Careys Civil Engineering has been contracted for the civils and infrastructure works on the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre. Our works include the construction of culverts, roads and footpaths, all hard landscaping works, substructure foundation works and drainage for the hotel energy centre and conference centre, in addition to substructure and partial superstructure works on the basement.
During pre-construction planning, our team was able to offer approximately £8m of value engineering to reduce the costs of the project, dependent upon the ability of the principal designer to achieve the design. As the project is located immediately south of Aberdeen airport, significant planning was required for any operations - in particular, lifting operations, with a regional lifting manager being appointed to enable liaison and consent between the site and airport authorities.
The project consists of 30,000m3 of structural concrete with an approximate area of RC slabs equating to circa 65,000m2 with typical pour sizes ranging between 200 and 700m3 per day. In addition to the slab construction, our team is constructing reinforced concrete columns, retaining walls and concrete cores. We have deployed specialist temperature monitoring on this project throughout the project to monitor the curing of concrete slabs and track temperature against strength. The use of this system enables us to strike formwork in an efficient manner and reduce the time required to construct the relevant elements.
Throughout the project, we worked closely with our concrete supplier and a consulting structural engineer to ensure durability, exposure classifications and strength requirements were met in addition to ensuring the best consistency for ease of pouring. By working with our concrete supplier, we tailored 11 bespoke concrete mixes to ensure that the engineers requirements and expectations were met through the use of differing cement blends, admixtures and aggregate sizes.
The most technically challenging aspect of the project relates to the temporary works design of the formwork and falsework which are required to construct the five reinforced concrete cores, in addition to the 14000m2 of falsework required to cast the post-tensioned concrete for the subterranean car park.
To ensure performance was maintained throughout these works, the team liaised with key suppliers from an early stage to ensure the correct quantity and quality of materials were provided at the required times in the schedule.
Alongside this, our team faced delays during the first few months of the project due to unforeseen complications in the diversion of utilities and a small stream, which delayed the completion of earthworks and the handover of work areas to our team. Whilst the programmed activities were ultimately delayed, the team was able to bring forward key design elements and commence other elements of works on site, effectively negating the cost impacts of the delay.
When the AECC site achieved ‘Ultra Site’ status in 2017, I was pleased to stand alongside our partners from Careys Civil Engineering, who were instrumental in demonstrating the extremely high standards of site management and set-up required to achieve the award.