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Developing Titan House to provide homes for students

Work has started on a major revamp to a landmark building in Hartlepool that will provide essential student accommodation in the area.

Titan House on York Road in the town is undergoing a number of changes as Thirteen works to provide accommodation for students attending Cleveland College of Art and Design’s (CCAD) university campus in Hartlepool.

The work inside the building – which is being carried out by contractor Forrest – will see the facilities reconfigured from the existing one and two-bedroom flats to provide 44 open-plan and one-bedroom flats for CCAD students.

All the flats will have their own private kitchen and bathroom, and students will have access to a dedicated communal room which will give them key socialising space.

Thirteen worked with CCAD to identify appropriate accommodation in Hartlepool to house an expected increase in student numbers from the start of the new academic year in September.

Titan House was identified as a suitable location for student accommodation and agreement was reached between Thirteen and the college to redevelop the building to provide homes for students in time for the 2018/19 academic year, due to the building having a number of vacant properties which meant that it was under-utilised.

Chris Smith, Executive Director of Service Delivery and Development said: “The development work on the building will provide college students with modern, safe and secure accommodation to help them settle in Hartlepool, while also securing the future of Titan House.

“As well as students being able to access quality accommodation right in the town centre, local businesses will also benefit from the increased number of residents in the area, as they may make use of the wide range of services including the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, local cafes, bars and other leisure facilities.”

Titan House is a five minute walk from the CCAD campus on Church Street and the investment work on the building will add to the 81 student bed spaces at Crown Halls and Lime Crescent that Thirteen already manages.

Pat Chapman, Vice Principal from Cleveland College of Art and Design, said: “The College was delighted to work with Thirteen once again, to provide much needed high quality accommodation for our growing numbers of students.

“It is really important to us that we provide secure, attractive places for students to live so that their experience of living in the town matches the pre-eminent specialist creative learning they encounter at the College. As we grow, attracting more students from across the UK this is a good news story for the town.”

 Darroch Baker, Divisional Director at Forrest said: “Commencing this work at Titan House marks our first project with Thirteen. It further supports Forrest’s solid track record in delivering high quality refurbishment and remodelling projects and will give this significant asset a new lease of life and provide quality homes for students.”  The work is due to be completed in time for students to move-in for the new term in September.

Moving forward, Thirteen will manage the accommodation alongside the existing student residences at Crown Halls and Lime Crescent.


Forrest Completes Triangulum Energy Scheme at MMU

The first phase of a new partnership has seen Forrest deliver a full turnkey solar PV solution at the Brooks Building, Manchester Metropolitan University.

Triangulum is a five year €25 million Horizon 2020 project funded by the European Union to demonstrate cutting-edge smart city technologies and roll them out across the globe. Over a five-year period, Triangulum will transform designated urban districts into smart quarters in three ‘lighthouse cities’ Manchester (UK), Eindhoven (Netherlands) and Stavanger (Norway). Concepts learnt will then be transferred to the ‘follower cities’ of Leipzig (Germany), Prague (Czech Republic), Sabadell (Spain) and Tianjin (China).

As well as delivering significant energy savings, the solar PV install at Birley campus is demonstrating how ‘smart green growth’ can reduce carbon emissions whilst boosting the economy. Led by Manchester City Council, the 157kW system will assist in transforming the ‘Manchester Corridor’, which contains around 72,000 students, into a smart city district.

Darroch Baker, Divisional Director at Forrest said “As a market leading innovator in the energy sector, Forrest is delighted to be partnering with Manchester City Council and Manchester Metropolitan University, as part of this international project. By being selected as a key Triangulum delivery partner, we are ideally positioned to drive energy efficiency in Manchester and across the UK”.

Mark Duncan, Resources and Programmes Lead at Manchester City Council stated “Triangulum is part of a portfolio of Smart City projects delivered by Manchester City Council.  The innovative energy and carbon saving measures developed here have the potential to be scaled up across the City, leading to further cost and energy savings”.

To view the solar PV drone footage click here.


Success for Forrest on the ForViva Refurbishment Framework

Forrest has been appointed to the four-year ForViva Group Refurbishment Contractors Framework for the third consecutive time.

The relationship dates back to 2009 when Forrest was first engaged on improvement works. The main contractor has now been successful in both tendered Lots; Internals, External and Environmental Works with a value of up to £2 million and also Block Works of a value of up to £3 million. Refurbishment works will vary from kitchens and bathrooms, fencing and boundary walls to communal and structural works on both high and low rise blocks.

Owning and managing 24,000 homes across the North West, ForViva has valued the Framework at around £25 million with the additional opportunity for other Social Housing Providers in the UK to be able to procure works via this route, potentially increasing this lifetime value.

