28 May 2019
Sponsored by Heathrow Limited
Reading Gateway - submitted by Kier
Foreword-thinking is one of three key brand values at Kier. They strive to embrace and utilise offsite methods as part of their passion for innovation within their teams and on their projects. The use of offsite technology was important on Reading Gateway due to the complexity of the overall project. With several units being constructed at any one time, it was paramount that the project team considered solutions to aid construction programme, quality and safety whilst the construction of various units were being carried out.
One of the largest elements of the project was the construction of the 120-bed Premier Inn hotel for the tenant Whitbread plc. The hotel also features a Beefeater restaurant and Costa Drive-thru to the ground floor of the building. This part of the development was identified as one of the units which would benefit from offsite construction methods.
Kier used a lightweight steel frame solution and bathroom pods for the 120-bed hotel phase of the development. The demands of the ground-floor retail space was the driving force behind choosing a reinforced concrete solution. Selecting the specialist subcontractor and the steel frame system solution was a product of the Contracts Manager, Andy Jones. Andy attended the 2017 Construction News Specialists Awards at which Metek had been shortlisted for their work on an exemplar project. Andy recognised how this system would greatly benefit Reading Gateway and from there the partnership between Kier and Metek began.
In more detail
In 2017, Kier began works on the Reading Gateway development, which is a mixed retail/light industrial and hotel scheme on the former Hewlett Packard centre to the south of Reading. The works also included a new roundabout for dedicated access to the site. The development includes well known tenants such as: Premier Inn, WREN Kitchens, Costa Coffee, Beefeater and a retail unit which was formerly occupied by Toys’R’Us.
The Premier Inn hotel was the largest unit within the development and was the key driver behind why Kier required offsite construction methods. The 120-bed hotel also includes a Beefeater restaurant and Costa coffee shop to the ground-floor. The project team ensured that construction methods were tailored to each aspect of the development and the future tenant. Selecting the innovative methods brought benefit in terms of programme, quality and cost savings to the project.
The chosen offsite methods within the construction included a lightweight steel framing system for the upper levels of the hotel. Partnering with a specialist subcontractor such as Metek ensured a successful outcome on this development. Close collaboration between teams was imperative to the understanding of the design requirements and ensured that any challenges were mitigated throughout the process.
They also used the contractor Walkers Modular for the bathroom pods used within the Premier Inn hotel. The subcontractor was recommended to them by other Kier Construction project teams. All bathrooms were made in the factory off site and are then taken to the development where they were situated in place by a crane. This allowed consistency in quality across all the bathrooms and saved time on the programme.
On a mixed-use development it can be a challenge to ensure satisfaction when tenants have varying specifications and requirements. Using a mix of traditional construction methods and innovative offsite technology methods has allowed Kier to complete the development to the individual requirements of both client and tenants. Kier want to encourage other members of the industry to embrace the use of modern construction methods to ensure the industry keeps up to date with modern innovations. Promoting and communicating best practice of offsite methods is key in educating the industry and for the future of the built environment across the UK.
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The SECBE 2019 Offsite Award is sponsored by Heathrow Limited.