Adaptive reuse project brings co-living space to Los Angeles’s Hancock Park

A new adaptive reuse project at 410 North Rossmore in Hancock Park is set to begin construction in July. 

The project looks to adapt the 1930s era building by including the addition of five floors with studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and co-living apartments. The building will be roughly split between 65% traditional and 35% co-living units with the ability to house 225 residents. In co-living suites, residents will have single occupancy private bedrooms and baths but will share kitchen and living room facilities.

“Cities grow incrementally. Our 410 Rossmore project represents a new paradigm and contribution for helping to address LA’s housing crisis,” said Lorcan O’Herlihy, Founder and Design Principal, LOHA, in a release. “Not only does it carefully adapt a 1930s era building, but creatively weaves additional housing in and above the original floors.”



Amenities will include a gym, a pool, a spa, amenity space on the ground floor, co-working extension spaces throughout the building, and a lounge deck and event space on the roof. Some floors will also incorporate open, outdoor living spaces.

Morley Builders will build the project, which is expected to take approximately 20 months to complete.


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Adaptive reuse project brings co-living space to Los Angeles’s Hancock Park – dmalone – 2021-02-24 17:26:15

New chair for Scottish training body

Gordon McArthurThe organisation, which helps develop the next generation of skills in the electrotechnical sector in Scotland, will now be led by Gordon McArthur who is managing director of WMQ Building Services. He takes over from Alex Guyan, who has been in the chair for eight years.

Mike Stark, director at Atalian Servest AMK, also joins the board.

The changes come at a time when the sector is aiming to gain professional recognition for electricians. EETF said that it vitally aware of the crucial role that training plays in providing the skills and knowledge necessary for the sector to thrive.

The EETF was established by Select – Scotland’s largest construction trade association – in 1998. It provides grants that support training across the industry, funds a number of different projects and encourages continuing career progression.

McArthur said: “It is a huge privilege to have been asked to take on this important role. The electrical sector becomes more complex and high-tech with each passing year and training must be at the front and centre of everything we do.

“The Foundation has played a tremendous role under Alex Guyan’s leadership in encouraging everyone within the sector to develop the skills and knowledge which underpin a lifelong career. I am delighted to be joined by Mike Stark, who will bring a great depth of expertise to the board.”

Stark said: “I fully acknowledge the central role that training must play if we are to have the skillsets we need to take us forward in a technologically exciting and fast-changing working environment.

“Having mentored employees and apprentices at Arthur McKay, I know that there is a wealth of talent in this country, as well as an enthusiasm for, and understanding of, the potential rewards of a career as an electrician.”

Alex Guyan said: “It is with great confidence that I pass the baton to Gordon. He is a dynamic business personality who is acutely aware of the effort we need to make to keep our skills fit for purpose as the sector advances.

“I am very proud of the work the charity has carried out over my term and the projects we have been able to support. I wish Gordon and Mike all success.”
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New chair for Scottish training body – The Construction Index – 2021-02-19 09:52:00

