Robertson Group

Robertson unveils St Andrews hotel and student accommodation plans

Robertson Property is developing plans for a 90-bed hotel and 99-bed student accommodation development at Abbey Park, St Andrews.

It is proposed that the site will be complemented with an extensive park area in front of the buildings.

The project team recently undertook a second community consultation on the proposals reflecting the comments from the initial consultation undertaken in October last year.

Robertson intends to submit a planning application to Fife Council later this summer, and should planning permission be granted, the target opening date is autumn 2020.  

The firm is closing legal negotiations with occupiers and funders, and the planning application for the development will be submitted to Fife Council later this summer.

The development meets the demand for a mid-market (3 star) hotel accommodation in St Andrews and complements the university’s desire for managed purpose-built accommodation to support student growth in the town.

The targeted opening for the development is Autumn 2020.

Ross McNulty, development director for Robertson Property, said: “The proposed development meets the clear and identified demand for increased provision of a mid-market hotel and student accommodation in St Andrews. Since we presented our initial proposals to the local community we have revised the development layout to reflect feedback received.

“We welcome participation from all sectors of the community and remain committed to keeping the public informed and engaged as the planning process moves on to the next stage.”

Work begins on £10m hotel at Hamilton Park Racecourse

Ed Parry of Robertson with Vivien Currie and John Currie of Hamilton Park Racecourse

Work on a new £10 million hotel at Hamilton Park Racecourse is now underway with Robertson Group to serve as lead contractor.

Hampton by Hilton Hamilton Park will feature 118 rooms and is to be built on land previously used as a car park for racecourse guests.

Planning approval was granted by South Lanarkshire Council in December 2017, with work already underway on the ambitious project which is expected to open to the public in summer 2019.

Ed Parry, managing director, Robertson Central West, said: “It is hugely exciting to be working with Hamilton Park Racecourse in supporting them in realising the next phase of their business plan. The collaborative approach adopted by the client and the design team has enabled us to commit to delivering a hotel that the Racecourse, Hamilton and West of Scotland will be proud of.

“Robertson has previously built two Hampton by Hilton hotels in Aberdeen and another in Leeds so we know exactly what is required and that experience will prove invaluable in delivering a truly exceptional hotel. We will be combining traditional construction methods with modular techniques, which means we will be able to reduce build time without sacrificing quality.”

Located on Bothwell Road, the new hotel will be the first located on the site of the racecourse in its 90-year history. It will support up to 20 new jobs, doubling the current number of permanent employees at Hamilton Park Racecourse.

Based on an independent economic impact study, the hotel will generate an additional £5.9m per year in visitor expenditure. In addition to being used by those attending race meetings, the hotel is also expected to attract people looking to host weddings and other events.

Vivien Currie, chief executive at Hamilton Park Racecourse, said: “We are pleased to be working with Robertson on this landmark project for Hamilton Park which has been driven by both public demand, not only for racedays but also for other events.”

The venue has seen major growth in its non-raceday business over the last decade and has developed an enviable reputation as one of the leading conference, wedding and events venues in Central Scotland.

“One of our main business objectives has been to welcome an event to Hamilton Park on at least every other day of the year, whether that’s a raceday for thousands of visitors, a board meeting or that extra special wedding day,” added Vivien.

“We have a fantastic venue with unique grounds and first-class facilities that we continue to invest heavily in to ensure that we are meeting the constantly evolving expectations of our customers. The addition of the hotel will undoubtedly complement and expand the range of services we are able to offer.

“This is a key project in the continued evolution of the venue and is the next step in the development of the Hamilton Park experience.”

Keys handed over for Stirling GP and Minor Injuries Centre

A young apprentice had the honour of handing over the keys for the new GP and Minor Injuries Centre, delivered by hub East Central Scotland, which will open to patients in August 2018.

