How rugby and World War digs have proved obstacles for ISG’s Richmond upon Thames College team

25 July 2019

Our Richmond upon Thames College team received a visit from Construction News earlier this year to discuss the Twickenham-based project, which the industry title ranked second in its top five project reports of the year so far.

Our Richmond upon Thames College team received a visit from Construction News earlier this year to discuss the Twickenham-based project, which the industry title ranked second in its top five project reports of the year so far

At the time of the visit, the team was 45 weeks into a 98-week programme to deliver an exciting new building for Richmond upon Thames College.

This is phase two of a wider £80million masterplan to update education facilities in the area.

The new five-storey college will provide over 161,000 sq ft of learning space for up to 3,000 students, and will incorporate a studio block and auditorium.

Taking a tour of the site and discussing the challenges with ISG’s project director, Richard White, Construction News dug deeper into how rugby and World War digs have provided obstacles for his team.

How rugby and World War digs have proved obstacles for ISG’s Richmond upon Thames College team

Announcing the contract win through the Pagabo framework in 2018, piling work began shortly after but only once the site had been assessed for undiscovered bombs from World War I and II. 

Once piling had commenced the team worked from east to west to install CFA piles at varied depths. 

This work was completed in June 2018 before ground work began that summer.

The focal point of the trapezium college is a 24 m-wide and over 21 m-high similarly shaped atrium that takes up nearly a third of the building. The teaching and learning rooms, 81 in total, bridge off this central space.

Richard said of the works: “We work our way around the building in a loop, building upwards one level at a time. We go anti-clockwise, starting in the north-east corner.”

Each floor has been split into four to six sections, depending on which level is being built.

The sequence began with the team building 85 concrete columns at the ground floor, generally measuring 650 mm x 300 mm.

These columns would gradually be extended upwards as construction of each level progressed, ending at the underside of the fifth floor that will contain the building’s plant.

Richard said: “We’ve had a constant cycle of columns, falsework and concrete slab. We then repeat this on the next floor.

“We went from ground to the fourth floor doing these outer rings. By the time we got to the third and fourth floor, another part of the construction process started: the pod.”

The team focused its attentions on building ‘the pod’ earlier this year, which comprises a block of studio rooms running up a section of the west side of the building from the first floor upwards.

Richard continued: “The construction of the pod is one of the most technically challenging aspects of the project. This is because the first-floor slab of the pod is not self-supporting until the roof slab has been built.”

With high-profile neighbours, keeping the local community up-to-date with project developments has been of paramount importance for the team.

The site’s closest neighbour is the Richmond upon Thames school, with its playground just metres away from the project’s boundary, and there is also a nearby residential area, a sports hall and the Twickenham Stoop stadium, home to Harlequins RFC.

Richard noted: “When we were setting up the project, we developed our logistics and crane plan to make sure the school was confident that pupils were going to be safe.”

Furthermore, the team must stop works on match days at Twickenham due to such a large influx of visitors on match days – sometimes reaching 80,000.

Since this article, the project continues to make great progress and recently celebrated its ‘topping out’ – reaching the highest point of the build, with over 100 guests on site to mark the milestone.

Follow the link to read the full article, ‘ISG puts on a performance in the shadow of Twickenham’, which can be found at constructionnews.co.uk. Please note the article may only be available for registered users.