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NCE Live News Updates Wednesday 8 January 2014: DCT Civils in administration

Around 100 jobs are to go this morning after civils contractor DCT Civil Engineering enters administration.

5pm: Work has started to widen platforms at a Sussex train station after concerns were raised by pupils who regularly use it.

Network Rail engineers are creating an average of almost 4m extra space on both platforms at East Worthing.

Work is scheduled for completion in May.

Local MP Tim Loughton said: “I am delighted that Network Rail has listened to our concerns, and particularly those from pupils at Davison School, and very grateful that they have now prioritised this work.

“This is an important station for local schools especially and the improvements now being undertaken recognise the need to ensure that my constituents can use the platforms safely at busy times.”

 

4pm: Turner & Townsend has secured a deal to help Severn Trent deliver £6bn of capital works over the next decade.

The consultancy will work with the utility firm through the remainder of the current AMP5 regulatory period, all of AMP6 and some of AMP7.

Duties will include providing a range of commercial and cost consultancy services to help Severn Trent deliver best value for customers.

Turner & Townsend director Jason Jones said: “A number of our clients like Severn Trent have set themselves tough targets for AMP6 – but by a whole life cost and performance focused approach to totex, using intelligent programme data, we will work with the companies to deliver these targets.”

 

2pm: More than 100 flood warnings remained in place across England this lunchtime.

The Environment Agency had 102 warnings and 185 alerts in place at 1pm today.

It said communities needed to be prepared for further flooding this week after days of heavy rain and high tides.

Rising rivers on the agency’s radar included the Hampshire Avon through Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset; the Stour in Dorset; the Parrett in Somerset; and the Severn through the Midlands.

Paul Mustow, flood risk manager at the Environment Agency, said: “The risk of flooding continues this week, with communities in the South-west and South-east urged to stay safe and sign up to free flood warnings.

“When flood warnings are issued it means that flooding is expected and we urge people to take immediate action to prepare.”

 

12.45pm: The National Specialist Contractors’ Council has posted its lowest ever major injury rate.

Members of the trade body recorded 150.1 major injuries per 100,000 workers in 2012/13.

This was 58% lower than the rate in the first survey in 2003/4, and the lowest figure yet.

Members of the NSCC recorded one one fatality during this period, at a rate of 0.7 per 100,000 workers. This rate was down 81% from the first survey.

NSCC chief executive Suzannah Nichol said: “By continuing to prioritise health and safety on site, NSCC can identify trends and tailor the guidance and support available to members to reduce the risk of similar accidents recurring in the future.”

 

12pm: More than a quarter of small construction firm owners have seen staff absence rise in the past year, according to a poll.

Asset finance firm Close Brothers found that 28% of bosses in the sector believed staff absence was a growing issue.

While minor illness was the main cause of staff sickness, recovery from surgery was second on the list.

Close Brothers director Andy Sagar said: “While the majority of sick leave taken is genuine, absenteeism is a growing problem for many construction firms and if not managed properly, it could have a serious impact on productivity levels.

“Our research suggests that a considerable number of employers are concerned about the level of non-genuine sickness within their organisation.”

 

11am: Amec has won a five-year deal with the Kuwait Oil Company worth about £250M.

The firm will provide project management consultancy services for a portfolio of upstream projects in the Gulf state.

Services will include front end engineering design, project management consultancy services, engineering, construction management and training of local engineers.

Work will be managed and delivered by a 250-strong team of Amec engineers in Kuwait, with design work carried out from the firm’s London office.

Awarded after a competitive process, the contract follows Amec’s delivery of two five-year deals since 2004.

Amec operations director in Kuwait Alan Armstrong said: “I am delighted that KOC has recognised our excellent performance over the last 10 years with the award of this significant contract.”

 

10am: Treasury announces new plan to speed up sale of public land and property

From today, the public will be able to contest the use of central government land and property and apply for its release. The government owns over £330bn of land and property.

Currently, members of the public only have the right to challenge local authorities where land or property is empty or under-used. Under the Right to Contest scheme, announced at the Spending Round 2013 and developed by the Cabinet Office, this power is widened to central government land and property, both vacant and occupied.

From today communities and businesses will be able to action their Right to Contest and submit applications challenging the use of sites. This can be done using a simple form explaining why they believe a site is potentially surplus and could be put to better economic use.

Under Right to Contest, applications will go before a committee comprising Ministers from the Treasury, Cabinet Office and the landholding department.

9.30am: DCT Holdings, parent company of DCT Civil Engineering, has gone into administration after it was unable to pay substantial costs following a legal dispute.

The Group had three trading businesses, DCT Holdings, DCT Plant Limited and DCT Civil Engineering. It was established in 1980 and was involved with infrastructure projects relating to highways, public realm, environmental, renewable energy and water and sewerage.

The failure of the Group, which had an annual turnover of around £37M, arises following judgment in a long-standing legal dispute between the Group and Liverpool County Council. While this judgement was in the Group’s favour, DCT is now required to pay substantial legal and other costs which it doesn’t have the resources to fund.

Around 100 of the firm’s workforce have been made redundant. The Civil Engineering Contractors Association is working with the firm to try and help secure new jobs for those made redundant.

 

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