Building Briefs – July 12th

East Renfrewshire Council breaks ground with ‘ambitious’ social housing development

Work to build the first council homes in East Renfrewshire for a generation continues with construction now underway at the Fenwick Drive site in Barrhead.

The development will be home to four three-bedroom terrace houses and six one-bedroom cottage flats and is expected to be completed in February 2019.

Part of East Renfrewshire Council’s ambitious plans to provide 240 new homes for social rent over the next five years, this second project follows the site at Robertson Street in Barrhead, where work commenced earlier this year.

A third site at Blackbyres Court, Barrhead, will see thirteen three-bedroom terraced and semi-detached houses, one four-bedroom house and six one-bedroom cottage flats built, with work expected to commence in Autumn 2018.

Each of the projects are being delivered in partnership with building contractor CCG (Scotland) Ltd. Based in Glasgow, the firm is one of Scotland’s most innovative contractor and manufacturers with a key focus in the delivery of affordable housing.


Over 730 Melville homes now warmer thanks to £6m energy efficiency project

A £6 million energy efficiency programme delivered by Melville Housing Association has resulted in 736 homes across Midlothian and South Lanarkshire being significantly warmer and cheaper to live in.

The extensive work, which has just finished following the completion of the final property in Easthouses, has taken over seven years and seen more than a third of Melville’s nearly 2,000 homes fitted with energy-efficient cladding that not only reduces heating costs and dampness but also improves heat retention and weatherproofing. It has also extended the lifespan of homes and greatly enhanced their appearance.

As well as helping tackle fuel poverty, the work is also expected to substantially reduce the environmental impact of Melville’s homes, saving more than 130,000 tonnes of carbon over the next 25 years.

Customer feedback on the work has been overwhelmingly positive with tenants reporting real increases in their comfort along with reductions in energy bills.

The majority of the work, which was free to Melville tenants, has been carried out by SERS Energy Solutions (Scotland) Ltd and was delivered thanks to investment of almost £6m. Of this more than a third (£2.25m) came from Melville’s own finances and repayable Scottish Government HEEPS Loan funding. The remainder was paid for by grant funding, including most recently from the Scottish Government’s HEEPS: Cashback for social housing providers scheme.

More than a third of Melville’s original 2,023 properties were built using non-traditional methods. They presented significant modernisation challenges as there was no cavity to fill and the construction materials provide poor heat retention.

External wall insulation has brought these homes up to similar energy standards to those which previously benefited from conventional insulation measures such as cavity wall insulation.


Scottish household numbers projected to continue increase

Projected number of households in Scotland by age of head of household, 2016 and 2041. Source: NRS

The number of households in Scotland is projected to increase dramatically over the next 25 years with single person households set to become the most common type of home by 2041.

The National Records of Scotland (NRS) has predicted that the number of households is projected to rise by 317,000 between 2016 and 2041. Single-person homes are expected to grow from 36 to 41% of all households over the same period.

The number of households headed by someone aged 70 or over is projected to increase by 58%, compared to an increase of just 2% for those under 70. Older people are more likely to live alone than younger people, and the number of people aged 70 and over living alone is projected to increase by 49% over the next 25 years, to 146,000 men and 247,000 women.

The gender difference reflects women’s greater life expectancy and tendency to outlive their partners.


Affordability issues raised as house prices continue to increase

House prices in Scotland have been on the rise as supply fails to keep up with continued demand, a new report has found.

The latest Residential Market Survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) revealed that despite a “modest” improvement in new properties coming to the market in Scotland, demand continues to outpace supply and drive up prices.

For the second month in a row new instructions have risen, with 2% more respondents seeing an increase in the flow of properties being put up for sale. A net balance of 43% of chartered surveyors reported an increase of house prices, a trend which has continued since April 2013.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said the trend raises questions of affordability.

He added: “While we are seeing a rise in house prices in Scotland, unlike many parts of the UK, there is also consistent growth in demand and transaction levels to support this. However, lack of supply across both the sales and rental market continue to put upward pressure on prices, with risks of certain areas becoming unaffordable.”

