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Construction News Awards Project of the Year (between £10m - £50m)

Winner: Shepherd Construction – National Renewable Energy Centre

Shepherd Construction was awarded the two-stage design-and-build framework contract for the National Renewable Energy Centre in January 2011.

Work began the same month and all three structures which make up the centre have been built on time and within the agreed budget.

Such statements are rarely associated with ground-breaking building types covering 9,300 sq m with a £33.3m budget that have specialist components built to +/-0.25 mm accuracy.

“An amazing project which is a tribute to UK construction and engineering expertise, delivering a world-beating project. This partnership between client, contractor and supply chain shone through and the success in sourcing over 60 per cent of suppliers – by value – from the North-east is a great construction story”

Judges’ comment

The judges were extremely enthusiastic in their recommendation of this project: “This project was groundbreaking in terms of its pioneering approach to a new technology. The project shows the best example of how a client, contractor and local supply chain can collaborate.

Heavy engineering coupled with precision tolerances characterised much of the project. The Blade Test 2 building is a 5,700 sq m industrial unit to test offshore wind turbine blades.

The facility has a heavily reinforced 14 m-tall concrete hub. Blades, which are 100 m long, are fixed to the hub in the vertical plane via huge steel adaptor plates.

Construction tolerances for the hub were +/- 3 mm and +/- 0.25 mm for the two adaptor plates.

The second building, called Nautilus, is a 900 sq m marine testing facility comprising a test rig, office area and associated infrastructure.

The third 3,000 sq m building, called Fujin, houses equipment designed to test complete wind turbine drive trains or component parts such as the gearbox or generators.

This project has delivered Narec’s vision for three pioneering structures housing world-leading facilities for testing the next generation of offshore wind turbines, wind turbine blades and tidal turbines.

Client collaboration was crucial to ensure the success of this project, enabling the team to understand exactly how testing would be conducted and how forces would be exerted.

Collaboration with the supply chain also brought about a high level of trust and created an environment for innovative solutions.


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