May 16, 2020

Balfour Beatty will construct a new National Automotive Innovation Centre

Mick Galligan
Contracts Manager from Northfield Construction
Paul McGarry
Construction Manager at Northfield Construction
Catherine Sturman
3 min
Balfour Beatty will construct a new National Automotive Innovation Centre
The four-storey NAIC building is being constructed at the University of Warwick; on completion, it will be a state-of-the-art research and development c...

The four-storey NAIC building is being constructed at the University of Warwick; on completion, it will be a state-of-the-art research and development centre for the automotive industry, and will become a national and international hub for developing new technologies and training future engineers. The building, which is due to be completed in 2017 is intended to be a BREEAM excellent rated building, with many open atrium areas and roof lights in place.

To construct the reinforced concrete (RC) frame, RMD Kwikform supplied over 550 tonnes of equipment for the columns, decking, cores and lift shafts, including Alshor Plus and Superslim Soldiers to support 17.5m drop beams, and a void former system known as Bubble Deck. 

One key challenge was adhering to the Architect’s requirements; all soffits were to be a painted feature with imprinted tramlines at plywood joints. Also, all columns and beams were to be exposed raw concrete features, painted on completion. RMD Kwikform worked with Northfield Construction to design a solution that accommodated the layout of the plywood.

Paul McGarry, Construction Manager at Northfield Construction, said: “Initially we were looking into table form systems however, it would have been difficult to ensure the tramlines on all of the soffits without that second layer of plywood. We ended up choosing RMD Kwikform’s strip and erect Alshor Plus system, this allowed us to completely eliminate the secondary layer of plywood, allowing all ‘featured plywood’ to be fixed and set in the first instance. We were then able to strip and move the system onto the next phase.”

Further works t included constructing 22m long, 17.25m deep, two-metre-wide drop beams, which were supported with RMD Kwikform’s Superslim Soldier system. The beams ran up to soffit level and then connected to the 525mil-fixed slab, here a void former system was used, called bubble deck. Primarily used for lightweight RC Construction, a module of pre-fabricated spherical voids were inserted into the slab to reduce the volume of concrete that needed to be poured.

This system tied into a 300mil RC slab, which in turn sat on 1100m deep drop beams. Some of these sections bring the soffit level up from the ground floor slab by six metres to the second-floor slab, where the team on site were taking up beams, decking and platforms. RMD Kwikform has also supplied a spanning solution using Superslim Soldiers to clear the pits at the base level of the structure.

One of the key aspects to this project was ensuring the smooth delivery of kit to site. Due to the sheer size and complexities of the project, RMD Kwikform appointed a logistics coordinator to communicate and organise operations.

Mick Galligan, Contracts Manager from Northfield Construction: “This has been a very proactive and efficient process; we’ve have had weekly meetings with RMD Kwikform to ensure a constant stream of communication. This has been crucial to us, particularly as the Alshor Plus system had to be delivered in a just-in-time basis each week.

“It makes a difference having real, honest communication and I know that this level of service is something we now expect on future projects.”

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Read the January 2017 issue of Construction Global here

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Jun 18, 2021

Hill Partnerships, Wheat Quarter revive Welwyn Garden City

Dominic Ellis
3 min
Hill Partnerships and Wheat Quarter sign 'multi million pound deal' to regenerate a former Shredded Wheat building in Welwyn Garden City

Wheat Quarter and Hill Partnerships have entered into a construction agreement for the delivery of the former Shredded Wheat Factory buildings and public realm at the exciting Welwyn Garden City regeneration scheme.

The multi-million pound deal will bring about the sensitive refurbishment of Wheat Quarter’s Listed Production Hall, Listed Silos and Art Centre. Hill will also deliver the new Louis de Soissons Building and Bridge Community Building as part of a comprehensive single package deal. Welwyn Garden City is a town in Hertfordshire, approximately 20 miles from London.

Wheat Quarter Project Director, John West, said “We are delighted to have signed the construction agreement with Hill, who bring their quality, proven track record and delivery strength on board. Having created the platform for Metropolitan to be on site today delivering affordable housing on the south site, we hope to receive planning approval for our improved scheme on the north site in the coming months and start work later this year for the final phase of this landmark site.

“We have all endured a tough three years through Brexit and Covid. However after a lot of hard work, we are excited to be back to deliver this exceptional scheme with Hill as our delivery partners, who will use their skills and expertise in town centre regeneration to make the former Shredded Wheat Factory Buildings shine once again”.

Andy Hill, Chief Executive at Hill, said it was looking forward to working with Wheat Quarter to carefully restore and refurbish the iconic listed Production Hall, Silos and Art Centre and will use its "exceptional skills" in regeneration to ensure these landmark historic buildings and the new Louis de Soissons and Bridge Community Buildings, deliver excellent amenities for the benefit of the community, helping to revitalise and breathe new life into the centre of Welwyn Garden City.

Walter Cooper & Co assisted with the acquisition and disposal of land at Wheat Quarter to a range of developers. Working in conjunction with JLL, Walter Cooper has packaged the deal with Hill, which will see them build 150,000 sq ft of commercial buildings, creating hundreds of new job opportunities in the townThe Hertfordshire Mercury reports that the site could house 1,200 flats.

Towns and cities are working hard to reposition themselves in response to the pandemic and growth in online shopping.

Wigan Council has announced that Galleries25 – a joint venture partnership between Cityheart and Beijing Construction Engineering Group International – has been appointed as the Strategic Development Partner for the £130 million redevelopment of the Galleries Shopping Centre in Wigan.

Plans for the transformation of City Square in Leeds are set to take a significant step forward with the appointment of Leeds-based Re-form Landscape Architecture which will collaborate with Leeds City Council and other stakeholders on the scheme. The company’s concept for the new-look City Square is due to be fine-tuned over the course of the next year.

Startup Digital Urban is incorporating 3D digital modelling capabilities and satellite technology. It is the latest company to join the ESA Business Incubation Centre United Kingdom (ESA BIC UK) at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Daresbury Laboratory, and aims to take advantage of the support available in space and satellite technologies to further its commercial development.

Turn to page 70 of our June issue to read more on urban regeneration projects. 

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