April Newsletter 2019

April 2019 Newsletter

‘Rugged, high-accuracy laser levels from Fluke, Every day’s a school day, City planners give green light to ‘The Tulip’ Tower, Government picks firms to lead £500m modular crusade Race starts for £650m NHS Scotland framework‘.

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Rugged, high-accuracy laser levels from Fluke

Fluke has introduced a new series of point, line, and rotary laser levels with improved durability, accuracy, and performance.

These new professional-grade tools have been engineered by Pacific Laser Systems (PLS), a Fluke company, to meet Fluke’s high standards for accuracy, ruggedness, and dependability to ensure the lasers will maintain their precision for years to come. They are designed to meet the demands of harsh construction environments, while easing interior and exterior layout work. The 11 new lasers provide bright, crisp reference points and lines for quick and accurate indoor and outdoor layout, helping to complete projects on time.

Studies have shown that green appears up to four times brighter than red to the human eye, which makes the green lasers more visible on the jobsite, so most models are available as red (R) and green (G) variants. The new PLS 3R and 3G, PLS 5R and 5G, PLS 6R and 6G, PLS 180R and 180G laser levels are accurate to ≤3mm at 10m and are built to provide IP54 dust and water resistance and to withstand a one metre drop. Each model features a fast settling, self-levelling pendulum to give accurate point and reference lines almost instantly. All are equipped with a pendulum lock, ensuring safe transport and helping to avoid potential wear.

The PLS 3R & 3G point lasers offer three point directions; the 5R & 5G point lasers offer five point directions; the 6R & 6G line and point lasers offer four point directions, plus a 180° horizontal and vertical line; and the 180R & 180G line lasers offer a horizontal and vertical line. Fluke has also introduced three PLS rotary laser levels – the HV2R and HV2G, which emit a laser line in the horizontal or vertical plane; and the H2, a horizontal-only, red laser level.

Optional accessories include laser detectors and reflective targets, a floor stand, a wall mount and a UB9 universal ceiling / wall bracket. All PLS laser levels are backed by a three-year, best-in-class warranty.

For more information, visit fluke.co.uk

Rugged, high-accuracy laser levels from Fluke

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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Smart energy meters failing to make positive impact

Having a smart meter installed at home seldom means lower energy bills, according to new survey findings published by electrotechnical trade body ECA.

Another survey by Which? yielded similar results, with the majority of people saying they thought smart meters either made no difference to or increased their gas and electricity use.

One of the advertised benefits of smart meters is that they give users a real-time understanding of energy use and spend so people can make changes to cut back. But the research from ECA and Which? indicates that many are not seeing this benefit.

In the ECA’s YouGov survey of adults who are eligible for a smart meter, just 1 in 14 respondents with a smart meter (7%) said that having one had reduced their energy bills, while 1 in 11 (9%) said they had increased. This is despite 1 in 4 (23%) reporting that the main reason for having a smart meter installed was to reduce their energy bills. Almost half (45%) reported they had experienced ‘no benefits’ in having one

The results of the Which? survey found that 34% of smart meter owners think their gas and electricity use has reduced since they had a smart meter installed. In contrast, 20% think theirs has increased. The remainder didn’t think that their energy use had changed since getting a smart meter.

Which? also found a correlation between a drop in energy use and the attitude of the householder. Customers who said they had a smart meter installed because they wanted one were more likely to find that their energy use had fallen since they got one.

Some 42% who installed a smart meter because they wanted one and proactively contacted their energy company said that their energy use had reduced since getting one. Similarly, 47% of those who were recommended smart meters by family or friends said that their energy use had decreased. But only 26% of those who said they were persuaded by their energy company to have a smart meter agreed that their energy use had fallen.

Overall, those who were proactive in getting a smart meter seem to have been more successful in cutting back on how much gas and electricity they use.

Commenting on the results of the survey, ECA Energy Advisor Luke Osborne says: “Smart meters can play a role in stimulating a shift towards a lower carbon future. However, the Government needs to do far more to incentivise change and explain the benefits of using smart meters if they are to increase consumer confidence and take-up in the near future.”

