The gates of Paradise Birmingham were thrown open for Open Doors 2017.
The ‘biggest commercial development outside of London’ welcomed students and the wider public for Open Doors week as Carillion hosted groups of avid visitors at its part of the scheme that’s expected to have an overall construction value in the region of £560m.
Carillion’s slice of the mixed-use city centre regeneration has so far comprised the £50m enabling works and a £45m contract for phase one that will see a two-storey basement and nine-storey office block rise from the site.
It’s a job with fiendish engineering challenges, not least because the major A38 Birmingham artery runs directly beneath.
Present on the tour are a number of people representing local businesses, along with recently qualified and current students.
Gemela Brown (below, left), an HND Civil Engineering student, is revisiting the site having been on a work placement there six months earlier.
Carillion paradise birmingham 2
“I did a placement with Carillion, assisting one of the site engineers with setting out piling so I wanted to come and see what it is like [now],” she says. “It’s changed quite a lot.”
Ms Brown has funded herself in getting into the industry as it has been a long-held passion. “From a young age I was interested in construction, what goes into a building and what goes into it behind it all.”
Michelle Henderson (above right) and Shelton Madiyiko (centre) have recently graduated and are now trainee chartered surveyors with the Valuation Office Agency.
“We do 24 months in-service work experience after getting our degree, and [need to] learn about the latest construction methods,” Ms Henderson says.
“We have to do CPD,” Mr Madiyiko adds, “and we were invited as part of Open Doors to have a look at the site. It’s really, really interesting to see how Birmingham is changing.”
He is taken aback by the basement-level work on show in close to neighbouring buildings. “I’m impressed with how they are bringing in the new buildings; fitting them in with the buildings that are there already and that the disruption has not been that great,” he says.
It’s the pace of change that has most impressed on the tour, in a city that is working hard to continually reinvent itself.
Project Paradise Birmingham
Contractor (Enabling works and phase one) Carillion
Piling Cementation Skanska
Construction value c£560m
Start date January 2015
Completion date c2027