Kier Group

Kilmarnock’s £45m campus project tops out

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, delivers a speech during the ceremony

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, delivers a speech during the ceremony

The £45 million William McIlvanney Campus in Kilmarnock has passed another important milestone with its topping out ceremony last week.

The event marked a crucial stage in the construction of the leading education facility, which is on target for completion next year.

The new Campus, which will create new opportunities and benefits for the entire community, will bring together Kilmarnock Academy and James Hamilton Academy, along with the merger of Silverwood Primary and New Farm Primary and Early Childhood Centre.

It is the latest initiative to be facilitated by hub South West, the construction and infrastructure-focused partnership which works with forward-looking companies and authorities in Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway.

william-mcilvanney-campus-topping-out-ceremony-131017_37623093226_oBeing delivered by Kier Construction for East Ayrshire Council, the campus will also promote the Gaelic language with a centre of excellence. It will accommodate 1,465 secondary, 383 primary and 80 morning and 80 afternoon early years pupils.

The new Campus honours the memory of the legendary author – known locally as Willie – who was not only a pupil at Kilmarnock Academy but later worked as a teacher. Its name will be a reminder for people who not only admired McIlvanney’s work but knew him personally.

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, said:  “The William McIlvanney Campus is an ongoing success on so many levels. The enthusiasm of all participating partners working on this project is reflected in the excellent progress being made.

“This development has provided many educational activities for students from schools and colleges across the region who have participated in project related events. It has also created a number of opportunities for local apprentices and graduates.”

william-mcilvanney-campus-topping-out-ceremony-131017_36961810334_oCouncillor Douglas Reid, leader of East Ayrshire Council, said: “William McIlvanney was one of Scotland’s most important writers. He started his professional life as a teacher and remained a dedicated supporter of high quality education throughout his life.

“It is entirely fitting that his name will be associated with this exceptional development for generations to come.”

Brian McQuade, managing director of Kier Construction Scotland and north-east England, said: “Throughout the build, we have worked with local suppliers and SMEs to ensure that the project boosts the local Ayrshire economy. We have created 19 apprenticeships, 16 work placements and two graduate traineeships.”

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.”

Kier Construction Scotland appointed to £160m Aberdeenshire Council housing framework

Kier image 2

Kier Construction Scotland has been named as one of four principal supply chain partners on the new £160 million Aberdeenshire Council Social Housing Improvement Framework, which will see Kier deliver up to £40m worth of construction, renovation and maintenance improvements to thousands of council houses throughout Aberdeenshire over the next four years.

The work that Kier Construction Scotland will carry out includes:

  • installing new roofs and solar panels;
  • upgrading internal and external wall insulation;
  • renewing windows and external doors;
  • upgrading heating and electrics; and
  • installing new bathrooms and kitchens.

This housing improvement work complies with the requirements of the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH), set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, which aims to reduce energy consumption, fuel poverty and the emission of greenhouse gases for social housing in Scotland.

Kier has been appointed to carry out work in the East Region which includes the towns and villages of Peterhead, Ellon, Mintlaw, Maud and Cruden Bay.

The appointment is a significant win for Kier, which is already a partner on the £125m Aberdeenshire Council Capital Works Framework and has delivered extensive housing stock improvements for The Moray Council and The Highland Council.

Brian McQuade, managing director of Kier Construction’s Scotland and north east England business, said: “Kier is pleased to be a partner on this important framework which will make a huge difference to the lives of thousands of tenants throughout Aberdeenshire. Notably, we will also bring apprenticeship and employment opportunities to local subcontractors and SMEs, providing a further boost to this area.”

Aberdeenshire Council head of housing Rob Simpson, said: “Aberdeenshire Council is committed to undertake a programme of Social Housing improvement works for the benefit of its housing tenants. This involves a large annual capital investment to ensure compliance with the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH). To assist us in undertaking this large project we are pleased to be working with Kier Construction Scotland as one of four companies who were successful in the competitive tender.”

Kier Construction Scotland duo reach finals of industry awards

John Gilchrist (left) and Stephen Parker from Kier Construction Scotland

John Gilchrist (left) and Stephen Parker from Kier Construction Scotland

Two of Kier Construction Scotland’s construction managers reached the final of the prestigious Construction Manager of the Year Awards, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London last week with host, BBC news presenter Steph McGovern.

