Thursday, July 16, 2009

Severfield Rowen completes Olympic Stadium ring of steel

Contractor Severfield Rowen has welded in the final piece of external structural steelwork to complete the outer shell of the main Olympic stadium.

Construction of the outer shell, including roof sections, was finished Thursday, 14 months after work started and three years before the start of the games.

The first of the 85-tonne steel sections of the roof was lifted into place at the end of January 2009, and now all 28 sections are in place more than a month earlier than originally planned.

The 80,000-seat stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies and track and field competition.

ODA chairman John Armitt said the Olympics will be delivered within the budget despite the "external shocks" caused the recession.

"We have hit all, and exceeded some, of the ten Milestones we set ourselves last year and we are on track and within budget."

Ardmore wins to boost turnover

Lovell wins £24m social housing deal

Morgan Sindall's social housing division Lovell has won a ВЈ24m deal to refurbish 2,200 homes for Three Oaks Housing in Blaby, Wiltshire.

The contractor will install new kitchens, bathrooms and heating systems, plus electrical upgrading and external environmental and security work.

Lovell will refurbish the homes to better than Decent Homes standard.


Ardmore wins to boost turnover

Enforcement notices served against 17 blacklisting companies

The Information Commisioner today said it will serve enforcement notices against the 17 companies who paid convicted blacklister Ian Kerr for information on construction workers.

Kerr was fined £5,000 today at Knutsford Crown Court, after his company The Consulting Association (TCA) ran a secret database on 3,213 construction workers and traded their personal details for profit. The operation ran from the 1970s until the Information Commissioner's Office seized the information from TCA’s premises on 2 March 2009.

The ICO said it uncovered evidence that named construction firms which subscribed to Kerr’s system for a ВЈ3,000 annual fee. Companies could add information to the system and pay ВЈ2.20 for details held on individuals. Invoices to construction firms for up to ВЈ7,500 were seized during the raid. 


Enforcement notices served against 17 blacklisting companies


The ICO said it has written to these firms with preliminary enforcement notices which outline that they unfairly obtained personal data from Ian Kerr.

Formal enforcement action will follow shortly, subject to any representations made by the companies.

The court also heard today that construction firms paid TCA ВЈ478,937 between April 2006 and February 2009.

David Smith, Deputy Information Commissioner, said: “Ian Kerr colluded with construction firms for many years flouting the Data Protection Act and ignoring people’s privacy rights. Trading people’s personal details in this way is unlawful and we are determined to stamp out this type of activity.

"Kerr’s covert operation denied people their information rights under the Data Protection Act. We all have important rights under the Act that enable us to check what information is held about us and to make sure it is accurate.”

"The Data Protection Act clearly states that organisations must be open about how they process personal information and in most cases those processing personal information must register with the ICO."

Following the ICO’s investigation, Kerr’s system was closed down and TCA ceased trading. The ICO has received over 1,827 enquiries from members of the public and as a result over 120 individuals who appeared on the database have now had their information returned to them.

The ICO said that there are no punishments available for breaches of the data protection principles, which is why it chose only to prosecute Ian Kerr for failing to notify as a data controller.

However, this option is not available to the ICO regarding the 17 construction firms. Penalties are being introduced next April, but are not yet in force. The type of conduct engaged in by Kerr and some construction firms is likely to incur a fine in future.

£500m Teesport power plan agreed

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Balfour Beatty celebrates topping CJ50 for table 2008

Balfour Beatty Construction Scottish and Southern managing director Bob Clarke (right) has been presented with a bottle of champagne by Causeway's James Atkinson in recognition of its success in 2008.

Balfour Beatty celebrates topping CJ50 for table 2008

The firm won ВЈ3.3bn worth of work in 2008, over ВЈ800m more than its nearest rival Laing O'Rourke.

It recorded strong overall growth in 2008, driven by its performance in the public and infrastructure sectors. In fact, its iron grip on the top spot was further strengthened by the Government's plan to bring forward public spending in order to kickstart the economy.

With Laing O'Rourke hot on its heels in November Balfour Beatty pulled away having won the ВЈ365m dualling project on the A46 between Newark and Widmerpool in December.


