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May 7, 2024

UK construction performance rallies

UK construction performance rallies

Glenigan’s May Index finds increasing pockets of Growth amidst overall slowdown. Today, Glenigan, one of the construction industry’s leading insight experts, releases the May 2024 edition of its Construction Index.The Index focuses on the three months to the end of April 2024, covering all underlying projects, with a total value

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The Future of Oxford Living Unveiled at Canalside Quarter

The Future of Oxford Living Unveiled at Canalside Quarter

Award-winning housebuilder, The Hill Group has launched Canalside Quarter, its highly-anticipated collection of new homes in Oxford North. The inaugural phase will deliver beautiful and contemporary homes that will place residents in the centre of the innovative new district; offering savvy buyers an exciting opportunity to become part of a

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Reynaers launches new Digital Document Portal and Hardware Configurator

Reynaers launches new Digital Document Portal and Hardware Configurator

Reynaers Aluminium has launched two new online tools to provide fabricators and installers with real-time comprehensive product and technical information, as well as its hardware selection and comparator.  In line with its digitalisation strategy both software solutions are now accessible through Reynaers Customer Portal. Docu Portal brings together the equivalent

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Work starts on new BTR development in Birmingham

Work starts on new BTR development in Birmingham

Construction work has commenced at Cordia UK’s latest project and inaugural build-to-rent (BTR) development, The Lampworks, in Birmingham. The Birmingham-based property developer has appointed Shropshire-based construction management practice buildfifty5 to deliver the main construction works for the project in partnership with residential general contractor Pedrano UK. The Lampworks will incorporate

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Northumberland housing company announces ambitious growth plans

Northumberland housing company announces ambitious growth plans

A Northumberland-based housing developer has announced plans to double its turnover to £80m and further increase its workforce. Having recently grown from 40 to now 70 employees it now has ambitions to take this to over 100 employees within the next year. To hit its targets, Ascent Homes will add

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Latest Issue

BDC 317 : Jun 2024

May 7, 2024

UK construction performance rallies

UK construction performance rallies

Glenigan’s May Index finds increasing pockets of Growth amidst overall slowdown. Today, Glenigan, one of the construction industry’s leading insight experts, releases the May 2024 edition of its Construction Index.The Index focuses on the three months to the end of April 2024, covering all underlying projects, with a total value of £100m or less (unless otherwise indicated), with all figures seasonally adjusted. It’s a report which provides a detailed and comprehensive analysis of year-on-year construction data, giving built environment professionals a unique insight into sector performance over the last 12 months. The May Index is a mixed bag. Whilst the industry is undoubtedly struggling against strong social, political and economic headwinds, some sector verticals rallied. Hotel & leisure and office starts posted positive results compared to April figures. Whilst the value of underlying work starting on site during the three months to April experienced a 15% decline, and dropped 12% compared to 2023, the downward curve is starting to level out. Since January 2024, whilst performance is lower than the previous year, figures encouragingly remain stable. As Glenigan’s economist, Drilon Baca, says, “Whilst the first month of Q.2 remains weak, there has not been as dramatic a drop as we saw in Q.4 2023. Consumer confidence is gradually returning and the freeze private investment will likely thaw should this trend continue. In the public sector, all eyes will be on a new Government in H.2 2024, with departments often increasing funding for capital projects following a post-election spending review.” Taking a closer look at the sector verticals and the regional outlook… Sector Analysis – Residential Residential construction starts fell by almost a fifth (-18%) compared to 2023, and were down 16% on the preceding three months. Private housing dipped 14% against the previous three months to April, and decreased 17% compared to last year. The Index period was worse for social housing, tumbling 21% and weakening 19% against 2023 levels. Sector Analysis – Non-Residential There were a few reasons to be optimistic within non-residential verticals. The strongest performer in the May Index was hotel & leisure, which increased 11% against the preceding three months and last year. This welcome uptick was closely followed by office starts, which rose 7% during the Index period to finish 8% up on 2023 levels. Performance in some verticals was mixed. Whilst education saw the value of starts increase 9% against the preceding three months, it remained 7% lower than a year ago. In contrast, health starts decreased by 22% during the Index period, yet rose by the same amount compared to last year. This latter boost on 2023 can be attributed to the £80m development of a hospital ambulatory diagnostic centre at West Middlesex University Hospital, Isleworth, London. Even more impressive, despite decreasing 25% against the preceding three months, community and amenity starts were up a massive 46% on the previous year. Again, retail decreased 9% during the Index period, but demonstrated renewed strength when measured against 2023 activity, posting a 27% jump in performance levels. Despite showing a far more encouraging set of results compared to recent editions of the Index, some verticals remained in the doldrums. Industrial project starts experienced a poor period, with the value of starts on site slashed by 27% during the three months to April, down 43% compared to 2023. Civils plummeted by a third (-32%) during the Index period and dipped a modest 4% on 2023 levels. This was reflected in the infrastructure and utilities sub-verticals, which were down 31% and 32% against the preceding three months, and 4% and 3% below 2023 levels, respectively. Regional Outlook Performance was inconsistent across UK regions, however there were a few bright spots of activity. Northern Ireland fared particularly well, increasing 20% against the preceding three months to stand 33% up on the previous year. This can be partly attributed to a sharp boost in hotel & leisure-related activity, continuing the region’s recent growth streak. Elsewhere, it was an inconsistent picture, the North East saw the value of starts decrease by 2%, yet increase by 38% against 2023 figures. Whilst the value of starts in the South West declined 9% on last year, it was up 12% during the Index period. The North West stumbled 1% against the previous year and saw a modest increase of 2% in the three months to the end of April. Elsewhere, it was nothing but decline. Wales registered the worst performance of all, seeing the value of starts compared to 2023 almost halved (-44%) and over a third (-37%) against the preceding three months. It was a similar story in the East Midlands, which registered a dismal 43% drop on last year’s figures to slump by exactly a third (-33%) when matched against the three months to April. To varying degrees, London, South East, West Midlands, East of England, Yorkshire & Humber and Scotland, all posted declines during the Index period and compared to 2023 levels. Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals

