Anchored by a new 120-bed Premier Inn hotel and surrounded by retail units and two car showrooms, the Reading Gateway scheme facilitates new inward investment and employment opportunities from a variety of sectors.
The use of offsite technology was important on Reading Gateway, due to the complexity of the project, with several units being constructed at any one time. It was therefore paramount that the Kier project team considered solutions to aid construction programme, quality and safety whilst the construction of various units were being carried out.
One of the largest elements of the project was the construction of the 120-bed Premier Inn hotel. The reinforced concrete lower ground floor is open to the public and features a Beefeater restaurant and Costa coffee shop. Above this, four and five storey light steel frame blocks are separated by a central atrium.
Selecting the specialist subcontractor and the steel frame system solution was instigated by our Contracts Manager, Andy Jones, who attended the 2017 Construction News Specialists Awards at which specialist steel framing subcontractor Metek had been shortlisted for their work on an exemplar project. Andy recognised how this system would greatly benefit Reading Gateway and from there the partnership between Kier and Metek began.
Essential to the success of this project was early collaboration and team integration between Kier and Metek. Communication began early, with discussions around the system and how it would be implemented on the Premier Inn hotel. Kier worked closely with Metek throughout, including holding design meetings at Metek's headquarters in Gloucestershire. A 3D model of the building was passed onto the manufacturing facility in Wolverhampton where the frames were called off, labelled, bundled, shipped to site and hoisted straight into position.
Initially, the steel frame panels were to be installed first, with interior weatherproof board fixed afterwards. In order to reduce the amount of scaffolding required, the Kier site team challenged Metek to pre-board the system. This was a departure from the norm, but a solution that worked well, with bathroom pods easily moved into the building by 'un-zipping' sections of the frame as required.
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