Client: Royal Academy of Art
The Royal Academy of Art is a well used, well known place of interest for thousands of art lovers worldwide. Therefore this project required the utmost care and sensitivity in the planning and building stage.
The project involved the provision of underground plant and tank rooms using pre-cast concrete culvert sections with in-situ reinforced concrete slabs. Thousands of metres of granite blocks and water features would also need to be removed and then placed back as before.
Planning, Design & Consultation:
Pedestrian safety was paramount to ensure members of the general public could continue to use the Art Gallery and adjacent offices. Temporary structures were erected to effect temporary access/egress and to keep the public out of the potentially hazardous sites. Key stakeholders including engineers, residents’ associations, businesses, emergency services, and working groups were consulted in the weeks prior to the works.
These groups identified a series of issues which would need to be mitigated before commencement of the works such as health & safety of users and residents, how best to manage the traffic during the works, how best to locate services and any contingent plans for staff etc, what were the lines of communication open to the stakeholders, what design was most practical and what materials were best suited to this location.
The feedback received from stakeholders was included in the final designs and plans which were approved by the local authority shortly before works commenced.
Build & Implement:
Before works commenced, our health & safety manager, the CDM coordinator, the project manager, and the engineer met onsite to discuss the programme of works. Once the programme was agreed each stakeholder signed off the project with a view to meeting regularly throughout the works.
The works commenced on schedule. Where possible, we used our own resources and limited the use of subcontractors. The total project took 10 weeks to complete. If variation orders were issued these were fed back to the programme director and quantity surveyor for a possible reallocation of resources.
With the help of our CDM coordinator, we located the services of statutory undertakers. Where necessary, we made provision for their adjustment / repair or simply noted them for future reference. Concrete culvert sections were craned into place at night to minimise disruption to the public during the day.
Project Completion, Maintenance and Benefits:
The project was completed on time and the original artefacts were placed in exactly the same positions. The R.A.A now have a secure basement for storage buried deep beneath the central concourse. Before we left site, we met with the various stakeholders associated with the project to resolve any issues and ask for sign-off.
Feedback to our projects is always welcome – that is one of the ways that helps to improve our service. The feedback so far has been positive. The academy will closely monitor progress over the coming months to ensure that the improvements continue to offer the benefits required.