Willmott Dixon

Dundee set to approve £15.5m Waterfront office development

Site 6 of the Dundee Waterfront shown as work began on the V&A to the left

Site 6 of the Dundee Waterfront shown as work began on the V&A to the left

Work to create a £15.5 million office block in the heart of Dundee’s Waterfront is set to begin next month with the approval of a tender submitted by Robertson Construction.

Councillors are being asked to approve the appointment of the contractor to build on land at Site 6, adjacent to the new V&A Museum.

The five-floor development will include Grade A office space, ground floor commercial units, a service yard and dedicated parking.

Due to be completed in February 2019, the building forms part of broader development on the site which received planning consent in the summer.

A report being considered by the city development committee next week seeks approval to accept the tender submitted by Robertson Construction on behalf of Wilmott Dixon.

Funding for the project is available as part of the Scottish Government’s Growth Accelerator Fund and prudential borrowing from income received from leasing the commercial units within the building.

Lynne Short, convener of the city development committee, said: “This is another important milestone in the transformation of our central Waterfront.

“There can be few locations matching it anywhere in Scotland, just yards from the new V&A and the River Tay. It’s also right next door to our new railway station.

“Creating top-class office space like this bolsters the ongoing efforts of the council and its partners to attract blue chip employers to the city.”

Dundee Central Waterfront Site Proposal

The building forms part of a broader mixed-use development on the site

The report, by executive director of city development Mike Galloway, notes that there will also be a community benefits programme including guarantees to employ local labour, apprenticeships and local contract spend.

It also confirms that all employees working for main contractor Robertson Construction and all sub-contractors on the site will be paid the Living Wage, currently £8.75 and due to go up every November.

Councillor Short added: “This development and others in the Central Waterfront will not only act as a magnet for future employers, but also create opportunities for workers in the construction sector.

“It’s another strong signal that Dundee is a city open for business.”

Meanwhile, a ten-year vision to build on the success of Dundee construction and infrastructure projects will also be considered by councillors next week.

The Capital Investment Strategy links together a number of developments that will assist in policy areas like work & enterprise, children & families, healthcare & wellbeing and community safety and justice.

Future planning for the school estate, green spaces, housing investment, smart cities digital and stronger communities are among the areas under focus.

The council runs a five-year capital plan, with the current version sitting at investment levels of nearly £350m. While including these details, the Capital Investment Strategy illustrates the council’s longer-term thinking for programmes.

The document also details a number of projects which are earmarked to take place under the Tay Cities Deal including a Comics Centre, the redevelopment of Dundee Contemporary Arts, an aviation skills partnership and the decommissioning opportunities being explored by the Dundeecom partnership.

Council leader John Alexander said: “This strategy is a clear outline of the ambition we have for Dundee and illustrates how hard we are working to realise it.

“We are maintaining the regeneration of the city and ensuring that all of our pupils are learning in quality surroundings.

“There are a number of aspirations through the Tay Cities deal that the wider partnership of the area want to realise because they are hugely exciting and will help to accelerate the momentum that has been built up.

“We are also thinking innovatively about strengthening the city’s infrastructure for years to come, and this will include the delivery of Wi-Fi and 5G readiness in the Central Waterfront with the Scottish Futures Trust.

“We are absolutely determined to build a fairer and smarter city for the future and take on the challenges that exist for the benefit of our people.”

The council’s policy and resources committee meets on Monday December 11.

Industry leaders unite to tackle modern slavery in UK construction sector

construction site stockTo mark Anti-Slavery Day in the UK today, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and Stronger Together will be joined be industry leaders in spearheading a pioneering collaborative initiative to tackle modern slavery in the construction sector.

Recent figures released by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), estimate there are 40 million people trapped in modern slavery around the world. Prime Minister Theresa May described it as “the greatest human rights issue in the world today”.

Saint-Gobain, Westfield and Willmott Dixon will help shape the initiative that provides construction companies, their clients and sub-contractors with the sector specific guidance they need to address modern slavery and comply with the UK Modern Slavery Act requirements. The construction initiative follows the successful model of Stronger Together’s consumer goods programme, launched in October 2013, which is sponsored by the nine major UK supermarkets.

The programme combines interactive training workshops and practical resources which offer detailed yet pragmatic advice. Included in the resources is an in-depth good practice toolkit and ‘Concrete’ a powerful short film, based on a true story, which highlights the risks of modern slavery within the UK construction industry.  Workshops can be booked and resources freely downloaded at www.stronger2gether.org/construction.