Ruairi Gallagher, an apprentice heating engineer with FES and apprentice of the year at Glasgow Kelvin College, was one of hundreds of construction staff involved in building the flagship centre which forms part of the new £37 million Stirling Health and Care Village.

Delivered by Robertson Group, the purpose-built new centre will provide more modern, spacious accommodation for a number of existing health services on the Stirling Community Hospital which will transfer to the new facility. These include minor injuries services, X-ray facilities, GP out-of-hours services and keep well services. It will also house three local GP practices, which will relocate to more spacious accommodation within the centre, and a provide a base for Scottish Ambulance Service staff, including a number of specialist paramedics who will work closely with colleagues across the centre.

The handover of the keys marks the completion of the build phase and will enable staff to fit out and equip the clinical areas, offices and staff accommodation over the next six weeks. The centre can then welcome the first patients in August 2018, as planned.

The new Stirling Health and Care Village is a joint venture between Stirling Council, NHS Forth Valley, the Clackmannanshire and Stirling Integration Joint Board and the Scottish Ambulance Service. Forth Valley College is also involved as it plans to offer opportunities to offer local young people a range of training and volunteering opportunities within the new Health and Care Village.

The Bellfield Centre, a 116 bed inpatient facility which will provide short-term care, assessment or rehabilitation for older people who require additional support following an illness or operation, will be completed later in the year.  This will be followed by a new ambulance station and workshop in Autumn 2019 which will replace the existing ambulance station in the Riverside area of the city.

Other planned facilities include a café, hairdresser, landscaped areas and an information area which can be used by local community groups and volunteers.

Alex Linkston, chair of NHS Forth Valley, said: “This is a fantastic new building which will offer improved healthcare facilities for local people, NHS staff and a number of GP practices. I’d like to pay tribute to Robertson Construction, the Project Team and hub East Central Scotland who have worked together to ensure the centre was completed on time and on budget.”

Stirling Council leader, Councillor Scott Farmer, said: “I’m very happy to welcome the opening of this new GP and Minor Injuries Centre which will make a significant contribution to the health and social care agenda for Stirling.”

Gary Bushnell, chief executive, hub East Central Scotland, said: “We have worked closely with all of the partners involved in the new Stirling Health and Care Village project to successfully manage this key phase to completion. The new GP and Minor Injuries Centre is a high quality facility built to meet the specific needs of patients and staff and also support the delivery of first class care in Stirling.”

The Health and Care Village will also support the integration of local health and social care services, making it easier for staff to work together to deliver better co-ordinated, more joined up care to local people – a key aim of the Clackmannanshire and Stirling Health and Social Care Partnership.

Robertson signs strategic partnership with Perth Grammar

Derek Shewan and Fiona Robertson with Perth Grammar pupils

Robertson Group celebrated the launch of its latest education partnership with Perth Grammar at the school’s prize giving ceremony this week.

The strategic partnership will include a bespoke programme of placement opportunities, mentoring, employment events and skills building, and marks the infrastructure giant’s fifth school partnership.

The initiative with Perth Grammar, led by Robertson’s chief executive Derek Shewan and Tony Fry, managing director of Robertson’s civil engineering business, follows the announcement that the business engaged with more than 23,000 young people in 2017.

Derek Shewan said: “It is of the highest priority to Robertson to facilitate opportunities which enhance the student experience, helping the next generation successfully transition from education to employment while highlighting the exciting and varied opportunities within the construction sector.

“Our partnership with Perth Grammar is part of our wider Young People Strategy, through which we are committed to working closely with education providers to provide tailored activities that include mentoring, work-based learning, placements and apprenticeships.

“Ultimately the vision for Robertson being Perth Grammar School’s main strategic partner is to improve the education experience through a mutually supportive relationship.”

Fiona Robertson, head teacher of Perth Grammar School, said: “Robertson has committed to being the main strategic partner of Perth Grammar School as of 2018. In doing so, it has demonstrated a willingness to not only ‘transform the built environment’ but to transform the learning experience and curriculum of our children and young people.

