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Roma Publications

Volume 15 - Issue 8

Gatwick Airport The latest news from the multi-billion development

Blackpool Regeneration Seaside resort restored to former glory

Climate Week 2011 A look forward to the landmark event

Swept Clean South West Water cleanup operation nears completion

Lee Tunnel Major London waterworks to deal with overflows


Volume 15 • Issue 8

Dear readers, A happy 2011 to you all! You’ll be glad to hear that, while construction sites have slowed down over a cold December and a well-earned Christmas break, we at Premier Construction have still been hard at work on the New Year issue to bring you the latest and greatest from across the UK and Ireland. We start this issue as usual in our native North-West, with an overview at the range of projects giving Manchester Metropolitan University a new look and a word from one local councillor who won’t be letting the recession get in the way of regeneration in his region. In Yorkshire and the North East, we follow developments in a wide range of sectors: from new investment at PETEC in Stockton-on-Tees to a massive upgrade of Newcastle’s Walker Technology College. Shrewsbury makes the news in the Midlands as the town’s Concord College approaches completion of a re-development masterplan begun in 2006. Elsewhere, a new civic centre in Wellington displays cutting edge eco-friendly technology. In a major boost to living standards in the South West, the final phase of South West Water’s ‘Clean Sweep’ programme is progressing with a new sewage works at Polperro, near Looe. In London and the South West, we re-visit Gatwick Airport to find out how the multi-billion works there are progressing, while there are also updates from the Shard and Woodberry Down. Roads are on the menu in Scotland this issue: we bring you news of three major spends designed to modernise Scottish highways. In Ireland, meanwhile, the iconic Talbot Tower in Kilkenny is being made structurally stable and safe for visitors in a restoration project set for completion in 2011. Finally, our usual round-up of the associations this month features a look forward to Climate Week 2011 and an overview of what the Renewable Energy Association brings to the construction industry. As ever, your thoughts and comments are always welcome at All the best for 2011!

Graham Schulz, Editor

North West Blackpool Regeneration......................................................................................4 Manchester Metropolitan University...................................................................6

North East & Yorkshire PETEC.................................................................................................................16 Walker Technology College...............................................................................18

Midlands Concord College................................................................................................28 Wellington Civic Centre.....................................................................................29

South West Tarka Housing.....................................................................................................38 Clean Sweep.......................................................................................................41

London & South East Gatwick Airport..................................................................................................45 Lee Tunnel...........................................................................................................62

Scotland Kirkintilloch Link Road......................................................................................80 M74 Completion................................................................................................84

Ireland Talbot Tower.......................................................................................................92 Mullaghmore Estate...........................................................................................92

Associations Climate Week 2011.............................................................................................94 Renewable Energy Association.......................................................................104

Managing Director: Marcus Howarth Editor:

Graham Schulz


Lesley Coward, Daniel Mottram

Production Manager: Danielle Burgoyne Advert Co-ordinator: Kelsie Howarth Published by:

Roma Publications Ltd.

t: 01706 719 972 f: 0845 458 4446



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© Roma Publications Ltd. All contents are copyright. All rights are reserved. No part may be stored in any retrieval system or transmitted in any form without prior written permission from the publishers. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, no responsibility can be accepted for inaccuracies however caused. Contributed material does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the publisher. the editorial policy and general layout of this publication are at the discretion of the publisher and no debate will be entered into. No responsibility can be accepted for illustrations, artwork or photographs whilst in transmission with the publishers or their agents unless a commitment is made in writing prior to the receipt of such terms. ROMA PUBLICATIONS


N o r th We s t Construction News

Call our news team on 01706 719972

King’s Bridge maintenance completed despite bad weather

Workers carrying out essential maintenance on King’s Bridge in King’s Moss, near St. Helens, have had to contend with severe wintry weather during their efforts. Work began on the bridge in mid-November 2010 and carried on through a spell of early snow into December before being completed on schedule in early January. Merseyside-based firm SD Construction acted as main contractor

during the works. According to St. Helens MBC’s head of bridges, Doug Carden, who spoke to Premier Construction in early December, “The cold weather has meant we’ve had to come up with solutions to keep the surrounding temperature above freezing. One of them has been to erect a tent around part of the bridge and keep fan heaters switched on inside it to regulate the temperature. The moment the temperature reads below freezing, the work we’ve done and are doing is at risk”. Work on the arch bridge involved strengthening the existing structure with concrete saddling and installing a new waterproof membrane. Concurrently, repairs were required to the parapet walls, which were re-set to counter the effect of various impacts over recent years. Finally, maintenance was carried out on metalwork that tops the

parapets. The works were completed at a cost of around £100,000. Traffic management was a principal consideration during planning stages of the work, according to Doug, who added, “It would have been complicated to resort to diversions and there was no way to allow partial access to traffic over the bridge, so we relied on a Bailey bridge constructed on adjacent land belonging to a farmer”.

Fylde Coast Multi-Area Agreement kick starts Blackpool regeneration A wave of projects designed to bring Blackpool up to date and restore its status as Britain’s favourite seaside resort is under way. Investment in the Lancashire town follows the establishment of the Fylde Coast Multi-Area Agreement in October 2009. Under the agreement, Blackpool Council, Fylde Borough Council, Wyre Borough Council and Lancashire County Council are co-operating to tackle a number of issues across the area, including: • Attracting more support for the regeneration of Blackpool and other key areas of the Fylde Coast • Creating improved transport infrastructure to support economic growth • Attracting new businesses and build on existing high tech and manufacturing industries • Increasing skills by making it easier to access further education locally • Lobbying the government on housing needs in partnership rather than as individual councils • Improving tourist attractions, including initiatives to raise the quality of accommodation and creating a year-round programme of events • Developing coastal defences and explore opportunities for renewable energy Councillor Russell Forsyth, leader of Wyre Borough Council, said, “We have recognised that we can work smarter together and as partners can punch above our weight to convince central government that certain schemes are required for a more viable Fylde Coast”.



Tram works In line with commitments to improving transport, current works in Blackpool include a brand new tram depot at Starr Gate and an upgrade to existing lines, being carried out by Volker Fitzpatrick and BAM respectively. “The resort has had a love affair with trams since 1885 and this will enable us to move forward into the 21st century with an ultra modern fleet” said councillor Maxine Callow, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for tourism and regeneration. The Starr Gate site was chosen because of its proximity to the existing track and because all the land is already owned by the council. Architects have designed the depot with a glass frontage and wave-effect roof and walls with the latter to include an illuminated feature. Facilities will include maintenance pits and space to store 20 trams overnight, although only 16 of the new models will be part of initial procurement. Paul Grocott, programme manager for the tramway upgrade, said, “Starr Gate is at one of the entrances to the town and if we design a building that looks like it belongs to a 21st century tramway, then I think it will really celebrate the tramway and people will see what they are getting for their money. “In coming up with this, we have looked at a lot of trams and a lot of depots all over Europe and we have taken the best elements of what we have seen”. He added, “The new trams will be completely different to the old ones: they are wider and will be maintained in a different way. As we are going to keep heritage trams, we need to keep the equipment for maintaining them so we can’t demolish the old depot”. John Donnellon, assistant director for housing, planning and transport at Blackpool Council, told Premier Construction, “We have here one of the oldest continuously-running tramways. It’s central to Blackpool’s heritage, but at the same time it needs to be in line with modern urban requirements. As such, the

upgrades include not only a new depot and power lines, but also improvements to tram stops in line with DDA regulations as well as a rationalisation of track layout which will avoid crossovers of tram routes and highways”.

Coastal defence works Main contractor Birse is responsible for the ongoing works to strengthen defences along the region’s coast. Recent works around Blackpool’s North Pier tie in not only with similar coastal defence projects at Cleveleys and Wyre, but also with plans to open up Blackpool’s narrow sea front to make room for leisure and events. The new defences generally comprise two rows of sheet piles with a sloping revetment between the two. The revetment is formed from fill material, placed at a slope of 1:3 and capped with a concrete blinding layer. On top of this blinding layer are precast concrete step units, typically 3m x 5m on plan. These units combine to form a continuous concrete apron. Behind this stepped apron is a flat berm (cast in situ) and precast wave wall. Inland of the wave wall and up to the tram tracks the promenade is being replaced with coloured concrete paving. The new sea defences are constructed seaward of the existing, with five headlands projecting 50 metres out to sea, creating large areas of new promenade which will be finished to a high standard. Blackpool’s flood defences project, led by the urban regeneration company ReBlackpool and the council, are funded by Defra and the European Regional Development Fund. The council has also worked closely with the Environment Agency in the design of the schemes. The Institute of Civil Engineers has rated the Blackpool scheme as one of the best in the UK.

Other works Elsewhere in Blackpool, a new cutting-edge, low carbon emission building, with panoramic views of the beach and sea, is being built under the supervision of ReBlackpool. The landmark facility



N o r th We s t will be used from early 2011 as a Las Vegas-style wedding venue and will also be home to a beach café and a tourist information centre. Located on the Tower Festival Headland, a £14.3 million development close to North Pier, the building will provide a focal point for visitors, alongside neighbouring public artworks and entertainment spaces. Doug Garrett, chief executive of ReBlackpool, said, “Many marriages will have started with a holiday romance in Blackpool so we’re continuing that tradition in a very modern setting. The innovative building design will be a stunning addition to the landscape and construction has been planned to reduce carbon emissions, so we’re bringing more fun to Blackpool responsibly”. Built from solid timber, produced under strict environmental conditions, and clad in gold coloured, stainless steel shingles, the expressive building design is a celebration of Blackpool’s renowned exuberance and the bracing coastal weather. The telescopic wedding tower will feature dramatic picture windows to enable visitors, and couples exchanging vows, the chance to enjoy summer sun or the winter illuminations. Designed by dRMM Architects, the building uses cross laminated timber as a durable, high strength alternative to steel. With many of the timber elements being prefabricated, it has been possible for joiners to assemble the core of the building within a short space of time. The headland is also home to the new ‘Comedy Carpet’, a strip of coloured paving designed to commemorate the celebrities who have graced Blackpool by committing their famous words to granite and concrete. The slabs are designed to last for decades and can be maintained by precision planing and cleaning. Meanwhile, the headland will provide room for events hosting up to 20,000 visitors in the shadow of Blackpool Tower. Watch out for more news of the exciting developments in Blackpool and its surrounding areas in upcoming issues of Premier Construction.

Estate overhaul promises bright future at MMU A vast investment programme is now ensuring that the next generation of students at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) enjoy world-class facilities. Several projects are either in planning or on site. According to Richard Cartwright, the university’s head of capital projects, “We are the largest undergraduate university in the UK in terms of our student numbers, so when we carry out plans that consolidate our facilities – making them more centralised and encouraging separate faculties to share facilities such as libraries – we feel we’re moving in the right direction. “The University of Manchester has an estate three times the size of ours and yet we’re able to reduce ours by a third whilst still growing in terms of the students we attract and the courses we offer. That is achieved by having a much higher level of utilisation in our buildings”.

Art and Design The extensive development plans involve refurbishment of the art and design faculty’s existing accommodation, together with a new design shed. Work is already well underway to provide an array of new creative spaces due for completion in 2012. “It’s incredible that within the current climate we’ve been able to secure such a major investment”, said the faculty’s dean, Professor David Crow. “We are one of the largest providers of art and design and offer a huge range of activities, but much of our space is no longer fit for purpose. We have to provide space to accommodate the needs of today’s students, and we



have a great opportunity to develop an art school fit to meet the challenges of the 21st century”. Built in 1880, MMU’s original art school was extended throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Offering courses covering the whole spectrum of art and design, its three schools and one research institute are now the base for more than 3,500 students. The investment programme began back in the summer of 2009 with the refurbishment of Chatham Tower and the upgrade of the faculty’s ground floor workshops. The recent demolition of the school’s Undercroft building has made space for work to begin on the 80,000 sq ft new building. Designed by Stirling Prize-winning architect Feilden Clegg Bradley, the building will link with Chatham Tower and boast

£120m new campus

an impressive vertical gallery space. The glazed frontage will provide a “window on the arts” and allow passers-by to see the faculty at work. Work on the new building is due to commence in March 2011.

Business School

Manchester Metropolitan University plans to move the institute of education and the faculty of health, psychology and social care to a purpose-built campus in the heart of Hulme. The plans, which mix academic, student and community spaces and promise to create 300 jobs, will be known as the Birley Fields campus MMU Vice-Chancellor Professor John Brooks believes the campus is the perfect place for the university to operate its community-oriented faculties of health and education: “This move into Hulme will put us at the heart of the community we serve, giving students a fantastic new experience and having positive impacts on business, community spirit and educational aspiration. In these tough times, we believe it is right to be investing in the next generation, and it is vital that we move from seven to two campuses to reduce costs”. Manchester City Council, politicians, housing groups, and the NHS are backing the project, which incorporate a strong

Architects, contractors and stakeholders, including vicechancellor John Brooks and business school dean Ruth Ashford, attended the new Business School’s topping out ceremony in October 2010. The traditional event, which included nailing a piece of birch to a wall, marks the introduction of this iconic building project to the city. The £75m construction is still some way off completion, but it is already billed as the most environmentally friendly big building in the city. Ashford said, “The new business school is an intelligent building and a progressive symbol for the local area. We’re linking responsible management into sustainability. Industry needs an ethical approach.”The building will have many sustainable features, including internal glazed partitions that will maximise natural light. MMU is inviting commercial sponsors to have their names on lecture theatres.



N o r th We s t sustainable element in design and operation, including stateof-the-art technology such as force ventilation and solar-heated water.

Sports science campus Following handover by contractor Eric Wright Sir Bobby Charlton officially opened a £10million sport science centre in Crewe on Friday, 19th November. The opening marks the final phase of a £50million plan to transform Crewe into a major university town. Sport and exercise science is the last university department to transfer from MMU’s Alsager site to Crewe, where 3,800 students now share a campus offering degrees and higher degrees in the arts, humanities, business and management and teacher training. Facilities for students and the public at the campus include two 4-court sports halls, a 50 station fitness gym and a 3G artificial turf pitch. World-class research will also take place in the purpose-built building which boasts a £1million altitude-training chamber, genetics laboratories and a sports injuries clinic.

Science and Engineering The university is investing more than £7 million in brand new buildings for biomedical science and engineering at its science campus in central Manchester.

A new £3m building on the north side of the campus houses the IRM, one of Europe’s leading institutes for biomedical research into movement and health. A new £4 million engineering block on the south side also offers state-of-the-art facilities for research and teaching in surface engineering, materials, forensics, automotive engineering, dynamics and new media technology. Both new buildings were completed in summer 2010.

Parr Hall renovation completed Warrington’s historic entertainment venue, Parr Hall, has enjoyed a major refurbishment under locally-based contractor Harry Fairclough Construction. Warrington Borough Council made funding available with a view to making the venue financially viable in coming years. Lyndsay Patino, Parr Hall marketing manager, said, “The red and blue paint has gone and been replaced by a new colour scheme. We listened to the visitors and found the biggest bugbear was the seats. We wanted to keep the venue diverse so we can hold gigs like the Arctic Monkeys secret gig or have the flexibility to put in seats for theatre productions. However, we had a lot of complaints about non-fixed seating being uncomfortable”. The seats are now deeper and more comfortable. Boarding from the windows around the circle seating has been taken down to provide some natural light to the venue and a new upstairs bar



has been put in to prevent crowding downstairs. The extensive refit also see a  brand new airy entrance, comfortable seating, new decoration and flooring all resulting in a more comfortable, modern and enjoyable night out for everyone at Parr Hall. Lynsday added, “We hope the refurbishment will draw bigger productions like West End shows”. The venue, which has played host to some huge names in the world of music, comedy, dance and theatre, was granted the £1.2 million makeover after it was widely recognised that the hall, audiences and visiting artists would all benefit from a little ‘TLC’. A number of high-profile personages had expressed negative opinions of the venue, including Fran Healy, leader of Scottish pop act Travis. The makeover began in April 2010 with the hope that big names

and shows will be drawn to Warrington. Work was completed in October for an official re-opening in November. During the opening ceremony, Bob Timmis, the local Liberal Democrat councillor, paid tribute to those who had worked hard on the refurbishment project and are now working just as hard to ensure the continuing success of the venue as a centre for cultural activity, not just for Warrington but for the wider region. The councillor told people, “The Parr Hall is a special place for all who love Warrington, as all of us will have many memories of it over the years, both as a venue for professional shows and for community arts use”. Shows already lined up for 2011 include ‘Travels with my Cello’ by Julian Lloyd Webber, a stage recreation of BAFTA awardwinning children’s TV show ‘Peppa Pig’s Party’ and ‘Psychic Sally on the Road’ with celebrity psychic Sally Morgan.

Prosperity beckons for East Cheshire Enthusiastic councillor Jamie Macrae bucks the recent trend of pessimism when it comes to economic development. In his role as prosperity portfolio holder at Cheshire East Council, the councillor has a wide range of responsibilities, including: economic development and regeneration; strategic highways and transport policy; strategic housing policy; visitor economy (including tourism); planning and building control.

Despite recent bad news where government funding is concerned, the councillor, who brings an architect’s training to his role in local government, refuses to succumb to the temptation to throw in the towel. He told Premier Construction, “I feel we have good reason to be enthusiastic about our chances of continuing to generate investment in Cheshire East, as well as across the wider region, despite cuts to RDA funding and elsewhere. We have plans in place, as evidenced by our being one of the first LEPs to be approved [in partnership with Warrington and Cheshire West], to keep up the economic momentum we have in the area. Pointing to the recession as his “greatest challenge”, he stated, “We have already established a high-level recession task group of cabinet members and senior officers to assess where and how we can respond rapidly. We are looking at the impact across all of our service areas including employment, housing, investment and the programming of our capital schemes”. ROMA PUBLICATIONS


N o r th We s t Two recentlycompleted projects in Cheshire East serve as evidence for what the councillor calls ‘momentum’. The first, Lyceum Square in Crewe, is an urban refurbishment which has created a robust, flexible space for parking, markets and events. Costing £1.7m, the work was jointly funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency and Cheshire East Council and completed in autumn 2010 under main contractor Mansell. The refurbishment included: a new, modern market café; high specification toilets with disabled changing facilities; bespoke granite seating areas; new, modern lighting and cycle stands; and 54 car park spaces with disabled car parking. Councillor Rod Menlove, cabinet member with responsibility for the environment, said, “This vital refurbishment is about investing in the future of Crewe and creating an iconic new development in the town centre. The results are a more modern, comfortable shopping experience for customers and they give our traders the contemporary retail environment they deserve”. Elsewhere in Cheshire East, a short but significant stretch of highway has worked wonders for the villages of Alderley Edge and Nether Alderley. The three-mile route (4.8km), which was built within 22 months, is designed to vastly reduce passing traffic and take about 26,000 vehicles a day away from the two villages. The bypass runs to the west of Alderley Edge, starting at Harden



Park roundabout and rejoining the existing A34 to the south of Nether Alderley. It was scheduled to open in summer 2011 but was completed well-ahead of schedule in mid-November 2010 by main contractor Birse Civils. Councillor Macrae said at the unveiling ceremony, “Given that the project was first mooted in the 1920s, local residents have been waiting for an extremely long time and I am delighted to see their patience finally being rewarded. When the council came into being, we identified the bypass as a priority as part of our commitment to grow and develop a sustainable Cheshire East, building upon the excellent preparation carried out by our predecessor authority, Cheshire County Council”. Asked whether the bypass would not damage local businesses by removing so much traffic, the councillor responded, “Our predictions are that the bypass will in fact have the opposite effect. For example, the calmer streets will be better suited to the restaurant culture of the area. Local businesses have been very supportive of the project”.

Walney wind workers forge ahead Remarkable progress is being made on DONG Energy’s Walney Offshore Wind Farm in Cumbria. During the years 2010 to 2011, Walney (UK) Offshore Wind Farms Ltd. plans to construct phase I and II of the Walney Offshore Wind Farm, located approximately 15km off Walney Island, Cumbria, in the East Irish Sea. The project is being constructed in two phases. Each phase consists of 51 turbines with a total capacity of 367.2MW. The development includes foundations, turbines, export and array cables, offshore substations and onshore connection to the power grid. Walney Offshore Wind farm is located far from the coast, which results in relatively low visual impacts. The turbines will be located approximately 15km from the coastline of Walney Island in a north west to south-easterly direction covering an area of approximately 73km2. In the first phase, the wind farm consists of 51 turbines supplied by Siemens Wind Power – each with a capacity of 3.6MW – and in total the annual net energy for Walney I is to be approximately 663GWh, which will make the wind farm one of the biggest of its kind in the world. The Irish Sea is characterised by high tides, waves and windy weather. The difference between high tide and low tide is approximately 8 metres. The wind speed is estimated to an average of 9.3 m/s at 80m. The construction of the foundations and installation of the wind turbines involves a

number of work boats, crane barges and support vessels sourced for their ability to work under challenging conditions. The wind farm turbine array consists of a number of rows of wind turbines connected by cables to one substation, where the voltage is stepped up from 34 kV to 132 kV, before the export cables on the seabed carries the power to shore. The offshore substation in Walney 1 is placed inside the area of the wind farm, and was placed on Tuesday 15 June 2010, as one gigantic 1,100-tonne lifting operation concluded that phase of the project

Impact The UK is in front when it comes to implementing wind power. In fact, the scale of offshore wind power currently envisaged in the UK energy system is far larger than in any other country in the world. The wind farm will contribute to handling the issue of climate change. With a power capacity of 370MW (phase 1 + 2), possibly increasing to 600MW, Walney Offshore Wind Farm will make a substantial contribution to British renewable energy production. Indeed, because of its size, Walney Offshore Wind Farm will make a noticeable positive contribution to a problem of global importance. The scale of the offshore wind farms currently envisaged in the UK is far larger than in any other country in the world.



N o r th We s t

A development of this size will contribute significantly to a low carbon future, job creation, and an update of the energy infrastructure.

History In December 2003, DONG (since 2006 DONG Energy) was offered the Walney Offshore Wind Farm site as part of Round 2 Tender awards. In November 2004, the plans for Walney Offshore Wind Farm were presented at public exhibitions in Millom, Barrow, Morecambe and Blackpool. These exhibitions provided general information about wind energy together with more detailed information about the project. At the end of March 2006, Walney Offshore Wind Farm again held a series of public exhibitions in the towns of Walney, Morecambe and Fleetwood. Many councillors and citizens visited the exhibitions. Also, it has been a part of the process at an early stage to ask approximately 150 stakeholders which environmental investigations they would deem necessary to assess the impact of the wind farm. In addition to the requirements of the authorities, the stakeholders’ suggestions were included in the planning of the two year-long pre-construction investigation programme. In late 2010, a consortium of PGGM and Dutch Ampère Equity Fund, managed by Triodos Investment Management, entered into an agreement with DONG Energy whereby the consortium acquired a 24.8% stake in Walney. DONG Energy will retain a 50.1% stake and SSE will retain the 25.1% stake it acquired from DONG Energy in December 2009. To acquire the stake in Walney, the consortium will pay DONG approximately £16 million (DKK140 million)as well as its pro rata share of the construction costs. Henk Huizing, head of infrastructure investments of PGGM, said, “We are delighted to partner with DONG Energy which has a strong foothold in the renewable energy sector. It highlights our infrastructure change in strategy to shift our focus from fund investments to entering into partnerships with strategic players



for direct investments. Our infrastructure investments are made through the PGGM Infrastructure Fund 2010-2011 containing commitments for EUR 1.25 billion and with current investments in social infrastructure transportation, communication and energy”.

The latest on site Towards the end of 2010, the 51 turbines comprising Walney 1 were completed. Weather conditions have been average for the area, a situation which has been planned for and which, from time to time, results in delays. All offshore operations are fully dependant on the weather conditions and require thorough planning in order to utilise the weather windows suitable for installation activities. Wind and waves determine the progress in the installation. For wind turbine installation, the operational crane limit is typically a wind speed of 10 m/s, however, only about 8 m/s can be tolerated during installation of the blades.

Under average weather conditions, the installation vessel Kraken is able to install two turbines every week, maintaining a six to seven days’ installation cycle for the two turbine sets it can transport on each tour from the base at Mostyn. Based on the average weather conditions in the area, the expectations are that the installation sequence will be affected throughout the winter period, sometimes reducing the installation process to one turbine a week. DONG site manager Lars Alber told Premier Construction, “The first phase of the works went well and we are looking forward to completing the second phase with the same success”.

Export cable The offshore cable is a single wire armour three core 132kV cable complete with a 48 core fibre optic cable. To date, the installation vessel Stemat Spirit has placed almost 20 kilometres of the 45-kilometre long cable, running the full distance from the offshore substation to the onshore substation in Heysham, and the export cable has been successfully installed over three gas pipes under its way to Heysham. During the process, the cable is placed approximately two metres below the seabed. On the route, the cable will cross some areas with extremely hard soil. As a fall back option, it will be possible to place the cable temporarily on the seabed in order to ensure that the cable is in place for the commissioning of the wind farm. The unburied cable will naturally be buried once commissioning has been completed.

Onshore cabling and substation construction for Walney 2 The Walney 2 onshore cabling work and substation construction have begun at Cleveleys and will proceed for the coming months with expected energisation of the onshore substation on 1 August 2011. Installation of the ducting has started at four places on the cable route. In spring 2011, a cable barge will dock offshore at Cleveleys to lay the power connection or ‘export cable’ which joins Walney 2 to land. It will be laid in one piece underwater by a plough attached to the barge which places the cable approximately 2m deep into the seabed. Boreholes are being excavated at important locations like the sea defence wall and the other locations where the ducts will be installed by HDD drilling rather than open-cut excavation. The borehole testing establishes ground conditions and the ground profile that the drill will have to go through and helps to establish a route and a suitable depth for the drilling. Construction of the onshore substation is ongoing. Overall, Walney 2 will follow an almost identical programme to the first phase. However, the installation process will be more intense. The first signs of the installation will appear as of February 2011, when the first filter stones will be placed on the 51 turbine positions.

Proserv Offshore Engineers at Proserv-Offshore, part of the Proserv Group, have put their inventiveness to valuable use at a number of offshore wind farm construction sites including Walney 1. Proserv Offshore’s Mike Yeomans told Premier Construction about a new device which has already allowed various offshore developers to make massive savings in time and money: “We have a pile cleaner which can remove marine growth from the surface  of a monopile in 90 minutes – an operation which would normally take diving teams around 30 hours”. He explained, “The piles are designed to receive as the next part in the construction process a ‘transition piece’, and the problem that can occur during assembly is that the pile can sit in the seawater for some time before the transition piece is put into place. Even a brief spell underwater attracts marine growth which can affect the integrity of the grouting process which bonds the transition piece to the monopole. “Our device works by being lowered into the open mono pile and located in place, a cleaning assembly is then lowered down

the pile, and uses a combination of high pressure water jets and a spinning movement to completely clean the pile to a preset depth. It’s a unique piece of equipment, which is why we are looking at Patent protection. It’s been so successful on the three major installation contracts where it has been deployed to date that we believe that it could become standard procedure as part of monopile offshore wind generator construction”. Proserv Offshore’s R&D engineers are constantly coming up with innovations, of which this new tool is  one of many. Mike added, “We are very aware of the need to bring new technology to the renewables energy offshore market that solves problems and is cost effective, operationally efficient and reliable. “This product, like  many others in the Proserv Offshore range, demonstrates the firm’s commitment to the fast growing renewables market”. Find out more about the Proserv Group at www. proserv-group. com

NIRAS NIRAS has been engaged at Walney since the beginning of the project in 2004. In close co-operation with DONG, NIRAS has assisted from the project start by support assistance during the preparation of the application for license – covering technical as well as environmental matters. Afterwards, NIRAS was in charge of the wind park layout. NIRAS’ Claus Gormsen told Premier Construction, “As inhouse consultants for DONG Energy, it is our job to strengthen the development and implementation of the project. Our scope of services embraces the full project cycle: from the very early stages of planning a wind farm and throughout the project. “We have been involved in various parts of the project:  micro-siting and feasibility studies;  EIA; authority dialogue; decommissioning plans; marine and geotechnical engineering support; logistic and interface management; tendering and contract management;  management of subconsultants; management of installation works; and both onshore and offshore construction works at the site.  NIRAS has more than 20 years of experience in wind farm development and has delivered consultant services to DONG since the 1970s. DONG’s previous collaborations with NIRAS as consultant are many: Kriegers Flak in the Baltic Sea; Barrow, Gunfleet Sands, Burbo and Westermost Rough in the UK; and Horns Rev 2 and Avedore in Denmark. NIRAS is an international, multidisciplinary consultancy company with over 1200 employees located in offices in Europe, Asia and Africa. The company was founded in 1956. Today, NIRAS is one of the leading consultancy companies in Denmark. NIRAS’ business is to provide impartial consultancy within the fields of construction, infrastructure, public utilities, environment, energy, planning, socioeconomics, management, IT and development consulting. The company’s domestic market is the Baltic region, where NIRAS has operations in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Estonia, Russia and Ukraine. NIRAS has completed projects in over 180 countries and now has companies and offices in a number of countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. In the immediate future, NIRAS will continue the development of Walney phase 2 together with DONG Energy in 2011. Also, the detailed design for the last of the foundations at Avedore is planned in, as well as a site management contract at the same development. NIRAS has also high hopes for the construction of Borkum Riffgrund and Gunfleet Sands. Claus Gormsen adds, “Our strategy for 2011 is to continue the expansion of our activities in Northern Europe – this comprises also our newly opened office in UK”. ROMA PUBLICATIONS


N o r th We s t

Expanded HQ showcases Salford firm’s sustainable technology Sustainable power business ENER-G has doubled the size of its office accommodation and boosted manufacturing space by 25% with a new 12,500 sq ft building at its global headquarters in Greater Manchester. The £2 million building, handed over by main contractor Thistle Construction in January 2010, is located on an adjacent site to ENER-G House on Daniel Adamson Road in Salford. It enables ENER-G to keep pace with worldwide demand for its renewable and energy efficient technologies. The new development will bring office capacity at the site to 24,000 sq. ft., releasing space at ENER-G House and at a second building in neighbouring Diamond Court, to expand manufacturing operations. This will increase manufacturing space from 34,000 sq ft to more than 42,000 sq ft. The extra space will be used to produce a new energy efficient

management control system, developed by ENER-G’s in-house new products development team. The expansion involves the transfer of 125 staff from the group’s ENER-G Procurement and ENER-G Efficiency divisions from leased premises at St James’s House in nearby Pendleton. Staff members from the company’s renewables division are also relocating from temporary offices located in Diamond Court. Discussing the inspiration behind the new building, project architect Ric Thompson of Fletcher Rae told Premier Construction, “We aimed to pay homage to the existing buildings by incorporating some of the materials from ENER-G House [the blue-tinted curtain walling] with Kingspan KS1000 panels while reflecting the subtle colour palette expressed in the adjacent warehouse. The building is designed to create a contemporary office facility which can showcase ENER-G’s own renewable technology”. ENER-G has recently partnered with US-based Advantix Systems to introduce DuCool liquid desiccant clean air conditioning technology to the UK and is showcasing the technology in the new building. DuCool uses naturally occurring salt solutions to absorb moisture from the air and then subsequently cools or heats the air to the required temperature. The technology is clean and can be refrigerant free, providing a greener and more hygienic solution to de-humidifying and cooling buildings. The new generation technology provides up to 80% energy savings and ‘scrubs’ air clean to remove 91% of air borne micro-organisms and 80% of particles larger than 5 microns, including allergens.