Balfour Beatty celebrates topping CJ50 for table 2008


Despite the well-publicised economic worries, last year wasn't just a good year for Balfour Beatty, it proved to be positive for all contractors making up the CJ50. Total new orders did not hit the heights of 2007 - when ВЈ32.7bn worth of work was let - but it was still the second best year in CJ50 history, just ВЈ2bn short at ВЈ30.7bn.

In a year when Building Schools for the Future schemes finally started to come through, other public non-housing work accounted for 30% of the 2008 total, up from 24% in 2007. Infrastructure was also up, accounting for a quarter of work let in 2008, compared to 21% in both 2006 and 2007.

Social housing remained steady at 15% in 2008, a slight drop from 17% in 2007 but evidence that the Decent Homes programme continues to provide a drip-feed of work. Perhaps unsurprisingly, private commercial orders were down 7% on the previous year, dropping back to the same share as 2006 at 28% and private industrial orders fell 1% to 2%.

Monthly CJ50 tables.

The CJ50 contracts league 12 month table.

Ardmore wins to boost turnover

£500m Teesport power plan agreed

Plans for a new ВЈ500m Renewable Energy Plant at Teesport moved a step closer today as the Government granted the scheme consent under the Electricity Act.

The scheme proposed by MGT Power will be one of the largest-ever biomass plants to be built in the world.

Backers of the scheme are now securing funding and are hoping to have the plant operational by 2012.

Chris Moore, Director of MGT Power said: "The Government’s consent is welcome news as we are at an advanced stage with forestry establishment for fuel sourcing, and power plant procurement.

"We can now mandate our banks, conclude the financing and reach agreement with our preferred technology bidders. We are moving towards an early construction start with a high degree of confidence.


£500m Teesport power plan agreed


"Other similarly sized biomass plants are proposed in other parts of the country but our Teesport project is currently two years ahead of the pack and likely to be one of the first to be operational. It comes at a time when replacement UK energy generation capacity is urgently needed. We will continue to work closely with Redcar & Cleveland Council as well as PD Ports, the owners of Teesport, Renew Tees Valley and the local Trade Unions to complete the project."

The plant will create 600 jobs during the three year construction period.

The biomass feedstock for the Tees Renewable Energy Plant will be sourced from certified sustainable forestry projects developed by the MGT team and partners in North and South America and the Baltic States.

These projects will provide clean burning woodchip, which delivers 95% greenhouse gas savings in comparison to coal or natural gas through the life cycle and will not use high quality land suitable for food crops.

Ardmore wins to boost turnover

Extra cash for nuclear suppliers

The Government set-out its first investments from the ВЈ405m Low Carbon Industrial Strategy fund today.

Among the first beneficiaries will be suppliers to the tidal energy, wind and nuclear power industries.

Key initial investments include:

Up to £60m to capitalise on Britain’s wave and tidal sector strengths, including investment in Wave Hub – the development of a significant demonstration and testing facility off the Cornish coast – and other funding to make the South West Britain’s first Low Carbon Economic Area.

Up to ВЈ15m capital investment in order to establish a Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre consisting of a consortium of manufacturers from the UK nuclear supply chain and universities.


Extra cash for nuclear suppliers


A ВЈ4m expansion of the Manufacturing Advisory Service, to provide more specialist advice to manufacturers on competing for low carbon opportunities, including support for suppliers for the civil nuclear industry.

Up to ВЈ10m for the accelerated deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Up to ВЈ120m to support the development of a British based offshore wind industry. 

Business Secretary Peter Mandelson said: "There is no high carbon future. But if the transition to low carbon is inevitable, what is not inevitable is that we use the transition as a chance to develop new jobs, new industries here in Britain. This strategy builds on the New Industry New Jobs approach, outlining the strategic role the government will play alongside the private sector, to make the most of the potential benefits for innovation, growth and job creation in the UK.

"Low carbon and environmental goods and services are already worth ВЈ3 trillion to the global economy, and in the UK employ nearly 900,000 directly and through the supply chain. With the sector set to grow by over 4% per annum over the next six years we must do all we can to support British businesses and workers in benefitting. Today we are announcing the first investments under the ВЈ405M funding allocated in the budget. We must ensure that we equip businesses and the workforce with the capabilities and skills to take advantage of the potential benefits as the world moves towards a low carbon future."

