Kier Group

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

Construction output suffers another dip – ONS

building stock 2Output in the UK’s construction sector fell 1.3% in the three months to June, after a 1.1% rise in the first quarter, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed.

The 3 month on 3 month decrease was driven by a 1.3% drop in new work and a 1.4% fall in repair and maintenance, the fourth consecutive month the figure has dropped.

Month-on-month construction output also fell in June 2017, contracting for the third consecutive month, decreasing by 0.1% compared with the previous month; however, construction output still grew 0.9% compared with June 2016.

The month-on-month decline of 0.1% in June 2017 was driven by a 1.1% fall in all repair and maintenance; however, this was offset by a 5.1% increase in private housing, which reached its highest level on record.

Two large contractors were bullish about their prospects despite the fall in output.

Kier Construction Scotland’s business development manager, Gordon Reid, said: “Although figures have dropped this month, recent reports on the bigger picture point to the industry being stronger and more resilient than ever and this is certainly what we are seeing at Kier Construction Scotland.

“Health and education are key sectors for Scotland and we have recently strengthened our portfolio in these areas.

“Our recent wins support our strategy for growth and as a result we have been able to expand headcount and continue to attract a diverse range of new talent to Kier. The construction industry remains resilient and in good health and we will continue to showcase the breadth of career opportunities and highlight the huge benefit that this important sector delivers to the Scottish economy.”

Allan Callaghan, managing director of Cruden Building & Renewals, added: “The house building sector in Scotland has endured some big challenges this year including the impact of Brexit, the rise in materials like brick and timber and the fall of Sterling.  However, the sector remains buoyant and very resilient. At Cruden, we have secured a number of significant contract wins over recent months and we continue to see high demand at our new housing developments.

“The sector is a major employer in Scotland and plays a big part in addressing youth employment. The issue of labour and resource shortages in the short to medium term needs to be addressed.  At Cruden we have met these challenges head on – setting up the Cruden Academy to deliver best practice in training and education as well as expanding our award-winning modern apprenticeship programmes to invest in our skills and our people.”

hub South West delivers £25m Ayr Academy building

Ayr AcademyA new Ayr Academy secondary school is set to open later this month after being delivered by Kier Construction and hub South West Scotland on behalf of South Ayrshire Council.

Ayr Academy, whose origins can be traced back to 1233 but did not come to be known by its present name until 1796, has moved to the Craigie Estate from its former location in the town’s Fort Street.

The new Ayr Campus will cater for 1,000 school students, with the capacity for a further 300, and will create a modern and inclusive facility where students can learn in a sustainable and well-designed environment.

The £25 million project is a part of a £94m pipeline being delivered by the authority across South Ayrshire in the next 18 months with the aim of enhancing standards through targeted investment.

Ayr AcademyDuring its construction the new Ayr Academy was used as a part of hub South West’s bespoke programme, ‘Your Future starts in Construction’, during which it collaborated with the Prince’s Trust and Ayrshire College to enable local youngsters to gain work experience on a live site and achieve a unique accreditation.

Ayr Academy was the first project in Scotland to reach financial close post European System of Accounts (ESA 10) resolution in January 2016.

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, said: “Ayr Academy Campus is a wonderful state-of-the-art facility that I’m sure all students and teachers will enjoy.

“It is the latest project we have delivered on behalf of South Ayrshire Council over the past twelve months and is great tribute to partnership working that we can now celebrate the finished result. The new campus will be a great asset.”

Ayr AcademyBrian McQuade, managing director of Kier Construction’s Scotland and North-East England business, said: “We are pleased to have delivered this leading, modern Academy with fantastic new sports facilities for students and the wider community to enjoy, building on our track record of delivering quality schools throughout Scotland.

“Through hub South West, we have worked with local suppliers and SME’s to ensure that the project boosts the local economy of Ayr and the surrounding area, including training and employment opportunities. During the construction of Ayr Academy we have created 17 work placements, 16 apprenticeships and two graduated traineeships, giving local young people valuable experience of working in this thriving and rewarding industry.”

Spie UK wins £8m M&E contract on Kilmarnock campus project

William Mcllvanney CampusKier has awarded Spie UK an £8 million contract to carry out mechanical and electrical (M&E) works on a new secondary school campus in Kilmarnock.

The new £45.3m William McIlvanney Campus is being built by Kier to accommodate the merger of Kilmarnock Academy, James Hamilton Academy, New Farm Primary and Early Childhood Centre and Silverwood Prim, as well as a third new school (Sgoil na Coille Nuaidhe) to replace the existing provision offered at Onthank Primary School and Grange Academy.

Designed by NORR Architects, the 18,360m² campus will be built to minimise overall energy consumption while adapting to a variety of interactive and collaborative teaching and learning needs.

