Mar 11, 2021

Sir Robert McAlpine wins NHS design construction contract

Dominic Ellis
2 min
Sir Robert McAlpine selected as design and construction delivery partner on the £72.6m CEDAR upgrade programme in UK
Sir Robert McAlpine selected as design and construction delivery partner on the £72.6m CEDAR upgrade programme in UK...

Sir Robert McAlpine has been selected as the design and construction delivery partner on the £72.6m CEDAR (Care Environment Development and Re-provision) upgrade programme for the Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW).

The CEDAR programme includes:

  • Northgate: the creation of a new integrated mental health and learning disability medium-secure centre of excellence at Northgate Hospital, Morpeth;
  • Ferndene: the reconfiguration of the award-winning children and young people’s mental health and learning disability Ferndene Unit at Prudhoe;
  • Bamburgh: the reconfiguration and re-provision of mental health adult acute inpatient services for Newcastle and Gateshead at St Nicholas Hospital’s Bamburgh Unit in Gosforth.

Procured through the Pagabo framework for major capital works, construction at the Northgate and Ferdene hospitals is already underway. 


At Northgate, the new medium secure centre will facilitate the best in mental health provision for patients in the region, whilst remodelling of the Ferndene young people’s mental health and learning disability unit at Prudhoe will see the conversion of two wards to medium secure standards.

The works are due to be completed by December 2022 in order to start welcoming patients early 2023. 

On completion of the Northgate and Ferndene projects, work at the Bamburgh Clinic, located at St Nicholas Hospital in Gosforth, will commence. This involves the remodelling and extension of the existing building.

The work is being delivered through a project partnership with design team Medical Architecture, Cad 21 and BGP.

John Carson, Head of Capital Developments & Planning, NTW Solutions, CNTW, said: “these exciting projects mark just the latest in a long line of service innovations and investment in the Trust’s buildings to ensure that our service users have access to safe, high quality care, and demonstrate the Trust’s commitment to collaborative partnership working as the route to the best results.”

Stuart McArthur, Healthcare Sector Lead, Sir Robert McAlpine, commented: “We are delighted to be the design and construction delivery partner on these great projects, which demonstrate the strength of our relationship with CNTW NHS Foundation Trust. Working with an outstanding team of specialists, we look forward to delivering facilities that will support healthcare excellence for the benefits and welfare of all service users.”

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Jun 17, 2021

Webuild and Lane to build railway in Texas

2 min
Italian construction firm Webuild and its U.S. subsidiary Lane Construction sign a US$16bn contract to build a railway in Texas

Webuild, formerly known as Salini Impregilo, has announced a US$16bn agreement to build a high-speed railway between Dallas and Houston in Texas. The project has been described as the “final step” before financial closure for the company, which Webuild said was“foreseen in the coming months”. 

Passengers using the 236-mile long railway, which was developed by Texas LLC, will travel in Japanese Tokaido Shinkansen bullet trains at 200mph, making one scheduled stop at Brazos Valley near Texas A&M University. This aims to shorten the total journey time between the two terminals from almost four hours to around 90 minutes, Texas LLC claims. The company hopes commercial operations will begin in 2026. 

According to Webuild, the new line will aim to target an estimated 100,000 “super commuters” who travel between the two cities by car and plane every week. Webuild said it would cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 101,000 tonnes per year.

This contract is an update on a preliminary design-build agreement signed with Texas Central LLC in 2019, valued at $14bn. The deal confirms the US as Webuild's single biggest market, comprising some 35% of the group’s total order backlog.

Around 17,000 new direct jobs will be created as a result of the project, as well as 20,000 indirect ones. U.S. suppliers from states aim to provide an estimated US$7.3bn of materials to construct the railway in conjunction with services provided by Italian suppliers. 

Webuild and Lane will oversee the civil engineering works of the project. This includes the tracks themselves, the viaducts, and depot buildings. 

Three facts about bullet trains 

  • The fastest commercially operated bullet train is not in Japan, but China. It is capable of reaching speeds of up to 268mph… with passengers onboard. 
  • Bullet trains are one of the safest ways to travel. Over 10bn passengers have been on board a bullet train and no-one has ever been killed on one. 
  • The “tunnel boom effect” is powerful enough to blow a freight train over. When a bullet train exits a tunnel at over 200mph, the resulting sonic boom effect is so strong, it could blow a normal freight train off its tracks.


Image: Texas Central LLC.

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