16/03/15
Skanska will start work immediately on the £165m New Papworth Hospital at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus after reaching financial close.

The public-private partnership contract includes design, build, finance and hard and soft facilities management.

The construction contract is worth around £140m and will be completed in 2018. Hard facilities management services at the hospital will also be provided by Skanska for a 30-year post-completion period.

Skanska’s share of the equity investment will be 50% and Equitix will commit the remaining finance.

The firm was named preferred bidder back in December 2013 beating shortlisted rival Bouygues after two years of final stage bidding. Financial closed was hoped to have been achieved last autumn.

Papworth Hospital, which will cover a 40,000m2 area when complete, will provide 300 beds, seven operating theatres and five catheterisation labs.

Latest BIM technology will be used in the design phase to maximise energy efficiency and ensure the hospital offers long-term flexibility.

The cardiothoracic care hospital is designed to achieve an EPC ‘B’ energy rating, the first hospital in the UK to do so.

Measures to reduce carbon emissions will include a large-scale ground-source heat pump system.

Terry Elphick, Managing Director, Skanska UK, said: “We will be consulting with all stakeholders throughout construction, an approach we like to take on our healthcare projects around the world, for example Barts and The Royal London, Derby City General Hospital, UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre, the Proton Therapeutical Centre Teaching Hospital in the Czech Republic and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in the USA.”
16/03/15
Retail developer Intu has unveiled plans to revamp its shopping centre in the heart of Milton Keynes.

The proposals for the shopping centre, expected to cost more than £70m, include more shops, a new dining quarter, green spaces for families to relax at lunchtime and a five-screen boutique cinema.

Work on the 430,000 sq ft complex will focus on remodelling the centrally connected, Midsummer Boulevard area.

Martin Breeden, regional director of intu, said: “The mission here is twofold: to create prime, well configured retail and catering space and also high quality public spaces.  

“We are looking forward to making the most of the Boulevard area.”

The proposed work at intu Milton Keynes is part of a £1.3bn development pipeline in the UK over the next 10 years by intu.

Last month, intu revealed proposals for the redevelopment of Nottingham’s intu Broadmarsh. And construction work is well advanced on the restaurant and leisure extension at intu Potteries in Stoke-on-Trent, due to open in autumn 2015.
16/03/15
Bouygues and Interserve Construction have won the contracts to build specialist cancer hospitals kitted out with the next generation of tumour treatment technology.

The Government has committed £250m to fund two Proton Beam Therapy centres – one in London and the other in Manchester.

Bouygues will deliver a 360,000 sq ft cancer treatment facility to be built at Grafton Way, next to University College of London hospital, near Tottenham Court Road.

The main building consists of seven above ground levels and four below ground basement levels and will cost around £150m.

PBT and plant consume the majority of the basement levels, the remaining is given over to operating theatres and imaging.

Bouygues is set to start construction work this spring, once final site preparations are finished.

In Manchester, Interserve Construction has the job to build a £100m facility at The Christie Hospital on the site formerly occupied by the Young Oncology Unit located on Oak Road.

Interserve is due to start work on the five-storey building in May, with Arup acting as the M&E consultant on both projects.

The new facilities will give hundreds of cancer patients, particularly children, access to the highly-targeted form of radiotherapy.

The key benefit of proton beam therapy is that it can treat hard to reach cancers without causing damage to the surrounding, healthy, tissues.
17/11/14
AFC Wimbledon have submitted plans to return to their traditional south west London home.

The Dons aim to build an 11,000-seat stadium, which could be expanded to 20,000 later, on the site of Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium.

Dons chief executive Erik Samuelson said: “This is the culmination of 18 months’ intensive work.

“It is an extremely comprehensive proposal covering every aspect of the development and associated issues.”

The club will also partner up with Galliard Homes to deliver 600 homes at the Plough Lanes site,  literally yards from the former football ground.

This will help to fund the £16m cost of building a new stadium.

The original Wimbledon FC was forced to leave Plough Lane in 1991 following the publication of the Taylor Report.

And after sharing Selhurst Park with Crystal Palace until 2002, moved to Milton Keynes.

AFC Wimbledon, formed in 2002 in response to the relocation, have played all their home games at Kingsmeadow, also home to non-league Kingstonian.
17/11/14
Great Portland Estates has confirmed a pipeline of work in London worth up to £489m.

The schemes were highlighted in the developer’s half year results and include:

73/89 Oxford Street, W1, demolition works are expected to commence in early 2015 on achieving vacant possession for the development of 33,500 sq ft of retail space which sits directly opposite the Dean Street entrance to the Tottenham Court Road Crossrail station.

