Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Plumber fined after falling joist kills labourer

A plumber has been fined ВЈ10,000 after a labourer was killed after being hit on the head by a steel joist.

The Health and Safety Executive brought the case after Ajet Krasniqi, 24, died when he was hit in Buckhurst Hill, Essex.

His employer, plumber and sole trader Leonard Gibson of Old Park Ridings, London, was yesterday fined ВЈ10,000 at Harlow Magistrates' Court.

Krasniqi had been employed by Gibson as a labourer to help with the complete refurbishment of a domestic property. On 24 October 2006, he was helping to lift a reinforced steel joist with four others when it fell and struck him on the head. Although Krasniqi was taken to hospital he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The HSE has now issued a warning to all sole traders who employ labourers, to do everything possible to minimise the risks when working with heavy materials.


Plumber fined after falling joist kills labourer


HSE Inspector Nicola Surrey said: "This tragic incident could have been prevented if the employer had made sure his workers were not left exposed to unnecessary risks.

"There is plenty of advice and guidance available from the HSE to help people comply with the law and keep workers safe.  However, for those who fall short of the law, the HSE will not hesitate to take action."

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Tenders invited for £23m college building

Welsh colleges Coleg Morgannwg is looking for a contractor to build a new educational building as part of a ВЈ23m deal.

Tonypandy: educational building contstruction

The 18-month contract will see the construction of a 12,500m2 building as well as associated external works and services.

The time limit for the submission of tenders or requests to participate is 6 November.

New Tennessee building code designed to reduce energy wasteTop 5 construction tenders - 8 October 2009

Housing groups invite tenders for £32m maintenance framework

The Plus Dane Group and other social housing providers are seeking contractors for a four-year ВЈ32m housing maintenance framework.

Liverpool: housing maintenance

The four-year deal involves maintaining homes across Cheshire, Staffordshire, Merseyside, and Lancashire.

Up to 10 firms are expected to participate on the framework, which is split into two lots - responsive maintenance and planned maintenance.

The deadline for the submission of tenders or expressions of interest is 19 November.

Jobless rate dips in most of TennesseeTop 5 construction tenders - 8 October 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Plans submitted for £125m Regal Tower in Birmingham - PHOTO

Midlands property developer Regal Property Group has submitted an outline planning application for what could be Birmingham's tallest building, Regal Tower.

Plans submitted for £125m Regal Tower in Birmingham - PHOTO

The ВЈ125m project will be built on a site on the corner of Broad Street and Sheepcote Street.

The 200m-high tower is designed by Aedas Architects.

Regal Tower will be a mixed use development over 56 storeys, including a 289 bed luxury/business hotel, 256 serviced apartments, 3 floors of penthouses set within the 'Crown' at the top of the building and a parade of boutique shops on the ground floor.

The building will also feature a triple height foyer will house a premium bar/restaurant, a 500-person banqueting suite as well as conference & meeting rooms. Other facilities include a Spa & Fitness suite and a double height Sky Bar on the 30th floor, offering view across the city.

Five in the hunt for ВЈ100m Birmingham housing dealNashville files suit to seize 7 properties for convention center

Plans submitted for Tottenham Hotspur stadium - PHOTOS

Tottenham Hotspur Football Club has submitted plans for its new 56,250 capacity stadium to Haringey Council.

The Northumberland Park stadium, designed by KSS, would feature a 63-row single tier stand.

Plans submitted for Tottenham Hotspur stadium - PHOTOS

Plans submitted for Tottenham Hotspur stadium - PHOTOS

The Northumberland Development Project also incorporates leisure facilities, public space and housing as well as the new stadium, and is sited near the club's existing White Hart Lane ground.

Speaking when the plans were unveiled in December las year David Keirle, chairman of KSS, said: "The key driver has been to deliver the best possible fan experience on all levels. We have spent a great deal of time looking at different roof formations. The roof has been designed to focus the noise back onto the crowd and onto the pitch.


Plans submitted for Tottenham Hotspur stadium - PHOTOS


"All seating is enclosed, there are no open corners, so everything is focused back onto the pitch and the acoustics will maximise the impact of the vocal support from fans. The stadium will have a roof that allows us to have four large screens up in the top corners, which means every spectator will be able to see a whole host of information.

"The plans we have produced will result in close proximity for the fans to the pitch."

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SFO hits Amec with £5m civil recovery order

Amec has paid ВЈ5m to the Serious Fraud Office in the form of a Civil Recovery Order after payment irregularities were discovered on one of the firm's PPP projects.

Amec made a referral to the SFO in March 2008 following an internal investigation into the receipt of irregular payments. The payments, which were made between November 2005 and March 2007, were associated with a project in which Amec is a

The SFO determined that unlawful conduct occurred in connection with the description entered into Amec's books and records of the payments in question which amounted to failure to comply with the requirements of section 221 of the Companies Act 1985.

The SFO said that upon completion of the internal investigation Amec acted promptly and responsibly in referring the case and has since co-operated with the SFO’s investigation into the corporate irregularities.


SFO hits Amec with £5m civil recovery order


In a Consent Order agreed before the High Court today, Amec agreed to a settlement payment of ВЈ4,943,648 plus the costs incurred as a result of the Civil Recovery proceedings.

An Amec statement said: "In late 2007 identified certain irregular receipts received between November 2005 and early 2007, amounting to some US$9 million.

"Amec promptly appointed external advisors to carry out an investigation and self-reported the findings to the appropriate authorities, including the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), in March 2008. A subsequent SFO investigation has determined that no proceedings should be commenced against Amec or any of its associated group companies. The SFO has concluded, however, that there was a failure to keep accurate records as required by the companies legislation and that this matter is suitable for civil resolution.

"Amec has agreed to pay the sum of ВЈ4,943,648 in respect of a Civil Recovery Order, plus a contribution towards associated costs, in full and total settlement of this matter. As recognised by the SFO, Amec acted promptly and responsibly in connection with the matter and Amec has co-operated with the SFO throughout the investigation.

"No improper overall commercial advantage accrued to Amec in connection with the receipts and no adjustment is required to any Amec financial statements. These receipts were associated with Amec’s last remaining active PPP project. The division to which it belonged was divested in mid-2007. The project is now complete, ahead of the original schedule.

"Amec is committed to the highest ethical standards. The company’s code of business conduct requires that all its businesses and employees act with integrity at all times and that there is strict compliance with applicable laws. Amec has appointed an independent consultant to review and report upon its existing ethics and compliance programme, to ensure these standards are maintained."


Tennessee’s federal stimulus spending tops $200MPlant hirer Greyhound in administration, 40 job losses

Monday, October 26, 2009

First Olympic building finished

EDF Energy Contracting has completed construction on the first building on the Olympic Park.

The site's new Primary Electrical Substation will supply electricity to the Olympic Park and the Stratford City development.

The substation is located in Kings Yard in the west of the Olympic Park and will distribute electricity across the Olympic Park and Stratford City site through new electrical networks consisting of more than 100km of electrical cabling.

Construction work began in December 2007 and the substation is now operational and will start supplying electricity to the Stratford City site next month, with the Olympic Stadium set to be the first Olympic Park venue to receive electricity early next year.


First Olympic building finished


ODA Director of Utilities and Infrastructure Simon Wright said: "Completing the first building on the Olympic Park site on schedule is a major milestone and shows that we are making good progress not only on the main sporting venues for 2012 but also on the backbone of essential new utilities infrastructure. The electricity substation will serve the lifetime of the 2012 project - powering construction work on the Olympic Park site, serving venues during the Games in 2012, and delivering essential new services for generations to come."

The substation takes power from the upstream 132,000 volt electrical network outside the Olympic Park site. Main transformers within the substation then вЂstep-down’ the power to 11,000 volts so that it can be distributed and used by venues and buildings across the Park and in the Stratford City development.

