Building Briefs – December 6th
Official handover of affordable homes in Keith
Osprey Housing has accepted the keys to the first phase of a £2 million development of affordable homes at Strathisla Park in Keith.
The homes, built in partnership with Huntly-based Deveron Construction, will meet the needs of single people and couples and will provide eight, one-bedroom flats for affordable rent.
The new properties have been built as lifetime homes and are designed to adapt to the diverse needs of residents as their needs change over time. The homes also feature a host of Ecosmart credentials including solar PV panels which will directly reduce the homes running costs, as well as advanced insulation and A-rated appliances and boilers.
Deveron Group is also working on two other Osprey developments including nine affordable flats in Peterhead to be ready next March and further six, family homes, also in Keith, due to be handed over in May 2018.
A77 Maybole bypass progress
Supplementary ground investigation work on the A77 Maybole Bypass will get underway this week.
The contract awarded to Causeway Geotech will see work carried out adjacent to the road and should not cause any disruption for road users.
The outcome of the ground investigation will provide prospective bidders with more detailed information to enable them to bid competitively for the main contract - estimated at £30 million - to construct the 5 kilometre bypass and associated junctions.
Dundee social club could be demolished for flats
Developers hope to transform the 67 Club and function suite, based on Raglan Street in Stobswell, into 12 flats, which would include off-street parking and amenity space.
The application, which has been submitted by JF Kegs Scotland, has been drawn up by Dundee-based Mark Walker Architects.
The social club and function suite are still in operation, but in a report submitted to the local authority the developer said they are both “no longer viable”.
Dundee City Council is considering the application.
Regulator’s analysis shows large increase in RSL development spend
Expenditure by Scotland’s Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) on development, including spending on new homes, has risen by 24%, to £807 million, the Scottish Housing Regulator has uncovered.
Initial analysis from the Regulator of RSLs’ 2016/17 audited financial statements also shows that capital grants from the Scottish Government to RSLs are up by 32% to £336m, and new borrowing is up by 47% to £371m.
Interest payable on outstanding debt rose by 6%, to £167m. This increase is mainly due to the higher level of RSL borrowing, along with the re-financing of old pre-credit crunch loans with new loans.
Overall turnover - RSLs’ income from goods and services - was £1,560m, a fall of 1.6% on the previous year. Turnover from social housing activities was £1,363m, a small increase of 1%. Turnover from RSLs’ other activities fell by 16% to £197m. One of the reasons for this was a reduction in the provision of RSL care and support services.
Defined benefit pension schemes – in which the benefit on retirement relates to the employee’s average or final salary – continue to operate in a challenging environment. In aggregate RSLs recorded an actuarial loss of £42m in defined benefit schemes in the year to March 2017.
RSLs’ financial statements are now available in an accessible format. You can read the data, carry out your own analysis and benchmarking here. If there is any additional data that you would find useful, please contact the Regulator at email@example.com.
The Regulator will publish detailed analysis and regulatory comment during 2018 as part of its annual review of the RSL sector’s financial position.
‘No objections’ to solar farm at Milltown Airfield
Moray Council has ‘no objections’ to the development of a solar farm at Milltown Airfield.
The application, made by Elgin Energy Limited for a period of 30 years, is being considered by the Energy Consents Unit of the Scottish Government who will make the final decision on whether the development will be permitted on the 114-hectare site at the former wartime airfield. The airfield was in use up until the 1970s.
The proposed installation of approximately 200,000 solar panels would cover the majority of the site. It’s anticipated that between 50 and 100 MW of electricity could be generated by the panels, which are 1x2m in size, and situated off the ground to allow for sheep grazing.
One primary substation will be located on site, in addition to 43-50 inverter stations, as well as CCTV cameras for surveillance purposes.
No trees, woodland or hedges are being removed from the site and the proposals include some additional landscaping, including the planting of trees and hedges.
A number of conditions have been proposed by the council, should it be approved by government, including the decommissioning of the equipment and the site restored after the 30 year permission expires.