Darroch Baker, Divisional Director stated “Fostering long-term partnerships is the bedrock of our business and this latest agreement with ForViva is testament to the strength of the relationship between the two organisations which has been established for many years now. With our refurbishment expertise being a core service offering, particularly within the social housing sector, we are delighted to be awarded a place on this Framework”.


North West homeowners offered free double glazing to tackle road noise

Around 600 homeowners in the North West who live near motorways or major A roads could soon get free double glazing to reduce noise levels.

A new Highways England initiative will see the owners of more than 3,000 homes across the country being offered upgrades to windows, bi-folding doors and patio doors in bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms and studies by spring 2020.

Funding for the free noise insulation scheme is part of a £39 million special fund which Highways England is using to reduce noise levels for people living close to motorways and major A roads; it also includes installing noise barriers and low-noise road surfaces.

Ian Holmes, Principal Noise Advisor at Highways England, said: “Motorways are vital for connecting the country and supporting the economy but, at a local level, noise from the vehicles using them can affect people’s health and wellbeing.

“We’re committed to tackling traffic noise across the country and I’d urge anyone who receives a letter from us to get in touch; the scheme is entirely free, from the initial survey to the installation of the new windows and ventilation units.

Highways England has identified locations where new glazing will be the best solution for reducing noise levels, and the owners of some 3,000 eligible properties will be contacted over the next few months to be offered free windows and doors.

Ventilation units will also be fitted which allow air into rooms without windows needing to be opened.

A Cheshire couple, who live less than 80 metres away from a busy motorway, have become the first in England to benefit from the free double glazing scheme.

Fred and June Glass from Frodsham moved into their home around two years ago and were contacted by Highways England contractors due to its location close to the motorway.

The stretch of the M56 near their home is used by over 124,000 vehicles every day, meaning they previously had to put up with constant traffic noise at all times of the day and night. Now, thanks to the scheme, the noise levels in their lounge and bedroom are like a library.

Mr Glass said: “We are delighted to have new double glazed windows and frames installed, free of charge, to help with reducing the noise levels.

“The entire process has been really easy and the communication with Highways England’s contractor, Forrest, and the care taken during the installation was superb.

“We’re really satisfied with the end result and have noticed a huge difference in day-to-day noise levels.”

Highways England has appointed Forrest to carry out the first phase of its free noise insulation initiative.

Darroch Baker, Divisional Director at Forrest, said: “As a contractor with the ability to manage all aspects of this important scheme, including resident communication, property surveying and installation of the proposed improvements, we are thrilled to be appointed by Highways England.

“The project is a great opportunity to contribute to improvements in the health and quality of life of the population most exposed to high traffic noise levels.”

More details on the free noise insulation initiative are available at


School children unveil safety-themed artwork at Stockbridge Village scheme

School children from across Stockbridge Village gathered at The Withens housing development on Friday, to unveil designs that they have produced for hoardings at the site.

Villages Housing Association, a member of the ForViva Group, is investing £12.4 million in The Withens extra care facility, which is being built on land next to the older people’s apartments at Roughsedge House.

The scheme will include 90 new properties, including 64 extra care homes and 26 bungalows for affordable rent, and will be the first new homes built in Stockbridge Village for a decade.

Children from Stockbridge Village Primary School, St Albert’s Catholic Primary School and St Brigid’s Catholic Primary School all created artwork for the site based on health and safety and what makes a safe construction site.

The youngsters got kitted out in their own hard hats and high visibility vests as they took part in a health and safety workshop on the site run by contractor Forrest.

Six pupils from Stockbridge Village Primary School have now formed a Health and Safety Team that will carry out mini site visits, document the development by taking photographs and send out a newsletter to parents about the progress on site.

The children will also meet each term with the Site Manager and the school’s Chair of Governors to give feedback from their school and be involved in some decision making.

Nigel Sedman, Director of Investment and Regeneration at ForViva, said: “We were delighted to welcome pupils from local primary schools along to The Withens to unveil their fantastic artwork – it really brightens up the site.

“It’s great news that Stockbridge Village Primary School’s new Health and Safety Team will see pupils even further involved with The Withens, which will provide the first new homes in the area for ten years.”

Ted Macdougal, Divisional Director from Forrest said: “Health and safety is the number one priority in our Business so working with ForViva to proactively engage with children across Stockbridge has been really useful to raise awareness of potential hazards or risks in the near vicinity of a live construction site, all in a fun way. The artwork, which is installed on the perimeter hoarding of the site, raises a smile every time our operatives arrive on site.”

Work started on site at The Withens in August 2017 and completion of the facility and bungalows ear-marked for February 2019.


Ground Breaking Work Starts at Liverpool Waters Development

Building work at Liverpool Waters, one of Europe’s largest redevelopment projects, is officially underway after a ground-breaking ceremony for Plaza 1821 marked the beginning of a wave of construction work at Princes Dock.

