John Holland has been awarded a $324M early works package for Melbourne Metro in Victoria, Australia.John Holland will be responsible for excavating shafts in the centre of Melbourne as part of the preparation works for the tunnel and five new underground stations.The contract will also include the excavation of open shafts adjacent to Swanston Street to enable the underground construction of two new city stations built as part of the $10.9bn project.Excavation of the CBD North Station will include two shafts at Franklin and A’Beckett Street, which will be covered by acoustic sheds to minimise noise for neighbouring residents and offices.According to John Holland, the construction of CBD South will include the partial demolition of the car park underneath City Square.Other works in the package include the relocation and protection of up to 100 utilities, including gas, power and telecommunications services, and the 120-year-old brick main sewer line under the Domain interchange.Works are expected to commence within weeks, with work on the stations’ shafts to begin in 2017, after the completion of the Environment Effects Statement (EES) that is currently underway and the project’s formal planning approval.
UK-based developer Ashfield Land has received planning approval from South Gloucestershire Council to construct an £100M office building at Bristol Parkway Station.The 19,000sq m HQ office project, named The Approach, will be developed on the site located off Hunts Ground Road, immediately east of Bristol Parkway Station.Ashfield Land believes that the project’s rail connections will be maximised with the electrification of the Great Western line — which is set to reduce journey times and increase frequency to London and other destinations into South Wales — and the opening of Crossrail in 2017/18. A new link road will also be built offering direct access to the M32.Ashfield‘s land director James Digby said: “Bringing 19,000sq m of excellently-connected office space forward is a strong sign of confidence in the Bristol occupier market. “The area has a strong track record in attracting major organisations particularly in financial services, defence and aerospace. The approved plans maximise the site’s location and public transport connectivity and will offer a stand out scheme for any corporate occupier.”The project is expected to be complete in 2018.
Dominion subsidiary Dominion Virginia Power has started work on its 1,588MW Greensville County Power Station in Virginia, USA.Construction on the new $1.3bn facility follows the plant's air permit approval by the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board. According to the company, the air permit, issued on June 17, was the last regulatory hurdle the power plant had to clear before proceeding. Dominion's Generation Group CEO Paul Koonce said: "This is terrific news for Dominion, its customers, the Commonwealth, Greensville County and all of Southside Virginia."We are excited about the task ahead and are looking forward to getting this state-of-the art power station operating and providing energy to more than 400,000 customers by 2019."The new plant will be the company's second major generation project in Southside, being the first Brunswick County Power Station, which started generating electricity in April.
Whaha Capital subsidiary Waha Land has signed an AED426M ($116M) financial deal with Emirates Islamic Bank for Stage 2 of its Almarkaz light industrial real estate project in the United Arab Emirates.The 1.5sq km development is located 25km south of Abu Dhabi city. Stage 2 of the project, to be built in two packages, will include an additional 187,000sq m of premium industrial and logistics facilities, as well as retail and commercial amenities.Package 2a, to be delivered by Ali & Sons Contracting L.L.C, consists of 92,500sq m of industrial and logistics facilities, and retail and commercial amenities. The first buildings will be available for occupancy in June 2017, while the entire package is expected to be complete by the fourth quarter of 2017.Further development will include flexible industrial building sizes, fitted industrial units, warehouse and storage facilities, commercial offices and food beverage outlets.Hazem Saeed Al Nowais, Waha Land’s chief executive officer, said: “Almarkaz has proven extremely popular because of the quality of the facility, and its excellent location as a hub in transport infrastructure.“This success has enabled the project to achieve attractive financing. Building on the success of Stage 1, we are moving ahead with our planned development, which aims to meet the needs of the Abu Dhabi manufacturing and logistics market in addition to SME’s.” Almarkaz’s Stage 1 comprises 90,000sq m of industrial and logistic units, which are already fully leased.
India-based infrastructure firm Gayatri Projects has won an order worth INR7bn ($103.6M) from City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CDICO) for the Navi Mumbai airport.The scope of the work includes the development of land for the Mumbai International Airport Package-III project.Gayatri Projects said in a stock exchange filing: "The construction and development of airports will prove to be a major source of business for infrastructure companies, given that the Indian aviation sector is likely to see investments of over $120bn for the development of airport infrastructure and aviation navigation services over the next decade."According to the company, the project is in line with the management’s decision to follow an asset-light model and will further strengthen its position in the Indian construction market.