AWPR - new A90 northbound merge to open at Charleston
The Charleston Bridge is expected to open to road users heading north from the A956 Wellington Road later this week, improving journey time reliability as part of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie to Tipperty (AWPR/B-T) project.
Road users intending to head north from the A956 Wellington Road at Charleston will be able to use the westbound carriageway across the new Charleston Bridge to access the new northbound merge and join the A90.
Some of the permanent traffic signals on the new grade-separated junction will also come into operation. Traffic travelling west from Wellington Road to head north on the A90 and traffic travelling along the A90 northbound diverge will be controlled by traffic signals at Charleston Bridge.
In the coming weeks, the works at this junction will focus on improvements being undertaken on Wellington Road and some minor works on the A90 carriageway.
Consumers ‘twice as likely’ to be satisfied with homes built by small house builders
Consumers are twice as likely to be ‘very satisfied’ with the quality of their new home if it was built by a small and medium-sized (SME) house builder, according to new research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Key results from the FMB’s research into satisfaction rates among people who have bought a home in the past five years show that twice as many people (36%) say they are ‘very satisfied’ with the quality of their new build home if purchased from an SME house builder, compared with those whose home was built by one of the top 20 large builders (17%).
Clark Contracts backs Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021
Set up in 1978, the firm has grown from a one-man operation to now employing more than 250 staff and boasting a turnover of £80 million. Clark Contracts has joined an impressive sponsor list of 15 organisations, including companies with local roots and global links, who have pledged a combined £300,000 if the town takes the title.
Bob Grant, chief executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Paisley 2021 Executive Bid Team, visited the firm to mark its backing of the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid.
Paisley is on the shortlist for the title along with Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland and Swansea and a decision is expected from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which organises the competition, on Thursday evening.
The sponsor list for Paisley’s bid includes international drinks giants Chivas Brothers and Diageo and life sciences company Thermo Fisher Scientific. Hillington-based haulage firm Gordon Leslie Group branded a truck that has travelled the length breadth of the UK, emblazoned with Paisley 2021 logo. The world’s largest industrial thread manufacturer Coats, which started life in the town has also backed the bid, while Glasgow Airport marked its formal endorsement of the town’s title ambitions with Paisley themed art work at the check in area.
WH Malcolm wrapped the backs of two trailers with the Paisley 2021 logo to show its support, while intu Braehead, held a Paisley 2021 day with local musicians and youth groups. Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce and Paisley First, which represent more than 900 businesses between them, have also thrown their weight behind the town’s title ambitions. They are joined by businesses with local roots, MacAsphalt, Morrison Construction and the Scottish Leather Group.
Lanarkshire Business Community Raises £30,000 for Lanarkshire Beatson
A glittering charity gala dinner supported by a number of Lanarkshire businesses including CMS Window Systems, CVD Fire Protection, Ingen Technical Services and the Dalziel Park Hotel has helped to raise £30,000 for the Lanarkshire Beatson, a major new cancer treatment centre.
The money raised at the event, in memory of Lanarkshire businessman Owen Barrett, will make a real and positive difference to so many lives affected by cancer in Lanarkshire.
The Lanarkshire Business Community Charity Gala Dinner saw members of leading local businesses come together to bid on a unique blend of fabulous prizes including original artwork by a number of leading Scottish contemporary artists as well as various holiday packages and money-can’t -buy event tickets, in a live auction conducted by headline comedian and presenter, Des Clarke.
The money raised through the event will provide much needed funds for the state-of-the-art £22 million Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre at Monklands General Hospital in Airdrie which operates as a satellite of the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre. The Lanarkshire Beatson delivers outstanding cancer treatment in the heart of Lanarkshire alongside wellbeing and support services to the thousands of people affected by cancer in the Lanarkshire community.
As a business with its HQ located in Lanarkshire, CMS Window Systems is a keen fundraiser for the Lanarkshire Beatson and many of its staff have a connection with the facility. And one of its key supply chain partners’ Saint-Gobain, was the main sponsor for the evening.