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NCE Live News Updates 14 June 2013: Government must 'take bold steps' for infrastructure, says industry; Construction output falls 6.5%

Construction output in the UK fell by 6.5% in April 2013 compared to March 2013, according to official statistics; Meanwhile an alliance of industry bodies has called on the government to commit to delivering infrastructure

4pm: Construction output in the UK fell by 6.5% in April 2013 compared to March 2013, the Office for National Statistics has said.

The three months from February 2013 to the end of April saw a 4.7% fall. New work fell by 5.8% and repair and maintenance fell by 2.8%

“April’s continued bleak output figures are at odds with new projects in design and with construction spend starting to come to market,” said consultant Turner & Townsend managing director Steve McGuckin. “The best contractors and subcontractors are becoming selective.

“Output is still falling, and this reflects the weak confidence of two years ago when orders were few and far between.


- The first passenger train has passed over the Danube 2 bridge linking Vidin, Bulgaria to Calafat, Romania.

The bridge was developed as part of the European Union Trans-European Transport Network programme. It was opened today.

“The delivery of the birdge is the culmination of tremendous teamwork, enterprise, ingenuity and workmanship of thousands of people to create a major link that has already benefitted Bulgaria,” said High-Point Rendel director of engineering Vardy Jones.

Danube 2

Danube: the plan for the bridge was first conceived by Bulgarian engineers 45 years ago


2pm: An alliance of industry bodies has called on Government to “take bold steps” to reduce the cost of delivering infrastructure in the UK.

The Infrastructure Alliance, consisting of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, Association for Consultancy and Engineering, Construction Products Association and the ICE today released a statement calling for the Government to use this month’s spending review to commit to delivering infrastructure.

“Investment in infrastructure is crucial to the economic competitiveness of the UK as a whole, and financial and political certainty needs to be created and maintained to ensure its efficiency and effective delivery.”

12.45pm: Crossrail will be a “catalyst for regeneration” in the property market, a report published by property consultant GVA today concluded.

The report, entitled Crossrail Property Impact Study claimed that the project would support the delivery of more than 57,000 new homes and 3.25Mm2 of office space along the route. It would also create up to £5.5bn of extra residential and commercial value between 2012 and 2021.

“Crossrail will have a positive effect in the long-term. It has already changed our views on development investment and property acquisitions in areas along the route.  Crossrail is already referred to and used within marketing material and in occupier queries. It will reinforce London as a place to invest, which has got to be good.”

12.15pm: The Renewable Energy Association has appointed a new chief executive due to start at the end of July.

Chief executive Gaynor Hartnell announced that she would be standing down at the beginning of March this year. Nina Skorupska will replace Hartnell as chief executive on 29 July.

“We are delighted that Nina is taking up the helm,” said board chair Martin Wright. “She has an impressive background and a great understanding of not only the complex technical issues relating to energy and the central importance of renewable energy, but also the challenges facing the industry.”


11.30am: Engineering giant Siemens has won a £1.6bn contract to build 1,140 carriages to be used on the Thameslink rail line, the Department for Transport this week announced.

The firm is leading a consortium called Siemens Project Ventures on the contract. It was named preferred bidder in June 2011.

The contract is subject to a standstill period for a minimum of ten-days.


10.45am:Network Rail has released details of its repair works to the rail line damaged by a landslip near Hatfield Colliery.

“This has been one of the most complex recovery operations in recent years,” said Network Rail route managing director Phil Verster. “In all, around 1M.m2 of material needs to be moved – that includes the slipped material itself and also enabling movements to create storage such as bunds and dams.”

Hatfield&Stainforth Aerial view

Hatfield: please click on the thumbnail on the right to enlarge

To view the photo in full-size, please click on the thumbnail on the right hand side. This is recommended to see each of the specific works.


10.15am: Energy firm Centrica has bought a 25% stake in developer Cuadrilla’s Bowland shale exploration license.

The stake was bought for a reported £40M, with a further cost of up to £60M for exploration and appraisal.

The move comes little over a week after Cuadrilla-owned firm IGas estimated that their licenses North West England could contain up to 4.8 trillion square metres of shale gas.


9.45am: The Nicaraguan Congress has awarded a Hong Kong firm a £25bn contract for an ocean-to-ocean canal to compete with the Panama Canal.

Chinese firm the Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co has been awarded the contract, which includes a 50-year concession.


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