North East Connected

Freeman’s Reach Development takes Delivery of 14-tonne Plant Room

Please Credit Picture:Keith Taylor
Please Credit Picture:Keith Taylor

The development of phase two of Freeman’s Reach in Durham City has taken a significant step forward with the completion of a major services infrastructure installation.

As part of the construction of the new offices for Her Majesty’s Passport Office, a 14-tonne prefabricated plant room, which will deliver heating, power and hot water throughout the building, was lifted into place by crane.

The plant room, which measures 8.5m by 4.2m, was manufactured by NG Bailey at its offsite manufacture facility in Bradford and transported by road to Freeman’s Reach for installation on the roof of the building.

This production process dramatically enhanced the efficiency of the project with offsite manufacturing cutting the build programme down from 20 to just eight weeks and enabled a single installation rather than fitting individual components at the top of the building.

Within the plant room NG Bailey has installed a range of systems including a pair of 654KW condensing boilers, a 1,500 litre water tank which will provide hot water throughout the building and electrical distribution units to provide power and lighting to the roof, plant and equipment.

In addition, during the operation, contractors also utilised the crane to install an air handling unit, which will provide tempered fresh air and air-cooling units for the building’s computer suites.

Phase two of Freeman’s Reach, which is part of the regeneration of Durham City’s Riverside, is set for completion early next year.   HM Passport Office’s workforce, currently based on the opposite side of the River Wear in Milburngate House, will transfer across to the contemporary and energy-efficient 68,000 sq. ft. building at Freeman’s Reach during 2016.

The new Passport Office will share the environmental credentials of the new National Savings and Investments office at Wearside House and the rest of the development, that will enable Freeman’s Reach to be awarded an ‘A’ Rated Energy Performance Certificate and BREEAM* Excellent status.

It has also become the first UK city centre development to incorporate a fully-operational hydro-power generator. Utilising energy from the River Wear, an Archimedean screw drives a generator, which feeds the National Grid with power that is the equivalent of 75% of the energy requirements of Freeman’s Reach.

Freeman’s Reach is being developed by a consortium led by Carillion, Arlington Real Estate and Richardsons Capital LLP. It is funded by Legal & General.

Ian Beaumont, Freeman’s Reach Project Director, said: “The installation of the plant room is a key milestone in the construction of phase two of Freeman’s Reach.  The collaboration between the developers, contractors and engineering specialists ensured this was a very efficient operation and is a significant step towards making Freeman’s Reach an exceptionally high quality, efficiently constructed building.”

Andrew Morley, operations direction for NG Bailey’s Engineering division in the region, said: “Manufacturing the plant room offsite has delivered outstanding efficiencies and enabled our engineers to complete the project in a very timely manner.  Operating in our clean and safe production area cut the build time by more than half, improved health and safety by reducing risk as well as reducing waste materials and halved the number of on-site engineers required.  We are very proud of this project and our role in the creation of such a landmark development in Durham City.”

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