A clear emphasis was put on the architectural designs of the electrical substation to ensure the structure fit in with the design of the wider Olympic Park. The electrical substation was designed by EDF Energy with specialist support from Andrews Associates for the structural design elements and NORD Architecture (a Glasgow-based practice that won the prestigious Young Architect of the Year Award in 2006) for the external architectural features.

Olympic eye checks start todayWheelchair maker to build new plant in Lebanon

Go-ahead looms for £400m Scottish power line

The go-ahead for a ВЈ400m power line supported by 600 pylons is expected to be given by the Scottish government in the next few weeks.

BBC Scotland said the link from Beauly to Denny will get the green light despite more than 18,000 objections being lodged.

The upgraded power line would connect renewable power projects in the Highlands to the national grid and run from Beauly near Inverness to Denny near Falkirk.

It would carry 400,000 volts (400kV), replacing the existing 132kV line, which runs along a similar route.

Supporters, including Labour and the Green party, say the scheme should be approved to help meet renewable energy commitments.

But concerns have been raised over the impact to landscape of the 200ft pylons and a lack of detail over alternative options.


Go-ahead looms for £400m Scottish power line


The controversial plan has been the subject of a public inquiry and the Scottish government has had that inquiry's report since February.

Labour's leader at Holyrood, Iain Gray MSP, said: "We want to see this upgrade go ahead as quickly as possible and it is disappointing that the SNP have taken far too long to make their mind up.

"Scotland needs a government that will take much bolder action in order to boost our renewable energy sector and tackle climate change emissions."
The Green party's Patrick Harvie told BBC Scotland's Politics Show: "It has taken a very long time to get this decision out, we still haven't heard it and I think that's regrettable. We need to be pressing on and getting the work done."

But Dennis Canavan, former MSP and current president of Ramblers Association Scotland, told the programme: "If it does get the go-ahead then it will be an unacceptable act of vandalism.

"In Scotland we're very blessed, we've got some of the most scenic countryside in the world.

"It's a national asset, it's something that we should be looking after not just for ourselves but for future generations."

Liz Smith, Scottish Conservative MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, said: "There will be many people across our local communities who are extremely concerned about the news that the Scottish Government is going to push ahead with this project.

"There is no doubt about the need for an upgrade to our electricity grid but I have never been convinced that other alternatives, especially upgrading the east coast route or building undersea cables, were properly examined."

A Scottish government spokesman said: "Ministers will make a decision on the Beauly-Denny power line before the end of this year taking into account all relevant factors."

Nissan to offer commercial line in 2010Six new nuclear plants needed by 2030

Carillion joins forces with Eiffage for nuclear work

Carillion has forged an alliance with French company Eiffage to deliver new nuclear power stations in the UK.

Carillion and Eiffage will work together to deliver a new fleet of Pressurised Water Reactors to replace the existing fleet of reactors.

Carillion and Eiffage have worked together previously to deliver projects including the Channel Tunnel and Copenhagen Metro.

Adam Green, Managing Director of Carillion Infrastructure said: "Our complimentary skills, capability and experience makes Carillion Eiffage ideally placed to support clients with their new build programmes.   We share a common approach that builds long-term relationships with our customers".

Jean Guenard, President of Eiffage TP said: "We are at the beginning of what we hope is a long and exciting journey for both organisations.”


Carillion joins forces with Eiffage for nuclear work


Eiffage is one of Europe’s leading construction and concessions groups formed in 1992 through the amalgamation of several companies: Fougerolle (founded 1844), Quillery (founded 1863), Beugnet (founded 1871) and La Societe Auxiliaire d' Enterprises Electriques et de Travaux Publics (founded in 1924), main suppliers to the French nuclear programme.

Recent projects by Eiffage include the Millau Viaduct and the LGV Perpignan-Figueras high-speed railway line due to open in 2009.

Six new nuclear plants needed by 20305 senators may be key in shaping health-care reform

Saturday, October 24, 2009

MoJ shortlists seven consortia for £1.8bn prisons framework

The Ministry of Justice has shortlisted seven consortia to compete on a ВЈ1.8bn framework to design, build and operate five new 1500-place prisons.

The seven lead consortia will now be invited by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) to submit a tender for inclusion on the framework.

The seven consortia are:

G4S/Carillion GEO Group/Balfour Beatty Kalyx/Interserve Mitie/Laing O'Rourke Reliance/Bouygues Serco/Skanska Wates Construction

This news comes after Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw announced plans in April for the first two of five new 1,500 place prisons - one on the site of the former Runwell Secure Psychiatric Hospital in Essex and one at Beam Park West, Dagenham.


MoJ shortlists seven consortia for £1.8bn prisons framework


All the new prisons in the building programme will be privately constructed and operated under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI).
The aim is to create 7,500 new prison places. The duration of the PFI contracts awarded under this framework will range between 20 and 40 years.

Mouchel makes a £13.5m loss and closes rail arm

Terex posts £62m loss in third quarter

Terex made a ВЈ62.1m net loss in the third quarter compared with a profit of ВЈ56.5m for the same period last year on sales around half the 2008 level at ВЈ739m.

Sales in the construction sector were down by 56% with the division making an operating loss of almost ВЈ36m and sales of aerial work platforms were hit even harder registering a 66% drop with the business losing ВЈ30m. The materials processing and mining division saw sales fall by 49% but made an operating profit of ВЈ3.25m while the cranes business fared relatively well suffering a downturn of only 38% to record a profit of ВЈ7.23m.

“This was a disappointing quarter but we feel that we are turning the corner to better performance,” said Ron DeFeo, Terex chairman and chief executive officer. He said virtually no part of the business was unscathed but believes certain markets have stabilized and there even a few signs of growth.

First Horizon loss narrowsHaulotte’s sales: lower but stable

Friday, October 23, 2009

Plumber wins job in Antarctic

Plumber Mark Green has beaten 2,000 rivals to win his dream job working next to the South Pole at the Halley research station.

Green is joining the British Antarctic Survey on the Bunt Ice Shelf to maintain their heating, water and loos 800 miles from the South Pole.

He flies out to start the 15 month contract on November 10 leaving behind his wife Anna and son Jake in Bristol.

Green told the Daily Mirror: "I just can't wait. The farthest I've been before is Spain. But when I heard of this job on the radio I knew I'd always regret it if I didn't have a go."
Apart from 10 scientists and 42 other support staff - picked from record number of credit crunch work-seekers - his closest neighbours will be emperor penguins as he works on pipes in shafts up to 20 metres below the two-metre snow.

The British Antarctic Survey has been researching the icy continent for more than 60 years and has 400 staff and three stations there.

Bethel University nursing program wins full approvalMillionaire plumber boss goes undercover on site for Channel 4

Crane driver paralysed in accident

It has been confirmed that Iain Gillham, driver of the tower crane which collapsed on a Bowmer & Kirkland site Liverpool in July, will never walk again.

Until last week doctors were unsure of the long term effect of Gillham injuries, which included a fractured skull and a fractured spine, but have now confirmed he is paralysed from the waist down. Gillham, who is employed by the crane’s owner HTC, was in intensive care for four and a half weeks following the accident. 

He told the BBC he has no recollection of the incident in which he was thrown from the cab of the 60m high Wolff 500 tower crane and was rescued from the debris of a block of flats partially demolished by the crane’s counterweight.


Crane driver paralysed in accident


HTC’s group safety director David Faulds told CJ the company would strive to find Gillham work for when he is fit enough to return and confirmed that he has remained on full pay since the accident happened. “Unfortunately he can’t go back to crane driving but we will endeavour to keep him, perhaps as a trainer, although that decision will have to be made in consultation with him when he’s ready to return,” said Faulds.

The HSE’s investigation into the cause of the accident is concentrating on the lower tower sections and the foundations. 


PHOTOS: Viewing platform at Royal Shakespeare Theatre craned into positionNashville files suit to seize 7 properties for convention center

Leeds council seeks compensation from bid-riggers

Leeds Council is to seek compensation from contractors found guilty of bid-rigging, it has confirmed.

