Building Briefs – June 23rd

Knight Frank's new Glasgow office
Knight Frank’s new Glasgow office

Knight Frank on the move following central belt expansion

After a period of strong growth in Scotland’s central belt, independent real estate consultancy Knight Frank has expanded its commercial property operations by taking new premises in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

On the back of delivering two consecutive years of record profits, the firm has moved to 2 Castle Terrace in the capital and Allan House, 25 Bothwell Street in Scotland’s biggest city.

In the five-year period to year-end 2016, Knight Frank’s Edinburgh office grew turnover by 300 per cent, while staff numbers doubled in its Edinburgh commercial team. In Glasgow, revenues jumped by 250 per cent, with 21 staff now working across its capital markets, office agency, property and facilities management, and building consultancy teams.


Praise from CGC for Renfrewshire’s Employability Awards

CGC Construction has praised Renfrewshire Council’s efforts to boost employment and transform the local economy.

CGC said it shared the goals of Renfrewshire Council and its jobs creation initiative ‘Invest in Renfrewshire’ which last week honoured rising stars.

CGC attended the Renfrewshire Employability Awards entitled “Aiming Higher” held in Renfrew where the council saluted individuals who have shown talent, enterprise and commitment to excellence.

Many of them were young people undertaking internships and apprenticeships with others showing great promise in their blossoming careers.

The high-profile event heard from Renfrewshire Council chief executive Sandra Black and Councillor Mark Macmillan, leader of the council.

Together they praised Renfrewshire’s “strong creative, hardworking and entrepreneurial culture” and the work of Invest in Renfrewshire and its ongoing fight to “eradicate” long term youth unemployment from Renfrewshire.


Norse Stone and GMR Henderson form partnership

Caithness stone specialists Norse Stone and building contractors GMR Henderson have entered into a strategic partnership that will streamline the supply chain of Caithness stone, strengthening tenders and providing an end to end service to customers.

Norse Stone was founded a year ago by a young team - experienced Caithness stone quarrier Michael Ronaldson and architect Lachie Stewart. Since launch, they have supplied stone for Scottish castles such as Mey and Elien Donan, as well as the new Wick Noss primary school.

Wick based GMR Henderson is a long-established construction firm and regular Main Contractor on large-scale construction projects throughout Scotland. Their previous work with Caithness stone includes flooring for commercial clients such as the Landmark Trust and Ackergill Tower.

GMR Henderson brings triple ISO Accreditation (ISO 9001, ISO14001 and ISO 18001) to the partnership. This gives customers confidence that quality management, health and safety, and environmental impacts are managed according to international standards.

This will make Caithness stone a serious contender as a material for major projects as blue chip construction firms look for greater levels of accreditation from suppliers.


Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art clock tower restored

Restoration work has been completed on the clock tower of Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art during which serious errors in the original construction were repaired.

Renovations on the clock tower in Royal Exchange Square began in May last year.

The £400,000 project saw the tower and weather vane, which date back to 1827, cleaned, restored, and reinstated.

More extensive repairs were needed when some masonry, dating back almost 200 years, was found to be wrongly bedded.

The restoration work was undertaken by City Building Group and CBC Stone, with financial support from Historic Environment Scotland.


Halfway point for Methil housing development

Alan Russell, Stewart Shearer, John Mills and Alistair Black
Alan Russell, Stewart Shearer, John Mills and Alistair Black

Construction of a new affordable housing development in Fife has reached the halfway stage.

The £12 million Fife Council development at Methil Brae will see 100 properties built on the site of the former Glencast Foundry.

Local councillors and ward members have recently received a tour of the development, which is being delivered by Robertson Partnership Homes, alongside timber frame supplier Robertson Timber Engineering.

The project comprises a mixture of one to five bedroom properties including semi-detached units, bungalows and cottage flats.

Construction of the timber frame involves off-site manufacture where panels are produced in a controlled factory environment, reducing wastage of materials and ensuring production of a quality product ready to be used in the construction process.

The first phase of housing is due to be available for rent this summer.


Resurfacing works to begin in South Lanarkshire

A programme of resurfacing works is due to begin this weekend in South Lanarkshire.

The roadworks will take place on the B740 between Crawfordjohn and Sanquhar and are part of the council’s £126 million Roads Investment Programme.

The project will begin at 7am Saturday, 25 June. During this time, the B740 will be closed in both directions and diversions will be in place.


Council approves Fife flood risk plans

Fife Council has approved plans on managing flood risk across the region.

The Local Flood Risk Management Plans for 2016 - 2022 were approved during a local authority meeting on 22 June.

The proposals were designed in collaboration with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Water and neighbouring local authorities.

Features include:

• 16 flood protection studies

• Nine Surface Water Management Plans

• Two Natural Flood Management Studies

Other additional actions involve raising awareness, community flood action groups, self-help, maintenance of existing schemes, inclusion within Planning policy and within emergency plans and responding to incidents.


NewRiver purchases retail park in Dumfries

Property development company NewRiver Retail has purchased a retail park for over £20 million in Dumfries.

The Cuckoo Bridge Retail Park is located close to the A75 and comprises 130,000 sq ft of income generating space across seven retail units.

