Building Briefs – December 15th
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has officially opened its new North headquarters in Dyce following an investment of £1 million.
The new facility includes open plan offices, energy efficient lighting, air conditioning, new reception area, meeting rooms, video conferencing facilities, a gym and canteen.
The retained fire station at Dyce will also be upgraded as part of the investment programme.
This will include a new Watch Manager’s officer, refurbished BA (breathing apparatus) room, new appliance bay doors and energy efficient heating.
The major project was overseen by Kier Construction Scotland, providing local jobs for local people and training opportunities for nine apprentices.
The facility will serve Highland, Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles, as well as Perth and Kinross, Dundee and Angus, and Aberdeenshire and Moray.
A9 Slochd Summit contract award
The remote Slochd Summit, the second highest point on the A9 only to the Drumochter summit and over 1300 feet above sea level, will be included in the latest ground investigation work for the A9 Dualling programme.
A ground investigation contract worth nearly £1 million has been awarded to Raeburn Drilling & Geotechnical Ltd which will help progress the A9 dualling scheme for the 15 mile section of the route between Dalraddy and Slochd.
The ground investigation work is expected to begin early next year and take five weeks to complete.
Scottish Land Fund paves way for community-build school project
A community in the West Highlands, aiming to build its own primary school, has received a Scottish Land Fund (SLF) injection of £50,825.
Strontian Community School Building Limited will use the funding to purchase a plot of land next to Ardnamurchan High School, at Drimnatorran, Strontian.
The purchase is part of an innovative proposal under which the group plans to build a community owned asset that it will lease, in the short term, to Highland Council as a new primary school. Funding for the building itself will come from a loan and a community shares offer which has recently been launched by the local community.
Strontian Community School Building Limited is one of four community led organisations sharing in Scottish Land Fund awards totalling £394,435. Also benefiting is the Westray Development Trust, the first group in Orkney to receive a Scottish Land Fund grant, Ochiltree Community Hub in East Ayrshire and Gifford Community Woodland in East Lothian.
‘Twin-track’ approach to carbon removal will help deliver Scotland’s strategic energy ambitions
Scotland’s new “whole system” energy strategy must include a clear ambition to achieve a “net zero carbon” economy before 2050, with a twin-track approach to reinvigorating the delivery of carbon removal technology, according to a briefing sent to the Scottish Government today.
The working paper by the research partnership, Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS), outlines a different path to developing carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Scotland, a proven technology that can complement other low-carbon measures.
The authors suggest that, by starting small and capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) across the heat, power, transport and industry sectors, this can improve the effectiveness of overall efforts to tackle Scotland’s carbon emissions. Capture technology can be applied to different types of low-carbon energy systems, from biomass and biogas to district heating and combined heat and power (CHP).
The Scottish Government is also urged to take immediate steps to secure national infrastructure that can be used for large-scale, permanent CO2 storage, which will be necessary to decarbonise heavy industry. This can start from moderate-scale projects, which can be taken forward by the Scottish Government.
Specifically, the briefing’s recommendations include the need to:
- Assess opportunities for small-scale CO2 capture from biomass, biogas, fermentation, waste and small CHP energy processes together with appropriately scaled options for transport and use or permanent storage;
- Assess opportunities for pilot trials of low-carbon heating using hydrogen for the conversion of district-scale gas networks, with hydrogen produced by steam methane reforming coupled with CCS;
- Support actions leading towards development and commercialisation of larger-scale CO2 storage operations, including projects involving cooperation with other states around the North Sea.
Langstane opens latest affordable housing development in Aberdeen
Langstane Housing Association has added to its affordable housing provision in Aberdeen with the addition of 35 new homes in Auchinyell Road, Garthdee.
The scheme at Copper Beech Court provides modern one and two bedroom social and mid-market apartments less than 3.5 miles from the heart of the city.
Working closely with the Association, the design team created low maintenance, energy efficient homes that are an excellent addition to the Association’s stock portfolio.
The Scottish Government and Aberdeen City Council provided grant funding to assist with the development of the site, with Langstane providing the remaining funds through private finance.
The site formerly housed the Copper Beech bar and had lain derelict for some time.
Langstane’s chairperson, Sandra Macdonald, re-iterated the Association’s commitment to social and other forms of affordable housing and commended all those involved with the project.
