Multiplex’s margin falls to 0.4% in 2017 results

 Multiplex’s pre-tax margin fell to 0.4 per cent in 2017 as the company dealt with a problem job.

Its accounts for the year to 31 December 2017 showed Multiplex made pre-tax profit of £4.2m, down 74 per cent  from £15.9m in 2016, when pre-tax margin stood at 1.5 per cent.

Turnover for 2017 stood at £1.16bn, up 1.5 per cent from £1.04bn in 2016.

The company’s report said a “challenging” project due to be completed in 2018 had wiped out higher margins earned on other jobs.

Multiplex’s net cash from operations also slumped to £17m in 2017, down 81 per cent from £89m in 2016.


The company said it was confident performance would improve in 2018, with office space and high-end residential property still in demand in London.

However, it warned that “ongoing political uncertainty” in the UK could “have an effect on the appetite for investment in our key market sectors”.

Multiplex said its order book increased from £3.6bn in 2016 to £4.2bn in 2017.

This was largely split across 12 residential projects and five commercial schemes.

The company highlighted its £600m contract for a mixed-use development at One Nine Elms (pictured) and £217m of work on phase one of the Royal Albert Dock redevelopment in London, both of which started in 2017.


 International support services and construction group, Interserve, today announces that its Joint Venture with Tiger Developments, Edinburgh Haymarket Developments Limited ("EHDL"), has agreed the sale of the Haymarket site in Edinburgh to M&G Real Estate, with gross sales proceeds of £49.1 million.

The Haymarket site, in the heart of Edinburgh's financial and commercial centre, is the most significant development project to come available in the city in over a decade. The three-acre site has planning permission for a mixed-use scheme including three contemporary office buildings (370,000 sq. ft. / 345,000 sq.m), retail space, a 190 bedroom hotel and a 170 unit apart-hotel. 

With 'grade A' office space at a premium in the city, the gateway site is widely considered to be the best office development site outside London. The site boasts a location next to Edinburgh's Haymarket train station and a Trams stop connecting to Edinburgh International Airport.

Dougie Sutherland, executive director at Interserve, said:

"We are delighted to have agreed the sale of the Haymarket site to M&G. The sale follows a strategic review of the project and is part of our overall transformation plan, allowing us to realise our investment at a time that is right for both the development and the market."

Joint agents JLL and Dougray Smith acted for EHDL.

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Wylfa nuclear: £15bn plant edges closer as talks begin

 The UK government says it has started negotiations with a Japanese firm over a new nuclear power station on Anglesey.

Energy secretary Greg Clark told MPs on Monday that public money could also be invested into Wylfa Newydd.

The proposal has been on the horizon for a number of years, but ministers say the latest development is a major step forward.

It is hoped work on the new plant could begin by 2020.

The original Wylfa plant on Anglesey closed in 2015 after more than 40 years of service.

It is hoped its £12bn replacement would have a 60-year operational life and would be run by Horizon Nuclear power - a subsidiary of Japanese giant Hitachi.


Developers say the plant would create up to 8,500 jobs during the construction phase.

The proposals feature a plant with a capacity of generating 2,700 megawatts of electricity, enough power for about five million homes.


Mr Clark told the House of Commons that any direct investment in the project would be made alongside the Japanese government and Horizon.

He said: "This is an important next step for the project, although no decision has been taken yet to proceed with the project, and successful conclusion of these negotiations will be subject to full government, regulatory and other approvals, including but not limited to value for money, due diligence and state aid requirements.

"It remains the government's objective in the longer term that new nuclear projects - like other energy infrastructure - should be financed by the private sector."

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns welcomed the news and said the scheme would be the "biggest infrastructure project in Wales for a generation".

The Nuclear Industry Association's chief executive heralded the announcement as "good news" for the UK meeting its decarbonisation targets.

First minister Carwyn Jones said Mr Clark's statement was a "significant milestone" for the project.

However, he said it was vital his government had "a seat at the table as the project progresses to the next stage".

Third runway at Heathrow


A third runway at Heathrow has moved a step closer today – the latest twist in a saga that has been epic in duration, if not progress.

The Cabinet has approved the transport secretary’s National Policy Statement for the runway, which paves the way for MPs to vote on the scheme in the next four weeks.

