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Renaker submits plan for Manchester tower quartet

Manchester developer and builder Renaker has submitted plans for its next major high-rise scheme in the city estimated to have a £750m development value.

The Trinity Islands scheme consists of four towers from 39 to 60 storeys, as well as bringing significant public realm improvements.

The Deansgate scheme designed by SimpsonHaugh would create nearly 2,000 flats, varying from one, two and three bedrooms, and underlines growing confidence in the Manchester high-rise flats market.

Consultant WSP is supporting both the M&E and structural design of Trin ity Islands.

Renaker bought the site from rival developer Allied London back in 2018, which then had planning for five high-rise buildings, including one at 67 stories that was due to be Manchester’s tallest block of flats.

The site, which consists of two parcels of land. It is bounded by the River Irwell to the north and west, Liverpool Road to the east and Water Street and Regent Street to the south.

The new Trinity Islands scheme will consist of two pairs of towers, with designs that seek to give each pair their own visual identity.

On site C, the buildings are conceived as diamond forms with a crystalline facade, while site D will emphasise the taller height of the buildings with curved facades.


Towers planned for site D


Towers planned at site C of Trinity Islands

 

 

Midgard bags world’s tallest octagonal resi tower job

JRL-owned main contractor Midgard has scooped the job to construct the world’s tallest pure octagonal residential building at the Paradise site in Birmingham.

Under a 44-month contract Hertfordshire-based Midgard will now demolish the existing 77 Paradise Circus Queensway office building ahead of starting work on the 49-storey building.

Singaporean real estate developer City Developments Limited (CDL) has just bought the scheme, which will cost £110m to develop including land cost.

The team leading Paradise Birmingham, MEPC, will remain as the development manager of the 155m building.

Construction will involve installing a 179m tower crane on site in the first half of 2022 – the tallest tower crane ever used in the city and the same height as the Gherkin in London.

Designed by Birmingham-based Glenn Howells Architects, the 155m tall tower will provide up to 370 new build to rent homes and marks the latest phase of the £700m Paradise scheme, so far delivered by BAM and Sir Robert McAlpine.


Prefabricated elements including the facade and modern methods of construction will contribute to a lower embodied design for the Octagon

Neil McGinty, UK development director at CDL, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with MEPC to develop the visionary Octagon residential tower, which will transform Birmingham’s skyline.

“Since we made our foray into the UK BTR segment in 2019 with the acquisition of The Junction in Leeds, we have been looking for opportunities to grow our portfolio strategically through the development of iconic BTR residential landmarks.

“Our investment in the Paradise project allows us the unique opportunity to actively participate in the rejuvenation of the Birmingham city region.”


Under the Glen Howells design eight flats on each floor will boast uninterrupted views

 

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Race starts for Sellafield £250m steelwork and cladding deal

Sellafield’s project delivery team is starting the hunt for two key delivery partners for a combined steelwork and cladding package worth nearly £250m over 18 years.

The tender is the latest to hit the market from a new pioneering procurement model that uses Project 13-style integrated collaborative teams.

The big procurement shake-up is being delivered by Programme and Project Partners (PPP), driving forward the clean-up of the Sellafield site in West Cumbria.


This overarching integrated team is made up of a Kellogg Brown and Root (Integration Partner); Jacobs (Design and Engineering Partner); Morgan Sindall Infrastructure (Civils Construction Management Partner) and Doosan Babcock (Process Construction Management Partner), and Sellafield.

Peter Hogg, the PPP head of supply chain, said: “We are keen to hear from potential key delivery partners to take part in an exciting long-term partnership to design and deliver steelwork and cladding of industrial buildings at the Sellafield site.

“This is the latest Multi Project Procurement process to be announced and we are looking forward to hearing from innovative organisations in these fields.”

The package includes early contractor involvement, final design, temporary works,  supply and erection services. Contracts may be divided into two lots, due to the scale of the undertaking.

Key delivery partners will be expected to deliver a third of their works using small and medium-sized enterprises.

A full strategy paper outlining the procurement approach, commercial model, timeline, and other important information will be issued to interested firms at the start of the market engagement phase, which runs until 2 February 2022.

Pre-tender schedule

Complete Tender Management portal expression of interest – deadline (7 January 2022)Initial supplier briefing – Microsoft Teams briefing to present the package (week commencing 10 Jan 2022) presentation date scheduled for 13 January 2022.Questions and answers – Sharing of questions and answers following the briefingOnline survey – responses due by 19 January 2022)Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) issued (2 February 2022)Matchmaker process – Promoting the process for SME engagement (ongoing throughout)

To register interest firms need to email: PPP

by 7 January.

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Balfour Beatty US arm to pay £49m over military housing fraud

Balfour Beatty’s US operation has been ordered to pay out £49m after pleading guilty to major fraud on its military housing maintenance contract.

The Balfour Beatty Communities pay-out is made up of £25m in fines and £24m in damages relating to its military housing contract at 21 Air Force, 18 Navy, and 16 Army bases across the United States, in which tens of thousands of service members and their families lived.

