Cost pressures force suspension of work on two Aberdeen housing developments

Cost pressures force suspension of work on two Aberdeen housing developments

Plans for homes at the former Kincorth Academy

Aberdeen City Council is to suspend the delivery of more than 300 council homes across two developments due to rising costs associated with construction.

A report which went before the local authority’s finance and resources committee yesterday said in light of the inflationary pressures and increased costs in the housing sector, it has been decided to complete two of the new council housing projects - Tillydrone and Kaimhill - and suspend all works at Craighill and Kincorth.

The developments are part of several sites that form part of the wider Aberdeen City Council Housing Programme 2020 aiming to address a long-term shortage of affordable social rented housing in the city.

The Craighill development aimed to have 99 units of varying size and type alongside associated shared surface streetscape, parking and both public and private amenity and open spaces. A generous proportion of the units were to be wheelchair accessible.

Last year, the council lodged detailed plans to build 212 homes for rent on the site of the former Kincorth Academy. The development off Cairngorm Drive will comprise a mix of unit types with shared residential streets, parking and external amenities.

Two of the other council sites, at Summerhill and Auchmill, are either partially or fully completed, the report added.

The committee also heard updates on projects including Union Terrace Gardens, Countesswells Primary School, the B999 Shielhill Road Junction, Torry Primary School and Hub, the Energy from Waste plant, Tillydrone Primary School, and the new mortuary at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Cost pressures force suspension of work on two Aberdeen housing developments

The proposed development at Craighill

For Union Terrace Gardens, the report said practical completion will be achieved prior to Christmas thereby allowing the garden to be open to the public. There will also be snagging issues to complete after the gardens have opened.

The report to the committee confirmed the SPECTRA - Scotland’s festival of light – is to return to being partly held in Union Terrace Gardens in February.

It said the SPECTRA exhibits will be located on the central lawn area in the gardens with a significant footfall across the lawn significantly which will damage it, and the current time of year – wet and frosty – is also not ideal for placing grass turf down.

Due to these reasons, has been decided to turf the lawn area in the Spring after SPECTRA is finished and the weather allows for turf planting. The public will be advised to stay off the new turfed lawn for a number of weeks to enable the new turf to become established.

The other project updates include:

  • For the new Countesswells Primary School, the report said Construction works are well advanced, and the expectation is for the new school to be open in Spring/Summer 2023;
  • For Torry Primary School and Hub, the report said works are progressing with the construction about 50% complete. The expectation is the school will be complete by Autumn 2023 as planned;
  • For Tillydrone Primary School, an assessment of tenders received from construction firms will take place in early 2023. The report said while the target date for completion within the tender documentation is Summer 2024, this may be dependent on the tender returns received given the current external factors affecting the construction sector - energy supplies, material availability, and labour availability;
  • For the B999 Shielhill Road Junction, the report said the project’s delivery timeline will be determined by the time taken to obtain the necessary land to build the scheme. Since May 2022, alignment and junction design work has continued. Finalisation of the land footprint has been delayed due to complications arising from the existing culvert and SSE transmission apparatus however the issues should be resolved soon allowing the land footprint to be finalised and landowner negotiations to start later this financial year;
  • For the Energy from Waste plant, works are progressing and the completion date is now expected to be Summer 2023 as delivery of the project to date has been hampered by several issues, both internally and externally;
  • For the new mortuary at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, work started at the site at the hospital complex on Monday, 10 October 2022.

Aberdeen City Council finance and resources committee convener Councillor Alexander McLellan said: “It was good to hear the updates today of all of these capital projects.

“We are pleased with progress as it has been a difficult few years for the construction sector and we look forward to more updates in the months to come.”

The report to committee said for existing and any new capital projects, several factors outwith the council’s control are likely to affect costs - inflation, energy supply and cost, covid 19 impacts, the war in Ukraine, Brexit, and forthcoming winter weather.

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