The council wrote to firms last week asking to be compensated following the Office of Fair Trading's (OFT) investigation.

Companies named by the Office of Fair Trading as being engaged in cover pricing in the Leeds area include Caddick, Carillion, Henry Boot, P Casey and Strata.

But the council declined to reveal which firms it has written to.

A statement from the authority said that in addition to seeking compensation it would consider "further courses of action should it prove necessary".

Barristers back blacklist class actionNashville council delays decision on buying land for West police precinct

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Haulotte's sales: lower but stable

Access and telehandler manufacturer Haulotte Group had reported third quarter sales of £44.1m – almost 60% below the £107m figure reported in the same period last year. However, the company said activity has stabilised at around £45m per quarter since the beginning of the fiscal year 2009.

In the year to the end of September, Haulotte’s revenue was £134.5m (£341.5m) with European sales down by almost 70% to £94m although North America has seen a 40% increase to £23m (with £15.3m from BilJax).

It said customers’ wait and see strategy regarding investment and the limitation in obtaining finance are unlikely to result in recovery by the end of 2009.

Heywood Williams set for administrationFirst Horizon loss narrows

Pay freeze for H&V workers

Thousands of heating and ventilating workers have agreed to a pay freeze this year.

Leaders of the HVCA struck the deal with union Unite today which will see no pay increases until October 2010 when hourly rates will go up 2%.

Peter Rimmer, head of the HVCA’s Employment Affairs Department said: "This agreement acknowledges the considerably more difficult circumstances – in terms of workload, profit margins and payment security – under which building services engineering is currently operating compared with 12 or 18 months ago.

"Given that it is unlikely that prospects for the sector will improve significantly during 2010, it is crucial that employers run as a tight a ship as possible.

"The agreement concluded with Unite will ensure that labour costs are kept in check – to the long-term benefit of all."


Pay freeze for H&V workers


In October 2010, employers will also become liable under the agreement to pay a pension contribution of 1% of basic earnings above the primary earnings threshold.

The deal compares starkly with the last three-year pay package agreed by both sides in 2006 which saw increases in hourly rates of: 3.5% from ВЈ10 to ВЈ10.35 from 6 November 2006; a further 3.5% increase to ВЈ10.73 from 3 September 2007; and 4% increase to ВЈ11.16 from 6 October 2008.


Barristers back blacklist class actionNew jobless claims rise more than expected to 531,000

Plant hirer Greyhound in administration, 40 job losses

Shropshire-based Incasep, which trades as Greyhound Plant Services, has gone into administration with 40 of its staff being made redundant.

Administrator Begbies Traynor said the plant hirer and civil engineering contractor is continuining to trade, and that it would attempt to sell the business as a going concern.

The admininstrator said it was in discussion with creditors, but did not yet know the level of creditor debt.

Greyhound Plant Services was formed in 1982 and has a turnover of approximately ВЈ20m a year.

Its main areas of operation are plant hire, civil engineering, training, and plant sales.

Greyhound, which has a 450-strong plant fleet, hires kit across the UK and Europe.





LDV assets sold to Chinese company800 hard at work building VW plant

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Six new nuclear plants needed by 2030

Business leaders are warning that at least six new nuclear plants must be built by 2030 or the UK could miss its climate change targets and run out of energy.

The CBI said 16GW of new nuclear capacity will need to be built to shift the UK's energy system to a low-carbon model.

That equates to 10-12 reactors, based at 6-10 new plants, which would be built on existing nuclear sites. The CBI is also warning that without a significant shift in current energy policy, the private sector will not be able to build the new infrastructure required.

Launching a new report today (Wednesday) called 'Forging  a Nuclear Renaissance: Making new nuclear a reality', the CBI reiterated its call for change in the existing policy that is subsidising investments in renewable energy at the expense of other more cost-effective low-carbon sources, including nuclear power.


Six new nuclear plants needed by 2030


Dr Neil Bentley, CBI Director of Business Environment, said: "With most existing nuclear plants due to close within ten years, we urgently need new reactors to come on stream.

"Nuclear power can play a key role in cutting carbon emissions and bolstering energy security. It needs to be part of a broad-based energy mix that includes wind and other renewable sources, gas and clean coal.

"The forthcoming national planning statements should deliver a firm commitment to building new nuclear power by identifying enough sites to accommodate the scale of new reactors that will be needed. Meanwhile, the new Infrastructure Planning Commission should hit the ground running and take steps to speed up the planning regime, so firms can invest in new energy projects with confidence."

In the report the CBI sets out key recommendations to the government. It says it should:

publish National Policy Statements for new nuclear build as quickly as possible.

set up a joint government-industry task force to explore whether an additional market mechanism is needed to incentivise the volume of low-carbon generation that must be built.

deliver a long-term nuclear waste solution for the UK.

provide support for companies involved in the nuclear supply chain.

New Tennessee building code designed to reduce energy wasteLovell wins £4m housing job

£120m maintenance deal up for grabs in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Council is advertising for three contractors to take on facilities management across its portfolio.

The ВЈ120m four year framework includes regular maintenance, inspection and testing of council buildings alongside reactive repairs.

Works under the framework agreement are likely to be split geographically or on a building function basis, although alternatives can be discussed.

The deadline for requests to tender is 20 Novermber.

Click here for the full OJEU.

Ford, UAW reach tentative labor dealTop 5 construction tenders - 8 October 2009

Barristers back blacklist class action

A team of top solicitors and barristers has been put together to launch a class action against contractors caught using blacklists to vet workers.

Workers denied starts on site are now being encouraged to come forward and join the legal fight by north London solicitor Guney Clark Ryan.

The firm has already taken advice from barristers and believes it has a strong case to launch a compensation claim on behalf of more than 3,000 workers affected by the blacklist.

Solicitor Sean Curran said: "We are at an advanced stage with this and have engaged a large legal team of three barristers.

"If there is the right amount of people affected who come forward then we will seriously consider acting for them on a class action. I'm not sure about the number, but we are not talking a massive amount of people - we don't need thousands."


Barristers back blacklist class action


The legal firm has been liaising closely with leaders of the Blacklist Support Group, which is campaigning for justice for blacklist victims.

Curran said: "The support group is doing a great job of keeping the issue in the spotlight and getting questions raised in Parliament.

"We believe people have lost out financially because of the blacklist and that's not fair."

The costs of any successful claim are expected to be covered by indemnity insurance. Construction union Ucatt is also asking blacklist victims to come forward to see if they have a potential claim against contractors who turned them down for work.

The authorities have also decided that all blacklisting tribunal cases will be held in Manchester.

One blacklisted worker said: "This could be a real show trial, with all the building employers caught up in this in the dock."

How much will workers claim?

The value of a class action for compensation could run into millions. One blacklisted builder told CJ how much the campaign has cost him.

He said: "In the years before the blacklisting was really obvious, I was earning around ВЈ30,000 as a qualified engineer. The blacklisting became really vicious for me in 1998-2001 when I was denied a lot of work.

In 1999-2000, I only earned ВЈ12,000 which was during the construction boom for all the Millennium projects. Lots of people were coining it in while my kids were on milk tokens!

By late 2001, I had to leave the industry and got a job education on ВЈ19,000. Wages in the industry went up big time from 2001 to 2008. Friends and family still working in construction were earning 50k-plus during the boom and if I had been able to stay in the industry and carried on a normal career path for an engineer into project management, I would expect to have earned that sort of money as well.

I am currently on ВЈ35,0000 - pretty much what an engineer would have expected to earn in 2001. My claim is therefore 10 years at approx 15kpa so - ВЈ150,000 in total."

TN starts giving swine flu vaccine to health-care workersMandelson urged to strengthen blacklist law

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Heywood Williams set for administration

Around 1,000 jobs are at risk at Yorkshire-based building products giant Heywood Williams, following news it is set to enter administration.

The move came after shareholders this morning rejected plans for a ВЈ21m debt-for-equity swap the company agreed with its banking syndicate earlier this month.