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£1 Billion Mixed-Use Development Set to Revitalise Blackfriars in London

£1 Billion Mixed-Use Development Set to Revitalise Blackfriars in London

London is set to receive a significant boost with a £1 billion mixed-use property development in Blackfriars. The green light has been given to a property developer for the redevelopment of 18 Blackfriars, the former site of the Sainsbury’s headquarters. This area has remained largely vacant for over two decades, but plans are now underway to construct three buildings. Two of these will provide over 400 new homes, with 40 per cent designated as affordable housing. The third building will offer 800,000 square feet of office space. In addition to the residential and office components, the developers will also build 20,000 square feet of affordable workspace. There will be assembly rooms available for use by the local community, educational facilities, children’s play areas, and a new central public space featuring retail and food outlets. Ross Blair, senior managing director and country head of Hines UK, expressed enthusiasm about the project, stating, “Businesses are increasingly demanding more from their office spaces, and 18 Blackfriars aims to meet that challenge by delivering the office of the future. We believe our plans will establish a new standard for premium quality workspace in London, seamlessly integrated into its local community and strategically positioned in the heart of our capital city.” This development comes at a time of significant transformation for the UK office market. Commercial property values have faced challenges due to rising interest rates and concerns about the post-pandemic office market, particularly with the persistence of hybrid working trends. Businesses are also prioritizing environmentally sustainable office spaces that meet Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) targets. Blair highlighted the importance of environmental considerations, noting that many businesses are currently operating in spaces that fall short of their own environmental standards or employee needs. To address this, 18 Blackfriars Road has been designed to be fossil fuel-free, 100 per cent electric, and Net Zero Carbon in operation. The site’s heat demand will be served primarily by ground source heat pumps, with energy sharing, storage, and offsetting mechanisms in place. The development is slated for completion by the end of the decade and is part of a wave of new developments planned for London in the coming years. Olympia London, a project in Hammersmith set to open in 2025, will offer commercial office space along with amenities such as a new permanent theatre and a variety of restaurants. Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals

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The Future of Oxford Living Unveiled at Canalside Quarter

