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Keltbray wins two more tunnel HS2 shafts

Keltbray has secured a £12m extension to its current C1 Shaft contract for the HS2 Align joint venture.

The deal builds on awards for the first two ventilation shafts on the project in August at Chalfont St Peter and Chalfont St Giles.

Taken together the two double sets of shaft excavation jobs are worth over £26m.

The next two ventilation shafts along HS2’s 10 mile tunnel drives through the Chiltern Hills are located at Amersham and Little Missenden.

Excavation of the shaft in Amersham will be to a depth of 55m.

Keltbray’s works include internal shaft construction works to build slip-formed concrete cores and lining walls, reinforced concrete works at the base of the shafts, to create a collar structure to enable the TBMs to pass through the base of the shaft.


Wates confirmed winner of £450m car battery gigafactory

Wates and Turner & Townsend have been appointed by client Envision AESC to lead the design and project manage construction of its £450m car battery gigafactory in Sunderland.

The factory will be built at the 50-acre International Advanced Manufacturing Park and will form part of a £1bn partnership with Nissan UK and Sunderland City Council to create an electric vehicle (EV) hub to deliver the next generation of electric vehicle production.

Wates will develop an adaptable design that provides the infrastructure to support battery production by 2024. The contractor will work alongside Turner & Townsend who will act as the project manager and cost manager.

Planning permission was granted in October for the gigafactory, which represents an initial 9GWh plant with potential future-phase investment by Envision AESC of £1.8bn.

This will generate up to 25GWh and create 4,500 new high-value green jobs in the region by 2030, with potential on site for up to 35GWh. This commitment will power Nissan’s new vehicles in the first phase and support the continued localisation of vehicle parts and components with advanced technology.

As part of the design process, Wates is already engaging with local supply chain partners, seeking their input on areas ranging from clean utilities to fire protection services.

Chris Caygill, Managing Director of the Envision AESC battery plant, said: “Envision AESC is pleased to be working with both Wates Group and Turner & Townsend as key partners in this next stage of our UK gigafactory development.

“Each brings unique strengths to the project that will help deliver a world-class battery manufacturing facility essential to helping the UK automotive industry transition to a fully electrified future.

“We pride ourselves particularly on the safety record of our batteries, which continually achieve zero critical incidents in new product and process designs. Together with smart, digitally integrated clean energy generation, storage and use in our battery plants, we are supporting the global transition towards net zero carbon energy targets.”

Paul Chandler, Executive Managing Director of Wates Construction Group, said: “At Wates, we are constantly looking for a better way, using innovation, adaptability, and collaboration to help us take on the challenge of making our sector more sustainable.

“This project, to design the Envision battery gigafactory, will be a vanguard for that, representing a huge opportunity to accelerate Envision and the UK Government’s net zero ambitions.

“Not only that, but the project is also an essential piece of the puzzle in the Government’s levelling up agenda, and we’re incredibly proud to be laying the foundations for sustainable growth in the region.

“There is enormous potential to bring about real change, creating a legacy for Sunderland and the Northeast, through the creation of new green jobs and inward investment.”

Skanska wins £53m Slough data centre job

Skanska has signed a £53m contract to build a new data center in Slough for developer Virtus.

The LONDON11 data centre design and build job includes fit-out of six new data halls, construction of external steelwork plant gantries, plant rooms for mechanical and electrical and public health services, all MEPH infrastructure across the site and office fit out.

Construction work begins this month to complete the project by Spring 2023.

The construction of LONDON11 will add more than 13MW of new capacity within 5,500m2 of net technical space at the Slough campus.

This increases Virtus’ total data centre estate to more than 178MW and 77,000 sq m across its UK locations.

This includes the four data centres within Virtus’ Stockley Park Campus, all built by Bouygues Energies & Services and makes Virtus Data Centres one of Europe’s leading data centre providers.

Neil Cresswell, CEO of Virtus Data Centres said: “The start of building LONDON11 is a significant milestone in a busy year for Virtus.

