Building reviews the most read news stories of 2013
It’s been a very busy year on Building’s new desk, with the industry going through many ups and downs. We’ve been here to report on it all and, as the year draws to an end, we’ve put together our Top 20 news stories of the year - the stories that were most read by you, our valued readers in 2013.
Building.co.uk will be updated over the festive period, but our full news service will resume on 2 January. See you all then.
Top 20 news stories of the year
Building’s market-leading sustainability coverage was hugely popular this year and our exclusive report in July on how the government had ditched plans to implement changes to Part L of the Building Regulations this year, as had originally been intended, was our most read news story of the year. The government finally unveiled the much-delayed proposals later that month, with our story proven correct.
A series of stories on problems with the fit-out of the luxury hotel at the Shard all proved popular, with the initial story in June the second most read news story of the year.
- Sisk replaced on Shard Shangri-la job
- Fit-out delays push Shard hotel launch back ‘to 2014’
- Shangri-La confirms luxury Shard hotel postponed till 2014
In a year of continued senior departures from Davis Langdon, our exclusive revealing parent firm Aecom’s plan to ditch the historic brand proved to be the third most read story of the year. Our analysis of the departure of equity partners from DL since the Aecom deal was also among the most read stories.
- Aecom to hire 3,000 staff as Davis Langdon brand goes
- Morrell: Demise of Davis Langdon brand ‘unutterably sad’
- Davis Langdon loses two commercial stars
- Life after Davis Langdon
- Aecom/Davis Langdon: Culture shock
Treasury signalled this surprise move, contained in the documents published alongside the June Spending Review, to provide a £500m guarantee for a massive regeneration plan across the Tottenham area of London, which includes Tottenham Hotspurs’ new stadium development.
In a year of many administrations, it was the fall of civil engineer Hewlett back in January that caused the biggest stir among readers.
Our exclusive revealing plans by six former partners of EC Harris and Davis Langdon to launch a new consultant, Alinea Consulting, proved hugely popular. As did our subsequent interview with the Alinea partners this month.
Our exclusive coverage of a British Transport Police fraud probe into the £250m Farringdon rail project is our 7th most read story of the year. The probe centres on subcontractor Alandale Group, where three senior figure have been arrested and the Laing O’Rourke and Costain joint venture that is leading the scheme, where there has been one arrest.
Another high profile administration makes the Top 20 most read stories, with news of the fall of North-west specialist Daniel Contractors making waves in May. The administration of the firm was confirmed later that month.
- More than 450 jobs ‘under review’ at Daniel Contractors
- More than 120 jobs go at Daniel Contractors
- Murphy buys Daniel Contractors subsidiary
With the M&E sector one of the hardest hit during the long downturn, the news that Mitie was to exit the market made a real impact this year. Mitie was the second major firm to signal its withdrawal in a matter of weeks, after Emcor, which announced a move to pull out of UK construction – a story that was also among the most read of the year.
Our agenda-setting coverage of the failure of the Green Deal has been widely read this year, with this exclusive revealing a 97% fall in the number of cavity wall installations making a real impact.
- Government delays blamed for Green Deal firm’s demise
- Davey defends Green Deal after cavity wall measures plummet
- Number of Green Deals rises to 458
- Details of enhanced Green Deal incentives remain unclear
News that a part-built cinema and restaurant complex in Cambridgeshire had to be taken down and reconstructed after a siting error saw it built roughly 75 centimetres too far north attracted a lot of interest. As did the subsequent news that the cinema was then built in the wrong place a second time, but was allowed to stand when the council gave it retrospective planning approval
In a year that saw Ray O’Rourke make way for Anna Stewart at the top of the UK’s largest private contractor, it was our exclusive on a series of senior changes in the wake of Stewart’s appointment that caused the biggest stir.
- Laing O’Rourke director exits firm
- Laing O’Rourke’s Australian boss steps down
- Laing O’Rourke’s profit in Europe plummets
- Anna Stewart: The successor
- Two directors depart from Laing O’Rourke
- Nuclear boss quits Laing O’Rourke
- Anna Stewart to take reins at Laing O’Rourke
- In focus: Laing O’Rourke
As with our coverage of problems at the Shard hotel project, our exclusive report on problems with ISG’s ‘Project Fox’ data centre for Santander also proved hugely popular.
- ISG exits £100m Santander data centre job
- ISG boss says margins will remain tight
- ISG to slim down UK construction business
As UK firms increasingly pick up work in the Middle East, our exclusive on firms in the running for the massive Jeddah metro project was one of our most read stories of the year.
- Hyder and Aecom win place on £15bn Saudi metro
- EC Harris and Mace win lead role on 1km Saudi tower
- EC Harris and Mace to ensure Kingdom Tower hits targets
- Arcadis boss hails Kingdom Tower win
- Former DL partners to build ‘humane’ Qatar worker homes
Building led the way this year with coverage of the behind the scenes wrangling at the stalled Pinnacle tower project, with this story over plans to add a residential element to the scheme to make it viable proving the most popular.
- Brookfield agrees deal to end £16m Pinnacle row
- Pinnacle may be scrapped and rebuilt from ground up
- Brookfield takes expanded role on revamped Pinnacle
- Pinnacle seeks funder to kickstart tower
- Pinnacle tower to keep ‘helter skelter’ design after review
- Rival teams vying to take on stalled Pinnacle tower
In a year that saw the departure of Ian Tyler as chief executive of the UK’s largest contractor, with Andrew McNaughton taking the reins, as well as a £50m profit warning and a subsequent £41m loss, it was the news that the firm had sold its FM business that attracted the most attention.
- Balfour Beatty picks new UK boss
- Another boss exits Balfour Beatty
- Peasland to exit Balfour Beatty
- Balfour Beatty appoints new regional construction boss
- Major shake-up at Balfour Beatty
- Balfour boss to impose strict controls on UK arm
- Mansell brand to disappear by end of the year
- Infocus: Balfour Beatty
One of the more unusual headlines of the year, but the news that the Walkie Talkie tower in the City of London was beaming light down onto the City of London streets, creating a solar ‘death ray’ went viral.
- ‘Walkie Scorchie’ sun screen to protect London street
- ‘Walkie Scorchie’ heat ray fix could cost millions
- Land Securities hones in on Walkie Scorchie fix
Along with changes at Laing O’Rourke and Balfour Beatty, a series of departures and shakeups at Lend Lease also proved to be big news over the year.
- Lend Lease’s European boss exits firm after just one year
- Lend Lease’s UK regional offices under review
- Lend Lease appoints new construction boss
- Lend Lease development director prepares for exit
- More senior figures to leave Lend Lease amid shake-up
- Michael Dyke leaves role as Lend Lease boss
- Lend Lease’s European finance boss departs
With the tax arrangements of corporate giants under the spotlight this year, our coverage of Laing O’Rourke’s tax affairs, and calls for greater transparency at the UK’s largest private contractor made a real impact.
Finally, to round out the Top 20, is our exclusive report on the a change of consultant on one of this year’s most glamorous jobs, Google’s £650m London HQ at King’s Cross. This job featured prominently in our most read stories, with the news of Bam’s appointment as main contractor also among the most read , as was the news that Google had put the project under review, in a bid to come up with a more ambitious scheme – which, as we revealed this month, could see Bam lose the job.