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.
Builder Willmot Dixon has finally got the green light to start of the regeneration of Keynsham town centre, near Bristol.
Bath and North East Somerset Council was forced to postpone the August start of the project earlier this year after criticism from some local people, and the town’s civic society about the designs .
Now after several design variations to the roofs and cladding, the council planning committee has approved the scheme.
The project involves the £36m redevelopment of the existing council offices site in Keynsham with new shops, a library and new council offices.
The buildings have already been stripped for demolition and the scheme, while the planning wrangle was being sorted out.
The project will allow the council to reduce the amount of office space it uses from 12 building to four and become more financially efficient.
Reduced running costs will deliver 10% annual savings that will benefit the local taxpayer public purse. The Council carbon footprint specifically in its buildings will reduce by up to 70%.
Listen to Philip Sugarman, our CEO, being interviewed on BBC Radio Northampton.
The award-winning St Andrew’s Healthcare, which is the UK’s largest mental health charity, has confirmed it now has the funding package in place to enable a further major investment in brand new facilities at its Northampton base.
St Andrew’s, the largest charity sector provider of NHS care, has agreed a £52.5m funding package with Lloyds TSB, to include funding the construction of a new 90-bed psychiatric hospital. The new facility will provide secure accommodation for a number of new services and will allow expansion of its existing national services.
Professor Philip Sugarman Chief Executive Officer at St Andrew’s said “In the last ten years we have completed a £200m programme of development and refurbishment across four sites, with our new units achieving high levels of occupancy. We have seen continuous growth and a recent sharp rise in market share.”
“We are now ready to plan the next phase of growth, with new facilities for service users placed with us by our NHS customers. These developments will strengthen our position as the UK’s leading provider of specialist secure care and as the country’s only independent national teaching hospital.”
Chief Finance Officer Nigel Alcock says: “Despite challenging financial forecasts for independent mental healthcare providers, St Andrew’s saw turnover increase by over 5% last year, to £169m. As a charity it is essential that any financial agreements we enter into are right for our long-term commitment to care for as many people as possible. We are in a very different position to some private companies, and that’s why we believe that the charitable model offers huge potential for the sector.
“This funding agreement will help St Andrew’s maintain the great results we have achieved by reinvesting in the future of mental healthcare over the last few years. We are delighted to have finalised the deal with Lloyds, who have been fantastic to work with.”
David Hykin, Relationship Director at Lloyds Bank Wholesale Banking & Markets said: “St Andrew’s Healthcare has delivered a strong track record of growth in recent years, demonstrating the strength of its balance sheet and its future potential. We are working closely with the management team to support the growth ambitions of the charity, which is a well-established and impressive enterprise in the healthcare sector.”
The University of Bath has awarded a £16m contract to VINCI Construction UK for the design and construction of a new, five-storey teaching building.
The General Teaching Accommodation (GTA) will include a range of high quality learning facilities, including group lecture rooms, two 350-space lectures theatres, and social spaces.
Glass walls spanning three storeys will provide high levels of natural light into a five-storey high circulation space. A ‘skywalk’ bridge will also connect the building with the main campus parade.
Once completed, the 8,000m2 building will double the number of large scale lecture theatres on campus, allowing up to 2,000 students to use the building at any one time.
The contract is part of the University Masterplan which provides a framework for the development of the campus until 2026.
Martyn Whalley, University of Bath’s Director of Estates, said: “The Masterplan sets out how we plan to provide state of the art facilities and with the new GTA we will have a wonderful resource to match the high quality of our teaching and learning.”
Steve Vorres, Regional Director, VINCI Construction UK, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed by the University of Bath to deliver the new GTA building which forms part of the University’s three year major capital works investment programme. This scheme will provide an exemplar teaching facility for the University’s staff and growing student population and we are extremely proud to be part of its construction and legacy. The GTA project award continues the region’s recent successes of working with University clients. These relationships form an essential part of our key account strategy and stand us in good stead for our future pipeline”.
Completion is due in September 2013 with an opening date set for the following October. The project aims to further enhance the reputation of the university, which already boasts a top ten ranking in The Guardian’s 2013 university guide.
Thousands of new trade jobs could be created as the Prime Minister, David Cameron, encouraged officials to reconsider plans to build a £30 billion barrage across the Severn estuary between England and Wales.
After a meeting with Peter Hain, who left his post as shadow Welsh Secretary in 2010 to back the project, David Cameron has asked ministers to take another look at the multi-million scheme which will create 20, 000 construction jobs and diversify the country’s energy supply.
It has been estimated that the 10-mile barrage from the Vale of Glamorgan to Somerset would provide 5% of the UK’s electricity demand, creating tens of thousands of additional jobs in activity around the barrage.
Hain told BBC Wales that it was a “more productive meeting than might have been expected”, revealing that “Number 10 are taking the barrage much more seriously than has been the case over the last few years”.
