Carillion bankers set up £225m fund to help subcontractors
Lloyds Banking Group has launched a £50m fund, HSBC £100m and RBS £75m.
The trio will waive fees and suspend loan repayment for firms struggling with cash flow after losing money in the wake of Carillion’s demise.
All three were major lenders to the company and are facing huge losses following its failure.
Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “I welcome this quick and positive move by banks.
“This follows my meeting with the banks yesterday where I challenged them to see what further support they could provide for SMEs affected by Carillion’s insolvency.
“It is essential that small businesses exposed are given the support they need by their lenders, and I look forward to other banks following suit.”
A government task force has also been set up to “monitor and advise on mitigating the impacts of Carillion’s liquidation on construction firms.”
It includes representatives from leading business bodies, the construction trade sector, unions, banks and government.
Clark said: “It got key people round the table to drive forward steps that we believe can give confidence to workers and the supply chain; support from banks, the ability to link workers with employment and support for apprentices.
“I am determined that collectively we will take the steps necessary to give workers and businesses the information they need at this difficult time.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
Gas Safe Register launch new campaign
Gas Safe Register has launched a new brand awareness campaign to remind people not to ‘cut corners’ when it comes to gas safety and only use a legally qualified engineer by checking that they’re on the Gas Safe Register.
The campaign is now live across Gas Safe Register’s various media channels.
As part of the ‘Don’t Cut Corners with Gas’ campaign, the intended target audience of household decision makers will see and hear that it is their responsibility to ensure that their gas appliances are working safely and efficiently by only using an engineer who is on the Gas Safe Register.
Jonathan Samuel, chief executive, said: “With so many things to juggle in this day and age it’s understandable that some people may look for quick and easy solutions, but when it comes to gas safety our message is clear – you cannot cut corners.
“Our new campaign highlights Gas Safe Register as the trusted source to find a qualified and legal engineer to work on gas appliances to make sure they’re working safely and efficiently.”
The campaign theme was trialled at various focus sessions, capturing both qualitative and quantitative research to determine the most striking and memorable campaign messaging for the intended audience.
BEAMA launches indoor air quality campaign as 65% of UK suffer symptoms
BEAMA is launching a new video as part of its ongoing ‘My Health My Home’ campaign, aimed at driving public awareness of the risks of poor indoor air quality and a lack of ventilation, in response to rising symptoms of poor air in UK homes.
A recent poll of UK homeowners, commissioned by BEAMA, has shown that 65 per cent of people had experienced the signs of poor indoor air quality while 80 per cent believed indoor air quality was as important (if not more important) than outdoor.
The video has been produced to inform homeowners of the benefits of ventilation in helping to achieve good indoor air quality, as well as warning of the health risks associated with poor indoor air quality – including asthma, allergy, and long-term exposure is linked to heart disease and respiratory problems including lung cancer. With 73 per cent of those surveyed in agreement that poor indoor quality should be a health priority for government, BEAMA are most definitely onto something.
The video has been produced to inform homeowners of the benefits of ventilation in helping to achieve good indoor air quality, as well as warning of the health risks associated with poor indoor air quality – including asthma, allergy, and long-term exposure is linked to heart disease and respiratory problems including lung cancer.
Colin Timmins of BEAMA said: “While we are working with industry and Government to deliver better ventilation systems in UK homes, householders also need to be aware of the impact they are having on their own indoor air, what this could mean for them and the steps they can take to improve it.”
For more information, visit: https://indoorairpollution.co.uk/
To watch the video, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JiQTaC3lvo
Source: Electrical Times
Bathroom taps market on the up
Tap and shower manufacturer, Bristan, has welcomed a recent report revealing that the bathroom taps market is set to grow by 7.25% by 2021.
According to WiseGuyReports, the growth will be driven by the large-scale popularity of eco-friendly faucets such as sensor taps which are expected to be the fastest growing product during the projected time.
The bathroom taps market is mainly dependent on the growth of the global construction industry. Although forecasts for UK growth have been downgraded to 0.7 per cent this year, with a slowing economy expected as the UK prepares to leave the EU, it is projected to bounce back to 1.8 per cent in 2019.
Matt Hicks, head of product at Bristan, said: “This latest report is great news for the bathroom taps market which, like the rest of the economy, has been in a period of uncertainty following Brexit. The next few years look set to be an exciting time for the market and we as a brand can’t wait to see what lies ahead.
