PRESIDENT’S COLUMN Steel frame completes
Frame up for new Greenock health centre
More than 450t of structural steelwork has been erected
to form the frame for the new Greenock Health and
Care Centre in Scotland.
The £21M centre, located on the site of a former
academy, will bring together four existing GP practices,
district nurses, health visitors, dental and podiatry
departments, and a number of out-patient clinics,
alongside a community café.
Working on behalf of the main contractor BAM
Construction, Hescott Engineering fabricated, supplied
and erected the steel for the project.
Hub West Scotland is the main client, and its
Chairman John Brown says: “The current facilities at
Greenock Health Centre are out-dated and not ideal for
the provision of modern health and social care services.
“This new purpose-built centre has been designed to
be much more than a simple replacement of the existing
facility. It has the potential to bring together the key
elements from a range of professions to tackle health
inequalities, improve health and contribute to social
Including the ground floor, the steel-framed centre is
a four-storey structure measuring approximately 50m
x 50m. The large square building features a large open
centre, which will accommodate a landscaped garden.
Commenting on the project, Hescott Engineering
Director Chris Scott said: “The erection of the steel
frame was difficult due to the sloping nature of the site.
The difference in level between the lowest base and the
highest base is 7150mm, which over the width of the
site is quite significant. Consequently, loads had to be
scheduled to suit where the cranes and MEWPs could
One thing that really raises my blood pressure is hearing
politicians using that old chestnut ‘metal bashers’ when
in fact nothing could be further from the truth. But it’s
sometimes hard for those outside the sector to reconcile
their traditional image of the structural steelwork
industry with the modern-day reality of digitisation,
automation and business process improvement.
In fact, BCSA members are already expert in the
use of technology and automation and are always
on the lookout for what’s next. And BCSA’s Digital
Technology Working Group continues to investigate
new technologies on behalf of the structural steelwork
Software use is integral to the steel fabrication
process, supporting activities such as internal
knowledge and bid management, project planning,
analysis and design, 3D modelling and BIM coordination.
At the start of the process, modelling and estimating
software is essential to the bidding process for
steelwork contractors, and I can see that its use is
increasing. This software creates a model of the steel
frame so steelwork contractors can visually present
the content of their bid alongside the associated costs
and provide insight into the sequence of construction
During the design phase, the structural steel is
modelled to fabrication levels of detail. Materials
Resource Planning software then processes data from
the model which is used for materials procurement,
manages data to drive automated cutting and
fabrication machinery, and plans logistics. These
technology advancements have allowed steelwork
contractors to operate on a “just-in-time” basis.
Automated CNC machinery is standard today for
each stage of the steel fabrication process. While every
steelwork contractor has a slightly different process,
it starts with the efficient and seamless transfer of
3D model information from the design office to the
equipment in the workshop. I know that when visitors
come into a structural steelwork workshop, they are
amazed at how automated the fabrication process is.
So what for the future?
The sector is moving towards the adoption of
full automation of all processes on the factory floor,
utilising robots or cobots (collaborative robots). While
this is some way off, some steelwork contractors are
already moving into robotics.
Further technological advancements will drive
the adoption and advancement of mixed reality and
holographic technology, both in the factory and on-site.
And 3D printing, while still in the distant future for
everyday steel structures, is coming on in leaps and
While we can’t predict the future, what I do know
is that BCSA’s Digital Technology Working Group
will continue to monitor these and other emerging
technologies to help keep the structural steelwork
sector at the forefront of digitisation, automation and
BCSA President & Jamestown Manufacturing
on Lidl headquarters
More than 1,400t of structural steelwork has been
erected to form the new headquarters for Lidl GB in
Tolworth, south west London.
Working on behalf of Winvic Construction,
Caunton Engineering fabricated, supplied and erected
the steel for the five-storey office building, which is
expected to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating.
Situated adjacent to the A3, the building’s
structural frame measures 112m-long × 43.8-wide
and gains its stability from concrete cores. Open-plan
offices are created on all floors with long span beams,
with the longest span measuring 15.2m-long.
Overall, Caunton erected 5,174 individual steel
pieces for the project, with the heaviest member
The building, which will be ready for occupation
by the end of 2020, comprises offices, meeting and
conference rooms, and canteen facilities.
Winvic Construction Director Naim Basha
commented: “We have made excellent progress on
this scheme and the whole Winvic team, which not
only includes our dedicated staff, but suppliers and
consultants, is proud to reach this important steel
frame completion milestone. We’re now almost
halfway through the complex project and the office’s
fully glazed external envelope is one of the next
transformative areas of work, when the exterior
design really begins to come to life.”
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has given his seal of
approval to one of the latest steel structures being
manufactured at Cleveland Bridge UK.
The Mayor signed a large girder, which will form
part of a new 1,400t weathering steel bridge that will
cross the River Witham.
When complete, the five-span composite bridge
will measure around 225m-long and will be six
Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Cleveland Bridge is an
iconic business that has helped build the world. I’m
very proud it is a key part of Tees Valley’s economy,
with a reputation that flies the flag for the area.
“I was delighted to put a Tees Valley seal of
approval on the steel girder being produced at
Cleveland Bridge’s factory in Darlington. It shows that
this area has high quality manufacturing companies
that can deliver on projects, whether they are on our
doorstep or anywhere across the globe, as a result of
growing, developing their expertise and investing in
Tees Valley Mayor