Building Briefs – December 17th

(L-R) Kevin Halpin, contracts manager, Persimmon Homes, (West), Scotland; Alan Cricket, construction director, Persimmon Homes (West) Scotland; Councillor James McColgan, Inverclyde Council’s communities vice-convener, Craig Sanderson, Link Group chief executive and Colin Connell, development director, Persimmon Partnerships
(L-R) Kevin Halpin, contracts manager, Persimmon Homes, (West), Scotland; Alan Cricket, construction director, Persimmon Homes (West) Scotland; Councillor James McColgan, Inverclyde Council’s communities vice-convener, Craig Sanderson, Link Group chief executive and Colin Connell, development director, Persimmon Partnerships

Work begins on new affordable Link homes in Port Glasgow

Link Group Ltd has begun the £5 million construction of 46 new homes at Lower Mary Street, Port Glasgow which will be completed by February 2016.

The development will consist of 38 homes for social rent including 4 two-bedroom terraced houses, 26 two-bedroom flats, 4 one-bedroom flats, 3 two-bedroom cottage flats and 1 two-bedroom cottage flat for a wheelchair user.

It also has 8 homes available to buy through New Supply Shared Equity including 6 three-bedroom terraced houses and 2 three-bedroom semi detached houses.

The new homes will be built by Persimmon Homes Ltd and will meet Link’s Design Guide, Housing for Varying Needs and Secured by Design Requirements. Once complete they will be managed by Link’s subsidiary Larkfield Housing Association.


Plans for new Midlothian recycling centre abandoned

A proposal to open a new recycling centre off Eastfield Farm Road in Penicuik has been abandoned in the wake of concerns raised by local residents and Strathesk Primary School.

Instead, Midlothian Council agreed to refurbish the current facility on Bellmans Road at a cost of £300,000.


Plans to redevelop Loch Leven health centre opposed

Kinross Community Council has called for plans to redevelop a defunct health centre to be scrapped.

The old Loch Leven complex has lain empty since it closed five years ago to make way for a new facility.

Perth-based GS Brown Construction has tabled a planning application to reuse the 60,000sq ft site, creating a shop, nursery and homes, including 15 flats.

The company said that the two-storey building will be transformed, rather than demolished, as part of the work.

Now the project has come under fire from the community council.

In a formal objection to Perth and Kinross Council, a spokesperson said the main complaint was over the proposed block of flats.

She said that plans for retails units also went against council policy but there were no complaints about the proposed nursery.

The scheme has also been opposed by Kinross-shire Civic Trust.


UK first as Glasgow multi-storeys to be demolished piece by piece

Whitevale and BluevaleScotland’s tallest residential multi-storeys will disappear from the Glasgow skyline in a landmark demolition.

The iconic Whitevale and Bluevale high-rise flats in the Gallowgate will be deconstructed piece by piece.

The 31-storey blocks, which stretch to 85 metres (278 feet), will be demolished by specialist staff on a platform placed on top of the building.

The demolition is part of GHA’s commitment to regenerating communities across the city.

The ‘TopDownWay’ demolition technology – which has been used before in Italy and France - was chosen due to the close proximity of the neighbouring block and nearby roads and also the unique core structure of the blocks.

Demolition contractor Safedem will begin lifting the platform on to the roof of 109 Bluevale Street next month. Work is expected to be complete by summer 2015. The deconstruction of 51 Whitevale Street will begin soon after, with the site cleared by 2016.

The deconstruction system is unique as it avoids the need for scaffolding. A platform on top of the building allows staff to remove walls and floors piece by piece. Once work on each floor is complete, the platform descends down the building until it reaches ground level.


Wates chairman takes on top role at BRE Trust

Wates Group chairman James Wates CBE has been appointed as chairman of the BRE Trust the UK’s largest charity dedicated to advancing knowledge and education on the built environment for public benefit.

He takes over from Sir Neville Simms who has been in the role since 2005.

Along with his role at Wates Group James is also chairman of Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) where his remit is to encourage new talent into construction with stimulating skills training programmes and initiatives. He is also chairman of the UK Contractors Group (UKCG) the primary association for contractors and their supply chain partners in the UK. Members account for a third of construction output in the UK advocating safe, ethical and sustainable practices in the sector.


George Square hotel plans to hide car park with extension

The Millennium Hotel in Glasgow’s George Square has announced dramatic plans to expand skyward with a “futuristic” extension.

Owners Millennium and Copthorne Hotels say they have been forced into the move thanks to two equally dramatic developments now set to go ahead.

The first is the multi-storey car park directly behind them that has already received outline planning permission as part of a council-backed scheme to turn Buchanan Galleries into a super-mall.

