Kier Group

Kier to carry out £5m improvement programme for two North Lanarkshire schools

Tradesmen inspecting workTwo schools in Motherwell are to receive a facelift this year following the award of a £5 million contract to Kier Construction Scotland.

Kier will start work this summer on Taylor High School, a comprehensive secondary in New Stevenston, and Braidhurst High School, a 600-pupil secondary in the Forgewood suburb of the town. Completion is expected in March next year.

Awarded by North Lanarkshire Council, the contract is the latest initiative facilitated by hub South West Scotland, the construction and infrastructure-focused partnership which is working with the council on its Motherwell Review programme.

The works will include installing a new cladding system, new windows and creating a new extension to the existing school at Taylor High School as well as installing new heating, replacement curtain walling and a new lift at Braidhurst High School.

Managing director of Kier Construction’s Scotland & north-east England business, Brian McQuade, said: “We are pleased to be carrying out additional work with hub South West Scotland on behalf of North Lanarkshire Council, having completed The Muirfield Centre in Cumbernauld last year.

“We are committed to working with the local supply chain to support economic growth in the area. This programme of work will provide around 50 employment and training opportunities for SMEs based within North Lanarkshire.”

Michael McBrearty, hub South West Scotland chief executive, added: “We are delighted that we will be partnering with Kier Construction Scotland which, as well as delivering an excellent and high quality service, also supports many worthwhile initiatives in the construction industry.

“We are also very pleased to be helping North Lanarkshire Council with its far-sighted and innovative plans to provide the best possible local services and facilities right across its thriving communities.”

Isabelle Boyd, assistant chief executive (Education, Skills & Youth Employment), said: “North Lanarkshire Council is committed to providing the very best learning environments for all our young people, and we are delighted that this important work to both schools is about to start.”

Construction output continues upward trajectory despite February dip

Figure 1- Rolling 3 month and monthly all work, February 2017Output in the UK construction sector fell in February with a 7.3% decrease in infrastructure providing one of the main downward pressures, the latest figures reveal.

Sharp falls in infrastructure and as well as new private housing saw UK construction output dip 1.7 per cent in February, its biggest drop in almost a year, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS).

All new work fell by 3.3% in the second month of the year after growing by 0.7% in January.

The fall in all new work was driven by the first month-on-month drop in infrastructure since October 2016, which decreased by 7.3%, and housing, which fell for the second consecutive month by 2.6%.

There was also a fifth consecutive month of negative growth in private industrial other new work, which decreased by 4.7%.

Despite the February decrease, construction output grew by 1.5% in the past three months when compared with the previous quarter, driven mainly by strong growth of 2.2% in infrastructure and 0.6% growth in repair and maintenance.

Brian McQuade, managing director of the Scotland and north-east England arm of Kier’s Construction division, said: “Although figures have dropped this month, the bigger picture points to consistent and strong growth within the industry and we’re now entering the second quarter of the year which traditionally sees an increase in activity. Kier has also announced a solid set of half-year financial results where we have grown our business, expanded our order book and secured a robust pipeline of activity.

“Health and education remain important sectors for Kier Construction Scotland. Recently we have been appointed to work through the development proposals for the £5m Rowanbank secure health unit at Stobhill Hospital through the Health Facilities Scotland Framework for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. We have also been appointed by hub South West to develop the design and build for the new £25m Queen Margaret Academy in Ayr on behalf of South Ayrshire Council.

“There are at least £750m of funded projects coming up for tender across Scotland in the next six months so there are plenty of opportunities available to attract a diverse range of new talent to the industry. We will continue to focus on showcasing the breadth of career opportunities that the construction industry has to offer, and highlight the significant boost that our sector delivers to the Scottish economy.”

Allan Callaghan, managing director of Cruden Homes, said: “This month has shown a significant dip but the overall outlook points to a brighter picture of growth for the fourth consecutive period.  This reflects the results we’re seeing in our own business, where phase one of our Baron’s Vale development in the east end of Glasgow and at our King’s View development in the south side of Glasgow have both sold out months ahead of schedule.  As a result we are bringing forward the phase two launch date at both developments to keep up with this strong market demand.

“Scotland continues to need more homes, both for private buyers and for social housing, and it is important that industry and government continue to work closely together to enable this to happen even faster.

