Building Briefs – October 11th

Architectural lighting company branches out into Scotland

With the increase in demand of architectural feature lighting throughout the construction industry, Studiotech has appointed a new team based in Edinburgh to help increase their presence in Scotland and surrounding areas.

The Stockport-headquartered firm forms one third of IBT Group, which has been established for over 29 years. The group also includes Unique Systems, integrators of bespoke Media Delivery Systems and specialists in providing bespoke Audio, Video and Media equipment and IBT Controls who supply integrated BMS and field solutions to the commercial, industrial and residential sector.

Studiotech’s portfolio has continued to grow over the past couple of years, with the recent addition of well-known projects across the UK including the feature lighting at the £13 million extension of Edinburgh’s premier retail and leisure destination Fort Kinnaird Retail Park.

The Scottish team is being led by Phil Haldane and Richard Tebbutt.


Far from a ‘boring’ visit as schoolchildren welcome ‘Tunnelling Tanya’ to Paisley

It was quite a different morning for a group of schoolchildren from Paisley as they began their day learning about Scottish Water’s major engineering project in the town.

The pupils from St Charles Primary were on site to welcome the second, eagerly anticipated, Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) from Germany onto site. The children heard all about the project and had the chance to see ‘Tunnelling Tanya’ up-close.

The project team ran a competition at the end of last year’s school term asking pupils to come up with a name for the TBM. It was Hope Hunter, now a primary 6 pupil at the school, who impressed the judges with the name ‘Tunnelling Tanya’.

One and a half metres in diameter (5ft) and weighing in at an impressive 23 tonnes, Tunnelling Tanya will tunnel at depths of up to 27 metres and will remove 5,000 tonnes of rock as she makes her way under Saucelhill Park in Paisley.

Working alongside Donegan Civil Engineering, Scottish Water contractors Amey are constructing the large interceptor sewer in Paisley which, once completed, will substantially reduce the frequency of spills from the sewer network into the Espedair Burn and White Cart Water in storm conditions. The project will therefore improve the river water quality in the two watercourses and, in turn, the River Clyde.


£550k revamp to begin at Aberdeen plaza

Work will soon begin in preparation for improvements to a major Aberdeen public space.

Aberdeen City Council is widening the footways and carrying out work to the small plaza in front of Aberdeen Art Gallery as part of a wider scheme to improve the Schoolhill area of the city.

The works are to allow the beginning of the first stage of improvements to the major city centre public place early next year.

Councillors approved the first stage of the works when they met in May with funding of £550,000 set aside to carry this out.


Children hurt as ceiling collapses at Tranent Church Hall

Some children were injured when part of a ceiling collapsed at a church hall in East Lothian.

Emergency services were called to Tranent Church Hall in Tranent just before 19:00 on Tuesday.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said it was not a structural collapse but plaster fell from the ceiling.

A number of children suffered superficial injuries but no-one was seriously injured.

The Church of Scotland said it had held a meeting with officials from the Health and Safety Executive and the building would remain closed until further notice.

A spokesman said: “We are very thankful that the injuries sustained were not more serious and we hope the children are now recovering.

“Our prayers are with everyone who was hurt or affected by this incident.”


Shepherd duo bag double Dealmaker of the Year Award

Bilal Ashraf

Two surveyors at Shepherd Chartered Surveyors have been named Dealmaker of the Year in the Estates Gazettes’ prestigious competition.

Steven Clarke, commercial agency surveyor at Shepherd Chartered Surveyors, has been named Edinburgh Dealmaker of the Year for the second year running while Dunfermline-based Bilal Ashraf won the East of Scotland Dealmaker of the Year accolade.


Angus Council makes positive progress on Timmergreens regeneration

Plans to deliver more modern, higher quality properties for Angus Council tenants in the Timmergreens area of Arbroath are moving forward, the local authority has said.

Council tenants and residents in Timmergreens were consulted on proposals to improve the environment and quality of life in the area last summer.

There was overwhelming support for the draft programme, which was approved by the council’s communities committee in August 2017. Since then, the council has been re-housing the tenants of properties earmarked for demolition.

As this work is taking place, Angus Council is working in partnership with CCG (Scotland) Ltd to deliver up to 125 modern, energy efficient homes in a four-year programme utilising some of the most modern, efficient and effective building techniques that will offer tenant great value for money and highly energy efficient homes. CCG is working with Oliver and Robb Architects and the council to further develop proposals for the area’s enhancement.

This includes sites at Emislaw Drive, Spitalfield Place, Newton Avenue and Crescent, Fraser Path and Muirton Road. A pre-construction service contract provided a procurement route delivered through the Scottish Procurement Alliance (SPA) NH1 New Housing Framework.

Feedback from local residents on the Emislaw Drive/Spitalfield Place site has helped to shape the final plans for the first site to be submitted for planning approval this month.


Surveyors expect Scottish house prices to continue to increase due to lack of stock

House prices in Scotland have continued to rise though affordability constraints, a lack of stock, economic uncertainty and interest rate rises appear to be holding back activity, surveyors have suggested.

The latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) UK Residential Market Survey for September found there was a net balance of 19% more surveyors in Scotland reporting an increase in prices, partly due to the lack of stock on the market, with the increase forecast to continue for the next three months.

Looking at new buyer enquiries, respondents reported little change in demand for the second successive report. Having remained positive over the four months prior, recent results appear to be pointing to a more stagnant trend in new buyer enquiries emerging.

Sales expectations in Scotland remain positive in the near term, with 14% more respondents expecting sales to increase during the next three months.

At the same time, the volume of new sales instructions remained in negative territory, with a net balance of -21% of respondents reporting a decline in new properties coming onto the Scottish market.

In the Scottish lettings market, tenant demand remained firm (on a non-seasonally adjusted basis). Set against this, instructions to let continued to decline, with the survey’s series for landlord listings in Scotland having been stuck in negative or flat territory since September 2015.


Refurb work complete on bridge in Aberdeenshire

Refurbishment work has been completed on the B-listed Dee Bridge at Ballater in Aberdeenshire.

The bridge was damaged during Storm Frank in 2015 and it was bombarded with debris including tree trunks and caravans that had been washed away.

Coffey Construction was appointed to carry out the repair work which took around 13 weeks to complete and cost approximately £450,000.

Loose and decayed mortar was removed from the masonry before it was repointed, and the bridge’s deck has been fully resurfaced.


Scottish Borders Council allocates funding for rural road schemes

Scottish Borders Council has allocated over £270,000 to four rural road improvement schemes in the area.

The Strategic Timber Transport Fund has also granted a total of £601,208 towards the projects.

The road improvement works will take place on:

  • B6399 Shankend Quarry to C29 Junction – edge reconstruction and strengthening
  • B6357 Dawstonburn – carriageway strengthening
  • B6357 Kirndean – carriageway strengthening
  • D1/3 Roberton to Craik – second phase of drainage and passing place improvements, edge widening and carriageway strengthening.


A83 closed following landslip

BEAR Scotland has reported that the A83 in the south west to allow teams to assess a landslip that has occurred at the Rest and Be Thankful.

The debris has been caught in one of the specially designed landslip mitigation fences across the bottom of the slope above the A83 carriageway, however a full safety and geotechnical assessment needs to be completed in the area as a precaution before the road can reopen.

BEAR Scotland operatives and a specialist subcontractor are on site looking at the possibility of opening the Old Military Road diversion route, however this will depend on a full geotechnical assessment determining the safety of this option.