Category Archives: Technology

Merseylink announced as Mersey Gateway Project preferred bidder

Merseylink announced as Mersey Gateway Project preferred bidder

Merseylink has been announced as the preferred bidder for the Mersey Gateway Project that will create 470 construction jobs and boost the building trades.

Merseylink and Halton Borough Council will work on the final details of the plans before reaching financial close, signing a contract and starting site clearance and demolition later this year.

The Merseylink design for the main bridge is based on a reinforced concrete deck, which is a change from the reference design, based on steel fabrication. This is one of the areas that has produced significant financial savings for the project.

Once a formal financial close is reached, Merseylink will then become the project company and will work with the council to deliver a 30-year contract to design, build, finance and operate a new toll bridge over the River Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes, together with associated work in the towns.

The centrepiece of the project is a new six-lane toll bridge over the River Mersey which will bring major estimated economic, transport and social benefits to the region, including:

  • 470 permanent full-time equivalent jobs on site during construction
  • 4,640 permanent direct and indirect jobs
  • £61.9 million a year in Gross Value Added from the new jobs by 2030
  • quicker journey times by up to 10 minutes in peak periods, and
  • an improvement in journey time reliability.

Cllr. Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Borough Council, said: “This is a hugely important day for Halton and the north west of England. This partnership with Merseylink will deliver Mersey Gateway for the next 30 years and it is very exciting to be part of something that will bring thousands of jobs and major regeneration opportunities to the region for years to come.”

“We all know something needs to be done to relieve the pressure on commuters who are used to being stuck in queues to cross the Silver Jubilee Bridge and we know from talking to local businesses, both big and small, that this is a major issue when it comes to growing the north west economy.”

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Willmott Dixon gets the go-ahead for £14.5m third phase of Orchard Village

Willmott Dixon

Willmott Dixon has been selected to deliver phase three of the Orchard Village scheme in Rainham that will see the creation of hundreds of new homes and jobs in the trades.  

Old Ford Housing Association, part of affordable housing provider Circle Housing Group, is responsible for the £80 million masterplan to replace the 1960s-era high-rise Mardyke estate with Orchard Village, which was recently listed by Inside Housing as one of its Top 50 UK Affordable Housing Developments for 2013.

The third phase of Orchard Village will see Willmott Dixon build 87 homes, with 29 available for affordable rent, 28 for shared ownership and 30 for sale.

This latest deal means that Willmott Dixon will have been involved in all three phases of the village, which is replacing 516 homes with 555 new homes comprising 339 general needs, 64 shared ownership and 152 private sale properties. There are also local shops and a new Primary Care Trust facility.

Orchard Village’s creation is a six year process, with completion by 2015. During that time, Willmott Dixon will have demolished six tower blocks and ten low rise blocks and replaced them with lower rise, more family-friendly homes.

Charlie Scherer, chief operating officer at Willmott Dixon’s housing company said: “We’re very proud of our role in building Orchard Village, which will offer a fantastic living environment to so many people.

“During phases one and two, our community engagement was a key feature, so much so that we were recently one of only a few projects in the UK that won a Considerate Constructor Scheme gold award. This is an ethos that will very much continue as we start phase three.”

Telford development reaches out with new homes and jobs

Telford development reaches out with new homes and jobsNew homes and jobs are being created in Telford as part of a £11 million project by Sanctuary Group that will see the building of hundreds of new homes in the area.

The leading housing and care provider is developing 86 extra care apartments for over 55s as well as 12 apartments specially designed for people with learning difficulties, in Ketley.

A 500-strong workforce has begun work on the Ketley Park Road site as part of a £60 million partnership with national contractor Seddon to build more than 700 new homes in the Midlands.

The Telford scheme is set to be finished in autumn 2014. It has been partly funded by the Homes and Communities Agency and is being delivered in partnership with Telford and Wrekin Council.

Councillor Hilda Rhodes said: “This is an excellent scheme which very much reflects the council’s drive to support businesses and I was delighted to kick start the work on the site. I look forward to seeing the projects develop in the months to come.”

 
David Charmbury, area manager with HCA, said: “The HCA is pleased to be working with our strategic partners and making investment into this scheme.

“Not only will the development cater for local need, it will also provide much needed economic and employment benefits for the borough and complete another key component of the wider Telford Millennium Community.”

The new extra care scheme, set in landscaped gardens, will feature communal facilities including a restaurant, lounge, gym and hair salon.

