Morgan Sindall

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

Fit-out performance helps boost profits at Morgan Sindall

Morgan Sindall Group chief executive John Morgan

Morgan Sindall Group chief executive John Morgan

Morgan Sindall has reported a 44% leap in pre-tax profits thanks to an “excellent” performance from the group’s Fit-Out division.

Figures for the six months to 30th June 2017 saw Morgan Sindall delivered strong profit growth with operating profit up 37% to £24.9m (HY 2016: £18.2m) on revenue up 14% to £1.307 billion (2016 H1: £1.148bn).

The company’s Construction & Infrastructure division has improved its profit margin to 1.1% this year from just 0.5% last year by better selection of work to take on.

This resulted in operating profit of £7.6m for Construction & Infrastructure, up 138%, on revenue of £694m, up 13%.

The Fit-Out division saw a 27% increase of operating profit to £14.6m, with an operating margin recovering to 4.3% from 3.9% last year.

Across the business there was a significant rise in average daily net cash to £132m. The group’s order book rose 5% to £3.8bn.

  HY 2017 HY 2016 Change
Revenue £1,307m £1,148m +14%
Operating profit – adjusted £24.9m £18.2m +37%
Profit before tax – adjusted £23.7m £16.1m +47%
Earnings per share – adjusted 43.6p 29.8p +46%
Period end net cash £97m £36m +£61m
Average daily net cash/(debt) £132m (£24m) +£156m
Interim dividend per share 16.0p 13.0p +23%
Operating profit – reported £24.3m £17.5m +39%
Profit before tax – reported £23.1m £15.4m +50%
Basic earnings per share – reported 42.5p 28.5p +49%

Commenting on the results, chief executive John Morgan said: “This is a strong set of results, driven by another period of margin and profit growth in Fit Out and further progress on margin recovery in Construction & Infrastructure. Reflecting our overall profit performance, our strong balance sheet and cash performance, and our confidence in the quality of our business, we are increasing the interim dividend by 23% to 16p per share.

“With the current trading patterns in Fit Out and the forward visibility provided by the size and quality of its order book, together with further margin improvement in Construction & Infrastructure and an increase in scheme completions in Partnership Housing and Urban Regeneration, we are confident of another strong performance by the Group in the second half.”

In Scotland, the forward order book at partnership housing developer Lovell, of which Morgan Sindall Group is a parent company, stands at £123m thanks to new contracts with housing association partners and land-led developments.

The region expects to complete around 450 new homes in Scotland during 2017.

Artist’s impression of Lochside Grange, 133-home Lovell development in Kinghorn, Fife, in partnership with Kingdom Housing Association and Fife Council

Artist’s impression of Lochside Grange, 133-home Lovell development in Kinghorn in partnership with Kingdom Housing Association and Fife Council

Lovell managing director, Jonathan Goring, said: “2017 has started well for Lovell with the company set to complete over 2,000 homes across the UK this year. Our combined national forward order book and regeneration and development pipeline is now worth over £1.2bn as we continue to benefit from our solid relationships with housing associations and local authorities partners, providing services ranging from design and build contracting and mixed tenure development with open market sale and planned maintenance services.

“The sentiment remains extremely strong in favour of first-time buyers and the Homes and Communities Agency are supporting this with accelerated construction schemes and a proactive promotion of new home starts. This aligns well with the Lovell approach to partnership homes and long term regeneration.

“Progress on flagship schemes includes the start of construction on site at the Electric Quarter in Enfield, a £46m, 167-home development in Ponders End in partnership with the London Borough of Enfield; our 800-home new urban village in Cardiff – The Mill, Canton – is moving at pace while the first phase of our £398m scheme in Woolwich is scheduled to deliver its first 118 open market homes this year.”

Morgan Sindall ‘substantially ahead’ of expectations

Morgan Sindall WPD__Approved Image for Release_resize_0Half year results for Morgan Sindall are expected to show a 45% increase in pre-tax profit, the firm has revealed.

In a trading update issued this morning the group said that first-half trading has been substantially ahead of the corresponding period last year, driven by improvements in margins and profits.

The firm said: “Trading in the first half has been strong, driven primarily by margin and profit growth in Fit Out and by margin improvement in Construction & Infrastructure. Partnership Housing and Urban Regeneration have both traded as expected, with Urban Regeneration lower than in the prior year period due to the phasing of its scheme completions. In addition, the first half has seen modest profit contributions from both Property Services and Investments.

“As a consequence, the half year results for the group are expected to show profit before tax in the region of £23.5m, reflecting growth on the prior year of around 45%.”

The cash performance has again been strong, with average daily net cash for the first half of £132m. The net cash as at 30 June was £97m.

The statement added: “The performance of Fit Out in the first half, its current trading patterns and the forward visibility provided by the size and quality of its order book, indicate an out-turn for the year for Fit Out which is much stronger than previously expected.