Jantine Werdmüller von Elgg, global programme lead at Stronger Together, said: “We welcome the leadership of the project sponsors including Saint-Gobain, Westfield and Willmott Dixon to take this key step on the journey to reduce modern slavery in the construction sector. Fundamental to our approach is collaboration and we encourage every business within the industry to join the programme and take advantage of the free resources, training workshops and the opportunity to discuss the challenges and best practice involved in addressing this issue in a safe space.”

Chris Blythe OBE, chief executive of CIOB, said: “No project is too big or too small to be at the risk of modern slavery and labour exploitation. The commitment shown by these companies demonstrates an enlightened approach and makes good business sense. The industry improves the quality of life for those who use our structures but the process of construction must also protect the wellbeing of those who make it happen, wherever they are in the supply chain and whatever their background. We should not accept anything less and we must work together to achieve it.”

Keith Whitmore, head of design and construction at Westfield UK & Europe, said: “Westfield is very proud to be involved in this important industry initiative. Westfield has created close to 100,000 construction jobs through its UK retail developments, and will create thousands more through its future development pipeline. We are committed to help ensure we eradicate modern slavery in the industry and in the UK through educational initiatives.”

Rick Willmott, chief executive at Willmott Dixon, added: “Sustainability is at the heart of our business and that includes showing leadership in sustainable procurement. We take our responsibility for tackling modern slavery very seriously and that includes taking a collaborative approach with our industry peers. We are therefore delighted to be a project sponsor of this joint CIOB and Stronger Together initiative in the construction sector.”

Willmott Dixon on track to halve carbon emissions by 2020

Rick Willmott

Rick Willmott

Willmott Dixon has called on the construction sector to secure the future of generations to come by taking more action now to reduce carbon emissions as the company’s latest sustainability report details a 13% reduction in emissions over the last 12 months.

New performance figures for carbon, waste and broader sustainability revealed a 13% reduction in carbon emissions relative to turnover compared with 2015, and a 40% reduction compared with the company’s baseline year of 2010.

Group chief executive, Rick Willmott, explained why the company is making carbon emissions reduction a priority: “Climate change will have a profound impact on the way of life for future generations, with implications for health, food production and access to resources if we don’t curb now the effect of excessive carbon emissions into our atmosphere and the consequence that has for global warming. Any company committed to leaving a lasting legacy in the built environment must view carbon management as a key focus area.”

Willmott Dixon has focused heavily on tackling emissions in which the company has direct control, such as purchasing electricity from renewable sources and finding ways to reduce emissions from transport and the construction activities. The company is also addressing emissions generated by the supply chain that they have influence over (so-called Scope 3 emissions).

Willmott Dixon ensures its carbon performance is verified externally by Bureau Veritas. The company has also just been recertified to the Carbon Trust Standard (achieving the highest score in the sector), and remains a pioneer of the Carbon Trust’s Supply Chain Standard – the world’s first accreditation for companies managing emissions in their supply chain.

Since 2012, Willmott Dixon has calculated its unavoidable emissions and offset them by purchasing credits in projects which are reducing carbon emissions by an equivalent amount. This means the company is certified as carbon neutral.

Rick added: “With around half of the UK’s carbon emissions coming from the construction and operation of buildings, we must strive to find less carbon-intensive ways to operate as an industry. And this includes getting better at building energy efficient buildings, which will stand up to the more extreme temperatures we can expect in the coming decades.”

Willmott Dixon to consolidate construction and housing teams as profits double

Rick Willmott

Rick Willmott

Willmott Dixon has revealed plans to merge its housing delivery and construction teams as the firm reported a solid trading performance.

In 2016 the contractor saw its turnover dip nearly 1% to £1.22 billion (2015: £1.33bn) but profits before tax & amortisation rise 97% to reach £31.1m (2015: £15.8m).

The company also published highlights so far in 2017, with a secured forward order book at £1bn and 90% of budgeted work secured.

During the year Willmott Dixon launched Fortem (housing repairs and maintenance) and Be Living (housing development) as new brands and de-merged.

In a further reorganisation it has now decided to integrate its residential contracting operations within the general construction operation under chief operating officer John Waterman.

Willmott Dixon group chief executive, Rick Willmott, said: “This year will see concentration on our core contracting activity, making sure that we continue to shape Willmott Dixon to stay close to our customers, both private and public, and by serving their evolving needs.

“This particularly relates to our residential construction proposition, where the nature of projects is changing, with private housing developers, local authorities and housing associations creating ever more high density, mixed-tenure and mixed-use developments.