There are still high-profile objectors on both sides of the house, including foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who was absent from today’s Cabinet discussions.

But on balance, Boris probably won’t fulfil his pledge to lie down in front of a bulldozer at the site (possibly to the disappointment of the prime minister).

On the other side we have Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who as a backbencher in 2009, got so angry at then Labour transport secretary Geoff Hoon trying to avoid a vote on the runway that he stormed the floor during a debate and grabbed the mace from in front of the speaker, earning himself a five-day suspension from the house.

In spite of these big-name political opponents, the vote for the runway will likely pass.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has promised the cost of the new runway, which is around £14bn, will “not fall on the taxpayer”.

However, Heathrow is heavily indebted, with net debt of £13.7bn against a turnover of £2.9bn and asset base valued at £15.8bn.

Today presenter John Humphrys put it to the Airports Commission chair Sir Howard Davies on Radio 4 this morning, that with the company now lined up to borrow more to build the third runway, it risked being “the next Carillion” – an example of how quickly the contractor’s name has become shorthand for ‘debt-laden failure’.

Sir Howard rejected the comparison and said Heathrow’s asset base and investor profile – which includes sovereign wealth funds – meant it was an entirely different prospect.

“I think if they decide to build a runway, they’ll stick with it,” he said – and we hope so too, as the industry sorely needs those projects in the much-discussed infrastructure pipeline to get on site.

But projects like Heathrow, which are long term with high levels of dependable revenue, allow some longer-term thinking too, and the possibility of doing things a little differently.

If Heathrow proves to be a smart client, then greater investment in offsite construction and potential productivity gans could be seen, as well as better procurement attitudes and supply chain relationships.

The more of these sort of projects we have – from Crossrail 2 and northern rail upgrades to new power stations and further rail electrification – the more opportunity there is for new approaches to be tried and for the industry to evolve.

Various governments have performed a masterclass in dithering on airport expansion in the South-east.

What we need now as an industry, and as a country, is some public sector boldness and the go-ahead for more infrastructure works.

After all, the government is the biggest construction client in the UK, and if it wants to see the industry change post-Carillion, there’s no better way than to be a progressive client on new major infrastructure. 

Article writte by David Price of Construction News

Grenfell Tower: 'Catastrophic' safety failures outlined

 A catalogue of safety problems allowing the Grenfell Tower fire to take hold have been indentified in reports from five experts for the blaze inquiry.

Dr Barbara Lane says a "non-compliance" culture had existed with basic fire measures missing or "inadequate".

She listed issues with ventilation systems, lifts, fire mains and doors.

The reports suggested cladding was incorrectly installed, and the primary cause of the "catastrophic" spread of June's fire, which caused 72 deaths.

The inquiry also heard the fire service advice to residents to "stay put" in their flats had "effectively failed" within around half an hour of the blaze starting.


The hearing was played the audio of the first 999 call made on the night, by the tenant of flat 16 on the fourth floor - where the fire started - Behailu Kebede, who survived.

In it he told the operator: "Quick, quick, quick. It's burning."

A montage of video sent in by the public of fire, showing burning debris falling from the tower was also shown. "Oh my god," says one woman , while another could be heard crying as the fire became out of control.

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We are not a failures club - so let's prove it

‘Construction’: what are the public’s first thoughts when they hear that word? 

Initial perceptions are generally that of muddy, low-paid manual labour, without any ambitions or aspirations. More recently, this has contributed to create a picture of the industry as something of a ‘failures club’.

But from what I can see as a female subcontractor, we are an important and unique sector, yet our talents are underrated and underappreciated. Nearly everything that surrounds the built environment depends on us, yet there is little appreciation for the individuals who power the industry.

Why are we and the public still on different pages? And why, as representatives of the industry, are we not doing more to educate the public about what we do? 

Entry routes create misunderstanding

It is to the industry’s credit that there are a growing number of initiatives designed to foster a diverse workforce. For example, programmes designed to find employment for ex-offenders and former military personnel within the industry have a huge social value.

 Unfortunately, the public perception this leads to is one where individuals who have been unable to find work elsewhere join construction. This is reinforced in schools and colleges, as construction apprenticeships are often suggested by teachers when a student is struggling to improve their grades. 

