Wednesday, November 25, 2009

All change on quick hitch recommendations

Excavator operators should leave their cab to check the coupling each time they change attachment - even if using the latest generation of automatic couplers, according to the Strategic Forum Plant Safety Group's re-drafted 'Ten steps that contractors, plant owners and other duty holders should be taking now.'

The group does not differentiate between manual, semi-automatic or fully automatics couplers as it said all types can be safely used by competent people within a safe system of work and all types may fail if they are not used and maintained correctly.

However, its first and strongest recommendation is to keep workers away from the machine's working range and people should never work beneath a bucket or attachment.


All change on quick hitch recommendations


The group also took the opportunity to restated that the HSE has not banned existing semi-automatic couplers and the revised European Standard EN474 (due in 2010) will not directly affect quick hitches while the forthcoming European and International standards have not yet been drafted.

Other recommendations remain unchanged and include ensuring operators are trained on the type of hitch they are using and are aware of their legal responsibilities. It also highlights the important part played by site supervisors in ensuring all safety procedures are followed and disciplining any transgressors.

The group will publish best practice guidance early next year.

Wates wins £5m European Commision office refurbNashville People in Business

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Staff cuts keep GB in profit

GB Group has seen a jump in pre-tax profits this year following a cost-cutting drive at the contractor which saw staff levels fall by more than a quarter.

Latest results show that GB made a pre-tax profit of ВЈ174,000 for the year to June 30 2009 compared to ВЈ133,000 previously despite turnover dropping to ВЈ195.2m from ВЈ207.2m

Directors at the firm acted last year to cut overheads during a restructure into the north and south divisions which also saw staff numbers reduced from 446 to 316 saving ВЈ4m a year.

GB specialises in education, leisure, health and care home contracts and saw the level of repeat business jump to 69% from 60% last time.

Chairman and chief executive Martin Smout said: "We have come through this year in a strong position to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.  We are in a relatively strong financial situation and have restructured the business so that we are in the best position to take advantage of opportunities going forward, while still delivering the value-added solutions to our customers for which we have become well known.

"Our focus for the coming year will be to continue to create more  long term relationships.  We will continue to build on sectors in which we have so much experience, while also expanding into more PFI and development led work."

Companies’ earnings forecast is full of low-ballingTerex posts £62m loss in third quarter

Monday, November 23, 2009

Civils sector faces 'thousands' more job cuts

Thousands more jobs could be lost in the civils sector amid a worsening climate, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) has warned.

CECA's Workloads Trends Survey in July 2009 had raised hopes that the civil engineering sector had already reached its lowest points.

But the association warned that civils was now entering a second downturn.

CECA said that expectations of future workloads have collapsed. Half of all firms now expect to have less work this time next year, while 9% expect increased workloads.

The effect of falling workloads is "likely to have a consequential negative impact on employment in a sector that currently employs around 100,000 people," the association cautioned.


Civils sector faces thousands more job cuts


The survey indicates that 42% of firms expect to make cuts to the number of site operatives they employ in the coming year, while 33% will reduce their staff headcount. Only 6% expect to be hiring operatives, while just 3% anticipate taking on new staff.

The poor future expectations reflect the difficult trading conditions currently experienced by members. At -64%, the balance between those firms reporting increased workloads in the last year (8%) and those reporting reduced workloads (72%) is the worst result in the survey's 13-year history.

Commenting on the results, CECA National director Rosemary Beales said: "While the Bank of England may think that the worst of the recession may be behind us, this is clearly not the view of the civil engineering sector. CECA members have grave concerns about the future, which should be shared by anyone who recognises the key role that the civil engineering sector must play in delivering and maintaining the infrastructure that is essential for the UK's economic recovery.

"CECA has an active programme of engagement with MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates ahead of the coming General Election to highlight the importance of the civil engineering sector to the UK and press the case for continued public sector spending."

Construction buyers on alert as input prices rise and activity fallsNashville People in Business

Olympic Park progress from the air - PHOTOS

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has released new aerial images of construction work on the Olympic Park showing, as the project enters its toughest year.

The images have been published as the International Olympic Committee’s Coordination Commission visits the capital for a progress update on London’s plans for staging the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

ODA Chairman John Armitt, said: “With construction work on the Olympic Park approaching its peak, the вЂBig Five’ venues are already becoming landmarks on the east London skyline and show how much progress has been made since the IOC Coordination Commission visited earlier this year.

“The external structure of the Olympic Stadium has been finished and the completion of the Aquatics Centre roof gives us an exciting glimpse of what will become the вЂGateway to the Games’ and the Olympic Park’s most iconic venue. Work is also racing ahead in the north of the Park with the first residential plot of the Village structurally complete, the huge frame of the IBC/MPC in place and the striking architecture of the Velodrome taking shape.

“The Olympic Park ’big build’ is firmly on track but we are not complacent and these new images show the sheer scale of the project and the challenges ahead as we enter our toughest year in the project.”

Olympic Park progress from the air - PHOTOS

Olympic Park progress from the air - PHOTOS

Olympic Park progress from the air - PHOTOS

Olympic Park progress from the air - PHOTOS

Middle Tennessee business bankruptciesPlans submitted for Tottenham Hotspur stadium - PHOTOS

May Gurney wins £75m waste contract

May Gurney has won a ВЈ75m contract to provide environmental services to Bridgent County Borough Council.

The new contract, which begins in April 2010, includes collections for recycling, waste and food waste, and management of the Council’s four Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs).

The contract runs for an initial 7 years, with a further 7 year extension available.

Philip Fellowes-Prynne, chief executive of May Gurney, said: "We are delighted to have been selected as preferred bidder by Bridgend County Borough Council to deliver essential front-line services. The Council appointed us because of our commitment to working in partnership with them to deliver the Welsh Assembly Government’s waste diversion targets. The service solution we developed for Bridgend focuses on delivering higher recycling rates, sending less waste to disposal and includes recycling a far wider range of materials than more traditional approaches."

VolkerFitzpatrick bags £23m contractJobless rate dips in most of Tennessee

Kier appoints successor to John Dodds

Kier has appointed construction managing director Paul Sheffield as its new group chief executive. Sheffield will take over the helm from John Dodds when he retires next March after nearly 40 years with the firm.

Contract Journal exclusively revealed last month that the hunt was on for a successor to Dodds with four high profile figures - two internal and two external - pitched against each other.

Kier confirmed to the Stock Exchange this morning that Sheffield has won the succession race.

He joined Kier as a graduate civil engineer in 1983 and gained extensive experience in UK and international contracting before his appointment as managing director of Kier Construction in 2001.

Sheffield joined the Kier Regional board in 2004 and was appointed to the Group Board in October 2005 and currently has responsibility for the Group's construction, infrastructure and overseas businesses.


Kier appoints successor to John Dodds


Dodds said: "I've worked with Paul for over 25 years and I am absolutely convinced that he is the right man to lead Kier into the future. Paul is highly talented and I look forward to working with him to ensure a seamless transition during the lead up to my retirement."

Chairman Phil White said: "Following a thorough selection process of internal and external candidates, we are delighted to appoint Paul Sheffield as John's successor. We believe that Paul's experience, skills and intimate knowledge of the business provides a very firm foundation for building on the excellent work that John has achieved.

