Building Briefs – December 12th

Constructing Excellence names Turner & Townsend’s Murray Rowden as new chairman

Murray Rowden
Murray Rowden

The construction industry best practice organisation Constructing Excellence has announced that Murray Rowden of Turner & Townsend is to be its new chairman.

Murray, who is head of infrastructure at the global programme management and construction consultancy, will succeed Ian Reeves CBE as chairman on January 1st 2015.

Ian Reeves made the announcement at Constructing Excellence’s Annual Reception at the House of Commons on Thursday 11th December.


Planning granted for new flats in Glasgow’s Southside

Planning consent was granted this week by Glasgow City Council for 28 flats at Kings Park, Cathcart, Glasgow.

The flats, designed by Lawrence McPherson Associates on behalf of house builder, Dickie and Moore Ltd, include 24 two bed apartments and 4 single bed apartments.

Situated on the site of the former Kings Park Bowling Club which has lain derelict since the bowling club closed 10 years ago, the site has a prominent frontage onto Carmunnock Road, however, vehicular access to the site will be from Old Castle Road via Old Castle Gardens.

The flats are laid out in two 4 storey blocks running north to south which provide the living accommodation with favourable western and easterly aspects.

The block massing and scale of 4 storeys with shallow pitched roofs is ubiquitous to the area and prevalent in Old Castle Gardens. Car parking and access road is located between the blocks.

The flats are designed to maximise passive solar energy with large windows and sunspaces to the south, east and west with smaller windows to the north..


Councils to share £60m home energy efficiency cash

Every local authority in Scotland is to benefit from a share of £60 million to make homes warmer and cheaper to heat.

The Scottish Government’s investment in the Home Energy Efficiency Programme for Scotland next year gives every council money to help fuel poor and vulnerable households with energy efficiency improvements such as solid wall, cavity and loft insulation.

A total of £48m was allocated yesterday on the basis of need, while councils can bid for a share of the further £12m.

The funding is part of the Scottish Government’s £94m energy efficiency budget next year and has a key role in tackling fuel poverty.


Firefighters tackle large blaze at concrete manufacturer in Moray

Firefighters have tackled a blaze at a concrete manufacturer in Moray.

The fire broke out at Moray Precast on Ashgrove Road in Elgin at around 4.20pm on Thursday.

The blaze was quickly contained but residents in Elgin were warned to close windows and doors because of heavy smoke.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Investigators (SFRS) were on the scene on Friday, but a cause has not yet been established.


Further investment set for Dunoon Esplanade

Argyll and Bute Council has said an additional £250,000 is to be invested at Dunoon esplanade.

The improvements are part of the first phase of a long-term plan to improve walking and cycling routes in the area.

Earlier this year, the local authority’s strategic transportation team secured almost £1m of funding from the Sustrans Community Links Programme; of this, £250,000 is being committed to this project.

The award was match funded by £250,000 from the local authority’s regeneration budget for Dunoon, which has been funded through the CHORD initiative. It will also complement the public realm enhancements planned as part of the Queen’s Hall project.

Under this scheme, the esplanade will be resurfaced from the town centre to Kirn with new asphalt, with red stone chips rolled into the mixture and will be a mixed-use surface for both pedestrians and cyclists. Changes to the outside of the leisure centre, with the bus lay-by being removed and the footway being widened. A new, modern bus shelter will also be installed. In addition, the footway next to the old marshalling area will be widened, with three historic bus shelters which block the pavement being removed to allow for easier pedestrian movement.

Two new access points from Alexandra Parade will also be created, at Dhailling and Ashgrove Care Home, allowing for easier access to the esplanade.

A tender for the work has been issued and a contractor should be secured early in the New Year, with work beginning towards the end of January. It is anticipated the project will be completed by March 2015, with the entire works to be finished by the summer.


Update on Borders Railway issued

Work has resumed on the Borders Railway scheme.

Last month, work on the project was temporarily halted after a worker was seriously injured while off-loading sleepers. A series of additional procedures have now been put in place and work has restarted.

To date, more than 75 per cent of the track laying has been completed and it is anticipated that a majority of the track work and its associated construction will end just before Christmas (23 December) for the holiday period to allow minor works to be undertaken.

The main construction work will then recommence on Monday 5 January.

Elsewhere, access roads at Heriot and Fountainhall as well as the road situated over the railway at Falahill have opened, with landscaping and minor works still to be completed. Meanwhile, the one-way system in Galashiels has been temporarily lifted for the holiday period and will be reinstated on 5 January to allow works to be completed around the new station.