Strabag’s Swiss subsidiary has secured an €100M contract for the construction of an office building and a production building for Siemens in Zug, Switzerland.The contract, awarded by Siemens Real Estate, will be executed on a design and build basis with Strabag AG Switzerland serving as the main contractor for the project.The office building will be constructed using building information modelling (BIM), which guarantees a level of security in terms of cost, design and scheduling.The seven-storey facility will offer 31,700sq m of space on every floor for mechanical/electrical, seminar and conference rooms, as well as an underground car park.The four-storey production building will include production halls, laboratories and offices on 24,000sq m of floor area. An automated transport and storage system will be included on the basement level.STRABAG’s CEO Thomas Birtel said: “BIM.5D is the future of building. The aim of BIM is to digitally collect, combine and link all relevant data associated with the entire building lifecycle. This creates a building data model that basically is a giant synchronised database.“The model simulates for all involved how the building will change as construction progresses, which materials will be required in which quantities at what time, and what consequences could arise from late changes to the design.”Both buildings are to be completed in June 2018.
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is set to break ground on a $2.4bn project to renovate the airport’s Terminal 1 (T1).Upon completion, the project is expected to meet or exceed the standards of Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 Boarding Area E.The project, expected to receive a LEED Gold certification, will include the design and construction of T1’s north, south and central areas, a new Boarding Area B with enhanced passenger circulation and access to its 24 gates, new passenger loading bridges and new concessions and an improved Boarding Area C.It will also involve a new central area and a mezzanine with connections to the AirTrain and the Central Parking Garage.Work is set to commence in June 2016 and the terminal is scheduled to be completed in 2020.
The state government of New South Wales is set to provide $6.2bn for the Sydney Metro City & Southwest project and $5.8bn for Sydney Metro Northwest.The announcement was made as the tunnels for Sydney Metro Northwest were handed over within budget and 10 months ahead of the schedule.The 2016-17 funding for Sydney Metro Northwest will be used for laying tracks and building eight new metro stations, for the procurement of Sydney’s new fully-automated metro trains and ongoing construction of the 4km skytrain.Work on the Sydney Metro Northwest, expected to open in the first half of 2019, has commenced with the laying of tracks. The 2016-17 funding for Sydney Metro City & Southwest will be used for the tender process for twin tunnels from Chatswood to Sydenham and early construction work in 2017, including building demolitions, planning and design work.The first tunnel boring machine will be in the ground before the end of 2018, with services in the Sydney Metro City & Southwest expected to start in 2024.
Skanska in a joint venture with Gates Construction has secured a $200M contract from Lee Memorial Health System to expand and refurbish the Gulf Coast Medical Center in Fort Myers, Florida.The project will include the creation of 34,000sq m of new space and about 4,500sq m of renovations. It will also involve three additional floors, as well as many horizontal expansions. Furthermore, the development will include a parking facility which will be able to accommodate 1,300 vehicles.Work on the project will commence in June 2016 and is set to be completed in February 2021.
Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP) have achieved financial closure to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Purple Line project in Maryland, USA. The $5.6bn project, which includes a $2bn design-build contract, includes the construction of 21 stations along a 16.2-mile alignment extending from Bethesda, in Montgomery County to New Carrollton, in Prince George’s county.The closure includes $313M in ‘Green Bonds’ from Private Activity Bonds underwritten by JP Morgan and RBC Capital Markets and follows approval of a $874.6M Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan from the United States Department of Transportation last week.Herb Morgan, Purple Line Transit Partners CEO, said: “Purple Line Transit Partners is pleased to reach financial close on this important project.“This milestone, plus the recent Board of Works action approving the P3 contract, solidifies Maryland’s leadership in protecting and enhancing the state's fiscal integrity by advancing a public-private partnership project that will transfer construction, operation, maintenance and performance risks to the private partners all while ensuring riders and stakeholders receive improved mobility, environmental compliance and safety. “Our team is looking forward to working with Maryland communities to start construction later this year and deliver this innovative project at a fixed-price and on schedule."The Purple Line Transit Constructors team has began initial design and survey work with construction expected to start later this year and passenger service scheduled for early 2022. Following construction, Purple Line Transit Operators will provide 30 years of operations and maintenance services.