Bam plots UK expansion despite mixed 2020 results

Royal Bam has set it sights on doing more work in the UK despite revealing mixed results for 2020.
Its civil engineering operation, Bam Nuttall, made an adjusted pre-tax profit of €12.3m (£10.7m) according to new accounts for the Royal Bam group, published this morning. The results for the year ending 31 December 2020 was almost half the €23m (£19.9m) it reported in 2019 and was affected by a provision the company made on an unnamed project in the second half of the year. Revenue for the business was up almost €100m (£86.6m) to reach €974m  (£843.3m) and its order book jumped by €800m (£692.7m) thanks to its work on HS2 and the smart motorways programme.
Bam Construct suffered a £3.3m (£2.9m) adjusted pre-tax loss in 2020, which it blamed on technical problems on a project under construction in the first half of the year. The business performed well in the second half of 2020 and its order book grew “slightly” in the year, although the group warned competition had increased.
Earlier this year, Bam Construct published its 2019 accounts, which included a £26.7m provision on a project for the University of Sheffield where a concrete frame had to be partially demolished in early 2020 after piling faults were found.
In spite of the mixed results, Royal Bam has set out plans to grow its business in the country as part of a new strategy published this morning. Over the next three years it will focus on expanding operations in the UK, the Netherlands and Ireland, while its German and Belgian businesses are set to shrink as the firm targets less risky projects, and could be sold off. The group announced last year that it would wind up its Bam International business, which works primarily in the Middle East.
The company said: “The new strategy for 2021-2023 will lead to a smaller but profitable and predictable company, while creating a sustainable platform for future growth.” By 2023, Royal Bam’s turnover will be around €5.5bn (£4.76bn) compared to €6.8bn (£5.89bn) in 2020, it has forecast.
It has chosen the UK as one of its prime markets, having averaged a margin of 3 per cent in the country over the past three years. It favours the use of lower-risk contracting through frameworks in the UK and believes it can use its expertise in sustainable building and modern methods of construction to stand out in the market. The group said there had been “minimal” operational disruption since the UK officially left the EU on 1 January.
This morning’s full-year results showed the group made a €236.9m (£205.1m) pre-tax loss compared to a profit of €23.4m (£20.3m) in 2019. Its Bam International division, which has two costly problem projects in the Middle East, was responsible for €110.3m (£95.5m) of the loss. Its German construction and civils operations accounted for a further €66.3m (£57.4m) loss. In its half-year result, the company put the direct cost of COVID-19 to the group at €50m (£43.3m). It has not provided a full-year figure.
Revenue for the group stood at €6.81bn (£5.9bn) for the year, down from the €7.21bn (£6.24bn) it reported in 2019. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of 2020 saw revenue plunge 19 per cent compared to its 2019 level; a recovery since then has seen its revenue for the second half of the year just 1 per cent down on 2019’s level.

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Bam plots UK expansion despite mixed 2020 results – David Price – 2021-02-18 14:00:17

Using technology to design better and safer spaces

At Gresham Smith, designing safer environments is a huge priority for our Transportation group—whether it’s safer streets for pedestrians and bikers in urban areas or safer highways and intersections in more rural corners of the country. Safety can be defined in a lot of ways, and there can be issues with the approaches we’ve had at our disposal over the last few decades. In most cases, we are stuck evaluating historic data, and many times it doesn’t reflect what is currently happening on our streets. A great example of that is what we have witnessed over the past several months with the onset of COVID-19 limiting travel, but also pushing people to move around their neighborhoods outside of a car. To overcome these gaps between current situations and historic substantive data, we have pioneered a new, patent-pending technology that measures how users feel about a space and how their reactions can be used to provide the foundation for predictive modeling.

We all know nominal safety, or the safety of a location based on its adherence to a particular design criteria and standards. There’s also substantive safety, where we analyze historical crash data for a certain location. We’ve used these two definitions for safety for decades, and it’s driven a lot of the design you see today. The issue with these measures of safety is that they only allow us to design based on what’s happened in the past.

Our new technology called Gresham Smith’s Empathic Analytics allows us to measure and record a user’s perceived safety, or how users experience stress about their environment in different locations and settings. What’s different about this measure of safety is that it can be used to forecast or predict what future safety issues may be. This helps to really narrow the causes of frustration of safety concerns, and it allows us to select effective countermeasures as opposed to iterative trial and error. This new application reduces uncertainty in countermeasure choices and over reliance on what has happened in the past, allowing us to design better, more inviting and safer facilities for everyone. The purpose of this blog is to further explain this new technology and how infrastructure owners (departments of transportation, counties, etc.) across the board can use it to improve safety in their local communities.


An example of a heat map generated from our field work.


Why Is This Important?

If we start to dig into some of the more emergent problems on our corridors, they are centered around user response and less about specific geometric issues, such as:

More aggressive driving


Risk taking impairment

Distracted driving

Impaired driving

Each of these point more toward a mental state our drivers are in, so getting a better handle on that and then understanding the environment’s role in positively influencing those becomes important. If we can create intuitive facilities that allow people to enjoy themselves and feel safe, we can potentially eliminate some of these user stresses, and in turn, create a safer overall roadway for more users.


Proposed Framework

We’ve created a framework for how to best deploy this technology. We are particularly interested in four substantive safety perspectives and how they can be used for planning, design and project prioritization. These perspectives allow us to focus on what are statistically the most problematic areas, where emergent trends are not necessarily captured in existing data-sets.