“Partnerships such as these are central to our future aspirations to become an outstanding learning community, and together with Robertson we can ensure that ‘Perth is the Place’ for future innovative growth and development with young people placed at the heart of what we do.”

Existing partnerships with schools have proven to be hugely successful, with Robertson recently welcoming Ryan Hamilton (18) as a trainee quantity surveyor, who was recruited following a Robertson careers event at Bannockburn High School in Stirling.

The school partnership forms part of Robertson’s wider Young People Strategy, put in place to facilitate the development of young people at varying stages of their careers, actioned through high school and higher education partnerships, apprentice, trainee & graduate programmes and professional development schemes.

Robertson recruits commercial director for West of Scotland

Tommy Hamilton

Infrastructure businesses Robertson Group has appointed a new commercial director in its Central West region.

Tommy Hamilton joins from McLaughlin & Harvey, where he played a key role across a variety of high profile projects.

He will be responsible for all commercial activity in the West of Scotland and will join the leadership team at Robertson Central West, which was created last year in response to a growing number of projects in the West of Scotland.

Operating from a dedicated office in the city, the business recently completed work on the £4.95m Auchinairn community facility and the £3.2m Annickbank Innovation Campus in North Ayrshire.

The regional business is led by Ed Parry, who joined Robertson just over a year ago from Lend Lease, where he was a director in the Scottish and North East of England business.

Ed Parry, managing director, Robertson Central West, said: “Tommy is a welcome addition to our regional team and will bring a range of commercial experience which will benefit Robertson and clients alike. We have been on a period of major growth in the past year and this represents a significant step.”

Commenting on his appointment, Tommy Hamilton said: “This is a fantastic time to join Robertson as we gear up for significant growth across the central belt. I hope to use my commercial experience to bring in new opportunities for the business and provide value for prospective clients across multiple sectors.”

Dundee students get taste of built environment industry

(from left) Tim Rhodes from Robertson, Helen Monckton, Greg Ireland and Robertson’s David Barbour at Dundee Waterfront

Students from Dundee & Angus College have spent the week with infrastructure firm Robertson after winning a prestigious student challenge.

The team of four students triumphed over twenty participating teams from higher education bodies across Scotland competing in the Chartered Institute of Building’s (CIOB) Student Challenge – which until this year was only open to universities.

The winning team included second year civil engineering student Helen Monckton (33) from Laurencekirk and building surveying student Greg Ireland (25) from Dundee, who both spent a week’s rotation on site in Dundee, where Robertson is delivering a £40 million development of flats, offices and a hotel on the city’s Waterfront.

While on placement, Helen and Greg got a taste of life in the construction industry, learning from experts from different professions within the Robertson team, including site management, design, Business Information Modelling (BIM) and quantity surveying.

The CIOB Student Challenge judging panel included Liam Short, a senior project manager for Robertson, who said: “This year’s CIOB challenge was in a slightly different format – a hypothetical project with some key scoring criteria, however generally left open for the students to review and respond how they best saw fit.

“What set the top teams apart was that they not only used their academic built environment experience but also used their life experience, such as previous jobs and hobbies to adopt a holistic approach to solving the problems given to them – all of which the winning team ultimately demonstrated.”

Speaking of his placement with Robertson, building surveying student Greg said: “I found that the tasks we were given helped provide me with a better insight into the construction process and how a large company is run, and really enjoyed spending time with the quantity surveyors and the planning workshop that I took part in.

“There was a good variety over the week and seeing inside the office workplace was just as helpful and interesting than being out on site. Learning about the civil side of construction was also a highlight.”

Scott Alexander, managing director of Robertson Construction North, added: “We’re always looking for ways to engage with the next generation of construction professionals – from architects to project managers and engineers to marketers. Sponsoring the CIOB Student Challenge is a fantastic way of reaching this new talent and making them aware of all of the opportunities available through our own graduate and apprentice schemes.

