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Army estates chief crosses to private sector


January 19, 2021 – Consulting engineer Ramboll has recruited former Brigadier Jim Crawford to run its defence and public sector procurement.

Ramboll works for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation and the Foreign Commonwealth Development office, as well as the Falkland Islands government.

Jim Crawford joins Ramboll following a 30-plus year career in the British army. He was most recently head of infrastructure and estate strategy, UK Strategic Command. In this role he oversaw a £300m facilities management budget and £150m a year of capital works.

“Jim is an accomplished leader and brings a wealth of expertise and experience that will support us in delivering on our ambitions in the defence and public sector,” said Andrew Henderson, Ramboll’s head of buildings in the UK. “Jim’s knowledge, project and programme experience, coupled with his technical background as a chartered engineer and fellow of both the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and Institution of Royal Engineers will undoubtedly support us in our growth ambitions.”

Brigadier Crawford said: “I’m delighted to be joining Ramboll during these challenging times for our industry and nation. It is clear to me that engineering and infrastructure is going to be at the forefront of the recovery, and I am looking forward to taking on this challenge with the team”.


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Inverness Castle transformation moves forward


January 19, 2020 – Statutory applications have now been lodged with the Highland Council for the planned transformation of Inverness Castle into a tourism gateway for the region.

The applications are for listed building consent and building warrant approval.

The applications, submitted by project architects LDN Architects, are in preparation for the main building works contract. This contract will be subject to a tender process beginning this spring.

The applications cover the works necessary to restore the Category A Listed building and convert it for use as a new visitor attraction.

The council said that, given potential impacts arising from Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic, the programme of works for the main tender will not be finalised until completion of the tender process. At present, the proposed works include conservation of the building fabric, accessibility and environmental upgrades and new additions. In addition, the proposed works include a new café space and external viewing terraces.

Enabling works under way involve demolition, asbestos surveys, timber preservation surveys and structural checks.

The transformation of Inverness Castle is supported by £15m investment from the Scottish government and £3m from the UK government i through the city region deal.

Provost of Inverness and area, Cllr Helen Carmichael, said: “The Inverness Castle project is vital to the regeneration of our city centre and the wider tourism economy of the Highland region. It is exciting to see the progress towards the Inverness Castle becoming a ‘must-see’ attraction that will draw visitors to the Highlands.”


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Plant business unveils plans for £33.8m leisure development


January 19, 2021 – Plant machinery company Morris Leslie has unveiled proposals for a £33.8m leisure-led development in the Perthshire area where it is based.

The leisure-based destination is planned for West Kinfauns, where Morris Leslie has its headquarters.

The development would include a four-star hotel, lodge-style cabins and a museum telling the story of transport and vehicles over the last century, with a focus on the impact of those from Scotland on this and more specifically the local area.

A proposal of application notice (PAN) has been submitted to Perth & Kinross Councill, noting the intent of Morris Leslie to submit a planning application following a minimum 12-week period of consultation.

Company chairman Morris Leslie said: “This exciting £33.8 million development provides the perfect opportunity to maximise the potential of the location and draw tourism to the area on a local and national basis.

“Well-connected to the surrounding road network, including the A90, this premium destination will provide a gateway to Perth, to the surrounding area and beyond.

“The proposed scheme is of a scale that can support additional development and is ideally placed in terms of transport connection. It is also in a beautiful location with wonderful views.”

The site has been identified as a location for Perth’s proposed park and ride, which has planning consent, and the intention is to incorporate this into the development, if progressed by the council.

The museum would showcase how vehicles have evolved and the impact of Scots on this sector, including David Buick (founder of Buick), William Davidson (co-founder of Harley Davidson), and Preston Watson from Dundee who it is claimed, but not officially recorded, had the first powered flight at Errol some ten months before the Wright brothers.

It is also the intention to put on feature displays which will change twice annually.  Such displays could focus on Grand Prix and racing cars driven by Scots, such as Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart and Dario Franchitti, the story of Stagecoach, or famous Scots on two wheels.

Council leader Murray Lyle said: “These plans, although at an early stage, are a significant vote of confidence in Perth and Kinross and our ambitious plans for the area, which include the redevelopment of Perth City Hall to house the Stone of Destiny and the creation of the Cross Tay Link Road.”


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Orascom team picked for 1,000km high-speed railway


January 19, 2020 – A team of Orascom Construction, Siemens Mobility and Arab Contractors has been chosen to build Egypt’s first high-speed rail system.