“With one in four homes estimated to have a Bristan tap or shower, we are pleased to see the market continue to develop and expand, and are dedicated to continuously pushing the boundaries of innovation.”
‘Partners In Education’ – Inspiring the next generation of electricians
New Hager initiative designed to support educational establishments provision of market-leading products, learning aids and technical support enhance learning experience for tomorrow’s electricians.
Hager will play its part supporting the development of the next generation of UK electricians at a time when the Government is committed to delivering 3 million apprenticeships by 2020.
Its new ‘Partners in Education’ initiative will see Hager partner with a number of further education colleges across the UK to help enhance the learning experience for budding electricians.
The initiative, which was launched in 2017, is designed to provide practical and educational support for colleges charged with teaching electrical apprentices and students.
To support this, Hager is making available a range of equipment from its broad product portfolio. This will allow students to benefit from working with the very latest product models in the classroom as they begin their journey towards qualification as an electrician.
In addition, Hager is delivering further support through a range of technical materials such as an easy-to-understand materials reference guide to explain industry terminology to those new to the sector and interactive training classes with Hager’s technical experts. The company has also extended an open invitation for students and teaching staff to visit its manufacturing and training facility in Telford.
Paul Collins, training manager at Hager, said: “We have been delighted with the positive response from colleges around the UK to our innovative ‘Partners in Education’ initiative. I am well aware of the frustrations the teaching profession has when using substandard and overused equipment as teaching aids in the classroom. At a time when every penny counts across the education system, it is important that Hager, as a major manufacturer, can support colleges in this manner.”
“By partnering with a number of teaching establishments, we are able to provide access to the very latest technology and product solutions. This optimises the opportunity for students and apprentices to work with market leading products such as Hager’s MCBs and RCDs. In addition, we are providing a range of marketing materials such as posters and guides that colleges can use to further enhance their students’ learning experience.”
As part of the initiative, Hager also plans to sponsor prizes for a number of ‘Top Student’ awards for individual colleges, as well as offering an innovative service where colleges can request replacement components rather than ordering complete units, such as instances when a terminal fails on a consumer unit.
Helen Hampton from Bridgend College, which is taking part in the initiative, comments: “We are pleased to have Hager’s support. Being able to offer our students the opportunity to work with quality products not only enables them to install accessories far more easily, but also to a higher standard. We’re looking forward to working with Hager in this exciting partnership to help train the electricians of tomorrow.”
Paul Collins concluded: “It is vital that the whole industry gets behind the development of tomorrow’s generation of electricians. By helping students and apprentices commence their careers with access to quality learning products, as well as the ability to utilise helpful teaching aids and technical support, Hager is playing its part in this important objective. The Hager ‘Partners in Education’ initiative has got off to a great start, and we are determined to build upon its success to reach as many apprentices and students as possible.”
Source: Electrical Times
Survey drone hits crane on construction site
Investigators have now published their report into the prang last summer.
The report said the drone pilot “had not taken into account the addition of a new crane.”
The pilot had flown a pre-programmed profile at the site before the tower crane was erected.
But the investigators found the last flight came to a premature end when the drone struck the jib of the recently erected machine.
The report stated: “The crane had not been at the site during the previous flight, and from where the pilot was situated in the car park it was difficult for him or his observer to tell that it was about to strike the crane because of a lack of perspective.”
“The unmanned aircraft fell to the ground and was damaged but there was no damage to the construction site.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
Skills shortages reach record high
A survey by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), has found that of skills shortages in the construction industry are reaching an all-time high.
The Federation of Master Builders (FMB), which represents small and medium-sized (SME) construction firms, has found that more than two-thirds of members are struggling to hire bricklayers and carpenters.
The FMB’s latest quarterly state of trade survey reveals that 68% of respondents are struggling to hire bricklayers and 63% are struggling to hire carpenters and joiners. These are the highest figures since the FMB began gathering data in 2008.
The number of firms reporting difficulties hiring plumbers and electricians has reached 48%, plasterers 46% and floorers 30% – all numbers representing a new high, the FMB said.
Recruitment problems are here despite a downturn in optimism in the sector. Fewer master builders predict rising workloads in the coming three months, down from 41% in the third quarter of 2017 to 38% in Q4.
They are also resigned to spiralling costs: 87% of builders believe that material prices will rise in the next six months, up from 82% in the previous quarter; and 61% expect salaries and wages to increase in the next six months.