Smart energy meters failing to make positive impact

Source: PHAM News

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Safety First – C.K’s Solution for the Best in Cable Routing

Every tradesman is familiar with cable routing and the risks of splinters with some cable rods. That became a painful reality for Jason Price of Jason Price Electrical Services, whose hand was badly injured last year when a cable rod by another supplier splintered during use.

Thanks to C.K, Jason became the proud owner of a C.K MightyRods PRO Cable Rod Set, which offers total protection against splinters due to a unique SplinterShield ™ coating.

Will Sheridan from C.K originally heard Jason’s story during a visit to wholesaler, Seryn Electrical and, by chance, recently met him again during another visit. Jason is still suffering intense pain in his injured hand and an operation to remove the splinter has proved unsuccessful, leaving the splinter embedded and resulting in ongoing pain.

On a lighter note, Will took the opportunity to present a delighted Jason with C.K’s SPIRAFlex rod, to help make his work that much easier.

“As you can imagine, I lost complete faith in cable rods and had stopped using them” said Jason, “as did other electricians when word got around. But now the C.K MightyRods PRO with their splinter-proof coating have given me the confidence and reassurance that I can work safely and won’t find myself in a similar situation again.”

Three Steps to Safe Cable Routing 

Working with professional tradesmen helps C.K find solutions to end user needs and enables C.K Tools to develop the most advanced cable routing products. The C.K MightyRods PRO are specifically designed to combat the issues of painful splintering and snapping, thanks to an innovative SplinterShield™ coating – Europe’s first splinter-proof material – that protects the rods and allows both safe efficient working conditions.

C.K realised that flexibility is also key to successful cable routing and introduced its super-flexible SPIRA-FLEX rod, perfect for accessing tight corners, bends and other obstacles. The SpiraFLEX draw tapes offer fantastic benefits when it comes to hassle-free cable routing. The super flexible and immensely tough 4mm Ø SpiraFLEX draw tape, offers a major improvement on standard nylon and steel draw tapes, which are often prone to twisting and kinking.

The latest introduction – the C.K Gloworm Cable Router– adds another dimension to the range and is perfectly designed for running cables around tight corners, through insulation filled walls, underneath flooring and across ceilings. Gloworm’s clever glow in the dark phosphorescent polymer construction, aids routing in low light conditions and easier navigation towards exit points. When charged under natural light, Gloworm provides an effective glow for up to 30 minutes.

For further information on the SpiraFLEX draw tape please visit www.carlkammerling.comor call 01758 704704.

Safety First - C.K’s Solution for the Best in Cable Routing

Source: Electrical Trade Magazine 

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Every day’s a school day

When you work on the tools, learning is not just about sitting in a classroom. It’s about getting your hands on the products in a safe, well equipped environment, under the guidance of experts, who, like you, understand what it’s like at the coal face.

If you’ve ever attended a boiler breakdown, and been faced with a situation you haven’t seen before, it can be a real challenge. However, the knowledge gained from attending a good quality training session can give you the confidence to step back for a moment, assess the situation and take a logical approach to diagnosing the issue.

Training is also about inspiring young people. My favourite moment during a training course is that ‘lightbulb’ moment, when something suddenly clicks into place and the trainee ‘gets it’.

You know you have taught them something that will stay with them for the rest of their working life! Training isn’t just about learning all the ins and outs of a boiler; it’s about getting to grips with the latest legislation and industry requirements. We know that there isn’t always time for reading up on this important part of an installer’s business, so we make sure our training courses include an overview on legislation and time for delegates to ask questions.

We understand that taking a day out of a busy work schedule for training has to be really worthwhile, and we want you to leave feeling you’ve gained valuable knowledge. We also found out from surveying delegates, that they want practical sessions, where they can get their hands on boilers and components, rather than sit in front of a PowerPoint presentation in a classroom. So, all our courses are designed so the installer spends as much time in front of a boiler as possible.

Our experienced trainers have all been heating engineers and are fully qualified. They will show you lots of hints, tips, and diagnostics to help you install, commission, service and repair products. Our boiler training days are free of charge and easy to book through our website . If you let us know what you are particularly interested in, we can tailor your training day to suit your requirements, so you can make the most of your time with us.

