Robertson Group

Robertson completes infrastructure work at Social Bite Village

Social Bite co-founder Josh Littlejohn meets employees of Robertson Civil Engineering and its supply chain to celebrate the completion of work

Robertson Group has underlined its commitment to tackling societal issues after completing work at the Social Bite Village in Edinburgh.

The village – which comprises of ten compact two-bedroom Nest Houses – aims to tackle homelessness by providing a safe living environment for up to 20 people per year.

Robertson Civil Engineering provided pro-bono civil engineering and enabling works in a two-phase programme that included groundworks and the construction of roads, footpaths and hardstandings for the accommodation modules.

Construction of the village will complete in April, with the first residents receiving the keys to their new homes in May.

Tony Fry, managing director of Robertson Civil Engineering, said: “It’s vital that we use our position within the built environment industry to help tackle some of the biggest social and environmental challenges we face – such as homelessness.

“As the units were very lightweight, the groundworks strategy involved clearing the site before carrying out an extensive cut and fill exercise to platform the site for the units to sit on prior to building the civil engineering infrastructure to service the village.

“A far cry from existing sub-standard temporary accommodation solutions, the methods used will ensure the homes are built to last, providing support for those who need it most for many years to come.”

(from left) Bob Gould, Robertson Civil Engineering; Tony Fry, MD of Robertson Civil Engineering; Josh Littlejohn, Social Bite and Ron Bathgate, Robertson Civil Engineering

Spearheading the project is Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of Social Bite, who said: “We’ve been blown away by the level of support our building and land partners have invested in making the Social Bite village a reality.

“As well as providing safe and secure accommodation, the village will also work with charities to deliver support with addiction and mental health, as well as practical things such as opening a bank account or getting into employment – all of which will help us tackle the vicious cycle of homelessness.”

A number of Robertson subcontractors provided plant, labour and materials throughout the duration of the project, including excavation work from Gordon Bow, small plant and tools from GAP, surfacing works from GGK, construction materials from Grafton, dry aggregate from Tarmac and fill materials from Neil Williams Haulage.

Further supply chain support came from Jarvie Plant Hire, MATtest, MGM Timber and RJT Excavations Ltd.

The support forms part of Robertson Group’s wider commitment to the Buy Social Corporate Challenge – an initiative that will see leading businesses aim to spend £1 billion with social enterprises by 2020.

Inverurie Community Campus reaches financial close milestone

A £55 million finance deal for a state-of-the-art community campus in Inverurie has been agreed as the project moves to the next phase.

Construction of the facility, which will replace the existing Inverurie Academy, will be led by hub North Scotland after it was appointed as development partner by Aberdeenshire Council.

Robertson Construction has been appointed as the projects main contractor with FES FM as the facilities FM Service provider.

On completion, the new Community Campus will provide:

  • Replacement of the existing Inverurie Academy, Inverurie Swimming Pool and Garioch Community Centre on the existing site which will provide state of the art teaching accommodation for 1600 learners;
  • New accommodation for the existing St Andrews Special School with dedicated external teaching space;
  • Community accommodation including a 6 lane swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool, training pool, dry sports facilities, community cafe, and access to shared Campus spaces;
  • External facilities including an all-weather pitch, MUGA and external play area;
  • Car and bus parking together with demolition of existing facilities.

Preparatory work has already commenced on site, with full construction works now set to follow the first phase of the new facility is due to be completed early 2020.

Robertson Group celebrates record win at National Site Awards

Robertson Group has received a record number of awards at a prestigious industry ceremony.

A total of 21 Robertson projects were honoured with Gold, Silver or Bronze awards in Edinburgh and Manchester at the National Site Awards, operated by the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS).

The outstanding performance demonstrates the continued commitment and achievement from the company, after increasing its overall ranking among the Scheme’s 61 partners from 28th to 12th in 2017.

Six sites were honoured with the highest accolade, a Gold award, at the ceremonies. Among them was Annickbank Innovation Campus in Irvine, with construction work led by Robertson Central West and Robertson Civil Engineering.