The deal was funded using existing cash resources and NewRiver said it hoped the acquisition would “drive income and capital growth”.


New council homes taking shape in Dunfermline

butecresentFife Council’s Affordable Housing Programme is helping to provide more much needed council homes in the Abbeyview area of Dunfermline.

New homes are also about to take shape at Elliot Street, Dunfermline. Both sites started in March this year with the first occupants due to move in to Bute Crescent, Abbeyview during August 2016.

The development at Bute Crescent is a design and build project with Persimmon Homes who have offered to host placements which will give candidates from the council’s construction academy valuable experience.

The project will deliver 49 new homes ranging from one-bed cottage flats to five bed houses and will include six amenity standard bungalows. These properties will be meeting silver standards and contribute to the council’s commitment to deliver modern, fit for purpose, energy efficient homes which include important features such as sprinkler systems, innovative technologies, increased insulation standards and high air tightness. This contributes to tackling fuel poverty and improving living standards. 110 parking spaces will also be created as part of the new development. The project has received £588, 000 of Scottish Government funding.

At Elliot Street, a design and build project with Campion Homes which will start to take shape over the coming months will result in 30 homes for mid-market rent (MMR). MMR is more suitable for people who are working but can’t afford market rent prices. The rents are set at a level between market rent and those charged for council homes. The homes will be a mix of one and two bedroom flats with 61 parking spaces. These properties will also meet silver standards with handover scheduled for March 2017.


Stirling residents invited to railway upgrade drop-in event

Network Rail is to host two drop-in events for residents to find out information about a level crossing replacement project in Stirling.

As part of its £40 billion Railway Upgrade Plan, the Cornton level crossings are due to be replaced with a new road bridge over the railway before it is electrified in 2019.

In addition, pedestrian and cycle access will also be incorporated.

The two drop-in events will take place at the Allan Centre in Bridge of Allan between 3:30pm – 8pm on Monday, 27 June and in Cornton Community Centre on Tuesday, 28 June.


Public feedback informs Roseburn to Leith Walk cycleway plans

Changes are being proposed for parts of a planned family-friendly cycleway between Roseburn and Leith Walk, ahead of a decision on the route by Edinburgh councillors in August.

The City of Edinburgh Council carried out a major public consultation exercise on the proposed Roseburn to Leith Walk Cycle Route and Street Improvements project from November 2015 to February 2016, which drew more than 2,500 responses.

The results of this consultation are now online.

The consultation found high overall levels of support, with 67 per cent of respondents in favour of the proposals, which are intended to provide a west to east link across the city centre as part of Edinburgh’s ‘QuietRoutes’ network.

However, a number of concerns were also expressed about specific elements of the scheme, particularly around the west end of the route in the Roseburn, West Coates and Haymarket areas.

Concerns were chiefly about impacts on congestion, bus services and local businesses, as well as the proposal to relocate the Haymarket Station taxi rank and the potential for pedestrian/cyclist congestion at bus stops.

Responding to these concerns and other feedback, the council’s in-house project officers have revisited a number of aspects of the proposals.

For example, off-peak loading could now be reintroduced to the north side of Roseburn Terrace to assist local businesses (previously it was proposed to remove the current loading bay altogether) and all three bus stops in West Coates would be retained, rather than one being removed.

An alternative cycle route at the Roseburn end of the cycleway has also been scoped out and will be put before committee members. This ‘Option B’ amendment would see cyclists diverted away from Roseburn Terrace via Roseburn Place and Roseburn Street, instead of the protected cycle track along the north side of Roseburn Terrace which features in the current proposals (Option A).


Russian visitors’ praise for Cube’s innovative district heating system

Russian students visit Glasgow’s Broomhill
Russian students visit Glasgow’s Broomhill

Cube Housing Association’s innovative district heating system in Glasgow has attracted international attention.

A group of Russian construction and engineering students visited Broomhill recently to see how Cube’s district heating system will make homes warmer and cut tenants’ bills.

Around a dozen students from Don Technical University in Rostov-on-Don got a tour of the energy centre in Broomhill Lane earlier this month.

They also wanted to know more about the wider investment Cube – which is part of Wheatley Group – is making in Broomhill, including overcladding the blocks and installing new kitchens, bathrooms and boilers.

Cube’s district heating system should be fully up and running by the end of summer 2016.


Tay flood risk management plan published

The Tay Estuary and Montrose Basin Flood Risk Management Plan has been published.

Representing an important milestone in implementing the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009, the Tay Estuary and Montrose Basin Local Flood Risk Management Plan will translate this legislation into actions.

It aims to reduce the damage and distress caused by flooding over the first implementation cycle from 2016 to 2022.

In total, 19 areas have been identified as being potentially vulnerable to flood risk across the Tay Estuary and Montrose Basin local plan district.

There are approximately 3490 residential and 1210 non-residential properties at risk from flooding within these areas. The estimated average damage of these flood risks is approximately £13.6million per year.

The flood risk management plan presents actions to avoid and reduce the risk of flooding and prepare and protect the people and communities in these potentially vulnerable areas and across the local plan district.