"I would very much like to thank John for the leadership, commitment and direction he has shown Kier in his seven years as Chief Executive." 

Tenders invited for £23m college buildingEd Hardy’s expertise led Great American Country to gains

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lavendon issues new shares as revenues fall

Lavendon, the parent company of Nationwide and EPL Skylift, is looking to raise more than ВЈ80m by issuing new shares as it sees an 11% slide in revenues over the first 10 months of the year compared with the same period in 2008.
Like-for-like revenue in the UK fell by 22% in the first ten months or 28% after making adjustments for the acquisition of The Platform Company (completed in April 2008) while the formation of EPL Skylift has removed around ВЈ1.5m of annual costs. Chief executive Kevin Appleton said there were no imminent plans for further radical changes and capital expenditure for the year will be around ВЈ5m more than disposals.

Spain recorded the biggest drop in revenue (41% or 33% in sterling terms) while in Germany the fall was 13% and France and Belgium were down by 19%. Lavendon’s Middle East operation recorded a 20% rise in turnover, which equates to a sterling increase of 45%. 


Lavendon issues new shares as revenues fall


The company also announced it is to raise £53.9 million (before expenses) by an Open Offer of 77 million New Ordinary Shares at 70p and another £26.9m through a Firm Placing of 38.5 million shares. The 70p price tag represents a 45% discount on Lavendon’s 128p closing price on 18 November and once the New Share are admitted for trading on 14 December, the expected share price will be 88p.

The money raised will be used to reduce the company’s net debt which currently stands at £267m. Group finance director Alan Merrell expects the share offer and the ongoing debt reduction from its current trading will see net debt stand at £180m by the end of the year.

Dollar General shares up in the first day of tradingNorth Midland Construction profits steady despite 30% fall in orders

Four contest £55m Leeds arena deal

Four rivals are tussling for a high-profile scheme in Leeds, worth at least ВЈ55m.

The prize is the construction of a new indoor arena and working up bids for the project are Laing O'Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine and BAM Construction.

The identity of the fourth bidder is uncertain at present, but insiders are putting their money on Balfour Beatty to complete the line-up.

Leeds City Council is due to choose its preferred bidder next month, with work on site likely to kick off in November 2010.

The project is expected to be completed in 2012.

The scheme will be let under the two-stage tender design and build route.

The council plans to select a reserve bidder for the second stage of the contest, which will run fron January to September 2010.


Four contest £55m Leeds arena deal


The five-storey Brunswick Building, formerly owned by Leeds Metropolitan University, is being pulled down to make way for the arena, which will be built on the 2.06 ha site at Clay Pit Lane in Leeds city centre

The new arena will have a total of 12,500 fixed seats and be capable of holding a wide range of events.

Retail outlets and executive boxes will also feature in the scheme, which will span 16,000m2.

The hope is that the new arena will attract around a million visitors a year and will contribute around ВЈ28,000 per annum to the local economy.

The council's own design team will work up the scheme to RIBA Stage D and then the appointed contractor's design team will take over the responsibility from that point onwards.

Nashville commission rejects convention center referendum ideaLeeds council seeks compensation from bid-riggers

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ex-Pierse police job runs into more trouble

The contest for a ВЈ100m office deal in Brighton has narrowed to three challengers.

Sources say that Sir Robert McAlpine, Laing O'Rourke and Miller Construction are now left in the hunt for the American Express project.

The news means the end of the road for a fourth challenger - Skanska.

It is understood that the client is in talks with the three remaining firms and that a decision is expected within the next few weeks.

The office complex, to be known as Amex House, will be constructed on the car park site of the present Amercian Express building in Mighell Street.

Some demolition work is also involved in the job.

The project centres on a nine-storey call centre and a four-storey data centre.

Work on site is expected to kick off early in 2010.

Lawmaker escorted out of UT gameThree chase £100m office job

Three chase £100m office job

The contest for a ВЈ100m office deal in Brighton has narrowed to three challengers.

Sources say that Sir Robert McAlpine, Laing O'Rourke and Miller Construction are now left in the hunt for the American Express project.

The news means the end of the road for a fourth challenger - Skanska.

It is understood that the client is in talks with the three remaining firms and that a decision is expected within the next few weeks.

The office complex, to be known as Amex House, will be constructed on the car park site of the present Amercian Express building in Mighell Street.

Some demolition work is also involved in the job.

The project centres on a nine-storey call centre and a four-storey data centre.

Work on site is expected to kick off early in 2010.

Professional society acquires Franklin-based think tankTwo left in chase for Derby BSF

Brookfield sets sights on returning first UK profit

Wembley builder Brookfield Construction (UK) expects to deliver a profit for the first time this year after years in the red.

Since the firm- then trading as Multiplex - entered the UK to carry out the Wembley Stadium contract, it has failed to return a profit.

But Ashley Muldoon, managing director, Brookfield Construction, said the firm's fortunes have changed and it is set on a course to make its first profit in 2009.

Last week, Brookfield secured a ВЈ670m order for the New South Glasgow Hospital campus - the biggest single NHS hospital building project ever undertaken in Scotland.

Muldoon said: "In addition to Glasgow, we are in the process of completing the ВЈ350m Peterborough Hospital.


Brookfield sets sights on returning first UK profit


"We are also committed to the construction of the ВЈ600m Pinnacle Tower in Bishopsgate London, which, at 300m-tall, is poised to be the tallest building in the City of London. In addition to this, we will be completing the tallest residential tower in London "Strata" in the summer of 2010.

He added: "All of these significant projects are at the core of Brookfield Construction's ongoing expansion and we are confident that we will be in profit in 2009."

The firm plans to concentrate on the hospital market for new work over the next 12 to 18 months.

Last week, Brookfield Construction posted results covering the 18-months to 2008, which showed a pre-tax loss of ВЈ4.3m on ВЈ268m turnover.

The extended financial reporting period brings the company into line with its new Canadian parent company Brookfield Asset Management.

The Companies House report reveals that its Austrian-based sister company Brookfield Multiplex has indemnified the UK against any future claims or costs arising from ongoing Wembley Stadium legal action.

Last year, Brookfield filed a ВЈ253m writ against structural designer Mott MacDonald, claiming the engineer failed to warn it of design changes and providing 'late and inadequate' information.

Mott has countered calls for proof that its designs caused the delays and launched a counter-claim for ВЈ230,000 in unpaid fees.

Dollar General may go public next weekBrookfield scoops ВЈ550m Glasgow hospital contract

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Contract Journal and set to close

Contract Journal is to close at the end of November after 130 years, along with

RBI's Construction Group will continue to organise the SED exhibition, and will continue to run the SED365 website. It will also continue to publish the magazine Plant Managers' Journal, which will be renamed SED - the magazine.

Contract Journal's final issue will be on 25 November. If you would like to share your thoughts on CJ's closure, please email us.

Click on the links below to email the CJ team individually:

Aaron Morby  Grant Prior  James Stagg  Neil Gerrard  Will Mann 

Contract Journal and set to closeHarley-Davidson plant won’t be in Murfreesboro

Monday, November 16, 2009

Persimmon 'strong' after increase in forward sales

Persimmon has told the stock market that its financial position is “strong” after reporting an increase in forward sales for next year.

In an interim statement for the period covering 1 July to 16 November, the house bulder said trading levels were up on the same period last year since and it expects to have completed around 9,000 homes for the year to 31 December.