“We are in particular looking forward to seeing the final details on Scottish Government’s updated planning legislation in light of its recent consultation, and hope the revised Bill will enable increased output and other positives for the industry.”

Kier Construction Scotland scoops eight awards at Considerate Constructors Scheme national awards

CCS Awards

Kier Construction Scotland and North East has scooped eight awards, six of which were for projects based in Scotland, at the Considerate Constructors Scheme National Awards at ceremonies in Edinburgh and Manchester.

Kier was honoured with the highest accolade of three gold awards at two of their state-of-the-art education developments, The William McIlvanney Campus, which picked up two Gold Awards and Garnock Community Campus.

Kier also picked up two Bronze Awards for Cumbernauld Community Education Centre and Sheraton Park Student Accommodation and two Silver Awards for Marr College and Manor College.

Kier’s approach to neighbour and community engagement also saw Garnock Community Campus awarded the runner up award for Most Considerate Site, an honour that is only awarded to thirty sites through the UK.

Brian McQuade, managing director of Kier Construction Scotland and NE, said: “We’re delighted that our sites have achieved such fantastic recognition throughout Scotland and the north east of England.

“This is a testament to the hard work that our team and clients put in to support the Considerate Constructors Scheme.  Initiatives like this are vitally important in improving the image of the construction industry as we strive to encourage new and diverse talent into the sector.”

Blog: Counting my blessings for my career in construction

Ashley Dunsmore

Ashley Dunsmore

Assistant quantity surveyor Ashley Dunsmore on being a woman in construction and being on Kier’s graduate trainee programme.

I had absolutely no clue what a quantity surveyor was or did when I was at school. Throughout secondary school it’s fair to say that I wasn’t encouraged to consider a career in construction.  At the annual careers fair, construction firms were nowhere to be seen. Instead, a job in the fire service, the police or as a beautician was all that was on offer.

None of these roles spoke to my inner geek. I loved watching the Discovery Channel and the programme ‘Megastructures’. When I was aged 14 and on holiday with my family, I took to haggling at the local markets like a duck to water.  My mum said I should think about a career as a quantity surveyor.  And so my journey began…..

I ended up doing a four year, full-time quantity surveying degree at Glasgow Caledonian University. Girls were definitely in the minority, representing only ten percent of students on my course.

I did a placement during my third year for a contractor based in Dundee and I was offered a job there when I finished my university course. However, I wanted to keep working towards my professional qualification and when I found out about Kier’s graduate scheme, I knew that was the route I wanted to follow.

I was recruited to Kier’s three year graduate degree programme, along with around 150 other graduates and I’ve already completed two and a half years at Kier.

The whole programme has really helped my career. It’s given me all the tools, mentoring support and experience I need to qualify for membership of the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence, and I hope to get my chartership later this year.

The graduate programme has given me a great mix of practical on-the-job experience, formal learning, first line management skills and professional development. I’ve had a great grounding in the business – spending my time on-site and in the office and I work on a variety of projects to give me a broad base to build my career.

I work at Kier Construction’s Aberdeen office and I’m currently leading an improvement programme at Aberdeen Fire Station north control room. I’ve also been able to see first-hand the major infrastructure projects that Kier is involved in, like the CrossRail project in London, the biggest engineering project in Europe, as well as complex restoration projects like the Aberdeen Music Hall and Glasgow School of Art.

I’ve found that the construction sector offers a wealth of opportunities, with varied and interesting work across the industry and competitive benefits too. As well as typical construction roles, there are a host of architecture, engineering, surveying, project management and planning jobs to name just a few.  I’ve always wanted to travel and hope that by working with an international company that has offices in the Middle East, Australia and Hong Kong, I’ll get the chance to do more of that. Kier is also putting me through a leadership programme which will give me another step up on the career ladder.

There is no doubt that the construction industry is facing a skills shortage and the sector certainly suffers from an image problem. We need to see past traditional construction roles and open our minds to the numerous careers available to young people, especially young women.

Kier recently became a member of The WISE Campaign (Women in Science and Engineering) and is working with them to motivate girls and women to study and build careers using science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). The mission is to get one million more women into the UK STEM workforce and to support them to help attract the next generation of talent.