Background Over the past two years, ENER-G has added more manufacturing space to boost production of its combined heat and power (CHP) and biogas generator units by 50% - to meet orders from across the globe. ENER-G is a leading energy business in the UK and Europe and develops, manufactures, delivers and finances energy efficient and renewable solutions. In addition to CHP units and biogas systems, these include geothermal energy, heat pumps, efficient lighting, controls, metering, billing and data solutions, and new  generation energy from waste. They are accompanied by a wide range of energy  and water consultancy and energy procurement services. Derek Duffill, ENER-G’s group managing director, said, “Our innovative products and services are in demand across the globe – fuelling powerful growth which is reflected in a rapid rise in turnover and the need to expand our main site in Salford. “We employ more than 760 people worldwide in and have operating companies and joint ventures in 17 countries, including the UK, Hungary, the Netherlands, Romania, Lithuania, Italy, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Mexico and Spain, as well as partners in Canada, Ireland, Portugal, Iran and Slovenia”.



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Latest phase in Sheffield BSF programme Sheffield City Council, VINCI UK (Taylor Woodrow) and Partnerships for Schools (PfS) are continuing to work together to deliver the Sheffield BSF programme through the Sheffield Local Education Partnership (LEP).

Reacting to the growing threat of government cuts to the BSF programme and other schemes, the council’s Daniel Ladbury said, “Thankfully we still have a programme of works to complete but we are now in the challenging position whereby we have been instructed to find savings. Simply put, this means we will

continue with the programme as planned but we have had to work with VINCI to identify ways in which we can do this for less money. This is challenging as we have always aimed at having the most efficient BSF programme possible to maximise value for money; the new government focus on streamlining is really in line with what we’ve always had in place in Sheffield”. Sites currently under development form the second, third and fourth phases of the two waves of investment, which could total £420 million upon completion. ‘Phase 1B’ covers Firth Park Community Arts College, High Storrs School, Spring Lane Personalised Learning Centre and Seven Hills Special School. There are a further eight schools in construction under Phases 2A and 2B, which started works on site during 2010 and four more ’Phase 2C‘ schemes in design development which are due to reach contract close in early 2011. Construction completion dates for all Phase

Fresh investment for PETEC – extension reaches completion The Printable Electronics Technology Centre (PETEC), has recently been gifted a new extension thanks to a £20.5m investment. The centre, situated in NETPark, Stockton-on-Tees, incorporated the extension which included a new clean room to the existing facilities after the build was completed early last December. The extension’s incorporation of a brand new ISO ‘class 5’ clean room adds to the existing ‘class 6’ facility. Bob Preston, project manager for the new development, explains in layman’s terms: “Effectively, this gives us an option of multiplying cleanliness by 10”. The addition of a new clean room has Bob optimistic about the future of PETEC, suggesting that such improvements offer the chance for the facility to move into production in the near future in partnership with investors. Cleanliness was maintained during construction, too, with CLEAN-IT UK providing industrial cleaning. Bob adds, “The investment shows the good work that had already been done here”, referencing the growth in status of NETpark which has improved its recognition from a regional North East facility to becoming nationally recognised. As well as the new clean room, main contractors Morgan Sindall have incorporated into the extension offices and associated plant rooms and services - suitable for R&D and prototyping in advanced printable electronics. Speaking to Premier Construction, Bob reserved special praise for the work carried out by Morgan Sindall, stating, “The contractors have done a very good job”. Beginning early April 2010, the cost management of the £20.5m investment saw around one quarter of capital put into building work, costing around £4.2m. The remaining three quarters of



1B schools range from June 2010 to November 2011, with the entire programme forecast for completion by the end of 2013. The refurbishment of the grade II listed High Storrs, where BDP Architects are continuing their role as one of the architectural partners to VINCI by ensuring a seamless connection of old to new, is one of the largest and most complex schemes in the Sheffield BSF programme. Work is scheduled for completion in advance of the new academic year in September 2011.

investment has been used to purchase specialist equipment for the facility.

About PETEC PETEC is the UK national flagship centre at NETPark for the development of revolutionary printable electronics technologies that independent forecasts predict will be a £16 billion industry by 2015. PETEC provides 3,000m² of clean room and laboratory space with an impressive array of equipment and staff. Capabilities include substrate preparation, materials formulation, device modelling, process development and process integration using advanced printing techniques such as inkjet, screen printing or web-based printing. These facilities enable companies to reduce the risks around developing production ready processes through prototyping and scale-up to low volume manufacture. The centre provides the printable electronics community with the physical, intellectual and commercial infrastructure to accelerate the move from the lab to production. The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) manages PETEC at NETPark and collaborates with pre-eminent global innovators including De La Rue, Plastic Logic, the US Army Research Laboratory, HP Labs, and the Universities of Durham, Newcastle, Cambridge, Manchester, and Imperial College, London. PETEC sits alongside a range of features designed to attract high tech investment, including the NETPark Innovation village, a

community of five R&D pods offering quality office and laboratory space, in self-contained units which are ideal for established companies or research groups. The units have been designed with many ‘green and sustainable’ credentials, which includes waste water recycling and angling the buildings in the Innovation Village away from the sun to cut down on solar gain and thus reduce the need for air conditioning.

Hands-on approach streamlines hotel extension Rudding Park Hotel, near Harrogate, has recently felt the benefits of an £8 million, 48 room extension, thanks to a “hands-on approach” that has minimised disruption to the operational complex. The new build also houses a new state of the art spa and a gym

room alongside its 48 bedrooms, many of which will boast steam rooms and a private cinema. Hotel manager Peter Banks has been working closely with main contractor R N Wooler during the construction programme, and he explained the project’s success to Premier Construction and the approach that was undertaken in order to complete the extension: ROMA PUBLICATIONS


N o r th E a s t & Yo r ks h i re “We sought a hands-on approach from the contractors to match the way we run our business. That meant hiring as many people from the local areas as possible, the quantity surveyor, electrical engineers, architects and contractors are all Yorkshire based. That way, I felt it’s easier to understand what’s going on with the project and what was required of everyone working on it. “We used local stone from Cadeby, near Doncaster. The same contractor had previously extended our restaurant and kitchen, and I’ve been impressed with the skills and helpful attitude they’ve brought to the projects”. The hotel has remained operational throughout the development process, and Peter explains how his staff managed to avoid major disruption during the busy construction: “It’s about knowing your guests. If there are areas subject to noise during working hours, then you try to use rooms nearby for people who are only there outside working hours – people travelling for business, for example. That way, neither guests nor workers are impeded”. Peter is confident that the extension represents a sound investment. With 35 of its 48 new rooms open as of the first week in December, the increase in bed space was designed to deal with increased demand over the festive period. After successfully opening every remaining room in the second week of December, Peter explains his decision for choosing to open before the Christmas period, “Hotel business tends to slow down after the New Year with holidays coming to a close and workplaces around the UK re-opening, so I believe that we chose the perfect time to open. December, after all, proves to be one of the busiest times of year”. Peter retained special thanks for every member of the site team from RN Wooler and the design team who helped to complete the project, labeling their work as a “great contribution”.

Newcastle BSF investment bears fruit The Walker Technology College, which serves one of the most deprived areas of Newcastle, is soon to relocate to a £29 million new build. Funding was made available through the first wave of BSF investment in the Newcastle area. The new site is just minutes from the present building, enabling Walker to retain its catchment area and its long association with the Walker district which dates back to the original school building in 1932. It will also allow the school to cement existing close relationships with Sir Charles Parsons special school, which lies adjacent to the site and will now be part of a co-located education campus on Waverdale, a one-time landfill site used mainly by local dog walkers. The new site, which was once used as a dump for industrial waste, had to be decontaminated before construction could begin under main contractor Sir Robert McAlpine, but Newcastle City Council agreed to supply around £5million to make the site useable. Design team manager Gary Jemmett, speaking on behalf of project architects Parsons Brinckerhoff, told Premier Construction, “The feasibility studies showed that best value could be achieved by re-locating the school, rather than upgrading the existing site. The re-location opens up a lot of possibilities, and we have been able to work with the clients to contribute to their goals through our design”. The layout of the school is designed to have the feel of a ‘welcoming hand’ – its main entrance is located at the corner of



an ‘L’ shape, and its facilities are arranged in three main sections. Each of the sections houses its own grouping of school facilities: a science block; a two storey block housing sport, leisure and the main hall; and a vocational block housing hair and beauty, cooking, and workshops for students of trade skills. “The building has been designed for economy of movement”, adds Gary, “Which is why we have located the library and ICT areas centrally to reduce travel times between them and other areas. We have also designed in economy in terms of energythe new school will share a wood pellet biomass boiler and a gas-powered CHP unit with the adjacent special school”. The steel-frame building features composite floors with metal stud walls internally. The facades are completed with extensive use of brick and render, as well as large areas of curtain walling. Red brick has been incorporated to match buildings in the surrounding area. Possible future expansions have been allowed for, and will be facilitated by simple removal of windows or sections of wall. Currently on site, contractors remain ahead of schedule despite delays during the severe weather experienced in late November and December. The worst of the weather was kept out due to the roof being completed, while cladding was finished before the end of 2010.

The architects Founded in 1885 and headquartered in New York City, Parsons Brinckerhoff is a leader in the development and operation of infrastructure to meet the needs of communities around the world. The firm provides strategic consulting, planning, engineering, and program and construction management services to both public and private sector clients. Parsons Brinckerhoff is active in multiple market sectors, including transportation, power, buildings and facilities, water and waste water, environmental, and urban/community development. Find out more at



N o r th E a s t & Yo r ks h i re Construction News

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Morgan Sindall begin further education centre for Darlington Work is well underway for the development of a brand new complex for the University of Teesside. The building will incorporate onto the existing Darlington campus a new teaching block.

Once opened, the building will enable a significant expansion of the range of higher education courses available in Darlington. It is being funded by the university, One NorthEast, via Tees Valley Unlimited and Darlington Council and is also supported by Darlington College and Tees Valley Regeneration.

Professor Graham Henderson, commenting on the new building’s significance, said, “The university has a long history of widening access to higher education within the Tees Valley. The new initiative will provide an improved gateway to higher education for individuals and employers in the west end of the Tees Valley, South West Durham and North Yorkshire. I am absolutely delighted to see work now underway on such a significant project”. The new building, which has a total floor area of 4,000m², will also provide a base for businesses within the Tees Valley looking to develop the skills of their workforce at a higher level. The overall project is valued at £11.5m, with main contractors Morgan Sindall collecting a substantial £8.1m of the overall funding. Morgan Sindall have been tasked with erecting

New highways depot ticks multiple boxes As part of a programme of works designed to modernise facilities used by North Yorkshire County Council’s highways department, a new depot is being constructed at Boroughbridge and should be open in February 2011 after a June start under main contractor Stainforth Construction. The site is part of an industrial estate and was chosen not only for its distance from residential areas but for its location next to an existing Highways Agency depot. The two agencies hope to share facilities. Amongst the ‘communal’ elements of the new build are a grit store, a salt barn and a weighbridge. The 35 council staff at the new depot will have their own fuel bunker, tarmac ‘hot box’, offices and parking. Head of highways Mike Roberts, the man in charge of keeping roads in service across North Yorkshire, kindly took the time to speak to Premier Construction in the midst of a busy December chill: “The case for renewing our facilities was clear: we had eleven of these depots in total and they were all built between 30 and 40 years ago. That meant that they were dated and had begun to show varying signs of dilapidation. At the same time, they were not perfectly suited to the way we use them – salt stores were having to be kept in the open, for example, which as you can imagine is not ideal. “It made a lot of sense to move in next to the Highways Agency. I expect there to be a lot of co-operation, which is essential for both of us. It was a bonus that the site we chose ticks two boxes



the 5 storey postgraduate and undergraduate centre to extend the further education facilities in Darlington, a major investment for the town’s council. A major feature of the scheme will be the creation of a ship’s fin, made out of a sub-structure of metal and a finished elevation treatment of glazing and brickwork. Beginning site on site last year, April 2010, the new building will open for the new academic year, beginning September 2011, but Morgan Sindall hope to achieve completion in June 2011.

in that it also allows us to move away from residential areas. A lot of the current depots interfere with residential parts of the county and there is a big drive to re-locate these facilities and others to more industrial areas, out of the way”. “After this depot, we will have two more to upgrade before the programme is completed. By now, we’ve established a method of working and a model for the upgrades that works well. The goal is to be finished by the end of the 2011-12 financial year and we’re currently on track to meet that target”.

Stainforth Construction Stainforth Construction was incorporated in 1991 founded by Danny Wilson, the company’s current chairman and managing director. Since its inception, the company has enjoyed a rapid but controlled growth as a result of its professional approach both within the office and at site level. Stainforth are no strangers to industrial development, and have also seen projects completed within the commercial, educational, retail, leisure and residential sectors. This is not the first of dealings between Stainforth and the North Yorkshire County Council. Stainforth recently provided their services in the extension and refurbishment of Burley

Oaks primary school in Burley-in-Wharfedale, a £3.5m contract awarded to them through the Council. Stainforth’s approach to construction is simple yet effective. The company announces, “We have a very simple quality standard which we apply to all our work: would we be happy with it in our own home?”

Better working strategies at the heart of council refurbishments Main contractor F Parkinson Ltd has completed work on a refurbishment of North Yorkshire County Council’s offices at Northallerton, where a re-think of office usage has been implemented to save both space and funds. The works consisted of refurbishment, extensions and alterations to the South Block of County Hall, which is central to the County Hall campus. Works included demolition of exisiting partitions and the stripout of existing finishes with the installation of new partitions, new walls, floor and some ceiling finishes. New doors were provided together with replacment of existing windows and the addition of brise-soleils on the south facing elevations. The works were spread over three floors with areas vacated on a rolling basis throughout the contract. Also included in the works was the demolition of a small traditional construction extension and the construction of a three storey extension, which includes a passenger lift.

Judith Johnson of North Yorkshire County Council explained the reason for the refurbishment: “This is part of our strategy to re-think the way we work. Many of our staff members don’t need permanent desks and we’ve found that we can save money by having more flexibility in the way we work. We’re have implemented desk-sharing and working from home as a way to reduce the space we need and the energy bills we run up. “Depending on the nature of the work carried out from department to department, we’re aiming for 7 or 8 desks for every 10 staff members. Our flexible phone and wireless connection



N o r th E a s t & Yo r ks h i re systems allow what we call ‘touchdown spaces’, where people can work temporarily without needing permanently reserved office spaces. We’re making sure that cellular, enclosed offices have to be well justified. Otherwise, people are expected to work in open spaces with meeting rooms to be used if the need for private meetings arises. “Another reason for the work is simply to upgrade our buildings and reduce maintenance and energy expenditure, which is something a lot of local authorities are looking into. Locally, Barnsley Council is a good example. Like other councils, some of our buildings are dated and the cost of maintenance and repair is beginning to outweigh the cost of building new, modern, efficient and better thought-out spaces”.

Clive West of Jacobs UK played a key role in the works as quantity surveyor. He told Premier Construction, “This project, budget permitting, could be a model for future upgrades to council buildings. Now that workers have been back in the building for a while, the feedback we’ve had has been positive. Not only have people appreciated the new facilities in the building and settled in well to a new system of working, but also the sustainable aspect of the project has already given indications that running costs will be reduced significantly”. Clive added, “Parkinsons did a very good job and coped well with the phasing of the works around a live building. The tender process was very much a quality evaluation, and Parkinsons came through in that respect and also managed to finish in August, ahead of schedule”.

New sciences complex will have ‘real world’ impact A new multi-million pound sciences complex in the North-East is expected to bring major benefits to people and health sector businesses in the region. The University of Sunderland’s new £7.5m sciences facility will deliver research with ‘real world’ impact - research that quickly transfers from the laboratory into the public domain, be it new drugs and therapies, improved health practices or benefits to the environment. The university will work closely with businesses and organisations in the health sector to allow them access to leading science experts and some of the most up-to-date facilities in the UK. This high-end facility is seen as a real asset to the North-East



and that is why it is being heavily supported, and part-funded, by regional development agency One North East, through the European Regional Development Fund. The new complex will draw high quality students not only from across the UK but across the world. Many of those are expected to remain in the North-East and help the sector bring about a healthier regional population. According to the university, the big winners in this new development are the people of the region. They will reap the benefits of the collaborations that will take place between regional, national and international health sector companies on a range of issues relevant to them. For example, the university is committed to expanding its

provision of continuing professional development (CPD) programmes for NHS professionals linked into the regional public health strategy ‘better Health, fairer health’ including, clinical practice; management of chronic heart failure; stroke management; and, practice development in infection control, mental health and Parkinson’s disease. The whole project, which was completed in December 2010 by Morgan Sindall, will see more than 4000m2 of existing university buildings turned into high quality, accessible science facilities. Professor John MacIntyre, dean of the faculty of applied sciences, said, “The University of Sunderland is recognised as occupying a unique position in the region’s science and innovation infrastructure. Institutional strengths in the disciplines of pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences, biomedical sciences and environmental sciences provide an opportunity to add critical mass to regional initiatives to create economic growth in the public health sector. “The research and work that will be carried out in the new facility will complement the work of Newcastle Science City and will significantly develop our collaborations with key regional, national, and international partners. We are particularly keen to

see our work used to help companies in the North East, who will partner with us to develop applications and products based on our science. “The latest figures show that total investment in research and development (R&D) in the North-East is half the national rate. A strong R&D base is essential to encourage companies to invest in the region, as well as providing a catalyst for the improved performance of existing businesses. Greater R&D activity will contribute to the growth of the region’s healthcare sector and our new complex will enhance that. The sciences facility will be easily accessible to industry, allowing much better universitysector interaction and collaboration and strengthening our ability to undertake R&D, knowledge transfer, and partnership development in the key areas of pharmacy, pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences. “The new facilities will provide a modern, well-equipped and outward facing environment that will also support high quality skills provision”. Plans for the new complex include: • The latest teaching and learning facilities, including a brand new CPD suite for training health professionals and the pharmaceutical sector • Multi-disciplinary science laboratories, including new facilities for proteomics, drug discovery, pharmacy, and health sciences • A new integrated industry-standard analytical services lab and scientific imaging suite • Social learning spaces for staff, students and external stakeholders • Exhibition space to promote science to industry and the health professions • New public square and landscaping • High-tech data networks installed by Aceda

Barnsley school swells with modern expansion Ward Green Primary school in Barnsley has been extensively remodelled in a project which has taken just over a year and completed in November 2010, with developers meeting the initial planning schedule. The school, previously split over two sites, has been brought together onto the main site, where the existing 1930s building has been extended and refurbished to provide a modern, accessible school building. Ward Green is one of several schools in the area that has benefited financially from the government’s Primary Capital Programme funding. Although delayed during the winter of

2009-10, the project has now been successfully completed and the school is now able to accommodate over 360 pupils. Assistant project architect Lloyd Kellock, of Barnsley MBC, told Premier Construction, “In particular the phasing has been quite complicated and had to be carefully planned to limit disruption to the operation of the school. The first phase involved completing the new build Key Stage 1 block consisting of four classrooms. The children then transferred from the existing building into this section to allow Phases 2 and 3 to progress. These phases incorporated the demolition of parts of the existing building and the construction of the remaining six classrooms and new main



N o r th E a s t & Yo r ks h i re entrance. We also remodelled the existing building to provide ancillary spaces such as the IT suite, library, staff rooms and offices and a flexible space to suit a mixture of uses including dance”. “The fourth phase, which included a ‘face lift’ for the foundation stage classes and the extensive upgrading of the school kitchen to cater for the increase in pupil numbers, had to be completed during Phase 3 and in time for the start of 2010/ 11 school year. It’s been a race against time but the team has worked hard to meet the needs of the school”. The building was designed with a ‘very good’ BREEAM rating in mind, and includes sustainable elements such as rainwater harvesting, a biomass boiler, solar PVs and solar thermal panels. According to Lloyd, “The building was designed and constructed to provide bright exciting spaces suitable for modern teaching techniques and incorporating the newest technology. Hopefully we have delivered an inspiring place to learn”.

Britcon Ltd. The Scunthorpe offices of Britcon Ltd were awarded with the £3m contract to complete the school’s remodelling. The project lasted 48 weeks and Britcon are no strangers to working within educational realms. Britcon has provided numerous construction solutions within the education sector including institutes, colleges, schools, academies, sure starts and nurseries for both private and public sector clients. Offering support and guidance through the construction process within an integrated, innovative environment has also been part of Britcon’s mission statement. Britcon itself is a leading building, civil engineering and structural steelwork contractor based within Scunthorpe, UK. Founded in 1990, Britcon remains family owned and run, undertaking to combine traditional values with modern management and construction. Britcons’ more recent projects include refurbishment of the Ellipse building, Swansea, Balloch bridge, Devonshire and the more high profile ‘Project Libra’ in Scunthorpe.

Rotherham developers begin 12-month countdown The turn of the year signals 12 months until Rotherham’s new £53 million civic centre is complete. A key part of the £2bn Rotherham Renaissance scheme, the new building will bring together council services from across the town centre, allowing the vacated sites to be redeveloped. The design has been prepared by architects Carey Jones, who worked on the Frenchgate Interchange in Doncaster and the St Pauls Quarter in Leeds. The main contractor is GMI Construction. Incorporating a “three-fingered” design consisting of a four, five



and six storey building, the design aims to provide a high quality new office development with strong links to the town centre, bringing a significant portion of the former Guest & Chrimes site back into economic use. Also included in the development are landscaping, flood protection and improvements to the junction with Main Street. The building is set to open out to the town and river to the east and introduce a sense of arrival relating to the new civic square. The publicly accessible plaza will see visitors from the town centre cross the existing road bridge and emerge into a light filled public space. The design also includes two roof courtyards which have the potential to be developed as garden spaces for the adjacent offices. The exterior will incorporate sandstone similar to Rotherham Red and brass metal work to reflect the history of the borough and the site. Project manager Paul Smith told Premier Construction that work was progressing at pace, saying, “We have an average workforce of 120 on site and by February we should have the curtain walling finished. Around the same time, we will be commencing work on the interior. Luckily, we were already slightly ahead of schedule in December when the snow came, so losing a day or two hasn’t held the overall project up. “By the time we’re finished, this development will lead to a much more efficient council service – not only in terms of being centralized, but also in terms of the 30% saving in desk space it will provide.” Chief executive of Rotherham Council, Martin Kimber, said, “We are all working together delivering regeneration. It is fantastic to see the first large steps of regeneration in the borough, in the heart of the town centre”. He added, “GMI Construction Group and their subcontractors are doing a great job in using local labour and sourcing local materials”. Jarrod Best, managing director of GMI Construction, added, “This flagship development brings together a state-of–the-art building design and specification, alongside traditionally, locally sourced materials built by a local workforce. When completed, the building will have an exemplary carbon footprint rating, officially recognised through the construction industry’s tough BREEAM standard. This will make the project one of the greenest office buildings built to date anywhere in the UK. On behalf of the expert team working on this project we are excited to be playing a leading role in the renaissance of Rotherham town centre, and the ongoing regeneration of the surrounding area, creating new jobs, investment and social opportunities”.

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Redcar school to be rebuilt for September 2011 Main contractor Kier is on site, battling through wintry conditions at Dormanstown Primary School in Redcar, Cleveland. The school is being rebuilt and a MUGA is being added, while work

will be completed with the demolition of the existing buildings. The £4.75m development has been funded through the Primary Capital Programme. Councillor Ian Jeffrey, cabinet member for children’s services and education at Redcar and Cleveland Council, said “This is an exciting project which will ultimately lead to the

creation of a first class learning environment for generations of children to come”. Kier project manager Clive Watson said, “The new development is now well under way, which is great for everyone involved. The look of the site changes by the day, a tremendous amount of work has already been accomplished and I think it is fantastic for everyone associated with the school to see it now”. Head teacher Anne Johnson added, “Children have been fascinated. Because the site is so close to the school building, pupils have been able to watch the progress of construction. It has been a real learning experience”. After starting on site in July, in just 12 weeks Kier North East and their sub contractors Groundwork Services and Hescott Engineering completed diversions of telephones, gas, electricity, water and sewer pipes which ran

across the site. A school-only access route was created prior to pupils arriving for their start of term in September 2010. The foundations of the building were cast, perimeter hoardings were erected and the temporary hard surface car park area was completed, all in preparation for working on a live site since September. It is hoped that the building will be be water tight by the spring in readiness for opening in September 2011.

Newcastle parks in £7.5 million upgrade Parks across the Newcastle area are being upgraded in a £7.5 million collaboration between Newcastle-uponTyne Council, landscape architects Southern Green Partnership and main contractor John Hellens. Due for completion in April 2011, the project covers four parks in the Ouseburn area: Armstrong Park, Heaton Park, Jesmond Dene and Paddy Freeman’s Park. Grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund have fuelled the works.



