Building Briefs – January 5th

Achnasheen___Mike_Hyatt__2_Architect wins competition for Wester Ross tourism project

An architect has been chosen to help deliver three new visitor information shelters in Wester Ross.

Mike Hyatt of Mike Hyatt Landscape Architects was selected after winning a design competition to develop the facilities at key entry points to Achnasheen, Lochcarron and Braemore.

Over 60 designs were submitted to the competition. Of these, three were shortlisted and invited to submit detailed deigns, which have been assessed by a panel of technical experts and judged by a panel made up of community members.

Overall, the scheme aims to encourage expansion of tourism in Wester Ross whilst adding value to other projects and facilities within the area.

Following his selection, Mr Hyatt will now work closely with the Highland Council to bring his design to a reality before the tourist season begins in 2017.

Next generation give seal of approval to new look Ayr Academy

Excited pupils visit the new Ayr AcademyYoung people who will soon be moving to the new Ayr Academy have been given a sneak peek behind the scenes.

Construction work on the South Ayrshire Council project got underway in January last year, with pupils due to move in for August 2017.

The new £25 million project at Ayr’s Craigie Estate will have capacity for up to 1,000 pupils, and incorporates sports and community facilities including sports pitches, a multi-use hall, two gyms and a dance studio.

The project, which is being delivered in partnership with hub South West Scotland and built by Kier Construction, is now well progressed.

The project is now at an important stage in its development and is now substantially wind and watertight, and ready for the internal fit out.


Housing association prosecuted for carbon monoxide safety failings

Dumfries & Galloway Housing Partnership (DGHP) has been fined £8,000 for allowing renovations to take place that put residents at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Dumfries Sheriff Court heard that the housing association had allowed chimneys to be removed from properties on two separate occasions. It was later discovered during the annual gas checks that the chimneys acted as the necessary gas flue for adjacent properties.

An investigation into both incidents by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that at the time the chimney removals took place not only was there was no procedure in place for the company’s workers to follow in respect of this type of work, neither were any risk assessments carried out in relation to the chimney removals which would have identified the risk to carbon monoxide poisoning for the residents.

DGHP pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act (1974) and was fined £8,000.

Director of housing services, Jayne Moore, said: “These incidents should not have happened.

“We fully appreciate the seriousness of this matter and the potential consequences of our actions.”


Stagecoach submits objections to Aberdeen Haudagain junction plan

Bus operator Stagecoach has said it will continue to press for changes to a junction upgrading plan in Aberdeen.

The firm claimed proposals for the Haudagain roundabout would adversely affect bus journey times and has lodged an objection to the planned work.

Construction work is due to begin following the completion of the Aberdeen bypass. The process of relocating residents is under way.

Scottish ministers decided there was no need for an inquiry into the plans.

Users of the Haudagain roundabout frequently experience traffic-related delays.

Transport Scotland plans to create a slip road through the Middlefield area to ease traffic flows between North Anderson Drive and Auchmill Road.


Bid to transform Georgian mansion in Edinburgh rejected

An appeal against the City of Edinburgh Council’s refusal of plans to build new homes in the grounds of a historic mansion has been thrown out.

Tycoon Dildar Gold bought the 18th century Redhall House in Craiglockhart for £1.7 million in 2007.

In order to finance its restoration and conversion into six flats he proposed eight mews units in the grounds.

The plans were refused by councillors and now a Scottish Government planning reporter has upheld that decision.

But in her findings, the reporter accepted the new homes were justified as an “enabling development” before rejecting the appeal on the grounds that some of the units were too close to the historic building and were therefore inappropriate in a sensitive setting.

Mr Gold is now expected to bring forward alternative plans he hopes could be acceptable.


Inverness affordable homes plan approved

Tower Road flats InvernessPlans to build 27 new flats at a gap site between Inverness suburbs have been given the go-ahead.

City-based firm Compass Building and Construction is expected to build the affordable homes next year on waste ground between Westhill, Culloden and Smithton.