The plan would have left the banks and board members holding 80% of the company, executive board members and some senior management 10%, and existing shareholders just 10%.

But shareholders, including entrepreneur and investor Paul Bell, who has built up a 27% stake in the company, opposed the deal.

Bell, who described the plan as "outrageous", told the Daily Mail earlier this month: "The management team responsible for the mess the company is now in are delivering absolute control into the hands of the banks and being rewarded with a 10% stake in the business and the right to keep their overpaid jobs. I would rather kiss my shareholding goodbye than see this deal go through."


Heywood Williams set for administration


This morning at a shareholders' meeting, Bell got his way when shareholders voted against the restructuring proposal.

Shares in the firm have subsequently been suspended and the company has announced that it will go to court to appoint administrators. No administrator has yet been appointed.

A spokesman for the business said: "The company's shares have been suspended and they are taking steps to secure the future of those 1,000 jobs."

Around 80% of Heywood Williams’ sales are branded building products for home improvement and residential new build market segments across Europe and North America.

The company warned at the start of this year that 2009 would be more difficult than in the previous year.

In 2008, Heywood’s total sales were down 13% to £220m.

Five in the hunt for ВЈ100m Birmingham housing dealNew figures on jobs validate stimulus

Lovell wins £4m housing job

Lovell has won a contract to build a ВЈ4.23m housing development for Midland Heart in Winson Green, Birmingham.

The development on Bacchus Road will consist of 18 two-bedroom apartments and 23 two-, three- and four-bedroom houses.

The award follows Lovell's appointment to the Midland Heart new-build contractor framework for housing projects valued between ВЈ2m and ВЈ10m earlier this year.

Midland Heart acquired the former Birmingham City Council depot site in April 2006. The 41–home development will be built to Level Three of the Code of Sustainable Homes.

David Gough, Lovell commercial manager in the Midlands, commented: “We’re excited to be appointed our first scheme working with Midland Heart as a member of the group’s contractor framework.

“We look forward to delivering this energy-efficient new housing which will help address the need for new high-quality affordable housing in Birmingham.”

Five in the hunt for ВЈ100m Birmingham housing dealNashville files suit to seize 7 properties for convention center

Balfour Beatty bags US military work

Balfour Beatt has won a ВЈ273m haul of contracts in the US, the majority of which are with the US military.

The construction and engineering contractor announced details of $449m of new contracts in the US states of Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas and North Carolina.

The contracts included the renovation and construction of barracks and the building of a new dormitory.

Balfour Beatty Construction US has also won some contracts with non-military clients, including the design and build of the Hays County Government Complex in Texas, plus a contract relating to the construction of a school of nursing at North Carolina Central University in Raleigh.

New figures on jobs validate stimulusBalfour Beatty confirmed on £20.9m roads job

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Man killed on Morris & Spottiswood site

A steel erector has been killed on a Morris & Spottiswood site in Murano Street in Glasgow.

The man, named as 31-year-old Daniel Hurley, was crushed by a steel-framed building as it collapsed at around 0835 this morning, according to Strathclyde Police.

Emergency services arrived and transferred Hurley to Glasgow Wester Infirmary but he died on arrival.

Police said that a post mortem examination would take place "in due course" to establish the exact cause of death. In the meantime a report has been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will carry out a full enquiry.

Hurley's relatives have been informed of the accident.

Glasgow-based Morris & Spottiswood is currently building 140 new homes at the site, as part of a ВЈ17m for Queens Cross Housing Association.


Man killed on Morris & Spottiswood site


The scheme will see the construction of 32 four-storey flats for rent, scheduled to be completed by the summer 2010.

A Morris & Spottiswood spokeswoman confirmed that the accident had taken place at the site. The company is set to release a statement.

22 construction workers killed in Indian chimney collapseProperty owners snub Nashville’s offers for convention center land

Olympic eye checks start today

Biometric hand and iris scanners have been installed for construction workers to beef-up security at the Olympic Park site.

Work is now underway on all permanent venues and enhanced access controls are being phased in to improve security among the 4500-strong workforce.

ODA Chairman John Armitt said: "As the Big Build accelerates we are phasing in robust plans to ensure the security and safety of both the Olympic Park workforce and the surrounding communities.

"Access controls utilising the latest technology will enable properly authorised, equipped and trained workers to enter and leave the Olympic Park as quickly and safely as possible"

Tessa Jowell, Olympics Minister, said: "The UK has years of experience in both tackling terrorism and hosting major sporting and cultural events. Ensuring the construction phase of the Games is safe and secure is a key part of our preparations for London 2012.


Olympic eye checks start today


"We are using cutting edge technology to make sure that as activity on the site increases, the workforce and infrastructure continue to be protected without affecting progress."

Olympic Park safety and security measures include:

Since the start of construction a universal enrolment process including UK Border Agency representatives checking documentation to ensure workers on the site have the legal right to do so and valid health and safety accreditation.

Hand scanners providing biometric access control, alongside photographic smart cards, for up to 5000 workers an hour at peak. Iris scanning and access is also available as an alternative system where required.

A security guarding contractor employing and training local people to provide long term career opportunities.

The replacement of the temporary hoardings with a more substantial perimeter fence that is substantially complete.

On site searching and screening at entry and exit points as well as off site searching and screening of vehicle deliveries.

Phased in coordinated CCTV and supporting perimeter security systems.

A dedicated police team at the Olympic Park which is liaising with on-site staff and contractors as well as the local communities.

Olympic roads logistics centres go liveWorkers’ fears hinder unions

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Scaffolder suffers massive burns from 66,000 volt power line

A scaffolder suffered burns to 52% of his body and had to have his heart re-started when a pole he was carrying hit a 66,000 volt overhead power line.

Manor Homes (Midlands) Ltd and G. Wright Scaffolding of Redditch were fined a total of ВЈ18,000 by Redditch magistartes yesterday after pleading guilty to safet charges following the accident in November 2007.

The court heard how three workers arrived at the site at Callow Hill Lane, Redditch to dismantle scaffolding. The injured man Ian Maxwell, 39, from Redditch, was removing a 6 metre guard rail, 4 metres above the ground, when it made contact with the 66,000 volt overhead cable.

The worker was removed from the scaffold platform by firemen and flown to hospital where he was treated for serious burns and other injuries.


Scaffolder suffers massive burns from 66,000 volt power line


The electricity cable was charred at the point of contact, while the galvanised steel tube also had drips of zinc along its length where it had melted.

HSE inspector Tariq Khan said: "Mr Maxwell is very lucky to be alive. He was let down by a system of work that failed to take account of the danger posed by the live overhead cables. Work close to overhead cables should be avoided but where this is unavoidable then a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks needs to be carried out and a safe system of work devised with the assistance of the owners of the electricity cables. 

"Electricity can also arc or вЂflashover’ small distances, so direct contact with electricity cables is not always necessary to result in an incident.

"This case should act as a warning to all those who have to work close to live cables such as those in agriculture, construction and quarrying where scaffold poles, vehicles and cranes are operated."

Morgan Est named preferred partner on ВЈ500m infrastructure schemeWorkers distinguish themselves with enthusiasm

LDV assets sold to Chinese company

All the assets of failed van maker LDV have been sold to a Chinese firm Eco Concept by the administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers. Eco Concept is headed by Dr Qu Li the former consultant to MG Rover.

The administrator said Eco Concept intends to relocate the assets from the current site in Washwood Heath, Birmingham and most industry watchers expect production to be transferred to China.

LDV has not produced vans since Christmas and went into administration in June when its Russian owner GAZ decided not to inject more working capital into the plant which employed around 800 workers.

Gov. Bredesen leads second mission to ChinaFive in the hunt for ВЈ100m Birmingham housing deal

Highways maintenance costs rise above inflation

The cost of planned road maintenance has risen by 11% above inflation since the introduction of Managing Agent Contractor (MAC) maintenance contracts, according to a National Audit Office (NAO) report.