We have live products for delegates work on, in a safe environment, and one of our experienced trainers is always on hand to help. Any classroom theory is kept to a minimum and is essential to support the course’s practical elements. We will also give you up to date information on ErP and other legislation.

Although our courses run for a full day, we understand that installers have businesses to run, so we factor in breaks when they can make calls and take care of their customers.

Whether they’re an old hand or new to the job, our aim is for delegates on our training courses to gain the skills, know-how and confidence to do a good job even better. And hopefully, take away a few of those ‘lightbulb’ moments that will stay with them throughout their career!

Every day's a school day

Source: Plumbing Magazine 

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Work to start on £1bn network of electric car charging forecourts

Power infrastructure specialist Gridserve has unveiled plans for a £1bn network of rapid charging forecourts for electric vehicles.

The UK-wide network of more than 100 Electric Forecourts will allow private and fleet vehicles to be charged in less than 30 minutes.

During this time drivers will be able to take advantage of a range of facilities including coffee shops, fresh food, convenience supermarkets and airport-style lounges with high-speed internet access

Gridserve is also planning to build new solar farms to supply the forecourts with clean, low cost energy.

Construction is scheduled to start on the first sites later this year in York and Hull.

Toddington Harper, CEO of GRIDSERVE, said“We plan to make charging electric vehicles as easy as using petrol stations.

“We plan to eliminate any range or charging anxiety by building a UK-wide network of customer-focussed, brand new Electric Forecourts that will make it easier and cheaper to use an electric vehicle than a petrol or diesel alternative.

“Within five years we plan to have more than 100 Electric Forecourts in use, with each supported by solar energy and battery storage.

“This infrastructure will accelerate the electric vehicle revolution, serve the grid, and help the UK meet climate and clean air targets.

“We are partnering with operators of fleet vehicles, developers, financiers of vehicles and infrastructure, EV manufacturers, retailers, local authorities, and others who share our vision.”

The forecourts have been designed and engineered in partnership with Arup.

Work to start on £1bn network of electric car charging forecourts

Source: Construction Enqiurer

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City planners give green light to “The Tulip” tower

The City of London Corporation has approved a planning application from Foster + Partners for the tallest tower in the Square Mile.

The team behind the Gherkin plan to build “The Tulip” next door on Bury Street.

It will have a total height of 305.3 metres – making it the second tallest building in Western Europe after the Shard.

The City Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee gave the go-ahead by a vote of 18-7.

The Tulip will include a viewing platform with rotating pods, a restaurant and sky bar, cycle parking and shower facilities, a new pocket park at street level, publicly accessible rooftop terrace, and an entire floor dedicated to education facilities during school hours.

Planning Committee Chairman, Chris Hayward, said: “After a lengthy and robust debate, the committee agreed to approve this truly unique visitor attraction.

“One of my key objectives as Chairman of the Planning and Transportation Committee has been to enable the continued transformation of the City of London into a place which welcomes members of the public on weekends as during the week.

“This building has the potential to play an important role in realising our vision of the Square Mile as a vibrant 24/7 city.”

City planners give green light to "The Tulip" tower

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Vinci calls for ‘Think Again’ on safety to fight complacency

MPs are demanding a major review of working at height in a bid to cut the number of deaths and accidents caused by falls.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Working at Height has published a new report calling on the Government and industry to undertake a major review of working at height culture.

It also wants to see improved reporting of incidents and introduce reporting on near misses.

The report, Staying Alive: Preventing Serious Injury and Fatalities while Working at Heightis the result of a 12 month inquiry by the APPG.

Politicians explored why 18% of people who die at work do so as a result of a fall from height, and what steps can be taken by government and industry to prevent incidents for the millions of people in the UK that work at height.

The report makes 4 primary recommendations to reduce the overall number of falls:

  • The introduction of an enhanced reporting system through RIDDOR.
  • The appointment of an independent body that allows confidential, enhanced and digital reporting of all near misses, to be shared with government and industry to inform health and safety policy.
  • The extension of the Working Well Together – Working Well at Height safety campaigns.
  • An equivalent system to Scotland’s Fatal Accident Inquiry process extended to the rest of the UK.

