Our list of 10 projects to watch this year include football stadiums, large commercial schemes and listed-building refurbishments – all challenging in their different ways and worth keeping a close eye on as 2018 unfolds.
Angel Meadows NOMA 1
The latest phase in the wider Noma masterplan in Manchester, Angel Meadows is a £235m development that includes a 40-storey residential tower.
The scheme was recommended for planning approval in August 2017 and begins in earnest in 2018.
Driving the scheme is Hong Kong-based developer Far East Consortium, with the project cited as evidence that investment from Asia into UK property and construction is not slowing down. More widely, it represents a broader indication that confidence in Manchester remains high.
The next stage at Angel Meadows will be to appoint a contractor – watch this space on that front.
Aykon London One_Nine Elms Property_Lendlease
Aykon London One
This 50-storey tower in Nine Elms is being built by Multiplex, which took over as main contractor after previous contractor Lendlease failed to agree terms with developer Nine Elms Property, a wholly owned subsidiary of developer Damac International.
Multiplex has taken on the job for £240m – the latest in a string of high-profile project wins in London and just down the road from another of its major projects, One Nine Elms. Aykon London One is being pitched as high-end residential, with apartments designed in conjunction with Versace Home.
London’s cooling high-end residential market has seen several schemes change tack, including the Paddington Cube and Battersea Power Station. Will Aykon be unaffected by these headwinds as construction gets under way in 2018?
Battersea Power Station
Battersea Power Station phase two
One of two major projects on this list that are being overseen by Mace, phase two of Battersea Power Station was not without its problems last year.
Spiralling costs saw main contractor Skanska and client Battersea Power Station Development Company mutually agree to end the former’s association with the job, with Mace stepping in as construction manager.
The iconic chimneys have already been reconstructed and hundreds of piles installed beneath the building to stabilise it, so work will continue in earnest in 2018 on the full refurbishment of the power station itself – a crucial period that BPSDC will hope passes without a hitch.
Big Ben_Elizabeth Tower_scaffolding_Oct 2017_CREDIT David Holt
Source: David Holt
Big Ben and Palace of Westminster refurbishments
The Elizabeth Tower, home to Big Ben, is almost completely covered in scaffolding now, much to the chagrin of some MPs who wanted the bongs to continue uninterrupted.
The costs for that project, with Sir Robert McAlpine as main contractor, have already risen sharply from original estimates.
On the wider Palace of Westminster refurbishment, MPs are set to debate the future of that project on 11 January in the House of Commons.
The government has yet to publish a motion stating its preferred option, which will see either a full or partial move-out of MPs, but the decision should become clearer in 2018 after years of delay.
Brent Cross Shopping Centre_Laing O’Rourke_Hammerson_retail_London 2
Brent Cross Shopping Centre
Laing O’Rourke was appointed to carry out the expansion of Brent Cross Shopping Centre for Hammerson and Standard Life this year, with work set to start on site in 2018.
The overall construction value is understood to be approximately £700m – a very sizeable job at a time when retail is under strain due to general economic uncertainty over Brexit.
It will also be a welcome boost for Laing O’Rourke, which endured a tough year after announcing a group loss of £245m 12 months ago.
The contractor may look to make use of DfMA techniques at Brent Cross as it continues to champion modern methods of construction. Many expected Sir Robert McAlpine to win this job, so how will Laing O’Rourke fare?
Capital Square exterior Hermes Investment Management Edinburgh
Capital Square is the largest speculative office development currently under construction in Edinburgh, and is being developed by Bam Properties and Hermes International.
Bam Construct has been appointed as main contractor and the project is already under way, with work expected to gather pace in 2018.
The scheme represents a bold investment from Bam and Hermes into Edinburgh’s property market and shows the partners believe the city’s commercial sector remains robust.
The project’s success will hinge on this bet being correct. But with businesses still asking questions about Brexit and even Scottish independence, it’s not hard to see how the balance could shift.
Chelsea FC new stadium plans Herzog and de Meuron
Chelsea FC Stamford Bridge redevelopment
Chelsea FC’s ambitious redevelopment of Stamford Bridge is set to be one of the biggest and most complex projects in the UK once it gets out of the ground.
Designs are still being finalised, but it is understood that the cost of the scheme will be in the region of £1bn – higher even that the massive Spurs stadium further north.
The project is set to take a lot longer than Spurs, too, with Chelsea likely to be at Wembley or another temporary home for at least two seasons.
Tenders for main contractors are likely to move along in 2018, with names such as Mace, Multiplex and Sir Robert McAlpine being bandied around within industry circles. After losing out on Spurs, could this be Multiplex’s return to UK stadium construction more than a decade after its difficulties on Wembley?
