A maintenance delivery unit (MDU) designed by McBains, in collaboration with contractor Cleshar and sister companies Pell Frischmann and Desco, has been chosen by Network Rail as a best practice example for their new contestability concept.
The pilot scheme sees the replacement of several individual cabins and containers used to provide staff welfare, offices and storage for equipment or materials with a £3.2M new build structure.
Network Rail's contestability initiative seeks to enable other parties to deliver railway projects, where it is safe to do so. These will typically be smaller infrastructure projects that can be delivered in a way that does not impact the operational railway, known as 'high street' projects. Contestable projects differ from the normal contracting process as some elements of the delivery manager role - normally delivered by Network Rail's capital works delivery teams - will be offered to the market as part of the contract. The aim is to increase rail sector innovation and efficiency through minimising barriers to delivery, developing the industry supply chain and encouraging a multiplicity of suppliers.
The design for the Stoke Maintenance Delivery Unit (MDU) uses a low carbon material call Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) which is much cheaper, greener and quicker to install. SIPs are often used in the wider building industry but are not commonly used within Network Rail. The main materials of steel standing seam cladding, power-coated aluminium and glass have been selected to reinforce the layered façade concept to provide interesting shadows whilst subtly paying homage to the industrial surroundings. The vertical lines of the wall cladding that appear to wrap around to the roof further reinforce the simplicity of the concept and are intended to provide variation at the various levels of the building and between the façades giving depth and definition.
Following the success of pilot schemes such as the Stoke MDU project, Network Rail has introduced the contestability concept to a wider audience and hopes to save 30% on their £200M MDU portfolio.
More information about Network Rail's contestability concept is available here.
For more information please contact Simon McNabb at [email protected].
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