Building Briefs – October 21st

Seafield PrimaryNew buildings arrive for Elgin primary

An Elgin primary school grew in size this week with the installation of 17 pre-fabricated classroom modules.

Seafield Primary gained two extra classrooms and a new nursery in the space of 24 hours thanks to the advanced planning and site preparation.

The site has been prepared for the installation during the last few weeks, with the delivery and fitting planned for school half term to minimise disruption.

A fleet of trucks transporting the units were parked up on Lossie Green overnight, and at first light started ferrying the units one by one to a waiting crane and ground crew.

The work is part of a £17 million refurbishment programme of four Moray primaries; Seafield Primary in Elgin Applegrove in Forres, Millbank in Buckie and St Gerardine in Lossiemouth.

The refurbishment has been funded by a £10m Scottish Government grant, with the rest coming from Moray Council.

The buildings will be in use from January 2016 when refurbishment works on the existing nursery building will commence.

The contract has been awarded to Galliford Try, the parent company of Morrison Construction who recently undertook the £1.2m refurbishment work on Elgin Town Hall and the construction of all Moray’s flood alleviation schemes.


Argyll Community Housing Association agrees £60m funding deal

Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA) and Bank of Scotland have agreed a funding facility of £60 million, as part of a loan arrangement review.

The loan facility will allow ACHA to continue with the investment programme in its existing housing stock, building on the £100m invested to date, to meet the Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SQHS).

The agreement also provides funding of up to £13m (£10m from Bank of Scotland and up to £3m from other lenders) for investment in new housing developments in the period from 2018 to 2022.


Call to deliver warm homes after winter deaths reach 15 year high

Charity groups have called on Scotland’s political parties to commit to “end the scourge of cold, energy-wasting, hard-to-heat homes” after new figures revealed that winter deaths in Scotland have reached their highest level for 15 years.

The call by RCN Scotland, Age Scotland, and WWF Scotland follows the publication of official statistics showing that there were 22,011 deaths registered in the four months between December 2014 and March 2015.

The number is up from 18,675 the previous season and the highest since the winter of 1999/00, when there was a high level of flu activity.

National charity Energy Action Scotland urged the Scottish Government to set out a detailed plan to ensure that no-one in Scotland has to live in a cold, damp, expensive to heat home.


BIM Convention sold out

Organisers of the Scottish Construction Convention (SCC) are delighted to announce that the BIM Convention, being held on Thursday 22 October 2015 at the Glasgow City Hotel, is sold out.

Paul McDevitt of SCC said: “We have been delighted with the response to this event, over 120 senior executives, representing every sector of the construction industry are booked to attend. There is no doubt the imminent introduction of BIM in April 2016, for the rest of the UK and April 2017 for Scotland, has got the industry’s attention. Our timing for staging the Convention could not be better with the launch last week of the Scottish BIM Implementation Plan by SFT.”

McDevitt added: “We have a superb list of Speakers, who will each share their knowledge and experience gained from their own BIM Journey. I’m confident that delegates will leave the Convention with a much broader perception of BIM and what it means for their organisation and the construction industry in general.”


Residential rents in Scotland up at less than a third in England and Wales

Average rents in Scotland have risen 1.7 per cent in the past year, less than a third of the rate seen in the rest of Britain, according to new figures.

The latest buy-to-let index from lettings agent Your Move found that annual rent growth in Scotland has plateaued after a summer uplift while the rate currently being witnessed in England and Wales over the same period was as high as 6.3 per cent.

The data also shows that rents in Scotland fell 0.3 per cent from August to September 2015, the second consecutive monthly drop in Scottish rents, meaning that the typical rent in Scotland is now 0.8 per cent lower than at its summer peak in July.

The average monthly rent in Scotland was £545 in September 2015, compared to £549 in July 2015.

However this is 33.3 per cent cheaper than in England and Wales during September.

The strongest growth was in the Highlands and Islands, with average rents up 6.4 per cent (or £34) since September 2014 to a new high of £572 per month.