N o r th E a s t & Yo r ks h i re Improvements being carried out as part of the project include: • A new visitor centre in Jesmond Dene park (attached to Millfield House) including a classroom, office facilities and additional toilets • A redesigned and restructured pets corner with CCTV • Improved facilities for park staff and volunteers • An open access aviary • Improved play areas • Improvements to ease traffic congestion • A new bridge over the Ouseburn • Works to St Mary’s Chapel, including underpinning, the installation of estate railings and an improved path network • Works to the pavilion in Heaton Park to create better catering facilities and public toilets • Improvements to the entrance of Heaton and Armstrong Parks with the installation of park railings • Improvements to the area leading to King John’s Palace and some archaeological works to the palace • Repairs to the windmill in Armstrong Park • Improvements to the drainage in Armstrong Park • Work to the grotto in Jesmond Dene • Works to the bridges in Jesmond Dene • Improved access into the Dene from Paddy Freeman’s Park • Improvements to the play area in Paddy Freeman’s Park • Substantial tree works to restore sight lines and to open up areas to improve personal safety • New planting throughout the parks • Works to counteract erosion • Installation of new street furniture • Installation of signage throughout the parks to provide the

HLF funds Roman historical site Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grants are funding work on two museums at the Hadrian’s Wall site in Northumberland, where the Vindolanda Trust maintains not only tourist and educational facilities, but also one of the UK’s longest-running and continuously-surprising archaeological digs. The Vindolanda Trust has some of the most important collections of ‘real life’ from the Roman world. Their museums are situated on the extensive remains of two Roman forts and civilian settlements on Hadrian’s Wall - England’s largest World Heritage Site. HLF’s grant will link the two sites and the new gallery space and education centre have been designed to inspire the next generation of young archaeologists. Paving contractors Sureset installed a large pedestrian area of over 450m² in 6mm Dovedale Cream permeable resin bound paving. A significant element of Vindolanda’s collection that is currently in storage will now be on show for the first time within a context of premium visitor accessibility. Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the North East, Ivor Crowther, said, “We are delighted to have been able to support the Vindolanda Trust. The improved site access means that



visitor with all the information needed to fully enjoy the parks’ history and facilities The need to improve the management of the parks was identified in a public consultation as being a priority. The project includes funding for additional staff to be appointed to work in the parks and the new visitor centre. These include a parks manager to oversee the entire estate of parks, a project manage to oversee the project, an education officer to increase the use of the parks as an educational facility a support officer for the managers and to help with the visitor centre, and two additional park keepers.

more people than ever will be able to come and appreciate the wonderful Roman artefacts on show. Providing a snapshot of the ancient world, the site will allow archaeological volunteers to make full use of the collections. The award from HLF will also go a long way to improving tourism for the region and boosting the local economy through all the added features and facilities”. Some of the most interesting artefacts that have been excavated from the sites are the Vindolanda tablets - ancient postcards written by Roman Soldiers to send back home. One of the most fascinating tablets is an invitation to a birthday party written by the commander’s wife to a friend saying if she attended it would “make her day more enjoyable”. These are currently held at the British Museum but the project will mean that the tablets can be returned to the region and displayed where they were originally written. Some consider the ancient writings to be one of Britain’s oldest written artefacts. Patricia Birley, director of the Vindolanda Trust, said, “This wonderful project is scheduled for completion by the spring of 2011. It will be of huge benefit to the work of the Vindolanda Trust and will provide World Heritage class facilities for our visitors and volunteers. The project will also expand the trust’s sustainable heritage employment opportunities and we are extremely grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund and match funder One North East for their support for this exciting project”. Fiona Watson, responsible for finance and information at the Vindolanda Trust, is acting as assistant project manager during the works. She said, “Our original plans for a modest extension –

a couple of rooms at each site – have now been vastly extended thanks to the funding. We can now make the most of the artefacts and insight we are constantly uncovering, and which we have predicted we’ll continue to uncover for 150 years into the future. “We are now on track to go for a soft launch in mid-March, with a view to opening the new facilities fully in April. Border Construction [the main contractor] have given us the quality and value we were looking for during the tender process, so we’re pleased with the way the project has developed so far”.



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PCP school on track despite weather Work on a £5.5 million new school near Walsall is on track for completion next summer despite delays in construction caused by the cold weather snap.

Christ Church CE Primary School in Harden Road, Leamore, is being rebuilt to provide 21st century classrooms and more space for pupils. The older block built in the 1970s is situated a short distance from the new site and will be demolished when the new building is complete. Head teacher Ann Lowe, speaking in mid-December, said the construction work was

making progress despite the snow and icy conditions. “It looks fantastic already,” said Mrs Lowe. “When it’s finished it will be iconic. We are all very excited about it. We were hoping to get it bricked up and the roof on by Christmas, but the weather has impeded the work. “However, we are expecting it to be completed by July so we can get in for the start of the next school year. It’s really taking shape. We plan to do some community related projects, such as burying a time capsule and a special brick laying event will be held in the new year”. The building is of a circular design and will feature improved parking facilities, hard and soft playgrounds and landscaping. When the new building is opened it will fit more than a 100 extra pupils increasing capacity to 354 pupils, around 37 staff and a 26-place nursery

for three-year-olds. The scheme is being funded by the national Primary Capital Programme. Designed by Seymour Harris Architects, the building is being erected by Willmott Dixon, which is also responsible for refurbishing and rebuilding several schools in the area, including Barcroft Primary, in Elm Street, Willenhall; and Birchills Church of England Primary Community School, in Farringdon Street, Walsall.

Shrewsbury’s Concord College set to soar thanks to new development After 18 months of development, Concord College developers have managed to make extensions to almost every department of the school. Beginning planning processes as early as mid 2006, the final stages are now in sight with all of the major construction work achieving completion. Working with Pave Aways Ltd and Hughes & Abbott architects, four projects have been developed to provide the college with a fresh face lift and increase its facilities. Initial development started with the construction of a new ‘west end’ building, costing an overall £1.4m. Design planning starting



in June 2006, completion of the project occurred in March 2008 after a 36 week build period. The ‘west end’ building is a recreational area for students of the university equipped with updated facilities and modern amenities. The construction was a two storey steel framed building, floor area of 740m2, pre cast concrete floor with a mono pitch Kalzip and sedum green roof. To mark Concord College’s diamond jubilee, a part new build and refurbishment to extend and redesign their old gymnasium took place to create the ‘Jubilee building’. The project involved using the space to create 15 new classrooms for the English and maths departments as well as a new learning resource centre.

Phase one of the plan was recognised upon its completion December 2009 by her Royal Highness the Princess Royal to mark the college’s jubilee. The £3.8m project was completed several months after, with the final classrooms fitted in April 2010. The construction of the project was a two storey steel frame, pre cast concrete floors and trussed timber roof with slates and lead roll covering. Punched windows to the ground floor and ribbon windows to the first floor are installed with black tinted glass. External works comprised of complete remodeling and extension to car parks, soft and hard landscaped features and external lighting. This has presented the college with an extra 70 car parking spaces and a very elegant front entrance to the main college house. Also completed last year were the plans to upgrade and extend the kitchen and dining facilities. A high priority for Concord College due to its pastoral care, £522k has been spent to increase dining space to accommodate more students and increase the amount of kitchen area being used to prepare meals. The most recent of developments occurred in December 2009, with an £815k floor extension of the college’s science block. The extension allowed two additional chemistry and physics laboratories to be used by students for practical work. Although

already reaching completion, further plans for a refurbishment of existing classrooms in the science block are underway and are set for completion in summer 2011.

New council hub streamlines services and cuts costs Telford and Wrekin Council is investing £9 million to create an enhanced civic centre in Wellington. The scheme includes a new reception area with a café which leads to a new state-of-the-art library and registry office, improvements to the Wellington Leisure Centre, a swimming pool, a gym and new offices for up to 200 people. The modern development is designed to complement the historic market town of Wellington, which sits south of The Wrekin on Watling Street. A new public square will also be created near the town centre, with 40 new homes for older people being incorporated into the plan. The development benefits from a revolutionary Interseasonal Heat Transfer system designed and installed by ICAX. The scheme underlines Telford’s commitment to public sector investment and stimulating the local economy and the construction industry, while rationalising service provision to cut expenditure. The project is being funded entirely by the council, and will be generated by the sale of properties and land no longer needed once services have been centralised. Shortly before the end of 2010, Telford and Wrekin Borough Council’s Richard Holt updated Premier Construction from site in his capacity as project architect, saying, “The steel frame is now complete and the roof is now being put on. We are aiming ROMA PUBLICATIONS


Midlands for completion in September, but the recent freezing weather has meant work such as bricklaying has had to be temporarily curtailed. We have asked the contractor to look into the possibility of acceleration, so we will do all we can to deliver a quality result on schedule”.

ICAX ICAX Ltd provides a turnkey package for meeting sustainable energy targets on construction projects. The firm undertakes public sector contracts to heat and cool schools, colleges, community centres and sports complexes, as well as private sector contracts to heat and cool buildings like the new Tesco supermarket at Greenfield near Oldham. According to ICAX’s Edward Thompson, ‘Our work is based on Interseasonal Heat Transfer - which was invented and developed by ICAX.  “Sustainability is fundamental to everything we do. We provide renewable energy systems to heat and cool buildings based on a clear understanding of the way heat moves in the ground. This allows us to design installations that are in thermal balance with the ground over the long term. “We do not just extract heat from the ground: unlike many others, we deposit heat into the ground in summer so that the ground can provide heat sustainably over the seasons and over the years. Charging the ground with heat in the summer allows us to double the performance of a standard ground source heat pump”. Find out more about ICAX – technical info, awards, news, a fascinating case study of the company’s vital contribution to Wellington Civic Centre and much more at

Tower block refurb completed in Birmingham The dramatic £7.7 million transformation of the Turves Green tower blocks has been officially unveiled with Birmingham City Council and Wates holding a closing ceremony in late November for residents and the local community. As part of the proceedings, students from Turves Green Technology College presented a new seating area for residents, which had been created by them using rare Brazilian mahogany that had been uncovered on the site during construction. 228 homes across six blocks have been extensively refurbished by Wates under the Birmingham Construction Partnership, with homes at Turves Green receiving new windows, doors, central heating systems, and improved communal gardens and foyers. Additionally, some residents’ balcony doors were renewed. Finally, communal features, such as new curtain walling in staircases, structural repairs and a complete renewal of roof coverings completed the contract. The 62-week project commenced in September 2009, with residents remaining in occupation throughout the build programme. Birmingham City Council’s Steve Walker spoke to Premier Construction, giving an overview of the works. He said, “This was an opportunity to combine Decent Homes improvements with more fundamental improvements to the buildings’ structures and shells”. “We carry out regular investigations into the structural condition of our high rise properties”, he added. “We have 230 in the city



and we have abseilers who come out to do the inspections. In this instance, we found that we could save money by carrying out structural and internal works simultaneously”. Viewed from afar, the blocks appear to be two sets of three identical structures. One set reaches eight storeys, while the other is taller at eleven storeys. However, according to Steve, the

similarities are misleading: “First of all, the buildings have been there since the 1960s and there are some which still have gas or electric fires. Then there is the issue that, although all the buildings showed some signs of structural disrepair during our investigations, naturally they had not all deteriorated at the same rate. There were some things in common across the scheme, however: none of the buildings had double glazing and they have all been secured for what will be a minimum of 30 years as a result of these works”. Steve concluded, “The contractors did an excellent job and were particularly creative with service provision. In all, the work went smoothly and was well received by residents”. Councillor John Lines, cabinet member for housing, said, “It is a fantastic achievement that we have in conjunction with our decent homes partners provided a further 228 homes that meet the decent homes standard, through our Fourth Option, which will enable the lives of our tenants to be improved”. Phil Sperring, Business Unit Direct for Wates in the Midlands, added: “This has been a wonderful project to be associated with for many reasons. From the tangible difference we have made to these people’s homes, to the interesting archaeological importance of the site and being able to provide the local college with such a rare and expensive material to work with that was previously out of their reach, we have thoroughly enjoyed our time in Turves Green. I wish all the residents every happiness in their improved homes”. Turves Green is also the site of a 12th Century fort with three of the tower blocks built upon an ancient monument. As such, refurbishment required close archaeological observation to ensure any necessary excavations did not unearth any historical artefacts. Turves Green once contained nine residential towers, several blocks of low-rise flats, and an estate of pre-fabricated bungalows and brick semi-detached pairs, known as the Austin Village, that was built in 1916 to house First World War munitions workers.




2009-10: a successful period for LSI Award winning architects at LSI have recently added a diverse range of striking designs to their collective portfolio. LSI’s David Andrews talked Premier Construction through some of his and his colleagues’ latest achievements.

Southend Framework LSI experts have been working for Southend Borough Council’s under a framework agreement, taking on several projects. At Southend University Hospital, three projects in particular stand out. The Bereavement Suite, a small contract valued at around £56,000, is fitted out with high quality materials and light fittings. Special attention has been paid to the inclusion of art within the hospital environment. The hospital’s new Education Centre is a concrete framed addition to the site with exposed soffits to provide thermal mass in conjunction with stack effect natural ventilation systems. Special attention has been paid to the window and glazing specification, including solar shading to the south elevation. Also recently completed at the hospital is a tower block refurbishment. LSI focused on the window and glazing specification to provide suitable opening configurations for natural ventilation. Internal finishes were selected for infection control and ease of maintenance.

The Forum, Norwich Internal refurbishments and the redevelopment of the south wing of The Forum over three floors provided a tourist information office and shop, a reception for the BBC, an interactive digital gallery and accessible BBC recording studio. Materials were chosen to relate to the existing building’s concrete, timber and carpet floors with the integration of new acoustic ceilings and floor construction to conceal new service installations. A glassed extension completes the ground floor. The forum was originally designed by the celebrated Sir Michael Hopkins. The cultural hub sits on the site of the old Norwich Central Library, which was devastated by fire in 1994. Now, the Forum is home to BBC East, a new library, a theatre, an auditorium, restaurants and more.

Pleasant Court

LSI have also been involved in the planning of Pleasant Court, which will see the refurbishment of flats and bed sits. The new build elements of this remodeling of a 1970s housing development involve the extension of 26 existing bedsits to provide one bedroom flats, and the provision of a new area office for Broadland Housing Association. There is an extensive refurbishment element which includes replacement of all existing windows with double glazed timber units as part of the ‘Decent Homes’ programme that will



Jubilee 3, Norfolk Jubilee 3 is Easton College’s stylish new mixed-use building. The £7 million project was designed to BREEAM ‘excellent’ standards and handed over in early 2010. Students and staff are now taking advantage of a mix of 25 classrooms, 2 laboratories, an open-plan learning resource centre, a 70-seat lecture theatre, a café and ancillary rooms. The Brickwork design; a Trespa grid pattern façade with integral natural ventilation louvers are coloured to match windows installed in existing phases. A sedum moss roof enhances the building’s ecological credentials. LSI maintain a detailed website highlighting these and other recent successes at see all 96 flats much improved. The scheme addresses issues concerning lack of defensible space, ownership of external areas and access found in the existing scheme.



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Cambridge student digs completed ahead of freezing winter A new block of student accommodation has been completed on behalf of Resurrection Lutheran Church, on Westfield Lane in Cambridge. Cocksedge Building Contractors, based in nearby Mildenhall, completed the works in early autumn 2010.

Steve Nugent, one of the managing partners at Cocksedge, told Premier Construction, “We suffered delays in the early stages of the contract. We started on site in early November and so we were still vulnerable when the worst of the weather hit that winter. It’s nice to have been able to catch up and to have finished well in advance of the snow this year!”

The new block is a 3-storey traditional brick and block build with pre-cast floors and a trussed roof. With room for 12 students, it features private rooms, communal kitchens, lounge and study area, and is well served by the latest data cabling to provide a fast network and internet access. Steve added, “We have had positive feedback on the project – the client had nothing like it before and it’s a perfect setup for a student in Cambridge – we even converted a small building on the site to serve as a cycle store because cycling is so popular among students. “We came to the contract through a competitive tender; we worked to our usual high standards and there may now be further work in the pipeline for the same client, so watch this space!” About the contractor The Cocksedge Group of Companies were

founded in 1938 by Frederick William Cocksedge. Today, the company is still regionally based, having grown to employ over 100 people and boast a turnover exceeding £30 million. The company currently has five trading divisions, covering all the major trade disciplines, and has access to one of the most diverse range of construction skills in East Anglia. Cocksedge sponsors an annual apprentice award at Bury St. Edmunds College, and has a policy of recruiting apprentices to its various divisions from the local area. Find out more at

Grants convert industrial land into parks A new heritage country park for the people of Stoke-onTrent is being created on former industrial land around Chatterley Whitfield colliery, England’s most important colliery. The £8m makeover follows grant funding by the National Coalfields Programme managed by English Partnerships, the national regeneration agency. Birse Civils has been appointed as principal contractor and will deliver the transformation of a heritage country park at Chatterley Whitfield under a three year contract. The transformation of the 50 hectare site will enhance the current landscape, keeping the spoil heap as a reminder of the work performed on this evocative site by generations of local men but re-profiling it to make it safer and more accessible. On land once used for stockpiling coal that was criss-crossed by railway sidings, new footpaths will be created to encourage recreational use of this now green open space by local residents and the popular cycle route 55 will be retained and enhanced. The most significant change to the landscape will be the restoration of Ford Green Brook to an ecologically friendly open watercourse. Cowap Mobile Welding have asisted the works, carrying out welding and steel fabrication. The brook currently runs in an ageing culvert under the main spoil heap. The open channel will complement the other areas of the Chatterley Whitfield site encompassing wildlife habitats and woodland, grassland, heath, wetland and orchards. Neil Mortimer, head of national programmes at English Partnerships,



said, “As part of the National Coalfields Programme, the transformation of the open space at Chatterley Whitfield into a heritage country park will act as a catalyst for other regeneration in the area. It will turn 50 hectares of derelict land into an area of beauty that will benefit the entire community, whilst importantly retaining the memory of what once went on here”. Although the work to the landscape does not include any renovation to the scheduled ancient monument buildings on the Chatterley Whitfield site, Birse Civils is keen to reflect heritage elements and the mining legacy in the design of the open space. Councillor Mervin Smith, Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, explains: “We are delighted that Birse Civils has been appointed as principal contractor for the heritage country park at Chatterley Whitfield. Their submission to regeneration officials at the city

council not only took into account the heritage of the site by including features that tell a story about the history of Chatterley Whitfield, but they were also keen to get the community involved at every stage. This is vital to the success of this project”. Joan Walley, MP for Stoke-on-Trent North and founding member of the Chatterley Whitfield partnership, is delighted with the decision: “A huge amount of work has led to [the project being approved] and I am delighted that we are now in a position to get the next stage of improvements done. This transformation of this site is long overdue and will boost confidence in the area. “As well as focusing on nature, heritage and waterscapes, we will be providing essential remediation to long standing land and drainage problems that would otherwise have caused real problems for local people. But it is vital that we see this stage of Chatterley Whitfield as simply the next step. More work is still needed - creating jobs on the site and getting funding for the northern plateaux football pitches and upgrading the former Chatterley Whitfield pitches”. Established in 1970, the principal contractor, Birse Civils, is a national company with a regional office in Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire. Regional managing director for Birse Civils, Tony Dixon, comments on his company’s appointment to the scheme: “Birse Civils are delighted to be involved with the heritage country park at Chatterley Whitfield. It presents an exceptional opportunity to demonstrate that the construction industry is serious about the sustainability agenda. We intend to develop a scheme that sets new benchmarks for environmental excellence. We look forward to working in partnership with all stakeholders and the local community”. The regeneration of the former Chatterley Whitfield colliery is being delivered through a partnership between site owners Stoke-on-Trent City Council, English Heritage, Advantage West Midlands through the North Staffordshire Regeneration Zone, Joan Walley MP and national regeneration agency English Partnerships.

200,000 more households to run on wind power by 2012 Centrica and DONG’s £725 million Lincs offshore wind farm project is shaping up well, and is on schedule to go on line by the end of 2012. The Lincs offshore wind farm is being built in the Greater Wash area - a region which has been identified by the government as particularly suitable for large offshore wind farm developments.




As the Lincs development is on Natural England land, only hovercraft are suited to crossing the area without damaging wildlife. The success of Meridian Marine in providing craft suited to the task thus far has prompted a request from the client for

an even larger craft to reduce the necessary transportations and further protect wildlife. As Meridian Marine’s ‘Tiger 12’ took between six and seven fully laden and equipped workers, it often had to complete three trips to move the workforce. With the new Griffon carrying up to 22 fully loaded workers, this will be reduced to a single trip. With the Griffon hovercraft providing day to day transportation of passengers and cargo, this allows Meridian Marine to provide a back up vessel with the Tiger craft. Elsewhere on the project, Meridian Marine have used a variety of craft as part of a full transportation commitment, such as a 12-passenger RIB (rigid inflatable boat) for transit of workers during adverse weather conditions when it was impossible for other vessels to come up against the barge. With the ex-Royal Marines landing craft providing back up with Haglands vehicles and provision of stores for barge maintenance, Meridian Marine provide a full marine service. This turnkey approach provides a bespoke solution to difficult situations with a high standard of service, ensuring that there is no downtime on the project. All Meridian Marine craft are fully coded to maritime and Coastguard Agency standards and all staff are fully qualified mariners with years of experience, meaning that Find out more about Meridian Marine at www.meridianmarine.

Costing more than £30 million and constructed by Galliford Try, the Warwickshire Justice Centre has been designed so that victims and witnesses do not feel intimidated by sharing the same waiting areas with the accused and their supporters.

down on part of the court, separated by a thick glass screen, and those in them will be able to hear proceedings but any “support” for offenders will not be heard in the court. Witnesses can also be screened off with a blind from the crown court docks, which also have thick glass screening and can seat up to 15.

The wind turbines are being constructed 8 km off the coast, to the east of Skegness, at a water depth of 10-15 m. The wind farm, with a total installed power of up to 270 MW (up to 75 wind turbines each producing 3.6 MW), should generate enough electricity to satisfy the demands of 200,000 households. Lincs has planning consent for 250MW with an additional 20MW to be constructed in the footprint of the Lynn and Inner Dowsing wind farm development but connected to the Lincs transmission. Six of the turbines are being constructed adjacent to the Lynn and Inner Dowsing wind farms, which were fully commissioned in March 2009. As part of a grid connection contract, Siemens will supply an offshore substation platform, which will bundle the power generated by the wind turbines before it is transported via highvoltage cable to the mainland. The substation will be equipped with two 240MVA transformers, and 132kV high-voltage and 33kV medium-voltage switchgear. The requisite protection and instrumentation and control equipment will also be installed on the platform.

Transportation at Lincs

New court design protects victims The courts complex in Newbold Terrace is decorated in cool and calm colours, with waiting areas having natural light and overlooking the soothing views of the trees surrounding Jephson Gardens. John Burbeck, chairman of the Warwickshire Justice Centre project, said, “We wanted to create an environment in which people feel safe and secure so that they give the best evidence. We don’t want them frightened into giving evidence”. And in an effort to give more support to people who may feel intimidated, two of the crown courts will have public galleries that do not give a full view of the court. The galleries will look



The justice centre was opened in 2010 and is home to four crown courts, three magistrates courts and two county courts. Youth court hearings also take place there. The complex also houses many criminal justice agencies collected together from different sites across south Warwickshire. They include the probation service, the local criminal justice board, the youth offending service and the victim and witness support service. It is hoped that the new complex will become a model for future justice buildings constructed across the UK.

Winter weather fails to delay university development VINCI are hard at work as main contractor on a new £10 million performing arts centre at the University of Wolverhampton. The centre, which will be known as The Performance Hub, will provide state of the art teaching and performance space for dance, drama and music students. The Performance Hub will house new teaching and rehearsal spaces for the university’s School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure, which offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, including dance, drama, music, sport and physical activity, leisure and tourism. The space will include performance areas, music rooms and staff offices. The four-storey building will also feature a new learning centre for the entire student body at Walsall. There are high hopes for the new centre. University leaders hope that the centre will become a landmark focal point in Walsall. Drawing on local and regional communities across the UK, it will bring together actors, choreographers, designers, writers, researchers, dancers, theatre practitioners and musicians. The new centre is being built on the site of a former teaching tower and halls of residence, which has been demolished. An additional 50 car parking spaces will also be provided at the site. The landmark performing arts centre is the latest development at the university’s Walsall Campus. It follows on from a new education and teaching building, which opened at the site in 2008.The latest work on the Gorway Road site is expected to be complete by July 2011.

Senior capital projects manager Paul Davis told Premier Construction in early January, “Currently on site, the cold weather has delayed work such as bricklaying, but we are still aiming at the July target for completion. Copper cladding has commenced and window installation is ongoing; we plan to have the roof completed by midFebruary”. He added, “It’s the first time we’ve gone through VINCI and it’s been a very positive working relationship with plenty of communication between them and the campus management team. I’m very enthusiastic about the rest of the project”.



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Devon Decent Homes success down to co-operation Homes managed by Tarka Housing Association, the group established to take on the ownership and management of Torridge District Council’s housing service in 2007, are being renovated under the Decent Homes scheme. Premier Construction spoke to Jon Gibbons, the project manager overseeing work in Bideford, Torrington and surrounding rural areas. Jon’s company, Pearce Construction (Barnstaple) Ltd, is one of the scheme’s three main contractors and is responsible for turning around 40% of Tarka’s Decent Homes commitment into reality. Jon said, “The project has gone very well to date – feedback surveys carried out by Tarka have shown a satisfaction rate of 96% in our work, which exceeds Tarka’s requirement, so it’s encouraging to know that tenants are appreciating our efforts”. Pearce’s contract with Tarka covers internal works: kitchens, bathrooms, wet rooms, heating systems, re-wiring and loft insulation. In the last three years, around 350 properties have been upgraded, with the majority of properties needing work on kitchens and bathrooms. Pearce have completed contracts worth around £3 million for Tarka in that period, including adaptation work, property conversions and extensions. That healthy figure has represented around 10% of the company’s turnover. Asked what kind of timescale he expected from his site teams, Jon replied, “To use the example of kitchens, we are allocated ten days per property and have completed some in as little as five days, although the average works out at around seven or eight days. It goes without saying that we always aim to be in and out as quickly as possible without compromising on quality – it benefits both us and the tenant. The variables when it comes to timing are aspects of the job that don’t always show up during surveys – we sometimes find that some properties need unexpected work where plastering or repairs to water damage are required, for example”. Jon sees success across Tarka’s estate as a product of cooperation between the client and contractors such as Pearce. He said: “By working with the client and with the other contractors, we have established a system which allows us all to perform better. We get together regularly with the client and the other contractors and, despite us being competitors outside of this scheme, we have been able to co-operate and share information on issues such as increasing quality and cutting costs. Not all the contractors have been involved in this kind of scheme before, either, so the benefits of working together have really shown”.

About the client Tarka Housing Association manages over 1,700 homes and is styled as ‘a truly local organisation’ which deals ‘in a hands-on way with local housing issues’. The association offers a variety of homes, including affordable rented accommodation, shared ownership properties and sheltered housing.   Tarka Housing is also a member of Westward Housing Group; along with Torbaybased Westcountry Housing, the group provides and manages more than 6,000 homes in Devon and Cornwall. In a ballot 78.7% of tenants eligible to vote in 2007, 84.1% of voters were in favour of the transfer of their homes from the stewardship of Torridge District Council. Tarka now provides a plethora of services for its tenants, including: •  Enforcing tenancy agreement conditions •  Strengthening management services so that firm effective action is taken and that new ways are introduced to tackle anti-social behaviour • Complying with equal opportunities legislation and best practice • Carrying out ‘exit surveys’ for tenants leaving homes or



transferring to another Tarka Housing home Considering a scheme for maintenance of individual gardens for tenants who qualify. • Carrying out customer care training for all staff employed by Tarka Housing • Taking housing services out to tenants throughout the district with drop in surgeries. • Providing more ways to access services and information, including the use of the internet • Providing a friendly, easily accessible public reception area where tenants can have face to face contact with relevant officers to assist them when necessary. • Providing greater choice in how to pay rent • Arranging for regular estate inspections. Tarka’s board directs strategy and monitors the work of Tarka staff. The board has 12 members, made up of 4 tenants, 4 independents and 4 Torridge District Council nominees. Tarka and Westcountry both operate in rural and urban areas characterised by considerable demand for social housing. Westward Housing Group acts as an umbrella organisation to represent the two associations and to maximise their •



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efficiency. Westward’s stated mission is to “deliver excellence to provide better homes, healthier environments and stronger neighbourhoods where people want to live”. Find out more about Westward and its subsidiaries at www.

About Pearce Construction (Barnstaple) Ltd A specialist in the property market, the Pearce group has three divisions: Pearce Contracting, Pearce Property Services and Pearce Homes. The company operates from its offices in Barnstaple, North Devon, and undertakes contracts within two hours’ drive of its base. The principal area of operation is thus Cornwall, Devon and West Somerset. Involvement in the Tarka framework continues a strong

tradition of housing association work at Pearce. Recently, the group completed a new build affordable homes project for Devon and Cornwall Housing Association (DCHA) in Culmstock. Representatives from DCHA called the project “the smoothest handover procedure experienced in recent times”. Meanwhile, work recently began on a flagship communityled village development which will provide homes, jobs and community facilities for the parish of High Bickington, where Pearce are working closely with High Bickington Community Property Trust and the parish council. In further positive news for the successful group, autumn 2010 saw trowel and carpentry apprenticeships granted to five youngsters from the Barnstaple area. Find out more at

South West Water’s ‘Clean Sweep’ hits the final stretch South West Water started work at Polperro, near Looe, last year on the final phase of its ‘Clean Sweep’ programme. ‘Clean Sweep’ has been the main focus of South West Water for almost 18 years. Over £2 billion has been invested in improving the water quality of the region’s bathing areas, making it the largest environmental programme of its kind in Europe. As a result of ‘Clean Sweep’, 250 crude sewage outfalls have been closed and 140 associated projects have been completed. Construction of the £5 million scheme at Polperro, which includes a sewage screening station at Scilly Cove and a 330metre pumped long-sea outfall, is expected to take until summer 2011 to complete. Due to the exposed, coastal nature of the site, the construction of the screening station by main contractors Dean and Dyball has involved building a temporary steel platform in the sea off the cove. Dean and Dyball have also had to transport building materials by sea. A temporary over pumping system, which by-passes the existing tunnel section, has been maintained to allow works to ROMA PUBLICATIONS


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continue inside the 85m long tunnel. New pipework is currently being installed inside the tunnel, whilst the flows are being diverted over land. The South West Coast path remained closed throughout November 2010 on safety grounds, whilst extensive cliff stabilisation and remedial works took place. Erection of pre-cast concrete units to the new screening building has been undertaken to the southern section, which is not affected by the cliff stabilisation works above. South West Water’s Tim Hunt told Premier Construction that, despite delays in the earlier stages of the project, his team was now on track. He said, “Since our main access during the construction phase is by sea, the initial task of putting up the working platform was subject to the weather. Conditions were not perfect, and we had to contend with minor delays. “Subsequently, when it came to installing the lift that runs up the cliff face, we discovered that the cliff was less stable than we expected. We have got past that now: works on the cliff face have been completed and we’ve moved into the main stage of

installation. We’re still dependent on the weather, but assuming conditions are within our expectations, we’re on course to complete in summer 2011. “The local community has been very supportive of our work, so I should reserve special praise for the helpful attitude of our neighbours”. Malcolm Bell, chief executive of South West Tourism, one of Clean Sweep’s leading supporters, said, “Without Clean Sweep, the tourist industry [in the South West] would have been destroyed”. To mark the completion of Clean Sweep, the largest environmental programme of its kind in Europe, South West Water has published a report assessing its impact and the wider benefits brought to the region. The report also highlights the next series of challenges. Top priorities are a steady supply of water, measures to meet future economic and population growth and action to counter the effects of global warming.

