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Autodesk named partner of Red Dot Award


Autodesk, the leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, is looking for the institution entrant that demonstrates the best use of digital visualisation and simulation techniques among this year’s Red Dot Award: Design Concept 2014 winners.

As the newly named official design software partner for the Red Dot Award: Design Concept, Autodesk will send the Institution winner to attend Autodesk University in Las Vegas, USA, in December 2014. Autodesk University is a series of annual events that take place around the world where designers and industry thought leaders convene to learn, network, and celebrate the power of design technology.

“Autodesk is committed to helping people imagine, design and create a better world, and design professionals, students and hobbyists all use Autodesk software to unlock their creativity and solve important challenges. By providing the education ecosystem with seamless access to our 3D design software and exposing students to the possibilities of design, we hope to inspire and equip tomorrow’s inventors and innovators,” said Mr. George Abraham, Director of Education, Autodesk. “We are excited to partner with Red Dot Award: Design Concept and look forward to witnessing creativity at its best from the largest and most prestigious award for design concept.”

This year’s best design concepts and prototypes will emerge from a total of 29 concept categories. With 4,394 entries from 57 countries in the year 2013, the award has grown to be of international significance for companies, studios, universities and designers alike.

Mr. Ken Koo, Asia President of the Red Dot Design Award affirms “We support Autodesk’s commitment in developing young future talent. For design concepts, this is a step closer to bringing a design concept to life though more skillful simulation, stronger analysis of ideas and of course, better communication of ideas.”

The race for Red Dot Award: Design Concept 2014 is already in its Late Submissions Period. There is still chance of being awarded the worldwide recognised Red Dot seal for outstanding design and creativity! Submission ends this 21st May 2014. Visit for more information.

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Red Dot Award: Design Concept 2014

Late submission period: 3 April 2014 - 21 May 2014
Awarding ceremony: 26 September 2014
Further information:

About Red Dot Award: Design Concept

In 2005, the Red Dot Design Award recognised the need to identify and celebrate new design concept and innovation, the precursor of tomorrow’s great product. Believing a design concept must be evaluated based on its design merit without prejudice, the award created a unprecedented platform that accept entries from companies to design students.

Today, the Red Dot Award for design concept has grown to be the largest and most recognised professional design competition for design concept and prototypes worldwide. 

Red Dot Award: Design Concept’s official design software is Autodesk, the global leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software.

Source: WebWire

Construction grows at fastest pace for 20 years


Contractors are beginning to turn down tendering opportunities in the face of growing workloads and skills shortages.

The latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors survey for the first quarter of 2014 found members reporting the highest upturn in workloads since the survey began 20 years ago.

Private housing, commercial and industrial sectors, which represent around half national construction output, both grew strongly.

Rising demand is being seen across most of the country and the RICS survey now expects the industry’s headcount to rise by 3% this year.

With about 2.12m employed in construction, this roughly translates into about 64,000 more jobs.

Most significantly a rise in demand is being seen across most of the UK. And now there are strong signs that London and the South East are starting to overheat.

Philip Jones at the Oxford office of Ridge and Partners said: “The construction market appears to be starting to overheat.

“Contractors are turning down opportunities to tender. This is particularly the case with single stage design and build tenders.”

The ‘feel good’ factor is being tempered by a further increase in reported skills shortages across many trades and in most parts of the country.

Chris Tunbridge at Brighton based BLB Surveyors, said: “We are being affected by the London market where for some trades people, it is more profitable to travel to work in London than to remain in the Brighton region.

“There is still some nervousness within certain sectors and
while most contractors are busy there are those who are struggling with the specific sectors they work in. Public sector works is a key example.”

Geoff Allen at Interserve Project Services, said: “As the upturn grows there will be a shortage of construction professionals.
Already staff are moving for increased salaries.”

RICS construction survey shows more surveyors are reporting growth than ever before

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 07.24.48

Anthony Dillon at Willmott Dixon’s Manchester office, said: “Although the increased confidence in the market is welcome there is a significant risk that the industry goes from flat to overheating in a matter of months due to the capacity which has left the industry in the last few years in terms of professional staff, trades and subcontractors.”

For the latest construction vacancies visit our Job Spy section here

Source: Construction Enquirer

Another highway technology deal for Balfour Beatty


The contract, worth £8.7m over five years, sees Balfour Beatty maintain approximately 28,000 technology assets in the East and West Midlands – Highways Agency’s Areas 7 and 9.

Balfour Beatty will be responsible for managing and maintaining road-side technology systems such as the ‘Birmingham Box smart motorway’ sections, variable message signs, CCTV cameras, traffic data loops and emergency telephones, as well as control equipment at regional control centres.

The contract starts on 1 July 2014 for five years, with an extension option of a further three years.

Balfour Beatty is also already responsible for the Highways Agency’s RTMC contracts in the southwest and in the northwest. With this new contract award Balfour Beatty is now responsible for half of England’s roadside technology assets.