I’m helping to play my part to encourage young people, especially girls into this fantastic sector.  I’m currently working with Kier on a series of careers fairs throughout Scotland to raise the profile of construction and inspire people to consider a role in this hugely rewarding and thriving sector. The next time I ask a young person what they want to be when they grow up, I really hope l hear a few quantity surveyors thrown into the mix!

  • Ashley Dunsmore is an assistant quantity surveyor for Kier Construction Scotland

Scottish projects contribute to steady progress at Kier

Glasgow School of Art

Restoration work on the fire damaged Mackintosh building for Glasgow School of Art

The continued growth of Kier Construction Scotland has helped its parent company announce a “solid” set of financial results.

For the six months to December 31 2016, Kier Group reported steady underlying revenue of just over £2 billion (down 1%) and underlying pre-tax profit of £46.3 million (up 12%).

The results were supported by the ongoing success of Kier Construction in Scotland and the north-east of England.

With a turnover in excess of £150m per annum, the business employs over 200 people from its offices in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Newcastle and provides diverse local employment and training opportunities throughout the country.

Commenting on the results, Brian McQuade, managing director of the Scotland and north-east England arm of Kier’s Construction division, said: “We’ve performed well this year, increasing our framework and tender wins and taking a steady approach to growth and securing a strong pipeline of activity.

“Most recently we have been appointed to the four year University of Strathclyde’s Minor Works framework for projects up to the value of £750,000 and we are positioned to provide building work services at Glasgow Airport as part of their construction framework over the next three years. We have started work on a £3m industrial unit at Clyde Gateway East business park for Clyde Gateway through the Scape National Minor Works framework and we have just been appointed to work through the development proposals for the £5m Rowanbank secure health unit at Stobhill Hospital through the Health Facilities Scotland framework for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

“Education continues to be a prominent sector for Kier. We have been appointed by hub South West to develop the design and build for the new £25m Queen Margaret Academy in Ayr on behalf of South Ayrshire Council. We are currently on site delivering a number of state-of-the-art schools throughout Ayrshire, including the £43m William McIlvanney Campus at Kilmarnock, the £25m Ayr Academy and the £35m redevelopment of Marr College in Troon. We have also completed the £36m Garnock Campus for North Ayrshire Council and the £13m Caol Campus for The Highland Council. In the higher education sector, work continues to progress well on the £25m restoration of the fire damaged Mackintosh building for Glasgow School of Art and the 14m refurbishment of Edinburgh College of Art for the University of Edinburgh.

“Importantly, our commitment to the Scottish construction sector goes beyond our solid business operations. We recognise the skills shortage affecting the entire construction industry and we are increasing awareness of this diverse and hugely rewarding sector by working with a number of schools, industry bodies and local suppliers throughout the country to attract and retain more young people into construction.”

Garnock Campus

The £36m Garnock Campus in North Ayrshire

In what was a period of reorganisation for Kier Group, the accounts show a £39m profit on the £75m sale of Mouchel Consulting to WSP in October 2016 but a £33m provision for closing the Caribbean operations.

The statutory results show group revenue up 1% to £1,996m for the first half and pre-tax profit of £34.9m. Excluding Mouchel Consulting, the equivalent 2015 profit figure was just £4.3m.

From construction activities alone, Kier saw underlying operating profit rise 19% to £20.8m with a 2% operating margin (2015: 1.9%). Construction revenue was up 8% for the period to £1,017m, a new high for the company. The order book stands at £3.3bn.

In the boardroom, Phil White retires as chairman after the AGM on November 17, to be succeeded by Philip Cox, who is the chairman of Drax Group and Global Power Generation.

Kier also announced a deal with Peterborough-based housing association and care services provider Cross Keys Homes to form a housing delivery joint venture.

Haydn Mursell, chief executive, said: “Today’s results reflect the ongoing financial and operational discipline employed across the Group and the strength of our flexible, integrated business model.

“The Group has a balanced portfolio of businesses and market leading positions in regional building, infrastructure and housing. Our continued focus on simplifying the portfolio and working with clients in a collaborative way is delivering further growth opportunities. Our clients recognise this approach as a key differentiator when working with Kier.