These opportunities are often ‘bundled’ as a series of projects that allow customers to work in partnership with companies like us to accelerate delivery.”

But the company has stated they are on the lookout for new opportunities, with Rick Willmott adding: “To ensure we are best positioned to deal with this strong and vibrant market opportunity, we need to change the way we operate by integrating our residential expertise and capability into our national Construction business from July.

“This will see our residential projects and teams progressively migrate to their local Construction office to better enable us to provide a seamless service with scope to expand across the whole country.

“This also fits neatly with our portfolio of national and local frameworks, including Scape where we are a partner on the new National Construction Framework with the potential for work volumes of £2.25b over the next four years, and the Southern Construction Framework, where we have the accolade of being its Contractor of the Year.

“Having consistency of operational structure, leadership and direction will absolutely reinforce our ability to deliver best in class performance for all our customers.”

Willmott Dixon and Robertson set for £17m Dundee schools complex

North East Campus DundeeWillmott Dixon Construction Limited has submitted a tender worth over £17 million for a new primary school and nursery campus in Dundee.

The new North East Campus, which has been designed by Holmes Miller Architects, will house two schools and a nursery and replace St Luke’s & St Matthew’s, St Vincent’s and Longhaugh primary and nursery schools.

Set to be located on land to the north of Lothian Crescent in Whitfield, the development was given planning approval by the local authority last month.

Now a tender for the works, which will cost £17.2m including allowances, has been submitted by Willmott Dixon Construction Limited with the work to be carried out by Robertson Construction.

Will Dawson, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee, said: “It’s great to see this tender being brought forward and with it a new school campus coming a step closer.

“Work is already completed and well underway on similar projects in other parts of Dundee so it is good to see progress being made in the north east of the city.”

The new schools are designed over three storeys for a maximum combined roll of 868 pupils and a 95 full time equivalent (FTE) three to five year olds at the nursery. A separate nursery area for up to 30 FTE. two year olds is also included in the project.

Vehicles will get access to the main school from Lothian Crescent where there will also be a pupil drop-off and service yard car park. There will be an additional pupil drop-off facility on Longhaugh Road.

The city development committee meets to discuss the tender on March 27.

Construction work on the school is expected to begin before summer.

Robertson celebrates opening of £8.8m North Uist school

Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath exteriorAn opening ceremony has been held for a new £8.8 million school built in North Uist by infrastructure group Robertson.

Sgoil Uibhist a’ Tuath is the seventh new school to open in the Western Isles in the last six years.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the local authority, invested £6.6m into the school with additional funding of £2.2m coming from the Scottish Government.

Construction was led by main contractors Robertson on behalf of Willmott Dixon and was completed on time and within budget.

The work was procured through Scape Group’s National Major Works framework.

Reid Gilmour, operations manager at Robertson Central, said: “It has been a pleasure working in partnership with Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar to deliver this new school through Scape Group’s National Major Works framework.

“It has been a logistically challenging but incredibly rewarding project that has been achieved with the help of the local community. Project Manager Finlay MacInnes and I have enjoyed our time here and I would like to thank everyone for their support.”

Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath interiorComhairle convener, Cllr Norman A MacDonald, said: “I am delighted that we have officially marked the opening of the new school. Staff and children are already benefitting from this excellent education facility which provides childcare, early years and primary education to the North Uist community in partnership with Saoghal Beag Nursery.

“There have been several improvements to our schools in the Western Isles over the last few years, and here today we see the opening of the seventh new school in the past six years. Our new schools will usher in a new era of educational opportunity and community facilities, in buildings that are the equal of any in Scotland.”

Mark Robinson, Scape Group’s chief executive, said: “At Scape Group we are very excited to be helping to deliver a fantastic new school to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, in a move which will provide an excellent future for the island’s young people, as well as help to evolve the education system in the Western Isles.

“Working collaboratively through our National Major Works framework, Robertson and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have proved that investment in high quality school buildings is not reserved for big cities, and that it is possible to deliver great design in every community, including the Western Isles.”

The school is also providing a resource for community activities.

Willmott Dixon set to win Dundee schools tender

Willmott-DixonA £16 million project to build two new Dundee schools and community facilities could come a step closer next week should councillors approve a tender from Willmott Dixon Construction Ltd.

The new build development in the Coldside area of the city will replace Our Lady’s RC and Rosebank primary schools and the Frances Wright Pre-school Centre with modern custom designed facilities.

As well as the schools there will be four additional flexible classrooms, nursery facilities and a dedicated area for community use.

Dundee City Council’s city development committee has been asked to approve the project.