FMB chief executive Brian Berry said: “Skills shortages are sky rocketing and it begs the question, who will build the new homes and infrastructure projects the government is crying out for. The government has set itself an ambitious target to build 300,000 homes every year in England alone. More than two-thirds of construction SMEs are struggling to hire bricklayers which is one of the key trades in the building industry. This has increased by nearly 10% in just three months which points to a rapid worsening of an already dire situation. What’s more, nearly as many are facing difficulties hiring carpenters and joiners. These figures are the highest we’ve noted since records began a decade ago. As a result, the wages for these increasingly scarce skilled tradespeople continue to rise sharply; that’s a simple consequence of supply and demand. This, coupled with the fact that small construction firms continue to face significant material price increases, will inevitably squeeze their margins and put a brake on growth.”
Mr Berry continued: “The government must take account of the worsening construction skills shortage with Brexit looming large on the horizon. The prime minister must ensure that the immigration system that replaces the free movement of people can take account of the particular needs of key sectors such as construction and house building. Without skilled labour from the EU, the skills shortages we face would be considerably worse, and it is not in anyone’s best interest to pull the rug out from under the sector by introducing an inflexible and unresponsive immigration system. On the domestic front and in the longer term, to ensure we have an ample supply of skilled workers in the future, the government must continue to work with industry to set the right framework in terms of T-Levels and apprenticeships.”
He concluded: “The silver lining to current skills shortages among construction SMEs is that the numerous tradespeople and professionals, who may find themselves out of work following the collapse of Carillion, have a ready supply of alternative employers.”
Source: The Construction Index
Lendlease launches £1.5bn Build-to-rent partnership
Lendlease has struck a deal with a Canadian pension fund to invest £1.5bn in build-to-rent.
The first investment of £450m will be ploughed into the next phase of new homes at Elephant Park in south London.
Construction has already started on the first homes at the Elephant & Castle site and the deal with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board paves the way for the full scheme to be completed in 2020.
Under the deal CPPIB will invest £350m for 80% and Lendlease will invest the balance.
The partnership will also pursue fresh opportunities within Lendlease’s wider residential urban regeneration activities in London and across the UK under a 50:50 joint venture.
Lendlease will develop, construct, and manage the build-to-rent homes on behalf of the partnership.
Dan Labbad, CEO of International Operations at Lendlease, said: “In recent decades, structural shifts in the housing market have meant that demand has outstripped supply in the private rented sector, leading to a shortfall of homes in London and across the UK.
“Today’s announcement is a logical next step for us as a business and delivers on our strategy to grow our urban regeneration pipeline and accelerate the delivery of much-needed homes, by working with institutional capital partners to launch this new asset class for Lendlease’s investment platform.”
Andrea Orlandi, Managing Director & Head of Real Estate Investments Europe at CPPIB, said: “Through this partnership, we are able to access a sector we believe is poised for long-term growth, and we are pleased to be able to do so with Lendlease, one of our existing top global partners.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
Carillion collapse adds urgency to resolving retentions issues
The liquidation of construction giant Carillion could lead to potentially catastrophic losses for thousands of SMEs, according to the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) and the electrotechnical and engineering services trade body ECA.
According to its latest set of accounts, Carillion was holding over £800m in retentions payments owed to sub-contractors. There is growing alarm that much of this money will be lost leaving many more firms at risk of financial collapse.
Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney and longstanding champion of SMEs in industry, introduced a draft Bill to Parliament just last week, which seeks to amend the 1996 Construction Act to ensure retention money is held in a deposit protection scheme – avoiding just this kind of situation.
“The Bill was developed precisely with just this kind of nightmare scenario in mind,” said BESA President Tim Hopkinson. “We are aware of the frantic attempts going on behind the scenes to rescue Carillion’s projects and switch them to other contractors, but unless retention money is protected – there is a danger that the problem is just being moved to another place and that SMEs will remain equally vulnerable.”
“Carillion’s move into liquidation places their huge supply chain – which includes many electrical and other specialist contractors – at risk of losing millions of pounds, which will threaten companies and jobs”, comments ECA Director of Business Paul Reeve. “While this is a clear and present disaster for construction and wider maintenance, the question will ultimately follow, why did Carillion appear so attractive to clients even as they moved towards collapse?”
As a result, BESA and ECA are calling for the following five-point action plan:
- Any SME contractors already working on Carillion projects should be allowed to continue on these projects and be paid directly.
- The UK Government must actively support the Peter Aldous Bill on retentions and ensure it is allocated enough Parliamentary time to progress.
