Graham Construction

Lews Castle restoration takes shape

Lews Castle

Work is continuing to progress on Graham Construction’s restoration project at Lews Castle, Stornoway.

The second phase of the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar project includes the new Museum and Archive building at the venue, as well as the creation of a glass-roofed courtyard café area and toilet facilities.

The public rooms on the ground floor of the castle will also be fully restored, while a new visitor car park will be created and associated landscaping works.

Simpson & Brown Architects has led the conservation of the A-listed Lewis landmark, while Malcolm Fraser Architects have overseen the new build extension connected to the castle by a long gallery and glass roofed courtyard –offering improved facilities including a café, shop and gallery space.

To date, the museum and archive works have been completed, with the fit-out contract for the museum exhibitions expected to start on site in early March. Completion of the Phase 2 works is anticipated by early next month.

It is thought the museum and archive and the ground floor rooms of the Castle will be completed this summer, with full public opening expected in October.

Dalbeattie Learning Campus plans to go before council

Dalbeatlie Learning Campus main entrance

Detailed plans for a new school in Dalbeattie have been unveiled.

The building, on the site of the existing high school, would form the Dalbeattie Learning Campus to contain the town’s secondary, primary and nursery school.

It would also boast sports facilities including a six-lane running track, a rugby pitch and a 3G pitch for football and hockey.

The hub South West Scotland project is to be considered by Dumfries and Galloway Council’s planning committee next week.

Councillors will be told that the plans are for each school to be housed in a separate wing of the building, which will be in the shape of a Saltire.

Its sports facilities, including a netball court and tennis court, and its main halls would be made available for community use.

Designed by architects Holmes Miller, the plans also include gardens and horticultural areas with polytunnels, a rural skills area and a science garden.

There would also be a biodiversity pond, woodland, a wildflower meadow and an orchard.

A total of 112 car parking spaces would be available.

If approved, construction work by Graham Construction is anticipated to get underway during spring 2015 for completion by autumn 2016.

Building work to start in spring for new £7.6m Blackburn centre

Blackburn Partnership-Centre

West Lothian Council has revealed that work on a new £7.6 million Blackburn Partnership Centre could start as early as spring.

The facility – due to be up and running by summer 2016 – will include a GP practice, dentist, community centre and library. Council development partner Hub South East Scotland Limited (Hubco) are set to design and deliver the project, with Graham Construction appointed as the contractor.

The new facility will include a GP practice, dentist, community centre (including sports hall and multi-purpose spaces), library, Customer Information Service (CIS) centre, employability service, community health centre, IT training suite, early years space, young people’s space and a credit union.

Leader of West Lothian Council John McGinty said: “We are now within months of work starting on site for the new partnership centre in Blackburn.  Providing local service under one roof has been hugely successful across West Lothian.  When the centre in Blackburn is completed local people will also benefit from the same convenient access to a range of services as those provided in other areas.”

Jim Forrest, director, West Lothian Health and Care Partnership, said: “This is an exciting development which will allow health and council services to work more closely together in the future. The new building will encourage joint shared services, helping to bring together resources.”

Paul McGirk, chief executive of Hub South East Scotland Ltd added: “This approval is another positive step in the development of the Blackburn Partnership Centre and we look forward to continuing our successful partnership with both NHS Lothian and West Lothian Council to make these plans a reality.”

Graham Construction recognised at 2014 VIBES Awards


Graham Construction has been recognised as champions of business sustainability at the 15th annual Vision in Business for the Environment of Scotland (VIBES) Awards.

The firm was commended in the Management (Large) category at the ceremony which took place at Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel and was attended by over 300 people from a wide range of Scottish businesses and organisations.

The VIBES Awards is Scotland’s leading environmental awards scheme. The Awards recognise businesses that contribute to the country’s sustainable development by taking significant steps to improve or reduce their impact on the environment.