Bill Campbell, depute committee convener, said: “With work completed and well underway on similar projects in other neighbourhoods across the city it is good to see progress being made on the Coldside scheme.

“This will bring two new single stream primary schools designed over two storeys, a separate nursery area and a dedicated facility for community use to Coldside that will provide services for people who will live in the adjacent new houses being built in this part of the city.”

New social housing is currently being built on another part of the site, which was formerly home to the Alexander Street multis.

The city development committee meets on December 12.

Willmott Dixon restructures to split into three sister businesses

Rick Willmott

Rick Willmott

Willmott Dixon has unveiled a new corporate structure to create three distinct companies delivering contracting, residential and support services.

Under the plans, both residential development and support services companies will move from under the group’s umbrella to become sister businesses

Willmott Dixon said the move will give each greater operational, financial and strategic independence to facilitate growth plans.

For the six months to 30th June 2016, the family-owned construction business made £12.0 million profit before tax and amortisation (2015: £8.1m) on turnover of £600m. The secured and probable forward order book stood at £1.15bn on 30th June.

Group chief executive Rick Willmott said: “This year has seen some important developments to support our growth ambitions. In May, we formed Willmott Residential to combine the capabilities of Prime Place, Be:here and Homes within one company. This has already opened up many new opportunities for sharing skills, identifying new land opportunities and bringing a more holistic approach to house building for our partners and customers.

“More recently, we rebranded our support services businesses as Fortem to grow a strong new brand utilising the technical strengths and capabilities that exist in our people to create a business with greater access to a variety of markets outside its core housing sector.”

With Willmott Residential and Fortem making good operational and strategic progress, Willmott Dixon will now implement plans to strengthen both companies further by allowing each to benefit from greater independence to pursue their individual, and different, growth plans.

The chart showing the new structure

The chart showing the new structure

In 2017 this will see them move out from under the Willmott Dixon ‘umbrella’ to become ‘sister’ rather than ‘subsidiary’ businesses to Willmott Dixon, whilst remaining owned and controlled by the same shareholder family.

Three Sister Companies

  • Willmott Dixon Holdings with two subsidiaries: Willmott Dixon Construction and Willmott Dixon Interiors
  • Willmott Residential with three subsidiaries: Prime Place, Be:here and Willmott Partnership Homes
  • Wimpole Equity Holdings with one subsidiary: Fortem

Rick explained the rationale for the new structure: “This very much recognises each company’s specialisms and it gives senior management greater freedom and flexibility to shape their businesses to pursue specific growth agendas for their markets; but with strong cultural, leadership and ownership continuity. The revised structure also supports our wish to give top management in each of our three core businesses a more direct share in their company and in the success they help create.

“Importantly, it underlines our core belief that sustainable growth is secured by focussing on those specialisms and an obsession with procuring ‘quality’ ahead of ‘quantity’ of workload. To do so presents the best opportunity in today’s market of delivering outstanding service to customers by a confident, secure body of staff and culturally aligned supply partners.”

Talking about how each sister company will work together and share skills, Rick added: “We’ll ensure our sister companies continue to work together and benefit from combining complimentary skill sets when providing a real ‘value added’ proposition. An example being Willmott Dixon’s core contracting role supplemented by Residential’s development and home-building skills, which is working well in Westminster to deliver a major new leisure centre and over 160 homes on two complex sites in a complex local authority asset backed deal.”

Three Scottish projects benefit from CITB funding

construction_vacancies_stock_310Three construction work experience and pre-employment programmes in Scotland have been successful in receiving financial assistance from the latest round of CITB funding.

Eleven other projects, based in England and Scotland, shared over £800,000 from CITB in this latest round of Flexible and Structured funding. Five of the bids were submitted by Federations and the rest by firms, training groups or trade associations.

Scottish Building Federation was awarded £120,840 for its Construction Collaborative Leadership Framework (CCLF) project which aims to build a leadership framework for the construction industry to develop joint solutions to solve issues the industry faces.

Scottish Building Federation managing director, Vaughan Hart, told Scottish Construction Now: “We are delighted to have secured funding from CITB to develop a Construction Collaborative Leadership Framework. While construction continues to be a very dynamic industry where materials and techniques are constantly being improved and advanced, our research shows that leadership capability within the industry is not necessarily keeping pace with those technical advances.

“To that end, SBF aims to use CITB funding to develop a Construction Collaborative Leadership Framework to tackle complex barriers to good leadership at company, consortium, sector and societal levels. Our objective is to enable sustainable transformation in leadership practice across the entire construction industry.”

