Manchester £1.5bn framework winners announced

Manchester City Council has awarded 8 contractors to its high value framework for projects worth more than £8m with total framework value a massive £1.5bn.

Agency North West Construction Hub appointed 8 companies of 20 bidders over 2 lots, up to £25m and greater than £25m.

It comes into force later in January 2023. It’s the fourth reiteration of the framework.

Lot 1: Bowmer & Kirkland Ltd, Eric Wright Construction, ISG Construction Ltd, Kier Construction Ltd, Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure Ltd, Russells Ltd, Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, VINCI Construction UK Ltd

Lot 2: Bowmer & Kirkland Ltd, Eric Wright Construction, ISG Construction Ltd, Kier Construction Ltd, Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure Ltd, Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, VINCI Construction UK Ltd

Tunnels built by robots

Credit hyperTunnel

hyperTunnel the British technology firm are partnering with University of Birmingham to produce tunnels built by robots.

hyperTunnel says it uses AI, machine learning and ‘swarm robotics’ to build faster, safer, more sustainable tunnels at lower cost than traditional methods.

The pilot constructs the tunnel outside the location using digital twins

The pilot constructs the tunnel outside the location using digital twins & 3D printing and is then deployed into the ground, much like modern methods of construction.

The University of Birmingham has recently opened a campus in Dubai with a Tunnelling Centre of Excellence. It is also home to the NBIF (National Buried Infrastructure Facility) part of UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC).

Famous London shop gets refurb

Source: Emrys Architects

Barkers of Kensington started as a drapery in 1870 and became one of the most recognisable department stores in London. The Grade II listed property is known for its iconic 1920’s art deco architecture.

The £120m upgrade will replace the interior with a grand staircase, escalator and floating stairs with the new building primarily used for office space with some commercial & garden space. 570,000 square feet of office space will be created with the central atrium as the main feature. It will include 4 glass lifts and a new roof terrace.

Griffiths Farrans JV wins final part of A52 upgrade

Source National Highways

National Highways has appointed a joint venture between Farrans Construction and Griffiths deliver upgrades to the A52 near Nottingham. The A52 road connects the East Midlands and runs from Newcastle to the Lincolnshire coast.

2 new junctions will be created and signalling at Nottingham Knight and Wheatcroft with work to commence in 2024 and expected to complete in 2026/27.

The new junctions will reduce congestion and is the final phase of an upgrade project that was announced in 2014. The work is still subject to public consultation on the more detailed plans.

Key water infrastructure phase

Source Anglian Water

The newest phase of a 500km water infrastructure pipeline that runs across the East of England has been started. The latest 68km southern stretch of pipes will run from North Lincolnshire to Suffolk and Essex.

The £400m Anglian Water project started last June and is designed to protect against future water imbalance and improve resilience to drought in the East of England, which is the driest part of the country, and to combat effects of climate change.

Water company Anglian has set up the Strategic Pipeline Alliance consisting of Farrans, Costain Jacobs & others. The current 68km stretch which runs from Bury St Edmunds to Colchester is expected to complete in 2024.

Without new infrastructure the East of England could run out of water by 2030.

Aston Villa £100m stadium expansion approved

Credit Ian Wilson via Wikimedia

Birmingham Council has approved Aston Villa stadium expansion plans which will increase capacity to more than 50,000 from the current 42,785 and cost £100m.

Phase 1 of the project will include a new stand, enhancements to existing stand, a new 6,500 sqm commercial space, redevelopment of the entrance and creation of 7,000 sqm public realm.

It’s expected the work will take around 24 months and provide enhanced facilities for fans, the public and local community.

Women Into Construction joins with Home Builders Federation

Credit Women into Construction

Campaign group Women Into Construction has joined with Home Builders Federation to attract more women into the industry.

Currently 16% of the construction workforce is female and only 4% of site managers are female.

The programme Women Into Home Building aims to attract more women into the industry. There are 45 places available on the programme in 2023.

An online information session will be held on 31st January and deadline to apply is 5pm on 12 February. Applicants must have GCSE Maths & English Grade 4/C and above.

Find out more

£74M East Midlands highways work up for grabs

Credit Mat Fascione via

Rutland County Council is looking for contractors for a new £74m East Midlands highways maintenance project.

The contract starts in June 2024 and runs for 10 years with 2 x 5 year possible extensions bringing the total duration to 20 years. Annually the project is worth £3.7m and includes capital schemes such as road resurfacing, repairs and maintenance.

Tarmac is the incumbent.

Other councils can also use the contract intermittently which increases the value.

Expressions of interest are invited with a deadline of 3 February 2023. 5 companies will be shortlisted and invited to submit a tender by 3 April with winner announced in November.

Find out more and apply here