New Paignton Travelodge ends 35 year hotel drought For the first time in 35 years, the population of Paignton, Devon, has witnessed the erection of a brand new hotel this month. The new Travelodge will end the three decade hotel drought to mark the beginning of what planners hope to be the regeneration of Paignton. Built by Anglo Holt construction, the new hotel brings to Paignton 92 new rooms over 4 storeys in a project costing approximately £5 million. Included in the 3100m2 site is a new 37 space car park for customers.



The development of the new Travelodge took place on an existing hotel site, requiring Anglo Holt to demolish the ageing Middlepark Hotel. Speaking to Premier Construction, Carl Sheppard of Anglo Holt went through the process of construction and the difficulties faced: “The site was previously used for the Middlepark Hotel, so a large portion of our contract was the initial demolition. That and subsequent works have been tight with three sides of the site occupied by buildings. The works required attention to detail, not only in terms of organisation but also in complying with planners’

requirements. We had to use the same locally-sourced stone on the new exterior as had been lost when we took the old hotel down. The same was true for the slate on the roof. Both are timeconsuming and quite expensive to work with, but the look they give the building is more than worth it”. Also included in the build was a 66-cover bar and cafe area, requiring installation of specialist kitchen and bar equipment. The addition of the bar and cafe services along with the overall impact of the hotel will benefit the community of Paignton, offering tourism opportunities and creating around 20 new jobs. Tony O’Brien, UK development director for Travelodge, comments on the project’s importance regarding tourist income: “We want to give travellers every reason to visit Paignton and stay longer. We see increasing the availability of low cost accommodation in the area as central to achieving this objective”. Construction of the Travelodge lasted 9 months, with developers starting the project on 30th March 2010 and reaching completion on 17th January 2011. Anglo Holt’s Carl Sheppard added, “We finished on programme in early January despite losing a few days at the end of the year due to the weather. I know the local council had been keen to get a big player in Travelodge into the area, so I’m happy to report we contributed to that with a successfully completed contract”.

Royal Treatment For New Queen Elizabeth’s School Construction Originally established by HenryVIII’s mother, Lady Margaret Beauford in 1497, Queen Elizabeth’s School is well on its way to completing its plans for a brand new building to replace the existing facilities. The scheme, originally brought forward by Dorset City Council under the BSF scheme, has been designed by Fielden Clegg Bradley and Mouchel Architects and contracted by Carillion. Development has been progressing from Phase 1 of the project since its initial go-ahead in August 2009. The site is in a spacious area of the Dorset countryside to the west of the minster and the design has used the original rugby field as the focal point of the main new build, which is a specialist sports college. With a student head count of 1500 plus staff, the design naturally has to be on a large scale, covering in its dimensions approximately 12000 m2, rising to three storeys. The school will be divided into a mini-university style campus with both covered and open air transit routes between structures. This is especially important to this sports-orientated school to provide access to the adjacent leisure centre and its extensive shared facilities. While construction is underway on the new designs, sections of the existing school will be closed for safe and controlled demolition, transitioning the students from one building to other ROMA PUBLICATIONS


S o u th We s t as construction continues. Efforts have been made to ensure the minimal volume of waste material has been removed from site, using the spoil as embankments, viewing platforms and hard core fill for new foundations. The project, costing £38 million incorporates spacious atria. Speaking to Premier Construction, Tony Hall, project manager for WYG, spoke highly of the school’s lighting design: “The three storey atria that are central to all three main blocks allow natural light to flood down through to the floors. This effect will create a wonderfully adaptable indoor-to-outdoor heart of the school”. The school will be heated and cooled using air passed through ground tubes buried below the buildings to provide a stable temperature throughout the year and using the thermal mass of the concrete frame to help distribute the effects during the working day. The multicoated double glazing, biomass boiler, silver standard insulation throughout, solar heating and photo-voltaic electricity generation all contribute to the achievement of a BREEAM ‘excellent’ score for the finished school. The new Queen Elizabeth’s School is set to be completed and turned over in August 2011.

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Gatwick workers making remarkable progress Gatwick Airport’s huge programme of improvements continues to make progress, under a scheme designed to make the airport more modern and user-friendly, and able to cope with ever-increasing challenges of traffic, passengers and baggage. Gatwick is now owned by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), who also manage London’s City Airport, after a report by the Competition Commission led to former operators BAA selling the hub in late 2009. Improvements to the airport go hand-inhand with the new operators’ stated intention to encourage more passengers and airlines to make Gatwick “London’s Airport of Choice” in the face of competition from Heathrow, Stansted and Luton airports, amongst others in the UK. Already the 8th largest airport in Europe in terms of passenger numbers, Gatwick’s modernisation represents an attempt to grow even further. Contractors across the programme of upgrades have so far coped well with two challenging aspects of their roles – aspects which are perhaps unique to the airport environment. First is the sheer volume of human traffic around the live airport which, until upgrades are completed, is still an environment around which movement can be confusing and counter-intuitive. Second, the need for absolute security, especially when working ‘airside’, creates an obstacle which has required a large dose of creativity and flexibility from all working on site. Gatwick Airport’s Wayne Lonsdale spoke to Premier Construction about the scheme: “Across the project, there are two main aims. The first is to improve the passenger experience, and there are several ways in which we’re approaching the issue. One way, as an example, is to improve movement around the airport. We’ve carried out a number of computer simulations to determine the best way to encourage people to move around, and some of the conclusions we drew were that it’s much better to have more open spaces with clear lines of sight, and that lifts are better solutions than escalators for moving large numbers of people from floor to floor.

“The other main aim is to increase capacity, which is why we’re investing so much in the baggage handling systems, for example. The latest technology will ensure a process that’s faster and more precise and a system that can take on a great burden of baggage without struggling”. Such a large investment into UK aviation was considered too much to hand to a single contractor, and so the project has been divided into sections, each of which has been handed to one of the UK’s major construction firms. Wayne added, “The contractors we’ve chosen are all respected and trusted, and they bring with them a great deal of experience, not to mention hatfuls of awards. Our three main criteria in selecting contractors were their focus on safety and security, both during and after construction, their understanding of what it takes to construct a fantastic airport and their ability to offer value for money”. Wayne’s colleague, Stephen James, offers an explanation of why passenger movement is such a critical focus of the works, saying, “At airports like Heathrow, a much larger proportion of the passengers are regular fliers who travel on business. They know their way around the airport, and to them it matters much less whether the layout is actually intuitive or not, as they get into the habit of moving around quickly. “At Gatwick, however, the vast majority of our travellers are holidaymakers who visit very infrequently. It’s much easier to get lost or confused in a new place, and that’s why we recognise that it’s more important here than at other airports to create clarity in the way the buildings are laid out. There is a lot we can do to improve the set-up at Gatwick and my hope is that, once all these improvements are complete, it will be difficult to imagine exactly how counter-intuitive the airport was before!”

An overview of the works North Terminal Forecourt The North Terminal forecourt is to see its facilities relocated ROMA PUBLICATIONS


Lo n d o n & S o u th E a s t and improved in an attempt to offer ‘a reassuring welcome that reflects the Gatwick of today, and the future. It reinforces, geographically, the sense of arrival’. Initial work on the forecourt has been completed at a cost of £7.4 million and is designed to increase the area’s capacity and security and to ‘de-clutter’, which should free up lines of sight and improve signage and circulation.

North Terminal Interchange Leading into the forecourt, the North Terminal interchange is ‘a new gateway into the terminal’ for all modes of transport. Upgrades are intended to ‘modernize and speed up the passenger journey into the terminal, whilst leaving a positive impression’, a further hint at the importance placed on making Gatwick attractive, as well as secure and functional. Costing around £25million, work to improve the interchange has reached practical completion and features improved wayfinding and a smoother journey from multi-storey car parks to the terminal building.

North Terminal Extension In a move to increase the terminal’s capacity and reduce the burden placed on existing installations, an £76 million programme of works has been drawn up and is due for completion in September 2011. By then, the terminal will boast 27 new check-in desks, four baggage reclamation belts and, if all goes according to plan, a surge of new passengers ready to enjoy them.

North Terminal Baggage System Contractors are developing a new system that is fit for purpose and is robust and efficient enough to grow with Gatwick and improve passenger service levels. Work on the system began in 2009 and should be complete by the second quarter of 2012 after an investment of around £30 million. New technology is being applied to increase capacity, while airport operators hope to reduce costs by improving efficiency. One of the most important considerations is to ‘future-proof’ the system against Department for Transport requirements.

South Terminal Baggage System Similar to the improvements to be made to the North Terminal’s system, the South Terminal’s baggage process focuses on innovation. New technology is designed to reduce accidents and quicken the check-in process. Strategic planning will be designed to re-route baggage directly to flights. To be complete by 2012, the project is benefiting from an impressive £90 million investment. Stephen James said, “If you’re not careful, projects like this can become horribly complex, so I consider it a great achievement for us to be on target and coping well with both complicated phasing and restrictions in available space. There is no scope for expansion around the South terminal without phenomenal cost, so everything we’re doing has to be achieved within the available space. “We’re combining these works with work on Pier 1, which is a design and build contract, and implementing a system which will allow passengers to drop bags at any desk. All the work is due for completion by late 2012”.

North West Zone

South Terminal Departure Lounge

Alongside improvements for passengers and baggage handlers, airlines will soon benefit from works at Gatwick. Six new large remote aircraft stands, designed with future A380 capability, were completed in June. Associated works to create a landscaping bund, balancing ponds and aircraft washing facilities are now also complete, at a total cost of £40 million. The stands are a significant accomplishment, as work has progressed as planned despite the usual flurry of action around the airfield.

South Terminal Pier 2

Transit Replacement The original transit system between terminals dated back to the 1980s and was in need of improvement. According to a Gatwick statement, improvements offer ‘reliability’ and ‘better passenger service’, and ‘will ensure our passengers feel secure and relaxed when flying from Gatwick’. The new, safer carriages will offer up-to-date passenger information, CCTV to improve security, and greater accessibility for wheelchair users. £38 million has been spent on the new shuttle system, which was opened two months early in July 2010.

South Terminal Forecourt and Concourse Both these areas are to be made easier to access and navigate, with improved lines of sight, fresher, more open spaces, and a seamless journey from one to the other. New flooring and lighting within the concourse will complement a contemporary, welcoming ‘front door’ to the forecourt. The £20 million project has started on site and, according to Stephen James, South Terminal area manager, “This project will create much easier access to the airport and will represent a significant improvement to existing facilities”. Stephen continued, “First of all, we are bringing scheduled coach services closer to the entrance and moving our ‘kiss and


fly zone’ – the area where people will say goodbye to the friends or family – to a new, larger location. Those two improvements go alongside a new lift access system, which is safer and more easily navigated than an escalator system when you consider the bulky baggage people are carrying around. Together, these improvements add up to create a much more intuitive initial experience for people coming to the airport – crucially, they make it possible to access without changing levels. Passengers spend an average of 23 minutes each crossing an area of only 200m while accessing the airport. “Then as we move inside, a small but highly significant project is the flooring replacement. Not only are we getting rid of a dated, dark grey floor covering, but we are facing one of our biggest logistical challenges in phasing the flooring works to avoid disruption. At the same time, we are trialling a new self tag bag drop with one airline – results have been so encouraging in terms of speeding up check-ins that other airlines are clamouring to get involved”.


This area has been refurbished in order to leave a more pleasant space for passengers to enjoy, and one in which there is a greater choice of activities, refreshment and retail. Passengers will be encouraged to spend more time in this area, which has been extended and modernised in a £37 million project completed in late 2009.

Around £40 million is being spent on a project to improve and modernise Pier 2, with work to the aircraft stands and to the passenger areas, to provide a more efficient operation and a better experience for passengers.

South Terminal Immigration Hall This area will be expanded and will benefit from better wheelchair access, in a project which begins with newer, higher ceilings and will end with an area of increased capacity, and a better layout for the UK Borders Agency desks. Delivered in phases over two years, this project involves working in busy airport areas where safety and minimising disruption to passengers are both top priorities. The first phase of the works is complete, consisting predominately of works to the ceiling. Asbestos was removed and the ceiling was raised in order to create a more open space with more signage. Stephen is particularly proud of this project, as he explained: “We are working really well with the Borders Agency to make this the best border experience in the UK. One simple measure we’re taking, which should have a huge impact on passenger satisfaction, is to move agents’ offices closer to immigration desks so that they can be on the ground to deal much more swiftly with sudden rushes”.



Lo n d o n & S o u th E a s t The contractors Schindler Schindler began working with Gatwick Airport in April 2009, when the company was invited to tender for work on lifts at the North Terminal Interchange project. The relationship with both GAL and their main contractors has been developing since. Schindler was founded in 1874 by Robert Schindler and established itself within the UK market in 1960. Schindler Ltd celebrated its 50th anniversary in the UK in 2010. Schindler Ltd operate nationwide and have branches across the UK and Ireland. Schindler Group is the largest supplier of escalators and the second largest manufacturer of elevators worldwide. The company has around 43,000 employees and its operations span all five continents. Schindler designs, installs, services and modernises transport systems for almost every building type worldwide. Globally, Schindler equipment moves more than 900 million people per day. Schindler’s Joanne Walker, key account manager at Gatwick, said, “Despite the current economic challenges, I am delighted to report that 2010 was a good year for Schindler and we are looking forward to a number of exciting opportunities in 2011. We will continue to work with Gatwick Airport Ltd. to support the development of the airport in any way that we can and will be tendering for more new installation projects with their selected contractors throughout the coming year. “We start on site with the South Terminal Forecourt and Consolidated Search Area projects in 2011 and are extremely positive about the relationships that we are building”.

Caldyne Caldyne Ltd were formed in 1979 and have been actively involved in construction projects at Gatwick Airport ever since. Based in Rowfant, Caldyne Ltd have a directly employed multi-skilled workforce of 26. As general building contractors, the company





Lo n d o n & S o u th E a s t has experience in many sectors of the industry; with its own modern joinery workshop and metalwork fabrication facility, the company offers many services. All of this supports Caldyne’s claim to being the South’s leading multi-service building contractor. Caldyne are committed to working with local communities and provide training, coaching, and apprenticeships where possible. By giving back to the community in the way of skills, jobs and pride, Caldyne believe that a sustainable economic climate can be achieved. The company is also committed to working in a greener and healthier environment and has signed up to the local borough

council’s Pledge on Climate Change. Caldyne’s supply chain is expected to maintain the same high standards and principles. Among others, Caldyne are accredited with Constructionline, Chas, and Considerate Contractors. In 2007, Caldyne were the winners of Crawley Borough Council’s Business of the Year Award for customer service. Caldyne’s projects at Gatwick Airport have ranged in value from £1,000 up to £2 million. Outside the airport, the company carries out large amounts of work for local schools and churches, and is currently constructing a new £1 million church in Horsham, West Sussex.

Manus O’Donnell, managing director at SCC Limited, outlines his company’s involvement in the multistorey car park in North Terminal:

commenced in advance of the rest of the frame construction realising benefits in overall programme. Just in time, deliveries have ensured that the works do not impact on the day to day running of one of the busiest airports in the world. SCC’s works are programmed to complete at the end of March 2011 in accordance with the agreed programme of works.

SCC’s role is acting as principal contractor and design build contractor for the construction of a new £10 million, 1200 space multi storey car park inclusive of entry and exit plaza works in front of the North Terminal interchange. The client’s choice of SCC over established airport contractors was not a rash choice. Our bespoke pre-cast concrete frame system is ideally suited to working within a heavily congested live working environment such as Gatwick Airport. The use of our unique system not only provides enhanced safety to the project but it has greatly reduced the programme period compared with other forms of construction and this ensures that disruption to the client is kept to an absolute minimum. One of the main advantages of SCC’s design is the attention to incorporating the highest level of safety related methods of construction into the works. Traditional forms of construction expose the workforce to high levels of health and safety risks on site. SCC’s bespoke modular system removes these risks by switching elements of on site construction to off site where the risks can be better managed. The installation of handrails to parapet upstands and balustrades to stair cores off site prior to delivery is one example of how they have eliminated the typical risk to the on site construction process. The end product provided by SCC results in a more efficient, uninterrupted floor to soffit height which provides the end users with a greater sense of space. The use of large span pre-stressed slab units not only results in clearer vision lines within the car park for vehicle movement but has also enabled the erection process on site to be halved. Works are currently in month six of a nine month programme. Finishes have just commenced to the customer interface areas. High levels of finishes have been specified to match the final finishes of the adjacent Interchange building. The method of construction has enabled the fit out of the cores to be



Britaniacrest Recycling Ltd Working in conjunction with high profile clients such as SCC, Morgan Sindall and VINCI, Britaniacrest Recycling has contributed to the waste disposal process during the ongoing development at Gatwick airport. Britaniacrest Recycling aided work at Gatwick by providing skip hire and tipper hire as well as supplying aggregates. Founded in 1993, Britaniacrest Recycling has grown to a turnover of £8 million per year. Britaniacrest Recycling run a large privately owned recycling facility approximately three miles from Gatwick where they run a large fleet of vehicles, machinery and processing equipment. For future schemes, Britaniacrest Recycling are looking to invest in an RDF processing plant at their site to deal with the light fraction of their waste stream. They are also investing



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heavily in biomass technology to push their production up from 20,000 tonnes to 40,000 tonnes per year. According to director Richard Foss, there is plenty more news at Britaniacrest Recycling: “We have also recently passed our

ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 and are due to complete our ISO 18001 next year. We have been helping Dyer & Butler on urgent snow clearance work this winter, and we can now offer our customers a zero waste to landfill scheme”.

Willmott Dixon

our clients and their stakeholders. Feedback from stakeholders has been encouraging, so long may it continue!”

Willmott Dixon’s role at Gatwick involves three projects across both terminals: the North Terminal Onward Travel Facility, the South Terminal Immigration Hall refurbishment and the Concourse flooring, previously referred to by Stephen James. The contractor’s operations manager, Yazdi Shroff, talked Premier Construction through the works he is overseeing: “Beginning with the work on the South Terminal Immigration Hall, we commenced construction in mid November 2010 and work will be going on until July 2011. An important part of our role is to communicate closely with the UK Border Agency, who are relying on us for a facility that improves their working environment and operation and that doesn’t disrupt them during construction. “Next is the flooring in the South Terminal Concourse. I’d agree with Stephen James’ comments about the logistical side of the works but, just like any airport contract, we have approached this with a commitment to organisation and understanding of the client’s needs. That ensures that the complexity of the project doesn’t become an obstacle. We’ve undertaken extensive trials to determine the best flooring type to use and the best way of phasing the works. We’ll begin on site in January 2011 and we plan to complete the following July. “Finally, we have just been awarded our first North Terminal project, the new Onward Travel Facility, which is currently a temporary set-up on the top level of MSCP 5. Our project is to create a new permanent facility within the terminal building. It is essentially a fit-out contract – we install the new M&E service connections, floors, walls, ceilings and so on. “With all our projects, we try to deliver the best value solutions for

Mason Land Surveys In 1975, Kevan and Annette Mason registered Mason Land Surveys Ltd (Mason) to supply support to aerial survey companies. As the volume of the aerial survey work declined during the late seventies, Mason diversified its activities within the construction industry, providing civil engineering setting-out, hydrographic survey and dimensional control services. Additional services have more recently been added to the already expansive portfolio which now includes measured



Lo n d o n & S o u th E a s t building surveys, laser scanning surveys, topographical and underground service work and a specialism in airfield surveys which has taken the firm as far afield as Antigua and Tajikistan. Mason’s Iain Dougall told Premier Construction, “We have been involved at Gatwick since 1997, before the recent takeover,

and we’ve collaborated with the majority of the current main contractors such as Willmott Dixon, ROK and VINCI. It’s a pleasure to be continuing solid working relationships and contributing to a successful major project at the same time”.

Carillion preparing to lift off new Gatwick airline extension Carillion’s involvement in the project has consisted of the improvements being made in the North West zones of the airport. Alongside improvements for passengers and baggage handlers, Carillion will soon hope to benefit the airlines at Gatwick. Already virtually complete are six new large remote aircraft stands, which have come in at a cost of £40 million. The stands are a significant accomplishment, as work has progressed as planned despite the usual flurry of action around the airfield. Carillion’s contracts director, Richard Betteridge, spoke to Premier Construction about his firm’s involvement in the scheme: “We’ve been involved with the project since its early stages and throughout the buyout. A significant portion of our work has been carried out on the North West Zone, where we’ve safeguarded two spaces for the new Airbus A380 in the future. “That side of the project is nearing completion, and I take pride in the way we’ve gone about our work, especially when it comes to environmental issues. 95% of the materials we used were recycled, and we haven’t had to transport any significant amounts of waste away from the site”. The aviation sector is one of Carillion’s stronger areas, as Richard explains: “In general, we invest a lot in aviation. We have a strong team and we can offer post-construction maintenance packages, which can save money for clients by allowing them to give out single contracts for both. We’re vastly experienced in the area, and we’re currently involved with the work at Heathrow Airport, whilst I’ve personally been involved at Manchester Airport and I was here at Gatwick in 1988, working on the main runway. Come to think of it, I’ve worked on most of the major runways in the UK!” Richard can trace his personal success, and that of his firm, down to a simple yet effective approach: “I don’t mean to use a cliché, but this kind of work is all about people. Simply put, if you’re going to get along, you need everyone involved to have the right attitude. If there’s a problem, you solve it by talking and understanding how to move forward. Too many people are still stuck with the approach that you’d see a lot in the 1980s – as soon as there’s a glitch, they start ranting and raving!

VINCI VINCI Construction UK have continued a 12-year relationship at Gatwick with their recent work at the airport. Recently, the group had undertaken the Pier 2 upgrade at the South Terminal in a contract worth £33.5m. Starting in September 2009, the VINCI team have nowachieved all three of the Pier 2 handovers, where new buildings, gate rooms, aircraft stands and infrastructure have been put into operation. VINCI have also completed the re-development of the South Terminal shuttle station. The £8m re-development scheme was completed in mid-2010 and has access to the station with a new ‘face lift’ and station re-fit. Adding to the long list of services that VINCI have been providing for Gatwick over the last 12 months is the construction of the new Gatwick South Terminal Consolidated Security Search facility, a £45m security development which will re-develop a significant part of the south terminal to provide improved passenger processing capacity and new retail. The work began on site in July 2010 and has successfully passed the initial demolition work so that the first areas can be handed over for retail fit-out. The works also involve threading new escalators through the existing baggage hall and through terminal floor slabs. Meanwhile, further projects have reached initial construction phases. The South Terminal Forecourt re-development will



“During this contract, our approach has meant that our team has fit perfectly with Gatwick’s, and things have moved according to programme. There’s a lot of work to be done around the airport, and I’m looking forward to similarly successful working relationships in the future”. provide a £24m upgrade of the terminal’s entrance. Diversion works to move existing high voltage cables are under way and foundation works have commenced. Jason Griffiths, production director at VINCI air division, spoke to Premier Construction of his happiness to have VINCI involved in the regeneration of Gatwick, highlighting in particular an outstanding safety achievement: “The VINCI air team have successfully delivered 3 million man hours with no reportable accidents, a record of which they are very proud”. In previous years, a significant portion of the improvements to Gatwick have been down to VINCI,including construction of the South Terminal’s Pier 3 and Pier 2 segregation projects, the refurbishment and extension of the International Departure Lounge, and the construction of the goods in and waste away facility for the South Terminal international departures lounge. VINCI also undertook the replacement of 28 passenger loading bridges and the installation of the gate guidance system. In the last year, VINCI have also constructed a temporary baggage facility as part of the enabling works for the new South Terminal system, demolished Hangar 5 and the old customs house and also completed duties as the programme integrator for the South Terminal capital programme. Andrew Ridley-Barker, operational director of VINCI’s air

division, spoke to Premier Construction “Our experience at Gatwick is what allows us to get things done: we know the environment - its constraints and its interdependencies - and we know what to do to overcome challenges to the projects. Asked what makes for a successful airport project, Andrew got straight to the point: “You have to keep things separate. You can’t turn an airport into a construction site; you have to find a solution that lets both airport staff and construction workers get on with their jobs. “I’m pleased to say we’ve done that, and our experience with things such as passenger segregation and construction logistics at the airport adds to our know-how in that area. We’ve been able to keep delivering on our promiseswithout bringing the airport to a halt”.



Lo n d o n & S o u th E a s t

London’s Shard of Glass smashes UK skyline record The Shard of Glass, London’s new landmark mixeduse building, has become the UK’s tallest building as construction of its 72-storey central core completed this week. As a result, the current structure is now 244 metres high and has already become an exciting addition to the Capital’s skyline. On completion, the Shard will have risen to the equivalent of 87 storeys at 310 metres (1,016 ft) and be Europe’s tallest commercial building as well as the continent’s only truly mixeduse development. The Renzo Piano designed building will comprise 595,000 sq ft of office space, a collection of high quality restaurants and bars occupying three floors at the mid levels, a five star de-luxe Shangri-La hotel and spa, exclusive residences and a high level viewing gallery. Since construction commenced in March 2009, the Shard has established a series of ’firsts‘ for a UK building. This includes Renzo Piano’s first UK commission, a pioneering “top-down” construction strategy enabling the substructure and the superstructure to get underway simultaneously, “jump-lifting” the central core, London’s largest ever continuous concrete pour at 5,500 m3 (delivered and poured over a 36 hour period) and UK’s tallest crane, which currently stands at 255 metres high. The milestone was complete early December when the 69th floor was completed, taking the Shard to 236 metres high, compared to One Canada Square’s 235.1 metres. The occasion was marked by Mayor of London Boris Johnson being taken to the very top of the building, accompanied by James Sellar, CEO of Sellar Group, which is developing the scheme on behalf of LBQ Ltd. Boris Johnson said, “If you want a symbol of how London is powering its way out of the global recession, the Shard is it, rising confidently up to the heavens. Once complete, this huge engineering feat will be the tallest building in Europe, and is destined to become as iconic a landmark on London’s cherished skyline as the Gherkin, St Paul’s or Big Ben”. Stephen Pycroft, chairman and CEO of Mace, the principal contractor behind the scheme, commented, “From a standing start 20 months ago we are making strong progress on the build programme with the concrete core already at its completed height of 72 storeys, the steel frame up to level 40, and 3,500 of the 11,000 panes of glass already installed. “There is a lot of hard work to do but the speed with which



the Shard has risen out of the ground and the quality of the construction is testimony to the determination, innovation and team spirit of all those working on the project”. Completion of the entire London Bridge Quarter development is anticipated during the first quarter of 2013.

Finish line in sight for Olympic Village The Olympic Delivery Authority and Bovis Lend Lease are working together to deliver the Athletes’ Village for London 2012 with Bovis acting as development and project manager. Lend Lease will be responsible for all aspects of the project including funding, design and construction, marketing and sale of the completed product. Other partners in the project are First Base Ltd and East Thames. The Lend Lease team will develop the site in two phases from 2008 to 2011, then 2013 to 2020. Phase One is worth around £2 billion and involves the development of around 4,200 homes and related infrastructure and support services. Phase Two involves refurbishing the Athletes’ Village after the games, and developing a further 500,0002 of commercial, retail, residential and community space. The Olympic Village will provide 17,000 beds for athletes and officials during the Olympic Games and 7,500 in the Paralympics. Every apartment will provide comfortable accommodation and state-of-the-art communications facilities, including internet access and wireless networking. All the apartment blocks will be fully accessible and equipped with modern lifts. After the games, the village will become part of the overall Stratford city regeneration scheme, including a new regional shopping centre with additional leisure, office and residential areas. It will be transformed into up to 3,300 new homes with environmentally friendly waste treatment and renewable energy, and accommodation for sale and rent. The communities that develop in the area after the Games will be supported by new

parks, open space, community facilities and transport links. Buildings used to house the clinic, admin offices and supporting facilities are to be converted to an academy education campus for 1,800 students for adult, primary, secondary and nursery schooling. Before 2012 (phase one), there will also be 10ha of open space including five parks, squares, tree-lined streets, a water feature, courtyards and roof gardens. Transport will include a new DLR







Lo n d o n & S o u th E a s t station, high-speed 1 Javelin shuttle service to central London, 2,500 parking spaces, new bus routes and a host of cycle paths and pedestrian footpaths. Work began in June of 2010 on the permanent foundations for the first blocks of the Olympic Village. More than 300 construction workers were on site carrying out piling works to reinforce the ground where the first blocks of the Olympic Village will sit. The final phases of the initial build are well under way with all that is left to achieve is the full refurbishment of the structural interior. Planners hope to remain on schedule, aiming to have completed the first project phase in mid-2011. ODA chief executive David Higgins had this to say on the project: “The Olympic Village will be one of the strongest legacies from the games, delivering quality new homes for Londoners, many of which will be affordable, together with new parks, public squares and community facilities. This will be a world-class development and the involvement of some of Europe’s most talented architects and landscape designers will ensure design excellence continues to play an essential role in the delivery of this project”. The Athletes’ Village is one of the most significant new urban developments in the UK and its rapid development over the next few years will receive worldwide attention. It is in fact part of a much wider regeneration project – the Stratford City Masterplan – a blueprint for a huge new urban development in East London.

