Graham Construction

hub South West partnership with Graham Construction hands over newly-completed St Joseph’s College

St Joseph’s College, Dumfries

hub South West, the construction and infrastructure-focused partnership which works with local authorities and private sector enterprises in Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway, has completed work on a £24 million project in Dumfries & Galloway.

The re-development and modernisation of St Joseph’s College – established by the Marist Brothers in 1875 – is the first project to be completed as part of phase 1 of the Dumfries Learning Town initiative.

The main contractor was Graham Construction, and the architect was CRG Architects, with support from landscape architects SWP.

Work was commenced on the Grade B-Listed historic stone building in August 2016 and has been completed on time and on budget.

Development and refurbishment resulted in an 8,000 sq. m. facility which can accommodate 644 secondary school students and 72 staff.

During construction, the central building was extensively redeveloped with the north-west glazed extension having been demolished to make way for a state of the art sports hall and hospitality teaching area.

A 1980’s era extension on the Craig’s Road side of the building was redeveloped to include new kitchen and dining facilities.

Pupils and staff will return to the ‘new’ school on 19 April – an extra four days of Easter holiday – to complete their move.

Local businesses enrol in hub South West’s eighth Building for Growth Programme

Gordon Hunter

hub South West’s eighth Building for Growth programme is now underway with more local businesses signed up in expectation of winning new work from Scotland’s Tier 1 contractors.

The bespoke business development initiative is open to any company looking to grow in a sustainable manner by building the skills and internal capacity to take on increasing volumes of business and, as a result could win new work from participating contactors.

The Building for Growth programme, aimed at ambitious businesses in construction and related sectors based in Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway, is run by hub South West, a public-private partnership of local authorities, NHS, blue light services and a clutch of leading construction industry Tier 1 contractors including Morrison, Graham, Morgan Sindall, Ashleigh and Kier.

The current programme, from which 62 local businesses have already graduated, got under way on 21 March and is scheduled to run through until early June. It comprises 8 half-day sessions (10.00am-2.00pm) over a period of 12 weeks. Throughout the spring 2018 session workshops will focus on topics such as smart tendering, innermetrix profiling, strategic growth and exit options, marketing planning, supplier development programmes, corporate social responsibility and pitching for business.

Gordon Hunter, hub South West’s supply chain manager, who manages the Building for Growth programme, said: “There are a lot of good businesses out there, but some have areas where they need to build capacity if they want to rise to the next level.

“For example, many are relying too heavily on the skills of one key person, some of the IT practices are not very efficient or robust, and marketing communications can vary from the sublime to the almost non-existent.

“A golden rule of the programme is ‘no competitors’, leaving participants free to discuss any business issues, challenges and opportunities in a safe and supportive environment with a like-minded group of business people.”

Gary Thorn, founder and MD of Cumbernauld-based Cube Glass, who won the Best final Presentation Award at the culmination of the seventh Building for Growth Programme in November last year, said: “I learned a great deal from this programme and I will be ever-grateful to hub South West for giving me the opportunity to participate.

“At first I thought it would be impossible for me to take eight half-days away from the business to attend but, in fact, taking time away from my day to day concerns gave me the opportunity to sit back and look at our long term development and to improve the chances of Cube Glass winning work from some of the Tier One contractors.”

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, added: “Our aim is to help generate growth in the local economy through innovative methods of partnership working and procurement which also provide value for money solutions.

“Our Building for Growth programme has already delivered success to the leaders of its participating companies by both broadening and deepening their grasp of the factors needed to win more new, bigger contracts from Tier One contractors and we hope and trust that all of the participants in our eighth Building for Growth programme will follow in their footsteps.”

List of delegates

Company Location Sector
JD Scaffolding Bargeddie Scaffolding
Murray Landscapes Motherwell Landscape Contracting
Emtec Branding Cumbernauld Signage
VWS Cumbernauld CCTV/Alarms/Fire
Belac Eurocentral Utilities/ Construction
IG Contracts Stewarton Groundworks
Hire and Supplies Dumfries/ Oban Plant Hire
Catherinefield Windows Dumfries Window Manufacture
Cube Glass Cumbernauld Glass Partitions
CSP Acoustics Glasgow Acoustics Consultants
Dow Waste Management Cumbernauld Waste and Recycling
Atlas Business Interiors Dumfries Design, space planning, FFE
Naturally Compliant Glasgow Environmental CoW


Dumfries pupils gain construction industry experience with GRAHAM

GRAHAM Construction is supporting eight pupils from Dumfries Academy with five-day work experience placements.