“The winning team received a placement on site at Dundee Waterfront, a dynamic, large-scale development which allowed them to be exposed to a variety of different disciplines, providing on-the-job learning that will supplement their classroom studies.”

Green light for more than 300 homes in Raploch

Proposals for more than 300 homes on four different sites across Raploch have been approved by councillors.

Members of Stirling Council’s planning and regulations panel backed plans by Robertson Group to build homes on land owned by the council.

Planning permission in principle was granted in January this year, and last week councillors agreed details of the 319 homes to be built across the four locations.

The proposals include:

  • 75 affordable homes at Back O’Hill Road where formerly there had been council housing (Gowanhill Gardens).
  • 211 homes (a mix of 75 private and 136 affordable housing) at a site that was previously a primary school and playground.
  • 16 affordable homes at Drip Road between Kildean Hospital and Balfour Street.
  • 17 affordable homes, on a site which fronts Drip Road.

The proposals were approved subject to a number of conditions laid out in the planning report submitted to the Panel.

Convenor of the planning and regulations panel, Alasdair Macpherson, said: “One of our key priorities is to build more affordable homes across the Stirling Council area and these developments will result in an increased supply of good quality, energy efficient housing.

“I look forward to seeing this project getting underway and for new tenants to be able to access these new properties in the future.”

Robertson Eastern enters new financial year with £80m order book

Andy Day, managing director of Robertson Eastern, at the site of the Pittodrie Street student accommodation in Aberdeen

Robertson Group is forecasting a bright new financial year for its Eastern business with an £80 million order book and a range of projects now underway.

Operating in an area encompassing Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City and Angus, Robertson Eastern is already progressing on a number of projects with work ranging from student accommodation to social housing, further projects with NHS Grampian and showroom developments for John Clark Motor Group.

Andy Day, managing director of Robertson Eastern, said: “We’re tremendously pleased to be starting the financial year with such a strong order book. The fact that we’re seeing so much repeat business is very encouraging.

“It’s a varied portfolio of design and build projects that we have been working with clients on and I also look forward to seeing some more of these come to fruition at the end of the year.

“It has been a challenging market but we made a strategic decision to develop work in sectors where there was greater activity such as student accommodation and affordable housing. We are involved with over one thousand student rooms and over three-hundred and fifty affordable homes. With some confidence returning to the property market we need to add to this impressive start to the year and are constantly seeking future opportunities.”

Two developments are progressing for Superscheme Limited, part of the Watkin Jones Group. Caledon Court student accommodation, adjacent to the main RGU Campus at Garthdee, will see 199 new student beds made available with a mix of studio flats and apartments. Scheduled to complete this summer, ahead of the new university term, work is progressing well on-site with the show flat now open for viewing.

A second project for the same client will see the Pittodrie Street student community grow further with development ongoing for an additional 618 beds. This project will be completed in two phases with Block B scheduled for the 2018 University year and Block A in the summer of 2019.

The company is once again working in partnership with Grampian Housing Association to deliver nearly £25m of much needed affordable homes across the North East. Projects across Aberdeen city and shire see developments in Ballater, Fraserburgh and Peterhead as well as a 101 unit development, aimed at key workers, to be built close to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI).

The latter, with a project value of £14m, is scheduled to start on-site this spring. These projects were procured through Scape Group’s National Major Works framework, now superseded by the Major Works Scotland part of the (Scape) National Construction framework, and delivered by Robertson in partnership with Willmott Dixon.

The team at Robertson Eastern is now mobilising for the final phase of the five year, £52m programme of work at ARI. This on-going project is worth £4.5m to the business and will include a range of improvements to the ground and basement levels with a focus on improving facilities for the Pharmacy department all within a live environment. Other works at ARI include improvements to the central stores, lift upgrades, re-roofing works and the creation of the new Day of Surgery Admissions unit.