Article written by Anjali Pindoria

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Mitsubishi Corporation to lead $110mn upgrade of ports in Basra, Iraq


Japan’s Mitsubishi has secured a contract to expand and upgrade vital port infrastructure in the Basra region of Iraq.

The project contract, awarded by Company for Ports of Iraq and financed by Japan International Corporation Agency, will see Mitsubishi modernise various berths in order to meet the increasing demand for shipping in and out of the country.

Specifically, the work will involve expanding the oil products berth at Khor Al-Zubair Port and building a new service berth for working ships and service boats at Umm Qasr Port.


Mitsubishi will be leading a team of contractors, which include two Turkish firms - energy infrastructure provider Calik Enerji and construction firm Gap Insaat, both of which part of the Calik Holding group.

The vast majority of materials, chiefly steel structures, will be sourced from Japan.

Khor Al-Zubair and Umm Qasr are the only ports currently in operation in the Basra region, where a system of ports located in the 48km wide tip of the country wedged in between Iran and Kuwait along the Persian Gulf gives Iraq its only outlet to the sea.

Iraq’s economy is extremely dependent on oil production and export, with the World Bank predicting the country’s economic outlook to improve due to a more favourable security environment and recovering oil prices.

By Tom Wadlow

Interview: Siemens Building Technologies talks construction in the Middle East.


Construction is big business in the Middle East. According to a report by MENA Research Partners, the GCC construction market grew strongly in 2017, with $130bn of project work completed in the first 10 months of last year, some $30bn more than the whole of 2016.

Technology is increasingly having an impact on the bottom line profitability of projects, not just in the Gulf region but all over the world.

Beyond bricks and mortar, smaller, smarter details are playing a bigger part in client scrutiny of buildings.

This is where Siemens Building Technologies comes in.

Headquartered in Switzerland, the Siemens division has built up a strong portfolio of construction sector work and prides itself on the ability to make perfect places for people to spend their lives.

This is the motto of Ahmad Farrakh Manzoor, Head of Building Technologies in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.


In an exclusive interview with Construction Global, he reveals that the secret to the company’s success in the region so far is its people. “We have a very creative and talented team of people who can really explain to our customers how they can benefit from building technologies and how important it is to really manage buildings efficiently. This is the key to our success.”

Manzoor also outlines the unique position Siemens Building Technologies is in regarding its ability to cater to the smart cities segment.

“If you think about what constitutes a smart city, in addition to smart mobility, smart energy infrastructure e.g. smart grids, and other elements of a smart city, especially in the Middle East, smart buildings play an immense role with over 70% of energy being consumed by buildings for cooling in the hot summer months.

“Siemens is in a unique position as one of the only companies in the world that has all of these elements all in one company, and this is why we have a strong focus on smart cities.”

By Tom Wadlow

McDermott completes $6bn CB&I acquisition, eyes Middle East expansion with Saudi Aramco


American offshore engineering giant McDermott has completed the acquisition of Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CB&I), a move which has created a fully integrated provider of tech, engineering and construction services for energy clients.

The deal is said to be worth $6bn including debt, will open up business opportunities in key markets such as the US and Middle East.

McDermott now has a workforce of more than 40,000, including 5,000 engineers, serving markets in 54 countries.


David Dickson, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “The combination of McDermott and CB&I brings together a global upstream and subsea engineering, procurement and construction company with an established downstream provider of industry-leading petrochemical, refining, power, gasification and gas processing technologies and solutions – creating a company that spans the entire value chain from concept to commissioning.

“Together, we have the integrated technology, engineering expertise, construction experience and global reach to design and build the energy infrastructure of the future.”

According to Reuters, McDermott will expand its work in Saudi Arabia after Dickson met with Saudi Aramco executives.

While current work with Aramco is focussed on offshore, upstream projects, the addition of CB&I expertise opens up the possibility of further business.  

The acquisition will also lead to a reorganisation of McDermott by territory – North, Central and South America; Europe, Africa, Russia ad Caspian; Middle East and North Africa; and Asia Pacific. Each of these areas will be supported by executive presence.

At present, McDermott’s innovation portfolio includes more than 100 licensed proprietary technologies, bolstered by more than 3,500 patents and patent applications.

