The proposals for South Korean steel manufacturer, SeAH Wind’s, giant £300m, 40-metre-tall offshore turbine base factory at Teesside’s Freeport recently received planning approval. The giant facility – the largest of its kind in the world, at over 800 m in length – presents a range of design and construction challenges including its scale, low energy design and an accelerated programme. It will offer 1.13million sq ft of high-quality factory space for the production of monopiles up to 120 m in length, 15.5 m in diameter and weighing 3,000tons which are used to support offshore wind turbines.
The scheme will see the creation of 1,500 supply chain and construction jobs when work begins in July, along with a further 750 roles when the site is fully operational. Occupying a 90-acre site, this exciting development forms part of the UK’s fast-growing alternative energy sector, responding to the latest Government Energy Strategy.
The facility has been designed to accommodate the production of new extra-large monopiles and will become SeAH Wind’s first such resource outside South Korea. When fully operational, it is expected to produce between 100 and 150 monopiles per year which will be transported directly from the factory to Teesworks’ new South Bank Quay facility before heading to the North Sea for installation using specialised pile driving equipment.
Comprising the new 93,324 sqm main monopile manufacturing building, a 3,873 sqm administration office, maintenance station, paint facility and site-specific power stations, the scheme will also include a range of staff welfare facilities. Ashton Smith Associates design responds directly to the challenges of creating a space with an optimal capacity for monopile construction, and the layout has been carefully developed to achieve a configuration which satisfies SeAH Wind’s operational requirements, ensuring each space is interconnected efficiently and safely, with all disciplines operating under one roof.
Waterman’s building services design focuses on energy efficiency in operation, whilst also offering a high level of environmental controllability to maximise material longevity and ensure the production of a premium quality end product. The main manufacturing building is an unheated space, with the services concentrating on air quality and adaptable lighting to provide an optimum working environment for occupants, whilst ensuring low energy consumption in use. The building’s ventilation system incorporates high and low level automatically controlled ventilation openings, linked to internal air quality sensors to control temperature and air quality. Meanwhile, electrical lighting will be combined with natural light from rooflights to ensure lux levels are maintained throughout operational hours, providing visual comfort and further reducing the building’s energy footprint.
Client: SeAH Wind
Architect: Ashton Smith Associates