The Week That Was - 14 April 2023

Published on 14 April 2023

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

Tripled turnover for GMI Construction

GMI Construction met their 2022 turnover target, by tripling turnover to £360m.  GMI reports that this is due to its expansion into new locations and a "business improvement programme" allowing it to take on higher value projects.  Despite its increase in turnover, GMI Construction suffered a £2.2m pre-tax loss in the year to 30 September 2022.  It says this is due to the injection of more than £3m into the business. 

Last year, GMI Construction took 100th place on CN100 ( a list of the UK's 100 biggest contractors) and it is possible that its recent increase in turnover could push it up by as many as 50 places. 

For further information, please click here.

Low carbon concrete for O'Rourke 

Construction company Laing O'Rourke is switching to low carbon concrete on all of its new UK projects.  The change will take immediate effect.  O'Rourke says the overall carbon reduction will be 28% in comparison with the company's concrete usage last year. 

O'Rourke is a founding member of Concrete Zero, a global initiative to create a market for net zero concrete. 

For further information, please click here

Wates tops Contractor's League 

Wates has risen to the top of the contractors' league table in March 2023 by securing £418m worth of contracts from a total of 14 projects, including two major housing deals with Brent Council in London valued at £100m and £91.2m.  Second-placed Bowmer & Kirkland won contracts on four projects in March worth £251m in total, including a £180m deal for Newcastle's largest office scheme at Pilgrim Street North, plus public sector projects valued at £30m.  

For the period April 2022 to March 2023, Mace topped the London league by winning 20 projects worth a total of £1.59bn and Kier was top contractor in the South West, winning £919m of contracts across 38 projects, including one for Aerospace Bristol.  

For more details, please click here.

Possible imprisonment for neglect of duty under the Building Safety Act

The Building Safety Act 2022 will introduce the concept of the "Principal Accountable Person" who will be responsible for "higher-risk buildings".  Higher-risk buildings can currently be registered with the Building Safety Regulator, and the Principal Accountable Person for those buildings must register by October 2023.  A Principal Accountable Person who fails to register an occupied higher-risk building without a reasonable excuse will be liable to either or both of a fine or up to two years' imprisonment.  

For further information, please click here.

More developers sign cladding remediation contract

Following the Housing Secretary calling out firms in Parliament for failing to sign up to the self-remediation contract, more than half have now signed the contract.  The self-remediation contract commits builders to repair all life-critical fire safety defects on homes they had built above 11m going back 30 years.  The Housing Secretary has threatened that firms who do not sign up to the contract may be put out of business.  

Currently, there are 4 firms who are yet to sign. 

For further information, please click here.

HS2 keeps business activity up as material supplies improve

HS2 helped construction activity rise in March, particularly in the civil engineering category.  This comes despite the delay in the delivery of HS2 phase 2a amid rising cost pressures.  Materials availability also improved in March according to the latest Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) data.  The PMI rating stood at 50.7 in March – any rating above 50 indicates an increase in activity.  Other categories that saw an improvement were commercial building activity, delivery times from suppliers, and job creation rates.  However, homebuilding activity remained low, with volumes decreasing at their fastest rate since May 2020, and price inflation "remains the number one issue" for the sector.

For further information, please click here.

McAlpine signs deal for £500m University of Bristol campus

Construction work is expected to begin in the next month on the new University of Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus.  The site, which will be home to 4600 students and 650 university staff, will be delivered by Sir Robert McAlpine.  AECOM has provided support for the Temple Quarter programme since 2017 as project and cost consultants and will continue do so, whilst Osborne Clarke are advising the University on the construction procurement and contracts.  The site is due to open in 2026.

For further information, please click here.

Authors for this week's edition: Dominic Collier, Sharona Zovich, and Ava Mathias

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. 

Stay connected and subscribe to our latest insights and views 

Subscribe Here