A £4 million contract to construct a landmark Operations and Maintenance Base Facility for the London Array Project – the world’s largest offshore wind farm is nearing completion at the Port of Ramsgate on the east Kent coast, on a 8,000m2 site.
The purpose-built facility, which has been designed by award winning Midlands based BBLB archiiects LLP, and will accommodate up to 90 staff, is being constructed by Mansell Construction Services. Project Managers are BBLB Architects; Structural and Civil Engineers are Curtins Consulting and Mechanical and Electrical Engineers are The Engineering Practice. Janes Lathwood is the Client’s Quantity Surveyor
The distinct architectural concept has been designed by BBLB architects specifically around the exposed marine conditions and driven by positive sustainable measures. The building will achieve BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) ‘Excellent’ status. It will also have BREEAM grade A+ internal finishes and will be built using the latest building methods and using materials that are sustainable and recyclable.
The two storey main building is divided into two distinct elements – 15,000 sq ft of state of the art open plan and cellular offices for monitoring the operations of the wind farm, and a 10,000 sq ft warehouse to store everything needed for wind farm’s maintenance. These two elements will be separated by a three storey full height glazed atrium incorporating the building’s main entrance and an internal ‘street’ linking the office and warehouse areas.
The building’s sustainable design features include: maximising the available natural light through passive design measures; an extensive specially designed green roof seeded with planting typical to the area on the warehouse element of the building to provide ecological value, good insulation and water attenuation, and a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) facility.
The building is structured around a steel frame with external elevations of the office element in Sto-render, with a flat Sarna roof, whilst the warehouse element will feature Kal-Zip cladding to the elevations.
External works include the construction of a concrete service yard, and car parking to the front of the building.
Currently the project is progressing on schedule, with the building now watertight, the green roof being fitted and the mechanical and electrical installation, internal finishes and external works underway. The project is due to be completed in October 2011.
London Array is arguably the most widely known UK offshore wind farm. Its sheer scale and proximity to Greater London mean it’s often referred to by politicians and in the press. At 1,000MW, the project is currently the world’s largest consented wind farm and is being built in two phases.
The London Array could eventually power up to 750,000 homes – about a quarter of Greater London – and reduce harmful CO2 emissions by 1.4 million tonnes a year. So it’ll make a big difference to the environment as well as helping provide a reliable electricity supply to south east England.
Construction on the new onshore substation at Cleve Hill started in July 2009 and offshore construction commenced in March 2011, when the first of 177 foundations was installed for the project. Construction of Phase One should be fully complete by the end of 2012.
London Array will be commissioned in phases as groups of turbines become operational. Each turbine will be energised, commissioned and tested individually and in groups to make sure they’re working correctly.
It is expected that the whole of Phase One to be commissioned by spring 2013, after which the site will be handed over to the Operations and Maintenance team.
London Array’s turbines are designed to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for over 20 years. Each turbine will be serviced regularly by technicians, who will normally travel to the wind farm by boat.