Building Briefs – June 23rd
The Speirs Centre in Alloa, which recently underwent a significant regeneration programme, has been given a prestigious architecture accolade.
It has received the Historic Scotland Special Award by architecture group RIAS for its approach to conservation and climate change.
The facility re-opened in October last year after a multi-million pound re-fit and is home to a new library, birth and death records and exhibits showcasing Clackmannanshire’s heritage.
NHT affordable homes boost for Aberdeenshire
Up to 160 new affordable homes will be provided in the north east as part of a Scottish Government-led initiative unveiled yesterday by social justice secretary Alex Neil.
The homes will be available for affordable mid-market rents on six sites across the region through the National Housing Trust initiative (NHT).
Across Scotland, the NHT initiative is on track to deliver over 2,000 new homes, all without the need for grant subsidy.
Developed by the Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust, the NHT is supported by a Scottish Government guarantee.
John Low, managing director of Stewart Milne Homes North Scotland, said: “At the very beginning of NHT we recognised the important role it could play in giving people and families the opportunity to rent or buy a new home at affordable rates.
“We have already worked with Aberdeen City Council on delivering 164 new NHT homes in and around the city and are pleased to now be working with Aberdeenshire Council on the delivery of NHT homes in Westhill.
“We believe that the initiative is supporting the delivery of affordable homes across the country. Maintaining a supply of new homes is a key element of Scotland’s economic development landscape and the NHT has proved to be an innovative and successful means of meeting part of the overall demand.”
Western Isles & Highland councils consider investing pension funds in affordable homes
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has agreed to explore the possibility of investing a portion of the pension fund it shares with The Highland Council in building social and affordable housing.
Malcolm Burr, chief executive of the Western Isles council, has confirmed that the proposal will be discussed at the next meeting of the Highland Council Pension Fund.
The announcement comes after Falkirk’s Local Government Pension Scheme Fund invested £30 million in the Housing Fund for Scotland. The Falkirk investment is expected to fund the construction of over 300 affordable homes, and the Fund aims to raise a total of £150m and build over 1,000 new homes.
Independent MSP John Finnie, who wrote to all six local authorities in the Highlands and Islands region asking them to consider following the lead of Falkirk Council, said he was “delighted both authorities are to consider this community focused option”.
Mr Finnie has also lodged a Parliamentary Question asking that the MSP’s pension fund follows Falkirk Council’s example.
SSE community bus offers insulation to Dundee locals
Dundee City Council is working with Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) to fit external wall insulation to hundreds of homes in Dundee.
More than 500 residents are already enjoying lower bills through the scheme.
The SSE community engagement bus is rolling into the Dens and Hilltown areas this week to offer external wall insulation to tenants and home-owners.
The bus is rolling through different parts of the city over the coming week, with tenants, home-owners and landlords in each area receiving a letter in advance, inviting them to sign up to the free insulation scheme.
Early reports from tenants in at Lawton, Graham Street, Arklay Street, Hilltown and Clepington Road confirm that the investment is bringing down heating bills.
Affordable housing programme reaches 1,000 new homes milestone
Fife’s Affordable Housing Programme has reached the significant milestone of delivering 1,000 new homes.
The commitment to deliver 2,700 new affordable homes by 2017 was agreed in 2012/2013. Since then the programme has been working hard to achieve that target and the completion of Kingdom Housing Association’s development at Pittencrieff Street in Dunfermline has just taken the tally of completed homes to over 1,000.
And a further 532 are already under construction with hundreds more in the pipeline.
This latest development in Dunfermline has been designed as a gateway project and provides 65 new affordable homes for mid market rent. The total project cost was just under £6.5 million and Kingdom received around £2.3m in subsidy from the Scottish Government and Fife Council to assist development of the project. The new development provides a mix of 2 and 3 bedroom homes, built to very high insulation standards, which have been designed with modern life in mind, incorporating contemporary design features. The project at Pittencrieff Street was designed and built for Kingdom by Campion Homes, a Fife based developer.
FMB calls on consumers to protect themselves from cowboy builders
Consumers would be safer using independently vetted builders over those found on customer review sites, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
In response to the announcement of an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into fake customer reviews, the FMB has called on customers to protect themselves when hiring tradespeople.
Brian Berry, chief executive, Federation of Master Builders, said: “For years, builders have been tainted by dishonest and unprofessional business practices on customer review websites. Many sites that promote businesses on the back of these reviews are far too easily manipulated by their users, as the CMA has rightly recognised. The fake review is just another string to the bow of cowboy builders and dishonest tradespeople.
“All too often, we see builders sourced from customer review based websites causing havoc with their poor quality and sometimes dangerous work. This investigation highlights the importance of using professional trade associations to find reputable tradespeople, particularly when looking for builders.”
Berry added: “The fact is, good builders don’t need to pay others to provide fake reviews and their work speaks for itself. For years we have been working to ensure that the construction industry holds itself to the highest standard. As a professional trade association we have stringent checks on new members joining the FMB to ensure that these standards are maintained. These checks include an independent inspection of their work, credit checks and minimum of 12 months trading history. Hopefully, this welcome but long overdue investigation by the CMA will help crackdown on dishonesty in the industry.”
Irvine Housing Association’s multi-million pound investment in Pennyburn
Over the last three years Irvine Housing Association (IHA) has attracted inward investment of £6.7 million to support the regeneration of the Pennyburn estate, Kilwinning.
As well as energy efficiency improvement works to existing properties, the latest project to be completed sees 22 new homes being developed in the heart of the community.
The new housing development, built by Lovell was opened by Pennyburn Regeneration Youth Development Enterprise (PRYDE) on Friday 19 June 2015. Representatives from PRYDE unveiled a plaque to mark the completion of the £3.1m regeneration project, financed jointly by IHA and its parent company, The Riverside Group.
£50m Glasgow regeneration wins third award
Housing provider Sanctuary Scotland has received further industry recognition for its regeneration of Anderston, Glasgow.
Anderston Phase 3 beat four other finalists to win Large Affordable Housing Development of the Year at the Scottish Home Awards.
This latest recognition follows the Saltire Society and Herald Property awards Sanctuary’s £50 million regeneration project received last year.
Phase 3 cost £17m and features 158 affordable homes built in partnership with construction firm CCG (Scotland) and architects Collective Architecture and Cooper Cromar.
Its completion allowed the final Sanctuary residents to move from damp and draughty 1960s-built blocks into the award-winning development.
Bield development comes out on top in industry awards
Although the first properties at St Andrew’s View are not expected to be occupied until July, the project won the Senior Living Development of the Year category at the Scottish Home Awards.
The judges said of the development: “Our winner stood out as a beautiful tranquil and integral part of this new community which is close to all amenities. St Andrew’s View has a strong community emphasis which we thought provided a complete service with a deep understanding of senior living needs.”
The 20 one and two-bed modern apartments are designed to specifically meet the needs of older people and have been built to an uncompromising standard for Bield.