Our top 10 features of the year look at major projects, the collapse of Carillion, the UK’s biggest contractors and some disruptive technologies.
Tottenham Hotspur FC new Spurs stadium Sep 2018
This was the inside story of the countless problems that have dogged construction of Tottenham Hotspur’s new £850m stadium.
The club was expecting to host the first game at its new home on 15 September, but on 14 August conceded this would not be possible.
Head of content Zak Garner-Purkis’ investigation revealed work was hampered by poor co-ordination, ill-discipline among operatives and Mace’s lack of influence as construction manager.
Having initially rejected claims made by sources cited in the feature that the stadium would not open before January 2019, the club later confirmed this would indeed by the case.
crossrail class 345 train tested custom house 1
On 31 August, Crossrail revealed the opening of London’s new underground line would be delayed by nine months until autumn 2019. CEO Mark Wild has since confirmed the autumn 2019 opening date “could no longer be committed to”.
This feature revealed the details behind the delay to the project, which had long been sold to the public as a scheme that would be delivered on time and on budget.
A £590m overspend on the project was revealed weeks before the delay. TfL has since estimated it stands to lose around £210m in lost revenue, while the National Audit Office has launched an investigation into the delay and overspend.
This week, Transport for London confirmed that delays meant the project was now expected to cost a further £1.6bn to £2bn.
Top 20 plc executive pay index image
Shareholder revolts against senior executive pay packets have become a familiar occurrence over the last few years, as corporate excess has increasingly come under the spotlight across every industry.
It is no surprise, then, to see CN’s in-depth look at the industry’s biggest earners make the top three in this list.
Balfour Beatty CEO Leo Quinn headed the high-earners league table with a basic salary of £800,000 and total package of just over £5.3m.
CN100 2018 news writeoff index
CN’s annual health check of the construction industry revealed a sector in a worse position than it was 12 months ago, with the average pre-tax margin among the top 10 falling to -0.9 per cent from -0.5 per cent.
Our analysis also revealed that, in light of Carillion’s collapse and with Brexit on the horizon, firms have moved to shore up their positions to weather any storms, strengthening their balance sheets and looking to bring down debts.
For a company that started out selling books before expanding into a dizzying array of services and operations, it only makes sense that Amazon’s impact on the construction industry should come from multiple avenues.
From the mega-retailer’s impact on office design through to the way it views physical stores, CN’s feature examined five areas in which the tech giant is already influencing the industry – and what it might do next.
claridges index montage
The first of two project reports in this year’s top 10: this was the story behind McGee’s task of building a five-storey basement underneath Claridge’s while keeping the five-star central London hotel open.
Having been mothballed following the financial crisis in 2008, former McGee managing director Jim Mackey came out of retirement to work on the £35m project, which he considered unfinished business.
Carillion logo van
Not everyone was surprised when Carillion collapsed on 15 January, yet this will have done little to dampen its impact – not least on the contractor’s unfinished projects.
CN’s update on 17 of the contractor’s major projects drew plenty of attention in the aftermath of its demise, covering road and infrastructure schemes through to schools and hospitals.
Look out for an update to the defunct contractor’s projects in the new year.
Cgis of l and gs arndale shopping centre in eastbourne 1
The second project report to make this year’s top 10: this went behind the scenes of an upgrade to Eastbourne’s Arndale shopping centre, now called The Beacon.
However, it was a pioneering technique used by Kier to enhance how much weight the car park could support that made the article particularly popular with readers.
Oracle headquarters Silicon Valley California 1
Binyamin Ali spoke to bosses at tech heavyweight Oracle, which has invested nearly $2bn building up its project management and payment platforms to target the construction sector.
With the industry having often been left behind as technology advances, Oracle’s huge global operation had been taking note of the expansion opportunities construction presented.
Paul Hamer chief executive Sir Robert McAlpine 9609 1
CN editor Tom Fitzpatrick sat down with Sir Robert McAlpine CEO Paul Hamer in the summer to discuss where the contractor was heading.
Given how media-shy SRM has been over the years, it’s no surprise to see this face-to-face interview make the top 10.
From the 149-year-old firm’s plans for the next 150 years, through to the influence the McAlpine family continues to exert over the direction of the business, the feature offered a window into the secretive firm’s inner workings.