“Throughout the COVID-19 epidemic our focus on operational excellence has enabled us to provide safe, reliable service to our valued customers, from our five live data centres, whilst also safely bringing two additional new data centres live in the past six months.”


Crackdown on directors who fold firms to rip-off creditors

Rogue bosses who dissolve their companies to rip-off staff, creditors and the taxpayer can now be disqualified from being a director.

The Insolvency Service has been granted new powers to tackle unfit directors who place their firm in administration to avoid paying subcontractors and suppliers.

The new legislation extends the Insolvency Service’s powers to investigate and disqualify company directors who abuse the company dissolution system.

If misconduct is found, directors can face sanctions including being disqualified as a company director for up to 15 years or, in the most serious of cases, prosecution.

The Business Secretary will also be able to apply to the court for an order to require a former director of a dissolved company, who has been disqualified, to pay compensation to creditors that have lost out due to their fraudulent behaviour.

Insolvency Service accountants will also be able to scruntinise live companies where there is evidence of wrongdoing.

The Rating (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Act will also help tackle directors dissolving companies to avoid repaying Government-backed loans taken out during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “These new powers will curb those rogue directors who seek to avoid paying back their debts, including government loans provided to support businesses and save jobs.

“Government is committed to tackle those who seek to leave the British taxpayer out of pocket by abusing the covid financial support that has been so vital to businesses.

Stephen Pegge, Managing Director of UK Finance, said: “The ability to dissolve a company when necessary is a right reserved in legitimate circumstances where there are no outstanding creditors, however, it can be open to abuse.

“The banking and finance industry therefore supports this legislation which will provide much needed powers to the Insolvency Service to help hold rogue directors to account by providing additional deterrents and easier enforcement of the rules.”

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Southern Rail starts hunt for £3bn signalling and track partners

Network Rail’s southern region has alerted firms to a forthecomming bid race to find two partners for a new 10-year-plus deal to deliver signalling and track across the territory.

The region is hoping for step-change in the way renewals are delivered on its network, making the most of modern methods of working and technology, collaboration and relationship-focused contracting.

The fresh delivery approach known as the Southern Integrated Delivery model will involve a switch to integrated and collaborative Project 13 principals of delivery for an estimated work total work programme of up to £9.6bn over Control Periods 7 and 8.

This partnership approach will be used to deliver all categories of railway asset work including signalling & telecoms, track, buildings & civils, electrification and plant and minor works.

Building and civils is already out to tender with the search for separate signalling and track business partners on Kent Sussex and Wessex routes completing the shake-up.

Buildings and civils will account for 30% – 45% of spend, track 15% – 25%, signalling 5% – 15%, electrification and plant 5% -10% while minor works will constitute 20%- 30% of the overall estimated value.

Works programme

Lot 3: The Signalling Integrator Business Partner

• Early-stage development including all work types (renewals and refurbishment) typically GRIP 1 to 3

• Detailed design, construction and commissioning of all work types (GRIP 4 to 8) including targeted Interventions, Level Crossings and telecommunications associated with the signalling works, with the exception of major renewals

• Manage, coordinate and oversee the delivery for all appointed Eco-System OEM providers – who will be remitted to undertake major Signalling renewals

• Self-delivery of mid-size schemes/asset-life extension works.

Lot 4: Track business partner

Site investigation, survey, design, planning and installation of track works, including renewal, removal, refurbishment or new installation of plain line track, track drainage or switches and crossings by whatever means.

This includes re-alignment, lifting and lowering of track, 3rd Rail, remote condition monitoring, removal, replacement or new installation of lineside plant such as rail lubricators, fencing and rail crossings

Successful bidders will initially sign into a development phase agreement, scheduled to commence in January 2023 and run up until April 2024.

Following this, the partners will sign into a multi-party SID Agreement based on an Network Rail’s alliance form of contract.

Network Rail will host a virtual market briefing event on Thursday 20 January 2022, from 10.00 to 12:00 to brief interested firms.