The construction company, which is delivering the Dumfries Learning Town, partnered with Developing Young Workforce Dumfries to recruit the young people.

The 15 and 16 year-olds, two females and six young men, were working with engineers, quantity surveyors and site personnel based at the North West Campus project, while also taking part in site visits to get an insight into ongoing work.

Last week participants were given a tour of North West Campus, a state-of-the-art facility which will be the new home to 1,000 pupils between the ages of 3-18 from the current Lochside and St Ninian’s Primary Schools, Langlands Special Secondary School and Maxwelltown High School.

As part of the construction process, GRAHAM has supported 72 people with work placements, apprenticeships, site visits and training.

Contracts manager at GRAHAM Construction, Tony Dixon, said: “We’re proud to support this fantastic group of young people who are all eager to learn about construction.

“They’ve been hearing about the different career options in the construction industry and how these align with the school curriculum.

“We’ve placed a major focus on our commitment to the local community while undertaking these building projects and our legacy to the region is extremely important.”

North West Campus is due for completion in Summer 2018.

Contractors support new course to encourage more females into construction

Infrastructure partnership hub South West is throwing its weight behind a new initiative which is aimed at encouraging greater female career participation in the construction sector.

In partnership with its main contracting partners – Kier, GRAHAM, Morrisons and Morgan Sindall – hub South West is supporting the Females into Construction course, facilitated by New College Lanarkshire.

The course, which has no formal entry requirements, will be open to 16 female S5 pupils, and provides a National 5 qualification in Construction Crafts. On completion, students can progress to pre-apprenticeships or progress onto a professional career route of higher national certificate level.

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, said: “The course aims to encourage young females who are interested in a career in construction, while highlighting the varying career paths into the industry.

“Throughout the course, students will have the opportunity to visit sites managed by the supporting contractors, where they can observe a variety of construction roles in action.”

New College Lanarkshire, which recently was rated among the UK top three institutions for skills at WorldSkills UK, will run the course from April 30 to June 29 at its Motherwell Campus.

The course will include painting and decorating, masonry work, carpentry and joinery as well as visits to live construction sites, ambassador talks, visits to design offices at regional headquarters, CSCS specific safety training and work placements.

Students who are interested in pursuing a professional career path in construction may have the opportunity to join the college’s Built Environment or computer aided architectural design and technology.

Amanda Wright, social impact manager for Kier Construction Scotland, said: “We are delighted to support this important initiative. All of our sites are looking forward to sharing our knowledge and showcasing the wide range of diverse and very rewarding career opportunities that exist for women, both within Kier Construction Scotland, and throughout the construction industry.”

Morrison Construction community skills manager, Jim Johnstone, said: “We are proud to be part of this great initiative to help encourage more women into our industry and we are excited to showcase the wide variety of careers that are available in construction.

“Diversity in the workforce will only make our industry stronger as it encourages greater creativity and collaboration in the workplace.”

Stuart Parker, managing director of Morgan Sindall in Scotland, said: “We’re committed to promoting the construction industry and the rewarding careers it can to offer to all young people; but encouraging more female entrants to join the workforce is of particular importance.

“At Morgan Sindall, more than 18% of our personnel are women. That’s an increase from 10% two years ago and substantially higher than the national sector average of 12%. As an industry, there’s still work to be done.

“Close collaboration between businesses, schools and colleges is critical to effecting real change and we’re proud to be a key partner in hub South West’s initiative.”

Debbie Rutherford, regional community benefit advisor at GRAHAM Construction, said: “It’s fantastic to be involved with this course. We are very much looking forward to meeting the students and helping them throughout their journey.

“It’s important to us that young people, no matter their gender, are educated on the various routes to employment and are inspired and encouraged along the way.”

Press for Progress this International Women’s Day

Hannah Simpson

GRAHAM Construction apprentice engineer, Hannah Simpson, tackles a question often associated with the construction industry – “Where are all the women?”

It’s my experience that prior to choosing a career, girls are not given the right information about roles within the sector.

I hadn’t considered construction until it was time to apply for university, when it became obvious that my strong subjects pointed me in the direction of civil engineering.