Persimmon said encouraging summer sales rates had been maintained through the autumn, prices had held firm and forward sales were up on last year. It said it was fully sold up for 2009 and had a further ВЈ500m of sales on the books for next year.

The house builder added that it was working to reduce debt and expected borrowings at the year end to be “significantly lower” than the £400m guidance given at the half year results.


Persimmon strong after increase in forward sales


However, Persimmon warned that further UK job losses could harm the housing market and it still had “significant concerns” about the availability of mortgages, particularly the higher loan to value products required by first time buyers.

The statement added : “Whilst we remain concerned about the potential impact on our markets of any significant increase in unemployment over the coming months, debt is reducing well ahead of our previous guidance, sales volumes have stabilised and pricing conditions are currently more positive.

“Having strengthened our forward order book and reduced borrowings significantly, the group's financial position remains strong."

Nashville home sales rise for first time in 3 yearsGood weather rains on Rok’s parade

VIDEO: Work progresses on Tyne Tunnel

Work is progressing on the Tyne Tunnel, where formwork and falsework specialist RMD Kwikform is helping main contractor Bouygues Travaux Publics plus civils outfit Dunne on a tricky phase of the project.

RMD Kwikform has created an innovative travelling tunnel soffit support system, 21 metres long and weighing 60 tonne, to assist with the casting of the roof slabs in the tunnel's North section. The firm was given just seven days to go back to the drawing board and create the system, following an unsuccessful earlier bid.

Having secured the deal through Concessionaire TT2’s main Design and Build Contractor Bouygues Travaux Publics at the final hour, engineers teamed up with North tunnel section subcontractor, Dunne Building & Civil Engineering, combining expertise to successfully utilise the unique traveller system. 


Work progresses on Tyne Tunnel


Travelling on the equivalent of train tracks, the RMD Kwikform traveller used a combination of specially designed and standard equipment to create a solid yet flexible structure, capable of snaking up an incline of 6%. Withstanding loads of up to 750 tonnes the traveller was capable of supporting up to 300 cubic metres of concrete poured over 173 square metres.

As of October 26th 2009, the 21m long traveller system has been used by Dunne Civil Engineering to successfully cast six of the of nine, 1200mm thick roof slabs that make up the roof of the tunnel’s North section for the Tyne Tunnel operator, TT2 who, together with Project Promoter the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority (TWITA), funded £260m project.

For RMD Kwikform Engineering Director, Ian Fryer who led the four strong engineering design team for the project, overcoming the challenges faced at both the design and utilisation stages of the project were particularly rewarding. Ian: “When you are challenged to go back to the drawing board on a project of this scale and importance, it tests all of your engineering knowledge and capabilities.

“The challenge was to deliver a whole-slab-area travelling formwork system with 2 metre height variation which could be operated without the site staff working at height.  The traveller also needed to give the users the flexibility to snake the equipment up an incline of 6%, travelling on rails whilst casting a slab that was up to 8.5 metres off the ground, at the bottom of a 25 metre deep excavation full of large ground shoring props.

“Once we had overcome the design element and been awarded the contract by Bouygues Travaux Publics, we entered the phase of taking the proposal design to the end solution. At this time, because the works for the North contract were subcontracted to Dunne Civil Engineering, we had to deal with a new construction team to demonstrate how the system would work.

“At this stage Dunne’s were able to assist the design team with suggested amends to the design in order for the system to best meet the needs of the site team. The very tight programme schedule also placed further challenges on the delivery and erection of equipment, which physically required assembling and commissioning 60 tonnes of system and special components at the base of what is effectively a large hole.

“As part of the intensive design and detailing phase that followed, the first thing the team concentrated on was the calculations, detailing, procurement and fabrication of the special items of equipment needed for the project. Shortly followed by production of the general arrangement drawings required for assembly and the detailed instructions for use of the machine.

"Procurement of the special equipment, (which included the hydraulic leg components that were central to the function of the traveller), ultimately determined whether the system could be assembled and operated within the time frame required.”

Having developed an assembly sequence in collaboration with Dunne’s for the traveller, RMD Kwikform provided three customer service team members to assist with the erection of the traveller which as a part of the design required the support legs to always be perpendicular to the slope of the soffit.

Commenting on the soffit pours and the traveller system Philip Beausang, Project engineer for Dunne Building & Civil Engineering said: “Whereas the base slab rises at a continuous 6% incline, the height of the tunnel changes multiple times throughout its length, so at some time the soffit slopes by up to 12%.

“With all the challenges we faced on the project, it was actually the very first pour that had the most severe soffit slope. We were therefore tasked with setting up a unique never-before-used system in the hardest possible arrangement!

“We had just three weeks to complete the assembly and commissioning phase of the project and were pleased to have the support of three of RMD Kwikform’s customer service team for this phase and for subsequent coarse level adjustments.

“Although we had a challenging start to the project, by working through the early stages with RMD Kwikform, our team were able to carry out all of the required operations without the need for further assistance. As we have grown in confidence with the system, we have been able to benefit from the speed and simplicity the traveller offers us and have been impressed with its performance.”

Unlike previous travellers designed by RMD Kwikform, which incorporated structural steel work at the soffit level, the RMD Kwikform engineering team recognised the opportunity to adapt its R700 truss girder panels for use on this project. By adapting the R700 girders with specially fabricated cantilever frames at the ends, the units were used to span across the tunnel whilst still maintaining sufficient headroom beneath to accommodate site traffic, such as concrete mixers and scissor lifts. 

Ian: “In using the R700 girders this had the effect of simplifying and speeding up detailing, whilst increasing the proportion of standard hire equipment of the traveller, making it commercially more attractive to Bouygues and Dunne. Having said this, the special parts that had to be added to the R700 girders were challenging within themselves. 

“The tunnel is being constructed between deep diaphragm walls and due to the tolerances in the vertical alignment of these walls, the width of the tunnel structure can vary significantly. What this meant in layman’s terms was the design of the traveller had to be such that it could accommodate a width of tunnel soffit varying by a maximum of plus or minus 600mm. 

“In order to accommodate this, sliding sections of formwork were developed and incorporated into the special cantilever frames, which were then attached to the ends of the R700 girders. These frames also acted to connect the R700 girders to the supporting Megashor and special telescopic legs.” 

Having to negotiate both varying horizontal and vertical curves, the 21 metre long traveller had to be flexible enough to be able to be travelled around the tunnel profile, rising from its start point at the river side end wall.  For this reason RMD Kwikform split the structure into three 7.2m long rectangular tables, which were linked by adjustable bays of equipment that could be changed in length to adjust the horizontal and vertical curvature of the entire assembly and provided sufficient flexibility during travelling to accommodate level tolerances in the running rails.

Ian: “Each of the three tables was mounted on four robust double flanged wheel units that could be lowered onto the rails which were themselves anchored to the base slab. Crucial to the whole travelling operation, the wheel units were designed so that the wheel could slide on an extended greased axle. This enabled the traveller to accommodate small changes of direction in the facetted rails to smoothly negotiate the tunnel curves.