Dubai Municipality plans to build a $544M waste-to-energy plant in Dubai.The plant, set to become the largest plant in the Middle East to convert solid waste into energy, will be located in Warsan district 2.According to Eng. Hussain Nasser Lootah, director-general of Dubai Municipality, the project will be implemented over three years.In its first phase, the plant will receive 2,000t of municipal waste per day to produce 60MW of power.Essa Al Maidoor, deputy-director of Dubai Municipality, said the waste incineration project is the first of four projects to produce green energy and that the municipality aims to produce 7% of Dubai’s total energy from clean energy sources by 2020.The plant will be operational in the second quarter of 2020.
Oxfordshire’s Vale of White Horse Planning Committee has approved Mace’s planning application to redevelop the former West Way shopping centre in Botley, Oxford, UK.The project, called West Way Place, is set to become a mixed-use retail centre, which will include 140 new homes, a 122-bed Premier Inn, 321 car parking spaces and a 1,325sq m Co-Op store.The development will also involve the construction of 262 university-related student rooms, a new Baptist church, and a new community centre incorporating a public library.Mace’s development director Huw Griffiths said: ‘The West Way Place planning consent is a genuinely community-led proposal shaped by an eight month public consultation which included four meetings of a Community Liaison Group, a series of Community Workshops and a public exhibition. “This consultation enabled community views to be fed into the proposals, guiding the plans at every stage of the design process. “We are particularly pleased that development at West Way Place will be phased so retailers will be able to continue trading throughout the redevelopment. “Mace are proposing a direct let leasing model for the student accommodation but also have interest from Oxford’s two Universities. Retail tenants will include a mix of new and existing tenants.”
Consultancy company Atkins has won a contract to help Old Oak and Park Royal project to become one of the most sustainable urban developments in the UK.The London-based project will include the construction of over 25,500 new homes with a capacity for 65,000 jobs.Atkins is working with Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) and its cost and project management consultancy, Faithful+Gould, to develop environmental sustainability targets for the project.The sustainability targets will be based around urban form and public space, transport, energy, waste and materials, water and green/blue infrastructure themes.Sean Lockie, Faithful+Gould’s sustainability director, said: “Old Oak and Park Royal is a massive opportunity for London to do things that haven’t been done before. “It means creating a vision, which sets out clear goals, such as being healthy to live in, flexible over time, affordable, comfortable, and being energy and resource efficient, and then taking a systematic approach to delivery. “We’ll need to come up with some new business models to achieve this but in doing so we have a great opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives.”Atkins will deliver the final sustainability report to OPDC in September 2016.
Waking up at 5.30am, spending two hours travelling to the construction site, starting work around 8am — regardless of the weather conditions — finishing the workday at 4pm and travelling back home for two hours, is the routine of construction worker Ben Grant.Grant lives in Bournemouth, but works in London. The 23-year-old turned down a warehouse career to follow one in the construction industry. “I like working in construction, because you can see the progress you are making. At the end of the day you can look back and see what you’ve accomplished, because it’s just right in front of you,” says Grant.Even though working in construction can be personally rewarding, a high demand for workers has been reported by the UK construction industry in recent months and years. “There is definitely a high demand for more construction workers. I am aware that the company we are subcontracted to is needing at least 100 more workers at the moment and I can only imagine that this is a problem throughout lots of [construction] companies,” says Grant.A survey of construction recruitment firms, recently released by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) — a membership and professional body for the UK recruitment industry — highlighted that demand.The survey also concluded that 69% of the construction recruitment agencies surveyed believe that the shortage of bricklayers, labourers and other tradesmen constitutes the first or second most significant risk to their businesses.Kate Shoesmith, REC’s head of policy, says: “One of the things that comes up time and time again [in the survey] is that in the construction industry there is a high demand [for workers] and some of the roles are really difficult to fill and to find people with the appropriate skills. “They [recruitment agencies] are saying that it is really difficult to find bricklayers, scaffolders and estimators for the temporary construction jobs. If you look at the engineering side, they are talking about high ways engineers and structural engineers. If you look at the permanent jobs, where it’s difficult to find people in construction, they are saying that it’s very difficult to find architects right now.”Bespoke Recruitment Ltd has been supplying construction workers to the sector since 2001 and has been feeling the pressure. “We have a skill shortage at the moment in construction and we are struggling. We have demand for construction workers,” says Simon Noakes, co-founder