The £3.2 million innovation campus was also awarded runner-up for Most Considerate Site, which recognises Scotland’s very highest performing construction sites.

In the education sector, Robertson Tayside took home Gold for Baldragon Academy in Dundee, with further success in the health sector as Robertson Central East was awarded Gold for the £35m Stirling Care Village, a site supporting the integration of local health and social care services.

Alan Cameron picks up the award for Annickbank

Robertson Group also collected its CCS Ultra Site Certificate of Recognition for the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC), with the pioneering industry project becoming the first Scottish site to receive the status in July 2017. Ultra Sites demonstrate the highest level of attainment within the CCS, acting as beacons of best practice within the UK construction industry.

Elliott Robertson, chief operating officer, Robertson Group, said: “At Robertson, we pride ourselves in adhering to the highest possible industry standards to deliver projects that transform local communities, working closely with them to bring about tailored solutions that will have real and lasting benefits for the neighbours of our sites, the local workforce and the environment.

“It’s a wonderful achievement to be recognised by the CCS for an outstanding number of projects, competing against thousands of sites across the country in awards that recognise positive role models for the construction industry. Our achievement is testament to the commitment of our entire project delivery team.”

The ceremony also marked the first National Site Awards for Robertson Partnership Homes, which picked up two Silver awards and one Bronze award for its transformational affordable homes projects across central Scotland.

A total of seven sites received Silver awards, including Huntershill Sports Hub Facility in Bishopbriggs, Perth Theatre and UHI Student Accommodation in Elgin. The sites of two new Morayshire distilleries were among eight projects awarded Bronze status – Glenfiddich Distillery and The New Macallan Distillery and Visitor Centre.

Bill Williamson receives the Certificate of Recognition for the AECC Ultra Site

The awards are open to all sites registered with the scheme, which aims to improve standards within the industry. The projects were scored against five different criteria: community, appearance, environment, workforce and safety. Robertson has been registering its sites with CCS for more than ten years.

In 2015, Robertson received Associate Membership status with the Considerate Constructors Scheme.

As well as attending both ceremonies, Robertson are hosting an internal event for employees to celebrate this significant achievement.

Several sites awarded – including Annickbank Innovation Campus – were procured through Scape Group’s National Major Works Framework, now superseded by Major Works Scotland, part of the (Scape) National Construction framework, and delivered by Robertson in partnership with Willmott Dixon.

Victoria Brambini, managing director of Scape Procure, said: “It is fantastic to see these projects recognised for the outstanding work undertaken on site. The entire team at Robertson, supported by local supply chains, have not only gone above and beyond on these important public sector projects, but have also kept their local communities engaged. The commitment demonstrated on these projects serves as a very positive example of the standards the entire industry should strive for.”

Robertson Group helps Dundee pupils build a future beyond the classroom

Ross Paterson (Centre) Employment Liaison (DYW) Dundee and Angus presents Mark Blyth (Centre Left) Commercial Director (Robertson) and Andrew Strachan (Centre Right) Principal teacher guidance Baldragon Academy with there certificates watched by the pupils and their mentors

Infrastructure firm Robertson Group is helping secondary pupils lay the foundations for life beyond education after launching a mentor scheme at Baldragon Academy in Dundee.

Six senior students are set to benefit from the expertise of the firm’s employees in a programme praised by representatives from Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Dundee & Angus, who presented Robertson Tayside with a certificate of partnership at the firm’s regional headquarters.

The Robertson mentors are hoping lessons can be learned from their mentees on how best to tackle the construction industry skills gap and attract young talent into the business.

Mark Blyth, commercial director of Robertson Tayside and Young People Champion for the region, said: “We’re proud to launch the mentor programme at Baldragon Academy, which will help young people to build confidence, discover their strengths, skills and talents, broaden their aspirations and ambitions in life and develop employability skills.

“The mentor relationships will be established over a number of visits to both Baldragon Academy and our offices, with one of the pupils already taking part in a placement with us.