To register for the event email the attendee’s name, organisation and contact number no later than 13 January. Title email “Southern Integrated Delivery (SID) – Market Briefing – Signalling & Track”.


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Ameon lands £10m M&E package on twin Leeds towers

Building services specialist Ameon has landed a £10m mechanical and electrical contract from John Sisk & Son at Latitude Purple – the Hub Group’s twin-tower residential development in Leeds city centre.

Ameon will start on its 72-week phase of the contract next November and will deploy up to 80 operatives at peak on the projec.

Work will involve design and installation of the services infrastructure serving 463 residential apartments and communal areas in the 17 and 21-storey towers and the single-storey podium deck, linking the taller structures.

Ameon contracts director, Rod Bunce said: “We’ve demonstrated our capabilities on many high-rise residential tower blocks, particularly in the development hotspots of Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds in recent years; therefore I believe we’re a perfect fit for Latitude Purple, which will be a fantastic addition to the skyline of city centre Leeds.

“We’re also delighted to be working again with Sisk, with whom we have enjoyed excellent working relationships on previous projects and look forward to helping to bring Latitude Purple to life.”

Alan Rodger, Managing Director for UK North, John Sisk & Son, added: “I am delighted that we will be working with Ameon on this prestigious development for Hub Group, which will expand the city centre, and provide hundreds of quality homes for the local community.

“We have a brilliant working relationship with the company, forged on previous high-quality projects, and I am excited that we will get to strengthen that relationship further on Latitude Purple.”

To promote your latest contract package wins and your company products and services join the Enquirer Suppliers and Buyers directory here.

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Firms on notice for 20-year Suffolk highways upkeep deal

Suffolk County Council is calling up firms for market engagement feedback ahead of inviting bids for a long-term highways maintenance deal worth up to £1bn.

Kier currently holds the contract, which is a 10-year deal expiring at the end of September 2023.

The council is enticing contractors with the prospect of a long-term 20-year deal for the highways maintenance services, worth around £50m a year.

The initial contract length is anticipated to be 10 years from October 2023 to September 2033 with the option to extend for up to a further 10 years.

Suffolk council said that it recognised the challenges involved in delivering highways services as well as the many possible approaches, lessons learned and improvements that it wanted to adopt in developing its own strategy.

A key part of the procurement the council aims to embed social benefits and the council’s aim to be carbon net zero by 2030.

Interested parties should contact the council for a copy of pre-market engagementus questionaire ahead of the Project Launch Session and/or one-to-one discussions to be held on 27-28 January.

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Worker loses leg after demolition roof collapse

A self-employed builder has been fined £20,000 after a contractor working for him had to have his leg amputated after a single-story roof he was demolishing by hand collapsed at a site in Cobham, Surrey.

Brighton Magistrates’ Court heard that, on the 15 April 2019, the contractor was standing on the roof of a partially demolished single-story extension of a domestic building undergoing refurbishment.

While he was on the roof, it collapsed and the worker suffered significant injuries to his right leg including a fractured tibia and fibular. Due to the damage sustained, his leg was later amputated above the knee.

An HSE investigation found there was no safe system of work in place and the demolition work had not been adequately planned. The stability of the structure during the demolition work had not been assessed, and there were no measures in place to prevent falls from the roof.

Patrick Sheehan of Walton-on-the-hill, Surrey, trading as Mastercraft Building Services, pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,383.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Leah Sullivan said: “The contractor’s injuries were life-changing and he could have easily been killed. This serious incident and the devastating effects on his life, could have been avoided if basic safe systems of work been put in place.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

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Cabinet Office review calls time on ‘wasteful’ frameworks

An independent Cabinet Office review into the proliferation and use of frameworks in construction has called for a complete overhaul of the system to end wasted time and costs for bidders.

The review conducted by a top construction legal expert reveals contractors on average are spending nearly £250,000, and some as much as £1m, on individual framework bids.

It concluded that significant cost and time is being wasted bidding for multiple, speculative construction frameworks, often not connected to specific pipelines of work.

