Building Briefs – March 2nd

SEC_bridge_2Glasgow City Council approves redevelopment of bridge to Finnieston

The red pedestrian footbridge at Glasgow’s SEC - nicknamed the ‘Smartie Tube’ - is to undergo a £5 million upgrade.

Glasgow City Council confirmed it would provide the grant to redevelop the distinctive structure, which runs over the Clydeside Expressway between the Scottish Events Campus and the railway station in Finnieston.

The money is part of the City Deal for Glasgow, which will see investment of around £114m in that area around the River Clyde.

On Thursday, the local authority approved an initial £660,000 which will cover the costs of a design team to oversee “feasibility studies, design development and contractor procurement.”

The council said after this work has been carried out, the SEC owners will procure a works contract to deliver the full revamp project, which will require further council approval for the remaining £4.3m funding to be released.


Aberdeen Sports Village dives in with Ryden

Aberdeen Sports Village - image 2Ryden has won the instruction to prepare a 10-year planned maintenance programme for Aberdeen Sports Village (ASV) following a competitive bidding process.

The bid was secured by the firm’s Project & Building Consultancy team in Aberdeen which was recently boosted by the appointment of new Partner Douglas Garden who joined in January from Knight Frank.

ASV is the premier sports facility in the North East of Scotland and home to an array of first class sporting facilities and events.

ASV aims to deliver high quality sports services and opportunities for all at the home of sport in the North East. The facility, which opened in 2009, is the result of a joint venture by funding partners the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen City Council and sportscotland.

Following a £22 million investment, the Aquatics centre which boasts a 50m Olympic standard 10 lane pool and Olympic standard 25m diving pool, opened in 2014 extending ASV’s offering.


Glasgow set to rubber stamp £12m contract to build new care home

Councillors in Glasgow are ready to set aside over £12 million to build a new care home for the elderly.

Building contractor City Building submitted a tender to the council to build the Blawarthill Older Persons Care Home in the Garscadden area.

The total cost of the contract is £12,600,000 for the new home which is £500,000 over the agreed budget.

However, the motion put forward to the council’s executive committee said that savings made on the Blawarthill project, as well as another project in Leithland, would bring the cost down.

The care home is the fifth project to commence under the social works services’ new-build programme.


Scottish property industry descends on Edinburgh to discuss importance of global capital in driving local economic growth

Around 200 property professionals representing over 100 organisations from across the UK will be in Edinburgh next week (8 March) to attend the Scottish Property Federation’s 10th annual conference, to be hosted by well-known political broadcaster Michael Portillo.

The conference, themed on Global Capital, Local Growth, will take place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre from 11.30pm-4.30pm.

Broadcaster and former cabinet minister Michael Portillo, Scottish cabinet secretary for the economy, jobs and fair work Keith Brown MSP and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson MSP will headline the conference

The Conference is set to hear from policy makers at UK, Scottish and local government levels on how they plan to drive local economic development in towns and cities. There will also be interactive opportunities to enable delegates to question the speakers on their perceptions and insights of the property markets, global capital and local development.


Glasgow councillors to decide on building new structure over High Street station

A £600,000 bridge over a train station on one of Glasgow’s oldest streets is taking a step closer to being built.

Councillors are to decide on an offer which will start the process of building a new structure over High Street station.

The new footbridge would connect the multi-million pound Collegelands development with Calton Barras.


Drum Property Group revises Finnieston flats plans

MINERVA_STREET_CAM_01_7thOct2016Drum Property Group has tabled revised proposals for 189 flats at Minerva Street, Finnieston, after deciding that the design and materials specified in a previously consented scheme by Progressive Residential could be ‘improved and bettered to the overall benefit of the scheme’.

Drum Property initiated a review after purchasing Progressive last summer, instructing DarntonB3 Architecture to up the material-spec and design ambition displayed in an earlier design iteration.

A submission letter prepared by Zander Planning read: “The applicants took ownership of the site in summer 2016 and immediately instructed an extensive design review of the proposal as consented. The new owners considered that the design, appearance and materials could be improved and bettered to the overall benefit of the scheme.

“The design team have been engaged in this exercise over the last six months that included the appointment of 3rd architects to independently review the proposals.”


Scotland’s residential market at ‘strongest since 2008’

Scotland’s residential market is the strongest it has been since 2008 after the number of transactions increased by 3% in 2016, 9% higher than the 10-year annual average.

The strong figures compiled by Savills come despite a drop in mortgage lending and slowdown in the Aberdeen area, the estate agent said.

However, it reported that lack of supply in central hotspots is fuelling price growth, which is now filtering through to Scotland’s heartland of Tayside, Stirlingshire and Fife.

Both prices and transactions in rural locations are stable.