It estimates road resurfacing accounts for 70% of the increase while the Highways Agency (HA) believes this spend has increased 17% but the NAO said a lack of management information makes precise analysis impossible. It said the HA had not benchmarked the unit costs of tasks such as resurfacing and does not have enough information or analysis of the continuing condition of assets to drive down the whole life costs of planned maintenance.

According to the NAO, the introduction of MACs (which make the contractor responsible for the design and delivery of road maintenance in a defined area for four or five years) in 2001 has led to some improvements in quality and delivery to budget of maintenance on England’s motorways and trunk roads.


Highways maintenance costs rise above inflation


However, the report identified shortcomings in the way the HA manages these contracts. It said: “The Agency has focused on checking that the private companies are complying with the contractual requirements rather than the costs or the quality of the work done.”

It said the HA is only just beginning to establish unit costs of items within jobs, so it can challenge contractors’ costings and establish benchmarks for continuous improvement. The report also highlighted a diminishing number of HA staff with the skills to manage MAC contracts as it has lost more than 50 engineering staff over the past five years and at the time of the review it only had four quantity surveyors.

May Gurney lives up to expectationsSchool fees, health costs cancel fall in other prices

Friday, October 16, 2009

May Gurney takes £85m waste deal

May Gurney has won an ВЈ85m waste deal for North Somerset Council.

The new contracts begin in March 2010 and include recycling, waste collection, and the management of the Council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) for over 204,000 rural and urban residents in North Somerset. The contracts run for an initial 7 years with up to 7 further years of extensions available.

Philip Fellowes-Prynne, chief executive of May Gurney, said: "We are delighted to have been selected as preferred bidder by North Somerset Council for this significant long-term contract for the delivery of essential front-line services.

"The Council appointed us because of our ability to truly transform their recycling and waste services – they have called it a вЂrecycling revolution’ – to deliver long-term environmental benefits and value for money. This new contract consolidates our established position at the forefront of innovative service provision that is focused on reducing the amount of waste going to landfill and extracting the maximum value from recycled materials. Our approach is in total accord with the Government’s recently announced initiatives to make Britain a zero waste nation. May Gurney now delivers similar services to 17 local authorities, covering 1.5 million households across the UK”.

May Gurney lives up to expectationsNashville-based prison operator CCA will get new CEO

Official:Victoria station revamp delayed

London Mayor Boris Johnson confirmed today that the ВЈ695m revamp of Victoria Station will be delayed by at least a year with construction work now due to be finished by 2018 at the earliest.

The move is due to be rubber-stamped by the Transport for London board next week alongside plans to defer by three years all remaining former Metronet Tube station renewals.

TfL is facing a funding crisis in the wake of the collapse of Metronet and a fall in commuters caused by the recession which prompted the Mayor to announce a package of fare rises today.

Johnson said: "Nobody wants to make an announcement like this, especially when Londoners are feeling the effects of the recession.

"With this package we can go forward to deliver the vital improvements that Londoners deserve - including Crossrail, the upgrade of eight Tube lines, new trains, the cycling revolution, and a host of other improvements ahead of the 2012 Games.


Victoria station revamp delayed


"I know that Londoners value hugely the expansion of, and improvements to, the buses and Tube and the free or concessionary fares available for many passengers. I share that view. Yet it is now clear to everyone that the era of ever-rising funding from the taxpayer is now firmly at an end."

TfL secures £1bn Crossrail loan dealPeople heed recession’s money lessons

More redundancies at Portakabin

Portakabin is making another round of redundancies with up to 75 jobs set to go at the modular building specialist.

Bosses at Huntington-based Portakabin have confirmed to The Press in York they are set to make their second wave of redundancies this year.

The plant’s 600-plus staff discovered this week their positions are under threat and a 30-day consultation process is now under way.

The news comes after Portakabin announced 80 redundancies earlier this year, shortly after part of its workforce downed tools for an early and enforced Christmas holiday as the firm drew up a plan of action to combat its problems.

One worker told The Press: "We had a feeling something was wrong and the company was struggling for orders, but now everybody is going to be completely on edge towards Christmas because nobody knows yet where these jobs are going to go.


More redundancies at Portakabin


"People have got young families and now they’ll be left wondering whether their jobs will survive.

"Managers have told us the economic climate is still bad and they can’t see it getting better for quite a while – the work hasn’t been coming in at all, so it’s a question of whether this will mostly affect office staff or the workers on the manufacturing side.

"While some of us almost expected another round of cuts, there is a lot of fear around now it’s been announced and the atmosphere is terrible – we’re all on tenterhooks yet again."

Portakabin - which is owned by Shepherd Group - employs around 1,300 people across the UK and Europe, but the hub of the family-owned operation is at Huntington.

A spokesman for the company said: "The recession has caused a significant downturn in most sectors of the UK economy and consequently in modular building opportunities, as well as in the wider traditional construction market. These trading conditions are likely to continue for some time and we have had to take further steps to reduce costs which will potentially lead to a redundancy programme, with up to 75 positions affected.

"The consultation period has commenced with effect from October 14."

Halcrow set to cut 270 jobsAccounting, finance jobs becoming available in Nashville

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tories see future for PFI in drive towards Zero Waste Society

Both PFI and the waste industry appear to have a good future should the Tories win the next election, judging by comments from Nick Herbert, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Addressing a JCB вЂWaste Day’, Herbert said the Tories would target commercial and industrial waste in its drive towards a вЂzero waste society’ and highlighted PFI projects as already helping to create the necessary infrastructure.

Herbert wants to shift the recycling emphasis from municipal waste, which accounts for less than 10% of total waste, to industrial and commercial which accounts for a quarter –or 75 million tonnes. He said the right framework has to be created to encourage industry to recycle more and his party supported the landfill escalator which will see the cost of putting waste into landfill rise to ВЈ48/t by 2010/11.   ADVERTISEMENT

Tories see future for PFI in drive towards Zero Waste Society


He also wants incentives to encourage communities to accept waste reprocessing installations, such as cheaper electricity from a local waste-to-power plant, and is examining how the planning process could be streamlined, and cited the ВЈ700m PFI-funded energy to waste project in Greater Manchester. He is also examining what reprocessing technology is available and the market for reprocessed material.

JCB calculates that in order to meet the Governments recycling target, the waste industry will need to grown from its current £12bn to £30bn by 2025. James Richardson, JCB’s general manager for waste, recycling and demolition said the company’s Wastemaster range has the widest spread of machines (including excavators, wheel loaders, telehandlers, skid steers and ADTs) specially adapted to work in the waste industry.

Viridor buys London RecyclingNew Tennessee building code designed to reduce energy waste

Faithdean sees turnover drop after Samsara Group sale

London-based construction firm Faithdean has seen its turnover fall to ВЈ76m following the sale of consultancy and FM firm Samsara Group.

The contractor, which also specialises in insurance claim-related refurbishment, storage installation and flooring supplies, saw its pre-tax profit fall by 32% to ВЈ5.4m.

But Faithdean said that it had had "a successful year of trading given the poor economic climate towards the end of 2008 that has carried on throughout 2009."

The firm added that the disposal of Samsara hid a trend which showed that turnover for continuing operations had increased rom ВЈ65m in 2008 to ВЈ76m in 2009.

Operating profit on continuing operations was also up from ВЈ2.3m in 2008 to ВЈ2.9m in 2009.

But the company had a less optimistic outlook for 2010: "For 2010 year end the expectation is now that turnover will be lower than that for 2009 and the group will report a small net profit," a company statement said.

Freyssinet to be ‘more selective’ in turnoverNashville business people

12 reasons why an adjudicator’s decision may fail

For firms involved in construction disputes, having an adjudicator decide in their faviour may seem an ideal outcome. However an adjudicator’s decision does not necessarily mean the other party will pay up – indeed, in some cases they may not have to. Steven Bate explains how firms can legitimately resist paying вЂ“ and what claimants can do to safeguard their rights.

