The Week That Was - 10 June 2022

Published on 10 June 2022

Welcome to The Week That Was, a round-up of key events in the construction sector over the last seven days.

Major road and bridge upgrades announced by the Department for Transport

The Department for Transport has announced £160m to level up infrastructure and support local communities.  The Government says the four projects, in Newcastle, Cornwall, Greater Manchester and Southampton, will generate an estimated £659.3 million in economic benefits for the regions through improved investment, new housing and employment opportunities.

The four major road schemes include:

  • £78.5m for a new 3.85 mile road linking St Austell to the A30; 
  • £35.3m for essential maintenance to the Tyne Bridge and adjacent Central Motorway, including improvements to traffic management and cycle route facilities;
  • £33.6m to enhance walking and cycling accessibility and tackle congestion across the A34 between Greater Manchester and Stockport; and
  • £13.4m for essential maintenance to the A35 Redbridge Causeway.

For more information, click here.

£50m upgrade plans for Manchester Arena unveiled

Works to redevelop the Manchester Arena (also known as AO Arena) are due to start in the summer, costing £50m.  ASM Global, which manages and operates the AO Arena, has appointed architect HOK to carry out the transformation which will add new entrances and more dressing rooms in addition to production areas within the arena.

It has a current capacity of 21,000 people and the upgrade plans include the expansion of standing space, developing new lounges and installing VIP seating.  The work is set to take three years to complete.

The expansion comes at the same time as another arena is being built in the city.  Bam Construct is redeveloping the Co-op Live Arena, costing £250m and scheduled to complete next year.

Read more here.

Timber Company fined £13,000 for unguarded saw

An employee of a timber company had his thumb severed by an unguarded blade as he was setting up a band resaw.  

The Health and Safety Executive's investigation found that the company did not have adequate arrangements in place to check machines and ensure that guards and protective devices were working properly.  This meant that the saw was not removed after the guard became defective.  The HSE inspector warned: "The incident could have been easily avoided had the company taken the machine out of use and repaired the guard as soon as it became inoperable. Employers must ensure that machinery guarding is kept in good working order."

The company pleaded guilty, was fined £13,400 and ordered to pay costs of £5,358.05.

To read more, please click here.

HS2 West Coast Line plans scrapped 

The Government has withdrawn legislation that would allow the Golborne link to be built as part of HS2. 

The Golborne link, which was estimated to cost £3bn, forms part of the Crewe to Manchester route.  It is 13 mile connection that would branch off the main HS2 line towards Manchester and rejoin the West Coast Main Line near Golborne.  Construction was due to start in the early 2030s and was expected to complete towards the end of the 2030s or early 2040s.

The Government's announcement comes following the Union Connectivity Review that the Government commissioned in 2020.  The report "recommended that the Government should reduce journey times and increase rail capacity between England and Scotland by upgrading the WCML north of Crewe and by doing more work on options for alternative northerly connections between HS2 and the WCML."   The Golborne link has therefore been removed from the High-Speed Rail (Crewe – Manchester) Bill. 

Rail industry groups have raised concerns with the Government that removing the line will cause congestion on the West Coast Main Line and ultimately hinder the UK's net zero objectives.

You can read more here.                                                     

Carbon emissions slashed by modular construction 

Academics from Cambridge and Edinburgh Napier universities have developed a modular construction system that could slash carbon dioxide emissions from home building by up to 45%.  

The World Green Building Council has stated that 11% of global related carbon emissions are from construction materials and building process.  The quantity of embodied carbon is dramatically lower when the modular construction technique is used, because the buildings require less carbon-intensive products such as concrete and steel.  To reduce carbon emissions still further, modules are produced offsite in a controlled assembly line environment and then taken to site to be assembled efficiently.

Tide Construction has already used this system to build 879 homes, and it is anticipated that use of the modular system will assist with the Government's ambition to build 300,000 better quality homes per year. 

Rory Bergin, partner for sustainable futures at HTA Design, has said that "Modular is the future of housebuilding". 

To read more, please click here.

Government funding to assist with red diesel ban

Since 1 April 2022, businesses in the construction industry and been banned from using "red" diesel. 

ULEM Co Ltd are working with Cementation Skanska and the Buildings Analysis Institution to develop the first dual-fuel piling machine which will run on hydrogen and diesel. The project has been awarded £418,613 of Government funding, as part of their red diesel replacement programme. The project will also evaluate other equipment used on construction sites

Terry Muckian  (Managing Director of Cementation Skanska) said: “We are exploring a range of innovations that will support us in decarbonising our operations, with a target of achieving net zero carbon by 2045. Replacing diesel is key to achieving this target."

Read more here.

Thanks to Georgina Haynes, Ella Ennos-Dann and Ciaran Garvin for contributing to this week's edition.

Disclaimer: The information in this publication is for guidance purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  We attempt to ensure that the content is current as at the date of publication, but we do not guarantee that it remains up to date.  You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

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