and director of Bespoke Recruitment Ltd.Meanwhile, the Chartered Institute of Building this week promoted the concept of former servicemen and women from the Armed Forces joining the construction industry, ahead of the UK Armed Forces Day on June 25.The recessionThe UK construction sector has come a long way since the global recession in late 2007, which saw a reduction in construction projects and consequently a reduction in construction jobs across the sector. In recent years, the sector has been picking up the pace — as can be witnessed in London by looking at the skyline and the number of cranes and construction sites active in the city.The latest employment data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) corroborates this scenario. According to the ONS, the construction sector was the second biggest job creator in 2015, accounting for 25% of job growth that year. And, construction output has risen 2.5% in April 2016 — the biggest monthly increase since January 2014 —slowing down now only due to the EU Referendum and the uncertainty it brings with it.The industry has a number of jobs to offer, but simply no people to fill them. “There are lots of opportunities in construction at the moment and we cannot fill these roles,” says Noakes.“We have no pipeline of talent coming through the industry, so we don’t see many 18- or 21-year-olds going to college learning to be a plumber or a bricklayer.” Despite the recession starting almost ten years ago, parts of the construction sector are still paying the price of a shortage of workers.Shoesmith at REC says: “The global recession affected the UK market particularly deeply.“There were a number of people working in the industry who, when the jobs stopped coming, [started] thinking about whether they would continue to work as labourers. There were an awful lot of building projects that just stopped and there was no more commissioning of new building projects in the UK. When the jobs started to dry up they left the industry.”Misperception and lack of informationAdding to this, Clive Turner, research manager of NHBC Foundation — the research arm of NHBC, the UK’s leading home warranty and insurance provider — believes that there is still a misperception and lack of information not only about the industry, but also about the jobs it offers. “There is a perception about house building having a bad reputation in terms of what it offers. People don’t see it offering a career progression,” says Turner.“What we fear is that people don’t see the progression opportunities. They would like it to be a worthwhile job, but they are not sure it is, and I think they don’t always see that what you do can be extremely rewarding. “If you don’t realise [that] there is a career path that you can follow you will be forever thinking this could be a dead end job for anybody. There’s nothing worse than that.”A recent study by NHBC Foundation concluded that nearly 50% of parents are not doing enough to encourage their children to pursue a career in the construction industry, specifically in the house-building sector. “[It is] quiet a serious concern and we need to do more to encourage parents to be aware of what house building can offer,” says Turner.“There is a disparity between what house building can offer and what is actually offered to young people through their parents or career advisers. “The issue is the absence of a suitable level of information and guidance on what are a range of very interesting jobs.”Possible solutionsOne way of addressing this issue is attracting and captivating young people into the industry. “We need to think about recruitment and retention strategies, we need to see more investment in things like apprenticeships, that used to be a really golden route for entering the jobs market in construction,” says Shoesmith. “It was a highly credible route. “We need to see more government support for that. We obviously need to think about how we give career advices to young people before they are even thinking about the job options. “Do young people know that there are really good careers to be having in the construction industry? Are they aware of all the opportunities for them?”Other way of engaging young people into the construction sector is offering them a wide range of work experience opportunities while they are still of school age, because — according to Shoesmith — “it’s only by seeing what is like to work in the industry that you can actually visualise yourself there and see whether is something that is right for you”.The Crossrail project has addressed the shortage of skills in the UK construction industry by setting up an academy, where they have trained 20,000 people to develop tunneling and construction skills. They have already had 550 apprentices go through the system.Initiatives such as this can help to encourage workers to join the construction industry — as may the wage rise that has taken place across the sector.The latest employment data released by the ONS shows a 7.5% year-on-year increase in wages in the construction sector.“There are obviously huge rewards there, because the pay is increasing in this sector as the skills supply gets worse,” says Shoesmith.REC’s survey also concluded that some bricklayers are taking home £1,000 ($1,470) a week. Kevin Green, REC’s chief executive, says: “If you work in construction you can expect to be earning £34 a week more than last year, and our data indicates that some employers are increasing pay faster as the competition for skilled workers intensifies.” Expected to attract a wide range of people into the industry, Bespoke Recruitment Ltd is following this trend: through the agency a bricklayer is paid £180–£200 a day and a labourer £8.50–£9 an hour.