1. No construction contract

If the contract is a proper construction contract under the Housing Grants Construction and Regeneration Act 1996, then it contains implied terms permitting adjudication. If it is not a proper construction contract under the Act, the courts will not enforce an adjudicator’s decision - unless there are standalone and effective provisions within it which allow adjudication.


12 reasons why an adjudicator’s decision may fail


To be a construction contract it must, amongst other things, provide for the carrying out of construction operations and must not be excluded. For example, the head contract in a PFI deal is not a construction contract and neither is a contract for the extraction of oil or natural gas.

Check that the construction contract is covered by the Act or draft in a standalone set of adjudication rules.2. Terms not all in writing

If all of the terms of a contract are not in writing, then again it does not count as a construction contract for the purposes of the Act. If this is the case, again the courts will not be able to enforce an adjudicator’s decision unless there is an effective standalone set of adjudication rules within it.

Make sure all of your terms and conditions are in writing – this is good practice anyway. Check the correspondence as all of the terms and conditions may be in writing if the correspondence gave rise to a contract.3. Using the wrong rules

This is particularly a problem for sub-contractors whose sub-contracts are вЂback to back’ with the main contract. In this case the subcontract usually contains a term that deems that the sub-contractor has seen the main contract and is bound by its conditions. Subcontractors often never see the main contract and may not realise that the provisions within it are different to those in the subcontract or implied by the Act. If the subcontractor starts adjudication under rules that are not in the main contract the courts will not enforce.

Before you sign the sub-contract check the main contract - this is good practice anyway. Before starting adjudication ask the main contractor for a copy of the main contract or at least the parts of it that refer to adjudication.  Then you can ensure the correct adjudication rules are used or cite any refusal by the main contractor in any subsequent court proceedings.4. Adjudicator bias

If there is a real risk that the adjudicator was biased, the courts will not enforce.

Choose an adjudicator from a well respected nominating body which will have properly trained its adjudicators – both at the contract drafting stage and at the nomination stage. Ask the nominating body to ignore any individuals that you do not believe to be reputable or unbiased. If the adjudicator starts to display bias stop the adjudication and start again - as long as you do not get to the decision stage. There will be wasted costs, but not as many as if you went all the way to enforcement and lost.5. Unfair procedures

If the adjudicator fails to give each side a fair crack at the whip for putting their case forward or if he fails to give them the chance to comment on his findings - classically, doing his own delay analysis - then the courts will not enforce.

If the other side raises this issue and asks for an extension, agree it. Do not try too hard to ambush the other side – it can backfire. Do not overload the adjudicator or the other side with documents, unless they are absolutely necessary.6. Adjudicator oversteps the mark

As long as the adjudicator answers the right question – in other words, stays within the bounds of the question put to him for resolution - then his decision is enforceable, even if he makes a complete hash of it. If the adjudicator answers a question that was not put to him or otherwise exceeds the bounds of his jurisdiction then the courts will not enforce.

Draft your notice of adjudication very carefully to make sure that you are asking the right question - the question that you want an answer to. If you realise that the adjudicator might be going off track, stop the adjudication and start again - as long as you have not reached the decision stage.7. Winner’s financial position

If the вЂwinning party’ is impoverished then the courts may order that the enforcement be postponed. If this happens, the losing side will usually have to pay the amount into a specially designated court bank account where it will sit until the dispute is resolved.  Usually it is possible to then negotiate the release of these funds for a discount.

If you are the winning party, gather together evidence that shows that you would be able to repay the money if subsequent decisions went against you.8. No formal dispute

If at the time that the adjudication is started the other side has not had the chance to respond, or has indicated that it needs more information, then a dispute may not have вЂcrystallised’. Often this is the case with interim payment disputes where the creditor wants to start an adjudication before the final date for payment. In these circumstances the court will not enforce a decision and adjudicators have been known to resign once this is pointed out.

Wait until any relevant deadlines have passed. Check the contract.9. More than one decision

If there is a series of disputes under the same contract, for example for subsequent interim applications for payment, then it may be possible to ask the court to refrain from enforcing an earlier decision because a later decision may be set off against it.

Check with your advisers as the law on this point is still developing.10. Wrong adjudicator

The contract may specify the identity of the adjudicator or which body is to nominate him.  In some cases where the parties have appointed the wrong adjudicator or nominating body - in one case the body named did not even exist - the courts have refused to enforce. There have also been problems where a named adjudicator has died.

Check that any specified individual adjudicator is alive, well and likely to remain so. Check that the adjudicator nominating body exists.  If it does not then you should be able to choose your own adjudicator nominating body.11. Decision is delayed

The Act provides for a tight timescale of 28 days from the referral notice for the adjudicator to publish his decision, although this may be extended by the parties.  If the adjudicator fails to publish his decision within this or any extended timescale the courts may refuse to enforce.

If the adjudicator wants more time, give it to him, providing you can get the other side’s agreement if the extension takes the timescale over 42 days from the referral notice.12. Previous judgment exists

If another adjudicator has already given his decision on a dispute then the courts cannot enforce.

Draft your notice of adjudication and referral notice very carefully, so as to give maximum scope of being able to separately refer the disputes that may arise. Carefully draft any subsequent adjudication notice or referral to make it clear that it is not the same dispute as a previous adjudication.

Steven Bate is a construction and engineering partner with law firm DWF and a specialist in adjudication. Earlier this month, DWF launched the first 'no win, no fee' service for construction.

Renters help fill unsold Nashville condosShepherd and McAlpine in payment bust-up

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mandelson urged to strengthen blacklist law

Industry activists are launching a last minute lobbying campaign to beef-up anti-blacklisting laws as new legislation is set to go through Parliament.

Contract Journal understands that the new regulations are due to be published as a Statutory Instrument within the next few days.

The process means there will be limited or no debate in Parliament and the regulations will go through automatically.

One campaigner said: "This could be our last change to get the legislation strengthened and we are urging everyone to get in touch with their MPs and ask them to put pressure on Peter Mandelson who is behind this move.

"Mandelson said he would stamp out blacklisting but the plans don't go far enough.


Mandelson urged to strengthen blacklist law


"They don't make it a criminal offence and fail to uphold workers' human rights under European charters.

"They don't give workers the right not to be blacklisted and only cover blacklisting for trade union activities.

"These regulations need to go further so we need people to take action now before everything is just nodded through Parliament."

Mandelson launched a consultation on new blacklisting regulations in the wake of the Consulting Association scandal which saw a blacklist held on thousands of construction workers.

He said: "Blacklisting someone because they are a member of a trade union is totally unacceptable.

"I am determined to act quickly to stamp out this despicable practice."

The planned proposals make it:

unlawful for organisations to refuse employment or sack individuals as a result of appearing on a blacklist
unlawful for employment agencies to refuse to provide a service on the basis of appearing on a blacklist and

enable individuals or unions to pursue compensation or solicit action against those who compile, distribute or use blacklists.

Prison call for blacklistersWorkers’ fears hinder unions

Concrete replaces steel on fiscal stimulus scheme

A road improvement scheme to replace steel central reservations with concrete barriers has been brought forward by the Highways Agency under the government's fiscal stimulus programme.

Work starts later this month on the ВЈ6m safety and resurfacing scheme along the M6 in Greater Manchester between junctions 26 and 27.

The project straddles Area 10 and 13 where the Aone+ consortium of Halcrow/Colas/Costain and AmeyMouchel are resident contractors.

An agency statement said: "The project includes replacing the steel central reservation barrier with a safer, concrete barrier.  The new barriers are stronger and more robust – reducing the risk of vehicles involved in accidents crossing from one side of the motorway to the other and improving the safety of road users and road workers.  The barriers are also unlikely to require repairs after vehicle impact."ADVERTISEMENT

Concrete replaces steel on fiscal stimulus scheme

Upgraded verge safety barriers, improved lighting and better protection for bridges over the carriageway will also be part of the job.

