Morgan Sindall

Local businesses enrol in hub South West’s eighth Building for Growth Programme

Gordon Hunter

hub South West’s eighth Building for Growth programme is now underway with more local businesses signed up in expectation of winning new work from Scotland’s Tier 1 contractors.

The bespoke business development initiative is open to any company looking to grow in a sustainable manner by building the skills and internal capacity to take on increasing volumes of business and, as a result could win new work from participating contactors.

The Building for Growth programme, aimed at ambitious businesses in construction and related sectors based in Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway, is run by hub South West, a public-private partnership of local authorities, NHS, blue light services and a clutch of leading construction industry Tier 1 contractors including Morrison, Graham, Morgan Sindall, Ashleigh and Kier.

The current programme, from which 62 local businesses have already graduated, got under way on 21 March and is scheduled to run through until early June. It comprises 8 half-day sessions (10.00am-2.00pm) over a period of 12 weeks. Throughout the spring 2018 session workshops will focus on topics such as smart tendering, innermetrix profiling, strategic growth and exit options, marketing planning, supplier development programmes, corporate social responsibility and pitching for business.

Gordon Hunter, hub South West’s supply chain manager, who manages the Building for Growth programme, said: “There are a lot of good businesses out there, but some have areas where they need to build capacity if they want to rise to the next level.

“For example, many are relying too heavily on the skills of one key person, some of the IT practices are not very efficient or robust, and marketing communications can vary from the sublime to the almost non-existent.

“A golden rule of the programme is ‘no competitors’, leaving participants free to discuss any business issues, challenges and opportunities in a safe and supportive environment with a like-minded group of business people.”

Gary Thorn, founder and MD of Cumbernauld-based Cube Glass, who won the Best final Presentation Award at the culmination of the seventh Building for Growth Programme in November last year, said: “I learned a great deal from this programme and I will be ever-grateful to hub South West for giving me the opportunity to participate.

“At first I thought it would be impossible for me to take eight half-days away from the business to attend but, in fact, taking time away from my day to day concerns gave me the opportunity to sit back and look at our long term development and to improve the chances of Cube Glass winning work from some of the Tier One contractors.”

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, added: “Our aim is to help generate growth in the local economy through innovative methods of partnership working and procurement which also provide value for money solutions.

“Our Building for Growth programme has already delivered success to the leaders of its participating companies by both broadening and deepening their grasp of the factors needed to win more new, bigger contracts from Tier One contractors and we hope and trust that all of the participants in our eighth Building for Growth programme will follow in their footsteps.”

List of delegates

Company Location Sector
JD Scaffolding Bargeddie Scaffolding
Murray Landscapes Motherwell Landscape Contracting
Emtec Branding Cumbernauld Signage
VWS Cumbernauld CCTV/Alarms/Fire
Belac Eurocentral Utilities/ Construction
IG Contracts Stewarton Groundworks
Hire and Supplies Dumfries/ Oban Plant Hire
Catherinefield Windows Dumfries Window Manufacture
Cube Glass Cumbernauld Glass Partitions
CSP Acoustics Glasgow Acoustics Consultants
Dow Waste Management Cumbernauld Waste and Recycling
Atlas Business Interiors Dumfries Design, space planning, FFE
Naturally Compliant Glasgow Environmental CoW


Contractors support new course to encourage more females into construction

Infrastructure partnership hub South West is throwing its weight behind a new initiative which is aimed at encouraging greater female career participation in the construction sector.

In partnership with its main contracting partners – Kier, GRAHAM, Morrisons and Morgan Sindall – hub South West is supporting the Females into Construction course, facilitated by New College Lanarkshire.

The course, which has no formal entry requirements, will be open to 16 female S5 pupils, and provides a National 5 qualification in Construction Crafts. On completion, students can progress to pre-apprenticeships or progress onto a professional career route of higher national certificate level.

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, said: “The course aims to encourage young females who are interested in a career in construction, while highlighting the varying career paths into the industry.

“Throughout the course, students will have the opportunity to visit sites managed by the supporting contractors, where they can observe a variety of construction roles in action.”

New College Lanarkshire, which recently was rated among the UK top three institutions for skills at WorldSkills UK, will run the course from April 30 to June 29 at its Motherwell Campus.

