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STEPNELL ANNOUNCES TWO NEW SENIOR APPOINTMENTS

COMPLETE construction partner, Stepnell, has announced two new strategic hires with the appointment of Lewis Archibald as framework director and Sheona Macmillan as sustainability manager. Both roles will support Stepnell’s framework performance growth and bolster its sustainable commitments to project delivery for customers. Lewis joins with nearly 30 years of

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TowerEight’s growth continues as it expands across UK

TowerEight, the leading UK independent project and cost management consultancy, is set to hit £12m turnover and grow by almost a quarter in the coming year.  The firm is also contemplating, for the first time, opening an overseas office. The consultancy, based on London’s Great Portland Street, will grow revenue

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UK Green Building Council Aims to Foster Collab Through Innovation Lab

The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has introduced a “radical new approach” to inspiring innovation in the built environment, after launching its first Innovation Lab that will offer workshops and collaborative opportunities to develop new solutions in the construction industry. Announced on Thursday (5 January), UK-GBC’s Innovation Lab brings in

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Story Contracting New Chief Plans 30% Revenue Rise

Story Contracting new chief executive Jason Butterworth has set out plans to expand the North of England construction group after joining the business from Balfour at the end of last year. The former Balfour Beatty engineering services Midlands and Northern director plans to recruit over 100 extra staff in the

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Sirius Reveals £1bn Finance Plan For York Mine Construction

The developer of a major North Yorkshire mining project has revealed a £1 billion financing plan to allow construction to get under way, having agreed a £245 million deal with a firm chaired by an Australian billionaire. Last month, Sirius Minerals entered into the £245 million finance deal with Hancock

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Construction Giant Nacanco Reports Growth in 15th Year

Italy-based construction giant Nacanco has reported growth in the first half of its 15th year in operation. This comes on the heels of the company’s activities to expand its fleet and increase its presence in the construction industry. Managing Director, Marzia Giusto, reported a 5% increase in sales and a corresponding

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Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024

Construction News

STEPNELL ANNOUNCES TWO NEW SENIOR APPOINTMENTS

COMPLETE construction partner, Stepnell, has announced two new strategic hires with the appointment of Lewis Archibald as framework director and Sheona Macmillan as sustainability manager. Both roles will support Stepnell’s framework performance growth and bolster its sustainable commitments to project delivery for customers. Lewis joins with nearly 30 years of industry experience, having spent his career working across a variety of preconstruction and estimating roles. At Stepnell, Lewis will continue to add to the complete construction partner’s 15-strong portfolio of both regional and national frameworks. Lewis will also be responsible for increasing the number of framework projects, so that Stepnell can continue to provide better service, earlier contractor involvement and more certainty of delivery. Lewis said: “I’m delighted to be taking on this role during a time of significant growth for Stepnell. Our work to deliver construction excellence – via an increasing number of framework projects – is crucial to our service proposition and the success of the business. “I’m looking forward to accelerating delivery and efficiencies at project and programme level, as well as driving forward innovation for projects, helping to ensure they are on time and within budget. This is an excellent time to be joining Stepnell, with a huge amount of potential to enhance our position, which I hope to achieve.” Stepnell’s new sustainability manager, Sheona, brings seven years of environmental management experience to the role from across rail, construction and military sectors. Sheona will be instrumental to the implementation of sustainability solutions for projects across the entire business. Sheona said: “Supporting Stepnell to achieve and increase our sustainability goals is vital for success. I am therefore very much looking forward to leading the business on its sustainability journey and developing and driving forward new initiatives. By prioritising early engagement with our customers, and through using the most effective sustainable resources and technologies, Stepnell will further minimise waste, reduce carbon emissions, prioritise renewable energy and encourage biodiversity across our sites.” Tom Wakeford, joint managing director at Stepnell, added: “We are pleased to welcome Lewis and Sheona, who will both play an integral part in the continued growth and success of Stepnell. Investing in new talent helps our teams to unlock new and exciting opportunities, while expanding and strengthening our service offering. As they both develop in their roles, we are certain that Lewis and Sheona will make a significant and positive impact to the business, and we look forward to supporting them to do this.” To find out more about Stepnell, visit: www.stepnell.co.uk and for information about Stepnell’s framework partnerships visit www.stepnell.co.uk/frameworks . Join the conversation at @Stepnellltd.