“Taken together with the expected margin improvement in Construction & Infrastructure and the second half weighting to Partnership Housing, the group now anticipates that its 2017 full year results will be significantly ahead of its previous expectations.”

The group will announce its half year results on August 8.

Contractor appointed for anchor development at Ayr’s Riverside Block

Ayr Riverside BlockPlans to kick-start the regeneration of an historic part of Ayr town centre have taken a major step forward with the appointment of a contractor and design team to develop new office accommodation at the Riverside Block.

Morgan Sindall have been appointed as the project’s Tier 1 contractor, while architects Keppie Design, who were employed to provide the original designs for the new offices, have also been appointed as design consultants.

Ayr Renaissance submitted a masterplan for a mixed development between High Street and the River Ayr last year. This includes provision for quality office accommodation and housing, as well as for niche retail units, cafes, restaurants and public spaces. The masterplan sets out a commitment to top quality design to an overall scale that respects the surrounding conservation area.

With demolition of the existing site now well advanced, the South Ayrshire Council is now moving ahead with its plans for a new modern office development that will eventually house around 350 workers. The final design will respond to the requirements of the masterplan and incorporate active space which can be used outside of normal office hours.

Councillor Peter Henderson, South Ayrshire Council’s portfolio holder for resources and performance, said it was encouraging to see the development gather momentum.

He added: “With the contractor and design team now in place we can start to bring together concrete plans to breathe new life into this landmark project.

“Work on site is already making a real difference to the local landscape with the old buildings on High Street now largely demolished, revealing the true scale of the project that will, in time, transform an historic area of Ayr’s town centre.

“The council block is the anchor development for the wider plan, and I look forward to seeing further progress in the coming months as construction work gets underway.”

Stuart Parker, Morgan Sindall’s managing director of construction in Scotland, added: “Having been appointed as a Tier One contractor on the hub South West framework last year, we’re obviously very proud that the first project we’ve been selected to deliver through it is such a significant one.

“South Ayrshire Council’s ambitious masterplan is set to transform the town centre, providing much-needed regeneration. As the anchor development, the commercial office space will be sympathetic to Ayr’s historic architecture, while providing a modern workplace to support 350 jobs. It will also be the foundation for subsequent retail, residential and outdoor space which will play an important role in the town’s future, and be enjoyed for generations to come.”

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, the development partner on the project, said: “The Ayr Riverside Office Development will symbolise a new era in the history and future development of the town.

“This is the first such infrastructure construction contract to be awarded to Morgan Sindall since it joined hub south West’s Tier 1 contractors supply chain as a Tier 1 contractor last year.”

Work is expected to begin in spring 2018, following the conclusion of demolition and archaeological works.

Stuart Parker to head up Morgan Sindall’s Scottish construction business

Stuart Parker

Stuart Parker

Morgan Sindall has appointed a new managing director for its construction business in Scotland.

Stuart Parker, who has been the business development director for Morgan Sindall’s construction business in Scotland since 2015, will take over from current MD Harry Thorburn, who will be retiring at the end of the year.

Prior to joining the senior management team in Scotland, Parker spent a successful six-year tenure at BakerHicks; the design and engineering arm of Morgan Sindall Group. During his time there he had operational responsibility for Scotland, in addition to being national business development director.

A civil and structural engineer by background, Parker has worked effectively with Thorburn to grow the business in Scotland. During their tenure, Morgan Sindall has built the landmark £107 million Marischal Square mixed-use development in Aberdeen, which is due to handover this summer.

Last year the Scottish business unit also secured appointment to three high profile main contractor frameworks: Aberdeenshire, Edinburgh and hub South West Scotland. The frameworks will be used to procure civic facilities, including schools, leisure developments and a range of other community buildings.

The company, which has offices in Eurocentral and in Inverness, has an extensive track record of delivering projects across a range of sectors including health, education, blue light and commercial. It is currently on-site with the £15m Balloch Campus, in West Dunbartonshire, which will allow three primary schools in the area to co-locate.

Thorburn, who has headed up the Scottish construction business successfully for nine years, will continue to support Parker, his team and the business as a whole through to the end of the year.

Pat Boyle, managing director of Morgan Sindall’s construction business, said: “On behalf of the construction business, and Morgan Sindall Group, I would like to thank Harry for his hard work and commitment and wish him a very happy and healthy forthcoming retirement.

“I would also like to congratulate Stuart on his new role. I am incredibly pleased that we have been able to recognise the talent and ambition we have in our business by appointing an internal successor to this key position. It’s a vote of confidence for not only our people, but also the way we go about rewarding and retaining our best and brightest.”

Parker added: “I’m delighted to take on the role of managing director, and look forward to continuing to develop the business in Scotland, building on Harry’s notable success over the past decade.”