The week in construction – Week 1 2017


Co-op to spend £70m opening 100 stores in 2017

Co-op has unveiled plans to spend £70m to open 100 stores across the UK next year.

The expansion programme keeps step with major discounters like Lidl and Aldi which are expanding while the big four scale back their expansion plans.

In the case of the Co-op, the retailer is entering the final stretch of a three-year turnaround programme following a period of turmoil mainly involving its banking group.

The new convenience outlets will be predominantly based across London and the South East, with five stores opening in the capital before the end of March.

Elsewhere in the country, stores will be appearing in Swansea, Kings Bromley in Staffordshire, Beverley in Yorkshire, Northfields in East Lothian and Sheffield.

Ray O’Rourke can only spend part of the year in UK

Laing O’Rourke chairman and chief executive Ray O’Rourke can only spend a limited number of days in the UK due to his tax exile status in Jersey.

The restrictions come at a time the O’Rourke leader is taking a more hands-on role in a bid to turn around the fortunes of the country’s largest private contractor.

The company revealed last month that it made a £246m loss for the year to March 2016.

Ray O’Rourke took up the chief executive role 13 months ago when Anna Stewart stood down.

Companies House records show he is a resident of Jersey which is a tax haven.

Tax rules mean Ray O’Rourke can only spend half the year in the UK.

TfL signs £500m civils deal with three contractors

Transport for London has signed a four–year deal with Costain, Morgan Sindall and Skanska to deliver some of its more complex, large scale, civil engineering schemes to improve London’s road network.

The new £500m framework will see the trio working with TfL to design and build some of London’s most high-profile and complex road improvement projects.

The framework will help deliver a wide range of projects to transform highways, reduce dangers on the roads, improve journey reliability and encourage cycling and walking.

Schemes delivered using the framework are likely to include projects such as the proposed Fiveways scheme in Croydon and the removal of the Vauxhall gyratory, as well as major asset renewal and upgrades like the A40 Westway structure.

VolkerStevin set for £135m Dover harbour expansion

Rival Graham Construction signed a pre-construction deal over a year ago to develop infrastructure design for the redevelopment and has carried out preliminary works.

But it is understood the Dover Harbour Board is in talks with the Dutch contractor to deliver the planned £135m building of a new cargo terminal, waterfront development and marina.

Construction of Dover Harbour’s Western Docks programme is set to be delivered in a 24-month programme with dredging and piling activities due to start in the first quarter.

Plans include extensive demolition and removal of existing structures including part demolition of the Dunkirk jetty to provide a 20m wide navigation channel leading to the yacht haven in the Wellington Dock.

The new access channel will include a bascule bridge and lock gates. Then the port’s existing tidal basin access will be infilled to construct two new berths for ferries.

Planned works include extensive dredging and construction of a new 560m curved marina pier.

House Building

Kier bags first £42m affordable housing grant

Kier and Galliford Try have together secured over £60m in Government funding to build affordable homes.

The funding, which for the first time saw cash handed to contractors as well as housing associations, formed part of a £1.28bn tranche of first round grant awards under the 2016-21 Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme.

Among the housing contractors securing Government support for the first time Kier bagged nearly £42m to deliver 1,378 homes, plus 335 associated but non-funded affordable homes.

Galliford Try was awarded almost £19m for 530 affordable homes, Keepmoat bagged nearly £18m for 439 homes and Lovell secured over £11m for 420 homes.

Private builder Westleigh Developments was also allocated £48m of grant to build 1,590 new homes under the programme.

The first round of cash hand-outs were unveiled as the Government invited bids for a further £4.7bn of funding to increase the supply of new shared ownership and affordable homes.

The pot of cash consists in part of £1.3bn not allocated at the initial SOAHP bid round and an extra £1.4bn announced in the Autumn statement to deliver a further 40,000 affordable homes.

The Government is encouraging bids from organisations other than housing associations and is encouraging off-site construction solutions.

Taylor Woodrow hires former Costain director Gary Mayo

Taylor Woodrow has appointed Gary Mayo as divisional commercial director, replacing Les Thorneycroft following his retirement.

Mayo has over 25 years’ experience in the infrastructure sector and joins from Costain where he was sector commercial director for water.

His appointment follows other recent changes to the structure of Taylor Woodrow to create a larger internal engineering department to enhance delivery of tenders and projects.

Government backs 14 garden village sites

The Government has unveiled locations for a new wave of garden village schemes and three larger towns around the country.

The first ever garden villages of between 1,500 and 10,000 homes could deliver more than 48,000 homes. Sites for new villages include green belt land and spread from Cornwall to Cumbria.