Kier trading ‘in line with market expectations’

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

OHOB profit falls 24%

Building contractors and civil engineers O'Halloran and O'Brien (OHOB) has seen its pre-tax profit fall almost 24% on a slightly reduced turnover of ВЈ51m for 2008/09.

Despite the fall, the company said in its annual results for the year to 31 March 2009, that it had an 'excellent year' although trading conditions had been difficult.

OHOB, which was formed in 1972 and is now under the sole ownership of Tom O'Brien, offers concrete frame services, highways works, remediation and regeneration, and housing infrastructure.

The highest-paid director at the company took a 7% pay cut from ВЈ205,340 to ВЈ190,619 for the year.

Net funds at the business as at 31 March increased to ВЈ1.9m, from ВЈ803,495 in the previous year.

Ardmore wins to boost turnover

Co-op seeks planning for landmark Manchester headquarters

The Co-op has submitted a planning application to build a flagship headquarters, near Victoria Station in Central Manchester.

The scheme, part of a wider redevelopment of the group’s Miller Street campus, is for a 15-storey block consisting of 325,000 sq ft of offices. If all goes to plan construction is expected to start at the beginning of next year.  

It will serve the Co-op’s retail arm and is designed to be one of the most sustainable buildings in Europe.

The huge building is the first phase in a 20-acre regeneration project around Miller Street, for which an Arup-designed masterplan has already been endorsed by the city council.

Not drowning but dozing - PHOTO

When Case donated a 25t CX240B excavator to dredge a lake in Germany, it wasn’t expecting contractor Albrecht Fischer to drive it into sediment up to 2m deep.

Not drowning but dozing - PHOTO

Stakholzbach Lake was in danger of drying up due to centuries of silt deposits decreasing the depth of water until last summer a large number of fish died and the local authority had to close the popular leisure spot. 

Having drained the water, the excavator started work but kept sinking deeper and deeper into the sediment until only the upper structure was visible with the silt seeping into every crevice on the machine. Once the excess silt is removed (which is so glutinous the operator has to shake the bucket to dislodge it) the dozer blade is used to clear parallel paths across the lake to allow other machines cart the sediment away.

Ardmore wins to boost turnover

Monday, July 13, 2009

Kier trading 'in line with market expectations'

Kier has announced it expects full year pre-tax profit for the 12 months ending 30 June 2009 to be "in line with current market expectations".

However, net cash balances, though "strong" at ВЈ90m, are down considerably on the ВЈ144m of the previous year. Kier said it has "continued investment in the UK Supreme Court property development" and has also had to arrange "settlement of deferred land purchase payments during the year".

The group said its construction division "has traded well with strong operating margins and very healthy cash balances", helped by public sector contracts including:

A ВЈ27m contract for Network Rail to renew the roof at Kings Cross station; andA ВЈ250m contract for United Utilities, in joint venture, for its Asset Management Programme Five (AMP 5).ADVERTISEMENT

Kier trading in line with market expectations


Kier said its orderbook of both signed contracts and preferred bidder and negotiated positions has secured over 85% of its targeted revenue for 2010 and nearly half of its target for 2011.

In support services, the group recently announced its position as preferred bidder on a ВЈ600m, 10-year, outsourcing contract for North Tyneside Council.

Kier's social housing division is trading at lower levels than last year, following restucturing. The business sold a total of 1,140 units during the year (30 June 2008: 2,090 units).

It said: "Selling prices remained under some downward pressure for most of the second half of the year but this has now started to ease and, in certain locations, prices have stabilised. We remain cautious on the outlook for 2010 but we believe the difficult market conditions we have experienced over the last 12 months are beginning to ease and we are well positioned to take advantage of improvements in the housing market as it recovers." 

Ardmore wins to boost turnover

Ardmore wins to boost turnover

A string of high-profile contract wins is expected to push turnover next year at Ardmore back up to record levels set in 2008.

Ardmore bosses are confident that turnover will get back up to the ВЈ300m mark in 2010 after dipping by up to ВЈ75m this year due to a number of stalled jobs halted by the recession.