Plaza 1821 is a £21 million, sixteen-storey residential tower which will house 105 one and two bedroom apartments. The building will also have dedicated amenity space on the ground floor.

Plaza 1821 is a PRS (Private Rented Sector) development by Peel Land and Property on behalf of The Regenda Group. North West based construction firm Forrest, has been appointed as the construction partner for the project. Once complete, Plaza 1821 will be owned and managed by Redwing Living, a subsidiary of Regenda.

The new development will be the first building to be constructed since Peel unveiled its vision for the 60-hectare Liverpool Waters site just over a decade ago. Two other buildings, Your Housing Group’s Hive City Docks and Moda Living’s The Lexington, are also due to begin construction at Princes Dock in the near future.

The news is the latest in a series of major announcements regarding the £5 billion Liverpool Waters development as the project moves into its delivery phase. Last year saw the revised masterplan for Central Dock unveiled, significant progress on plans for the new Liverpool Cruise and Isle of Man ferry terminals, planning permission being granted for the first development at Central Dock and Everton Football Club exchanging contracts with Liverpool Waters to make Bramley-Moore Dock the club’s new home as they finalise plans to leave Goodison Park.

Lindsey Ashworth, development director at Liverpool Waters said: “2017 was a breakthrough year for Liverpool Waters so it is fitting that the first building work now starts this new year. 2018 will be a significant year for the project and Plaza 1821 marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter here and we are looking forward to seeing our vision for Liverpool Waters becoming a reality.”

Neil Baumber, development director for residential at Peel Land and Property, said: “This is the first PRS development that Peel Land and Property has developed and it is great to have Regenda and Forrest as our partners on this project. We are all focussed on expanding the residential offering available at Liverpool Waterfront and delivering a quality development that is in keeping with this prime location.”

Fiona Coventry, managing director of Redwing Living, said: “We’re really excited to see work begin on Plaza 1821, which is a flagship development for the Regenda Group and Redwing Living, and part of our ambitious plans for the Liverpool City Region. Plaza 1821 will offer beautiful and spacious apartments in a highly sought after location, with views over the River Mersey and back across the city. Liverpool Waters is a spectacular project, and we are rightly proud to be involved.”

Mark Nicholson, CEO at Forrest said: “Commencing work on creating this high quality residential development on such a prestigious site as Liverpool Waters is a truly exciting opportunity for us. The culmination of six months working collaboratively with Peel Land and Property and the design team to reach this stage is a credit to all involved and the ground-breaking ceremony marks the start of the much-anticipated construction phase”.

For all the latest news on the development, please visit


Forrest Tops Out at X1 The Plaza

Contractor Forrest has reached full height at residential development X1 The Plaza.

A topping out ceremony was held on site with attendees from developer X1, property consultancy Knight Knox, consultant Savills, designer DK-Architects, structural engineer MDA Wirral Ltd, in addition to the project team from Forrest.

Celebrating by signing company names into a cast concrete plinth the team also gave a nod to tradition by placing a tree on the top floor which is seen to bestow good luck on the building. The tree will be planted in the soft landscaping during the end of the construction works.

This project team has already successfully worked in together on the adjacent residential development, X1 Eastbank, which was completed last year. Forrest is also currently progressing with two additional schemes for the developer in Salford, X1 The Gateway and X1 The Landmark.

With all apartments at X1 The Plaza sold off plan following a very high volume of interest the scheme, which commenced in January, will be ready for a phased handover between February and April 2018.

Matthew Fisher, project director at Forrest commented, “Reaching full height on this scheme is a proud milestone in our construction programme. We wanted to host a gathering for all the project team to mark the occasion and celebrate progress to date.”

Melissa Green, operations & regional director at X1 stated, “This is our second successful project working with Forrest and it is fantastic to see such popularity with regards to both sales and rentals at X1 The Plaza.”


Drone captures Southern Water’s project to reduce its carbon footprint with solar power

This eye in the sky captures thousands of solar panels that have been installed at Southern Water sites to help it reduce its carbon footprint.

Working with their solar energy partner Forrest, Southern Water has installed a total capacity of 4.2 MWpk at three sites – enough energy to provide electricity for between 1,000 and 1,400 UK homes every year.

The generation of this additional solar powered energy is helping Southern Water generate 17% of its total energy needs from renewable sources to run the business across Hampshire, Sussex and Kent.

Around 3,200 solar panels have now been installed at Hardham in West Sussex, 5,700 free-standing solar panels have been installed next to our site in Otterbourne, Winchester and more than 7,300 panels are in place and ready to go at Testwood in Totton. The drone footage has captured images of the Testwood and Otterbourne sites.

Forrest designed and installed the panels. The project across the three sites has been managed by Arcadis.

