phases of the popular Raploch and Wauchope regeneration developments are now under construction, and the first of a number of developments in East Lothian is set to commence with 44 family homes and flats at Old Craighall. This will be followed by a much anticipated development of 107 executive family homes in Aberlady.
  • Cruden Homes West won Best Family Home for the small/medium family atthe Herald Property Awards 2017 for The Oak house type, which is being sold at both King’s View and Helenvale, Glasgow. Hart Builders, part of the Cruden Group, was also commended in the Affordable Housing Development of the Year category for the Harbour Point development in Edinburgh.

Key achievements in 2016/17 – Construction 

  • The Group has been appointed as a preferred contractor on the Scottish Procurement Alliance Framework. Through the Framework, Cruden will deliver in excess of 700 units over the next three years on currently identified sites. These appointments include four projects for River Clyde Homes (totalling 237 units), four projects for South Lanarkshire Council (totalling 125 units), seven projects for Eildon Housing Association (totalling 289 units) and three projects for Berwickshire Housing Association (totalling 66 units).
  • The continued roll-out of the award winning build solution – Cruden C4S.  This solution incorporates off-site prefabrication and component manufacture, producing bespoke building fabric which optimises air quality, saves energy and produces and distributes high efficiency heat.
  • The Group is delivering another 146 flats for mid-market rent for the innovative National Housing Trust programme at the Harbour Point development in Edinburgh – this brings the total number under this Scottish Futures Trust initiative to approximately 500.
  • The Group’s continued focus on the health and education sectors has also culminated in a number of new projects, including completion of a new care home at Pinkhill at Corstorphine in Edinburgh, and ongoing care home construction at Balcarres Street,and Trinity in Edinburgh, and Mill Wynd, in Haddington.  Student accommodation projects have also been delivered in both Glasgow and Edinburgh.
  • As part of the City Legacy consortium, Cruden won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for the hugely successful Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village, a project which was delivered on budget and on time.  Attention is now being turned to Phase 2 of this project.
  • The Grouphas trialled and rolled out a highly successful employability programme which provides an intensive three-week training programme targeted at unemployed people who wish to join the construction industry but have no direct experience. Through this initiative, in conjunction with both Dundee City Council and East Lothian Council, Cruden Group has provided opportunities for 14 unemployed people to learn a new semi-skilled trade installing insulation.  From those so far 12 have gained full time employment, 10 of which were directly employed by 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.”