Montrose Aldi behind schedule ‘but still on way’
Supermarket firm Aldi has rubbished speculation that it is not forging ahead with plans for its latest Angus branch — although construction has slipped.
Aldi demolished a former Co-operative supermarket in Montrose and the site has been inactive since November, despite a planned start by the beginning of this month.
Local speculation over the time the development is taking has led to rumours that the site has been abandoned, and the levelled area has been linked to ScotRail as car parking for the rail station nearby.
The previous car parking has been used as an overflow by commuters since late 2015.
However the German chain has confirmed it is on track with plans to build a new store in the New Year.
Thomas Cook commits to Falkirk with extensive refurbishment of customer contact centre
Thomas Cook UK officially re-opened its customer contact centre in Larbert, Falkirk this week following a full refurbishment.
The multi-million pound investment demonstrates the holiday company’s commitment to its business activities in Falkirk and the 400 employees at the site.
The contact centre’s interior has been designed to reinvigorate the working environment for employees and provides a clean, modern office space complete with the latest technology and facilities. Thomas Cook worked with contractor W@rkplace and building owner Falkirk Council to deliver the refurbishment.
Construction work begins on new council homes in Kildrum
North Lanarkshire Council held a sod cutting event to mark the beginning of construction of the homes at Lochlea Road.
Comprising one and two bedroom apartments, the £1.7 million development is being delivered by Lovell Partnerships and forms the latest phase of the council’s NL Homes programme and marks another step to meeting its plans to build more than 2,000 new homes.
Attending the sod cutting were housing convener, Councillor Barry McCulloch, Councillor Tom Johnstone and Councillor Stephen Grant, together with representatives from Lovell.
All of the new homes are built with energy efficiency in mind, achieving at least a ‘good’ eco rating to help minimise running costs for tenants. In addition, they meet Housing for Varying Needs specification which means homes are more accessible to adapt to tenants’ mobility needs. The homes are also ‘Secured by Design’ accredited, which involves Police Scotland architectural liaison officers having input into the layout and designs to ensure we build safe and secure environments.
A contribution is received from the Scottish Government towards the development costs at each site.
World’s first national land register turns 400
The world’s oldest national register of land and property will celebrate its 400th anniversary during Scotland’s 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.
Registers of Scotland (RoS) will celebrate 400 years of Scottish land and property registration during 2017 with a year of commemorative events that highlight the impact of four centuries of land registration in Scotland – and also its influence on the world stage.
Wednesday, 28 June 2017 will mark 400 years since the General Register of Sasines was created by the original Scottish Parliament’s Registration Act 1617 and, to commemorate this landmark date, an exciting set of events will take place throughout the year.
Eight out of ten housing association residents remain pleased with their homes
Housing association residents remain pleased with their new homes, with 80 per cent saying they were very satisfied or satisfied after 3-4 years of occupancy, new research has shown.
Nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) said their home was much better than their previous residence, illustrating that standards of new affordable housing are meeting expectations and often exceeding them.
There was a high level of satisfaction with many key aspects of design, such as space, internal layout and security, and residents themselves identified a wide range of positive attributes of their new homes.
In addition over 80 per cent of residents were satisfied with the overall appearance of their housing development and most felt that it integrated well with surrounding buildings and met the needs of residents. However, modern living was found to challenge some aspects of design, particularly the level of storage and parking provision, according to a survey commissioned by the NHBC Foundation.
Bat roost replacements ‘not being used’
A study has found that most roosts provided to compensate for the effect of building developments on bat colonies are not being used.
The Scottish Natural Heritage report looked at dozens of sites across Scotland.
It concluded that, in the short term at least, usage levels at many locations were low with some not used at all.
The study advised further examination of the longer-term impact and looking at improving wider bat landscapes.
Lovell festive knitwear fun raises £400 for Cash for Kids Christmas appeal
Workers at partnership housing developer Lovell dug out their most festive knitwear to raise money for the Radio Clyde Cash for Kids Christmas appeal.
Staff made cash donations to wear jolly Christmas-themed jumpers to work while the company contributed a separate sum of over £100. Overall, the festive knitwear day raised a total of £400 for the charity.
The money will go towards making Christmas brighter for disadvantaged children in the area.
Prizes were awarded for the best jumpers.