As part of the settlement with the US Department for Justice, BBC pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and has agreed to the appointment of an independent compliance monitor for a three-year period, while it has also been placed on probation for three years.

According to court documents, from around 2013 to around 2019, Balfour Beatty Communities staff falsified performance information for incentive fee requests at various military housing projects.

Specifically, BBC staff altered or manipulated data in property management software and destroyed and falsified resident comment cards to falsely inflate performance to obtain pay performance incentive fees that BBC had not earned.

US Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said: “Instead of promptly repairing housing for U.S. service members as required, BBC lied about the repairs to pocket millions of dollars in performance bonuses.”

“This pervasive fraud was a consequence of BBC’s broken corporate culture, which valued profit over the welfare of servicemembers.

“Today’s global resolution sends a clear message to companies that if they do not maintain adequate compliance programs, voluntarily self-disclose misconduct, and fully cooperate with the government, they will pay a price that outweighs the profits they once reaped.”

In a statement today Balfour said:  “Balfour Beatty is committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct. 

“The wrongdoing that took place is completely contrary to the way the company expects its people to behave.

“The company apologises for the actions of Communities to all its stakeholders. It has been made clear to all employees that breaches of policies, procedures, or law will not be tolerated.

“Communities welcomes the appointment of the independent compliance monitor and looks forward to a constructive engagement.”


In 2019, the Balfour Beatty undertook an in-depth review of operations at Communities and, as a result, introduced a series of changes to prevent misconduct from occurring in the future.

These involved therestructuring of the Communities management team including the additional appointment of several key executives and aChief Compliance Officer for the US. 

It said: “Communities also has enhanced its ethics and compliance training for all employees and has made significant improvements to the maintenance work order processing system, underpinned by enhanced controls and protocols that are aimed to prevent misuse and strengthen oversight.”

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Building collapses after foundation blunders

A building contractor has been prosecuted after carrying out unsafe excavation works which resulted in the partial collapse of a residential building.

Manchester Crown Court heard how on 14 August 2019, Iproject Cheshire Limited had been carrying out refurbishment works on a building in Didsbury.

Employees of the company undermined the foundations while digging out the ground around the building causing a partial collapse. There were no injuries or fatalities, but the collapse presented a risk to life.

An HSE investigation found that the company failed to properly plan or carry out the work safely. A risk assessment into the excavations had not been carried out. There was no safe system of work in place and the work had not been sufficiently supervised.

Iproject Cheshire Limited of Stockport pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £31,500 and ordered to pay costs of £13,500.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector David Argument said: “This was a very serious incident, and it is fortunate that nobody was injured as a result of it.

“This incident could have been prevented if the company had carried out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment prior to commencing work on the excavations and by properly supervising the work.”

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A Simple Clear Construction Staffing Distress Indicator



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Well before the pandemic, the construction sector was worrying over what was perceived as an acute shortage of labor. Much of the discussion on this topic over the past several years has been anecdotal. Or reference has been made to employment gains that have been less than they should be and unemployment rates that have sometimes turned spectacularly low.

But it would be better to find some easy-to-understand visual representation of the problem. It’s my hope that Graphs 1 through 5 below, making use of JOLTS data, fit the bill.

From the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), for ‘all jobs’ and 14 major sub-sectors, I’ve taken ‘openings’ levels and ‘hires’ levels and calculated openings-to-hires ratios for every month back to July 2009, which was the first period of recovery after the ‘fiscal crisis’ recession (a.k.a., the Great Recession).

The openings-to-hires ratio essentially captures the degree to which vacant positions are being snapped up (a low ratio) or going begging (a high ratio).

To enable easy comparisons between industries, I’ve indexed their openings-to-hires ratios.

The indexing I’ve adopted takes the July 2009 value for each series and sets it equal to 100.0. (The number could just as easily be set equal to 1.0 but choosing 100 leaves more room for following numbers to move not only up, but also down, should that become the case.)

For each series, the value of each subsequent month is divided by the value in the base month (July 2009) and multiplied by 100.

Since all the series have the same starting value (July 2009 = 100.0), when a couple of them, or several of them, are shown on a graph, their movements over time can be readily compared.

In Graphs 1 through 5, I’ve stuck with only one-on-one comparisons.

The higher the curve, the greater the sought-after employee shortage distress.

From Graph 1, it’s apparent that the increase over time, since July 2009, in the openings-to-hires ratio for construction has far outpaced the increase in the openings-to-hires ratio for ‘all jobs’. (The openings-to-hires ratio will increase in an expanding economy.)

By the way, I must point out that the patterns apparent in Graphs 1 to 5 stay essentially the same even when the base period is shifted (e.g., if January 2015 is chosen = 100.0 rather than July 2009).

In Graphs 2 through 5, the worker shortage in construction is shown to be more severe than in the following: manufacturing; retail trade; transportation, warehousing, and utilities; and accommodation and food services.

As for nine of the other ten industrial sectors not set out graphically below, construction’s labor shortage is far more acute than in any of them except one.