The Future of Oxford Living Unveiled at Canalside Quarter

Award-winning housebuilder, The Hill Group has launched Canalside Quarter, its highly-anticipated collection of new homes in Oxford North. The inaugural phase will deliver beautiful and contemporary homes that will place residents in the centre of the innovative new district; offering savvy buyers an exciting opportunity to become part of a transformative destination within a world-class city.  Designed by visionary architects Pollard Thomas Edwards, this impressive collection of 207 sustainable homes ranges from one to three-bedroom apartments to five-bedroom family homes set within eight acres of open green space.  Confident and striking, the streetscape at Canalside Quarter represents a new era of building style and a distinct departure from earlier 21st century architecture. Canalside Quarter is part of Oxford North, a revolutionary new district built on 64 acres of prime land within the city.  Connecting invention and investment to create opportunity, this stimulating extension to one of the word’s most famous cities will become a flagship destination. Providing an estimated 4,500 new jobs with incredible workspaces, state-of-the-art laboratories, cafes, bars, a hotel, a nursery, green space and cultural amenities, Oxford North will also prioritise sustainability, smart technology and diverse natural habitats. Canalside Quarter residents will benefit from this remarkable and unique environment, with all the essential elements to foster an exceptional lifestyle. Rebecca Littler, Group Sales and Marketing Director at The Hill Group comments: “At Canalside Quarter, you will be able to connect to one of the world’s greatest cities, while also being immersed within a revitalising green space that promotes a healthy lifestyle and community. Boldly modern in design, the architectural aesthetic and the inspiring new neighbourhood set a fresh standard for modern living. Hill is very excited to be a part of the evolution of this new district and vibrant setting.” Defined by exemplary natural surroundings and luxury contemporary design, the new homes have been thoughtfully crafted to the signature quality that Hill has become known for.  Embracing a modern way of living, the homes feature warm brick detailing and large expanses of glass that invite breathtaking vistas and flood interiors with an abundance of natural light.  Continuing this focus on the natural world, every residence has been designed to place emphasis on outdoor living and offers captivating views. Each apartment has been positioned to ensure that all balconies face onto the Neighbourhood Square, the development’s central hub, giving each home a view of the central green space.   Every opportunity to connect with the natural environment has been maximised, from porches, gardens, patios, balconies and roof terraces to living spaces that open directly to private outdoor spaces. Advanced insulation, energy-efficient appliances, water-saving technology and electric car charging points across the development also promote green living. Crafted to promote walking and cycling, lush verdant parks, historic woodlands, scenic canalside walks, leafy streets and eye-catching pavement planting bring nature to Canalside Quarter and create a restorative environment. The Neighbourhood Square will be a landscaped park with beautiful views where the community can come together and thrive. Play areas for children to explore and learn, and meadow grasslands where residents can relax, will also be incorporated into this remarkable new neighbourhood.  Located close to the scenic Oxford Canal and Canalside Park, the area will be a dynamic new gateway to Oxford. At just under a 15-minute cycle ride away from the iconic spires, residents will be able to embrace this mode of transport and many other opportunities to have an active lifestyle in Oxford North and beyond. The city offers excellent sports facilities and open green spaces that are ideal for running and walking, including Christ Church Meadow which is in the heart of the city and the Botanic Gardens, which feature rare and exotic plants.  In addition, the River Thames and the River Cherwell are home to days spent kayaking, paddleboarding, and of course, punting. The historic city of Oxford is lined with magnificent, mediaeval architecture and is well-known for its rich culture. Residents of Canalside Quarter will be able to access first-class theatre in venues such as the Oxford Playhouse and New Theatre Oxford and experience impressive live music throughout the year at The O2 Academy and more intimate classical concerts at the Town Hall and University of Oxford colleges. The city also hosts several festivals throughout the year, such as the Oxford Literary Festival, the Foodie Festival and the Oxford Bike Festival, to name just a few. For more information, please visit www.hill.co.uk/canalside-quarter Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals

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Reynaers launches new Digital Document Portal and Hardware Configurator