The course will include painting and decorating, masonry work, carpentry and joinery as well as visits to live construction sites, ambassador talks, visits to design offices at regional headquarters, CSCS specific safety training and work placements.

Students who are interested in pursuing a professional career path in construction may have the opportunity to join the college’s Built Environment or computer aided architectural design and technology.

Amanda Wright, social impact manager for Kier Construction Scotland, said: “We are delighted to support this important initiative. All of our sites are looking forward to sharing our knowledge and showcasing the wide range of diverse and very rewarding career opportunities that exist for women, both within Kier Construction Scotland, and throughout the construction industry.”

Morrison Construction community skills manager, Jim Johnstone, said: “We are proud to be part of this great initiative to help encourage more women into our industry and we are excited to showcase the wide variety of careers that are available in construction.

“Diversity in the workforce will only make our industry stronger as it encourages greater creativity and collaboration in the workplace.”

Stuart Parker, managing director of Morgan Sindall in Scotland, said: “We’re committed to promoting the construction industry and the rewarding careers it can to offer to all young people; but encouraging more female entrants to join the workforce is of particular importance.

“At Morgan Sindall, more than 18% of our personnel are women. That’s an increase from 10% two years ago and substantially higher than the national sector average of 12%. As an industry, there’s still work to be done.

“Close collaboration between businesses, schools and colleges is critical to effecting real change and we’re proud to be a key partner in hub South West’s initiative.”

Debbie Rutherford, regional community benefit advisor at GRAHAM Construction, said: “It’s fantastic to be involved with this course. We are very much looking forward to meeting the students and helping them throughout their journey.

“It’s important to us that young people, no matter their gender, are educated on the various routes to employment and are inspired and encouraged along the way.”

Morgan Sindall hands over £16m Balloch Campus

A new state-of-the-art campus which enables three schools to co-locate in a modern and collaborative learning environment has opened its doors in Balloch, West Dunbartonshire.

The £16 million campus, which represents a major investment in the education offering in the area, has been delivered by Morgan Sindall.

The construction and infrastructure company was appointed by West Dunbartonshire Council through LHC’s Schools & Community Buildings Framework. Subsequently renamed the Scottish Procurement Alliance (SPA) in 2016, the framework supports the efficient construction, refurbishment and maintenance of social housing and public buildings throughout Scotland.

With multiple stakeholders across the three schools and the local authority, the framework procurement route afforded early-stage collaboration on design, budget and timescales; enabling successful delivery of the project.

It was completed on schedule and to budget, ready for the children to take full advantage of the facility’s sports pitch over the summer months.

The 53,280 sq ft campus has been built on the site of the former St Kessog’s Primary and provides a new home for it, co-located with the newly-formed Balloch Primary.

An Additional Support Needs (ASN) unit and a new Balloch Early Learning and Childcare Centre (ELCC) are also operating at the site.

Balloch Primary was created following a merger of Haldane and Jamestown Primaries, while Balloch ELCC is the new name for Jamestown ELCC.

In total there are 21 flexible learning spaces, while the ASN has capacity to assist 36 pupils with a range of additional needs.

David Lannigan, senior operations manager at Morgan Sindall, said “Merging three existing schools into a modern campus, which offers an improved learning experience for children in the area was a major undertaking for West Dunbartonshire Council.

“The framework procurement route enabled us to work closely and collaboratively with the council and school from day one. As its construction partner, we’ve worked with the council to ensure the new school met its requirements and budget. The finished campus is something everyone involved in the project can be very proud of, and will deliver lasting benefits to education provision in the region.”

Councillor Iain McLaren, West Dunbartonshire Council’s convener of infrastructure, regeneration & economic development, said: “We are delighted with the new school and I know the staff and children are very much enjoying being in what is a wonderful building and environment.

“We’re determined to give our young people the best possible education and the Balloch Campus will certainly help to shape and support them now and for the future.”

Morgan Sindall records near 50% leap in profits

Morgan Sindall Group chief executive John Morgan

Morgan Sindall has reported a 48% increase in profits following an “excellent” performance from its Fit Out division and notable contributions from its Construction & Infrastructure and Partnership Housing arms.