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TowerEight’s growth continues as it expands across UK

TowerEight, the leading UK independent project and cost management consultancy, is set to hit £12m turnover and grow by almost a quarter in the coming year.  The firm is also contemplating, for the first time, opening an overseas office. The consultancy, based on London’s Great Portland Street, will grow revenue by 22% in the financial year to May, an increase on the £8.9m achieved in the previous financial year. The company – founded six years ago by former JLL directors Simon Craven, James Morris, Adam Mursal and Toby Wait – is predicting further like for like growth in the coming year. TowerEight has grown its presence across the UK, England and Wales, and is now looking at opening new offices in locations outside of London following client requirements for European and US projects. James Morris explained: “Clients are looking for good advice and we’re finding that, slightly controversially, one of our big opportunities at the moment is projects that are coming through where existing consultants haven’t performed quite as well as they should of. “We’re being put in to sort out problems and take projects forward and on the back of work like that we’ve been able to recruit some fairly important and talented people.” TowerEight has expanded from the hospitality and leisure sectors then growing into the residential, commercial and education sectors, now moving into healthcare over the past year. The company’s healthcare provision had grown through its hospitality work, as senior living centres and private hospitals try to operate more like hotels. Among recent projects, TowerEight has been appointed to several projects as a cost and project manager for Quintain on the 85-acre Wembley scheme and its ongoing work for Whitbread. The company’s staff numbers have increased over the last financial year to 89 and James Morris anticipates the firm increasing to 100 employees by the end of the 2017.  There have been seven new recruits at TowerEight since the start of the year, as the business expands across sectors but also takes on more work across the UK. “Hiring new staff that have the right blend of experience is critical to ensuring that our clients receive the best service, all of the time, and Thomas and Syed bring a highly complementary range of knowledge. The ability to attract the right recruits in a very competitive market place shows the strength of our market proposition and the quality of our client list. The new hires have been made in response to a series of new project wins and growth, adding further expertise to TowerEight’s project and cost management teams.

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UK Green Building Council Aims to Foster Collab Through Innovation Lab

The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has introduced a “radical new approach” to inspiring innovation in the built environment, after launching its first Innovation Lab that will offer workshops and collaborative opportunities to develop new solutions in the construction industry. Announced on Thursday (5 January), UK-GBC’s Innovation Lab brings in Canary Wharf Group, Land Securities and Marks & Spencer (M&S) as lead partners in the initiative’s overall aim to foster innovative sustainability solutions and explore future trends of the built environment. UK-GBC’s head of leadership and innovation Cat Hirst said: “Research and Development levels across our industry are painfully low; the UK currently only spends £43m on construction R&D. The risks to a single company of investing in developing a solution for such a high-cost industry is often seen as prohibitive. But we desperately need to find ways of working together to achieve radical change if we are to challenge business as usual and transition to a sustainable way of working. “At UK-GBC we’re seeking to catalyse this change by using our unique position to convene our member organisations to work together to address the issues our industry faces.  We want to ensure there is the time, space, and structure for open innovation to occur for the built environment.” The Innovation Lab officially began last month with a workshop aimed at identifying “breakthrough challenges” that will form the basis for the next nine-months of workshops and programmes; Thursday marks the official announcement from UK-GBC. The initial workshop highlighted the key challenges that the industry will face in regards to climate resilience, resource efficiency and technological advancements. The next workshop will be held on 1 February and the open format allows members to collaborate to share both risks and rewards. Land Securities head of sustainability Caroline Hill said: “The Innovation Lab will provide us with an exciting opportunity to work and collaborate with businesses in the property industry, to explore innovative sustainable solutions. Most importantly we want to see how sustainability can help to break through some of the challenges our sector is currently facing.” Read more here.

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Story Contracting New Chief Plans 30% Revenue Rise

Story Contracting new chief executive Jason Butterworth has set out plans to expand the North of England construction group after joining the business from Balfour at the end of last year. The former Balfour Beatty engineering services Midlands and Northern director plans to recruit over 100 extra staff in the next 12 months as the group expands its four operations covering plant hire, construction, rail and house building by 30% this year. Profits have grown by 73% in the last three years and Butterworth aims to raise turnover to more than £120m for 2016/2017 In November, Butterworth replaced Fred Story, the founder and owner of Story Contracting who now has taken the role of chairman. Butterworth brings over 15 years’ experience in the rail industry having also worked in the past for Carillion, WSP, McNicholas and N G Bailey. He said: “The business is at an exciting stage of its development and due to celebrate 30th years in business this year. I am looking forward to working closely with Fred to make our shared ambitions for the business become a reality.” The contracting business extended its Carlisle headquarters at the end of 2016 to accommodate the recruitment of 100 new people during the course of the next twelve months. Story Contracting, which employs over 500 staff, is also planning on merging its two offices in Scotland’s Central Belt to provide a combined depot and office base for its rail and plant teams. Read more here.

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Government Kick-Starts Starter Homes Plan with Construction Green Light

Ministers have given the green light for construction to begin on thousands of discounted homes for first-time buyers. The government chose 30 local authorities to partner with in developing the first wave of Starter Homes, which will be available to buyers aged 23-40 at 20 per cent below market value. The homes will be built on brownfield sites across the UK, with the councils being chosen on availability of land and ability to deliver homes quickly. The partnerships between the Homes and Communities Agency and the local authorities have been established under the government’s £1.2bn Starter Homes Land Fund, which was launched last April. The fund supports the acquisition, remediation and de-risking of brownfield land for Starter Home developments. Construction of the first Starter Homes will begin later this year. Housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell said: “This government is committed to building Starter Homes to help young first-time buyers get on the housing ladder. “This first wave of partnerships shows the strong local interest to build thousands of Starter Homes on hundreds of brownfield sites in the coming years. One in three councils has expressed an interest to work with us so far.” Read more at https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/markets/sectors/housing/government-kick-starts-starter-homes-construction/10016061.article    

