Building Briefs – March 27th

Danny Blakeston
Danny Blakeston

ISG makes key engineering services appointment

ISG has appointed Danny Blakeston as managing director for its Engineering Services business, which operates within the research and development (R&D), pharmaceutical, healthcare, data centre and critical infrastructure sectors.

Promoted from within the company, Danny brings a wealth of technical engineering experience to the role, across a 20+ year career that has included 15 years at ISG, where Danny has proved instrumental in growing the capability and reputation of this strategically important part of the business.

Directing many of ISG’s most prestigious and high-profile projects, Danny’s significant delivery credentials and ability to forge strong customer and consultant relationships will prove key as the business moves to take a greater share of the wider engineering services market. ISG’s Engineering Services division provides a comprehensive market offer, including feasibility, audit and delivery, through to testing and commissioning.


Fife Council selects Kingdom to deliver £15m housing project

Fife Council has selected Kingdom Housing Association as its Delivery Partner for a major redevelopment scheme in Inverkeithing that will see the demolition of existing flats and the construction of up to 200 new homes over the next four years at an estimated cost of around £15 million.

The council opted to redevelop the Fraser Avenue estate area of Inverkeithing after consulting with the community and has decided to demolish 234 properties, comprising 39 blocks of flats.

An options appraisal identified the need for the complete redevelopment of the area and the council advertised for a housing association partner, which could work with the existing residents and the local community to deliver a sustainable regeneration project.

After a rigorous assessment process, involving the local community, Fife Council and the Scottish Government, Kingdom Housing Association was selected as the Regeneration Delivery Partner.

The Master Planning process has already been initiated and Fife Council appointed 7N Architects of Edinburgh to work with the local community to develop the master plan.

The redevelopment project will involve the rehousing of existing tenants and new homes will be provided to meet the particular needs of existing and new tenants.  It will be a phased project, which is likely to take around 4 years to complete.


Burrell Collection revamp hits £66m

The redevelopment of the renowned Burrell Collection in Glasgow will cost up to £66 million, new papers have revealed.

Glasgow City Council, according to papers for its Executive Committee, is expected to fund up to 50 per cent of the total cost of the radical revamp of the museum.

The remainder of the cost is hoped to be split between the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is considering a £15m application, a major fundraising campaign and grants from other public bodies.

The £66m total – considered to be the project’s first official budget – is £20m more than the organisers of the redevelopment, which will see the museum in Pollok Park close in 2016 and reopen in late 2019, had previously estimated.

It was previously said by Glasgow City Council that the revamp would cost about £45m, a number now described as an early estimate.

The masterplan for the project has now been completed. The current one-and-a-half floors of display space at the museum will be increased to three floors, including its basement.

The A-listed building, opened in 1983 and designed by Barry Gasson Architects, will be also given a much-needed new roof and new windows. There will also be an improved café and shop and a new “civic events space” outside the museum.

The fabric, interior and plant of the building will also be radically overhauled, with green energy sources including solar panels and, potentially, power from the nearby White Cart river at Pollok House.

The Executive Committee of the council is being asked next week to approve capital funding of £4.91m to further develop the proposition.


National Gallery revamp receives £5m HLF boost

The revamp of Scotland’s National Gallery, on the Mound in Edinburgh, and its Scottish collections, has received a £5 million boost by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The £15.3m renovation will triple the Gallery’s exhibition space and improve access to its collection of Scottish art.

An application to the HLF for £4.94 m has now received official Stage 1 approval.

Set to begin in 2016, the project will include the creation of a new landscaped public pathway and terrace, from the Princes St Gardens level.

Glasgow-based Gareth Hoskins Architects will oversee the project.

During the renovation, the Scottish National Gallery will remain open to the public with access to the spaces not affected by these plans.

The works are expected to be completed in the summer of 2018.


42 Scottish churches receive £2.2m for urgent roof repairs

Chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has named the first round of historic churches in Scotland to receive more than £2.2 million of grants to address urgent roof repairs through the Listed Places of Worship: Roof Repair Fund.

42 churches across Scotland, from a variety of denominations, will now be made weathertight, safe and open for use. Grants of £10,000 to £100,000 will meet the costs of urgent repairs to roofs and rainwater disposal systems. Money is also being provided for structural investigations; specialist reports and bat surveys.

This money is part of a wider funding package of £30m to 502 historic places of worship across the UK announced by Chancellor George Osborne.

A full list of awards can be found at


Glasgow plans Scotland’s first Olympic standard BMX track

150320_BMXGlasgow City Council has announced plans to build a new BMX (Bicycle Motocross) track in the north west of the city.

This will be the first and only world championship and Olympic standard track in Scotland and the second in the UK, outside of Manchester.

The track, planned for Knightswood Park, comes as it was also announced that Glasgow is set to host the 2018 European Cycling Championships, of which BMX is an element.

Knightswood Park has been selected as a preferred location following a feasibility study carried out by the council and Glasgow Life. Within the park there is space to fully develop a world class facility including room for associated spaces such as changing and events areas and will also benefit and enhance the delivery of existing sports in area, including golf.

A BMX facility would complete the city’s portfolio of cycle sport venues and the development of a track would enhance Glasgow’s reputation as a world class sporting city.