Phase one (pre-2012) will deliver: Up to 2818 homes (with 1379 of these affordable). A new education academy campus catering for 1,800 students between the ages of three and 18, through connecting nursery, primary, secondary and sixth form places, and adult learning facilities. Over ten hectares of open space, including five parks, public squares, tree-lined streets, communal gardens with safe and exciting play areas, courtyards and roof gardens. Transport facilities including new bus routes, more than 2,500 new parking spaces, safe roads, cycle and pedestrian routes. These services will add to the existing Central, Jubilee and DLR lines that currently service Stratford. Global connections will be provided through the nearby Stratford International Station with access to London City, Stansted and Gatwick airports, while Crossrail promises a direct connection to Heathrow. The Athletes’ Village will be converted into its legacy condition with residents who have bought or rented homes moving in during 2013. From 2013 onwards, the development will be extended to include more homes, a health centre offering GP and community health services, and a locally owned and run community centre. The development will provide a lasting legacy of regeneration benefits for East London that will enable wealth to be created and retained within the area for generations to come. A commitment of a lasting legacy of social, physical and economic regeneration was at the heart of London’s bid for the games, and has underpinned the design of the Olympic Park and the Olympic venues. The Olympic Park Legacy Company is leading the long term physical transformation of park after the Games. It aims to create a lasting legacy from the London 2012 Games by developing the park to become, in time, a new and prosperous metropolitan area of the city. The company will use its public assets to lever in and secure private investment for the development of the park. It will set standards for the quality of design, construction and urban planning which will ensure a sustainable and long term future for the Park and its neighbouring communities. Andrew Altman, chief executive of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, said: “The company has been very focused to secure the best possible use for the Olympic Stadium after the games. We have been examining all options which will secure both the financial viability and significant public investment in the stadium, coupled



with making sure that legacy promises are fulfilled. “It is very encouraging that there is great interest and enthusiasm in the future use for the stadium. It is already a dominant structure on London’s landscape and offers fantastic opportunities to fulfil its Olympic legacy. “We are perfectly clear that the future of this valuable public asset is secured in a way which allows the best opportunities to come forward and at the same time offer the best value for money for the public purse”.

Johns of Nottingham Johns of Nottingham, the leading firm of painters and decorators, carried out decorations to Residential Plot No. 3 at the Athletes’ Village with a contract calue of £1 million, including legacy works. Johns used Dulux Trade Paints to achieve the highest quality finish as demanded by the ODA, with up to 40 skilled decorators working to a tight programme. Continuing a close working relationship with Bovis Lend Lease spanning over 30 years, Johns’ Russell Chapman told Premier Construction, “We feel privileged to have been involved in the largest construction project in Europe, adding another prestigious contract to our portfolio of high profile work”. As one of the UK’s leading commercial painting contractors, Johns provide solutions across mainland UK to sectors as diverse as retail, hospitals, public buildings, leisure facilities, hotels, schools, pharmaceutical laboratories and listed buildings. Established in 1909, master painters and decorators since 1911 and incorporated in 1946, the third generation family-owned company has a large directly-employed workforce offering a nationwide service. Russell concluded, “We are hopeful of securing yet more work on the Olympic Park as we embark upon our second century of trading, looking to maintain our position at the forefront of our trade”.

Tring Park Performing Arts College development brought to a dramatic finish Students of the Tring Park School for Performing Arts this month will witness the finalisation of a £13m school development. The project required significant investment relating to the large scope of work to take place.

site area consists of 6.746 Ha. Burrell Foley Fischer submitted the design plans April 2009 and have since seen them reach significant development progress over a 12 month period from January 2010 to January 2011.

Amongst these works were the inclusion of five dance studios, a theatre, workshops and the demolition of the schools swimming pool. Running for approximately 12 months, Ashe Construction group have been awarded a £2m chunk of the £13m investment to provide the major building work. Funding has been accumulated from the school’s own resources, supplemented by a government grant, but predominantly funded through an extensive fundraising campaign. The project consists of three major phases which are as follows:

Phase one During this phase, 5 new 10m by 12m studios were erected on campus, adjoining existing school buildings and accessed via a broad corridor situated on the south side of the building.

Phase two The existing art room has been demolished to make way for a new theatre and a new art department has been created within a purpose built block to the north of the existing ‘Markova Theatre’ where a new space also serves as the stage scenery and props workshop. The new block has been arranged on two floors providing a media room, fine art space and dark room on the first floor and sixth form study and common room centre, and theatre workshops on ground level. The workshop doors open onto a service courtyard formed between the new art department and the adjacent ‘Markova Theatre’.

Phase three The final phase includes a new 280 seat theatre designed for dance and musical theatre training and productions. Due to the purpose of the stage, the performing space has had to be quite large in order to be of use to the students and staff. The new theatre contains foyer spaces that also serve as informal teaching spaces and recreational areas for pupils, while backstage dressing room spaces serve both the new theatre and the new performance studios. Overall, the project size covers 3229m2 of floor space and the ROMA PUBLICATIONS


Lo n d o n & S o u th E a s t

Work begins on sewage overflow project Work has started on the £635m, four-mile long Lee Tunnel  project, which will prevent sewage discharges into the River Lee from the largest sewer overflow point at Abbey Mills Pumping Station in Stratford. The tunnel, part of the Thames Tideway programme, is due for completion in 2014. Main contractor MVB, a consortium comprising Morgan Est, Vinci Construction Grands Projets and Bachy Soletanche, is undertaking the works on behalf of Thames Water. The seven-metre-diameter tunnel, the width of three London buses, will prevent more than 16 million tonnes of sewage mixed with rainwater overflowing into the river from London’s Victorian sewer network when it is overloaded. It will reduce by half the 32 million cubic metres of waste water discharged annually into the River Thames by collecting it at the source. The tunnel will transfer sewage to Beckton Sewage Treatment Works, which is being expanded to deal with the increased volumes. The Lee Tunnel, the first of two planned tunnels,  marks a massive step forward in improving the quality of London’s rivers and is an essential part of providing the capital with a 21st century sewerage system. The contract also includes construction of two, 25m internal diameter shafts and a 20m diameter shaft − two at Beckton and one at Abbey Mills − and a 38m diameter offline Tideway Pumping Station shaft. Martin Baggs, Thames Water’s CEO, recently cut the first sod at the Beckton shaft site. This is one of four shafts, which will be up to 75m deep. Tunnelling work will start in 2012, with the project due for completion in 2014 to comply with the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive set by the European Union. Since September 2010, Thames Water has carried out over 20 separate public consultation events in order to take on board comments and criticism of plans for the scheme. Phil Stride, head of London Tideway Tunnels, said of the consultations, “We are carefully considering all comments and suggestions and where possible we will amend our plans. These revisions will form the basis of the second phase of public consultation which will take place in 2011”. For their part, the contractors have already proved their worth



to the scheme. The project was recently awarded a score of 36/40 by the Considerate Constructors Scheme. As a result of this rating, the Lee Tunnel is considered “An exceptionally good site”.

Council accommodation review leads to office renovation Rushmoor Borough Council’s offices in Farnborough, Hampshire, are being renovated following a review of council-owned properties. The office building on Farnborough Road, which dates from the early 1980s, is being upgraded at the cost of around £1.6 million to reflect modern working practices. Simultaneously, a programme of decoration and furnishing is refreshing the interior. Main contractor Neilcott Construction has been on site since June 2010. Andrew Colver of Rushmoor Council spoke to Premier Construction, explaining the thought process that had gone into the project. He said, “This has been the council’s main office since the 1980s, and until we decided to review our facilities in 2008, there had never been serious thought given to upgrades on this scale. I wouldn’t say the building had been neglected, but it was easy for my colleagues and I to agree that the building needed to be upgraded”. A large part of the works involves upgrading the building’s service infrastructure, with a special focus on electrical installations. “Since the 1980s”, said Andrew, “office buildings have been filling up with IT equipment that the wiring wasn’t designed to cope with. Although there is now a drive to reduce power consumption, it is recognised that a certain reliance on electronic equipment is to be expected and we’re making sure the building can cope with the burden”. Elsewhere, a drive to free up space by reducing the number of individual offices and switching to open plans has led to 4,000 sq. ft. being freed up so far. One possible future development could help to recover the cost of the works, according to Andrew: “We are looking at using some of the space by essentially hiring it out for use by other public service providers and complementary organisations. It would make sense to have as many public services under one roof as possible in my view, and we’re seeing other local authorities implement similar rationalisations of their service provision as they review their estates”. Three new areas are being created by extending into one of two courtyards within the building’s footprint, while the office’s cafe is being replaced from scratch with modern plumbing and ventilation to support the adjacent kitchen. The works will be completed with a full refurbishment of toilets in the building. More than half of the work on the 3-storey building is complete,

and full completion is expected in late April 2011. Andrew concluded, “One of the biggest challenges is to keep working in a live building. We can’t afford shut-downs, but despite that I’m confident we’ll be able to complete on schedule”.



Lo n d o n & S o u th E a s t

Woodberry Down project continues to transform Hackney Hackney’s Woodberry Down, one of the most exciting mixed community, self funding, regeneration programmes in London, has continued its remarkable growth of late. The whole area is undergoing a total physical and socioeconomic renewal that will transform one of the capital’s most deprived areas into an exciting new neighbourhood that offers almost 4,700 high quality new homes, economic opportunities and a sustainable community. The housing element of the scheme is currently in the hands of Berkeley Homes, who in 2005 won the contract for the first ‘Kick Start’ programme which takes in over 1,500 homes. The masterplan was granted planning permission in 2008 and detailed planning consents are being secured on a series of sites across Woodberry Down. Berkeley Homes commissioned Rolfe Judd for the first Kick Start site which provides 250 homes. Architect Paul Wilson, Rolfe Judd’s main representative on the project, told Premier Construction, “We are currently completing the first of the Kick Start sites and have submitted an application for a further site as part of Phase 1.” “Within parameters determined by the master plan, we have led the process from inception through design, planning and now delivery. It’s a pleasure to be a part of such a huge undertaking that will make a significant difference to the area and I’m proud that we’re contributing our expertise to the good work of our partners on site. The size of the project means there’s always a lot to consider, but it’s been enjoyable so far!”



Project Background The master plan for Woodberry Down, a project conceived as far back as 1999, has created a new neighbourhood of high quality and low energy homes for affordable rent and market sale, together with new schools, health centre, community buildings, shops and business space. Woodberry Down will also benefit from significant improvements to access with new bridges, access points and cycle/pedestrian links connecting the estate to the rest of Hackney. Master plan principles include: • A diverse and balanced population – A wide choice of housing tenures will be made available • Bigger homes – All social rented housing (replacing the existing council housing) will be built 10% larger than the Parker Morris standard • Environmentally friendly – New homes that will be energy efficient with environmentally friendly materials • Better public spaces and play facilities – New parks and squares are proposed, with a variety of play and sports facilities • Streets for people – New streets designed to put people first

Kick Start Phase 1 Site 1a: The Old School Site

The Old School site comprises land and buildings to the south and east of the Beis Chinuch Lebonos Girls’ School on Woodberry Down. The site was the first to be developed on Woodberry Down. It is a mixed use development that contains community facilities, retail and residential units. Site 1b: Pewsham House and adjacent houses Close to the amenities of Finsbury Park, this site on the southern side of Woodberry Down contains a mixed use development that includes a new health centre and residential units. Site 1c: Woodberry Grove North Woodberry Grove North is a cleared site between Rowley Gardens and the site of the new Academy. The site is on high land and borders the New River. Site 1d: 5-55 Newnton Close This site also has stunning views of both the East and West Reservoir and Stoke Newington, with further excellent views of

the city skylines of Canary Wharf and the City. Site 1e: Dentist, Hotel, adjacent houses, Horston and Sherwood blocks This parcel of land sits on the north east side of the Seven Sisters Road and Woodberry Grove junction. The site is on the edge of the new learning campus and is mixed use, containing a business and training centre alongside residential units. Site 1f: Havering, Wyersdale, Weybridge and Wensleydale blocks Located on the north-west side of Seven Sisters Road, this site lies next to the Manor House transport interchange and is very close to both the amenities of Finsbury Park and the shops of Green Lanes. Site 1g – 151 Woodberry Grove, Oakend House, Parkfield House and the Shopping Parade This site has excellent views of the East Reservoir and the city skyline, including Canary Wharf and the City. The site is a mixed use development that contains both residential and retail units.

Woolwich Council invests in driving out efficiency and service delivery A new council centre in Woolwich will open in summer 2011 as part of Woolwich Council’s strategy to continue to improve efficiency and improve treatment of local residents.

tax, advice and benefits, housing, parking and social care. The council is reducing the costs of accommodating staff, whilst improving the services locals receive and the value for money given.

New service centre and library

Woolwich Library

The building will house an integrated service centre where customers can carry out council business face-to-face, as well as via the web or the telephone. There will also be a modern and expanded library as part of the development.

There will be a major town centre library to support lifelong learning. This facility will be much larger than the current Woolwich Library and will have facilities such as a self-issue service for books, CDs and DVDs loans and internet access.

The Integrated Service Centre

Greenwich Gallery

The ground floor of the new Woolwich Centre will have a service centre providing a range of council services, including council

The gallery will be a striking public exhibition and meeting space and will be available for local events and public meetings.   ROMA PUBLICATIONS


Lo n d o n & S o u th E a s t Clean, green and efficient The new service centre will have a strong energy efficiency focus. It will limit energy consumption and promote renewable resources, limiting the overall carbon footprint of the building. Green measures will include intelligent use of natural ventilation and lighting, heat recovery systems, water harvesting and solar panels. Green and brown roofs will also be a key part of the scheme. These not only contribute to the energy performance of the building but also provide welcoming habitats for local birds and insects. During construction, Powerday provided a full range of waste management services to keep up the project’s clean reputation.

Demolition of old offices Demolition of the old Wellington Street offices is complete. Construction of the new building is well under way and is due to complete in summer 2011. The new Woolwich Centre  will be a base for  more than 2,000 members of staff who will operate more closely and effectively. This  will also enable the council to work positively with its partners.

Office space for staff The centre is designed to enable staff to work flexibly away from the office, with 1,600 work stations for 2,200 staff. This will save money because less office space is required for council staff. The historic Woolwich Town Hall across the road will continue to host council meetings and other public events. It will also have improved facilities for the public.

Business Centre The building will also house a business centre where elected members, council officers and key stakeholders will be able to hold meetings and carry out activities for the benefit of the community. A feature of the building will be a viewing gallery on the top floor, which can hold meetings for up to 200 people. Geoff Ball of Arcadis, who have been collaborating with main contractor Wates, told Premier Construction, “The project should be complete well in time for summer. It’s a nice-looking building which gives the area a fresh, new feel, and you can tell [architects HLM] have put a lot of thought into it. It will complement the town well”.

School is in session for Baron’s Court this February Students and teachers alike of Baron’s Court Infant School are waiting in anticipation for the school’s recent conversion, set to be completed early next month. Built on a small residential site in Westcliff-on-Sea, the new school structure has been under construction to house more pupils and update learning facilities. The new conversion hopes to change the schools status from an infant school into a one form entry primary school. Planners Camal Architects & Designers have increased the size and scope of the original school, which currently houses 172 pupils and 20 members of staff, to accommodate 262 pupils and over 40 members of staff. Site developers Lakehouse, who have been awarded the £2m contract from the Southend-on-Sea local authority, have been working since late October to complete the project. Approaching



the redevelopment in phases, Lakehouse have been able to complete the majority of work as early as November. These works included the demolition of two small class bases and a demountable class room in order to make way for phase one of the project. Phase one also consisted of constructing two new large open plan class bases with ancillary facilities, now offices and a new staff room. Covering floor space of 640m2, the new buildings have been successfully completed last October. Phase 2 of the plan sought to see the completion of a new corridor and entrance hall, a one storey structure bridging the building and acting as a focal point for visitors. This section of the new build also achieved completion last November. The structure of the new build is a steel frame with external walling of yellow brickwork plinth to match the surrounding conservation brickwork.

The third and final phase, a refurbishment of an existing section of the building will see the installation of a new catering kitchen with ancillary facilities and extended hall space. The completion of the third phase is set for this February. The surrounding area of the site is also a conservation area, so special consideration has been put in place regarding the surrounding environment, resulting in planning constraints on the project which introduced several challenges to the Lakehouse team. There will be no additional parking facilities to the existing provision in an attempt to encourage pupils and staff to use other means of transport. This will be set in motion via a travel plan that has yet to be introduced by Southend-on-Sea Council. Overall the project is set to achieve a BREEAM rating of ‘very good’, with the school also working in partnership with ‘learning through landscapes’, an organisation dedicated to developing external learning environments.

Waterside Theatre kick starts Aylesbury economy Opened in October, Aylesbury’s new £35 million, 1,200 seat Waterside Theatre has already proved a boost for the town’s economy. Since the opening, pubs and restaurants in the area have reported a welcome cash injection as theatre-goers relax before and after shows with refreshments. Aylesbury Vale District Council’s arts and community manager, Caroline Wheller, said, “Our beautiful new theatre is just part of our plans for keeping Aylesbury a vibrant and economically buoyant county town. The theatre itself employs around 70 staff, but it is also helping businesses in the town centre. We have seen since its opening that businesses such as pubs are benefiting from evening traffic, in contrast to other areas of the country where pubs are closing”. The seven-storey building features 1,200 seats in its main auditorium with a possible capacity of 1,800 with a cleared floor area. There is also a 220-seat adaptable studio for smaller productions, conferences and workshops, five public meeting rooms, four bars, a café bar with views over the canal and brook, and two merchandising points. The architectural design of the new theatre was created by Arts Team, the internationally renowned theatre architects.

The concept put forward by the architects has been inspired by local features. The undulating roof reflects the shape of the neighbouring Chiltern Hills and the use of timber columns is reminiscent of the surrounding woodland areas. The Waterside Theatre is part of the district council’s town centre re-development programme. A Waitrose food store, a Travelodge hotel and National Enterprise Academy on land next to the new theatre and a retail development on the north side of Exchange Street are also in the pipeline.



Lo n d o n & S o u th E a s t Construction News

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Taylor Wimpey provides as Milton Keynes introduces new homes A 36 month build, completed in November 2010, introduces Willow Lake Apartments to house hunters of Milton Keynes.

The project, sourced and contracted by Taylor Wimpey Construction, consists of 70 one, two and three bedroom apartments spread through 3 storeys. The new complex also includes parking space for new residents. Also included in the £18m project are two, three and four bedroom terraced, semi-

detached and detached houses, all incorporating garage space and open public space as part of the landscape. Overall, the development covers 11Ha of space for 227 new units that have been put in place. Each housing unit has been serviced with every modern amenity. Gas heating systems have been installed along with double glazed windows and insulated roofing. As it is a residential project, steps have been taken to ensure that security is present throughout the final product; currently installed in each unit are fire and house alarms and permanent fencing surrounding the housing. Taylor Wimpey Plc Formed through the merger of George Wimpey and Taylor Woodrow on 3rd July 2007, Taylor Wimpey is a homebuilding specialists and one of the UK’s largest house builders.

Taylor Wimpey also has dedicated homebuilding operations in the UK, North America, Spain and Gibraltar. Specialising in land acquisition and development, Taylor Wimpey provides new structural housing for customers who can then purchase property from Taylor Wimpey’s affiliated companies. Regeneration of urban areas is also part of Taylor Wimpey’s mandate to improve residential land for customers hoping to find new homes.

Expert artisans complete restoration project St. George’s Church, in Hanover Square, Westminster, has recently been restored to glory after a restoration programme that has recently closed the church for 26 weeks. The work was necessary to revitalise and rejuvenate the church and preserve its fabric for years to come. Costing £1.5 million, the conservation was carried out with the utmost respect for the original work, yet is also sensitive to the subsequent additions. Contractor Holloway White Allom, a specialist in the renovation of listed heritage buildings, had the challenging task of carrying out the work. “A big proportion of the job was cleaning every inch of the fabric of the church right back to its bare bones”, said Scott Rodell, project manager for Holloway White Allom. “It took 3 ½ weeks just to put up the scaffold because there is so much surface area to cover and in one area alone we removed 17 coats of paint”. The other important part of the renovation was updating a building which desperately needed fireproofing, an alarm system, modern lighting and sound; all are critical needs for a church which is often used for musical performances. He added, “The new lighting will allow for ambient dimming in particular areas of the church that will be controlled from a single panel and the chandelier will be flooded with light through a newly installed glass panel in the roof”. There were also more fundamental aspects to the renovation. Critical problems were unearthed during works, ranging from a roof that needed re-strengthening to major water damage. The high moisture content of the lobby walls meant that the decorating was held up until all the surfaces could be properly dried out. “Where there was lots of flaking, we used an alkaline resistant primer to keep the air from the rough edges, so we could paint



Courtesy of Laura Hodgson



Lo n d o n & S o u th E a s t over seamlessly”, explains Scott. “And, in many areas, the fibrous plaster was crushed or collapsing so this meant we had to recreate the original reverse squeeze moulds to make up entirely new sections”. At any one time, contractors had around 20 specialists going up and down the dozens of ladders around the church - not just the decorators and carpenters from Holloway White Allom, but also their specialist paint studio White Allom Studio (a team of fine art trained artists) who carefully repaired the 23.5 gold carat to the ceilings. Add to this the experts in stained glass and chandelier cleaning as well as French polishers, stonemasons, electricians and fibrous plasterers and you begin to reach an understanding of the painstaking efforts put into the works. (SUB) A brief history of St. George’s (END SUB) St. George’s Hanover Square has so many claims to fame that it is firmly on the map of a great many people whether for its importance as a religious centre in one of London’s oldest neighbourhoods, its colourful history or its connections to one of the most revered composers of all time George - Frederick Handel. Although bounded on three sides by busy streets and on the fourth by a narrow passage, this urban church with its westernfronted portico undoubtedly has enormous visual impact whether seen from Hanover Square or from the bottom of St. George Street. One of the few surviving churches entirely designed by architect John James, a former apprentice of Sir Christopher Wren, St. George’s was one of 50 new churches to be built under the 1711 Act of Parliament to look after the spiritual needs of local residents in the many burgeoning neighbourhoods of London and its suburbs. With its classical front and six great Corinthian columns supporting a pediment as well as a bell tower that rises from

Courtesy of Laura Hodgson

behind the portico, St. George’s is impressive for its masterly use of a small space. James’ belief was that “the beauty of architecture may consist with the greatest plainness of the structure” and at St. George’s all the details are beautifully scaled. Architect Colin Kerr of Molyneux Kerr Architects believes it is important not to take the church back to a theoretical period, but to embrace all stages of its historical development: “Over 300 years St. George’s was gradually adapted and enriched but always presented a pleasing aesthetic whole”, he explains. “The ceiling gilding, for example, wasn’t added until the 1960s, but has the important function of connecting the gold in the east window to the golden glow of the organ pipes”. In 1735 all the ceilings would have been plain white as can still be seen under the galleries.

The UK plays host to the world’s largest offshore wind farm under construction Greater Gabbard wind farm is a joint venture between Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and RWE npower renewables and is the world’s largest wind farm currently under construction. The wind farm is being developed in a combined undertaking between Fluor International Limited and Airtricity, the renewable energy development division of SSE, and will include the installation of 140 Siemens 3.6 MW wind turbines located around two sand banks known as Inner Gabbard and the Galloper in the North Sea 25km off the Suffolk Coast. Upon completion, the wind farm will have a total capacity of approximately 500MW which will generate power to an estimated number of 530,000 households, equivalent to the domestic demand in Suffolk. Prior to receiving the engineering, procurement and construction contract, Fluor’s development responsibilities included the management of environmental studies, site surveys and engineering that culminated in the submission of an Environmental Impact Statement. Fluor also leveraged its supply chain knowledge and experience to support the joint venture in securing the project’s connection to the UK’s national grid, the supply of the turbines, heavy steel structures and other critical supply chain elements required for timely construction. Fluor and Airtricity worked closely with the local authorities, community and conservation bodies in the development of the project and, in particular, the sighting of the onshore substation. Fluor recognises and appreciates the communications, support and cooperation of the local communities and intends to maintain







a high level of engagement throughout the construction phase. Work began on the onshore sub station significantly prior to the first phase of offshore construction, which began in August 2009, and the entire project is due for completion and operation in 2012. The installation of the offshore transformer platform foundation located in the outer Thames Estuary is on schedule and the erection of the first turbines, in line with the beginning of the installation of three cables to export power from the site, began toward the end of 2009. Upon completion, the wind turbines will be mounted on steel monopiles and transition pieces in water depths between 24 and 34m and is expected to have a load factor of over 40% based on site-specific met mast data collected since 2005 and Scottish Southern Electrics will take 50% of the output with RWE npower renewables receiving the other half. The wind turbines will be connected to the grid through an onshore substation at Sizewell in Suffolk. Buried cables will connect the turbines to the substation, while underground cables owned by National Grid Electricity Transmission will connect the sub-station to the National Grid. As of November 2010: • all 140 turbine foundations have been installed • 55 turbines are now in place • two out of three export cables have been installed • the first export cable has been energised • the operations base at Lowestoft is now operational • the wind farm remains on schedule for completion in 2012 The entire development of the project, excluding the connection to the electricity grid, is expected to acquire a cost of around £1.3bn. “Greater Gabbard is a major development in every sense,” Ian Marchant, chief executive of SSE, commented, “and its significance is underlined by the huge investment placed in it. Our priority is to make sure construction work proceeds in an efficient and timely manner, so that it can begin to play its important part in meeting the UK’s energy needs as soon as possible”. Managing director of RWE npower renewables, Paul Cowling, echoed these positive sentiments. “This acquisition is a perfect addition to npower renewables’ existing offshore portfolio,” he said. “We are delighted to be working with SSE on this project and, combined with our financial input, we are pleased to offer our experience of developing, building and operating offshore wind farms in the UK”.

Cables The scope of the contract awarded to cable specialists JDR Cable Systems includes over 200km of inter-array subsea power cables and associated terminations which will provide the essential links between the 3.6MW turbine generators and the Gabbard and Galloper offshore substations. The cables each comprise 3 phase 18/30(36)kV power cores and fibre optic communications. The Greater Gabbard cables are engineered to give the smallest diameter whilst still maintaining the strength and weight required to suit the field installation and service conditions. The phase conductors will be insulated with XLPe and a triple extrusion process used for simultaneous application of the conductor screen, insulation and metallic screen. JDR will provide flexible pull-in terminations and hang-offs. JDR also provide experienced and certified technicians to terminate the cables and fibre-optics offshore during the installation phase.