Professor David Mosey Centre of Construction Law, King’s College London also sets out terms for a new ‘Gold Standard’ for frameworks and framework contracts.

His report published by the Government said this would drive the strategic actions needed to improve value and safety, manage risks, meet Net Zero Carbon targets and support a profitable construction industry.

Mosey scrutinised public sector construction frameworks with a combined value of £180bn and considered more than 120 written submissions and 50 interviews.

His analysis found evidence of waste, confusion and duplication in processes ­as well as too strong a focus on achieving the lowest price, rather than best value.

He said: “Review participants report average bid costs for each major framework of over £247,000 for contractors and over £130,000 for consultants, with a maximum of up to £1m in each case.”

On average one in four bids by contractors were successful in securing work, meaning that up to £4m would have be recovered before a supplier delivered any value at all.

“These costs, and the procurement costs incurred by clients, will be substantially reduced if government and industry clarify the scope of each framework and if they adopt a new Gold Standard for selection questionnaires, evaluation criteria, framework contracts, outcome-based performance measures and incentives,” he said.

The new ‘Gold Standard’ for frameworks and framework contracts drives the strategic actions that will improve value and safety, manage risks, meet Net Zero Carbon targets and support a profitable construction industry.

He said that employing the Gold Standard principals offered a dynamic and strategic medium for implementing Construction Playbook policies in ways that break the cycle of lost learning and deliver faster, better, greener construction.

To tackle these issues, the Gold Standard puts in place 24 recommendations, which must be met by both developers and the public sector.

Cabinet Office Minister, Lord Agnew, said: “The new Gold Standard will make sure that vital public sector developments have rigorous measures in place to make sure public money is spent well and that projects are delivered successfully.

“This will be welcomed across the public sector, the construction industry and by the public, who have a right to expect the best possible public sector projects.”

Director of Operations for the Civil Engineering Contractors Association Marie-Claude Hemming said: “We are delighted that Professor Mosey has taken on many of our members’ recommendations in his review, which will enable future frameworks to be established that will deliver improved value for money, efficiency, safety, and social value.

“Moreover, he recommends that future frameworks must focus on net zero carbon and whole life value, delivering both better environmental outcomes and value for money for our members’ clients.

The review is a result of the Construction Playbook, which was launched by the Cabinet Office in 2020 with the aim of making sure the public sector and construction industry work together better to deliver key infrastructure projects.

Click here for the ‘Constructing the Gold Standard report’.


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Scape puts firms on alert for £4bn net zero civils deal

Procurement body Scape is preparing to open bidding in February for spots on its third generation civil engineering framework.

The new enlarged format puts net zero carbon construction and work for local SMEs at the heart of delivery of an estimated £4bn pipeline over four years.

The re-procurement includes a £3.25bn framework for England, Wales and Northern Ireland and a separate £750m framework for Scotland, managed and operated by SCAPE Scotland.

Scape’s existing frameworks were both secured by Balfour Beatty. More than 250 projects have been commissioned to date for public sector clients, are due to expire in January 2023.

It new frameworks will allow public bodies access to net-zero ready specialist contractors to help them achieve their aims around climate change.

Local businesses will sit at the heart of the new frameworks, with the successful principal contractor expected to engage with an extensive supply chain of SMEs.

This allows better access for small businesses to major public sector contracts they might otherwise not have been able to bid for, while also allowing clients to procure locally-sourced specialist services.

They will also benefit from being able to agree termed service options following any major works, allowing contractors to form long term relationships with clients and local supply chains.

Contractors will also be able to agree cost reimbursable contracts through the addition of NEC Option E.

Scape plans to hold virtual market awareness days for prospective bidders on 17 January 2022 for Scotland and 19 January 2022 for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A contract notice will be published in February 2022 with preferred bidders announced in November 2022.

Mark Robinson, group chief executive at Scape, added: “Through the addition of a termed service agreement option, the four-year frameworks will allow contractors to build long-term relationships with clients and supply chain partners, helping them to grow their business and employ new staff from the local communities they serve.”


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