It is understood that much of the funding for the scheme would come from global private investors and taxpayers’ money will not be spent. According to Mr Hain, ‘several’ sovereign wealth funds have already come forward to finance the project, including investors from Kuwait and Qatar.
Mr Hain said: “Government support is an absolute pre-requisite for getting the whole project underway.
“Not a penny of taxpayers’ money would be needed for this £30bn investment, which would be transformative for Wales.
“It would create 20,000 jobs in construction and another 30,000 in activity around the barrage.”
What is your reaction to the Prime Minister’s support to urge ministers to reconsider building plans for the £30 billion barrage that will create thousands of new jobs? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebookand Twitterpage.
Today the Office of National Statistics has released a new report showing the growth of new construction orders in the UK, in the first quarter of 2012, there saw a 4.6% increase from the fourth quarter of 2011. The ONS also reported today that new orders in infrastructure rocketed by 60 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 compared with the same period last year.
According to Nick Hayward, managing director of ATL (Apprenticeships Training Limited – the fulfillment centres for T4TS) one of the UK’s leading providers of building services training, with more than 5,000 students a year passing through its centres, it’s very positive news, demonstrating the opportunities for the school leavers and adults looking for a new career path in construction: “There has never been a greater time to join the industry. We know there is a growing shortage for dedicated skilled tradesmen as more and more workers reach retirement age. Couple this with the news of growth in both private industrial and private commercial work and it just goes to show the industry is still thriving.
“This new statistical evidence information from the ONS clearly highlights the growing opportunities in the construction sector, contradicting the Markit/CIPS Construction Purchasing Managers_ Index issued earlier this week, which indicated that British construction hit a three-month low last month. Our experience working with hundreds of apprentices only serves to support the ONS findings further, with ATL students who have entered the sector from school and those moving to construction as a career change demonstrating the popularity of this sector and the real job opportunities that are available. The construction sector will only continue to grow as new buildings and infrastructure increase in demand as the UK pulls out of recession.”
Diageo, the world’s leading premium drinks business, has unveiled plans to invest over £1billion in Scotch whisky production over the next five years to meet growing global demand for its brands.
A major new malt distillery will be built as part of the investment, alongside a programme of major expansion at a number of Diageo’s existing distilleries. Detailed plans will also be developed for a second new distillery which will be built if global demand for Scotch is sustained at expected levels.
The company also plans to invest in substantial new warehousing capacity to house the millions of additional litres of Scotch whisky which the distillation investment will produce.
Announcing the investment Diageo Chief Executive, Paul Walsh said: “This is a pivotal moment in the development of the Scotch whisky category for Diageo. Over recent years our brands have achieved remarkable, sustained global growth. Scotch whisky is Scotland’s most celebrated manufactured export, led by brands like Johnnie Walker, resonating with consumers from Boston to Beijing.
“We expect that success to continue, particularly in the high growth markets around the world, which is why we are announcing this major investment in Scotch whisky production, committing over £1billion in the next five years, to seize that opportunity for global growth. This builds on the foundations we have already laid down over recent years through sustained investment in both production assets and in maturing Scotch inventories.
“Scotch whisky is a significant manufacturing export industry in the United Kingdom, driving domestic investment and job creation through our success in exporting to high growth markets around the world. We look forward to working with both the UK and Scottish Governments to realise the full potential of our investment plan, and to continue growing global Scotch exports.”
Across Scotland the investment will create over a hundred new Diageo jobs, largely high value jobs in rural areas of Scotland. It is also expected the investment will create an average of 250 construction jobs for each year of the investment period and in wider Scottish economy there will be a knock on effect which will generate around 500i further jobs. Diageo also intends to make its contribution to efforts to tackle youth unemployment by taking on around one hundred apprentices and graduate trainees over the term of the investment, and the company will also encourage its suppliers and construction contractors to focus on youth job creation and apprenticeships.
The investment programme will be underpinned by Diageo’s commitment to reduce its environmental impact, with a programme of bio energy solutions planned to be implemented over the same timescale as the distillery expansion projects.
Mr Walsh added: “I’m particularly pleased our investment will generate significant numbers of new Diageo jobs, as well as boosting the local construction sector and stimulating job creation throughout the Scottish economy. We are determined to use this investment to make a contribution towards helping people into training and work through our apprentice and graduate placement scheme and by using the opportunity to encourage suppliers to take on apprentices to work on the investment projects.”
In the last five years Diageo has reported 50% growth in net sales of its Scotch brandsii with total net sales approaching £3billion this financial year. Scotch represented 23% of Diageo’s volume, 27% of net sales and a third of gross profit in the financial year 2011iii. In the first half of financial year 2012, Diageo’s Scotch category saw 8% volume growth and 14% net sales growthiv.
Over the five year period Diageo plans to invest over £500 million in the construction of the distillation and warehousing capacity. This increased production capacity also requires Diageo to commit £500million in working capital for the maturing spirit which will be laid down over the next five years. The exact total investment figures may vary over time depending on the progress of specific projects, but the overall commitment is expected to total over £1billion over the five years.
