Category: Construction Services

Taylor Wimpey CEO Pete Redfern to step down

Taylor Wimpey CEO Pete Redfern is stepping down after more than 14 years at the helm of the house builder.

Redfern will leave the business once a suitable replacement has been found.

Taylor Wimpey said is has a “robust succession plan in place” and the recruitment process is advanced with a selection process considering both internal and external candidates.

Chairman Irene Dorner said:  “Pete has made an invaluable contribution to the business during his almost 15 years as CEO, including having successfully led the company through a global financial crisis and the recent pandemic.

“Pete has led a management team which has overseen the transformation of Taylor Wimpey into one of the largest housebuilders in the UK, with an industry leading landbank, a strong financial position and a clear and deliverable strategy for profitable growth. In addition, Pete will leave the business with a strong and differentiated culture he can be proud of creating.”

Redfern added: “It has been a privilege to work at Taylor Wimpey for the last two decades and to lead a business of which I am so proud, working with so many exceptional people both within the business and through our partnerships.

“The business is in excellent health and is well positioned for strong future growth. Accordingly, I am confident that now is the right time for fresh leadership as Taylor Wimpey starts the next chapter.

“Last year, having significantly increased our land buying to take advantage of land market opportunities, we have grown our landbank and set a clear path to deliver strong growth and returns over the coming years.

“I am extremely proud that Taylor Wimpey is a five-star home builder for customer service, with the highest construction quality scores in the volume house building industry and outstanding employee engagement.

“I would like to thank everyone at Taylor Wimpey for their past, current and future support.”

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Firms sounded out for rebid of £250m London hospital

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust is starting market engagement with contractors ahead of retendering its new landmark Evelina London Children’s Hospital extension.

The planned 290,000 sq ft hospital building, designed by Hawkins\Brown Architects and Bouygues-owned developer Linkcity, is to be rebid after the Trust and pre-construction services agreement contractor Bouygues agreed to part company on amicable terms.

The Trust is now asking interested firms to register before inviting tenders in March for the integrated £250m main shell and fit-out contract.

Previously Bouygues UK was in line to just deliver the shell and core for the new hospital extension.

Trust procurement chiefs said the change of scope required a fresh procurement competition. The Trust now hopes to start construction by the end of next year.

The Trust intends to utilise a hybrid design & build delivery route for the Evelina Expansion Programme. This will include fixing the shell and core through a Single Stage D&B while the fit-out works will utilise a two-stage D&B approach.

The proposed 12-storey building, which will be located on a triangular sited behind Lambeth Palace on the opposite side of the Thames to the Houses of Parliament, will be joined to the existing, award-winning children’s hospital which opened in 2005.

New extension will house 100 beds, operating theatres and spaces for patients to relax, including a roof terrace.

As capital project advisors for the Evelina Expansion Programme, Mace is running the market engagement briefing. Documents are available from the procurement website. Questionnaires need to completed by 14 January.

In advance of the main contractor works several pre-commencements works will be carried out by the Trust, including, the demolition of the existing buildings.

Professor Ian Abbs, Chief Executive of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our ambitious plan to expand Evelina London will make it one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals, and enable us to provide exceptional care to many more children and young people.

“This is just the beginning of an exciting journey for us, and we will continue to put patients and families at the heart of what we do.”

The bigger and better children’s hospital, which will open in 2027.

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York Cocoa West 300-home scheme approved

The development arm of Clarion Housing Group has got the go-ahead for a £100m new homes scheme next to the former Rowntree factory in the centre of York.

Developer Latimer now aims to start work on the Cocoa West mixed-tenure housing scheme early next year.

Comprising 302 new homes, more than 35%, will be available through shared ownership and social rent.

Designed by JTP Architects, the homes will be built on an 11-acre brownfield central plot

Based on feedback gathered through the recent public consultation, the scheme will not only include a mix of one, two and three-bedroom apartments, but also two, three and four-bedroom townhouses – providing a mix of much-needed affordable family homes.

The neighbouring Cocoa Works scheme is already underway, with Latimer’s plans for the eight hectare site, which has been derelict for more than a decade, ensuring that original features of the building are celebrated and incorporated into designs.

