The proposals for South Korean steel manufacturer, SeAH Wind’s, giant £300m, 40-metre-tall offshore turbine base factory at Teesside’s Freeport have received planning approval.
The giant facility – the largest of its kind in the world, at over 800 m in length – presents a range of design and construction challenges including its scale, low energy design and an accelerated programme.
It will offer 1.13million sq ft of high-quality factory space for the production of monopiles up to 120 m in length, 15.5 m in diameter and weighing 3,000tons which are used to support offshore wind turbines.
The scheme will see the creation of 1,500 supply chain and construction jobs when work begins in July, along with a further 750 roles when the site is fully operational.
Occupying a 90-acre site, this exciting development forms part of the UK’s fast-growing alternative energy sector, responding to the latest Government Energy Strategy.
The facility has been designed to accommodate the production of new extra-large monopiles and will become SeAH Wind’s first such resource outside South Korea. When fully operational, it is expected to produce between 100 and 150 monopiles per year which will be transported directly from the factory to Teesworks’ new South Bank Quay facility before heading to the North Sea for installation using specialised pile driving equipment.
Comprising the new 93,324 sqm main monopile manufacturing building, a 3,873 sqm administration office, maintenance station, paint facility and site-specific power stations, the scheme will also include a range of staff welfare facilities. Ashton Smith Associates design responds directly to the challenges of creating a space with an optimal capacity for monopile construction, and the layout has been carefully developed to achieve a configuration which satisfies SeAH Wind’s operational requirements, ensuring each space is interconnected efficiently and safely, with all disciplines operating under one roof.
K2 Consultancy is the project manager, construction manager and cost consultant. K2 has engaged a multi-disciplinary team including Ashton Smith Associates acting as architects, together with Clarkebond as civil, structural and geo-environmental engineers, and building services engineers, Waterman Group.
Nick Coke – Director of Project Management at K2 said “This is a tremendously exciting project for us building on our strong experience in the industrial manufacturing sector. It gives us the opportunity to deliver a market-leading, world-class and pioneering facility that will kick-start much needed regeneration on Teesside. This brings some fresh challenges as the project requires us to deliver for a Korean client new to the UK. In order to fast-track the project and to allow SeAH to speed their product to market, we are leveraging our expertise in construction management, allowing work to start on site at the earliest opportunity.”
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This is a fantastic step forward for SeAH Wind’s game-changing scheme. The first job has been advertised, the plans have been approved and now spades can get in the ground in just a matter of weeks. 2022 is our year of construction there’s nothing holding back plans for this mammoth facility, helping drive forward the cleaner, safer and healthier industries of the future.
“Alongside these specialists, SeAH Wind has engaged with almost 200 local supply chain companies, detailing how they can get on board use our expertise and know-how to make its facility a reality. This will make sure it benefits our region in the short-term, while creating the well-paid, good-quality jobs of the future.”
Mary Lanigan, Leader of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said: “Make no mistake, this is a fantastic investment in our area in what is a hugely important industry delivering a cleaner environment which is likely to continue to grow for many years to come. This is about real, well-paid jobs and real opportunities for our people and is the latest sign that our huge potential as a manufacturing district of international importance is being delivered on.”
Waterman’s building services design focuses on energy efficiency in operation, whilst also offering a high level of environmental controllability to maximise material longevity and ensure the production of a premium quality end product. The main manufacturing building is an unheated space, with the services concentrating on air quality and adaptable lighting to provide an optimum working environment for occupants, whilst ensuring low energy consumption in use. The building’s ventilation system incorporates high and low level automatically controlled ventilation openings, linked to internal air quality sensors to control temperature and air quality. Meanwhile, electrical lighting will be combined with natural light from rooflights to ensure lux levels are maintained throughout operational hours, providing visual comfort and further reducing the building’s energy footprint.
Waterman’s Managing Director for Building Services – North, Jonathan Purcell, commented: “We are delighted to see this exciting scheme now submitted for planning approval. SeAH Wind’s sustainable manufacturing facility will help secure the north-east’s position as an alternative energy powerhouse, whilst providing an employment boost to the local region. This project is an exciting addition to our industrial portfolio which incorporates several alternative energy schemes including wind turbine blade and marine turbine cable factories, along with a range of other complex fabrication and manufacturing facilities across the UK.”
Clarkebond delivered structural, civils and geo-environmental engineering services for the facility and successfully managed the ground investigation to a tight timeline. At the beginning of the year, the team worked with a specialist contractor and commenced testing and borehole investigation within three weeks of tender return and four weeks on site.
Theodore Tai, Clarkebond’s Director, said: “Being at the forefront of the design for the largest monopiles manufacturing facility, we are proud to engage in such an important energy scheme and fulfil the current government energy policy of exploring an alternative energy system for the UK market. Our in-house expertise has been collaboratively engaged with the Client and the professional team to achieve the first key milestone with the planning submission now submitted.”
Site works are scheduled to commence in July with overall completion anticipated in 2024.