Skanska signs £95m contract for One Mitre Square

Provided by Construction Enquirer.

Developer Helical Bar has signed a £95m contract with Skanska to build its One Mitre Square office complex in the city.

The 273,000 sq ft scheme, now known as the Creechurch Place development, has been in the pipeline for more than 10 years.

The site has been cleared and Skanska said construction will now start in August on the 21-storey project that will be T-shaped in plan.

Skanska is responsible for the construction, mechanical and electrical engineering and installation of services within the main plant rooms.

Ramboll is the structural engineer and grontmij M&E engineer on the project, which is designed to be BREEAM Excellent.

The development is expected to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating when completed in September 2016.

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Balfour Beatty appoints engineering services boss

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Balfour Beatty Engineering Services has recruited one of Network Rail’s main project directors for the new role of chief operating officer.

Uma Shanker has held several senior roles at Network Rail, most recently as a project director in the Infrastructure Projects team.

Previously he led complex M&E transformational projects including the  electrification upgrade of the West Coast Mainline and the introduction of high speed factory track construction trains.

Shanker will now focus on developing the M&E business’ modular construction business while also improving its operational and design capabilities, reporting to Phil McGuire, BBES Managing Director.

McGuire, said: “Uma will support effective operational delivery from design, through to developing our leading Modular Systems+ business, and will work closely with other parts of the Balfour Beatty Group to ensure an integrated delivery model for complex infrastructure customers.”

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Kier lodges plans for £260m Watford health campus

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A Kier Property-led development team has submitted plans to build a £260m Health Campus project in Watford, Hertfordshire. The part outline and part detailed applications set out plans to build a 375,000 sq ft mixed-use development on disused land around the hospital and nearby football stadium.

This will include new hospital facilities for Watford and south-west Hertfordshire; up to 650 homes, a 37,500 sq ft of offices, pre-let to West Hertfordshire Health Trust, and a large multi-storey car park.

VolkerFitzpatrick will start work on an 18-month project at the end of this year to build a £7m link road from the development site to the M1.

Phil Woods of Kier Project Investment said: “The masterplan vision reflects concepts and ideas received from stakeholders, the public and partners since the project was conceived over 10 years ago. “The project team has worked hard to meet the ambitions for the scheme by creating a first-class vision for the area.”

If the plans are given the green light, work could start on the business areas, the first zone of the 29 hectare site earmarked for development, as early as next year.

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Willmott Dixon wins £20m Birmingham Uni free school

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Willmott Dixon is understood to have clinched a contract worth up to £20m to design and build a secondary school for the University of Birmingham. The plans break new ground as the first free school and sixth form college run by a university. The university is building its own secondary school to help city children from all backgrounds into top institutions.

Willmott Dixon is understood to have beaten Galliford Try, which was also chasing the two-year building job, due to start in a few months. Its purpose-built 1,150-pupil school will be located at the University’s Selly Oak site, close to the main Edgbaston campus and a wide range of University facilities. It will also be one of the first university training schools, boasting better teacher student ratios from embedded trainee teachers from the university.

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Shepherd wins £12m M&E package from Morgan Sindall

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Shepherd Engineering Services has won a £12m M&E package from main contractor Morgan Sindall at its University of Cambridge Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology facility.

SES will start on site this month to install a whole range of services at the world-class laboratories and research facilities.

Morgan Sindall’s main contract for the job is worth £40m. Project completion set for Summer 2015.

As an integral part of the delivery of the project, SES will utilise its PRISM off-site manufacturing arm to construct and test its installations.

SES’s London & South East Regional Director, Tim Cunningham, said: “The Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology represents an exciting opportunity to create a leading research facility, the first of its kind, which will enable the University of Cambridge to bring together top scientific and entrepreneurial minds in a vibrant, creative environment.

“We are working collaboratively with the other consultants appointed and the University to ensure that the technical complexity of this project is met with carefully considered, effective M&E solutions and design components to deliver this exciting new facility.”

Bob Ensch, area director for Morgan Sindall, said: “As you would expect from the University of Cambridge, the new laboratories will be of a standard best described as world class.

“The West Cambridge site blends academic and commercial buildings and provides the physical space that allows the University to create state-of-the-art facilities which not only compete with other leading international universities but also act as a pioneering centre for collaborative research with industry.”

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Osborne snubs pleas to shelve self employment crackdown

Provided by Construction Enquirer.

George Osborne is determined to stamp-out false self employment in construction and has snubbed industry pleas to delay the clampdown.

The Chancellor is expected to confirm in today’s Budget that new laws will be introduced on April 6 which will shift at least 200,000 construction workers into direct employment.

HM Revenue & Customs documents seen by the Enquirer detail industry objections to the plan during a consultation exercise since the proposal was unveiled in last year’s Autumn statement.

Labour agencies and payroll companies have led the campaign against change with many facing an uncertain future as workers go back on the books.

Contractors are also worried that labour rates could rise by up to 25% in National Insurance contributions and holiday pay.

HMRC received more that 100 responses to its plans.

