Birmingham New Street station is a complex, multi-phased programme to increase passenger capacity for one of Britain’s busiest transport interchanges. It includes the comprehensive redevelopment of the station, as well as the delivery of a new retail centre, called Grand Central, anchored by a 250,000 sq ft John Lewis department store – all while keeping the existing station operational.
The vision is to transform it into a 21st century hub for the entire region. It will comprise a new station concourse three and half times the size of its predecessor, covered by a striking atrium roof and a 16,000 square metre steel external façade.
Mace is both delivery partner and principal contractor for the project working in partnership with Network Rail.
The first phase concourse
This initial phase developed a new west concourse to improve the passenger experience and increase capacity. To make way for this concourse major demolition work was necessary including a multi-storey car park, which had to be meticulously sequenced to ensure that the station remained operational and posed no health and safety risk.
For the demolition Mace implemented an innovative ‘track and hoyer’ system – a two stage cut-and-lift process involving crane rails, which ran the length of the building as the ‘track’ and a gantry crane acting as the ‘hoyer’.
Once in place, 7,500 tonnes of concrete was removed from the car park and adjacent Pallasades shopping centre, clearing the space needed to form the new concourse, complete with escalators connecting to the platforms.
Phase one of New Street opened successfully in April 2013.
The opening of the west concourse enabled the closure of the old station east concourse, making way for the demolition works required for phase two of the project. The demolition of the east station concourse was challenging due to the age and condition of the existing 1960s building and the accuracy of ‘as built’ drawings for the live services and internal structures which demanded a comprehensive programme of surveys be commissioned.
Asbestos surveys were carried out on a phased basis once live services could be fully isolated and access permitted. The surveys identified significant quantities of asbestos that had to be removed prior to commencing demolition works.
Another technically challenging aspect of this project is currently underway, transferring the load of the atrium roof onto the existing station structure. Covering the concourse will be a 3,300 square metre atrium, made of steel and ETFE (a hard-wearing, self-cleaning plastic) designed to flood the new concourse with natural daylight and create an attractive, open retail environment.
The next key milestone is the demolition of approximately 6,000 tonnes of reinforced concrete, currently sitting below the atrium structure, creating a stunning feature atrium space which will be the size of a football pitch.