- Major public sector suppliers like Carillion should be precluded from winning any further contracts unless it can prove it pays its supply chain promptly.
- Major corporate public sector suppliers like Carillion worthy of their own Government account managers, and who rely on SME supply-chains for successful delivery must be made to implement transparent supply-chain payment systems, statutory public sector payment requirements, Project Bank Accounts and no retentions, throughout the supply chain.
- Government must monitor and enforce the public sector 30 day payment supply chain model as opposed to Carillion’s own 126-day payment terms, which leaves thousands of SMEs struggling for cash flow to pay staff and suppliers.
Given that 99% of the industry’s 280,000 businesses are SMEs, we would also ask that the Paul Uppal, small business commissioner, support this plan. The Bill, which has attracted widespread cross-party support, highlights the fact that more than £10.5bn of SME’s potential working capital is locked up in retentions every year and £700m was entirely lost to SMEs over the past three years.
“Well run businesses are being starved of vital working capital and put at risk of insolvency through no fault of their own,” added Mr Hopkinson. “It is time for the abuse of the retentions system to end and for sub-contractors’ hard earned money to be protected from this kind of supply chain failure.”
The average UK contractor has £27,500 withheld per year in retentions and, under the terms of the ‘Aldous Bill’ this money would be protected in the event of an insolvency somewhere else in the supply chain.
Reeve concluded: “The fact that a company who recently worked on prestigious public contracts such as Crossrail and the Olympic Stadium can be in this situation should be a wake-up call to those procuring major public infrastructure work.”
Source: Electrical Review
Near zero energy retrofit project launched
A new European research project has launched at Brunel University London, which will demonstrate how buildings can be renovated to use “near zero energy”.
Featuring 17 partners from nine European countries and funded by Horizon 2020, the €8.4m project brings together academia and industry to develop a ‘retrofit kit’ that can be used to reduce energy consumption by 60-95% in renovated buildings.
The Retrofit Kit will bring together a number of advanced, cost efficient, and energy saving technologies – including smart windows with pre-heating and cooling technology, ventilation heat recovery, photovoltaic panels, and nature-based technologies – which can be fitted 30% quicker than typical renovations. It’s hoped that implementation of the technologies would have a payback period of under 15 years.
Four demonstration sites will be created as part of the project, including one at Brunel, which will offer practical, real-world examples of ‘Near Zero Energy Buildings’ or ‘nZEBs’ retrofit.
Located in the UK, Denmark, Switzerland and Spain, the sites will demonstrate the Retrofit Kit’s effectiveness in different climates, and using different construction methods. Work on the retrofit buildings will begin in summer 2019.
Professor Maria Kolokotroni, leader of Brunel’s Resource Efficient Future Cities research team and Technical Manager of the project, said: “We’ve built an excellent team since this project first began to take shape back in 2016, and it’s exciting to think that by the time we finish we will have demonstrated at a number of sites across Europe that it’s possible to massively reduce the energy usage of a building, in a cost-effective way, while simultaneously increasing indoor environmental quality and decreasing installation time.”
Source: HVP Magazine
High Rise reduces energy costs with Variable Speed Drives
A London office complex has saved £15,000 on electricity costs in six months following the installation of 18 ABB variable speed drives (VSDs). The drives, ranging from 5.5 kW to 37 kW, are used on hot water and chilled water pumps as well as air extraction systems. The £48,000 project is expected to pay for itself within 18 months.
Harbour Exchange Tower is a 46,500 sqm office development near Canary Wharf in London. Consisting of two linked towers, the 17 floors of the building house a number of financial and Internet service providers.
The building’s maintenance contractor, CBRE, also has responsibility for running the building efficiently. When the building was completed in 1989, only the most energy intensive applications were speed controlled. CBRE was keen to improve energy use on other applications. It asked ABB authorised value provider, Inverter Drive Systems (IDS), to investigate which applications offered the greatest energy-saving potential. IDS performed an energy assessment together with engineers from ABB.
CBRE’s technical supervisor for the site, Patrick Phatty, said, “Some of the pumps on-site were almost 20 years old so we were keen to maximise their efficiency. IDS was recommended to us by colleagues at other sites.”
IDS undertook an energy assessment at the site concentrating on applications that were not speed controlled, but were switched on and off via a star/delta arrangement.
