Plymouth, Devon

Project Details

Plymouth City Council

Project Manager

Form Design Group

Midas Construction Ltd

Value £6.1m

Contract Period
63 weeks

Procurement Type
Competitive tender – 2 stage

Form of Contract
JCT Design & Build 2011

Size 3,000m²


Project summary

Oceansgate is the UK’s first marine enterprise zone, occupying a 35
hectare site on the southern edge of Devonport Dockyard, one of the
largest naval dockyards in Europe. Delivering new opportunities and
economic regeneration to a deprived area of Plymouth, Oceansgate
has transformed derelict land into a site that aims to bring together
marine-based businesses to create a world-class hub for industry. The
development, designed by local architects, uses a layout and materials that
reflect the area’s naval history.
The project features a three-storey office and two single-storey industrial
terraces, arranged in parallel rows and offering nearly 3,000m² of office and
industrial space with provision for up to 21 businesses. Completed to a high
standard, the finished buildings are steel portal frame with brickwork and
blockwork, curtain walling and power floated concrete slabs; they feature
fibre connectivity and internal floor layouts that can be subdivided to suit
tenant requirements. Externally, Midas completed car parking, access roads
and planting to improve the site’s appearance and ecology.
The development has been shortlisted in the ‘Regeneration’ category of
the 2019 South West RICS awards and was shortlisted for ‘John Bracey
Building of the Year’ in the 2018 The Building Forum Awards.

”Oceansgate is one of our success stories in the LEP’s portfolio of Growth Deal and Growing Places funded projects.
The official opening of Phase 1 confirms Oceansgate’s status as a world-class centre for the marine sector, and
as one of the Heart of the South West’s Enterprise Zones. I welcome our first tenants to the new buildings at
Oceansgate and wish them every success in their new ventures. Their investment signifies market confidence in this
globally significant Enterprise Zone, and I look forward to further phases of the development taking shape.”
Chris Garcia, The Heart of the South West (HotSW) LEP

Key Challenges
• The project had demanding site conditions, including the discovery of underground wells,
basements, oil and asbestos.
• The development had a challenging, innovative design that included a kinetic wall, the fi rst of its
kind in the West Country.
• The client required achievement of BREEAM Excellent.
How these were delivered
• Prior to commencement of works, Midas reviewed all Ordnance Survey maps of the area and
commissioned a ground penetrating radar scan of the site for unexploded ordnance, as Devonport
Dockyard was heavily targeted for bombing during World War Two. During excavation works the
team discovered several voids including basements, bank vaults and foundations of buildings
destroyed during the Blitz. Midas pumped 400 tonnes of Type 1 granular fill compactable material
into the holes, solid enough for the 55-tonne crane to sit on, and filled other excavations with
concrete. The site fenced off excavations, with a vehicle controller in place to guide operations of
plant and excavation machinery, and tested the ground for stability before each stage of the works.
The team completed excavations under close, careful management, utilising remote compactors
over the arches and basements to avoid risk to operators.
• Midas joined this design and build project at RIBA Stage 2. The innovative design included use of
a kinetic wall to reflect light and move with the wind, and random rubble stone cladding to some
elevations. Midas constructed the kinetic wall, which is nearly six metres wide and over seven
metres high, with 1,786 aluminium shingles affixed to steel wires attached to a full-height screen
over the main entrance. It is the first of its kind in the west country and provides a distinctive feature
of the development. Midas completed and connected the gable ends of the buildings early in the
project, adjusting the programme to mitigate this requirement and completing the gable ends
as soon as possible to make the buildings watertight and enable progression of interior works.
Internally, the structural grid and division walls were designed to be easily combined to provide
larger floor plates to respond to market interest.
• Midas successfully achieved BREEAM Excellent through provision of bicycle storage; attaining a
lower Building Emission Rate than the Target Emission Rate; and installation of one bat box, one
bird box and one bee brick on each building. Midas fitted a PV array to the roof of the office, with
an estimated annual generation of 19,616.00kWh and a declared net capacity of 20.00kWh. The
team also planted verges and trees, improving the site’s ecology, and achieved a 98% recycling
figure, with demolition waste sent for reprocessing and reuse.

Lessons Learnt:

The Good
• Midas liaised with the neighbouring Ministry of Defence (MOD) site in advance of
commencing works to coordinate logistics and ensure the site kept MOD access clear at all
times. The site employed several gate controllers and traffic managers to ensure safe site
access, with radio-linked site management teams.
• The site contained multiple underground services, including a gas governor and electrical
transformer. During excavation works the site team uncovered more than 130 services, not
included on any plans or surveys, including underground external drainage. The team hand
dug excavations to expose cables and arranged for the isolation of services, with utilities
proved dead before works proceeded. Midas included a service grid system over the site
survey, overlaid on a plan of the new buildings.
• The project had restricted site access that presented challenging logistics, which had a
significant impact on the construction programme. Midas mitigated this by utilising weekend
working and employing a high volume of staff, including increasing the number of managers
on site.

ContractGateway 2 Planning Gateway 3 Contract Agreement Variation
Time48 weeks48 weeks0 weeks

KPI Graphs

KPI Graphs Apprentices 13
Average AIR 0
Average CCS score 40
Waste diverted from landfi ll 98.9%
Cost/m2 £3,837m²
Cost/m2 excl abnormals £3,017m²
Cost/m2 Industry average £ m²