Category Archives: Construction

Mayor of London unveils plans for three new Thames river crossings

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Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has unveiled plans for three new Thames river crossings in East London.

After reviewing predecessor Boris Johnson’s plans, Mr Khan outlined plans for the new river crossings to be constructed in the next five to ten years in East London.

Mr Khan claims the move will ease congestion and cut pollution in the capital.

The plans include the fast tracking of a new pedestrian and cycle bridge linking Rotherhithe & Canary Wharf.

A Docklands Light Railway (DLR) crossing at Gallions Reach is also proposed to support the development of around 17,000 new homes across Newham and the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Further assessment work will be undertaken for a Barking Riverside-Abbey Wood London Overground crossing and a North Greenwich-Isle of Dogs ferry, supporting new development on the Greenwich Peninsula and the Isle of Dogs.

The plans also include the controversial Silvertown tunnel, which had been criticised previously for incurring a user charge by Mr Khan claiming it was “a tax on East and South East Londoners’.

The plans for the tunnel have been “enhanced” to encourage people to use public transport and include a low-emission bus zone and a cycle bus that will transport cyclists through the tunnel.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It’s no secret that London has long needed more river crossings in the east. With new homes and economic growth across East London, it becomes even more important that we deliver new greener transport links that allow Londoners to cross the river quickly and more easily.

“But we don’t want these to have a damaging impact on our environment, and that’s why I’ve reviewed and improved plans for Silvertown Tunnel and why I’m pushing forward with crossings that encourage public transport, walking and cycling.

“As we continue to unlock the massive economic potential of East London, we must secure the very best transport infrastructure that improves the quality of life for everyone living and working in the area.”

Alex Williams, Acting Managing Director of Planning at TfL, said London’s expanding population meant it was “vital” to support the plans. He commented: “The Mayor’s new vision for river crossings in East London is firmly rooted in supporting growth and providing better public transport links for all.

“We will now work hard to develop the designs for these new crossings, as well as identify potential funding opportunities, to allow them to be constructed more quickly.”

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Five years construction in five minutes

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Network Rail has released a timelapse video to mark the one-year anniversary of the opening of Birmingham New Street station.

The video condenses five years of the station’s transformation into five minutes and highlights various construction milestones reached along the way.

The five-year £750M redevelopment project fully opened to the 170,000 daily passengers on 20 September 2015. Grand Central, the shopping and dining hub situated above the station, opened a few days later on 24 September.

The revamped station saw the creation of a huge passenger concourse, five times the size of London Euston’s, which is overlooked by the new atrium roof that floods the concourse with natural light.

The station’s platforms are now brighter and more minimalist, allowing for greater and easier passenger movement. Entrances to the city centre have also been improved.

New Street Station also features 40 shops at concourse level, with the Grand Central shopping and dining hub situated above it, which includes one of the largest John Lewis department stores in the country.

The original station was only designed to cope with 60,000 a day when it was last rebuilt in the 1960s. The redeveloped station can now cope with up to 300,000 visitors a day.

It is the busiest station outside the capital and is the busiest interchange station in the UK with a train leaving the station every 37 seconds.


The area surrounding the station is also being regenerated, with investment being made in new shops, bars and restaurants. Planning permission has also been granted for the creation of a 26-storey hotel near the station’s Southside entrance.

Work is still ongoing on the transformation, as work continues on the redevelopment of the station’s 12 platforms. Platform 11 will be the last to be completed and will reopen to passengers in mid-October.

Work on the southern hub that will provide an exit-only feature to the station giving direct access to Hill Street from the Navigation Street footbridge will also be finished by the end of October.

A year on and Network Rail research shows that New Street station currently enjoys an 88% passenger satisfaction rate – a record high for the station.

Poundbury gets its very own Buckingham Palace

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Prince Charles has “mini Buckingham Palace” built at Poundbury, in honor of his late Grandmother.

A block of luxury flats, built as part of Prince Charles’ architectural project in the village of Poundbury village in Dorset, have been likened to Buckingham Palace.

Prince Charles styled the building as the centrepiece of Queen Mother Square, in honour of his late Grandmother, the Queen Mother, whose Father, Claude Bowes-Lyon was the 14th Earl of Strathmore.

The building is yellow and white, which separates it from Buckingham Palace in London, however the façade shows the true resemblance, with the same pillars, a classical and traditional style and the same doorways and shape. Strathmore House also features a large open balcony and the Royal crest.

