Building Briefs – February 6th

Cupar Burgh Chambers converted into holiday let accommodation

Hardies Property & Construction Consultants has completed the £500,000 refurbishment and conversion of Cupar Burgh Chambers into two-bedroom holiday let accommodation.

Part of the Cupar CARS (Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme), the project comprised major fabric repairs to the building, including replacement stone, slate roofs, lead covered bell tower and paint removal from the façade.

The refurbishment project was part-funded by Historic Environment Scotland and Heritage Lottery Fund through Fife Historic Buildings Trust (FHBT).

The main contractor was John Smart & Son with Hardies acting as Quantity Surveyor.


University takes next steps towards low carbon future

The University of Edinburgh has announced that it will complete its transition out of fossil fuel investments within three years.

The University has invested more than £150 million in low carbon technology, climate-related research and businesses that directly benefit the environment since 2010.

The decision, approved by the University’s ruling body, the University Court yesterday, follows its commitment - made in 2016 - to become carbon neutral by 2040.

Court members agreed the changes will be completed within a timescale of three years.

In May 2015, the University signalled its intention to use its investments and procurement power to support the transition to a low carbon economy and to divest from the most polluting fossil fuel companies.

Within weeks, £2.5m of investment was removed from firms involved in coal and tar sands.

In 2013, Edinburgh became the first university in Europe to become a signatory to the Principles for Responsible Investment, a UN-backed initiative which aims to make the global financial system more sustainable.

Investment in fossil fuels currently represents less than 1 per cent of the total University of Edinburgh funds under management, which is around £1 billion.

Alongside these changes to its investment policy, the University will continue to engage with fossil fuel companies in its research and teaching.


hub South West to hold Building for Growth information days in Dumfries and East Kilbride

Two information days which will outline the benefits to companies in Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway of participating in hub South West’s successful “building for growth” programme are scheduled to be held in February.

A public-private partnership funded by Scotland’s business development agencies and a clutch of Tier One contractors including Morison Construction, Graham, Morgan Sindall and Kier, hub South West’s development programme is aimed at ambitious companies in construction and related sectors based in south west Scotland.

The two events will give companies a taste of what the programme can do to aid their future success. The first information day will be held in Dumfries from 11.00am until 1.00pm on February 13 at Dumfries and Galloway College, Heathhall Industrial Estate, Links Road, Dumfries DG1 3JW where the speaker will be Martin Sweeney, a director of Rhino Contracts of Wishaw, a “graduate” of the seventh Building for Growth programme which concluded in November last year.

The second will be on February 15 at Damada Group, 5 Wilson Place, East Kilbride G74 4QD from 11.00am until 1.00pm where attendees will hear from Gary Thorn, MD of Cube Glass, Cumbernauld and the Main Award winner of the Building for Growth Autumn 2017 programme.

For more information, contact Margaret Milton on 01698 464566 or email


Next generation of affordable homes ‘too small for wheelchairs’

Many of the 50,000 new affordable homes which the Scottish Government has pledged will be delivered by 2021 will be unsuitable for disabled and elderly people, according to the government’s own research.

Ministers have committed to invest £3 billion in building at least 50,000 new properties by 2021, with the aim of tackling the nation’s chronic housing shortage.

But, according to, research commissioned by the government has found that this next generation of affordable homes will be too small for many disabled people who rely on wheelchairs or other mobility aids as the standards being followed do not allow sufficient floor space for wheelchairs.

The oversight was highlighted by the charity Inclusion Scotland after an investigation by revealed that almost 10,000 disabled people across the country are waiting for more suitable council houses.

Figures from 26 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities showed that some have been waiting for decades to move, with one disabled person in Stirling first requesting a change of property in 1969.

Inclusion Scotland said a lack of accessible housing around the country was leaving disabled people “trapped” in their own homes, describing the situation as “unacceptable”.

Although 35,000 of Scotland’s 50,000 planned affordable homes are being built to construction guidance called “Housing for Varying Needs”, this does not take into account the extra floor space needed by people who use wheelchairs or mobility aids.

Research commissioned by the Scottish Government from architects Anderson Bell Christie highlighted the problem, but Inclusion Scotland it had still not been acknowledged by ministers.


Saltire Society launches 2018 housing design awards

Nominations are now open for the 2018 Saltire Society Housing Design Awards which will be guest chaired by BBC researcher and reporter Allan Little.

The Saltire Society Housing Design Awards have been rewarding and advocating innovation and excellence in Scottish house building and place making for longer than any other design awards in Scotland. They are a highly regarded, long-standing example of the Society’s commitments, aims and objectives.

The Awards are open to entries from owners, clients, architects, housebuilders and housing developers of all shapes and sizes across Scotland.

The Scottish Government continues to support the Awards and sponsors the Innovation in Housing award which sees a cash prize of £1,500 given to the winning project. This Award celebrates the pioneering spirit. It is intended to complement the Scottish Government’s vision for its housing policy; to encourage innovative and original projects and ideas which will promote debate and implementation.