Andrew White of IDS, said, “The applications we looked at included hot water and chilled water pumps along with air extraction systems, with our energy assessment determining the payback period of each one. Several energy cost rises had taken place, with the unit cost per kWh increasing from 11p to 15p, which would help to shorten the payback period and increase savings.”
The assessment revealed that installing 18 VSDs would produce savings of around £2,500 a month, with a payback in only eight months for the larger drives.
IDS demonstrated the savings by installing one of the larger drives in a trial application. The ABB HVAC drive, ACH580, features a built-in energy calculator which measures energy use in kWh, CO2 reduction and money saved, to help users monitor and fine-tune processes to ensure optimal energy use. This information is displayed on the drive’s keypad screen in real time, enabling the user to see exactly how much energy the drive is saving compared to running the same application direct-on-line.
The installation of the 18 VSDs was spread over three applications – hot water pumps, chilled water pumps and toilet supply and extraction fans. The pumps and fans are controlled by a building management system (BMS), which switches them on and off according to pre-selected timings.
The biggest savings have come from the chilled water system. This has eight drives running eight pumps. Six of the drives are 30 kW and two are 37 kW. The drives reduce the speed of the pump motors by 20%. In the first six months of operation, this has saved 55,000kWh and £8,000 in energy costs.
Four 22 kW drives were installed on four hot water pumps. The pumps operate in pairs in standby/duty mode, with each set supplying hot water for one of the two towers in the development. Again, the drives cut motor speed by 20%. Over six months, this has resulted in a saving of 48,000kWh, cutting energy costs by £6,000.
Each building has one supply and two extract fans for the toilets. Previously run at full speed constantly, the supply fans are now run by two 5.5 kW drives, while the extract fans are run by four 7.5 kW drives. CBRE opted to use the drives to reduce the speed of the fan motors by 10 percent. This has saved 7,900 kWh and £1,100 in energy costs in the first six months of operation.
Source: Electrical Contracting News
New facility to produce next-generation fuels
A new £4m facility is to be developed, capable of producing next-generation bio-coal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
CPL Industries, together with The University of Nottingham and the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA), is using new technology known as Hydrothermal Carbonisation (HTC) which mimics the long-term natural process of coal formation. The technology will convert high-moisture biomass, including food waste, into next-generation solid fuels with coal-like properties.
The process, which will be managed by CPL at its manufacturing plant in Immingham, North Lincolnshire, takes a matter of hours rather than millennia. The HTC method allows for the mass production of a high-energy, low-carbon biofuel for domestic and industrial uses, offering a solution to the issue of air quality. Production is scheduled to begin this summer.
Tim Minnett, CEO of CPL, said: “The technology has the potential to revolutionise the treatment of high-moisture organic waste streams, producing value-added products that displace fossil fuels and promoting the circular economy. CPL and the rest of the project partners stand ready to engage with local authorities and waste managers to source suitable waste material, conduct trials and develop the wider commercial and environmental benefits.”
The new facility is being co-funded by ERA, a consortium of six Midlands universities and the British Geological Survey (BGS), which has investment from the government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, to research and demonstrate low carbon technologies.
CPL is working with Professor Colin Snape at the University of Nottingham, who is Director of the Centre in Efficient Power from Fossil Energy and Carbon Capture Technologies.
Professor Snape added: “This new HTC facility is the first such plant in the UK, enabling us to look at how we can convert waste streams into value-added fuel products that have many domestic and industrial applications. Also, by using the bio-coal that has been made from bio-waste, we are producing a carbon-neutral fuel and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
Source: HVP Magazine
Ireland’s construction industry up 18%
Ireland’s construction output grew 18% last year and continued growth is expected in 2018, according to a study by Aecom.
Output value is expected to increase by a further 14% to approximately €19.5bn (£17.2bn) in 2018.
The Aecom Ireland Annual Review of the Construction Industry includes the results of a survey of professionals in the construction and property sectors in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It found that growth in construction output has been focused on the commercial and foreign direct investment sectors. The residential sector, transportation and utilities have not kept up with the demands of a growing economy.
Aecom launched the review at an event in Dublin. “Some big issues remain for Ireland’s construction industry, namely Brexit and its potential impact on new construction project demand, as well as the availability of resources and tender inflation,” said head of buildings and places, Republic of Ireland, John O’Regan. “Despite those issues, the future looks promising. The positive news is that the opportunities for economic growth and increased foreign direct investment are great and dynamic approaches to addressing challenges are making a difference.”