KTC Civil Engineering & Construction has secured a SGD418M ($311M) contract from Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) for the construction of Sungei Bedok station and its associated tunnels. The new contract represents the last of nine major civil contracts for Thomson–East Coast Line (TEL) in Singapore.KTC Civil Engineering is currently involved in the construction of Downtown Line 3 (DTL3) Tampines station, as well as TEL’s Orchard Boulevard station.Sungei Bedok station, to be constructed as a civil defence shelter, will be an interchange station connecting TEL with the DTL. As part of the 43km-long TEL, the 13km East Coast stretch will also connect commuters to the Thomson stretch of the TEL, which serves the north-south corridor.The East Coast stretch, to be completed in two stages, will have nine stations, including one that will interchange with the Downtown Line at Sungei Bedok.The first seven stations from Tanjong Rhu to Bayshore will be completed in 2023, while the remaining two stations will be finished in 2024.
A Salini Impregilo-led consortium has won a $955M contract from Kuwait’s Public Authority for Housing Welfare to build an urban residential development in Kuwait.The contract forms part of the South Al Mutlaa Housing Project and includes the construction of 12,000ha of residential development about 40km northwest of Kuwait City.Upon completion, the project will provide accommodation for 400,000 residents. The project will also see the construction of 150km of roads and related structures, numerous art works, lighting infrastructure, water distribution, rainwater gathering and sewage systems, and other civil works.
GE Aviation has started construction on two adjacent factories to mass-produce Silicon Carbide (SiC) materials in Huntsville, Alabama. Estimated to cost more than $200M, the two factories will be constructed on a 100-acre site. One of the plants will produce silicon carbide (SiC) ceramic fibre, while the second will use this SiC ceramic fibre to produce the unidirectional CMC tape necessary to fabricate CMC components.GE Aviation’s vice president Sanjay Correa, who leads the industrialization of advanced technologies, said: "GE Aviation is creating a fully integrated supply chain for producing CMC components in large volume, which is unique to the United States."The new factories in Alabama are vital to this strategy. We are deeply gratified by the tremendous local, state, and national support for this effort."Construction work is expected to be complete by the first half of 2018, with production set to commence on that same year. Once fully operational, the plants are anticipated to employ up to 300 people.
Developers Capital & Centric and Henry Boot have submitted plans to Manchester City Council for the first phase of a £200M mixed-use project in Manchester, UK.The project, designed by architects Mecanoo and Shedkm, will be located off Aytoun Street on a 2.3-acre plot of land acquired from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2014.Subject to planning consent, the residential-led mixed-use development in central Manchester will feature its own 'secret garden' as part of an innovative design.Phase one of the development will include about 500 private rented flats across two 12–16-storey buildings, featuring retail and leisure space at the ground floor level.The project will also include the refurbishment of the existing 1960s former Aytoun Tower, including a roof village of timber Dutch townhouses.Plans for the second phase, which will involve the redevelopment of the listed Minshull Mill and Minto & Turner Mill, are to be submitted later this year.Adam Higgins from Capital & Centric’s said: “We have worked closely with Manchester city council and importantly, the local community to create this exciting scheme, which will rejuvenate this area of our city that has been neglected for too long.“The ‘secret garden’ concept is pivotal to our vision to create a vibrant new bohemian destination for the city.”
EDF Energies Nouvelles subsidiary EDF EN Canada and MD1 Wind have dedicated the 74MW Mont Rothery wind project in Quebec, Canada.The project includes 37 wind turbines, which will generate clean electricity to meet the needs of about 15,000 Quebec homes. The $175M wind farm has created over 200 jobs during the peak construction period and approximately seven permanent operation and maintenance jobs.Construction on the project started in October 2014 and reached commercial operation in December 2015.EDF EN Canada’s director of generation Alex Couture said: “In addition to the $11M of local economic impact generated by the project during construction, the two MRCs concerned by the project and the city of Murdochville will share a total contribution of over $4M during the operational phase.”* For more information on the Canada construction market, visit the Construction Intelligence Center Report Store.
Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) has announced that it will facilitate the development of Oman’s first world-class family waterpark in Muscat.The project has been developed by six graduates of the National CEO Programme (NCP) — an initiative by the public private partnership taskforce (Sharaka), under the benefaction of the Diwan of Royal Court.The team has worked on the development for one year, spending 5,000 hours on the elaboration of a detailed business plan, including financial modelling and stakeholder research.James Wilson, CEO of Omran, said: “Omran’s mission is to seek and support projects of national significance that can help position Oman as a leading global visitor destination. “We actively look to support develop and grow national capacities to develop and manage these projects, which is why we are fully committed to collaborating with the NCP. “Based on extensive market research carried out by the NCP team it is clear that there is significant interest from the younger generation in Oman and as is the case at other successful Waterparks in our neighbouring countries it is a significant driver of family based hotel occupancy.”