Compass submitted a full planning application for the scheme earlier this year, saying it would address a “real need” for affordable housing in the Inverness area.

A supporting statement by planning agent Bracewell Stirling Consulting explained that the site was currently scrub land and could not be used as a play park because of its proximity to the busy Tower Road. The properties have been designed in tiers down the sloping site and would take access from a new junction off Tower Road.

The planning consultants described the flats as having a “striking contemporary design”, fitting in with the church building.

Smithton and Culloden Community Council raised concerns about the safety of the road access to the site, but local authority transport engineers were “satisfied” by the proposed arrangements.

The developer has said it hoped work would start on the site in early next year, with the properties to be completed early in 2018.


Minister confirms support to City Region Deals

The Scottish Government will increase support for cities in 2017, by progressing City Region Deals to boost jobs, infrastructure and the economy in Edinburgh, Dundee, Perth and Stirling, economy secretary Keith Brown has confirmed.

The Scottish Government is investing £760 million over the next 10-20 years in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness through City Region Deals with regional partners estimating that the Glasgow and Aberdeen deals alone will deliver more than 32,000 jobs.

Regions facing economic challenges are also being encouraged and supported to identify and deliver a vision for inclusive growth starting with the proposals being developed by the three Ayrshire Councils on their Ayrshire Growth Deal.

Mr Brown said: “We are already seeing the success of city region deals in Aberdeen where we’re supporting its position as a global oil and gas hub, and in Glasgow where investment will improve infrastructure and business innovation.

“We have been consistent in our support for city region deals for all our cities and I look forward to working with Stirling and Clackmannanshire, Edinburgh & South East Scotland and the Tay Cities Region in the coming year.

“We know that all areas of Scotland need to flourish if we are to deliver on our economic ambitions to increase inclusive growth.

“That is why we have committed to working with regional partnerships such as the three Ayrshires on their Ayrshire Growth Deal. The deal will identify how best to deliver inclusive growth, unlock investment and boost infrastructure.”


Improvements to Dundee council houses in the pipeline

Council tenants in Dundee, including residents at a sheltered housing complex, will see improvements to their homes if councillors accept a series of tenders next week.

More than £430,000 worth of work in Charleston, Lawton Road and at Corso Street sheltered lounge will improve roofs, stairs, boilers and lighting.

The works will re-roof 18 houses in Charleston, install 40 replacement gas boilers in the Lawton area, renew and replace steps, landings railings and supporting walls at 31 locations and upgrade the sheltered lounge at Corso Street.

Dundee City Council’s construction services division submitted the best tender for three of the four projects with Anderson Specialist Contracting in Forfar bidding for the concrete stair replacements.

If the tenders are approved work on all of the projects is expected to start in the next few weeks.


Property consultant announces raft of key promotions

Property consultancy Bidwells has promoted twelve people to Partner level and eight to Associate.

Ralph Peters (Rural) who is based in the firm’s Perth office has been promoted to Group Partner along with Richard Todd, Derek Farrow and Ian Wakeling (Building Consultancy), Matt Richards (Planning) and Colin Summers (Commercial).

Darren Hirst (Rural), also based in Perth, has been promoted to Divisional Partner alongside Dan Thomas and Matt Cawley (Building Consultancy), Cath Anthony (Rural), Sam Metson (Planning) and Alex Bloxham (Residential).

Corinne MacDougall who is the consultancy’s principal planner based in Perth has been promoted to Associate as has Katie Delafield, John Coates, Doug Shulman and Neil Perrins (Rural), Peter Moore (Building Consultancy), Jake Nugent (Planning) and Heather Lay (Commercial).


Scottish Water continues £1.8m Glasgow flood alleviation project

Work is continuing on a £1.8 million flood alleviation project in Glasgow.

Improvements are being carried out in the Drumchapel area of the city to reduce the risk of sewer flooding for properties in the Moraine Avenue area.

Works include the installation of a new storage tank and associated pipework and manholes in the grassed area between Kirkhope Drive and Blairdardie Road, which will increase the storage capacity in the local network.