New pedestrian footbridges have been created, with the final footbridge for the South and Central sections of the railway installed last month. Early next year, one more footbridge will be built at Harelaw.

Redbridge Viaduct will remain closed until 19 December to prepare for the arrival of the new railway. The footpath crossing the viaduct will then be resurfaced, street lighting installed and fencing between the footpath and railway erected.

Once the rails are in place, ballast can be distributed by rail and will help reduce construction traffic on the roads. As the track nears completion, work on completing various structures, as well as fencing, communication wiring and vegetation management will begin.


Meeting urged over Aberdeenshire school delays

There are calls for an urgent meeting to be held regarding plans for a new Kintore Primary School.

In a statement, Aberdeenshire Council said it was “disappointed” to discover that the government is looking to hold a Public Local Inquiry (PLI) into its planned compulsory purchase of a site for the new school.

The meeting has been called following objections from landowners.

The current school is in need of replacement due to the increasing number of children in the area needing places.

Significant population growth in the village means that the existing Kintore Primary School is struggling to cope with the number of children needing places. The local authority has said of the objections it received by landowners, where appropriate, it has agreed to the various demands.


MCK Construction joins TrustMark scheme

MCK Construction has announced that it has joined the TrustMark scheme.

The company, which based in Montrose, is a joinery and building contractor and was established in August 2009 at the height of the recession. It offers customers joinery work, new build housing, property extensions and loft conversions; and being the main contractor, also organises the trades required to carry out the works, with minimal hassle to the clients.

In addition, while based in Montrose, the experienced firm also services an area approximately 20 miles around its HQ, also covering areas such Brechin and Laurencekirk, throughout Angus.

The TrustMark scheme is a government-backed scheme which aims to stop rogue traders. The initiative operates a framework under which 26 scheme operators work in the RMI (repair, maintenance and improvement) sector.

This includes trade associations, local government trading standards teams and independent scheme operators. Each scheme operator is audited annually by TrustMark, to ensure processes, standards and complaint procedures are being maintained.

The project aims to help clients to find reliable and trustworthy tradesmen to carry out improvements or repairs around their home. For those companies who are involved in the TrustMark scheme, their technical skills have been independently checked through regular on-site inspections, as well as checks on their trading record and financial status. The firms then agree to a code of practice that includes insurance, good health and safety practices and customer care; while their quality of work, trading practices and customer satisfaction will be continually monitored.

The TrustMark scheme is fully supported by government, the building industry and consumer protection groups.


Clackmannanshire Council invests in new street lighting

Clackmannanshire Council is investing in improved street lighting in a project which will save the Council money at the same time.

Street lighting is important in maintaining safety and the perception of safety on the roads and paths of Clackmannanshire. With electricity costs constantly rising, the council has been looking at innovative ways to reduce costs while maintaining or improving the service provided.

Suitable LED lights for street lighting are now available and the council is investing in a spend-to-save project, replacing our existing street lights with LED lights over the next 5 years.

The first phase of the project is underway with around £750,000 being invested in the towns of Clackmannan and Tullibody. Around 90 per cent of the street lights in these two communities will be upgraded by April 2015.

LED street lights have been piloted in a number of local streets and have been shown to allow for true colours to be viewed at night. The light is also directed to where it is needed, not into residents’ gardens and windows or the night sky.


Angus solar farm approved

One of Scotland’s largest solar energy farms has been given planning permission in Angus.

Powering 5,000 homes, the East Ballochy scheme between Brechin and Montrose will stretch across 153 acres.

And it will come in at just under the wattage of Tayside’s first major solar farm in the Carse of Gowrie.

The 100-acre green field site in the carse was identified as an ideal spot for the installation of 70,000 free-standing, static solar PV panels, which would generate enough power for 5,500 homes.

The application, on behalf of the Stracathro and Careston Estate, was approved by delegated decision yesterday.

The site lies within the elevated area of Muir of Pert in the lower South and North Esk valley, three miles north-east of Brechin and two miles north-west of Montrose.

Associates Borealis Energy said the “relatively remote location” would be an “ideal” place for development.


Council planners oppose plans for Sanquhar wind farm

Plans for a new wind farm in Upper Nithsdale are facing opposition from Dumfries and Galloway Council planners.

They have recommended that councillors refuse Element Power’s application to build nine turbines at Twentyshilling Hill, two miles south of Sanquhar.

Two local community councils support the development of the 125m (410ft) high turbines.

But planners claim it would have a significant impact on a valuable scenic area.

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