Building Briefs – December 18th

Improved repairs contract for PoLHA customers

Port of Leith Housing Association (PoLHA) has entered into a new contract with TB Mackay Energy Services Ltd in order to deliver an improved repair service for its customers.

The service will be fully up and running by early 2015 and will include the following:

  • Improved response times including emergency repairs attended to within two hours and routine repairs completed within 15 working days;
  • Extended appointment times on Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm and on Saturdays from 8am to 5pm;
  • More flexible appointments with slots for early morning, late morning, early afternoon, late afternoon and evening times;

  • A dedicated repairs phone line and appointments given at first point of call; and,
  • Confirmation that tradespeople are on their way to the appointment and focus on completing repairs first time.

    Renovation of Bona Lighthouse on Loch Ness completed

    A small historic lighthouse at Loch Ness near Inverness has been renovated at a cost of £497,000.

    Scottish Canals and national heritage company Vivat Trust raised the funds needed to conserve Bona Lighthouse.

    It was designed in 1815 by a superintendent of engineer Thomas Telford and was at one time the smallest manned lighthouse in Britain.

    The building, which helped to guide boats using the Caledonian Canal, has been converted into holiday cottages.

    Historic Scotland was among organisations that supported the renovation project.


    Funding approved for Hawick pathway upgrade

    A pathway is to be restored in Hawick after two housing associations agreed to fund the work.

    Originally, councillors on the Teviot and Liddesdale Area Forum approved funding of £1,596 for the works, but Scottish Borders Housing Association (SBFA) and Waverly Housing have now agreed to fund the project.

    The work will see a footway at Waverley Walk upgraded and will be undertaken under the Scottish Borders Council’s Unpaid Work scheme, which is managed by Criminal Justice.


    Flats proposed for Inverness riverside site

    Construction firm Tulloch Homes has proposed building 60 flats on the site of a demolished swimming pool in Inverness.

    There were plans earlier this year for a hotel to be built on the ground at Glebe Street, overlooking the River Ness.

    However, Aberdeen-based Carlton Rock Ltd withdrew its planning application.

    Tulloch Homes has notified Highland Council of its intention to apply for planning permission at a later date.


    Hadden Construction expands headquarters

    Hadden Construction has said works are continuing to progress on a planned expansion of its headquarters.

    The £500,000 investment will see the office space doubled, as well as enhanced office and meeting spaces being created.

    Teams from Administration, Finance, Surveying and Contracts will relocate to the new extension from the existing building.

    The work will include a range of energy saving features such as enhances high efficiency boiler, high insulation levels, low energy lighting and roof-mounted solar panels to provide the power requirements the company needs. A publicly available electric car charging point is also being installed in the new car park area.

    Works are due to be completed on the build by Spring 2015.


    Funding approved for subsea link

    Ofgem has approved funding of £1.1bn for a new subsea link in the north of Scotland.

    However, the funding is £105m less than that requested from Scottish Hydro Electricity Transmission (SHE Transmission).

    If constructed, the cable would cover a distance of 100 miles (161km). It would also connect 1.2GW of new renewable electricity generation upon its completion, scheduled for 2018.

    It will connect the electricity grid on either side of the Moray Firth.


    New depot facility opens in Kilmarnock

    A new £1m depot facility in Kilmarnock has been officially opened by SP Energy Networks.

    The facility will be the company’s main engineering base for the Ayrshire and Clyde South Zone.

    The new depot will act as the main hub for delivering maintenance work on the network, and will also oversee a planned investment of more than £150m in the Ayrshire network over the next eight-year period.

    In addition, in the event of severe winter weather affecting the area, the Kilmarnock depot will become the main Emergency Action Centre for co-ordinating an appropriate storm response.


    Engineering firm fined for safety failings

    An engineering firm in Aberdeen has been fined for safety failings after an apprentice was injured by a pressurised hose.

    The teenager, who was 16 at the time, was working for Alfred Cheyne Engineering Ltd, trading as ACE Winches, at its Turriff premises when the incident occurred on 25 July 2012.