The scenarios really begin to line how we can approach each problematic area with more focused engineering fixes that better combat current situations and directly alleviate user perceived safety issues.



What’s Next

We’re currently piloting this new platform in a variety of environments within our Transportation market, but we think there are potential use cases for it across all of our horizontal and vertical markets. We could answer questions like:

— How do your staff in industrial or manufacturing hubs feel about their surroundings, and how do their perceptions of their environment affect their work?

— How do travelers in an airport interact with the environment from security checkpoints through the boarding process?

— How do workers in cities react to the built environment in major urban settings—from the office towers they work in, to the infrastructure they use on their way to and from the office?

— What is the impact of dwell times at specific placemaking installations or break areas? Are they really having the positive impact that users can feel?

The more we dig into what our empathic platform and data analytics packages can tell us, the more our eyes are opened to a whole new world or user response and better engineering solutions that make people more comfortable!

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Using technology to design better and safer spaces – dmalone – 2021-02-10 17:48:56

Scottish civils work shows signs of sustained recovery

CECA Scotland chief executive Grahame Barn The recovery seen in the trade association’s latest Workload Trends Survey follows a significant rebound in the previous quarter, which also saw workloads and order books on an upwards trend.

More than half of contractors reported workloads had increased in Scotland, with contractors across Great Britain as a whole also reporting rising workloads, following two quarters of decline. Order books are also picking up, with two-thirds of Scottish contractors reporting an increase.

Scottish contractors also reported employment rising for all types of worker, with employment balances hitting a five-year high and an upbeat outlook and expectations for the future. Over half of Scotland’s contractors – a near seven-year high – expected employment of operatives to increase over the coming year.

CECA Scotland chief executive Grahame Barn said: “Our latest Workload Trends Survey builds on the positive news last quarter and gives us hope that the green shoots of recovery are now firmly embedded. We are cautiously optimistic that 2021 will see workloads continue to rise, which is great news for all in the sector and will help us rebuild the industry and shape Scotland’s post Covid-19 recovery.”

Tender price balances for new construction work (45%) and repairs and maintenance (55%) were at multi-year highs in Q4.

Workloads in Scotland increased, on balance, for a second consecutive quarter in Q4, even though a tiered system of coronavirus restrictions was in place. On balance, 23% of respondents reported an increase in workloads on a year ago, compared to a balance of 39% in Q3. More than half (52%) of all respondents reported that workloads had increased, and 30% reported that workloads had fallen.

In Scotland, a balance of 36% of respondents reported that orders had increased in Q4 compared to a year earlier. Overall, two-thirds of respondents reported that orders had increased, and 31% reported a fall.

 In 2020 Q4, Scotland was the only nation of the UK to report positive balances for all types of worker. On balance, employment of other operatives, skilled operatives and staff rose according to 45%, 41% and 33% of firms, respectively. These balances improved from those recorded in Q3 and were the highest in five years.

 In Scotland, 45% of firms, on balance, reported that tender prices for new work increased in Q4 compared to a year earlier, the highest in nearly four years. 48% of all respondents reported higher tender prices and half reported no change.

 In Scotland, 55% of respondents, on balance, reported that tender prices for repair and maintenance work were higher compared to a year earlier, up from 22% in Q3 and the highest in nearly five years.

In Scotland, workload expectations for the year ahead in 2021 turned positive in Q4. On balance, 14% of firms expected workloads to increase over the next 12 months. Overall, 43% of the respondents expected workloads to remain unchanged, and 36% expected workloads to increase.

The 12-month outlook for new orders improved in the final quarter of 2020. 26% of Scottish firms, on balance, expected orders for new work to increase over the next 12 months, and for R&M orders, 21% expected an increase, the highest balance in five years.

 In Scotland, civil engineering firms’ sentiment towards hiring in the next 12 months remained positive in Q4. On balance, 55% of firms (near seven-year high) expected employment of operatives to increase, and 36% (five-year high) also expected staff employment to increase over the coming year. In Britain, on balance, 53% of firms expected employment of operatives to increase and 51% expected staff employment to rise. Both balances were the highest in nearly six years.

