St James Leisure & Retail Development Progress – 22nd April 2018 (Alec Esposito)
About The Project
Milbank Concrete Products, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of precast concrete products with a focus on exceptional customer service, were pleased to announce their involvement working alongside RG Group on the design, manufacture and installation of over 90 specialist precast concrete flint embossed retaining walls at the St James Retail Leisure Park development in Dover, with an estimated contract sum of circa £24m.
The St James development transformed the retail and leisure offer in the heart of Dover and South Kent and is located on the A20, the main road leading to the Port of Dover, making it highly visible and accessible to visitors, tourists and those travelling to and from the port. The development comprises of 156,915 SqFt of new retail and leisure space.
Design & Construction
Milbank produced 97 precast concrete walls, ranging from 6 to 11 tonnes, using 4 separate moulds. This allowed two seperate moulds for flint laying whilst the other two moulds were poured over a 10 week casting period at Milbank’s precast concrete factory in Earls Colne. Dover District Council visited the factory during the production period to check the flint arrangement met their needs and gave the best possible match to existing flint walls and buildings in the vicinity.
The complex moulds were hand crafted by skilled, in-house carpenters and specific requirements were agreed in regards to the flint layout by Dover District Council, Dover Planning Departments and Site Contractors in coordination with Historic England, using examples of local existing flint walls. Each day, sand was used as a bed within the wooden moulds to assist with the placement and spacing of individual flint stones which were hand laid face down in the agreed style.
Milbank’s team hand sorted the stones to ensure they interlocked neatly and efficiently. Once this extremely time consuming process was complete, cages, lifters and pipes were located and the concrete carefully pourer over the top of the flints to form the wall structures. The following day, once the concrete curing was complete, excess sand was washed off and the units were turned using the in-house gantry crane to create the finished article.
Installation & Completion
Following a complex installation procedure involving the use of a mobile crane and Milbank’s specialist installation team, the flint walls are now used to screen the service area for the main retail block from the roadside which includes M&S and Next at the Dover St James development. The walls were manufactured and installed in individual units, with the joining sections hand-filled on site by the main contractor with matching flint stones. End columns and caps were also manufactured on site by the main contractor to provide finishing touches to the wall structure.
RG Group are a responsible company that balances the social, environmental and ethical issues created by their business activities without compromise to their continued ability to deliver projects with commercial success. Key to this ability is their continued focus on our community, their environment, their people and their suppliers.
RG specialise in the Retail, Student Accommodation and Commercial sectors of the construction industry with projects ranging from £100k to £40m and include new build, refurbishment, fit out and extensions.
The company employs over 150 people and has a financial turnover circa £200m. Based in Kent and Doncaster, they operate nationwide delivering a variety of construction projects with a unique and innovative service that reflects the fast-changing nature of their clients, and the wide-ranging experience of their people.