Submissions must be received by noon on March 1 with the awards ceremony due to take place in Edinburgh in June.

Entry forms can be downloaded here.


Artisan Real Estate Investors nominated for two industry awards

Artisan Real Estate Investors has been shortlisted for two of this year’s biggest accolades in the Scottish property industry.

Artisan has been nominated for both the Property Company of the Year and the Deal of the Year categories in the prestigious 2018 Scottish Property Awards, which takes place in Glasgow on March 1.

The nomination for Property Company of the Year reflects Artisan’s investment-based success across Scotland over the last 12 months. This includes continued progress at New Waverley, its flagship Edinburgh city-centre development, as well as taking on major regeneration projects in Glasgow such as the Custom House on the Clyde Waterfront and the Cotton House in the Merchant City.

The Deal of the Year nomination recognises the landmark property deal agreed in July 2017 to bring 2,900 HMRC jobs right to the heart of Edinburgh, with the lease of New Waverley’s 190,000 sq. ft. new office building to the Government Property Agency (GPA) – described at the time as the city’s largest office leasing deal for more than 20 years.


A698 Knowesouth road resurfacing improvements to begin

A section of the A698 road will be closed for seven days this month for major resurfacing improvements.

The £120,000 scheme will see the A698 closed at Knowesouth between Jedburgh and Hawick from Monday 19 to Friday 23 February and Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 February, at 9am to 4.30pm each day.

Preparatory works will take place from Monday 12 to Friday 16 February at 9am to 4.30pm, with traffic lights in operation.

The road will be fully open on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 February and Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 February to minimise the disruption.

For safety reasons, a temporary 30mph speed limit will be imposed on the Knowesouth section of the A698 which is being resurfaced for the duration of the scheme, from 12 to 27 February.


Amey continues work on £17m water upgrade scheme in Paisley

Amey is continuing work on a £17 million waste water infrastructure upgrade project in Paisley.

The development involves building a one mile–long sewer under the streets of Paisley, as well as the installation of Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) in the town centre.

So far, six out of the 15 shafts required for the project have been built and a Microtunnel Boring Machine (MTBM) has excavated the route in between the shafts. In addition, the CSO at Causeyside Street/Forbes Place, opposite Dunn Square, has now been completed.

The large diameter interceptor sewer will start at Bridge Street car park and make its way across the Watermill Hotel car park and Lonend before going along Saucel Street, beneath Saucelhill Park and the railway line near Canal Street Station, Espedair Street, Rowan Street and Kilncroft Lane/Neilston Road.

Overall, the project aims to substantially reduce the frequency of spills from the sewer network into the Espedair Burn and White Cart Water during storm conditions, as well as improving the river water quality in the two watercourses and, in turn, the River Clyde.


Work to start on walkway renewal project in Nairn

Work is to begin on a pedestrian walkway renewal project in Nairn, Highlands.

The project at Merryton Bridge will see the wooden decking replaced as well as the supporting timbers where required.

The two-week scheme is to get underway on February 12. In order for the work to take place safely, the bridge will be temporarily closed to pedestrians during this period.


Work underway on railway upgrade between Aberdeen and Inverness

Work is underway on a railway upgrade project between Aberdeen and Inverness.

Network Rail will deliver the Aberdeen-Inverness Improvement Project over the next two months.

The scheme will see engineers carry out extensive devegetation work on the railway around Kittybrewster and Tillydrone to clear the way for the doubling of the track in this area.

By the end of 2019, Network Rail said the project will deliver a half hourly service between Aberdeen and Inverurie and improve journey times and increase capacity between the two cities. In addition, the project will also provide a day-time hourly commuter service between Inverness and Elgin.

A drop-in event for residents to residents to find out more about the project will be held in Sainsbury’s in Kittybrewster between noon and 7pm on Thursday, 08 February.


Upgrade work to start on A77 Adamton Bridge

Scotland TranServ is to begin work to upgrade the A77 Adamton bridge.

The company will start installing new bridge joints on the structure on Thursday, 08 February and Friday, 09 February. The scheme is being carried out in addition to recent resurfacing of the A77 Southbound from Adamton to Raith Burn.

To carry out the work safely, the Southbound carriageway will be closed from 8pm on Thursday, 08 February to 6am on Friday, 09 February, with another closure scheduled for 8pm on Friday, 09 Februayr to 6am on Saturday, 10 February. Local diversions will be in place.


Ground investigations to begin on A720 Edinburgh City Bypass

Ground investigation works are to be carried out on the A720 Edinburgh City Bypass.

A spokesperson for Transport Scotland said the scheme is part of design work to build a flyover at Sheriffhall and will inform work to progress plans to deliver improvements at the junction.

To carry out the scheme safely next week, traffic management measures will be required when necessary to allow work on and beside the carriageway to be carried out safely. This will include overnight lane closures on the westbound A720 as well as localised overnight lane closures on the roundabout carriageway and the A7 and A6106.