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NCE Live News Updates Wednesday 29 January: Infrastructure work to boost jobs

Report says construction sector will create more than 180,000 jobs in the next five years

4.15pm: A senior US consultant has called for president Obama to prioritise infrastructure spending.

Norman F Anderson, chief executive of US consultants CG/LA Infrastructure, said the president could create “the largest strategic building programme in our nation’s history”.

Obama made his traditional state of the union address to Congress last night.

Anderson said: “We have been given a unique moment to drive our country forward to truly world class infrastructure, manufacturing and opportunity creation — and we need to seize it.”


3.45pm: Consultants Arup and Publica have been tasked with recommending improvements to the public spaces in London’s famous West End.

Bodies including Transport for London and Westminster Council commissioned the work ahead of major rail and Tube enhancements in the area.

London Transport Commissioner Sir Peter Hendy said: “This study sees all key partners working together to agree on what the West End of the future will look like, and the practical solutions needed to achieve this, particularly for how people move around the area.

“It means that when the hugely modernised new Tube stations and Crossrail open, we will be prepared to give workers and visitors the world class welcome they’d expect from London’s West End.”

The study will be published in the spring and focus on Oxford, Regent and Bond Streets as well as the surrounding area.


3pm: Network Rail has confirmed that another key infrastructure chief is to leave the business.

David McLoughlin, finance and commercial director of the rail body’s infrastructure projects division, will step down later this year.

He will be replaced by the division’s programme and technical services director Martin Arter on a temporary basis.

The move follows the announcement that Simon Kirby, who led the infrastructure division, would be leaving for HS2.


1.30pm: A competition has been launched to find engineering solutions to noise from an airport in Sweden.

Operator Swedavia is seeking proposals to reduce the disturbance from Bromma Stockholm Airport in the residential area of Bromma Kyrka.

The best proposal will win 100,000SEK (£9,300) and will be considered for development at the airport.

Interested parties should register by Valentine’s Day. Further information here.


11.30am: Defence chiefs are looking for engineering professionals to support the armed forces.

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation is recruiting to a range of engineering and construction roles including electrical engineer and airfield pavement engineer.

DIO head of workforce management Russell Sowden said: “DIO’s vision is to become a world-class infrastructure delivery organisation over the next few years.

“To realise this vision, we are now recruiting new staff to ensure we have the right jobs with the right people with the right skills, in the right locations.”

More information on these jobs is available here.


10am: The government has given the go ahead for a university technical college for construction in central London.

Sir Simon Milton University Technical College will teach 14-16 year olds in Westmnister from September next year.

It will have capacity for 175 pupils in its first year, and offer a combination of vocational and academic qualifications.

Employers including Network Rail and Crossrail have helped shape the curriculum to ensure students emerge well-equipped for jobs in the construction, transport and engineering industries.

David Higgins, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “Working with our partners, we believe this UTC can make a real difference to the young people of London and the South-East and we aim to provide them not only with a top class education but also the life skills, knowledge and confidence to succeed in their careers.”


9.45am: A database for offshore wind farm data is to be created in a bid to increase the performance of the sector.

The Sparta project is being run by government performance body the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult; The Crown Estate; and offshore wind farm operators.

The data will be provided anonymously and then used to identify opportunities for firms to make operational improvements and cost reductions. 

A pilot project will run until March 2015, after which a full-scale implementation of the system is planned.

ORE Catapult innovation programmes director Chris Hill said: “The Sparta project will, for the first time, produce benchmarking data that has real value to the industry and will contribute to reducing real costs.”


9.30am: Infrastructure work will help create more than 180,000 jobs in the construction industry over the next five years, according to research.

The Construction Industry Training Board predicted that civils work would grow by an average of 3.6% every year to 2018.

Only home building will grow faster during that period as the construction industry slowly recovers from the battering it has taken since 2008, according to the CITB.

Its report said output growth would be strongest in the South-West, closely followed by Wales. The East and West Midlands will see the weakest growth.

CITB chairman James Wates said: “The report shows the economy is turning the corner and the UK construction industry will benefit from that. But growth needs to be sustainable; underpinned by long-term infrastructure projects and continued investment.”

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