Sales activity north of the border remained steady, having been in positive territory since January 2018. 37% more respondents to the survey predicted sales to increase over the next three months.

Newly agreed sales across the UK saw the sixteenth successive month of decline.

New buyer enquiries were also strong during June, with a net balance of 33% more chartered surveyors reporting an increase in demand for new homes across Scotland. The number people looking to buy in Scotland has been steady for the last quarter, as the national picture remained flat, prolonging the UK trend which dates back to late 2016.

Looking at the longer-term sales market, transactions levels and price growth are both expected to continue the upward trend during the next twelve months.


DM Hall’s inaugural Summer Ball raises £40,000 for Alzheimer Scotland and Macmillan Cancer Support

Senior partner John Albiston

Just over £40,000 was raised for two worthy charities by 300 staff, customer, suppliers and friends of DM Hall at its inaugural Summer Ball held on Friday 22 June 2018 at Edinburgh’s sumptuous Prestonfield House.

The Summer Ball was the highlight of DM Hall’s corporate social responsibility calendar, which also saw charitable initiatives throughout the year as well as comedy nights in Scotland’s cities. For both last year and this, the independent chartered surveyors’ nominated charities are Alzheimer Scotland and Macmillan Cancer Support.

And amongst ferocious competition for a range of spectacular auction prizes, including a week on a 7000-acre shooting estate which sleeps 16 and a Country House weekend for 12 in Boat of Garten, and the top prize, a £4500 diamond necklace.

The Summer Ball, was hosted by popular Scottish entertainer and broadcaster, Grant Stott, and the highly entertaining auction was conducted, inimitably by Alex Fleming.


WSHA strengthens Board with new appointments

Shona Gallagher and Derek McGowan have been appointed as new Board members at West of Scotland Housing Association (WSHA).

Both bring a great deal of knowledge and experience to the Board and are passionate about making a difference to tenants and communities.

Derek was appointed to the WSHA Board in February 2018 and joined to give something back to the communities where he grew up. An experienced senior public manager, he is currently head of communities and housing at Aberdeen City Council and has a proven track record in improving health, wellbeing and quality of life in communities.

Shona joined the Board in early 2018 and wants to use her wealth of housing knowledge and experience to make a difference to tenants. She has a strong grounding in housing from frontline at Glasgow City Council and Maryhill Housing Association, to managerial roles at Bridgeton Dalmarnock Housing Association and Thenue Housing Association. More recently Shona has retrained and is currently an associate solicitor with DS Shaw Solicitors.


Repair work to start on Inverness footbridge

Contractors are to start repair work is to start on a footbridge in Inverness.

Work on the Greig Street Bridge is being carried out on behalf of The Highland Council.

The closure will be in place for the two week period until the 26 July, or until the bridge deck repair works are complete.

The closure is required in the interest of public safety to enable contractors to erect scaffolding and carry out bridge deck repairs.

Resurfacing work to start within Kilmarnock and Crookholm

Resurfacing work is to start at seven locations within Kilmarnock and Crookedholm.

The Ayrshire Roads Alliance, on behalf of East Ayrshire Council, is carrying out the work.

On Monday 23 July, work will start on Queens Drive, Kilmarnock at the retail park roundabout where 170 metres of road will be resurfaced.

The work will be carried out each evening from 7pm and the road will reopen fully each morning at 5am. It is expected that works will be completed by Thursday 26 July.

On Tuesday 24 July, work will start on Queens Drive, Kilmarnock at Hurlford roundabout where 200 metres of road will be resurfaced.

The work will be carried out each evening from 7pm and the road will reopen fully each morning at 5am. It is expected that works will be completed by Friday 27 July.

On Monday 30 July, work will start on London Road and Holehouse Road where 430 metres and 85 metres respectively will be resurfaced. During phase one Holehouse Road, from London Road to Wilson Avenue, will be closed until the works are completed on Friday 3 August.

During phase two, from Monday 6 August to Friday 10 August, there will be a full closure of London Road from London Gate to Green Street. Residents of Braehead Court will be able to access their homes from the Holehouse Road area of London Road.

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