St David’s New Lifeboat Station to house the ‘Nora Wortley’

St David’s lifeboat station was a challenging and unique station for Opus as, unlike most previous RNLI lifeboat station projects, St David’s was built at a new location.

Resting alongside Pembrokeshire’s coastline, the remote location and lack of infrastructure added to the challenge. The new station was built in the next cove along from the existing 100 year old station, which was a listed structure and is built on top of the slipway from the original 1869 lifeboat house that still nestles behind the beach.

Working with our contractor partners BAM Nuttall on this £9.5m project it was decided that a 3D approach would not only provide opportunity to reduce project risk, but in a BIM environment provide improved project delivery and a route for the client to more effectively manage this asset.

Point cloud surveys were used for above ground topographical features and bathymetries for the sea bed topographical features. This allowed the the new station to be optimally positioned by the project delivery team for access, boat function, buildability and consideration of a 4.5m tide range. This resulted in a model that not only reflected final construction but could also be used for construction sequencing such as concrete pour programmes that matched tidal movement and steelwork erection.

As well as the new slipway, the new boathouse also has space for a smaller inshore lifeboat. It includes state of the art facilities for the crew of volunteers, including a drying room and better provision for training and equipment maintenance. More importantly, it is also more easily accessible, which RNLI says is essential for the evacuation of any casualties brought in by the lifeboat.

As construction progressed Autodesk’s “360 Field” was used to capture data on tablets. This database could be accessed via the cloud by the whole team which was invaluable where designers were working remotely.

The structural form comprises a heavily reinforced concrete support platform that is piled into the coastal rock. The building has a Glulam structure with a curved roof matching the old station.