The awards event, run by the Chartered Institute of Building, is one of the most prestigious built environment awards in the world and also one of the most unusual: it is the only event in Europe that celebrates excellence in construction management.

Kier Construction Scotland’s Stephen Parker reached the final of the schools category as construction manager for Garnock Community Campus and John Gilchrist was a finalist in the offices category as construction manager for the Cumbernauld Community Education Centre campus.

Brian McQuade, managing director of Kier Construction Scotland and north east, said: “Only the very best in the industry reach the final of these awards and we’re so proud that two of our team were recognised at this very special event.

“Awards like these are so important in honouring the talent of individuals within the industry, particularly as the sector strives to combat the skills shortage by encouraging new and diverse talent to consider a career in construction.”

‘Strong’ Scottish performance helps Kier return to profit

Kier image

Kier Group has returned to profit thanks to its continued restructure and a ‘strong’ contribution from Kier Construction Scotland.

Announcing its full-year results for the year to 30 June 2017, the property, residential, construction and services group reported a pre-tax profit of £25.8 million on revenue up 5% to £4.27 billion. The previous year it lost £15m before tax.

Operating profit for the year was up 3% to £146m (2016: £141m) and the order book stands at £9.5bn.

The results were supported by Kier Construction Scotland, which has a turnover in excess of £150m per annum and employs over 200 people from its offices in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Newcastle.

The contractor has continued to expand its order book, and provide diverse local employment and training opportunities throughout the country.

Brian McQuade, managing director of Kier Construction Scotland, said: “In Scotland, Kier has secured a strong and steady pipeline of activity through increasing our framework and tender wins. Most recently we have been appointed as a partner on the £160m Aberdeenshire Council Social Housing Improvement Framework and the £125m Aberdeenshire Council Capital Works Framework.

“We have also strengthened our healthcare portfolio with a number of recent wins, including work with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde at Stobhill Hospital, NHS Highland at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness and we have been appointed principal supply chain partner at Golden Jubilee National Hospital under Frameworks Scotland 2.

“Education remains an important sector for us and we are currently developing the design and build requirements for the new £25m Queen Margaret Academy in Ayr and we are on site at the £43m William McIlvanney Campus in Kilmarnock and at the £35m redevelopment of Marr College in Troon.  In conjunction with our partners, hub South West, we have recently completed the £25m Ayr Academy for South Ayrshire Council and the £36m Garnock Campus for North Ayrshire Council.

Caol Campus Fort William. Image courtesy of Kevin Hunter photography

Kier delivered the Caol Campus in Fort William. Image courtesy of Kevin Hunter photography

Mr McQuade added: “Kier Construction Scotland is also working on an exciting range of heritage projects, restoring some of the country’s most important landmarks for future generations to enjoy. We have just completed the new roof as part of the intricate restoration work that we are carrying out at the world-renowned Mackintosh Building for Glasgow School of Art.  We have also completed the first phase of the Grade A-listed sandstone building off Lauriston Place for Edinburgh College of Art, in time for the new academic year and work is on schedule as we restore of one of Scotland’s oldest and most historic concert halls – the A-listed Aberdeen Music Hall.”

Internationally, the closure of the Caribbean and Hong Kong businesses resulted in non-underlying charges of £86m. But the sale of Mouchel Consulting in October 2016 generated a profit on sale of £40m.

Chief executive Haydn Mursell said: “Our underlying performance for the year was good. Having simplified our portfolio, the group is more focused and able to pursue its growth ambitions in our three core markets; building, infrastructure and housing, which now represent 90% of the group’s revenue and profit. We continue to invest in the business to improve our operational efficiency, providing a robust platform on which to take advantage of the strong long-term fundamentals in these core markets.

“Our Construction and Services order books of £9.5bn, together with our c.£2bn property development and residential pipelines, provide good long-term visibility of our future work. This visibility, coupled with our healthy balance sheet, provides us with confidence of achieving our Vision 2020 strategic targets.”

He added: “We are progressing well with the roll-out of our £70m investment in a new Oracle ERP system with 70% of the group now operating on the new platform. This system provides high quality and timely information, together with improved back office systems and efficiencies.”

