Balfour Beatty to undertake $110 million Highland Park construction
Balfour Beatty has been selected by Highland Park Independent School District (HPISD) to serve as the district’s construction partner for a $110 million elementary construction and renovation program.
A result of HPISD’s 2015 bond election to transform the district's schools over the next five years, the program includes the construction of four new elementary schools and renovation of a fifth elementary school.
With the project’s first phase underway, Balfour Beatty is currently managing construction of a new 100,000-square-foot campus, which is the district’s first new elementary school since 1948.
Situated on 4.6 acres, the new elementary school will provide students and faculty with flexible learning spaces, outdoor classrooms, a learning garden and a one-story underground garage with 90 parking spaces. This facility will serve as the “swing” school to accommodate the faculty and students who are subsequently displaced while their new schools are constructed over the following three years.
“There is a shift occurring in school design and construction today focused on building future-ready schools, and creating learning environments that maximize engagement and stimulate curiosity,” said Charles DeVoe, Senior Vice President, Balfour Beatty.
“This shift is already impacting some of our most progressive K-12 education clients like Highland Park ISD that are thoughtfully designing their new schools with students and teachers in mind.
The district has a proud tradition of excellence in its schools and we’re honoured to be their construction partner in delivering these innovative and sustainable learning spaces that will serve the community for many generations to come.”
Upon completion of the first school in the summer of 2017, Balfour Beatty will commence with the demolition and construction of replacement campuses for the three remaining schools. As each new school is completed in 13-month windows, the project team will move to the next campus.
Each of the 100,000-square-foot replacement campuses also will include underground parking garages and incorporate flexible, engaging learning spaces throughout to maximize the education experience for students.
In addition to the four new elementary schools included in the program, the district’s fifth elementary school is set to undergo renovations, including a 7,900-square-foot addition. Renovations will include right-sizing existing classrooms, replacing interior finishes and other life-cycle replacements while the school remains operational.
Designed by Stantec, the new HPISD schools will be high-performance buildings that meet the standards established by the Texas Collaborative for High Performing Schools for energy efficiency, water conservation and resource reduction.
Balfour Beatty will leverage the latest technologies, including BIM and BIM 360 Field, and lean construction methods such as pull planning and integrated-team alignment to achieve the schools’ progressive design.
Read the October 2016 issue of Construction Global magazine
Apprenticeships can bridge skills gap says Autodesk director
The UK construction industry needs 216,800 new workers by 2025 to meet rising demand, according to the Construction Skills Network published by CITB.
Even before Covid-19, it was estimated it needs to attract 400,000 new recruits each year to meet the UK’s infrastructure needs.
But given one in three current construction employees are over 50 there is predicted to be a 20-25% decline in the available workforce over the next decade. And with end of the free movement of people from the EU, it has further limited access to skilled talent.
Mike Pettinella, Director, Autodesk Construction Solutions EMEA, believes the solution may be one that is hardly new, but might have taken a back seat during the pandemic.
"Apprenticeships could help us bridge the construction skills gap and meet this rapidly rising demand, and attract a new crop of younger talent to the industry," he said.
"Apprenticeships benefit everyone. For candidates, it’s an opportunity to learn valuable skills without incurring thousands of pounds of student debts. For employers, it’s a chance to train up employees in the competencies that are really needed – combining technical knowledge with collaboration and team work, which are equally important as you enter a new industry. And if you’re a larger company and already required to pay the apprenticeship levy, it makes sense to ensure you’re benefitting from the scheme too."
Marshall Construction recently took on nine new apprenticeships covering various roles. "Some of our previous apprentices have left and started their own businesses, which sets them up for life," said Chairman Robert Marshall. "Most of our current managers came from organic growth within the business whom we have trained to our own standards." Firms such as Barnwood Construction and Keepmoat Homes are also advertising and supporting apprenticeships.
According to the CSN, most English regions will experience an increase in construction workers by 2025, with East Midlands (1.7%) and West Midlands (1.4%) forecast to lead demand. Scotland (1.4%) and Wales (0.7%) are also predicted to fare well. The only region forecast to see a slight decline in workforce is the North East (-0.1%).
Major projects such as HS2 are driving growth in some regions and infrastructure (5.2%) and private housing (6.7%) should see the healthiest pace of expansion by 2025.
The impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the future shape of work will be profound. Modelling by the McKinsey Global Institute on the effects of technology adoption on the UK workforce shows that up to 10 million people, or around 30 percent of all UK workers, may need to transition between occupations or skill levels by 2030.