Establishing foundations for Scotland to grow

New figures suggest Scotland's population is set to grow by 7% by 2039, so it's clear that even more needs to be done to both plan for the capacity of future infrastructure and ensure enough local skills and capabilities are available.

Over the next 25 years, there will be greater demand for new houses, better transport and modern utilities. With communities only able to thrive when they are built on strong foundations, innovative infrastructure construction projects are more important than ever.

The Scottish Government's Infrastructure Investment Plan has already made some good progress in planning for the future and - with the support of the country's 230,000 construction workers - it can boast achievements across transport, energy, water and housing.

Now, with the latest Scottish Construction Monitor indicating confidence among construction employees is edging back up post-Brexit, there's an optimistic outlook that we can drive even more positive change for local communities in the years ahead.

Indeed, enabling communities to build and grow is at the heart of everything we do. From supplying equipment to the Shieldhall Tunnel and the Forth Road Bridge, to building an extension Hunterston power station with a subsea cable running to Connah's Quay, we've been meeting local needs for more than 50 years with quality products, a personal service and the engineering expertise to solve Scotland's construction challenges.

Since 2007, we have also been proud to work with Scottish Water, supporting the utility company on its mission to enhance the resilience of its water supply. Recent projects for them include working with George Leslie, a civil engineering contractor, to deliver a combined CSO chamber and pipetrack excavation. Early concept drawings highlighted the need for articulation checks on proprietary braces at 39 degrees, with high axial loads needing to be transferred safely into pipetrack walers. Initial designs also identified the need for short raking axial transfer struts with high capacities, with our team designing bespoke shear key locations to accommodate struts. This project allowed the contractor to reduce programme time and costs, and will be adopted on similar excavations on various other Scottish Water sites.

This is just one example of how having local depots and engineers on-the-ground allows us to stay close to customers and fully understand their needs, so we can deliver solutions more safely, more efficiently and more quickly.

Last year, our commitment to high-quality equipment and excellent service was recognised by Scottish Water as we were appointed as a framework supplier for the hire of groundworks equipment. As part of the five-year contract, we will be supplying equipment from our three locations in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness to give all contractors a local point of contact, while engineers are trained on jobs specific to the industry to maintain the highest quality of design.

With significant local expertise, our highly skilled engineers are ready to play a key role in meeting Scotland's future needs and challenges, helping to create the roads, bridges, railways and utilities which will serve a fast-changing population.

This story was originally featured in Project Scotland, view here or on page 36 of the February 2017 edition.

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