Hart Builders

Hart Builders signs innovative partnership agreement with Eildon Housing Association

(from left) Back row: Alastair Dee, Colin Macdonald, Gill Henry, Kevin Scott, Nile Istephan.  Front row: Cathie Fancy, Kevin Stewart, Councillor Mark Rowley

(from left) Back row: Alastair Dee, Colin Macdonald, Gill Henry, Kevin Scott, Nile Istephan.
Front row: Cathie Fancy, Kevin Stewart, Councillor Mark Rowley

An innovative partnership agreement has been signed between Eildon Housing Association and Hart Builders which will deliver at least 388 high quality new affordable homes across nine sites in the Borders.

During a visit to the first of these developments to get underway, at Sergeants Park, Newtown St Boswells, the minister witnessed

The formal signing of an agreement will be a key plank in the record breaking investment being made in the Borders by Eildon Housing Association, supported by Scottish Government grant funding.

Handovers will commence in the spring of 2018 once the first houses at Sergeants Park in Newtown St Boswells are completed; after completion Eildon will have provided 115 new homes on this site.

The Partnership is looking to deliver at least 127 new homes in Galashiels along with an extra care scheme for older people providing 38 self-contained apartments. 66 new homes are planned at the former high school site in Earlston with further plans to redevelop Tweedbridge Court in Peebles, replacing it with a mix of 34 houses and flats.

A key element of the Partnership is to work with local communities to create a legacy that goes beyond the provision of the new homes, as such Eildon and Hart Builders are working with the Borders College to explore training, employment and other community benefits that can be factored into the programme.

Kevin Stewart, minister for local government and housing, has offered his support to the agreement and said: “Making sure everyone has a safe, warm and affordable home is central to our drive for a fairer and more prosperous Scotland – and our ambition to deliver 50,000 affordable homes during the lifetime of this Parliament will help to deliver this.

“I am therefore delighted that our support of Eildon Housing Association will help this innovative partnership with Hart Builders to provide 388 much needed affordable homes at nine sites across the Borders, and I’d like to congratulate all those involved in getting the first of these developments underway.

“I also welcome the news that over the next three years this building programme will deliver a wide range of benefits for local communities- including employment opportunities, schools’ initiatives and site based work experience.”

Colin Macdonald, MD, Hart Builders (Edinburgh), said: “Hart Builders are delighted to formalise and extend our successful working relationship with Eildon. Working in partnership on nine sites over the next three years offers a unique opportunity to showcase the benefits of a multi-disciplinary approach to developing much needed affordable homes in the Borders. Many of the sites involved in the programme have challenging constraints that require innovative technical solutions which need tested to ensure buildability, affordability and long-term sustainability can be maximised.

“Equally important, our partnership also allows us to jointly develop a wide range of community benefits and offer local training and employment opportunities, capacity building for local businesses, schools initiatives, site based work experience in conjunction with DYW and Scottish Borders College and hopefully some interesting community projects which residents of all ages can be involved in.”

Nile Istephan, chief executive of Eildon, added: “Eildon is delighted to be taking forward this record breaking investment in our local communities. The social and economic impact of housing investment is truly transformational, and the scale of this investment will generate benefits for our communities for generations to come. We appreciate the grant support provided by the Scottish Government alongside our partnership arrangements with Scottish Borders Council, in taking this work forward.

“The scale of the programme, covering several years and being delivered across various sites, means that we are able to carefully plan the delivery of these new homes to make the maximum impact in terms of new homes and training and employment opportunities. We look forward to working with Hart Builders, their sub-contractors, our wider design teams, as well as SBHA, in delivering this ambitious programme.”

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.

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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.

Edinburgh set for almost 150 new homes through National Housing Trust initiative

Homes previously completed at Western Harbour by Hart Builders

Homes previously completed at Western Harbour by Hart Builders

Hart Builders is planning to construct 146 new homes in Edinburgh after securing a £6.9 million funding package from Royal Bank of Scotland.

The company, which is part of construction firm Cruden Group, will build the housing development at Western Harbour in the Scottish capital in partnership with Forth Ports.

The project, which will create 30 new jobs at peak, will be built as part of the Scottish Government’s National Housing Trust initiative.

Kevin Reid, managing director of Cruden Group, said: “The financial support from Royal Bank of Scotland gives Hart Builders the opportunity to supply more high quality housing stock to the Edinburgh property market.

“It also allows us to further expand our presence in the Edinburgh and Lothian area, cementing our commitment to the local community with the creation of new jobs and homes.”

Jamie Drummond, relationship manager at Royal Bank of Scotland, added: “Hart Builders has an established reputation in delivering high quality construction projects. Supporting the company will help it realise the potential for growth in the area.

“Hart Builders has a strong relationship with the Scottish Government, particularly within its National Housing Trust Initiative. By providing this funding package, we’re helping Hart Builders play an important role to increase the supply of homes to meet demand in Scotland.”

Hats off as trainees take big step towards new career

Hart Builders, Dundee City Council, Hillcrest Housing Association, The Wise Group and Job Centre Plus join the eight candidates at the ‘end of course’ celebration event held at the Alexander Street development in Dundee’s Hilltown. The candidates are (from left to right): Thomas Malley, Jordan Anderson, Jon Colquhoun, Liam Duncan, Marc Byres, James Donaldson, Kane West and David Reilly

Hart Builders, Dundee City Council, Hillcrest Housing Association, The Wise Group and Job Centre Plus join the eight candidates at the ‘end of course’ celebration event held at the Alexander Street development in Dundee’s Hilltown. The candidates are (from left to right): Thomas Malley, Jordan Anderson, Jon Colquhoun, Liam Duncan, Marc Byres, James Donaldson, Kane West and David Reilly

Eight candidates from Dundee have successfully completed an intensive three week programme designed to improve their chances of employment within the Scottish housing sector.

