DHL Cargo Hub, East Midlands Airport

RPS was initially appointed by DHL to produce engineering design services for the new Sortation Hub at East Midlands Airport which gained planning approval in 2015. DHL wanted early contractor involvement and following an early tender process the project was awarded to French contractor GSE Ltd, who mobilised on site immediately.

With early construction activity, much of the detailed design was required quickly to input into the construction and overall delivery programme. It quickly became apparent that the concept architect was struggling to deliver the detailed design and the project delivery programme was in jeopardy. In response DHL & GSE resolved to introduce RPS as ‘delivery Architects’ to deliver the detailed design to an agreed programme and schedule of deliverables, to the agreed high standard expected by DHL as illustrated in the Planning Design Statement and borne out by the approval conditions.

RPS' architectural team took the initiative and developed two strands of project development. The first strand was to work closely with the contractor’s supply chain to develop detailed specifications, and drawing packages to allow sub-contractor teams to undertake detailed costings and update procurement and delivery programmes, in line with GSE’s full programme and construction plan. The second strand was to engage the client’s stakeholders, thereby developing a phased detailed design and delivery plan for subsequent tender packages for the remainder of the construction stage. This collaborative approach ensured that the inherited delay was mitigated, with client sign off and detailed design complete and tendered, moving into construction phase when site progress was ready for the next package.

This two stage approach enabled DHL to commence their own internal fit-out works much sooner than anticipated (including the bespoke staff restaurant fit-out and call centre furniture to be installed) all prior to the agreed revised handover date.

The introduction of RPS several months into the construction phase and our proactive two staged approach, helped GSE recover approximately four months of the programme and achieve the original completion date, whilst also taking on board a number of significant design changes and value engineering exercises.