Energy Manager at Southern Water, Martin Ross, said: “The use of renewable energy helps Southern Water reduce its reliance on fossil fuel derived energy, lessening the impact on the environment and helps to cut operating costs. We are excited about the prospect of developing further schemes that maximise energy generation from renewable sources and energy from waste.”

Darroch Baker, Divisional Director at Forrest, commented: “These are the first projects successfully delivered as part of the renewable energy framework in partnership with Southern Water. The three sites are ideal for solar PV in terms of ground conditions and climate and, by using this space which would otherwise stand empty, our client is reducing their carbon footprint and enabling the best value out of their land.

“These installs continue our strategy in working alongside water utility organisations across the UK to reduce energy costs and carbon across very energy intensive sites.”

To view drone footage of the solar panel sites at Testwood and Otterbourne, please follow the link:


New CEO Joins Forrest

Forrest announces the appointment of its new CEO, Mark Nicholson.

The Board is pleased to confirm that it has selected Mark to be the new Chief Executive Officer for the organisation to strengthen the existing management team. He will commence the role on 9 October 2017.

Mark joins from his previous position as Managing Director – Building (Scotland, North, Midlands/South West) at Carillion plc which he held for the past 10 years. Prior to that he held positions as regional Managing Director roles for both Bovis Lend Lease (UK) Ltd and Jarvis Construction (UK) Ltd. Mark is a qualified Chartered Surveyor.

During his time at Carillion, Mark has been instrumental in the construction of a series of major UK, and in particular North West projects, including Greater Manchester Police HQ, the BCO award winning 1 St Peter’s Square, the new main stand at Anfield and the major redevelopment of First Street in Manchester. Mark’s success has been based on an ethos of working very closely with his clients and ensuring that for every project there is high quality client service and project delivery.

Bob Holt, Chairman at Forrest, said: “Mark is a leading name with a distinguished reputation within the industry. His leadership ability, combined with his focus on client service, will drive the next chapter at Forrest. This is a truly exciting time for the business and we welcome him onboard.”

On being selected for the role, Mark said: “My new appointment at Forrest is a fantastic opportunity in my career. Forrest has a major order book in construction, an established brand in refurbishment and an exciting energy service offering, a combination which is unique and offers a really exciting future for the Company. Forrest has recently completed a major turnaround and I look forward to leading the business, supported by the Board and the new management team, into the next stage of its growth and development.”


Pioneering science park smart-microgrid scheme moves a step closer with key appointment

Forrest selected by Britain’s Energy Coast to develop Energy Masterplan to bring energy independence to Cumbrian science park


Britain’s Energy Coast (BEC) has appointed Forrest as their chosen partner to develop the Westlakes Science Park Low Carbon Energy Masterplan.

The appointment is a critical step for BEC, the owners and operators of Westlakes Science and Technology Park in Cumbria, as it looks to bring low carbon power generation and export capabilities to Westlakes in a bid to develop energy resilience and minimise the carbon footprint of the site.

Securing this unique project by competing against 17 other organisations during the open tender process, Forrest was selected for the scheme near Whitehaven in Cumbria based on technical expertise in addition to their approach to partnering and social value.

Over the coming months Forrest will be developing the masterplan, based on smart-microgrids and energy technologies, to develop a bespoke route map for the two square mile site. Efficiencies of the existing property portfolio, asset and maintenance plans and future developments will be taken into consideration for a fully integrated solution. This may include distributed energy, building management systems, solar PV, electric vehicles, district heating, energy efficiency measures and demand side response.

With low carbon energy ambitions being key to the delivery of BEC’s business focus and corporate strategy, their ambition for the site is for it to become grid independent for power and heat. Energy storage and demand management will be part of the mix.

Darroch Baker, Divisional Director at Forrest said “Being selected for this pioneering scheme demonstrates our commitment to working with innovative clients to drive their low carbon objectives. BEC has some really exciting ideas for future energy activity and we’ll be critical in supporting at strategic level to achieve these and recommend new opportunities which have not yet been considered”.

BEC CEO, Michael Pemberton, commented: “Following our change in strategic direction last year we have been committed to leading the way in sustainable building and low carbon property issues. We went out to an open market for this project to ensure we brought the best thinking to our doorstep. Forrest’s track record in bringing pioneering projects to fruition, together with our shared values as organisations, made them a great fit. With the property industry responsible for a third of all carbon emissions, the intersection between property and energy has never been under more scrutiny, we want to lead positive industry change with this scheme.”

Joe Martin, Head of Funding & Energy at BEC added: “This is a really exciting first step for us – our ambition for Westlakes Science & Technology Park is to become self-sufficient with renewable energy. This will benefit our customers on the Park and provide resiliency against rising energy prices while reducing our carbon footprint. The Park is at the centre of the Energy Coast and our aim is to ensure that it continues to support the growth and development of the UK’s low carbon energy sector.”

Photo Credit: Adamedia Ltd