Onshore archaeological digs An excavation has been  carried out  in Rosary Field, Sizewell, as part of a programme of archaeological work, which was a condition of the planning consent to construct the onshore component of the wind farm, funded by Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds Ltd. The excavations have so far revealed the remains of timber buildings based round earth-fast posts and clay floors, small ditches (indicative of corrals or animal enclosure) and the site of three large external ovens. All of the archaeological features are likely to be broadly contemporary and the narrow date range of the finds, which fall between the 12th-14th century, suggests a short period of occupancy. The site appears not to be within the medieval urban settlement of Sizewell and may be an isolated farmstead or agricultural complex. The size and depth of the post holes suggest that the timbers they held were large and part of substantial buildings including a possible barn. The barn building is c.16m long and at least 5m wide. It has an aisled ground plan, constructed around paired arcade posts. The outer walls would not be load bearing and as a consequence would not leave any evidence in the ground but at the west end a vestige of a clay floor survives. At this period posts set in the ground was old technology and house construction had moved on to box framing, however agricultural building continued to be built around earthfast posts. Similarly, the size of the ovens indicates that these are not simple domestic structures. They were situated outside the buildings and stoked from a large pit in front of a double flue. Only the oven floors remain, made up of burnt clay and consolidated with pebbles. Over the floor there would have been a domed chamber made of clay over a wattle frame, this has been destroyed but ROMA PUBLICATIONS


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fragments of it have been found along with the charcoal from the oven firing within the stoke-pit. The function of the ovens is as yet unknown but the degree of burning indicates that they were fired at low temperatures, suggesting that they are likely to have been bread ovens or corn driers, but analysis of the charcoal in the stoke-pit should reveal this. The site is just to the south of Leiston’s Wet and Dry Commons which, until the dissolution of the monasteries in c.1538, belonged to Leiston Abbey as the manorial lords. It is possible therefore that the site could also be the property of the abbey and is part of a monastic grange where grain from the abbey’s farms and collected as tithes from tenant farmers would be processed and stored. The general quality of the pottery also indicates that the inhabitants enjoyed relatively high status. A broad natural channel runs across the middle of the site which is an extension of the fenland grazing wet common known as Sizewell Belts. Initial investigations show that the channel had become largely filled by silts and blown sands by the time that the site was occupied. Peat deposits at the base of the channel do survive and study of these will give an indication of the ancient landscape. Climatic changes known as the Medieval Warm Period were occurring at this time and rising water level and coastal erosion meant that Sizewell, which had a greater population than Leiston in the medieval period, and held a market (an indicator of urban status), was being lost to the sea. It is possible that the silts within the channel hold evidence of these events. A second phase of archaeological excavations found the remains of an early medieval boat. The boat, which was probably a small inshore fishing vessel, had been broken up sometime between the 12th and 14th centuries and parts of the hull had been re-used to create a timber lining for a well. The waterlogged conditions has ensured that the planks are very well preserved and this will allow experts a rare opportunity for study. Although much more modest the boat was constructed using the same techniques as the great Sutton Hoo ships. It is clinker built with the planks joined together along their edges with closely spaced iron rivets before being attached to the boat frame with wooden pegs; and there is evidence of ‘luting’, wool like fibres between the planks to seal the joints. It is hoped that tree-ring dating will provide an accurate date for the boat.

Red7Marine Red7Marine is a leading provider of offshore, coastal and estuarial subsea engineering and marine construction, servicing



clients from the offshore, marine renewables, framework and private sectors. The firm owns and operates a fleet of over 200 pieces of marine plant, with primary vessels consisting of classed jack-up barges, anchor and spud leg coastal barges, and a large range of modular road transportable connecting pontoons. Throughout its history the business has retained a large client base across a number of industry sectors, predominantly down to its superior range of services and its commitment to continuous improvement of its health, safety and quality standards. In each operation that Red7Marine carries out its experience and knowledge in marine construction is one of its distinguishing factors. This encompasses such areas as marine construction, sea defences and piling, all of which are carried out by capable and highly skilled marine construction engineers with proven expertise in the fields of piling, welding and fabrication, concrete works, steel erection and heavy timber work. Mike Jones told Premier Construction, “What I think sets us aside from our competitors is not only our range of plant and services, but the fact that we can provide the full range of accredited diving services for offshore projects.” Visit Red7Marine’s website to find out what the UK-based firm can bring to your project:

SPEC Ltd SPEC Ltd is known to many blue-chip organizations as a complete and specialist substation support contractor to the power-generation industry, serving parties from OEMs to main contractors through to end users. SPEC Ltd carries out the specialist high and low mains voltage terminations to the wind turbine tower sub stations and main grid export connections, working on voltages up to and including 33000 volts. These terminations typically are Pfisterers, Eurmold, Raychem and 3M. Supporting the cabling services are the SPEC Ltd in house test and commissioning teams which carry out all final sub station and cabling tests from the switchgear protection systems to the final VLF testing of circuit cables. SPEC was founded in August 2000 by a team of specialist HV engineers with an average of 25 years’ experience in the supply, assembly, cabling, testing, commissioning, maintenance and switching of transformer and switchgear substations up to 33000 volts. The company now employs over 70 people and covers specialist works across the UK and beyond both on and off shore. Find out more at



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Harlow Town Station car park success Harlow Town station celebrated its 50th anniversary with a special event on Friday 30 July of last year to mark the completion of a major upgrade of the station. The station had been transformed through a partnership between National Express East Anglia (NXEA),

Harlow Renaissance and Essex County Council, as part of a £390k investment project to renew and improve the station buildings and environment and provide easier access for customers. Every effort had been made to retain the unique features of this iconic Grade II Listed Building whilst renewing customer

facilities to modern-day standards. Work had taken place to open up and refurbish the station over-bridge which previously housed a small waiting area and the former parcel depot. The new works also provided improved access to the station platforms and passenger lifts for disabled customers and for those with pushchairs and heavy luggage. To complete the transformation of Harlow Town station, NXEA had also completed a separate £3m investment - as part of the company’s Service Improvement Plan - in a new multi-storey car park constructed by Bourne Parking, increasing car park capacity at Harlow by 300 spaces to 700. County councillor Norman Hume, cabinet member for highways and transportation at Essex County Council, had this to say upon the project’s completion:

“I am delighted with the refurbishment of Harlow Town station – it is a testament to the successful working partnership between Essex County Council, National Express East Anglia and Harlow Renaissance. This project demonstrates our commitment to improving Harlow’s transport networks: providing residents, commuters and visitors with an enhanced travel experience whether by rail or road”.

Makeover almost complete at London City Airport London City Airport’s multi-million pound makeover is approaching completion under main contractor AA Lovegrove. Once complete, the terminal reconfiguration was managed by Atkins Global, an engineering and design consultancy responsible for several major infrastructure projects at City Airport. The changes to the terminal building include a £2 million spend on security equipment and a new security lane setup, partly in response to the shift towards online check-in. With business and leisure passengers now frequently checking in from their office PCs or even their web-enabled mobile phones en-route to the airport, London City’s management team have identified the need for a new style of airport. Extra space has had to be created on the first floor in order to accommodate the new additions to the airport. The project is being completed over a number of phases to include a floor infill, new stairs and a first floor fit out. The renovation works, consisting of three phases, commenced in early spring 2010 with phase one seeing the fitting of piles, steel columns and beams spanning across the concourse all in preparation for the installation of the new floor. The second and third phases of the project involve the installation of a new stair case and new security search lanes. Melanie Burnley, director of terminal services at London City, is responsible for security, facilities management and customer service. She told Premier Construction, “Work has been going on 24/7, and it’s amazing how much has been achieved without our passengers being disrupted. The contractors have been excellent – you sense the work is going on but there has been no major effect on our everyday services. “Once the work is complete, we will have achieved a 50% increase in our security handling capacity to match the growth in



demand – a large proportion of our passengers are travelling on business, but we are seeing more and more leisure travellers. They will all benefit, not only from faster security lanes, but also from improved space and decor, seating and retail – the all-round passenger experience is what we have in mind”. She added, “There is scope for a further two security lanes to be installed when this main phase of improvements is complete, so I envisage us continuing to improve what we can offer to passengers”. Stuart Lovegrove, managing director at main contractor AA Lovegrove, updated Premier Construction on site progress shortly before Christmas: “We handed over the ground floor improvements smoothly at the end of October, all the scaffolding has now come down, and we have now progressed to the first floor fit-out. Although we have had some minor issues with deliveries during the snow recently, we should still be on track to meet our overall deadline. We have had up to 50 people on site during the day and up to 25 at night, so we’re moving along swiftly”. Asked what kind of challenges his site teams had had to overcome, Stuart said, “The initial groundworks and 20m piling were the major challenge – we had to complete a lot of those works at night given their scale and employ a lot of ‘critical

management’, as I call it. Since the early stages, the ongoing challenge has been to reduce noise and other disruption to passengers. “Having worked at other airports, we were already well aware of the demands an airport places on contractors. Luckily, at London City, a smaller airport leads to the management and staff there being a closer-knit community than you’d find at a larger facility. That has made it easier for us all to get through any minor problems that crop up”. Work at London City is due for completion in mid-February, while the follow-up phase to add in extra security lanes is to be completed by mid-May.

BP Installations In accordance with their status as preferred electrical contractor at London City Airport, BP Installations have had a vital role to play in all works carried out at the airport over the past five years. Working currently alongside AA Lovegrove on the main terminal project, BP Installations are responsible for the full electrical refurbishment, including the supply and design of new bespoke electrical distribution panels and the bespoke specialist lighting boxes to the ground floor. As part of the upgrade, they have also installed a lighting control system throughout the building. As MD Brendan Payne puts it, “The environment we work in is very much 24 -7, which creates its own difficulties. A lot of the time, planning and thinking outside the box to find a solution is essential”. “We class ourselves as airport specialists”, adds Brendan, whose team at London City Airport are responsible for design, periodic testing, maintenance and installation in both the main body of the airport and its associated retail and restaurant areas. BP Installations’ expertise also extends to project management, full design, data installations, alarms, and PA systems. To find out more and read glowing testimonials from satisfied clients, visit



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Sheppey primary education to reach a higher plane Construction on a brand new school building shaped like an aircraft wing is progressing towards a completion date in 2012, after government funding was made available through Kent County Council. The building is being constructed by Bryen & Langley and will replace temporary classrooms at Eastchurch Primary School on the Isle of Sheppey. It will have the same head teacher and governing body, but will be located about two miles away from the main school. Heather Knowler of Kent County Council, who is acting as the client representative during the project, explained: “It’s certainly unusual for a primary school to have a split site like this – Eastchurch is the only one in the area. It’s to do with access to the school and the fact that a lot of families are located too far away to be expected to



‘commute’ daily. Local people told us they liked the ethos of the existing school, so a school on two sites was felt to be the best way forward”. Jenny Whittle, deputy cabinet member for children, families and education, said, “Kent County Council, the school and the architects have worked hard to design this building. At the moment, children from Warden and Leysdown have to travel several miles to get to school, but this will provide the opportunity for local schooling. “I know that the whole school community, children, parents, staff and governors, will be very excited. Sheppey is rich in aviation history and it is great that this iconic building will reflect that”.

Designed by Dover-based Hartwell Architects, the new building will feature seven classrooms across two storeys with one boasting sea views. It will be packed with renewable energy technology, including solar panels, and the rooms have been designed to maximise natural daylight and ventilation. It is hoped pupils will start using the school in September 2012.

New mental health unit in Ealing shows benefit of public-private co-operation A new psychiatric intensive care unit (PICU) has opened on the site of St Bernard’s Hospital in Ealing. The unit was constructed by Kier Southern, following designs drawn up by architects Devereux. The unit is purpose built with the clinical design being in line with national low secure PICU standards, with separate access for ‘Section 136’ patients – those detained by the government. Opening on schedule and in budget, the unit was developed to assess and treat patients who present ‘treatment challenges’ that cannot be addressed on an open ward. This new centralised service is providing care for patients in Ealing along with some patients transferred from the nearby Hammersmith and Fulham unit. It continues to provide PICU cover for another nearby unit in Hounslow. Service manager Andy Jacques says, “This is a really good example of clinical services working together with capital development and private sector partners to complete a project successfully, on time and within budget”. The new ward is for men who are thought to require separation, and enables improved observation, with an increased focus on safety and risk. The unit has fully contained therapy areas and state of the art technology. Patients at the facility benefit from a range of provisions,

including individual temperature controlled rooms with en-suites and self controlled ventilation. The ward meets ligature requirements and also includes a multi-faith room (in which staff and patients may pray to a variety of religious figures), a child visiting suite, a gym, two secure gardens and a courtyard, a patient storage area and wet and dry therapy areas. The new unit also boasts a chill out room with its own secure garden. This space gives the clinical team somewhere other than the de-escalation room for patients to go when they need somewhere to ‘de-stress’. Staff members are reported to have already shown signs of ‘de-stressing’. The unit went through the AIMS accreditation in November 2010, an assessment to ensure that the service meets national clinical standards.



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Tweedbank Primary school set to complete new extension In 2005, Scottish Borders Council recognised difficulties that Tweedbank Primary School in Galashiels may experience during the 2008/09 terms. Plans were therefore put in place for an extension of the school to cater for the steadily increasing pupil intake. The project, which is expected to cost approximately £1.5m and involves the extension and refurbishment of the existing school, was put out to tender in late 2009 with work commencing on site in May 2010.The contract was awarded to Border Construction Ltd. The extension will include a new main entrance and reception area, meeting room, two new large classrooms, activity areas and office space for staff. The project is set for completion during the school’s half term break in mid-February this year, opening in time for the returning pupils

and staff. Alyson Weir, acting head teacher of Tweedbank Primary, has indicated the extension in a report as a way to “engage young people in the highest quality learning activities” by allowing installation of new equipment including IT facilities and new interactive whiteboard supported by new plant rooms. Speaking to Premier Construction, Doug Ballantyne, contracts manager for Border Construction, shared his thoughts on the project: “At Border Construction, we are pleased to have been able to contribute to the town of Tweedbank. We believe that erecting the new primary school extension will lay down the foundations for a sustainable educational future”. Border Construction Border Construction Limited was formed on 1st

January 1998, from the merger of Border Engineering Contractors Limited and Crombie Construction Limited. Border Constructions undertake all types of building and civil engineering works in the north of England and Scotland from a head office base at Carlisle. The company also has a number of specialist sub-contracting divisions which supplement the services they are able to offer. Find out more at

Kirkintilloch showing initiative in new link road connection The long-awaited Kirkintilloch link road was completed in November 2010. The £18m road construction project lies at the heart of a £56m regeneration programme that is being taken forward by Kirkintilloch’s Initiative (KI), a partnership between East Dunbartonshire Council and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. The road, construction of which began in mid-2010, has been constructed to link Kirkintilloch to Scotland’s motorway system for the first time. It is hoped that the link will provide benefits to the local economy, jobs and businesses, improve the environment and increase public safety by diverting heavy traffic away from residential areas and the existing Kirkintilloch/Lenzie road. The project has also created a brand new area of wetland to protect and attract wildlife, including birds, fish, otters and water voles. Other environmental features on view will be wildlife protection measures such as otter fencing and mammal ledges. To cap off their environmental protection schemes, K-I also promise to plant 20,000 more trees than the ones that were removed during its initial development. The contract, undertaken by Carillion, has seen 4.7km of new roads built as well as the erection of a considerable number of structures, including three new roundabouts, a signal controlled junction, three over-bridges and three major culverts. Other works included alterations to two existing roundabouts on the route and the installation of collision protection to one of the masonry arches of a viaduct through which the road passes. The scheme also involved a significant amount of bulk earthwork, including cuttings of up to 9m deep as well as the creation of embankments. The extension of an area of wetland to support local species is also being carried out to compensate for an area of wetland that was lost to the new road. Confident that the road will be a huge success and bring great benefits to Kirkintilloch, KI board member and convenor of the council’s development and infrastructure committee,



Councillor Billy Hendry, comments, “I am confident the link road will be a huge success. The road has always been central to the town’s regeneration plans and I’m sure it will help business and tourism to flourish in Kirkintilloch and the surrounding areas for years to come”. The new road faced difficulties upon its opening thanks to adverse weather conditions, delaying a vehicle procession along the snow ridden road. The procession included vintage vehicles led by Jack Muldoon, local TT racer, and a vintage fire engine, field master tractor and a 1970’s taxi. Andrew Robertson, KI board member and chairman of the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said, “I wish to thank all participants in the opening ceremony and particularly those vehicles drivers who had to travel part of the road in atrocious weather. Everyone involved deserves great credit for making the most of the difficult conditions”.

The Kirkintilloch initiative East Dunbartonshire council and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde joined forces in 2001 to put together a regeneration package to revitalise Kirkintilloch and boost the local economy. The programme was developed in full consultation with the local community. As a direct result of consultation with local people, a number of proposals were changed from the original master plan. KI will now deliver a £56 million regeneration package consisting of 11 key projects. It will bring an estimated 1000 jobs and 100 new businesses to the area. The first of its flagship projects, the leisure centre, was opened to the public in July 2007. Detailed design and planning work continues on the other key projects. All projects are anticipated to be complete by 2015.



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The future’s bright, the future’s green for Dalserf Primary school pupils. Plans for the new Dalserf Primary school in Strathclyde are well underway with completion in sight for early 2011. The proposal to build a new Dalserf Primary School, incorporating community facilities, forms part of South Lanarkshire Council’s initiative of significant investment to improve local schools in line with the needs identified in the adopted local plan.

The principal aspirations were set out by the South Lanarkshire Council; Morgan Sindall have been awarded the contract valued at £2.5 million and began construction in mid-2010. The plans, put forward by Aedas Architects, will include a brand new building away from Dalserf Primary’s current location. The structure will consist of new classrooms with

contemporary facilities and amenities. The school will be situated next to a sports pitch, a key feature of the design that hopes to develop their pupil’s physical education. In a statement by Aedas, the importance of the schools position next to a large, open plan grass roots sports pitch is expressed: “The school’s grounds are considered to be an integral and essential part of its educational resources. Today’s curriculum requires children to step outside, to work and study features of their own environment. Teachers also need to use the outside environment to enrich their teaching styles and through this, to enhance the children’s learning. The design of play areas within the grounds has been approached with the aim of providing a strong and positive effect on the children’s behavior and thus upon the school ethos as a whole”. Morgan SIndall also plan to provide landscaping for the site, increasing its potential for space by laying a car park for staff and parents alike. The overall site space including sports pitch covers 2.26Ha, and the floor area of the building will total 1119m2. Conscientious efforts have been made to ensure the school’s construction and

appearance is not to be disruptive to the surrounding neighborhood. The design has been made to resemble the residential buildings that comprise most of the architectural landscape near the school. Thus, the brickwork is of textural and visual similarity to that of the surrounding homes. Of the project designs importance in regards to proficiency, Aedas also state, “The design philosophy applied to this school has been rooted firmly in the general principles applied across the SLC primary school modernisation programme project, with an especial emphasis on testing and challenging the site, in seeking to find solutions that involve as little compromise for the finished facility as possible”. The project is set to open its doors to transferring pupils in early 2011.

Scottish council house scheme spreads to Elgin Moray Council is overseeing a development of over 120 new homes in Elgin in North-East Scotland, in an area to be known as Linkwood East. Main contractor Springfield Properties has been engaged to design and build the homes on land it already owned; the first of the mix of homes are currently being completed and the entire development will be handed over in January 2011, after work began on site in February 2010. The mix of home types includes one person flats, four block terraces, two bed and four bed houses, bungalows designed for the elderly and wheelchair-accessible units. All have access to gardens and parking and sit within a quiet residential area. Martin Hall Landscaping were responsible for the flagging, small retaining walls and groundwork that contributes to the pleasant surroundings. Graeme Davidson, housing strategy and development manager at Moray Council, has his hands full as 750 homes are under planning or construction across the Elgin South area. He spoke to Premier Construction, saying “Part of the government’s stipulation was that the funding for Linkwood East should be used within a certain period. We therefore needed a contractor who could demonstrate during the tender process that the work would be done on schedule, as well as on budget and to the proper standards. “It was lucky that Springfield already owned the land and that they have already demonstrated their capabilities in the



affordable housing market”. A large portion of the project funding has come from the Scottish government as part of plans to fuel council house construction across the province. The government has contributed £25,000 per unit; the rest is provided by the council with a smaller grant from Community Energy Scotland. Explaining the energy grant, Mr. Davidson said, “We wanted to go above and beyond the regulation features and so we applied for funding to install air source heat pumps and under-floor heating, both of which will make a big difference to the properties”. The findings from the Housing Needs Study in 2002 concluded that there would be an under supply of 219 affordable units per year in the area between 2007 and 2010. According to the council, “If this is addressed over a long period, the under supply is 160 units per year”. Taken with other housing needs assessments published by Communities Scotland, the report underlines the shortfall of affordable housing in Moray and identifies that the level of affordability related housing need in Moray has increased since 2001. Sensitivity analyses were carried out and indicate that the minimum level of shortfall to 2015 would be in the region

of 100 houses per year. The council’s efforts to tackle the shortfall have resulted in several areas of concern being identified in the local housing market, including: recession; the lack of affordable housing throughout Moray; pressure from homeless households; disrepair in the private sector; fuel poverty and social exclusion; demographic change leading to an ageing population and smaller households; and the increasingly complex housing needs of elderly and disabled people.

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Richard Lochhead, MSP for Moray, said of Linkwood East and other simultaneous developments in the area, “The number of potential developments and their scale certainly illustrates an increase in the level of confidence in the Moray economy. The mere fact that several multimillion-pound proposals are being presented against the current economic backdrop illustrates resilience in the local economy”.

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Former Orkney poor house now being converted to flats for general let Andersquoy Court, a redevelopment of the former Orkney poor house in Kirkwall, is currently being completed by main contractor O’Brien Construction after design work by Pentarq. Once complete – by February 2011 – the development will add 18 homes to Orkney’s general let market. The building was, until recently, used for sheltered housing. It had also been used as homeless accommodation briefly before the renovation work started. As the building is being redeveloped, some demolition of existing parts of the building has taken place. Annexes that had been added to the original building have been removed and the original roof has also been taken off to allow a second storey to be added.

The overall layout comprises 18 flats split over 2 levels: 11 on the first floor and 7 on the second. Three of the flats are split across storey, while the rest are single storey. Most of the flats have individual access, but a few share an access route (a common stair well). The redevelopment has maintained the original stone frontage and added a a second floor fronted in larch. This means that the original outline of the building is still visible and the additional storey adds to it rather than taking away. The building is on a tight site on which there were issues with access being required past the site to the neighbouring residential care home. There is another residential facility immediately

adjacent to the building that also required access to be maintained. The Scottish Government gave Kickstart funding of £450,000 to the project, which has been subject to a budget of £1.4 million. It is expected that tenancies will begin in March 2011.



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Missing link to connect Scottish highways Coming up for completion in 2011 is the M74 completion project south of Glasgow. The project completes the missing link between the end of the M74 at Fullarton Road Junction near Carmyle and the M8 motorway west of Kingston Bridge near Glasgow city centre. The five mile (8 kilometre) motorway link will comprise three lanes in each direction and a hard shoulder on each side. Construction work on the road began in May 2008 and is scheduled for completion in 2011. The construction contract was awarded to the Interlink M74 Joint Venture (a joint venture comprising Morrison Construction, Balfour Beatty, Morgan Sindall and Sir Robert McAlpine) in early March 2008 for a fixed price of just under £445 million, plus a £12 million allowance for possible mine workings along the route. About £200 million has already been spent on land and advanced works. The Scottish government will pay the largest share at 87.35%. Glasgow City, South Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire councils will meet the balance. Starting near Carmyle in the south east, the

motorway will cross mainly brownfield and industrial sites in Cambuslang, Rutherglen, Polmadie and Eglinton before linking with the M8 at Tradeston. Finance Secretary John Swinney recently announced that the contractor has confirmed that the scheme will open in June, almost nine months ahead of the project’s contractual deadline date of February 2012 and beating the contractor’s own target of an August opening. He claimed, “The M74 Completion is the biggest infrastructure project on the ground in Scotland and is providing vital jobs and investment for the hard pressed construction industry now. The fact that this route, which will be vital to the future growth of Scotland’s economy, will open so many months ahead of schedule will be welcomed by all who will benefit from using it”. “When it opens next June, the new route will provide improved access to economic, employment and education opportunities for the people of Scotland. It will also bring enormous potential for further urban regeneration programmes in the west of

Scotland, many of which are already in development. David Middleton, chief executive of Transport Scotland, said, “The M74 Completion project is a key element in the Scottish Government’s continuing programme of investment in the country’s transport infrastructure, promoting the sustainable economic growth of Scotland. “Transport Scotland is working with its partners to deliver this project which is already benefiting the construction industry by employing 900 people at the peak of construction. In the longer term, when complete, it will improve journey times, reduce congestion and provide strategic transport links for industry in Scotland as well as bringing environmental and safety benefits for local communities in the Glasgow area”.

Scotland taking Stepps to connect its roads Transport Scotland, an agency of the Scottish government, has been handed the responsibility of delivering an upgrade of the A80 Glasgow to Stirling Trunk Road between Stepps and Haggs to motorway standard.

The DBFO contract is between the Scottish ministers and the appointed consortium, HMC (Highway Management Construction), which is a joint venture between John Graham ltd, Farrans ltd, and Bilfinger Berger AG civil. The company has employed BEAR to take on the operation and maintenance; the project is currently being site managed by Jacobs Engineering. The upgrade will see approximately 8km of new motorway through green field sites and 10km of upgrade work on the existing A80. The Stepps and Haggs route will connect via the Auchenkilns grade separated junction, an existing section of road that was built prior to the new contract and opened in 2006. The junction was designed under a separate design and build contract and has served to mitigate the traffic disruption caused by the current work. Upon its initial planning, transport minister Stewart Stephenson had this to say about the importance of completing the project:



“The Scottish government is absolutely clear that an efficient transport system is essential for enhancing productivity and delivering faster, more sustainable growth. “This project is another example of how our continuing investment is helping the hard pressed construction sector now, creating hundreds of construction jobs. “The A80 is an essential part of the trunk road network in central Scotland and one of the most heavily used. This project will complete the missing gap between Stirling and Glasgow, bringing real benefits to the surrounding communities and across the central belt as a whole”. The full noise

impacts from the M80 have been fully assessed and reported in the Environmental Statement.   Noise attenuation barriers and/or earth bunds will be constructed at a number of locations along the route to provide screening and the reduction of traffic noise.  The use of low noise carriageway surfacing will also contribute to this aim. Approximately 700 properties are predicted to benefit from reduced noise levels along the existing A80 between Stepps and Mollinsburn, where traffic flows will fall significantly once the scheme is operational.  Approximately 300 properties are predicted to be adversely affected by an increase in noise levels as a result of the new section of the scheme. Almost all residential properties along the new scheme between Mollinsburn and Haggs (approximately 2500) will experience a decrease in noise levels compared to current levels, mainly due to the mitigation measures to be put in place. Overall, the new scheme will result in a beneficial impact on the area, when compared to the existing situation.  Approximately 3200 properties will experience a reduction in noise levels whilst approximately 400 properties will experience some increase in noise levels.  Backed by Strathclyde Safety Camera Partnership, average speed cameras installed along the new route in late 2009 generate a safe and steady traffic flow by recording the average speed of vehicles. The cameras enforce a consistent speed of 40mph, to ensure the safety of both drivers and road workers operating along the hard shoulder and roadside. Carson McCartney, project manager at Transport Scotland, said, “Average speed cameras are proven safety tools that will significantly improve safety for both road users and the workforce during this busy work period. These cameras are enforceable and will promote safety vigilance at all times”. Gladys Cadden, manager of the Strathclyde Safety Camera Partnership, said, “At previous major road works in this area, average speed cameras have been extremely successful in encouraging motorists to stay within the speed limits. The

cameras are installed on the M80 upgrade to remind drivers to take it easy for the benefit of everyone’s safety during the period of road working”. Transport Scotland’s Road Safety Action Plan targets reduction of speed related incidents, working with eight Safety Camera Partnerships across Scotland to support this aim. The M80 contract is valued at approximately £320 million, which includes a 30 year road maintenance plan.

Project main aims Reflecting the government’s strategic objectives of wealthier and fairer, safer and stronger and greener communities, the M80 Stepps to Haggs upgrade will produce the following benefits: Economy • Improved journey times and reliability, with a 30/40% reduction in journey times during peak travel, equating to a reduction of approximately 15 minutes for people using the route • More efficient use of the network, reducing delay and thereby improving journey time reliability • To improve access to facilities, in particular to jobs, and to provide accessibility for freight deliveries, consistent with the strategic role of the scheme corridor (linking the North of Scotland with the M74 south, the main route to the European markets) • To complete the Central Scotland motorway network by improving the road corridor in line with Transport Scotland’s integrated transport policy and the Scottish ministers’ response to the Central Scotland Transport Corridor Study (CSTCS). Safety • Reduce motorway congestion and lessen driver frustration • To improve safety in the A80 corridor and reduce the risk



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of accidents, between vehicles and between vehicles and other road users Improve safety for vehicles entering and exiting the A80 and other road users by bypassing the most urban section of the route Improved access to and from the strategic road network for the local area, particularly to Cumbernauld.

Environment • Contribute to the government’s objective of striving to stabilise traffic volumes by the year 2021 • Reduced traffic noise • The improved design and more effective management of the network will reduce the adverse impacts of the current traffic on the local community and lessen the impact on the built and natural • Reduce vehicle emissions and promote a healthier environment • To encourage the use of  materials and construction and maintenance methods which minimise the impact on the environment and local communities.

Progress so far

Development of the A80 road upgrades has made significant progress in the past three months with a spokesperson from Transport Scotland stating, “The scheme is progressing well and works are on target to [be] completed on time”. The Hornshill Junction (Stepps) to Mollinsburn was completed in November 2010. Following suit in completion are the new Hornshill Junction over-bridge, Lindsaybeg road over-bridge, the Auchengeich road over-bridge, the Mollinsburn to Gartferry link road over-bridge and the North road over-bridge to name a few. All have been completed in the second half of 2010, meeting their assessed schedules, and are now open to traffic. Still in progress is the Mollinsburn Interchange, the Dullatar road under-bridge, Forest Road under-bridge and Kilsyth road

under-bridge will all be due to be completed by March 2011 and open to traffic shortly after. Overall, work is being approached in phases, offline and online, which are being completed simultaneously. An existing section of the A80 must be de-trunked once the offline phase has been complete. Special attention has been given to traffic management systems to allow adjacent traffic to run safely. A 40 mph speed limit has been placed throughout the area to ensure safety is ensured for both drivers and the workers on site. Temporary diversions have been in place to divert traffic while demolition of existing structures is carried out.