The worst labor shortage in the U.S. is currently being experienced in another goods-producing as opposed to the services-producing corner of the economy, ‘mining and logging’.

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Top Ten best read stories of 2021

The Enquirer is putting out its last daily newsletter of the year today as the industry winds-down for its traditional Christmas break.

The website will be updated with any major breaking stories during the holiday season with the full daily news service returning on January 4.

It has been an eventful 12 months and a busy news year for construction as the Enquirer keeps the industry up to date with what is really going on.

These were the best read stories during the year:

Our most popular stories in 2021

(Number of times they were read)

Mass brawl breaks out on London site – (65,706 page views)

Nmcn goes into administration – (53,228 page views)

Timber and steel shortages set to intensify – (46,462 page views)

Scaffold brought down on City of London site – (41,727 page views)

Six planned skyscrapers to change London city skyline– (41,340 page views)

Timber batten prices go through the roof – (35,604 page views)

Facebook site flooded by burst pipe– (31,793 page views)

Gove declares war on construction companies – (30,675 page views)

British Steel stops taking orders in face of ‘extreme’ demand – (30,558 page views)

National highways halts first smart motorway job– (30,015 page views)

The Enquirer enjoyed another year of growth as busy professionals turn to us for a fast and insightful news fix.

Our daily newsletter now has more than 49,000 subscribers.

Google Analytics show the Enquirer enjoyed more than 19.6 million page views this year from more than 4.3 million users – numbers which dwarf any of our traditional construction media rivals.

Our growing band of advertisers enjoy industry leading response rates and all the details about booking a campaign for 2022 can be found here.

Display adverts were clicked on more than 120,000 times during the year generating a staggering 3,500 hours – or 145 days – viewing time of our advertisers’ websites by Enquirer readers.

Our recruitment pages are thriving thanks to our unrivaled reach into construction companies while our Suppliers and Buyers Directory has already signed-up more than 4,700 firms from across the supply chain.

We’d like to wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas and here’s to a happy New Year after a well deserved break.

Gove declares war on construction companies

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove is getting tough on construction companies four-and-a-half years after the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Gove has turned his ire on Rydon Homes and blocked them from the government’s Help to Buy home ownership scheme with immediate effect.

It means they no longer have government support and cannot market their properties to first time buyers, with the offer of government backed loans.

He thundered: “It is in the public interest to exclude Rydon Homes from the Help to Buy scheme with immediate effect given the extremely concerning evidence heard by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry about its sister company.


“The development and construction industry should be in no doubt: I will continue to go after those who put lives at risk, are responsible for the building safety crisis and are failing to play their part in fixing it. The Grenfell community and innocent leaseholders deserve better.”

Rydon was the main contractor on the refurbishment of the Grenfell Tower which was destroyed by fire in June 2017 with the loss of 72 lives.

Gove has also warned the construction industry “there will be consequences for those who are responsible for the building safety crisis and those who are failing to help fix it.”

A government statement on the ongoing Grenfell inquiry said: “The Grenfell Tower Inquiry is considering worrying evidence of potentially unacceptable practices by Rydon Maintenance Ltd – the lead contractor for the refurbishment of the Grenfell Tower – before the tragedy that occurred in 2017, in which 72 people lost their lives.

“Rydon Maintenance falls under the same parent company as Rydon Homes Ltd and has directors in common.”

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Breyer headhunts United Living COO


Social housing contractor Breyer Group has raided rival United Living for its new managing director.

Daren Moseley joins the Romford-based contractor after nearly nine years at United Living. most latterly in the last 18 months as chief operating officer.

As Breyer managing director he will take full day-to-day executive responsibility of the £75m turnover group with Tim Breyer moving into the role of chairman.

Chairman Breyer said “This appointment strengthens our Board and is vital to our succession planning. I am delighted to be working with such a high calibre individual as Daren and look forward to him taking us through the next phase of our growth”

Founded 60 years ago, Breyer has grown from a roofing contractor to a social housing contractor employing over 400 people.

 

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Green light for £80m Merseyside station

Enabling works will start in the New Year on the proposed new £80m Merseyrail train station on Headbolt Lane in Kirkby.

Knowsley Council has granted planning permission for a new station which is planned to open by Spring 2023.

The scheme is being delivered by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority in partnership with Knowsley Council, Network Rail, Merseyrail and Northern.

The new station plans include:

Step-free access throughout the stationA bus interchangeCycle parkingLinks to local cycling and walking networksPassenger waiting facilities and toiletsApproximately 300 park and ride spaces

The full scheme includes the extension of the Merseyrail network beyond the existing Kirkby station and will see Merseyrail services run into the new station.

Northern services from Wigan and Manchester will also operate to and from the new three-platform station.

It will be the first station to benefit from battery technology on the new trains for the Merseyrail network, removing the need to extend the third rail beyond the existing Kirkby station.

The scheme is also designed to support future plans to build a new rail link to Skelmersdale, on which the Combined Authority is working closely with Lancashire County Council, West Lancashire Borough Council and Network Rail to support.

 

 

 

 

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