“The Group’s breadth provides some resilience against economic uncertainty and we continue to shape Kier to focus on our core competencies. We are encouraged by the pipeline in the Property and Residential businesses and our healthy order books of approximately £9bn in the Construction and Services businesses. We remain on course to deliver our expectations for the full year and we are well positioned to achieve our Vision 2020 goals.”

Companies sign-up to hub South West’s Building for Growth programme

Michael McBrearty

Michael McBrearty

Construction and infrastructure partnership hub South West is set to help companies in Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway to get clued-up on how to win profitable new business from some of Scotland’s biggest building contractors.

Now in its sixth round, the ‘Building for Growth’ programme will walk company bosses through a programme which provides valuable key insights into how to take their businesses to the next level.

The nine companies which will participate in hub South West’s March 2017 programme include JBB Groundcare, Racam Security and Communications, CHAPS, BMG Ltd, CCI Scotland, Clancy Consulting, CP Construction Solutions, McLaren Electrical Services and Lucion Services.

There has been hot competition for places on the programme, from which 42 companies within the region have already graduated, and participants will learn from, and mingle with, some of the biggest players in the sector.

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, said: “The South West of Scotland is rich in ambitious companies in the construction and related sectors who want to take on greater volumes of business in a sustainable manner.

“This programme, which already has been a resounding success, will bring in experts in the fields of people management, IT, tendering and marketing, as well as building relationships with hub’s Tier 1 Contractors who will meet the delegates with the aim of  helping businesses to build the skills they need as well as to create the internal capacity for growth.

“Representatives of participating companies will be able to speak freely about the issues which face them in the eight half-day sessions. Measures are taken to ensure that there is no clash with competing businesses.”

The hub South West Building for Growth programme is supported by Kier, Morrison Construction, Graham and Morgan Sindall. It is one of a range of initiatives from hub South West, which enables cost-efficient design and construction of community facilities in the region.

Kier opens seven sites across Scotland for Open Doors 2017

Edinburgh College of Art

Edinburgh College of Art

Kier Group is opening a record seven sites to the public for Open Doors Week 2017 (half of the total Scottish sites open for the event) as it reaffirms its commitment to recruiting the next generation of talented workers to the industry.

Open Doors Week takes place from Monday 27 March to Saturday 1 April. The theme for this year’s event is careers in construction and with more sites open than any other company taking part, Kier is keen to demonstrate the range of job opportunities available in the industry and inspire individuals to pursue a career in the sector.

Kier sites are opening across the country from as far north as Aberdeen to as far south as Ayr and registrations are now open to visit a range of projects. The company has ensured there is a site that will appeal to everyone, from a key restoration at the Glasgow School of Art, the refurbishment of the historic Aberdeen Music Hall and several new build secondary schools in Ayrshire.

Commenting on Kier’s involvement, Brian McQuade, managing director of Kier Construction Scotland, said: “We have been involved in Open Doors for five years now and this year, we’re making more sites than ever available to the public. With the well-documented skills shortage in the industry, this year’s theme of careers in construction is particularly appropriate as it gives us the opportunity to take people behind the scenes of a construction site and really demonstrate the huge breadth and diversity of roles available.

“At Kier, we’re working with a number of schools, industry bodies and local suppliers to attract and retain young people into construction.  Open Doors is a fantastic initiatives and it provides another important route to inspire the next generation of construction workers into the industry.”

Places are still available and bookings can be made through the Open Doors 2017 website.

The full list of Kier sites taking part in Open Doors week is as follows:

–       Aberdeen Music Hall

–       Ayr Academy

–       Clyde Gateway East business park, Clyde Gateway

–       East Ayrshire Learning Campus, Kilmarnock

–       Edinburgh College of Art

–       Glasgow School of Art

–       Marr College, Troon

New £6.5m funding to pave way for manufacturing unit at Clyde Gateway

Clyde Gateway EastThe Scottish Government has awarded a £1 million loan to the Clyde Gateway regeneration project towards the construction of a new manufacturing unit.

To be built by Kier Construction, procured through the Scape National Minor Works Framework, the £3m unit will be targeted at key growth sectors identified by Scottish Enterprise, who are backing the project along with support from Glasgow City Council.

It is expected to attract 80 new permanent jobs to the area when it is completed later this year whilst the building contract will provide three construction jobs and three training places.

