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Construction site labour rates hit all time high in London

Site labour rates have hit an all-time high in London as pay across the country continues to rocket.

Analysis by construction payroll specialist Hudson Contract showed average weekly earnings increased by 1.8% to £944 in November – the highest pay levels on record.

Compared with the same period last year, earnings increased by 4.7% while earnings in the capital rose 6.1% to hit £962 a week.

Ian Anfield, managing director, said: “Our analysis shows we are back in the normal cycle where the industry as a whole works more hours in the run-up to Christmas.

“Storm Barra may have lost us a few days and contractors are fighting to get the materials they need but we are still within the most productive time of the year. The festive season is coming up and people know January will be slow with bad weather.

“The strong performance in the South West and Wales reflects the increasing investment in housing and infrastructure as part of the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.

“In London and the South East, growing demand for new housing and home improvements is feeding through to labour requirements and rates are catching up.

“Looking ahead, the removal of the red diesel rebate in April will hit groundworks contractors and quarrying companies the hardest and likely drive up material prices across the construction industry.

“The smaller and more agile firms on short-term contracts are able to react quickly and put their rates up as are the self-employed.”


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Tolent to start £50m Brett Wharf site in Gateshead

Gateshead-based contractor Tolent is preparing to start the first phase of works on the £50m Brett Wharf development.

The prominent site on Gateshead’s quayside will create 269 one and two-bed apartments for rent, as well as commercial space, flexible offices, coffee shops and restaurants.

Specialist remediation works began last month to clean up the former oil storage depot site, which is expected to continue until spring 2022.

Following these works, Tolent will then begin the main construction work on behalf of client Edmond de Rothschild Real Estate Investment Management (REIM).

This scheme also marks the latest collaboration between Tolent and Newcastle-based DPP Planning.  Having secured planning permission for the original development, DPP has been retained by REIM and Tolent to manage post-decision planning requirements, which includes the details on managing the groundworks and areas such as decisions over the final materials and signage.

Steve Church, contracts manager for Tolent, said: “This is a hugely significant project for the city and we’re delighted to be a part of the ongoing regeneration of Gateshead’s quayside.”


Plans in for 2m sq ft Ilkeston warehouse park

Developer Verdant Regeneration has submitted plans to redevelop the former Stanton Ironworks near Ilkeston in Derbyshire into a vast industrial and warehouse park.

The firm plans to transform the 200-acre site located near J25 of the M1 between Nottingham and Ilkeston, building 2m sq ft of new build warehouse and industrial space, with the ability to deliver a single building of around 1 million sq ft.

As well as extensive remediation and re-use of a large, brownfield site, the plans for New Stanton Park include consolidation of the existing rail line and provision of new rail spur.

David Grier, of Verdant Regeneration, said: “Having acquired the site in 2020, we have worked hard across the team to quickly bring forward an outline planning application on what is one of the largest regeneration projects within the region.

“New Stanton Park offers an excellent strategic location, blending an active rail connection with strong private and public transport connectivity, plentiful labour and large power supply.

“When combined, we are confident this will result in a highly successful development with the next chapter set to positively transform and improve the area, bringing forward large-scale job creation in the process.”

With a direct and operational link to the Midland Mainline railway, the site has potential to become a key distribution point for materials being imported and exported efficiently throughout the UK and beyond.


Did you miss our previous article…

York Cocoa West 300-home scheme approved

The development arm of Clarion Housing Group has got the go-ahead for a £100m new homes scheme next to the former Rowntree factory in the centre of York.

Developer Latimer now aims to start work on the Cocoa West mixed-tenure housing scheme early next year.

Comprising 302 new homes, more than 35%, will be available through shared ownership and social rent.

Designed by JTP Architects, the homes will be built on an 11-acre brownfield central plot

Based on feedback gathered through the recent public consultation, the scheme will not only include a mix of one, two and three-bedroom apartments, but also two, three and four-bedroom townhouses – providing a mix of much-needed affordable family homes.

The neighbouring Cocoa Works scheme is already underway, with Latimer’s plans for the eight hectare site, which has been derelict for more than a decade, ensuring that original features of the building are celebrated and incorporated into designs.

In 2020/21, Clarion Housing Group completed 2,126 new homes of which 90% were for affordable tenures.

Profits from Latimer schemes are reinvested into Clarion Housing Group to build more affordable homes, improve and maintain existing homes and support communities through the Group’s charitable foundation, Clarion Futures.

Richard Cook, Group Director of Development for Clarion Housing Group, said: “We’re excited to be taking the next step towards the creation of a thriving new neighbourhood that we hope will reignite and reflect the core values of Joseph Rowntree and our founder, William Sutton.”


