Building Briefs – February 8th

Mast Architects completes elderly amenity homes for Cunninghame Housing Association

A project to deliver 14 cottage flats in Stevenston, North Ayrshire, for Cunninghame Housing Association has now been completed.

Spread across three blocks, the one and two-bedroom flats offer tailored elderly amenity accommodation for social rent while integrating with an established neighbourhood.

Mast Architects, who designed the £1.4 million New Street development, said: “The ‘L’ shaped site offers a south-west facing private courtyard for the residents, providing a space to meet and socialise whilst acting as a communal ‘front garden’ with a mix of hard and soft landscaping features.”


Shortage of homes for sale pushes up Scottish prices

A shortage of homes becoming available for sale in Scotland is continuing to push house prices upwards, according to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Residential Market Survey.

A net balance of +21% of Scottish surveyors responding to the survey said that house prices rose in January, which was above the UK figure of +8%.

This comes as Scottish surveyors (a net balance of -12%) report a fall in the number of homes becoming available for sale; this is the tenth consecutive month that the data for new instructions to sell has been in negative territory.

With new buyer enquiries continuing to increase, albeit at a slower rate than at the end of last year, according to the balance of respondents, this suggests that there is a widening gap between availability and demand that will exacerbate supply constraints.

That said, Scottish surveyors remain relatively upbeat about the three-month outlook for the market. A net balance of +32% expect sales activity to increase in the February to April period and a net balance of +7% expect prices to rise in that timeframe.


Renfrewshire schools to undergo £4m upgrade

Just over £4 million is to be invested in improvement works for two schools in Renfrewshire.

Esh Border Construction will carry out £3.6m worth of refurbishment works at St Anthony’s Primary School in Johnstone, while Clark Contracts will deliver a £467,000 classroom extension scheme at St John Ogilvie Primary School in Paisley.

The work at St Anthony’s is scheduled to start work this Spring and take 64 weeks. The school will have an extension built onto the north facade of the building to provide a larger, secure entrance and separate the area from the gym. In addition, all classrooms will have teaching walls which incorporate interactive white boards, while offices and meeting rooms will be reorganised with new staff toilets, storage and an IT Server hub room.

The scheme aims to make the school more accessible while the exterior of the school will be upgraded with a new flat roof finish and brickwork repair. Internal refurbishments include ceilings, floor finishes and decoration throughout the school with the introduction of acoustic insulation. Classrooms will have canopies with roller shutters which lead out to new paving areas to promote outdoor learning. The upgrade will also include new central heating pipework and radiators.

Elsewhere, the £467,000 scheme at St John Oglivies is scheduled to begin this Spring and last 22 weeks.


CCG on track with new homes for Govanhill Housing Association

Construction firm CCG (Scotland) Ltd is working on behalf of Govanhill Housing Association to transform Inglefield Street in the south side of Glasgow.

Since commencing works in November 2017, the Glasgow-based firm has made excellent progress on the 22-unit affordable housing development which, upon its completion, will be available for social rent in a mix of one, two and four bedroom apartments, including two properties with full wheelchair accessibility.

The development will have a fully enclosed, private courtyard to provide amenity space for each close, and hedge planting and raised planters to offer privacy and green space for the new residents.

CCG’s bespoke iQ timber frame system has been used for the construction.

As part of CCG and Govanhill Housing Association’s community benefit initiative for this project, CCG has committed to providing local employment opportunities, curriculum support and contributions to community projects. Four of CCG’s existing trade apprentices are also employed on the project who are all from the Glasgow region.


Dundee City Council to continue external wall insulation investment

Councillors in Dundee are to discuss plans for the latest £1 million phase of an external wall insulation (EWI) programme on another 120 homes throughout the city.

The neighbourhood services committee will hear on Monday that the work at Barnes Avenue will provide warmer, more energy efficient homes to both council tenants and owner occupiers.

Neighbourhood services convener, Councillor Kevin Cordell, explained that the EWI programme has had a major impact across the city in the last few years.

The committee will also be told that £244,000 of roofing work will also be carried out at the same time to 14 blocks.


Housebuilders celebrate history of Airdrie landmark

Bellway and Taylor Wimpey West Scotland are celebrating the completion of their residential developments on the site of the old Boots factory in Airdrie, with the official unveiling of a new memorial commemorating the plant’s history.

The factory site, which employed 1000 people and closed in 2005, has been transformed by the housebuilders into a thriving community featuring 417 new houses and apartments.

The 145 acre site was purchased by Boots of Nottingham in 1946 and by 1953 had 600 employees and made all Boots aspirin and saccharin tablets. In the 1960s, cosmetics and toiletries were added to the product line.

Before its closure, about 100m products a year were manufactured there including No 7 and 17 cosmetics, Botanics and Natural Collection skincare ranges and Soltan Suntan Lotion.

The memorial was the brainchild of Jim Gilchrist who worked at the factory for 10 years and runs a Facebook page celebrating its past. He wrote to the housebuilders and local MSP Alex Neil suggesting that a plaque be erected at the site.


North Lanarkshire Care and Repair handyperson service to continue

Older and disabled residents in North Lanarkshire will continue to receive help with small repairs and tasks around the home after the council extended the contract for its Care and Repair handyperson service until April 2019.

Link Group Ltd, in association with its subsidiary, Horizon Housing Association, provides the service and manages the contract which sees over 3,000 small repairs and tasks carried out each year.