Scope and remit of DG One centre independent inquiry revealed

DG One DumfriesThe timetable and remit of an independent inquiry into construction flaws at the DG One leisure centre in Dumfries have been revealed after a request to investigate was rejected by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Dumfries and Galloway Council approached the safety body earlier this year with concerns over its flagship facility after it revealed that repairs were set to run at least £3 million over its £10m budget.

However, the HSE confirmed in a statement that it will not be looking into the situation.

The statement said: “HSE does not generally investigate issues of poor workmanship where the work activity is complete.

“We will not ordinarily consider investigations except in cases where death or serious injury has occurred.

“In addition, a significant length of time has now elapsed since the original construction work took place, thus significantly hampering any effort to gather evidence.”

As a result the local authority announced plans for an independent inquiry, the scope and remit of which is now set to be agreed

A timetable for the investigation will go before councillors next week. The inquiry could cost around £250,000.

It is hoped a full report on the situation can be presented to the local authority in March next year.

Councillors are being asked to agree the wide-ranging remit of the inquiry which would include:

  • the council’s leadership and management of both the original and the repairs project
  • the rationale behind the design and build contract
  • contractual arrangements between Kier Northern and the council
  • the authority’s handling of the problems with the facility since 2009
  • why the issues facing the project were not discovered earlier
  • advice on wider lessons to be learned

DG One opened in 2008 but the facility was closed in October 2014 for remedial works after a number of problems were identified at the centre.

McLaughlin & Harvey was appointed to deliver internal and external repair works at the leisure centre following the long-running council’s legal settlement with Kier, which originally built the centre.

If councillors agree to the remit of the inquiry it would start this month with a final report expected in March 2018.

Glasgow School of Art unveils full size prototype of Mackintosh Library

Master craftsmen Angus Johnston and Martins Cirulis of Laurence McIntosh in the Mackintosh Library prototype. Credit McAteer photo

Master craftsmen Angus Johnston and Martins Cirulis of Laurence McIntosh in the Mackintosh Library prototype. Credit McAteer photo

A full-size model of a section of the Mackintosh Library has been unveiled by the Glasgow School of Art as work continues to restore the building to its original 1910 design.

Six months in the making, the prototype at the workshops of specialist carpenters Laurence McIntosh has been used to test and retest every aspect of the design and manufacture of the centrepiece of the Mackintosh Building restoration.

The process began with detailed research of items retrieved and information gathered in the archaeological survey complemented by detailed consultation of Mackintosh’s original designs, early photography, letters and other documentation. The challenge then was to translate this mainly 2D imagery into the 3D prototype.

Professor Tom Inns, director of The Glasgow School of Art, said: “Today marks a hugely significant step in the restoration of the Mackintosh Building. From the outset we said that we would restore the building and restore it well. The creation of this prototype which are unveiling today is underpinned by two years of ground-breaking and hugely detailed research ranging from information discovered in the archaeological survey to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s original designs and paperwork and meticulous designs of every element, profile and joint to 0.5 millimetre accuracy which were created by our design team and then incorporated into a comprehensive set of drawings for the specialist carpenters to work from.

“The challenge was then to convert this research into the physical object. Months of testing and retesting of all aspects of the design and manufacture by Laurence McIntosh working in close partnership with our design team lead Page\Park have culminated in this final prototype. The calibre of the craftsmanship in every aspect of the manufacture is of the highest order and is testament to the skill of the specialist carvers and woodworkers here at Laurence McIntosh.

“For those of you who remember the library as it was in 2014 the biggest change you will notice is the colour. This is how we believe is how the library would have looked in 1910.

“One of the first discoveries after the fire was that much of the library was constructed from American Tulip wood. Samples from the bottom of a Library column and one of the shelves from the Library cabinets which survived the fire gave us the first clue as to both the colour of the library in 1910 and how the colouring has been achieved.”

Professor Inns added: “Highly pigmented oil-based paint had been rubbed directly on to the surface of the wood which once dried was polished with beeswax. As with every aspect of the work on the prototype many experiments were made using the closest product to the original oil-based paint – medium-burnt umber and raw umber artist paints.”

One of the design team who has been most closely involved with the research into the Library is architectural heritage and conservation expert, Natalia Burakowska, of Page\Page architects.