“It’s important for us to use our position within the industry to help bridge the gap between earning and learning, helping young people establish lifelong employability skills while opening their eyes to the diverse careers available within the built environment.”

Ross Paterson, employer liaison adviser for DYW Dundee & Angus, said: “The partnership between Robertson and Baldragon Academy is Developing the Young Workforce in action and is a fantastic example of how a business can link with a local school.

“The mentoring programme is hugely beneficial for both parties. It provides an excellent CPD opportunity for Robertson staff and is invaluable for pupils, helping them develop confidence, gain new skills, and learn from experienced professionals about how to conduct yourself in the workplace.

“This support from Robertson will help to prepare our young people for their future careers, which achieves the core aim of the DYW agenda.”

The mentoring scheme is part of an ongoing partnership between Robertson and Baldragon Academy established during the construction of the new secondary school – which opened its doors in February – for which Robertson Tayside was primary contractor.

The partnership includes work experience, skills and development sessions, placement schemes, careers advice and apprentice opportunities.

Skills boost as construction firm creates small works department

Frank Reid

Growing demand across northern Scotland has seen one construction business introduce a new Small Works Department.

Robertson Group has created the business unit which will cater for contracts valued between £100,000 and £1 million.

The department will initially operate within Elgin-based Robertson Northern, with a view to being rolled out across the Group’s other regional construction businesses in the near future. The decision will allow Robertson Northern to keep more skills in house while bringing its infrastructure expertise to bear on a wider range of contracts.

Frank Reid, managing director of Robertson Northern, said, “Our Small Works Department will really benefit local businesses and individuals looking for a trusted contractor with local skills and experience.

“Robertson will deliver these projects with the same attention to detail as we do larger projects. As always we will focus on completing within timeframes, on budget and in a safe environment. We will be working with the public, private and third sectors to deliver a wide variety of projects ranging from refurbishments, extensions, new-build projects and everything in between.

“Importantly, for our existing customers, there will be no change to our day-to-day operations, with the Small Works Department working alongside Robertson Northern’s existing contracts.”

The Small Works department will be led by Duncan Gibson, who started his career with Robertson Northern 25 years ago.

Taking on the role of commercial manager, he said: “In the initial stages of launching the department we will be working with the teams already employed within the Northern business, as well as utilising our well-established supply chain to deliver projects. Our hopes are to grow the business over the next five years and expand the employee base as we take on more projects.”

Robertson Northern will continue to deliver projects valued over £1 million.

Current projects include Glenfiddich Distillery, The Macallan Distillery, HIE Solasta House at Inverness Campus and the WASPS Inverness Creative Academy at Midmills.

Transformed Glasgow site shortlisted in coveted industry awards

An aerial view of the completed Cuningar Loop project

Infrastructure giant Robertson Group is celebrating after being shortlisted for three prestigious industry awards.

Cuningar Woodland Park and Footbridge in Glasgow’s East End has been shortlisted in the Community Benefit, Design Through Innovation and Infrastructure categories in the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Awards, Scotland – the first time a project led by Robertson Civil Engineering has been shortlisted in the coveted awards.

Designed to showcase the most inspirational initiatives and developments in land, real estate, construction and infrastructure, the winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in Edinburgh on April 19.

The £9.3 million regeneration project was delivered as part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games Legacy, and saw the former abandoned landfill site transformed into the Cuningar Woodland Park and bridge connecting to the former athletes’ village.

Robertson Civil Engineering developed the Woodland Park on behalf of Forest Enterprise Scotland in a project procured through Scape Group’s National Major Works Framework, now superseded by Major Works Scotland, part of the (Scape) National Construction framework, and delivered by Robertson in partnership with Willmott Dixon.

The footbridge was completed in a separate project on behalf of Clyde Gateway.

Tony Fry, managing director of Robertson Civil Engineering, said: “We are immensely proud of the industry recognition for what has been a major infrastructure project for us at Cuningar Woodland Park and Footbridge.

“Not only has the project delivered valuable benefits for the local community, workforce and economy, but also to the environment and species native to the area.

