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Highlands and Islands Enterprise awards property framework contract

Kier 1Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has appointed Kier as one of four construction firms on its new prime contractor framework to deliver the majority of its building projects that will create new jobs.

In the agreement, which will last up to four years, Kier joins Galliford Try Construction, Mansell Construction Services, and Robertson Construction to work on projects estimated to be worth around £6 million per year.

HIE director of regional development, Carroll Buxton, commented: “We are delighted to have agreed a contract with these four highly skilled and respected companies, all of which have strong links to the area.

“This partnership framework approach provides flexibility for the businesses and healthy competition for us which will ensure best value for the public purse.”

From its offices in Aberdeen, Kier is currently working on a number of projects across the region and its appointment on the framework will further strengthen the relationship between Kier and the HIE, established through the delivery of projects via the Scape National Minor Works Framework, on which Kier is the sole contractor.

Kier Construction regional managing director, Brian McQuade, said: “The appointment to HIE’s framework will provide Kier with an excellent opportunity to continue its relationship with local communities delivering employment and training opportunities in various disciplines and professions in the construction industry.

“Kier looks forward to supporting HIE in its role as the economic and community development agency for the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

“Our knowledge and relationship with the local supply chain combined with our national buying power will deliver best value construction solutions that will support community benefits and development throughout the highlands.”

HIE is now discussing a number of pipeline projects with the businesses and hopes to award the first projects under the framework later in 2013.

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Galliford Try Announces £36.5m Building Projects in Manchester

Galliford Try Announces Building Projects in Manchester Totalling £36.5mGalliford Try, the housebuilding and construction group, has announced that its building business has secured three contracts in the Greater Manchester area worth £36.5 million.

RED Property Services has appointed Galliford Try to construct the £13.3 million Old Trafford Supporters Club hotel that will see the building of a 139-bed hotel that will feature supporters’ club facilities and bar, alongside additional retail units.

Galliford Try has concluded an agreement with the Carlyle Group and its joint venture partners Nikal and Abstract Securities to build the second stage of the Soapworks project.

The £12.5 million contract covers the entire second phase of the project and will create 210,000 sq. ft. of Category A office space in the old Colgate-Palmolive factory that adjoins the Media City complex in Salford Quays.

Muse Developments has contracted Galliford Try to deliver the sixth phase of the Smithfield residential project in Salford. The £10.75 million phase of the development will see the creation of 77 one, two and three-bedroom apartments for private sale, and associated retail units.

Galliford Try Chief Executive Greg Fitzgerald said: “These new contracts build on our track record and in particular our recent successes in Greater Manchester, demonstrating the strength of our regional construction business in all sectors.

“We are delighted to be working on these significant developments for the region, and look forward to continuing to play our part in enhancing the built environment in the North West.”

What is your reaction to the £36.5 million building contracts that will energise the construction industry and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

£13.5 Million Construction Work to Get Underway in Coventry

National housebuilding company, Galliford Try, has won a £13.5 million residential building job in South East Coventry.  Construction work will begin next week, helping the local economy and creating new jobs in the building construction sector.

The firm has been appointed to build a new 12 acre development, mainly consisting of retail units and residential apartments, before January 2013. Tenants which have already been approved for the shopping units include supermarket giant Asda, Marks & Spencer and Boots.

Fund Manager at Aviva Investors, David Diemer, the company through which Galliford Try was appointed to carry out the project, welcomed the redevelopment of the area saying it will benefit local residents and the Midlands region as a whole.

Mr Diemer said: “With a catchment of 750,000 people in a 20 minute drive time, we are expecting this to be a very successful shopping park for this area of the Midlands.

“This is why so much time has been spent on the design process and the choice of quality materials. We wanted to make sure that we built something that would complement the local area and provide positive benefits to the surrounding communities.”

What is your opinion on the £13.5 million residential job given to Galliford Try? Do you welcome the huge redevelopment scheme starting from next week? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below: 

Confusion reigns over state of construction industry

The construction industry is in crisis. Orders are down. Contractors have gone bust. Construction company announces big profits. A company announces loads of new work for 2011. These are some of the headlines surrounding the construction industry in 2011. But what is the actual state of the industry?

Let’s be frank, even the most hardened optimist can’t say this is the best time for construction industry right now. The recession has taken it’s toll on construction (and every industry, from retail to banking to healthcare) and activity is a shadow of what it was even a few years ago. But is it on the brink of collapse like some critics have stated, or is the industry performing better than most thought for 2011?

The news last week from the Office of National Statistics that the construction industry is in a bad way shocked some people, with official figures showing a 23% drop in new construction orders this year, a 24 year low. Pretty bad indeed. Combine this with the ONS figures in April which found construction activity dropped by 4.7% this year, dragging the economy down with it, and it paints a pretty bleak picture.

