Laing Fund questions Balfour’s optimism

John Laing Infrastructure Fund has said that Balfour Beatty is ‘overly optimistic’ about the value of its portfolio of public private partnership (PPP) and PFI assets.

On Friday Balfour Beatty turned down a £1bn offer from John Laing Infrastructure Fund (JLIF) for its PPP portfolio, saying that it expected to make more by selling the assets piecemeal in the future. (See previous report here.)

The Balfour Beatty board …

Green Deal re-opens for home improvements

The government’s Green Deal home improvement fund is opening for a new round this week.

From Wednesday 9th 10th December up to £5,600 will be available to qualifying households for installing energy saving measures such as solid wall insulation, double glazing, new boilers, cavity wall insulation and floor insulation.

Under the scheme, the money is in the form of a loan that is repaid through reduced fuel bills.…

Design competition launched for £50m Nine Elms footbridge

The London Borough of Wandsworth has launched an international competition to design a new footbridge across the River Thames.

Architects and engineers are being invited to submit designs for a new pedestrian crossing linking the Nine Elms district with the Pimlico embankment to the north.

The Nine Elms to Pimlico bridge is part of a £1bn infrastructure package transforming the Nine Elms regeneration area. As well as the bridge, Nine …

Redundant verbiage cut from contract form

A new version of the Infrastructure Conditions of Contract (ICC) has been published.

The contract is sponsored jointly by Association for Consultancy & Engineering (ACE) and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA).

The ICC With Quantities Version is an up to date contract for infrastructure projects designed to incorporate current best practice and to provide a fair and flexible basis for clients and their contractors to work together.

The contract’s …

Industry helpine offers counselling for construction workers

A confidential telephone helpline has been set up to provide support for construction workers in distress.

The Construction Industry Helpline aims to provide confidential, round-the-clock support to the construction industry’s workforce and their families on a range of topics including finance, depression, occupational health and wellbeing, illness and bereavement.

The service has been set up by construction’s charity, The Lighthouse Club, supported by the Considerate Constructors Scheme and several corporate …

Steve Norris joins Driver board

In the slipstream of an acquisition, Driver Group has appointed former transport minister Steve Norris to its board of as a non-executive director.

Driver has acquired Initiate Consulting Ltd, a capital investment consultant, for £5.3m. Former Conservative MP Steve Morris is a director and shareholder of Initiate and joins the board of Driver as part of the deal.

Mr Norris, aged 69, was a car dealer before entering Parliament in …

Government stumps up £40m to build football pitches

Possibly because there is not enough money in football already, the government is giving £40m to support construction of new synthetic playing fields.

Public money will back the Football Association’s plan to improve grassroots facilities across the country and will help create 150 multi-sport hubs across 30 English cities.

Chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne announced the grant yesterday as he opened Manchester City’s new football academy.

Over the next …

New Highways Agency to be called Highways England

Reform of the management structure of the English major road network has moved step closer with the second reading of the Infrastructure Bill in the House of Commons.

The legislation is on course to receive Royal Assent by March 2015, before the general election in May.

A key element of the legislation is reform of the legal status of the Highways Agency, turning it from an arms’ length government agency …

Deep soil mixing proves its worth on Dundee development

Work is under way on what is said to be one of the largest deep soil mixing project ever undertaken on a UK house-building site.

Livingston-based civil engineering contractor Ground Developments Ltd (GDL) is stabilising the ground at an old quarry site in Dundee, which is being developed for student housing.

As part of GDL’s involvement in the development of land at Hillside Halls, Yarrow Terrace in Dundee, deep soil …

Felixstowe Port plans 27ha warehouse park

The UK’s largest container port is about to get bigger, with construction of a massive new warehouse development.

The Port of Felixstowe has announced plans for the development of 135,000 square metres of warehousing on a 27-hectare site.

The new logistics park will be within 100 metres of Berths 8 and 9 where the world’s largest container ships dock. Construction of a 190-metre extension to the port’s Berth 9 is …