Grenfell Tower fire exterior cladding_JC8T6M-2
The fire at Grenfell Tower will live long in the memory of everyone involved with the built environment. With the inquiry ramping up in earnest in 2018, the tragedy will have wide-ranging implications for construction.
The question of what to do with the building itself, though, has yet to be resolved. Grenfell Tower still stands out like a scar on west London’s skyline, a constant reminder of the failings of the building and the lives that were lost.
2018 is likely to see a decision taken, with most expecting the tower to be demolished altogether – which, if it happens, would be the most high-profile and sensitive demolition project since the recovery operation at Didcot Power Station.
Sellar’s £775m Paddington Cube finally received the green light from communities secretary Sajid Javid in March last year, only for news to break in August that the scheme faced the propspect of a judicial review after heritage body Save Britain’s Heritage won an initial legal challenge against Mr Javid’s decision not to call the scheme in.
Then in September, Sellar found out the project would face a second High Court challenge, this time from the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust over the Cube’s impact on emergency services’ access to St Mary’s Hospital.
Last week, the High Court threw out Save’s legal challenge in an important victory for Sellar, but the application for a judicial review from ICH NHS Trust is still pending a decision.
Having overcome huge obstacles to get the Shard built at London Bridge, it seems that Sellar will have to repeat the trick again if the firm is to regenerate the area around Paddington – but sadly without its visionary leader Irvine, who passed away in February.
Tottenham Hotspur Spurs new stadium CGI Feb 2016 2
Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium
The demolition of White Hart Lane went ahead as planned this year and with Spurs now ensconced at Wembley, the race is on for the Mace-led construction team to finish the job in time for the 2018/19 season.
The programme is very tight and has site teams already working around the clock, with the project’s most crucial period approaching in January 2018.
This is when the technically challenging roof is set to be installed, with an exceptionally tight tolerance of just 1 mm in the roof cassettes being delivered by Buckingham Group.
If there is a delay there, it could prove difficult to hit the ultimate opening deadline.
Here are last year’s 10 projects to watch and how they fared in 2016:
This 304.9 m-tall tower in the City of London received planning permission in November last year, but the project has gone very quiet since then. There was no major movement and for now this project remains on the drawing board.
Didcot Power Station demolition
All work on Didcot Power Station stopped once the bodies of three trapped Coleman Group employees were recovered. Thames Valley Police still maintains control of the site to this day and has been slowly sifting through the wreckage of the collapsed boiler house. CN understands that TVP is expecting to hand over an initial file to the Crown Prosecution Service before the end of this year, giving a clearer picture of what charges are likely to be brought, if any, and against whom.
Euston station redevelopment
HS2 Ltd formally launched bidding for £3bn of station deals on phase one of the line, including the mammoth task of redeveloping Euston. Bidders at Euston must have a turnover of at least £460m due to the size of the project, with firms set to be invited to tender in January and winners announced in September 2018.
Google UK HQ
Lendlease finally won the race in 2017 to build Google’s new UK HQ at King’s Cross, beating out competition from Mace, Multiplex and Sir Robert McAlpine. The project twill get out of the ground in earnest in 2018.
Houses of Parliament restoration
A project that continues to be kicked down the road, with Theresa May’s ill-fated snap general election only serving to delay things further. This project remains one to watch this year [see above] and the industry will hope the picture becomes clearer.
Northern line extension
Tunnelling on the Northern line extension completed in 2017, a good sign that things are going well construction-wise. But Transport for London’s major projects director Stuart Harvey said that mothballing the new station at Battersea was an option unless TfL could resolve a funding dispute with the Battersea Power Station Development Company. One to keep an eye on still.
One Nine Elms
Multiplex secured the contract to build One Nine Elms for Chinese developer Wanda One in 2017, following months of speculation and to-ing and fro-ing with other contractors. It appears as if this troubled scheme is finally on its way.
TfL revealed in March that Cintra Global, Hochtief PPP Solutions and Skanska Strabag were the three companies on the shortlist to build the £1bn Silvertown Tunnel. But a final decision on whether to proceed with the project was delayed by six months in November to enable “further consideration of the effect of the scheme on air quality”.
St Michael’s, Manchester
Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs’ controversial St Michael’s development in Manchester underwent a redesign in 2017, after being put on hold in March. The revised scheme was revealed in August, with a single tower replacing the two blocks originally proposed, and other historic buildings retained instead of being earmarked for demolition. Some are still not happy, but it seems the new scheme has a much better chance of success.
White Hart Lane
The demolition of White Hart Lane went ahead as planned – but all eyes are on the project team, led by Mace, to see if they can deliver the project in time for the 2017/18 season [see above].