Sites face standstill as crane drivers ballot for industrial action

Construction sites across Britain could come to a standstill if tower crane operators vote for strike action.

More than 180 Ucatt members at tower crane company HTC Plant have been sent ballot papers today (7th October) in a dispute over pay.

The drivers are being balloted on whether they would support strike action and industrial action short of strike action.

This dispute is likely to be the first of …

The Construction Index notches up fifty thousand Twitter followers

The Construction Index would like to thank all those who have helped make us one of the industry’s most popular resources on Twitter.

Our @TCIndex service has now reached the landmark of having 50,000 Twitter followers.

However, our growth indicates that the growth in Twitter use in the construction industry appears to be slowing. Our last 10,000 followers have taken a year to join; the previous 10,000 took five months. …

Lakehouse catches legionella specialist

Construction and maintenance contractor Lakehouse has acquired air and water hygiene specialist H2O Nationwide.

This is Lakehouse’s fifth acquisition since 2011 and is intended to bolster the capabilities of its compliance division, which already provides fire safety and gas & heating services through Allied Protection and K&T Heating, acquired in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

To expand its geographical reach and sustainability offering, Lakehouse last year acquired an East Anglian contractor …

Hope opens its first new quarry

Hope Construction Materials has announced the opening of its first new, greenfield quarry as part of its UK development plan.

Black Cat Quarry is next to the A1 Black Cat roundabout near Roxton in Bedfordshire. It will supply Hope’s numerous readymix concrete plants in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, as well as sand and gravel into the regional market. It is expected to supply more than 100,000 tonnes of sand …

Contractor shortages to hit London residential construction

Construction of new houses and apartment blocks in London is set to be hampered by a lack of available contractors to do the work, a leading firm of quantity surveyors is warning.

Around £60bn of new residential property is planned over the next 10 years in the capital, according to analysis by EC Harris.

But with significant capacity issues at every level of the construction industry in London, as many …

New chief scientist for BRE

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) has appointed University College London professor of engineering systems Jeremy Watson to lead its research work.

He is joining the BRE this month as chief scientist and engineer

BRE chief executive Peter Bonfield said: “Jeremy has a wealth of expertise and knowledge in the research and policy fields that we plan to draw on. He has extensive connections to academia, industry and government which will …

Berkeley taps up Quintain finance director

House-builder and developer Berkeley Group has raided Quintain to source a new finance director.

Berkeley has recruited Quintain finance director Richard Stearn to succeed Nick Simpkin, who left Berkeley last month.

However, 46-year-old Mr Stearn is a familiar face at Berkeley, having been financial controller at Berkeley from 2002 to 2011. For most of that period, his finance director was Rob Perrins, who moved up to become managing director in …

Green Deal tap is turned back on

The government has released a further £100m for home energy improvement grants.

Applications for a new phase of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund will open to households before the end of November.

The release of the new is in addition to the £450m allocated to household energy efficiency earlier this year. The previous round of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund was launched on 9th June 2014 but …

TV’s Tess & Vern help Skanska get started

There was a celebrity-fuelled kick-off to work on Skanska’s £50m contract to build Great Ormond Street Hospital’s Premier Inn Clinical Building.

Television’s husband-and-wife due of Tess Daly and Vernon Kay donned hard hats and hi-vis jackets to help mark the start of construction work. They are patrons of the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

The project involves the demolition of the top four floors of the hospital’s outdated cardiac …

New construction boss for Mersey Gateway

The client team overseeing construction of the 1.86bn Mersey Gateway Bridge project has been strengthened with new appointments.

Paul Fenwick has joined the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board as construction director, along with Helen Dearden as finance director.

Steve Nicholson, who has been project director and interim chief executive of the board until now, is stepping down but will retain a role as special advisor to the project on a part …