Each of the 14 finalists were subjected to a rigorous judging process, including a programme of site visits which saw the VIBES judging panel travel across the country to assess the environmental practices of the named finalists.

The awards aim to encourage efficient use of resources, enhance business competitiveness, improve environmental performance and support wider sustainable development goals. Awards were presented for each of the eight categories: Management (Large and SME), Environmental Product or Service, Transport, Co-operation, Hydro-Nation, Circular Economy and Micro Business.

Gillian Bruce, chair of the VIBES Awards, said each of the winners deserve credit for the work they are doing to improve their company’s bottom line through sustainable practices.

She added: “The VIBES judges were consistently impressed by the lengths that the companies have gone to in order to put environmentally responsible practices at the centre of their business operations.”

The VIBES Awards is a strategic partnership between Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Government, Scottish Water, Scottish Enterprise, Highland and Islands Enterprise, Zero Waste Scotland, Energy Saving Trust and the 20:20 Climate Group. The Awards are further supported by CBI Scotland, the Institute of Directors, the Federation of Small Businesses and Bright Green Business.

The Awards are accredited by the RSA Environment Awards Accreditation Scheme.

Graham Construction completes Edinburgh University refurbishment

DH 1

Doors have opened at the £14.5 million redevelopment of the historic Deaconess House on Edinburgh’s Pleasance, completed by Graham Construction.

Main contractors Graham was onsite with Mace and Edinburgh University to mark the opening of the latest student accommodation which incorporates a reception office, common room, warden’s flat, communal entrance lobby, and laundry, and toilet facilities.

Mace’s Investment team is behind the project which has created over 300 new student units on the site of the former hospital.

Prior to the start of construction, Mace signed a forward funding deal with Edinburgh University, which saw the University take over the new student accommodation complex on completion.

The original Deaconess House building has been retained and refurbished and three new blocks were added to the rear of Deaconess House around a central courtyard, which now boasts an amphitheatre and hard and soft landscaped areas.

The new blocks rise to four and five storeys and contain a total of 318 bedrooms, split across a mix of studio apartments and 3, 5 and 6 bedroom units.

Graham Construction worked on the exterior and interior of the new structure, including internal fit out, partitioning and electrical works, using a combination of materials, such as natural stone and powder coated aluminium panels on the new build elements of the project.

Regional director at Graham Construction, Neil McFarlane, said: “Deaconess House posed an interesting construction challenge as we aimed to integrate the old with the new, to create something which will complement the surrounding buildings in this historic quarter of Edinburgh.

“The finished product possesses a blend of modern construction techniques which are sympathetic to the character of the site and we are proud to have preserved the existing layout and create a unique facility to welcome the students.”

David Grover, COO for Mace Investment said, “This has been a great project for Mace Investment, which has seen for the first time in the UK a forward funding deal direct with a University Endowment Fund. This form of partnership has successfully brought forward much need high quality new student accommodation.

“This has been a complex scheme, both in terms of the funding structure and the construction work and Graham Construction has done a great job managing the project.”

Aberdeenshire village gets affordable housing boost

Strichen Street CGI

A CGI of the Strichen Street homes

Work has started on a dozen new affordable homes in an Aberdeenshire village.

Sanctuary Scotland Housing Association is creating ten 3-bedroom houses and two 1-bedroom flats in Strichen, with all 12 properties available for social rent. Graham Construction is building the homes for Sanctuary and began work on site in September.

The £1.65 million project, due to complete in summer 2015, will help to address the acute shortage of affordable housing in the North-East of Scotland. The Strichen homes complement the 62 high priority units Graham Construction is building for Aberdeenshire Council and Sanctuary Scotland in Peterhead. The £7.6m development on the site of Peterhead’s former Craigewan nursing home is also being project managed by Sanctuary.

Roddy Macdonald, Sanctuary’s head of development – Scotland, said: “This project was widely welcomed by Strichen residents and will soon provide much-needed affordable housing in the village.