Speaking at the launch Natalia said: “The GSA’s decision to undertake a detailed archaeological survey of the library was crucial to the process of restoration. We soon realised that precious charred timbers had a considerable amount of information to reveal. We were excited to learn about timber joints, nailing techniques, timber sizes, and clever assembly strategies adopted by craftsmen working on site. We were privileged to look at the Library in a manner that nobody else had had a chance to do before.”

The team gathered information carefully and prepared draft reconstruction drawings using the latest 3d technology together with the production of the 1:10 and 1:1 physical models to test understanding of the construction in reality, and this process was supported by extensive archival research.

“We poured over the archives sifting through original plans, Records of Building Committee, receipts, financial records and specifications. Photographs taken by Bedford Lemere in 1910 and later images assisted in tracking the changes and amendments to the original design,” added Natalia.

Specialist woodworkers Laurence McIntosh then joined to team.

“This is a wonderful project to work on,” said David Macdonald of Laurence McIntosh. “We are privileged to be working as part of a team of people who are passionately committed to restoring the jewel in the crown of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s designs.”

“From tulipwood blanks we have seen the prototype emerging slowly through months of careful carving and re-carving, colouring and re-colouring. Fascinatingly, on occasion this has meant not so much a refining of the design so much as making something which was too perfect slightly rougher and more in synergy with the original craftsmen’s’ work.

“We are now looking forward to taking all that we have learned in the development of the prototype and applying it to the library proper.”

As work on the Mackintosh Building continues apace, Gordon Reid, regional business development manager for Kier Construction Scotland, who are managing the overall construction project said: “The intricate restoration work that we are carrying out at The Mackintosh Building is progressing well – the temporary roof has been removed and the new roof is now complete. The loggia have been restored and the work to reconstruct the iconic Hen Run is under way. Today marks another milestone in this very special journey.

“Importantly, we have been able to attract a diverse range of new talent to the construction industry to work at this iconic building.  Working closely with the local supply chain, specialist conservators and other industry training and employment groups, we have already created 60 once-in-a-lifetime training, apprenticeship and employment opportunities.”

The Tulipwood for the Library is currently being sourced in the USA. It will be manufactured at Laurence McIntosh with installation on site expected to begin in spring 2018.

Over 300 projects benefit from CITB levy funding

Steve Radley

Steve Radley

More than 300 projects across the UK have benefitted from CITB levy funding, a new report has revealed.

The Impact of CITB Project Funding’ document states a total of £17.8 million raised through the organisation’s levy was shared by 303 projects in England, Scotland and Wales between September 2015 and December 2016.

The largest group to receive funding were micro and small employers (231), followed by construction federations (38), large employers (18), CITB-funded training groups (9), medium employers (6) and one trade union.

Of the projects that received funding, 149 were funded to reduce the skills gap, 119 received monies to increase access to the right training, 18 won funding to reduce skills shortages, 14 projects increased the appeal of working in construction and three increased the value added per employee.

In addition, larger-scale projects to receive funding included £2.5m to Skanska’s five-year strategic partnership with the Supply Chain Sustainability School to provide an online resource library, while £1.1m was pledged to the Civil Engineering Contractors Association’s Infrastructure Development Programme.

Other larger-scale schemes included:

  • £1.9m to the Roofing Industry Alliance programme to bring together all the main roofing industry stakeholders to collectively set up a training strategy for tackling skills gaps and skills shortages in the sector at all levels.
  • £200,000 to Kier Construction’s Inspiring Students project to raise awareness of different career opportunities within the sector.
  • £250,000 for BAM Nuttall to develop Construction Employer Frameworks for ex-offenders across Wales.

Steve Radley, CITB director of policy, said the report showcases how levy payers’ money is having a positive impact on the industry, including on many small firms.

“It shows that CITB funding helps people gain qualifications; reduce skills gaps and improves staff morale,” he said.

“For employers it has encouraged innovation and facilitated new partnerships, as well as improving perceptions of construction as a career. We will continue to work closely with our industry to ensure that funding is targeted at its priorities and delivers the outcomes it needs.”

Kier devotes 1% of workforce to tackle sector’s ‘recruitment crisis’

Haydn Mursell

Haydn Mursell

Kier is pledging 1% of its workforce to act as career ambassadors in schools and colleges over the next 12 months to help attract new talent into the industry.

The announcement comes after a new report shows that parents have significant concerns about the quality of careers advice on offer to secondary school pupils against a backdrop of declining GCSE results.