Oxford House, W1, a planning application will go in during the first quarter of 2015 for a 91,200 sq ft major refurbishment scheme of the mixed-use property, incorporating a significant increase in the retail space.

Tasman House, 59/63 Wells Street, W1, a planning application will be submitted by the end of the year to replace a tired 1950′s building with 38,100 sq ft of new office and retail space.

148 Old Street, EC1, plans are being worked up for the major refurbishment of the existing 97,800 sq ft building to create around 151,700 sq ft of high quality office space. GPE expect to achieve vacant possession prior to next summer.

Hanover Square, W1, plans for a 207,200 sq ft development scheme, owned in our 50/50 joint venture with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, for a potential start in 2016 on delivery of the station structure by Crossrail.

Toby Courtauld, Chief Executive, said: “London continues to consolidate its position as one of the world’s most successful city economies: jobs are being created at the fastest rate in a generation across a range of industries; the Capital’s businesses are investing for growth; and its appeal as an investment destination of choice continues unabated.”
17/11/14
London office construction is set to boom again after a brief lull in new projects coming forward.

According to the latest London Office Crane Survey 22 new office construction projects started in the six months to September.

At 2.1m sq ft, this is almost double the volume of new space started compared to the previous six months.

The projects will stoke up an already overheated construction market in the capital which has been driven by surging high-rise residential projects.

Steve Johns, head of City leasing at Deloitte Real Estate, said: “The sharpest rise in construction starts is in the City of London, where 10 new office buildings are now underway.

“This includes over a million sq ft in the City core and over 500,000 sq ft in ‘tech city’, accounting for three quarters of the volume of space across all the new schemes we’ve recorded.

“The West End has also seen 10 new starts, adding 462,000 sq ft to the development pipeline, while Southbank, Midtown and Docklands have seen no new construction this survey.”

He predicted: “With occupier demand expected to remain strong we foresee further increases in pre-letting activity, and demand for the best space to exceed new supply for the next three years.

“Nevertheless, with over 5m sq ft now being demolished – a rise of 18% in six months – developers are racing against the clock to deliver buildings while new supply remains relatively low.”

The Deloitte Real Estate crane survey reveals that even with this rise in the number and volume of new schemes, the total amount of office space under construction in central London is actually down to 7.7m sq ft.

This is below the long-run average delivery of around 10m sq ft, partly due to the 3.7m sq ft of office space completing since the last survey.
07/10/14
Developers in London are starting to dig deep and pay premiums to contractors in a race to get schemes built while demand remains high.

This rush to market has triggered sharp construction price inflation as nervous developers race to get building work underway with the best project delivery teams.

A report by cost consultant E C Harris into the Capital’s prime residential market warns many schemes in the pipeline will hit a bottleneck due to shortage of contractors able to deliver the required quality of work.

Mark Farmer, EC Harris Head of Residential, said: “The ability of the major players to source multiple delivery teams, as well as their intended Tier 2 fitting out supply chain, is the biggest immediate threat to project delivery.

“We are starting to observe real problems in the construction process.

“There is simply not the capacity out there to meet demand and many projects will undoubtedly fall by the wayside or experience delivery difficulties due to sheer lack of resources.

“Many developers and investors, when in a position to do so, are therefore looking to jump the queue and are paying premiums for construction so they can deliver on promises they have already made to their purchasers.”

The number of luxury homes currently being planned or under construction in London hit a record high this year, with around £60bn of properties currently due to be delivered over the next decade, a 20% increase on 2013.

In volume terms this equates to a record 25,000 homes.

The report warns that there are just 20 tier one contractors and even fewer competent fit-out specialists with the right capability in the market.

Farmer said: “What is of more concern is the tier 2 trade contractor bottleneck that is evident, given the prospective volume in the pipeline.

“At the moment, the peak of potential development activity in 2017 could be double what may be possible for the competent and qualified residential construction market to deliver at current capacity.”
07/10/14
The London Mayor has stepped in over a planning strategy for the Isle of Dogs amid concerns that too many tall buildings could ruin the capital’s skyline.

Mayor Boris Johnson has intervened to speed up a masterplan for South Quays after several proposals for high rise developments have sprouted up for the site in recent months.

South Quay in Tower Hamlets is made up of numerous small plots of land and many of the individual landowners want to construct their own tall buildings.

The Mayor said that he was concerned that without an overall strategy for South Quay, the tall buildings proposed could have a negative impact on London’s skyline and the public realm.