Point of interest Running close by to the A80 road is the Antonine wall. Constructed in 140 AD, it was the north-western frontier of the Roman Empire, running for 60 km from modern Old Kilpatrick on the north side of the River Clyde to Bo’ness on the Firth of Forth. In 2008, the Antonine Wall was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Antonine Wall World Heritage Site will form part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site, which includes Hadrian’s Wall in England and the German Limes.



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New homes continue to be added to Hillhead project In 2006, Hillhead Housing Association, based on Highfield Road in Kirkintilloch, received outline planning consent from East Dunbartonshire Council for its masterplan for the Hillhead area. Since then, several phases of work have been carried out, with main contractor McTaggart Construction handing over 61 houses as the latest phase was completed in November 2010. Phase 4, which comprises 34 new homes, was completed in November 2010. It comprises two family sized semi detached villas, 19 terraced villas and 13 cottage flats. Tenants for both phases 2 and 4 are being rehoused from demolition stock at Ivanhoe Drive, Border Way and Abbotsford Drive. The final phase of new build housing to be completed, Phase 3, received planning approval in March 2010. Grant funding is now in place for these 87 new homes to be built and it is hoped that works can commence in 2011. In the meantime, the association is continuing to empty the blocks of flats that will be demolished prior to any new build taking place. Nearly 130 of he 150 flats are now empty and demolition is beginning in early 2011. The views and comments solicited from tenants and residents at community workshops and open days were all considered as part of plans which include some radical redesign of the area, including: • Construction of up to 190 new homes • Demolition of 186 flats • Creation of two ‘Homezones’ • Redesign and new roads at Ivanhoe Drive, Border Way and Abbotsford Drive • New build homes for gap site at Lammermoor Road • All homes are to be built to meet Housing for Varying Needs standards • All homes to meet Secured by Design standards • New play and recreational areas • Principles of sustainable design will be incorporated throughout As well as developing new homes, each development includes new roads and traffic calming measures and some green space redevelopment. Tenants who are pre-allocated tenancies in the new build are also offered a choice of paint colours for their rooms and a choice of kitchen fittings and worktops.

Rosyth Dockyard ready to house aircraft carriers Main contractor BAM Nuttall has finalised progress on a groundbreaking £35 million project at the Babcock facility at Rosyth, which will facilitate the construction of two new aircraft carriers.

BAM Nuttall and its sub-contractors – Halcrow Planning, Abel Engineering Ltd, Coastworks Operations Ltd, Leask Marine, Fish Dive Underwater and Marine Design – have all contributed in the preparation of the dockyard for the construction of the two 65,000-tonne carriers, to be named HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. The works involved substantial widening and modification of both the direct entrance to the non tidal basin



and No.1 dock, as well as foundations and preparatory works to facilitate the introduction of the giant ‘Goliath’ crane, which will play an integral role in the carrier programme. The direct entrance has been widened to



S c otl a n d 42.1m and a new alignment structure has been put in place in the approaches. BAM Nuttall have constructed three Dolphins, link bridges, pontoons and fenders in the river to hold vessels when they enter and leave the non-tidal basin. These works were carried out using floating plant carrying cranes and piling equipment to install the steel pile casings required to support the river structures which comprise both reinforced and precast concrete elements. In addition, No. 1 dock received a new regime of piles, foundation beams and rails for the huge crane. The piles and foundations were constructed mainly using heavily reinforced concrete. The crane rails are secured and grouted to the supporting beams by a specialist sub contractor, and the dock altar step has been removed to increase the working envelope available for the carrier assembly in the dock. This required the dock to be strengthened and BAM Nuttall have installed over one hundred rock anchors for this purpose. Like the direct basin entrance, No.1 dock has been widened to 42.1m. BAM Nuttall has also constructed a vessel docking and skidding support system which enables Babcock, the firm which owns the facility, to dock down the various sections of the carrier in the dock and then move them into position to be joined up. This element of the project involved heavily reinforced concrete foundations and strip beams laid to bed rock along the dock floor. The work undertaken by BAM Nuttall is part of a wider programme of improvements which has seen other facilities modified in advance of the aircraft carrier construction project. Several workshop bays have been strengthened with additional steel and cranes with heavier lifting capacity have been installed. Site electrics have been upgraded with the introduction of a new 10MW supply, as well as frequency changers and general distribution systems both at No.1 dock and at the support berths. Work on No. 1 dock commenced in 2008 and reached completion, on target, in the summer of 2009; the direct entrance works started early the year after and finished in the summer of 2010. Detailed design on the Goliath crane began in late 2008, and erection and completion occurred in late summer 2010.



The two 65,000 tonne aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, are to be constructed in sections in shipyards at Portsmouth, Barrow-inFurness and Glasgow, with final assembly at Rosyth. The first sections or super blocks have been delivered to site either by barge or by wet tow and further assembly will be by means of the new goliath crane. The ‘first cut of steel’ date, marking the start of the aircraft carrier production, began in early 2009 in Appledore in Devon. Testing, commissioning and set-up work will commence in 2012 and continue through to 2015. Construction of Queen Elizabeth itself is, as of 2010, well under way. The Queen Elizabeth class ship is being constructed at BAE Systems Surface Ships in Glasgow, Babcock at Appledore, A&P in Newcastle, BAE at Portsmouth and Cammell Laird (flight decks) at Birkenhead, all in preparation for its piecing together at Rosyth. The first piece of HMS Queen Elizabeth reached Rosyth in April 2010, marking the beginning of the ship’s fitting. The strength of the project itself has a resounding impact on the shipyard industry, with hundreds of jobs at Rosyth and thousands more at shipyards around the UK dependent on the £5 billion supercarriers project. Construction of the blocks is progressing in early 2011, just weeks after the coalition government confirmed the carrier programme would escape budget cuts. Newly appointed ministers admitted it would be too costly to tamper with the programme, while senior union sources heaped praise on former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown by revealing he had insisted contracts were signed with suppliers and manufacturers before the general election. Each carrier will be a deadly, four-acre, moving operating base for our armed forces. Each will weigh 65,000 tonnes at full displacement and be more than three times the size of existing carriers. Both will be able to travel up to 10,000 nautical miles on assignment. HMS Queen Elizabeth will be launched in 2016 for extensive sea trials and training exercises before entering service in 2020, although she may operate without fighter jets. The Prince of Wales will be launched in 2018 but there are fears it may be mothballed

because of Britain’s multibillion-pound debt.

Halcrow Planning Design and Management The Halcrow group is providing detailed design and supervision of construction, including coordinating construction design and management (CDM) services. Halcrow is providing 95% of the services, and managing naval architecture sub-consultants. Services include: designing foundations for a 1100t capacity goliath crane, upgraded dockside services, a lower skidding system for moving blocks of up to 20,000 tonnes, strengthened Synchrolift building, berthing dolphins, steel access bridges computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis for vessels alongside trials and numerical wing model to study wing regime created by the goliath crane design and supervision of site investigations, cost estimates, contract strategy advice, tender documents, tender support for the contract award, supervision of construction and acting as coordinator for CDM regulation

Coastworks Coastworks is a UK-based workboat and barge supply company established in 1994. Currently, their fleet of vessels comprises of 6 workboats and 6 barges of various sizes, each capable of a varied range of uses from simply transporting goods to heavy lift construction projects. Coastworks were contracted by BAM Nuttall to provide a spudleg dredging barge and a small site tug, both with operators, for their works in and around Rosyth Naval Dockyard. Coastworks’ CW6565 barge, a 36m x 13m flat top barge with 2 x 22m hydraulically operated spudlegs, was mobilised to site and loaded with a 90t long reach excavator, slightly smaller than the 120t machines that have been previously used on the CW-6565.  Brian Young of Coastworks was happy to report that “The Coastworks barge performed flawlessly for more than a year in Rosyth Naval Dockyard and is now currently working in Aberdeen Harbour”. Find out more about Coastworks at

A brief history of Rosyth Dockyard Rosyth is best known for the Royal Navy dockyard, construction of which began in 1909. The town was planned as a ‘garden city’ with accommodation for the construction workers and dockyard workers. Today, the dockyard is almost 1,300 acres (5 km²) in size, a large proportion of which was reclaimed during construction. Rosyth’s dockyards became the very first in the Royal Navy to be privatised when Babcock International acquired the site in 1997. The privatisation followed almost a century of contribution to the defence of the United Kingdom which spanned two World Wars and the Cold War with Russia (during which Rosyth became a key nuclear submarine maintenance establishment). The fifteenth century Rosyth Castle stands on the perimeter of the dockyard complex, at the entry to the ferry terminal, and was once surrounded by the Firth of Forth on almost all sides, until land reclamation by the docks in the early 1900s



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Noreside Construction taking Kilkenny’s Talbot Tower to dizzying heights Archaeology lovers of Kilkenny will be in store for a treat during the next few months. Work is well under way to opening Talbot Tower to the public after a regeneration scheme that has revitalized the tower. Main contractors Noreside Construction have almost completed the tower’s facelift.

The latest phase of works commenced in August 2010. Set in 4 phases, phase one of the project included the dismantling of a section of the existing city walls due to safety regarding the structural stability of the walls, and for the allowance of further phases to get underway. The second phase of the works consisted of essential Archeological surveys to be carried out, requiring further digging and excavation. To finalise phase two, ¾ of the remaining

façade were re-pointed with traditional bricks and mortar to maintain the consistency of the original work. Two different types of lime mortar were used, to differentiate between the Anglo-Norman period and the later mediaeval period. For the third phase, work was focused on the tower itself, bringing in new roof repairs. Again, consistency of the original building needed to be kept intact so, new flagstones and saddling have been brought in to create a strong structure while remaining faithful to its original design.The final phase, due for completion the following month, will be the installation of the Tower staircase. Tommy Dowling, assistant engineer at Kilkenny Borough Council, told Premier Construction, “The works to date have gone very well, I’m proud to say, and we can now see where we’re going. I’m hopeful that Phase 4 will go just as well and that we’ll finish in good time with something the public can enjoy”.

Traditional Lime The Traditional Lime Company supplied specialist mortars to the Talbot Tower project. The company provides a great range of products from its Co. Carlow base, including own-produced and selected lime putties, ready mixed mortars, St. Astier natural hydraulic limes, hair and fibres, pozzolans, ochres, pigments, washes and paints, riven or sawn lath and wattle. The company also provides full technical back-up service for lime products as well as consultancy on all aspects of building conservation and restoration.

Exterior beautification works completed in Omagh The exterior of Omagh’s Mullaghmore Estate has been restored in a project completed in late October 2010. The £1.44million strategy involved the demolition of 26 properties and extensive renovations throughout the estate. The works affected an impressive 165 homes and included the provision of new car parking, the extension and privatisation of gardens, new fencing and new tree and shrub planting. The entrances to the remaining flats were privatised and the flats were converted from one bedroom to two bedroom properties. A new vehicular access was created off the Old Mountfield Road. Active Maintenance Solutions worked on the scheme alongside quantity surveying and project management specialists Patrick



F Corr, whose representative Colm McCloskey spoke to Premier Construction. He said, “I’m happy to say we’ve been involved in a project that has brought a breath of fresh air to the estate. We came to the project knowing what was expected of us and of the contractors having been involved in similar Housing Executive projects for a number of years – equally, we knew what can be achieved when these projects are well managed so that investment is put to good use”. Commenting on the scheme, social development minister Alex Attwood took the opportunity to praise his department: “The regeneration scheme in the Mullaghmore estate has made a major difference to residents. It is yet another demonstration of

how my department and the Housing Executive are helping the most disadvantaged communities across Northern Ireland”. “Through the work of the Housing Executive and with the funding provided by the Neighbourhood Renewal programme, we have been able to change positively the Mullaghmore Estate and improve the lives of the people who live here. “By contributing £312,700 to this scheme in total we have yet again demonstrated our commitment to improving the quality of life for people living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. The creation of attractive, safe, sustainable environments is a strategic objective of the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme”. The work was carried out in conjunction with the DSD Neighbourhood Renewal, the Housing Executive, DRD Roads Service and the Mullaghmore and Castleview Community Association (MACCA). It started in April 2009 was funded by the Department for Social Development’s Neighbourhood Renewal Investment Fund and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. Expressing his delight at the completion of the scheme, Housing Executive district manager Ivan Armstrong said, “The transformation in Mullaghmore Estate has been amazing. The

environmental scheme has been a huge success and we hope will make a difference to the lives of the residents”.

About the estate Mullaghmore, construction of which was completed in 1979, is part of the Omagh Neighbourhood Renewal Area. Representatives from the Mullaghmore and Castleview Community Association have been active members of the Omagh Neighbourhood Partnership since its formation in 2006 and make an important contribution to the regeneration of the Mullaghmore estate. DSD Neighbourhood Renewal contributed funding of £312,694 towards cost of the scheme. An additional amount of £68,787 for the employment of a community development worker for Mullaghmore has also been made available under the Neighbourhood Renewal Initiative. The total contribution from DSD towards the Omagh Neighbourhood Renewal Regeneration to date is £1.8m.



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Sustainable developments – getting focussed on a mission By Terry Nash, a director of the UK Sustainable Development Association (UK-SDA), and managing director of the award-winning Gusto Group of companies. The mission of the UK-SDA is to respond to the well-recognised need to make better use of the earth’s resources to avoid their premature depletion and the changes to climate that results. Although apparently straightforward and wholly benign, this modest ambition can nevertheless be contentious, particularly if the main focus is on climate-change which sceptics claim is an unfounded theory. What surely cannot be disputed, however, is that fossil fuels are finite, and sooner or later man will need to learn to live either without them, or use them at a substantially reduced rate. If that outcome also suits climate-change protagonists, so much the better. Meanwhile, the public at large can be easily confused by the pros and cons of the climate-change debate, particularly when it is sometimes hard to distinguish solid well-founded argument from a vested interest. What is sorely needed is the bringing of a new focus to the topic, equally accessible to the general public, industry, politicians and scientists alike.

Climate Week – 2011 All this serves to make the plan to designate the seven days commencing 21st March 2011 “Climate Week” particularly welcome. Supported by commercial sponsors such as Aviva, RBS, Kellogg’s and edf Energy, this landmark event is also endorsed by luminaries such as Kofi Annan, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, and Al Gore. The aim of the week is to shine a spotlight on the need for every individual and enterprise to reduce their consumption of fossil fuels (or put another way help to prevent climate change), by making changes at work, mobilising their communities and educating people to find new ways of doing things. A wide range of organisations will be taking part in the activities of the week, including individual businesses, charities, government bodies, public services, unions, schools, campaign groups, local authorities, faith networks, and membership associations such as the UK-SDA.

Getting prepared With an undertaking on this daunting scale, work is already underway to ensure the widespread level of engagement that is envisaged, and will get into full swing with the Climate Week website due to be launched soon. Climate Week materials such as template posters, flyers, press releases and newsletter articles will also be available free to download, and available to order in print. Meanwhile everyone should help to spread the word about how they can get involved by planning a stand-alone activity (such as staging a talk, workshop, press event or local festival or competition), or by entering the centrally organised competition and awards, or by simply publicising the event via your own



newsletter, website or through social media. For businesses, in particular, the week will provide a national occasion to showcase their environmental activities, offer leadership and engage with stakeholders and local media.

National activities The Climate Week Challenge will involve thousands of people all over the UK tackling the same task on the same day. The challenge will be revealed on-line on the first morning of the week. Participation will be free, and will be aimed at teams of four to six people. Employers or education establishments will be able to enter any number of teams, with no prior preparation needed apart from having a table at which to work. The challenge will be categorised by age, with different levels of sophistication assuring that everyone from primary pupils to senior managers is given the same core challenge. Quite apart from anything else, the challenge will be a truly national shared event and Britain’s biggest-ever live environmental competition, with the national winners being announced later in the week. Alongside the challenge, the Climate Awards will recognise exemplary work that helps to tackle climate change. Nominations can be made on behalf of your own project or organisation, or on behalf of someone else. Entries will then be evaluated by eminent panels of judges who will make the awards across a wide range of categories.

Pick your theme A key feature of Climate Week will be the use of themed days that will help participants to become involved in the ways that are most appropriate to them; running throughout the week, the themes comprise: • • • • • • •

Monday – leadership, and showing the way forward Tuesday – community, and embedding local change Wednesday – employment, and “green collar” jobs Thursday – home, and domestic energy efficiency Friday – youth, and education and activism for young people Saturday – innovation, and new ways of doing things Sunday – spirit, and the religious response

Promoting small steps Like many long and difficult journeys, the first steps are very often the most difficult and most daunting. With this in mind, Climate Week will be emphasising the small incremental steps that many organisations, communities and professions are already taking to make a start towards a low-carbon society. These vital changes are the way that most people will be able to contribute to the week which will be seeking to publicise the



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many stories of what is already happening across all sectors, regions and professions to reduce carbon consumption. Typical examples will include the environmental education programmes within schools, organisations that recycle, the upgrading of existing homes, and measures to improve the environmental performance of new homes and other buildings. Many individuals and enterprises of all sectors and sizes have a good story to tell about what they are already doing, and Climate Week will help to celebrate and disseminate this best-practice.

And also big ones Climate Week will also put the spotlight on the much bigger projects, innovations and inventions that will be playing their part

The National Access and Scaffolding Confederation The NASC is recognised as the national trade body for access and scaffolding in the UK, producing a wide range of industry guidance for scaffolding contractors, their operatives and their clients. Founded in 1945, the NASC membership now accounts for a significant share of the UK’s total industry workload and is increasingly making its mark in Europe. As the NASC’s membership has increased, the number of incidents on scaffolding has become less frequent. Indeed the number of reported accidents from NASC members has plummeted from 532 in 1980 to 174 in 2007, then to 139 in 2009 and the NASC remains determined to drive down the number of accidents/incidents across its entire membership base even further. The success of the NASC’s approach is based on rigorous adherence to the highest standards. Although membership is open to any company operating in the scaffolding sector, prospective members must undertake a strict procedure, which begins with a detailed application form. Once this form has been received and the desktop audit completed, independent auditors will inspect both the applicants’ head offices and a number of their sites to ensure that best practice is enshrined in the daily



in the low carbon society of the future. Examples featured will include a Manchester brewery powered by its own waste grain, cargo ships part-powered by wind, superefficient cars of the future, the world’s first commercial tidal turbine made in Bristol, and large-scale geothermal projects. Above all else, however, it is to be hoped that Climate Week will help to focus the nation on the urgent need to substantially reduce the consumption of finite reserves of fossil fuels, whilst identifying what we can all do to support that mission in ways that also enjoy economic benefits. For more information on Climate Week, contact info@

routine. Once all criteria has been met only then can a company become a member of the NASC. Even then the vetting process isn’t finished, members are required to take a fresh audit every two years to ensure continued compliance with NASC standards. If a member breaches the confederation’s regulations they will immediately be asked to take action to re-conform. If this is not actioned swiftly the company will be suspended, with the possibility of expulsion. According to Bob Whincap, former President of the NASC, this tough, uncompromising approach brings benefits: “We don’t hide from the fact that we’ve got standards and we stick to them - three members were expelled in 2008 for nonconformity. But the flipside is that, if you do comply, you will have a great chance of winning new business; prospective customers know that an NASC member will be professional, dedicated and methodical, and adhere to the latest industry guidance and best practices for scaffolding. As well as providing a benchmark for quality, the NASC helps main contractors and members by offering specific advice and information via phone and an exclusive area on the website. The NASC actively promotes itself and its policies to all areas of the construction and building industries, and by doing so we are enhancing the reputation of our members. By using only NASC companies we believe main contractors are demonstrating thoroughness within their working practices that will provide great reassurance”.

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT THE NASC The NASC has received praise from a number of influential quarters in recent years. Here’s what people have said about the confederation: “The HSE continues to support and work with the NASC in the development of best industry practice for scaffolding”. Joy Jones, HSE principal inspector, national construction sector safety team “BAM’s decision to use NASC members is a significant backing for the industry’s commitment to spread best practice and change regarding safe erection of scaffolding. It will help scaffolding contractors to use collective protection and comply with the Work at Height Regulations. [This protects both themselves and those around them.” Frank Garnett, director of health and safety at BAM

“Carillion recognises that the NASC is the leading body for setting standards for scaffolding in the UK. It is therefore Carillion Plc policy that we use only NASC member companies to provide scaffolding on our sites”. Julia Fancourt, scaffolding relationship category manager, Carillion Plc.

Construction students lay foundations for success with Diploma awards The construction industry has been hit recently due to the global economic slowdown with knock-on effects contributing to a precarious outlook. However, there is hope for the future, with construction business forecasts expected to pick up from 2011.

education institutions, as their combination of essential skills, relevant experience and applied learning provides an excellent grounding for careers. Diplomas offer a qualification equivalent to GCSEs and A-Levels. The Foundation Diploma is equivalent to five GCSEs

But companies across the UK are being urged to think about their own futures, as well as the future of the next generation of construction workers, by getting involved with and having a better understanding of the Diploma in Construction & Built Environment (C&BE). The diploma is a new type of qualification that listens to businesses and incorporates its philosophy into the curriculum. It has been heavily influenced by industry representatives to ensure that the approach to work required by employers in their young recruits is fostered at an early age. Skills shortages caused by the drop off in training during the last recession were felt years later, therefore it is crucial that this current downturn does not create similar problems. Diplomas have been developed in collaboration with employers to ensure their relevance and value and, that they provide flexibility and choice for all learners through a unique mix of traditional and work-relevant learning. They are valued by employers and higher ROMA PUBLICATIONS


A s s o c i ati o n s at grades D-G; The Higher Diploma to seven GCSEs at grades A*-C and the Advanced Diploma to three-and-a-half A levels. Students gain an excellent grasp of English, mathematics and IT skills, while learning how they relate to the construction industry. They also develop the skills that employers seek, such as how to think creatively, problem-solve, communicate effectively and work both independently and as part of a team and study a range of topics, from understanding the importance of health and safety issues to the management challenges involved in construction. Increasingly important industry issues like sustainability and the impact of the built environment on the community, and professions such as architecture, planning, civil engineering, surveying and building services are also explored. Having been developed by employers, schools, colleges and universities, the Diploma aims to help young people aged 14 to 19 realise their potential and gain knowledge and skills in a ‘real world’ environment. It has the flexibility to be taken instead of or alongside GCSEs, A-levels and vocational subjects and aims to equip students with skills they can apply to the next stage of their development, be that university, college or the job marketplace.   The hard work and success of the inaugural year was recognised recently at an innovative Bolton vocational centre as the first C&BE students were given awards after successfully completing their first year of study. The 16 students were the first group at the Powerwave Centre in Horwich to study for the diploma. The ceremony was attended by opportunistic former secretary of state for education and Bolton West MP, Ruth Kelly, and the budding youngsters also gave demonstrations of their construction abilities and skills. Special awards were also given to six students in recognition of their outstanding academic and practical achievements. All the students will now move on to a second year of study before completing the course in 2010. Nick Gooderson, head of education, training and qualifications at ConstructionSkills, commented, “By investing so much time and energy into delivering the Diploma in C&BE companies



are helping to provide the next generation of highly-skilled construction workers. Positive employer action such as this is exactly what the diploma needs: dynamic and enthusiastic companies who can engage with and develop young people who are looking to start a career in construction”. One thing guaranteed with students is plenty of untapped creativity. Businesses that work with students enjoy the fresh ideas and new perspective that young people bring, which will also help motivate existing staff. Working with the diploma is a fantastic way of developing new recruitment channels. This could not only reduce HR costs dramatically but it also means companies get first pick of the best young people coming into the job market. Similarly, young people are more likely to work for a company if they have had positive work experience there or have heard good things about the company from other young people.   Unfortunately, the diploma will only succeed with industry-wide buy-in, providing the kind of pragmatic knowledge and skills that only employers can. So it really is extremely important that businesses both small and large in all sectors of the construction industry get involved with the diploma in C&BE to ensure a skilled, safe and enigmatic workforce for the future.

How the FIRAS Scheme can help building owners comply with new fire safety legislation In October 2006, the long awaited and much discussed “Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) order 2005” came into force. This legislation places obligations on the “responsible person” to ensure the fire safety of a building. This person is responsible

in law for conducting a fire risk assessment to ensure that all persons using the building can escape safely in the event of a fire, that fire precautions comply with building regulations, and that they are installed and maintained properly. Guidance on complying with the legislation is included in a



A s s o c i ati o n s series of 11 “Fire Safety Risk Assessment” documents covering different types of building from schools to shopping centres, hospitals, hotels, residential care homes etc. These documents are available as downloads from the government’s “Communities and Local Government” website. Failure to comply with this new legislation could result in the building owner or operator being subject to fines of an unlimited amount and/or a two year jail sentence should they be unable to demonstrate that they have taken all practicable steps to achieve a “fire safe building”. The FIRAS scheme criteria are based upon practical competence, supported by knowledge rather than making discipline training courses a mandatory component of the schemes. This approach has proved much less disruptive to the installer companies as this can be conducted at site. Underpinning this is the ongoing random inspection by FIRAS Inspectors of 15-20% of all installation jobs carried out by companies and the inspection of the installer company’s office system and maintenance of their project records. The scheme has grown in stature over the past years to a point where a number of major retail companies, health authorities and trusts, university estates management operations and mass transport organisations are now specifying that fire protection packages should be undertaken by FIRAS certificated contractors. The FIRAS Scheme is a voluntary certification scheme and those installer companies who become certificated as part of the FIRAS Scheme pay an annual fee related to their activity level in fire protection installation. In view of this there is no cost to the specifier or client.

The more recently introduced areas of the FIRAS scheme, the residential and domestic sprinkler installation scheme developed in 2003 to introduce a voluntary, controlled regime for contractors working in this relatively new area of fire protection and the commercial and industrial sprinkler systems installation scheme, are both continuing to expand. The residential and domestic sprinkler installation scheme section of the FIRAS scheme was developed to provide reassurance to building control, fire officers and building owners that sprinkler installations in residential accommodation and domestic dwellings are designed and installed by competent contractors in compliance with appropriate industry standards. Here again the FIRAS scheme assists the building owner in demonstrating compliance with RRO. Part of the requirements of registration of this part of the scheme involves random system design review to ensure that the design of the fire protection (as well as its installation) is appropriate to the risk posed by the fire to the building. In conclusion, since the “Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order” has become legislation, building owners and operators are required by law to demonstrate compliance with its requirements, so why not allow the FIRAS Scheme to assist in this process? Those wishing to find a FIRAS installer to undertake passive or active fire protection installations can review the list of certified companies available at

Futureproofing with Fabric First With its endless sustainability credentials it’s no wonder timber frame is immensely popular. With the obvious ‘green’ argument won, Joe Martoccia, director of the UK Timber Frame Association, explains why the emphasis of any self build should be on putting the fabric first. For many it’s a long-term dream and the chance to own their ‘forever home’; for others it’s a sound investment and a fast track way to climb the property ladder. Little wonder that more and more people are turning to self build with timber frame fast becoming the preferred construction method of choice, thanks to its many proven advantages. However, self builders constructing their dream homes want somewhere to live for the rest of their lives. Once they have moved in, they certainly don’t want to be hit with high energy bills and ongoing maintenance costs – it’s got to be manageable, not just for now but also for the future. When it comes to timber



it’s time to think about how it works in real world situations (its thermal performance, the financial benefits, and its installation time) if we are to truly understand why timber frame is not just the future of the self-build industry, but the here and now. The Code for Sustainable Homes (CfSH), a compulsory environmental impact rating system for housing in England, which includes self-builds, is helping to shape this agenda thanks to the government’s target to see all new homes reach Code level 6 by 2016 – the zero carbon home. For self builders, the decisions they make when selecting their build method will be pivotal in minimising on going energy consumption. Luckily the answer is timber frame and it’s something that can be proven with hard, cold, indisputable facts. A two year continuous assessment of timber frame homes built at the BRE Innovation Park has shown unequivocally that timber frames homes are ideally suited to the CfSH. It is no surprise that the first homes reaching Code level 6 were timber frame buildings. With its inherent thermal efficiency, timber frame is a perfect fit with the low carbon agenda. Not only is it much easier to achieve very high insulation levels, it also has fewer defects

and increased air tightness, all with extremely low embodied energy. To achieve code compliance, the priority is getting the fabric of a building right first and foremost, which is great news for timber frame. Forget about sourcing fancy renewable energy systems to bolt onto leaky, poorly built buildings with high-embodied carbon - the emphasis should be on putting the fabric first. By using timber within the fabric of your building, you can not

only reduce energy consumption, but also achieve a greater return on investment by increasing your home’s appeal to design and environmental conscious buyers in the future – that’s if you ever want to sell it, of course. Let’s also not forget the wider implications for the global community and the need to focus all our efforts on using sustainable building products for the benefit of the entire planet. It’s time to think fabric first.