Announcing its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2017 today, the group revealed that its profit before tax of £64.9 million was 48% higher than the £43.9m in 2016.

Operating profit increased by 42% from £47.4m to £67.4m while revenue was up 9% to £2,793m (2016: £2,562m).

Divisional highlights included a 42% jump in operating profit from the Fit Out division to £39.1m (2016: £27.5m) and continued improvement in Construction & Infrastructure, which saw operating margin up to 1.5% (2016: 0.7%) and operating profit of £20.4m (2016: £8.9m).

A 5% growth in operating profit in Partnership Housing was impacted by lower fourth quarter completions while Urban Regeneration operating profit of £10m was in line with its schedule of development completions.

The Property Services division was impacted by restructuring costs in the year and so made a loss of £1.3m.

Chief executive John Morgan said: “These strong results are evidence of the significant operational progress being made across the group and are a testament to the high quality and commitment of our people.

“Our positive cash generation and increase in average net cash in the year has further strengthened our balance sheet and provides us with the flexibility to invest in our regeneration activities whilst allowing us to continue being highly selective with bidding in our construction activities.

“Looking ahead to 2018, we expect continued margin progression in Construction & Infrastructure, another strong performance from Fit Out, further growth from Urban Regeneration and Partnership Housing and positive contributions from Property Services and Investments.

“Consequently, we are confident of another good year of progress and with this positive momentum, are well-placed to deliver a result for the year which is slightly above our previous expectations.”

The 183-home development in Wester Hailes, Edinburgh, built by Lovell in partnership with Places for People

Partnership homes specialist Lovell has hailed its contribution to its parent group results, having delivered 1,757 new-build homes in 2017 including homes for open market sale and affordable homes.

Lovell’s combined national forward order book and regeneration pipeline now stands at £1.4 billion.

Lovell regional managing director, Stephen Profili, said: “The outlook for 2018 is highly encouraging as we continue to build urgently needed homes across Scotland. The forward order book for the Scottish business exceeds £119 million with the company set to complete more than 630 homes in Scotland this year, helping the Scottish Government meet its target of providing 50,000 new affordable homes by 2021.

“Lovell’s commitment to long-term partnership working is combined with the ability to bring forward land for development and create high-quality new homes across a range of tenures, from affordable housing to properties for sale on the open market, as well as provide housing refurbishment and planned maintenance services. We also work with central and local government partners to provide creative solutions for developing homes on public land – an approach which offers an important contribution to addressing the housing crisis.”

hub South West launches network to help companies win business from Tier 1 contractors

The hub Club meeting in Dumfires and Galloway earlier this month

The hub Club meeting in Dumfires and Galloway earlier this month

Construction and infrastructure-focused partnership hub South West has launched a networking arm which aims to better connect businesses throughout Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway.

The hub Club, which has already held three highly successful  inaugural events this month in Ayr, Cumbernauld and Dumfries, is aimed not only at bringing SMEs closer to Tier 1 contractors such as Morrison, Graham, Ashleigh, Morgan Sindall and Kier, but also at enabling companies engaged across a range of activities to meet each other and do business together.

Gordon Hunter

Gordon Hunter

Gordon Hunter, supply chain development manager at hub South West, who together with his team, has overseen the hub club launch events said: “We have been running a ‘Building for Growth’ programme for companies throughout the South West of Scotland for a few years now and the hub club idea evolved as a natural extension from our basic aim of getting people to meet, talk and learn from each other.

“We all know that people prefer to do business with people they know and The hub Club provides a regular forum for up to forty companies at a time, to sit down in a room together and talk about their businesses, share their experiences and potentially collaborate on projects together.

“We welcome all companies in the South West region to join The hub Club and to participate in our series of monthly events into 2018. Anyone interested can find out more from our website.”

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, said: “Our mission is to enable cost-efficient design and construction of community facilities within South West Scotland and to provide value for money and generate growth in the local economy through a new method of partnership working and procurement.

“A fundamental part of that approach is to ensure that as many local businesses as possible are hired to contribute their skills and expertise to these projects. The hub Club helps us to achieve that objective by harnessing the vast range of expertise that already exists amongst SMEs throughout the region and putting it to work.”