In an expansion of the existing garden towns programme, the Government has also unveiled three extra locations for larger garden towns in Buckinghamshire, Somerset and the Essex-Hertfordshire border.

The new villages will receive about £6m in government funding over two years to help deliver the projects, with a further £1.4m of funding being provided for the delivery of the new towns.

The cash will be used to unlock the full capacity of sites, providing funding for extra resources and expertise to accelerate development and avoid delays.

Together with the seven garden towns already announced, these 17 new garden settlements have the combined potential to provide almost 200,000 new homes across the country.

By 2020, more than 25,000 housing starts are expected in garden villages, towns and cities supported by the government.

Homes are already being built in several locations, including Bicester, Basingstoke, Didcot, Ebbsfleet, Aylesbury, Taunton and North Northants.

The new garden projects will also have access to infrastructure funding programmes across government, such as the new £2.3 bn Housing Infrastructure Fund announced at this year’s Autumn Statement.

14 new garden villages

  • Long Marston in Stratford-on-Avon
  • Oxfordshire Cotswold in West Oxfordshire
  • Deenethorpe in East Northants
  • Culm in Mid Devon
  • Welborne near Fareham in Hampshire
  • West Carclaze in Cornwall
  • Dunton Hills near Brentwood, Essex
  • Spitalgate Heath in South Kesteven, Lincolnshire
  • Halsnead in Knowsley, Merseyside
  • Longcross in Runnymede and Surrey Heath
  • Bailrigg in Lancaster
  • Infinity Garden Village in South Derbyshire and Derby City area
  • St Cuthberts near Carlisle City, Cumbria
  • North Cheshire in Cheshire East

Three new garden towns

  • Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
  • Taunton, Somerset
  • Harlow & Gilston, Essex and Hertfordshire

Green light for construction of thousands of new Starter Homes

The Government has given the go-ahead to 30 local authorities to spearhead its new discounted homes scheme for 23 to 40-year olds.

The first Starter Homes will be built on brownfield sites across the country, housing minister Gavin Barwell has confirmed.

The first wave of 30 local authority partnerships were selected for their potential to get housing scheme going quickly.

These partnerships will have access to the government’s £1.2bn Starter Homes Land Fund. Councils will work closely with the Homes and Communities Agency to identify and take forward further land opportunities for the fund.

The first places will begin construction later this year along with sites supported by the Homes and Communities Agency.

Also, the Homes and Communities Agency has issued a call seeking expressions of interest from local authorities who are interested in using their land to deliver homes at pace through the £1.7bn accelerated construction recently announced. This will see up to 15,000 homes started on surplus public sector land this Parliament.

30 Starter Home Land Fund partnerships

  • Blackburn with Darwen Council
  • Blackpool Council
  • Bristol City Council
  • Central Bedfordshire Council
  • Cheshire West and Chester Council
  • Chesterfield Borough Council
  • Chichester District Council
  • City of Lincoln
  • Ebbsfleet Development Corporation
  • Fareham Borough Council
  • Gloucester City Council
  • Greater Manchester Combined Authority (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford,
  • Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan)
  • Lincolnshire County Council
  • Liverpool City Council (in association with Sefton, Knowsley, Halton, Wirral, St Helens)
  • Luton Borough Council
  • Mid Sussex District Council
  • Middlesbrough Council
  • North Somerset Council
  • Northumberland County Council
  • Pendle Borough Council
  • Plymouth City Council
  • Rotherham Metropolitan Council
  • Rushmoor Borough Council
  • Sheffield City Council
  • South Kestevan District Council
  • South Ribble Borough Council (in association with Preston City Council and Lancashire County
  • Council)
  • South Somerset District Council
  • Stoke-on-Trent City Council
  • West Somerset Council (in association with Taunton Deane Borough Council, Sedgemoor District
  • Council)
  • Worthing Council

The new developments will also support the wider growth and regeneration of local areas, including some town centre sites.
The Starter Homes Land Fund was set up to prepare suitable land for quality starter home developments which can be built on by developers or through accelerated construction by 2020.

(All news stories are credited to Construction Enquirer).


Chris Knight becomes our newest member to our growing team as he joins us as Senior Sales Executive.

Chris’ origins are from within the house building industry where he worked at Crest Nicholson as IT Manager, he later moved onto COINS where he was for 9 years, he started as a software implementation consultant, moving onto leading the team of consultants and finally Pre Sales Consultant where he focused on new business sales to both Contractors and House Builders.

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