Construction company Skanska has completed the shell and core of the UK’s first integrated transport interchange. A complex and challenging project, it provides a seamless link of all transport systems to the airport as well as a six storey office block and a new coach station.
This fast-track programme was helped by a one-year pre-construction period during which the Skanska team worked with Manchester Airport and its consultants to value engineer and finalise the design.
This gave Skanska a thorough knowledge of the project and enabled it to plan the construction challenges. These included maintaining safe working procedures next to a live railway and minimising public disruption by ensuring the skylink remained open.
The proximity of the train station required close co-operation with Railtrack to determine safe construction methods, particularly in respect of cranes and piling plant. One major challenge was installing seven large roof trusses over part of the station and track, requiring partial possession of the station at certain periods during the night.
Public safety remained number one priority, particularly with people passing through the site in the skylink. Closing it was not an option, so Skanska built half of the interchange first, into which it installed a temporary skylink for the public to use while the rest of the interchange was built.
Skanska recruited locally whenever possible to build the interchange and 70 per cent of site workers came from the Manchester area, exceeding Manchester City Council’s Towards 2000 charter setting a 10 per cent target.
Two other companies from the Skanska group made a contribution: Cementation Foundations Skanska installed 800 CFA piles, including 150 for the Metrolink tunnel underneath the site, and Richard Lees Steel Decking provided the decking for each floor level’s suspended concrete slabs.
Summing up Skanska’s work, the airport’s senior development manager Aslam Khan considers construction of the shell and core as ”a model project, which we would like to use as a blueprint for construction of future developments.”