• Westgate Shopping Centre, Oxford

    Westgate Oxford was a £500 million redevelopment of the original 1970s shopping centre. With over 100 world-class retail outlets as well as numerous cafes, restaurants and a cinema, it represents a focal point for the regeneration of Oxford city centre.

    Westgate Shopping Centre, Oxford

Challenges

Inner city working: Oxford city centre is notoriously bad for traffic, so planning had to be spot-on given the tight turnaround for a planned pre-Xmas opening and the many contractors working simultaneously on the project.

Delivering the ‘Wow!’ Factor: Westgate Oxford’s aim was to become a destination venue where people came not just to shop, but to relax. Therefore, the first impressions created by the car parks – those of safety, security and ease of usage – were all of vital importance.

Unforeseen obstacles: A building crane which had not figured on the original plans, took up most of the space in the service yard (the commercial backbone of the Westgate, where all the deliveries were to be brought in and processed).

Solutions

Flexible staffing: Darke & Taylor’s (D&T) broad resource base meant it was able to increase site hours at key points in the project to prevent bottlenecks.

Experience carried over from other major car park developments: Recessed LED lighting, number plate recognition, pay terminals and online connectivity (to show the number of free spaces remaining) were all skills D&T had previously applied to other projects.

Independent quality control team: Separate from the installation team, this ensures ‘four pairs of eyes’ on any job.

Creative problem-solving: The crane could not be moved for the duration of the build, so D&T had to design a real-time 3D solution around its footprint, which involved crafting bespoke containment for the armoured cabling.

Gallery

“Darke & Taylor’s work on this project was absolutely first-class and undertaken at a pace that I only wish my direct labour force could also achieve. I therefore wish to pass on my sincere thanks to all of the team.”

Steve Lee, Production Manager, Crown House Technologies

Technical overview

D&T was engaged to install the electrical services and associated bracketry for the redeveloped Westgate Shopping Centre in Oxford. The new centre has almost 74,000 square metres of retail, restaurant and leisure space, requiring a host of core electrical services, including high voltage and low voltage electrical supplies, data cables, fire and security system cables, which converged through the two basement car parking floors.

Following commencement of the site operations, it became apparent that the supplied BIM models and service plans had not considered the height restrictions and coordination among other mechanical services. This presented several challenges for the team to overcome through the design of novel bracketry and installation processes.

Project details

CLIENTLand Securities
MAIN CONTRACTORLaing O’Rourke
PROJECT DURATION18 months

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