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NCE Live Updates Friday 8 November 2013: Construction output on the rise but infrastructure lagging; Offshore demo site receives consents

The latest official statistics on construction have come out today. While it’s good news for construction generally – mostly due to housing and private sector work picking up – infrastructure is still lagging compared to the same period last year.

4.05pm: Balfour Beatty has announced a reshuffle of its UK and Ireland executive leadership team

Bob Clark has been appointed to a new position of executive director. He had been leading the major projects business, and that role is now taken by Steve Tarr.

His focus will be on heavy infrastructure schemes, particularly in transport and power, which have been identified as key growth sectors.

4pm: Roads minister Robert Goodwill has welcomed the start of works on a major scheme to reduce congestion and increase capacity on the M1 near Wakefield.

Work gets underway on Monday, 11 November, on the M1 managed motorway scheme, which will add capacity to 10km of the M1 between junction 39 (Durkar) and junction 42 (Lofthouse) by converting the hard shoulder to a permanent traffic lane. Variable mandatory speed limits, displayed on overhead and verge-mounted signs, will help smooth the flow of traffic and reduce congestion.

The work is starting earlier than the previously announced date of 2014/15, and is due to be completed in September 2015. The £105M construction contract for the £120M has been awarded to a Bam Nuttall/Morgan Sindall joint venture (bmJV).


2.45pm: Contractor J Murphy has completed key road junction works for DP World’s London Gateway port development.

The works on A13/A1014 Junction in Stanford-le-Hope included the widening of a roundabout from two to three lanes, installation of a new bridge and widening of slip roads.

London’s new mega-port on the north bank of the River Thames is preparing for its formal opeing soon.


11.30am: The development of the UK’s largest offshore wind demonstration site has received dual planning consents for construction of the site and the onshore substation.

The Marine Management Organisation has granted the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) permission to construct the grid-connected 99.9MW demonstration project, comprising 15 turbines in three arrays in depths of 35m, 45m and 55m off the coast of Blyth in Northumberland including cables back to shore.

Northumberland County Council has also granted permission for the construction of the supporting onshore infrastructure including the electrical substation that will transfer the power created by the demonstration turbines to the grid.

The £350M project is the first large-scale deep water demonstration site in the UK to be granted both offshore permits and onshore consent, and is seen as a testing facility for next-generation offshore wind technology.


11am: Construction output has steadily grown over the past two quarters but infrastructure is still down on last year, according to official statistics.

The sector witnessed growth of 1.7% in Q3 and 1.9% in Q2. Compared to the same quarter in 2012, Q3 construction output was up 4.1% mostly due to a 6.2% increasew in new work. Within the new work category, private new housing increased by 15.6% and private commercial other new work by 12.5%, but infrastructure fell by 3.7%.

Turner & Townsend UK managing director Steve McGuckin said: “Despite missing a stride in September, the construction sector is running, not walking, back to health. After two straight quarters of solid growth, the recovery now has some genuine momentum.”


10.30am: Gammon Construction wins two major rail contracts in Singapore

The 50% owned South East Asian firm has won a S$174M (£87M) contract for the design and construction of the Mayflower station on the Thomson Line for the Land Transport Authority and a S$122M track replacement contract on the North-South Line for SMRT Trains.

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