Mumbles ICE 2

3 August 2015

Following on from Opus’ success last month in the Green Apple awards, we are proud to announce another award win for Mumbles Pier refurbishment and new RNLI Lifeboat Station.  The Institution of Civil Engineers South East England Awards 2015 “Designed in the South East” was presented to Opus, beating off stiff competition from Network Rail’s “AssetCoast”, the much publicised wreck removal of the Costa Concordia and the London Gateway Port in the finals.

Mumbles’ new RNLI slipway lifeboat station, incorporating Pierhead refurbishment, is part of a large infrastructure investment in Wales by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution to provide a state of the art rescue service around the UK coast.  The station provides a rescue service to the local community, visitor education facility and point of arrival for visitors to the pier, including bespoke areas for fishermen.

The aim of the design was to produce a structure which would require minimum maintenance and aid long term sustainability using durable low maintenance construction, zinc roof and larch cladding to the walls which will require no on-going maintenance.

With construction costs dominated by the floating plant requirements, it was vital to ensure that the design was developed to best match the available plant.  A crane with capacity and reach to pitch piles over the pier head was positioned on a jack up barge which was used to service the works.  The floating plant dominated the construction costs and became quite a focal/talking point for visitors during construction.

Howard Richings, Head of Estates Capital Projects for the RNLI said: “Designing a new life boat house and slipway at the head of mumbles Pier presented all the usual challenges of the maritime environment coupled with restricted landward access and the unique technical problem of constructing within the footprint of a listed Victorian structure, surrounded by delicate cast iron columns and subject to one of the highest tidal ranges in the world.  The designers (Opus) also had to satisfy the planning authority and CADW in relation to the visual impact of the boathouse, the pier owner in relation to the effects on the operation of the pier and future maintenance and the RNLI from the all-important lifeboat operations and through-life requirements.

Pier end lifeboat houses are an iconic part of the RNLI’s estate and encapsulate the public perception of a lifeboat launch.  The design of the new boathouse meets all the criteria for securing the future of the all-weather lifeboat service from this key station.  Visually attractive with its low maintenance timber cladding and zinc roof the building forms a suitably robust feature at the end of the historic pier.  The piled foundations to the boathouse and the slipway make the structure completely independent of the pier, whilst the careful restoration of the ornate Victorian cast-iron railings and seating surrounding the pier head, the re-decking of the pier head and the construction of new fishing platforms provide an attractive public destination.  Internally the boathouse provides modern accommodation for the boat and crew and is welcoming to visitors who can see the lifeboat and also make purchases from the RNLI shop.  The 1:5 slipway provides for a fast, safe and spectacular launch of the 25knot Tamar lifeboat which produces a satisfying splash as it enters the water.

The RNLI is very pleased with the end result and look forward to the new station providing many years of support to the local community and seafarers generally for many years to come.”

Awards attendees were treated to a guided tour of the ICE Headquarters in London before the ceremony, which took place on Friday 17 July.