By Tom Wadlow

A new level of efficiency for construction projects

 How to prevent the cheap solution for a construction project in the wastewater-treatment sector from turning into a money pit? The answer is easy: By choosing the right technology and the right partner. Master Builders Solutions assists you in doing exactly that.

The fact that construction projects involve significant risks is well known. And those risks are there from the very beginning. Numerous high-profile projects around the world show how insufficient attention to detail or a lack in specific know-how can completely blow construction budgets or schedules. While wastewater-treatment systems and their construction and maintenance usually attract much less public attention, the same is, of course, true for them as well: Competent planning and execution minimises risks with regard to the money and time ultimately spent on the project.

Written by Eric Bullenois

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Conference & Evidence

New coating technology delivers on promise:   

Even if a new technology is urgently required on the market, potential customers have to be convinced of its effectiveness first. Recently in Poland, a bold pioneer, ...


Even if a new technology is urgently required on the market, potential customers have to be convinced of its effectiveness first. Recently in Poland, a bold pioneer, independent experts and an industry conference confirmed that MasterSeal 7000 CR – the innovative, reliable and highly efficient concrete-waterproofing and protection system from Master Builders Solutions – truly delivers on its promise.

As strange as it may at first sound: Our environmental awareness takes its toll on wastewater-treatment facilities: When water consumption is reduced, the result is a higher concentration of contaminants, which, in turn, significantly accelerates concrete corrosion in wastewater-treatment facilities – in the various types of collection basins and tanks for example. For the operators of such facilities, this boils down to either taking great care to protect concrete structures reliably, or regularly repairing or replacing them. As a consequence, new and effective solutions for protecting the concrete in such facilities became highly sought-after, but often remained elusive: Many construction-chemicals manufacturers claimed they had developed just the product required – all too often, though, their products fell short of their claims.

Written by Elizabeth Casas Boliver

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Everything begins on the ground: MasterTop at the Rafael Nadal Museum

When star tennis player Rafael Nadal built a tennis center on his native island of Mallorca he furnished it with quite a number of extras including an interactive museum, the Rafa Nadal Museum Xperience. The basis for this unique museum experience has been provided by Master Builders Solutions: the polyurethane-based flooring solution MasterTop 1327 which offers high walking comfort, impact-noise reduction, a wide variety of design options and durability. 

Written by Miquel Fite Castellana

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Shanghai Chemical Industry park: Corrosion- Protection of concrete

Soon after its launch in the region, Master Builders Solutions cutting-edge MasterSeal 7000CR waterproofing solution has now seen its first implementation in Asia – as corrosion protection for the water management facilities at Shanghai Chemical Industry Park.

Shanghai Chemical Industry Park covers an estimated 30 square kilometers and is China’s first industrial area specializing in petrochemicals and fine chemistry. The operators aim at creating an industrial environment particularly conducive to investments, and this includes infrastructure facilities that meet the highest international standards – an approach that also applies to the industrial park’s wastewater treatment facilities. 

Written by Rita Tsang

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The 10 most expensive buildings in the world


1. Abraj Al Bait, Mecca, Saudi Arabia, US$ 15 billion

At a height of 601 metres, Abraj Al Bait is the tallest hotel in the world, with a floor area of 1,500,000 square metres and a 100,000-person capacity. Also known as the Makkah Royal Clock Tower, the complex was designed by Lebanon based architectural group Dar Al-Handasah and features the world’s tallest and largest clock, standing at a height of 530 metres and measuring 43 metres in diameter, and said to be visible from over 30km away. The upper portion of the clock tower was designed by German architecture firm SL Rasch, and also features a 23-metre-high crescent constructed of fibreglass-backed mosaic gold.


2. Marina Bay Sands, Marina Bay, Singapore, US$ 5.50 billion

At a construction cost of US$5.50bn, Marina Bay Sans is the most expensive resort ever built. The construction consists of three connected 55 story towers and is situated in an area of 38 acres, with the building billed as the world’s most expensive standalone casino. Construction was completed in 2010, one year later than planned due to escalating material costs and a shortage of workers, and was overseen by Ssangyong Engineering and Construction contractors, with design by Moshe Safdie. The architecture and design of the resort were all approved by feng shui consultants.

3. Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore, US$ 4.93 billion

The Resorts World Sentosa development, built by Malaysian conglomerate Genting Group, consists of hotels, casino, and a number of entertainment attractions such as the Universal Studios theme park. The resort’s integrated oceanarium occupies an area of 20 acres and is the largest in the world, with over 100,000 animals of more than 800 species. Although initial construction was completed in 2009, the Resorts World Sentosa has continued to expand, including the addition of The Marine Life Park in November 2012.

4. Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, UAE, US$ 3.90 billion

Opened in 2005 and designed by British architect John Elliot, the seven star Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi serves as the official guest palace of Abu Dhabi Government and spans a total of 850,000 square metres. The palace, which was constructed as a way of showcasing Arabian culture and luxurious hospitality, reportedly includes 110,000 m3 of 13 different types of marble from China, India, Italy, and Spain, and 1002 Swarovski crystal chandeliers.

5. Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Las Vegas, US, US$ 3.90 billion

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is a luxury casino and hotel resort on the Las Vegas Strip, consisting of two high rise towers both at 184 metres tall. Although built by Germany-based banking company Duetsche Bank, it was later sold to NY based Blackstone Group Corporation for US$1.73bn, less than half its original construction price of US$3.90bn. Despite its prime location and gaming credentials, the resort is still considered something of a financial failure after originally going bankrupt in 2008.

6. One World Trade Centre, New York, US, US$ 3.80 billion

The One World Trade Centre in New York City, known commonly as the ‘Freedom Tower’, was completed in 2013 to replace and commemorate the twin tower of the original World Trade Centre, which fell during the 9/11 attack. As well as serving as a stark reminder of the original Twin Towers, the Freedom Tower also serves as an industrial hub, connecting to eleven NYC subways and housing 71 floors of office space. The steel and concrete frame was designed by architect David Childs, and also features a 9/11 commemorative museum and 55,000 square foot of retail space.

7. Wynn Resort, Las Vegas, US, US$ 2.70 billion

Covering an area of 615 acres, the US$2.70bn Wynn Resort is the sixth largest hotel in the world. Named after casino developer Steve Wynn, the resort has won several accolades, including AAA five diamond, Mobil five-star, Forbes five-star, and Michelin five-star rating. The Wynn also features several resort ‘firsts’, such as being the first Las Vegas casino to feature a car dealership and being the first to combine both a room key and casino frequent-player card into a single card. The development, which was first announced in August 2001 and completed construction in 2005, is also set to expand in 2020 with the addition of Wynn Paradise Park at the estimated cost of US$1.5bn, including an additional hotel property and a lagoon spanning 35 acres.

8. Venetian Macau, Macau, China, US$2.40 billion

Located directly opposite No. 9 in the list, City of Dreams, The Venetian Macau is the largest casino in the world, and also the seventh-largest building in the world by floor area. The resort, which officially opened on 28 August 2007, features 550,000 square feet of casino space with 3,400 slot machines, 800 gambling tables, and a 15,000 seat CotaiArena for hosting entertainment and sporting events. The resort is renowned for luxury and exuberance, including its Presidente Paiza 12-bay, four-bedroom suite, and was designed by renowned architectural firms Aedas and HKS, Inc. 

9. City of Dreams, Macau, China, US$ 2.40 billion

The US$2.40bn City of Dreams merges hotel with casino and is styled as a podium with four towers: Crown Towes Hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel, and the Grand Hyatt Macau (which spans two towers). The three floored podium features over 200 shopping facilities and 420,000 square foot of casino space. As part of The City of Dreams development a fifth tower is currently being constructed, headed by architect Zaha Hadid, which is due for completion in 2017. The construction will span forty floors and will include approximately 780 guest rooms, suites, and sky villas.

10. Princess Tower, Dubai, UAE, US$ 2.17 billion

As of May 2012, the 414-metre-high Princess Tower in Dubai is the tallest residential building in the world, according to the Guinness World Records. Next to the infamous Burj Khalifa, it is the second tallest building in Dubai, and features 763 residential units including one, two, and three bed apartments, duplexes, and high-quality penthouses. Construction on Princess Tower, owned by Tameer Holding Investment, began in 2006 and completed in July 2012.

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