This week’s top stories take in corruption prison terms, London’s Crossrail 2 bill and the Walkie Talkie being bought by Hong Kong investors.
7 years – Combined corruption jail terms
Four men have been sentenced for their roles in a conspiracy to make and receive payments in order to win contracts on the Thameslink project. Innocent Obiekwe, a senior H&S manager at Costain / Laing O’Rourke JV CoLOR, alongside Kevin McKee and John Zayya of Alandale Rail and William Waring of Qualitas, were jailed after pleading guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court.
-0.9% – Construction’s drag on GDP
A sharp decline in construction output in Q2 dragged down UK GDP growth to just 0.3 per cent, according to latest figures from the Office for National Statistics. The industry’s performance was worse than all other major sectors of the UK economy in the three months from April to June.
£1.41bn – London’s annual bill for Crossrail 2
Transport secretary Chris Grayling backed the £31bn project this week, but warned that London businesses will not only need to help provide more than half the funds, but will have to do so during its construction. The most recent proposals envisaged construction of the new line getting under way in 2022 and completing in 2033.
50% – Operating capacity at Bison’s factory
Laing O’Rourke has sold its Bison Manufacturing arm to Forterra for £20m. Forterra said the Bison automated manufacturing facility at Swadlincote had been operating at a loss, bringing in revenue of £22.8m in the year to 31 March 2017 with an EBITDA loss of £1.1m.
60% – SMEs struggling to find bricklayers
The Federation of Master Builders’ State of Trade Survey for Q2 2017 revealed the trades SMEs are finding most difficult to recruit. It also reported that the SME construction sector grew in the quarter, albeit at a slower rate in most parts of the UK than the first three months of the year.
£130m – Walkie Talkie beats the Cheesegrater
Hong Kong investment firm Lee Kum Kee is buying the Walkie Talkie for £1.28bn – £130m more than the Cheesegrater was sold for in May. The sale represents a record sum for a single building sold in the UK. Landsec is parting with its share of the tower for £641.3m, with Canary Wharf Contractors selling its 50 per cent stake for the same amount.