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Sterling Suffolk – ground breaking glasshouse design to grow Suffolk tomatoes.

Project Description and Scope

The first semi-closed hydroponic glasshouse in the UK, with Phase 1 covering 5.6 hectares. The climate chambers utilise outside air for cooling, whilst the inside air is re-used and valuable CO2 recovered. Rainwater and condensation is stored in a 61 million litre reservoir and used for irrigation. P11C were appointed to procure, manage and administrate client direct trade packages, as well as technical coordination between client and glasshouse contractor, ensuring that design, programme and safety requirements were delivered by each party.

Growing relationships

Scottish Power had legal access along the site boundary to install off-shore windfarm cables as part of the East Anglia ONE project. All our materials and utility services had to cross this huge regional infrastructure project. Key to ensuring this went smoothly was detailed forward planning, agreeing legal wayleaves, effective communication and precise coordination of the works.

Mitigating the growing risk

With the baby tomato plants already growing in Holland, the project could not afford a single days delay.  It was imperative that the glass house contractor commenced each activity on time which meant we had to procure subcontractors from our local supply chain that were committed and could guarantee the delivery.

New Technologies

Building a state-of-the-art glasshouse requires specialist knowledge. We had to learn a lot, and fast. Dovetailing ourselves with Dutch Principle Contractor, Van de Hooven, we both quickly learned a lot from each other. One of the biggest challenges was finding out that the glasshouse not only falls 10mm per 5m, but also expands and contracts up to 170mm according to temperature and weather condition. Tolerance and movement allowances had to be rethought in order to build successfully against the glasshouse construction. This is one example of how our ‘can do’ approach solved each new challenge we encountered. 

Contract Value: £15,000,000
Form of Contract: QS, Project, Programme and Design Management roles
Appointment: 2018
Duration: 40 weeks
Client: Sterling Suffolk