In 2020/21, Clarion Housing Group completed 2,126 new homes of which 90% were for affordable tenures.

Profits from Latimer schemes are reinvested into Clarion Housing Group to build more affordable homes, improve and maintain existing homes and support communities through the Group’s charitable foundation, Clarion Futures.

Richard Cook, Group Director of Development for Clarion Housing Group, said: “We’re excited to be taking the next step towards the creation of a thriving new neighbourhood that we hope will reignite and reflect the core values of Joseph Rowntree and our founder, William Sutton.”


Union officials face new probe into blacklist collusion

Construction union Unite has launched a new search for evidence of collusion with blacklisting in the industry by officers of the union and its predecessors.

A panel of lay members with personal experience of blacklisting will now oversee the gathering of evidence to be fed into an independent QC-led inquiry.

The panel is made up of Dave Smith, Chair of the Blacklist Support Group and the two Unite Executive Council Members for the construction sector, blacklisted electrician Frank Morris and Tony Seaman.

Unite General Secretary, Sharon Graham said: “It is very important that blacklisted workers and their families can have total confidence in this inquiry. I said we would do it and that no stone would be left unturned. I meant it.”

Smith said “The Blacklist Support Group applauds this announcement of a beefed up and more independent investigation. Any lingering doubts about the independence of the investigation have now been removed.”

Unite’s lawyers Thompsons have already begun gathering evidence from previous court cases and taking testimony from witnesses for the inquiry.

The deadline for submitting evidence has now been extended to 28 January 2022.

Anyone who has evidence of union officers from Unite or its predecessor unions colluding in the blacklisting of construction workers that has not yet been submitted to the inquiry is being asked to send it by email to BlacklistingInquiry@thompsons.

The Enquirer first revealed claims eight years ago that construction union officials had colluded with contractors and the police over the blacklist which blighted the industry for decades.

The Blacklist Support Group said: “Blacklisted workers have campaigned for an independent investigation into union collusion for a long time: too long. We have known for over a decade that some blacklist files record the names of senior union officials as the source of information that led to us being denied employment.

“We know for a fact that some union officials emailed information about union activists to industrial relations consultants and managers working for major contractors up to their necks in blacklisting. This is totally unacceptable in a trade union movement that claims to be democratic and member led.

“Every union activist in construction already knows who these people are. We are not accusing every union official of being corrupt, there are many honest value driven officials. But neither is this about ‘one or two bad apples’.“Over many decades, the senior leadership of construction unions actively encouraged a business friendly model of trade unionism, where cultivating partnership arrangements with employers was often given priority over fighting for workers rights. Overly friendly relationships developed between union officials and managers, this is the context in which information detrimental to union members was being discussed.”

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Trio shortlisted for third £115m A9 dualling project

Transport for Scotland has shortlisted three firms for the third upgrade contract on the £3bn A9 dualling project.

Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering, John Graham Construction and Wills Bros Civil Engineering project will now fight it out to upgrade the 9.6 km stretch of the A9 between Tomatin and Moy.

Transport Scotland anticipates that the construction contract will be awarded in the second half of 2022.

The shortlist was announced as critical enabling works were completed involving the demolition of a 1884 masonry arch rail bridge at Lynebeg, near Inverness, followed by the successful installation of the new structure during a 78 hour possession of the Highland Mainline.

The completion of the bridge replacement at Lynebeg rail bridge marks a significant milestone in the progress of the A9 Dualling: Tomatin to Moy project and has been the culmination of years of meticulous planning and preparation with Network Rail, its contractor BAM Nuttall, Atkins Mouchel Joint Venture and Transport Scotland.

In addition to the new rail bridge, further advance works for the A9 Dualling: Tomatin to Moy project are expected to commence in early 2022 and will see the creation of a new non-motorised user route (NMU) which will initially facilitate local access to a new bus layby and shelter on the B1954.

Billy McKay, Network Rail’s Programme Manager for the Lynebeg bridge replacement works, said:“The installation was complex due to requirement to remove the existing railway infrastructure including cabling, track and the embankment, before the concrete bridge could be pushed into its final position.  And all against the clock due to the need to reinstate and re-open the line to traffic at the end of the possession.”