“Each of the four wheel units was attached to the main Megashor leg, with each table having six legs in total. In order for the required level adjustments to be made the two legs at the centre of each table were equipped with specially designed hydraulic telescopic leg units. Using hydraulic power packs the legs are capable of changing the height of the traveller by up to two metres, lifting the whole table off the ground to facilitate traveller height adjustments, without any need to work at height.

“Once the traveller is lowered onto the rails, the whole unit can be advanced by simply using a pair of three tonne hydraulic Tirfor units attached to the front of the traveller legs using standard equipment.” 

Advancing up to 21 metres in about an hour, the RMD Kwikform traveller system has reduced the time for slab pouring significantly when compared with traditional methods. This in-turn has allowed this section of the project to be on-schedule for completion by the end of November 2009.

Additional Technical Information

Ian “ The most labour intensive part of the project was dealing with course level adjustment. This refers to a section of tunnel where the level of the soffit has to change, either upwards or downwards. In this case the use of the six hydraulic legs, one set on each of the three table sections played an important role.

“Once the traveller is struck by taking the pressure off the Megashor jacks, the specific Megashor legs that require adjustment can be dismantled by simply raising the hydraulic rams to relieve the load.  Because Megashor is a standard RMD Kwikform product, there are a range of standard leg length sections from as small as 90mm that can be used to adjust the size of each leg, with the Megashor jack allowing for fine adjustment.

“Once the pressure is removed from the leg it is a simple process of removing four pins in each leg that help fix it to length. These pins can then be driven out and the rams activated to raise the equipment to the correct level. The pins can then be reinserted through the leg sections and the four non telescopic Megashor legs on each table can then be adjusted manually. 

“With each pour section mapped out on a programme schedule the Dunne’s team were able to refer to detailed support drawings and guidance notes for the whole process."

Belcourt Theatre lands Sundance film eventVIDEO: RMD Kwikform helps Costain on A34 viaduct job

VIDEO: RMD Kwikform helps Costain on A34 viaduct job

A modular cantilever formwork system supplied by RMD Kwikform is helping work progress on Costain's A34 Wolvercote viaduct replacement project.

The Paraslim system, supplied pre-assembled for the first time, has been adopted as вЂBest Practice’ by the contractor, which is delivering the job for the Highways Agency.

The A34 dual carriageway is a major access route for freight travelling up into the midlands from the port of Southampton and the south coast. The viaduct gives traffic passage over the Thames flood plain, a major rail line that runs into Birmingham, the Oxford Canal and the heavily used A40.

Whether the 47-year-old viaduct should be replaced or continually maintained has been the subject of much local debate. After carrying out remedial works on the viaduct it quickly became clear to the Highways Agency that it would be more cost effective to replace the structure rather than continually maintain it. The contract went out to tender and Costain won the contract to replace the viaduct whilst adhering to the guidelines put in place by both the Highways Agency and the local Council.  The fact that the viaduct crosses a railway line, major road and canal made the project just that more challenging.


RMD Kwikform helps Costain on A34 viaduct job


Tayo Oyetan, Costain’s Structures Section Manager and Temporary Works Manager for this project talks about the viaduct and the construction programme ahead. “The challenge on this site is to replace the existing viaduct without disrupting traffic flows. The solution that Costain has proposed entails replacing the viaduct within its existing boundary. To achieve that we are building an offline viaduct, which will then give us the room to demolish the existing structures, build a new deck offline weighing 5000 tonnes and slide it into place during an overnight possession of the railway, road and the canal.”

For a project such as this, which is under constant public scrutiny, completion within programme time is of utmost importance. This is where RMD Kwikform’s pre-assembly facility helped provide significant gains in both time and budget.

Justin Bennet, RMD Kwikform Sales Representative for the Home Counties area commented, “After lengthy discussions with Costain we found that pre-assembly of the Paraslim members could offer a huge cost and time saving on this project. Additionally, safety was enhanced because the off-site assembly inherently reduces the risk of on-site accidents for the customer.”

Once the decision was made to pre-assemble, the panels were assembled at RMD Kwikform’s Aldridge yard.  Superslim Soldier primary beams were tied to aluminium secondary beams in order to carry the contractor’s plywood deck, and the Paraslim undercarriage was assembled ready for final pinning into place on site.

The 49 Paraslim units were then delivered to site and lifted on to the bridge beams and the plywood deck added.

For Costain there has been clear benefits to using RMD Kwikform’s pre-assembled service, Tayo continues, “This facility provided a lot of benefits to us, particularly in terms of programme time. With the pre-assembled system we were able to have it delivered ready for the beams so we could achieve better productivity onsite.”

With the viaduct running over a major road, railway link and canal, along with works taking place next to moving traffic, health and safety considerations were, as always, top of the agenda.

Once the Paraslim sections were in place much of the work area was protected by Ultraguard edge protection and fully hoarded sections across both the A40 and the railway line.

Also, by using the pre-assembled Paraslim, access to the equipment beneath the soffit was kept to a minimum, with only minor levelling adjustments had to be made via a mobile elevated work platform rather than full in situ assembly. Ultraguard barriers can also be attached directly to the Paraslim sections.

The success of pre-assembled Paraslim on this project, will, according to Justin Bennet surely lead to further applications; “As a flagship scheme for RMD Kwikform we believe this is a real industry leap forward and we’ll be rolling this scheme out on several other projects, certainly within the UK and hopefully worldwide in the future.”

For Tayo Oyetan and Costain, pre-assembled Paraslim modules have been a success on all levels, resulting in Costain adopting the pre-assembled Paraslim approach as вЂBest Practice’ on projects of this nature. Tayo commented “For Costain it is a system we would certainly look to use again, as the benefits certainly enhance what the previous system provided for us. It is a clear improvement and the way forward, it’s an innovation that we will certainly look to take across to other projects as well.”

Work on the A34 Wolvercote viaduct is due to finish in Summer 2010.

Two left in chase for Derby BSFNissan to offer commercial line in 2010

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Contract Journal and set to close

Contract Journal is to close at the end of November after 130 years, along with

RBI's Construction Group will continue to organise the SED exhibition, and will continue to run the SED365 website. It will also continue to publish the magazine Plant Managers' Journal, which will be renamed SED - the magazine.

Contract Journal's final issue will be on 25 November. If you would like to share your thoughts on CJ's closure, please email us.

Click on the links below to email the CJ team individually:

Aaron Morby  Grant Prior  James Stagg  Neil Gerrard  Will Mann 

PHOTOS: Viewing platform at Royal Shakespeare Theatre craned into positionHarley-Davidson plant won’t be in Murfreesboro

Balfour Beatty buys US firm SpawMaxwell for £15m

Balfour Beatty has acquired US contractor SpawMaxwell for ВЈ15m.

The firm is said to be the largest interior construction contractor in Texas and the sixth largest general contractor in Houston.

It has offices in Houston, Austin, and Dallas with customers including The City of Houston, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System and Gulf States Toyota.

Balfour Beatty chief executive Ian Tyler said: ""The acquisition of SpawMaxwell provides us with a substantial presence in key Texas markets outside Balfour Beatty Construction's base in Dallas and enables us to provide an expanded range of services for customers.  We look forward to SpawMaxwell joining the Balfour Beatty Group and driving our growth across the largest building markets in Texas."

Balfour Beatty confirmed on £20.9m roads jobGas prices will continue to rise before leveling off

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pay deal for 40,000 in doubt

A pay deal covering 40,000 local government construction workers has been thrown into doubt by a war of words between local authorities and the unions.