Average rents rose by 2 per cent year-on-year to £623 in Edinburgh and the Lothians but fell 2.6 per cent to £555 in Glasgow.

The research also found the proportion of rent paid late has more than doubled to 13.2 per cent in the past year, a record high.

The average landlord had a return, before any mortgage payments or maintenance costs, of £9,000.


Barratt Homes announces Apprentice of the Year

Liam Gibson
Liam Gibson

Young joiner Liam Gibson from Aberdeen has been named Apprentice of the Year 2015 by his employer Barratt Homes.

Liam, 19, received the title for the excellent workmanship he has demonstrated whilst training with the award-winning Barratt Academy, which aims to produce tradesmen with skills and knowledge above and beyond the requirements of a standard apprenticeship.

Liam is currently completing his apprenticeship whilst working with Barratt Homes at its Barclay Grange development in Newmachar, Aberdeenshire, and attending North East Scotland College in Altens, on a day-release basis.


Highland Council launches planning and housing consultations

Three online consultations on planning and housing issues have been launched by the Highland Council.

In addition, the authority has launched a review of its main planning policy document, the Highland-wide Local Development Plan (HWLDP).

The HWLDP seeks people’s views on updating the council’s main policies for determining planning applications and shaping the future of the Highland area.

The report has now been published for a 12-week consultation running until 18 December.

It sets out issues and options for updating a broad range of planning policies, and an updated vision and spatial strategy for Highland.

The strategy includes focusing development on existing settlements, support rural businesses and communities, and an emphasis on design and transport issues.

The document is structured around four key outcomes that show how the plan could help deliver community planning priorities.

The council is also seeking public opinion on two other documents, the draft Onshore Wind Energy Supplementary Guidance (OWESG) and the Local Housing Strategy (LHS).

The public consultation on these documents runs from 25 September until 18 December 2015.

The three documents are being published through the consultation portal here.


A77 - works south of Bankfield Roundabout

Over £68,000 of essential road maintenance resurfacing work will get underway on the A77 south of Bankfield on 26 October 2015.

Scotland TranServ, operating on behalf of Transport Scotland, will carry out the resurfacing works in two overnight road closures, to repair defects to the existing road surface.


Dundee heritage project investment proposal

A heritage project in Dundee could receive £142,000 of investment.

The council’s Environment Committee are expected to hear plans to invest in the Dundee Law Heritage Project on 26 October.

Improvements include the restoration of access steps, upgrading footpaths and drainage, refurbishment of seating and bollards, installation of new interpretive and directional signage. Further plans involve landscape and biodiversity improvements, including creating wildflower meadows and a bat habitat.

Additional funding for the project will come from the Community Regeneration Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The council said the project aims to make exploring the Law “easier, more enjoyable and more interactive”.


CALA Homes (North) unveils £10k community bursary recipients

CALA Homes (North) has announced the 12 community groups, charities and local organisations in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire which will receive a share of its £10,000 community bursary.

The bursary, launched to celebrate 140 years since the company was established as the City of Aberdeen Land Association, will make contributions to groups which support various community needs – from youth clubs and therapy centres, to support groups and learning providers.

Successful applicants include Alzheimer Scotland, which requested funds to run a music reminiscence group at its Dementia Resource Centre in Aberdeen, and Woodside Junior Club, which will receive a sum to enable disadvantaged children in the area to attend a pantomime this Christmas.

Sunrise Partnership SCIO plans to use the bursary funding to purchase four puppets to use in counselling sessions with children in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire who have been affected by loss and bereavement, whilst Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland (Aberdeenshire) will fund an art therapist to run clay sculpture sessions for stroke groups in the region.

Official presentations will be made by CALA to each organisation over the coming months.

The further eight successful applicants include Grampian MS Therapy Centre, Grampian Deaf Children’s Society, Maggie’s Aberdeen, Stratosphere Science Centre, SensationalALL, GCRA Ltd, CLAN and Children 1st.

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