Residential construction activity in February increased by twenty per cent year on year

Residential activity across the UK construction sector continued its hold at the top of the industry in February, contributing £1.6 billion worth of contracts by value and representing 27 per cent of total contracts.

According to the latest Barbour ABI construction sector report, there were a number of primary sectors within residential construction that had a significant increase in activity for contracts awarded in February.

The value of contracts awarded for apartment building projects increased by 53 per cent in February year on year, worth a total value of over £400 million on the month. However the biggest jump in contract values came from highly debated housing association dwellings, with the total project spend at £600000 in February 2014, increasing significantly to over £55 million last month.

The sector also experienced a major increase of residential units reaching the contract award stage in February at 14,455 which is the highest recorded figure since Barbour ABI began tracking this data and almost 50 per cent higher than 12 months ago.


Final AECC public consultation launched

AECC newHenry Boot Developments has unveiled the latest designs for their planned Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre ahead of a third and final round of public consultations.

Interested parties invited to comment on the proposals ahead of the submission of planning applications this summer.

Delivered in partnership with Aberdeen City Council the Bucksburn proposals will be delivered in tandem with redevelopment of the existing AECC at Bridge of Don to provide new homes and businesses.

On show will be updated interior and exterior views of the Bucksburn scheme, including a green energy centre, three hotels, offices, parking and parkland.

Changes since an initial round of consultation include the adoption of a horseshoe layout to improve visibility from all seats and a separation of the conference suite and small exhibition halls.

A central public piazza is now also more enclosed.

The consultation will be held in the Upper Mall of the Bon Accord Centre today and Saturday between 10:00 and 18:00. From 30 March to 10 April the proposals will also be on view within Marischal College.


Homes in Scottish cities ‘becoming less affordable’

The average price for a city home in Scotland has increased 7 per cent on last year, according to the Bank of Scotland Affordable Cities Review.

The deterioration of home affordability for city dwellers in Scotland means the average price (£175,962) stands at 5.24 times gross annual average earnings.

Last year the average house price in Scotland was £161,463 (4.89 PE ratio) though it is still significantly below the peak of 6.12 in 2008. City living in Scotland (5.24) is more affordable than the UK city average (6.12).

Stirling remains the UK’s most affordable city for a second year, despite a deterioration in affordability over the past year. The average property price in the Scottish city of £158,645 is 3.85 times gross average annual earnings. In contrast, Edinburgh is Scotland’s least affordable city, with the average house price sitting at £216,424 which is 6.11 times the gross annual average earnings.

Aberdeen has recorded the biggest price rise of any UK city over the past decade with a gain of 88 per cent. Even over a period of five years, Aberdeen has seen a 26 per cent increase in house prices, compared to just 3 per cent in Stirling.


Airdrie School ravaged by major blaze to be demolished

A primary school ravaged by a major fire will be demolished and pupils relocated to another school.

Firefighters battled the blaze at the school in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, throughout Thursday afternoon.

Black smoke was seen billowing across the town after the fire broke out on the roof of St Dominic’s primary school in the town’s Petersburn Avenue.

Scottish Fire and Rescue service confirmed firefighters attended the scene after a 999 call at around 3.50pm. All those inside the building were safely evacuated, and the fire services said there were no reports of any injuries.

A spokeswoman for North Lanarkshire Council confirmed that the school will be demolished today and a meeting of council bosses will be held to discuss where pupils will be relocated to.


New NHBC Foundation report charts the making of the modern home

A new guide which charts the history of the modern home from Victorian times to the digital age is being launched by the NHBC Foundation today.

Housing has played a pivotal role in our society and has been at the very top of the political agenda for different reasons at different times over the last century.

Homes through the decades: the making of modern housing examines the political and social drivers, and technological changes that have shaped the modern home and the way we live.  From the gadgets we use to the way our homes are built, the guide contains evocative images and informative charts which illustrate and define key periods in our housing history.

Homes through the decades poses questions about what our homes might look like in the future – will demographic changes, such as decreasing family sizes and an ageing population lead to new designs of homes?  How much further will sustainability targets be pushed in housing design, and will higher levels of automation become the norm?  The report notes how people living in modern homes today have greater protection than their predecessors through the introduction of Building Regulations, comprehensive building standards and warranties.

To accompany the report, the NHBC Foundation has also produced a “Top 10 moments in housing history” infographic, charting a number of significant dates that shaped Britain’s homes.


New council homes to be built in Stirling

(left to right) Stirling Council’s housing manager John Macmillan, Stirling Council leader Cllr Johannna Boyd, Derek Cramb of Hadden Construction Ltd and Stirling Council’s housing convenor, Cllr Violet Weir
(left to right) Stirling Council’s housing manager John Macmillan, Stirling Council leader Cllr Johannna Boyd, Derek Cramb of Hadden Construction Ltd and Stirling Council’s housing convenor, Cllr Violet Weir

Stirling Council is to build ten new council homes in Balfron to meet the demand for socially rented properties in the area.

The one and two bedroom flats will be located on Main Street after the council bought a construction site which has lain partially developed for a number of years.

In addition to the flats, there will be two commercial units.

The new properties will all be built to an excellent standard. They will be environmentally friendly and comfortable, with high levels of insulation to ensure they meet energy efficiency standards.

More than 100 new homes have been added to council stock since 2012.