Hull City Centre Public-Realm Regeneration, UK

Hull City Centre Public-Realm Regeneration, UK

Hull in north-east England, which was honoured as the UK City of Culture in 2017, has benefitted from a major NEC-procured public-realm regeneration scheme. The project was highly commended for the 2018 Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) Major Projects Award.

According to the CIHT judges the scheme was, ‘A unique large-scale, and transformational, streetscape project that was delivered professionally and with extreme care in a difficult urban environment. This has brought real advantages both to businesses and the whole city community and was a major contributor to helping raise Hull's profile in its year as UK City of Culture in 2017.’
 
Client Hull City Council let the £25 million design-and-build project to Eurovia under an NEC3 Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) Option A (priced contract with activity schedule) in September 2015. Design consultants were Arup and Re-form Landscape Architects with Gardiner and Theobald providing cost consultancy.

Extensive Scheme

The project involved the redesign of 14 streets and four public spaces including key retail areas, historic town streets and civic squares.  It involved laying 42,000m2 of granite and York stone paving across the city centre complete with water features, artistic LED lighting, public artworks and timber benches. The first phase was completed in time for the city’s 2017 New Year celebrations, and the contract was completed on programme and budget in March 2017.
 
According to Hull City Council group manager, Andrew Bell, ‘The regeneration of Hull’s city centre was one of the largest and most ambitious public realm schemes in the UK. The works have been a huge success, transforming perceptions of Hull and instilling pride and enthusiasm in its people, reconnecting them with their city.’

Focus on Collaboration

Bell said there were three main reasons for choosing NEC to procure the works. ‘The first was NEC’s strong focus on collaborative management of time, cost and quality. The NEC requirement to work in a “spirit of mutual trust and co-operation” helped to ensure a collaborative approach with Eurovia to dealing with the many historically sensitive sites in the city.’
 
He said examples included the working around the seventeenth century remains of Beverley Gate, a scheduled ancient monument; and repaving Trinity Square next to the grade 1 listed Hull Minister, the largest parish church in England, which involved removing 400 buried bodies.

‘Secondly, the NEC3 ECC Option A contract was sufficiently flexible to cover the wide variety works, ranging from high quality repaving of busy city centre pedestrian zones to installing large-scale complex water features, state-of-the art controllable lighting systems and public art installations.

‘Thirdly, NEC is easily understood and promotes clarity of roles, design responsibilities and ownership of risk. For example, many streets had a concrete road base in areas of old carriageway but elsewhere ground conditions were poor due to alluvial silts. Trial pit information and ground penetration radar information was supplied to the contractor, but it was clear in the contract clauses that unforeseen ground risks would be with the contractor.’

Benefits of Using NEC

  • NEC requirement to work in a ‘spirit of mutual trust and co-operation’ helped to ensure a collaborative approach to managing time, cost and quality.
  • ECC Option A is sufficiently flexible to deal with a wide range of different types of work under a lump-sum contract.
  • NEC is easily understood by both parties and promotes clarity of roles, design responsibilities and ownership of risk.
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