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Aire Park City Centre Regeneration

Shortlisted for ​Best Sustainable Brownfield/Urban Regeneration/Infrastructure Scheme (sponsored by AECOM)​

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”Delivery excellence through a highly trained team, using a technically compliant and environmentally conscious collaborative approach to sustainable land remediation and enabling works.”

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The Project

Rhodar carried out an extensive programme of remediation and enabling works to support a large city-centre regeneration scheme in Leeds for Vastint UK Services Ltd. Phase 3 of the works, including remediation, demolition and civil engineering commenced in January 2021. These works formed part of a much larger regeneration plan created by Vastint to deliver Leeds City Council’s vision to inject new life into the South Bank area with a brand-new city park, much-needed homes, employment spaces, leisure facilities and a hotel. The Aire Park regeneration scheme incorporating a series of multi-storey commercial, mixed use and residential buildings will be surrounded by a series of attractive, diverse, and interconnected public areas including tree-lined lawns, playgrounds, water features and gardens across eight and a half hectares of land on the former iconic Tetley Brewery site.

The Delivery Solution – Enabling the Vision

Proactive Quality & Compliance Assurance: Rhodar has a long history of providing robust, cost-effective, and sustainable enabling works solutions. We are certified by a UKAS certification body to the standards of ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001, in addition to implementing systems compliant with ISO 27001. The integration of these systems, which have a continuous improvement focus throughout, combined with an ongoing procedural review, ensures that all of the Aire Park enabling works operations are adaptable to changing risks and undertaken in line with all applicable sustainability and environmental requirements, legislation and regulation.

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Partnership Approach: Our delivery model moves away from the traditional transactional approach to that of a partnership based on desired client outcomes. In this instance, environmental objectives for the project were identified and goals set to allow Rhodar to operate as a collaborative partner instead of a supplier, working towards a shared vision for quality assurance, efficiency, and value, improving productivity and reducing time and creating net positive sustainable outcomes. All programme requirements were assessed through regular meetings, and as part of our Project Quality Plan materials management, re-use of soils and minimisation of waste were given a high priority.

Our highly experienced and qualified team were aligned with the objectives of our client, to optimise integration and touchpoints, provide clear lines of responsibilities, and ensure speed and clarity of communication at a strategic and operational level. Specialist and operational resources from Rhodar were available to fully support project delivery, maintaining effective, quality-centred, and collaborative relationships between all parties throughout the planning and delivery of the project.  As a key part of the project team, we worked to one set of goals with individual objectives detailed within a clear RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed) Responsibility Matrix so that clearly defined governance roles, responsibilities, and reporting/performance criteria were established and encouraged to develop to create coherent and supportive relationships, fostering a culture of improvement that positively influenced a step change toward a more sustainable development focus.

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Engineering Improvement: The application of our quality procedures, and Quality Plan including our PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) approach, delivered real continuous improvement to the works with greater levels of ‘Right First Time’ delivery. Commercial and technical assessments carried out by Rhodar to support project decision making allowed for value capture benefits to be realised and risks to be managed in line with strict project requirements and to establish an efficient approach to minimising environmental impact. We do not approach value engineering as purely a cost-cutting exercise, but as an organised effort of analysing the requirements of service to achieve the desired outputs to achieve set project objectives. The sustainability objectives proposed by Vastint were considered and prioritised within our approach to the enabling works therefore plant operations and material movements were optimised to reduce the programme, cut emissions, and still deliver to the specified engineering requirements of the project.

Value Engineering in Action:

Our approach facilitated the technical appraisal of geotechnically unsuitable materials and re-use within areas of proposed parkland. Saving £140-£150k of direct cost and avoiding the importation of subsoil to remove 750 road haulage vehicle movements and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 290,000kg.

Our view was that delivery needs to achieve more than the engineering specification, it needs to underpin the sustainability goals set for the entire regeneration scheme and support the overarching design which places significant importance on providing a better place to live. Crucially for Aire Park this includes prioritising thriving parkland and open spaces over the square footage of the proposed new residential and commercial buildings.

Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI): As a best practice employer with “Investors in People” accreditation, we have developed a robust approach to EDI that incorporates the ETI (Ethical Trading Initiative) base code of labour practice. The ETI is a key part of our Corporate Social responsibility policy which complies fully with the Equality Act 2010, and Public Sector Equality Duty and its principles are embedded throughout our organisation as part of our Company inductions and ongoing training. Our work with NEET educational bodies, career paths for the disadvantaged within our inner-city schools via Inspira and the EY Foundation, for example,

Key Benefits of EDI:

  • Greater productivity from a diverse team with different experience, talent and skill.