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University to offer courses in concrete road repairs

A new qualification in Concrete Pavement and Construction Maintenance has been launched by National Highways and the University of Derby.

The move is designed to plug the predicted skills gap in successfully delivering repairs and renewals of concrete roads.

National Highways is spending £400m in the next three years to improve the quality of existing concrete roads across the country – but 60% of the current specialist concrete workforce is set to retire within 10 years.

To fill this gap, the National Highways Concrete Roads Centre of Excellence has worked in partnership with the University of Derby to launch a BSc Honours in Concrete Pavements and Construction Maintenance.

The two-year part time course focuses on pavements and highways, and provides a pathway for those already studying related subjects to specialise or convert.

Mike Ambrose, Technical Lead at National Highways’ Concrete Roads Centre of Excellence, said: “The University of Derby and specifically the Centre for Mineral Products has a strong track record of delivering applied programmes for industry so are a natural partner for National Highways.

“As the current specialist concrete workforce begin to see out their careers we’re excited to begin upskilling and working with the next generation of engineers. This employer led programme, which is open to both National Highways and the supply chain staff, will help those people get on the pathway to becoming the future industry leaders.

Mark Osbaldeston, the Head of the Centre for Mineral Products at the University of Derby, said: “The concrete roads programme is fundamental in ensuring the future success of our road networks, and this BSc Honours provision will help provide a continued supply of highly skilled individuals to the profession.

“Our team of academics have extensive experience within the mineral products sector and are very much looking forward to sharing their knowledge and practical expertise with the next generation of industry leaders.”

The course begins in January and is aimed at a range of learners including those with foundation degrees, Level 5 apprenticeships and pavement engineering consultants and suppliers who want to extend their knowledge and understanding of the subject.

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5 Steps for Preventing Construction Site Theft


From building materials to tools to heavy equipment, construction site theft is an industry-wide epidemic. In addition to the direct costs of replacing the stolen goods, there is also the indirect cost due to increased insurance premiums, rental costs to replace stolen equipment, and lost productivity.

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Veteran pair leave Currie & Brown

Consultant Currie & Brown is undergoing major leadership change as group chairman David Broomer retires this month after 51 years at the business.

Group chief executive officer Euan McEwan is also retiring at the end of this year.

Broomer became a partner in 1980 – the youngest partner in the company’s history – and in 1999 moved into the role of group managing director. Since October 2008 he has held the position of chairman.

McEwan will be succeeded as group chief executive officer by Alan Manuel, who has been chief operating officer, Europe and UK since 2016 when Currie & Brown acquired Sweett Group.

Nick Gray joins Currie & Brown to lead the Europe and UK business. He joins from Faithful+Gould where he was regional lead for the North, Scotland and Ireland business.


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Wates wins contract for underground houses

Wates Residential has been chosen as main contractor on a pioneering eco-housing development in East Sussex.

Wates will start work early next year on the Blackfriars in Battle for Rother District Council’s housing company Alliance Homes.

All 200 new homes have been designed to significantly reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, while minimising energy costs for residents.

The site will see the unique use of Earth Sheltered Homes and inclusion of principles taken from Passivhaus – a building standard that is energy efficient, comfortable, affordable, and ecological at the same time.

Councillor Doug Oliver, Leader of Rother District Council, said: “We are delighted to name Wates as the contractor for this ground-breaking, sustainable housing development in Battle. So many people have contributed down the years to getting us to this point where we can now look forward to the start of construction.”

Helen Bunch, Executive Managing Director, Wates Residential, added: “Wates works collaboratively with its customers to find better and more innovative ways to reduce waste, reduce energy consumption and enhance the natural environment, and on this exciting new project with Rother District Council we will be using the latest technologies to push boundaries and achieve a more sustainable future.

“These 200 new homes in Battle will be warm and comfortable places for families to call home, utilising energy efficient technology. Everyone deserves a great place to live, and along the way we will be looking to create a lasting legacy for the people that will live in and around this new unique community.”

One of the major factors stalling the delivery of the site was the need for a new spine road to facilitate development.

In 2018, Rother District Council successfully applied to Homes England, and were allocated grant funding under the HIF programme to deliver the road infrastructure.  Planning permission for the whole development was gained in April this year.

26 firms win £7bn school building framework

Twenty six firms have chalked up places on the Department for Education’s £7bn school and further education building programme over the next four years.

The firms are spread across 22 lots covering over three value bands and key English regions.