Reynaers launches new Digital Document Portal and Hardware Configurator

Reynaers Aluminium has launched two new online tools to provide fabricators and installers with real-time comprehensive product and technical information, as well as its hardware selection and comparator.  In line with its digitalisation strategy both software solutions are now accessible through Reynaers Customer Portal. Docu Portal brings together the equivalent of 20,000 catalogue pages and is the latest in a number of online tools from the aluminium systems specialist that have been designed to provide real time information to make it easier to design, order, fabricate and install the latest window, door and curtain walling solutions. Through Docu Portal, Reynaers’ customers will be able to quickly and easily access in-depth, technical guidance for the fabrication and installation of its systems. Through a personalised login, customers will also have the ability to save favourites. They will then receive specific notifications of any relevant updates. Within the Docu Portal system, a Hardware Configurator has also been created to offer rapid analysis of the best suited hardware for a project. Drawing on all available Reynaers’ products and compatible components, the hardware configurator provides an overview that allows products to be easily compared to identify the best solution. Martin Boland, Technical Support Manager at Reynaers Aluminium UK, said: “Developed specifically to address the challenge in accessing and searching through the vast amount of information available, Docu Portal has been designed to make life easier for fabricators and installers. “As well as easy navigation of over 20,000 documents, the customer can also compare and select a number of hardware solutions. Coming soon will be the ability to set up tailored mini manuals to access offline. Docu Portal is a real step forward in the journey to complete digitalisation.   “Ultimately we want to make life as easy as possible for our customers and by offering an up-to-date online solution to navigate our vast product range and technical support documentation, we aim to add real value to the support and products we provide.” Reynaers has introduced a number of digital innovations to help offer a seamless customer experience. These include a customer portal that links to a download centre containing technical information and allows deliveries to be tracked, while ReynaPro offers accurate pricing, generates order lists, production schedules, provides assembly instructions – and links to an electronic ordering system. Reynaers is also in the process of adding ‘digital passports’ to all systems that will provide electronic data associated with each individual product. Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals

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Work starts on new BTR development in Birmingham

Work starts on new BTR development in Birmingham

Construction work has commenced at Cordia UK’s latest project and inaugural build-to-rent (BTR) development, The Lampworks, in Birmingham. The Birmingham-based property developer has appointed Shropshire-based construction management practice buildfifty5 to deliver the main construction works for the project in partnership with residential general contractor Pedrano UK. The Lampworks will incorporate a total of 148 apartments and is set to be one of the most energy-efficient projects in Birmingham – offering exclusively A and B EPC-rated dwellings. As the first building in Cordia UK’s BTR portfolio, it will offer a combination of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and affordable homes, alongside contemporary commercial units on the ground floor set in a series of striking landscaped courtyards. Residents will have access to high-quality communal facilities, including a co-working space, individual meeting rooms, a shared lounge and a communal kitchen/diner, fit out with modern designs and the latest technologies. Located at the intersection of Great Hampton Street and Harford Street, The Lampworks will reflect the industrial heritage of the Jewellery Quarter. It forms part of Cordia UK’s wider vision for Great Hampton Street, a master plan to transform the area into a thriving residential and commercial destination. András Kárpáti, CEO at Cordia UK, said: “The Lampworks is the first development in our build-to-rent portfolio and a unique addition to Birmingham’s rental market – offering contemporary architectural design and amenities in a setting that maintains and reflects the Jewellery Quarter’s renowned heritage. “We are excited to be working with our construction partners buildfifty5 and Pedrano UK on the project and look forward to seeing our vision for Great Hampton Street continue to come to life with new residents and independent businesses.” As a member of one of the largest residential real estate development and investment groups in Europe, Cordia International (Member of Futureal Group), Cordia UK benefits from a vast track record of international projects and is driving forward innovative practices in the UK residential market. Construction at The Lampworks is being supported by Cordia International’s key strategic partner, Pedrano Group. With 15 years of experience in apartment developments across Europe, Pedrano will work closely with local contractor buildfifty5 to provide strategic direction on the project. Financial support for the development has been provided by Octopus Real Estate, part of Octopus Investments and a leading specialist real estate investor and lender, with assistance from financial advisor BBS Capital. The loan was provided as part of its Greener Homes Alliance with Homes England, which pledges to commit £172 million in finance and expert support to SME housebuilders ─ enabling them to build more high-quality, energy-efficient homes throughout England. Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals

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Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Lord Cameron visits Clyde Waterfront & Renfrew Riverside

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Lord Cameron visits Clyde Waterfront & Renfrew Riverside