It’s a failing of our society that certain jobs are matched to one gender, and for that reason I had never previously considered it.

At university, from a class of 70, there were only eight female students.

The theme for International Women’s Day today is #PressforProgress and last year’s was #BeBoldforChange, but we still have some way to go in moving away from the male-dominated persona construction and similar sectors carry.

Being the only female on a building site can be a daunting prospect for some women, but thankfully I’ve found my workmates to be welcoming and respectful and I’ve been given the same opportunities as my male colleagues.

When people ask me why girls should be thinking about a career within the industry, my answer is that I absolutely love my job, every day is different and every day is a school day. I know this sounds like a cliché but it’s the experience I’ve had.

It’s important to me that we show that these roles are for both genders and that we aren’t telling young girls to stay clear and think of another career that is more “suited”.

You don’t have to want to build a building to work in construction – there’s a number of different roles that are needed during any project. I work with women in my company that are essential to the build while not working directly on site.

It’s also Scottish Apprenticeship Week this week, time to celebrate the routes that are open to all and highlight to young people of both genders the subjects they may need to kick start their career.

The company I work for is a member of the 5% Club, an organisation consisting of companies committed to ensuring 5% of their workforce over the next five years is comprised of young people on structured learning schemes.

I’m proud to be a woman in construction and consider myself lucky to have a job that I love – and it’s even better when you get to beat the boys!

Catch up with the rest of Scottish Construction Now’s International Women’s Day feature here.

Graham first contractor in UK to achieve BIM certifcation

Graham Construction’s pioneering approach to Building Information Modelling (BIM) has been given the ultimate seal of approval.

The company, which has offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dumfries has become the first contractor in the UK and Ireland to achieve the highly recognised BSI (British Standards Institution) (BSI) Kitemark certification for both BIM Design and Construction (PAS 1192-2) and Asset Management (PAS 1192-3).

Building Information Modelling is an increasingly important part of the global construction market place, with governments around the world starting to make it a condition of contract.

Seen as a game-changer for the construction industry, BIM is a collaborative way of working that uses digital technologies to enable more efficient methods of design and construction, ultimately driving out waste and inefficiencies in projects, reducing costs and environmental impact.

In Scotland Graham Construction is utilising BIM extensively for major projects including the Baird and Anchor Hospitals on behalf of NHS Grampian and the Dalbeattie Learning Campus, North West Campus and The Bridge Learning Hub in Dumfries and Galloway.

Melanie Dawson, head of BIM at Graham, discusses: “This prestigious dual UK and Ireland certification for BIM is a fantastic achievement and is testament to the Graham commitment to investing in, and utilising, BIM and digital technology.

“The independent third-party certification is a formal recognition that Graham adheres to world leading standards. It gives our clients and stakeholders the confidence and assurance that we will deliver consistent excellence from project inception through to the asset management and beyond.”

Melanie continues: “Our certified Building Information Modelling systems and processes are the foundations and framework for our bigger vision for digital construction. Embedding BIM into our everyday business practices is a priority at Graham. We are using the growing volume of information on construction projects to make smarter decisions, control costs and deliver consistently excellent projects. BIM is helping us improve efficiency in the supply chain which in turn significantly benefits our clients.”

The BSI Kitemark is one of the most recognisable trust marks in existence today and demonstrates that each Kitemark approved product or service has gone above and beyond the normal requirements to achieve the highest standards.

Congratulating Graham on the dual certification, Gavin Summerson, senior certification manager at BSI (British Standards Institution) said: “The BSI BIM Kitemark is the most rigorous test of an organisation’s implementation of BIM and GRAHAM should be very proud of this achievement.

Not only have they demonstrated the delivery of BIM projects during the design and construction phase in accordance with PAS 1192-2, they have also demonstrated that they are continuing to work to BIM level 2 at the asset management phase, in accordance with PAS 1192-3.  This helps both GRAHAM and their clients to realise the full benefits of BIM, to enable the effective management of information throughout the asset lifecycle, providing assurance and trust to asset owners.”

Graham delivers building, civil engineering and fit out projects for both public and private sector clients across Scotland as well as the remainder of the UK and Ireland.

Recently named Major Contractor of the Year at the annual UK Building Awards in London, the privately-owned company is currently working on over 100 live sites across the UK and Ireland.