Latest results from the firm show that turnover hit ВЈ300m for the year to September 2008, resulting in a pre-tax profit of ВЈ5.3m compared to ВЈ5m the previous year.

But the directors warned: "The next year or so is going to be tough with many challenges ahead. Turnover to September 2009 is expected to decrease by 20%-25% on 2008."

The decrease is being blamed on two major projects Ardmore was working on which have been put on hold.


Ardmore wins to boost turnover


Construction work stopped on the ВЈ150m Stratford Tower in east London in March after Genesis Housing Group ran out of funding for the 43-storey building.

And developer Lane Castle has delayed its ВЈ45m Paynes and Borthwick Wharves project in Deptford, south London until 2010.

Ardmore is confident a slew of recent contract successes will see turnover return to the ВЈ300m level next year.

The firm has picked up the ВЈ82m Corinthia Hotel job near Trafalgar Square in central London alongside a ВЈ52m scheme in Woking, plus education and fit-out work worth ВЈ48m.

Ardmore has also won a ВЈ10m contract to provide modular units to the 2012 Olympic Village and is on the shortlist for the first main accommodation block.

The firm said: "These projects are currently expected to increase turnover back to 2008 levels and provide cashflow into the business in the year 2009/10."

Two consultants have also been appointed to help Ardmore target the hotel/leisure sector and residential social landlords.

Sacked Kosovans spur union into action

Sacked Kosovans spur union into action

Foreign workers dumped by contractors during the downturn are being urged to join the union after Ucatt won a ВЈ46,000 payout for six Kosovans sacked by FM Conway.

The team of London paviors was awarded the cash last week after an employment tribunal upheld their claim for unfair dismissal.

The Kosovans turned to the union for help in their fight and were backed by local regional official Mick Dooley.

A union source said: "This was a clear case of unfair dismissal and it only really reached a tribunal because of the leg-work Mick put in.

"Most of the time employers think they can just get rid of workers for whatever reason. That’s not the case and we’re saying that Ucatt is here to help workers who think they have been victimised."


Sacked Kosovans spur union into action


The tribunal heard how the Kosovan workers were sacked last year from Conway’s £5m-a-year highways maintenance contract in Islington.

The workers said they were dismissed after refusing to be paid per metre of pavement they laid rather than on their previous hourly basis.

Conway said they were sacked because they were inefficient and had been rude and aggressive towards site supervisors.

The tribunal ruling stated: "We conclude that there was an inadequate investigation of the central part of Conway’s case, namely an insufficient scrutiny of the allegations of poor performance."

The tribunal cut some of the payments to the six men by up to 50% because "serious insubordination contributed by their actions to their dismissal."

Steve Cottingham a partner at solicitors OH Parsons, who represented the workers at the employment tribunal, said: "This was a very important case and I am pleased that the tribunal rightly found in favour of the workers involved. Vulnerable workers have the same rights as anyone else in the workplace and companies must learn that they cannot get away with mistreating them."

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Plumbers accept pay freeze in 2010 with rpi rise in 2011

Britain's plumbers have narrowly voted to accept a two-year pay deal from contractors that will see their basic rate frozen in 2010 and an inflation rise in 2011.

The deal, negotiated by Unite on behalf of plumbers employed under the Joint Industry Board for Plumbing Mechanical Engineering Services, won improved holiday pay terms for next year.

This will see all 30-days holidays paid at the average daily rate, which includes bonus payments. Previously just 22 holiday days were paid on these terms.

The deal covers 1,500 employers and up to 60,000 plumbers in England & Wales.

Unite members have expressed their disappointment at the lack of a pay increase in 2010 but according to Unite National Officer for Plumbing, John Allott, plumbers adopted a pragmatic approach for the well being of the plumbing contracting industry:

"I would like to commend our plumbing members on their loyalty to the industry and remind the employers that our members would have an expectation that this loyalty should be rewarded in the future when work picks up."

Speedy's Rights Issue succeeds

Speedy Hire has successfully sold over 92% of the new ordinary shares it offered in a ВЈ100m Rights Issue. The company was offering 460 million new shares at 23p in an effort to reduce debt which stood at ВЈ248m at the end of its financial year in March.