 
Sanctuary’s development, Andrew White, said: “This is an ambitious project which will create much needed homes for older people in this part of Ketley. Sanctuary is dedicated to creating new jobs and apprentice posts at all our developments and this site is no different.”

What is your reaction to the multi-million Telford residential scheme that will create new jobs and boost the construction industry? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Government to promote offshore wind investment

Government to promote offshore wind investmentBusiness and Energy Minister Michael Fallon has announced the creation of an Offshore Wind Investment Organisation (OWIO) to boost levels of inward investment and to further stimulate jobs in the UK offshore wind industry.

The OWIO is expected to boost the UK offshore wind industry alongside Government support for three offshore wind innovation projects as well as pave the way for new employment opportunities in the trades.

Energy Minister, Michael Fallon said: “Offshore wind is a major success story for the UK, and we want to boost levels of inward investment. This will be an important part of our industrial strategy for the sector later this year, and we are creating the Offshore Wind Investment Organisation to drive that activity.

“We already have more installed offshore wind than anywhere else in the world, and this brings enormous economic benefit to our shores, supporting thousands of skilled jobs.

“Through the formation of this industry-led partnership and through our support for innovation projects, we will boost the positive benefits that the offshore wind sector can bring to the UK economy.”

The OWIO is one of the recommendations of the forthcoming industrial strategy and will be headed by a senior industry figure. The organisation will be a partnership between industry and Government, established by UK Trade & Investment, that will complement the work of DECC and BIS in delivering the Government-wide offshore investment objectives.

Michael Fallon also announced three innovation projects that Government will support as part of Offshore Wind Components Technologies Scheme:

  • Power Cable Services Limited, based in Kent, have been awarded a £540,000 grant towards their high voltage subsea cable jointing technology project
  • Aquasium Technology Ltd with partners Burntisland Fabrications Ltd and TWI have been awarded a grant of £769,600 towards their cost-effective fabrication project.
  • Wind Technologies Ltd (Cambridge) have been awarded a £728,355 grant to design, manufacture and test an innovative 5MW medium speed drive train concept.

The Minister announced the support during his keynote speech to Renewable UK’s Offshore Wind 2013 conference in Manchester today.

Industry delegates at the conference are also able to attend the first ‘Share Fair’ session enabling them to hear about investment opportunities from major players in the market. This addresses one of the priorities identified by the offshore wind industrial strategy partnership between Government and industry.

What is your reaction to the Government plans to boost levels of inward investment and create new jobs in the UK offshore wind industry? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Extra investment bringing ‘real results’ and jobs- says Jane Hutt

Extra investment bringing real results and jobs says Jane Hutt

An extra £1.3 billion has been spent on building affordable homes, new health facilities and schools in the past year, the Welsh government has said.

Finance Minister Jane Hutt has outline today how the Welsh Government has helped deliver new hundreds of affordable homes since the its  Infrastructure Investment Plan was published in May 2012.

Jane Hutt said that despite cuts to the capital Budgets, the Welsh Government has focused on important priorities of creating new jobs and boosting economic growth.

Ms Hutt said: “The additional investment we have made from capital reserves, totalling almost £462m, in the short term has the potential to create around 8,000 jobs during construction phases.   In the longer term, this will boost growth and support the delivery of more efficient public services.

“In addition we have continued to work across the Welsh Government to maximise our opportunities.  For example, we have worked to develop an Infrastructure Priority in the 2014 – 2020 European Structural Fund Programmes.

“A potential £1.8bn source of investment which could make a significant contribution to the delivery of our key priorities.”

The additional infrastructure investment in Wales will see a number of construction schemes underway including  the Local Government Borrowing Initiative to the 21st Century Schools programme and completion of the A465 through a non-dividend investment vehicle

What is your reaction to the extra £1.3 billion investment that will create new jobs and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Mayor announces £40m to create jobs and economic growth

London Mayor Boris Johnson

The schemes backed by the London Enterprise Panel (LEP) are in areas where ambitious regeneration plans are in place and where transport infrastructure will help unlock significant economic growth.

These schemes are set to deliver improved rail links between Tottenham Hale and the Upper Lee Valley; major road improvements in Bexley and support Ealing to harness the economic opportunities coming from Crossrail.

Collectively the projects could safeguard existing or create an estimated 45,000 jobs, support the construction of tens of thousands of homes and attract significant private investment into deprived areas.

