Tag Archives: Construction

Five years construction in five minutes

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Network Rail has released a timelapse video to mark the one-year anniversary of the opening of Birmingham New Street station.

The video condenses five years of the station’s transformation into five minutes and highlights various construction milestones reached along the way.

The five-year £750M redevelopment project fully opened to the 170,000 daily passengers on 20 September 2015. Grand Central, the shopping and dining hub situated above the station, opened a few days later on 24 September.

The revamped station saw the creation of a huge passenger concourse, five times the size of London Euston’s, which is overlooked by the new atrium roof that floods the concourse with natural light.

The station’s platforms are now brighter and more minimalist, allowing for greater and easier passenger movement. Entrances to the city centre have also been improved.

New Street Station also features 40 shops at concourse level, with the Grand Central shopping and dining hub situated above it, which includes one of the largest John Lewis department stores in the country.

The original station was only designed to cope with 60,000 a day when it was last rebuilt in the 1960s. The redeveloped station can now cope with up to 300,000 visitors a day.

It is the busiest station outside the capital and is the busiest interchange station in the UK with a train leaving the station every 37 seconds.


The area surrounding the station is also being regenerated, with investment being made in new shops, bars and restaurants. Planning permission has also been granted for the creation of a 26-storey hotel near the station’s Southside entrance.

Work is still ongoing on the transformation, as work continues on the redevelopment of the station’s 12 platforms. Platform 11 will be the last to be completed and will reopen to passengers in mid-October.

Work on the southern hub that will provide an exit-only feature to the station giving direct access to Hill Street from the Navigation Street footbridge will also be finished by the end of October.

A year on and Network Rail research shows that New Street station currently enjoys an 88% passenger satisfaction rate – a record high for the station.

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UK Construction firms pay out £10M after “blacklisting” scandal

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The biggest “blacklisting” scandal in the UK has seen construction firms paying out £10M in compensation.

Unite, the country’s biggest union, has supported 256 workers in court after the UK’s biggest “blacklisting” scandal in history of UK construction.

Around £10M will be paid out to construction workers who were blacklisted by some of Britain’s biggest construction firms, including Balfour Beatty and Sir Robert McAlpine.

The settlement, which will be announced on Monday will see Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci paying compensation to almost 800 unfairly targeted workers who are being supported by Unite Union. The GMB Union say the amount could reach £75M for 771 claimants.

The blacklist resulted in hundreds of workers losing their jobs and left unable to secure new ones, after being deemed troublemakers while raising legitimate workplace issues.

Over 3,000 building workers were monitored through a shadowy organisation called the Consulting Association, which was eventually raided by the Information Commissioner’s Office after earlier revelations in the Guardian. The blacklist is believed to have been operating for 30 years, with secret files seized by the Information Commissioner’s Office apparently including defamatory references to workers such as “will cause trouble, strong TU”, “ex-shop steward, definite problems” and “Irish ex-army, bad egg”.

Len McCluskey, General Secretary of the Unite Union said: “The massive scale of the agreed damages shows the gravity of the misdeeds of major construction companies which created and used the Consulting Group as a vehicle to enable them to blacklist trade unionists.

“The sums to be paid out go a considerable way to acknowledge the hurt, suffering and loss of income our members and their families have been through over many years.”

Unite said payouts under the latest settlement could range from £25,000 to £200,000 per claimant, depending on factors such as loss of income and the seriousness of defamation.

Tim Roache, General Secretary of the GMB Union said: “Preventing 3,213 workers earning a living to support their families was a gross injustice, and government and employers’ organisations must never forget this sordid episode. Without strong regulation and penalties holding them to account, employers will always be tempted to put profit above people.”