Underwriters Oriel Securities and KBC Peel Hunt will either find buyers on the open market or purchase the remaining 35 million unsold shares.

Speedy’s share price opened at 28p this morning having climbed from a low of 2.9p in January. While this leaves investors in the new shares with an instant profit, the price is still a long way from the high in August 08 when they were just shy of 40p (rebased).

Six rivals vie for ВЈ25m-worth of courts work in Essex

Six firms are competing for ВЈ25m-worth of courts work in Essex.

The line-up for the Ministry of Justice projects in Chelmsford and Colchester is Sir Robert McAlpine, Shepherd, BAM Construction, Galliford Try, Kier and probably RG Carter.

The Chelmsford deal includes building five magistrates courts plus a crown court.

In Colchester, the scope of work includes a court house accommodating five magistrates courts.

Contractors have until 20 August to work up bids, with the contracts expected to be awarded towards the end of this year.

PC Harrington fined ВЈ150,000 over Wembley worker death

PC Harrington has been fined ВЈ150,000, following a fatal accident during the construction of Wembley Stadium five years ago.

A platform collapse killed Patrick O’Sullivan and injured a colleague on 15 January 2004.

Harrington pleaded guilty to a charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act in April.

It asked not to be hit with too large a fine at the Old Bailey because its “success has taken a downturn” during the past 12 months.

But today a judge at the Old Bailey handed the firm a fine of ВЈ150,000 and ordered it to pay costs of ВЈ25,203 costs.

His Honour Judge Hone said: "The lessons of that day must never be forgotten. It was a terrible accident.

"It was good fortune that more people were not killed. Other people had to scatter as the load came down. The fine needs to be large enough to bring the message home that this is a matter of life and death."

PC Harrington has just 12 months to pay the money, despite asking for a period of 15 months.

Terex merges Pegson and Powerscreen

Terex Corporation has announced the merger of its Terex Pegson and Powerscreen brands under the Powerscreen name. The move will create one of the world’s largest suppliers of mobile crushing and screening equipment.

This does not, however, mean that that it is the end for the Pegson name and it will carry on being used on product descriptions for crushers such as the XH250 Impactor Crusher will be known as the Powerscreen Pegson XH250 Impactor Crusher.

This follows the move by the US firm to create two new Centres of Excellence in Northern Ireland earlier this year, one in Dungannon, where Powerscreen screening equipment is produced and one in Omagh, where crushing equipment is built.

Powerscreen global sales director, Pat Brian, said the impending move is an accurate reflection of its business and people. He also explained that merging the screening equipment into one company would make it easier to identify Powerscreen’s products.

Sisk bags ВЈ43m T5 hotel job

John Sisk & Son has won a ВЈ43m contract to build a Hilton Hotel near Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport.

The 80-week contract to build a 350-bedroom hotel with pool and gym facilities began at the end of May and is due to be completed by December 2010.

The build required consultation with the Environment Agency because of proximity of the Poyle Channel which runs through the middle of the site, and further considerations had to be made as a result of the nearby airport.

Les Nicholls, western region director at Sisk said: “We have constructed a number of Hilton hotels previously, so we knew the level of detail expected. The design was adapted to suit the challenges the site.”

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

BAM, Balfour, Morgan Est and Vinci in Forth Bridge jv

Balfour Beatty, BAM Nuttall, Morgan Est and Vinci have clubbed together to bid for the ВЈ1.2bn contract for build the New Forth Bridge, as part of a joint venture.

The jv will be known as Forthspan.

Forthspan's chairman Bob Wilson said: “We are delighted to formally announce the Forthspan team and how it will address the challenges of this project from a local Scottish base and look to the successful delivery of the new crossing for the people of Scotland.

“The scale of this project requires a very specialist team with an understanding of the local issues and the key stakeholders involved. The Forthspan partners and supply chain have been very carefully selected to provide the best value to Transport Scotland and give the confidence that this scheme can be delivered to time and budget.”


BAM, Balfour, Morgan Est and Vinci in Forth Bridge jv


Transport Scotland advertised the contract for the design, construction and completion for the new bridge over the Firth of Forth last week.