The three construction unions - Ucatt, Unite and GMB - decided to "reluctantly" accept a pay increase last month of between 1% and 1.25% for the lowest paid builders.

But the agreement is now in doubt again after leaders of the National Employers for Local Government Services said the deal was conditional on unions dropping non-pay related claims.

The move has infuriated the unions who are now demanding another meeting with the employers which could place the whole agreement in jeopardy.

The latest wrangle means workers may not see any pay increases before Christmas on a deal which will have to be backdated until April 1 2009 when a new pay offer was due to come into effect.


Pay deal for 40,000 in doubt


Ucatt general secretary Alan Ritchi said: "This is totally unacceptable. The employer's side are insisting that the unions abandon negotiations on the non-pay elements of the claim before the agreed pay increases will be implemented.

"There was a binding agreement between us on the question of pay. Attempts to renege on the agreement amount to a breach of contract and an example of bad faith." 

An employers spokeswoman said: "While we are pleased the union side has accepted the pay offer we are not prepared to reconsider our position with regard to the non-pay related elemnts of the claim."

Pay freeze for H&V workersNew jobless claims rise more than expected to 531,000

VolkerFitzpatrick bags £23m contract

VolkerFitzpatrick has bagged a ВЈ23m contract to build new council offices for Staffordshire County Council.

The four-storey building brings together 17 council offices from across the town and construction involves a reinforced concrete frame cast in-situ and includes biomass boilers and up-flow ventilation.

Leader of Staffordshire County Council Philip Atkins said the winning tender from VolkerFitzpatrick reduced estimated construction costs by ВЈ5 million.

He added: “It will also deliver efficient accommodation that will provide the county council and the county’s taxpayers with annual savings of around £250,000 per year. This compares to an annual cost of £500,000 for the proposals we inherited in June.”

The job will start on site before the end of the year and is expected to take 18 months.

Balfour Beatty bags US military workNashville files suit to seize 7 properties for convention center

VIDEO: Olympic Aquatics Centre roof build complete

Construction of the wave-shaped roof on the London Olympics Aquatics Centre roof has been completed.

View photos of the construction in our Aquatics Centre gallery

The 'big lift' of the structure began in March 2009. The 160m-long and up to 90m wide roof rests on two concrete supports at the northern end and a 28m long and a 5m wide, supporting вЂwall’ at its southern end.

A huge 30m steel truss weighing over 70t was lifted into place on top of the southern wall and connected to 10 steel trusses each made up of four sections which in total will span up to 120m to the two northern roof supports.

The steel trusses were fabricated in Newport from plate rolled in Gateshead, Motherwell and Scunthorpe, assembled on the Aquatics Centre site and connected together 20m off the ground on three rows of temporary support trestles.


Olympic Aquatics Centre roof build complete


Once the steel frame was complete it was lifted over a metre at its southern end, turning on rotating joints in the northern roof supports. The top of the temporary trestles was removed and the 160m long roof frame lowered on to its three permanent roof supports.

As the full weight of the roof rested on its supports, it slid approximately 20cm into its joints on the southern wall. The roof has been designed to stretch, twist and contract in response to the effects of snow, wind and changing temperatures.

Temporary trestles, which have now all been removed, were taken out in phases to enable work to continue beneath the roof, including the digging out and concreting of the venue’s two 50m swimming pools and 25m diving pool.

Work will begin this autumn on the aluminium roof covering, half of which is recycled, and early next year installation will start on the timber cladding of the 12,000m2 ceiling which will sweep outside to cover the northern roof supports. Red Lauro from sustainable sources has been selected as the ceiling timber.

Work is well underway on the 250m and 45m wide land bridge that forms the main pedestrian entrance to the Games from the Stratford City development, spanning the Aquatics Centre and forming the roof of the training pool.

The Aquatics Centre is scheduled to finish in summer 2011 ready for test events.

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

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Skyscraper demoliton - VIDEO

Landmark Tower in Fort Worth, Texas, US is demolished using explosives:


Crane driver paralysed in accidentNashville files suit to seize 7 properties for convention center

Rand boss blames low bids for collapse

Up to 200 jobs will be lost following this week’s collapse of the £55 million-a-year Rand Group.

The Lincolnshire-based firm, which owns UCS Civils and UCS Plant, went into receivership on Monday and is now in the hands of Ian Green and Stuart Maddison – joint administrators from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Rand Group chief executive Jonathan Wells said: "Unfortunately the shortage of available work and the unsustainably low pricing levels UCS Civils has experienced in its markets created a major shortfall in its forward order book and cashflows which the group’s bankers were unwilling to fund."

Wells confirmed that the company’s long-term framework contracts with Anglian Water will continue trading under the receiver with the aim of transferring these to other firms.

Rand Group subsidiary Rand Training is unaffected and continues to trade as normal.

Balfour Beatty confirmed on £20.9m roads jobLocal Business Briefs: Fresenius acquires Brentwood firm

Richardson Projects stays the in black

Richardson Projects has posted a pre-tax profit of ВЈ3.3 million for the year ended 31 December 2008, down by ВЈ1 million from the previous year.

In the same time the firm, which is part of Rok and was fined ВЈ595,747 earlier this year as part of the bid-rigging scandal, increased its turnover to ВЈ63 million, up from ВЈ48 million.

The directors report said that a further impact on margins was “inevitable”, adding: “The impact of the world-wide credit crunch … has led to increased competition within our marketplace.”

Government slammed for lacking skills to deliver big projectsNashville commission rejects convention center referendum idea

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

North Midland Construction profits steady despite 30% fall in orders

North Midland Construction expects to meet profit forecasts for 2009 despite a 30% fall in revenues.

In trading up date, the contractor said contract dispute settlements on two flue gas desulphurisation projects and a Halifax job saw a ВЈ5.5m injection of cash into the business.

Chairman Robert Moyle said the business had experienced falling orders and tight margins but earlier action to cut overheads by 10% would keep the group on track to meet profit forecasts.

Moyle said that the current order book for 2010 stood at ВЈ64 million. Its AMP5 framework for Severn Trent Water and the South Yorkshire Digital contract would gave North Midland a stronmg platform of work for next year.


North Midland Construction profits steady despite 30% fall in orders


He added that North Midland was taking legal advice regarding an appeal against a ВЈ1.5m fine handed down by the OFT following its cover pricing probe.

The building business secured several new contracts, providing a workload for 2010 of ВЈ15m. Revenue at the division this year is expected to hit ВЈ14m with profitability down.

Nomenca is continuing to perform well and two new frameworks in the water industry have recently been won. Both forecasted revenue and profit will fall marginally below the previous year.

The highways division has recently been successful in bidding for several public sector contracts and a framework for Liverpool City Council. Both revenue and profit will be reduced from the previous year.

The utilities division is performing well and is experiencing increasing revenues, as the South Yorkshire Digital region contract is now fully underway. A profit in excess of the previous year will be delivered.


Terex posts £62m loss in third quarterNew figures on jobs validate stimulus

Standard to cut prequal red tape still months away

A government plan to save contractors thousands of pounds in admin expenses by overhauling the Prequalification Questionnaire (PQQ) system is still a year away from completion.

