With the construction industry set to reach pre-covid levels of growth, hot spots of investments have been concentrated across key areas of the UK. From the Northwest to the West Midlands to the capital city, the construction industry is booming.
Showpiece events tend to be a driver for government infrastructure investment. It comes as no surprise then that Birmingham and its suburbs such as Perry Barr and Smethwick are benefiting from this investment in the run-up to the 2022 Commonwealth games.
2022 Commonwealth Games
The 2022 Commonwealth Games is set to be the largest on record, with over 71 nations, 6,500 athletes, and over 1 million spectators attending stadiums around Birmingham. With a little over a year until the games commence we investigate how the M&E sector is looking to benefit.
One UK leading principal contractor’s MACE predicts that the local economy is set to benefit to the tune of £1.5 billion plus £500 million-worth of ‘one-construction benefits’ and the estimated creation of 10,000 jobs.
Major developments include:
- The expansion of Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr from a 12,700 seater stadium to an 18,000 seater, with a capacity for 40,000 spectators.
- The creation of the brand-new state-of-the-art Sandwell Aquatics Centre
- Perry Barr residential scheme including accommodation for the Athletes village and Station Plaza
What does this mean for M&E Sector?
The Commonwealth Games is a huge opportunity for the whole of the M&E supply chain. From the manufacturers of mechanical and electrical components to those that design and engineer solutions to support building services.
How have we been involved?
As a leading end-to-end solutions provider to the M&E industry, MIDFIX engaged early with contractors across each of these developments. For each project we offered our technical expertise and MIDFIX solutions to ensure consistency of service and best practice, thus enabling the contractors to deliver quality and compliant solutions.
We delivered solutions to the following sites/projects
- Perry Barr Residential Accommodation
- The Station Plaza
- Sandwell Aquatics Centre
- Alexander Stadium development
Perry Barr Residential Accommodation
The development of the Perry Barr residential project provided the M&E sector a wealth of opportunities for UK leading building service contractors. Our involvement has concentrated on two plots. Plot 6 is a residential high riser building (268 1–2-bedroom apartments). Plot 7 known as ‘Station Plaza’ is part of the Commonwealth Games Athletes Village. The Station Plaza divides the area into two areas, one being the housing blocks and the other known as the ‘marker’ building with a courtyard between the housing blocks. The plot is then split into six blocks which are a mix of 1 to 2 bedroom apartments. Each block has a core with two lifts and a front-of-house reception.
What solutions did MIDFIX provide?
For plot 6 MIDFIX collaborated with the key subcontractors by extending to them our technical expertise and solutions to ensure both subcontractors had the necessary help, advice, and consistency of supply to meet their project deadlines. Initial discussions centered around two core solutions; anchors and fixings and insulated pipe supports (phenolic blocks).
Anchors and Fixings
Anchors are a small component to which little consideration is frequently given but are absolutely vital to preventing the collapse of the structure or installation that depends on them. For plot 6 MIDFIX carried out allowable load tests to advise on anchor selection and in accordance with necessary best practice, the contractor installed the specified ETA wedge anchor solution. In order to prove this specification a fixing board was also provided for onsite verification.
In order to support the district heating network around the building, the pipe support solution included Kooltherm insulated phenolic pipe support blocks. Detailed calculations shows the Kooltherm® Insulated Pipe Support Inserts can limit heat loss up to 4x more than rubber lined pipe clips, 5x more than metal pipe clips and 10x more than hardwood pipe support inserts.
Plot 7 – Station Plaza
What solutions did MIDFIX provide?
For plot 7 we provided two key contractors with technical advice and MIDFIX solutions. Relevant standards and best practices were followed from the outset. In this case, the design strength of the concrete was an unknown variable. In accordance with BS 8539 we performed on-site allowable load tests to ensure all anchors supplied were fit for purpose and could support the necessary loads. A fixings specification board was also provided, illustrating all tested and specified anchors.
Utilising the off-site fabrication facility we assembled electrical utility frames and bespoke conduit hockey sticks.
Alexander Stadium – International Athletics Stadium
At the heart of the Commonwealth games stands Alexander Stadium. The stadium is situated off Perry Bar and will hold up to 40,000 spectators whilst hosting the athletics, track and field events, and the opening ceremony. Ultimate load tests were carried out to ensure a suitable anchor solution was specified.
Once again a fixings specification board was also provided, illustrating all tested and specified anchors.
Sandwell Aquatics Centre
The Sandwell Aquatics Centre will be home to the Swimming and Para Swimming at the Commonwealth Games. It will be the centre piece for more medal moments than any other venue. As Sandwell council overseas this project, MIDFIX continues to work with contractors to select, supply and test anchors and fixings for this £75m state of the Art Aquatics centre. The pools are taking shape and the 10m diving board is standing tall. For this project we provided technical advice and support, specifically around fixings, anchors and bracketry to support mechanical and electrical services.
Fixings for chlorinated environments
Taking into account the chlorinated environment we carried out an allowable load test and specified suitable ETA-approved anchors finished with a specific coating suitable for that environment as outlined in BS 8539.
MIDFIX are thankful to play a small part in supporting contractors with key infrastructure projects for the 2022 Commonwealth games.
We always look for early engagement with the principal contractor at the very start of a project, thus enabling us to clearly set out our offering. From outlining our design scope of work to providing best practice through our fixings, anchor, and bracketry policies. We believe clear communication between all stakeholders provides the foundation for a successful project.