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Case Study: BAM Construct Award Entry

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Introduction 

BAM Construct UK (BAM) is a leading construction, facilities management and property developer company, with a strong local presence in the North East and is well known for its expertise.

 

Requirement 

We were recruited to assist BAM with the submission of its award entry for ‘Project of the Year’ at the Constructing Excellence NE awards.  

Services provided

Award entry development and support. 

Our approach 

To gain a deep understanding of the significances, challenges and achievements of this project, we attended various meetings. This allowed us to develop the award application, which involved multi-stakeholder collaboration throughout the entry completion process.  

 

For the project to win Project of the Year, we had to stress the unique differences of this project and why it was a deserving award winner over others submitted in this category.  Below is some background information on the project, as well as information about the challenges BAM faced when constructing One Strawberry Lane.  

 

The project: One Strawberry Lane 

BAM constructed a new head office for the Home Group in Newcastle City Centre.  

 

Where once the nuns of St Bartholomew’s tended their strawberry fields to make strawberry wine, a unique, six-storey office building, One Strawberry Lane, now stands. 

 

The challenges BAM faced 

Drawing on history for its name, One Strawberry Lane was an extraordinarily challenging project. Built during unparalleled trading conditions, BAM is particularly proud of it.  Here’s why: 

 

Its unique architecture 

One Strawberry Lane maximises the potential of a tight, inner-city site in the style of a multifaceted ‘townhouse’, its uniquely strawberry patterned projecting brickwork provides maximum standout without detracting from its historic surroundings. 

 

Improving local lives  

Through this project, BAM aimed to develop and give back to the local area. A highly memorable piece of work for them, they were thrilled to have achieved their highest ever social value return (44%). This is three times more than the current industry standard - and raises the bar for future UK projects.  

Additionally, BAM spent £16million (77% of budget) with the local supply chain, 31 unemployed people were brought into work and 400 apprenticeship weeks were completed, with an aim to lift local skills. Working closely with local charitable organisations, a community fund was set up, investing over £150k in seven different community projects to leave a lasting impact. 

  

Significant and complex engineering challenges 

Due to its proximity to St James’ Park Stadium, and its corresponding Metro station, building One Strawberry Place came with a plethora of engineering challenges. Piled foundations of the five-storey building passed only 3.5m away from the tunnel, so there was no room for error. With the stringent approval of Nexus (Transport for Tyne and Wear), complex structural arrangements were created within the building’s frame to ensure loading to the Metro alignment was limited. Uniquely stiffened 900mm continuous flight auger (CFA) piles were adopted, and proved by finite analysis, to minimise vibration and the propagation of forces into the tunnel. 

 

Specialist engineering and working techniques were utilised to ensure the building’s deep boundary basement could be constructed without compromising neighbouring buildings. One building of great significance to this project, and to the heart of Newcastle city centre is the ever iconic and historic The Strawberry Pub – described as being the spiritual home of NUFC fans. The Strawberry’s foundations were only 500m away from the 5m deep basement excavation, creating another structural risk for BAM to overcome.    

 

Multi-stakeholder collaboration  

Throughout the project, BAM worked closely with Nexus, Ryder Architecture and Newcastle City Council’s planning team to refine the design and achieve everyone’s goals. Through these collaborations, high levels of risk were overcome. For example, by using a ‘build before build’ approach (where technology is used to build an online model of what the building will look like), many issues were resolved at pre-construction stage, which created opportunity for an efficient build. Also, the stakeholders had to come together to meticulously plan the erection and dismantling of the project’s tower crane, which required a three-day road closure, due to it being located on a flight path and emergency services Blue Light route.  

 

For the duration of the project, BAM worked closely with NUFC, counter terrorism and Northumbria Police to keep fans safe on match days. Additionally, they supported the owners of The Strawberry Pub to facilitate business as usual at their busiest times.  

 

From our perspective 

Given our experience and reputation for development of many award-winning entries, we were recruited to assist this one. We were pleased to be able to work in partnership with an international contractor that holds a strong local presence and be exposed to such brilliant minds and processes.  The engineering aspect of this project, for us, was mind-blowing, considering the tightness of the site and the risks attached to constructing a building of this scale directly over an underground rail system, which obviously necessitated a huge amount of pre-planning. It is for this reason that this project was unique to us. Being able to witness BAM's unique mindset, as well as their access to all types of peripheral support and technology, due to their size/turnover, made this project extremely exciting to work on.

 

The results 

We were delighted that the scheme won Project of the Year at the Constructing Excellence North East Awards. It also went on to the national awards, where it achieved Highly Commended. Another highlight of working on this project was being invited on to the stage for the award photo at the ceremony in June 2023.  

 

If you have an award entry that you want assistance with, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us today.  

 

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