The ten commandments of lime mortar More often than not, working with historic buildings is benefited by a strong knowledge of the mortars that hold them together. Here, Ugo Spano of St. Astier Limes Liaison Office explains the careful and detailed approach that is required when dealing with lime mortars Today all of us are charged with ensuring the survival of our historical and vernacular built heritage through careful and considered conservation, restoration and renovation. All too often, buildings are repaired with inappropriate materials and poor skills. Many are the subject of interventions that in time lead to their total loss. Others are simply changed out of all recognition. In most cases, the mortar used for repairs, restoration or conservation contains cement. In these buildings, the use of cement mortars promote condensation build up, salt reactions and, generally, drastically affects the long term survival of the building. St. Astier natural hydraulic lime mortars provide a valid alternative to cement mortars or cement/lime mixes and, if applied properly, they will have a much longer life. Environmentally, they offer far greater efficiency than cementicious mortars by re-absorbing CO2 and not compromising the recyclability of the building materials. We work with what we call the ‘ten commandments’ when judging the suitability of mortar: • • • • • • • • • •

Compatibility Low capillarity and shrinkage Adequate Ca(OH)2 or free lime content Resistance to frost Resistance to salts Vapour permeability (breathability) & good sands Early setting, good elasticity/workability/re-workability Suitable compressive and bonding strength Environmental considerations Correct working and site practice

Rule 1: Compatibility We prefer to look at compatible mortars rather than like for like. The reason for this is that today in most cases, it is not possible to reproduce exactly the mortars of the past. The binders are different; the sands might not be the same. In the EU, a lot of sand pits have closed and some of the historic pits no longer exist. Compatibility should be both chemical and mechanical.. Mortars introduced into existing structures must not react chemically with existing mortars and surrounding masonry by introducing soluble salts such as sulphate (gypsum) or aluminates causing sulphate attack; or alkalis (potassium and sodium) causing a reaction with the sand (alkali-silica reaction). In mechanical terms, mortars should not be too dense to impede breathability or have poor elasticity resulting in cracks that will allow water/moisture penetration.

Rule 2: Look for low capillarity and shrinkage These are both properties affecting the durability of the mortar. High capillarity allows moisture penetration and, if a mortar has poor breathability (such as cementicious mortars), there will be condensation and associated problems. The main causes of high capillarity are poor sands and void structure and high quantity of free lime in the binder. Free lime crystallises in the voids, reducing their size and therefore increasing their capillary action. Poor building details and drainage increases the amount of water in touch with the masonry which can be absorbed by capillary action. High shrinkage is also a source of cracking and it is to be avoided. Shrinkage is caused by: Inadequate suction control of the masonry units. If suction is not controlled by adequate wetting or dampening of the masonry, water in the mortar will be sucked into the masonry. The mortar is therefore deprived of the water necessary for hydration and the mortar becomes friable as its matrix has not formed properly. High free lime content. This is because free lime is very fine and demands more water at the moment of mixing the mortar. The evaporation of this water leaves micro cracks in the mortar (shrinkage). Wrong dosage in the mortar mix. Commonly occurring when too much binder is used. Over-binding produces a heave effect, causing cracks. Poor mixing of the mortar can cause over-binding in certain areas and low binding in other with cracks as a result. Poor protection from drying wind, direct sun, driving rain and frost when the mortar is still fresh will also cause cracking and shrinkage. So will poor curing: mortars, especially lime mortars, need time to cure. So, depending on the weather conditions, mortar needs to be dampened for few days in warm weather or in the presence of drying wind. In cold rainy weather and when frost is expected, fresh mortars have to be covered to prevent damage. This is normally done with hessian sheeting.

Rule 3: Adequate Ca(OH)2 or free lime content Free lime, high calcium lime, available lime, air lime, hydrated lime, portlandite, fat lime and slaked lime are basically all the same and consist of calcium hydroxide - Ca(OH)2. The trade uses all these denominations and sometimes people do not know that they all refer to the same element. They are classified in BS/EN 459 Standard as CL (calcium limes) and are ROMA PUBLICATIONS


A s s o c i ati o n s differentiated by the percentage of Ca(OH)2 content. Free lime makes mortars more workable and this is liked by the mason. However, free lime affects a number of important properties in mortars such as: Setting and hardening time: an early set and a relatively quick hardening are important to be able to build with some speed. Initial setting of a hydraulic mortar is within one or two hours; the final set is within 24 hours. The final set determines the moment when the mortar cannot be re-worked. Hardening takes longer. It is the time that the calcium silicates and other hydraulic components in a mortar take to become insoluble. In the European norms, both properties are taken into consideration and the definition of NHL 2, NHL 3.5 and NHL 5 is based on the hardened strength at 28 days expressed in Newton per mm2. Free lime is not hydraulic and needs contact with air to reabsorb CO2 and reconstitute itself to CaCO3 or limestone. This process called carbonation may take a very long time. Damp environment, rain, and the location of the mortar (exposure to air) contribute to slowing and in some cases even stopping carbonation. The result is that the mortar does not harden. Free lime will dissolve in water at a ratio of 1 to 6 and this is the reason why leaching occurs. Leaching not only is an unwanted visual effect but also deprives the mortar of some of the binder with the result that you have a different mortar in the structure from the one specified. Free lime, because of its fineness, increases water demand in the mortar. This is one of the causes of shrinkage, as already discussed. It also increases capillarity by crystallising in the voids, reducing breathability. The reduction of the void size affects also the frost resistance, as we will shortly see. High free lime mortars such as 1:1:6 and 1:2:9 mixes or hydrated (powder or putty) lime mortars might not be as suitable as they are supposed to be. Careful judgement has to be made in relation to their use. This also applies to lime mortars made with hydraulic lime with very high free lime content now being sold in the UK market.

Rule 4: Resistance to frost The reduction in void size - by free lime crystallisation or a poor void structure caused by poor sands and the slow carbonation of free lime - makes the mortar more susceptible to frost damage. Frost starts always from the surface and goes inward. Frozen water particles in the surface voids push the water in the voids behind further in and so on. If there is a good void structure accommodating the water movement, this process will not generate a pressure and the mortar will resist frost. The size of the voids is also important: ice has a volume of 8% greater than water so it will exercise pressure if the voids cannot contain more that the water they already contain. This is the case in saturated mortars where the water absorbed during rain before frost occurs is occupying all the voids. Hardened mortars with a good void structure will resist frost. St. Astier NHL Mortars have been successfully used in areas of extreme cold such as Canada, Alaska, Norway, Finland, Denmark and wet/cold areas as part of Ireland and UK. The basic principle is to avoid saturation of the mortar when still fresh, so protection at this stage is of extreme importance.

Rule 5: Resistance to salts The same mortar will also resist the outward migration of salts contained in the masonry. A macro void structure in the mortar will accommodate the pressure exercised by salts when moving or crystallising. When structures contain salts, it is almost impossible to control them if they become unstable. Their behaviour is linked to the relative humidity which is typical to each salt. A lower RH will cause crystallisation; a higher RH will cause the salt to go into a solution and migrate.



If the void space is sufficient, these phenomena will not cause a damaging pressure. If crystallisation occurs, they stay in the wall and if there is no space in the voids the pressure can be great enough to crack the mortar. If they go into solution, they will eventually come out and can be cleaned off the wall. Lime is hygroscopic: it attracts water and by doing so a new lime mortar used for re-pointing or rendering might attract moisture contained in the structure and therefore change the RH of the wall in which the salts are contained, causing their movement. So a high free lime mortar will absorb salts. This is fine if we are using a lime mortar to diminish the salts content in the wall. Once the lime mortar is saturated with salts, it can be removed and the salts with it. It is not so good if we wish to keep the mortar. In this case, a NHL mortar with less free lime and a good void structure will obtain the required result. The same type of mortar will not suffer from salts ingress promoted by external agents such as is common in marine environments. The re-pointing of the harbour wall in 2000 at Atlantic College in Wales is still in perfect condition 10 years later. The mortar is an NHL 5 with very coarse sharp sand (pictured).

Rule 6: Vapour permeability (breathability) and good sands A breathable mortar is essential in the control of condensation. No damp; no rot; a much better living environment. It also helps in consuming less energy in heating. If a room is damp, a lot of the heating will go in drying out the damp before heating the room. Hardened mortars with good breathability will dry faster than dense mortar. Saturation of the mortar is well reduced and so is the risk of frost damage. St. Astier NHL mortars if compared to cement/lime mortars have a better breathability by 200%. The two main factors in achieving good breathability are: A relatively low free lime content in the binder to avoid too much crystallisation in the mortar voids and the use of well graded sands in the mortar. The choice of good well graded sand is of paramount importance in obtaining a breathable mortar.

Rule 7: Good setting, elasticity and workability Setting and hardening determine the work rate. They are also related to the mortar dosage, the water addition and the weather conditions during execution of the work. Protection and curing methods are directly connected with setting, hardening and curing mortars. Therefore, it is important to have a good idea of the setting and hardening properties of mortar to be able to determine whether

it will be suitable for the work, what particular precautions to use and for how long. Elasticity determines the amounts of movement that the mortar will take before cracking. It is also relevant in calculating the positioning of joints. A good elasticity will help in accepting thermal movements. Workability of a mortar is in many cases left to the mason executing the work and, almost invariably, this results in excessive water addition to obtain the “plasticity” that masons like. This is wrong as too much (or too little) water can have serious effects on setting time, shrinkage, capillarity and so on. Information on the correct water addition should be given to the mason and supervisors should check that the instructions are followed.

Rule 8: Suitable compressive and bonding strength It is no good to look just at quick setting and hardening. A very hard mortar, especially when made with cement, is not the solution to all requirements. Quick setting and strong hardening have become synonymous with “a good mortar” since the advent of cement but in restoration and conservation, setting and hardening should be only part of the evaluation to be made on the most suitable mortar for the job. Of course we need setting and hardening, especially in adverse climatic conditions and seasonal work. But this should never be to the exclusion of all other considerations made up to now such as compatibility, breathability, elasticity and so on. In restoration and conservation, St. Astier NHL mortars comply with all requirements. They set and harden faster and stronger than lime putty or hydrated lime without the use of pozzolans (a “dear” word to many but essentially a poorly known subject, open to uncertain results) or cement.

Many producers state that their product contains “pozzolanic” additions. This is in most cases cement. Just ask the question about re-working the mortar within 24 hours. If the answer is no, the mortar most likely has a cement content. The compatibility and other properties of NHL mortars ensure that performance and durability are achieved without the use of cement. They represent a logical and natural choice in the restoration and preservation of our built heritage.

Rule 9: Consider the environment Lime mortars re-absorb CO2. St, Astier NHL mortars will reabsorb between 38% and 49% of the CO2 emitted in production. NHL mortars are also non toxic and, once hardened, they will not increase the water pH. Cementicious mortars can contain chromium VI (directly related to skin allergies) and, depending on the type of cement used, components like pulverised fly ash (PFA), granulated ground blast furnace slag (GGBS) and others that contain a number of dangerous elements such as heavy metals and many other toxic elements. NHL mortars will also be easily removed from masonry units, allowing them to be re-cycled. The breathability of St. Astier NHL mortars eliminates condensation and contributes to a better living environment for people with breathing difficulties (asthma, for example).

Rule 10: Correct working and site practice Good materials can become useless if the correct site practices are not followed. Good workmanship and supervision are essential. If mortars are not dosed or mixed properly, if they are not cured and protected correctly, if they are applied badly, if the application surfaces are not properly prepared, if suction is not controlled, if salt movements are not taken into consideration and so on, the result will be a failure. Architects, engineers – specifiers in general – should work with the contractor to ensure that he has the necessary comprehension and skills to apply the mortars and follow the necessary site practice. Ii is, however, the responsibility of the mortar manufacturer to give specifiers all the information they require for the evaluation of the mortar to be adopted. St. Astier Limes not only provide this information but also, when required, the technical staff actively work with the specifier giving technical advice to establish the most appropriate mortar for the proposed intervention. For more information, clarification or for any query please contact: Or ROMA PUBLICATIONS


A s s o c i ati o n s

REA – The United Voice of the Renewables Industry Caroline Podsiad of the REA explains what her association contributes to the construction industry The Renewable Energy Association represents the UK’s renewable energy industry, covering all renewable sectors across power, heat, transport and renewable gas. The REA is a not-for-profit industry association established in 2001 and has grown rapidly to become the largest renewables industry association with over 600 corporate members, uniquely representing all forms and scales of renewable technologies. We have a proven track record of acting on behalf of all our members to achieve breakthroughs in UK renewables policy and legislation. REA prides itself on its ‘one member one vote’ ethos, its co-operative approach and its coherent perspective across the whole field of renewable energy. Our members comprise a wide variety of organisations including generators, project developers, fuel and power suppliers, equipment producers and service providers. Members range in size from major multinationals to small installation companies. The REA’s mission is to bring renewables into the mainstream. We seek to do that with the urgency necessary to safeguard national energy security, and to help ensure global climate stability. REA’s immediate objective is to ensure the UK meets its 15% renewable energy target by 2020. Our work is therefore about securing the best legislative and regulatory framework for expanding renewable energy production in the UK.

Benefits of membership and our activities include: •

Policy development: The sheer quantity of new renewables policy means it can be almost impossible to keep on top of it all. REA policy specialists, who are often UK leaders in their field, provide advice to members on a daily basis to save our members time and money. The REA regularly lobbies Government, its Departments, their agencies and Parliamentarians, through policy development and proactive campaigns. Securing Action: We work collaboratively with Parliamentarians, NGOs, think-tanks, and others to secure Government and EU action on renewable technologies. Communications: The REA runs REA News, a bi-annual magazine which features industry news, topical articles and interviews. Every week the REA emails out a member newsletter, containing must-know information, key diary dates and a table detailing the status various consultations. Members receive an individual  listing on our website, and in the winter edition of REA News. Events: We run a number of set-piece events throughout the year, including the REA’s Annual Renewable Energy Awards and Gala Dinner, Bioenergy Conference and WATTs (our wave and tidal energy conference). Training: We also run a programme of tailored workshops, covering the Renewables Obligation, Renewable Heat Incentive and Feed-in Tariffs

Consumer Protection: The Association sponsors the REAL Assurance Scheme, which sets high standards for suppliers and installers of renewable and low carbon energy for consumers. The REAL Assurance mark is a symbol that consumers can look for to identify reputable businesses. Visit

Energy Now Energy Now Expo is a two day (16th and 17th February 2011) exhibition and conference showcasing the latest renewable



energy technologies and services available to farmers and landowners. The event is designed to help farmers and landowners explore and further understand the opportunities available to them in wind, biomass, biofuels, biogas, ground source heating, hydro and solar energy. All farmers and landowners have valuable resources at their disposal, including crops, wood, waterways and land. Maximising the benefits of these resources through renewable energy is not only financially sensible but demonstrates environmental responsibility.

Exhibition The exhibition is free to attend if you register beforehand or there is a £5 entrance fee on the day. The exhibition will provide practical demonstrations of products and services and will feature 80+ exhibitors, including: Aeolus Power Ltd, Countrywide, Eco Angus Ltd, EDP Energy Renewables, Ener-G Natural Power, Envitec Biogas UK Ltd, Fisher German, Harper Adams University College and Kirk Environmental. The full exhibitor list can be found on the event web site detailed below.

Conference The conference will focus on all aspects of renewable energy including: financial incentives, planning, carbon footprint and selling your energy. The speaker programme will feature a number of high profile speakers including: Mervyn Bowden, Head of Energy Management, Marks & Spencer, Lucy Hopwood, Land & Agriculture Manager, National Non-Food Crop Centre, Richard Collins, Group Biomass Manager, Countrywide, Jonathan Scurlock, Renewable Energy Advisor, NFU and the CLA’s Chief Surveyor Oliver Harwood.



A s s o c i ati o n s



Ensuring a bright future for the past English Heritage exists to protect and promote England’s spectacular historic environment and ensure that its past is researched and understood. English Heritage is the government’s statutory adviser on the historic environment. Officially known as the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England, English Heritage is an executive non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The powers and responsibilities of English Heritage are set out in the National Heritage Act (1983) and today they report to Parliament through the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Although sponsored by DCMS, English Heritage works with a range of government departments, notably  CLG and Defra, to help realise the potential of the historic environment. English Heritage is funded in part by the government, and is also part funded from revenue earned from their historic properties and other services. In 2008/09 the organisation’s public funding was worth £132.7m, and income from other sources was £48.1m. English Heritage works in partnership with central government departments, local authorities, voluntary bodies and the private sector to conserve and enhance the historic environment, broaden public access to the heritage and increase people’s understanding of the past.

The organisation meets these responsibilities by: acting as a national and international champion for the heritage; giving grants for the conservation of historic buildings, monuments and landscapes; maintaining registers of England’s most significant historic buildings, monuments and landscapes; and advising on the preservation of the historic environment. English Heritage also encourages broader public involvement with the heritage, promotes heritage-related  education and research, cares for Stonehenge and over  400 other historic properties on behalf of the nation, maintains the  National Monuments Record as the public archive of the heritage and generates income for the benefit of the historic environment. English Heritage is currently running a five-year investment programme for its properties. Based on an audit of all the organisation’s properties, £30m is being targeted at those sites with the most commercial potential, in order to make as many sites as possible self-financing. Projects range from major refurbishment and restoration works at Kenilworth Castle to relatively small but significant improvements to exhibitions and interpretation, catering and retail facilities. In the construction sector, English Heritage has joined forces with ConstructionSkills to call for concerted action across the construction industry, the built heritage sector, educational establishments, careers organisations, funding bodies and government departments to tackle the continued shortage of ROMA PUBLICATIONS




heritage building skills. English Heritage has also published research demonstrating the shortage of craft skills across the country and a Skills Action Plan which they are now implementing. This includes raising the profile of vocational training and the built heritage construction sector and attracting more young people to pursue careers within it. The plan is also geared towards encouraging the use of suitably skilled and qualified people, and developing qualifications to ensure that traditional building knowledge and skills can be attained from GCSE to Master Craft level. Find out more at

Architectural Bronze Casements These beautiful handmade metal windows by Vale Garden Houses are an exciting and traditional alternative to the steel and aluminium windows generally available. Made from architectural bronze, they are ideally incorporated within stone, brick or timber openings. Whilst particularly suited to traditional buildings, they equally lend themselves to more contemporary style projects. The use of bronze for doors and windows dates back to the 18th century with many originals still in existence, clear evidence of the durability of this metal. Vale’s Architectural Bronze Casements have been used extensively on heritage projects in the U.K. and abroad. English Heritage sites including Freston Tower in Suffolk and Blencow Hall in Cumbria have fitted Vale’s bronze casements within their renovation. Bronze casements are visually striking and compliment period properties where aesthetics are of prime importance to maintaining the character of buildings Architectural Bronze Casements also design and make doors which can either be single or double openers in a variety of styles.

Working at height? You can count on the ATLAS safety net The Association of Technical Lighting and Access Specialists (ATLAS) has been supporting its member companies in the working at height industry since 1946. It has been continually striving to improve working practices, technical quality and accepted standards in the steeplejack and lightning protection sectors. The benefit is naturally felt by member companies, but also extends to clients of members who work within this specialist sector. ATLAS was formed to promote the common interests of steeplejacking and lightning conductor engineering companies. By working to maintain a high standard of conduct, combat unfair practices and encourage safety and efficiency, it offers its members access to the best industry knowledge and advice available. ATLAS is governed by a council elected annually by the membership which meets four times a year. Meetings are open to all ATLAS members to participate in discussions on industry topics, to pose questions and to meet with other member ROMA PUBLICATIONS


A s s o c i ati o n s companies to further both their own development and that of the industry. Outside the quarterly meetings, work continues throughout the year in the form of committee activity, ensuring that ATLAS remains at the forefront of all industry developments, influencing decisions, improving standards and reporting back to its members. Membership of ATLAS is carefully monitored and all companies are obliged to abide by the association’s constitution and code of conduct.

Association Objectives •

• • • •

To ensure high standards of safety, both for management and operatives, through a comprehensive range of training and qualification To protect others who may be affected by their operations To maintain a high standard of professional conduct and ensure members comply with current regulations To represent to clients a hallmark of quality and efficiency To secure equitable forms of contract with clients and to discourage unfair and unsafe work practises

Leadership ATLAS is fronted by figures who have built up years, if not decades, of industry experience, and who all share a belief and willingness to work for the benefit and betterment of the industry. The association’s presidency is currently held by Graeme Fisher. Graeme joined the established steeplejack and lightning protection company A.W. Elliott in 1974, and through the years held positions as contracts supervisor, contracts manager, contracts director, managing director, and company chairman until 2004, when the business assets were sold to Omega Red Group.

Young leadworker of the year award The Lead Sheet Association and Lead Contractors Association are jointly promoting a ‘Young Leadworker of the Year’ competition among LCA members for 2011. The only entry criteria for the competition is that entrants should be 25 or under by the closing date for entries (which is 31st March 2011) and be employed by a member of the Lead Contractors Association. All entrants will be required to submit photographs of work they have carried out together with details of the various projects they have worked on and the type of work done. Their work may be directly inspected by an LCA vetting officer, either on site or by attending a convenient regional location where a series of practical tests will be carried out. All practical assessments will be completed by August 2011. Six finalists will then be selected by a judging panel which will consist of Members of the LCA Council, LSA technical officers and Nigel Johnston, general manager of the LSA. The six finalists will then attend a finals day at the Lead Sheet Association roof training centre in Kent, where they will be set



Graeme has been an active member of ATLAS since the 1980s, becoming heavily involved in lightning protection matters and representing ATLAS on BSI technical committees for lightning protection and earthing for over 20 years.

Find out more To find out how your company or organisation can benefit from ATLAS membership, visit

a series of tasks over identical model roof sections, to be completed within a given time limit. On conclusion of the practical side of the final, the judges will then discuss design theory and working practices in order to test the knowledge of each finalist The judges will examine each model roof section and, taking account of the responses during the theory discussion, will then determine the overall winner of the ‘Young Leadworker of the Year’ award for 2011. The winner will receive £500 in leadwork tools, a copy of the Lead Sheet Manual and a training bursary worth £3,500 towards a formal leadwork national vocational qualification. Each of the other finalists will receive a lead sheet manual and three days personalised leadwork development training from the LSA. In launching the award, LSA Chairman Joss Campbell said “We want to encourage and promote all young leadworkers that represent the future of our industry and hope this award will provide a significant recognition of the specialist individual skills that we know are being developed within the Lead Contractors Association”

Lead Contractors Association Formed in 1984, the LCA aim to prioritise quality standards in all manors of lead work. The LCA now comprises of over 100 specialist contractors committed to providing quality craftsmanship for their clients, supported by 15 associate members supplying materials and ancillary services. The LCA have expanded in recent years, increasing their offices bases throughout the country as well as overseas. The LCA now operate in every region of the UK and have contractors located in Europe. In a statement, chairman of LCA Dave Martin reflects on the current status of LCA: “I am proud to look around the current LCA Council and consider the wealth of knowledge and experience available to our members and the industry for the foreseeable future”. For further information regarding the LCA, details can be found on their website at



A s s o c i ati o n s

The Limes, They Are A’Changing By David Casey of Traditional Plaster Finishes Developments and Changes Well, it’s been quite an eventful year here at Traditional Plaster Finishes. The last twelve months has seen us double our directly employed workforce. We have searched for and found a selection of sub-contractors with the right attitude towards conservation construction and roped them in as team players. 2010 also saw the butterfly of The Historic Building Company emerge from the chrysalis of TPF Ltd, as the full range of the services which we offer to owners of period properties is refined and expanded. Our journey from a specialist plastering company towards a specialist building company has been an exciting transition. It has meant that we have seen many different ages of period property, and many different ages of construction and renovation phases. Assessing and studying previous phases of work by others, both historic and more modern, has allowed us to refine our own service and ideals. The motto for The Historic Building Company is ‘For The Next 500 Years’, as we aim for the best that medieval craftsmen had to offer. We have also become more involved in ‘green’ construction, as we tackled the challenge of straw bale construction. Ironically, this extremely busy time has led directly to me, as director, spending less time on ‘honest toil’, and more time on managerial



projects and study of ancient methods to keep us up to date! Allow me to explain... As a plastering company which specialized in lime plaster, we were rooted directly in the ‘three coat method’ of restoration. Now, don’t misunderstand me: three coat lime plaster is a

wonderful way to extend the life and health of your property. Active in the field for over ten years, we are still young enough to have avoided the period when even conservation officers approved a recipe containing an amount of cement within the lime plaster. In this, fortune smiled upon us, as we had less misguided practice thrust upon us by convention. The use and eventual discarding of these mixtures represents a definite evolution of understanding and received wisdom, for the inclusion of cement in the mixture could almost be seen as historical in its own right. In a book entitled ‘Plastering’, by J.T.Sawyer, we are told that “coarse stuff is usually gauged with Portland cement to the extent of 15 or 20 to 1”. Now, this book (still well worth a read) was first published in 1951 to cover the intermediate syllabus of the City and Guilds of London Institute. Sawyer had 30 years experience in the trade, and his father is reported to have been still active after more than 60 years’ experience. What a wealth of knowledge and experience they must have had to offer. Sadly, we now know that the inclusion of

cement (acknowledged by Sawyer to be due to time constraints), or worse, the use of cement pure and simple was misguided and damaging. The question is how common was this hybrid material in the Victorian era? Portland cement as we know it arrived to (arguably) blight our existence in the first half of the 19th century. It seems reasonable to assume that a material which sped up setting, and thereby construction times, would be used extensively. If this was the case, then the specifications under which we operate represent a major step forward in lime work: no cement, specified particle size in aggregates, minimum maturing periods for putty, and minimum amounts of hair. So, here we were: happily ensconced in the thoroughly modern school of scorning Portland’s finest. Did we think that there was nothing left to learn? That would be a harsh accusation. I believe that there is a wealth of knowledge to be accessed, and that the pleasure is in the journey not the arrival. I will admit, though, that I was somewhat blinkered by my concentration on the improvement of the material with which we were most familiar: how to maximise the hair quantity for strength, how to improve plasticity to make the process of plastering more efficient, and how to achieve an ultra fine surface by the use of chalks and hydraulic limes. However, a longer step back in time could be the way forward, which is an issue I will discuss on next month’s issue of Premier Construction. Details of bespoke training opportunities can be found at www.

Taking Measures to protect you from asbestos Employers of building maintenance and repair workers are required to carry out a risk assessment before undertaking any work which exposes, or is liable to expose, employees to asbestos. They must take the appropriate steps required by the Asbestos Regulations to prevent or reduce these risks. However, in many cases, the employers and their workers have little or no information about the premises where they are going to undertake work, and are not aware if asbestos containing materials are present. Consequently, it is difficult for them to consider the risks, or if precautions may be needed. A duty to manage the risk from asbestos in non-domestic premises was therefore added to the Control of Asbestos at work Regulations in 2002 to address this. These requirements have since been brought forward unchanged in the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 as Regulation 4. Those who own, occupy, manage or have responsibilities for premises that may contain asbestos, will either have: • • • • • •

• • • •

A legal duty to manage the risk from asbestos material; or A legal duty to co-operate with whoever manages that risk They will be required to manage the risk from asbestos by: Finding out if there is asbestos in the premises, its extent and what condition it is in; Presuming the materials contain asbestos, unless you have strong evidence that they do not; Making and keeping up to date a record of the location and condition of the ACM’s or presumed ACM’s in their premises; Assessing the risk from the material Preparing a plan that sets out in detail how they are going to manage the risk from this material Taking the steps needed to put their plan into action Reviewing and monitoring their plan and the arrangements made to put it in place; and ROMA PUBLICATIONS


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Providing information on the location and condition of the material to anyone who is liable to work or disturb it.

In the United Kingdom, work on asbestos has by law to be carried out by a contractor who holds a licence under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006, although there are exceptions. Normally, non-licensed work includes work on asbestoscontaining textured coatings, asbestos cement and certain work of short duration on asbestos insulating board. The duties imposed by regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 supplement the provisions of some of the duties imposed by other sets of regulations, in particular the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 which require the client to provide designers and contractors who may be bidding for the work or who they intend to engage, with the project’s specific health and safety information needed to identify hazards and risks associated with the design and construction work. Asbestos awareness training is a legal requirement for most employees and supervisors working in the construction industry. In addition to initial training, the Approved Code of Practice which accompanies the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 also states that refresher training should be given at least every year. Therefore, there is an ongoing annual legal requirement for refresher training to be carried out for the identified employees. ARCA is the leading supplier of asbestos awareness training aimed at building and maintenance workers. To find out more or to arrange a no obligation meeting to discuss your employees asbestos awareness training needs please contact ARCA on 01283 531126.





ROMA Publications 15-8  

ROMA Publications 15-8

ROMA Publications 15-8  

ROMA Publications 15-8