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Specialist Contractors work flat out to meet Network Rail timetable at The Quadrant.


The new National Centre for Network Rail in Milton Keynes is one of the ‘greenest’ office spaces in the UK being awarded a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating. The building is naturally ventilated and uses recycled rainwater to flush toilets. The construction project was undertaken by Bam on a very challenging 95 week build programme. As with many modern office complexes of this stature, the atrium is the interactive hub of the building and central to its success in every aspect. Szerelmey have worked with Bam and the architects, GMW, on many major projects so were the obvious choice to undertake the complex installation of the natural stone flooring within the primary area of the 38,000 square metre complex.

The relatively short build time required a great deal of design interaction with everything from delivery of materials to work programming. Bam project manager, Adam Harding made sure sub-contractors had an input from the very start observing that “Everything has an effect on everything else”. The flooring is always one of the most difficult areas to work as the 96 metre long atrium is designed as the building’s main thoroughfare and is almost akin to a small high street thus being the main access for much of the contractor footfall and materials.

The experience in design, material choice and installation offered by the Szerelmey team was paramount in being able to meet the build programme and get the 3,000 Network Rail staff in on time. Guy Milton, Bam project manager commented  “Szerelmey were able to advise and steer the architect as to the type of finish to expect from a natural product” The flooring in the atrium has an eclectic material mix including granite, yorkstone and solid wood. There are also trees and tree grilles which meant that the Szerelmey team were required to interact with other contractors responsible for these aspects.

As with any thoroughfare, protecting your finished work is very important. As the flooring areas were completed by the teams they still remained as access routes for plant, materials and contractors. Szerelmey are very experienced in this regard and the installation team had recently completed similar flooring projects at The Westfield Shopping Centre and Bluewater Retail Complex so protecting their work in heavily trafficked areas was a very familiar scenario.

With such a challenging timescale it would not be possible to repair or replace damaged areas so Bam were very appreciative of their expertise in this area. The Bam project manager responded to Szerelmey’s quality control questionnaire with the following “ They advised Bam of the possible pit falls of not protecting the finished product correctly, this allowed Bam to correctly protect the finishes and saved a lot of future problems”. Clearly this level of expertise adds value to the package that specialist contractors like Szerelmey are able to offer. The attention to detail doesn’t end even when the installation is completed. It is the ability to identify solutions to potential problems in pre and post installation situations which can generate real savings on projects of this size.

Internally Szerelmey installed over 1700 square metres of Scout Moor Yorkstone. Their specialist craftsmen had to precision cut much of the stone to facilitate access panels, tree surrounds and abut to the areas containing alternative flooring materials. The design allowed for the paving to flow beyond the building envelope and Szerelmey installed a further 450 square metres of Scout Moor Yorkstone externally. The resulting layout enabled the buff coloured natural stone to compliment the modular concrete paving, laid by the Szerelmey team, alongside block paving installed by others as part of the groundworks package. Szerelmey’s work included a series of complicated slopes and steps at various entrance points to the complex.

With this project the programming and interaction on design and installation was as challenging as the work itself. Cont….

The same installation team have also recently completed the stone flooring on another prestigious Bam project for The Medical Research Council in Addenbrookes, Cambridge, which was on a similar scale to The Quadrant. In these challenging conditions a good working relationship between main contractors and specialist contractors enables all parties to hit the ground running. The greatest beneficiary of this relationship is ultimately, the client.

For more information www.szerelmey.com