Alison Thewliss, Chair of the APPG on Working at Height and MP for Glasgow Central said“Every fall from height can have life-altering consequences for workers and their families. There is an urgent need to improve work at height culture, yet this issue is sadly not at the top of decision-makers’ agenda.

“A lack of empirical data prevents us from understanding the root causes of falls from height. This is compounded by a cultural obstacle when it comes to supporting people to report unsafe practices.

“We have made comprehensive recommendations to government, but the APPG’s work does not stop here. Our report must be the first step in a wider process of systematic and cultural change. It is now time for policy-makers to act.”

The APPG is now calling for a further period of consultation and a major review of work at height culture, including how to engage with difficult to reach sectors, the suitability of financial penalties, and the role of digital technologies in improving the safety environment.

Vinci calls for ‘Think Again’ on safety to fight complacency

Source: Construction Enquirer 

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Electricians in Britain pinned down by Europe

Amid the Brexit fiasco, more controversy has been announced this morning by the Fédération Officiel d’Operateurs Léctrique.

Today in Brussels, the Fédération released a statement claiming that if Britain is to remain in the European Union it will be made a legal requirement for us to replace our beloved three pin plug with the European two pin.

The legislation will be enforced in an effort to show Britain’s unity and solidary with the rest of Europe and the responsibility Britain’s Electrical industry has to comply to European standards.

Marketing Director Avril Un explains: “We appreciate British Electricians will be faced with a great task in replacing the three pin plug but we are confident that in doing this Britain’s relationship with the EU can prosper. Additionally, this legislation will create a number of new job opportunities for British Electricians”.

For more information regarding the legislation and the Fédération Officiel d’Operateurs Léctrique click here. 

Electricians in Britain pinned down by Europe

Source: HVP Magazine

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Industry faces significant unknowns from hydrogen heat switch

Industry has ten years to realise how heating appliances that make use of hydrogen or a blend of the gas can be made technically and economically viable, the APHC has said

Any partial or complete switchover of the gas grid to Hydrogen will require drastic and wide ranging changes to heating technologies and their maintenance over the next ten years.

Hydrogen gas is considered one potential option in the medium-term to longer-term that will help realise national aims for lower carbon homes. As such, a range of public and private sector research and development projects are already underway to determine how this might be viable on a commercial and technical level.

Graeme Dryden, technical services manager with the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC), said that there was significant uncertainty over how exactly greener gas such as hydrogen or biomethane may support UK aims to at least halve current energy use in new buildings by 2030.

The claims were made during a series of workshop events hosted by the APHC and Worcester Bosch to consider upcoming changes in heating standards and technologies.

Government has pledged to end fossil fuel heating, including existing gas boilers, in all new build properties by 2025. A question mark therefore remains over what role, if any, a revised grid will play in the design of future buildings.

Mr Dryden noted that while Biomethane could potentially be adopted in the gas grid within a short-term scale of around 12 months without needing a root and branch reform of appliances, research was ongoing into the suitability of hydrogen as a green alternative to using fossil fuels in the home.

This research was presently underway both at a government and industry level to look at whether a blend using hydrogen, or a switch fully to the gas can effectively be piped in and used in a new range of heating appliances, as well as creating a sustainably produced supply.

However, the path to ensuring widespread adoption of the gas was not clear.

Mr Dryden said, “We don’t even know how we are going to effectively meter it for charging purposes.”

HE added, “There is a lot of unknowns and based on the assumption of current industry practice, we won’t be doing what we do now.”

Mr Dryden said that any switch to hydrogen level on a widescale would not be realised until 2030 at the earliest, but was confident that it was the future for industry alongside electric heating.

He added, “It will happen and I think we know the journey and the end-point, that’s where we want to be and will be, but what we have to work out is how we get there. We have ten years to get where we want to be.”

“Everyone is going at full pelt. You just need to look at the amount of effort and investment that manufacturers such as Worcester Bosch are putting into burner technology to work out what is the damaging and positive effects of doing this.”