Highways Agency Midlands regional director Tim Harbot said: “The regional technology maintenance contracts deliver vital maintenance to traffic technology equipment on motorways and trunk roads in England. We are delighted to have appointed Balfour Beatty to carry out this new RTMC in the East and West Midlands.”

Balfour Beatty executive general manager for highways Mick McCarry said: “Balfour Beatty’s achievements in delivering RTMCs in both the southwest and northwest areas have been instrumental in the award of this contract. We are applying our experience and knowledge in order to be the most innovative and efficient service provider in this industry.  We look forward to building on our successful partnership with the Highways Agency to improve safety, journey time reliability and information for travellers on the Midlands network.”

Source: Construction Index

Car manufacturing picks up pace in March


UK car production rose 12% in March to 142,158 units, bringing 2014-to-date growth to 2.9%. European demand for cars strengthened and almost 80% of cars manufactured are for global export markets, enhancing UK balance of trade.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders, said: "The 12% growth in UK car production in March is a significant step forward after a period of product changes at the start to the year. 

"After several years in the doldrums, European demand for new cars is now picking up with growth in the last seven months. This is a welcome boost for the UK's volume manufacturers for whom Europe is the key market. 

"As new models are launched and investments realised, the sector remains on course for all-time record levels of output by 2017."

Source: Works Management

Morgan marks century with Plus 8 Speedster


Morgan's new Plus 8 Speedster vehicle is set for release this June to mark the 100th anniversary of the British manufacturer.

UK car maker Morgan is celebrating 100 years of manufacturing at its Malvern factory with a special edition release of its Plus 8 sports car.

The vehicle, dubbed the Speedster, comes with a host of design changes to the traditional Plus 8 including the moving of its twin exhausts from back to the side, echoing that of Morgan’s Aero line of high performance models.

Other changes include retro-inspired alloy wheels, a thinner windscreen and roll-over hoops on the car, which will go on sale in June for £69,995.

Its power will come from its BMW V8 engine with a top speed of 148 mph, with buyers able to choose between a six-speed manual or a ZF-sourced six-speed automatic.

The company, which manufactured its first vehicle in Worcestershire in 1914, also says every Plus 8 Speedster will sport a series of “eccentric styling features” only made available on the 100 years celebratory models built during 2014.

Source: The Manufacturer

Jaguar Land Rover among 2014 Queen’s Award winners


JLR, which manufactures across three UK sites, has been recognised in the annual Queen's Award list.

Jaguar Land Rover is among the manufacturers awarded in this year’s Queen’s Awards for International Trade.

The automotive, which manufactures vehicles across three UK sites, was rewarded for its focus on international growth over the past three years.

The 162-strong list, which also includes a diverse range of manufacturers including Catepillar, Renishaw and Airbus, sees 110 winning awards for international trade; 39 for innovation and 13 for sustainable development.

Dr Ralf Speth, CEO of JLR, credits the car maker’s staff for being behind its continued success across the world, which has resulted in the sale of more than 425,000 vehicles in 2013, with 80% and exporting to over 170 countries.

“The more we build our business, the more opportunity we can create to improve the lives of many families, by recruiting and training more people, investing in facilities and communities, and strengthening the overall growth of the UK economy,” he said.

Other manufacturers recognised included MBDA for its development of an air-launched missile suitable for firing in urban environments, and Newry-based Hill Engineering, which patented a double-locking hydraulic coupler that has been the catalyst for a doubling of its workforce.

Business secretary Vince Cable added: “Companies that are growing, innovating and championing UK business overseas deserve the recognition that these awards bestow.”

The winning businesses come from a range of sectors including fashion, food and drink, media, IT and construction, and range from enterprising small businesses, acknowledging both SME and large companies.

Source: The Manufacturer 

£40m road repair deals up for grabs in Somerset


Somerset County Council is looking for contractors to carry-out £40m worth of highways repairs to its storm-ravaged road network.

Up to 50 firms could win a place on the four-year framework.

An OJEU notice states: “Following a number of severe adverse weather incidents, including a significantly higher-than-average rainfall across Somerset towards the end of 2013 to the present time, a need has arisen for repair and resilience works to be undertaken across the highway network in the County.”

The framework has been split into the following lots:

1. Surface dressing (£17.95m)
2. Resurfacing (£9.55m)
3. Haunching works, drainage works and works to footways (£2.59m)
4. Patching (£5.97m)
5. Specialist surface treatments (£3.94m)

Contractors have until May 16 to express an interest in bidding with Somerset County Council
Somerset County Council – Commercial and Procurement Services, County Hall
For the attention of: Mr Jamie Walker
TA1 4DY Taunton
Telephone: +44 1823356730

Source: Construction Enquirer

Mace JV wins £1bn Sellafield waste building job


A three-way joint venture between Atkins, Mace and French firm Areva has been named preferred bidder to restart a nuclear waste encapsulation plant at Sellafield.