CJ revealed earlier this year that the Department for Business Innovation and Skills was attempting to develop a publicly accepted standard (PAS) for common questions, which aims to ensure that contractors need only belong to one body in order to prequalify in the most common PQQ questions.

David Turner, deputy director of the construction sector unit at the department, said that the process of developing the PAS was taking longer for construction than other sectors.

The PAS is now set to be published in summer 2010, with a review panel to open the standard out to wider consultation starting at the end of this year.


Standard to cut prequal red tape still months away


It was originally intended that the process to develop the standard, which started in May this year, would take six to eight months to complete.

Turner said that it is intended to cut red tape and "just let people get on with construction, which is what they are in business for".

Turner was speaking at the official launch of the Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP) programme, which aims cut down on the bureaucracy involved in the prequalification process by creating mutual recognition between health and safety prequalification schemes.

Paul Reeve, health and safety and environment advisor to the Electrical Contractors Association, welcomed the introduction of SSIP. He said: "The proliferation of safety pre-qualification schemes and questions is a huge problem for suppliers, in terms of staff time and cost. It can also distract buyers and suppliers from what is most important: practical measures to ensure health and safety on site."

Speaking at the event, Gerry Mulhollan, HSE leader at Laing O'Rourke Technologies, warned that SSIP needed the support of clients, who often want contractors to fill in their own health and safety questionnaires when tendering for contracts, in order for it to work.

Olympic eye checks start todayMiddle Tennessee business bankruptcies

Firms tussle for £85m Edinburgh project

Big-name firms are vying to prequalify for a highly-controversial and high-profile project in Edinburgh, worth at least ВЈ85m.

Insiders say that Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty, Laing O'Rourke, BAM Construction and Miller Construction are among those hoping to get on the bandwagon for a contract to expand the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC).

It is understood that within the next few weeks, the city council intends to draw up a shortlist of firms to pitch for the design-and-build deal.

The core of the project involves an underground extension to the present building, with the extension linked to the EICC by an atrium building.

The scheme also features an office complex spanning around 17,500 m2 and a small retail element constructed above ground.


Firms tussle for £85m Edinburgh project


The project represents the latest attempt to upgrade the EICC.

The original developers of the scheme, working to a design by award-winning architect Sir Terry Farrell, were Cala Properties and AWG.

The scheme got the planning green light, but the developers subsequently pulled out of the deal in 2007, after failing to raise the money needed for the project to go ahead.

Now Farrell has attacked the new plans, drawn up by architect Building Design Partnership, as treating the architectural integrity of the building with "considerable contempt".

Council officials gave the new design their backing in a report, but at a recent planning meeting some councillors also condemned the scheme, comparing it to "a 1960s polytechnic".

It is understood that the planning committee will meet again before the year end to consider the project again.

New Tennessee building code designed to reduce energy wasteSkanska wins ВЈ28m Essex high school

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Crossrail invites tenders for Liverpool St and Whitechapel tunnels

Crossrail is inviting tenders for the construction of the access shafts and station tunnels in connection with the construction of new stations at Liverpool and Whitechapel.

The work includes the construction of platform, concourse, cross passage and escalator tunnels using sprayed concrete lining techniques, as well as the construction of temporary access shafts.

The project will also involve the transportation of all excavated materials from the works by road to transfer stations on the Thames.

It is set to last around 47 months.

The time limit for receipt of tenders or requests to participate is 15 December.

Housing groups invite tenders for £32m maintenance frameworkNew figures on jobs validate stimulus

Sisk wins £3.5m police station contract

Sisk has won a ВЈ3.5m contract from Warwickshire Police to renovate and refurbish Rugby Police Station. 

The project will take 29 weeks and will be completed in March 2010.

Chris Dyer, director Midlands region, Sisk commented: “Sisk has wide-ranging experience in the refurbishment arena, particularly in live environment situations where sensitivity and care as well as delivery to time and budget are key priorities.” 

The programme of works has been a four-staged process and the first two stages, for the administrative departments, have already been completed. Sisk will take on the last two stages which involve fit-out and M&E works.

Station Inn is out of place, but still at home, in GulchPlumber wins job in Antarctic

Babcock may sell rail business

Babcock International may sell its underperforming rail business after failing to win Network Rail’s track renewal framework.

The rail arm was the only division not to post profits in an otherwise upbeat set of company results for the half year.

Chief executive Peter Rogers said all options were being considered on the future of the rail business and he would talk to the company's board in December or January with a decision.

Overall Babcock reported a 30% rise in first-half profit to ВЈ66m on flat revenue at ВЈ923m.Turnover at the rail business slumped 25% to ВЈ85m taking it into a loss of ВЈ1.3m.

Over the next few months the rail division will start its withdrawl from the high output track renewals market.


Babcock may sell rail business


This is expected to impact the division’s reported operating profit in the current financial year by around £1.5m and £2.0m in the 2010/11 financial
year, inclusive of restructuring costs.

Babcock said it would expand in defence and nuclear where margins are higher.

First Horizon loss narrowsTerex posts £62m loss in third quarter

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Andrews left NG Bailey at 'appropriate juncture' following restructure

NG Bailey acting chief executive Chris Newton has shed more light on former chief exec Mark Andrews' shock departure last week.

At the time, the company declined to reveal the reasons for Andrews' decision to quit.

In a statement released today, Newton said: "Following last week’s announcement, I wanted to share further details around Mark Andrews’ departure.

"Mark worked for NG Bailey for nearly six years, a term envisaged at the start of his tenure.  During that time Mark grew the business from a circa ВЈ400m turnover company to one that last year saw sales rise to just over the ВЈ600m mark.  He was instrumental in creating and implementing our вЂFor Life in Buildings’ strategy, which will continue to drive our business forward.


Andrews left NG Bailey at appropriate juncture following restructure


"Over the last year, Mark has led a right-sizing programme, helping us to reposition the business in line with the market recession we are all facing.  With this programme in place it therefore seemed like an appropriate juncture for Mark to pass on the overall leadership of the company.

"I, as acting CEO, will carry forward what Mark has achieved whilst at the helm.

"NG Bailey is a leader in its field. As a privately-owned company we have the ability to shape our business as and when we need to, in line with what the market is demanding.  I will be picking up where Mark left off to ensure that our position in the marketplace remains clear and strong.  I would like to add that the company, although having reported disappointing results earlier this year, is in an ideal place to weather the current economic storm - with a balance sheet of which many would be envious." 

Meanwhile, a statement from Mark Andrews said:

"I will be leaving NG Bailey at the end of the month.  Following the implementation of a right-sizing programme, to bring the business in line with what the market is demanding, the decision to hand over the reins at this juncture was mutually agreed.

"I will be working with Chris Newton over the next couple of weeks to ensure a smooth transition for him in his new role as acting CEO.

"I am currently considering a number of options in terms of my next role, which I will provide an update on in due course. 

"I wish Chris every success as acting CEO and to NG Bailey for its continued leading position in the industry."

Earlier this year the firm warned that 2009/10 would be a "difficult" year, as it unveiled a ВЈ10.8m pre-tax loss.

The loss came despite a 14% rise in turnover to ВЈ600m for the year to 27 February 2009.

HCA releases more Kickstart cashJobless rate is even worse than thought

VA Williams Building Contractors in administration

Worcestershire-based VA Williams Building Contractors and VAW Interior Solutions have gone into administration.

