May 16, 2020

Balfour Beatty Awarded 42m De Montfort University Contract

Balfour Beatty
Schools construction
uk construction
Balfour Beatty
Admin
2 min
Balfour Beatty Awarded £42m De Montfort University Contract
Balfour Beatty's Uk and Ireland construction business has been aarded a £42m contract to redevelop the Faculty of Art, Dsign and Humanities at...

Balfour Beatty's Uk and Ireland construction business has been aarded a £42m contract to redevelop the Faculty of Art, Dsign and Humanities at De Montford University in Leicester.

The project will include the refurbishment of a 12-storey teaching block, the construction of a new six-storey building, the conversion of a two-storey building and all associated mechanical and electrical work, creating 27,700 sqm of new teaching and support office space.

Balfour Beatty is deploying innovative computer-aided Building Information Modelling tools (BIM) in the design and build of the project with early application already facilitating a substantial reduction in the scheme’s cost through design review.

The buildings are designed to attain BREEAM ‘Excellent’ standard. Balfour Beatty also said it is committed to supporting the local economy and would engage local small businesses, apprentices and labour on the project, whilst offering a number of work experience placements for students in project management, architecture and interior design.

Jon Adams, Northern Managing Director for Balfour Beatty Major Projects, said: “Balfour Beatty has extensive experience in delivering university buildings of all types and we are looking forward to bringing a high-quality finish and a sustainable approach to this project.

“We have a track record of delivering work for De Montfort University dating back over ten years, having previously refurbished the Hawthorn Building and constructed the centre-piece Campus Centre building in 2003, and we are looking forward delivering another part of the University’s ambitious transformation programme.”

Balfour Beatty is also engaged on other nearby university projects in Sheffield and Birmingham.

Enabling works are commencing this month, with the project due for completion in September 2016. 

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Jun 14, 2021

The construction industry: Facing a mental health crisis

LighthouseClub
construction
mentalhealth
awareness
3 min
Reports have shown the construction industry is facing a mental health crisis. We take a look at why this is and how to improve awareness in the industry

Data collected by the Office for National Statistics has shown that more than 2,000 construction workers took their own lives in 2017. Other findings from a study conducted by the Glasgow Caledonian University show that the problem is getting worse. From 2017 to 2019, the number of suicides per 100,000 rose from 26 to 29, with people in the construction industry three times more likely to take their own lives in 2019 compared to other industries.

Why is the construction industry experiencing a rise in mental health conditions?

Bill Hill, Chief Executive of the mental health charity Lighthouse Club, says that one reason for the rise in mental health conditions is due to financial pressure. He said that it is a “huge factor” in construction, “causing stress, depression, and anxiety”. He added that several self-employed workers are “brilliant tradespeople but don’t have the education”, which may be helpful in running their business. 

“They win a project, someone pays them a big invoice but they don’t put money aside for VAT [and then] the taxman asks for payment so they get finance. It tumbles from there. Sole trader-style business management should be taught at apprenticeship level”, Hill said. 

According to Lighthouse Club, the industry is “hugely fragmented” and “difficult to reach over half of the 2.8mn self-employed construction workers. “Some larger companies have done a fantastic job on mental health”, Hill says. “But only apply their programmes and workshops to their own staff. Until you get to the huge mass of very capable tradespeople who are getting no input, one of the biggest problems is awareness”. 

How can awareness of mental health be improved in the construction industry? 

Chief Executive of the Construction Industry Council, Graham Watts, says that the industry has made positive steps forward on mental wellbeing but that “it is still not doing nearly enough” to support staff in this area. 

Looking at how awareness of mental health can be improved in the industry today, Watts said: “Today, I would hope it is easier to be more open about mental health. I’m impressed by the leadership that is being shown by some companies – for example, Tideway, where Chief Executive Andy Mitchell has ‘mental health first aider’ immediately after his email sign-off – but it is still only being exhibited by the best of the best”.

Lighthouse club has also launched a campaign for construction workers to raise more awareness of mental health in the industry. Named “Help Inside the Hard Hat”, the campaign makes all workers aware of the services that Lighthouse Club offers, “regardless of employment status”, the charity says. Lighthouse Club is taking particular care to encourage contractors to put up posters on sites and ensure that they reach all workers, including the self-employed. 

The charity also has a free app that allows workers to access mental health information and resources. Lighthouse Club is also improving the availability of information by working with partners such as the Safer Highways charity and Glasgow Caledonian University. But the charity is working on improving the understanding and destigmatisation of mental health in the industry one step at a time. Hill said: “The first thing is suicides,” says Hill. “That is the number one benchmark of all the work we are doing – are we reducing suicides in the industry?”. 

If you are a construction worker - or someone you know is and you need support, you can call the Lighthouse Club helpline on 0345 605 1956. 






 

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