Spie’s M&E includes the installation of Low Temperature Hot Water (LTHW), heating (including underfloor), domestic water services, syphonic drainage, data-voice, LV Switchgear, stand-by generator, lighting and power, combined heat and power unit, ventilation, fire sprinkler system, fire alarms and security systems. The installation will also feature a daylight-linked PIR lighting control system, including absence detection in classrooms.

kilmarnock_image_2Overall, the campus will contain around 1,465 secondary, 383 primary and 160 early years pupils between the ages of 2-18 once completed.

Other features will include a multi-use games area as well as flexible community facilities.

Previously, Spie carried out a £7m multi-technical services contract at North Ayrshire Council’s 17,000m² Garnock Community Campus project.

Will Smith, managing director of SPIE UK’s multi-technical services Scotland division, said: “We’re delighted to have been selected by Kier Construction for another prestigious and pioneering venture in the Scottish education sector, following on from our works at Garnock Community Campus.

“Today’s rapidly transforming learning environment and tools demand flexibility and ease of maintenance, and therefore we will be incorporating the latest state-of-the-art technology and energy efficiency initiatives during the design phase.

“The campus will generate substantial employment, growth and investment opportunities across East Ayrshire, whilst creating the infrastructure to support continuous education of young people in Kilmarnock and the surrounding areas.”

Brian McQuade, Kier Construction’s Scotland managing director, said: “Education continues to be a prominent sector for Kier and we’re delighted to be working in partnership with SPIE once again to deliver this latest contemporary build in Ayrshire.

“The SPIE team brings significant mechanical and electrical works prowess to the design process, particularly in the field of energy management, which is an important part of this innovative solution.”

Blog: Construction is not just about getting your hands dirty

Pauline McCabe

Pauline McCabe

Pauline McCabe of Kier Construction gives her account of being a woman in construction, the path she took to getting there and her views on getting more women to consider a career in this sector.

“When I grow up, I want to be a health and safety manager.”

There’s a phrase I bet that no teacher has ever heard escape from the lips of a six year old. It may not have been my childhood dream, yet here I am, a health and safety manager who loves her job.

Like many children with a love of all things cute and cuddly, I wanted to be a vet when I grew up. But by the time I left school, I was confused about what I wanted to do, so rather than make a life-changing decision at a time of uncertainty, I moved to Greece and did some bartending and an office manager role.

When I came back to Scotland a couple of years later, it was time to grow up.  My experience in Greece got me a job as an office manager, sharing my time between an architect’s studio and neighbouring engineering company. This was my first taste of life in the construction industry.

When I began working with the engineering company full time, I started working closely with the planning supervisor, and got involved in quality assurance when the company was installing masts for mobile telephones.  I found out about the risks involved and how to overcome them, and this sparked an interest in health and safety.  There were personal reasons too; my father was an electrician in the shipyards and picked up pleural plaques, an asbestos related disease and my brother was a miner and has vibration white finger, a condition triggered by continuous use of vibrating hand-held machinery where you can lose all feeling in your fingers.

Having decided on a career in health and safety, I went to work for as many sub-contractor companies as possible, including bricklaying, cladding, roofing and steelwork companies as a consultant, to gain a broad knowledge of the construction sector. While working, I also attended university two nights a week for two years to gain my National Examination Board for Occupational Safety and Health qualification. Shortly afterwards, I became a health and safety adviser before moving to Kier Construction Scotland.  I joined Kier as a senior health and safety advisor and was promoted to health and safety manager within six months.

I think the saying ‘life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get’ pretty much sums up my role within health and safety. The fact that every day is different is one of the many things that I really love about my job. The most rewarding aspect is definitely the fact that I’m helping to protect people at work and making a real difference to their lives. I tend to spend one day a week in the office, working on strategy and planning, and the other four days going out to sites, speaking to employees and generally putting the theory into practice! The biggest challenge is getting the workforce to put their safety first at all times, and to place the same care and attention on themselves while working as they would their children and other family members.

As a woman in construction, I’m aware there’s a gender imbalance, but there have been no barriers for me personally. Kier is a very welcoming and diverse company, but I strongly believe that more needs to be done within the industry in general to redress the gender imbalance.

I think the construction industry is still suffering from an image problem. People are under the impression that if you work in construction, you are in a dirty and cold environment. It doesn’t have to be like that – for every role that involves getting your hands grubby, there is another which does not. Construction is a thriving and rewarding industry with so many different roles, and we need to change perceptions for people to realise this and consider a career in this sector.

I’m hoping that I can play a small part in this. I’m often invited to visit nursery and primary schools to give talks to children about the dangers of construction sites.  While I’m there, I also try and give them a bit of an insight into this industry, in the hope that I might inspire some young people to change their dream career from a vet, police officer or footballer to an engineer, architect – or even a health and safety manager!

  • Pauline McCabe is health and safety manager for Kier Construction Scotland

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.”