Transport Minister Chris Mole said: "These improvements will mean safer journeys for motorists using this stretch of the M6.

"The Government is committed to вЂBuilding Britain’s Future’ and bringing forward infrastructure investment wherever possible to help stimulate the economy. 

"Fiscal stimulus funding from the Department for Transport will enable the Highways Agency to deliver £400m of accelerated works this financial year with the M6 near Wigan just one part of the North West’s motorway and trunk road network to benefit."

Safety revamp after Balfour/Carillion bridge fallRent increase, lack of sprinklers irk tenants at Nashville apartments for retirees

HCA releases more Kickstart cash

The Homes and Communities Agency has released another ВЈ51m of Kickstart Programme funding in the second wave of schemes to be unlocked through round one of the Kickstart Programme.

This cash will allow work to continue at 27 housing schemes across the country and comes on the back of ВЈ10.2m Kickstart money awarded by the HCA in September to unlock almost 750 affordable and market sale homes, across 10 schemes.

The total number of homes released through Kickstart now stands at 2,750 across 37 schemes with an investment of over ВЈ60m, according to the government.

Sir Bob Kerslake, chief executive of the Homes and Communities Agency said: “This latest Kickstart money combined with funding through our standard affordable housing programme puts us in an ever stronger position for delivery of much needed new homes.

“As a result thousands more people will have a new quality home at a rent they can afford, or will be helped to take the first steps into home ownership.”

$650,000 in grants to help fund affordable housing in Middle TNTories vow to cut HCA spending

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Balfour Beatty confirmed on £20.9m roads job

Balfour Beatty has been confirmed as the winner of a ВЈ20.9m roads job for the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton.

The deal will see Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering design and build a single carriageway link road between Switch Island Junction and the A565 Thornton.

Nissan’s Smyrna plant to use methanol to cut costsBalfour set to buy Parsons Brinckerhoff for £380m

Crossrail invites bids for tunnelling academy

Crossrail is pressing ahead with plans to build a dedicated tunnelling academy in Ilford, east London.

UK-London: training facilities

Contractors have until the end of the month to prequalify for the 10-month contract to design and build the tunnelling training academy. The job also requires the successful firm to install training equipment.

Bidders will need to demonstrate an annual turnover of at least ВЈ20 million for the previous three financial years.

The academy is expected to train some 1,000 people between now and 2015, providing the skills necessary for work in a variety of tunnelling roles.

Crossrail invites bids for tunnels at landmark London stationsTerror probe puts stadiums, hotels on alert

Connaught pre-tax profit up 38%

Social housing contractor Connaught has boosted pre-tax profit 38% rise and is still confident it can grow further.

Pre-tax profit hit ВЈ42.5m for the year to 31 August 2009, up from ВЈ30.7m in the previous year.

Meanwhile revenue climbed 19% to ВЈ660m. Its orderbook was also up slightly to ВЈ2.8bn, compared to ВЈ2.6bn in the previous year.

The group said it was "well positioned in attractive markets which are large and defensive."

Chairman Mark Tincknell said: “The majority of our services are either non discretionary or essential in nature and we are therefore much less susceptible to changes in government spending and the economic cycle.”

Hochtief pre-tax profit falls 11%GM to increase output at factories in Michigan, Indiana, Kansas

Consultants paid £3.5m for abandoned Maze stadium

Consultants including Mott MacDonald were paid more than ВЈ3m in fees for work on an abandoned stadium project on the site of the former Maze prison in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) paid planning consultants ВЈ3.5m in fees for the project in the past three years, according to the BBC.

A Belfast advertising firm was paid more than ВЈ10,000 for advice on the naming rights for the stadium, despite work never having started.

Sinn Fein and the SDLP, who supported the project, have attacked the costs.

A proposal to build a stadium for soccer, Gaelic football and rugby at the site of the former Maze prison site was shelved earlier this year.

The DCAL minister at the time Gregory Campbell told department officials that the cost estimated at between ВЈ156m and ВЈ193m would not be compensated by the social and economic benefits.


Consultants paid £3.5m for abandoned Maze stadium


The biggest fee was paid to engineering and planning consultants, Mott MacDonald.

As well as ВЈ2,417,634 for "design" costs in 2007-8, the firm were also paid ВЈ726,566 for "business planning" costs a year earlier.

A spokesman for the company said they drew up plans which were comprehensive enough to go forward for planning permission, once an environmental impact assessment had been completed.
Belfast-based advertising firm Fire IMC were paid ВЈ10,000 for advice on how naming rights to the new stadium could be financially exploited.

The other consultancy costs incurred by the department include ВЈ181,302 to KPMG/Davis Langdon for "programme management" and a further ВЈ17,943 to the same company for a purpose not revealed.

Management consultants Price Waterhouse Coopers were paid ВЈ196, 935 for "business planning" work, while the same company charged ВЈ1,491 for its employees to brief the minister on the work it had carried out.

Employers try to limit rising health plan costsGB Building wins Chesterfield stadium

Millionaire plumber boss goes undercover on site for Channel 4

The boss of Pimlico Plumbers has gone undercover on a construction site in Warrington for the Secret Millionaire series on Channel 4.

Charlie Mullins, whose business turns over ВЈ15m and employs 160 people, worked as a handyman on the town's Longford Estate, surviving on ВЈ64 a week.

Millionaire plumber boss goes undercover on site for Channel 4

The programme, which airs on Wednesday at 9pm, shows Mullins' eight-day experience on the estate. He worked for three charities - Honey Rose Foundation, Long Lane Nursery and the John Holt Cancer Support Foundation - on various projects, including installing drains, putting up shelving, digging and carpentry.

Mullins said he was shocked by the deprivation, crime and drugs he encounters, as well as the overall lack of hope he witnesses on the estate.


Millionaire plumber boss goes undercover on site for Channel 4


"It was a grueling week and after some of shocking things I've seen I'd be lying if I said I enjoyed every minute of it," he said.

"This experience really took me back to a past life when I was growing up, and it has also made me realise that in 40 years things really haven't improved for many people."

Following Mullins' work on the estate, John Holt Cancer support's new building is going to be made fully operational by Christmas by a team of tradesmen from Pimlico Plumbers, and another team of Pimlico's engineers will carry out work for Long Lane Nursery to provide them with new buildings, including a new workshop, kitchen and toilet facilities.

Steve McNair foundation’s future is uncertainGB wins £14.5 Stoke OAP village

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Clock ticking on Queen's Awards entries

Contractors have until the end of the month to apply for the 2010 Queen's Awards.

This year's deadline for entries is 30 October 2009 at 2pm.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are designed to recognise and reward outstanding UK-based businesses in: International Trade, Innovation and Sustainable Development. 

Any number of firms can win a Queen’s Award if they meet the required standard, and entry is free. 

Application forms are available at
Winners will be announced on 21 April 2010 before being invited to a special Royal reception at Buckingham Palace in the summer.

Five in hunt for £25m decent homes jobNashville Chamber of Commerce gives spirit awards

Freyssinet to be 'more selective' in turnover

Vinci-owned Freyssinet Limited has signalled that it will be "more selective" in its turnover for 2009 as it battles with a tougher financial climate.

The company, which specialises in bridge construction, boosted its turnover 11% for the year to 31 December 2008 compared to the previous 12 months.

Meanwhile pre-tax profit saw a substantial 235% increase, helped along by the sale of the company's share holding in Reinforced Earth Company to Terre Armee, generating ВЈ1.8m.

The highest-paid director at the firm took home an increased wage packet of ВЈ158,272, compared to ВЈ149,567 in the previous year.

Genesco posts $2.7 million second quarter net lossTurnover plummets 40% at A&H Construction & Development

Top 5 construction tenders - 8 October 2009

This week's top five construction tenders include a ВЈ144m retirement home building framework for homes across the country, a ВЈ60m housing refurbishment scheme in Glasgow and a ВЈ60m student accommodation deal in Canterbury. The details are only a summary of what's available, for the full OJEU click on the link.