“The success of the project demonstrates our continued commitment to delivering innovative and sustainable solutions developed to meet the needs of the local area, helping shape the built environment and transforming communities for decades to come.”

Chair of the RICS Awards 2018, Scotland judging panel, Colin Smith of Turely, said: “This year we have received some extremely diverse and outstanding projects from all over Scotland. Each and every project showcases the exceptional talent behind these buildings of our future.

“The variety of projects highlights the development that is happening right across our nation and I am confident 2018 will be a hotly contested year. I look forward to celebrating the successes of Scotland’s exceptional talent and projects at this year’s ceremony.”

Each category winner announced at the awards ceremony will be eligible for the acclaimed Project of the Year title, awarded to the scheme that demonstrates outstanding best practice and an exemplary commitment to adding value to its local area.

Cuningar Loop Woodland Park, which officially opened in August 2017, includes biking and walking loops, adventure play areas and Scotland’s first outdoor bouldering facility. The park creates a vibrant accessible green space for the communities in Dalmarnock and Rutherglen to enjoy.

Glasgow pupils kick-start careers in construction

Pupils assemble their 3D-printed rocket cars as part of the Get Into Engineering Programme at Glasgow Kelvin College

S5 pupils from the Clyde Gateway area are celebrating their graduation from a programme designed to introduce them to a career in the built environment industry.

Budding engineers from St Mungo’s Academy, Eastbank Academy, Trinity High and Stonelaw Academy took part in the ten-week Get Into Engineering programme, run in collaboration between Clyde Gateway, Robertson Group, Glasgow Kelvin College and the University of the West of Scotland (UWS).

Now in its fifth year, the programme included training on Computer Aided Design (CAD), where the students created and 3D printed wheels before fitting them on foam rocket cars and putting them to the test at Glasgow Kelvin College – reaching speeds of 50mph.

The students also experienced life in a live work environment when they enjoyed two visits to Robertson Central West’s Red Tree development in Shawfield – part of Glasgow’s new satellite business district – receiving a tour of the site before taking part in civil engineering activities led by the team.

Pupils prepare to race the rocket cars

Gemma Gourlay, director of social sustainability for Robertson Group, said: “It’s important for us as industry leaders to work in collaboration with education providers and programmes such as Clyde Gateway to support such a positive initiative that has a lasting impact on the next generation of construction engineers.

“Not only are the pupils able to try their hand at the different technologies and processes used in engineering, but they supplement their practical skills with our specially designed e-learning module which helps build a theoretical understanding of mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering.

“Hopefully we’ll one day welcome the pupils as Robertson engineers to our projects across the country!”

Staff from Robertson, UWS, Kelvin College and Clyde Gateway join the pupils for the Get Into Engineering Ceremony at Red Tree Shawfield

Natalie Phillips, project manager (education, business and community growth) for Clyde Gateway, said: “The Get Into Engineering programme is now in its fifth year and is proving to be more popular than ever. It is all about offering additional learning opportunities around the STEM agenda to our young students and providing them with a first-hand experience into what is one of the most in-demand professions in the modern economy.

“It is a programme that we are proud of for so many reasons and a superb example of what can be achieved through collaboration and the excellent and invaluable support from universities and businesses.”

The students also visited the UWS campus in Paisley, taking a tour of the engineering facilities and the labs.

Red Tree Shawfield was procured through Scape Group’s National Major Works Framework, now superseded by Major Works Scotland, part of the (Scape) National Construction framework, and delivered by Robertson in partnership with Willmott Dixon.

Robertson to refurbish key Edinburgh office accommodation

10 George Street

Robertson Group has started work on refurbishment of 10 George Street in Edinburgh ahead of Standard Life Aberdeen’s move into the building.

The firms won a £12.8 million contract to redevelop the office accommodation to Grade A standard for client Sampension KP.

Work commenced this month and is due to complete in April 2019.

The project win comes as Robertson Group celebrated the official opening of its new office at Ratho, close to Edinburgh Airport. A formal launch event was held at the rooftop restaurant at Harvey Nichols, which sits just yards from 10 George Street on the opposite side of St Andrew Square.

