Scottish government wins winter maintenance action

A supplier of de-icing salt has failed in its claim for damages from the Scottish government, which it said breached tendering rules.

Between January 2010 and March 2011, the Scottish government bought £10m-worth of de-icing salt from several sources, but none from Southampton-based Nationwide Gritting Services (NGS).

NGS said the orders should have gone out to tender and launched legal action. The Scottish government said that it had only not …

CPA revises growth forecasts upwards

The construction industry is expected to grow 23% by the end of 2018, according to the latest industry forecasts.

The Construction Products Association autumn forecasts predict that construction output will grow 4.8% in 2014 and 5.3% in 2015, before slowing a little to 4.2% in 2016. The 2015 figure represents a firm upward revision from its previous forecast of 4.8% growth.

Private housing starts in Great Britain are forecast to …

Prefab solution for Scottish social housing

An estate of 32 prefabricated houses has gone up in Eyemouth for Berwickshire Housing Association.

The development is said to be first major application of pre-assembled modular structural insulated panel (SIP) construction for social housing in Scotland.

The homes were pre-assembled in the factory and transported to site as two ready-made modules per house. The trusses were then added on site allowing all properties to be wind- and water-tight in …

Birmingham seeks Centenary Square ideas

Architects and designers have been invited to pitch their ideas for the regeneration of one of Birmingham’s main public spaces.

A design competition for Centenary Square has been launched by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Competitions and the Landscape Institute on behalf of Birmingham City Council.

Following the completion of the new Library of Birmingham last year, the council wants to develop this part of town into a …

Banner provides springboard for Cala growth

House-builder Cala Homes says it is on course to treble its revenues by 2016 after a strong hike in sales and doubling its profits last year.

Cala broke into the top 10 of UK house-builders earlier this year with the acquisition of Banner Homes in March.

For the year ended 30 June 2014 Cala reported group revenue of £294.2m, up 22% from the previous year’s £240.8m. With the addition of …

Osborne picks purchasing chief

Osborne has appointed John Robeson as its new supply chain director for construction.

Mr Robeson joins from Balfour Beatty, but was previously with Wates for seven years, latterly as business development manager.

He has also worked for Berkeley Homes and began his career with James Longley & Co in London.

Osborne Construction managing director Andy Steele said: “I am delighted to welcome John to the Osborne Construction leadership team. John …

Crossrail TBM Ellie breaks through in Docklands (with video)

The £14.8bn Crossrail project has reached another milestone with the breakthrough by tunnel boring machine (TBM) Ellie at Victoria Dock Portal in east London.

This means that Crossrail’s train tunnels in Docklands and southeast London are now structurally complete. Crossrail’s eastern tunnels are built by Dragados Sisk Joint Venture.

At the same time, TBM Elizabeth has started her final push west from Whitechapel that will see her and sister machine …

Galliford chairman beats CEO to the door

Galliford Try, already seeking a new chief executive, has added a chairman to its wanted list after the surprise resignation of Ian Coull.

Galliford Try announced this morning that Ian Coull had stepped down as non-executive chairman, citing “other business and personal commitments”.

Chief executive Greg Fitzgerald, who himself is already serving out his notice, will act as executive chairman in the interim.

Mr Fitzgerald told the board last month …

Designers challenged to improve access

The government is backing an initiative to encourage building designers and urban planners to ensure buildings, streets and public spaces are accessible to all, regardless of their physical capabilities.

Communities minister Stephen Williams met with key professional bodies on Monday and challenged them to do more to improve inclusivity.

He said that the various needs of the people expected to use these facilities were too often an afterthought, and that …

NG Bailey launches schools outreach programme

Building services contractor NG Bailey has launched an initiative to encourage young people into the construction industry.

Backed by a £3m-a-year training and development budget, NG Bailey’s new outreach programme for schools and colleges, which it calls Inspire, is designed to raise awareness of careers opportunities in across the construction industry.

It is also setting up a ‘virtual university’ and has made a commitment that for every person it employs …