Building Briefs – December 20th

MillerhillMinister views progress of Millerhill rail stabling yard

Work to house Scotland’s growing fleet of trains is progressing well and on track for the arrival of new class 385 electric rolling stock in Autumn 2017

Transport minister Humza Yousaf visited the Millerhill facility last week to see the ongoing work to provide electrified stabling facilities for the new fleet which will be gradually introduced across many Scottish central belt routes in the next two years.

The stabling yard is being built within the existing Millerhill Depot which is located between Newcraighall Station and Millerhill Yard Junction as part of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP).

The depot will operate essentially as a cleaning and stabling point for electric and diesel stock used on the Edinburgh to Glasgow via Falkirk, Edinburgh to N Berwick/ Dunbar and Edinburgh to Stirling/Dunblane/Alloa services.

The facility is expected to open in Autumn 2017 and represents an investment of £30 million.


Major progress on next section of A9 to be dualled

Transport Scotland has today published made orders for the stretch of the route between Luncarty and Pass of Birnam.

The procurement process for the main construction contract for this project is expected to start next year with work starting on the ground towards the end of 2017.

Cabinet secretary for the economy, jobs and fair work, Keith Brown, said: “Next summer will see the first section to be dualled between Kincraig and Dalraddy open to traffic and with design work ongoing across the programme, we have now identified preferred routes for over 36 miles of the 80 miles to be dualled – meaning that nearly half of the route to be dualled is at preferred route status.

“We remain on target to complete the work in 2025 bringing faster journey times, better journey time reliability and road safety improvements for anyone travelling between the cities of Perth and Inverness.”


Clyde Wind Farm project reaches key milestone

Balfour Beatty has reached a key milestone in the extension of Clyde Wind Farm located between Biggar, Abington and Moffat.

The project is an extension to the already existing Clyde Wind Farm owned by SSE, Greencoat UK Wind and GLIL.

With the reinforced concrete foundations and 34km of access tracks now constructed, focus has turned to the installation of the 54 turbines on site with 34 lower tower sections already in place and 8 turbines fully installed.

Once complete the 206 turbine wind farm (Clyde 1 and Clyde Extension) will be one of Europe’s largest wind farms.

Balfour Beatty is undertaking the development alongside Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK on behalf of SSE with work scheduled for completion in summer 2017.


Emtec Energy given award for North Ayrshire collaboration

A recent collaboration between North Ayrshire Council and Emtec Energy has been recognised at the Green Energy Awards for its work on a £2.2 million North Ayrshire Solar PV Framework.

The ‘Sustainable Scotland Award’ also included HWEnergy for its biomass heat rollout programme and Enterprise for their CareShare Scheme.

The Green Energy Awards is a prestigious event that recognises determination and innovation in the renewable energy sector. It is organised by Scottish Renewables which also celebrated its 20th anniversary at the event.

Award winners were announced on December 1 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC), with the event hosted by the famous English comedian and actor Miles Jupp and overseen by Scottish Renewables chairman Patricia Hawthorn.

The Sustainable Scotland Award is given to those who display outstanding deployment of renewable energy by a non-energy business, charity or public body to cut costs, carbon or both. This is a significant achievement given the current state of the renewables sector with the constant subsidy cuts and tax hikes, and highlights the strong support for solar even in the face of such adversity.

The framework that helped win the award included a 2MW solar PV installation across 28 council owned properties; including a leisure centre, community centre and a variety of local schools. Included within the installation was a bespoke real-time monitoring solution which was fitted with an on-site weather station. This system allows both the schools and the council to monitor system performances, this will benefit the schools especially as the system can be introduced within the school curriculum allowing the pupils to view energy generation in real-time and the physical benefits of renewable energy.

The solar arrays installed by Emtec Energy range from 20kW to 250kW, a system this size is expected to produce around 1,600MWh per annum, equating to a reduction of 790,400kg of CO₂ a year. Irvine Royal Academy was the largest installation with a 250kW array covering around 2,000sqm, which is also the largest solar PV array to be installed on a school in Scotland. The project by North Ayrshire also included a car share scheme to encourage low-carbon behaviour among staff and a biomass heat rollout programme. This is a huge leap towards a more sustainable city and North Ayrshire Council’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions.

A spokesperson for Emtec Energy said: “We are pleased with the outcome of the installation. A framework of this size and particularly within school grounds can be difficult to implement, however, this project was completed ahead of schedule and without any issues.”


Selkirk hotel wall repairs to begin in New Year

Agreement has been reached to allow repairs to a wall in Selkirk to take place.

Work on the retaining wall at the Glen Hotel on Yarrow Terrace is expected to begin in January 2017 after Scottish Borders Council (SBC) and the owners of the hotel reached agreement.

The completion of the works will allow the reopening of the northbound lane of Yarrow Terrace which has been cordoned off to motorists for safety reasons while negotiations about the wall continued.

A temporary one-way system has been in place since May 2013 while these discussions carried on.

The repairs are expected to last 10 weeks and will cost around £100,000.


EU construction output rises

Output across Europe’s construction sector grew by 0.4 per cent in October compared to September and by 1.1 per cent compared to last year.

The growth came from building projects, with civil engineering output falling.

The figures from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, show a larger rise when just the 19 countries of the euro area (EA19) are taken into account. Production in the EA19 was up by 0.8 per cent when compared to the previous month and by 2.2 per cent from October 2015.

