February update

From Steve Pitts, Project Manager for Caddick Construction

I suppose it’s a bit like an iceberg at the moment. You will see the stuff above the ground but there’s a lot under the ground that people don’t necessarily see. All of the foundations have been cast now.

Some huge foundations have gone in, the biggest one has got approximately 100 cubic metres of concrete in it which is probably 250 tonnes of concrete in one foundation alone. That’s a lot of concrete trucks to pour all of the bases. The first base was cast in the last week before Christmas and here we are now, in the middle of February, and we’ve got the majority of foundations in. The steel starts to go up on the 19th. That’s a big milestone and you will start to see some progress then.

We installed some steel work last week which will link the pavilion building into the new Emerald Stand (north/stand) so the skeleton structure has gone up for that. The metal decking needs to be placed which will form the floors, so there’s a little bit of work to do on that yet before we can concrete the floors. I would think the floors will be going down at the beginning of March. The stand will then work its way up towards the pavilion and eventually the two will connect together.

The steel going up is one of the first real milestones as a construction team. If you start your steel late, everything else will be late. You can’t do anything else until the steel goes in. It was a big target for us (19th February) to hit and we are going to do that. Luckily the winter hasn’t been too bad and we haven’t lost too much time to weather. It’s a tick in the box as far as we’re concerned.

Due to the complex nature of the stand and the sheer volume of individual pieces of steel and pre-cast concrete, it’s a long, relatively slow build. We are restricted for access, we can’t get to the sides of it because of the rugby and cricket pitches, and we can’t get to either end because of the White Rose stand and tri-zone building that blocks one end. Therefore, we are restricted with the way we can build the stand. We can only really get one crane in for most of the time. It’s going to take 20+ weeks to get the main structure up. What that means is until the steel structure is handed over, we can’t get other trades into there.

The next things to happen will be to concrete the floors and get the brick layers in. It’s going to be a little bit frustrating once the steel has started and we will all be chomping at the bit wanting that first section handed over, so we can get the other trades in and get moving. That is where we have even more logistical challenges because we’ve got to start loading out the building from the end we have started building it, but we can’t get past the cranes and the steel work that’s been erected. We will be feeding it in underneath the White Rose stand with smaller vehicles. The logistical challenges we’ve had so far will prove to be insignificant compared to some of the challenges we’ve got to come.

The steel erection contractors that we’re using (for the rugby’s south stand) are the same team of guys. They are well on now with the rugby south stand and approaching completion with probably two or three weeks left on that, so there will be a slight overlap of the two.

With the steel work and the pre-cast concrete, there’s been a bit of a learning curve. Now we’re in a bit of a rhythm and hopefully it should help us when we start building the north/south stand. The contractors are already familiar with the site, they know how Caddick Construction work. They’ve been on site for nine or ten weeks and they know what we expect. Hopefully when we get going on the north/south stand, we get off to a flying start.

October update

From Steve Pitts, Project Manager for Caddick Construction

We took possession of the stand properly on October 5 after the Varsity Rugby Union match, which took place the day prior. We made the services safe, got it prepped, did the control room change over and we started physically with the machines last Thursday. We’ve not even been at it for five days yet and we’re getting our teeth into it now.

It’s an eight-week demolition programme. If we were doing it in the middle of a field and we weren’t sandwiched in between two very expensive playing surfaces, we’d probably have it down in two or three weeks to be honest. We’re hemmed in and constrained and we’ve got make sure we don’t cause any damage. But it will take eight weeks and that’s the right thing to do.

If you watch those drivers at work, the dexterity of those machines makes it easy to pick little bits of timber up, or steel, or even pull cables down. They have finite control over those machines and this is what they do. This is what they do day in and day out.

We actually wanted to demolish the stand from the West to East end, but because the stand is so close to the TRY ZONE building we’re having to work our way into the back of the stand from the cricket side. Then we’ll send the machines into the stand effectively and demolish the stand towards the pavilion end of the site.

It has been pretty much as expected so far. We had a lot of meetings with the demolition guys and the temporary works engineers to make sure we were taking it down in the right and safe manner. So far we’ve had no surprises but we put a lot of leg work in before we even started.

Being a Castleford fan, I’ve not had a great few weeks but there are some small pleasures in life and ripping this place down is one of them. That’s a bit tongue in cheek obviously but its great to see the start of the process. We need to get this thing down and get it down quickly. Believe it or not pulling it down is the easy part, but we’ve got a logistical issue to contend with all the way through the building of this new stand.

We think we have constraints now but that’s nothing compared to what we’ll have when we start to build the new stand. All the deliveries, the steel, all the pre-casts, roofing materials flowing in through the gates every day. It’s a case of getting this thing on the floor, but the hard works starts when we start building the new stand.

It is one project, but we’ve got three going on effectively.
We’ve got the pavilion alterations to do which we term hack and bash inside the building. Structural alterations, walls down, floors out, to alter the layout of the building.

We’ve got the North-South Stand, which is a huge undertaking in itself, and then the South Stand. It’s one project to us as a construction group.

September update

From Steve Pitts, Project Manager for Caddick Construction

There has been a lot of dialogue between the three clubs, in particular the past 12 months – and years actually.

We’ve got a plan and it’s going to be a logistical challenge, everybody knows that. It’s quite a tight site and we’re limited for access and egress but we’ve got a plan in place. There are still plenty of meetings scheduled to finalise the finer detail but we’re looking forward to the challenge. As long as everybody accepts it’s a challenge, and there are lots of hurdles to get over, then we’ll be fine.

The demolition phase will be around eight weeks and as the building is demolished the materials will be segregated by the planting machinery. There will be very little human activity in there other than the machine operators. We call it dismantling rather than demolition these days. It will be very much the case of taking it down from one end to the other, sorting the materials as we go. It is a tight area and a challenge, so the aim will be to take it down and get it away as efficiently as possible.

It is an exciting challenge and as Caddick construction we’ve already got a huge involvement with the stadium anyway,” he added. “It’s close to our hearts and our Chairman’s heart. There’s lots of hard work to go through and there will be heartache and a lot of angst as we’re trying to marry up the demolition and construction with Yorkshire, Carnegie and Rhinos too.

“We’ve had lots of meetings with Mark Arthur, Sam Hinchliffe and Sue Ward, as far as the logistics of people playing on the surfaces and where they’re going to access on matchdays. But we have settled on the principles of what we need to do. We’re really looking forward to taking ownership of the site and we’ll be doing a little bit of preparation work over the next few weeks, some soft stripping in the areas we can’t get to with machines, but week commencing October 2 we’ll be fully into it.

For the spectators, when they come back for the start of next season in the spring they’ll see a completely different stadium. The new structure will be starting to go up and there will have been a lot of work done in the ground on foundations and drainage. Ultimately, we’ve all got our eyes on May 2019 and being ready for more Test Match cricket here.

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