Building Briefs – November 24th

Raining's Stairs OverviewRaining’s Stairs housing development takes shape in Inverness

Onsite building works are underway on 16 new homes and a commercial unit for the Highland Housing Alliance at Inverness’ Raining’s Stairs.

Set to be completed in Winter 2018, Raining’s Stairs will bring much needed housing to local people and families and reinvigorate a brownfield area of the city.

New CGIs of the development released by the Alliance show the configuration of the homes, which will feature 16 apartments built in three staged sections that flow to create a single contemporary development. It will also feature an attractive residents’ walkway with landscaping and planting, with a natural stone wall and vertical timber cladding around the buildings. Secure cycle storage features for each building, and are located behind the commercial unit.

The Raining’s Stairs development is being built in partnership with the Highland Housing Alliance; The Highland Council; Ark Estates and William Gray Construction Ltd. It will comprise sixteen, one and two bedroom flats. Six flats will be available at an affordable rent from The Highland Council and ten flats will be available at a mid-market rent from the Highland Housing Alliance, with funding from the Scottish Government as part of the City-Region Deal.

The City-Region Deal business case was approved on 25 May 2017 which releases £5 million funding from the Scottish Government for affordable housing across the Highlands. This pan Highland project will include the development of a package of support to increase the availability of affordable housing for young people led by The Highland Council.

The apartments are named after the adjacent Raining’s Stairs, located within Inverness City Centre. Raining’s Stairs originally served Raining’s School, which opened at the top of the stairs in 1747. The Stairs were named after the school’s founder, John Raining, and connect the Crown area to the city centre.


Top UK civil engineer visits Scotland’s top projects

Professor Lord Robert Mair, president of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), paid a visit to the new £1.35 billion Queensferry Crossing; the new £500 million M8 M73 M74 motorway improvements; and the 3.1 mile £250 million Shieldhall Strategic Tunnel site in Glasgow yesterday.

At the Queensferry Crossing Lord Mair was met by Roy Brannen, CEO of Transport Scotland, and Michelle Rennie, Transport Scotland’s director of major transport infrastructure projects. They showed him over the impressive structure which now helps safeguard one of the most vital connections in Scotland’s transport network.

On the journey to Glasgow he was shown, and travelled over, parts of Scotland’s largest infrastructure projects – the M8 M73 M74 Motorway improvements – which complete the “missing link” in the Central Scotland Motorway Network, all elements with more than 100,000 vehicles using the network daily. This was one of the first major road projects in Scotland to pioneer the use of BIM, a cutting-edge 3D technology which is set to revolutionise civil engineering.

In Glasgow Lord Mair visited Scottish Water’s Shieldhall Tunnel development, the 3.1 mile-long tunnel or sewer beneath the south of the city. He was shown around one of the most important pieces of waste water management infrastructure installed in Glasgow since Victorian times, recently completed in 15 months using a 1000-tonne Tunnel Boring Machine which was longer than 14 buses and named Daisy the Driller by a Glasgow schoolboy.

Professor Lord Mair, a tunnelling specialist, wanted to see these projects because of the added value and benefit these innovative and substantial developments, delivered by civil engineers, bring to the people of Scotland. The improved transport connectivity with the bridge, quicker and safer journeys with the motorway improvements, and flood prevention and better waste water treatment with the tunnel, all show civil engineers are delivering real and substantial benefits for all within our communities around the country.

Lord Mair was also be Guest of Honour amongst the 700 guests at the ICE annual dinner in Glasgow last night, and today will look to inspire the next generation of civil engineers when he speaks at the annual lunch for the Graduate and Student members.


Gyle Shopping Centre set for £3m revamp

Shoppers at the Gyle Centre in Edinburgh will enjoy new seating areas, lighting and upgraded toilet facilities when the destination undergoes a multi-million-pound refurbishment.

The £3 million makeover, which is due to commence next year, will bring significant investment to the centre which opened its doors in 1993 and is anchored by Marks & Spencer and Morrisons.

New entrances and finishes are planned for future improvements.


£2.4m improvement scheme launched for Aberdeen’s Union Street

A £2.4 million building conservation scheme for Aberdeen’s Union Street was launched yesterday.

Grants to help restore and enhance historic properties are being offered to owners through a Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS), subject to meeting eligibility criteria.

The five-year programme is being rolled out by Aberdeen City Council after it was awarded £1,177,104 by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) earlier this year. The council matched this sum.

A further £50,000 is being provided by Aberdeen inspired, the banner under which the Business Improvement District Operates, bringing the total pot to £2,404,208.

The scheme encourages work – ranging from shopfront improvements to the reinstatement of architectural features – that employs traditional materials and methods.

Union Street CARS marks the next step in transforming Aberdeen’s main thoroughfare under the City Centre Masterplan, a 25-year regeneration programme comprising 50 projects.

Project CM11 Union Street Conservation Area Improvement Scheme aims “to promote the conservation and enhancement of the special historic and architectural heritage of Union Street and to maximise its economic and social value”.

Dozens of interested parties gathered at the Town and County Hall to learn more about the scheme.

The scheme covers the Union Street Conservation Area, which includes Holburn Junction and the Castlegate. Subject to meeting criteria, grants will cover up to 60% of repairs and 75% of shopfront improvements, with owners expected to meet the rest of the cost.

It has been estimated that CARS Union Street could result in a total investment of around £3.6m if there was full uptake among owners.


