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NCE Live News Updates 15 May 2013: AMP6 Alliance revealed

Thames Water has awarded AMP6 design and build deals to two consortiums.

5.30pm: Ofwat chief executive Regina Finn has resigned.

She will step down from the helm of the water industry regulating body in November, saying now was “the right time to move on”.

Ofwat chairman Jonson Cox said: “We recognise that Regina wishes to take her career forward in a different direction, and we look forward to working with her over the coming months in a smooth transition process.”

Finn said: “We have laid the foundations for a new model of regulation in which water companies have to listen to their customers and deliver a step-change in their performance. These changes will lead to long lasting improvements in the sector.

“With a new chairman now established and the strengthening of the Ofwat board, this is the right time for me to move on.”

5pm: London has the lowest uptake of solar panels in the UK, according to analysis carried out by consultant WSP.

Some 362,000 homes installed solar panels in the UK between April 2010 and April 2013. Of the 380 local authorities in the UK, 23 of the lowest ranking 25 were in London.

“If solar panels are going to be one of our green energies of the future our analysis shows there’s a lot more work to do,” said WSP Director David Symons. “Poorer performer housing associations have to be highlighted, there needs to be more trust in energy companies and installers and, ultimately, panels have to become more efficient and cheaper.”

5pm: The government has been urged to give the London mayor responsibility for producing a long term capital investment plan for the city.

The independent London Finance Commission, established by London mayor Boris Johnson last year, said the plan should set out the costs of strategic investment options and match them to resources both in the present and future.

Its report, Raising the Capital, said the mayor should champion all infrastructure planning in London and delegate commissioning of projects to the boroughs where possible.

London Finance Commission chairman Tony Travers said: “As the city population grows to 10M people by 2030, there will need to be massive investment in enabling infrastructure simply to accommodate these new residents and, indeed, commuters.”

4.30pm: Engineering giant URS has been appointed to carry out detailed design work on an upgrade of the Borders Railway in Scotland.

The firm will be the main design consultant to contractor Bam Nuttall for the project to improve connection to Edinburgh from Midlothian and the Scottish Borders.

URS will also provide engineering support to the scheme, which will include seven new stations and 48km of new line.

Construction is scheduled for completion in summer 2015. 

4.15pm: Warrington-headquartered Daniel Contractors and its subsidiary Land and Marine Project Engineering have entered administration.

Deloitte partners Bill Dawson and Dan Butters were appointed joint administrators to the two companies today.

The administrators said they intended to continue to trade two of Daniel Contractors’ three main contracts, with a view to agreeing a transfer of the business and employees.

They added: “We understand that the counterparty of the third contract has made arrangements to transfer the related business and employees to a third party.”

The administrators said they had received several expressions of interest for Land and Marine Project Engineering and were considering their options.

4pm: Energy minister Michael Fallon has called for proposals for shale gas drilling projects.

He said the government was creating a framework to accelerate responsible shale gas development, having lifted a ban on the activity in December 2012.

“It is up to licensees to come forward with plans to explore the shale potential, engaging with local communities and gaining the necessary planning permissions and permits,” he told a group of MPs and peers.

He added that Amec would carry out strategic environment assessment for a fresh round of licencing next year for onshore exploration and exploitation, conventional and unconventional.

12.30pm: A joint venture of engineering consultancies Mott MacDonald and Grontmij has secured work on the A63 upgrade in Hull.

The JV was appointed by the Highways Agency to develop proposals for the £160M upgrade of the A63 Castle Street.

The scheme is intended to reduce journey times to the Port of Hull, and improve safety on the 1.5km dual carriageway city centre section of the A63.

Proposed improvements include lowering the level of the road into a cutting; widening the existing eastbound carriageway; and the provision of footbridges at discrete locations to facilitate access needs.

12pm: Severn Trent Water has rejected an acquisition bid from a consortium including Borealis Infrastructure Management and the Kuwait Investment Office.

Representatives from the consortium made a conditional offer for the water company yesterday.

But the bid undervalued the firm’s current and potential value, according to a statement from Severn Trent Water.

NCE reported yesterday that the consortium had approached Severn Trent Water and had until 11 June to make a firm offer.

11.30am: Contractor Mace has been awarded a £380M contract for the first phase of the Victoria Circle scheme.

Construction on the project is due to start next month. The first phase include the construction of 44,500m2 of office space, 7,400m2 of retail space and 170 apartments.

The contractor has been involved in the project for almost two years providing utility diversions, enabling works and preconstruction advice.

10.30am: Ground engineering specialist Keller has reported “better than expected” revenue and profit for the first four months of 2013.

The firm said in a statement to the City that it had enjoyed “a strong start to the year” on the back of major project completions, good contract performance and a mild winter in North America.

“This has resulted in both revenue and profit in the first four months being better than the board expected at the time of announcing the Group’s 2012 preliminary results,” it said.

Keller said its large infrastructure schemes in Europe – which include Crossrail and the Victoria Station upgrade – were progressing well.

It added that economic uncertainty in Europe continued to hold back a recovery in the continent’s construction markets but said it had seen “no further deterioration in market conditions since the start of the year”.

10am: Thames Water has appointed firms to its AMP6 Alliance.

Design and build contracts have been awarded to two joint ventures - one between contractor Costain, consultant Atkins and water specialist Veolia; and another between contractors Skanska and Balfour Beatty and consultant MWH.

MWH has also been appointed as programme manager. IBM has been named technology and innovation provider.

“Rather than taking a purely commercial and technical approach, we have focused on behaviour by putting our people and our partner’s people through interviews, site visits and workshops,” said Thames water head of procurement Tim Coles.

“This process has reduced the procurement process from up to 18 months to four and has significantly lowered the cost of bidding for the bidders involved.”

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