Last year saw Dublin’s commercial market continue to strengthen, with developers and investors continuing to see strong demand for office accommodation. A considerable number of commercial properties are still under construction and 2017 also saw increased construction activity extending beyond the Greater Dublin area.
The residential sector, which historically has been the key driver of output, has been struggling to respond to the housing crisis. There was some movement in 2017 with the number of starts increasing in the first eight months of the year to 4,055 – a 25% increase from a very low base for the same period in 2016.
The report said that it is very positive that there is a budgeted 18.5% increase in value terms in the public sector capital programme for 2018. However, there is a concern around the delivery of the increase, with questions raised regarding whether various government departments have the ‘shovel-ready’ projects available for implementation this year. The pace of development of public infrastructure is likely to continue to be hindered by a lack of internal resources, a challenging planning process, inappropriate procurement routes and time-consuming approvals structures, warned Aecom.
The construction industry in Northern Ireland has seen the value of output rise by 11.6% in value terms compared to the previous 12 months. The review predicted that 2018 is set to be another stable year for the industry in Northern Ireland.
Source: The Construction Index
Artisan unveils £90m hotel and leisure quarter plan for Glasgow’s waterfront
One of Glasgow’s most significant waterfront development sites is set to be transformed into a thriving hotel and leisure quarter following outline plans unveiled by Artisan Real Estate Investors.
The investment partnership, which is driving Edinburgh’s New Waverley project, has submitted a pre-application notice to Glasgow City Council to develop the Custom House site, which links the city’s famed Buchanan Street with the River Clyde waterfront.
The £90 million plan spans a development area of 2,700 sq.m. and includes the historic sandstone Grade A-Listed Custom House and its former stable block, together with two adjacent tenement buildings straddling the corner of Clyde Street and Dixon Street.
Artisan purchased the site in August 2017 and agreed a leasing deal with the Dalata Hotel Group in November to bring Scotland’s first Clayton Hotel to the Custom House – a four-star development including 300 bedrooms, a bar, restaurant and conference facilities. A 150-room aparthotel is also planned for the adjacent tenement buildings, together with street level bars and restaurants.
Welcoming the proposals, Artisan’s project director Clive Wilding said: “This is a hugely significant opportunity to, once again, bring Glasgow’s burgeoning waterfront area back into the vibrant heart of its city centre.
“For too long, the imposing Custom House with its distinctive Greek revival frontage and its neighbouring tenements had become the forgotten segment of the city’s waterfront, having lain mostly vacant for the best part of a decade. We are now in a position to bring these wonderfully characterful buildings back to life, introducing established boutique hotel and aparthotel brands, which will fill the area with energy and life throughout the day and evening.
“We will now work with our partners to create a flagship regeneration project for the city, providing a seamless link from the Clyde waterfront to the St Enoch Centre transport hub and Buchanan Street – part of Glasgow’s ‘style mile’ and generally regarded as the best shopping street outside of London.”
He added: “We are looking forward to expanding our footprint in Glasgow, and securing another high-quality regeneration opportunity in such an excellent city centre location fits our model perfectly.”
Artisan brings a wealth of experience of sensitive city-centre development, and is currently spearheading the award-winning transformation of Edinburgh’s Old Town through its New Waverley project.
Designed by Irish-born customs official and engineer John Taylor, who was also responsible for the Customs House in Dundee, Glasgow’s Custom House opened in 1840 and provided a direct link from the bustling Clyde quayside to the heart of the city centre. The building underwent internal modifications in 1873 carried out by the renowned Glasgow architect Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson.
The imposing double height first floor rooms, fronted by classically styled Doric columns, are the standout feature of the building and will form the heart of the new conference centre for the Clayton Hotel.
The Custom House was more recently occupied by the Procurator Fiscal’s office, which vacated the building in 2007. The neighbouring former tenement buildings were home to a department store in the 1960s as well as other small businesses.
The wider area, including Custom House Quay, Custom House Gardens and Carrick Quay form part of a long-standing Council-backed scheme to transform the waterfront with mixed use development including hotels, retailers, luxury flats and a promenade including restaurants and bars, aiming to create an extension to the retailing and commercial activities within the city along the riverside.
The Custom House project will be delivered by Artisan St. Enoch Quarter Limited, a subsidiary of Artisan Real Estate Investors. Architects will be Glasgow-based Sheppard Robson. Following an ongoing consultation exercise, a detailed planning application is expected to be submitted in spring 2018 with a completion date set, subject to planning, for mid-2020.
Source: Scottish Construction Now