Valued at anywhere from £800m to £1.4bn, it is Mace’s first major deal on the nuclear waste clean-up programme.

The massive Silos Direct-encapsulation Plant is a bespoke, mechanical handling plant and building that will be used for the Magnox clear up programme.

The project was retendered after key contractors Vinci and Nuvia pulled around 450 staff off the job two years ago when the contract was halted after significant cost overruns.

The large and technically complex treatment plant will handle radioactive liquid waste, which will be mixed with cementitious material to allow it to be stored in containers within existing Sellafield stores.

It is the only project of its kind in the world and is expected to mobilise several hundred people as well as engaging the local supply chain as much as possible.

Sellafield Ltd will now enter a period of preferred bidder clarification and confirmation of commitment with the a.m.a joint venture while the contract is finalised and all legal processes are completed.

Scott Reeder, Sellafield’s chief projects officer, said: “The market recognised the challenges presented by this important and complex project and two strong joint venture organisations emerged to tender for the contract.”

The team will take the project through detailed design, construction, manufacture, procurement, installation, and inactive commissioning.

Source: Construction Enquirer

Construction growth forecast hiked to 4.5% in 2014


Construction’s crystalball gazers have ticked up growth forecasts for this year once again as the recovery becomes stronger and broadens.

The Construction Products Association’s latest forecast predicts rapid increases in private house building, together with growth in the infrastructure and commercial sectors.

Together these will drive activity up 4.5% this year and promise another two years of good growth on top .

Next year is expected to be another bumper year with growth reaching 4.8% before a slip to 4.3% in 2016.

Spring2014 forecast

Dr Noble Francis, economics director of the association, said  “One year since the construction recovery began, activity is becoming firmly entrenched.

“The construction industry is now on track to grow 18% by 2017 and contribute an additional £20bn to the UK economy.

“We expect private housing starts to surge 18% in 2014 and 10% next year before falling to 5% in 2016 and 2017.

“It’s important to note that private house building only accounts for 15% of total construction.

“Commercial, the largest sector, is expected to grow each year up to 2017.  The office sector in particular has recently shown growth, though demand is mostly in Central London.  We forecast offices construction to increase 7% in 2014 and 10% in 2015.”

He added that last year’s gains in the infrastructure sector would continue to 2017 when levels are anticipated to be 42% higher than in 2012.

Recently, rail has been the fastest growing infrastructure sector. It now looks forward to a steady £38bn investment programme by Network Rail over the next five years.

Roads work, which slumped by almost half in only two years, is forecast to grow every year to 2017, including 15% in 2014.

Francis said:  “The main risks to our forecasts arise around the issue of energy.

“Construction and manufacturing firms have serious concerns regarding energy security and supply.

“Constant delays to the nuclear programme and uncertainty regarding investment in gas-fired power stations only exacerbate these concerns.”

Other key points in spring forecast

  • Public housing starts are set to rise 8% this year and 5% next as growth in private housing leads to increases in public housing via S106 agreements
  • Commercial office building to increase 7% this year and 10% in 2015
  • Infrastructure work to rise 10.1% in 2014 and 7.2% in 2015
  • Retail output growth of 4.0% is forecast in 2014 and 8.0% in 2015
  • Public sector construction is forecast to marginally rise 0.7% in 2014 and 2.3% in 2015 as delayed schools and hospitals projects start on site
  • Energy infrastructure output growth is set to slow from 15% in 2014 to only 5% in 2015.

Source: Construction Enquirer

Balfour set to win Cambridge busway extension


Balfour Beatty is being lined-up to build an extension to Cambridge’s guided busway network which has been dogged with construction problems.

The original project was built by Bam Nuttall and resulted in the contractor paying Cambridgeshire County Council £33m in an out-of-court settlement following a dispute over cost overruns.

The council now wants to extend the route to a planned new rail station at Cambridge Science Park which is set to open in 2016.

Balfour is being lined-up as contractor for the extension.

Balfour is a framework contractor with the council and has impressed officials with its work on a similar busway scheme in Manchester.

The extension will be built using different construction techniques following problems on the original scheme.

A council report said: “One of our framework contractors is also the main contractor for the Leigh-Salford Guided Busway, which is currently under construction.

“Discussions are taking place regarding using the same construction technique that has been developed for the Leigh-Salford Busway.

“This form of construction is different from that used for the existing Busway, and involves pouring and shaping the concrete on site using specially developed equipment rather than installing pre-cast beams as used on the existing Busway.”

The report said slipforming has the potential to offer “significant cost and programme savings compared to pre-casting, and based on preliminary work should be broadly comparable in price to conventional road construction.”

It added: “Construction of this section as a guideway is therefore dependent on agreeing an acceptable price and programme with the contractor.

“Should this not prove possible then it is proposed to substitute a conventional road construction with access controlled by short lengths of guided busway at the entry and exit points.”

Source: Construction Enquirer