In Scotland, 83% of respondents, on balance, reported that costs increased over the last 12 months, up from 72% in Q3. Two thirds of Scottish firms reported that costs had increased by up to 5% and 17% by more than 5%, whilst no firms reported that costs had fallen

 In Scotland, the most cited supply issue in Q4 was skilled operatives (55%), followed by other operatives (33%), staff (21%) and materials/products (21%). For materials/products, this was the joint-highest proportion since 2015 Q3. The survey also found that 5% of firms cited issues with plant in Q4.

The number of contractors taking part in CECA’s 2020 Q4 Scotland survey totalled 18. The survey responses are weighted by size of firm to ensure that results are representative of the industry. The results displayed are typically weighted balances and are calculated by taking the difference between firms reporting an increase in workloads, for example, and the proportion of firms experiencing a fall.
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Scottish civils work shows signs of sustained recovery – The Construction Index – 2021-02-09 09:34:00

Residents to help choose Chalcots recladding contractor

Camden Council is recruiting residents to help it assess contractors bidding for work on recladding and fire safety at its Chalcots Estate.
In June 2017, following the Grenfell Tower fire, the estate was briefly evacuated amid safety concerns over its aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding, with removal of the material beginning September of the same year. Wates had been working on the estate on a ‘letter of intent’ basis since January 2019, but failed to agree contractual terms with the council.
The local authority has now separated one of the blocks, Blashford Tower, from the planned works at four other towers and is tendering it as a separate job. Works on the tower include recladding, renewal of flat roof, and replacing brickwork at its underground level. The contract – the notice for which can be viewed here – is worth £22m.
The council has announced it is setting up a procurement panel featuring five council officials and one resident from each of the towers to help the process, with a particular focus on examining how the interested contractors plan to minimise disruption to residents.
It is currently trying to recruit leaseholders or tenants to the posts, and said those chosen must have “knowledge of contractor standards, building quality control requirements and procurement”.
A tender for works on the other towers is set to be issued in May.
The estate was built in the 1960s and renovated from 2007-2009. In 2019, the council announced it was pursuing refurbishment contractor Partners for Improvement in Camden – currently in liquidation – as well as subcontractors Rydon Construction, Rydon Maintenance, Faithful + Gould and United Living South, for the costs of remediation and fire security on the estate.

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Residents to help choose Chalcots recladding contractor – Ian Weinfass – 2021-02-04 14:12:55

609 W. Randolph begins construction in Chicago’s West Loop Gate

A new 15-story office building has begun construction at 609 W. Randolph in Chicago’s West Loop Gate neighborhood.

The project will span over 100,000 sf and is being developed on a surface parking lot adjacent to an existing five-story building. The facade will keep in line with the neighborhood feel and consist primarily of masonry with complementary steel, metal panel, and exterior glazing. It will also include a granite base.

The building will be a four-minute walk from the Clinton CTA station and a three-minute walk from Ogilvie Transportation Center. Skender is building the project, which is being developed by Vista Property Group.

609 W. Randolph is designed to be WELL certified and exceed energy code. It is slated for completion in early 2022.

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609 W. Randolph begins construction in Chicago’s West Loop Gate – dmalone – 2021-02-01 16:13:23

Covid compliance adds six months and at least £500m to Hinkley Point C

Hinkley Point C managing director Stuart CrooksContractors on Hinkley Point C have ben working since March 2020 with reduced staff numbers and with routines restricted through compliance with new site operating procedures, including social distancing.

Despite this, they hit 18 out of their 20 miletsones in 2020 and the other two were “not far behind” said, HPC managing director Stuart Crooks.

“That’s a considerable achievement with fewer people on site,” he said.

However, a detailed review of schedule and cost has concluded that the start of electricity generation from Unit 1 is now expected in June 2026, rather than the end of 2025 as initially announced in 2016.

The project completion costs are now estimated in the range of £22bn to 23bn, as opposed to the revised window of £21.5bn and £22.5bn (at 2015 prices) announced in September 2019. [Construction costs rise 10% at Hinkley Point C]

As a consequence, the projected rate of return for the French state-owned energy company is now estimated at between 7.1% and 7.2%, rather than the previous 7.6% to 7.8%.

