Birmingham Building Boom – Be part of it.

Birmingham and the surrounding areas were some of the hardest hit in the last recession, but there are now signs of recovery, not least in construction.

It is refreshing to see positive news regarding the city recently. All eyes seem to have been on Birmingham, with the eagerly awaited opening of New Street Station after its £750m renovation. In fact the eyes were on the exterior of the building as part of the design, in the form of an eye shaped digital advertising screen.

Project leaders say that the passenger capacity of the station has been increased to cope with the next 30 years’ planned growth of train use. Where will these extra passengers come from, or more importantly, where will they be heading?

There are many current and planned projects that could explain just how important the improved New Street Station will be, and that will provide opportunities for contractors regionally and nationally.

AAt the heart of the city’s regeneration is Arena Central, which is a combination of office space, residential and hotel buildings. One of the big coups for this development is the signing up of HSBC, who will relocate their UK Retail Head Office to the city where its UK roots began in 1836 as the Birmingham & Midland Bank. This will create 1,000 jobs in the city, most of them moving from London.

HSBC will be based in Building Two of Arena Central, one of three main office buildings, along with three residential buildings containing 412 new apartments. There will also be a new Holiday Inn Express hotel.

Snowhill

Just around the corner from Arena Central will be Snowhill 3, a 17 storey £80m office development alongside Snowhill railway station. A previous development of a residential tower and luxury hotel started on the same plot of land, but that was cut short and eventually scrapped, a casualty of the last recession.

Also near Snowhill is Great Charles Place, currently at the planning stage, which is a new £100m mixed-use development. This development will feature 320 apartments, retail units, leisure space and grade A office space. Work could start as soon as January 2016.

The last major phase of Snowhill development was Snowhill 2, which will be home to the main construction offices of the controversial HS2 high-speed rail project. The project has generated a lot of debate ever since it was announced, which is very much ongoing, but if the planned works go ahead it would mean major development of the Curzon Street area of the city, where the HS2 terminal would be built.

According to the city council, the station would be the biggest building in Birmingham and would be surrounded by Curzon Promenade. The whole development would feature new homes, bars, cafes and restaurants plus offices integrated into the station.

103 Colmore Row

103 Colmore Row

Depiction of the new NatWest tower. Source: Birmingham post

The NatWest Tower has been a feature of the Birmingham skyline since the 1970s, but it has stood empty for more than a decade. Plans to replace the building have been submitted that could see the creation of the city’s tallest tower block at 26 storeys and 105 metres high. At the summit of the building would be a restaurant with panoramic views across the whole city.

Jaguar Land Rover

Away from the city centre, Jaguar Land Rover, the thriving prestige car manufacturer, has made significant investments into their Solihull and Castle Bromwich sites in recent years. It has added to this with the first phase of their new engine plant in Wolverhampton. Such is the success of the site that the next phases have already begun.

JLR are also in partnership with the Warwick Manufacturing Group and Tata Motors for the construction of the new National Automotive Innovation Centre to be based at the University of Warwick campus, which is due to open in 2017. The NAIC will be a high-tech research facility that will be the workplace for 1,000 highly skilled engineers and researchers, who will be at the heart of global automotive innovation.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that the above, and many other projects will create jobs for the future and the opportunity for construction contractors is huge.
Many main contractors, and subcontractors will want to grab this opportunity with both hands and use this second city construction boom to grow their business, but are they set up to do so?

IT, infrastructure and the extra administrative costs of growing a business can cause great headaches. Using tailored software can allow you to scale up your company quickly without these growing pains. Now could be the ideal time to address these issues, to put your business in prime position to take advantage of these forthcoming projects.

Using intelligent software, such as 4PS Construct from Metaphorix, you can link a whole project, from the initial lead, to quoting and estimation, through to project and budget control and ongoing service and maintenance. Closely monitor materials, labour, sub-contractor and plant costs, and allow site based staff access to important information and documents and to remotely complete tasks, such as timesheet-entry and plant or material requests,. This all adds up to greater efficiency, allowing the project to remain on budget and on schedule.

4PS Construct allows you to take on larger, more complicated projects, and to improve client satisfaction, without the need for extra administrative staff costs, which means increased profit.

Metaphorix is based in Coleshill, just outside Birmingham and in the perfect position to help businesses bidding on these developing projects. We develop and
supply construction contractor software and support services to a number of UK contractors and specialist sub-contractors.

If you think Metaphorix’s 4PS Construct software could help you get a piece of the action then get in touch below, contact me at marke@metaphorix.co.uk or call me on 01675 432400.

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Mark Egan

4PS Sales Manager
Mark has worked in construction sales for more than 10 years, advising main contractors, M&E and other sub-contractors through hundreds of site visits. During that time Mark developed a good understanding of contractor processes. This has led to a successful transition to selling the benefits of 4PS, the industry leading construction ERP software, which solves many of the problems that contractors encounter.