The two firms, which operate in tendem across the country, called in MB Insolvency of Worcester last week.

VAW Interior Solutions specialises in hotel refurbishments and shop fitting, undetaking contracts worth up to ВЈ1m.

Meanwhile VA Williams Building contractors is a general building firm, undertaking both private and commercial projects worth up to ВЈ1m.

Republican Pat Marsh joins state HouseHousing 21 seeks contractors for £250m new build framework

Government slammed for lacking skills to deliver big projects

A lack of Government procurement know-how is putting major projects at risk and costing the tax payer dearly.

The Government's spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, warned that the value for money of 43 major government projects worth around ВЈ200 billion is at risk because of significant weaknesses in the Government’s commercial skills and expertise.

The NAO report published today warned that in one instance an outside consultant was paid ВЈ1.35m over three years to plug the skills gap in the Building Schools for the Future programme. Meanwhile, the Highways Agency spent ВЈ15.5m on advisers – five times its original budget.

The biggest skills gaps for Government are in contract management, commissioning and managing advisers, risk identification and management, and business acumen.


Government slammed for lacking skills to deliver big projects


Government efficiency department, the OGC, spent ВЈ6.7m last year trying to tackle the skills problem. It was criticised for duplicating initiatives.

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said "Commercial skills are essential to success in complex projects and a great deal of money rests on this.

"But there is still not a coherent system for providing skills across government or for using the existing skills as efficiently as possible."

The report warns that Government departments continue to experience a shortage of staff with the commercial skills and experience needed to design and deliver complex projects successfully.

A 2009 review by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) found that 44% of senior responsible owners of major projects did not have any substantial commercial experience.

The NAO said that 14 of 16 departmental commercial directors believed the OGC had done little to address skills gaps within their department.

The OGC has introduced a number of initiatives aimed at improving commercial skills, such as Building the procurement profession in government. But the report found that the OGC and departments were not working together effectively and new measures have had limited impact.

As a result, the value for money of the ВЈ1.5 million a year that OGC has been spending on initiatives is at risk. OGC needs to work with departments to establish standard approaches to dealing with the commercial sector.

The culture of staff frequently moving positions within a department often leads to commercial experience and expertise being lost by projects and by individuals.

Carillion joins forces with Eiffage for nuclear workPay cuts run risk of talent exodus

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Brookfield scoops ВЈ550m Glasgow hospital contract

Brookfield (formerly Multiplex) looks set to have won the ВЈ550m contract to redevelop Glasgow Southern General hospital.

The Australian-owned contractor is thought to have beaten Balfour Beatty and Laing O'Rourke to the massive contract, which will see Glasgow Southern General become one of the largest acute hospitals in the UK.

The construction contract will include infrastructure, enabling, access and sewer system works.

The hospital will be rebuilt and refurbished to form the New South Glasgow Hospital.
The 1,100 bed, single room accommodation health complex will consist of an adult acute hospital, a children’s hospital and a laboratory block.

The South Glasgow Hospital project, which is forecast to cost ВЈ842m in total, will be directly financed with no private finance initiative (PFI) involvement.

The main building will be built on the site of the old Southern General.

Work is scheduled for completion in 2015.

Nashville People in BusinessMan killed on Morris & Spottiswood site

Good weather rains on Rok's parade

Better weather in 2009 has curtailed revenue growth in Rok's responsive maintenance division, the company has revealed as part of its interim management statement.

The company said that overall it is trading in line with its projections and full year results are in line with its expectations.

It added that it has secured 48 new framework appointments for the year, totalling over ВЈ700m.

Rok's total forward revenue visibility under secured orders and long-term framework agreements now stands at ВЈ2.1bn, level with the previous year. Secured and visible revenues for 2010 are now some 80% of our forecast revenues.  The future framework pipeline is also strong at ВЈ1.6bn.

The company said that its planned maintenance division, which also performed "to plan" and that its focus on maintaining margins in a more competitive environment was proving successful.

The new build market has been affected by a number of Rok's customers' inability to start projects, although the firm said it was continuing to win a number of new build frameworks and has been shortlisted on three major housing PFI projects.

Housing 21 seeks contractors for £250m new build frameworkWheelchair maker to build new plant in Lebanon

Skanska wins ВЈ28m Essex high school

Skanska has come top of class to a take a ВЈ28m contract to build Belfairs High School in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.

Skanska has pulled together an in-house team covering construction, M&E installations, structural design and piling.

Main construction work will start immediately in the 11,000 sq m project and is scheduled for completion in Summer 2011 ready for the start of the new school year.

The award of this project, a pathfinder for Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, under the Building Schools for the Future programme, signifies an important milestone for
Skanska and its client who have been working together under an advance works agreement over recent months to develop the scheme and establish temporary
accommodation to make way for the new school.


MoJ shortlists seven consortia for £1.8bn prisons frameworkNew figures on jobs validate stimulus

Construction buyers on alert as input prices rise and activity falls

Construction buyers have warned of a slide into a nightmare spiral of falling activity with rising materials prices.

The fall in construction purchasing activity accelerated in October, according to the latest figures from the CIPS/Markit purchasing managers index, marking the 20 consecutive month of falls.

The index, based on a survey of purchasing managers asked whether orders had increased or decreased in the month, fell to 46.2 last month, down from 46.7 in September.

Alarmingly, the survey registered the first rise in input prices in October, as higher fuel prices and unfavourable exchange rate movements resulted in rising costs. Job cuts also rose at the fastest rate in four months.


Construction buyers on alert as input prices rise and activity falls


Against a worsening backdrop residential construction showed its second successive month of growth, akthough civil engineering recorded the fastest fall in orders in seven months.

David Noble, chief executive officer at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply, said: “These continue to be worrying times for the UK construction sector as firms continue to struggle in the face of difficult market and economic conditions.

"The fact that the sector took another turn for the worse this month just highlights how fragile it still is."

He added: "Further drops in commercial and civil engineering activity were the key drivers behind the bad news. A stabilisation in order books did little to support activity, while weak sterling and higher fuel prices added to constructors' difficulties."

Noble said: "Perhaps of most concern is the continued slashing of jobs at construction firms. The pace of job cuts actually accelerated in October as the current state of the sector means that many who have lost jobs will struggle to find something else before Christmas."

"The only light at the end of the tunnel was optimism over future business prospects as purchasing managers said they expect workflow to rise due to improving economic conditions and marketing initiatives.”

Sarah Ledger, Economist at Markit said: "Encouragingly, data for the residential construction sub-sector signalled improved activity levels for the second consecutive month, and overall new orders volumes received by UK construction companies were reported to have stabilised.

"Unfortunately, persistent spare capacity meant that further job cuts were made, with this showing no sign of easing. However, with the anticipation of a recovery in economic conditions, optimism over future business activity remained high.”

Gas prices will continue to rise before leveling offMore redundancies at Portakabin

7 chosen for £60m Scottish healthcare framework

Seven contactors have been selected for a ВЈ60m healthcare framework deal in Lothian which is being touted as a Scottish version of NHS LIFT.

The four-year framework involves works associated with major upgrades, including ward refurbishments and extensions to existing buildings for health care facilities in both primary and acute care sectors.

The successful contractors are: Carillion, CBC, Elmwood, Seddon, Interserve, Morris & Spottiswood, and Rok.

