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Early involvement pays off

Trent Concrete has started work on the Alder Castle office building in London in partnership with Tarmac and client Argent. Total value of the package is 1.8M on an overall project cost of 17.5M. Trent is one of four key specialists appointed early after experience gained on a previous Argent/Tarmac project at Governor's House, also in the City. Engineer is Watermans and architect Sidell Gibson.

The approach was modified from Governor's House in that the key specialist contractors (steel frame, mechanical and electrical, window, and cladding - Trent) were appointed at the earliest design concept stage. This addressed the identified need to deal with the interface of structure, cladding and services from the very beginning. Trent says considerable benefits have accrued from this approach, for instance in aligning the cladding detailing with the structural frame component detailing.

Tarmac area manager Mick Ackers points to other benefits. 'At Governor's House, the stone was all hand-set onto grey backing panels. At Alder Castle we are taking full advantage of the benefits provided by Trent's off-site fabrication. Quality and wastage can be controlled much more effectively in the factory environment, and precast components make the building quicker and easier to build, reduce the potential for accidents and help address the current skills shortage in the industry.'

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