  • Addresses local and national skills shortages.

assisting long term unemployed back into society and employment.  A key aspiration for the Aire Park scheme is to encourage engagement with the local community and as such apprenticeships have been created for students from the nearby Leeds College of Building. Working in conjunction with a variety of project partners the apprentices have been involved in a range of activities including surveying, ground engineering and civil engineering, providing valuable experience and skills for new starters in our industry and further strengthening ties between the project and the community.

Communication & Collaboration Ensuring Effective Engagement: Following a comprehensive review of risks and challenges to the project a stakeholder engagement communication plan was developed in collaboration with Vastint which contained the responsibilities and expectations of all key stakeholders at pre-commencement, during delivery and post-completion stages of the project. The plan allowed for Rhodar to employ the following engagement strategies:

  • Site Meetings: to identify programme risks and ensure full site familiarisation before commencement, such as pedestrian footfall and maintaining pubic access to Hunslet Road; street requirements and trader traffic for businesses with outdoor arrangements such as The

Key Benefits of Engagement:

  • Programme reduction.

  • Less disruption to the local community.

  • Local businesses unaffected.

  • Tetley and nearby BUPA buildings.

  • Traffic Management: permits from the Highway Authority (Temporary Traffic Regulation Order for road closures, temporary traffic signals) requested and approved in advance.

  • Local Authority Engagement: information to support the discharge of planning conditions concerning contamination.

  • Local Community Engagement: informing businesses and residents including apartments overlooking the site of the proposed works. Working in collaboration with Vastint to provide newsletters, letter drops and updates via their website. Face-to-face meetings were also conducted with managers of local businesses to ensure continuity of trading and coordination of deliveries

Driving and Supporting a Health, Safety and Wellbeing (HSW) Culture: As Principal Contractor we met our responsibilities under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 by adopting a collaborative and proactive approach. Our Resident Engineer and the HSEQ team held regular sessions with Vastint and the Principal Designer ensuring our construction phase health and safety plan was reviewed and updated as needed throughout the works. Updates included managing construction activities for an innovative modular building mock-up, where Rhodar worked closely with the designer and construction specialists to ensure all safety aspects (i.e., temporary works, working at height, etc.) had appropriate safe systems of work and RAMS in place.

Key Benefits of HSW:

  • Health and safety a priority.

  • Compliance and continuous improvement are harmonised to create more effective project management.

Promoting Environmental Care to Deliver Long Term Benefits: The Rhodar Site Manager oversaw the day-to-day management of the site and our site team and had responsibility for creating a safe and sustainable environment throughout the duration of the project. Our approach included:

 

  • Works Management Plan covering environmental monitoring (dust, weather, vibration, and noise), groundwater monitoring to support the management of risks to controlled waters (River Aire and underlying aquifer), laboratory and in-situ chemical and geotechnical testing to support the earthworks programme and confirm compliance to the specification sustainability measures, archaeology support.

  • Remediation of hydrocarbon impacted groundwater using a combination of in-situ and pump and treat technologies.

  • Materials management plan to maximise the re-use of materials on site.

  • Carbon Reduction using new machines and hybrid machines with increased fuel efficiency; efficient movement of materials minimised with associated fuel and time savings; Our site team were all local which to minimised travel and promoted the use of local workers.

  • Asbestos management during earthworks in accordance with CAR 2012 and CAR-SOIL.

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Economic Benefits:

·     85,000m2 new office space

·     15,000m2 retail, leisure, education, health space

·     Up to 850 new homes

·     Over 2,000m2 of new outdoor event space for concerts, outdoor cinema, markets and events

·     400 bed hotel

Environmental and Social Benefits:

·     Creation of a 2Ha city park with new tree planting, wetland areas, and bird habitat.

·     Linking South Bank to the city centre.

·     Creation of a new, modern city neighbourhood.

·     Engagement with Leeds College of Building with student apprenticeships

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Outcomes & Positive Benefits

Minimisation of waste and BREEAM WST01 Construction Waste Management credits in monitoring and diverting waste from landfill.

Implementation of the remediation strategy allowed an additional BREEAM credit under ‘LE01 Site Selection – Contaminated land’

 

Earthworks materials reuse totalling 138,997m3 including modification on site of 6,900m3 of clay materials. Reducing carbon emissions.

Sustainable regeneration to achieve environmental benefits and reduce legacy land use issues to facilitate positive regeneration that delivers economic, environmental, and social benefits.