In addition, a new manhole on Kirkhope Drive between Moraine Avenue and Moraine Drive will be built. To allow this work to continue, road closures and traffic management will be in place from 09 January for around 12 weeks. Diversions will be in place.

Overall, the project forms part of Scottish Water’s £250m investment in improvements to the Greater Glasgow area’s waste water infrastructure, the biggest since Victorian times, which includes the Shieldhall waste water tunnel in the south west of the city and a number of flooding projects.


Three bridges on A82 set for £1.2m improvements

An investment of £1.2 million from Transport Scotland has been awarded for improvements to three bridges on the A82 near Invergarry.

The A82 Laggan Swing Bridge, Aberchalder Swing Bridge and Invergarry Bridge are all set for upgrades which will help strengthen and prolong the resilience of each bridge, ensuring they remain in a safe working condition for years to come.

Laggan Swing Bridge and Aberchalder Swing Bridge will be painted with a specialist protective layer to help prevent the steelwork from deteriorating. Specialist contractors will apply a new protective coating system which is designed to last for a minimum of 25 years. This work is similar to previous schemes that were completed on the Banavie and Fort Augustus Swing Bridges in March 2016.

At Invergarry Bridge the scheme will involve refurbishment and repairs to both the bridge deck as well as underneath the structure, which was originally built in the 1930s, to ensure it continues to function safely for years to come. The work will take place on the bridge deck and will involve resurfacing and waterproofing, replacing the bridge joints and realigning the width of the carriageway. A second phase of work at Invergarry Bridge will get underway in the spring, however, this will take place underneath the structure, meaning little impact to traffic.

Work on all three bridges is scheduled to begin on Monday 9 January, with the works at Invergarry Bridge taking place for up to four weeks, and the improvements on Laggan and Aberchalder Bridges expected to take up to ten weeks to complete. The A82 will remain open throughout the works with temporary traffic lights in place at each location for safety while works are completed.


Regeneration of Fraserburgh enters new phase

Efforts to revive the historic fishing port of Fraserburgh took another step forward recently with the first meeting of a local regeneration project board.

The Fraserburgh Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) Project Board will oversee the delivery of the £5.7 million Fraserburgh 2021 scheme.

At its inaugural meeting before Christmas the board decided to launch a small grant scheme in the New Year for eligible property owners in the town centre Conservation Area.

Fraserburgh 2021 is a long-term regeneration effort to restore the built-heritage of the town, improve the town centre and improve health and wellbeing.

The redevelopment of the Saltoun Square Council Chambers and the adjacent former Police Station is a key part of the town’s Fraserburgh Conservation Area.

The intention is to have an innovative mix of new uses, from an improved Council Service Point to facilities for community and civic functions.

A dedicated Enterprise Hub on the site will look to educate, support and accelerate indigenous business growth and ensure a pipeline of growing local businesses.

It is being developed in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland, among others.


City Building’s #HelpingHands building new pathways for young people

ygt-talent-taster-400Glasgow construction firm City Building has joined a mentoring project designed to prevent young people in the care system dropping out of school.

The arm’s length agency of Glasgow City Council, which has formed a groundbreaking joint venture with Wheatley Group, will provide guidance and work experience to students aged 12-18 at 15 schools running the Young Glasgow Talent programme.

City Building is also the largest employers of apprentices in Scotland with 350 current apprentices being trained in its academies and on-the-job. Staff at the firm, most of whom were once apprentices themselves, have already volunteered to become mentors in the “talent tasters” programme.

There are more than 1,000 looked-after young people in Glasgow’s secondary schools.

The most disadvantaged are five times more likely to leave school aged 16 or earlier and more than half end go on to unsustainable destinations, often due to instability in their personal lives.

Young Glasgow Talent, a partnership between charity MCR Pathways and the council, aims to fill the void created by the lack of positive adult role models or access to social networks that can be a barrier to work for many looked after children.

It will eventually be extended to all secondary schools in the city.

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