Black Watch Museum extension underway

Construction has started on a new wedding and conference venue at The Black Watch Castle and Museum in Perth.

The extension has been designed by architect Arthur Stone to complement historic Balhousie Castle, while providing a light and open multi-purpose space.

Plans were unveiled in April following the success of last year’s Weeping Window poppy display, which drew more than 120,000 people to the venue.

Perth firm Balhousie Glaziers will be spearheading the project.

Work on the new venue is expected to be completed by May.


Public session for proposed Ellon masterplan

The Ellon community is to have its first chance to view a proposed masterplan for the development of the town’s former academy sites next week.

Those attending will be able to view images of the proposed site layout, and council officers will be available to answer queries.

The proposed masterplan outlines a mixed-use development, incorporating housing, a health and social care hub, family centre and space for council services.

The public session will take place at the Formartine Area Office at 29 Bridge Street next Thursday (Thu, Nov 30), with people welcome to drop in any time between 3pm and 8pm.


Cruden Group staff sleep rough for charity

The suitably attired Cruden Group Sleep in the Park team: (from left) Gill Henry, Mike Robinson, Frank Gallagher, Hazel Davies and Amy Jenkinson
The suitably attired Cruden Group Sleep in the Park team: (from left) Gill Henry, Mike Robinson, Frank Gallagher, Hazel Davies and Amy Jenkinson

Five intrepid staff members from The Cruden Group have volunteered to brave a chilly Scottish winter night by sleeping rough in Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park event to raise funds to help eradicate homelessness in Scotland within the next five years.

Around 9,000 participants are lined up to take part in the event which is taking place in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh on Saturday 9 December.

The team from Cruden Homes East and Hart Builders comprises sales and marketing director, Hazel Davies, head of business development, Gill Henry, head of construction (affordable), Frank Gallagher, site manager, Mike Robinson and contracts & safety assistant, Amy Jenkinson.

Cruden Group is already a major supporter of the Social Bite charity with Gill Henry, in addition to her busy day job with Cruden, working as project director on a pro bono basis overseeing the design, manufacture and on-site delivery of the forthcoming Social Bite Village for homeless people in Granton, Edinburgh.

Cruden Group is also contributing £3000 to the Sleep in the Park event in addition to any cash the five members of the team might raise.

Gill Henry said: “The Cruden Group is very proud to be associated with Social Bite in the great work they are doing and the five of us in the team are all really looking forward to the Sleep in the Park event. Social Bite’s drive to eradicate homelessness in Scotland is a hugely worthy aim and we are all determined to do as much as we can to help.”

To help all those attending Sleep in the Park get through the cold winter’s night, a great line up of entertainment has been arranged. Amongst others, Liam Gallagher, Deacon Blue, Frightened Rabbit and Amy Macdonald will all be performing acoustic sets, while Would I Lie To You chairman, Rob Brydon, is hosting the event. Sir Bob Geldof is due to sleep out with the participants and Basil Fawlty himself, John Cleese, will be reading out a bedtime story befitting the occasion.

If you would like to sponsor the Cruden Group team, please click here.


Borders property market ‘holds steady’

The Scottish Borders is enjoying sustained demand for property, with continued buyer activity and an increasing number of house sales going to a closing date, according to independent property consultancy Galbraith.

The firm’s offices in Kelso and Galashiels have recorded an increase in viewings of 20% for the quarter ending 30 September 2017, compared with the same period last year. There has also been an increase of 33% in new buyers registering with the firm in the Borders, compared with the previous quarter.

The Galbraith lettings department in the Scottish Borders also enjoyed a successful quarter.


Consultation event to take place over water infrastructure upgrade

Residents are being invited to find out more information about a waste water infrastructure investment project in Glasgow.

A ventilation stack is to be installed in Queen’s Park as part of the £100 million Shieldhall Tunnel project, which will enable air to enter the tunnel and filtered air to leave it.

In September, Scottish Water submitted plans for associated above-ground infrastructure in Queen’s Park related to the tunnel, including the ventilation stack.

However, following feedback with local residents, it is proposed the stack will now be installed around 100 metres further south in the park, which is a greater distance from residential properties.

Ahead of submitting a planning application for the new location for the ventilation stack, an information and consultation event is taking place at Queen’s Park Bowling Club, 381 Langside Road from 2pm to 7pm on Monday, 04 December.


Network Rail to start Pollokshields bridge replacement

Network Rail is to begin a bridge replacement project in Pollokshields, Glasgow.

The structure, located near Maxwell Park station, was closed in August due to the bridge’s deterioration and safety concerns.

The first phase of the replacement project will take place from Saturday, 25 November until 22 December. Scaffolding will be erected around the bridge to prepare to divert utilities such as water and electricity off the structure.

The second phase of the scheme, beginning in January next year, involves removing the existing bridge and erecting a new structure which is fully compliant with modern road and rail safety standards.

Features include removing excess vegetation from around the structure, as well as temporarily removing then reinstalling overhead power lines while demolishing the old bridge deck and craning in the new one.

The project is scheduled for completion in May 2018.


Work underway to replace A77 barriers

Work is underway to replace barriers and signage along the A77 road in East Ayrshire.

A new heavy metal road barrier system is being installed on the Northbound lane between Bellfield Roundabout and Grassyards Junction. Work is scheduled for completion on Saturday, 25 November.

In order to reduce disruption, Scotland TranServ has scheduled the barrier project alongside works to replace four traffic signs under the same closure.

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