The Challenge:

One challenge was carrying out refurbishment and new building works next to a licensed nuclear facility, on a site of scientific special interest (SSSI). The site is also in a special area of conservation (SAC) very near to the River Severn and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.

Other unique challenges surfaced as the project commenced:

  • A navigation light and mast on the hall had to be maintained and kept visible at all times, allowing safe river passage for merchant shipping
  • Demolition works timed to protect migrating birds and rare bats.
  • Removal of outdated engineering equipment riddled with asbestos and hydrocarbons
  • A maze of tunnels under the old nuclear site put limitations on the UTC’s foundation design and construction vehicle movements
  • Refurbishing the old hall involved complicated integration of a new metric structure into old imperial spaces and had to take place whilst protecting and maintaining two live transformers under the building

The Solution:

The technical, scientific and environmental complexities of the site required thorough, collaborative and considered methodologies as well as excellent team work and technical skills to overcome them.

The challenging task of cutting and carving the structural frame and mezzanine decks in the old hall, to accept the stunning new timber beams, required extensive survey works and accurate measurements.

In both buildings sustainable, cost comparable and attractive timber products allowed for rapid on-site build during a limited construction period. Additionally, the distinctive patterned cladding, based on dazzle camouflage of WW 1 warships, reduces the visual mass of lower levels of accommodation and inbuilt acoustic properties suppress reverberation within the main hall.

The refurbished hall was first to be handed over and the curved structure of the UTC was built around the occupied building. 90% of subcontractors were local, ensuring continuity was maintained over each project phase.

The Impact:

The UK’s first nuclear clean-up programme successfully brought a contaminated site back into full community use. An existing building was recycled whilst construction of new state-of-the-art training facilities took place. These facilities help to address current industry skills shortages, meeting the growing need for cyber security.

The old engineering hall was given its third lease of life following conversion into a reinvigorated, dynamic and sustainable engineering training facility.

Extensive demolition on this complex and constrained site prepared for construction of a 5,000 sq m UTC, providing specialist education in digital technology, cyber security and advanced engineering.

As an SGS ‘Employer of the Future’ partner, Kier ensured the site’s inspirational setting shone through the construction works. SGS aimed for a UTC intake of 40 students in September 2017. Astonishingly they got over 200, with almost 20% being female.

" Professional in the true sense of the word: that professionalism I think has been the cornerstone of the delivery of this project. Kier understood how important it was to get everybody on board. Selling a part completed building is a really important task irrespective of what’s happening that day, how many people on site and the pressures on time: I never felt that I was imposing, and I think that’s quite important. "
Kevin Hamblin Group CEO SGS College

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