Client NHS Lothian attracted 47 bidders for the framework contract.Further information on the original OJEU tender document

Professional society acquires Franklin-based think tankGo-ahead looms for £400m Scottish power line

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wates wins £5m European Commision office refurb

Wates Interiors has won a ВЈ5m contract to refurbish the future Europe House at 32 Smith Square in Westminster, London.

The 8-storey building has a gross area of approximately 3,200m2 and will house the European Commission Representation and the European Parliament Information Office.

The refurbishment will provice conference facilities and a kitchen on the ground floor, as well as office space for up to 70 persons on the upper floors.

All finishes and technical installations are to be stripped, the building is to be updated in terms of fire escapes, interior partitions, finishes and technical fit-out, including heating, ventilation and air-conditioning cooling, electrical, lifts, fire protection, data cabling and security.

Wates beat seven other firms to win the deal.

Two left in chase for Derby BSFNashville People in Business

Constructionline sees signs of recovery

The number of construction clients putting together lists of suppliers for forthcoming tenders has risen 15% in the three months to September, according to Constructionline.

The pre-qualification regisrer said that the figures signalled a possible uplift in demand.

Overall client use of Constructionline was also up 10% in the same period.

Philip Prince, sales and marketing director from Constructionline, said: “While conditions in the industry remain challenging, the public housing, infrastructure and maintenance sectors have continued to grow and this has been mirrored in the growth in our client activity on the Constructionline database.”

Sales hike brightens GM’s future, analysts sayTerex posts £62m loss in third quarter

Ministry of Justice invites tenders for £200m minor works framework

The Ministry of Justice is inviting tenders for its Minor Works Framework agreement, worth a total of up to ВЈ200m.

The authority hopes to have the four-year framework in place by September 2010, and up to 300 participants are envisaged.

The framework will be for the delivery of building and civil engineering works up to a value of ВЈ500,000, but generally up to the value of ВЈ150,000.

The time limit for receipt of tenders of requests to participate is 17 November.

For the full OJEU click here.

MoJ shortlists seven consortia for £1.8bn prisons frameworkNashville People in Business

Redrock in administration

Irish trailer and materials handler manufacturer Redrock Engineering has called in the administrators after it suffered major financial problems due to the recession. The Armagh-based company has 80 employees and had made a significant investment in research and development of new products before the downturn struck.

Managing director Samuel Hughes highlighted the downturn in spending in the agricultural and construction markets. “We have been faced with major cash flow challenges that have become impossible to sustain… we had no choice but to appoint administrators,” he said.

Administrator Sean Cavanagh of Cavanagh Kelly Chartered Accountants is assessing the options open to the business, including selling it as a going concern. In the interim the company will continue trading but production has been temporarily suspended.

Heywood Williams set for administrationCompanies’ earnings forecast is full of low-balling

Two left in chase for Derby BSF

Two rivals will now lock horns for a ВЈ230m Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project in the East Midlands.

Derby City Council has pared the contestants down to Vinci Education and Balfour Beatty.

The news means expulsion for a third bidder, Galliford Try.

The project involves a mix of new build, plus major and minor refurb work.

The timetable is for a preferred bidder to be on board around July 2010, with the formal award of the contract expected around October-time next year.

Construction work on site is due to begin either late in 2010 or early in 2011.

The entire project is expected to be completed during 2014.

The programme will kick off with the building of three sample schools, due to open in September 2012. These are the Derby Moor Community Sports College (major refurb); plus Noel-Baker Community School and St Martins School (both new build).


Two left in chase for Derby BSF


The new-build Lees Brook Community Sports College is also expected to open in September 2012.

Expected to open in September 2013 are the Bemrose Community School and St Clare’s School (both new build); Littleover Community school and St Benedict Catholic School (both major refurbs); plus the first phase of a pupil referral unit.

The rest of the schools are due to open in September 2014. These are the Murray Park Community School and Woodlands School (both major refurbs); Chellaston School, West Park School and St Andrew’s School (minor refurbs); plus the second phase of the pupil referral unit.

The Derby deal is part of the government’s ВЈ48bn BSF programme and is Derby’s biggest-ever school building investment programme. 

Three shortlisted for £300m Wandsworth BSFNursing school opens in Mt. Juliet

Housing 21 seeks contractors for £250m new build framework

Housing 21, which provides housing for older people, is seeking contractors for a ВЈ250m new build framework.

The four-year deal would see up to 20 firms participating on the framework. Typical new build projects are likely to be worth around ВЈ5m in value.

Housing 21 indicated that bids are welcome from firms which work either in specific regions of England or across all regions.

The deadline for requests to participate or receipts of tenders is 6 Janaury 2010.

For the full OJEU click here.


Home sales shoot up 9.4 percent as buyers race to get tax creditHousing groups invite tenders for £32m maintenance framework

HSS offers offer plant in London

HSS Hire is moving up the weight range to offer plant to its customers in Greater London. 

Laois Hire, which is part of the HSS group in Ireland, will offer diggers, dumpers, rollers, excavators and MEWPs to customers across London through the tool hirer’s east London supercentre in Becton.

Jon Overman, MD for HSS in the London area, said: “For obvious reasons, there’s a lot of demand for this kind of plant equipment in east London at the moment. Our customers want to work with us for all their hire requirements, even beyond our core range, and in response to that we’ve decided to add plant items to our fleet for the first time.

HSS has previously sourced plant for its customers through its One Call service but according to Overman “having our own stock means we’ll now be even more responsive to customer demand.”  The offering goes live this weekend and heavier items can also be ordered from all 50 HSS branches in the Greater London.

Plant hirer Greyhound in administration, 40 job losses800 hard at work building VW plant

£30m housing partnering deal up for grabs

Catalyst Housing Group is looking for a contractor for a 10-year partnering deal for comprehensive repairs and maintenance, worth ВЈ30m.

Work includes day-to-day reponsive repairs, void refurbishment, estate-based works and emergency out-of-hours maintenance.

The initial contract will be for five years, with an interim review during the fifth year to extend the contract up to a maximum of up to 10 years.

The time limit for receipt of tenders or requests to participate is 9 December.

For the full OJEU click here.


Five in the hunt for ВЈ100m Birmingham housing dealFord, UAW reach tentative labor deal

Morgan Sindall tipped to beat Balfour to £400m Hull BSF

The Esteem consortium led by Morgan Sindall is tipped to have beaten Balfour Beatty to the ВЈ400m Hull Building Schools for the Future contract.

Esteem is made up of Morgan Sindall, Robertson Capital Projects and Sewell Group.

Vinci was also shortlisted for the scheme but dropped out of the race earlier this year.

Hull City Council said it would make an official announcement on the identity of the preferred bidder next week. Work is expected to start in March 2009.

Balfour Beatty confirmed on £20.9m roads jobNashville convention center should be decided on by public, Councilman Crafton says

£16m college campus building construction job up for grabs

Blackburn College is looking for a main contractor to build a new 9,000m2 building on its main campus, as part of a ВЈ13m-ВЈ16m contract.

Blackburn: college building construction

The work makes up the third phase of Blackburn College's Masterplan 2009.

The deadline for receipt of tenders or requests to participate is 4 December.

Tenders invited for £23m college buildingNashville business calendar