But only eight contractors bothered to take part in the consultation as the full implications of the move are yet to hit home with many firms.

Most respondents supported the crackdown but many were worried that the April 6 deadline was too soon and the moves should be delayed by a year.

But the Revenue has decided against a delay because it fears payroll firms and agencies will come up with new schemes to promote false self employment.

It said: “Almost half of stakeholders raised concerns both over the shorter consultation period and that the legislation was being introduced too quickly, suggesting that the measure should take effect from April 2015 instead.

“Having considered these arguments the Government believes delaying implementation would provide the opportunity for new avoidance arrangements to be put in place and therefore implementation will not be delayed.

“This legislative change is to address mass-marketed avoidance of the existing legislation and delays in bringing it in would provide a window for those trying to circumvent the legislative intention, in which for them to devise new avoidance arrangements.”

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O’Rourke to win £150m Olympic media centre

Provided by Construction Enquirer.

Laing O’Rourke is believed to have won the £150m contract to convert the former Press and Broadcast Centre on the Olympic Park.

The Enquirer understands that O’Rourke has edged-out rivals Mace and Carillion to convert the media centre into a new home for the creative and digital industries.

The decision will be a major blow for Carillion who were the original builders of the £400m media centre.

It is the second time a major Olympic conversion job has not gone to the original contractor.

Balfour Beatty is currently converting the main Olympic Stadium which was built by Sir Robert McAlpine.

A source close to the bid race said: “Nothing has been made official yet but the rivals have been told the job is going to O’Rourke.”

Client iCITY is believed to have broken the work down into two contracts which O’Rourke will now start work on this summer.

The main reconfiguration contract is worth £90m.

A separate £60m fit-out deal for main tenant Infinity will allow the firm to host a massive data centre at the site.

The finished site will contain three main buildings:

a 300,000 sq ft innovation centre

a 1,000 seat auditorium

a 850,000 sq ft building housing educational space, broadcast studios, office space, and a state-of-the-art data centre.

iCity is a joint venture between property specialist Delancey and data centre company Infinity SDC.

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M&E pull-out taking Mitie longer than expected

Provided by Construction Enquirer.

Outsourcing giant Mitie is taking longer than expected to quit the M&E contracting market.

The firm confirmed last May that it would be quitting the sector with £22.1m set aside in closure costs at the loss-making business.

In a management statement today, Mitie said: “The exit from our cyclical mechanical and electrical engineering contracting businesses continues, although is taking slightly longer than anticipated.

“As a result, we now anticipate that losses in the second half of the year will be around £3-5m higher than those reported in the first half of the year.”

The M&E division had a turnover of £140m and made a loss of £3.1m in 2012.

Mitie added: “We are continuing to successfully re-position the group to target higher growth and higher margin areas.

“Our long-term strategy is focused on growing in our core markets of facilities and property management, which are differentiated by our specialist energy consulting services.”

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West Midlands M&E firm collapses

Provided by Construction Enquirer.

Wolverhampton-based Coalway Building Services has fallen into administration, threatening nearly 100 jobs.

The firm, which was established 22 years ago, employed 18 management and staff and ran a workforce of around 80 operatives.

Coalway had expanded in recent years working directly for councils in the Midlands and contractors operating in the region. Most recently is worked for Thomas Vale on a school job in Bilston and with building services contractor Crown House on a programme to upgrade six Wolverhampton secondary schools.

The firm was also working for fit-out specialist Cameron Black, which itself went into administration last week, on a Parliamentary Estate building refit at 53 Parliament Street in London.

Coalway turned over around £10m and had recently spread its geographical base to work on jobs in Northamptonshire, North Staffordshire, North Wales and Winchester.

The Birmingham office of BDO are the administrators.

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Briggs & Forrester bags £40m haul of M&E jobs

Provided by Construction Enquirer.

Fast-growing M&E specialist Briggs & Forrester has landed a haul of five jobs in just over a month.

The independent Northampton building services contractor has set its sights on doubling the size of the business over the next three years after seeing an upsurge in work opportunities.

Its expansion push sees the firm kick-off 2014 with five new jobs, understood to be worth around £40m in total.

The biggest of these is the M&E package for main contractor ISG’s Liverpool exhibition centre and hotel job at King’s Dock, which is thought to be worth around £15m.

In Cambridge, Briggs & Forrester has scored a hat-trick of contracts.

Kier has let a £9m M&E package to the firm on its refit of Cambridge University’s famous 1970s Arup building, due to complete later next year.

The firm has just started working with contractor SDC at the TWI Granta Park on 260,000 sq ft of new research laboratories and ancillary space.

It has also just bagged a £6m M&E package for another research laboratory in the city for an unnamed client.

Closer to home, Briggs & Forrester has also taken the £1.7m building services fit-out for the University of Northampton’s Innovation Centre, also for Kier.

Last year Mike Stanton, chairman of Briggs & Forrester, said he planned to grow the firm into a national M&E contractor with a turnover of around £250m over the next few years.

He said that the business had seen the opportunity to fill the gap left in the market after several big names collapsed at the height of the M&E market crisis.

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