The team has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) for the design, installation and commissioning.

The agreement encompasses a rail system with a network of 1,000km. The first high-speed line will stretch across 460km and has an order value of around US$3bn (£2.2bn). This initial line, which will also be operable for freight transport, will connect Ain Sokhna to Al Alamein while passing through the New Administrative Capital.

Osama Bishai, CEO of Orascom Construction, saidd, “We continue to build on our track record as a major player in the transportation sector. Following our joint success with Siemens on Egypt’s mega power projects, we are pleased to partner once again with our long-term repeat partner. This project will connect distant parts of Egypt in a sustainable manner while contributing to the infrastructure and economic development of the country.”


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£250m Richmond Homebase-to-housing development cleared


January 19, 2021 – London developer Avanton has been granted go-ahead by secretary of state Robert Jenrick for a £250m housing development on the site of an old Homebase store.

The development will comprise 453 flats on a 4.5 acre site off Manor Road in Richmond upon Thames, southwest London.

Avanton bought the Homebase site in 2018 and submitted a planning application, which was initially refused by Richmond Council in 2019. The mayor of London intervened, called the scheme in and granted planning permission in October 2020.

Given the local controversy, the scheme was referred to the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, who has now decided not to interfere, allowing the mayor’s decision to prevail.

Existing buildings will be demolished and replaced with four new buildings between four and 11 storeys tall. The buildings are designed by Assael Architecture.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “This site is well-connected, under-utilised, previously developed land that is exactly the kind of site we need to intensify if we are to develop in a sustainable manner, protect the green belt, and deliver the homes Londoners need.”

Construction of the project will start in summer 2021 and is expected to take 30 months, a spokesperson for Avanton said.

Before the machinery gets moving in Richmond, Avanton’s new Ruby Triangle development on Old Kent Road in Southwark starts in March 2021 work. The first phase will have 550 homes, leading to 1,152 eventually, as well as a new sport centre.

Elsewhere on Old Kent Road, Avanton is seeking permission for a £230m residential-led mixed use regeneration project, building 750 flats and  50,000 sq ft of light industrial commercial use on the site of SGN gasholders.


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CICV Forum promotes proper mask use [– with video]


January 11, 2021  – A new animated campaign from the Construction Industry Coronavirus (CICV) Forum is urging operatives to make a safe start to 2021 by using the right face covering in the right way.

The Scottish collective of trade associations, private companies and professional bodies has launched an animation and downloadable infographic to remind workers that it’s vitally important to help protect everyone by following the rules.

The CICV Forum has also reinforced its ongoing reminders to workers about travelling and working in domestic projects safely and staying Covid-aware in their social lives, as well as issuing a reminder to the public to allow construction operatives to carry out their work unhindered.

The latest initiative – headlined Mask for Task: Cover for Covid – follows the decision at the start of the New Year that the construction industry in Scotland is to continue in operation despite restrictions in other areas.

The infographic emphasises that workers should wear the appropriate respirator or mask that the task demands and that a face covering of suitable material should be worn when moving around site.

It also gives specific instructions on how to – and how not to – wear face coverings as well as instructions for taking care of personal protective equipment, such as storing masks in a sealable bag when not in use.

The Forum is also reiterating the collective’s latest guidance on practical measures that contractors and workers can follow to protect themselves, their colleagues, and customers, friends and family. The suite of guidance has outlined safety during domestic projects, guidance on returning to work safely, the importance of physical distancing outside work and giving contractors space to carry out essential work.

Rebecca Crosland, health and safety adviser at the Building Engineering Services Association and chair of the Forum’s health and safety sub-group, said: “With essential construction work being allowed to continue during lockdown, it is incumbent on everyone working in the sector to ensure that they are operating safely, whatever their capacity.

“One of the most direct ways of doing this is to ensure correct mask use, which our latest infographic and animation promotes. The information is easy to follow and will help operatives protect themselves and their colleagues, customers, friends and family.

“We are also repeating our other range of health and safety messaging about travel, social distancing and domestic work to ensure everyone is clear on exactly what behaviours are required at all times.”

Iain Mason, director of membership and communications at Select and chair of the Forum’s Ccmmunications sub-group, added: “Since the CICV Forum was established, our animations and infographics have proved effective tools and helped us deliver essential messaging to an extremely wide audience.

“The new animation is designed to be shared on social media and the poster can be downloaded free of charge from our website. Both reinforce the responsibility that everyone in construction shares to make sure that they use the correct face covering for the correct situation, worn in the correct manner.”


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