The second is the equally significant revamp to Queen Street station that will see the hotel lose more than 50 rooms as an existing 1970s extension is bulldozed.

So the new design – although still to be formally unveiled – will both replace the rooms lost and hide the car park. In doing so, it will change the skyline of the city’s premier civic space forever.


Ramp-ing up road improvements in Inverclyde

A £5 million programme of road and footpath improvements in Inverclyde is on track to be completed earlier than planned.

Inverclyde Council’s roads team has delivered 30 of 32 planned projects in its roads and maintenance plan – known as RAMP – with four months left of the financial year.

An additional three projects have now been identified and all five outstanding schemes should be completed before the end of March next year.

They are: Newton Street, Grieve Road, Coll/Colonsay Avenue, Uist/Staffa Avenue and Angus Road, Gourock.

The RAMP includes a programme of footway repairs. Five of 18 projects are now complete and an additional three footway projects have been brought online. They are Broadstone Avenue, Duchal Street and B788 Kilmacolm Road selected lengths.

Work over the coming months will concentrate on the 16 remaining footway projects and should, weather permitting, be complete by end of March 2015.

This work is part of £17m investment in roads, footpaths and lighting agreed by the council at last year’s setting of its three year budget.


East Dunbartonshire primary (time lapse video)

Time lapsed videos of the construction of the new Lairdsland Primary School in East Dunbartonshire are being recorded by the council throughout the site preparations and building works.


St Andrews playing fields could accommodate 30 new homes

A housebuilder preparing plans for an area of parkland in St Andrews has suggested 30 homes could be constructed there.

BDW Trading, a subsidiary of Barratt Developments, has lodged a notice with Fife Council stating its intention to seek planning consent for residential development of the New Park playing field in St Andrews.

Planning consultants for BDW Trading have told the council 30 houses could be accommodated on the playing field, which has become a wildflower meadow. Some open space is also envisaged as part of the development.

A public meeting and exhibition is to be held next month to present the proposals to the public and gather feedback.

The exhibition is to be held on January 29.

Further details will be published nearer the time.


ACHA to carry out new rainwater trial on Inveraray homes

An innovative rainwater harvesting trial is being carried out at a new Argyll housing development by Scottish Water and Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA).

12 new homes at the Barn Park development in Inveraray will take part in the trial. Six of the houses will be fitted with rainwater harvesting technology, and six will have normal water systems built to current standards so all 12 can be measured and compared.

The homes with the technology will use captured rainwater to flush toilets, hopefully reducing consumption in the house by between 20 and 30 per cent. All the houses will have their water use recorded by way of a smart monitor which can store and send data without needing to be physically inspected.

The trial will run for three years to ensure sufficient comparative data is collected. The information will be shared with Building Standards to help their understanding of the potential benefits of the system.

The development of 12 homes for affordable rent is progressing well with completion planned for August 2015. The construction contract is being carried out by Stewart McNee Ltd., of Dunoon.


£1m Cromarty Firth contract for Scottish civil engineering firm

DFL director, Ian Phillips
DFL director, Ian Phillips

A Scottish specialist civil engineering contractor has secured a multi million pound contract to assist in the expansion of the Invergordon Service Base.

Daviot Farms Limited (DFL), which is headquartered in Inverness, is progressing with the initial reclamation work on phase three of the Port of Cromarty Firth development.

The project includes the reclamation of nine acres of sea to increase capacity and facilitate the developing renewable energy sector.

DFL, which employees over 150 personnel, was awarded the contract by McLaughlin & Harvey. DFL will be responsible for forming a rock fill and armour stone revetment to allow the creation of a heavy load quay and concrete deck.

DFL will quarry in excess of 135,000t of rock and utilise its GPS-directed machinery to create a rock structure.


UWS extends multi-million pound investment programme

University of the West of Scotland (UWS) has announced the next phase of a multi-million pound investment programme encompassing all aspects of work across all four campuses.

The latest £3.7 million investment is being made through the UWS Strategic Investment Fund to ensure the University meets the key performance indicators (KPIs) outlined in its exciting, new Corporate Strategy, and brings the total investment commitment to over £16m.

This announcement follows the recent news of a £12m investment in Information Services phased over the next three years with improvements being made across all campuses to improve upon the University’s current learning spaces and facilities.

The latest venture builds upon the University’s commitment to provide the highest standards of learning and teaching, enabling UWS to produce highly employable, IT-literate graduates who have bold aspirations for themselves and their communities.

A number of areas stand to benefit from this new investment, allowing the University to support its internationalisation through the new International Centre; and the creation of a new Research, Enterprise and Engagement hub and modern and flexible learning spaces. In addition there will be a number of Estates improvements, including a significant increase in maintenance spending.

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