The eight properties each have two or three bedrooms, high ceilings large windows and “rare attention to detail”, designed by the leading classical architects Quinlan & Francis Terry.

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Simon Conibear, from the Duchy of Cornwall, said: “The square has been planned since the inception of the project. It is physically in the centre of Poundbury and will include a statue of the Queen Mother. His Royal Highness wanted to commemorate his grandmother.”

The luxury flats were quickly sold, at a price ranging between £575,000 – £650,000 each.

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A spokesman for Parkers estate agents said: “The building has attracted a lot of attention, both locally, nationally and internationally. The apartments have sold to a variety of purchasers, with over half of them moving from within Dorset, and two others international.”

Once the square is completed, a statue of the Queen Mother will be placed in the centre.

Poundbury sits on 400 acres of land owned by Prince Charles, who created the traditional British village due to his strong ideas on environment and architecture.

A separate block of flats and a spa is being built on the other side of the square, and will be named the Royal Pavilion.

The Poundbury plan will result in a total of 2,500 homes when it is completed, which is expected to be 2025.

Highways England release video of bridge demolition

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Highways England has released footage of the demolition of a bridge over the A38 near Plymouth.

The demolition of the old Merafield Bridge at Plympton took place overnight on Saturday, signalling the final phase of the £6.3M maintenance project on the A38.

The bridge was in need of replacing due to suffering from alkali silica reaction, commonly known in the construction industry as ‘concrete cancer’.

Around 50kg of explosives were used along 278 drilled locations centred on the supporting piers and the abutments at each end of the structure.

As some segments of the old bridge were not fully broken up during the demolition work continued into Sunday to break up and remove the remaining parts.

Highways England South West Regional Director, Andrew Page-Dove commented: “This was a big project that needed extensive planning to ensure traffic around Plymouth was kept flowing smoothly and the vital A38 transport link between Devon, Plymouth and South East Cornwall was maintained.

“We worked very closely with Plymouth City Council, the Plymouth and Devon Chamber of Commerce and local businesses to ensure we got the traffic management right and we are very grateful for all the support we’ve received.”

Two weeks ago, a new bridge that was built alongside the old one was opened.

The new structure is 80m long, 11m wide and consists of 2,503 tonnes of concrete and 401 tonnes of steel.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “It’s vital that we replace out-of-date infrastructure so we can keep traffic moving and I am pleased Highways England has delivered this new bridge over the A38 on time and on budget.

“As well as tackling congestion, our investment in England’s motorways and major A-roads is about keeping communities connected through projects like this.”

The scheme is due to be fully complete by July meaning that the region shouldn’t be affected during the busy holiday season.

UK Construction firms pay out £10M after “blacklisting” scandal

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The biggest “blacklisting” scandal in the UK has seen construction firms paying out £10M in compensation.

Unite, the country’s biggest union, has supported 256 workers in court after the UK’s biggest “blacklisting” scandal in history of UK construction.

Around £10M will be paid out to construction workers who were blacklisted by some of Britain’s biggest construction firms, including Balfour Beatty and Sir Robert McAlpine.

The settlement, which will be announced on Monday will see Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci paying compensation to almost 800 unfairly targeted workers who are being supported by Unite Union. The GMB Union say the amount could reach £75M for 771 claimants.

The blacklist resulted in hundreds of workers losing their jobs and left unable to secure new ones, after being deemed troublemakers while raising legitimate workplace issues.

Over 3,000 building workers were monitored through a shadowy organisation called the Consulting Association, which was eventually raided by the Information Commissioner’s Office after earlier revelations in the Guardian. The blacklist is believed to have been operating for 30 years, with secret files seized by the Information Commissioner’s Office apparently including defamatory references to workers such as “will cause trouble, strong TU”, “ex-shop steward, definite problems” and “Irish ex-army, bad egg”.

Len McCluskey, General Secretary of the Unite Union said: “The massive scale of the agreed damages shows the gravity of the misdeeds of major construction companies which created and used the Consulting Group as a vehicle to enable them to blacklist trade unionists.

“The sums to be paid out go a considerable way to acknowledge the hurt, suffering and loss of income our members and their families have been through over many years.”

Unite said payouts under the latest settlement could range from £25,000 to £200,000 per claimant, depending on factors such as loss of income and the seriousness of defamation.

Tim Roache, General Secretary of the GMB Union said: “Preventing 3,213 workers earning a living to support their families was a gross injustice, and government and employers’ organisations must never forget this sordid episode. Without strong regulation and penalties holding them to account, employers will always be tempted to put profit above people.”