Building Briefs – November 12th
Portsoy bunkhouse conversion secures lottery funding
A row of historic sail-making cottages in Portsoy, Aberdeenshire, are to be converted into bunkhouse accommodation by LDN Architects following the award of an £873,500 grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Undertaken on behalf of the North East Scotland Preservation Trust the B listed Back Green buildings will be operated as a community business by the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival (STBF) following their renovation and repair.
This will retain the buildings historic connection with the sea by offering accommodation to apprentice boat builders.
It is hoped work can begin by May 2015 for completion by June 2016.
Skanska UK continues to perform strongly
Skanska UK’s construction business recorded an operating income (profit) of £30.8 million in the first nine months of 2014 and revenue of £1,001.3m. This equates to an operating margin of 3.1 per cent.
During this period, £1,229.2m of orders have been booked by Skanska UK. In the latest quarter, this includes an £86.6m mechanical and electrical fit-out contract at the Battersea Power Station redevelopment and a £49.9m site wide infrastructure project at the North West Cambridge Development.
The company said it is well placed for 2015.
Sainsbury’s to cut development programme by half
Supermarket Sainsbury’s will cut its construction programme nearly in half as it tackles the continued growth of value retailers such as Aldi and Lidl.
The supermarket said in interim results announced today that its annual capital expenditure will fall to £500-550 million per annum, from an average of £950m per annum over the last two years.
The move came as the supermarket conducted a strategic review which saw it write off £287m off the value of its property portfolio, mainly due to land bought which will now no longer be developed. Of this charge, £31m related to contracts it has already entered into which will not be needed.
The firm said it spent £557m on new stores and refurbishments in the first 28 weeks of the year, to 27 September. The property write down, combined with estimates of a reduction in future income, resulted in a total one-off charge of £628m. It pushed the supermarket to a pre-tax loss of £290m for the 28 weeks.
Regeneration of South Montrose continues
The regeneration of South Montrose is continuing, Angus Council has said.
It added that from Monday 17 November, road improvement works will commence as part of the project.
This phase will be the first stage in creating a new ‘spine’ road that will improve access, as well as attract further investment, to Montrose. These road improvements will be undertaken by contractors Delson Contracts Ltd, and will involve the realignment of the corners of the road, resurfacing, new landscaped areas and new street lighting.
Valued at £380,000, the contract will take around 16 weeks to complete, the council has said.
Two designs selected for Stranraer Gateway scheme
Two designs have been selected for use as part of the Stranraer Gateway project which aims to improve the approaches to the town.
Following a consultation earlier this year, the local community voted for its favourite designs. These designs will now be installed on the A77 at Balyett and the A75 at the Bridge of Aird.
At the A77, a rectangular café and shelter will be positioned adjacent to Loch Ryan and will have indoor and outdoor seating to allow its customers to enjoy the coastal views and grab a bite to eat, all the while sheltered from the sea breeze.
On the A75 approach to the town, the entrance will be made more noticeable with new landscaping taking place. This will involve planting trees, hedges, posts and fencing at the Bridge of Aird, while lighting will be installed to illuminate the brickwork at night.
A total of £100,000 has been set aside for the project.
Work is expected to begin later this month and take around 12 weeks to complete.
No opposition to nuclear archive project
The Highland Council has said it has no objections to the construction of an archive centre near Wick.
The project had been proposed by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), and would see information and records, related to the Dounreay nuclear power plant, stored in a new facility.
Dounreay is currently being decommissioned at a cost of £1.6bn.
The archive centre would be located close to Wick Airport Industrial Estate, on a brownfield site formerly occupied by the RAF.
It is understood a planning application for the scheme is still to be submitted, but Highland Councillors have raised no objections to the plans.
Scottish Water continuing with Killearn scheme
Scottish Water has said it is making progress with a project in Killearn, Stirlingshire, to upgrade its water infrastructure.
The £2.5 million scheme will see clearer, fresher drinking water delivered to customers, as well as provide greater security of supply by reducing the risk of bursts in the system.
The project will see more than 30 miles of water mains improved, with Farrans, the appointed contractor for the scheme, rehabilitating 3.7 miles of water mains, installing 7.5 miles of new mains and cleaning a total of 21 miles of mains.
Work on the project commenced in summer 2013, and Scottish Water has said it expects to complete the work by spring 2015. The utility provider has added that as the project enters its final phases, road traffic measures will need to be put in place.
This will include the closure of Main Street (A875) in Killearn from Monday 24 November. The section of road will be closed for five days and will be from the roundabout on Main Street at Drumbeg Loan north for around 100m. Diversion routes will be in place for motorists.
Works commence on Stromeferry Bypass
Slope stabilisation works have started on the A890 Stromeferry Bypass, the Highland Council has confirmed.
Contractor Rope Access Scotland Ltd has been appointed to the project and will undertake work to stablise the slope which suffered from a landslip last month.
Work on the scheme commenced on Monday and will take around four weeks to complete. For the duration of the works, motorists have been told to expect delays on the affected section of road – the A890 between Ardnarff and Attadale. The road will remain closed overnight between 7.00pm and 7.00am until stabilisation works are complete.
A lengthy diversion route will be in place.