In terms of the monthly comparison, the increase of 0.8 per cent in production in the euro area is due to building construction rising by 1.3 per cent, while civil engineering fell by 1.2 per cent. Across the 28 countries of the EU (EU280, the increase of 0.4 per cent is due to building construction rising by 1.0 per cent, while civil engineering fell by 2.4 per cent.

Of member states with available data, the highest increases were recorded in Sweden (+2.3 per cent), France (+2.1 per cent) and Germany (+1.7 per cent), and the largest decreases in Slovenia (-6.8 per cent), Hungary (-3.8 per cent) and Slovakia (-3.5 per cent).

For the annual comparison, the increase of 2.2 per cent in the euro area is due to building construction rising by 2.7 per cent and civil engineering by 0.2 per cent. The 1.1 per cent in the EU28 came from building construction rising by 2.6 per cent, while civil engineering fell by 5.0 per cent. The highest increases were recorded in Sweden (+10.1 per cent) and the Netherlands (+8.2 per cent), and the largest decreases were observed in Slovakia (-22.1 per cent), Poland (-18.0 per cent) and Bulgaria (-14.0 per cent).


Construction of new council homes making progress in North Lanarkshire

The site of the former Tannochside Primary School in Viewpark is being transformed into 16 new council homes as a site in Coltness was earmarked for a further 20 homes.

The developments form part of the latest phase of North Lanarkshire Council’s NL Homes programme and marks another step to meeting its ambitious plans to build more than 2,000 new homes - one of the biggest council house building programmes in Scotland in a generation.

A visit to the site in Viewpark took place to mark the progress of the development’s construction.

This £2.1m development comprises a mix of one and two bedroom cottage flats.

Meanwhile a sod cutting event took place to mark the beginning of construction of council homes at Innerleithen Drive, Walkerburn Drive and North Kilmeny Crescent in Coltness.

This £2.7m development comprises a mix of one, two, three and four bedroom houses and cottage flats. Two properties are fully wheelchair standard.

Attending the sod cutting were Councillor Bob Burrows, representatives from the council’s housing services and from Robertson Partnership Homes Ltd which is delivering the developments.

All of the new homes are built with energy efficiency in mind, achieving at least a ‘good’ eco rating to help minimise running costs for tenants. In addition, they meet Housing for Varying Needs specification which means homes are more accessible to adapt to tenants’ mobility needs. The homes are also ‘Secured by Design’ accredited, which involves Police Scotland architectural liaison officers having input into the layout and designs to ensure we build safe and secure environments.

A contribution is received from the Scottish Government towards the development costs at each site.


hub West Scotland helps provide winter jackets to Glasgow City Mission

IMG_0058Over 70 winter jackets have been donated to homeless men in and around Glasgow thanks to a Christmas Appeal launched by hub West Scotland.

Enlisting the support of its supply chain of local consultants, architects and contractors, the development company will deliver the 78 jackets to homelessness charity Glasgow City Mission in time for Christmas.

Angeline Robertson, partnerships director at hub West Scotland Ltd told Scottish Housing News: “This is the second year we have asked our supply chain to help support Glasgow City Mission following our donation of sleeping bags to its Night Shelter last Christmas. This year we provided our partners with hyperlinks to purchasing websites for men’s padded winter jackets and the response has been huge.

“Glasgow City Mission is obviously a charity which is close to the hearts of the companies we work with. We only launched the appeal at the start of December so to be able to provide local homeless men with these jackets in time for the winter months is great.”

In the past hub West Scotland has helped Glasgow City Mission by carrying out bag packs and donating food and toiletry sets.

Companies which voluntarily donated jackets to the Christmas Appeal include contractors Fleming Buildings, CCG, CBC, BAM, Morgan Sindall, Interserve, Robertson FM as well as architects Norr, Keppie, Holmes Miller, Mast, Elder & Canon and Anderson Bell & Christie.

Engineers to have contributed to the appeal include Morgan Sindall Professional Services, RSP, Hawthorne Boyle and Ramboll while hub West Scotland, Armours, Morgan Sindall Investments Ltd, Brown & Wallace and Apollo Capital Projects Development also chipped in with donations.


Santa drops in on ACHA’s new build opening in Oban

The Reverend Dugald Cameron unveils the plaque to open ACHA’s new build homes in Oban with the children from Park Primary School
The Reverend Dugald Cameron unveils the plaque to open ACHA’s new build homes in Oban with the children from Park Primary School

Santa took time out from his busy schedule to drop in on Argyll Community Housing Association’s (ACHA) latest new build opening in Oban.

He joined the Reverend Dugald Cameron and the children from Park Primary School in the town who were on a housing field trip. Once Santa had distributed the goodies from his bag the Reverend Cameron officially opened the development.

The new homes are the latest phase in ACHA’s 107 home project in Glenshellach, with a total value of £15.6 million, which has seen 57 new homes completed to date with the remaining being built over the next two years.

The homes handed over this week comprise of 8 one bedroomed properties, 5 three bedroomed and 4 four bedroomed houses. The financial breakdown in this phase saw just over £1m in grant from the Scottish Government, £1m from ACHA and £425,000 from Argyll and Bute Council.

The development was built by MacLeod Construction of Lochgilphead and during the construction phase 70 tradesmen were employed on the site.

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