There are also a number of new projects underway with John Clark Motor Group (JCMG).  Work has now commenced to deliver a new Jaguar Land Rover showroom in Dundee, while the refurbishment of the Jaguar Land Rover showroom in Elgin has also begun. A BMW, Mini, Motorrad showroom in Dundee will start in the summer with other projects to follow.

Robertson unveils ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ Macallan distillery project

Robertson has completed work on a flagship £140 million distillery and visitor experience for The Macallan in Speyside.

Built on the Easter Elchies estate, the new distillery has been unveiled by international premium spirits company Edrington.

Main contractor Robertson worked with 25 contractors to bring the vision for the new distillery and visitor experience to life. Taking the complex and unique architectural design and moulding it to complement an area of outstanding natural beauty, this challenging build saw the firm apply all of its technical skills, innovation and expertise to create a seamless connection to the surrounding countryside.

During construction, up to 400 people specialising in more than 20 different trades were employed on site. Going forward, Robertson’s facilities management business will provide maintenance services at the facility.

It is the first distillery on Speyside to be designed by an internationally acclaimed architecture practice, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, which was selected to lead the project after an international competition.

Edrington is investing £500m in the brand of which the £140m distillery is the centrepiece. This programme increases investment in whisky, warehousing, and particularly in The Macallan’s signature sherry-seasoned oak casks.

The striking piece of contemporary architecture is cut into the slope of the land, taking its cues from ancient Scottish hills and maximising the aesthetic beauty of the building whilst minimising the visual impact on the Speyside landscape, which has been classified as an “Area of Great Landscape Value”.

The undulating timber roof structure is one of the most complicated timber roof structures in the world, comprising 380,000 individual components. Each junction and beam has a specific name and has been tested in over 160 different load conditions while ‘The Swiss Alpine Design code’ has been used to understand the effects of wind, snow and ice on the intricate structure.

The project was announced in 2012 and the build began in December 2014. The first whisky ran through the stills in December last year and the visitor experience will open its doors to the public on 2nd June. It is expected that visitor numbers will double in the first year and continue to rise thereafter.

The new distillery will enable production of The Macallan to increase by a third if required. The new stills were crafted by Scottish coppersmith Forsyths, who have been making the brand’s distinctive, ‘curiously small’ stills for The Macallan since the 1950s.

Natural materials – local stone, timber and the living meadow roof – as well as the landscaping design not only evoke the environment and ingredients of whisky production but also serve to provide an atmospheric journey for the visitor. A number of specialist consultants were appointed to support the interior fit out including Atelier Bruckner, Concept Bars and Modo+.

Bill Robertson, founder and executive chairman, Robertson, said: “This once-in-a-lifetime project is one that Robertson has been honoured to be part of. The complexity of the construction work required a huge effort from various teams within our business, and their passion and dedication for the project is clear when you see the completed distillery and visitor experience.

“Throughout, we have placed great emphasis on understanding The Macallan’s vision for their Speyside home and there has been a real spirit of collaboration between us and all other partners. We congratulate The Macallan and hope visitors to the area enjoy this world class distillery.”

Graham Hutcheon, managing director group operations, Edrington, said: “The successful construction of this exciting new distillery and visitor experience has been made possible through hard work, commitment, innovation and collaboration driven by our team. Our partners Robertson, Forsyths, and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners have been with us every step of the journey and the success of the project has been due to their dedication, professionalism and unwavering commitment to excellence.”

Graham Stirk, senior partner and lead architect, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, added: “The Macallan estate truly is a special place; a place we have come to love and respect hugely. The vision was always ambitious but this enabled us to challenge our own thinking to create something so dramatic and awe-inspiring. It has been an honour to play our part in shaping the next chapter for The Macallan.”


