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Project of the Year (subcontract £1m to £2m): Winner

Winner: IMS Access – Center Parcs

More than 20 years of exposure to high levels of humidity had left the dome-shaped roof at Center Parcs Longleat in urgent need of repair.

Among the most difficult aspects of the job involved providing access to workers to remove and replace 1,615 units of glass, with 200 sheets of galvanised steel roof panels, waterproofing membrane and glazing bars, with a weight equal to 193 tonnes.

As well as repairing any damage to the existing timber structure, installation of the glass in a live working environment required a bespoke solution.

Working for main contractor SDC, IMS Access devised a method that it had never used before.

Its idea was based on the principles of a suspension bridge. IMS proposed fixing cables via rope access to the primary glulam beams, from which lightweight purpose made ‘X-beams’ were hung with the aid of vertical suspenders.

Due to the radius of the dome, boards were laid between those X-beams to create a working platform, which was boarded out, sealed and waterproofed. Once complete, it formed a staircase-like structure suspended from the domed roof.

There were a total of 16 segments to complete at the dome, with a maximum of three that could be worked on at any time.

“This was a brilliant, brave and innovative solution to what was a hugely challenging project”

Judges’ comment

Not only that, but Center Parcs Longleat had to remain open throughout the 30-month process, as the client didn’t want the area cordoned off and needed to ensure the facility was attractive to customers.

The temperature within the dome had to be kept at a constant and plants worth more than £1m had to be protected. Center Parcs has since booked IMS Access for more jobs, reflecting its satisfaction.

Judges said that IMS Access provided a “brilliant, brave and innovative solution to what was a hugely challenging project”.

IMS had an accident frequency rate of zero for more than 12,000 hours worked, which the judging panel described as ”an outstanding health and safety record on an extremely high-profile job”, in difficult conditions.

They hailed the approach to design and the “astonishing” effort which went in to ensuring client demands were met, as well as the company’s commitment to the local supply chain, recycling rates and the fact that this job “definitely had the wow factor”.


  • ADM Regeneration – Remediation of Sonae construction board manufacturing site, Knowsley
  • Barton Plant – Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations Facility
  • Clarke Facades – Premier Inn, Archway
  • Lee Marley Brickwork – Cohen Quadrangle, Exeter College, Oxford
  • Leyton Group Construction – Sea Containers House
  • Spie – Applied Technology takes BT’s 23 km of tunnels into a more sustainable future
  • Techjoint – PQC concrete bay replacement, M25
  • The Deluxe Group – The Devonshire Club, London EC2

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