But are the ONS figures exaggerating the situation a bit to strike a bit of fear into everyone? The ONS reduced their construction GDP figures last month (from a 4.7% drop to 4%), after numerous construction experts slammed the accuracy of their figures.

Let’s consider the evidence that suggests the ONS’ statistics are a bit off the mark. First, the Construction Products Association, who weren’t exactly a fan of the GDP figures, released a new State of Trade Survey last month. It found that 48% of manufacturers found that sales of construction products increased in Q1 of 2011.

Then we have the Markit/CIPS Construction Index reports for 2011. Bearing in mind that anything over 50 constitutes a growth, the figures for this year from January to May are: 53.7, 56.5, 56.4, 53.3, 54.0. Up and down, yes, but not disastrous by any means.

And then we have the news from the companies announcing big profits: Balfour Beatty, Costain, Morgan Sindall, Galliford Try, Mitie, Wates and Kier are some the companies to announce healthy profits and order books over the last few months. Now these are the big companies in the construction world and some smaller (and bigger) construction companies have struggled to brave the recession.

Or is it like any industry during a financial change? New projects are going ahead around the country all of the time and it will get better as the UK economy continues to improve, the predicted double dip has not happened. What also materialises at such times,in any sectors, is that having the latest skill set enhances the opportunity to secure a job or contract, especially those with a vocational trade.

According to Tim Oates, director of research at the Cambridge Assessment exam board, who in an interview with the Telegraph said, “At least 40 per cent of pupils should take high-quality vocational training that leads directly to a job to cut the youth unemployment rate and boost economic competitiveness”.

 What do you think about the state of the industry – we want to find out what you think. Let us know by commenting on here. Or you can let us know what you think on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook Page. Alternatively, follow @t4ts on Twitter and tell us there.

Mitie enjoy good fortunes in 2011

Construction giants Mitie are one of the companies flourishing in the recession and have announced big profits in the last year.

In their latest financial figures, Mitie have announced profits of 9%, a 10% increase in turnover and a huge order book for 2011/12.

Mitie’s order book is at a record high, and they have already secured £6.8 billion worth of contracts for the next year. This is thanks to big contracts with corporations like Vodafone and Rolls Royce.

The reason Mite have enjoyed such immense success in the last few years is because they have capitalised on the private sector and have reportedly secured 75% of new contracts in the private sector of the last year.

Mitie join the likes of Balfour Beatty, Galliford Try and Kier in posting big profits despite the current financial struggle in the UK is embroiled in.

The positive factor in these statistics is that Mitie took on 5,000 new employees in the UK over the last year. This shows that they are helping the construction industry and creating plenty of jobs for contractors all over the UK.

What do you think of Mitie’s financial results? Let us know and comment on here or on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook and Twitter pages.

Two construction firms brave the recession to announce big profits

Despite all the depressing forecasts surrounding the construction industry (the recent GDP figures being the main one), numerous construction firms are announcing profits for 2011.

Last week Galliford Try, Costain and Morgan Sindall revealed big profits and even bigger order books for 2011 and 2012, and now Kier and North Midland Construction has followed suit.

North Midland Construction, who are based at Sutton-in-Ashfield, posted a 34% increase in revenue to £51 million, which is a 10.6% profit. With an expected income of £152 million this year, 2011 is expected to be a good year for North Midland Construction, which of course is good news for contractors living in the Midlands, as bigger profits mean more projects and more jobs.

Kier managed a 2% rise in profits so far in 2011 and healthy order books for the next year. Kier has won £600m-worth of contracts this year and has a full order book for the first 6 months of this year and 80% of work secured for 2012.

Like this story? Read Trio of construction company’s secure big profit for 2011 on Train4TradeSkills News

Balfour Beatty’s big 2011 to cast further doubt on construction GDP figures

Balfour Beatty have followed in the footsteps of three other big construction companies and announced big profits and an increased workload for 2011.

The construction arm of Balfour Beatty have announced that they have beaten new work expectations in the first few months of 2011 and predict a good year. After securing some big construction contracts, such as a big Crossrail contract and a £100m street lighting contract in Cambridge this year, Balfour Beatty are flourishing despite the recession.

This follows the news that a trio of big contractors – Costain, Morgan Sindall and Galliford Try – announced healthy profits and big order books for 2011, despite the uncertain financial times.

Balfour Beatty’s good performance so far in 2011 is good news for the industry, which has had it’s fair share of bad news in the last few years. The fact that the big construction companies are doing so well, will lead to more jobs for contractors all over the UK.