High-value projects over £12m


Bowmer and KirklandWillmott Dixon ConstructionBAM ConstructionKier ConstructionWates Construction


Bowmer and KirklandWillmott Dixon ConstructionBAM ConstructionKier ConstructionWates ConstructionSkanska Construction UKGrahamBouygues UK

Projects between £6m and £12m

North East and Yorkshire

Tilbury DouglasGalliford Try BuildingMorgan SindallISG ConstructionHenry Boot Construction

East Midlands

Tilbury DouglasGalliford Try BuildingMorgan SindallISG ConstructionGrahamHenry Boot Construction

East of England

Tilbury DouglasGalliford Try BuildingMorgan SindallISG ConstructionHenry BrothersMcLaren Construction


Tilbury DouglasGalliford Try BuildingMorgan SindallISG ConstructionGeoffrey OsborneBaxall constructionMcLaren Construction

South East

Tilbury DouglasGalliford Try BuildingMorgan SindallISG ConstructionGeoffrey OsborneMcLaren Construction

South West

Tilbury DouglasGalliford Try BuildingMorgan SindallISG ConstructionSpatial InitiativeGoldbeck

West Midlands

Tilbury DouglasGalliford Try BuildingMorgan SindallISG ConstructionBouygues UK

North West

Tilbury DouglasGalliford Try BuildingMorgan SindallISG Construction

Projects up to £4.5m

North East

Bowmer and KirklandKier ConstructionWates ConstructionVINCI Construction- Building Division

Yorkshire and the Humber

Bowmer and KirklandKier ConstructionWates ConstructionENGIE RegenerationSpatial InitiativeRayner Rowen

East Midlands

Bowmer and KirklandKier ConstructionWillmott Dixon ConstructionWates ConstructionG F Tomlinson

East of England A

Bowmer and KirklandKier ConstructionVINCI Construction UK  – Building DivisionENGIE RegenerationThe McAvoy Group

East of England B

Bowmer and KirklandKier ConstructionWillmott Dixon ConstructionWates ConstructionENGIE RegenerationSpatial Initiative


Bowmer and KirklandKier ConstructionWillmott Dixon ConstructionWates ConstructionVINCI Construction UK – Building DivisionENGIE RegenerationSpatial Initiative

South East A

Bowmer and KirklandKier ConstructionWillmott Dixon ConstructionWates ConstructionBaxall constructionENGIE RegenerationSpatial Initiative

South East B

Bowmer and KirklandKier ConstructionWillmott Dixon ConstructionWates ConstructionENGIE RegenerationSpatial Initiative

South West A

Kier ConstructionVINCI Construction UK  – Building DivisionENGIE RegenerationDarwin Group

South West B

Kier ConstructionENGIE Regeneration

West Midlands

Bowmer and KirklandKier ConstructionWillmott Dixon ConstructionWates ConstructionG F Tomlinson

Lot 22 – Low value band: North West

Bowmer and KirklandKier ConstructionWates ConstructionConlon Construction

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Galliard forms new partnership to build 850 homes

London developer Galliard Homes has teamed up with regional landowner-developer Apsley House Capital and Midlands-based property developer Wavensmere Homes to deliver a brace of schemes worth £300m.

The two residential-led schemes, Belgrave Village in Birmingham and the regeneration of the HMS Ganges Naval facility in Shotley near Ipswich.

Belgrave Village will be built in Balsall Heath, between the city centre and Moseley, the 12-acre development fronts the A4540 Belgrave Middleway and the A435 Haden Way and is bounded by Sherbourne Road and Balsall Heath Road.

Designed by Chetwoods Architects, Belgrave Village will provide 438 homes

Subject to Section 106 Agreement finalisation, the three-year build programme will start in the first quarter of next year.

Barrelman’s Point will provide 400 homes at Shotley Peninsula near Ipswich at a 60-acre site of the former historic HMS Ganges Naval facility.

Barrelman’s Point will involve the transformation of the historic HMS Ganges training facility

Masterplanned by Clague Architects, the project will require the preservation and restoration of several Royal Navy heritage assets, including the Grade II listed ceremonial mast, Grade II listed entrance gates, a mid-19th Century Fort and two Martello Towers.

There will also be nearly 10,000 sq m of new and converted commercial and leisure premises in a new commercial centre which will include a grocer, retail space, a gymnasium and children’s play areas.

Construction of Barrelman’s Point is also expected to start in the first quarter of next year with an estimated 4-5 year phased build programme.

The partners are also looking at other development opportunities across the Midlands and South East.

The two new developments builds on the existing Galliard Apsley Partnership, which has already established a £400m plus pipeline developments in Birmingham, with projects including The Timber Yard, St Paul’s Quarter and Soho Wharf delivering some 1,400 homes.