A reduction in selling times across Scotland’s cities and exceptional monthly off-plan sales rates in Edinburgh and Glasgow are resulting in supply constraints in the new build market.

Meanwhile, the market below £400,000 continues to be supported by favourable rates of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT).

However, Savills said it had found that LBTT is constraining the market from £600,000 to £1 million, which it found was particularly prevalent in country locations.


Union Chain Bridge’s £5.6m makeover plans progress

A bridge between Scotland and England is in line for a £5.6m overhaul to mark the 200th anniversary of its opening.

The Union Chain Bridge crosses the River Tweed from Fishwick in Berwickshire to Horncliffe in Northumberland.

When it was officially opened in 1820, it was the longest wrought iron suspension bridge in the world.

However, it has become structurally unsafe and can only be accessed by one light vehicle at a time.

Scottish Borders Council and Northumberland County Council are now working up a project to refurbish the bridge.

They have both committed £550,000 to seek to pull in Heritage Lottery Funding towards the scheme.

The current estimate for the project sits at just over £5.6m which includes refurbishment along with community activities and visitor infrastructure associated with the bridge.

A first phase application for funding had been planned last year, however it will now not take place until April this year.

Despite the delay, a report to Scottish Borders Council said time had not been lost in the overall programme and could still meet its 2020 completion goal.

Ongoing revenue costs for the scheme have not been determined so far.

A condition of HLF support would be for the bridge to be maintained to a high quality for 10 years after any funding was secured.


New role for Shepherd and Wedderburn Construction disputes specialist

Leigh Herd
Leigh Herd

Leigh Herd, construction disputes solicitor at UK law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn has been confirmed as Honorary Secretary and Treasurer of the Scottish Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb).

Since 2015, Leigh has played an active role in the global organisation which represents practitioners involved in alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

Previously as CIArb Scottish Branch’s Young Members’ Convenor, she promoted the interests of young and aspiring practitioners, helping to create opportunities for them to contribute to the ADR community.

Stephen Gibb, chief executive at Shepherd and Wedderburn, said: “Leigh’s experience of acting for Shepherd and Wedderburn’s construction and property clients in various forms of dispute resolution will be a real advantage in her new role, together with her excellent understanding of arbitration and other forms of ADR prevalent in the industry, such as adjudication and mediation.”


Perth & Kinross Council makes progress at St Paul’s Church

Work is progressing well at the historic St Paul’s Church in Perth since Perth & Kinross Council took over ownership on February 3 with the aim of securing the building and bringing it back into use.

Works done on site to date includes: site establishment; removal of external overhead risks (loose slate, masonry, vegetation, other debris); inspection by engineer of high level areas; external bat survey with no bats detected; temporary splinting of upper spire by steeplejacks and the commencement of erection of works scaffolding to the main building.

Currently, the council is in the process of procuring specialist environmental cleaners to remove bird droppings and dead birds; procuring of a contractor to secure the internal features of the building (ceilings, gallery and roof areas); identifying the external stone repairs required; and examining options for a scaffold wrap for the main building.

To complete the first phase of the regeneration programme for the church, which is expected to take 12–18 months depending on the weather, the council will:

• Finish creating a safe working environment

• Fully scaffold the main building and the spire

• Establish solidity of the floor structure

• Clear out the internal features of the building safely (pews, gallery, fittings)

• Identify and remove any asbestos

• Establish a temporary prop for the roof, and if possible remove the roof

The intention for the building is to create a public open space that can be used for public performances, markets and other events. Currently the proposals include the removal of the existing roof and opening up the portals through the Gothic arch windows.


Transform Scotland submits rail infrastructure recommendations

Transform Scotland has urged the Scottish Government to investigate the reopening of former rail routes across Scotland to reconnect communities with the rest of the country.

The recommendation comes in response to Transport Scotland’s consultation on their Rail Infrastructure Strategy, which sought views on how Scotland’s rail network can be improved in coming years.

Transform Scotland has called for all former rail routes to be safeguarded until comprehensive studies have been undertaken to assess the feasibility of railway reopenings. Doing so would help to ensure future opportunities exist to develop and expand Scotland’s existing rail network.

Transform Scotland also made a number of other recommendations for rail infrastructure in Scotland:

  • Rebalance transport spending priorities to ensure a modal shift to sustainable forms of transport
  • Carry out a multi-modal corridor study on the A9 and A96 routes to ensure that road and rail investments are considered in a unified way
  • Introduce more effective integration of public transport modes to allow true competition with the car
  • Introduce more sophisticated rail performance measures which better reflect the overall passenger experience
  • Fund level crossing improvements from the roads budget, as virtually all incidents at level crossings are the result of misuse by road users.
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