PRESIDENT’S COLUMN Steelwork progresses on UK’s
Work is progressing on schedule on the University of
Manchester’s £287M Manchester Engineering Campus
Development (MECD), which is said to be one of the
single, largest construction projects undertaken by any
UK higher education institution.
Once complete, the development will provide over
75,000m2 of modern facilities in a bespoke environment,
to support research, teaching and learning in the 21st
Century for more than 8,000 students and staff.
MECD will see the relocation of the University’s
schools of Chemical Engineering and Analytical
Science; Electrical and Electronic Engineering;
Material Science, and Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil
Working on behalf of main contractor Balfour Beatty,
Severfield is fabricating, supplying and erecting 4,100t
of structural steelwork for the project.
Severfield’s work consists of the erection of three
steel-framed buildings and one hybrid structure. The
latter is the largest building on the site and known as
the MEC Hall. Approximately 1,750t of steel has been
used to form the large open spaces that accommodate
atriums and lecture theatres within this seven-storey
“There is an old Victorian sewer that runs through
the MEC Hall site, therefore to minimise the number of
supports and foundations required in that area, large
truss steelwork was incorporated into the steel frame,”
said Severfield Project Manager Dominic Charlton.
“The weight of the truss components exceeded the
capacity of the tower cranes, therefore we had to erect
them using large mobile cranes up to 400t capacity.
This was challenging due to the confined site and close
proximity of the other buildings.”
Winvic Construction and Caunton Engineering have
completed the steelwork for the first of two distribution
centres on the Warth Park phase 3 development in
The initial distribution centre measures 314m-long
× 190m-wide, with a maximum height to eaves of
16.3m. It has five 38m-wide internal spans and required
a total of 2,200t of steelwork.
It will have a total of 56 cross docks and 19 level
access doors, while internally, it is sub-divided into
three separate zones by two partition fire walls and
features a three-level office block.
Steel erection for the second unit will begin in June.
This smaller unit measures 208m-long × 131m-wide
with a maximum height to eaves of 16.3m. This fourspan
structure will require 1,050t of steel and also
includes a 1,600m2 two-level office block.
Both structures will be occupied by Howdens
Joinery, adding to the company’s existing on-site
warehouse that was completed as part of the
development’s phase two works in 2016.
Warth Park is a 160-acre logistics and business park
in Raunds, adjacent to the A45.
I often use this column as a soapbox for issues facing
the structural steelwork sector – who wouldn’t? But
this month’s column is all about celebration.
Celebration of the incredible industry that is
structural steelwork. An industry that I’ve worked
in for 15 years. When I’m walking around the City of
London and look up to see one of the many great
buildings I’ve worked on over the years, I feel a rush of
pride as I tell myself – I helped create that. And happily
for me, I’m able to travel the length and breadth of the
UK and more often than not, I will come across one of
Of course, these projects aren’t really mine. They
belong to the whole team; from the client to the
designers to the specialists who took a concept and
made something out of it. They also belong to the
people who live, work or play in that building or
Every time I cross the Forth, I look at those three
beautiful bridges lined up one next to the other.
The grandfather, the father and the son. I think of
the people who designed them, who built them,
and those who maintain them today. All of them
servicing a need, and each of them a fantastic piece of
engineering and construction in their own right. And
they will all still be there, serving our community long
after I’m gone.
Of course, it would have been far better for UK Plc
if the main span of the Queensferry Crossing had
been made by a UK steelwork contractor – see I really
can’t keep off my soapbox – because UK steelwork
contractors, and in particular, BCSA members, really
are the best in the world.
BCSA members are pre-assessed across many
different aspects. This means that clients and
contractors can be assured they have the specialist
experience and qualifications for the job.
Over time, BCSA has pushed faster compliance
with new regulation, helped improve quality and
health and safety in the sector and driven best
practice among members. In turn, a better performing
structural steelwork sector benefits clients and
main contractors. BCSA members can also raise and
address issues and problems of mutual interest that
can only be solved by working together. I see BCSA
membership as a benchmark for professionalism and
the can-do attitude BCSA members have.
I know that like me, future generations of BCSA
members across the UK will also look up with pride to
admire ‘their’ buildings.
BCSA President and Jamestown Manufacturing
largest higher education project
Working on behalf of main contractor ISG, Walter
Watson has completed the erection of 1,200t of
steelwork for a residential scheme in Liverpool’s Baltic
Located on Blundell Street, the 200-unit, ninestorey
steel-framed apartment block includes two
levels of basement car parking, with the uppermost of
these floors also accommodating an entrance lobby,
residents’ lounge and a gym.
Stability for the steel frame is provided by a
combination of traditional flat bar cross bracing in
the lower floors and moment frames for the two upper
This hybrid design was chosen in order to assist
ISG in ensuring that materials needed by the follow-on
trades could be easily transported within the upper
floors, while maintaining full stability to the structure
during the construction stage.
By avoiding moment frames on the lower levels,
column sizes were slightly reduced which kept the
steelwork tonnage as economical as possible.
The project is due to complete in summer 2020.
Frame up for first
of two Warth Park
scheme takes shape