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CN Briefing: George Osborne; Manchester; Bam; project report

Today’s announcement on boundary changes doesn’t seem to have dampened the spirits of one former chancellor.

George Osborne – remember him? – seems unperturbed that his Tatton seat might cease to exist come 2020, and is close to launching his own think-tank to support his flagship Northern Powerhouse policy.

That’s welcome news for those who thought the North could be drifting off the political agenda in the wake of Theresa May’s shift towards a more overarching ‘industrial strategy’, rather than a regionally focused approach to growth.

But talking to contractors and architects in the North this week, some suggest that this perceived shift may be way off the mark.

One Manchester-based firm this week told me it was turning work away because of the number of projects landing on its desk, and a walk from one end of the city centre to the other will show you just how many schemes are getting under way – with many more in the pipeline.

One such project is No1 Spinningfields, in the heart of the city’s business district.

Bam is building the scheme, which will be the city’s tallest office block built since the 1960s, for client Allied London – which also has a major overhaul of the former site of Granada Studios in the pipeline.

Construction News first visited the site as part of the Open Doors initiative back in June, after the contractor had already undertaken what was its largest-ever concrete pour, with more than 860 cu m of poured in just one day to form the base of one of the building’s two cores.

And the challenges on site didn’t stop there, with a challenging eastern cantilever having to be erected just metres from the city’s opera house.

Revisiting the site at the end of summer gave a fascinating insight into how the building’s technical challenges had been tackled – and at pace, too, with 23 floors of grade A office space needing to be built and fitted out in double-quick time.

It’s required a highly disciplined process from Bam and its subcontractors to get the project delivered at speed, with steel still being erected on upper floors while cladding has been put in place below.

Read the full project report online tomorrow, complete with an image gallery and three separate videos, offering a fascinating insight into this highly complex project.

Also in the news

Six of the UK’s biggest contractors are among the development partners longlisted for a new NHS hospital building programme.

A KPMG report has warned the construction industry is struggling to reap the full benefits of advanced technologies.

Following Simon Kirby’s HS2 exit yesterday, there have been further industry moves with two senior hires at Murphy.

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