Morgan Sindall offers workers a route back into construction after career break

Dawn Moore heads Morgan Sindall's Returnships programme

Dawn Moore heads Morgan Sindall’s Returnships programme

People wishing to return to the construction and infrastructure sector following a voluntary career break have been offered a lifeline as part of a Returnships programme initiated by Morgan Sindall.

The programme has been developed by Morgan Sindall’s HR director, Dawn Moore, who was recently awarded the Champions Award at the Working Mums 2017 Top Employer Awards in recognition of Morgan Sindall’s commitment to developing a flexible working culture at the company.

Discussing the benefits of the programme, Dawn said, “There are times when many of us may have to take a lengthy career break, whether this is for family or personal reasons. Returning to work after this time can be daunting and our Returnships programme seeks to resolve this.

“Not only will the individual be able to balance their home life with their return through a staged programme, but will also be offered the opportunity to build upon previous experience and develop new skills.”

The company is looking for people at all levels but particularly those with mid to senior management level experience, who have taken a voluntary career break of at least 18 months. Applicants may have left the industry to run their own business, raise children or care for a relative. They may have had an illness themselves which stopped them from working, but are now well enough to return to work.

The closing date for the programme is December 15, a time of year when people look ahead and contemplate new opportunities and challenges for the upcoming year. Having already received a positive response from the industry to date, Morgan Sindall wants to ensure it captures all those who are looking for new opportunities.

Applications will be considered from those who have a genuine interest in working in the sector. Those who have worked in the construction and infrastructure sector previously will be considered alongside those who feel they have the transferrable skills, experience or qualifications from other sectors.

The programme is similar to an intern placement – an initial three month paid placement will be offered, with a view to securing a permanent position. The placement will serve as a staged return, offering the opportunity for individuals to re-engage with working life, initially on a part to full time basis, all the time developing skills and competencies required to work with a leading UK contractor.

The application process will see applicants initially apply online and submit a copy of their CV. Applicants will be invited to an assessment on 30 January at a central location and those successful will be invited to join the Returnships programme on 6 March 2018. Following the placement, if a suitable, permanent position is available the applicant will be offered a full time or flexible working position.

Anyone interested in participating in the Returnships programme can find out more on the Morgan Sindall website.

Morgan Sindall on track to deliver performance ahead of expectations

Morgan Sindall Group chief executive John Morgan

Morgan Sindall Group chief executive John Morgan

Trading at Morgan Sindall has continued to be strong in the second half of the year with the group set to deliver year-end profits ahead of previous expectations.

In a trading update for the period from 1 July 2017 to date, Morgan Sindall attributed the boost to an uplift in margins at its Construction & Infrastructure and Fit Out businesses.

The group said it also expects that its average daily net cash for the full year will be in excess of £100 million, ahead of previous guidance of not less than £75m.

Morgan Sindall’s committed order book as at 30 September 2017 was £3.8 billion, up 5% from the year end position (up 1% from the half year), whilst the regeneration & development pipeline of £3.3bn was up 2% from the year end (level with the half year).

Chief executive John Morgan said: “Construction’s recovery has continued and accelerated, with considerable progress towards achieving its medium term margin target of 2% expected in the second half.

“Infrastructure has performed as expected and its mix of work in the second half should drive the expected margin increase, ahead of its first half result.”

Divisional highlights

Construction Activities

  • Construction & Infrastructure has further improved performance, with its margin benefiting from the ongoing focus on operational delivery and contract selectivity.
  • Fit Out has achieved further margin progression ahead of its strong first half result and, based on its visible workload for the rest of the year together with its current contract delivery performance, very strong second half margin and profit is expected.
  • Property Services is proposing to exit its legacy insurance services business to better serve its core local authority customer base and the cost of this, together with the cost of further streamlining its contract portfolio by exiting underperforming contracts, will impact its operating result with a  loss for the year of c£1m expected.

Regeneration Activities

  • Partnership Housing is focused on delivering construction and sales completions in its mixed-tenure business and a significant number of units are scheduled for fourth quarter completion. Average capital employed for the year is expected to be c£100m, less than previously expected and primarily as a result of deferred commencements of schemes.
  • The scheduled timing of scheme completions in Urban Regeneration remains on track and in line with plans. Average capital employed for the year is expected to be c£90m, in line with previous guidance.

