v&a dundee concrete superstructure landscaping substructures

V&A Dundee

The V&A Dundee located on the River Tay, is one of the most prestigious and challenging projects awarded in the £1 billion waterfront regeneration programme. Careys undertook all sub and superstructure works on the project, in addition to the installation of the site’s infrastructure, including underground services, drainage and hard landscaping. Our works also include foundations, temporary works and reinforced concrete cores.


Dundee City Council



Principal Contractor

BAM Construct

Our team identified that the complex geometry of the concrete walls meant that the standard techniques for setting out were insufficient and required our team to undertake this using a 3D model.

Achieving the consistency of the 2,300m3 highly pigmented dark grey concrete was challenging, as it was essential that the mix, consistency and strength were exact. To ensure we got this correct, our team undertook a number of trial mixes at the beginning of the project.

Furthermore, we reduced the high cement content of the concrete by using 27% pulverised fly ash (PFA) in the cement, reducing it’s environmental impact. In addition to this we added micro silica fume for added durability and crack reduction, and Zemdrain to enhance the concrete finish, resulting in a significantly more durable surface.

Innovative use of 3D modelling to form the carcass shape to fit the falsework support to the carcass layout

The formation of the walls required installation of a large volume (800-1,000m2 per month) of Peri formwork and falsework to support the complex geometry of the structure, forming the concrete to the desired shape and size of the walls and controlling its position. Our team used a 3D model to form the carcass shape and fit the falsework support to the carcass layout. We then applied a timber-strengthening system to the falsework to ensure stability over the next 18 months.

Another challenge arose during the installation of the 3m wide, 18-tonne precast feature stairs. As these had to be installed as a single unit, we introduced voids to reduce the weight of the concrete, making it possible for us to position them safely.

Working at height was the primary health and safety concern on site, which our team mitigated through development of a platform system that matched the wall geometry and enabled works to be conducted safely.

As part of our social value proposition on the project and commitment to the local community, we employed a number of local students and apprentices and mentored local high school students

Our team also developed specific lifting solutions to enable the formwork to be lifted and positioned, and employed a team of scaffolders to modify scaffolding and accommodate changing work areas to reduce the risk from working at height. Consequently, our team was awarded multiple health and safety awards from principal contractor BAM during the course of this prestigious project.

As part of our commitment to the local community, we employed a number of local students and apprentices. In addition, we have mentored local high school students as part of Go4set, an initiative that links school pupils with employers and universities to offer ten-week science, technology, engineering and mathematics projects.

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