“We continue to work in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council to improve the area’s housing stock, and look forward to delivering 74 social homes in 2015 across Strichen and Peterhead.”

Local housing provider Tenants First will manage the Strichen homes, located next to the village school. The Scottish Government provided £771,000 and Aberdeenshire Council £140,000 in grant funding towards the project.

Councillor Karen Clark, Aberdeenshire Council’s chair of housing and social work, said: “Affordable housing is key to ensuring we are able to attract key workers to the area as well as providing homes for people on our waiting lists.

“We are working with a range of partners in order to provide homes for people both in major towns and rural areas. The developments in Strichen and Peterhead are part of a significant commitment by Aberdeenshire Council to increase the amount of affordable housing across Aberdeenshire which I am sure will be warmly welcomed by people in these communities.”

Foundation work will continue in Strichen before the first housing kits are erected. The Peterhead project, which also began on site in September, is due to complete in autumn 2015.

Graham Construction’s regional director Gary Holmes said: “It is fantastic for Graham to be working on these high profile projects for one the biggest housing providers in the UK.

“We have worked with Sanctuary on a number of its developments around Scotland and we look forward to continuing our relationship.

“These are very important projects for the local communities of Peterhead and Strichen and we are extremely proud to be involved in the regeneration of these areas.”

Graham starts on third phase of University of Stirling student accommodation

Stirling Uni

Work has started on the third phase of a £38 million project to provide new student accommodation at the University of Stirling.

Graham Construction has completed the first two phases and has now begun work on the third stage of development. Demolition of AK Davison Hall is complete and in its place, Graham will create the 251 bedroom Juniper Court.

The seven storey facility will consist of self-contained flats with ensuite bedrooms and extensive and well equipped shared kitchen and living space.  Juniper Court will also include a number of accessible rooms and self-contained studio apartments in addition to a reception area for social use.  The building will be available for students arriving in September 2015.

This stage of the development follows a similar design to that used on previous phases of the university’s accommodation redevelopment programme at Willow Court and Beech Court.

Gary Holmes, regional director for Graham Construction, said: “We have been involved in this project from the beginning and it’s fantastic to see the students benefiting from the new state of the art accommodation.

“The creation of the new Juniper Court is the final part of this stage of development and the accommodation will give the students a fantastic environment to take the next step in their academic lives.”

The creation of Juniper Court comes in the wake of the completion of the 281 bedroom Beech Court which welcomed its first students this summer.

Karen Plouviez, director of estates & campus services at the University, said: “In 2010 the University committed to making a major step change in the quality of its residential accommodation as part of its commitment to providing an excellent student experience.

“Willow Court, the Alexander Court townhouses and Beech Court have certainly delivered that.  They have all received very positive feedback from students and their families. Working with Graham Construction over three phases of development has also demonstrated the many benefits of a longer-term relationship.”

The University is committed to the highest standards of sustainable design and low energy use, and aims to achieve a BREEAM excellent environmental performance rating for the entire development.

Graham Construction begins £7.5m GSoA student halls

Graham_ConstructionGraham Construction has started work on a £7.5 million project to transform Blythswood House on Glasgow’s West Regent Street into state-of-the-art student accommodation for The Glasgow School of Art.

The project will create 218 study bedrooms, all of which will include en-suite bathrooms.  As part of the redevelopment project, common rooms and ancillary space will also be created on the site.

A number of accessible study bedrooms will be provided to cater for students with hearing, visual and other impairments.

Working on behalf of the developer Cityheart Ltd, Graham have already started the internal strip out of the former office building and work is already under way to install new internal walls on the third, fourth and fifth floors.

Redevelopment of the former office development Blythswood House, which is located just off Blythswood Square, started on June 30 2014 and is expected to take 64 weeks until autumn 2015.

Contracts director at Graham Construction John McHugh said: “This will be an interesting construction challenge as we will be retaining the building frame and shell.