Morgan Sindall tops out at £13m Aberdeen primary school

L-R: Stuart Parker- MD Morgan Sindall, Councillor john Wheeler, Convenor education, Gael ross, Stoneywood Headteacher,

L-R: Morgan Sindall MD Stuart Parker, Councillor john Wheeler, and head teacher Gael Ross

Morgan Sindall has celebrated reaching the topping out stage of its work building the new £13 million Stoneywood Primary School in the Bucksburn area in the north of Aberdeen.

The single-storey project will feature a sensory garden, an orchard with insect and bird boxes and open spaces of grass for sports and games. The building is being constructed using a cross-laminated timber framework covered in a range of external finishes including glass, render and cladding. It also includes a number of sustainable features including low energy central heating and solar UV panels.

Morgan Sindall’s site team has completed the external structure and electrical works, and is now putting the finishing touches to the glazing. The building is on schedule for a spring 2018 handover, and the new school will open its doors to 434 pupils for the new 2018 school year.

Council Co-Leaders Jennifer Laing and Douglas Lumsden, along with Councillor John Wheeler, Education and Children’s Services Convener, and representatives from Morgan Sindall unveiled a rooftop plaque at the site of the former Bankhead Academy, which was demolished following a fire in 2012.

Stuart Parker, managing director of Morgan Sindall in Scotland, said: “Topping out is an important milestone in a construction project and it’s great to mark the occasion.

“We’re very pleased to be making such good progress on what is a valuable addition to the education offering in the local area, and one which breathes new life and purpose into a derelict site.”

Head Teacher Gael Ross said: “We are such a strong community at Stoneywood, pupils, staff and parents alike. It will be just great to be in our new home and everyone is really looking forward to it.”

Councillor Wheeler added: “This is a fantastic milestone for the new Stoneywood School which will be another amazing addition to capital investment in education across Aberdeen. This year alone we have seen the opening of the £5 million Greenbrae School extension and the ground-breaking Centre of Excellence at Orchard Brae and we also have the new Lochside Academy to look forward to as well.

“We’re delighted that pupils and staff at Stoneywood will have such a great facility to come to when the new school year begins.”

Morgan Sindall wins £2m expansion of historic listed school

Final_St Milne's Primary SchoolMoray Council has appointed Morgan Sindall Construction and Infrastructure to carry out a £2 million extension and refurbishment project at Milne’s Primary School, in the village of Fochabers.

Located on the High Street, the existing 1846 Gothic School is Category A listed and built of ashlar sandstone with a slate roof.

The project is split into two phases – the first will see a 6,800 sq ft extension built to the rear of the existing structure. It will house three nursery classrooms and two primary classrooms as well as quiet time and ancillary support accommodation. The extension will feature under-floor heating as part of an energy-efficient build and feature Larch cladding, coloured to enhance the setting of the existing 1846 building.

The school has a current intake of around 200 primary aged pupils and 20 nursery children. The new extension will allow all lessons to be delivered within one main building.

Once the extension is complete the existing nursery will be demolished. In its place, the site team will create a new play area, along with an outdoor amphitheatre.

The second phase involves substantial refurbishment of the school’s 4,300 sq ft dining hall. The site team will install a new heating and electrical system, thermally-efficient cladding and double glazed windows.

Chair of Moray Council’s children and young people’s services committee, Cllr Tim Eagle, said: “Moray Council is committed to improving the learning environment in which our staff and children teach and learn. It is pleasing to agree a design which enhances the use of what is an iconic structure. When complete the whole school community will be learning together in a fit for purpose building.”

Stuart Parker, managing director of Morgan Sindall in Scotland, added: “Construction work involving a listed building and a busy school environment demands a specific skill set, and our Special Works team, which will be carrying this out, is particularly successful in this arena.

“We’re incredibly pleased to have been selected by Moray Council to deliver the works at Milnes Primary school and we’re looking forward to delivering an inspiring teaching and learning environment. I’m confident that the improvements to this historic school site will be well received by staff and pupils alike.”

Construction work is expected to be completed by the end of summer 2018.

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