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.”
Sewell Group has unveiled plans for the construction of a new business park in Yorkshire, UK.Sewell is partnering with telecommunications company MS3 Networks and developer Chiltern Groupon proposals for the development.A pre-application consultation has been undertaken with East Riding of Yorkshire Council and a project team has been appointed to prepare an outline planning application to submit later this year.Early proposals for the project include a mixture of space for businesses operating in key strategic sectors for the region, a further/higher education space and associated accommodation, an energy centre and a data centre. Rob Cawkwell, Sewell’s project director, said: “It is at the very early stages and we are very keen to engage with all stakeholders, as well as ensuring good dialogue with both East Riding of Yorkshire and Hull local authorities.“This is a strategic site for the Humber Estuary, which is the first of its kind in Yorkshire, bringing together businesses, data, energy and education all in one place.“We are in it for the long haul and we are committed to local labour, with a proven track record of investing in the region to create economic and social impact.”
Pfizer has started construction on its new $200M biologics clinical manufacturing plant in Andover, Massachusetts. The 16,300sq m five-storey facility will enable the production of complex biologics and vaccines. According to Pfizer, the new facility is designed with five independent manufacturing suites to support its complex and diverse biologics research effort.The plant will implement flexible design to fully enable next generation manufacturing strategies, use the latest single-use bioreactors and disposable process technologies and provide clinical manufacturing options with the lowest cost and greatest flexibility for efficiently driving important clinical drugs to patients.Senator Barbara L’Italien said: “This five-storey building will add 75 new permanent manufacturing jobs and 200 temporary construction jobs to Pfizer’s Andover campus, already home to 1,200 employees.”The plant is expected to be operational by January 2019.
Larsen & Toubro subsidiary L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering Limited (LTHE) has secured contracts worth INR11.7bn ($174M) across its various business segments.The business has won a lump-sum turnkey contract valued at INR3.55bn ($53M) from Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) for a coke drum system package including a 1.7M metric tonnes per annum delayed coker unit at its Haldia Refinery in West Bengal, India. Reliance Industries Limited has awarded another contract worth INR5bn ($74.4M) to L&T Hydrocarbon for its MEG, LDPE and CO shift & AGR shift of DTA units.LTHE has won an INR2bn ($29.7M) contract from Hindustan Mittal Energy Limited (HMEL) for composite mechanical works of its Low Cost Expansion Project and services for capacity expansion at Guru Gobind Singh Refinery, Bathinda. The scope of work involves the structural fabrication and erection, piping for multiple process units, tankage works, equipment erection, E&I works and shutdown works.The business has secured an order worth INR1.15bn ($17.1M) for an on-going project in Kuwait, which includes the fabrication of piping spools, to be supplied from L&T’s Kattupalli Yard near Chennai, and supply of static equipment to an Indian client from L&T’s Hazira Yard located in Gujarat.
German automaker BMW has broken ground on its new $1bn production plant in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. The new facility will build the BMW 3 Series Sedan, starting in 2019, and balance out production capacity at BMW Group Plant Rosslyn in South Africa, which will build the new BMW X3 instead of the BMW 3 Series in the future.The project will comprise a body shop, a paint shop and an assembly plant. BMW said that the new plant will feature an innovative production system and comprehensive sustainability standards.Once operational, the facility will have a production capacity of up to 150,000 units annually, creating at least 1,500 new jobs in the region.The plant will operate using 100% CO2-free power, as it will have a solar-powered network on the site.According to BMW, the plant will have the lowest water consumption per vehicle manufactured in the production network. This will be the company’s first paint shop to produce zero process wastewater, as the water needed for the painting process is reconditioned and recycled.
Legal & General Capital has unveiled plans to collaborate with Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University to help construct and finance the £350M Newcastle Science Central development.The development will be located in the UK city’s Accelerated Development Zone, adjacent to Newcastle United’s football ground, St James’s Park, and to the north of Newcastle train station.The project will include the development of 47,000sq m of office space and 450 new homes. Legal & General Capital’s £65M initial investment will help create more than 19,000sq m of Grade A office space.Rachel Dickie, Legal & General Capital head of urban regeneration, said: “The delivery of Newcastle Science Central will help support the wider Newcastle economy and we are delighted to be working with Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University to deliver this major regeneration scheme.“Providing an excellent match for our long-term money, this public and private sector partnerships model demonstrates that we can unlock major regeneration projects that support the economic growth prospects of the UK by closing the funding gap, as well as delivering strong financial returns for our shareholders and policyholders.”The project is expected to create more than 4,000 jobs in the region.
Plenary Properties Merced (PPM) has been selected by The University of California, Merced, as the winning bidder for its next phase of the $1.14bn campus development.PPM will design and construct the new facilities as a single, fast-track project and ensure major building systems operate effectively over the 39-year term of the contract.The new facilities will be constructed in a 219-acre site that currently supports the existing campus and its 6,700 students. The four-year project is expected to almost double the physical capacity of the campus by 2020.The project will support Merced’s environmental sustainability objectives, as the campus has been recognized as one of the greenest in the country by the US Green Building Council.Furthermore, the developer will be responsible for raising the required private financing as part of the public-private partnership.Construction is set to commence in September 2016 with the project’s first phase scheduled for delivery in 2018. The remaining facilities are scheduled to be completed in 2020. The project is expected to create over 10,000 construction jobs in the region.