The LEP’s adoption of these bids is a significant milestone for these projects and the proposals will now progress to a final stage, including more detailed work developing business cases, technical modelling and delivery mechanisms.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Transport links are a vital precursor to economic development. This money is earmarked for investment into transport schemes which have significant potential to stimulate growth and job creation.

“I welcome the London Enterprise Panel’s assessment of which projects are best placed to do this and City Hall will now be working with the bid teams to progress these ambitious proposals.”

The bids approved by the London Enterprise Panel will provide extra services at Northumberland Park and Tottenham Hale, improving rail links between Stratford, the Upper Lee Valley and beyond including Stansted Airport.

Collectively with Angel Road Station improvements, this will support the commencement of the Meridian Water development and regeneration at Northumberland Park where there are plans for an estimated 3,500 homes and 500 jobs.

It will also support the development of an estimated 15,700 new homes, 21,900 new jobs in the Lee Valley and up to 15,000 jobs in adjoining areas.

£2.5 million allocated to upgrade Angel Road station and support regeneration in Enfield (bid from Enfield Borough Council). Angel Road station is vital to the regeneration of Enfield and specifically to support the Meridian Water development and regeneration in the Lower Lea Valley more widely.

Station improvements will increase passenger capacity through an enhanced commuter rail service and boost employment across wide range of trades in the building construction industry.

Government to unlock thousands of new homes and jobs

Government to unlock thousands of new homes and jobsThe Government is going to build thousands of homes at stalled housing sites and create new construction jobs through a multi-million investment package set to kick-start the economy and boost the trades.

Today, Housing Minister Mark Prisk confirmed that 14 major housing schemes across the UK  will benefit from the investment that can start building up to 38,000 new homes.

A share of the Local Infrastructure Fund, which has a total budget of £474 million, will create thousands of jobs for local communities and people in the trades across the country.

The funding programme is targeted at large-scale sites of over 1,500 homes that could deliver real benefit to their communities.

Housing Minister Mark Prisk said: “This government is determined to get Britain building again. That’s why we are working with local housing schemes that have their plans in place, but need help to move forward.

“Our support through the Local Infrastructure Fund will help deliver the homes this country needs, create thousands of jobs and inject millions of pounds of investment into local economies.”

Homes and Communities Agency Chief Executive, Andy Rose, said: “This investment from the Local Infrastructure Fund is about building momentum behind some of those larger locally-backed housing developments to accelerate the supply of new homes.

“There is work to be done to ensure these bids deliver value for money for the taxpayer and fit with local priorities, but I am looking forward to getting out on site and seeing progress on successful bids in the months ahead.”

What is your reaction to the Government’s plans to kick-start thousands of homes at stalled housing sites and create new construction jobs in the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Hinkley Point builders to get paid at least £13 an hour

Hinkley Point builders to get paid at least £13 an hour

Construction unions have signed a ground breaking industrial relations agreement to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point that will employ 5,000 workers at the peak of construction.

The project will be the largest single site construction project in Britain. The Civil Engineering Sector Agreement has established pay rates for the workforce which is significantly above those agreed by the Construction Industry Joint Council.

It has been confirmed that a minimum craft rate of £13 an hour for civil engineering work and additional bonus payments to workers on site will establish the job as the best-paid site in the UK.

After months of negotiating, unions UCATT, Unite and GMB have secured agreement with the client EDF Energy and the principal contractors Bouygues Laing O’Rourke for a Common Framework Agreement which addresses how industrial relations will be managed and a Civil Engineering Sector Agreement.

The agreement also makes clear that the training of traditional apprenticeships and adult trainees will be a priority. A target of training at least 500 apprentices and adult trainees during the lifetime of the project has been set.

In an important step to combat casualisation and poor productivity the site will only directly employ workers through PAYE. For the first time in such an agreement there will also be strict rules placed on the recruitment of workers through employment agencies.

A top of the range occupational health scheme will be established to help ensure the short-term and long-term health of the construction workforce.

The agreement also sets out provision for a bonus scheme, a productivity scheme and milestone payments, which has laid the foundations for the best paid construction project the industry has seen.

Steve Murphy, General Secretary of construction union UCATT, said: “This ground breaking agreement will ensure that workers building Hinckley Point will receive excellent rates of pay and first class conditions. This agreement will act as the blueprint for all future major construction projects.”

