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Civil engineering excellence to develop SouthGate, Bath

Completed more than two months early, SouthGate Bath is a shopping centre home to shops, restaurants and an underground car park.

Attention to detail and first-class workmanship were essential in delivering the high standards required for the 21st Century development of SouthGate Bath.

Designed to compliment the surrounding Georgian architecture, this nine-acre development comprises of six buildings. It provides 37,600m2 of retail space, including a new department store, 5,000m2 of leisure and restaurant facilities, and 99 homes.

A three-storey, 860-space basement car park and service yard are located beneath three of the buildings. At ground level, wide Pennant stone pavements and a series of public spaces, integrate the scheme into the Georgian streetscape.

Project Summary

    • Client: Multi Development: Morley Fund Management & Aviva
    • Sectors: Retail, Commercial
    • Value: £150m
    • Size: 9 acre
    • Location: South West
    • Services: McAlpine Design Group, Construction, Civil Engineering, Geospatial Engineering

Utilising our in-house McAlpine Design Group to construct a multi-storey car park

Our engineering excellence in deep basement construction was critical in delivering the car park five months ahead of schedule. McAlpine Design Group collaborated with the site team to devise a temporary works solution. This provided the largest possible unobstructed area for the 130,000m3 excavation that was required.

The development’s location within a UNESCO World Heritage Site meant the basement is situated alongside listed buildings. This necessitated the continual monitoring of vibration and ground movement throughout the project. The proximity to the Bath Spa aquifer also meant special measures were required to assure the local authority that our dewatering operation would not affect the springs.

Early planning, efficient subcontractor management and the timely sequencing of trades were key to the success of the basement construction operation. A holding area was required and used to minimise traffic disruptions throughout the city.

Cost-effective recycling of excavated materials

Following the demolition, a detailed site investigation was conducted, which was essential for controlling the excavation’s disposal cost.

This enabled our subcontractor to produce an Environmental Risk Assessment and a Waste Classification Report for the soils. This prompted the Environment Agency’s approval for the inert material to go to a single nearby exempt site.

By recycling the soil from this area and using it to create a new golf course we have reduced waste, reduced the need for excess transport and also reduced costs, which will ultimately benefit the end user.

John Munce Development Manager Multi Development UK Ltd

The accurate assessment of the likely quantity of contaminated material also resulted in our subcontractor accepting a more competitive ‘with risks’ package.


Development to simulate the surrounding Georgian architecture

We provided civil engineering excellence and combined modern techniques to achieve the development’s Georgian aesthetic.

Precast concrete panels clad in Bath stone provided a quick and cost-effective method of constructing most of the elevations for the complex articulated façades, the balance made up of acid-etched, pigmented precast concrete.

Manufacturing processes were developed to provide the high-quality finish specified, ensuring seamless integration between the materials. Sand-impregnated mastic was further used between the joints to simulate traditional masonry pointing.


SouthGate Bath was honoured with a Gold award from the British Council of Shopping Centres. The judges said they were impressed by the way the team rose to the challenge of delivering: “a major, well-integrated scheme in the heart of a World Heritage site”.

The development also received a Commendation in the 2010 Concrete Society Awards.


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