“The Blythswood Square location offers tremendous accessibility to The School of Art and we look forward to delivering accommodation which will offer a fantastic addition to the student facilities in Glasgow.”

The study bedrooms at Blythswood House will be arranged in clusters of flats of between 4-8 beds, with communal kitchens and living room areas.

Additional facilities will include a centralised laundry, reception area, administrative space and storage room for bicycles. It will also contain two self-contained apartments for senior wardens.

A spokesperson for The Glasgow School of Art said: “The GSA is committed to offering access to high quality, affordable accommodation for its students. This new development includes a wide range of facilities both in the study-bedrooms and in the communal areas that set a benchmark in student accommodation.

“The development also benefits from its proximity to both The Glasgow School of Art and the many amenities in Glasgow city centre.”

As part of the redevelopment of the building, Graham is providing additional insulation to improve the building’s environmental credentials and is replacing all of the windows.

All bedroom clusters will get central heating, while bedrooms and common rooms will benefit from natural ventilation.

Graham will also provide additional street and exterior lighting and will upgrade road access where required.

Work starts on new entrance canopies at St Enoch Subway Station

Exterior View 05 - 01 - CopyWork has commenced on the eye-catching new entrance canopies for St Enoch Subway Station in Glasgow which are set to transform St Enoch Square.

SPT’s main contractor, Graham Construction, has started installation of the steel frame for the new station canopy at the station’s north entrance at Argyle Street.

Once completed, both the Argyle and Howard Street entrances will feature striking glass structures inspired by the Kibble Palace in Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens. SPT believes the unique glass design from architects at Aedas will become a talking point with visitors to the city as well as regular Subway users and the people of Glasgow.

Work on the Argyle Street entrance canopy will be completed prior to commencement of the Howard Street entrance, to minimise disruption to customers and the general public in and around the area of the square.

SPT’s £5.3 million investment to redevelop the station saw works begin in February 2014 and Graham has already made significant progress below ground, with the station interiors revamped in time for the Commonwealth Games.

The new station office also incorporates the travel centre to provide an improved customer service and provide more efficient use of available space on the concourse. Graham has also installed energy efficient lighting coupled with new suspended ceilings and new floor and wall tiles at platform and concourse level, resulting in a brighter, more welcoming environment.

Graham Construction and escalator suppliers Otis have worked in partnership to install the new escalators at the Argyle Street entrance prior to work starting on the new canopy structure. New lifts will also be introduced at the station with the main lift from ground level to concourse level located at the Howard Street entrance.  Additional lifts at concourse level will then allow passengers to access each platform.

Graham Construction regional director Gary Holmes said: “While a lot of work has already been completed below ground, the installation of the glass canopies will be the first evidence of the transformation of St Enoch Station above ground.

“The new canopies will be a talking point for the people of Glasgow and will bring much more natural light into the station, increasing visibility for users.”

St Enoch Station serves almost two million users every year and is one of the busiest on Glasgow’s Subway system. The redevelopment of St Enoch Subway Station at the foot of the Buchanan Street is part of SPT’s ongoing multi-million pound modernisation programme across the entire Subway network.

SPT chief executive Gordon Maclennan, said: “Modernisation of the Subway is progressing at pace and the redevelopment of St Enoch Station is one of the most exciting aspects of the project so far.

“Passengers have benefited from the internal improvements made to date and we’re confident that everyone using the station will enjoy the striking new look station exterior.

“Given the high standard of work delivered by Graham to date, I’m confident that the project will be delivered on time and on budget. I’m looking forward to seeing the station completed as it is a stunning design and will, I’m sure, become a striking centre-piece to the wider area.”

St Enoch is the second station Graham Construction has worked on following the successful delivery of the refurbishment to Ibrox Station throughout 2013 and well in advance of the Commonwealth Games.

Work at St Enoch is expected to be completed by summer 2015.