Budget a win for construction

Credit Wikimedia Commons

In his first budget the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has said there will be no cut to infrastructure funding despite the UK officially entering recession. He committed to no capital cuts for the next 2 years.

The capital budget will increase from £63bn four years ago to £114bn next year.

Hunt announced the extension of HS2 to Manchester which has been in question in the past few weeks as well as hospitals and broadband gigabit rollout. Projects have faced uncertainty until Hunt made the announcements due to the state of the economy.

The Chancellor also committed to 15% reduction in energy consumption from buildings and industry by 2030 highlighting the need for retrofits involving insulation and heating systems.

The construction industry is elated by the announcements with positive comments from industry bodies and major players.

Galliford Try buys water asset company

Credit Galliford Try

Leicester contractor Galliford Try has bought water specialist Ham Baker’s inspection & maintenance divisions with a team of around 40 continuing to operate from the Stoke office.

The new division will reside in Galliford Try’s Environment division. In a statement the purchaser referred to the upcoming AMP8 cycle which stands for asset management period 8 and refers to the five-year period used by the Water Services Regulation Authority to set allowable price increases for water companies and assessing performance over the period.

Many water companies were named and shamed in a recent review by Ofwat including the largest water company Thames Water which was ordered to pay back money to customers in the form of a water bill discount for failing to hit performance targets.

£40m Network Rail green winners

Credit Network Rail

Five companies have won places on a £40m Network Rail framework to decarbonise rail lines.

Most of the work will be retrofit of existing systems. Irish energy retrofit specialist Johnson Control won £29m with the rest going to Vital Energy and B&M McHugh.

Network Rail’s Traction Decarbonisation Strategy says that over 8,000 miles of railway need to be electrified by 2050.

£1bn refit framework up for grabs

Refit and refurbishment framework is open for bidding in five value lots ranging from £50k projects up to £15m+. The framework by Red Kite Learning Trust will run for four years and gives access to public and private sector refit and refurbishment works.

Up to nine contractors can be awarded in each lot consisting of six core and three reserve suppliers.

Deadline is 12 midday on 11 January. Interested bidders can apply here.

£70m Sheffield steel forge plans approved

Credit Sheffield Forge

Plans have been approved to build the UK’s largest open-die forging press in Sheffield Forgemasters, expanding the 1950s site for higher capacity.

Up to £400m will be invested in the site over the next ten years with the first phase being a new 12,700 sq m structure to be built by Vinci Building which will house a new Japanese 13,000 tonne press replacing the old 10,000 tonne press. The facility took delivery of the new press from Japan earlier this year.

Works are expected to commence later this year and complete in 2025

Green light £200m Transpennine work

Rivelin_Valley via geograph.org.ukBalfour Beatty has been given the go-ahead to link A57 between Mottram Moor from the M67 and Woolley Bridge. Balfour won the project two years ago and will start work later this year with construction expected to complete in 2025.

The link roads will improve the journey time between Manchester and Sheffield by delivering extra capacity.  The project had to apply for a development consent order despite being approved years ago. It meets criteria for being an NSIP (Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project).

The project will employ up to 200 people at its peak.

Vinci and Ferrovial win Canadian metro contract

Credit Vinci

A JV between construction giants Spanish Ferrovial and French Vinci have won Ontario Line design build finance contract in Ontario Canada.

The 15.6km metro line runs from the Science Centre to Exhibition place, of which this contract covers 6km in the South section comprising of a twin tube tunnel and seven new stations all underground except 1.

Worth £3.8bn, the project is expected to take 7.5 years to complete by 2030.

The project is a major Canadian infrastructure project and will give a quarter of a million more people in Ontario access to transit. It will fulfil 338,000 rides per day by 2041.

Chelsea Wandsworth bridge gets go ahead

The bridge that has been talked about since anyone in the area can remember has finally got the go-ahead to the elation of local residents. The diamond jubilee footbridge will connect Wandsworth and Chelsea and is expected to accommodate 1.4m pedestrians and cyclists per year, the author being one of them.

Planning approval was granted in 2013 but massive delays caused by objecting residents caused the project to stall.

The bridge will be the first pedestrian and cycle bridge over the Thames this century.

Wandsworth, Fulham and Chelsea councils finally reached agreement on the project and agreed to co-fund it. With some councils giving an estimate of ’15 years’ to completion (!!), once funded it is expected the bridge will take 18 months to complete. The foundations on the Battersea side have already been built.

New warehouse for Durham

Credit Aycliffe Business Park

Durham County Council has approved plans for an 830,000 sq ft warehouse in a business park in Durham.

The £100m project will take 42 acres on the 116-acre site and provide 1.8mn sq ft of industrial space.

Aycliffe Business Park will then be the largest business park in the North East.