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Sirius Reveals £1bn Finance Plan For York Mine Construction

The developer of a major North Yorkshire mining project has revealed a £1 billion financing plan to allow construction to get under way, having agreed a £245 million deal with a firm chaired by an Australian billionaire. Last month, Sirius Minerals entered into the £245 million finance deal with Hancock Prospecting, which is a privately owned firm operating in the agricultural and mining sectors which is chaired by the richest woman in Australia, Gina Rinehart. Along with the royalty financing deal with Hancock, Sirius said it would launch an underwritten placing and open offer to raise around £330 million to £400 million and an underwritten convertible bond offering to raise around £326 million to £367 million. Chris Fraser, Sirius Managing Director, said that the scheme will create jobs throughout Teesside and North Yorkshire, and represents a major business investment in the UK. ‘Compelling value proposition’ Fraser continued: “It’s been a long journey to this point, and we still have some way to go, but I want to thank everyone who has supported the company in its efforts to reach this major milestone. “Once we have received shareholder approval, we want to get on with the job of delivering this compelling value proposition, not only for our shareholders but also for the North Yorkshire community.” Sirius is anticipating that the project will progress in two phases: the initial construction phase and the expansion phase. The initial construction phase is intended to achieve first production from the mine within the next five years. The expansion phase will be funded from operational cash flows and is intended to eventually increase production capacity subject to receipt of further planning permissions and the completion of additional infrastructure. This first tranche of cash will finance the cost of all site preparation, mine shaft excavations, tunnel caverns and the money is expected to be spent in three years. The second round of fundraising will bring in a further US$1.8 billion.

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Construction Giant Nacanco Reports Growth in 15th Year

Italy-based construction giant Nacanco has reported growth in the first half of its 15th year in operation. This comes on the heels of the company’s activities to expand its fleet and increase its presence in the construction industry. Managing Director, Marzia Giusto, reported a 5% increase in sales and a corresponding increase in the company’s operating profit. He claimed this was in part due to longer average rental contracts and utilisation which grew from 62% to 65% in two years. Company reports also indicate that the firm’s ReRent service continually records profits. The company has also invested in expanding its fleet. It recently purchased JLG electric scissor lifts with 8m-10m working heights, an 18m JLG diesel articulated boom lifts and 20m Socage truck mounts. Nacanco now boasts more than 2500 pieces of equipment for hire. This comprises over 100 different models with a range of capabilities catering for heights between 3 and 43 metres. The Managing Director went on to recall the giant strides made by Nacanco’s sister company. Nacanco Service grew in terms of turnover, number of certified operators and range of different training facilities it provides. Giusto, stated that the company expects to keep the current growth rates and margins until the end of the year. The announcement comes as Nacanco celebrates 15 years in the aerial equipment rental sector. Employees celebrated with an open day at the company’s head office in Montichiari, Brescia. The celebrations also saw the launch of a new branch in Verona, a city in the north of Italy. ‘Increase the level of services’ Commenting on the launch of the new branch, the commercial director of Nacanco, Ramon Santamaria stated that it was part of the company’s strategy to increase the level of services offered to final users, both in terms of the variety of equipment offered and the firm’s presence in the industry.”

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Eric Wright Group Revenues Increase Despite Disappointing Construction Performance

Eric Wright Group has seen revenues increase by a tenth despite profits taking a hit due to a “disappointing” performance from its construction sector. Latest accounts show that the group generated a £177.4 million turnover in the last calendar year. This is a 10% increase on the previous year. Meanwhile, profits before tax decreased by 14% to £7.8 million over the same time frame. Eric Wright Group is the holding company behind the Eric Wright group of companies. The group’s activities include facilities management, property development, civil engineering, contracting and building. Alongside the accounts there was also a report. In this, chairman Eric Wright stated that “the principal reason behind the reduced profitability was the disappointing performance reported by our construction division.” Wright continued: “Despite the reduced operating profit in construction, its turnover was £17m stronger in 2015 contributing to an overall group turnover of £177m, some £17m higher than the prior year. The other division which saw a significant increase in turnover during 2015 was the water and civil engineering business up at £42m (2014: £28m).” The chairman also said that the construction division was unable to meet programme commitments on two private finance initiative (PFI) contracts. As a result were liable for “substantial liquidated damages and incurred significant cost overruns.” The losses incurred from these contracts were “onerous” because of the conditions associated with PFI contracts and had a severe impact on the results for last year. ‘Excellent progress’ He added that the resulting £1.7 million loss saw further increase following the resolution of positions on some legacy contracts. As well as this, general market factors resulted in unforeseen delays to secured contracts starting onsite. Jeremy Hartley, managing director at the Eric Wright Group, said: “The group made some excellent progress across many of its core businesses in 2015, ending the year with another robust set of financial results – a profit before tax of £9.88m.

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