Key construction fast facts:

Robertson

  • Completed £140m distillery and visitor experience for the Macallan
  • Leading infrastructure company founded in nearby Elgin delivered this complex architectural feat
  • Collaborated with 25 contractors to bring the vision to life
  • Took a unique architectural design and moulded it to an area of outstanding beauty
  • Challenging build that saw Robertson apply ALL of its technical skills, innovation and expertise
  • 400 people employed on site during construction
  • 20 different trades
  • Robertson FM will provide maintenance services at the facility

Civil engineering

  • 500,000 tonnes of earth excavated
  • Infrastructure on roads meant The Macallan could maintain business as usual
  • River Spey proximity, Site of Special Scientific interest (SSI)
  • Collaborated with agencies to develop bespoke water management system
  • Efforts ensured there was zero environmental impact on the watercourse
  • Retained 100% of excavated material on site

Roof structure

  • Comprises 1,750 timber beams
  • 2,500 cassettes that support the natural meadow roof covering
  • 380,000 individual roof components
  • 12 months of work using parametric modelling software to define complex geometry
  • Timber elements were manufactured in Austria
  • Took 5,000 lifts and 4 mobile cranes to install roof structure

Concrete

  • 20,000m3 of concrete poured from up to 12m high
  • Single concrete plant and raw materials were sourced for the entire project
  • Onsite sampling facility to adjust admixtures, monitor quality and finishes

Structural steel

  • 700 tonnes of beams support the distillery roof
  • Software driven process involved careful modelling to ensure steel integrated with the timber and complex roof geometry
  • Steel welded by specialist craftsmen who pride themselves on quality of detailing

Edinburgh students engineer future careers in construction

Talented engineers of the future have completed an immersive introduction to the industry thanks to a partnership between Robertson and the Constructionarium initiative.

Forty-five second year civil engineering, quantity surveying and project management students from Heriot-Watt University spent a week in a live working environment applying their classroom theory to three real-life projects as they planned and constructed scaled-down versions of Durham’s Kingsgate Bridge and the Westrigg Windfarm.

This year also saw the introduction of a third project, dubbed the Robertson Pod, created especially for the challenge by Robertson with design and material support from Robertson Timber Engineering.

The project, carried out at Sibbald’s training centre at Blackridge, West Lothian, saw Robertson work closely with the university to provide ongoing support and mentoring from the firm’s site management, engineers and joiners.

David Cairns, managing director of Robertson Construction Central East, said: “This marks the second year we have partnered with Constructionarium to deliver the innovative and engaging programme that sees young people complete challenges similar to what we face on a day-to-day basis.

“This year saw us extend our support by developing the Robertson Pod especially for Constructionarium, with the challenge capturing the key standard details and interfaces being constructed daily within the industry, using materials such as brickwork, timber and ply boarding.

“The students proved their skills and passion over the week, paving the way for future placements and engagement with Robertson and the built environment industry.”

Prior to the weeklong on-site programme, students attended a number of workshops led by Robertson to allow each team to assign key roles and responsibilities within their project as well as preparing all the necessary health and safety documentation, logistics and programme of works.

They also learned new terminology, had the chance to self-manage their own progress and tested their theoretical knowledge in areas including steelwork, formwork and technical drawing.

Dale Lyon, director of Constructionarium (Scotland), said: “Constructionarium Scotland has been delivering experiential learning for around eight years now, turning theory into practice for the engineering, built environment and architectural students who sign up to the project.

“We are indebted to Robertson on supporting Heriot-Watt this past week on three projects, including the new Robertson Pod – which has thrown up many challenges for the students, but none insurmountable.”

Heriot-Watt students Meggs and Joel, who acted as project managers for the Robertson Pod, said: “What a fantastic week. We feel that we have gained a better understanding of building projects and the problem solving that is required, as well as time and people management.

“There is no doubt that this has been a beneficial week and we are sure when it comes to doing internships and full-time work we will remember the experience and the things we have learned through Robertson and Constructionarium.”

Further support for the programme came from GAP Hire – Falkirk, which supplied the small plant and equipment used by students throughout the week.