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5 most-read project reports of 2017: Hinkley, Bouygues and Westfield

Nuclear power, proton beams and even Chinese modular hotels have featured in the biggest site reports this year.

Hinkley Point C_Oct 2017_Aerial view of concrete batching plant and temporary jetty

Hinkley Point C_Oct 2017_Aerial view of concrete batching plant and temporary jetty

1) Rising power: On site at Hinkley Point C

CN was given an exclusive tour of the UK’s first new nuclear power station in a generation: Hinkley Point C.

This is one of the biggest ongoing construction projects in Europe, with the site covering 175 ha.

EDF Energy’s programme and construction delivery director for Hinkley, Nigel Cann, walked CN around the site, revealing the complex engineering needed to create this mammoth complex, just 12 months after it finally secured the green light.

Accompanying the project report was a full interview with Mr Cann, in which he described why Hinkley is “the best job in UK construction”.

Interserve HQ Birmingham 6

Interserve HQ Birmingham 6

2) Interserve builds itself an ingenious new HQ

When a major contractor needs to build a new headquarters from scratch, it’s natural to assume that it should take on the challenge itself.

That’s what Interserve did this year, with CN visiting the £47.5m project back in March.

We heard about how extensive staff consultation had helped inform the design of the futuristic new office next to Birmingham International Airport, with the 20,700 sq m building bringing together 1,400 staff from four local Interserve offices and group business RMD Kwikform’s base in Aldridge.

The project was three-quarters of the way through at the time of CN’s visit and is set to open its doors in early 2018.

Holiday Inn Express Trafford Park DSC 8862

Holiday Inn Express Trafford Park DSC 8862

3) Bowmer & Kirkland discovers secret of modular on Chinese-made hotel

The advance of Chinese contractors has always been of great interest to UK construction, so it should come as no surprise to see this Bowmer & Kirkland hotel project garnering so much interest.

This was the contractor’s first modular hotel job in Manchester, and is using hotel rooms built in China by subcontractor CIMC that are then shipped to the UK.

The rooms come fully furnished, meaning the challenge of the job comes in meticulous planning to ensure the programme is able to best take advantage of the benefits modular offers.

With offsite now hot on the government’s agenda, this project could provide an example for others to follow.

Bouygues UCLH basement 1

Bouygues UCLH basement 1

4) Bouygues digs mega-basement for £300m UCLH proton beam cancer centre

There are big basement digs – and then there is UCLH’s new proton beam therapy centre, being built in London’s West End.

Associate editor Damon Schunmann visited the site in November and found that the 28.5 m-deep exaction was “not for the faint-hearted”. At 87 m x 67 m, the L-shaped hole is big enough to engulf the Royal Albert Hall.

Buried in the basement will be three large gantries, a cyclotron particle accelerator and four treatment rooms, principally aimed at the treatment of children and young adults.

It’s a groundbreaking project in more ways than one then, with patients due to be treated at UCLH from summer 2020.

Westfield london expansion famous undulated roof extends 2

Westfield london expansion famous undulated roof extends 2

5) Westfield lifts the lid on Europe’s biggest retail project

Europe’s biggest retail project is rising out of the ground in west London: the extension of Westfield London, which includes the construction of a huge, complex roof.

As well as this, the new building had to be connected to the existing one, requiring some complex engineering.

This £600m expansion will be complete in March 2018 and will create 740,000 sq ft of additional retail, dining, entertainment and leisure space at the site, bringing the total gross leasable area up to 2.6 m sq ft across the entire development.

Westfield UK’s head of design and construction Keith Whitmore also told us about the retailer’s plans for further development at its other sites in Stratford, Croydon and Milan, showing that there is plenty of life in this sector still.

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