The money was awarded through the Scottish Government’s Scottish Partnership for Regeneration in Urban Centres (SPRUCE) fund.

Housing minister Kevin Stewart has also confirmed that Clyde Gateway will receive £5.5m from the Scottish Government in 2017/18 subject to parliamentary approval this week.

Visiting the site today, Mr Stewart said: “I’m really pleased to be here today to confirm this additional funding, which will not only continue the regeneration of the area but crucially will create dozens of jobs.

“The SPRUCE fund is providing essential investment that is helping to regenerate areas by delivering new infrastructure, supporting the economy and jobs and transforming our communities for the better.

“Over the last few years, Clyde Gateway has been at the forefront of transforming the east end of Glasgow beyond recognition. However it is essential that we maintain that momentum and this additional money being provided by the Scottish Government demonstrates our continued commitment to supporting the delivery of regeneration and improving the lives of the local communities across the east end of Glasgow and South Lanarkshire.”

Councillor George Redmond, the vice-chair of Clyde Gateway and executive member for jobs, business and investment at Glasgow City Council, said: “I am delighted with this twin boost for the city and the Clyde Gateway area.

“The new factory will help increase Glasgow’s manufacturing base which continues to be such a vital component in our efforts to continue the growth of the local economy.

“There is clearly much to celebrate in terms of what has been achieved so far in transforming the fortunes of communities such as Bridgeton, Dalmarnock, Rutherglen and Shawfield but it also is worth noting that we are less than halfway through the 20-year programme of activity.

“It is pleasing that the Scottish Government is acknowledging Clyde Gateway’s great work with £5.5m of funding for the coming year alongside a clear commitment to future activities as this will assist us in our wider efforts to attract the extensive investment and developments necessary to complete the task in hand.”

Ian Manson, chief executive of Clyde Gateway, said: “This new unit continues the success story of Clyde Gateway East business park and is being built to attract the key growth sectors that have been identified by Scottish Enterprise.

“There is clearly an appetite for this kind of manufacturing and engineering space as we’ve already received some tenant enquiries for what is a speculative build.  It’s also further evidence of Clyde Gateway’s increasing reputation as a great business destination with companies of all shapes and sizes, from across a number of sectors, locating here and benefitting from our excellent road and public transport links, fantastic business support and superfast broadband provision.”

Philip McDowell, contracts manager of Kier Construction Scotland, added: “We are delighted to be working with Clyde Gateway through the Scape framework on what will be another quality development for this thriving area.

“We are committed to supporting the local supply chain and providing employment and training opportunities for the wider community.  During this project we will be providing five work placement opportunities and an apprenticeship role and we will also be working with local schools and colleges to encourage young people to consider a career in the construction industry.”

Construction sector output shows rise – ONS

construction worker stock

Latest Office for National Statistics data on output in the construction industry have shown a return to growth in output for the industry, in particular from housebuilding.

According to the latest figures, December saw construction output rise by 1.8 per cent compared with the previous month, largely due to an increase in new work.

Private commercial work was one of the main drivers behind construction growth, expanding by 5.2 per cent in December.

Compared with December 2015, construction output increased by 0.6 per cent, the main contribution to this growth came from new housing work.

Brian McQuade

Brian McQuade

Brian McQuade, managing director for Kier Construction Scotland & NE, said: “It’s encouraging to see a rise in output activity in the sector.  Certainly Kier Construction is experiencing steady and sustainable growth as we deliver major build projects across education, healthcare, commercial and retail sectors.  We’ve secured a solid pipeline of activity for the 2017 financial year.

“Although access to skilled labour and rising costs remain industry-wide concerns, there are still opportunities across Scotland, including an extra £800m of capital spending on infrastructure projects that will help Kier and the industry develop tomorrow’s diverse supply chain.  I’m optimistic about the year ahead and we have a number of exciting new projects on the horizon that will ensure our continued steady growth in Scotland through 2017 and beyond.”

Allan Callaghan, managing director of housebuilder Cruden Homes West, said: “The confidence felt within the industry is beginning to match up with market activity and it’s great to see housebuilding emerge as a catalyst for sustainable growth.  At Cruden we’ve had a strong start to the year across our private and public housing developments as modern, affordable homes remains in high demand.Allan Callaghan

“The challenge ahead for the Industry to maintain a sustainable continued growth is the persistent problem of skill shortages, well-articulated in the Farmer Review recently. This is again in the spotlight with the news that 12,000 workers are needed in Scotland over the next few years.

