Newport has been undergoing major regeneration led by the city’s 2020 Vision. Part of the city centre’s revitalisation is formed by Friars Walk, a new shopping centre, being developed by Queensberry Real Estate.
The scheme when completed will provide over 390,000ft2 of retail and leisure space, comprising; a department store, a multiplex cinema, a new restaurant quarter and shopping units, all supported by a new car park and bus station.
Waterman was appointed to provide a wide range of structural, civil, environmental and building services on the retail development located in the heart of the city.
As the scheme was surrounded by existing buildings and with high levels of pedestrians, the design team were required to review the project’s structural build programme and associated cladding system to eventually opt for the use of precast elements to ensure off-site pedestrian safety and removal of potential disruption and potential damage to any adjacent buildings.
The project has also presented further constraints across the site in terms of fixed road, entrance and flood levels and at the ground/mall level fixed by the adjacent existing centre and street levels. The issue was resolved by an integrated structure and services solution for the lower level car park areas and service yard to maintain clear minimum head heights. As part of this solution a 24 metre clear span requirement for a turning circle within the service yard was also designed into the structure. Creating a three level vierendeel truss structure within this area allowed a reduction in steelwork depth and tonnage, saving on steel
At the north end of the development, Waterman has designed a bus station layout to form an important and integral part of Newport’s public transport system. At the southern end, an access has been designed to provide a public drop off/pick up area as well as an access to serve Newport’s new taxi rank and existing leisure centre.
As part of the scheme our fire engineering team were responsible for providing the Fire Safety Strategy through the RIBA Stage D to Building Regulations approval. A key achievement for the team was the strategy developed for the covered mall, where permanent natural ventilation has been provided to maintain tenable conditions in the event of fire that would be comparable to an open high street. This design realised substantial cost savings in construction but also reduces the maintenance burden associated with automatic opening vents.
The scheme also includes a cinema and anchor store to which the means of escape provisions were calculated to be incorporated into the base building design whilst allowing flexibility for the future tenants’ fit-out works.
Waterman has also undertaken an EIA and produced an environmental statement to support the successful planning application for this flagship regeneration project. Post determination Waterman has successfully discharged a number of conditions, undertaking air quality reports and bat surveys. The team supervised an archaeological investigation of the site, recording the remains of the medieval friary which will ultimately be displayed in Newport Museum. Due to the city centre location and the presence of a range of existing buildings on the site it was not possible to undertake an intrusive geo-environmental investigation until the respective areas of the site had been cleared. This investigation was planned and supervised by Waterman, through appropriate phasing and careful planning it was possible to integrate these works within the wider construction programme to minimise any adverse impact on project delivery.
The new centre is set to open Autumn 2015 in time for the Christmas shoppers.