UK: Narec Project Wins Prestigious Construction Award

UK Narec Project Wins Prestigious Construction Award

The contractor responsible for constructing the three new test facilities at the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) in Blyth, Northumberland, has been awarded a top accolade for the expertise and precision employed during the project.

Shepherd Construction walked away with the top accolade of Supreme Award at this year’s Construction News awards as well as winning the Project of the Year (£10m-£50m) category for the Narec facilities that are supporting the renewable energy industry in the delivery of lower cost and more reliable offshore wind energy.

The 57-strong panel of judges praised the expertise and collaboration employed by Shepherd Construction’s project team which also included the technical specialist Shepherd Engineering Services (SES). The construction programme completed in May, six weeks ahead of schedule.

With no blueprint to follow and facing a host of complex construction and precision engineering challenges, Shepherd, SES and the rest of the project team placed collaboration at the heart of the delivery process. This enabled them to understand how testing would be carried out, the unique forces that would be exerted and how the programme could be seamlessly coordinated, which in-turn led to numerous innovative solutions being created.

In their citation the judges commented: “To achieve the incredible tolerances required within the budget and programme is a supreme effort that deserves this recognition. It was a privilege to judge such an amazing scheme. It made our day.”

The three test facilities included in the project were:

  • Blade Test 2 – a 5,700m² building and test hub for testing wind turbine blades up to 100 metres long.
  • Nautilus – a 600m², 15-metre high building for testing tidal turbines up to 3MW capacity.
  • Fujin – a 35-metre high, 3,000m² building for testing wind turbine nacelles up to 15MW capacity.

This is the third accolade for the Narec project team, having already scooped the Constructing Excellence North East project award and the Institution of Civil Engineers North East Robert Stephenson Award earlier this year.

Narec’s Operations Director, Tony Quinn said: “This is a tremendous reward for the entire team – it highlights the merits of working collaboratively to deliver world-leading innovative engineering solutions. Right from the start there was a keen desire from the whole team to make Narec’s vision of a world-leading facility for offshore renewables a reality. This was evident when Shepherd Construction handed-over the construction of the structure that will house Narec’s 15 megawatt (MW) capacity wind turbine nacelle test rig six weeks ahead of schedule.

“Given the enormous technical challenges, combined with an aggressive programme, I am thrilled the project team has received another significant industry recognition for all their hard work and achievements over the last three years.”

Neil Matthias, Project Manager for Shepherd Construction commented: “We’re over the moon to have won one of the top awards in the industry. It underlines our authority in delivering complex projects, not only in terms of the technical expertise and ability to create innovative solutions but also in our approach, particularly when it comes to working closely with others to draw out the best skills and knowledge in the face of tough construction challenges.”


Press release, July 17, 2013; Image: A2BPR


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