Kevin Coyne, Unite National Officer for Energy and Utilities, said: “A new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point will be a significant milestone towards meeting Britain’s low carbon energy needs.

“We’re pleased that progress towards a greener future is also characterised by good pay and conditions for thousands of highly skilled workers. The agreement reached between the unions and employers is the result of intense but constructive negotiations.

“This agreement sends a clear message to the rest of the construction industry that good productive relationships can deliver positive results. The unions and employers have made real progress in laying the right foundations for this important project. It is now time for the government to stop delaying and give EDF the certainty it needs so the company can get on with the job of meeting the UK’s energy needs.”

What is your reaction to the development of Hinkley Point that will employ 5,000 workers at the peak of construction and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Inward investment on the rise as Olympics brings £2.5bn to UK economy

Inward investment on the rise as Olympics brings £2.5bn to UK economy

Britain’s Olympics has delivered a £2.5 billion boost in foreign direct investment (FDI) over the past year, bringing with it more than 31,000 jobs, according to preliminary figures published today.

The investment projects generated following the 2012 Olympics’ British Business Embassy programme of global business summits have helped ensure that the UK has again retained its position as the leading European destination for foreign direct investment.

The preliminary data published today at the Global Investment Conference shows that during 2012-13, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) recorded 1,462 projects which brought with them or safeguarded 163,489 jobs. Of these 58,170 are new jobs – beating both the quantity of investment attracted and employment secured in the previous year.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron joined other high profile delegates from 40 countries at the Global Investment Conference, including the German and Canadian finance Ministers, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde, global chief executive officers, sovereign wealth funds representatives and corporate investors.

Senior Ministers Chancellor George Osborne, Energy Secretary Ed Davey, Trade Minister Lord Green, Treasury Ministers Greg Clark and Lord Deighton and London Mayor Boris Johnson also spoke to delegates about the UK’s compelling offer as both a hub for global growth and an international investment destination.

Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green said: “Foreign investment creates hundreds of thousands of jobs and helps to increase the productivity and competitiveness of the UK economy. It’s a vital strand of the Government’s plan for growth.

“The 2012 Olympics were a once in a generation opportunity for the UK to showcase to the world Britain’s compelling investment offer and these preliminary figures are very encouraging. Despite strong competition from our traditional competitors and emerging economies, Britain has retained its position as the leading destination for foreign direct investment in Europe.

“To retain the UK’s enviable position as one of the most attractive global locations of choice, Britain will need to continue to work hard to attract high value foreign investment in the coming year and beyond.“

The preliminary data published today compares favourably with last year’s 1406 recorded projects (4% increase) and 112,659 jobs (45% increase). Of the 163,489 jobs, 58,170 are new jobs and 105,319 safeguarded jobs. UKTI and its partners were involved in delivering nearly 84% of the projects. Full results will be published in July.

Go-ahead for £150m Olympic Stadium conversion

Go-ahead for £150m Olympic Stadium conversion

Transformation works at the former Olympic Stadium in Stratford have been given the go-ahead, paving the way for new jobs and boosting the trades.  

The Legacy Corporation’s planning decisions committee granted permission for the original structure to be transformed into a 60,000-seater venue with a capacity of 80,000 for concerts.

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, said: “This is fantastic news and we will work hard to make sure our residents have access to the jobs created by the construction project as well the Stadium itself once it opens. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is beginning to take shape and the progress that’s been made so far is impressive.”

The multi-purpose venue, which has Premier League club West Ham United confirmed as an anchor tenant, will host Rugby World Cup matches in 2015 and the 2017 World Athletics Championships.

Members unanimously approved the application, which was made by the Legacy Corporation on behalf of E20 Stadium LLP – a special purpose vehicle comprising The Legacy Corporation and Newham Council.

Subject to a referral to the Mayor of London, work will begin later this year on the proposed alterations, which include introducing retractable seating in the lower tier and a new extended roof design to cover the new seating, as well as the re-use of the iconic lighting towers.

Dennis Hone, Legacy Corporation chief executive, said: “This is an important milestone that paves the way for the Stadium’s intended legacy use as an all-year-round venue.

“As we prepare for the phased re-opening of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this summer, with the long-term future of all eight permanent venues on the Park now secure, we remain firmly on track to deliver a meaningful physical and social legacy for Londoners.”

What is your reaction to the transformation of the Olympic Stadium in Stratford that will create new jobs and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.