Shaun Clayton, a technical training engineer with Worcester Bosch, added that cost would be another vital consideration in determining whether hydrogen was in any way viable as either a national or regional solution for greener heat.

He said, “We’ve got people talking about is this switchover actually allowed to happen right now. So forget the technical aspect, within the gas safety management regulations it says that, ‘you shouldn’t be seen to be passing the cost of anything onto the consumer, whether increasing their fuel costs, the maintenance costs and upkeep of their boiler.”

Mr Clayton added that technical challenges posed from the use of biogases, such as the possible creation of silicon-like materials during the heating process, may for example require additional and more costly maintenance work and servicing.

He said that would create a notable problem in deciding who would be accruing the costs to ensure consumers faced minimum impact from any change.

Mr Clayton said, “So as much as we have all these ideas technically [about hydrogen adoption] and it is happening, there may be something to say that you can’t do it.”

Worcester Bosch has been looking over the last twelve months on testing of boilers operating on a gas blend consisting of 15 per cent hydrogen. Mr Clayton said that the technology was working, but the company was having to consider the technical and safety challenges of handling higher amounts of the gas in future supplies

He said, “Ideas are easy, but implementing them is something else. So, we have all these ideas, but Worcester Bosch has this thought process where if the government ask for a 20 per cent hydrogen blend, it will look to push these boundaries all the time.”

“It is not just a matter of safety remember, this is also about efficiency and reliability.”

Industry faces significant unknowns from hydrogen heat switch

Source: H & V News

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Behind the scenes of cable manufacturing: The hidden benefits of buying a quality cable.

There will be many decades of accumulated knowledge and know-how applied at each stage of the cable manufacturing process. From the definition of materials to the permissible sizes and constructions, through the manufacturing processes to the testing and quality assurance. All these provide the hidden benefits of buying a quality cable.

Cable manufacturers are expected to conduct quality assurance tests and checks before shipment, but unless the manufacturer is enrolled in a recognised approval scheme, such as BASEC, this may not be supervised by independent experts.


That is the reason why top-flight approval schemes like BASEC operate their own test laboratories, equipped with the latest equipment, fully accredited by internationally recognised bodies like UKAS, and employing experts with many years’ experience in laboratory practice and product testing. By basing its certification decisions on comprehensive initial type testing across a range of production capability, coupled with regular sampling of manufactured cable (up to 200 samples per year from each factory) purchasers will have peace of mind that cable supplied to their projects will be under constant scrutiny by both the manufacturer, and independently by BASEC.

BASEC’s state of the art cable test laboratory, based in Milton Keynes, UK, can trace its heritage back 40 years and has been testing thousands of samples each year throughout this period.


Cables made to defined standards are subject to numerous tests and examinations, often many hundreds for a complex cable. These are grouped into construction, mechanical, materialselectrical, chemical, fire and smoke. Specialist types of cable are often subjected to more exotic tests.


Key to cable quality and safety are electrical properties, including the current carrying capacity derived from the copper (or aluminium) content of conductors. This is tested by resistance meters capable of micro-Ohm precision, calibrated regularly and with the sample kept at a constant controlled temperature to ensure a correct measurement. Electrical safety is ensured through voltage and insulation resistance testing, usually at many multiples of the rated voltage, carried out on the whole cable and its separate components. Some more challenging tests are conducted in hot water. BASEC can safely conduct tests up to 100kV, ensuring a wide range of cables can be assessed in-house.


Fire safety is of increasing concern to end users, and new material classes such as LSHF have emerged over the years, which provide a much greater degree of safety and reassurance. All cables are expected not to propagate fire, and most will undergo a small Bunsen burner test, but some go beyond this to continue operating during a serious fire, without affecting circuit integrity. BASEC operates a comprehensive suite of circuit integrity fire tests to British, European and international standards. Fire spread is another key concern of architects and designers, so BASEC also has the capability to conduct vertical flame tests on bunched cables, including the new European CPR classification tests.


While safety is a critical concern for many users, reliability and longevity are of importance to most projects, especially in construction. Cables are tested for the materials used, which are subjected to a variety of environmental threats that that might experience in use, such as heat, oils and other fluids, ozone, UV, cold, impact, abrasion and many others.