The new masterplan will establish key priorities for the area so that new buildings are delivered in a planned, sustainable and responsible way.

Sir Edward Lister, Deputy Mayor for Planning said: “South Quay is enjoying unprecedented interest from developers all of whom want to bring forward their own plans.

“While we want to see the comprehensive regeneration of the area, what we cannot allow is a situation where planning is granted on a first-come-first-served basis with no overall strategy, as this could eat up valuable space, have a negative impact on the public realm and potentially cause other schemes to collapse.

“This Masterplan will allow us to take a coordinated approach so that this growth is managed in a sensible way with developers coordinating their proposals. It will allow us to maximise the area’s huge potential while ensuring that all development contributes directly to the sustainability of the area.

“The Mayor firmly believes that tall buildings play a valuable role in addressing some of our housing needs but it is essential that the right buildings are built in the right places.”

By working with the council, the Mayor hopes that the Masterplan will be brought forward more speedily so that there is clarity for developers about what schemes are suitable.

The Mayor also intends to develop an Opportunity Area Planning Framework to building on the work of the Masterplan and addressing the wider Isle of Dogs.
07/10/14
Construction output rose at its fastest rate for eight months in September according to industry buyers.

The latest Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI index rose strongly to 64.2 from 64.0 in August as the headline figure posted above the 50.0 no-change threshold for the 17th month running.

Commercial construction increased at the strongest pace since January while civil engineering output rose at its quickest rate for six months.

Construction firms are highly upbeat about the business outlook with more than half (54%) expecting a rise in activity over the next 12 months and only 12% forecasting a fall.

David Noble, Group Chief Executive Officer at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply, said: “The construction industry’s strong performance continued unabated in September, sending out a reassuring message about the underlying health of the UK economy.

“As a sector, construction is sensitive to changes in economic fortune, so the fact that we are witnessing sustained growth bodes well as we enter the final quarter of 2014.

“The rise in commercial activity was the second-fastest since the summer of 2007 and could be the most telling as it represents businesses’ willingness to invest; they are putting their money where their mouth is.

“ However, pressure points in the industry are becoming ever more acute as suppliers race to catch up after years of caution and capacity cutting.

“This is borne out in supply chain bottlenecks as a result of strong demand for construction materials, a squeeze on subcontractor availability and the lengthening of vendor delivery times.

“Years of caution may now impede the sector’s performance if suppliers cannot restock and hire at a speed that demand requires. ”
23/09/14
Top 10-ranked house builder Miller Homes is planning to float on the London stock exchange.

The house builder will be spun out of the main Miller Group, which will continue to run its mining and development business under chief executive officer Keith Miller.

Miller Homes will sell at least 40% of its shares on the open market, hoping to raise £140m to reduce debt and fund growth.

It is understood a flotation is being targeted for late October/early November with the hope of valuing the publicly-listed house builder at around £450m.

Miller Homes’ board believes there is scope to raise completions from around 1,700 a year to 2,750 with very little impact on existing overhead levels.

The Miller Group completed a £160m refinancing deal in March 2012 with US investment giant Blackstone, which took a majority stake in the firm.

Since then the house building arm has been able to invest in land and restored margins to 11.5% this year.

In the first half of this year, the housing business delivered a £19m operating profit on sales of nearly £170m.

Keith Miller completed the sales of Miller Group’s loss-making construction business this summer,setting the stage for the homes arm to be floated.

Chris Endsor, chief executive officer of Miller Homes, said: “Our distinctive focus and deep knowledge of the regions in which we operate, together with our large and well-located strategic land bank, position Miller Homes to drive strong and sustainable growth and to benefit from the continued recovery in these regional markets.

“It is an excellent time to be operating in the house building sector, with demand for new housing continuing to grow supported by improving macroeconomic conditions and mortgage market and a more favourable planning environment.

“We are proud of what we have achieved so far and look forward to developing our business and creating value for our new stakeholders as a publicly listed company.”

Miller Homes was founded in Edinburgh in 1934 as part of James Miller and Partners.

In the late 1990s and 2000s, Miller Homes acquired several smaller house builders to expand the business.

This included the acquisition of Cussins Homes in 1999, Birch Homes and the Yorkshire region of Crest Nicholson both in 2000, and the purchase of Fairclough Homes in 2005.

By 2006 Miller Homes was delivering 3,960 units per annum from nine operating regions.

But the 2008 housing crash forced the parent group to recapitalise two years ago, attracting new equity investment.

This allowed Miller Homes to recommence land acquisitions and build up a land bank of 9,000 consented plots and strategic land of 16,500 plots..