BASF Shanghai Coatings has begun construction on a new €140M automotive coatings plant in Shanghai, China.The new plan, to be located at the company’s existing site at the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park in Caojing, will expand the existing automotive coatings plant, which started production in 2014.BASF’s president and chairman for Greater China Stephan Kothrade said: “With the expansion, we continue to invest in local production to get even closer to China’s automotive industry.“As the leading chemical supplier to the automotive industry, BASF will take an active role in developing this rapidly growing business, based on our local production network, innovative power and market knowledge.”The plant is expected to commence operation in the fourth quarter of 2017.
The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) has approved a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan of $874.6M to Purple Line Transit Partners for the implementation of the Maryland Purple Line project. The 16.2-mile project includes 21 stations and connects many communities in Maryland, from Bethesda in Montgomery County to New Carrollton in Prince George’s County.The project, owned by the Maryland Department of Transportation, will be implemented on a design-build-finance-operate-maintain basis.The project was procured as a public-private partnership under a concession agreement that was executed in April 2016, and expires about 30 years after substantial completion, which is expected in March 2022.
POSCO E&C has started construction on a 380MW combined cycle power (CCPP) plant in Colon, Panama.The project will include the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) CCPP plant, along with an 180,000cb m LNG storage tank to supply fuel at Colon — located near the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal — entailing an investment of $650M.The facility, set to be the largest of its kind in Panama, will generate enough electricity to power about 300,000 homes.Upon completion, the power plant will provide a stable supply of electricity to the industrial complex near Panama Canal and the Colon area.POSCO E&C CEO Han Chan-kun said: "The project is the result of efforts to establish trust with the ordering parties in Latin America over the past decade."It will be a great chance for us to showcase the high-quality construction technology of E&C across the world."The power plant will be completed in July 2018 and the LNG tank in May 2019.
Ground has been broken on the $1.12bn NorthLink WA project to provide a non-stop transport between Morley and Muchea in Western Australia.The project will transform Tonkin Highway into a six-lane freeway between Guildford Road and Reid Highway, with new interchanges at Collier Road and Morley Drive, and a flyover at Benara Road.Other flyovers will be constructed at Beechboro Road North and Marshall Road, with interchanges at Hepburn Avenue, Gnangara Road and The Promenade at Ellenbrook. The first section of the project, which is being delivered by John Holland, includes the construction of the Collier Road and Morley Drive interchanges and the Benara Road flyover.Great Northern Connect, a joint venture between BGC Contracting and Laing O'Rourke Australia Construction, has been selected as the preferred proponent for the next section between Reid Highway and Ellenbrook. The JV will oversee the design and construction of nearly 20km of highway, four interchanges, 14 road bridges and three footbridges. Construction work is expected to commence in early 2017.The overall project will create about 1,000 direct jobs.
Swedish construction firm NCC and Region Örebro County have agreed on the design and implementation of a new hospital project in Örebro, Sweden.The construction company was commissioned to build the new university hospital in October 2015.Both parties have agreed on a contract worth SEK1.5bn ($180M) and have worked together to plan the project and prepare detailed system documents. The new facility, known as the H building, will replace existing premises that no longer adhere to the current requirements. It will feature residential care, outpatient care and surgery for areas including ear, nose and throat (ENT), dermatology, anesthesia and emergency care clinics. NCC’s Building head in Sweden Henrik Landelius said: “NCC has extensive experience of building major hospitals, which we will utilize in this project. A partnering project such as this means that, at an early stage, we can plan together with the Region to obtain the best results.”The project is aiming to achieve Sweden Green Building Council (SGBC) Gold certification.
Mott MacDonald has been chosen by the Centro American Corporation of Air Navigation Services (COCESNA) to lead a site study, design and masterplan for a new international airport in Costa Rica.The new metropolitan airport — to be located in Orotina, Alajuela — is part of the modernisation and growth of air transport in the country.The scope of the work, conducted by Mott MacDonald, involves technical, environmental and financial advisory and airport development planning — including traffic forecasting, infrastructure layout and terminal design. This is set to take 12 months, after which the consultancy firm will provide COCESNA with the infrastructure plans and associated financial requirements to develop the new airport. Mott MacDonald’s project director Horacio Rossi said: “The new airport will be a significant development for Costa Rica and support economic growth in the region. The additional capacity will enable an increase of international flights, benefitting both export and tourism.“Our experience consulting on Mariscal Sucre International Airport gave us specific expertise in developing new airports on Greenfield sites, as well as relocating a country’s main airport due to existing site expansion constraints. We are delighted to lead an integrated team on this project, which includes FSA, Enroute and Gensler.”The airport is expected to be complete in 2026.