Commissioned by the FTSE 250 construction and services giant, the report surveyed 2,000 parents, teachers and careers advisors of children aged 12-18 in the UK state education sector.  It found that two thirds of teachers and careers advisors held negative views of the construction industry as a route for their students to pursue and 73% of parents do not want their children to even consider a career in the sector.

More than 80% of parents did not know it was possible to big construction companies to pay for their children’s university degree courses.

The study identified 90% of teachers across the UK are unaware of the scale of the recruitment shortfall in the construction sector, with 41% not realising there is an issue at all.

It also found that 54% of teachers and parents believe there is a lack of career progression in construction/the built environment, and associate the industry with being muddy, manual, male dominated and low paid thanks to outdated perceptions. This is despite the fact that the industry provides a wealth of opportunity across all skillsets.

In part, lack of knowledge is being compounded by a lack of detailed careers advice. The report found that over half of pupils (65%) aged 11-13 get no official advice and only a quarter of 13-15 year olds (27%) got ‘one hour, once’ of careers advice.

The report also found that 57% of parents say rising tuition fees put them off encouraging university as an option for their children, yet 81% of parents were unaware that major FTSE companies can pay the cost of a degree course and offer a guaranteed entry point into work upon completion of studies.

With the backing of the Institute of Directors (IoD) and the Careers & Enterprise Company, Kier is pledging 1% of its workforce to engage with at least 10,000 school pupils, to inform and inspire the next generation.

Haydn Mursell, chief executive of Kier, said: “With an ageing workforce, uncertainty around Brexit and an ambitious pipeline of construction, housing and wider infrastructure projects, which equates to £90bn of UK GDP delivery and creates a demand for circa 400,000 new recruits per annum, it is imperative that we attract new talent into our industry.

“We have invested in comprehensive resource to train and develop new talent, we offer a vast array of roles, great scope and support for diversity and career progression, and we offer the chance to leave a lasting legacy and make a real contribution to local communities, as well as UK GDP. But we also have an image crisis, based on out of date perceptions and advice. We cannot leave this to schools, councils or the government alone to resolve. Business is best placed to explain itself, its employment offering and its skills and training needs.

“For this reason we are pledging a minimum of 1% of our workforce as Career Ambassadors to work with schools and colleges across the UK, to engage with at least 10,000 pupils over the next 12 months.

“If every company in the FTSE 250 and FTSE 100 followed the 1% pledge as part of their commitment to employment and skills, we could create a powerful network of real world advisors, to inform and inspire the next generation.”

Nine contractors named on £800m Scottish schools and community buildings framework

Scottish Procurement AllianceThe Scottish Procurement Alliance has revealed the nine main contractors to have secured places on its £800 million schools and community buildings framework.

The four-year framework is split into regions as well as four value bands (up to £2m, £2m-£4m, £4m-£10m and £10m+) with four selected for each lot.

Kier and Morgan Sindall have renewed their places on the projects over £10m lot while newcomers Robertson Construction and McLaughlin & Harvey will replace previous framework winners Galliford Try and Farrans.

Galliford Try has been named as one of four preferred firms for projects worth £4m-£10m.

Other firms to have secured places include GHI Contracts, Hadden Construction, Novus Property Solutions and CCG (Scotland).

Offering new build and refurbishment works Scotland, the framework covers turnkey solutions for any type of building excluding residential.

Scottish Schools and Community Buildings framework

Projects over £10m

  • Scotland – Kier Construction, Morgan Sindall, Robertson Construction, McLaughlin & Harvey Construction

Projects £4m-£10m

  • Scotland – McLaughlin & Harvey Construction, Galliford Try Building, Kier Construction, Morgan Sindall

Projects up to £2m

  • Scotland – Refurb: Hadden Construction, GHI Contracts, Novus Property Solutions
  • Scotland – New Build: Hadden Construction

New build and refurb projects £2m-£4m

  • Southern Scotland – Hadden Construction, CCG (Scotland), Galliford Try Building
  • North East Scotland: Galliford Try Building
  • Highlands and Islands: Galliford Try Building

New build up to £2m

  • North East Scotland: Hadden Construction
  • West Scotland: Hadden Construction
  • Highlands and Islands – Hadden Construction
  • East Scotland – Hadden Construction