Balfour Beatty’s results are another reason to doubt the GDP figures published last month that slammed the construction industry. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that while the UK economy grew by 0.5% in 2011, the construction industry dragged it down and decreased by 4.7%.

Now the Construction Products Association have conducted a new State of Trade Survey and found the market for construction product manufacturers has improved so far in 2011.

The Construction Products Association, who were one of the main detractors and critics of the ONS report, found that 48% of manufacturers reported that sales of construction products rose in 2011 Q1, compared to just 14% in 2010 Q4.

UPDATE: The Office of National Statistics have “revised” their original GDP figures and said the construction industry figures dropped by 4% and not the 4.7% that was originally stated last month.

What do you think? Do you side with the ONS or the Construction Products Association? Let us know and comment on here, on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook or Twitter pages.

Trio of construction giants endure good start to 2011

Wasn’t the construction industry supposed to be in tatters? Apparently not, as new results indicate that this is not the case with the whole industry.

After last month’s GDP figures showed that the construction industry was dragging the rest of the UK economy down, three of the big UK construction companies announce healthy profits, at the same time as office construction in London increases by 137 PER CENT.

Construction giants Galliford Try, Costain and Morgan Sindall have all announced positive results so far for 2011 and are predicting strong forecasts for 2011, despite all the uncertainty with the economy and the challenging financial times.

Galliford Try have already secured 72% of next year’s construction revenue, Costain have confirmed that they have a “robust” order book with £2.3 billion worth of orders and Morgan Sindall say that their performance this year is in line with their expectations.

Galliford Try’s CEO Greg Fitzgerald confirmed his company’s strong performance this year, saying in a statement:

“The housing market has exceeded our expectations throughout the spring selling season and we have continued to benefit from the strong southern bias of our expansion plan.”

Of course, this is only talking about the big construction companies, and a number of smaller ones have struggled or gone bust so far this year due to the tough economic times. But the fact that the big companies are thriving show that the construction industry is not lost and, crucially, they are still managing to win big contracts and create new jobs.

In a further boost for the construction industry in the UK, a new survey by crane drivers Jonas Deloitte has revealed that office construction in London has increased by 137% in the last six months.

The research revealed that 6.4 million sq ft of office space is being built in the capital, compared to just 2.7 million sq ft six months ago. 25 new schemes have started in London in the last six months, as the construction industry is performing strong, despite GDP reports saying the contrary.

What do you think about this news? Let us know and comment here on the blog or comment on our Facebook page. You can also follow Train4TradeSkills News on Twitter and message us there.

Galliford Try scoop £347m contract to regenerate Gateshead

One of the UK’s largest construction schemes is coming to the North East as Galliford Try and leading £347m plans in Gateshead.

Building firm Galliford Try are joining forces with Home Group and Gateshead Council to build 2,400 new homes in Gateshead.

The work is set to begin later this year and will take over a decade to complete, with a completion date of 2026 expected.

This scheme in Gateshead is one of the largest residential projects in the UK and the 2,400 homes will be affordable and eco-friendly, meeting the standards of Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

Galliford Try have previously worked on construction projects like the roof at Centre Court at Wimbledon and the Midland Grand hotel at St Pancras in London. Their chief executive, Greg Fitzgerald said:

“We look forward to using our expertise in creating quality, sustainable housing on one of the UK’s largest regeneration projects in Gateshead.”

This project will create new construction jobs for plumbing and electrical contractors in the North East, and will dramatically regenerate the Gateshead area over the next decade.

What do you think of these plans for Gateshead? Let us know and comment on here or on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook and Twitter pages.

Cameron to clamp down on dominance over large construction firms

It’s always been the same: the strong survive, the weak struggle. But David Cameron wants to change all that, by demanding that smaller construction firms get a seat at the bargaining table.

CN Plus report that the Prime Minister revealed in his speech at the Conservative Party Spring Forum in Cardiff that he wants smaller to medium construction companies to get a fairer deal and make sure all the big construction firms don’t have a monopoly over the industry and get all the best contracts.

In his speech, Mr Cameron attacked public sector procurement managers who just rely on large contractors to do the work, calling them “enemies of enterprise.”

The Prime Minister elaborated by saying that people, “who think that the answer to everything is a big contract with a big business and who shut out millions of Britain’s small and medium sized companies from a massive potential market.”

The government are committed to help smaller construction companies win more work and make the industry fairer.

This speech from David Cameron comes at a time where construction firms, including Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon, Kier and Galliford Try have announced profits over the last few months.

What do you think of Cameron’s speech? Does the construction industry need to change? Let us know on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook and Twitter pages.