As Birmingham’s construction sector is dogged by delays and job losses, the firm behind The Cube is embarking on a recruitment drive to double the size of its team.
BuildAbility, the construction arm of Birmingham Development Company (BDC), is looking to take on two quantity surveyors and three project managers to work on The Cube, touted as “Birmingham’s latest tourist attraction,” as well as future BDC projects.
The company also wants 10 staff to manage each part of the multi-use development, including managers and supervisors for the residential, office and retail sections.
BuildAbility recently took on four new employees, bringing its team to 15, with the new appointments doubling the headcount working on the complex construction project.
The developer’s confidence stems from prelets and presales – over half of the 244 high spec apartments have been snapped up and the rooftop restaurant has been let to D&D London, formerly Conran Restaurants, which owns restaurants in London, Paris, Copenhagen, New York and Tokyo.
The developer puts its resilience down to its business model, which saw it set up BuildAbility as an in-house construction company to build projects in June 2007.
Director of Birmingham Development Company and BuildAbility Neil Edginton said: “Having our own construction company means we are in a unique position at BDC – setting BuildAbility up was an important and deliberate step in ensuring we would be able to deliver our aspirations.
“Whilst there are a few other developers that have opted for this approach, and whilst it does not render BuildAbility immune to the economy, it does allow the company to carry out the significant recruitment drive in a market where most of the industry is being forced to downsize.
“BuildAbility allows BDC to take control of its own destiny, highly valuable in the current marketplace. The construction and development industry is undoubtedly experiencing turbulent times and we’ve found ‘in-house’ firms like ours provide a more stable alternativey, as well as aiding the retention of professionals who may otherwise be tempted in this economy by the larger public projects in London.”
The Cube, which has less than 100 weeks to go before completion, will be a 23-storey mixed-use building including a boutique hotel, waterside cafés, designer retail stores, offices, apartments and a rooftop restaurant.
Designed by make architects, with a team led by Ken Shuttleworth, the £100 million building will appear to hover on a glass base, with an intricate anodised aluminium fretwork encasing the building while inside an open glass atrium will twist upwards through the building.
The upbeat mood at The Cube is in sharp contrast with other developments in the city which have been hit hard by the property slump.
Earlier this month, it emerged there would be delays in the construction of a 44-storey residential tower at Snow Hill as developers Ballymore said they were reviewing the timetable for completion of the £500 million mixed-use regeneration scheme.
Although work has begun on building the footings of Snow Hill Phase 3, poor market conditions could halt the residential element, being marketed as the highest habitable tower in the city.
In July, the developers behind Arena Central, which includes the V Building, were allowed to delay making a £5 million payment to the city council after raising concerns about cash-flow difficulties.
But Arena Central Developments, a joint venture between Miller Developments and Bridgehouse Capital, asked for the £5 million to be handed over in three phases instead of in one lump sum.
The council agreed on the basis that not having to find the money up front would increase the likelihood of the project proceeding “in the current circumstances”.