Network Rail National Centre

Attention to detail for an efficient, low energy hub

Network Rail’s new national centre has brought together 3,000 people from across the country into an interconnected group of four buildings in Milton Keynes, known as the Quadrant:MK.

BAM had to work extremely quickly to deliver the project. The construction window was just 95 weeks, with an immovable deadline as the lease was due to run out on the client’s old premises in Euston.

Project details

  • Customer: Network Rail
  • Architect: GMW Architects
  • Quantity surveyor: Sense
  • Structural engineer: Waterman
  • M&E consultants: Scott Wilson
  • Value: £107m
  • Completion date: August 2012

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In spite of the challenges, the Quadrant:MK is fulfilling its potential.

Judges from the BCO Awards commented that “despite the sheer scale of the project, [it] still displayed intricate attention to detail”.

A modern, sustainable working environment

Sustainability was central to the brief for the Quadrant:MK.

Natural light floods through the atrium that links the four buildings. There’s an intelligent natural ventilation system, rainwater harvesting and the temperature inside is regulated by the thermal mass of the building.

‘Brown roofs’ extend the familiar concept of the ‘green roof’, with a special focus on encouraging indigenous species and biodiversity.

The site adjoins Milton Keynes railway station, so fewer employees have to drive to work. For those that do, there’s even a charging point for electric cars.

Energy matters

Even before the building was finished, eco concerns were high on the agenda. During construction, the BAM site team put in measures that delivered energy savings of £80,000 in 20 months.

Monitoring stations on site showed how much energy was being used, where and when.

‘Eco-cabins’ – with insulated offices, welfare facilities, a canteen and drying rooms – not only provided a spacious working environment, but also helped reduce energy consumption by using controlled heat pumps and easy-to-access windows.

Thinking and acting local

To boost the local economy, BAM and Network Rail recruited 18% of their subcontractors and suppliers from within a ten-mile radius.

The site team ran a number of events to raise money for charity, and offered work experience placements to local pupils. The project scooped a silver award from the Considerate Constructors Scheme.