Supporting this investment, Diageo also plans to commit £5 million over five years towards community initiatives as part of its sustainability and responsibility programme in Scotland. Priority areas for the community investment programme will be: leadership in the environment; responsible drinking – improving the night economy and safety at local level; and socio-economic development, including youth employment and entrepreneurship. This will involve an integrated approach across Diageo’s production, commercial and brands heritage businesses, including The Gleneagles Hotel, host to the Ryder Cup 2014. Full details of this programme will be announced in due course.
Today many media outlets have chosen to cast doubts about the construction industry due to a report by Markit/CIPS. You can judge for yourself what the report actually says by clicking on the link below. However, to save you the trouble, here are some key quotes from the report:
“Construction firms indicated that commercial output remained the fastest growing broad area of activity in May. The slowest expansion was seen in residential”.
“Companies that saw an increase in new business inflows mostly commented on competitive pricing strategies at their units.”
“However, construction firms added to their payrolls numbers for the third month running, driven by ongoing growth in business activity during May.”
“Input buying continued to rise during the latest survey period but, in line with the trend for new work,”
Tim Moore, Senior Economist at Markit said:“On a more positive note, the fall in inflation is allowing construction companies to price more competitively to win new contracts, but could be a double-edged sword as suppliers continue to see their margins squeezed.”
It makes one wonder what it takes to generate a positive headline in 2012?
Tell us your views here or on FaceBook
Guest contributor Rick Dawson.
The new £340 million headquarters of UBS in London’s financial district is expected to be completed by 2014, meaning it could create more jobs for people in the building construction sector.
The Swiss bank has signed a pre-letting agreement with developers British Land and Blackstone for the construction work to start in April this year. Demolition and site preparation work near Liverpool Street station is currently underway, leading publication, Construction Enquirer, reported today.
UBS is the largest tenant in the 30-acre Broadgate development in London’s City financial district which will include four trading floors that can be adapted into normal office space.
The new building will pay attention to sustainability using photovoltaics and solar thermal panels to generate green energy while rainwater harvesting will reduce water consumption.
British Land said: “Demolition of the existing 4 & 6 Broadgate buildings is well underway and will be completed in April; with delivery of the new bespoke building on schedule for the first quarter in 2014.
“The joint venture has already placed or tendered around 60% of the project’s construction costs within budget and programme.”
Tim Roberts, Head of Offices for British Land, told Construction Enquirer: “This is another significant milestone in the development of the new UBS building at 5 Broadgate and a real boost for the City.
“The Broadgate estate continues to evolve to serve the needs of a range of city occupiers and the 30,000 people based there.” – Mr Roberts added.
The two developers, British Land and Blackstone, said UBS will occupy the new building for period of around 18 years.
Do you welcome the move of the Swiss bank giant UBS to build its headquarters in London? What does the £340 million investment mean for the building construction sector? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below:
Prompt and successful completion of the building construction work for the Olympic Games in London this summer could be a chance for UK firms to get work all over the world – a leading publication in the trades, Construction Enquirer, reported today.
One of the UK’s leading International Consultants, McBains Cooper, has urged the Government’s trade teams to introduce more building contracts from abroad for the building construction industry in Britain.
McBains Cooper state that London 2012 is an excellent example of how a major project should be built and UK firms should use their management expertise to export their skills and knowledge to make major projects worldwide equally as impressive.
The successful construction of the Olympic venues triggers a world-wide interest for many countries which will host similar events in the future. The building of venues for the Olympics in London 2012 will give UK firms the unique opportunity to showcase their expertise and professionalism to potentially participate in big projects around the world.
An increasing number of building companies across the UK are considering applications for construction work ahead of major events in Qatar, Brazil and Russia. McBains Cooper, which has an alliance in Brazil for the venue of the 2016 games, expressed its determination to negotiate with all regions that are candidates for the 2020 games to secure future contracts.
Chief executive at McBains Cooper, Michael Thirkettle, said: “Everybody involved in construction, whether in Brazil or the 2020 candidate venues, has commented on the success of the planning and construction of everything London games-related. More often than not it’s accompanied by some positive reference to the UK construction industry, and its professional advisers and consultancies being the best in the world.
“The fact is that in comparison to any other recent major sporting event – and some recent Olympics – London 2012 construction has run far faster and more efficiently. That has been noted by other countries, and, frankly, because of our reputation, British construction and professional consultancy businesses are amongst the very few who can travel the world to help drive and deliver major projects for other venue cities.”
Mr Thirkettle thinks that every business in the UK has the unique opportunity to promote itself and bring more investment from abroad.
He said: “The Olympics is a fantastic global shop window for British management expertise, design and construction skills, and that expertise can be exported to make other games equally impressive.”
Do you see the successful construction work of the Olympic venues as an opportunity for your business to win more contracts in future? Tell us how optimistic are you about exporting your business abroad?