The bridge will be cable stayed with three mono-towers, carrying a dual two lane carriageway main crossing, spanning 2.7km across the river. Trunk road connections are included in the contract, as is ongoing maintenance.
The deadline for submissions is 26 August.

Crane collapse TV reports and witness accounts - VIDEOS has collected a selection of national and local TV and eywitness reports of yesterday's crane collapse in Liverpool, which saw a Wolffkran luffing jib crane on a Bowmer & Kirkland site fall onto a recently completed apartment block.

The driver suffered serious injuries but no-one was reported killed.

ITN News report:

Liverpool Echo TV fire service reaction:

Liverpool Echo TV eyewitness account:

Liverpool Echo TV eyewitness account:

Liverpool Echo TV report:

Highways Agency publishes new procurement strategy

The Highways Agency (HA) has today published its new procurement strategy, outlining its approach for the next 5-10 years to procurement of goods, services and construction expertise.

The strategy – called “Delivering Sustainable Value through Supply Chain Management” – sets out how the HA will procure the goods and services it needs as the operator of England’s major roads. It will also be used for the delivery of Government’s investment programme of up to £6 billion to improve motorways and major A roads.

Delivering Sustainable Value through Supply Chain Management (PDF 1MB)Summary (PDF 98KB)

The latest approach, which is structured around the three key themes of value for money, delivery and sustainability, is an extension of a 2001 strategy. It highlights new areas such as the HA's drive to greater commercial awareness and practices.


Highways Agency publishes new procurement strategy


The current project aims to map and better understand supply chain patterns, participants and their contributions as part of the continuing search for greater efficiencies and improved value for money.

HA procurement director, David Poole, said:

“Our new procurement strategy shows how we continue to build on the successes of the previous work, but it also makes clear the key role for procurement in meeting the evolving needs of our customers and the strategic road network.

“The approach will be essential in helping the Agency operate more commercially.  Specific initiatives, like supply chain mapping and the purchase and management of common category requirements hold the prospect of delivering parts of the managed motorway programme and other projects more efficiently and at better value for money.

“In this strategy we make it clear that we will be taking further steps to reward best-performing suppliers and those who respond most positively to the increasing challenges of the sustainability agenda.”

The procurement strategy can also be obtained in traditional booklet form by e-mailing

Monday, July 6, 2009

CITB cuts grants as income falls and claims rise

CITB-ConstructionSkills is cutting training grant payments by 10% as a result of a fall in the levy payments due to the recession. The 10% across-the board cut takes effect next month but will not apply to apprenticeship and undergraduate grants, where rates remain unaffected.

While the organisation said it remained committed to paying ВЈ1 in grant for every ВЈ1 received in levy, but last year grants claimed amounted to ВЈ176m – some ВЈ20m more than planned - which is unsustainable. New forecasts have also indicated Levy income will fall significantly more than expected in 2010 and will not recover to current levels until at least 2014.

In addition to cutting grants, the CITB is reducing the Supplementary payments (made to firms which pay the Levy on or before the due date) from 20% to 10%. This follows an earlier cut from 25% when grants for the Health & Safety Test, Investors in People and OSAT profiling were also removed. ADVERTISEMENT

CITB cuts grants as income falls and claims rise

BAM’s Chris Jones who chairs the Grants Scheme Working Party said: “In an ideal world, we wouldn’t reduce grant rates, but the recession is forcing businesses to make tough decisions and unfortunately, we are no different. This has been a very tough decision – regrettable but essential in the current climate.”

Miss Scotland opens trade supplies store - PHOTO

Current Miss Scotland Katharine Brown has opened a new trade supplies store in Stirling.

The Fasco Extra store claims to offer all trade supplies "from 50p for a drill bit to ВЈ2,000 for high-end pressure washer".

John Scott, managing director of Fasco of the firm, which also has branches in Grangemouth and Shetland, said; “We are taking a positive and bold step forward in what is a difficult economic climate:  we felt it was important to demonstrate our confidence in the company, products and staff with this new venture.