“Apprenticeship and training opportunities will go some way to address this but it’s a big gap to fill.  The industry as a whole needs to get the message out there that the construction sector offers a wealth of varied and rewarding careers.  The industry has proved to be very resilient and the future is looking bright – we just need more young people to realise that.”

hub South West gives school leavers unique career opportunity

Ian Hughes, strategic partnerships director, CITB Scotland and Michael McBrearty, chief executive, hub South West Scotland present student Matthew Laverie, 16, with the folio of certificates he achieved during his time on the programme

Ian Hughes, strategic partnerships director, CITB Scotland and Michael McBrearty, chief executive, hub South West Scotland present student Matthew Laverie, 16, with the folio of certificates he achieved during his time on the programme

The lives of 11 young men from the south west of Scotland have been transformed by an innovative and ground-breaking partnership which has seen them launched towards rewarding careers in the construction industry.

Their success was marked last month with a celebration and awards presentation which recognised their achievements in completing a bespoke employability programme as well as practical experience on active building sites.

The industry-leading course, called Your Future Starts in Construction, was the first of its kind to be offered by public-private partnership hub South West and was specifically aimed at a critical point in the young candidates’ career path.

All the youngsters were all drawn from the cohort of Winter Leavers – that is, pupils who elect to leave school early, potentially putting them at greater risk of economic and social exclusion.

The course, supported by the Prince’s Trust, the Construction Industry Training Board, Kier Construction and Ayrshire College, gave the candidates a unique insight into the huge range of career opportunities within the industry.

Euan Ferguson, who studied at Greenwood Academy in Irvine, said: “I enjoyed exploring joinery and I have now been accepted on to an Ayrshire College course to study the trade in Kilwinning.”

Matthew Laverie, formerly of Prestwick Academy, said: “I was not particularly looking forward to the programme but I really took a lot away from it. I now have the chance to study multi-trade construction at Ayrshire College.”

Successful students Taylor Jarvie, 17, Toby Moffat, 16, Daryl Orderley, 16, and Euan Ferguson, 16 with CSCS trainer Jim Casey

Successful students Taylor Jarvie, 17, Toby Moffat, 16, Daryl Orderley, 16, and Euan Ferguson, 16 with CSCS trainer Jim Casey

The other young men who completed the course include Taylor Jarvie (Auchinleck Academy), Gary Kyle and Toby Moffat (Loudon Academy), Barry McLaughlin (Prestwick Academy), Lochlan Miller and Rian Smith (Grange Academy), Mark O’Neill and Norman Stephens (Park School) and Daryl Orderley (Ardrossan Academy).

The programme offered students:

  • One day a week at college for eight weeks;
  • 2 full weeks at college learning employability skills;
  • A test to gain a Construction Skills Certification Scheme card, facilitating entry to live sites;
  • A week’s work experience on an active construction site;
  • Experience of skills such as brickwork, joinery and painting and decorating;
  • The opportunity to progress to a trade-specific course at Ayrshire College.

Speaking after the awards ceremony at Ayrshire College’s Kilmarnock Campus, Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, said: “Construction is an Innovative and ever growing industry which boasts a vast spectrum of potential roles from practical trades such as brick laying and joinery, to different roles in architecture and quantity surveying.

“It is a fantastic industry to be a part of, and it is vital that young people are made aware of opportunities to thrive through construction, be it via an apprenticeship, an academic route or through programmes such as this.

“I am thrilled that the students were able to experience a working week on two of our current flagship projects in Ayrshire, the William McIlvanney Campus in Kilmarnock and Ayr Academy, and I wish them the best of luck with their future in the industry.”

Brian McQuade, managing director of Kier Construction in Scotland, added: “Construction makes a huge impact on our lives and forms a fundamental part of our economy, but there is a real skills shortage in the industry.

“Kier Construction supports many initiatives to attract and retain future talent and improve employability. This trade programme is a great example of providing an inspiring taste of the industry at a key point in young people’s lives while improving employability prospects at the same time.”