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HS2 launches first Midlands TMB

HS2 contractor BBV has launched the first tunnel boring machine on the Midlands section of the high-speed rail route.

Around 170 engineers have been working on the 2,000 tonne, 125m-long TBM during its construction and assembly.

An expert tunnelling team will now work around the clock in shifts to operate TBM Dorothy for around five months as it excavates the first bore of a one-mile tunnel under Long Itchington Wood in Warwickshire.

Dorothy cutterhead being lifted into place

This is set to be the first HS2 tunnel to be completed on the project, with the machine set to break through its first bore at the south portal in Spring 2022.

It will then be dismantled and taken back to the north portal to dig the second bore, which is due to be completed in early 2023.

The machine will remove a total of 250,000 cubic metres of mudstone and soil which will be transported to the on-site slurry treatment plant where the material is separated out before being reused on embankments and landscaping along the route.

Michael Dyke, Managing Director of Balfour Beatty VINCI said: “As Dorothy, our cutting-edge tunnel boring machine, sets off on her one-mile journey, our work across the northern section of HS2 continues to progress at pace.

“Over the next few months, we’ll be building on our efforts to recruit the 7,000 people required across the Midlands to help us shape the UK’s future infrastructure landscape; those who will see their work enjoyed for many years.”

In total there will be 10 HS2 TBMs on Phase One, working to create 64 miles of tunnel between London and the West Midlands for Britain’s high speed rail project.


After a national vote, the TBM was named after Dorothy Hodgkin, who in 1964 became the first British woman to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Her discoveries included confirming the structure of penicillin, and her work with insulin paved the way for it to be used on a large scale for treatment of diabetes.

Contractors battle Storm Arwen to replace rail bridge

Despite the impact of Strom Arwen Network Rail has successfully demolished and replaced the bridge over the railway at Lynebeg, south of Inverness on the Highland Mainline between Perth and Inverness.

The work was part of supporting work ahead of the dualling of the A9 between Tomatin and Moy.

In continuous working across 78 hours from last Friday night until Tuesday morning, the 1884 Victorian masonry structure was demolished and replaced with a 660 ton twin-track concrete box structure.

The construction team overseen by the BAM Nuttall, Atkins Mouchel Joint Venture used a Self-Propelled Modular Transporter (SPMT) system to carry the structure from the site compound, where it was constructed offline over a 10-week period, before manoeuvring the massive 660-ton structure several hundred meters along the B1954 and sliding it to its final position.

Two 750-ton cranes then lifted seven concrete wingwalls, which were also constructed on site, into position before the railway was fully reinstated and checked ahead of re-opening to traffic early on Tuesday morning.

The new bridge will strengthen, safeguard, and futureproof the route for the long-term including dealing with the weight and volume of traffic which passes over it on a daily basis and accommodating any potential future double-tracking of the line.

During the same 78-hour possession, a 1200x800mm pre-cast box culvert and a 900mm twin wall plastic culvert under the track were also installed at two locations to accommodate the forthcoming A9 works.


Billy McKay, Network Rail’s Programme Manager for the Lynebeg bridge replacement works, said: “We are delighted that the work to replace the bridge at Lynebeg was completed successfully and the railway re-opened to traffic as planned – despite terrible weather conditions and the impact of Storm Arwen.

“The installation was complex due to requirement to remove the existing railway infrastructure including cabling, track and the embankment, before the concrete bridge could be pushed into its final position.  And all against the clock due to the need to reinstate and re-open the line to traffic at the end of the possession

“As well as upgrading the railway bridge, the team is delighted to have played a part in supporting the future dualling of the A9“.

Works will continue on site for several weeks to complete the new structure, including cladding the concrete wing walls with the recovered stone from the original stone arch bridge which was constructed as part of the Highland Mainline in 1884.

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VAT dodging electrician banned for five years

The Insolvency Service has secured a five-year disqualification order against a construction director after a £100,000 VAT tax bill went unpaid.

Stuart Palethorpe, 33, from Nottingham was the sole director of electrical installation company On Form Electrical Ltd which traded from early 2015 until November 2018.

HMRC petitioned to wind-up the business in 2018 due to outstanding VAT arrears, and the Official Receiver was appointed as liquidator.