 вЂњSince taking over Fasco in 2007, the company has experienced continual growth thanks to the strength of our staff expertise, product knowledge and superior service enabling us to retain existing customers and expand our client base. With its central location and great transport links, Stirling is the ideal location for the first Fasco Extra and we hope this will be the first of many that will open across the country.”

Miss Scotland opens trade supplies store - PHOTO

£100m Erith Western Gateway to be packaged up

Bexley Council is unlikely to re-tender for a development partner for the ВЈ100m Erith Western Gateway scheme in south-east London, which stalled in February after the appointed partner Crest Nicholson pulled out of the job.

The council is now reconsidering its options, and a source told CJ the work is likely to be divided up into a number of smaller packages.

"Procuring a single development partner has not worked, so we need to see if it would be right to try to re-tender or whether it would be better to split the project into smaller phases. We are thinking creatively about it," the source said.

The job, which is worth at least ВЈ100m, had attracted bids from Barratt Homes, Generator, Gleeson Homes and a Bouygues/Moat Homes joint venture.

Proposals include at least 500 new homes, a hotel, offices, shops, leisure uses and open space.

Bexley Council expects to announce how it will take the project forward towards the end of the year.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Rok extends payment terms to 60 days

Rok is the latest contractor to extend its standard payment terms from 30 to 60 days for new contracts with sub-contractors and consultants.

It joins Carillion, which also takes 60 days to pay.

The Forum of Private Businesses (FPB) published details of a letter sent to subcontractors and consultants on 22 June, informing them of the change “which if not refuted in writing within seven days of its receipt will be deemed effected.” a
Rok confirmed that it had changed its standard terms to 60 days for all new agreements but claimed that the letter had been sent out in error and was not part of the "usual Rok language" and did not reflect the "true situation".

One FPB member, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “The company has said that these new terms and conditions will apply unless there are objections to them, but, in reality, how can you stand up to a business of Rok’s size? There’s no doubt that many smaller sub-contractors and their suppliers will struggle as a result of this move, but speaking out will simply result in Rok refusing to work with them again. It’s a no-win situation.”


Rok extends payment terms to 60 days


Nick Palin, the FPB’s director of finance and administration said: "Small businesses are bearing the brunt of the slump in the construction sector. It is not reasonable for big businesses to pass on costs incurred via changes to payment terms and conditions further down the supply chain.
"In the current economic climate, this behaviour can force small firms to cease trading altogether. The FPB is campaigning to change the culture of poor payment in the UK and is urging to Rok plc to sign up to the Prompt Payment Code."

If you know of any other contractors or clients which have recently extended the time it takes them to pay, email:

Balfour Beatty 'making progress' in 2009

Balfour Beatty expects its orderbook is "broadly in line" with the ВЈ12.8bn it reported for 31 December 2008.

The company made the prediction as part of a trading update ahead of its half-year results announcement on 12 August.

It added that it expects to "make progress" in 2009, and its cash position remains "strong" with average net cash in excess of ВЈ200m for the first six months of 2009.

The company said that it expected to reach financial close on the ВЈ147m Carlisle Northern Development route, which has been dogged by delays since Balfour was appointed last year.

Dawnus Construction's pre-tax profit falls 57%

Dawnus Construction has seen its pre-tax profit plummet by 57% in 2008, despite turnover increasing 9% to ВЈ69.2m.

The Swansea-based firm is a building and civil engineering group with a subsidiary, Dawnus Plant, that provides plant hire services.

It generated ВЈ0.9m in pre-tax profit for the year ended 31 December 2008, compared to ВЈ2.1m in 2007.

Despite this, a directors' report for Dawnus Holdings, Dawnus Construction's parent company offered a bullish outlook for 2009.

It said: "During 2009 and future years, the group is well-positioned to maintain real growth. The thrust of future business development will be focussed on securing larger civil engineering contracts and leveraging our experience labour force to win new building contracts.


Dawnus Constructions pre-tax profit falls 57%


"Secured turnover at the end of 2008 was once again at a record level, which, together with a strong pipeline of potential contracts, should ensure continued substantial growth in 2009."

Over the year the company said its labout costs increased by 30% as it boosted its direct labour force.

Dawnus Construction's highest-paid director took home ВЈ178,268 in 2008, with ВЈ21,208 going into the pension pot.