Kier, in conjunction with hub South West Scotland and youth charity Prince’s Trust, received £43,500 to develop a work experience programme, designed to encourage 15-18 year olds into construction.

The project will deliver a series of ‘taster days’, offer progression onto pre-employment programmes where students can gain CSCS accreditation and on-site experience. Ongoing support and mentoring from Prince’s Trust will help young people progress into employment, further education or training within the industry.

Meanwhile GMG Contractors was given £49,153 to develop a bespoke skills academy at The Manse in Glasgow to train apprentices offsite when the weather is inclement.

Geeta Nathan, head of economic analysis at CITB, said: “I’m excited to announce the latest round of industry-led projects that CITB is supporting. The construction industry faces unique challenges and it’s important that we work together to address these issues so that we are well-positioned for the future.”

Also receiving funding was a new initiative designed to stamp out modern day slavery in the construction industry.

Developed by Willmott Dixon, the project was successful in its bid for £18,500.

Funding will be used to help construction firms and the supply chain to identify illegal workers and trafficking activities through a serious of ‘Right to Work’ training videos.

According to the Home Office, 53 potential victims of trafficking into construction were referred to the authorities in 2013, but slavery’s hidden nature means actual numbers are likely to be much higher. Businesses already have an obligation to make training about slavery and human trafficking available to staff under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and penalties for non-compliance are severe.

Geeta Nathan added: “The threat of human trafficking in construction is real. Firms want to root it out, but don’t always know how. This project will help companies to protect staff, abide by the law and uphold the reputation of the industry. We commend the efforts of Willmott Dixon for initiating this project and are pleased to support them with industry investment.”

Rick Lee, chief human resources manager at Willmott Dixon, added: “At Willmott Dixon we believe strongly that our industry should lead the way in ensuring and safeguarding the rights and treatment of our workforce, which includes compliance with all legislation regarding employees’ right to work.

“In order to share our knowledge in this area and help our industry set the standard, we are pleased to have partnered with the CITB to produce training videos which act as practical guides and highlight best practice. Our hope is that these videos will raise awareness and provide valuable guidance to the wider construction industry on this important subject.”

Willmott Dixon targets new markets with Partnerships rebrand

MD Mick Williamson, 3rd from right, with his team by a van with the new logo

MD Mick Williamson, 3rd from right, with his team by a van with the new logo

Willmott Dixon’s property repairs and maintenance division Willmott Dixon Partnerships is changing its name to Fortem.

The group said the move is part of a strategy to provide the senior management team with greater operational autonomy as well as more freedom to design bespoke service offerings and grow the company outside its core social housing market.

The company currently provides repairs and maintenance services to local authorities and housing associations across the country, with its team of 1,400 directly employed engineers undertaking over 400,000 repairs each year. It also provides planned cyclical work to support programmes of estate renewal and property asset investment.

Managing director Mick Williamson said: “As we focus on ensuring we support our existing clients in delivering the best service possible, the new name embodies our commitment to keep evolving as a successful business. We have strong ambitions for growth and this means that now is the right time to create a new stand-out brand to become recognised as a leader in property maintenance across all sectors, not just housing.

“Fortem reflects these aspirations by heralding a new era for our business as we continue to invest in ensuring we are ‘best in class’ for our existing customers, while giving us flexibility to plan ahead for expansion with new customers.”

Fortem is a Latin word for strength and prudency, underlining Willmott Dixon Partnerships’ existing brand values. The new logo and branding is designed to be a welcoming and reassuring presence in the community, as its highly trained and qualified team of engineers arrive to carry out work that improves the immediate environment of residents and customers.

Mick added: “Fortem will also give a bright and distinctive look to our fleet of vehicles that are a visible presence for thousands of people a day in towns and cities. We’re simultaneously adopting the new strapline of ‘people who care’ which underpins our approach to every one of the over 400,000 people we look after every year. This is about continuous improvement for our business and being empowered to create the Fortem brand has been a great opportunity; one that provides an exciting new future for myself and all my colleagues who are passionate about providing the very best service for our customers and their residents.”

The company is currently responsible for repairs, maintenance and cyclical work on over 110,000 homes.

To coincide with the new name, Willmott Dixon Partnerships’ sister company Willmott Dixon Energy Services will be drawn into the Fortem brand to extend the services and skill-sets of the business. Willmott Dixon Energy Services works to better insulate thousands of older homes and make them healthier places to live.

Rebranding as Fortem will see both companies switch from the previous yellow, black and grey colours of Willmott Dixon to a distinctive blue and grey.