The subsequent investigation by the Insolvency Service found that for the last three years of trading, Palethorpe had failed to ensure that his business paid VAT returns.

At the point of liquidation in December 2018, On Form owed the public purse £102,417 in unpaid VAT.

But because Palethorpe failed to maintain adequate accounting records, it is possible the business owed an even higher amount. The lack of records also prevented the Official Receiver from determining whether money disbursed from the business’ bank accounts was used for legitimate business expenditure.

As a result, the High Court gave Palethorpe a five-year disqualification order, beginning on 30 November 2021.

The disqualification order prevents Palethorpe from directly or indirectly becoming involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company without the permission of the court.

Dave Elliot, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service said: “Directors must ensure their companies pay the correct taxes but enquiries proved that Mr Palethorpe failed to do so while he ran the company.

“The electrician’s ban should serve as a warning to directors that if you fail to fulfil your obligations and seek to gain an unfair advantage over competitors, by failing to properly account and pay for your tax, you could lose the protection of limited liability.”

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Scottish house builder buys rival for £56m

Growing Scottish house builder Springfield has bought Inverness-based Tulloch Homes for £56m.

Springfield has also announced plans to raise £22m through a share placing at a 4.4% discount to the share price to part finance the deal.

The takeover of the Highlands builder, which was itself bought through a management buy-out six years ago, is conditional on the successful fundraising, expected to be finalised on 21 December.

Innes Smith, CEO of Springfield, said: “This is another great acquisition for Springfield – and our third since coming to the market in 2017.

“Tulloch Homes has an excellent reputation for building high-quality homes in the Scottish Highlands in and around Invernessuy-out in 20.

He added: “This is an area of high demand where we have been organically building a presence in recent years.

“As a result, it will significantly strengthen our foothold in an area of strategic importance and accelerate our growth, being earnings enhancing from the current year.

“We welcome all of the Tulloch Homes employees to the Springfield group and we look forward to working together to continue to grow our business.”

In the last financial year to June, Tulloch sold 219 homes, generating a pre-tax profit of 6m from £46m revenue.

Tulloch Group has a land bank of 1,791 plots, of which 87% have planning permission.

The total gross development value is put at £375m, equivalent 7 years of development at current build rates.

In the year to September, Springfield sold 973 homes, lifting revenue by half to £217m, and generating a profit before tax of £18.5m.

Countryside Properties sets aside £41m for recladding

Countryside Properties is setting aside £41m to cover post-Grenfell cladding and fire safety retrofits on its former building projects.

The firm revealed its commitment to retrofit 69 buildings, as it unveiled improved results showing a return to profit as it began a strategic switch to focus entirely on its partnerships business going forward.

John Martin, chairman, said: “We have examined all buildings developed by Countryside over the last 15 years and identified 69 buildings across 17 sites where remedial works are required to bring them in line with current building regulations.

“Throughout the year, we have engaged with building owners, carried out invasive surveys and priced building owners’ scope of works.

“This has enabled us to more accurately estimate the potential costs associated with these buildings. As a result, we have established a provision of £41m to cover the cost of remedial works and losses suffered by building owners where it is identified that the works are necessary because we fell short of our high standards at the time of construction.”

Over the year to September 2021, Countryside bounced back into the black with a £73m operating profit after plunging £5.5m into the red after Covid disruption last year.

Revenue jumped by half to £1.5bn.

Following a strategic business review earlier this year, Countryside said in July it would focus all its resources on lower risk Partnerships, withdrawing from its a two-division market sale structure.

This saw Countryside establish a new Partnerships division to serve the Home Counties using people and resources from the legacy house building operations.

Martin added: “Countryside has a clear path to becoming 100% focused on our differentiated and market-leading mixed tenure Partnerships business.

“Since we announced the strategy earlier this year, we have made excellent progress in establishing the new division in the Home Counties where we have a wealth of opportunities to bring our award-winning proposition to a new generation of home-owners and tenants in an area where it is sorely needed.”

Countryside forecast that group operation margins will reach 13% once its new regions are established.

Construction of its new modular panel factory in Bardon, Leicestershire has completed and will begin production by the end of 2021.


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