BAE Systems, North Wales
Contractors: AMEC Construction Ltd and Murraywood Construction Ltd
Consulting engineers: Veryards
The nation’s leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus UK, a division of BAE Systems, expanded its operation in 2002 by building a vast aircraft assembly plant in Broughton, North Wales. The plant is used to manufacture the most modern and comprehensive aircraft on the market including the “double decker” A380 super jumbo.
In order to ensure watertight conditions and meet the completion schedule for the internationally acclaimed Airbus project, PUDLO waterproof concrete was specified for BAE Systems assembly plant in Broughton, North Wales.
Veryards, the consulting engineers on the project, had to ensure that the below ground structure would be completely dry, conforming to BS 8007. This task was made more difficult by the fact that the site was a former marshland with a renowned high-water table.
PUDLO was used in constructing the 2 metre-thick concrete floor and walls positioned 3 metres below ground. PUDLO was chosen not only for its waterproofing capabilities but also because of the compressive strength it brings to concrete. The floor and walls of the underground structure had to be extremely robust to sustain the weight of the machinery above it. The structure houses the autoclaves used to make the aluminium skin panels for the aircraft wings – each autoclave is 40 metres long and weighs 300 tonnes.
The PUDLO system also allowed the contractors AMEC and Murraywood Construction to make time savings during the project. Airbus UK had already taken orders from customers for the new aircraft and therefore it was essential that the factory was built on time so that production of the new planes was not delayed. The PUDLO system is quicker to install than membrane or drainage waterproof systems and therefore construction times were minimised and the whole project timeline was maintained.
PUDLO provided on-site technical support and advice throughout this project and included a 20-year product warranty once completed.
The size of the development has been on a huge scale. The site is 400 metres long, 200 metres wide with peak heights of 35 metres – the equivalent of 12 full size football pitches. The development includes the largest below ground machinery base in the UK and in order to ensure its protection from water ingress PUDLO was used to make the structure waterproof.