The Insulation Installer Employability Programme initiative, devised and delivered by Hart Builders in partnership with Dundee City Council’s Community Benefit Programme, was developed to give participants a range of specific skills required to become specialised insulation installers.

Building regulations introduced in 2015 dictate much higher levels of insulation and air tightness in new homes to secure habitation certificates. As a result, highly trained insulation installers have been identified by Hart Builders as a valuable semi-skilled workforce.

The Employability Programme was initiated by Hart Builders’ construction director, Colin Jack who recognised the need for a new semi-skilled trade to assist joiners and free up their time to concentrate on joinery works.

With training, the candidates have very quickly been able to learn to complete an essential part of the building process and contribute to ensuring all new homes built by Hart are as energy efficient and airtight as possible.

The initiative was advertised through Job Centre Plus and interested candidates were invited to attend a pre-recruitment information day held at the Wellgate Job Centre which was hosted by representatives from Hart Builders, Dundee City Council, The Wise Group and Job Centre Plus.

Twenty-five candidates attended the information day and from those, eight were selected for the three-week course.

All eight have now successfully completed the course and move on to formal interviews to be held in the next few weeks.

Four candidates will then be offered permanent employment as insulation installers at the new Alexander Street development currently under construction by Hart Builders in Dundee’s Hilltown on behalf of a partnership between Dundee City Council, Hillcrest Housing Association and the Scottish Government.

The new development will include eighty-one homes for social and mid-market rent, all featuring enhanced levels of insulation and other innovative technologies such as photovoltaic panels. When completed, properties will be let through the council and Hillcrest Housing Association and provide high quality new homes for families and households with specific needs.

Gill Henry, Hart Builders’ head of business development, said: “We’re so thrilled with the success of the Employability Programme. The eight candidates have proved to be a great group of guys, all of whom offer real potential. It’s going to be really difficult to select the final four who will be offered full time employment.”

David Zwirlein, Hillcrest Housing Association director of development and new business, said: “We are delighted that one of our sites is not only providing good quality, affordable homes, but is also offering people an employment opportunity. A number of projects within the Hillcrest Group are aimed at helping people into work so we are very supportive of the work that Hart Builders and Dundee City Council have undertaken. I’m pleased to hear that all eight candidates have completed the course and would like to wish them well in securing permanent jobs.”

Dundee City Council depute neighbourhood services convener, Councillor Vari McDonald, added: “I am pleased to see that the insulation installer construction employability programme has resulted in the training for the candidates involved.

“Our partnership with Hart Builders has shown how the council is committed to providing chances for people to learn new skills and go on to new opportunities.

“This has been an excellent programme and I would like to thank everyone involved for their input.”

£17m Glenrothes redevelopment project completed‏

The completed development

The completed development

Kingdom Housing Association has announced the completion of the final phase of the £17 million Tanshall and Caskieberran redevelopment project in Glenrothes.

Over 150 new homes have been constructed in an area which contained 11 maisonette blocks of flats, that were difficult to manage and maintain and were unpopular with applicants who required housing.

Kingdom has been working in partnership with Fife Council since 2004 when the area was designated an Estate Regeneration Action Area and a master plan was produced to facilitate the design and provision of high quality affordable housing.

The unpopular maisonettes were demolished and the area was redeveloped to provide new homes, to meet a full range of needs for social rent. The majority of the new homes are suitable for families which represent the highest needs in the area, however some spacious one bedroom flats have also been incorporated into the mix to provide a housing option for people who want to downsize or move to a smaller home in response to Welfare Reform changes.

Fife Council and the Scottish Government contributed 65 per cent of the £17m required to undertake the project.

The houses have been built to Kingdom’s high quality design criteria. They have won Secured by Design accreditation and have high energy efficiency standards including the use of renewable technologies and energy monitoring meters.

Bill Banks, chief executive with Kingdom, said: “The project had to be phased over a number of years to recognise the funding availability and the rehousing requirements of tenants in the original blocks. Although there was low demand for these properties, there was a high housing need in the area and we wanted to provide excellent quality new homes which would help sustain the community in the Glenrothes area.”

Bill added: “We are very proud of what has been achieved and of the 157 new homes which have been provided.”

The final phase was completed last week and the Morton family who are among the latest families to be allocated one of the new homes are delighted with the extra space that it gives their children. Mrs Kelly Morton said that their new house is “already turning into a proper family home”.

The project has been developed through a partnership contract with Hart Builders, who have contributed to the community benefits objectives through directly participating in various training, employment initiative and education programmes with the local Tanshall primary school.

Colin Macdonald, director with Hart Builders, said: “Hart Builders are delighted to have been in partnership with Kingdom Housing Association throughout the Tanshall and Caskieberran development programme. Working on the various phases over a number of years has enabled us to create community development opportunities in collaboration with local agencies.

“These have included taking on 3 apprentices and a significant number of work experience opportunities of up to 8 weeks on site experience. These projects also allowed us to maintain our own local direct labour force which together with local sub-contractors numbered up to 40 employees.”