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

PDP demands Defence Minister’s sack

By Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has demanded for the immediate sack of the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd) for asking unarmed Nigerians to defend themselves against aggression by armed bandits and terrorists.
The party described the Minister’s call as reckless, irresponsible and an indication that the Buhari administration has abdicated its statutory duties of protecting Nigerians.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines during the screening of the newly appointed Service Chiefs on Wednesday, the Minister had asked Nigerians to “stand and face” the armed bandits.
Stating that security issue should not be the responsibility of the military alone, the Minister had charged Nigerians to stop acting like cowards when confronted by armed criminals.
The Minister, while commenting on the killing of a pupil and abduction of 27 others at a secondary school at Kagara, Niger state the by armed bandits, said it’s a surprise to him that Nigerians often took to their heels on hearing gunshots fired by bandits who sometimes strike with “only three rounds of ammunition”.
But in a statement on Wednesday by the spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party described the Minister’s statements as reckless, irresponsible and a confirmation that the Buhari administration has surrendered to outlaws and has no determination to fight them.

“It is unthinkable that a government would describe unarmed victims of armed aggression of terrorists and bandits as “cowards” while those who were elected and given the necessary resources to defend them recede in the comfort and safety of their offices in Abuja.
“Such disposition to security; a statutory responsibility of government, goes to validate apprehensions that our nation is indeed descending to a failed state under the Buhari Presidency, where government can no longer perform its duties while unarmed citizens are left to confront bandits and warlords,” the PDP said.
The party noted that given the silence by the Presidency over the comments, the Minister actually spoke the mind of the President and his security architecture
It added that the Minster’s position further explained why the administration has remained complacent in the fight against terrorism and banditry in the country.
The PDP said: “Such statement by the Buhari administration, at the time it ought to be scaling up its security strategies to guarantee the safety of all Nigerians, have been emboldening bandits, terrorists and kidnappers to escalate their acts atrocities against our compatriots.
“Moreover, with such disposition, the Buhari administration is creating a lucrative job for bandits, terrorists and kidnappers who are settled with huge ransom instead of being faced with firepower.
“Our party however urges Nigerians not to despair at this moment but brace up as it has become obvious that we are now in a despondent situation where government has shown that it can no longer defend the citizens”.

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PDP demands Defence Minister’s sack – Oamen Eromosele – 2021-02-18 17:23:51

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

Mohammed Mijindadi appointed President for General Electric in Nigeria

General Electric (GE) has announced the appointment of Mohammed Mijindadi as President of GE Nigeria.
In this role, Mr Mijindadi will focus on strengthening GE’s impact in Nigeria, building strong stakeholder relationships across Power, Healthcare, Aviation and Renewable Energy sectors, and supporting the businesses to develop and execute the market strategy.
Mr Mijindadi brings over 20 years of deep domain experience as well as global and regional leadership expertise. He has been with GE for the last 13 years in the various commercial country and regional leadership business roles.
A graduate of the GE Experienced Commercial Leadership Program (ECLP), Mr Mijindadi has progressed through varied, complex assignments including Commercial Excellence Leader, Strategic Sourcing Leader and Business Development. Prior to joining GE, Mohammed worked in several US multinationals in the transportation, services, construction, and entertainment industries.
Commenting on the appointment, Jaime Morais, President, GE West & Central Africa said, “We are privileged to have Mohammed take up the leadership of GE in Nigeria. His track record of building and managing relationships as well as pushing to deliver business results will serve us well as we position to support our businesses for growth, transformation and operational performance in such an important and high priority market.”
“With a growing population and huge infrastructure needs, Nigeria continues to represent a significant market opportunity for GE, and I am excited to take on this challenge to drive GE’s growth in Nigeria, building on its 120 plus years of impact on the continent. I’m looking forward to working across our businesses in Power, Healthcare, Renewable Energy and Aviation to create value for the country, our customers and our team on critical themes such as decarbonization and digitalization, as we rise to the challenge of building a world that works,” Mr Mijindadi said.
Mr Mijindadi serves on the boards of GE international Operations Nigeria (GEION) and GE FZE entities in addition to other external boards. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree (BSc.) in Civil Engineering from Temple University in Philadelphia and an M.B.A in Marketing and Strategic Leadership from Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) in State College, PA.
GE has been operating in Nigeria for over 40 years, with businesses spanning across key sectors including, power, healthcare, aviation, and renewables.
Today, GE provides gas power technology, services and solutions in the country. “Our Healthcare solutions are improving access and quality of care across the country in public and private healthcare centres, while our Renewables and Grid Solutions business is providing reliable and affordable green power as well as complete, engineered solutions for power generation companies, utilities, and industries,” the company said.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of GE.

