Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ex-Pierse police job runs into more trouble

A subcontractor on the troubled ВЈ10.7m construction of a police facility in Cheshire has been forced to scrap materials worth ВЈ35,000 for just ВЈ80.

The police firearms training centre in Winsford initially hit the skids following the collapse of main contractor Pierse's UK operations, earlier this year.

CJ understands that M&E firm TDR Projects, which was originally subcontracted by Ardern Electrical to furnish the mechanical installation at the site, has lost out on the chance to continue its work on the project, despite having already fabricated the majorty of a system purpose-built for the facility.

TDR pulled out of the site shortly after it emerged that Pierse Contracting and Pierse Contracting Southern had gone into liquidation in April.


Ex-Pierse police job runs into more trouble


Pierse's demise forced Ardern into administration in May this year, leaving TDR with unpaid bills of around ВЈ140,000. TDR was also forced to leave the kit it had manufactured specifically for the police training centre, worth around ВЈ35,000, at the site in Winsford, Cheshire.

Now Osset-based firm Machenair has been drafted in to finish the work, rather than TDR Projects.

CJ understands that the Cheshire Police Authority assured Machenair that it would have all of the materials left on site at its disposal to finish the work, as it was all the property of Cheshire Police.

But TDR's solicitors contacted the client to assert its right to the company's ductwork, which has not yet been installed.

Once TDR's right to the purpose-built kit was confirmed, it attempted to sell it to Cheshire Police and then Machenair, which have both declined to buy it.

David Pemberton, TDR Projects' owner, said: "This whole thing has been run so appallingly. It's so stupid that after the event, with only half of the job to complete, knowing that the current installation so far is excellent, we have had to bid for the work again. And then we didn't get it. We have been forced to scrap the kit we made and Machenair will have to fabricate it all over again."

A Cheshire Police Authority spokeswoman said: "TDR Projects left a quantity of equipment on the site and approached the Cheshire Police Authority for re-imbursement. TDR Projects valued the equipment and a second valuation was also sought by the Police Authority. The second valuation was markedly lower than that given by TDR and this has not been contested. The new contractors, Machenair, made no offer to purchase the existing equipment and due to the differing valuations of the equipment, Cheshire Police Authority deemed it imprudent to purchase the equipment at the higher rate proposed by TDR Projects."

Three chase £100m office jobHousing trust fund is an idea whose time has come

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."

Four contest £55m Leeds arena dealNashville businesses battle for band honors

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

Three chase £100m office jobList of problem banks grows

Saturday, February 27, 2010

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.

Three chase £100m office jobNashville businesses battle for band honors

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.

TN 911 districts to get $25 millionAll change on quick hitch recommendations

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."

List of problem banks growsCivils sector faces ‘thousands’ more job cuts

Friday, February 26, 2010

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.

Civils sector faces ‘thousands’ more job cutsLifePoint beats Q4 estimates, forecast higher 2010 earnings

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.

Civils sector faces ‘thousands’ more job cutsHousing trust fund is an idea whose time has come

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."

Senate passes jobs bill