England: Retirement housing

Value: ВЈ144m Hanover Housing Association is advertising its ВЈ144m retirement housing framework. The four year deal will be split across three regions, and it's anticipated that up to four contractors will be appointed for each region with a mix of national and regional contractors. The association manages nearly 19,000 retirement and extra care properties. Its current build programme is four to six extra care schemes a year as well as 1,000 retirement units over the next five years. Deadline: 2 NovemberADVERTISEMENT

Top 5 construction tenders - 8 October 2009


Glasgow: Housing refurbishment

Value: ВЈ50m-ВЈ60m Glasgow Housing Association is inviting tenders for a ВЈ50-60m framework to improve its housing stock. The four-year deal, in which three firms are expected to participate, involves improvement work to the external fabric of low rise properties. The main elements of the work include the replacement of expired roof coverings, the application of an insulated external render system to walls. Secondary elements include roof repairs, fascia and soffit renewal, gutter renewal, associated works to chimneys, stone cleaning and pointing, window repair and replacement and asbestos removal. Deadline: 6 November

Canterbury: Student accommodation

Value: ВЈ40m-ВЈ60m The University of Kent has advertised for a contractor to deliver student accommodation and leisure facility at its Canterbury campus. The residential accommodation must provide around 1000 beds and be accompanied by a conference facility that offers 150 beds. Both buildings must feature a high level of sustainability with respect to materials used and achieve at least a BREEAM very good rating. Deadline: 12 November

Leeds: Waste treatment facilities

Value: ВЈ30m Leeds City Council is looking for contractors to tackle a ВЈ30m four-year framework covering provision of waste treatment facilities. It may be extended to six years, depending on the council's progress in procuring a PFI-funded waste treatment facility, which it expects to be operational from 2014. The contract is divided into 11 lots covering different waste streams. Contractors may have to be responsible for onward transportation and costs relating to that transfer. Deadline: 23 November

Coventry: University building

Value: ВЈ29m Coventry University has issued an invitation to tender the construction of a new ВЈ29m engineering and computing building. The new building is initially planned to be a seven storey structure (pictured) though the OJEU does say the procurement route will be a single stage design and build form of contract. In addition a new route will be generated between the new facility and the existing library and new car park structure. Deadline: 23 October


£200m housing framework up for grabsRenters help fill unsold Nashville condos

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

'No win, no fee' service launched for construction disputes

Law firm DWF has launched a 'no win, no fee' service for construction firms involved with legal disputes.

The service, normally associated with personal injury claims, is thought to be the first of its kind in the construction industry.

DWF's litigation specialists will act on a no win, no fee basis to recover money outstanding as a result of an adjudicator’s decision.

Clients have nothing to pay if they lose their case, and are also protected against the risk of having to pay opponents’ legal fees through the use of legal insurance. There is no down payment and the premium is deferred and recovered from the other party.

Steven Bate, construction partner with DWF, said: “Even if you succeed in getting an adjudicator’s decision against your opponent, you may still have to take action to ensure they pay. This new service puts you in a very strong negotiating position as opponents quickly realise that you have no fear of paying costs.

“In a recent case on behalf of a sub-contractor, the opponent recognised that it was fighting a losing battle and paid up, even though it had said it was going to challenge the enforcement of the decision.”

Hunt launched for missing blacklist victimsLaw firms court clients with flat fees

Five in the hunt for ВЈ100m Birmingham housing deal

Five contractors have been shortlisted for a ВЈ100m housing repair and maintenance deal with Birmingham City Council.

Kier, Mears, Morrison, and Inspace Partnerships are chasing the contract with England’s largest registered social landlord, along with incumbent Mitie.

The deal is worth up to ВЈ20m a year for five years, and covers 30,000 properties in the south of Birmingham.

The contract includes day to day repair and maintenance service, with 24 hour cover for emergency repairs, plus the management of improvement schemes and inspection services.

Mitie’s current four-year deal ends in March 2010.

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Baxter and King wins Portsmouth care home deal

Peterborough-based contractor Baxter and King has won a ВЈ5.4m nursing home deal in Portsmouth from social care provider Care UK.

The contract is for the design-and-build of a 92-bed nursing home in Portsmouth.

Care UK was awarded the design, build, operations and maintenance contract last month by client Portsmouth City Council, worth ВЈ35m in total. 

Baxter and King was selected as Care UK's construction partner at preferred bidder stage.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mouchel makes a £13.5m loss and closes rail arm

Mouchel is withdrawing from UK rail contracting blaming the move on poor margins and missing out on Network Rail's civil engineering framework.

Losses connected with the rail withdrawl and collapse of the Dubai property market saw the infrastructure company unveil a pre-tax loss of  ВЈ13.5m in the year to July, after taking into account an exceptional cost of ВЈ53.6m.

But group turnover grew 13% to ВЈ740.6m with underlying profit also up 13% to ВЈ43.7m, helped by growing highways work.

Richard Cuthbert, chief executive, said: "This has been a difficult and disappointing year for Mouchel.

"In the second half we have had to deal with the substantial withdrawal from the rail market, together with the impact of the economic downturn on our Middle East and management consulting businesses.


Mouchel makes a £13.5m loss and closes rail arm


He added: "These have clouded what has otherwise been another year of growth and strong performance in our core business.

He said that pressure on public spending also brought opportunities for Mouchel as clients sought to drive efficiency by outsourcing more services.

"Our focus on the transformation of essential services and the maintenance of vital infrastructure means that we will continue to benefit from sustained levels of public expenditure in our core markets and from the inevitable trend for increased outsourcing, signs of which we are already seeing, said Cuthbert. 

Over the year staff numbers were cut by 2% to 11,100 due to the downturn in the MiddleEast and need to streamline overheads in the UK.

Cuthbert said Mouchel's bid win rate in the sceond half of the year had been restored to within its target range of between one-in-three and two-in-five of tenders by value.



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Monday, October 5, 2009

PHOTOS: Viewing platform at Royal Shakespeare Theatre craned into position

A 32-metre-high viewing platform has been lifted into position at the top of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre’s new tower in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Viewing platform at Royal Shakespeare Theatre craned into position

The lantern-shaped glass and steel viewing platform was built on the ground and lifted into place by a 300t mobile crane. 

It will sit on the new Theatre Tower, which has been constructed over the last nine months.

Viewing platform at Royal Shakespeare Theatre craned into position

The structure was inspired by the original Memorial Theatre water tower, which was destroyed by fire in 1926.

Mace is the construction manager for the project. Bennetts Associates is the architect behind the design.

Viewing platform at Royal Shakespeare Theatre craned into position

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Carillion fined £40,000 for power station fall

Carillion has been fined ВЈ40,000 and ordered to pay ВЈ8,300 costs by Nottingham magistrates after a worker fell more than 6m at a power station.

The firm pleaded guilty to breaching regulations 4(1) and 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, for failing to ensure cleaning work was properly planned and supervised and for failing to take measures to prevent a fall.

The accident occurred on 7 October 2007, when a temporary industrial cleaner working for Carillion's FM business at the E.ON UK power station was asked to clean ducting that supplied air to the boilers. Two ducts were separated by a gap, but neither duct had edge protection and there was a drop of six-and-a-half metres to the grating below.


Carillion fined £40,000 for power station fall


The cleaner was provided with a harness and given instructions, but was not provided with any training on how to use it. The harness is designed to halt someone mid-fall, so it only reduces the potential for injury rather than preventing the fall altogether.

The cleaner unclipped himself from the girder the harness was secured to, but then fell between the gap. He suffered a broken femur, 11 broken ribs, a bruised lung and two cuts to his head which required stitches. He has been unable to return to work.

HSE inspector Sian Tiernan said: "Every month over a thousand people suffer serious injuries as a result of slips, trips or falls in the workplace. These shattering injuries can be avoided by sensible and proportionate management of the risks, but sadly that was not done in this case and that lack of action has resulted in a man being unable to work."

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