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Haymarket, Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s iconic Haymarket site in the heart of the city centre is set to become the highest profile mixed-use development in Scotland.

On completion, Haymarket Edinburgh will deliver more than 380,000 sq. ft of much-needed office space along with hotel accommodation totalling 365 bedrooms and provision for 40,000 sq. ft of retail space. The four-acre site will comprise five buildings, three of which will be offices and the other two hotels.

The £350M development is being developed by Qmile Group, designed by globally renowned architect Foster + Partners with Sir Robert McAlpine as the main contractor.  Arup are providing civil and structural engineering and building services too.

Project summary

    • Client: Qmile Group
    • Sectors: Commercial, Retail
    • Value: £350m
    • Size: 380,000 sq. ft
    • Location: Scotland
    • Services: McAlpine Design Group, Construction, Digital Construction, Construction Management

We began onsite in 2020 constructing Building 1 (B1) which comprised 110,000 sq. ft of Grade A office accommodation. This substructure required complex acoustics to isolate from the main frame of the building and remove the impact of sound transmission from the nearby rail tunnels.

Work is now progressing at Building B4&5 which benefit from a piled substructure and concrete slab with the central slip form cores and steel frame cellular beams. The steel frame was intumescent painted offsite for quality purposes and, as both building frames were erected in the winter, to avoid spraying onsite being impacted by weather and temperature.

Both have a deep concrete basement which features a sprinkler tank. This relatively unique feature in Scotland greatly reduces the gross internal floor area by removing an entire level thus improving programme and minimising cost.

The B4/B5 steel frame has a unique solution for transferring load away from the tunnels. This is achieved using a combination of inclined columns and cantilever over rail tunnels. This also includes a Vierendeel truss for the large span on the North elevation over the tunnels. The installation of this truss has a carefully coordinated method statement involving temporary works submissions to Network Rail.

Piling requirements were extensive and had to be carried out near the Haymarket rail tunnels. These tunnels direct all trains west out of Edinburgh Waverley and there are some 2,000 train movements a day. Tunnel monitoring was extensive with early warning triggers. We also had a site presence of Network Rail to monitor the works as they progressed.

Sustainable construction

Our January 2022 report outlined the following sustainable measures:

  • 59% responsibly sourced materials
  • 100% of timber sustainably sourced
  • 43,743 tonnes of excavation waste diverted from landfill
  • 100% waste diverted from landfill

All buildings have photovoltaic panels on the roof and we are working closely with our supply chain partners to explore new approaches, such as the steel fabricator using a wind turbine, to power the heating in their intumescent painting bay.


What’s next?

We have been selected as the preferred contractor for the £42m Haymarket B4&5 Cat B fit out works. The award further extends our relationship with Qmile Group, as well as our ongoing work at the Haymarket Development where we are already progressing Cat A works at Building B4&5. 

Proposed enhanced fit-out works include around 26,500m² of Cat B office space for Baillie Gifford. This comprises reception area, events space and café facilities at ground level, along with office spaces, film studios, editing suites, meeting rooms, break out areas and kitchen/restaurant facilities over eight upper levels. 

Extensive MEP works will integrate with the current Cat A installations and will provide the first smart enabled building delivered in the Northern Region. 

Smart buildings utilise advanced, integrated building technology and facility management systems to interact with the people, systems and external elements around them and learn from past experiences and real-time inputs. They adapt to the needs of the people and the businesses within them by increasing comfort, efficiency, resilience and safety.

Works are due to start on site in May 2022 with completion due in October 2023.


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