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Mohammed Mijindadi appointed President for General Electric in Nigeria – Press Release – 2021-02-11 14:28:33

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

Covid-19: FG must rethink financing of the healthcare sector – Fayemi

Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum has disclosed that for Nigeria to rebuild post-Covid, the country must move to a more impactful sustainable health care plan.The Governor disclosed this on Tuesday after his lecture titled, “The role of Nigeria’s state governments in recovery: responses to COVID-19 linked challenges’’ at the Chatham House Event, London, United Kingdom. He added that the NGF is working with the FG to ensure Nigerians have access to the vaccines.Fayemi stated that the FG must focus on healthcare to ensure a better economic rebuild.“We must ask ourselves and rethink on existing assumptions and facts around financing and delivery of health care in a manner that guarantees we build back better.“This requires adequate funding of the health sector. We have begun to advocate for increased investment in health security and public health emergencies by State Governments,” he said.He disclosed that his Ekiti State increased the capital budget for health by 250% due to the pandemic, and proposed that states establish their own Centres for Disease Control.“In Ekiti State, for example, our capital budget for health in 2021 increased by 250%  above 2020 figures.“Our new four-year strategy for the health sector has public health security as a major priority.“At the NGF, we are recommending that states begin to think about establishing their own Centres for Disease Control,” he said.He also said that Nigeria now has a National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) which includes a multi-sectorial approach to prepare for and respond to disease outbreaks.The Governor revealed that Covid-19 is the biggest lesson for Nigeria as it affected every area of the economy, adding that all sectors have a duty to contribute to public health.“The COVID-19 pandemic is perhaps our biggest lesson around this, as the pandemic has affected all spheres of the economy.“Every sector must now contribute to ensuring health security and this is not limited to the provision of funds alone.“Many of the determinants of health are outside the health sector, and so we must have multi-sectoral leadership and response to public health emergencies,” Fayemi said.On the Central BankThe Governor praised the Central Bank of Nigeria for its intervention policies to the states and for its role in ensuring states grow back to pre-pandemic levels.“Intervention funds have been made available with interest rates below inflation, with the hope that we can stimulate the growth of small and medium scale businesses.“Similarly, institutions such as the Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture have also given moratoriums on existing loans to ease the burden of payment,” he said.What you should know Nairametrics reported this week that the Nigerian government expects about 41 million vaccines from the African Union before the end of April, as it also expects to source vaccines from India and Russia.This was disclosed by the head of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib.President Muhammadu Buhari also signed the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021 policy, citing powers conferred to the Presidency, by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010.Six States, Lagos, FCT, Plateau, Kaduna, Oyo, and Rivers, have contributed 70% of confirmed cases, with Lagos, the commercial nerve of the country, contributing about 40% of the total burden. Data indicates that men appear to be disproportionately affected, accounting for 69% of the confirmed cases. Most cases occur in people aged 31-40 years.Fayemi also stated that Nigeria expects about 80 million doses of vaccines to be made available in 2021 to cover 40% of the population, while another 60 million doses are to be delivered ahead of 2022.

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Covid-19: FG must rethink financing of the healthcare sector – Fayemi – William Ukpe – 2021-02-03 11:34:08

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