David Cairns

David Cairns, managing director, Robertson Central East, said: “This is an exciting time for Robertson in Edinburgh following our recent move into a dedicated office at Ratho. We have a strong record of success across the region and will be looking to build on that in the coming months and years. The work at 10 George Street represents a flagship city centre project and it is one we are well placed to deliver for our clients.”

Among other Robertson businesses, the Edinburgh office is home to staff from regional construction business Robertson Central East which has a number of live projects in the city centre including several with the University of Edinburgh and Scottish Fire & Rescue. It also operates across the Lothians, Fife and Stirling, and is currently building Stirling Care Village and Tullibody Primary School for hub East Central Scotland.

North Lanarkshire pupils become housebuilders for the day

(from left) Joy Roy, St Ambrose depute headteacher; Ryan Lindsay; Liam Gardner; Reece Rooney and Robert Stewart, Robertson site manager

Pupils from Coatbridge have visited the site of their old school to take part in a construction challenge led by infrastructure firm Robertson Group.

Twenty pupils from St Ambrose High School were welcomed to the site, where Robertson Partnership Homes is delivering 40 affordable homes.

The senior pupils were first taken on a tour of the site where they were given an overview of the construction process and the different roles required, before putting their practical skills to the test assembling houses out of timber kits.

Assembly of each timber kit, overseen by the Robertson site team, first required the pupils to use joinery skills before laying the brickwork – providing a taster experience of both trades.

Pupils from St Ambrose High School in Coatbridge visit the Robertson Partnership Homes site Blair Road development

Gemma Gourlay, director of social sustainability for Robertson Group, said: “It was brilliant to welcome the pupils to not only a site that holds special significance for them, but a site that will help transform the local community once complete.

“The fact there is so much going on at Blair Road has presented us with a great opportunity to engage with local young people and highlight the variety of different roles involved in the project – from the different trades to site and project management.

“The timber kit challenge is an engaging and interactive way of helping the pupils discover the areas they are interested in, and also identify the areas they are not.

“It’s of the highest importance to Robertson to use our leading position within the built environment industry to provide varied opportunities for young people to benefit both personally and professionally.”

The site at Blair Road forms part of the wider NL Homes programme being delivered in partnership with North Lanarkshire Council, which will see 2,150 new homes built over the next decade, transforming the housing supply throughout the county.

The project was procured through Scape Group’s National Major Works Framework, now superseded by Major Works Scotland, part of the (Scape) National Construction framework, and delivered by Robertson in partnership with Willmott Dixon.

Robertson to take on staff from stricken AECC cladding firm

The company charged with cladding work on the new £333 million Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) has gone into administration, though Robertson Group has ensured that the project will finish on time.

The Evening Express has reported that Leeds-based Cover Structure was placed into administration towards the end of last week.

Now Robertson, the main contractor on the AECC construction project, has pledged to take over the sub-contract directly and employ the former Cover Structure workers for the remainder of the project.

It is understood the firm employs up to 100 staff in Aberdeen.

Robertson chief executive officer, Derek Shewan, said the move will ensure the Bucksburn project will be completed in summer 2019 as scheduled.

Plans for the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre

He told the Evening Express: “Robertson was made aware on Friday that Cover Structure, the subcontractor handling much of the cladding work on the AECC, was unfortunately about to go into administration.

“We worked proactively over the weekend to find a solution that would ensure the continuation of the project, while securing the jobs of the contractors employed by Cover Structure.

“It is envisaged that Robertson will take over the remainder of the sub-contract directly, including securing equipment and materials, while maintaining the existing operatives in their roles.

“We do not anticipate any delay to the completion of the AECC project.”

Aberdeen City Council co-leader, Councillor Douglas Lumsden, said: “It is disappointing to hear that the main cladding contractor has gone into administration with the impact this will have on those employed.

“It is pleasing to hear, however, that the main contractor Robertson has stepped in so quickly to find a solution to secure the jobs of those involved and also pleasing to hear that they do not anticipate any delay on the completion of the project.”