Bouygues UK awarded £27 million contract for QMUL
Bouygues UK has been awarded a circa £27 million contract to provide a new graduate facility as part of Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)’s main teaching campus in Tower Hamlets.
The building will provide a vital research and teaching resource for the university and its growing number of postgraduate students; with large amphitheatre-style teaching areas and 63 offices dedicated to supporting postgraduates with their studies at the Mile End Road campus.
The university’s School of Economics and Finance will also relocate to the new building, which will include a cafe, lecture theatre and seminar rooms as well as a common room and terrace.
Bouygues UK’s Managing Director for Construction London, Arnaud Bekaert, said: “We are delivering a new building, on a busy student campus, in close proximity to London Underground – each of which presents different, simultaneous challenges for us during the construction phase.
“The eight-storey facility will be built with two concrete cores and feature a 750 tonne steel frame with a brick facade and curtain wall. The building has an irregular facade so it is not uniform in design. Due to its proximity to the Central Line, the building has also had to incorporate features to absorb and minimise vibrations from the trains using the underground, as have our construction methods. All in all, it is an exciting and complex project.”
Added to Bouygues UK’s existing work with the University of Hertfordshire and previous work on behalf of the University of Essex and King’s College London, this latest project highlights the company’s strong reputation for working with the nation’s leading universities to deliver world-class facilities, supporting the UK’s reputation as one of the leading global forces in further education.
As part of the project, Bouygues UK is once again collaborating with architects WilkinsonEyre; the companies previously worked together on the multiple award-winning Mary Rose Museum.
Arnaud added: “We’re pleased to be working in partnership with WilkinsonEyre and Sweett Group once more, both of whom we have strong, established relationships with, making this much more of a collaborative effort.”
Project Manager Lead, Julie Crossen, Sweett Group said: “We are extremely pleased to have Bouygues UK as part of the project team to deliver the new Graduate Centre. Through our combined experience and established relationship, and working closely with the design team, we will deliver a state-of-the-art facility for QMUL.”
Stafford Critchlow, Director, WilkinsonEyre, said: “We are delighted that construction has started on this our fourth project on the Queen Mary Mile End Campus. The graduate centre will complete an urban block, that includes the listed People’s Palace of 1937, and will provide significant landscape amenity space in the form of a new green quadrangle at the heart of the university.”
Enabling works have already been carried out on the site. The project is scheduled for completion in time for late 2016.
More than half of FTSE 100 execs suffer pay cuts, freezes
Pay increases for many executives at the largest UK firms have been put on hold since the start of the pandemic with more than half of the FTSE 100 CEOs having had their salaries frozen in 2021, according to new research from PwC.
The research, based on PwC’s analysis of the first 50 FTSE 100 firms to publish their 2021 annual remuneration reports, reveals that 53% of CEOs and 52% of CFOs have had their pay reviews put on hold, compared to 35% and 30%, respectively, last year, pointing to the pandemic as the main reason.
According to Phillippa O’Connor, reward and employment leader at PwC, the current environment and impact of the pandemic has clearly led shareholders to sharpen their pencils when reviewing executive pay levels this year.
“It is clear from the pay outcomes we have seen to date in the FTSE 100 that companies have exercised restraint when it comes to both determining outcomes for the 2020 performance year and settling pay on a forward-looking basis for 2021,” says O’Conoor.
Bonuses, grants and pensions also affected
But that’s not all. Around a third (31%) of companies either waived, cancelled or reduced their 2020 annual bonuses, with the average payout dropping from just uhnder £1.1m to £843,000.
When it comes 2021 long-term incentive plan (LTIP) grants, these have also been revised in light of the economic impact of the pandemic with 45% of firms making some adjustment to their award, including retaining discretion to adjust outcomes at vesting in respect of windfall gains, reducing grant size, delaying the grant, and even canceling the award altogether.
The study shows that pension levels for incumbent CEOs remain at 15% of their salary, falling to 10% for new hires, bringing them in line with the wider workforce. Eight out of 10 FTSE 100 companies will have aligned incumbent pension levels with those for the wider workforce by the end of 2022.
O’Connor warns that moving forward into AGM season, there is likely to be added scrutiny around any pay rises that are greater than those for the wider workforce and on incentive outcomes that are “either not aligned with business performance or do not take into account the company’s approach towards matters such as diviends and government support”.
What announcements did UK's big firms make?
Back in April 2020, as the pandemic was just getting started, a number of UK companies, mainly insurance and banking stepped forward to review remuneration packages in response to the economic implications of the COVID-19 crisis.
British insurance giant Aviva announced that basic pay increases for its executive directors and the Aviva leadership team would be paused, while the executive directors of Prudential offered that their salaries be reduced and RSA confirmed its exec directors and executive committee would not be receiving cash bonuses for the current year.
The same was true in banking and finance with TSB announcing that its 10-strong executive committee would give up their bonuses in 2020, while Barclays said its chief executive, finance director and chairman would each give a third of their fixed pay for the next six months to charities. Lloyds cancelled its bonus payments and pay reviews in 2020
Other big UK firms including Ryanair, Taylor Wimpey and Rentokil all committed to reducing their executives pay packages.