    Banff Sheriff Court heard the company was pressure-testing a hose when the apprentice was struck in the back and fell to the ground. He was taken to hospital with cuts and bruises, but made a full recovery.

    A subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said the incident had been caused when a section of the hose broke free from its coupling as it had not been tightened enough.

    There had also been similar failures in the past, but the court was told that testing procedures had not been changed. In addition, the company had also failed to provide formal training to staff carrying out the testing.

    Alfred Cheyne Engineering Ltd deals in equipment for the offshore oil and gas, marine and renewable energy industries. The company was fined £10,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.


    Environmental project complete at Cowdenbeath

    An environmental wetland project has been completed in Cowdenbeath by Scottish Water.

    The £8.7m project is located to the south of Cowdenbeath Golf Course. The new wetland aims to naturally treat storm waters from two separate overflow pipes and then pass the treated water into the Lochgelly Burn.

    It also provides a habitat for birds, insects and amphibians.

    The project involved constructing a specialised wetland and reed bed system that removes solids and forces oxygen into the waters, allowing it to reach a standard where it meets SEPA requirements for us to pass the flows into the Lochgelly burn. It is a sustainable, low-carbon answer to a complex waste water management issue. The wetland can also be altered to treat the water depending on the flow; for example, in high flow the complex aeration system is in operation, but otherwise remains off and saves energy.

    The project was designed and delivered by reed bed specialists ARM Reed Beds (ARM), in partnership with Barhale Construction. In addition, pupils from Cowdenbeath Primary School won a competition to create a piece of art inspired by the wetland habitat.


    Restoration works complete at Blà Bheinn

    A series of restoration works have been completed at Blà Bheinn path, the Mountaineering Council of Scotland has announced.

    The 3.8km footpath was able to be restored after the John Muir Trust won £24,000 in a poll organised by the European Outdoor Conservation Association towards the costs. A subsequent follow-up appeal among the organisation’s members and supporters raised the balance to fund the project.

    The Blà Bheinn path had begun to suffer serious erosion due to its popularity with hillwalkers as well as exposure to the elements. A large seven metre-wide gap had started to form in the track and users were forced to make a treacherous walk through sections of loose boulders when they were coming down the slope.


    Glasgow Subway users face years of disruption during £17m tunnel repairs

    Commuters could face years of disruption on Glasgow’s Subway network as major repairs to the 118-year-old underground’s tunnel system get underway in the New Year.

    Members of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) will tomorrow be asked to award a £17 million contract to upgrade the network’s tunnel lining to a Shropshire firm.

    The contract is the largest single award to date as part of the £300m Subway modernisation project.


    Dundee shops approved after development chief’s advice rejected

    Plans to transform the former Whitfield Labour club into a convenience store, post office and chip shop have been approved by Dundee City Council.

    A planning application submitted to the council proposing the transformation of the empty building to a retail outlet at Lothian Crescent was given the green light by councillors, despite planning chief Mike Galloway recommending refusal.

    However, the Post Office has warned a new branch would not be allowed if it was deemed to impact unfavourably on the existing sub-post office on Berwick Drive, around a mile away.

    The committee heard a deputation by Sean McMahon of Park Investments (Dundee) Ltd who said he would be the operator of the retail unit if the application was approved.


    Top award for ‘happy gilmore’

    Jordan Gilmour
    Jordan Gilmour

    Saltcoats’ Jordan Gilmour has won the top title of Scottish Craft Apprentice of the Year from the Building & Engineering Services Association.

    He beat competition from hundreds of young tradesman to win the prestigious award and was presented with a trophy and £270 of vouchers at a ceremony in The Walled Garden near Penicuik.

    A fourth year apprentice with Ayrshire’s James Frew Ltd, he also landed the title of Pipe Fitter Welder Apprentice of the Year at the awards, which are designed to recognise outstanding achievement in the building and engineering industries.

    He picked up the welding award after a demanding practical test where he pit his welding skills against three other finalists.

    Jordan was nominated for the award by his tutors at Kelvin College.

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