Graham employs approximately 2,100 employees across its UK and Ireland operations, with 350 based in Scotland.

Contractor cleared of causing dust contamination at Inverness hospital

An Inverness hospital which had to postpone a number of operations due to dust contamination in its theatres has ruled out recent construction work as the cause.

Floors of the theatres in the main theatre complex at Raigmore Hospital were found to be contaminated by dust resulting in a number of postponements of surgery while the area was deep cleaned.

The theatres had been undergoing an upgrade by Graham Construction as part of a multi-million pound refurbishment of the hospital.

It was initially thought that construction work as part of the theatre upgrade had resulted in the increased level of dust being tracked into the theatre block.

However tests carried out by hospital authorities have revealed that the dust migration was not directly attributable to the adjacent refurbishment works.

Katherine Sutton, deputy director of operations at Raigmore Hospital, said: “We have been working very closely with Graham Construction.

“We’re satisfied that precautions taken by our contractor are proving effective and are confident that additional steps taken by both our clinical teams and our estate staff will ensure that theatres can begin to function as normal.”

Pat O’Hare, contracts director at Graham Construction, added: “We have wide experience in the refurbishment of operating theatres within live hospitals, and the isolated work areas we develop are essential to ensure operations can continue while this work is under way.

“It’s clear, following these tests, that the very strict protocols we have in place to prevent dust migration from areas under contamination are operating effectively.”

Elective surgeries have now resumed at the hospital following the cleaning process.

NHS Grampian gives formal approval for £163m Aberdeen health centres

The outline business case for the construction of two health facilities in Aberdeen has been agreed, though the final cost has risen by £13.7 million due to “design complexities and site conditions”.

The NHS Grampian Board gave its formal approval yesterday to the project to deliver the new Baird Family Hospital and ANCHOR Centre at the city’s Foresterhill Health Campus.

But while the project was proposed to be delivered for £150m when it was initially announced in August 2015, the Board now expects the development to cost £163m.

A report which was considered by the Board prior to its approval stated: “The previously reported project budget was £150m. As a result of design complexities and site conditions identified during the preparation of the outline business case, this has increased to £163.7m. This increase is required to meet the clinical brief, deal with the site conditions and deliver world-class buildings for clinical reasons.”

The significant milestone will allow the project to be formally considered by the Capital Investment Group, Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorate, later this month.

The new facilities will help modernise patient care and facilities at the Foresterhill Health Campus, which is Europe’s biggest healthcare site, and is part of NHS Grampian’s £300m investment in new or upgraded facilities across the North East.

NHS Grampian project director Jackie Bremner and Graham Construction regional director Gary Holmes shake on the deal – surrounded by senior colleagues from their organisations

Graham Construction was selected to develop the two facilities in December 2016.

Gary Holmes, Scottish managing director for Graham Construction, said: “We are privileged to be working with NHS Grampian and its stakeholders in the development of the Foresterhill Health Campus and in equipping it to offer the highest quality of care to the region for years to come. This is a major step forward.”

Jackie Bremner, who is the project director for NHS Grampian, said: “This is a very exciting and important milestone which will allow the project to move one step closer to becoming a reality. It is also the result of 3 years of hard work which has involved hundreds of people including clinical staff, patients, members of the public, designers and construction colleagues.

“It is starting to feel real now – in a year or so these magnificent new facilities, which will benefit patients and their families for many years to come, will have begun to take shape.”

She continued: “Over the next few months work to develop the detailed design and construction plans with our construction partner Graham Construction and their design team will be completed ready for the main construction programme to commence in the spring of 2019.

“Clinical staff, patients and members of the public have been involved from the outset and we hope they will continue to help us shape the design of facilities and services over the life of the project.”

She also said that services in a number of existing buildings are relocating elsewhere on the Foresterhill Health Campus to allow these facilities to be built.

“In advance of the main construction works, which should begin in the spring of 2019, preparatory work to demolish existing buildings, road realignment and a range of service diversions is expected to begin in the autumn,” she said.

The services delivered from the Eye Out-patient Department are relocating to refurbished accommodation in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI) in the summer of 2018.

The Foresterhill Health Centre is moving to a new purpose built health centre to the west of the Campus, being developed by hubCo and due to open in the spring of 2018.