Stuart Crooks said that three months of scheduled time had been lost in 2020 and it was estimated that another three months could be lost in 2021 “assuming that conditions allow us to ramp back up the resources after Easter,” he said.

He added: It is important to remember that this is a health crisis not an issue with construction. The fundamentals of this project remain good.”

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Covid compliance adds six months and at least £500m to Hinkley Point C – The Construction Index – 2021-01-27 15:31:00

Crossrail productivity ‘slowed’ by COVID-19 outbreaks

Productivity at Crossrail’s Bond Street station is expected to be affected by a spell of COVID-19 outbreaks last year, according to a progress report from consultant Jacobs.
The station has consistently lagged behind other stations on the project and, in June last year, the Costain/Skanska joint venture working on it agreed to leave the contract early due to disruption caused by coronavirus. At the time, a spokesman for the JV said the station was “uniquely affected by the COVID-19 crisis, due to the number of operatives required on site to complete the station”.
The progress report for mid-October to mid-November and released late last week, noted: “A recent spell of COVID-19 outbreaks is expected to affect productivity at Bond Street Station.”
It added that, at the time, workers across the wider project had been affected by coronavirus. It said: “The COVID-19 second wave is resulting in positive cases and self-isolation of resources across the programme, causing Crossrail to maintain a heightened state of awareness. Crossrail’s focus has been on ensuring the safety and resilience of nearly 400 key people and protecting crucial physical assets for continuing operations.”
In response, Crossrail said that the project is still expected to meet its expected timeline, which will see passenger services up and running in the first half of 2022.
The impact of workers contracting COVID-19 added to the pressure of an “under-resourced” and “over-stretched” workforce, according to Jacobs. It said there are still 133 job vacancies that had not been filled, although this was an “improved position” from the 150 vacancies it found a month earlier. Crossrail has paused the recruitment process through Transport for London (TfL) and has turned to its supply chain to try and fill the gap in technical and assurance roles.
As a result, Jacobs said there is now significant pressure to move onto trial running, and warned over the timescale of the next stage of testing on the project.
In response, Crossrail said its funding problems had contributed to the issues around its recruitment. It said: “Recruitment is working effectively […] however, it is important that funding for the remainder of the programme is available to provide clarity and certainty to individuals that the phase of the programme […] to which they are allocated, is funded. This needs to be approved and communicated as soon as possible in 2021 to ensure the correct resources are available and retained.”
Last week, the London Assembly’s budget and performance committee highlighted a £275m shortfall in the funding required to complete Crossrail. In its report, the committee pointed out that London’s transport commissioner Andy Byford promised in December there would be “no further delays or further call on public funds” on the basis it was granted £1.1bn. So far, £845m has been secured, but the mayor himself has acknowledged that after this sum there is “nowhere else to go” and that “the government would need to step in”.

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Crossrail productivity ‘slowed’ by COVID-19 outbreaks – Megan Kelly – 2021-01-25 14:57:24

Architecture Billings continue to lose ground

Demand for design services from U.S. architecture firms took a pointed dip last month, according to a new report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The pace of decline during December accelerated from November, posting an Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score of 42.6 from 46.3 (any score below 50 indicates a decline in firm billings). Meanwhile, the pace of growth of inquiries into new projects remained flat from November to December with a score of 52.4, though the value of new design contracts stayed in negative territory with a score of 48.5.

“Since the national economic recovery appears to have stalled, architecture firms are entering 2021 facing a continued sluggish design market,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA.  “However, the recently passed federal stimulus funding should help shore up the economy in the short-term, and hopefully by later this year there should be relief as COVID vaccinations become more widespread. Recent project inquiries from prospective and former clients have been positive, suggesting that new work may begin picking up as we move into the spring and summer months.”

Key ABI highlights for December include:

•    Regional averages: South (46.8); Midwest (43.6); West (43.4); Northeast (38.8) •    Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (48.0); commercial/industrial (47.2); multi-family residential (46.1); institutional (38.5)•    Project inquiries index: 52.4•    Design contracts index: 48.5

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.

Visit AIA’s website for more ABI information.

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Architecture Billings continue to lose ground – dmalone – 2021-01-19 21:12:58