The first opening road bridge across the River Clyde has been hailed as ‘a gamechanger’ as politicians visited the site in Renfrewshire last Friday 3rd May. GRAHAM and Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson welcomed UK Government Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Lord Cameron to see the first section of the road bridge which was installed last week. Working on behalf of our client Renfrewshire Council the new bridge is part of the £117million Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside project, funded as part of the £1.13billion Glasgow City Region City Deal. Since construction has commenced, GRAHAM has supported more than 950 jobs and generated hundreds of subcontract and supplier opportunities, many of which were taken up by local Renfrewshire businesses. The new Renfrew Bridge will connect Renfrew with Clydebank and Yoker and open up work, health, education and leisure opportunities on both sides of the Clyde – with the potential for thousands of additional jobs, fresh investment and new developments brought to the riverside. In addition to the new bridge, the project will create additional connecting roads, cycling and walking routes which will link Inchinnan Road in Renfrew with Yoker Railway Station, using the new Renfrew North Development Road. It will also see improved access for businesses and suppliers to the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS), which is Scotland’s home of manufacturing innovation AMIDS and is being developed by the Council in collaboration with Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise. The south section of the 184-metre cable-stayed twin-leaf bridge has been installed on the Renfrew side of the river at Meadowside Street with the second section of the bridge due to arrive later this month, to be fixed into place at Dock Street in Clydebank – bringing a direct link across the Clyde between the two towns for the first time. Jim Armour, GRAHAM Contracts Manager said: “The project brings many opportunities for Renfrewshire and the Glasgow City region – opening doors on both sides of the river with the construction of the new bridge, connecting roads and active travel routes. The team have worked incredibly hard to reach this significant milestone and now focus on the second section of the bridge arriving later this month.” Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “This project is going to be a gamechanger not only for the two towns, but for wider Renfrewshire and the Glasgow City Region. “The investment of £117million into Renfrewshire through this project outlines this council’s continued ability to deliver nationally significant projects successfully – with the renovation of Paisley Town Hall into one of Scotland’s top entertainment venues, the creation of the Paisley Learning and Cultural Hub, and the ongoing transformation of Paisley Museum into a world-class visitor destination further proof of positive capital investment we are bringing to the area. “The new bridge, and its new connecting roads and active travel routes, will offer opportunities on both sides of the river – not only for connectivity and leisure, but for access to new homes, developments and highly skilled jobs within the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS) based at Netherton next to Glasgow Airport.” The bridge is due to be completed ahead of schedule and be fully operational for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists in Autumn 2024. Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals

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Northumberland housing company announces ambitious growth plans

Northumberland housing company announces ambitious growth plans

A Northumberland-based housing developer has announced plans to double its turnover to £80m and further increase its workforce. Having recently grown from 40 to now 70 employees it now has ambitions to take this to over 100 employees within the next year. To hit its targets, Ascent Homes will add four new sites across the North East. This expansion will bring the developer’s portfolio of sites to 14 by 2027, equalling approx. 1,300 homes – a significant milestone in the organisation’s growth journey. Paul Errington, Director at Ascent Homes, said: “With our homes being in the stunning county of Northumberland, we have seen people across the UK showing an increased interest in our beautifully located developments, especially since the pandemic. “This has fuelled our ambitions for sustainable expansion, not just in Northumberland but across the wider region. Our growth is supported by newly secured land opportunities, which will enable us to introduce new and affordable housing solutions to more communities across the region.” “Our turnover was circa £30m last year, and we are confident that we can double that in the next few years.” Ascent Homes is the housebuilding arm of Advance Northumberland. It is an agile Northumberland-based housing developer dedicated to delivering developments that have a genuinely positive impact on those who live in and around them. Ascent Homes has built 600 properties in the North East, including over 100 affordable homes, making it a significant contributor to the regional economy, creating jobs and strengthening local supply chains. Current developments are located in Alnwick, Blyth, Choppington, Ellington and Wooler, with plans to develop more in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Bellingham and Hadston this year. Paul continued: “A key part of our growth plan is focused on the expansion of our skilled team. By the end of the year, we’re aiming to increase our headcount to over 100 employees. “It’s a very exciting time for Ascent Homes. Our next chapter presents lots of opportunities for locals, buyers, suppliers, and landowners. As we continue to grow, we remain dedicated to providing the right housing, in the right areas, at the right price for the people of the North East.” To find out more about Ascent Homes, visit: www.ascent-homes.co.uk Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals

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