The projected lifespan of a cable will always depend on how it is used, but simple artificial ageing in an oven, followed by tensile testing for strength and elongation can tell you a lot, particularly as there are strict limits to how much a material can change in properties during this ageing.

For end users, simple constructional aspects such as the correct marking of the cable, including readability and durability, are also important for long terms safe and flexible use.


The BASEC cable approval schemes apply all applicable laboratory tests to each cable type, on at least an annual basis. This shows that each approved manufacturer is continuing to produce consistently good quality cable, giving the specifier and purchaser peace of mind that if they fit a BASEC approved cable they will get the performance, safety and longevity they expect.

For more information, visit www.basec.org.uk

Behind the scenes of cable manufacturing: The hidden benefits of buying a quality cable

Source: Electrical Times 

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Merchants keeping the edge over online

Tradespeople still prefer more traditional methods of buying equipment, according to new research by Van Vault.

Despite the general increase in online sales, the findings by Van Vault highlighted that people still prefer more traditional methods of buying equipment.

The survey, covering a number of trades including builders, electricians, plumbers and carpenters, showed that when buying secure storage solutions for their van, the preferred choice was to purchase in-store.

In total, 41% of participants prefer to buy secure storage solutions in-store from a local or specialist retailer while 38% purchase goods from national brands.

When it comes to buying secure storage – driven by a wide range of issues from replacement to theft, and from needing extra storage to getting a new van – often tradespeople do their research online first before making a visit to store to purchase.

Merchants keeping the edge over online

Source: HPM Magazine

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Government picks firms to lead £500m modular crusade

The Crown Commercial Service has named its favoured 23 firms to deliver a modular buildings revolution for public sector projects.

The line-up includes five major suppliers – Caledonian, Elliott, McAvoy, Portakabin and Wernick – supplemented with 18 SMEs.

The new ‘uber’ framework for modular buildings will operate for the next four years and has been carved into seven lots, including design and build of specialist education and healthcare modules as well as other public sector building.

It has been developed with a particular focus on education and healthcare, with Lots 1 to 4 focussing exclusively on these sectors over different value bands.

Lots 5 to 7 are for the supply of modular building solutions for all other sectors, including housing, defence and commercial and retail.

The Modular Building Solutions framework will supersede the existing Department for Education and Skills framework established last year.

John Welch, Deputy Director – Construction Services, said: “CCS is really pleased to be able to provide the public sector with such a comprehensive solution to their temporary building requirements.

“The current generation of modular buildings are solid, well insulated, and can be appropriately specified – providing a quick, safe and cost-effective answer to our customers’ needs.

“Although we have put education and healthcare sector customers at the forefront of our framework design this framework has been prepared to serve all aspects of central government and the wider public sector for their temporary and semi-permanent modular building requirements.”


Government picks firms to lead £500m modular crusade

Source: Construction Enquirer 

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Kier wins £13m Bradford academy

Kier has been named by the Department for Education to design and construct an 880-place academy in a grade II listed mill in Bradford.

The £13m academy will be based on Old Bowling Lane in Douglas Mill and is being built for Bradford-based Dixon Academies Trust as its first standalone academy for 16-18 year olds.

Kier will refurbish the mill and coach house building, which was previously occupied by the NHS and construct a new build sports hall.

The sixth form is scheduled to open to its first cohort of 360 students late August 2019. This will increase to its full capacity of 880 students by September 2021.

John O’Callaghan, managing director for Kier Construction Northern, said: “We are thrilled that the DfE has appointed us to deliver Dixons Sixth Form in Bradford.

“We will construct modern education, teaching and sporting facilities to help towards Dixons vision which is to continue to revolutionise the education offering in Bradford for all pupils to be Russell Group ready.”

The latest win reinforces Kier’s position in the North of England’s education sector, where it has recently delivered a £7.3m sixth form centre as part of the Kirklees College’s new learning quarter, and an extension to Liverpool City College.

Kier wins £13m Bradford academy

Source: Construction Enquirer