The breast screening service moved last month into temporary accommodation in ARI until they move into their new accommodation in the Baird Family Hospital in 2021.

Jackie added: “These moves, along with the development of the Baird Family Hospital and the ANCHOR Centre, will change the Westburn Road face of the Foresterhill Health Campus in Aberdeen and support the delivery of modern, high quality health services for the people of Grampian and the north of Scotland for many years to come.”

hub South West launches network to help companies win business from Tier 1 contractors

The hub Club meeting in Dumfires and Galloway earlier this month

The hub Club meeting in Dumfires and Galloway earlier this month

Construction and infrastructure-focused partnership hub South West has launched a networking arm which aims to better connect businesses throughout Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway.

The hub Club, which has already held three highly successful  inaugural events this month in Ayr, Cumbernauld and Dumfries, is aimed not only at bringing SMEs closer to Tier 1 contractors such as Morrison, Graham, Ashleigh, Morgan Sindall and Kier, but also at enabling companies engaged across a range of activities to meet each other and do business together.

Gordon Hunter

Gordon Hunter

Gordon Hunter, supply chain development manager at hub South West, who together with his team, has overseen the hub club launch events said: “We have been running a ‘Building for Growth’ programme for companies throughout the South West of Scotland for a few years now and the hub club idea evolved as a natural extension from our basic aim of getting people to meet, talk and learn from each other.

“We all know that people prefer to do business with people they know and The hub Club provides a regular forum for up to forty companies at a time, to sit down in a room together and talk about their businesses, share their experiences and potentially collaborate on projects together.

“We welcome all companies in the South West region to join The hub Club and to participate in our series of monthly events into 2018. Anyone interested can find out more from our website.”

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, said: “Our mission is to enable cost-efficient design and construction of community facilities within South West Scotland and to provide value for money and generate growth in the local economy through a new method of partnership working and procurement.

“A fundamental part of that approach is to ensure that as many local businesses as possible are hired to contribute their skills and expertise to these projects. The hub Club helps us to achieve that objective by harnessing the vast range of expertise that already exists amongst SMEs throughout the region and putting it to work.”

State of the art learning campus opens to pupils

Dalbeattie 2

Dalbeattie Learning Campus has officially been handed over to pupils after completion by Graham Construction.

The £24m state-of-the-art campus will replace the town’s primary and secondary schools and Council nursery schools, which have operated in a number of buildings on separate sites.

Dalbeattie Learning Campus was designed to enable much greater use by the Dalbeattie community.

Work started on site in March 2016, with an 18 month build programme and the building is now ready on schedule.

The old High School building, next to the new campus, will soon be demolished and the site landscaped before being incorporated into the campus site.

This is a very exciting time as the keys were finally handed over to the council today following years of consultation, engagement and construction.  The new campus will open its doors to pupils next week who will be excited to be stepping into their new school for the first time.

Dalbeattie 1

Craig Bridges, regional development director at Graham Construction, said: “Dalbeattie Learning Campus is a first-class educational facility which will bring long-lasting benefits to the local community.

“A significant construction project, our team have delivered a state-of-the-art learning space, while also creating many different jobs and apprenticeships in the process. We’re extremely pleased to handover the building to Dumfries and Galloway Council and look forward to continuing to work closely with them in the future.”

Councillor Jeff Leaver, chair of the Children, Young People and Lifelong Learning [CYPLL] committee, said: “Building the local economy and providing the best possible start in life for all our children are top priorities for our council and we are making massive investments in schools throughout our region. Dalbeattie Learning Campus will deliver first class facilities and transform education in Dalbeattie, delivering learning facilities appropriate for the 21st century. We were all very impressed by the new campus.

“The whole building is so spacious, bright and welcoming and a huge amount of thought, including a very large input from the pupils who will soon be moving into their new school, has gone into the design of all aspects of the building. The setting is spectacular and the sports facilities and opportunities for outdoor learning are absolutely first class. I’m very envious of the young people and the staff who will be moving into this amazing facility next week.”

Councillor Ros Surtees, vice-chair, said: “We want our young people to get the most from their education, which means creating environments that stimulate and encourage learning for years to come. I’m very impressed by the new campus. It looks like a brilliant place for young people to learn and develop. The site is spectacular and the facilities are first class. It is a brilliant development and once that the whole of the local community can be proud of.”